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Last 50 reviews
 Crimson Stone by MULTI-STORY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.53 | 39 ratings

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Crimson Stone
Multi-Story Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars Back in the Nineties I was running Feedback fanzine in the UK, and was fortunate enough to be in contact with the wonderful Larry Kolota who ran Kinesis, a record label who released both modern progressive rock (I was always very fond of Iluvatar) and reissues. One of the albums he sent me was 'East West', the debut by a UK act Multi Story, which was originally released in 1985. It gained a lot of attention at the time, and the band even toured as support to Magnum on the 'Storyteller's Night Tour'. But, by the time they went back into the studio to record the follow-up singer Paul Ford had left, replaced by Grantley Nicholas, later of Feeder. 'Through Your Eye's didn't build on the success of the debut, and soon the band was no more.

So, when I saw that they had a new album out it is safe to say that I was somewhat surprised! I still have the debut on my shelves, and recognised the name straight away. Original singer Paul Ford and keyboard player Rob Wilsher had been writing material together, and it was decided to actually turn the project into a band and resurrect a name that had disappeared a mere 29 years earlier. It perhaps isn't surprising that the material they have produced here sounds like a cross between neo-prog and Eighties prog, as that is the era they are from. They had the same influences as the likes of IQ, Pallas and Marillion, but whereas those bands have all moved on since then, Multi Story have stepped back in time, just with modern recording techniques. The result is an album that although not ground-breaking, is still a lot of fun and enjoyable for those who miss the "old" days. For me it is strangely familiar, yet new at the same time, and while never essential is still an album that is well worth investigating

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 Next Station (as Next Station) by DE ANGELIS, MARCO album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Next Station (as Next Station)
Marco De Angelis Crossover Prog

Review by The Jester

4 stars Next station is the title of the 2nd studio album of the Italian composer and musician Marco De Angelis, which comes 4 years after the release of The River, his 1st studio effort. A few days ago, I had an interview with Marco, and he told me that he considers Next Station as the continuing of The River, thematically at least. To my ears, the two albums, share a common ground, but in the other hand are different. First of all, Next Station includes only 6 songs, with 2 of them being a lot over 10 minutes in length, wherein The River the longest track was 9 minutes long. Another important fact is that, Next Station sounds more mature and more 'free' in style, mixing influences from many different music styles. But this time, the influences are not as clear as before. There were some songs included in The River, that with the first listen, sounded similar with bands like Marillion of Pink Floyd for example. In Next Station there is not such thing. The sound and style became more personal, and this is a good thing without a doubt. For the needs of the recordings, Marco worked with some very good singers who should be mentioned. I don't know if the names Nad Sylvan, Robbie Wyckoff and G'ran Edman mean anything to you, but all of them are excellent singers, who during their career worked with some big artists/bands, like Roger Waters, Steve Hackett, Yngwie Malmsteen and Karmakanic, to name a few. As for the instruments, Marco plays almost everything by himself, with the drums being the only exception. Speaking for myself, I consider Next Station as a step forward in comparison with The River, in almost everything. This is a serious and well-made piece of work. Give it a try! My rating: 4 stars

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 Chaos From The Stage by MAGENTA album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.08 | 11 ratings

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Chaos From The Stage
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Recorded Live at The Assembly, Leamington Spa on 21st November 2015, this DVD + CD set takes its title from the final song on the set, 'The Lizard King'. I don't have the CD, but have heard that the picture and camera quality is excellent, and given how good the sound is on this recording I wouldn't have expected anything less. Since they first started working together in 2001, singer Christina Booth and multi-instrumentalist Robert Reed have continually produced excellent albums, and it is a particular regret of mine that I never managed to catch them in concert, especially now I have heard this. Joining them in the band is Chris Fry (guitars), Dan Nelson (bass) and Andy Edwards (drums) and the over-arching feeling that one gets from playing this is that here is a band in total control at all times.

They all understand their roles, when to hang back and let someone else take the spotlight, so that there is always a feeling of space within the arrangements. The harmonies and some of the arrangements could have come from Floyd, other sections of songs could have come from Yes, but in reality it is solid Magenta, showing that there is still plenty of life in Seventies-style progressive rock. 'Lust', taken from the mighty 'Seven' (can't believe that album came out 14 years ago) moves all over the place, with the bass taking the song into new places, hoping that the drums will manage to keep up while Rob and Chris have a delicate battle. Then there is Christina, a singer who never fails to deliver, both in emotion and pitch, always in control. She lets the boys have their fun, but then always comes in with poise and grace, taking the song to another level. There is no doubt that Magenta are still one of the very top prog acts in the UK, and if you have somehow missed them then is the palce to start.

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 Placebo by PLACEBO album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.92 | 11 ratings

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Placebo
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars PLACEBO were a Jazz/ Rock band out of Belgium led by keyboardist Marc Moulin. This is their third studio album released in 1974 and Marc was certainly an experienced musician at this point being in his early thirties and being in the music business for some time already. He would later join AKSAK MABOUL playing on their debut. The other name I recognize is guitarist Philip Catherine who had already played on that incredible SUNBIRDS debut and he would also join with fellow guitarist Larry Coryell for some albums. Prog Archives shows a 12 piece lineup here with a lot of horn players and even some accordion. As Hugues mentions in his excellent bio of this band there is a MILES DAVIS and NUCLEUS vibe at times, usually when the trumpet is in play.

"N.W." opens with bass, a beat, cymbals and electric piano before the horns kick in. All these sounds come and go here and it's quite laid back and relaxed. I really like this. Tasteful is the word with the bass and drums being the constant throughout as other instruments come and go.

"Plotselling" opens with electric piano and cymbals followed by guitar and a beat. Flute before a minute. Horns start blasting around 1 1/2 minutes. Some nice guitar work after 2 minutes, very fluid. I love this stuff! It almost stops 4 minutes in as a drum solo kicks in and lasts until after 5 minutes when the electric piano, bass, guitar and more join in. Horns follow and they will get dissonant before 7 minutes.

"Bosso" opens with electric piano, drums, bass and guitar as a horn comes in over top. This is fairly uptempo and jazzy. The guitar replaces the horn after a minute with some fast paced playing. The flute joins the guitar a minute later. Catchy suff.

"Dag Madam Merci" starts out with bass, electric piano and a beat before the horns come in blasting followed by some jazzy guitar. Man that sounds like clavinet before 1 1/2 minutes. "Hop Hop" again opens with bass, drums, electric piano and more before the horns arrive blasting after 1 1/2 minutes. Some interesting intricate guitar melodies in this one. Why could they not have named this "Hip Hop"?

"Tanga" opens with the drums and electric piano sort of playing together as horns come in briefly then synths before the horns return. Accordion after a minute as it is contrasted with synths until 2 1/2 minutes in when the horns return.

"Stomp" must be a code name for funky? Yes this is funky and we get some trumpet after 2 minutes then the horns blast before 2 1/2 minutes as the funk continues. Synths to the fore then it's the horns again before 5 minutes followed by a manipulated horn. Electric piano then starts to lead late.

"S.U.S."opens with sounds that echo as cymbals can be heard and sparse percussion. Bass and drums join in just before a minute then a horn. So cool. Trumpet just before 2 minutes. Melancholic synths replace the trumpet after 2 1/2 minutes until horns arrive again at 3 1/2 minutes.

If your into that early Jazz/ Rock sound similar at times to NUCLEUS and Miles you should at least have a listen. A solid 4 stars.

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 Il Nome Del Vento by DELIRIUM album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.15 | 129 ratings

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Il Nome Del Vento
Delirium Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by nikitasv777

5 stars This legendary Italian band delivered four outstanding studio-albums in the Seventies but I prefer their Il nome del vento 2009. Sound is amazing, jazz influences are obvious and tasty. The general mood of the music is varied and intriguing with beautiful sax, flute, keyboards and String quartet. There are also interesting guitar solos. All trecks my favourites from this very good album, exept ''Luci Lontane'', ''Profeta Senza Profezie", ''Ogni Storia''. Many times classic artists record new music, and seem to be trying to recapture past glories. Delirium return with a release Il nome del vento is a very solid piece of art. The music is delightfully pleasant. It is very beautiful. As whole one of the best Delirium's albums and one of the best italian progressive albums. So - 5 stars!!!

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 Section X by BEYOND TWILIGHT album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.08 | 99 ratings

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Section X
Beyond Twilight Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Released four years after their debut, 'Section X' gives us a second dark and twisted glimpse into the mindscape of Danish prog metal group, Beyond Twilight. With another concept album based around themes of cloning, manipulation and perversion, it's a pretty bleak story, but it makes for some great music!

Beyond Twilight have a fairly unique and distinctive sound, with lots of dark passages that really conjure up images of perverted horror. Their sound is very gothic and gloomy, with powerful, multi-layered vocals and interplay between numerous guitars and keyboards. It's a very atmospheric release, which is surprisingly short for a concept album (at 45 minutes), but will still require a number of listens to really familiarize yourself with the music.

But that's nothing new to us prog fans, right?

Although there are very slight moments where the music tends to drag and feels self-indulgent, overall the album flows diligently. Highlights include 'The Path to Darkness', 'Section X', 'Shadow Self', and what is probably one of the bands finest pieces, 'Ecstasy Arise'. These songs alone make this album a notable addition to any prog metal fans collection, and help define Beyond Twilight as a truly underrated band that are worthy of your time.

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 Painted Sky by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2005
3.75 | 16 ratings

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Painted Sky
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars The third in a series of albums from the mid 2000's Acoustic Strawbs trio featuring Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk rep acing the recently departed Brian Willoughby. Recorded mainly to ingratiate the arrival of Cronk on 12 string acoustic guitar, bass and foot pedals, the group once again goes over past favorites, as well as a few new surprises such as a stellar all acoustic version of "The Antique Suite" first found on their live Just a Collection Antiques and Curios album as well as some very good versions of "Oh How She Changed", "Grace Darling", "Benedictus", and a decent version of "Autumn", This version of "Autumn" features some washes of synthesized bass peddles from Cronk but is not as good as the version found on the previous acoustic album Full Bloom" or reprised on the stellar acoustic Strawbs' compilation album titled Acoustic Gold gold, which has the added benefit of excellently remastered sound. 3 stars seems about right for this all acoustic offering from the venerable Strawbs as the previous acoustic albums "Baroque and Roll" and "Full Bloom" both seem much more essential and much more enjoyable.

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 Osiris by OSIRIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.90 | 55 ratings

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Osiris
Osiris Neo-Prog

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

4 stars While the rich symphonic prog laid down by Genesis on their seminal album "Wind & Withering" would become a blueprint for a new wave of English progressive rock bands such as Marillion, IQ, Pendragon and Arena that would retrospectively become tagged as neo-prog, the subgenera carved out of the greater symphonic prog universe encompassed a much more expansive sound than the pioneers of the English scene would let on. Coming from the most unlikely setting for progressive rock, OSIRIS emerged from the tiny independent nation of Bahrain which lies in the Persian Gulf right next to Saudi Arabia, which arguably could be considered one of the least progressive of scenes in the world! However, the brothers Mohamed and Nail Alsadeqi had always been interested in music and started their very first funk band all the way back in 1969. After the two were sent to study abroad to London and Texas, their exposure to the musical wonders of the Western world proved irresistible and upon returning to their native island became pioneers of Arabian progressive rock with their mini-moog dominated band that took a few cues from Camel, Yes and Pink Floyd and added a healthy dose of exotic sounds to the cauldron.

As you can imagine, the daunting task of finding likeminded musicians on a tiny island nation the size of a large American city in a not so progressive area of the globe was the most difficult task of all but perseverance paid off as the brothers recruited Mohammed Shafii (bass), Sami Al-Jamea (keyboards), Mohamed Amin Kooheji (guitar, bass, vocals) and Abdul Razzak Aryan (second keyboards). The next challenge was to find the only 8-track studio that existed in Bahrain at the time but once they did, the band managed to record their eponymous debut album in only three days. Since there was no way to print the album in their country, they had to outsource to the Philippines, had 1000 copies made for their homeland and a bunch more for the rare record shops in the UK and North America. The band produced just the right mix of symphonic prog driven rock mixed with a catchy funk beat and a bit of Arabian exotica thrown into the mix. They became all the rage in Bahrain and also gained a bit of fame abroad.

The band took their name from the Egyptian god OSIRIS which is associated with youthful energy via resurrection and regeneration. The band gained a loyal following with their outlandish live shows after they found a new charismatic lead singer in the form of Isa Janahi who knew how to play the rock star role as he donned outrageous clothing and had a magnetic personality that interacted quite well with the crowds. The live shows were also quite ambitious with laser and light shows and smoke bombs thrown around. Musically the band delivered hard driving guitar riff driven hooks laced with strong interlaced melodies, sizzling keyboard workouts all stitched together in complex musical compositions that never tipped the balance too far in either direction. OSIRIS had the perfect mix of heavy pop rock tinged with psychedelia, prog complexities and heavy rhythmic percussion.

Anyone who loves hard rock from the cusp of the 70s meets 80s era fused with elements of progressive rock will love this one. While more on the hard rock side of the equation rather than the prog for much of the album, there are moments of extended complexities and time signature deviations. The musicians are all top notch with extraordinary guitar and keyboard workouts as well as stellar vocal performances by Janahi. Lyrics are all in English, showing the band's intent to market abroad and the melodies are all easily digested without being too sugary sweet. Overall, OSIRIS dishes out an excellent debut from one of the far flung places that the early prog rock scene failed to reach during its heyday. Perhaps the one negative of this experience is that the production as one could expect didn't reach phenomenal heights given the time and place where this album was recorded. Personally i don't have an issue with bad production and am much more in tune with the music, however for anyone with an aversion to mediocrity in the production department then you might want to skip this one. For the rest of us, this one should not be missed!

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 Seas of Change by GALAHAD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.83 | 18 ratings

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Seas of Change
Galahad Neo-Prog

Review by shaunch

4 stars I am listening to this album on a sunny day in the garden, in New Zealand. I am one of the "Leavers" and it seems, so it should remain, as I shed a tear for all the "Remainers". Last year, Marillion had a go at the state of the nation with the album "Fear" and whilst that was open to some interpretation, you are left in no doubt that Britain is on the edge of collapse whilst listening to 'Seas of Change'.

In terms of the lyrics, there is some sarcastic humour that I like, commentary with similar effect and a reference to a government that we don't even know and who don't even know what they stand for. My only negative feeling here, is that during this one song epic, they never really tell a story, instead, continue to focus on the negative from different angles. There is certainly no solution to the on-going problems of Brexit and rising tension at the thought that our Englishness is being diminished. Well they said it.

The music varies. There is the typical wordy style of Galahad, where at times the words struggle to find their place in the rhythm, (a problem I also hear in Nick Barret's Pendragon at times). This is my problem with Galahad, on this album this is improved and the tone of Stu Nicholson's vocals to my ears are his best. There is a change of style throughout, which on one hand I really enjoyed and on the other left me feeling annoyed. On the positive, there is the inclusion of the flute to provide a more retro sound and a groove which goes beyond the usual for this band. The first half of the song provides some mellow moments, melody and then dips in and out of a heavy groove. Really great! After my first listen, I wanted to jump straight back in for another listen but at the same time there was a nagging feeling that I was enjoying this because it was familiar. Last year, Steve Hogarth left me feeling slightly annoyed when the same melody that had been used on his album "ice cream genius" was revisited at a key moment during the epic song "The Leavers". Last year, I got into Wobbler, it seems someone in the Galahad family has done the same. Certainly, the heavy riff dances between "Foxlight" and "La Bealtaine", there is even that "Yes" moment. Now Wobbler can be criticized for their retro sound and similarities to the past, not sure what to make of this. A bit too soon maybe. The second half contains some nice melodies and trademark aggressive vocals before a return to the gentle opening, warning us about the coming storm. There are brief moments when you feel that the song has overstayed it's welcome but then a new idea emerges. In particular, there is some delightful Gilmour guitar work towards the end.

Plenty of twists and turns, dark and light and all that goes to make a prog delight. I will be interested to read, what my fellow "Leaver" Kev Rowland makes of this album.

To my ears, annoyance apart, this will be one of my top albums of the year, hopefully alongside IQ, and it's only January.

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 Cyborg by SCHULZE, KLAUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 134 ratings

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Cyborg
Klaus Schulze Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars The whole reason KLAUS SCHULZE had broken ties with two of the most innovative Krautrock bands, Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel was very much because of the wasted time in the democratic process of compiling ideas, hashing them out and bringing them to fruition. While there are pros and cons to being in a group lineup or going alone, SCHULZE opted for the latter as his restless free spirit and creative visions weren't finding actualization in the group process and were becoming watered down at best. Despite the compromise games that did come into play with many of the early Krautrock bands, the majority of these groups did not experience much success or recognition at the time when they were recording all those classics. Instead it would take the public many years to catch up to the visionary sounds laid down during those days. Despite drifting even further into the clouds and ever more distant from any possible instant gratification in terms of the world of financial success, SCHULZE was literally driven to create unthinkably long and alienating soundscapes that seemingly materialized in his head.

While most of the German scene was gravitating toward a more rock oriented style of kosmisch psychedelia, SCHULZE was much more ambitious in scope and followed more in the footsteps of minimalist composers such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich and even Stockhausen and Varèse than Pink Floyd which led him to create sounds with an emphasis on sustained drones, repetitive phrasing and the complete meltdown of barriers that usually segregated rhythms from melodies and timbres from tempos. Like most of the early pioneers, SCHULZE was limited by his financial ability to buy the best equipment for his visions and was forced to improvise the best he could with the low budget machinery he had access to and adapt his limitless imagination around a finite display of recording equipment to carry it out. After his departure from the aforementioned bands, SCHULZE immediately recorded his debut "Irrlicht" and experimented with modifying broken amps that would cause feedback, tremolo and sound effects and with ample amounts of ingenuity created one of the strangest albums the world had ever heard.

On his second album " CYBORG, " the money situation hadn't changed one bit and neither had the state of his battered equipment including his one VCS3 synthesizer which cranked out the eerie and surreal soundscapes on the debut. For his second album he added a lot more organ sounds and synthesized percussion through a Revox tape machine loop. In the same vein as the debut SCHULZE also once again solicited the helping hands of students at the Colluquim Music Orchestra whose rehearsals he recorded in order to splice and dice with a razor blade to physical change their very dynamics in terms of running time and delivery which as you could imagine was a painstaking process that required the patience of saint to administer. But patience was a virtue he had mastered and not only did KLAUS manage to record four lengthy behemoth electronic tracks that would emerge as a double album but also had so much extra material that he would eventually release a box set of bonus tracks in the future. With music this so far removed from reality it's utterly amazing that SCHULZE managed to create four unique tracks that float off into the cosmos but never lose their true identity.

The opener "Synphära" is the most traditional sounding track of the lot that utilizes a church organ to slowly lure the listener into the more esoteric tracks that follow. Embellished by a pulsating drone, a Gothic organ repeats a simple melody throughout its run while extraterrestrial synth swirls bubble up from nowhere and usurp control as if the Crab Nebula's spectral signature had suddenly been transcribed into musical notation. Similarly "Conphära" follows a similar journey to the stars with an even stronger pulsar sort of drone with a stronger staccato presence and more richly layered atmospheres that do some sort of cosmic dance as they hypnotize like ice sculpture ballerinas in the vacuum of space. "Chromengel" adds a more earthly vibe with heavy use of violins and cellos that reverberate while fluttering helicopter type blade sounds launch the track even further toward planet Lysergia. The string section gives it a bit of a classical soundtrack feel bit the spectral sounds of the synthesizer effects keep it floating far from the clutches of Earth's gravitational field. The loops of sounds take on lives of there own as if the listener has entered a cosmic aviary with strange sonic birds flapping around from all directions. "Neuronengesang" or what i call "The Haircut Clipper Song" is dominated by a buzzing sound that reminds me of having my head sheered as a child with a buzzsaw sound effect that approaches my ear, passes by and then moves away. This is the basis of the track while ethereal sound effects build into dense cloud forests of sound with some droning, some pulsating and some flittering about aimlessly.

" CYBORG " was way too far ahead of its time for most of the music buying public but it did receive significant praise from top music critics. The nuanced multi-layered sonicscapes were the soundtracks of dreams where freeform hypnotizing sound effects coalesced into myriad compilations of bombinating assonance that find an orgy of oxyphonic pitches merge with raucous yet haunting tautophonic assemblies of empyreal surrealism. " CYBORG " takes a monumental step past the terrifying frigid nature of "Irrlicht" and explores a miraculous layout of merging musical forces with none of the limitations that rock music can impose with segmented percussive beats. Otherworldly and almost knocking on heaven's door, " CYBORG " has a less alienating feel than the debut and demonstrated the limitless possibilities of the human ingenuity with the scarcest of resources. I recommend the 2006 remastered version with the bonus track "But Beautiful" which showcases yet another stunning track only with SCHULZE performing all his sound effect magic in a live setting. The track clearly demonstrates that SCHULZE was no studio dependent junkie and effortlessly created order out of a seemingly untamable assortment of disparate sound palettes. Despite this massive undertaking, SCHULZE would continue to produce some of the most surreal sounds ever laid down to tape with great prolificacy. While some of the later albums are more accomplished, " CYBORG " is not one to be missed.

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 The Doomsday Machine by ELECTRIC MOON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 15 ratings

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The Doomsday Machine
Electric Moon Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I'm a big fan of Dave Schmidt or if you wish Sula Bassana and this German's many musical outlets. This is my favourite of those outlets ELECTRIC MOON. Basically a trio of bass, guitar and drums with Schmidt adding guitar, synths, vocals and effects. Dave also recorded, produced and mixed this recording. I have to mention Komet Lulu who also plays with Schmidt in ZONE SIX, well she's the bass player and adds, vocals, effects, space echo and bass synths. Oh, she's an Illustrator by trade so check out the art work she does on this band's albums. What a talent.

I was so impressed with this band's latest called "Stardust Rituals". It's not as powerful as "The Doomsday Machine" which is fuelled by those distorted guitar expressions, no it's driven by the organ much of the time and is quite trippy. I prefer the new one surprisingly which is a top ten for 2017 for me. "The Doomsday Machine" is a long one as a lot of Space Rock albums are at almost 80 minutes while "Stardust Rituals" clocks in at 45 plus minutes. Both are essential in my opinion.

"Doomsday Machine" opens with this ominous repetitive beat with a fuzzed out guitar and bass helping out. Male vocals come in with a monotoned flavour a minute in. This is a mid-paced head banger and the guitar 3 minutes in is just screaming. Love that guitar before 7 minutes as well as the heaviness with vocals continues to lay waste. The heavy riffs and beats stop before 12 minutes as we get hit with a distorted guitar and then it turns dark and experimental. That heavy beat is back after 16 minutes as the vocals also return.

"Kleiner Knaller" is a top three track along with the next two. This one starts off in a laid back manner with bass, drums and relaxed guitar but it's building in intensity and tempo. Here we go! Just killing it before 2 minutes and check out the distortion before 3 minutes as they rip it up.

"Spaceman" opens with pulsating sounds that are speeding up until the disappear as a heavy groove kicks in. Great sound here. It's speeding up before 1 1/2 minutes. The guitar is grinding away almost swirling. So cool. Intense as distant male vocals arrive but they don't stay long. It starts to slow down 5 1/2 minutes in. This is really good too, love the bass and distant female vocals. She's back with space whispers before 8 minutes as sounds echo. It settles back quite a bit after 11 1/2 minutes to a more trippy, atmospheric sound to the end. Nice.

"Stardust Service" opens with distortion galore then the drums and bass kick in with a groove as the distorted guitar solos over top with aggression. It settles back at 1 1/2 minutes as the drums, bass and distorted guitar continue, just not as in your face. Spoken words before 2 1/2 minutes. Nice bass 3 1/2 minutes in as the spoken words continue. So good! The heaviness is back before 5 1/2 minutes as the vocals step aside for two minutes. How heavy is this at 8 1/2 minutes. It's slowed right down at 10 1/2 minutes then after 12 minutes it's pretty much drums, synths and some heavy bass lines. Spoken distorted words before 13 minutes. It's building again! It keeps building and the tempo is speeding up until all hell breaks loose. A calm with spoken words ends it. What a song!

"Feigenmonolog" opens with some deep atmosphere with guitar expressions in this laid back start. Before 2 minutes we get this BLACK SABBATH-like heaviness as it starts to build. Love that distorted guitar and check it out after 7 1/2 minutes. Just killing it! It settles back after 9 1/2 minutes and the distortion stops after 10 minutes as we get bass and drums with picked guitar. Nice. It settles back again at 13 minutes. Another calm then it's building again 16 minutes in until they are lighting it up big time once again. Check it out before 18 minutes!

This is my kind of music.

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 BrossaKlitt by POIL album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.21 | 55 ratings

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BrossaKlitt
PoiL RIO/Avant-Prog

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

5 stars Consider artistic, musical innovation should be in fun and surprise. The audience should get amazed at what happens on stage 'beyond expectation', even if it's sorta funny, funky appearance / expression, rapid melodic development, or incredibly technical manner. For example a Japanese jazz rock combo Djamra always play with such a strong intention as above mentioned, and so do POIL, a French avantgarde / experimental rock trio, who have gigged with Djamra in Frankfurt a couple of years before. 'Dins O Cuol' their previous creation made me laugh out loudly and feel comfortable via their original vibes. This album 'Brossaklitt' released in 2014, notifies they've got more power, both experimentally and musically.

At first the third titled track is more than creative, via crazy complicated rhythm and melody lines plus meaningless, freakout lyrics gradation. Guess the audience cannot help laughing and enjoying purely like children by this performance on stage. Undoubtedly this is kinda innovation in the rock scene. The following 'Patachou' full of ethnic electronika and mysterious synthesizer-oriented sound brilliance (this is my fave too). Suppose we could dance to the tune regardless of its melodic, rhythmic complexity (wow). Also the next 'MAO' reminds us of the similar vein toward a techno pop sound era (like Yellow Magic Orchestra) some decades ago, but let me say again this electro spreader has their attitude for 'fun' obviously.

As though they would have hailed from another dimension, their creation is filled with electronic fantasy, complicated rhythm / melody lines, and amaze / fun for the audience without any suspicion (even in the shortest one 'Dins O Klitt'). 'Pikiwa' should be called as the compilation of their cynical historical musical database. Can I say here that I would like to attend their fantastic gig in near future?

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 Nursery Cryme by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.42 | 2854 ratings

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Nursery Cryme
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by FalconBleck

5 stars #10 Review

I wanted to do this album later or maybe at the end, because this is like my favorite from Genesis and that takes some of the point of making reviews right away, it's like hard to make a review where you're going to score everything perfectly, but this also doesn't take away from other songs that this band has produced.

This album is really important to me, it's one of the 4 albums i first listened from Genesis when it was love at first sight, it's incredible the power that this album portrays, the amount of emotions that it expresses and the technicality of it all, incredible sound at the time, it should've been number one everywhere.

As always i'll review by song.

1.- The Musical Box 10/10 This 10 minute piece goes everywhere and really changed my life the first time i heard it, this is one of the songs that made me get hooked with this band, how this song keeps building tension at every note and how eerie it feels at many times, representing the artwork of the cover, it's just an amazing experience, it's hard to pick a favorite part, but i want to point out that small part where the song goes pretty low in volume and where there it sounds like trumpets. This song made me travel in time, made me imagine lots of things dedicated to the lyrics and the cover art, it showed me a hole new perspective of a world that i never experienced and everything felt so real just by entering through my ears.

This. Song. Is. Genesis.

2.- For Absent Friends 10/10 A really abrupt change of pace, this song makes me miss all the friends that i've lost, there are none. I believe that this was the first song that Phil Collins ever sang completely.

3.- The Return of the Giant Hoghweed 10/10 And another abrupt change of pace, probably one of the most hardcore songs from the band, i can imagine the humans or whatever planing to destroy the Hoghweeds, and at the end i can see how they destroy an entire city, with that brutal final instrumental part. Shoutouts to that solo leading to the instrumental part played by Tony Banks, then Steve Hackett and finally all of them join.

4.- Seven Stones 10/10 Continuing with the abrupt change of paces in this album, this song is pretty melancholic, and it gets me pretty depressed. I imagine me being old and completely alone remembering people, and if i continue like this, i'm not far from that. Perfectly done atmosphere. I really hope that "by chance", more people will hear this music as i do.

5.- Harold the Barrel 10/10 Another abrupt change, this time for a more joke song, and contrary to all the other joke songs they make later, this one is the best of them all, really well made and another character for the Genesis Mythology. It's funny that they said a joke involving the BBC and then played this song live at the BBC. Interesting sad ending played by Tony Banks.

6.- Harlequin 9/10 Another change of pace, this one is pretty sweet and tranquil, it's a nice song but i really feel it like an average song, it feels like a song that should've been in Trespass, curiously enough, i don't know if this song was made back then, but i know that the first song in this album was. It's short but still a nice song, if the song where longer and the same, it could've gone down as far to a 7/10.

7.- The Fountain of Salmacis 10/10 And to end it, we went back and forth in change of paces, and i'm glad about that, this album could've made me really depressed or too excited. This song is pretty epic, and has an incredible solo where it really shows the strenght of all the members of the band.

This is the highest ranked album from me, scoring a 99/100 wich obviously translates into 5 stars, absolutely recommended, this album makes Genesis worth all... and other albums as well, obviusly, but this one is perfect.

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 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.06 | 1211 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

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

5 stars Although it all began as a joke, by the time Steven Wilson and his now official band called PORCUPINE TREE made it into the 90s, the popularity of their Floydian inspired space rock was taking off like a rocket ship to the moon. After a number of demos and two fully fledged space rock albums to get their feet wet, the band was really more of a solo project but starting with this one, a real band was in play with a style that reached the culmination of the psychedelic space rock sound on the third album THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS. Your listening experience for this one may depend on which side of the Atlantic you reside because of the fact that two different versions exist. THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS was the debut album in North America and showed the band mastering their full potential as they also unveiled various aspects of the different styles they would take on future releases. The European version which came out first contained the seventeen minute track "Moonloop" as the second to last track whereas the US release nixed it in favor of a shorter running time. Since the US version is the one i've grown attached to, it is the one i prefer so all my gushing admiration for this album is based on it.

It was never any secret that 70s Pink Floyd was the biggest source of inspiration for Wilson and company and that was never more true than on THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS which has been compared to "Wish You Were Here" for having two sprawling tracks that begin and end the album with shorter tracks sandwiched in between, however a careful listen will yield all kinds of influences from the Floydian world up to "The Wall". Likewise, all the tracks flow together relatively smoothly making it in reality a long series of movements that culminate into larger suites and extended musical motifs. Although Steven Wilson remained ringmaster and creator in chief even at this point, this was very much a real band effort on album number three which allowed a blossoming of musical expressions to make a much richer album than the previous two. Most importantly added to the lineup was ex-Japan keyboard wizard Richard Barbieri who deftly mixes his best Klaus Schulze styled progressive electronic backdrops over the hypnotic space rock grooves. Likewise, Wilson's alter ego in the art pop outfit No-Man found him a steady drummer with Chris Maitland filling the spot. With all musical spots freshly manned with eager talent, PORCUPINE TREE was ready for prime time and THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS shows them honing their chops into highly addictive seductions of sound.

THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS starts off rather chaotically with sputtering electronic effects that belie Floydian space groove that soon steals the show. A false flag to throw the listener off? Not sure, but once the Floydian rhythmic flow begins, it grooves with a vengeance. While the "Phase 1" of the title track gently rolls on with a sensual rocking groove as "The Colour Of Air" movement strives to lull the listener into a hypnotic state, it does however evoke a call and response that makes me want to scream "Hello, Is There Anybody In There?" at times. Perhaps too comfortably close to "Comfortably Numb," but even with such brazen Floydisms slapping the listener in the face, somehow the electronic wizardry derails any cached earworms from the past and keeps PORCUPINE TREE sounding like distant cousins of the Gilmour and Waters team rather than mere imitators. The near nineteen minute suite churns on into a gentle space rock groove with Wilson belting out his unique fairy tale narrations before the track goes into an upbeat psybient and psytrance mode that summons a high intensity percussive drive and multidimensional atmospheric turbulence in the "Wire The Drum" movement. Tribal drums meets staccato keyboard sequences while a bouncy bass illustrates spaced out blissful melodies. The suite finds resolution with the "Spiral Circus" finale which drifts off into the clouds and exits with a soft acoustic guitar riff with a fluttering flute run flapping around like a pretty butterfly in the breeze.

Sandwiched in the middle of the lengthy title track suite that begin and end the album are three shorter tracks (plus the "Moonloop" jam if you have the European version). "Dislocated Day" debuts a more familiar sound heard on future PORCUPINE TREE albums and the first of the band's career to demonstrate heavier rock with hefty guitar riffs, biting percussive drive and much increased tempos. This also provides the gateway into their progressive rock leanings that would culminate on albums like "In Absentia." "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" on the other hand is a totally chilled out acoustic guitar on codeine type of track with a catchy melody and poetic lyrics from Wilson's most chilled singing style. "Prepare Yourself" is nothing more than a short spaced out bluesy soloing sequence that serves as a fluffer for the the "Phase 2" of the title track, unless of course you have the European version with "Moonloop" inserted between. This track is my least favorite and i'm happy to have the edition without it (or at least thrown onto the second bonus disc). It is nothing more than a drawn out spacey sequence of synthesized loops and effects.

The final "Phase 2" is begins much like "Phase 1" with non-committing electronic atmospheric effects only finding stability after a drum roll coaxes them down to Earth. The opening "Is?Not" segment displays more love of classic Pink Floyd as it generates a heavy connection to tracks like "Have A Cigar" with restless electronica and eventually a banging bass. Once a melodic development is allowed to form, it bursts onto the scene with a dramatic guitar riff which calms the atmospheric presence into an obsequious counterpoint. Nice guitar work on this one for a while but eventually as "Off The Map" continues the suite, an estrogen filled siren seduces a rambunctious guitar to come out and play. As it arrives it begins to perform a rather spunky blues workout around the ostinato bass line. It performs all kinds of tricks yanking every emotional heartstring with a mere bending of a note or two. It gets wild and woolly before the track slowly wends down as it reprises the initial Floydian bass dominated riff that began it all, not after more bizarre excursions into ambient electronica however.

On THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, Steven Wilson and PORCUPINE TREE not only joined the ranks of the progressive rock revival that was unfolding alongside bands like Anglagard, Opeth, Dream Theater and the neo-prog bands like IQ and Arena but were also fundamental in the revival of good old fashioned 70s psychedelic space rock alongside other space tripping bands like Ozric Tentacles. While Pink Floyd was still around in name only, it was really just a David Gilmour solo effort milking of the enterprise and tarnishing of the name with mediocrity in the form of albums like "The Division Bell". PORCUPINE TREE on the other hand were uploading an entirely new operating system into the space rock paradigm by adding all the relevant 90s influences of neo- psychedelia and chilled out electronica such as trip hop and as well as bass heavy stoner rock in tandem with the tried and true chill pill elements of 70s psych and electronica.

While never really intentionally wanting to steal the baton away from the great Pinksters, somehow on THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, they did just that and created one of my personal favorite albums by the group and the absolute best of the 90s output. The 2 CD re-release is well worth the time as it has a brilliant alternative mix of the title track suites as well as the "Moonloop" tracks that went missing on the US release. I've been holding off on reviewing this one since i couldn't decide if the Floydisms are too derivative or not but when all is said and done, they are no more derivative of Pink Floyd than Floyd was of the blues artists who came before them and this is one of those rare albums that i literally never tire of because Wilson's brilliant mixing and production skills weave such a massive sonic web around any similarities that it keeps them in their own unique musical territory while respectfully conjuring up warm fuzzy memories of the past. This is where PORCUPINE TREE came to fruition as a band and a trend that would only continue to develop into a more distinct musical entity.

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 Water Blue by VERMILION SANDS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.59 | 30 ratings

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Water Blue
Vermilion Sands Symphonic Prog

Review by nikitasv777

4 stars Japanese Symphonic Prog Rockers Water Blue Vermilion Sands - one of the all-time great Japanese prog albums. I found out about this group only recently and what a nice surprise it was! Vermilion Sands is often compared to Renaissance and i agree with this. Impressive music that definitely deserves to be compared to the likes of Renaissance. The female vocalist, Yoko Royama, sings in English and Japanese. The band plays mellow and exquisite music with use of flute, acoustic guitar and with keyboards. So, this is one of the best Japanese symphonic albums, not to be missed. Who will enjoy this album? A must to Renaissance style fans.

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 A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window by CARDIACS album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.24 | 232 ratings

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A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window
Cardiacs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by mlkpad14

5 stars Cardiacs' album A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window is their most popular release to date. Cardiacs' style - part art rock, part punk, part prog, and extremely experimental - makes them one of the more interesting bands out there. The band is also very technical - they blow traditional time meter and structure out of proportion; they understand a lot about music, but are creative enough that they can break the rules and play around. In order to get a feel for Cardiacs' sound, one must truly immerse themselves in the music; A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window is not only a brilliant record, but it's also a great introduction to their huge discography.

The first song of the album, "A Little Man And A House", is classic Cardiacs: eccentric, theatrical, complex, varied, and intense. The song uses repetition and vocal delivery in order to build up overtime - we are but just into the album, and Tim Smith's unique vocals are already shining. Now, that is something!

Next, "In A City Lining" first showcases Dominic Luckman's intricate drumming. The song's message is controversial in that it makes fun of everyday life and progress. It really is not too bad, though. After all, black comedy exists in other forms far worse; and, Tim Smith gives off a very light and merry air as always.

"Is This The Life?" is Cardiacs' best known single, and it attained brief chart success, peaking at #80. It is well placed as the fourth song in the album. Tim Smith's guitar soloing and William D. Drake's grand keyboards - listen closely - make for a much heavier sound. Since side one is a little easier on the listener, this song helps to even things out. Afterwards, there is a short interlude.

"Dive" is fast-paced, dynamic, and has a fun outro: "Life's a part and it lies on top of me. Life is constantly on my mind." - and perhaps it's songs like these that lead so many people to compare Cardiacs to R.E.S., but in my opinion, the bands have nothing to do with each other.

A little over twenty minutes into the album, "The Icing on The World" kicks off side two of the album. Here, the album dips because Cardiacs were obviously trying to be heavy, at the expense of their distinct style. Perhaps if it was less orchestrated or the drums did not ring so loudly the song would work better.

With "The Breakfast Line'' the album quickly avenges itself. It introduces with people speaking in low tones; yet, it moves forward, and it has it all: tempo changes and a range of sounds as diverse and precise as the color palette are what define this song. Elaine Herman has some beautiful violin playing throughout, and it fits in extremely well.

"Victory Egg" is even better. The song is strictly vocal, with backing instruments that help to create a crescendo effect. The backing instrumentals help to add space to the music as well, just like in classical music and modern post-rock.

Nevertheless, "R.E.S." is, again, even better; actually, "R.E.S." is my favorite off of the album. That is because the keyboards sound like they belong in the chiptune genre; that is because "That's the way we all go" is slurred so beautifully, and the song is syncopated in all sorts of different time divisions. The guitar solo makes its grand entry about halfway through, and instrumentals are continually built on top - each a spark of an idea that lasts for maybe ten seconds. This song also draws comparisons to "Dog Like Sparky", off of Cardiacs' Sing to God; "R.E.S." and "Dog Like Sparky" are two of the most complicated "happy songs" that I know.

Now, Cardiacs have managed to create a world so unique and mesmerizing, and they have to end it off somehow. "The Whole World Window" is like "Impressioni di settembre" by Premiata Forneria Marconi and "Ad Gloriam" by Le Orme, but the bite of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds seems to interfere. "The Whole World Window" is your traditional ballad, but it so much more. The album ends with so much power - pure power. There happens to be another version of A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window with the added songs "Goosegash", "Loosefish Scapegrace", "I'm Eating In Bed", "There's Too Many Irons In The Fire", and "All Spectacular"; forty-five minutes is enough time for Cardiacs to make a statement - that is why the original is so much better.

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 Seventeen by KAYAK album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.55 | 11 ratings

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Seventeen
Kayak Crossover Prog

Review by mitarai_panda

5 stars Finally came the new album "Seventeen" of the famous Dutch band Kayak! This is their 17th album too. The band was founded in Hilversum, the Netherlands in 1972, and dissolved in 1982, but reorganized in 1999 and is still active today. Initially their style was the most popular symphony of the time, but later became somewhat popular. After the revival of the 21st century, they devoted themselves to the creation of rock opera. They released three pieces, each featuring Merlin and Nostradamus And Cleopatra's story, in which Merlin that Zhang is the re-production of the old album, a medieval style. These albums have received a good rating. Their symphony melodies are very attractive, Moog and Mellotron are used frequently, and keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel also joined Camel (it was during the dissolution of Kayak, Kayak reconstituted that he quit Camel back to the old ), Explains why Kayak's style is a bit like Camel, beautiful, meticulous, melodic, and sometimes majestic, with late-rocking and pop flavors (which is what keeps pace with the times). Last year, the band released a box called "Journey Through Time," recording all of their studio albums and two addendums, leaving a space in the box. The band explained that this was their 17th album. This year, 1 On May 12, Kayak fans are finally able to fill this space with a new album. The new album has been four years since their last album. The band said on the official website: "Kortom: het bootje slaat welens om, maar weigert voorlopig te zinken." (In short: Kayak Meaning kayak, then the name of the band with the sex) will turn, but will not sink.) Now, they are back! Speaking back to the new college, the reason for this is also because Camel guitarist Latimer also guest guest, Camel last year announced on the official website of the band assembly and explore their future path, can not think of his new special did not come out, Latimer and old friends Scherpenzeel made Kayak's new music together, and Latimer was busy himself, helping with the band's bassist Colin Bass. I have not got the exacting creator of "Seventeen" for each song, but there are many guitar solos that have the charm of Latimer ("Falling", "Walk Through Fire", "Ripples on the Water" ... oh my god! Latimer has been involved in the creation of almost all songs!), Elegant and long, soothing, and sometimes straight to the heart, soul-stirring! The album is exactly 60 minutes, the basic structure of three songs about ten minutes, plus nine more than three minutes of short songs, so that both the avant-garde and popular potential. Although such a structure is similar to the rock opera they had previously done, the band said it was not a concept album. In addition to symphony and opera blend, the new album is also some folk features, the introduction of some folk music melodies, and melodious flute (Latimer should not be the style), more than three minutes of short songs are beautiful and beautiful, some very witty relaxed, Some are rock-and-roll and form a contrast with those magnificent and complex long songs. Scherpenzeel's keyboard is still hot and pleasant, he is also used for the synthesizer as pure fire, the piano played smooth as water. For the three long songs, they are all standard symphonic shaking structures, which have brought back the feeling of the 1970s. They mainly focus on the melodious guitar solo. The piano is laid out in the back and strings are added to enhance the momentum. In addition, I must mention that the voice of lead singer Schwertmann did not show the old state, but it sounds very comfortable. The first song "La Peregrina" as its name, which a synthesizer solo very "pilgrimage" atmosphere. The second "Walk Through Fire" opening is the Latimer iconic style, followed by the Northwestern European folk style melody to join the last hot guitar, string and synthesizer have hurricane, the perfect ending in the passionate chorus. The third song "Cracks" is more conventional, without the first two so prominent, which is the album's weakness, the first half is too exciting, the second half is relatively mediocre. However, flaw does not cover Yu, the old cannon this combination has brought everyone a classic! Proper four-star semi-critical, the top10 contender of the year!

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 Jonathan  by JONATHAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.95 | 6 ratings

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Jonathan
Jonathan Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars JONATHAN were a duo out of Germany who released this lone album back in 1978. Without question an Electronic recording with the former member of EULENSPYGEL adding drums while the other member adds a variety of keyboards including minimoog, synths and electric piano. We do get a couple of guests helping out including another keyboardist adding much of what the other keyboardist plays but also grand piano. He's on three songs while we get some guest bass on the one track called "Funky's Visit" and yes what is Funk without bass. This clocks in at a tidy 35 minutes over the seven tracks.

"Li Song" gets us started and it's drums we first hear as they slowly beat away before some growly synths arrive slowly pulsing then some spacey synths. I like this until another synth comes in over top leading and I just don't like the tone of it at all. Kind of ruins the song for me.

"Raising Winds" opens with sounds that hum as we get this sad cry from the synths I believe. A beat before a minute along with some twittering sounds. This is laid back and exotic sounding as it gets louder 1 1/2 minutes in. It kicks in fairly heavily before 2 1/2 minutes and the tempo picks up. Drums and synths lead the way. It's okay.

"Funky's Visit" is funky believe it or not but first we get an experimental intro that is brief. Then an active beat with growly synths and other synths take over. When the bass kicks in it becomes somewhat jazzy. I do like the bass here a lot. "Waters" opens with um water sounds. Synths join in with this catchy melody. An okay track.

"Moved Earth" is my favourite and I wish the rest of the album was more like this. We get some nice deep synths as grand piano and atmosphere join in. This is really good. I like the depth of sound. The drums kick in and before 2 minutes I'm head banging. This is like Space Rock. Interesting that it starts to wind down before 5 minutes as you'd think the song was done but after some brief silence it starts up again but now it's much different as drums and sampled thunder take over. I really like this idea especially with such a good drummer. Another change before 7 minutes as synths, cymbals and keys end it.

"Stormy Days" opens with the atmosphere rising as the synths and rumbling drums join in. Soon we get a steady sound of synths and drums around a minute. It turns experimental as drums and synths continue around 3 minutes in. Back to the previous soundscape but the synth tone changes as this plays out. A pretty good tune.

Melotary" ends it and it opens with drums as atmosphere and keys join in. The drumming seems to be random and marching-like. It kicks in rather heavily and the tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound here, impressive like the song "Moved Earth". It does settle back down like the beginning 3 minutes in.

This might be obscure in part because the only re-issue was in 1993 but I also wonder how much demand there would be for it. A pretty good album overall and I really like that album cover.

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 Hope To See Another Day by BELIEVE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.37 | 78 ratings

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Hope To See Another Day
Believe Neo-Prog

Review by poito

3 stars 3.5

New band of former COLLAGE guitarist Mirek Gil, apparently committed to a new project after some years of roaming. He will alternate this band with more personal work released as MR GIL, a micro chamber ensemble in which he showed great talent for composition. This debut album by the old geek in a new dress is a mainstream prog-rock (more rock than prog) project made of mid-tempo themes with standard verse, chorus and guitar solo structure, all around melodic guitar riffs. I wish there was more compositional work at the guitar; it is mainly accompanying and filling spaces. There is a violin that adds a personal touch, but it could have been used much better, for instance dueting with Gil. Anyway, one can feel the long road in the shoulders, the themes are not ambitious but they leave a good taste, asking for another play. They recruited Tomek Różycki in the voices, a good singer with a rather personal voice who won't stay for too long in the band. Pity, he did a very good job in this. Though there is no new stuff, the elements are mixed and executed with skill, nicely arranged, and searching for a young audience, enough to keep an ear on these guys, just in case they find something important to tell in the future. In the meanwhile, enjoy these nice themes, "What is love", "Needles in my brain" "Coming Down", "Seven Days" "Don't Tell Me". By the way, if you are a proghead you'll get more of this album if you listen to your favorite themes separately, every now and then. All at once may get somewhat tiring.

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 Barren Dream by MR. SIRIUS album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.23 | 42 ratings

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Barren Dream
Mr. Sirius Canterbury Scene

Review by nikitasv777

5 stars This is Mr. Sirius debut album released in 1987. One of the most unique and individual progressive rock albums. The music covers the Canterbury Scene and Symphonic Prog. It's very pleasant music with lots of flute, vintage keyboards and female soprano vocals. This album is chock full of wonderful melodies sung in Lisa Ohki's (Hiroko Nagai) nightingale-sweet, soaring voice. Simply put, an absolute masterpiece and a basic addition to any serious progressive rock fan - the flute work are just flawless. This is high-quality symphonic progressive music. If you are an early Camel, Renaissance and Italian symphonic prog fan, you will love this album!

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 Illumination Theory by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.13 | 31 ratings

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Illumination Theory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars "Illumination Theory" is the epic from Dream Theater's 2013 self - titled album. There seems to be one on just about on every studio album the band puts out, doesn't there? I haven't listened to the reset of the album much, so I won't compare this song to the rest. This song is a terrific epic in the DT tradition. I've tried unsuccessfully to find out what the title means. However, there is a YouTube video in which John Petrucci says the song's about what you're willing to live, die or kill for. The lyrics are thankfully clear and straightforward, not abstract

One of the best things about this epic IMHO is that the individual parts don't overstay their welcome. In a self - serving interview on the musicians' website Music Radar, Jordan Rudess gives due credit to the string arranger Eren Basburg. The strings are not overbearing; The Embracing Circle is a particularly beautiful section. I don't think DT break new ground with "Illumination Theory". The DT regulars, whom this release is probably intended for, should thoroughly enjoy it.

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 Marbles In The Park by MARILLION album cover Live, 2016
4.32 | 13 ratings

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Marbles In The Park
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Marbles seems to be the Marillion album that's liked by people who don't really care for the band. I think that's because of two reasons. First off, the band have been trying to find a "independent" rock sound somewhat akin to bands like Radiohead, and two, because they actually succeeded in developing a very organic and sincere musical formula that showcases itself in Marbles.

I suppose the attraction of a live album from a band like Marillion is the thrill of listening to them perform " without a net". The net being the comfort of the studio where any mistakes or flubs can be fixed. What is immediately striking is how well Hogarth's vocals warm up, after the first few songs, to allow him to go into near dog whistle highs, while Steve Rothery effortlessly reproduces his manifold guitar leads, his playing often a duet with Hogath's vocals on songs like "Drilling Holes" and the epic closer "Neverland".

What's also interesting is the Dutch audience's familiarity with the Marbles' material. What's more interesting is the crowd clapping in 4/4 time to the opening stanzas of the song "Genie" before the band shift gears and go into a slower time signature for the song's remaining verses and chorus, as the hard to follow beat causes the mass clapping to immediately cease, showing that Marillion's music, fortunately, still can't be danced to.

The band never misses a beat on this double CD live offering of Marbles (the previous live Marble album concerts being truncated single CD editions), and the sound, as usual for Marillion live albums, is stellar. I can only see this album appealing to diehard fans of the studio album, but for those who view that album as a 5 star masterpiece, Marbles In The Park is essential.

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 Stupid Dream by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.97 | 1229 ratings

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Stupid Dream
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by poito

3 stars 3.8

The first track 'Even Less' indicated something had changed in PT making music. The Floydian air is infiltrated by harder rock jiffs, and the guitar work is more committed with composition instead of just creating atmospheres. Wilson is not a virtuoso, okay, but since the last PT studio release in 96, he has learnt to play his guitar and takes some good ideas out of it. The themes gained punch, and with it, the audience came in. The structure of the themes is worked independently, as they now may stand alone, which makes them more accessible to occasional listening and there is no need to listen to the whole album in order to take something home. Also, there is plenty of room for the bandmates to help in the building of the sound. That was essential for the gained strength: let others do what you can't. This can be appreciated in the track 'Slave Called Shiver', a nice example of PT's new direction, a track that is both attending the old fans and calling up for new rockier lads. Of course there is still room for atmospheres, as in 'Don't Hate Me', which as usual bore the shocks off. I know, I know. There is a public for everything. An overall acceptable album, but it leaves one with that sensation they could have done much better. Four stars is a bit too much, it doesn't compare to many 4-stars by the less known competitors, but yes, it is close, several tracks are good additions to anyone's disc-shelf. 'Stranger by the Minute' and 'This is no rehearsal' are also nice easy-listening themes. Maybe that is one of the problems, too much easy listening music.

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 The Art Of German Psychedelic 1970-74 by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
4.05 | 2 ratings

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The Art Of German Psychedelic 1970-74
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

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

4 stars As the early 70s slowly gave way to a new era, many of the psychedelic and progressive acts of the day had to figure out how to adapt to the changing music world around them. Achim Reichel was no stranger to change. Having emerged as a pop star in 1960s Germany, he left his popular beat band The Rattles behind to join the ranks of the lysergic tripping music that would become known as Krautrock to the rest of the world. After five studio albums and another live with his band known as A.R. & MACHINES, Reichel ultimately came to the conclusion that his days were numbered with such lofty ambitiousness in sonic form and once again moved on into new musical territories that would lead him into traditional German folk music. As hard as he tried to bury the past and leave it behind, eventually the fanbase he had hoped to evoke during the MACHINES heyday had finally come to roost in the era of the internet and world wide communications. This realization hit him hard when a 20 year old girl in the 21st century was touting how cool an album called "Die Grüne Reise" was and that it is quite popular amongst her friends.

Lo and behold the band known as A.R & MACHINES emerges again, not delivering a brand new album of material (well, we can hope) but as a stunning 10 CD box set of the band's entire output with craploads of unreleased material and a 96 page hardcover book narrating the entire history of the Achim Reichel's ascent into the world of kosmische Krautrock and the journey that he with his band embarked upon during a short five year stint between 1970 and 1974. Finally in 2017, the complete works under the title THE ART OF GERMAN PSYCHEDELIC 1970-74 hits the market and let me tell you, this is exactly how a band should release its entire output. Everything about this one is outstanding including the artwork, artist liner notes that narrate the band's history in a diary type format (in both German and English) and the beautifully fully remastered discography of all the bands work including four CDs of unreleased and remixed material. While much of this material has been hard to come by in legitimately released formats, this one is fully sanctioned by Reichel himself who had his hand in its creation. Oh, and the box is the size of an LP as is the book inside. Another LP sized book contains the 10 CDs in slots and all is decked out with amazingl psychedelic colors like the early 70s never ended!

CD1: Die Grüne Reise. This one appears exactly as it did in the original pressing only it is completely remastered.

CD2: Echo. This too is the original double album in its entirely and remastered to modern day splendor.

CD3: AR3. Also a faithful presentation of the original album in remastered form.

CD4: A.R.IV. The "Vita" and "Acqua" suites find new life in the totally remastered forms and this disc also includes "Live In Studio" bonus tracks.

CD5: Autovision. The remastered version of the album in its entirety.

CD6: Erholung. The first official release of this rare live album in its entirety meaning it contains the extra two tracks deleted from the original release of this 1973 concert in Krefeld.

CD7: The Cologne Concert. In 1973 the band was asked to play in the local series "Nachtmusik in WDR (Night Music in WDR), a radio station that was famous for recording acts of the day. This one contains two lengthy tracks that showed the band in their full power.

CD8: Transformation. Remixes. This one contains modern day electronic remixes of some of the band's material. Startlingly different as the complex percussive drive of old has been replaced by electronic beats and atmospheres. Some of this actually sounds more like Buckethead's electronica meets rock albums than A.R & MACHINES. This is a worthy experiment but probably my least favorite aspect of this box as it sounds like it's trying to hard to fit into the modern world.

CD9: 14 Pieces For Guitar And Echo Chamber. Having survived countless moves over the years, Reichel located his huge stash of practice tapes from which he painstakingly sifted through to find the best material to include as unadulterated bonus material. This is basically Reichel playing around with his guitar loop echoes and creating the most tripped out melodies allowed. Perhaps a bit too much for a single listen but definitely excellent for unreleased bonus material.

CD10: Virtual Journey. DJ Aspects. Despite the title of this one, it's not like the remix CD but rather indicates Reichel getting his feet wet in the world of modern day technology and creating a few new musical numbers in the spirt of the old but with the modern day luxury of recording standards. This one sounds exactly like what you would expect from the classic period yet does indeed have subtle production techniques employed to bring it into a new millennium.

THE ART OF GERMAN PSYCHEDELIC 1970-74 is a must if you are an A.R. & MACHINES fan whether you own all of the original albums or not. The remastering is impeccable and breaths new life into timeless classics. The extra material, while not OMG essential is definitely an interesting supplemental supply of behind the scenes and unreleased Krautrock magic. This is one of the best box set releases i've ever seen for an artist from the golden era of progressive rock with stunning artwork, extraordinarily detailed historical dialogue and of course, beautifully restored music magic. This one is highly recommended and the only legit way to obtain some of the original albums.

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 Erholung by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Live, 1975
3.69 | 10 ratings

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Erholung
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

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

4 stars After Achim Reichel recorded his last Krautrock oriented album with members of his A.R. & MACHINES band on "Autovision," he was signaling to the world that he was moving on to more profitable arenas by firstly releasing that work under his own moniker and secondly by ending that album with a snippet of traditional German folk music that would signal his next career move which would be to record and perform more traditional regional folk music that would occupy him until the 21st century revival of interest in all things progressive from the 60s and 70s. Tucked in between the MACHINES era and his less adventurous followup years was this sole LIVE release titled "ERHOLUNG" which means "recuperation" and emerged in 1975 on the Brain Record label. This wasn't really a planned album at all but rather one that was bootlegged by Kurt Mitzkatis who recorded the entire performance on a hand-held battery operated tape machine and then later released officially.

The event took place at the German Rock Festival at the Eisstadion in Krefeld, German on 16 September 1973 after the release of Reichel's entire output as A.R. & MACHINES. Just to give you an idea how popular the Krautrock scene was in Germany at the time, Reichel only appeared in tiny print at the bottom of a poster that displayed the multitude of bands who were playing. This excellent list (wish i could've been there!) includes Birth Control, Triumvirat, Doldinger's Passport, Guru Guru, Wallenstein, Embryo, Ihre Kinder, The Soundedge, Amon Düül II, Udo Lindenberg, Atlantis, Nectar, Karthago, Chris Braun Band, Emergency, Abacus, Randy Pie, Franz K, Eloy, Jack Grunsky and Achim Reichel under his own moniker with help from three of the MACHINES crew. This three guys included only Peter Franken on drums, Olaf Casalich on more percussion and Jochen Petersen alternating between saxophone, flute and maracas. Reichel himself cranked out the guitar with the famous echo effects and other various noises from tape.

The original 1975 LP has ever only found one legit release (as mentioned on the Brain Record label) and it contained four tracks that lasted almost 38 minutes in length, however the actual playing time was nearly twice that length with the other two tracks being lost to the history books until the recent 2017 boxset "The Art Of German Psychedelic 1970-74" which set out to rectify this injustice by releasing every possible work that was remotely A.R. & MACHINES related. In this format, the original is not only remastered to stunning effect but also includes the two extra missing tracks thus presenting the album as originally intended if only success hadn't eluded the band and releasing a double album was a viable choice. This one has pretty much been brushed aside with much of the Kraturock world focusing on the four albums that actually displayed the A.R & MACHINES moniker but this LIVE album is for all intents and purposes a bona fide band effort albeit a truncated version of their earlier days.

Songwise, this one is somewhat unique as the titles of the songs appear on no other Reichel album that came before. All the songs have new titles and the compositions are not really adherent to what came before either but are rather loose jams that include elements from the albums that preceded. ERHOLUNG is very much in the vein of "Echo" and "A.R. IV" which shows the musicians meandering down psychedelic alley with long drawn out jams that find a steady percussive groove as the backbone and the other instruments taking turns fluffing up their freakiest feathers to take off into the clouds. For a hand-held device, it's amazing how good this sounds even before the remastering process. The album sounds like a bona fide studio release actually and except for the audience noises between tracks and the dialogue in German speaking to the audience, this doesn't sound like a crappy live album at all but is quite transcendent in nature and could quite rightfully be considered the bands "sixth" album of sort. The performances are quite relaxed and create a satisfying head-in-the-clouds experience. This one can be quite pricey to track down an original LP but more recommended to obtain as a part of the stunning boxset which doubles its playing time. Even in the original form however, this one is excellent.

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 I Want You to Get Back Home by MR. GIL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.56 | 20 ratings

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I Want You to Get Back Home
Mr. Gil Neo-Prog

Review by poito

5 stars Only one year after the surprising change of format for the album LIGHT AND SOUND, monsieur Gil surprised me again with an even better collection of themes. Strange the road Gil took after COLLAGE disbanded. The instrument lineup is uncommon for prog, kinda symphonic chamber group, a piano, a cello and a male singer. So simple, so good' The piano makes the base and the melody, and the cello Paulina Druch enters with the salt, kinda riff, kinda solo, but always smooth, sensitive, subtle, majestic, rich, evocative. And the singer Karol Wroblewski, whose pitch I did not like much in the first SKELLIG, well he is here simply superb, he sings like angels, as another instrument, perfectly dueting the cello. I would highlight no more than a dozen singers as adding value to Prog music since 60's. Karol is one. The formula is magic. It may appear a bit too intimate, but the more you play the album the more feelings you get out of it, and not necessarily melancholic. Pity they did not follow in the same track. I think that Gil made the grade in this album. Please, Mr Gil, I beg you, give us more of this. All tracks are superb, I would not stand one out, perhaps would skip tracks # 2. 'Time', 'In Your Heart', 'Change Your Name' 'Fix My Arms', 'Start Again ', 'God Night', 'Come Home'. I just have to write the titles, kind of tribute. Don't miss it. This will be a new point of view.

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 Yesshows by YES album cover Live, 1980
3.64 | 454 ratings

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Yesshows
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 156

'Yessongs', was the first Yes' live album that was bound to be a classic. That 1973 triple LP was emblazoned with a hypnotic Roger Dean cover and comprised of material from double-header progressive rock behemoths 'Fragile' and 'Close To The Edge'. In any superficial comparison, 'Yesshows' couldn't possibly stack up. With its awkward snow scene cover, also made by Dean, and the track list spanning critically panned albums like 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and 'Tormato', it hardly screams an essential purchase. But 'Yesshows', released in November 1980, is just as essential as any of the band's late 70's albums, with songs that often improve upon their studio counterparts.

Yes broke up for the first time in 1978 after 'Tormato', and in the attempt at replacing Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, it was then they released their tenth studio album 'Drama'. 'Yesshows' is the second live album of Yes and was released in 1980, shortly after the release of 'Drama'. Issued as Yes were about to disband, soon after this live album, 'Yesshows' is a very important live document of their late 70's era. 'Drama' is an album with a different line up because Anderson and Wakeman left the band. To the remaining members of the group Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White joined two other musicians Horn and Downes, two ex-The Buggles members.

So, the band members involved on 'Yesshows' are Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (vocals and bass guitar), Steve Howe (vocals and guitars), Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Patrick Moraz (keyboards) and Alan White (vocals and drums).

'Yesshows' is a double live album consisting of recordings from 1976 and 1978. 'Yesshows' comprises live performances ranging from the summer of 1976 to the supporting tour for their last studio album 'Tormato', in 1978, in several locations. Like the band previous debut live album 'Yessongs', 'Yesshows' begins with a classical music recording of Igor Stravinsky's the 'Firebird Suite'. Although, Rick Wakeman is the main keyboardist on the most tracks, the 1976 performances are featured by Patrick Moraz, the keyboardist of Yes in that time, after Wakeman have left the band after the release of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans'. After the release of 'Relayer' and just before the recording of 'Going For The One', Patrick Moraz left also the band and Wakeman returned to recording and release this album.

'Yesshows' has seven tracks. The first track 'Parallels' was recorded at Ahoy'-Hal, Rotterdam, Holland, in 1977 and was released on 'Going For The One', the second track 'Time And A Word' was recorded at Empire Pool, Wembley, London, in 1978 and was released on 'Time And A Word', the third track 'Going For The One' was recorded at Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany, in 1977 and was released on 'Going For The One', the fourth track 'The Gates Of Delirium' was recorded at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 1976 and was released on 'Relayer', the fifth track 'Don't Kill The Whale' was recorded at Empire Pool, Wembley, London, in 1978 and was released on 'Tormato', the sixth track 'Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)' was recorded at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 1976 and was released on 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and the seventh track 'Wonderous Stories' was recorded at Ahoy'- Hal, Rotterdam, Holland, in 1977 and was released on 'Going For The One'.

So, the material on the album is from the post 'Close To The Edge' period, with the exception of 'Time And A Word', and the album serves as a superb supplement to the live classic 'Yessongs'. The band is in top shape and delivers great performances of the material. 'Parallels' sounds in my opinion better here than it did on 'Going For The One' and the same goes for 'Time And A Word' that works better without the orchestra on the studio version. 'The Gates Of Delirium' is another demonstration of the fact that Yes was one of progressive rock's best live bands ever. Most of the second album is taken up of what I consider to be the ultimate version of 'Ritual'. The track is spread over both sides of the album and it kicks the ass off the studio version on every level, despite the great quality of the studio version.

Conclusion: 'Yesshows' comprises different recordings from different live performances between 1976 and 1978, including two different line ups. 'Yesshows' has negative points and positive points. The negative points are the inclusion of 'Time And A Word' and 'Don't Kill The Whale' that despite are two good songs hadn't quality enough to be chosen, and the non-inclusion of any song from 'Close To The Edge' is unjustifiable. The positive points are the presence of Moraz which is very rare on Yes' live albums and the fantastic performance of the band on 'The Gates Of Delirium' and 'Ritual'. This is more evident on 'Ritual', because is a longer version due to the extended percussion section. It seems even a new song. It's interesting to see the different interpretations of Moraz and Wakeman of the same track. 'Yesshows' isn't as good as 'Yessongs' is, but is undoubtedly one of the best live albums ever made. However, 'Yesshows' remains as a great live album and an essential music piece of the all musical catalogue of Yes.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 A New Chant by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.71 | 16 ratings

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A New Chant
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars The modern era has seen all things `retro' embraced, so there's been no shortage of vintage Seventies Italian Prog-rock bands making long-belated comebacks in this modern day. One of the more unexpected ones has been Acqua Fragile, most known for their association with (then) future Premiata Forneria Marconi vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti on a few of their albums from 1975's `Chocolate Kings' onwards. Adored by some, completely dismissed by others perhaps because of the reason that they performed in English and their music didn't have a lot of the purer theatrical and classical characteristics that often are part of the identity of the Italian prog groups, Acqua Fragile were a tricky one to navigate. Their two studio albums, a self-titled work and `Mass Media Stars' between 1973-74 were hardly poor, but perhaps not quite special enough to compete with the truly important names of Italian rock music at the time.

Fast forward over forty years later, and three of the core original members - drummer/percussionist Piero Canavera, bassist Franz Dondi and singer/guitarist Bernardo Lanzetti - have surprised Italian prog fans with a brand new work, 2017's `A New Chant'. Some things remain the same - it's still mostly sung in English, so more traditional Italian prog-snobs (yours truly included!) should be warned! - but it's everywhere else that counts where the band step up in a big way. With help from some other musical contributors, the trio offer a confident album jammed full of so many rich little instrumental details that twist the tunes in all sorts of interesting directions (and parts of which are probably the most genuinely `Italian' sounding of their music to date). The disc avoids drifting constantly into lazy `old man' pleasant AOR, it welcomely isn't afraid to make a bit of rumble and noise here and there, and is ultimately the most lavish and sophisticated Acqua Fragile work overall.

Right from opener `My Forte's Mediterranean-flavoured ringing acoustic guitar notes around lively drumming, sparkling piano and teasing slivers of handsome orchestration, it's clear that this is the fanciest Acqua Fragile has ever sounded. Best of all, vocalist Bernardo, once rather grating with a Family/Roger Chapman-esque bleating harshness on the Seventies AF and PFM discs, is now so much more subtle, full of colourful personality and deeply charismatic, meaning he's never sounded better as a singer, and it instantly helps make this rich and evocative opener an even lovelier surprise.

Acqua Fragile here happily embrace how Bernardo's voice has often been compared to the Peter Gabriel-fronted era of Genesis in the past, so a few pieces throughout the album drift closer to those years of that wildly influential group, if sometimes offering a kind of sound that suggest where they might have headed if that frontman had hung around after their ambitious double `...Lamb' album. The first of these, `The Drowning', broods with murmuring bass ruminations, careful veils of Mellotron-like majesty and plenty of slow-burn guitar soloing, perhaps taking the piece closer to the spectral gothic pantomimes that current Steve Hackett Band vocalist Nad Sylvan offers on his ravishing solo albums. It also calls to mind the fondly remembered The Night Watch `Twilight' album and band from the late Nineties that would morph into The Watch years later.

`Wear Your Car Proudly' is surprisingly heavy with endless twisting ragged guitar turns, delirious synth soloing and an overall frenetic driving wildness, and `Tu per Lei' is a sole piece that is performed in Italian (despite constantly singing in English throughout much of his career, it's always a wonderful when Bernardo performs in his native language!) and holds a rousing singalong group chorus that culminates in grandiose fanfare pomp (and dig that drowsy Moog wafting around the final seconds!).

`Rain Drops' is an elegantly haunting ballad carried by accordion, piano, careful orchestration and Bernardo's overly emotional romantic crooning full of longing, and the punchier up-tempo `All Rise' races with a boisterous repeating refrain that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the early I.Q and Neo-Prog albums (and listen for that teasing thick bass solo in the middle that's not nearly long enough!). `How Come' is an impossibly pretty and exquisite little acoustic ballad interlude, and the deceptively lyrically dark and surreal title track `A New Chant' lifts dreamily into the heavens with a rousing chorus delivered with all the deliciously histrionic passion constantly found on so many Italian progressive works!

There's so much to recommend about `A New Chant'. It's hardly the most challenging of Italian prog collections, but, like Maxophone's recent and very worthwhile `La Fabbrica Delle Nuvole', it's full of gorgeous playing, captivating vocals and adventurous, energetic rock pieces full of variety and rife with the most luxurious of instrumental flourishes. It also proves that many of these so- called `oldies acts' still have very vital and exciting music to offer when they put the effort in, so whisper it (chant it?!) - `A New Chant' just might be the best Acqua Fragile album so far, but it is absolutely one of the most genuinely unexpected yet welcome surprises in Italian prog music for the year.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

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 Pazzo Fanfano di Musica by PAZZO FANFANO DI MUSICA album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.72 | 45 ratings

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Pazzo Fanfano di Musica
Pazzo Fanfano Di Musica Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars A magnificent supergroup project from Japan, bringing together various figures from the 1980s prog scene there to produce a delightful tribute to the Italian scene of the 1970s. Rather than copying the distinctive style of any specific Italian prog band, the collective instead blend together influences from PFM to Banco and incorporate an extensive amount of the baroque classical influences the Italian bands themselves loved, yielding a fantastical musical journey which exonerates the prog credentials of each and every one of the participants.

I fully intend to go trawling through the discographies of the various bands whose members contributed to this project, because it's clear that I have overlooked the Japanese prog scene of the 1980s for far too long. Whilst in the Anglosphere we were still making do with neo-prog and full-bore symphonic prog releases had not yet had the resurgence that would later arise, clearly in Japan the spirit of classic prog was alive and well and working through talented musicians like these.

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 Kivenkantaja by MOONSORROW album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.31 | 74 ratings

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Kivenkantaja
Moonsorrow Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I tend to find the whole "folk metal" thing highly hit and miss, particularly when bands don't integrate the two halves of that formula but simply play mediocre metal and mediocre folk music together and hope that the charms of both sides of the equation smooth over the holes. Moonsorrow's Kivenkantaja, on the other hand, absolutely does not do that, integrating the sounds and motifs of Scandinavian folk music into a majestic, sweeping, almost cinematic metal framework. The compositions tend towards longer tracks with epic, progressive rock-esque structures, and the overall effect wouldn't seem out of place as the soundtrack to an adaptation of some pagan saga of ancient days.

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 Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits by AKSAK MABOUL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.77 | 82 ratings

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Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits
Aksak Maboul RIO/Avant-Prog

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

4 stars "Un Peu De L'âme Des Bandits" released in 1980 can be thought as an iconic album by a Belgian RIO legend AKSAK MABOUL. Consider this production can be quite appropriate for opposition either to pop / rock 'on the golden road' or progressive rock. Wondering what we feel if we listen to this material for the first time without any knowledge. We can hear sound variations via the creation - mysterious Latino vibes with continental tango hints, weird electronic movements, Catherine's quirky voices along with heavy, dull, and hollow percussion, complicated drumming not harmonized with saxophone sounds, squeezed atmospheric ambiance - almost all of 'hard to accept' experiments can be felt as Krautrock. Such an eccentric impression should come upon to the audience even only through the first track "A Modern Lesson". Like an expensive wine flooded with luxurious complex aftertaste, this album might be created enthusiastically and cynically enough with strong intention of the creators, I guess. Sounds like authentic avantgarde progressive rock but the fact should make the creation more and more interesting and innovative.

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 Pollen by POLLEN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 142 ratings

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Pollen
Pollen Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Some excellent original tracks.

Formed by musicians who would later on, separately, become important figures (often behind-the-scenes) in the Quebec music scene, this one-off album from then-young group Pollen contains some excellent music. However, the best tunes come at the end of the vinyl sides, while the tracks opening each side are the weakest, which means it takes a bit longer to discover the gems here. I agree with other reviewers that many parts of this album have a derivative feel, and that the writing is not yet mature, which was (and still is) fairly normal for a debut album. There are sections that bring to mind Genesis, and Gentle Giant, whose 1974 tour they opened for (they also shared the bill with Caravan in Quebec). The least musical track here, in my opinion, is actually the opening song "Vieux Corps de Vie D'Ange", so the casual listener might not be motivated to listen to the album too often. But this band does have its own sound, particularly on the tunes that close each side (of the original vinyl album). Of course, these for me are the highlights, and I would even say they should make it into the list of classic Quebec pieces. These harken more to other Quebec music of the time than to the British groups. The tune that closes side 1, "L'Indien", is really a folk tune, not even rock, but it is to me the best song on the album. Really a beautiful song, and original - very much their own voice. While I agree that the singing in general across the album is not quite on par with the best, it is still solid, and on this song it works very well. Meanwhile, the track that closes the album, "La Femme Ailee", is a 10- minute mini-epic with some great dark organ playing, original writing, and really excellent drumming. There are also sections of "L'etoile" and "Tout'l temps" that are great, with really nice arpeggiated guitar/keys parts and some difficult drumming (the drummer, Sylvian Coutu, was in the original lineup of Quebec fusion group Uzeb). So, while overall the album is not likely to blow anyone away, it does contain some excellent musical tracks, and is thus worth picking up. I give this album 7.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high-ish 3 PA stars.

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 Minor Masterpiece by TENCH PROJECT, COLIN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.34 | 34 ratings

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Minor Masterpiece
Colin Tench Project Crossover Prog

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

4 stars An exceptionally well produced album of confident and masterful songcrafting which somehow comes up short-- especially emotionally--when compared to last year's amazingly powerful and relevant collection of songs on Hair in a G-String (Unfinished but Sweet). Whereas that album never led me to question its inclusion within prog world, this one, I fear, had me often asking myself if the music here was truly representative of progressive rock music; Minor Masterpiece feels as if it belongs more clearly within the realms of classic rock music.

1. "See How She Runs" (4:46) a fairly proggy soundscape is here used to tell a story in a Beatles-kind of way--at least until 3:23 when the sound shifts to a more straight on rock to its end. Solid but nothing new here. (8/10)

2. "Darkness Falls" (2:33) I really like the pathos in the lead singer's voice for this song--it alone is very engaging-- almost to the exclusion of the rest of the music and instrumental performances. (9/10)

3. "Didn't Even Wanna Do It. Did It Anyway" (7:30) the instrumental section between the vocals are the high points of this one for me. The song during the verses sound a lot like Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" verses. The orchestrated end section is great. (8.5/10)

4. "He's Gone" (1:31) another little Colin Tench lament for the loss of someone...but whom? (4/5)

5. "Waiting for Gordo" (4:01) opens as an awesome semi-orchestral (keyboard generated) soundtrack piece. More, please! (You do write awesome soundtrack-type music, Colin--going back to that first Corvus Stone album!) (9.5/10)

6. "Still Solemn After all These Years" (1:51) piano, guitars, and synth-orchestra weave of pretty music--a kind of jazzy soundtrack ode. It could go on. (Maybe it does: the next song) (5/5)

7. "Gran Finale" (4:26) a Spanish-infused or even -grounded song that bristles to life in the second minute as first one and then two and even three electric guitars vie for the listener's ear. In the middle of the third minute piano and acoustic guitar take a little walk on the wild side before the electric axes jump back in to try to assert themselves. Vocalise from multiple voices try to join in. This one, too, could have jammed longer--especially to explore further that interesting infusion of vocals. Still, a CTP masterpiece. (10/10)

8. "Welcome to Your World" (4:48) a late-night friendly bar song with multiple voices, multiple instrumentalists. Could almost be an Alan Parsons Project or Jimmy Buffet song. (8.5/10)

9. "Squeaky Door Time" (3:07) a spicy Latin-infused instrumental showcasing Colin's lead guitar prowess--on both electric and acoustic! The rhythm tracks of this song are so lively and fun that it makes you want to be there watching them, dancing with them, playing the cowbell. (9/10)

10. "Under the Conker Tree" (2:51) an instrumental with multiple acoustic guitar tracks. Nice background music. Colin's excellent sound engineering is so evident on songs like this. (8/10)

11. "Viva Vitale" (3:11) obviously a showcase for drumming legend Joe Vitale (BARNSTORM, JOE WALSH, EAGLES, CROSBY, STILLS & NASH). The song allows for many subtle fills and flourishes while the rest of the band play a nice instrumental Latin-blues-rocker over the top--Colin again performing his wizardry on multiple tracks on multiple guitars, both acoustic and electric. I find myself listening to this one purely for the wonder and awe of trying to comprehend the planning and editing of those guitar parts. (9/5/10)

12. "Your Song is a Nightmare" (4:00) for me, the violin and multi-instrumental melodies steal the show on this one (though the vocals do a nice job of not over-performing--at least for the first half). The tongue-in-cheek self- deprecating humour can only be played out for so long. (8/10)

13. "Now Get on Your Way" (5:18) a total album-ending finale (with its repetition of the opening song's "we won't get fooled again" line), there is, unfortunately, nothing here that would have be play this one again. A little too murky with the wild, bar-room chorus feel of the vocals. (7/10)

Four stars; a polished, great-sounding collection of rock songs--several of which are sure to provide repeated listening enjoyment.

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 Autovision by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.38 | 15 ratings

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Autovision
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

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

4 stars By 1974, the times were a-changing as the psychedelic and progressive rock that exploded onto the scene just a few years earlier was already starting to collapse under its own overindulgence and Germany's burgeoning Krautrock scene was no exception to this phenomenon. Whereas some bands kind of burst onto the scene and exited without a trace, Achim Reichel had a gentler approach. While he started out as a fairly successful pop star in 1960s Germany, he transitioned into the psychedelic prog world without jettisoning his pop creds right away. Instead he kind of fused the two together on his first album"Die Grüne Reese" before jumping all the way into the more elevated freeform psych jam sessions that led him all the way to "A.R. IV." Around the time of the recording of that album though, Reichel knew that the days of his A.R. & MACHINES phase were coming to a close. Not only were times a- changing but the band never really courted the success they had hoped to achieve. In retrospect, Reichel deemed the whole period as a self-reflection in a sonic form event that would be years ahead of the public's musical tastes.

For the next phase, Achim Reichel would release the next album "AUTOVISION" under his own name however this was very much an A.R. & Machines album bringing back four of the most prominent players in that period. "AUTOVISION" is very much a transition album in Reichel's career and simultaneously pays tribute to his final Krautrock phase as it does give clues to his next move in the music industry. In some ways, this album is sort of a combo effect of the entire A.R & Machines historical overview with elements from the four albums prior coming together in one big farewell shebang. While the debut focused on pop-oriented songs based on the rhythmical relationships between echo loops the next three albums meandered more into extended jam sessions that displayed more interaction between the large pool of musicians. On "AUTOVISION," Reichel marries the echo loop guitar effects so prevalent on the debut with the improvisational jams that characterized the feel on the "Echo" and "A.R. IV" albums. The track "Turbulenzen" celebrates most enthusiastically the echo loop guitar effects and revisits the ethnic percussion days with in a more hyperactive mode.

Reichel explains that at this period in his life, he was studying at The Academy For The Development Of Personality where he was living in a small room with a daily practice of meditation and yoga. Beside his bed he kept his recording equipment and found that the best time to grab his instruments and lay down some tracks was after the practice of meditation, thus displaying a musical glimpse of that world that lies between two distinct layers of consciousness. The music very much feels different than the previous albums with a more energetic drive that is both somewhat more improvisational and yet somehow a bit more focused with the compositions differing more than "A.R. IV." Basically this is a Reichel solo album in composition with the Machines crew joining ranks to carry the sound into the recording studio. This one only has four musicians in addition to Reichel which gives it a somewhat stripped down feel from the previous albums but overall has the same tripped out lengthy sonic journeys into that zone between worlds.

One of the most noticeable differences on "AUTOVISION" is in the percussion department. The standard rock drumming is more prominent with the congas and ethnic influences having dispersed into the ethers however the vibraphone effects are back (with the exception of "Turbulenzen"). The jazzy touches are back but are less jazzy and more light and fluffy and merely subordinate to the guitar echoes and are too quite echoey in the production department. Personally i like this one quite a bit and unlike most Reichel fans find this one to be more dynamic and diverse than anything since the stunning debut as "AUTOVISION" as it simultaneously reflects on the short but mind-expanding career of the band and also looks to the future as displayed by the short but prescient "Kopf In Den Wolken - Beine Auf Der Erde" (Head in the clouds - feet on the ground) which is a tiny snippet of German folk music which ushers out the Krautrock leaning album and indicates to fans that this is the next step on the Reichel Reise (jounrey). This is probably one of the most under-appreciated Reichel albums in his A.R. & Machines Krautrock days most likely due to its scarcity but there is nothing on here to prevent you loving it like the rest. Another obscure gem in the world of 70s progressive rock from Germany.

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 AR4 [Aka: A. R. IV] by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.00 | 57 ratings

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AR4 [Aka: A. R. IV]
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

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

4 stars As most Krautrock enthusiasts are aware of, Achim Reichel was one of Germany's biggest pop stars in the 60s before he dived headfirst into the burgeoning psychedelic scene that turned progressive as the 70s hit, however on his debut album with A.R. & MACHINES, "Die Grüne Raise," the songs still had a lot of pop compositional style wrapped up in extended psychedelic tripped out effects and more lingering passages that qualified them as progressive. On "Echo," the band dropped a lot of the pop influences and instead opted for longer sonic journeys into blissful psychedelic jams that found subtle instrumental interactions slowly parade into infinity. On "AR3," Reichel attempted to bring back more conventional song structures, perhaps missing the instant gratification of pop stardom but fell short as the band had lost their hit making mojo and watered down the Kraut aspects a wee bit too much.

As most Krautrock enthusiasts are aware of, Achim Reichel was one of Germany's biggest pop stars in the 60s before he dived headfirst into the burgeoning psychedelic scene that turned progressive as the 70s hit, however on his debut album with A.R. & MACHINES, "Die Grüne Raise," the songs still had a lot of pop compositional style wrapped up in extended psychedelic tripped out effects and more lingering passages that qualified them as progressive. On "Echo," the band dropped a lot of the pop influences and instead opted for longer sonic journeys into blissful psychedelic jams that found subtle instrumental interactions slowly parade into infinity. On "AR3," Reichel attempted to bring back more conventional song structures, perhaps missing the instant gratification of pop stardom but fell short as the band had lost their hit making mojo and watered down the Kraut aspects a wee bit too much.

On "A.R. IV", Reichel and his Kraut crew once again revert back to the long sonic journeys that delve into long psychedelic meandering jams that carry a somewhat funky groove as the backbone. While the album was broken down into four tracks, the first three constitute the "Vita" suite that allowed a strong bass groove and overabundance of percussive drive to meander on for over twenty minutes with a series of ethereal flute and jazzy sax to give it a multidimensional feel. The electric piano and keyboard effects kept it grounded into the progressive world of psychedelia as the tracks, while technically separate actually run together seamlessly and generate an instrumental journey into total blissful escapism. While vocals are scarce, there are segments where Reichel belts out some lyrics but thankfully these passages end quickly as i find them to be the weakest link of the band's unique musical journey.

The finale is saved for the super long twenty-three minute suite "Aqua" which consists solely of the track "Every Raindrop Longs For The Sea" that finds an extended groovy psychedelic jam sallying forth like there is no end to time. The formula is the same as side one with an energetic bass and percussion section accompanied by the driving rhythmic force with healthy doses of electric keyboard runs, blues funk guitar and the airy flutes and a constant background sound of ocean sounds including seagulls lurking in the distance. The sax also returns for the extra jazzy touch. There is a very carefree vibe to "A.R. IV" with little or no attention paid to any sort of compositional style whatsoever. It is simply the sort of heady improvisational psychedelic jam that was common for the days. While personally i prefer the debut to any of the other albums, "A.R. IV" is a massive improvement over the mediocre "AR3" as it captures the mood of the experimental sound journey that was intended. This is one that is a nice free floating escapist's journey into the clouds.

This is the type of music that isn't made to blow you away. This is very much an introspective journey that builds through a solid rhythmic flow that allows an atmospheric backdrop to shape shift much like clouds slowly changing shape as they roll by in the sky. "A.R. IV" was basically a group of ten musicians getting together (granted not all at the SAME time) and trading off licks around a solid groove. While this album doesn't have the same compositional prowess as other prog outfits of the day, there's something very soothing about it that makes me feel one with the universe. At this time Reichel was heavily into spirituality and yoga practice and that's exactly what emanates from this long drifting odyssey in musical form. "A.R. IV" would also find the band A.R. & MACHINES winding down as Reichel would continue as a solo artist, releasing one more psychedelic Kraut album before drifting into traditional German folk music.

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 Frazz Live by SEMIRAMIS album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Frazz Live
Semiramis Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars SEMIRAMIS, consisting of very young musicians at the time, were one of the several RPI bands that managed to make just one album in the early/mid seventies, Dedicato a Frazz (1973). I wrote about it roughly like this in my Finnish-language book on international progressive rock:

"Already the cover art gives some ideas about the style and possible influences, and more than to the front cover I refer to the gatefold's inner painting of dark, autumnal atmosphere, which I find in spirit somewhere between In the Court of the Crimson King and Nursery Cryme. But one cannot blame Semiramis for imitating anyone. In the highly dynamic and occasionally very intensive music there's not a single moment that would directly point at a certain band. Well, maybe the clinging percussion on the instrumental 'Uno Zoo di Vetro' resembles the Larks-era King Crimson. For the intensity the album can be compared also to Van der Graaf Generator, even if the sound per se hasn't got a lot in common -- with the possible exception of the occasional aggressive edge on the vocals.

Guitars, drums and bass are being played quite heavily without plainly falling on the heavy rock side. On the more central role are keyboards, varying from harpsichord and church organ flavours to thick synth carpets and jazz-nuanced electric piano. Here and there the intensity of the music is broken by more delicate passages, but perhaps in the end the album suffers from sameyness to a certain degree."

In retrospect, I think I didn't listen to the album as dedicatedly as it would have deserved, when I wrote that last, somewhat reserved sentence. Perhaps I was just a couple of further listening sessions away of naming the album as one of the finest RPI classics, at least on the heavier end of the spectre (as opposed to the pastoral end, which is closer to my heart). I could have re-listened to the studio album also, before writing this review, to find out how my reception might have changed. But even without doing that, I firmly believe that this concert performance from April 2017 simply sounds better. The sound is, how to put it, more open and nuanced, ie. the live factor does really good for this music. The line-up is missing the original vocalist Michele Zarrillo, which may be another reason for slightly more amiable impression. Now, don't start thinking this performance would be less dynamic or 'weaker' than the original 1973 recording. -- Actually I wish someone who's admired the album for ages would review this DVD, just to get another point of view and a closer look on the sonic differences. Anyway, for me, SEEING the band performing the music live often brings the music closer to me. This is exactly what happened now.

This is a DVD+CD set, with identical contents on both, except that the CD contains one bonus studio track, 'Mille Universi'. It's closer to the electric guitar oriented hard rock than the progressive finesse of the concert, which performs the original album Dedicato a Frazz in its entirety plus nearly 9-minute 'Morire per Guarire' not found on the album. Very powerful prog song it is. The DVD extras are a brief picture show and interviews of the band members. This leads us to one remarkable minus on this release: there are no English subtitles (although English language is used on the leaflet), which means non-Italian speaking viewers won't get much out of these interviews. Sad.

Another feature that I'm not quite convinced of, is the way each track is preceded by a near-minute narration, written and spoken by Giampero Artegiani (not listed on the band line-up). The leaflet contains Italian words for both these narrations and song-lyrics. Again, I would have appreciated English subtitles -- or printed translations -- at least for the narrations. On the first viewing of the show these narrations felt quite OK, but most likely they start irritating me on further viewings (on the CD these sections are separate tracks and therefor can be skipped, unlike on the DVD). Sonic level is faultless, and also from the visual point of view the concert film is very good. Several camera angles, a good balance of close-ups and broader scenes, and a fairly good lighting. Close to the ending a human-like, finely dressed doll is hanged up from its neck. Otherwise there are no theatrical aspirations on behalf of the stage settings or the band.

Despite some minor negative remarks I strongly recommend this set if you're interested in the Rock Progressivo Italiano of the classic era, whether you already have the original album or not.

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 Hustle & Bustle by HABELARD2 album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.09 | 3 ratings

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Hustle & Bustle
habelard2 Crossover Prog

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

4 stars Italian keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Sergio Caleca not only keeps busy with his `day job' band Ad Maiora (who've put out two superb albums being `Ad Maiora!' in 2014 and `Repetita Iuvant' two years later, if you haven't investigated them yet), but he's also devoted to his own solo project Haberlard2, and just this year (2017) alone he's offered two complete studio albums! The earlier one `Maybe' proved to be a joy for symphonic and eclectic prog music fans with a touch of vocal pop-rock where Sergio was backed up by a range of notable Italian prog guests both of the vintage and modern era, but `Hustle & Bustle' sees the man go it alone, yet still managing to deliver another colourful and diverse collection of fully instrumental pieces across an eclectic range of styles.

Looking at some of the highlights, the album opens infectiously with a full-blown unexpected jazz-fusion take on classic ditty `Frère Jacques', coursing through everything from jangling guitars, funky murmuring bass and dizzying fuzzy keyboard runs! That unpredictability will maintain the rest of the album, and the laid-back whimsy with a touch of playfulness and warmth from Sergio's electric piano touches gives `Dolce' a light Canterbury flavour in parts before more strident and dramatic rises. `Giada' is a quirky electronic/symphonic hybrid, and `Alice' is a darker Hammond organ-powered symphonic workout with jazzy accompaniment courtesy of keyboard emulation (with the real instruments this could have easily popped up on any of the recent Tangent albums).

The longest piece at almost seven minutes, `Folk e Martello' is lavished with prettiness and dignified pomp, `Tragico nr.2' bristles with classic Genesis and Steve Hackett-esque symphonic majesty (and Sergio's glorious guitar soloing would have fit in nicely on a Flower Kings piece if Roine Stolt needed a day off!), and `Celtic Dream' is, sure, enough, a lovely Celtic theme both gentle and proud. Much of `DeboleFortePiano' is a sparkling electric piano-led piece with a bouncy spring in its step that means it could have shown up on many Alan Parsons Project albums, lovely Canterbury sound flavours waft through `Cinc Ghei Pusè Ma Rus' and `Seventies' is a shorter reflective interlude. The title track `Hustle & Bustle' finds a good balance of dramatic and quirky moments as it brims with colourful keyboard soloing, and album closer `Finalino' is a mix of grand symphonic rises and sprightly jazzy piano touches.

While the album would have greatly benefited from being performed with all real instruments as opposed to being constantly aped on keyboards (how about getting some musical friends to re-record some of these pieces together over time, Sergio?), `Hustle & Bustle' is no less grand in scale and ambition than its predecessor, as well as being more intimate with a thoroughly admirable `anything-goes' approach. If you want to hear a superb modern musician displaying a huge range of his technical and compositional skills, Sergio Caleca/Haberlard2's `Hustle & Bustle' has plenty to offer progressive music lovers!

Four stars.

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 A Trick Of The Tail by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.27 | 2326 ratings

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A Trick Of The Tail
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by FalconBleck

5 stars #9 Review

Once Peter Gabriel left, the band kept searching and they ultimately decided for Phil Collins to be the lead... poor guy, he never wanted to leave the drums, but his voice eventually overshadowed his drums skills on the people wich is sad, but what can you do when you are very talented at 2 things? Not only that, but probably one of the best for the 2 jobs but one of those omits the other?

Well, the band continued and released a pretty aweosome album that i discovered because of a friend of an uncle who is having a hard time now at the hospital, hope that he gets well soon and i must thank him, this album is aweosome and because of those Peter Gabriel fanboys is because i never wanted to listen to this on the first place, i was pretty influenced by them when i started with Genesis, and i must tell everybody, listen to nobody, not even to me if you want, you just need to experience Genesis in its totality and i hope that you and everybody can realize what Genesis is all about, that's why i am here.

As always, i'll be reviewing per song.

1.- Dance on a Volcano 10/10 This song is pretty aweosome, it does almost everything right, the rythms, the time signatures, the atmosphere, the sound... everything is great here... How can i say that is an special song other than it is perfectly made? Well, really nice drumming and crazy "drop" of the instruments at the end.

2.- Entangled 10/10 If you want to listen to this, put your lights at minimum, making a glowy orange scene in your bedroom, make the room be filled with darkness also and look up in the window at night, watch for the rooftops and imagine childrens runing up there, it's a magical night where only the silhouette of the childrens can be seen while the moon washes the colors of the roofs, and you want to be there, as a child, to relive those inocent times that you never had because you were listening to prog alone at your room, you don't regret it, but you cry because you never had a social experience and now... you're tired and ill. That's how i feel, i love this song and i'd like to animate it or something, i want to share how i feel with somebody, maybe that's why i write reviews.

Pretty well done atmospherics by everybody here, and there's not a single piece of drums being played, only sweet Phil singing.

3.- Squonk 9/10 Nicely done kind of badass song, a little repetitive and because of that i sometimes forget that i'm listening to it, but still sports a nice rythm. I have another minor problem with this song, and that one is that in the ending, i would've liked for them to continue, i investigated and found that the ending overlaps infinitely, so they never composed something more to finish the song? Weird, i guess some of those ideas went into the most famous unreleased song from this album. Shoutouts to the singing, again but in a different way.

4.- Mad Man Moon 9/10 This song was perfect!! But the dumb lyrics in some parts had to rest 1 point. This song is really melancholic, here the spotlight is Tony Banks, he plays an incredible piece at half the song where it sounds like something that could be played whilst watching one of those Georges Méliès silent movies, it really takes away into a different reality and i love it. So the instrumentals are perfect here, the lyrics not, and it's hard for me to give it a point less because i mostly focus in instrumentals, but the lyrics really do take apart the illusion, it happens at the second half of the song, it is the singing or the lyrics tho?

5.- Robbery, Assault and Battery 10/10 At first i wasn't very fond of this song, but then after some re-listens, i just love it, it sports a lot of interesting and uniques things here, a funny story, but then an incredible aweosome odd time signature, this is one of the best Genesis songs to showcase odd time signatures. Shoutouts to everybody here because everyone got it's time to shine in this song.

6.- Ripples 10/10 Should i say something? This song has made everybody cry atleast once, because it's a pretty song, really sad and melancholic but then it gets pretty emotional and near the end there is one of the most epic solos i have heard, when i first listened to this, there was nothing toping that part and i edited the song so i could loop that part as far as i wanted, i really love that part. But the song in it's entirety is another one like Entangled with almost no drums, until the chorus and the solo tho. Shoutouts to Steve Hackett and Tony Banks, my favorite music couple... maybe.

7.- A Trick of the Tail 10/10 The title trick, i mean track, it's a somewhat short song, with really interesting lyrics, and a really sticky rythm, this song may be a little repetitive, but it gets stuck pretty easy in the head and the lyrics really get inside of my mind and i don't get distracted, i concentrate the whole song, and if i distract for some reason, the chorus hooks me up pretty fast. So in this one is a shoutouts to the lyrics.

8.- Los Endos 10/10 The final song that closes it all with just almost repeating all the songs in the albums with an incredible showcase of talent from Phil Collins on drums and everybody also, but the drums in a really special way. This song is really well executed and i'm glad that in concerts they have come back to this song multiple times, it represents the album well.

All in all the final score is a 98/100, wich obviusly translates to 5 stars, i recommend this album to EVERYBODY.

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 Wild Dogs by CIRKUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Wild Dogs
Cirkus Symphonic Prog

Review by Sorceress

5 stars With so many albums coming out, it's like wandering in your favorite confectionery asking yourself which one to chose.

CIRKUS is the easy pick if what you are looking for is a mixt of the 70's taste combines with complex flavors changing all along!

War, quest for redemption, inner fight & peace, calmer & torturous times, life and death are a few themes explored in this double concept album about balance/unbalance, thus the band's name, CIRKUS. But more over, all this is wrapped in beautiful and powerful melodies that stays in your head.

You get into it with a touch African beat evolving into more classical themes and for the perfect illustration of the clash between local inhabitants and colonial forces. This epic song is only the beginning of the journey!

Listening to all songs in order will help you appreciate the well planed evolution.

I hope to be lucky enough to see them LIVE as I'm sure that the strong melodies, the crafted vocal and their sound will just blow me away! Only one small note: although the sound on occasions suffers a little from the homeproduction, it should not prevent you from appreciating the album.

Influences noted: Genesis, Moody blues, Procol Harum, some themes reminded me of Mike Oldfield.

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 First Stage Zoltan  by ZOLTAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 5 ratings

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First Stage Zoltan
Zoltan Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The biggest shock for me when I started to check out the background of this band and album was that Andy Thompson the owner and operator of the Planet Mellotron site that has been an invaluable resource for me for many years was actually part of this band. I knew Andy was in LITMUS but I had no idea that ZOLTAN was his current band with his brother Matt who many will know as being a founding member of GUAPO plus his many side projects. We also get Andrew Prestidge on drums. You should see the picture of the array of keyboards in the liner notes, or just check out Andy's site under the review for this album. They list 16 different items including Andy's M400 mellotron of course. This isn't a mellotron album by the way, oh it's on 4 of the 6 songs but Andy tried not to go overboard on it.

I have to say that the mood of this album fits my tastes perfectly. Tons of analog synths and electronics, sequencers, clavinet, rhodes, arps, roland, moog and on and on. The bass is in my face the way I like it and man there's some nasty synths on here that you'd think was fuzzed out bass and of course the atmosphere is ground shaking at times. It's dark, melancholic and powerful. This will go down as one of my all time Electronic albums no doubt. Cool album cover as well.

So 6 tracks and 41 minutes worth of pleasure right here. "Pilman Radiant" and all the titles of these tracks are from popular culture. And again I'm just trying to describe what I hear and with all the gear I'm sure I will make many mistakes. It opens with sounds that pulse as other electronics, and synths join in, mellotron too. A change after a minute as we get synths along with drums and a heavy sound. This is great! It settles back around 2 minutes and check out the mellotron before it kicks back in. Back to the previous soundscape as contrasts continue. I can't express how much I dig this. Synths and drums lead after 3 minutes then after 4 minutes we are back to our regular programming. What a way to start the album!

"Krollspele" starts with sequencers which is kind of cool as cymbals help out. Soon other synths swell and recede. Then a deep synth line kicks in with drums. Oh my! Synths start to cry out of this heavy rhythm. Spacey synths and bass follow. Love that bass but also those spacey synths. Check out the refrain 2 1/2 minutes in. No words! RUSH comes to mind here. Again just an incredible sound here with the bass and synths. That refrain is back after 5 minutes. So good that I'm moved. The sequencers from the start are back before 6 minutes followed by a powerful sound.

"Canali Replica" opens with powerful synths and soon drums are pounding away as growly synths join in. Some nice drum work here and I like the way the flavour changes slightly throughout with repeated themes. It settles back with bass and drums after 3 minutes as synths start to get inventive. Incredible! This song and the previous one are the only two without mellotron.

"Windowless Monad" opens with deep synth lines with electric piano and more as we get this repetitive sound out of the darkness. I like when the spacey synths and mellotron join in just before a minute. Suddenly a change after 1 1/2 minutes as we get pulsating sounds with spacey synths and mellotron. The synths almost swirl after 3 minutes.

"The Tall Man" opens with electric piano raining down as we get outbursts of bass, synths and drums. Mellotron after a minute as the drums and bass become more constant. Mellotron flute after 1 1/2 minutes then themes are repeated. Electric piano only before 3 1/2 minutes then check out that mellotron!

"Black Iron Prison" ends it and it's the longest by far at 14 1/2 minutes. Some static as it begins in a dark atmosphere as a sinister synth line joins in. Some suspense before 2 1/2 minutes then the bass and drums kick in around 3 minutes. Synths follow. I really like this stuff with that dark mood and repetitive beats with spacey synths coming and going. So good! The beats stop before 8 minutes as we get spacey sounds and lots of atmosphere. Drums return. Sequencers kick in just before 9 minutes. The sequencers and drums stop after 11 1/2 minutes as it turns avant. The sequencers are back around 12 1/2 minute along with the drums and synths.

A masterpiece of Electronic music right here and I can't wait to get my hands on their second studio album called "Sixty Minute Zoom". My kind of music and this went straight up to number 4 in my 2012 album list.

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 Big City Awakes by ON THE RAW album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Big City Awakes
On The Raw Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fenman

4 stars I found this album on Bandcamp and bought a download. There is a lot of instrumental or largely instrumental prog/jazz/fusion around these days, much of which is well played but, unfortunately, not very memorable. What attracted me to this is the sense of melody and the strength of the compositions. In addition it isn't over-produced in the way that too much stuff is today. It is nice to be able to hear each instrument clearly, rather than through layer upon layer of synthesised keyboards.

Parts of it have similar appeal to Spyro-gyra or some of Larry Carlton's late 70's-early 80's albums. Though it is melodic, it certainly isn't anodyne. Kraan also comes to mind. A good four star effort.

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 As Far As The Eye Can See by SUNCHILD album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 199 ratings

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As Far As The Eye Can See
Sunchild Crossover Prog

Review by ale73

5 stars Some records have a winning title; some records have a winning cover art. So you are impressed by them at first sting. In this case both the cover art and the title are winning. And when you listen to the music you are sure your first impression was right.

I would say that, among all the projects of the prolific composer Antony Kalugin, this record is my favorite one and in my opinion it is also the most ambitious. It is very difficult to categorize this piece of music: you can say it is prog, but it is at the same time teathrical, emotional, epic and even romantic, with echoes of world music and gothic melancholy (for me the right moment to listen to it is the night). What impressed me from the first listen is the voice: ethereal and dreamy to say the least, it is very emotional and warm in all its shades and someway reminds me of Kate Bush. But the music is no less: it is enough to take an eye to the list of musician and instruments (guitars, keyboards but also alto sax, oboe, flute, accordion, viola, violin, cello') to understand the richness of it all.

All the songs are almost perfect and it is difficult to choose some highlights, but if I have to, I would go for the title track, the 15- minute long 'Stars of Cardiff Bay', 'Mirrors' (I remember it was the first song that impressed me when I saw them for the first time in concert) and above all the ethereal 'Visionary sights'.

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 Love by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.02 | 77 ratings

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Love
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This cd was a collaboration between Geroge Martin and his son Giles when they were asked to work for the Cirque du Soleil. They have created this soundscape using any sound from the original Beatles multi-track tapes. The used sound to combine some songs or use the sound of songs to go in other songs. The results are impressive especially in 5.1. It's about an hour and a half medley that can be listened like one song with not much pause between songs. The sound is all over the room and is a new experience to hear those songs that we all know for a long time. I could hear some heavy parts that I never heard on the old versions. This is a soundtrack for a film with a nice choice of songs, the more accessible ones and the more experimental ones from the latest albums of The Beatles. This cd could serve as a introduction to the band and in that case, you can be satisfied with the stereo cd, but if you want to hear the Beatles songs with new arrangements and in surround, you need the DVD-audio. This is more than a simple and easy compilation of the bands greatest hits, it's more than 2 years of hard rock with the collaboration of many people to brings this to the public.

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 The Mysticism of Sound and Music by BARRET TRIO, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 2 ratings

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The Mysticism of Sound and Music
David Barret Trio Heavy Prog

Review by Davidf60

4 stars This is a solo album by David Barrett, who I must admit is new to me. It certainly lives up to its title and David plays a mixture of 6 and 12 string electric and acoustic, classical and steel guitars, laud and mandolin. There are 12 tracks mainly three or four minutes long and a total play time of 46:16. I liked the mixture of tracks with some almost all acoustic and some really electronic orientated. The playing to my ears is first class and produces a wonderful dynamic range of sounds and music vistas. Some tracks are quite slow and some have a quite varied pace. My favourite track, Seascape is a musical delight of acoustic guitar and electronic sounds. Overall I really enjoyed this instrumental album and to me its four stars.

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 Exegi Monumentum Aere Perennius by ROME PRO(G)JECT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Exegi Monumentum Aere Perennius
The Rome Pro(g)ject Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars Monumental

EXEGI MONVMENTVM AERE PERENNIVS meaning "I raised a monument more lasting than bronze" is the third album by Vincenzo Ricca's The Rome Pro(g)ject. Having enjoyed the previous two discs, I was eager to get my hands on this brand new release, and I ordered it straight from Vincenzo himself. More than living up to expectations, this album in fact surpassed them. This third instalment takes the best from Rome Pro(g)ject I and II and presents us with a truly convincing work. After a very large number of listens over the past few weeks I can attest that it is indeed a lasting monument of Symphonic Prog. The moment it stops running, I just want to start it over again!

The music of The Rome Pro(g)ject is entirely instrumental, not even narration is included this time which I feel is a boost as I found it distracting on previous releases. The album features ten tracks, all but two of which are written by Ricca who is a great composer and a superb keyboard player.

Like the name implies, the project is based in Italy, but it is in fact an international collaboration featuring contributions from several well-known British musicians. Steve Hackett makes a return appearance on the twelve and a half minute Exegi Monvmentvm which also features John Hackett on flute. Another long-time Hackett collaborator in Nick Magnus contributes the two piano pieces that bookend the album.

Other returning participants are David Jackson and David Cross who contribute winds and electric violin respectively to several tracks. The presence of these giants readily invites comparisons to the classic bands in which they made their names, and in the cases of Genesis and King Crimson the comparisons are indeed relevant. When it comes King Crimson, it is more so the early, symphonic era of In The Court Of The Crimson King that is relevant and less so the later albums that David Cross originally helped create. An exception might be the track 476 A.C. which is dedicated to John Wetton. No similarities with Van der Graaf Generator can be detected, with Jacksons contributions on sax and flutes also bringing to mind early King Crimson as well as occasionally Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson.

As a keyboard player, Ricca is clearly influenced by the likes of Tony Banks, Rick Wakeman, and Keith Emerson. The second part of the multi-part suite Aere Perennius is dedicated to Emerson, who like Wetton passed away last year. On these tracks, Emerson's influence can be felt.

Mentioning all of these great names might make some think that this is nothing but an exercise of rehearsing the classics, but that would definitely be a big mistake. EXEGI MONVMENTVM AERE PERENNIVS is not a "retro" release, but a timeless piece of excellent music!

Very highly recommended!

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 Silence Between Sounds by KARMAMOI album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.75 | 10 ratings

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Silence Between Sounds
Karmamoi Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars This is the third album from Italian-UK band Karamoi, and after suffering some line-up changes the remaining trio of Daniele Giovannoni (drums, recording engineer and producer), Alessandro Cefalì (bass guitar) and Alex Massari (guitar) decided not to bring in new permanent members of the band, but instead have relied on session musicians and for vocals feature guest singers Sara Rinaldi, Irene Morelli, Hellena and former band singer Serena Ciacci. Heavily influenced by Porcupine Tree in particular, I found the use of multiple singers not working as well as it could have, just because they are all so different. Sara Rinaldi is definitely reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, and that just doesn't work with the style of music the band are playing. Comparing her efforts (and needless to say she is the main singer) with Hellena's sultry tones on the dreamy and atmospheric "Atma" shows just how special this album could have been, whereas in reality it has become a very hit and miss affair.

While not dismissing it out of hand, there is much more in the progressive scene that I would rather be listening to.

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 Spektra by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.88 | 65 ratings

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Spektra
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Although I reviewed the debut album from Antony Kalugin under the Karfagen name a few years ago, I hadn't heard anything since, and this 2016 album was his eighth studio release. Over the last few years I have been listening to a great deal of Camel, especially 'Snow Goose' which has become one of my "go to" albums, and my initial reaction was that this had a great deal of similarities in some ways. Then add in some classical guitar, which in style is very reminiscent of Antony Phillips and early Steve Hackett, and one is starting to get incredibly interested in what is going on musically. There are some incredibly delicate sections in the album, with beautiful violin, and it feels very much as if this is a band as opposed to one musician then employing another 15 to help him complete his vision.

The tempos mix and change, the arrangements are complex and layered, yet one never feels stifled in what is going on. There is still light and space within the music, enough room to move without becoming suffocated. Although Antony has some obvious influences, he has definitely just taken these as a starting point and then moved on, definitely making the style his own. Heavily Seventies influenced in both sounds and styles (love the Mellotrons and Moogs), this is an incredibly easy album to listen to and enjoy as it is so accessible. Well worth investigation.

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 Octavarium by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 1894 ratings

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Octavarium
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by guiservidoni

5 stars No doubt, this definitely is on the top 3 Dream Theater albums for me.

Octavarium is a concept album, but a really unusual one: it doesn't necessarily have a storyline, or even circles around a certain theme. It revolves around two numbers: 8 and 5. Point for prog.

It is filled with elements that point to those numbers that, those alone, already are a reason to buy this in physical copy. It is their 8th studio album, containing eight songs, called OCTavarium. You see, the band has five members, and to this point had released five live albums. The numbers make you think of piano keys: C D E F G A B and the octave coming full circle (ha-ha), and C# D# F# G# A#. So, the songs' tones follow this very scale, with five transitions between the songs in the sequence of a piano. I could write quite some others, but you should find them yourself.

The Root Of All Evil is amazing, making it up to Portnoy's ambitions with the Twelve-Step suite. Some more commercial stuff will appear, such as These Walls and The Answer Lies Within, but these are great songs nonetheless. You see the Muse-ish Never Enough, with its weird and awesome time signatures that have everything to do with the song, and things only get better.

For the two last songs, you have a full orchestra working alongside. On Russia On IcWHOOPS I mean Sacrificed Sons, it works beautifully, and on the album's last track which gives the album its title, you not only have Dream Theater's best song ever made, but possibly one of the best songs ever made in history.

Octavarium (the song) deserves a separate review for its awesomeness. The Shine On You Crazy Diamond beginning, its five (YEA BRUH 5 AGAIN) sections that are meticulously crafted, the lyrics emphasising the cycle concept, that everything ends where it begins, and fantastic musicianship: from the Petrucci and Rudess unison solo to LaBrie screaming at the top of his lungs, this song is, for me, the best song there is, simply put.

Everyone should know this album and you're not complete if you don't know it.

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 Shrine by PSYCHOYOGI album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.08 | 6 ratings

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Shrine
Psychoyogi RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Very nice music!

Last year I got to know Psychoyogi's music due to the facebook contact with their axe-man Chris Ramsing, and i have to say I am lucky to be introduced to these low-profile prog bands because they always have something interesting to share. This is a trio of talented musicians whose music cannot be catalogued as classic progressive rock, instead, you will find here the jazzy side of prog with evident Zappa-esque textures. The band has released so far four albums, being Shrine their newest, released back in 2016. It is a short 34- minute album divided in 9 tracks that will make you have a good time.

As you can imagine, the songs range from 3 to 5 minutes. The title track "Shrine" is a pretty cool introduction to their music. Jazz prog with inherent humor (you can tell by the vocals) but with a sound that is really easy to dig, I mean, normally bands under the RIO or avant-prog label might be difficult to digest, but this is not the case. "Optimistic Dream" has a soft sound that turns delicious in their instrumental passages; it also brings a kind of gypsy sound made by the winds. The short guitar solos are also very pleasant. "Trust" is another nice piece with those gypsy nuances, nicely complemented by soft vocals and a pretty nice rhythmic base.

"Happy Family" is a piece I like a lot. Its instrumental passages are delicious. The guitar work is exquisite as well as those soft bass notes. "Lucy" is the shortest track, but its 3 minutes bring comfortably and peaceful moments that pass so fast like a blink of an eye. Its first minute is like an introduction, then some kind of funeral drums appear along with trumpets and create a very enjoyable passage. With "Far Away Places" I somehow remember Gentle Giant, maybe due to the rhythm, but at the same time, the voice has a certain Claypool sound, but softer. It also adds a nice mid-eastern sound as background. Wonderful track!

The gypsy essence returns with "How to Break the Fall". What I like a lot about this band is that their sound is not the common one, I mean, if you read "gypsy" as description you might imagine fast, bombastic and loud rhythms, but Psychoyogi's sound is actually very delicate, and it is nicely balanced by the moments with vocals. "Methods" has a wonderful jazzy passage at half the song, and thought it is short, it is one of my favorite of the whole album. The last song is "Supermarket Man" which has a chaotic piano in the first seconds, later acoustic guitar appears and later vocals. Despite it is so short, they managed to bring different sounds and passages on it. Very nice!

It is a nice album, I enjoy their music, however, I think their soft and friendly sound could be both, a pro and a con, because it's a not so common sound that brings a different experience, but it may lack of those explosive moments that make you fall in love with the music.

Enjoy it!

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 Negative Toe by CAMEMBERT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.77 | 11 ratings

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Negative Toe
Camembert Jazz Rock/Fusion

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

5 stars Strasbourg's eccentric and eclectic Zeuhl/avant garde/RIO "ensemble" (more like a small orchestra!) have produced a sequel to their 2011 "soundtrack" to an imaginary alien space invasion. The band has matured as both individual instrumentalists and as a cohesive collective. The sound engineering is amazing--one of the best I've ever heard-- and the story and even the masterfully crafted music continues to employ an extraordinarily high degree of humour. I find myself laughing and crying within the same songs as we follow the latest installment of the alien Schn'rgls' conspiratorial encounters with Earthlings

1. "Orteil n'gatif--Once Upon A Time In The Galax-cheese" (3:13) opening with a joyful, confident announcement of the band's incredible precision, new maturity, and sci-fi story to come, percussives and staccato syncopation introduce the story before the music fades into a low, ominous foundation for the eerie "radio" communications that follow (the Schn'rgls have been encountered!). Masterful intro! They've got my attention! (4.5/5)

2. "Fecondee par un extra-terrestre" (15:10) opens with 45 seconds of Zeuhl-like insistence before everything turns to a gentle Latin rhythm-based harp-based section. Cool! A minute later, it switches as other band members join in, then turns more jazzy as the horns join in during the third minute. Another shift at 3:30 presents an adorable and pretty "wuah" sound that sounds like a cute alien fart or baby burp (the birth of "El Pulpo"). When the band reunites in full force at the end of the fourth minute, it seems like the outburst is totally jovial, even celebratory. At the end of the sixth minute another shift employs long, deep bass notes, steady drums, electric guitar soloing (which is rare) and all kinds of horns and percussives interspersed. A minute later, things quite down while very delicate play from keys, xylophone, harp, and oboe (and later flutes) very slowly, very gradually build in force and volume. this is gorgeous! By the time 9:45 rolls around and the horns unite in sectional bursts we think it's culminating--but, no! Another lull while cymbals, touch-guitar chords and winds present yet another variation on the theme. This is amazing! The compositional and performance skills on display here are utterly inconceivable! Like an orchestral composition! At 12:30 there is another radical tempo and stylistic shift while woodwinds seem to be "tuning" in the background, the bass and rest of the rhythm section (which is HUGE!) gel into a very Zeuhl-like sound and style. Horns carry the melody forward while harp and vibes fast-weave beneath, just above the rhythm section. Amazing! (10/10)

3. "Gros Bouquin" (11:11) Opens with some full band chord hits before quickly settling into a funky-jazzy rhythmic sound for vibes and flutes to present a fast-paced melody. At 1:15 everything quiets down while flutes and other high winds present an airy space. Then we burst back into the bass-led Caribbean funk so that horns can have their solo time. Trumpet takes the lead for the next minute while bass and harp provide the steady foundation. Drums and multiple hand percussion play along though very much in a simplistic supporting role. The song is supposed to represent a musical rendering of the process of extracting the sexual energy from rabbits in order to empower the Schn'rgls' secret weapon, the Negative Toe. (8.5/10)

4. "The Lament Of Pr. Frankenschn'rgl" (9:11) a slow, methodically-paced song with lots of space and lots of staccato notes produced in small, steadily paced packages from a wide variety of instruments including some from Oriental traditions. This one also has nicely arranged choral arrangements (sung in English!) professing the Schn'rgl military scientist's doubts, regrets, and worries. Such a simple and pleasant song, this in great contrast to the frenzy of multiplicities that was song #2. A great display of control and restraint--both in composition and especially in performance. Mathematically I'm sure this song would be quite interesting to study. The final 90 seconds begin to exude some of the insistence of the Zeuhl world in both vocals and drums and bowed bass--and finishing off with a little crazed cacophony--which is a perfect lead-in to the next song. (9/10)

5. "Skwitch" (14:47) opens with multiple instruments contributing to a low end dominated, ominous opening. At the two-minute mark things quiet down--as if the protagonists are trying to hide or be unnoticed--while retaining the creepy tension from the opening. At 4:10 we again switch tempo while the same delicate instrumental weave re- establishes itself--this time with hand percussion, harp and vibes providing the filler. At the end of the sixth minute the music drops out leaving some very sparsely populated guitar, harp, bass, and creepy trumpet hits while a creepy monster-like human voice vocalizes noises not unlike those of the trumpet. Well into the eighth minute, the horn solo becomes far more "normal"--jazz-like--but then it is suddenly submitted to some very odd under-water- like muting effects (elephantine) while the rest of the band, formerly quiet and reserved, begin to rise up and "swallow" the trumpet within their methodic tapestry. At 9:57 everything stops. Silence. Then very syncopatedly- spaced staccato hits from a variety of instruments gives the sound and melody a stark, almost "disappearing" feel. Horns and harp allow for some feeling of return to occur. Boisterous bass-end bursts seem to be on the verge of disrupting all flow of the base-line tapestry--until they all merge at the beginning of the thirteenth minute. The final two minutes seem to be telling the story of the monster's demise and death. Overall, this is a great mid-tempo song with frequent time changes and polyrhythmic weaving of the multiplicity of instruments. Something about the mood, melodies, and intricacies of this song make it my favorite--despite the fact that it's supposed to tell the story of the future destruction of one of my favorite places on Earth, la cath'drale de Strasbourg, by a cybernetic laboratory elephant. (9.5/10)

6. "El Pulpo" (3:19) oboe, guitar play out a sad melody over harp and bowed double bass before vibes and horns come in to present their antiphon of support. Then at 1:25, all music fades away. Empty space is then gradually invaded by low foghorn-like horn bursts while seaside sounds and human whistling and other pseudo animal sounds are disbursed throughout the soundscape. I guess it's supposed to be the cries of El Pulpo as he and his mother escape to South America by sea-going vessel. (4.5/5)

Five stars; definitely a masterpiece of modern progressive rock--though this album feels as if it belongs more on the Avant Garde/RIO spectrum than the Zeuhl they were associated with in their previous album. Great to have Pierre and company back! And mega-kudos to the engineering/production team! AMAZING sound reproduction!

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