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Cast — A View of Cast
(Assn.Del Rock Progressivo ARP001, 1996, CD)

Glass Hammer — Live and Revived
(Arion SR-5710, 1997, CD)

Mastermind — Live in Tokyo
(Cyclops CYCLUB 002, 1997, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-10-01

A View of Cast Cover artLive and Revived Cover artLive in Tokyo Cover art

In the last six months or so, four of North America's premier 90s progressive rock bands have released their first live albums, in each case as a strictly limited edition of one thousand copies. We covered Spock's Beard's Official Bootleg in issue #12, while the remaining three are presented here.

Cast's live one was released by Asociacion Del Rock Progressivo in Argentina (a group of stores, publications, and fans in that country who collectively put out the unbelievably lavish Seventh Heaven magazine) and isn't exactly easy to find stateside (although copies should be available now directly from the band). The 70 minutes of material was taken from two live shows in 1995, including the pre-Progfest show at Bansdall Theater. Without the rehash of a description of Cast's style (read the many reviews in the back-issues), this catches the band in great form with a cross section of their best material up to and including the Endless Signs album. Nine tracks in all, 67 minutes, packaged in a beatiful Woodroffe-esque cardboard tri-fold slipcase. If you're a fan of Cast you'll definitely want this gem — find one before they're all gone.

Mastermind's live disc came about as sort of an afterthought of their recent tour of Japan. Cyclops decided to release it in part to help finance the band's tour of Europe that followed, but it's only available by mail-order directly from the band or from Cyclops. Everything here was taken from a single concert on January 23rd at On Air West in Tokyo. The bulk of the material is from the first two albums, including the full 24-minute "Brainstorm" and the ripping instrumentals "On the Wings of Mercury" and "Tidings of Battle." A ten-minute version of "Jubilee" includes an expanded drum solo followed by "Too Much to Ask For," all from the latest album. Anyone who's seen Mastermind live knows what this is like: blistering full throttle balls-to-the-wall rock without any fluff. Same applies here, this one won't last forever.

The odd one here is the Glass Hammer disc. It's live, inasmuch that it was recorded live without overdubs, although it was done in a studio without an audience. And that only accounts for about half the disc. The other half comprises tracks that were recorded for a lost second album that was ultimately scrapped in favor of Perelandra (for the whole story on this see the GH profile in issue #10). The live tracks were recorded around the time of the Progscape '96 performance in Baltimore, and includes "Something's Coming" and "Song of the Dunadan" from the first album, and "Time Marches On" from Perelandra. The lineup includes mainstays DeArqe and Schendel on bass and keyboards respectively (both supplying vocals), plus Michelle Young on keyboards, David Carter on guitars, and Walter Moore on a real live acoustic drum kit. The performances of these three are superb, and in the case of "Dunadan," far superior to the original studio version. Makes one wish there were more than just three live tracks here. The 'lost album' cuts number eight, tend to be more 'song' oriented than the material on Journey, and offer a completely different side of the band's sound. Overall, while this is more varied than either of the other discs reviewed here, this is still one that deserves attention, and is a must-have for all fans of the band.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 13, 1996 releases, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Cast, Glass Hammer, Mastermind, Bill Berends, Michelle Young, Alfonso Vidales


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