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(113 min DVD, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Hole in the Sky 2. Breathe In Breathe Out 3. 3 Lights 4. Start the Fire 5. Silenced 6. This Is Not a Prog Song 7. Sleep 8. Opel 9. Waiting for a Smile 10. Trying to Kiss the Sun 11. Wasted Land 12. Roses 13. Biding My Time 14. I Don't Know 15. Extra material LINE UP: Yogi Lang – vocals; keyboards Kalle Wallner – guitars; vocals Chris Postl – bass; vocals Markus Jehle – keyboards Marc Tauriaux – drums
Prolusion. German outfit RPWL was formed in 1997, at first as a Pink Floyd cover band. In 2000 their debut album “God Has Failed” appeared and since then five additional studio releases have been issued, with 2008's “The RPWL Experience” the most recent of those. “The RPWL Live Experience” is the first DVD by this act and was issued by the Polish label Metal Mind Productions in 2009.
Analysis. Pink Floyd seems to have been something of a Nemesis [archetype?] for this German band. Their earliest albums were pretty heavily influenced by the most atmospheric outings of this legendary UK act, to the point that quite a few have accused the band of being unoriginal and lacking their own expression over the years. A topic covered on their latest studio release as well as on this DVD with the track This Is Not a Prog Song, a composition bound to be a concert regular for this outfit for some time. The band seems to love this creation pretty much, and with a wry sense of humor inserts their own takes of other bands’ songs into it, serving the audience inserts like Procking All over the World and Prock You like a Hurricane. This one instance of dark but comic relief suits the set list well, otherwise consisting of a nice blend of their earlier material and quite a few other more recent excursions. The former are mostly space-tinged affairs dominated by long sequences of dreamy guitar and keyboard explorations; while the latter ranges from neo-prog melodic ventures to slightly harsher and darker material lifted from their latest studio release, the compositions on that production dealing with lyrical themes of a more serious nature with appropriate stylistic musical expressions underlining those. Frontman Yogi Lang is an effective midpoint in their live performance. His dark hair and dark clothes combined with carefully planned and executed theatrical mannerisms make me think at times of a guy like Jaz Coleman. Lang is by no means as frantic or dramatic, but his stage presence represents something similar, albeit in a much more laid back and certainly less scary way. In the instrumental parts of the songs Lang leaves the limelight in favor of guitarist Kalle Wagner, whose contributions are such a vital element to the sound of this band, while Lang adds to the keyboard textures of their live sound. With a vocalist and a guitarist sharing the main attention at the concert, this provides for a great deal of variety for the crew assembling the video footage. As usual Metal Mind Records has a lot of cameras going, and with half a dozen or so of those in action there's a lot of footage to be assembled. Lang and Wallner dominate on the footage selected, and as they both are fascinating to watch for very different reasons, this makes for an interesting experience; the different dynamics in the performances of these two certainly being a main point of interest in the proceedings. It's also pretty clear that the whole ensemble had a good time when this video was shot, the band chemistry seemed smooth, and the overall performance didn't leave much to be desired either. And as customary on any Metal Mind concert DVD, the audio recordings are of excellent quality too. A pretty detailed interview with Lang and Wallner and a video clip of the song Breathe In Breathe Out are the main extras on this DVD. The former is more interesting than the latter, providing quite a few intriguing details about the history of this act.
Conclusion. The Polish label Metal Mind has become expert at making high quality concert DVDs, and this performance by German act RPWL shot at their usual location in Katowice, Poland, is no exception. It's an intriguing production with an obvious appeal to fans of this band and a good way for others to get to know what this outfit is all about. Personally I think the overall performance lacks just a tiny bit of charm though – I found the band even more interesting when seeing them live in the US in 2008 and don't find this performance to be as good. Hence a notch off the top marks for this outing!
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 17, 2009
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