Monday, 24 July 2017

Nostradamus The Tank Engine - Nostradamus The Tank Engine (2012)

The debut album from this US band.

Nostradamus The Tank Engine was sextet with a lineup of violin, flutes, percussions, drums, gongs, bass, guitars, mellotron, piano, dulcimer, cello, mandolin and some vocals.

This album is the only lifesign from this band. They have a website, but no activity. So I guess that's it from this band. This album, that is.

I have no idea what they mean with this band-name either. Neither does I know what the meaning of the artwork is either. The album was released through Bandcamp.

The music is a pretty decadent mix of jazz, post-rock, avant-garde and eclectic progressive rock. It is kind of Frank Zappa meets Sigur Ros.

Most of this album is instrumental. The vocals is mostly used as sound effects. The music is also very downtuned and at times; cinematic.

The mix and mastering is almost criminal bad. These fifty minutes does not really come across as an overwhelming good experience. Mostly due to the very bad mix and sound.

The end result is a decent album which is good on paper, but only decent when arriving from the speakers and headphones. Give the album a try if you want.

2 points


Machiavel - Mechanical Moonbeams (1978)

The third album from this Belgium based band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mellotron, mandolin, organ, piano, strings, synths and English vocals.

Machiavel is now a national institution in Belgium and rightly so. They are still releasing albums too and gigging. I like their attitude and the world need more people like these.

Their previous album Jester was an interesting album. A very colourful album too. Which seems to be the style the band chose after that album.

Mechanical Moonbeams continues on from Jester. A touch of hard rock, pomp rock, symphonic prog and AOR gives this album it's own style. Ditto for the heavy accented vocals. Those vocals are quite good too.

This album is forty-one minutes long and has a lot of good songs. So much that this is indeed a good album. It is also a charming album too. I kind of like this band and their first albums.

3 points

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Out Of Focus - Four Letter Monday Afternoon (1972)

The third album from this German band.

Out Of Focus was a quintet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, flutes, stylophone, guitars, bass, drums, organ, piano and English vocals. Guest musicians provided woodwinds and bongos.

Out Of Focus started out as a folky progressive rock band before they moved to fusion and now to the music on this album. Three pretty different albums, in other words.

Four Letter Monday Afternoon is a cosmic krautrock album. Cosmic krautrock with a lot of Soft Machine at their most avant-garde and some other jazzy bands. There is also a lot of space rock on this album. In short; cosmic krautrock.

A lot of the music on this album is solos and improvised music. If not all of this album. The song... make that, track structures is very loose with a lot of guitars and woodwinds.

There are some sporadic vocals here. But most of this album is instrumental and spaced out into the outer space. Which makes this an interesting adventure.... This forty odd minutes long album.

There is some good stuff here and some not so good stuff. The end result is a fairly good album who sits somewhere between decent and good. Check out this album if krautrock fuels your spaceship.

2.5 points

Procol Harum - A Salty Dog (1969)

The third album from this British band.

Procol Harum was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, marimba, piano, harmonica, organ and vocals. Robin Trower is actually involved in this album on guitars.

Procol Harum is most known for one of the biggest songs in the history of popular music, the mighty A Whiter Shade Of Pale. A song/piece of music which was released on a single, but originally never on an album.... although I was included on the US and later represses of their self titled debut album.

The band was never a one-hit wonder though and are still playing gigs.

I started to review their albums back in December 2011. My review of their self-titled debut can be found here. That was followed up by a review of their second album, the 1968 album Shine On Brightly in April 2012. See review here. I am now going to review the rest of their albums/you will find reviews of the rest of their albums somewhere else in this blog.

Salty Dog is another album from the band in the same vein as their two first albums. You get a mix of folky rock and more symphonic prog. Symphonic prog anno 1969, even before this genre was invented.

The sound is warm and so is the songs. This is a cosy album without any great songs. But it is a good album indeed and I like both this album and this band. There is something charming about this band.

3 points

Magenta - The Twenty Seven Club (2013)

The seventh album from this British band.

Magenta was again a trio with Christina Booth on lead vocals, Chris Fry on guitars and Robert Reed on bass, keyboards, piano, guitars and mandolin. He is also the producer here.
Andy Edwards guests on drums.

There is no denying that I have for a long time have had a fondness for this band. Magenta was the first post '70s prog band I really fell for. I am also a big fan of Christina's vocals and...ehh.... person.

The Twenty Seven Club continues on from the 2011 album Chameleon and their previous albums. But mostly from Chameleon.

The music on The Twenty Seven Club is pretty complex though. It is also a bit on the heavy side too. It is a bit strange when I get Gentle Giant vibes from a Magenta album. Nevertheless, I get them from a couple of songs on this album. And that is not a bad thing.

There are also some more melodic songs here. The music is very clever throughout. Rob Reed, please step forward. Your fingerprints is all over this one hour long album.

The result is a good to a very good album. There are a lot of very good details here so I would elevate this to a very good rating. That also because of Christina's vocals. Check out this album.

3.5 points

Saturday, 22 July 2017

D Project. The - Shimmering Lights (2006)

The debut album from this Canadian band.

The D Project was a one man band run by Stephane Desbiens from the Canadian band Sense. He did the vocals plus guitars, keyboards and mellotron.
Stephane Desbiens had help from the likes of Martin Orford, Tomas Bodin, Fred Schendel plus some other guests who provided drums, bass, xtra keyboards, chapman stick, mellotron, synths, moog and backing vocals.

The D Project has so far released four albums and I am intending to review these four albums this summer/you can read reviews of their three other albums somewhere else in this blog.

The D Project and this album is a rather ambitious entity. The start off point is neo-prog. IQ and Arena is a good reference. So is the US symphonic prog band Glass Hammer too. Add some prog metal too and you get this album. And you can off course add Stephane Desbiens second band Sense too as a reference.

The sound is big and most of the music is very bombastic. And it is well played, taken the musicians into consideration too. The male and (sporadic) female vocals is very good.

The only thing lacking here is some good songs. There is none. But this band and Stephane Desbiens has shown enough promise to warrant checking out this album and their three other albums too.

2.5 points


Stormy Six - Macchina Maccheronica (1980)

The seventh album from this Italian band.

Stormy Six was a nine piece big band with a lineup of trombone, vibraphone, saxophone, cello, clarinet, guitar, bass, drums, violin, mandolin and Italian vocals.

Their last album, L'Apprendista was a great album. One of the best RIO/avant-garde albums I have ever heard. So I was looking forward to sink my ears into Macchina Maccheronica.

Three years had passed since L'Apprendista. There are still a lot of similar ideas in Macchina Maccheronica. But there differences too.....

This forty-eight minutes long album is packed full of RIO and avant-garde. The music is chamber-rock with a few electric guitars thrown in. The music is very typical Stormy Six.

There is one big difference though. There are no really great songs here. Most of the music is too dense with whimsical melodies and themes. The music become avant-garde for the sake of avant-garde.

Most of the album is good though. There are even a few great ideas here. Nevertheless, some of the music and themes here lacks a coherent structure. Hence my rating.

3 points

Nosferatu - Nosferatu (1970)

The one and only album from this German band.

Nosferatu was a sextet with a lineup of flute, saxophone, guitars, organ, drums, bass and English vocals.

Nosferatu was one of those many German krautrock bands who never made it. At least they released one album before they split up.

The album was produced by the famous producer Conny Plank. More about him on this link. That means this album has a good production.

The music itself is at the more rocking, noisy end of the krautrock scene. The music is pretty much spaced out too with some hypnotic, spacy melodies.

There is also a lot of hard rock and blues in this music. The saxophone adds some jazzy stuff to this music. The vocals are pretty good and in the hard rock vein.

There is no good songs here. But there is alot of interesting details and this is not a bad album at all.

Krautrock fans should really check out this album as it has a lot of interesting stuff.

2.5 points


Friday, 21 July 2017

Chac Mool - Nadie en Especial (1980)

The debut album from this Mexican band.

Chac Mool was a quintet with a lineup of synths, keyboards, cello, drums, percussions, mellotron, flute, bass, mandolin, guitars and Spanish vocals.

Chac Mool is perhaps an unknown band to you all. But they released three albums between 1980 and 1984. After a long break, their fourth and final album was released in year 2000.

The band is listed as a folk prog band in ProgArchives. That is promising. The additon of Mellotron is also promising.

What we get is folk rock influenced pop and rock. Mostly mainstream rock with some post-punk influences.

There are some sporadic prog rock here. But the album is most of all a melting pot of everything the band thought sounded clever and slightly commercial anno 1980. The synth sounds false here.

The album is saved from the turkey yard by a couple of decent songs and some half-clever use of flute and Mellotron. Besides of that, this forty odd minutes long album is rather forgetable.

2 points

Northwind - Distant Shores (1978)

The second & final album from this US band.

Northwind was a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, woodwinds, keyboards, percussion and vocals.

Their EP and two albums was never really released due to no interest from the record labels. They was released on Bandcamp forty years after their recordings and release on demo.

I have reviewed their previous two releases for ProgArchives back in November 2011 and January 2012. See these links for the reviews. I believe I even interviewed them for ProgArchives.

Distant Shores offers up a collection of some slightly progressive songs. A good reference are Barclay James Harvest. There are also some country here and some more mainstream US pop/rock.
The woodwinds offers up something extra and the vocals are good. The guitars and the keyboards does not offer up anything special here.

There are also enough to progressive rock here to make it interesting. Unfortunate, there is also a calypso song. A very bad song and out of tune with the rest of this album.

The album is almost one hour long. It offers up some good fun and cosy songs. They are not good songs though. This album is a name-your-price album and well worth checking out. But it is not a good album. Just a cosy, warm sounding album.

2.5 points

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Machiavel - Jester (1977)

The second album from this Belgium based band.

Machiavel was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, harpsicord, keyboards, piano, sax, clarinet, mellotron, glockenspiel and vocals. There was also a lot of other minor instruments here. That list is very long.

Their 1976 self-titled debut album was not particular impressive. A band not really in full bloom. A band not yet finding themselves.

This album made the band. So much that they are still alive and well with twelve albums under their belt and a huge local following. Machiavel is Belgium. That in both my estimation and in the estimation of a lot of other progheads too.

It is a bit difficult to pinpoint Machiavel and their music. Take a big chunk of Ange and Supertramp. Mix them with a lot of Kayak and you are there.

The music is most definate symphonic prog on this album. The songs are medium long and the song structures are very much in the symphonic prog vein. They still sounds a lot like Supertramp, though....

That is not anywhere near being a bad thing. I find this forty-six minutes long album very charming and engaging. The music is good throughout. This is by no means an easy-listening album. It is a rather dense and demanding album with multiple layers. That is perhaps why this album is still a popular album. And with good reasons. Check it out.

3 points

Mostly Autumn - Sight Of Day (2017)

The 12th album from this British band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album. The lineup was guitars, keyboards, percussions, drums, bass, Hammond organ, whistle, flute, tambourine and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
Two guest musicians contributed with uillean pipes and violins.

I have reviewed their eleven previous albums and is a bit of a follower of this band. New albums always finds their way to my flat and then this blog. See my reviews of their first eleven albums somewhere here in # 1 of this blog.

Olivia Sparnenn Josh is the female vocalist here and her husband Bryan Josh does the male vocals.

Their latest albums has been a bit of a mixed bag. I prefer them when they goes a bit back to their celtic prog roots. That is largely abandoned here.

We get a lot of great vocals from the married couple Josh. We also get a lot of dramatic songs throughout these seventy-four minutes the band has given us on this album.

Most of the songs are pretty poppy with a few exceptions. The opening song, the title track, is fifteen minutes long. There are also a couple of ten minutes long songs. The songs are on average pretty long, seven minutes long on average. This is not easy listening and teenybopper.

The standard is good throughout. It does not shame the band, this album. But it does not really live up the best of their albums either. I am neither disappointed or overly happy about this album. But Mostly Autumn is a great band and it is always nice/good to listen to one of their albums.

3 points


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Frumpy - By The Way (1972)

The third album from this German band.

Frumpy was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organ, percussions and vocals.

By The Way is the third and the final 1970s album from Frumpy. They released their final two albums in 1990 and 1991. None of them were worthy of the Frumpy name. Hence, I am bypassing them/I could not be bothered.  

Inga Rumpf was still at the microphone. Her bluesy, soulful masculine vocals was one of this band's trademarks.

The music has taken a turn towards classic rock here. Stadium rock or whatever we call it. But classic rock, the German way.

Hence, there is a lot of soul and blues here too on this forty minutes long album. There are still some progressive rock here. But not that much.

The title track is very good and one I will remember. The rest of the album is barely good. But Frumpy was a very good band and I am very pleased that they are still popular these days.

This is a good album which deserves a bigger audience 45 years after it's release.

3 points


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Kerrs Pink - Mystic Spirit (2013)

The sixth album from this Norwegian band.

Kerrs Pink was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

The band has again switched vocalist. Being a vocalist in Kerrs Pink is as safe as being a midge in my office. This time, we have got some royalty behind the microphone. Eirikur Hauksson, the current vocalist in Magic Pie and the previous vocalist in Artch. He is also from Iceland and a great vocalist.

Hence, one of the weakest points in this band has been solved.

The music is again pretty close to the Scandinavian symphonic prog genre created by the likes of Kaipa and The Flower Kings. Close, but not quite there....

Take a bit of English symphonic prog, a bit prog metal, a large slice of Scandinavian symphonic prog and some folk rock.

... And yes, there is still a lot of the old Norwegian prog rock Kerrs Pink gave us on their previous five albums.

There is no great songs here. But this is still a very good album. A seventy minutes long album. This is one of the better Norwegian prog rock albums from one of the least known Norwegian prog rock bands. Check out this album.

3.5 points

Out Of Focus - Out Of Focus (1971)

The second album from this German band.

Out Of Focus was a quintet here with a lineup of flutes, saxophone, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, stylophone, organ, piano and English vocals.

Out Of Focus is one of those almost-great German bands who nearly made it. Their 1970 debut album Wake Up! was a reasonable good album. The band was then a prog rock band.

Out Of Focus is a transitional album where the band stand with one leg in progressive rock and the other leg in the fusion camp. The band was moving towards fusion and indeed became a fusion band.

The use of saxophones is most definate jazzy and in the fusion camp. The flutes and guitars are still stuck in folk rock influenced progressive rock.

There is a lot of good guitar solos here which bridges the progressive rock and fusion gap. Well, in the case of this album, there is no gap between two genres. They are two parts of one harmony.

The result is a good album. It has it's flaws. But it still comes through as a good album, this forty odd minutes long album. It is one of those non-krautrock German albums well worth checking out.

3 points 

Monday, 17 July 2017

North Star - Feel The Cold (1985)

The second album from this US band.

North Star was a trio on this album with a lineup of keyboards, flutes, marimba, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.

North Star has released six albums between 1984 and 2015. Sporadic releases in other words. I have only got this album and I am not able to make any fair comment on the band as such.

This album starts out with some Phil Collins vocals and some post- Lambs Broadway Genesis like music. A very good start.

North Star is listed as neo-prog in ProgArchives. That is probably right as this album continues down that route.

The music is keyboards driven and it has some good melody lines. Unfortunate, the attempts to make anything interesting here is punctuated by some ambient sleep inducing electronica stuff at the final half of this album.

The more Genesis and neo-prog like material is not particular good and neither is the ambient stuff. The end result is a decent album which fails to impress me. I hope this is not a reflection of the band who does their best here with the sub-standard songs.

2 points

Aunt Mary - Aunt Mary (1970)

The debut album from this Norwegian band.

Aunt Mary was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, flutes, bass, drums, piano, organ, harmonica, saxophone, keyboards, mouth-organ and English vocals.

Aunt Mary is supposed to be the first ever Norwegian hard rock band and I was looking forward to giving this album my full attention.

I am not so sure about this hard rock thing and Aunt Mary....... Not on this album, anyway.

Take a big chunk of the 1960s beat, add some fusion aka Chicago, add a lot of psych rock, a lot of soul and some hard rock. Add some traditional Norwegian pop music too. Then you get this album.

The music is pretty naive and colourful. It has a lot of colours taken from the flutes, piano and organs. It is also all over the place, the music.

The quality is not that good though and it feels very dated. It is a decent enough album and that is that.

2 points

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Nope - Walker (2014)

The second album from this English band.

Nope is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, synths, percussions and drums.

The band has two drummers and no bassist, according to ProgArchives. That is unusual. And I cannot detect any bass in their sound either. Unusual !

I have not heard their 2012 debut album Revision and knows next to nothing about this band. They have toured UK and Europe a lot.

That is pretty evident here as their music is very much lively and live-like. It is also instrumental.

Take post-punk, a bit of post-rock and a lot of alternative metal. That is when you get this album. It is pretty much rhythm orientated with a lot of strong beats.

The title track is twenty-nine minutes and comes in part 1 and part 2. The two other tracks are three minutes and eight minutes long. In total just over forty minutes, in other words.

The music is not pretty narrow in it's scope. Less is more like music.

There is no great or even good music here. I am not really impressed by this album and it is really not for me. Hence my ratings.

2 points

Santhiago. Gustavo - Animam (2016)

The debut album from this Brazilian artist.

Gustavo Santhiago did the keyboards and flutes here. He had help from a quintet who helped out with sitar, guitars, bass and drums.

This album created some shockwaves in ProgArchives and other places when it was released. It was considered to be one of the better 2016 albums. So I purchased this album and promptly forgot it until now.

Gustavo is a member of the fusion/eclectic prog trio Stratus Luna who has a pretty good following in Brazil. The music on Animam did not fit into the Stratus Luna concept so he released this album instead.

The music on this almost fifty minutes long album is symphonic prog. Instrumental symphonic prog. There are clear references to Camel here. Very clear references indeed. There is also some good Yes references here and also, not surprisingly, some good RPI references. Yes, Italian symphonic prog.

Gustavo Santhiago has by no means re-invented the wheel or even revolutionised the symphonic prog scene with this album. The music is unassuming traditional symphonic prog with some medieval classical music references.

But Gustavo does this very well and this album is one of the better instrumental symphonic prog albums I have ever had the fortune to encounter. This is inedeed a very good album which should be a must-have for those into this genre.

3.5 points

Neuschwanstein - Battlement (1978)

The debut album from this German band.

Neuschwanstein was a sextet on this album with a lineup of flutes, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, synths and English vocals.

The band has released three albums. I have reviewed their second album Alice In Wonderland (from 2008) here and their third album Fine Art (from 2016) here.

For some reasons I cannot understand, I only got their debut album Battlement last week. I immediate went onto it for the first listening sessions.

It is very obvious that Genesis was a massive influence on the band on this album. So much that they have used the first twenty seconds of Carped Crawlers on one song.

There is also some krautrock aka Eloy in their music too. So this is not a Genesis copycat. They have incorporated Eloy and a bit Camel into their music too.

The music melodic, but not soft. The seven songs is on average six and a half minutes long. There is a lot of synths and vocals here. The guitars are more restrained. But they are there.

The quality of this music is very good throughout. There is no great songs on this almost fifty minutes long album. But the quality is very good throughout and this album is a hidden treasure, ready to be explored by those who goes looking for some great music.

3.5 points

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Out Of Focus - Wake Up! (1970)

The debut album from this German band.

Out Of Focus was a quintet with a lineup of flute, saxophone, bass, guitars, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

The band was one of those German bands who almost made it big.... but did not quite make it. The 2nd division of the league of great German bands. That is where they and their five studio albums can be found.

.... Which off course make the band a very interesting band. I love exploring bands and albums like this one.

The band was mainly a fusion band. But not quite on this, their debut album.

Take a mix of Jethro Tull, Maneige and some jazz. That is where you find this album. There is a lot of folk rock on this album. Hence the much used flute here. There is also some hard rock here.

.... Then there is some very noticeable jazz influences here.

This sounds like a band not sure where they were going. And I believe the band was a bit unsure about themselves. Which is what debut albums are for.

The quality is decent throughout. No great or even good songs. But there is a lot of hope here. Hence my rating and my desire to explore more of this band.

2.5 points

Vanilla Fudge - Rock'n Roll (1969)

The fifth album from this US band.

Vanilla Fudge was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, drums, bass, keyboards and vocals.

Strangely enough, they had the same lineup and setup as they were when they started up. But the band broke up for 15 years after this album before they reformed for a short while in 1984, 2002 and 2007.

The classic Vanilla Fudge, the real Vanilla Fudge can be found on their first five albums. Their 1960s albums. The quality of those five album varies from turkeys to some good albums.

Unfortunate, Rock & Roll is not the right way to go out on. Two of the band members were already involved with Jeff Beck in Beck, Bogart & Appice. The two others were also making other plans... post-Vanilla Fudge plans.

The songs here are a mix of gospel, soul and some hard rock. That with the full Vanilla Fudge treatment.

The songs are not the usual Vanilla Fudge standard and not even some very good keyboards work can hide that. That said, this is not a turkey, this album. But it is only a half decent album, done by a band already being broken up by it's members. This is not a good way to go out.

1.5 points

Friday, 14 July 2017

Nosound - Scintilla (2016)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

Nosound was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and vocals. Both English and Italian vocals. Danny Cavanagh from Anathema contributes with some vocals too.

I very much liked their second album Lightdark (2008) and their third album A Sense Of Loss (2009). I have yet to get hold of their debut album Sol29 (2005) and their fourth album Afterthoughts from 2013. But I have just bought their best of compilation and will really enjoy that one, I guess. I may even review it one day too although i normally never review compilation albums.

Nosound deliver a good mix of post-rock, Pink Floyd, Gazpacho and Marillion influenced progressive rock here. In short, a pretty much ambient album with no explosions and no exploding fireworks.

This album demand a lot of concentration of the listener as this album does not speak in big letters and fonts.

Subtle is the word here and this album delivers on that front. More than deliver.

Emotional and melancholic fifty minutes is what we get here. And the music is very good throughout. My only gripe is the lack of any great piece of music. That aside, this is indeed a very good album from a band who has played themselves straight into my heart.

3.5 points

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Magenta - Chameleon (2011)

The sixth studio-album from this British band.

Magenta was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass and female vocals. Two guest musicians provided drums and xtra guitars.

Christina Booth had recovered from cancer and did all the vocals here. Her vocals is as good and dominant as always. The hyper-busy Rob Reed did the keyboards and Chris Fry did the guitars.

I have been following this band for the best part of ten years now and have always rated them. But it is a long time since last I reviewed a Magenta album..... So I am reviewing their last three albums this summer/you can find reviews of their two more recent albums somewhere else in thie blog.

Magenta very much have their own sound. It is a mix of Renaissance and neo-prog. Their music is perhaps a bit too much pop orientated. But they always delivers interesting albums.

And Chameleon is no exceptions. Solid progressive rock in the same vein as their previous albums. The songs are a bit shorter and the music not as symphonic prog as on their first three albums.

Chameleon gives us fifty minutes of the usual mix of uptempo, epic songs and ballads. All well presented with some guitar solos and great keyboards work.

In short, this is a good album from a very good band.

3 points  

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Frumpy - Frumpy II (1971)

The second album from this German band.

Frumpy was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

Inga Rumpf was still on the vocals. The band had added a guitarist though after the 1970 debut album All Will Be Changed. An album that I really like.

Frumpy continues on with their mix if blues, symphonic prog and krautrock. The funk part of their sound has been toned down a bit on this album. It has more or less gone altogether, the funk part. There is still a lot of soul to go around here. Ditto for hard rock.

The keyboards, read mellotron and organs, is everywhere though. And the guitars adds to the sound too. Frumpy II has a better and more solid sound than All Will Be Changed.

The result is a hard rock album. One with a great groove too.

The album is forty minutes long divided on four songs. The last song Duty is very, very groovy with some insane krautrock stuff at the end. The best five minutes of this album.... but not by far.

The result is a very good album which has made my week. This is an album that need to be checked out if you like hard, noisy prog and rock.

3.5 points

Jane - Here We Are (1973)

The second album from this German band.

Jane was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, mellotron, keyboards, drums and English vocals. They also got help from numerous guests who provided electronics and backing vocals. Dieter Dierks, the later Scorpions producer, also helped out on this album.

I very much liked their 1972 debut album Together and noted that this band's albums would give me a lot of fun during this summer and the rest of this year.

.... And so Here We Are has proved too.

Here We Are sees the band a lot more mature and restrained than on Together. The blues is still there. But not as wild as on Together. The music has become a lot more softer and a lot more prog rock like too.

There are also some psychedelia as in krautrock here. The band has very much moved in the direction of krautrock here. But they are still not a fully blooded krautrock band.

There are still a lot of hard rock and US rock influences on this album too. It has a very nice 1970s flavour, this album.

I still like their sound with a mix of organs and guitars. What I am not really happy about here is the lack of any great or even good songs. That is my only gripe with this album. An album well worth checking out.

2.5 points

Kerrs Pink - Tidings (2002)

The fifth album from this Norwegian band.

Kerrs Pink was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals. Two female guest artists did the female vocals. There are also some saxophone and violins here.

I have reviewed their previous four albums for this blog (see the reviews) and I will also review their sixth and final album/you will find a review of their sixth and final album in this blog.
I have yet to find a great album from this band.

Their mix of art-rock, symph prog and folk rock is very good in theory and really appeals to both my brain and heart. The problem is the lack of quality, the lack of any great songs.

I have a soft spot for this band so I am really trying my best to tell everybody how great they are. But in all honesty; I can't justify that.

Tidings is a one hour long album and it starts with some new-era Kaipa'esque material. They have indeed moved pretty close to Kaipa on this album. This album is a mix of symphonic prog, some art-rock and folk rock. Scandinavian symphonic prog in other words.

And it has to be said that this is their best album so far. There is no great songs here. But the standard is very good throughout and Tidings is a very welcome addition to my home. It is an album that reminds me about the sunsets over the small lakes and big forests in Scandinavia. A very homely album and a very good album too.

Check out this album.

3.5 points

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Neuschwanstein - Fine Art (2016)

The third album from this German band.

Neuschwanstein was a eight man big band on this album with a lineup of viola, violin, synths, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, flutes and descant recorder.

The band with this impossible long name has released three albums. Their debut album Battlement in 1978 and their second album Alice In Wonderland back in 2008. I reviewed Alice In Wonderland for ProgArchives back in May 2009 and my review is here.
I have just got Battlement and will review it asap/you can read my review of Battlement somewhere else in this blog.

I did not expect a new Neuschwanstein album, to be honest. So I was very surprised when this album showed up.

Listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives, I thought this was going to be some krautrock inspired symphonic prog. Kind of Eloy like.


What we get here is forty minutes of some theatrical movie soundtrack which is much more gothic classical music than symphonic prog. The music is bombastic. Very bombastic. And very orchestral. Very symphonic orchestra like. Rock opera it is. Instrumental rock opera.

There is no real great piece of music here and I am really struggling to find any good pieces of music here. It is an OK album which falls between decent and good. But I am not a fan of this album.

2.5 points

Monday, 10 July 2017

Orion - Lunatic Asylum (2017)

The debut album from this band from Tblisi, Georgia.

Orion is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass, drums, sampling and vocals.

Georgia's contributions to the world has so far been Josef Stalin and some good folk and prog rock bands. I have also heard that their wine and other agricultural products are excellent. The nature in Georgia is also supposed to be great. Maybe I should go there one day......

Orion has released their album as a name-your-price album on Bandcamp.

This album has been listed as Crossover Prog in ProgArchives and that made me dive in and download this album. Then choosing it for review. No reviews in ProgArchives also made me wanting to give this album my time.

Lunatic Asylum is a bit of a.... ehh..... lunatic asylum. But not insane enough for my tastes. What we get here is a mix of nu-metal, grunge, prog metal and a tea-spoon worth of progressive rock. The synths and bass sometimes comes up with some strange atonal details which makes what we get here a bit more interesting.

But not interesting enough. The band does a great job. But nu-metal and grunge is not really my thing. Even when some neo-prog takes over and the album becomes a bit more melodic does this album fail to get to me. It is a decent enough album in my view. Check it out yourself and disagree with me.

2 points 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Netherworld - In the Following Half Light (1981)

The one and only album from this US band.

Netherworld was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, piano and vocals. Three guest musicians contributed with oboe and xtra drums.

The album was released on a local US label on LP in 1981 and re-released on CD by Musea under the name Netherworld in 2002. This after a lenghty search for the band-members by a Dutch prog rock magazine.

The band and this album is listed as symphonic prog in most magazines. Which may be right. In my view, this album has all the hallmarks for an album where the band members were unsure about which direction they were going to follow.

There is a lot of Kansas influences on this album. During the first songs, that is. It then turns slightly towards prog metal and the likes of Dream Theater. A band which had yet to debut back then. But in retrospective; there are some Dream Theater references here. There are also some more gothic influences here on the final track.

The first song, the heavy Kansas influenced Too Hard To Forget is the best song here. The remaining fifty minutes sees a considerable drop in quality. This is not exactly an interesting album. It is a pretty dull album unless US prog rock is the biggest interest in your life.

The end result is a decent album, but nothing more than that. I find it a rather dull, eventless album. Check it out if you are a collector of US prog rock.

2 points

Vanilla Fudge - Near The Beginning (1969)

The fourth album from this US group.

Vanilla Fudge was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, organ, keyboards, drums and vocals.

Vanilla Fudge had created quite a nice niche for themselves with their blend of west-coast psychedelia and hard rock. That combined with some excellent musicianship gave them a name. OK, their second album The Beat Goes On was a truly horrible avant-garde album. But their two other albums was good albums which gave the band a big following.

The four members of the band were excellent musicians and went onto having great careers on their own and in other bands. Bands like Beck, Bogart & Appice, Ozzy Osbourne Band, Cactus, King Kong, Alice Cooper Band and many other constellations. Their judgements and ideas though were sorely lacking. This album is a good example. Not to mention the horrible The Beat Goes On album.

This album forty-five minutes long. The first half is a studio album. The second track Some Velvet Morning is a fairly good album which remains me about a band called...... Vanilla Fudge. Vanilla Fudge as on their previous album Renaissance and their self-titled debut album.

The two other studio tracks are OK too. The twenty-four minutes long studio jam Break Song is a studio jam where each instrumentalist has their own space. That includes a drum solo.... Oh dear.

In short, this is a decent album and a bad follow up to the Renaissance album. Just when I thought the band was back again, this album happens. Oh dear, oh dear.

2 points

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Stormy Six - L'Apprendista (1977)

The sixth album from this Italian band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of mandolin, guitars, violin, bass, drums, xylophone, vibraphone, viola, piano and Italian vocals. Numerous other musicians adds cello, keyboards, bassoon, saxophone and percussions. 

Stormy Six was one of the founders of the RIO movement. That is short for Rock In Opposition. It is in my view another word for avant-garde prog. I have a kind of a joyful fear for that music. Hence the very sporadic reviews of RIO and avant-garde prog in this blog. Too few reviews, in fact. I will correct that abnomality this year. That includes more Stormy Six album reviews.

Stormy Six was a folk rock band before they changed course during the half and half folk and RIO album Un Biglietto Del Tram in 1975. See my review here.  The Cliche album from 1976 was a much more coherent RIO album. See my review here.

On L'Apprendista from 1977, the band had found a rich source of material. Self-written, that is. And it shows.

The vocals from Franco Fabbri and Umberto Fiori is pretty dominating. They are helped out by lots of violins and all kinds of accoustic instruments. This is mainly an accoustic album.

The music is pretty impossible to describe. Vocals based ensemble and chamber rock ? Vocals based chamber rock ? Yes, I would settle for that.

The music is pretty bombastic. Even on the one electric guitars based song here. The vocals are very bombastic, at least. It is like the words are hammered into a piece of wood with a hammer. The acoustic instruments are not exactly modest either. Bombastic, it is.

The electric track Il Labirinto is a bit different from the rest of this almost fifty minutes long album. But it is a very good track and I don't mind. It is still an avant-garde prog song.

The best song here is the haunting title track who has a great melody and some great vocals.

The end result is a great album which will win over even those not that interested in RIO. It has a crossover appeal and has the potential to win the genre many new fans. Check out this great album.

4 points

Cobham. Billy - A Funky Thide Of Sings (1975)

The fourth album from this US drummer and artist.

Billy Cobham on drums had help from ten other musicians on this album. That include guitars, bass, woodwinds and keyboards. The Brecker brothers were back again and John Scofield added some guitars.

I very much liked Billy Cobham's previous three albums. Really good fusion with some funk incorporated.

I am still scratching around on the surface when it comes to jazz and fusion. A music genre I really both enjoy and love. Billy Cobham is therefore my kind of guy.

It would be far to simplistic to say that this is a very funky album based on the album title itself.... and the very funny album art-work. But there is no denying that this is mainly a funk album. And a very lively one too.

There is a lot of brass and woodwinds here too. The album almost has a bigband jazz feel over it. Almost, that is. But a long drum solo from Billy Cobham during the middle of this forty minutes odd long album kills of the bigband idea.

What remains is as good, uplifting fusion/jazz album with a lot of good ideas and details. Just the type of album that brightens up a dull gray day.

3 points 


Friday, 7 July 2017

Green Violinist. The - Receive & Transmit (2017)

The second album from this Belgium band.

The Green Violinist is a sextet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums, programming and vocals.

I very much rated their 2013 album More Thrill & Never Ending Blessings in my review in March 2013. A very good album indeed. The album also had it's own charisma and style. It was a true art-rock album.

So I was pretty excited when I got hold of this album.

The band has continued in their pursuit of creating sonic art. We are again somewhere in the art-rock genre. And at the more darker fringes of this genre.

There is no denying that most of the samples are very dark with some very disturbing screams and shouts. The music follows in the same path.

I am not sure what the theme is here. But it is not for the faint hearted, I believe.

The music is melodic, a bit avant-garde, pretty cinematic and gloomy. This one hour long album has the ability to fascinate and repel at equal measures.

There is no great songs here. But the album is still a very good album from a band who deserve a lot more attention. Check out this album.

3.5 points

Baker Gurvitz Army - Elysian Encounter (1975)

The second album from this British band.

The band had expanded to a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

Adrian Gurvitz, Paul Gurvitz and Ginger Baker was still in the band. The band had added Peter Lemer on keyboards and Steve Parsons on vocals to give the band a bigger sound.

A wise move, in my opinion. The vocals are really good here and the music has expanded in all directions.

The music is still a mix of hard rock, prog rock, blues and folk rock. The band has even thrown in a halfway reggae song here. Not a bad song, I have to add. I am no fan of reggae. But the band has gotten away with it.

There is also a folk rock influenced ballad here. Not a bad one too.

The keyboards are fleshing out the songs with a rich, good organ sound. Adrian Gurvitz proves he was/still is a guitar god. One of the best guitarists of all time, in fact. Something he also proves with a lot of breathtaking solos and riffs. Ginger Baker's drums are excellent as usual.

The band even managed to write and record some good songs on this forty minutes long album. An album who balances the hard rock with some rather more pastoral rock.

This is in short one of those British rock albums worth checking out. A tour de force of an album and an old charmer. Check out this good album.

3 points

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Negus - Dare to Dream (2008)

The one and only album from this Canadian band.

Negus was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, drums, bass, keyboards and vocals.

Negus = Steve Negus, the drummer in Saga. Saga has a world wide following and I am one of those who really like this band. They were no less the first prog band I ever liked.... although I am not sure if Saga ever was a progressive rock band. That debate is for another day and place, though.

Steve Negus felt he needed another forum to express his ideas than Saga. Hence this album. A one-off album, I believe.

Dare To Dream has a wide variety of genres incorporated. Saga like pomp rock, funk, neo-prog, US stadium rock, hard rock, melodic rock and prog metal. You will find it here.

The drums are organic and fluent. The vocals also good, but pretty standard for this kind of music. The guitars are very much in the Saga style of pomp rock.

And this forty-five minutes long album is indeed a good journey through melodic prog rock. The music sounds a bit like it was made in the 1990s.

So far, so good. My gripe with this album is the lack of any great or good songs. There are flashes of good stuff here. There are also a lot of dull stuff which makes me nod off and go for a sleep on the sofa. Hence my rating of this album which is a must-have for all Saga fans and perhaps one all fans of melodic rock/prog should check out too.

2 points

Nathan - Nebulosa (2016)

The debut album from this Italian band.

Nathan is a quartet with a lineup of piano, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Italian male vocals. They also had help from four guest musicians who provided flute and xtra bass, vocals and keyboards.

Nathan has been on and off active since the 1990s. They have provided with tracks on Pink Floyd tribute albums and some other compilations. In 2010, they decided to write and record their own full lenght album. The result is this album.

There is no denying that this album is a fully blooded modern RPI album. That means Italian symphonic prog. There is no denying that this is my favourite progressive rock genre.

As a RPI fan, I have had many reasons to be joyful during the last ten years. The amount of good and great RPI albums from new bands has been very impressive, indeed.

Nebulosa is an one hour and five minutes long/short walk through the more melodic part of the RPI genre. References are Banco and PFM. Of the more modern bands, Logos springs to mind. This album has a very contemporary sound and the music is not particular retro-looking. It does not have this 1970s feel.

There are a lot of good organs, keyboards and guitar solos here. There are no really great songs. But this album still packs a punch and deliver some very great RPI.

This is a very promising debut album and the band has been added to the list of RPI bands I will follow. Check them out !

3.5 points   

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Galbraith Group - Time (2017)

The debut album from this Florida, USA band.

The band is the siblings Josh, Taylor and Ashley Galbraith. They play drums, bass and guitars. And the average age of the band members must be around nineteen years or so. They are young !

I was attracted to this album because the art-work is of the Eileen Donan Castle here in Scotland. It is only a three hours long/short drive from me. I have passed it many times on my way to and from Isle Of Skye. So I picked up this album.

This album is forty- five minutes long. The music is light jazz-rock with some clear references to Camel. There are also some post rock references here.

The first thing that hits me is the sparse instrumentation and the sparse use of power. Galbraith Group is not a power trio. Not on this album, at least. Maybe live, they are.

The music is very gentle and not that wild. Youthful, yes. But hardly wild and rocking. Not compared to the likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra or even Rush.

There is not a great deal of quality here. It is not a bad album. But it sounds like a very naive and innocent album made by three youths who are just starting out. Just as The Beatles once did. The is a decent to good album which is not setting the world on fire. Some plusses goes to the seven minutes long Heart Of The Ocean which is a good track. That is the way to go, guys.

2.5 points

Motionless - The Windmill (2006)

The debut album from this US band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals. The vocals are pretty sporadic and this album is by all intents instrumental.

Do not be fooled by the EP designation on the artwork above. This album is forty minutes long and therefore an album.

What can an album with artwork like this be ? There can only be one answer to that question and that is post rock. Minimalistic post rock too.

And so it is.

I am reviewing far too few post rock albums, I have discovered. In particular after listening to this album and the music here.

Yes, the music is minimalistic with twin guitars creating lots of emotions and the synths/keyboards doing the rest. There is a lot of ebb and flow on this album too. The term "shoegaze" also springs to mind here. This is very much shoegaze post rock.

Primitive, but very effective. And good too. I like the emotions here and the reflective music. The band has given us a good album and one to enjoy. Check it out.

3 points

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Frumpy - All Will Be Changed (1970)

The debut album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of percussion, piano, organ, bass, drums, saxophone, mellotron and English vocals.

Frumpy was a band who released five albums between 1970 and 1991. The two final albums is not regarded as being of any interest so I am going to review their three 1970s album/you will find reviews of the other two 1970s somewhere else in this blog.

Frumpy's was started by disaffected members of the Hamburg based band The City Preachers. The members broke out and formed Frumpy with the now well known vocalist Inga Rumpf.

Inga Rumpf's vocals reminds me a bit of Janis Joplin as they are very bluesy and soulful. Which is suits the music on this album.

The forty-one minutes long All Will Be Changed is a bit special. Take a bit Jefferson Starship, add a lot of blues, symphonic prog and some ELP and hard rock..... then you get a taste of this album.

There is a lot of heavy and wild organs here from the French organ player Jean-Jacques Kravetz. That and Inga's vocals is the best part of this album.

The quality of the songs are all good with the fourteen minutes long Rosalie suite being the best piece of music here.

This is indeed a good album and one band to check out. They were a new band to me, although I have been aware of them for the last ten years. It was nice to finally check them out and finding a good album too !

3 points  

Cinema - Mindscape (2004)

The third and final album from this Japanese band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of viola, violin, drums, synths, bass, ocarina and female vocals. The vocals are in English although they sounds Japanese to me.

Cinema was formed by the Fromage members after the splitup of that band. I reviewed their second album, the 2000 album Into The State Of Flux some days ago. You can read the review here.

I am not a great fan of Into The State Of Flux and was not really looking forward to review Mindscape. I was in for a surprise.......

Cinema is again providing us with Japanese symphonic vocals. Hiromo Fjimoto's vocals is a bit thin and shrieking. But there is also a lot of soprano in her vocals. I think they are far better on this album than on the Into The State Of Flux album.

That may have something to do with the music on this one hour long album. We are dealing with some really pastoral symphonic prog here with lots of viola and violins. There is no guitars as the viola and violin has taken it's place.

The end result is a very pleasing album with a couple of very good songs to boot too. I am very surprised about what my ears are telling my brain here. And it is good news all around. I am by no means a big fan of Japanese symphonic prog. But this album has got my attention. Check it out !

3.5 points

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Baker Gurvitz Army - Baker Gurvitz Army (1974)

The debut album from this British band.

Baker Gurvitz Army was the ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker on drums, Adrian Gurvitz (guitars, vocals) and Paul Gurvitz (bass) from Three Man Army. The members were extreme good on their respective instruments, in other words.

Adrian Gurvitz really impressed me on the Three Man Army albums. An extreme good guitarist. Ginger Baker needs no introduction. His name is written in gold in the history of modern music.

In short, this album had to be great.......

The music on this album is hard rock. Let's not hide that fact. Adrian impresses me a lot here and ditto for Ginger Baker. Paul also does a great job.

... That is why they have included a tear jerking orchestrated soul ballad here in the form of the hideous I Want To Live Again. A song who is a total contrast to the rest of the album. It is in the middle of the album and totally breaks up any good mood the album has created by then.

The rest of the album is pretty good with inventive hard rock with excellent musicianship. There is no great songs here and that ballad is hideous bad. I am not overly impressed by this album and gives it a decent rating.

2 points

Narrow Pass - A New Day (2014)

The third album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars, oboe, grand piano, organ and vocals. Both male and female vocals. All vocals are in English.
The band also had guest musicians on flute, woodwinds and some xtra female vocals.

Their 2009 album In This World And Beyond was a good Irish folk and Camel influenced album. My review of this album is here

The band continue from what they left it in 2009 on the In This World And Beyond album. There are a lot of references to Irish music here and there is also references to Camel, Pink Floyd and Mascera Di Cera.

The sound is very much English and US symphonic prog. There are also some folk rock influences here. Not to mention; art rock.

The music on this one hour long album is gently flowing and meandering through the symphonic prog landscape. Most of the music is instrumental with lots of keyboards, guitars and some flutes. The music has some dreamscape qualities.

The vocals here are also good and contributes a great deal to this album. 

The result is a very elegant album which does not have any great pieces of music. It is a gentle, gentle piece of music and one to check out if this is your cup of tea. I rate this as a good album.

3 points

Vanilla Fudge - Renaissance (1968)

The third album from this US band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, organs, bass, drums and vocals.

The band returned again after their experiemental psychedelia fiasco album The Beat Goes On. An album which is so bad that it easily goes into the top 5 of the worst albums I have ever heard. A view I share with the drummer Carmine Appice according to his highly entertaining biography. Read my review here

So the band needed to raise their game again and start to play proper rock as their did on their 1967 self-titled debut album.

So we are again back to the west coast hard rocking psychedelia rock. The music is hard rocking with a lot of psychedelic rhythms and melodies. Vanilla Fudge was never a run of the mill hard rock band. They did it their way.

There are still some weird stuff on this album as the band were still dipping their toes into some avant-garde stuff. But that just makes this album more insteresting.

There is also a lot of soul and some blues on this album. The guitars and organs really rocks out. Ditto for the drums. The vocals from Mark Stein is both soulful and psychedelic.

My only gripe is the lack of great track. There is none. This is still a good album which is well worth checking out. Vanilla Fudge is a band well worth checking out as they were a very good band in those days.

This is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Machiavel - Machiavel (1976)

The debut album from this Belgium band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

It is fair to label this band as legends in their own right. The band has released 12 albums. The last one in 2013. The band first broke up in 1983 and took a break before returning in 1987 with a new album before they broke up again and reconvined in 1999. Five albums was released after 1999. Impressive, I have to say. This band is still popular in Belgium...... and I guess in France too. I reviewed their elleventh album (released in 2011), called 11, back in March 2012. I was not impressed.

This is their debut album I am reviewing today. Some more reviews of their albums will follow before the end of this summer/can be found somewhere else in this blog.

The music on this almost fifty minutes long album reminds me a lot about Barclay James Harvest and to a lesser degree of The Moody Blues and ELP. The rock here is infused with some classical music and some folk rock elements. The blues and the beat scene has also made an impact on the band.

This is an acceptable debut album which contain some good and some not so good songs. Hence my rating of this album.

2.5 points

Nosound - A Sense Of Loss (2009)

The third album from this Italian band.

Nosound was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals. The band has also hired a string quartet.

I have tried to avoid this band for a long time as I found their second album Lightdark from 2008 a bit too spaced out for me. My review from February 2015 can be read here.

Well, I am not a perfect man. I do a lot of mistakes. My opinion of Nosound is clearly a mistake and an error from my side.

Yes, this album is still a very spaced out album. Spaced out as in the Gazpacho vein. They sound very much like Gazpacho here. Ditto for Marillion.

Their very emotional space/psychedelic music has also a lot of post rock inputs. My immediate thoughts was Sigur Ros. There is also off course some references to both Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree here.

The operatic vocals in the background of the final minutes of the eight minutes long song Tender Claim is one of the reasons why this album offers up a great punch of emotions. The soundscapes here are really resonating with me.

There is not a single bad piece of music here. I find myself being really impressed by this album. I am also impressed by this band and will investigate some more albums from them.

This is indeed a very good album and one to check out.

3.5 points

Friday, 30 June 2017

Cinema - Into the State of Flux (2000)

The second album from this Japanese band.

Cinema was a sextet on this album with a lineup of ocarina, violin, viola, synths, bass, drums, guitar and female vocals. The vocals are in English I believe although that is not easy to make out.

Cinema was formed after the two albums band Fromage split up. My review of their 1984 debut album Ondine can be found here

We are talking Japanese symphonic prog here. Cinema was living in the shadows of Ars Nova, Gerard and Mugen.

Japanese symphonic prog is most definate a very special and eclectic sub-category under the symphonic prog umbrella. Something this one hour long album proves.

Thin, shrieking opera vocals on the top of some classical and symphonic prog with some folk and metal influences is what we get here. There is plenty of acoustic guitar and synths here which goes out to create a neo-classical music vibe. Some may call this goth. But it is not.

There is some good stuff here and some rather decent stuff. I am not won over although it is a pretty good album. Hence, it falls between decent and good, this album. It is well worth checking out this album.

2.5 points

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

UK - Danger Money (1979)

The second and final album from this British band.

Allan Holdsworth had taken his guitars and departed the band after their debut album. Bill Bruford had also taken his drums and departed the band after that album. What was left of this supergroup was Eddie Jobson (electric violins and keyboards), John Wetton (bass and vocals) and Terry Bozzio (drums and percussion).

UK was one of the first progressive rock bands I ever listened to. But I forgot to review their two albums.... Actually, I was not even a member of ProgArchives back then. That is ten years ago. That is now rectified as I reviewed their debut albums a few weeks ago..... or was it two weeks ago. Two weeks it is.

The debut album was a very good mix of AOR and jazz. But the songs were not that great and I am failing to see why this band is legends...

.. Well, I now know why. The lack of guitars means Eddie Jobson is being let loose. His keyboards and electric violins is great here.

The title track is a very catchy track..... and a great one too. The other short tracks are very good, with the exception of Caesar Palace Blues which is another great track. Yes, the album has been pretty cheesy up to now with some great vocals by John Wetton too. Vocals he use to great effect on the great track Rendevouz. Another cheesy track, but it is still a great track.

This forty-two minutes long/short album is full of very interesting and great details throughout. It is a a proper feast for my ears.

The big track here is the twelve minutes long Carrying No Cross which has Eddie Jobson in full bloom on his electric violin and keyboards.

The end result is a great album which very much survives the test of time. It has actually become better in my view. It is like a fine bottle of wine. Enjoy this great album.

4 points 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Jane - Together (1972)

The debut album from this German band.

Jane was a quintet with a lineup of Hammond organ, flute, guitars, bass, drums and English male vocals.

I am planning to do reviews of their first albums/you can read my reviews of other Jane albums somewhere else in blog this summer and for the rest of the year.

I know next to nothing about this band besides of what ProgArchives has written about them. The link above has a very extensive biography of Jane. The band has also released a new album not many months ago. That too will be reviewed/has been reviewed in this blog.

I just chose this band and their extentive discography for reviews almost out of a hat. That is the way I like it as this means lots of excitements to my life. I love to listen to new (Read: old) music and get new influences.

Jane very much obliges to my wishes and requests on this, their debut album. The music is very bluesy and hard. It also has some very strong cosmic krautrock influences. A lot of this album is down the road of hard cosmic krautrock. That with a bluesy groove.

The quality is actually good to very good at times. Not everything is very good here. But the band and this album gives us some flashes of a better world. A world with screaming guitars, rough vocals, hammering organs, thundering bass and drums.

The final song Hangman is indeed a very good song. The rest is good without really bowling me over.

Being a debut album, this is indeed a forty minutes long album which makes me long for more of this band. Jane, you have my attention.

3 points  

Monday, 26 June 2017

Isildurs Bane & Steve Hogarth - Colours Not Found In Nature (2017)

The tenth album from this Swedish band.

Steve Hogarth from Marillion is the vocalist here and is helped by Isildurs Bane who is an eight members big band on this album. The lineup is strings, flute, woodwinds, bass, drums, percussions, synths, keyboards and guitars.

From what I gather from their discography, the band cooperated with others on some albums. These albums showcased their music and the band from a totally different side than their proper albums.

I first thought I had got the wrong album when I first started to listen to this album. The references to Gazpacho and Marillion came thick and fast. I then discovered the reason for it........

There is not much of what I thought was Isildurs Bane's music here. I thought was in for another slab of neo-classical music based on what I heard on their Cheval album. An album which was very leftfield. This is not the case for Colours Not Found In Nature.

Take a mix of Radiohead, Gazpacho and Marillion....... then you get this forty minutes long album.

And it is indeed a good album. It has a lot of going for it. But not any great songs. I am not convinced that our planet needed another album in this genre. But that aside, this is a good album where Steve Hogarth sings very well and the band backs him up with some very well crafted music and musicianship.

Check out this album if Gazpacho and Marillion is your type of bands.

3 points