Wednesday, 20 September 2017
The tenth album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty on violins had support from a quintet who provided guitars, bass, drums, percussions, synths, organ and piano.
Jean Luc Ponty had made a total clear out from the setup who made Enigmatic Ocean back in 1977. An album I really liked.
In comes five unknown musicians and a more world music approach.
There is a lot of African rhythms here and some tabla and percussions. There is also a lot of synths here in addition to some guitars and a lot of Jean Luc Ponty's violins.
The music on this forty minutes long album is pretty laidback with some melancholic pieces of music. There is also some fusion here and we get some reminders of what Jean Luc did in Mahavishnu Orchestra and on his own albums like for example Enigmatic Ocean.
The end result is not bad at all. But it is rather a let down from Enigmatic Ocean. An album I love. I do not love Cosmic Messenger. That's for sure.
The end result is somewhere between decent and good, I am afraid. And I am disappointed.
The debut album from this British band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of organ, piano, saxophones, flutes, bass, drums and vocals.
Solution released six albums between 1971 and 1982 with moderate success before they gave up and were disbanded. This is one of those bands who never really made it big. Their music has been saved from a life in obscurity by the likes of ProgArchives, Discogs and Youtube. And by a curious mind like myself and fellow music lovers.
Listed as a jazz/fusion band in ProgArchives, I spotted this band and got three of their albums. The other two will be reviewed asap/you will find reviews of the other two albums somewhere else in this blog.
This album is pretty special because half of it is jazz/fusion and the other half is symphonic prog. The band was very influenced by the likes of Frank Zappa and Soft Machine here. The band had also adopted a classical music piece by the obscure French composer Jaques Ibert. There is also clearly some influences from the Canterbury scene band Egg on this album.
There are also some fine vocals with some good melodies here. Kind of Egg like melodies. Maybe even some Caravan too.
The end result is a very good album which will impress a lot of people into fusion, Canterbury and symphonic prog. Check it out !
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
The one and only album from this French band.
Bahamas was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, piano, organ, synths, bass, drums and French vocals.
This album is really a very obscure album. So obscure that it is not included in ProgArchives. I think it has a place there, though..... But that is their choice and I have nothing but respect for ProgArchives.
Le Voyageur Immobile is a thirty-five minutes journey through a pop-progressive rock landscape. A landscape that reminds me a lot about Supertramp. It is fair to say that Supertramp is a major reference for this album and this band.
Being French, Bahamas does it their own way. That means the usual theatrical progressive rock.... The usual references to Jacques Brel and some references to Ange too. But not many.
Unfortunate, the lack of any good songs and music is destroying the harmony here. The music is ticking nicely over without really leaving many positive impressions. It is by no means a bad album. It is just lacking any good songs and pieces of music. The best thing about Le Voyageur Immobile is the good vocals. The rest is not worth writing home about...... unless you are a Supertramp fan.
The fifth album from this German band.
Mythos was a duo on this album with a lineup of guitar, flutes, drums, synths, vocoder, sequencer, synths and vocals. Markus Worbs did the drums while Stephan Kaske did all the other instrumens plus the vocals.
I have reviewed three of their first four albums and you will find the reviews somewhere else in this blog. It is fair to say that I have a rather ambivalent releationship with Mythos music. Hence my reviews.
Quasar sees the band stripped down to a duo. But it is essentially a one-man band with Stephan Kaske taking over the band and the name for what is essentially his solo-album.
The result is a strange one. Take a lot of new-wave, some new romantics (Ultravox & co) and a lot of electronic krautrock in the vein of Kraftwerk. Gary Numan has also been mentioned in connection with this album as a reference.
There is no denying that there is a lot of electronica here. Well, mostly all of this thirty-four minutes long album is a journey through an electronic music landscape.
That said, the music here is pretty dynamic too. This is not new-age ambient music. Quasar comes with a considerable kick and lots of energy.
It does not have much good music though. But I am not entirely dismissing it as a bad album as there is some good details here. I quite like this album. And the frequent use of flutes does not hurt either. Check out this album.
The third album from this Spanish band.
Cai was a quartet on this album with a lineup of clavinet, synths, bass, drums, guitars, handclaps, percussions, piano, electric piano and Spanish vocals.
I have reviewed their first two albums and you can find the reviews here and here. I really liked those albums and it is fair to say that Cai has been included in my database of good Spanish bands. A pretty big database as I really like Spanish progressive rock.
Cancion De La Primavera delivers some Spanish prog rock, indeed. Thirty-two minutes of pure Spanish progressive rock.
That means symphonic progressive rock with a lot of folk and hard rock. There is plenty of flamenco here and some harder rock. Well, there is not that much hard rock here. But the music here sometimes becomes pretty hard. That is just to show some light and darkness in the songs, I suspect.
The vocals is really good. The sound is perhaps too polished and the folk rock edges has been removed. Edges the previous two albums had plenty of.
What remains is a pretty smooth album in the standards of Cai and Spanish prog rock. But this is by no means a sugar sweet album. There is some hard edges and a lot of eclectic songs and vocals here.
It is also a good album which I really enjoy although I do not speak a single word of Spanish.
Cai is indeed a good Spanish band.
Monday, 18 September 2017
The tenth album from this Italian band.
The band (PFM) was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, cello, keyboards, violin, viola, percussions and Italian vocals.
Bernardo Lanzetti had left the band and given the microphone to Franco Mussida. Franco is a good vocalist when it comes to the music on this album.
It feels like PFM on this album is a totally different band from the band who eight years earlier gave us the excellent Per Un Amico album. The change between different styles and genres was to a large extent the trademark of this band. Which is a bit frustrating if you started to love this band on Per Un Amico....... Like I did.
Suanare Suonare has often been compared to a half decent Elton John album. Which is a bit harsh.... It is fair to say that the music on this album is Italian pop-rock. And yes, with a lot of Elton John influences.
This album is mostly rooted in the Italian pop tradition with a lot of Italian folk music influences. And the music is not too bad at all. There are some fairly decent to good songs here on this forty-five minutes long album. But it is not a good album by any means.
The third album from this Swedish band.
Dynamo Bliss was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, banjo, accordion, keyboards and vocals.
This seems to be the final album from this band as we have heard nothing from them since 2013. Which is a great shame.
I have reviewed their two first albums and you will find the reviews here and here.
Dynamo Bliss is one of those bands who operated somewhere between retro-pop and progressive rock. You will find lots of references to ELO, 10CC and The Beatles here. There is also some references to west coast rock here. And there is even some more exotic Spanish folk music references here. Not to forget; some references to Scandinavian symphonic prog too.
All this during forty minutes of music.
The music is light and flowery. It feels like summer music enjoyed by people in shorts and t-shirts. And this is good music too. Mostly....... The sound is very good and that makes up for some of the shortcomings here.
This is a good album and almost an essential album for those into flowery light progressive rock.
Sunday, 17 September 2017
The second album from this Norwegian band.
Thule was a quartet on this album with a lineup of organ, synths, bass, drums, guitars, accordion, percussion, harmonica and Norwegian lyrics.
Thule lives and made this album just a few miles south of North Cape, the most northern point in Europe. That is where they were living throughout their career and five albums.
Back in August 2009, I reviewed their debut album Ultima Thule (from 1987). You will find my review here. That was a very good and very promising debut album. I am always on the look for more Thule albums so I may review their other albums if I find them too.
Back to Natt, though. The band explores a frosty, almost gothic landscape on this album. The music is pretty heavy, a bit post-punk and a bit gothic. There is also a lot of Scandinavian symphonic prog in their music. Anglagard springs to mind. The emphasis is on atmosphere and ambience here. Something the vocals really supports. The vocals are good and very fitting for this music.
There are one very good song here called Tægn. This song has a very good melody with some great guitar harmonies too. The rest of the album is decent to good. Mostly good though.
Thule is a very strange bird, even in Norway. But this is a good album and one fans of Scandinavian prog rock should seek out.
The seventh album from this German band.
Jane was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, percussions, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
Their previous album, the 1977 opus Between Heaven & Hell was a mixed bag. But it was also a good album. See my review here. So I had hopes despite of hearing some not so good things about the albums that follows on from Between Heaven & Hell.
Age Of Madness is the first of those albums.
Age Of Madness sees the band going in a more direction of Pink Floyd and Eloy. It is a psychedelic space rock album. But it is not an outer space album with long unhinged trips into outer space. Age Of Madness follows the rock formula with verse-chorus-verse.
Despite of the verse-chorus-verse structure, it has the Eloy sound and tries to sound like a space rock album.
Clocking in at just under thirty-seven minutes and nine songs, the themes and melodies are not exactly abstract. Neither are they good. OK, there are some good songs here. But the rest is not that good. Hence my verdict of a pretty likeable album who falls a bit too short.
Saturday, 16 September 2017
The third album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I got their first album, the 2011 self-titled album, from Black Widow Records and reviewed it in # 1 of this blog. See my review here. In 2013, they released Ravens. An album I hope to review sometimes in the future.
The band plays a form of stoner rock with some influences from early Italian symphonic prog and hard rock.
There is definate a lot of Italian hard rock in their music too. And a some space rock too. So here you have it; stoner, space and hard rock.
There is a lot of good organ interplays and sound on this album. The vocals too is good. The songs are not always good on this fifty minutes long album. This album is having a bit problems keeping my attention. The last twenty minutes is not good at all. Hence my verdict.
The 19th album from this German band.
Dice was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.
I very much liked their 2016 album X Is Double Two On The Dice Map. Good psychedelic rock. You can read my review here.
Dice was a vibrant space and psychelic prog band many years ago. These days, they have withdrawn to a more safe distance from outer space and the psychedelia thing.
...Something this album proves.
The music on this one hour long album still has some pshychedelia. But most of the music is pop-rock. And that with some country'n'western influences their previous albums did not have.
Christian Nove's vocals has also gone downhill during the last couple of albums. They are directly pretty bad on this album. I think it is about time to hand over the microphone to a new generation on the next album. Or let the backing singer Ramona Nove do the lead vocals.
The songs here are not interesting at all. Neither are they any good. This is not a bad album. It is just a decent album and just that.
Friday, 15 September 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
Christadoro is the drummer Massimiliano Christadoro on drums and with help from the likes of Fabio Zuffanti on bass, Paolo Botta on keyboards, Pier Panzeri on guitars and Andrea Dal Santo on vocals. They have also got help from PFM and Biglietto Per L'Inferno members on piano, cello and vocals.
This constellation has given us a type of album which I am pretty sure will be repeated during the next years and decades.
Christadoro has namely re-recorded and given their own take on old Italian symphonic progressive rock songs. They are not necessary old classics, these eight songs. But they have been stripped down a bit and given a new and contemporary sound.
That means a much heavier sound and I am not sure if I agree or even feel comfortably with this type of re-recordings and cover versions. I have also been in severe doubts if I was even going to review this album.
That said, and you have now got my reservations about albums like this one, the music here is good. OK, the music is heavier than I would like and parts of the charm has been removed from the original songs. But I understand the bits of giving old songs a new lease of life.
The end result is a good album so no further complaints from me. Check it out here.
The fifth album from this Monaco based band.
Edhels is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, percussion, guitars and vocals.
I reviewed their 1988 album Still Dream and their 1991 album Astro Logical back in November last year (2016). I think it is fair to say that I hated them and I therefore gave up on this band. My reviews are here and here.
One year later and my wounds has (to a large extent) healed and I reviewing Angel's Promise and Saltimbanques this month. Starting with.....
Angel's Promise. Seventy minutes and thirteen tracks long. The artwork does not promise a lot.
There is a lot of loooooooong and not so interesting guitar solos in the beginning. They sounds like someone loves their guitar, but have not fully understood what to do with it and the purpose of a guitar. Or the purpose of a music instrument, for that matter. I love great guitar solos. But guitar solos can also be very dull. Like for example on this album.
Then there is some vocals and some gothic type of vocals and music too before the album ends with some more looooooooooong instrumental parts with keyboards and guitars.
Edhels is still not really impressing me. The art of creating good music has bypassed them on at least the three albums I have heard from them. This album is merely decent and just that. Some decent music saves it from the turkey yard. But just about....
Thursday, 14 September 2017
The debut album from this Danish band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of harpsichord, bass, drums, guitars, drums, percussion, organ, flute, piano and English vocals.
The band released three albums in the beginning of the 1970s before they gave up the ghost and disbanded. I think one or two members moved to other bands.
I will review the two other albums too before the end of this fall/you will find the review of the two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
The cover artwork is colourful and so is the music. Take the playfull Gentle Giant, add some The Beatles and Cream into the mix. There is also some Barclay James Harvest here and some King Crimson. And some Yes too. And some fusion and some bluesy rock too.
Eclectic music in other words. Eclectic prog in other words. But the music is not as dense as the Amazon jungle. There is lots of very good melodies here which really makes this album one interesting album for both the ears and in particular; the brain. This album is food for thought.
This forty minutes long album is one heck of a good album which only lacking a great song or two. Nevertheless, this is one very good album.
The second album from this Spanish band.
Cai was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, percussions, keyboards, piano and Spanish vocals.
Their 1979 debut album Mas Alla De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas was a good album. Symphonic prog meets Spanish flamenco and folk music. Read my review here.
Noch Abierta continues in the same vein as their debut album. Clever eclectic symphonic prog with lots of flamenco and folk rock influences. The Spanish vocals are good and the flamenco creates a pretty unique sound. A pretty unique sound the band shares with a lot of other Spanish bands too.
I have always both enjoyed and respected the Spanish prog rock scene. This album is regarded as one of the best albums from that scene. I am not sure about that.
Nevertheless, the music is flowery and dynamic with lots of interesting details. The songs are good to very good and the sound is lovely.
The album is thirty-six minutes long and has a very good ambience. A very good Spanish ambience which makes you respect this country a lot. The album draws you in and does not leave you. Hence my verdict.
The (first/) second album from this French band.
Malicorne was a quartet with a lineup of bass, crummhorn, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, violin, viola, percussion, hurdy gurdy, dulcimer, psaltery and French vocals. Both male and female vocals from Mr and Mrs Yacoub.
.... and here is the confusion about if this is the debut album or the second album from this band. This is what I alluded to when I reviewed the Gabriel & Marie Yacoub album earlier this month. See my review here.
I would regard Malicorne 1 as their second album. I also see that ProgArchives does the same and I am following their example just for the sake of clarity.
Following on from the Pierre De Grenoble album from the year before, we get a lot more French folk rock again. They use a lot of exotic instruments here and a lot of vocal harmonies.
The best reference here are Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. But Malicorne's folk music is a lot more dense than their English counterparts.
The music here is not easy listening by any means. But the music is sometimes melodic and has some OK instrumental parts too.
I would not label this thirty-eight minutes long album as a good album as I find the hardcore folk music a bit jarring and disharmonic. But they are getting better........
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Dynamo Bliss was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I actually know this band pretty well from my review of their second album, the 2013 album Poplar Music. My review from August 2013 can be found here.
Their albums can be found here.
The band has released three albums and I am hoping to review their third album next week/you will find a review of their third album somewhere else in this blog.
21st Century Junk is a nice collection of psychedelic prog songs with solid The Beatles, 10CC and ELO influences. There are also some pretty less obvious Pink Floyd influences.
The music is pretty light and airy. The songs are full of vocals and guitar harmonies. The sound is very good and this album is indeed a very nice.
The qualities of the songs are not quite on the level of their second album Poplar Music. The music here is too pop music and does not have that much bite and substance. But it is not a bad album by all means. And it is a more than acceptable debut album. Check it out.
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, flutes, saxophone, drums, bass and some Italian vocals.
Napoli Centrale released six albums before they were disbanded. They were often mentioned in the same breath as Area.
It is indeed jazz/fusion we have the pleasure to listen to on this forty-five minutes long album. But the album starts out as an Osibisa album. And the vocals parts on this album reminds me a lot about Osibisa indeed.
The jazz/fusion parts here is full of keyboards and saxophone. There are also some flutes here with pulsating bass and drums.
The jazz/fusion reminds me about a mix of National Health and Soft Machine with some Weather Report influences too. The sparse vocals parts is pretty eclectic with some weird vocals.
The music is good throughout. This album has an eclectic feel which would appeal to everyone into Italian music. Indeed; Italian progressive rock. Check it out.
The third album from this Polish band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, violin, keyboards and English vocals. Two guest musicians contributed xtra guitar and some cello.
I reviewed their second album Yesterday Is A Friend earlier this month and liked that album. The review is here and it also has a link to their debut album which I reviewed some years ago.
One year after the release of Yesterday Is A Friend, there has been some changes in personell and music on the follow up album The Bread Is Mine.
The music is still neo-prog. But the music is much more mellow. That goes for the vocals and for the more implemenation of the violin. Their sound reminds me about Gazpacho at times. That means the band has moved pretty close to what Marillion sounded on Brave.
There are also some hints of melancholic pop and some post-rock here too. The music is very melodic with some good guitar solos too.
This one hour long album has eleven medium long songs. I regard this album as one long piece of music as the songs floats into each other. One hour long melancholic melodic piece of music.
The end result is a good album which stands out from the rest of the neo-prog scene because of the frequent use of violin. It is well worth checking out this album and this band.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
The one and only album from this German band.
Thrice Mice was a sextet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, organ, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.
Thrice Mice released this album, did not get any success and morphed into Altona who released two albums. Both of them reviewed in # 1 of this blog.
Thrice Mice was a band from Germany who has been lumped into the krautrock genre by many magazines. And they are right. But krautrock is a broad church, a pretty wide scene with some genres lumped together. Which is fair enough and I am myself 100 % guilty as charged here.
The music on this forty minutes long album, later re-released on CD with lots of bonus tracks, is blues, psychedelia, prog rock and with some soul influences. The saxophone is pretty dominant and it is supported by some good vocals, organs and guitars.
The four songs are really long with the longest pushing thirteen minutes and the shortest one pushing nine minutes. Progressive rock and krautrock indeed.
The quality is somewhere between decent and good. I am no big fan of that saxophone. But this is still not a bad album. Check it out if you like Altona and early krautrock.
The second album from this US band.
Sir Lord Baltimore was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, drums, bass and vocals.
I was not particular impressed by their 1970 debut album Kingdom Come. See my review here.
Kingdom Come is the album which probably started the stoner genre and the band therefore deserve some attention in this blog and all other music places.
The band was a hard rock band. Indeed, a review of this album in a magazine coined the phrase "heavy metal" and that is the first ever use of that phrase in public.
I am not sure if I would use the phrase "heavy metal" on this album. There is a lot of blues on this album. But the music is very hard indeed. The drummer also doubles up as the vocalist here. The vocals are very raw. The double guitars are very raw too.
Maybe heavy metal is the right phrase for the music on this half an hour long album. Nevertheless, there are still some more psychedelic moments here too.
The difference between Sir Lord Baltimore and the likes of Black Sabbath is simply the quality of the output and the albums. Sir Lord Baltimore was (at best) a second rate band and this album is a second rate album. Black Sabbath was first rate in every sense of the word.
This album is merely a decent album and only that. That is because the songs are crude and not much worth any attention. But the band had a decent standard and this album is not too bad. Hence my verdict.
Monday, 11 September 2017
The one and only album from this Minnesota, USA band.
This Oneness was a quintet with a lineup of woodwinds, piano, bass, drums, synths, percussions, guitars and vocals.
The band was actually Olivia Newton-John's backing band in the mid-1970s. That was during her most famous years who also spawned the big hitting movie and soundtrack Grease with John Travolta.
The band decided to go their own way after a while and ended their cooperation with Olivia. They recorded this album and then disappeared without a trace. Bad career move ?
The band was very influenced by the likes of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. That is obvious on this album.... the final half of this album, that is. Side B on an LP, that is.
Side A makes us suffer through some sweet songs with clear references to Olivia Newton-John. It is a pretty bad experience for listeners anno 2017. Side B on the other hand delivers some rather good fusion somewhere in the ballpark of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The playing is fast and furious at times. And good. Good fusion indeed.
It is difficult to forget their turkey like Side A which really is a test of anyone's patience and will to live. Hence my rating......
The debut album from this English band.
Skin Alley was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, woodwinds, harpsischord, organ, piano, congas, mellotron and vocals.
Skin Alley released four studio albums between 1970 and 1973 before they gave up and were disbanded. I got their first three albums and will review them this month/you will find reviews of their two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Skin Alley was one of the many bands who debuted around 1970. Some had their breakthrough and became big bands. Others again had a local following and then became forgotten. Thanx to ProgArchives and Youtube, bands like Skin Alley has gotten a second life. Their music has now gone global. Good !!
The band is listed as a jazz/fusion band in ProgArchives and I fully agree with that when it comes to this album at least. It the only album I have heard from them yet.
The music on this forty minutes long album is a mix of blues, folk rock and a lot of fusion with also a great deal of jazz at the end of the album.
There are some vocals here too and that one is good. The saxophones, flutes and the keyboards (mellotron etc etc) is creating a good synergy and some good songs too. There are some not so good songs too. But the album really becomes good at the end after a very shaky start and mid-phase.
The end result is somewhere between a decent and a good album. Hence my rating.
Sunday, 10 September 2017
The second album from this Scottish artist and member of Citizen Cane.
Stewart Bell does all instruments and some vocals here. He has got help from Phil Allen on guitars and vocals throughout this album.
Arjen Lucassen, Simone Rossetti (from The Watch) and Bekah Mhairi Comrie also adds vocals.
I reviewed Part 1 of The Ancechamber Of Being series back in March last year. You will find this review here, in # 1 of this blog.
This album has several vocalist and this album really starts of with a bang with Simone Rossetti on the opening opus Early Days. He is easily one of the best vocalists of his generation and this opus reminds me a lot about Genesis from the Peter Gabriel era.
Early Days is a symphonic prog opus and that is where we also finds this album. This is neo-prog meets 1970s symphonic prog. This is Citizen Cane meets Genesis. That is the music on this well over one hour long album.
The music is symphonic and complex. I can understand why Arjen Lucassen got involved as this too is his territory. The music is almost as complex and big as his Ayreon project. But it is not quite that big.
This one hour long album takes us through a nice, flowery landscape with some mountains and some deep rivers. This is also a good album where my only gripe is the lack of a great song or two. But Stewart Bell deserves a lot of credit and praise for this and his previous album in this series.
The third album from this German band.
Mythos was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, mellotron, synths, percussions and English vocals.
I have reviewed their first two albums and you will find the reviews here and here.
I also intend to review their Quasar album within the next week/you will find a review of their Quasar album somewhere else in this blog.
Mythos started out as a raga-rock ambient krautrock band on their two first albums. Then something happened after their second album Dreamlab back in 1975 because they returned two years later with Strange Guys and a different style of music.
Strange Guys is much more in the vein of Eloy than their previous two albums. It is a total break with their two first albums.
The music on this forty-one minutes long album is pretty beautiful Eloy landscaped symphonic prog. There is also some folk rock influences here. The six songs here are medium long, five to nine minutes long. The vocals are good and the sound is very warm and at times, pastoral. A couple of the songs are pretty hard rocking too.
There is no great songs here. But this is a comfortable good album which should really please anyone into progressive rock.
Saturday, 9 September 2017
The ninth album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty on violin was joined by a quintet with a lineup of guitars, percussion, bass, drums, piano, clavinet, organ and synth.
The guitarists here are Allan Holdsworth and Daryl Stuermer. That is two of the best guitarists in the scene back in 1977... I say no more.
I was not really blown away by his 1976 album Imaginary Voyage. Too few good tracks and a bit too wishy washy for my liking. Too dull too. See my review here.
1977 sees him teaming up with Allan Holdsworth in addition to keeping on Daryl Stuermer from the Imaginary Voyage album. The result is big fireworks.
I love the first Mahavishnu Orchestra albums because of their intensity and godlike musicianship. It is obvious that Jean Luc Ponty, who played violin on those albums, have taken this album pretty close to those albums. It sounds like it.
The duets between the guitars and the violin is excellent and exactly why I purchased these albums. There is also some very good synths and keyboards here. The six tracks on this forty-five minutes long album is all great.
In short, this is a great, unmissable fusion album which will send most people into a state of euphoria.
The one and only album from this German band.
Think was a sextet with a lineup of flutes, bass, drums, guitars, percussions, viola, keyboards and English vocals.
This German band has nothing to do with the New Zealand band of the same name I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.
There is two versions of this album. The original version from 1973 and the far superior Garden Of Delight version (CD) from 2002 which also includes two good bonus tracks. As a one-off total break of what I normally do, I am reviewing the fifty-two minutes long 2002 version.
Think plays krautrock with a lot of folk rock influences. The flutes are pretty much everywhere and it creates a warm sound. The viola also creates a warm sound.
The emphasis is still on rock here. Rock with some clear psychedelic influences and music. The music is indeed psychedelic, a bit spaced out and very krautrock.
The songs are all good and bordering to very good. I would actually label this as one of the more hidden gems from the krautrock scene. Hence my rating.
Friday, 8 September 2017
The third album from this US band.
Corima is a quintet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, violin, keyboards, synths, organs, glockenspiel, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
Their previous album, the 2012 album Quietzalcoatl floored me back in October 2012 when I reviewed it. A great album and you can read my review here. I also liked their self-titled debut album a lot and you can read my review here.
Corima is something as rare as a zeuhl band. And a zeuhl band in the more Japanese tradition. Koenjihyakkei is a good reference for their Quietzalcoatl album. Corima has also blown away those of my friends who has attended one of Corima's gigs.
So I was a bit miffed when I started to listen to this album. The first half of this album is jazz-zeuhl in the vein of Zao. Very good jazz, though. This is the kind of jazz that plays on all my heartstrings.... well, most of them. And it is a bit zeuhl too because the jazz is hyper-active and dynamic. That opus is called Tsukutomi I-III.
That track glides over into the title track Amaterasu I - VI. And we are really back into classic zeuhl territory again. There is a lot of violins here as there was a lot of violins on Tsukutomi I-III too. The bass, organ, drums and glockenspiel is working like maniacs and the vocals too comes in as instruments. This is zeuhl and do we love it ? Oh, yeah.....
This album is forty-nine minutes long and this great album serves to confirm that Corima is one of the best progressive rock bands around right now. It also proves that there is life in zeuhl too.
Thursday, 7 September 2017
The debut album from this Spanish band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars, synths and Spanish vocals.
The band released three albums between 1979 and 1981 and a final album in 2010. I have their first three albums and intend to review them this month/you will find reviews of the two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Cai was among the quite a few bands who operated in the area between hard rock, pop and progressive rock in the 1970s Spain. Medina Azahara and Asfalto is perhaps the best known bands in this scene.
Behind those two bands, you will find a lot of other bands who released one to four albums. Albums well worth checking out.
Cai is one of those bands. Their mix of hard rock, symphonic prog, flamenco and fusion is quite a heady mix.
There is a lot of references to Spanish folk and English bands like Soft Machine and ELP here. The music is very dynamic and jazzy. It is really rhytmic and funky too. The vocals are pretty raw, but also very good.
This is an album I would label as a hidden gem. It is an album bordering to very good at times. It has some flaws, but it is still a good album. Check it out !
The 18th album from this German band.
Dice was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, harmonica and English vocals.
Dice has been releasing an album every year now for a while. I have just got their brand new album and a review will soon be published/you will find a review of that album somewhere else in this blog.
Their 2015 album Son.Sister.Sun was a good album. See my review here.
After some changes of directions during their earlier years (I have been told), the band has now settled for rock with a large psychedelic flavour. I would not label their music as psychedelic rock although their music is sailing close to that genre.
Nevertheless, there is a lot of differences between their music and straight forward rock. The inclusion of harmonica which is often used in their music gives the band and the music an eccentric flavour. The not much used synth is also good.
The vocals is not great. But it is OK and it fits this music. The guitars, bass and drums is good.
The music too is good. It flows nicely and the psychedelic flavours adds something very good to the songs on this one hour, five songs long album. The songs are more like suites and really works out very well.
This is a good album from a good band which deserves some more attention.
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
The ninth studio album from this Italian band.
Premiata Forneria Marconi was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, cowbells, bass, drums, percussions, harpsiscord, synths, moog, organ, piano and Italian vocals. They also had some guest musicians who also added saxophones, congas and more synths and moog.
These giants in Italian symphonic prog is just about to release their new album. I am running through their discography this summer and autumn. I have come to album # 9. You will find many other reviews of their albums somewhere else in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
I love their first albums and regard them as absolute classics. I have my reservations towards some of their later albums, though.
The band has dived into a lot of different genres and styles during their many years... and I wonder how their new 2017 album will sound. On Passpartu they are back in Italian vocals and music again after not finding the grass much greener in the English speaking world.
Take some Italian pop and folk rock. Add in some Latin rock and Italian symphonic prog too and you will end up something like Passpartu. The music is uncomplicated, light and not so great.
There is not much good music here too. It is clearly appealing to the massmarket in Italy as it has some of the qualities which Angelo Branduardi played on when he got his breakthrough.
That said, this is not a bad album. It is somewhere between decent and good. Check it out.
The fourth album from this UK artist.
Duncan Mackay is doing the keyboards here and he has got help from Georg Voros on drums.
Duncan Mackay is the keyboard player in Alan Parsons Project and also, very unofficially, did keyboards for Budgie, the Welsh hard rockers.
I did a review of his 1974 debut album Chimera back in November 2014 for # 1 of this blog. You can read the review here. I was not overly impressed by that album. I have chosen to ignore his second and third album. Then I got this album and was sold on the idea of a concept album about the code breakers in Bletchley Park. Alan Turing and his fellow code breakers. The creators of today's computers.
Well, this is not really a concept album. It is more like an Alan Parsons Project album with lots of keyboards and dramatic songs. This includes a cover version of Kate Bush excellent (and underrated) The One With The Child In Her Eyes from her debut album.
Why Duncan Mackay has chosen to change one word here (changed Man with One) from the Kate Bush song is strange. It is still a cover version. Ditto for his version of ELP's Fanfare For The Common Man which here is renamed Fanfare For The Uncommon Man.
His version of the Kate Bush song is not good and his version of the ELP song is barely acceptable.
The title track of this album is good, I have to give him that. The rest of the album is not bad either. The cover versions merely shadows of themselves. His ode to Johan Sebastian Bach is also good.
This album is a bit unhinged with ELP, Kate Bush and some keyboards wizardry thrown in together. To a large extent, this album sounds like an ELP album. But not one of their best. I have my reservations against this album and rates it somewhere between decent and good.
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
The sixth album from this German band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, moog, percussions, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I have with joy been reviewing their first five albums for this blog and have really liked Jane and these five albums. And more Jane reviews/you will find the other reviews somewhere else in this blog too.
The time has come to Between Heaven And Hell. A very weighty album title. An album which starts with the tweny minutes long title-track. A track with a very good moog sound and theme. It is by far the best track on this album. It is a track which is somewhere between old Pink Floyd and symphonic prog. Thumbs up for that track.
The second track Twilight is a much more hard rocking themed track, clocking in at nine minutes. The two final tracks sees the band moving towards German rock. Mainstream German rock, that is. Those two tracks are throw-away tracks.
The first half an hour of this thirty-eight is good to very good. The rest is not good. This is still an album well worth checking out and a good album too. Oh yeah, I like the good company of Jane.
The one and only album from this New Zealand band.
Think was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
New Zealand is not a prominent country when it comes to rock and pop bands. This incredible beautiful country has always been on the wrong side of the world and have had their own life and culture. The 1960s and the 1970s largely passed them by.
But there are exceptions to this rule. Think is one of them.
This album has a colourful cover (which I was totally sold on) and some colourful music too. Take The Beatles, add some Led Zeppelin and some Yes. Add other English symphonic prog bands like Cressida, Fantasy and some Procol Harum too. That is when you get this album.
The music is mostly progressive rock with some heavy guitars and vocals now and then. This forty minutes long album has both some heavy rockers and some more melancholic songs.
And this album gives the listener a buzz indeed. No need to complain to the Trading Standards here. This is also a good album which delivers on a lot of different levels. It does give the listener a buzz, indeed. Check out this album and get a buzz.
The debut album from this British band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, drums, synths, piano, keyboards, bass and vocals.
This band is the side project of Lee Pomeroy of It Bites and Headspace. This band was also nominated for something in the Prog Awards 2015. Maybe best newcomer. So there is the prog rock credentials...
The music here is somewhere between pop and neo-prog. Progressive pop music ? Yes, I would go for that.
The music is very catchy and very immediate attractive. It is like a very physically attractive person. You really want that person. But do you want to live the rest of your life with that person ?
That is the question I ask myself after some listenings to this album. It is very immediate here & now. Will I enjoy it next week or next month ? I don't think so.
There is nothing wrong with the musicians here and the songs. They more than pass my quality control. It is indeed a good album. It is also uncomplicated music which does not really requires that much, intellectually. Hence, I have my problems with this album when it comes to longviety and it's afterlife after being reviewed here. Is it a good album ? Yes. Will I ever play it again ? No.
Monday, 4 September 2017
The eight and so far final album from this Japanese band.
The band was a trio with a lineup of synths, bass, drums and guitars.
I have reviewed their last three albums and I have not become a fan of this band. That to my regret as I was really looking forward to reviewing the four Baraka albums I have got. You can read my reviews and opinions about the previous three albums somewhere else in this blog.
On those albums I have got, the band has always operated in or somewhere near the fusion genre. Their fusion has been all over the place and not always good.
Baraka has thankfully added a lot more synths to their sound and made their brand of fusion a lot warmer and mainstream fusion. Not as in mainstream music, but as in mainstream fusion.
There is still some Japanese influences here. But this album is much more US fusion orientated than before.
This forty-six minutes long album is also lacking a bit in the good songwriting department. The middle part of this album is not good. But the final three tracks makes up for these errors.
The end result is barely a good album and one fusion fans will perhaps like. I have my reservations, but it is still a good album. Will we ever hear anything more from this band ? I hope so.
Sunday, 3 September 2017
The debut album from this British band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
Third Quadrant released some cassettes and in total two studio albums before they were disbanded after their 1988 album Layered.
Third Quadrant was among the first British neo-prog bands. But where Marillion, Arena, Pendragon and IQ got success, Third Quadrant were being ignored. That for reasons you will learn in this and other reviews of this album.
The music here is unmistaken neo-prog with a lot of Genesis influences. There is also a lot of Pink Floyd, the David Gilmour era, on this album.
The sound is not that good and is suffering from under-production. Their studio budget was probably only a tenth of what EMI gave Marillion. The vocals here is pretty bad, although it is OK for this album.
The music is keyboards based and the keyboards is the saving grace of this album. The guitars are a bit dubious. Ditto for the quality of music on this thirty-seven minutes long album.
This is a decent album but nothing more. It is for a very good reason this album and this band never became popular and as big as the likes of Marillion and their debut album.
Saturday, 2 September 2017
The one and only album from this French duo...... or the debut album from Malicorne.
Man and wife Yacoub supplied acoustic guitars, dulcimer, bouzouki, banjo and French vocals on this album. They were helped out by a lot of guest musicians who supplied the likes of Breton bagpipes, violin, viola, bass, tambourines and some other excotic acoustic instruments.
This duo later became Malicorne. It is now incorporated into the Malicorne discography. But I have chosen to let it be a free standing album on my way to review all the Malicorne albums/you will find my Malicorne album reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Gabriel & Marie Yacoub gives us some very primitive and slow French folk music here. It may be some regional folk music too. The use of Breton bagpipes may indicate that.
The music sounds exotic too me as it is really acoustic and has a medieval feel. I don't understand or speak French so the lyrics Mrs and Mr Yacoub is singing does not make any sense to me. But the vocals are good.
The music is too primitive and not enough melodic or even exciting for my liking. This is not really a bad album. But it is a pretty vocals dominated album with not much free standing music. Check it out if this sounds good to you.
The second album from this Polish band.
Believe was a quintet with a lineup of violin, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals. Four guest musicians contributes with flutes, xtra guitars, keyboards and spoken words.
I reviewed their 2006 debut album Hope To See Another Day back in November 2010 for ProgArchives. The review is here. I was not too impressed by that album.
Believe does neo-prog. Very gentle neo-prog with no prog metal influences as most of their peers do. There is a violin and a flute here which is used pretty frequent and is a big part of their sound. The violin, that is.
I would label Believe an intellectual neo-prog band. Quite nerdy too. There is a lot of very clever things going on in their sound and music. Maybe they are a bit too clever and has forgotten the whole picture.
The music is very gentle with some very gentle vocals. But the music is not commercially at all. It is nerdy and beautiful at the same time.
Maybe the music is a bit too squaky clean. Nevertheless, this is a good album and I regret that I did not complete my reviews of their albums before now. I am indeed planning to do that this month/you will find my reviews of their other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Friday, 1 September 2017
The sixth album from this British band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, keyboards and female vocals. They are helped out by two Anglagard members and one Sanguine Hum member on bass, flute and drums.
I have not had the pleasure of listening to their first five albums. The band originated from the British neo-prog band Grey Lady Down. The band released four albums who did not set the world on fire.
The music here reminds me a bit about Magenta. But not much. The band has mixed neo-prog, a bit folk rock and a great deal of cool laidback jazz..... and made a good soundscape out of this mix.
Amy Darby's vocals is really great. I also like a bit of the mellotron the band is mixing into their sound too. Yes, three of the six musicians who were involved in this album are members of Anglagard. That shows up on this album.
The sound is really very good throughout this fifty minutes long album. There is no great songs here. But there is enough positives here for me to get out and purchase their first five albums.
This is really an album well worth checking out. Thieve's Kitchen is also a new discovery for me and one I really want to explore more.
The fifth and so far the latest album from this Swiss band.
The band is now a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and English vocals.
Metamorphosis has had a bit of an unstable lineup since they started out fifteen years ago. But they have always managed to deliver some good neo-prog on their albums.
Their music is unashamed neo-prog with a lot of melody and some symphonic elements. One of the reasons I really like this genre, neo-prog, is bands like Metamorphosis. OK, they are not always delivering the most exciting and earth-shattering music. But they do deliver some really melodic stuff.
Sometimes, that melodic stuff sounds more inspired than great as in music with great quality. This album sounds both fresh and inspired.
This fifty-two minutes long album has some long songs and one suite divided on two long songs. All of this sounds good with some great guitar solos, chugging guitars, great keyboards and some really great vocals.
The songs are not as great. But this is a good album and one to make neo-prog appreciater really satisfied. I hope we will hear a lot more from this band in the future.
Thursday, 31 August 2017
The debut album from this US band.
Sir Lord Baltimore was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
The band released three albums before they broke up and then reformed again as a gigging band in 2006 for a short period of time. I intend to also review their two other albums too in the coming weeks/you will find reviews of their two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
This band is regarded as one of the creators of the stoner genre. Indeed, this album is regarded as the first ever stoner rock album. And there is a lot of merit in that claim. A claim coming from those who knows the stoner rock genre far, far better than I do. So I guess they are right.
The vocals are pretty raw. The drummer is actually the vocalist here. I know about only two other band where the drummer is the lead vocalist. Those two bands are the death metal bands Autopsy and Nocturnus. In 1970, this was pretty radical stuff.
The guitars are also raw and wild. Ditto for the drums and bass. The music is hard and stoner like. Indeed, the music is stoner rock.
Where Black Sabbath's two 1970 albums had iconic songs and were very well structured, the same cannot said about this album. There are a couple of more melancholic songs here. The rest of this forty minutes long album is hard and straigth in your face.
The quality is decent throughout. But this is not a masterpiece and they were light years behind the quality music Black Sabbath gave us.
The 17th album from this German band.
The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of harmonica, bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and English vocals.
I was really unhappy and unimpressed by their 2014 album Twentaurus. A pretty bad album. So I was not looking forward to reviewing this album.
Twentaurus was a pop/rock album. Son.Sister.Sun still got some of that too. But the band has again moved towards psychedelic rock and has indeed made a psychedelic rock album here. There is also some pretty strong symphonic prog influences here.
The title track is four minutes long. The five other tracks are all over ten minutes long. Which is a bit strange... but also clever.
"Clever" is a word that sticks to my mind when listening to this album. The music and the details are really clever and tells me that Dice is in general a clever band who know what they are doing. Seventeen albums........ Oh, they know what they are doing.
The songs are all good and there is also lots of clever details here which makes the listener sit up and take notice. My faith in this band has been restored. Onwards, onwards towards their two final album.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
The seventh album from this Argentine band.
Nexus was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, drums and some Spanish vocals.
I know this band from some years ago when I reviewed their fifth and sixth albums. You will find these reviews here and here.
It is now five years since their last album. Two albums in one year, no less. That was 2012 and the band has changed a bit, I note from my reviews. Most of the vocals has now gone. What is remaining is instrumental symphonic prog.
Instrumental symphonic prog is not really my kind of symphonic prog. Some vocals is always keeping the focus of both the band and the listener. Instrumental symphonic prog can be a bit wishy-washy and muzak at times. Hence my reservations against instrumental symphonic prog.
The music on this album is pretty dark on this almost one hour long album. Some parts of this album is very dark and I get some RIO vibes from the likes of Present and Univers Zero. The music is also very technical with lots of keyboards, piano and guitars involved.
The music here is therefore neither muzak or wishy-washy. Neither is it great. I am not really convinced about it's quality either. It is sorely lacking some very good to good tracks. It is there an album somewhere between decent and good. It is a step in the wrong direction from this band.
The debut album from this US band.
Theo is a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, Chapman stick, guitars, piano, synths, percussions and vocals. They are helped out by some extra guitars on a couple of tracks.
Theo is four well established jazz musicians who wanted to make a progressive rock album in the vein of ELP, Yes and Genesis. Where have I heard this before ? Ahh.... The four musicians win Return To Forever when they recorded and released Romantic Warrior. That album ended up as a fusion album and one of the best albums ever to hit our planet.
The Game Of Ouroboros is not a fusion album. The band has created a genuine progressive rock album. It also has a nice 1970s musical landscape with a contemporary sound.
The music more in the vein of Pink Floyd than the likes of Yes and Genesis. There is some ELP references here too. There is also some jazz references here. There is also some Supertramp references here.
It is obvious that the band has not forgotten that they are jazz musicians and their take on progressive rock is in the jazz vein. That makes up for some less than impressive songs on this one hour long album. The music here is not great. But it has a nice style and lots of class. This is therefore a good album which really shines at times. But not enough times to make it a sunny day.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
The seventh album from this Japanese band.
Baraka was again a trio with a lineup of drums, synths, bass and guitars.
I have so far reviewed two of their albums and this one is my third review of their albums. I have not been impressed... See my two other reviews here and here.
In short..... I was not looking forward to sink my teeth into this album.
Baraka is again giving us fusion. The opening track Palm Trees Of The Maldives is really, really good and one heck of an ear-opener. These five minutes heavy dynamic fusion got my full attention. It is the best piece of music I have ever heard from this band.
The band then dives into a more Japanese electronica and ethno landscape. It is still fusion, but with a lot of interesting details.
The music becomes a lot more pastoral at the end of these fifty minutes and is not really that interesting. Nevertheless, this is a good album and by far the best Baraka album I have ever heard. My belief in Baraka has been restored........
The second album from this Spanish band.
Glasswork is a quartet on this album with a lineup of flute, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.
I am not familiar with their 2014 debut album Knots. But I think I will get this album in the near future based on Fear And Trembling.
Glasswork plays some pretty heavy prog rock with a lot of references to post-rock and folk rock. Reference are obviously Porcupine Tree. A very big reference here. But there is also some post-rock references too.
The keyboards sometimes dips into both mellotron and moog sounds. There is also a very good Hammond like organ sound here. There is also some electronica and more 1970s symphonic prog too. This album is a good fusion between 1970s progressive rock and 2010s progressive rock.
The songs are both melodic and pretty challenging too on this forty-five minutes long album. An album with a good sound and with a good soundscape too. The songs are always good and interesting.
Glasswork is a new name to me. But I will most definate check out their debut album Knots and I have made a mental note of this band.
Monday, 28 August 2017
The second album from this German band.
Mythos was a trio on this album with a lineup of mellotron, bass, drums, percussions, guitars, flutes, synths and English vocals.
I was not that overwhelmed with happiness by their self-titled 1972 album and voiced my opinion here.
It is rarely that I listen to this kind of krautrock too. The pretty ambient, pastoral raga-rock type of krautrock which Mythos has decided to explore on their albums. Well, at least on their debut album.
The band has developed during the three years between the debut album and Dreamlab. The raga-rock elements is more or less gone. The flutes, the very dominating flutes, has some Indian and Asian feel and ambience. But not much.
The album starts with some pretty ambient, subtle krautrock before it becomes harder and more dynamic at the end of these forty minutes. The music is in the less-is-more vein and has a lot of good ambience.
Maybe the flutes is too loud and too much dominant. But that is a minor gripe. A bigger gripe is the lack of any great songs and melodies. That said, this is still a good album and one to enjoy. Check it out.
The one and only album from this Italian band.
Theatre was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, mellotron, bass, drums, organ, piano and English vocals.
Their death-metal like band logo is highly suspect to say at least. And very, very misleading.
The sound coming from my speakers, and I have checked them out, is not death metal or nu-metal. It is neo-prog. Neo-prog in the vein of Fish era Marillion and the Lambs Lies Down On Broadway era Genesis. There is also some Pendragon like neo-prog here.
There is lots of lots of lots of Genesis and Marillion references in the music here. It almost becomes a sport to recognice that and that Genesis/Marillion melody line on this one hour long album. I have so far found eight references. Each of them lasting more than 5 second each.
The music here is also easy-digested music with some nice melodies and details. The references to other bands comes too often in my view.
I am not entirely happy with the standards of the musicians here either. This in the addition to the run-of-the-mill neo-prog this album gives us. There is no real sparks here. No real teeth and substance.
When that is said, this is a good album despite of the lack of teeth and substance. Neo-prog fans will really like this album. It is a weak three points, but nevertheless a three points album. Enjoy.
The second album from this US band.
Thank You Scientist was a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, trumpet, violin, guitars and vocals.
Back in February 2013, I reviewed their 2012 album Maps Of Non Existent Places. My review is here.
That album was quite a lively album with an emphasis of merging several different genres into their music. So I took a mental note of their name and purchased Stranger Heads Prevail when that was released. Due to other commitments, I have only had the chance to listen to and review it this month.
Stranger Heads Prevail continues on from their debut album. That means a heady mix of college rock, vaudeville rock, boyband pop, jazz and eclectic prog.
Yes, it is quite a mix. The album starts out as a boyband album with some boyband vocal harmonies. I was not impressed..... But the album became better after half a minute. The trumpet and the saxophone is everywhere in the music and makes the songs here quite eclectic. The vocals are probably the star on this seventy minutes long album. The songs are pretty melodic and has many good hooks.
The end result is a good album which should get this band more fans. I am perhaps not among them. But I am again making a mental note and will get their next album.