Eskaton - Ardeur. 1980 France

It appears Eskaton was carefully toning down the rougher edges of the debut, and offering a slicker, more contemporary release. As such, veteran Zeuhl listeners will recall other early 80's ventures such as Superfreego and even Foehn in these grooves. Not surprisingly, the most aggressive tracks are the rewrites of two 4 Visions gems: 'Attente' and 'Eskaton'. And 'Dagon' represents Eskaton at their most creative and experimental - a direction that sadly the band never really pursued again. Overall, Ardeur features more synthesizer, Fender Rhodes, and violin with less "thrash" bass guitar, than its predecessor. The angelic voices of the two female leads still shine brightly here. I'm in the minority here, but I feel Ardeur to be the weakest of the Eskaton releases. Weakest being defined as a Gnosis 12 (RYM 4.5 stars) - perhaps underlining what a monster band Eskaton truly was.

The 'Musique Post-Atomique' single is stylistically more similar to the 4 Visions album.

Personal collection
CD: 2003 Soleil Zeuhl

Ardeur was Eskaton's first album to market, but their second recording after the almighty 4 Visions, which was released on cassette a year after this album. It was also my introduction to the band, as I picked up the original LP via Musea's mail order channel in the late 1980s. A very popular request item for a reissue, the CD finally surfaced in 2003 from the excellent Soleil Zeuhl label. The CD features photos, lyrics (with English translations) and adds the rare 'Musique Post-Atomique' single from 1979. I sold the LP when the CD came out. Maybe not the worst decision, but I could have held onto it longer I think.

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