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Machiavel, named after Niccolò Machiavelli, is a Belgian rock group founded in 1974 and still recording and touring today. Its first few albums are typical of the progressive rock movement while the later albums are harder.
The first years
Machiavel is a Belgian rock group formed in 1976 by Roland De Greef (bass) and Marc Ysaÿe (drums and vocals) then playing with a group called Moby Dick and Jack Roskam (guitar) and Albert Letecheur (keyboard). They released their first eponymous album in 1976 and gained some attention with the song Cheerlessness displaying Marc's high pitch voice and Albert's heady keyboard line.
Jack Roskam was soon replaced by Jean-Paul Devaux and Mario Guccio joined the group as lead vocalist and showman. This new team released Jester in 1977, a wonderful album totally in line with the so-called Eurock production of the time (Genesis, Supertramp). Jester featured very attractive tunes like Moments with very complex and ambitious creations like Rock, Sea and Tree.
The release of Mechanical Moonbeams in 1978 confirmed the group's musical maturity and made them absolute rock-stars in their homeland. The album featured very melodic songs like Rope Dancer or Mary, much harder tunes like Beyond The Silence, complex, typical Eurock songs like The Fifth Season but also some very complex songs like After The Crop which evolves from acoustic-melodic to punk-like via Eurock and pure-rock, all in the same song. The cover was in the same line as Jester but this time in colour.
Urban Games was probably the band's most successful album, though not the best. It attempted to move away from the Eurock style and proposed songs leaning on disco (Dancing Heroes), hard-rock (The Dictators), reggae (over the Hills), Eurock still (City Flowers). The rift between the tastes and ideas of the different members of the group was all too apparent in the group and Albert Letecheur and Jean-Paul Devaux left the group, in full glory, in 1979.
The well titled album New Lines, with Thierry Plas on lead guitar, was released in 1980. The single Fly was an immediate success but the group's next attempt with the album Break Out produced by Derek Laurence in 1981 did not meet success and the group went undercover for a number of years if one excepts the album The Cry of Pleasure in 1987.
The rebirth happened in 1999 with Virtual Sun followed by Welcome to Paradise in 2003 and 2005 in ... 2005. Although live performances have been promoted the band fails to recapture its former glory after such a long absence. In 2010 Thierry Plas left the band because of musical differences and went in search of other projects. A new album 'Eleven' was released featuring new guitarist Christophe Pons.
The musical quality of the new work has been outstanding. It gravitates more to alternative than the earlier progressive styles to appeal to a larger group of listeners.
Members are active in radio and promoting and supporting new acts, especially in the Belgian market, which has become in fact 2 markets due to schisms among the two major linguistic groups in Belgium, which operate separate radio and television systems.
Initial release are in bold. Compilations are in italic. Re-release are not highlighted.
- Machiavel (EMI, 1976, LP Vinyl)
- Jester (EMI, 1977, LP Vinyl)
- Mechanical Moonbeams (EMI, 1978, LP Vinyl)
- Urban Games (EMI, 1979, LP Vinyl)
- New Lines (EMI, 1980, LP Vinyl)
- Break Out (EMI, 1981, LP Vinyl)
- Valentine's Day (EMI, 1982, LP Vinyl)
- The Cry Of Pleasure (INDISC, 1987, LP Vinyl)
- The Best of Machiavel (EMI, 1991, CD)
- Machiavel (EMI, 1993, CD)
- Jester (EMI, 1993, CD)
- Mechanical Moonbeams (EMI, 1993, CD)
- Urban Games (EMI, 1993, CD)
- New Lines (EMI, 1993, CD)
- 20th Anniversary Machiavel - The Very Best Of (EMI, 1996, CD)
- Virtual Sun (CNR Arcade, 1999, CD)
- Machiavel Live (EMI, 1999, CD)
- Break Out (Hans Kuster Music, 2000, CD)
- Original Hits (EMI, 2000, CD)
- Anthology (EMI, 2001, CD)
- Welcome to Paradise (CNR Arcade, 2003, CD)
- The Essential of Machiavel (2003, EMI, CD)
- Mechanical Moonbeams (2005, EMI, CD)
- 2005 (2005, Bang, CD)
- Best of Machiavel (2006, More Than Télémoustique, CD)
- Acoustic (2009, Moonzoo Music, CD)
- Eleven (2011, Moonzoo Music, CD)