Tuesday, 24 April 2018
The debut album from this Italian band.
Reale Accademia Di Musica was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, piano, electric piano, organ, mellotron, bass, drums, percussion and Italian vocals.
Guest musicians provided xtra mellotron and orchestral arrangements.
This band is an often forgotten Rock Progressive Italiano band.... Well, I forgot them until they released a new album earlier this year, which I off course purchased, and then found out that I had not reviewed their first and second album. So I am now doing that this spring.
This band occupies a position in the RPI scene pretty close to PFM. The music is both pastoral and melodic. It is also based on piano and some mellotron.
Henryk Cabanes vocals is really cool and fitting for this pastoral music. Ditto for the piano and the mellotrons. The guitars here are more like acoustic guitars although there are a few cascades of electric guitars here too.
This album is forty minutes long and has filled my office and my living room with some good moods during the last week.
It is also a very good album which serves as a timely reminder why RPI is such a great music genre. This album deserves a place in any good RPI album collection.
Monday, 23 April 2018
The debut album from this Russian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and synths.
A guest musician provides saxophones.
The band is from Moscow and they released an half an hour long EP before they took the plunge and released this one hour long album.
The band plays some really spaced out space rock. The five tracks are all longer than ten minutes each.
The music is dirty and really hard at times with a lot of sound effects on the top of the bass and the drums. There is also a lot of guitars here. This is by no means an ambient album. It is far too much noisy than that.
There are some brooding vocals and saxophones here who adds a lot to this album.
I really like space rock and this album reminds about why I like this genre. This is a very good album indeed and one to check out if you like space rock from outer space.
The second album from this Mexican band.
Humus was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass, piano and drums.
I reviewed their 1992 debut album Tus Oidos Mienten three weeks ago and liked that album. You can find my review here.
Humus is a psych/space rock band. They are also a very obscure band who has released seven albums. The cover artwork on those albums are as eclectic as the cover artwork for this album, see the painting above.
This album is forty minutes long. It gives us a mix of space rock and some more eclectic music. All of it is instrumental. Well, everything here is psych rock, but also with some experimental metal and rock too.
The guitars is sometimes very harsh and distorted. There are also some nicer half-acoustic guitars here.
There is a lot of ideas here. Ideas which is not particular developed. It seems like this is an album of ideas and not an album of end products. It is a drawing more than a painting, if you get my drift.
The album is decent enough, but just that. It is also a step in the wrong direction from the debut album. I hope the other albums is better than this one. I will soon find out.
The sixth album from this multi-national band.
The Samurai Of Prog is a trio with a lineup of violin, flute, electric guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals. The band members are Steve Unruh, Kimmo Porti and Marco Bernard.
The band has got help from numerous other musicians and vocalists. Brett Kull and Stefano Lupo Galifi is the ones I know most.
This is a project and re-recording of some more or less known classic symphonic prog and RPI songs and suites. Yes, the vocals are in English, Italian and Spanish here.
I am not entirely into this Decameron trio of albums. But I have been told a lot of the songs on this album has been lifted from # 1 , # II and # III of that series. Maybe I should check them out.... These thirteen hours of symphonic prog.
The seventy minutes of music on this album is a mix of long songs and instrumental pieces. The vocalists does a good job and ditto for the musicians.
Not all of this album captures my imagination and there are some pieces here I can live without. On the other side of the coin... There are also some very good stuff here too. In short, this is a good album and well worth checking out.
Sunday, 22 April 2018
The one and only album from this Australian band.
Kanguru was a trio with a lineup of tabla, sitar, guitar, violin, cello and percussion.
This short lived band managed to release an album before they were disbanded. And that is all I know about them.
The band played indo/raga rock. A genre with not so many bands. I tend to avoid this genre myself. But during the last two days, I have reviewed two albums in this genre. This one and the Kalacakra album.
Kanguru has a lot of the Indian sound with sitar and tabla. You also get this Indian ritualistic music here. But in the middle of this Indian landscape, the band has thrown in violins and cello too.
That sounds a bit strange because the violins is a bit gypsy music and classical music like. The cello is classical music. This clash is interesting and the best thing on this album.
The album is forty-four minutes long divided on four songs. It is not the most interesting album I have heard. I find the music a bit dull, even with the violins and cello.
Nevertheless, this is a decent album and one well worth checking out.
The fourth album from this US band.
Montrose was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
Ronnie Montrose was at the helm of his band and Bob James did his second Montrose album on vocals.
The band was also still hard rocking too. Their sound is a mix of hard rock, arena rock and some southern rock.
This is as American as you can get hard rock. And that is not a bad thing.
Bob James vocals is very good and ditto for Ronnie Montrose's guitars.The rhythm sections is rock hard and solid.
Unfortunate, this was their final hard rock album. The follow up called Mean was released eleven years later and it was a glam rock album. An album everyone wants to forget.
There is no real good songs on Jump On It though. There is a few good details. But everyone into hard rock should check out this band. I am a happy owner of their first four albums and they will remain in my record collection until the end of my time.
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Moon Safari was a quintet with a lineup of hammond organ, moog, mellotron, drums, percussion, bass, guitars, harmonica and vocals.
This band has released four studio albums and has played some of the bigger prog rock festivals in the world. I am reviewing their four studio albums this spring and summer. You can find the other reviews somewhere else in this blog.
The band is a symphonic prog band. A Swedish symphonic prog band. That means some folk rock influences and a lot of The Flower Kings influences. They are in the same scene as The Flower Kings too so that is no surprise.
This album is much more an English and US symphonic prog influenced album than just a The Flower Kings follower and copycat.
This is still a Swedish symphonic prog album, though....
The music is very mellow, bright and light at the same time. It is not that melancholic. There is a lot of sun and warmth in these songs.
This is a good debut album which sadly is missing some great songs. It is an album and a band you should check out....
Saturday, 21 April 2018
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Seven Impale is a sextet with a lineup of saxophone, cello, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
I have heard about this band for a while.... but that did not prepare me for the shock I got when I put this album on before my first listening session. I was stunned.
Then I read about the origins of this band. They are music academy trained jazz and classic music musicians. And they are trying to play progressive rock of some sort.
To say that the result is eclectic is an understatement. Heavy saxophones and guitars over some naive, yet very quirky eclectic prog is not what I am used to.
I think it is fair to say that this band have their own ideas and style. And that is a good thing. It is called progressive rock, btw.
The album is forty-five minutes long and it is full of quirky, eclectic music. Is the music melodic ? Yes and no. There are a lot of eclectic jazz here and some rather quirky poppy prog. These styles interact in an engaging way. The music never becomes avant-garde though.
The vocals is also very interesting and the vocals styles changes a lot throughout this album. That is a very good thing.
The songs are still not great. But this band has something on and this album is a must-check out for all those into eclectic prog.
The 16th album from this Dutch band.
Kayak was a seven piece big band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, percussion, guitars, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
They had help from numerous other musicians who provided violins and vocals.
This is a rock opera and a proper one. 2 CDs. The vocalists plays their roles as Julius Cesar, Mark Antony etc etc.
This album is a big, big undertaking. The music is also big and pretty much a mix of a musical and an opera. The vocals is not operatic. They are more like musicals. Cincy Oudshoorn and Edward Reekers from the regular Kayak is among the regular vocalists here.
It is pretty easy, and interesting, to follow the story. It is one of the biggest stories of all time. It always reminds me about the movie of the same name. One of the biggest and most known movies of all time.
The music on this almost two hours long album will never gain the same status and reputation. The music is good though and this is a very solid album. It is probably one of the albums Kayak will be most remembered for. Probably loved for too.
I have my reservations as there are no real great tracks here. It is a good album though..... and do not forget to watch the 1963 movie too.
Friday, 20 April 2018
The debut album from this band/project.
The band/project has numerous musicians who contributes flute, acoustic guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, ebow, mandolin, tubular bells, saxophones, grand piano, hammond organ, timpani, male and female vocals.
The band's full name is Oscillazioni Alchemicio Kreative. That means creative alchemical oscillations. The project's main man and probably songwriter too is Jerry Cutillo.
He got help from the likes of David Jackson, Sonia Kristine, Richard Sinclair, Jenny Sorrenti, Maart Allcock and members from Goblin. Just to mention the most known ones.
This is another all-stars project and album. I am not a big fan of those projects as they tends to be all over the place and slightly unfocused.
We get a mix of English and Italian male and female vocals on this seventy odd minutes long album.
We also get a mix of RPI, symphonic prog, a bit musicals songs, a bit more classical music like songs and some poppy tunes.
This may be a concept album. It probably is. It feels like it as the music is a bit all over the place. A bit of a rock opera, too.
There is some very good stuff here. There are some good stuff here and some decent stuff. This is an album which feels a bit unfocused throughout. It is a barely a good album. But it is still a good album and one to check out.
The debut album from this German band.
Kalacakra was a duo with a lineup of synths, cello, violin, piano, flute, vibraphone, guitar, congas, percussion, harmonica and vocals.
The duo, Heinz Martin and Claus Rauschenbach, released two albums before they split up. This one and the Peace album in 2002.
It would not come as a surprise when I reveal that this is a krautrock album. Some sort of a krautrock, that is.
The music has taken a lot from Indian music. The type of Indian music where you find cobra snakes dancing to the flutes of the brave soul that play the flute.
India meets Germany in a space rock like workout is what this fifty minutes long album is all about.
This is also a decent album with a lot of interesting Indian sounds and moods. The music is a bit on the samey side of the spectrum. Nevertheless, this is an album well worth checking out.
The debut album from this German band.
Everon was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
This is the first of my reviews of their whole studio output. That is seven albums, seven reviews. More reviews will follow shortly/you can find the other reviews somewhere else in this blog.
I was meant to do these reviews many, many years ago. But I forgot...... Well, I am at them now.
Everon is listed as a hard prog band in ProgArchives and I am sure that is right. On this album.....
...Well, the music is pretty hard in the beginning. It soon become clear that this band has been listening a lot to Saga. Saga was and still is pretty big in Germany and that shows in Everon's debut album.
The music is a mix of hard prog and pomp rock. The vocals is very Saga'ish. The music does not have the big sound Saga had. But it is still pretty similar.
Everon does have their own style though and the music sounds classy and commercial.
This fifty minutes long album has some good moments and a lot of decent moments. The art of good songwriting has eluded this album. That is my only gripe with this album. Hence the rating.
Thursday, 19 April 2018
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Sonic Sight is a duo with a lineup of drums, guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals.
This duo consists of the neo-prog artist Finn Arild and Reidar.
And neo-prog is what we get here..... of some sort.
Take some AOR and add that to their neo-prog basis. Then you get something like this album. A fifty minutes long album.
Finn Arild does everything besides of the drums which is Reidar's domain. His vocals are good.
What is not so good is the not so muscular sound. The duo format is not adding a lot of muscles and beef to the sound. The sound is a bit thin.
The album is moving along in a pedestrian way with some keyboards, vocals and guitars on the top of the bass and drums. And that is what this is. A pedestrian album.
There is not much song writing quality here either. And the sound.... Not everything from Norway is gold. This album is not.
The second album from this US band.
Phideaux is a quintet with a lineup of mellotron, guitars, bass, drums, autoharp, piano, organ, synths, fx, percussion and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
They had help from numerous other musicians who provided farfisa, vocals, woodwinds, samples and narrations.
I reviewed their 1992 album Friction back in August 2012 for # 1 of this blog. I disliked that album with a passion. Read my review here.
I am going to review the rest of their albums this spring and summer/you can find some more reviews of their albums somewhere else in this blog.
I am glad they are back and with some more substance. And somewhat wiser too.
The music they gives us is a mix of folk rock, psychedelic rock and symphonic prog. Pink Floyd seems like a good reference. Add a lot more folk rock to the last three Pink Floyd albums and you would probably end up with something like this album.
The overriding feel and mood is folk rock on this album. Very gentle folk rock with lots of good male and female vocals.
Unfortunate, there is no really good songs here on this forty-five minutes long album. It is a decent to good album. And a promising one.
The fourth and final album from this US band.
The band owner Wolfgang Michels on vocals and guitars had help from a drummer, a bassist, keyboards and backing vocals. There was also some harps, harmonica, flutes and choir here.
This album, and indeed band and a 5 CDs collection, was sold to me on the basis of this album. An album which is said to be one of the best ever rock albums.
So I was looking forward to this album.
In particular after having to review their first three albums to get this far. Albums that really tested my patience and appetite for life. See my reviews somewhere else in this blog.
So I was not happy to discover that I really disagree with this album's elevated position.
This album has Wolfgang Michels on guitars and pretty bad vocals. He is helped out by some harmonica, drums, bass and keyboards.
The music is very acoustic and does not have much of colours..... or quality.
I am kind when I label this as a decent album. Too kind. It is not a turkey.... Well, it is a turkey. There is nothing here of any value. This is a really bad album and a turkey.
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
The fourth album from this Finnish - US band.
The Samurai Of Prog is a trio with a lineup of violin, flute, bass, drums, percussion and vocals. Steve Unruh, Marco Bernard and Kimmo Porsti is the trio.
They got help from numerous guest musicians who provides keyboards, guitars, narration, electronic bagpipes, saxophones, piano and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I reviewed their third album, the 2014 opus The Imperial Hotel back in May 2015 for # 1 of this blog and you can read the review here.
The Samurai Of Prog gives us almost two hours of retro progressive rock with the sounds of the 1970s. All their material is original material. But it is easy to spot which bands they are mimicking now and then throughout this album.
The music is indeed symphonic prog with some eclectic influences. Those goes from Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, ELP and to King Crimson and Kansas.
It almost feels like their albums are tribute albums...... and that is probably how the music has been written and recorded too. And I find absolute nothing wrong in this.
This album comes as two CDs where the first half features some rather shorter tracks around the ten to twenty minutes mark.
The final half, the second CD is one long track.
The quality is really very good here and the sound is a joy to behold. This is indeed a very good album and one to check out.
The 11th album from this German band.
Solar Project is a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, bass, guitars, drums, percussion, keyboards and vocals.
I have to admit I have never even heard about this band before this album landed on my lap and I had to review it. Which off course is a pleasure to do.
The band debuted in 1990 and have released albums on quite a regular basis since then.
Their music and the band reminds me a lot about the German band Dice. More or less the same history too.
Progarchives has labeled them as a psych/space rock band here. They have also said there is a lot of neo-prog in their music.
All the things is true about this one hour long album. There is even some space rock here. Most of the album is somewhere between psych rock and neo-prog.
The vocals is OK. The keyboards not really good and the guitars are OK.
The quality of the songs are somewhere between decent and good. The music sounds stagnant and is not going anywhere exciting. Hence the rating.
The 14th album from this German band.
Electric Orange was a quartet with a lineup of guitar, mandolin, zither, cajon, bongos, congas, phonofiddle, trumpet, synths, farfisa, hammond organ, mellotron, bass, drums, percussion, cymbals and voices.
Electric Orange is one of the best, if not the best, new outer space/spaced out krautrock band in the scene. They sometimes reminds me a lot about Agitation Free, a band I love.
This quartet paints pictures of sound. Sounds that comes from another galaxy.
The sound is surprisingly organic though and rooted in the 1970s. There is a strong presence of Hammond organ and Mellotron here. Here and on their other albums.
This album is very long, seventy-five minutes long, and a huge mouthful of music. Music which sometimes may sound pedestrian ambient. I would disagree with that. The music here is really dynamic, but in a modest manner.
Yes, there are some ambient stuff here. But even those are working well.
This is indeed a good album. Check it out.
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
The 21st album from this UK band.
Wishbone Ash was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organ, sampled flutes, percussion, piano and vocals.
Four other musicians provided guitars, percussion and backing vocals.
I have reviewed some of their albums earlier this year and you will find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Besides of Andy Powell, all the original members had left the band by now. This is something Andy has described in his biography you can get in all good online bookstores. A very good book, btw.
Wishbone Ash had also split into two bands with the same name. A conflict only resolved through an expensive High Court case in London, UK.
Music wise, there is not much to be joyful about Wishbone Ash on this album and most albums they released after 1980.
Bona Fida is a straight forward rock album with some hard rock and US arena rock influences. There is also some very strong country and americana influences here.
The band have their own sound and it is not easy to explain. The Americana influences sets them apart from most bands.
Bona Fida is three quarters of an hour long and it has some decent songs. There is no good songs here and nothing to be joyful about. It is a run of the mill Wishbone Ash album.
The second album from this British artist.
Andy Jackson does all the instruments here with the exceptions from the saxophones where he has been helped by David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator etc etc) and the female vocals where he has got help from Anne Marie Helder from Panic Room.
Andy Jackson was the engineer on the final Pink Floyd albums.... from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and to the final album. In 2014, he released his first album Signal To Noise.
I thought this was going to be an all singing stars studded album with lots of guest musicians. I was wrong. Andy Jackson has gone for the less-is-more formula. And in this case; rightly so !
Pink Floyd is a big reference on this album. This album reminds me a lot about their The Division Bell album. There is also a lot of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason in his music on this album.
There is also some more psych and space rock here than on those Pink Floyd albums. That is the main difference between Andy Jackson and Pink Floyd.
The music is very laidback with good vocals and guitars from Andy. Both acoustic and electric guitars.
The album is almost fifty minutes long and is a good reminder about what makes this kind of music so good. This is indeed a very good album and one to really enjoy. Check it out.
Monday, 16 April 2018
The debut album from this Russian composer and pianist.
Gleb Kolyadin does the grand piano and keyboards here. He has got help from a very impressive list of guest musicians who provided flute, drums, percussion, guitars, bass, bodhran, saxophones, vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba, violin, cello, hang drums, spoken words and vocals.
Gleb enlisted the likes of Jordan Rudess, Steve Hogarth, Gavin Harrison, Nick Beggs and Theo Travis to play on this album in addition to many Russian musician.
Gleb Kolyadin is not an unknown man and he is not new to this game either. He is in fact the composer and 50 % of the highly impressive Russian band Iamthemorning. A band with a big cult following and you can count me in here.
On his own, Gleb gives us a much more eclectic album. It is piano based and based on Gleb's playing where everyone else is fitted around his grand piano and keyboards.
Parts of this album is leaning towards classical music and other parts is leaning more towards ragtime jazz and symphonic prog.
Gleb is brilliant in what he is doing. But the art of great songwriting is something he has not transferred to this, his solo album. This almost one hour long album is by all means a good album. But just that. I will stick with Iamthemorning.
Montrose was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
A guest musician provided viola.
I have reviewed their two first albums and you can find the reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Sammy Hagar had left the band and the band had hired a very good vocalist called Bob James. They also hired a keyboardist as a permanent member of the band. Ronnie Montrose was still the guitarist. The band name is indeed his surname.
The band had also moved a bit from hard rock and more towards straight rock. There is also some arena rock and a lot of blues in their music.
The band sounds like Kansas throughout most of this album. What is missing the violins and you have Kansas on a bad day.
The cover art-work is the best thing about this album, followed by Bob James vocals. The music is decent enough on this thirty-six minutes long album. And Ronnie Montrose does a good job on his guitars. But there is no good songs here, though. Hence the rating.
The second album from this German band.
Ash Ra Tempel was a trio with a lineup of guitars, electronics, organ, drums, bass and vocals.
They had help from three guest musicians who provided sax, jaw harp, percussion, vocals and bongos.
Ash Ra Tempel is doing spaced out krautrock and is regarded as one of the best bands in that genre. Well, in the whole of the krautrock genre.
I reviewed their 1971 self-titled debut album two weeks ago and you can read my review here. More Ash Ra Tempel albums reviews will follow/you can find my other Ash Ra Tempel albums reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Klaus Schulze had left the band before this album was recorded and the band was on their own here.
This forty minutes long album starts out with a very good twenty minutes long piece, divided in two parts. The first part is more ambient. The second part is full on attack with growling vocals and lots of distorted instruments.
The second part of this album, side B on a LP, is more ambient and pastoral. This one is a grower and it has been growing on me, each time I have put this album on.
I am still not won over by this album or this band. Nevertheless, this is a good album from a band I find more and more fascinating.
Sunday, 15 April 2018
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Blå Lotus is a trio with a lineup of Hammond organ, farfisa, mellotron, electric piano, flute, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
The band has been marketing themselves as "prog rock without guitars". That makes them special, in their views. Well, they are wrong.... Very wrong. There is some other prog rock bands without any guitars in their sound.
I also thought that the band had replaced guitars with woodwinds and brass. I am not a big fan of woodwinds, I have to admit. So I was not too keen to give this album my time.
I was totally wrong when it comes to the woodwinds and brass. Besides of a flute, there is none of that here whatsoever. Instead, we get lots of keys in all forms. See the list above.
And I really love keys in progressive rock.
In this case, we are talking old style 1970s heavy prog and symphonic prog. There is even some John Lord's Deep Purple like keys and music here. The Hammond organs sends warm shivers down my spine and gives me a silly grin.
Most of the stuff here is very good. The sound is really cool and I like this album a lot. Neither is it too long. Forty minutes is long enough and they even ship it as 180 g LP. Check out this album.
The ninth album from this Irish band.
Horslips was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, flutes, percussion and vocals.
The band had help from two guest musicians who provided piano and tambourine.
I have reviewed some of their albums this year and it is fair to say that I have found them underwhelming. You can find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
This album was their last album before they were reformed again in 2004 and released an album called Roll Back the same year. I do not have that album. Neither am I going to purchase it either.
The band has played a lot of gigs too after they reformed again. Most of them in Dublin and the rest of Ireland where they still have a big name and a very good reputation.
Back in 1979, these pioneers of Irish folk rock were reduced to a band playing straight rock. Straight rock with a lot of very strong pub rock influences. Well, this is a pub rock album. A half an hour long pub rock album. There is even some rockabilly here and one song with some nods back to their folk rock roots.
The music is simple and without any quality. Well, unless pub rock is your style. The band sounds lost on this album. An album with no redeeming qualities. Hence it's inclusion in my exclusive list of turkeys.
The debut album from this British band.
Green Seagull is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
This band is another new name to me. They are signed on the Mega Dodo record label. A record label with an impressive amount of releases behind them in the acid folk and psychedelic rock genre.
And that is where we find this band and this release too.
Take a lot of The Beatles anno Sgt Peppers Band and add a lot of acid folk and psychedelic rock to the mix too.
The music is very colourful with lots of guitars and vocal harmonies over some keyboards, bass and drums too. The music is also very much based on folk rock too.
The music has a lot of good details despite of being very folky and not so complex.
There are several good songs on this forty minutes long album. An album with a nice early 1970s feel to it too.
It is nice to see..... make that; hear, that the acid folk scene is still alive and well. This album proves this and is a good sign of life. It is indeed a good album and one to check out.
Saturday, 14 April 2018
The one and only album from this US band.
Ivory was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
This US band is totally obscure and long, long forgotten........... unless if you are a curious cat like myself who likes and live for digging out and reviewing albums like this one. Hence this blog.
This album was released by Playboy Records. And yes, it was a record label owned by the Playboy Magazine. Hugh Hefner & co. Read more about this record label here.
I am not sure what attracted this male band to Playboy. Their music is progressive rock of some sort and that was not what Playboy and this hedonistic lifestyle was about....... Or so I believe.
The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is a mix of piano dominated rock, some pop music and some ELP like symphonic prog. Then there is some US rock anno the 1970s here and some psych rock. But this is mostly pop rock.
This is not a bad album at all. It feels totally outdated anno 2018 and an anachronism. But the music is decent enough from start to finish. Check out this album on LP or Youtube and you may be up for a surprise.
The fifth album from this US band.
After The Fall was a sextet with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.
I had never heard about this band before this album landed on my lap, ready to be reviewed. So I cannot make any comments on their previous albums. There is not may Youtubes with their earlier stuff either.
Their music is not easy to label.......
OK, take some heavy prog, some prog metal and some symphonic prog. Add some pomp rock too and you should get this album.
There is also some vaudeville and musicals type of rock and pop here too.
This album is kicking in all directions and is full of surprises. Not all of them are that nice. It is an typical US album where big is good.
That is also reflected in the length of this album. Almost seventy minutes long. An album with not so many good ideas and an overflow of decent stuff. I am not won over. I am actually finding this album very dull and not gratifying. The reasons is the lack of any good songs. Hence the rating.
The debut album from this US - UK supergroup.
Dukes Of The Orient is a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals.
The band is a cooperation with the ex Asia vocalist John Payne and the artist Erik Norlander. They have got help from three other musicians with background from (the band) Asia and the AOR scene.
Fans of Asia has been lapping up this album in the last weeks. There is no denying that the band sounds like Asia.
But this album is still standing well and truly on it's own feet.
The vocals are very good and the keyboards is also good. Ditto for the guitars and the rhythm section.
The AOR is pure and simple. There is not any nonsense here. Just melodies with some good choruses and verses. This is not really my cup of tea.
When that is said, there is no denying that this is a good album. The band is ticking all the boxes and the melodies tends to linger even after this fifty minutes long album has finished.
If you want one AOR album this year, this is the album you should go for.
Friday, 13 April 2018
The debut album from this Spanish band.
Entropia is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, Hammond organ, keyboards, bass, drums and Spanish vocals.
The band is from the Basque province of Spain and this is their first dip into the progressive rock water. A water considerably colder than the water in the Biscayne Bay.
What are we getting here ?
Let's take some psychedelic rock, add some space rock, a lot of traditional Spanish hard rock and a lot of vintage 1970s rock. Then add some symphonic prog too.
The Hammond organ and the Spanish vocals is adding a lot of colours and textures to their music. There is also some good guitars here.
There is no hiding that fans of Spanish prog and rock, and I am one of them, will find a lot of goodies on this fifty minutes long album. This album is a kind of an update of the 1970s Spanish scene and takes it into 2018. The sound is really modern and relevant too.
I have some reservations about the quality of this album. But it is still a good album and one I would recommend.
The 24th album from this French band.
Ange is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, bass, keyboards and French vocals.
Christian Decamps is the vocalist here and his son Tristan plays keyboards together with his father.
I have reviewed most Ange albums for # 1 of this blog and ProgArchives. Despite of some dubious albums in the 1980s and the 1990s, I rate this band very highly.
Their previous proper studio album Moyen Age from 2012 was a very good album too and proved that this and still had it. The original member is Christian Dechamps and he is involved in the excellent band Gens De La Lune too.
Ange delivers another album of French theatrical symphonic prog, influenced by both Jacques Brel and Genesis. As on Moyen Age, they have gone back to the sound from their first albums and used that as a base for their songs.
The songs here are rather pastoral and pretty theatrical. There is not much heavy stuff. Something Ange has never done.
Christian's vocals is excellent here. His son Tristan and the rest of the band also does a great job on this almost seventy minutes long album.
It is also a very good album and a timely reminder that Ange was and probably still is one of the best progressive bands on this planet. Check them out.
The second album from this London, England based band.
Of Petra is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and samples.
I have not yet had the chance to listen to their 2015 self-titled debut album so this is my first meeting with this band. Both albums can be obtained from the link above.
The band says they wanted to mix Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd in their music.
And they have done that, to a large extent.
The music is very funky and sometimes also full of guitar solos. There is also a lot of jazz here and a lot of eclectic progressive rock.
The music is eclectic, but also not particular avant-garde. The music is instrumental with some samples.
The music is also whimsical and playful. It is not confined to the standard rules of music. It is wild and unpredictable.
It is also a decent to good album. Some more good ideas and the band has a winner. Check out the link above if you like whimsical progressive rock.
Thursday, 12 April 2018
The debut album from this Polish band.
Noibla is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, drums, keyboards and female vocals.
If you spell the Noibla backwards, you get Albion. That is another Polish band. Well, a now split up band. And three of the members of Albion formed Noibla. That include the guitarist and the female vocalist. So Noibla is the new Albion.
I really liked Albion so it makes me happy that their legacy now lives on in Noibla.
The album is out on the excellent Lynx Music record label. It is fifty minutes long...
And it really continue on from where the final Albion album finished. That means great female vocals over some really melodic neo-prog.
There is some laidback jazz in their neo-prog too and some really good melancholic stuff.
The music is a bit laidback with the emphasis on the vocals and some great moods. The music is good throughout too. This is an album I really like and would recommend to anyone into melodic prog.
The fourth album from this Austrian band.
Phi is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band has so far released four album on a respectable German label without making that many waves in the scene. I have never heard about the band before this one dumped into my intray.
Maybe one of the reasons I was not aware of this band is that they are a progressive metal band. A genre I tend to avoid. But this album deserve a review.
The band gives us fifty minutes of progressive metal in the same vein as Riverside, Tool, Mars Volta and Porcupine Tree.
There is a lot of harsh, chugging guitars here. The vocals is pretty typical heavy metal vocals with some screams inbetween a pretty solid deliverance of the lyrics.
There are also some guitar harmonies and some harmonies between the keyboards and the guitars too.
The music is very hard and heavy. It is not too bad though. The band is tight and delivers the goods.
The songs are not that good though and that is the weakness of this album. That is my gripe with this album, indeed. There are some sporadic good bits. But the quality is lacking...... I am afraid.
Wednesday, 11 April 2018
The second album from this Norwegian artist.
Bjorn Riis did the vocals, guitars, bass, piano and keyboards again on this album.
He got help from some guest musicians who provided fx, loops, drums, piano, percussion, solina and female vocals.
Bjorn Riis is the vocalist and guitarist in Airbag, a very good Norwegian band who has released some albums. Albums I really like.
I have also reviewed Bjorn Riis debut album from 2014. It is called Lullabies In A Car Crash and you can find my review here.
His music is again melancholic and sombre. References are Airbag, Gazpacho and Anathema. There is also some hints of No-Man and Porcupine Tree here.
There is also a lot of post rock influences here and a lot of Pink Floyd in his music on this album.
The music is flowing very nicely and Bjorn knows how to set the tone and the sound on this fifty minutes long melancholic album. I would say that the art-work describes the music pretty good.
The piano, guitars and the vocals are very good. There is a lot of ear-candy on this album too. An album full of interesting details.
This album is an improvement on the debut album and a very good album in it's own right. Check it out.
The debut album from this English band.
Koyo is a quintet with a lineup of synths, samples, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Koyo comes from Leeds in the north of England. Yorkshire, this area of England is called. It is said to be God's own county. I am not so sure about that....
The band has released this album as a digi download, LP and CD. And they are playing some festivals too this year. Prog festivals, mostly. A young and aspiring band, they are indeed.
Their music is a mix of indie rock, psychedelia and neo-prog.
The music is sometimes a bit harsh and hard rocking. But there is also some mid-tempo and even some pastoral music on this one hour long album. There is even a male and female vocals duet here with some acoustic guitars.
The music has progressive rock song structures with some weird rhythms. There is also some more commercial stuff here.
The sound is good. The intentions is very good. Unfortunate, the art of songwriting is not really up there. I am struggling a bit with this album as it is ambitious, but not quite a good album. Hence the rating.
The one and only album from this British band.
Ithaca was a trio with a lineup of auto harp, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass, recorder, percussion, mandolin, organ and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
They had help from three other musicians who provided flute, drums and classic guitars.
This band was first called Agincourt who in 1970 released an album called Fly Away. Then they abandoned this name and released another album, the one I am now reviewing.
Both album seems very much like DIY efforts. Home made with not much, if any, label support. And the same goes for the music too.
Take folk folk rock and add some US west-coast psychedelia to the music.
The vocals and the organs is good. Ditto for the guitars.
The sound is pretty wretched and not really up to scratch. That even goes for 1973. And it has not transferred well to 2018 either. This half an hour long album is a DIY, do it yourself product from start to finish.
The songs are decent enough. This is not an album I would say is sparkling and adding a lot of value to the folk rock scene. Hence my verdict.
The 15th or so album from this US artist and producer.
Fernando Perdomo did the guitars, bass, synths and keyboards on this album while Eddie Zyne did the drums.
This US artist is a new name to me. But he has a massive body of work behind him already. See the link above on his name for a full list. It is a long, long list.
Most of his work is in americana and jazz. Out To Sea is a dip into progressive rock.
Instrumental symphonic prog with a lot of americana and latin-jazz is how I will describe this album. Most of the music is guitars driven. Fernando Perdomo's guitars, that is.
There is some comparisons with Camel here. That if Camel had gone Latin-American instead of English and Irish. Yes, this is a very good comparison. Camel goes to Latin-America.
There is a lot of drive and a lot of good details here. There is also a lot of good bass and a lot of good moods here. There is also some mellotron sounding keyboards creating a good atmosphere here.
And I can feel the waves this journey on the oceans is plowing through. And it is very obvious that Fernando Perdomo knows what he is doing on this forty minutes long album.
The result is a good album and a bit of a surprise as I am no fan of instrumental progressive rock. But this is a good album and one to really check out.
Tuesday, 10 April 2018
The second album from this French band.
Camembert was a sextet with a lineup of woodwinds, bells, whistles, percussion, xylophone, harp, drums, guitars, fx, bass, marimba, glockenspiel, triangle, timpani, tubular bells, tam tam, chacha, campana, bongos, clave, whistle, bugle and vocals.
Ten other guest musicians provided woodwinds and female vocals.
I was pretty impressed by their 2011 debut album Schnørgl Attack. See my review here. Their 2009 EP Clacosmique is also a very good piece of music. See my review here.
Camembert is a fusion/jazz band....... sort of. The music is pretty wild though and this is by no means a run of the mill fusion/jazz album or band.
The music is pretty wild and quirky. It also have an eclectic feel. So much that I feel this is a Canterbury progjazz album.
The various whistles, drums and bells adds a lot of value to this one hour long album. The woodwinds are also very good.
This is still a pretty melodic album although the melodies are a bit to find. Nevertheless, they are here and they are very good. It is indeed a very good album from a band I put on my great-talents list after the release of their EP. Check out this album and their two other releases too.
The 15th album from this Dutch band.
Kayak was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, accordion, percussion, male and female lead vocals.
The band was supported by a violinist.
I have reviewed some of their albums during this winter and you can find my reviews somewhere else in this blog. Have a look.
I am no expert on Kayak whatsoever. I like this band and regard them as one of the biggest bands from the mainland Europe. Their music is a bit more poppy than my liking, though....
Anywhere But Here is fifty-four minutes long. The music is not easy to label.
A lot of the music here reminds me about musicals. The music, with the great vocals from Cindy Oudshoorn, is bombastic and in the ballads genre too. Overblown ballads.
Some of the music is pretty hard-rocking too. Other parts of this album is pretty progressive.
The songs are pretty short. In some cases, mercifully short. Some of the music is slightly cringe-worthy. But there is also some good music here.
I rate this album somewhere between decent and good. It is far from being their best album, I am afraid.
The eight album from this US band.
Visual Cliff is a quartet with a lineup of piano, synths, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
This band started out as a fusion/jazz band. But they changed their style gradually during a couple of albums. I reviewed their seventh album, their 2013 album Between Two Kingdoms, back in April 2014 and found a changed band. You can read my review here.
The band has totally changed from a fusion/jazz band to a straight progressive rock band.
Progressive rock with a lot of US college rock, modern hard rock and some grunge. Both Pear Jam and Rush springs to mind here. Their music is still progressive rock with a lot of interesting details and pretty intricate melodies.
The guitars and the vocals are really cool and in the grunge rock genre. There is a lot of Rush references in their music.
Their swap of genres, or growing up, has been reasonable successful as this is a good album. It is perhaps not the most exciting album you can find. But this almost one hour long album still has a lot too offer and is a good choice for those who are still missing Rush and Pearl Jam.
Monday, 9 April 2018
The third album from this German US band.
Percewoods Onagram was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano and vocals.
I have reviewed their first two albums and you can find my reviews somewhere else in this blog.
It is fair to say that I am a lot less than impressed by this band. I was sold a 5 CDs box (one album was with Michels, their vocalist) and told the band was a cult band with some great albums.
Well, I disagree with this claim.
This album is an acoustic album with acoustic guitars and piano with Michel's vocals on the top.
There is some half-decent music on this forty-two minutes long album. The title track is a decent track. And there are some half-decent pianos and guitars too. The vocals are a bit strained and shouting.
Again, I am very far from being impressed by an Percewood's Onagram album. Hence the rating.
The fourth album from this British band.
IOEarth is a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, saxophones, violin, keyboards, percussions, male and female vocals.
This is my first ever meeting with this band I have heard a lot about during the last years. So I was looking forward to review this album.
The band's music is a mix of neo-prog and art rock. There is also some symphonic prog here. References..... A bit Pink Floyd shines through and a lot of the other female vocals fronted prog rock bands from the UK. Magenta, Panic Room etc etc.
Rosanna Lefevre's vocals are superb and very much fitting for the music. There is also a lot of guitar solos here.
The songs on this seventy-five minutes long album are all very well crafted and like small pieces of art. Not all the art is like something I would put in my living room. But most of the songs are good to very good.
Some of the album is also melancholic and has got a sombre mood. That adds something to this album which makes an important difference.
My opinion is that I should get some more of their albums after listening a lot to this very good album. An album I would recommend.
The fourth album from this British band.
It Bites is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
This band was one of those band who did not really become as big as Marillion and Pendragon.
Yes, we are talking neo-prog here. Their debut album was released back in 1986 and their so far final album was released back in 2012. I actually reviewed that album and you can find this review here.
It Bites gives us seventy-five minutes of middle of the road neo-prog. The music is not that symphonic. Neither is it poppy and very commercial..... with the exception of one song who is pretty dire. The name of the song are Great Disasters and it is a teenybopper song complete with kindergarten type of chorus.
This album is songs based and melodic. It still has some bites. It also got some class and some very good vocals.
There is no great songs here and Great Disasters is a crime I find hard to forgive them for.
Nevertheless, this is a good album well worth checking out.
The second album from this band.
Quatermass was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
Don Airey did the keyboards as a guest artist.
This follow up to their self titled 1970 debut album (see my review here) contains only Mick Underwood from the original trio. Maybe he owns the Quatermass name too. Obviously, he does. That is the only reason I can find for putting out this album under the Quatermess name.... although with an II fixed to the name.
Nick Simper from Deep Purple fame (he was their bassist on their first three albums) is also a member of this band.
That was his choice and I am sure he can live with that.
Fans of the original band does not get much to enjoy on this album, though..... There is absolute nothing on this album who reminds me about their debut album. Absolute nothing.
We get fifty minutes of a mix of hard rock and heavy metal here. Whitesnake springs to mind as a reference. The music is classic hard rock and heavy metal, indeed.
The vocals are a bit too screaming for my liking. And the heavy metal cliches comes fast and as regular as hot days in the Sahara desert.
Nevertheless, this is still a half-decent album, released by some true veterans in the scene. The misuse of the Quatermess name is a serious matter though.....
Sunday, 8 April 2018
The debut album from this Mexican band.
Humus was Jorge Beltran on keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and other instruments.
I have a small collection of Humus albums and I will review them this spring/you can find my other reviews of the Humus albums somewhere else in this blog.
I like to listen to and review albums from obscure bands. Hence this blog, both this one and # 1 of this blog. I also did this a lot in my reviews for ProgArchives years ago.
Humus, read Jorge Beltran, gives us psychedelic rock with some space rock influences. The music is instrumental. It is driven by guitars and some keyboards.
Some of the guitars are dissonant and jarring. Nevertheless, the music is melodic and dynamic.
The music is pretty interesting and showcases a lot of talents and the good ear for what works and does not work.
There is a lot of things that are working here. It is still not a good album. But it is a respectable debut album in a genre which is not the easiest genre. Check it out.
The second album from this Italian band.
The Cinema Show is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, drums, keyboards, bass and Italian vocals.
I reviewed their debut album last week and liked that a lot. Check out my review here.
The band name gives a lot of Genesis associations. And that band name was probably chosen for some good reasons.
There is a lot of Genesis influences in this album. But not so much from the Genesis album Selling England By The Pound. The influences comes more from the Trespass album.
There is also a lot of Italian pop rock influences in their take on Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI). There is also a lot of folk rock here.
The sound and music is pretty much stripped down on this album. An album still clocking in at over seventy minutes.
The songs are pretty good on this album. The band has a lot of potential which they have yet to unleash. This album is therefore a good album. But still a bit disappointing.
Saturday, 7 April 2018
The debut album from this Norwegian artist.
Bjorn Riis does the guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion and vocals on this album.
He has got help from guest musicians who provided drums, keyboards, fx and loops.
Bjorn Riis is the songwriter and guitarist in the very good Norwegian band Airbag. A band I rate very highly. He has so far released two albums on his own. Both are to be reviewed this month/you can find my review of his new album somewhere else in this blog.
Airbag is not a bad reference for what Bjorn Riis dishes up on his own. They and Gazpacho. Another band I rate very highly.......
The music is pretty laidback in that mould and that ambient prog rock genre. There is a lot of guitar solos here though and that really get a guitar solo fan going. Yes, that is me. The vocals is also really good.
There is a lot of pastoral, melancholic themes on this album. Something that should not come as a surprise with that album title.
The songs on this fifty minutes long album are all good. There is no great songs here and that is my only gripe. It is still an album well worth checking out.
The one and only album from this Danish band.
Istanbul Express was a quartet with a lineup of double bass, drums, percussions, acoustic guitars, saxophones, flute and baglama.
The engineer on this album was actually Flemming Rasmussen who later did the first four Metallica albums.
That is the only really "famous" about this very obscure band and album. An album written, produced and fronted by the Turkish musician Mehmet Ozan. He did the guitars, percussion and baglama here.
And this album is indeed a meeting of Danish jazz and Turkish folk music. Most of this album is folk and world music. Something I very rarely review in this blog. But I fell for the art-work and the promise that this was a fusion album....
There is a lot of good acoustic guitars here on this very nerdy, tech jazz folk rock album. Lots of flutes too from the Middle - East.
This album does indeed have this Turkish and Middle-East flavour many other bands later copied too. This album is a bit too weird for me and a bit too much world music. It is still a decent to good album, well worth checking out.
Friday, 6 April 2018
The second album from this US band.
Montrose was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
I very much liked their self-titled 1973 debut album and you can find my review of it here. I am reviewing their four albums these days, forty years after I heard about this band for the first time. It has taken me until (well, two years ago) to get their four albums.
Sammy Hagar was still at the microphone. He later left after one too many bust ups with the guitar maestro and band-owner Ronnie Montrose.
The band wanted to broaden the horizons on this album after their debut album. A very heavy and bombastic heavy metal album.
Montrose still slightly sounds like a US version of Led Zeppelin. But there is also a couple of more ballads here and the catchy title track.
This album still rocks out and it is pretty heavy. Not as heavy as today's heavy metal genre. But still pretty heavy.
The title track is the only good track here. The rest of the tracks on this thirty-five minutes long album is decent enough and the sound is good. I still think this is a good band and worth the wait.