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Plackband P L A C K B A N D

After The Battle © 2002 After The Battle © 2002

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Замечательная группа из Голландии.
Их называют Holland Genesis!!!
Работают в духе "Trick of the tail"
Поют на голландском.
Рекомендуется всем fans Genesis.
12+ из 12!!!

Here's a real treat. For anyone who isn't familiar with this classic Dutch band, here's a little history lesson.
Formed in the mid seventies they started out making symphonic rock with some jazzrock influences.
They quickly became one of the most talked about live acts in Holland and their Genesis-influences earned them the nickname "The Hague's Genesis". Their shows were all sold-out and the reviews were fantastic. The first and only release came in 1978. An EP with two tracks, but there wasn't any LP to follow up. They disbanded in 1982.
In 2000 the band reformed for some shows and the reception was great. So they decided to finally record an album. In march of 2002 "After The Battle" was released and finally there was an album available. The band today sounds more modern than I expected, but the right feeling is there. The album (60 minutes +) gives an insight to why Dutch progressive music comes highly recommended everywhere.
They have the progressive elements but never loses touch with the beauty of melodies.
Too bad that there aren't any albums available from their glory days, but at least they're back.
If you are into melodic symph/prog this album shouldn't be missed.

Далее ревюшка, взятая с сайта DPRP.


The Battle (3:28),
After The Battle /mp3 (11:19),
See The Dwarf (6:50),
Sleeping Warriors (0:53),
End Of The Line (6:35),
Death And Lost Glory (0:59),
Ghost Town (5:18),
The Hunchback (9:48),
Sign Of The Knife (8:26),
There Come the Warlords (3:08)

bonus track: Remember Forever (re-recorded, remastered) (4:24)

Over twenty years in the making, the world is finally honoured by the arrival of a full-length Plackband studio album. Luck and the overall situation of progressive rock in the late Seventies and very early Eighties left Plackband only be able to release a self-financed 7" single before their breaking up in 1981. 1999 saw the band re-uniting in the original line-up, and what started off as having just a bit of fun, the enthusiastic response from audiences led them to seriously think about doing studio recordings. The making company with Xymphonia Records led to that silver thing turning round in my CD player this very moment, as it has been doing for the last couple of hours actually.

Plackband have been playing their twenty-year old repertoire during the last couple of years. From the first gig on, it has never ceased to amaze me how well those songs still stand out. This CD features mostly older compositions as well, but unlike you have ever heard before.

In their early days, the band was often referred to as The Hague's Genesis. Quoting that title saves me a lot of reference problems. And indeed, taking the best from this side of prog, you'll end up referring to the Genesis from 1974 - 1977 anyway. Comparisons are in the way the songs are built up, I think. A tapestry of sounds, strong emphasis on melody, not too complex, emotional playing, melodic soloing.

But there's a lot of differences too, of course. Guitarist Ronald van Brautigam is a Hackett fan, but also a Steve Howe fan. Keyboard player Michel van Wassem can provide the keyboard contributions to the song like Banks did, but he has an eye for more interesting weird stuff and sounds, making the music sound more modern that what you'd expect from something described as having mid-Seventies influences. I thought this way about the music when I first heard them (in the mid-Eighties), but I still think of it this way. The songs still stand out.

Compared to all the recordings I know (the official self-financed 7" single and a studio demo, but mostly live recordings and the gigs I have attended), especially the mix is noteworthy. I have never heard Kees Bik's voice so clearly. I have heard people say he doesn't have a great voice. I disagree on that. He does have a great voice, but it's not a typical prog rock voice. No, he doesn't have a slightly higher-pitched voice than average without a personal touch. Bik has a voice at maybe average height, but warm, personal, and powerful. He writes all the lyrics, making himself being the best interpreter of them. His feel for drama adds to the experience of hearing this band, live but also on the studio recordings.

About the lyrics - I think they're very orignal. No dragons or rainbows (nothing wrong with that, at times), but real issues, sometimes presented in a funny form. The title of After The Battle might say enough, but "after the battle, nature can lick her wounds" shows a new approach to apocalypse. Human relationships are part of many songs, but putting it in the story of Quasimodo (in The Hunchback), I think is very orignal. Not on this CD, but also great lyrics deal with the vampire in Bloodmaster (from the vampire's point of view: "I've got to eat", "who blames the shepard for eating his sheep"), or the guy who is burying himself into a cellar to survive a nuclear war, but realizing his basic needs in "I certainly could use some female volunteers", since he's "got a whole lot of time to kill"... Since I have a pre-release CDR without a booklet, I don't have the lyrics to all the songs yet, but I am looking forward to reading them all thoroughly (assuming the lyrics are included in the booklet).

Most of the music is drama. No frivolous verses, but creating an ominous air, threatening pompous parts and menacing silences... That's what I like in music - not technically showing off, but getting sucked into the atmopshere. The compositions building up the tension, the contrasts between several parts of the song is why I like this music so much.

For those who do know the band's music, here's some words on how this first full length studio recording compares to the live material. Already during the first listen, I noticed several re-written parts. Some parts you're anticipating a certain break, and it's postponed till after a new section. Some parts have a different sound. Of course, you know most of the songs. But the sound quality and mix is of course better than you have ever heard. I am very glad to see See The Dwarf included here, and even very surprised they recorded Ghost Town, which they haven't played live since the reunion.

It's again a couple of hours later, and that silver thing is still turning in my CD player. Says enough of what I think of it. Now are you going to take the chance and listen to it as well?! If you are into the heavy side of prog, technical and highly complex stuff, don't bother. If you like the melodic, symphonic side of prog, song-based, emotional playing, have a listen soon.

If you have the chance, go and see Plackband on Friday 19th 2002 in Zoetermeer at the CD launch party!


Plackband was formed in the mid seventies by musicians from the music scene of The Hague. However the music was in the beginning a mix out of the different music styles of these gentlemen, slowly their direction came clear: symphonic rock with influences out of the jazz rock. Later on their sound was more influenced by the legendary bands of those days like Genesis or Yes. The band got the nickname, "The Hague's Genesis"!

Because the band had no name and their sound gear was held together with "plakband" (Dutch for adhesive tape), as a joke they called themselves Plackband. Not aware at that time that this would be become their official name. It's not a name that represents the style of their music. On the other hand it shows their stubborn spirit, not influenced by trends but always choosing to go their own (and often difficult) way.

Live shows
The first gigs in 1977 were a little shaky, but after a while the sound became more tight and mature. As a result of the combination of their enthusiasm and a big feeling of togetherness, investments were done which were important for the future of the band. At those days the band owned the most professional sound and light gear of all the amateur bands in The Benelux. This in combination with a gigantic (yellow with blue lettering) truck. It was always a fest to see how a live show was built in those days. Led Zeppelin once owned a part of the light gear. It is funny to hear, when you ask someone about that live show of Plackband, they always speak about that in superlative terms.

The highlight of their gigs was the discovery of the band by "VARA's Popcaravaan" and "VARA's Popkrant". (VARA=Dutch radio/television station) Also two songs were recorded in 1978, which became their first EP. Those two songs were: "Seventy Warriors" and "Some Party". It's still a mystery that they never managed to release a whole album (LP). If you read the reviews of those days, they only get praised into heaven. And their shows were always sold-out. The headlines of their greatest (and maybe also saddest) review said: "Plackband the only bad thing is, they're from Holland …"

Holiday of eighteen years
In the end there was one record company interested in the band, but they would introduce another style (more commercial) and even introduced another singer: Martin Scheffer van the rivalling Sympho band Taurus. They tried something with the cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever". But it was never released. Singer Kees Bik was forced to leave the band, and in 1982 the band slowly died. In the years to come they tried to work on a comeback with singer Frank van de Bos. Unfortunate, or maybe fortunate this never was the case. Otherwise the never expected reunion of 2000 would not have happened.

This is what happened: All Plackband members had their own musical challenges. Ronald and Michel did the project November (together with FAF drummer Edwin Wernke), what resulted in a CD album, the little gem: "The 1st of November" and a single called "Memory" with also on it an acoustic version of Genesis-cover "The Cinema Show". Albert opened a music store, Kees became songwriter with Urban Heroes and Boom Boom Machini and John and Tom founded a recording studio: studio "Sound Design" in The Hague, which later merged with "Holland Spoor". There they found an old Revox tape with a live recording of the last gig they did on Christmas Eve 1981 at "de Paap" in The Hague. It was hidden at the top floor of the studio, which was in fact the old practice room of Plackband. Later the decision was made to release this tape in a remastered version under the name: "The Lost Tapes".

Reunion of 2000
At the time that Michel and Ronald were recording "The 1st of November" (at Holland Spoor Studio's) there was more and more talking about a reunion of Plackband. While promoting the November CD, people were often telling to Ronald and Michel that they never had heard of November but they all knew Plackband. That released some nostalgic feelings. When also a Dutch prog magazine (IO pages) published an article about Plackband it became very clear to Ronald and Michel. After the failure of releasing a second November album, it happened all very quickly. After some phone calls on one and the same evening, everyone was very enthusiastic to give it a try. The reunion was a fact and "The lost tapes" were independently released.

After rehearsals for a whole year (a hell of a job) the first concert with all the original members in 18 years was held at 23 June 2000 at "de Boerderij" in Zoetermeer. It became a beautiful show, a feast, a concert, which will never be forgotten! The enthusiasm was back and the band looked fresh, more mature and relaxed then ever! Another four concerts followed and the band was thinking over the future to come. Was this it? No, the band wanted more.

Xymphonia Records
So the band was looking for (yes they did) a record company! Together they made a commitment that there would be no concessions made this time and the company had to be as enthusiast about symphonic rock as they were. In the end the choice was simple: Xymphonia Records. There were four companies interested and at first glance it would be the French Musea Records. But when band members came in conversation with the earlier mentioned Xymphonia things happened very fast. This led to a very interesting cooperation. The first fruits of it will be harvested shortly. The CD-single "Remember Forever" with a complete new title track and the two remastered tracks of their first EP from 1978. In March 2002 the long awaited album "After The Battle" will be released. In April there will be a tour to promote the album.


New Leadsinger
Plackband has a new leadsinger Karel Messemaker
From the first of august PLACBAND has a new leadsinger: Karel Messemaker known from another progressive rockband NOVEMBER

The dicision to replace Kees Bik was made by coincidence The project "Reunion of plackband" was completed and very successful.
All the goals were reached: nice gigs in Holland, Belgium and England. A live album called The lost Tapes and one recorded in a studio called After the Battle. Airplay on radio and so on.
A final concert in Verviers Belgium would be the end But ....
Ronald Brautigam and Michel van Wassem did a few months ago some unplugged sessions with November and though with Karel Messemaker.
This group with the well received album called The First of November was very successful in 1994 and 1995 and scored with the single Memory.
At that time the Idee was born to do more with November.
For drums and basguitar they didn't have to look far. Tom van der Meulen and Albert de Keijzer were pleased to do something with Karel. So it was not difficult to hit two flies at the same time. A new start for Plackband with Karel Messemaker and for the repertoir a good choice with numbers from Plackband, November and even some covers from Genesis

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