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Osiris - Beyond Control Live  CD (album) cover





3.47 | 9 ratings

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4 stars A live album recorded with very simple technology and no overdubs serves the purpose: that of conveying the immediacy of the sound of Osiris in a live setting, as well as its members' undeniable competence and team approach. Even if you have their three previous studio recordings, this is worth picking up because of four previously unreleased tracks as well as the aforementioned treat of hearing this band live.

The opening bars of the epic "Medley from Tales of the Divers" are the most Arabic sounding part of the whole effort, but they quickly segue into classic Osiris fare, marked primarily by upbeat lovely melodies divided fairly between keys, guitars and vocals. Of all the classic prog influences, that of Camel is strongest, but if Osiris doesn't quite match Camel for playing and composition, they match Camel's ability at squeezing the maximum out of fairly average vocalists. Interesting that this highlight is referred to as a medley, implying that Tales of the Divers may one day see release as a studio album with longer versions of the different components sampled here. So we hear the medley before we hear its original parts!

Next up is "Reflections", the title track from the 1990 studio album and a version that actually brings out the original intent of the song better than had hitherto been achieved. As I listened to it, I thought this is a class neo prog piece of work - accessible, downplayed, and with vocals that avoid the standard over-emoting of the genre. It just works better in a live setting.

"Until we Meet" is another original, not quite as long as the medley but pretty close. This instrumental particularly showcases the potency of Mohammed Alsadeqi's lead guitar once the synthesizer washes fade into the background. Another very strong live number. It is followed by "Once Upon a Time", where we are returned to the Osiris fixation with the sea. This song is more of a showcase for the twin keys of Nader Sharif and Abdul Razzak Arian, although Alsadeqi leaves his mark in a fine solo.

"Bird of Prey" is the original tune that is strongest song per se, staying with the theme through a lovely symphonic introduction before the vocals deliver an elegant melody, and then back to progress along those lines.

I am struck by the less is more approach to delivery on this live album, and the clarity of each contributor, in spite of the low fidelity recording standards. It underscores how far good songs and playing can take you, just as we know that great production in and of itself gets you nowhere. Osiris probably aren't a group with a master plan, but they seem to have executed much of their career with an instinctive guiding force. This live recording could never have resulted otherwise.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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