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The Last Word

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Album Review

Le Dernier Mot (The Last Word) was the fifth and final release by the French instrumental prog outfit Philharmonie. The group had disbanded in October 1997, but some things had been left unsaid and original members Frédéric L'Épée (guitars) and Bernard Ros (who left his Chapman stick to play the Warr guitar on this album) teamed up with drummer Volodia Brice to record one last album between March and August 1998. Although rockier, Le Dernier Mot arches back to the wonderful Nord and is everything Rage wasn't: complex, full of emotion, inventive. The opener "Rondo Argentin" is a sad dance reminiscent of "Vers le Nord." Brice's drums are totally unobtrusive and fit perfectly the mood. "Métamorphose" is a very efficient hard-progging number. Both pieces were performed live before October 1997 but were never recorded. "Sans réponse" and "Bruine" are guitar solos that were also part of the live show. "Le Dernier Mot" is the only piece collectively written by this incarnation of the band (although all other tracks have been "revisited", so to speak), a surprising piece opening on a hard-rock theme which boils down to acoustic guitars only to finish harder. "Campanile" is a guitar duet dating from Philharmonie's very early days, a never-recorded live favorite. If every band's swan song was as good as this, the history of rock music would be a lot more interesting. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

The French group Philharmonie originally consisted of electric guitarists Laurent Chalef, Bernard Ros and Frederic L'Eple, who together play complex, improvisational music. Self-taught guitarist Laurent Chalef has a background in jazz and fusion. At age 18 he established an acoustic guitar duo in which he worked as a composer and studied improvisation. Bernard Ros is grounded in rock, and has worked on composition and improvisation. On Philharmonie's 1994 Cuneiform release, Nord (North), he plays...
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