Anubis -
Behind Our Eyes (Live 2014)

(CD 2015, 60:35, ANU002)

The tracks:
  1- Partitionists(8:35)
  2- And I Wait For My World To End(4:38)
  3- Dead Trees(7:17)
  4- Hitchhiking To Byzantium(9:34)
  5- Archway Of Tears(6:11)
  6- The Doctor(4:40)
  7- All That Is ...(10:31)
  8- Silent Wandering Ghosts(9:09)

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I expected an album from a German neo prog group, but I must have mixed up something there in my mind (that happens when you have passed a certain age...). As it turns out this Anubis (there was another band with this name in the 1980s, but they were French and made one rather rare LP in 1983) is an Australian six piece and I don't think I ever listened to anything from them before. Anubis celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2014 and this live album is the document of that. Checking my documentation I see that they have so far released three albums 230503 (2009, see review), A Tower Of Silence (2011, see review) and Hitchhiking To Byzantium (2014, see review) all of which have been reviewed by our main editor before to the highest praise.

I'm sorry to reveal now already that Behind Our Eyes won't get a similar rating from me. Anubis play a kind of modern prog that draws on neo progressive rock from the 1990s, a bit of prog metal, Pink Floyd and art-prog bands like Muse. This sounds very well on paper, and indeed it does also on CD, but over the entire playing time of this disc (and it really isn't that long) I quickly lose attention and I sense a general flatness' to the music, which may be due to the fact that it's a live album and probably they benefit more from the sound they can get from a studio recording.

There's a Floydy start to the CD with soaring guitar that bodes well, but quickly the band launches in their melodic prog rock sound that is objectively good, but for my personal taste lacks dynamics and real highlights. Don't take this wrong way: the execution is really good, the song writing is fine, even the singer is okay, but somehow the first half of the album passes me by without sticking, not even after repeat listening. Things change slightly by the fifth track. I find the melancholic Archway Of Tears one of the best pieces thanks to the fine use of keyboards (organ and Mellotron-like sounds) even though the somewhat nagging lead vocals take away some of the fun. This track is followed by The Doctor which rather reminds me of Muse, thanks to the guitar and the vocals of Robert James Moulding that are quite like Matthew Bellamy's. And actually, the melody-line also sounds like something they borrowed from Muse ... The over 10 minute long All That Is... is another one of the better pieces (and wisely kept for the end of the set) with Mellotron sounds opening, some threatening riffs, a driving organ and decent variation between heavier and more atmospheric parts. The final song Silent Wandering Ghost takes us back to melancholic Floyd-like moods and soaring Gilmour-esque guitar carrying away the final part of the song. It's moments and outbursts like these that I have been missing in other places on the CD. And I definitely would like to hear more in this line, even though it's not really original, of course ...

For me, this was a good introduction to the band. Now I have to get me one of the studio albums and compare the sound of these to the live CD and see if I become a fan after all.

***+ Carsten Busch (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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