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After Crying - Live CD (album) cover


After Crying


Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 19 ratings

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4 stars Most prog fans have heard of Hungarian symphonic masters After Crying, as they were part of the pioneering renaissance back in 1992 when all looked dim and dark for progressive rock music. Original, you bet, with liberal doses of classical orchestrations (trumpet, cello, flute) , with equal doses of ELP- like keyboard driven pieces and King Crimson brooding adventurism. Ever since those early years, they kept perfecting their craft with each subsequent album different or even better than the next, always exploring new angles on their heady musical brew. Leaders, bassist/cellist Péter Pejtsik as well as Trumpet/keyboardist Balázs Winkler have consummately dispensed albums at a steady pace and also had the insight to attend the Baja-Prog event in Mexico, adding to their regular Hungarian dates. One of which was recently recorded for this DVD in one of Budapest's (one of the most beautiful cities in the world) numerous concert halls. I was curious how this somewhat perfectionist group of virtuosos would be able to reproduce their at times complex and even heavily dissonant arrangements in a live setting, as their recordings can be overwhelming. With so much crisscrossing rhythms and instrumental exchanges, I was expecting a watered down version that would expose the flaws of another rock group trying desperately to be classical musicians (we know how few have managed to pull that one off!). But to the utter dismay of my jaw that kept bouncing back off the floor like a crazed yoyo, they actually made it look easy, the little Huns! What a visual extravaganza, I am always amazed at seeing ,in a live setting, music displaying such highly orchestrated, polyrhythmic progressive architecture that seemingly turns on a dime, shifting chords, odd time signatures and I ask my studied musical mind "How do they remember all that, even with charts affixed, the breakneck speed is just incredible!". Watching this concert will blow your incredulous, apathetic and boredom fatigued mind into sheer submission. The sad part is that the enjoyment comes only "after crying" out of jealousy, figuring out how to deal with the shock and only then moving into the surrender of pleasuredom. I guess it's a bit like seeing Henry Cow, Miriodor, Magma, Present and other such prog mega-meisters, who sound awfully weird on record but live just stun into disbelief. The frustrating part is that these buggers are actually enjoying themselves, nary a drop of sweat on their collective brows. Highlights include "Stonehenge" a cello solo that will flip your lid, a dizzying spectacle of absurd virtuosity, Peter caressing his curvy wooden babe. Boy, can she moan though! Needless to say, the other boys in the band are equally up to the task: Ferenc Torma plays guitar like no other, a unique style that is impossible to categorize, fiery yet controlled, all tone and substance with very little dross or blah. Zoltán Lengyel is a masterful piano player with both classical and jazz tendencies. Winkler provides the blare of his dazzling trumpet as if to call the tempo to attention, then coloring with organ and synthesizer flourishes. Drummer Zsolt Mádai can be cymbal coy in the quietest moments and suddenly Carl Palmer-ish when needed. Pejtsik keeps everything grounded with his resounding bass work, when not fiddling with his prized cello. The big surprise is the booming voice of new singer Zoltan Batky- Valentin, who even though looks like a heavy-metal biker microphone wielder, seemingly waltzes through effortlessly this labyrinthine medley of arrangements that stun and mesmerize with a steady and charming voice, singing in Hungarian only adds to the mystique, as the language is less harsh sounding than their Slavic neighbors (Polish can be "sssh-tchhh" on the ears.). A truly exhilarating audio visual experience that will never be accused of being run-of the-mill commercial music. KC, ELP and jazz/experimental fans will enjoy this tremendously. 4.5 Blue Danubes
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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