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(188 min DVD, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Game 12:11 2. Turn the Gun Around 7:24 3. Skin Trade 7:40 4. Seems Like Yesterday 6:15 5. Field of Vision: Medley 13:33 6. Round & Round 12:16 7. Too Late 6:47 8. To Say Goodbye 5:07 9. A Kindness 7:48 10. The Letter 9:47 11. From The Cradle 6:21 12. To The Grave 12:13 Bonus material (80 min): 13. Credo behind the scene 14. From the Cradle (Live video, 1999) 15. The Letter (Live video, excerpt 1999) 16. Too Late to Say Goodbye (Live video, 2006) 17. Chequered Past: First Statement (audio only, 1992) 18. A Kindness (audio only, live 1998) 19. Interview with Mike Varty and Mike Colton 20. Band Members profiles 21. Photo Gallery LINEUP: Mark Colton – vocals; percussion Mike Varty – keyboards; b/v Jim Murdoch – bass; b/v Tim Birrell – guitars Martin Meads – drums
Prolusion. CREDO is a UK band with a short discography but a long history and a prolonged dramatic experience. After a literally Chequered Past, they ended up choosing Credo as their moniker in the early ‘90s, sometime after Mark Colton joined the band. Their debut album "Field of Vision" was issued in 1994, and then 11 years went by, more than half of those lost due to vocalist Colton fighting a serious, life-threatening condition, before their sophomore production "Rhetoric" was issued in 2005. "This Is What We Do" is their first ever official video, released on DVD by the Polish label Metal Mind in 2009.
Analysis. Metal Mind has been pretty active when it comes to producing and releasing live DVDs by artists active in various aspects of progressive rock the last few years and has established a pretty professional set-up when it comes to recording, producing and releasing these titles. They seem to have specialized in creating DVDs with artists a bit below the radar, with few or no past video releases. As usual with all DVDs I've come across so far from the label, the technical quality is about as good as one can expect for a title starring an act outside of the mainstream market – the picture quality is good; color balance, picture sharpness and resolution all adequate or better. There's good variety to the live footage taken at Katowice as well, where overhead shots of the stage and audience are mixed effectively with shots of the band and the individual musicians and with some select focus sequences where we get to see the musicians performing on their instruments in detail. The sound quality comes across as very good; as far as I can tell the audio part of this production could be issued as a standalone live CD without much, if any, additional work. For a band with only two studio efforts to their name, the DVD contains surprisingly extensive material. The main event itself, the concert, clocks in at just over 107 minutes. The band performs all the tracks from their second album, a medley from their first album and one new composition, an unnamed track from an album planned for future release. And with 80 or so minutes of bonus material, it's an impressively long release considering the band's discography. As for the concert, the band itself isn't all that inspiring to look at in general. The instrumentalists are pretty stationary and perhaps apart from the drummer none of the guys look even remotely like anything you would expect a rock musician to be like. There's no action as such, no thrills and no frills - the music is the most important thing here, and although not an exciting sight the band are quality live performers. The exception to the above, and also quite literally the big asset of Credo as a live unit, is frontman and vocalist Mark Colton. In the early stages of the concert he seems a bit unsure of the audience and chooses to goof around with his teammates in addition to showcasing an amazing presence - his body language and facial expressions when conveying the strong stories the band's compositions convey are fascinating and moving. This is a guy who seems to pour his heart and soul into his performance from start to finish and it's difficult not to be moved by his performance. And when goofing around on stage with his bandmates, the band comes across as a warm and caring unit, with smiles, looks and actions telling the tale of a band that truly enjoys each other's presence. As the concert moves on, the audience starts to get involved as well, thankfully well documented on the video. And the way that frontman Colton feeds off the audience response is a joy to witness. Not long after the positive audience reaction starts to grow he's got them all in the palm of his hand, and when the show is over Credo is given a standing, jubilant ovation from the crowd at Katowice Theater: Hard to describe in words alone, but certainly worthwhile witnessing. For those unfamiliar with this band, you may want to know something about the music as well. In short, we're dealing with an outfit exploring a style of music pretty similar to Fish-era Marillion. Atmospheric guitars and keyboard layers with references to the symphonic side of vintage art rock is the name of the game, with slightly more versatile guitar explorations than other acts pursuing this style of music. The band specializes in lyrics dealing with real life issues, from the trench warfare of World War 1 to girlfriends with a desire to become active in the porn industry, which may be the one aspect of their output that to some degree separates them from similar artists. They are good at what they do though, but arguably a better live act than a studio act due to the stage presence of Mark Colton first and foremost.
Conclusion. As the first live DVD from this band and in fact their first live release in any format, this production should be highly interesting for any fans of the band, especially as this excursion is of good quality. Having had the good fortune of witnessing Credo live myself, at ROSfest in 2008, I'll have to admit that I have seen the band more entertaining than what's presented here, but as far as performance goes this concert is a better one overall. A recommended purchase for fans and anyone with an interest in becoming more familiar with this act and those intrigued by frontmen with large stage presence should have an interest in this venture too, due to Credo's vocalist Mark Colton.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 15, 2009
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