Sanity - Live At 22
Progressive Rock/Metal
10 songs (58:33)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Ken

I am a huge music fan. I love talking about music, listening to music, playing and recording music; basically, I live music. When I read a review that simply trashes an album it drives me insane! Yes, there are those albums that have zero redeeming value and can’t be given anything but a bad review. But most of the time there is always something good about a release. So why don’t reviewers talk about what is good about an album rather than focus solely on what they feel is bad? I feel, if anything, they both deserve equal stage time. With that said, I will come right out and say I’m not a big fan of this release, but it is definitely not a bad one.

Sanity is a progressive rock/metal act from The Netherlands. They play a form of progressive music that is at times metal and at others rock; combining the symphonic touches many of its progressive brethren incorporate into their sound. So far Sanity have released one demo, and three EPs (one live). Live At 22 is a DVD/CD release, both featuring a live show recorded on November 20th, 2004 in The Netherlands. Also on the CD is a biography and a digital photo gallery; an actual photo of the band is also included. The whole package is very professional for a band with no label backing. I’ve seen far worse from major label bands. Without a full-length album under their belts, releasing a live DVD/CD is a fairly bold move and one must acknowledge that this lends much credibility to their live performance.

There is no question that this band is talented. I can’t find a single flaw in their performance! Vocalist Kees van Keulen has a very solid voice—somewhat similar to Geoff Tate (Queensryche), or even a mild Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)—and he showcases his talent with ease. The band behind the vocals is worthy of equal comparison.

Musically the band go from your standard rock/metal to a more symphonic metal style during the show, incorporating dynamic breaks, excellent leads and interludes throughout. At times the CD has its heavy moments, at others it is mellow, but mostly the band plays a mid-paced style of progressive rock. The songs average 5 minutes a piece with four clocking in at 6 minutes and above, but it doesn’t become a chore listening to any of them.

So where does this thing go astray? Well, for me, the songs are just a little weak. I like a hook; I like a song to suck me in. I want to be doing something else and have a song distract me, to pull my thoughts away from what I’m doing and make me focus all my attention on that song. Unfortunately these songs just fall a little short in that department, though a few are do rise above the rest. I can honestly say that a better guitar tone would have immeasurably improved this release. The guitar tone is very muddled and soft. It’s simply not heavy enough. The riffs are heavy, the vibe is intended to be heavy (I presume), but the sound is not. A better, thicker guitar tone brought forth in the mix would have made this a killer release. The songs would still be a bit flat, but it would have been more easily overlooked.

All in all Live At 22 is a decent release (a higher score is given for the tremendous presentation). It’s not really the style of music I run to when I go to a music store, but other people may find this to be an excellent piece of work. I still do like it, but its shortcomings, for me, are just too noticeable. I can definitely appreciate what Sanity has intended to do with the release, though. Check this out if you like this sort of thing, you may not be blown away, but you won’t be disappointed.

AUDIO: No One Sleeps Tonight, My Little Angel and Victims (Clips)

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
No One Sleeps Tonight and My Little Angel .
Ken quoted 70 / 100
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