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PROG ARCHIVES intends to be the most complete and powerful progressive rock resource. You can find the progressive rock music discographies from 10,002 bands & artists, 53,625 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,428,631 ratings and reviews from 58,682 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
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 From Here To The Impossible by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.35 | 11 ratings

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From Here To The Impossible
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Oliver Rüsing is on a roll. His band's latest album, "From Here to the Impossible" seems to have done what a year ago might have been inconceivable: KariBow has topped "Holophinium".

But wait a moment! Back up, you say? KariBow? Holophinium? What's that? A garden shrub?

KariBow is a band project started by Oliver Rüsing way back in 1996. It was a six-piece outfir to begin with, but over the years members left and at last Oliver was the sole member. Working as an art professor and drum teacher, Oliver kept KariBow alive by writing and recording new material and releasing albums in small runs. Oliver is a talented song writer, composer, drummer, guitar player, and singer, and he seems to have no trouble handling bass and keyboards, plus he can record and mix everything on his own, and he does all the artwork to boot. Who needs a band when you can do all that?

But KariBow's releases were largely a private affair. That was until he recorded "Man of Rust" in 2011 and his wife encouraged him to submit it to the German Rock & Pop Musicians' Association and it won an award for best arrangement. Three years later, "Addicted" won the same award. Realising that he had something going on here, Oliver Rüsing began an ambitious project that would include guest musicians such as Michael Saddler (SAGA), Sean Timms (Southern Empire), and Colin Tench (Corvus Stone). It culminated in the double disc "Holophinium" which was released last year. The album proved to be a tremendous success as KariBow toured with SAGA. At the time, only "Addicted" was available from the back catalogue, but inspired by the great live reception, Oliver remixed and rereleased "Man of Rust" in the fall of 2016. And then this year in July came "From Here to the Impossible".

What makes any of the four recent albums work so well is Oliver's ability to write memorable, catchy melodies in an AOR format and blend in progressive passages or sneak in complex music beneath the melodies and beautiful choruses. Though "Addicted" and "Man of Rust" are less obviously progressive rock works (they are though!), "Holophinium" saw KariBow reaching for new heights. It was as if KariBow's music had come of age, smartly marrying melodic adult rock with modern progressive endeavors. And it's my opinion that "From Here to the Impossible" has taken one more step upwards.

Once again, KariBow delivers catchy and memorable melodies and once again the more complex passages are there. Right off the bat, we are treated to some of that in the first track "Here". But KariBow is more than just odd time signatures and stop/start rock. Once more Oliver has taken aboard a cast of outside talent and since last year also has a proper band to play live (one member joking that they were a KariBow cover band because they play live the music that KariBow wrote and recorded). This time we have Jim Gilmour of SAGA on keyboards, Sean Timms and Dany Lopresto of Southern Empire bringing in piano/sax and guitars respectively, Monique Van Der Kolk of Harvest adding her beautiful vocals, Marek Arnold of Seven Steps to the Green Door and Toxic Smile contributing sax, flute, piano and keyboards, and Mark Trueack of United Progressive Fraternity singing lead on "System of a Dream".

This team has created an album that goes where none of the other KariBow albums have gone before. Monique's vocals are angelic and complement Oliver's so well. The sax work on "Black Air" and "Never Last" is stellar, the whole instrumental intro to the former track being just superbly wonderful. And there's some orchestral arrangement for "Requiem".

Going beyond that, though, KariBow gives us harder edged rock in tracks like "Passion" and "Lost Peace" and contrasts that with such soothing ear candy in "Inside You", "Never Last" and the intros for "Crescent Man" and "Black Air". Songs are never entirely predictable because a harder-edged song might ease back and turn over a pretty melody or a softer track might crack a snare drum and slam down a power chord and change gear. On thing for certain is that for those who prefer their rock to not get too hard and heavy or too technical, KariBow is an easy choice then.

As with last year's "Holophinium", I feel KariBow have produced a very strong album that combines progressive rock with melodic rock. But it's my impression that the band has really struck just the right balance here. The music is really coming to the forefront. Well done Oliver Rsing and company!

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 Glory Of The Inner Force by FINCH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.14 | 156 ratings

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Glory Of The Inner Force
Finch Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars I think with certain tranquility, which this first album of FINCH "The Glory of Inner Force" (as also the second album "Beyond The Expression" figures between the top progressive instrumental list of prog rock albums in all times, IMHO this albums rivals with another gems like RETURN TO FOREVER "The Romantic Warior" or GRYPHOM "Red Queen to Gryphon Three". They produces a symphonic prog music mixed with jazz with a great virtuosity ! All for musicians are highly qualified... but I detach Joop Van Nimwegen and his Ackermann/Howe style and Peter Vink clearly influenced by Squire. Vink's style is easily comparable with Squire .... is enough listen in track 3 "Pisces" a solo passage starting 7 min 36 secds ! Nimwegen style also is easily identified in trac 1 " Register Magister" by the "mellow" guitar phrase starting 1 min 57 sec an Ackermann allusion and in the final passage guitar solo starting 7 min 46 sec a Howe invocation. The album don't have any weak points and "hang out" you breath in countless moments. One and probably most fantastic moments is guitar/bass duet in track 4 "A Bridge To Alice" starting 4 min 39 sec until 5 min 33 sec, simply outstanding. Obiviously my rate is 5 Stars !!!

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 Black Science by MACHINES DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.40 | 25 ratings

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Black Science
Machines Dream Crossover Prog

Review by The Jester

4 stars I discovered Machines Dream recently and I was very surprised by the quality of their music. They are Canadians, and their discography consists of 4 albums so far. In 2017 the band released their latest work, named as Black Science, which can be found in digital or physical (CD) version. Black Science is dark; dark and wonderful? The lyrics of the album are focused on the 20th Century, and especially to the 2 great wars; WW1 and WW2. As for heir sound, is solid, powerful, heavy and dark. (I will probably use the word 'dark' a lot in this piece). The strong Pink Floyd influences (among other bands) can be found everywhere, but that is not a problem at all. The album opens with the short intro Armistice Day, followed by Weimar, which is the album's longest track and one of the highlights without a doubt. After I listened to Weimar for the first time, I stopped listening to the rest of the album, and listened to it twice before deciding to continue. Yes, it's that good! The Cannons Cry which comes next, is a more powerful tune, but also dark and heavy. Then, Heavy Water enters, which ? if I'm not mistaken - is about the efforts both sides did in order to create first the A-Bomb. Another excellent tune! Airfield on Sunwick is the album's 5th song, a melancholic but lighter tune, very beautiful as well. The 6th track is the title song, which points out some of the worst things that humanity did during the 20th Century, further than the 2 great wars. Another highlight here. As I was reaching towards the end, I discovered the first song I didn't like, which is UXB. It is not bad, but is nowhere near the previous ones. The last song is Noise to Signal which is the second song I didn't like so much. Again, it's not bad, but nothing special either. (But it is better than UXB, especially during its 2nd part). So, to sum up, Black Science is a really good album, not very easy to listen to, and certainly not so enjoyable or fun. It is heavy, dark, serious, melancholic, and? great! It is a really interesting, not to say unique release. Highly recommended, but you must consider the things I wrote above. Also, have in mind that it will take some time and a few listens in order to really appreciate it. If you think that the things you just read sounds interesting, then go for it! You will not regret it.

4 solid stars from me

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 Vital by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Live, 1978
3.78 | 243 ratings

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Vital
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Vital" is indeed a strange beast within the Van der Graaf Generator canon. Very much a love it/hate it effort, it marked the end of the band in their classic 1970s period. But, what everyone seems to agree about is that this double vinyl live record presents the band in their most aggressive, brutal and extreme offering.

Long time ago I had an oppportunity to borrow this LP and listen to it a few times but was not much impressed. I even thought at times that it was absolutely horrible sound-wise, except for wonderful "Mirror Images", which was far superior as performed here than in the studio version on Peter Hammill's "Ph7" solo album, not least due to fantastic Nick Potter's bass playing. Perhaps it was the murky production, bad mixing or whatever, but the sound was pretty irritating. And although I had already been acquainted with many punk rock classics, this VdG version of it did not make much sense to me.

Fast forward to the digital millenial era when VdGG not only re-formed in their classic line-up, but when their back catalogue saw digital remastering courtesy of Virgin Records, who had acquired the rights to old Charisma label. This 2005 double-disc release of "Vital" sounds far more superior and cleaner than the original 1978 vinyl record, thanks to Peter Hammil and the band who supervised digital remastering of the old tapes produced by drummer Guy Evans. Unfortunately, sax wizard Dave Jackson (who was briefly back to the foil following his departure in early 1977) is still barely audible on several tracks, but as he explains in the liner notes, this was due to technical problem during original live recording process when Jackson's entire audio track was deleted, so Evans tried to pick up the traces of saxophone from other available tracks. Nonetheless, the sound is amazingly heavy, with Potter's fuzzy bass up front in the mix (which I like), often at the expense of other players (which is not very good). Besides him, Hammill shouts and screams and slashes electric guitar with his imperfect playing in a way "MC5 meets Sex Pistols", while violin virtuoso Graham Smith often provides lead melodic lines instead of absent keyboards and buried saxes, particularly in older songs. Newcomer Charles Dickie's cello provides some nice backing to several tracks but his credited keyboards are very hard to detect.

Actually, when considered in a broader respect of Peter Hammill's entire career, "Vital" now seems much more consistent with his experiment-minded spirit and his urge to make "pop music" in rather unconventional ways. At the time when this album was recorded (January 1978) many other prog rock bands (with which VdGG were often lumped together rather supeficially) became caricatures of themselves, either losing ideas entirely or going pop-mainstream-arena. Hammill and VdG embraced punk and new wave instead, using these trends to facilitate their own expressions and ideas and to offer them to new and diverse audiences. In a way, Hammill was even considered an early progenitor of British punk with his "Nadir's Big Chance" solo LP of 1975, and according to some sources he even coined the term "punk rock", at least in UK, two years before rock journalists adopted it during the 1977 Pistols craze. In the early 1980s Hammill formed the K-Group with VdG rhythm section Evans/Potter and John Ellis, ex-guitarist of the British punk rock band the Vibrators, whose 1977 album "Pure Mania" should have been considered one of the classics of the genre. This excellent line-up backed Hammill on his several solo LPs and live gigs providing an uptempo post-punk new wave sound. Shortly before that in the early 1980, Hammill appeared as a guest (along with Robert Fripp!) on the Stranglers concert dedicated to their imprisoned vocalist Hugh Cornwell, singing "Tank" from their acclaimed (and probably most downright punkish) "Black and White" album. Taking all this into account, "Vital" seems more natural product of the late 1970s when genres and styles blended and influenced each other back and forth.

Now, back to the CD. Practically all songs, apart from some older material, are killer versions of their studio counterparts (either VdG or Hammill solo albums). Medley of "Lighthouse Keepers/Sleepwalkers" and "Urban/Killer" does not work well, but "Pioneers Over C" instead is excellent even if prolonged to 17 minutes. Roughly half of the album ("Ship of Fools", "Mirror Images", "Sci-Finance", "Door", "Urban" and "Nadir's Big Chance") consists of tracks that are premiered on a VdGG album, so for this reason only every VdGG collector should own it. And since these are performed in a "most extreme" way, "Vital" is also an album that every punk rocker should have in his/her prog collection!

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 Stand By by HELDON album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.91 | 80 ratings

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Stand By
Heldon Progressive Electronic

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars (A translated chapter from my prog book.) The electronically oriented instrumental music of HELDON has been described as a cross between the hypnotic nature of CAN and the cold experimentalism of KING CRIMSON. It centres around the combination of synths and electric guitar, like in the case of Fripp & Eno. The frontman Richard Pinhas started his musical career already in the late 60's, but his first bands went nowhere. In 1973 he founded his own little record company that released first four Heldon albums. The innovative debut Electric Guerilla (1974) was followed by more ambientish, Terry Riley -spirited Allez Teja (1975). It contains a track named 'In the Wake of King Fripp', making it clear who was Pinhas's primary idol.

The double album It's Always Rock'n'Roll (1975) is not entirely very convincing, whereas Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson (1976), named after a girlfriend, is graced with a solid band sound and is the best album that far. Since then Heldon's music became more and more disturbing and demanding, but the sixth album Interface (1977) can be regarded as a step forward, production-wise.

Perhaps the most recommendable one, at least for the unacquainted listeners, is Stand By which remained the final work up until the rather weak comeback album Only Chaos Is Real (1998). Multi-part composition 'Bolero' contains here and there a march-like rhythm. It has not much to do with the famous Maurice Ravel piece of the same name. Sounding relatively soft, it's among the most accessible pieces of Heldon; from the fourth minute onward the sound resembles quite a lot of Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze with all the sequencer pulsating.

'Une drole de journe' with an intense tempo is actually electro-jazz, into which Klaus Blasquiz from MAGMA adds some zeuhl- like voices. Aggressively heavy title track goes even further away from typical electronic music, giving the leading role to a roaring electric guitar.

For those who enjoy Heldon one can recommend also another French group, Lard Free, that made three Krautrock-spirited albums in 1973 - '77. Richard Pinhas has also released numerous solo albums.

[On my rating: I haven't returned to this album, or Heldon in general, very often, and subjectively speaking it would hardly deserve more than three stars from me, but I believe it to be among Heldon's finest works and so it's four stars.]

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 Dodecaedro by GLASS MIND album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Dodecaedro
Glass Mind Progressive Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars At last!

Well, after some years of hard work, Mexican four-piece combo Glass Mind released this 2017 their second full-length album "Dodecaedro", an album with a change of direction in comparison to their debut. We had been lucky enough to have some sneak- peeks of the album because three singles were previously released, actually since 2014, which is why I celebrate this new baby was released at last.

Glass Mind is nowadays an instrumental prog metal band with some obvious djent hints and an also obvious technical talent. They are very good friends so they know each other very well and we can notice it in their music. The album features 9 compositions, 5 long ones and 4 short ones, these latter tracks are like 2-minute intermissions. The running time is around 39 minutes.

I've also witnessed the band live in a couple of times and man, they are wonderful live so it is cool to know my fellow countrymen are capable of showing their talent both in studio an live. The album opens with the great "Babel", presumably their most successful single so far. This track has an oriental feeling at the beginning, later it develops a wonderful prog-metal structure with some nice changes that let us know they are pretty good composers. I like a lot the bass lines here and I am sure those guitars will captivate you.

"Caliente" is the first shorty. The sound is much softer than the opener; it is like taking a breath after the vertiginous road. It leads to "Fu", in which the djently sound appears, we can totally notice their musicianship and how easy seem to get on well with each other. There is also a nice use of keyboards that work as background. Guitars mark the changes, bass and drums complement them in a very good way.

"Hmedo" brings another short and calm passage this time with a jazzy feeling on it. It leads to the longest composition, "Inside the Whale" which has a beautiful first passage, calm and with a melotron-like that when it vanishes, marks the start of a brand new passage. Fast and powerful prog metal is brought here, and what I love is that the four musicians are equally important, I mean, all of them shine; there are no shadows here. This song is great and has different and nice changes in mood and tempo. Probably my favorite song of the album.

"Fro" is like a lullaby, a calm one-minute track made by piano. Then all of a sudden an explosion comes and we are now listening to the powerful "Detritus", a feast of technique that will surely remind you of some older international prog metal bands, in fact, this song is the perfect example that Glass Mind belongs to the prog metal realm.

"Seco" is the last of the short tracks. It has an oriental feeling just like the first song and it leads to the title track, which happens to be the last song of the album. "Dodecaedro" shows once again their quality as composers and performers, as well as the equal importance of all the instruments, so the balance is quite perfect during the whole track. I am sure fans of tech-prog-metal will love this. Kudos to Glass Mind, they have done a great job here and I hope their music reach more and more listeners in the near future.

Enjoy it!

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 Universe at Large by COSMIC DANGER album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.52 | 19 ratings

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Universe at Large
Cosmic Danger Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars 3,5 stars !!! COSMIC DANGER "Universe at Large" , soon at first audition is easily identified the main influences in this work : ASIA, UK, GENESIS , EL&P something of SAGA. In fact the music is strongly linked to late 70's and early 80's sound, obviously due ASIA , UK etc ... you can find in almost all tracks the majesties of progressive rock "apex", as for instance the guitar solo in track 1 "Champions" a clearly Howe's allusive passage, the keyboards in track 2 "Freedom Flyer" a mix of Banks/Emerson/Jobson keyboards with Brufford's "jazzy" drums. This is album tonic ! But be a certain unbalance between guitar and keyboards ( in some tracks keyboards dictating sound almost eclipsing guitar) in fact in the last track "Final Dusk" I can't perceive the sound of guitar and I think which this prejudices a better rate, in fact ( with the notable exception of second track ), the best tracks are track 3 "Skydiving", track 6 "Endless Voyage" and track 8 "Fiev Year Mission" exactly where this unbalance don't exist ! My rate is 3 stars , but I emphasize which this album deserves a place in my collection !

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 Demo by KARI BAND album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Demo
Kari Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars I see, that's the reason why the stage by Babymetal should be pretty cool and awesome. At first let me say thanks to Alan (a Babymetal fan in US) for notifying me of such a fantastic combo. Yes I know, I'm a Japanese and why not familiar with Babymetal, but to be honest I've not got interested in them at all, except in their crazy stage. KARI BAND, three session musicians with mad technique, are a backing outfit supporting Babymetal's entire artistic sense especially upon stage. Such an incredible sense has been launched via this ep released upon April 26, 2017 finally, I'm so glad really.

Actually knocked out in a complete manner. Let me shout first of all that another King Crimson have come here. Strictly based upon jazz itself, they play complex songs of cadence like a precision music / rhythm machine with sound diversity. "Jamrika" or so reminds me of Tipographica or Unbeltipo, kinda avantgarde jazz rock. On the contrary, "Djentleman" is in the same vein of slush art metal, flooded with deeply metallic, complicated riffs and swift, grievous guitar crying. Thrilling fights amongst all instruments can be heard everywhere, and we the audience cannot listen with enough breathing until the last "Snowflakes" that features clean smooth jazz rock elements along with their magnificent instrumental skills and critical motivation.

It's a pity the debut 26 minute ep is not a full-length album but an intriguing alliance by the intensive trio should create this not only short but also impressive stuff. Cannot help keeping an 'ear' upon them from now on.

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 Duke by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.48 | 1276 ratings

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Duke
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The Duke album started when the band decided to take songs not used from all the members solo albums. So they took their bad experience in love and relationships in their real life to turn them into stories around this Duke character. This Duke wanted to get away from his frustration in life by hitting the road, but those problems are still in his memories. "Behind The Lines" is born after some experience of Tony Banks during repetition in the studio. It's got a big intro with heavy drums and great synths lines. The vocals of Phil are intense. "Duchess" started with Tony Banks trying to reproduce with his synths a drum pattern melody. It's got a great intro with electronic drums and we have again a Phil making his entry with a lot of impact by his vocals. "Guide Vocals" is that cool short song from Phil and Tony in the spotlight. And then the songs quality started to drop with "Man of Our Times" which contains some big drums sounds and some special vocals effects. "Misunderstanding" is simple, catchy with a Beach Boys kind of vocalization in the back of the melody. It's one of those trouble songs with "Please Don't Ask" coming from Phil. The music return to the quality of the first set of songs at the end with "Duke's Travels" who contains some strong drums/synths parts. A part from some average songs on it, this album could have benefited from more guitars even if it's not Steve Hackett. This album seems to me to be centered around Phil drums and Tony's keyboards and the most interesting parts are the instrumental sections at the beginning and at the end.

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 Vixit by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.95 | 2 ratings

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Vixit
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A needed overdose of tranquility and introspection!

Battlestations is a Belgian act that has given me so many precious moments since 2011, when I was lucky enough to be introduced by themselves to their wonderful music. Since then, I've been a huge fan of their style, a style that might be labeled as post/atmospheric/melancholic/experimental-rock, but that has a sound that at least to me, is near to unique.

In this 2017 they have just released a new and beautiful record entitled "Vixit", a 3-song album that has touched me every single time I listened to it. It is impressive how Battlestations manage to create profound music, atmospheres that hit you in your most hidden emotions and that will make you see things in a different way. Sorry If it seems that I am exaggerating a little bit, but Vixit has been with me in these past two months when I needed music the most. The experience while I listen to it is beyond words, very special and moving, so it is like a therapy when I want to see a new dawn in my daily basis.

The first part is the longest of them all. Entitled simply "I", this 24-minute piece seems to have only black and white colors, but while the time pass you will realize it is a colorful theme that creates countless images, it depends on the listener, but man, I sort of have times of introspection while listen to it, and better, I foresee a bright future in my life. When music hits you like this, it means it has succeeded. I love the use of the multi-layered synths and of course, the wonderful addition of the choirs, so in moments it seems to be taking us to a blend of Mediaeval with current technological times. It is impressive that every time I listen to it, the 24 minutes pass naturally and fast, it doesn't happen that often, I mean, with some other music the 15, even 10 minute-tracks can be tedious or difficult to enjoy, but this one flows and produces on me a high feeling of satisfaction. Beautiful and disarming!

"II" is the short song, a 3-minute piece based on piano that produces a melancholic sound in a classical way, surrounded by those atmospheric backgrounds made by synths. It leads to "III", the final track that is another long one, a 14-minute piece that is like the reborn of new hopes, is like witnessing a new life, a brand new day. Ambient music combined with some beautiful orchestrations and electronic sounds that might even remind us of some older musicians/bands such as Brian Eno or Popol Vuh. Be careful because this track might also give you lots of emotions, you will feel at peace but maybe, you will cry before reaching peace. Its depth can be better appreciated with decent headphones but most of all, with an open mind and the will to receive a solid musical concept, a extremely beautiful whole.

Thank you for this music, it has come to my life in the perfect moment. Enjoy it!

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