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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Landmarq - Roadskil: Live in the Netherlands

Neo-Progressive Rock band Landmarq have been around since their formation back in 1990. And with various line-up changes, they are for me, brilliant, symphonic, and touching. This is my first time listening to their music and this CD/DVD set of their performance in the Netherlands entitled Roadskill, it shows you that you can close your eyes and imagine yourself being at the performance being blown away at each composition they nail in the history of their music for 25 years.

Now for me, I have a soft-spot for the Neo-Prog genre. Bands such as Marillion (Fish-era), Solstice, Pallas, and Magenta to name a few. And for me, I’ve adore the music of Landmarq since listening to the live album. When you watch and listen to the performance on both CD and DVD, it’s almost that you as a listener, and a watcher, have front-row seats to experience the band at its finest at the De Boerdij on Zoetermeer, Holland back in 2013.

Songs like the breathtaking piece, Personal Universe is an ascending experience as Uwe D’rose’s guitar fly’s into the skies through the essence of Steve Hackett and Mike Varty’s keyboard gives it a melodic and symphonic structure as they head into the resemblance of Genesis’ Wind & Wuthering-era and Derek & The Dominoes Bell Bottom Blues. Tracy Hitchings is smooth and relaxing to follow in the footsteps of Kate Bush and you can imagine the audience being in awe of the song and moved into tears of the piece.

The 14-minute Thunderstruck is a gripping yet jazzier masterpiece. It starts off with the first four minutes with a Yes meets ELP sound with a mid-tempo rhythm thanks to the pummeling drumbeats by Daniel Martin and swirling improvisation by Mike. And then it changes into Bluesy-Jazz sound in the essence almost of a cross between Monk and Nina Simone before Varty goes into Canterbury town for a brief second and then goes back in there in the styles of Caravan, Egg, and Hatfield and the North.

It is an unexpected twist, but it works very well for Mike’s inspirations of the Prog sounds with a big touch. Not to mention the ambient sounds in the forest before Uwe comes back in with his instrument to give the climatic end to a roaring cheer and applause. Landmarq also show their softer side to find hope of survival and those who are in the war or have disappeared to give a signal of a prayer.

The song, Prayer (Coming Home) carries the similarities of ABBA as Tracy’s vocals sparkles beautifully and Mike’s grand piano sound, gives it an emotional beauty and the audiences I can imagine holding their lighters up as Tracy nails it at the right exact moment. And Landmarq have achieved the goal in the Netherlands.

Now for Uwe D’rose, his Guitar playing is brilliant, mesmerizing, and spellbinding. I love what he does as if he is a painter as he chooses the right colors to see where the flow of the brush goes into. And with Entertaining Angels, his improvisations goes into a whole new area in the styles of David Gilmour from the sounds of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell sessions and the essence of Touchstone.

I have to say after listening about two times and watching the DVD, it is perhaps an excellent live performance that they have unleashed this year. And while I’m new to Landmarq’s music, I’m impressed and in awe of what I’ve watched and listened from beginning, middle, and into the very end. This is their crowning fulfillment.

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