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After Crying - Live CD (album) cover


After Crying

Symphonic Prog

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erik neuteboom
4 stars Halfway the Nineties I had my first musical encounter with the unique Hungarian formation After Crying when I got their album De Profundis as a promo CD while working for Dutch progrock paper Background Magazine. To me it still sounds as their most captivating progrock effort since their debut album Overground Music from 1990. A few years ago I witnessed a concert in The Netherlands (only 60 spectators, what a shame!), the lion's share of the tracklist con be found back on this exciting live DVD, taken from a Periferic Music Festival in the Hungarian capital Budapest, late 2004.

After Crying their sound is not very accessible, you have to be up to the blend of classical, prog like Seventies King Crimson and ELP and the frequent explorations in avant-garde and experimental, often captivating but also often complex! The band succeeds to make impression from the very first second: excellent and versatile musicians and varied and captivating compositions, supported by a wonderful light show and a great sound. A few examples of their exciting and alternating music: fiery guitar, Emersonian keyboards and trumpet in Viaduct, a swirling and virtuosic piece feautring two musicians on one keyboard in Burlesque, a dynamic solo on cello in Stonehenge, a Latin-American atmosphere delivering keyboards, trumpet and strong soli on keyboards and guitar in the swinging Life Must Go On, a great duel between cello and guitar in Cello-Guitar Duet, followed by short compositions that contain soli on piano, drums and trumpet. At least half of the track list features the pleasant Hungarian voice of Zoltan Batky-Valentin (via the menu you can subtitle it into English), his vocals fits perfect to the sound of After Crying.

Again, this is not very easy music to experience (for me sometimes a bit too avant-garde and experimental) but in general I was carried away by this After Crying live performance!

Report this review (#125519)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars For fans of After Crying, this is a no-brainer. This is an excellent DVD which captures the band very well, both in their many sublime, delicate moments and also their more powerful, more bombastic passages. The concert is professionally shot, and the video and sound quality are both top-notch. The band plays with supreme confidence and it is evident that they thoroughly enjoy their own music. They cover material from almost all of their albums, thus providing a good cross-section of what they are capable of.

Speaking personally, I've been into the band for the past 10 years and it's just so good to finally see them in a live setting. For those who aren't familiar with After Crying, they are one of the more interesting prog bands of the modern era. There is a strong European classical influence in their music, lending it a dignity and beauty that is rare in rock. But they are also big fans of King Crimson and ELP, which shines through in many of parts of their music. But they are no clones. They are a very original band with their own unique personality and style of playing.

Their music is very eclectic. They can range from twenties ragtime piano duets to cello solos to ambient soundscapes to full-on symphonic work-outs. How many bands can quote "Easy Money" by King Crimson and Ravel's "Bolero" in the one song and make it sound so seamless and good? Their sophistication, refinement and lack of gratuitous showmanship makes them a pleasure to watch.

If I had to compare them to another band, it would have to be Isildurs Bane - albeit warmer and more beautiful. There are also strong hints of King Crimson, ELP and some of the Italian bands of the seventies. Most importantly, there is a genuine sense of mystery in their music, which, for me, is the hallmark of an inspired band. There is nothing generic about them at all. Their music reaches back into ancient times, expressing real depth and beauty.

My rating is 4.5 stars - 5 stars for After Crying fans and 4 stars for prog fans in general. It would make a great addition for any prog collection. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#128070)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Most prog fans have heard of Hungarian symphonic masters After Crying, as they were part of the pioneering renaissance back in 1992 when all looked dim and dark for progressive rock music. Original, you bet, with liberal doses of classical orchestrations (trumpet, cello, flute) , with equal doses of ELP- like keyboard driven pieces and King Crimson brooding adventurism. Ever since those early years, they kept perfecting their craft with each subsequent album different or even better than the next, always exploring new angles on their heady musical brew. Leaders, bassist/cellist Péter Pejtsik as well as Trumpet/keyboardist Balázs Winkler have consummately dispensed albums at a steady pace and also had the insight to attend the Baja-Prog event in Mexico, adding to their regular Hungarian dates. One of which was recently recorded for this DVD in one of Budapest's (one of the most beautiful cities in the world) numerous concert halls. I was curious how this somewhat perfectionist group of virtuosos would be able to reproduce their at times complex and even heavily dissonant arrangements in a live setting, as their recordings can be overwhelming. With so much crisscrossing rhythms and instrumental exchanges, I was expecting a watered down version that would expose the flaws of another rock group trying desperately to be classical musicians (we know how few have managed to pull that one off!). But to the utter dismay of my jaw that kept bouncing back off the floor like a crazed yoyo, they actually made it look easy, the little Huns! What a visual extravaganza, I am always amazed at seeing ,in a live setting, music displaying such highly orchestrated, polyrhythmic progressive architecture that seemingly turns on a dime, shifting chords, odd time signatures and I ask my studied musical mind "How do they remember all that, even with charts affixed, the breakneck speed is just incredible!". Watching this concert will blow your incredulous, apathetic and boredom fatigued mind into sheer submission. The sad part is that the enjoyment comes only "after crying" out of jealousy, figuring out how to deal with the shock and only then moving into the surrender of pleasuredom. I guess it's a bit like seeing Henry Cow, Miriodor, Magma, Present and other such prog mega-meisters, who sound awfully weird on record but live just stun into disbelief. The frustrating part is that these buggers are actually enjoying themselves, nary a drop of sweat on their collective brows. Highlights include "Stonehenge" a cello solo that will flip your lid, a dizzying spectacle of absurd virtuosity, Peter caressing his curvy wooden babe. Boy, can she moan though! Needless to say, the other boys in the band are equally up to the task: Ferenc Torma plays guitar like no other, a unique style that is impossible to categorize, fiery yet controlled, all tone and substance with very little dross or blah. Zoltán Lengyel is a masterful piano player with both classical and jazz tendencies. Winkler provides the blare of his dazzling trumpet as if to call the tempo to attention, then coloring with organ and synthesizer flourishes. Drummer Zsolt Mádai can be cymbal coy in the quietest moments and suddenly Carl Palmer-ish when needed. Pejtsik keeps everything grounded with his resounding bass work, when not fiddling with his prized cello. The big surprise is the booming voice of new singer Zoltan Batky- Valentin, who even though looks like a heavy-metal biker microphone wielder, seemingly waltzes through effortlessly this labyrinthine medley of arrangements that stun and mesmerize with a steady and charming voice, singing in Hungarian only adds to the mystique, as the language is less harsh sounding than their Slavic neighbors (Polish can be "sssh-tchhh" on the ears.). A truly exhilarating audio visual experience that will never be accused of being run-of the-mill commercial music. KC, ELP and jazz/experimental fans will enjoy this tremendously. 4.5 Blue Danubes
Report this review (#172544)
Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was looking forward to watch this DVD for a long time, their first two albums are one of the most inspiring musical records I own, and I have a tremendous respect for the band, especially Vedres Csaba and Peter Pejtsik. Vedres Csaba once said: "My main musical aim is to compose pieces that are modern and up to classical standards yet accessible. I don't believe in the coldness and inhuman nature of the so-called modern music. In my opinion, during the history of music the 'high music' that was over-sophisticated by the musical establishment has gained renewed influence again from initiatives coming from popular music. I consider rock music as being such a possibility in our age. I think that everlasting values can be created by combining the energetic rhythms of rock and the beautiful traditions of classical music." I believe that him together with Peter achieved that in mayor scale; but this DVD shows not only the lack of originality and genuine but an awfull fusion that could best heard from Japonese Fusion bands instead of After Crying. I've got to admit that Ferenc Torma is one of the worst guittarists I've ever heard; trying to sound like Fripp wich isnt accomplished by any means and an off pitch sound that clearly does not get along with the beautifull sound of a Cello on its acoustic form. I have read a interview with Peter Pejtsik on Periferic Records and he said he felt like progresive bands of nowadays mostly "neo-prog" werent progressing at all, he stated that he also does not hear prog that much, I felt the SAME way about this concert it is definitely a REGRESSION than a progression. The pianist lacks any sense of emotion, and the drummer does a nice job but nothing here seems to achieve anything special except for Peter playing and his soloing on "Stonehenge". The DVD production is quite good, the cameras also does a really good job as well. Bands like "Isildurs Bane" and "Solaris" successfuly added electric guitars that does a perfect job, After Crying has NOT succeed in this area at all. The band nowadays offers nothing new, the singer is also a big let Down, nothing that could really relate to Central Europe singers. Theres a lot of talented being wasted in After Crying, I've followed their carreer since the beginning and I've also said "This band is totally underrated" but nowadays I feel it jumped to the other extreme being totally overrated. Balasz Winkler is another pure gold artist that should be more eploided but his trumpet giving a Jazzy Miles Davis is instant killed by the awfull guitars. I like ELP and King Crimson as well but they NEVER tried to be Jazz when they werent and never went classical when they shouldnt, thats why I have noticed that is confusing on AC, one thing is to make something original other is try to mix bananas with onions. There is nothing promissing about the band nowadays except for the arrangments from Peter and some interesting ideas that somehow vanishes as soon as they turn the "fusion" button on and they fall in the category of those lowsy wannabe japonese fusions tribute bands doing neo-classical. Definetely for Fans only.

Report this review (#260246)
Posted Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Review Permalink

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