Monday, 22 January 2018
The debut album from this multi-national project.
Riccardo Romano Land is Riccardo Romano from RanestRane with a lot of guest musicans. That includes members of RanestRane and Steve Rothery and Steve Hogarth from Marillion. That and numerous other musicians. The instruments is strings, guitars, bass, synths, piano, drums and numerous vocals...... just to mention the most essential here.
B612 is a rock opera based on the novel The Little Prince by Antonie De Saint-Exupery. I have not read this novel yet. Neither do I have any plans of reading it. But it has inspired some people to make this album and that is a very good thing.
The album is out on the excellent MaRaCash Records too and it was released one month ago. The album is seventy-four minutes long and offers up some good value for money.
Being a rock opera, I am surprised how little operatic and how little bombastic the music is. The use of different languages as French and English is also a surprise. And a positive one. Ditto goes for the lack of over the top opera and bombastic use of classical music.
The album can still be regarded as an RPI or a symphonic prog album as the music is both conceptual and symphonic.
In many respect, this album reminds me a lot about Robert Reed's Sanctuary rock operas.... both of them. The music on B612 is very pastoral and very much like a pop album. The songs and the vocals is the main focus here. Besides of the very good vocals, the music is also good.
This album is not a great album. It is still a good album, bordering to a very good album. I am actually positive surprised by this album. An album well worth checking out.
The seventh album from this British band.
Strawbs was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, synths, mellotron, electric piano, piano, organ, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
I have reviewed some Strawbs albums this winter and you can read these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
The band had some lineup changes after Bursting At The Seams. That resulted in a bit of a change. Mostly that John Hawken and his tangents comes more to the forefront. David Cousins is still very prominent on the guitars and vocals.
Hero And Heroine is also where Strawbs moved a bit closer to the symphonic prog scene and adopted a much more symphonic prog sound and song structures. Which is very evident on the first track, the Autumn suite.
References here are The Moody Blues. The reference is pretty evident throughout the album. The use of mellotron and organs also gives this game away.
The band never really leaves the folk rock genre behind on this album. There is a lot of folk rock here and a lot of catchy songs. The most catchy song is the great Shine On Silver Sun.
Indeed, the quality is very good throughout this forty minutes long album. It is an album both folk rock and symphonic prog fans will really like. Check it out.
Sunday, 21 January 2018
The debut album from this Italian duo.
Isproject is a duo of the two vocalists Ilenia Salvemini and Ivan Santovito (who also do keyboards).
All vocals are in English.
They have got help from five other musicians who does programming, keyboards, drums, guitars, bass, flutes and saxophones.
Isproject is promoted and produced by Fabio Zuffanti. This project also includes photography, architecture and poetry.
The ambitions behind The Archinauts the album is to combine new prog influenced by Steven Wilson, RPI and Classical Music. So far their ambitions.....
And they have given us just that. A very elegant blend of RPI, a bit AOR, new prog in the vein of Steven Wilson and a bit of Classical Music.
I get the feeling that Fabio Zuffanti has given a lot of advice here as his fingerprints is all over this album. Which is a good thing. An old fox like he knows how to get the best out of a band like this.
The album is fifty minutes long. It is elegant, but also a bit bland. There is not great tracks here either. That said, this is a good album and I hope we get more from this band.
The debut album from this US band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of mandolin, guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.
This band has just released a new album, their second album, and I thought it was a good idea to check out this band. I have heard a lot about this band. But I have never had time to check out this album.
The music on this album is a mix of instrumental progressive metal and instrumental progressive rock.
There is a lot of metal riffs here. But there is also some more pastoral melodies here. There are not many of those so this album is mostly an instrumental progressive metal album.
The mandolin and the keyboards adds some colours to this riff-o-rama fest. The music is really technical and a bit intricate. Math metal springs to mind at times. But the band is also able to carry a melody without very many timeshifts.
The band even creates some moods here and there. Mostly with the bass and piano.
The melodies here are not particular impressive and I am not a big fan of instrumental progressive metal albums. This seventy minutes long album is not making me a new fan of this genre either. It is a decent to good album which I am sure will win a lot of admirers to a band which is not the most well known band in the scene. They deserve a lot more attention.
The one and only album from this English band.
Affinity was a quintet with a lineup of harspicord, organ, piano, electric piano, percussion, bass, drums, guitars and female vocals.
Two guest musicians is providing brass and strings.
This band is one of those semi-legendary bands although they only released one album. They reformed in 2011 and released several live and collection albums after that.
Their music is a mix of blues, jazz, prog and pop music. Linda Hoyle's vocals is in the front and the focus for the music and the songs.
Linda Hoyle's vocals is very jazzy and reminds me about the many very good jazz vocalists around for the last 100 years. She is in that proud tradition. And that is a good thing for this album.
The music on this forty minutes long album is not really that interesting. Besides of the vocals, it is dominated by the organs and the brass.
It is not a bad album though and the band proves that they were very talented. This album should have been followed up by some more albums. But that did not happen at all. So this is what we got from this band.
Saturday, 20 January 2018
The third album from this Belgium band.
Kandahar was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, percussions, sitar, guitars, glockenspield, cello, tympani, piano, synths, marimba, clavinet, strings, timbales, saxophones, harmosax, moog and vocals.
I have earlier this year reviewed their first two albums. You will find my reviews here and here. The band released their final album in 1991. But I am not bothered about that album so I will leave Kandahar with this album.
The band is a fusion band and has been compared with the likes of Gong, Colosseum and Embryo. That was on the two first albums....
Pictures Of The Past is another kettle of fish again.
Gone is the intense fusion and the more weird pop. What we find on this album is sedate, almost ambient fusion... or perhaps jazz.
The music on this forty-five minutes long album is ambient indeed. Nevertheless, it has some interesting details and the melodies are all decent enough. But this is their weakest album by far. Check out their first two albums before you bother with this one. Or rather; forget this album.
The fourth album from this Canadian band.
Morse Code is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, flute, percussions, keyboards, bass, drums and French vocals.
The band was and still is a part of the Quebec prog rock scene. They released two albums as Morse Code Transmission before shortening their name to Morse Code and changing direction. I reviewed their 1971 self-titled album one week ago and was not a fan. You can find my review here.
The band changed direction from psych prog to a much more symphonic prog sound. References are both Ange and Genesis. Much more Ange than Genesis, though. There are also some Harmonium references here.
The music is pretty pastoral throughout with some very good vocals and guitars. There is a lot of acoustic guitars here and the music has this folk rock feel too. Hence the references to Harmonium.
There is also a great epic feel to this album. And the French vocals is adding a lot of quality to this album too.
This is not among the best Quebec scene albums out there. But it is still a good album. A good fifty minutes long album which will give symphonic prog fans a lot of joy.
The second album from this Italian band.
Magnolia is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards and Italian female vocals.
I reviewed their 2012 debut album La Zona D'Ombra back in 2012 for # 1 of this blog. You can read the review here.
I really liked their debut album and was very much hoping they would follow it up with another album. It took them five years. But it is now here, at my desk.
The music is pretty much in the art rock end of the Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) genre. They are not really as symphonic prog as most of this scene. But their jazzy folky progressive rock is really cool.
The vocalist Chiara Gironi is back again and she is adding a lot of colours this album. Ditto for the guitars and piano. The music is medium heavy and the sound is very beefy.
The signature of Magnolia and this album is Chiara Gironi's vocals. There is no denying that. And she is a very good vocalist.
This one hour long album is a good album. There is no great songs here and that is my only gripe. Nevertheless, this is a colourful, good album which will please most prog rock fans.
Friday, 19 January 2018
The second album from this British band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of vibes, organ, piano, drums, percussion, guitars and vocals.
I had the pleasure of reviewing their 1970 self-titled debut album some weeks ago. You can read my review here.
OK, I did not rate it highly. But all music has some value to me and I find music enjoyable.
Patto was run by and named after the very good vocalist Mike Patto. His vocals are great.
They are great on this album which gives us a mix of rock, blues and jazz. The superb guitarist Peter Halsall is playing his soul out here.
The album starts out as a straight rocker with Mike Patto's vocals really dominating the sound. After some minutes, we are getting into a more jazzy groove too.
This album is forty minutes long and it's songs are not particular good. They are more or less a non-event. What really drags this album up to a decent level is the vocals and the guitars. But the music in itself is very forgetable. But not the musicians and their attempts to save this album from being a turkey.
This is a decent album but nothing more, I am afraid.
The third album from this Norwegian band.
Electric Eye is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
Electric Eye is a new band to me as I have not had the chance to listen to their first two albums. They are from Norway and that caught my attention.
The band is one of the many psych and space rock bands coming out of Norway these days. There is a wave of Norwegian progressive rock bands invading this planet these days. There is also a wave of Norwegian psych and space rock bands invading this planet too. We are all doomed......
The music here is a mix of psych and space rock. I would say krautrock too. There are a lot of electronica too here. The vocals is really good and the band knows how to create moods in their songs.
There is also some post-rock here too. There is some ebbs and flows in their music. The sound is really good.
There is no great songs here and that is my only gripe with this forty-five minutes long album. It is a dynamic album though and it delivers the good stuff. Hmm..... I will get their two other albums too and review them later this year. There is something about this band....
Thursday, 18 January 2018
The sixth album from this Italian band.
Prowlers is a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of bass, samples, keyboards, drums, guitars, percussions, male backing vocals and female Italian vocals.
The band has also got help from a choir and viola, violin, cello, flute, orobian pipes and baghet.
This band debuted back in 1994 and released three albums in a succession. There was a long break between 1997 and 2011 though. I have previously reviewed their fourth album Sogni In Una Gocchia Di Cristallo (2011) for ProgArchives and their fifth album Mondi Nuovi (2014) for # 1 of this blog. You can find the review here and here.
Their bandname gives me some Iron Maiden associations. Which is the totally wrong impression I should have of this band and their music.
The music on this seventy minutes long album is very pastoral and the music is almost whispering than speaking. It is very much a Rock Progressive Italiano album, but with a much more modern expression than normal for a RPI band.
Laura Mombrini's vocals is as per usual haunting and a bit operatic. There is a gloomy and almost doomy feel over this album. These feelings are also expressed by the guitars and the rest of these instruments. This is by no means a jolly feelgood album. The music is spooky too.
The quality is good throughout. There is no great pieces of music here and that is my only gripe with this album. Check it out.
The second album from this UK band.
Wishbone Ash was a quartet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
I had the joy of reviewing their self titled debut album (from 1970) on the first day of 2018. You can read my review here. It is a good album, indeed.
Wishbone Ash is famous for their twin-guitars sound. A sound and setup later copied by Kiss, Iron Maiden and many, many other bands.
Wishbone Ash is also a band with their own sound and style. Almost a band with their own genre. And the twin-guitars riffs and solos is very much evident here on this forty-five minutes long album.
The genre they occupy is somewhere between hard rock, symphonic prog and psych prog. Pilgrimage has a great guitar sound and this album is very much guitar driven. There is a lot of good riffs and solos here. The drums and the bass is also very good here. Ditto for the vocals.
It is said that the seeds of their masterpiece, the Argus album, can be found on this album. I can understand that. This album has some very good songs in their own right.
I am not a fan of the live track at the end of this album. The studio tracks are very good though and it is my understanding that the band still play three of those songs in their endless tours in 2018.
Pilgrimage is indeed a very good album and well worth checking out. It is also a pretty unique album from an unique band.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
The second album from this Italian band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of flute, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and Italian vocals.
I very much liked their 2015 debut album L'Epoca di un Altro. A good Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) album with references to the likes of BMS and Locande Delle Fate. You can read my review here.
Panther & Co continues from their debut album on their new album. We get more or less the same here.
That is again classic, pastoral RPI with references to BMS, Locande Delle Fate and the more pastoral bands in the scene. We can also add in PFM in as references.
This means RPI with a lot of good guitars, vocals and some classic keyboards sounds. Organ sounds at times. Yes, the band is looking back to the golden era of RPI and has, and rightly so, copied over the best sound from that era.
The band is also looking forward too and their sound is also very much rooted in this day and age. This album is also very much a contemporary album with all the whistles and bells.
What has changed from their debut album is that the band has written better songs. Everything on this fifty minutes long album has been improved by a notch. There is no great songs here and that is my only gripe. But this is still a joy to behold for everyone into RPI and progressive rock in general.
The debut album from this US composer.
Tim Morse on keyboards and vocals had help from a duo who provided bass, drums, guitars and lead vocals.
Tim Morse has previously written and released two books about progressive rock. They are Classic Rock Stories and Yesstories. He is also a member of the Yes tribute band Paralells.
I guess he got a need to release his own material and go it alone in music too. Hence his so far two albums. Both reviewed by me in this blog.
The music here is symphonic prog. Symphonic prog in the classical style. But there is also a lot of progressive metal here too.
A good reference here is Spock's Beard and Magellan. His interest in Yes also comes across on this album.
The music is delivered with a lot of keyboards. His own keyboards. But there is also a lot of guitars here too. The music on this one hour long album is muscular and very complex. The vocals is good and some added acoustic guitars add some spice to this album.
The end result is a good album well worth checking out. Symphonic prog fans should check out this album.
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
The third album from this Swedish band.
Trettiåriga Kriget was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, saxophone, violin, keyboards and Swedish vocals.
Their previous album, the 1976 Krigssång was a good album. And so was their debut album. You can read my reviews here and here.
The music world changed a lot between 1976 and 1978. Playing progressive rock and fusion was not fashionable. Long songs and tracks was a no-go area in 1978 if you wanted to sell albums. Rush and Yes still tried, but without much success. Hence......
This band returned again in 1978 with a forty minutes long album with nine songs. The tracks was around four minutes long on average.
The music too has been simplified. Gone is the best prog and fusion excesses. What is remaining is an album spurred forward by mainly guitars, vocals and keyboards. The songs are pretty nice and not that heavy. Half of the tracks are pretty and sugarcoated nice. There are still some heavy music here with some agressive vocals.
The result is a pretty decent album. This is not a bad album. But it is not exactly an album which is setting my life alight. Hence the rating.
The debut album from this French band.
Orvalians is a quartet with a lineup of rhodes, synths, drums, bass, mandoline, guitars and English vocals.
I spotted this album and band on a list of new zeuhl bands and album. A very short list, it has to be said. Zeuhl is a genre with very few bands and albums.
The band consists of three members from Rhun, a fully fledged zeuhl band. The fourth member has no experience, as far as I know.
So some zeuhl was in order, I thought. I was really looking forward to listening and reviewing this album.
That is not what I got.
OK, there is some zeuhl here too. But most of it is garage psych, eclectic prog in the vein of King Crimson and some post-punk. And a lot of avant-garde music. The music on this album is somewhere between avant-garde and eclectic prog.
The music is a bit harsh inbetween some more melodic stuff. This forty minutes long album operates on this level with distortions and melodies.
The end result is a good album which I find interesting and lively. Check it out if this is your cup of tea.
Monday, 15 January 2018
The second album from this Belgium band.
Kandahar is a quartet on this album with a lineup of strings, clavinet, keyboards, saxophones, guitars, bass, drums, glockenspiel, tympani, cello, tambourine, piano, synths, marimba and vocals.
I was not impressed by their debut album, the 1974 opus Long Live The Sliced Ham. You can read my review here.
I was not impressed by Long Live The Sliced Ham as it was a a bit of a mess. So I was not too keen on reviewing this one....
Kandahar plays fusion with a great deal of woodwinds. Saxophones etc etc. Influences comes both from the Quebec scene and the British scene. That also includes the Canterbury scene. The band has gotten rid of the Gong influences though. Instead, there is a lot of Colosseum and King Crimson (debut album) influences here. There is also some sparse vocals here too. There is also some female choirs here.
This album is a pastoral fusion album with some half-acoustic guitars driven melodic songs who is also full of interesting details.
This album is a grower. I did not rate it at all during the first listening session. I started to like it more and more on the next listening sessions. This album is a bit of a slog.
This forty-five minutes long album has slowly and shameless invaded my mind. So much that I now understand it. That is why I rate it as a good album and one to check out.
The debut album from this Italian band.
Verganti is a sextet with a lineup of piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, percussion and Italian vocals. Both male and female Italian vocals.
Italy has got a very big, flowering progressive rock scene. One of the new bands here are Verganti and I suspect we will hear a lot more from and about them in the coming years. I hope so !
Verganti does classic Italian progressive rock (RPI). That means symphonic prog with Italian vocals.
Their music is performed with the classic 1970s organ, piano, guitars and Italian vocals sound. A bit of an opera vocal which is very flowery and lyrical.
This sixty-eight minutes long album is also a concept album about aliens giving us Darwinism or something like that. I hardly speak an Italian word.
What really matter is the music. Music is full of references to the likes of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and those more pastoral RPI bands.
This makes this album a good album where my only gripe is the lack of a truly great track. That aside, this is a more than acceptable debut album. All RPI fans should check out this album.
Sunday, 14 January 2018
The debut album from this German band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of piano, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
The album has been self-released and is sold from their homepage and Discogs.
The album was said to be the new big thing in epic rock. Well....
The music here is a mix of prog metal and neo-prog. It is bordering to goth metal, power metal and worringly enough, musicals during the end of the album. There is also some djent here.
The band is young and they are playing a lot of gigs. The sound is pretty live too and they have a boundless amount of energy. Which comes across here, very well.
There are also some more ballads stuff here and it is clear that the band has a lot of strings to play on. The vocals are really good too and the band knows their stuff.
The band is following the formulas and will probably appeal greatly to the power, prog and goth metal scene. But they need support from record labels. This band seems like a good fit for the likes of Nuclear Blast in my opinion.
It is not an album I really enjoy as I am not into that scene and that music. I find it dull and not engaging. There is no good songs here either on this fifty minutes long album. But the band has potential in the metal scene.
The debut album from this Brazilian band.
Ultranova is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, piano, percussions, drums and synths.
I believe this album was released on a local Brazilian label before Musea and later ProgShine Records re-released it. The ProgShine version is on Bandcamp for a bargain price and you can get it from here.
The music on this album is instrumental symphonic prog with some fusion and world music influences. The band reminds me a lot about another Brazilian band called Index.
There is also some other bands who does instrumental symphonic prog with fusion and world music influences. All of them off course inspired by Camel, the greatest band in this sub-genre of the symphonic prog genre.
It is not the most exciting music around, instrumental symphonic prog. And the music on Orion is a good example who proves my views.
The music is pretty, nice and very wishy-washy with not much colours. It is also a bit too much shopping mall music or elevator music in my view.
The music is well crafted though but not particular good. It is a decent album but the band has to add something more meat and juice in their coming albums if this they are going to become more than a footnote in the history of Brazilian symphonic prog.
Saturday, 13 January 2018
The fourth album from this US band.
Majestic is Jeff Hamel's solo project. He does bass, keyboards, guitars and some vocals here.
He has got help from six other musicians who provides drums, guitars, bass and female vocals.
I have not had the chance to hear the first three Majestic albums. But I have the last five albums and I will review them this winter/you can find my reviews of the four other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives, Majestic comes up with an album which is far more than that. Far far far more than that.
Take Pink Floyd from the David Gilmour era, add some Porcupine Tree... then you find the basis of this album. On the top of that, add samples, some hard chugging guitars in the progressive metal vein and some electronica.
There is a lot of female vocals here too. Which is a good thing. There is also a lot of guitars and keyboards too.
This album is close to being eighty minutes long. I suspect this being some sort of a concept album. But I am not sure. This album is a very big mouthful and not everything is good here. It feels a bit overblown and there is some dead woods in these eighty minutes.
The result is an album I would rate between decent and good. Those of you into musical adventures should check out this album.
The second album from this Italian band.
Ad Maiora is a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals. A mix of English and Italian vocals, that is.
I have yet to hear or to get their 2013 self-titled debut album. So I cannot say anything about their devolpment either.
Neither did I review this album when I should have reviewed it.... in 2016. I had a listen, but decided to spend my time on other albums instead. I chickened out. Big mistake.
Italian band who plays progressive rock...... = RPI.....??
This album is by no means a normal Rock Progressive Italiano, RPI, album. It is really everywhere in the progressive rock landscape. From heavy prog to bombastic symphonic prog to more eclectic prog to RPI and some fusion too. The scope here is massive.
This one hour album gives us everything, including a Procol Harum cover song. And it feels too much. Too many genres in one hour. Too much confusion and too much of a compilation album.
That said, the music is good. The musicians does a great job and the sound is good. But as I said, in too many genres at the same album. In the same good album which would had been a lot better if the band did not try to be everything to far too many people.
Friday, 12 January 2018
The debut album from this US band.
This band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band is from New Jersey and was previously a solo project by the keyboardist Jason Kresge. Then he developed this solo project into a band.
The band is new to me and most others. But New Jersey has come up with a lot of good bands. The quality normally rises to the top in that scene.
Orpheus Nine plays pretty technical neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog and hard rock influences. The sound is clean with a lot of guitars, vocals and keyboards. The band has a lot of skills.
There is also a lot of youthful run of the mill rock here too. The band knows how to rock out.
The centrepiece on this album is the twenty-two minutes long title-track. An epic kind of a symphonic prog epic. There is also some
The band has a lot of potential. Potential not entirely unleashed here. I get the feeling the band has a lot more to offer than what they are giving us on this fifty-five minutes long album. I do not think we have seen the best of the band on this, their debut album.
Huge potential, but not quite a good album.
The fifth album from this multi-national London based band.
The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
I reviewed their third album, the 2015 album Trip The Life Fantasic back in July 2015 for # 1 of this blog. I was not that impressed. You can read my review here.
Drifting Sun has always been a neo-prog band and is also a neo-prog band on this album. The songs are on average eight minutes long. Eight songs in one hour.
The songs are reasonably symphonic too with a lot of pomp and dramatic vocals and keyboards. Ditto for the guitars.
The music is not particular hard although I can understand why fans of progressive metal would lap up this album. But it is not a progressive metal album although the keyboards are in that vein.
I have to admit I am still not impressed by this band. The art of good song-writing has bypassed this band and this album. The sound is good, but the feeling of listening to a run of the mill neo-prog album arrives pretty soon into the album and never really leaves me.
The music is cosy and nice. But never good. I cannot fault the musicianship and the vocals. Hence the rating.
The third album from this Italian band.
Acqua Fragile was a trio on this album with a lineup of minimoog, drums, percussions, bass, acoustic guitars and vocals. Vocals mainly in English.
Some guest musicians has provided keyboards, synths and electric guitars.
A chamber orchestra called Tango Spleen Orchestra provides strings and piano.
I got a very big surprise when this album was released. The fact that a new album surprised me. It also surprised me that I had yet to review their previous two albums. You can now find those reviews somewhere else in this blog....
Piero Canavera, Franz Dondi and Bernardo Lanzetti from the 1970s version of this band is back again and they are this trio.
Bernardo Lanzetti delivers some very good vocals too. Ditto for the rest of the band and the other musicians too.
And it did not take many minutes of my first listening session to discover that this album is not three old age pensioner's last feeble hooray. This is a proper album, released by some hungry musicians.
We are in the middle of Rock Progressive Italiano land again. RPI. Though with English lyrics and a couple of Italian lyrics songs. I would have preferred a fully Italian lyrics album. But Acqua Fragile is a bit of an odditity.
And the band is still sailing close to Genesis and Yes. The band has not changed much since their previous album, the one from 1974.
The overall quality is good and it is a nice little forty minutes long album, this one. Their three albums deserves to be checked out as this is not a bad band at all.
Thursday, 11 January 2018
The debut album from this British band.
Damanek is a quartet with a lineup of ebow, keyboards, guitars, piano, bass, saxes, clarinet, drums, banjo, percussion and vocals.
They had help from numerous other musicians who provided numerous other instruments.
Damanek is Guy Manning, Sean Timms, Dan Marsh and Marek Arnold. Bands they are known from are Manning, Unitopia, United Progressive Fraternity and other bands. All these bands has split up now. Which is a great shame. Manning will be missed (Note to myself: Get the 2013 album).
Damanek was set up to play a mix of symphonic prog, jazz and world music. A good idea in my humble opinion.
Guy Manning is the main vocalist here and he is delivering some very good vocals. The memories from my many Manning albums comes flooding back. Good memories ! It is years since I have had the pleasure of listening to one of those albums. But I will dig them out again.
This album feels like a Manning album.... with one difference. Or make that; some differences.
There are indeed some folk music here, world music and jazz here. Some really good stuff too. That adds lots of spices to the music on this fifty odd minutes long album. An album I am starting to get really fond off. It is a really good album. A very good album, I mean.
The songs are well crafted and very good indeed. There is no highlights here and no best-song here. But the whole album really makes me sit up, listen intently and then smile. Oh yeah, this is very good stuff indeed. Quality made by quality guys. It cannot fail....
The third album from this US band.
Abigail's Ghost is a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
I have neither had the pleasure to hear their first album, the 2007 album Selling Insincerity or their second album D Letion from 2009. The band was a Porcupine Tree on this albums, according to what I have been told and adviced. That scared me off these two albums and this band.
I have nothing against Porcupine Tree at all. They are not really my cup of tea, though. Well, maybe I should give their final three albums my attention. Maybe I will change my mind. I am always open to new ideas and views.
Abigail's Ghost took a six years long break and returned with Black Plastic Sun. These six years has seen the Porcupine Tree copycats reputation gone. The music is much more quiet and not so hard rocking. It is not hard rocking at all.
The band has moved much more towards Radiohead and Gazpacho on this album. They have moved towards those two groups. But they are still not similar to those two bands. The Polish band Believe is a much more relevant comparison.
The sound is very modern and very 2015 here with some electronica. What sets this album apart is the violin sound created by the keyboads. This violin sound is a key component on some pretty pastoral songs. There are also some guitar solos here.
This album is just over one hour long and it has some fairly good songs. There are no really very good songs and this one hour does not really offers up something special, besides of this violin sound. It is a decent to good album which is well worth checking out.
The debut album from this Canadian band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of cajun fiddle, cello, bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and English vocals.
The band released two albums under the Morse Code Transmission name before they shortened their name to Morse Code and released further five albums under that name. The band has just reformed again, I have heard.
Their albums is not easy to get hold off and I hope those will be a lot more accessable in the near future. I got this album and a Morse Code album of them.
This album is a psych prog album with some old style beat and rock thrown into the mix too. There are also some hints of symphonic prog here.
The music sounds dated anno 2018. The cajun fiddle sounds very odd, even on this album. There are some commercial songs here too. Oh Lord is one of them. There is also a couple of sugar-sweet ballads here too.
I cannot really say I am impressed by this half an hour long album. It is decent enough, but nothing more than that.
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
The 20th album from this French musician.
Jean Luc Ponty on violins was helped out by numerous other musicians on this album. Most of them from Africa.
His previous album, the 1991 album Tchokola was a poor album. It was Jean Luc Ponty on the top of some African music and rhythms. The culture clash was too much to handle for an album. You can read my review of that album here.
The African rhythms is still here. And they are good too. The big difference here between this album and Tchokola is that Jean Luc Ponty plays his music and his version of fusion on the top of these African rhythms.
We get a fusion on this album. Not only between rock and jazz. But we also get a fusion between two different cultures, two different worlds and two different kinds of music. That is not a culture clash where one culture tries to kill of the other culture.... and suceed. This album is a meeting of two cultures where both cultures is given space and time to breathe.
No Absolute Time is indeed a fusion. And the music is also fusion too. A fusion of African music, jazz and rock.
The opening tracks No Absolute Time and Savannah is very good. The rest ranges from decent to good. This album is most definate a step in the right direction for Jean Luc Ponty and one I really like. It is also an exciting album in it's own right. Check it out.
The second and final album from this British band.
Moom was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
The band's debut album Toot from 1995 was not a favourite album of mine. You can read my review here.
In other words, I was not looking forward to review Bone Idol.
The many listening sessions on this album reveals a bit of college rock with a slant of Canterbury prog. There is also some shoegaze here too.
The Hammond organ sound also reminds me a lot about the pop sound from the end of the 1960s. There is indeed some psychedelia here.
The Hatfield & The North influences from the debut album Toot has gone though. The music is pretty simple when it comes to the sound.
There is a couple of fairly good songs here in Rooftops and Rusty Can. The rest of the album is rather forgetable. This fifty minutes long minutes long album has nice psych pop tunes and that is all.
The 11th album from this British band.
Threshold is a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, synths, guitars and vocals.
I have reviewed their ten previous albums for # 1 of this blog and you can read them there. If you are interested....
I have always rated this band as the best prog metal band from Great Britain. I rate them as one of the best prog metal band on this planet.
Hence, I was looking forward to this album.....
The band is signed on Nuclear Blast and their last couple of albums was good. When I heard this was going to be a double album, a concept album, I really started to look forward to this album.
So we get eighty minutes of a mix of neo-prog and prog metal here. The vocals are really good and ditto for the guitars.
There are some songs here which sounds like pop songs. Strip away the prog metal guitars and you get some pop songs with long choruses. Not good at all.
Then we get some more longer and more developed songs in the neo-prog vein which sounds really good. That leaves me a bit confused. Where does this band want to go ? Commercial bubblegum music or progressive music ? I am not sure.
The end result is a good album but not one of their best albums. I am moderate happy with this album.
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
The third album from this US band.
Deluge Grander was a sextet on this album with a lineup of drums, flute, bass, cello, dulcimer, fender rhodes, mellotron, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I have previously reviewed their debut album, the 2006 album August In The Urals for ProgArchives. You can read my review here. I am getting their second album, the 2009 album The Form Of The Good which I hope to review later this winter.
I have also got their 2017 album Ocenarium which I will review later this month/you can find my review of their new album somewhere else in this blog.
I really loved their 2006 album August In The Urals and I cannot understand why it has taken me until now to review the rest of their albums. I guess I have been confused with all these albums I have got and have lost track.
Heliotians sees the band move towards the sound the other Emkog Records band which I love had. The band was All Over Everywhere who only released one album. Their sound and in particular their vocals was very downtuned. Deluge Grander has copied that on Heliotians.
The music is pretty dark and not too far away from Van Der Graaf Generator's music. But Deluge Grander has a lot more baroque and more jazzy sound and music.
There is a lot of details on this rather difficult album, listening wise. I can see what the band is trying to achieve. But they have not achieved it. It falls down a bit on the lack of some great songs. There is none here.
Nevertheless, this is a good album and one very strange one. Melodic, but very eclectic.
The fifth EP from this US band.
Gaillion is a trio with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band released a good album in 1989 called Admit One before they disappeared. The resurfaced in 2015 again and has released five EPs.
This EP is twenty-three minutes long and gives me enough music to establish where the band is now. Besides of that, the cover artwork is good enough to be included here to the joy of this blog's readers.
Gaillion is a neo-prog band. Just as they were in 1989 too on their only album to this date.
The band has changed to a more trio based neo-prog where the keyboards is not that prominent. I would compare a lot of their music to the latter days Rush.
The sound is good and I really like the guitar harmonies. Ditto for the vocals. The bass is also prominent in their sound.
The songs are OK. The quality is somewhere between decent and good. What about a new album and a re-release of Admit One, guys ? Check out this EP.
Monday, 8 January 2018
The debut album from this band from Belgium.
Kandahar was a quartet with a lineup of sitar, guitars, clavinet, synths, piano, bass, drums, glockenspiel, strings, woodwinds, tambourine, cello, marinba and vocals.
The band was quite popular in Belgium and Europe before they gave up the ghost with their final album back in 1981. That after having split up twice already.
I got their three first albums and will review them this winter/you can find my reviews of their two next albums somewhere else in this blog.
Kandahar is a band who operates somewhere between fusion and the Canterbury prog scene. This album is most definate a Canterbury prog album.
The reason is the many quirky pop like tunes here who are inbetween some fusion and jazzy Canterbury prog tunes. The music here is not fusion at all, with the exception of a couple of tracks.
Gong springs to mind here and the band gigged with Gong too. I am not surprised at all..........
The music is decent throughout these forty odd minutes. But I am not impressed and I hope their two next albums is better than this one.
The second album from this Canadian band.
Monarch Trail is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
Three guest musicians is providing guitars.
This is also the band project of Ken Baird, an artist in his own right. He set up Monarch Trail to get an outlet for his desire to play in a band.
I reviewed their first album Skye for # 1 of this blog and really liked it a lot. It is a great album. You can read my review here.
Monarch Trail plays symphonic neo-prog. References are Genesis, Marillion, Pendragon, IQ and Spock's Beard.
There are six rather short songs here and the very long title-track which is clocking in at twenty-five minutes. An epic symphonic prog track in other words.
There is some pomp and bombastic prog here inbetween some more pastoral prog. The sound is OK but not great. There is parts of this album which is really great. Other parts are merely good.
The keyboards runs are very good though and ditto for the guitar harmonies.
I like this album a lot as it is pretty much playing on my heart strings. But I still think most of you will also like this album. I rate it as a very good album.
The third album from this Spanish band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of programming, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and percussion.
I have reviewed their previous two albums for # 1 of this blog and you can find these reviews here and here.
I am not a fan, is what you can read from those two reviews. But I do not mind giving this band some of my time. Listening to their music and reviewing their albums, in other words.
The music is again instrumental. Their music is a blend of jazz, fusion, eclectic prog, cinematic music and symphonic prog. There is also some Spanish folk rock and pop here.
The music is not overly complex. It is pretty easy to understand the music here and it's landscape. Most of it is delivered with acoustic, half-acoustic and electric guitars. There is also a lot of keyboards here.
The problem with this fifty minutes long album is that it is not that interesting and exciting. This music is much more effective on a stage than on a record.
That said, this is an OK album for those who just want to relax and gently sleep with some music in the background. But this is not a good album.
Sunday, 7 January 2018
The ninth album from this English band.
The Tangent was a quintet on this album with a lineup of saxes, flutes, bass, drums, guitars, double bass and vocals. Mostly male vocals but also some female vocals.
This band does not need any introductions. Andy Tillison & co has been one of Europe's best prog bands for the last decade or so. They debuted fifteen years ago and has released some very good and great albums since then.
I have done a lot of reviews of their albums in # 1 of this blog and you can read them there.
The band had a bit of a dip in form on their 2015 album A Spark In The Aether. But Andy Tillison found a great deal of grudging inspiration in the events that followed that album here in the UK.
The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery is all about that, if I am not much mistaken.
I have the second edition of this album which includes a five minutes long bonus track. A version of this album I recommend.
The album follows in the great The Tangent tradition. Fans and those who knows their music will not be surprised at all. That means long melodic songs with lots of details and a great Canterbury prog feel throughout. A bit jazzy prog.
Andy's vocals is on the top and there is also some female vocals here too.
The songs are all very good. The lyrics are poignant. The Tangent are back in form again and I very much welcome that. So check out this album.
The debut album from this Italian band.
Panther & Co is a quintet with a lineup of flute, keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and Italian vocals.
This band orginates from the Italian band Panthercoisp, whose two albums I have reviewed in this blog. See here and here for the reviews.
Panther & Co is where the band decided that they were good enough to release a proper album. And the result is this album.
The band is a proper Rock Progressive Italiano band. Shortened to RPI in other words. The band is on the more mellow end of the RPI spectrum.
Locande Delle Fate has been noted as a great comparison. The band is also very much influenced by early Genesis.
There is no big bangs and not any hard music here. The music is mellow and pastoral with some good guitar solos, keyboards and vocals. The flute is also very good.
My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs. Nevertheless, this is a good album and the band is adding a lot of value to the new, contemporary RPI scene. A scene very much alive.
RPI fans should get this forty minutes long album.
Saturday, 6 January 2018
The debut album from this Argentine band.
2112 was a trio with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and Spanish vocals.
I have actually already reviewed two of their four albums. You can read my reviews here and here.
A mixed bag in other words. And the timespan between the reviews are substantial too. But I stand by these reviews.
The band name 2112 alludes to my alltime favourite band Rush and their groundbreaking 2112 album. An album I love. So I get the feeling we are heading that way even before I start to listen to this album.
Not quite.... but not too far away. The thin vocals is there and the music is not too far remote from Rush. You have this powerful kicking music from Rush two first albums. Unfortunate, these influences are mixed up with a lot of heavy metal and progressive metal.
There is still enough Rush here to make me smile. In particular when the band rips off some Rush riffs. Which is fair enough.
There is also a couple of ballads like songs here too on this forty minutes long album. And there is also a lot of not so bad details here.
The sound is a bit dubious. But this is not a bad album at all. It is a decent album and well worth checking out.
The fourth album from this Norwegian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
The band has shown good form on their previous three albums so I was looking forward to reviewing this album.
Magic Pie gives us a mix of symphonic prog, neo-prog, pomp rock and progressive metal on this album. Their formula has not changed that much since their debut album back in 2005. The references to The Flower Kings has diminished over the years, though.
All their albums has a good organ/keyboards sound which takes us back to the 1970s. That organ sound is still here. The music is a bit on the heavy side. It is a lot more pompous than before too.
The songs are all good on this seventy minutes long album. But I feel they are stuck in a formula now. Their albums are very long too. The band now need to come up with some great songs to develop and grow. Good is not good enough for this band and their albums.
That said, this is still a pretty enjoyable album and a good one too.
Friday, 5 January 2018
The second album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of mandolin, percussion, guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards and vocals. English vocals, that is.
I had the joy of reviewing their debut album some weeks ago and I really liked that album. A good album indeed. See my review here.
Bernardo Lanzetti, who became the PFM vocalist shortly after, is still the vocalist here and he does a good job. The other musicians here also made it good with other bands as Acqua Fragile took a long break and were disbanded after the release of this album.
The band sounded like a Genesis ripoff on their first album. They continues down the same path on Mass Media Stars.
There is a lot of early, very early Genesis here from the first two albums with Peter Gabriel. Both in vocals and music wise.
But the band has developed a lot too and has incorporated a lot of Yes too in their music. There are really some technical stuff here too. And low and behold.... there are even some Jon Anderson like vocals here too. Gosh !
Fans of both Genesis and Yes will be well served and taken care of by this forty minutes long album. The music is not great. But this is still a good album and one to really enjoy.
The second album from this Spanish project.
Kant Freud Kafka is the Spanish drummer Javi Herrera with a lot of guest musicians.
They are providing guitars, bass, drums, synths, violin, viola, cello, bouzouki, mandolin, oboe, synths, percussions and vocals. Both male and female vocals in both Spanish and English.
I reviewed his 2014 debut album No Tenga Miedo back in July 2014 and you can read my review here.
I first started to listen to this album when it was released but stopped quite soon afterwords and kicked this review into the long grass and the wilderness. But I have decided to run through most of the new albums from 2017 this month. Hence, this album is again on my agenda.
The music here is a mix of classical music and symphonic prog. There is no denying that. The music is very pastoral with some musical type of vocals, male and female, also added into this mix.
The music is nice on the ears and has a lot of interesting stuff too. It is perhaps a bit too musical sounding and a bit too much classical music. But I really like Javi Herrera and his ideas. Kant Freud Kafka is a very welcome addition to the music scene and my music collection.
This is a good album. A good fifty minutes long album most will find a bit of a challenge. But stick at it and you will like it.
The debut album from this British band.
Patto was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, piano, bass, drums and vocals.
Patto was named after the vocalist Mike Patto, a man who died far too early of cancer, aged 36. His vocals is great and his passing was another loss of a great British vocalist. See my Strawbs review below for another vocalist who passed away shortly before Mike Patto passed away.
The band released four albums and I will review all of them this winter/you will find reviews of their three other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Patto's music is a bit difficult to pinpoint and label. Their base is rhythm'n'blues. The musicians was better, far better, than run of the mill blues musicians. This album is therefore full of interesting details which takes this album pretty close to progressive rock too.
There are also a lot of soul on this album too. There is even a fusion runout on this forty minutes long album.
I would not rate this as a good album. But it is close to being a good album. It is one to check out. Go so forth.
Thursday, 4 January 2018
The nominally fifth album from this English band.
Strawbs was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, banjo, double bass and vocals. Vocals from both David Cousins and Sandy Denny.
This album was released on the cheap by another record label to cash in on the band. It was recorded in Copenhagen in 1967 and it is their first ever recording and album. It is also Sandy Denny's first ever recording. So yes, I am glad it was released. I have the 1973 version and that is the one I am reviewing.
The second track on this album is the unearthly good Who Knows Where The Times Goes. It is the best folk song ever. But that in Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention's version on their excellent Halfbricking album. The Strawbs version is naked and nowhere as good as Fairport Convention's version. But it still showcases Sandy Denny and it is by far the best song here.
The rest of this album is pretty simple folk songs and does not really offers up anything of any interest. That is, besides of the still teenager Sandy Denny, a force of nature and the best female vocalist of all time. That is the only reason to get this album.
The fourth album from this German band.
Hedersleben is a quintet with a lineup of bass, percussion, bass, drums, violin, keyboards and vocals. Both male and (mostly) female English vocals.
Hedersleben is named after the village where the band was founded and lived. Which is a novel way of naming a band. I don't think that village is as big as Boston, who gave name to an AOR band of the same name. Hedersleben, the band, is not as any other bands.
I reviewed their third album, the 2015 album The Fall Of Chronopolis and gave it a good rating. You can read my review here.
The Fall Of Chronopolis was a concept album. I am not sure if Orbit is another concept album. The music is pretty weird though. I noted that The Fall Of Chronopolis was a psychedelic symphonic prog album. I would say the same about Orbit. It is a true krautrock album too.
The music twists and turns during the thirty-five minutes. But where The Fall Of Chronopolis was a good album, Orbit is not quite reaching that level. So I am left a bit unsatisfied. Hence the rating.
The 19th album from this French violinist.
Jean Luc Ponty had help from a lot of African artists on this album. Too many to mention in fact. In addition to the violin, we get some guitars, bass, synths, drums, various kinds of African percussions and female vocals.
You can read my reviews of his albums somewhere else in this blog.
I was very critial of Jean Luc Ponty's electronica album The Gift Of Time from 1987. I bypassed his 1989 album Storytelling before I ended up with this album again.
So I was curious to know what he would come up with after his voyage into the rhythms and soul of Africa, the forgotten continent.
My first thoughts goes to Osibisa and their first albums. It very much feels like an Osibisa album with violins, this album. But where Osibisa sounded authentic, Tchokola does not really feel that authentic. The reasons is the violins where Jean Luc Ponty drags in some European instruments and semi-classic music into African soul and music. I feels a bit wrong.....
The music on this almost one hour long album is not bad at all. But the culture clashes feels a bit odd..
The result is a decent album which will only appeal to Jean Luc Ponty's hardcore fans. I am not one of them although I am a fan. But not hardcore enough for this album.
The debut album from this German project.
The band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of mandolin, cajon, piano, violin, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Both male and female English vocals.
The mainman in this band was a one time member of the very obscure psych/space rock band Waniyetula. I rated their one and only album, the 1983 album A Dream Within A Dream as a turkey. Read my review here.
It is my opinion that Atlantropa Project has nothing to do with Waniyetula.
Atlantropa Project is also the name of the idea to dam up the Mediterranean Ocean to create new land and hydro electricity. This as an alternative to Hitler's plans to get more Lebensraum. This album is an concept album about this dam project and in the final part of this album; the conflict with the Lebensraum idea.
I have to admit I knew absolute nothing about this dam idea before I started to listen to this album. I have in short learnt something new !
The album is based on short songs with narrations between the songs. The music is symphonic prog with a lot of neo-prog. The music is also pretty soft and pastoral.
This is a typical concept album which is highlighting an idea so wild and obscure that someone had to make a concept album about it. Mission accomplished. The music is also good throughout too. This album is well worth checking out.
Wednesday, 3 January 2018
The sixth album from this Polish band.
Believe is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, violin, keyboards and vocals.
I have reviewed their last five albums in this blog and you will find them in the alphabetical list to the right.
Believe is a band established by Mirek Gil from Collage as his new vehicle for new music. The use of violin in Believe's brand of neo-prog really set this band apart from the rest of the scene.
Cue my disapproval when Believe dropped the violin on their previous album, the 2013 opus The Warmest Sun In The Winter. They dropped most of the sound who made Believe to a band I really like. See my review of that album here.
Seven Widows is a concept album about seven widows. It has seven songs. I - VII. Great idea... But I did not have much hope for this album based on their change of sound.
Believe has again changed sound on Seven Widows. They have changed it back to their original sound. The violin is back and in full flow. The keyboards has even got a better sound than on their first albums. That without any deviation from their main sound.
Seven Widows is a melancholic, sixty-five minutes long neo-prog album with a lot of good violin, keyboards and vocal harmonies. The band has returned back to form again after that 2013 album.
Seven Widows is perhaps their best ever album too. The seven songs here is very good too. Hence my rating and a very big welcome back to this band.
The sixth album from this Spanish band.
Itoiz was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Basque vocals.
They had help from two other musicians who provided piano, keyboards and female vocals.
Itoiz is a band from the Basque province of Spain. Their vocals were in their native Basque language and their popularity were probably confined to the Basque areas in both Spain and France.
The band's debut album was OK. Their second and third album is very good. Their fourth and fifth albums contains very forgetable pop and rock music. You can read my reviews in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
I had a bit of a soft spot for this band after their first three albums. But it was severe tested on their following two albums. So I was not looking forward to this album.
The band had again moved with the times and acquired a more updated 1980s sound. That and a bit of that type of stadium rock too. There is subtle hints of Rush from that area. But most of all, there is a lot of INXS, Simple Mind and U2 here.
The music is a bit edgy late 1980s. It feels a bit dead anno 2017.... ehh, 2018.
The music on this immoral short album, twenty-six minutes, is a small improvement on their previous two albums. But it is still not even a decent album. This album is very much an album to avoid at all costs.
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.
Two guest musicians is adding tenor saxophone and violin.
This band released an EP back in 2014 which won them some friends and a listing as an Italian symphonic progressive rock band (RPI) in ProgArchives. So I went for this album as I really love this genre.
Well, the 2017 version of Quarto Vuoto is not a RPI band. I am slightly disappointed during my first listening session... After that, I was totally fine with this album. Still am.
What we get here is some sort of post-rock with a lot of experimental metal thrown into the mix too. Add some bits of fusion too and we are there about. There are some hints of both space rock and rock here too. There is no vocals here whatsoever.
The music is pretty melodic. It is also pretty organic. The problem is that the music on this fifty minutes long album sounds a bit samey throughout. There is not enough dynamics to make it a really good album.
The end result is an album who falls between decent and good. Check it out.