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 Book 1: Dr. Breacher by OTHERS BY NO ONE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.50 | 19 ratings

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Book 1: Dr. Breacher
Others by No One Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck

5 stars Out of a new wave of super-eclectic Progheads inspired by the likes of BTBAM and Native Construct, Others By No One comes onto the scene. Hearing it now, I can't believe this passed me by (what, going on 5 years ago?!). Their 2017 debut album, Book I: Dr. Breacher, indeed has all the marks of those who came before. I think this is a legacy of eclecticism and fearless experimentation that first sprouted from the likes of John Zorn and Bill Laswell, eventually culminating earliest on in the eventually-90s Crossover-Thrash-meets-Demon-Circus-Lounge act Mr. Bungle. They were the ones, I'm sure with the great production assistance of Zorn, who really broke open the door to this level of wild, at times schizophrenic, experimentation (these Others seem a tad more safe in this camp than, say, BTBAM).

A beautiful and heartfelt (and highly melodic) opener, "Brand-New Remedy" reminds in quite a few ways of the exemplary love song mini-epic of the same shift in pace and feeling from 'the norm' as "Your Familiar Face" by Native Construct; in the latter's case, a wild, melodic and lovey-dovey Prog-metal devotion to Queen to many a listener's ears.

"Death of a Clone", featuring at times neo-classical trills more-so for their camp in Queen-esque style. Another track of beauty but also surprise and alarm. A lot of epic, sprawling instrumentation and group vocals/harmonies. First alarm sounds off nearing minute 4, only to ease immediately into soft, clean playing. These guys really know how to play the field and play it masterfully regardless. The way everything is mixed too gives the music an even greater intensity.

"Dr. Breacher and the Time Travel Anomaly", its first half released as a 10-minute single, is in total a 20- minute epic of feeling and beauty, darkness and brutality. This is, in fact, the heaviest thing we've heard from Others By No One so far! Virtuoso guitarings atop heavy and relentless accompaniment from all camps. Spectacular and grandiose, shifting and sliding from one moment to the next; from dark Progressive/Technical Deathcore to sweeping, emotive and soft soundscapes with the most beautiful of vocal harmonies. This indeed, especially starting around minute 4, strikes as Native Construct devotion; how could I blame them? See the very epic mini-epic "Chromatic Aberration" from their debut. From belligerence and brutality to something sweeter, the greatest shift occurs around minute 5 and will tickle the fancy of many a Prog fan's ears. Strange, hypnotic and yet simultaneously melodic and beautiful. Compositional excellence, for sure! Thinking you'll end on a sweet note here, the single version would effectively leave the listener on a dark, eerie cliffhanger... I think a nice touch. And thereafter, back off to the races they go, with familiarly Fusion-inspired modern Progressive guitar melodies. Things swell to a fantastic, triumphant point until dropping off entirely to creeping solo piano met then by the whole ensemble chanting together--these aren't 'gang' vocals as you know them... Spectacular. I love the sound of static that closes the whole affair out...

If I can be as clear as possible, a song-by-song average results in a True(st) Rate of 4.83/5.00.

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 Dr. Breacher and the Time Travel Anomaly (Part One) by OTHERS BY NO ONE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Dr. Breacher and the Time Travel Anomaly (Part One)
Others by No One Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck

5 stars The (10-minute?!) single version (Part 1) of the LP Book I: Dr. Breacher's very-near-20-minute closing epic.

As you can hear it, as the final track, on that LP, it is the heaviest thing you will have heard from Others By No One! Virtuoso guitarings atop heavy and relentless accompaniment from all camps start this song out. Spectacular and grandiose, then shifting and sliding from one moment to the next; from dark Progressive/Technical Deathcore to sweeping, emotive and soft soundscapes with the most beautiful of vocal harmonies. This indeed, especially starting around minute 4, strikes as Native Construct devotion; how could I blame them? See the very epic mini-epic "Chromatic Aberration". From belligerence and brutality, the greatest shift occurs around minute 5 and will tickle the fancy of many a Prog fan's ears. Strange, hypnotic and yet simultaneously melodic and beautiful. Compositional excellence, for sure. Thinking you'll end on a sweet note here, the single effectively leaves the listener on a dark, eerie cliffhanger...

Check out the album, seriously.

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 Day for Night by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.28 | 451 ratings

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Day for Night
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On their previous album, The Kindness of Strangers, Spock's Beard had tried to find the precarious balancing point between their prog instincts and broader accessibility. On Day For Night, they hit the sweet spot - producing an album which at once sounds up-to-date and modern (for the time it game out) whilst at the same time showing as much influence from 1960s sunshine pop and 1970s power pop as it does from prog.

You could, perhaps, interpret the approach they take here as answering the question "what if prog had emerged from the West Coast psych-pop scene of the Byrds and the Beach Boys, rather than the UK underground scene haunted by the likes of Pink Floyd and Soft Machine?" - there's a certain 1960s sunniness to proceedings here which means that, whilst the band's centre of gravity is in undeniably prog territory, there's a certain openness and immediate appeal to the music here.

Whilst much of the music on here isn't necessarily enormously complex by itself, the sheer range of styles the band touch on over the running time - from sunny tranquility to foreboding heaviness - means that there's lots of ground covered, and whilst the individual bits might vary in complexity from refreshingly direct and simple to subtly intricate, the compositional complexity is rather cleverly handled.

The end result is an album which is simultaneously jauntily radio-friendly and at the same still satisfying from a prog perspective, as well as having a sound to it which is distinctly the band's own. It's on the one hand an album I'd have no qualms about handing to someone who hasn't previously heard much prog who wanted to hear what Spock's Beard was all about, but at the same time should keep many prog fans happy.

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 Tubular Bells by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1267 ratings

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Tubular Bells
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Saimon

5 stars Review #25: Tubular Bells

I've never understood why people call it "overrated". It is simply one of the greatest creations of all time.

Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield's debut album, is an instrumental album full of rhythmic breaks, haunting melodies, extravagant and innovative sounds and otherworldly atmospheres. It is one of the most experimental progressive rock albums in history and also one of the best. The fact that in his youth, Oldfield managed to create such an incredible piece of music using a wide range of instruments that he had managed to learn, is one of the most inspiring concepts if ever there was one.

The most important promotion of the recording came from an unexpected source, when the introduction to the first part was chosen to appear in the film The Exorcist, which was released in the United States in December 1973 and in European cinemas in March 1974. According to British film critic Mark Kermode, the decision to include the music was a fluke: director William Friedkin had decided to scrap Lalo Schifrin's original score and was looking for music to replace it. Friedkin was visiting the offices of Ahmet Ertegun, president of Atlantic Records (which distributed Tubular Bells in the US), and picking up a white label from the selection of records in Ertegun's office, he put it on the record player and instantly decided that the music would be perfect for the film. Although the introduction only appears briefly in two scenes of the film, it has become the most commonly associated theme of the film. Oldfield has stated that he did not want to see the film because he thought he would find it too scary.

Oldfield learned to play guitar at an early age, and by the age of 12 or 13 was playing in folk clubs with school friends. His teenage years were marred by problems in the family home, and to escape his troubles Oldfield spent many hours in his room practising guitar and composing instrumental pieces, becoming an accomplished performer. He formed a short-lived folk duo called Sallyangie with his sister Sally, and after its dissolution became the bassist for The Whole World, a band formed by former Soft Machine member Kevin Ayers. The Whole World recorded their album Shooting at the Moon (1970) at Abbey Road Studios over several months in 1970, and the 17- year-old Oldfield was fascinated by the variety of instruments available in the studios, which included pianos, arpischords, a Mellotron and various orchestral percussion instruments. When the band wasn't booked for a recording session until noon, he would arrive at the studios early and spend hours during the morning experimenting with the different instruments and learning how to play each one.

Tubular Bells is divided into two parts. The first part is the most interesting, it is a gale of emotions through the ears, and I want to give you a sensory review of the journey of listening to it. I offer you, section by section, the impressions produced in my nervous system by this melodic orchestration. First of all, it should be very clear that "Tubular Bells" was already a hit in the music world before it was incorporated into the soundtrack of "The Exorcist", but for many film buffs and music lovers, Olfield's theme is irremediably associated with the film, and it goes without saying that part of its great success in sales came from its incorporation into the film.

This album has moments of gentle beauty, great slices of widdly prog, some strangely exciting moments where Oldfield simply decides to rock, parts that defy explanation (the whole Piltdown Man section still baffles me, as does ending the album with "The Sailor's Hornpipe"), and it still has time to be one of the key releases in the evolution of electronic and ambient music. As far as instrumental orchestral rock music goes, there is little to compare with it.

As much as his fans salute the intense genius that is Mike Oldfield, it must be admitted that he has struggled to match the artistic and commercial success of Tubular Bells ever since, despite repeated attempts to recapture its elusive appeal through sequels, orchestral follow-ups and even full, state-of-the-art re-recordings. Perhaps it is partly due to the fact that, despite the technical virtuosity and painstakingly constructed from dozens of overdubs, the original version of Tubular Bells was largely organic, and subsequent attempts to eliminate even the slightest error have robbed this largely instrumental monster of its humanity.

9/10, 4.8 stars. A great, sentimental and powerful piece, created on the basis of a single person... One of the greatest artists ever born.... Mike Oldfield, ladies and gentlemen!

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 Elements by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.89 | 248 ratings

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Elements
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars INTROITUS are a seven piece band out of Sweden and they include the four member Bender family. This is a long one and it's a concept album about the four elements of our World as in earth, fire, water and wind. Each of these elements has it's own short song of around 2 minutes or less. The other five tracks are long including that 17 minute closer. This is such a proggy album with excellent musicians to say the least. I was quite impressed and am not surprised by the high ratings for this one. There are some folk flavours here and some FLOYD or MOSTLY AUTUMN sounds, especially the soaring guitar. The drummer is who impresses me the most while the singer is female and very good but just not my style. I mean I thought I was listening to a Disney movie at times, especially the song "Like Always" which is a "yikes" moment for me.

I could not in good conscience give this a 4 star record based on the way I rate. Great sounding album but not my thing for the most part. Lame name too but that's just piling on sorry. This is a talented band and I think I and one other person are the only ones giving this 3 stars so keep that in mind with my rating. My favourite tracks are the element ones. The match being lit on "Fire" but too bad the song wasn't lit(oh boy) and "Water" with of course water sounds and "Wind" well you guessed it, and "Earth", well lets just say it's another instrumental. Synths, guitar, flute and vocals lead the way here for the most part. Kind of a Neo/Symphonic/Folk hybrid you could say. Too sweet for my tastes.

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 The Essential Box Set Collection by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
4.32 | 6 ratings

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The Essential Box Set Collection
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 500

"The Essential Box Set Collection" is a very special compilation album from Area which was released in 2010. This is an interesting package that includes their debut studio album "Arbeit Macht Frei", from 1973, their second studio album "Caution Radiation Area" from 1974, their third studio album "Crac!" from 1975, their fourth studio album "Maledetti" from 1976, their debut live album "Are(A)zione" from 1975 and their second live album "Event '76" from 1979.

As I've already reviewed these six albums previously on Progarchives, in a more extensive way, I'm not going to do it again. So, if you are interested to know, in more detail, what I wrote about them before, I invite you to read all those reviews. However, in here, I'm going to write something about them in a more short way. So, of course, I'm not going to analyze them track by track, as I made before, but I'm only going to make a global appreciation of all those albums.

"Arbeit Macht Frei": "Arbeit Macht Frei" is a pure jazz rock/fusion album with great intensity. This will probably appeal more to fusion lovers and avant-prog fans than to the average RPI fans. It's more adventurous and challenging. It's emotional and unforgettable. It's an adventurous and intricate album that will repel some and compel others. This is one of the most important Italian prog albums of the 70's, one of the best releases of that sub-genre. "Arbeit Macht Frei" put Area at the level of their compatriots, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme.

"Caution Radiation Area": "Caution Radiation Area" is very different from "Arbeit Macht Frei". "Arbeit Macht Frei" represents Area's early sound, eith folk melodies, Canterbury Scene sound, acid psychedelic stile and avant-garde experimental jazz, all together filtered and mixed through a special Italian sensibility and taste. "Caution Radiation Area" is more experimental with electronic effects. It's the album where the experimental music was more introduced. It's darker and intends to provoke and disturb the usual listener. It's more "radioactive" and needs a caution approach.

"Crac!": "Crac!" has a great mix between jazz and RPI. It has a perfect fusion between the instrumental parts and Demetrio vocals in RPI. It has some of the best and most popular songs of the band, "L'Elefante Bianco", "La Mela Di Odessa" and "Gioia I Rivoluzione", keeping the long instrumental parts, one of the greatest features of Area. "Crac!" is one of the most influential albums in the Italian prog scene. It's a classic album in its genre and is highly recommended for those who love to check something different and fresh. This album should be part of every serious prog collection.

"Are(A)zione": "Are(a)zione" is an excellent live album. It's probably their best live album. The live versions are closer to the original versions. It's a short album with only five tracks. Still, it has two lengthy amazing tracks "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" from "Arbeit Macht Frei" and also the title track "Are(A)zione", which is an original track. So, "Are(A)zione" is perhaps the perfect choice for anyone to start with Area, and in some way it tells their story better than the band's studio albums, or even better than their compilations. This is an excellent addition to any prog collection.

"Maledetti": "Maledetti" is much more experimental than their previous third studio album "Crac!". Its music is chaotic with several influences like traditional Greek music, Arabian music, avant-garde music, free jazz, jazz rock/fusion, funk, Mediterranean music and classical music. Despite "Maledetti" isn't as good as "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Crac!", is better than "Caution Radiation Area". It's more balanced and it's less dark, more modern, and especially, it has two of their greatest masterpieces "Diforisma Urbano" and "Gerontocrazia". This is one of the finest and creative works from Area.

"Event '76": The radical concept of music of Area isolated the band from the developments in the music scene. It's hard to found any imitators or followers of them. It remains the courageous and difficult attempt of a radical reinterpretation of music, art and interaction. Area was far ahead of their time on the prog music, which never went down on such a thin ice. If there is one of their works that shows so clearly that radical concept, is "Event '76". It's anything but a reference for the usual proghead. But, who deal with the free forms of jazz and the contemporary music maybe is able to like it.

Conclusion: "The Essential Box Set Collection" is an excellent compilation album of Area. It includes almost all the studio albums from the band with the presence of Demetrio Stratos. The only exception is the absence of their fifth studio album "1978 ? Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano!" released in 1978. And that it was really pity, indeed. If "1978 ? Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano!" was included, we would have here the complete essential studio works from Area. But, it includes also two live albums. "Are(A)zione", is probably Area's best live album and "Event '76" is, surely, Area's most avant-garde album. So, here we have a great showcase of Area's music, which shows the different facets of Area, their most experimental and their most RPI too. So, this is an excellent package for those who don't have yet all these works. It's always a great introduction to the very own world of Area. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Alive on Planet Earth by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Live, 2000
3.88 | 142 ratings

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Alive on Planet Earth
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The Flower Kings' first live album might well be a stronger release than any of the run of albums from Back To the World of Adventures to Flower Power, simply because it finds them picking out the brightest gems of the band's early albums plus some non-album cuts: mean cover of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, a repurposed extract from Kaipa's Inget Nytt Under Solen given the translated title of Nothing New Under the Sun, and a band rendition of a Tomas Bodin solo track, Three Stories.

The set's running hour of just under two hours is actually shorter than Stardust We Are and Flower Power, but it's more than enough to offer a fairly satisfying listening experience which generally goes for a no-filler approach. The album does not present a single complete show with disc 1 providing highlights of a September 1998 appearance in the US and disc 2 derived from a Japanese concert in March 1999, but those dates are close enough together that the setlist doesn't appear to have changed too radically in the intervening time and, of course, the lineup is the same at both shows, so generally the two discs flow together well.

One thing to note is that - unless I've goofed and missed something - there's nothing on here from Flower Power. The Japan gig was recorded after Flower Power was recorded, but before it was released, so there may be a function here of the band opting to keep the powder dry as far as that material was concerned (checking setlist.fm suggests they played an extract from Garden of Dreams, and that's it). This actually avoids a dilemma, since by far the best composition on Flower Power is Garden of Dreams itself - but that monster track is an hour long! Even if the band did play the full thing live, you wouldn't be able to fit it into this set without either adding a third disc (at the risk of causing the listener's attention to flag) or losing a big chunk of the other material.

The Flower Kings have made a point from the start of playing technically challenging material in the studio, and Alive On Planet Earth reveals that they were more than capable even this early in their career of reproducing that onstage. Simply because of the all-killer-no-filler approach when it comes to the band's own material and some sly selections of Kaipa, solo material, and cover versions to spruce things up, I have to say I find it more consistent than any of their 1990s studio albums, though I hasten to add that I don't intend to knock those albums - I just dig this live release that much.

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 Heavy Weather by WEATHER REPORT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.73 | 294 ratings

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Heavy Weather
Weather Report Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Saimon

4 stars Review #24: Heavy Weather

Heavy Weather was also Weather Report's best selling record. It reached number 30 on the Billboard pop chart, quickly sold nearly half a million copies, and has subsequently gone gold (signifying sales of 500,000 copies). In his January 2001 Down Beat retrospective on the band, Josef Woodard said, "In 2000, Heavy Weather still sounds like a milestone in the cultural unconscious of jazz history. By some accounts, the album is the crowning achievement of the band's recorded output, and therefore, by extension, a towering landmark of 'fusion.'"

Birdland (10/10): Aggressive and gentle jazz with several steady basses and cymbals that warn of the coming rhythmic changes, the beautiful and sensual saxophone accompanying the brilliant melodies of the keyboards and basses. In my opinion, always the most important thing to take into account in an album is the ambience of the beginning... and by God! What a splendid way to start! I was really fascinated with the beauty and magic of the joyful and fantastic sounds that all the instruments made for such a brilliant entrance.

A Remark You Made (5/5): Here we go with a piece, this time, much more sensually intoned, that starts with a bass and a saxophone that, to specify a little, would appear in a movie in which the protagonist arrives tired and desolate of everything to a bar at night, and meets the love of his life for the first time... to give us an idea. A night melody, passionate and as ardent as the summer sun. And how can we forget that excellent piano that acts as an accomplice of the saxophone during the middle of the song, or that synthesizer that enters the scene, about a minute before the end of the song, with those futuristic sounds and so "satirical (to find a suitable term). And Pastorius' unmistakable bass is one thing that drives me crazy when I listen to this again.

Teen Town (6/10): Something faster and shorter. Ever present haihat and bass throwing out random melodies with the saxophone doing the same as if to give some ambience. This is more pure experimental than anything else, so I didn't find much to analyze, heh. it's good, but it doesn't convince me.

Harlequin (4/5): A slow keyboard start, and then something more groovy and with synthesizers creating a flying atmosphere. Something to highlight is the piano chaperone that finishes and helps the keyboard between verses. Like the previous track, this is also something more ambient and experimental. All very normal... until near the end, when the drums start to "get angry" and there are abrupt and cool breaks and solos that, to be honest, caught me by surprise and made me give the song some extra points.

Rumba Mama (2/5): It would all start with fade-in clapping that continues with what seems to be some strange stomping, and well... the guy yelling things I don't understand is something that was weird and I was kind of dumbfounded. I really like the percussion that follows that weird act. And meanwhile... the guy still yelling weird stuff... he doesn't seem to learn, but admit it made me laugh a little haha. And yes, he concludes the song with more applause.

Palladium (10/10): We continue with the aggressive and super happy funk music. This song is perfect from any point of view. A sweet melody, some rhythm changes and tuning algorithms from another world, the infallible sax and Yaco's bass, the pop atmosphere that is generated in the environment, the softness with which the synth plays with the background percussion .... Really admirable the work of the band. It's been a long time since I heard something so funk that moved me so much, besides, considering what we heard before with "Rumba Mama", it was a very "voluptuous" and sensational change. I felt like I went from listening to "Anarchy in the U.K. (Sex Pistols)" to "Anonymous II (Focus)", in a way.

The Juggler (4.5/5): First thing to note, I was fascinated by the keyboard riff at the beginning. It was very addictive to finish the track and play it again just to hear that. The drums, as always, starring the changes and the fierce speed so provocative to generate all the time super fluid and interesting rhythmic breaks. The atmosphere full of tension that is generated between the drum and the keyboard I loved it.

Havona (4/5): In this last part of the album the synthesizer takes initial prominence, creating chords and hopeful melodies, so to speak, that introduce us to the last track of "Heavy Weather", another aggressive Jazz, this time more accentuated to the intrepid and subtle, rather than to the passionate. A great piece of action and melodic percussion. I really like the clash he makes when he violently combines the pianos and drum with the cymbal.

I'm not a person who listened to a lot of instrumental stuff, but this really captivated and excited me too much, considering as I said before, the immortal beginning of this adventure. I think if it had lyrics, it would be just as fascinating, but meh..... I can't complain, tremendous piece of work!

8/10, 4 stars. Some of the most sensational and funkiest stuff I've heard in a long time.

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 City Burials by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.64 | 70 ratings

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City Burials
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Swedish rockers Katatonia deliver a striking collection of melancholic and atmospheric art rock songs on their eleventh studio release - 2020's 'City Burials', the band's first album after their short 2018-19 hiatus. The brainchild of band leader Jonas Renkse, this haunting album has to be not only one of their most experimental and sonically enticing outputs, but also one of the most finely produced and modern-sounding offerings from Katatonia's already broad catalogue. Each of the eleven songs on this excellent studio album contribute to the overall gripping darkness that encapsulates 'City Burials', also solidifying the impressions one might get from the starkly unsettling but absolutely gorgeous album art photography, which happens to be the work of the very talented Lasse Hoile, known for his work with Steven Wilson over the years.

Quite elegant in its sound, 'City Burials' impresses with the majestic use of the keyboards, the prevalent (and occasionally exotic) ambience and the unnerving electronic sensibility, all of these aspects contributing to the very gloomy but enticing audio treat that is unfolding before the listener. A drastic departure from the more stripped-down rock attitude of its predecessor, 2016's 'The Fall of Hearts', it seems like Katatonia have really taken their time to reflect upon what the band could do more in terms of songwriting, and how they could expand the scope of their music, making 'City Burials' a very bold move that signifies how truly progressive the Swedes still are.

Not a single poor composition here, each one of the forty-eight minutes of this record is wisely used, resulting in one of the most focused rock albums of the year. Opener 'Heart Set to Divide' is a very strong rocker that might serve as a link between the band's previous release and this new one, as it sets a grim tone for the rest of the album. 'Behind the Blood', on the other hand, impresses with the swiveling guitars and the almost-tribal drum sounds. The band follow this up with 'Lacquer', another phenomenal song, that almost has an art-pop edge, then comes 'Rein', one of the heavier songs on 'City Burials' and one of the strongest choruses, too. Just four songs in, and the album is already severely impressive - the atmosphere, the variety, the lyrics, and the songwriting, all on a very high level. Other highlights are certainly 'The Winter of Our Passing', 'Flicker' and 'Neon Epitaph', but as it was mentioned before, each song on this album is just too good.

'City Burials' is very innovative, very far-reaching and forward-thinking, very emotional and quite well-written, or in a word, excellent. It might a couple of years, or maybe even a decade or so, for this album to truly be appreciated for what it is, but Katatonia have certainly achieved something special here, as this should rank among their best works, as this beautiful dark record is highly recommended!

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 Odyssee by ARTCANE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.64 | 75 ratings

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Odyssee
Artcane Eclectic Prog

Review by DangHeck

4 stars French King Crimson Obsessives Create Heavy Prog with an Avant-Electronic Touch

Thanks is due in great part to Mr. Dereck Higgins. He is a great (and regular) source of Prog Obscura and so much more. His YouTube channel is simply called 'dereckvon', for those unfamiliar.

Released 1977, Artcane's sole album, Odyssee [No, ye other ignorant English speakers, this is not a play on words. Just French haha], was released, in my view, squarely in the second-wave of Progressive Rock. And it strikes as an incredibly long album for the vinyl medium, at a whopping 57 minutes! Nearly an hour long and consisting of, to me, a happy mere 6 tracks.

The title track, "Odyssee" starts us right off. Heavy and interesting enough to immediately catch your attention for what's to come. The keys and guitar, for the most part, ride right alongside one another and the soloing is wonderful. The middle is quieted in stark contrast, with acoustic guitar and very nice vocals in their native French. The synthesizers are awesome! The drumming should also not go unmentioned. Great opener.

I'm not so perturbed as certain other past reviewers (haha, sorry, my goyim) by the blatant KC lifts (sure, they copied or made heavy reference) [at least somewhat] on "Le chant d'Orphee" and [supposedly] more-so on "Novembre". What about the 'greatest form of flattery', guys?... And anyways, these are otherwise great songs (especially the former, in my opinion) that don't necessarily sound like anyone else (certainly not like KC wholly). Still worth your time. Masters of dynamics and use of space. To reiterate, "Le chant..." is certainly where it's at for me.

A futuristic synthesis is embraced wholly, turning things around, on the lengthy "25eme anniversaire" (at 16-minutes' length). And this is the "25th anniversary" of what exactly (glancing back to 1952)? Queen Elizabeth II's inauguration as Queen of the UK?... Are they fans of the Oslo Winter Olympics haha? Or perhaps it's the first British nuclear weapon detonated? Or even the first US detonation of a hydrogen bomb?! A higher likelihood haha. The only super major event involving France is their cofounding of what would become the EU. Who knows? Does anyone care haha? To the track at hand, though, nothing will really happen for anyone who's not a fan of Ambient or 'Progressive Electronic' music for its first 5 minutes. The first bits of interest for me began around minute 7. The guitar solo at minute 10 felt like a 'Finally!' The track does only get better, yet it didn't reach the coveted (haha) 'very good' category for me. I wasn't much happier, really, to be hearing "Artcane 1" thereafter... Until the very end, it's pretty but offers little. So, the ending: great groove, great melodic guitar solo. It's very cool, at least...

And so finally, we have "Nostalgie". A live recording, it has a rougher production than the rest, but it does go to show their abilities as band. It's the second longest track at over 15 minutes. The verse(s) are fine enough, but the best is the bass and the synth. A lot of tension here. It's near the 5 minute mark where it seems they may have spliced two performances together, as the audience enters and fades away. Overall, very impressed by this composition, despite its frankly-not-totally-horrible production. A surefire highlight.

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 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.19 | 124 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by babylonstrange

4 stars Scouring the 2021 top 100 list for exciting new prog metal (in vain) I took a chance on this album. I like it a lot and have listened to it 3 times over the last couple of days. Can't say I'm a huge neo-prog fan, but there are a few heavier parts to get the blood pumping. My first reaction was to compare it to the classic Souldoubt album, Dance of Light and Shade, especially the vocals. The album starts off strong with the 11:45 King of the Country, starting prog-folk before rollicking along Wobbleresque. The 2nd track, Insidious, is full-on Neo Prog in all its pomp with a New Wave edge. Lots of emotion - I love it! Credit to the music - the first 20 minutes flies by. Dementium and New Dawn slow the pace down, and ramp up the EMO, without losing the thematic musical concept. Forsaken Innocence Pt. 1 picks up the pace again, more Symphonic than Neo I think, and Pt.2 shows off the band's fine musicianship, and finally lets the guitar loose. If it keeps reminding me of Wobbler that's meant as a compliment. Time to Go feels like a coda but is just a brief interlude before the album wraps up with Hand on Heart, and reprise of the album's concept. Bravo! Give it a spin on Spotify - 945 monthly listeners is a crime for such a good band.

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 Attahk by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 382 ratings

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Attahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Saimon

3 stars Review #23: Attahk

I'm going to try from this point on in my time as a ProgArchives user to try to write my reviews better without a lot of chatter and get straight to the point, complementary and well, just to be clear.

There are some brilliant tracks that never fail to innovate and inspire the listener, like Last Seven Minutes, which has Zeuhl's signature heavy bass, operatic vocals, Vander's screams, a great funk feel, a high energy song. It starts with aggressive jazz concentrated on piano and drums. At first, one thinks "this is battle music", but in reality this is only true for the first song. Then it gets weirder, as it becomes possibly the most accessible and diverse album Vander has ever had.

Before listening to Attahk, you have to be clear that you will be expecting a LITE version of what Magma is, because if you go out of your way to play something like his other albums, you will end up being disappointed like I was.

On Attahk, Magma is closer to "typical" fusion than on any previous (or later) album. Gone are the long side/album length epics, to be replaced by shorter, more accessible tracks. What hasn't disappeared is the incredible drumming, the out-of-this-world bass and Kobaïan's lyrics. On this album, Magma has a strong funk/R&B/soul influence that separates it from previous albums. As a new listener of this band, I must say that it was not my best choice to start with "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh", because after that wonder, I don't think any other album could excite me as much, but anyway. I feel, to my personal taste, that this album loses the powerful touch that made Magma so popular during the mid 70's. Beyond how ambiguous and strange the album sounds, I think it's of great quality. But how to say it... I just don't like it. It seems to me something very inferior in terms of his other works.

6.6/10, 3 stars. Even if they tell me it's a great album, I'm not really going to care much about how they want to discuss it, because to be honest I ended up finding it kind of boring. It's not something I'd listen to at home, or to experience new albums. But I guess part of the disappointment was that I had very high expectations, expecting this to be like their previous works.

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 El Eco Del Sol by BUBU album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.88 | 152 ratings

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El Eco Del Sol
Bubu Eclectic Prog

Review by DangHeck

4 stars El Eco del Sol is their first release in 40 years! My interest was of course piqued as I became familiar with their first, Anabelas (1978, to make it clear), frankly a near-unsung essential in second-wave Prog. Reformed in 2016 with new membership, this Argentinian band then released a 3-song EP, its contents all available here.

Grandiose, angelic vocals introduce the album on "Resplandor", not unreminiscent to me of Yes harmonically, but also making me think, especially as the song moves around minute 1, of modern Zeuhl beloveds Universal Totem Orchestra. I'm really looking forward to this. Excellent song. Dark, complex, featuring horns and strings, not to mention once more the epic group vocals.

Of a softer tone, "El Eco del Sol", near-cognate for 'The Echo of the Sun', builds within the first half. Great, classic track. The quieted shift around the midpoint is a definite highlight. Around minute 6 is yet another shift. Great beat, great melody--likewise at its end.

"Ariel" was lovely. What else is there to say? haha. Appropriately followed by the at first even-more-mellow "Omer". Feels like light Van Der Graaf? The song then picks up with the whole ensemble. Very nice. The middle section is very modern yet timeless. All the more lovely in my opinion.

The low mix for "Cielo Negro" is a very odd choice. Sticks out like a very muddy sore thumb. Very tense instrumentation set atop a rolling bassline. The sax solo around minute 4? Very nice. The song itself is quite good; I love the composition. Just odd production-wise... Perhaps never remastered for the LP release (as this is one of, and the last of, the 3 tracks originally on the aforementioned EP).

No comment on the title "Penas"... Although, I guess me introducing it so is a comment in itself haha. It means 'Penalties' in Spanish, and indeed, rightly tense to fit that theme. Indeed, the first 3 minutes are a soft build driven by bass and a steady rhythm on the ride. The build and the tension is worth the wait, as it breaks at minute 3 (exactly?) to intense groove. Given its more static composition, I'm delighted to say this is a favorite for me, first listen. Specifically, in the second half, there is a riff that rolls, exchanged by the guitar, violin and sax to produce a wonderful effect.

"Por la mañana" is another that delightfully mixes older progressive idioms with freshness. Excellent composition, excellent melodies once more. Especially as it builds to end. And finally is "La Vaca Roja", a song of shifting feel and shades. Certainly a phenomenal closer.

I wasn't necessarily expecting more, so I was very pleased with this latter-day album. I'm just excited to see what else they may do in the coming years, as it's already been 3+ years since this release.

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 Bone Idol by MOOM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.19 | 24 ratings

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Bone Idol
Moom Canterbury Scene

Review by DangHeck

2 stars The 1999 sophomore and final release by UK's Canterbury-inspired[?] Moom, Bone Idol, which starts off with a surprisingly twangy spacy Fusion on "I, Structure". It unexpectedly reminds me of jam band Widespread Panic. Most notable to me is the bass playing. Melodic and complex. The more modern, funky Fusion elements remind me specifically of Dopapod, formed in Boston some 9 years after. Perhaps [but not really] where I first hear something like 'Canterbury Sound' in this is on "Rusty Can", but Kentish quirk is not anything like this sort of silliness... I'm not into it.

"Non-Specific Highway" feels a bit more confident. The vocals are not a highlight, but the melodies are nice. More twangy guitar over cool, fun playing. This is truly the first bit that sounds like Kent, most reminiscent of the free, hippie vibe of Caravan. Another fun track is what follows in "Petrol", which strangely reminded of George Harrison early on. But if he was more daring.

"Gideon's Pier" feels like some more modern Jamming. Twangy Dead vibes galore. This will appeal to a... very special kind of Canterbury fan...

"Ship to Harbour" (hello, Brits haha) is soft and sweet. As well as the soloing itself in the second half. "What's a Little Sunshine" didn't have much to offer me (decent solo at the end).

"Rooftops" on the other hand has some great rhythm to start. The vocals and the lyrics... not so great. Weird, but not charming haha. I disliked it for a different reason entirely, then. It's followed by the acoustic "I've Been Grown". It existed. And that's how they 'end' the album, hidden track aside?! I'm not so sure...

"Woodland" is said hidden track, a boisterous UK Jam, for sure. Things pick up in the second half for the better. But nothing could have saved the weaker tracks throughout to really pick this album up. Too bad. I'm working backwards, so we'll see how their first is (some day; I'm in no rush).

True Rate: 2.5/5.0

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 PIke 304 - Rainbow Bridge by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
2.00 | 1 ratings

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PIke 304 - Rainbow Bridge
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
2 stars BUCKETHEAD has been quite erratic in releasing PIKEs in the last couple of years but it seems like 2022 is when the chicken lover is turning on the spigot once again to let the PIKEs flow! PIKE 304 - RAINBOW BRIDGE features four tracks and only reaches over the 27-minute mark. This one is the second release in 2022 and is the typical PIKE of being digitally downloadable and featuring BH playing all instruments.

The opening title track is a rather generic affair featuring one of those heavy rock riffing sessions and sounds like pretty much a gazillion other eggs that have already hatched. Some of BH's PIKEs are heavy enough to qualify as metal but this one is a little bit more laid back and should be considered heavy alternative rock. The title track is a throwaway in my book. I've long grown weary of redundancy. 
"Toy Museum" is quite a different story however and is quite refreshingly new. Something about the combination of the atmosphere, the guitar tones, the unique style of riffing and steady beat that makes this one a real treat. It has some nice gurgling guitar effects which sort of replicate turntablism. It's also the longest track at over 10 minutes. BH's instrumentals are so hit and miss. This one is a hit.

"Water Molecule" is a funky hard rock number that sounds something like the Red Hot Chili Peppers may have conjured up in the 1990s only without the bass guitar antics of Flea. The guitar riffs though are more rooted to 1970s bluesy hard rock like Aerosmith, Robert Trower or UFO. It's officially OK but nothing outstanding either. It's a little feistier and fast tempoed than 70s hard rock and this track straddles on the line of being metal and hard rock.

"Invisible Trees" continues the bluesy hard rock riffing but a bit calmer than the previous track. Basically same pattern with guitar riffs, muffled bass and uninspired drumming. This one is probably the most authentically 70s sounding hard rock track. The problem with this is that the lack of vocals make this sound a bit empty. That's the problem with many of these PIKEs actually. If there are trees somewhere i can't see them!

Another mediocre PIKE here. Once again, nothing offensively bad or unlistenable but nothing that will blow your mind either. "Toy Museum" is the best track and the only one that offers something a bit different otherwise this sounds like one of those assembly line PIKEs that will be quickly forgotten at least by my ears. Oh well, i'm sure another PIKE will hatch soon. Until then, hasta la vista!

2.5 rounded down

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 Realms by DARKHER album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Realms
Darkher Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Necrotica
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars One thing I've always loved about album art is how it reflects the music within. Of course the music should also speak for itself, but album covers can still give a taste of what's to come when done correctly. So, reader, I make this request: just look at the art for Darkher's debut album Realms. A woman with a black cloak looks down, as if in grief or simply melancholy, as she's enveloped in different shades of gray encompassing both the sky and the ground. A mass of storm clouds can be seen up above, and there's an aura of bleakness to the overall picture. After giving Realms repeated listens, I can certainly say that it lives up to its album cover in every way.

To clarify things, here's the deal: Darkher is considered the alias of a singer-songwriter known as Jayn Wissenberg, hailing from Yorkshire, England. In actuality, Darkher are currently a trio, the other members being guitarist Martin Wissenberg and drummer Shaun "Winter" Taylor-Steels (according to Facebook, at least). However, Jayn is definitely the heart and soul of this project; she's the vocalist, the primary guitarist, the producer, and the lyricist, so it's fair to say that she's the driving force. When you get to the music itself, Realms is a gothic experience with elements of doom metal, folk, post-metal, and ambient music; the atmosphere ranges from deeply melancholic to eerily unsettling, and there never seems to be an uplifting moment to be found. By far, the best aspect of the record is Jayn herself. Her vocals are simply wonderful, with a haunting and almost operatic quality to them, and they're layered over the music with a large amount of reverb. This works especially well in songs like "Hollow Veil" and "Wars," in which her evocative voice clashes with the metallic doom-laden guitars just perfectly.

Despite a consistently dark and grim atmosphere, there's still variety and genre-bending to be found. Realms happens to be one of those records in which the metal elements don't necessarily outweigh the softer moments. In fact, the intro "Spirit Waker" and the interlude "Buried Pt. 1" rely entirely on dark ambient instrumentation to establish the desired atmosphere; the latter is especially effective because of how Wissenberg's drawn-out vocals meld with the dreary soundscapes. Needless to say, it's a great fit for a song called "Buried." Of course, there's also "Buried Pt. 2," which builds on its predecessor with more frequent dynamic shifts and murky electric guitar riffing mired in incredibly slow tempos. But unfortunately, the one big problem I have with Realms has to do with the tempos in general. As much as the slow riffing and long instrumental buildups assist in enveloping the listener in the album's world, it also causes the record to be slightly homogeneous after a while. For instance, "Foregone" mostly relies on one particular motif as it builds and builds into a clangorous climax of pounding guitars and drums, but the sluggishly paced buildup feels a bit tedious and dull. At the very least, the track probably shouldn't have been the longest on the album at over 7 minutes. Regardless, the record still ends on a strong note with the fittingly-titled "Lament." It's one of the strongest pieces on the album because of its softer dynamics, and the acoustic guitar balladry is beautifully combined with Jayn's droning vocal performance. Ending Realms with something more somber and folk-influenced was a nice change in pace after the doom/post-metal material preceding it.

Honestly, as a debut, this is extremely impressive. It's gorgeous, intense, doomy-as-hell, and it takes pride in engulfing your ears in incredibly thick layers of darkness. Again, much of the album's quality comes from Jayn Wissenberg's sheer talent and charisma, especially behind the mic. Between her hypnotic vocal performances and the post-metal-oriented instrumental work, Darkher have proven that establishing a strong atmosphere and focusing on subtle songwriting shifts are among their strongest talents. The downtrodden beauty is really something to behold, and it'll be interesting to hear how they follow it up next time around.

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 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.28 | 505 ratings

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Crimson
Edge Of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Nhelv

5 stars I'm quite happy to see this album in here, considering how important it is to the progressive death metal movement. It's also quite understandable to see this is the only popular Edge Of Sanity album in here, because in my opinion it's their only good one.

Edge Of Sanity started as your typical death metal band. Blast beats, growls, and occasional clean vocals, but they were very few. Crimson was where they defined their sound (and most of melodic death metal's), where clean vocals and acoustic passages were used just as much as the death metal aspects. After Crimson they, as you would expect, started to recycle the formula that worked so well in this album.

This album is one song, however it flows very well so it shouldn't be tedious to listen it from beginning to end. I'm giving this record five stars due to its historical importance and influence on the genre, in other words, it's essential.

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 Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man of Words / Man of Music] by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.34 | 337 ratings

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Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man of Words / Man of Music]
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Notably but not Incredibly Better than His First: Psych-Folk-Rock Sophomoric Sophomore

Released nearly 2 years after his commercial flop, his first self-titled (1967), Space Oddity (a.k.a. also David Bowie) has a harder psychedelic slant, fit for the Summer of Love, but also notably has perfectly timely Progressive Rock leanings. Perhaps most famously, here, featuring Rick WAKEMAN, it also features Herbie FLOWERS (T. REX, SKY) and Terry COX (The PENTANGLE, HUMBLE PIE).

Heading off is one of Bowie's most famous, most recognizable tunes, "Space Oddity" (to me, ironically disliked by Visconti so much he didn't want to produce it?). 'Commencing countdown, engines on / Check ignition and may God's love be with you.' It's simple, and now, yes, very much inspired by the spectacular "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Kubrick, but the countdown to this and the song proper is so epic.

"Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed" is very much hazy and then picks up with heavy unmistakably-Psych- era drums. Ultimately, a hard-boogie pop song. And I hear here the Bob Dylan comparison clearer than I ever could have imagined before.

"Letter to Hermione" is a soft, folksy number.

One that may be more familiar is the very progressive mini-epic "Cygnet Committee". Pretty great composition with beautiful melodies. Heartfelt, but rockin'.

Back in the groove is "Janine". Feels a bit like the KINKS from this era (I'm thinking Village Green Preservation Society or Arthur). It works, but it's nothing super special.

Of a very interesting tone and feel is "An Occasional Dream", with soft percussion and flute and recorder(?). This is matched by the next track, "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud", a return to his Baroque Pop beginnings. It's very dreamy and regal. A surprise favorite for me.

"God Knows I'm Good" is a light folk rock song. It's definitely a lowlight. "Memory of a Free Festival" alternatively is very ambitious in its psychedelia, but doesn't offer a whole lot else. It does at least only get better as it goes, in my opinion.

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 Halloween 77 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2017
4.18 | 17 ratings

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Halloween 77
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DangHeck

4 stars I will be following the tracklist above. On the officially available Halloween 77 on Spotify, the above tracks begin not at the start of that version, but on Disc 4. To reiterate, I started there. I assume this is because the 3-disc version of the album was most available to those who had purchased it. Even as a Zappa fan, I'm glad to trim the fat on this in some way. I often would.

Released 40 years after this performance, this is one of the famed FZ Halloween show boxsets that featured a Halloween mask and more! These are the performances from which the film "Baby Snakes" pulls.

And from the start, as a believer in the great final MOTHERS OF INVENTION above all else (Duke, Murphy Brock, Underwood, Humphrey, Thompson, Fowler x 2, etc.), I take for granted often how good this lineup is--I think it's that I associate the lineup with some of my least favorite, even cringiest Zappa material... Of course is the excellent Terry BOZZIO, but also the self-proclaimed debut Zappa stunt guitarist Adrian BELEW. Mars and Wolf naturally share keys responsibilities, the great Ed Mann is on aux. percussion and O'Hearn is the very tasty bassist found here (famously the only bass solo on any studio album was performed by him, if I'm not mistaken). Original Mother Roy ESTRADA is also a feature on "The Demise Of The Imported Rubber Goods Mask" (and at least one other track), I figured and was correct in figuring a reference to "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" off Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970).

A hefty undertaking to put together I'm sure, but also one such undertaking for us the listener. It sounds great and it's of course excellently performed all 'round.

Personal highlight tracks are as follows: "City of Tiny Lites" [that synth/piano solo!], the soft if not balladic "Bobby Brown Goes Down" [he pauses midway to read a note attached to a bra and panties haha], "Conehead" [featuring an excellent guitar solo from Frank], Lather [just a great song I'm glad to hear live], [in a surprise event] the 30-minute super-epic version of "Wild Love", "Punky's Whips" [not historically a favorite of these longer tracks from this era], "Camarillo Brillo" just to hear it transition into "Muffin Man" [neither of which are versions I feel are anything particularly special, so we're clear--pretty good solo on the latter though], "San Ber'dino" [if not just because I don't remember hearing this covered by this era's band(s) before; pretty quick, still dancy version], and "Black Napkins".

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 Master of Reality by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.08 | 829 ratings

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Master of Reality
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Doomy Beef in a Sea of Haze

Their third studio album, Master of Reality, was released in 1971. It opens with "Sweet Leaf" one of the definitive classics of [early] Heavy Metal. Low and slow but groovin', then rolling and hurried.

"After Forever" opens interestingly enough on a synth. Then it's immediately 'back to business'. This features some great basslines from Geezer BUTLER. One of Ozzy's weakest performances though, in my opinion.

"Embryo" splits the differences between the former and the next as interlude. Interesting choice... Not sure I understand it entirely. And it opens up into one of the other notable classics from this album, the trudging, Proto- Doom "Children of the Grave". Some great riffs in here and a solid duel-IOMMI solo. Not necessarily a favorite, though.

Another track that sets itself totally apart is the acoustic "Orchid". Really lovely reprieve, if anything. I just don't know how it functions as a part of the whole.

"Lord of This World" has a great Ozzy vocal performance. And the way it transforms into the second half is indeed proved necessary haha. A sure highlight.

"Solitude" is another reprieve from the norm, but really in a very different, unique tone. Low and slow it features Iommi on quieted and distant flute. Lovely, in the least, but perhaps unique at most.

And lastly "Into the Void", which has one of the strongest riffs on the whole. It's around 2:00 where the shift occurs. Very very nice. So heavy. So groovy. They do bring it.

True Rate: 3.5/5.0

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 The Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.12 | 717 ratings

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The Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Saimon

5 stars Review #22: We're Only in it for the Money

ABANDONED TO PERISH IN BACK OF A CAR, KENNY WILL STASH HIM AWAY IN A JAR!

I must admit that when I listened to the album, I didn't understand what I was listening to, or why... heh.

We're Only in it for the Money, Frank Zappa's fourth album (and actually the band's third together, The Mothers of Invention), is a concept album that parodies the cover of The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers".

For this, the photographer and illustrator Cal Schenkel -who would go on to occupy such a role- subjected the Sgt. cover to a process of satirical metamorphosis. The clean blue sky is replaced by a thunderstorm, and instead of a host of popular and pristine personalities of 20th century culture including Edgar Allan Poe, Jung, Dylan, Monroe, Marx, Einstein, and others (with a few winks, such as Shirley Temple's rag doll jumper with the caption "Welcome The Rolling Stones"), we now see a series of B-listers and deformed figures totally outside the acceptable aesthetic parameters, such as Zappa himself and his band in drag. In the shot we also elucidate Jimi Hendrix who willingly lent his mug to the project, even though he was the first artist to pay homage to Sgt. Pepper within days of its release.

As far as I can gather, Zappa never identified with the cultural and counterculture trends of the time, despising the hippie sphere as much as the rock sphere, although, perhaps because of his carefree attitude that defied convention, he was often identified with the latter. But Frank was not a consumer, he loathed the record market and the rock journalists who dictated musical taste, and he was not at all shy about exposing it. In 1968, with his band The Mothers of Invention, he released the album "We're only in it for the money", which took direct aim at all the tricks of the music industry.

I would like to analyse the songs on the album in detail as I have been doing in previous reviews, but really, Zappa impressed me with this album... It's so wonderful that I can't even try to structure an opinion on any of them! I was really raving as I listened to the songs and the tracklist went by. At a certain point, I was afraid to keep listening haha, I felt like I was being brainwashed.

Zappa really is one of the most prolific musicians of the 20th century, and it stands to reason that to most, his art seems incomprehensible. I've shown Zappa to a lot of people, and they can't finish listening to his records! It's something from another planet. But anyway, undoubtedly one of the most innovative figures in all of music history.

8.5/10, 5 stars. There's a lot of savage irony, some eclectic vocals, some truly weird studio sounds and some sing- along tunes on here, but let's face it, nobody was doing what this guy was doing in those years. That is, something terribly eccentric, histrionic, important, innovative, historic, evolutionary... and I could go on like this for hours.

Thanks for so much Zappa!

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 Without Introduction by POLYPHONY album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.02 | 90 ratings

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Without Introduction
Polyphony Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ProckGnosis

4 stars Discovered these guys only a week or two ago, and what a pleasant surprise it was. Firstly, I was shocked they were American, and secondly, I was surprised they released this back in 1971, before "Prog fever" had even fully taken hold in Europe and the US.

Tops on this album, as a few other reviews have indicated, is the keyboards. Well-played, with lots of Emerson influenced riffs on the organ and the occasional bit of synth as well. Also, much to my surprise, the vocals are decently enjoyable. Nice tone, and they're able to carry a tune well enough (something I'm much more picky about...and it's part of the reason Camel's "Snow Goose" is my favorite Camel album...no vocals!!).

Minuses for me would be the recording quality, but that's mostly only an issue when I'm listening with headphones. Playing through open speakers, it's good enough to just enjoy the music. I'm also not sure I needed the "40 Second Thing In 39 Seconds" tune (and I'm a synth nut), but I'll cut them some slack, as the MiniMoog was only released the year prior, and I'm sure they were fascinated getting to play around with it. Lastly, there are parts where the percussion from Chatty Cooper doesn't fit so well (in contrast to parts where it DOES fit really well).

In summary, if you think early 70s symphonic prog rocks your world, floats your boat, or tickles your fancy, I suspect you'll like this well enough as well. It's not perfect, and I can't give it a "5 stars" for the overall album, but I think it deserves more than the "4 stars" I'm giving it.

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 Music Is Painting in the Air (1974-1977) by SENSATIONS' FIX album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.28 | 13 ratings

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Music Is Painting in the Air (1974-1977)
Sensations' Fix Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DangHeck

4 stars As explained in the Pitchfork review, this compilation derives material "from five Sensations' Fix albums, one Franco Falsini solo record, and a series of unreleased outtakes" and features a variety of styles. This includes, of course, Psych Rock but also immediately clearly very satisfying and not at all derivative Kosmische Musik (right on time?) yet not unlike something out of an ENO release (e.g. "Cold Nose Part 3, 4th Movement")--perhaps, and not surprisingly, my least favorite parts, if anything. Plenty of Proggy goodness throughout though.

"Leave My Chemistry" features very Hugh HOPPER-like fuzzed-out bass played atop very welcomed, of the time synthesis. "Grow On You", not ignoring its overall appeal here, is really a great Pop song! Great balance, great melody. "Music is Painting" has a carefree almost jam-band feel, like spacy-er GRATEFUL DEAD? Not exactly.

Other surefire highlights are "Fragments of Light" and "Left Side of Green"

Overall, a very balanced and handsome compilation of excellent (oft Ambient) Space-Psych-meets-Prog music from Italy. Frankly glad. And also glad because I realized I hadn't listened through the loved-enough Finest Finger (1976) before! Added to The List!

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 Merci by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.73 | 236 ratings

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Merci
Magma Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Proof that the infectious nature of the 1980s music style reached as far as other planets. Here Magma are no longer Magma. Introducing: Kobaia, Wind and Fire.

The funk/R&B vibe hinted at on Attahk has fully taken over, as has the use of English lyrics. See track 1, Call From the Dark for the best (worst) example of this.

Do the Music at least makes use of the scatty vocal style synonymous with Zeuhl, but still in an 80s funk track. This one is passable though.

Otis - if the title of the track didn't give it away, the style will. A Vander tribute to Otis Redding, and do you know what? It's done strangely and surprisingly well, even with some shrieky Zeuhl scatting thrown in and after 4 minutes or so a ramp up in pace - toe tapping fun.

I Must Return could be a Boney M track. Which in my eyes means its horrible. And the final two tracks are supposed to be spiritual but do absolutely nothing for me.

Do the Music and Otis are actually not bad but the rest is a horror show, and I'd rather it never happened.

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 A Tab in the Ocean by NEKTAR album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.08 | 658 ratings

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A Tab in the Ocean
Nektar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by eduardico21

3 stars Nektar are one of the most iconic and recognized german bands in the progressive genre. They are famous for their strong psychedelic sound, being closer to the british sound than to the krautrock movement that was happening at the moment in Germany. For me, they sound like a mix between Yes, Pink Floyd and the more aggresive sounds from the hard rock movement in USA (Grand Funk Railroad, Foghat, Humble Pie, Cactus, Mountain...).

A Tab in the Ocean is probably their most known and appraised record. However, I don't think of it as highly as the majority of people. Yes, it is a good record, but nothing breathtaking in any way. The title song is a long-epic that has never catch my attention. It has some good riffs but I don't see it on the same level as other epics from the time.

Indeed, is in the second side of the LP where I find the most entertaining stuff. "Desolation Valley/Waves" is the best song from the album by far. In the first half they went full psychedelic mood, and the guitar solos are amazing. They remind me of the mighty Eddie Hazel from Funkadelic, one of the best psychedelic players of all time. The other two songs are good rocking prog songs, oriented in a more USA hard rock way than the songs before them.

Moreover, another thing I find rather mediocre from the album are the vocals, which are neither virtuous nor aggressive enough to be interesting to me. The only instrumental performance that I found above average is the guitar, being Roye Albrighton a very good guitarist but a rather mediocre vocalist.

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 Grace Under Pressure by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 1213 ratings

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Grace Under Pressure
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Atomic Surf

4 stars Grace Under Pressure is the logical continuation of Signals and on this album, the keyboards and guitar rival each other. It has a really gritty feel from the ongoing cold war at the time and struggles within the band. At the time it seemed like this could have been their last album and Between the Wheels would have been a great way to go if this did happen to be their last album.

Once again the album starts with a big single just like the previous albums and Distant Early warning provides a great entrance into the tough feel this album has. Next is Afterimage, which has some profound lyrics about the passing of a close friend of the band. Afterimage alternates from the verse that describes the past with a lighter feel, and the chorus that demonstrates the tough realizations in the passing of Robbie Whalen. Red Sector A is another tough- sounding song with lyrics about the experiences of Geddy's Parents during the holocaust. Enemy Within concludes the parts of fear series, released in reverse order. More nice guitar work from Alex on this track. That concludes side 1 which is the better half.

Side 2 starts off with two more good tracks: The Body Electric and Kid Gloves. Next is Red Lenses which is mostly just ok, but has a great crescendo. Between the Wheels is one of the best songs on this album and demonstrates the recurring tough feel best. Also some of the best lyrics on the album. Side 2 isn't as strong but starts and ends with some of the better tracks.

Overall I enjoy Rush's 80's work up to Power Windows, they had to move on and couldn't make a repeat of Moving Pictures, and the keyboards on these albums just add another component making the sound more complex which is always nice. Another solid album with one mediocre track and many overlooked songs.

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 The Trio Project: Live in Marciac by UEHARA, HIROMI album cover DVD/Video, 2012
4.38 | 4 ratings

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The Trio Project: Live in Marciac
Hiromi Uehara Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sorry to break the consensus (of the three ratings this far), but no, I'm not going to rate this DVD with five stars, as lovely as this artist is. The Japanese jazz pianist and composer Hiromi (b. 1979) came to my radar several years ago in the get-togethers with my prog-loving friends. Someone knew the artist and we all were delighted by the youtube clips showing Hiromi playing live. The music itself was of course good too, but what really warmed our hearts was the sheer happiness and joy that shone from her face. The cover of this DVD gives you some idea of it. There's absolutely not a shadow of a doubt left: Hiromi just LOVES what she's doing on stage, and she lets it show.

This concert was shot at Marciac Jazz Festival, France, in 2011, the same year when the first Trio Project studio album Voice was released. The keyboardist is accompanied by American bassist Anthony Jackson (b. 1952), a session veteran since the seventies, and British drummer Simon Phillips (b. 1957), undoubtedly known by many prog listeners for having worked with Mike Oldfield, Mike Rutherford and Toto among others. So, we're dealing with virtuoso musicianship here. But sadly, the bass was mixed too low and it was almost inaudible through the whole concert, at least to my ears. Even on the solo spots the instrument's sound was tiny. The sonic density created by Hiromi's piano (and occasional synths) and Phillips' gorgeous drumming seemed to leave the bass somewhere behind. This really bothered me a bit.

The set list of roughly an hour-long concert consists only of seven pieces, five of them from the mentioned Voice album, very understandably so since the trio was pretty young at the time. Among them is the playful jazz version of the well-known slow movement of the "Pathetique" Piano Sonata No. 8 by Beethoven. That piece concentrates very sovereignly on Hiromi's improvisation-like pianism, the rhythm section mostly giving a steady, mild backing. The music of this concert in general is dynamic, fusion-ish contemporary jazz with a relatively strong contribution from the drummer. What I perhaps missed a bit were more delicate and emotionally deeper moments. Probably I was in advance too excited by the idea of the entire Hiromi concert (as opposed to youtube clips) and wasn't as fully impressed by the longish pieces as I had hoped. But if you're more acquainted with Hiromi and her Trio Project in particular, your enjoyment is probably bigger.

The special feature is placed at the end of the film instead of a separate bonus feature spot -- if that matters anything. Well, otherwise I most likely would have started viewing from there, as an appetizer. The 20-minute 'Five Days, Five Countries' is a typical concert DVD extra as it follows the trio on their European tour. Stepping out of a plane, driving on a car (Simon Phillips making jokes of going the wrong way), making soundchecks on the various venues and solving technical problems, giving short clips of the gigs, etc. Jackson and Phillips are not much interviewed at all, and also Hiromi's interview remains pretty short. She says how much she loves performing for the live audience and that she likes visiting various countries and also feels positive about the diversity of the venues themselves, some of them very 'classical' halls, some more club-like places.

Musically very good stuff, sure, but as a DVD this is somewhere between three and four stars for me.

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 Alas by ALAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.86 | 105 ratings

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Alas
Alas Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Saimon

4 stars Review #21: Alas

Siembran dolores de parto animal, lloran los niños su hambre invernal

I will leave aside the obvious, notorious and strong influence on ELP. Despite that, it's a great album!

Alas, the eponymous band's debut album, released in 1976, is a Jazz Fusion album divided into 2 songs, one on each side.

"Buenos Aires solo es Piedra" (3.5/5). A more tango sensibility predominates in terms of sounds. What I could highlight the most was, well.... ELP, heh. And apart from that, the interesting passages of instrumental changes and rhythmic breaks, quite interesting. I really liked the way they combined the drum beats with the synthesizers, it was something quite pleasant to listen to.

"La Muerte Contó el Dinero" (4/5) is my favorite side of the album. This part is more focused on a Vidala tune and starts off in a very good way in my opinion. The melody, the lyrics, Moretto's powerful voice, all together make a great piece of music from this part. Then come several moments, mostly instrumental, that we can find the same as before.

I think the only thing that makes me not to give 5 stars to the album, is that, the potential of the band was very strong, with a very appealing and natural energy. But along the listening, I find it a bit "dense" to finish it. Don't get me wrong, it's a great album and some great songs, but I was disappointed not to have been able to hear how it would have sounded if they had squeezed their talent into something more ambiguous, like better passages, or broken, or ambient soundscapes.

7.5/10, 4 stars. Although they could have done better, let's not forget the impressive level achieved by these 2 great songs!

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 Night to Day by TIME COLLAPSE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 53 ratings

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Night to Day
Time Collapse Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have to agree with everyone else on here, this is a beauty. TIME COLLAPSE are a five piece band out of Greece who play a heavy style of music not too unlike FATES WARNING part way through their careers. Lots of atmosphere as the keyboardist pretty much uses synths to create another layer of sound or produce some atmosphere. We do get piano too. The singer adds a second guitar.

This was self released by the band in 2017 and I noticed they released a couple of singles in 2020 so hopefully a new album is on the way. There's a couple of guests including a female soprano vocalist who actually doesn't use words as we get these amazing vocal melodies on that first section of the "Messiah Complex". Also we get some clarinet on the title track. I love that this clocks in at 38 minutes and it's 2017!

"Time Bound" is the short but effective opener that builds with keyboards leading the way. Heaviness just before 1 1/2 minutes. So good! "Time Collapse" opens with a bass line as drums come and go. Piano, vocals and atmosphere take over as the keys echo. It settles before 2 minutes as we get this nice heavy sound with great sounding vocals. We get a brief instrumental section with drums leading the way before the vocals return. I'm such a fan of a band using their band name as a song title.

"Reflecting Lies" opens with heaviness with drums out front before a calm with vocals takes over around 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar to the fore then these multi-vocals that sound so amazing. More excellent sounding guitar 4 minutes in. "Night To Day" contrasts the heavy with the atmospheric so well. I'm a broken record here but man I love their sound.

"Messiah Complex" is divided into three sections with the first called "Projected Perfection" and this section is pretty much that. Atmosphere galore along with heaviness and of course our female guest adding those vocal expressions. The second section is called "Cracked Delusion" with plenty of piano early on as vocals arrive. They contrast the piano sections with the heaviness after 2 minutes as vocals step aside. Guitar and drums lead and that guitar sounds so clean and beautiful. Gotta love the intensity and vocal arrangements late.

The final section of "Messiah Complex" is called "Redemption" and man this brings modern day ANATHEMA to mind, it's so uplifting and a perfect way to end the album in my opinion. This record just keeps getting better to the point this might be closer to 4.5 stars at this point. I've been holding off this review just so I could get a few more spins in. My kind of music.

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 In the Land of Grey and Pink by CARAVAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.30 | 1889 ratings

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In the Land of Grey and Pink
Caravan Canterbury Scene

Review by eduardico21

4 stars I really really like this album, but I can't see it as the masterpiece that everyone say. I'm going to start with the things I love about In the Land of Grey and Pink. Firstly, the bass work of Richard Sinclair is one of the best I have heard in my life. It may not be as flashy as Chris Squire, nor as recognizable as Roger Waters, but indeed his basslines are what carry the songs forward. They are very catchy but never stop being the solid foundation of the song alongside the drums, which is something that many playful bassists tend to forget. In the performing department the other outstanding musician is David Sinclair, a terrific keyboardist and one of the most underrated.

They truly shine in my two favorite songs from the bunch. The first being "Winter Wine", a mix between the folk magic from Jethro Tull and the jazz softness from Camel, and the monstruous suite "Nine Feet Underground". The later is truly a marvelous piece, which was intended to be an instrumental song for David to show off. Well, objective accomplished, as the keyboard solos in this one are out from this world. On the other hand, I don't really like that much the other songs from the album. "Golf Girl" and "In the Land of Grey and Pink" are nice and fun, but they are really simple. And "Love to Love You" doesn't do it for me at all, and his 60s pop patterns take me out of the experience.

The other things I don't really enjoy that much from this albums are the vocals and the guitars. Although I consider Richard an excellent bassist I believe him to be a very mediocre vocalist. He doesn't have the virtuous high pitched vocals of Jon Anderson, nor the theatrics of Peter Gabriel, nor the warm tone of Greg Lake or Ian Anderson, so he falls a little on no man's land. He's not bad, but he's nothing really special either and a better vocalist would have benefited the album a lot. The same could be said about the guitars, which are not bad in itself but are a little absent at times (with too much prominence of the keyboards, while I like a combination of both) and nothing that interesting when present.

I still really enjoy this album every time I listen to it, but I can't put it on the same level of things such as Close to the Edge, Wish You Were Here, Thick As a Brick or Foxtrot. So I believe that 4 stars is the perfect rating for In the Land of Grey and Pink.

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 Pequeñas Anécdotas Sobre las Instituciones by SUI GENERIS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.12 | 59 ratings

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Pequeñas Anécdotas Sobre las Instituciones
Sui Generis Prog Related

Review by Saimon

5 stars Review #20: Pequeñas Anécdotas Sobre las Instituciones

¿Cuántas veces tendré que morir para ser siempre yo?

The influence of Simon & Garfunkel marked the early days of Sui Generis, but that acoustic and almost adolescent stage transformed into a band loaded with synthesizers and very aware of the abrupt changes of reality.

Pequeñas anécdotas sobre las instituciones, Sui's third album (1974), is a brilliant concept work to know how censorship and state terrorism operated, and also a record about the meaning of art in violent times.

Charly García, in search of innovations, traveled to the United States and bought a series of innovative keyboards for the time. The lyrics of the songs have a strong political content and make direct reference to repressive social institutions (family, censorship, military, education, police repression), at a time when political violence and especially the terrorist action of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance Triple A was raging against artists and intellectuals. To moderate its content, the original title, Instituciones, had to be changed; several songs were modified, such as "Instituciones", "Las increíbles aventuras del Señor Tijeras", "Música de fondo para cualquier fiesta animada" and "Para quién canto yo entonces", and two of them, "Botas Locas" and "Juan Represión", had to be deleted and replaced by others.

So that Instituciones could be published, without risking the very serious consequences that the musicians and their producers could suffer in the midst of the escalation of violence during the constitutional government of María Estela Martínez de Perón, which anticipated the dictatorship that would take power a little more than a year later, in addition to changing the title itself to Pequeñas anécdotas sobre las instituciones, Charly García had to modify several texts of the songs, mainly affected "Música para cualquier fiesta animada" and "Instituciones".

"Instituciones" (5/5) The album begins with a celestial atmosphere and a synthesizer that gradually indicates the fall of Nito's voice as the guitar appears. This song was a theme that showed the remarkable progress García had made in the instrumental and in the composition of more adult lyrics, not so adolescent. Lyrics that, on the contrary, already began to "put the finger where it hurts..." as Rafanelli once said. The theme reflected the oppression that the institutions put on the youth: "Los magos, los acróbatas, los clowns... Oye niño las cosas están de este modo... tenés sábados, hembras y televisores...no preguntes más!!!".

"Tango en Segunda" (4/5), as the name says, is a melodic tango, mostly composed of Garcia's synthesizers, half instrumental, half lyrical. This song is defined in; Charly sticking his head into city music and its fusion with progressive rock (booming at the time). The song included the duo's right to complain against their manager Jorge Álvarez: "A mí no me gusta tu cara, ni me gusta tu olor..." (I don't like your face, nor do I like your smell...). At the end, the song presents, for the first time, a melodic leitmotif that would be used again by García in later productions (in the album Películas, by Máquina de Hacer Pájaros and in La Grasa de las Capitales, by Serú Girán).

"El Show de los Muertos" (5/5). My favorite track on the album is, at the same time, one of the most unique, with its metaphorical lyrics and music that is both spooky and enchanting. This track includes a synthesized saxophone solo, which generates an almost "Floydian" atmosphere totally unprecedented in the duo's music.

Immediately afterwards, we hear the rapid scissors of Señor Tijeras, the central character of a brilliant fable based on the story of a famous censor of the time: Miguel Paulino Tato, an obscure official in charge of the Ente de Calificación Cinematográfica, a true inquisitor who decided what viewers could or could not see in the cinema.

"Las increíbles Aventuras del Sr. Tijeras" (5/5) (The Incredible Adventures of Mr. Scissors) contains changing climaxes as well as a quite interesting melodic structure, which includes an imposing and disturbing crescendo, when Mr. Scissors' madness leads him to confuse reality with fiction, murdering his wife, in the same way he "murdered" freedom of expression, with a clean scissors. Musically, top quality progressive rock, in the vein of Italian symphonic rock, like that of PFM or Banco; and lyrically, with verses as comic as they were brutally in tune with the times. They were the first touches of García as a composer of songs that reflected like no one else in rock, and with humor, the difficult reality of Argentine society. As in that part of the lyrics that says: "I'll see you in 20 years on television... cut and boring, in full color...", something that happened in reality with several of the films banned at the time.

"Pequeñas delicias de la vida conyugal" (4/5) opened the old Lado 2 of the vinyl edition of this work. This song was another typical Sui Generis teenage page, but, unlike the previous albums, its sound is very progressive. I find their sound quite friendly and full of good vibes, considering how somber and explosive the whole album can be. As I said moments before, another incisive moment in Sui's classic and youthful style, ending with an incredible and brief drum solo.

"El tuerto y los ciegos" (5/5) is, on the other hand, a little "folk" page, with a great performance by Pinchevsky on violin, and a very beautiful lyric by Charly. The harmonic combination of the violin with the flute, joining and complementing the splendorous bass that sounds behind Charly's voice, is a very powerful and very well achieved combination.

"Música de Fondo para Cualquier Fiesta Animada" (5/5). We come to a pretty interesting moment in the album. This song is a great metaphor for the Argentine reality of the time. A song with unfortunately timeless messages that would be prophetic, very soon after. The whole lyric was replaced by a completely different one, due to the problems faced in those years in Argentina, related to the government and the military.

"Tema de Natalio" (4/5). The only instrumental song on the album. Composed by García and Rafanelli. Supposedly inspired by the "music that Natalio Ruiz, the little man with the gray hat, would listen to".

"Para Quién Canto yo Entonces?" (4/5) A beautiful and melodic closer for this wonderful album, which, without a doubt, is the band's best, speaking of prog and speaking outside of it. At the beginning of the song, I noticed a great resemblance in the guitar riff "Que Ves el Cielo (El Jardín de los Presentes - Invisible, 1976)", and I wanted to comment on it. All in all, a great closing and perhaps Charly García's first public self-reflection on his status as an artist in such a controversial society as Argentina.

Just in 1994, the two self-censored tracks would be added as Bonus Tracks (according to Charly, again by Álvarez's idea): "Juan Represión" (dedicated to López Rega y Cía.) and "Botas Locas".

Conclusion:

Despite the meritorious sonic and lyrical search of this new Sui Géneris, the band could not retrace their steps in the dead end they were going through. The ballads were losing weight before the overwhelming advance of progressive rock, and, at the same time, the themes of Institutions had little to do with the adolescent spirit that gave the duo popularity and success at the beginning. Tired of struggling to impose their new songs, and faced with the prospect of reaching new musical horizons, Charly, in agreement with Nito, decided to put an end to this story. For that reason, in the middle of 75 both announced that Sui Generis was dissolving.

I will always remember how beautiful it was to see this part of Sui so progressive and innovative in the history of rock.

From whatever point of view we look at it, we can't deny how transcendental this stage of the band was for Charly, and indeed of his life, taking into account all he had to go through.

10/10, 5 stars. Definitely one of my favorite concept albums of all time, and a great teaching about the importance of things that come and go, but most of all, that you have to know how to make them come. And a great adventure to know the background of all the bad things that the dictatorship and the government had during those 70's in Argentina.

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 Confesiones de Invierno by SUI GENERIS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.72 | 41 ratings

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Confesiones de Invierno
Sui Generis Prog Related

Review by Saimon

5 stars Review #19: Confesiones de Invierno

Dios es empleado en un mostrador, da para recibir.

Undoubtedly, no matter what you ask an Argentinean, he will always tell you that one of the most important pillars in the history of national rock is "Confesiones de Invierno".

Confesiones de Invierno, second album by Sui Generis (duo formed by Nito Mestre & Charly García), is an album full of adventure and magic, mixing from folklore to tango, always in a very adolescent and emotional aspect to captivate everyone who listens to their work. Definitely, as I said in my previous review, towards "Vida" (Sui's debut album), Charly is one of the most prolific musicians in all of rock, not only nationally, but also in history, taking into account bands led by him like "La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros" or "Serú Girán", but that's for another time :)

This album has a great musical accompaniment by many of the figures of the national scene at that time, such as:

Francisco Prati: Drums

David Lebón: Electric guitar, bass guitar

Rodolfo Mederos: Bandoneón

León Gieco: Harmonica in Welcome to the Train

Juan Rodríguez: Drums

Alejandro "Pipi" Correa: Bass

Alejandro Medina: Bass

"Cuando ya me Empiece Quedar Solo" (5/5) is a melancholic and emotional rock tango with a beastly lyric, that can reach anyone. By far, the best song on the whole album, and I would dare to say one of the best introductions to an album in all of national rock.

"Bienvenidos al Tren" (4/5) is an upbeat campfire song, which, as far as I can make out, tells of a young man's planned escape because he is fed up with society, its mediocrity and its taking advantage of poor and innocent people. And so he invites his beloved and a couple of friends and acquaintances to join him on this adventurous journey.

"Un Hada, Un Cisne" (5/5) This lyric could be based on mythological tales, which I will try to summarise in the best possible way: Leda, wife of Tindareus of Sparta, was another of Zeus' human lovers. When she was walking by the Aryan Eurotas, she was raped by Zeus, disguised as a swan. As a result, she laid two eggs from which four children were born: Jelena, Clytemestra, Castor and Pollux, although only Helen and Pollux are considered children of Zeus. Leda is later deified by Nemesis, the goddess of just punishment. In older versions, Leda simply finds an egg containing the germ of Helen, daughter of Zeus and Nemesis. In that story, Nemesis tries to escape from Zeus by metamorphosis, turning herself into different animals in order to escape from the god. But Zeus does exactly the same and compensates for each change with his own, until finally she turns into a goose and he rapes her in the form of a swan. He then lays the egg in a swamp where Leda finds it. In other versions, Zeus, transformed into a swan and pretending to be in danger, takes refuge in the womb of Nemesis and then rapes her. Hermes puts the egg on Leda's thighs so that she will be the one to "light" it ("Ella quería amar a un cisne de agua y sal. Y para ella, el sol nunca volvió a brillar").

"Confessions of Winter" (17/20). Theme of the same name. This song is a guitar, which accompanies Charly. The lyrics talk at first sight, about a relationship that ends, because he has no profession and is left in the street (Me echó de su cuarto gritándome "no tienes profesión"). This character, apparently, is left in the street desolate, cold (It's cold and I lack a coat, and I'm hungry from waiting). After wandering the streets, he gets drunk in a bar and is taken away by the police who end up beating him (I got liquor and got drunk, in the bathroom of a bar..., ...And although I had never drunk, I had to end up in jail, the bail was paid by a friend, the wounds are the officer's). This last phrase was applauded by the audience at the band's farewell concert. The song ends with him saying that he found a good place to stay, a madhouse, and is finally at peace, albeit melancholic.

"Rasguña Las Piedras" (4/5). This song has raised a lot of theories and stories invented by García fans, mainly because of its lyrics. There are several versions about the origin. One version says that it talks about a girlfriend Charly had who was "dead" (catalepsy) and they buried her. Some time later they had to exhume the body and when they opened the coffin they found that it was all scratched up. In other words, she was buried alive. Another version says that it is a hymn to the military coup of 1976 in Argentina. The story of the dead, disappeared and detained in clandestine centres, where they were locked up in isolation cells, with their hands tied and blindfolded, listening hour after hour to how the others were tortured. However, this song was composed a couple of years before the coup. Another is the love story between a boy and a girl, in which the girl was crushed by a wall, and the protagonist narrates what happens and his helplessness at not being able to save her. She scratches at the stones to get out, he listens and tries to do something, but cannot. All these versions were denied by Charly García himself in an interview. He says that the lyrics came to him one day while his ex-partner Maria Rosa Yorio was going to buy something. When she came back, the song was done.

"Lunes Otra Vez" (4/5) The lyrics are as simple as it gets, the stress of work during the week, and the arrival of the weekend break, which you have to take advantage of while it lasts ("Lunes es el día triste y gris de soledad").

"Aprendizaje" (4/5) is a poem made into a song that talks about the important, the necessary, the just education. It speaks of an education that teaches how to be formal and polite, putting into practice the rules of protocol, the norm, the "moral". Of the teachers that the song talks about, it rescues the acquired knowledge, the science, the duty, but it also talks about that nobody who dared to tell the truth. Out of fear, and that fear is foolish.

"Mr. Jones o Pequeña Semblanza de una Familia Tipo Americana" (3.5/5) is a short song that tells, at first glance, of a murderous family that one day the police arrive and arrest them. They excuse themselves by saying that they are "a very normal family".

"Tribulaciones, Lamento y Ocaso de un Tonto Rey Imaginario o No" (5/5). This song, along with the one that opens the album, are 2 of the most heartbreaking and powerful songs in the history of national rock. And at the same time, it was also a song that gave a lot to talk about. "Desde el palacio se veía el mar", at that time the palace was perhaps a multi-room flat on an avenue. Today perhaps it is neither the luxury floor of the building, nor the house in the suburbs... perhaps it is the earphone we put on to listen to music so as not to feel anyone else; or perhaps it is the gossip programme so as not to listen to the political one; or it is the dancing and skating programme so as not to watch the research one; or it is something soft to avoid the harshness of reality.

10/10, 5 stars. Very close to perfection, it is a jewel that seems to have fallen from the sky and given to García's marvellous absolute ear, to make us thrill with his excellent works.

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 Old Souls by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Old Souls
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars Rick MILLER began his musical research in 1984, putting on albums to reach his 16th at the start of the year. Rick is moving further and further away from his idols PINK FLOYD and GENESIS with their guitarist Steve Hackett to offer a sound with a refined character. Dark, melancholic, borderline new age atmospheric rock for a return to his original love; in short, real progressive rock without frills with its breaks to melt the strongest of the Ameridians.

'Time's Way' or melodic rock with its progressive declination; a nice intro, a rhythm in ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST for Kane's languorous guitar solo I suppose. 'Guinevere' bucolic title with hoofbeat, a spleen violin and it unrolls slowly. 'Haunt Me' just for the elaborate, nostalgic, meditative intro; always very melodic, Rick's soft voice, his guitar playing which transcends each piece. 'Virgin Rebirth' roaring intro, majestic and dark Kane's violin then the colorful synth that fills the room on a typed new wave 80 sound; final much calmer, hovering in decrescendo on a roll of waves and it continues with 'The Red Sky' where Mateusz's cello works wonders taking us to arid lands where depression becomes beauty; an oriental arpeggio disturbs otherwise it is a facsimile for the rest.

'Ixtlan Awaits' to a new age tune, you know ENYA; then we are on ALAN PARSONS with a solo of its own, grandiloquent, enlightened and luminous; space break inspired then final pop 60-70. 'A Stitch in Time' with again a Persian connotation where the flutes of Sarah and Jaye work wonders, the most beautiful piece with these celestial choirs. 'Lost Karma' continues with this atmosphere, flute and acoustic guitar arpeggio in medieval sequence. 'Don Quixote' and the river title that goes on a repetition; it was not without knowing the bugger who offers singular, stratospheric variations; one of the station wagons perfectly symbolizes the noise of the title hero's windmills and his disturbed thinking; final on a PINK FLOYD between 'On The Turning Away' and 'Animals' and the acoustic guitar. 'Time's Way (reprise)' at the end to make you want to listen to the first title again.

Rick MILLER releases albums frantically. He has an asset with his precise compositions to make you melt. He produces an album agreed at the start which is magnified over the listenings offering a hovering and languorous rock pop sound. For those who don't know yet it's just dantesque in the genre; for the others a good album a little more diversified than the last two. In short, it may seem conventional but it is very well done.

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 Vida by SUI GENERIS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.51 | 36 ratings

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Vida
Sui Generis Prog Related

Review by Saimon

4 stars Review #18: Vida

"Sabemos que pronto va a llover fuerte... mejor estemos juntos esta vez"

Charly García is my main influence and my favorite artist ever. To this day I still have the same thoughts about his powerful, important and innovative figure in the Argentine rock scene over the years.

But anyway, that's a topic for another day. Let's go where it all begins...

Vida, Sui Generis' debut album (and in itself, Charly García's as a composer), is an album released in 1972, with an atmosphere and always keeping the "hippie" and adolescent style that was going around Buenos Aires in those years.

This album was very important in García's career, since to this day, "Canción para mi Muerte" would become one of the most successful songs of his, and indeed, of the whole country.

Well, I'll stop talking and start with the songs:

The album begins with "Canción para mi Muerte" (4/5), a harmonic and soothing entry to the album with a very catchy emblematic and charming melody. Something to highlight, which is the strong combination that the voices of the 2 of them achieve, we notice it since the beginning of the album. This is very important when analyzing the whole album, they start with everything!

"Necesito" (2.5/5) is a short song with funny lyrics accompanied mostly by the piano that is present throughout the song. It doesn't really have anything prog per se, but at least it's catchy and concise for what it's trying to convey.

"Dime Quien me lo Robó" (5/5). In my opinion, the best song on the album. The guitar, the rhythm changes, the harmony, and the out of tune parts that end up fitting better, the lyrics, it has it all. The emotion with which Nito manages to interpret the song is truly admirable. I would like not to sound monotonous, but it is very strong how they transmit incomparable emotions every moment of the song. And taking into account the nostalgia that it produces in me is very important, because in my opinion, it is a song made for teenagers.

"Estación" (3.5/5) is the shortest of the whole work. Something simple, surely made with the purpose of being played at campfires, camps, etc... you know what I mean ;)

"Toma Dos Blues" (2.5/5) It's classic blues, above all Argentinian, at its best. To be honest, I was never very interested in the blues, but I have to admit that the concept of the song is very well achieved, or I don't know how to explain it, but it doesn't transmit me as much as the other songs, heh. I think it is the song that would sound in the typical western movie, when the protagonist arrives tired and thirsty from his journey through the desert, seeing in the distance a station where he can rest, urinate, and eat.

"Natalio Ruiz, el Hombrecito de Sombrero Gris" (5/5). I would like to leave a reflection on what this song dictates, but I think Charly made it pretty clear. In this song Charly gives an existential message to all his fellow men: if not look at what happened to this guy. "He was a man of dignity and respectability, who took care of his manners, cared about what people would say, dressed in gray, made love every bishop's death, took care of his cough, took only what the doctor ordered, did not dare to propose to the girl he loved for fear of her family... (and what good did it do him? ), to deny himself so many pleasures and deprive himself of so many satisfactions he longed for, if he occupies today one more place in the cemetery, just as we all will occupy it when our time comes. But yes: this man of gray, correct and educated is in the Recoleta Cemetery, as befits his stately Porteño lineage".

"Mariel y el Capitán" (5/5) This song tells a tragic but beautiful story, of course of love. Mariel y el capitán, is a description of the routine of encounters between a girl and the captain of the frigate. To reach her beloved, Mariel must take the elevator every day to the fifth floor, where her love awaits her for tea or coffee. Every day, when the consortium meets, the ladies, noticing the absence of the captain, indignantly fill with prejudice his relationship with Mariel, they simply can not understand a love on such a large scale and therefore disapprove at all costs (Mariel does not belong to their social circle), however, despite the criticism, the captain prefers to rejoice his heart with the girl Mariel to attend a meeting with heavy ladies. The story ends when on one of Mariel's trips in the elevator to see the captain, someone cuts the rope of the metal box and she panics and falls to the floor and dies. The sad and desolate captain decides to take his own life; the consortium believes they have triumphed and in their delirium they celebrate the fact that the relationship is over, but they do not realize that the captain leaves this life to meet again with his love, Mariel.

"Amigo Vuelve a Casa Pronto" (5/5). A dreamy melody, heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics, and a strong presence of Charly and Nito's voices that thrill all our ears. I still remember this beautiful song as the first time I heard it. This song grabbed me at a very strong moment in my life, and the lyrics at the exact moment. But anyway, I'd rather torment you with my problems another day, haha. Let's sum it up, a beautiful song about friendship and how important it is to make the right decisions without thinking twice.

"Quizás, Porqué" (3.5/5) is a short love guitarreada. I don't have much to talk about, that's it.

"Cuando Comenzamos a Nacer" (3/5) kicks off with an embracing and stormy atmosphere, congenial with Charly's voice accompanied by a strong bass and flute. Already in this part, despite being more of the same from the album, it is a very nice and concise song.

"Pos Ludio" (2/5) presents an ending with a flute and a simple piano. Apparently, they didn't want to give a common ending, so to speak, to the album. And, surely they came up with that to give it a more proper conclusion.

8.5/10, 4 stars. I guess the score also depended on nostalgia, but it really is a great album and you should give it a chance because it is full of very beautiful stuff, as little prog as it is.

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 Land of Green and Gold by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.96 | 35 ratings

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Land of Green and Gold
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

Review by JohnProg

3 stars Antony Kalugin has released another studio album which, as often happens with other artists who release new releases very often, has led to an unfortunate - at least for me - tendency to repeat itself. If we review his discography both in his solo project and in his band Karfagen, we realize that he has released about eight albums in the last four years. This incredible musical activity has been accompanied by a desire not to leave his comfort zone, in addition to the fact that his latest works no longer have the same creative force as, in my opinion, his best albums: "Echoes from Within Dragon Island" ( 2019) and "Birds of Passage" (2020).

"Land of Green and Gold" is another work that features guitar and keyboards, apparently without much creative input from the other band members, which makes this sound like another one of his solo projects. There is also the nostalgic jazz atmosphere that we are used to and the influences of bands like "Camel" and "The Flower Kings". Perhaps the real problem is that the album lacks memorable moments (there are some good moments on tracks 2 and 7, but the rest is reduced to "pretty melodies") that motivate future listeners.

Perhaps in future works Antony seeks to renew his sound, or perhaps he will continue releasing the same album year after year. The truth is that every time I find his music less interesting.

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 Songs for Souls by RIGONI, ALBERTO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.69 | 4 ratings

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Songs for Souls
Alberto Rigoni Heavy Prog

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars Well,well,well ! A new album for Mr Alberto Rigoni, bassist extraordinaire from Italy, so time for high quality music !This new musical extravaganza is the most mature, complete, complex and elaborate album so far for this brilliant musician !Just look at the names of the special guest stars invited on the album and you realize this one is truly a magnum opus for it's author ! It's a very diverse, mature and impressive album !Written in a difficult period of time for Mr Rigoni, this album has a very special and personal importance for him ! A personal family loss is a tragedy that brings out some unexpected and impressive artistic resources, it's the source of unexpected inspirations and ways of artistic displays.. This is the feeling that we have after we make an audition of this album !Maturity, sobriety, diversity,musical integrity and passion for this wonderful instrument called bass. The musicians invited are making great, remarcable performances, it's impressive to see the cohesion and consistency of the compositions.Catchy from the first to the last note, this album deserves many audition to fully understood in it's message and to understand the state of mind of Mr Rigoni, when he composed this true musical jewel !The diversity is impressive and each track has a very strong personality and individuality!Love it so much. Complimenti,maestro and endless inspiration in the future to spread to the world your immense talent and musical stills!5 stars without any hesitation for a work of art.

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 Foxtrot by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.61 | 3838 ratings

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Foxtrot
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by WJA-K

4 stars This is an important album for Genesis and for prog. Genesis pushed the envelope and they did it boldly.

They don't touch me as other acts do, like Yes, King Crimson or Pink Floyd.

This is a masterful album nonetheless.

Watcher of the skies - This opener sets the stage. We are in for a ride. I love the build-up and how it explodes. Keys and drums are especially top-notch. 9/10

Time Table - One of the most straightforward songs on the album. Beautiful nonetheless. Especially the piano work shines. As does Gabriel. - 8/10

Get 'Em Out By Friday - A typical Genesis epic. Gabriel does some great work playing all these different characters. The music paints a great picture too. My brain says it's close to perfect. My heart doesn't agree. 8,5/10

Can-Utility And The Coastliners - Quintessential Genesis. 8,5/10

Horizons - Nice guitar piece 6,5/10

Supper's Ready - A prog classic. I know better 20-minute endeavour, but I recognize the quality of this piece which gets better and better while it progresses. 9/10

This album is 4 stars for me. An essential prog album, but not my favourite direction of prog.

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 Laisse ça être by AQUASERGE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 25 ratings

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Laisse ça être
Aquaserge Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Can avant jazz be pop-oriented? If it's possible, the French are the ones to accomplish it!

1. "Tour du monde" (4:04) Man! I keep looking for Dave Newhouse's name in the credits for this one! It sounds so much like his MANNA/MIRAGE efforts of the past ten years! Canterbury in the direction Matching Mole took it--only with the buzz-saw organ still tagging along. (8.5/10)

2. "Virage sud (4:01) the first of the STEREOLAB-sounding songs, it's a bit simplistic and straightforward--especially as it has no vocals--though the shift in the final third is delightful. (8.75/10)

3. "Tintin on est bien mon Loulou" (6:00) dirty jazz somewhere between Humble Grumble, Homunculus Res, Panzerpappa, Camamebert, and Stereolab. I like it! (8.75/10)

4. "Si loin, si proche" (8:18) Though introduced to this song via the band's delightful video in the château du Mauvaisin, I love the playful, STEREOLAB-like joy and lightness in this version--as well as the mood and melodies as a whole. Great song! (20/20)

5. "C'est pas tout mais" (5:37) Jazzy pop music to which the male singer/vocalist plays off of with delightful playfulness the tempo and mood shift at 2:30 is beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous! (9/10)

6. "L'ire est au rendez-vous" (5:39) a bit of the Gypsy sound in this one--especially in the guitars. Nice harmonies used throughout in both vocal and instrumental arrangements. I like the instrumental passages best--and the final 90 seconds. (8.5/10)

7. "Charme d'Orient" (5:28) opens up with a kind of old film noir, B-grade tongue-in-cheek spy movie feel--like something that should be behind a Lupin scene--or a Jim Jarmusch or Woody Allen comedy. Just a little too slow and monotonous for me. (8.25/10)

8. "Les yeux fermés" (6:36) industrial samples in avant garde pop jazz?! Works for me! After a protracted 90 second intro, the music shifts, revealing another soundtrack-like piece of music. This one could come from a Pink Panther film. At 3:18 a choral vocal theme is added, moving to background as male singer takes the lead. Still, this could easily be in a French film soundtrack--it has all the perfect intonations of irreverence and cool. The final 90 seconds again take on a more Stereolab-like sound and feel. (8.5/10)

Total Time 45:43

A fun album that I love in the same way I love the Homunculus Res releases: there's a joyful humor and simplicity to these rather complex composition

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collections---especially if you like the quirky avant explorations of the French youth.

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 The Possibility of a New Work for Aquaserge by AQUASERGE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.09 | 4 ratings

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The Possibility of a New Work for Aquaserge
Aquaserge Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars More avant garde modern chamber music from these creative Frenchpersons, here inspired by modern avant garde classical composers.

1. "Un grand sommeil noir" (4:28) Pleasant but not brilliant. (8.75/10)

2. "1768°C" (À Edgar Varèse) (7:04) a little too dissonant for my tastes. (13/15)

3. "Hommage à Giacinto Scelsi" (6:29) obviously a study of the harmonics of dissonance. (8.25/10)

4. "Only" (1:16) a little discord and dissonance balanced by some very pleasant melodies, chords, and sounds. Male leader singer. (4.5/5)

5. "Comme des carrés de Feldman" (5:11) These crazy humans! Stretching the boundaries of what is music. Creative but, to what end? To make me smile? or run away? (7.75/10)

6. "Only" (version 2) (1:36) Female lead singer with choral version in second half. (4.5/5)

7. "Nuit terrestre" (À Gyorgy Ligeti) (10:02) long sustained single notes held by each instrument for over one minute before a change is made or new note added. Interesting. With each new note added or changed there is a definitive change in mood and memory/sensory trigger. VERY interesting! By the fifth minute we have painted quite a scene-- kind of like watching scenery fly by from a window.of a TGV train. At 6:27 we get the first low end, percussive notes. But then we return to the long wind instrument notes--though this time moving and shifting their chordal structures much more quickly (though NOT fast). Difficult to rate. Is this prog? (17/20)

8. "Nuit altérée" (À Gyorgy Ligeti) (2:38) with lazy jazz drums, the aurora borealis chordal curtain of sustained and shifting notes receives a more humane foundation/anchoring. Also, the addition of tubular bells and organ adds something. (4.5/5)

Total Time 38:44

A little too post-modern/avant garde classical for my tastes. It's more of interest as to how my bodymind reacts/responds to the music, rather than a question of enjoyment. The bigger question for me coming from listening to this album is: "If Aquaserge has been admitted into the coverage of "progressive rock music" then why shouldn't Five-Storey Ensemble also be included?"

B-/3.5 stars; interesting by not necessarily something I'd want to return to very often--and certainly not as a whole. I definitely prefer their previous albums.

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 Keyboards Triangle (with Ars Nova) by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.80 | 16 ratings

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Keyboards Triangle (with Ars Nova)
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not sure who came up with the idea to have two all female Japanese trios cover some songs by bands who were a big influence on them, but it works. They don't play together but rather GERARD covers four tracks and ARS NOVA three songs. GERARD were a keys/bass/drums setup at this point while ARS NOVA were a 2 keys/drums trio here. Both bands were going through changes just prior and after this 1999 release. I have to say checking out these two bands again made me smile. Gotta love that ELP inspired album cover and one alternate cover I saw had one of the ladies on it wearing what looked like a home made sweater of the same picture.

I feel like over a ten to twelve year period I was the ultimate explorer of music leaving no stone unturned resulting in a lot of stories. ARS NOVA obviously believed that sex sells by their skimpy outfits and provocative poses so it's hard to take the seriously until you hear them play. Both bands generate a lot of power on these tunes, I'm just so impressed and it made me think again of the RARE BIRD leader who had no guitarist in his band because he believed his keyboards could provide much nastier sounds bordering on evil. Yes this recording here is a keyboardist's dream with an array of them from these three talented ladies. The mellotron is sampled but adds a lot.

GERARD is up first with of course an ELP cover "Toccata"opening with loud synths and booming drums before it settles in to an uptempo barn burner. Oh my! The organ is screaming at one point. Bombast is the word. They are on fire 3 minutes in but a calm follows quickly. We start to get some punchy and intricate sounds before 5 minutes. Organ is back at 6 1/2 minutes then it's a free for all once again. ARS NOVA covers some TRACE tunes in this medley from their "Birds" record including "Bourree" and "King Bird". There is a guest bass player on this song from a band called TRITON. Same player would guest on one track on ARS NOVA's next studio album after this. Fast paced keys and lots of depth as the bass throbs. The keyboards make me dizzy. The organ is ripping it up before 2 minutes then it all turns classical sounding. Man it becomes so uplifting just before 5 minutes. A powerful ending follows.

GERARD follows with a BANCO cover from "Darwin!" called "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta". So powerful and dramatic to start and that calm later with mellotron is emotional. A killer track! ARS NOVA not to be outdone covers Italians IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO's "Epilogo" from "YS". Yeah they do! Man I love this track. Keyboards galore and check out that sinister calm after 2 minutes. So good and mellotron! GERARD covers Rick Wakeman's "Catherine Parr" and this is a better version in my opinion. It's actually one of my favourites on here. Active drums, powerful organ and upfront bass to get us started. It kicks into a higher gear rather quickly then we get some beautiful mellotron sounds just before 3 minutes. "Tarkus" by ELP of course is covered by ARS NOVA and check out the mellotron choirs to start. Gulp. There's a great change in direction at 3 minutes but they do shift a lot on this one. An array of keyboards dominate. Hey another RPI tune in "Four Holes In The Ground" by PFM of course and GERARD sounds just like them to start but after that they really have fun with this song.

I have to go 4 stars despite this being an album of cover tunes. It's just unique and a great example of keyboard led bombast.

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 For All We Shared by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.54 | 142 ratings

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For All We Shared
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mostly Autumn came onto the scene combining an outward folk aesthetic and some folk trappings (acoustic guitar, whistles, tambourine) with a musical sound rooted in Pink Floyd-influenced neo-prog. (There are moments when the folk side of things comes more to the fore - the track Folklore is a prime example - but these are comparatively rare, and even Folklore as a prog-ish breakdown partway through its runtime.) Call it neo-prog folk if you will - either way, on this debut album it's a sound that's rather fresh, since the Steeleye Span-play-Pink Floyd approach allows them to sound distinctly different.

Most modern prog groups with unabashed 1970s influences and a desire to inject folk into the mix would be expected to rather follow the lead of Jethro Tull and Renaissance, and whilst you can discern traces of those flavours here, the harmonies and the keyboards really suggest Floyd more than anything else - but Pink Floyd themselves never quite leaned into a folk aesthetic to this extent. In this way, they square the circle of wanting to pay homage to their major inspirations whilst also having their own voice, because whilst their music will remind you of a great many bands from the past, only Mostly Autumn quite bring these ingredients together in this way (though I would say that Solstice often came close).

Ultimately, this is solid work, but it's very much laying the foundations for the further development of the band's sound. Call it three and a half stars for a general audience, four stars for listeners especially keen on Floydian prog.

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 Flower Power by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.95 | 559 ratings

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Flower Power
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One might call Flower Power the start of the "no editing" phase of The Flower Kings. Whilst their first two albums (or three albums, if you include Roine Stolt's original The Flower King solo album which brought the project together) were single-disc affairs, Stardust We Are risked stretching out to two discs and by and large succeeded. This seems to have persuaded the band that the more music they could put on a release, the better - hence Flower Power ends up similarly packed.

The Kings seem to have backed off on this approach in later years - with many subsequent studio albums from the mid-2000s onwards either sticking to one CD in length or, if they had the material, sticking the weaker stuff on a bonus CD rather than packaging it in with the main album. At this point, however, they seem to have been confident that they'd be able to do another 130 minute-plus album hot on the heels of their previous one.

The album leads off with the monster epic Garden of Dreams, an almost hour-long track. This is fairly slow in its early sections, but on the whole I think it's worth it: it uses its massive running time to allow itself to build up gradually, and the Kings' compositional style is diverse and wide-ranging enough that whilst there's obviously themes running through the entire thing they can pack a fairly extensive sonic universe into that one song alone.

To be honest, with prog audiences being used to concept albums where the musical themes all run together - think of Dark Side of the Moon, think of Misplaced Childhood, think of Thick As a Brick for crying out loud - the Kings could have probably just said "that's it, that's the album" and just released Garden of Dreams as a one-disc affair, and I think if they had it'd be regarded as a masterpiece, a journey into symphonic prog realms which, unlike far too many retro- prog acts, keeps in mind the full range of sounds and influences that the classic prog acts of the 1970s truly drew on, and able to incorporate influences ranging from Yes to Zappa in their palette.

The remaining 75 minutes of the album consists of various other musical experiments, ranging from proto-prog psychedelia (the Zappa-ish Psychedelic Postcard) to space rock (Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 could almost, if the vocals on it were less operatic, be an early Porcupine Tree piece) and taking various diversions along the way.

I can see why the Flower Kings gathered a loyal following in the late 1990s - it was a time when it was harder to discover new prog bands than it is today, and InsideOut had pretty decent reach with its distribution, and in an era when many fans were feeling starved for prog a two hour plus album would have felt like an embarrassment of riches. Nonetheless, there are times when less is more, and Flower Power illustrates that. Garden of Dreams by itself would be in contention for five stars, or a 50-minute condensation of the best bits of the non-Garden of Dreams songs would be in the running for a similar grade, but as it is I have to give the whole package four stars. If you're a prog fan, there's a lot to like here, but you may find you rarely listen to the whole thing all the way through.

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 Closure by IKUINEN KAAMOS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
3.36 | 8 ratings

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Closure
Ikuinen Kaamos Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Listening diary 16th January, 2022: Ikuinen Kaamos - Closure (progressive metal, 2008)

If you can look past the very loud and very obvious Opeth influence, this is actually a really solid release. And I wouldn't even say that influence is as all-consuming as it is on some other Opeth clones, as some influences from black and gothic metal sneak in to give this a point of difference. The art of the Opethian slide riff is here and showcased well, as is the use of melancholic clean vocals to break up the heavy sections. It does always come with a bit of a caveat due to its lack of originality, but most of the musical ideas here are solid enough, and is probably a worthy addition to the library of anyone who misses the old growl days.

7.2 (6th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

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 Holocaust by COTÓ EN PÈL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.37 | 27 ratings

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Holocaust
Cotó En Pèl Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars COTO EN PEL were a four piece band out of Spain and they released this one album back in 1978. The Lasers Edge re- issued this on cd in the 90's. I was drawn to this from the first listen, just how understated everything is including the vocals. The title track makes up side two and is divided into two parts and this is where we get a fair amount of mellotron. The guitarist doesn't sound Spanish but I agree with Andy from Planet Mellotron he sounds more like Steve Howe and uses the acoustic guitar quite often. The keyboardist adds organ and synths besides the mellotron and the bass player adds cornet on one track. These guys do like to stretch things out and jam.

"Aura De Sons" is the 13 1/2 minute opener and it starts with some heavy atmosphere as thunder cracks in the distance. Soon the music arrives but it's very distant sounding until around 4 minutes in when they amp it up with intricate guitar, bass and rumbling drums. Guitar solo follows a minute later with jazzy drums. Synths growl 6 minutes in as the bass throbs then the tempo picks up a minute later. Love that bass. Those growly synths remind me of LE ORME. A calm 9 minutes in as spacey synths and vocals lead the way. Organ follows and the vocals will come and go. "Lamentations" is of course sad sounding with acoustic guitar, cornet and melancholic vocals mostly.

"Holocaust" is divided into two parts worth over 18 minutes in total. This is where we get a variety of mellotron sounds, growly and spacey synths along with acoustic and electric guitar and vocals will come and go. This suite is the highlight of the album in my opinion although that opener is right there too. It opens so beautifully with that acoustic guitar as the organ floats in along with some intricate electric guitar. Bass then synths after 2 minutes. Drums and bass are more out front after 4 minutes. So much to like here as those growly synths arrive and the mellotron sounds amazing before 6 minutes. It's very spacey late to end part 1 sounding almost like theremin. Part 2 is more of the same but changed slightly as the mellotron and synths standout and we get a guitar solo late. Vocals again come and go.

I just love listening to this, dig their sound. A strong 4 star album in my opinion and one of the better albums to come out of Spain. My kind of music.

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 Sore Memories Always End by CECILIA::EYES album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Sore Memories Always End
Cecilia::Eyes Post Rock/Math rock

Review by alainPP

— First review of this album —
4 stars CECILIA :: EYES Belgian post-rock band from the lonely plains from where the wind has no restraint, hovering sound where the vintage organ fights the drums, where the guitars seem to let the notes of pre-creation flow! Post à la SIGUR ROS, fat sound of MONKEY3, hovering instrumental. They define themselves as 'a subtle blend of slow and noisy melodies', a soft but hectic rhythm bringing soothing atmospheres to ghostly and oh so structuring voices. This is their 5th album from this quartet made up of Christophe THYS, Nicolas DENIS, Pascal THYS and Gauthier VILAIN.

'The Brightest Explosion' begins with the recognizable dramatic intensity, its taking stratospheric. 'Parenthesis' reminding me of the experimental wanderings of THE GATHERING second version, indie-shoegaze era; voices in soft, cottony and quilted choirs. 'Twin Mountains' for a psychedelic climb with intoxicating drums, more ethereal at the end; prog concept where you can drown in different and similar titles. 'Russian Tales' on the same basis, a longer title that becomes hypnotic. 'Empty Rails' catchy, soporific, soft, Nicolas's voice suddenly sends me back to the hovering derivations of the great KAUAN. 'Missing Pieces' on a variation where the female voice can recall from afar the magnificent wanderings of Anna's voice, I am thinking here of the last HIPGNOSIS; the synths again on THE GATHERING atmospheric period, in short it flies high. 'Promises of Rain' immense for this phonic reverberation that makes you take off again; the plot remains pleasantly melancholy. 'In A Blue Cold Cloth' long crescendo and it's not the Geiger counter that will scare me away; Iliketrains and its post rock so particular to SIGUR ROS seem present. 'Frozen Sand' on another latent depressive air, just to then go up in the musical clarification with drum roll and the return to these typical guitars, oozing with notes from the beginning of the world. 'The Air Bride' for the final, tempo drums with finesse, spleen guitar accompanied by choirs embellishing this long descent into their beautiful, particular and romantic universe.

A group that plays on sensitivity, on the mental state in which you find yourself; ideal for meditating, relaxing, reading and putting this album back on repeat. A dark, cheerful album to give hope in these cursed times, a superb album in its musical niche featuring each note, each musical wave like a granite density with immeasurable spleen. CECILIA :: EYES done in the deep post.

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 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 1332 ratings

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Heritage
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 499

"Heritage" is the tenth studio album of Opeth and was released in 2008. The album signals a departure from the musical style of Opeth's previous studio albums, being one of the two studio album of the group not to feature Akerfeldt's signature death growls. The other was their seventh studio album "Damnation". Akerfeldt was very clear when he said that he decided that the band is going to embrace progressive rock more openly and depart from the metal sound that Opeth has been pursuit for much of their preceding career. So, somehow "Heritage" represents a new starting point.

The line up is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals, guitar, Mellotron, grand piano and sound effects), Fredrik Akesson (guitar), Per Wiberg (grand piano, Mellotron, Rhodes piano and Hammond B3), Martin Mendez (bass guitar and upright bass) and Martin Axenrot (drums and percussion). The album has also the participation of Alex Acuna (percussion), Bjorn J:son Lindh (flute), Christopher Wadensten (flute), Joakim Svalberg (grand piano) and Charlie Dodd (sound effects). "Heritage" has t en tracks. All songs were written and composed by Mikael Akerfeldt. The first track is the title track "Heritage". It's a short but beautiful, simple and eloquent instrumental entirely played on grand piano, by their new keyboardist Joakim Svalberg. Per Wiberg left the band after the recordings. The second track "The Devil's Orchard" is probably the only track that follows closest from the usual musical style of the band on their last two studio albums. This is an excellent song with some intricate musical moments, great musical passages but that maintains a very strong musical atmosphere. The third track "I Feel The Dark" is another great song that opens gently with its looping bass lines, chilled acoustic guitar work and Mellotron. The song fluctuates between happy and dark musical territories. There's definitely a "Damnation" feel in some parts of this song. The fourth track "Slither" is a song barrelling along on a hard rock guitar riff backed with strong Hammond organ work. It's a song with some good electric guitar work. Curiously, the song ends just with a folksy acoustic guitar playing. This is a song very influenced by the Akerfeldt's love for Deep Purple. The fifth track "Nepenthe" is a beautiful atmospheric piece of music, with an almost ambient feel. It has acoustic guitars, brushed drums, jazzy bass and Akerfeldt's warm and deep vocals. This is a very different song from the rest of the album, until now, with a very strong influence on the ambient and jazz styles. The sixth track "Haxprocess" is perhaps the perfect companion to the previous song, in terms of style. It's, in general, a slow song with calm and tranquil musical sections with the space between notes seeming as important at times as what is being played. The seventh track "Famine" opens with a very strange way with a burst of flute, before some bongo percussion, layered over an ominous sonic backdrop, leads us into the song, which starts with gentle piano and voice before a catchy riff kicks in and moves things forward. This is, in my humble opinion, a great song with strong influences from King Crimson. The eighth track "The Lines In My Hand" opens with a very interesting drum work, which manages to be simultaneously tight but loose, over with Akerfeldt delivering the lyrics. Gradually the track shift gears, with some great guitar work and nice driving rhythms and a strong chorus, and in the end the song ends abruptly. The ninth track "Folklore" is one of the strongest pieces on the album. It starts with some jazzy guitar work which gradually comes together with a short solo piano piece that leads the song down another path, with the rhythm section fading in and out of the mix, and the effective employment of celestial choirs, assuming conjured up from the Mellotron. "Folklore" is with "The Devil's Orchard" and "I Feel The Dark" the greatest highlights on the album. The tenth track "Marrow Of The Earth" ends the album in the same mood of the opening instrumental piece, only this time utilising acoustic guitar instead of piano. This isn't a strong way to finish the album but it represents a beautiful and gentle close to the album.

Conclusion: "Heritage" is another great album of Opeth. Everything on it sounds rich and full, mostly thanks to the use of analogue recording methods and other old hardware like real Mellotrons and Hammond organs. The vintage musical treatment of Akerfeldt's signature melodic sensibilities helps to consummate a unique world teaming with the beauty of the Scandinavian folk and jazz, while exuding the aura of some of the 70's darker psychedelic style. His vocal melodies are perhaps the most brilliant he's ever delivered, perfectly accenting each and in an every instrumental component. This is undeniably the album that will have most divided their fan base. If they have lost probably a lot of long time fans with "Ghost Reveries" with the addition of a keyboardist, with this last album the divorce was definitely consummated. Akerfeldt assumed more the progressive musical side and dropped more the metal side. Of course, his musical collaboration with Steven Wilson isn't strange to that. Steven had also declared that "Heritage" is the first part of a trilogy, alongside Wilson's solo album "Grace For Drowning" and "Storm Corrosion" the self titled album of both.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Ei ilmestynyt by ABSOLUUTTINEN NOLLAPISTE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Ei ilmestynyt
Absoluuttinen Nollapiste Prog Related

Review by Mortte

4 stars This is the first release of this band. AN was in national Rock competition in 1993 and rose into national attention, because they differed so much from the other bands. There was a small label Vinylmania, that had organised record fares and published magazine and released also one single. They wanted to release first e.p. -record and then full album from AN. So the band recorded 6 songs that become this e.p. The name "Ei Ilmestynyt" has taken from Love Records catalog. In that catalog there are records that are never released, but have number. In those unreleased numbers there is text "Ei Ilmestynyt", so members of the band thought this release was also "kind of Love Records" -release. Also first cover was handmade just like Wigwam´s Hard n Horny first pressing was. This cover in Progarchives was actually the third edition.

You can hear from this record the band was very young then. On the other hand they were already really great musicians, also their style was to be heard in this already. "Kassi Kauniita Silmiä" is really melodic and one of the greatest piece in this. Next "Kaikkein Kaunein Joo Komia" is kind of rhythm n blues -piece. "MOVALFN" is again really melodic, has funky rhythm and is a little sad. "Suu Lähti Liikkuun Niinku Muut" is a country music piece with cha- cha-cha in the middle of it. Tommi has told in his book their few first songs were country style and other members weren´t sure at all, did they want to become a country band. "YPEKE" reminds Finnish very straight rock band Popeda. Also in Tommi´s book is told those two bands had plans to go into tour together, but that was rejected by other members of AN and also their booking agency. The best comes into last, "Kaikki Nukkuu Pois" was the song they played in that national competition. It is the most prog song in this release. Tommi wouldn´t have wanted song into this e.p. because it was already old song to them then, but I am glad record company said it had to be there.

I am glad AN went into that national competition, because it could have happened they had reputation only locally in their north town Rovanniemi. In those days many North bands never achieved any national attention and stayed just local bands. Of course their Finnish language in songs helped them to get the record deal, really many English singing bands never got record deal in those days specially if they played music out of fashion. And again it was Atte Blom who took them into his Megamania-label after Vinylmania ended soon. All who doesn´t know who Atte is, he was one of those started Love Records and later Johanna-label. Because rating has changed from prog records to rock records, I can give this four stars it deserves. There is not much prog in this release yet, but sure great music!

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 Cronofonía by CRONOFONÍA album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Cronofonía
Cronofonía Crossover Prog

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

It's possible I have a reputation for liking bands and artists from way out in left field, but while I certainly know a fair few people who like prog but are not at all interested if it's trying too hard to emulate the classic symphonic era of the '70s, I'm not one of those. Even if I do tend towards the more esoteric and experimental, there's plenty of more mainstream fare that I thoroughly enjoy. This offering from Mexican/International band Cronofon'a is just that. It reminds me of all those '70s albums I love from King Crimson, Genesis and Yes. And there are plenty of musicians who have contributed to this project whose names will no doubt be familiar to most 'old-school' prog fans. But it never sounds tired or dated, like a retread of what's been done before, and done to death. In fact, appropriately, the music sounds completely timeless.

Appropriately, I think, because the name of both the album and the band is Cronofon'a, which is a word I'm not sure exists, but if it does I presume it has to to do with time and sound. The sound of time through the ages? The passage of time, as heard through sound? Well, it seems as likely as anything else, given the album appears to take place across an allegorical 24 hour period. The album begins with one dawn, and ends with the next ' but between these two, many years of history are covered, and the album itself was many years in the making. The Facebook page for Cronofon'a was created in 2013, and since then the project's contributors have celebrated many births (and, sadly, one death). The faithful have been informed of the progress - or otherwise - of the construction of this project, which involves thirty musicians from ten different countries. This is a truly grand affair!

The album was finally released in December 2020 in Spanish, an English language version following in April 2021. The principal protagonists are father and son Joaqu'n 'Negro' Ort'z and Pablo Patricio Ort'z, and although notionally the idea of Cronofon'a was established in 2000, it utilises many compositions made over 40 years. So certainly, the passage of time is woven throughout the album, no matter how you look at it. But how does it sound? That's actually a quite difficult question to answer because, over the course of two discs, the music covers a lot of ground. However, it is overwhelmingly in a classic and timeless symphonic prog style, which will be pleasing to the ears of many, with aspects of folk, Latin and jazz, with some heavier moments, too. One thing I love is the dramatic flair when there is a quite sudden stylistic change within a song. This happens on more than one occasion, and often when it's least expected.

I won't go so far as to say the variety of musical styles is as ambitious as the scope of the concept, but it's definitely intriguing and captivating, and (as implied above) occasionally unexpected. In a way, the album flows almost like the score or soundtrack to a film - and I am certain there will be reviews that talk of how cinematic it sounds, and how well the varied soundscapes are brought together to create one homogeneous whole. In fact, given the length of the album is also that of a film, it is even more impressive to me that it so easily maintains interest. Honestly, this album seems to go by faster than many a third its length, so much does the music draw you in. And like any good film, even once you know the story, it's still possible to be delighted by the twists and turns, even if they are no longer surprising. There are some themes that are returned to, or varied upon, which help with continuity and familiarity. It makes the album easy to listen to, and easy to love.

And that's just the music. I'm really not a great one for lyrics, and I often hear vocals as one more instrument in the mix, rather than pay attention to what is being sung. But for the purposes of this review, I did try and pay attention. I've already said how the moments of a lifetime are represented by the moments of a day, and I suspect the whole album is perhaps meant to be heard as being told by the main character, as he reflects on his life, and those closest to him. Much of the lyrical content is intimate and personal, full of hopes and regrets, dreams and worries. They are beautifully sung by the various vocalists, and again the variety helps strengthen the cinematic nature of the album, and the passage of time. I'm not often a great fan of the use of multiple vocalists, and I assumed this might be my one criticism of the album - but I really can't overstate how much the different vocalists add to my interest.

There's a quote from Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa that seems appropriate for this album: 'The perfect dictatorship is not communism, nor the USSR, nor Fidel Castro; the perfect dictatorship is Mexico. Because it is a camouflaged dictatorship.' There are two interwoven tales of Cronofon'a, one personal and one political. The album is almost a testimony of the political changes and social upheavals; and of socialism and capitalism. Sometimes only in allusions, and occasionally far more overtly, we are reminded of mass protests and demonstrations, and of the gradual revolutions that have led to a freer world. The collapse of the communist bloc in Europe, and the Mexican PRI who maintained absolute power for most of the 20th Century in opposition for the first time in 2000. The end of the album, the last few songs, the last few moments of the day before a new dawn, sound almost unremittingly hopeful.

My original review for this album was horrendously long as I wanted to write about some of the songs. But there were so many songs I wanted to include that it just wasn't possible. There is so much that could be said about each and every song. The way they relate to each other, or to the personal and/or political stories touched upon through time. The way the storyteller seems to build in confidence over the course of the day/lifetime, so that (for example) each version of My Sister and I is stronger and more assured, until the absolutely glorious fourth part. (All four parts to this song are favourites of mine). The way that the music is able to provide a sense of time and place, so that the sound reflects not so much what it is being sung about, but where and when. Everything about this album has been so well thought out, so impeccably composed, and so adroitly performed.

Cronofon'a is as prog as it comes. A double album of musical theatre that traverses history and geography, with a list of contributing musicians as long as the list of instruments played. When I review albums, I usually have to studiously avoid reading any reviews already published. In this instance, I don't think I've even seen one review, so avoiding them hasn't been difficult ' but it does make me wonder why I've not seen any. This is the sort of modern prog masterpiece I would expect to see written about everywhere. It is an album I would expect to see high up in many people's end of year lists. And yet, so far, I have seen nothing. So, if anyone has read this far, I sincerely hope that they are already listening to this album ' and if you are, and if you enjoy it as much as I do, then please share it, as this is an album that definitely deserves to be better known than it appears to be.

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 Power Windows by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.55 | 1069 ratings

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Power Windows
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Atomic Surf

4 stars The 80's era of Rush often gets criticism for Geddy Lee's use of synthesizers and the more mainstream sound. But underneath that, there is some very good songwriting and lyrics. On Power Windows, each song tackles a form of power ie. "The Big Money" - the power of money, "Middletown Dreams" - the power of dreams. On the song Middletown Dreams, Geddy really sings his heart out about escaping the monotony of living in a small town. The guitar and synthesizers complement each other nicely on the songs Grand Designs and Emotion Detector. Power Windows is definitely one of the better albums Rush has released and as always superb playing from the band.

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 Tale of the Lunatics by ANWAR, FARAZ album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Tale of the Lunatics
Faraz Anwar Progressive Metal

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars 2022 has got started with Faraz's introspective but brilliant sound operation. "Tale Of The Lunatics" was released as a Pakistani guitarist Faraz ANWAR in the beginning of 2022. Thanks to Faraz's email, I could meet and purchase such a wonderful creation. Through this album featuring his incredible guitar technique and theatrical / dynamic passages, it makes sense he's been inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen or Allan Holdsworth. Like a diverse musical powerplant produced not only with metal and rock elements but also classical or jazz ones, he plays guitar in a lively, fascinating manner all over the creation and grasps our heart strictly. Such an enthusiastic sound message can be heard from the beginning of the album "Inception" - filled with dramatic footage by energetic electric guitars, precision rhythm sections, and emotional synthesizers.

Just like a vivacious but well-matured sparkling wine, his incredibly vigorous guitar plays illuminate the depressive world under such a tough situation in the "Weight Of The World", another authentic progressive metal fantasy that sounds like Dream Theater. "One Of Them" involves massive power mixed and merged with distorted vocals and sharp-edged guitar sounds. Such a mystic cooperation gives the audience an unstable mental activity created by quiet anger and vague anxiety. In "Throw Your Swords" we can feel not only desert energy or dissonant tension but also sensitive moments or lonesome vibes. On the contrary, "Liberation" releases our inner mind from kinda virtual prison in the current circumstance, fully by powerful, delightful music potential. In the middle part Faraz's one man show should stabilize our positive intention to live a fantastic life on a regular basis. The last "Lap Lost" his masterpiece and the magnificent epilogue prescribes universal positivity of progressive metal for the audience. Full of creativity cannot remind us of depressive states nor painful futures at all. Sounds like his brilliant guitar plays and enthusiastic voices motivate the listeners definitely.

I would be wrong but it sounds like this opus, that is about the story of an imaginary angel "afaiel", protests against disclimination or human rights violations all around the world and hopes people unification and world peace / stability. This opus will give a excellent power to us regardless of the current situation. Worth giving it a listen, let me say.

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  6. The Dark Side of the Moon
    Pink Floyd
  7. Foxtrot
    Genesis
  8. Red
    King Crimson
  9. Animals
    Pink Floyd
  10. Godbluff
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  11. Fragile
    Yes
  12. Pawn Hearts
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  13. Nursery Cryme
    Genesis
  14. Larks' Tongues in Aspic
    King Crimson
  15. Mirage
    Camel
  16. Per Un Amico
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  17. Moonmadness
    Camel
  18. Moving Pictures
    Rush
  19. Relayer
    Yes
  20. Darwin!
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  21. Hemispheres
    Rush
  22. Aqualung
    Jethro Tull
  23. Io Sono Nato Libero
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  24. Hybris
    Änglagård
  25. From Silence to Somewhere
    Wobbler
  26. Kind of Blue
    Miles Davis
  27. In a Glass House
    Gentle Giant
  28. Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison
    Harmonium
  29. Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa
  30. Storia Di Un Minuto
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  31. A Farewell to Kings
    Rush
  32. Birds of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  33. H To He, Who Am The Only One
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  34. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
    Genesis
  35. The Yes Album
    Yes
  36. Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes from a Memory
    Dream Theater
  37. Images and Words
    Dream Theater
  38. Octopus
    Gentle Giant
  39. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  40. In the Land of Grey and Pink
    Caravan
  41. The Snow Goose
    Camel
  42. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  43. The Power and the Glory
    Gentle Giant
  44. Scheherazade and Other Stories
    Renaissance
  45. Crime of the Century
    Supertramp
  46. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  47. Still Life
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  48. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  49. Still Life
    Opeth
  50. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  51. Free Hand
    Gentle Giant
  52. A Trick of the Tail
    Genesis
  53. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  54. The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  55. The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  56. Hand. Cannot. Erase.
    Steven Wilson
  57. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  58. Permanent Waves
    Rush
  59. Acquiring the Taste
    Gentle Giant
  60. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  61. Dwellers of the Deep
    Wobbler
  62. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  63. Depois do Fim
    Bacamarte
  64. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  65. Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
    Magma
  66. Romantic Warrior
    Return To Forever
  67. Hatfield and the North
    Hatfield And The North
  68. A Drop of Light
    All Traps On Earth
  69. Misplaced Childhood
    Marillion
  70. Ghost Reveries
    Opeth
  71. Space Shanty
    Khan
  72. Symbolic
    Death
  73. Obscura
    Gorguts
  74. Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
    Gong
  75. Viljans Öga
    Änglagård
  76. Blackwater Park
    Opeth
  77. Arbeit Macht Frei
    Area
  78. Voyage of the Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  79. Script for a Jester's Tear
    Marillion
  80. Hamburger Concerto
    Focus
  81. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  82. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  83. Crimson
    Edge Of Sanity
  84. In A Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  85. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
    Caravan
  86. Second Life Syndrome
    Riverside
  87. Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
  88. The Road of Bones
    IQ
  89. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  90. Maxophone
    Maxophone
  91. Sing to God
    Cardiacs
  92. Of Queues and Cures
    National Health
  93. The Sound of Perseverance
    Death
  94. 4 visions
    Eskaton
  95. Ys
    Il Balletto Di Bronzo
  96. Remedy Lane
    Pain Of Salvation
  97. Anabelas
    Bubu
  98. K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria)
    Magma
  99. Elegant Gypsy
    Al DiMeola
  100. Operation: Mindcrime
    Queensrÿche

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

More PA TOP LISTS
100 MOST PROLIFIC REVIEWERS

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  7. UMUR (2146)
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  12. Windhawk (1699)
  13. Conor Fynes (1613)
  14. SouthSideoftheSky (1597)
  15. BrufordFreak (1568)
  16. Tarcisio Moura (1451)
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  18. TCat (1407)
  19. Matti (1348)
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  26. tszirmay (1020)
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  28. octopus-4 (989)
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  31. memowakeman (918)
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  39. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (714)
  40. DamoXt7942 (713)
  41. greenback (685)
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  60. colorofmoney91 (459)
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  63. russellk (440)
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  68. tarkus1980 (369)
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  71. Zitro (365)
  72. Modrigue (360)
  73. Progfan97402 (359)
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  82. richardh (316)
  83. FragileKings (316)
  84. Tom Ozric (306)
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  91. OpethGuitarist (287)
  92. Second Life Syndrome (275)
  93. daveconn (266)
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  95. Muzikman (263)
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  98. aapatsos (252)
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