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Midas: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Concert And Early Rare Tracks

Oddly enough this live album begins with what would appear to be the sound of someone in their lounge at home, putting the needle on a record before the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Concert mentioned in the title seems to fade in halfway through the gig in question.

Midas are fine musicians and their interpretation of neo-prog is well played. With Eigo Utoh's violin they have a weapon that most bands don't have, he also sings and plays guitar, but it is the violin that keeps the songs vibrant throughout. They also have a tremendous keyboard player in Eisho Lynn, who manages to infuse the songs with atmosphere without feeling the need to fill every space in the music, which is a rare skill.

So with all that praise, why the low rating?? Well the problems really are quite varied, as the title suggests what is on offer is a concert show, followed by four rare tracks dating from the bands early years. Whilst the performances on the live numbers are impressive, the whole thing just lacks atmosphere, I know that Japanese crowds are known for their restraint however there's just no audible spark between the band and their audience which leaves things way too cold and lacking in the uplifting spirit that the best live albums leave you with. At no time did I "wish I was there".

Don't get the wrong impression, "The Slough Of Despond" and "Through My Heart" for example, are interesting and varied keyboard led progressive rock with an Eastern twist and a slight folk feel due to the violin. However you never quite feel that you wouldn't be better off with the studio versions of these songs, especially where the vocals are concerned. It would also be fair to suggest that while he is excellent throughout Masaru Henmi's drum solo would have been better off on the cutting room floor.

With the concert clocking in at around the three quarters of an hour mark, the rest of the disc is made up of the Early Rare Tracks alluded to in the title and it is here where the real problems lie. This time it's a whistling kettle and the pouring of a cup of tea that introduces the songs and unfortunately that little novelty addition has a better sound than the rare tracks!

Even taking into account that these tracks were recorded on a tape recorder with one microphone, sonically they are a tough, shrill listen. Their take on "Toccata" offers nothing new and the other three tracks are, to be brutally honest pretty uninspiring and derivative of the genre, which when you consider at what point of the bands evolution they represent is none too surprising.

Musea have also reissued Beyond The Clear Air which is much more representative of the Midas sound and the quality of their song writing. I would strongly recommend that release over this one unless you are already a diehard Midas fan.

Track list:
1. Line (I. Part One/II. Part Two)
2. Drum Solo/Through My Heart
3. The Slough Of Despond
4. On The Earth/Gaillarde
5. La Festa
6. Toccata
7. Illusional Landscape
8. Knights In The Night
9. Views Of My Childhood

Added: August 29th 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Musea Records
Hits: 1679
Language: english

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