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Good things come to those who wait - 82%

NoTruce, October 17th, 2006

Rock for adults - that would be a good way to describe the music of STYGMA IV if one were at a loss of words. Then what the guys around throaty Ritchie Krenmaier offer is nothing but progressive rock a la Dream Theater, and to be honest, they do it damn well. I was positively surprised, because in general I do not like live albums. The feelings that arise at concerts are very hard to transfer to record. I have seen bands that have virtually destroyed on stage, yet were totally boring on the studio albums. With that in mind Alex Hilzensauer (bass), Günter Maier (guitar), Herb Greisberger (drums) and the aforementioned Mr. Krenmaier manage to produce a solid piece of work. With every song, the desire to listen closely to the studio album grows, and in doing so, the goal of all live albums have been reached, namely to inspire a longing for more. STYGMA IV are no newcomers to the scene: 6 albums in 13 years have been released, even though the songs on A History In Pain mostly come from the last four albums. Musically there is little to argue about (it is after all a live album). Some people may not like the fact that the keyboards sometimes take up a lot of space, but personally I have nothing against it. More bands should use keyboards, because (when utilized correctly) they manage to lift the songs above the line of mediocrity. Already the first time you listen to them, the songs come across as exciting and inspired (good examples would be Isolation [after a cool intro from “Jesus Christ Superstar”], the monster track Sleep [almost fifteen minutes!] and Calculation Towers), and if they manage to do that live, one can only wonder about the quality of the studio albums. Fans of Dream Theater, as well as people who have the brains to appreciate a striving and intelligent band, should definitely hear this out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and listen to the other albums of this talented band…

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