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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.19 | 208 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

4 stars Opeth have had a very interesting past few years. With the release of their last album "Heritage", the band have had mixed opinions due to their change in sound. One of the biggest problems is the loss of the death metal vocals. Now, I really don't mind if the death metal vocals are not their, in fact "Damnation" is probably one of my favorite Opeth album, but I will admit that the mix of the two styles in their earlier material is probably the reason I got into the band in the first place.

While many people will complain that Opeth aren't the same band anymore we have to take into consideration that these guys are getting older. Mikael really can't growl the way he did 10 years ago and I really respect their decision to loose the death growls. But while Mikael's vocals have gruffly diminished, he has been able to explore the diversity of his clean vocals.

Musically the album is pretty much a progressive rock album with the metal bits saturated. Now I know what your saying..."same as "Heritage" I bet. Well no. I remember seeing Opeth live during their tour for their last album and all I could think of was "this is like stoner psychedelic music"...which it was. This album is a lot more classic prog so I find it very much more enjoyable with more fluid arrangements with less improvisation and more sustenance.

Opener "Eternal Rains Will Come" is a great intro to the album. Starting off with blazing organs and clashing rhythms it then morphs into a more easier listening track with some pretty cool multi layered vocals.

"Cusp Of Eternity" is one of the heavier songs on the album. Reminding me of a more classic heavy metal style, the song has some pretty cool riffs and is a good little nod to an older metal sound.

"Moon Above, Sun Below" is the albums longest track and is probably one of the most diverse tracks on the album. Full of many different moving parts, the real highlight has to be the diversity of Mikael's vocals, showing off some clean gruffness which is a big departure from the evil growls on previous albums.

The ballad of the album "Elysian Woes" is an interesting and soothing moment on the album. I was pretty impressed by the instrumentation of this track, showing some pretty mature and experimental choices of arrangements for guitar and keyboards.

The albums instrumental "Goblin" is an interesting tribute to the 70s prog band Goblin. Full of proggy organs and some interesting prog instrumentation, the song is a prog lovers wet dream.

One of my favorite tracks on the album would have to be "River." Starting off with a very almost joyous feel, this track is very different to what the band have ever done before, with a more lighter and nicer sound to the bands repertoire with very little bleakness or Gothic undertones. May be a new direction for the band.

In conclusion, this album surprised me. I went in expecting to hate it, but I was generally impressed by what I heard. These guys are never going to go back to their earlier styles, but at least it seems they are moving in a better direction than everyone thought they would. A great listen I would recommend to modern and older prog fans.

8.1/10

Genre: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Hard Rock, Doom, Psychedelic Rock, Prog Folk, Folk Rock, Jazz Fusion, Heavy Metal

Country of origin: Sweden

Year of release: 2014

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 The Sentinel by PALLAS album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.51 | 175 ratings

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The Sentinel
Pallas Neo-Prog

Review by Andis

4 stars Even though this is not a masterpiece of progressive rock, it is still a must in a serious collection. Not only considering it is a very important release in the dark musical landscape of the 80's, the music can stand on it's own. Pallas plays an agressive progressive rock with a lot of melody, they have a perfect mix of straight ahead progressive rock in high tempo with more thoughtful melodic parts with lots of tempo changes. I really like the more accessible shorter songs wich adds lots of tempo to the album, also the longer songs wich lets the music develope complete the album perfectly.

The album art is fantastic and some of Patrick Woodroffe's best work to wich suits this album perfectly. This is a review of the original LP release from 1984 wich is somewhat different from the later CD releases. It consists of 6 songs and lacks some of the songs that were later added to the CD, it has also a different song order.

This is one of the albums that started my musical journey into progressive rock, along with Marillion and IQ. Oh, those memories.... A very important progressive rock album that you need in your collection. Rating: 7/10

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 Fantasizer! by WATSON, DEAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.96 | 21 ratings

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Fantasizer!
Dean Watson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Multi-instrumentalist Dean Watson has released an album bi-annually since 2010 with the debut "Unsettled", and followed up with "Imposing Elements" Both albums fuse jazz rock together with eclectic instrumentals. With Dean at the helm playing all instruments. The third studio release is "Fantasizer!" and again it is a one man show with jazzy instrumentals layered over with keyboards and a dose of lead guitar soloing. The drums are electronic but sound effective enough. The album opens with the title track, with splashes of heavy guitar and meandering keyboards with some fast phrases. At just over 8 minutes it is one of the longest tracks on this release.

'Twig' follows with jumpy time signature and staccato keyboards. The synth solo is frenetic and there are some very accomplished lead guitar solos that trade off. It is very up tempo music and there are some twists along the way leading to a lonely melancholy piano passage.

'Freak' focusses primarily on lead guitar with some incredible tremolo work and speedy fret melting playing. The keys counter balance the mayhem with sustained Mellotron pads. Watson tickles the ivories on an isolated piano, then quiet synths wash over like Summer rain. Some guitar breaks the peace with emotional outbursts, sounding a little like Fripp's style of King Crimson.

'Nomad' is replete with extreme jazzy electric piano as a hi hat percussion splashes. This one has a genuine jazz night club vibe and some wonderful violining guitar and Tron keys. It is even reminiscent of Mahavishnu Orchestra in places, the blend of rock and jazz over a complex metrical pattern. I like how it changes mood with sustained strings and then launches into heavier guitars and happy organ sounds.

'At Odds' returns to the rockier side of the music. The time sig is fractured and the guitars dominate on this track. There is even the unmistakeable feel of ELP's 'Tarkus' in the keyboard phrases and sounds. 'The Anomaly' is a synth driven piece, over a steady tempo and exploratory guitars. One section sounds like the riff of 'Lark's Tongues in Aspic' by THAT band again. I guess Watson is inspired by the masters of jazz fusion, King Crimson, and why not?

'Linear Tendency' has more fast paced sporadic lead guitar playing over a jazzy tempo. 'Caged Creator' is the lengthy 11 and a half minute mini epic of the album, and perhaps the one to hear for those who want an example of Watson's dexterity as a musician. It moves from peaceful keyboards to outlandish guitar soloing, showcasing the virtuosity of Watson and his inventive musicianship. 'Solemn' finishes the album with a short piano jazz solo. Watson plays calmly and beautifully a very soft piano, concluding the album on a tranquil note.

Once again Dean Watson has released a very jazzy and well executed album that crosses over into a range of musical styles. I was not as enamoured with this as "Imposing Elements", but I am still impressed with this one man instrumentalist and how he is able to compose some stunning instrumentals.

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 Overloaded by RIGONI, ALBERTO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Overloaded
Alberto Rigoni Heavy Prog

Review by Ovidiu

— First review of this album —
4 stars OVERLOADED is the fourth solo album of the Italian bass master ALBERTO RIGONI!Undoubtedly,the fans of TWINSPIRITS know that Alberto was an important part of this excellent prog metal band,and has 3 great albums released with this talented musicians!Our man is strongly building a solo career and managed to made some excellent solo albums where he can expose all his tremendeous talent and musical gift!OVERLOADED has all the ingredients to be called a complex and complete album!Starting with the nice digipack presentation and the inspired cover artwork,the excellent production,sound,aswell,this album is an ear candy for all good instrumental music lovers!We have some amazing prog metal songs here,with a fusion touch and some experimental bass sounds sometimes,and some tracks where Alberto is proving the high degree of musicianship attended,his great talent as composer too and his amazing vision about music!The sound of his bass is huge and the tracks without guitars are simply sensational!GLORY OF LIFE-the closing track is such a great compositions,with amazing arrangements and a killer bass sound!The 3 monster guitar players on the album-FABRIZIO BICIO LEO-the guitarist of Eros Ramazotti,SIMONE MULARONI from the mighty DGM band -in my opinion,the best Italian prog metal band tody and MARCO SFOGLI- monster guitarist of James la Brie solo albums,with 2 killer solo albums in pocket-well,all this 3 amazing guitarists are delivering some fabulous solos in the songs where they are invited and they prove what sensational musicians they are!The work of the drummer is impressive too and the keyboards arrangements are sublime!The music on OVERLOADED is very catchy,diverse and interesting-the fact that the album has only 40 minutes of music is making of it a very likeble and pleasant musical experience-for an all instrumental album-that's perfect!Try this experience and you won't be dissapointed-OVERLOADED is a strong album,made with burning passion for good music and performed by great ,devoted and accomplished musicians!Definitelly,a won bet for Alberto,that proves the fact that there's life after TWINSPIRITS ,and many things will still be told in music in the years to come!!4.5 stars for a great album!COMPLIMENTI and keep up the good wotk,bass magician!

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 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.69 | 19 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars Hemina, Australia's answer to Dream Theater, have released their second album and it is a genuine delight. Hemina released an excellent album in 2012 "Synthetic" that really impressed me with its blend of metal and spacey musicianship. It is an album I would recommend to the prog metal fan who does not like to be constantly bombarded with speedy riffs, over produced complexity or death growls, and recommended for those who love haunting atmospheres, compelling lyrics, strong melodies and virtuoso arrangements.

This followup album "Nebulae" is again a blend of crunching metal riffs juxtaposed with melodic keyboards and soul wrenching vocals. The vocals, as previous, are in the accomplished hands of Douglas Skene and his loved one Jessica Martin. Douglas is a busy guitarist, with involvement in a variety of other Prog related projects, and with Hemina he is able to shine with some fret melting lead breaks and killer riffs. His vocals always remind me of the type heard on Pain of Salvation albums, indeed the band are similar to the sound of Kamelot or Symphony X in places, and Jessica's vocals may remind some of After Forever or Nightwish at times. It is a clear tone and easy on the ears, with easily recognizable lyrics. Jessica's vocals enhance the sound, with beautiful resonance and haunting clarity. I believe an angelic voice can soothe the soul, and in the same way as is heard on many Ayreon albums, the addition of a female vocalist is always a welcome sound after a lot of male vocals. It balances out all the heaviness of aggressive guitar riffs and pounding drums. Jessica plays bass also and this strikes out effectively with some outstanding keyboards by Phill Eltakchi. The whole sound is fleshed out by Mitch Coull, also adept on acoustic and electric guitars, and plays some blindingly brilliant lead solos.

The lyrics are important in understanding the conceptual ideas behind the album. Each song is given a one word title and follows an emotional journey of searching in the darkness of despair and coming out of the night with a sense of hope and one final promise. On the way the protagonist has to battle the trials we all face but in the struggles there is strength leading to building up of character, and through strength of character comes hope. Then there is the literal meaning that has a science fiction element, but one can interpret this as they choose such is the ambiguity of the concept, and this is one of the drawcards of Hemina. Douglas Skene describes the concept as being centered around "lucid dreaming and the exploration of possible worlds dominated solely by particular human emotions and experiences in isolation. It's about the search for transcendence through love and the desire to be loved."

The journey begins with 'Before', the lyrics hinting at the dreamscape concept; "I thought true love would make it easy if we played our parts, two souls hovering, floating, gliding for a counterpart". The music builds gradually and then breaks into a lone keyboard seguing seamlessly into 'Nightlives'. A multi tracked vocal is heard as a wild guitar phrase crunches along a forced percussion figure. The lyrics centre on the lucid dreaming; "In my waking world I can't walk through these walls, or feed my hands to each other, oh, eye to eye with my watch face, to me its flickering, lucidly I forge my nebulae." The latter lyric is sung with an aggressive growl, though the majority of vocals are clean and harmonised with multi tracked voices. Douglas Skene is in his element on this album, really powering out some excellent vocals. There are sudden bursts of sound in an ambient section that has a dramatic effect. A keyboard and lead guitar solo rounds off this indelible highlight, making this a great start to the album.

'Freedom' cranks along a genuine metal blast beat rhythm, with provocative lyrics; "set the masses free and destroy minority". Some forced growls sounding like Devin Townsend are heard in places to great effect. I particularly love the jagged guitar rhythms. This one really grows on you after a few listens and the lead break is absolutely killer, reverbs, delays and huge string bends, merging into a frenetic keyboard solo. Coull's lead guitar playing is a speed blur of frenetic picking and up sweeps. A final effect of a helicopter and air raid siren adds to the concept.

'Lust' surprises with a funkadelic groove reminiscent of late 70s Disco. Jessica has fun playfully plucking out a bassline that comes straight out of the Earth Wind and Fire Museum of funky bass hooks. The sound works as the song is about lust, and what can be more lustful than 70s porno funk grooves? A salacious hook locks in as chaotic percussion and bass warbles about. It's nice to hear Jessica passionately duet with Douglas. The lyrics are compelling focussing on unrequited love; "I picked you out from across the room in this white light, so bright." The soothing keyboards are counterbalanced by heavy passages of guitar, though the music is always allowed to breathe. The music is a testament to the innovative creative talents from the group that were only hinted at in the debut. The band go into full flight on this track and plunge deep into the steamy waters of quirky pop and dance at times, strange bedfellows I agree but Hemina make it work somehow.

'Soulmates' is a calming atmospheric track reverberating with acoustic vibrations. There is a romantic sense of mystery in the lyrics; "walking together, growing strong, amidst this void we found our call". The song floats on an air of keyboards and acoustics as vocals caress the spaces between, with some of Douglas Skene's best work and Jessica answers with emotive angst. The singing is exceptional on this album, and I particularly love how Jessica and Douglas are able to balance each other's styles on soulful, melancholy songs such as 'Soulmates'; it is truly beautiful. The twin lead break is also awesome with howling string bends and fast fingering echoing the turgid romance in the lyrics.

'Strength' follows, with staccato meat cleaver chops of metal chunks blasting over manic synths. This is a heavy song after the previous melancholia. In the lead break there is a fractured rhythm and some blazing riffs with duel guitar playing. The keys chime in with sweeping washes of string pads as the pacey rhythm gallops along in contrast. After more singing a stunning lead break takes the song out, with a flurry of speed trills and lightning fingering. The lyrics are mysterious and draw one in; "I head to unseen waters toward a light that is lovingly familiar, a figure glimmers in the distant sunset, the me I'd dreamed of with a little more strength."

'Loss' keeps a steady rhythm with metal distortion and a strong melody. The lyrics are intriguing; "I want to thank you for sparing me the years or empty hope, strung along for what seemed like a legacy". The melody is difficult to capture but there is so much happening at such a frenetic pace that it does not matter. The guitars are complemented by huge cloudbursts of synth.

'Hope' jumps along an odd meter with forceful passionate vocals that are the dominant force here, with some enticing lyrics, "my world a sphere of ice and me its cold insides, stars warm my heart the distant nebulae." An ambient opening warms up 'Promise'; a song with an optimistic note. The metal blasts are prevalent soon as Jessica and Douglas sing "promise me you'll try eternally, I need someone who will grow." The shattered rhythms are jarring to the ear and there is an ascending melody, and a soothing outro.

'Otherworldly' takes things out with Hammond sounds and a raucous chorus; "through the wormhole and rise to another frame, frame of reference free of a world of blame." The song takes some twists and turns with sudden departures in volume and pace, quiet reflective moments concluding the conflict in the concept; "reach down inside and realise what you've lost, it's simple to find if you've even got a heart." A choppy riff is heard over a fast keyboard phrase. Some very powerful vocals follow, and it breaks into a classical piano passage, then the grinding metal riffs return, fracturing time signatures, and a final spoken narrative section over ethereal keyboards. The sheer force of musical virtuosity is astonishing on this album.

A new project "Venus" is still in the pipeline and hopefully will see the light of day in the near future, but till then "Nebulae" will continue to excite listeners with accomplished musicianship and mesmirising themes. There are throughout adventurous basslines and sporadic blitzing drums. The dynamic lead guitar breaks and keyboard flourishes are incredible. Hemina inject odd time sigs and intricate layers of instruments to create some remarkable musical compositions. Overall "Nebulae" is yet another solid release from Hemina that delivers outstanding prog metal on a plate served up with a slice of funk, diced up with distorted guitar riffs and a nice garnish of spacey atmospheres wrapped around a concept of lucid dreaming and the exploration of emotions.

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 Wolanie o slonce nad swiatem by DZAMBLE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.00 | 9 ratings

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Wolanie o slonce nad swiatem
Dzamble Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by MChPro

4 stars This album is evidencing what influence jazz had on rock in 70ties. Such jazz musicians as Tomasz Stańko, Zbigniew Seifert, Janusz Muniak and Michał Urbaniak taking part in its recording should persuade you that it is worth listening to this little gem.

Zaucha's voice is strong and full of emotion. He was destined to make great career later in Poland and his tragic death made him a cult singer in his country.

Texts (written by poets Leszek Moczulski, Tadeusz Śliwiak and Jerzy Ficowski) are very strong side of this album, so if you know Polish language then your pleasure will be doubled.

"Wołanie o słońce nad światem" (transl. the cry for the sun over the world) when released became a major success in Poland but the band dissolved in next year. Great pity.

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 Noctourniquet by MARS VOLTA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.64 | 258 ratings

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Noctourniquet
The Mars Volta Heavy Prog

Review by Billy Pilgrim

5 stars What an excellent offering from The Mars Volta. While their work was arguably getting repetitious and dull in Bedlam, they changed their style quite drastically and released a more acoustic, quite and accessible release with Octahedron, that album suffered from having some filler, and some unfinished ideas, it felt uneven and unmotivated at times, but Noctourniquet perfects the ideas in Octahedron, and expands on them. This time on top of the acoustic less heavy style, the music has evolved, and it has an industrial feel to it, akin to NIN, so different from anything they've released but still totally Volta. Hardly any filler, beautiful melodies, great release, highly recommended.

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 The Path of Least Existence  by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.88 | 60 ratings

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The Path of Least Existence
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings

3 stars Jet Black Sea is one of those bands that I saw on PA's popular artists of the last 24 hours and I decided to check out their sound by listening to a sample on YouTube. I heard "The Law of Diminishing Returns" and was impressed enough to order the album without further scrutiny.

My impression is mixed. It is an album of mostly dark, haunting, and almost disturbing at times musical compositions for electric guitar, synthesizer, piano, drums, and electronica. The music often inspires images of a post apocalyptic world or the Terminator-like future with "Northern Exposure" sounding like a soundtrack for the dawn following a "Day After Tomorrow" type of devastating winter storm that has left civilization inert.

I wasn't planning to write a track by track review; however, as I listened to the CD this morning for the purpose of writing a review during my commute, it was natural to start typing notes on my phone's notepad.

"The Path of Least Existence, Part I" is a slowly building walk through a post-apocalyptic landscape with incantato vocals, a Nine Inch Nails-like use of electronica, and a flood of guitar distortion. It's eerie, dark ambient music for the most part.

"Outnumbered" features electronic drums and slow, easy synthesizer chords. In the middle we get real drums, piano and guitar that sounds like a bulging bicep muscle version of a post-Waters Pink Floyd instrumental.

My favourite track and the reason why I bought the album is "The Law of Diminishing Returns" which has a horror movie piano melody and building guitar distortion until it erupts furiously just past the 2:00 mark with full on drums and raging guitar. This is the soundtrack for the End of the World.

For a change of pace, a vibraphone in an odd time signature and effects like from late sixties Floyd introduces "Worst Case Scenario". By now I can really understand that the guitar is not used for riffing and little for solos but more for effects and mood creation, usually unsettling, haunting, and doom-laden. This track is like the soundtrack for the mechanical takeover of a human mind and it reminds me a little of "Further Down the Spiral", a remix album of music from "The Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails.

I prepared a lot of notes for the remaining tracks but there is a consistency of dark, moody atmospheric music that on occasion introduces some pretty melody in a sombre minor key. I felt the word "requiem" well applied to the piano music of "Northern Exposure". In the less ominous-sounding parts of some other tracks, there is the occasional similarity to some of Porcupine Tree's music as well.

Though there is an overall sameness to the music of the album, there is enough variety in each track to sidestep any impression of repetition. I'd call it cohesion. Only "The Path of Least Existence, Part II" bears resemblance to the opening track and it should as it is the continuation of "Part I".

This is not an album you'd likely want to listen to while driving with the family to the riverside or put in your ears for a jog in the park. It's more for those quiet private moments when you can let the haunting and dark ambiance take you soul and imagination for a ride through landscapes at the end of humanity. It's not easy to pull just a couple of tracks off for a mixed playlist, but I still feel "The Law of Diminishing Returns" makes for a superb stand alone track and a great introduction to the album.

I wouldn't exactly call this an excellent edition unless this is to your taste in which case you won't want to miss it. If more complex prog or something more lively or lighter is your preference, then you can just stroll on by. Three stars is too low but I don't feel it's worth four from me because this is an album for very specific listening times. It's still very well done though and a suitable break from the more complex and active music that comprises much of the progressive music scene. I could give it four stars. Almost.

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 Naturbål by VINTERSORG album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.92 | 13 ratings

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Naturbål
Vintersorg Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Naturbål' - Vintersorg (39/100)

Vintersorg is a band I would love to have been introduced to whilst I was still in the nascent years of my experience with the 'extreme' end of metal. Regardless of the era you're looking at, they've always allotted melody to surge to the forefront of their craft. The familiar warmth and Jungian nostalgia of the Viking folk style was an easy sell to me in younger years, and though clean vocals comprise the Vintersorg's characteristic lifeblood, there has always been an echo of the extreme in their music. They frequently allude to the tone and aesthetic of black metal, but never mean to grasp the common extent of the genre's extremity and abrasion. From a purely stylistic standpoint, this solo project of Borknagar's Andreas Hedlund's might fashion itself a perfect gateway to black and folk metal alike.

It is with some consternation, then, that I've had such mixed luck listening to Vintersorg. Cosmic Genesis was a fine piece of Nordic progressive metal, and Solens rötter still lingers in my memory as an excellent record by any definition. Other classic albums of theirs- namely the crowd favourite "The Focusing Blur"- I remember as being anaesthetic and generally inconsistent. The biggest disappointment however came on the coattails of Solens rötter; after a four year break, Vintersorg unveiled Jordpuls, a bland folk metal album stripped of the surprise and ambition that made the band potentially interesting in the first place. Three years and two albums later, and Vintersorg have had to get themselves out of that rut. Naturbål is an album almost entirely based around the merit of its vocal melodies, the likes of which feel sadly contrived and stale. Hints of Vintersorg's ambition and quality remain, but I'm finding it difficult to paint the album as anything but another misstep in a growing line of disappointments.

As early as Hedlund's mid-90s days with Vargatron, he's advocated for a strong presence of clean vocals in black metal. I like to imagine Naturbål was crafted with that bold stance in mind. When you stop to realize the genre of black metal has been spliced with virtually every style under the sun (hell, there's even a KFC commercial out there, capitalizing on all things grim and kvlt), it's actually quite surprising that we haven't seen more artists write black metal around clean vocals. All puritanical delusions of keeping the genre limited to its roots aside, I'd argue there could be a great case made for this choice. Vintersorg, however, is not that great case, nor is it anywhere near convincing in this regard. I've always had a bit of this problem with Vintersorg, but with Naturbål and the work since Jordpuls especially, it seems like the vocals have overwhelmed the sound, thereby marginalizing the rest of the instrumentation. Both in the uneven mixing and songwriting on Naturbål, Vintersorg have invested every hope in the vocals. The abundant folk passages are relatively full-bodied and unscathed, but the actual metal instrumentation often falls back on predictable cliche and simplicity, buried somewhere underneath the vocals.

Once again: there is nothing inherently wrong in Vintersorg's choice to have placed such weighted emphasis on he vocals themselves. It's much moreso the fact that the vocals themselves aren't particularly compelling. Andreas Hedlund's voice is admittedly pretty good in of itself. He's got a rich timbre to his voice that meshes nicely with the style, and hearing an entire album sung in the Swedish language is always a welcome exception. Although Vintersorg's black metal influence has been further marginalized on this album, Hedlund's occasional harsh snarl (close in sound to Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved) is fairly strong as well. My internal debate still rages as to whether Hedlund's clean singing voice is truly strong enough to be worth an entire album's showcasing, but the real problem with Naturbål has to do with the songwriting itself. Listening to the album, I feel a hazy recollection of my consistent ambivalence for the two albums that came before Naturbål. The album is saturated with upbeat vocal melody upon melody, but the hooks are rarely ever memorable. "Själ i flamma" closes the album with some strong melodic writing, but most of the songs blend together into an uneven mess. In most cases of this marginal success with hooks, a band would fall back on their instrumentation. Sadly, with the unbalanced, vocal-centric way Vintersorg have written and recorded Naturbål robs it of that opportunity.

Vintersorg isn't so far down the path that they're beyond the merit of redemption, but this is the third time in a row I've been let down. Even from a technical standpoint, Naturbål sounds downright mucky and amateurish compared to Solens rötter. The songwriting is dry and lacks dynamic, and the stylistic drift appears intent on reducing the band to the status of a less catchy Tyr. To add insult to injury, Andreas Hedlund is indeed a good songwriter- probably better than most within the folk metal sector- but I'm not hearing much evidence of that. My apathy for post-2007 Vintersorg has only been consolidated with Naturbål. For what it's worth, I hope we see a change someday.

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 Hinten by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.57 | 57 ratings

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Hinten
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The butt-ugly cover of Guru Guru's sophomore album is entirely appropriate: this is the ass-end of classic Krautrock, slightly more refined than the band's earlier "UFO" but no less primitive in its unclothed, lo-fi squalor. The raw garage band sound was deliberate, and it fits; engineer/ producer/ Krautrock guru Conny Plank always tailored his method to fit the music instead of the other war around, and the music of early Guru Guru was a lot closer to earth than the Kosmische Rock of other German bands at the time.

Symphonic-minded Progheads should therefore take heed. This album is so unpolished it could easily be mistaken for a loose clump of musical dirt, instead of the diamond-in-the-rough it actually is. But there's a crude playfulness here too, as the unflattering cover art makes all-too explicitly clear. I suppose when you're fighting The Establishment using radical politics, psychedelic drugs, and over- amped guitar feedback, it helps to also have a sense of humor.

And the trio was beginning to listen to each other, allowing a little more light and air into their music. The Jimi Hendrix influence is strongest in the perfectly-titled album opener "Electric Junk", strangely skewed when filtered through the usual cross-cultural translation. But the soundstage widens considerably for "The Meaning of Meaning", a slowburn freak-fest showpiece for guitarist Ax Genrich. Ditto "Bo Diddley", in which the band gets downright goofy. Is that Mani Neumeier himself, shouting out the name of the legendary R&B pioneer in a succession of Monty Python-like voices? (The credits include "Sounding Being" and "Zonk Machine" among his other esoteric instruments.)

Needless to say, it's a long way from anything resembling musical sophistication. But the album was still miles ahead of the band's 1970 debut. And today it remains a valuable artifact from the Stone Age (pun intended) of power rock rebellion.

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 189 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

5 stars 2013 was an astonishing year for Italian Progressive Rock. The year gave us some superb albums like Sensitivitā (La Coscienza Di Zeno), AlieNatura (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre), You Have A Chance (Camelias Garden), PFM In Classic (Premiata Forneria Marconi), Barbarica (Museo Rosenbach), just to name a few. All of those albums were qualified to a Top10 list. Unfortunately, I got the album I'm reviewing right in 2014, but as they say, better late than never.

In Hocno Signo (2013) is the debut album of Ingranaggi Della Valle and here we have all the ingredients that Italian Prog Rock lovers could want but without sounding dated and old. In Hoc Signo (2013) is the contemporary answer to the great classics!

Ingranaggi Della Valle is a quintet formed in Roma by the young musicians Igor Leoni (vocals), Mattia Liberati (keyboards), Flavio Gonnellini (guitars), Marco Gennarini (violin and vocals) and Shanti Colucci (drums and percussion). And I can honestly say that the band recorded a modern classic when it comes to In Hocno Signo (2013)!

Let's begin with Igor Leoni vocals which are absolutely fantastic and shine strongly in 'Cavalcata'. The fact that the band use the violin in its line-up and loads of vintage keyboards makes tracks like 'Mare In Tempesta' and 'Via Egnatia' become so strong and powerful that it is impossible to just stand still. In 'L'Assedio Di Antiochia' the band unite all their elements in a single and powerful track full of vocals and killer riffs. This power continues shining mercilessly in the instrumental 'Fuga Da Amman' and it keeps going on in the jazzy tracks 'Kairuv'An' and 'Masqat', in this last one Flavio's guitar speaks loud and well. Then in 'Jangala Mem' we have a bit of psychedelia in a more experimental sound with varied and different parts.

The previous experimentation continues , initially in 'Il Vento Del Tempo', but next to first minute of the song we come back to the signature sound of the band. To finish the great album that In Hoc Signo (2013) is we have 'Finale' and its 9'33. We have a special touch on this track, the participation of David Jackson from Osanna playing saxophones and flutes with a frantic musical background to them.

Resuming, In Hoc Sogno (2013) is simply essential. You're a fan of Progressive Rock, right? So make a favor to yourself and buy this album asap!

I would like to give a huge thank you to Black Widow Records for releasing this album and for Ingranaggi Della Valle for existing!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Jack-knife / Monkey Business 1972-1997 (with Richard Palmer-Jones) by WETTON, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
1.95 | 2 ratings

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Jack-knife / Monkey Business 1972-1997 (with Richard Palmer-Jones)
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

2 stars This is obviously a "for collectors only" kind of release. All the more ridiculous one, as it puts together an obscure, poor rock'n'roll album recorded in 1978 and a compilation of demos and other seedy stuff from a long timeline. First about the studio album Jack-knife.

It contains nine tracks, five of them seemingly covers written by others, two by guitarist Richard Palmer-Jones (best known as KING CRIMSON's lyricist after Pete Sinfield), and two by Wetton and Palmer-Jones together. Let's be honest: I didn't listen to this disc more than perhaps half a minute each song. The music is straight-forward mainstream rock and has nothing to interest me. Don't expect anything even distantly reminiscent of U.K. or ASIA!

"Monkey Business 1972-1997", originally released in the late 90's, is described as a scrapbook in the introduction text. The collaboration between the two musicians started already in 1962 when they met at school. In 1972 they rejoined forces in King Crimson, in which Palmer-Jones only wrote the lyrics. Some of the material that would have been on the follow-up of Red is found here in the demo form. The classic CRIMSON songs 'Book of Saturday' and 'Starless' are featured as lyricless raw demos that were hometaped as a basis for lyric-writing. To be more precise, the latter is only as a half minute beginning - twice! But the disc ends pleasantly with the pair's recording of 'Starless' from 1997. From the same year are 'Doctor Diamond' and 'Cologne 1997', both among the most worthy contents of this release. The latter song, concerning "the mixed feelings of many Americans born after 1945 of German origin on first visiting their emigré parents' home country", is featured also in its original form recorded in 1977. Not a bad song at all.

'Magazines' is a demo from 1974, originally written for King Crimson. 24 years later it appeared on Wetton's album Arkangel. Just before Christmas 1976 Wetton & Palmer-Jones spent a week in a French farmhouse, trying to write some songs for Wetton's solo debut, but the outing emerged only 'The Laughing Lake'. There are several brief tapings of it here. How wise such scrapbook representation is, is very debatable, but in its complete form it is a pretty nice, calm winter song.

So if you're a completionist, you will have interesting things in here (compared to high-prized multiple-disc things like Road To Red this is harmless!). If you're not such person, you will more likely be frustrated of all the mess of short and bad home tapings.

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 Hounds of Love by BUSH, KATE album cover Studio Album, 1985
4.10 | 265 ratings

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Hounds of Love
Kate Bush Prog Related

Review by ProggyDon

3 stars Like everyone else I'm currently caught up in Kate fever and in preparation for the shows I've been trawling through the likely material we'll be hearing live. She has produced some great pop, ballads and even prog but I'm sorry to say I just don't get the euphoria surrounding this album. Yes, it's good and it has some interesting ideas, but not any really memorable melodies. I'm all for experimentation and innovation - ironically it's what a lot of prog albums are sorely lacking - but it has to go hand in hand with strict quality control. Not all 'interesting' albums are necessarily good.

It's odd, this is one of those albums that is revered by everyone I know, it's treated with a 'holy' respect, and disrespecting it is a mortal sin! Yes that's a bit over the top but you know what I mean? I know I'm in a real minority here, but for me this is Kate Bush without the songs, or at least any recognisable song structure. I don't get The Ninth Wave - it feels so piecemeal to me, and Running Up That Hill is just a one line melody repeated endlessly!

Love Kate Bush and the fact that she's never been afraid to try new things, I'd just like a few hummable tunes on the Hounds of Love.

Phew, that was good to finally get off my chest

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 Ziltoid the Omniscient by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.19 | 432 ratings

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Ziltoid the Omniscient
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Unitron

5 stars Devin Townsend-Ziltoid the Omniscient

I just recently started listening to this guy, and boy was I missing out!

Ziltoid the Omniscient is a concept album about an alien named Ziltoid who wants to travel to earth in order to find 'Their ultimate cup of coffee'. They then give him a cup of coffee, but he declares it as foul-tasting. So he gives the order to attack earth.

What a concept, I never thought I would see such a comedic concept coming from a progressive metal artist. Even though the story is sure to bring some laughter, it isn't just the story that makes this a masterpiece.

The music ranges from many different styles, from progressive metal, to ambient, to power metal, to space rock influences, to even death metal. With the short intro 'ZTO', the combination of death screams and operatic vocals fits very well. 'By Your Command', one of my favorites, has more combinations of death metal vocals and clean vocals with the drums pounding throughout. Surprisingly the more space-infused passages contrast very well with the powerful riffing and angry vocals. The bridge has great powerful riffing and space-infused keyboards. The end of the song is a among one of the best headbanger moments I've ever heard. It then flows smoothly into the song 'Ziltoidia Attaxx!' which shows Townsend using mostly death screams. Probably my favorite song is 'Hyperdrive', where Townsend shows his powerful soft vocals. The way his vocals flow perfectly with the driving guitar riffs. The thrash-death track 'Planet Smasher' is another song that stands out.

One thing that really amazes me, is that he plays every instrument himself. That is quite an amazing feat with such a complex album.

Overall, this album should appeal to most metalheads. If you don't enjoy a sense of humor when you're listening to music, it may not be for you but I still find this an essential album for many a metal collection. Certainly one of my favorite progressive metal albums of all time.

Hope you found this review helpful

(Originally written on MetalMusicArchives.com on August 28th 2014.)

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 Tyranny Of Beauty by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.89 | 38 ratings

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Tyranny Of Beauty
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Stalvern

1 stars

Probably the worst of all Tangerine Dream albums, and one of the worst things that I've ever heard - the mid-'90s were a real dark age for Tangerine Dream, and Tyranny of Beauty is its nadir. The band certainly needed to move on from the dull muzak of the Private Music albums and Rockoon, but while this new period brought back a measure of the ambition that had deserted the band with Christopher Franke, that ambition was now applied in the most perverse of ways.

In their golden years, Tangerine Dream explored the furthest reaches of synthesized sound; at the close of the '80s, they contented themselves with cheap, generic keyboard tones; here (and, to a lesser degree, on the preceding Turn of the Tides), the focus has switched completely to guitars, all but burying what rudiments of electronics remain. This is hardly a problem in itself - Edgar Froese's icy, airy solos had been highlights on some of the band's best works - but the greasy, histrionic playing here abandons all taste and class, spewing out endless solos as indulgent as Frank Zappa's and as showy as David Gilmour's without the sense of either.

The album opens with "Catwalk", its lone highlight and incidentally one of the least guitar-oriented of its songs. It's trivial stuff and painfully outdated, sounding almost like a turn-of-the-decade Madonna backing track (think "Vogue" or "Deeper and Deeper") even as it flagrantly samples the leading-edge sounds of Underworld's dubnobasswithmyheadman, but it does boast a decent amount of energy, a comparatively light mix, and a genuinely impressive acoustic guitar solo in the middle. Unfortunately, things take an immediate nosedive afterward; the next piece, "Birdwatcher's Dream" combines sappy chord changes with The Wall-wannabe arpeggios and features an ugly, '80s "snap" sound in its climax, and it's only the start of the truly rotten material on here. "Little Blonde in the Park of Attractions" is one of the worst tracks on the disk, with the loudest, shreddiest guitar work and cheesily "dark" drumbeats near the end, and "Living in a Fountain Pen" (God, these titles) is a fitting neighbor, with a schlocky, "folk-style" acoustic section and toothlessly "tough" distorted power chords elsewhere. But the most offensive moment is easily "Stratosfear 1995" - an absolute travesty that takes a Tangerine Dream classic and smothers it under a leaden "rocking" beat, blaring hair-metal guitars, and lazy new beep-boop synthesizer tones, with the original song still audible, crushed and helpless, beneath it all!

After that, things start to calm down, and the album blends together in my mind as a haze of lower-key ramblings against more ignorable backdrops, although the early-'90s "dance" piano line and bongo drums in "Bridge in Cold Tears" (not "Bride", as it so happens) linger unpleasantly in my memory. Eventually, it ends with a slow Händel piece, featureless and spiritless (the "string" pads seem to have been deliberately set to sound as cheap and unconvincing as possible, though the clarinet is nice), but a pleasant enough way to wind things down. I can't decide whether to praise it more for its composition or damn it more for its performance, but it's the first enjoyable thing here since "Catwalk", for what precious little that that's worth. Finally, some releases of the album add a contemporary B-side called "Quasar" as a bonus track - I looked it up on YouTube, and it's a perfectly generic techno thumper, which inherently makes it better than almost everything on the album proper.

Speaking for both Tyranny of Beauty and Turn of the Tides - I don't plan on sitting down to review more than one of these stinkers, and this one was the more satisfying target - I can see why these albums got made; after the lightweight facelessness of stuff like Optical Race and Melrose, Froese was probably itching to get back into more substantial territory. But why in this way? Electronic music was the biggest that it had ever been in the mid-'90s, and not just club music, but ambitious stuff in the spirit of what Tangerine Dream had built their name on - when even a "dance" band like The Orb could get away with recording something as sprawling and atmospheric as Orbus Terrarum, the time for a Tangerine Dream comeback was clearly ripe. Even the band themselves must have understood this, as the Underworld samples here prove that they were keeping up with contemporary electronic developments. But, incredibly, they threw that opportunity away, and this sorry music is the consequence.

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 Free Hand  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.26 | 999 ratings

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Free Hand
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars It's ironic that this album is my favorite GENTLE GIANT album, seeing as it was the most popular in the US due to it's accessibility upon release (and I'm from the US.) That is not why I like this album so much, however.

After listening to all of GENTLE GIANT's albums, I had to pick this and IN A GLASS HOUSE as my two favorites. Seeing as this is GENTLE GIANT and not some other bands I like, I don't care about the heaviness in the music. Instead, I care about composition and it's value. This album has perfect of both.

Instead of having an even mix of softer and harder rock tracks, this album has songs that mix those two sounds. So instead of this sound being split between songs, it is now combined in the composition of the tracks.

'Free Hand' and 'Time To Kill' are jazzy and just awesome to listen to while doing anything. Other songs such as 'Just The Same', 'His Last Voyage', and 'Mobile' all deserve this spot too, but I honestly like the first two the best. 'Talybont' and 'On Reflection' are great, happier tunes.

My only problem that has been recurring throughout my listenings of GENTLE GIANT is that it is hard for them to change from their bouncy, happy feel. This gets degrading after awhile while waiting for some darker change for a little bit of variety. Not lackluster, just slightly annoying sometimes.

I recommend for anyone starting out with GENTLE GIANT to pick this one up right away.

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 Chronicles by RUSH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1991
3.60 | 87 ratings

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Chronicles
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Chronicles is one of the few compilations by Rush that is not a Retrospective. Being released right before the album "Counterparts", it wasn't able to include many more recent hits, from albums like "Test For Echo" or "Clockwork Angels".

The compilation includes all necessary hits from albums, from "Rush" to "Presto". There are usually two hits per album on the compilation, with the exceptions of the hits from "Moving Pictures", which includes 3, probably due to the fact that "Moving Pictures" was made up entirely of hits, and it wasn't enough to only add two to the compilation. Also, "Presto" only gets one song, most likely due to the album not being as popular as the others. Also, "Rush", their self titled, also includes three tracks, two of which are studio, the other being a live performance. Another 3 track inclusion was "Power Windows", which again included two studio songs and one live song.

Live songs are also included in the place of studio recorded songs, for instance on disk two, 'Mystic Rhythms' from ", which is performed live on the track. Other live tracks include 'A Passage to Bangkok, from "2112", and 'What You're Doing', from "Rush".

This compilation is definitely a great introduction to Rush, from 70's to 80's. I suggest to any person wanting to get involved with Rush to buy this compilation as their first purchase. If it appeals, you have the freedom to get the full albums. Overall, an amazing compilation for any fan of musicianship mastery by Rush.

(Review originally made for the Metal Music Archives on August 1st, 2014)

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 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.12 | 390 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars "Undertow" is the debut album by the American progressive/alternative metal band, Tool.

The full - length debut album is said to have kept the life of all heavy metal in the mainstream media due to it's success. "Undertow" is also the cause of Tool's undeniable later success, being that their debut EP, "Opiate" was not as highly regarded, and did not get them critical reception. Although Tool's later albums, including "Ænima" and "Lateralus", Undertow still remains one of the most highly regarded progressive metal albums of all time.

1. Intolerance

Opening up the album is the first track, 'Intolerance'. The song starts with quiet swooshing synth noises, until the heavy guitar riffs come in to take the stage. The vocal value takes a slight decline in the beggining, ranging from too weak to way too over the top, but the chords and riffs remain excellent throughout. The track gets faster in the middle of the song, and a great heavy bridge leads to the end of the song. A More weak track from the album, but still great. (8/10)

2. Prison Sex

'Prison Sex' is the 2nd single from the album. Starting out with metallic noises, the song amps up with some fast and heavy guitar chords. The bass is getting more and more noticable as the album progresses, however the drums are getting less noticable. The vocals are slightly too loud over the other instruments, but are still great. The song is noticably more heavy, and gets more instrumental time. And the vocals are also in a good key. A nice track from the album. (9/10)

3. Sober

'Sober' is the first single from the album, and also the most highly regarded. The song starts out with an extremely heavy bass chords, and an amazing drum riff leads into the main song. As the song progresses, the drums, bass, and guitar all seem to work as one instrument, and shift into separate ones during the choruses until inevitably joining up again. The vocals are absolutely spectacular in this song, and very nice to the ears. Unlike other songs from the album, 'Sober' is able to be listened to at any time, in any mood, and in any place. Amazing song, and my favorite from the album. (10/10)

4. Bottom

A more subtle and heavy track then it's former songs, 'Bottom' takes the third track on the album. There is no slow moments in the song- in fact, every part of the song is nice and constant. Changes are done when they are needed, and the riffs remain heavy. The drumming is nice and catchy, however the bass is less noticable. A nice, catchy song. (9/10)

5. Crawl Away

Starting with the faint sound of a band playing, 'Crawl Away''s guitar quickly comes in at a fast pace. As the guitar continues, we are suddenly blasted with heavier riffs then we are used to. The guitar remains in the lead, until the bass ultimately takes over. The song is an awesome battle between bass and guitar, while the vocals and drums are taking over the backround noise. An amazing song, and definitely one of my favorites. (10/10)

6. Swamp Song

'Swamp Song' brings us an almost completely instrument ruled song. The lyrics seem to just blend in with the instruments so much it doesn't seem to be there, just adding to the noise. However, this does not make the song un-enjoyable. In fact, it makes the song have a certain flow, giving it a nice, catchy feel. Another great song from the album. (10/10)

7. Undertow

Unlike the other heavy songs on the album, 'Undertow' seems to just have a more dulled down version of the chords. In fact, the production they used seems to be the same they used in 'Sober'. Except in 'Sober', it fit in well. In this song it seems oddly misplaced. Besides that, the vocals are nice and vivid, the drumming and guitar are great also. The lack here is the base, it just seems to be alongside the drums and not playing it's own part. (8.5/10)

8. 4 Degrees

'4 Degrees' is another vocal dominated song, just like 'Undertow', and the other instruments seem to be backround sounds in some places. Unlike 'Undertow', the bridge is absolutely excellent, however the song starts to get quite repetitive. Not much else to say about it. Great, but not the best. (9/10)

9. Flood

A slower track, with more drum and guitar domination, 'Flood' comes in with nice echoey vocals, and nice heavy chords. Where the song has it's errors is that the bridge drags on too long. The bass is the only upside to keep you interested during it. The vocals are basic and sort of bland, until the chorus, which is an excellent piece of Tool vocal work. A nice, but slightly weak song. (8/10)

10. Disgustipated

I don't even know what to say about this finale. Should it even be considered music? I think it is a great work in experimenting with different sounds, but definitely not something to close out nice heavy album like "Undertow". It is an absolutely useless symphony of weird echoey sounds, sheep, radio voices, whistles, and hammers. Not to mention- this song drags on for (15:47). That is just to long for a song that is mostly dominated by annoying mind bending whistles. Other than the whistling, the song has less than a minute of nonsensical lyrics and random sound beats. An awful droning, repetitive ending to the album. In fact, it got so annoying that I couldn't even listen to it anymore. Definitely not worth listening to. (2/10)

Overall, Tool's debut album was definitely the cause of Tool's undeniable rise in popularity. And we can all agree, "Undertow" saved metal's asses when it was starting to fall in numbers of listeners. All later and greater albums have to give credit to "Undertow", for making it possible for Tool to continue on what they do best-make metal music. (Originally written for the Metal Music Archives on August 4th, 2014)

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 Autotheism by FACELESS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.36 | 19 ratings

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Autotheism
The Faceless Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Autotheism' - The Faceless (41/100)

Above anything else, The Faceless' Autotheism is a problematic album. I did enjoy Planetary Duality quite a bit, and there are plenty of moments on Autotheism that recall The Faceless' past achievements. The central style finds itself at a crossroads between modern tech death and Dream Theater-variety progressive metal; the mention of that combination alone should spark some doubts, but The Faceless can, and often do make it work in their favour. Having just recently seen them headline the 2014 Summer Slaughter tour with the likes of Archspire, Rings of Saturn etc., there's no doubt The Faceless can bring it to the table in terms of sheer technical instrumentation. The guitars entwine excellently with Lyle Cooper's drumwork, and the guitars navigate the album's more challenging parts with style. That's not what's wrong with Autotheism.

I usually love it when bands put a progressive, or unexpected swing on a genre like tech death- most of the time it gives the music a tinge of spontaneity that may have otherwise been lost in the sea of sweeps and robotic notation. The Faceless have certainly made themselves out to be a band who takes the road less travelled in terms of technical death metal. Allusions to Dream Theater, multi-part epics and clean vocals are all well-off the beaten path for the style. It should by all means work, but by the end of Autotheism I'm left thinking like the album might have been best contained within the tech death sphere. The Faceless remain good at what they know, but whenever there's a detour, the vision feels undercooked.

There's no better example of this than the multi-part suite and title piece. In keeping with the other less-successful prog epics I've heard, "Autotheism" offers up some interesting ideas, but ultimately falls apart under its own weight. There is ambition but no coherence, nothing to congeal the epic together as a definitive musical statement. If a band is intent on devoting a third of their album to a composition, I would hope I would leave it with a strong impression of the band's sound. After a pseudo-orchestral overture, The Faceless proceed to follow the footsteps of metal genius Devin Townsend's style for several minutes (clean vocals and all) before finally diving into the prog death they're most comfortable with. As much as I love Devin Townsend, any imitators (of which there are several) I've heard fall far short of what they no doubt set out to accomplish. Devin's style was exciting because it was completely his. In the case of Autotheism, The Faceless seem to cling to their interpretation of his style, not least obvious of all being Michael Keene's halfhearted clean vocals, which seem kept afloat only through a mountain of harmonizing and post-prod effects. By the suite's second movement, things begin to pick up and we hear some good riffs, but it's not long before the suite reverts back to the same plodding pace and weak prog cliches.

Particularly in the third movement "Deconsecrate", it becomes obvious that The Faceless lack the personality and sincerity to pull off a lot of these progressive sections. Hearing the band perform their Townsend facsimile felt disingenuous enough, but the weirdest moments- most notably being a carnivalesque section wherein Keene croons "God is dead"- feel forced and joyless, as if The Faceless suddenly became aware they were taking themselves too seriously, but couldn't get themselves out of a rut in time before the epic finished. On the topic of serious things, it doesn't seem like The Faceless think atheism is any joke. They remind us of this stance in virtually every song and- all beliefs aside- their way of handling the subject in their music is possibly the most awful thing about the album. Whenever they're not depending on worn expressions and cliches in their lyrics, they're preaching some holier-than-thou New Atheist sanctimony that makes Christian rock look tolerable by comparison. I'm all onboard with iconoclasm and supposed free-thinking, but The Faceless' ideology seems to be directly in line with the "In this moment, I am euphoric" brand of online atheist crusaders who, I can only imagine, polish their Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens shrines in between bouts of cosplay internet porn. My own views on religion (or, more specifically, the hypocriticism of New Atheism) certainly paint this element of The Faceless in a more negative light than it may be for others, but take a track like "Hail Science" (kill me now), an interlude not unlike Radiohead's "Fitter Happier", only with an extra helping of cringeworthy anti- religious sentiment. From this and other sets of lyrics, I get the impression that The Faceless (like many of the fedora-bound internet gremlins you'll find lurking on the forums) place the blame of all human ills and indecency on religion and belief in a God that doesn't exist. If The Faceless agree with me that God is most likely a fabrication, then they should also acknowledge that it must be somewhere in human nature itself for people to do these [&*!#]ty, ignorant things to one another. If God is truly dead, then we have only ourselves to blame.

At the album's best, Autotheism flirts with better-than-average tech death riffery and suggests some great potential in the prog metal sector as well. Each time I've finished listening through the album however, I can think of more problems I have with the album than things I enjoyed. If I may be diplomatic here, it's clear that The Faceless took a big risk in putting so much of the album aside to jump outside their shell and explore musically. That achievement feels dull in context when it ultimately just appears like they've jumped inside another shell, of a more uncompromising and visionary artist than they themselves are. The songwriting is generally bland and forgettable, and the concept is idiotic. I never thought I'd say this, but give me straight up tech death over this any day.

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 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.25 | 658 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by arthuredson

5 stars Everybody is bloody good in this album! I mean, the riffs are so dark and strong, the bass and the drum have an awesome chemistry, letting Tony float in the solos and letting Ozzy sing the powerfull lyrics. War Pigs is a piece were we see the dynamics that are going to apear in every song on the album. Paranoid, the title track, is a little bit weaker than the rest of the songs in the album, but, along with Communication Breakdown, is a important proto-punk/bang-your-heads song. Planet Caravan is an interesting piece, kind of dark ambient song, with the vocals that seems to be influeced by the delta blues singers. Iron Man has catchy riffs and... need I say more about this masterpiece? Electric Funeral transfer awesomely the felling of the lyrics through the intrumentals. Hand of Doom is my personal favorite, with all the dinamics, the solo, the lyrics. All fit so well together in this song. Rat Salad is a mini jam, power trio-wannabe, which contains awesome riffs, guitar and drums solo. Fairies Wear Boots is a decent ending for one of the best albums ever made in all the heavy metal.

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 Castle of Noi (Noi no Shiro) by HIRAYAMA, TERUTSUGU album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.44 | 8 ratings

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Castle of Noi (Noi no Shiro)
Terutsugu Hirayama Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I first became aware of this album when Greg Walker from Synphonic Music sent me a list of his all- time favourite albums, and of course this was part of that list. I've had this for a couple of years and to be honest it just isn't my style of Prog. Very symphonic which is good but it's the orchestral moments that turn me off along with all the ELP-like bombast that makes me squint a lot. This is the project of Terutsugu Hirayama who is from Japan and is very talented at not only playing the guitar but at composing music as well.

This is a concept album by the way and it starts with "Opening And Main Title" a less than 2 minute orchestral intro to "Mystic World" which thankfully is more of a "rock" tune with some aggressive guitar. It changes before a minute with female vocals. Not a fan of her style but the contrasts will continue. The guitar is amazing but this is too bombastic for my tastes. "Nelfelti" has accordion and weird male and female vocals. The latter are operatic. Some strange vocal melodies as well. Not a fan. "A Boy And Soldier" is very orchestral with the guitar playing over top. "The Scene" opens with piano and reserved male vocals for about 2 1/2 minutes then it turns dark with sweeping synths. Nice. Back to the piano a minute later. At 4 1/2 minutes that dark mood with synths returns. It turns symphonic late. Good tune.

"Teles Pheres Maris" is divided into two parts. This sounds really good early on. Some heaviness here as the male vocals join in. Check out the guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. The keyboards are really good as well. This is my favourite song on here. "Castle Of Noi" is the almost 11 minute closer. It's divided into 4 parts. It's orchestral early on then female vocals arrive as drums, bass and synths help out. Not a fan really but I do appreciate how upfront the bass is on this release. The vocals stop as it becomes bombastic with guitar and some strange goings on. It settles back then picks back up. A calm with piano 8 minutes in then the orchestral keys(think SATELLITE) lead before the song ends.

Cetainly many consider this a classic but this just doesn't do a lot for me despite the obvious talent that went into this. If you love lots of keys and bombast this is worth checking out.

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 Для тех, кто видит сны. Vol.1 / Dlya Teh, Kto Vidit Sny Vol.1 by ORGIYA PRAVEDNIKOV album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.21 | 11 ratings

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Для тех, кто видит сны. Vol.1 / Dlya Teh, Kto Vidit Sny Vol.1
Orgiya Pravednikov Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Despite their playfully oxymoronic name, Orgy of the Righteous take themselves and their spirituality very seriously, with just one exception, a russian musketeers/vodka anthem, showing that it's sometimes beneficial not to be too somber. This is russian epic folk/hard rock, enriched with flute, strings and even some ska sounds. And is that a death growl I'm hearing? What I like is that songs are not repetitive, with only things repeated are usually the things worth repeating. Production is loud and clear. Compared to previous album, there is more of an effort to write some catchy melodies, but a lot of this still sounds like dramatic verses recited over a background melody. Little instrumental fanfare.

This isn't exactly a staple of russian prog - a genre not quite booming, I'm afraid. But it could of some interest for those interested how rock sounds with a russian flavor. Not the silly balalaikas and gypsies stuff, but with an existential bent.

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 B'Sides Themselves by MARILLION album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
3.44 | 144 ratings

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B'Sides Themselves
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars The official end of Fish discography with Marillion comes in early 1988, when EMI released the archival/compilation album ''B'Sides themselves'', the complete farewell to a unique generation of Prog music and the legend of Fish-era Marillion.This album contained unlrealesed studio tracks, live cuts and pieces from the band's singles, which date back from 1982.

The 17-min. opener ''Grendel'' was originally part of the expanded version of the ''Market square heroes'' single/EP from 1982.It's not only one of the best compositions Marillion ever created, but it is also much closer to the classic GENESIS sound than anything the band ever produced.A magnificent epic with even some CAMEL influences in the guitar solos, a completely epic atmosphere with Fish in his best form and some emphatic keyboard pyrotechnics by Mark Kelly, featuring multiple variations and lots of changing climates with a certain symphonic atmosphere coming out of the 70's, despite the strong synth component."Charting the single'', "Market square heroes" and ''Three boats down from the candy'', all three among the favorites in Marillion lives, are characterized by both symphonic and flashy keyboards and Trewavas' impressive bass work, introducing Fish'es unmet lyricism and the more accesible tunes of Neo Prog music, the two later come from re-recorded versions from the ''Punch and Judy'' 84' single.''Cinderella Search'' is the only track, that made to a Marillion full-lenhth album, here comes the single edit version from the ''Assassing'' 84' single, no more words, this is music poetry dressed with dramatic keyboards and great guitar soloing by Rothery."Lady Nina" and "Freaks" are both leftovers from the recordings of ''Misplaced childhood'', the first is accesible Neo Prog with rhythmic lines, among the least impressive tracks of the album, second one is typical Marillion-esque dark, lyrical Neo Prog with bombastic keyboards and spacey, almost PINK FLOYD-ian guitar work.''Tux on'' was included in the ''Sugar mice'' 87' single, among the last recordings of Fish with the group, this is narcotic, lyrical music, which slowly develops into a fantastic solo by Rothery, featuring the discreet keyboards of Kelly.The live version of one of Marillion's obscurities, ''Margaret'', comes from a performance at Edinburgh Playhouse in April 83', quite 70's influenced keyboard Prog with a jamming mood and a frenetic crowd supporting the band.

The band said goodbye to Fish with an awesome document on the unkown side of Marillion.If you don't own any of Marillion's singles or special CD versions with additional material, this is more than a must-have.

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 Everybody Loves You by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Everybody Loves You
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Both songs of this single were taken from Jon Anderson`s "Song of Seven" album from 1980.

"Everybody Loves You" is a ballad or love song with very good "Classical Music" vocals arrangements at the start and at the end of the song, sung by Anderson with Christopher Rainbow. It also has a brief bass guitar solo played by John Giblin. This song is the first from the Side Two of the old LP, followed by "Take Your Time".

"Everybody Loves You" was previously recorded with YES during the failed recording sessions of the band in Paris in late 1979 with record producer Roy Thomas Baker. The arrangement of the version that Anderson recorded with YES was different, particularly without the use of the "Classical music" vocals arrangments, and sounded somewhat "unfinished" like other songs from the same recording sessions. YES`s arrangement was maybe more Prog Rock oriented. Anderson`s version is more simple and maybe more Pop Rock / New Age in musical style. But these differences maybe showed the reasons why Anderson and the band split in 1980. The other members of YES (particularly Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White) wanted a heavier sound for the band, a thing they achieved in their YES` "Drama" album in 1980, which was recorded without Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Anderson tended then to write more "soft" songs which maybe were not very liked by the rest of the members of the band (with the possible exception of Wakeman who left the band at the same time Anderson did it). So, Anderson re-recorded this song for his "Song of Seven" album, which sounds to me more like a "family life album" than anything else.

"Take Your Time" is another "soft" song with good lyrics and arrangements, but more simple than other songs that Anderson recorded with YES.

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 Bilateral by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 333 ratings

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Bilateral
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FXM

1 stars Appreciation of music is a very subjective thing as we all know. Norway's Leprous are regarding as a rising star of progressive metal. I purchased their album Bilateral when it was released in 2011 thinking that as it was on the Inside Out label it would be a quality piece of music. How wrong I was!!!

Over one third of reviewers have give this a five star rating. But how anybody could consider Bilateral to be a masterpiece is beyond my comprehension. Listening to this is a thoroughly unpleasant experience, the aural equivalent of a visit to the dentist. Prog metal would not be my favourite genre but I do like some of it and I have a soft spot for Devin Townsend but I cant find any redeeming qualities in this album. There is a bit of a Townsend influence on some of the tracks but they lack the melody of his compositions.

The musicianship is fine but the some of the tracks are a mishmash of ideas. I hate the vocals especially when they descend into growling/screeching.

The title of track 6 "Waste of Air" sums the album up perfectly, or to borrow a phrase from the late John Peel its "a waste of electricity".

Track 9 is "Acquired Taste", no matter how long I listen to this I can't acquire a taste for it, but if I do then take me out and shoot me please.

One star is being generous.

p.s. I do like the album cover.

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 Cage Of Freedom by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Cage Of Freedom
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars In 1985 I was playing the drums in an eight members (!) band which also included two female backing singers. One of them one day lent me some LPs to show me her musical tastes. One of those LPs was the Soundtrack of the 1984 version of the "Metropolis" film done by record producer and musician Giorgio Moroder (who worked a lot with artists like Donna Summer and others during the Disco - Dance -Synth Pop Musical Fads in the seventies-eighties). That album has contributions from several New Wave, Rock, and Pop Rock musicians from the 70s-80s (Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, Loverboy, Billy Squier...). I read the list of contributors to that soundtrack album in the cover, which also included JON ANDERSON, I listened to that album, and the only interesting song which I listened to was to Jon Anderson`s contribution, a song titled "Cage of Freedom" (composed by Moroder with Pete Bellote, being both a very successful songwriting team for Donna Summer in particular). The song is very Synth-Pop music influenced, very well produced with all the typical ingredients from that time (electronic drums, very eighties sounding keyboards,...).The song also includes a good distorted guitar playing. But...that is all. It was for me very strange to find Anderson in this very commercial soundtrack album, but his contribution is the only thing that I liked from this very out of date eighties`s musical product.

For collectors / fans only.

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 Hold On To Love by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Hold On To Love
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars While I still think that "In the City of Angels" is a very Pop Rock album from JON ANDERSON, very eighties influenced in musical style and production, it is a good album, anyway. And the best song from this album (in my opinion) was released in the Side One of this single / EP in 1988, along with a very commercial promotional video clip on which even Chris Squire appears briefly "playing" a contra- bass. In fact, it was thanks to that video clip, which I watched on TV once, that I listened to "Hold On To Love" for the first time in the late eighties.

"Hold On To Love" was composed by Anderson with Lamont Dozier, who is one of the persons in the trio of composers (Holland-Dozier-Holland) who composed a lot of songs for several Motown Records artists in the sixties (one of them were THE SUPREMES, a trio of female singers) and even THE BEATLES played and / or recorded some of their songs. The production of this song in particular is very good, with very good session musicians playing the song with very good arrangements. The song does not sound as a Motown song in musical style, but it is very good for my taste, even if it is a bit commercial. It has some very good keyboard arrangements which for me are the best part of the song.

"In a Lifetime", another song composed by Anderson and Dozier, is a ballad, a love song, which also shows some eighties music influences. It is maybe a bit "sugar song", but good, anyway.

By the way: Lamont Dozier also composed some songs with Phil Collins in 1988 for the soundtrack of the "Buster" movie, on which Collins had the main acting character.

"Sundancing (For The Hopi / Navajo Energy)" is a song composed by Anderson alone which has some New Age / World Music influences, sounding a bit similar in musical style to "Teakbois", a song which he was going to record for the "ANDERSON, BRUFORD, WAKEMAN, HOWE" album in 1989.

Three songs from the "In the City of Angels" album released in this single / EP, very eighites in production and style, but good anyway. Very well produced, sung, and recorded with very good session musicians. It is a very professional job, in my opinion.

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 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.67 | 101 ratings

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UFO
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The debut album by Germany's premier power trio seems to have divided even the more reliable collaborators on this site, and not without good reason. The primitive garage-band jams collected here might have been prototypes of Krautrock sedition, but are they actually any good? Heck, are they even half-way listenable?

Sure, the album is a bit of a mess. But it's just possibly a Jackson Pollock sort of mess...in other words, one made by agitators who knew what they wanted. Or, more accurately, what they didn't want: anything resembling structure, direction, or professional gloss. This sort of musical anarchy was a holdover from the more radical 1960's, and not unlike a lot of post-hippie guitar freakouts was political in context. The band itself called what they were doing 'action music', although the only action likely taken by unwary listeners might be to reach for a large bottle of aspirin.

Even with more than forty years of hindsight it can still be hard to distinguish one instrumental thrash from the next; a mark of distinction, to some of us misfits. And with titles like "Stone In" or "Der LSD- Marsch" it's entirely possible the band had the same problem in 1970 (the latter example, for better or worse, smacks of firsthand chemical knowledge). But it's the ten-minute title improvisation that remains the album's litmus test: a completely free-form exercise in spontaneous noise-making, played (apparently) for no other reason except to hear the effect of all that feedback.

What the album misses is the occasional touch of goofy humor that would color upcoming Guru Guru LP's. Drug references aside, it's a pretty sober experience...ignoring the (possibly) tongue-in-cheek statement inside the laminated gatefold cover, above the portrait of the band representing bassist Uli Trepte as a hallucinated extension of R.U. Kaiser's Ohr Records logo. Quoting the pseudonymous P. Hinten, "Soon the UFO's will land and mankind will meet much stronger brains and habits". And here's the kicker: "Let's get ready for that".

Was it meant as an invitation, or a threat? Yes, let's get ready to throttle ET with all six of Axe Genrich's electric guitar strings! A moot point, by now: stronger brains and habits have proven no match for the primordial grunge of Mani Neumeier and company, as we're still learning after almost 45- years of waiting for those objects to finally land.

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 Rising by CHAMELEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.02 | 6 ratings

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Rising
Chameleon Eclectic Prog

Review by FXM

3 stars Recordings made by Chameleon, an obscure Progressive Rock band from Texas, were finally released in 2013, up to 40 years after they were first recorded. The 13 tracks on "Rising" were recorded in various studios between 1973 and 1978, including six tracks from their own studio/rehearsal room in a converted barn.

The sound quality, production and musicianship is very good but the band suffer from a serious lack of originality. Listening to this album is like listing to a compilation of the more famous 1970's prog bands playing unreleased tracks that didn't make the grade for inclusion on their albums of the time.

The album opens with "Texas Cyclone" which is one of the better tracks. It starts off sounding like Begger's Opera with a bit of Chris Squire style bass thrown in. As it progresses the Yes influence becomes stronger with some Steve Howe style guitar and there is also a bit of Genesis influence in places.

Track 2 "Follow Your Love" is reminiscent of Kansas.

Track 3 "Pilot Thoughts" is heavier in style, a bit of a poor man's Rush, but interspersed with some long mellow sections. Nice guitar work through the long mellow passage towards the end of the track.

Track 4 "Brave New Way" is another Kansas style track. It's a very American sounding track.

Track 5 "Drool Away" is an out of place oddity, this is their attempt at a James Brown track!!!.

Track 6 "Pass Thru The Columbian Mountains" is strongly influenced by Gentle Giant.

Track 7 "Everyday Everyway" is their homage to Led Zeppelin. I quite like this one.

The intro to track 8 "Mirkwood Forest" sounds like Fruupp then followed by Rush style vocals. Part of the track sounds like Beggars Opera.

Track 9 "In the Heart" is the Steely Dan track.

Track 10 "Saturate" is a return of the Kansas influence.

Track 11 "Midnight Matinee" reminds me of something (surprise surprise) but I can't quite place it, although there is a bit of a Beggar's Opera influence in parts.

Track 12 "Life Positions" is another of the better pieces. This is influenced by Genesis with a bit of Camel and Chris Squire's bass thrown into the blender.

Track 13 "In My Own Way" is a pop song, nothing prog about this at all. It is the earliest track on the album recorded in 1973 before the band had decide to embrace progressive rock. It's the worst track and really should have been left off.

Overall it is an interesting listen, they are good musicians but unfortunately totally lacking in originality. There is nothing distinctive that you could say this is Chameleon. But in general the compositions are well formulated and well played. Standout tracks are the opening "Texas Cyclone" and "Life Positions" I will be generous and give it three stars.

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 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.04 | 1163 ratings

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A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars To start off my new profile, I might as well review one of my favorite prog albums of all time.

When Roger Waters left PINK FLOYD after the dreadful sales of "The Final Cut", Mason and Gilmour were left on their own to produce the next album. During the writing of his 3rd solo album, Gilmour made the decision to actually make it under the PINK FLOYD name. Mason was back on the album, and Wright was brought in as a session musician (for the first time after Waters decided to fire the bloke). Other musicians, such as Carmin Appice, John Carin, and Bob Erzin (who was later known for helping with the production of the album itself) were all on the roster as additional musicians along with some other cool people.

A huge debate over this album is the fact that a "non original member" took over from Waters after he explosively quit the band. Many people say that Mason should have taken over the band, seeing as he was on the wagon from the first album. I think being on the second studio album till present is a spectacular feat, and I would assume that would make you an original member. However, some people disagree with this, and that's okay. It's all about perspective.

As for the musicianship used after Waters left, it's astounding. Sure, cheesy saxophone can increasingly repetitive as the album goes on, but I think Gilmour's fantastic guitar work makes up for that. The heavy guitar solos in such songs as 'On The Turning Away', 'One Slip', and 'Learning to Fly' make me forget all about the sax. As for good moments with the good old brass is in my favorite song, 'Dogs of War', featuring an amazing saxophone solo. True, the sound is slightly out-dated, and hasn't aged very well. With songs like 'Terminal Frost', where the chords might have fit better back in the 70s.

Another song I would like to tackle is 'A New Machine' Parts 1&2. Whilst alot people see this as blatant filler to make up for creative lax, I think of it as a great experimental track. I always loved that psychedelic, rippling sound in the music that gave it a tone of dreary and dark (except for the nice, strong vocals). Part 2 is less enjoyable, due to it's incredibly short duration compared to part 1. I would have rathered they do something like they did with 'Pigs on the Wing', and make it a whole song when combined together, not some small tidbit of what it could really be.

As for the cons, I don't really have much. As I stated before, the aging of this album is sort of stale and disappointing compared to other albums. My least favorite track has to be 'Signs of Life'. The droning and boring quality reminds me too much of the most likely inspired- from track 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond', which I dislike as well (I hope I don't get hated on for that). It is definitely a weak opener.

Overall, I feel that many people jump on the bandwagon for hating this album instead of listening to it with an open mind, which I encourage you to do with full certainty. You might find yourself liking it.

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 Monkjack by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Monkjack
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars According to his own memories the album Somethin Els (1993) was JACK BRUCE's return to health. To celebrate his 50th birthday he gave a series of concerts in Cologne, which resulted as the live double album Cities of the Heart. His next studio album was unique in his output as it features only his voice and piano plus Bernie Worrell's Hammond B3 organ. To some listeners this may not sound so appealing, but I think it all works amazingly well. From the prog world for example PETER HAMMILL and ANTHONY PHILLIPS have done similar efforts, and JUKKA GUSTAVSON's Bluesion (1992) comes pretty close too. Among singer-songwriters and jazz vocalists it's perhaps not so unusual to make a "vocals & keyboards only" album. Bruce is a jazz oriented singer-songwriter, so it's not a big surprise that he handles this department so naturally.

Monkjack's strength is definitely in the excellent songs full of depth and emotion. No doubt many of them would sound great with a band setting too, but their characters go perfectly hand in hand with the arrangement. My least fave track is probably the instrumental 'Know One Blues' which isn't bad at all. 'Weird of Hermiston' originates from Bruce's debut Songs For A Tailor (1969) and 'Folk Song' from Harmony Row (1971). The latter is very beautiful, slow and introspective song. Other highlights - I indeed seem to prefer the most emotional ones - include 'David's Harp' and 'Laughing on Music Street'.

Here and there blues flavour comes audible, slightly gospel too. All in all this album doesn't fall into a specific musical genre. It's a very introspective collection of fine songs that are backed by piano and Hammond only. The playing is not trying to be the thing itself, even if the singing leaves pleanty of room for instrumental moments. Recommended!

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.19 | 208 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by rdtprog
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

5 stars The use of death vocals seems to be a thing of the past for Opeth. I always appreciated the clean vocals from Mikael Akerfeldt. It gives a better view of how he can be a good singer. The previous album Heritage wasn't convincing. Again the band is showing the soft side of their music The song "Eternal Rains will come" display some haunting harmonies progressions with some dark keyboards sound similar to VDGG. "Cups of Eternity" show a vocalization hook repeated almost like an incantation. There are some nice grooves here and a display of heavier guitars. With "Moon, Above, Sun Below" we recognize the same compositions structures of the band with intense and melancholic passages, the melody at the beginning is suddenly switching to a complete new mood so we get the feel that the song is like different parts melt down to build a 10 minutes song, but it works. The song "Goblin" is inspired by the band of the same name with a little touch of jazz. "River" is another different track with some classical rock influence. "Voice of Treason" is another track in which the listener is challenge with the impossibility to reach an accessible melody, like the band was playing with restraint. It illustrates the new direction the band is, by keeping the music outside the extreme metal. The last track "Faith of Others" is full of strings, classical arrangements and some acoustic progressive rock not too far from the band Landberk.

While this release could be perceive as homage to the old progressive rock bands, the retro sound of the organ and mellotron should appeal to old progressive rock fans, it keeps the band own style, less metal than the majority of their albums, but more in the line of Damnation and Heritage. For me, those two albums despite their progressive side were not the best of their discography, but I think the latest is more satisfying and if I had doubt about the direction the band was headed when they took a break from their metal prog, I am more confident for the future that it's the right direction to go now. And Mikael Akerfeldt looks like a musician that is in a mood to do more melodic music with clean vocals the rest of his career.

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 Jester by MACHIAVEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.73 | 67 ratings

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Jester
Machiavel Eclectic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Machiavel - Jester (1977)

Late Belgian symphonic prog of early neo-prog? We'll all agree on the W&W-era Genesis influences in the keyboard department, probably on some Supertramp (though not so jolly) influences and I myself sense some David Bowie influences when hearing vocalist Mario Guccio.

Machiavel has a modern electric progressive rock sound, actually not that different from most neoprog-groups of today. Actually, when it comes to style is sounds way more modern then the Marillion debut. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Marillion and Saga took some spins of this record.

But this is a reviel about Machiavel. The sound is abstract, yet theatrical. Mystical and adventerious, dark and sometimes happy. It was however recorded earlier and with a slightly imperfect mixing (the record could have sounded a bit havier), giving it an obscure feel. Take that in - obscure sounding early neoprog. I fell for it in the vinyl store and some passages just got me. The couplet theme of opening track 'Wisdom' and the vocal/guitar duo on 'Sparkling Jaw' are amazing. With a more carefull listen at home these passsages still impress, but the record also starts to show some cracks. The vocals are intense, but also a bit non-human and the lyrics just strange. Sometimes they are almost hidden behind symphonic layers, I myself like the artist and his performance having a central place in the mix. The ballad 'Moments' is just a Genesis ballad by another band, though still enjoyable. As the record progresses the band becomes more playfull, adding even some wind- instruments. I'm not blow away by the title of the fourt track 'In the reing of queen polution'. The track has a nice low-pased Eloy-like opening with proportions of seriousness that you'll only find in symphonic and neoprog. During the song the atmospheres change and the band finds simple ways of making music very enjoyable.

On side two 'The Jester' is perhaps the happiest tracks, with a lot of Supertramp-like Fender Rhodes passages. The instrumental section is however a classic example of symphonic prog. 'Mr. Street fair' has an interesting exciting atmosphere and I can't help to hear some Queen influences. The changing between melancholy and playfulness works out well on this track, resulting in an ending section that has both. The last track ''Rock, sea an trea' is the longest track and a sum of everything that made this an enjoyable album.

Conclusion. This is a very interesting record falling between two era's of symphonic progressive rock. Recommended to fans of the bands mentioned, symphonic prog, neoprog and people interested in genre development. I'm giving it four stars, this record deserves more listeners and recognition in my opinion.

ps The artwork is really nice and the inside of the foldoutcover has lots of boobs, though portrayed consistent with the style of the front cover.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.19 | 208 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by jverweij

3 stars A good redeeming album dragged down by the mixing

I have always been a huge fan of Opeth. Up until Heritage they could do no wrong in my book. Even though I have clear favourites (blackwater Park, Still Life, Ghost Reveries), all their other work is superb. Heritage was their first album I just couldn't get into. It lacked focus and felt disjointed and rushed. I'll be honest: I feared for Opeth.

Their newest release: Pale Communion has proven me wrong. Heritage was just a misstep, they are still going strong. With Mikael Akerfeldts newfound resentment of heavy metal, the band has taken a more gentle approach to music. In reality this doesn't really change that much to the music. Sure a bit more keys are added (a very good thing imo) and the distortion is less heavy, but otherwise, the music is very similar to what it was before Heritage.

I'm not going to go through all the songs, but I'll say that every song (yes even Cusp of Eternity) has grown on me. I especially like Moon Above, Sun Below, Goblin, and Faith in Others. Musically, this is easily a 4 star album.......

Yet I'm giving it 3..The reason for this is the mixing. Done by the otherwise flawless Steven Wilson, the mixing is way too bass heavy for my ears. Both the bass and the bassdrums are predominantly present. For me, this is distracting enough to lower my rating from 4 to 3 stars. I can only say this is a damn shame, because this could have been really great.

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.09 | 465 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by progpig66 (arnold)

5 stars One of the top albums of 2013 is without any doubt "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep" by Spock's Beard, but apparently not according to the proggophobic wild bunch of Waeguk, Pangrangja, Purplefloydfish, Marfish, Daemacho and so on. This time two stars were not little enough, so they all (?) decided on a one star rating!! But enough time spent on twirp ratings, the new line up of Spock's Beard is definitely a winner. Drummer Jimmy Keegan is a fantastic musician, whose very dynamic drumming fits in the music perfectly. With Ted Leonard the Beard have enlisted one of the best of today's progvocalists.

The music on Brief Nocturnes is easier to comprehend and the song structures are more fluently conceived than those on X. "Something Very Strange" is almost a hit with a great chorus and a magnificent continuous bass-line, that once more proves that Dave Meros is one hell of a bassplayer. I love his bass-sound! "Waiting For Me" has everything a good progressive rock composition needs, huge keyboard sounds, beautiful guitar lines, a great rhythm section and again the winning vocal parts. I won't hesitate to call this album a masterpiece of progressive rock!

progpig66

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 Live From the Pit by REDEMPTION album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live From the Pit
Redemption Progressive Metal

Review by Spartanj42

— First review of this album —
4 stars So Redemption's been on a bit of a break since their excellent 2011 release This Mortal Coil. This has seen lots of tours and big live performances at multiple festivals. In doing so they've made quite a name for themselves and they finally decided to grace us with a live album called Live From the Pit that seems to be an average of all the material they've been playing the last three years. At Progpower 2012 they played a rather long set for a festival (at 80 minutes) with quite a wide smattering of material from different albums.

Production and mixing are usually the most important things you look at with a live album so let's see. I found them both to be very well done, I was able to hear every instrument as well as was necessary at the time, maybe the guitar wasn't quite as high as it could have been in the mix, but the keyboards are magnificently mixed so that's good. Also the guitars have a very gritty tone which I really like. The drums are a bit high, but in my experience that's something you'll find in almost every live album ever made. So the mixing and production are good, usually second most important when considering a live album is the setlist. The set they played is pretty representative of their discography. The majority of the setlist is taken from the albums The Origin of Ruin and This Mortal Coil. Only two songs each were played from The Fullness of Time and Snowfall on Judgement day, the former being my favorite that was slightly disappointing, but they did an excellent job with the two they did. Only one song from their self titled debut, but I'm okay with that.

The whole thing starts with Threads which works well as an explosive opener for both the concert and the album it's from, but immediately following it is the real show stopper In the Suffocating Silence, one of my favorite Redemption songs they really did the song justice with some really strong keyboard playi ng. Other standout performances include Parker's Eyes, Fall on You, Stronger than Death and Black and White World. Apparently this was the first time they had ever performed Parkers Eyes live so that's a cool treat for Redemption fans, not to mention they played the pants off it. Now when I say a "standout performance" I mean they really conveyed the emotion of it to the audience, they managed to use the live setting to their advantage and build up to a climax in a way that's difficult to do in studio. Especially on Black and White World, they really nailed that one. Oh also Dreams from the Pit features a really fantastic bass solo, I mean Sean Andrews played the hell out of it and his bass playing really made Dreams from the Pit a very memorable performance.

The emotion is all very heartfelt the power behind the songs is there and everything sounds really tight. One of the few issues I have with this is that for the most part everything sounds just like it did in studio, like they didn't do anything differently even the solos were pretty much exactly the same. Plus the crowd's really quiet and there's almost no crowd interaction so it hardly sounds like a live album at all sometimes. It's really more of a compilation album with scattered applause here and there. If that doesn't bother you in live albums then more power to you, but I could have done with a little more crwod involvement and maybe some improvised solos. Overall it shows that Redemption does still have it and that Ray Alder is still a great singer, I look forward to their next studio album because so far they've never really let me down.

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 Last Autumn's Dream  by JADE WARRIOR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.52 | 84 ratings

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Last Autumn's Dream
Jade Warrior Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FragileKings

3 stars Jade Warrior was one of those names I stumbled across while leafing through the annals of progressive rock. As I understand, they married far eastern musical sounds with western rock, and their first album solidly established what they were about. The second album did not come off so well, but their third album, "Last Autumn's Dream" managed to come close to their debut, possibly surpassing it depending on whom you ask. This I gathered from the Wiki article and some of the reviews here.

Taking a chance, I ordered the third album without much prior inspection of the music. "A Winter's Tale" sounds quite typical of the day with lots of la-la-las and an English view of a warm fire in the fireplace. There is a kind of Japanese feel to some of the guitar which doesn't sound forced or intrusive. Interesting that they chose to start the album with a laid back song that is one of only three to clear five minutes.

Beginning with a wild guitar solo, "Snake" sounds more exciting with its heavy fuzz-toned, sidewinder bass line. I can picture a viper swishing its coils left and right across the sand. The heavy sound makes Jade Warrior sound closer to proto-metal at times. The music switches style and atmosphere near the end, and there's an eerie flute contribution, but this interesting turn in the music serves only as an outro. Too bad they didn't develop it further. In a way it reminds me a little of "Famine" on the Opeth album "Heritage" except that the Opeth song is one of my favourite Opeth songs and this one here is just kind of interesting. Needs more work.

"Dark River" is where the far eastern influence really starts to show with a flute solo that conjures up images of ninja running stealthily along a river bank at night. The entrancing drumming reminds me of Ron Bushy's solo on Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida". A plunky guitar takes over while the suspenseful flute continues, and then once more the guitar and drums trade places. This certainly is an atmosphere-establishing piece that seems to marry a Japanese ninja movie soundtrack with an Iron Butterfly-influenced tribal drumming rhythm.

"Joanne" seems to be a typical rock number that might have emerged from the southern States somewhere. "Joanne, we're gonna get loaded / Joanne, know what I mean." I can't say the lyrics are particularly good. I might be thrilled about the wild heavy psych guitar solo if this was 1969 but as it is there's not much to praise except that it might be the best part of the song.

"Obedience" has my attention with some traditional Japanese percussion backing more fuzz-toned guitar. This sounds like another piece of music that could have been part of something bigger and grander. A jangling, chiming guitar sound joins along with some warm background instrumentation. And then all fades out. Why didn't they take this further and turn into some wonderful instrumental epic?

The Japanese-sounding guitar plucks over an gentle guitar while flute plays soft notes for "Morning Hymn". This is a gentle number for the awakening sleepy head and the glow of sunbeams across flower blossoms. Not particularly exciting but this is where the band sound like they are on to something different from their peers.

There's more traditional-sounding Japanese percussion and some almost down-home groovy guitar before one guitar introduces a Byrds-like riff. The music then goes back to a laid back groove as the vocals tell us about the "May Queen". The flute creeps in like ripples around a stone. Then we get more of the psychedelic guitar. This is a song that you might find either rather interesting or, if you don't like the scratchy guitar, a bit of a sore spot. They get points for the honest effort at blending styles. Perhaps if they'd kept this up they might have really nailed it on a fourth or fifth album of this line-up.

And the we get a drum intro that sounds like it inspired Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" while Mungo Jerry's cousin comes in with a typical seventies banana-munching beat. I can just see the big furry sideburns. "Demon Trucker"? With this one and "Joanne" it's hard to tell if these guys were really all that serious about being progressive. Perhaps they still wanted the rock crowd-pleasing tunes to offset the mellow, eastern-flavoured tunes.

"Lady of the Lake" and "Borne to the Solar Wind" take us out with those Japanese-inspired musical stylings. These slower parts with gentle electric guitar, traditional percussion, and flute are for me the most enjoyable parts of the album. I don't know why they split the music into two tracks because "Borne to the Solar Wind" is essentially an instrumental continuation of the music of "Lady of the Lake".

Each time I listen to this album I feel like this is either a band in transition or a band who was trying to cross psychedelic music with eastern-inspired mellow electric rock but still hadn't found the exact formula. For the most part I think the tracks have a lot of good aspects but I am left with the feeling that more effort should have been made toward creating something really memorable. Jade Warrior are too timid about utilizing their uniqueness to its full potential. I am curious now if I shouldn't look at their later albums when Jade Warrior was writing world music or their debut which might have better captured their initial intent. Based on the reviews, it would appear that the band went more for the world music feel that they did quite well here on "Last Autumn's Dream" and dropped the psychedelic space rock sound. They really could have pulled it off nicely, marrying the two styles, with a bit more adventurousness.

I hesitate to call it "good but not essential" but it's better than "Collectors/fans" only. Perhaps a 2.5 star rating of "it has potential" would be more accurate. So, rounded up to three stars then.

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 Trial By Fire by JOURNEY album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.50 | 47 ratings

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Trial By Fire
Journey Prog Related

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars For some reasons, I like this album which I purchased by accident as it was cheaply priced. Not jut the price, actually .... I also love the album cover. I have never followed Journey in particular as after early year they already transformed into a straight rock band. In particular of this album, I enjoy the opening track "message of Love" which starts wonderfully with an ambient sound combining vocal and keyboard plus guitar effects. The music flows nicely in a bass-tight rhythm session. It's probably the rhythm section plus some sorts of howling guitar and effects throughout the song that makes me feel excited with it. The guitar solo is also stunning. Even though this song is far away from being called as prog music, but I really enjoy the composition as well as the singing style. The second track "One More" is also another excellent track that I regularly play when it comes to this album.

Well ...sometimes we need to break from prog music for a while and have this album spun. I think this album deserves a three-star rating in terms of straight rock music - nothing is prog here at this album by Journey.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Deceit by THIS HEAT album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.24 | 42 ratings

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Deceit
This Heat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. THIS HEAT are an incredible Avant band out of the UK, and this is their second studio album released in 1981. The biggest surprise for me was that the drummer and leader is none other than Charles Hayward who was the drummer for QUIET SUN's "Mainstream" album. The cover art is classic as well but what about the music? Well I was reminded of FAUST more than any other band with those industrial sounding rhythms and how experimental this can get with all the tape loops(all 3 members use tapes). Still this has structured songs throughout the album but it is left of center in a big way. The lyrics are very political and at times angry reminding me of ART BEARS and HENRY COW.

"Sleep" is a short track just over 2 minutes that comes across as a demented lullaby for the insane. A mechanical rhythm here as reserved vocals sing about sleep. "Paper Hats" is cool with the guitar and a beat as the mono-toned vocals come in. He does scream blue murder(haha) at times. This is catchy though and the tempo picks up after 2 minutes before it settles to this really good sound before 3 minutes to the end. "Triumph" is experimental with accordion to start then we get clarinet? leading the way with intricate percussion sounds helping out. Vocals replace the clarinet 2 minutes in. The vocals do sound odd here. "SPQR" has an uptempo beat with over-lapping guitar like the way The Edge does it from U2. Vocals join in this deliberate sounding tune. "Cenotaph" is almost like a dirje and the subject matter is Remembrance Day. Vocals before a minute and they are a little different. It ends in an experimental way.

"Shrink Wrap" sounds like it was pieced together, it's an interesting track with some humerous vocals and words. Another mechanical rhythm here. "Radio Prague" has fast paced pulsating sounds with experimental noises and words. "Makeshift Swahili" is one of my favourites. Atmosphere as this cool sounding guitar comes in. Check out the demented vocals. Wow! An insane but incredible song. It changes around 2 minutes to a more normal sounding section then it picks up. Intense. "Independance" has the American Declaration of Independance being recited over an intricate instrumental display. An eastern feel comes in at times. "A New Kind Of Water" is another favourite of mine. A beat with guitar and more as the vocals join in. It kicks in to a fuller sound around a minute. What a great sound before 2 1/2 minutes with vocals. I love this section that goes on and on until the end. The final track is an experimental piece with church bells and various strange noises. Man this truly deserves the hype i've read from Avant fans around the globe. A must for you Rio/Avant fans.

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 Light Of Lost Summers by JAZZCOMPUTER.ORG album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.18 | 2 ratings

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Light Of Lost Summers
Jazzcomputer.org Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

3 stars Smooth Jazz meets progressive/electronics.

Light of Lost Summers (2007), JAZZCOMPUTER a.k.a. Yves Potin's album has a fair share of very interesting musical proposals that tend to blend really modern electronics with a kind of sometimes imaginative "New Age Jazz", but then again sometimes with a quiet "cliched" version of modern "mainstream" Jazz..

Ironically, the best parts of the compositions are those which are closer to the prog/electronics of nowadays, the infamous "Ambient" tagging . Surrounding himself with many instruments from various parts of the world (Udu, Koto, Harp, Tablas, Timpani, Nagadas and guitars.), which he combines with "spacy" synths. So there are some heavy electronic thunderstorms alongside and simultaneously counterpointing some mellow or melodical Jazz structures.

As such it all sounds magnificent, but his Jazz songwriting does not fall that far from the kind of clean cut ,"mainstream style", aseptic, easy listening Jazz that was intended for less demanding audiences. (Not to sound disrespectful to George Benson or Wynton Marasalis, but that type of "smooth" Jazz style.)

To sum it up, great electronic moments, composition wise and also more than once he gets the blending to sound daring, but on the other hand, the constant appearance of corny Jazzistic melodies or soloings spoils the whole fun.

***3.5 " Promising without doubt, but still on the making" PA stars.

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 The Book of Kells  by IONA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.72 | 59 ratings

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The Book of Kells
Iona Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars By the summer of 1990 Nick Beggs had joined Iona as a permanent bassist and a few days later Dutch drummer Frank Van Essen took his place behind the drum kit.In early 91' the band started working on two different projects.One of them was dressing with music and lyrics the 8th century illuminated manuscript ''The book of Kells''.With Van Essen based on The Netherlands things did not work the right way and, although he joined the group on several stage performances, a more proper solution had to be found.This was Terl Bryant, who had also played with Iona as a guest musician.By the dawn of 92' the album had been recorded with Troy Donockley on pipes and whistles, Fiona Davidson on celtic harp, Frank Van Essen on percussion and The Peter Whitfield Strings ensemble as guest appearances, and it was eventually released in July 92' on What Records.

Iona had become masters on producing ethereal, Celtic-influenced music with Rock tendencies and ''The book of Kells'' shows a band on the rise, creating monumental, ancient soundscapes, flashed with modern tunes and echoes via the use of electric guitars and the rhythm section.Crossing the territories of MIKE OLDFIELD and KATE BUSH was more than expected, as the music is performed with plenty of cinematic keyboards in the background, series of acoustic parts and an angelic voice like the one of Joanne Hogg, which is pretty similar to the crystalline chords of ENYA with bits of MAGENTA's CHRISTINA BOOTH.The smooth performances on guitar, bass and drums are accompanied by a mass of instruments like sax, bagpipes, whistles, flutes and percussions, the result is an album full of Ethnic images and Folk tastes, executed under a contemporary sound.Extremely atmospheric material, lacking some sort of energy, but containing a great lyricism and some beautiful, dreamy melodies.Moving a bit further, Iona appear to have adapted some influences from the twisting Neo Prog sound of MARILLION circa-''Holidays in Eden'' and later ''Brave'', music with an electroacoustic sound, some poppy sensibilities, clean and expressive voices and use of cinematic synthesizers.Actually if ''Brave'' was a Celtic-influenced album, I could see it sounding a lot like ''The book of Kells''.

Calm, ethereal and gentle Celtic/Folk-based Prog/Art Rock with a fantastic female singer.Great listening late at night, highlighted by the combination of light electric tunes and traditional, mostly acoustic instruments.Recommended.

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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.53 | 235 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

1 stars "I don't want to end up like grandmaster Max Roach, the American living legend, he of the MacArthur Foundation Grant. Last time I heard him, and it was shortly before he passed away, there was daylight between him and the bass player. Not even close. How are the mighty fallen. You don't want to see Muhammad Ali in the ring again, do you? Get outta here."

- Bill Bruford, The Autobiography, 2009

Two major changes happened to Yes in the time between Fly From Here and this one. First: in one of the all-time great ironies, Benoit David came down with a serious respiratory illness, needed to be replaced for a tour in 2012, and learned through a magazine interview Squire gave that he was out of the band for good. For his replacement, Yes turned to one Jon Davison, another high-pitched vocalist in the Anderson mold, and somebody who had spent a couple of years as the lead singer of Glass Hammer. I've only heard a pretty small amount of Glass Hammer, a Tennessee-based prog band that started in the 90s and was still going strong when Davison joined, but based on what I've heard (some scattered YouTube clips, plus Davison's first album with the band, If, which seems to be the best-regarded of the albums he did with Glass Hammer), it would be hard for me to come up with a band that would appeal to me less. While Davison didn't have much to do with the actual music that I've heard from Glass Hammer (his contributions were mostly limited to his singing and to some lyrics), he is nonetheless the front man of those performances, and if his Anderson-knockoff vocal approach doesn't hurt the music he sings over, it doesn't help things either.

The second change was much more important, however, and it not only ended up amplifying whatever fundamental problems the band had at this point, it also helped make the new inclusion of Davison much more important than it should have been. Trevor Horn, who had produced Fly From Here and had provided a great deal of direction in the process of making that album, decided to leave and do other things. Well, the band had to find somebody to produce them, and they ended up settling on Roy Thomas Baker, a choice that seems innocent but should have sent a shiver of horror down the spine of every serious Yes fan when it was revealed. Baker's production credits are pretty decent on the whole, but I'd far prefer that Yes had hooked up with somebody with no history with the band rather than the person who had been in charge for the aborted Paris Sessions back in 1979. The selection of Baker (not to mention the inclusion of Billy Sherwood, who had some mixing responsibilities) makes it seem like the band had tried to get on board with anybody who had worked with the band in some capacity at some point, and I can't help but think of a lonely drunk flipping through his contacts on a Friday night and trying to find an old girlfriend to hook up with. The only choice that could have horrified me more would have been Jonathan Elias.

So why is it that replacing Horn with Baker would horrify me so much? There are a couple of main reasons. The first: back in 1979, the sessions with Baker heading things up essentially left the band for dead, and it was only when Horn and Downes came to replace Anderson and Wakeman (with Eddie Offord in tow) that the band was able to revive itself and make another pretty strong album (which I still insist Drama is). That the situation reversed course, with Horn leaving after helping to revive the band and squeezing a pretty good album out of them, then bringing in Baker to replace him, strikes me as rife with symbolic badness. The second: with Horn heading things up on Fly From Here, the album could be summarized in ways that would make it seem promising despite the sketchy circumstances that led up to its creation. It was a chance for something like the Drama sequel that never happened, with Howe/Squire/White tapping into a version of themselves from long ago! It didn't matter that they didn't have a bunch of new material ready, because there was a whole bunch of interesting old Buggles material, waiting to be updated and given a Yes sheen! Geoff Downes could tap into his interesting younger self, the interesting Buggles keyboardist who did such a good job on Drama, and ease the nausea of everybody who didn't really like what he'd become with Asia! With Horn's departure, all of this fell apart. Whereas the Fly From Here group+producer combo be spun as "the Drama band, together again, plus an acceptable Anderson/Horn proxy," the lineup suddenly became half of Asia plus the somewhat ideas-bereft Squire and the rapidly declining White (who puts on one of the all-time great "keep getting dem checks" performances here), plus an Anderson-wannabe from a Yes-wannabe band. Whereas it had been ok for Squire and Howe to not contribute a great deal of new material, since so much of Fly From Here was reworked older material, suddenly there was no older material to rework, and the band had to call on Davison to contribute a lot to the songwriting (he has a full or partial credit on 7 of the 8 tracks, while none of the other members are credited on more than 3). Whereas Downes had shown a good balance between the approaches of his younger self and his current self on Fly From Here, this album has Downes reverting entirely to his current self, and unfortunately his current self is nothing like the vibrant but restrained player that made me like The Age of Plastic and Drama so much. The point is, Horn's departure, without being compensated by the arrival of an equally strong hand that could provide clear leadership, set off a significant chain reaction that created a circumstance that would lead to a bad album unless all of the parties involved stepped up their game significantly ... which they didn't.

I've listened to this album several times, hoping (though with rapidly dwindling faith) that my propensity towards finding more to like in a given Yes album than many people typically do would prompt me to like it more than others tend to. What ultimately ends up dooming my feelings towards this album is that I can't figure out what this album generally does well (or, at the least, what this album generally does well that would fall within the bounds of what I tend to value in rock music, prog included). There are some instrumental passages that I like: I enjoy the brief stretches at the beginning of "Believe Again" and "The Game" with Howe's sustained notes on electric guitar; I enjoy the majestic Howe-driven passage that occupies the first minute of "Light of the Ages"; I like the out-of-nowhere "don't worry we're still prog" bit jammed into the middle of "It Was All We Knew." Of course, the passage at the beginning of "Believe Again" is immediately swallowed up by a chintzy rising synth line that inexplicably functions as a crucial element of a middling pop song that has the audacity to last 8 minutes when it can barely sustain 4. There's a "we've got to do some Yes stuff here" lengthy instrumental passage in the middle, a "dark" break to contrast with the cheery banality of the rest, but it's one of the least interesting Howe passages ever on a Yes album, with one of the dinkiest guitar tones I can think of, and I'm fairly amazed that this passage made it into release.

"The Game" is one of Squire's two contributions to the album, and it's essentially a sequel to "The Man You Always Wanted Me to be" in that it contains a co-writing credit from former Syn-mate Gerard Johnson, though this one does not have Squire singing. It's also significantly less interesting to my ears than its predecessor, which may have been my least favorite track on Fly From Here but at least was pretty memorable throughout and had a nice combination of Squire/David harmonies up against decent Howe soloing. This one does itself no favors by lasting nearly seven minutes when it could get by with four or five, but I quite like the combination of Downes' keyboards with the decent vocal melody and that fun hook in the backing vocals. The "climax" sections at the end of each verse section seem a little overwrought to me, and Howe's guitar parts seem to get weirdly tangled up in knots in some spots, but I basically like most of his parts, and I like the song more than I don't. Meanwhile, if "The Game" is more or less the counterpart to "The Man You Always Wanted Me to be," then "It Was All We Knew" is more or less the counterpart to "Hour of Need" (it's another mid-tempo Howe semi-ballad, though without any "Your Move" throwback guitars), and while I kinda like the guitar line that drives the song forward and the mid-section instrumental passage (even if it sounds like something the 70s version of the band would have done if on tranquilizers), it also has the same issues as "Hour" with lyrics that don't quite mesh with the meter of their attached tune (I seriously cannot be the only person who hears this problem in these two songs), and the song ends up seeming a bit clunky.

All of the rest of the songs feature Davison as one of the credited songwriters, and all of them are problematic in their own way. The aforementioned "Light of the Ages," at the very least, has that nice opening stretch, but it completely disappears without an explicit reprise after the opening minute (there's probably a cannibalization of elements of this introduction found somewhere else in the song, but it hasn't jumped out at me), and it gives way to a song that alternates decently atmospheric balladry with awkward melodrama over the next six-plus minutes. I do like the ending repeated "I will follow" near the end, though. The Davison/Howe collaborations are the aforementioned "Believe Again" (bleh) and "Step Beyond," a clunky shuffling pop-rock song built around a pedestrian guitar line over a pedestrian beat and a silly keyboard line that amused me the first couple of times I heard it but started annoying the crap out of me by the third listen, and I just don't like it at all. The Davison/White collaboration is "To Ascend," which is five minutes of go-nowhere fluffery with lyrics like "Taking the time/On the weekend of prayer/A wounded bird in the hand/With the eyes of a child come to understand" and "Take me from where I am/As a freed bird flies from the hand." Listening to this is like stuffing yourself full of marshmallows; right after you're done, you're hungry again and your stomach hurts, and a few hours later you regret it all over again. This is on the short list of Yes songs that provoke a feeling of rabid irritation within me, and I'm the guy who will defend "Wonderlove" and "Love Shine" to anybody who wants to throw down.

The album's other Davison/Squire collaboration, "In a World of Our Own," is a sort of jazzy/music-hall shuffle, and I like the idea of the song more than I like the final product. I can actually very easily envision this having been featured on a (completely hypothetical) Squackett follow-up project to A Life Within a Day, with Steve Hackett and Roger King finding some way to take the core idea and either give it a darker edge or go the other way and accentuate the music hall aspects for all they're worth. Amanda Lehmann could have taken lead vocals, Gary O'Toole or Jeremy Stacey could have messed around with the drum part a bit, Hackett could done something a little more adventurous with the guitars ... alas, it was not to be, and a decent melody and framework is largely wasted.

Finally, the album concludes with a nine-minute Davison/Downes collaboration in "Subway Walls," which is somewhat in the "New Languages" mold (remember that one?) in that it has a long dramatic introduction that eventually gives way into a herky-jerky pop song with a meant-to-be-rousing chorus interspersed with noodling instrumental passages to boost its prog cred. Now, I'm not an enormous fan of "New Languages" (which I still consider to be a good 4:30 pop song unnecessarily bloated into a prog epic), but it has this one beat in every way; the opening instrumental passage of "Subway Walls" is filled with bombastic keyboard and xylophone parts that should be beneath Yes, the verses of the pop section are nowhere near as memorable as the "New Languages" one, the chorus doesn't even come close to the one in "NL" (which doesn't just have the chorus but also has that great transition from the herky-jerky verses), and the instrumental passages are much duller here than there. This one also has a big bombastic coda (not just instrumental, but also featuring Davison/Squire singing lines that culminate in a big "TRANSCEND!!!!!!" over the instrumental parts) that breaks the mold, but while Howe's soloing is actually pretty decent in this part, it comes across as too little too late.

The knee-jerk defense from somebody who wants to defend this album (I'm definitely not saying this is the only possible defense, but it seems like it's a common one) could likely take the form of something like "It's unreasonable to expect something like Fragile or Close to the Edge, just accept it for what it is!!!" The problem I have with this album is not that there isn't anything that lives up to the standard of "Roundabout" or "South Side of the Sky" or "Siberian Khatru"; this would be a completely unreasonable expectation if somebody held reaching this level as a pre-requisite of enjoyment, and I certainly do not have this expectation. The problem I have is that I don't believe anything on this album lives up to the standard of "Into the Storm" or (if we're dipping into the list of reworked older material) "Sad Night at the Airfield" or "Life on a Film Set," and there's little on here that I would perceive as living up to the standards of perfectly decent Life Within a Day material like "Aliens" or "Perfect Love Song." Furthermore, as much as the material on the album strikes me as falling in the range of middling to bad, there's also very little in the way of a diversification effect in tempo and style to boost it up at least a little bit. Ok, there's a smidge of variation in presentation (boring pop vs boring prog-pop hybrids, I guess), but only a smidge; if ever a Yes album absolutely needed a Howe acoustic guitar instrumental or three, it's this one. Or, for instance, couldn't Squire's songs have been reworked to give him a more prominent place in the vocal mix, maybe making him the clear lead in spots? Again, this comes back to the question of leadership; the band really needed to have somebody around to throw out a bunch of goofy ideas that might be unworkable on their own but could spur the band to try something unusual, instead of settling for the path of least resistance in so many cases. As for the "accept it for what it is" argument: there's too much good music in the world for me to force feed myself something like this, even if it's from one of my very favorite bands.

Now, with all of these downsides, a once unthinkable question had to be considered as I listened to this repeatedly: could it be that Yes had finally made an album that I could consider worse than Union? After all, as awful as it might be, Union does have three songs I genuinely enjoy ("Masquerade," "Lift Me Up," "The More We Live - Let Go"), whereas this album doesn't have any songs that I like even as much as those. So, I broke my long-ago vow, popped the entirety of Union onto my iPod, gave it a full listen for the first time in many years ... and holy hell, that album is awful and definitely worse than this one. No, this album may not live up to the best material of Union, but it also doesn't have anything as astoundingly soul-sucking as the three-song "Angkor Wat"/"Dangerous"/Holding On" sequence, not to mention other low points like "Shock to the System" or "Silent Talking." Honestly, this makes sense to me: as bad as much of this album might be, it's still the genuine product of a past-its-prime version of Yes, whereas so much of Union was the product of Jon Anderson, Jonathan Elias, and the bowels of Hell. With that perspective in mind, I can rank this album a nudge above Union, which is something, I guess.

It's presumptuous to insist that anybody should retire from recording new music if they don't want to; Yes really wanted to keep touring at this point, and (best as I've been able to gather, though it's possible I'm misinterpreting what I've read) they had an obligation to have an album out before the 2014 tour where they'd be playing Fragile and Close to the Edge in full in addition to material from a new album, so this album pretty much had to happen. I will say this instead: if this is genuinely the kind of music that the various members of Yes (especially Howe/Squire/White) wanted to make at this time, and if they were genuinely satisfied with the final product, then this means that they had, by this point, lost all connection to the younger versions of themselves, the ones who made so much music that has made my life and the lives of others so much better. Fly From Here retained that connection, and so did Magnification, and so did The Ladder (Open Your Eyes didn't really, but I still like it for other reasons), but this album suggests that it was gone for good. As hardcore as my fandom might be, and as much as I've tended to find some level of enjoyment in pretty much anything Yes has done in its old age (or, for that matter, in the bulk of its career), I just can't get behind this album when it sounds like the product of a listless, directionless, old version of the band. Yes, it charted respectably, but it came out in 2014, when so few albums were being sold that charting numbers basically became pointless, and it's hard to envision a scenario where, 50 years after release, the album would be regarded as anything but an embarrassment.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.19 | 208 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars This is another solid release by Opeth, and they have a right to make any type of album they want. If you are looking for Ghost Reveries, Still Life, or Blackwater Park, then you should look elsewhere. This is a throwback, 70s vibe progressive rock release in the vein of something you would expect from Steven Wilson or Motorpsycho. It took me a long time to accept the growls in some of their best albums, and now I am used to them. With that being said, I really love the three albums mentioned earlier and think they are brilliant. The combination of extreme metal with the softer moments is very special. This is not that type of a release since I do not hear any progressive metal, but there are a few heavier moments. This may just be the softest Opeth album yet with Damnation and Heritage in the mix. As a progressive rock fan, I have nothing bad to say about this release. However, expectations are hard to overcome at times, and I would like to hear another album similiar to the heart of their catalog. However, I still have to rate this as a brilliant progressive rock release. This is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

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 Somethin Els by BRUCE, JACK album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.08 | 11 ratings

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Somethin Els
Jack Bruce Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars Esoteric Recordings have recently put out several re-releases of JACK BRUCE's albums. This song- writing bassist-vocalist (actually a multi-intrumentalist, playing keyboards and sometimes also cello and drums), and one third of the blues-rock legend CREAM of course, has a huge discography since 1969 and shows no intention to retire yet. For those totally green to Bruce's music I'd like to point out that it hardly can be identified as prog, seldom it's clearly jazz-rock/fusion either, no more than say STEELY DAN is; closer to truth he's a singer-songwriter making intelligent rock with jazz & blues flavour - and he does it well with a voice of his own.

Somethin Els isn't among his best works, but it's a satisfying mainstream album. At the time Bruce had lived in Germany for years, and the album was released via German label CMP Records. I think the music has an American feel. Most songs are co-written with his old collaborator Pete Brown. The list of musicians includes Eric Clapton and Maggie Reilly, who sings duet on atmospheric 'Ships in the Night'. There perhaps aren't any special highlights that one would remember right away, but not very weak songs either. The production is clean, but it avoids the sense of overproduction. Piano and synths are notably present. The bluesiest song 'G.B. Dawn Blues' features Dick Heckstall-Smith on tenor & soprano saxophones. The album closes beautifully with 'FM' for solo piano.

Esoteric's release contains an informative article (as usual - that's a notable reason to appreciate their re-releases), lyrics, and three bonus tracks taken from the album The Snake Music, a collaboration with percussionist Mark Nauseef and guitarist Miroslav Tadic. They are good, especially the slow- tempo Hendrix cover 'Wind Cries Mary'.

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 Metaepitome by OVERHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.91 | 99 ratings

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Metaepitome
Overhead Crossover Prog

Review by FXM

5 stars I had forgotten what a great album this is. I am going to see Overhead perform in Veruno at a festival in a couple of weeks so I have rooted out their albums for another listen. I first came across Overhead at another festival, ProgResiste at the Spirit of 66 in 2006, the year after they released "Metaepitome". I was very impressed with their performance, very powerful and Alex Keskitalo had a great stage presence. The intensity of the concert reminded me of Riverside, another great band to see live.

The album opens with the epic title track clocking in at 19:40 minutes. This is a superb progressive suite with a number of changes in tempo ranging from mellow to aggressive.

"Warning: Ending (Without Warning)" follows this. It opens with some interesting keyboard playing, the bass then joins in forming a nice introduction before the remaining players become involved, there is some good flute playing as well from Alex Keskitalo in this introductory section.

"Point of View" is the third track and starts in a mellow mood with Alex Keskitalo's vocals backed by acoustic guitar, then electric guitar. Jaako Kettunen puts in a fine performance on this track with some excellent guitar playing upto about the 4:30 minute mark when Alex returns on vocals.

"Butterfly's Cry" displays nice interplay between keyboards and bass at the start. It is one of the more mellow tracks and features some fine work by Tarmo Simonen on keyboards

"Arrival of the Red Bumblebee" is a short instrumental track. This is a bit of a throwaway,

The album closed with another epic track, "Dawn", 16:22 minutes in duration. It is a splendid end to a superb album. It sounds rather like Riverside in places mainly in the interplay between bass, drums and keyboards. Some fine spacy keyboard playing comes in around the 8 minute mark. It is my second favourite track on the album, just beaten by the title track

Overhead have their own unique sound with a distinctive vocalist in Alex Keskitalo, you can't really say that they sound like any other band, apart from the Riverside influence on "Dawn". They represent one of best of the new generation of progressive rock bands which are forging their own sound rather than replicating the music of the 1970's.

It is a magnificant achivement from a young band. It is a shame that they have not been more prolific in the intervening years with only two more studio recordings added to their discography since "Metaepitome" was released. It probably merits 4.5 stars but since I can't award it that I will have to give it a five star rating.

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 Eroc by EROC album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.33 | 12 ratings

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Eroc
Eroc Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars His first solo album outside the three-ring circus of GROBSCHNITT saw lead clown Joachim Ehrig (alias Eroc) downplaying his irreverent "Lumpy Gravy" humor in favor of a milder brand of homemade Krautrock, more experimental than the music of his parent band but hardly inaccessible. And for a musician otherwise employed as a drummer there's a conspicuous lack of percussion over most of the album, without a cymbal to be heard over its entire first half.

Be prepared instead to settle into the long, electronic lullaby of "Kleine Eva": twelve sublime minutes of beautifully arranged keyboard variations on a simple, childlike melody. That opening idyll is followed by the more unsettled synthetic reverie conjured by "Des Zauberer's Traum" (The Magician's Dream), and then a brief audio-vérité joke shared with a member of Grobschnitt's road crew and performance troupe.

The flipside of the 1975 LP explored more traditional Krautrock territory (if that isn't an oxymoron) in the Teutonic Rock anthem "Norderland", an obvious album highlight. And the weirder face of the Eroc coin was revealed in "Horrorgoll": an ACHIM REICHEL-like echo effect nightmare built around repeated voice samples and atonal piano accents. The track is longer than it needed to be, but the silver lining is the lovely "Sternchen", bringing the album to its final, graceful resolution.

All worthwhile, in its own modest way. But the 2005 CD re-issue presents a different experience altogether. The copious bonus material, recorded more or less around the same time, is salted throughout the disc instead of lumped together at the end, totally changing the pace and flow of the original album. These aren't really outtakes (the music is too good), but more like a random sampling of unreleased songs from the composer's private stock of basement tapes, built (mostly) around gently strummed guitars, tasteful synths, homeopathic percussion, and the occasional kazoo (of course).

Hardly essential, but classic Eroc. And like the rest of the album so German every chord deserves its own umlaut. Fans of Grobschnitt's vaudeville Prog may find it a surprisingly restrained effort from such an extroverted cutup. But every joker should be allowed a few private moments of creative introspection.

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 Of Sun and Moon by OVERHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 82 ratings

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Of Sun and Moon
Overhead Crossover Prog

Review by FXM

4 stars Of Sun and Moon is Overhead's fourth studio album released in 2012 ten years after their first album. While they may not be too prolific in output what they lack in quantity they certainly make up for in quality. This is an excellent recording. I am not sure why they are classed as Crossover Prog, this sounds like modern progressive rock grading into prog metal on some tracks.

They havn't tried to emulate the sound of the 1970's but have come up with their own refreshing sound. I remember one reviewer on Progarchives using the term "hard-edged prog" when discussing a Riverside album. That's a fitting discription of the music of Overhead. There is not a dull moment on the entire disk.

The musicianship is first rate, there is plenty of variation between the tracks so they are not repeating the same style track after track. The flute playing of Alex Keskitalo is not as prominent on this album as some of their previous recording, it is used more sparingly but where it appears it is applied to good effect. Alex Keskitalo vocals are good, he has a distinctive voice which is immediately recognizable.

Its hard to pick out a favourite track as most are excellent although track 8 "Alive" would be a standout.

I am not a big fan of progmetal, as it seems to have run its course, with many of the more established bands seemingly run out of ideas (eg. Dream Theater). While it is certainly not prog metal there are many passages throughout the album that morph into a more metallic style but it sounds fresh, innovative and interesting. This should be compulsory listening for all prog metal bands then they might refrain for rehashing the same old sounds.

So in conclusion this is a superb recording, well worth a four star rating.

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 Stained Glass Stories by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 120 ratings

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Stained Glass Stories
Cathedral Symphonic Prog

Review by pedestrian

4 stars Oh, what an overlooked gem this album is! Almost every moment from start to finish is smoking with intense counterpoint arrangements, intricate orchestrations and excellent musicianship. The chief reference point must be Fragile-era Yes, but one is also frequently reminded of both Crimson and Genesis. The singer would do reasonably well in a John Wetton soundalike contest, and one passage sports a snare-bass-mellotron figure that is extremely evocative of "Watcher of the Skies". Add some Fripp-ish tritones, and the result can sometimes be quite reminiscent of Änglagård (who in fact cite Cathedral as a reference)

It was a surprise to discover that these lads are American, for it would seem that they consider themselves born the wrong side of the Atlantic. In every aspect Cathedral try to sound British, even the singer Paul Seal, who makes a fair attempt at a British accent. That his diction ends up being rather blurred is no major problem -- like Yes, Cathedral seem to use lyrics mainly to provide some sonic structure to the vocals while one may look in vain for any definitive meaning amongst the words.

Indeed the one star detracted is mainly because Cathedral come dangerously close to pastiche at times. Guitariste superbe Rudy Perrone has studied Steve Howe's technique and sound in smallest detail, and also the bass work is at times all but a copy of Chris Squire's style. "Days & Changes" could have been a "Heart of the Sunrise pt 2". Knowing this was recorded in 1978, several years after the heyday of their British heroes, Cathedral must have come across as imitators at the time, although they make a fiendishly clever job of it. I for one refuse to let this bother me, and enjoy this album for the masterpiece that it is!

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 Songs From November by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.71 | 8 ratings

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Songs From November
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by nickel

3 stars Let's get this out of the way: There is no Prog Rock on this album. Neal Morse is not only a multi-instrumentalist, but he's also a multi-genre-ist. Also worth noting: This is not a religious or overtly Christian album. So it may be quite a departure from what you are used to with Mr. Morse (Mike Portnoy does not appear either).

So what is this? It's best described as a Singer/Songwriter album in which Neal uses pop, rock, folk, hints of gospel, and hints of country as an ode to Family (not the band... his actual family) and the concept of love. It's a personal collection of songs from a time when Neal took time for some introspection and personal reflection.

It's actually quite good. I have not been a fan of his non-Prog albums. In fact, this is the first one that I really like. And I really like it. His masterful melodies are in full display here and there are plenty of catchy choruses to sing along with. If you're like me and your musical taste goes well beyond prog and into the world of pop or Southern flavored folk/gospel or "classic rock" or anywhere inbetween, there's something to like on this album.

If this were not a site dedicated to Prog, I'd rate this 4 stars. However, I must consider the audience of this particular site with this review and, therefore, I'm giving it 3 stars.

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 Lustwandel by ROEDELIUS, HANS JOACHIM album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.95 | 8 ratings

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Lustwandel
Hans Joachim Roedelius Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

4 stars Masterful!

Roedelius' straight forward conception of his own ultra-refined musical language, takes free course via his piano and "electronic" arrangements in this his 1981, sixth solo album, "LUSTWANDEL".

The acoustic piano plays a major role, as usual, but the arrangements around it are more than mere accompaniment to embelish it. The extraordinary arrangements become more than once the main voices of the songs. And its songwriting is close to pure genius, more than once.

As if it to explain somehow his musical language to newcomers, it will be absurd not to relate them to "modern classical music" but also unwise not to mention its "german medieval folk music" roots or the sometimes "latin" syncopated flavor. In fact it is so well balanced, that any kind of "stylistic border" disappears by its sheer good and bright music composition and its precise and elegant arrangements.

So, travel into the far evocative past, without leaving your present day comforts and its modern "charms".

For prog/acoustic piano buffs a must, for the rest of the proggers an easy ****4 PA stars!

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  74. Proghead (289)
  75. Flucktrot (289)
  76. OpethGuitarist (287)
  77. progaardvark (286)
  78. daveconn (266)
  79. Trotsky (264)
  80. Muzikman (263)
  81. clarke2001 (254)
  82. The T (253)
  83. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (251)
  84. Slartibartfast (248)
  85. Second Life Syndrome (235)
  86. Andy Webb (234)
  87. Bj-1 (231)
  88. 1800iareyay (225)
  89. js (Easy Money) (222)
  90. poslednijat_colobar (218)
  91. The Crow (216)
  92. avestin (214)
  93. Syzygy (214)
  94. NJprogfan (211)
  95. seventhsojourn (211)
  96. Raff (211)
  97. Progbear (206)
  98. aapatsos (203)
  99. TheGazzardian (196)
  100. Moatilliatta (194)
Remaining cache time: 711 min.

List of all PA collaborators

TOP PROG ALBUMS
  1. Close To The Edge
    Yes
  2. Thick As A Brick
    Jethro Tull
  3. Selling England By The Pound
    Genesis
  4. Wish You Were Here
    Pink Floyd
  5. Foxtrot
    Genesis
  6. In The Court Of The Crimson King
    King Crimson
  7. Dark Side Of The Moon
    Pink Floyd
  8. Animals
    Pink Floyd
  9. Red
    King Crimson
  10. Godbluff
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  11. Fragile
    Yes
  12. Nursery Cryme
    Genesis
  13. Pawn Hearts
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  14. Moving Pictures
    Rush
  15. Per Un Amico
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  16. The Road Of Bones
    IQ
  17. Hybris
    Änglagård
  18. Larks' Tongues In Aspic
    King Crimson
  19. Io Sono Nato Libero
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  20. Hemispheres
    Rush
  21. Moonmadness
    Camel
  22. Mirage
    Camel
  23. Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquičme Saison
    Harmonium
  24. Relayer
    Yes
  25. Storia Di Un Minuto
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  26. A Farewell To Kings
    Rush
  27. Kind Of Blue
    Miles Davis
  28. Birds Of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  29. Darwin!
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  30. In A Glass House
    Gentle Giant
  31. Crime Of The Century
    Supertramp
  32. Ommadawn
    Mike Oldfield
  33. Aqualung
    Jethro Tull
  34. Still Life
    Opeth
  35. Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa
  36. The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage
    Peter Hammill
  37. Meddle
    Pink Floyd
  38. In a Silent Way
    Miles Davis
  39. Permanent Waves
    Rush
  40. The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
    Steven Wilson
  41. H To He, Who Am The Only One
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  42. Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
    Dream Theater
  43. Images And Words
    Dream Theater
  44. Depois Do Fim
    Bacamarte
  45. The Yes Album
    Yes
  46. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
    Genesis
  47. Scheherazade And Other Stories
    Renaissance
  48. One Size Fits All
    Frank Zappa
  49. A Trick of the Tail
    Genesis
  50. Still Life
    Van Der Graaf Generator
  51. The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa
  52. Second Life Syndrome
    Riverside
  53. The Snow Goose
    Camel
  54. In The Land Of Grey And Pink
    Caravan
  55. The Inner Mounting Flame
    Mahavishnu Orchestra
  56. Rock Bottom
    Robert Wyatt
  57. Octopus
    Gentle Giant
  58. Zarathustra
    Museo Rosenbach
  59. The Power And The Glory
    Gentle Giant
  60. Free Hand
    Gentle Giant
  61. Hatfield And The North
    Hatfield And The North
  62. The Perfect Element Part 1
    Pain Of Salvation
  63. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
    Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
  64. Rubycon
    Tangerine Dream
  65. Spectrum
    Billy Cobham
  66. Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 3 - You
    Gong
  67. Misplaced Childhood
    Marillion
  68. Blackwater Park
    Opeth
  69. Arbeit Macht Frei
    Area
  70. Space Shanty
    Khan
  71. Mëkanīk Dëstruktīẁ Kömmandöh
    Magma
  72. Fear Of A Blank Planet
    Porcupine Tree
  73. Felona E Sorona
    Le Orme
  74. Viljans Öga
    Änglagård
  75. Emerson Lake & Palmer
    Emerson Lake & Palmer
  76. Elegant Gypsy
    Al Di Meola
  77. In Absentia
    Porcupine Tree
  78. Ghost Reveries
    Opeth
  79. Acquiring the Taste
    Gentle Giant
  80. Doomsday Afternoon
    Phideaux
  81. K.A
    Magma
  82. L'isola di niente
    Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
  83. Hamburger Concerto
    Focus
  84. Lateralus
    Tool
  85. Script For A Jester's Tear
    Marillion
  86. If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You
    Caravan
  87. Ocean
    Eloy
  88. To Shatter All Accord
    Discipline
  89. Operation: Mindcrime
    Queensr˙che
  90. De-Loused In The Comatorium
    The Mars Volta
  91. Anno Domini High Definition
    Riverside
  92. Voyage Of The Acolyte
    Steve Hackett
  93. Remedy Lane
    Pain Of Salvation
  94. Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem
    SBB
  95. Grace for Drowning
    Steven Wilson
  96. Leftoverture
    Kansas
  97. Unfolded Like Staircase
    Discipline
  98. Caravanserai
    Santana
  99. Time Control
    Hiromi Uehara
  100. Peter Gabriel (3 - "Melt")
    Peter Gabriel

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

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