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Änglagård - Buried Alive CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 153 ratings

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3 stars I may be in the minority who feel Änglagård’s post-mortem live album isn’t quite up to the standards of their studio recordings. These guys on a bad day were far better than a great many more successful prog bands of the nineties, but not really on the strength of this recording.

One of the things that has attracted me most to Änglagård’s music is their ability to seamlessly blend each of the musician’s output into a cohesive whole that almost sounds as if the players have one collective brain. I don’t hear that as much here. Partly of course is because this is a live album, and there’s only so much that can be done to mask little imperfections and slight timing or tuning flubs.

But that’s not really the problem here; it’s more that there just doesn’t seem to be the level of engagement that their studio records have. On “Hostsejd” for example, the exquisite timing (including the delays between tempo shifts) seems more rushed in a live setting, with the result of not only shaving a minute and a half off the song but also in leaving an impression of a perfunctory performance instead of one where the band is fully engaged with their audience.

“Jördrok” is a little better on the mood and timing, and this is one of my favorite Änglagård songs anyway so I can appreciate its inclusion on their live album. But the vocals on “Vandringar I Vilsenhet” are a bit strained (and frankly Anna Holmgren sounds just a little bored to me), plus the keyboardist seems to be laboring to keep in synch with the percussion and guitar, which makes for a slightly off- kilter rendition of this ‘Hybris’ epic.

And I don’t know what’s going on with “Kung Bore”, but the complex and impressive keyboard/guitar interplay that comes midway through this song on ‘Hybris’ sounds off here on the live album. I’m not sure if it’s a timing or a tuning issue, but while the studio version is a brilliant case of rendering order from chaos, this version sounds more like herding cats. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the whole second half of the song on this live release just doesn’t work quite right.

This is the easiest Änglagård CD to find, so if it is the only one you can get your hands on then you should, as this is a band with an impressive penchant for drama and complex music (particularly when sticking to what they do best – instrumentals). But I can’t say it ranks with their two studio albums in terms of technical quality or energy. The live version of “Jördrok” is well-recommended, but otherwise I’ll say this is a good, but not great, live recording. Three stars.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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