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SBB - Behind the Iron Curtain CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.45 | 10 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Solidarity

The title of this live DVD set is not intended to imply that the members of this talented Polish band have been unaware of developments in their own country in recent years. Rather, it is simply a variation on the title of their current album "Iron Curtain". Recorded in Katowice, Poland in February 2009, this set consists of about 50% songs from the new album, and 50% songs which have already become regulars in the band's live set.

Apart from the tracks taken from "Iron curtain", pretty much all the tracks here also featured on the fine 2007 DVD "Four decades". New pieces such as the opening "Defilada" and "Camelele" sit well alongside more familiar works like "Odlot" and "Zywiec Mountain melody" from the band's earliest days.

The now settled line up of Skrzek, Apolstolis and Nemeth complete the trio who appear on stage, yet once again they succeed in creating a sound which might see other bands needing twice the number of people or more. The overall feel of the gig, which runs for around two hours, will be entirely familiar to fans of the band, with occasional vocal passages interrupting long, often unhurried instrumental passages. While the music could never be described as jazz per se, there is always a significant jazz influence in SBB's compositions. That said, there is as ever an inherent tightness to the performance throughout, which dispels any suggestion of spontaneous improvisation.

Jozef Skrzek offers some lengthy dialogue between tracks, and since both band and audience are in their home country, the conversation is naturally in Polish. It would though have been useful if subtitles in English had been added so that the (hopefully) large international audience for the DVD could have shared his words of wisdom.

The DVD contains a couple of interesting extras, including a promotional video for the new song "Camelele" and a studio documentary. The documentary is really just interviews with the three band members in the studio. Skrzek talks at length about the band's style and motivation, while drummer Gabor Nemeth focuses on how he has settled into the band and how he is able to have a greater influence during recording now. Guitarist Anthimas Apostolis on the other hand is concise in the extreme, his rather downbeat comments reflecting the difficulties of the recording process.

In terms of sound and video quality, the recording of the gig is well up to the standards set of late by Metal Mind. While there is no great excitement to the performance, the band show themselves once again to be musicians of the highest calibre who pride themselves on delivering their music professionally.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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