When Knight Area released their debut album The Sun Also Rises in 2004, they couldn't have foreseen that they might grow to one of the best neo-progressive rock bands in The Netherlands. At least, that's what I would call them six years after their impressive debut. The band developed to a strong unit as we could notice on the next two albums Under A New Sign (2007) and Realm Of Shadows (2009). On a live stage these musicians present themselves as real professionals! I can tell you since I witnessed the band several times; the last time during the release party of their latest CD (see review). I ended my review with the words 'Knight Area is one of the best live acts from The Netherlands. If you have a chance to see them, don't miss their excellent stage presentation.' Well, do I have to say more?
I knew that they taped their CD-presentation for a possible release on CD or DVD, but I had almost forgotten this fabulous live show. Then I got the news from drummer Pieter van Hoorn that a live album would be released soon. It was kind of him to send a promotional copy for a review on the website of Background Magazine. It turned out to be a double- CD containing the entire live performance of Realm Of Shadows on the first disc and several classic Knight Area-tracks on the second one. The set list looked very familiar to me; I found out that it was similar to the set the band had performed during the release party of Realm Of Shadows. However, the album credits on the back of the jewel case said: recorded live during Realm Of Shadows Tour 2009.
When I met keyboard player Gerben Klazinga during a progressive rock festival in Helmond (NL) I asked him if this release contained the entire live performance of the CD- presentation. He gave me the same information that later on appeared on the band's website: recorded live September 26, 2009 at Het Kasteel, Alphen aan de Rijn. So I was right after all. Klazinga also told me that this live collection was a private release and not an official album of their record company. Therefore Rising Signs From The Shadows lacks a booklet with live pictures. However, the music is all that matters and after listening to both discs several times, I have to conclude that the music is just top-notch! I won't go into details of all songs because then it would become the same review of the live show that I already reviewed.
Knight Area kept the spirit alive on the day of the performance. Between the songs you hear the announcements in Dutch like the introduction of the musicians during Mortal Brow, the last piece of the regular set with its melodic guitar solo and breathtaking climax. During the band's first live set the musicians must have been nervous, so you expect minor mistakes. However, I didn't hear any at the time and neither on this release, so you can enjoy a band in great shape that deliver an outstanding performance. Therefore this live document is above all a fine souvenir for people who saw them perform.
For those people who never enjoyed one of their concerts these two discs are a good alternative. I hope we someday will enjoy a live-DVD from Knight Area, for that's the only thing we miss from this great band. Rising Signs From The Shadows is highly r ecommended to all people who enjoy the music performed by bands as Pendragon, Arena, Pallas, IQ, Yes and Genesis.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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