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Osiris - 2010 - "Tales of the Divers"

(51:13, Musea Records)


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Set the Sails 5:58
2.  The Deep 2:25
3.  My Enemy and My Friend 1:30
4.  It Is Always Hard to Say Goodbye 6:48
5.  The Lull before the Storm 1:59
6.  The Storm 1:46
7.  The Quiet Horizon 3:40
8.  We Wait 4:47
9.  Homeward Bound Once Again 5:40
10. Waves 2:36
11. Apprehension 1:53
12. Home at Last 3:47

LINEUP:

Mohammed Shafii Ц vocals; flutes; vibes; keyboards; guitars
Mohammed Alsadeqi Ц guitars; keyboards; vocals
Nabil Alsadeqi Ц drums, percussion, vibes; vocals
Khalid Al Mutawa Ц bass, el. & ac. guitars; vocals
Haward Tierra Ц keyboards, piano; vocals
Abdul Razzak Arian Ц keyboards, organ

Prolusion. Based in Bahrain, OSIRIS is one of the few as well as one of the first examples of a progressive rock band of Arabic origin. The ensemble was formed back in 1979, and over the next 12 years it released three studio efforts and one live album. A long hiatus followed, but in 2007 they resurfaced with a new studio effort, "Visions from the Past". "Tales of the Divers" was issued in the spring of 2010 and is the second live effort and sixth release overall by this outfit.

Analysis. "Tales of the Divers" is an album containing quite a few unique features. It is a concept album with a distinctly local-based running narrative and theme, telling the tale of one day in the lives of Bahrain pearl divers. As far as stories go, a far cry away from the science fiction and fantasy motifs usually explored by progressive rock bands with a need to tell a story an album long. The CD is mostly instrumental. The peculiar part is that, a few exceptions aside, the material at hand makes its debut on a live album and it was recorded a quarter of a century ago, when Osiris was at the height of its popularity and activity, but not released until now. But while the circumstances surrounding this disc are somewhat unusual, and the conceptual side of it adds a different perspective to the art of concept albums, it can hardly be said to be unique or innovative. The songs are well made and well performed, the live recordings maintain an acceptable quality, but by and large the music can be described in one word: Camel. It's not so much the fact that Osiris comes across as influenced by the English band, but rather that they at times sound like exact replicas of Camel, which may deter some from enjoying their music. Bass-driven energetic passages with elongated guitar riffs and rich, bouncy synths, as well as lush, atmospheric passages of a symphonic nature are the main features, and both these contrasting stylistic borderlines sound at times even more like Camel than Andy Latimer's band ever did. The second track The Deep and second to last effort Apprehension have more of an Eloy flavor to them for variation, and Arabian-tinged subtle guitar textures enliven the compositions with additional flavoring, but by and large, "Tales of the Divers" comes across as a concept album that sounds like a lost relic from Camel's discography. How much or not people dislike a band with more than an obvious similarity in style to one of the more well known acts in the progressive rock universe is probably the main factor deciding how successful this CD will be, in addition to the overall musical taste of potential buyers of course.

Conclusion. If you are familiar with Osiris from previous recordings and generally find their albums enjoyable, "Tales of the Divers" should be considered a safe purchase. Fans of Camel might also want to add this band and this album to their list of music to explore, as Osiris, a few details aside, explores a stylistic expression that by and large can be described as a carbon copy of that UK act.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 3, 2010
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records
Osiris


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