Since their debut album Ring Of Roses in 1992, I’ve always been a huge fan of Shadowland ’s music. In 1994, Through The Looking Glass appeared and another two years later Mad As A Hatter. Then, unfortunately, the music stopped. So, when I heard that after thirteen years of silence Clive Nolan (vocals, piano), Karl Groom (guitars), Mike Varty (keyboards), Nick Harradence (drums) and Mark Westwood (bass guitar & acoustic guitar) had the intention to make a short tour, I was very pleased as you can imagine. Only former bassist Ian Salmon didn’t participate in this reunion.
Suddenly also a compilation album appeared entitled A Matter Of Perspective, named after the first song on the album Through The Looking Glass. Three’s a charm as the English say, because here’s another surprise: a wonderful live registration recorded during a concert in Katowice in Poland in February this year. From all previous released albums, Shadowland played at least three songs and a brand new track called Edge Of Night as well. This live registration starts with the short acoustic track A Matter Of Perspective and consists furthermore of all the songs you can find on the compilation album. The awesome instrumental The Kruhulick Syndrome, the epic song Hall Of Mirrors, Painting By Numbers and The Waking Hour complete this DVD-concert, ending with their only ‘classical’ song Ring Of Roses.
Unlike his other bands, Clive Nolan is Shadowland’s lead vocalist and I think he’s doing a good job here. That is, if you like his voice; I know that not everybody does. With Mike Varty and Karl Groom Shadowland have two excellent musicians, who often steal the show by playing magnificent solos on keyboards and guitar. My personal favourites are The Hunger, The Whistleblower and Jigsaw, but none of the other songs is disappointing or weak and they all have that typical Shadowland-style. The bonus features offer you more than an hour of additional music: nine songs of the live concert in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. Although the images and the sound quality is less than those from Poland, the songs are again well performed. Besides, you can watch an interview with Clive and Karl and there are biography, discography and photo gallery sections as well.
If you like neo-prog in the vein of Arena, IQ and Pendragon and you want to see and hear a real good live band, than this one will certainly complete your collection.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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