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After Crying - Struggle For Life (Essential) CD (album) cover

STRUGGLE FOR LIFE (ESSENTIAL)

After Crying

 

Symphonic Prog

4.53 | 34 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A True Masterpiece Symphonic Prog live album!

As I was sitting at the Semarang airport to fly back to my hometown Jakarta last weekend, I purchased a pocket book titled As a Man Thinketh by James Allen from a small bookstore located at the boarding room. It's a matter of habit whenever I read a book I used to play music and because I did not have a luxury of decent stereo set, I opened my LifeDrive PDA and select album from p-tunes software. As I guessed that this book must be a philosophy one, I selected a live album by After Crying "Struggle for Life" which I had been listening to it and liked it very much - that's why I ripped the CD and installed it to my PDA. It was not a wrong choice at all because the pocket book is really great with heavy philosophical content about man and how he can control life and destiny using a single power: thought! Yeah man .. even though I was waiting for my flight I did enjoy the waiting very much because I learned the book content accompanied by great music by After Crying. What a life! Well - don't get me wrong! There is no direct connection between the book and the music but . the nuance where I absorbed the book contents into my mind and my heart was smoothly accompanied by great music of After Crying.

So . let's talk about the music and forget about the book because this is not the right forum doing it, isn't it? I would be very happy to share the book that definitely help shape my life (oh yes, I'm sure) with you. Just drop me an email. I owned this CD (used) quite late already - it was October last year, I think, when a friend of mine offered me with an unbelievable price of US$ 5.50. By the time I owned I only heard the band's music from CDs that I loan from another friend. I did like the CD right away I spun it and since then I repeated the CD at my player. It's a compilation of After Crying live concerts. The opening track "Viaduct" serves as a platforms to embark for further musical ecstasy. At first glance this track reminds me to the music of SAGA with its pulsating keyboard sounds in ambient style. The music builds firmly into a fanfare style with trumpet solo followed by riffs and dynamic drumming with all instruments played together. Looking at this opening track only you might be pretty sure that it's gonna be an awesome live performance presented right here in this live album.

The next track "Radio Rarotonga" is basically a narration using non-English (Hungary?) language which is translated in English as printed in the sleeve note. It basically tells a story on a small island Polynesia - one of the world's largest platinum suppliers. There is little music presented here except some background keyboard, percussion and trumpet at small volume, at the back of narration. However, it's a very interesting one to enjoy - at least for myself. I especially like when the narration says "Radio Rarotonga" . it's cool!

Track 3 "Pilgrim's March" (oh what a coincidence - this is the month of March!) was the first track that blew me away the first time I spun this CD last year. It's basically a medium tempo music featuring guitar solo in instrumental song. The guitar solo is really stunning augmented by tight bassline and dynamic drumming / percussion. When the flute takes the solo, the rhythm section uses powerfully accentuated percussion sounds augmented with excellent bass lines. That's how the instruments are played and I haven't talked abpout how the melody builds up in this song. Yeah, the melody builds up wonderfully throughout the track played intertwiningly by guitar and flute. It's hard to deny how great this track is. I always repeat this track whenever I play this CD.

"Shadow Song" starts with excellent flute and tick tock clicking at the back followed with powerful voice line. This track is heavily influenced by classical music especially the piano work at the background. The piano solo itself indicates the jazzy influenced wonderfully followed with violin solo and later with trumpet solo. Great track. "Burlesque" is more obvious indicates the classical music through stunning piano solo. It reminds me to Keith Emerson's "Honky Tonk Train Blues" even though it's different. The rhythm section of next track "To Black - excerpt II (improVision)" reminds me to the collaborative work of Jon and Vangelis but this time After Crying uses trumpet solo to bring the music into a silent long sustain keyboard work. The later segments of this track reminds me to the music of King Crimson especially Island album.

CONCLUSION (31:32) is an epic that comprises track 7 - 14. It's probably the center of this album because the composition is comprehensive combining the slow opening of "Conclusion" (track 7) which comprises vocal and piano at background. The music flows in crescendo into dynamic one in the vein of Keith Emerson because this track is a tribute to him. I can see the music is really dynamic with frequent style changes. Even though keyboard plays important role, trumpet, guitar and drums also play critical roles. This track also contains silent part with piano solo.

It moves seamlessly to next "Arrival of The Manticore II/1" (the title reminds me to ELP) with dynamic combination of compact keyboard work, tight bass lines and energetic drumming. Wow! It's really great - especially the segments with ELP style but this time guitar plays obvious role. This groundbreaking track is continued with "Cello-Guitar" duet which demonstrate how powerful the band's musicianship here. Other instruments are also given a chance to perform solo including: "Piano Solo", "Drum Solo" and "Trumpet Solo". All of them are played excellently and stunningly. Definitely, you cannot skip this track as it indicates that the band's music is truly great! No exaggeration I apply here with my statement - the music of this album is top notch and it deserves 5 stars rating! I even want to cry when the Cello and Guitar duet take place in this epic. Not that the solo is great but overall - the accompanying music is terrific!. The piano solo is also killing me especially when the basslines sound like using acoustic bass guitar in jazzy style. The drum solo is also amazing. Well, this is definitely a five star-rating music. Top notch!

The last track is a cover of King Crimson song "Starless" where it features John Wetton at vocals and bass guitar. Basically this track is played very similar with the one performed by King Crimson. This is one of my King Crimson favorite tracks and it's performed wonderfully by After Crying and John Wetton. Even the guitar playing is very similar with the one played by Mr. Robert Fripp of King Crimson.

All tracks recorded 24-track analogue except track 15 recorded 24-track digital. This compilation of '99 live recordings and a '97 recording is produced by Zenei Rendezo. What also interesting is the excellent cover artwork designed by Beleznai Kornel, DOT Studio. The mastermind of CAST, Alfonso Vidales, also appears in the credit list at the sleeve note. Dunno what exactly he was doing with respect to this album, but it's great knowing him being thanked by the band.

How should I recommend you after a long review? Of course, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you to purchase this album. It's a true masterpiece of symphonic prog album with great sonic quality. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours, GW

Gatot | 5/5 |

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