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Cliffhanger - Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001 CD (album) cover

DUG OUT ALIVE! 1993-2001



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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dutch quartet CLIFFHANGER was an active presence in their local rock scene from their formation in 1993 until their eventual disbandment in 2001. 8 active years saw the foursome release 5 official and 6 unofficial albums, in addition to numerous live performances and one initial break-up prior to the second and final one in 2001. "Dug out Alive" collects most of their unofficial and many of their unreleased live recordings, and was self released in the summer of 2011.

"Dug out Alive" is an impressive production. Almost 10 hours of footage officially released for the first time, giving fans and interested parties alike the opportunity to hear themselves the developments of a band from their infancy to their creative peak, and then briefly revisiting the final, troubled days before the band called it quits. Dedicated fans is the obvious key audience for this massive endeavor, but the sheer quality of the material should make this DVD Audio release to be of interest also to others. Those fond of sophisticated neo progressive rock first and foremost, but also those curious about taking an extensive sonic journey through the life of a band from birth to disbandment.

Report this review (#663680)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Cliffhanger is another little unknown band that plays Neo-prog rock with vintage sounds and similarities with others Neo- prog bands are difficult to pin down, because the dark sound of their music with some strange atmosphere, make them a little bit on the outside of the typical Neo-prog bands. Their sound offers a strange mix, with keyboards up front and a bass that have more space than the guitars and even the vocals. The vocals are fading away sometimes in the mix, which could be a little frustrating. Despite this, the compositions are excellent with long instrumental breaks that show the talent of the keyboard player Dick Heijboer, plenty of beautiful symphonic passages, sometimes reminiscent of Genesis. Some instrumental parts are spacey and are stretch out a lot with songs at over 15 minutes.

This box set present 10 hours of live music with a surprising high quality. In total, there is 8 audio show and a bonus concert video of 47 minutes. The dark booklet with a grave in the name of Cliffhanger, the date of their birth and the date when they died! Those images goes well with some names of their songs ; "Cloudy Sky", "Sinister Memories", "Hopeless" and "Bad Dreams". You get the picture, this band enjoys dark concepts, haunting vocals that could be awkward at times when you can barely hear the lyrics. The bass is also strangely mixed in the whole production, but at least, it's original!

Their last cd "Circle" presents songs that are more straightforward with more vocals and less long development in the songs. My favorite cd is "Not to Be or Not to Be", that you can find on the live cd "Burning Alive". Despite technical issues in the production, the music as a nice atmosphere that you rarely find in the Neo-Prog bands. The bonus DVD has a good sound, the picture is not as good, but it's a rare item to have.

Report this review (#991794)
Posted Thursday, July 4, 2013 | Review Permalink

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