RPWL – True Crime Live (2024) (blu-ray and cd)


The latest album of these German progrockers, Crime Scene (2023), is for me their best album so far as can be read in my review below.

After its release, the band could be seen on various stages in Europe and also in the, for us, most famous Dutch pop venue de Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Given the possibilities offered there and the well-filled hall, the choice to realize a live registration here again was a good one. Their previous tour was also recorded and released on blu-ray (Live from outer Space) and there certainly was something to criticize in terms of image quality. The sound is fine by the way. There have been so many shots filmed against the blue light that sometimes there is just nothing left to see. The large background screen also occasionally causes disturbing influences on the image quality. The big question, of course, is, is the new effort any better?

Yes sure it is, although at the beginning I was afraid that it would go wrong again, but very soon it becomes fine and it is really fun to watch because these men can play like the best. Musically, it's always of high quality and that's even more the case now. Instead of blindly imitating the songs of Crime Scene, many changes have been made and right at the beginning one stands out, the a cappella opening of Victim of Desire is beautiful and immediately shows how important the two background singers are (Caroline von Brünken and Carmen Tannich). The good but not overly great vocals of Yogi Lang are supported in a very nice way and that makes for a wonderful overall sound. Since Markus Jehle left the group, there has been another keyboard player with the great (nick?) name Butch Keys on duty and his role is at first glance less prominent but certainly of great importance. Occasionally, Lang also plays some keys to create the full sound that RPWL's music is known for.

The album Crime Scene is played in its entirety and just like on the album, this results in great guitar solos by Kalle Walner, who regularly gets even more room than on the album. A cold Spring Day in '22, for example, contains an extra solo and what a solo it is. Bassist Markus Grützner is also allowed to show some smooth runs from time to time and is otherwise a solid musician and that certainly also applies to drummer Marc Turiaux. Seemingly effortlessly, these both provide the foundation for the full sound of RPWL and the mix of the music is just good, which also provides a lot of listening pleasure on the available double CD.

Gradually, you get sucked into the concert and that's not easy when you're watching a fairly static band that doesn't do too many antics and doesn't move too much. After playing the last album, songs from the band's rich past are played and as always there are some fixed values among them. Hole in the Sky and Roses are always played and rightly so because they are great songs. Still, I personally would have liked to have heard (and seen) some other songs, because there are so many to be found, but that will always be the case. It's rare that a band plays exactly the songs I would like and that makes sense, so no complaints. Shadow is not my favourite song and neither is Unchain the Earth, but they are well interpreted. Silenced and A new World complete the setlist and again, great songs but I still miss Light of the World or Three Lights or Home Again or The Fisherman or .......... No, that's not fair what I'm saying now, you can't make every concert a kind of best of.... And that's a good thing, otherwise it would be very boring.

As a small downside I would like to mention the length of the concert and that is of course a good sign, I just want more.

I can definitely recommend the purchase of this blu-ray and the CD because this is the best quality this sympathetic band has to offer so far. I am not an expert in the field of imaging technology and am only a viewer, but I have the idea that there is still something to be gained there. I don't know if that's a matter of budget, but if I make the comparison with other blu-rays of prog bands, I know some sharper examples. But no complaints anymore, it's a big step forward from the previous attempt. I will watch and listen to it regularly with great pleasure and that is what it is all about in the end.

Sound 84

Image 75