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Haze - In That Branch Of The Lake (DVD) CD (album) cover

IN THAT BRANCH OF THE LAKE (DVD)

Haze

 

Neo-Prog

3.95 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Portrait

In That Branch Of The Lake is the first concert video release by the British band Haze, filmed and recorded in Italy on the 9th of April 2010. The power trio that is Haze consists of brothers Chris and Paul McMahon and drummer Paul Chisnell. The career-spanning set list played here is somewhat similar to the one that resulted in the excellent 30th Anniversary Shows double live album recorded and released in 2008, but still different enough to make this DVD worthwhile in addition to that live album.

Haze is a great band and this is a very good performance and it clearly would have deserved the best of available recording and production techniques. Unfortunately, however, the quality of this recording is not as high as that of the performance itself. The picture quality is not bad at all (even if the film would probably have benefited from having a few more camera angles to choose from). The sound is however not as good as on the aforementioned live album. The drums in particular are not very well recorded. Still, this is definitely listenable. If you are able to look beyond the technical imperfections, this is a fine product in its own right.

There are aspects of the music of Haze that comes through better in live recording than on their three 80's studio albums and they clearly have fun on stage here. After four songs, the trio is joined on stage by Ceri Ashton. Her flute adds a whole new dimension to the music that is indeed very welcome (as it was on The 30th Anniversary Shows). The heavy presence of flute brings an appealing Prog Folk touch to both the new and several of the old songs. The acoustic side of the band is however not as present here.

All three of the core members provide lead vocals on different songs and together they create a distinctive sound. While Paul McMahon sticks to electric guitar and lead vocals throughout, Chris McMahon alternates between bass, guitar and keyboards (like Geddy Lee in Rush). They pull it off well, but perhaps they would have benefitted from having yet another member (in addition to Ceri Ashton) backing them up in a live setting?

Dragonfly, Over The River, The Barrister And The Bargast, and The Last Battle are all new songs that will appear on the new studio album. Out of these four only The Last Battle was not also featured on the 30th Anniversary Shows. These excellent songs certainly raise my expectations for the new album. If we disregard compilations, re-issues, live albums, and the two World Turtle albums, as well as other musical projects of the three members, it has now been close to 25 years since the release of the latest Haze studio album! The older songs are mostly excellent as well and they are generally improvements over their original studio counterparts. The song I like the least is the rambling Mountain.

The Italian organizer of the tour requested that they play Changes In Time. This heavy epic is apparently a very old song that nonetheless escaped the band's previous official releases. It reminds of early Rush. At first I didn't like it, but it has grown on me since I first heard it on this DVD. The small Italian audience is appreciative but very polite. Unlike the band's British fans, the Italians do not seem to be as familiar with the material. The DVD extras are not very exciting and include only a couple of picture galleries.

Haze should get much more recognition, they are clearly very good songwriters and performers. Despite not being perfect, it does deserve a high rating. But the 30th Anniversary Shows double CD is still the ultimate introduction to Haze, but this DVD is recommended in addition for those (like me) who have never gotten to see the band live in real life.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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