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 Double Vision by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.74 | 242 ratings

Double Vision
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Double Vision" was a worthy attempt from Arena to be back on form after two disappointing albums with Paul Manzi on vocals.

But sadly, the magic of the past is still missing in this predictable and even boring collection of songs full of mid- tempos accompanied by a fine but not so great final epic. Paul Manzi tries to sound like the missed Rob Sowden here, but he lacks the passion and distinct voice of the former frontman.

The production is very good, a bit more guitar oriented that "The Unquiet Sky", and the song writing resembles in style to "Immortal?", but the epic is not so good ad Moviedrome and the shorter tracks are predictable and far from memorable.

So is "Double Vision" better than the two previous Paul Manzi records? Of course. Is so good as "The Visitor" or the Rob Sowden albums? Definitely not.

Best Tracks: Zhivago Wolf (dark and heavy) and The Legend of Elijah Shade (fine epic and arguably the biggest effort of this album)

My rating: ***


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 Urban Tango by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.76 | 43 ratings

Urban Tango
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In Finland, as in many other countries such as Italy, the 80's was a very anti-prog decade. Pekka Pohjola (formerly of Wigwam) was just about the only Finnish prog artist to continue releasing albums at a relatively steady pace during the eighties, without completely losing progressive approach. In 1980 Pekka Pohjola Group toured in the Scandinavia. After Ippe Kätkä had replaced Vesa Aaltonen on drums, the album Kätkävaaran Lohikäärme (1980) was made in a short time on improvisational ground. I'm not deeply fond of that four-track album, but the divorce- themed melancholic piece 'Inke and Me' is among the finest Pohjola compositions. The divorce however was followed by a difficult, alcohol-filled era in his life, but he made a return -- sober, and with his long hair cut short -- with this album, the first one on Pohjola's own record label.

Featuring new collaborators, guitarist Peter Lerche, keyboardist Jussi Liski and drummer Leevi Leppänen, the fairly synth oriented Urban Tango started a new chapter in Pohjola's music. Especially compared to the previous album, there is a melodic tightness unheard before, even though the pieces are again pretty long. 'Imppu's Tango' is an outgoing, playful fusion piece with a brass-like sharpness and nice changes in tempo. T. T. Oksala, who was soon to make a grade as a rock/pop producer, guests on Roland guitar synth. 'New Impressionist' lasts over 15 minutes, and admittedly it's not as progressive as a piece of that length would better be, but it has a fresh, sophisticated soundscape.

'Heavy Jazz' became a gig perennial. The title is appropriate as the rhythm is really heavy. In the halfway comes a lighter section focusing on Lerche's bright electric guitar before returning to the heaviness. The vocal numbers in Pohjola's entire solo output are extremely scarce. The nearly 12-minute 'Urban Caravan' features rather unsatisfactory vocals of Kassu Halonen (better known as a songwriter for several other artists), but the composition itself is quite progressive and dynamic after the slow-paced first movement. The rough, throaty vocals remind me at times of Mike Oldfield's voice in the song 'Five Miles Out'.

Much better song is the relatively peaceful 'Silent Decade' (4:13) which originally was the B side of 'Imppu's Tango' single and is featured as a bonus on the album's reissues. Esa Kaartamo is a very good vocalist, perhaps with a little resemblance to both Jukka Gustavson and Jim Pembroke of Wigwam, and the song has sincere emotion.

With a few more separate pieces of shorter average length this album could have been better, but I'll let the rare beauty of 'Silent Decade' push my 3½ stars upwards. Anyway, surprisingly solid, and still fresh sounding album for its time.


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 Foxtrott by NI album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

Ni RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars What a brutalism and irony they shoot. Quite amazing. An Austrian noise / brutal avantgarde jazz rock combo NI (different from French avantgarde quartet NI. - NI 'dot' founded around the same time) are a genuine 'extraordinary' sound launcher. Their sound is called as 'exorbitant rock drone with outer-space free jazz swarming with noise-shaped J. S. Bach' by themselves ... cannot directly digest this phrase out but pretty interesting. And not surprisingly, their music goes out of their control just like the phrase. "Foxtrott" (of course not Genesis' masterpiece) released as their second album in 2012 tells their musical essence precisely. The paper cutouts of a fox on the sleeve are very simple and intuitive, but their soundscape is not simply dressed at all.

The first track "h3" has monochromatic short starza repetitions that would develop more and more brutal and violent. The last humourous march-like movement is kinda evocative of one of Rock-In-Opposition leaders Zamla Mammaz Manna. In "elbrin" we can be drenched in deep heavy metallic guitar-oriented soundquakes that remind us of the similarity to King Crimson in Red Era, but the latter phase has quirky noisy spooky reverberation giving us a good restlessness. "mütür" is another funky fun. Incredible massive assault by dissonant-structural guitar explosions in the middle part should swallow us down in a moment. Sounds like the latter delightful sound exercises despite the previous brutality be what we have heard ever but who cares? "zentazoid" sounds more Krautrock-ish tinged with electronic sarcasm and surging melodic waves like "Burning The Vibes" by Mahogany Brain, but their strong intention for launching 'heavy rock' is acceptable. "der mit dem" with tiny but cool phrases in the beginning changes drastically to smooth but strict jazzy appearance. The shortest stuff in this creation is not so complicated but energetic. Through "oizit" combinations of improvisational guitars / drums battles and matured and balanced but slightly dissected jazz rock sessions can be enjoyed. It's pretty fascinating they play simultaneously both instrumental synchronization and anti-synchronization.

"Foxtrott" sounds more of rock than their debut eponymous album but their weird policy cannot change eternally I imagine?


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 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
2.68 | 35 ratings

The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Watching the Steven Wilson [&*!#]show over the past year or two has been nothing short of hilarious. From Wilson's bold proclamations of not enjoying "guitar music" (what a vague descriptor) anymore, to criticizing several past Porcupine Tree releases, to making a cover of a Taylor Swift song, all the talk of fanbase alienation and entitled prog snobs has made for pretty entertaining discourse. Let's face it: no matter what Wilson was going to release next, he was going to be closely scrutinized and attacked accordingly. If he made another To the Bone, people would accuse him of treading water artistically. If he made another Raven Who Refused to Sing, a bunch of fans would say "stop worshipping the 70s so much" just like a lot of them did the first time. If he reformed Porcupine Tree, a lot of people would criticize him for trying to recapture past glories. And now with The Future Bites, he's being reprimanded for "abandoning his prog fans."

So honestly, I don't mind the fact that he's sticking to his guns when it comes to this new album. He's chosen a new direction, and he's been pretty damn firm on committing to it. After all, much of Wilson's career has been built on reinventing his sound and image, whether that be the psych>alternative>metal progression heard on Porcupine Tree or the decade-hopping he's done with his solo material. Despite the length of the lead-off single "Personal Shopper," it was pretty clear with that song that his next move was to lean into that pop persona he'd been gradually morphing into. But throughout the entire runtime of the song, I couldn't help but feel as though Wilson was getting way too close to self-parody; both with the lyrics and the pointless spoken-word Elton John feature. The track serves as a general thesis statement of the album and its promotional material, in that it criticizes several facets of consumerism and bandwagoning and yet it's set to music that's largely meant for more mass appeal than his previous efforts (again, song length aside).

And believe me, this problem never goes away for the rest of the record. Wilson has constantly been pushing the point that he wants to follow his own muse and not care what the fans think, and yet he's constantly promoting this album with critic scores and TikTok videos as if it's the next big pop culture event. It's causing a large disconnect between his intentions and the quality of the music itself, despite the fact that there's a number of decent tracks here. The bluesy laid-back "Eminent Sleaze" recalls the best vibes of "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd, and "Man of the People" has beautifully melancholic guitar chords and an almost No-Man inspired dreamlike first half; however even these songs are never allowed to build to anything interesting because of Wilson's firm commitment to keeping things more concise and compact. Just imagine if the sleek, icy atmosphere in "Man of the People" built up to something akin to post-rock, as if the whole thing was crescendoing into a wider and more lush soundscape. Instead, we get an uninspired second half driven by a cheap-sounding drum beat and boring chord progressions.

I have to clarify here that I don't mind if Wilson makes a pop record. Plenty of his past albums, such as Stupid Dream and the first two Blackfield albums, were great examples of retaining pop sensibilities while maintaining a clear focus and identity. But this is the first album of his that I can actually consider a bit... confused. A lot of people try and pin part of the blame on the previous record To the Bone and its poppier sensibilities, but I beg to differ. The majority of that album's songs at least went to some interesting places by the time they were done, especially the poppier ones. "Pariah" is basically what "Man of the People" should have been, as it eventually exploded into a beautifully vibrant climax guided by Ninet's voice. "Permanating," on the other hand, was a much-needed dose of levity to lift up the listener's spirit. The Future Bites, unfortunately, lacks these moments in spades. "King Ghost" just lumbers along aimlessly over the same dull drum track and annoying falsetto wails with no interesting climax, and "12 Things I Forgot" is just a boring MOR alt-rock piece that doesn't do anything special other than to be a nondescript cross between Coldplay and the newer (see: worst) moments of Blackfield. As a pop record, this album really could have used something as light-hearted as a "Permanating." Even "Follower" and "Self," with the former's harder edge and the latter's enjoyable female vocals, still don't compare.

The Future Bites isn't terrible or anything, but it's painfully average and represents a huge step down from Wilson's previous studio records. It takes itself too seriously to be a fun joyous pop record - especially with the forced and hypocritical commentary it incorporates - and it's too boring and aimless to be a worthwhile artistic statement. I don't think Wilson necessarily "abandoned his fans" here musically, but I do think he abandoned several of the principles that made him so appealing to begin with. Yes, he's always had shallow social commentary on past albums; as much as I love Fear of a Blank Planet, that was always my biggest problem with it. But it's never been as misguided or self-defeating as it is here, and it just makes for a more dour experience than it could have been. Let's just hope that Wilson's direction - both musically and lyrically - is more focused and more sound next time? and that it doesn't take another 3-4 years to put that album out.


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 Heads Or Tales by SAGA album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.55 | 197 ratings

Heads Or Tales
Saga Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "Heads or Tails" is Saga's 5th album, the one that had to follow up the success of "World's Apart" from 1981, which also marked the band's breakout in the United States. The band was not only riding high off of that, but they were also called the most promising band by JUNO in 1982. So, there was a lot of expectation for "Heads or Tails", which was released in 1983 with the same band line-up as "World's Apart" and the same producer, Rupert Hine. Could the same formula work again a second time? Apparently, yes is the answer as this album was also successful, and with the energy of the songs on it, it deserved to be.

At first, quite honestly, I was a bit disappointed with it at first glance. But, it grew on me to where I appreciate it a lot more, even if it is slightly less progressive than the previous album. But not by much. There are still some great tracks here, and this is probably the last album for quite a while that can be considered a worthwhile addition to a progger's collection from the band.

"The Flyer" is a track that sticks in your head, "Cat Walk" gives Ian Chricton a chance to show off his guitar skill, and the rest of the tracks utilize the entire band quite well. For me, the level of complexity is a bit less on this album, but the songs still shine, especially on the first side. "The Sound of Strangers" does hearken back to "World's Apart" and would have fit on that album just fine. "Intermission" is more of a slower and more spacey sound, but with a stellar melodic line that gives Sadler a chance to shine emotionally. The albums to come after this one tend to lack the emotional quality of this album and the ones that came before. "Scratching the Surface" tends to stand out a bit from the rest of the album because it has quite a different feel to it, but still one of the highlights. This is also the only track that features Jim Gilmour singing lead vocals as the others are all lead by Sadler, rightfully so, but it's also nice to have this break at this point of the album. Even the ending track "The Pitchman" is a great track with complex instrumentals, but it fades out at the best part of the track, and that never sat well with me. At least, later reissues seemed to recognize this sort of lukewarm ending because they added the longer version of "Cat Walk" after this, and, quite honestly, this ends the album on a higher note and gives Chricton an even longer guitar solo, and a great new way to end the album.

So, this album, along with the four preceding albums from Saga, are all worth listening to. After this point, however, the band decided to take a more popular approach to try to get more success, which ended up backfiring on them, and by the time this mistake was acknowledged, it was too late, and the band never regained the success it had. However, that's not to say that the band didn't put out some great albums after, because they did. But it was on an inconsistent basis. For example, I consider "Generation 13" the best album the band has done, but that wasn't even released until 1995. There are other great ones to find out there, but you also have to wade through a lot of sub-par albums to find them. However, it is worth it to find those that are gems. As far as "Heads or Tales is concerned, though, I believe it makes up the last of the first five essential Saga albums as the band definitely hit a long dry spell after this one.


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 Am Ende Der Welt by WESERBERGLAND album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.79 | 5 ratings

Am Ende Der Welt
Weserbergland Krautrock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The vastly creative mind of Ketil Vestrum Einarsen and collaborators Matthias Olsson and Jacob Holm-Lupo are at it again. While their previous effort, 2017's masterful "update" of the Krautrock musical scene, Sehr Kosmiche, Ganz Progisch, this one is far more futuristic--employing extreme computer processing techniques in both the treatment and recording of the instrumental sounds captured here but also in the final rendering of said sound. While the album does have some similarities to Sehr Kosmiche, Ganz Progisch, but is definitely its own beast. The composition is intended to be singular but due to the limitations imposed by Bandcamp has been renderd into two "separate" entities. The music is, to my ears, some kind of modern classical music ' la Karlheinz Stockhausen. If one has the opportunity to hear Jacob Holm-Lupo's "binaural" rendering of the music, you will definitely feel the distinctive "classical" component parts and musical styles being here "modernized"; the other version gives more of the impression of a linear assault on the brain.

Line-up / Musicians: - Ketil Vestrum Einarsen / computer - J'rgen Mathisen / saxophone harmonics - Gaute Storsve / guitar - Jan Terje Augestad / treated piano - Maria Grigoryeva / strings - Molesome (Mattias Olsson) / turntables

1. "Am Ende Der Welt" (Side A) (24:18) The way this starts--with a kind of experiment in modern recording techniques and wave-treatment effects of strings, horns, electric guitar, and piano, I thought I was in for something like a GODSPEED /YOU! BLACK EMPEROR song, but then the computer drum beats and other glitch noises begin. This is not the same music as that produced for the band's heavy-into-Krautrock 2017 debut album. It turns very experimental--a kind of cross between the primal "tribal" music of Yoshimi P-We and some the most "out there" music of Markus Pajakkala--all accompanied by the steady strings of the Kronos Quartet! The odd thing is, I really like this! Especially the Steve Reichian third, chamber first and fourth motifs and the drawn-out drone and experimental glitch "dulcimer" (treated piano) middle. Int he fifteenth minute, the cacophony of earlier sounds and layers climbs back into the soundscape, taking over with the insistence of a race car cruising through open country vistas. After the stark sparseness of that middle section, the return of craziness almost feels comforting, "normal" which I find very interesting; being a nature lover and city-hater, this is not what I would have expected my reaction to be. The scale back to the third Steve Reichian motif in the twentieth minute is equally fascinating for my bodymind's reaction to it: as if there are essential melodies being woven together here. I am blown away! What a ride! And now, after my third "trip" through "Side A" I think I'm in love! I am Pan, primal goat-man, looking for a place to sow my seed. Any place! Please! It's all so beautiful! (48/50)

2. "Am Ende Der Welt" (Side B) (18:20) And the party continues! (Apparently this was recorded as a single song that had to be split into two due to Bandcamp's restrictions.) This half opens with sustained horns and piano hits behind "alien radio static." Very cool. For some reason I'm reminded of the evocative warmth of MARK ISHAM soundtrack music being used for some moving like Contact. At 2:18 heavily-treated computer drums enter--adding more to the "alien" feeling than to the human emotional side. The droning horns and strings try to drown out the drums as a syncopated bass note (coming from the treated piano) becomes equally insistent. In the eighth minute the horns drop back revealing layers of electric guitar and synth that were playing there all along, hidden beneath the scream- squeal-and-bark cacophony going on up front. It's unnerving, it's beautiful; unsettling and calming all at once, depending on your "distance"--and it goes on for 12 minutes before showing any signs of letting up! At times I'm thinking I'm in the Scottish highlands, at others hearing a mother's lullaby, and others the vicious sounds of a pack of wolves in pursuit of and ripping apart their prey. Amazing! As it does let up in the 14th minute--various instrument tracks being removed or whatever--it becomes monomaniacal in an Ornette Coleman kind of way. Hard to believe that crazed sax was there the whole time! I think it genius--though I'm not sure I'd ever play this for easy listening background music. (38/40)

Total Time 42:38

Now this is progressive rock! Ketil & Co. have definitely used all the tools to take there sound experiments into seldom-traveled territories. Bravo! Kudos! This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but you have to respect the vision and cajones it took to see this through from conception to release! I'm not sure which I prefer, the "standard" rendering that I first heard (three times) or the more humanely dissected soundstage of the "binaural" version. Both are worth the time for the different experiences. Compare and tell me which you prefer and why!

Five stars. While I think this album release a masterpiece of truly progressive rock music, I extend this precautionary warning: THIS MUSIC IS NOT FOR THE WIMPY, LIGHT--OF-HEART, OR GUTLESS; it will take curiosity, patience, courage, and and open-mind in order to appreciate. If this is not you, then I recommend staying far away. If you are at all curious about Ketil's intentions when creating this album, check out the excellent interview with him by Sander Roscoe Wolff at, Issue 104, August 14, 2019.


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 Fables for Robots by MISTER ROBOT album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.32 | 29 ratings

Fables for Robots
Mister Robot Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A reverently created album by one-man band Aleksei Rusakin from Omsk, Russia--one that he had been working on for some time before releasing it as "finished."

1. Fables for Robots, Part 1 (19:18) a section-by-section rundown or lyrics sheet (with translation) would have been nice. the fact that Aleksei chooses to use the same chordal and melodic structures to dominate throughout this entire composition only tells me that he's probably had training in classical music (composition). The occasional introduction of the odd synthesizer or acoustic instrument, to me, shows his desire to impress--to show off his "skills," diversity, and classical training. The fact that they, each one, appear and then disappear without ever returning shows me his immaturity and lack of multiple perspectives as both a composer and storyteller. Ambitious but unpolished and . . . trite. I hear a lot of Johannes Luley in this work, but none of the Johannes' complexity and maturity that Johannes has attained. (33.25/40)

2. "Fables for Robots, Part 2" (20:24) suddenly the production value is increased: greater complexity, greater layering, greater shifts in tempos, styles, and melodies. Even the overall engineering has tightened up the performances--heck, even the solos are more dynamic, way more emotionally engaging than any in "Part 1." In his brief self-description on his Bandcamp page, Aleksei reports that "The main goal of the project is to compose music that integrates music of various styles and eras as much as possible." He has definitely done this on this second piece as I can finally hear sounds and styles that are familiar to me including those of Tony Banks, Brian May, The Flower Kings, Peter Hammill, and Trevor Horn/Art of Noise. Nicely done--quite a step up from the previous song. (36/40)

Total Time 39:42

Well engineered, the timing between layered tracks is frequently oddly off-kilter. The music is definitely Crossover in that there is little exploration of complex structures or odd time signatures--plus, it's very melodic. The story is light-hearted, presenting a naïve innocence that, I believe, is a tongue-in-cheek representation of the opposite of what the composer really believes. The artist is definitely a pianist first, though his competent vocals show a remarkable sense of self-confidence. Assuming Aleksei did the album's artwork as well, I encourage this would-be Renaissance man to press on--to keep working at his skills--both physical and mental. I like his heart and ambition-- this is a cool concept; he only needs . . . practice . . . and experience. (And maybe collaboration and/or outside input.) P.S. Aleksei is not a born drummer.

B/four stars; a very nice addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially to have when he releases his next project--in order to see how much he has grown.

An artist to watch!


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 Inside the Cable Temple by OMNIPOTENT YOUTH SOCIETY album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.18 | 3 ratings

Inside the Cable Temple
Omnipotent Youth Society Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Despite hosting the largest population on the entire planet, China has not exactly been prolific in producing legions of stellar art rock and more progressive leaning groups although a scant few have emerged as China continues its fast-paced development into the brave new world. One of the most interesting bands to have emerged from the city of Schijiazhuang in Hebei province was the OMNIPOTENT YOUTH SOCIETY aka 万能青年旅店 in its Chinese character form. This collective began all the way back in 1996 under the moniker The Nico before changing it to the current one in 2002.

As OMNIPOTENT YOUTH SOCIETY, the band headlined major festivals in China after its self-titled debut was finally completed and released in 2010 which made the band an national sensation. That album told the tale of life in a huge industrial city and the trials and tribulations that ensued. The band's sound incorporated rock guitar riffs that added the jazzy extras of trumpet and sax parts. Rather than focusing on rushing out a sophomore effort, OMNIPOTENT YOUTH SOCIETY opted to attract a larger fanbase through incessant touring and after all was said and done it took an entire decade to bring the followup to fruition.

At long last in 2020 the second album INSIDE THE CABLE TEMPLE 冀西南林路行 has emerged. SInce Mandarin Chinese is so very very different than Western languages, the English title INSIDE THE CABLE TEMPLE is not a direct translation which would be more something like "A Walk In The Woods Of Southwestern Hebei" which also hints more upon what the actual theme of the album is, namely by taking a 180 from the focus on city life and instead celebrating the natural wonders that can be found in Hebei province. All lyrics are in Mandarin Chinese so the concept of the album will be completely lost to all but those who speak the language but despite the language barrier, China has finally entered the prog scene.

INSIDE THE CABLE TEMPLE 冀西南林路行 is an art rock album that incorporates elements of progressive rock, jazz-rock, chamber folk and jazz-fusion and appears as a single 44 minute track as well as eight separated tracks but so far as only been released as a digital file. While clearly inspired by Western acts such as Pink Floyd's space rock, the 90s pop folk of Blind Melon as well as violin and cello led chamber rock bands with sprinklings of other bands, the album mostly breezes by in acoustic guitar mode with a few traditional Chinese sounds added. While the focus is clearly on the storyline and lyrics, this album may not appeal to non-Chinese speakers but nevertheless features some beautiful melodic hooks and clearly displays how even a tonal language such as Mandarin Chinese can be adapted to Western musical styles and still sound beautiful. Only occasional outbursts of rock and jazz occur making this a rather mellow album.

While the idea and concept are good ones, i can't say the execution of INSIDE THE CABLE TEMPLE 冀西 南林路行 is as satisfying as i'd like it to be. Basically the album seems unbalanced with too much folk rock and only scatterings of other styles. I really wanted the more rocking parts to stick around longer as well as the jazzier motifs but the default setting always ventures towards dreamy acoustic guitar led strumming sessions with light safe as milk vocal utterances. Considering i have no idea of the sensibilities of popular music in China i can only go by my own preferences as to how i relate to this music and in the end i find it an interesting and even entertaining listening experience but i can't seem to shake off the fact that it needs a bit more compositional fortitude to really compete with the Western art rock scene which has a half century head start. Still though China is emerging quickly so i'm confident that better things are to come.

3.5 stars


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 My Experience by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
1.17 | 4 ratings

My Experience
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

1 stars -- First review for this single -- Peter Hammill and especially his classic prog band Van der Graaf Generator are among my long-time favourites, but I certainly don't like everything he's done, quite far from it in fact. The majority of the early 80's output is a good example of that. Sitting Targets (1981) does contain some pretty good songs, but the songs in this single -- both taken from the album -- are in my opinion nearly awful to listen to.

'My Experience' is a noisy and punkish song, and it reminds me of Talking Heads but with a harder edge. Not a song I'd wish to re-listen after hearing it once.

'What I Did' is even worse! Noisier and more aggressive. The soundscape is hostile, industrial and cold -- and terribly monotonous. Especially the percussion is like banging one's head against a wall. Good grief. In theory I appreciate the way Peter Hammill was at the time positive towards the punk & new wave movements and let them influence in his own expression, but this is a firm No Thank You for me.


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 Senpai III by AYE, SITHU album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.91 | 13 ratings

Senpai III
Sithu Aye Progressive Metal

Review by bartymj

4 stars Someone with a greater understanding/appreciation of Japanese anime/manga/culture will be able to do this far more justice than me, but here's a little review anyway. "Senpai" loosely translates as a mentor, teacher, or elder in Japanese, generally related to the transfer of knowledge and wisdom. This is Sithu Aye's third installment of the Senpai series, with two previous shorter EPs.

The music itself is very well mixed, and as you'd expect given the genre would fit very well as a soundtrack - its more of a fusion between J-Rock/Pop styles and prog, than simply progressive metal. Not too familiar with today's Japanese music and anime, although much of my childhood was spent watching Pokemon, and it would certainly fit with that. Sithu Aye has actually written a full novella to go with this album. I will confess to not having read it, and just listening to the album on its own. I very much enjoyed it, and it is the sole reason why I'd be open to listening to more anime soundtracks in future. Hopefully someone who is inclined to will review the album alongside the Novella too.

I'm can't rate this among the 5-star prog elite, but simply because it has opened a door to a slightly different genre of enjoyable music, this is well worth calling an excellent addition to a prog collection.


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  1. Close to the Edge
  2. Selling England by the Pound
  3. Wish You Were Here
    Pink Floyd
  4. In the Court of the Crimson King
    King Crimson
  5. Thick as a Brick
    Jethro Tull
  6. The Dark Side of the Moon
    Pink Floyd
  7. Foxtrot
  8. Red
    King Crimson
  9. Animals
    Pink Floyd
  10. Godbluff
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  11. Fragile
  12. Pawn Hearts
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  13. Nursery Cryme
  14. Larks' Tongues in Aspic
    King Crimson
  15. Mirage
  16. Per Un Amico
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  17. Moving Pictures
  18. Moonmadness
  19. Relayer
  20. Hemispheres
  21. Darwin!
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  22. Hybris
  23. Aqualung
    Jethro Tull
  24. Io Sono Nato Libero
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  25. Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison
  26. In a Glass House
    Gentle Giant
  27. Kind of Blue
    Miles Davis
  28. Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa
  29. From Silence to Somewhere
  30. Storia Di Un Minuto
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  31. Birds Of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  32. A Farewell to Kings
  33. H To He, Who Am The Only One
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  34. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  35. Scheherazade and Other Stories
  36. The Yes Album
  37. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  38. Crime of the Century
  39. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  40. Octopus
    Gentle Giant
  41. The Snow Goose
  42. Hand. Cannot. Erase.
    Steven Wilson
  43. In the Land of Grey and Pink
  44. Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
    Dream Theater
  45. The Power And The Glory
    Gentle Giant
  46. Images and Words
    Dream Theater
  47. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  48. Still Life
  49. Still Life
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  50. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  51. Dwellers of the Deep
  52. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  53. A Trick of the Tail
  54. The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  55. Permanent Waves
  56. The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  57. Free Hand
    Gentle Giant
  58. Depois do Fim
  59. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  60. A Drop of Light
    All Traps On Earth
  61. Acquiring The Taste
    Gentle Giant
  62. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  63. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  64. Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
  65. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  66. Hatfield and the North
    Hatfield And The North
  67. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  68. Ghost Reveries
  69. Blackwater Park
  70. Romantic Warrior
    Return To Forever
  71. In A Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  72. Misplaced Childhood
  73. Space Shanty
  74. Arbeit Macht Frei
  75. Script for a Jester's Tear
  76. Voyage of the Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  77. Second Life Syndrome
  78. Viljans Öga
  79. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
  80. Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
  81. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  82. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  83. Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
  84. Maxophone
  85. Hamburger Concerto
  86. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  87. Remedy Lane
    Pain Of Salvation
  88. The Road Of Bones
  89. The Perfect Element - Part 1
    Pain Of Salvation
  90. K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria)
  91. Rubycon
    Tangerine Dream
  92. We'll Talk About It Later
  93. Elegant Gypsy
    Al DiMeola
  94. Of Queues And Cures
    National Health
  95. Anabelas
  96. Operation: Mindcrime
  97. Ys
    Il Balletto Di Bronzo
  98. Doomsday Afternoon
  99. Lateralus
  100. Anno Domini High Definition

* Weighted Ratings (aka WR), used for ordering, is cached and re-calculated every 15 minutes.


Collaborators Only

ratings only excluded in count
  1. Mellotron Storm (4254)
  2. Sean Trane (3161)
  3. ZowieZiggy (2931)
  4. Warthur (2920)
  5. apps79 (2629)
  6. UMUR (2086)
  7. b_olariu (2031)
  8. siLLy puPPy (1981)
  9. Easy Livin (1932)
  10. Gatot (1811)
  11. kev rowland (1720)
  12. Windhawk (1699)
  13. Conor Fynes (1613)
  14. SouthSideoftheSky (1593)
  15. BrufordFreak (1475)
  16. Tarcisio Moura (1447)
  17. Evolver (1423)
  18. AtomicCrimsonRush (1340)
  19. Bonnek (1333)
  20. TCat (1303)
  21. kenethlevine (1294)
  22. Matti (1252)
  23. snobb (1222)
  24. erik neuteboom (1201)
  25. Finnforest (1146)
  26. tszirmay (1011)
  27. ClemofNazareth (1011)
  28. octopus-4 (976)
  29. Cesar Inca (928)
  30. memowakeman (918)
  31. Rivertree (901)
  32. loserboy (896)
  33. Rune2000 (877)
  34. Marty McFly (838)
  35. Guillermo (794)
  36. Neu!mann (759)
  37. Chris S (753)
  38. Eetu Pellonpaa (722)
  39. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (710)
  40. greenback (685)
  41. progrules (666)
  42. Seyo (658)
  43. DamoXt7942 (649)
  44. admireArt (641)
  45. Prog-jester (626)
  46. Epignosis (624)
  47. lor68 (601)
  48. friso (588)
  49. Prog Leviathan (582)
  50. Ivan_Melgar_M (560)
  51. philippe (540)
  52. hdfisch (492)
  53. stefro (486)
  54. Chicapah (486)
  55. andrea (468)
  56. Dobermensch (464)
  57. Menswear (462)
  58. zravkapt (460)
  59. colorofmoney91 (459)
  60. J-Man (449)
  61. ProgShine (444)
  62. russellk (440)
  63. Atavachron (430)
  64. VianaProghead (405)
  65. Sinusoid (403)
  66. Queen By-Tor (397)
  67. The Crow (391)
  68. tarkus1980 (369)
  69. Greger (365)
  70. Zitro (365)
  71. Nightfly (365)
  72. Modrigue (360)
  73. fuxi (358)
  74. Cygnus X-2 (353)
  75. Andrea Cortese (348)
  76. Progfan97402 (348)
  77. lazland (340)
  78. EatThatPhonebook (326)
  79. Guldbamsen (322)
  80. rdtprog (320)
  81. Negoba (319)
  82. richardh (316)
  83. FragileKings (313)
  84. Tom Ozric (306)
  85. patrickq (302)
  86. Kazuhiro (299)
  87. Flucktrot (296)
  88. GruvanDahlman (290)
  89. progaardvark (289)
  90. Proghead (288)
  91. OpethGuitarist (287)
  92. Second Life Syndrome (270)
  93. daveconn (266)
  94. Trotsky (264)
  95. Muzikman (263)
  96. Slartibartfast (261)
  97. clarke2001 (254)
  98. aapatsos (252)
  99. The T (246)
  100. Andy Webb (237)

List of all PA collaborators


Safe and Sound by Lighthouse Sparrows album rcover
Safe and Sound

Lighthouse Sparrows

Giant Steppes by Rea, Dennis album rcover
Giant Steppes

Dennis Rea

Gran Telescopio by Mekong Airlines album rcover
Gran Telescopio

Mekong Airlines

Omega by Epica album rcover


The Sheltering Sky by Fervent Send album rcover
The Sheltering Sky

Fervent Send


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