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(116:02; Progshine Records)
‘Onward and Upward’ is a live album recorded on the ‘For Those Who Dream. Vol.1’ tour at Club Point, in Moscow, on February 19th 2010, and was released in 2014. It features the whole of the most recent album, as well as plenty more material (total playing time here is nearly two hours – originally released as a triple disc set including a DVD, I have the digital version which doesn’t include that). Although I wasn’t a massive fan of the previous studio album, here it makes so much more sense and feels far more genuine. The band is a quintet, but while drummer Alexander Vetkhov contents himself just with percussion, and singer Sergey Kalugin only provides acoustic guitar, the other musicians all provide multiple instruments. Add to the core band the three guests, and they manage to reproduce their complex sound incredibly well on stage. The crowd really get into proceedings, singing along with the songs, shouting for the band and genuinely having a great time, and it certainly seems as if the band was as well. Russian Cardiacs playing folk metal with no respect for people think that prog music should be like? Maybe? This is music that is so far out of the mainstream that it almost comes back on itself, and I have found that of all their albums this is the one to which I keep returning as there is such a pervading feeling of unity and oneness. Over recent years I have been lucky enough to discover some great bands coming out of Russia, and these guys are certainly one of the very finest and this is a superb album that is well worth investigating.
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