Founded in 2003 by Hugues Lefebvre (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Anthropia creates progressive metal inspired by bands like Symphony X, Megadeth, Pain Of Salvation, Ayreon, Dream Theater, etc. Based in Nice, France, Anthropia first recorded a 5-song demo before becoming a solo project in 2004.
The project ultimately took shape in 2006 with its first album: "The Ereyn Chronicles Part 1: The Journey of Beginnings″, the first installment of a planned trilogy based on the writings of Quentin Borderie. With the help of Damien Rainaud (drums) and a very warm welcome from the press (such as "Album of the Month" in the French issue of Rock Hard magazine in December 2006), Hugo teamed up with Nathalie Olmi (vocals), Yann Mouhad (guitars), and Julien Negro (bass) in order to perform the album live during a series of live concerts.
After releasing its second album, "The Chain Reaction", in 2009, Anthropia again received accolades from the press: "Album of the Month" in the French edition of Rock Hard magazine in April 2009. Mixed by François Merle, guitar player from Manigance, and mastered by Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, …), the album also features Kevin Codfert from Adagio as a guest.
In 2010, Anthropia released their first live album, "Acoustic Reactions", an unplugged performance recorded in an intimate venue. In addition, the show was captured on film and is available on YouTube.
"Non-Euclidean Spaces", an homage to H.P. Lovecraft and his famous Cthulhu Mythos, was released in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The album, which title refers to the impossible and cyclopean architecture that the writer held so dear, revisits themes featured in the universe of his novels and short stories, developing an original scenario of its own. The album features the following guests: Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One) who plays the narrator on the whole album, Pascal Allaigre (lead guitar on "The Snake Den", and Edu Falaschi (Almah, ex-Angra) (vocals on "The Snake Den").
- Hugues "Hugo" Lefebvre - Vocal, Guitars
- Yann Mouhad - Guitars
- Julien Negro - Bass
- JNathalie Olmi - Vocals
- Damien Rainaud - Drums
- Anthropia - Demo, 2004
- The Ereyn Chronicles Part I: The Journey of Beginnings - Studio Album, 2006
- The Chain Reaction - Studio Album, 2009
- JAcoustic Reactions - Live Album, 2010
- Non-Euclidean Spaces - Studio Album, 2015
Album Notes - The Ereyn Chronicles Part 1: The Journey of Beginnings
"I was not a huge fan of fantasy, but I was so truly captivated by Quentin’s story that I wrote music around it." Hugo says. He realized that the only way to capture the many nuances of Quentin Borderie's story was to write and record three separate records to coincide with the exciting episodes that sprang from Borderie’s fertile mind. “With an in-depth story like this, we felt the best way to present the main events of the story was to separate them into three major parts,” Hugo says. “Basically, each song represents a chapter of Quentin’s novel.”
Anthropia’s classical-metal-prog hybrid enraptures the listener in a world of sound, vision, and imagination. In classic prog-rock long-suite fashion, The Journey of Beginnings opens with “Welcome to Ereyn” – a visual-aural overture surveying the entire Ereyn epic. “I really am more of a classical guy than a metal guy,” Hugo admits. “I’m proud of the record: I don’t like filler tracks,” Hugo says. “I prefer a record that is 30 minutes with only five songs, than a 60 minute-CD with filler. Hopefully, I’ve put together a record that listeners will sit an listen to uninterrupted.”
That shouldn't be difficult: The Journey of Beginnings buzzes with flashes of Iron Maiden’s gritty conceptual metal, Dave Mustaine/Megadeth lightning-speed riffing, Dream Theater’s sweeping storytelling, Yngwie Malmsteen’s neo-classical minor-scale mining, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway-era Genesis atmospherics, Kansas’ busy symphonic boogie-rock, classical guitar beauty and flair, and Rush’s dark ‘70s sci-fi/fantasy explorations.
Album Notes - Non-Euclidean Spaces
The album follows the footsteps of Randolph Carter who, in order to retrieve his dreaming faculties which will allow him to travel through time and space, will have to face the Great Old Ones' threat while the stars are starting to align.
The One-Man Band - Hugues "Hugo" Lefebvre
Hugo’s classical guitar playing, a skill he learned through intense study at “école de musique d’Antibes” (a music academy in Antibes, France), is just as important as any character in this fantasy-drama. “I studied classical guitar and theory from age six to nearly 18,” Hugo says. “It wasn’t until I was in high school that I was introduced to bands like Iron Maiden and eventually started listening to Dream Theater and Symphony X. It had a profound effect on me and my music.”
This marriage of classical, prog, and metal is evident in the headbangin’-dreamlike “Through the Sleeping Seaweed”, the infectious “Where the Secrets Lie” (which Hugo describes as “emotional” and “a soft song that holds the listener’s attention”), the soaring recurring melodic themes of “Forgotten”, and the alternately melancholy and rhapsodic closer “The Desert of Jewels” (in which Hugo interprets Antonio Lauro’s Venezuelan Waltz #3 for classical guitar). Hugo truly uses all the means at his disposal for this dynamic, near-perfect prog-metal-pop track. “It was a hard song to compose ‘The Desert of Jewels’,” Hugo says. “I just wanted it to be the perfect fit for the final track of the album. It’s a long song, but I think listeners won’t get bored hearing it."
“It also taps my classical background,” Hugo continues. “I tackle some of my favorite classical pieces in a ‘metal’ way on this record. I like playing the electric guitar. I am captivated by the possibilities the electric guitar presents.”
Aside from a few guest appearances and the steady hands (and blazingly fast double-kick action) of drummer Damien Rainaud, Anthropia is in reality a one-man band led by Hugo. As a solo act, the 24-year-old composer stretches the limits of normal creativity. (That's fitting. The title of the band references, in part, mankind's awareness of its divine origins – its place in the grand scheme – and the beauty and complexity of the universe.) “We used to be a trio, but the other members went on to become computer electronics engineers,” Hugo says. “I guess I wanted to live the musician’s life and just decided to do everything alone under the moniker of Anthropia. While I’d occasionally like the advice of other musicians, I also don’t have to worry about defending my ideas or working hard to protect a decision I’ve made.”
For the Ereyn Chronicles Part I, Hugo spent a year writing his compositions in his home studio on the French Riviera and a month to record them in Harkam Studio near Monaco. “I program the drum machine so that I can record quickly the guitar, bass, vocals, arrangement to have a demo of the music,” Hugo says. “When I record the songs for real, I track the guitars first, because it is the main instrument of Anthropia, and the songs may change a bit from the demo version. (In this way, I am free to change riffs and structure.) Afterwards we record the drums and bass.”
Hugo is hard at work on a second record – a record that is independent, not a continuation, of the Ereyn Chronicles series. “I might do an unrelated record in between each Ereyn Chronicles release,” Hugo says. “I have been listening to quite a bit of the classic prog band like Yes and Genesis lately as well as the Finnish metal band Nightwish. It is turning out to be a mixture of metal and prog.”
Sounds great, but isn’t taking a break from the Ereyn Chronicles a bit risky, Hugo? “I hope not,” Hugo says with a laugh. “I hope it causes some kind of dependency on the storyline, so that people are waiting for the second and even third parts.”
The World of Ereyn: Notes on the Storyline
The fictional universe of Ereyn, ruled by queen Lunne, has sunk into chaos and disarray. The old ways have been forgotten, and the road to redemption – an ancient wisdom that has been buried for ages – is lost. (A situation exacerbated by minions of the dark counterworld Empyr.) With aid, the main character, the young Amryl, must search for the all-knowing oracle in order to save his misguided people. However, he soon becomes a victim of a near-fatal shipwreck and is separated from his search party. His boat is in ruins and so is his life: Amryl suffers from amnesia and can’t remember who he is. Suddenly, an expansive search for truth and knowledge transforms into a mission of self-discovery. "The hero of the story is not a mighty warrior and doesn’t wield a mighty sword," explains Hugo. "He’s young and naïve. He doesn’t know a lot of things about the world, but by the end of that all changes."
Part I ends as our soon-to-be hero thinks his journey and existence are over. What’s in store for him? As if we’re watching an elaborate Saturday-morning-matinee cliffhanger, we’ll have to wait to find out…
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