The Power Of Two -
Karmakanic & Agents Of Mercy Live USA

(CD 2010, 70:35, Reingold Records RR CD 003)

The tracks:
  1- The Fading Ghost Of Twilight(8:21)
  2- Heroes & Beacons(10:00)
  3- Jesus On The Barricades(6:31)
  4- Where Earth Meets The Sky(14:43)
  5- Do You Tango?(8:39)
  6- Lalles Solo(5:46)
  7- Eternally(10:01)
  8- Afterglow(6:36)

The Power Of Two Website       

This release was certainly not a real surprise for me. During the latest Symforce Festival (see review) in the Netherlands they already told me that they would record performances of their US shows for a possible live album. I was really looking forward to find out if they could capture the spirit of the live show of this special combination as I had witnessed partly September 2009. At the time I did not see the whole performances of Agents Of Mercy and Karmakanic because other bands played at the same time. But I did see the fantastic keyboard solo done by Lalle Larsson which had impressed me a lot. Thank God they included it on this live CD. The solo starts with some wonderful playing on the acoustic piano and is followed by some strong ‘freaking out‘ on his synthesizers. It reminded me of Alaska from UK. This is how a keyboard solo should be played. Bravo! Can I also say “Bravo!” regarding the other tracks which were taken from several recordings made in October 2009.
Three pieces from each band can be enjoyed,  plus a cover from a well known progressive rock band. The first three tracks are taken from Agents Of Mercy’s debut album The Fading Ghost Of Twilight. All songs are performed in the best possible way, but what impressed me the most were the strong drum beats. This time around we wouldn’t find Zoltan Csörsz behind the drums, but instead Nick “Call Me If You Need A Drummer” D’Virgilio. Spock’s Beards’ lead singer had only 6 hours of rehearsal to learn almost three hours of material. Also on the Karmakanic tunes he made a difference and his playing gave the songs so much extra, and more. For instance, Where Earth Meets The Sky starts with an enormous drive thanks to Nick’s strong rhythm. On the same track we can also enjoy another piano solo done by Lalle, plus a short bass solo performed by Jonas Reingold. On Do You Tango? it’s showtime for Nick himself. In the Netherlands we enjoyed Zoltan’s drum extravaganza. His fine playing was not welcomed by some of the visitors at the time. It was too much jazz and fusion for them. Nick’s extravaganza on the drums moves more towards the rock style. I was so captured by it I didn’t make a pit stop for the toilet or get anything to drink. However, when Eternally was performed at the Symforce Festival it got a lot of great reactions. The song about the loss of both parents from Jonas touched a lot of people in the audience. Also, this time lead singer Göran Edman showed all of his emotions as if he was singing about the death of his own mum and dad. Bravo! From the two covers performed at the festival I unfortunately  missed them both because I had to leave early and catch up with some other Swedish musicians. One of those covers is present on this release. A splendid version of Afterglow (Genesis) shows that lead singer Nad Sylvan comes very close to the original voice of Phil Collins. I did find it a bit strange that they were allowed to release this composition by Tony Banks. In the past Mostly Autumn could not release their version of Turn It On from their latest live releases. Too bad that the second cover (The Beatles I am the Walrus) did not make it on this fine live album. I would have loved to hear their version as well. I will finish this review by mentioning that the painting of Nixon and Mao on the cover was done by Roine Stolt himself, which he illustrated very well. I only wonder if he is Nixon or Mao. Oh, and yes, they did capture the spirit of the live performance done in Tilburg last year most certainly.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Paul Watson, pictures by Arthur Haggenburg)

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