ANGLAGARD: BURIED ALIVE (1996)
A prog band just ain't a true prog band without an eighty-minute live LP under its belt; and even if Buried Alive was released as an afterthought, with the band already defunct for two years (the actual performance is from 1994's Progfest in Los Angeles), that does not make it any less of a «destiny fulfilled» symbol for the Swedish revivalists.
The track list is unmercifully stern: they reproduce all of Hybris, most of Epilog, and none of the cover tunes from their idols they occasionally allowed themselves to perform live (such as Genesis' 'Musical Box', for instance) — come to think of it, that must have been a wise decision, because the band's singing sucks even worse live than it does in the studio (this particular version of 'Klarhet' features some of the lamest off-key notes I've ever heard on any prog rock record, period), and the sooner the world forgets about Tord Lindman's impersonation of Peter Gabriel, the better. Buried Alive sticks to its own guns, and let it stay that way.
Of course, it also means that, like all traditional prog bands leaning over to the symphonic rather than free-style ideology, the sole point of Buried Alive as an album is to prove that Änglagård's complexity can be and has been reproduced in a live setting with the exact same precision as it showed in the studio. The sound quality, I believe, could be slightly better — volume levels are not always properly adjusted, some instruments sometimes come out muffled, etc. — but overall, the quibbling is minor, so if your CD copy of Hybris ever rots down, rest assured that Buried Alive will still give you the same satisfaction.
On a sidenote, it is hard to refrain from noting that the «Progfest» in question, judging from the volume of the applause, must have been delighting an immense army of music lovers — no less than twenty, I'd say, and perhaps even all of a whoppin' fifty. Considering that, according to publicity descriptions, the LA Progfest draws progressive rock lovers from all over the world, I would guess that, be it «neo-prog», «retro-prog», or «prog-o'-the-prog», all of these new-fangled bands put together still would not match the popularity of a single classic Yes, Genesis, or Jethro Tull album — that most music lovers today would rather relisten to their stiff, preserved copies of Fragiles and Foxtrots than pay money to witness the living, breathing sounds of Echolyn, Anekdoten, and Minimum Vital. Which, as far as I'm concerned, should not make anyone sad — on the contrary, the more it stays this way, the more it helps ensure the status of Fragiles and Foxtrots as the stone cold classics they are, and I, for one, am a hopeless sucker for stone cold classics. And what about Änglagård? They're all right, for about sixty minutes per year.
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