Obscure Progressive Rock: Skryvania

From Prog Archives:

Back in the mid 70s, the almost fully instrumental quartet SKRYVANIA came from the union of a bunch of French teenage prog-heads – still in high school – who wanted to emulate their musical idols: YES, GENESIS, PINK FLOYD. While doing their first gigs as a prog cover band, they started to create their own ideas, and by the end of 1977 they had enough original material to fill a long-play: by that time, original keyboardist Henry-Jean Aubin had been replaced by Harold Bazobka. Their low budget didn’t allow them to have the benefit of a solidly professional recording studio, although a famous local radio presenter and sound engineer was in charge of the production of the band’s sole recording. Maybe this was the factor that helped the resulting record to sound the best it could under these circumstances. The band’s obscure status was very much due to the fact that the album’s promotion was almost inexistent: the foursome’s inexperience led them to focus exclusively on playing gigs without leaving some room for promotion in radio programs or magazines. All in all, the sound quality is not terrible (compared with the demo selection of early CORTE DEI MIRACOLI material in “Dimensione Onirica” or ARACHNOID’s album), and it doesn’t prevent the listener from appreciating the level of compositional inventiveness and solid interaction developed by all four musicians throughout the album’s track list.

SKRYVANIA’s prog style portrays a feel very much related to that of their compatriots PULSAR, as well as Floyd-influenced German bands such as ELOY and NOVALIS: the abundant use of hypnotic keyboard layers (on organ and string synth, mostly) creates that impression. On the other hand, Olivier Marina’s guitar leads sounds very influenced by Andy Latimer and Steve Hackett, albeit with a rougher edge: the importance of the guitar presence makes the band’s overall sound lean closer to MONA LISA and the rockier facet of classic GENESIS. The band is decidedly centered on the symphonic trend of prog, with an added touch of spacey psychedelia.

“Skryvania” is a true collector’s item: highly recommended to resolute symphonic prog lovers who feel capable of appreciating good prog under mediocre sound quality circumstances.

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