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Present - Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) CD (album) cover





4.24 | 138 ratings

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4 stars Present's latest features three extended compositions, one of which is a cover of a Univers Zero track. This album costs a pretty penny, partially because it comes packaged with a DVD of live material, and it might be hard to consider shelling over that much money for what is really just two new compositions.

Let me tell you that you won't feel like you wasted a cent.

The music on this album is absolutely superb. It is my first experience with the Belgian RIO scene but boy did it make me care a lot. From the first ten seconds of the opening track, "Vertiges", I was absolutely captivated and knew that my money had not gone to waste.

The sound of the album is dense, aggressive, dark, dangerous, and at times even a little frightening. This is not a band trying to win you over with catchy hooks or melodies. The music is incredibly well crafted dramatic darkness. The entire band is very talented, and the interplay between the instruments really works well.

I haven't listened to the original version of Jack The Ripper unfortunately (I've only recently begun my journey through the music of Univers Zero, starting with their most recent as well) but the version on this album is definitely an enjoyable listen. Whenever I play it, if my roommate happens to overhear, he always comments that it sounds like I am listening to "Serial Killer Music" (which I have since informed him means the band is probably doing their job right, given the subject matter).

So, musically satisfied from the CD, I moved on to the DVD, and it too was an excellent experience. My favorite clips are the three from their electric concert at RIOFest 2007. Their first track is Jack The Ripper, and it is amazing how well they are able to pull it off live. Each band member seems to get their own personality through the show too. The bassist always makes me think of what Malcolm Reynolds (from Firefly) would be like if he played bass. No idea why, maybe it's the haircut. Pierre Chevalier is like the Lex Luthor of keyboards. Bandleader Roger Trigaux is like the mad scientist of the group. (His presence conducting the last track, Proemanade... is somewhat terrifying). Drummer Dave Kerman just seems like he's having a good time, yet at the same time his skill with the instrument is apparent. And so forth.

There are also some surprising moments on the two tracks that aren't covered on the album - the ghoulish vocals of the Trigaux clan on Ceux d'en Bas really made an impression on me, as did the appearance of Laurent Van Gorp on tube at the end of Promenade... (watch the video, you'll see what I mean).

The other videos are all interesting as well - the grand piano version of Vertiges was pretty different from the album version for example, but still an interesting listen. (I do prefer the live version from the 2006 set though, I like the way it sounds with more instruments).

Ultimately - a great purchase from a great band, I mean if it weren't for the price tag, I'm pretty sure this album would have created a lot more buzz around here by now.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |


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