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Mangrove: Coming Back to Live

The Dutch progressive rock band Mangrove have three studio albums under their belt, so what better time to release their first live album than now. Coming Back to Live is a 2CD set that shows the band in their best element, live on stage in front of an audience. Playing in a symphonic style that recalls early Genesis, Marillion, and at times King Crimson, Mangrove's music features lush keyboard textures (sampled Mellotron, Hammond, Rhodes, Moog, ARP) courtesy of Chris Jonker, the melodic guitar work and vocals from Roland van der Horst, and the intricate rhythm section of drummer Joost Hagemeijer & bassist Pieter Drost. Overall this is pretty cool stuff, with Jonker's vintage sounds sprinkling each and every song. In most cases, if you are a fan of 70's Genesis, you will love the Peter Banks styled tones and sounds that Jonker drops into these tunes. "Cold World" has some haunting Mellotron, as well as a spirited solo sounding like the classic ARP Soloist, while van der Horst lays down some tasty guitar riffs and Drost digs in deep with some muscular bass grooves. The vocals of van der Horst are very effective on the engaging "Wizard of Tunes", and he delivers some fiery guitar solos, both on his own and in unison with Jonker's keyboards. The finale of this one reminded me of Genesis' "The Knife" and "Return of the Giant Hogweed", complete with heavy guitar riffs and bombastic keyboards.

The second disc contains a couple of mind blowing epics, the first of which is the heavier "Facing the Sunset", where the band goes somewhat into Arena territory with beefier guitar riffs and darker keyboard parts. "I Fear the Day" is a slower, more melodic piece, recalling IQ and Marillion, with plenty of dramatic vocals, moody keyboard textures, and tasty guitar work. The closer "Hidden Dreams" is a more upbeat song, with bubbling bass work, clever drum patterns, and plenty of stabbing guitar and synth melodies. The slightest hint of Yes can be heard on this one in both the musical and vocal arrangements, and Jonker once again manages to paint a wonderfully varied picture with no shortage of vintage sounds.

There's a lot to dig into here, but in the end it's all worth it. If you've heard Mangrove's studio output, this will be a must hear live document to check out next. For those who have yet to dive into the progressive sounds of this solid Dutch band, Coming Back to Live is as good a place to start as any. Mangrove seems to really thrive in a live environment, and with their penchant for injecting their music with loads of 70's styled keyboard sounds like the Mellotron, Hammond, Moog, ARP, Rhodes, etc., this should be a great addition to any prog lovers music collection.

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Zone I
2. Zone III
3. Cold World
4. Wizard Of Tunes
5. Back Again
6. Fatal Sign
7. City Of Darkness
CD 2
1. Facing The Sunset
2. I Fear The Day
3. Hidden Dreams

Added: November 24th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2034
Language: english

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