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Tracklist: 1. Medley From "Tales of the Drivers" (****) 9:45 2. Reflections*** 5:50 3. Until We Meet (previously unreleased) 7:16 4. Wasted** 8:13 5. Once upon a Time (previously unreleased) 5:36 6. Bird of Prey (previously unreleased) 5:40 7. Lost & Found*** 5:57 8. Fantasy* 5:20 All tracks by Osiris. Recorded live at the Diplomat Hall, Bahrain, in 1991. Line-up (1991): Mohammed Alsadeql - electric guitar; backing vocals Sabah Alsadeql - lead vocals Nabil Alsadeql - drums & percussion Ali Khonji - bass guitar Nader Sharif - piano, keyboards Abdul Razzak Arian - organ, keyboards Osiris discography: 1986 - "Osiris 1" (*) 1988 - "Myths & Legends" (**) 1990 - "Reflections" (***) 1999 (?) / 2002 - "Tales of the Drivers" (****) (will be released on CD soon) 2002 - "Visions From the Past" (will be released soon) Current Line-up: M. Alsadeql - electric guitar; backing vocals N. Alsadeql - drums & percussion A. R. Arian - organ, keyboards Martin Hughes - lead vocals; flute; acoustic guitar Khalid Shamlan - piano, keyboards; backing vocals Hadi Saeed - bass guitar
Prologue. Osiris is probably the only progressive band that came out from an Arabic land. I haven't listened to their music before. However, I've heard of Osiris more than once. Having released three studio albums, apart from this one, the band broke up in 1992 and was active only six years later. Musea Records should release two new studio albums by the band within a year or so.
The Album. Frankly, I didn't expect to hear such a high quality, original, and in many ways, unique Classic Progressive from an Arabian band. (It doesn't much matter that this concert was taped to an ordinary two-track stereo tape recorder. By the way, the sound of this CD is by no means awful.) I read that Osiris play Camel-influenced Neo Art-Rock, which, in fact, doesn't meet the reality. I haven't found any influences in their music. Classic Symphonic Art-Rock during the first half of the 1970s inspires Osiris. However, there are too few contemporary bands of this genre, the music of which would be as rich in their own original ideas as that of Osiris. Here, I generalize, but I feel free to do it. It's because this album contains the compositions that were taken from all of the first three studio albums by the band plus a few of the unreleased tracks. Well, let's get back to a traditional descriptive ProGramme. All eight of the tracks that are featured on "Beyond Control" are of a unified stylistic concept and all of them are brilliant. While Osiris's music is on the whole in the vein of a true, complex and hard-edged, Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, it is also enriched by very specific Arabic motifs. Furthermore, I am sure that if Osiris were playing this very music in the heyday of the glory of Progressive, they would've been one of the most successful bands then. There are five songs and three instrumentals on the album. The songs are Medley From "Tales of the Drivers", Reflections, Once upon a Time, Bird of Prey, and Fantasy (tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, & 8). Martin Hughes's vocals fit very well the music of Osiris. However, the vocal parts cover no more than one third of the length of each of these songs. Until We Meet, Wasted, and Lost & Found (3, 4, & 7) are the instrumental pieces. Structurally, however, the instrumental arrangements remain within the framework of the same, Osiris's very own stylistics, throughout the album. These truly large-scaled, hard-edged and intricate, arrangements are filled with all the possible progressive ingredients, including the frequent and, often, unexpected changes of tempo and mood, and complex time signatures. At the same time, each of the eight compositions that are featured on the album is marked with at least a slight, yet consistent, unique flavor of Arabic music. While precisely half of them, namely Reflections, Once upon a Time, Bird of Prey, and Fantasy (2, 5, 6, & 8), are filled with these flavors from the first to the last note. Overall, the Osiris musicians amazingly interweave Arabic motifs with the European ones to create a truly unique sound.
Summary. With regard to both of the compositional and performing skills, Osiris is undoubtedly one of the best contemporary bands in the camp of Symphonic Progressive. However, this band has also the trump of originality (which is the main trump of any true artist of any genre) in its sleeve. It is also must be said that Osiris are not only the excellent composers and arrangers, but also very virtuosi musicians. Yes, the combination of words "Bahrain" and (a high quality) "Progressive" sounds almost like a miracle. Don't worry: this is not a mirage, though. And don't forget that the studio Osiris albums were also released by the Museum of Muse (or the Muse of Museum, if you will.)
VM. May 6, 2002
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