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(185:00 DVD, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. No Time Inside 2. World Is Round 3. This Bread Is Mine 4. And All the Roads 5. What They Want 6. Lay Down Forever 7. AA 8. Guru 9. New Hands 10. Cut Me Paste Me 11. Poor King of Sun / Return 12. Silence Bonus material: - Interview with Mirek Gil and Karol Wroblewski - Music for One Leg (Documentary) - Friends for Robert, 2011 - Live at Progresja, Warsaw, 2011 Additional material: - Biography - Discography - Photo Gallery LINEUP: Mirek Gil – guitars Karol Wroblewski – vocals Konrad Wantrych – keyboards Przemas Zawadzki – bass Vlodi Tafel – drums Satomi – violin
Prolusion. BELIEVE is a Polish band led by former Collage and Satellite guitarist Mirek Gil. They released their debut back in 2006, and then three more studio efforts, one live album and two live DVD's have seen the light of day. "Seeing Is Believing" is the most recent of these, and was released by Metal Mind in the spring of 2012.
Analysis. Whenever Metal Mind releases a DVD production, you pretty much know what you're going to get: high quality audio capture, high quality images and a well edited concert experience, at least one interview, sometimes supplemented with documentaries and video footage that isn't suited to a standalone release. And for this particular production, all of the additional items are included. Whereas the image and audio quality may arguably not be quite up to par with what I'm used to from this company. Both issues are minor however, and most likely venue specific. The footage containing some of the colored stage lights appears blurry due to the light effects used, while the audio capture of the audience sounds strangely metallic, with what I suspect is an echo effect that gives this slight detail an odd sound. Other than that the concert itself captures a band in fine form. The songs, pulled from their latest three studio efforts, appear to have been subtly altered in mix and arrangements. Dampened instrumentation in general and guitar in particular as far as mix goes, while the arrangements, unless my ears and memory both deceive me, appear to have been altered to give additional space to the individual instruments in certain parts of the compositions. The most notable alteration is that the vocals, due to the mix, are brought very much to the front of the proceedings, which suits this band's style really well I might add. Karol Wroblewski is a talented vocalist with a powerful voice, and as I experienced this concert his performance was a standout one. He's a talented singer and charismatic frontman in one package, the focal point that allows the remaining band members to concentrate on their tasks while he acts as the main crowd pleaser and point of attention. And he's very much aware of this it seems, and uses this attention to draw attention to the other members in the band in a manner that suggests he cares deeply about them too. But while his role is an attention drawing one, Metal Mind has opted to include a great number of individual shots of the remaining band while editing the DVD, and as one witnesses the concert unfold there's a strong feeling of unity about this band. One get the feeling that this is a band with a firm foundation in common understanding and affection, the manner in which looks are exchanged and the various members respond to each other an interesting detail in that respect, which makes for an intriguing concert experience, providing details of interest beyond the mere musical delivery. As far as the music goes, Believe is commonly regarded as a neo-progressive band. As they come across in this concert I would describe them more as a mainstream oriented art rock band than as a neo-progressive outfit as such. The dampened instrumentation and the frequent use of piano rather than keyboards alongside the generally vocals dominated songs within a melody and harmony focused framework the main reasons for this. But this as so much else is a subjective description and opinion. Fans of this band will have a field day going through the extra material. A nice and informative 20 minute long interview with Marek and Karol, a 10 minute documentary about their drummer and how he came to terms with the loss of a football career and a leg to become a drummer, lower quality footage from a memorial concert honoring a legendary Polish journalist and shots from a concert Believe held in Warsaw. Totaling just over 100 minutes, the DVD will please those with an established interest in the band presumably.
Conclusion. With their second live DVD production, Believe have made a good quality one on this occasion. As most such ventures go it will mainly be of interest to their existing fan base, but in this case I suspect that this production is a better introduction to this band than any of their studio CDs too. At least as I experienced this performance, their material came out more intriguing on stage than on CD. In the interview Marek and Karol state that they believe their next album will be their best so far. And based on the strength of the performance documented on this DVD, I suspect that may indeed be the case.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 14, 2012
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