- Audio CD (June 6, 2003)
- Original Release Date: January 1, 1979
- Number of Discs: 1
- ASIN: B00009YP3H
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,102,695 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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ATOLL is one of the most renowned Seventies French Progressive rock bands, if not one of the best. With three albums ("Musiciens-Magiciens" in 1974, "LAraignée-Mal" in 1975 and "Tertio" in 1977) already in their bag, the musicians reached the state of their art with "Rock Puzzle" in 1979. This album presents a music more concise and varied than before, that followed the same orientation as the one taken by ANGE and MONA LISA at the same period. As an exceptional bonus, one could find three previously unreleased tracks with the great John WETTON ! Disappointed by the split-up of UK, the British singer-bassist had seriously thought about joining the band from Metz. He gave them such songs as "Here Comes The Feeling", performed a few months later by ASIA ! A much sought-after collectors item ! The four first ATOLL studio albums are now reissued by the Musea label in Digipack format, reproducing the original vinyl cover.
Top customer reviews
Although there are some nice moments here and there, particularly with the spacey synthesizer pads played on the Eminent and the occasional haunting melody, there is an uneven feel to the album. Evidently, some of the guys in the group were unhappy about the watering down of the prog rock aspects and apparently felt compelled to play more notes to compensate for it. A great example of this is provided by Christian Beya; while a great guitarist (heavily influenced by Steve Howe), he overplays at points - sometimes to the point of distraction. The vocals (in French) are also a bit off at times and sometimes sound strained and ragged.
Although this may not sound very appealing, there are a few tunes that nicely balance the prog and pop aspects and actually work fairly well. The technical abilities of the players are also quite high (sometimes too high) and that can not be denied either. Unfortunately, the lack of a clear musical direction took its toll and this album is ultimately neither here nor there; not quite prog enough or pop enough to satisfy either audience. Indeed, the group would disband after the release of Rock Puzzle, with some of the guys leaving the music business entirely.
This remastered effort by Musea is pretty good and features loads of informative liner notes and good sound quality. The bonus tracks include a few outtakes from the Rock Puzzle sessions and three tunes written in 1981 with none other than John Wetton (King Crimson, U.K. etc). Asia fans may want to take note of the fact that the three bonus tracks include an early version of Here Comes the Feeling, which was recorded with the remaining Atoll members and is easily the finest of the tracks written in 1981 (the other two are not very good).
All in all, this is yet another regrettable example of a fantastic prog rock band succumbing to the mainstream. While I was able to find a few things that I liked about the album, I would only recommend it to hardcore prog freaks and Atoll "completists".