(06 July 2002) Par Lindh Project's Live In Iceland (Crimsonic (Sweden) CLCS 107, 2002) was recorded during the band's promotional tour for their last album Veni Vidi Vici (review) by Iceland Radio in November 2001. Clearly complimentary to the band's earlier in-concert double CD Live In America (review), this album presents live versions of selections from their latest studio project and several previously unrecorded tracks.
Fronted by Magdalena Hagberg (vocals, violin and keyboard) and Par Lindh (keyboards), the Live In Iceland lineup also includes William Kopecky (bass), Nisse Bielfeld (drums, vocals) and John Hemransen (guitar). The album is comprised of ten tracks and seems to be more vocally oriented than any of PLP's earlier recordings. Production quality is typical PLP--superb--especially for a live recording. As someone that has seen PLP on stage previously, the ambience of the band's live performance has been perfectly captured.
A brief intro ("Adagio") that welcomes the band onto the stage blends into the almost 15-minute epic "Gradus ad Parnassum" where guitar and piano feud temptuously before the Nisse's small spoken vocal part that precedes the main theme. Magdalena's soaring vocal takes over and alternates with Nisse's 'blown away' sequence. Vast progressive-styled keyboard, electric piano, guitar and drum solos that precede the final vocal and keyboard passages make for a stunning opening track.
The percussive introduction to "Veni Vidi Vici" folds nicely into Par Lindh's lush keyboard themes that follow. Listeners will be attracted to Magdalena's searching vocalise that precedes the first of several major tempo changes within the piece. "Tower Of Thoughts" is superbly performed by the band with Magdalena's lead vocal front-and-center, way up in the mix--with a dramatic multi-dimensional instrumental in the bridge, it is clearly an album standout.
Live In Iceland presents several instrumentals featuring Par's keyboards that make their album debut here. These include unique treatments of the well-known "Montagues & Capulets" (by Prokofiev) and equally familiar "Charleston Rag" (by Eubie Blake) that lead perfectly into the introduction to "The River of Tales," a gentle, brief and classically arranged ballad featuring Magdalena's evocatively soaring vocals accompanied only by Par's piano.
In a sharp contrast, the powerful and percussive rocker "Juxtapoint" follows with Magdalena's lead and Nisse's harmony vocals complimenting the heavy instrumental arrangements. The orchestral "Hymn"--another album standout and personal favourite--features Magdalena's crystalline lead vocal and Par's church organ-style keyboard accompaniment alternating with a dynamic progressive instrumental and second theme before blending into "The Premonition." The track features some of Magdalena's most powerful vocal work and continues to build instrumentally--returning to the second theme of "Hymn"--to the album's climax and conclusion.
A list of progressive rock distributors that stock Live In Iceland is online at the band's website.
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Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, the album captures the atmosphere of the band's on-stage performance and is a must listen!