Lee Speaks About Music… #82

Un’altra verità – Conqueror

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Introduction…

The Conqueror’s last release to date came out in 2015. Though it’s not a studio release and is very much a live DVD/CD release that features the band back in 2014 at the Naxos on the 16th of May to which they was touring their last studio album to date Stems that came out in that same year. The live albums title of Un’altra verità is also one of the tracks that was on the bands 2014 album Stems.

Un’altra verità in English translates to “Another Truth“. It’s perhaps a strange title to give for a live concert and to be honest I do not know why they simply did not call it Conqueror Live. Or Conqueror Live At Naxos.

Oddly enough not one of the 5 studio albums they have made is titled by one of the tracks on their album. The only thing they ever released which did come with the title of one of their songs was the EP Sprazzi Di Luce.

Waiting for a new Conqueror album is like waiting to for the World Cup in football to come around :)))). Though no doubt when an album does eventually surface, its perhaps well worthy of waiting for. From what I can gather the band are working on a new album that will be arriving at some point this year, and I am waiting in great anticipation for that.

The live album Un’altra verità not only comes with a CD. But also a DVD that contains high quality video footage that wonderfully captures the live show. There is also an extra track on the DVD and a short documentary is also included as a bonus feature. The package is priced up for 18.50 Euro on the bands website. So let’s now take a look at the packaging and see what you get for the bucks here.

The Packaging & Artwork…

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The album comes in a cardboard Digipak with 2 plastic Jewel Case trays stuck on the inside to hold both the CD & DVD in place. The plastic trays lend support to the overall packaging and the front and back cover have a soft matt textured finish on them, and it’s as if the artwork was printed onto a soft piece of foam with how soft it feels. It’s quite a nice neat little package.

Though it does not come with a booklet, the writing credits you can read clearly, and the information is on both sides of the Digipak when you remove the discs. The graphic design of the front and back cover was done by Enzo Puglisi and the photos used to make up the artwork was taken by Carmine Prestipino.

Musicians & Credits…

2014 Line Up 2

The 2014 Line-Up Of The Band

Recorded live at the Giardini Naxos Municipal Theater 16th May 2014. Video Operators Gianfranco Stracuzzi & Marcello Panebianco. Video Assistant Chiara Trimarchi. Video Editing (Studio 58) Gianfranco Stracuzzi. Audio Recording & Editing (Ludnica Studio) Ottavio Leo. Audio & Video Supervision Natale Russo. Sound Engineer Foh Rocco Cassaniti. PA Man & Facilities Maurizio De Cesare. Lights Antonino Siligato. Audio & Lights by DCS Service. Subtitles Translation by Isabella Miano. Graphic Design by Enzo Puglisi. Photography by Carmine Prestipino. Executive Producer Natale Russo. Produced by Conqueror & Ma.Ra.Cash Records.

Musicians:
Simona Rigano: Keyboards and Voice.
Ture Pagano: Guitar.
Peppe Papa: Bass.
Natale Russo: Drums.

Guest musician Valerio Valenti (Acoustic Guitar on False Idee).

Un’altra verità (Live CD/DVD) In Review…

For my review of this package I am mainly going to focus on the DVD rather than the CD. I shall also be pointing out the highlights of the live concert rather than give a well detailed review of every individual song that we get here. So first up let’s take a quick look at the CD that comes with it.

The CD.

The CD as I mentioned earlier comes with one song less than what we get on the DVD. To be honest I am not sure why it was left off, because they could of fitted it on the CD. Though they must of had their reasons for not including it. The CD itself comes with 10 tracks and has an overall playing time of 70 minutes, 55 seconds.

To be perfectly honest I could not tell you what the actual CD sounds like. Simply because with all these type of packages that come with a live concert on DVD to which they include CD’s in the package, I never play the CD’s at all and do not see any reason to when I can watch the concert with my own eyes on the DVD.

However I do rip the CD’s onto my hard drive in MP3 320 quality to listen to when I am busy at my computer, such as times like this whilst I am writing out my reviews. To be honest it sounds great even at this MP3 quality, though no doubt the CD itself will sound a lot better if I was to play it on my HiFi or on my computer for that matter.

No doubt the CD is also useful for the car, but I do not drive myself so it gets left in it’s package. But those who do, no doubt it will get to put it to more use.

The DVD.

SS1

The DVD loads up with this screen shot of the band and is silent without any background music playing. The main menu is simple to get around and offers you 3 options to choose from as seen in the picture above. By clicking on the first option “Concert” it proceeds to play the concert.

The one thing that is not included in the main menu or anywhere on the DVD is an Audio option. This is because the DVD comes with one soundtrack only which is Stereo. So this is not a concert for surround freaks like myself, and there is no 5.1 here I am afraid.

But the concert still sounds very good despite it being only in more or less CD quality and it only coming with an audio format of 48K 16 bit. The biggest majority of DVD’s these days do come with better sound quality such as 48/24 and even better 96/24.

SS2

By clicking on the “Chapter” option on the main menu, it presents you with the screen pictured above, which simply gives you the choice to play any one of the 11 tracks that are on the DVD. A useful feature to be able to quickly show a friend your favourite track.

SS3

By clicking on the “Bonus” option from the main menu it presents you with the screen above. The bonus is a 20 minute documentary with 3 of the band members namely Natale Russo. Simona Rigano and Ture Pagano speaking about the concert, the making of the album Stems and some background of how the band the Conqueror started, and a general discussion of each album they have made.

I found it very interesting and it provided a good insight into the bands background. I was so glad they had also included English Surtitles too, so I could understand it all. It also comes with French Subtitles too.

The Picture Quality.

The picture quality is certainly more professional than the job they did with the sound. Though the sound in all honesty is quite acceptable and is excellent to be honest. The footage of the concert is quite pristine and looks sharp and captures the lighting and the band very well. Its most likely been filmed in HD and even though this is only a DVD it does have the HD quality look about it.

They have also done a great job with the video editing too, and the close ups of the individual band members, and control of the zoom and positioning is very good.  There is no doubt that this concert as been filmed with genuine HD Cameras and it does the band justice. It also makes it that more enjoyable to watch. Even though it’s not been put onto a Blu Ray. It still looks great.

The visual aspect though as been shot with a full on central viewpoint of the front of the stage. This may put some people off because you cannot see any of the audience by them filming it this way. Though personally I do not have a problem with this myself, and I do have other concerts filmed in the same way. The prog rock band Arena is a perfect example.

The reason why this is most likely done is down to cost, and with them only using 2 cameras to film the show, both cameras are perhaps placed at a central point of view to be able to make good use of the video editing afterwards. Playing in a small venue will also have a bearing on why it was filmed this way too.

You must also remember that a lot of prog rock bands make very little and struggle to survive, especially in this rip off world we have these days with many of the artists material being ripped off and put on the internet for free. Plus the fact that the likes of the Conqueror are not like a lot of more known major mainstream artists who can afford to play at bigger venues and fill them, and afford the cost of more cameras and operators to film their live concerts.

The Concert In Review…

Well there is no doubt that this particular concert was played around the time the band had not long released their latest album at the time Stems. It was actually played in the following month of its release. The live tour was done for that album in particular and features 6 of its 8 tracks from it on the DVD. You are also gonna have quite a wait to get to see the band do any other tracks from their back catalogue, simply because they roll out the first 6 tracks from Stems in the first part of the set list.

The Conqueror are a great live act, and even though both Simona Rigano and Natale Russo have been here from the time the band started putting out albums back in 2003. They have always brought in great musicians to replace those who left. This particular band line up is the same that made the studio album Stems.

Even though the bass player Peppe Papa only joined the band in 2013 and features on both the studio album Stems and this live album. He left the band not that long after. The guitarist Ture Pagano joined the band not so long after the bass player and features on the same two albums. But he did stay on longer with the band, and left in 2016.

The concert itself was performed at the Giardini Naxos Municipal Theater. It’s like a small cinema house in Taormina a province of Italy. The place is used for small concerts and other exhibitions and arts as seen in this photo below.

Giardini Naxos Municipal Theater

The view of the theatre above gives you more of a representation of what its actually like, and this concert was shot very much with a head on central view of the front of the stage, so that you can see the band more visually and not so much of the audience. As a matter of a fact you will be lucky if you see anything of the audience at all, because it focuses on the band all the way through the concert.

The concert opens up with the opening track from their Stems album with a song entitled “Gina“. The album Stems as quite a more modern rock approach to a lot of the tracks on the album, but they still have the diversity and progression that one would find in prog rock music.

This particular song is the longest track on the album Stems and as quite a dominant bass line that punctuates its way along very well. It’s perhaps more punctuating on the studio album though, but never the less the band perform it very well here.

The band roll out the first 4 tracks from the album Stems in the same order as they were placed on the album. This live video from the bands Youtube Channel is from this live DVD and shows how well the band perform live the 2nd track from the Stems album “Di Notte” which incidentally translates to “At Night“.

The band do a grand job on the first half of the set that features the songs from their Stems album and it was great to see them do “Sigurtà” from that album too. The band then continue on with the second part of the show which features a further 5 tracks from the back catalogue of their discography.

It was no surprise to see them kick off the second half of the show with “Pensieri Fragili” which is from the bands 2003 debut album Istinto. This is perhaps the most frequent song from this album they tend to play a lot at their live shows.

They also do another song from this album “La Strada del Graal” and even incorporate part of the instrumental track “Entropia” that comes from this album into “L’ora del Parlare” which is from their 3rd album 74 Giorni to end off the show with. The short track that proceeds this final track on the live album here “Cormorani” is also from their 3rd album.

My personal favourite and highlight of show is that they also do “No Photo” from their 2nd album Storie Fuori Dal Tempo which is my ultimate favourite album of theirs. It’s a shame they never played more tracks from this album, but it’s also interesting how well the band handle it with this different line-up being a 4 piece instead of a 5 piece and missing a woodwind player who plays the flute on it.

But they do a really great job of it, and Simona plays the flutes main melody on the keyboards as she does with many of the other tracks that featured a flute in them as well, and they do a grand job of it all.

Summary…

Overall the live concert CD/DVD Un’altra Verità by the Conqueror is a very enjoyable piece of live entertainment that captures this great band and their great performance very well on stage. The picture quality and editing is excellent and so too is the sound quality, and it’s a very well produced show and worthy of the price tag.

The band not only present the new material from their latest album Stems very well, but also capture the spirit of their older material even with this line-up of the band. I personally would of liked to have seen them do more of their older material, but no doubt the band were promoting their new album at the time, so it was to be expected most of the material would be featured from this album.

I hope in the future they get the chance to film another live show and I would love to see them play their 31 minute epic “Morgana” live from their 2nd album and perhaps a few other tracks from that album too. I very much think they are capable of doing that epic track as well judging from how well they handled all the material they played live here.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review Un’altra Verità by the Conqueror. For the price of 18 and half Euro around £16.24 in the UK it’s great value for the money. It’s a lot cheaper than travelling to Italy to see them play live, and you can watch them from the comfort of your own seat and home so to speak.

My personal highlights from the concert are “False Idee“. “Sigurtà“, ” Pensieri Fragili“.  “No Photo“. and “La Strada del Graal“.

The best and cheapest place to obtain the DVD/CD of Un’altra verità is from the bands website or via contacting the bands drummer Natale Russo on the following email nat@conqueror.it and paying via Paypal. Be sure to add on another 2 Euro to cover the postage and packing. I have provided a link to the website below.

We Lose Ourselves In The Evening In That Ray Of Light…

You can purchase the DVD/CD of Un’altra verità from the bands website here: http://www.conqueror.it/eng/stems.asp

The Live Set List On The DVD is as follows:

01. Gina. 11:12.
02. Di Notte. 7:25.
03. False idee. 7:31.
04. Un’altra Verità. 6:28.
05. Sigurtà. 9:37.
06. Echi di Verità. find out time 7:48.
07. Pensieri Fragili. 7:48.
08. No Photo. 6:43.
09. La Strada del Graal. 6:07.
10. Cormorani. 1:06.
11. L’ora del Parlare (end entropia). 6:58.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Picture Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Live Concert Rating Score. 8/10.

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