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 Another Green World  by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 239 ratings

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Another Green World
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by RussellChap

4 stars Originally starting out as an experiment Brian Eno ended up creating one of his most praised albums. For the first few days the creation of Another Green World was frustrating for Eno as he struggled to produce any workable ideas, compounded by the fact he had nothing written or prepared beforehand. So he turned to his 'Oblique Strategies' for direction. These cards with instructions and prompts allowed Eno to get over his creative block and work the resulting ideas into Another Green Word with the help of guest musicians. Robert Fripp of King Crimson, who had collaborated with Eno on No Pussy Footing and Evening Star (both excellent albums), Ex Velvet Underground member John Cale and Phil Collins on drums! (yes Phil Collins the unlikely eighties pop star who ruined The Supremes wonderful 'You Can't Hurry Love') played on about half of the tracks, while Eno performed solo on the others utilizing such fanciful instruments as the Leslie piano and Snake Guitar.

Eno later said of Another Green World "People tend to think of that as a song record. But it isn't, it's an instrumental record with the odd bit of vocal." The songs are witty with a very English playfulness (check out these lyrics from 'Sky Saw' "Mau Mau starter ching ching da da/Daughter daughter dumpling data/Pack and pick the ping-pong starter") which he shared with contemporaries such as Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt. His songs feature characters who seem to be caught in fixed freezes (like the figures on the album sleeve), with the world moving past, as in 'I'll Come Running' "I'm gonna waste the rest of my days/Just watching patiently from the window" or "Several times I've seen the evening slide away" on 'Golden Hours'. While the instrumentals are like the environments the static characters watch, they unfurl slowly like midweek afternoons when there's nothing to do or evenings when sights and sounds are muted. They are imaginary soundscapes with evocative titles such as my personal fav 'In Dark Trees' (as mysterious as the title suggests), 'Somber Reptiles' (that brings up images of disconsolate dying dinosaurs) and the restful title track which was used as the theme for the BBC2 arts series Arena.

Another Green World is interesting precisely because it is the point between Eno the song writer and Brian Eno the ambient composer. His next album would be purely instrumental fittingly titled Discreet Music.

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 Solid Air by MARTYN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 43 ratings

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Solid Air
John Martyn Prog Folk

Review by RussellChap

4 stars One of the albums I own that keeps drawing me back is John Martyn's 1973 album Solid Air. This magnificent record is suffused with irradiated liquid folk but also holds hidden, dark undercurrents within. The pleasure this album gives never evaporates even after repeated listening, which have been many as I bought it in 1991, in the days before mp3 and downloads when you had to visit a record shop (yes really).

Throughout John Martyn sings with a lazy warmth sometimes loving, other times carnal, there are moments when his voice oozes as if it's melting, the words becoming onomatopoeic. His guitar, fed through his echoplex (a tape delay device which allowed him to sustain notes), is similarity fluid, all heat haze scintillation and smoky scrolls. Particularly on the Skip James song 'I'd rather Be The Devil' which has the same vibe as Jimi Hendrix's aqueous '1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)'. He is ably supported by the great Danny Thompson on bass, providing a supple backbone, who was a great friend of john Martyn playing on many of his albums as well as being a stalwart member of folk rockers Pentangle.

Although released in the seventies tracks like 'Dreams By The Sea' (which is full paranoia and suspicion "Dreaming you've got a lover/Dreaming that there's a killer in your eyes"), the aforementioned 'I'd rather Be The Devil' and title track 'Solid Air' (about the late Nick Drake "I know you/I love you and I can be your friend/I can follow you anywhere even through solid air"), have a timeless and place-less quality. Maybe that's why I never get tired of Solid Air. It keeps returning like waves lapping a shore.

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 Apocolokyntosys by EMPTY TREMOR album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.92 | 8 ratings

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Apocolokyntosys
Empty Tremor Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of my fav musicians from prog metal zone ever are for sure the italians from Empty Tremor. the first two albums released by this band are excellentm being among the best in this genre, at least for me. The first album was released in 1997 and is named Apocolokyntosys. Well, this is in same league with the best of the 90s prog metal, and I mean Images and words, Carved in stone by Shadow Gallery and so on, the influences are also present on this album but is no clone for sure. What impress me every time I am listning to this first offer is how strong musicianship is, the keys and guitars are very well melted together, nice complicated shift, moods, lots of tempo changes, as might be a prog metal album. Also the singer is great, even has that LaBrie tone, Giovanni De Luigi knows very well to sing, from mellow sections to much more rockier, a good singer. The first piece is for sure my fav - The eyes of universe - is simply killer, one of the best I have ever heared in prog metal, great ideas and top notch musicianship + a great vocal passages all over. The rest of the pieces are aswell strong with no weak moments. All in all a not so well known band and album in prog metal field and is a damn shame, but belive me this guys knows bussines, specially the first two albums (this one and Eros & Thanatos) are excellent and recommended albums to all prog metal listners, worth every second. For me an easy 4 stars, nothing compares to old prog metal, the one made in the 90s.

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 Performance by ELOY album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.82 | 163 ratings

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Performance
Eloy Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Lewian

3 stars I've got to say that I'm quite keen on the fact that this one is not about journeys between stars and planets, downfall and rescue of humankind etc. Treating some real life issues for once is nice for a change, although I may not be a proper prog-minded person in this respect. Also I respect the artistic motivation to declutter and produce straighter songs. I think it's unfair to blame them for just trying to be commercial here. Artists shouldn't stand still and going with the times is a legitimate move. Bornemann was apparently not happy with this move, at least not in hindsight, but other band members probably were. Fair enough. As always, this is well produced, mostly keyboard oriented but with stronger impact of guitar, bass and drums than before. The bass is fantastic (as Matziol usually is). The drums sound too much like 80s and are a bit too straight, but at least they are precise and driving. Randow is a very good drummer but shows this better elsewhere. Regarding the quality of the songs, this is a mixed bag. In Disguise works very well as a catchy rocker; Shadow and Light and Broken Frame are fine, too, and a bit more complex. Broken Frame is actually one of my Eloy favourites. Mirador is a rather sparse instrumental, which is nice but not all too remarkable, and I can connect less to the remaining three songs. It's a development that I respect, with some highlights and some lesser tracks. And I can enjoy the marvellous bass playing day in day out.

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 Hubardo by KAYO DOT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 87 ratings

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Hubardo
Kayo Dot RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I should have done my homework before picking this one up. I'm not a big fan of Avant Metal although there are exceptions including the mind-bending "Choirs Of The Eye" by this band. Their latest "Coffins On Io" is far from Avant and has become my favourite by them. Anyway this particular recording is quite long at close to 100 minutes and very bleak. There are a few styles of music at play here but the extreme stuff I find very difficult to enjoy.

"The Black Stone" is what I call getting off on the wrong foot when it comes to my tastes. We get experimental sounds and more as spoken growly vocals join in. This continues for about 6 1/2 pointless minutes. Then the tempo picks up as the vocals stop but the growls are back before 9 1/2 minutes but more sung than spoken. "Crown-In-The-Muck" is melancholic and I like the tone of the guitar and also the drum work. It picks up and horns are added. Vocals after 4 minutes and they become extreme about a minute later as this becomes the focus. "Thief" is drum and vocal dominated and it's uptempo. It does settle back with random drum patterns, laid back clean vocals and more. Horns join in as well and I like how dissonant they are 4 minutes in. "Vision Adjustment To Another Wave Length" features a chaotic soundscape with vocals that yell throughout. Not a fan. "Zlida Cao Sgi(To Water The Earth)" has some impressive instrumental work but with lots of growly vocals. "The First Matter(Saturn In The Guise Of Sadness)" is my favourite track. This sounds so good with those relaxed vocals and atmospheric sound. Just a great sounding tune.

"The Second Operation(Lunar Water)" is a sparse track overall as it opens with keys as horns join in softly. The violin becomes the focus then reserved vocals take over around 3 minutes in. Backing vocals and some creepy violin follow. A calm with vocal melodies after 6 minutes. "Floodgate" is a heavy duty onslaught with growly vocals. "And He Built Him A Boat" is the other tune I like. It's ANATHEMA-like circa the "Judgment" era. Guitar expressions and drums lead the way before it calms down with reserved vocals, a beat and more. Some cool lyrics in this one. "Passing The River" has a beat with guitar as laid back vocals arrive. It kicks in hard at 3 1/2 minutes then calms right down with distorted guitar. Drums join in and we get chaos after 6 1/2 minutes as the horns scream and the sound picks up. Another calm 9 minutes in as the laid back vocals return and this continues to the end. "The Wait Of The World" is completely different from the rest as they turn this into a jazzy mode with lots of horns and it's uptempo. Again the heavy and calm are contrasted until it feels like they simply jam for a long time with plenty of horns before a calm returns just before 10 minutes.

Many consider this KAYO DOT's best but I have to disagree. Still if your into extreme Metal that is adventerous with some variety you really need to check this out.

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 La Chute De La Maison Usher by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.07 | 10 ratings

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La Chute De La Maison Usher
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars Maison Usher is a cross between the coldness and remoteness of Champ des Larmes and earlier Art Zoyd music for dark films and stories such as Nosferatu, Häxan etc. As such, it is a bit more accessible than Champ des Larmes (let alone Pure Noise), but still has an impersonal, immaterial, even unwelcoming feel to it. There are familiar elements such as deep church clocks, dramatic electronic textures, slow machine-like rhythms, atonal sequences, dark sound effects. Compared to Champ des Larmes the atmosphere is more dark cellar, ghosts and secrets than ice mountains. Some parts are quite minimalist, but there are also a few in which quite a lot is going on. Once more, there are no conventional song structures or melodies, but some clearer structures and contrasts, more rhythm than on Champ des Larmes, and even some piano. Champ des Larmes is more unique and innovative, but the little bit more connection with "music as we know it" here gives the listener a better chance of getting something out of it.

Art Zoyd were always very special, but they continue to develop even more into their own planet, distant and hard to connect to from anywhere wordly. Their music evokes ghosts and echoes from lost stories of the past, little to really get hold of or stand on. Whenever I listen to this I have difficulties to get into it at first, but I then realise that there is much to discover. If you can bear it, it's a rewarding experience.

3 1/2 stars.

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 Metatron by PINHAS, RICHARD album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.58 | 12 ratings

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Metatron
Richard Pinhas Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars 'Metatron' is a far more 'Pinhas' centred album than the ultra noise monger 'Merzbow' from Japan. Richard pinhas' hero 'Robert Fripp' plays a large part on this recording despite being entirely absent, willingly or not, on this lengthy double album from 2006. There's a large amount of processed guitar trickery with 'Frippertonic' experiments at work on 'Metatron'.

From the outset Pinhas plays guitar through electronic filters creating a shimmering, floating atmosphere, which creates an hallucinogenic effect. Stand-in 'Magma' drummer Antoine Paganotti batters out some arrythmical jazz drumming over the top of Pinhas' flailing guitar. At times it gets too much, sounding like someone's thrown six bowling balls down some stairs. It's a mesmerising slab of art which is a bit like looking through one of those old kaleidoscopes. Everything washes around without any sense of direction in the most random way. I can tell you one thing - the vast majority of 'Metatron' is unscored and is clearly a free-for-all slowly evolving jam.

'Moumoune and Mietz' is the one true tune on this album and its wonderful. It's uplifting in the way the brilliant Italian National Anthem sounds. There's a lot of very odd, turbulent and off kilter 'Magma' drumming throughout which never repeats and is very engaging. It's like the 'Merzbow' Christmas Carol you never heard.

Intensely looped fragments of vocals appear on 'Shadda Blues' amongst swirling electronics. Let's just say that this is not good hangover material.

'Metatron' is an entirely instrumental album with occasional spoken words that has an underlying threat throughout. Like an albatross hanging over your shoulders, waiting for the ship to go down.

And now ladies and gentlemen, the historical bit: 'Metatron' is, according to Jewish medieaval apocrypha, Enoch, ancestor of Noah, who is transformed into an angel. I bet that grabbed your attention eh?

Now, if you can convert your brain into the vibe and oppressive atmosphere of 'Metatron' then you could well enjoy this enormous recording that lasts well over two hours. There's one or two moments of 'Heldon' territory that appear. In particular 'The Fabulous Story of Tigroo and Laloo'. Although it's not much of a story as no words are uttered at all. It is however reminiscent of 'Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale' from '76. Full of wailing, stretched and groaning guitars while a jack-hammer 4/4 beat pounds relentlessly.

There's some unadulterated Robert Fripp guitar sounds on 'Tikkun part 2'. A shameless theft of guitar sound that 'Pinhas' is only too willing to utilise in respect of his idol. And he's more than happy to let everyone know.

More impressive are the the beat-less guitar tracks such as 'Metatronic Rock' which display wobbly, reverberated and highly distorted guitars

This is a real mixed bag of lengthy tunes that sounds at war with itself, not knowing what it really wants to be. A lack of focus is the one criticism I can throw at this. It seems to wander from track to track, punching left and right but making no contact with anything. Thrashing about wildly, like a bag full of cats.

At the end of the day I find it difficult to identify the 'Merzbow' contribution. Of the 20 odd CD's I own by him I can't hear any influence at all. Weird.

It's still a sonic electronic assault with all sounds being excellently produced and appearing crystal clear whilst played at high volume. Ultimately it's just all too long and drawn out. No matter how often I listen to this I hardly ever reach the end. Too much of the same stuff gradually wears me down. After two hours I've more than had enough. It looks like they could have done with a good editor.

Great in parts, but far too lengthy. 'Metatron' turns into and endurance test.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.49 | 115 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars Back in 2012, an election year here in the U.S., 3RDegree released one of the finest albums of that year, "The Long Division", a scathing critique of the political system, and the way the corporate news outlets portray the process. The album blew me away in it's concept and execution. I really had might doubts that any band could improve upon such an effort. But with "Ones & Zeros: Volume 1", they have accomplished that task.

The concept here is a not too distant, nor unthinkable future, where our present obsession with immortalization through our many electronic gadgets has led to the ability to (if you can afford it) digitize your consciousness, ensuring virtual immortality. This process is overseen by a corporate entity called "Valhalla", that controls these "people" with a mechanical logic. I don't want to give much away, but the story is told with a clever and sophisticated humor, reminding me more than a little of the wordplay of 10CC or XTC. Just the images from the song title [i]Circuit Court[/i] in this context should give a taste of this.

The music itself could best be describes as the vocal tonality of 10CC, with the inventive instrumentation of that same band, except with an underlying complexity reminiscent of Echolyn, with the hooks and power of Spock's Beard. But the mix of those styles brought together, makes the sound truly original 3RDegree music.

I received the album some weeks ago, yet still, every time I listen to it, I hear more and more inside each song. I cannot find anything at all to knock this down from a perfect rating.

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 The Breaking Of The World by GLASS HAMMER album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 74 ratings

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The Breaking Of The World
Glass Hammer Symphonic Prog

Review by progarchist

5 stars Leave it to Babb and Schendel to make a truly gorgeous album out of the ACADEMIC work of Tolkien and Lewis, not just out of their fantastic works. Amazing. From the opening note to the closing one, THE BREAKING OF THE WORLD soars. Ever since CHROMONOTREE (itself, a thing of beauty), Glass Hammer has just gotten better and better, more adventurous, and, lyrically, more interesting. Add to Schendel and Babb the others in the band, and you realize that Glass Hammer is as much a movement--a community of true artists--as it is a band. In particular, I challenge anyone in the prog world to find someone better on vocals than Susie Bogdanowicz. She has equals, but not betters. I assume she had some kind of secret voice lessons in heaven at some point in her your life. And, Aaron Raulston, though too little known, is the equal of Peart, Portnoy, and NDV when it comes to the drums. What an astounding group of musicians to come together. While I generally prefer albums that are strictly concepts--such as LEX REX and PERILOUS--THE BREAKING OF THE WORLD is a rare and precious gem in a world torn apart by commercialization, ideologies, and fundamentalisms. Babb and Schendel, as always, are quite humane and quite exceptional. Long live Glass Hammer!

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 Ambient 4 : On Land by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.05 | 126 ratings

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Ambient 4 : On Land
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars This is clearly the darkest of the four 'Ambient' works from the series, It's a moodier, more organic, darker Eno who plays with a creepy Halloween mask wrapped around his bald egg head. Ready to scare any children who approach.

There's a lot more going on than displayed in the previous three outings. However, it's still very minimal and quiet. There's only hints of melody amongst the sea of bleak tranquility. This is the album where he states in the liner notes that - 'I find the synthesiser to be of limited usefulness due to it having a non organic quality'. Make of that what you will, as I'm sure I can hear many synths used throughout.

Funny little squishes and watery bloops recur on 'Tal Coat' as all the while splutters of analogue tones flitter around like fairies waving wands at the bottom of your garden. This one's on a totally different plane from previous releases. It's more distant and less cosy. In all there appear to be five musicians present which is surprising considering the starkness of sound.

While I much prefer the beautiful 'Ambient 2' with Harold Budd, this reveals a solo Eno, displaying all the talent he undoubtedly had. It's not his best, but I'd have to call it it has one of the progenitors of 'Dark Ambient'.

The best is left till last with the ultra-bleak 'Dunwich Beach, Autumn'. Beautiful decayed piano sounds play a mournful but attractive tune. It's miserable, yet desperately pretty at the same time. I guess most of Eno's work can be described in this way.

Oh and by the way, the frog recordings are brilliant.

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 Only Human by AMON DL II album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.28 | 35 ratings

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Only Human
Amon Dl II Krautrock

Review by Lewian

2 stars The most important thing about this album is that you should know "Kismet", even if you're not interested in the rest. Kismet is truly great. It would be a perfect opener of my favourite ADII setlist, it starts dark and mysteriously and builds up nicely, has a number of interesting melodies and changes, strong oriental influences, and Chris Karrer's mysterious voice is wonderfully suited for this. The only reason why they didn't start the album with this is probably that then the listener would expect too much from the remainder of the album and would be badly disappointed. In any case, this song is a strong reason not to dismiss "Only Human" completely. Unfortunately , Kismet towers head and shoulders above the rest of the album, which is pretty underwhelming. Well, it won't hurt you to lsten to it from beginning to end, much is rather easy going and there are some OK melodies with the odd twist or turn. I personally like Spaniards and Spacemen with its light feathery feel although many hate its disco sound. Anyway, Kismet is great and all the rest is, while not unbearable or really bad, still rather unremarkable.

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 Pure Noise by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Pure Noise
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

— First review of this album —
2 stars You may not believe it but this is what it says on the tin: pure noise! Granted, there is some variation in the noise from time to time, and the three tracks are somewhat different from each other, but still, expect pure noise, nothing else. Art Zoyd, I think, has evolved into some kind of ever-changing cloud of musicians and discogs lists this as "Various Artists", which is kind of true. The three tracks are played by rather different subgroups with existing but little intersection, but Art Zoyd's website sells it so they don't deny that it's somehow theirs. Also, despite the changing-subgroups-and-composers-thing, there is a consistent concept here, which is (did I mention this already?) pure noise. This will be one star for the vast majority of you but I give it 2 because it is, in its own way, very unique, and it certainly doesn't pretend that it is something else than what it is. I actually bought it because it was quite cheap and I was curious, and given that it was cheap and it is special, I don't regret it. You can certainly use it if you want to show off what weird musical taste you have or clear your place of people if you're having a party and want to go to bed. Still, despite me being used to quite extreme experimental music, i can't give it an artistic appreciation that would earn it more than 2 stars. (I don't rule out that somebody else could.)

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 Le Champ Des Larmes by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.98 | 17 ratings

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Le Champ Des Larmes
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

3 stars The Champ des Larmes is very cold. That's my impression. It's, in a certain sense, the most extreme record that I have. Many older Art Zoyd records create a pretty straightforward emotional response in me, usually, as one could expect, of a rather dark nature, but Champ des Larmes is like ice mountains in the distance. (Ok, I admit, that's some kind of emotional response, too.) Certainly this has to do with the fact that this is really, really experimental and sound-oriented and there are hardly any conventional song elements in it. Even anything that could be described as rhythm (and be it noise rhythm) is very rare, let alone identifiable notes or even harmonics. As opposed to other Art Zoyd works, Champ des Larmes is smooth in the sense that there are no sharp contrasts and development is slow. There is variety in sounds and some may be perceived as somewhat noisy, but still even these are somewhat muted. Nothing is harsh, neither is anything friendly or warm. I generally like field recordings, sound experiments etc., so I can find much that is fascinating on this album, but still, it's difficult to get into and I always fall back to this impression of coldness and distance. Which itself is fascinating in that the impression that the album creates is really unique. I couldn't connect to it in the beginning and was initially rather disappointed with it (I like most of Art Zoyd quite a lot and I don't usually need time to get into their mood) so was expecting a similar response here but instead - ice mountains in the distance. I've come back to this album more often than I initially believed, though, and learned to appreciate it in its uniqueness.

As this is a quite extreme experience, the center 3 stars rating seems quite strange, but the thing is, it has to be at least 3 for the uniqueness and fascination but cannot be more because still there is this feeling that I cannot quite connect with it and in any case my recommendation can only be: try out at your own risk.

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 100 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Another triumph for Symphony X!

The band have come a long way since their early days when The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and V: The New Mythology Suite made the band a staple name among the progressive metal fans. They even managed to attract the attention of non-metal fans with The Odyssey (specifically it's opus title track) and Paradise Lost. I was personally not a big fans of those last two album since I felt that Symphony X were losing their heavy metal and neoclassical metal influences in exchange for the more straight symphonic metal. Luckily, the release of Iconoclast changed all that by featuring some of the band's heaviest material to date while toning down the symphonic metal side of their sound.

After another four years where Russell Allen managed to keep busy by releasing a bunch of Adrenaline Mob albums plus one new Allen/Lande and Level 10 release respectively, Symphony X suddenly returned with another heavy set of tracks. Underworld sounded initially as business as usual for me since the record continued their classic mix of heavy metal and power metal with a slight shift towards the latter while still maintaining their progressive metal aura.

Two differences that were very clear between Iconoclast and Underworld where the slight shift in tone from almost thrash sounding riffs, on the former, to heavy metal and the other differences being the shorter songs. After a few more spins of the record it was also clear that Underworld was a much more accessible record with most songs featuring memorable melodic hooks and choruses. The first single, Nevermore, being the only exception due to it's strong riffs and verses but completely anticlimactic chorus that ruins the momentum that the rest of the composition manages to build up.

After that weaker intro the album actually gets better with each new track. The title track, Charon and Swansong being some of the highlights in this very solid mix of compositions. It all comes to a triumphant finish with the album's final track. Appropriately titled, Legend managed to completely knock me off my feet by delivering one of the bands stronger tracks in their entire discography. Yes folks, I'm talking about the same quality as Communion And The Oracle and the title opus from The Divine Wings Of Tragedy! The only downside is that the track is merely 6,5 minutes long but I definitely respect Symphony X for not milking the track and instead making it straight and to the point.

If you're a fan of Iconoclast then this album will be an easy purchase for you. Fans of the early Symphony X will probably also enjoy Underworld since there is a stronger power metal emphasis here than what the band have had in years, still I respect them for not taking this influence too far. Hence, you won't find another Of Sins and Shadows or Evolution (The Grand Design) here. What you will find are a bunch of really awesome tracks that are extremely catchy and heavy while maintaining the band's signature progressive metal sound.

***** star songs: Underworld (5:48) Charon (6:07) Legend (6:30)

**** star songs: Without You (5:51) Kiss Of Fire (5:10) Hell And Back (9:24) In My Darkest Hour (4:22) Run With The Devil (5:38) Swansong (7:28)

*** star songs: Overture (2:13) Nevermore (5:30)

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 Silence by JONO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Silence
Jono Crossover Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars After showing the world just what Jono were capable of with Requiem, the band went on to expand on the same principles while adding more depth and grandiosity to their performance!

While Requiem was an excellent album, I felt that there was too much of a contrast between the faster melodically inclined material, the ballads and symphonic compositions that felt like they were performed by a completely different band. Even though I highly enjoy all sides of the band's repertoire, there was a lack of coherency between them. I am happy to announce that this is not the case with Silence where every single composition feels like it has been performed by the same collective. The album features a clear ambition to unify the many sides of the band, in some cases within one and the same performance.

I have been mesmerized by this band's ability to constantly create high quality melodically driven compositions boosted by equally skilled musicianship. Silence has quite a few of these moments scattered all throughout the album with Wasting Time, Your Bread and The One To Blame being the most obvious examples of instantly recognizable tracks that one just can't stop listening to. But even though these shorter and quirkier compositions manage to build the groundwork for an excellent album, it's actually some of the quiet moments that make this album a true gem for fans of progressively inclined rock music. I'm talking about tracks like magnificent Clear and the seven minute Opus which is a multi-suite in the great tradition of Bohemian Rhapsody. It took me quite a few spins in order to uncover the magic behind these two compositions so don't be impatient if you don't happen to enjoy them at first.

Jono manages to keep their unique sound throughout Silence but there are a few moments that sound as if their influences get the limelight, especially on Turn Around which sounds very influenced by ABBA while In My Life picks at Supertramp and Queen. Overall, these influences don't take away from my experience since the material and the performance make these compositions sound very original in their own right.

I highly recommend Silence to fans of art rock bands like Supertramp, 10cc, A.C.T and Queen. It will be interesting to see if Jono will be able to top this album in the future, especially considering that they have so far never managed to disappoint me with their material!

***** star songs: Wasting Time (2:49) Your Bread (3:38) In My Life (5:00) Clear (4:58) The One To Blame (3:03)

**** star songs: Man Of Misery (3:02) Can We Make It (4:17) Turn Around (4:56) Opus (7:09) Josefina (1:17)

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars After the well acclaimed first release, Perfect Beings had the task to continue on a high note with their follow up. Did they succeed? From the first song, the bass and the guitar are high in the mix, it's kind of heavy in the Cliffhanger style. The second track is very different with some lighter pop melody with piano, female and male voices. "The Love Inside" bring some heavy parts after some piano lines, but there's always that light music moment before a interesting instrumental break with some dynamic guitar and keyboard playing.In the song "Volcanic Streams" we can hear exotic sounds and some fuzzy guitar sound.that has a nice vocal harmonies break in the middle. "Go" start like a 80's style of Pop Rock that is followed with a Crimsonesque experimental moment ending with a impressive crescendo. "Cause and Eeffect" is back to the high bass sound and dark mood in a fast tempo. In conclusion, this is another very good CD form the band, maybe not quiet as strong as the first one, time will tell. If you like nice vocals harmonies, some Prog Pop Rock that flirt with the Yes sound, and that incorporate some more experimental sections, you will enjoy Perfect Beings. 3.6 stars

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 Way Of The King by SUNRISE AURANAUT album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.38 | 9 ratings

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Way Of The King
Sunrise Auranaut Crossover Prog

Review by Quizzus

1 stars This sounds more like a demo or even sketches of an album/ The biggest gripe for me is guitar - instrument is constantly out of tune, playing is very sloppy and choice of notes is, to put it mildly, questionable. This is especially true for acoustic guitar, which is way out there. Drum machine is also all over the place, and again samples sound and overall balance are not very pleasing. Keyboard-related things are another story, this is done quite well. Compositions are not that bad too, some nice Camel-ish feeling. I understand that this is one man effort, but it MIGHT have been a nice album, but it just not there yet. Just skip it.

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 The Breaking Of The World by GLASS HAMMER album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 74 ratings

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The Breaking Of The World
Glass Hammer Symphonic Prog

Review by Jackaranda77

5 stars The Breaking Of the World is Progressive Rock at it's finest. It's obvious from the opening of "Mythopoeia," the first track, that the level of musicianship here is world class indeed. Every band member shines throughout, very reminicent of Yes in their heyday, when every instrument was telling a story of it's own yet somehow it all fit together and created something of a symphony. That's what Glass Hammer does here.

The big highlights for me are the absolutely ingenius "Third Floor," a song written about a seductive female elevator voice that the band turns into delving into the soul of the passenger as well as the elevator with that voice. It's at the same time deep and humorous. And throughout, as always, the music is stunning. "Haunted" is another favorite, featuring the beautiful and, in this case, haunting voice of Susie Bogdanowicz. "Nothing Everything" is another favorite, featuring Carl Groves writing and singing. Babylon and North Wind are also very strong tracks. All throughout the music is very proggy. It may take the listener a few times listening to really get into this album, but that is my personal measure of how good an album is. If I get into it quickly, it usually doesn't stick with me as long The ones that take a few listens, and then you really get into it, those are the best in the long run, and The Breaking Of the World fits that decription. All in all a fantastic piece of work.

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 Salisbury by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.16 | 590 ratings

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Salisbury
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by Cactus Choir

5 stars This is one of those records that could only have been made in the late 60s/early 70s when experiments with epic concept pieces and orchestras were de rigueur. Everyone from The Nice, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Yes, Colosseum and, perhaps more surprisingly, Uriah Heep was getting in on the act. Salisbury is one of the more successful examples in the genre and a real curio/standout in their discography.

The album opens with the menacing Bird of Prey which features some impressively spooky backing vocals (Heep were known as the Beach Boys of heavy metal), banshee wails from lead singer David Byron plus a mellotron all adding to the drama. The sudden shift to a light-hearted coda complete Hammond organ and "ooh-aah" backing vocals does seem a bit out of sync with the first part, however. The bucolic The Park drifts along very pleasingly with jazzy organ and guitar interludes, while the Time To Live packs a grungy and blues-oriented punch. Lady in Black is a catchy folk singalong that conjures up visions of the mist-covered aftermath of a battlefield, while High Priestess is an upbeat pop-metal song that sounds a bit like 10cc from the Sheet Music era (probably the dual guitars).

The highpoint and centrepiece of the album is the 17-minute title track. The thought of a band like Heep attempting a lengthy, orchestrated concept piece might produce sniggers from some of a more cynical nature, but this is a triumph and certainly a cut above Pink Floyd's similar experiment on Atom Heart Mother from the same year. Mick Box excels with some great extended wah-wah guitar soloing and the whole band get the chance to show their instrumental dexterity, with the brass and woodwind arrangements complementing them perfectly. Despite the length there are enough musical ideas to maintain interest throughout the piece. The album as a whole deserves five stars because there is really not a poor track, and it's just a shame that they never attempted anything this varied or ambitious again.

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 Aesthesis by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 6 ratings

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Aesthesis
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by crashandridemusic

4 stars Dead Letter Circus' latest album "Aesthesis" is more worthy of a listen than any of their prior albums.

Simply put, aesthesis is a sensation or feeling, a perfect word to describe this album. Relying more than ever on the listener's emotion, Dead Letter Circus has created an album that will set them apart from other Australian prog. Instead of the more refined, technical sound that often appears in the genre, the album is much more melodic and softer. Often driven by an acoustic sound, songs like "In Plain Sight" and "Silence" steer the band in an entirely different direction. Included are beautiful moments of electronic undertones that add depth and character to nearly every song. I am impressed with the change from this album to their previous album "The Catalyst Fire." Even the different in album titles foreshadow the change, the previous relying on a passionate listener, the current on an emotional one.

Overall, "Aesthesis" is a much more radio-friendly album than anything they've released. Continuing to use darker lyrical themes (especially the ode to sexual abuse in "Silence"), Dead Letter Circus takes a safer, subdued approach. Enlisting the help of producers who've worked with bands like Muse, Paramore, and Deftones, what results is an unsurprising shift to a lighter sonic experience. The first two songs alone prove this change, utilizing more acoustic guitar than what I've heard from their entire discography. Many of the songs are poppier than typical progressive rock, including "While You Wait," "YANA," and "Show Me." It's in these songs that singer Kim Benzie shines, with his already lighter and higher register vocals that perfectly match the upbeat nature. One of my favorite songs on this album happens to be one of its lighter, atmospheric tracks. "The Burning Number" comprises of an atmospheric introduction, containing only vocals and sound manipulation. Later, the song introduces a closed-wah pedaled rhythm guitar which emits a very hollow and deep tone that isn't heard too often in the genre. It's a very cool sounding song, one that I would love to hear live if they ever make their way to the United States.

Despite the softness of this album, "Aesthesis" still has its moments of sheer rock. That signature reverb-heavy guitar, the bombastic snare, and falsetto wails are unleashed in at least half of the tracks. Reminiscent of the dual guitar work from the band Circa Survive, guitarists Clint Vincent and Tom Skerlj perfectly compliment each other's rhythms. "The Lie We Live" contains that echoed rhythm guitar taken straight from their prior releases, while "Change The Concept" allows the listener to head bang to technical drum beats. With that throwback to that classic Dead Letter Circus sound comes my only complaint: the album is too short. Not following the stereotypical requirement of longer albums and fewer songs, "Aesthesis" is the antithesis of a progressive rock album, but still uniquely falls into the definition. I feel sharing the traditional progressive sound with the modern radio-friendly sound will result in a wider audience, though, ultimately leading to national and international recognition. When all is said and done, this move was the right one.

The album closes with a combination of the new and the old, an atmospheric yet heavy "Born (Part 2)." After moments of synthesizers and singing, clean guitar riffs engulf your ears until the song's chorus. It's here that the track becomes memorable, with its catchy lyrics, muted guitar rhythm and airy lead guitar. The final moments leave the listener satisfied and wanting more, a perfect excuse to hit the repeat button.

"Aesthesis" is definitely a hit, a softer addition to an ambitious discography. Not straying too far from who they are, fans of Dead Letter Circus will not be disappointed, and new listeners will be delighted when discovering this album.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

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 200 Years After The Last War by OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.91 | 71 ratings

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200 Years After The Last War
Omega Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I don't have a whole lot of Omega albums in my collection, probably due to my local record stores don't stock them too often. I often wonder if it's just lack of any Hungarians or Americans of Hungarian descent living in Oregon that has a lot to do with it. Probably. I could just as easily go online and buy them. I did find a copy of 200 Years After the Last War at a Eugene record store, a German copy on Bacillus, naturally, and it's by far the best album I have ever heard from them. Two songs are English language remakes of stuff from Omega 5: Szvit, that is "Suite" and "You Don't Know". "Suite" is a side-length suite, hence the name, and while the original is still great, they improved by the presences of Mellotron instead of real strings. So it ends up sounding a bit like the Moody Blues meets Uriah Heep. The more calm moments remind me of the Moody Blues, the more heavy moments, with Laszo Benko giving some heavily fuzzed organ (in the Jon Lord and Ken Hensley tradition) gives the Heep reminder. Then you have the original "Nem Tudom a Neved" called "Help to Find Me" (the Hungarian language version later appeared in 1975 on Omega 6: Nem Tudom a Neved). This is another great song, particularly dig the extended creative synth solo. The title track is English language version of a song from an album they were doing around 1972 that was never released at the time (opinion being that the communist censors rejected it, the other was due to Gabor Presser's departure for Locomotiv GT). name escaped me. This album was their second Western recording, and I have to say this is great stuff, and a great place to start if you don't know Omega.

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 Volume Two by SOFT MACHINE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 364 ratings

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Volume Two
The Soft Machine Canterbury Scene

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

5 stars Gone are founding members DAEVID ALLEN and Kevin AYERS. The remaining members decide to produce an album as a trio with Robert WYATT on drums and vocals, Mike RATLEDGE on keyboards and flute, Hugh HOPPER on bass and alto sax, and special guest, Hugh's brother, Brian HOPPER on soprano and tenor saxes. What unveils is a masterpiece of supremely melodic and humorous exercises and experiments in modern and psychedelic jazz pop. I find the album eminently enjoyable to this day--one of my favorite start-to-finish 'adventures' in music listening. Each song is interesting for its experimental nature as well as for its lyrical content and instrumental performances. Robert is quite a talented drummer, Mike a wonderfully melodic piano and keyboard player, and the Hopper boys add quite a bit of colour and harmonic beauty. I don't really want to go through each of the seventeen songs, nor do I want to name my favorite or the "five star" songs as to my ears and mind the album is one continuous play experience, but if you really twist my arm I'd go out there to say that "Dada Was Here" is a wonderful composite example of all of the best qualities of this album--with the additional highlight of having Robert singing in Spanish! and that Side One is more engaging and more melodic than the more experimental and more instrumental Side Two--and yet I find the jazzier experimentations fascinating!

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 Tutto A Memoria by SELDON album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Tutto A Memoria
Seldon Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars Formed in Florence, 2008, Italian band Seldon take their name from Hari Seldon, a character that appeared in American author Isaac Asimov's `Foundation' series. The band released their debut album `Tutto A Memoria' (All in Memory) in 2013, and it presents a frequently tough rock sound thanks to modern harder guitar, with traditional RPI qualities to be found in the charismatic ravishing vocals and plenty of colourful vintage keyboard flavours. It's a confident first impression, where melodic song-writing is given equal importance to instrumental flair.

Opener `Alla Mia Et' is a catchy tune wrapped in a gutsy rock backing with keyboard player and singer Marco Baroncini's lively vocal rolling over a sprinkling of electric piano, grim mellotron washes and Francesco Bottai's driving electric guitars. Heavy guitar blasts with subtle dirty grooves and sneaky Hammond bursts ripple through `Schiavi', `Senza Una Ragione' is a more mellow and romantic break where the glistening electric piano hints of the Canterbury Sound bands, bluesy slinking guitars with a sprightly vocal skip through `Nottambuli' and mud-thick organ and grinding heavy guitar pounds down on `Secoli'.

`Vedo Lo Spazio' is a melancholic and reflective piano ballad that makes for a nice break from the bluster and noise of the previous piece, the title track `Tutto A Memoria' is playfully creeping with Marco's sinister lip-smacking vocal malevolence, and `Dare/Avere' is a fun and upbeat Hammond organ sprinkled foot-tapping lightly funky groover. Darker mystery returns with growing tension on `E Guerra Sia', where eerie electric piano, Carlo Bonamico's slithering bass, Cristiano Bottai's busy incessant drumming and a purring crooned vocal behind gothic symphonic synths and strangled heavy guitar make it the most ambitious piece of the album that really shows what the band can do. Sophisticated closer `Come Aver Piet' opens with uplifting piano before the whole band rises to the occasion and delivers a stirring instrumental ending.

Although not overloaded with traditional RPI qualities, Seldon are comparable to other modern Italian bands that take small aspects of that style and apply it to a tougher modern sound like Civico 23 and Le Porte non Aperte. But there's no shortage of talent on display from this skilled group of musicians, and hopefully this is just the beginning of recorded output from them. There's so much potential emerging on this album that the group will hopefully only keep building on, and `Tutto A Memoria' is recommended for listeners who respond to and appreciate well-crafted song-based progressive rock.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four as encouragement for great things to come from a promising Italian band!

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 Darkest Before Dawn by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Darkest Before Dawn
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars This is another of those post-Apocalyptic, ethereal Roach recordings where the smell of death from the trenches creeps up your nose.

Either that, or it's a happy easy listening album by the beach, as you read your favourite book whilst half asleep. It's all down to each individual listener.

Everyone will have differing opinions about this super-long, minimal, one track 74 minute recording by the 'Yoda' of Isolationist Ambience. It's either grim and creepy or soothing and relaxing depending on the your state of mind. As is usual from his output at this time, Roach displays an undiluted and relentless approach to the final outcome.

To me it sounds like the vacuum of outer space itself. Like that bit in 'Alien' where the 'Nostromo' silently plummets through space. It's an all consuming and haunting work using only ghostly electronics played at 1mph. This isn't the type of album that is rewarded by close listening. It's most definitely a background soundtrack for those moments where your nightmares are about to take centre stage.

'Darkest Before Dawn' utilises only keyboards. Keyboard chords that are stretched so long that they become drowsy and sleepy. This is no bad thing, as they create an atmosphere of doom.

Despite the unimaginative cover - which I have to admit - sums up the sound within with its black morphing into grey. This is one of Steve Roach's best recordings. Produced at a time when the likes of 'Lull', 'Lustmord' and 'Voice of Eye' were at their peak, this is every bit as good as the aforementioned and sounds effortless in its construction.

The sounds rise and fall like celestial waves amongst thick fog in an alien ocean of sulphur. It's a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff staring into the abyss of nothingness. There's no beginning and no end. Just a sea of slowly evolving waves, without beat. Isolationism in the extreme. 'Brian Eno' fans will love this. This however, has an underlying threat despite being so laid back.

'Darkest Before Dawn' is an album with no meaning other than its own presence alone. A solitary beacon of life in a dead Universe. Beautiful.

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 Into The Wild by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.52 | 112 ratings

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Into The Wild
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars For the most part, this recent Uriah Heep release is a hard rock album first and a prog album second. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. "Nail On The Head" opens the album with some AC/DC-esque riffing. The song is actually very similar to "Back In Black" now that I think about it. The album then carries on to more hard rock songs in the vein of Deep Purple or Rainbow. Some highlights included the drumming in "Money Talks" and the song "Into The Wild", which is one of the album's finest tracks. In fact, "Into The Wild", an uptempo rocker about a desperado on the lam, is probably one of the best rock tracks I've heard released this decade. There are two more progressive songs on the album, "Trail of Diamonds" and "Kiss of Freedom", which are both excellent, featuring fantasy vocals and incredible vocal performances from Bernie Shaw.

"Into The Wild" isn't a masterpiece by any means but it's certainly a strong album and the best Uriah Heep material I've heard since the 70's. 3 stars.

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 The Magician's Birthday by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.82 | 448 ratings

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The Magician's Birthday
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars If anyone ever wanted to know what a typical classic Uriah Heep album sounded like, this would be a fine candidate for that title. It contains all of the elements that the band is best known for: heavy-hitting hard rock from guitarist Mick Box, romantic fantasy-themed lyrics delivered beautifully by David Byron, a couple of ballads here and there and some fairly standard keyboard performances interwoven between Mick Box's guitar licks. If you love everything I've just described, then you will find it all delivered well on this album. The reason why I only give this album 3 stars is because aside from these facets, there's little that's memorable about the album. The only truly magnificent track is the epic "The Magician's Birthday", which undoubtedly features Mick Box's strongest guitar work, with a nearly 4 minute guitar solo, as well as some of the band's best fantasy storytelling. So unless you're a Uriah Heep mega fan, you certainly won't be making this release one of your desert island discs.

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 Deep Purple In Concert by DEEP PURPLE album cover Live, 1980
4.41 | 97 ratings

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Deep Purple In Concert
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars If there's one Deep Purple live album that every classic rock fanatic has to own, it's this one.

Featuring two complete BBC shows from the Mark II era, it shows the depth, talent and unrelenting energy of the band's live performances in a better manner than any other live recording of their's I've heard, even (dare I say it) "Made In Japan".

The second show, from 1972, features a setlist that includes most of the songs from "Machine Head" and therefore has a strong overlap with "Made In Japan". "Highway Star" and "Strange Kind of Woman" are both roughly comparable to the Japanese versions. It's with the next two tracks that the perks of owning this album become apparent. "Maybe I'm A Leo" and "Never Before" are both Machine Head numbers that were seldom included in live sets and the versions here do them both great justice, with strong jamming on both. Another upside for "Never Before" is the radio announcer's funny introduction to "Lazy", "Here's another track from Machine Head, this is called Lazy, which might mean it's a slow one...probably isn't...it's not...".

"Lazy" then promptly kicks off and from the get-go it already proves itself superior to the "Made In Japan" version with Jon Lord's organ intro alone. His playing is much more in accordance with the beauty, atmosphere and depth of the studio recording, unlike the Made In Japan version which sounds much more like R2-D2 having a seizure. My only complaint about this rendition is that the harmonica being played over Ritchie Blackmore's soloing is quite distracting but it's still a great song. The show carries on with "Space Truckin'" and "Smoke On The Water", which are both similar to their Japanese counterparts. This version of "Space Truckin'" has a slight edge for me just because of Jon Lord's funky organ intro before the main riff starts as opposed to Ian Paice's hi- hat solo from Japan. The set ends with an energetic cover of Little Richard's "Lucille", a fun, strong end to a great show.

The first disc strays away into less explored territory. Taken from 1970, it opens with two numbers from "In Rock": "Speed King", which is fast and loud in classic Deep Purple fashion, and one of the group's more progressive pieces, "Child In Time". As with many of the other "Made In Japan" tracks, this version of the song is just as strong, powerful and thrilling to listen to. The band then ends with two extended jam songs from the Mark I days, the instrumental "Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root". "Wring That Neck" is probably the masterpiece of both shows. A hard rocking minor key blues, it shows off some of both Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord's finest neoclassical, blues and hard rock jamming abilities. It stretches on for 19 minutes, which is the ideal length for the song as it allows enough time to fully expand on all the musical ideas its template allows for while not stretching on too long as with some other versions I've heard. "Mandrake Root" finishes off the show with some jamming that's not unlike that in "Space Truckin'", though some jazz elements protrude.

The production of both shows is good for live recordings of the time, just slightly under par of "Made In Japan" as the drums can be a bit loud in the mix. In short, "In Concert" offers all of the excitement, talent and spectacle that has made "Made In Japan" one of the premiere live albums of all time, plus a little more.

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 Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop withTerry Bozzio and Tony Hymas by BECK, JEFF album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.44 | 67 ratings

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Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop withTerry Bozzio and Tony Hymas
Jeff Beck Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars 3.5 stars really

After "Flash", "Guitar Shop" definitely shows Jeff Beck back in his element and shows a drastic increase in musical quality. The album isn't a return to his jazz fusion heyday, however; it instead shows a movement towards more straightforward rock sounds.

Musically, much of the album combines funk, big band and hard rock sounds with flashy 80's-sounding keyboards and heavy drumming and Jeff Beck's six string musings sprinkled on top. These songs are somewhat reminiscent of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani's 80's and early 90's rock work, though with a much heavier focus on keyboards. "Sling Shot", for example, wouldn't sound too out of place on "Alien Love Secrets". My favourite of the rock tracks is "Savoy", a funkier song that reminds me mildly of the theme song from Home Improvement (Huu-eeh?)

However, there are three tracks that take on a much different vibe and will appeal a lot more to prog and jazz fusion fans. The first is "Behind The Veil", a softer, reggae groove with atmospheric guitars similar to "The Pump" off of "There And Back". The other two are even more spacey and light in true Beck fashion. "Two Rivers" is a soft, slow-moving ballad and "Where Were You", my favourite track from "Guitar Shop", is a chilling, percussion-less guitar solo piece with light keyboard accompaniment.

Altogether, "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop" is very good but non-essential listening for prog fans, though fans of Jeff Beck and other solo guitarists will definitely want to pick this one up. I give it 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 due to the limited prog-like content.

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 Fragmentropy by T album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.32 | 40 ratings

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Fragmentropy
T Neo-Prog

Review by robbob

4 stars Another good work by T.

If the last one was quite Camelised ..this one is very much.

Yes....I really loved very much Nod and a Wink and Rajaz from Camel....and this album is like the natural continuing to those works. So a combination between Thomas Thielen and Andy Lattimer may resurrect the best Camel

Of course not the only inspiration ....there is original modern prog rock here ...some touches of The Psychedelic Ensemble too...and other modern symphonic rock bands...(US ,Karfagen....maybe too)

The stories are quite interesting....so a good combination of good lyrics and good music.

My rating between 4 and 4,5 stars.

4 very well deserved stars. Congratulations

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 One More Red Night: Live In Chicago (with John Wetton) by DISTRICT 97 album cover Live, 2014
3.04 | 7 ratings

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One More Red Night: Live In Chicago (with John Wetton)
District 97 Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars DISTRICT 97 is a young American band that has been praised by one or two musicians from the King Crimson camp, or so I've heard. This live album was my first acquaintance with the band. I certainly would have preferred it to be with their own material. The set is completely devoted to the songs of KING CRIMSON (the John Wetton era, plus '21st Century Schizoid Man' originating from the 1969 debut) and the vocals are by Wetton himself, so... For starters, there's no use of searching any notably new point of view to these classic prog songs, even if the band's own female vocalist Leslie Hunt can be heard a little, too. Too little.

The skillful musicians of District 97 do their job extremely well and very faithfully to the originals. Only in 'Starless' I miss the mighty Mellotron sound (there's a little hollow synth backing instead), and that song is somewhat watered down here also due to the abridged song version. Wetton is in good shape though.

I'm satisfied with 'The Night Watch' and 'Book of Saturday', two of my Wetton era Crimso favourites besides 'Starless'. And with 9 songs I suppose the song output of the era is being covered almost completely -- there aren't any instrumentals. But frankly, to me this kind of a CD is hardly nothing else than a curiosity, quite useless in practice. OK, now I know this band is an excellent cover act of King Crimson material. Apparently too blinded by the respect for both Wetton and the music, to bring their own material /personality /individuality as a group to the set. If it was a DVD it would be another case, much more justified as a release.

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 Emergence by GODSTICKS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Emergence
Godsticks Crossover Prog

Review by crashandridemusic

— First review of this album —
4 stars Hailing from South Wales, Godsticks are Darran Charles (vocals/guitar/keys), Steve Roberts (drums/keys), and Dan Nelson (bass). Despite their 'progressive' tag, they are much more than that, ranging even towards that grungy hard rock and metal sound reminiscent of great rock bands from the 90's and 00's like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. This is easily evidenced in the opening track 'Below the Belt,' with those deep, chuggy chords in the verse that hit you below the belt, and with a bridge section similar to older Riverside material. But just because 'Emergence' contains such a deep sound doesn't mean it is universally low. 'All That Remains' is by far the softest song on this album, containing acoustic guitars, subdued drum beats, orchestral instruments, and even guest vocalist Kaysha Louvain. The lighter feel is inserted directly into the middle of this album, the perfect interlude for the second half of this aggressive album.

The keyboards in this album are so subtle, they almost go unnoticed. Contributed by Darran and Steve, there are plenty of moments where lighter and higher tones pass through the headphones, standing out from the low sound of the album if your listening for it. Take the intro to 'Ruin,' where the keyboards are at their most apparent. Even with the arrangement, the listener can't help but focus on the high hat and snare of the drum set. Songs like 'Exit Stage Right' and the instrumental 'Leave Or Be Left' have beautiful moments with the keyboards complementing groovy bass lines, something I'd like to see more of with their next album. I feel the presence of the keyboards are the perfect palate cleanser, considering the album would be repetitively and consistently boring with its bassy atmosphere.

I love to hear Darran's chromatic voice dancing around the scales used in every song. His delivery is very unique, residing somewhere between mellow and energetic. Despite having a relatively narrow range, his low- to-mid register voice perfectly blends with the naturally deep sound of the album. The quick paced and deeper voice of 'One Percent' perfectly complements the lyrical content, focusing on that 'one percent' we've all heard of in the news. My only criticism with his vocal style is it seems Darran is trying to get too many words out with too little time. Perhaps fewer words or longer verses would solve the problem, but I nonetheless enjoy hearing him sing.

The orchestrations of 'Emergence' are weirdly complex, since it took me a few listens to realize how sophisticated the album really is. When at first I heard the continually rough and fuzzy rhythm guitar, I was later corrected when focusing on the individual components themselves. Darran's guitar style, although primarily rhythm-centric, are clearly more melodic than they lead on. Intricate fills and harmonies are incorporated throughout the album, especially in the choruses and pre-verses in the song 'Much Sinister.' The same goes with 'One Percent,' a song containing plenty of lead guitar overlapping a strong rhythm. Its catchy riffs and unforgettable outro make this song the most striking off the album, and is a song I always look forward to when playing this album. Much of the guitar on this album follows suit, with seemingly simple structures, that is, until you sit down and hear them. The drums, on the other hand, come across as complex as they sound (at least to me). There are so many powerful drum moments on 'Emergence,' but I especially love Steve's presence on the title track. Powerful, technical, and beautiful.

Album closer 'Lack of Scrutiny' is an interesting track, being one of the most non-Godsticks sounding songs on the album. With its eastern-influenced scales (a la Between The Buried And Me), the incorporation of horn instruments, and the drawn-out instrumental intro, the song is the most unique track on 'Emergence.' For an album that utilizes a similar formula for every track, 'Lack of Scrutiny' throws that comfortable feeling out the window. Because of the track's length (lasting nearly seven minutes), Godsticks takes advantage of the time to experiment as much as they wanted. The result is truly a gift, as the listener experiences the most dazing guitar rhythm, most prominent bass guitar, and soaring vocals on the album. What a great way to close off an album!

A solid performance, I urge everyone to purchase Godsticks' 'Emergence,' which will be available on September 4th.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

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 From Genesis to Revelation by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.58 | 880 ratings

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From Genesis to Revelation
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

2 stars Review N 12

'From Genesis To Revelation' is the debut studio album by Genesis and was released in 1969. It was produced by Jonathan King, who discovered them in 1967 while they were pupils at the Charterhouse School. Despite be their first work, in some Genesis' catalogs, this debut album doesn't appear as part of the official group's discography.

The original line up of Genesis consisted of Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, without any drummer. When their demo tapes caught the attention of King, with the addition of Chris Stewart on drums a schoolmate of them, they recorded their first single 'The Silent Sun'. 'From Genesis To Revelation' was issued several months later, in the same year.

'From Genesis To Revelation' has thirteen tracks. All songs were written by Gabriel, Phillips, Banks and Rutherford. The first track 'Where The Sour Turns To Sweet' is a very interesting song and, in my humble opinion, is one of the best and one of the few really good songs on the album. We can even say that this song has the seeds of what will be the future of their musical sound. The second track 'In The Beginning' isn't really a bad track. It's a nice rock song with some interesting musical parts. However, the sound quality of the song is a little bit poor and the developing of the song isn't particularly brilliant. The third track 'Fireside Song' represents also, in my humble opinion, one of the best musical moments on the album. It's a very beautiful song, very pleasant and nice to listen to. I particularly like the piano parts and the acoustic passages. Even the orchestra sounds beautifully on the song. The fourth track 'The Serpent' starts quiet and very well, with its bass line, good drumming and beautiful acoustic parts. However, it sounds too much to the 60's and makes me remember strongly The Beatles and The Doors. It's not a bad song but I can't see anything special on it. The fifth track 'Am I Very Wrong?' is one of the highlights of the album. It's a very good song with beautiful musical passages. The piano parts are great and very pretty to listen to, and they can move with me. This song has also one of the best vocal performances on the album and shows the real skills of Gabriel as a singer. The sixth track 'In The Wilderness' represents also, for me, another highlight on the album. This is a very beautiful song with excellent orchestration. The strings parts and the piano solo are very nice and bring to the song a very special touch. It's also a song with a brilliant vocal performance by Gabriel. The seventh track 'The Conqueror' is a song that opens with a guitar repeating the main theme of 'In The Wilderness'. It has some nice acoustic and piano parts but the harmony isn't particularly brilliant. In reality, this is a weak song, a little bit repetitive, and with nothing special on it. The eighth track 'In Hiding' is another weak song. Unfortunately, it has the same problems of the most of the songs on the album. It's also a repetitive song and where the theme doesn't develop very well. The Gabriel's voice sounds nice, but the rest of the song doesn't deserve more attention. The ninth track 'One Day' is fortunately better than 'The Conqueror' and 'The Hiding', are. This is a very nice song where all the musical instruments are performed nicely, and especially the piano and the bass parts are very good. The tenth track 'Window' is unfortunately another non memorable song. It has some interesting musical parts like the acoustic and piano parts, which are very pleasant to listen to, but only that is interesting. The rest of the song isn't also particularly brilliant. The eleventh track 'In Limbo' is another perfectly vulgar song, without any musical idea and that sounds too much to the 60's. It's another song with anything special on it. This is probably my less favourite song on the album. The twelfth track 'Silent Sun', as I wrote above, was released as the debut single of the band. So, we can say that it represents the beginning of all. Musically, we can say that it's a fusion between folk and pop rock with the heavy use of orchestral strings. Personally, I must confess that I like particularly of this song and it represents, for me, another highlight on the album. The thirteenth track 'A Place To Call My Own' is a very short track. It isn't also, in my humble opinion, a brilliant song. However, it has very nice performances by Gabriel and Banks, which shows their real musical talents.

Conclusion: I'm a big Genesis fan, and for me, Genesis is one of the best progressive bands ever, and is also my favourite progressive band too. Despite, 'From Genesis To Revelation' have some real very good songs like 'Where The Sour Turns Sweet', 'Fireside Song', 'Am I Very Wrong?', 'In The Wilderness', 'One Day' and 'Silent Sun', the album is in general very weak. The problem of this album is that it sounds like more an album of the 60's, and its music has more in common with the Moody Blues and the early Bee Gees, than the future sound of Genesis as a progressive group, especially if we compare it with their second studio album 'Trespass', released only one year later. So, despite this debut be not properly a bad album, it has nothing to do with the great and influential prog band as Genesis are.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 I Heard You Listening by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 100 ratings

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I Heard You Listening
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by duclos

4 stars Just when I expected Echolyn to take a well deserved victory lap of live dates after their 2012 self-titled masterpiece they just...well...kept on writing and recording. Seven years in the making, that album hangs like a shadow over this new one which took a brisk three. I've been listening to the wonderfully recorded album in it's 24bit/96kHz version for months now and it's a beautiful album that really shows Echolyn really not caring to live up to it's prog-laden roots but just to writing great, interesting, heartfelt songs. This will hurt them in the accumulation of prog accolades but Echolyn are past that. What you get now is the amazing groove laid down by Paul Ramsey with his partner Tom falling right into place beside him, the more and more warm and tasty keyboard stylings of Chris Buzby and the dual lead vocalists Brett Kull and Ray Weston emoting gorgeously throughout.

The album is strong with a nice even keel of quality throughout. In light of the many tracks that came out separately after the 2012 album (only at Bandcamp) you get the impression that if those are "not good enough" for an album or even that they just didn't fit somewhere that the band have a really high threshold for what makes it onto an album-what's worth working on to completion and to commit to a collection of songs to be called an Echolyn album. So the meticulousness shown on I HEARD YOU LISTENING is well appreciated. The energy on "Warjazz" and the cool soul on the verses of "Carried Home" stand out the most for me as the rest of the album is just solid HIGH-standard issue Echolyn. All the pitch slide harmonies and other patented Echolynisms are there.

If you read the "making of" on their website or have heard interviews lately, it's inspiring how much they really love what they do and have such strong friendships that inform the music they make. The attention to detail make this album worth having in your collection and it's a welcome addition to their canon of music.

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 2973 MMCMLXXIII La Nemica dei Ricordi by SPETTRI album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 12 ratings

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2973 MMCMLXXIII La Nemica dei Ricordi
Spettri Heavy Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars It's amazing to think this band was founded already in 1964 - and half a century later they have recorded a strong Heavy Prog album which continues the concept of their vintage eponymous album from 1972. And they have all the energy and inspiration to do it 100% all the way, as if there wasn't many decades in between. Yes, this music is totally retro in style and sound. Both the instruments used and the studio work (playing live on a 2-inch tape recorder with very few overtakes) are the same as in 1972.

Although Heavy isn't my cup of tea, I actually like this one as a representation of the genre, maybe exactly because it's so old school style, in the vein of classic BLACK SABBATH and DEEP PURPLE with lots of Hammond. There's also a notable ELP influence in the keyboard playing. Add some saxophone and flute (bringing occasional associations to VDGG) and you really have a full blown Heavy/RPI near-masterpiece guaranteed to please the listeners of vintage recordings of this kind. There are Symphonic Prog elements, maybe there should be a bit more in the songwriting before one could call this a masterpiece of Heavy Prog, but the music is firmly rooted in the Heavy soil. That is, the tempo is mostly quite fast and the vocals slightly angry - but luckily not plain aggressive or growly like nowadays so often.

Not that I can follow the story at all, but a few words on the concept: "Spettri" (1972; haven't heard that album) was about a young man searching for an answer and an alternative to the violence etc, and as the answer he gets in the afterlife(?) is the reflection of himself, he goes crazy. Or something like that. "In this new record we started from where the story ended... 1001 years after, in 2973, not much has changed... he tries a new journey that will lead him to realize that nothing will ever change unless he wins his fears and interior battles first. While walking at night on a solitary beach a seagull shows him the way to a mysterious ship which will take him on a journey that at last will land him on a new level of consciousness." Pretty deep and esoteric...

The attempt to follow the track list (and therefor to talk of separate tracks) is confusing since the list in the backcover misses the track numbers and both the division of one track in two plus three bonus tracks as represented here in the album info. A minus from that! And when I try to follow the Italian lyrics it seems even that track listing might be somehow faulty... Anyway, somewhere halfway there was a calm song with female vocals (Elisa Montaldo) which nicely brings variety, as well as the 8th track, a gentle acoustic instrumental ('La Stiva'? - but there are lyrics in the leaflet under that title?? Quite confusing really!)

But these problems don't steal the music's power. If that's what matters to you more than demands of originality or bringing something new to the genre, and enjoy both vintage Heavy and ELP-ish organ prog, and Italian lyrics, then this is your album.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.49 | 115 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Subterranean Android

5 stars This is New Jersey-based band 3RDegree's fifth album, and each of their albums outdoes the previous effort. As it stands, Ones & Zeros: Vol.1 is their crowning achievement to date. On their last album, 2012's The Long Division, 3RDegree created a pseudo-concept album with political themes running throughout. It was apropos for the 2012 election year, and it still holds up as a fantastic album today. However, make no mistake with Ones & Zeros ? this is a full on concept album, dealing with weighty and complex moral issues such as life extension, the Ultra A.I., and the singularity. The band cleverly weaves the storyline by creating Valhalla Biotech, an all-encompassing mega-conglomorate. Think Apple merged with Google, who then merged with Facebook and Microsoft. Valhalla Biotech presents itself through a cheery, if not detached, computerized customer service rep, at times stating "We regret to inform you that your father has been deleted." It's as if the band has taken the inanity of today's ever increasing lack of human interaction, and notched it up a level in this dystopian future. Musically speaking, the band has always straddled the line between melodic, hook laden pop and prog complexity, and it seems as though they are doing it better than they ever have on Ones & Zeros. Now a 6 piece, 3RDegree sound fuller, more complete, and more mature than any of their previous releases. Lead singer George Dobbs is the finest amalgamation of Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Donald Fagan, and a host of other world-class singers. Underneath him are the multilayered vocal harmonies reminiscent of Queen, The Beatles, and Yes, and they have never sounded so good. What makes the rather disturbing scenario on this CD so palatable is that it is all disguised by their characteristic sunny melodies. The band has done a fantastic job telling a cautionaly tale (to quote a song title of theirs) and they do it with their signature tongue-in-cheek wit. And the best part of it is that this is only Volume 1, with Volume 2 set to be released in 2016. Thanks, guys, for finally not making me wait 4 years until your next release ;) Ones & Zeros Vol. 1 is firmly on my "Best of 2015" list. This is an excellent CD and highly recommended.

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 Magnolia by PINEAPPLE THIEF album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.66 | 91 ratings

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Magnolia
Pineapple Thief Crossover Prog

Review by crashandridemusic

3 stars Residing in England, The Pineapple Thief consists of Bruce Soord on vocals/guitar, Jon Sykes on bass guitar, Steve Kitch on keyboards, and Dan Osborne on the drums. Having been around for over 15 years, listener can have their pick of the litter when it comes to selecting great music. I feel their most recent 'Magnolia' shows the band at its finest, but displays a band transitioning away from their progressive influences.

Leaning more towards a straightforward rock sound than any of their prior works, 'Magnolia' serves as the perfect introductory record to newcomers. Lasting only 46 minutes (an unusually short album by prog's standards), the overall downbeat nature of this album restrains the band, and prevents them from being too showy. No song is over six minutes long, leaving off any chance for a potential epic like 'Light Up Your Eyes' or 'P.V.S.' The album also lacks experimentation found in previous albums, focusing more on mainstream songwriting. Sure, the album starts off with a bang, featuring the powerful choruses of 'Simple As That' and 'Alone At Sea.' From this point, the album takes a turn with four gentle songs in a row, including the album's title track. It's this stretch that reminds me the most of Porcupine Tree from the 90's. The slide guitar, the effect- driven clean guitar, the overall simpler song structure; it's very relaxing, but also serves as the lone fault on this record, which I'll mention later. It isn't until 'The One You Left To Die' plays that the listener is sucked back into the heaviness of the album.

Being my personal favorite song off the album, 'The One You Left To Die' contains that clich' British sound that is apparent in records ranging from present day bands like Muse and Coldplay to as far back as the Beatles. The bass line that takes center stage from the beginning, the quick notes struck by symphonic instruments, and the emotional vocals all set up the upbeat chorus. Even the following song 'Breathe' acts as a sister-song, containing much of the same themes and tones as the prior. The passionate vocals in these two songs are the driving force of this album, especially the chorus in 'The One You Left To Die':

'The one you loved returning, the one you left to die / You'll never stop, you're searching for/ The one you know has died.'

'Magnolia,' although a beautiful album, is far softer and simpler than typical progressive rock albums. In fact, if you aren't paying enough attention, it'll pass by unnoticed. I'm not sure if it's because of the track order, or simply the presence of too many softer songs, but the album is relatively quiet and choppy. One could even argue that many of the songs follow the same formula, which I wouldn't necessarily disagree with. Besides 'The One You Left To Die,' I couldn't recall any other memorable song off the album. With all those concerns, this album definitely needs to be listened to multiple times to achieve the desired effect. Each song does have it's own unique flavor, but is meant to be listened to as a whole instead of its individual parts. With its modest approach, The Pineapple Thief have written an effective record that can please old fans and discover new audiences.

A solid effort, "Magnolia" is easily a three star album.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

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 Drama by YES album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.76 | 1294 ratings

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Drama
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by steelyhead

3 stars Not as bad as everybody told me

Forget the group You knew, this is a new band and on board we only have the semigod Chris Squire (just try to listen Tempus Fugit without drooling all over). New sounds on the keyboards thanks to our friend Geoff Downes.

This is a different CD, and surely You will miss the clear voice of You know who but this is not as bad as advertised, the songs had a way to your heart if You are listening closely but I am only giving three stars because I can't stand The "camera, camera" song. Too banal.

On the other hand, thanks God Marillion came along to save us all on those bleak years.

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 Remain In Light by TALKING HEADS album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.15 | 154 ratings

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Remain In Light
Talking Heads Prog Related

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I had weird expectations before listening to this TH album (a bit the same feeling before reviewing their prior album). My previous listenings (yes, I put this album three times before this review in a few days) dated from the time of purchase (which is date of release).

I remember that I reall didn't like this ''Remain In Light'' when I purchased it.

Actually, some thirty five years later, it doens't seem too bad after all. But, my problems are these (too) funky rhythms. The feeling starts with the opening number ''Born Under Punches'') and its follower '' Crosseyed and Painless''. At least both of them have a joyful chorus and are rather OK. But no more more.

The first track I really liked (and still do) is the following ''The Great Curve''. Although rather funky, it features a splendid and hypnotic beat. The longest track of this offering is also one of the best of it. Still, my preffered song is the catchy and melodic ''Once in a Lifetime''. Sounds have been taking out of their best record as far as I am concerned 'More Songs''. The highlight as far as I am concerned.

As Hughes as accordingly said in his good review (as always), the A-side of this vinyl album was usually the only one that was listened to. The flip side being rather hermetic to the early days fans (of which I fully belong).

It was really painful for me to listen to it in a row? In these ancient times as well as today.

Only one bearable song (''Houses In Motion''), a good one ''Listening Wind'' and two ''press next'' type of tunes. Especially the closing and dark '' The Overload''. Gosh!

In all, I was rather surprised with this listening soooooooo many years after my purchase. I would have easily rate this work with one star if I wouldn't have listened to it nowadays.

After doing this excerise, I will upgrade it from 2,5 to 3 stars. But the worse it about to come, unfortunately.

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 Blue Camel by ABOU-KHALIL, RABIH album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 20 ratings

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Blue Camel
Rabih Abou-Khalil Prog Folk

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars This is a unique album in my collection in that it's part of the small but growing "world" music grouping. Indeed, it's quite inaccurate that this album is labeled under prog-folk as it is really a fusion of jazz and Arabic music. The album, all instrumental, blends Rabih Abou-Khalil's oud playing with saxophone and trumpet to create launch pads for extended jamming based around exotic modes.

Much of the music is very open and atmospheric though certain tracks like "Rabou-Abou-Kabou" are more lively. In terms of song structure, it's similar to albums like Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue", in that a basic 8 or 16 bar phrase will be repeated a couple of times in between elongated solo sections. The caliber of musicianship is high; all the players are highly talented and the solos are a good indication of it. The only problem I have with "Blue Camel" is that the Middle Eastern harmonies, while not being too atonal, are difficult to listen to for too long; after an hour of hearing similar sounding scales being used over and over and without a moving chordal accompaniment but instead a percussion section which adds to the volume more than adding to the beat, the soloing can become quite tedious.

This album would be highly recommended for any fans of Arabic music or very spacey, open jazz but for the average prog listener you probably won't gain very much from "Blue Camel".

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 Fragmentropy by T album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.32 | 40 ratings

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Fragmentropy
T Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Originally a piano player, Thomas Thielen learn to play many instruments, but also the craft of engineering, recording and programming. I don't know how much programming we have on this new CD, but i can only testified that it's sound like a real band. The vocals here are playing a major role in the music that has a atmospheric ambiance with post-rock tones, but also some symphonic Retro Prog. However, this album sounds modern and remind me a lot of Carptree and sometimes the late Marillion. The vocals, the piano and the keyboards are taking the place to the guitars, who have their space to shine in specific passages, especially when things get heavier. There is a moody, melancholic feel with some quiet atmospheric soundscape, intense vocal harmonies and instrumentation throughout this album that could seems disturbing, but the vocals pick things up to carry the melody to something highly satisfying. There is a lot of subtle arrangements, and a lot of ideas that we have to absorb, but with many listening, everything is shaping up. This CD is divided in three chapters, but i listened to it like a continuous piece of music that covers a wide range of style from post-rock, ambient, minimalistic and symphonic. And the only reason it could be categorize as Neo-Prog, is because of the modern and heavy parts. This CD is the illustration that Thomas Thielen music has reach his peak. If he can only change the name "T" to something more appealing, it would serve him better in the future.

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 Into The Maelstrom by BIGELF album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.59 | 65 ratings

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Into The Maelstrom
Bigelf Heavy Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Up to a point.

Of all Mike Portnoy's post DT collaborations, his teaming up with Damon Fox for Bigelf's ambitious 2014 album Into The Maelstrom is the least celebrated. Portnoy adds solid drumming without showboating and this album is really Fox's show. Indeed, Fox plays all instruments on most of the tracks sans drums. That itself is not a problem as Fox is a proficient multi instrumentalist.

What is a problem is Fox's adoration for classic prog and metal groups that spans the gamut from 10cc, Alice Cooper, ELO and Black Sabbath with Fox wearing these influences proudly on his sleeves.

ITM is a vague concept album about time travel and it's travails. Musically, the swooshing sound of Fox being transported from one time to another, compliments of a time traveling machine, naturally, has the familiar synth sounds associated with space travel from groups like Hawkwind. So, this is fun prog. The song Incredible Time Machine starts the listener off on his journey with the afore noted synths, with Fox's multi tracked vocals warped, at times, beyond recognition. The riff happy Alien Frequency might just be the best song Alice Cooper never recorded, with its anthem-like chorus and driving rhythms. Great stuff, but soon the comparisons start to overtake the listener, especially one who is long in the tooth and knows his way around seventies progressive and hard rock/metal and eighties AOR material.

By the fifth song, The Professor And The Madman, Fox's rants and riffs start to sound stale. I don't know where Fox will go from here, but I hope he forgoes Bigelf in favor of something more Himself. Pun intended. 3 stars.

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 Past, Present & Future by BRAINTICKET album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 19 ratings

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Past, Present & Future
Brainticket Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Riding The Comet ...

Chapeau! Aged 77(!), Belgium-born keyboardist Joel Vandroogenbroeck, known as the mastermind of BRAINTICKET, risks a new attempt. Hereby he has the complete Hedersleben core at his side, speaking of Nick Garratt (guitar), Bryce Shelton (bass), Jason Willer (drums), Kyrsten Bean (vocals, guitar) and Kephera Moon (vocals, keys). This altogether will guarantee a technically skillful presence, just for the record. For those who didn't know that beforehand, Vandroogenbroeck himself is one hell of a krautrock iconic figure, highly praised for the debut album 'Cottonwoodhill' in particular, which was released in 1971.

Nearly 45 years after that the krautish attitude hasn't faded away, though overall the music is more sophisticated and accessible for sure, not that raw anymore. Thus the extended suite Dancing On The Volcano in two parts appears as a spellbinding progressive amalgam of space, electronic, jazz and funk, this on top of that presented with a proper amount of jamming over the course of thirty minutes. Especially Joel's flute performance is striking as a matter of fact. For some time my focus has been here solely ... but it actually gets better futhermore! The following seven compact songs are proving them even more inspired, varied, playful.

And then - with the final Brainticket Blues on top - we're seemingly goin' back to the roots. While deriving from the blues origin this is something hypnotic spacey, which excellently mirrors the conversion from standard Rhythm & Blues to the experimental krautrock phase around the switchover of the 1960s to the 1970s, just decorated with a few narrations provided by Kyrsten Bean. Mixed by Jrgen Engler (Die Krupps) the album truely matches your prog collection. Joel Vandroogenbroeck is on his way beyond space and time, yes, still! With 'Past, Present & Future' he has administered a very fruitfull musical collaboration where all participants are acting on eye level.

... Is There Any More Of This To Expect?

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 Tales From The Lush Attic by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.86 | 360 ratings

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Tales From The Lush Attic
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars In the midst of the 1980's, when the prog giants turned to pop and AOR, IQ stood true to the genre's fundamentals as one of the most talented, competent and creative of neo-prog groups. "Tales From The Lush Attic" spans 5 tracks, ranging from short interludes to grandiose epics and each song is crafted wonderfully and with care and emotion, even the "filler" tracks.

The album's first epic, "The Last Human Gateway", is an achievement of neo- progressive rock; with emotionally-charged vocals from Peter Nicholls and unparalleled instrumental technical proficiency, this musical journey changes often enough that it sounds exciting the whole way through but expands on musical themes enough that it doesn't sound erratic. The composition is excellently balanced, which one will find to be true of the rest of the album as well, and the lyrics tell a coherent narrative without the story seeming blatant or forced.

The rest of the album's 4 songs carry this same high standard of songwriting and composition, especially the epic finale "The Enemy Smacks". Even "My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long", an ironically-named piano solo that was written just to fill 2 minutes on the record, still drives the album along with a deep, atmospheric quality that seems reminiscent of St. Saen's "Aquarium" from the "Carnival of Animals".

The definitive version of this album that you should seek out is the Giant Electric Pea 30th Anniversary re-release. The production is fantastic and it includes several bonus tracks such as the shorter ballad "Wintertell", the dramatic and well-orchestrated "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" and "Just Changing Hands", a jam-like instrumental that shows off the band's soloing capabilities.

In terms of who this album will appeal to, it sounds very much like Genesis at times (though the sound is still unique and its own) and will also appeal to anyone who is looking for some high caliber neo-prog. "Tales From The Lush Attic" is definitely a highlight of the genre and makes me very excited to delve deeper into IQ's discography.

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 Yesterdays by YES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
3.09 | 188 ratings

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Yesterdays
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

1 stars This compilation is not one with much meat on its bones for the vast majority of listeners. Apart from the opening track "America", which is an incredible prog cover of a Simon and Garfunkel tune that features some of Steve Howe's best heavy riffing on record, all of the tracks come from the band's first two albums. These two albums, "Yes" and "Time And A Word", are both far different from the catalog that most Yes listeners are familiar with, consisting largely of jazz rock and psychedelic music as opposed to the symphonic and progressive music that they're best known for. Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman are also nowhere to be found, instead having the guitar and keyboard parts played by Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, respectively. Given the availability of 7 of the disc's 8 tracks on the first two albums, there isn't much point in going out and buying "Yesterdays" unless you want to hear "America" or are a fan of the Roger Dean album cover and wish to keep it on your shelf as wall art.

Having said that, "America" is also available on the Yes compilations "The Best of Yes" and the exhaustive "In A Word" so unless you're a very big fan of Roger Dean's art, just get the music off of other releases.

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 Talk by YES album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.05 | 734 ratings

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Talk
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

4 stars This is without a doubt the finest Yes studio album to come since the 70's and is Trevor Rabin's musical triumph. While we all wish that the Close To The Edge line-up could have stuck around for 40 years making incredibly new progressive odysseys year after year, we all know that that'll never happen. So after two decades of inner tensions and changing musical climates, Yes creates with "Talk" a new, more accessible breed of prog that works on a much more human level while still staying true to the original spiritual nature of the group's early work. Is it as good as Close To The Edge or Relayer? Not really. But is it great music? Of course!

"The Calling" opens the album strong; Jon Anderson is in fine form, the lyrics invoke a wonderful sense of wanderlust, Rabin and Kaye offer great trade-off solos and the production (courtesy of Mr. Rabin) is some of the best I've heard since Boston's debut. Wow! What a start. Afterwards comes "I Am Waiting", a strong progressive song that transitions between quiet, mellow sections and thundering, emotive sections with guitar playing that's mildly reminiscent of Jeff Beck. "Real Love" and "State of Play" take the band into more of a heavy prog/metal territory but they both keep a certain degree of playful Jon Anderson energy. "Walls" is an upbeat, radio-friendly pop rock song that will undoubtedly irritate the most die-hard 70's Yes fans. It's not a terrible song, however, and will likely appeal to anyone who enjoyed Boston's debut album; there are some striking similarities in playing style and timbre.

The masterpiece of the album is its ending suite, "The Endless Dream". It not only features a return to symphonic elements and very strong instrumental cohesion by the group, but it is singlehandedly the most emotionally powerful Yes song I've ever heard, from any era. The lyrics are touching, insightful, encouraging and Trevor's compositional skills amplify their cathartic nature. The finished product is a 16 minute journey through the heart and soul of all humans struggling that fittingly mirrors the shifting political climates of Rabin's homeland South Africa at the time; the album was released only a month before the election that brought in Nelson Mandela as leader and brought an end to Apartheid.

"Talk" is an underrated gem in the Yes discography and more than redeems their 80's output. A 4 star album, if not just for "The Endless Dream" alone.

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 There And Back by BECK, JEFF album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.36 | 64 ratings

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There And Back
Jeff Beck Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars The third and final of Jeff Beck's solo fusion albums, "There And Back" is probably the bronze winner of the three. After "Wired", the material on this album seems a little formulaic. It opens with "Star Cycle", a funky, Jan Hammer- led fusion song (think "Led Boots") which is not bad in itself - it's quite good, actually - it's just not new enough to be stellar. The next two songs follow in the same footsteps, mellower fusion tracks with simple melodies that are good vehicles for jamming. Good, and especially the guitars - Beck is in fine form through the whole album - but not masterpieces. Side one ends with one of my favourites from the album, "The Pump". A slower, more ballad-like song that focuses more on the guitar is an excellent platform for Beck to deliver an emotional fastball; his playing is very atmospheric and quite beautiful. Definitely a top-notch accessible fusion number.

As with "Wired", side two opens with an uptempo rock-oriented track. "El Becko" is more cut-and-dry rock and roll than "Blue Wind" was on the last album but it's still a strong track with plenty of interplay between guitar and piano. "The Golden Road" drags along at a near-comatose pace before the next spectacular track picks up the pace again. "Space Boogie" is a marvelous virtuoso performance especially in the rhythm section. Written in 7/8 at breakneck speeds, it's mildly reminiscent of "Scatterbrain" from "Blow By Blow" but it's still fresh and original and makes for one great song before the album draws to a close in "Wired" fashion with the sparse, spacey "The Final Peace".

A three star rating is fair for this album; Jeff Beck fans will likely gain a lot more from it but that should be expected. For anyone who isn't a devout follower they'll hear some pleasant jazz fusion and a couple of high quality but not necessarily memorable moments.

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 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 58 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by robbob

5 stars For my delight...as far the best SB album.

There is a renewal of fantastic symphonic prog rock (that even with Neal Morse was not so inspired) And Ted Leonard in vocals?? The (nowadays) best prog rock voice(in my opinion) How will Ted Leonard go to the live shows with Enchant, Transatlantic and SB? Not enough time.

Now a fantastic team ...that have created a fantastic work ..

Very elaborated songs ..so well played....

Love a Better Way To Fly...and To Be Free Again...but mostly the average of songs in a very high level.

So with highs and lows in their history ....this one is a very good surprise.

For me 4,5 to 5 stars...but let us motivate this musicians ...5 then

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 Flash by BECK, JEFF album cover Studio Album, 1985
1.82 | 32 ratings

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Flash
Jeff Beck Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

1 stars This is a rather disappointing album from the Jeff Beck I've grown to know and love. It is absolutely nothing like his instrumental fusion albums of the 70's and is quite a lackluster accumulation of talent given that it features such stars as Rod Stewart, Jan Hammer, Jimmy Hall and Carmen Appice. Aside from two or three tracks, it is little more than 80's pop rock with Jeff Beck playing on it. I've come to terms with one of the pop tracks, "Gets Us All In The End", which is a comically typical 80's power ballad that can be fun to sing along to. There is only one song that I'd consider strong, which is the first instrumental, "Escape". If you don't have any qualms with 80's-sounding production and drum machines, then it comes across as a very atmospheric guitar-driven piece that wouldn't sound out of place on "There And Back" or "Guitar Shop". To reiterate, if you're a fan of the progressive rock and jazz fusion, this album would not be for you. If you're a fan of Jeff Beck, this album would not be for you. If you fit into either of those two categories, however, give "Escape" a listen and consider downloading the individual song on iTunes; the whole album just isn't worth an investment from anyone.

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 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.38 | 2011 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars To describe Camel's sound is difficult to do as their sound is quite unique and one that other less prominent bands tend to be compared to. However, I'll give it a shot. Imagine a symphonic group with a stellar keyboardist, a rock- solid rhythm section and a profoundly soulful guitarist in the ranks of Steve Hackett or David Gilmour who doubles as a virtuoso flautist. Now imagine that these four are masters of not only creating vivid, mellow instrumental sonic palettes but can also write fantasy poetry comparable to that of David Byron. And on top of that, they can even turn on a dime and rock out like Mark II Deep Purple or Uriah Heep if they feel the need. Sound too good to be true? Then take their second album, "Mirage", for example.

"Freefall" opens the album with a rocker that shows off guitarist Andrew Latimer's rock skills while still retaining a complex, symphonic power and bassist Doug Ferguson and drummer Andy Ward show their competency through frequent time changes. 5 star track. "Supertwister" shows off Latimer's heavenly flute abilities with brevity; clocking in at just over 3 minutes, this instrumental is pure listening bliss and creates mellow, emotional musical landscapes that you wish would stretch on for even longer. 5 star track. The first of the album's two epics, "Nimrodel", shows off the group's finest ballad writing form with more passionate instrumental passages, beautiful woodwind arrangements and breathtaking imagery. 5 star track. "Earthrise" continues the band's instrumental capabilities with a mix of brutal, unrelenting uptempo rock guitar and spacey keyboard atmospheres. 5 star track. And the best is saved for last; "Lady Fantasy" finishes the album with even more of everything you've just heard but delivered in a fresh, creative way. The band's rock prowess counteracts mellow, lyrical instrumental passages abruptly yet naturally and Andrew Latimer once again steals the show while not leaving the rest of the band in his wake. 5 star track.

In short, this is an album that has justly found its way into the PA top 20 and is very deserving of its spot there. If you enjoy any of the qualities I've just described, give it a listen; you'll fall in love right away.

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 Kestrel by KESTREL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.90 | 45 ratings

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Kestrel
Kestrel Prog Related

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars As a reviewer for Colossus prog magazine I've received a lot of reissues by Esoteric Recordings, often by completely forgotten bands from the early 70's. And often I haven't questioned at all why they are forgotten. Now here's a happy exception! Of course KESTREL has become a cult favourite among the most advanced prog listeners, but it was practically a new acquaintance for me until last Friday. [A personal note to my local music friends: yes, this band was on the additional list, not in the book.]

Newcastle-based Kestrel's sole album contains melodic, quite song-oriented prog featuring Mellotron, and it can be compared to the likes of SPRING, FANTASY or CRESSIDA, and actually for the benefit of Kestrel whose mature songs have more 'kick' as there are pretty good guitar contributions too. With one exception, the music is composed by the guitarist Dave Black. Perhaps the idea of a cross between the classic GENESIS and the '68-'72 era MOOY BLUES wouldn't be totally out of place? There aren't the theatrics of the former, nor does the singer have any Gabriel colour in his voice, but we certainly are dealing with the vintage Symphonic Prog tendencies, even though the compositions don't get very complex. (But still, I find it underestimating to stamp this as "Prog Related".)

Mellotron isn't quite as strongly present as on the SPRING album, but the grander is the effect when it comes to the fore. I haven't yet had time to listen to the album many times (which is why I'm not going into track-by-track approach), but I have a feeling I'm going to like it more and more. I strongly believe that with the support of a more prog oriented record company capable of merchandising, Kestrel would be nowadays known as a prog classic. In this sense I place it next to ENGLAND (Garden Shed, 1977). Indeed this is an album I would have loved to hear already two or three decades ago!

The ER re-issue contains a detailed article and a Bonus Disc of slightly under 30 minutes; placing the six tracks as bonuses on the same disc would have been MUCH more convenient. (This is something I always complain about, even if some album buyers probably appreciate the multiple CD format on all kinds of re-releases and Special DeLuxe-whatever Editions repeating basically the same material in slightly different versions over and over. Gosh, I'm not into that at all! Sorry, back to Kestrel...). Four of them are single/alternate versions of the album songs, two are pretty good "new" songs. Sadly the liner notes don't give any information on the bonuses.

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  3. ZowieZiggy (2929)
  4. apps79 (2629)
  5. Warthur (2195)
  6. Easy Livin (1925)
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  8. UMUR (1874)
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  10. Conor Fynes (1575)
  11. SouthSideoftheSky (1496)
  12. Evolver (1387)
  13. Bonnek (1332)
  14. AtomicCrimsonRush (1272)
  15. Tarcisio Moura (1262)
  16. Windhawk (1245)
  17. snobb (1213)
  18. erik neuteboom (1201)
  19. Finnforest (1104)
  20. kenethlevine (1024)
  21. ClemofNazareth (1009)
  22. Cesar Inca (927)
  23. loserboy (895)
  24. Rune2000 (864)
  25. tszirmay (849)
  26. kev rowland (844)
  27. Marty McFly (834)
  28. Matti (820)
  29. octopus-4 (819)
  30. memowakeman (798)
  31. Chris S (753)
  32. Eetu Pellonpaa (720)
  33. Guillermo (706)
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  36. Rivertree (655)
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  40. Prog-jester (623)
  41. Neu!mann (604)
  42. lor68 (601)
  43. Ivan_Melgar_M (551)
  44. philippe (538)
  45. hdfisch (492)
  46. Chicapah (480)
  47. stefro (478)
  48. friso (478)
  49. siLLy puPPy (476)
  50. colorofmoney91 (459)
  51. Prog Leviathan (454)
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  54. russellk (435)
  55. Menswear (413)
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TOP PROG ALBUMS
  1. Close To The Edge
    Yes
  2. Thick As A Brick
    Jethro Tull
  3. Selling England By The Pound
    Genesis
  4. Wish You Were Here
    Pink Floyd
  5. Foxtrot
    Genesis
  6. In The Court Of The Crimson King
    King Crimson
  7. Dark Side Of The Moon
    Pink Floyd
  8. Red
    King Crimson
  9. Animals
    Pink Floyd
  10. Godbluff
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  11. Fragile
    Yes
  12. Nursery Cryme
    Genesis
  13. Pawn Hearts
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  14. Per Un Amico
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  15. Larks' Tongues In Aspic
    King Crimson
  16. Moving Pictures
    Rush
  17. Hybris
    nglagrd
  18. Mirage
    Camel
  19. Moonmadness
    Camel
  20. Hemispheres
    Rush
  21. Io Sono Nato Libero
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  22. Relayer
    Yes
  23. Storia Di Un Minuto
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  24. Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquime Saison
    Harmonium
  25. Darwin!
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  26. In A Glass House
    Gentle Giant
  27. A Farewell To Kings
    Rush
  28. Kind Of Blue
    Miles Davis
  29. Birds Of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  30. Crime Of The Century
    Supertramp
  31. Aqualung
    Jethro Tull
  32. Hand. Cannot. Erase.
    Steven Wilson
  33. Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa
  34. Still Life
    Opeth
  35. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  36. Depois Do Fim
    Bacamarte
  37. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  38. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  39. H To He, Who Am The Only One
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  40. In a Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  41. Images And Words
    Dream Theater
  42. The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  43. Permanent Waves
    Rush
  44. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
    Genesis
  45. The Yes Album
    Yes
  46. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
    Dream Theater
  47. Scheherazade And Other Stories
    Renaissance
  48. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  49. Mkank Dstruktẁ Kmmandh
    Magma
  50. The Snow Goose
    Camel
  51. One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  52. Still Life
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  53. The Road Of Bones
    IQ
  54. A Trick of the Tail
    Genesis
  55. In The Land Of Grey And Pink
    Caravan
  56. Free Hand
    Gentle Giant
  57. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  58. K.A
    Magma
  59. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  60. Octopus
    Gentle Giant
  61. Arbeit Macht Frei
    Area
  62. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  63. The Power And The Glory
    Gentle Giant
  64. Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
    3RDegree
  65. Second Life Syndrome
    Riverside
  66. Blackwater Park
    Opeth
  67. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  68. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  69. Viljans ga
    nglagrd
  70. Space Shanty
    Khan
  71. Misplaced Childhood
    Marillion
  72. Time Control
    Hiromi Uehara
  73. L'isola di niente
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  74. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  75. Ghost Reveries
    Opeth
  76. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  77. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  78. Acquiring the Taste
    Gentle Giant
  79. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  80. Hamburger Concerto
    Focus
  81. The Perfect Element Part 1
    Pain Of Salvation
  82. Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
  83. Hatfield And The North
    Hatfield And The North
  84. Rubycon
    Tangerine Dream
  85. Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
    Gong
  86. Doomsday Afternoon
    Phideaux
  87. Elegant Gypsy
    Al Di Meola
  88. Script For A Jester's Tear
    Marillion
  89. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
    Caravan
  90. Remedy Lane
    Pain Of Salvation
  91. Pale Communion
    Opeth
  92. Lateralus
    Tool
  93. Part the Second
    Maudlin Of The Well
  94. We'll Talk About It Later
    Nucleus
  95. Anabelas
    Bubu
  96. Voyage Of The Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  97. Choirs Of The Eye
    Kayo Dot
  98. Caravanserai
    Santana
  99. Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem
    SBB
  100. Uzed
    Univers Zero

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

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