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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Various Artists - Signs of life - A tribute to Pink Floyd - 2000

I will be concise in the critic's preamble. When I knew that there would be a tribute to Pink Floyd coming out soon, I felt quite pleased because a due recognition was given to one of the most criticized bands worldwide in the progressive scene. That happiness turned into anxiety when I found out that this tribute would be a double Cd including 21 bands in it!. In that kind of tributes, sometimes the quality is forgotten due to the number of bands that take part in the project. That’s why and, as a result of for the high number of songs and bands, I will make a quick summary of each track, marking at the end the note - from 0 to 10 - each one. More reviews for the same price. Here I go, then:

Sylvan - "High hopes" (6:08). As a beginning in this tribute, one of the most important bands from Angular Records faces this song from the last Floyd period, adding a more nervous and harder feeling to it instead of the dark melancholy of the original song. The result has a high quality, it doesn’t get into cheap cliches, and also has a great level (7.5)

Cromwell - "Another day of sorrow" (7:11). We maintain those tremendous covers. Cromwell, just like Extreme did in the tribute to Kiss and in the homage concert to Freddie Mercury, mix in a proficient way some of Pink Floyd‘s songs and the final result exceeds both, quality and imagination (7)

Angel Dust - "Run like hell" (5:30). They begin and develop the music very well, a bit tense but respectful to the original track. They end up moving and at the end they seem to give the song a personal touch that destroys the last 40 seconds (6)

Ziff - "Wish you were here" (4:24). Would you believe me if I told you that this version sounds more like "Incommunicado" than anything else?. Lots of scale works in the style of Mark Kelly, instrumental outbreaks, feminine choirs and a lot of imagination.. do you believe me if I tell you that I love it? (7)

Mystery - "Hey you" (4:44) These Canadians don't get into complicated things and they made a correct and very close version of the original song. Maybe, and knowing the international impact of this tribute, they seem to have done a great effort to do it correctly (7)

R.P.W.L. (former Violet District) - "Cymbaline" (11:28). One of the reasons why you have to buy this tribute. Hypnotic, suggesting, with some keyboard and guitar parts that take away your breath and, no doubt about it, the best part of the album (9)

Das Zeichen - "Welcome to the machine" (6:29). This Lacrymosa-like duet made a strange version of this classic by adding loops, electronic elements, an Arab flavor and strange arrangements. For what it could have been, the result is adequate (6)

Vanishing Point - "On the turning away" (5:04). There could never be a worse version of this song even if someone did it on purpose. It sounds like a mixture of Rainbow’s “I surrender” with a TV contest theme. A grandiose song like this one should not have been treated this way (2)

Solar Project - "Pigs (feat. Dogs´n´sheep)" (10:00) If you have listened to any of this German band’s albums, then you must have noticed that, nowadays, this is the band that has assimilated the Floyd legacy at its best. If a band deserved to be part of a tribute to PF it was that one. Not only they don’t disappoint but they even demonstrate who the masters are here (9)

Flying Circus - "Let there be more light" (7:19). A very psycho and mysterious cover of this track with a unique “cigarette of the laugh” scent and some great guitar works (7)

Pendragon - "Schizo (A tribute to Pink Floyd)" (6:58), or “how to be part of a tribute without dirtying your hands”. This song was included in the maxi-Cd As good as gold from the fabulous The masquerade overture. I suppose that after reading in dozens of magazines and e-zines that "Schizo" is a big plagiarism of Pink Floyd's music, Nick Barrett had an obvious choice for the tribute: they only had to add the comment “A tribute to Pink Floyd” and it was ready. The performance, as it is usual with this band, was great; but the ruse is regrettable (6.5)

Grand Cross - "Shine on you crazy diamond" (13:57) Very good cover version, close to the original but with some variations in the way of playing the keyboards and guitars as the song goes on. The vocalist doesn't sing out of tune, even though he tries to sound too similar and depressed as the original dramatic vocals, sometimes it sounds unnatural (7.5)

Pangaea - "Time" (4:55) Very adequate version with excellent guitar parts -the main solo is worth being pointed-. As it always happens with Pangaea, the worst part is still the voice (6.5)

Eternity X - "Comfortably numb" (6:51) When paying tribute to someone, you have two choices: either you make a personalized version -something quite dangerous (see "On the turning away" or "Another brick in the wall") - or, simply, you try to stick to the original version with some minor changes. "Comfortably numb" is one of those songs with which it is dangerous to experiment. Eternity X make a respectful and powerful version (these are really tough guys) and that’s why they accomplished it, given their technique; it is one of the best moments in the whole tribute (7.5)

Tiamat - "When you´re in" (5:48) If there is a band that has assimilated the spirit of Waters, it is Tiamat. Although they have not chosen a track in which Johan Edlun (a man whose depressions would make those of Roger Waters turn pale) can show his neurotic and paranoid side, the result is good (7.5)

Megace - "Dogs of war" (6:24). A band fronted by a girl who sweetens "Dogs of war". The instrumental moments are highly skilled, although when the girl sings I can’t prevent myself from thinking of Texas (6.5)

The Crack of Doom - "Another brick in the wall" (7:12). Cacophony, an infantile, pretentiously dark and pseudo-Gothic-industrial version. The horrible version that was made for the movie The faculty is a masterpiece compared with this thing (1)

The Electric Family - "Careful with that axe, Eugene" (6:35) One of the most famous crescendos in the history of music comes out in a great way after being performed by these unknown –to me - musicians. They don't get into complicate things and stick to the original song (6)

Liquid Vision - "Interstellar Overdrive" (5:48) Fans of the first Floyd will be delighted with this version of a unique psych air. Even though this period of Floyd doesn't touch me, I recognize that this is a very good cover version (7)

Mindala - "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" (10:41) All the psychedelic madness condensed in a hypnotic and suggesting song. Just like the previous track, I recognize the quality, but I don't take drugs, there must have been something missing for me (6)

Fantasy Factory - "One of these days" (7:47) A very personal revision in the content that keeps the whole essence of this great track. Phenomenal guitar work and, especially, on keyboards. (8)

Well, this has been the tribute to Pink Floyd. If you take a calculator and you divide the notes granted by the number of bands the result is 6.54761904761. You will certainly find few critics that are more rigorous that this one, although I must admit that the final result goes down "thanks" to the musical crimes perpetrated by The Crack of Doom and Vanishing Point. It is not bad for a tribute, there are many bands, and they recreate all the periods of Waters, Gilmour and Co.

Alfonso Algora - September 2000
rating - Angular Records

 

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