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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 10,032 bands & artists, 53,885 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,439,457 ratings and reviews from 58,851 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
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Last 50 reviews
 La Fabbrica Delle Nuvole by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.67 | 24 ratings

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La Fabbrica Delle Nuvole
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars There used to be something of a running joke that Italy was home to a ton of doomed vintage prog bands that delivered one single album in their prime active years and then promptly vanished, leaving it their sole legacy. That rule has been somewhat shattered over the last few years as a ton of Italian groups have reunited and delivered long-belated follow-ups - yes, the likes of Museo Rosenbach, Murple, even Cherry Five and countless others - and now it's Maxophone's turn! Although `La Fabbrica delle Nuvole' doesn't often sound like their much-loved self-titled 1975 debut and only singer Alberto Ravasini and keyboardist Sergio Lattuada remain from the original line-up (although utilising the same talented new musicians that performed on their 2014 `Live in Tokyo' release), it's a varied and lavish assortment of rock pieces grafted to fancy classical-flavoured symphonic pomp that remains melodic and approachable without being overly simple.

Unpredictable and cool rocker `Un Ciclone sul Pacifico' opens the LP around teases of orchestration and cool slinking grooves from electric piano, with heavier punchy bursts kicking in and out around slick backing harmonies, and Alberto Ravasini's voice has remained in fine raspy and charismatic form (with all the vocals performed in Italian, no two versions including English offered this time around, thank you very much!). `Perdo il Colore Blu' is book-ended with twisting/turning up-tempo sprints, and there's a light jazziness to the Hammond organ and cheerful swagger of the piece with brief rollicking PFM-like trilling synth runs, and `Il Passo delle Ore', one of the loveliest tunes of the album, is a gentler romantic moment with a catchy clever chorus, soft violin and crisp electric guitar themes.

The title track `La Fabbrica delle Nuvole' is the first big `wow' moment of the disc, a fully-instrumental crossover of whimsical keyboard prettiness, light jazz-fusion guitar grooves and colourful symphonic themes (Marco Croci's slinking thick bass is a real highlight here too) all in under six minutes, and in parts it doesn't sound unlike Italian discs of the last few years like Progenesi's `Ulisse l'Alfiere Nero', Moogg's `Italian Luxury Style' or the last F.E.M album `Sulla Bolla di Sapone'. Folk aromas permeate intricate rocker `La Luna e la Lepre' with a dancing Baroque fanciness of madrigal-flavoured Gryphon and Gentle Giant-like sophistication and whimsy, plenty of ravishing acoustic guitars and intricate multi-part group harmonies, and dreamy synths, silken acoustic guitars and ruminative sax throughout the tasteful and classy `Estate '41' could almost have hailed from a Steve Hackett solo disc.

`Nel Fiume dei Giorni i Tuoi Capelli' is busily schizophrenic for a track that doesn't even run four minutes, bouncing through everything from dream-like careful soft rock with elegant violin and sparkling electric piano tiptoes to delicate folk and frantic contorting guitar races, ultimately sounding closer to something like the modern version of Swedish symphonic proggers Kaipa. Those baroque and chamber prog flavours pop up again throughout `Il Matto e l'Aquilone' thanks to warm folk-flecked acoustic guitars and prancing violin whilst alternating back and forth with snappy jazz-fusion turns and infectious keyboard-driven symphonic prog sprints, and `Le Parole Che non vi Ho Detto' is a short and giddy violin/piano closer.

While it can't possibly live up to the status that the popular 1975 debut enjoys, `La Fabbrica delle Nuvole's strength lies in the fact that it's a real grower that impresses more and more with every listen. It's an eclectic, colourful and tastefully performed comeback with plenty to recommend about it, and another example that no country delivers better and more rewarding modern prog albums from older acts than Italy. Lovers of Maxophone and Italian prog fans in general should end up having a terrific time with this unexpectedly vital, highly surprising and greatly inspired work.

Four stars.

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 The Executioner's Lover by BLUE SHIP, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Executioner's Lover
The Blue Ship RIO/Avant-Prog

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars A UK act The BLUE SHIP are one of promising chamber rock projects that launch cynical melodies and sorta epoch-making sound literacy. Sounds like they have various musically theoretical insights and techniques but do not stick to one genre nor one style but explore musical variation and diversity. Their debut (and only one so far) album "The Executioner's Lover" is fastidious one with distorted melody sweep, eccentric string stream, and decent pop essence. We can say that the soundscape of the album itself is light but plenty of complex kinds of flavour beneath their world, can't we?

Like a circus show, a pierrot le fou (maybe the frontman / vocalist Paul) keeps dancing in front of the audience, and some performers (especially two violinists Aaron and Daniel) play skillfully but weirdly, behind the master. The show is our pleasure indeed, and no tragic moment around them, but sadly looks like the creation's body might be too light for every progressive rock fan to accept enthusiastically. Their chamber sensitivity reminds me of the same vein like Lunapark Ensemble (no folksy texture in The BLUE SHIP though). This album could appeal to every genre fan but at the same time could not be so acceptable for him/her ... a tough stuff but this could be called as progressive, let me say.

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 Kingdom Of Madness by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.15 | 51 ratings

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Kingdom Of Madness
Magnum Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Oh Magnum... one of "those bands". They never really had that one massive hit that would forever engrave them into the hearts and souls of music lovers the world over, but they had a strong enough body of work that would permanently etch them their place on hard rock (and sometimes even heavy metal) compilations. Your old man has probably heard of them, but can't name a single song of theirs. Classic dad rock.

Magnum's music is heavily keyboard-driven (cheesy 70's keyboards, at that!), with big, bombastic vocals and a progressive touch. If they're typically considered "before your time" then 'Kingdom of Madness' probably sounds naff today, but give it a chance, because it's a solid debut with some fun, high-energy tracks.

While there are a few fairly dull songs on here, the good songs are truly something special. Magnum, and AOR in general (that's "adult oriented rock"... whatever the hell that means!), has never really been my cup of tea, but special praise must go to songs like 'In the Beginning', 'Invasion', 'Lords of Chaos', 'All Come Together' and the title track, all of which have converted me into a Magnum fan.

And I'm not ashamed of it.

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 Parallel Minds by CONCEPTION album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.34 | 61 ratings

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Parallel Minds
Conception Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Parallel Minds', Conceptions second album, vastly improves upon its predecessor. The songwriting seems more confident, with more interesting guitar riffs, a good use of keyboards and vocal melodies that seems more in sync with the music.

Sadly however, despite a few highlights, it's still a rather forgettable record.

Song's like 'Roll the Fire', 'And I Close My Eyes', 'Water Confines' and the title track are all decent enough, but the truth is, this is nothing more than generic progressive/power metal. There's countless other things out there that are so much better and memorable, that I never find myself coming back to this.

It's not a terrible release, and it does have its moments, but ultimately, let's face it, the only reason worth buying this today is if you're a fan of Roy Khan, who's post-Conception career would see him garner worldwide fame with the band Kamelot.

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 Parallelbiped by FAR SIDE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.87 | 6 ratings

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Parallelbiped
The Far Side Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars 3,5 really !!!The Far Side "Parallelebiped" make a style of sound certainly influenced by bands like Enchant, Tiles ( which are influenced by Rush specially in their third phase "Grace Under Pressure" and "Power Windows"). Although this isn't a masterpiece as for instance "Time Lost" from Enchant (review (#302991) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, October 9, 2010 with 5 Stars rate and "Presents of Mind" from Tiles ((#450636) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, May 21, 2011 with "4,5" stars. The album is very pleasant, the arrangements are very worked and his sound don't seems a cheap copy. The best moments in the album be in track 2 "Underworlds" and their strong rhythm and main melody, track 4 "Cruise Speed" and the overture with distorted bass guitar and "gently" broken beats, the middle ballad and their final "jazzy" passage (starting 6min 26 sec) and track 8 "Strange Atractors" and the delayed and repetitive electric guitar melody which for a breath moment reminds some passages from Rush's in "Distant Early Warning" and "Afterimage" from Grace Under Pressure ! In a short ...how I've said above isn't not a masterpiece but... a very good disc in the style . My rate is 3 stars!!!

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 Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.32 | 57 ratings

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Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ?
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My P.A. colleague and good friend Kenneth Levine claims that Novalis found its voice with this album. I am not sure if I totally agree with that statement, since I still haven´t heard much of their later material, but it is clear that Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? is a different LP of sorts. I supposed everybody thought they would embrace the pop market after the previous Brandung, but that was not what happened. Sure, the extensive, side long, opus are gone forever, but the prog element is still here. And if they were courting the charts they probably would not open the new album with an 8 minute+ song that is also drenched with mellotrons (who was still using that instrument in the disco dominated year of 1978?).

The guitars are on the upfront here, but overall their sound became more fuller and richer than before. There are also two instrumentals, and the most "commercial" song of the entire album, the title track, has a very fine, Jethro Till-like flute solo (again, who was still playing the flute in 1978?). So, although they were not that symphonic or epic, they still have something interesting, different and good to offer to us in a time most prog acts were either stuck in a rut or gone commercial. I found their music to be melodic and accessible, ok, but also intelligent, elaborated and soulful. The last track, Die Welt Wird Alt Und Wieder Jung, where the vocals are accompanied only by a tickling piano is specially poignant, even if I don´t understand german.

In the end I found myself loving this CD because it is obviously a labor of love. I admire their nerve to face the obvious commercial pressures of the time to release something so personal and different. There are no fillers, and the opening track Der Geigenspieler is definitely one of their best songs. If you lost any hope for them after the great Sommerabend, think it over.

Rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars. Not really essential, but very, very good anyway.

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 Black Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.22 | 786 ratings

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Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Music fads come and go so quickly that it's hard to keep up with a lot of them. That's why when Black Sabbath firmly established the genre of heavy metal (whether they solely created it or not is a different debate for another time) back in 1970, it's amazing that's it's stood the test of time and is still going strong today as one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

With that said, I'm not a massive Black Sabbath fan. I respect their achievements, and rightfully so, as the genre I hold so dear wouldn't exist without them, but that doesn't change the fact that their music just doesn't quite "do it" for me.

I can appreciate how revolutionary this was back in the day, nothing as heavy, dark or doom-laden had come before. However, by the time I came around to owning this CD, it sounded rather dated and didn't quite measure up to a lot of the stuff I was listening to at the time (I was born in 1987 to put that into context). Ozzy Osbourne's vocals are very primitive and somewhat annoying to listen to (story goes that he was only invited to join the band as he owned a PA), and Tony Iommi's guitars were never quite heavy or interesting enough for me.

That being said, there are one or two decent tracks, most notably 'N.I.B.' and the title track, but in all honesty I could think of thousands of other songs I'd rather listen to.

When it all comes down to it, it's just a matter of taste. While this is arguably one of the most influential albums of all time, I respect it for that, it's just not something I enjoy listening to. The record's status as a classic is certainly not in any danger due to my opinion, and hell, if you think this is blasphemous, you should check out my review for 'Paranoid'...

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 Hollow Years by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
3.07 | 61 ratings

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Hollow Years
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars 'Hollow Years' is an incredible song, and definitely one of Dream Theater's most memorable and catchy ballads, and releasing it as a single/EP is fully justified, however, it's the extra material that leaves this release feeling slightly lacking.

First off, 'Hollow Years'... great song. No need to have the radio edit alongside the album version though. Does anyone ever listen to these edited versions? Didn't think so. 'You or Me', a demo version of 'You Not Me' is a nice touch, but not as polished as the finished track. The main reason I like these kinds of discs is for the b-sides and non-album tracks, in which case here we have 'The Way It Used to Be'. It's an alright song. A bit bland if I'm honest. I can understand why it wasn't included on the 'Falling Into Infinity' album.

And then there's two lives tracks (included on the North Korean EP version of this, anyway). They're "good" I suppose, but not really incentive enough to track this down.

Overall, despite my criticisms, this isn't a bad little release. The musicianship is exceptional, as always, and there's not really anything particularly wrong with any of the songs, it's just not anything worth having unless you're a collector of everything Dream Theater.

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 Secrets of Life by PLATITUDE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.55 | 5 ratings

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Secrets of Life
Platitude Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Secrets of Life' is the debut album by the relatively unknown Platitude, and can best be described as a "generic power metal album". I don't mean this in a bad way, but there's really not much that can be said about it. It's a solid record, with some great compositions and polished production, and perfectly blends elements from power, progressive and speed metal. There's also some strong neo-classical vibes to some of the songs, which always adds some nice flavour. But overall, there's just nothing groundbreaking or amazing that sets them apart from similar bands.

With two guitarists and a keyboard player in the band, there is plenty of intense melodies and solos, with all three players working together perfectly and with great chemistry to come up with some exciting and complex songs, and Erik "EZ" Blomkvist's vocals fit perfectly with this genre of music.

It may be a "generic" album, but songs such as 'Deception', 'Just One Try', 'Evil Sky' and the title track, make this a worthy addition to a metal fans collection.

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 Cardington by LIFESIGNS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.74 | 10 ratings

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Cardington
Lifesigns Neo-Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars A front page news: Galadriel's Calibrated Collision Course has laid a delayed egg. That studio album from 2008 was heavily criticized by special collaborators, prog reviewers and ordinary members (here at Prog Archives, on the respective page, you can see how it was criticized and how lowly it was rated). I nevertheless dared suppose that it could announce a new paradigm for prog music, and now, with the release of a new studio album from Lifesigns, I see that this may be true. The opening track, lapidary entitled N (sic!), shows the band's approach to building the relationships between musical sounds following... no, not Galadriel's 2008 prescriptions but Galadriel's 2008 algorithm for making up a prescription. It sounds very unusual and fresh.

Another possible musical analogy is, perhaps unexpectedly, Haken. Early Haken, not fussy and clamorous The Mountain or glum and insipid Affinity, but magnificent Aquarius and intricate Visions. According to most of sources, Haken is 'heavy prog' while Lifesigns is 'neo- prog', but Martin Orford hates the term 'neo-prog' not without reason. Sometimes strict definitions produce confusions, and there's no reason to pay too much attention to tags. I can find a number of musical parallels between N and, exempli gratia, The Point Of No Return (the opening track from Aquarius) in melody making and arrangement techniques.

But with the track two, Voice In My Head, any hints of Galadriel and Haken disappear, and - quel passage! - we hear another Telephone. Do you remember? It's the second track of the previous (self-titled) album from Lifesigns. Now, four years later, the band exploits the same structure: track one is epic, long and complex, while track two has simple melody and simple rhythm and sounds almost dance-like. Okay, okay. The next track, Chasing Rainbows, is an excellent short song in the vein of Pendragon, Jadis or IQ... and then - quelle surprise! - the third Telephone begins! Hey guys, maybe enough? (Just to be clear: I do like Telephone. I like it very much, it's one of my faves from the band's debut!) But no, far from enough, the next track is again a reincarnation of Telephone! And only the closing track, Cardington, restores the initial atmosphere, it's a long epic suite with a lot of innovative moments, and the shade of Calibrated Collision Course is again here.

So, the album includes two amazing, absolutely incomparable epics, one beautiful short song and four Telephones. That's why I am so base and spiteful to give it only four stars. Otherwise, if the entire album was sustained at the level of its opening and closing track, even a five-star rating would be too low for it.

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 Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.71 | 84 ratings

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Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress is a Godspeed album which might trip up even long-time listeners of the band; the opening and closing tracks are masterful post-rock compositions of the standard we have come to expect from the Canadian unit, but the middle two tracks get a certain amount of flak, being as they are wild improvisational jams.

The trick to remember is that this is how the Godspeed live experience works - it's a side to their sound which they haven't gone out of their way to include on their studio albums before, but I think it works as a wild interlude between the two major pieces. The improvisations in question aren't brilliant as standalone pieces, mind - but then again, Godspeed have always put together albums which go best as integral listening experiences in their own right, rather than bits to shuffle into a playlist at random.

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 War and Peace by PANDORA SNAIL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 117 ratings

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War and Peace
Pandora Snail Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

Having really enjoyed the Russian band's live album from last year, I have now finally come across their debut studio album from 2015. Yet again I am amazed at the quality of the music and just how enjoyable this is the very first time I played it, growing to love it even more with each repeated play. Virtually instrumental, the band that one immediately starts to compare them with is Kansas due to the way that the violin is often taking the lead role, but they are influenced by way more than just one band and acts as diverse as King Crimson, Art Zoyd and Frank Zappa have all had their part to play with this album. It is complex and highly structured, with melodies and counter melodies repeated on different instruments (always nice to hear pure piano take a lead role), yet there is a vitality and breath of life through the whole piece. It is music that in some ways does take a lot of listening to, to gain the most benefit, yet at the same time is also immediate and transparent.

This album certainly never comes across as a debut, and I have heard that it took five years from the recording for it to see the light of day, and if that is the case then that is nothing short of travesty and tragedy as this is a super piece of work. There are a great many bands coming out of Russia at present, and Pandora Snail should be viewed as being at the vanguard of the progressive rock movement as this is superb on just so many levels. I can only hope that given the reviews I have seen over both this and the live album that they soon follow up with another visit to the studio.

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 King's Ransom by NOLAN, CLIVE album cover Studio Album, 2017
5.00 | 1 ratings

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King's Ransom
Clive Nolan Neo-Prog

Review by The Jester

— First review of this album —
5 stars Clive Nolan is one of the greatest musicians in the modern Progressive Rock music scene. His name is involved in a rather big number of bands or projects, such as Pendragon, Arena, Casino, Shadowland and others. However, as Clive told me once, he always has been a great fan of musicals. In 2008 he released his first musical named as She, under the name Caamora. (The story was based on the book with the same name, written by H. Rider Haggard). His second musical was Alchemy and it was released in 2013, under his name this time. The plot took place in Victorian England in 'Alchemy Universe', and it was based on a fictional story, written by him. When I bought Alchemy, I couldn't believe how wonderful it was, and I have no idea how many times I listened to it! (Even today, it still is one of my most beloved albums of the last decade). When I learned about King's Ransom, which is the sequel of Alchemy, I wasn't very surprised, mainly due to the fact that at the end of Alchemy there was a hint that the story could be continued in the future. I was also a little bit worried, because Alchemy was a really great album and I wasn't sure if he could repeat something like that again. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded' I pre-ordered King's Ransom, and what I received was a box set, including 4 CD's, 1 DVD and 3 booklets. A very impressive and expensive production as it seems. (The 4CD's edition was available only for pre-order as far as I know. The normal edition includes 3CD's plus 1 DVD). Now, let's take a look at the album itself. It is divided in 2 parts (Act I & Act II), and includes 33 tracks in total. Don't forget that this is not a Progressive Rock album, it's a musical. For the recordings of the album, Clive used 6 musicians and 11 singers who play the different characters of the story. In comparison with Alchemy, I think that King's Ransom is more sophisticated, and a bit 'darker'. The music is astonishing once more, and it changes according to the situations that the characters find themselves in. As for the performance of the singers, it is excellent on most occasions. (But that's totally a matter of personal taste). I will not get into details for each song separately, because that is an unfair thing to do. The songs follow a story line, and each of them has something to offer to the story. Therefore, there might be some songs not so 'strong' like others, but they add something and they move the story forward. Also, I enjoyed the dialogues that bind the songs together, because it gives a theatrical touch to the album. Despite the fact that I put the CD's in my CD player and listen to them without skipping not even one song, there are some songs that I enjoy more than others. Some of them are the following: Act I: Poison Runs the Course, Silent Army, The Deal is Made, Legend of the Unicorn Orchid, and of course the wonderful Solitary Man, with the fantastic voice of Gemma Ashley. (Goosebumps. Everytime!) Act II: In Harm's Way, Stand Fast, Turning the Tables, St Paul's and Epilogue. I will conclude this by saying that, King's Ransom is a definite must-have for every fan of Clive Nolan, but not only for them. Every person can enjoy this, because it is definitely a serious piece of art! I don't know about you, but I know I am going to enjoy it for a long long time. And as Clive Nolan writes in the first page of the booklet; 'Turn the lights down, and the speakers up' and immerse yourself once more in the 'Alchemy Universe'' My rating: 5 solid stars without a second thought.

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 Fresh Maggots by FRESH MAGGOTS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 23 ratings

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Fresh Maggots
Fresh Maggots Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars The dawn of the 1970s was rife with music like this - acoustically dominated folk with string and acidic accents, and idealistic lyrics with occasional protestations. Artists like FOREST, COMUS, JAN DUKES DE GREY, SPIROGYRA, and DONOVAN passed through before or during this duo's brief brush with fame. Others like STRAWBS and NICK DRAKE had merged folk rock with strings quite deftly. Yet somehow FRESH MAGGOTS produced a single album that was distinct enough to warrant your consideration even in this overcrowded field. Their brilliant harmonies, lush strumming style, instinct around economical arrangements, and sheer youthful enthusiasm more than compensate for any shortcomings, which in any case they make no effort to hide, only accenting their off the charts likability. That they were only 19 at the time of recording is hard to fathom yet paradoxically might explain all.

With a near total reliance on acoustic guitar and a few other instruments, Burgoyne and Dolphin managed to both arrange and sequence tracks such that they appear much more musically diverse than they actually are. We start with the immediately electrified social commentary of "Dole Song", enhanced by tin whistle and fortified by several appealing changes of pace, allowing the song to flit from acid folk/hard rock to singalong to trad ditty while only raising eyebrows in a positive fashion. "Rosemary Hill" is considered by many to be the only potential classic on the disk, but such talk misses the point of the exercise. It's a lovely reflective ballad devoid of amplification which adopts a few string accents as it progresses, but, like everything else here, is fortified by the company it keeps. "Everyone's Gone to War", "Balloon Song", and "Frustration" are the other "rockers", interspersed through the rest of the album. "Balloon Song" is much lighter in content than the others, like a cross between FOREST and FUSCHIA, but with more panache. Among the other ballads, "And When She Laughs" is pure bliss, while "Spring" is like an unplugged take on the more electrified numbers, swapping lead guitar for adept acoustic picking.

The bonus cuts consist of the A and B sides of a single that flopped just like the album. "Car Song" is a ringer for DONOVAN circa 1967, while "What Would you do" has a light mid period BEATLES feel. Both are welcome here for completeness but don't really make or break the CD release.

I hold out hope that, like FUCHSIA, FRESH MAGGOTS might find a way to reward their fans and collectors after an interminable absence. By my reckoning they would only be a spry 65 at this point, so why not have a go? In the meantime, this re-release is worth much more than a fly over if you are a prog folk fan, and why else would you have read this far?

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 Abacab by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.57 | 1130 ratings

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Abacab
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by FalconBleck

2 stars #1 Review

This is the worst Genesis album (yes, worse than Calling All Stations), this will probably change since i'm still unable to understand why some people love this album... being the worst Genesis album, is not that bad and it's also not saying much, you just have to live here in latin america, hear the most modern radio and then you'll know what horrible music is.

This review will be per song, so here i go:

1.- Abacab: 8/10 My favorite song in the album by just a little, it doesn't feel as repetitive as the rest of the songs and its really catchy, sometimes i hear something that starts similar and i want to sing this simple yet interesting song. The other thing that enhances this song is the live version done in 1987, it is a lit better than the studio version, so i think this song its over this album.

2.- No Reply At All 6/10 This song feels like Phil, it has the trumpets, its catchy and really well executed, not that very prog but its a great song, that also doesn't feel like it should be in the album.

3.- Me and Sarah Jane 6/10 I really like how it starts, i like the lyrics and the song in all changes constantly, its a really pretty song and also very complex, but i don't feel like all the instruments are doing the work they need to do with the song, including the voice, it feels like a mess sometimes, but it is not bad, and also it is played in a much better way live... or i should say "Three Sides Live".

4.- Keep it Dark 4/10 I don't like it, it starts interesting, but then is it as if Abacab struck into the song and then it just gets repetitive quickly, this song should be like 1 and a half minute, not more than 4 minutes!

5.- Dodo/Lurker 7/10 This was the other song in the album that almost got to be my favorite, its really catchy and it starts with a bang, shoutouts to the aweosome drum work here, i think that this song acomplishes the objective of the album better than Abacab itself, but Abacab its just a better song... by a little.

6.- Who Dunnit? 1/10 I can't even listen to it, its the worst song that Genesis has ever done, this is the main reason why i think Abacab is the worst Genesis album, its silly, it sound horrible and its badly executed, why Tony Banks, why?!?

7.- Man on the Corner 3/10 Its a boring song with boring and effortless synths.

8.- Like it or not 5/10 An average song , it feels like an average 80s rock song.

9.- Another Record 5/10 Starts interesting, but it's just average, what a way to end this album, the same way that it is.

The album overall gets a 50/100 points, wich translates to a 2.5 stars here, but i'll give it 2, it doesn't deserve to be higher than any other Genesis album.

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 Shangó by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.42 | 59 ratings

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Shangó
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In his autobiography Carlos Santana claims that the band produced the albums themselves (or, more to the point, himself). That may explains why their 80´s output was far better than most of their 70´s colleagues. It seems they never really gave the producer of the moment a full power over how the ending results would turn out, something a lot of other bands, to their forever regret, did. So, while the name of Bill Szymczyk may be on the cover but you won´t find another Eagles or Styx pastiche here. Sure, Shangó has its share of pop stuff, but Santana always had these melodic traits all along. But they, again, prove they could survive the 80´s without having to "modern up" their music (I.e, those cheesy synths and electronic drums)

After the great success that was Zebop, Shangó follows much of the same pattern (this time with a better cover art). The Nile is fine opener on which the band shows the same trademark Santana sound: great guitar lines, fine vintage keys and fine latin percussion. The hit single Hold On follows and it´s a nice pop song that kept them alive in the charts. Night Hunting Time is maybe the weakest track of the entire CD and it telling performed poorly when released as their third single from Shangó. Having had a big hit with Russ Ballard´s Winning the previous year they released another of his compositions, Nowhere To Run: the band proves they could emulate the AOR style of the moment like the real thing, not a pastiche. It did not fared as well at the charts as Winning, but it was a good melodic rock track. Nueva York on the other side is pure 70´s Santana, where old chum Gregg Rolie made a guest appearance with a blistering organ solo. A real fine instrumental that could be on Abraxas.

Side two fo the vinyl started with the afro/caribbean Oxun. Although a good song in several ways it did never appeal to me. Just a matter of taste. It is interesting that Santana did this track before world music became a common place in the rock music field by the mid to late 80´s. Body Surfing takes them into the Journey mood again, with Alex Lingwood doing the best Steve Perry emulation ever. It would be perfect for that band: with Santana it is a nice tune, but nothing special. Their version of What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) has a surprisingly good arrangement, with Carlos Santana doing a different riff and solo, but working marvelously. The reggae Let Me in is interesting that it is really the first time this band tried a take on that kind of rhythm that was a kind of fever during the late 70´s/early 80´s. The result is as competent as one can expect. Warrior is the second instrumental of this album, unfortunately not near as good as Nueva York. In fact is quite mundane and it is saved only by the fiery guitar lines of Carlos Santana e the good percussion. The very short title track clocks in a little more than one minute mark and is a reminder that Santana did not forget its latin roots.

Conclusion: another Santana album that stood well the test of time. Not as good as Zebop, but a good follow up and certainly one of the best early 80´s record done by a 70´s act. 3,5 stars.

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 Paradise Lost by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 476 ratings

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Paradise Lost
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Heavy: 1. of great weight; difficult to lift. 2. of great density. 3. 'Paradise Lost' by Symphony X.

Symphony X's seventh studio album, 'Paradise Lost', is, simply put, heavy. The majestic sounds of their earlier releases are gone, and the more orchestral feel of their previous two albums have dwindled. Now, in their place, is an all-out assault of the heaviest, beefiest, and arguably some of the most aggressive music you'll ever hear.

The song structures, while still maintaining progressive characteristics, are nowhere near as complex as past efforts, and the keyboards don't have as prominent a role in the songwriting. Much of the music is based around guitarist Michael Romeo's massive riffs and vocalist Russell Allen's intense yet melodic voice, both fitting together so perfectly that it's easy to forget the bands more classically-inspired days.

'Set the World on Fire', 'Serpent's Kiss', 'Paradise Lost' and 'Revelation' are all fantastic-enough reasons to get this album, but then there's what I consider one of the heaviest songs of all time; 'Domination'. The sheer weight of its huge riffs is insane, amazingly produced to really give it the thickness it needs. You really don't know what "heavy" means until you've cranked this song out at full blast!

Overall, this is certainly not Symphony X's best album, but it's a natural change of direction for the band, and one which should help them appeal to a broader metal audience. And you'd sure-as-hell better be a metal fan if you're going to listen to this!

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 Poets & Madmen by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.91 | 99 ratings

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Poets & Madmen
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars I remember this one so well. It was the Summer of 2003, and I was 16 years-old. I randomly picked up 'Handful of Rain', with no prior knowledge of the band Savatage. It was alright. Nothing amazing, but one or two catchy songs that stuck with me. Fast forward a few months and I was Christmas shopping with my sister. Having stumbled across a secondhand music shop, I had to have a quick look, and it was there that I picked up 'Poets and Madmen'.

And from here, Savatage would go on to become one of my all-time favourite bands.

'Poets and Madmen' sees Jon Oliva return to lead vocals, and Chris Caffery picks up the bulk of the guitar work after Al Pitrelli had left to join Megadeth. Though not strictly a rock opera like those the band were famous for doing, there is a loose concept behind the music, based upon real-life photographer Kevin Carter. It's not exactly an easy narrative to follow, though it doesn't disrupt the flow of the album either.

With Savatage slowly taking more and more of a backseat to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (a Savatage-related band that was having multiplatinum success), it's evident that a lot of the music here was influenced by the aforementioned group. Bigger and more grandiose than ever before, each of the songs here is a true gem in their own right, with each instrument working in complete synergy to produce some of the bands tightest and most cohesive compositions.

Highlights include 'Stay With Me Awhile', 'Commissar', 'There in the Silence', 'Surrender', 'Back to a Reason', and the centerpiece of the album, the ten-minute 'Morphine Child'. Each song really shows a band at the peak of their creativity, with plenty of crushing riffs, beautiful melodies, classical-inspired passages and the vocal counterpoint harmonies that the band had made their own.

A remarkable smorgasbord of every perfected nuance that had ever given this band their own unique sound, it's a shame that Savatage spent the majority of their career in the "underrated" category, because this album is an absolute masterpiece.

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 Wizard's Eyes by INSIDE THE SOUND album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.25 | 26 ratings

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Wizard's Eyes
Inside The Sound Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As this artist is categorized here under progressive metal - and I'm generally very little interested in metal genres -, I'm surprised to enjoy the album as much as I do. Quite likely this will be among my favourite instrumental rock albums of this year. Guitarist Max Velychko has been involved in several bands, but to me his playing was familiar only from the last year's album of MODERN- ROCK ENSEMBLE. The core of Inside The Sound are Velychko (guitars, keyboards, composer) and bassist Dmitri Trifonov (bass, co- composer on two tracks). Drums are shared by two guys, and some tracks feature guests.

This instrumental music full of power. Of course there's the guitar-heavy metal style present on most tracks, but the metal ingredient leaves plenty of room for other nuances too. The spacey keys work excellently together with the roaring guitars that are sonically not restricted to the angry metal sound. Velychko is one hell of a guitarist! My musical associations happen to be Finnish artists: Time Traveller and Low Budget Orchestra are one-man bands centred on heroic guitarism, and Inside The Sound easily beats them both. There's a sense of space rock, comparable to MOONWAGON. And what's best, the music has the vitality of jazz-rock and fusion. And the compositions are pretty progressive too. So, this album can sincerely be recommended to listeners of the mentioned genres.

Every third given rating here is five stars, and I sure sympathize with that. I'm undecided between 4 and 5 stars myself. The production is superb, as well as the playing. There are no weak tracks. Perhaps in the end the high-tempo energy gets a bit too overwhelming on the course of the 53-minute album. But remember, this comment comes from a listener favouring emotional aspect over technical bravado and power in music. [A little detail in the running order feels slightly questionable: with 'Intro' and 'Outro' the whole would have formed a coherent arch, if the relatively calm 'The Cold Spring' would have come somewhere earlier instead of being a "bonus track".]

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 River Of Return by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.23 | 24 ratings

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River Of Return
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Attempting a comeback after 25 years can be a risky venture, especially for an aging band so closely tied to a vanished zeitgeist, in this case the restless counterculture of early 1970s Germany. But Agitation Free got it exactly right for their improbable late '90s reunion, striking an ideal balance between nostalgia and change.

The classic AF lineup last heard in 1974 was still intact, minus keyboard guru Michael Hoenig, who at the time was occupied with crummy Hollywood soundtrack commissions, emulating his idols in Tangerine Dream. His absence would force the remaining players to pursue a bigger, brighter sound, far removed from the band's Krautrock roots but entirely appropriate for the more streamlined musical climate of the 1990s. 'Accessible' can be a dirty word in Progressive Rock circles, but it works here, and the band's jammy instrumental vibe wasn't compromised in the slightest.

The title track opens the album on an unexpected (and very pretty) acoustic guitar phrase, courtesy of Gustl Lütjens. The added saxophone is another surprise, alerting listeners that the band was no longer living in the past. Or at least not entirely: some of that spacey early '70s DNA resurfaces in the awkwardly titled "She Sells Seashells at the Seashore", one of two cuts breaking the ten-minute threshold. The past is likewise present in "Nomads", a groovy dream of Arab caravans recalling the band's travels throughout the Near East before recording their first album in 1972.

Both tracks reference the same cosmic heritage, but without sounding at all retrograde. Ditto the climactic "177 Spectacular Sunrises", closing the album on a drifting meditative note consistent with the band's Krautrock origins, but updated to the uncertain end of a turbulent millennium.

It's too bad that perfectly timed curtain was then spoiled by an atypical bonus track: the hard-rocking encore "Keep On": not a bad song, but all-too conventional after the uncanny voyage preceding it.

The reformation was brief, and another decade would pass before the band was heard again (see: Shibuya Nights"). But if this ends being the final Agitation Free studio album it'll be remembered as a worthwhile valedictory, especially for a group more than two decades away from home.

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 Return to Mingulay by OCEANS 5 album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 132 ratings

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Return to Mingulay
Oceans 5 Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars For me, one of the more illuminating aspects of this "supergroup" release is learning that ROD STEWART/SUTHERLAND BROTHERS essentially ripped off the "Mingulay Boatsong" for one of his many mega hits, "Sailing". The meter and most of the melody of his arrangement is more than influenced by that 200 year old shanty.

I don't mean to diminish this enthusiastic release by implying that I'm otherwise unimpressed, but this is really singer songwriter folk with full rock backing and massed oft repeated choruses. Apart from Colin Tench's guitar style, at times, and the presence of a vocal member of AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD, I don't really get the FLOYD comparisons, but agree that fans of certain aspects of STRAWBS and JETHRO TULL might enjoy what's on offer. here. The strummed acoustic guitar style, Andy John Bradford's vocal inflections, and the general song structures put me in mind of STRAWBS circa "Bursting at the Seams", but without its dark Goth side and, paradoxically, without its chart ready hits. The over busyness of some of the arrangements bring to mind TULL, but more the arty "War Child" style than "Heavy Horses". Other occasional points of comparison could be MOTT THE HOOPLE (on "Six Thousand Friends",Bradford goes "All the Young Dudes" on us) and RUNRIG, particularly their nautical proclivities. All to say that this is an enjoyable listen but far from challenging even in comparison to the less complex works of the aforementioned.

Probably the best tracks here are the Boat song itself and the heartfelt "5 O'Clock Line", but neither really awaken stirrings deep inside, and, while nothing is ghastly, the social commentary of "6 Thousand Friends" is a bit more simplistic and direct than even most folk singers might advise. So, "Return to Mingulay" is rounded up to 3 stars because admirers of the fusion of folk music and anthemic pop, or of Old Spice aftershave, might be rendered weak-kneed by its oceanicity.

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 Takk... by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.86 | 292 ratings

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Takk...
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

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

4 stars Continuing their dream pop laced post-rock with classically ethereal and spaced out melancholic rock like no other, SIGUR RÓS released their fourth album TAKK? six years after their breakthrough album "Ágætis byrjun" caught the world's attention with their bizarre mix of ambient art rock set out in a classically tinged post-rock world that was as alien as their native Icelandic topography. Well, fourth album if you're not counting the 2003 documentary soundtrack "Hlemmur" which was limited to the world of electronica with sounds solely created to accompany the visuals. TAKK? (means 'thanks' in Icelandic and other Scandinavian languages) continued the success following "( )" and hit the number one spot on Iceland's album charts and was another international success story as well. As with previous albums the lyrics appear in the invented language Hopelandic a great deal but TAKK? has many tracks in Icelandic as well, however they come across as angelic gibberish all the same sounding like a more classically infused version of the Cocteau Twins at times.

While stylistically TAKK? doesn't deviate significantly from the established overall sound that SIGUR RÓS had latched onto on "Ágætis byrjun" and carried on with "( )," the music has actually become significantly more complex with more extensive uses of time signature changes and complex polyrhythms. And also while previous albums were limited to the four main musicians with four guest musicians appearing on "( )," the band clearly had a larger budget to play with on TAKK? which finds an astonishing sixteen guests providing cellos, violins, violas, trumpets, trombones and additional vocals (even a choir) and percussion. The results of which allow a substantially more lush and full effect sound that allows the many musicians to sound like a complex symphony rather than a more mortal post-rock band from Reykjavík.

TAKK? is yet another tranquil journey into an ethereal sonic journey that incorporates lush ambient passages, placid childlike vocals portraying a possible worldview of innocence and peacefulness along with a sophisticated string and brass section that master the art of note slides and subtle leapfrogging effects. While the music slinks by on simmer for the majority of the album's hour plus run, there are outbursts of climactic rock crescendos that unleash the normally tamped down electric guitars however they don't last long so do not expect the emphasis on TAKK? to be in the rock department. In fact this is much more of an art pop creation that just happens to have rock elements casually strewn about.

In all regards, TAKK? perfectly evolves the band to the next level without sacrificing any of the elements that cast them in a global gaze of admiration however to their credit they took the sound and expanded it in the most logical manner? that being an expansion of the musicians to broaden the sound, a more sophisticated approach in constructing the compositions and utilizing even more catchy pop sensibilities on tinkly piano melodies and polyrhythms. To the untrained ear TAKK? may sound simply like more of the same but for those who have engaged in even a casual classical music appreciation course will be able to pinpoint the differences. TAKK? may not win over any converts who don't have the ear for this most bizarre of sounds but it is certainly a worthy follow-up to a string of exciting albums.

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 Between Flesh And Divine by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.16 | 283 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Like a better Neo-prog: 8/10

Emotive, atmospheric, melancholic, delicate, but also technical and well performed, ASIA MINOR's 1980 release plays a mellow homage to the 70s prog rock with their lush symphonic style. The band is heavily influenced by CAMEL, as observable by the long instrumental passages heavily reliant on the flutes and powerful Moog drone-esque moments; and even by YES' CLOSE TO THE EDGE, as Northern Lights' intro, or better, post-intro, feels like an 80s re-read of A Solid Time of Change. Lionel Beltrami's drumming is akin to Bill Bruford's and Robert Kempler profound and melodic keyboards manage to border Pete Bardens' magic; two things which depict ASIA MINOR's competence. BETWEEN FLESH AND DIVINE don't sound like a 70s symphonic prog proper neither as 80s Neo-prog; it's an intermediary with elements from both (although the first is more prominent). Perhaps one of the last roars of the prog rock mammoth before it entered its slumber.

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 Wizard's Eyes by INSIDE THE SOUND album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.25 | 26 ratings

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Wizard's Eyes
Inside The Sound Progressive Metal

Review by TopPoint

5 stars Familiar with the game of guitarist Max Velichko on the projects Sunchild & Carthage. When he found out that he had his own instrumental project, he was very happy and interested. After a short search I found two albums, I was really glad to it. After listening to the first album, I immediately switched to the second one, which has the name "wizard's eyes". The album is uniquely more mature than the first, in music the influences of such styles are heard; jazz, progressive rock and metal, fusion, in places you can hear something from Vedic culture. You can also hear a lot of experiments in music, there are electronic sounds, and the lack of a keyboard player in the group (in the first album he was) is not noticeable, since Max independently played keyboards, skillfully and gracefully. Very pleased with the variety of musical moods, here there is also expression and lyrics and atmosphere and flight, indeed, everyone thinks they will find something of their own, I found. This album is for me the opening this year, now I look forward to continue!

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 Eulenspiegel by OUGENWEIDE album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.14 | 22 ratings

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Eulenspiegel
Ougenweide Prog Folk

Review by ibolomania

4 stars A folkish and medieval sound with some progressive features resulted in definite album for prog-folk listeners. Two gems Tills Ende und Vermachtnis and Wol mich der Stunde shift the album to prog-folk genre. Recommended!

You are more likely to love this album if you like Gryphon or Spirogyra. For the two tracks mentioned above, you will find a mixture of two bands with nicely sounded German lyrics. There is a highly presence of soft flute through the album which adds some symphonic salt to the main dish.

Last but not least, vocals are simply great (both male and female) along with very clean bass lines and occasional guitar performances, especially in Wol mich der Stunde.

I would recommend this album if you like folk but also seek for basic progressive elements and compositions.

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 Operation: Mockingbird by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.08 | 5 ratings

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Operation: Mockingbird
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

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

4 stars Another pleasure has come to me. This "Operation: Mockingbird" has been released in September, 2017 as a FRENCH TV's newest album, that I could not wait for until then.The previous creation "Ambassadors Of Good Health And Clean Living" is one of the best albums in 2016 for me, so I've listened to and digested their new album carefully, with having massive expectation and slight anxiety. Just the moment I completed this stuff, my tiny anxiety was blown away.

"Operation: Mockingbird" is full of unique musical ideas, cynical phrases, and auditory illusions. Like an expensive bottle of French wine or Opus One in California, there is a kind of complex harmony and delicate balance produced with lots of magnificent sound elements. Sounds like each of the elements cannot be matched with others, but as a matter of fact, all of them can be harmonized perfectly, with incredible complexity.

What I can clearly understand via this album, their sound structure smells of apparent humanity, that might be deeply in a mind of every French TVer. I cannot help feeling that this soundscape has broken naturally out through their session or play rather than been produced artificially by themselves. Very sensitive melodic / rhythmic construction is well matured, regardless of fragility. What a mystery, and decent explosion.

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 Iron Marsh by HEXVESSEL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.58 | 7 ratings

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Iron Marsh
Hexvessel Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars This rather generous EP followed on the heels of HEXVESSEL's best album, "No Holier Temple", and bears similarities in structure to that album, with a blend of protracted epics and briefer pieces. It begins with, I suppose, it's raison-d'etre, the 13 minute "Mask of the Universe", which is denser than the longer pieces on the prior album, obsessing over droning guitar figures and repetitive incanted lyrics that break occasionally to reveal underlying themes of interest. It puts me in mind of some early FRANCO BATTIATO for some reason, that is to say, it would have been regarded as experimental 40 years ago. Today...I'm not quite sure what to make of it, only to say that I enjoy parts and am lukewarm on others.

For the rest, "Superstitious Currents" and "Woman of Salem" are both highlights, the first a stark ballad sung in a suitably stunned voice and tackling the occult, the second a cover of a YOKO ONO song made HEXVESSEL's own. It's one of the most accessible tracks they have done, which means it's still a challenge, but in a generally propitious manner, with Marja Konttinen's vocals equal to the grim task of recounting the 1692 witch trials. "The Tunnel at the End of the Light" proves that you can pluck out a mediocre old chestnut, dress it up with guitars and drums, and churn out a mediocre redux quite handily. The closing number "Don't Break the Curse" is lazily dependent on spoken word, which is a shame as it's quite compelling when it ultimately transforms itself into a song, too little too late.

Since "Iron Marsh" at best consolidates the gains made by "No Holier Temple", and since its keynote piece doesn't quite deliver what's implicitly promised in the playbill, I'm going to round down from 2.5 stars for this mildly anemic showing.

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 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.60 | 214 ratings

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To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nothing like a little controversy to draw some attention to yourself. Steven announces his new album and how it's in the poppier mode and well let the discussions begin, as they have. The album cover is so immature and I'm not sure of the reason for that other than it's more controversy. Lots to like though over the one hour of music here, and much of it sounds familiar reminding me of PORCUPINE TREE and past Wilson solo albums. It does feel like a re-hash of sorts but there's some new ideas here as well but unfortunately they don't save this album for me.

"To The Bone" opens with spoken female words giving us Steven's kool-aid. It suddenly turns powerful with plenty of atmosphere and harmonica too. It becomes more open sounding when the vocals arrive a minute in. It picks up as the vocals continue. Lots of beats in this one and an extended guitar solo during the instrumental section. It's okay. "Nowhere Now" has reserved vocals and piano before it turns powerful a minute in, then it picks up with vocals. Catchy stuff.

"Pariah" is easily my favourite thanks to Ninet Hayeb's gorgeous and moving vocals. And that's the thing with this song it really moves me. "The Same Asylum As Before" has these expressive guitar melodies and a beat as these really high pitched vocals from Steven arrive(haha). When he sings normally this song turns into something that's really good. Like something off of "Stupid Dream" or "Lightbulb Sun". I like when it turns powerful before 2 1/2 minutes. Back to the chorus 4 minutes in before kicking back hard late.

"Refuge" opens with piano and fragile vocals. There's those high pitched vocals Steven seems intent on doing on this album. Yikes! I like when it kicks into gear following this and check out the harmonica too. followed by a guitar solo. Reserved vocals and piano end it. "Permanating" is my least favourite song by far. A catchy beat with drums, piano and mono-toned vocals. When it kicks in Steven uses his newly found high voice. And this does not work here at all.

"Blank Tapes" is a short laid back piece that's pretty good. "People Who Eat Darkness" reminds me too much of "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" once it kicks in after the "F" bomb in the intro. Yes this sounds amazing but it's too familiar. "Song Of I" has percussion and a dark mood as reserved vocals join in. An electronic vibe to this one, lots of atmosphere halfway through. Some ethreal female vocal melodies later.

"Detonation" is the longest track at almost 9 1/2 minutes but it's far from the best track. Electronics as relaxed vocals join in with plenty of atmosphere. It kicks in surprisingly hard before 2 1/2 minutes. The vocals return as it stays uptempo. Some nice guitar after 7 1/2 minutes during the catchy instrumental section. "Song Of Unborn" is the mellow closer in the Steven Wilson tradition and it's one of my favourites from the album. The chorus is beautiful with vocals, piano, a beat and atmosphere. It does turn more powerful which I really enjoy.

A good album but there's too many things that I don't enjoy to offer up that fourth star.

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 Silence and Tears by GALLEY BEGGAR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.38 | 4 ratings

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Silence and Tears
Galley Beggar Prog Folk

Review by Tonbridge Man

4 stars Silence and Tears marks a quantum leap for Galley Beggar and in truth this their third album is the first one that prog fans and prog folk fans should consider adding to their collections. Everything is an improvement on their second effort - mixing, production values, song-writing, quality of vocals and most of all a greater tightness and focus in their approach. Their second album was an interesting but disjointed set of folk songs. Here they are reaching for greater things, still drawing on the influences of heroes of the great days of folk rock , Fairport, Steeleye and Pentangle but stamping their own mark. There is no weak song here and several standouts including a gorgeous version of Geordie, the poignant self -penned title track, the opener Adam & Eve, the haunting Empty Sky and the 9 minute long Pay My Body which references a Sailors Life slightly but is none the worse for that. Go check it out - you'll be surprised.

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 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.43 | 68 ratings

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Erwartung
Eden Prog Folk

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

5 stars Taking in German symphonic band Eden's 1978 debut `Erwatung' for the first time without any prior knowledge of the group, listeners would instantly note how joyous and spirited the male/female vocals are throughout the entire LP. Research into the band reveals that the group were Christian, and suddenly that joyful and uplifting warmth that emanates from the voices suddenly makes perfect sense! `Erwatung' turns out to be a true symphonic gem, and a very rare example of a German album that actually shares many similarities to classic RPI/Italian prog works with its use of choral voices, flute and violin creating a rich orchestral-like grandness, perhaps with Latte e Miele, Celeste and Quella Vechia Locanda instantly coming to mind. It also reminds in parts the music of German acts such as Novalis, Eloy, Hoelderlin and Epidaurus, and the band offer lyrics based around biblical texts performed in their native language.

Several themes - some sprightly, others reflective - weave in and out of opener `Spätregen' by way of sparkling piano, humming Hammond organ, stirring violin, shimmering synths and a commanding dignified male vocal. Some flighty flute alongside peppy drumming and crisp electric guitar runs instantly calls to mind Camel and Asia Minor, and there's nicely darker wafting sax and heavier grooves in the final moments. Pretty acoustic guitar strums, breezy flute and delicate electric piano tiptoes drift among `Erwartung's sobering narrated passages that remind of Eloy's `Ocean' era, punctuated by incidental ripping electric guitar bursts and groaning sitar, and the most placid of builds from a soothing male and female choir take the piece into heavens of the grandest symphonic majesty. A shorter piece then wraps the first side, `Eden, teil I', with constantly reprising prancing violin, flute and electric piano themes dancing whimsically around alternating male and female verses and subtly grumbling bass.

The second part of `Eden, teil II' fades in to welcome the second side but takes a darker turn, where a narrated passage grows in manic intensity over eerie organ and stark clarinet, and devilish treated voices and brooding synths grow in menace between punchy urgent blasts. A sole female voice trills around sombre violin and heartfelt piano, and ultimately the piece lifts into a triumphant choral fanfare (and one fleeting little moment almost drifts into King Crimson's `In the Court of the Crimson King', keep a listen out for it!). `Ein Anderes Land' is the sixteen minute epic closer, full of plenty of cascading synth runs, an uptempo momentum, snarling heavy guitars and roaring sax. Portions led by male vocals and alternating dreamy and heavier guitars remind of Novalis, the spacey synths and starker female voices are similar to Epidaurus, and in addition to some flamenco-like acoustic guitar spots, there's brisk funky diversions and a classy assortment of swooning orchestration that careens through the entire piece. An extravagant array of choral voices are favoured over too many lengthy instrumental runs, and it culminates in a big fanfare finale.

Some may find `Erwatung' just a little too vocal heavy when it could have done with a few longer and more frequent purely instrumental sections, but it still remains an impeccable work. With not only a silken production and memorable instrumental themes but some of the loveliest singing to ever appear on a German prog-related disc, `Erwatung' is a symphonic classic, and one well in need of some new belated extra attention.

Five stars.

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 The Holographic Principle by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 59 ratings

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The Holographic Principle
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Epica is one of the more notable bands of the ever-growing operatic female-fronted metal acts. One of Its distinguished characteristics is how the quasi-symphonic elements play not just a supporting background role, but often lead the music as much as the typical metal instrumentation. Another is the beauty-and-the-beast formula, with ethereal acrobatics of Simone Simons and the often symphonic pop melodic inclinations contrasted with the harsh metal riffs and growls. The growls are annoying as always, of course, but I know, I know , it's kind of Epica's schtick it can't be itself without. I've previously said that all Epica sound is the same, and it kind of still is, but what I marvel about is their consistency in proving high quality and catchy material with so many 70-minute-plus albums to their credit.

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 Genesis 1983-1998 by GENESIS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.52 | 95 ratings

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Genesis 1983-1998
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars An encyclopedia of the longest, least fruitful and dreariest period in the band's history. The leading role of Tony Banks as composer and arranger was rapidly decreasing, the role of Phil Collins was rapidly growing. The band's music of this era sounds as if the musicians were bored with music. Or, at least, with prog music. While a few moments of the 1983 self-titled album (usually called Mama in daily use) still slightly remind the substance we call prog, Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance are rather anti-progressive. The best possible place for the music of this kind could be a sandy beach near Sochi or Tuapse, full of intensively relaxing carefree people. Calling All Stations is partially reconvalescent but was booed by the fans who could not (or at least thought they couldn't) reconcile themselves to the band's new vocalist and two guest drummers instead of Collins.

By convention, I speak of 'extra tracks' (disc 5) only. Like the 'extra' disc of the 1976-1982 box set, there's no surprise here, no previously unreleased and unknown songs. The disc 5 could be entitled 'The Tracks That Didn't Fit In'. Indeed, On The Shoreline and Hearts On Fire didn't fit in We Can't Dance, the next three tracks didn't fit in Invisible Touch, and the last three in Calling All Stations. And a couple of them could add something essential to a respective album; I think it's quite enough reason to give the box set 4 stars.

On The Shoreline was recorded during the We Can't Dance studio sessions and first released on the promo 12 inch maxi single I Can't Dance in 1991. Many of us agree that in 1991 Genesis released their worst studio album ever. But On The Shoreline could seriously pull it up if included. Yes its sound faintly differs from the sound of other album tracks, yes it's nothing but 'beach' poppy prog, or rather proggy pop. But it's much tastier, more distinctive and better done.

Hearts On Fire is another We Can't Dance studio outtake, it first appeared on the 1992 single Jesus He Knows Me. The track is done in the same antsy and fussy manner as Domino or (why bother to go too far?) Jesus He Knows Me just mentioned above.

Do The Neurotics and I'd Rather Be You were first released on the 1986 single In Too Deep, Feeding The Fire first appeared the same year on the single Land Of Confusion. While I'd Rather Be You and Feeding The Fire can be considered a sort of 'tissue matrix', something mediocre and unessential, Do The Neurotics could make Invisible Touch less commercial and even less poppy if included in the album.

And finally, the three Calling All Stations studio outtakes. Let's be clear: I like Calling All Stations. I think that it's overall a good album. I don't care about Phil Collins (though he is of no doubt one of the very best drummers on our Globe and an excellent vocalist) or Peter Gabriel (though he wrote very intricate lyrics). I even don't care too much about Steve Hackett (though the authorship of a number of beautiful Genesis tracks belongs to him). The two band members who really interest me as a dedicated listener are Michael Rutherford (less) and Anthony Banks (much more). To me, the question number one is always 'who wrote the music'. And voila - both Banks and Rutherford are here, most of the musical material was written by Banks, there's a lot of material from Rutherford as well - so, why people say this is not Genesis? Just because the singer's voice differs from what we used to hear, and drums are operated by hired employees? Yes the difference is audible. But, on the other hand, don't you find that the overall music picture had changed to better as a result? Of course the band's last studio album is not a full recovery, not a true return to prog. But musically it's much closer to what we call 'genuine Genesis' than the two previous albums with Collins. I think the reason was restored musical leadership of Banks. Of course in 1997 he was not the same as in 1973 but remained Banks nevertheless.

Anything Now, Sign Your Life Away and Run Out Of Time were all first released officially on the 1998 maxi single Not About Us, but almost a year before all the three appeared on the unofficial (bootleg?) 'promo' CD issued in UK - it had a monstrously long title (I even don't remember it) and contained non-album songs and alternative (including acoustic) versions of some album tracks. Musically, I'd say Run Out Of Time has a number of attributes of instant Genesis style and could make an asset to the album if included, while Anything Now and Sign Your Life Away are quite primitive and faceless. But anyway I'd prefer to see all the three on side four of the vinyl version instead of etch...

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 Walk Into Light by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.85 | 115 ratings

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Walk Into Light
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars In a perfect world...

Ian Anderson's obsession with early eighties' synths and drum machines reached it's climax with the 1982 Tull album Under Wraps and this solo outing from Anderson titled Walk Into Light. I don't resent Anderson's gravitation towards the music machines of the New Wave, but I do resent his sticking his nose into a musical area that he didn't help to form and develop. If I had to guess, Chrysalis label mates Ultravox would seem to be the prime motivation for Ian's new sound but you could toss in everyone from the Eurhythmics to Erasure as influences.

This outing finds Anderson paired up only with future Annie Lennox keyboardist Peter-John Vettese, while Anderson mans a Lynn drum machine and sampled bass to go along with his occasional and rare sprinkling of acoustic and electric guitars and his ever present flute which, strangely, seems right at home with plastic synth tones.

The songs themselves are not bad and some would have made excellent Tull material if they were written and recorded some 5-8 years earlier, especially "Made In England", Trains", and "Black and White Television." What is probably most annoying to me is the lack of pure musical experimentation or flight of fancy soloing that would have at least shook up the songs from their laid back pacing and carefully measured delivery. Anderson was still in fine voice at this juncture and thoughts of what could have been seem to haunt this era of his work.

To conclude, Walk Into Light would not have been comparable to the artist's work that helped to influence it. In a perfect world where Jethro Tull had never existed before Ian's first solo outing, Walk Into Light would have had no place next to the output from Ultravox, Eurhythmics and Erasure simply because it was not really Anderson's forte and, more importantly, it was simply not as good. 2 stars.

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 Bombas en el Aire by MEDIABANDA album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.12 | 15 ratings

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Bombas en el Aire
Mediabanda Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. If you like complex music with plenty of horns and a female vocalist who can sing with power you need to check this band out. Hailing from Chile and born from the ashes of the great FULANO this is a band who checks all the boxes for me. If not for that one song I'd be giving this the full 5 stars. Still an album that will be high on my final "best of" list for 2017. I was disappointed to see that Arlette the former singer for this band and FULANO is no longer here but the new singer who has been part of this band for years anyways is more than an adequate replacement. There's so much going on with each track, there's a lot to describe that's for sure so bear with me.

"Mc Entere Por Facebook" builds to a nice groove with horns. Love the female vocal melodies. Great sound here. A calm around 2 minutes with the drums and bass standing out. Electric piano joins in as we get some beautiful sounds. Dissonant horns before 4 1/2 minutes as the bass and drums impress. Those vocal melodies are back late to end it.

"Bombas En El Aire" opens with horns honking including a bass horn as the vocals arrive with drums in tow. She starts to sing with power a minute in as the music also gets heavier. A calm before 2 minutes as vocals and drums take over. She sings with power once again as themes are repeated. A nice dissonant guitar solo starting before 3 minutes. Horns are back then vocals before 4 minutes to end it.

"El Sofa" is led by the drums early on as we get these random patterns. Complex is the word including the intricate guitar that joins in. So impressive! Horns arrive around 1 1/2 minutes. The vocals before 2 1/2 minutes are kind of jerky like the guitar and drums here. It kicks into a steady groove before 3 minutes and she's singing fast here. The horns are back as the vocals stop. Vocal melodies before 4 1/2 minutes with driving drums and bass. The guitar joins in as well. So good!

"Mi Ego Me Odia" is heavy with guitar to begin with and check out the drumming. Male vocals and horns join in before a minute. Catchy stuff. Intense is the word as the horns join in. Passionate vocals are back to end it.

"Perfectible" is my favourite and it makes me laugh as we almost get her rapping the lyrics. It opens with horns but soon the guitar is ripping it up as the bass throbs and the drums impress big time. So much going on. Incredible! A change before 2 1/2 minutes then those amazing vocals sing with attitude almost spitting out the lyrics, and almost rapping as it were. Head-banging time. Discordant piano around 5 minutes. A mind blowing track.

"Deterioro Plausible De Los I Conos Erroeos" is where they slow it down as we get a beat with keys to start. It kicks in hard with horns just before a minute then settles back as male and female vocals arrive. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes but I'm not big on this although it settles again quickly as contrasts continue. My least favourite song by far.

"Wikistan" opens with bass and atmosphere then the drums kick in followed by vocals and horns just before a minute. Her singing is brief and what follows is complex. She's back after 2 1/2 minutes but not for long. I like the drums and horns after 3 minutes then the bass comes to the fore. Electric piano and horns standout after 3 1/2 minutes over the bass and drums. So freaking good as they seem to jam hard here. Guitar only echoes to the end.

"Mediabanda" opens with pulsating piano as the bass and drums join in. Soon vocal melodies arrive then horns as they replace the vocals. She's back before 2 minutes. Love her singing after 2 minutes and check out the bass that follows. The tempo picks up at 3 1/2 minutes, vocal melodies too.

This really is a must if your into adventerous music. Everything about this recording impresses me in a big way. One of the best from 2017!

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 The Wake of Magellan by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.87 | 133 ratings

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The Wake of Magellan
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars After their 1995 concept album 'Dead Winter Dead', which spawned a small radio hit for the band, and the recently- formed Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which also garnered mainstream success, Savatage continue down the route of epic rock operas which would see the band reach new heights of creativity and critical acclaim during the late 90's.

Featuring all the pomp and circumstance that the band had incorporated into their sound since 1994's 'Handful of Rain', and even way before that if I'm being realistic, 'The Wake of Magellan' sees everything come together for Savatage. The story itself doesn't really make much sense to me, but it ties around the fictional story of a sailor who goes out to sea to end his life, only to find new meaning to carry on, and two real-life events involving a journalist who was murdered whilst trying to battle the growing drug trade in 90's Ireland, and of a sea captain who had Romanian stowaways thrown overboard.

How does any of this fit together? I have no idea (and I doubt many people do), but the music itself is compelling and the performances are sincere. That's good enough for me!

Using the same lineup from the previous album, the band have really gelled by this point, and the chemistry is evident. Zak Stevens delivers powerful vocals as always, and founding member Jon Oliva returns to sing for a number of songs, having never sounded better or more confident. His keyboards add a warm depth to the record as well, giving it that orchestral feeling but without all the pomposity of a full orchestra.

'Turns to Me', 'Morning Sun', 'Another Way', 'Paragons of Innocence' and 'The Hourglass' are all highlights that this fantastic album has to offer, with the true gem being the title track, 'The Wake of Magellan'. It's a big, epic piece, with an absolutely mind-blowing finale which sees the band utilize the vocal harmony counterpoint which they had used more and more over the last few releases, but perfected here.

A truly underrated gem when it comes to concept albums, capturing the very essence and atmosphere of a journey out to sea, 'The Wake of Magellan' is an absolute epic from start to finish.

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 Powerslave by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.13 | 679 ratings

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Powerslave
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Despite a number of albums prior to this that have gained legendary status, 'Powerslave', Iron Maiden's fifth studio recording, is where I feel the band really hit their stride as one of metals most iconic bands.

With a previous four releases over which to bond and mature as a band, 'Powerslave' is a complete bombardment of Iron Maiden having perfected their sound. The dual-guitar harmonies are spot-on and utilized to their fullest, and vocalist Bruce Dickinson's singing hits its peak here, with every line complimenting the music perfectly.

While I didn't dislike any of the bands previous releases, I never held them in such high regard as the rest of the metal community does, feeling that each album was just a steady improvement upon the one that came before it. However, here is where the songwriting really takes a solid step up, as every song is well executed and well played. The riffs and harmonies are very catchy and easy-to-listen to, and the guitar solos all seem to suit their respective songs much better.

Tracks like 'Aces High', '2 Minutes to Midnight', 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and even instrumental 'Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)' are more than just Iron Maiden staples, they're essential listening for all metal fans. On top of all that, the artwork is pretty damn awesome as well!

A key album in any rock or metal collection, THIS is Iron Maiden.

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 Legacy by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.75 | 190 ratings

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Legacy
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Having really hit their stride with the 'Tyranny' album, Shadow Gallery are back with 'Legacy', an album that is similar stylistically, though does away with the concept album format and features only six songs, and some rather ambitious ones at that.

Shadow Gallery's brand of progressive metal has always taken a more melodic approach than other bands of the genre, and while their guitar riffs can elicit plenty of headbanging, it's in the vocals and melodies that the groups strengths lie, with 'Legacy' being chock-full of catchy chorus's and interesting harmonies. Expertly produced to give the music the punch it needs, yet straying away from being too heavy or brutal. The Pennsylvania-based band have the right blend to appeal to fans of metal and softer rock alike.

The true centerpiece of the album is 'First Light', a 34-minute epic that serves as a smorgasbord of every possible element that gives Shadow Gallery their defining sound. The track can lull from time to time, but the highlights more than compensate for that. The middle section of the song features some of the bands finest musical virtuosity and vocal harmonies, making it a challenging yet rewarding listen.

Songs like 'Colors', 'Society of the Mind' and the title track 'Legacy' are all shorter songs that can be considered some of the bands best work. As per usual, the musicianship is incredible, finding a perfect balance between heavy and melodic, and Mike Baker's beautiful vocals are an absolute joy to listen to.

The duration of the songs can make for some demanding listens, which will ensure that while 'Legacy' contains some of Shadow Gallery's best compositions, it's probably not their best album overall. But hey, it's still a damn good one, and that's what matters!

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 In A Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.36 | 1463 ratings

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In A Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 135

'In A Glass House' is the fifth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1973. It became with 'Octopus' as one of Gentle Giant's most popular albums. 'In A Glass House' is another conceptual album. Its concept is very original and strange and is allegedly based around the idea that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Curiously, the album begins and ends with the sound of breaking some glasses. It was the band's most directly and psychological effort ever. 'In A Glass House' is probably their most ambitious work, with four lengthy songs as 'The Runaway', 'Way Of Life', 'Experience' and 'In A Glass House'. With it, they delivered another masterful work.

'In A Glass House' represents a very important landmark in Gentle Giant's musical career because it marks the definite departure of one of the three Shulman brothers and former member Phil Shulman. He left the group because he was burnt out and discouraged after some problems with the public, especially after the difficult live concerts done by the band when they supported a live tour of Black Sabbath, and so, he had realised that the lifestyle of a touring musician was damaging his family life. Instead of finding a replacement, the remaining band members decided to continue just as they were. So, 'In A Glass House' became the first Gentle Giant's album released by the group after the departure of Phil Shulman. John Weathers even sustained that they became a stronger band after Phil left Gentle Giant.

The line up is Gary Green (6 and 12 string guitars, mandolin, percussion and alto recorder), Kerry Minnear (vocals, keyboards, tuned percussion and recorder), Derek Shulman (vocals, alto and soprano saxophones and recorder), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass, acoustic guitars, violin, trumpet and percussion) and John Weathers (drums and percussion).

'In a Glass House' has six tracks. The first track 'The Runaway' written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman is a song with an extraordinary and surprising beginning where the band seems to break some glasses. This is a very rich song with rich varieties of styles and textures, extremely melodic but is also at the same time complex and very creative. This is an extraordinary track, one of the best tracks ever released by them and a perfect way to open the album. The second track 'An Inmate's Lullaby' written by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman is a completely different song from its previous track. It's an avant-garde and strange song especially performed by drums, xylophone and vocals. This is probably the most experimental song on the album, it isn't particularly melodic and we need some time to be familiarized with it. The third track 'Way Of Life' written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman is a song with driving rhythm, fast tempo and tempo changes all over the track. We may say that this is another progressive experimental song with some extremely beautiful and melodic moments and at the same time it has also some strange musical parts. It's a very solid and variable song with melody and improvisation at the same time. This is a truly Gentle Giant's track. The fourth track 'Experience' written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman is another extraordinary song, very inventive and with a very complex musical structure. Basically, this is a perfect example of Gentle Giant's medieval complex sound, but the song comprises also many others and varied forms of music. The song is also rich of wonderful vocal harmonies. This is probably the most complex track on the album. The fifth track 'A Reunion' written by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman is the smallest, simplest and most calm song on the album. It's basically a soft acoustic ballad that reminds me a quartet in the classical music. It's a fine and emotional song with beautiful melody, but it seems be dislocated on this album and is probably the weakest track on it, despite its beauty. The sixth and last track is the title track. 'In A Glass House' was written by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman and is the lengthiest song on the album. It's another excellent composition with great harmony between all musical instruments. The chorus performed by the four singers is also of superior quality. It has also a hard rock section with a memorable guitar riff, in the second part of the song. This is a great track that closes magnificently this amazing piece of music.

Conclusion: 'In A Glass House' is a very important album after their two great masterpieces 'Acquiring The Taste' and 'Octopus'. 'In A Glass House' is also a very important album because it was their first album without the participation of one of the Shulman brothers. Phil was one of the main composers of the band. It's interesting to note that the quality of the music performed by them hadn't lost nothing and probably even improved a bit. Probably, I agree with them when they said that Gentle Giant continued with Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman writing great stuff and that probably they became a stronger band after the departure of Phil Shulman. So, 'In A Glass House' is without any doubt one of the greatest prog rock albums from the 70's. It's with 'Acquiring The Taste', 'Octopus', 'The Power And The Glory' and 'Free Hand' one of their best works, and all of them are some of the best prog rock albums ever made too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Terra Incognita by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.98 | 42 ratings

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Terra Incognita
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars After spending the latter half of the 90s beginning with their formation as Godzilla, this band from Bordeaux, France changed their name to the Japanese romaji pronunciation of Godzilla which became GOJIRA just before the release of their debut album TERRA INCOGNITA (Latin for 'unknown land') in 2001. While the band was founded by brothers Joe (vocals, guitars) and Mario Duplantier (drums) along with Christian Andrea (lead guitarist) and Alexandre Cornilon (bass), Cornion would be replaced by Jean-Michel Labadie before the first album which has been the same lineup to the present day. While these guys began their journey as a rather run-of-the-mill death metal band with some groove and alternative elements, around the turn of the millennium the floodgates opened and they began adding more progressive and experimental elements to the mix and by the time they debuted their first album, they had acquired a rather unique style in the crowded world of extreme metal.

While still Godzilla, the band cranked out several demos that clearly showed their ties to the thrash metal world of early Metallica, the groove metal world of Pantera and the early thrash likings of Slayer and Sepultura. Somewhere around the time of the name change to GOJIRA though, something happened with the addition of Labadie and the band found an effectively unique chemistry which allowed them to hone their craft rather quickly. TERRA INCOGNITA expands beyond the Morbid Angel death metal with thrash and groove elements and adds alternative, some industrial and even enters progressive metal territory although on this debut they would not be fully ripe in that department for a couple more albums. Despite the lack thereof in comparison to future releases however there are many signs of unorthodox compositional constructs, interesting time signature changes and playful polyrhythms laced with tempo shifts and unexpected deviations from the norm.

While later more progressive albums such as 'From Mars To Sirius' embark on highly progressive workouts wrapped up in a cloak of conceptual storytelling, TERRA INCOGNITA is more of a collection of extreme art metal tracks that are often stylistically unrelated but nevertheless provide glimpses into the expanding progressive tentacles reaching out in myriad directions. Tracks vary in style and approach but crunchy alternative metal riffing in tandem with death metal blastbeat drum abuse is a common strategy for eking out the extreme aggressive fury that GOJIRA so deftly crafts into metal magic none of which is absent on album number one. TERRA INCOGNITA is laced with addictive guitar riffs that are repetitive in nature but vary distinctly from one track with some being bantering bass lines and others registering high in the upper treble range. The bass often provides a groovy counterpoint to the guitar riffing and Mario Duplantier's drumming skills are of the highest magnitude as he attacks the skins in a multitude of playing styles ranging from the straight forward metal beat to full-fledged jazz infused technical workouts.

While Joe Duplantier's vocals typically are utilized in the growly death metal style, he occasionally contrasts with clean vocals as well as semi-spoken segments. I seem to be on the opposite side of the fence than most regarding GOJIRA's under appreciated debut release TERRA INCOGNITA. True that it is not as sophisticated as the more illustrious masterpieces that would follow but taken on its own, this is one extremely tight unit of one brilliant track after another. There is a more freeform 'anything goes' approach to TERRA INCOGNITA. There is the instrumental workout on '04' which takes a siesta away from the death metal brutality and creates a counterpoint workout on strings (as well as other ambient breaks), there is the Korn-esque nu metal sound heard on 'Blow Me Away You(NIVERSE)' as well the strange hypno-space trance interlude of '5988 Trillions De Tonnes.' Also on board is the strange alternative / thrash riffing hybridization of 'Space Time' and bizarre guitar licks that begin tracks such as 'On The B.O.T.A.' GOJIRA really knew how to mix and match various metal elements that leave you wondering exactly what's going on. While this is death metal at its core, it is so much more varied than the average band in the genre. Perhaps too weird for the uninitiated but if you approach this more as extreme death art metal than you would be on the right track. I find this one to be underrated and misunderstood. Excellent debut by this one of a kind band from France! I really love listening to this one.

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 On Your Feet Or On Your Knees by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Live, 1975
3.91 | 67 ratings

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On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars I don't write reviews of bands that I have a personal history with, or have known personally, so this is a first. And will probably be the last.

Recorded live, Blue Oyster Cult's 1975 double album On your Feet Or On Your Knees magically and majestically captures BOC at the height of their "black and white album trilogy" powers (the eponymous debut album from 1972, Tyranny and Mutation from 1973, and Secret Treaties from 1974), and does something those three initial albums only hinted at. They rock out at full bore and showcase what a powerhouse BOC was on any given night in the early seventies. A feature truly hidden by the thin bass-shy production of those three albums.

On reflection, this album's production values are not top shelf in a few areas but it doesn't need to be. On Your Feet Or On Your Knees was recorded and (importantly) mixed clearly and is loud, detailed and full of energy. On Your Feet Or On Your Knees showcases the band's absolute definitive versions of Subhuman, Harvester of Eyes, Hot Rails To Hell, The Red And The Black, Then Came The Last Days of May, Cities On Flame and ME 262.

Eric Bloom's voice is stellar as is Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's electrifying lead guitar playing, which is an absolute clinic in splitting the deference between technical chops and melodic invention. Trying to listen to any song without focusing solely on his playing is often difficult even forty two years later.

Why this album never pushed BOC to the top the way that Frampton Comes Alive did in the seventies will always be a mystery to the band and it's diehard fans. But this live document exists for the initiated who knew "The Cult" and their brand of edgy heavy rock long before the cowbell jokes came after listening to a song about the Grim Reaper. Four stars.

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 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.94 | 515 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars With 'V: The New Mythology Suite' being a huge hit with fans and praised as one of the bands finest releases, it only stands to reason that they'd further build upon the orchestral elements they'd implemented with that album. And oh boy, does it work, or what?!

Building upon what they'd started with their previous release, 'The Odyssey' continues to see the band become heavier and heavier, with more focus on brutal guitar riffs and vocalist Russell Allen stepping further away from the high-pitched wailing he'd been accustomed to with earlier albums.

Essentially split into two parts, the first seven songs are all absolute bangers! Brimming with amazing guitar riffs, mind-blowing solos, intense vocals and all-round top performances from everyone. Tracks like 'Inferno', 'Wicked' and 'Awakenings' are head-banging anthems, while 'The Accolade II' is an epic follow-up to its epic predecessor.

Then there's the "second half". The main event. The 24-minute title track, which is arguably one of the bands greatest compositions. Taking the symphonic elements of their previous release, the band really crank it up a level to unleash a song that takes you right into the action with Greek hero Odysseus as he sets on his ten-year journey home to Ithaca. It features some of the most insane musicianship imaginable, with some jaw-dropping interplay between the band members, as well as some of the most emotional and sincere vocals I've ever heard.

And I know that right now you're thinking how cheesy this all sounds, right? Well, cheese is good! Everyone likes cheese! And so will you!

In summary, 'The Odyssey' is a four-star album with five-star songs... and five-star songs is an understatement! Worth the price for the title track alone, get it now and go on the greatest adventure of your life!

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 Piece Of Mind by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.75 | 544 ratings

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Piece Of Mind
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

3 stars After 1982's 'The Number of the Beast' cemented Iron Maiden's prominence in the metal world, the band were quickly back in the studio to build upon their momentum with 'Piece of Mind', an album that many fans hold in high regard, but one that I merely consider the final step in the transitional period that would see Iron Maiden truly reach their prime years.

Continuing Iron Maiden's run of what many consider their "golden era" of albums (the inclusion of new drummer Nicko McBrain would cement what would be viewed as the classic lineup), 'Piece of Mind' is revered by fans as one of the bands finest releases. Though, much like its predecessor, I feel there's too much filler material for me to share that opinion.

As with previous outings, there are a few instantly recognizable classics, such as 'Where Eagles Dare', 'Flight of Icarus', 'To Tame a Land', and one of the groups most memorable hits 'The Trooper' (which I often find to be fairly overrated, to be honest), but other than these songs, I feel the rest are fairly bland and uninspiring. Not that they're terrible, but tracks like 'Quest for Fire' and 'Sun and Steel' just don't really do anything for me.

The verdict has long been out that this is a classic Maiden album however, and in fairness, if you're a fan of the band then it's got enough "classic" material and status going for it that it warrants being in your collection, but overall I just find this to be the final album before the band really hit their stride and go through a string of excellent releases.

It's decent enough, but from here on out is where things really start to get good.

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 When Dream And Day Reunite by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.81 | 67 ratings

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When Dream And Day Reunite
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars 'When Dream and Day Unite', an album that has long been disregarded by casual fans of the band, and even most die-hard fans, is Dream Theater's 1989 debut which was released by Mechanic Records and is since no longer owned property of the band. Which, to the disfavour of many fans, means there would never be a modern re- recording or re-mastered version. So what do the band do? A live version instead!

Now, I love Dream Theater, and I actually really like their debut album as it is. The production gives it a majestic vibe akin to 1980's Rush, and original vocalist Charlie Dominici's voice fits the music well. However, while this 2004 live recording sounds good, with its beefier production and subtle rearrangements, there is still one detriment to this being a live recording as opposed to a studio one, and that's James LaBrie.

LaBrie is a fantastic vocalist, no doubt about that, and all his studio work is flawless, but he can sometimes be fairly hard to tolerate live, especially with these songs, in which a lot of the times his voice doesn't quite seem as suited to the music as his predecessors. He struggles to hit a lot of the right notes, and his pronunciation has always made it a challenge to make out what he's singing. More often than not, it just sounds as if he's content to wail away with whichever high-pitched screech he can hit.

Overall, I think, while the production is an improvement, even as a live recording, I prefer the original studio version of 'When Dream and Day Unite'. But with that said, there is a little something that make this album worth picking up anyway; bonus tracks 'Metropolis Pt.1' and 'To Live Forever', which feature guest appearances by the aforementioned Charlie Dominici and one-time keyboardist Derek Sherinian.

'Metropolis' in particular is fantastic! Dominici's powerful voice (not diminished through years of performing and a bout of violent food poisoning ala James LaBrie) completely blows his successor away. And a brief keyboard/guitar duel between Sherinian, Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci shows why Sherinian is often unfairly unappreciated for his brief tenure with the band.

Overall this is a great release of a great band playing a great album. There's moments that make me cringe and there's moments that make me wonder why this was released under the band's "Official Bootleg" series and not marketed more commercially. I've always been a sucker for studio recordings though, which is why I won't go back to this one very often, but overall it's a worthy addition to the Dream Theater collection.

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 Cosy Moments by KINSKI album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Cosy Moments
Kinski Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Listening to Kinski's year 2013 album might leave you wondering what the heck this band is doing on a Progressive Rock website. They may have started life as a more experimental psych-rock ensemble, but clearly that agenda has shifted in recent years, coinciding with a change of record label prior to this session.

It was the quartet's first album after a five-year silence, and found the band playing shorter, harder songs, precision-tooled for local Seattle kids hooked on their city's Grunge Rock legacy and looking for a noisy afterparty. Some of the music is incredibly catchy: "Last Day on Earth"; "Conflict Free Diamonds"; "Skim MILF" (another in a series of hilarious Kinski song titles); and so forth. Add Pete Shelley's adenoidal voice to any of the above and you might find something resembling a long-lost Buzzcocks single.

But the few instrumental tracks work best, and show the lingering influence of the band's Krautrock adolescence. Note the convincing motorik rhythm under "A Little Ticker Tape Never Hurt Anybody", and again in "We Think She's a Nurse" (...quoting Brian Eno, "repetition is a form of change")

The album might have been a natural progression from their previous "Down Below It's Chaos" (2007), but that doesn't make it Prog. Two stars (at best), from a Progressive Rock point-of-view, but three (or more) on an Ass-Kicking scale, especially when played loud enough to rattle your sub-woofers.

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 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.73 | 27 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars I've only known Jordsjø for about three weeks, but this Norwegian duo has blown me away in a way it hadn't since I bought Änglagård's Hybris back in 1997 (shortly after it went out of print), that prog of this quality can be had and it was released after the 1970s. Jordsjø manages just that for me! The duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Håkon Oftung and drummer Kristian Frøland but from listening to the music you'd think it was a full band, but a full band is hired for live performances. Their double LP set from 2017 compiled material from their first three cassettes, including the split with progressive electronic act Breidablik called Songs from the Northern Wasteland (an obvious reference to Michael Hoenig's Departure from the Northern Wasteland). That double album set left me with me mind blown, it's everything I've ever wanted in prog! The Norwegian vocals may be a bit difficult on non-Norwegian ears, but I have no problem with that, even if I'm American. I'm used to foreign languages in prog ever since I got hooked on Italian prog back in the 1990s. This 2017 cassette release Jord wasn't featured on the double album set, naturally, but it comes to show how much Jordsjø is bound to be a force to reckon with in the prog community. The production seems a bit more polished, but make no doubt about it. The music is the same as before: in the Änglagård, Wobbler, Tusmørke and Sinkadus vein. "Le Meg Forsvinne!" is another one of those Solina String Ensemble-lead pieces similar in vein to "Solina, Min Dronning", it's clear Oftung wanted to record a very similar song. Once again, in the vein of late '70s German prog bands like Eloy or Novalis, there's a brief ELP-like organ break before going back into that late '70s German space prog vein. "Postludium" is very different from the rest of the album as it's firmly in the vein of Breidablik, I wouldn't doubt Breidablik was influencing Oftung. Rather eerie spacy electronic music that's clearly progressive electronic, then it ends with this strange pipe organ that sounds like a Mellotron pipe organ. The way things are going, I expect Jordsjø to be smash hit with progheads everywhere. Their music simply left my mind blown, and Jord is no exception!

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 Genesis 1976 - 1982 by GENESIS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.92 | 128 ratings

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Genesis 1976 - 1982
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars Again - I will comment only the extra tracks (disc 11) because all the rest were commented, reissued, remixed, remastered etc hundreds of times.

Unlike the 1970-1975 box set, this time there's no discovery here. All the 1976-1982 extra tracks were previously officially released and are more or less well-known. For example, Paper Late, You Might Recall, Me And Virgil, Evidence Of Autumn and Open Door staffed the fourth (studio) side of Three Sides Live 2LP released in June 1982. The first three tracks were recorded during the Abacab sessions and saw the light of day in May 1982 on the 7-inch single entitled 3 X 3. The last two were recorded for (but didn't fit in) Duke in 1979 and first released on 7-inch singles in 1980, Open Door with Duchess and Evidence Of Autumn with Misunderstanding.

There's not much to say about the three non-Abacab tracks. All would be lightminded enough for Abacab, Paper Late sounds like simplified No Reply At All, Me And Virgil sounds like spoiled Me And Sarah Jane. And it's OK that You Might Recall wasn't included in the album, perhaps it would be too good for Abacab...

Open Door and especially Evidence Of Autumn are IMHO both masterpieces. Of course they do not correspond to the music of Duke and should be rejected from the album, but anyway both are outstanding. Open Door is a slow guitar-dominated philosophic ballad in the best traditions of late 1970s' Rutherford, Evidence Of Autumn is a profound and sophisticated keyboard-dominated slow composition in the best traditions of late 1970s' Banks.

Match Of The Day, Pigeons and Inside And Out formed the track list of the 1977 EP Spot The Pigeon, it was the band's last studio release with Hackett. All the three songs sound rather rocky than progressive, Inside And Out is a ballad typical for Rutherford, musically and lyrically humorous Pigeons is an undoubted highlight.

The Day The Light Went Out and Vancouver were released on the 7-inch single Many Too Many. It was issued a few months after the band's 1978 studio album And Then There Were Three, and some copies of the first German vinyl press of the album (gatefold with insert) were distributed together with the German tour edition of the single (for example, I had a copy completed with insert and tour 7-inch). Vancouver is just another Rutherford's ballad, The Day The Light Went Out was written by Banks but being compared to the album tracks composed by him (Burning Rope for example) seems plain and hastily made.

It's Yourself was released on 7-inch single with Ripples in 1976, and partially served as a draft: the short theme in the middle of the track was reworked into the first bars of Los Endos.

And finally, two amazing instrumental pieces, Naminanu and Submarine. Both were first officially released on singles in respectively 1981 and 1982, but some people told me that both were recorded in 1976, during the Wind And Wuthering studio sessions. I failed to find any confirmed information on this, and the booklet in the box set provides only the official releases' credits. But indeed, both sound very much in the vein of mid 1970s Genesis and absolutely not in the band's early 1980s manner, so there's a chance that it's true.

Now, the solids content: strong 4 stars. It's great that all those tracks are collected on one disc, and probably some day we'll see them reissued as a separate compilation album. Maybe even on vinyl. They deserve it.

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 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.72 | 9 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by loulou24

5 stars I know a lot of people will hate this album. Many will claim that there's no element to the godspeed sound and other will say that they're old, too happy and can't make a great album like lift your skinny fist anymore. LT is no way like lift your skinny fist or F#A# but it 's even so one of the best albums of the year.

It is the first new compositions of the band since 2003 (alleluiah and assunder includes old works before the split up). More happier and shorter stuff is happening and it's great. There is call back themes (bosses hang, fam famine) which never happens in any GY!BE albums. A Morricone-like feel (Anthem for no state) and a happy ending.

I am enjoying to hear futur release from this awesome band that is really progressive.

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 De l'Autre Côté du Monde by HUNE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.23 | 24 ratings

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De l'Autre Côté du Monde
Hune Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars Very good album from Canada ! You realy can find various prog rock styles in ""De l'Autre Côté du Monde" something Space Psychedelic Prog in Pink Floyd, Nektar, Eloy musical line something Jazz Prog: Sloche,Octobre, Morse Code ( also Canadian bands), something from Symphonic Prog : Memoriance etc... The first track "De l'Autre Côté du Monde" have a strong Pink Floyd "flavour" specially after 13 min which reminds me "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" . The track 2 "Citadelle" brings some jazzy/heavy moments like Morse Code and Sloche mix. the track 3 "La Lettre de Marque" is the most "heavy" song in whole album ( a Morse Code/Eloy "meeting" with great guitar/keyboards solos and exciting rhythmic section, in my opinion one of best moments. The track 4 "Le Revers de la Médaille" in some moments shows an approximation with GG or Etcetera, another great moment. The track 5 "Mission en Mer" is the more Psychedelic moment and again follow Pink Floyd and Eloy "footprints" and is the weak point in ralation to other tracks. My rate is 4 stars !!!

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 Tyranny by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.06 | 283 ratings

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Tyranny
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Concept albums.

The very words can send shivers down your spine. The most hardened of prog fanatics will shudder at the thought of another rock opera and the potential pretentious self-indulgence that awaits them.

Fear not, however, for this is Shadow Gallery, one of the finest progressive metal bands out there, and you can rest assured that this will be an engaging, story-driven affair full of excellent performances by all involved. It might seem a bit cheesy at times, but then, what concept album doesn't?

At 73 minutes in length, 'Tyranny' can feel a little long-winded at times, but the music is so damn good that sometimes it's worth the sacrifice. Telling the story of a man who discovers a plot involving his government selling weapons to the middle east, it's an interesting narrative that doesn't get too boring despite the albums duration. The playing is superb and incredibly tight, and Mike Baker's vocals are full of emotion and sincerity, easily one of the most versatile and talented singers I've ever heard.

There's one or two brief instances where the album does tend to lull momentarily, but otherwise this is a solid release with some exceptional tracks. 'War for Sale', 'Roads of Thunder', 'Hope for Us?' and 'Spoken Words' are all amazingly well-written pieces, and then there's 'Mystery', which, in my opinion, isn't just one of Shadow Gallery's best songs, but one of the genres, too.

Well-received by fans and critics alike, Shadow Gallery's 'Tyranny' is a true gem that belongs in the collection of every prog metal fan.

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 Queensrÿche by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1983
3.38 | 131 ratings

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Queensrÿche
Queensrÿche Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Queensryche's first ever release, a four-track EP, re-released in 2003 with an additional ten live tracks, isn't anything I find particularly memorable. The main four tracks, the original portion of the record, are good, but not overly special. 'Queen of the Reich' and 'The Lady Wore Black' being the better two tracks. The musicianship and production are fairly standard of 80's metal, and are more reminiscent of the new wave of British heavy metal than the more prog-inspired style the band would later go on to adapt.

The ten live tracks are a nice touch, but ultimately that's all they are, nothing more than "a nice touch". They don't really add anything to this release and are easily forgotten about.

No doubt the band will go on to release some classic albums, especially in their early years, so this is mainly a disc for the die-hard Queensryche fans (if such a thing exists).

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  100. poslednijat_colobar (224)

List of all PA collaborators

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