Header
PROG ARCHIVES intends to be the most complete and powerful progressive rock resource. You can find the progressive rock music discographies from 9,217 bands & artists, 48,089 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,154,598 ratings and reviews from 53,776 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
Listen to progarchives.com radio ad presentation (30 sec.)

Latest 50 Free Mp3 Download (stream)


Random Playlist (50) | Open up player | How to submit new MP3s ? | RSS New Mp3s

Latest Progressive Rock Music Reviews


Last 50 reviews
 The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 2249 ratings

BUY
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Genesis's 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' is an album which can divide opinion and create debate like no other...Everyone who listens to progressive music probably has their own opinions regarding 'The Lamb', its impossible not to. Judging from the reviews on Prog Archives there are definitely a lot of strong opinions about this particular Genesis album, and I'd expect no less! Unlike 'Selling England' or 'Foxtrot', which are easily identified as masterpieces of prog, with 'The Lamb' it isn't so clear-cut. Is this album a masterpiece? Perhaps...

There have been times in my own life when I have held up 'The Lamb' to be the single greatest piece of music in all of recorded human history. But equally there have been times when I've been far more sceptical about the record and regarded it with only a passing interest. The truth, like so many things, probably lies somewhere in-between these two extremes. In my opinion 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' is the perfect example of the flawed masterpiece.

But in sitting down and writing my review for this oh-so mysterious album I can already feel it tugging at me, calling to me, wanting to be listened to once again. One thing is certain, 'The Lamb' has never been far from my thoughts at any given time. I still get excited when I listen to it - it's intoxicating, not least of all because I still haven't got the slightest clue what its all about! It's almost like a puzzle or a mathematical equation which demands to be solved. The lyrics are clearly a metaphor for something - I've just never figured out what! I've tried reading other people's thoughts on the matter, spent hours digesting notes on the Internet of interpretations and theories, but nothing seems to feel right to me. In a way it doesn't really matter. The biggest joke might be if Peter Gabriel doesn't even know what it means, and the words were just chosen because they made good lyrics and fitted together well...!

But what perplexes me more is why has this album taken up so much of my time, after-all, the previous Gabriel-era Genesis albums are far superior to this one, right?... 'The Lamb' doesn't have the long and highly enjoyable progressive instrumental passages from previous albums, it isn't as experimental or I might argue as progressive as the bands previous records. In many ways its a bit more straight-forward than the previous Genesis records.

In 'The Lamb' all attention is on Peter Gabriel and his vocals, with little room for musical freedom from the rest of the band. Now there are a few songs on the album which buck the trend and allow for a bit more musical exploration, like the track 'In The Cage' or 'Riding The Scree', but those songs are few and far between. What I find even more perplexing, however, is that a good 25% of the album is more-or-less filler, especially on the second disc. In fact I sometimes even find myself skipping the odd track in the second half when I sit down and listen to this. How can this be a masterpiece then? Well as I said its a flawed masterpiece...

...but I wouldn't change a second of it!

I initially set out to write a 3-star review for this album, but how can I? There may be a a good chunk of filler on here, but there are also some absolutely fantastic Genesis songs which deserve, even to this day, to be listened to by everyone. The good on this album more than does enough to wash away the bad. Is this the greatest record in human history? A few years ago I might have said yes, but really its not 'the greatest'... I'm not even sure I'd put it in my top 10, but regardless it is still absolutely essential for any prog fan though... But you all already know that, right? Reviewing this album isn't anything ground-breaking, in-fact I doubt anyone is going to read yet another review for this already over-reviewed album. I'm not going to change any opinions with my review of this album, I just felt like I wanted to add my own voice to the mix regarding this album.

'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' gets a very solid 4-stars from me, as its probably the fairest rating I can think of... Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to listen to 'The Lamb', maybe more than once!...

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Crimson II by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.67 | 85 ratings

BUY
Crimson II
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson II' is the follow-up album to the 1996 prog-metal classic 'Crimson', and is a different take on the original 40-minute death metal epic. Released in 2003, the record was released under the banner of Edge Of Sanity, but in reality this is a Dan Swano solo album. Swano resurrected Edge Of Sanity for this album only, and then swiftly killed it off again, never to be seen again.

When reviewing 'Crimson II' you can't help but refer to the first album. There are a number of differences between the two 'Crimson' albums. In 'Crimson II' there is a much greater use of keyboard synths which tend to give the album a more upbeat feel to it. This is extenuated by the use of more melodic guitar riffs, making 'Crimson II' feel brighter and somehow happier or bouncier than the original. The drums are punchier, clearly having been triggered in the studio, which again makes the album sound brighter and detract from the atmosphere of the production. Musically 'Crimson II' is probably even more varied than the original. There are chunky death metal riffs, acoustic guitars, pianos, operatic clean vocals, guttural death metal screams.

Over the years I've often had the debate with a close friend of mine as to which is the better album, this one or the first one... It's often an interesting debate, even if we both know the outcome before we've started arguing! I've always come down on the side of the first album, where-as my friend has always sided with this one, and we both have our reasons. Don't get me wrong, 'Crimson II' is a worthy successor to the original classic and it is a very good album indeed, but in my opinion it just doesn't have the same muddy atmosphere as the first record - in some ways it comes across as a bit too polished and a bit too upbeat. When it comes to progressive death metal I like atmosphere - I'm not a big fan of highly polished triggered drums, for example.

But it isn't just the production standard, I also feel that 'Crimson II' is a little bit more disjointed than the original album. While 'Crimson II' is marketed as a single 43-minute song, the reality is that the music is segmented into 9 distinct sections which have less relation to each other. This is an album where it could be split up into its constituent sections easily enough. The only thing binding this album together is the concept and story, which is carried over from the first 'Crimson' album. Particularly interesting is to note is that none other than Clive Nolan is the author of the lyrics in this album. That's right, Clive Nolan of Arena and Pendragon fame wrote the lyrics to this album! This is something I only discovered as I was writing this review - all these years I always assumed Swano wrote the lyrics to this!...

...You learn something new every day!

Anyway, onto the rating. I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars with this. I do really love the work of Dan Swano, and this is a worthy successor to the original 'Crimson' album so I'm going to give this one 4-stars. Definitely recommended - you just might enjoy the first one more!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Once There Was A Time When Space And Time Were One by MY BROTHER THE WIND album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.32 | 31 ratings

BUY
Once There Was A Time When Space And Time Were One
My Brother The Wind Psychedelic/Space Rock

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

3 stars A collective comprised of members of a diverse range of bands such as Anekdoten (Nicklas Barker), Magnolia (Ronny Eriksson) and the Gösta Berlings Saga (Mathias Danielsson), Swedish band My Brother The Wind deliver their third album `Once There Was a Time When Space and Time Were One', and it's another fully improvised, reliable collection of heavy psych rock, space music and immersive Krautrock sounds. The results are always enjoyable, if sometimes lacking something truly thrilling, but genuinely lovely moments still emerge throughout the disc.

After an opening `Prologue' of psychedelic drones, phasing sounds and backwards effects, the meandering yet joyful `Song of Innocence - Part 1' smoulders with slow-burn electric guitar embers and murmuring bass in the manner of the most mellow moments of Agitation Free and the Oresund Space Collective. After being sucked into a whirling vacuum of spinning feedback, the band crash back to Earth with `Ufo'-era Guru Guru-esque howling raggedness driven home by incessant pounding drums from newcomer to the group Daniel Fridlund Brandt. `Into the Cosmic Halo' lurches back and forth in tempo with scuzzy early Hawkwind-like charm, but it's really just a framing for aimless guitar soloing. The more meditative `Misty Mountainside' is an Indo/raga rock- flavoured droning acoustic guitar respite, with hypnotic flute ruminations reaching for the heavens.

`Garden of Delights' is a slowly building twelve minute guitar jam that grows in intensity with nice middle eastern themes slowly emerging, but although the piece is probably twice as long as it should be, the blanketing of unsettling Mellotron choir in the finale satisfies. `Thomas Mera Gartz' is a groaning sustained-note electric guitar and chimes drone, the title track is another dreamy acoustic guitar raga with thoughtful bass interjections, and `Epilogue' is a brisk and sumptuous up- tempo Mellotron soaked beauty. Spirited acoustic guitar races alongside sprightly drumming, warm relentless bass and glorious Mellotron rises and falls on clouds of hallucinogenic bliss.

`Once There Was a Time When Space and Time Were One' ticks plenty of the right boxes in the genres mentioned above, but some stretches get a little monotonous or fail to truly engage. It also has to be said that the shorter, ambient and reflective moments are more interesting than the heavier overlong jams, and they're also disappointingly the shorter pieces on the album. Still, this is a nice album, and the fanciful hazy cover artwork just lifts it that little bit higher still!

A solid three star album.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.27 | 357 ratings

BUY
Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

5 stars Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson' is an album which gets a lot of love from the metal community, and I'm pleased to see it gets plenty of love on prog archives as well! Well, this review isn't going to change that in the slightest. I still remember the day I first heard 'Crimson', I was totally blown away by what I heard. At the time I had just discovered Opeth and their album 'Morningrise', and I can remember searching for other bands with a similar style to that record. It was by chance I came across this album and this band. A death metal record with a single 40-minute song just seemed to good to be true!

But let me tell you something - this album deserves all of the hype it receives. Before I talk in detail about the music I feel its important to put this album into its chronological context. This was released in 1996 - there were very few experimental death metal bands around in the mid-90's, and certainly none with the audacity to write a single 40-minute extreme metal opera! If 'Crimson' were released today it would go down as a good, but not a particularly inspired album. But twenty years ago this was utterly ground-breaking - and its all down to one man, probably the most underrated and unappreciated musician in heavy metal, Mr Dan Swano.

So what makes 'Crimson' so good? I think there are four ingredients which combine to make this a classic record;

The riffs - there is no getting away from it, there are some brilliant metal riffs on this album - they are crunchy, at times melodic and most importantly varied.

The structure - this single 40-minute song is very progressive, there are lots of dynamic breaks, varied sections, soft and heavy parts and it feels unified and consistent throughout.

The story - this is a concept album, and a fun one at that! I'll leave you to read the lyrics, but when Dan Swano opens up the start of the album with the guttural shouting "Another sky is young... Another frozen future has passed" you get excited at the prospect of the rest of the music to come!

The atmosphere - this is one of those albums where I love the production and the slight muddiness of the recording; it feels dirty and full of grime, and in that way it fits the story wonderfully!

Something which might interest readers who aren't familiar with Edge Of Sanity is the contribution a certain Mikael Akerfeldt had on this album, who plays guitar solos and adds some of the clean vocals found in this record. In many ways Opeth's 'Morningrise' and Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson' are peas in a pod. Both released in 1996. Both Swedish origin. And most obviously both lead musicians in each band were friends with each other. There are a lot of similarities between 'Crimson' and 'Morningrise', but I would say that 'Crimson' is harder-edged and a bit more savage than 'Morningrise'.

Before I give this album a rating I just want to mention Dan Swano again. I've always felt that this guy doesn't get the half the respect or appreciation he should be due. He has contributed so much to the progressive metal scene, and not just as a musician or composer, but also as a producer. The poor guy still works in his brothers record store. Okay, he probably likes working in his brothers record store, but so few people in the "metal community" have heard of Swano. I've always considered it somewhat of an injustice.

Anyway, I'll get off my fan-boy pedestal before I fall off and give this album a very obvious and predictable rating... 5 stars - can't go wrong with this and like a fine wine its aged very well indeed over time!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 No Prayer For The Dying by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.52 | 285 ratings

BUY
No Prayer For The Dying
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by AndyJ

2 stars Iron Maiden's 'No Prayer For The Dying' is generally considered by fans to be one of the weaker outputs from The Beast. It's even worse when you put this record in its chronological context, coming off the back of the utterly sublime 1988 album 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'.

After reviewing 'The X-Factor', perhaps my favourite Iron Maiden record (shock!), I thought it would be fun to re-visit 'No Prayer', which like many fans of The Beast I consider to be their worst record by a long way. Its not that the songs are bad, so much as a lot of them are utterly uninspired. This is a record from a band running on empty and struggling to find direction after having a hugely successful string of albums in the 1980's.

According to the band this record was an attempt to go back to the garage band sound found on their first albums, notably the self titled 'Iron Maiden' and second album 'Killers'. The problem with this approach is that regression isn't a great strategy for any band. I'd have preferred them to carry on their progressive metal styling from 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' rather than try to recapture something they did a full decade prior. I'm glad to say that the most recent incarnation of Iron Maiden, starting in 2000, does return to progressively influenced metal music.

But back to the album in question, there is no doubt about it, 'No Prayer For The Dying' has some pretty fun Maiden moments, there are lovely Steve Harris bass-lines, great twin guitar action and Nicko McBrain is as creative as ever behind the skins. Bruce Dickinson sounds in good, not great form in this album. There are some good progressive moments on here, but there is also a lot of filler as well, and some really insipid songs on this record like the painful 'Holy Smoke' or the even more painful 'Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter'.

There are good songs on here though, its not all bad. 'Mother Russia' is perhaps the stand-out song. 'Tailgunner' is a very good song also, the bass-line in that song is a lot of fun! 'The Assassin' has some progressive moments. Like I say its not all bad. Ultimately you have to review an album within the context of what band has produced it. For some metal bands 'No Prayer For The Dying' would be considered a crowning achievement and a highlight of their discography. But this is Iron Maiden, a bunch of extremely talented musicians led by probably the best heavy metal bass player and composer, Steve Harris. For Maiden this album sounds ordinary and uninspired. And for that it deserves no more than 2-stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Node  by NODE album cover Studio Album, 1995
5.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Node
Node Progressive Electronic

Review by buddyblueyes

5 stars Dario Argento meet Jean-Michel Jarre. a.k.a Zanov is having a bad hair day

John Carpenter released an epic electronic album of late that I was hoping to review as soon as someone suggests it to PA. Then they can put it through the rigorous 21-point under-the-hood inspection, drug testing and ensure that it fills out all the correct paper work in triplicate. Until such time, I'm reviewing another favorite (and under the radar) release by equally dark and deliciously ambient Node. I could spew historical facts about the band bio, but I'm feeling lazy and PA has already done a great and better job of that for me. Do give it a once over if you're so inclined. It's a great bio, however, and the band members are rife with synth experience galore. If you like swimming in the wide ocean of synth under the star-laden vastness of space then grab your flippers and floaties and start what could possibly be the best day of your next life.

Node (great name) provides us with creepy ambient textures, pulsating fuzz, stratospheric swelling, whimsical tone drops, analogue artifacts, retro sequenced pads, all magical and entrancing. Sometimes electronic music can drone on too long -- this does not happen here. The textures and moods change more frequent allowing the listener to constantly evolve with the music. At the end of my first listen I questioned for 3 days whether I still existed, or if I transcended my physical form and merged with the dark matter of the universe. It wasn't until I tried walking through a wall that I realized I it was time to listen to some Danger Danger and enjoy the sunny life I actually still existed in.

Until that point, however, I took my journey: three months straight I enjoyed falling asleep to the sound scapes of these 5 songs, and I have absolutely no way to prove this, but I still do believe this is the form of communication with the inhabitants of Fomalhaut, the triple star system in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. (as yet to be confirmed by NASA.) After all, If there ever were aliens among us, then it definitely would explain this genre and it's rightful place here among the progressive listeners of PA.

Strap in, zone out and head to the other side of the black hole.

Wishful concert pairing: [clears throat] John Carpenter. As soon as he's done peeing into a cup.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Into the Light by PROPHECY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.23 | 4 ratings

BUY
Into the Light
The Prophecy Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

2 stars The Prophecy's 'Into The Light' is the bands third full length studio album, released early in 2009. It gets off to a crushingly heavy, if a little boring start, with the opening track 'Into The Light'. Mid-way through this song the music calms and mellows, and softly sung vocals from Matt Lawson kick in. And unfortunately this is where the 'Into The Light' loses me every time... It's the same complaint I have with their previous release, 'Revelations' - I just don't think Matt Lawson is a particularly good clean vocalist. His death metal growl is passable and quite enjoyable, but his clean vocals are, dare I say it... painful to listen to!

I realise this is a bit damning, but with such a saturation of vocals on this album it's a make or break part of the listening experience. Vocals in any band tend to be a very subjective matter - what I consider painful someone else might find delightful. It's a matter of perspective. The music here is good, but there isn't the same atmosphere as on their first album, 'Ashes', nor the catchy guitar sections found on 'Revelations'. What you have on this album is very crushingly heavy doom metal played well, but its not ground-breaking, especially in 2009 when this record was released.

An interesting addition on this album is adding a cello to the mix, and getting rid of keyboards. Perhaps this was The Prophecy's answer to My Dying Bride's use of violin throughout their own career? Its a nice addition, and adds some different texture to the softer parts of the music and overall I think it adds to the music on offer here. There are a few exciting guitar parts, for example on the third track 'Don't Forget', however these guitar parts are quickly ruined by Matt Lawson bad singing over the top of them. There are also some beautiful mellow moments in this album, the fourth track 'Echoes' for example has a lovely moment of cello, bass and clean guitar, but it isn't allowed to develop and blossom on its own without vocals being laid on top of it. There are just too many vocals on this album - there are precious few moments where the music is given space to naturally develop and progress by itself.

I hate to be so negative when reviewing this album - I'm trying to be honest in my feelings and isn't that the point? The Prophecy are a band I like, I consider myself a fan, I love their debut album, and their second album is good also. But this is an album which gets very little attention from me. In all fairness this is probably somewhere between 2 and 3 stars, but if I gave 'Revelations' 3-stars, which I consider better than this, then unfortunately this one can only receive 2-stars. Though if you like their vocalist and his style this would probably be at least a 3-star album - so please don't let my negativity put you off!!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Guiding Lights  by SKYHARBOR album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.85 | 4 ratings

BUY
Guiding Lights
Skyharbor Progressive Metal

Review by buddyblueyes

5 stars Did I just ride down a slide made of razor blades and fall into a vat of Jack Daniels?

There's 4 recent discoveries that should blow your sonic minds this week. First: Trixter, the last of the hair rock bands just released a new album! WTF? Who saw that coming? Second (and in the same arena): Nelson released a new album, too! [pause] ... NELSON, for the sake of all creatures great and small! I don't know what to make of this. My emotions are confused and flabergasted all at once. I feel giddy, angry, confused and curious all at the same time. It makes by body hurt and feel funny. And that's not all folks: for the hair metal hat trick dejour -- Bullet Boys released a new album, also! If you're like me it's an uncanny, quasi-optimistic day to be alive. This is now solid proof that the fun glam years of music were not killed by Grunge? it simply went into hibernation.

The fourth thing -- which blew my mind more than the aforementioned -- is the mere fact that one of the coolest releases last year, Guiding Lights from Skyharbor, is being overlooked here on PA. Ten lashes with the cane. To the stockade. No soup for you. Long reprimands short: get this album now! You like Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus, Aeon Zen, Nothing More, Tessaract or Breaking Orbit? This belongs in your collection if it isn't already.

Skyharbor is parts nu-metal, math rock, djent and electronica. The best parts from all rolled into one with great sonic production. Excellent vocals with well crafted lyrics weave melodiously through your brain synapses and elevated your consciousness into having direct contact with the embodiment of eternity itself. It's heavy man. It's deep and profound and perfect on all fronts; recording; production value; musicianship; space; harmony; and that little secret ingredient only a few bands will ever realize (and you don't know the secret, if you did the proverbial they would kill you). The guitars ying yang with purpose. They crunch hard, tube amps on 11, and yet, they can find a serenity that wills you to float in the smoky matmos of giant lava lamps long forgotten. It's the soundtrack for a modern day Barbarella, the future soundtrack of our enlightened selves. Listen long and listen loud. This album can't be praised enough and should not go unnoticed here. That would be criminal.

...much like Nelson releasing an album in this day and age.

Wishful concert pairing: Karnivool for sure.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Glossolalia  by WALSH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.45 | 49 ratings

BUY
Glossolalia
Steve Walsh Crossover Prog

Review by YagKosha

4 stars I've listened to this album many times in the past few years and have come to realize what has always annoyed me about this album: the track ordering. The problem here is that the albums track order feels/sounds like it was thrown together by an iPod shuffle. Seriously.

The album starts off with the title song "Glossolalia" which is the only correct placement in this album. It sounds like an intro song and it is one. It starts off gradual and gives the listener a huge punch in the face really quickly.

This is when things begin to get confusing. "Serious Wreckage" is NOT in ANY way the correct song to follow the intro up with. To quickly describe this song, it's an overly dramatic piano ballad about a drunk who killed a child while driving. It has some choir and nice symphonic elements here and there, and at times, is actually a pretty solid song. But again, it's perfectly incorrect in terms of positioning in the album's track ordering, and I can definitely envision a lot of people quitting on the album entirely with this song being where it is.

After listening to these songs many many times, I've decided to give the track order a makeover so that the album actually has somewhat of a flow and makes sense; and I've left out "Rebecca" and "Mascara Tears" because, forgive me, but I find them to be completely monotonous and only filler (granted they are the last two songs):

1. Glossolalia 2. Smackin' The Clowns 3. That's What Love Is All About 4. Nothing 5. Heart Attack 6. Serious Wreckage 7. Kansas 8. Haunted Man

Of course the intro song should remain the intro song in the album, so not much explanation to be given here. By placing "Smackin' The Clowns" as the follow-up track, it really gives the listener an epic idea of what Steve Walsh is made of with this incredible bombastic ten minute hard rock song. "That's What Love Is All About" is a shorter one that keeps some intensity going and really is a bit of a pop-y radio type that people would adjust to easily right after the ten minute epic. "Nothing" reminds me of two songs: Johnny Cash's NIN cover "Hurt," and Gary Jules's "Mad World" which should indicate that it is by no means a fast or happy track.

"Heart Attack" is like a bizarre -- but amazing -- amalgamation of 90s pop dance music and heavy metal , and having this after the slow and dramatic "Nothing" really rejuvenates the album. That rejuvenation is halted by the dismal "Serious Wreckage," it is probably best that "Serious Wreckage is not one of the last two songs, simply because it's best the album doesn't come close to such a depressing ending note.

The album's two longest songs should be both second-to-first, and second-to-last. Having the long and easygoing track "Kansas," about the state it's named after, wouldn't fit right to be the closer for reasons of consistency. "Haunted Man" is an excellent song that explores a lot of tempos and emotions in just five and a half minutes. It consists of an impressive guitar solo near the end by Mike Slamer -- who does an incredible job on guitar from beginning to end on this album -- that would end the album with a great feeling.

The bottom line is that I believe this truly could have been a remarkable album if it weren't for such the lazy track ordering. The songs here are really terrific, experimental, catchy, and bombastic. But when the album can't find a flow, then the listener can't quite flow WITH IT. Steve Walsh was apparently heartbroken with the silent response to his release, but he should have immediately been able to pinpoint why it went very unheard. I will award this one four stars because there's no denying that there's a lot of excellent material here.

Also, let's be realistic here, while wandering around a store's CD section back in 2000, who on earth would have looked at Glossolalia's cover art and said, 'Now that looks like something I should spend my money on!' ?????

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Revelations by PROPHECY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.09 | 2 ratings

BUY
Revelations
The Prophecy Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

3 stars The Prophecy's 'Revelations' is the British doom bands 2007 follow up album to their excellent 2003 debut 'Ashes'. The Prophecy continue down the path emotionally charged progressive doom laid down on their first album, and in 'Revelations' we find a more refined band with a stronger identity of their own. Musically the band are more creative in this album, there are far more softer parts, complete with orchestral arrangements and a lot more cleanly sung vocal sections. In 'Ashes' the predominant vocal style is raspy death metal, but on 'Revelations' the band aren't afraid to sing cleanly and mix things up a little bit.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately the clean vocals of Matt Lawson just aren't that convincing. When reviewing progressive doom metal you can't help but think about My Dying Bride, the daddies of the genre. When I compare Matt Lawson to My Dying Bride vocalist, Aaron Stainthorpe, I find the former lacking in range and dare I say it, talent. Matt Lawson's death metal vocals, which are few and far between on this album are respectable, but his cleanly sung vocals are hit-and-miss. Some sections sound good, some sections are rather excruciating for the listener, and detract from the music here.

There are some wonderful musical arrangements and themes on this album. The opening guitar section of 'Odyssey' is fantastic. There are plenty of very memorable guitar riffs and moments through-out this rather long (almost 70 minute) album. The guitar solo in 'Revelations' is delightful with a great tone and simple, but entertaining melodic structure. There are twists and turns and dynamic changes throughout the record.

I would suggest this is a good album, but for whatever reason I've always preferred 'Ashes' to this one, despite the fact that 'Revelations' feels more refined with a stronger identity. I can only put it down to the clean vocals on this album which I feel detract from the excellent instrumental music present on this record. If this album had really strong clean vocals I think it would be a 4-star album without problem, but as it stands 3-stars is as much as I can offer.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Intrinsic by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.59 | 13 ratings

BUY
Intrinsic
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars The Contortionist's first album, Exoplanet, is strongly based in djent and deathcore, and their third album, Language, is full of melodic, soft passages with the occasional heavy interlude. Intrinsic is a logical bridge between the two, less founded in deathcore (and metal in general), with gentle, sugary parts balanced nicely with the heavy, and perhaps even dominating. The closest match to this band's sound would have to be Cynic, considering the band's roots in metal and their tendency to float into completely unaggressive, soft parts. (The Contortionist doesn't excessively use robot/vocoder vocals, so that automatically puts them above Cynic in my opinion.)

The juxtaposition of soft and heavy parts is generally done well, transitions between the two flowing rather than sudden. The melding of these portions is a good effect, useful in bringing Intrinsic more variation and a more progressive sound, but the interplay between the parts seems lacking, like it could have been done better. The parts don't sound like they have much relation to each other and they don't do a good job of moving the song anywhere. After a heavy part occupied by harsh vocals, The Contortionist returns to sugary singing and warm guitars as if it never happened. Since the band's transitions themselves aren't inherently worthwhile (you won't be left thinking "wow, that was cool"), there should be some kind of purpose to the part that is transitioned into. The interplay makes it Intrinsic a more entertaining and progressive listen, but in the end it doesn't really affect how the song moves along, the soft and hard only serving to contrast each other. It doesn't leave the listener wondering what is going to happen next? all of the songs sound very similar to each other anyway.

While the each song as a whole flows but seems as though it is not constructed with the larger musical idea in mind, the individual parts are not bad, though the album's major flaw is that it would be much better if the riffs and instrumentation were more memorable (as an example, I am a sucker for keyboards, but these ones did nothing for me). The clean singing that helps mark the soft passages isn't great, as it is completely emotionless and unaggressive. It resembles the whiny emo vocals so often used in metalcore, but it's not an exact fit. There's a slight spacey, futuristic feel to the music, especially demonstrated and emphasized by the lyrics, and The Contortionist has mostly abandoned breakdowns? mostly.

Given this step away from deathcore and a smooth but still somewhat ineffective incorporation of soft passages into metal roots, Intrinsic is a fairly decent album in a small niche of prog occupied by bands like Cynic. The Contortionist has an interesting sound, though it is one that could be executed better and probably has. Intrinsic is more progressive and an improvement from their first album. The album following Intrinsic is even better, and hopefully this band will continue to improve because they have the potential to make some great prog. Baby steps, guys.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Revelations by ANGEL VIVALDI album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Revelations
Angel Vivaldi Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

— First review of this album —
3 stars Angel Vivaldi (according to all sources I've looked at, yes, that is his real name) is listed as tech/extreme prog metal, though he may fit closer under plain prog metal. Revelations isn't super-heavy, best described as an album of instrumental, neo-classical shredding rather than any of the subgenres listed by the site.

With overtones of djent, each song is devoid of typical structure. Instead, it is filled with highly technical soloing, the album's main focus. Vivaldi produces some mindbendingly intense guitar work, mainly based around shred but including some melodic aspects as well. The riffs are not usually very memorable, as showcasing the impressive solos takes first priority, not only over the riffs but every other aspect of the music too. If you're looking for a good guitar album, you need to hear this.

But looking at Revelations under the broader scope of prog, things are different. Vivaldi is clearly talented on the guitar, but he has difficulty writing songs that show off many other features of musical value. Revelations' biggest flaw is its lack of variation and how it really exists only to show off Vivaldi's guitar skill and while actual songwriting takes a backseat. The first six songs on this album sound too similar to each other, without defining characteristics to set them apart. They seem to be stuck in a loop of mid-paced, mid-volume shredding.

The last two songs change up the sound a little, adding some much-needed diversity to the samey shredding. If all the songs on this album were like Finale and Stepping Through the Looking Glass, the longest and best tracks from Revelations, I would be giving this four stars. Finale, enters a quiet mid-section and Vivaldi plays a tasteful acoustic solo, the song builds back up again into a part with the album's most memorable riff. Fortunately, Finale is actually the second-last song because the symphonic-tinged STTLG bests it, bringing down the volume at about four minutes and coming back up into an epic and intense tradeoff of solos between the guitar and keyboards. Definitely a strong finish to an album that is somewhat lacking.

Revelations, an exercise in neoclassical shred, is excellent guitar album and a fairly decent prog effort. Vivaldi is a skilled guitarist, though his songwriting is not the best and lacks variation, aside from the last two songs. Shred is not dead.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Kalyug by NINTH MOON BLACK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Kalyug
Ninth Moon Black Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Insin

4 stars Following their debut album, Ninth Moon Black released Kalyug, an instrumental EP including both ambient and post-metal passages. Like most quality post-rock, it's atmospheric, bringing a dark, desolate, and at times almost mournful feeling into the music, all at once spacey, apocalyptic, and futuristic... without the use of keyboards. The songs have a good progression and flow to them, smoothly evolving and shifting from heavy to ambient.

As the album moves along, the songs grow in length, Causatum introducing a main musical theme that seems like it could have been expanded upon, Harbringer a largely ambient piece that reminds of the opening song of A Silver Mt Zion's debut, based on a simple piano line and dominated by samples. The final two tracks are dedicated to showcasing the NMB's post-rock mastery, picking up the pace and depending less on atmosphere and more on the dynamics and natural-sounding ebb and flow the song.

Kalyug is also a concept piece, incorporating slightly distorted spoken word samples into the ambient sections. The speaker talks about the loss of spirituality and the "de-evolution" of mankind, an interesting concept and definitely one that fits with NMB's post-metal, post-apocalyptic sound. Traditionally, a band writes the lyrics themselves and includes them in a more musical way, through singing or screaming or whatnot. NMB has cheated a little by relying solely on samples from someone else, but other clean vocals don't seem like they would fit on this EP, leaving only harsh. I've always found that concept albums with harsh vocals are pointless anyway ? why would you put so much effort onto lyrics if no one can understand what you're saying anyway? In the end, the spoken word is fairly clear and easy to understand, and probably a better option than the others.

NMB has crafted a dark, apocalyptic EP, an atmosphere encouraged by the nature of Kalyug's concept. Each song, especially the last two, flow and shift expertly, firmly rooted in the territory of post-rock and post-metal while also bringing some ambient workings into the equation.

Definitely a quality EP. And the cover art is cool too.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Octavarium by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 1644 ratings

BUY
Octavarium
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Insin

5 stars Depending on who you ask, Dream Theater is either pretentious or genius. They've done concept albums, meta-album cycles, the Twelve-Step Suite, and they've even written a forty-two minute song that takes up an entire CD. With Octavarium, they take it to another level. Basically, the whole album is a nugget. It's been analyzed by the fans and there is a webpage floating somewhere out there dedicated to better understanding all the references it contains. In short, it's an album based off the concept of, yes, you guessed it, the octave, with a recurring theme of fives and eights. Each song is in a different key, riffs are repeated subtly throughout it, and it continues the meta-album cycle, starting where Train of Thought ended and finishing on the same note that that begins the album's first track, Root of All Evil (coming "Full Circle").

I understand the hate for Dream Theater's self-importance, but concept albums and high levels of technicality are impressive, and obviously, I like music to be impressive. As do most people. These nuggets make the album a more interesting listen, and I really enjoy it. There are weak points, but most of the songs are solid, and the title track is undoubtedly one of Dream Theater's finest works.

The album flaunts its influences shamelessly; I Walk Beside you an uninspired attempt at a radio-friendly, poppy sound with some guidance from bands like Foreigner and U2, and Never Enough, while a good song, basically rips off Muse's Stockholm Syndrome. Panic Attack also exhibits the same Muse influence, to a lesser extent, sounding more original, but clearly a reference to Hysteria. It falls on the heavier end of the Dream Theater spectrum, and the lyrics fit the music extremely well: it's frantic, headbangable, and even nervous at times. The Answer Lies Within is a return to balladry and it's definitely the worst song on the album, a cheesy soft rock number that deserves to be eternally skipped, unless you like their soft stuff. Then it might be worth a listen. Generally, the album's first six songs tend to be more structurally traditional.

Dream Theater definitely saved the best for last. As for influences, the title track displays so many. Part three of the song's lyrics are devoted to naming all of them; it's just a tribute to progressive music as a whole. The structure of this song is incredibly effective and it must be taken as a whole. Octavarium builds up steadily for almost twenty minutes, reaching an intense, climactic bout of LaBrie screaming (yes, screaming) "TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM!" It doesn't sound very exciting when I say it like that, but when you get there after tension gradually increases until you're wondering how it could possibly get any more intense, it's incredibly satisfying. Awesome keyboard soloing, plenty of time signature changes, and technicality, it's everything you'd expect from a Dream Theater song, only in a more driving structure of steady buildup. The title track is just a prog masterpiece and probably Dream Theater's best song. I would still be giving this album five stars even if the other seven songs were mediocre because this one makes up for all of their flaws.

The band's albums after this have seemed relatively unambitious (or less pretentious, if you see it that way). That might be because they've already tried everything. Octavarium is an excellent effort, the title track making up for the weaker songs. Dream Theater have taken their dozens of influences and crafted something that some may see as pompous, but I view as uniquely elaborate and bold. Definitely worth checking out for and not an album to be dismissed.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Train Of Thought by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.58 | 1458 ratings

BUY
Train Of Thought
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars Train of Thought was much more rushed than any of Dream Theater's other albums, written in mere weeks, and could've used some more touching up and improvements. It also has some of the detested "mallcore" influence hated by metal elitists (and others), angrier and heavier than any of the band's other albums, with both cursing and rapping. The members still perform well, the technicality as present as ever, including some great look-how-many-notes-I-can-play solos from Rudess and Petrucci, but the songwriting is possibly the weakest of any Dream Theater album and can likely be attributed to the quick writing process.

The individual songs vary widely in quality. On one side of the spectrum, there is Honor Thy Father (with lyrics written by Korn, probably) and This Dying Soul. This Dying Soul starts and finishes strong with great soloing, but the middle is dominated by LaBrie's vocals, without much room for the instrumentalists, which causes it to meander aimlessly. Honor Thy Father is even worse, also controlled by LaBrie's angsty vocals and a completely pointless soundbite montage, except there is a decent instrumental passage that doesn't really make up for anything. It is almost painful to listen to because the vocal delivery and lyrical content is so very, very nu-metal, not to mention it also tends to meander aimlessly. Coincidentally (or maybe not), these songs are the two that contain the distorted rapping that made a lot of people wary of this release.

In opposition, saving the album from utter mediocrity, there are songs like In the Name of God, a Middle-Eastern tinged but otherwise standard DT epic with a cool bridge. Endless Sacrifice is the easily best song on Train of Thought, its beginning the only soft moment off the album (besides the short song/interlude Vacant). Though the chorus is disproportionately heavy the first time around, that doesn't stop it from building up smoothly from a ballad with a riff similar to the one from Metallica's Sanitarium, and into DT's classic insane technicality. The instrumental track, Stream of Consciousness, isn't bad either, evolving and transitioning well. I guess they had to compensate for the LaBrie-dominated tracks with this song.

Train of Thought is worth a few listens, but the songs generally tend to be hit or miss. It has possibly the weakest songwriting of any Dream Theater album, since it was thrown together so quickly. Since then, fortunately, they've dropped the 'mallcore' influence and started taking more time to work on albums before releasing them.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 In The Wake Of Poseidon by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.81 | 1596 ratings

BUY
In The Wake Of Poseidon
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars In reviews, "In The Wake of Poseidon" is often overshadowed by its predecessor, "In The Court of The Crimson King" and is subject to stinging criticism. The terms "carbon copy" and "plagiarize", among others, are thrown around unrelentingly and many are quick to judge it. After all, how could King Crimson possibly create an album MORE experimental, MORE provocative, MORE innovative than their pinnacle of a debut?

"In The Wake of Poseidon" reminds me in a way of Greek intellectual Eratosthenes. A brilliant man of his time, he was the first to accurately calculate the Earth's circumference and pioneered adding parallels and meridians to the world map, among other geographical and mathematical innovations. However, Eratosthenes has failed to remain encapsulated in the minds of the modern public because, while he was accomplished at the highest levels of virtually all fields, he only ever became the second most successful at anything he did. "In The Wake of Poseidon" is like that in the sense that its formulaic approach and second-place standing relative to "In The Court of The Crimson King" has made many listeners unable to appreciate its mastery.

Of course, to call "Wake of Poseidon" a copy of "Crimson King" is a stretch; many of the tracks on the two albums had been written around the same time and songs from "Poseidon" had already been incorporated into the band's live repertoire by late 1969. In all reality, the two albums probably could have been released together in 1970 as a double album and no one would have batted an eye, they just would have been mind-blown by the 85 minutes of pure, unrelenting fusion-tinged prog.

Even where similarities lie, they are quite limited. The first side of the album (save for "Peace - A Beginning") is quite similar to side 1 of "Crimson King", with "Pictures of A City", "Cadence And Cascade" and "In the Wake of Poseidon" drawing many parallels to "21st Century Schizoid Man", "I Talk To The Wind" and "Epitaph", respectively. Rather than copy their predecessors, however, these tracks actually improve upon them and perfect them, the chaotic moments more brutal and discordant, the gentle moments softer and sweeter. I've also found myself better able to empathize with the sentiments conveyed by the songs on side 1 of "Poseidon" than "Crimson King" and "Cadence And Cascade" takes me into an unmatched realm of nostalgia.

Side 2 is a whole other beast all together. The formulaic approach often criticized has been thrown out the window by this point. "Cat Food" is new territory for Crimson and "Devil's Triangle" offers interesting new arrangements on Holst. The two remaining "Peace" tracks, along with their side 1 counterpart, also offer a little something that "Crimson King" lacked (i.e. brevity). So to all who overlook "In The Wake of Poseidon", take another listen and think again on your judgements. Anyway, if Robert Fripp released 37 more Crimson Kings and Poseidon's Wakes, you can be sure that any prog lover would promptly march out to the record store and buy 38. Give Eratosthenes a chance!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 E2-E4 by GÖTTSCHING, MANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.53 | 42 ratings

BUY
E2-E4
Manuel Göttsching Krautrock

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars The culmination of many years' work, Gottsching produced a masterwork that left it's fingerprints all over new wave and popular 80's house and dance music. On a listenability scale, this may rank low for some. The loping beats and trancing flourishes are prone to lulls, yet remain exciting for the seasoned listener. The influence factor is off the charts for this one though, as progressive clubs in from Munich to Casablanca to London incessantly played this music, eventually morphing it into dancepop in the New Order Depeche Mode style. Progressive in every sense, the reach far exceeds the grasp. I can see how the Phideaux, Genesis, Anekdoten crowd wouldn't appreciate this album, but it's a progressive masterpiece in the true sense of the word. A fine cover and a rare release under his own name make two cherries on top.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Ashes by PROPHECY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Ashes
The Prophecy Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

4 stars The Prophecy's 'Ashes' is the first studio album by the British progressive doom band, and is probably their finest and most enjoyable release. This is a record I discovered entirely by accident when it was first released back in 2003 and it has since become a firm favourite of mine. In fact I was really rather surprised to find no reviews for this on the prog archives, and only a single rating! But The Prophecy have always been rather an unknown and overlooked band, which I find to be such a shame as their music is extremely enjoyable and well crafted.

The Prophecy have always been massively over-shone by the daddies of doom metal, My Dying Bride. Like MDB, The Prophecy feature gloomy music, laced with gothic tones, thick atmosphere and deeply textured musical landscapes constructed from heavily distorted guitars and moody keyboards.

On 'Ashes' there are plenty of raspy tortured vocals, like all good doom records should have! But there are clean vocals as well, spoken passages, soft acoustic guitar and lots of musical variation throughout. Make no mistake, this is definitely progressive music. The tracks are long and leave plenty of room for musical progression and transformation. The heavy parts of the music are crushingly heavy and the softer parts of the music are gentle and melancholic, and above all overwhelmingly depressing! This is not an album to listen to if you are feeling down!

I have a lot of praise for this album - but having said that in 'Ashes' we do find the band struggling a little bit for their own identity in places. This is an album from a band still finding its feet and discovering their own style - something which they do find on later releases. The reason I say this is that the inclusion of the fifth track, 'Blackened Desire', adds very little to this album and would have been better off staying unrecorded. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the music here. You sense that this track was one of their early demo songs and they felt at this point in their career it was a worthy inclusion on the album. The problem I have with 'Blackened Desire' is that it's not progressive, and is just a straight-forward black metal song. It doesn't really have any place here with these other pieces of music.

But, there are a lot of excellent moments on this record, and it deserves to be listened to as a whole piece of music. Stand-out tracks are 'Killing Fields', 'Dawn' and 'Till Light Enshrouds'. I'd recommend this album to anyone who enjoys the work of My Dying Bride, though tracking down this album might be difficult! Definitely a 4-star record, despite the few identity issues it has.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Sad Cypress by IVORY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.17 | 44 ratings

BUY
Sad Cypress
Ivory Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Sad Cypress' - Ivory (65/100)

Ivory's debut Sad Cypress was released at least three years after progressive rock starting getting uncool. Even the bands carrying the torch around then (most notably Marillion) had largely acknowledged times were changing, and shifted their styles accordingly. With a style that sounds like it was drawn straight for the circa-Selling England by the Poundgolden period, there is a sad romanticism to Ivory's music. A noble unwillingness to develop with the current trends. Although composer Ulrich Sommerlatte was relatively new to progressive rock, Ivory's story is made unique by his relatively late arrival to the scene; he was already in his mid-sixties when he founded the band with his son Thomas. A professional composer and conductor, he had decades of musical experience going into progressive rock. Knowing Ivory was a product of late adulthood undoubtedly changes the perspective.

You can hear Sommerlatte's maturity in every part of Sad Cypress; it is gentle, lavishly composed, and shamelessly out-of-touch which what (back then) was considered cool and edgy. While I don't think age itself is any impediment to innovation (just listen to some of Scott Walker's recent work for proof!) there needs to be existing discomfort for an artist to carve their own musical path. With the amount of experience some of the 1970s legends are only now reaching, it is presumable Sommerlatte went into writing Sad Cypress with a lot of confidence in his abilities as a composer. He formed Ivory as a way to express his admiration for symphonic rock, and his influences are clear to show. Above all else, Genesis comes to mind. Ivory's progressive rock favours warmth and consonance. There are no abrupt shifts in pace, no sound unpleasing to the ear. Quite like Selling England by the Pound, the gentle warmth belies the complexity of the composition. Christian Mayer's voice even sounds so close to Peter Gabriel's that it's impossible not to foster the comparison.

Let's not mince words about it; Ivory's sound is so close to the Genesis template that it's hard to approach them without some kind of existing bias. Fans of Selling England by the Pound should enjoy Sad Cypress to varying extents. If you're not a fan of the Peter Gabriel era, you might as well skip out on Ivory. Especially given that it was coming up on a decade since Genesis had made their original statements in this style, one cannot help but think Ivory did nothing to advance prog rock as an artform. That may sound like a condemnation-- and surely, it's reason enough for Ivory to have remained unknown-- but there's such essential beauty to the Genesis sound that I'm happy other bands were around to make further use of it. In the specific case of Ivory, most of their formula was already laid out before them, tried-and-tested, and relatively sure to succeed at least marginally. Sommerlatte's tone as a composer is perhaps too gentle to breathe life into the entire album, but his arrangements are more sophisticated than most of what the younger innovators were getting up to a decade prior. Sad Cypress is a worthy recommendation if ever you're looking for a new, but familiar sound to sate your thirst for symphonic prog-- expect no more or less of it.

As a side-note, I'd recommend checking out the expanded CD version of the album over the abridged vinyl counterpart. The supposed bonus tracks arguably make the album longer than it should be, but some of Ivory's best work was lamentably cut for sake of time restrictions. Although the lyrics are saccharine enough to spell death for anyone with a latent diabetic condition, the fifteen minute "Barbara" is as delicate and beautiful a progressive epic as anything I've heard.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Four Pieces by LLOYD, CAILYN album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.71 | 3 ratings

BUY
Four Pieces
Cailyn Lloyd Symphonic Prog

Review by docall27

4 stars I only like about six classical music pieces and three of them are on this CD. I saw a review of this album in Progression, and being a fan classical-rock adaptations like Pictures at an Exhibition, I had to have a copy. Cailyn is a very talented lady and pulls off a very impressive effort. The opening track, Fantasia is an adaption of Fantasia on a Theme by Vaughan Williams and the best track on the album IMO. This track sounds faithful to the original in an almost reverent way with some tasty overlaid guitar. The bass and drums are solid and punchy and surprisingly effective. Somewhat lost in the mix is some very nice piano working behind the guitars.

Largo is from the Dvorak New World and is a loud (almost too much) remake of the quiet movement. This track has some great guitar work, with the exception of the beginning where the guitar fails to capture the mysterious atmosphere of the original. After that however, Largo has some cool blues moments that lead to a rocking climax and a return to the opening music. This track will take a couple of listens unless you are familiar with the original.

Adagio is powerful and reverent take on Adagio for Strings by Barber. There is a great video for this track on her Youtube page. The final track, Nocturne, was written by Cailyn is a mostly quiet bluesy piece that reminded me of Andy Latimer and Camel. Some lovely licks and guitar work. A perfect late-night chill out song. Not essential but an excellent addition to any collection so 4 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Broken by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.57 | 41 ratings

BUY
Broken
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars At the time of Nine Inch Nails' now-classic EP Broken, band leader Trent Reznor was in the midst of a protracted legal battle with his record company, who demanded that the follow-up recording be in a similar style to his debut, Pretty Hate Machine. This was the first of many difficulties Reznor faced with record companies that would ultimately lead to his going independent for several years, and this record could hardly have sounded more different from its predecessor. It's a scathing blast of white-hot rage full of screams and dissonance, and it's just plain heavier than anything else Reznor has released before or since (except maybe the remixes of this album found on Fixed).

In terms of quality, this record represents Reznor's first unqualified classic. "Wish" deservedly won a Grammy Award (Reznor joked that he wanted his gravestone to read "Said 'fist f#%k', won a Grammy"), and the rest of the album lives up to the quality of this track. The only let-up in intensity until the bonus tracks is the brief instrumental "Help Me I Am in Hell", which maintains a similar mood as the rest of the EP but turns the volume down. It also presages the direction Reznor would take on the following albums.

The two songs at the end are somewhat more light-hearted than the rest of the EP, especially the Adam and the Ants cover "Physical (You're So)". Reznor makes this song and the Pigface cover "Suck" his own, and they help to make the EP more than an unrelenting blast of rage. But as far as that particular emotion goes, Reznor has never topped it.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Pretty Hate Machine by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.42 | 83 ratings

BUY
Pretty Hate Machine
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by CassandraLeo

4 stars Pretty Hate Machine doesn't sound like a debut album, and in truth this is because it isn't. Nine Inch Nails' main creative force and sole constant band member Trent Reznor had actually recorded an entire album's worth of songs before this album, but the recordings were shelved and to this day haven't been released. When the album came out the band's record company tried to pigeonhole them as a synth-pop act (which would lead to a protracted legal battle when they demanded a follow-up album in the same style), and listening to it twenty-six years later it's not that difficult to see why. This is much more tuneful and, often, upbeat material than Reznor would become known for later in his career. "Head Like a Hole" is almost an anthemic singalong, while "The Only Time" is almost ecstatic.

The quality of the material here is high for a debut, and the only thing that keeps me from giving it a perfect rating is that Reznor would write better (and more progressive) material later. Regardless, there aren't any major missteps here, though a few songs are less powerful than the album's highlights. "Down in It" apes Skinny Puppy by its creator's own admission; "Kinda I Want To" is an early stab at industrial that doesn't quite gel. But the best material here - amongst it "Head Like a Hole", a scathing attack on greed and capitalism; the anti-religious "Terrible Lie"; the harrowing addiction confessional "Sanctified"; the heartbroken "Something I Can Never Have"; the heartbroken "Sin"; the lustful "The Only Time"; the haunting "Ringfinger" - has deservedly entered the rock canon.

This album isn't as progressive as much of Reznor's later material, but the one-two punch of "Sanctified"-"Something I Can Never Have" probably qualifies the record as being at least "prog-related". Four enthusiastic stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The X-Factor by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.26 | 246 ratings

BUY
The X-Factor
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Iron Maiden's 'The X-Factor' is certainly a contentious album amongst Iron Maiden fans, and is generally seen among metal-heads as one of their worst records. Luckily, I've never been one to be swayed by the opinions of others, nor do I really consider myself a metal-head these-days. I'm a prog fan first and foremost. And let me tell you something - this album is absolutely prog-tastic! 'The X-Factor' might just be the best thing The Beast has ever put out, and it pains me to see it get such a slating from all corners. This is an album I've defended since I first heard it some fifteen years ago, and I'll continue to defend it to my grave! I've gotten a lot of stick over the years for defending this album, people think I'm joking when I tell them this is my favourite Maiden record. But I don't care what anyone else thinks!

All of the things that the traditional metal-head disliked about this album are the things that I think make it so special and interesting. 'The X-Factor' was such a departure for Maiden, not least of all because long-time vocalist Bruce Dickinson had left the band and the relatively unheard of Blaze Bayley stepped in to takes his place. And they were big shoes to fill. But Bruce's departure gave Maiden a new opportunity to completely re-discover themselves and re-invent their image. Bruce Dickinson leaving was the best thing that could ever of happened to Maiden, not least of all because this album wouldn't have existed without him going.

Steve Harris was going through a divorce at the time of writing this, and the music on offer shows a much darker and moodier side of Maiden that we hadn't seen before. It also shows a real human side to Maiden, you can feel in the song writing, of which Steve Harris is the principle composer, the man's pain and anger at the time. The album cover for 'The X-Factor' is dark and gritty, and boy does it match the music contained within!

The short and punchy (and oh-so boring) mediocre metal songs of the previous two Maiden albums are mostly long gone, and make way on this album for longer, creative, more inspired, and most importantly, progressive pieces of music. From the opening opus, 'Sign Of The Cross', you know you are in for something glorious. The opening track is ten minutes of pure unadulterated prog-metal. Dynamic time changes, progressive and long instrumental passages, epic lyrics - its all here in the first track. But perhaps one of the most progressive songs comes with the album closer, 'The Unbeliever', which, along with the opening track, is the stand-out performance in this highly underrated album.

Of course it wouldn't be a Maiden album without a few shorter, punchier songs, but even those are tempered with progressive styling. Now, to try and be fair in reviewing this album there are some moments where it does feel a little bit drawn out. There is a little bit of flab around the edges, particularly in songs such as 'Judgement Of Heaven' and '2 A.M.'. With a running time of over 70 minutes Maiden could certainly have trimmed back a bit here and there which might have helped the ratings. Something I haven't touched on yet are the vocals of Blaze Bayley. This is where a lot of the criticism comes from, that Blaze doesn't sound like Bruce and just isn't as good. For the record I love Blaze Bayley's vocals - they fit the darker more sinister Maiden perfectly. I'm going out on a limb here to say this is the best record Maiden ever put out, with 'Seventh Son' a close second. I wouldn't change anything about this album - a very respectable 4-stars!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Myths and Muses by SERPENTYNE album cover Studio Album, 2014
5.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Myths and Muses
Serpentyne Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
5 stars UK band SERPENTYNE was formed back in 2009, and released their debut album "Stella Splendens" the following year. Since then they have been touring extensively in the UK and in Europe, up to and including performing at several festival. "Myths and Muses" is their second studio production, and was released in the summer of 2014.

Serpentyne is among the bands I see classified as neo-folk, a style of music I really don't know all that much about but which I presume are applied to artists that approach folk music in a manner regarded as contemporary or modern. As far as that goes Serpentyne accomplish that with ease, and have managed to create an album that combines the traits of being familiar sounding yet also adding distinct and often dominant traits from the modern world into a folk music context.

There's nothing substantial new about this really, as rock bands have paired of their compositions with folk music and vice versa for many years already, and the classic folk rock is given a slight nod on this production as well. What separates Serpentyne from folk rock bands is that they focus more on pairing off the folk music with electronic instruments, and as such the end result is a tad closer to the likes of, for instance, Ozric Tentacles, but with folk music details and vocals in place of cosmic and psychedelic elements.

Drones and techno inspired rhythms are key features in the landscapes crafted by Serpentyne, creating a compelling, energetic foundation that carries the songs forward with ease, and the hurdy-gurdy combines easily with this foundation to add a subtle, organic darkness to the proceedings. The crystal clear lead vocals of Maggie/Beth Sand serves as a stunning contrast to this darker backdrop, and complemented by flute, violin and harmonium in addition to what I though sounded like emulated bag pipes, additional acoustic and electronic percussion, layered harmony vocals and chants this all combines into a stunningly hypnotic end product. Kind of like a futuristic medieval landscape if you like, intense and driven in a good way and without the need for any dramatic effects to maintain tension and attention.

When that is said, this isn't an album of 160 BPM rhythms backing a female vocalist and Celtic inspired folk details. The landscapes explored are varied, and in terms of variation in intensity, the use of sparse arrangements and dreamladen interludes, as well as elongated passages and songs settling at a slower pace, a band like aforementioned Ozric Tentacles is a fair comparison, and Serpentyne doesn't ever kick off into a breakneck speed oriented affair. That the rhythms are techno-inspired doesn't mean that they are techno, to specify that, but that there's some techno or house music that is a likely source of inspiration be it directly or indirectly. The folk music details aren't limited to the generic Celtic either, as both Irish, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern inspired textures and sounds are applied, alongside a few that to my ears sounds just as English Earl Grey tea.

All in all a very well made production, without any weak spots as such as I experience this album. A highly compelling and hypnotic affair that should have a broad appeal across most demographics. As far as a key audience is concerned, I'd guess that those who enjoy folk and world music just as much as bands such as Ozric Tentacles might be at the heart of it, alongside those with a general interest in bands described as neo folk.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Day For Night  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.24 | 338 ratings

BUY
Day For Night
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Don't you just love prog rock?

Every single band that makes headwaves in the genre stirs up the critiques and praise of everyone who puts their ears to their latest tracks, and since band styles change as much as the genre itself, each album sounds distinctly unique. Even if you played this album on a nice sunny day on a Tuesday afternoon, and 3 seconds later a friend walks in, he in effect is listening to a different "performance" of the album that you're listening to. It's a theory proposed by composer and musician Andrew Durkin, the idea that every time you press play, it's a different performance, not necessarily song, every single time. It's the same thing, just... slightly different.

And that phrase perfectly describes some of the styles of the best bands in the genres, with Spock's Beard one of the top on the list. It's a distinctly synth-driven sound, but it seems to slightly morph from album to album.

As I might have mentioned on reviews of earlier albums (or not, I don't remember), the Morse-era Beard seemed to progress from dated sound quality and absolute extremity in terms of prog, length and showmanship, with just a dash or two of radio-quality music, and as the band progressed from album to album, the sound began to shift slightly towards that radio-friendly sound while still maintaining a significant keyboard presence, thus that traditional sound is still intact, just more diluted than normal.

Which leads us to "Day For Night", perhaps the radio-friendliest of all the Morse-era records. And yet, it still quite isn't. There's something about Morse's voice that truly prevents it from being radio-friendly in my mind. Still, this is most certainly from a progressive standpoint the weakest output to date from the group. The title track isn't really much of an opener, and "Gibberish" and "Skin" don't really fit the bill (although "Skin" is a bit catchy). "The Distance To The Sun" is probably one of the best efforts off the disc, a truly honest acoustic ballad, with just enough of a saving grace to continue on in this album.

"Crack The Big Sky" sounds off to a good start, it's a catchy opening with accompanying hand claps, and is structured a bit more like Spock's more elaborate tracks. It's not a bad track at all, it still sounds like SB, and it's also catchy. So at this point, you can spot the trend, and not have to continue on to realize the rest of the album is like this.

But then "The Gypsy" plays, and it's a little bit of a shock. The weird ambient opening breaks the trend of the album, and even in the chorus, it's not very catchy at all. It's very much a groove oriented piece, but yet I'm struggling to even groove to the song until the more instrumental features kick in. Very proggy indeed, but also very out of place on this album.

And it especially sounds out of place when "Can't Get It Wrong" comes in right after, which sounds exactly like a Gungfly track. It almost sounds like Morse was trying too hard to channel his inner John Lennon or something. It's a track that completely turns me off, but for all the wrong reasons. And frankly, it's unexplainable.

So now we enter the broken up elephant in the room, "The Healing Colors Of Sound". The intro is distinctly Spocky. The rock organ driven synths lead into the guitar licks and instrumental showcases in a typical jam rock fashion the Beard does very well. It even ends with an quick but outstanding little solo by Alan, "the other Morse". But then it transitions into "My Shoes", which sounds like Neal transmitting his inner Elton John. It sounds lovely, but it has almost no connection to the intro which (presumably) spawned it.

By the time "Mommy Comes Back" starts, it's clear this isn't a traditional prog epic, and that these songs really just should've been edited as stand-alone tracks, which they are. This song starts off with this album's signature weird staggered sounds that sound akin to "Gibberish" and "Skin". The song itself is quite groovy though, and the added special effects and voicebox provide some color and uniqueness to it.

"Lay It Down" sounds more bluesy, or maybe it's just the chorus. It's another fine tune, but still lackluster on its own, and the same goes to Pt. 2. There's no connectivity between any of these tracks. Of course, that'd be ok if these songs could stand on their own as individual tracks, but apart from "Mommy Comes Back", none of them are really stand alone tracks. All of them feel like they're missing concluding choruses, or a bridge or quick instrumental lick sections or something. It starts off so promising, and then little by little, it just repeats itself like a broken record. It's incredibly lackluster and disappointing.

But perhaps that's not so surprising. A year later Spock's Beard put out "V", one of their best albums, with "Snow" coming out two years later, probably the best of the Morse-era Beard. So even though this is a lackluster disc, "Day For Night" is the culmination of a serious problem that the band has had, balancing progressive jams with catchy tunes. Obviously, it's not so easy, but it's a sound the band has constantly taken a crack at with each of their releases (with "V's 'All On A Sunday'" being my personal favorite).

Perhaps that's why the post-Morse Beard has gotten such a bad rap at the beginning. Neals' voice just doesn't always fit the bill of a catchy radio-friendly tune, and the continued attempt to balance that has been a constant struggle in the early post-Morse years, where (in my opinion) they got back on track with heir self-titled release (e.g. "Wherever You Stand"). But now that the band is really starting to master the balance between "prog and catch" (that's a phrase I just made up), their latest album now is quite a hype-generator, especially since "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep" is being hailed as a return to form the group (it's one of my favorites as well).

So with that in mind, perhaps it's worth a gander back in time to this disc and see, not necessarily where it all went wrong, but perhaps where it finally reached the extreme end of "sell-out mode" after years of build-up ("Beware Of Darkness", "The Kindness Of Strangers"), and how it's defined the band's sound ever since. It's an interesting history lesson that everyone can learn from.

Don't you just love prog rock?

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Not Of This World  by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.86 | 409 ratings

BUY
Not Of This World
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by AndyJ

2 stars Pendragon's 'Not Of This World' gets off to a slow start, and arguably never really gets off the starting blocks. There's no 'As Good As Gold' to pull you into this album. In fact, it isn't really until the fourth track, the first part of 'Not Of This World', that we get some of the bombastic keyboard and guitar moments that Pendragon are known for, but its over far too quickly and we are back into the slow synth-laden poppy prog we've already been through beforehand.

There's no doubt that the music is well played, but it feels generic and lacking in inspiration. In places this album feels like Pendragon were writing radio-friendly prog songs with far too much pop influence. A lot of the songs sound a bit "samey" (yeh, I know that's not a real word!) and direction-less. The songs are long on this album, which is usually an encouraging sign for a prog album, but they all tend to meander along with too much filler. Where are the time changes? Where is the progression? None of the songs have any real identity - I'd struggle to tell you which song I was listening to at any point in this album as its all too similar.

In my review for their previous album, 'The Masquerade Overture', I said that it would be one of my desert island discs. Where 'Overture' is utterly essential and probably the definitive Pendragon release, this one is not. Unfortunately, as I sit here revisiting 'Not Of This World', listening again as I write my review I have to say I'd let this one sink into the ocean - there'd be no place for this on my island. Initially I set out to give this album a 3-star rating, but in reading my own words back and hearing this album again I'm really forced to drop this down to 2-stars. The truth is this record sits somewhere between 2 and 3 stars. I'd love to up my rating, I really would, I have a lot of respect for Pendragon, but the enjoyable and interesting moments of this album are just too few and far between. There is too much meandering to sift through to get to the few memorable parts of this record.

2-Stars. There are definitely better neo-prog albums, and much better Pendragon albums than this one!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Goblin Rebirth by GOBLIN REBIRTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 4 ratings

BUY
Goblin Rebirth
Goblin Rebirth Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars What an interesting time it is to be a Goblin fan! 2015 currently has no less than four Goblin-related projects active - Claudio Simonetti's Goblin which utilizes his Daemonia team-mates, a reactivated Cherry Five (the pre-Goblin band), a reworked version of the original Goblin, and here we have Goblin Rebirth. Two players from various Goblin albums from the vintage Seventies period of the band, Fabio Pignatelli (bass) and Agostino Marangolo (drums), are joined by guitarist Giacomo Anselmi and keyboard players Aidan Zammit and Danilo Cherni, and this all new band carries on in the fine tradition of Goblin past and present...but wait, there's more! Despite not being a soundtrack work like so many previous Goblin works, `Goblin Rebirth' contains all the usual gothic atmospheres, cinematic sophistication and dark prog-rock flavours, but there's plenty of refreshingly interesting new ideas that gives this Goblin its own exciting identity.

The tip-toeing chimes, ghostly piano, whispered voices and booming symphonic organ of opener `Requiem for X' assure everything is in its right place for this Goblin, and like many of the pieces to come, the track dramatically jumps back and forth in tempo effortlessly. But even better is the up-tempo and groovy `Back in '74', powered by the Fabio's relentless chunky Chris Squire-like bass, little classy Mellotron veils, electronic glitch breakdowns and Agostino's snappy drumming, with a gorgeous classical piano break in the middle and tasty Moog runs popping in and out, all making it one of the coolest tracks to ever appear on a Goblin album! Giacomo's brooding guitar soloing burns through both `Book of Skulls' alongside slinking purring bass and spacey keyboards, and `Mysterum' with its eerie Mellotron choirs and sweeping grand symphonic synths.

More galloping Squire-esque bass brings a subtle funkiness to `Evil in the Machine', a wicked and sleek mix of cool electronics and aggressive heavy grinding guitars over slithering spoken whispers. `Forest' is a real standout, an initially ambient diversion of solemn church organ, ethereal female voices and dramatic synths orchestrations that even reminds of 70's Genesis in a few fleeting moments, and an epic soaring guitar solo over soulful sighing harmonies instantly calling to mind Pink Floyd. `Dark Bolero' is just that, an evocative gothic mix of dark acoustic guitar, groaning cello and sweeping violin that eventually picks up in tempo and bristles with danger thanks to slippery bass weaving like a hissing serpent, and the male/female chanting voices bring the band closer to fellow dark Italian prog group Il Segno del Comando. Instrumental closer `Rebirth' brings all the styles of the album together, its prickly acoustic guitars dancing around murmuring bass, looping electronics and orchestral synths that rise in rapture.

A complete rebirth of the Goblin sound may be a bit of an exaggeration, but `Goblin Rebirth' still sees this version of the band very inspired and determined to impress, and they've succeeded in creating a very confident and distinctive work. It ticks all the right boxes and will easily please faithful Goblin fans, but there's a lavish symphonic prog sound in general, with a gutsy modern edge that already shows Goblin Rebith forging their own unique dark identity. They not only compliment the other currently active Goblin bands, but they also stand apart on their own merits, and it's a triumph for lovers of the darker side of Italian prog and instrumental prog in general.

`Goblin Rebirth' deserves an easy four stars, and is a must-buy for Goblin fans worldwide, be they prog-rock or horror movie buffs!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Time I by WINTERSUN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.78 | 60 ratings

BUY
Time I
Wintersun Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Wintersun's 'Time I' had a very long and, some fans might argue, torturous path to being released. It took the band over 8 years to get this record out after their hugely successful self titled release from 2004. I remember buying their self titled album when it was first released and being utterly blown away by the musicianship on display. It was enough to make me want to burn my guitar and eat the ashes - such was the talent of the guitar playing on that record. I was in such awe of Jari Maenpaa that he quickly displaced both Michael Romeo and Jeff Loomis as my guitar hero and favourite heavy metal musician.

But 8 years is a long time to wait for a follow up album. The delays in recording and releasing this album stemmed from the fact that Wintersun were (and still are) a small, relatively unheard of progressive metal band with only a small following. Nuclear Blast, their record label, understandably didn't want to commit the advance of money that it was going to take to produce 'Time I'. The production standards and absurdly high level of electronic orchestration that the Wintersun front-man and lead composer, Jari Maenpaa, wanted to put into the 'Time I' album were beyond the financial reach of the band, and also beyond their technical reach. Simply put the computer technology at the time just couldn't keep up with all of the VST synths that Jari wanted on each track. His reach exceeded his grasp on the technical side of things.

But it didn't stop them - it just took the band a lot longer to record and produce 'Time I' than it should have done. So, was it worth the wait? We've had 'Time I' for a few years now (at the time of writing this review) and its an album which has received a lot of attention from me. But I can't help thinking is this really 8 years worth of material? After all the disc length is only 40 minutes, and there are only 3 lengthy songs on the album. And really there are only two excellent songs and one, dare I say it, fairly average song, at least by Wintersun standards.

The opening 20 minutes of music, specifically the tracks 'When Time Fades Away' and 'Sons Of Winter And Stars' are utterly sublime. The last 10 minutes of music with the track 'Time' is equally great. But somewhere in the middle of the album it loses me a little bit.

So what about the music? Well, we have highly orchestral progressive death metal with an oriental twist. The album is utterly polished, which doesn't surprise me considering how fastidious the band have been in recording this album. The production is good, if a little sterile at times, but everything is in its place. There are a lot of layers to this album, a lot of synths and under-currents of melody which aren't apparent upon the first few listens. This is an album which takes time to absorb and learn. In the vein of other progressive death metal bands there are a mixture of extreme metal vocals, screams and cleanly sung parts. No disrespect to Jari Maenpaa but I consider him a better guitarist than a vocalist.

Wintersun told us at the time of release that this album would be the first of a two-parter, and that we couldn't judge this one without hearing the second part. But as of mid-2015 we have no signs of the second part to this so we have to judge it on its own. Its good, polished, highly technical and progressive. But when I think it took 8 years to produce I have to wonder is this the best it could have been? This is definitely somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I think I'll round it down to 3 stars. Don't get me wrong, I love this album, but any more than 3 stars would be too many.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquičme Saison by HARMONIUM album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.36 | 991 ratings

BUY
Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquičme Saison
Harmonium Symphonic Prog

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Harmonium's 'Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquičme Saison' is my first journey into the music of this Canadian prog-folk band, and I've been left struggling for words to describe this one. I've only had this disc in my collection for a few weeks now, picking it up after looking through the prog-archives database for "something new". I'm really open to hearing any new music, so to see an album with many excellent ratings that I hadn't heard before I thought was certainly worth checking out.

At first I didn't really know what to think when listening to it. There are no drums, no electric guitar, none of the more 'traditional' elements of prog music that I'm so familiar with. I wasn't even sure if this was particularly progressive, to my ears it just sounded like beautiful French-Canadian folk music. But I kept listening, and enjoying what I was hearing. And then I reached the final track, 'Histoires Sans Paroles', and I was absolutely floored. Wow - where has this piece of music been all of my life! Such incredibly beautiful progressive music. It didn't need the electric guitar, or drums, or blazing fast keyboard solos which are so typical of the prog style I admire so much.

This is a progressive album which does things on its own terms. The musicality here is delightful, there is a wonderful interplay between the instruments. And its just so beautiful and happy (or hippy perhaps?). This record has been getting at least one play a day since I bought it and I'm discovering more and more with each listen. But here is my problem in assigning a rating to this album. I appreciate and enjoy the first 4 tracks, but in no way do they compare to the final track, the 17 minute epic 'Histories Sans Paroles'. I can't give this album 5-stars, and I'm not even sure that 4-stars would be a suitable rating. Really, this is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, and I'll probably be a little bit cautious and give this one 3-stars, but this might change as I give this album more plays.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Viides Luku - Hävitetty by MOONSORROW album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.22 | 64 ratings

BUY
Viides Luku - Hävitetty
Moonsorrow Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

5 stars Moonsorrow's 'V: Hävitetty' is an absolutely fantastic album by one of progressive metals most innovative and creative bands. I purchased this when it first came out in 2007 and to this day it has remained an album which receives regular attention from me. So what makes this so good? In one word - "atmosphere".

'Hävitetty' is absolutely drenched in atmosphere, you are transported away to a medieval battlefield, to blood and sweat and grime - into a different world entirely. Never before have I heard an album with such a fantastic feel as this one; it conjures up dark images and foreboding scenes, a pagan world filled with spirits and gloom. When you hear those first opening sounds of the fire burning and the acoustic guitar from the opening track, 'Jäästä Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta', the shivers run up your spine in anticipation of what is to come. This is an album where you lose track of time, you become utterly absorbed in the music, and you savour every single moment of it.

So what about the music then? Moonsorrow are an extreme metal band, there is no getting away from that, and this album is no exception. There are some utterly devastating slabs of metal in this album, some real head-banging moments where you will be reaching for a sword and shield ready to plunge yourself head first into battle! At times the music is primal and raw. But its also so very clever, and brilliantly executed. Moonsorrow aren't just a metal band, they have elements of folk music, traditional Scandinavian music and are extremely progressive, no more so than in this record. There are clean vocals, heavy extreme vocals, there are soft guitar passages and full on nuclear assault distortion guitar.

If you hadn't heard this band before you might be thinking, based on this description above, "So they are a bit like Opeth, right?". Not at all. Whilst both Opeth and Moonsorrow are classed as extreme prog metal, they are totally different in so many ways. I think Opeth are more refined as a band, but Moonsorrow are far, FAR more atmospheric and better at developing a consistent theme throughout a piece of music. Moonsorrow are also a band which have always written their lyrics in their mother tongue, Finnish. And I absolutely love them for doing this! They have remained true to who they are and where they come from, commercial considerations be damned!

But going back to the music on here, what makes 'Hävitetty' so good is the consistency across the two tracks. These don't feel like multiple 5 minute songs stitched together to create longer music. The two songs on this album are completely unified and feel utterly consistent throughout. Themes are revisited, the music progresses but also harks back to earlier concepts and melodies. Unfortunately for fans of Moonsorrow, like myself, they have never played the first song live, and have only played the second song from this album very sparingly. The two songs here were definitely made for the album format, and not as live material.

I consider the first track to be ever so slightly better than the second track, but both are brilliant. This is one of my favourite recordings by any band, and probably my favourite metal album ever, progressive or otherwise! Easily 5-stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Ashes For The Monarch by GLACIER album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.52 | 12 ratings

BUY
Ashes For The Monarch
Glacier Neo-Prog

Review by Hogweed Returns

4 stars Glacier is a typical British band established in the end of the 70's. I've listened to this album on a website called "progstreaming" and I must say that I'm not disappointed. A bit of an odd album that must grow on you (before judgement). In between the songs there are a lot of humoristic passages and the songs are in the mood of Genesis and in particular Steve Hackett. The overall impression is very nice and the vocalist reminds me of a 70's band from Holland called the Dizzy Man's Band with also lots of humour in there songs (You should check them out!). The two songs and highlights on the CD are "Projections" and "One Man Alone". Let yourself be enchanted by the music and try their first album "Monument" from 2001 (yes a 14 years gap) which also gives much pleasure with songs written in the 80's and 90's. The song "Bring Down The Rain" could be a hitsingle! Four Royal Stars For Me ****

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Collapsing by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.27 | 14 ratings

BUY
Collapsing
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars The second LP from the first Amon Düül offers more of the same rumblings from the counterculture jungle. It sounds an awful lot (with emphasis on the awful) like the band's mind-numbing 1969 debut album, "Psychedelic Underground', and with good reason: the tapes came from the same loosely organized, lo-tech recording session.

The second edition might actually be slightly more varied than the earlier effort. But the thrill (such as it was) is long gone, and the sequel can't hide what it really was: leftovers that didn't survive the first round draft. Don't blame the hippies, though. They unwittingly sold the rights to that legendary jam session to producer Peter Meisel, who would continue releasing outtakes under the Amon Düül banner for years to come, cynically riding the coattails of the more successful Amon Düül II.

That backstory hardly improves the music, however. There seems to be less guitar and more drums this time around, all played with disarming amateur enthusiasm (i.e. badly). It might be unfair, but not inaccurate, to point out that the buzzing insects heard in the album's closing track "Natur (auf dem Lande)" exhibit more natural talent than the players themselves.

But in the end I have to admit I find the whole thing fascinating, in a tortured sort of way. Amon Düül was Punk Rock before Punk even existed: uncompromising and raw, but with the purest of hippie ideals behind it. The album makes a better political statement than a musical presentation, advocating creative freedom (without the straightjacket of talent), community fellowship, and of course a lot of mind-altering chemicals.

This may be the first time in over 1,153,473 reviews and ratings from the 53,770 members of these Archives that a single star was used as a mark of honor. If your taste in music runs to extremes, consider Amon Düül the first entrée in a Krautrock Paleo Diet.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.25 | 1304 ratings

BUY
Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

5 stars Opeth's 'Blackwater Park' is without doubt my favourite offering from the Scandinavian 4-piece. In this album we find Opeth at their absolute best, both creatively and musically. The songs presented here are hugely varied, transitioning flawlessly all the way from extreme death metal through to acoustic folk music, and (almost) everything in-between. There are moments of hard rock, progressive rock, acoustic folk music. There are delicious keyboards and mellotron, supplied by none other than Mr Steven Wilson. All of the elements that Opeth have become famous for before this album are displayed perfectly here, polished and utterly coherent within these 8 glorious tracks. The production here is first rate, there is a huge dynamic range and a real depth to the music.

The opening song, 'The Leper Affinity' drags the listener into the record violently and almost without warning. That opening extreme metal section is just so perfect for the start of an Opeth record! But before long we are into something more technical, and then the song blossoms and transforms, morphing between styles in true progressive nature. Make no doubt about it, this song is highly progressive and extremely innovative, and is indicative of what is to come.

Trying to describe each track would be pointless, there is just too much going on throughout. Simply put it is an album which has to be heard to be understood, as most progressive works are. It's safe to say there isn't a single bit of filler anywhere here. Every note, every beat and every vocal has its place. But more than that, every song has its own identity. Nothing here is repeated, and Opeth aren't afraid to try something totally different for each of their songs, like the entirely acoustic 'Harvest'.

The saddest aspect about Opeth is that their extreme metal sections, of which there are a lot on this album, are going to put some listeners off from trying this album out. And that's a shame. For me it is their blending of progressive rock, folk and extreme death metal which make Opeth so unique and special, and I wouldn't have them any other way!

In my humble opinion 'Blackwater Park' is the only album in the Opeth catalogue of music which deserves a 5-star rating.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Crash & The Draw by MINSK album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.83 | 4 ratings

BUY
The Crash & The Draw
Minsk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Crash and the Draw" is the 4th full-length studio album by US sludge/post metal act Minsk. The album was released through Relapse Records in April 2015. It´s the band´s first release since "With Echoes in the Movement of Stone" from 2009, so they´ve had a longer recording break. Quite a lot has happened in those 6 years though both in terms of the members working on other projects (three of the members recorded the "Impious Lamps (2010)" EP under the Cloud Burial monicker), but also regarding lineup changes. Only Tim Mead (lead vocals, synthesizers), and Chris Bennett (guitars, vocals) are left from the lineup who recorded "With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (2009)". Former bassist/vocalist Sanford Parker is still involved as producer though. New faces in the lineup are Aaron Austin (guitars, vocals), Zachary Livingston (bass, vocals), and Kevin Rendleman (drums).

Stylistically the band continue the atmospheric sludge/post metal style of "With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (2009)". Minsk always had a progressive way of doing things, and that is also true for the music on "The Crash and the Draw". They successfully combine heavy sludgy parts with atmospheric and slow building post metal parts (and even an atsmospheric ambient track in "Conjunction"), and clean vocals with harsher type vocals. The drumming has a tribal sound to them, which makes that part of the music pretty interesting. The tempo is mostly slow- to mid paced, but there are a couple of faster parts on the 11 track, 75:36 minutes long album, especially noteworthy on the opening track "To the Initiate".

In addition to the individual tracks on the album, "The Crash and the Draw" features the ""The Crash and the Draw"" four part suite. The material is generally well written and always playful and adventurous, which is one of the band´s greatest strengths. The high level musicianship, and the organic and well sounding production are two other assets, and all those assets are needed, because although the music is both adventurous and rather progressive, it´s not particularly original, and I hear a lot of nods toward some of the leading acts on the scene like Neurosis, Mastodon, and Baroness. So upon conclusion "The Crash and the Draw" is another high quality release by Minsk. A varied and quite dynamic musical journey, which never becomes tedious despite the very long running time. So despite a few issues with the originality of the material, I still think a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Secret by SERGE RAMSES album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.00 | 3 ratings

BUY
Secret
Serge Ramses Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Great and obscure electronic music by this French musician. The music is undeniably progressive electronic, influenced by the Berlin School, but more emphasizes the calm-end of it, so what you won't get is a lot of sequencer action. Think the more calm, sedate moments of Klaus Schulze, and you're not too far off. The music never slips in to New Age dreck, which is a plus, the music is too ominous sounding to fall into that New Age trap. S. Ramses uses lots of early polyphonic synths (perhaps a PolyMoog or maybe some Korgs), although the cover artwork depicts him with modular synths, or perhaps a Korg PS-3300 that Zanov was using around the same time. Mellotron also has its presence shown on "Deuce", "Aoss" and the side-length title track, the first two featuring what sounds like the less common tron oboes, and the title track featuring the much more familiar tron strings. Mellotron is never dominate on this album, but it's nice to hear. I find it amusing that rumor had abound that Serge Ramses was Zanov, even though that wasn't true. Certainly S. Ramses was influenced by that same school of electronic music as Zanov, but it's easy to tell it's not Zanov, not to mention Zanov never used a Mellotron. It's true both befriended each other when both were living in London. True than Alain Gross produced their albums. Both recording for major labels, and quickly became obscurities. There are tons of great progressive electronic albums that are waiting to be discovered. This is one of them. Unfortunately it's never been reissued, making the purchase of the LP the only way to hear it on solid format (luckily prices hadn't shot through the roof the way of Italian prog). So hold on your turntables, this is a nice album to have for those who enjoy the Berlin School of electronic music.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 New World by IOEARTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.43 | 28 ratings

BUY
New World
IOEarth Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars IO Earth has released two celebrated studio albums that made some serious waves within the prog community, supplying a modern curve to the well-travelled neo-prog rock genre by infusing some quite brilliant vocals, such as those by Steve Balsamo, who also participated on the Rob Reed (Magenta) Kompendium project. Strange coincidence (not) because IO Earth sounds like a proggier version of Magenta in more ways than one. Both the debut album and the amazing follow-up "Moments" really took us all by storm, etching in their name into the 'next bright light' prog pioneer category. After a few illness related changes, the lovely and highly talented Linda Odinsen takes over the microphone and does so very convincingly. Back are leaders Dave Curaton (Guitars, keys and vox) and Adam Gough (Keys, guitars and vox), as well as bassist Christian Nokes. New drummer Christian Jerromes adds even more punch than before while Luke Shingler adds stellar sax and flute work and Jez King supplies violin and added guitar to the line-up. They pack quite a wallop, indeed! The mammoth 2 CD "New World" offers up a lavish cover with vivid artwork, sterling production and a tremendous amount of musical flair and bravado. The mood here is decidedly more bombastic, perhaps even heavier than ever before, but maintaining all those IO Earth elements that made the other two albums such complete treasures. Namely, slick modern beats allied with shimmering old school Celtic touches, some delirious Gregorian chanting (I love that choral stuff!) and simply wicked playing by this seasoned and tight crew, the guitar solos are particularly vivacious and the arrangements constantly on the "qui vive", like some alert sentry safeguarding a super-secret site. The music is all over the map, with some heavy rock moments, traditional touches as well as chorale spookiness. But the aural dynamics of serene to thunderous are clearly defined and wholly unexpected.

To kick off a gargantuan opus with a romantic ditty like "Move As One" only serves to showcase their grasp of melody and beauty, cello ablaze and passionate voice up front and center. And follow that with a steamroller progressive rocker such as the zesty "Redemption", a bruising bass torpedo heading out to slam and slam hard, in unison with sweeping string synths, sizzling lead guitar and tectonic drumming, hell, this is my kind of vibrant and nicely bitchy prog!

"Journey to Discovery" has very little disco, as it's another heavy symphonic onslaught of molten riffs that wink at Ayreon and Rocket Scientists but in a way more exciting envelope. Linda sings or rather howls with determined frenzy ("yayaya"), the sense of speed and travel quite obvious and delightful. The swirling romanticism of a suave track like "Trance" is particularly addictive, a typical IO Earth track full of both originality and toughness. These musicians are connoisseurs of the extremes that are well within their expertise, displaying Gregorian choirs ( a perennial trademark) to add to the insanity, choppy modern drum patterns and a definite hypnotic quality that sustains their need to progress beyond the clichéd styles that abound within the more vocal anointed prog genres.

On a lovely piece like "Morning", the mood lightens up a fair bit, evoking folkier slants that perhaps wink at other female-fronted bands such as Magenta, Mostly Autumn and such.Linda Odinsen shows off her pipes, fragrant Crimsonian flutes as a chaperone, then a simply executed electric guitar solo that is all blues and hues before a more exuberant finale that just explodes, out of nowhere. Then immediately fall back on the noxious and volcanic "Collision", a twisting and turning guided heat seeking missile that is in the clouds, invisible one moment (ruminating violin) and suddenly bearing down on your ass the next. Gothic monstrosity like some sonic King Tiger tank gone berserk, crushing, pummeling and relentless, this is perfect modern prog that every fan of any denomination would simply bow to. Both Jerromes and Frank Zappa alumnus Ed Mann add tons of dynamic percussion to the epic conflagration.

"Fade to Grey" is not a remake of the Midge Ure penned Visage track of the 80s but a long excursion into the dark side, though the acoustic guitar intro might throw the listener for a temporary loop, insistent piano and lush voice not far behind. Fascinating stuff, moody and redolent atmosphere cut to ribbons by walls of bombastic symphonics that first startle and then enthrall. Wow! When the sax does its foray into the fray, you just can't help drooling. The slick fret board solo sears the speakers into a fulminating mass of plastic, before a return to the pastoral groove. The colossal and repetitive "fading to grey, paving the way" chorus seals the deal, with Linda sounding like Heart's Ann Wilson (that is one hell of a compliment BTW). The first CD ends with the tenebrous "New World Suite", a clearly symphonic piece that flirts with dense classicism and choral expression, an all-instrumental arrangement with a sweet synth solo finale.

CD2 wastes little time in making you fumble the giant sized popcorn bag, buttering the carpet as the screeching bravado busts through the stereo speakers. "Insomnia" is a nasty piece of work, commencing with sweeping dissonance and a sense of uncontrollable angst, only to detonate mercilessly when Linda clutches the microphone and invites the massed choir to intonate the title. This is a heavyweight sucker, full of surprises with thick and edgy moments, interspersed with a bizarre sax segment that has a definite Barbara Thompson?like feel , only to morph into a shocking double bass drum, heavy metal flurry, complete with a zingy guitar solo that will knock your socks (and your pyjamas) right off . The cinematic outro is a sensational finale.

IO Earth like to weave in some Indian influences on occasion as well (see "Cinta Indah" track on Moments) combining tabla percussion with more modern synthesizer runs as well as a whirling dervish guitar solo from Dave Curaton. So "Red Smoke" has those attributes and so much more, as the theme gets heavier towards the end. Smoking!

The images of 9-11 are reproduced on the instrumental masterpiece "The Rising", understanding clearly the visual impact that incident has had on the entire planet, young and old , all connected to the media on that cloudless sunny day. The insistently sad guitar carves quite a long path, aided by a sweltering saxophone foray, both drenched in historical gloom but resolutely passionate. This is utterly gorgeous, to the point of heartache, Linda wailing a long "hooooooo"!

"Body and Soul" sets out as a melancholic piano and violin duet, until Linda intones a grieving lament, that suddenly explodes into this heavy ballad that sounds like Magenta on steroids, and then back to the sweet pastoral for a moment before another turn into the tempest, a brooding hurricane of sweeping mellotron strings, ballistic bass and demonic drumming, gritty guitars and Linda howling like a werewolf.

Ya want depth charges galore? Ya like boom-boom heavy rock? Two hard ones then for ya! "Colours" is bloody stodgy, concrete and just plain nasty. Sharp rapier-like riffs and binary drum artillery give the band a windswept platform to push the limits far beyond, the mood more like Threshold than anything else. This is continued on the rabid "Follow" with male vocals (Dave Curaton) suggesting a doom-laden crescendo of darkness that is closer to the early Stranglers but armed with a killer guitar solo that sizzles, drizzles and fizzles.

"Dreams" again features a hushed and somnolent male vocal, a stylistic detour that implies a much wider palette than one might think. The brassy trumpet does the lilting mood great justice, I thought it was a long lost the Beloved track, done in a quasi-prog style. Very cool track and utterly ballsy. The 'chaka-chaka' drums are a blast. Okay, this was one hell of a long catalog, with all kinds of styles and challenges, how do they finish up this recording? With the title track, silly you! And just like CD1, the intent is to rekindle the symphonic /cinematographic comfort zone, with a few unexpected twists. This time, Linda carries the tune with some operatic vocals, escorted by thunderous riffs, lightning fast rhythms, blitzing solos and mammoth melodies that serve as a kind of trailer or recap of what this album is all about. Celestial !

This is what progressive rock means to me, a vehicle for deeply melodious adventures, tremendous instrumental interplay and innovative symphonic arrangements that stretch the norms of rock music and finally, a delirious afterglow that yearns for one to return. Melancholic, taciturn, majestic, elegant and overpowering, the music is beyond the pale!

Another masterpiece in the prog pantheon. We all Owe Earth from now on!

5 fresh dominions

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Burnt Belief | Etymology by EDWIN AND JON DURANT, COLIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.51 | 5 ratings

BUY
Burnt Belief | Etymology
Colin Edwin and Jon Durant Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The danger with many experimental rock bands is often found in their lackluster desire to overdo their talent by eschewing structure and shove massive doses of technique down the gullet of unsuspecting fans in search of new horizons. The senseless noise can be quite unpleasant and somewhat masturbatory, pleasing only the perpetrators and their immediate family. That being said, there are modern instrumentalists who rely on their dedication to structure AND melody, doing virtuoso stuff while keeping their eyes on the prize. Bands like Herd of Instinct and Spoke of Shadows are inspirational examples of this new style and they represent a new dawn in progressive rock. The collaboration between guitarist Jon Durant and master bassist Colin Edwin has already yielded a thrilling debut that was universally acclaimed by both fans and critics, pushing sonic boundaries with exalting arrangements and explosive deliveries. "Burnt Belief" remains a sterling effort and perhaps a hard act to follow. Barely 2 years later, "Etymology" keeps the pulse going, predominantly propelled by ex-Porcupine Tree bassist Edwin, whose wobbly style shakes the foundations and abetted by a trio of guests drummers (Sabatino, McCormick and Duque) as well as No-Man's violinist Steve Bingham. Guitarist Jon Durant is a coloring specialist, very inspired to boldly go beyond the norm and add a slithering array of tones and textures to his playing.

There certainly is a smart formula at work here, a sensorial adventure that scours the outermost perspectives with Durant sounding like Andy Summers one moment and David Torn the next, with even a little Santana thrown in for good measure. But, for me and many others, this music's entire genius is anchored heavily in Colin Edwin's spirited playing, very upfront and natural, even bellicose when necessary. This is a bass player's manifesto, suggesting at such four strung maestros as the legendary Mick Karn (RIP), Jah Wobble (PIL) and Mister basso profundo himself, Tony Levin. He bends, pulls, throttles and caresses his strings with undeniable expression throughout this sophomore effort. At times, his sumptuous playing is like some king cobra with its prey in sight, ready to lunge. Yeah, deadly!

Many stellar tracks such as the opener "Chromatique", which sets the mood right from the start, the manic mathematics of "Dissemble", the spooky the Police-like eeriness of the dreamy "Convergence" but what the heck, the entire set list is first class experimental fusion/prog of the finest vintage. Things can get very morose and vaporous such as the brooding "White Keys", where there is a quasi-Weather Report feel, circa "Sweetnighter", opens the door even wider to fusion and jazz-rock aficionados. The colossus piece is the 11 minute+ megalith "Not Indifferent" which has all the trappings of a classic prog epic. A sensual but circuitous bassline really provides the sonic anaesthesia, Edwin meandering in full control, submerged in dense guitar atmospherics, as well as stupendous percussion work, creating a sonic jungle of twisted vines, lush underbrush and piercing rays of sunlight. Totally subjugating stuff as the second section kicks into life with thunderous abandon as if ruthless predators had just conquered the peaceful clearing, chasing away the frightened prey. On a track like "Hover", the serenity instills deep reflection and introspection, acoustic guitar in a near Al diMeola style, calmly reflective. Edwin's 'delicatesse' is in the gentle breath of his bass playing. Two 6 minute pieces finish off the recording, "Chimera" being bouncy and exotic, while the closer "Squall" retains a clever urban feel, sunglasses filtering the blistering gleams as they reflect off the glass and steel architecture, in contrast to the cover artwork's nighttime effect.

A worthy follow up to the amazing debut, "Etymology" is a fine piece of modern progressive rock.

4.5 Derivation of words

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Waiting Soldier by BLANK MANUSKRIPT album cover Studio Album, 2015
5.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
The Waiting Soldier
Blank Manuskript Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

— First review of this album —
5 stars Each time I receive an album from my good friend Alfons Wohlmuth I ask myself how different would be the story of BLANK MANUSKRIPT if they had been born in the UK instead of Austria, because each and every one of their previous releases has been impeccable and brilliant, but never got the attention that many inferior British bands receive.

Their debut Tales from an Island - Impressions from Rapa Nui was excellent A Profound Path was too short but better musically , now I received the conceptual The Waiting Soldier, which is as good as all the previous but on a full length LP Format, so there's not a weak moment on their career.

My first positive impression was when I saw the cover, a beautiful presentation in LP format that made me remember my youth, after opening it read the lyrics and found an interesting concept in the form of a diary of a guy who wants to be called a soldier, but really isn't one neither too brilliant.

Now to the music: The Waiting Soldier is opened by Induction, a track that starts with the sound of marching boots and almost immediately leads to a guitar solo enhanced by the band that morphs into a jazzy flute section. But from them , we can expect almost anything, the band performs frenetic passages interrupted by soft melodic passages where the keyboard and vocals remind me of PINK FLOYD but with an aggressive side.

Public Enemy is a delightful heavy Prog song with s a strong melody and radical changes that go from oneiric and atmospheric moments to powerful explosions of sounds. The radical changes are delightful and the vocals remind me again of Pink Floyd. . Kites to Sky is a beautiful tune with the charming voice of Nora Sigl who creates a naive atmosphere that fuses perfectly with the dramatic guitar solo and the nostalgic feeling that the band provides. Tender song in contrast with the frenetic end experimental Doubts that brings ALAN PARSONS PROJECT to my mind, but only for a moment, because the operatic section (with a tenor's voice) and the vibrant flute finale blew my mind. Really exiting.

The Night is the longest track of the album and BLANK MANUSKRIPT explore places they never visited before, too hard to describe and words can only ruin the experience of guitar solos, lush keyboard passages and vibrant rhythm section with dramatic changes..:Better to listen it without having a hint of what's coming,

The album ends with Conclusion and Cloud, the first one, my favorite song, because somehow comprises all the story in one song that again has a bit of everything for the pleasure of Prog geeks like me. Cloud on the other hand is a collection of sound effects that in my opinion shows the chaotic state of mind of the "Waiting Soldier"

No problem with the rating, The Waiting Soldier is at least as good as A Profound Path, which received 5 stars from me, so have to go with the same rating.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Third by PERHAPS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.34 | 10 ratings

BUY
Third
Perhaps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is the third full-length album from US band Perhaps and sadly the last one, since in April they communicated in their Facebook fanpage that the project would stop. Anyway, whatever the members decide to do (regarding music) in the future, I wish them good luck. Perhaps was one of the bands I knew thanks to Prog Archives, and whose music came to me due to the internet facilities, so we have to take advantage of this new digital era that allows us to discover a lot of things.

I must admit that my favorite Perhaps release is their debut album, I find it the strongest of them all, and though all are very different each other, I keep the firs one as my preferred. Let me tell you that Perhaps is not a one- genre-band, no, their music offers slices of different scenes, sometimes you will listen to psychedelic rock, sometimes to post-rock, then experimental parts, etc. And this third album is not the exception. So be prepared to this 7-song journey that lasts 36 minutes and that has the collaboration of Kawabata Makoto, the legendary Acid Mother's Temple guitarist.

It opens with "Master Destroyer I", a piece that has a bombastic beginning with some crazy Zappa-esque sounds and some distorted psychedelic guitars. The song flows and continues like a jam, I don't really know if it is a recorded improvisation or was a true composition, however it sounds nice, but not memorable. "Master Destroyer II" is when things slow down a little bit, but also when spacey sounds and Gong-like vocals appear. It is a cosmic trip in which you can close the eyes and transport to another dimension. Besides the guitars and the evident synths, what makes this better is the addition of a saxophone that sounds here and there, in spontaneous moments.

"Butterfly Mirror" continues with that spacey and cosmic sound, with weird vocals and distortions everywhere. I believe one has to be in the mood to dig this, otherwise it would be a difficult journey. The song might not have a true form, and I think it does not need a form, though I admit there are moments where I feel lost, I lose track for a while. Once again, I highlight the use of saxophone in some precious instants. "Dreamland I" starts even crazier, loony, bombastic with a fast rhythm and robotic effects. It has some Ozrics feeling but in moments it is rockier than spacy, well it is a vibrant and energetic journey. "Dreamland II" drastically slows down, it becomes slower and sexier due to that saxophone full of cadency. The music flows and progresses, the special effects bring that inherent cosmic atmosphere and the guitars put the psychedelic and in moments stoner rock vibe.

"Donzo's Montreaux" has much more keyboards in the beginning than in the whole album. Then another trip starts, guitar becomes main character and provides endless riffs while a heavy, psych and powerful background is created. After three minutes some loony voices can be heard. I think that addition of Makoto really influenced Perhaps, I mean, this album could be one of the Acid Mothers catalogue. The final song is "Sleepwalker" and starts very softly, spacey and relaxing at first. While the seconds pass more elements are being added, creating different atmospheres and offering now a sound closer to post-rock. I think this is my favorite moment of the album.

A nice effort by Perhaps, an album full of nuances and trips, but that I think lacks of memorable moments, of a solid passage that makes it unique. Anyway, one can spend 36 nice minutes listening to it.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Room Of Pointing Figures by AMAZING MACHINE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Room Of Pointing Figures
Amazing Machine Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars Norwegian band AMAZING MACHINE was formed back in 2008, at first as a duo consisting of Bjųrn-Roger Reinfjell and Hans-Marius Ųverland, but later settling as a trio with the addition of Torkil Rųdvand. "Room of Pointing Figures" is their first recording, and was released as a digital EP in the spring of 2014.

When reading up on the stated inspirations for this band, a lot of names are listed there that you can't truly hear in the material they explore. Which isn't at all an uncommon I guess, but if you look them up on social media you can safely disregard a few of the artists the band have chosen to namedrop themselves, and rather hone in on their self-described genre, with an emphasis on progressive rock, alternative and post-rock. Those three genre descriptions pretty much summarize what this band is all about as they appear on this EP.

Plucked and frail, echoing guitar details are given a lot of space in the dreamladen, melancholic landscapes explored, and liberal use of ethereal textured sounds and nervous fluttering light toned guitar details adds a certain emphasis on the band's fascination for post-rock. They do mix it up a bit though, with harder edged, angst-filled darker guitars and a firm bass and drum support that does give their compositions more of an indie or alternative sheen. Careful and often frail lead vocals, at times with a more distinct and highly emotional delivery, adds dreamladen, sleepy and distanced vocals as well as angst and intensity in just about equal measures.

I applaud Amazing Machine for managing to balance their compositions between the ethereal, frail and also majestic beauty of post rock on one hand and the more angst-ridden alternative type progressive rock on the other, and the manner in which they do explore these landscapes can be fairly transfixing at best and always intriguing for sure. As far as debut EPs goes this is a high quality one, and one I'd recommend to those who are just as mesmerized by artists such as Gazpacho and Radiohead as they are by bands exploring what I might describe as classic post rock.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Warpig by WARPIG album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.16 | 13 ratings

BUY
Warpig
Warpig Heavy Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Warpig' - Warpig (63/100)

Many of the psychedelic blues rockers circa 1970 tend to cover the same narrow strip of territory soundwise, but Warpig are distinguished for perhaps being the first band I've heard from the style to be compatriots of mine. The crusade to take rock to new heights of fuzz and distortion with the help of blues tricks was a largely British movement, but it had its followers around the world. I recently listened to Australia's contribution to this dated style with Blackfeather and their debut At the Mountains of Madness. Checking out Warpig has felt like a natural continuation of that experience; both bands essentially petered out following their debuts, each took the British hard rock formula to their respective ends of the Commonwealth, and both managed to carve out decently memorable records without necessarily advancing the template they worked with. Warpig's self-titled debut has not aged well in the decades since its release, but for all its primitive simplicity, they had a character and energy to them that set them apart from the wannabes.

Sex, sleaze, and a liberal dose of early Deep Purple influence; add these things together and you should have a solid idea what Warpig sound like. Fronted capably by Rick Donmoyer, the album does not mince words, nor pull its punches. While their set-up was generally straightforward, Warpig-- like many of their heavy psych contemporaries-- opted to play around with a variety of different scopes in their music. "Flaggit" and "Tough Nuts" are fast and to-the-point blues rockers, while "Melody with Balls" and the enigmatically titled "U.X.I.B" are slower, almost recalling the almighty Black Sabbath, who released their own debut earlier the same year. While there's no doubting Warpig had their hearts set on unpretentious distortion worship, they occasionally demonstrate higher aims here. "Advance in A Minor" is a surprisingly highbrow instrumental; modern ears might still dismiss it as simplistic, but it's enough to show these guys weren't as simplistic as some of their more straightforward material makes them out to be.

Warpig flaunt their Deep Purple influence, mostly through the keyboard presence, performed here by Dana Smith. Beyond that, the band offer a very basic hard rock set-up. The drums are tight and punchy, and the guitar solos (of which there are plenty) don't dare to tread outside the comforting familiarity of the pentatonic scale. Even for their time, I don't think Warpig would be turning any heads with their style; of the bands I've heard playing this style, these guys sound like most of them. Where I think Warpig begin to stand out is the personality they inject into the formula. As a rule, bands of their ilk attempted to put a faster, grittier and generally heavier angle on the common formula they were using. In this regard, their basic premise wasn't much different from the average, but I haven't heard too many that got across the same extent of energy. Warpig exhibit their lustful motivations front and centre. Excluding the uncharacteristically poetic "Sunflight" (which reminds me of Blue Oyster Cult, and may be my favourite cut off the album) Rick Donmoyer's lyrics explicitly recount the sexual urges that go along with the rockstar lifestyle. Like the music, the lyrics are blunt, and difficult to enjoy on more than a surface level, but I have to admire the fact that they didn't try to dress up their subject with metaphor or flowery imagery.

Although claims that they took their name from a similarly-titled tune by Black Sabbath are decidedly false (Paranoid wouldn't be released until the latter half of the same year) it's interesting to me that people would think of Sabbath while listening to Warpig. It's not at all surprising to me, either; although the album's not quite heavy enough to warrant direction comparison with the proto-doomsters, there's an ominous edge to some of their riffs (most notably those in "U.X.I.B") that may very well peg Warpig as one of Canada's first proto-metal acts. This fact alone should pique the curiosity of rock historians, if no one else. Musically speaking, Warpig were a fair bit better than the unknown mediocres that saturated 1970 with this sort of primitive fuzz. Listeners in search of an early progressive rock masterpiece will come out empty-handed, however. This is a solid album, but it's nothing you won't have already heard many times before.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Trip The Life Fantastic by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.92 | 78 ratings

BUY
Trip The Life Fantastic
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Drifting Sun are a band that escaped my attention, because their first two albums were released during a period in which I hardly listened to any music apart from what happened to be on mainstream radio. Had they not released a new album this year, I would probably not have missed them for quite a while, because they are not among the bands that are mentioned on a daily basis. Now that they did release an album, and I have heard of them, I may was well tell the world how I feel about it.

Listening to the album it is clear that the band knows how to build up a song. The title track Trip the Light Fantastic opens the album with piano and high pitched but clean vocals. It fills up with the other instruments over the first half and becomes more guitar driven in the second half - until the piano returns. A similar build up is found in Five Fever, but here the first half is mainly piano and synths.

Completely different to this are The Wizard (with a 70s hard rock feel in the guitar playing, and matching vocals) and the Pendragon like Tormented (fiery guitar opening, prominent bass and keyboards in the vocal parts).

Lady Night and The Last Supper are two longer tracks. The former has great vocal work and pulsing keyboard in places, and seems to be mixed slightly different than the rest of the album (bass and keyboards stand out a bit more).

Last Supper also has a pulsing riff at it's center, but much more prominent than Lady Night. The guitar and organ really work together here, not surprisingly many reviews of this album compare this to old Deep Purple work. There's a lot more going on in this somewhat haunting track than I want to explain here - it's 'hearing is believing' I think.

A separate mention goes to the four short tracks that separate the longer ones. Peach Blossoms and Sunsets are the first two, which have a slightly classical feel to them. The have to bow for the other two though. Ode to Nevermind has a great (electric and acoustic) guitar and bass interplay, and XXX Forever reminds me in a way of a certain Mr. Hackett and Mr. Banks. Without these short interludes this would be a completely different album.

Summarising, this album is very likely not the most renewing thing in the world of rock. That's no disqualification though, because I've heard more quite appealing 'retro' albums over the past six to nine months. Retro is perhaps not even the right word, the band makes music in a style that has been around since early Marillion, Pendragon and other similar bands, but despite an occasional hint to even older times, with a modern touch to it. The compositions work, the vocals are absolutely great and I love the keyboard work. A worthy album to include in 2015s collection.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Ko Ki by PLINI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Ko Ki
Plini Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
2 stars Plini is an Australian gifted musician that I recently discovered, but I have read that he is also a great human being, because this song entitled "Ko Ki" that was released in 2014 had a wonderful background. It started as a project whose aim was not only to spread Plini's music, but also to help people from the Ko Ki Village, people whose life has been devastated by government's actions. So this digital track was a fundraising that would go to that people with the intention of give them a better place to live.

I had to write that, because it was a tender cause that this man did, kudos for that!

Now the music. This is a 3-minute song that once again offers a clear vision of Plini's skills. It opens with a djent- metal structure, but later it morphs into several faces, because in moments when the piano appears it has a jazzy tune, but later it becomes faster and more emotional, turning into a post-rock piece. So it is exciting that in 3:20 minutes he gives us a rollercoaster of genres and sounds. Great!

Now don't pay attention to my rating, because as a reviewer I have my "own rules" which don't allow me to rate releases under 20 minutes with more than 2 stars, unless it is the EP or single of my life.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Atlas by PLINI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
2.23 | 3 ratings

BUY
Atlas
Plini Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This is a 2014 single released by Australian young promise Plini, whose musical ideas have a personal recipe whose aim is to seduce listeners from all over the world with compositions that range from jazz fusion or post rock, to djent and progressive metal; the tendency of the single or EP released could not be that important, the main thing is that all of them are great and show the inherent quality of this man.

"Atlas" is another great song that like I read somewhere, it is simple but complex, more into the progressive metal scene, instrumental of course and with a clear guitar leadership. I don't really know about metal so I cannot compare it, but in moments the guitars remind me of A.C.T. Well, I invite you to listen to Plini's music yourself, I am sure you will have a positive musical journey.

Now don't pay attention to my rating, because as a reviewer I have my "own rules" which don't allow me to rate releases under 20 minutes with more than 2 stars, unless it is the EP or single of my life.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Other Things by PLINI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.30 | 4 ratings

BUY
Other Things
Plini Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Plini ? Other Things

This is the first of an EP-trilogy created by Plini. The first release that features more than one song, so I think this is a good place to start digging Plini's music. Other Things was recorded back in 2012 and released in 2013. So this Australian wonder has been around creating music for the last three years, and I am just discovering it nowadays. Well, better late than never, and I am sure he has the potential to be discovered by so many people from all the globe, it will happen sooner than later, I am sure.

This 3 song EP has the talent of this man, but also the contribution of three guest musicians, two of them recorded guitar solos while the other helped with piano. It kicks off with "Heart" which starts with paused-guitars and a kind of jazzy and groovy feeling. The addition of drums is pretty accurate, and then the bass can also be perceived. What I like about Plini is that despite his youth, his compositions sound so mature, so well crafted, like if he was creating music since ten or more years ago.

"Other Things" has a jazzier sound made mainly by the guest piano that appears, but also complemented by drums and strings. I insist, if you listen to this song without knowing the performer, some big and acknowledge musicians' names will come to your mind, so it is truly satisfactory to understand this new man called Plini is creating first-class music.

"Selenium Forest" is the final and longest composition of this first EP, which by the way has a beautiful cover artwork. It starts slowly, with a sensual guitar that when explodes becomes powerful and virtuoso. This time the guitar importance is more evident than the previous tracks, it produces a lot of nuances, notes and textures which are greatly balanced and complemented by drums. Just before reaching the second minute the song changes and becomes heavier, more in the progressive metal vein. It flows and progresses and becomes majestic, it is simply great!

My admiration to Plini, every single song he has released has given me satisfactory moments, and I can say I am eagerly waiting to his first full-length album, because I think it might be a landmark in the progressive rock scene. Fingers crossed! Please go and listen to his music on his bandcamp site or other online platforms such as Spotify.

Now don't pay attention to my rating, because as a reviewer I have my "own rules" which don't allow me to rate releases under 20 minutes with more than 2 stars, unless it is the EP or single of my life.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Cloudburst by PLINI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.23 | 3 ratings

BUY
Cloudburst
Plini Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Plini is a great and enigmatic project that in one single offers true tech metal, in other jazz fusion, then some post rock and then a djent-oriented track, like the one we listen here in "Cloudburst", a single that was released in 2013 and that fortunately for us the good music lovers, can be found and listened on Plini's Bandcamp.

I am not the most avid person regarding metal or djent, but I do recognize when music is well composed and performed, concepts that have not let me down when listening to this young Australian virtuoso whose music is starting to be known and spread in my country (Mexico), and am sure soon when he gives us a full-length album it will be spread and highlighted all around the globe. For people who love djent and great instrumental tracks with loads of notes, this is for you.

Now don't pay attention to my rating, because as a reviewer I have my "own rules" which don't allow me to rate releases under 20 minutes with more than 2 stars, unless it is the EP or single of my life.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 1745 7381 3265 2578 by PLINI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.27 | 3 ratings

BUY
1745 7381 3265 2578
Plini Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This is the second single release of Australian virtuoso Plini, launched back in January 2013. For some who don't know this guy, this is a wonderful new project that offers instrumental music in the jazz-metal vein, with a clear talent in both composition and performance. Thanks to the internet facilities, nowadays it is easier to discover music from all around the world with of course the artist's consent.

You can go to Plini's bandcamp and listen to "1745 7381 3265 2578", yes, this is the song's title. Though I mentioned above about the jazz-metal vein, this particular song shows a different face, closer to post rock and electronica. The atmosphere is wonderful, delicious I would say, the guitar this time is not really virtuoso, but it sound always in the best moment. The use of electronics remind me a bit of 65daysofstatic, so go figure.

I highly encourage people to listen to this guy, what I've found so far has not disappointed me.

Now don't pay attention to my rating, because as a reviewer I have my "own rules" which don't allow me to rate releases under 20 minutes with more than 2 stars, unless it is the EP or single of my life.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Moonflower by PLINI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
2.23 | 3 ratings

BUY
Moonflower
Plini Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars I don't really remember if it was early this 2015, or by the end of 2014 when a friend talked to me about Plini (thanks for the suggestion), and when I listened to his music, I realized there was a new and truly gifted guy with an enormous potential creating progressive rock in the further lands of Australia. He works under the nickname of Plini and he composes and plays everything that can be listened on his releases (almost all).

His music provides clever compositions where guitar plays the main role. He, as a composer and performer has all the elements to succeed, and though nowadays there is not a full-length album (he has just released singles and EPs so far), when it appears I am sure people's feedback will be positive. Plini creates virtuoso instrumental music, sometimes in the metal vein, sometimes with a jazz spirit, sometimes with symphonic passages, but always with a satisfactory result.

'Moonflower' was his first single, released back in 2012 and though it is a short 3-minute song, I think it is a solid introduction to his music. Since the first seconds we can appreciate a fast metal-oriented track whose guitar is impressive, but whose drums are also very well executed. Later it makes a short change and for some seconds the music becomes a bit jazzy, but later it returns to its original form and flows until it fades out.

Now don't pay attention to my rating, because as a reviewer I have my 'own rules' which don't allow me to rate releases under 20 minutes with more than 2 stars, unless it is the EP or single of my life. Better go and listen to Plini's music on his bandcamp site.

Enjoy it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Metafora di un Viaggio by SEZIONE FRENANTE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.42 | 7 ratings

BUY
Metafora di un Viaggio
Sezione Frenante Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Hailing from the province of Venice, Sezione Frenante began life in the early seventies under the name Le Nuove Dimensioni, later changed into the current name. During the seventies they hadn't the chance to record an album and split up in 1978, when the interest for progressive rock was fading. In 2006 the band reformed on the initiative of three founder members and in 2014 Sezione Frenante finally released a debut album on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records with a line up featuring Alessandro Casagrande (drums, percussion), Sandro Bellemo (bass), Doriano Mestriner (gutars, vocals), Mirco De Marchi (keyboards, vocals) and Francesco Nardo (lead vocals) plus the guest Antonio Zullo (acoustic guitar). This long awaited album is entitled Metafora di un viaggio - Arditi voli di cervelli attenti and is a conceptual work, vaguely inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, that describes in music and words a cathartic journey from darkness to light, from despair to hope... The overall sound draws on vintage atmospheres and could recall bands such as Le Orme, Metamorfosi, Procession or Alphataurus but the musicians managed to put into the mix all their passion, their experience and their personality with excellent results and the album is really worth listening to.

The opener "La quiete in un attimo" (Peace in a while) starts by pulsing bass lines and dreamy passages that seem to mark the transition into an hypnotic state of unconsciousness. The music and lyrics evoke a moment of quiet where you can think and get lost into your dreams. Now you're almost floating on the current of your thoughts, between life and death... The dark organ surge of the following "La meta non trovata" (The unfounded destination) announces a dangerous journey through a realm of shadows where you're surrounded by shapeless things and faded visions. Eventually, your aimless wandering takes you in front of a high white door that blocks your way... Then a surreal calm comes down and "La meta non trovata (curiosit' di essere)" (The unfounded destination - Curiosity of being) describes curiosity and fear seizing your throat. Your brain doesn't work, you can't think anymore...

Next comes "Attesa" (Waiting), a short instrumental that describes the time you pass in doubt, waiting in front of the white door while the following "Passaggio" (Passage) is another short instrumental describing the moment of the crossing of that strange threshold. It leads to "Viscido ambiente" (Slimy place) that describes a gloomy world inhabited by icy shadows without brain, a world where there's no peace. You can feel a sense of void spreading all around you and even inside your heart, there's nothing but hate here, you have to feed on it... The following "Pace immaginata" (Fancied peace) describes the crossing of this bleak world with its threatening panoramas. Every now and again some flames break through the darkness and shapeless beings disappear into the void, swallowed by black waves. You can perceive unknown shadows sucking your blood like parasites, driving you insane... At last you see a corridor and something pushes you in the right direction, towards the light at the end of the tunnel, towards a shelter...

At the sound of a bell, "Quattro stelle" (Four stars) welcomes you to a very different world of ethereal lights and sapphire skies. The four stars of the title refer to the four cardinal virtues that now show your way: prudence, justice, temperance and courage. Then a church-like organ passage drives you on the footsteps of a Love song while delicate melodies blow away the shadows of hell and their gloomy omens. A new hope is beating in your chest, you can see around you sinners who repent and start climbing a steep hill leading to a better dream...

Next comes "Nota stonata" (Discordant note) that describes in music and words a kind of Garden of Eden where you can find a perfect harmony. But someone is singing out of tune in the angelic choir, there's a soul down below that, pushed by human virtue, seeks for something that is not perfect at all. This soul is looking for the unknown, for great passions inspired by pagan muses, for never ending adventures and strong emotions...

The long, complex closer "Svegiati luce" (Wake up light) conjures up apocalyptic visions of exiled souls that have been waiting for a thousand years on the banks of the river Lethe. They're still waiting for boarding on the divine wooden ship that would take them across the river. It's a long, silent queue of uncertain spirits looking for a guide to lead them to a place where peace rules, a kingdom of light that will melt the shadows and dry the tears, where the sun rises like a blade of fire spreading its thaumaturgical strength all over creation...

On the whole, this is a very interesting album. Of course, seventies influences loom large over this work and it might not shine for originality but its mystical lyricism and its powerful and engaging musical colours make of it a real treat for Italianprog lovers. So, if you like modern progressive rock that's based on classic Italian prog, you really have to check this band out.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 55 ratings

BUY
The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Agalloch's 'The Serpent And The Sphere' is the fifth full length album from the Portland based experimental metal band, and it finds the band stuttering and struggling for creativity.

It pains me to describe this record in such a way. Agalloch have long been a firm favourite of mine, their first three full-length works; 'Pale Folklore', 'The Mantle' and 'Ashes Against The Grain', I consider to be truly excellent recordings and utterly essential. However the style of music the band developed on the 2006 album 'Ashes Against The Grain' has now been repeated for the last two outings without much, if any variation, and in my opinion to a lower standard than the afore mentioned 'Ashes'.

Now it isn't to say that 'The Serpent' isn't good, it just feels rather too derivative of the previous outputs from this band. There isn't anything particularly ground-breaking here. Where-as the first three albums were all unique and different to each other, and showed a band progressing and trying new things, with this record, and its predecessor, 'Marrow Of The Spirit', Agalloch feel more like they are stuck in a formula.

Furthermore the feeling I get from this record is a sense of exclusiveness (rather than inclusiveness) and it's somewhat cold towards the listener, particularly with the crushingly heavy but rather sterile opening 10 minute track. When I listen to an Agalloch album I want, above all else, a sense of atmosphere. Unfortunately that feels somewhat lacking here. If you weren't already familiar with the post metal style I doubt that 'The Serpent' would win you over.

But I feel I am being a little critical with my review up until now. Be under no doubt, there are some excellent moments here, particularly in the tracks 'Dark Matter Gods', and the (almost) closing track 'Plateau of the Ages'. Agalloch are a band I hold in the highest regards, I love their approach to metal and music in general, I just feel that with 'The Serpent And The Sphere' they were running on empty a little bit in terms of creativity.

I'd suggest any new listeners to Agalloch should probably start with either 'The Mantle' or 'Ashes Against The Grain'. This is a good, but not essential. Very definitely 3-stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
Reviews list is cached

Latest Prog News, Shows and Tours


Prog News & Press Releases (10) | More ...
Prog Gigs, Tours and Festivals (10) | More ...

Latest 3 Progressive Rock Videos


All videos
BUY PA T-SHIRTS & MORE
Arjen Lucassen (AYREON's mastermind) wearing the classic long sleeves PA t-shirt
Arjen Lucassen (AYREON's mastermind) wearing the classic long sleeves PA t-shirt.
To buy Progarchives.com custom items: t-shirts, beer steins, coffee mugs, mouse pads, bumper stickers, go to http://www.zazzle.com/progarchives, select the ones you like and checkout (PayPal support). All orders are handled by Zazzle from invoicing, printing to shipping.

Thanks in advance for supporting us and for spreading the purple prog !
MOST POPULAR ALBUM (yesterday)
Buy this album from PA partners
FORUM NEW TOPICS

Prog Lounge

Prog Polls

Prog Interviews

INTERACTIVE

Twitter, RSS feeds

+ more syndication options
Twitter RSS

Share this site

| More
NEW RELEASES

3 Words by Newspaperflyhunting album rcover
3 Words

Newspaperflyhunting

Carnival Cutouts by Buckethead album rcover
Carnival Cutouts

Buckethead

Wellness by Testet Ölt album rcover
Wellness

Testet Ölt

b by Erth album rcover
b

Erth

Buru Haze by Kanoi album rcover
Buru Haze

Kanoi

100 MOST PROLIFIC REVIEWERS

Collaborators Only

ratings only excluded in count
  1. Mellotron Storm (3716)
  2. Sean Trane (3159)
  3. ZowieZiggy (2917)
  4. apps79 (2629)
  5. Warthur (2195)
  6. Easy Livin (1925)
  7. UMUR (1870)
  8. b_olariu (1866)
  9. Gatot (1811)
  10. Conor Fynes (1570)
  11. SouthSideoftheSky (1490)
  12. Evolver (1385)
  13. Bonnek (1332)
  14. AtomicCrimsonRush (1271)
  15. Tarcisio Moura (1254)
  16. Windhawk (1219)
  17. snobb (1212)
  18. erik neuteboom (1201)
  19. Finnforest (1104)
  20. kenethlevine (1016)
  21. ClemofNazareth (1009)
  22. Cesar Inca (927)
  23. loserboy (895)
  24. Rune2000 (860)
  25. tszirmay (843)
  26. kev rowland (843)
  27. Marty McFly (834)
  28. octopus-4 (819)
  29. Matti (805)
  30. memowakeman (793)
  31. Chris S (753)
  32. Eetu Pellonpaa (720)
  33. Guillermo (695)
  34. greenback (685)
  35. progrules (666)
  36. Rivertree (648)
  37. Seyo (638)
  38. Epignosis (624)
  39. Prog-jester (623)
  40. Neu!mann (602)
  41. lor68 (601)
  42. Ivan_Melgar_M (549)
  43. philippe (538)
  44. hdfisch (492)
  45. Chicapah (480)
  46. stefro (478)
  47. friso (476)
  48. colorofmoney91 (459)
  49. siLLy puPPy (456)
  50. J-Man (449)
  51. Prog Leviathan (446)
  52. zravkapt (439)
  53. russellk (435)
  54. Menswear (413)
  55. ProgShine (409)
  56. Sinusoid (402)
  57. Atavachron (397)
  58. Queen By-Tor (396)
  59. DamoXt7942 (389)
  60. andrea (381)
  61. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (379)
  62. Greger (365)
  63. TCat (365)
  64. tarkus1980 (361)
  65. Nightfly (360)
  66. Zitro (359)
  67. Cygnus X-2 (353)
  68. fuxi (352)
  69. Andrea Cortese (348)
  70. admireArt (326)
  71. EatThatPhonebook (326)
  72. Guldbamsen (318)
  73. lazland (317)
  74. Negoba (316)
  75. richardh (314)
  76. Tom Ozric (304)
  77. Kazuhiro (299)
  78. Flucktrot (293)
  79. Proghead (289)
  80. OpethGuitarist (287)
  81. progaardvark (286)
  82. daveconn (266)
  83. Trotsky (264)
  84. Second Life Syndrome (264)
  85. Muzikman (263)
  86. clarke2001 (254)
  87. The T (253)
  88. Slartibartfast (253)
  89. Andy Webb (235)
  90. Bj-1 (233)
  91. 1800iareyay (225)
  92. js (Easy Money) (222)
  93. poslednijat_colobar (220)
  94. GruvanDahlman (217)
  95. Syzygy (216)
  96. The Crow (216)
  97. aapatsos (216)
  98. avestin (214)
  99. Raff (214)
  100. seventhsojourn (211)
Remaining cache time: 553 min.

List of all PA collaborators

TOP PROG ALBUMS
  1. Close To The Edge
    Yes
  2. Thick As A Brick
    Jethro Tull
  3. Selling England By The Pound
    Genesis
  4. Wish You Were Here
    Pink Floyd
  5. Foxtrot
    Genesis
  6. In The Court Of The Crimson King
    King Crimson
  7. Dark Side Of The Moon
    Pink Floyd
  8. Red
    King Crimson
  9. Animals
    Pink Floyd
  10. Godbluff
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  11. Fragile
    Yes
  12. Nursery Cryme
    Genesis
  13. Pawn Hearts
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  14. Per Un Amico
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  15. Larks' Tongues In Aspic
    King Crimson
  16. Moving Pictures
    Rush
  17. Hybris
    Änglagård
  18. Mirage
    Camel
  19. Moonmadness
    Camel
  20. Hemispheres
    Rush
  21. Relayer
    Yes
  22. Storia Di Un Minuto
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  23. Io Sono Nato Libero
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  24. In A Glass House
    Gentle Giant
  25. Darwin!
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  26. Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquičme Saison
    Harmonium
  27. A Farewell To Kings
    Rush
  28. Kind Of Blue
    Miles Davis
  29. Birds Of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  30. Aqualung
    Jethro Tull
  31. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  32. Crime Of The Century
    Supertramp
  33. Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa
  34. Still Life
    Opeth
  35. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  36. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  37. Depois Do Fim
    Bacamarte
  38. In a Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  39. Hand. Cannot. Erase.
    Steven Wilson
  40. H To He, Who Am The Only One
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  41. Images And Words
    Dream Theater
  42. Permanent Waves
    Rush
  43. The Yes Album
    Yes
  44. The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  45. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
    Genesis
  46. Scheherazade And Other Stories
    Renaissance
  47. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
    Dream Theater
  48. The Road Of Bones
    IQ
  49. The Snow Goose
    Camel
  50. Mėkanļk Dėstruktļẁ Kömmandöh
    Magma
  51. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  52. Still Life
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  53. One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  54. A Trick of the Tail
    Genesis
  55. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  56. In The Land Of Grey And Pink
    Caravan
  57. Free Hand
    Gentle Giant
  58. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  59. Octopus
    Gentle Giant
  60. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  61. Arbeit Macht Frei
    Area
  62. K.A
    Magma
  63. The Power And The Glory
    Gentle Giant
  64. Second Life Syndrome
    Riverside
  65. Blackwater Park
    Opeth
  66. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  67. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  68. L'isola di niente
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  69. Misplaced Childhood
    Marillion
  70. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  71. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  72. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  73. Viljans Öga
    Änglagård
  74. Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
  75. Acquiring the Taste
    Gentle Giant
  76. Hatfield And The North
    Hatfield And The North
  77. Ghost Reveries
    Opeth
  78. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  79. Space Shanty
    Khan
  80. Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
    Gong
  81. Pale Communion
    Opeth
  82. Rubycon
    Tangerine Dream
  83. Hamburger Concerto
    Focus
  84. The Perfect Element Part 1
    Pain Of Salvation
  85. Doomsday Afternoon
    Phideaux
  86. Script For A Jester's Tear
    Marillion
  87. Elegant Gypsy
    Al Di Meola
  88. Crimson
    Edge of Sanity
  89. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
    Caravan
  90. Lateralus
    Tool
  91. Operation: Mindcrime
    Queensr˙che
  92. Voyage Of The Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  93. We'll Talk About It Later
    Nucleus
  94. Grace for Drowning
    Steven Wilson
  95. Part the Second
    Maudlin Of The Well
  96. Anabelas
    Bubu
  97. Ocean
    Eloy
  98. Choirs Of The Eye
    Kayo Dot
  99. Caravanserai
    Santana
  100. Leftoverture
    Kansas

* Weighted Ratings (aka WR), used for ordering, is cached and re-calculated every 15 minutes.

More PA TOP LISTS

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 1.45 seconds