Thork - We-ila

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:32:00

David and Samuel Maurin must be busy guys. Between Thork, Nil, and god knows what other projects, it seems like all of their time is spent making music. And, considering how much music the Maurin brothers and their fellows churn out, it's amazing just how good the music is. Granted, the music is often strange and avant garde, and rarely fits neatly into the progressive rock category, but it is always imaginative and frequently breathtaking. Such is the case with the latest release from Thork, We-ila. (No, I don't know what that means?.)

At the bottom of the back cover is an instruction that hints at the character of We-ila: "File Under DARK FOLK PROGRESSIVE ROCK." Comprised of five lengthy epics and two brief interludes, We-ila makes good on that label while managing to venture into other more familiar progressive territories. Predominant minor keys, dirge-like tempos, operatic elements, medieval melodies, Return To Forever / Al DiMeola-type fusion, hints of post-Gabriel Genesis, and absolute chaos are incorporated into Thork's sound, revealing their influences while reinforcing a strong group identity. The production, writing, and performances are generally excellent, leaving little to quibble over. David Maurin does some of his best work here, hauling out speedy, melodic solos reminiscent of Al DiMeola and Steve Hackett, and brother Samuel's bass is equally impressive, particularly his trademark fretless style. Keyboardist Sebastien Fillion gets his shining moments, too; the piano ostinatos at the close of "L'origine" are sweetly engaging, and the synthesizer solo in "Danse De La Terre" is just as good as anything Sherinian or Rudess is doing these days. Extra kudos, though, must go to drummer Michel LeBeau, who does a fine job of anchoring the songs and never missing a beat in spite of the frequent, abrupt rhythmic shifts throughout of We-ila.

Of course, I do have that one quibble with of We-ila: some of the songs are just too long. There are stretches in "L'origine" and the 21-minute "Ea" where the songs degenerate into seemingly directionless sound, threatening to blow apart and taxing listener interest.

That said, there are some really fine moments on of We-ila. "Delectable Ennui" features an endearing touch of Wind And Wuthering, while "Danse De La Terre" - my favorite cut here - includes a great stretch that races from Rush's "Cygnus X-1" to Genesis' "Watcher of the Skies" to RTF's "Song To The Pharoah Kings," all in less than 5 minutes. Closer "Immanence," though, might just be the best song on We-ila, featuring a bevy of Middle Eastern instruments and an engaging, almost danceable polyrhythmic beat. Very nice, indeed.

At the end of the day, though, We-ila is an acquired taste, so not everyone is going to like it. Maybe I like it so much because I've only discovered French progressive rock in the past three years - thanks mostly to Nil's marvelous Quarante Jours Sur Le Sinai - and have been engrossed exploring my way back through the history. But we're here now, so I'll put it to you this way: If you like your prog-rock challenging, then look up Thork and give We-ila a spin - you won't be disappointed.

L'origine (11:40) / Delectable Ennui (9:07) / Errance -(1:07) / Ea (21:18) / Errances (1:04) / Danse De La Terre (10:48) / Immanence (11:26)

Michel LeBeau - drums
Sebastien Fillion - keyboards, programming
Claire Northey - violin
David Maurin - guitars, flute
Samuel Maurin - basses, Stick, synthesizers, vocals
Sebastien Penel - vocals

Additional musicians:
Antoine Aureche - guitars
Roselyne Berthet - vocals
Renaud Burdin - percussion
Sebastien LaCroix - sitar, dilruba
Stephane LaGarde - tabla
Ian-Elfinn Rosiu - cello

Urdoxa (2000)
We-ila (2004)
Nula Jedan (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: July 25th 2004
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website:
Hits: 927
Language: english


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