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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Although released in 2005 , this album is a live record of the 98 tour of the US when promoting their first real new album in quite a while (C.O.D. and Live were not studio albums or full Present album) called Certitudes. This was recorded on the final day of the tour in Baltimore and it sounds as if they got off to a rough start. I have heard much better versions of Delusions before and most notably very recently with a seven member line-up! But this track is also the only one from the new studio album present on this selection. Actually , this is no surprise as the average track selection in concert Present gives even now still resembles closely the ones on this album. I do believe that most of the tracks written in later albums are rather hard to re-play in concert , this explaining that!

Back to the live record, Alone is however much more lively than Delusions. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou and Promenade Au Fond D'Un Canal are concert faves and remain the "Clou Du Spectacle" , and the versions presented here are good! Laundry Blues is the only track that I know that never had a studio version , but it is a typical Present track.

Musically , the drummer situation seemed to have found a solution (they jungled between Kerman , Denis and buddy Pierre Narcisse for a few years) but it looks like US citizen Dave Kerman has the spot even on European tours. This is excellent news because I find Kerman particularly suited for Present. The father-son Trigaux team being at the forefront but succesfully aided buy Pierre Chevalier.

Do not look for anything remotedly new on this album , though!

Report this review (#47762)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you've ever wanted to hear what it sounds like when a chamber-rock group lets their hair down, look for this record. We can note that Present are having a lot of fun (which might be a huge trespass against their gothic credibility) but a little precision is dropped in favour of some rock'n'roll enthusiasm.

Each of the five songs is performed well but not flawlessly, with vocals being the main cause for concern, but elements of each composition can be seen in a new light - this reviewer had never realised how compulsive the latin piano lines in "Delusions" were before hearing this record, and it's a crazy parallel to draw but this version of "Alone" may appeal to fans of Tool. "Laundry Blues" appears to be from live repertoire only and doesn't seem to be represented on any studio releases - the track is typical of Present with no real surprises unless you count the fact that they chose to play it instead of something more recognisable.

"A Great Inhumane Adventure" is a fun set but comes second in importance to their studio recordings. However, I wouldn't say it was only for completionists because of the new slant on the material. Three stars seems right.

Report this review (#109780)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I'm really surprised at how low this album is rated, it's an amazing live document of PRESENT's first tour of the USA in 1998.They spent 5 weeks touring America in support of their "Certitudes" album. I've read accounts from several people who were at this very concert and they all rave about the dark, complex and shifting music, but also about the ominous stage presence that this band has. Most have a problem with Roger's demented vocals but really it's only on the first half of the opening tune that they're a little hard to digest. Cool to listen to the father and son guitar duo weaving their torturous and raw solos throughout. No this is not Fripp and Belew, this is more like Neil Young in a dark basement high on cocaine not knowing when to stop. And I love it. It wouldn't be fair not to mention the great Dave Kerman's drum work nor Chevalier's ever-present piano melodies. And yes the bass is upfont and deep thanks to Mr.Mendes.

"Delusions" is from the "Certitudes" album and Roger's vocals are front and center as he rants rather than sings. Great sound after 3 minutes. The vocals stop around 7 minutes and the rest of this track is pure joy. The piano and drums are relentless as the bass growls. The guitars are incredible especially after 10 minutes. "Alone" is from "C.O.D.Performance" and we get lots of piano with bass and drums. It settles after 1 1/2 minutes and we get reserved vocals before 2 1/2 minutes. It really sounds like mellotron 6 minutes in. It kicks back in before 7 minutes and the guitar is prominant. Huge bass after 8 minutes. Check out the guitar before 9 1/2 minutes. "Le Poison Qui Rend Fou" is the title track from their second album. An interesting rhythm here with abrasive guitar early. They keep up a torrid pace until it settles around 5 minutes. It kicks back in later.

"Laundry Blues" was featured on an earlier live album but is not from a studio record. Piano to open as guitar joins in. Huge bass follows. A good rhythm kicks in after a minute as guitar plays over top. An eerie calm 2 minutes in as spoken words and vocal melodies come in after 4 1/2 minutes. The guitar is back after 7 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. The tempo picks up after 10 1/2 minutes as the guitar makes some noise. "Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal" is from their debut and it's the over 23 minute closer. Drums and bass rumble as guitar and piano come and go. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in with the piano out in front. Angular guitar 4 minutes in then it settles. Vocals before 5 1/2 minutes. Scorching guitar after 7 minutes with heavy drums and bass. Incredible ! This intensity continues for some time. Dual intricate guitars as drums and bass throb heavily before 11 minutes (the crowd cheers). Check out how the sound is building after 17 1/2 minutes. Lots of guitar after 19 minutes as drums,piano and bass support. I can't express how mind blowing this track is. Talk about dark, heavy and complex !

A must for PRESENT fans out there. Easily 4 stars and a valuable recording.

Report this review (#253226)
Posted Friday, November 27, 2009 | Review Permalink

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