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 The Silent Moonchild by GOAD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.59 | 8 ratings

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The Silent Moonchild
Goad Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "... if this were to be your first Goad album, be aware that Maurilio Rossi's scratchy and pained voice will be an acquired taste." Right on, Aussie-Byrd-Brother! Yes, this album is my first acquaintance of this long-time Italian band, and indeed the vocals are the hard part for me; they're like a blend of Rod Stewart's rasp and Steve Jolliffe's (Tangerine Dream, 1978) pervert and throaty expression. Funny, I have no trouble listening to either of them, but Rossi sounds unbearably phoney, artificial and ugly to my ears. If the album would be notably less vocal-oriented, that wouldn't matter too much because the music is interesting, sometimes even great and honestly beautiful. Its only fault is that it feels like being there for the vocalist, not the other way round. Except for the few instrumental moments.

Sorry, I really find it hard to concentrate on the music. "Oh, please, just shut up!", I keep on thinking. The playing has a charming seventies vibe with Mellotrons and all, ranging from dark-toned and gloomy to symphonic and celestial. The arrangements are pretty varied. I'd probably love an instrumental version of this band. Maybe also the Italian lyrics instead of English might help in concentrating on the music. You'd better check this band out by yourself.

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 The Fyreworks by FYREWORKS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.01 | 25 ratings

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The Fyreworks
The Fyreworks Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One shot wonder from mid to late '90s from neo prog zone The Fyreworks is a band formed by well known musicicns in this field. Conducted by Rob Reed, from Cyan back then and future Magenta head, gathered around him some great musicians like Andy Edwards from Cyan and future IQ and Magenta member, etc. So, the music is pleasent to my ears, is that typical neo prog who smelling of '70s in sound, something like Genesis meeting Jethro Tull, IQ and even Yes in parts, not very original, but the music is mostly enjoyble, the opening Master Humphries Clock is a real proof. Very nice flute, keyboards and pleasent voice, guitars and all atmosphere. There is some pastoral parts, smoth and elegant that goes hand in hand with neo prog feel of the album. All in all a nice release, quite forgotten by many listners, I think that worth to be discovered, for me a winner. 3.5 stars for sure.

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 Caja De Pandora by CAJA DE PANDORA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.37 | 8 ratings

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Caja De Pandora
Caja De Pandora Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The mexican prog scene may be small, but that country does not lack her share of fine musicians and interesting bands (besides the obvious names that are Cast and Decibel). However, Caja de Pandora was a totally new name for me. And I guess it is for many people too. They only recorded an album in 1981 before they disbanded. Apparently it was only released in 1991 and then again in 1997 with 3 extra tracks. But sure enough it was recorded in the early 80´s as the synths sounds testify.

Overall the music here is fine instrumental symphonic prog with keyboards as the mains instrument throughout the whole album. The guitar rarely makes its presence felt, but the the rhythm section is very good. The production is ok, nothing too fancy but adequate for the time I guess. The songs are varied, creative and interesting, although not really outstanding. Classical and jazzy influences abounds, plus a Italian prog rock touch is also present most of the time. Unfortunately the use of mostly 80´s synths instead of more organic and bombastic keys like Hammond organ or ARP strings makes the sound a bit thin for the style they adopted. That remark is not a criticism to their music but only a personal opinion. I believe other people will like their approach more.There are no real highlights here, but also no lows either. A fairly even instrumental CD.

If you like keyboard driven music I strongly recommend you try this one. Caja de Pandora may not be a long lost prog gem, but it surely has its charm and value. Specially if you like the simpler side of instrumental symphonic prog.

final rating: something between 3 and 3.5 stars.

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 Death is Just a Feeling by AWAD, AMADEUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.08 | 73 ratings

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Death is Just a Feeling
Amadeus Awad Crossover Prog

Review by Mastyrx1979

5 stars My first introduction to Amadeus Awad was 2014's EON - The Book Of Shadows. I walked away so blown away by what I heard I thought this was his opus. Well sometimes what we think and actual reality are two different things. I believe 2015's Death Is Just A Feeling could be his Magnus Opus. Whereas EON- The Book Of Shadows was more progressive metal in its nature, 2015's Death Is Just A Feeling carries some of the most progressively diverse character and instrumental content I have heard since 2004's, Pain Of Salvations - Be or 2000's Ayreon's The Universal Migrator Part 1 : where the Dream Sequencer was more the progressive rock side and Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator was the heavier progressive metal half. On Amadeus Awad's - Death Is Just A Feeling you get a lot of both worlds. The albums diversity is also properly supported by a very diverse support cast this time around. You have Ayreon himself Arjen Lucassen on vocals, Annke Van Geirsbergen vocals and Eli Monasef on vocals. This one also carries 2 world class drummers in Marco Minneman and James Keegan. With a cast like this Amadeus Awad has allowed himself a lot of creative freedom in Death Is Just A Feeling. This concept is about suicide addiction and what life is like in the one persons world who suffers from drug addiction with suicidal thoughts.This will resonate with the one who listens to it and think of themselves in the same situation. Opia begins with a power synthesizer and guitar creating a atmospheric signature. This is accompanied by a wonderful narrative piece eloquently done by Dan Harper. The narrative is a person really on a journey of soul searching. The instrumental atmosphere is very Pink Floydian in nature. Annke's feminine vocal gives it a delicate balance diverse off the heavily brooding narrative the intro produces. Sleep Paralysis opens with a more progressive metal side with a killer straight away riff compounded with great time signatures and hooks that continue the journey the project takes the listener in. A some points it is almost a neo progressive metal vibe. Lyrically it introduces you to the initial effects of when a stimulant based drug begins to consume the person physically, mentally and spiritually. There are some very old school hammond/mellotron elements in the backdrop that are on point. Monday Morning begins with a very Ayreon vibe especially carrying elements of The Human Equation and 01011001. With some killer rhythm fills from the dums and the keyboards gradually taking you into the track makes for a very easy yet perplexed listen. At times it carries some Steven Wilson type atmospheres with it. Tomorrow Lies has a wonderful piano acoustical guitar intro with a heavy brooding bass drum rhythm progression. This carries many Floydian elements. Eli Monsef has a very unique and distinctive vocal. It often reminds me of Jonas Renske later Katatonia albums in its influence. Tomorrow Lies also contains a wonderful thought out and written orchestral section in the middle. This is followed up by a beautiful guitar solo passage. Tomorrows Lies also carries some various vocal effects that perfectly compliment the orchestral sections. Lonesome Clown a unusual flamingo style acoustical vibe as it opens. This is supported wonderfully by Annke's chant like vocals that are used more as a instrument. Amadeus Awad executes a double overdubbed vocal of Anneke in this one making her sound like many more than one. The vocal is almost choir like in nature while maintaining the lead vocal integrity. Then the track takes on a various series of neo progressive time signatures and hooks. This is followed by a beautiful bass guitar rhythm drum combination before going into a nice guitar solo. Lyrically it is as if the person is finding a way of escape from their predictiament. Temporary effectively ends the concept in the arrangement. It opens with a wonderful cello section on top the semi acoustical vibe. Arjen Lucassen soon comes in with his distinctive voice. Temporary carries a very Beatle-esque atmosphere to it. The clarinet solo is beautiful in the middle section. Temporary is the most orchestral based track on the concept that sounds like a symphony orchestra throughout the track. There is track 7 - Time of The Equinox and track 8 - Poetry of Time that are pre order bonus tracks that effectively wet the curiosity of the listener waiting on Death Is Just A Feeling. While both are still heavily armed with orchestral atmospheres, Time of The Equinox is strictly instrumental while Poetry of Time contains lyrics. Not since 2004's Ayreon - The Human Equation where Me is in a coma for 20 days evaluating his life in his psyche, have I heard such concept with such personal conviction attached to it. Death Is Just A Feeling is a very emotionally driven and heavily atmospherically armed concept with many twists and turns within the human experience. Many feel this is possible Album of The Year material for 2015. I have to agree it is a strong heavy contender for it. I give this a 5/5 .

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 Lazarus by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.97 | 10 ratings

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Lazarus
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Adventurous prog seekers apply now

ROZ VITALIS followed up their debut and changed it up a little by unleashing their creativity in full force offering not only moments of pure free jazz inspired improvisation but by also acquiring all types of ethnic influences from around the world. The title of the second album LAZARUS is a name that comes from the New Testament of the Bible about a man who was resurrected from the dead, in fact the only such human known to have been resurrected other than Jesus himself. This idea is very similar to the same ideas found on the Porcupine Tree album "Deadwing" as well as David Bowie's final gift to the world "Black Star," however ROZ VITALIS was ahead of these more popular artists in the creation of a theme based on LAZARUS and throughout this diverse album delivers one of their darkest, most eclectic and experimental album the band has ever taken on. The results of which will reward the adventurous musical listener but may fly over the heads of those who prefer the more straight forward melodies of the later releases. Personally i love all the phases of this Russian band from St Petersburg and LAZARUS proves how much creativity and elements of surprise can be stuff into this slightly over hour long extravaganza that mostly contains various keyboard allowances but also has a couple vocal tracks and includes electric guitar. Tracks are so different i'll describe them separately:

"Nepsis (Pulvis Version)" is a frenetic rocker that ushers in jarring energy with slightly dissonant chords with odd time sigs and basically tests the listeners readiness for the tenebrous musical experience ahead. I would call this hard avant-prog with frenetic rhythms, odd time sigs and Univers Zero type energy on steroids. The aggressive heavy organs is soul piercing that immediately brings the early 70s bands ELP and Le Orme to mind at their most energetic offerings. This is symphonic prog done right, with lots of progressive elements and an energy level to put most modern bands to shame. A short but sweet intro to a very odd album.

"Light Of The Ice (Dead Can Rise 1)" slows things down a bit and begins a new pace with a chromatic bell sequence and ambient background synths creating a dark gloomy atmosphere that the album relentlessly continues. It brings a Dead Can Dance feel to mind with repetitive chimed echoing keyboard notes that give a sonar type feel as if we're on a submarine ride in the deep dark oceanic trenches. The drone background synth sets up a depressive and melancholic atmosphere. The track clocks in at 10:39 and is the second longest on the album. This track takes the listener on a journey. A dark contemplative one that incorporates drone key notes accompanied by keyboard runs. The melodies are of the usual ROZ VITALIS type being grounded in Western Classical music but heavy in the synth department, free impov and progressive electronic mood building constructive elements. It also has bursts of energetic frenzies that overlay the slower parts creating a dualistic nature. This track also has beautiful classical piano passages with percussive chimes keeping the rhythm. Very beautiful and original music going on here and one of my favorite tracks.

"Sakura in Bloom" is the most intuitive free improv track on the album. Although that term improv can scare off many, there is an underlying melody here as a gifted classical musician such as Ivan Rozmainsky can never totally turn off the melodic button in his brain. This has a weird stilted melody that has very strange time sigs, symphonic background and periods of low activity. The aspect that seems most improv is the time sigs. Very random but somehow if you are a well seasoned prog musician enjoying extreme complexities you will love this. Has a rather Asian feel to it actually. Reminds me of some of the classical Chinese music from centuries of yore.

"Transspace Express" is yet another wild weird space cadet journey into transcendental ethereal meanderings. While registering heavily in the treble sound range with many types of keyboard riffs overlapping and creating a very space alien type of melody that could be the perfect call-and-response for the aliens in "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," the weirdness ebbs and flows and has bouts of strange "Saucerful Of Secrets" moments and straight on church organ meets prog folk such as with Gryphon. The seductive creeping synth riffs are quite pacifying and i love how the building blocks of sound superimpose upon one another to slowly ratchet the listener into higher platforms of listening pleasure. It builds up to some heaviness that actually enters rock territory despite this not being a rock album for the majority of its run.

"Thomas's Doubts And Assurance (Dead Can Rise 2)" is a continuation of the theme from track 2 that starts off synth heavy building up electric atmospheres with different sounds on different time sigs that march independently from one another but somehow unite in a complex calculus inspired manner creating a bizarre mixing of timbres, rhythms, percussive oddnesses and mood building effects. Taking track 2 a few notches higher to super-complexities.

"Dream Cave" takes us on an ethnic ride. It starts out with a female vocal chant and then turns into a synth and chime melody.

"Leopard Hunt" is a strange track that combines passages of extreme slow-tempoed ethereal trippiness with energetic ELP keyboard outbursts that work alone and together at times. The bizarre female processed female vocals and tribal drum sections with the classical Chopin inspired keyboard runs are truly magical. 
"Becoming The Poor-In-Spirit (Dead Can Rise 3)" continues the "Dead Can Rise" trippiness of the first two parts. At 22:11 this track engulfs practically a third of the entire album. It starts out with overlaying synth parts with one that seems to be "talking" from another realm. This is one of the most Rock In Opposition tracks that feels as alienating as a Univers Zero album. Nadezhda Regentova is shouting some strange lyrics towards the beginning that sounds like a mantra in some strange tongue. The time sigs, musical timbres and effects are very eerie and build a jarring dynamic that ratchets the track slowly into ever more strangeness. As you can imagine a lengthy track like this has plenty of time to breathe and develop most nonchalantly. It has a huge mid-section of tribal drumming with some sort of chant with different subordinate keyboard contributions. This one is truly a slow burner but that doesn't make it bad. It is perfect for what it is.

The fact that this track is ridiculously long doesn't make it any better than the others, it simply means that i has time to breathe and unfold in a way that is conducive to the desired outcome. It is for the most part non-percussive, keyboard rich, time sig diverse and contains lots of passages that meander for a while and then transmogrify into something completely different. As with the rest of the album the only weakness is the use of drum machines but the melodies, prog developments and spirit is top notch. Another ridiculously brilliant track that haunts the listener with diverse elements.

This album is highly recommended for those who love extreme progressive electronic and RIO and avant-prog. Although this has instantly lovable melodies that are pleasing all laid out in a classical music style, the juxtaposition of all of the elements supplicates a dream state where things are all slightly off albeit somewhat familiar. There is never anything totally jarring and the goal is for things to flow in and out of sync in a logical manner so that the listener can grasp onto the larger musical feel. I have to say that this is a very brilliant album that takes me on a most unexpected journey. The musical developments are as brilliant as the classical masters and it's apparent that many masters such as Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Tchaikovksky and the myriad other classical composers have the most impact here but so do the masters of prog rock and free jazz. This album hits me on a level very few do. This album consists of outstanding compositions however the weakness is that it feels very under-produced (for example the drum machines should be converted into a more elaborate drum section) and a rough draft of something that should have become much greater, however i'm still quite happy to hear this album even if it hasn't reached the magnanimity that it deserves. Bravo!

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 Macalla by CLANNAD album cover Studio Album, 1985
4.56 | 6 ratings

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Macalla
Clannad Prog Folk

Review by CapnBearbossa

4 stars Clannad were embarking for new musical frontiers in 1985 with Macalla, although it would be tough to nail that down as to category. This disc boasts a couple of first-time collaborations, both with Bono (of U2) and also with Mel Collins (of Camel and King Crimson fame). The partnering of Maire Brennan's usual vocals with those of guest Bono on "In A Lifetime" speaks to the group's leaning a bit more toward rock music than they had before, whereas their inclusion of Collins on various tracks indicates they were also making a stab in a proggy direction. (Even if we're talking perhaps of an 80's style pop/synth version of progressive rock along the lines of Marillion's Misplaced Childhood, published the same year).

Although as an Irish folk group Clannad been around since the early 1970's and were already acclaimed in their own homeland of Ireland, they'd just recently garnered sudden, huge international attention for the beautiful and ethereal soundtrack tune, "Theme From Harry's Game" . In a curious turn from those beginnings, they then made Macalla with as close as they would ever get to a straight-ahead, bare-bones, soft rock sound. It is worth noting that Clannad's previous albums had mostly been anchored in tasteful folk-rock arrangements of ancient Irish ballads and jigs, though they sometimes -- seemingly very cautiously -- could be caught approaching the world of jazz-rock jams and with their own compositions at various points between.

We still get a bit of the traditional Irish angle on this record in songs such as "Caislean Oir" and "Buachaill On Eirne", with lead vocalist Maire Brennan singing in that almost-extinct, ancient Irish language still spoken by the band members (understandable since they are all part of the same extended family and live in the Gaeltacht). Meanwhile, we're serenaded variously by gentle saxes, acoustic guitars or synth melodies, against atmospheric and gentle sonic backdrops. But elsewhere on this record, there are frequent and sometimes brash leaps into synth rock territory, occasionally maybe sounding a little cheesier than one would like, despite good hooks and a constantly solid sense of melody. In any case however, Maire is an adept lead vocalist who always manages to bring proceedings back to earth, albeit sounding all the while like an angel.

I would call this record a conditional success - certainly enjoyable by an audience tolerant of Celtic-edged pop and soft rock tendencies. But, if you're expecting anything approaching hard rock or edgey prog, well, you might be better off leaving this alone.

Clannad albums before this one are a bit more idiosyncratic (uneven in their production and style, though more even in terms of being very soulful, inspired, and very competently composed and performed). If you are looking where to go after or instead of Macalla ... Be advised that 1987's Sirius strayed briefly in a hard rock direction, trying out collaborations with already established stadium rock acts (Bruce Hornsby and Steve Perry of all people!); and then, with Anam and other efforts in the 1990's the band backed off again into the realm of introspective, mellow, but well-produced albums of airy Celtic ballads and soft jazz. Macalla, though, is probably the most accessible for someone sampling the work of this celtic folk/rock/pop combo if coming, say, from a soft rock, pop, or adult contemporary listening background.

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 Procol's Ninth by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.78 | 87 ratings

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Procol's Ninth
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars A natural follow up to Exotic Birds and Fruit, Procol's Ninth does have it's flaws. Having dispensed with producer Chris Thomas, whose productions were getting denser by the record until the reverberant "wall of sound" found on Exotic Birds and Fruit was the resulting cut off point for the band. Seeking out uber American R&R producers Leiber and Stoller, Procol recorded their cleanest and most uncluttered record since A Salty Dog. And what does work on Procol's Ninth, works wonderfully, while what doesn't is hardly bearable. Namely the album's closing track, a cover of The Beatles' Eight Days A Week.

It truly is bad enough to make one twinge. However, eight of the album's ten tracks are good, with the two worst placed at the end, so ending this listening trip early seems unencumbering.

The leadoff tack Pandora's Box, with it's exotic mix of marimba, guest flute and more of Keith Reid's esoteric lyrics, let PH have one more UK hit, getting as high as number 16 on the British charts. Fools Gold seems like more of Reid's and Gary Brooker's laments about chasing riches and the eventual fall back to earth that worked so well for the group on Exotic Birds and Fruit. Brooker's vocals are as convincing as ever, but it seems like we've heard this all before. Indeed. With Exotic Birds And Fruit, we have.

Taking My Time is a bluesy number suited naturally suited to Brooker's voice which ahs the unusual accompaniment of brass. Many have said, including guitarist Mick Grabham, that band sound like Chicago, but in fact, the brass is more New Orleans style jazz and fits even better wit the later bluesy track I Keep Forgetting. Yes, as many have said, Chris Copping's organ is relegated to the background, but if Procol Harum fans have not heard enough organ played on the previous hundred PH songs, then they truly deserve a cigar.

R&B and blues is also central to the excellent The Unquiet Zone which features Reid's take on the ravages of war, and some of Grabham's best guitar playing on the album. And this is saying a lot as he's stellar throughout the whole album and has an ear for melody and tone quite similar to Tull's Martin Barre if Ian Anderson would have let him cut loose a bit more.

The Final Thrust and The Piper's Tune are quintessential Procol Harum. The former featuring stately piano from Brooker and the later featuring Lowery Organ in place of bagpipes. Both work well with more of Reid's pessimistic lyrics to give the songs that special Procol Harum gravitas.

The less said about the last two tracks, Typewriter Torment, and the afore mentioned cover of Eight Days A Week, the better. The only thing I find off putting about Procol's Ninth is that I can only play it as a follow up to Exotic Birds and Fruit, as it has the same vibe but lacking the bombast I love so much about Exotic Birds and Fruit. I would never play it at any other time.

With that in mind, 3 stars seems right for this good but non essential album from the once mighty Procol Harum.

PH would go on to make one more album in the seventies, the dismal Something Magic before the band broke up. An album not even worth reviewing simply because the lack of objectivity that drove band to record a cover of Eight Days A Week only became worse by the time the band recorded Something Magic.

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 Plastic House on Base of Sky by KAYO DOT album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.66 | 10 ratings

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Plastic House on Base of Sky
Kayo Dot RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars My first listen to any Toby Driver music project is always so darn humbling. Every time. And Plastic House on Base of Sky is definitely no exception to this pattern. Surprise, shock and awe are invariables in my range of responses. Toby does things with sound, with music, that are beyond any conceptual imaginings that I could ever have for the scope and bounds of musical expression--and I think I have a pretty good imagination! I can honestly say that every single Kayo Dot album has caught me totally unprepared. I'm never sure whether or not I really like the music I'm hearing but I am ALWAYS floored and awed by it. Creative genius. Expanding the horizons of musical possibilities like nobody else in the 21st Century. Taking ten steps further into the realm of techno-electronic music than they did on 2014's Cofffins on Io, Toby Driver and company have once again put forth a challenge to all lovers of progressive rock and progressive music: Is this good? Is this progress? Is this prog? I can hear the arguments from both sides lasting for years to come. I, for one, like the constant unpredictability of Toby and the projects, themes, and musical directions he has chosen. To my mind, he is one of the very few truly "progressive" artists in the music industry today.

1. "Amalia's Theme" (7:33) is an amazing song of layers upon layers of--as if five different songs are all playing together as one--each "song" playing in their own channels (tracks), oblivious to one another, and yet the blend, the weave, works as a cohesive single song. This is so difficult to describe. This is techno pop taken to the next level, 70s BOWIE or 80s DEPECHE MODE elevated to meaningful sophistication. Awesome melodies, awesome effects, awesome instrumental weave, awesome synth solos, topped off by one of my favorite vocals from Toby. One of my favorite songs of the year! (10/10)

2. "All The Pain in All the Wide World" (10:09) Cool sounds can't save the discordant disconnect between music, melody and lyric on this one. Perhaps it is intentionally done, but it makes for a very difficult listening experience when one feels pulled apart in three and sometimes four or five directions all at the same time. Again, this may have been the desired effect KD had here, but I find it more than I choose to take. Perhaps it'll grow on me. (7/10)

3. "Magnetism" (7:29) DEPCHE MODE 30 years later! Even the vocal sound is stylized remarkably like that of DAVE GAHAN. No more need be said! (9/10)

4. "Rings of Earth" (8:40) opens with some synthesized drum sequence and multiple layers of synths before Toby's treated voice--mixed slightly back of front and center--enters. At 1:10 the music shifts a bit and Toby's voice comes slightly forward. This is so like early SIMPLE MINDS! Especially the rhythm programming. ("Promised You a Miracle" comes to mind.) The next shift in the third minute is pretty cool--multiple synths doing multiple things while a gradually increasing multiplicity of Tobys shout out, "Rings of Earth."* Then things return back to the second part before a ROBERT FRIPP-like heavily distorted guitar solo begins. The vocals become really cool with multiple voices layering and even harmonizing. Another outstanding song--perhaps more favored than "Amalia's Theme"! (10/10)

5. "Brittle Urchin" (4:32) opens with a heavily treated midi-bass skulking slowly over some distant background synth chords. A minute in, Toby's voice--in a fairly clear mix--leaps out at us with some more synths and slowly strummed guitar chords also present themselves very forward in the mix. At 2:30 drums and heavy bass chords join in. Toby continues singing in this pretty, mellifluous voice. It sounds like a PETER GABRIEL song! This is actually a very pretty, sedate song for TD! And a very pleasant end to an album. (10/10)

Another five star masterpiece of progressive rock music. This is rather premature, but I have a feeling that this is going to end up being my favorite TD album of all-time--even above my beloved three maudlin of The Well albums released since Y2K. Thank you, Toby, for never getting stuck in a rut, for being ever-lured to explore new pathways, for going beyond where anyone has ever gone before, for feeling that you always have to test yourself (against yourself)!

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 L'Isola Di Niente by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.24 | 684 ratings

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L'Isola Di Niente
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

4 stars PFM's last "classic" Italian release, "l'Isola di Niente" already starts to see a preference towards a more British approach of prog rock. This isn't a fault, per se; the overall quality is on par with, if not higher than, the earlier "Per Un Amico" but it still doesn't reach the peaks of "Storia di un Minuto".

The title track opens the album rather dynamically, with a haunting choir starting off before begin abruptly riffed away by the guitar. This certainly isn't the delicate rustic romance that we've heard from PFM before. But oddly enough, it works. After an opening side with some clear influences from British contemporaries (notably Yes for these ears), the PFM that we're more familiar with returns on side two.

"La Luna Nuova" is the hidden gem of this island, a lively piece evoking spry summer moods of seaside village life, and evening scenery on the Mediterranean. Very nice! The romance returns with "Dolcissima Maria" and "Via Lumiere" brings the album crashing to a chaotic jazzy end.

This album comes as much of a shock to the system for all of us who thought we knew PFM, but the oddities and experimentation ultimately pay off for a satisfying, cohesive album, if not one that's hard to get into at first. 4 stars as this is a very good album, even if it isn't textbook RPI.

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 In The Land Of Grey And Pink by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.27 | 1400 ratings

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In The Land Of Grey And Pink
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

4 stars Given the high ratings for this album by hundreds of other reviewers, it's easy to say that this isn't a very hard album to love. But what makes it so universally enjoyable?

The answer certainly doesn't lie in the musicians' virtuosic pyrotechnics; most of the album's licks are just simple major harmonies with pentatonic soloing and there's nothing flamboyant about their performances. Instead, what we have is an album that plays off of its charm. From a glance at the cover, you know that by listening to "In The Land of Grey and Pink", you'll be spending the next 40 or so minutes in a psychedelic dreamland, where wit and whimsy reign supreme. In this world, the music acts as a sort of blanket, keeping you warm and cozy in the rain. And the fabric that weaves its way into your heart? The warm, fuzzy organ sounds from David Sinclair and the mellow, nonchalant vocals singing of far away fairy tale lands and carefree excursions into fantasy.

In short, this is an album that prog fans should have no trouble getting into, and is somewhat of a fan favourite, but I wouldn't consider it a masterpiece, given the often repetitive musical accompaniments. 4 stars.

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100 MOST PROLIFIC REVIEWERS

Collaborators Only

ratings only excluded in count
  1. Mellotron Storm (3870)
  2. Sean Trane (3159)
  3. ZowieZiggy (2929)
  4. apps79 (2629)
  5. Warthur (2246)
  6. Easy Livin (1928)
  7. b_olariu (1912)
  8. UMUR (1910)
  9. Gatot (1811)
  10. Conor Fynes (1592)
  11. SouthSideoftheSky (1568)
  12. Evolver (1400)
  13. Windhawk (1365)
  14. Bonnek (1332)
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  16. AtomicCrimsonRush (1273)
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  18. erik neuteboom (1201)
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  22. Cesar Inca (928)
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  25. Matti (884)
  26. Rune2000 (867)
  27. octopus-4 (847)
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  30. Marty McFly (834)
  31. Guillermo (778)
  32. BrufordFreak (757)
  33. Chris S (753)
  34. siLLy puPPy (728)
  35. Eetu Pellonpaa (722)
  36. greenback (685)
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  38. progrules (666)
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  43. lor68 (601)
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  45. Ivan_Melgar_M (555)
  46. philippe (540)
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  48. friso (486)
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  51. admireArt (464)
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  54. colorofmoney91 (459)
  55. zravkapt (451)
  56. J-Man (449)
  57. DamoXt7942 (442)
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  92. Andy Webb (237)
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  97. js (Easy Money) (222)
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  100. The Crow (216)
Remaining cache time: 703 min.

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