Those who dislike progressive rock music will always point to bands like Knight Area when they’re looking for vindication that the genre has no value.
And when you listen to or watch releases such as Hyperlive, then you have to admit that these naysayers actually might have a point. The fact is that the Dutch band can certainly play proficiently, and you have to accept they believe fully in their craft. Watching the performance here, captured earlier this year in Poland, it’s hard to find much worth. The problem is that they come across as dull and dreary. Sure, frontman Mark Smit changes his clothes at one stage (thankfully off camera), but there’s nothing else to distract from the stark reality that Knight Area plod along with an unattractive obviousness. Even if you’ve never heard them before, you can almost plot the way in which every track will play out. The influences from Pendragon, IQ, Camel and Yes are clear as soon as Afraid Of The Dark starts things off, and there’s precious little here to hold the attention from hereon in. At least Medley has the advantage of bouncing around between eight compositions, so it never gets bogged down, as do so many other tracks. Avenue Of Broken Dreams and Hypnotised both lose their way, each beginning with a pretty hopeful flourish… but then the band don’t contrive to do anything captivating with it. When you watch them perform onstage, there’s nothing to draw you in. Maybe they simply had a bad night, but as a band, they’re rather remote and distant, as if the task of playing in front of an audience is a little too demanding – no wonder the crowd seem unmoved. Somewhere in this collection of musicians might be the spark for an intriguing band, but judged solely on what they deliver here, none of those involved have so far found a way to bring this to a conflagration of inspiration. Sadly, if you’ve never heard this band before, Hyperlive won’t make you want to check out anything more from their catalogue.