Drawing closer to the first quarter of the century, English premier league neo-proggers cast a yin/yang glance back and move forward.
Riding high since 1990, this band’s career hasn’t seen lows no matter what course they set to chart on any particular record – each of those represented here on two discs that break the quintet’s journey voice-wise. It was a bold decision to switch from male heroism to the female perspective, and it’s a pity nothing remained for inclusion from the Ian Gould period, a transitional one between Tracy Hitchings came on board to replace Damian Wilson. The group’s original vocalist was briefly back for 1995’s “The Vision Pit” in order to deliver one of his most moving performances, “Narovlya” – dedicated to the victims of Chernobyl – that’s every bit as dramatic as “Ta Jiang” from 1993’s “Infinity Parade.”
This pair of gems, written by keyboardist Steve Leigh to be made poignant thanks by his ivories and Uwe D’Rose’s brush of a guitar, are housed on CD2 which demonstrates how limited LANDMARQ’s oeuvre could be when they confine it to the art rock idiom. So, further away from the likes of “Forever Young” with its polished posing and lyrical flight, “Killing Fields” off 1992’s debut “Solitary Witness” proposes a pop-funky delight, while Hitchings introduces a similar agenda on the title song of 1998’s “Science Of Coincidence,” her initiation into LANDMARQ, whereas Wilson-fronted “Bed Of Nails” pushes its riffs towards the sunlit “Personal Universe” on CD2. The latter, the only piece on offer from the ensemble’s most recent work, 2012’s "Entertaining Angels", shares its romanticism with “Lighthouse” and “After I Died Somewhere,” laid down in a studio with Damian but is present here as a Tracy-led crystal clear concert cut, a piano-led testament to the ensemble’s stage presence, well-loved by now all over Europe.
The band’s profile may get even higher if their next album is to follow the path of a new song “Origins” which pitches folk tightness onto a taut cosmic canvas. Yet as far as landmarks go, this collection is one for sure.