SIEGES EVEN – Playgrounds

SIEGES EVEN - Playgrounds
  • 8.5/10
    SIEGES EVEN - Playgrounds - 8.5/10


Inside Out
Release date: July 28, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

First of all, it has to be said that Sieges Even are without a doubt one of the best and most promising Prog bands to come out in recent years. Their last two albums, The Art Of Navigating By The Stars and Paramount are among the top ten Prog albums ever for many connoisseurs. So, whoever does not have those in his collection should read on only after buying both, and listening to each no less than five times.

Are you ready? Fine. With “Duende,” “Tidal,” or “The Lonely Views Of Condors” on your lips and in your ears, you can now rest assured that the selection of songs on Sieges Even’s first live album is excellent, and all three of the above are featured. Add another seven compositions, which are no less ingenious, and the fact that the Holzwarth brothers on drums and bass are among the best of their craft – to judge that you probably need to see them on stage – and you have a perfect album, with perfect songs, played perfectly by excellent musicians.

That would be the summary. But wait! This is a live album! Perfection is not something one wants from a live record, is it? And that is the crux of Playgrounds. Everything is just too good. The only musician who varies things slightly is singer Arno Menses, who deserves highest praise for his performance on the studio albums as well as on stage. He alters his vocal lines a bit here and a bit there, without changing the character of the songs. Apart from that, the songs are just like the studio versions.

Still, Playgrounds reveals two facts: First, the band does not suffer from too much success. The venues the band played in on this tour were not the biggest clubs, and the audience sounds very authentic, but also very small. Stage announcements like “This is our hit single from Liechtenstein – we sold about three records there” treat this fact with a good helping of irony. Secondly, the selection of songs leave no doubt that the four guys from Sieges Even today focus solely on the albums done with Markus Steffen on guitar (apart from the above, that is A Sense Of Change). It is a pity that the other four releases are completely ignored, since although the style was very different, the albums are no less brilliant. And, both have just been re-released as re-mastered versions.

That means that Playgrounds remains a record for fans of the band only. If the band wanted to create a document after the story so far, older songs would have been necessary to include, at least more than two that were not originally recorded with Menses. Or, if reduced to the “new Sieges Even,” the live record is a bit too early. The album does reflect the status quo of the Germans, but does not make one rejoice as it contains no surprises. Of course, Sieges Even fans will have to buy the album because of “The Waking Hours” and “These Empty Places” sung by Menses, especially since in spite of all criticism – is it really criticism to accuse the musicians of being too good? It should not be forgotten that every song is a masterpiece. It just has a feeling of being a selection of the band’s own favorites, a Best Of record with a bit of club feeling.

So one thing remains true: Live recordings from Prog bands often fail to excite. The listener could invest a bit more time and enjoy the albums A Sense Of Change, The Art Of Navigating By The Stars and Paramount instead, in this order. Or maybe the band could return to the studio and record A Sense Of Change again with Menses on vocals. Now, that would be exciting!


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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