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Haze - 20th Anniversary Show CD (album) cover





4.09 | 3 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Out of the shadows and into the light

After their ten year anniversary, Haze disappeared and nothing was heard from them again in another ten years (with the exception of the compilation In The End: 1978-1988 released in 1993). But the embers kept glowing behind the scenes with the occasional spark in the form of two studio albums by Paul and Chris McMahon under the name of World Turtle in 1994 and 1997 respectively, and one album by Chris and Haze's sound engineer Warren Jacques under the name Von Daniken in 1995. Surprisingly the two McMahon brothers reunited with drummer Paul Chisnell in 1998 for the Haze's 20 year anniversary to perform and record this concert. The result was a live CD released by Cyclops Records in the same year featuring 11 strong tracks. The first 100 copies also came with a second bonus CD featuring the rest of the songs recorded that night. The original CD release was a limited edition and soon sold out, but the album (including the bonus disc) is now available as a double CD-R directly from the band with the original art work.

Even if they had not played together for ten years, they still pulled off a great performance (what mistakes there were has been relegated to the bonus disc). They did not have any new material at this point however since they had been inactive for the past ten years. As such, many of the songs featured here had already been recorded for the 10th Anniversary Show live album (which is also available as a double CD-R directly from the band). But the present album is clearly the better one with a more consistent set of songs and a stronger focus on the progressive side of the band.

On the main disc there are five songs taken from the best of the band's three 80's albums, Cellar Replayed. These are The Night, Seven Stones, Dig Them Mushrooms, In The Light, and Survive, all of which are excellent songs. The ten minute plus rendition of Seven Stones surprisingly features snippets of the organ riff from Uriah Heep's Rainbow Demon! Three tracks are taken from the Stoat & Bottle LP: The Vice, Shadows, and In The Universe, all of which sound better here than they did in their studio versions. From the 1984 debut LP comes Gabadon and The Hum both of which are slightly humorous in nature. The Hum is a great song while Gabadon is good but not more than good. Finally, Mountain is a bluesy hard rocker extended here to over nine minutes. Overall, a great live disc for which I award four stars (though it is not as good as the 30th Anniversary Shows album).

On the bonus disc we get another set of mostly good performances. Of special interest here is the superb The Exiles Song which has never been recorded in the studio and is thus something of a rarity. This version has much better sound than the live version that was featured as a bonus track on the Cellar Replayed CD, but this one is however an extended one which features a medley of Rock classics including Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear The Reaper! I hope they will record this great song in the studio some day. On this disc there are also covers of Strawbs' The Hangman & The Papist and Pink Floyd's Brain Damage/Eclipse. I find it a bit unnecessary for Haze to perform covers as they have so much good material of their own. On the intro to The Red Room the band are not perfectly synchronized but after a while they get it together (this one thus sounded better on the 10th Anniversary Show album). The bonus disc is overall less good than the main disc, but it is still very enjoyable in its own right.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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