ANDROMEDA — Playing Off the Board (review)

ANDROMEDA — Playing Off the Board album cover Live album · 2007 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
martindavey87
‘Playing Off the Board’, released in 2009, is a live album by Swedish progressive metal band Andromeda. Like many similar bands, Andromeda are not very widely known, and as such, don’t tour very often. So the fact a live recording of such high quality was done at all, is incredible.

Like many prog metal groups, it’s pretty much a prerequisite of the genre that everyone needs to be an absolute virtuoso on their respective instruments, and Andromeda are no exception. The set list, which features all the major tracks from their first three albums, is played immaculately, with each member being given ample opportunities to truly shine and display their technical prowess.

The production is of a high quality too! This literally could pass for any of their studio albums, if not for the few nuances and slight alterations made to the odd solo or two. However, there is one major detriment to this album, and when it comes to live recordings, I didn’t know how much I’d appreciated this until it wasn’t there.

This is not an Andromeda audience.

The DVD of ‘Playing...’ is absolutely beautiful. The auditorium looks fantastic, with its huge stage, incredible camera angles, seated fans with empty seats dotted around everywhere... this feels like it was some kind of showcase, or maybe part of an all-day event where Andromeda had a slot and some unfortunate souls were wrangled into watching a band they’d never heard of (to be fair, the band is awesome, so shut up and stop complaining!). The crowd, which sounds like it’s about twenty people, don’t react excitedly to any song, and applause to the endings with the enthusiasm of an escalator. It’s obvious nobody here really knows who Andromeda are, and it’s a huge shame, because it’s the only real complaint I have with this album, but it makes a much bigger difference than I thought it would.

With hits such as ‘The Words Unspoken’, ‘Periscope’, ‘Two is One’ and ‘Inner Circle’, this is still a decent live album, and these guys are absolutely phenomenal musicians, but the audiences lack of enthusiasm kills it for me. It’s a decent enough album though, but I’d highly recommend the DVD instead.
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