Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Lethe - Nymphae (1993)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

Lethe was a quintet on this album with a lineup of flutes, synths, bass, guitars, percussion, drums and Italian vocals.

This band should not be confused with the Dutch band of the same name. That band sounded like Camel. Our Italian friends does not.

Lethe is pretty much a middle of the road Rock Progressive Italian (RPI) band. The flutes adds a Jethro Tull and numerous 1970s Italian bands associations. Flutes is a much used instrument in Italian progressive rock.

There is also a lot of ELP associations here. But most of all, there is a lot of Banco and PFM associations here.

The music on Nymphae is both lush, epic and very melodic. The electric guitars are sometimes a bit jarring. They are also very low in the mix. But they are OK. The flutes, vocals and the synths is the main instruments.

Fifty minutes and five songs is what we get here. The longest song are clocking in at seventeen minutes. Mostly all songs are long, epic and complex.

The end result is an album where mostly everything works. There are a couple great melody lines here too. Melody lines in the PFM school. There are also stuff here who does not work.

The end result is a good album who should be lapped up by everyone into RPI.

3 points 



Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Kolibri - Winterserenade (1985)


The second and final album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of bouzouki, guitars, transverse flute, bass and violin.

The band released their debut album Tsamadou back in 1981 and followed up that one with this album. And that is all I know about this band. Even ProgArchives does not have much info about this band. Not to mention any reviews.

Which is a bit shame as this album is available through Youtube.

This album is forty-two minutes long and it is a folk-rock album with some elements of progressive rock. It is wholly an acoustic album.

The music here reminds me a lot about Flairck. This album is indeed a nice reminder how brilliant that Dutch band was. Kolibri is a bit of a stripped down Flairck.

Where Flairck did some really high quality acoustic folk music, Kolibri is not reaching that level with Winterserenade. There is a lot of violin and transverse flute on this album, supported by classical guitar.

The sound is very good. The songs are not bad at all and Kolibri has not disgraced themselves with this album. And I fully support those who want their two albums re-released. My only gripe with this album is the lack of quality. This album is somewhere between decent and good. But check it out !

2.5 points




Monday, 24 April 2017

Karakorum - Karakorum (2016)


The debut album from this German band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organs, synths and vocals. Both German and English male vocals.

Karakorum is one of the new breed of German progressive rock bands. They have been listed as a Psychedelic and Space Rock band in ProgArchives. I am not necessary in agreement with them.

OK, there are some psychedelic rock in their music. There are a lot of Pink Floyd here too. There are also some heavy prog, neo-prog, symphonic prog and indeed some RPI, Rock Progressive Italiano here too. The band takes a lot of small pieces and bits from many genres and fuses them into their music.

The end result is a pretty complex and dense form of progressive rock.

Sixty-four minutes divided on five songs. The longest track is topping out at eighteen minutes. The Beteigeuze suite is three tracks long and contains over forty minutes of music.

What is lacking here is quality. I am not really being won over by an album I should have been won over. Only the final track, the fifteen minutes long Fairytales, is a track I really rate. The rest, including this Beteigeuze suite is pretty dark and not particular interesting.

But this is their debut album and I will follow this band and check out what they are up to on their next albums. This album is not setting my world on fire.

2.5 points





Sunday, 23 April 2017

Triangle - Alert & Alive (2016)


The third album from this Dutch band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

I have not had the pleasure of listening to their first two albums (the band is welcome to send me digital review copies of them !) so I cannot say much about their past. Their previous album was released in 2004. Alert & Alive is their comeback album.

Holland/The Netherlands has got a lot of neo-prog bands. A very good scene indeed. Triangle is one of these neo-prog bands populating this scene. I have to admit that their name is new to me. But I have seen some reviews of their 2000 debut album Square The Circle.

Triangle is not a run-of-the-mill Dutch neo-prog band. They have a psychedelic feel to their music. Even The Beatles is popping up here as a good reference. But neo-prog is still the basis for their music. In this respect, I would compare them to their countrymen Us.

I have been listening long and hard to this album as it is both very interesting and really difficult to form an opinion about. The band's psychedelia is something I have never heard from a neo-prog band before.

The vocals is not particular good although it is not bad either. But the rest of the band is really good and deliver the goods.

The songs are all good too. This fifty-two minutes long album is a really interesting take on this neo-prog genre and one I would recommend. Check it out.

3 points



Osanna - Prog Family (2009)


The seventh album from this Italian band.

The band was a seven piece band with a lineup of saxophone, flutes, bass, guitars, drums, keyboards, Mellotron and vocals. Mostly Italian vocals. David Jackson from Van Der Graaf Generator was also a member of the band on this album. Several other musicians and vocalists also added their contributions to this album. Sophya Baccini and David Cross was among these guests.

The original title of this album was Osanna & David Jackson - Prog Family. Just to get my archive right, I have omitted Mr. Jackson from the title (sorry, sir..).

This album is seventy-two minutes of reworked old songs. Just like the Taka Boom album which precede this album. An album I have not reviewed as it is very poor.

Osanna & David Jackson has rearranged old Osanna songs on Prog Family and given their sound some very needed facelifts. Many of the reworked versions sounds indeed better than the originals.

Many of the songs has gotten a folk-rock and more mainstream RPI (Rock Progressive Italiano) sound and feel. A much more laidback sound. David Jackson's flutes and saxophone + undoubted wisdom has added a lot to these songs.

The result is a cosy and good album. An album which sound both well crafted and intelligent. An album which will make everyone into RPI smile and nod approvingly. There is no great songs here and that is my only gripe with this album. Besides of that, this one is recommeded.

3 points

 



Saturday, 22 April 2017

Schwarzarbeit - Traum oder Wirklichkeit (1982)


The second album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and German vocals. The band also got help from some xtra vocalists. Mostly female vocals.

I was not that impressed with their 1979 self-titled debut album.  But the band tried again with their second and later on..... their third album.

The band is regarded as a German symphonic prog band. I am not convinced about this....

This album starts out as an alternative pop album with some Eloy harmonies supporting the pop/rock here. That and some German vocals. Both male and female vocals.

The second half of this album is some sort of ambient symphonic prog with some jazz and lounge-jazz influences. Pretty much easy listening if the tracks on this second half of the album had been any good.

This is an album in two halves. The pop side and the instrumental side. And I am not particular impressed with either of these sides.

This is a decent enough album and just that. I am afraid this band is not really something for me and I am giving their third and final album a miss.

2 points


Karmakanic - Wheel Of Life (2004)


The second album from this Swedish band.

Karmakanic was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals. They also had help from the likes of Roine Stolt and Tomas Bodin.

Karmakanic is really Jonas Reingold's band and hobby project when he was/is not playing with The Tangent and The Flower Kings.

I was not that impressed with their 2002 debut album Entering The Spectra. An album all over the place with not much quality. 

The band is still all over the place. There is obviously a desire to not make this band into a The Flower Kings clone. In this, they have succeeded.

So what we get here is a lot of jazz, rock, funk, world music and some Scandinavian symphonic prog. Jonas Reingold gives himself a lot of space to shine here. In particular on the eight minutes long instrumental fusion pastishe.

The Swedish symphonic prog here are reasonable OK. These songs are not particular good though.

This one hour long album is too unfocused and does not have much good stuff. This is another hit/miss album. An album somewhere between decent and good. I am not impressed.

2.5 points





Styx - The Grand Illusion (1977)


The seventh album from this US band.

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

The band had moved on from their slightly confused state of mind (their first five albums) to a much more commercial AOR and hard rock sound on their previous album Crystal Ball.
The addition of Tommy Shaw, a very fine vocalist and guitarist, also helped a lot.

Styx were hitting big time and some big sales figures. No wonder with songs like on this forty minutes long album.

OK, this album sounds a bit dated these days. This were the hedonistic 1970s with it's own guitar and keyboards sound. The AOR sound. It sold albums. Lots of them.

The songs here are pretty heavy. The choruses and verses are still very catchy and makes me grin. The music here also sounds very naive and innocent. The cheese percentage is very high in Styx music.

That said, the songs are also good and makes an enjoyable album. A cheese-fest, yes. But this is a good album where all tracks are good. But none of them are great. There are some songs here with some dept and longviety here, though. Those who likes Crystal Ball will also lap up this album. Check out both of them.

3 points

Friday, 21 April 2017

Kalo - Spiral Dream (2004)


The one and only album from this Japanese band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of programming, keyboards, drums, bass, guitars and female vocals. I believe the vocals are in Japanese although I am not sure.

Kalo is Masahiro Uemura from Vermillion Sands and some other bands. This is his solo project. Was his solo project as I am not sure what he is now doing.

The album starts out with some really heavy guitars and I am taking a notice..... big time. A really great guitar solo, it is...... There is hope in this one hour long album.

Well, the album changes nature after some minutes and we get some ambient music which is what we get until the end of this album.

It is though unfair to label this as an ambient new-age album. There are a lot of guitar solos and keyboards here. The very sparse and sporadic vocals also adds a lot of colours and substance. I have seen a reviewer in ProgArchives label this album as a mix of Vangelis and symphonic prog. I agree with that label.

This is by no means an exciting lively album. Neither is it a full on Japanese symphonic prog album. It is though an album with some good stuff and some rather uninteresting stuff. I am not entirely won over by this album. Nevertheless, it is an album somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points


Sinkadus - Cirkus (1999)


The second album from this Swedish band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of cello, flute, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Swedish vocals.

This is their so far final album. Which is a great shame as I very much liked their 1997 debut album Aurum Nostrum.

Sinkadus was probably the band who took the Swedish symphonic prog sound the most further towards the Swedish folk rock sound. Much further than The Flower Kings, Anekdoten and Anglagard ever did.

Although Cirkus is very much a Swedish symphonic prog album, is is clearly very much in tune with Swedish folk music too. It has this Scandinavian melancholic feel over it. A type of melancholic feel we have seen the Scandinavian crime authors and TV companies use with great commercial and artistic success during the last five years.

The music on this forty-seven minutes and five tracks long album is melancholic, a bit sinister and very epic. The flutes, guitars and the keyboards is driving the music forward. The Swedish vocals also adds a lot to this album.

The end result is another very good album from this band. My only gripe is the lack of a true great track. Despite of that, this is a very good album.

3.5 points
 

Hackett. Steve - Genesis Revisited II (2012)


The 23rd album from this English artist.

Steve Hackett plays the guitars and gets help from numerous vocalists and other musicians here. Most of them are well known and includes his many friends. Even Phil Collins son does one song here.

This is # 2 of the Genesis revisited. I was not a big fan of # 1 of this series. An album where some of the songs were really pretty bad. But I was looking forward to this album.

This double CD, well over two hours long album, also includes four of his own songs, released by his own. That includes his best ever song, Shadow Of The Hierophant.

But first thing first. This album starts as a great, great album with a battleship of excellent Genesis songs. This includes Supper's Ready where the vocals are pretty weird. I prefer the original version.... actually that one from the Live At Rainbow, the more or less bootleg album.

The vocals and the arrangement is not particular close to the original Genesis songs. This is not a Genesis best of album. This is Steve Hackett playing around with these songs, involving other musicians and vocalists.

The result is sometimes pretty weird. The wildest excesses from # 1 has been dropped though and the result is not as outrageous as on the first album.

I am still very hard pressed to label this as a great album. It is not. But it is still a very good album which will appeal to all Genesis fans and those into Steve Hackett. I am not sure if this album will win them any new fans, though.....

3.5 points


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Sirius - Running To Paradise (1982)

The debut album from this German band.

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

The band managed to release two album during the worst years in the history of prog rock. Progressive rock was as popular as rabies, cancer, pest and AIDS back in those years. But Sirius released two albums..... Well done !!

The band even played symphonic prog on these two albums. You cannot be more toxic than that. Or more popular in my household than that.

The music on this forty-two minutes long album has taken a lot of inspirations from the likes of Genesis and England. But there is also a lot of Japanese symphonic prog here.

The vocals is rather wishy-washy in the cascades of keyboards and guitars. The sound is a bit wishy-washy. Which is not that good. A bit more clarity would have been good.

The keyboards and the likeness to Genesis are rather good. Ditto for some of the guitar solos which enhances this album.

There is a lot of keyboards here. There is not so much good songs here. That is my only gripe with this album. This and the sound. There are a few really good songs though.

The end result is somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points
   

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Maxophone - La Fabbrica Delle Nuvole (2017)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, grand piano, organ, keyboards, percussion, violin and Italian vocals.

The band released their debut album back in 1975. They reformed again a few years ago. No doubts because of the renaissance the Italian prog rock scene is now going through. And we should all be grateful for that although Maxophone was never one of the big Italian progressive rock bands back in the 1970s. But their return is great news.

I reviewed their debut album back in September 2010 for Progarchives. An album I really liked. The band toured and relased a live album during that time before they returned to studio again and recorded La Fabbrica Delle Nuvole. The band is still gigging. Which is really brilliant.

The music on La Fabbrica Delle Nuvole is pretty much middle of the road Italian progressive rock. That with a baroque feel. There is also some folk rock influences here.

The music is mid tempo and pretty pastoral with some really good vocals from Alberto Ravasini. Those are the highlights on this forty-five minutes long album.

My only gripe is the lack of any great pieces of music. There is none. But this is a good, charming album who all fans of Italian progressive rock will like.

3 points



Monday, 17 April 2017

Kaleidon - Free Love (1973)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, keyboards and flute.

This band was also Stefano Sabatini's band. He was a member of another Italian band called Free Love. Two of it's members perished in a car-crash and that band were disbanded. I guess the album title is a nod to that band.
Stefano Sabatini later turned up in another one-album band called Samadhi before he continued on his own as a superb jazz keyboardist.

We are pretty much in the jazz territory here. Much more jazz than rock. I am not entirely sure where the border between jazz and fusion goes. This border is as diffuse as the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland (Eire).

But the music here reminds me a lot about Soft Machine and that makes this interesting for me.

The music is based on a lot of saxophone and keyboards solos with a thundering bass and easy-beat drums propping this up.

This album is forty minutes long and is has some good solos and details. I am not entirely won over as there is no really great stuff here. This is a slightly below average jazz album and one to check out if you are into jazz. Rock and prog fans would perhaps give this a miss.

2.5 points





Jump - Over The Top (2016)


The 13th album from this English band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and male vocals.

The band is 26 years old these days and has released twelve albums before this album. Their debut album was the 1991 album The Winds Of Change. They were a neo-prog band in the beginning and I did not like their 2001 album On Impulse that much. 

I very much liked their 2013 album Black Pilgrim. That is the album before Over The Top. An album where the band had changed sound and genre.

Gone is neo-prog. What we get is a much more cosy and melodic folk-rock. Slightly more commercial, but also music which this band master and makes into their own. The 2013 album Black Pilgrim was a very good example which proves me right.

Over The Top gives us fifty-five minutes of good folky pub/folk rock. There is no flutes and no violins here. The band is fully electric throughout. But they creates a very good sound and ambience on this album.

It is very, very hard not to like this album. It also has a lot of very clever melodies. There is no great songs here. But this album is still a very good album with some very good vocals and songs.

In short; this is a very good album from a band at their peak. I hope they will continue for some more albums.

3.5 points



Sunday, 16 April 2017

Jan Dukes De Grey - Mice And Rats In The Loft (1971)


The second album from this British band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of saxophone, flutes, tabla, drums, percussions, clarinet, guitar, trumpet, trombone and vocals. There is also a hired in symphony orchestra here.

Their 1970 debut album Sorcerers made next to no impact at all despite of the band being signed on Decca. Mice And Rats In The Loft made next to no impact too and the band disbanded. This album was re-released some time ago and has got a very good reputation these days. I am sure the band members are amused........

The music here is acid folk music. No less and no more.

This forty minutes long album is divided into three songs. Sun Symphonica, Call Of The Wild and the title track. All of them has a lot of avant-garde psychedelia and some jazzy stuff. Acid prog in other words.

There is not much structures here and the album has this feeling of a jam album. The woodwinds makes this album quite an experience. I can understand why it did not sell that much back in those days. These days, there are a lot of bands in this genre.

The album, and the debut album, was released well ahead of it's time in other words. And it is not an easy access album. But there are methods in this madness. There is a lot of good stuff going on here on this album. A lot of hooks and a lot of interesting details.

The end result is a good album which deserve it's newfound status and celebrity. Check it out.

3 points

Jet Lag - Delusione Ottica (2001)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of flute, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and Italian male vocals.

I presume Jet Lag is named after a PFM album. Which means PFM like music..... OK ?............ No.

Jet Lag has taken a lot from the 1970s Italian symphonic prog scene and added a lot of fusion and heavy prog. A band like Osanna springs to mind. There is not much PFM influences here, if any at all.

The music is hard and intense throughout. But the flute is really playing a big part here and is adding a lot of colours. The band has a modernised Italian progressive rock sound.

The music on this fifty minutes long album is also very playful with tonnes of very interesting details. There is a lot of wacky rhythms here and a lot of mad stuff. That reminds me a lot about the likes of Area.

The end result is a energetic, lively album with a lot of good music. It is a debut album which should have lead to more albums from this band. That has not happened, I am afraid.

Check out this good album.

3 points



Jackal - Awake (1973)


The one and only album from this Canadian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organ and vocals.

This band was from Toronto, the same town who gave us Saga, Triumph and..... Rush ! My alltime favourite band Rush. But I had never heard about Toronto's Jackal (but I knew the US hair-metal band Jackal) before until I bumped into this album on Youtube and read about it in ProgArchives.  The artwork would also be a plus for my blog, I quickly discovered.

So I gave this album a listen....... and I was grinning like a cat after ten minutes.

It is fair to say that this album, lead by the Kellesis brothers, is a hidden gem. The music has been described as Heavy Prog in ProgArchives. Which is correct. Hard Psych is probably the right label though, although ProgArchives does not have this one. Fair enough !

There is a lot of psychedelis prog on this album. The whole forty minutes long album to be more precise. A lot of guitar and organ solos.

The album is also very melodic with a lot of references to the good old beat music scene from the 1960s. The Animals, early Deep Purple and Doors springs to mind.  Ditto for Jefferson Airplane.

The songs are all well crafted with a lot of interesting melodies and hooks. The vocals are good throughout. Ditto for the sound. My only gripe is the lack of any very good or great songs.

The end result is a good album with it's own charm and style. One of the better finds among the obscure and forgotten albums/bands it is too. Check it out for yourself. Me think you will like it as much as I do.

3 points


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Nucleus - Old Heartland (1988)


The 14th and final album from this English band.

The band was a loosely a sextet where four members shared the duties on drums, bass, synths, organs and keyboards. Ian Carr played all the trumpets and flugelhorns. Phil Todd did the saxophones and clarinets. The band was helped out by a string orchestra called Kreisler String Orchestra.
It was a nice gesture from John Marshall, who were member of this band on their first albums, to return and help out Nucleus on this album.

This album is listed as a Nucleus album in all the lexicons so I am too labeling it as a Nucleus album.

That aside, this is a very different album from the remaining thirteen Nucleus albums. Thirty minutes of this album is occupied by a classical music piece called Northumbrian Scetches. This is not a piece of music I feel is that interesting. Well, even after surviving the shock of hearing strings on a Nucleus album. And it was a shock.

The jazz stuff at the end, the final twenty minutes of this fifty minutes long album, is slightly better. It is always nice to hear Ian Carr's trumpets again. No wonder he is called our very own Miles Davis.
The jazz here is very laidback indeed.

I am hard pressed to label this a good album because it is not. It lays somewhere between decent and good, I am afraid. But Nucleus was a great band and I will remember them for their first three albums. Albums everyone should have in their collection.

2.5 points


Apocalypse - The Bridge Of Light (2008)


The sixth album from this Brazilian band.

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

This is no less a seventy minutes long live-album with brand new stuff. Hence a legitimate studio album with new stuff... It therefore fulfils my reviews criterias as I am no longer reviewing live and best-of albums.

Soft Machine, in their desperation for money (they were down to their last pennies), recorded their new material as a live album. Alive In Paris, it is called. And it was a poor album.

Back to Brazil and the UCS Theatre in Caxias Do Sul. This is a town/city in the most southern province of Brazil. It is next to the border to Uruguay and Argentina. The sound is not as good as a studio album... but it is not bad at all. The songs comes across nicely and fine. No problems.

The music is a mix of neo-prog, prog metal and symphonic prog. It is a bit harder than we are used to from this band. The English lyrics and vocals adds a more US prog feel to the songs. The Marillion influences are clearly here.

The songs are really good though and the band has something going with this album. Those who loves melodic prog and prog metal will lap this album us as a cat laps up some creamy milk. My gripe is the sound and the lack of any really great tracks here. Besides of that, I would recommend this album from this great band.

3 points
 



Friday, 14 April 2017

Secret Oyster - Sea Son (1974)


The second album from this Danish band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of percussions, bass, drums, piano, moog, organ, guitars and saxophones.

I was very happy with their 1973 debut album Furtive Pearl which I gave a very good rating. So I was looking forward to this album.

We are off course talking fusion here, for those who don't know the band. Secret Oyster was a Danish supergroup with members of other great Danish bands.

The band has got new wind in their sails these days (well..... ten years ago) after the remasters from Laser's Edge. And the second track here, Mind Movie, is really a piece of jazz in the Weather Report vein.

There is a lot of guitar solos and pianos in their music on this album. There are also saxophone solos and a lot of nifty work on all instruments.

What surprises me is how laidback the music is on this album, with the exception of Mind Movie. The other tracks are really understated with some understated organ and saxophone solos. There is indeed a lot of Weather Report in their music.

I am not totally won over by this album as it is lacking some great music. It is a good album which is suffering from being slightly bland at times. I much prefer their debut album to this one.

3 points


Notturno Concertante - Canzoni Allo Specchio (2012)


The sixth album from this Italian band.

The band was a nine piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, clarinet, saxophone, accordion, violin, bass, keyboards and Italian vocals.

This album is so far their latest album. I have reviewed their second album and their third album. Both was turkeys, 1 pointers, in my opinion. I am not a fan of this band........

Canzoni Allo Specchio is an album with a good reputation though so I decided to give this album my attention.

The neo-prog from the not so beloved previous albums (OK, I have not heard their fourth and fifth albums...) has gone. It has completely gone, in fact. The band now sounds like their band name. A concert in the night.... That is what Notturno Concertante, roughly, is translated into English means..... or even better; a nocturnal concert. 

The music here is folk rock. Italian folk rock with a lot of keltic and symphonic prog inspirations. The violins and accordion adds this folk rock feel. The saxophones adds some gypsy and jazzy flavours to this party. The vocals is really great here.

The music is pretty much polished and well crafted. The folk rock here is very melodic. But it sounds real and not commercial....... although thousands of good, respectable homes should have a copy of this album. The music on this forty-five minutes long album feels like the real deal to me.   

There is no great songs here and that is my only gripe with this album. But it is a good album well worth checking out if pastoral Italian folk-rock is your thing.

3 points


Thursday, 13 April 2017

It - We're All In This Together (2017)


The fifth album from this English band.

IT is really Nick Jackson's band and he has filled It with four other musician this time. The lineup is guitars, synths, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and Nick's vocals. Some guest musicans is adding woodwinds, backing vocals and synths here. The far-left politician George Galloway is even lending one of his speaches here and is added as a guest musician.

This album paints a rather gloomy picture of Great Britain anno 2017 and I guess this a concept album. In this respect, this album harks back to the many similar albums from the 1980s where Margaret Thatcher was the focus of many albums.

This is therefore a very British album. The genre here is somewhere between rock and neo-prog. Mostly neo-prog, though.

The music here is pretty modern sounding and does not look back to the good old neo-prog sound. Instead, the music here is pretty intense and heavy.

There are some good hooks and melodies here and there on this one hour long album. But most of this album is falling a bit short in many respect.

But I still like this album a lot and rate it as a good album. The music here is not really my cup of tea, but this album is a good album. Check it out if you like modern rock and neo-prog.

3 points

 


Schwarzarbeit - Schwarzarbeit (1979)


The debut album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of bass, violin, drums, guitars, keyboards and German vocals.

This rather obscure German band released three albums between 1979 and 1993. I will review/I have reviewed their first two albums.

This album comes across as a post-punk album during the first couple of minutes. Which is totally wrong for the rest of the album. I find these minutes baffling, to say at least.

The rest of the album is like the short instrumentals on the first Genesis albums. Just some keyboards and accoustic guitars with some ideas and melodies.

Most of the tracks on this forty-one long album is instrumentals and rather short. There are a lot of decent ideas scattered around this album. But there is no real coherent plan besides of creating some rather short instrumental tracks.

This album reminds me about a movie soundtrack. Goblin springs to mind and I am finally understanding this album. But it is not a good album and I am not a fan.

2 points 




Opeth - Watershed (2008)


The 9th album from this Swedish band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of mellotron, keyboards, piano, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Some guest artists contributed with strings, woodwinds and female vocals.

The band has grown a lot since their debut album Orchid back in 1995. The incorporation of progressive rock in their music has split their old fanbase straight down the middle. This has also got them a lot of new fans......... and respectability. The band is now even featured in Prog Rock Magazine.

That is off course great and I am very positive about their new direction. I am very much for bands branching out without really become commercial.

Opeth should not be accused for being commercial on this album. We get the normal blend of death metal grunts and clear vocals. Between blastbeats and more pastoral and progressive tones.

The opening song Coil is very good before hell breaks loose with some death metal grunts and blastbeats.

My gripe with this fifty-five minutes long album is the lack of any really great songs. The band is doing everything right 'but writing great songs. There is a lot of positives on this good album. But that is really all to this album. Check it out.

3 points

 

Island - Pictures (1977)


The one and only album from this Swiss band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, flutes, keyboards, piano, clarinet, bass, gongs, percussions, drums and vocals. English vocals.

The H.R Giger painting should really act as a warning. It did indeed warn me against this album for the best part of ten years before I recently purchased it.

The music here is really, really dark........ on the surface. We are also talking hyper-complex music here. Take a big chunk of Gentle Giant and add influences from the likes of Van Der Graaf Generator, Present and King Crimson.

Their listing as Eclectic Prog in ProgArchives has seldom been more fitting and precise. This is indeed very eclectic music. All the fifty minutes of this album.

The music is rhythm, saxophone and keyboards driven with some really good vocals on the top. It is not easy to follow the twists and turns of this album. But there are some really gemstones hidden among the various time-shifts. Not to mention that the time-shifts, twists and turns on this album is very good too.

This is indeed a very good album and one of the hidden gems in the progressive rock scene. One that makes this blog a very exciting hobby. Check out this album !

3.5 points  



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Hackett. Steve - Wild Orchids (2006)


The 19th album from this English artist.

Steve Hackett is doing most of the vocals and all guitars here. Guest artists are helping out on keyboards, synths, piano, percussions, drums, bass, woodwinds and strings.

Steve Hackett has released some classical music albums inbetween the more progressive rock influenced albums. This living legend has a pretty big creative output. He is also guest artist on numerout albums in addition to touring and recording his own songs. This in addition to the Genesis Revisited packages.... Busy man !

I have my reservations about his solo albums as I still regard his first albums (two of his first three albums) Voyage Of The Acolyte and Spectral Morning has his best albums. See reviews on # 1 of this blog and some off mine in ProgArchives.

Wild Orchids sees Steve Hackett turning his attention on world music and on more pastoral music. Both of these styles sits nicely with Steve Hackett. There are also a very good song here. She Moves In Memory is pastoral song with a choral feel and a lot of classical music influences.

There is also some other rays of sunshine here. Most of this one hour long album is indeed good to very good. Something that surprises me as my hopes for this album was not high. But I have been surprised.

The end result is a good album and one that sits nicely among his better albums. He can be satisfied with this album.

3 points


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Sinkadus - Aurum Nostrum (1997)


The debut album from this Swedish band.

Sinkadus was a sextet with a lineup of flute, cello, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Swedish vocals.

Sinkadus was one of those bands who lived in the shadows of Anglagard, Anekdoten and not at least; The Flower Kings. The new bands in the Swedish scene in other words. Bands following in Kaipa's footsteps.

Sinkadus only released two albums. But they are all still very much talked about and have a classic album status. Ditto for the band.

Sinkadus was the most folk-music influenced of those Swedish symphonic prog bands. Not at least on this album which is very much steeped in the Swedish folk-music tradition.

The four songs here are pretty long. One hour divided on four songs. That is pretty epic. The longest one, the opening track Snalblast is over eighteen minutes long.

The vocals are a bit strange and dissonant. The instrumental parts does not have this moog and mellotron Anglagard's music had. Which is a bit of a shame as a mellotron would have enhanced this music a lot. The four songs here are pretty similar to Anglagard's debut album. But without the mellotron.

The music is very good throughout. A killer track is really missing here and that is my only gripe with this album. I am really looking forward to give their second album my attention.

3.5 points

Monday, 10 April 2017

Osanna - Suddance (1978)


The fifth album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, piano, synths, bass, percussions, drums and vocals. One Italian song among English vocals songs. Two guest musicians contributed with electric violin and saxophones.

Osanna's output had been a mixed back on the previous four albums. Both quality wise and music wise. I have yet to "get" this band and their albums.

Lino Vairetti does a very good job on vocals again. This on an album where Osanna again does a rather sharp turn to the left.

I am not sure of this band is restless or just seeking commercial acceptance (sales). Suddance is an album which sees the band trying to get some new fans. This by leaving their old fans behind.

This album is very much difference from their previous four albums. Take a chunk of funk, soul, Italiano pop and fusion. Add some of the Italian prog rock and jazz scene too. Add a lot of the South-European sound too. The more laidback lifestyle. Then you somehow get this album.

The fusion part is pretty big here. Not at least added by the electric violin. The best parts here is the fusion parts.

This forty minutes long album is lacking a lot of good melodies and songs. This is just a sporadic good album. Most of this album is decent enough though and that puts the album somewhere between a decent and a good album. Hence my lack of enthusiasm.

2.5 points

  

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cinema Show - Danca dos Ventos (1995)


The one and only album from this Brazilian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, synths, piano, guitars, bass and Portoguese male vocals.

Cinema Show was one of the many Brazilian symphonic prog bands who released one album and then split up. Far too few bands survived the first album and went onto releasing more albums.

By choosing this name as the band name, the band has associated themselves with Genesis. Which will always raise some eyebrows.

Cinema Show does indeed sometime sound like Genesis. But there is more than that to this band. They like to go out and play with a lot of different rhythm structures. So much that they sometimes approaches Rush in their style. There are also a lot of neo-prog in their music too. This album is actually much more a neo-prog album than a symphonic prog album.

This band is not a 1970s copycat band as their sound is pretty modern. Well, pretty much in the 1990s, that is.

The vocalist tries out his English on two songs and fails a lot in this respect. He should have kept to his vocals to his mother-tongue.

That aside, this is a good album with a lively sound and one hour of good music. Music that has a lot going for it and a lot of life. Even in the more pastoral melodies. It comes recommended from me.

3 points

Nucleus - Out Of The Long Dark (1979)


The 12th album from this English group.

The band was a five piece big band on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, synths, flugelhorn, trumpet, flutes, saxes and electric piano.

Nucleus was always Ian Carr's band and that was underlined by the new band name Ian Carr's Nucleus. But for the sake of continuity, I use Nucleus as the band name.

I have reviewed their first albums in # 1 of this blog. Go there to find them if any interest.

The band came to my knowledge because they supplied Soft Machine with some of their best musicians. But Ian Carr, who sadly passed away in 2009, is an interesting musician in itself. This trumpet player was branded as the white Miles Davis. The music is not too disimilar too. Both came from the jazz scene and went over to fusion for a time.

This album is a lot more a jazz album than a fusion album. The jazz here is a bit melancholic and sad. It is not too complicated either. It follows the formula and does not deviate that much.

Ian Carr is as always doing a very good job on the trumpet. Ditto for the other musicians. The music is sadly not that interesting though. I feel that Nucleus and Ian Carr was running on empty here. There is no spark and not much energy. The added flutes is the highlights on this fifty minutes long album. Check it out if jazz and fusion is your thing.

2.5 points

 

Saturday, 8 April 2017

III Milênio - Aliança dos Tempos (1990)


The one and only album from this Brazilian band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and Portoguese male vocals.

It seems like I, by sheer accident, is currently reviewing some albums from Brazilian symphonic prog bands. Which is a good thing for me as this is a very good scene.

Ill Milenio was a band who got more liked and famous outside Brazil than in Brazil. This album was released in 1990 by a local label before Musea in France re-released the album with 20 minutes xtra stuff in 1993. I got the Musea version.

Clocking in at almost eighty minutes, this album is one heck of a mouthful. In particular when it only contains two pieces of music. Act 1 and Act 2.

Yes, the music here is very theatrical, operatic and symphonic. It could have been a great opera too if it was not for the vocals. The reason why people will have problems with this album is because of the vocals. They are not something you have to get used to. No matter how many times you listen to this album, you will soon conclude that they are horrible.

Herein lays the problem of this band and this album. The vocals is the murderer.

The music is not too bad in itself. Act 1 is a lot better than Act 2. It has a more flowing feel to it, despite of lasting around fifty minutes.

Fans of Japanese, Brazilian and even Italian symphonic prog will like this album. It is by no means a bad album. It is slightly too long, even as a fifty minutes long album. But there is a lot of good ideas scattered around this album. Check out this album.

2.5 points

  

Tribute - Terra Incognita (1991)


The third and final album from this Swedish band.

The band was a quartet with various vocals and acoustic instruments in the lineup. That and some synths too. There is a lot of guest musicians on this album who contributes with woodwinds and strings.

This album is in reality the solo album from the Tribute mainman Gideon Anderson. But he kept the band name for some reason. Just to sell more albums, I guess.

Tribute was always very influenced by Mike Oldfield. On his own, Gideon Anderson has really taken this influence as far it can go without really becoming a copycat.... although this album may be a Mike Oldfield copycat, some would argue. And it is his Crisis era most are referring to here.

Most of this album is very ambient with a lot of synths in addition to the more acoustic and electric guitars parts.

There is also a lot of acoustic guitars, woodwinds and strings too. Even an African choir and some female vocals. Vocals which works as sound effects and not proper vocals.

This album is very ambient and not particular interesting. There are some really good ambient music around. This album does not have any good music.

What we get here is forty-seven minutes of half decent music which works fine as a cure against insomnia. A couple of decent melodies saves this from being included in my exlusive collection of turkeys. But this album will never grace my ears again.

1.5 points




Friday, 7 April 2017

Chronos Mundi - Luz & Trevas (1999)


The one and only album from this Brazilian band.

Chronos Mundi was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and male Portoguese vocals.

Their name sounds like a death/black metal band from somewhere. The music is anything but metal.

We are in symphonic prog land again. But this time in the other end of the symphonic prog land.... sort of.

Take the Genesis album Trespass as a starting point. Add some ELP and Renaissance to the mix too. And the more pastoral part of the Italian symphonic prog scene. Add some South American symphonic prog too. You will end up with something like this.

There is a lot of church organs like keyboards here. The references to ELP is clear. But where ELP was bombastic, Chronos Mundi is pastoral.

They are even ambient on some melodies here. This forty-three minutes long album does not speak loudly. More like a whisper, in fact.

But there are still some uptempo stuff here to make this an album with some contrasts, light and shade.

The end result is a good album which showcases a trio which should have released more albums together. That this is their only album is a great shame. Check it out.

3 points


Apocalypse - Refúgio (2003)


The fifth album from this Brazilian band.

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

The band has given us some good albums up to now, without really making any great albums. Or for that sake, any great songs.

Their mix of South American folk music/pop and English neo-prog and symphonic prog is what we have got from them on their previous four albums. The band has this very typical South American symphonic prog sound.

This is a very cosy and warm sound. It is a sound I really like. I really like this band and their sound.
Hence, I really want a great album from them and have reviewed their four previous albums in the hope that they have released a great album.

There is plenty of good music on this one hour long album. The final two tracks, thirteen minutes altogether, is two live tracks from a gig in USA. But there is fifty minutes of new stuff here.

The band has again come up with a good album. Some would even call this a great album. I am not. This album is sorely missing a great track or three. Something which would rise it's head above the rest of the stuff.

This is indeed a good album and a good mix of symphonic prog and neo-prog. The vocals are good and there is plenty of details to enjoy here. Some of the music here is really playful too. That makes for a good hour in the company of this album. Check it out.

3 points 



Thursday, 6 April 2017

Ancient Veil. The - I Am Changing (2017)


The second album from this Italian band.

The Ancient Veil is Alessandro Serri and Edmondo Romano from Eris Pluvio and Fabio Serri. They have got help from a long list of guests. The instruments is a mix of strings, piano, drums, percussions, guitars, keyboards and woodwinds. That and some very good English vocals. Mostly male vocals. But there are also some female vocals here.

The band has taken their time on the follow up to their self-titled debut album. Twenty-two years, to be more precise. Their debut album was released in 1995 ! An album I very much liked in my review from October 2015.

I noted in that review that the band combined symphonic prog and folk rock. That is no longer the case on the follow up.

Take a large chunk of medieval baroque music and add a lot of pastoral symphonic prog. Then we are pretty close to giving this album it's correct label.

And the word "pastoral" is the keyword here. This album is very much a less-is-more album. A lot of vocals with some strings, organs, drums and acoustic guitars. There are comparisons to early Genesis here. But most of it is very much their own style. There are some sporadic outbreaks of electric guitar riffs and drums here. But that is not that often. But they very nicely breaks up an album which could have sounded stale.

This mix of electricity and acoustic instruments makes this an ideal fit for the very good to great songs here. This album is only forty-three minutes long and does not outstay it's welcome. It feel compact and very cleverly compiled.

The title track is one of a handful great pieces of music here. But the album never drops below the very good standard. In short, this is a great album which will really appeal to everyone into Italian progressive rock, symphonic prog and pastoral music.

4 points

   

Notturno Concertante - News From Nowhere (1993)


The third album from this Italian band.

The band was an eight piece band with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass, drums, percussions, saxophone and English vocals.

This is actually an archive album Mellow Records put out and which ProgArchives has labeled as a studio album. It is not.

The material here is a mix of old recordings and live songs. I have listed Notturno Concertante as an eight piece band. But not all played at the same time. I believe the band was a quartet. 

I labeled their second album Erewhon as a turkey back in April 2012. Which perhaps was a bit harsh as it is rather decent compared to this album.

The sound here is mostly pretty terrible. The music is symphonic neo-prog and pretty bad. The highlight on this fifty-five minutes album is their live version of Marillion's Grendel. Even their version of that song is pretty bad.

There is not much to feel happy about here. I am just happy that I no longer have to deal with this album.

This album is a fully fledged turkey and it resided in my nice collection of turkeys. Avoid !

1 points


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Van Der Graaf Generator - Do Not Disturb (2016)


The 13th album from these English legends.

The band was now a trio with Peter Hammill on vocals and guitars, Hugh Banton on organ, keyboards and bass and Guy Evans on drums. No Peter Jackson and no saxophone. He was out after the 2005 album Present.

The previous album, Alt from 2012 was a truly horrible album. Something reflected in my own review of this album. So I was not holding out much hope for this album.

So I have got a new surprise from this band....

The lyrics here points to the fact that this is probably the final ever Van Der Graaf Generator album. I am just very happy that Alt was not their swansong ! That would really have been unfair to their legacy.

VDGG delivers an angry, sad and reflective album here. An album that sound strangely vital. It also sounds very much like a VDGG album. That even without David Jackson and his saxophone.

Peter Hammill delivers some really powerful vocals here. That is; in his own way. He sometimes sneers out the lyrics.

There are a couple of very good songs here together with some so and so songs and some good pieces and melodies. But the sound and the ambience is...... well, like the dna profile of VDGG. This is almost a very good album. But some rather not so good pieces here anchors the album into the good category. It has also made me forget Alt. Check out this album.

3 points



Monday, 3 April 2017

Negasphere - Disadvantage (1985)


The second and final album from this Japanese band.

The band was a five piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths, keyboards and vocals. English vocals.

I was not a big fan of their 1984 debut album Castle In The Air. A bit early Genesis, fusion and UK. Not so well done.

So the band has moved on a bit. The fusion is gone. In comes a lot of Saga influences and the 1980s sound. The early UK and Genesis influences are partly here too. But there is also a lot of early neo-prog on this album.

The drums are pretty bad throughout this album. The vocals are OK if shrieking Japanese vocals is not making you mad. I am getting used to them.

The music is pretty commercial throughout. Trying very hard to be commercial, that is. It is at times sailing very close to the New Romantics bands like for example Duran Duran.

This forty-eight minutes long album has some good stuff. But the wastebin drums are pretty annoying throughout and is spoiling whatever good there is on this album. The sound is not the best, in other words.

The end result is a decent to good album. An album which proves that this band was not the best Japanese prog rock band. But check out this album.

2.5 points




Sunday, 2 April 2017

Karmakanic - Entering the Spectra (2002)


The debut album from this Swedish band.

The band was an eight piece big project on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussion and vocals.

Karmakanic has so far released five albums. I reviewed their fourth album back in July 2011 for ProgArchives. The other three albums will be reviewed/has been reviewed in this blog.  

Karmakanic was and still is Jonas Reingold's own project away from his main job; The Flower Kings. That band is all contributing on this album.

But no, this is not a The Flower Kings album in all but the name. Jonas Reingold has moved away from that band on this album and gone a bit in other directions.

Yes, there is a couple of songs here which fits the Flower Kings mould. But this band is much more heavy and much more into the progressive metal mould than The Flower Kings.

Dream Theater springs to mind here after an introduction of two The Flower Kings'ish songs. There are also some jazz stuff here and some English like symphonic prog. Add some funk too and you get the picture. This is not a The Flower Kings album.

Jonas Reingold is following his own heart on this album. So much is clear. But this is a bit confusing for the rest of us, this fifty-four minutes long album. I hope their other albums is better than this one.

2.5 points





Morgan - The Sleeper Wakes (1973)


The second and final album from this English band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, keyboards, drums and vocals. The personell was the same as on the 1972 debut Nova Solis

I did not like Nova Solis. It was the result of a pop band trying out symphonic progressive rock.

The band is still working on this on The Sleeper Wakes. There is some symphonic prog here intertwined with pop, vaudeville theater music and avant-garde. The music is also dominated by piano and some vocals which does not feel right on music like this.

The album consists of forty minutes split into four tracks. The first track is a reasonable good symphonic prog track with some classical music thrown into the mix. The track is far too short too. Five minutes on the spot. There is a lot of ELP on the second track, the six minutes long title track. A lot of piano and a strong melody hook which I find rather pleasing.

So far, so reasonable good...... The final two tracks are epics, starting with the ten minutes long third track. There is a lot of spoken words here and sound effects. A bit like David Bowie like music too. There is not much of a concept here and this song does not make much of a meaning.

The fourth and final track, the nineteen minutes long What Is Is What falls complete on it's face. If you want to write and release a twenty minutes long track, please make sure it makes sense for the listener. This track does not make sense at all. It is incoherent and lifeless.

This is another decent album from this band whose obscurity is well deserved. Feel free to check them out.

2 points



Secret Oyster - Furtive Pearl (1973)


The debut album from this Danish band.

The band was a five piece big band with a lineup of electric piano, guitars, bass, saxophones, drums and organ.

Secret Oyster was a Danish supergroup with members from Hurdy Gurdy, Burning Red Ivanhoe and Coronarias Dans. They released four albums and all of them will be/has been reviewed in this blog.... starting with this review.

It is fair to say that we are in the middle of the fusion and jazz scene here. There are obvious references to Nucleus and in particular Mahavishnu Orchestra here. I would also add Soft Machine here although that Soft Machine period I am referring to was after 1973.
I have noted that others in ProgArchives has noted references like Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. I have not heard that much on those two masters so I cannot say anything here.

The fusion on this album is pretty hard and is sometimes sailing pretty close to hard rock at times. The music is in other words very intense.

The use of organ and electric piano on this album is very effective. Even on the more avant-garde pieces. And there is a lot of avant-garde here too. This album is by no means an easy listening album. It has some distorted pieces and some complex melodies too.

At the best, this album is really very good. But it has some rather not so interesting avant-garde stuff too... Hmmm.... I would still rate this forty minutes long album as a very good album as it is very intense and has some very good stuff. The vast majority of this album is very good. Hence my rating.

3.5 points



Saturday, 1 April 2017

Tribute - New Views (1984)


The debut album from this Swedish band.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of flutes, percussions, bass, drums, keyboards, guitars, English horn, choruses and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

Tribute was more a tribute to music (!) project from the composer Gideon Andersson than a real band. But they toured Europe and sold a lot of albums. 20 000 of this album alone.

Tribute released three studio albums and one live album before splitting up.

ProgArchives has them down as a crossover prog band. I agree. Large parts of this album sounds like a Mike Oldfield project. It is very ambient and very pastoral. But you should also add a lot of Genesis and Camel into this mix. There are also a few hints of Swedish folk rock on this album.

The music is very pastoral at times. Pastoral with a lot of flutes and acoustic guitars. That is how most of this forty-five minutes long album gives us. The sound is also a mix of the 1970s and the 1980s.

There is a couple of reasonable good songs where intertwined with some pretty dull ambient pastoral tracks. It is not something I find of any substance, this music. It also has this cinema music feel. A pretty boring cinematic experience.

This is a pretty decent album who does not stand the test of time. There is a lot of far better albums out there. Mike Oldfield's albums, for a start. But check out this album.

2 points

   

Indelible - Remnants in Red (2011)


The one and only album from this Norwegian band.

The band is/was a quartet with a lineup of synths, piano, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and female vocals.

This band was the vehicle of Marius Sjoli who does most instruments. He has got help from his sister/wife Mona Sjoli (?) and two other musicians.

I am a bit surprised that this album has got next to no attention from ProgArchives. Well, both the links to this album has been removed so I am not surprised at all that it has got no reviews. It seems like the band is now dead and buried. 

.......Which is a bit of a shame.

The music here is a mix of college rock, jazz and the likes of Marillion and Radiohead. Throw A-Ha into the mix too and you get this. There is also some post-rock influences here.

The music is pretty much mainstream and not difficult accessible at all. It is the kind of bands you get in colleges and universities. The vocals are good and the instruments are the right ones for this pretty downtuned and melancholic music.

The opening song The Vision is a beautiful song. It is also the best song on this thirty-five minutes long album. An album with short songs and ideas. This is also a good album which really deserve some attention. If you can find it, get it.

3 points



Friday, 31 March 2017

Denny. Sandy ‎– Like An Old Fashioned Waltz (1973)


The third album from this Welsh singer.

This goddess had help from Richard Thompson and other old friends again. There is a lot of strings on this album in addition to guitars, bass, drums, piano and keyboards.

Sandy Denny's vocals is never in doubt. She did a fantastic job in Strawbs, Fairport Convention, on Led Zeppelin's IV album and in Fotheringay.

This was albums which had great music too. Folk rock was her calling and she delivered some cornerstones in that genre.

On this album, someone, maybe herself, decided to remove Sandy Denny from that scene. The result is a pop and a jazz album. Mostly, that is.

The title track is a very good song. But there is some tracks on this forty-three minutes long album which makes me cringe. The jazz bits here, commercial jazz, is not good at all.

As I said in the beginning of this review; her vocals is never in doubt. The arrangements and the songs here makes her 30 years older than she was. This is granny music. And that is not good at all.

The end result is a decent to good album which has just about been saved by the title track.

2.5 points

 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Worster. Martin - If We Could Talk (2016)


The second album from this Dutch artist.

Martin Worster does the keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals here. He gets xtra help from saxophones, piano and guitars.

I reviewed his 2014 debut album And Now.. on the day two years ago. That is 30. March 2015. It is a pure coincidence that I am reviewing the follow up on the day, two years later.

I did not like that album and felt a bit cheated as I thought it was a progressive rock album, having been listed in ProgArchives.

So why the heck I did not learn from my mistakes and gave this album my attention ? I do not know. I guess I am too much of a curious cat to learn from my mistakes. At least when it comes to music.

This almost fifty minutes long album is the product of a singer-songwriter who does everything himself. There are some guitars, keyboards, sax, bass, drums and piano here. But the music is stripped down.

The music has this post-punk sound and feel. It does not have this traditional US singer-songwriter sound (Dylan, Springsteen, Petty & co). There is some college rock here too and some 1980s new-wave stuff here too.

There is no really good songs here and this album does not really gives a prog and jazzhead like myself much pleasures. Martin Worster has not developed into a progressive rock artist either since the debut album.

This album is pretty decent and that is what I am giving this album. A decent rating.

2 points


 

Three Man Army - Three Man Army Two (1974)


The third album from this English band.

The band was again a trio with Adrian Gurvitz on guitars, keyboards and vocals. His brother Paul Gurvitz served the cause on bass and vocals. The only non-family member was Tony Newman on drums.

This is their final proper album, the 2005 album Three Man Army Three only being an archives and leftovers album.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for this band. Something they have earned on their three albums. Their two first albums was a mix if psych, hard rock and some beat music.

The trio has not changed much since their 1972 album Mahesha. We still get a lot of hard rock with superb guitars from Adrian Gurvitz. I am not surprised that he is rated among the top ten best guitarists in the world. His work on this album and the two previous albums are breathtaking. Very intricate solos and backing work. A top rate musician by all means and he really sets this band and album alight.

The band has calmed down a bit on this album and have even included a pretty bad ballad here. A tearful ballad. It is best forgotten..... and forgiven.

The more positive developments here is the return to some The Beatles like melodies. A couple of these tracks has some strong hints of the Sgt Pepper era.

The quality is good throughout and I like this music a lot. What this album is lacking is a killer track or two. Besides of that, don't ignore this band and this album. Check it out.

3 points

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Styx - Crystal Ball (1976)


The sixth album from this US band.

The band was a five piece big band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, synths and vocals.

This is also the first album with the ultimate, so I have been told, Styx vocalist. His name is off course Tommy Shaw.

After struggling with getting some recognition and album sales, Styx were starting to hit the jackpot and their stride.

Styx was a strange band, viewed with European glasses and eyes. Or not to mention; an European mindset. The sound on this album is very American. That means big and brash. To a large extent, Styx were a poor man's Kansas. Not at least on their first six albums. Sometimes, they also has got something from Eagles.

The music here is pomp prog with a lot of of hard rock included. The choruses is very much in the teenybopper pop mould.

This half an hour long album has some really good songs. The title track is one of them. The Old Man and Mademoiselle is two other tracks. There is hardly any bad track on this album. The choruses are a bit cheesy. But the band delivers the goods on this album. And I am known to like a piece of cheese now and then. Styx and Crystal Ball is my kind of cheese.

3 points



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Opeth - Ghost Reveries (2005)


The eight album from this Swedish band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, percussion, bass, drums, organs, mellotron, moog, piano and vocals.

Opeth's change from a death metal band to a progressive rock band had given us some strange albums. The contrasts between their 2002 album Deliverance to their 2003 album Damnation is massive. Almost like two different bands.... No wonder their fans were confused.

Their fans has found something else to sink their teeth into on Ghost Reveries. To a certain degree, this album combines Deliverance and Damnation.

The album opens with some death grunts vocals and I am fearing the worst. But I am much mistaken.
The album is opening up very nicely and we get some pretty good progressive rock here too. Even the metal and even the death metal here sounds very progressive. It is because it is progressive rock on this album.

This album shows up some contrasts. A lot of light and shade. A lot of very exciting stuff. It has now become very obvious why this band is so admired and revered. Even I am getting this message loud and clear now.

I really like this album a lot. There is no great songs here. But it is really full of interesting details. Enough for a lifetime. This is indeed their best album so far and a very good album.

3.5 points



Monday, 27 March 2017

Negasphere - Castle In The Air (1984)


The debut album from this Japanese band.

The band was a five piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, organ, synths and English vocals.

The band was Kawasaki Kaoru's band and the band released two albums before splitting up. The band is not among the highest rated Japanese symphonic bands. But I still wanted to give their two albums a go in this blog.

Symphonic prog it is. Take the more mellow parts of Peter Gabriel era Genesis, add some ELP and a lot of UK too. On the top of this, add a lot of fusion too. Allan Holdsworth is a good reference here.

The band is unmistakenly Japanese in their sound and vocals. The vocals is thin, but not too bad. They remind me about the vocalist in Pendragon.

The band did not use the best studio when recording this album. The sound is pretty bad throughout. But the material still shines through on this album. Thirty-eight minutes of not too bad material.

There is a lot of good stuff here, indeed. In particular the more Genesis sounding stuff here. The guitars are also good. But there is also some bad stuff here. Some decent stuff here. The typical 1980s guitar and drum synths is also very bad.

With a lot better sound, this could have been a good album. This album is still worth checking out.

2.5 points