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 A Quick One by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1966
2.88 | 116 ratings

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A Quick One
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Necrotica

3 stars My Generation was more than just an album when it came out back in 1965... it was a game-changer. The way it mixed soft R&B covers and pop rock tunes with a previously-unheard hard rock edge and raw production was ingenious, and the affectionate nods to the Mod subculture were icing on the cake. It seems as though I'm exaggerating when I state that The Who's debut was a decade-defining piece of work, but it truly was. So how would these London boys follow it up? Well, how about giving songwriting roles to every band member while becoming a hell of a lot sillier in the process?

What came of this question was A Quick One, one truly bizarre and inconsistent foray into more cheery and poppy territory. Here, we get everything ranging from blues rock, quirky comedic tunes, the band's first "rock-opera" track," folk rock sections, and more. It becomes clear very quickly which musicians really shine in the songwriting department, however: Pete Townshend and John Entwistle. In fact, the latter created perhaps one of the band's most iconic and entertaining songs in the form of "Boris the Spider"; aside from containing vocals that likely (and probably inadvertently) influenced a legion of death metal singers, the song's cheesy horror lyrics just add to its fun camp value. Curiously, Entwistle's other contribution "Whiskey Man" is a pretty standard fast-paced blues rock track compared to the amount of personality "Boris the Spider" had, but it's still a decent addition nonetheless. Of course, just as with My Generation, Townshend still manages to be the real driving force writing-wise. The title track, which is easily his best contribution on here, is an excellent prelude to the band's future rock operas; it also ends up being among the first progressive rock tunes with its varying sections and relatively long length of nine minutes. The whole thing is very elaborate, especially in terms of Roger Daltrey's vocal harmonies and Keith Moon's busy percussion, as the lyrics essentially give the listener a prelude to the story of the 1969 record Tommy. Seriously, this was some ambitious stuff in the mid-60s, especially considering the fact that it predates other proto-prog gems of the decade such as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Days of Future Passed.

Unfortunately, the biggest mistake of A Quick One was letting Keith Moon assist in any part of the songwriting process. He might be an amazing drummer, but his songs are seriously lacking compared to what the other members bring. First, we get an uninspired folky power ballad with "I Need You," which has some extremely obnoxious and raucous drumming during the chorus; it's so raucous that it literally overpowers the production itself. The other song he wrote might just be the single worst track to ever be released by The Who, that tune being "Cobwebs and Strange." Remember what I said about this album being really cheery? Well, "Cobwebs and Strange" basically manages to sound like a marching band performance at a Disneyland parade with its bright horns and stiff, angular drumming; that is, until the song turns into a disjointed mess of disparate musical ideas. The second half of the song is pretty much just a glorified Keith Moon drum solo, but it's not very engaging when combined with such an ugly jumble of instruments and styles. As for Roger Daltrey, his sole contribution "See My Way" is a decent pop song that thankfully tones down the dynamics of the album along with the previous Pete Townshend number "Don't Look Away." However, despite the weird mishmash of styles present in A Quick One, I have to give it credit for at least having some sort of overall focus and knowing what it is: a cheesy pop rock record. It often doesn't take itself too seriously, which is why incredibly fun songs like "Boris the Spider" and the title track were able to fit in so well with the experience as a whole. Basically, my advice is to enjoy the Townshend and Entwistle tracks and try to forget the Keith Moon tracks ever happened; I know that sounds harsh, but Moon is simply better off doing what he does best: drumming. In the end, if you don't want to stick with the familiar Who classics and want to delve into something a bit more quirky and strange, this is a pretty good bet. Despite how unusual and flawed it is, A Quick One is actually really fun and a refreshing oddball in the band's catalog.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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 My Generation by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
2.82 | 125 ratings

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My Generation
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Necrotica

4 stars The Who's entrance into 60s popular music was a hell of a game changer. With a rock landscape still heavily dominated by poppier and more melodically driven artists such as pre-Revolver-era Beatles as well as more folk-oriented groups like Simon and Garfunkel, it was inevitable that someone would try amping up the volume and increasing the distortion a bit. Well, Britain's answer came indirectly in the form of the Mod subculture. Mod was essentially based around British youths during the 60s and involved motor scooters, soul and "modern jazz" (as they tended to call it, usually referring to bebop) music, and drug-filled nights of club dancing. Anyway, long story short, mods and rockers did not get along during the mid-60s because of differing ideals, which even led to straight-up physical violence between the two! They eventually began to settle their differences, mainly because one certain band was able to combine aspects of both subcultures into their sound as if a musical truce was being called. Of course, that band would be The Who, with their phenomenal and revolutionary debut My Generation. It was a record that combined the rebellion and raucousness of both the mods and rockers, but has also maintained its status as a classic record over the years; you see it on best-of lists by Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q, and so forth. So what made it so good? Well, the answer is simple: it rocked. Hard.

My Generation, along with Jimi Hendrix's work a few years later, would truly become the blueprint heavy metal and punk rock in the years to come. Between guitarist Pete Townshend's aggressive and distorted playing, the way Roger Daltrey mixes gruff blues and hard rock vocals, John Entwistle's already-established presence as one of rock's earliest bass virtuoso players, and Keith Moon's ridiculous amount of energy on the drums, this must have been a sound to behold back then. That's not to say some of the elements typical of that era don't slip through; there are still plenty of poppy and soulful vocal harmonies, as well as three covers of classic R&B tunes. However, it's the raw and unhinged execution that makes it so influential. The production itself is quite bare, focusing more on sheer volume and impact than being lavish or slick; this definitely assisted in propelling the legendary title track and "It's Not True" to their status as youth culture anthems by contributing to their clangorous nature and proto-punk sound. But going back to what I said about John Entwistle earlier, the great thing about My Generation is that its high level of energy is still accompanied by an equally high level of instrumental proficiency and chemistry within the group. If I had to pick a standout musician, however, Pete Townshend would be that person. His work on the album really helped to expand the sonic boundaries of what the electric guitar could do, between more tightly-constructed hard rock numbers and more experimental jams. The latter is represented most strongly by "The Ox," an instrumental piece that has Townshend playing around with intense guitar feedback and very low tunings for the time period. The song's presence on the record might seem a bit unnecessary today, but it was just another innovative piece of work when it came out.

However, all influence and innovation aside, the age-old question remains: how well does the forty-year-old album hold up today? Well, that depends on which aspect of the record you look at. Unfortunately, the biggest flaw of My Generation really is its production; yes, it fits the style and vibe of the experience as a whole, but it's also very thin and more dated-sounding than other contemporary albums of the day such as The Beatles' Revolver or The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Luckily, the songwriting and musicianship are completely timeless. Countless punk bands still cover the title track and "It's Not True" to this day, not just because they're influential to the genre, but because they still evoke the classic themes of rebellion and being young. While the band later regarded this album as a weak and rushed effort, you'd never believe when listening to such well-crafted gems like the melodic vocally-layered pop rock anthem "The Kids Are Alright" or the slightly more somber and mellow "The Good's Gone." Also, while many blues or R&B covers may feel out of place on a record, the three that are featured on My Generation fit quite well as they display that the young band were still on their way to fully developing their sound. Plus, in the case of "I Don't Mind" and "Please, Please, Please," Roger Daltrey's charismatic and aggressive vocals are a perfect fit for James Brown's often bright and energetic material.

My Generation may not suit all tastes, but one can't deny its immeasurable influence on rock music as a whole. The energy, distortion, intensity, rawness, and sonic experimentation present on the album were very rarely heard prior to its release, and its ability to mix different subcultures and bring them together is just stunning. Sure, the record doesn't quite have the songwriting or maturity to match future classics like Tommy and Quadrophenia (the latter also being about the mod scene), but it makes up for that with sheer raw energy and aggression. My Generation is just a ton of fun, and I know I'll continue to play it as long as I feel young and rebellious...

'cause "I'm not tryin' to cause a big sensation, I'm just talking about my generation!"

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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 Can't Buy a Thrill by STEELY DAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.50 | 126 ratings

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Can't Buy a Thrill
Steely Dan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by cfergmusic1

4 stars For my first reviews on ProgArchives, I thought I might do well to start off with my favorite band of all time, Steely Dan. People tend to think of them as a jazzy "cool pop" group (especially the later material), but to my ears, they had just as much prog credentials as anyone else back then, even if they weren't designated as such (although it took me a while to agree with that sentiment, and even Fagen and Becker would probably still cringe at the idea). Whatever the case, Steely Dan is a band that is very special to me, and as long as they're on the site, I may as well commit myself to saying a few words about them.

The first incarnation of the band (exhibited here) was, well, an actual band rather than the collection of studio musicians it would become (although there are hints of that even on this album). The group consisted of main songwriters Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on keyboards/lead vocals and bass guitar, respectively; Denny Dias and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on guitars; Jim Hodder on drums and occasional lead vocals; and David Palmer on occasional lead and background vocals. The reason for the "occasional" lead singers is that Fagen was very apprehensive at first about being a front-man and singer, and only did so out of necessity later on (so he says). The album is also graced by the appearances of percussionist Victor Feldman (who played piano with jazz saxophonist "Cannonball" Adderley's group) and guitarist Elliot Randall, among others.

We start off with "Do It Again," the first (although not the only) big hit for the band. Lyrically, it's something of an Old West "murder, failed hanging, get cheated on by your lover and find another one who also screws you over, and go to Vegas to gamble what little you have left" kind of story. (Not your typical "single" material, but hey, things were different in 1972.) The track rides a groovy carpet of Latin percussion throughout, bolstered by solos from Dias on electric sitar (the one and only time he ever played the instrument) and Fagen on Yamaha electone organ. (The glisses on that solo come from a felt strip on the keyboard and not from a pitch-bend wheel.) One of the defining moments of the band for sure.

"Dirty Work" is more on the softer side of things, being somewhat reminiscent of Three Dog Night who were Steely Dan's stablemates on the ABC Dunhill label at the time. David Palmer makes one of two recorded appearances on the record and for the band in general (although he handled all the lead vocals in concert). A gentle tune with somewhat dark lyrics and cool extensions just before every chorus. The track is helped out by two LA studio horn players, Jerome Richardson on sax (who has the solo) and flugelhornist Snooky Young.

"Kings" is claimed to have "no political significance" by the composers, although it seems to be about medieval royalty (good kings "Richard" and "John"). If it is based on an actual historical event, I don't know which one. No matter, as the real highlight of the track is a scorching, overdubbed guitar solo from Elliot Randall, to my ears maybe his best with SD (which is saying something considering he also soloed on "Reelin' In the Years"). The bright production/mixing on this track seems to give it a sunnier vibe than the lyrics would suggest (which is the case with the album in general).

"Midnite Cruiser" features one of only two Jim Hodder lead vocals with the Dan (the other was on "Dallas," a country-flavored non-album single). Prior to joining this group, Hodder drummed and sang lead for a Boston-based prog band called Bead Game (which I hope to review sometime in the future). Interestingly, he sounds somewhat like a cross between Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel (both of Genesis at the time). Not one of SD's better-regarded tracks (although I love it dearly), but it is helped out by Baxter's rockin' guitar solo, as well as the vague reference to jazz pianist Thelonious Monk in the very first line ("Felonius, my old friend...").

"Only a Fool Would Say That" is another Latin jazz-flavored portrait to close out side one. One of the remarkable things about Steely Dan is how the dark, somewhat pessimistic lyrics contrast with the sunny-side-up nature of the music, exemplified brilliantly by this song ("a world where all is free... only a fool would say that"). Dias' guitar solo is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery here, and Baxter gets in some spoken-word Spanish at the tail end (which apparently came from a beer commercial the band was working on at the time).

"Reelin' in the Years" kicks off side two and is probably the most well-known of the earlier material (excepting maybe "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"). I'm not sure I agree with the "classic" status of the song, maybe due to overexposure, but it's still great fun to listen to and those vocal harmonies in the chorus are amazing. Randall gets off another solo here, this time spread out over pretty much the entire song (except for the verses). If you can track down the Quadraphonic mix of this album, you have the benefit of hearing more guitar fills behind the choruses if you're into that sort of thing.

"Fire in the Hole" is probably the strangest one yet, built on a slow, somewhat slick half-time groove with lumbering piano. (Not sure what the lyrics are supposed to refer to: Vietnam maybe?) Fagen has the only actual piano solo on the record, a gem of understated brilliance. Baxter rides a pedal-steel solo over the fade-out, not the last time we'd hear him on that particular axe. I was always more into the "deep cuts" from the band's early days, and if I had any inclination to make a "top 5 SD songs" list, this would have been on it for sure (of course the order would have changed from day to day).

"Brooklyn" is a holdout from the Becker and Fagen demo tapes, retooled significantly for this album (the demo is at a slower tempo and sounds a lot like a Bob Dylan track from that time). Palmer sings lead on this tale about a blue- collar worker and his wife who live out their existence in some hole-in-the-wall apartment in the titular borough of New York City and feel that they are entitled to a better way of living. Baxter is featured on steel guitar throughout, lending the track a country-rock flavor (although with just a bit more sophistication than the contemporaneous Eagles).

"Change of the Guard" shows how much Becker and Fagen wanted to find an audience for their material when they came to LA from New York (this was one of their first demos on the left coast). The lyrics are about as cheerful and optimistic as the band would ever get (right down to the "la-la-la"s in the chorus), and Baxter has another solo on the six-stringed axe, a flash that points to later solos like on "My Old School" (uncharacteristically for the band, the solo ends with a pick scrape on the lower strings that takes full advantage of the stereo mix).

"Turn That Heartbeat Over Again" is undoubtedly the album's most complex track (although not overly so) and probably the one I would point to when describing the band's "prog" status. The track is peppered with strong chord changes and transitions throughout, most notably in the verses and the instrumental section. The latter is possibly the highlight of the record, featuring a beautiful melody doubled by Baxter's guitar and Fagen's organ from "Do It Again" (identified as a "plastic organ" in the album credits). The song closes with a jolt of harmony vocals by Fagen, Becker and Palmer followed by wind chimes (?) over the last chord, and so ends "Can't Buy a Thrill".

I think this is a solid record and if it's not the best debut album ever, it comes very close. I still get a great deal of satisfaction and nostalgia when listening to any Steely Dan record, and even if "Do It Again" and "Reelin'" are a bit overplayed, they're still objectively great songs. The discerning listener will find much to enjoy in the other tracks as well, and if you're looking for jazz-infused rock with a sarcastic, biting lyrical bent (or if you're already into these guys and you just want more of the same), I recommend this album highly. 4 stars out of 5.

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 Warhorse by WARHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.54 | 50 ratings

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Warhorse
Warhorse Heavy Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I´ve always liked Nick Simper bass playing when he was in Deep Purple. But it took decades before I could get a hold of his post DP band Warhorse. Listening to it nowadays it´s easy to understand why it want exactly a great success. The band sounds too much like- guess who? - DP. In fact Warhorse, the album sounds a lot like a mix of MK I & MK II Deep Purple,with obvious tendencies for the former. Future Rick Wakeman´s singer Ashley Holt is the vocalist here, most of the time sounding like Rod Evans, but sometimes trying to scream like Ian Gillan.

Overall the music is quite good. I was surprised by the the proficiency of keyboardist Frank Wilson, who does handle things much like Jon Lord would. In fact, all the musicians are quite good, although not in the same manner as the original DP, of course. It would be too much. But they were very good anyway, And the songs are not that bad either. Derivative,? sure, yes, but also well done.

In the end the public didn´t buy that much of the LP. And there was a good reason for that: with the Gillan/Glover Deep Purple at its peak, who would bother to follow a carbon copy, even a good one? But nowadays, with MKII Deep Purple long gone, you can appreciate this band a lot more. It´s good early 70´s hard rock. The band certainly had both the knack for writing nice tunes and the technical ability to deliver the goods. And being able to be favorably compared to such an iconic and accomplished band as this is no small feat. With time they could probably leave the DP shadow and find their own sound. Unfortunately this was not to be. They disbanded soon after their second and final album. But left something very interesting anyway.

Rating: between 3 and 3.5 stars. Not essential in any way, but very good 70´s hard rock. if you´re a fan of Deep Purple, specially the mark I version, chances are you´re gonna like Warhorse a lot.

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 Admira by KLUSTER album cover Live, 2008
3.09 | 6 ratings

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Admira
Kluster Krautrock

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars This studio album features mainstay 'Schnitzler' without regular bandmates 'Moebius and Roedelius' who appear to have have left in a huff literally weeks before this recording session. So much happened with 'Kluster' in '71 that it's difficult to follow any sequence of events. The passage of time hasn't helped matters either. It becomes ever murkier and darker.

Very little information regarding the two new interlopers 'Freudigman and Seidel' is at hand. They appear out of nowhere and suddenly vanish in a puff of smoke after this release. It's all very confusing...

'Admira' was originally released on the 'Qbico' label under the moniker 'Eruption' replete with spooky front cover displaying a silhouette of Schnitzler on a pair of stilts in a wet, grey German industrial complex.

'Admira' is a jarring, ugly album which reminds me quite a lot of the work of David Jackman's 'Organum' from the mid 80's with it's screeching acoustic strings, elongated phrases and downright tuneless, intimidating wanderings.

This certainly won't appeal to many Prog Archive followers. The ice cold echoes of acoustic instruments sound like they're dragged slowly across 10 foot long cello strings. It's all very menacing and dark, but surprisingly at times sounds similar to the more noisy parts of 'Floyd's' Saucerful of Secrets'.

Some violent 'scream' singing appears above the caterwauling din late on which will have most listeners pulling their bed sheets up over their noses as toes tremble.

Despite the limited technology and recording techniques available in '71 I have to say that it stands up pretty well in 2015 and sounds relevant in the electro-acoustic genre even today.

Certainly ahead of its time, 'Admira' has many similarities in its latter stages with English experimentalists 'Zoviet France' with phased, damaged and undefined acoustic strings played out over an unreleased horror soundtrack.

This is more of historical value than of any great earth shattering new find. I'm just pleased it was finally released after lying hidden in an 'Evil Dead' crypt for 37 years.

I rather like this little monstrosity...

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 Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1974
4.21 | 439 ratings

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Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 7

This is my first review of a live album on this site and it's also my first review of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album. I'm sincerely a great fan of "Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends". In the 70's, progressive rock music has produced excellent live albums. However, in my humble opinion, there are probably four live albums that deserve a special mention. Particularly, I'm talking about this album, and also about other three, "Playing The Fool" of Gentle Giant, "Yessongs" of Yes and "Seconds Out" of Genesis.

Usually I prefer studio albums instead live albums. Studio albums are better recorded and produced then the live albums. This is even truer when we are talking about the live albums from the 70's. In those days, recording live concerts with the technical means of the 70's were particularly a very difficult task and the final result wasn't always positive. However, there are some good exceptions and this is certainly one of those cases.

"Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends, Ladies And Gentlemen: Emerson, Lake & Palmer" is, for sure, one of the most extensive names that any album ever had. It was released in 1974, as a three vinyl disk album in a gatefold cover, and the inside of which used the letters E, L and P, as retainers for the individual disks. It reached fourth on the Billboard album chart, making of it, the Emerson, Lake & Palmer's highest charting album in U.S.A.

"Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends" was their last release during almost three years. Before that, they had recorded four more studio albums and another live album. After those releases, the group took an extended break to recover and pursue solo projects until their next common band's project "Works" (Vol. 1 & 2), released in 1977. That break, and the advent of the punk rock movement eventually began with the decline of the group. Unfortunately, it was confirmed with their seventh studio album "Love Beach", released in 1978.

My first contact with this album was in the 70's. In those times, I had a group of friends which occasionally met at the home of one of us. Usually we were playing cards and talking about music. One of my friends, the owner of the house, had bought a new tape recorder, a Dual, and he asked me if I didn't care if he records a copy of my original vinyl discs. I said there was no problem, and after he recorded it, every day that we met at his home, he always put his recorded cassette version. He was a fanatic of the band, especially by this live album. As we frequently gathered in his house, we always listened to the album and talking about the band. The guy was so persistent, that he managed to convince me, to sell him my original vinyl copy. Obviously, now I'm regretful by my act. However, I've already got a new version of the album, but this time on a CD version.

"Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends" has nine tracks. "Hoedown" is from "Trilogy". "Jerusalem" and "Toccata" are from "Brain Salad Surgery". "Tarkus" is from "Tarkus" and includes "Epitaph" from "In The Court Of The Crimson King" of King Crimson. "Take A Pebble" is from "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" and includes "Still?You Turn Me On" from "Brain Salad Surgery" and "Lucky Man" from "Emerson, Lake & Palmer". "Piano Improvisations" is an original track by Emerson with arrangements of different classical pieces of music, which includes Friedrich Gulda's "Fugue" and Joe Sullivan's "Little Rock Getaway". "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" is a medley from "Tarkus" and "Trilogy", respectively. "Karn Evil 9" is from "Brain Salad Surgery".

As I wrote above, with this triple live album Emerson, Lake & Palmer finished their best and most creative years. I honestly think that many views about this album changed all over the years. It became an album loved by some and hated by others. Personally, I'm still thinking the live versions are better than the studio. The musical quality of the album is superb, giving us 2 hours of some of the best moments over the progressive rock ever recorded.

Conclusion: This is a fantastic live album with a great sound. The songs on this live album are almost all from the two best studio albums of the band, "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" and "Brain Salad Surgery". The exception is the music suite "Tarkus", which is simply, in my humble opinion, their best piece of music. However, I sincerely regret that "Trilogy" be an album very few represented on this live work. I wanted the three band members had chosen their trilogy piece "The Endless Enigma (Part One)", "Fugue" and "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" or the title track "Trilogy" instead of "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff", which I never was a big fan. This is clearly and in my humble opinion their best musical work. Surely isn't very common the best album from a band be a live album. Sincerely, I really think that we are in presence of one of the greatest albums ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Elephant9 with Reine Fiske: Atlantis by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.89 | 24 ratings

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Elephant9 with Reine Fiske: Atlantis
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Norwegian trio Elephant 9 offer their most dense, complex and varied work to date with their third studio album `Atlantis'. Joined by quietly renowned guitarist Reine Fiske of Dungen, Landberk and the defining Paatos release with their debut `Timeloss', this instrumental album is endlessly delirious, aggressive and deeply immersive. The comparisons in the past to Emerson, Lake and Palmer are mostly vanquished, instead the band offer something far more deranged and messy, very heavily psychedelic and, if anything, some evocative and subtle ambient passages and wilder sonic outbursts share more in common with Krautrock, a factor only deliciously highlighted by the stripped back and occasionally murky production.

With an ominous foghorn-like beckoning and a rattle of intent, opener `Black Hole' tears the album to life, a battery of ferocious unceasing pummelling drums, blitzkrieg Hammond, Fender Rhodes and piano runs and bass so thick it's virtually a slab of concrete, all lurching in and out of the dirtiest of unexpected grooves. `The Riddler' opens crystalline and dream-like before racing through a propulsive heavy groaning blast of Hammond fury, with a tasty spiralling Rhodes melody weaving around. Fiske now enters the album for the twelve minute title track, a gradually unfolding kraut/heavy psych improvisation of droning guitar and Hammond organ atmospheres that initially reminds of little traces of the spiritual era Santana band albums and early Pink Floyd, before taking a darker turn with a building drum-beat, stalking bass, unhinged electric piano and distorted guitar grinding bristling with danger.

The gentle acoustic guitars and shimmering electronics of `A Foot in Both' call to mind both the early Agitation Free and Popul Vuh albums, and the aptly named ten minute `Psychedelic Backfire' is an infernal march of harsh electronic drones and crushing plodding electric guitar doom before settling into slinking bass and Hammond grooves. `A Place in Neither' is an almost funky and brisk fusion interlude, and the album closes on a near-fourteen minute jam `Freedom's Children', a frantic, fun and relentless crash of acid rock fuzzy wailing guitar fire, thrashing driving beats, swirling keyboard violations and grumbling pulsing bass all swept up into a vacuum of noise.

`Atlantis' demands endless replays to truly appreciate, an Initially quite intimidating work that takes it's time to reveal so many subtle layers in amongst all the noise and bluster. It's sure to be a more divisive work for followers of the band, and probably those interested in the E.L.P-like qualities often associated with the group will be in for a bit of an abrupt shock, and very likely may want to put their heads through the wall! But the album is an absolute triumph of exploratory heavy prog, and is Elephant 9's defining statement to date.

Four stars.

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 Story Tellers - Part One by TIGER MOTH TALES album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.03 | 20 ratings

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Story Tellers - Part One
Tiger Moth Tales Neo-Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars The New Book of Genesis This is a different approach to prog: children tales and let me tell you this is not bad idea if you play your musical cards right.

Tiger Moth Tales has studied the classics, not Aesop or Grimm Brothers but Genesis and you can tell in the second song Story Tellers that could be easily in Wind and Wuthering and even on the third one Beauty Sleeps where Anthony Phillips is present in the spirit with his classical guitar.

So, if you enjoy Genesis or just plain good prog music give this CD a spin, you will like It I am sure.

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 Delicate Flame Of Desire by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.34 | 66 ratings

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Delicate Flame Of Desire
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by sinslice

4 stars There is also a time to enjoy this kind of music.

One of those rare gems that I initially heard without much enthusiasm some years ago and grew in importance to go appreciating the compositions and performances, good taste, and the distinctive, warm voice of Rachel Jones, perhaps the main protagonist here .. with some timely flute contributions, and guitars and keys perfectly accompanying emotions to be transmitted.

Its true that "One Breath Away" is almost irritating, out of place here. "Heart of Stone", which beautifully and with great class closes the work, the title track (with an exciting solo guitar), "After the Rain", "Out of Reach" and "The Right Time", are essential tracks.

From progressive rock standpoint, I understand that it has not generated recognition in general. Still, it contains the required dose for progressive rock lover interest. This is rock, with Folk and Celtic Folk ingredients. A good amalgamation of Iona, Mostly Autumn, Renaissance and Clannad.

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 Distant is the Sun by VANISHING POINT album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 12 ratings

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Distant is the Sun
Vanishing Point Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Australian band VANISHING POINT started out towards the end of the 1990's, and in an 10 year long initial phase of activity released four albums and then more or less vanished following the release of the last of these albums in 2007. Come 2014 and they return with the CD "Distant Is the Sun", released through German label AFM Records.

The most striking aspect of this album isn't the chosen style of the band. The material contains enough twists and turns in structure, arrangements, pace and intensity to merit a description as a progressive metal band, and there are occasions where you can hear the affection the band has for good, old power metal too, and the liberal use of orchestration arrangements will make this a band with a strong appeal amongst a symphonic metal oriented crowd as well. But the stylistic diversity, even if ever so subtle at times, isn't the most important aspect of this album. In the like it or loathe it section this is one of those productions that revolves around intensity most of all.

The initial observation I get after listening to this production a few times, the last run through with full attention, is that I have a headache. Not because the music is lacking in quality or features any horrible details on any level. On the contrary, this is a very well made album on all levels, planned in details and executed to perfection is my impression. But it's also a rather intense affair throughout, an unrelenting attack that is hard to take in one sitting.

Dramatic orchestration details combined with staccato or chugging guitar riffs and rhythms of an equally dramatic nature goes hand in hand with loud, majestic guitar and keyboard arrangements, and whenever the keyboards or orchestration are toned down or when a more delicate piano motif are added to the proceedings instead, the guitars are given a loud and dominant role in the proceedings. Whether the songs are slow, midtempo or uptempo everything is intense and loud, with a dramatic flair, a loud mix or both of these combined. On the intensity scale this is a production that top range, and while we do get some sparse arrangements here and there with more of an atmospheric and careful nature they generally serve as instigators for the following intense attack. An intensity emphasized by the melodic, controlled yet also powerful lead vocals.

A couple of exceptions aside the songs are all striking, compelling and well made, and as I experience them relying fairly substantially on the high intensity to maintain tension and interest. Which is a make or break aspect of this production I guess, you really have to enjoy the in your face aspect of this album to be able to enjoy it, and if you crave details of a more careful, sophisticated nature this probably isn't an album that will intrigue you all that much.

So if you enjoy a band with a foot or so inside the progressive metal realm, liberally flavoring their compositions with aspects of power metal and symphonic metal, then Vanishing Point's most recent production "Distant Is the Sun" may well be an album that merits a check, and then first and foremost if you enjoy music of this kind that is fairly dramatic, loud and intense throughout.

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100 MOST PROLIFIC REVIEWERS

Collaborators Only

ratings only excluded in count
  1. Mellotron Storm (3726)
  2. Sean Trane (3159)
  3. ZowieZiggy (2917)
  4. apps79 (2629)
  5. Warthur (2195)
  6. Easy Livin (1925)
  7. UMUR (1871)
  8. b_olariu (1870)
  9. Gatot (1811)
  10. Conor Fynes (1575)
  11. SouthSideoftheSky (1495)
  12. Evolver (1386)
  13. Bonnek (1332)
  14. AtomicCrimsonRush (1272)
  15. Tarcisio Moura (1260)
  16. Windhawk (1234)
  17. snobb (1213)
  18. erik neuteboom (1201)
  19. Finnforest (1104)
  20. kenethlevine (1022)
  21. ClemofNazareth (1009)
  22. Cesar Inca (927)
  23. loserboy (895)
  24. Rune2000 (862)
  25. tszirmay (847)
  26. kev rowland (844)
  27. Marty McFly (834)
  28. octopus-4 (819)
  29. Matti (812)
  30. memowakeman (797)
  31. Chris S (753)
  32. Eetu Pellonpaa (720)
  33. Guillermo (701)
  34. greenback (685)
  35. progrules (666)
  36. Rivertree (649)
  37. Seyo (638)
  38. Epignosis (624)
  39. Prog-jester (623)
  40. Neu!mann (604)
  41. lor68 (601)
  42. BrufordFreak (590)
  43. Ivan_Melgar_M (550)
  44. philippe (538)
  45. hdfisch (492)
  46. Chicapah (480)
  47. stefro (478)
  48. friso (476)
  49. siLLy puPPy (475)
  50. colorofmoney91 (459)
  51. Prog Leviathan (451)
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  53. zravkapt (439)
  54. russellk (435)
  55. Menswear (413)
  56. ProgShine (409)
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  59. Queen By-Tor (396)
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  61. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (384)
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  63. TCat (377)
  64. Greger (365)
  65. tarkus1980 (361)
  66. Nightfly (360)
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  68. Cygnus X-2 (353)
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  70. Andrea Cortese (348)
  71. admireArt (337)
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  73. Guldbamsen (318)
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  76. richardh (314)
  77. Tom Ozric (304)
  78. Kazuhiro (299)
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  80. Proghead (289)
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  100. Raff (214)
Remaining cache time: 612 min.

List of all PA collaborators

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