After Harmonium's second album Si On Avait Besoin d'une Cinquième Saison, Serge Fiori's group kept on growing. From a three-piece folk-pop outfit, it had now reached the level of a rock band, including a drummer (Denis Farmer), a cast of guest musicians (reedist Libert Subirana taking the place of Pierre Daigneault, guitarist Robert Stanley, a choir including singer/songwriter Richard Séguin and Beau Dommage's Pierre Bertrand) and a full symphonic orchestra lead by Neil Chotem. L'Heptade (from "hepta" -- seven) constitutes the pinnacle of the band's creativity. This song cycle, presented as an initiatory rite, is formed of seven main pieces: "Comme un Fou" (Like a Fool), "Chanson Noire" (Dark Song), "Le Premier Ciel" (The First Sky), "Le Corridor," "Lumières de Vie" (Lights of Life), and "Comme un Sage" (Like a Wise Man). All other tracks are orchestral bits written by Chotem, mostly variations on the songs' themes in order to hold them together. The last piece answers the first, bringing the album to full circle. The transformation of the band is here completed and was so important that founding member Michel Normandeau bailed out (he wrote some of the lyrics and is featured on guitar on one track) in the course of the recording process. While acoustic guitar provided the backbone of the first two albums, its place here remains very limited. Piano, electric piano, synthesizers, drums, woodwinds, and electric guitar constitute the main instrumentation of this highly ambitious project. The music belongs to full-fledged progressive rock, although it never favors virtuosity over relevancy. Melodies have a serene feeling, Fiori's voice often breaks from the emotion carried by the lyrics. Arrangements are lush and impressive without getting too pompous. The album remains a masterpiece of international art rock, but it had less impact in Quebec than the two previous albums, mainly because it was simply out of the reach of some fans.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture