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 F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.71 | 58 ratings

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F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run)
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by Progresearcher

2 stars The new Marillion album, "FEAR", has been compared to "Brave" and very early Marillion. In fact, however, it sounds like "Afraid of Sunlight" (or even "This Strange Engine") Part 2, artificially constructed as an epic. The music is either slow or very slow and is unpretentious, most of the time reminding me of symphonic Ambient with vocals. There are few purely instrumental arrangements (none of which exceed 1 minute in duration), and they're as boring as the mixed ones, Hogarth really whining this time around, throughout the album, no matter what he whines about, i.e., the lyrics are more than merely decent overall. Sans the concluding one, The New Kings,'all the epic-length songs are just pseudo-epic in construction. Either way, while being the best track here, 'The New Kings' is also dissatisfying from a progressive rock perspective, strongly inferior to 'The King' from the aforementioned "This Strange Engine". IMO, any progressive rock song should be created on the basis of instrumental arrangements (as it was in the case of "Brave", for instance), rather than by using the vocal lines as a 'starting point' for composing music, but "FEAR" is characterized exactly by the latter approach. To be objective, I must add that the album is by no means devoid of what we've used to call "atmosphere", which is more often dramatic than romantic here (indeed, it would've been really strange had it been otherwise), but never really dark, let alone fearful. So, if you consider "Brave" the best Marillion album (as I do), avoid "FEAR" - there's too little here to please even a 'classic' neo-prog fan, let alone those who prefer profound progressive rock.

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 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON/STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.84 | 135 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson/Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The prolific Jon Anderson has been quite a busy man lately, having recovered from illness with a new found energy and passion, a trait that disproves the long held misconception that rock music is the governance of the young and only the young. Beyond 71 years of age, he continues to voyage into unfamiliar territories such as his long delayed cooperation with Jean-Luc Ponty, a thoroughly successful venture that yielded the aptly named 'Better Late than Never' album and subsequent well-applauded tour. Here, he has teamed up with Swedish mastermind Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings and Transatlantic fame, to create a very Yes-like opus that proves only that the creative juices that inspired him in the glory days of progressive rock, still has a resonating voice and audience today. Sadly, the judgmental universe that we now live in will give way to some unfair and foolish criticism from shameless detractors who need to fuel their pill-fed apathy (to stay awake at the keyboard at the very least) by puncturing this symphonic opus with brazen detritus. Well, like they say at the hardware store: screw them! If you no like, move the hell on!

Gathering a rather stellar crew of familiar faces from both the FK, such as bassist extraordinaire Jonas Reingold, drummer Felix Lehrmann and former FK bassman Michael Stolt) and from the Yes side, Tom Brislin, whilst including the supremely talented Swedish keyboardist Lalle Larsson, the two protagonists certainly have aimed precisely at what they wanted to achieve, a classic sounding Progressive Rock album. Both Anderson and Stolt have never sounded better and more confident, and truth be said, you can hear the enthusiasm displayed throughout. Let us be honest first of all, this collaboration has more musical width and breath than anything spewed by Yes since , my goodness' since Relayer!

That being said, the nine tracks do flow into one another rather seamlessly, a very linear sounding series of arrangements within each piece that get busy one moment and quite atmospheric the next, as on the end of 'Knowledge', where the swirling effects really take hold. As with the Ponty collaboration, the music is totally uplifting, spirited if not necessarily overtly spiritual, spiced by occasional bursts of energetic gusto and dazzling playing by all instrumentalists. Roine can carve with the best of them, a talented guitarist who can infuse a variety of styles that span the gamut of influences, from Howe, Hackett and Gilmour to more oblique talents such as Allan Holdsworth. He can play fast, controlled and delirious when prompted. While Squire has always been a giant, Reingold is one hell of a player, seeing him live seals the deal. A monster.

I also cannot help noticing that three songs contain the sound NO (as opposed to'Yes) in Know, Knowledge and Knowing. Coincidence? Nah, must be my meds. Yeah, I know (no). In fact, all the titles have a positive spin and message. Eat that Steve Wilson!

The glorious track 'Knowing' is an 11 minute celestial epic that reeks the most of 'Close to the Edge', owner of a skilled melody and some complex orchestrations, Lalle's divine grand piano, screeching synth swirls and a fully determined vocal performance that is easily among the very best ever captured by a microphone. The two follow up pieces 'Chase & Harmony' and 'Everybody Heals' are equally masterful expressions of musical craftsmanship and passionate delivery. Shorter ditties offer hope and salvation, 'Better by Far' and 'Golden Light', a lovely diversion that goes straight to the owner of lonely Heartstrings and pulls on them delicately. The jazzy, windswept and airy 'Know' is an 11 minute tropical paradise of topographic ocean breezes, Jon's voice a warm zephyr that soothes the soul and medicates the mind, a beach with grandiose piano, shuffling bass, brushed cymbals and a laid back, laissez-faire attitude. 'An answer to a promise that delivered you' as Roine swirls his guitar like Carlos Santana. Totally delicious.

I enjoyed to whole enchilada, an album that will need made more listens and new details to discover, so dense this is. I was expecting something a bit lamer I guess and I was wrong. The cover artwork, booklet and inlay are truly first-class and worth the eye candy.

4.5 Devices of Awareness

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 The Great Unknown by GIANNOTTI album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.95 | 2 ratings

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The Great Unknown
Giannotti Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Well, this "Great Unknown" would have remained such, had it not been for the intervention of my esteemed friend and colleague Jean "The Cat" Roby, a gentleman of impeccable credentials in both prog music and literature, with whom I exchange intense long distance as well as face to face encounters. We also enjoy discussing our latest sonic discoveries as well as sourcing current events, politics, religion and the still sorry state of humankind. He briskly suggested I hunt down this unknown pearl, thinking I just might like the sucker. Well, Jean, you were wrong, I absolutely love it. Robert Giannotti is not some RPI maestro toiling in one of Italy's many gorgeous towns but rather an accomplished American multi-instrumentalist who once worked with the semi-obscure Jasper Wrath. While he performs masterfully on vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, his limpid flute work really pushes his craft over the top, adorning the languid compositions with breathtaking excursions that immediately appeal to the highest senses. Jean suggested parallels with another magnificent American musician that I have enjoyed and reviewed in the past, David Minasian. So I took the plunge.

This is a phenomenal album, released in 2014 to little or no critical comment, which is a sad state of affairs, as this just may be one of the craftiest US-based prog releases in recent years. An expressive album cover with adventurous artwork really makes the grade, and the music inside is squarely in the symphonic mold, sublimely atmospheric but also quite pulsating, propulsive and at times, pugnacious. An hour's worth of exciting music, expertly carved, refined and polished and ultimately after a few spins, utterly convincing! The one thing that really stands out beyond the intricate instrumental work is the sheer quality of the melodies, richly resonant, wholly overwhelming and fully integrated into the arrangements, the work of a mature mind creating symphonic prog of the finest pedigree.

"Intentions/Letting Go" set the windswept sails forward, with a splashing display of blistering electric guitar as the rudder carves deep into the densely orchestral waves. Classical violins meeting electricity is always a delight especially when done with such aplomb, the perfect set up for the plaintive lead vocal from Robert Giannotti and an overall, exciting introduction to this thrilling hour long effort. Drummer George Clini drives the arrangement forward with masterful pace. The mid-tempo strains really shine luminously on the epic 8 minute "Voyage", a potent confluence of acoustic guitars and flute, blended with screaming electric guitar contemplation, tight rhythmic support and heavenly vocals, Robert adding a Justin Hayward-like gleam over the sonic crests to wondrous effects, blazing mellotron voices in the background. The acoustic guitar-led "Dance of the Gnome" has an early John Barleycorn Must Die feel to it, before deviating into a flute ramble that winks at a distant Ian Anderson, rotund bass notes notwithstanding. A wonderful pastoral and bucolic intermezzo of the highest order until mid-way through, when it blooms into this thunderous axe expedition, sounding like Martin Barre had just showed up unforeseen. Tremendous piece. Things just get even more delirious with the title track, a nearly 12 minute colossus of intensity, flair and breath. A brooding, rhythmically challenging introduction sets the stage for an inspired vocal, intricately weaving the story. Chunky symphonics provide a deep and adhesive foundation on which to perform a variety of moods, accompanied by heavy drums pounding a la Jerry Marotta, the dreamy voice both sullen and urgent. Robert peels off a few sulfurous axe licks thus adding even more fuel to the raging inferno. Ornate piano from guest Michael Soldan greets the listener on "Sacred Ground", profoundly melancholic and intense, elegantly enhancing a rapturous melody. Sweet guitar strains evolved into a blistering electric solo, trembling with overt fluidity as the obese bass wobbles underneath, undeterred. The magical flute adds its two cents worth, fluctuating wildly like some meandering torrent of sound. But it's the "Here now, upon this Sacred Ground" chorus that seeps deep into the recesses of the sonic cranium. The spooky "Corridor of Doors" is perhaps my favorite track, a threatening diversion of effects, nuances and outright pleasure that ensures a sense of confusion, adventure and enigma. Echoing acoustic picking, strings in the forefront and a weaving flute dancing in the moonlit night, this is a highly addictive and perplexing piece, especially when the Gregorian chants kicks in, amid the cannonading drum beats. The highlighted mood is traversed by some epic acoustic guitar work and a wall of choral sighs, a truly unique sense of drama and urgency leap to attention. Phenomenal. The disc ends with "A World Away", another tightly woven mini-symphony, this time incorporating a series of backing vocalists and a female lead (Nicole Tanner) depicting a story relating to the age of wisdom, where one can hear the minstrel play. Acoustic guitar and flute dominate but it's the mandola that takes center stage, a delightful solo that possesses a distinct Mediterranean feel.

All in all, this opus represents one of those typical, 'under the radar' jewels that we fans constantly forage for, rewarding our passionate hunt with the wondrous sense of discovery and contentment. No problem, 5 massive mysteries

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 Last Fair Deal Gone Down by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.57 | 23 ratings

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Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars For my tastes this is where KATATONIA finally found their sound and could do no wrong. Yes "Discouraged Ones" will always be one of my top albums by this band but that was a unique album in that it was an incredibly sad record and also a transitionary recording as well, and these are not a negative things at all in my opinion. Everything about this album trumps the previous record "Tonight's Decision". There's better vocals and song writing from Jonas as I feel he has finally hit his potential here. Also the sound here couldn't be better, crystal clear as they say and this is also much more dynamic and powerful as they really do kick some ass on this album. Oh and as a bonus Anders the long time guitarist decided to use mellotron on this record which really adds a lot to the sound. Travis Smith is back doing the cover art and his bleak style fits the music perfectly.

I can't do a top three as eight of the eleven songs on here are incredible and I really like the other three, so yes five stars seems appropriate. "Dispossession" sounds incredible when it kicks into gear before 30 seconds. Such a deep and powerful sound as the guitar starts to solo over top. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles, mellotron too. Love the contrasts between the powerful and mellow sections. A cool passage starts after 4 minutes with atmosphere and strummed guitar, almost psychedelic sounding then it kicks back in before 5 minutes. Nice. "Chrome" is a great track and probably my favourite. Check out that melancholic guitar intro which is promptly blown away before a minute with power. The drumming impresses here. Reserved vocals and sound 1 1/2 minutes in then it kicks in hard after 2 minutes as the vocals continue. He sings "Burn down my house, make something happen, stab me in the heart... 'cause I'm so distracted, I am slightly shocked by how things keep going like a dead man's clock."

"We Must Bury You" has some disturbing lyrics but man what a great tune. Strummed guitar and vocals lead the way early and we get some mellotron before it kicks in hard before a minute. Jonas sings with passion "We must bury you, we must bury you, we must bury you so deep that none can find you." I skipped writing down the disturbing lyrics from earlier in the song. The contrasts between the powerful and mellow are so good! "Teargas" hits us with an all out assault quickly but it settles down just as fast with reserved vocals. The chorus is intense and moving as Jonas sings "What is it in my eyes, a piece of glass. Is this the time I should be on my knees for you, is this your way telling another has been found. Now I know teargas in my eyes." Gulp.

"I Transpire" hits the ground running then it calms right down after a minute with mellotron, vocals and more. How good is the chorus as it kicks back in. Contrasts continue. He sings "Do they know I'm afraid, so afraid. They depend on my worries so I know I'm awake, I'm right in the circle now, I am with them." Hair-raising imagery. "Tonight's Music" is another good one as they contrast the heavy and mellow sections well. Such a sad tune lyrically but then Jonas has this gift for writing melancholic music. "Clean Today" has some cool lyrics about hope. Some heavy riffs in this one as well which surprised me the first time I heard it.

"The Future Of Speech" opens with mellotron and picked guitar in this atmospheric intro. It kicks in hard with vocals arriving just before a minute. The laid back intro with mellotron returns as this continues to be contrasted with the powerful passages. Guitar only before 4 minutes then it kicks back in. So good as Jonas sings with emotion "A brand new day it can't get worse, hear myself say it can't get worse." "Passing Bird" is different as he tells a story about a girl. A melodic and mid-paced tune with the focus on the relaxed vocals. I really dig the lyrics, mellotron and depth of sound here. "Sweet Nurse" is another good story about a girl. I'm touched by this one and I really like the chorus, it's so uplifting. "Don't Tell A Soul" ends it and it starts with laid back guitar, bass and a beat as the mellotron joins in. Riffs follow around a minute in then vocals. I like the drumming here and the ripping guitar before 4 minutes as the vocals stop. Riffs and vocals return around 5 minutes in.

A top three album for me for 2001. A really good place to start as well in my opinion with this band.

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 Cosmic Ground III by COSMIC GROUND album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Cosmic Ground III
Cosmic Ground Progressive Electronic

Review by Einwahn

— First review of this album —
4 stars 'Cosmic Ground III' already... how time flies. Mind you, Tangerine Dream believed that Zeit was motionless and only existed in our own minds. If that sounds implausible, try listening to this album in a dark room.

I found Bandcamp's email alert about this album just after listening to Airbag's first album, 'Identity' and it set me thinking about 'mimic' bands. For those who don't know, Cosmic Ground is to Tangerine Dream what Airbag is to Pink Floyd. On the one hand, it is easy to disparage mimic bands, but on the other (and this is how I feel) they provide refreshing exposure to sounds we love from the Old Masters. And both Airbag and Cosmic Ground have taught me the same thing - the depth of invention of the Old Masters in elaborating their compositions. Because this extra dimension is absent in the Airbag/Cosmic Ground compositions - both bands recreate the Old Masters' sounds continuously but develop them less. I don't know if that makes sense or if I have been listening to 'CG III' too long now.

To get to my assessment, 'CG III' is another very definite four-star album in this series. Because of the lesser symphonic overlay compared to Tangerine Dream (see above), all Cosmic Ground tracks are even more hypnotic - and actually sustain their mystery in repeated plays because of the relative lack of landmark episodes. And the recreation of the phonic infrastructure is very, very impressive.

Verdict: If you liked the first two albums, you will like this one - without feeling it repeats material.

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 Crimson Moon by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Crimson Moon
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars The of first of the "appreciation of Bert Jansch by younger fans" albums, Crimson Moon, recorded at Bert's new digital home recording studio in 2000, is a warm, mellow, and extremely atmospheric album that conjures up images of Scotland (Caledonia), lovelorn ex lovers (Crimson Moon and Looking for Love) and a few good old tales of murder (the traditional song Omie Wise). There's even a rare comment from Bert about the ecology on the song Neptune's Daughter, about a mermaid-like woman who relates the tales of her dead relatives that killed by a black plague (an oil slick that poisons their ocean.)

What make Crimson Moon different from other later era Jansch albums is his more liberal use of electric guitar played by himself along with guests like Johnny Hodge and Bernard Butler. There's no "shred fests" going on here, but it is a welcome change from Jansch's amazing run of acoustic guitar based albums up until this point. As others have stated, Jansch has nothing more to prove in regard to his guitar playing skills, but has focused on songwriting, which has always been his strong suit when he's been inspired. And it seems that the appreciation of younger artists like Johnny Marr and Beth Orton has done just that with his compositions on Crimson Moon. Not an essential for Jansch fans, but Crimson Moon still quite an enjoyable listen. 3 stars.

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 Dust And Dreams by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.66 | 433 ratings

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Dust And Dreams
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 86

"Dust And Dreams" is the eleventh studio album of Camel and was released in 1991. After the release of their second live album "Pressure Points" in the late of 1984, the band disappeared from the media without ads. For a few years Andrew Latimer was fighting with lawyers to get some due royalties and to resolve the problems with their former manager. Both, Latimer and Decca, amicably agreed to put an end to their contract, which was made on April 10th, 1985. After the end of the contract with Decca, Latimer wasn't interested in other record labels. To avoid more waste of time and energy, Latimer and his wife Susan Hoover decided to sell his London's house and moved from England to California. So, Camel was able to create their own record label, which was called Camel Productions. He used the money from the sales of his house to build a small studio where "Dust And Dreams" was recorded and produced.

The line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, guitar, flute and keyboards), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards), Colin Bass (bass) and Paul Burgess (drums). The album has also the participation of some other musicians: David Paton (vocals), Mae McKenna (vocals), Don Harriss (keyboards), Christopher Bock (drums), Neil Panton (oboe), John Burton (French horn) and Kim Venaas (harmonica and timpani).

So, after seven years of a hiatus of time, Latimer revived Camel and recorded this conceptual album "Dust And Dreams", an evocation of "The Grapes Of Wrath", the great literary oeuvre of the famous American writer John Steinbeck. For those who aren't familiarized with the book, it's important to write few lines about it. "The Grapes Of Wrath" is a novel which was published in 1939 and was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize in 1962. The oeuvre was also immortalized by the beautiful movie, with the same name, directed by John Ford in 1940 and starring the great American actor Henry Fonda. This American classic comes to the effects of the Great Depression of small family farms of the American West. It tells us the story of a poor family in the state of Oklahoma, who during the Great Depression of 1929 was forced to abandon the lands occupied by them for decades, on a sharecropper regime, due to the arrival of the progress and including the purchase of tractors and machinery for the owners of those lands, and the born of a new property regime of lands. This factor has made obsolete the manual labour of plowing and planting the land and forced them to head toward the false Eden, called California, in search of a better way of life.

"Dust And Dreams" is another very emotional album with excellent compositions and nice melodies. With this album, we are brought back to the early Camel's sound and to their great quality musical level. As happened with "Nude", "Dust And Dreams" initially divides its time between songs and instrumentals before ceding halfway, through purely instrumental music. The music is largely kept very quiet, and there are only four vocal tracks. As a conceptual album, the eighteen tracks are all interconnected as if it's only a single theme. "Dust And Dreams" can most likely be regarded as a mixture of elements of two previous Camel's albums, "The Snow Goose" and "Nude". Not in the sense that the old ideas are new warmed up, but the stylistic elements are somehow similar. Most on the album are keyboards in the foreground, not bombastic, but always attentive and appropriate to the original novel, mostly of the melancholy kind. There are many beautiful songs here, all of them with instrumental pieces in between. In fact, the album finishes with several fine instrumental sequences. Again Latimer, as a producer, a composer, a guitarist, a keyboardist and a singer, did a fine job. His guitar playing always brings joy to the listener, sometimes invoking the goose bumps and others a big smile on our face. It's a very beautiful album with music for our sense, soul and heart. This is really a fine working.

Conclusion: "Dust And Dreams" represents an amazing and surprising return of Camel to their most progressive routes, after a long period of silence and less good albums. Camel has their best and most symphonic musical period in the 70's, with their four first studio albums, "Camel", "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness", which correspond to their golden era. These four albums are absolutely fantastic. After that, they released some good albums, some of them are really very good, such as, "Rain Dances" and "Nude", or even "Breathless" and "Stationary Traveller" are also very good. But they also released two weak albums, "I Can See Your House From Here" and especially "The Single" Factor". So, it's with great pleasure that we can see, finally, another great album of Camel. So, somehow we can say that "Dust And Dreams" is the beginning of a new era in Camel's music. It's without any doubt one of their best musical works and represents also the start of a new golden musical era to the group. It looks to me that it represents a different version of Camel, perhaps a more modern version. Camel will be always a great band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) by WATERS, ROGER album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.23 | 19 ratings

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The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by uribreitman

4 stars After Alan Parker's film and the Berlin political show, what can Roger Waters do to excite us, Pink Floyd veterans? well, it seems that quite a bit. First, the visual presentation is absolutely stunning: Waters uses cutting-edge 3D projection techonology to transform the huge wall into a virtual reality platform. The projections are utterly captivating, moving around the stage like it was real, making our eyes wonder if it's real or some kind of trickerry. It's a sight to behold. Waters uses every magic in his vault to include modern political references, satire and social commentary. This is the main reason to get the blu-ray edition (don't settle for DVD, it's not good enough, sorry).

So it's a huge show and it's visually very satisfying. In the musical department, there's not much room to improve, really. OK, the audio quality is much betterh than Berlin or the 80s, easily. But although the mix if fine and the performance of Dave Kilminister and Snowy White is superb, it doesn't really innovate. Roger's vocal performance has deteriorated because of his age, so most of the time he's using playback, which is a sad sight to see.

The live footage wasn't good enough for Rog, apparntly, so he's added a sad and gloomy documentary, which sometimes interrupts the show and makes us wish it won't. Honestly, the docu parts should have been dumped into the "EXTRAS" section of the product. Too many graves, too many dull moments, too many "Sad old Roger" talking about war like a really old man.

So if you're considering getting the blu-ray version, enjoy the stage spectacle but don't expect to be thrilled with the docu bits, thrown here in there to make stuff more "serious-looking". The Wall show in its 2010-2013 version was really a fine audio-visual production, but it has been slightly marred by Roger's car trip around Western Europe, looking for dead people in the grass.

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 F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.71 | 58 ratings

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F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run)
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by Kingsnake

2 stars Don't get me wrong, I used to be a great enthousiast of Marillion. I liked them to bits. I even enjoyed Marillion.com and Anaroknophobia.

But since they turned into a shadow of themselves, every album seems and sounds uninspired. FEAR sounds like the guys really don't want to do it anymore. They do it for the fans. Mediocre songs with uninspired musical and vocal contributions.

Mark Kelly and Pete Trewavas are the only ones that sound great. Ian Mosley hasn't played a single drumroll or beat since Interior Lulu that held me in awe. He sounds tired and washed out. The same goes for Steve Rothery, where are the heartbreaking and goosebumpy solos like on Easter or Ocean Cloud?

And Steve Hogarth sings really forced. He takes the leadrole and he's always singing, never giving the band a chance to come with nice instrumental passages. He never really was a good singer, but he had soul and emotion. Now it all seems gone.

The last great record the band made was Less is More and with pain in my heart, I must admit that Marillion doesn't do it for me anymore. Sorry guys.

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 Hair In A G-String (Unfinished But Sweet) by TENCH PROJECT, COLIN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.52 | 4 ratings

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Hair In A G-String (Unfinished But Sweet)
Colin Tench Project Crossover Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Like a fraternal twin raised on the other side of town, the first issue of the Colin Tench Project is very different from its sibling band Corvus Stone, except in terms of quality, enthusiasm, and sheer bulk of material: business as usual, in other words, for the tireless guitarist and bandleader. Not many artists these days, working under the nebulous umbrella of modern Prog, can stuff their music to such consistent capacity without sound pompous or lazy. But over the 80+ minutes of the CTP debut there's rarely a moment that doesn't sound fresh and invigorating: quite an accomplishment all by itself, but hardly unexpected from talent of this caliber.

The album has been retroactively described by Tench himself as two separate EPs arbitrarily joined at the hip: one entirely instrumental and suitably eclectic; the other a collection of impeccable pop songs. Added together, they mark a welcome extension to (and a dramatic departure from) the year 2015 "Corvus Stone Unscrewed" epiphany. Maybe it would have been more sensible to keep the two halves separated, as individual mini-albums: the amount of music here can be a (not unpleasant) test of endurance. But when did sense ever matter when making truly progressive music?

It sounds like Tench and his ace collaborators had almost as much fun recording the album as fans (long established, or newly converted) will experience hearing it. The title itself is enough to prompt a chuckle from the shade of J.S. Bach. Elsewhere performance credit is extended to 'Shaving Cream', 'Annoying Noises', 'Thing That Goes Boing', and (my favorite) 'Bugger All', the last one for Tench's non-contribution to the album's oddly-titled 23-second epilogue, "Part 4b Redux", presenting Alvin and the Chipmunks in alpine lederhosen, drunk on Bavarian moonshine.

Astute listeners may catch a suggestion of Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme" in the unplugged "La Palo Desperado", a title which (almost) translates from the Spanish for "Desperate Stick": further evidence perhaps of the bawdy undercurrents to the album. And what's up with that "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" quotation during Part 3 of the divided title track, indelicately subtitled "I'm Going Down"? Associating Walt Disney's Cinderella with suggestions of cunnilingus, even indirectly, is pretty hilarious, and why am I suddenly reminded of the Corvus Stone song "Jussi Pussi"? Thanks, Colin, for spoiling precious childhood memories of a classic film (no, really...thanks!)

And yet, despite all the tongue-in-cheek (or tongue-in-elsewhere) salaciousness, the music itself is often unashamedly romantic, full of lush orchestral arrangements and simple Beatle-esque sentiments, of a sort so far unexplored in the larger Corvus Stone discography. To these jaded ears the presence of vocals is usually the most vulnerable aspect of any rock album, but the song-based half of these sessions benefit from real talent in front of the microphone, even when the music itself is more of an acquired taste.

For an anti-commercial Prog snob like me, that would be "A Beautiful Feeling": a handsome but conventional love song bolstered by stellar guest support from drummer Gary 'Hoppy' Hodges, a veteran of the Buckingham Nicks touring band, and Ozark Mountain Daredevils keyboardist Kelly Brown (if nothing else, the track is a clear indication of its author's allegiance to a larger body of music outside the straightjackets of fashion, Prog or otherwise). Far better is the absolutely gorgeous "And So, Today", with its lovely clarinet accompaniment by Pete Jones, and the McCartney-like chorus and fade-out at the end of "Can't See It Any Other Way".

Balladry aside, Tench allows plenty of room for some full-throttle instrumental fireworks, once again channeling his inner-Santana (in "The Hairy Part" of the title track), and often with a wry touch of Zappa. You can hear some of the latter in the controlled ferocity of his guitar work, and of course in the polite smuttiness of the lyrical innuendo, the latter with a hint of Zappa's 'conceptual continuity'...yes, Moaning Lisa from the Corvus Stone II album is back, sans G-string this time.

Some of the acoustic interludes evoke the delicacy of early Charisma-era Genesis, but enough with the cheap comparisons already. I know it's a necessary shortcut when trying to describe music ill-sized to our standard Prog Rock cubbyholes. But by now Colin Tench has proved himself a true original, and the first expression of his self-titled (and hopefully long-lived) Project restores some of the uncomplicated joy often missing-in-action from too much of what we like to call Progressive Rock.

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 Tempi Dispari by NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM album cover Live, 1974
3.80 | 34 ratings

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Tempi Dispari
New Trolls Atomic System Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by poito

4 stars This is one more of the many faces of the New Trolls. In this Atomic Version lineup lead by De Scalzi they take the route of jazz. There is little here that reminds of the symphonic prog in former versions except the great musicianship that is common to all their musical adventures. There are only two long tracks; the first is the more jazzy, improvisation-like with plenty of sax. The second 13/8 is got two well differentiated sections, beginning with a 4 min duo of smooth guitar/synth, followed by a totally distinct section in which a repetitive bass trail is run by all other instruments to show their musical abilities. This is more fusion-like of the time. It is a really enjoyable piece for fusion lovers.

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 Mighty Cosmic Dances by OBLOMOV album cover Studio Album, 2005
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Mighty Cosmic Dances
Oblomov Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Bookended by spacy synthesiser instrumentals to establish the titular cosmic themes of the album, Mighty Cosmic Dances by Oblomov at first sounds like a comparatively standard melodic black metal album, if competently performed.

That said, it isn't too long before certain differences emerge. For one thing, Oblomov seem much happier to throw in honest-to-goodness solos than your standard black metal act, and apply a clean production style so as to tease out the best of those rather than burying them in wailing distortion; indeed, some instrumental sections, such as the opening couple of minutes of Redefinition of the Past, resemble prog metal more than black metal.

Between that, the offbeat choice of subject matter (there's a song inspired by Asimov's Foundation trilogy, for instance, which is hardly a very black metal topic), and the way they don't use pseudonyms and corpsepaint as a major component of their look, it's clear that Oblomov aren't too interested in being kvlt black metal purists, but as well as throwing in more accessible sections they're also willing to experiment a bit with the format, tossing in the occasional instrumental solo which defies expectations.

You get this towards the end of Mentality Failure, with some pretty synth twinkling which by itself would sound naive but at the end of that track carries a certain gravitas; they really go to town with it on Lost Between Emotions, which combines some of the most ferocious playing on the album with lovelorn lyrics and honest to goodness saxophone solo with synthesiser backing - and then, towards the end of the song, what sounds to me like an honest to goodness didgeridoo, though rather than making it sound like a cod-Australian novelty track it instead (with the aid of the synthesiers) gives it a quasi-medieval flavour, like the didgeridoo is being used to make a sound not dissimilar to a crumhorn.

The saxophone returns again towards the end of Starsend, lending the conclusion a sort of Van der Graaf Generator character - not in terms of musical similarity, but in terms of using the saxophone as an instrument to express tension and anxiety, as happens in the most nightmarish VdGG tracks. (It also heralds perhaps some of the best synthesiser playing on the album, including either an honest-to-goodness mellotron or a decent facsimile of one). The subsequent tracks are more standard melodic black metal fare, but strong examples of the form by and large - and just when you think things have become predictable again, Nostalgic Idealization fades out on a gentle unaccompanied organ solo to keep you guessing, whilst closing song Dreamworks represents the heaviest song on the album but also includes some strange processed vocals towards the end that really help keep up the otherworldly atmosphere.

From what I have heard, the followup album Communitas (Deconstructing the Order) takes their genre-blending and use of unexpected instrumental ingredients even further, and this debut album certainly makes me want to explore that, but it also reveals them as a very capable melodic black metal unit who are able to let their experimental instincts spice up their compositions without upstaging them.

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 Searching For A Land by NEW TROLLS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.68 | 92 ratings

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Searching For A Land
New Trolls Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by poito

5 stars The creativity of this band had no limits. New Trolls were the all-time masters blending instruments and tendencies. This album is a perfect demonstration of their abilities. It begins with Searching, a most peculiar track with a hypnotic background and an Australian aborigine didgeridoo in the background and includes a jazzy piano section, a cocktail that, believe me, you are not going to dislike. The next track, Percival, is built on a smooth picking acoustic guitar on top of which an opera singer releases a jet of voice coming as if from the background, something like the sound of an old radio in earliest Jethro Tull themes. The next In St. Peter's Day begins with a voice a la Bowie while a smooth piano hovers in the background until a powerful Crimsonian synth breaks in, fantastic, indeed. And so on and so forth. Each track brings up a surprise cocktail. To me, this is by far the best work by this marvelous Italian band, an album to keep in the front line of your Prog shelves.

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 La Batteria by BATTERIA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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La Batteria
La Batteria Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars La Batteria are a new Italian instrumental band who's starting point are the horror soundtrack legends Goblin, but perhaps in part to the four musicians who make up the group all coming from a wide variety of music backgrounds, they work in a bunch of modern styles on top of the Seventies-flavoured horror movie style themes on their self-titled 2015 debut. But unusually for this sort of band, their eerie pieces are fairly compact and frequently up-tempo, full of heavy grooves that might go on to include traces of dance music, electronic, alternative rock and synth-pop. In some ways they're similar to bands such as Zoltan, Zombi, Anima Morte and Morte Macabre, but those groups are much more interested in building atmosphere and lengthy drawn-out moods, whereas La Batteria prefer energetic shorter bursts and having a lot of fun while they're doing it!

One thing that instantly stands out warmly and richly are the instruments the band play with, Stefano Vicarelli's army of vintage synths that are plied all over the disc being especially lovely. It gives the disc a sweet retro flavour, but to dismiss the group as some mere recreation of the Sixties and Seventies would be completely wrong, as the group mix in a wonderfully eclectic variety of modern sounds. At heart, most every single piece here holds some similarity to the classic Goblin albums, but it's where the group take their all-original compositions from there that makes things really interesting!

Classy album opener `Chimera' will instantly remind of the classic Italian horror band, a dreamy and haunting theme of chiming romantic acoustic guitars and doomed scratchy Mellotron. The funky `Vigilante' works in Emanuele Bultrini's snarling guitar grunt over bristling Hammond organ and Davide Nerattini's head-bobbing drumbeat, `Scenario' fuses lurking electric- piano footsteps with Sixties psychedelic coolness, and `Formula' crosses Seventies horror synth eeriness with a spy-like theme, slinking dance beats and runaway Fender Rhodes soloing. `Vice Versa' shimmers with wah-wah guitars, a sauntering beat and Paolo Pecorelli's mud-thick bass, and `Manifesto' is a gorgeous Morricone-esque soundtrack complete with a whistling melody, sighing female cries and dusty acoustic strums with an unexpected up-tempo momentum.

`Dilemna' bristles with creaky Mellotron, acoustic guitar ripples and devilish bass mischievously darting in and out, but there's a lively and cheeky energy to the piece that Goblin fans will go nuts for. Sure enough, `Expresso' bounces with perky groovy vibes and plentiful floating synths, the evocative accordion from guest player Feliciano Zacchia and constant organ of `Incognito' bring a little more atmosphere, and `Scenario 2' reprises an earlier theme with spikier guitar work and is dominated by thick fluid bass. `Zero' is a break-neck heavier blast with a spectral female voice, and album closer `Persona Non Grata' works in harpisichord-like keys, ghostly church organ and ethereal choir Mellotron in the classic Goblin manner.

It's definitely a stretch to place La Batteria under the RPI tag, but they take many elements from Goblin and several of the darker bands such as L'Albero del Veleno that are filed under that banner, just expanding them in new and fresh directions, although for some Italian prog purists that will likely not be enough. Admittedly perhaps twelve tracks and even a forty-six minute running time here is a little excessive, as some of the pieces don't have a lot in the way of depth to offer, the group instead preferring great sounding surface thrills, however there's no denying the skill of the players and just what a terrific sounding album they've delivered - perhaps it's best to think of them as the equivalent of a `Goblin party band'?! But `La Batteria' is still a very addictive and effortlessly cool little album from a band with immense promise and impeccable skills, that have the potential to find a strong crossover appeal that could easily even catch the ear of listeners who have no interest or knowledge in prog-rock at all.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

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 Heritage And Visions by GALLEON album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.40 | 40 ratings

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Heritage And Visions
Galleon Neo-Prog

Review by poito

4 stars The band has changed quite a lot from its debut album LYNX. They've moved away from the commercial PopRock. The recruitment of Ulf Pettersson at the keyboards definitely made a different band. There is a rebirth in NeoProg of the time, strongly based on Genesis-Marillion. I'm a bit surprised by the overall quality of this album, since I've listened to others that were released later and were not as mature as this is. The initial two themes are not very promising, but the next, a 16 min long track called Permanent Vacation filled my expectations. Very good track, varied, inspired, creative. It somehow marks the strengths of the band, plenty of keyboards, and wrapping melodic tunes although sung by a rather impersonal voice (which however does it better than in later releases). The drums are also well below the quality of the composition, and along with the poor bass line, the main problems of this band. It follows Intentions, probably the more authentic (meaning that it has no borrows), but not particularly inspired. From here, all other themes are great, with an interesting work by the new member and true alma mater of the band. There are some passages nearly literally taken from Genesis and Marillion, but I want to think it is a tribute.

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 Brave New World by ZYMA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 13 ratings

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Brave New World
Zyma Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm such a massive fan of ZYMA's debut called "Thoughts" that it was a no-brainer to track this one down. "Thoughts" just hit all the right buttons for me plus it was pretty cool to hear some Canterbury and Zeuhl shadings over the mostly Jazz/ Fusion style. This one continues with the Fusion at times but there's a Canterbury flavour mainly through some of the humour on here. It's just not the same as the debut, in fact it's a huge step backwards in my opinion. Plenty of violin and viola on this one as well as some flute and trumpet. We also get something called a Solina String Ensemble and there's a guest adding percussion, congas and bongos. Yes this is called "Brave New World" and it's 1979.

"Brave New World" gets things off on the wrong foot in a major way(haha). Lots of percussion, bongos etc. after a very lame intro that sounds like an ad for a new condo development or something. It reminded me of a part of the MIRTHKON debut which is funny, this not so much. Male vocals join in followed by female vocals as that lame chorus is repeated a couple of more times. A violin solo after 2 minutes followed by humerous male vocal melodies. The violin is back leading then the female starts to scat. Not a fan of this one.

"Sundays" is much better as we get this Fusion track with some killer drumming and bass playing on it. Atmosphere to start before the drums and bass kick in then the trumpet and electric piano. This reminds me of Miles it's so good. Distorted keys after 3 minutes changes the feel here as they replace the vocals. Vocal melodies return before 5 minutes and it ends with church bells. "Lunch Time" is a short 2 minute track of piano melodies until the bass arrives late. It's okay.

"Sunday Fever" sounds great as we get another Fusion piece. The drumming is outstanding. We get plenty of synths as the Solina String Ensemble joins in. Bass and a change a minute in as keys, percussion, drums and more help out. Vocal melodies followed by drums, violin and electric piano. That earlier sound is back late. "Transit" reminds me a little of DFA except the violin is very prominent here at times. The bass, drums and electric piano also stand out. Distorted keys and vocal melodies 2 1/2 minutes in then the violin is back late. Good song.

"Colours" is also very good except for the female vocals that turn me off part way through. This is the longest track at 8 1/2 minutes. Like "Sundays" we get atmosphere to start as sounds come and go. Violin is the first constant as drums, bass and percussion join in. The female vocal melodies after 3 minutes aren't bad but the vocals that follow are. She stops after 4 minutes as the flute takes over with the drums and so on continuing. Violin leads after 6 minutes then the Solina String Ensemble joins in. "A Nice Way To Say Hello" ends this recording and we get drums, flute, female vocal melodies, electric piano and more. I'm just not into this though. Violin comes to the fore early on as well.

A disappointment for sure but the instrumental work I have no fault with, in fact I quite enjoyed it many times over a listening period of this album. Just not my thing overall I guess.

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 F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.71 | 58 ratings

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F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run)
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by progpromoter

2 stars So here we are once more to talk about Marillion's new stuff. Once more their latest work is subsequent to a pre-order, then there is the promotional tour, maybe with a LIVE record, then there will be the Marillion Weekend followed by a DVD and so on and on, with a tried and tested mechanism to earn money, well supported by the huge quantity of fans. Before going on I need to make you notice that I know Marillion since their very first start, and I loved them in both Fish and H lives.

I've listened to FEAR several times then I decided to write down this review, which is a step forward with the respect of the preceding STCBM, when I was totally unimpressed.

The overall impression is that this new work is better than the preceding album, there are no silly songs as "Pour My Love" or "Invisible Ink", there are long suites in the classical aim of progressive rock songs. My perception is that the sounds and the song structures come from preceding recording sessions as MARBLES or BRAVE (don't be surprised... these are their best works in H era and are extremely beloved by fans) or also something from THIS STRANGE ENGINE. The result brings, in my opinion, to useless long suites built up with cut&paste of several sketches, without energy, inspiration and creativity. The guitar solos, once one of their best things, come out always in the same way, with the same register and the same pattern. The drummer work seems unenthusiastic, poor of ideas and even the drums sound seems too grave and vintage, as if it would have been recorded with only two overhead microphones, instead of a complete set on the single components of the drumkit. Too bad! On the other hand, Mark Kelly seems to have found another time that beautiful way to play piano, which was among the beautiful things of Marillion sound (remember how strong and incisive was the chord which followed 'So here I am once more..." in the first album) and Pete's bass is always precise, well rounded and rich of good patterns. I've found very interesting and captivating the sumptuous end of "The New Kings", but when you have to wait almost an hour for an emotion in a CD, something's not going in the right way, don't you think?

At the end I think that Marillion have a huge amount of unreleased stuff in their wardrobes, and they eventually extract from it what their fans prefer, since they've paid for the new album in advance. Hoping the provisions will end as soon as possible I cannot give more than 2 stars. 2.5 for the love I had for this band in the past.

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 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.87 | 128 ratings

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1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

3 stars The last album for Demetrio has been launched in the same year as the title says. At first let me say this is a fantastic album on that all AREAers might introduce sound variations all around and construct quite refined, well-matured world of eccentricity. These auditory effects here and there undies with each other are excellent indeed but Demetrio's magnificent spiritual power might have been gradually attenuated, it's my speculation though. On the contrary, instrumental affection based upon active, strict, explosive play would get more intenser ... this is another reality in this creation.

Via this album we cannot feel any of tragedy that the genuine voice creator would be likely to leave the great combo away. As above mentioned their play is quite intensive and positive, and Demetrio's voices are as powerful and immersive as well. And more of sensuality, I cannot understand Italian language though. Yes this album might not have any issue in a critical manner. Wondering why little impressive texture can be grabbed at least in my ears. Because this album sounds more of RPI-ish melodious progressive rock / pop rather than of powerful, aggressive, and violent jazz rock like their debut stuff? No, not at all.

Every single song can be created and produced greatly indeed, but no unification of the whole album nor energetic "spirit" can be heard actually ... yes there is something lacking. I guess all members should play with their enthusiasm upon every song without suspicion. It's really a difficult case each song be as good as another, "at the similar level" ... surely the collection of "not bad" songs must attenuate the identity of the album. It's a pity they created such a great colourful variation featuring the worldwide essence for every track. Tough looseness should have been another reason of Demetrio's resignation, I'm afraid. Not bad nevertheless.

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 Contrapasso by SEVEN IMPALE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 16 ratings

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Contrapasso
Seven Impale Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars

After a great first album, the band is back with this new album. Could they match up the first one? After playing together for 2 years, the band is much tighter and it really shows in this new work. From the opener "Lemma", we are in space territory with a big voice from the deep and the sax of Benjamin Widero who will be a highlight throughout this album. There is a break with a funny atmosphere, but the song switch to more dark melodies. "Heresey" brings a female voice, a Frank Zappa like part and some strange time signatures and strange keyboards passages remind me of VDGG. "Inertia" brings the first psychedelic guitar solo between some furious sax passages. "Langour" is where the album is starting to pick up with some brilliant music! The band is switching from the intensity of the heavy guitars to the calm piano and bass lines. There's another type of vocal harmonies here, some Jazzy parts and weird synths. The sax plays in a different mode. "Convulsion" has some brilliant bursts of energy and breaks with vocals and music that remind me of Killing Joke. We are again in some dark territory where the melody is built slowly in the fusion of the vocals and the instrumentation. "Helix" has some cool synths effects, dark atmosphere, and various piano/keys tones. The band is playing with many tempo changes.In "Serpenstone", the vocals are quite unique and the melody is again building his momentum slowly with some beautiful keyboards in the Beardfish style, an influence that is spread out all over this album with many others of course. The last song starts with samples of conversations with some strange atmosphere, spacey keyboards, ambient passages and a special guitar break.The song was meant to slow things down after all the previous intensity. If this long song is not the most impressive track , it end up very well the album. If you enjoy adventurous music and are not afraid of dissonant music, oppressive atmosphere covering different styles, this is an album to look for.

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 Disobey by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.94 | 240 ratings

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Disobey
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars Just like the other album of Scottish band COMEDY OF ERROS that I known "Fanfare and Fantasy" this first release "Disobey" is pleasant album . However, in my opinion not so close by their second album which I confer 5 stars ( review ( (#1533623) | posted Sunday, February 28, 2016 ) But, my assertive about this last also be applied to this one: "COMEDY OF ERROS show to us another good example of how to make good progressive rock music without the necessity of complicated use of scales and time signatures , being enough inspiration and good taste. " Disobey" is another album which flows easily and captivates the audience with some fairly inspired moments ... as for instance the unquiet theme of track 2 "Jekyll" ( how is expected in face of track title) a heavy-prog theme mixing MARILLION and JADIS with a brilliant band acting, including a moog solo (starting 3 min 51 sec) leading this heavy theme to a symphonic conclusion (starting 4 min 4 secuntil the end of track ) .Other similar theme is track 9 " The Student Prince ":Part 1 - When Will I See You Again with a "bottleneck" guitar solo and the same symphonic ending. I can detach the instrumental track 3 "Prelude, Riff And Fugue" with a "medieval" introduction with harpsichord and tambourines open space for a heavy riff and a posterior bucolic "crying" guitar melody ... very beautiful . Last the beautiful ballad "Could Have Been Yesterday" some "mellow" song with keyboards or a tuned percussion ( maybe a glockenspiel ) accompaniment with great guitar ( acoustic and electric ) and vocal parts. How I said above this isn't so good like "Fanfare and Fantasy" but ... a very good album in the style ! My rate is 4 stars !!!

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 The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.62 | 16 ratings

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The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by sussexbowler

4 stars Pleasant keyboard-led Medieval storytelling, using the musical instrument effectively to create the mood of the period and of the story.

Drawn into this by the excellent 'Flight of the Enchanter', I was not to be disappointed by the overall album, which contains much variety within the constraints of the instruments used'

Atmospheric and gentle, a story is narrated in an unflustered manner, providing unexpected visualistations of a journey.

If there's one thing missing, then it's angst and drama, because the story unhurriedly and gently unfolds itself.

Comtemporary instruments are reigned-back to create the perfect mood, but this still remains modern music, beautiful modern Prog., no less.

As regards the singing, well it's the Jester after all, how else is he supposed to sound? It basically reinforces what you're dealing with here, story-wise. I didn't find it obtrusive after a while.

Gentle and pleasant, I more than rather enjoyed this album.

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 Magic Machine by ENDLESS SPORADIC, AN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.20 | 6 ratings

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Magic Machine
An Endless Sporadic Progressive Metal

Review by Grand Master Cuz

4 stars How in the hell has nobody reviewed this yet? Seriously!!! It even features Rudess.... Something needs to change with this site. Anyway, to put it simply, this album sounds like a Camel had sex with a stolen Pineapple in an old theater's elevator during a dream, oh yeah and a bunch of muscular mimes were making noise somewhere in the distance. If you are already a fan of this band, boy are you going to enjoy this. I play dumb little games to this album, I [%*!#] to this album, I sleep to this album. Enjoy.

If you arent... Listen to this album now!!

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 The Roaring Silence by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.82 | 205 ratings

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The Roaring Silence
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars The Boariang Silence" in my scale from MANFRED MANN be in second place ( not so far from the first place - "Solar Fire ) . The first track "Blinded by the light" is a good instrumental and vocal piece with two highlights: the phased guitar solo and the vocal counterpoint in the end of track. Track 2 "Singing the dolphin through" is a bucolic song and the highlights comes again by guitar and vocals ( at this time this last in unison with the lead voice ). Track 3 "Waiter, there's a yawn in my ear" the Mann's Keyboards "take the scenery" in the first part and Guitar/Drums in second part and all band "attacks" in final part ( one of most progressive themes of this album ) ! Other great moments be in track 4 "The road to Babylon" where in spite the performance of all musicians , I like above all the drums: track 5. "This side of paradise" with Moog Synthesizer and Wah-Wah guitar duel between vocal intermission and . But, to me the best track is 6 "Starbird" mainly by the incredible instrumental with 2 guitars and keyboards "dispute" ( almost taking the audience breath ), The perfection escapes only due track 7 "Questions" a weak ballad. My rate is 4 stars !!!

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 A Terrible Beauty Is Born by UR KAOS album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.00 | 5 ratings

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A Terrible Beauty Is Born
Ur Kaos RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If your into Avant music you really need to check out this Swedish band. They released three studio albums and this is their second from 1990. It clocks in at under 46 minutes over the 16 tracks. Interesting that Johan Hedren is part of this trio as he was in the amazing band KULTIVATOR before this playing keyboards. We get English vocals and there are two styles of vocals really, one that's deep and Gothic sounding and the other that is higher pitched and fragile. The lyrics were for the most part taken from Shakespeare and Aiskylos. Besides the usual instruments we get clavinet and strings and I like how the guitar, bass, clavinet and drums create the rhythm here. I did think of PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE in the way the strings and the strummed guitar are used to create the rhythm.

"Shelter" has strummed guitar as the vocals join in with the drums not far behind. Strings join in around 2 minutes making some noise. "Screen Icon" is a heavy tune with higher pitched vocals over top. "A Testimony" is a top five and it's quiet to start before an Avant soundscape arrives with vocals where the instruments don't seem to be on the same page(haha). This is all replaced by a melodic and catchy rhythm after 1 1/2 minutes. Strings only before 3 minutes as the fragile vocals return. "The Face Defaced" has a powerful sound with vocals to match as he almost speaks the lyrics with passion. A devastating sound after a minute. Lots of suspense and I like the percussion late. A top five.

I like the way "Terrible Mildness Of The Morning" starts as it has some interesting sounds that come and go. Vocals before a minute. "A Criminal View From Beyond" has more deep sounds as Avant vocals join in. "The Fire Of Time" is a top five as the rhythm of sounds builds from the start. Vocals before a minute and it sounds like fuzzed out keys 3 minutes in. "The Hearse" is my favourite. I just like how Gothic this sounds with the vocals and dark backdrop. Keys before 1 1/2 minutes.

"Repeating Icon" has these almost GENESIS-like keys that pulse(what?!). Drums, bass and vocals help out and strings arrive after a minute. "Modern Man" is a top five with that catchy rhythm and vocals. I like the drumming a lot here as well as the lyrics. Check out the instrumental work late to end it. So good! "Where Angels Fear To Tread" is 1 1/2 minutes of electronic-like sounds and more as it builds. Cool stuff. "Not Yet Crumbled" is another short track and it's catchy with vocals, heavy too. An experimental ending to this one.

"III Exerpt" opens with drums and more as it builds. Great sound! Almost spoken vocals join in before a minute. Lots of percussion after 2 minutes when the vocals stop. "The Furies" has such an interesting soundscape as most of these songs have. Some vocal melodies as well. "The Wheels" has a mid-paced rhythm with fragile vocals. Again I'm impressed at how the guitar and strings are part of the rhythm. "The Endless Laughter" ends it with intricate sounds as fragile vocals join in. When the vocals stop it becomes dark and haunting to the end.

A very consistent album that keeps me intertested and intrigued every time I spin it. That adventerous spirit is here in spades. Just a great album that Avant fans need to hear.

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 Post by LAMBWOOL album cover Studio Album, 2014
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Post
Lambwool Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars Deep dream like dronescapes flowing through sky level highs and expansive earthly widths.

Lambwool & Nicholas Dick- "POST", 2014.

This release shamelessly shows out how high Lambwool's music composition talents are evolving. Maybe the addition of well known Nicolas DICK (Kill The Thrill/ Stream of Consciousness) atmospheric guitar adds up an electric/earthly touch, enhancing the perfect structuring of each track and their explosive outbursts. (Featuring also Bertrand Schacre / additional guitars on "Factories", track 5).

A seven track release in the electronic music tenor of the Fripp & Eno's, or better yet, Fayman & Fripp's experimental cosmic music recordings, to place it somewhere in the collective progressive electronic minds, but only as a reference in its music-geographical location.

Each track is increasingly hypnotic but above all they are full spirited, energetic and endlessly creative. Beautiful without vanity, deep and spiritual to the core in any shade it comes.

Each track travels its own route and as the perfect vacation, each place outdoes the other and so on, until you just want to start the whole trip again, from the beginning.

Flawless!

*****5 -FULL- PA stars.

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 Mono by LAMBWOOL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Mono
Lambwool Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Give yourself some adventurous pleasure!

As I mentioned in my previous Lambwool review, this musician has a knack for symphonic structures as for the orchestral sound. In the hands of less creative musicians this whims become over pretentious and insignificant, but in the hands of electronic music composers Cyril Laurent aka Lambwool this possibilities grow accordingly to his talent and means of expression.

Let me dig a little bit on the symphonic and orchestal terms. By symphonic , I do mean the classic music structures and partitions and by orchestral I mean the multiple arrangement of instruments but in Cyril Laurent's electronic world these varied instruments also include electronic sounds, effects, field-recordings, piano & synths. That mentioned, let me continue my review.

MONO, 2009,compresses Lambwool's music composition possible highlights into two single tracks, therefore reducing both pieces to their brighter and perfect pitch flow and progression. No wastelands nor fillers, both pieces are a constant fluctuation of creativity both in rhythm and melody. And there exactly lies the real deal about this release, its music composition moves in that kind of level where mere composers turn into magicians.

Lambwool's electronic dronescaping musical language is friendly (which does not mean sugarly),it is rich yet constantly experimental even obscure at times and it is intelligent as it is attractive thus enticing. His "orchestral" arrangements work wonders in their structuring, counterpoints and moods, as his perfect distance of over doing them.

The string like sections in their epic depictions may turn a bit too passionate, but not the point of becoming cliches, although quiet close, once or twice, which is in fact the only reason I am not rating it with the 5 stars medal, besides that this is a must in any Progressive Electronic collection.

****4.6 PA stars.

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 Live in the US by KARMAKANIC album cover Live, 2014
4.26 | 20 ratings

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Live in the US
Karmakanic Symphonic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Aye, over there in Gettysburg, KARMAKANIC have sent a message from the heart indeed. Due to a quite appealing first impression, I already had this album on my checklist for a while ... and fortunately came back to it in time. Considered with enough care and concentration now, this one finally appears to be a flabbergasting affair. I'm thinking of the instrumental finesse first of all, the top-notch compositions, this paired with playfullness par excellence. And it is superb how they are blending different rock music styles with ease.

Recorded in 2012 during the Rites Of Spring Festival here we have a set of songs taken into account from their previously produced albums, except the debut however. 'Live In The US' is quasi embraced by the composition When The World Is Caving In, presented in two incarnations, the reprise initiated by a Genesis cover. Reprise and surprise. For example you will be faced with rather odd impressions on this album. Just take Do U Tango where they are freaking out a lot, a drum solo inclusively. Appears to be close to avant respectively zeuhl somehow, yes!

Partially there's a rather strong jazzy attitude to state. By way of example I want to emphasize Where Earth Meets The Sky, which makes my day especially. The song bears an intriguing instrumental part of about six minutes, decorated with a fine piano solo by Lalle Larsson and Krister Jonsson's soaring space guitar later on. Grandezza! I love this! Turn It Up is a MUST to sing along with, in the same way 1969 which shows reminiscences to Yes. When listening to Eternally sooner or later you'll know what dramaturgy in music means.

This is all directed by Jonas Reingold's bass, fretless for the most part, charming and virtuoso at once. Fans of bands like Syzygy, The Flower Kings, and surprisingly Karmakanic, are welcome here! Swedish prog rock live on stage in Gettysburg, a complex setting, rich on styles. They are leaving nothing to be desired. And this applies to Göran Edman's vocal presence as well. In German I would use the adjective 'Herrlich!'. An almost perfect performance - 4.5 stars!

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 Seaside Air by TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.47 | 15 ratings

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Seaside Air
Trettioåriga Kriget Crossover Prog

Review by silvertree
Prog Reviewer

4 stars These guys have been around a while, in fact they could even be considered as prog dinosaures if you get interested in their discography. With this latest album they really show how well they can write excellent music. I'm talking about music as in "songs and melodies" that you remember. Don't get me wrong. This isn't pop. This is beautiful progressive symphonic rock with guitar driven songs. No hard rock here, but instead we get a distinct Beatles feeling in the songs. Did I mention the mellotron? Simply gorgeous. Nothing intrically complex but quite the opposite : simple and effective progressive rock that finds its roots in the blues. Listen to this and you'll remember what progressive rock is all about. It feels like falling in love after 40 years of marriage with music!

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 Snapshots by DISEN GAGE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Snapshots
Disen Gage Eclectic Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If there is someway to explain what goes on in this Disen Gage, 2016, "Snapshots", the easy way would be to point out some kind of music references and these will turn out to be many and yet not that accurate.

Eclectic to the top but also very close to the RiO/A.G. styling as daring to break some rules along its way. Its non-stop mutability (just that) reminds me of Radiohead's early efforts. Let me throw some names, but as told, these all are just references.

The playful and folkish like attitude of Samla Mammas Manna, the undercovered complexity of The Thinking Plague, the ignored Rock in Opposition side of Alice Cooper's very early works, the controlled cacophony of Schoenberg's ways, the hot guitar riffs of Carlos Santana, the unfriendly "friendly" nature of Frank Zappa's instrumental humor, the clean cut guitar of Chet Atkins, the ongoing distant solos of Manuel Gottsching as the cosmic sweeping synths' nature of Ash-Ra Tempel, the colors of Miles Davis experimental Jazz works (Tutu), the clockwork like abrupt change of time signatures and variety in instrumentation of King Crimson and whatever else you can detect as some kind of reference.

All blended in perfect and polished balance adding up to a unique sound formula to the point of trascending the repetition of influences tagging. In fact all these references happen simultaneously or instantly.

Rich in creativity and extremely fresh, their lack of "stardom hunger", allows the music to go places most hungry for fame musicians will never dare to even dwell into. These freedoms are explored but never to the point of self-indulgence, opposite to that everything just falls into place making perfect sense and believe it or not lots of fun happens here.

What else? Well, no mainstream Prog found here!

****4 PA stars.

p.d.-Track one is the weak point of this release, so just let it run past it.

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 The Book of Souls by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 169 ratings

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The Book of Souls
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My favorite metal band is back with their biggest and perhaps most ambitious album yet. Like almost everything the band has produced, it is quite good, and has the band's signature sound is always a treat. That being said, Book of Souls takes some interesting chances here and there, giving it moments to stand out as unique among the band's lengthy discography. As a group that is, let's face it, getting pretty old, I think this is a great choice. They've got nothing to lose, and their recent releases (since Brave New World) have all been great. While Book of Souls is receiving some prog street-cred, my enthusiasm for it is not as strong as previous albums. This time around the band actually starts to show their age, creating songs that miss that spark of energy that makes Maiden music so exciting. For fans of the band, this hardly matters, because even mediocre Maiden (which this is not), is still a blast; however, Book of Souls is definitely not the crown-jewel in the iconic group's regalia of metal masterworks.

First off, this is a two-disc album. High-five. That's awesome, even if just for bragging rights. The songs are dense, highly melodic, and actually pretty varied. There are some down-tempo tracks and moments within extended works that standout as being different than the group's comfort zone. Personally, I think that songs on Final Frontier were more ambitious and effective, but the writing here is, in general quite good. Ironically, it's the band's performance itself that doesn't do it for me. Soloing feels routine, and there are few "wow" moments that grab the attention. Still, the band's rousing melodic moments are thick, heavy, and frequent; they're appealing even if not as electric as I'd hope.

Dickinson especially seems to miss as often as he hits, and it pains me to say it... he's sounding tired. This may have to do with his health issues during the time leading up to this album. Don't take me wrong, he's not bad or enjoyable, but there's a noticeable loss of power during his "fortissimo" moments. This, combined with the unchallenging and forgettable lyrics, is a strike against Book of Souls for me. Where the instrumentalists show restraint and maturity throughout, Bruce just seems to be unable to stop singing at times, going on and on with dense lyrics.

The first disc stands out as a solid collection of songs; they're energetic, exciting, and dramatic. The second disc, including the band's longest song ever, "Empire of the Skies," is much less interesting for me. It's sort of plodding, and lacks the musical ideas to sustain its long running time. Disappointing given the band's streak of success and novelty of the extended release format within their discography.

All in all a worthy release, especially for Maiden fans, though I find myself more excited about their previous 4 albums. Given their age, and musical landscape of the times, it's great to see Iron Maiden still successful and still growing.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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 Hair In A G-String (Unfinished But Sweet) by TENCH PROJECT, COLIN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.52 | 4 ratings

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Hair In A G-String (Unfinished But Sweet)
Colin Tench Project Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There comes a time when, after so many terrific albums worthy or four and even five star ratings, an album comes along that totally blows my pants off and I wish there was a special once-a-year-use-only six star option. I've been following the creation of this album for about a year now ever since I discovered a collection of demos called CTP on Melodic Revolution Records' web site and traced them to Mr. Colin Tench, guitarist of Corvus Stone. What was this CTP thing? Caribbean Turtle Poachers? Canadian Timber Products? Custard Treacle Pudding? Cornish Toilet Paper? When asked directly, Mr. Tench only replied with, 'Can't tell people.'

For those who don't know, Colin Tench did not take up the guitar until he was 22. He played in a few bands and even recorded with two of them, Odin of London and BunChakeze, during the 80's. Then he quit and left to travel the world. Twenty-five years later, a certain Pasi Koivu of Finland who plays keyboards encouraged Colin to release his old recordings and asked if he would play guitar for a piece of music he'd written. Thus was it that Corvus Stone first began. Around those formative years of 2011/12, not only did Corvus Stone release their debut album (with bassist Petri Lindström and drummer Robert Wolff) but Colin also was asked to play lead guitar for Blake Carpenter's band The Minstrel's Ghost and Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5. In the last year or two, Colin has called both Corvus Stone and BunChakeze home; however he plays all the lead guitar on Steve Gresswell's latest Coalition album 'Bridge Across Time' (releases October 7th) and makes guest appearances on many albums, including Murky Red's 'No Hocus Without Pocus', KariBow's 'Holophinium', Marco Ragni's 'Land of Blue Echoes' and Grandval's 'A Ciel Ouvert'. But all this past year, CTP has been his main focus.

Originally a bunch of demos that began with a composition entitled, 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Screwed', the project began to take shape as additional musicians jumped on board. I say so because I've heard that no one was hired or paid; all wished to be part of this. Following the Corvus Stone Facebook page, I read as Oliver Rüsing of KariBow came on to play drums and percussion; Steve Gresswell played keyboards and arranged orchestration; Victor Tassone of Unified Past provided more drumming, and then Jay Theodore McGurrin former drummer of the Jimmy Van Zant band; Angelo Hulshout of the ISKC Rock Radio's Angelo's Rock Orphanage was invited to play fretless bass; Phil Naro of Unified Past, DDrive and Druckfarben who has also appeared on Corvus Stone albums added his vocals; and of course, Petri Lindström, also of Progeland and Saturn Twilight and who also just released a digital album of original songs in tribute to Black Sabbath, plays bass on much of the album. But two of the players to have the biggest impact on the sound of the album were to be Gordon Bennett, an excellent guitarist himself and master of GorMusik and his digital album 'Fun In Outer Space' (new album on the way) and who did most of the orchestral arrangement for CTP, and the one and only Peter Jones of Tiger Moth Tales and Red Bazar. Gordon's orchestral arrangements, along with Steve Gresswell's, make this album stand apart from anything Colin ever did on Corvus Stone. And Peter's vocals, saxophone, and clarinet give this album something so unique, especially his vocals. Peter is not only an excellent singer but quite a voice actor in n this album!

The album, to be released digitally on September 30th and as a CD in November, was, to my great privilege, offered to me a few days ago, and in spite of the fact that I had seven new discs to check out and a list of albums to review, I've had CTP playing most of the time and I've not only heard the entire album four times but several tracks have received anywhere from six to over a dozen replays. This album is a one-of-a-kind incredible collection of music!

'Hair in a G-String (Unfinished but Sweet)' is what a personal project should be. It's nearly all Colin's music and even lyrics on all but two songs, but everyone who joined had the one job of doing his absolute best and as a result there are multiple personalities contributing. The music can be simply divided into the four parts of the Hair in a G-String suite plus two additional tracks in G, 'The Sad Brazilian' and the first official album single 'And So Today', and the other tracks on the album which Colin says are more melodic rock. It's like a prog epic with interludes, he states.

The album begins like the beginning of a movie about fantasy, magic and times long gone. Part One softly introduces the album at first with orchestration, then is joined by acoustic guitar and piano as the music builds and changes and Peter Jones delivers the lyrics. There's a hint of whimsy and false gravity. His saxophone solo is wonderful. If you are not necessarily a fan of Corvus Stone then expect to find much more different material on this album, starting with this track! Part two features more orchestration and then a more aggressive section with a classic Iron Maiden-like guitar riff while a strummed acoustic seems to want to bust out a samba. With a clever bass bridge, the music unexpectedly turns Santana in Rio de Janeiro with some awesome percussion and a Latino beach flare. Colin's lead guitar makes the song rock out and sway while Phil Naro adds 'ba-ba-da-doo-ba' and 'dei-o' and the likes. It's party time! Part Three hits its high point with Peter Jones singing partly interpretive, partly absurd lyrics at one point in great Beatle- esque harmonies and then in classic Queen style. The music keeps shifting and hopping around so that you can't even guess what it's going to do next. And what it does is morph into a Pink Floydian conclusion with some backwards vocals by Peter. Brilliant! 'The Sad Brazilian' features only Colin, Petri and Gordon and stretches out into a mini symphonic epic.

The Peter Jones sung single 'And So Today' deserves special mention because it's such a remarkable and beautiful song about saying farewell to four of our recently lost music heroes. Though they are not named directly, the lyrics give hints about for whom each verse was written. One of my favourite lines is, 'Sir Raymond from the Abbey rode away.' Peter's delivery is impeccable and the third verse is sung so passionately that it almost brings a lump to my throat, especially since I know who he's singing about. Colin delivers a short but powerful solo and Peter plays clarinet a little to delightful effect.

Most of the rest of the album can be divided into four categories. There are two Phil Naro sung songs that are more mainstream but have very catchy melodies and some excellent melodic rock. Though some might consider them not necessary on an album of this nature, I find they are a welcome addition to an already varied collection. If you prefer the more challenging music then you can take solace in a rumour of a possible vinyl release of only the music in G. Then there are three acoustic guitar instrumentals, 'The Mad Yeti', which is my favourite, 'La Palo Desperado' with an unexpected ending, and the short but lovely 'Dnieper Summer Day'. Two variations of a Corvus Stone original appear here. These are part of the 'Lisa' series, and 'Lisa Waltzes Back in with No G-String' is basically and Colin and Gordon reworking of material previously recorded with Corvus Stone, Gordon adding a string section, horns and basses. 'Lisa's Entrance Unplugged' (yes, Colin makes these titles up himself) is acoustic guitar with flute by Ian Beabout, and the effect in one part has me imagining King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table kicking back and enjoying this. 'Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Screwed' is included of course but it's been reworked and expanded since the original demo and is in seven parts, adding two bits borrowed from old BunChakeze songs.

The whole musical majesty tour comes to an end with Part 4b which is an astonishing and immensely entertaining piece of work. For starters, Peter Jones and Phil Naro exchange comic lines about why the song can't be called Part 4b as well as some ad lib parts that are pretty darn funny. Hear Peter do death vocals and choke! And Phil is the first person I've heard say, 'Take off, eh?' on an album since Bob & Doug McKenzie's 1982 comedy album 'The Great White North' on which Geddy Lee guested! The music is so brilliant and once more unpredictable. The song delivers a monster dual guitar solo at the end that will have you doing air-guitarist leaps off your sofa and knocking things over as Gordon's strings lift the power of the music higher and higher. Only five days and already this has become my most listened to song of the year! I can't get tired of this!!!

The CD will end here with a short but silly Chipmunks and piano bit by Peter Jones. However, the digital album includes a bonus track that is entirely orchestral arrangements by Gordon Bennett. 'Lisa's Waltz' is like the music at the end of the film when the credits are going up and you are sitting still feeling the emotional rush of the movie and somehow, though you're not actually reading the credits, the music has you rooted to your seat and you know you can't leave until it's finished. What's also remarkable to me is that we've already cleared 80 minutes of music! I don't usually like long albums so much but this one was a pleasure cruise that ended before I knew we were back in port!

It doesn't matter what you enjoy in music, you must check out this album. If you don't like it, that's fine. But if you miss this entirely you might just be missing out on one of the most remarkable albums in the last few years.

So now you know: Convicted Transvestite Perverts? Confused Theologian Prognostication? Nope. Colin Tench Project.

September 30th, people! Be ready!

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 Aureliua by CLOUDLAND CANYON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Aureliua
Cloudland Canyon Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars As a review, which was recommended by the Cloudland Canyon's founding members themselves mentions, this work is a total groundbreaking point in this band's career.

No explanations needed on why or how this transformation in music composition came upon, this "Aureliua", 2012, EP is great!

Progressive Electronics which are launched from an unothodox Berlin/West Coast departing point, blending micro-minimalistic melody lines with deep and attractive electronic environments.

The real deal, as in all great works, has to do with music composition or plainly how able are you to create musical structures which will be listened with the same enthusiasm they were originally written with.

No dense smoked atmospheres as previous works, opposite to that in this release, the structures are up front clean.

3 tracks travelling parallel yet asymmetrical paths. Each one depicting its own world. The 60's fashion has been stripped out to an undetectable minimum, in favour of a more contemporary electronic environment. No preachings nor prayings, mostly instrumental if not for some high- tec choruses and an 80's like scream in its best track "Light Falling", track 3, more there than here. All 3 tracks run in a mid/fast paced motion through pulses and electronic drum rhythms .

Fairly unique in its electronic music approach, perfectly structured and wrapped tightly around its enticing melody lines which keep you hooked till the last drop.

Made accessible by the band through their SoundCloud plattaform, to even out its limited edition publishing, this release is a sure ****4 PA's stars Progressive Electronics release.

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 Lie In Light by CLOUDLAND CANYON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Lie In Light
Cloudland Canyon Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars I waited a while to give this Cloudland Canyon, 2008, "Lie in Light" a good listening due to the fact that I was quiet mesmerized by their later, 2012 EP "Aureliua".

Well, from these ashes they rose....

Lie in Light / track by track >

"Krautwerk" , its first track blends , as it title implies, Krautrock, with Roxy Music's made up "Strand" and bits of synth pop. Although it obviously was intended to be high spirited, things get tangled up along the way and "the fun" seems quiet artificial. 2 stars.

"White Woman" , track 2, also holds a retro 60's fashion, involving high pitched wind instrument like sounds and noise while a praying like voice throws some Hippie like lyrics. Much in tune with the USA's Flower Children's West Coast vibe in those days. 2.5 stars.

"You and I", third track, is far better than its elder siblings and by far. A bit of psychedelics mixed with Progressive Electronics among an under recorded voice which follows the synth/pop rhythm to then disappear to leave a droning/noisy environment as its epilogue. 3.5 stars.

"Scheise Schatzi, Auf Wiedersehen", the 4th track, explores those instrumental, cacophonous, high pitched noises in between some industrial, sweeping and triggering synth's flashes. Experimental and quiet successful in its results. 3 stars.

"Herme", track 5, continues this instrumental experimental ideas in a nice blend between noises, the 60's hippie styling in voice, rhythm and guitar, which actually ended up founding the Krautrock sound, but doing so without the USA's blues colors which were an integral part of that style, which is quiet fine. 3.5 stars.

"Lie in Light", a noisy dronescape with a high dosage of quirky and twisty synth noises which have as a background a kind of spiritual and massive melody line with some unintelligible choruses yet subtly funny and irreverent, as early good Kratrock was. 4 stars.

"Mothlight" the final track, plays in a more song like tradition. Wah Wah guitar, a super dense and noisy atmosphere, chanted riffs and an obscure constant electric guitar soloing. Again the cross between the 60's styled underground rock and the contemporary whirling sounds construct the piece. The melody line is just average but true to its nature. 3 stars

All in all, I would recommend it to the dense Rock crowd or as they are now known as Stoners and the Krautrock/Psychedelic listeners who enjoy up to these days, the now highly fashionable then underground, 60's music unwritten protocols.

***3 PA stars flat.

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 The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.62 | 16 ratings

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The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by dauinghorn

4 stars In a sea of "progressive" rock with autotuned vocals, overproduced and uninspired sounds, Lyrian stands out with a mixture of PG-era Genesis and British folklore with a lot of charme. Many nice keyboards sounds, over-the-top vocals that in my ears fits the production very well and interesting arrangements and narration. The fact that almost the whole band are librarians makes the project even more interesting. The whole story is included in the nice CD version of the album. I want more of this in Prog Rock anno 2016; Concepts and fairytales, folklore, fantasy and organic instrumentation. It is definitely included in my top 10 from this year (for now).

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 Reflections of Thoughts by NOVATIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Reflections of Thoughts
Novatia Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Dutch band Novatia has a rather innovative (sorry, could not help myself!) method to its madness, by releasing a short EP in 2015 and following up with another in 2016, the two combining to form an outright first CD release. "Remind Yourself of You" was a successful initiation of sound and style that certainly set the bar high with breathtaking melodies on tracks like "Imperfection", "Closer to the Next" and Blank Home". Lead vocalist Joep Selen infuses a whopping amount of emotion in his delivery, giving the suave instrumentalists a credible and confident platform to earn their keep. On this "Reflections of Thought" EP, the band forges ahead with cunning glaze, furthering their craft with another series of five enameled ditties, taking it to a higher plane. The basic premise is still the same, a furious groove laid down by bassist Fabian van Dijk, well-lubed drumming from Joost Lobbes, shimmering colorations on the Ingmar Kops keyboards and all stitched together by Rindert Bul's crafty guitar excursions.

"Flowing Thoughts" features all those stalwart elements that make Novatia so divinely interesting, armed with huge vocals that have sorrowful intonations, a defiantly honest rhythmic foundation, cool and breezy ivories and a killer fretboard solo from Bul, very simple yet totally effective. But the melody is what pinches the ear and never lets go, twisting and turning like some pissed off school teacher, angry at its insolent pupil.

The romantic side is again expressed by the lilting "If It's Love", and I agree this isn't prog (BTW, why is love never progressive?) in the true sense of the style but nevertheless, the mood is euphoric and palpitating, just like when thunderbolts of lightning occur between 2 strangers.

The culminating prog workout is the moody "Rule", a 6 minute romp loaded with electric piano ruminations, like raindrops gently parachuting on some obedient pond, once again pivoting on a deep bass furrow, slick stick work and Joep howling at the moon with verve and gusto. The finale is pure simplistic genius, harrumphing bass guitar muscling forward undeterred.

This followed by another 6 minute+ tune, a divine bass-led extravaganza that embraces an astute jazz/ funk cocktail that shuffles along masterfully, this time featuring an arsenal of Kops' dreamy ivory pastels, mostly synthesizer or piano ornamentals, very smooth and slick, rekindling images of a solitary nighttime drive home on empty rain soaked streets, slight wind in the air, tired and weary. "Underway" is another fabulous track and proves to me at least, that Novatia actually shine on their proggier, longer tracks, where the musicians get to express themselves beyond just foundational work. Rindert offers up a squeaky clean guitar solo that hits the mark.

A stunning yet short finale puts this review to rest, a heartfelt Joep Selen plea on "And I'll Wait" , acoustic guitar and impassioned voice combine to ooze the deepest sorrow, letting go of painful memories and strident regret. Loveliness incarnate.

Deeply emotive and romantic, this is not technically demanding by any stretch, but on the other hand, extremely well-played, moody and endearing. Novatia is a new kid on the prog block. The two EPs on one make this a shrewd purchase that will please the crossover prog fan .

4.5 Mirrored beliefs

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 Valkyrie by GLASS HAMMER album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.96 | 5 ratings

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Valkyrie
Glass Hammer Symphonic Prog

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

5 stars Once they hit their first stride early in the mid Nineties with `Perelandra', American progressive rock band Glass Hammer have delivered a consistently strong series of symphonic-prog albums, earning the well-deserved reputation as one of the premier modern bands playing in that style along the way. Two of their albums in particular, first 2002's `Lex Rex' and the epic double-set `The Inconsolable Secret' three years later are often considered modern symphonic classics (and fans of the group will happily argue back and forth amongst each-other about which of their numerous other releases over the years can join those two!), but 2016 finally brings not only the undisputed next album to join that duo, but one that is likely to become the defining Glass Hammer album of their entire career to date.

`Valkyrie', a lyrically rich concept work telling the tale of a loving couple separated by war and a soldier's eventual emotional and mental struggle upon returning home is ripe for a lyrically and musically dramatic interpretation, and the group completely convey the trauma and turmoil with great sincerity and empathy - certainly a grounded story a world away from the fantastical elements so often found on progressive rock albums! But while fans and progressive music listeners only aware of the type of style Glass Hammer play in would be right to expect another grand symphonic work to match the story, what will likely surprise everyone is just how modern sounding this `retro prog' band is throughout the disc. It's still instantly recognisable as the Glass Hammer their fans know and love, but this is hardly some mere vintage prog re-enactment. `Valkyrie' sees the band experimenting with little traces of elegant cinematic grandness, Post Rock, jazz-fusion, psych-pop, electronica and even hints of heavier rock, making for a work with a rejuvenating, eclectic and contemporary edge that has all the musicians sounding completely refreshed and determined to impress.

With previous singer Carl Groves away from the group again for now, the time is perfect for three of the most important contributors to the Glass Hammer sound to reclaim their throne. Taking the well-deserved leading lady spotlight once again and delivering a career best performance is Susie Bogdanowicz, and far from being just a lovely singer with a pretty vocal, as always she brings true spirit, powerful conviction and a dramatic heart that puts most of her fellow contemporary prog ladies in check. It's also a delight to discover GH founding members, bass player Steve Babb and keyboardist Fred Schendel, taking equally as many of the lead vocals again too (especially the latter). They might not quite have the bigger vocal ranges that past singers such as Groves, Jon Davison and others had, but they've been singing on Glass Hammer discs since the beginning, and their voices have always been full of personality and character, making this something of a `homecoming' vocally for them, and a real joy to hear for long-time Glass Hammer fans. The two other players are now long established in the group and must be well on the way to be part of what can be considered the `definitive' Glass Hammer line-up - Aaron Raulston's drums rumble with such variety, depth and purpose, solidifying him as the best and most complex drummer to ever be a part of the band, and gifted guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh once again finds way to delivering equally ravishing and subdued performances, reaching in some surprising directions here we've never heard of on previous Hammer discs.

Launching right from the start into delirious proggy excess balls-and-all (or as politely as prog can do `balls-and-all!'), `The Fields We Know' bombards the listener with plenty of what Glass Hammer do so well - up-tempo and lively colourful instrumental flashes racing in all directions alongside catchy vocal passages with the perfect mix of whimsy, warmth and drama. It makes for an energetic opener that instantly calls to mind their `Lex Rex' album, with moments of dreaminess and little playful call-outs to Genesis, all backed to Steve's rumbling bass leaping about loud and proud - is there seriously a better bass player active today performing this type of prog music who always sounds this good?! Next up, `Golden Days' is sprightly and warm to match the wistful lyric, full of Fred's always sublime zippy keyboard solos and embracing Susie and Fred vocals with glorious multi-part group harmonies, but a Pink Floyd-flavoured electric-piano come-down and grinding brooding guitars to end on hint of approaching darkness. `No Man's Land' is mostly comprised of several lengthy instrumental passages, including a booming synth introduction, manic jazz-fusion twists, loopy percussion twitches and seamless bursts up and down in tempo, an unsettling edge to an eerie droning spoken-word-like interlude and a distortion-heavy stormy climax the final destination.

But even when the band isn't charging headfirst into a dozen different proggy directions there's still wonderful things to discover. Instrumental `Nexus Girl' bristles with slinking electronics, programmed beats and Post Rock-flavoured chiming guitars behind the whirring synths, and the simpler Steve-sung title track `Valkyrie' is dreamy and drowsy psychedelic pop that eventually rises in power. Alan's chugging heavier guitars and Steve's mud-thick menacing bass make `Fog of War' rumble with a toughness, and the track holds one of the most joyful and unashamedly poppy choruses the band have ever delivered with a strong crossover appeal (well, if the rest of the track wasn't Prog dialled up to 11!).

`Dead and Gone' effortlessly moves between melancholic, hopeful and mischievous! Sad piano and a treated haunting vocal from Susie cry ethereally from beyond throughout, but creaky Mellotron-slices, humming organ and life-affirming guitars lift the track in hope and victory, but still with a looming tension. It's a nice showcase for Kamran too, who's guitars offer everything from weeping strains, infernal snarling bites and cutting jazz-fusion fire all in under ten minutes - and just dig that darkly grooving finale from the fellas!

The pristine `Eucatastrophe' is a heart-breaking Susie-led ballad, the chiming classical guitars throughout reminding of the final moments of Genesis' `Dancing with the Moonlit Knight', and it's one of the most precious and sobering moments on the disc before the piece dashes into tougher E.L.P-flavoured keyboard flare. The opening acoustic guitar reflection and pin-drop still piano of final track `Rapturo' show just how well the band deliver quieter, sedate moments, the rest of the carefully focused piece going on to soar with Anathema-like reaching guitar shimmers and a dignified powerful vocal send-off from Susie that makes for an album closer unlike any to appear on a Glass Hammer before.

A widescreen masterclass example of current progressive music that perfectly fuses vintage and modern sounds with an equally on-point balance of subtlety and bombast, Glass Hammer have completely set the symphonic-prog standard of the year with `Valkyrie', their most ambitious, mature, grandiose, vocally exquisite and instrumentally rich work to date. Long-time fans will absolutely adore it but also likely be very surprised as well, and newcomers to the group could not pick a better place to start exploring their wondrous music. Crackling with warmth, variety, inspiration and overall progressive music excellence, it is very possibly the greatest musical statement of Glass Hammer's near 25-year career so far, but indisputably one of the finest and most essential prog discs of 2016.

Five stars.

(Please note - This review was made available to various GH street team members for advance reviews ahead of the 27th September 2016 release date , no dodgy download here, thank you very much!)

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 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.35 | 39 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by YagKosha

5 stars I'll be honest, when I first heard that the guys from Kansas were making their first record in 16 years, I predicted that every song would be a slow-paced bore. But thankfully I was wrong; the gents from the heartland have prepared for us an album to remember.

"The Prelude Implicit" is, in my opinion, their best album since "Point of Know Return." Here, as one should generally expect from Kansas, every member is at the top of their game; the musicianship and the instrumentation of this band has not lost its touch in 40 years. The vocalist sings tremendously, the guitar work is amazing - everything from the riffs to the solos shine brightly throughout, the drums are powerful and full of energy, the violin work is probably the best I've heard from a Kansas record, and the piano/keyboards are exquisitely utilized with beautiful melodies. The production of this album sounds very clean, powerful, and huge.

I'm listening to, what I believe, is the most impressive - and definitely the most progressive - track on the album as I write this review: "The Voyage of Eight Eighteen." Honestly, this song sounds like one of those gems that would've been released by Kansas c. 1975. It's full of complex and beautiful melodies, incredibly technical guitar work, awesome interplay between instruments (specifically violin and keyboards), and so on. It's really a song to be heard. Some of my other favorites are the opener "With This Heart," the heavy experimental rocker "Rhythm of the Spirit," and the excellently fast-paced, chorus-driven "Summer." One song that I had to replay after first listening to was "Refugee." It is a haunting acoustic driven track assisted by a violin with a great chorus. That description may sound familiar, especially with Kansas, but don't worry, the band didn't plagiarize themselves with a carbon copy of "Dust in the Wind." "Refugee" very much has its own unique and viable identity.

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 200 000 by ZWOYLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.80 | 6 ratings

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200 000
Zwoyld Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars ZWOYLD is yet another strange zeuhl band that springs from France and contains all the usual Magma influences but branches out in many ways to include not only the expected jazz-rock side of things (however no brass on board) but also has a very spacey Rock In Opposition approach along with a healthy dose of avant-garde. The band was formed by Gilbert Brown who oversees the project but doesn't actually play any of the instruments. The actual band consists of five members who contribute the following instruments: drums, bass, guitar, mellotron, synthesizers, flute, sanza and jew's harp. As with much zeuhl this one is pretty much instrumental with the only vocals being delivered in chants which basically add another instrument without any linguistic connotations that i can understand anyways. The track titles seem to be in some invented language and the presentation brings to mind some ancient builder race of sort that visited and left the planet long ago.

The music clearly falls into the zeuhl camp with its pummeling hypnotic bass grooves and rhythmic developments but there is so much more going on here that separates the music from any Magma clone accusations for sure. Firstly there is a lot of attention paid to guitar here. There are not only rhythmic power chord sequences but lots of angular guitar riffs that bring an RIO / Avant Prog vibe to the forefront on many occasions. However it never really gets too weird. It flirts with the bizarre but always keeps the chunky bass lines accessible and the guitars even delve at times into funk territory. The tracks all have distinct personalities and the album flows very nicely with totally different arrangements taking place over the avant-prog meets zeuhl rhythms. There are also various world music influences such as Arabic, Indian and Klezmer.

Tracks like "Chaä" really branch out into strange territories as the composition is quite complex with structured time sig changes that take a rather catchy melody and adds all kinds of freaky progressive touches. The track has the unique quality of making me feel like a zeuhl rhythm has been accompanied by a 60s psychedelic rock type of band. It's the kind of stuff that i always thought SHOULD have happened in the 60s but never really did. This music somehow captures an "i wish that woulda happened" vibe for me. It really works well too. Nothing feels forced in the least bit and progressive touches such as bizarre time sig freak outs structured around the choppy zeuhl rhythms somehow just kind of flow without the slightest of spoiling features. While mostly energetic "Chaä" slows down half way through and creates a very psychedelic rock experience but picks up steam again. The album is mostly energetic but slow passages punctuate the frenetic energy as to create an always welcome diversity in mood.

This one is a welcome surprise. The music is as surreal as the album cover artwork but still entirely accessible upon first listen. In effect, the perfect balance between the known and unknown where alienation isn't even remotely possible but surprising combinations of sounds add a layer of excitement. What i'm finding is that the band really know how to capture that innovative zeitgeist of the early 70s yet not ripping any other artist off. Yes, the influences are tucked beneath the surface and all but is more than obfuscated by layers of creativity oozing out of every irregular jagged bass led sequence. Ever since Magma introduced the zeuhl style of music to the world decades ago, it has remained a viable sub genre that allows all types of complexities to be kept from going too far astray with the accessible rhythms at play. ZWOYLD continues with that tradition but manages to take the jazz- fusion and avant-prog levels a few notches higher with tons of psychedelic trippiness to put hardcore Grateful Dead fans into a coma! This is an instantly addictive album that has managed to blow me away! Great job, guys :)

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 Midnight Circus by MIDNIGHT CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Midnight Circus
Midnight Circus Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Apart from Krautrock, electronic/space rock and symphonic prog, Germany in the 1970s was home to a surprising number of folk acts. Some, like HOELDERLIN, eventually evolved to sound more like GENESIS, while others, like OUGENWEIDE, retained a distinct connection to their roots. MIDNIGHT CIRCUS was a duo that bridged the psychedelia, pastoral folk rock, and symphonic prog that closed out the 1960s. They sadly released only one album and haven't reunited like so many others, at least not yet.

The overall mood is ponderously pastoral, driven by strummed acoustic guitar, recorder, and at times soaring vocal harmonies. The opening track "The Light" encapsulates all of these qualities, with a mystical melody that successfully sidesteps cliches. "I Had a Dream" starts as a vivacious HOLLIES/KINKS mix before the tempo moderates dramatically and mellotron strings assert themselves. Ultimately, it's on the pulpit of "November Church" that MIDNIGHT CIRCUS stakes its claim to any notoriety beyond mere obscurity. Almost 9 minutes of Gothic bliss, it's a deranged Teutonic "California Dreamin", complete with morose choral parts, shrill trumpet, martial guitars and drums, and even a segment dedicated to the sermon of the month. Not quite a suite and not quite an epic, it's an exemplary piece of prog folk that is both adventurous and accessible.

Other highlights include the ballad "Disappointed Love" that turns more aggressive in the breaks, and the Latin American inflected instrumental "Indian Impression". "Meditation" is another showcase for Christian Bollman's pulmonary prowess, presaging the work of artists like R CARLOS NAKAI by some years. Only "Mr Clown" and the two bonus tracks find the artists adopting hippy pop conventions, if you will.

It's still gratifying to discover worthwhile artists from so long ago and to illuminate their names in neon if only for a proverbial quarter hour. While most everything on the original release hovers between 3 and 4 stars, I am going to round up for the preeminent "November Church", and also because this act manages to be both "out there" and balanced without really trying.

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 Black Ships Ate the Sky by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.90 | 13 ratings

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Black Ships Ate the Sky
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Current 93's most artistically substantial mid-2000s release finds David Tibet and crew charting a course back through the neofolk territory of their peak years, offering an apocalyptic narrative with the recurring image of the titular black ships sailing in and out from it. A wide range of guest musicians appear on here from across Tibet's career, from Marc Almond (who like Tibet was a contributor to early Psychic TV releases) to Anohni of Anthony and the Johnsons, an act that Tibet actually discovered originally. A little overlong and not quite of the stature of classics like All the Pretty Little Horses or Thunder Perfect Mind, but still another intriguing trip through David Tibet's deeply personal and idiosyncratic view of the apocalypse.

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 Eulenspiegel by OUGENWEIDE album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 18 ratings

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Eulenspiegel
Ougenweide Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Named after a legendary German trickster folk hero, Eulenspiegel finds Ougenweide in much the same position as the little jester on the cover - namely, walking a tightrope between modern and medieval influences, and doing it with acrobatic deftness. As with their other, earlier 1976 (Ohrenschmaus), it's a sunny folk-rock album with a mingling of modern and medieval influences that sits favourably alongside the more progressive works by the likes of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, or perhaps the folkier moments of Gryphon. Of the two albums from this year I think this one has the mild edge, but there's not much between them.

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 Animal Cerámico by NICOTINA ES PRIMAVERA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 3 ratings

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Animal Cerámico
Nicotina Es Primavera RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars A great album made by skillfull musicians with a lot of jazz and a touch of Canterbury. Well, probably the band would disagree, but the moment when bass and drums set that strange signature on the first track "Humor Humano" reminds me the GonG of "Flute Salad". Surely having a flutist as frontman has its influence. In any case, when an unusual signature is transformed in an even more unusual one by doubling the speed of its second half it's symptom of musical genius.

Then it comes a 37 minutes suite in 3 parts. Of course it's jazzy with many improvised parts tied together by segments which at least to me appear to be carefully planned, some chaos here and there but never noisy (I'm not a fan of noise), and the third part of the suite is stupendous.

The closer, too, is very well constructed. I have the impression that even if improvised, there's a sort of strong agreement about how the track has to progress, like water in a river: there are splashes and random movements, but in the end all the water flows in the same direction.

I have liked SALES DE BANO, but this new project of the flutist Camilo ANGELES has something more. It's hard calling this "a debut album" because of the big skill and experience of the band members. This is a mature album from a bunch of excellent instrumentist lead by a great jazz composer. Not yet an absolute masterpiece but very close.

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 Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind by KING CRIMSON album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.78 | 23 ratings

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Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by CapnBearbossa

5 stars Pretty sure I can justify a five-star rating for this one.

Even being that I've only been listening to it for a week, I can see the evidence of how much work went into this new "Radical Action..." box set. If you are not convinced, first consider that this is a live album in which the best performances of each track have been culled from their 2015 tours of the UK, Canada and Japan, and the audience sounds have been thoroughly removed to bring about sonic perfection - making it a (what did they call it?) "virtual studio album." And if you still aren't swayed, go on over to All About Jazz's website and read their review of this 3-cd + video (extra dvd's if you get the limited edition) box. You will gape at how many mic tracks had to be manually examined and processed to isolate the drum parts alone!

This purchase is a decent-sized outlay of money, so some might consider it a stretch to say the first track (the current 7-headed-beast's rendition of LTIA-1) is worth the price of admission. To be honest though, it's not that much of a stretch - this version sounds awesome, spacious, and *huge*.

The live/studio versions of "Pictures Of A City," "Easy Money," "Level Five," "Red," "Starless," "LTIA-II," and many other tracks are brilliant too, and the band are as on-form as they were in their recently published Toronto (20 November 2015) "Collector's Bootleg" ... if not quite as on-fire. It's fine though: for the group's intensity seeming just slightly lower, they've certainly since then developed - or at least discovered how to evince on record - more instrumental flourishes than in that unadulterated full concert recording. This may well -- efficaciously if not definitively -- be rounding out a chapter in the development of King Crimson, which hopefully will not be their final one. (Why would it be, with everyone in the band, particularly Fripp, playing with enough vim and vigor to put most other acts to shame).

The new strategy of three drummers in the front line is used to full effect here. Mel Collins's wind parts and Jakko Jakzsyk's vocals are solid and well-suited for this incarnation of the band. I am not going to lend any credence to those who maintain otherwise ... nor should you.

Which leads me on to my complaint that entirely too many have wailed (or at least whinged) that Crim in their current mode are doing solely nostalgia - heck, I think I myself may have semi-seriously joked about that in my Toronto review. But I'd be remiss not to mention that "Radical Action" includes nearly a half-hour of new material by the band. So pipe down, all you complainers. Take radical action by putting on this DVD ( or blu-ray) and submit to getting a better-than-best-seat-in-the-house view of a virtual studio concert at a fraction of the cost of the real thing ! (Or if you can't afford the $30 price tag, at least visit DGM Live's youtube publication of the "Easy Money" and "Starless" viddie excerpts.) Times are good.

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 Osanna & David Jackson: Prog Family by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.66 | 43 ratings

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Osanna & David Jackson: Prog Family
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Themes

Like most I know David Jackson as one of the members of the classic line-up of Van Der Graaf Generator, but I recently "re-discovered" him through his participation in The Rome Pro(g)ject - a progressive Rock project led by Italian musician Vincenzo Ricca and in which Jackson (or "Jaxon" as he is sometimes known) appears alongside Steve Hackett and several other Prog luminaries. I found Jackson's contributions to The Rome Pro(g)ject impressive - particularly his flute playing - much more so than his role in Van Der Graaf Generator (a band I like, but don't love).

My renewed interest in Jackson led me to investigate what else he has been doing outside of Van Der Graaf Generator and it was in this way that I came across the present release credited to David Jackson and the Italian band Osanna. The album is nicknamed "Prog family" and features also a number of other musicians including ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross (who, like Jackson, also contributed to The Rome Pro(g)ject).

I was previously unfamiliar with Osanna, but as far as I understand the material on this album consists mainly of re-recorded and re-arranged versions of songs that originally appeared on that band's albums from the 1970's. Whilst I cannot say how these new versions compare to the old, I can say that this is a good and enjoyable album in its own right. Also included is a version of George Martin's Theme One, a number also performed by Van Der Graaf Generator.

The music is eclectic with elements of Jazz, Blues, Folk, etc. within a heavy Rock framework. The vocals are predominantly in Italian language but some parts are sung in English. Perhaps it would have been better to choose one language or the other rather than alternating between Italian and English, but the main attraction at least for me is the instrumental aspects.

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 Velvet Thorns  by SONIC DEBRIS album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.52 | 6 ratings

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Velvet Thorns
Sonic Debris Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Sonic Debris - one of the unknown prog metal acts from Norway with almost 2 decades career so far has 2 albums in their pockets so far, but the debut is the most intresting one from the two. Velvet thorns is the name of their first album, released in 2000. Well, what we have here is pretty good, this is the type of prog metal that I'm not so atached, but I like it untill some point. Imagine a combination of Rush with Faith No More and add prog metal chops on it the result is Sonic Debris. The vocalist remind me in many places with Bono from U2 but in combination with the instrumental passages he is quite ok. Short pieces, almost all are under 5 min time, but each tune is well constructed and played. Half complicate type of prog metal, with most of the time back ground keyboards as suport, the guitar has an important role here. All in all a decent debut in prog metal scene, nothing groundbreaking, but pleasent most of the time.

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 Places Unseen by CIRRUS BAY album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.24 | 32 ratings

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Places Unseen
Cirrus Bay Neo-Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars Wonderfully, romantic and pastoral music, wich reminds the listener immediately of Renaissance.

The music mostly based upon piano and acoustic guitars augmented by drums, synths, electric guitar, flute and saxophone. Singer Tai Shan is really a gifted vocalist, wich (as said) resembles Annie Haslam (Renaissance).

The music is symphonic rock as we knew it in the seventies; comparisons to Caravan, Genesis, Renaissance, Camel are easily made. The music and vocals really makes the listener dream about lush landscapes and warm summer days. The overall feel is sweet, kind, naive, dreamy and intellectual. When the soloing takes place, you know this is progressive rock, but the soft parts keeps you dreaming and relaxing.

I haven't heard a modern release of this high standard in a long, long time. Really recommended to Renaissance-fans, but any progressive rock fan should try this one out.

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 Pequeñas Hiroshimas by A SHELTER IN THE DESERT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Pequeñas Hiroshimas
A Shelter In The Desert Post Rock/Math rock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A kind of romantic, passionate and shiny bright instrumental Post Rock/Math Rock which is close to Porcupine Tree's influence, yet it at the same time throws some more personal colors and ideas here and there.

In someway the structure of the tracks have the same bases, therefore they can become predictable in that regard, which also means some kind of expressive limitations as far as experimenting and daring music composition goes, opposite to Porcupine Tree´s style which was and is, if still on, one of their greatest assets.

The extended use of acoustic keys sure is welcomed as they usually deliver interesting melody lines. The mandolin like electric guitar, even though quiet ingenious, can become, by abuse, also quiet predictable. Hats off to drum player Alex Rodríguez who keeps on with creativity his role in this kind of "exhalting hymns" like compositions.

There are some fabulous sections and the same a couple of astounding tracks, which if anything point out clearly that A SHELTER IN THE DESERT, is surely a band to keep track of, as this "Pequenas Hiroshimas", 2015, clearly shows out.

As for now, a very a good effort worth listening to.

***3.5 PA stars.

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 Terminal Redux by VEKTOR album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.98 | 69 ratings

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Terminal Redux
Vektor Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Coming at ya in the space-time continuum around star date 6MAY2016, the prog + thrash = tech thrash Arizona based VEKTOR burst onto the scene back in 2009 with their attention getting album "Black Future," overcame any possible sophomore slumps with 2011's "Outer Isolation" and have successfully accelerated their tech thrash vessel into yet another sector of their bi-propellant yet harmonious blackened thrash metal world of Voivod influenced sci-fi adventures. The band deliver yet another competent display of musical maestrohood with their third release TERMINAL REDUX. While experiencing cislunar events along the way with forward light scattering, these brave individuals rejected all temptation to water their music down in any possible way and instead opted to experience simulated free-fall through fusion-fuel cell technology to deliver a fresh new trajectory of thrash metal for all to enjoy like an inferior conjunction of the near perfect syzygy of heavenly bodies, all the while exhibiting an ultrahigh frequency of their metal sci-fi adventures into the Van Allen radiation belts and beyond. BTW this was the first album released on Earache Records. Big step up, guys!

Right off the bat, "Charging The Void" slowly oozes into the listener's conscious with a short ambient clip before bursting out into full tech thrash fury appeasing any potential fears of "selling-out" as often occurs when a band like VEKTOR becomes quite revered and climbs up the metal ranks in a short time. No way! VEKTOR not only deliver the expected thrash metal hooks from the past bringing the classics of the late 80s / early 90s continuum to mind but more than up the ante in the most logical (Mr Spock would approve) and volcanistic ways but incrementally brings VEKTOR into a more sophisticated realm of the metal universe bringing them ever closer to zero lift trajectory, the most coveted position in the metal world where all a band must do is release an album and metal heads far and wide go absolutely bonkers over its mere existence. TERMINAL REDUX elevates the band into a yet more sophisticated stratum of metal madness. This album is a logical but NECESSARY extension of the VEKTOR continuum!

While the thrash elements that are on board inspired by Voivod, Megadeth and other past masters are in full regalia on TERMINAL REDUX, there are a plethora of additional elements that elevate VEKTOR's prog creds manyfold. There are more bluesy riffs that add an extra layer of catchiness (important in prog metal as experimentalism can quickly spire out of control and veer off into the void where only the most dedicated will follow), but also more subtle elements such as female vocals (although none are given and i wonder if there's some falsetto or OMG even hidden castrato elements going on here! On with the codpiece only clad iron!) As the album goes on i'm a little dismayed.

Hmmm. I really want to give this album a seal of masterpiece approval but i really just can't. It starts out really promising but then becomes a little monotonous in its delivery. Yes, every single track is a beautiful composition and all but the problem resides in the fact that they all start sounding too similar to one another and at a staggering length of 73:21 it is apparent for the prog metal enthusiast that this album needed to be trimmed down a bit to fulfill its entertainment value. While tracks like "Collapse" which deliver clean vocals and a subdued VEKTOR approach that allows a break from the frenetic tech thrash approach, it just ends up being too long of an album for the amount of effort put in. Simple as that. Yes, one of the most surprisingly discoveries on the album is at the end of the 10th track "Recharging The Void" with its tech thrash pummeling approach throughout the first when it totally turns into a non-metal soul track and actually delves into Pink Floyd territory which has become the popular thing to do as they remain one of the most popular bands in history. It ends with clean guitars, clean male vocals and a female in the background going "ooooo ooooo aaaaah aaaah." It does go back into metal territory but ultimately TERMINAL REDUX seems a little too calculated than divinely influenced. A great listening experience but not one that i could call a masterpiece. Thie trajectory of this band's albums though gives me very high hopes that they are indeed on the way UP and not just a flash in the pan. TERMINAL REDUX is very much recommended if not the epitome of perfection.

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 Once Upon The Wings by ROBB & POTT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Once Upon The Wings
Robb & Pott Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
3 stars If you should already know where Robbi Robb and Paul Pott are coming from, and hereby I don't think of where they are residenting primarily, you won't be seriously surprised about their album 'Once Upon A Time'. Okay, the cover art might reveal a bit, the astronaut is giving a clue at least ... but why fallen, and probably dead? Painted by Jeremy Geddes the entire setting seems to be somewhat mysterious. I have ignored that for some time, but this is definitely some food for thought, right? Anyway, really important to know is that both musicians have an experienced background while playing with several psych/space bands, at present and in the past.

Robbi got relatively famous as the guitarist and vocalist for Tribe After Tribe, starting with South Africa as the homebase, later settling in the US. He also founded the band 3rd Ear Experience, which meanwhile have some excellent albums in the back. When it comes to Germany it's impossible to imagine the relevant psych/space community without Paul Pott. Besides other tasks he has played the bass for Zone Six and currently is busy with the band Space Invaders. Both once met at Burg Herzberg, made friends, and the idea to produce some songs together, by handling all the instruments on their own, was on the run sooner or later.

Released on the praised Nasoni label the album consists of studio songs, four out of five at least, which are equipped with a rather unique flair, not really related to what they are playing with their regular bands. This is more of an acid style, the opening Flesh 'n Steel shows some Hawkwind leanings. The drumming is very straight, I assume Paul is responsible here. The extended Grass comes as a Lemmi cover, including an interlude with gripping overdubbed guitars and a speech contributed by Amitrakripa. As the title promises Space Ear marks another sharing product, their first ever to be precise. The hypnotic bass certainly convinces.

Besides these proper heavy psych tunes Prophecy #1 shines as the album's highlight. Here we have an extended space jam with remarkable support on keys (Joshua Adams) and drums (Dennis Gockel), taken live 2015 in Germany. A fascinating affair, predominantly due to the repetitive mantra-like guitar, though constantly modifying over the course. This one especially proves Robbi's empathic live presence, very impressing. Eh ... number #1 implies a follower? We will see. I definitely can hear that they had a lot of fun together. Despite not every song completely meets my taste, this is a good album quite obviously. To be checked on their bandcamp page.

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 Uoma by UZVA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.32 | 34 ratings

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Uoma
Uzva Jazz Rock/Fusion

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

5 stars Over 71 minutes of wonderful folk-tinged instrumental jazz fusion from this seven-member jam band (and a whole mess of guests) from Finland. Throughout the album I enjoy the electric instruments like the bass and guitar as well as the drum kit drumming, but it is the traditional folk and classical instrumentation that really love: harp, violin and strings, xylophone, marimba and other hand percussions, flutes, and other woodwinds (sax, bassoon, clarinet). I also seem to enjoy the slower parts best--even though the album never gets going at break-neck speeds, they just have a brilliant way of magnifying the weave of melodies during the slower sections.

Album highlights include: the album's gorgeously scored opening suite, "Kuoriutuminen," Parts 1, 2 & 3 (10/10); the wonderfully Japanese-flavored suite, "Vesikko" (23:02) (10/10); 7. "Arabian Ran-ta" (10:00) with its wonderful shift at the 3:50 mark (9/10); the stepped down beauty of "Chinese Daydream, Part 1" (3:12) and then the shift into a higher gear for the brass-dominated "Part 2" (5:43) (8/10); the brassy, American jazz rock sounding, 4. "Different Realities" (11:14) (8/10), and; the pretty, if simple, harp-based, 11. "Lullaby" (4:22) (8/10).

There's a lot of music here, but it is all quite enjoyable and some of it compositionally masterful. Watching their live performances on YouTube I appreciate even more the jazz nature of these beautiful songs.

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