Gentle Art Of Music [Release date: 15 .11.19]
Back in the day, bands such as Pearl Jam recorded all their gigs, pressed the CDs at the venue and flogged them to fans on their way out as a souvenir. A great idea which sadly fell out of vogue.
The good news is that RPWL, one of the finest purveyors of progressive/art rock in Europe, are almost following suit by releasing a studio album (invariably of the highest quality) and following it up, a few months later, with a live recording of said album (invariably of the highest quality) played in its entirety.
OK, so you don’t get the instant gratification of walking home from the gig with the disc in your pocket but what you do get is a first class recording of a fabulous gig that even if you can’t say “I was there”, makes you wish that you had been.
The band’s awesome 2012 album ‘Beyond Man And Time’ was followed up in 2013 by the magnificent ‘A Show Beyond Man And Time’, and their exceptional ‘Wanted’ album from 2014 spawned 2017’s sprawling live epic ‘A New Dawn’.
All garnered five star reviews from me on GRTR!, as did this year’s beast of an album ‘Tales From Outer Space’ – the follow-up to which, ‘Live From Outer Space’ sits alongside the others as a magnificent example of everything that a live show should be.
‘Live From Outer Space’ is a double disc set recorded at all prog fans’ favourite venue in Europe – De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, where every progressive/art rock band worth their salt plays at some point in their careers.
Disc 1 is the full run through of ‘Tales From Outer Space’ in all its brilliance.
A full description of just how good it is can be found by following this link: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/2019/02/album-review-rpwl-tales-from-outer-space/ – but it must be said, the live recording just about edges it due to the sheer immediacy of the sound coupled with superb musicianship of the highest order. And, of course, all without the aid of a safety net.
The highlight of the first set is the same as the album – the twelve minutes of progressive rock nirvana ‘The Light Of The World’ featuring outstanding vocal work from Yogi Lang and a jaw-dropping solo from Kalle Wallner.
Disc 2 is a run through the back catalogue with classic albums such as ‘God Has Failed’, ‘World Through My Eyes’, ‘Experience’ and ‘Beyond Man And Time’ being plundered for their treasures.
Highlights here include the pounding rhythms and world music tropes of ‘Sleep’, Wallner’s Gilmouresque solo on ‘Masters Of War’, the classic rock and anthemic chorus of ‘Roses’ and the wonderful closer ‘Unchain The Earth’ – a track about ridding the world of religion. Suffice to say we’re not going to see RPWL appearing alongside Neal Morse anytime soon…
For rock aficionados this is just exceptional music delivered by a band at the peak of their powers.
For lovers of progressive/art rock it is simply indispensable. *****
Review by Alan Jones
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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