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(75:01; The Cyberiam)
TRACK LIST: 1. Alice in Afterland 9:05 2. The Fall 5:24 3. Nostalgia 8:45 4. The Butterfly Effect 21:19 5. The Historian 8:36 6. My Occupation 11:14 7. Don't Blink 10:38 LINEUP: Keith Semple - vocals, guitars Tommy Murray - drums Frank Lucas - keyboards Brian Kovacs - bass, vocals
Prolusion. US band THE CYBERIAM came out of the Chicago scene a few years back with their debut album "The Cyberiam", a production which brought a lot of instant recognition to the band. Following the one track mini-album "The Butterfly Effect" in 2019 the band released their first live album this year. The CD is called "Forging Nations - Live!" and was self released by the band.
Analysis. The Cyberiam is one of the many newer bands inside the progressive rock universe that showcase quite the skill in mixing and blending elements from different subsets of progressive rock and various details from band from inside as well as outside progressive rock territories. As with most bands described in such a manner, I presume a lot of these features are accidental, guitar tones, riffs, keyboard textures etc. used because they sound good and fit the purposes rather than being implemented because they are planned nods in various directions. There are some details here and there that strikes me as more likely being planned than others though, but for me personally at least these are charming details in the totality of it all. In terms of style this is a band that doesn't really follow too many patterns here, with the material produces so far ranging from atmospheric laden progressive rock via 90's neo-progressive rock and all the way to a more intense version of classic progressive metal. Hence this will be a band for those with a taste in progressive rock that is a tad flexible, and then within the compelling rather than challenging aspects of the progressive rock universe. A key name to drop when describing The Cyberiam will be Dream Theater, as most compositions features details, arrangements and other features with an at times striking similarity to that band. Other possible references would be Pink Floyd, Yes and Rush, and for my sake at least as one off or perhaps a bit more rare associations coming my here are Molly Hatchet, The Cult and Deep Purple. Possibly with a wee bit pf Porcupine Tree looming in the shadows too. The point is that the musical canvas here is expansive, and that for that reason alone this is a band that should have a fairly broad general appeal. As a live band they are a quality unit, that is something this album documents quite nicely. For starters it is nice to hear a band with a strong lead vocalist here, and a singer that pulls it off on stage as well and not just in the recording studio. The band also comes across as a tight unit, and there's really nothing lacking in the performance department here, other than perhaps fine-tuning some details for that gradual improvement a band gets as their amount of gigs are increasing. I did think the mix was a tad rough for the guitar on the opening track, but that is just about the flaw I could find on this album. The energy and potency of what was most likely quite the gig to experience doesn't quite manage the transition to the CD though. That aspect of a live performance is the most difficult to capture too, and in this case this results in performances that are good and pleasant with occasional stronger moments as well as others that are strong and potent and with occasional sections of pure brilliance, at least as far as I'm concerned. As already stated, this is a good and tight band, the album is a good one as well, but still a few degrees shy of classic live albums such as, say, "Exit...Stage Left".
Conclusion. "Forging Nations - Live!" is one of those live albums I suspect you can play again and again, and with just about the same level of impact in 2020 as in 2030. This is a band with music that has a timeless feel to it, and the live performance is strong enough that I can't see it diminish over time either. The end result for me is a good album with strong moments, not quite at the level to make it into history books as a great or brilliant live performance but a good to solid live album it is. A good place to start getting to know this band if you prefer doing so by live albums, and a production all existing fans can consider a safe purchase.
Progmessor: December 2020
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