Album review: THE LAST EMBRACE – The Winding Path

THE LAST EMBRACE - The Winding Path

Longfellow Deeds Records  -  [Release date: 20.04.15]

Is there something in the water in France at present? For years our Gallic brothers have singularly failed to produce any progressive rock of any note, or at least any that registered on my radar.

Now, just like buses, a phalanx of interesting prog bands is showing its hand.

The likes of The Black Noodle Project, Lazuli and Demians have been making waves around the European prog scene and now here are The Last Embrace to surf that wave with their own excellent take on the genre.

In fairness, they have been around for a few years now, having been formed in 1998 – though, like our own Anathema, began their career playing what they describe as ‘atmospheric metal’.

‘The Winding Path’ is the band’s fourth full-length album following ‘Inside’ (2006), ‘Aerial’ (2009) and the all-acoustic ‘Essenta’ from 2013.

I’ve always had a soft-spot for female fronted progressive rock bands – from Julianne Regan and All About Eve right through to the likes of Mostly Autumn (Heather Findlay and Olivia Sparnenn) and Panic Room (Anne-Marie Helder), so imagine my delight when the sleeve notes ascribed the vocals to ‘Sandy’.

This delight rose still further when she cites among her diverse influences the likes of Tori Amos, Lisa Gerrard and Loreena McKennitt.

You can certainly hear those influences but I would push forward Anathema’s Lee Douglas as a touchstone here – in fact, Anathema as a band is a good place to start.

Overall, however, this is just classic progressive rock which rises well above its influences with some astonishing playing.

The guitar work by Olivier, both acoustic and electric, is peerless – as is the keyboard work of Pierre-Henri: all soaring, anthemic swells one minute, delicate soft-touches the next and keeping everyone on their toes with a few ‘devil’s intervals’ thrown in.

And soaring above all this prog loveliness are Sandy’s majestic vocals (unusually for a French band, sung in English) which really are a case of “why, Ambassador, you spoil us”.

Highlights include some outstanding fretwork on ‘Nescience’, the delicate piano then driving rock of the eighteen minute epic ‘The Field Of Minds’ and Sandy’s Amy-Winehouse-alike vocals on ‘White Bird’, though I would push forward the wonderful acoustic riff and delicious vocals of ‘The Fear Of Loss’ as the album’s zenith.

It’s about time France took a seat at European progressive rock’s top table and The Last Embrace have just made a reservation.

Great stuff.  ****

Review by Alan Jones





Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 20 March 2022 at 21:00 GMT (16:00 EST). Josh’s next session is Sunday 22 May.

Check out previous videos here: https://www.facebook.com/getreadytorockradio


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 8 May 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 3 May 2022.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages: getreadytorockradio.com


Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)

Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)



Popular (last 30 days)


This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), ALL POSTS and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply