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SANITY – Live At 22

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Musea Records

Metal Express Rating: 6.5/10
Release Date: 2005-01-25
by: JOSHUA “PRAWG DAWG” TURNER
Email: joshua@ metalexpressradio.com

Sanity puts technical proficiency before all else and this is not necessarily a good thing. They are similar to bands like Enchant, Hourglass, and Threshold; yet, those bands seem to do a better job of working in a steady stew of melodies and time-signatures. While those acts get more interesting as their works progress, Sanity gets old fast.

On one hand, Sanity is impressive. They have talent and know how to play their instruments well, but it’s hard to take them seriously. Even more so than Spinal Tap, they are the true parody of Progressive Rock. They do everything analogous to the genre and that’s their biggest failing. To put it another way, they have zero originality.

Their guitarist is not all that bad, but his antics are quite laughable. He overacts by stressing every note with painful facial expressions. This overzealous thrashing doesn’t make sense for their style of music. Making matters worse, the singer is literally their anchor when he’s the one who’s front and center. To be quite candid, he could really use some professional voice instruction. It’s hard to say whether or not he has a good voice, because he doesn’t appear to be using it correctly. His snafu is mainly due to how he emphasizes words. The pitch and tone he sings in does not bode well for him either.

Sanity has strengths, which are found mostly in their drummer and keyboardist. Both of them are playing at a level higher than the rest. The drummer in particular is quite extraordinary.

There are other aspects to like, but it doesn’t take long to second-guess. There are just too many extraneous solos for the sake of it. This excessive posturing does nothing more than compensate for what’s frankly weak songwriting.

For the most part, these are good musicians who have potential, but they need to find their voice; possibly in a new singer. More importantly, they must renovate their songwriting department if they are ever to find true success. They are young, so there’s time to progress. They merely need to learn that Progressive Rock isn’t a matter of copycatting what’s already been done in the past. Once they find their own identity and work out all the kinks, they should do fine. Remember: Dream Theater first started with When Day and Dream Unite. While a rare collective like that best – and plenty will enjoy the raw energy demonstrated here – there’s always room for improvement.

It’s difficult to come up with favorite tracks or moments, and it wouldn’t be fair to point out any more faults. Basically, the same thoughts continued to surface throughout the concert’s duration. Not to mention, there isn’t much bonus material to discuss. All they’ve managed to include is some photos in the form of a slideshow presentation and a biography section that amounts to a few paragraphs about the band and its members. The concert itself is very short (~59 minutes). They came nowhere near filling the capacity of this media. Interestingly enough, the package includes a CD with the same songs. This may explain why they chose to keep the overall offerings sparse.

If you see time as a commodity, skip this DVD. To tell you anything else would be doing you a great disservice. If you like a little Metal mixed with Rock, find technical proficiency a must, or are looking for something that’s off the radar, check out Hourglass’ Subconscious instead. You won’t be disappointed with that one. Alternatively, if live footage is your forte, Enchant’s Live at Last is great. If, however, you have nothing better to do and you can’t get enough of this style of music then there is no harm in checking out Sanity’s Live at 22. All you’ll stand to lose is an hour of time.

If anything, Sanity got ahead of themselves, and this is nothing more than an elaborate experiment on their dime. Whether good or bad, everybody is making DVD’s these days, so you can’t blame them for trying.

Website: Musea Records

Note: The title refers to the fact that this was recorded at Twentietoe in Tiel.

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