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Tarcisio Moura
4 stars When I heard that Bahrain´s neo prog act Osiris was releasing a live album I thought it would be a new recording consisting of recent shows or something like it, but that´s not the case with Tales Of The Divers - Live. When I contact the band through mail Osiris newest recruit kindly wrote me explaining that this CD is actually a live recording of a group´s performance in the 80´s (he wasn´t sure exactly when) and it compromised of only original material that never made it to the studio albums. The record is dedicated to their former bassist Khalid Al Mutawa who passed away recently.

When I put the CD on I was surprised how well produced it sounded considering of course its age and the fact that their home country is not really one you readly think of progressive rock. The music inside is quite close to their last studio offering, Visions From The Past: very good neo prog with a strong Camel influence mixed with some tradtitional eastern music, rhythms and even some arab chant here and there. The main feature is Mohammed Al-Sadeqi´s beautiful guitar lines, much in the vein of Andrew Latimer and Steve Rothery. Like those guys, Al-Sadeqi plays with his heart making his guitar sound like it is singing. Instead of a million notes per minute he is more interested in playing something emotional, beautiful and meaningful.

The band´s two keyboard men line up is another highlight: never overwhelming they come in and out with an esquisite tapestry of sounds that are simply perfect for their style. Nothing overtly complicated, but gorgeous in its simplicity and beauty. The album is mostly instrumental, but when the vocals come in they are also very emotional and fitting. The singer does not have a great voice nor technique, but somehow he makes up for that delivering his message with passion and conviction. There are no fillers, all the songs are connected one with the other making Tales of The Divers sound like a long suite divided in several different parts.

Although adequate, the production is not perfect (you hardly hear the audience at all for exemple) and together with the short the record´s short running time, those are the only flaws I found in the entire CD. Well, maybe 42 minutes of music is enough for some, but actually when I heard the CD it sounded like it was finished in a much shorter period, leaving me longing for more. Well, I heard their next studio work will be out soon and maybe they´ll come up with another strong set of songs as well to satisfy their growing base of fans..

If you´re into neo prog (specially fans of Camel styled neo) this is a must have. Also recommended to anyone who likes melodic progressive music of high quality. Rating: four strong stars. A nice surprise from the past and I´m glad they decided to release it. Another winner from Osiris.

Report this review (#284443)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars After a 2 decade absence, Bahrain's OSIRIS seems to be a going concern again. Not only that, they are showing more flashes of their Arabian roots than we heard during an impressive 3 album run in the 80s. "Tales of the Divers - Live" is actually a concert recording from that decade but it consists of material that never saw a studio release. We were treated to a small portion courtesy of the "Beyond Control-Live" album but here are the tales ostensibly in their entirety.

This is OSIRIS' "Snow Goose" if you will, a story told mostly in music, with only a couple of vocal tracks. However Snow Goose, was based on a well known story and could be appreciated with or without an imaginary film to act as soundtrack. "Tales of the Divers" seems to be a soundtrack in search of a film. As with such recordings, many tracks seem unfinished, and do not feel completed by what follows, because "scenes" change as abruptly as the music, and we are missing the scenes. Traditional instrumentation and chanting here and there color the proceedings but don't always link well to the modern sounds.

Whining aside, a fair number of these tracks can be plucked out of their context and sound significant, at times in a heartwarming way. One of the best is "The Deep" - MIKE OLDFIELD and ELOY fans take note. We can hear both the former's "Tubular Bells" influence and the latter's exemplary synth work on "Planets". "It's Hard to Say Goodbye" , "We Wait", and "Homeward Bound Once Again" are keyboard dominated pieces with strong melodies and enough fluid guitar soloing and accompaniment by Mohammed Al-Sadeqi to keep most symphonic and neo fans happy.

If you plan to dive into the waters of Bahraini progressive rock, know that there are some pearls on this release, although I still recommend their self titled debut, "Myths and Legends" and "Beyond Control" as introductions to this eminently likable and listenable group.

Report this review (#288065)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 25 years after it was recorded, fans of Osiris can finally get to experience this concept album.

Recorded when the band were at the height of their popularity, it is an effort that features all the facets this band's stylistic expression served up in a nice package, a sound that most easily can be described as Camel. Lush symphonic textures, mostly bass driven energetic passages with richer multilayered synths and elongated guitar riffs and a slight seasoning of Arabian inspired elements. The latter the main element separating this band from the aforementioned UK band. Some themes does bear a closer resemblance to Eloy in style, but by and large this is a band exploring the same musical universe as Andrew Latimer & company. Osiris do so in style though, and I would think most followers of Camel should find this disc to be of interest as well.

All in all a good but not strikingly innovative production, but with a unique concept explored in a mostly instrumental manner.

Report this review (#291751)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This live album has been stored on some tapes for twenty five years before it was released. The result is a satisfying album.

Osiris is pretty much living and performing in the same street as Genesis/Marillion and Camel. Maybe I should now crack a joke about the camels on the Arabian peninsula, but I leave it like that.

The music on this concept live album, released in memory of a fallen ex Osiris member, is elegant and engaging. It is also clearly rooted in Arabian folk music. I think the music can be described as neo-prog with local Arabian flavors. The main instruments is keyboards and guitars. The vocals is good and the sound is pretty epic.

Although the music is good, it really never takes off and becomes a piece of music that draws the listener in. This album pleases my ears, but never tickles my brain. This despite of some great pieces of music. But it also have some pretty mediocre stuff too. This is a pleasing album, but nothing more.

3 stars

Report this review (#297410)
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Osiris evolved around teh efforts of Al-Sadeqi brothers, a dedicated guitarist and drummer. though they started early in the seventies, they did not manage to produce an album till early 80s. the brothers were exposed to different tastes of music since their childhood and they both mastered their instruments when they were just teenagers, thanks to their father who was very interested in music. Mohammed studies in Europe (or in USA, not sure) during the 70s and I am sure that gave him good opportunity to experience the golden age of rock music and he was mainly interested in Progrock. it has been said by many reviewers that the band's main influence is Camel, to some extent that is tru but still they were successful to forge their own style which was stick to original Progrock ata time when progrock giants like Yes, Genesis and even Camel went"commercial" and mainstream during the 80s when Pop was dominant. This album is a live album from 1985, remastered from a long forgotten demo tape. recorded live at the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain. it is considered as a Progfolk album as it pays much respect to the culture of Bahrain before the oil boom when the main profession was pearl diving. you will find many passages of Poems in Arabic with native musci on the background and the specific type of hand-clapping rhythm which is called in Arabic "Saf- gha". it is a concept album dealing with the adventures of pearl diving and the risks surrounding it mainly drowning. it is a well structured album with many solo instrumentals mainly with guitar and keyboards. the style is similar to Camel, however some songs even resembles Deep Purple (the storm song I found it very similar to Gypsy's Kiss from Perfect Strangers Album) you will also find some touches of Pink Floyd style especially with the acoustic guitar bits here and there. the album is very easy to digest and pleasant to your ear however, it does lack authenticity and uniqueness. I found the beginning of the last song is bit boring as it resembles Irish folk music which does not fit with the whole of the album. the weakest point of the album is the vocals but the band leaders were very aware of this point and thats why it was mainly instrumental one, but I do not think we should blame them for that as Camel themselves did not have a talented vocalist during their career like Peter Gabriel or John Anderson. the best song is It is always hard to say goodbye, it is a masterpiece from the 80s prog scene. this album deserves 3 stars but I gave them 4 stars because of the determination of the brothers Al-Sadeqi to stick to their original music in a country that singing in English is very unpopular let alone a Progrock and in the 80s when Progrock in Europe was something absurd. after all a very good effort and highly recommended album for Camel's fans and those interested in International Progrock like myself.
Report this review (#878364)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | Review Permalink

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