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Osiris - Take a Closer Look CD (album) cover





4.03 | 67 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
5 stars One of Bahrain's most popular bands in the 1980s, OSIRIS has undergone something of a renaissance in the last decade or so. First, "Visions from the Past" was notable for accentuating their native roots more than their prior albums, which had offered a mere splash of Arabic accents here and there. Then an archival live release "Tales of the Divers" made the rounds and, while both were ambitious and praiseworthy, they didn't quite ignite the old sparks. Apparently, at some point after "Visions", the band recruited a new and relatively young lead vocalist Ahmed Rawanbakhsh, and eventually issued a live DVD of that lineup which I have not yet seen. Interestingly, that document sports performances of several pieces that had not yet appeared on an OSIRIS studio or live album, which has become something of a peculiarity of the band ever since their inception. This situation is now somewhat rectified by the surprise release of "Take a Closer Look", which is a balm for the pandemic soul.

This is probably more of a straightforward neo/symphonic album than those released during their halcyon days, but what might be lacking in the ethnicity department is more than compensated by their fervor for the prog rock that is as much a part of who they are. Cautiously I want to say that this sounds like it could have appeared after "Myths and Legends", but that would be minimizing the impact of the last 30 years of prog revival. So, while comparisons to CAMEL, ELOY, FM, SAGA and even KANSAS still resonate, I also hear kinship with the grandchildren of that generation like CLEPSYDRA and TEMPUS FUGIT. Mohamed AlSadeqi continues to front with his stirring leads, but the twin keys of Nader Sharif and Khalid Al Shamlan shade "Take a Closer Look" slightly to the symphonic side. That's not to say that they have forgotten to rock out, and I think the vigor of Ahmed Rawanbakhsh contributes mightily in terms of newfound enthusiasm, particularly on briefer punchier numbers like "And it's over".

The album crests just where it should, on the longest tracks, particularly the hook laden but profound title cut, the glorious instrumental "Until we Meet", and the most proggy number "Inner Thoughts", which segues from the suspenseful first movement to a hard rock crescendo culminating in a convincing wail by Rawanbakhsh. About half way through the tempo is more jazzy, angular and thrilling. My only dissatisfaction is that it reminds me of somebody (besides CAMEL) and I can't quite grasp it in waking or in dreams.

If you are already a fan, I can't recommend this enough. If you are a neo or CAMEL fan or would be if both rocked a bit more, I recommend you zoom in here, and then explore their first couple of albums in order. 4.5 stars rounded up because this album's just got it. Bravo!

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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