Sunday, 28 May 2017
The third album from this US band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
I pretty much liked their first two albums Gypsy (1970) and In The Garden (1971). Two albums with a mix of psychedelia and progressive rock. The album art-works was also epic.....
The band did not get that much success with those two albums. So what does an unsuccesful band do when not getting success as a psychedelia and progressive rock band ? They go for a commercial rock/pop sound.
Gypsy did that on this forty minutes long album. They joined an already overcrowded scene. I am not sure if they got any more commercial success with this album though.
Their sound still retains a cool west-coast sound who smells of flowers and sun. Not to mention; illegal substances. The music is not particular heavy and the vocals is pretty good.
There is a distinct lack in quality music on this album. This album falls a bit flat on it's face as it has not any of the charming features from their two first albums. Nevertheless, this is a decent album.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
The debut solo album from this Australian born artist.
This legend from Soft Machine and Gong got help from his wife Gilli Smyth, Robert Wyatt, Pip Pyle and other greats from the scene.
I have reviewed some of his solo albums in the past plus all Gong and some Mother Gong albums. Daevid Allen was a fascinating artist who sadly left us a couple of years ago.
Gong was in full flow and Daevid Allen wanted another outlet for his creative ideas. Hence his solo career. A career spawning 15 albums. One of the albums was released after his death.
Banana Moon is a forty minutes long album who starts with a The Beatles like song before Robert Wyatt takes over as the vocalist on the best song on this album, the almost four minutes long Memories.
The rest of the album is a bit of a mixed bag of spaced out improvisations and more conventional pop songs. Naive children rhyme like pop songs. Still very weird but sooooo Daevid Allen.
This started a blueprint I recognice from other Daevid Allen solo albums and some Gong albums. In the case of Banana Moon, the result is a rather good album. An album I am enjoying, warts and insanities included. Check it out.
The debut album from this German band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, flute, keyboards and English vocals.
Second Movement was an obscure band who pressed 700 copies of this album (mine one was collected from Youtube.....) and then released a second album before they split up for good.
The band name hints about symphonic prog. ProgArchives has indeed listed them as a symphonic prog band. I am not so sure.... There is some symphonic prog structures in their songs, yes. The songs are on average 9 minutes long. The music is much more leaning towards space and krautrock.
Take some Santana, a lot of Eloy and a lot of Nektar. That is when you get this album. I have heard they are very similar to Nektar. From the little I have heard of Nektar, that is true. I will soon give Nektar my full attention and this album makes me interested in them if that comparisson is true.
The vocals here are pretty good. The guitars and the keyboards are also good. So far, so good.
The songs are not that good though. The twelve minutes long title track is good. The rest of the album is not that good.
The end result is three quarters of an hour long album which is somewhere between decent and good. Check it out if you like Nektar and German prog.
Friday, 26 May 2017
The ninth album from this US band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, mandolin, autoharp, saxophone and vocals.
The band were in their commercial best days on their two previous albums The Grand Illusion and Pieces Of Eight. Both albums shifting millions of copies.
Their mix of teenybopper rock, hard rock and AOR were filling stadiums. Their music was the perfect antidote to the Vietnam war.
This indeed were the arena rock era. And with Cornerstone, Styx packed the arenas. This album also gave them their first ever # 1 hitsingle. It is a ballad and it is called Babe. It is a good song too.
Cornerstone also gave the band some minor hits in different countries and territories. It was a multi-million selling album too.
Quality wise anno 2017, this is not a bad album. It has some more theatrical pop stuff, some harder rock and some teenybopper rock. There is also some AOR here. In short; this is arena rock and the music could only be written and recorded by an US. This album has born in the USA all written over it. And it is a feel good album.
OK, the music is covered in cheese and banalities. But most of this album is rather good. This is actually a good album. Say C H E E S E and listen to this album.
The fifth and so far latest album from this Swedish band.
The band owner Jonas Reingold had with him a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, piano, guitars and English vocals. Guest musicians supplied Hammond organ, sax, vocals and guitars.
The creative output from this band, a The Flower Kings associated band, has been a mixed bag. Their music has sometimes been a more simplified and funkier version of The Flower Kings creative outputs.
This is also true for this fifty minutes long album.
Fifty minutes is a surprisingly short album. But the more recent trend in the symphonic prog scene has (thankfully !!) been shorter and much more concise albums where the fillers has been omitted. A very healthy new trend. Get slim and fit. I like that. Unfortunate, my body is still a triple CD......
The band continues on from their previous albums. The music is a much more simplified, poppier version of a The Flower Kings album. There is a lot of good hooks and verses here. A lot of memorable stuff.
I have always felt that this band's music is a bit short on substance. There is not enough dept here to really satisfy me over many listening sessions. That aside, this is a good album from a good band. Their best album is still the 2008 album Who Is The Boss In The Factory. But this album will suffice until their next album.
Thursday, 25 May 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and English vocals.
I am not a fan of progressive metal. I actually tend to stay as far away from progressive metal as possible. Numerous progressive rock albums has been sent straight to my archive because I do not like this genre.
This album has no reviews in ProgArchives though. All albums and bands deserve reviews. Hence this review..... and the band is Italian and the art-work is pretty cool.
This album is just over an hour long. It has seven songs, including a twenty-three minutes long suite.
The music is very melodic throughout. It is clearly a progressive rock album as it follows this formula to every letter and dots. But it is very melodic and only reminds me about the more melodic aspects of Dream Theater. Some of the music is also overly dramatic and theatrical.
The vocalist has a very good voice. The music is not that good and I have to admit my dislike of this genre prevents me from liking this album more than I do. Nevertheless, this is an album well worth checking out.
The debut album from this Swiss band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, woodwinds and English vocals.
The band released six albums altogether between 1978 and 1986 before they gave up the ghost. The albums had a modest distribution with ditto modest salesfigures. I got three of their albums. Reviews of their two other albums to follow/can be read somewhere else in this blog.
The band was obviously very inspired by Genesis. At times, this album sounds like a Genesis clone. But there is more to this album than just Genesis'ish symphonic prog.
This album has indeed some krautrock too and some Dexy Midnight Runner like pop. Pop with woodwinds and some strange rhythm figures.
There are also some more symphonic prog parts here where the band sounds like ELP. This in addition to some good flute melody lines.
The album is playful throughout. There is no real great tracks here, let alone good tracks here. But this is not a bad effort at all. The band remained an obscure band for a good reason. The reason being lack of quality.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
The third and final album from this Japanese band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I reviewed their first two albums Overture and Steps Into.. (both 1988) for ProgArchives back in 2009 and 2010.
In my reviews, I described this band as a Pomp Prog band and compared them to both Magnum and Saga. I have not listened to these two albums since, but I guess this is a fair reflection of their first two albums.
And I would still use the label Pomp Prog or rather the label Pomp Rock. Pomp Rock, it is then.
The music here is a blend of prog metal, AOR and symphonic prog like melodies. The music is mostly over the top pomp and grandeur. There are some keyboards generated strings here. There are also some ballads here which sounds a bit well over the top.
The shrieking violet like vocals does not make this album less pomp rock. Ditto for the church organs.
The end result is a decent to good album which has some good melodies and some cringeworthy cheesy melodies. Vienna is not a bad Japanese band and they deserve some credit for their three albums.
Monday, 22 May 2017
The fourth album from this Italian band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, piano, synths, acoustic guitars and Italian vocals.
I very much liked their previous album Paradiso from 2004. Gothic symphonic progressive Italian rock. I have very much liked all their albums as you will find in # 1 of this blog.
The band returned last year with Purgatorio. This is an hour full of gothic symphonic progressive rock with great Italian vocals.
When I say gothic, I mean that as in symphonic gothic. Not as in goth metal or the goth style with black clothes and makeover. This album is like a gothic cathedral with spires and open rooms with big walls and all the greatness of a gothic cathredral. And that is what we get here. A gothic cathredral.
What is strange here is the lack of any electric guitars. They are not missed as the music on this album is best without any electric guitars. But it is unusual to find an Italian prog rock album without guitars. Hence the strange sound. Strange but very good.
There are some great stuff here and some not so great stuff. This is another almost-great album from this band. A band I think deserves more credit than given. Check out this band and this album.
Sunday, 21 May 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, moog, harpsicord, violin, flute, percussions and Italian vocals. Both male clear vocals and operatic vocals of both sexes. There is also some narrations here.
Latte E Miele was a band who released three albums in the 1970s, one in the 1990s, one in 2009 and a rework of this album back in 2014. I will/has reviewed most of their albums in this blog.
The band was called an ELP wannabe in some quarters. Which is unfair. OK, there are some ELP influences on this album. But this album is much more classical and opera music influenced than influenced by ELP.
We are here talking Italian opera and classical music. Most of it pretty gothic and theatrical. The French group Ange springs to mind here.
This album is pretty fragmented throughout as it is following a concept. There are some harsh guitar solos and some harsh pianos. The operatic vocals and the narrations also sets the theme for this album.
I am failing to find anything great on this thirty-five minutes long album. I like the concept and I find this a good album. It is a pretty special Italian symphonic prog album among a lot of special Italian symphonic prog albums. And that says it all, really. Check out this album.
The one and only album from this German band.
The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of flutes, bass, guitars, percussions, drums, organs, saxophone and German vocals.
There is next to no info about this band. But I got an MP3 file from a reader of this blog who wanted my opinion about this album. Opinions soon to be expressed.......
A pretty strange art-work hides a pretty strange album. An album well within the confines of the krautrock genre.
The music on this forty odd minutes long album is very much melody and song focused. But with some large twists. There is a lot of out and out madness here. Frank Zappa springs to mind. The use of Hammond organs gives this album a good feel. One that tends to make my heart melt.
... But not in this case. Yes, this is a very German krautrock album with a mix of melancholy and pure fun. Or German humour if you like. Which is a weird humour with two melodies competing with each other in some songs. A bit avant-garde in other words.
There is no real great or good songs here. Nevertheless, this is a weird, wacky decent album which will be liked a lot in the krautrock community.... if the know about it.
The second album from this Italian band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and Italian vocals on this album.
When I reviewed their 2008 debut album La Leggenda Della Granda Porta back in November 2013, I feared that I was reviewing their one and only sign of life from this band. Thankfully, I was wrong.
The band returned seven years later with this album, the Babylon album.
The album was released by Fading Records too, a member of the AltRock family. That means quality.
I noted in my review of their debut album that the band operated somewhere between progressive metal and RPI, Italian progressive rock. This is true on Babylon too.
This album is very melodic with a great Italian flavour. It is perhaps not a true Italian symphonic prog album. Their music has a very contemporary sound and a lot of progressive rock influences.
When that is said, this fifty minutes long album has a lot to offer to both prog metal and RPI fans. It is a very good crossover album between these two genres.
There is no real great songs here. Nevertheless, this is a good album which is well worth an investment. Check it out.
Saturday, 20 May 2017
The sixth album from this English band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Red Jasper intrigued me enough to make me purchase a 2 for 1 CD with their A Midsummer Night's Dream and A Winter's Tale. See reviews somewhere else in this blog.
The band were a good crossover between folk rock and neo-prog on those two albums. But that was then....
Their new album 777 was released last year to no fanfare as this is an obscure band. Unjustified obscure band as their first albums was good.
Unfortunate, the band has given up neo-prog and most of their folk rock roots on this album. What remains is a pop-rock band.
The title track, or the track (is it the title track ?) 7 talks about some magic around the number 7. Whereas Iron Maiden also did a track and a great album about number 7, Red Jasper only got a fairly good song out of this number. 7 is not a bad song.
It goes a bit downhill after that, I am afraid. The band returns to their folk rock roots on two songs before they return to the safe pop-rock territory. Great on pub gigs, but not so good on a record. I am afraid this is a dull album which fails a bit in the quality department.
The one and only album from this Brazilian band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums and guitars.
I learnt about this band through ProgArchives (as always !) and found this album on Youtube. So I decided to give it a try as I really like symphonic prog.
I am very miffed that this band has been listed as symphonic prog. The music is nowhere near symphonic prog.
Take King Crimson and blend them with some instrumental tech/math metal. Watchtower, Cynic and Liquid Tension Experiement springs to mind. Add some hints of fusion and Anekdoten too and you get this album.
The music on this forty-six minutes long album is heavy, uber-technical, eclectic and very rhythm based. There is hardly any normal melody here.
I have my reservations about the genre they inhabits. And I am failing to find anything here which I would regard great or even good. The result is a decent album and an album for the nerds and math/tech metal fans out there.
The debut album from this UK band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of organ, flute, piano, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
This is not really their debut album. The band recorded an album back in 1972 which did not see the light of day until 1998. But Riff Raff is their official album, according to ProgArchives and Discogs.
Listed as a jazz/fusion band in ProgArchives, I was prepared for a..... eeh.......jazz/fusion album. Although there is some jazz and fusion here, and a lot of it, the rock and the pop elements is the most dominating feature on this album.
That is pop and rock which is leaning on blues, folk rock and hard rock. A lot of people has compared this band to the early days of Chicago. I am not sure because I have yet to give Chicago my full attention. But that seems reasonable to me.
The fusion and jazz elements here are pretty much leaning on the likes of Weather Report. But these elements is not the ones I will remember about this album. It is the rock stuff.
There is no really great stuff here. Let alone good songs. But this is still a decent to good album, well worth checking out.
Friday, 19 May 2017
The second album from this US band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of percussions, drums, guitars, keyboards, bass and vocals.
I was pretty impressed by their 1970 self-titled debut album. A good album indeed.
What I had heard before I purchased this album was that this album were in the same direction as their debut album. So I purchased it.
In The Garden is a mix of commercial pop, a bit americana, a bit Santana, a bit early Deep Purple and a pretty large chunk of psychedelic rock. This album sounds like a US psychedelic rock album anno 1971.
The album has a good hippie flower power sound too. The interplay between the guitars and keyboards are pretty great throughout. Ditto for the vocals which is pretty good and fitting for this album. The best things here are the instrument and vocal harmonies. Which there is a lot of here.
There is no great songs here on this thirty-eight minutes long album. Nevertheless, there is a good allround feeling and some good songs here which makes this a good album. I like this album a bit and awards it a weak three pointer. Check it out.
Thursday, 18 May 2017
The one and only album from this US band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of bass, keyboards, organ, glockenspiel, violin, guitars, viola, cello, percussions and vocals.
The band was signed on the shortlived The Moody Blues label Threshold and a lot was expected by the band. The result was only this album, though.
It is tempting to note down The Moody Blues as a major reference on this album....... and that is partially correct too. The roots of this album is though in folk-rock and some classical music. And symphonic prog too. Then add some West-Coast psychedelic rock too.
This half an hour long album is indeed a very good mix of symphonic prog and US folk rock.
The vocals are very good and this mostly acoustic album has a lot of good things going for it. I can understand why this album is revered. It is indeed also an album revered in my house because it is a pastoral, nice album. An album for most of the family.
There is no great songs here though and the album is on the short side. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one to check out.
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
The second and final album from this English band.
The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, moog synth, bass, drums and vocals.
Tempest was the band Jon Hiseman put together inbeetween the life of Colosseum and Colosseum II. Both very successful bands.
I was pretty impressed by their 1973 self titled album. Good progressive blues. So I had hope for this album. Hope dampened when I learned that Allan Holdsworth had departed the band. He was a big part of the debut album.
The band has scaled back a lot on this forty minutes long album. The emphasis is on good melodies this time around and not so much on technical, progressive stuff.
Their version of The Beatles classic Paperback Writer does not add anything interesting to this album as that is a very straightforward song. The rest of the album shows a bit more complex songs. But just a tiny bit.
There is no good songs here and this album is a disappointing album. Hence my verdict.
The fourth album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of violin, sax, guitars, balalaika, mandolin, bass, drums and Italian vocals.
I managed to get a copy of their Original Album Series which contains their five final albums. That box exludes their three first albums which is not regarded as that good. Hence, I will review all five albums/has reviewed all five albums in this blog.
Stormy Six was one of the original bands in the RIO movement together with Henry Cow, Samla Mammas Manna, Univers Zero and Etron Fou Leloublan. All bands to be reviewed in this blog.
Stormy Six started out as a folk rock band before turning into a RIO band. Un Biglietto Del Tram is supposed to be a folk rock album. And indeed it is.
But it is not entirely a folk rock album. There is some subtle avant-garde themes in this album. This album is not a straight forward forty odd minutes long folk-rock album.
The vocals is a bit harsh and loud. The album is wholly acoustic and is sometimes going in the direction of chamber baroque RIO. The violins is at times distorted too.
The end result is a reasonable melodic album. Still, the album is sailing close to avant-garde and RIO territory. It is a promising, good album and well worth checking out.
The third album from this German band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards and English vocals.
I have not had the pleasure of hearing their other albums so this band is new to me. Which is a bit of a shame as this is a bit of a new find for me.
Versus X is another German neo-prog band. One of the many good neo-prog bands from Germany. A bit of an undervalued scene too.
The first thing that comes into my mind is that Andy Tillison in The Tangent is the vocalist here. I am wrong. Arne Schafer is the vocalist here. But the similarities are many. The vocals are very good, btw.
This one hour long album contains one suite clocking in at twenty-two minutes and three other more shorter songs. The shortest one is seven minutes long and the longest one is clocking in at at sixteen minutes. The songs are epic and symphonic. In short, Versus X is at the symphonic prog end of the neo-prog scene.
The frequent use of piano and acoustic guitars also adds an epic feel to this album. A good feel in my books. There is also a good 1970s feel over this album. Symphonic prog fans should listen up.
There is no real great songs here. But this is still a very good album and a reminder that this was a good band. I may check out their three other albums.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
The fourth and final album from this Danish band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, guitars and keyboards.
The band was some sort of a Danish supergroup which included some of the best prog and fusion musicians in Denmark at that time. A sort of Denmark's version of Return To Forever.
The band was not far from that band's take on fusion too on this album. But the likes of Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra also springs to mind here.
This forty-one minutes long album is very melodic at times. It also have a lot of technical stuff too. This album is by no means an easy listening album. This album is full to the brim with fusion of the rather noisy, intense sort.
Well, it has a mix of intense and more laidback music. There are a lot of intense guitar solos here and some more pastoral pieces. There are also some hymn like pieces here.
There is also some much more jazzy pieces here which really gets my blood and feet going in joy.
The end result is a very good album which has a lot to offer for every fusion fan. This is one of the best Scandinavian fusion albums out there so check it out and enjoy.
The second album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussions, violin, organ, synths, piano, woodwinds and vocals. Both English and Italian vocals.
I was not so happy about their fourth album Nel Regno Dei Ciechi from 2013. A bit messy album, I wrote in my review four years ago.
I get the feeling that this band is creating ultra-complex music as it's modus operandi. Un Millione Di Voci is another very complex piece of music.
The basis here is a mix of eclectic progressive rock and fusion. Add a lot of classical music too and you get this album.
Which is fine when these three genres are fused into one genre. On this one hour long album, we get one piece of eclectic prog, one piece of classical music and one piece of fusion. This on a random basis and repeated over and over.
Some of the pieces are rather good. But it is difficult following the wild ride this album is offering up. Being thrown of the album is something I am getting used to now. And I am not sure if I like it. Or for that matter, get the full meaning for this wild ride.
The good things are good here. But this album is too confusing, too unhinged and not really a good listening experience. Hence my verdict.
Monday, 15 May 2017
The debut album from this band from Israel.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of piano, keyboards, bass, drums, male and female English vocals. A guest musician contributes with guitar on one of the eight songs.
The first thing I noticed about this band and album was the record label. Fading Records is a part of the AltRock Production empire. This is the best record labels for prog and art rock in today's world. Hence, I purchased this album...... and promptly forgot it. Until a forthnight ago when I started to listen to this album.
Fading Records never do easy listening albums or albums which is easy to review. This is again the case for Anakdota's Overloading album. Let me see...... Where to start ?
The lack of guitars tells a lot about this album. The melodies are shaped by mostly piano and vocals. The keyboards also plays an important role here. Ditto for the drums and bass.
The vocals are both clear and good. There is a lot of interplays between male and female vocals. The music is a bit of an oddity........
Take a lot of art rock, add some jazz, add some avant-garde, add a lot of symphonic prog, add some Canterbury and add some pop music. The music is very melodic though, but in a weird sense of melodic. This is clearly Art-Rock with big letters.
The piano is sometime melodic and sometimes dissonant. But is is everywhere. Which is not a bad thing. It makes this a very elegant album indeed.
My only gripe is the lack of a great piece of music. A piece of music which grabs me. But this is a very promising debut album and one to check out.
The one and only album from this Indonesian band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of percussions, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
Indonesia is most known for their jazz/fusion scene and many contributions to MoonJune Records band roster. Great fusion/jazz/ethno jazz albums. But neo-prog... ? Well, Vantasma is/was a neo-prog band.
I thought I had already reviewed this album when I was a member of the ProgArchives staff many years ago. But I have not. So I am cracking on........
Where the MoonJune Records albums from Indonesia is full of musical references to Indonesia and the rest of Asia, there is no such references in Vantasma's universe and music. I am not sure if that is a good or a bad thing. But I am reviewing what I am hearing from the speakers and that's it.
The music here is heavy neo-prog with a lot of prog metal influences. There is also a lot of power metal influences here. The vocals is leaning towards power metal and the numerous German bands in that genre. The music is much more leaning towards prog metal and neo-prog. Though with some pretty heavy power metal references.
The music is heavy.... but also good. This band knew what they were doing and this album is not just a colourful contribution to the neo-prog scene. It is a good neo-prog album in it's own right.
It is a pity that Vantasma seems to be no longer with us. Because they had something going here. Something good.
The second album from this German band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of sitar, keyboards, piano, drums, percussions, bass, harpsichord, strings, organ, saxophone and English vocals.
I was not overly impressed by their 1982 debut album Running To Paradise. An album in the symphonic prog genre.
Two years later, Sirius released their second and final album. There was no label interested in this album so it was released by the band on their own. Which accounts for the pretty poor sound.....
The band is still firmly rooted in the symphonic prog genre. But with some nuances....
The band has listened a lot to Genesis. That comes across clear and loud. But there is also some pomp pop here and some Supertramp associations. The pop here is overblown and not helped by the pretty poor vocals.
The vocals is thin and overly theatrical. It is like listening to a drowning cow.... the final moments. The music, which is mostly performed with keyboards and piano, is wrapped around these vocals.
That is what we can deem as a stern test for a reviewer like myself or any other listener to this album. It does not help that there are no good songs here. OK, this forty-four minutes long album has it's good moments. But not many enough. The sound is also a bit of a music-killer.
This is barely a decent album and only that. Handle it with care if you can find this album.
The third album from this British band.
Syd Arthur is a quartet with a lineup of mandolin, violin, bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals.
This band is one of the new stars in the progressive rock and rock scene. The name "Syd" sounds like a reference to Syd Barret and the 1960s Pink Floyd era.
When listening to this album, the Syd Barret and Pink Floyd influences is somewhat obvious. From what I gather, these influences was far stronger on the previous two albums. I am purchasing......
The band has, according to ProgArchives, gone in a much more commercial direction on this album. There is indeed a lot of indie and pop music on this album. Though with a psychedelia edge.
The best song here is Sun Rays. A great song which would appeal to everyone into indie and the likes of Coldplay. I guess this was some kind of a hitsingle for the band too. Should have been.
Despite of being quite pop influenced, this is quite a charming forty odd minutes long album. It is not overly technical and not every songs here are good. But I like this album and have been won over despite of my dislike of both indie and pop music. Check out this album. ....And the hype is pretty much justified when it comes to this band.
Sunday, 14 May 2017
The third album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of flute, keyboards, piano, bass, drums, classical guitar and Italian vocals.
This Italian band was active in the 1970s with their debut album E Fu Il Sesto Giorno released in 1972 and the follow up album Inferno released in 1973. I have reviewed both of them here and here.
Then the band were silent for over 30 years before they returned with Paradiso and later the 2016 album Purgatorio. Both to be reviewed here/see the review of Purgatorio somewhere else in this blog.
I really liked both E Fu Il Sesto Giorno and Inferno very much. Classic Italian symphonic progressive rock... RPI. I am therefore delighted to welcome Paradiso (and Purgatorio) into my collection of RPI albums.
The band continues on from Inferno on this album. Davide Spitaleri does a superb job on the vocals. His operatic vocals is on the top of some classic, classic RPI. Banco and PFM is great references here. Ditto for ELP.
The music is operatic, almost gothic RPI. There are a lot of classical music 'ish music here. The superb vocals adds opera to the music which is classic RPI.
There is no great songs here. Nevertheless, this fifty minutes long album will send all RPI fans (like myself) into a fit of immense pleasure. But being a reviewer and not so passionate one too, I can only give this a very good rating.
The sixth solo album from this French legend.
This album is a duo of Christian and Stella Vander, husband and wife. The lineup is piano, keyboards and lots of lots of vocals performed by both Stella, Christian and numerous other guest vocalists and choirs.
Both Christian and Stella Vander is off course leading members of Magma, this legendary zeuhl band. Christian Vander has been in Magma from the beginning while Stella has been a leading vocalist in the reformed Magma.
So we are getting a Magma album here with tonnes of drums and rhythms ?
There is no drums here and there is no machine or instruments driven rhythms here. This album is what you get if you strip down Magma to the bare vocals. And that takes a lot of efforts.
The end result is a zeuhl album. But not as we know it. The only reference I can come up with is Shub Niggurath. But this one hour long album is pretty unique. It is like zeuhl meets up with the choral music genre.
And it is a very touching album indeed. Not to mention an album which proves that zeuhl also works when stripped down to the bare essentials.
This is indeed an eye-opening album. There is no great tracks here. But most of the album is pretty fascinating and well worth checking out. Fans of Magma needs this album as much as a camel needs water once in a while.
This is indeed a very good album. Just when I thought I had heard everything, this album pops up.....
The third album from this English band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of thin flute, mandolin, guitars, bass, drums, percussions, bodbran, keyboards and vocals.
I was very happy about my first ever meeting with the band, their second album A Midsummer Night's Dream from 1993. A good album, indeed.
Red Jasper has never really had their breakthrough. Which is a bit strange as they have released some albums with music somewhere between Jethro Tull and Marillion.
The band follows the same road as they set out on in the previous album, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
That means a good blend of neo-prog with some rock and a lot of folk rock. Even some folk music with the thin whistles and mandolin.
The sound is very comfortable and cosy on the ears. The vocals is really good here and the other members are doing a good job too. The only thing missing is a great piece of music or even a great song. That aside....
This is indeed a good album from a good, overlooked band.
Saturday, 13 May 2017
The one and only album from this Polish band.
This band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
It is my understanding that this is a sort of a Polish supergroup with members from Satellite and other notable bands from Poland.
It was also always meant as a one-off project, just to record these songs. Which is a good thing for those of us into this kind of music.
"This kind of music" means neo-prog. Polish neo-prog. Yes, that may be a genre too. Or maybe not. The music here is neo-prog with a lot of progressive metal influences.
Take one slice of Satellite and add some progressive metal. Then add some catchy, groovy rock too and you get this album.
The sound is very fresh. This forty minutes long album is indeed a very refreshing album. The prog metal is just adding nice colours to this album. I am not a fan of prog metal, but I like the prog metal on this album.
The basis is neo-prog though and this is a neo-prog album. The vocals are not the best. But they are still good and does not harm this album.
The end result is a very refreshing album with some very good songs. My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs. But this is still a very good album. It is recommended.
The second album from this Norwegian band.
The band on the CD version I have got was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, flutes, bass, drums and Norwegian vocals. A female singer is adding some vocals on one track and another musician is adding some viola too.
The band was a bit unstable at this time so the people involved is different between the LP version and the re-recorded CD version. A bit strange, but I am sure the band had their reasons to do so. Good reasons.
I was not entirely impressed by their 1980 self-titled debut album. A bit woeful and lacking in quality. So the band tries again.......
This is a bit of a strange album. The Camel influences is still here. But you can also add some punk, reggae, pub rock, a lot of symphonic prog, some Norwegian/Scandinavian folk rock and a lot of what were later to be known as Scandinavian symphonic prog. This is some weird fifty-four minutes.
The big epic here is the seventeen minutes long Mens Tiden Forgår. A folk music and folk hymn/dirge tinged sort of symphonic prog. And it is a pretty anonymouse epic too. There are some very good guitars here, though.
The other tracks is also lacking a bit in quality. It is indeed a weird album. Melodic, but weird. The punk and reggae in the beginning of this album makes this an art-rock album.
The vocals are not that good. The guitars are really good and the band should build on them. I hope they have as I am about the review their remaining four albums too.
I am still not won over by these Norwegians and this album. I have tried, but I have failed. Hence my verdict.
The fourth album from this US band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and male vocals.
I was not overwhelming impressed by this band's debut album Pacific Coast Highway from 1994. I have therefore bypassed their 1995 and 1996 albums before landing on this album, Natural Selection.
The first thing I notice is that the album is seventy-four minutes long. I have noticed that during every listening sessions with this album. The title track is exactly half an hour long and is closing this album.
The band is listed as a psychedelic band most places. This album is rather encroaching on the neo-prog territory. But there is no denying that Pink Floyd is a main influence on their music and sound.
The sound is very much the 1990s sound, but not so bad that it sounds awful and dated. The sound is actually very good.
The music on this album does speak loud and in big letters. The music is rather understated and it demands a lot from the listener. Listeners who may give up after the first two listening sessions and declare it as a boring album.
It has to be said that I have heard far more livelier and exciting music than what this album is offering. It is indeed a bit of a dull album. That said, this is a rather good album. It has a lot of longviety and a lot of hidden gems. Hence my verdict.
The one and only album from this German band.
The Vampires Of Dartmoore was a duo of Heribert Thusek and Horst Ackermann. They did all instruments here. They are from what I can detect drums, bass, organs, voices, guitars and some woodwinds.
There are also a lot of other sounds here which I would describe as movie soundtrack outtakes.
The krautrock scene has given us some strange albums. This is probably the strangest one of them all.
Take some horror movie soundtracks and fuse them with some cheesy adult/porn-movies soundtracks. Then you add a lot of lounge jazz too and you get this album.
This is obviously a novelty album with a very limited scope and entertainment value. There is no musical value here.
In short, this is a turkey, best avoided altogether.
Friday, 12 May 2017
The eight album from this US band.
The band was a quintet on this band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals.
I am no fan of this band so I am not sure about this Styx'mythology/history. But I guess this lineup and bandmembers is the alltime classic Styx. The one that made this band a million albums and sold out arenas selling band.
The band continues on from the previous album The Grand Illusion on this album. And also from the previous albums Equinox and Crystal Ball. That means commercial AOR with some progressive rock leanings.
Anno 2017, the music sounds dated. But that does not mean it has lost any of it's quality. The album cover is slightly cheesy. The music is a lot cheesier.
There is a lot of teenybop rock in their music. A lot of bombastic pomp and prog rock too. But I guess pomp rock is the best label here. That and AOR.
The music is fairly hard with a lot of Queen'esque choirs and melody lines. Queen was a lot more elegant, stylish and classy, though. Styx sounds like five American brats compare to Queen.
Styx has been a real cheese-fest on their previous three albums and the party continues on this album. A lot of choruses and verses which really sticks to my mind. But not long enough. The quality is not here and this album is a slight mistake in their discography. I rate it somewhere between decent and good.
The second album from this Finnish band.
Rikk Eccent is a one man band with Kimmo Salmela playing drums, bass, keyboard, guitars and all vocals (English vocals) on this album. He has got some help from two others on bits and pieces.
I reviewed the 2013 debut album The Garden Of Delights in # 1 of this blog back in January 2014. An album I liked and rated as very good.
So I had high hopes for this album.
Kimmo Salmela is very much going down the classic rock route again. There are clear references to Bad Company again and numerous others classic rock bands.
A one man band is always lacking in artistic control as in two or more heads thinks better than one head. The playing here is also a bit sparse where Kimmo is not exactly doing fills and adding colours with the guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. The music is lacking a lot in the imagination field.
The classic rock genre is really good when it sounds and feel fresh. The debut album from Rikk Eccent is a good example.
The second album, the one I am now reviewing, does not feel fresh and full of energy. It sounds a bit stale to me. A lot lacking in imagination and good songs. This is a decent enough album. But just that. This is not an album for me. But I like the owl.
The one and only album from this US band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
This band released one album and then disappeared again. It is one of the many bands with one album and then decades in obscurity. Make that, an eternity in obscurity. But thankfully, ProgArchives and Youtube has given this band some attention. Well deserved or not.
Released in 1969, this album is not fully prog rock. We are here talking a mix of psychedelia, hard rock and pop music. That means a lot of keyboards and guitars on the top of a solid rhythm duo.
Good references here are early Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple. This album is not as hard rocking as the cover artwork tells you. The bark is worse than the bite.
This forty-four minute, a full length LP, offers up a nice nostalgic trip back to the flower-power era. Because this is really flower-power with some vikings images thrown into the mix.
This is not really a good album. It has a couple of good moments. But the music here tells you why this band never really made it past this album. It is an obscure album for a reason. A good reason.
Nevertheless, this is a decent album who everyone into the late 1960s psychedelia should check out.
The third album from this Swedish band.
This band is the super-bassist Jonas Reingold's band and he had help from four other regular band members here on this album. The lineup was bass, drums, keyboards, percussion, guitars and vocals.
Lots of guest musicians added their voices and sounds too. Most notable guests are Theo Travis, Roine Stolt, Andy Tillison and Tomas Bodin. The Tangent and The Flower Kings is the backbone of both this band and this album.
Karmakanic is a band who has never really impressed me. Their music has until this album been a funky pop-rock version of The Flower Kings and Swedish symphonic prog. A sure way of turning me off this band and their albums.
Who's The Boss In The Factory is a different kettle of fish, though. The band has moved a lot closer towards both The Tangent and The Flower Kings in both their sound and in their music.
The opening track Send A Message From The Heart is twenty minutes long and is a proof that this is a Karmakanic album well worth checking out to a sceptic like myself. So I am listening...... A lot.
The opening track and most other tracks on this fifty-five minutes long album is bombastic and throws hand-grenades in all directions. But this album ends with the two pieces, seven minutes long suite Eternally. A pretty pastoral suite and a contrast to the rest of this symphonic, bombastic album.
The end result is a very good album well worth checking out as it is one of the better Swedish symphonic prog albums out there. I never thought I would say that about a Karmakanic album......
The debut album from this US band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and male vocals.
One guest musician did the strings arrangements too.
Gypsy was a US band who altogether released five albums with moderate success. But their first two albums were all colourful to say at least.
This album were a double LP, sixty-six minutes long. A very brave step for a debut album. The first three sides of this double LP is devoted to short'ish tracks. They were on average four minutes long. Which was not really that short in 1970 where the three minutes barrier were a real thing for the radio and jukeboxes.
Their music is a mix of commercial pop, Crosby Stills & Nash, Santana, psychedelia and progressive rock. There is plenty of latino rhythms here and there is plenty of interesting details. There is also commercial pop anno 1970 here too. But no real hit songs and no real cringeworthy moments. This despite of some songs being too rich with sugar.
The strings also adds a lot of cheese to this album. The album is a bit dated. Then again, it sounds fine and relevant anno 2017.
The end result is actually a good album with lots of interesting details and melodies inbetween the cheese and sugar. It is an album I have found enjoyable. Check it out.
Thursday, 11 May 2017
The debut album from this British band.
Tempest was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, violins and vocals.
Tempest was the band Jon Hiseman put together after the split of Colosseum and before this band re-started again as Colosseum II. He brought in Allan Holdsworth on guitars, Mark Clarke on bass and Paul Williams on vocals.
The band was rather shortlived with two albums. Albums who has got a bit of a legend status decades after their release.
It is clearly that Jon Hiseman did not leave the Colosseum sound behind him when he started Tempest. That band is pretty evident here.
That means bluesy jazzy hard rock with a lot of progressive and folk rock influences. Paul Williams's vocals is very raw and soulful. There is indeed a lot of soul on this album and that is only because of his vocals.
Allan Holdsworth is not let of the leash here. This is therefore no guitar album. He is pretty good on violin though. But his guitar playing is also very good. Jon Hiseman is very good on the drums.
The emphasis is on the melodies here. Raw and soulful melodies. And the result is a good album. One of the more interesting hard rock albums I have heard for a while. Allan Holdsworth has just passed away and this album proves what a team-player he was too in addition to being a guitar-god.
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
The debut album from this US drummer.
This album was recorded by nine musicians with a lineup of drums, congas, guitars, bass, woodwinds, flutes, moog and piano.
Billy Cobham is another jazz musician who broke into prog rock and fusion after playing on the classic and groundbreaking Miles Davis album Bitches Brew. He also played in Mahavishnu Orchestra too. Altogether some great albums. Before joining up with Miles Davis, he also played drums for several trad. jazz musicians.
Spectrum is an album very much influenced by Mr. Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra. He was very much influenced by his earlier work, in other words.
The later (and rather tragic heroin overdose victim) Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin does the guitars and Jan Hammer does the keyboards. Tommy Bolin's guitars here is far better than on the Deep Purple albums he can be found. Billy Cobham's drums is also from another planet. So great are they.
The music is fusion with some Latin-American influences. And the music is great throughout. It is really a fusion-fest and one to really enjoy.... and admire !
Check out this great album.
Friday, 5 May 2017
The eight album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, harmonica, mellotron and Italian vocals from Lino Vairetti.
My review is of the new material here, CD 1 of this double CD album. CD 2 is a re-recording of Palepoli.
The band released their first album back in 1971. Their so far final album is this album from 2015. That says a lot about this band who has also had a lot of pauses and splitups along the way. I am not really a big fan of this album as I feel the quality has not been up there among the best RPI bands.
The band has left behind them the complex, challenging music from their first albums. Palepolitana is a thirty-eight minutes romp through a pop-rock landscape. Italian pop-rock with a lot of fast, but not heavy songs too. Italo pop springs to mind. Angelo Branduardi also springs to mind.
Palepolitana is a cosy album with some really good vocals and some cosy melodies. It is not particular rich in substance. Fans of early Osanna will despair. I am a bit ambient about it all. We all grow old and graceful. This is an album from people who has grown old and graceful. This is a decent album which does not invite to many replays.
Wednesday, 3 May 2017
The one and only album from this German band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, percussion, drums, bass and English vocals.
The Krautrock scene has given us a lot of weird and wonderful bands and albums. It has also given us a lot of weird and.......well, just weird albums.
There is a lot of one-albums bands in this scene. Some very obscure albums only the bands and ProgArchives knows about.
I really like the band name a lot. A nice addition to this blog ! The music is also a bit weird....
Take the Amon Duul albums and mix them with the first Amon Duul II albums. Then you get this album. There are some mindless jamming in the beginning of this album who does nothing for me.
The first half of this album is rather dull and uninteresting.
The second half of this forty minutes long album is far more interesting with a lot more well crafted song structures.
The pointless drum solo in the middle of this album is just annoying and is breaking up a pretty good melody structures.
The end result is a decent album who is well sought after on the second hand market, but still pretty low on substance. I am not won over... But the band name is great !
The second album from this British band.
Red Jasper was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flutes, mandolin, keyboards and vocals.
Most reviewers in ProgArchives describe this band as overlooked. I did not hear about this band until the end of 2016 when I got their new album and then purchased a 2 for 1 CD which included this album too. Oh yeah, this band is overlooked. The band and their six albums.
Jethro Tull meets Marillion is the best description I have heard on this band. Which is a true label on this band.
Red Jasper is most definate a folk-rock band. You get the mandolin, flutes and vocals on the top of the folk-rock melodies here. There are also some pub-rock influences here in addition to some clear neo-prog influences.
There are also a lot of electric guitars here with some good solos and riffs. Which also drags this album towards Marillion territory.
The vocals is very good and most stuff here is good to very good. Unfortunate, there is not any great or very good songs here. But this is still a good album which really deserve some more attention. And so does the band too.
The debut album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussion and Swedish vocals. Simon Steensland were a guest musician (drums) on one track and Reine Fiske played guitars throughout the album as a regular member of Landberk.
I was very pleased with their second album Lonely Land who I reviewed three years ago.
The band was together with Kaipa the forefathers of the Scandinavian symphonic prog sound. That is progressive rock with a strong folk rock influence.
This album has a very strong Swedish folk-rock and traditional Swedish hymns influence. So much that the album is standing with at least one leg in this tradition.
There are some heavy guitars from Reine Fiske on this album too and some meditation pieces too on this forty-five minutes long album. This album is very pastoral throughout.
This album is not a progressive tech-wunderkind album. But it is done with style and conviction, as alluded to in the title.
This album is also a very good album just as the follow up album Lonely Land was a very good album. Check it out if this sounds promising.
Monday, 1 May 2017
The third album from this Danish band.
Secret Oyster was a quintet with a lineup of saxophones, guitars, bass, drums, synths, moog, keyboards, sitar and harmonica.
Secret Oyster started out in 1973 with the very good Furtive Pearl album. The follow up album, 1974s Sea Son was not that inspired.
The band got the job to come up with a piece of music for a Danish theatre which was celebrating something. The result was a pretty unusual Secret Oyser album.
I believe this album was recorded in a studio just after or before the performance of this piece of music.
This thirty-six minutes long album/piece of music starts out as a jazz album with some good saxophones. Then the album/piece of music takes a sharp left turn into a much more folky, almost Balkan folk-rock RIO terrain. There is indeed some Aranis influences throughout the middle part of this album. This piece of music is performed with some acoustic instruments.
The final part of this piece of music/album takes us through a much more fusion piece of music with some guitars and keyboards. Then we are back in the Arani territory again during the final albums.
I am not sure what the audience made of this concert and piece of music. It is not straight jazz. It is a funny, weird piece of music and album. I have to admire the band for going this extra lenght with this album and piece of music.
This album is a good album though from a band who were not afraid of challenging themselves and their audience. This is my kind of band, indeed.
Saturday, 29 April 2017
The debut album from this US band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and male vocals.
I believed this band was another British neo-prog band from the 1990s until I checked out ProgArchives. Well, I was wrong. This band is from the west coast of USA.
The music is not too far off being neo-prog either. There are a lot of things to love here if you are really into neo-prog. ProgArchives has listed them as a psychedelic prog rock band and that comes across on this album.
There is a large psychedelic rock twist on this album. There are also a lot of AOR, symphonic prog and neo-prog here. Bands like Marillion, Pink Floyd and Steve Hackett is good references.
This album is one hour long and does have a lot of psychedelic rock workouts. It is much more psychedelic than melodic. It is still a flowing, melodic album...... but in a psychedelic rock form of melodic and flowing.
The music is not bad at all. There are one good song here, the final song The Final Word. The rest is so and so without being really bad. Hence my lack of too much enthusiasm for this album.
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of mellotron, flutes, bass, guitars, drums, moog, organ and Norwegian male vocals.
I have heard about a potato species called kerrs pink. It was and probably still is a staple diet of all Norwegians. That is all I knew about kerrs pink before I heard about this band through ProgArchives many, many potato meals later...... nine years ago.
I have just purchased all their albums and will/has review/reviewed them this summer.
1980 was a barren year for progressive rock. In Norway, new-wave was the big thing. Kerrs Pink went against everything and released this album.
This album is very much based on the early bands in the Norwegian progressive rock scene. Bands who combined folk-rock with some progressive music. Jethro Tull meets Yes, that kind of music.
But Kerrs Pink has also done their own thing and moved closer towards the likes of Camel and Curved Air. That still with this Scandinavian sound.
The Norwegian vocals is exotic, even for a Norwegian like this reviewer. The music is also very melodic, but still with a big bite and a lot of substance. The flutes are good. The quality of the music not that good. But this is a debut album and well worth checking out. I think I will really like this band.
The sixth album from this British band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, orchestration, keyboards, drums, bass and vocals.
I lost touch with this band's output until this album popped up in my inbox a few months ago. Which reminded me that I have done a few reviews of their albums many years ago. Read them here and here.
As you may gather, 25 Yard Screamer is a neo-prog band. A neo-prog band with a little twist. Take Marillion and induce a lot of post-rock and shoegaze into their music. A bit Radiohead does not go amiss either. The band mostly in my mind is the almightly Gazpacho.
The music is epic, but in a post-rock meaning. The music is very melodic with some chugging guitars and some very good rhythm work. The vocals is also good and worthy some praise.
This album does have this British sound too. A great sound.
Not everything here is great. There are some parts of this album which makes me nod off and loose interest. But most of this fifty minutes long album is good to very good. This is a band well worth checking out. That too goes for this album.
Friday, 28 April 2017
The third studio album from this Italian band.
The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, violins, accordion, bass, drums, flutes, clarinet, gluckenspiel and both male and female English vocals.
I was not particular impressed by their previous album, the 2012 opus Many Meetings On A Blithe Journey. Too bland in my view.
We are deep into the folk-rock, folk-metal scene here. You find this album somewhere in this area.
There is not that much Fairport Convention influences here and the songs are a bit light on substance. There is a lot of metal here too. Hence the label "folk-metal" is the most appropriate label.
The band is doing a good job with a very lush sound. Unfortunate, the cliches and the usual folk-metal stuff comes thick and fast here.
The mix of female and male vocals is the usual fare now. This album does not really offer any surprises or anything new.
The result is a decent album who does not really enthuse me. I am not a fan of this folk-metal genre at all. But fans of this genre better check out this album.
Thursday, 27 April 2017
The seventh album from this Brazilian band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of synths, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, flute and English vocals.
The band started to sing in English on the 2008 album The Bridge Of Light. They also changed style from Brazilian symphonic prog to a much more AOR and prog metal influenced style. Well, this is pretty commercial progressive rock.
I will argue that the band lost a large chunk of their style and reason-to-be with this change of style. I very much prefer them as a symphonic prog band. This although The Bridge Of Light was a good album indeed.
The music on this one hour long album is very much AOR. Which just makes this album and this band one of many bands in this genre, fighting for attention and money.
There are still some symphonic prog left here and Eloy Fritsch is still on board this band. We get some of his brilliant keyboards interludes here. They reminds me about ELOY and Keith Emerson.
I am not a big fan of AOR. But I very much like great AOR. Well, there is not anything of that here. The best pieces here is when Eloy Fritsch is being let loose on his own. The vocals too is very good.
The end result is a decent to good album.
It seems like this was their final album, I am afraid. But I hope I am wrong.