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From.uz: Inside Seventh Story (DVD)

Earlier this year I reviewed Seventh Story, From.uz's latest CD and my first exposure to the band. It was one of the best CDs released in 2009 so I had high expectations of the band's latest DVD Inside Seventh Story.

The band formed in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and has quickly made a name for themselves in the world of progressive rock. Their unique mixture of complex progressive rock with elements of fusion and symphonic rock has turned plenty of heads and the new DVD will surely do the same as it is simply outstanding.

The concert was recorded at the Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan, September 19, 2008. The atmosphere is quite intimate and seems like a great place to hold a prog rock show. It all begins with an actor coming onto the stage and turning on a radio. Throughout the performance the actors play a role (there are two of them), often between the songs. Although I am not sure what they are actually trying to accomplish during the show, they do help give the concert a cinematic feel and add to the concert's conceptual nature. The band accurately produces the entire Seventh Story CD and play flawlessly throughout. These guys are perfectionists when it comes to their music and do a tremendous job of recreating the album in a live setting. Although most of the music is instrumental, Vitaly Popeloff does a great job on lead vocals when called upon. When he does sing, the words are shown on a visual backing screen. Sampled voices are used to recreate the spoken word parts from the album and musically the band doesn't miss a beat which is all the more impressive when you consider just how complex the studio versions are. From.uz are an incredibly tight band and no tune demonstrates this more than the twenty plus minute epic "Parallels". The Rush-like rhythms opening this song had me thinking of the Rush classic "Yyz" and the entire band really starts to cook. From.uz returns to these riffs at various times which helps connect the music in a thematic way.

Popeloff's guitar work is one of the concert's main highlights as he gives us riff after delicious riff and can solo with the best of them. Yes he can play fast but can also slow it down and play with incredible feel and emotion, often reminding me of David Gilmour. You can tell he is having a good time as he is quite animated, especially his facial expressions, squeezing every last ounce of emotion out of his guitar. Like Vitaly's guitar, the band can be intense or delicate and it comes across great in a live setting. The ambient/dream-like moments, of which there are many, are crystal clear and the sound quality is excellent. You could probably hear a pin drop - the sound is that clean.

The video footage is also well done and many different camera angles are utilized focusing on all the band members. There are also lots of close-ups so we can actually see what the musicians are playing. Often the video alternates between black and white and colour, which only heightens the drama. Split screens are also used which is a nice touch. My only gripe is the lack of footage of the audience. I would have liked the cameras to have panned the audience more after all, this is a rock show. This is, however, only a small complaint and did not affect my enjoyment of the concert.

The special features section includes some interesting footage of the band setting up for the show (man these guys have a lot of gear) and an interview of the band led by producer Igor Iosis. Although at times a little hard to understand, even with subtitles, there is no doubting this band's passion for the music they create and it is interesting to hear what they have to say.

Overall, this is an excellent DVD and the best I have heard so far in 2010. There are few bands out there today who can match From.uz's sense of melody and musical complexity. Hopefully we will not have to wait too long for new material as From.uz are one of the most exciting bands in progressive rock right now.


Track Listing:
1. Perfect Place
2. Parallels
3. Desert Circle
4. Bell of the Earth
5. Taken
6. Influence of Time
7. Perfect Love

Added: June 7th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1838
Language: english

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From.uz: Inside Seventh Story (DVD)
Posted by Butch Jones, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-07 05:59:29
My Score:

Ever wonder what a Prog-Fusion band from Uzbekistan might sound like? No?Me neither, but the band From.UZ is here for you to find out. Combining big slices of Asian and European influences through high energy Instrumental Rock, Prog Metal, Jazz Fusion and complex ClassicProg Rock, From.UZ make up one quite eclectic outfit.

From.UZ's live DVD, "Inside Seventh Story" is a re-creation of their 2010 released CD, "Seventh Story", that is aconcept piece based around the story of an artistic person, human loneliness andthe attitude of life, told through 7 songs full of mood and tempo changes. Shotin almost HD quality, the DVD looks amazing. Although the DVD DOES come in the PALformat, which a lot of us North American people will have trouble viewing (only my Laptop would even play the DVD), the DVD is worth the effort to check out. "InsideSeventh Story" is staged much like a play, involving actors and audioplayback from the original concept CD that creates a visual landscape that adds mystique and wonder.

Band brain child, Vitaly Popeloff, who handles guitars and providesvocals, is the chief songwriter and spearheads this band's multi-instrumentalplaying members. Popeloff smiles and grins his way along "Inside SeventhStory" and is obviously quite enthralled in his performance. Throughoutthe DVD, band members are seen changing instruments and playing severaldifferent instruments through the entire live performance. The musicianship isreally quite good and it is quite interesting to watch all of the differentinstruments being played. Songs are intense, with both lyrics and instrumentalswith the songs being sung in English. From.UZ reminds me of a Porcupine Tree ormeets King Crimson only happier and more upbeat! I wouldn't call theseguys dark, that's for sure.

From.UZ are a pretty interesting band with quality musicianship and solidProg-Fusion songs. The DVD looks and sounds spectacular and if you are a Progfan, especially of music from European and surrounding countries, then youshould check out From.UZ. They aren't a household name, that's forsure, but there is some good Prog happening here.




From.uz: Inside Seventh Story (DVD)
Posted by Jordan Blum, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-18 10:12:14
My Score:

Hailing from Uzbekistan, FROM.UZ exemplifies how progressive rock has spread across the entire world. Their mixture of jazz fusion/symphonic prog rock is at once familiar and fascinating, and they add a bit of theatrics to the formula on their newest DVD, Inside Seventh Story. It's a fine collection for genre fans.

The group formed in 2004 and has had several line-up changes since. On Inside Seventh Story, the quintet consists of Vitaly Popeloff, Albert Khalmurzaev, Igor Elizov, Ali Izmailov, and Sur'at Kasimov. So far, the band has released three albums: Audio Diplomacy, Overlook, and Seventh Story. This DVD captures the band performing their third album in its entirety (plus a few extras).

After introductory photos of the band and B&W/brown footage of a mysterious man (who appears throughout the film), we see Popeloff sitting alone on stage performing the opening verses of "Perfect Place." Ominous, spacey music adorns the band as they set up. After some syncopated drumming, the group launches into "Parallels," a progressive metal instrumental very similar to Rush's classic, "YYZ." This combination of melodic singing and complex music makes up the majority of Inside Seventh Story.

Allowing atmospheres to permeate, "Desert Circle" begins as a calm showcase for Popeloff to play some Gilmore-esque emotive guitar lines. However, it doesn't take long for some playful acoustic guitar duets (with unique timbres) to evolve into more complex jamming. "Bell of the Earth" illustrates FROM.UZ's brilliant dynamical shifts; xylophone, piano, bells and cello paint a solemn portrait behind Popeloff's robotic voice. It erupts into a dreamy, synthesized majesty that acts as a perfect intermission between the more hectic pieces.

And the fury certainly returns with "Taken." Once again, the band weaves around time signatures and spiderlike riffs, taking the audience on an intense ride. After dancing around key changes, they reach a wonderful crescendo. "Influence of Time" is perhaps even more technical as it mostly follows the same style as the other instrumentals (save for the futuristic break in the middle). By the end, the guitarists are having an impressive duel.

FROM.UZ brings the affair to a wonderfully cohesive conclusion by reprising "Parallels" for a bit before venturing into "Perfect Love." As you may have guessed, it's a direct continuation of "Perfect Place," and with the strike of a gong once Popeloff finishes singing, the performance is over and the audience cheers.

The extras include a photo gallery, some studio rehearsal, almost an hour of backstage footage, and an interesting Christmas interview. The band speaks in their native tongue while subtitles are displayed. Overall, the bonuses are extremely worthwhile, making Inside Seventh Story great value.

Inside Seventh Story is a superb concert film, first and foremost. While there is some video manipulation and odd theatrics (the mysterious man does something odd between each track), the camera stays focused on the band the entire time. What their repertoire lacks in diversity (every instrumental sounds alike) it makes up in passion and concentration. FROM.UZ perform Seventh Story flawlessly, which, coupled with the extras, makes for an exceptional musical document. Inside Seventh Story is the ideal introduction to a rising genre favorite.

From.uz: Inside Seventh Story (DVD)
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-09 17:07:39
My Score:

This is both a live performance video of FromUZ playing their latest album The Seventh Story in its entirety. It is also a full feature disc including a Christmas interview and other features.
The wonderful thing about this video is that it adds to the musical experience from the band's latest album, The Seventh Story. I've already done an extensive review of the album so I will not repeat the review of the individual tracks. The actors on stage add to the performance and help fill in the details of the songs. You get the experience of attending a live FromUZ show, to complete the total experience of this album masterpiece.

The performance begins with that tapping noise at the beginning of the album. You can better understand it's origins from the actors playing out their roles. The band interacts well together and with their audience. You can see the emotion in everyone's faces as each of the best licks and sounds are delivered. You can feel the music more through both the expressions and the subtle and expert way each note is performed and each instrumental transition unfolds before your eyes. The smoke effects add volumes to the environment.

Actors add color to the overall performance. The quality of the recording is exceptional. The lighting fantastic and well planned. The band does a great job of bringing this album to life on stage and transporting you mentally to the stage. Despite being mostly instrumental music, the dynamic sound and great camera work switching between players keeps you well entertained. The filming is brilliant with each performer getting his fair share of the spotlight. You also get to see the degree to which this band uses a multitude of instruments on stage. The guitar techniques are front and center. You are given a view of the show that even a front row veteran may envy. You are completely within the experience. They really took great care to make sure the viewer could see all of the highlights as the album progresses.

Maybe this is what the founders of MTV once envisioned, that bands would release videos of their latest albums, instead of or in addition to the audio CDs. If so, FromUZ is ahead of many bands by playing this great album in its entirety live for their fans. If you already have the CD, it is still worthwhile to purchase this video to see the band in action performing it live. The split screens are cool showing different angles simultaneously.

The planning and preparation on this video is in evidence throughout. The background video effects also add to the experience. Releasing this video after the CD, helped bring back all the memories of listening to the album for the first time again. I won't spoil the end except to say having video really helps to close this album well.

Actually I can think of many bands that should have done this at the time they recorded their now famous albums. Imagine if we had a live video of Abbey Road shot when the band was young and the material new. Imagine Who's Next or Dark Side of the Moon recorded live on video at the time it was made? Is FromUZ's album as epic as those? Only time will tell. But luckily they have had the foresight and technology available to them to record this for the future.

The interview included as an extra feature is very good with many questions answered using English subtitles. The Working Episodes and Backstage sections give the fan a glimpse into the production process. You get to see the human side of the band creating and setting up for a show.

This is easily one of the best videos of the year. Well planned and worth every penny you spend, especially if you are a fan of the band.


From.uz: Inside Seventh Story (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-04 08:19:52
My Score:

Although Uzbekistan's From.uz are fairly early on in their career, it's great to see them releasing this hot live DVD showcasing their most recent album in front of an adoring home town crowd. In a time where big budget live DVD productions are flooding the marking, it's a refreshing turn to watch a low budget yet extremely well produced set such as Inside Seventh Story. Intimate, warm, and inviting are just three words to describe this live DVD.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock the last few years, the band From.uz should be no stranger to any progressive rock fan. Finding their home on 10T records, the band have released a few sizzling albums of progressive rock & fusion that have captivated lovers of the genre. Here, the band run through the tracks from the Seventh Story album, and have perfected them in every way to insure that these songs are even more powerful live. Through it all, it's the stunning guitar work of Vitaly Popeloff & Albert Khalmurzaev's mutli-layered keyboard tapestries that steal the show, driving the band through such standout tracks as "Desert Circle", "Infuence of Time", and "Perfect Place".

So, do yourself a favor, get your hands on a copy of this DVD, pop it in your Blu-ray or DVD player, turn on your flat screen TV, and crank up the home theater sound system. You'll be glad you did!



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