Exposé Online banner

Hamadryad — Safe in Conformity
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5020, 2005, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01

Safe in Conformity Cover artMontreal-based outfit Hamadryad’s sophomore effort finds them consolidating the gains made with their widely-hailed 2001 debut, Conservation of Mass. The band faced a serious challenge with lead singer Jocelyn Beaulieu’s departure in 2002, though bassist Jean-Francois Desilets’ assumption of those duties hasn’t dampened their creative energies (though I have to wonder how this will translate to the stage). This album is brimming with classic progressive rock vitality and panache, mostly recalling Genesis at their best, though Gentle Giant gets several nods as well, particularly on the heady closer “Omnipresent Umbra.” Guitarist Denis Jalbert chews scenery from start to finish, firing off blistering electric leads and solos one moment, charming the ear with blankets of gentle 12-string the next, and covering metal and alt-rock grunge besides. Almost as good is keyboard player Francis Doucet who is a superb player, though his role is more foundational and his choice of coloration and textures is more derivative. Rounding out the quartet is drummer Yves Jalbert (Denis’ brother) who should perhaps back off the Neal Peart act some, though with such a dynamic instrumental stew it’s better to have an overly-active player than the reverse. I found Desilets’ singing an obstacle to enjoying the album at first, though this passed after successive listenings. Besides, his bass work (not to mention bass pedals) is terrific. While not blazing any new ground, Hamadryad have nonetheless managed to produce a weighty collection of well-crafted and superbly executed prog rock that many Exposé readers will surely enjoy. Recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Hamadryad

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tsunami - Anthem of the Great Wave – Tsunami are a Dutch five piece of guitar, keys, bass and drums and a very obnoxious lead vocalist who doubles on guitar. This guy is your typical quasi-emotional overbearing neo-clone nasal-whining...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues