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Believe - Hope to see another day, Live CD (album) cover





3.85 | 19 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars As the title suggests, this live DVD reprises the debut album by premier league Polish neo prog - or "art rock" as leader-guitarist Mirek Gil seems to prefer - band. I was going to add that this at times heavy and grungy album proved to be atypical as the band's legacy has expanded over a decade and a half, but in fact all BELIEVE albums have shattered the templates that others may have unimaginatively laid out for them. This was readily apparent on the sophomore release "Yesterday is a Friend", that had been mostly completed at the time of the concert, which featured one of its many sparkling numbers as a preview, "Memories". In addition, the band digs back into the MR GIL catalog, which at the time included only the one album, "Alone", to present a revitalized version of "Beggar".

One of the extras on the DVD is an interview with Mirek Gil and vocalist Tomek Rozycki, which was recorded earlier on concert day, and these two old COLLAGE bandmates talk about how BELIEVE came to be and how they, while a successor to COLLAGE in some obvious respects, are also about the organic development of a unique sound, for which considerable credit is given to Japanese classically trained violinist Satomi. They even express some regret for not exploiting her talents fully on that first album. It is clear from the DVD that Satomi also augments the stage visuals of the band with her contrasting look amidst the middle aged men all about her. Whatever restraint may have been applied in the studio, for whatever reason, she is all over this concert, presaging how much her influence would be brought to bear on "Yesterday is Friend". As a result, this live momento largely eclipses the studio work, particularly on "Don't Tell Me", which segues from tender ballad to one of Gil's most blistering solos while somehow remaining balladic. Both "Memories" and "Beggar" benefit from being outside the at times downbeat atmosphere of the others, and in fact in the interview Rozycki alludes to the upcoming album as having a lighter touch.

The band's stage presence, while appropriately serious for this type of music, seems more delicate and yet paradoxically more ponderous than most of their contemporaries and than the album from which most selections are drawn. The last couple of tracks, particularly "Coming Down", attempt to resurrect audience participation but the exercise is largely futile as it's one of the weaker numbers and it doesn't help that the polite spectators haven't heard it before and aren't sold on the part they are asked to play. It's the type of artificially expanded number that has diminished 63% of live recordings, which is a metric I propose without precision or proof.

An additional bonus is audio of two more superb songs from the next album. Obviously no blank check was involved in the production of the DVD but Metal Mind productions does an admirable job of working within those constraints. This is an intimate live snapshot of a creative group at an early stage, who have probably lived to see many more days than they could have ever imagined.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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