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 Ruins by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
2.68 | 3 ratings

Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Spotify has bad press for legit reasons but it does make things a lot more accessible for people on tight budgets like myself. Here's a perfect example, the fact that I and many others can listen to this rare and early debut release from the origins of the Japanese Zeuhl scene.

At just 10 minutes, I wasn't expecting a slow builder, but the wall of noise and chaos at the start still hit me like a sledgehammer! Its rough and raw and fast paced and the gain has been turned up to four million for some uncomfortable distorted bass. The influences of the likes of Magna are clear in the vocal shrieking, reminiscent of Klaus Blasquiz but much more raw. I absolutely cannot call it good, in fact its really just 10 minutes of extreme punk jamming to give you a headache. But it's definitely a collectors item.


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 Hymne / Irlande by VANGELIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
4.00 | 6 ratings

Hymne / Irlande
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the fond memory of VANGELIS, 29 March 1943 -- 17 May 2022. The yesterday's news of Vangelis having passed away at the age of 79 really made me sad. A great deal of his output definitely belongs to the soundtrack of my personal history, or the emotional landscapes of my soul itself.

I have reviewed the album that these two instrumental pieces were taken from and rated it with three stars only (in the Vangelis scale). Opera Sauvage, the score for the nature documentary of the same title by French filmmaker Frédéric Rossif, is one of his most succesful albums, but it isn't among my biggest favourites personally. That certainly doesn't mean I wouldn't highly appreciate it as a beautiful work, and recommendable especially for those newcomers who seek for accessible and soothing instrumental music. Ok, we could use the term New Age although I have certain reservations against it.

'Hymne' is well known and it has also been used on TV ads. The short piece is carried from start to end by a serene theme with some delicate progress in the delivery. At the time Vangelis used mainly Yamaha CS-80 to orchestrate his warm melodies.

'Irlande' has rather similar calm atmosphere. It's slighly more introspective, played in a slower tempo. The sounds are a bit more varied on top of the silky synth layers, including details reminiscent of bells, harp and flute. I like this one even more than 'Hymne', so my rating for this single is one star better than for the main album.


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 Pike 311 - Furnace Follies by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 1 ratings

Pike 311 - Furnace Follies
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars PIKE 311 - FURNACE FOLLIES 9th installment of 2022 Everything played by BUCKETHEAD Total playing time 29 minutes exactly All instrumental as always!

This one features only four tracks each titled one through four

"One" is a bouncy heavy rocker that features some serious guitar shredding Which BH carried over from the previous PIKE This one however has more of a hard rock bluesy groove going on The tempos shift around a great deal though with some outlandishly fast fact melters Sounds like guitar torture to me which is why i like it! The track also has some moments when the guitar drops out and weird keyboard runs ensue Then jumps into an AC/DC style boogie rock This one is rather cool in how it jumps around but never too dramatically

"Two" picks up where "One" left off. In fact it's impossible to distinguish the two tracks. It pretty much just carries on with the same nonchalant methodologies of hard rock, heavy metal and experimental weirdness. Lots more guitar soloing on this one. Also some alt metal moments and crazy unclassifiable weirdness.

"Three" also seamlessly transitions but becomes more bizarre with a slow bass groove and an even more frantic guitar meltdowns. It does however escape total chaos with a bluesy hard rock shuffle. The tension between avant-garde chaos and mainstream sounding hard rock is the name of the game here. It's like a volleyball match between the two however the chaotic parts are fairly freaky. This one is over 7 minutes in length so it goes on for a while alternating between the easier on the ears parts with crazy experimental outbursts of guitar wankery.

"Four" is also rather indistinguishable from the preceding tracks and in all honesty this is really just one PIKE's worth of mind [%*!#] music. Even the riffs are recycled between the four tracks. This one is technically almost 13 minutes long but none of that matters. It's all just a random shuffle of the continuation of accessible hard rock sounds, avant-metal run amok, freaked out electronica, funk, avant-prog time signature complexities and extreme energetic wildness. Nice use of dynamics on this one with some strange excursions into various sonic palettes. Given the length of this one it's allowed to take the weirdness even further down the rabbit hole.

OK, this is the kind of PIKE that really gets my juices flowing. This is the real experimental deal and exactly why i listen to BH despite so much mediocrity in between greatness. This showcases both technical prowess, astute creative overflow and utter disregard to convention. This is sensory overload music and exactly what takes me to the happy zone. This is the best PIKE i've personally enjoyed in quite some time and thus far the best of 2022!


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 Pike 310 - In the Laboratory of Doctor Septimus Pretorius by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.00 | 1 ratings

Pike 310 - In the Laboratory of Doctor Septimus Pretorius
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars PIKE 310 - IN THE LABORATORY OF DOCTOR SEPTIMUS PRETORIUS 8th installment of 2022 Everything played by BUCKETHEAD Total playing time 26 minutes and 58 seconds All instrumental as always!

In the sea of PIKEs the general rule is about 95% mediocrity with the occasional curve ball thrown in for good measure. It's been a while since one of these odd ball crazy PIKEs has emerged but finally as the eighth release of 2022, BUCKETHEAD unleashes this monstrosity titled PIKE 310 - IN THE LABORATORY OF DOCTOR SEPTIMUS PRETORIUS. As the title suggests this is one of those mad scientist chimeric releases that allows various freeform ideas to bounce around.

This PIKE features one near 27-minute track that brings some serious metallic fury back to BUCKETHEADLAND. This is a an avant-garde roller coaster ride that takes the progressive metal time signature knottiness with BH's most metallic oriented past. Of course the musical procession features some genre skipping with funk, alt metal and other familiar sounds but PIKE 310 offers some serious guitar soloing as well which has been put on the shelf for quite some time. There does seem to be some bass here and there throughout though.

While one of the best PIKEs i've heard in a while since these wild rides are what get my juices flowing, i have to say that this one falls short in a few ways. It's already been pointed out that it mostly lacks any bass lines. This is basically an eruptive guitar performance accompanied by percussion. I'm not sure why BH likes these incomplete sounding albums. It just seems like a guitar and drum demo that is meant to be built upon but instead of anything materializing it just got released as is.

At this point even these weird PIKEs which i have enjoyed in the past seem inferior to the weird ones of previous years. Of course this is not a bad listen at all with stellar guitar performances that remind us why BH is considered one of the modern greats in the biz but it kinda pisses me off with the half-assed nature of many of the newer PIKEs. It's not like any of this hasn't been done before and better for that matter.

This is one of those difficult listening PIKEs and one that i find the most appealing. This is my kind of knotty angular mayhem set in the metallic form. What's not to like? This is a nice PIKE indeed with crazy shifts all over the place no doubt. I would rate this higher if it didn't feel incomplete. If this is the best the PIKEs have to offer then i can't say the future has much to offer but i keep listening in hopes for the next golden eggs being hatched!

3.5 rounded down


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 Om by NEGURA BUNGET album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.14 | 199 ratings

Negura Bunget Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Romanian Atomospheric Black Metal?... To be frank, I was immediately skeptical. Where you can color me intrigued is their institution and utilization of Romanian folk music. I presume. But I've been surprised aplenty before. This is Negura Bunget's fourth studio album, released 2006, ten years following their debut. What I can say here, according to my own tastes, utterly ignorant of the appeal to most Black Metal, is this just feels a tad overrated. That's all.

Om starts off in the eeriest ambience possible on "Ceasuri Rele"... I don't recall 2006 being this frightening haha. The clanging guitar barrage on "Tesarul de Lumini" honestly reminded me of Deftones, I'm surprised to say. This harsh drone lasts for nearly 2 minutes. Strangely positive sounding apparent main theme. The feel of the drums throughout feels very free, like he's just doing his own thing here. There are some big booming riffs and intermittent ambience. Not super wild about it. They're good at what they do, at least. The "Primal Om" is exactly what you'd expect. Group oms continue until nearly its 2 minute mark and are replaced by big 'n' wide synths and what sound like random wind-chimings. And then it's "Cunoasterea Tacuta", with booming, sweeping guitars and sharp, clanging drums (much better here). There is a nice rhythmic shift around minute 1 and the bass is far busier than before, it seems. Once again, we get some interesting percussion. We love some texture. This one has a lot going on. Cool rhythmic choices and interesting guitar effects, like the clanging looped chords in the middle section.

Some of the drumming thus far has been a tad jazzy and here, on "Inarborat", we get this interesting saxophone? Or... is it just keys? Because if so, it's really impressively captured here. [I guess it's one of these "pipes"?] As it gets into things, this is revealed to be a more traditional Black Metal track. Next, "Dedesuptul" is intense... Wow. There is a lot going on here. Quiet moments, harsh and wildly uncontrolled attacks and then nearly minute 5, this very strange, dark other passage. We enter with tribal beats on the ethereal "Norilor". Very interesting. The percussion is super cool, but the keys/synths were just meh here. We are back into classic Black Metal beeves on "De Piatra". There's something here... I mean, really, a more than decent track.

"Cel din Urma vis" is next in a low and slow intro and then more crunchy, classic blackened riffs. Pretty cool opening happens around minute 7 before a return to the main riff. It's alright. Then it really opens up on "Hora Soarelui". There is a really cool use of pipes here. And very interesting clean vocals. I actually quite like this. A lot more acoustic, more rooted in folk tradition. Finally we have "Al Doilea Om". Nice way to tie it all together. Booming and droning over just 2 minutes to close it all out.

True Rate: 3.5/5.0


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 The Art of Navigating by the Stars by SIEGES EVEN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.15 | 409 ratings

The Art of Navigating by the Stars
Sieges Even Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "The Art of Navigating by the Stars" is the 6th full-length studio album by German progressive metal act Sieges Even. The album was released through InsideOut Records in September 2003. Sieges Even split-up after the release of "Uneven (1997)", so "The Art of Navigating by the Stars" is their first release in 6 years. The Holzwarth brothers Oliver (bass) and Alexander (drums) spend the time doing session work/touring with artists like Angra, Blind Guardian, and Rhapsody of Fire, but after reuniting with original Sieges Even guitarist Markus Steffen (who appeared on the first three albums by the band and left in 1992), and hiring new lead vocalist Arno Menses, a new band lineup was complete.

Stylistically the return of Steffen results in a sound which is closer in style to the mellow and thoughtful progressive metal of "A Sense of Change" (1991), than to the two succeeding energetic and bombastic jazz/fusion and funk influenced albums which didn´t feature Steffen. So in some ways "The Art of Navigating by the Stars" is a step back to some of the elements of their early 90s sound, but they´ve evolved too, and one of the features which has been scaled down is the use of distorted guitars. In fact most of the music on the album is more appropriately labelled progressive rock and not progressive metal. When the rare chugging distorted heavy metal guitar moment occur it´s actually the least interesting part of the music.

The music predominantly features non-distorted electric guitars, which are sophisticated in style, but still mellow and pleasent to listen to. The rhythm section are also more subtle playing than on the last couple of releases, and often have a light-jazzy/fusion touch to their delivery, although both bass and drums also play more harder edged and heavy parts. Use of unusual time signatures and the occasional complex instrumental part are still a part of the band´s music.Menses has a strong voice and a passionate delivery, and his vocal style is bit more "normal" than the preceding vocalists in the band. At times even leaning towards mid-range alternative rock vocal stylings. Choirs and vocal harmonies are often used.

After a short intro the remaining tracks on the album are part of one long thematically connected composition/lyrical concept. All tracks except the intro are titled "Sequence I-VIII)" and then a subtitle. The lyrics are philosophical in nature, but mostly a bit vague in terms of what they are actually about. Maybe a celebration of life/our world and how we deal with it as humans... There´s definitely a positivity flowing through the album though, and it´s not a dark and brooding listen, but instead an uplifting listening experience (with the occasionally more dark and melancholic moment).

"The Art of Navigating by the Stars" is a very well produced release. It´s interesting because the sound and production of the instruments and the vocals could easily have been featured on a harder edged metal album, but instead the metal production aesthetics are now heard on a predominantly much less heavy and more mellow sounding release. The sound is clear, powerful, and detailed, suiting the material perfectly. Upon conclusion this is a pretty unique sounding release. Probably not heavy enough for those coming to it from a heavy metal background, but maybe still too much rooted in progressive metal for the more regular progressive rock listener. Personally I find the songwriting lacking memorable hooks, and only a few tracks into the album, I´m starting to wonder if I´m still listening to the same song as the one I just heard (I´m aware the tracks are thematically connected, but there are still not enough hooks and variation between tracks). So compositionally I don´t think this is a perfect release, but it´s still very interesting because of how unique is sounds. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)


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 Acoustic Gold by STRAWBS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.04 | 8 ratings

Acoustic Gold
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 535

"Acoustic Gold" is a compilation of Strawbs that was released in 2011. It's a special compilation of Strawbs because it only has versions of acoustic material made by them all over the years. It contains songs from several works of the band in which some are studio versions, others are live versions and where others are previously unreleased material. However, we mustn't forget that the band in the last years of their musical career had released a lot of acoustic stuff.

The musicians that are involved on "Acoustic Gold" are Dave Cousins (vocals, acoustic guitars, autoharp, dulcimer and banjo), Brian Willoughby (acoustic guitars), Dave Lambert (vocals, acoustic guitars and ebow) and Chas Cronk (vocals, 12 string guitars, acoustic bass, keyboards, foot pedals and programming). But, are also involved on this compilation, Rick Wakeman (piano), Ian Cutler (fiddle), John Young mellotron flutes) and Robert Kirby (string arrangements).

"Acoustic Gold" is a compilation album with twelve tracks released in the following original albums: "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" is from their debut "Strawbs". "Josephine, For Better Or For Worse" is from their second "Dragonfly". "A Glimpse Of Haven" and "Witchwood" are from their third "From The Witchwood". "Benedictus" is from their fourth "Grave New World". "Midnight Sun" and "Autumn" are from their seventh "Hero And Heroine". "Ghosts" and "Grace Darling" are from their eighth "Ghosts". "Evergreen" is from their thirteenth "Don't Say Goodbye". "Cold Steel" is from their eighteenth "Deja Fou". "Copenhagen" is from their twentieth "Dancing To The Devil's Beat".

"Acoustic Gold" has also two "Heritage Gold" bonus tracks, "Beat The Retreat" that is from "Don't Say Goodbye" and "Ringing Down The Years" that is from "Ringing Down The Years". Both are two previously unreleased versions. "Ghosts" is divided into "Sweet Dreams", "Night Light" and "Guardian Angel". It's a gorgeous melodic track with dark lyrics. This is one of the best tracks ever made by them. This is the version from "Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll". "Copenhagen" is a beautiful acoustic work. The folk atmosphere adds a beautiful timbre to the song. This is pure sophisticated folk music. This is the version from "Dancing To The Devil's Beat". "A Glimpse Of Haven" is a powerful song and an excellent example of Wakeman's keyboard talents. This is the version from "Live At Hampton Court". "Midnight Sun" is a short melodic folk ballad. It's an enjoyable musical moment. This is the version from "Hero & Heroine In Ascencia". "Evergreen" is a beautiful song. A bitter retrospective look at a failed relationship contains some of Cousins more poignant lyrics. This is a beautiful and simple interpretation. This is the version from "Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll". "Grace Darling" is a beautiful piece, one of the most beautiful and celestial ballads I heard in my life. This is another great track of one of the best albums of Strawbs. This is a version previously unreleased. "Cold Steel" is a Dave Lambert's song, and as happened with many songs of him, it's a simple and pure rock song. This is a version taken from "Painted Sky". "Autumn" is divided into "Heroine's Theme", "Deep Summer Sleep" and "The Winter Long". It's varied, with great moments, a sublime song for all Mellotron lovers, in its original version. Here, it's also amazing. This is the version from "Full Bloom". "Josephine, For Better Or For Worse" is a calm and beautiful folk song. It seems this is a song rescued from the outtakes of the first musical sessions of their debut studio album with an attractive and nice new acoustic treatment. This is the version from "40th Anniversary Celebration Vol 1: Strawberry Fayre". "Witchwood" is a calm and beautiful song, very secret and mysterious, in the style of the medieval and Celtic music. It has a wonderful pastoral melody that can catch the attention of everybody. This is the version from the DVD "Live At Hampton Court". "The Man Who Called Himself Jesus" is an interesting song with strange lyrics. It's a very good song and one of the best moments on the debut album of Strawbs. This is a previously unreleased version. "Benedictus" is similar to "A Glimpse Of Heaven" of "From The Witchwood". It's a very well constructed song with an incredible pleasant melody, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and nice vocal harmonies. This is the version from "Painted Sky".

Conclusion: "Acoustic Gold" is a great compilation of Strawbs. It has on its tracks lots of the energy and passion that the group has offer us for so many years, even being an acoustic album. It's also very interesting and complete because it represents very well the entire career of the band with practically a song representing almost of their studio albums. By the other hand, "Acoustic Gold" hasn't really a weak musical moment throughout. The new acoustic musical arrangements of some of the classic songs from the group are all beautiful and great and they don't spoil anything of those moments. The great highlights are "Ghosts", "A Glimpse Of Heaven", "Autumn" and "Benedictus". But I think the two "Heritage Gold" bonus tracks have less quality, and personally, I really don't like very much of them. Howsoever, I think this an excellent addition to all prog lovers, especially for those like me, who love acoustic albums.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)


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 C'est La Vie by LAKE, GREG album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
4.00 | 1 ratings

C'est La Vie
Greg Lake Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Having never been a big fan of ELP (one of the 'Big Six' of the classic prog bands), I get a peculiar pleasure being the first reviewer for this single -- which was released under GREG LAKE's name. But as the ELP connoisseurs remember, the song is from the supertrio's double album Works (1977) that consists of separate vinyl sides devoted to the music written, or arranged from classical music pieces, by (1) Keith Emerson, (2) Greg Lake and (3) Carl Palmer, while the fourth side is more of a team work.

Speaking of ELP, I'm not ashamed to admit that the songs of Greg Lake have generally been closer to my heart than the overbombastic and excessive virtuoso approach of organist/keyboardist Keith Emerson. I like Lake's strong and passionate voice which had earned a firm place in prog's history already on the King Crimson debut in 1969. 'C'est la Vie' is a deeply emotional 'larger-than-life' ballad with lyrics written by Pete Sinfield. Lake does a terrific job on vocals, but equally impressive is the majestic and melancholic feel in the music, up to the French-style accordeon. Indeed, the song can be compared to the best achievements in the Chanson genre and its artists such as Charles Aznavour, Yves Montand or Jacques Brel. Apart from the title phrase meaning "that's life", the lyrics are in English, though. 5/5.

The choice for the B side of this single is a real disgrace in comparison. 'Jeremy Bender' originally appeared on the much praised ELP album Tarkus (1971) in which it's nothing but a lightweight filler, frankly even irritating to some listeners, myself included. I really couldn't care less of it, and it's a strange choice altogether. A throwaway album track from six years back, what?? 1½ /5.

But I'll emphasize 'C'est la Vie' on my rating and give four stars. One of the highlight moments in Greg Lake's career as a singer-songwriter.


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 Losing Our Virginity: The First 4 Years '73-'77 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
2.10 | 2 ratings

Losing Our Virginity: The First 4 Years '73-'77
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Virgin Records was founded in 1972 by [the future millionaire] Richard Branson and three other fellows. The prog oriented label got a wonderful start with the unexpected success of its first release, Tubular Bells (1973) by Mike Oldfield, but it's definitely the challenging musical nature of that seminal album, not the commercial success, that laid the ideological groundwork for Virgin. The first few years embraced far-from-mainstream artists such as German Krautrockers Tangerine Dream, Faust and Can, the psychedelic space rock act Gong and other artists familiar to progheads from the Canterbury scene, plus some even more marginal and unorthodox artists like Ivor Cutler. To cite Paul Sexton's liner notes on this three disc set, "These were the days of unfettered, maverick artistic expression, before the words 'music' and 'business' were superglued together". Like several other prog oriented record labels (Vertigo, Harvest, Charisma, etc.) Virgin truly deserves a retrospective multi-disc compilation to be reviewed on a prog site.

Have to say that absorbing this set (borrowed from library) was not as inspiring as the various artists compilations on a specific retrospective theme can be at their best. Especially on British folk-rock I've come across many highly delightful and educative compilations. Much of the appeal has directly to do with the way the compilation is edited and represented, and in this respect "Losing Our Virginity" is disappointing. What's interesting is the outlining of the background and the birth of the company which "took its baby steps in the business of selling gramophone records via the Royal Mail". But when it comes to representing the music on offer here, the 5-page liner notes leave a lot to be desired. A minus also from the omission of track lengths and album sources. The music samples are put in a chronological order in a month's precision, which I find unnecessary and somewhat problematic for the overall reception. The miserable-looking booklet has 16 pages in total; the diminutive illustration consists of a b/w Mike Oldfield photo and four page-size album covers: Tubular Bells, the V.A. release Manor Live, Steve Hillage's L and Faust's Faust IV, not even very exciting ones from a visual point of view. For example by placing four album covers on one page there would have been 16 of them within the same space.

It is of course obligatory to start the set with Tubular Bells, but since the album is surely familiar to the listener, a 13½-minute excerpt is a useless exaggeration. MIKE OLDFIELD returns on the third disc with the less heard 'First Excursion'. FAUST is represented by 'Krautrock' and 'Giggy Smile', GONG by 'The Pot Head Pixies' and 'I Never Glid Before'. Other artists on CD 1 include STEVE YORK's CAMELO PARDALIS - never heard - , KEVIN COYNE, HENRY COW ('Teenbeat Reprise'), LINK WRAY, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and KLAUS SCHULZE ('Some Velvet Phrasing'). Since the musical styles change very radically between the tracks -- as well as the unmarked track lengths --, one cannot speak of any coherence or consistency in the listening.

CD 2 happens to include several Canterbury artists: ROBERT WYATT ('I'm a Believer', 'Yesterday Man'), HATFIELD AND THE NORTH ('Let's Eat', 'Fitter Stroke Has a Bath') and EGG ('Wring Out the Ground'). Interesting samples from COMUS, DAVID BEDFORD, TOM NEWMAN and others. The lack of album information is a pity really, and especially for the more obscure bands such as MALLARD and BOXER one would wish to have information in an articulate artist by artist approach. The liner notes do speak a little of the represented artists, but not in a user-friendly way. Also, I find the small white font on pale green tiring to read for my middle-aged eyes.

By the time you've arrived to the third CD it also becomes a little frustrating how the same artists keep reappering, and the strictly chronological running order also results as a lack of any coherent flow in music. As a Finn I'm pleased to mention that WIGWAM's 'Freddie Are You Ready' (1975) sounds lovely amidst the less accessible stuff. IVOR CUTLER's 'The Dirty Dinner' is actually a story-reading, not music. The set is finished by two pieces from CAN, 'Silent Knight' and 'Don't Say No', the latter strangely being the only 1977 recording.

So, instead of being a delightful, informative, cultivated, ear & eye opening journey into the colourful output of Virgin's first five years, "Losing Our Virginity" sadly turns out to be a frustrating mess and a missed opportunity.


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 Raingods With Zippos by FISH album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.71 | 246 ratings

Raingods With Zippos
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

2 stars I am a really big fan of Marillion, and many Neo-Prog stuff as a whole. I don't know, something just clicks with me whenever I listen to an album that has a certain style and aura around it, especially when it is in the realm of neo Prog. I love how dramatic, emotional, poetic, and how theatrically grand it can really get. So with my love for the genre, I decided to check out one of the main contributors to the whole movement that came about in the early 80s, and that'd be Marillion's old singer and songwriter, Derek Dick, better known as, Fish. I have been itching to see what this man can achieve with his solo work since his time with Marillion was nothing short of amazing, even when it only lasted a mere 4 albums. So I decided to check this album out to see what Fish can pull off after his chapter with Marillion closed.

The first song on here is Tumbledown. It starts off with this very elegant piano instrumental. It has a nice progression through this little segment, and is super beautiful. However this all is taken aback with the song fully starting up with some pop like chords and riffs. This was honestly quite unexpected when it first happened, and kinda disappointing. The reason for it is that the change doesn't fit. I know Prog is very eclectic and loves to change up styles and sounds on a dime, but generally it is best to make it sound consistent and smooth. Imagine it as a dinner plate. You got your meats, your cheeses, your veggies, maybe even a dessert. Lots of different stuff, but all work well with one another to where it never really bothers you. Here, it's weird, it doesn't fit. We went from a nice and somber sounding piano instrumental, but then we immediately switched to something that is the exact opposite, something cheery sounding and poppy. It doesn't feel consistent or anywhere to feel good. But I do commend the song for being very catchy and enjoyable besides the whole switch up, but even then it does just feel like your average pop song, not even like a Prog pop song, just normal pop. Kind of a downer to be honest.

Next we got Mission Statement. I really enjoy this song. It's catchy, and has a sorta swing to it. It gets you hooked pretty easily and has a lot of rhymically fun grooves and beats. However I started to really notice a little something off with Fish's vocals. I decided to compare what they were in the 80s to here and I saw that he doesn't have that same Scottish spunk he had in his voice here than he did back when he was in Marillion. He barely has that very meaty accent and voice he had, which is really disappointing cause that aspect of his voice is what made me fall in love with his old band in the first place. I cannot help but feel a sense of loss with this song and the remainder of the album going forward. It's just some little things I wished stuck you know?

The next track is Incomplete. This is a very cool and sorta noir sounding acoustic song with an addition of Elisabeth Antwi also being a lead vocalist here in conjunction with Fish. Honestly, this song is great. Because it is acoustic, instrumentation is going to be a lot less intrusive and makes the song a lot more realized than what it would be if it were filled with nothing but instruments. Funny how this song feels the most complete song here while it's called Incomplete. I also really love that whole duet of Fish and Elisabeth singing together, and to be honest I wished it happened more on this album. This album definitely has a problem of introducing an idea but never actually runs with it. Every song is so different from the last that the only consistency is the sorta pop-like stature these songs have. I like my Prog consistent in that everything, no matter the differences, fits together in some way or shape. Here, nothing fits and it feels weird.

Now we got Tilted Cross, and I think we are getting somewhere now. After Incomplete I expected something very different but now we have this, another great acoustic track, with great chord progressions. It was very breathtaking to actually hear the album starting to feel like it has a clear identity, but then I start to question, why now? This is the fourth song on the album, and we got through three songs that are all very different from one another, and now we are getting some kind of form and shape within the album after all this time? It seems kind of fishy (puns intended) that now we are getting songs that are consistent from one another despite the differences.

Next we got Faithhealer. Now we are back to the pop stuff, but a lot more new wave and similar to that of Tumbledown. I don't really have much gripes with this song, it's fun and catchy, and I think I have already made my mark clear on my problems with this song, or songs now on this album. I won't deny I am sorta bashing this album a lot so why not introduce some kind of positivity, like the guitars. I really like the guitars so far on this album, the quintet of guitarists of Bruce Watson of Foreigner, Robin Boult, Til Paulman, Phil Grieve, and the legendary Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree do such an amazing job with their guitar playing. They give out a strong power within the album that hooks you right in, and this song is definitely one of their best due to the heavy chords and playing. Definitely really good.

Next we got Rites Of Passage, one last acoustic ballad, except it's a lot more orchestral and somber. I honestly really really like this tune, and looking past every issue I have for this album again, I cannot deny that this song is great and really well made. How the instrumentation just melts around Fish's vocals, and how it definitely feels very emotional. It's really nice and gives out a lot of those good feelings out of you, with a sorta bittersweet feeling attached all around. This is definitely one of those highlight songs on the album.

Now we get to the last song. From what I have researched this is Fish's first solo epic, and this is called Plague of Ghosts. I was curious about what it would sound like. After finishing it, I guess it was alright. The segments were good and the suite was definitely polished and well worth going through, but to be honest I just think nothing ever really sounds right throughout it all. Again, this album has a very huge inconsistency problem, and this song is just a shortened version of that. Some parts feel like they are from different albums all together, and when there is an idea going, they never fully roll with it, they just immediately switch over to the next part on a dime without any second thought. I cannot say I am mad at this, just very disappointed. I expected a bit more, and I know Fish can do more, he has done far more, but here, he wasn't at his clear peak of creative and writing highs at the moment, and that really sucks.

So this album is ok all around but throughout it all it felt very inconsistent, a little too bland in some cases, and just doesn't have any identity besides the three-ish acoustic songs and the long suite at the end. I cannot deny it has good moments, but the experience is definitely not one I'd recommend. Only check it out if you know what to expect with the album.


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

* 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 (4537)
  2. Sean Trane (3161)
  3. Warthur (3050)
  4. ZowieZiggy (2931)
  5. apps79 (2629)
  6. siLLy puPPy (2259)
  7. UMUR (2180)
  8. b_olariu (2040)
  9. Easy Livin (1932)
  10. kev rowland (1921)
  11. Gatot (1811)
  12. Windhawk (1699)
  13. Conor Fynes (1613)
  14. SouthSideoftheSky (1597)
  15. BrufordFreak (1591)
  16. Tarcisio Moura (1455)
  17. Evolver (1425)
  18. TCat (1407)
  19. Matti (1383)
  20. AtomicCrimsonRush (1351)
  21. Bonnek (1333)
  22. kenethlevine (1319)
  23. snobb (1223)
  24. erik neuteboom (1201)
  25. Finnforest (1146)
  26. tszirmay (1033)
  27. Rivertree (1017)
  28. ClemofNazareth (1011)
  29. octopus-4 (1002)
  30. Cesar Inca (928)
  31. memowakeman (918)
  32. loserboy (897)
  33. Rune2000 (877)
  34. Marty McFly (840)
  35. Guillermo (794)
  36. Neu!mann (759)
  37. Chris S (753)
  38. Eetu Pellonpaa (722)
  39. DamoXt7942 (720)
  40. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (719)
  41. greenback (685)
  42. progrules (666)
  43. Seyo (658)
  44. admireArt (643)
  45. Prog-jester (626)
  46. Epignosis (624)
  47. friso (623)
  48. lor68 (601)
  49. Prog Leviathan (582)
  50. Ivan_Melgar_M (560)
  51. andrea (552)
  52. philippe (540)
  53. VianaProghead (535)
  54. hdfisch (492)
  55. Chicapah (486)
  56. stefro (486)
  57. Menswear (476)
  58. Dobermensch (464)
  59. zravkapt (460)
  60. colorofmoney91 (459)
  61. J-Man (449)
  62. The Crow (447)
  63. ProgShine (444)
  64. russellk (440)
  65. Atavachron (430)
  66. Sinusoid (403)
  67. Queen By-Tor (396)
  68. tarkus1980 (369)
  69. Nightfly (365)
  70. Greger (365)
  71. Zitro (365)
  72. Progfan97402 (362)
  73. Modrigue (360)
  74. fuxi (359)
  75. Cygnus X-2 (353)
  76. lazland (352)
  77. Andrea Cortese (348)
  78. rdtprog (335)
  79. EatThatPhonebook (326)
  80. Guldbamsen (322)
  81. Negoba (320)
  82. FragileKings (316)
  83. richardh (316)
  84. Tom Ozric (306)
  85. patrickq (302)
  86. Kazuhiro (299)
  87. Flucktrot (298)
  88. progaardvark (290)
  89. GruvanDahlman (290)
  90. Proghead (288)
  91. OpethGuitarist (287)
  92. Second Life Syndrome (276)
  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


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SCARLET HOLLIDAY by Mono album rcover



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