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 Emergence by BRETT, PAUL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Emergence
Paul Brett Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Paul Brett's discography is becoming increasingly cryptic and unknowable, with his own web site rendering an incomplete account and directing the curious to itunes for the minimal subset that is readily available in digital form. Even some of the "compilations" seem only partially sourced from previously released material. However, one thing is certain: "Emergence" is the first album of original contributions from "Paul Brett Sage" since 1972. What possessed the prolific and talented Brett to resurrect the Sage name at this late date is appropriately unclear, especially given that the credits reveal none of the members from the early incarnations. It could simply be because most of the man's solo work is just that, whereas here he has recruited a band in a conventional sense. Motivations aside, let's examine what has emerged from this "reformation".

The focus is on songwriting and vocals first and foremost, with many of the lyrics imparting at times blunt social and political commentary, and the melodies paired cleverly to Brett's weathered but still earnest and appealing voice. The opener "Amsterdam" introduces all of these facets in a representative 3 minutes. From here, Brett's scathing stylus takes on ecology, big oil and gas, big media, and other easy targets, but interspersed with the lighthearted "Psychedelic Pauline" and the grandiose mini epics "the Tempest", "Evening Star", and "The Pit and the Pendulum" which are curiously concentrated towards the tail end of the disk, and among my preferred pieces. The production closes strongly with the ominous "There's a Wolf at your door", not the only piece that reminds me of the relatively recent collaboration between fellow virtuoso GORDON GILTRAP and OLIVER WAKEMAN. Comparisons to the song oriented period of MIKE OLDFIELD, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT and TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA are valid, primarily in an appreciation for the theatrical and the melodramatic.

The only lead instruments are Brett's acoustic and electric guitars, which are, as usual, technically brilliant and succinct, whether in accompaniment to the vocal passages or on their own. "Emergence" can best be characterized as a synthesis of the original SAGE sprinkled with the acoustic-electric essence of "Interlife" and the bite of "Queen's Shilling", with occasional reference to "the Compleat Angler". In all, a quality release that defies submergence.

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 Agitor Lucens V by ARCO IRIS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.33 | 48 ratings

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Agitor Lucens V
Arco Iris Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ARCO IRIS were a band from Argentina who released at least three really good albums in the seventies including this double concept album from 1974. The music here is certainly varied with Jazz, Psychedelic, Symphonic and Folk being touched on. Unfortunately my copy isn't legit which I didn't know when I picked it up from an on-line vendor. Apparently this hasn't been released on cd and the recording I have features the track listing from the vinyl re-issue from 1975 but they somehow cut out about 15 minutes of music. So I'm not really impressed with how unprofessional my issue is but the music is another story.

"La Divina Madre" has some powerful organ to start as the guitar begins to solo tastefully over top. It calms right down after 2 1/2 minutes as the organ stops but it will return late. "La Morada De Los Dioses" has this relaxed beat with strummed guitar and laid back vocals which are in Spanish(and throughout this recording). I really like this song. "En Las Cumbres" is really something with that atmosphere, bass and picked guitar. The vocal melodies 2 minutes in are deep and add so much here. Percussion too. "Bas Bus" is a short uptempo horn led piece. "Si El Senor" continues with the horn driven music but we get vocals this time. Harmonica to the fore then vocal melodies before the sax and vocals return. "Bas Bus" is a reprise with some huge bass lines this time. "Aurora Boreal" is a folky track with reserved vocals. "Las Luces Eteras" is led by vocals and organ with some harmonies as well. Relaxed sax after 3 minutes during the instrumental section that will continue for over 10 minutes! Check out the guitar solo that seems to never end even when you think it has(haha). It starts 7 1/2 minutes in and man he lights it up at times. So good! "El Regreso Del Pajaro Dorado" is so impressive with the organ and guitar taking the spotlight.

"La Nave Madre" has a good beat with prominent bass as the flute starts to play over top. Some flashy keyboards will come and go as themes are repeated. "El Arcangel Miguel" has male vocal melodies in a relaxed and sparse soundscape. Some haunting vocal melodies follow which is so cool. It brightens though late to end it with multi-vocal melodies. "Agitor" is a slow paced piece with floating organ, cymbals, picked guitar and more. "Sendero De Marcahuasi" has what sounds like mandolin, bass and a beat as the vocals join in. Flute a minute in as the vocals stop but they return as contrasts continue. Sax then leads and it turns dissonant at times. Nice. I'm not sure about the song titles of the last three songs on my copy but the next song features a dark mood with bass, atmosphere and more. Vocals before a minute as it brightens some and the contrasts will continue. Great track! The next tune has upfront drumming and plenty of guitar before the tempo picks up 1 1/2 minutes in. The synths that follow are so uplifting. The final tune is really dominated at times by the sax and it does get dissonant. Some laughter and crazy vocal expressions 5 minutes in.

An album I really enjoy despite the issues I have with my copy. Some consistently good music that brought early FLOYD to mind more than anyone else, although as I mentioned earlier the music is quite varied.

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 Svět Hledačů by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.30 | 101 ratings

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Svět Hledačů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by maryes

5 stars How I've said in my 2 previous reviews about MODRY EFFEKT albums, while "Modry Effekt & Radim Hladik" is more fit in Prog Fusion category and "Svetanie' shows a more symphonic progressive rock approaching, "Svet Hiedacu" is their album more close of a Heavy-Prog style. In spite track 2 "Hledám své vlastní já" is totally played in keyboards, the album is full of incridible heavy guitars riffs ( or something like this), starting at the first track "Za krokem zen" which a very interesting guitar " flanger effect phrase" which appears for the first time in the track about 1 min 10 sec and returns in other moments ( one of the most detachable moments of whole album) but not only. Another of this moments be in track 3 "Rajky" is a passage in "Fugue" style in their initial part starting 1 min 19 secs played by guitar and keyboards ( simulating a bass / guitar duet ), In track 4 "Zmoudrení babím létem" the overture is fantastic and the middle section brings a beautiful ballad whitt electric and acoustic guitars with a "sumptuous" mellotron accompaniment. The last track shows a almost melancholic main theme with a intermission with guitar/keyboard/drums "explosive" space-rock part and return to the main theme with incredible vocals. In my humble opinion ( like "Svietanie" ) a perfect album . My rate is obviously 5 stars !!!!

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 Cosmic Ground 2 by COSMIC GROUND album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.55 | 6 ratings

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Cosmic Ground 2
Cosmic Ground Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars Great retro electronica/Kosmische Music from ELECTRIC ORANGE's keyboard player, Dirk Jan Müller.

1. "Sol" (19:23) opens with a couple of minutes of distant-sounding industrial sounds playing around in the background soundscape. In the third minute a TANGERINE DREAM-like computer-synth sequence emerges, rises and proceeds to dominate until around 5:20 when other sounds (organ) are beginning to emerge---though not enough to commit to the weave for a good minute or more. The increasing volume of the top end of the oscillating sound waves (approximately 60 seconds per cycle) is very effective--and the clarity lends to its pleasurability. This is, truly, like a prime TD song (e.g. "Coldwater Canyon" sans electric guitar) only recorded/produced with the advantages of 21st Century technologies. (9/10)

2. "NGC 224" (18:40) awesome electronica in the TANGERINE DREAM vein. The electronic drum sound sequenced sounds a bit 'off' to me but the progressions and evolution of the song throughout its nearly 19 minute length make up for it. (9/10)

3. "Organia" (19:43) opens with wave after wave of synth chords, washing ashore due to the slow flange effect. At the five minute mark the hypnotic rhythm sequence is introduced, slowly rises in sound level, as the synth waves recede. Gradually, other keyboard sounds, notes, riffs, and waves are introduced/added to enrich the sound palate- -but the programmed sequence is awesome on its own. Beginning at about the 13 minute mark, the bottom drops out: the music begins to slowly fade (the treble side, for sure) virtually disappears before slowly flanging back to a loud crescendo--a pattern that continues over the next two minutes until we are left with one long sustained bass chord and Mellotron voices. By 15:30 a layered reed-like buzzing sound is introduced and quickly takes over. The rhythm sequence is gone, all that is left is the rise and fall of this ominous buzz chord--which plays out to the end. Were it not for the exceedingly slow and drawn out--and fairly simple--development, this would be a sure-fire masterpiece. (9/10)

4. "Altair" (20:09) opens with some sustained, high pitched crystalline notes--could be organ, could be glass harmonium. The weave is joined by some eerie noises and minimalist STEVE REICH-like sounds, notes and chords. Feels like a walk through the night woods in a horror film. Fortunately, there are no "Tubular Bells"-like sudden noises jumping out at you in the first six minutes. In the sixth minute, however, there is a brief four-note riff (arpeggio) from what sounds like a computerized guitar that rises into prominence and dominance in a quite ominous way. It feels as if something is approaching--something mysterious and powerful, if of low and/or tired intelligence, that a woods-walker would want to avoid/hide from. By the 10:00 mark the intruder has passed; it's probably safe to emerge. But we don't. For another minute and a half we wait--until the very last strains of the maurading lurker have passed. Then organ chord changes indicate a slight change of perspective--perhaps one as little as a turn of the head--and then again--but no movement from this safe hiding place. Observation, listening, hypervigilance, heightened senses, distrust and fear keep the woods-walker glued to his spot. Our patience and caution are rewarded as in the sixteenth minute a distant moan or haunting voice is borne on the wind. Not close but not far--and getting closer?! At 16:45 it sounds as if we have launched--running--away--speeding through the woods away from the witch voice, away from the trail of the massive Lurker, running at near break-neck speed through the woods. The run begins to feel timeless, spaceless, as noise and sensory input seem to fade away leaving us . . . in our bed, awake, soaked in sweat. What a dream! What a brilliant musical journey! (9/10)

This is so close to being a masterpiece of progressive rock music--the only thing it is lacking is something new, fresh, or innovative to contribute to the "progress" of the Electronic/Kosmische Music subgenres.

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 New Europe - Rainbow Colours by POTTER, NIC album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 1 ratings

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New Europe - Rainbow Colours
Nic Potter Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars It is kind of healthy for Nic Potter to have stayed away from his mothership band's musical language, he anyway held, as bass player, the invisible position.

Nic Potter's NEW EUROPE - RAINBOW COLOURS, 1992 has one of the most uncharacteristic track dispositions I know. First track lasts 4 minutes, second track 47, then back to 2 or 3 or 6 minutes tops for the remaining eight tracks.

Anyway, Nic "Mozart" Potter, as his nickname implied had a natural hunger for symphonic music. To Progressive electronic followers, the thrill consists in adding electronic noises in his "classical music" oriented compositions. Track 2, "New Europe", which is like an album itself, delivers to all extent the symphonic mode accompanied by some electronic touches just at the right time. As I found out in earlier releases, his musical language was just starting to bloom, therefore it still shows his personal influences and likings.

Some tracks , track one the most, show that he was highly impressed by the Dire Strait's 1985, "Brothers in Arms" album, I assume, and maybe to be more accurate in my wild guess, their live tour of the same.

Others are guitar or flute based, "New Age" kind of atmospheric compositions which hold among the rest a more personal musical language.

The kind of release which should not go unnoticed, yet it still is short of being essential according to PA's suggestions on rating.

PD-And believe it or not, all symphonic aspirations, although not that unique, never sound over the top, which adds up for their enjoyment.

***3.5 PA stars.

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 Svitanie by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.27 | 119 ratings

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Svitanie
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The peak period of Blue Effect's career saw them wavering somewhere in the hazy border region between progressive rock and jazz fusion; on Svitanie, they seem deeper in more traditional prog rock territory than on either the preceding album (Benefit of Radim Hladik) or succeeding album (Svet Hledacu). Working in an instrumental prog territory that borders fellow Euro-prog workhorses like SBB or Finch, with perhaps some touches of Yes or Camel here and there, the album mostly consists of a series of traded solos between Radim Hladík on guitar and Oldřich Veselý on keyboards, the duo driving each other to further creative heights.

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 Are You Sequenced? by SCHULZE, KLAUS album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.15 | 28 ratings

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Are You Sequenced?
Klaus Schulze Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Klaus Schulze's discography is huge and continues to grow each year. Be them new, remixed, remastered, + bonus track/s, etc., etc.

Add to that this artist gets all kind of mixed-ratings and top-it with 90% anonymous ones, on his least famous efforts. (Not the case with this one.)

Anyway, I have learnt not take them as words carved in stone. As always, I strongly suggest you decide by your own. At the end of the day the best method still is to sample and hold or forget.

I mistrust most of Klaus Schulze mid 80s and 90s releases, he, the same as 1000s of proggers, was bitten by the drum-box fly. His musical idiom became lame and sweet-toothed, things I despise as my listener's role.

His 1996, "Are You Sequenced" + bonus disc, is not exempt of this "flu", but thank the Gods, his intelligent melody lines subdue these "sparkling" , "New Agy" sounds. The drum-boxes will be there most of the times, so you better bare the fact that this listening experience will have its drawbacks. It also helps that some track , not all (as I would have wished), do without these "drums", and when this happens, Mr. Schulze delivers top of the game electronic music compositions. (If you do not mind the Polka/Square Dance like drum-box rhythm compasses adopted by the synth-pop 80s' bands and musicians, you are almost in heaven!)

Like a work that could have been perfect, it is constantly diminished by its own author with these kind of rhythm solutions.

Anyway, it would also be unwise not to mention its perfectly constructed structures which show Mr Schulze's craftmanship as a focused composer.

Now if you are young and highly impressed by all those "new" prog electronic musicians, check this guy, the same as Tangerine Dream, first. Because as always nothing comes from nowhere.

Would have loved to love it but those incessant, personal, nuances hinder half my pleasure.

***3 PA stars.

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 Akróasis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.79 | 19 ratings

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Akróasis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Akróasis" is the 4th full-length studio album by German death metal act Obscura. The album was released through Relapse Records in February 2016. It´s been 5 years since the release of "Omnivium (2011)" and in addition to a lot of touring the time has also been spend with a lot of lineup changes. In fact the only remaining member since the last album is band founder/guitarist/lead vocalist Steffen Kummerer. Lineup changes are not unusual for Obscura though, who have had quite a few prolific musicians in their fold throughout the years in artists like bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling (Pestilence, Mayan), drummer Hannes Grossmann (Necrophagist, Blotted Science, Eternity's End), bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Sadus, Iced Earth), and guitarist Christian Münzner (Alkaloid, Eternity's End, Spawn of Possession, Necrophagist). The new guys in the lineup on "Akróasis" are bassist Linus Klausenitzer (who has actually played with the band since 2011), drummer Sebastian Lanser, and guitarist Tom Geldschläger.

Stylistically the album opener "Sermon of the Seven Suns" continues the technical/progressive death metal style of "Omnivium (2011)", but already on the second track "The Monist" things change a bit. It´s a darker track with deeper growling vocals, and an interesting approach to composition, harmony, and structure. It´s also generally a bit more stripped down and less layered than "Sermon of the Seven Suns", and that contrast continues throughout the album. Some tracks are quite sophisticated and layered, while others feature a more stripped approach. That doesn´t mean the latter type tracks aren´t technically challenging and compositionally complex, but it´s obvious Obscura have deliberately gone for a more "bare" sound on those tracks.

In the other end of the spectrum you have a track like the closing 15:15 minutes long epic "Weltseele", which is probably the band´s most ambitious composition to date. It´s an incredibly intelligent and varied track, which proves beyond any doubt why Obscura are widely regarded as one of the most prolific contemporary technical/progressive death metal acts on the scene. Yes it´s sometimes a bit too polished and lacking grit and rawness, but on the other hand they deliver their brand of death metal with great conviction and incredible skill. Some of the things played here are designed to make your jaw drop and succeed well in doing that. Fast-paced precision drumming, technical and predominantly melodic oriented death/thrash guitar riffs and solos, and the high pitched snarling and deeper growling vocals in front. The occasional robotic vocoder voice part is also a part of the soundscape (Cynic style).

"Akróasis" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, which suits Obscura´s sound pretty well. The choice to remove some of the omnipresent layering of sounds on some of the tracks on the album, is really successful to my ears. It makes "Akróasis" a more varied listen than "Omnivium (2011)". Not necessarily a better or more consistent release than the predecessor but definitely more varied and occassionally also a bit more raw.

Upon conclusion "Akróasis" is yet another high quality technical/progressive death metal album by Obscura. Despite the many lineup changes and years between albums, Obscura have maintained their signature sound, but made just enough adjustments and little changes to said sound to not grow stale. The compositions are sophisticated, powerful, and intriguing, the sound production professional and detailed, and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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 In Menstrual Night by CURRENT 93 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
3.95 | 3 ratings

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In Menstrual Night
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Originally released as a very limited-edition album indeed, In Menstrual Night follows the "two sidelong tracks of industrial-ambient spookiness" format of Nature Unveiled. Steven Stapledon of Nurse With Wound had been working closely with David Tibet on Current 93 from the start, but this album is effectively a full collaboration in all but name, fusing together two different concepts.

Tibet had the idea of exploring the question of where dreams go where they die; Stapledon was inspired by the idea of voices and sounds heard in a hospital after dark. The distinction between these ideas is evident in the different styles of the tracks; Sucking Up Souls consists largely of a mass of vocal samples looped so as to use the voices themselves to make the texture of the soundscape, whilst To Feed the Moon has its samples chugging away at the edge of perception underneath a hypnotic, thunderous percussion - it isn't quite "Current 93/Nurse With Wound go Krautrock", but it edges in that direction. An interesting and worthwhile experiment.

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 Live at the Target by TWELFTH NIGHT album cover Live, 1981
4.02 | 38 ratings

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Live at the Target
Twelfth Night Neo-Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Unique instrumental neo-space prog

Neo-prog lover or hater, please listen to this story...

One upon a time, a few years before the emergence of GENESIS-influenced neo-prog bands, a group of musicians wanted to explore new musical territories. Just after the departure of singer Electra McLeod, TWELFTH NIGHT was an instrumental unit, without a vocalist. They gave many concerts, two of them were recorded the 15th and 16th of January 1981, at the Target pub in their home town of Reading. Only four tracks were kept, mastered and released a month later as "Live at the Target".

No matter you like or dislike neo-prog genre, this is no GENESIS-influenced music like Marillion or IQ here. Instead, the band pursues the musical explorations of 70's trippy echo guitars compositions, reminiscent of Steve Hillage and Manuel Göttsching, by adding more melodic elements and approach of the nascent 80's decade. Fully instrumental, the result is magical, unique and dreamy. These unreal tunes will transport you to another world...

As soon as you hear "Für Helene"'s enchanting introduction, you know you're in for something special. This opener is a powerful space rock piece, supported by Andy Revell's Hillage-esque guitar. Mindblowing! "After the eclipse" is what vocal-less neo-prog music should be. Driven by synthesizers, this track possesses a beautiful keyboard melody, accompanied by bass and guitar, alternating soft, touching and rocking passages. My personal favorite from the record.

With its mystical opening, the echoing neo-space-rock "East to West" sounds haunting, heroic and even a little gothic at times. Another good composition, with various atmospheres. In a similar vein, "Sequences" is longer but lacks a bit of coherency. Somehow uneven, the first third contains good and also some boring passages. A cool and mysterious atmospheric interlude then unveils a wild cosmic guitar solo, until this 20 minutes suite ends on a magical and melancholic tone.

The 2004 double CD definitive edition is strongly recommended, as it features 9 previously unreleased tracks from 1979-1981, for more than 70 minutes of music, still entirely instrumental. "Afghan Single" and "Für Helene I" are studio recordings, the rest being live material. The included booklet is also very nice and holds many informations and photos.

Despite a sound quality not always perfect, "Live at the Target" is a forgotten little gem that deserves attention. Although the band hadn't released any studio album at the time, these live recordings prove TWELFTH NIGHT was already more creative than the 'classic' neo-prog bands that will come a few years later. There is originality and personality here, as if space-rock linguistic elements were used to paint an unknown oneiric world, whose entrance door would be the window from the cover art...

The recording period enhances the impression of uniqueness, as the dawn of the 80's were both a transitional and interrogative period both for the band (without any vocalist, after Electra McLeod's departure and before Geoff Mann) and the progressive genre in general. "Live at the Target" still remains a singularity, an anomaly in the fabric of musical space-time, difficulty explainable...

Give it a listen, even if you're allergic to neo-prog. Highly recommended to fans of Steve Hillage, Manuel Göttsching's "Inventions For Electric Guitar", space rock or... neo-prog.

Look at the window and fly through this enchanted night...

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 The Lark at Heaven's Gate by MITCHELL, KENNY album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.54 | 4 ratings

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The Lark at Heaven's Gate
Kenny Mitchell Crossover Prog

Review by LunarSea

5 stars The latest offering from the criminally underrated Brit guitarist and keyboard wiz Kenny Mitchell.

Five tracks in total covering 53 minutes.

Four out of the five tracks are instrumentals with the fifth having a vocal line from guest artist Nathan Jon Tillett who has collaborated with Mitchell on previous work.

Along similar lines to his previous releases this is an album of genteel and elegant, somewhat vintage sounding prog with occasional angry bits sprinkled liberally throughout to keep the listener on their toes.

On the guitar side of things, there are many influences which can be heard, ranging from super fast Satriani style soloing to more pyrotechnic Vai styled guitar work - particularly on the long (24 mins+) opening track.

Tracks 2 and 3 are much more keyboard dominated with lots of Vangelis meets Jarre type ideas on the keys using lush sounding pads and soundscapes with phasers on overdrive - very epic. Guitars are still present on these two tracks although a good bit more sparsely than on the other tracks, a deliberate ploy to highlight the artists keyboard skills by making the axes take a bit of a back seat..? Who can say, but this sparseness perhaps makes the guitars even more dramatic sounding at the points when they do make an appearance.

Track 4 is a kind of guitar/keyboard duel type of thing with guitar and keys taking turns at the solo spot - guitar definitely wins out in the end I think though which is no surprise as Mitchell always insists that he is a guitarist first and a keyboardist second.

On the final track we have some more delicate 12 string and 6 string acoustic guitar work throughout as well as the aforementioned vocal appearance. This is a beautiful track which builds up to a lovely powerful climax and ends with just the piano and the vocal - shivers down your spine type of thing.! More vocal work like this on your next album please Mr Mitchell.. !

I would have trouble categorizing this album as it has so many different ideas and styles in it but if put on the spot I would say it was a kind of (mostly) instrumental BJH meets Rush with a bit of Yes thrown in with Satch standing in for Steve Howe much of the time and guest appearances from Jarre and Vangelis on keys.

Conclusion : Very fine indeed and well worth a listen. 5 stars.

Available via the artists page on bandcamp on a pay what you want to pay basis.

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 Nemrud by NEMRUD album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.24 | 59 ratings

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Nemrud
Nemrud Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by antonyus

5 stars Easily my favorite Nemrud album. Every track on this album is solid gold, and there is no filler. There is phenomenal performance by every member on this album, especially Mert Gocay(guitar/vox) and Mert Alkaya(drum).

The first thing that caught my attention right away, besides Gocay's refined guitar and vocal execution; were the lyrics written for this album. Astonishing and breathtaking. Unpretentious, clean, emotive, meaningful inline with the story. Obviously to me, as you have noticed; the album emanates such mysticism and power unrevealed by the band at this point, turning this experience so new, so unique, that claims for unspoken recognition.

"Gods Of The Mountain" This track is terrific. It has an excellent music flow, great composition with a very tight structural integrity whereby the blend of melodies are composed in such a way that can lift up your emotion. The changing tempo is controlled in a manageable way, there is no sudden change as the transitions between musical segments are crafted smoothly by the band. When the interlude starts with a thunder and guitar start work, that's when the ultimate enjoyment of this track come to your mind. What a wonderful lead guitar!

"Lion Of Commagene" A very dark song with ambient noises and a clean and disturtion guitars are strumming. Gocay's voice is at its best here, and new member Candas plays tiny bass solos too. As this atmosphere reaches its zenith, a churchlike organ meets with lovely dramatic vocal.

"The Euphrates" Really it's just less progressive and more strait forward alternative rock.Kicks off the B side of the album with a synth multi-layered interlude that soon gives way to an exhibition of maximum bombast - effective melodic lines, complex rhythm patterns, and ballsy solos on guitar and keyboard.

"Forsaken Throne" Epic masterpiece. Trademark Nemrud, slowly feeding you genius in the form of music. The is the best and the most progressive one of the album along with the opening track. Gocay sings very well in mellow parts, more catchy and atmospheric. The track has very well synchronized fast parts, really bringing emotion and addiction.

In recent times, there have been quite a few years between Nemrud releases, and I would say that in this case the approach of the band taking their time to craft and perfect an album in this manner really pays off. For anyone interested in Turkish Progressive Rock, "Nemrud" is an essential release. Do not miss out on it.

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 The Move by MOVE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.08 | 26 ratings

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The Move
The Move Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars One of the things i always wonder is how do certain bands come up with such LAME band names? Well THE MOVE literally refers to the shifting positions of band members from one band to another. Yeah, lame, i know but luckily the music of THE MOVE on their debut album MOVE is far from lame. This is yet one of a gazillion bands to have emerged from Birmingham, England in the 60s. This is a band that had significant success in their native UK by scoring a total of 20 hit singles in a five year span but had absolutely no success in the US or other English speaking countries which meant their career was a fairly short seven year span but a sweet one nonetheless. While the band was known for its innovative and progressive leanings beginning on their second album "Shazam," on this debut album they are all about psychedelic pop and were one of the main shakers of the short lived genre called "freakbeat" which incorporated many aspects of the early British beat scene with psychedelic elements like studio effects and stereophonic embellishments as to give it a strange contemporary achronistic feel at the same time.

What can i say about THE MOVE's first album? Well, it is very catchy psychedelic pop music from 1968. The main influence seems to be The Beatles, who apparently left a vacuum in the 60s pop world when they jettisoned the predictability of the early and mid 60s and moved on to proto-progressive releases such as "Sgt Pepper's" and ushered in an entirely new "free expression" musical world. Well, not everyone was ready for the liberation of this sort and that's why bands like The Monkees were manufactured and other bands like THE MOVE hungrily moved into the formerly occupied musical territory. While the 60s were burgeoning with psychedelic pop bands from all corners of the globe, THE MOVE were actually quite talented in this niche and they nailed the psychedelic pop sound they were going for. Yes, this does sound like it should have been released 3 or 4 years prior before the advent of Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Zappa, however for 60s pop music that takes its antecedents and compiles them into a whole and fine tunes all of these elements, this is pretty good. There is not one bad track on here and it sounds like every track on this debut could have been a pop single of the era.

The Beatles seem to have the biggest influence on this one with extremely catchy hooks that mostly utilize guitars, bass and drums but have piano, harpsichord, brass and woodwind orchestral embellishments on many (especially ending) tracks. There is also an element of sunshine pop like the type of The Turtles but also the cover tracks by Eddie Cochran and The Coasters bring an element of good old fashioned 50s rock 'n' roll to the mix. This album also has a very strong sense of pacing. It begins quite innocently in the sunshine psychedelic pop arena but as ti progresses adds more complexity, most of the time bringing The Beatles to mind, but often meandering into the Baroque pop of The Beach Boys. While this is 60s pop through and through, the sophistication of it all is very much appreciated. Yes, the sound is a bit anachronistic but only by a few years. The fact is that every track on here is extremely catchy and well performed. I particularly love the energy delivered by bassist Ace Kefford who ups the energetic feel of the era a bit. While the ideas may be recycled for the most part, the delivery is very contemporary. This album was a grower. Nothing progressive at this point but if you like excellently performed 60s psychedelic music then you cannot forego such a wonderful experience as THE MOVE's very first album. I personally enjoy this one very much.

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 Trial By Fire by JOURNEY album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.50 | 61 ratings

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Trial By Fire
Journey Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Whenever I'm feeling snarky I always know I can take my dour mood out on groups like Journey instead of my lovely wife or close relatives. But the joke's ever on me because, as usual with this band's records, what I foolishly presume will be a relatively painless aural exercise turns out to be an agonizing ordeal of yearning for it to be over. One of the drawbacks of the CD era is that commercial-minded ensembles like this bunch were now able to fit a lot more of their anemic, anti-prog material on a single disc. I should get a special Boy Scout merit badge just for sitting through this! In reference to this album singer Steve Perry boasted that "we didn't try to reinvent ourselves." He wasn't kidding. I'll say this up front: If you liked the music Journey was making just before they went on hiatus in '87 you're gonna be happy as a clam with what's on this, their 1996 comeback release, "Trial by Fire." Times changed. They didn't.

"Message of Love" - A spacey intro leads right into a "formula rock" ditty that holds no surprises. The only thing more predictable is the sun rising in the east every morning. "One More" - Following a sappy orchestral snippet that includes a "dramatic" spoken-word section I was mercilessly subjected to Perry's overwrought, Broadway stage-worthy vocalizing. In my mind I could picture him slowly rising from a smoking volcano and then strolling down a long lava-lined staircase while gesturing provocatively to the audience. (Hell, I had to think of something to take my mind off the banality of the tune.) "When You Love a Woman" - A very Michael Bolton-ish power ballad snooze fest complete with a faux gospel chorale swaying in the background. (I find I'm already having to restrain my gag reflex and I'm only 3 cuts in!) "If He Should Break Your Heart" - What's truly breaking my heart is that this kind of shlock is on a progressive rock music site. I mean, even cotton candy isn't this sugary. "Forever in Blue" - These guys evidently bought into the record label's motto of "If it worked a decade ago it'll work again. Trust us." Sadly the suits were right but to my ears this is a vile piece of embarrassingly dated crapola. "Castles Burning" - An example of what happens when a pop act tries to get "heavy." It's extremely difficult for me to imagine anyone playing this for a friend and exclaiming "Isn't this FANTASTIC?" And, like most of the tracks on this record, it's about four minutes too long. "Don't Be Down on Me Baby" - Here's where they roll out their obligatory "bluesy waltz" number. I found it almost as entertaining as clipping my toenails. Neal Schon is an okay musician but he always comes off as an insecure lead guitarist trying to impress his peers with how fast he can play. That approach gets real old real fast.

"Still She Cries" - Perhaps if they'd made this an instrumental it would've provided me with a much-needed ray of light but no, they just had to turn it into a song only a lovesick 12 year old Daddy's little princess could relate to. "Colors of the Spirit" - Oh, great. Now I'm on safari with these jokers. I reckon this is their attempt to create a "world beat" sound but Perry's pasteurized voice makes that a mission impossible. Good grief, this is torture. "When I Think of You" - I can almost hear one of the band members saying "Hey, fellas, let's manufacture another clone of 'Forever Yours!' Cha-ching!" Um, somebody nudge me when this dull-as-a-butter-knife dirge is over. Or not. "Easy to Fall" - At this juncture it's almost as if they're intentionally parodying themselves. This is so awful it defies description. "Can't Tame the Lion" - This tune begs the question; "Don't y'all have any flavors other than plain vanilla?" "It's Just the Rain" - Deafening white noise would be preferable to this. I feel like I'm trapped in an elevator. Alone. Evidently they felt it necessary to add a lot of "stormy night" sound effects to make sure I "got" the theme. Segue into "Trial By Fire" - Who actually paid good money for this stuff anyway? Did Steve just warble the line, "Hello, Mister Moon?" Yes. He did. Just shoot me. "Baby, I'm Leaving You" - Enough already. They just had to go full pseudo reggae on their way out, huh? This is about as soulful as a Lawrence Welk YouTube video. Pitiful. Journey has no shame whatsoever. I'm definitely leaving. To go throw up.

Dig this, though. This CD made it to #3 on the album charts! What? And the syrupy "When You Love a Woman" not only rose to #12 on the singles chart, it was nominated for a Grammy! If you don't believe me look it up for yourself. In addition, three other singles culled from this album charted! Yark! That means a substantial amount of people actually missed Journey's hit- making monotony machine and welcomed them back with um, open arms. If there's a bright spot to behold it's that this was the end of the Perry period. Seems he broke a hip in Maui before the support tour began and that forced the band to cancel the whole strolling-down-the-volcano thing they had planned. Bummer. It would've been neat-o. As I indicated earlier, if this is your cup of tea then be my guest. Dive in. Stay in. As for me, I'd rather hear fingernails scraping down a chalkboard. No stars.

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 A Moon Shaped Pool by RADIOHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 159 ratings

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A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead Crossover Prog

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

4 stars A UK outfit RADIOHEAD have changed their expression and impression every time they released an album, but they have kept upon their identified anacatesthesia and pessimism via production and voices mainly by Thom YORKE for over thirty years (or at least since their first album "Pablo Honey" was released in 1993). Their 9th album "A Moon Shaped Pool" could be felt not purely pop nor forcibly complicated but familiarity with anti-pop intensity. Every fan (like me!) who has been following them since their debut album launched would have looked forward to their creation, and he/she would not be betrayed also by this one I suggest. Various sound appearances can be heard here and there, which should drive us crazy - kinda killer one indeed. For them (especially Thom himself), either what is acoustic or how electronic ought to be should not be cared, and it's natural they represent what boils up in their inner space. Let me say this phenomenon might be their charm eternally.

Anyway we would not have come across such a combo who create "monotonous pop / rock" so frequently. Their mysterious monotonous melody lines have obvious auditory extension and variation. No multitempo nor tone change can be heard but enthusiasm and powerful intention for production always addict the audience perfectly. The first shot "Burn The Witch" or "Desert Island Disk" sounds hypnotically acoustic with definite comfort. The comfort might grow up along with Thom's flat voices I imagine. "Daydreaming" (as the title says) or "Glass Eyes" (as if fragile glass would break away) throws us into a sensitive dream in the afternoon, filled with their electronic agents. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief", I'm sure this be their masterpiece in this album, reminds me of their innovative, energetic and simultaneously delicate creativity that could be heard in "The Bends" or "OK Computer" a long while ago.

Cheers for their stubborn (!) music expression strategies and incredible taste kept for over thirty years. You're artists of genius.

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 The Following Morning by WEBER, EBERHARD album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.47 | 20 ratings

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The Following Morning
Eberhard Weber Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not quite blown away by this one as I was by The Colours of Chloe, I think because by now Eberhard Weber had moved more away from the fusion-ish elements of that album into a more ECM chamber jazz style of almost ambient jazz. But that said, this whole ambient jazz thing works really remarkably well. Weber's double bass sonorously creates an aura of peace around itself which the other performers support with delicate, restrained performances. Not one to put on when you are in the mood for furious excitement, but if you want something a bit more meditative it could well hit the spot nicely.

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 Dogs Blood Rising by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.87 | 13 ratings

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Dogs Blood Rising
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars David Tibet followed up the epochal Nature Unveiled with this attempt to craft the early Current 93 sound into things resembling songs. A quirky range of influences is unveiled, with T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land being one of them (little voices interject here and there with bits of the poem or other similar-sounding phrases, much like the poem itself is written to suggest a babble of different voices speaking) and from a more unexpected direction, Simon & Garfunkel. (Specifically, "St. Peters Keys All Bloody" is an avant-industrial cover of "Sound of Silence".)

The centrepiece of the album is Falling Back In Fields of Rape, a prose-poem set to a dark industrial backing first recited by Steve Ignorant of anarcho-punk band Crass before we hear it recited by a child. A catalogue of horrors inflicted during wartime and dictatorship of all flavours ("fields of rape" being a double meaning for the rape-seed crop and... well. you've probably guessed the other meaning), the composition is a major thematic keystone of David Tibet's work, with snippets of the text appearing elsewhere in his work frequently. A portion of the lyrics became the words to a very different rendition from Death In June on the Nada! album, for instance, and the repeated refrain "In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land" (which far from distancing us from the atrocities makes us question whether they are really that foreign) would lend its name to a collaboration with famed horror author Thomas Ligotti over a decade later.

Whilst not quite the unflinchingly uncompromising vision that Nature Unveiled was, Dogs Blood Rising is still very dark territory indeed, but one which needs to be explored by those who wish to really unpick what was going on with David Tibet in the early 1980s.

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 Sphére by FAFARD, ANTOINE album cover Studio Album, 2016
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Sphére
Antoine Fafard Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Squire Jaco

— First review of this album —
5 stars As I write this review, only the "limited edition" cd is available. I liked Fafard's last three albums so much that I opted to spend a little more and get this limited edition before the general September release. I'm really glad I did.

This is a stellar album all around. The packaging is beautiful and the liner notes are informative. This has three additional tracks that the regular release does not, and they are similarly wonderful. And the production is just top notch, top notch. It almost sounds like a drummer's album, they are mic'd so perfectly.

Not a long review here, but rest assured that this is some of Fafard's best songwriting, and he complements it with two great accompanying musicians in Gary Husband and Jerry DeVilliers Jr., sounding much like Allan Holdsworth in spots. Fafard takes the lead enough to please all bass-lovers (e.g. yours truly), but doesn't steal the show from the whole band.

I've been handing out 4 stars to each of his last solo albums. This one deserves the full 5.

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 Unfolded Like Staircase by DISCIPLINE album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.26 | 331 ratings

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Unfolded Like Staircase
Discipline Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nş 80

When I wrote my review about their debut studio album 'Push & Profit' released in 1994, I said that I have received that album few weeks ago and that I hoped receive their second studio work, very soon. Unfortunately, I only got 'Unfolded Like Staircase' some months ago, and so and unexpectedly, only now it was possible for me to make the review of it.

Discipline is an American progressive group formed in 1987 by high school students Matthew Parmenter (vocals and multi-instruments), Jon Preston Bouda (backing vocals and guitars), Matthew Kennedy (bass) and Paul Dzendel (drums and percussions), in Royal Oak, Michigan. They had also another band's member, David Krofchock, who was the band's keyboard player from 1990 to 1993, and took part of their debut album 'Push and Profit'. Since the early days, the vocalist Parmenter and the leader of the band, made the band's live concerts changing elaborate costumes for each song, like Peter Gabriel usually did in the early days of Genesis and also as Fish did in the early days of Marillion. Because of that, usually, Discipline was often compared to Genesis and Marillion. However, the Discipline's music has also been compared to Van Der Graaf Generator, not because of their debut studio album 'Push And Profit', but because of their following work, this second studio album 'Unfolded Like Staircase'.

As I wrote before, Parmenter is the leader of the band and he usually writes all the songs on their albums. It also sings and plays several musical instruments like keyboards, violin, saxophone and orchestra chimes. Thanks to their great live shows, Discipline built up a good reputation in Detroit, which is very strange and curious, since this American region isn't usually influenced by the progressive rock music. So, in 1993 the group released their first album, and to support that album, the group toured the USA in supporting of various progressive artists and bands like Steve Howe, the Yes' guitarist, and Anekdoten, an excellent Swedish heavy progressive group, hugely influenced by King Crimson.

'Unfolded Like Staircase' is composed of four long pieces of music. It isn't at all a minimalist album, but it has a myriad of details and a constant development, coherence and balance in the whole work. In these things resides part of the personality of this musical work magnificently interpreted in a truly masterful way. This is an album with a work of exceptional composition. The music on the album has all the elements that characterized a very uncommon world. We have the drama, restlessness, darkness, delirium, tragedy, schizophrenia, but above all, it shows the amazing beauty that can be hidden in the darkest places into our minds. However, those influences reside only in the essence of the music. Both, voices and instruments, have very little to do with the finale style of the Van Der Graaf Generator's music. However, in my point of view, we can clearly see on 'Unfolded Like Staircase' several other musical influences from the 70's. When I listen to this album for the first time, I became completely astonished and amazed with so many different musical influences on only a single album or even only on a single track. I can clearly see on it two other very strong influences of the 70's, the influences of Genesis in the Gabriel's era and the influences of King Crimson in their first phase. By the other hand, I can also see some more recent musical influences on the album. Those influences are the neo-prog influences, particularly from the excellent neo- prog British band IQ. If we think a little bit about it, this last musical influence isn't as strange as it seems. The neo- prog style isn't so different from the symphonic style. If you compare Genesis in the era Gabriel and Marillion in the era Fish, you see what I mean. Anyway, the solo musical career of Parmenter fits perfectly well into this musical style. I also strongly recommend the Parmenter's solo musical career.

Conclusion: When I reviewed 'Push & Profit' I said that I became surprised, because I expected that the music of the band was more surprising, strange, aggressive, improvised and complex, like Anglagard's music. However, after listen to 'Unfolded Like Staircase', several times, I completely changed my opinion about Discipline's music. In my humble opinion, 'Unfolded Like Staircase' is an album completely different from 'Push & Profit'. This is an album much more mature, complex, aggressive, surprising and totally progressive, with dark lyrics and also with a dark theatrical musical atmosphere. 'Unfolded Like Staircase' is really an astonishing progressive album, and I'm completely amazed with the quality produced by them on it. Sincerely, I'm really surprised with so many different musical influences on a single album or on a single track. I agree with Easy Livin when he says that this is a band with their roots firmly in neo-prog, especially due to the influences of IQ. By the other hand the influences of Genesis in Gabriel's era, King Crimson in their first phase, and of course Van Der Graaf Generator, are very strong, indeed. So, 'Unfolded Like Staircase' is a truly masterpiece and one of the best albums released by one of the most amazing bands that emerged in the 90's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 A Sequence Of Moments by FERGUSON, ALI album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 3 ratings

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A Sequence Of Moments
Ali Ferguson Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars Really gorgeous and soothing neo-spacerock. I had never heard of this artist, but he does a great job in recreating what Pink Floyd did so well.

Long songs/compositions with an emphasis on creating soundscapes and atmoshere to daydream. The production is very clear and open. The vocals are very good and not all irritating. Maybe because most of the songs are with two voices (male and female). The drums are programmed, but you can't hardly hear it, they sound very human/acoustic.

The guitar sounds somewhat like David Gilmour. The music itself is reminiscent of Pink Floyd, RPWL, (soft-) Porcupine Tree, Airbag. The compositions are not very progressive, don't expect polyrhythms, lots of solos etc. The music is more meant to be dreamy and atmospheric.

The artist is categorized as crossoverprog, but I think it's more spacerock (like Pink Floyd and RPWL).

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 Dreamer / Bloody Well Right by SUPERTRAMP album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1974
2.76 | 9 ratings

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Dreamer / Bloody Well Right
Supertramp Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After two unsuccesful and uneven albums SUPERTRAMP released Crime of the Century, which is regarded as their finest work, at least in the prog circles (the more commercial world probably favours the bestselling Breakfast in America, 1979). The 1974 album was excellently produced by the legendary Ken Scott, who had worked with e.g. David Bowie and Mahavishnu Orchestra.

This is a typical single, both tracks taken from the album and representing its more hit-oriented material. Roger Hodgson's 'Dreamer' is a charming and very energetic song in a fast tempo, with a slower mid-section featuring also Rick Davies' vocals in a dialogue-like manner. The electric piano sound that colours the whole Crime of the Century is extremely dominating on this one.

Rick Davies composed the more bluesy 'Bloody Well Right' which I don't enjoy as much; it's the heavy repetition of the boring chorus that annoys me a bit. Together these songs are almost like Supertramp in a nutshell, with both unique songwriters represented. Except that of course the more progressive tendencies and the emotionally deeper songs are to be found elsewhere on that album.

Good, but totally non-essential for the album oriented listeners.

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 ELI (with Kaz Lux) by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.83 | 37 ratings

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ELI (with Kaz Lux)
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BunBun

5 stars "Because You're a Fly, Fly, That's Why"

This is an incredible album. I discovered this album through Jan Akkerman, who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest guitarists. He has a completely unique sound that is full of life. I had no idea who Kaz Lux was before I came across this album, but boy, this guy has one incredible voice which elevates this album from great to masterpiece. Each piece flows beautifully from one to another and feels apart of a cohesive whole.

I'm no expert in music, so bare with me. I really don't know the story behind this album but it comes across as a loose concept album about a man named Eli, and that is about all I got for ya. The album starts off with Lux's excellent vocals on 'Eli' and the music really doesn't kick in until a couple of minutes in, and even when it does, it is quite subtle. 'Guardian Angel' is a bit funky and jazzy, and 'There He still goes' is a bit disco flavored. Then tracks like 'Wings of Strings' and 'Fairytale' are quite ambient for me. Lux delivers his lyrics with such enthusiasm that I often find myself repeating them long after the album has shut off, trying my best to imitate his exact pronunciation of lines such as "Pur-fec-tion" and "Eli, Please." Overall, you won't find any display of technical virtuosity. There are no crazy guitar solos, no tony Bank like synths, no ten minute plus epic to munch on. In fact, this album focuses more on moods, and it is quite quirky. Some of the lyrics Lux sings might come across as rather odd like when he begins to recount a time when he killed a fly. "Yea, I've been watching a fly die. He didn't know why he had to die," yet it completely works. The best way to describe this album is subtle. The music is lush, surprisingly minimalistic (not to be confused with pop) yet never boring.

This is a masterpiece in my eyes. I love it from start to finish and there is something quite profound hidden within its quirks. The standout tracks being 'Eli' and "Naked Actress.' Please, give this a listen.

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 Anchor Drops by UMPHREY'S MCGEE album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.13 | 71 ratings

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Anchor Drops
Umphrey's McGee Crossover Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars If Umphrey's in 2002 was considered doing OK, then Anchor Drops is doing fantastic. This album's a bit of a tie for loose ends hanging out on the prior album, ironing out most of the amateurism and lack of focus that was at all featured on it. The variety of unique instruments don't over-exert themselves and become cluttered nearly as much, giving the band a renewed sound of a seasoned progressive jam band. The dilettante voice of Brendan Bayliss (like on 'In The Kitchen' and 'Walletsworth') derives a particularly organic feel from the album, and even more interesting when juxtaposed with the complex percussions of Andy Farag and Kris Meyers. The band even strikes a few heavy chords every one and awhile, evoking a powerful presence that it doubtless better when enjoyed watching them do it in action.

Anchor Drops marks a point for the band as an indication of their moving away from their influences and becoming their own unit. All I can say is, godspeed!

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 A Dream in Static by EARTHSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.87 | 56 ratings

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A Dream in Static
Earthside Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'A Dream in Static' - Earthside (63/100)

I can't help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when a band suddenly explodes the way Eathside has over the course of this past year. There was nary a mention of these guys before they usurped the prog metal dialogue last October with their debut. Now, just a few months later, they're acting as direct support for the genre's present frontrunners on the upcoming North American Leprous tour. What's more; A Dream in Static comes with the kind of massive budget and big-name guest spots you might normally expect from a more established act. With this manner of apparent step-skipping, I almost get the impression that Earthside only saved themselves the years-long struggle working up the ladder because their wallet was big enough to accommodate their ambitions.

Then again, before I heard Earthside's name on the upcoming tour announcement, I heard of them from friends who got up in arms over A Dream in Static as soon as it was released. Much the same way the progressive metal network went ape over Leprous' own Tall Poppy Syndrome several years ago, it didn't take long for A Dream in Static to latch onto its target audience. Most importantly, even if their sudden success is conspicuous, Earthside have the raw talent and skill to back it up. Progressive metal isn't an easy shell to crack as a musician, and their tight execution says more about their experience together than whatever dollar signs they had backing them up.

I could take a positive or negative stance toward Earthside, and I think I'd have sufficiently enough to say in either scenario. My real opinion probably lies somewhere in the middle. Earthside may have a lot of great things going for them. but for all their firepower and heft, A Dream in Static leaves me feeling somewhat dry. No one can doubt their determination when it came to making the album as polished as they could make it, but it also sounds like Earthside took every possible cliche of modern progressive metal under consideration when it came to writing the album. Djenty rhythm sections? Soaring melodic vocals? Bombastic arrangements and misguided symphonic pomp? Check, check, check, check. There are times on A Dream in Static when I feel like I'm listening to a modern metal laundry list manifest as sound. For a genre that's proverbially meant to be constantly pushing the limits forward, it's not a great sign that they constantly see fit to remind me of bands that preceded them.

So much of Earthside's craft feels deadset on impressing the listener as much as they can for as long as possible. While there's nothing wrong about a band pushing themselves to their limits, there's something immediately disingenuous about hearing a mix crowded with djenty chugs and a full-blown live studio orchestra. The use of the Moscow Festival Orchestra on "Mob Mentality" and "Entering the Light" has its moments (particularly on the more atmospheric latter track) but I never once feel like the symphony was employed as more than a display of some vague musical ambitions.

It's kind of ironic that Earthside actually make their best strides when they streamline themselves a bit. While they're clearly skilled as composers, their ambitions outstretch their reach with the most involved pieces. To contrast, they make great strides when they tighten in the reins. "Entering the Light" is a fantastic exotic instrumental that basks in the spaces between notes that may had otherwise been filled with sound on other tracks. Earthside offer up their best songs for the likes of their guest vocalists. Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT) and Björn Strid (Soilwork) each cover some fantastic range on "A Dream in Static" and "Crater" respectively. Tompkins' soaring chorus work towards the end of his spot is easily the most spine-chilling moment of the album for me. Earthside's own vocals are very solid as well, following the similarly melodic form of their guests. They've got a surprising skill with working melody into their work; I only wish more of the album had reeled in on that strength.

This is a mixed bag kind of impression, really. Earthside see fit to exemplify the polished place where modern progressive metal has settled. They've got plenty of skill, but aren't quite clear on how to wring the best out of their potential. They're clearly ambitious, though I it would be more accurate to wrap ironic quotations around that word; they are ambitious, sure, but they're not grasping at heights any higher than their peers. When all is said, I know Earthside have the best possible intentions at heart, but their apparent urge to amaze the prog community limits their potential to emote and connect on a more human level. This isn't a problem faced by Earthside alone, but modern prog as a whole. It's to their credit that they do what they do slightly better than many of the other bands to come out recently.

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 Von by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.47 | 91 ratings

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Von
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The ethereal post-rockers from Iceland hit it big with their huge international hits "Ágćtis byrjun" and "( )" but the band really began way back in 1994 in Reykjavik slowly developing their post-rock visions and finally releasing their debut album VON ("Hope" in Icelandic") in 1997. This is one of those overproduced albums that the band states turned out nothing like planned but when all was said and done decided to stick with the finished produced due to all the money and time expended. While the album was only moderately successful in their native Iceland at the time of release, after international fame came from the more ethereal and successful albums that followed, VON was re-released and has since become an well established and well known release in the band's discog.

It's quite the surprise that this is a sort of a proto-SIGUR ROS album that has all the elements of future releases in play but doesn't quite make them gel together in the brilliant cohesive manner of later albums. The ethereal parts are here of course as are the post-rock elements but they don't quite wanna go on a date together yet and what we are treated to here are snippets of ideas albeit lengthy meandering snippets that exhibit sonic interests but haven't been put on the work table as to how to properly gestate their nascency into a fully functioning organism, therefore leaving a disjointed feel for the whole shebang, And no one hearing this album at the time would ever been able to predict that this album would lead to a band that would create some seriously bizarre and original music.

Track one which is ironically titled "SIGUR ROS" which is a frightening ambient track with high pitched vocal screeches, synthesized horrific sounds and depressive developments that ultimately cedes into the second track "Dögun" which sounds like the Cocteau Twins on valium or something. A rather de-popped space pop version of something on "Victorialand" where the female vocals echo and bellow amidst the shimmering sonicities of ambient keys creating the sonic counterpart to a desert mirage. It turns into a full-fledged ambient desert caravan surreal effect that creates a most surreal and outlandish collage effect of a single melodic note being accompanied by sound effects. Tracks like ""Hún Jörđ ?" are very Dead Can Dance-ish but with heavy alternative rock accompanying it.

As stated, this album is really packed full of different cool ideas but doesn't quite simmer them down into a digestible tonic and a little bitterness must be experienced to get much out of this album, but if you have a taste for such things, then this is a crude and raw first step into the SIGUR ROS universe as it shows just how the group threw all the ingredients into the cauldron and boiled them down into a musical blessing. Personally i love this album on rare occasions as it requires the precise mood to enjoy but when that mood hits me, VON is a distinct and bona fide mood enhancer indeed. This is probably one of the hardest SIGUR ROS albums in that it has frenzied guitar passages despite accompanying mid-tempo percussion.

As with many debut albums, i have a soft spot for the totally experimental that the brave and the bold display. SIGUR ROS is one of those bands. The passion is on full flame here even if the full compositional prowess had not yet developed. I love this album simply for its utter unpredictability where ambience and hard post-rock alternate, marry and then divorce in sudden whims of passion. While not nearly as ethereal as future releases, VON is definitely a post-rocker's eclectic dream come true with jangle pop, ambient, drone, shoe gaze and avant grade all having a sublime orgy of sonic possibilities and for that it is truly innovative in its approach despite not being mature enough to create something that would pass as totally grown-up.

3.5 rounded UP because this is a really cool album that doesn't get enough love

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 I - Within Deep Dark Chambers by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.99 | 10 ratings

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I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars There are some people who are just born to be unhappy despite living in the most fortunate of circumstances. For some reason, Scandinavia has plenty of unhappy souls despite having one of the highest standards of living in the world. Such is the case with young Niklas Kvarforth who started his depressive black metal band SHINING (the Swedish band, not the Norwegian jazz-metal group of the same name) at the tender age of 12. Depressive black metal set itself apart early on in the 90s distinguishing itself other black metal in that it doesn't focus on misanthropy or Satanic themes but rather on self-destruction and all the negative emotions associated with suicide and self hatred. WITHIN DEEP DARK CHAMBERS is the full debut album by Kvarforth who contributes vocals, guitar and keyboard with his lineup of other sickened souls: Tusk on bass, Ted Wedebrand on drums and additional disturbed vocalizations by Andreas Classen.

This debut album is pretty much in line with the depressive black metal scene of the 90s in that it utilizes an overall repetitive, hypnotic and monotonous feel that incorporates the wall of sound guitar frenzy with atmospheric keys, occasional chimes and midstream drums meaning that blastbeats are uncommon and the drums lazily accompany the fuzz feed frenzy. Perhaps the most "depressive" aspect of SHINING's first album is not only the uncompromising fury of the music but mostly of Kvarforth's anguished and tortured vocals above all else. This is one of those albums that simply excels in distressed fury and keeps me on pins and needles wondering if dude isn't gonna do himself in on the final track just to have a musical place in history. Fortunately not so as i like future SHINING albums better than this one. But wow. This definitely fits the depressive black metal bill. Not recommended as music for grandma's funeral.

While this album excels at keeping every shimmer of light from entering the boarded up windows and screams a razor blade, case of aspirin with vodka and carbon monoxide party, the music is fairly straight forward as this was before SHINING started experimenting with more progressive elements as to add more sophistication to self-hating pity party. The music here has the regular black metal buzzsaw grunge, where the guitars and bass are one and the raspy vocals wax and wane between traumatic black metal tantrums about how horrible the world is with utter resignation to the life sucks affirmations. The weakness here is the percussion as it is as languid as a salamander in the arctic and merely keeps the beat and not much else. Overall, this is a decent slice of depressive black metal but some of the tracks which hint towards progressiveness such as "Stonelands" and "And Only Silence Remains?" tend to meander for far too long, however the inclusion of church bells and slow parts in the latter does make it a bit more interesting at times. 3.5 rounded down

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 Animam by SANTHIAGO, GUSTAVO album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.67 | 6 ratings

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Animam
Gustavo Santhiago Symphonic Prog

Review by Wakefan

5 stars This is a unexpected release. A 17-year-old brazillian multi-instrumentalist releasing a independent album? Yes, it's worth hearing. Here's my opinion:

MUSIC - 5/5: The melodies are very, very, beautiful. From melancholic synths to upbeat recorders and epic string orchestra! Every song has a different feel and different influences. For example, in "Arcadia" a Bach's fugue style, played in recorder/harpsichord/synth give place to a groovy 70's rhodes style that later is followed by a electric guitar and double moog solo! The main theme from "Ánimam" (the one that opens and closes the album), appears in different ways through the album and is very touching. "Ilusőes" (Illusions) is my favourite piece and a true progressive masterpiece, with lots of psychedelic, indian, funky and symphonic influences merged with mastery. For me it contains the essence of the album.

CREATIVITY - 4/5: Many different instruments and styles are present that creates different atmospheres. Like the guitar-sitar, recorder, pipe-organ, lots of moog sounds and effects. The melodies and harmonies aren't that unique, but they're really pretty. I can't give 5/5 on "creativity" because it's very much based on the enormous 70's prog style. But it's surely richer than most recent releases.

PRODUCTION - 4/5: As the album was mixed by Gustavo himself, I believe it lacks a little bit of maturation. The overall sound is nice and balanced, based on the 70's mix style. I liked this idea for it sounds like a lost 70's gem, but not a copy of the prog giants, actually he has a nice personality.

5 star because it's the record I wanted to hear since Wilson's The Raven... The true progressive rock I love with it's own ideas and innovations. An essencial work: I'm sure his next albums will mark prog's history!

And it's free to listen in his website and youtube!

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 Just A Try by TRY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.49 | 3 ratings

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Just A Try
Try Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Once again, the praiseworthy Garden of Delights label has unearthed a release lost in and buried by time, benefiting somewhat from the cachet of the very obscurity that exiled it for decades. While this mellow blend of acoustic and electric guitars and mostly synthesized keyboards might have been somewhat dated in 1980, contemporary reference points are not hard to find. In addition to the already noted similarity to MIKE OLDFIELD and ANTHONY PHILLIPS, "Just a Try" owes something to FUHRS & FROHLING, 2/3 of the seminal German mellotron rockers SCHICKE FUHRS & FROHLING, particularly their "Ammerland" album; early NOVALIS, the more pastoral expressions of TANGERINE DREAM, as well as to the FOGELBERG AND WEISBERG 1978 success, sans the flute. It also presages the solo guitar Windham Hill works of WILL ACKERMAN and others of his ilk who would become quite popular in the mid 1980s.

As I've hinted, this release simultaneously merits both "nothing special" and "something special" qualifiers. It works best as an escape from daily drudgery, as its arrangements weave a pastoral collage, occasionally firing up an energetic arrangement such as "Wreck on the Wire", By and large, "Just a Try" is more hypnotic and seductive than assertive, and is recommended to prog folk fans and others who might have forgotten to specify "decaf" with their order.

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 Live in Toronto by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.73 | 24 ratings

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Live in Toronto
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by CapnBearbossa

5 stars The hottest of all hot dates so far on this King Crimson tour.

Which tour is that? Why, the 2014/2015 nostalgia tour, of course, whereby North America as well as other continents will be touched down on by a truly on-fire incarnation of this band. A band that is no doubt too intimidating to open for, let alone to follow....

Oh, did I say nostalgia? Because that's what they're doing this tour, playing the greatest tunes of the 70's, the ones that put King Crimson on the map as the ultimate juggernaut of Progressive Rock during the first half of that decade.

Mr. Fripp ("one of the guitarists in King Crimson") said such a thing would never come to pass, but it has, and it's wonderful thing for hungry ears to behold. This is basically the group (Jakszyk/Fripp/Collins/Levin/Harrison) that recorded "A Scarcity Of Miracles", plus two extra drummers (Rieflin/Mastellotto); but, unlike the band that recorded "Scarcity", this beast's reason for living is to give the vast 70's catalog of this group another lease on life. Fripp himself sounds as good as ever on guitar, and certainly tears through the solos in a lot of these songs, especially in "The Letters", with great vigor and renewed energy. And if not multiples of times before, then unquestionably now, Mel Collins' presence also adds fire to the band and its performance of the classics.

Collins is a storm of activity on this record, helping to reinvigorate more recent works as well to rejuvenate older ones. "Vrooom", "Level Five," and "The ConstruKction of Light" all get Mel's unique treatment, and it certainly makes them sparkle in a way they never did before. "Red" profits as well from his canny, jazzy contributions. "Level Five" even starts to sound like the "21st Century Schizoid Man's" rowdy nephew; and it's worth noting that the new instrumental "Radical Action" really showcases Mel's ability to burn down the house.

The classic tunes , among them "Lark's Tongues in Aspic Pt. I," "Sailor's Tale" and the usual suspects from the KC debut "In The Court..." sound very much as you might expect; but then, hey, what is this? The sound is also crisper than ever before. Indeed, the Crims have never come through with more crystalline clarity than on this recording. This is a very nice sounding concert, and that's whether you buy the article mail order or download it via dgmlive.com (yeah, you're welcome, Uncle Bobby) in FLAC lossless audio.

I think I would recommend this as an introduction to the group to just about anyone, and that says a lot. But it mainly says that the boys have gone a great way towards making themselves accessible. Yeah, accessible - not something you think of immediately with King Crimson, is it? Some have questioned the value of having three drummers, and perhaps "Live At The Orpheum" from 2014 didn't showcase the advantages of this approach clearly enough. But it works very well indeed on this recording.

If you are a fan of the group, you really owe it to yourself to at least purchase the download. You won't be sorry.

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 ... A Thinking Plague by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.42 | 29 ratings

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... A Thinking Plague
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thinking Plague's debut album - quite rare in its original issue, and much easier to find as half of the Early Plague Years compilation - mashes up the avant-prog RIO sound of Henry Cow with a more whimsical and less overtly political outlook, and freshens things up with a distinctive 1980s sound thanks largely to Sharon Bradford's minisynth and a production style reminiscent of, say, Peter Gabriel's third or fourth self-titled album. It's certainly an oddball number, and Thinking Plague accomplish what their inspirations Henry Cow sometimes failed to do in terms of producing material that is experimental enough to feel fresh but at the same time isn't extremely difficult to get into. A promising start all round.

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 Dreamless by FALLUJAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.58 | 12 ratings

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Dreamless
Fallujah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There are times when the cover art of an album is enough to convince me that I have to buy it, and even if I don't totally get into the music after a trial listen on YouTube, I feel that artwork must be mine and I will somehow appreciate the album's musical content no matter. I'm pretty open-minded that way. (snicker) So when I saw this album cover here for Fallujah's third album "Dreamless", I felt compulsively that it had to get into my collection.

The music is both simple and difficult to describe. Basically, it is heavy modern metal with aggressive blast beats, heavy guitar played both with speed and slower ponderous chords played at non-standard intervals in a bar. "Ba- downg, downg... downg... downg, downg-ba-downg..." There are more technical parts too which do help to add interest to the performance. The vocals are that bellowing/roaring/growling style more commonly known as death vocals or death growl. It often sounds to me more like Beelzebub is trying to talk through a hurricane. There is, however, another factor to the music and this is what sealed the deal for me, so to speak. There is a lead guitar that either wails hauntingly over the aggressiveness of the rest of the band or it plays lead-like melodies of great dexterity. Okay, the guitar doesn't play it; let's give credit to Scott Carstairs or Brian James, the band's two guitarists, though I'm not certain who takes the lead if not both.

Describing the music further, the rhythm guitar seems to follow one of two approaches: either a thrash-like attack on a chord or variations on a finger configuration based on a chord. My friend and I used to do this on our guitars back in the nineties. We'd play a standard bar chord but remove the finger of the lowest string alternately, occasionally using that finger to bend the string, all the while never changing the position of the other fingers. It sounded really heavy and cool but in those days we didn't think that was a real riff and nobody would ever think to create a song around that playing style anyway. Well, in actuality it might not be as simple as I've described it but it still sounds cool. And these days, lots of people are doing this it seems. So basically we have much of the band going for full-on aggressive metal with those roaring vocals. But this other guitar really adds a layer of beauty that is quite ear-catching. I don't know if this is a new trend among metal bands but it's the first I've heard it. There are also moments where the intensity is dropped and clean, delayed guitar notes and chords add a new dimension. There's also a song or two that feature soaring, aethereal female vocals which really adds a wonderful contrast, and one song that actually includes a more normal-sounding male vocal contribution.

There are two things to say in critic of the album. The first is that I find the roaring vocals too prevalent. A little more of non-death vocal style would have given the beautiful and haunting lead guitar parts more purpose. The songs with the female vocals sound the best in this way because they complement the higher guitar part while the gruff death vocals go with the aggressive rhythm guitar. And hey, if you're going to take the time to write lyrics then why not be sure that they are at least to some degree discernable. I mean, near the end of one song, all I can make out is, "STRAAWWW. QUAALM!" Actually, I think this is the song "Scar Queen".

The other point is that all but two tracks follow a similar formula. Yes, checking out any one song or two makes this album seem like a treasure of audio delights. But as I listened to the album the other morning while out walking and my thoughts became distracted, when I returned my attention to the music after a few minutes I felt I hadn't missed anything. But I have to consider that this is the band's third album and in many cases, it is the third album where the band have really found out where they want to be and some of the most highly rated albums in rock history have been the third album.

Two tracks are entirely different and they are "Fidelio" which features some simple but pretty piano with supporting music and a dialogue between a woman and a man about a dream she had (the album is entitled "Dreamless" remember?) and how now that she is awake she is back in reality. The other track is "Les Silences" which is more of an atmospheric electronic piece with drum programming and a man's voice speaking in French. It is a rather intriguing track because it works very well and it delivers a distraction from the formula that comprises the 10 other tracks.

For a listen, you can find some songs on YouTube, and I think I would recommend "The Void Alone" because it includes the lyrics and the female vocals. I think it's a pretty good album for adding some variety to my collection and largely for the combination of that ultra-aggressive style and that sometimes soaring, sometimes technical lead guitar. But in some ways I also find myself thinking that I still love the artwork more than I actually enjoy the music on the whole album. The cover just seems to promise more than what is actually present. Or perhaps just less bellow roaring would have improved my overall impression.

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 The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.14 | 3 ratings

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The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

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

3 stars The second part of this tetralogy is now on bandcamp. The story is about the rise and fall of a musician and we are still in the rising phase. The reason why this concept album has been split in 4 parts is that rodrigo San Martin has thought that a 2 hours concept album can be too long, so this is a sort of "serial album".

The first track scores over 10 minutes and after a start reminding of EL&P moves into heavier sounds. Having listened to Rodrigo's albums since his first release I can't not notice the big improvement he has done. Even being a multi-instrumentist he has given up to the idea of playing all alone and he has shown a "talent" in choosing his partners. In particular the keyboardist Fernando Refay, also on PA with his solo works, gives a remarkable effort.

Back to the track, it has a number of sudden changes like a Mike Oldfield's suite, but this doesn't disturb and the dialogue between guitar and keys on different themes is very good. The closure is very '70s like, in line with the track title. A good track suddenly ending. a "Incomplete" is very melodic. Based on piano and keyboards (I think played by Rodrigo) with the operatic vocals of Canela Sol. A nice song followed by a sort of 70s pop intro.

"Auditions" guitar riff sounds quite British. The song is interesting and is followed by another melodic rock song: "No Destiny" has a particular mood. In the chorus it has something of 80s hair metal, including a very good guitar riff. The very clean vocals sound very appropriate in this song.

Finally, "Never" closes the album with an attack reminding of "The Who" (at least for me), followed by a bass riff. It's a 2 minutes intro to a rock song, and...yes, it reminds me to the Who. Not a bad thing, isn't it? Let's also add that the keyboards sound a bit Wakemanian.

So, don't forget that this is part of a concept album. I don't know how I could rate it in its entirety (even if I've already leistened to the remaining unreleased parts. I'm giving 3 stars by now but the whole concept deserves surely more.

Get it on bandcamp.

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 Colored Sands by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 95 ratings

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Colored Sands
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Wikipedia is your friend," my friend always says when we are not sure about some fact. I often consult Wikipedia as a starting point to search for band history and album information. In the case of "Colored Sands", the Wikipedia article was surprisingly indepth and very informative.

Gorguts released four studio albums between the years of 1991 and 2001. During this time the band went on a five- year hiatus between their second and third album, and only founding member Luc Lemay has remained with the band, effectively making Gorguts his band similarly to how Opeth is Mikael Ĺkerfeldt's baby. With the suicide of a band member in 2003, Gorguts was finally dissolved in 2005. However, Luc Lemay received encouragement to reform the band in 2008. Initially (I'm getting this from Wiki) he did not intend to write any new material because he was satisfied with what the band had achieved; however, he started writing anyway and found it came very naturally.

The theme for the new album was Tibet. It was inspired by a video Lemay saw of colored sand art where images are created using colored sand and then ritualistically destroyed. At first he meant to write only the one song about Tibetan sand art, but his research into Tibet, its culture, history, and religion, inspired him to devote the whole album to Tibet. The album is divided into two parts: the historical, cultural, and geographical side of Tibet and the Chinese occupation. There are four tracks to each part with track five, "The Battle of Chamdo" separating the two parts and being a musical representation of the Chinese invasion in 1950. Impressively, this piece is performed by a five-piece string ensemble including two violins, a viola, a cello and a string bass. The music was composed by Lemay. The concept of the album was to "create a storytelling mood within the music; sort of like a motion picture" (quote by Luc Lemay and quoted from Wikipedia).

Lemay's concept is nothing to scoff at. Colin Marston (bass) and Kevin Hufnagel (guitar) are both classically trained musicians and contributed a lot to the album, writing their own parts together with Lemay. All three members cite classical influences, particularly composer Elliot Carter, and were able to write ideas on paper because they could use "an academic vocabulary". Lemay wanted to avoid writing anything like their second album "Erosion of Sanity", which was more of a typical death metal album, and develop their own musical language. This language was first introduced with 1998's "Obscura", though it is regarded by Lemay as rather simplistic. "Colored Sands" is a "more sophisticated expression" of that language.

All this makes the album sound terribly interesting. With music so intelligent and lyric writing to match, what does the album sound like?

BOM BOM RATATATATAT WHALLOP BOWM! ROOAARR BOM BOM (ting) BOWM!

Gorguts is not only death metal but they approach extreme like few can. Dissonance, double bass blast beats, booming guitars, ferocious roaring vocals, and occasional bass note crashes that sound like BOWM! If my parents, who were fans of 50's jazz, had a hard time making sense of my musical preferences in the mid-eighties, I can almost sympathize with them listening to this album. My first listen through, however, was a blissful ride because it was exactly the kind of music I was up for (having spent the previous week listening to Sarah McLachlan and Supertramp!). The Wikipedia article tuned me into the fact that there was more to this album than just explosive sounds of a heavy metal band in rapid combustion. I listened again with an ear for the complexities of the music and discerned that a score did indeed exist, one that was often difficult to follow for long and subject to violent and brutish upheaval. By the third listen I was struck by two notions: first that there was sometimes little disparity between some songs during the explosive and thunderous BOM BOM BOWM!! moments. The other was that I began to realize that this was not too far away from a Voivod album that I quite like, "Phobos", which I likened to the sonic equivalent of being wacked by a giant tennis racket! As the album wrapped up for the third time in my ear buds (with some songs having been played a fourth time) the similarities between "Dimension Hatröss" and "Phobos" and this album here made the music suddenly become even more accessible to me, or if not exactly accessible at least not so alien. And speaking of alien, perhaps some of Strapping Young Lad's "Alien" had also prepared me for this.

Armed now with a new understanding toward the album, I think I can more easily digest what I'm hearing. Surprisingly, the production is remarkably clear. One might expect the dynamic range to be shattered or a lo-fi production but it strikes me as being very clean and clear. Yes, we are still talking about kilotons of pounding and building-toppling shock waves of guitar distortion and dissonance, but still very well captured in the mix. When the music drops down for a bit of acoustic guitar, the string ensemble, or a chorus of low and ominous "aahhh"s like a note meant to conjure up an ungodly presence, it's all very clear. What a remarkable feat to have recorded an album that often comes across as the musical equivalent to the moon colliding with the earth while maintaining good sound quality.

If there is anything to say that is more critical it would be that in spite of the philosophical concepts presented in the lyrics, such as how did the Tibetans' devotion to peace help them in the end, and the history and culture and all that, the words are not so easy to distinguish from the roaring vocals and crushing sound of the music. It's also an album that won't be easy for a lot of metal fans to sink their teeth into. After listening to this album twice, I went ahead and listened to some classic Slayer and Megadeth and it was like going to pick daisies after having tried to pluck rare flowers from the sheer wind-blasted granite cliffs of some torturously rugged mountain. For more information about the album, please read the Wikipedia article!

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 Nature Unveiled by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.21 | 11 ratings

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Nature Unveiled
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This debut album from Current 93 takes the early experiments in ritual ambient suggested on the LAShTAL EP and extends them into two horrifying side-long pieces. Some subsequent reissues clutter the album up with bonus tracks from various auxiliary releases, but let's make no mistake - it's the two epic numbers which truly make this album the groundbreaking work of horror-ambient that it is.

Mingling influences ranging from Crowley's Thelemic occult system to The Exorcist to the Comte de Lautréamont's sinister meditation Les Chants de Maldoror to David Tibet's highly personal take on mystical Christianity, it's a nightmare journey through the back alleys of culture with a musical backing heavily influenced by the work of Nurse With Wound (whose principle contributors appear here) but lent a particular cohesiveness thanks to David Tibet's singular musical vision.

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 The Moon and the Melodies (with Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie & Simon Raymonde) by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Moon and the Melodies (with Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie & Simon Raymonde)
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Not presented or promoted as a Budd/Cocteau Twins collaboration, but don't let that fool you: The Moon and the Melodies is basically a Cocteau Twins EP and a Harold Budd ambient EP used at the hip. Where Elizabeth Frasher's vocals are present, it sounds like a fairly second-tier Cocteau Twins matter; where they are absent, it more resembles a series of ambient pieces with great production and with the Cocteau Twins backing Budd up. Not the best release by any of the participants concerned, but it's an interesting release which fans of the Cocteaus will probably want to take a listen to eventually.

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 The Serpent (In Quicksilver) by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Serpent (In Quicksilver)
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars This brief EP followed hot on the heels of Budd's seminal collaboration with Brian Eno, the Plateaux of Mirror, and continues in a similar ambient style focused on Budd's minimalist piano playing. Mostly ambient in nature, the main distinction between it and the album it followed is the more or less total lack of any sound treatments or other production tricks, leaving Budd's playing naked and exposed to the listener without any chicanery. The end result is perfectly pleasant to listen to, with the occasional unexpected turn. (Very rarely I hear a slight jazzy air creeping into Budd's playing, reminiscent perhaps of Hatfield and the North's Dave Stewart on a massive dose of sedatives.)

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 Conqueror by JESU album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.37 | 18 ratings

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Conqueror
Jesu Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars Something happened on the second release by JESU. While the debut seemed to seamlessly weave many different styles of rock together making drone metal seduce post-rock, shoegaze bow down to sludge metal and making misanthropic walls of sound conjure up true apocalypse, the second release CONQUERER just seems totally off from the get go. This album basically proves that throwing a bunch of different styles and genres into blenders don't necessarily result in a tasty nutritious smoothie. When such efforts work well it is hardly perceptible by the listener that much effort went into the creation of the final product but CONQUERER proves to me that despite all the ingredients pretty much being the same there are a couple factors that make this a much less enjoyable experience than the debut.

First of all Justin Broadrick who is the main dude of this gig suddenly decided to incorporate more vocal melodies to the music but at the same time decided to keep the music dark, gloomy and depressive but yet sounds like he's trying to audition for a more cheerful indie pop band such as Animal Collective or My Morning Jacket. While this doesn't sound like a bad idea on paper, the truth is that at least in the final results of this particular album doesn't quite work for me. It ends up sounding like one of those black metal albums going clean vocal style but decide to keep the timbres of the instruments the same. The depressive instruments are now trying to be cheerful and the chord progressions and distortions totally derail as the whiney vocals try to paint some indie rock rant of millennial depressiveness.

Yeah, the idea is worthy of trying but with the diminishing of drone effects and the chipper attempts to brighten up the lyrical content sounding like Radiohead attempting to play with Boris just doesn't quite pull it off. As much as i've tried to get into this album, it just leaves me cold not because it's trying to leave me cold which if successful would leave me at least lukewarm but because it utterly fails in the balancing act of making these disparate worlds fuse together properly. Although i prefer a band to take risks and experiment with sounds, i have to say that this risk didn't pay off and makes me want to instantly revert back to the debut album rather than pursue any future releases. Not a good strategic career building move if you ask me.

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 Shades of Deep Purple by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.28 | 459 ratings

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Shades of Deep Purple
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars What strange beginnings for one of the three unholy trinity bands that together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath would introduce the world to a new universe of music in the forms of hard rock and heavy metal. Despite their contributions they started out much like The Monkees in formation, meaning that members were recruited by Chris Curtis who had visions of creating a supergroup called Roundabout which was to have a rotating cast of musical members. He approached the business tycoon Tony Edwards for funding and the first members he managed to woo into the project were none other than keyboardist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Also fulfilling what is now referred to as the Mark I era of DEEP PURPLE, were Nick Simper on bass, Ian Paice on drums and original vocalist Rod Evans who was definitely no Ian Gillan but did suit the 60s psychedelic leanings of the sound the band were engaging in at this stage.

This album starts off with the groovy instrumental "And This Address" which gives me flashes of partying with Austin Powers in somewhere 60s London which also has slight references to the following track and single "Hush." This single is one of those songs i never dug too much but i have to admit it's played very well and the instrumental exchanges are fairly complex for psychedelic music of this era. It's not really as bad as i've always made it out to be. I have to admit that i've had a change of heart on this debut album. I used to despise early DEEP PURPLE but as i've grown more fond of 60s heavy psych and the sound that surrounds it, i have gained an appreciation for album number one of one of hard rock's most famous offerings. While there are still many things i dislike about this one in comparison to later releases, there is still a lot to like here. This is 60s psychedelic rock through and through and on this one Jon Lord is the star with his classically infused keyboard runs and i can only admit that this music is played extraordinarily well and quite sophisticated for this era in rock history. The musicians gel together beautifully. Nick Simper's bass playing is surely a major factor as he displays a passionate energy that seemingly holds the whole thing together. Surprisingly Blackmore's guitar contributions are quite subdued.

The reasons this album fails to blow me away are manyfold. Firstly, i'm not a huge fan of Rod Evans vocals. Although he gets the job done in tune and all he still fails to be a charismatic lead vocalist and is no Jim Morrison or, you guessed it - Ian Gillan. Secondly, i'm not a huge fan of cover songs unless the band can take the bull by the horns and lead it to strawberry fields forever. While i admire their attempt on this one to conquer huge hits by The Beatles ("Help") and Jimi Hendrix ("Hey Joe") and i quite love the instrumental embellishments, i simply feel these tracks derail the momentum of the album as a whole. Thirdly, while the musical equation of the album is fairly well done, the lyrical contributions have some serious lameness at times. Perfect example is the instrumentally competent "Prelude: " which delivers "Happiness" in the beginning but once it gets to "I'm So Glad" and repeats that phrase ad infinitum, it makes me want to gag myself with a pitchfork and orally excrete my stomacal contents. In the end this is too much of a mixed bag and the bad makes me enjoy the good less than others seem to. For all the positive elements on this debut release, i'd rather just fast forward to the Mark II phase and be issue free.

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 The Village to the Vale by AUTUMN CHORUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 98 ratings

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The Village to the Vale
Autumn Chorus Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Old English horizons

I like the coincidence that at the time I stumbled across this little treasure recorded in the Sussex countryside, I happened to be watching a story about a ninth century Wessex king trying to fend off the invading Northmen. Perfect music for such images. Autumn Chorus, residing in Brighton, have been around for many years but this 2012 disc is their sole release to date.

The soft and pastoral sound of Autumn Chorus is perfect backdrop to any exploration of old south England, as triumphant as tattered flags with dragons, as worn as hardened dirt paths connecting one small village to another. I would call the sound post-rock mixed with folk-progressive and light symphonic influences. A woodsy vibe mixed with ambient rock, Yorke like vocals and wide cinematic post rock scope. The guitars shimmer throughout over very dense soundscape and lilting piano. Occasional strings, flute, and female vocals add wonderful atmospheres when the come in. At times the lovely acoustic guitar parts even reminded me of Ant Phillips. As some mentioned this album doesn't rock in the conventional sense, it mostly moves at a glacial pace and rewards the patient listener. They spent a lot of time trying to make sure everything was just perfect, like a director waiting for the right light for a shot. It really is an album you can get lost in. This is the work of great friends and it is a lovely recording though not a masterpiece in my book. Beautiful and well worth hearing though.

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 The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) by WATERS, ROGER album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.28 | 17 ratings

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

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This concert film is not only appealing because of the music of "The Wall" presented by Roger Waters and his band, but because of the story behind the stage. The story reveals the anti-war message and the movie offer to the viewer other surroundings than the actual stage. But don't worry, we have the complete show here. The fact that it was not only a concert made me appreciate more the music of "The Wall" which has never been my favorite Pink Floyd album. The visuals are spectacular in this super production with the big wall, the lights mainly in the red color and the projections on the screen. The musicians are almost out of the picture, except Roger. The surround "atmospheric" sound place you in the show. And on top of that, you can watch this in plenty of languages choices with the subtitles, while this is more important in the extras with the documentary. In the extras, you can see David Gilmour played "Comfortably Numb" on top of the wall. My favorite parts of the show are the atmospheric songs outside the typical rock songs of the "Another Brick in The Wall" suite. The story behind the concept of "The Wall" is beyond the simple anti-war message, but is also based on the concept of alienation that humans fear in their lives in general. The idea of Roger Waters to dedicated this show to the people who have died in the war is really touching considering the fact that his father and grandfather died in this situation so that his universal message of peace has a personal resonance on him. Recommended not only to music listeners, but also those who enjoy a good musical movie.

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 Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

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

— First review of this album —
2 stars Back in the mid-to-late 1970s, the Verve Mothers Of Invention albums were very hard to come by. Verve, for some reason, probably a difference of opinion with Frank, had stopped distributing all of the MOI album they controlled. Having been introduced to Mr. Zappa's music around 1975, I began scouring the record stores, both new and used album sellers, for all of his music. I was able to find new copies of "Freak Out" (one of the last in the area) and an import copy of "Lumpy Gravy". As for the rest, it took many years to locate them all.

In the meantime, Verve, in 1975, released a series of cheaply packaged albums, collections from their most popular artists, all with similar album covers, with the artist's picture in what looks like a slide frame (ask your grandparents if you don't know what that is), with the band name scribbled in marker. These were often referred to a the "Transparency" collections.

The album gave me a taste of the wonderful music on the albums I still didn't own, but a few items make this album only for collectors. On the plus side, strings of songs are kept in the proper order from "We're Only In It For The Money", preserving the flow of these classics. But on the down side, Verve used their horribly edited versions of the songs. For some reason they spliced out of "Let's Make The water Turn Black", the line: "I still remember Mama with her apron and her pad, feeding all the boys at Ed's Café" (unless these dense record company execs had no idea that waitresses carried note pads to keep track of their orders, there is nothing offensive about this). The live was just chopped out, ruining the meter of the song. And in "Absolutely Free", the exclamation "Flower power sucks!" was also amputated in a similarly clumsy fashion.

Since then, all of the music has been rereleased in the proper format, both on record (The Old Masters sets) and on CD. Therefore, I cannot recommend this one, except as a testament to how foolish executives can be.

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 Empty Full Circulation by JACK DUPON album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Empty Full Circulation
Jack Dupon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars I was presented to the French band Jack Dupon in 2013 when they were releasing the album Jésus L'aventurier. I was a bit skeptical about them because I'm definitely not a huge fan of Avant Prog. However, there was something on Jack Dupon that caught my attention. Since then I've been following them very closely.

Their new album, Empty Full Circulation, released on March 21st, is their 5th full length album and what a good surprise!

Initially the todays listener may be worried by the 'short' duration of the album (just shy of 34 minutes). But what people from the CD/Download era forget is that this duration was absolutely normal for the 70's era. This isn't really something to get worried though, Empty Full Circulation has so many details that the 34 minutes seems to be at least one hour long, not because it drags endlessly, on the contrary. The strenght of this record is that you can keep listening over and over and you're going to get new details every time.

Another topic to be mentioned is the actual content of the songs. Jack Dupon's native city is Clermont-Ferrand in the central region of France. Not far from there we can found the city of Randan, the band got inspiration in this city and its forests, castle and some amazing tales that come from this place. This time Jack Dupon is singing in English but they didn'y lose their exotic French flavour because of that.

Once again Jack Dupon delivers to the audience an album that is at the same time weird and solid. Empty Full Circulation has so many details and hooks that you will be able to enjoy this album for a long time yet. I guarantee!

Key tracks: 'Flower Way', 'Broken House' and the closing track 'The King Hedgehog' are the best tracks!

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 Godspeed by FISH ON FRIDAY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.96 | 31 ratings

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Godspeed
Fish On Friday Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Fish on Friday might have totally passed me by if it wasn't for the coincidence of me looking for new bands to purchase soon and a timely review someone posted somewhere (PA? Amazon?) of this album. The review sounded so good and a quick sample of the music told me that I would likely like it. And I did! Do!

The label "crossover" is one that steers me away because I imagine that it means it's a pop or rock band with occasional tendencies to be a little more musically intellectual. I tell myself that I want something more challenging, which makes no sense as many of my favourite albums are crossover, or rock albums with just some progressive tendencies like Rush, Saga or Deep Purple. I also like some pop prog like Alan Parsons Project, The Moody Blues, and Supertramp. So, surprise, surprise, this here is a crossover prog album that I quite like.

From the first listen, I was already of the opinion that this was like "Learning to Fly / Momentary Lapse of Reason / On the Turning Away" Pink Floyd or perhaps eighties Moody Blues. There are these beautiful vocal melodies and harmonies and mature, adult lyrics about life, love, and human relations and human experience. I'm guessing "Tick- Tock" is a song about someone with Alzheimer's disease because the chorus goes "You don't remember" and the lyrics are about someone who forgets everything. For me, much of what is so appealing about the album are the vocal melodies and harmonies.

The music features a lot of piano and acoustic guitar, but also synthesizer and electric guitar. The guitar can get a bit heavy on the rock side but never in a hard rock or metal way. It just adds some nuance of fullness and energy to the music in places. The most successful moments are when the music eases down and gives us simple percussion and bass along with piano and acoustic guitar or a simple lead electric. There are places where the music picks up tempo and volume and it still sounds great; however, I found that listening on my iPhone, these more energized moments don't sound as clear. It's as though the sound becomes a big warm fug, the drums muted a bit and the vocals surrounded by other instruments. The CD sounded much better on my car stereo.

Overall, the general sound of the album is mature contemporary pop rock but with change ups in the songs so that you can never be sure when a song is going to suddenly slow down and ease back or going to pick up in energy. "Sanctuary", for example, begins quietly and then builds with some synthesizer and female vocals, and then rocks out for a stretch before dropping back to a more eased back approach. It goes acoustic and laid back before returning to the charged pop rock sound with the electric guitar and female vocals. The title track also goes through some changes, demonstrating the band's ability to stretch beyond the borders of the standard adult contemporary pop song. In short, Fish on Friday seamlessly blend a simple pop rock approach with the daring spirit of prog. Crossover prog indeed!

The songs to have caught my attention and to have received the most replays are "Tick-Tock", a simple but beautiful song; "Don't Love Me to Death", which adds some different components to the song to go beyond average; and the pretty and sweet ode to a dear friend and family member, "My Dog". It's a short but cute track. The rest of the album includes moments of interest in every song, including beautiful instrumental parts, more catchy melodies and soul-soothing harmonies, and even some flute and sax solos. Not every song captivates me from start to finish but each song has something I like, some more than others.

If you like eighties, post-Waters Floyd or eighties Moody Blues but recorded with a modern sound and approach, then I suggest checking out the album. I played it for my family in the car the other day and my kids and wife were asking about who we were listening to. Of my big batch of new purchases, this stands out as one of the preferred listening experiences so far. Maybe not essential, but certainly a very good album worth having.

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 Ash Ra Tempel by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 322 ratings

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Ash Ra Tempel
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by ALotOfBottle

5 stars Manuel Göttsching was born in 1952 in West Berlin, being one of the first post-war generations in Germany. In 1960, he began to learn to play classical guitar. In the mid-60's, he became interested in rock music through artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, and Eric Clapton. As a 15-year old schoolboy, Göttsching teamed up with Hartmut Enke, his friend and classmate, to create his first school band. 1968 was a revolutionary year in his musical development, when he met the Swiss avant-garde composer Thomas Kessler, who specialized in electronic music. In 1970, together with Enke, Wolfgang Müllerm and Volker Zibell, Göttsching founded an outfit Steeple Chase Blues Band. The same year, him, Enke, and Klaus Schulze formed Ash Ra Tempel, which many years later would prove to be one of the most influential and important bands in the history of what would later be known as krautrock or kosmische music. In March of 1971, Ash Ra Tempel recorded their eponymous debut, at Hamburg's Star Studios. The album was released three months later under the Ohr label. Manuel Göttsching recalls "The first Ash Ra Tempel was, for me, not really record production, I wanted to have it as much as possible as a kind of document. (...) We were a live band and our real strength and the power that we had and that we could show was our live performances, so I just wanted to bring this as much as possible on this record."

A calm ambient chord swell accompanied by gentle cymbal touches innocently opens "Amboss", as if mighty, grey clouds were arriving just before a tremendous thunderstorm. The atmosphere slowly builds up with guitar parts becoming more and more pronounced and self-assured. In addition, lengthy reverb and feedback tails start following the instrument's parts. The storm clouds are gradually getting closer with drums getting heavier, louder, and more dense. At one point, the instrument finally settles on an even, rapid rhythm that appears as if waiting for guitar and bass to join. The rain starts falling. Everything becomes enormous, powerful, and loud. Finally, the guitar breaks through with its solo part. In the beginning, Manuel Göttsching's playing strongly resembles that of Jimi Hendrix, not only with the tone of the instrument, but also with its use of certain riffs on the pentatonic scale. Suddenly, the popular, rocky-sounding pentatonic is substituted by more "stylish" modes, which might bring middle eastern or Egyptian (as suggested by the cover art) influences to mind. Soon after reaching its spacey climax, the guitar retreats towards drawing softer ambient textures, until the loud jam returns once again. This time it's even heavier, reaching a point when it could even be called cacophonous. The piece ends suddenly and decisively.

Contrary to "Amboss", "Traummaschine", which translates into "Dream Machine" from German, is a pastel, sedative ambient track throughout. Beginning with a dreamy, slowly progressing sonic wave, which includes high amounts of reverb and guitar feedback, it really takes its time to build up, in fact much more slowly than its predecessor. Around nine minutes into the piece, one will start noticing more guitar layers "clustering" and gradually strengthening the overall effect of Dream Machine's movement. Finally, the musical scenery is supported with Eastern-sounding hand drums. Although more powerful, the track still does not lose its dark, three-dimensional, catacomb-like atmosphere. At one point, one of the guitars participating in building the Dream Machine becomes brave enough to sing a washy, highly overdriven solo somewhere in the distant background. Suddenly, the pace slows down with the string instrument being abandoned. When the rhythm disappears completely and "Traummaschine" reclaims its ambient quality, similar to the one with which it started, the guitar once again starts its solo part, not for long, however. With the atmospherics it built, one might be tricked into thinking that a musical eruption is slowly creeping, while in reality, the Dream Machine fades into a silent territory from which it started.

With their eponymous debut album, Ash Ra Tempel is not only responsible for creating striking, spatial soundscapes, but also for what turned out to be a groundbreaking album for German rock music. Furthermore, it could be considered an important historical document, featuring Klaus Schulze on the drum stool, not long before he gave up the instrument and began, quite successfully, as we have come to know, composing and recording electronic music on his own. With its two contrasted epics, Ash Ra Tempel provides one of the most breathtaking and atmospheric musical journeys in the krautrock genre. An essential album!

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 Rainforest by RICH, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Rainforest
Robert Rich Progressive Electronic

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars Robert Rich started out his career as a drone-artist. He created so-called sleep-concerts.

This (his second) release is a mix of new age and ambient music, inspired by the rainforest. It's really calm and mesmerizing, and Robert Rich makes use of electronic (synths) and acoustic (flutes, percussion) instruments. On top of that, he uses a variety of field recordings.

The result is very dreamy, atmospheric and sometimes dark music, with melodic and rhythmic themes going hand in hand. Until now, I hadn't heard of him before, but the music is of such beauty and splendour that I must check out his other albums.

The song The Raining Room is dedicated to russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. In future releases Rober Rich will often dedicate songs to great artists like Dalí en Gaudí etc.

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 Open Worlds by ZANOV album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.21 | 10 ratings

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Open Worlds
Zanov Progressive Electronic

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars This one is much better and more adventurous than the previous one.

It still sounds really oldschool; almost like listening to a Jean Michel Jarre or Tangerine Dream album.

Again, the spacey sounds dominate the music, lots of ARP sequences and tasteful melodies. Zanov takes you on a futuristic trip and manages to be exciting and thrilling throughout the whole album. Although sometimes it's hard to really discover the solos and melodies, the atmosphere of the album is enough to keep you entertained.

There's not really a single song on this album that stands out form the rest. All the songs are of equal quality and splendour. To me personnaly though, the opener Electric Dust Fields and the close (Remote Impact) had the most impact (pun intended).

This is one of those albums that sounds the best with headphones and a calm environment.

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 Virtual Future by ZANOV album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.21 | 16 ratings

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Virtual Future
Zanov Progressive Electronic

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars This sounds really oldschool.

I've never heard of Zanov before, but I'm checking out the progressive/electronic genre more and more, these days.

Zanov uses analog synths, and the result is electronic space music, in the spirit of Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Eloy Fritsch, Eddie Jobson, etc. I don't know if people in 2016 are interested in this kind of music, made with these particular instruments. I can totally understand that people would consider it to sound dated or cheesy.

For me it works. I don't really care if a synthesizer-album is made in 1970, 1980 or 2014, as long as it sounds good, it's a nice addition to my collection. Maybe the album lacks rhythm; there are hardly drums. But the atmosphere is okay, but that's hardly a surprise, once you notice wich instruments are used. You really can't go wrong with VSC3 and ARP etc.

Not an outstanding and groundbreaking album, but good enough to keep me satisfied. The overall tone is relaxing and dreamy. I'd like to hear more from this artist.

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 LAShTAL by CURRENT 93 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.91 | 3 ratings

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LAShTAL
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This early Current 93 EP captures some of David Tibet's earliest work under the name, recorded in 1982 just as he was emerging from the shadow of Psychic TV. With John Balance of Coil helping out, Tibet crafts a strange tribal ambient atmosphere with snarling industrial electronics rarely far away. The overall is of a secret recording made of a strange ritual performed somewhere in an abandoned factory. It is a brief but intriguing statement of intent which puts Tibet's mystical interests at front and centre and derives ample musical inspiration from them. Thrifty collectors may wish to be aware that two of the three tracks where tacked onto some CD editions of Nature Unveiled as bonus tracks.

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 Live at the Fillmore East by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Live, 1999
4.08 | 22 ratings

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Live at the Fillmore East
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Jimi Hendrix just wanted to play. And through all the accomplishment, extraordinary success among both peers and fans, and a singular artistry that is sometimes mistaken for novelty, it is clear that what he was really interested in was a choice riff and a good time. Hendrix was one of the only guitarists of his era that progressed internally as an instrumentalist, not just via the gifts of a talented ensemble. And yet as a sensitive kid he endured the of pain of troubled parents, a society wherein you could be shot for playing music while black, and the unenviable choice between prison or military service. But he always had an ax. Even when his father refused to buy him one, Jimi rummaged a single-stringed uke until it fell apart, eventually bought a five-buck acoustic and when he couldn't be heard over bandmates, finally tucked-in to a Supro Ozark 1560 S.

But, as is often the case with brilliance, greatness was not evident right away. Jimi Hendrix had to uncover the now all too obvious: The electric guitar and amplifier were tools of sonic art that hadn't even been scratched at with any high amount of gravity, and he began to see and hear what others couldn't seem to. Brits will sometimes facetiously suggest Hendrix was theirs, that somehow because his popular rise was backed by Englishmen the Hendrix legacy belongs to London. Yeah, no; not when his finest moments were with the dazzling if misspelled A Band of Gypsys-- old cohorts Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Further, the notion that Jimi had been pressured to have an all-black group is specious. It ain't true. The chemistry with Cox & Miles was just better, it always had been, and that counts.

A stickler for being in tune and yet as loose-handed as anyone, a fearless adventurer who, unlike Jim Morrison, could stop leaping into the fire when it burned too hot, Jimi, we hardly knew ye. So I was thrilled to have cornered the long deceased grand legend late one night in a bustling backstage at a Los Angeles nightclub, his first interview with the Living since his death in September, 1970. People of all sorts traipsed back & forth through the narrow backstage anteroom just outside the small greenroom we sat in; frantic roadies, groupies consoling other groupies, nervous managers, the lightshow people panicking over a broken liquid-slide projector, deadbeat vendors getting kicked out, a lone photographer struggling for a good shot, all generating a familiar din that said rock 'n roll. As we began speaking, James Marshall Hendrix took on a warm expression and his eyes widened, bringing me in.

A - Is this all for you?; I mean do they know you're here tonight?

Jimi - I dunno, man, it's just some good energy. It's just happening, y'know --

A - I recently caught some video of you at the Fillmore East shows in '69/'70, video I didn't know existed, taken from the balcony. It was illuminating to see footage of you perform without the florid camerawork that prevailed in concert films then. I noticed how being a left-hander may've influenced your sound, do you know what I mean?

Jimi - Yeah yeah, totally, they say it shouldn't make a difference, left or right, but it does, yeah.

A - Your left hand, the picking hand, was reverse-positioned, almost contorted, much like left-handed people write and draw, and it seemed to allow you a fluidity perhaps inaccessible by other players.

Jimi - Y'know I always kinda noticed that but never put it into words. Right-on, man, now spark that doob in the ashtray.

A - On it. When you add your upside down guitars that were standard strung for a lefty, your hand size with that thumb coming over top to mute an unwanted low E & A, your reach, plus having started on a ukulele, it all must've impacted your style.

Jimi - Yeah it all must have, but, you know, it could've been other things too. We're all so tugged and tapped and moved in life, it all makes a difference. Angles, man, it's in the angles (takes a huge drag on the fattest joint I've ever seen, holds it in, and exhales in a loud tumble of hacking and coughing).

A - The Band of Gypsys project was more than just a heavy blues/funk-rock trio out to fulfill a contract, was it not?

Jimi - It turned into something much more special than the three of us had expected. Our interpersonal connection, the depth of understanding and musical brotherhood we had was unique. You can hear that in our shows. That was a great band.

A - Far tighter and more serious than the act appeared. It was only later when I began to listen carefully to all the shows from New Years Eve 1969, or Berkeley, etc., that I began to hear what you guys were doing and how tight it actually was.

Jimi - I know, some people thought we were sloppy I guess. But no, not for what we were doing. We were all in, baby, a blues revelation, you know? You couldn't stop us, we could play anyone under the table that year.

A - Let's talk about the New Years Eve 1969 material not included on the Band of Gypsys LP, released later as Jimi Hendrix Live at the Fillmore East. I'm sure it's a thrill to see live but If you'll forgive me I'm gonna skip past twelve minutes of 'Stone Free' and jump to 'Power of Soul', a nice sample of the killer riffage that was spewing out of you guys at the time.

Jimi - This should'a opened the record, or I should say we should've opened with this one, 'Power of Soul'. It's a good warmup for us and them, the audience.

A - That modulation up a step, I love that.

Jimi - Yeah see that's the thing; it's just a two fret change-up but because the context is hard blues, it works. It's unexpected. And then this kinda lazy 'Train 'a Comin'. Tone, it's all about tone, brother. Can't do nothin' without tone. It's everything. It feeds, provides, it pulls out. It pulls me out, you know what I'm sayin'?

A - I think so. You were meticulous about being and staying in tune, a near impossibility considering the intense palpitations you put your guitars through. If you'll forgive me, how were you able to do that?

Jimi - 'Cause I had to. And a lot of time performing with electric guitars. You do what you have to; I was reaching here, there, I was tweakin' the bar any way I could, warping the neck, palpating. See-- 'Isabella' better, it sounds better, so we played it better, so it is better.

A - And a beautiful, more concisely powerful version of your classic 'Machine Gun' than appears on Band of Gypsys. Were you happy with this performance?

Jimi - This is the first time I've heard it, this set from those shows.

A - Really? I'm amazed. How does the tone strike you?

Jimi - I like it, it's quieter than the Gypsys album version, more room to work. It's a great tune to reshape, rework, like a living sculpture that's never completely finished.

A - Those divebombs are kick-ass - -

Jimi - (smiling widely) You're a real fanboy aren't you?

A - (blushing) Yeah, sorry. The anti-war message is clear, not so much anti-Vietnam War as almost an embracing of war--

Jimi - Well yeah, I didn't want to run away from it, the combat, the violence, I wanted to show it. To give an abstract impression of war, you know; the sounds, ugliness, it was a heavy time. You had to face it and that's how we did it.

A - And 'Voodoo Chile' -- you correct yourself there at the start, wrong key?

Jimi - (laughs uproariously) I forgot about that, hilarious. I don't know what I was thinking.

A - But you actually do remember that flub?

Jimi - Oh yeah, I wasn't so high that I couldn't hear a mistake. By now the acid was kicking in, though, so you know it was all in fun.

A - So you were tripping that night?

Jimi - F*ck yeah.

A - Syd Barrett told me playing while on LSD is almost impossible. Did you find that as well?

Jimi - That's why I put it under my headband, slow easy release, but yeah he's right. It's a bitch if it hits you all at once.

A - 'Who Knows' from the second set, December 31, 1969, different from the familiar version.

Jimi - Less energy, but it's alright I guess. Not my favorite version.

A - A stylish 'Them Changes', a Buddy Miles tune, a good bopper.

Jimi - Yeah it's a fun track. Why not, y'know?

A - And a massive, nearly 14-minute 'Machine Gun'. Awesome, man, I mean your studio records get all the praise but c'mon, this is magical, dark and wonderful, otherworldly stuff.

Jimi - That's what it was supposed to be, to evoke. Yeah, right on, I hear you. It's a heavy trip with this song. Not even a song.

[ * with this he took another several deep tokes on the now smoldering joint and slowly exhaled through his wide-set nostrils]

A - I swear I hear you say "Obama" several times in this; A premonition?

Jimi - (after several moments of uncontrollable laughter) Maybe, man, maybe, I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of magic that night, that band. Then 'Stop', that's a Jerry Ragovoy tune, good little track. Fun to play, and kind of a nice break after a long set.

A - Which it was: what, four sets over two nights? Pretty intense.

Jimi - Yeah, but we loved it. And we wanted to give the people their money's worth. "Earth Blues" good too. Some nice stuff here. Good to hear after all this time. "Burning Desire" kinda shows how improvisational we could be, but we'd gotten so tight, tight-but-lose, it was hard to tell sometimes what was spontaneous and what we'd planned. But that's cool.

It certainly is.

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 Redshift by RHYTON album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Redshift
Rhyton Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars The artwork, wich resembles seventies Roger Dean drew my towards this album.

When I read that the band creates psychedelic spacerock I was sold. The moment I started listening, it was like a timemachine. Suddenly 2016 didn't exist anymore, and I felt like I was listening to a record from 1968-1973. Early Camel, The Doors, King Crimson, Cressida is what comes to mind, when listening to the first track.

But the second track is country-influenced, with a hippie-feel of course. The guitar sounds like John Lees from Barclay James Harvest, but the song itself resembles more Marshall Tucker Band or Charlie Daniels Band.

Overall the album is a psychedelic experience like you've probably heard before, but sounds really welcome, in these days of thunderous heavy progmusic. The pace is slow, mellow and the sound is crispy clean. It sounds like a live concert and sometimes you get the feeling the band could play for hours and hours. But the songs are just long enough to keep you satisfied.

The band doesn't use a lot of keyboard, so most of the psychedelica and experimentation is made my string-experiments, wich gives the whole a more raw approach, like the early seventies-band did a lot.

Because the band doesn't use organ/mellotron it differs a lot from early Eloy, Pink Floyd, Jane, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep. But the approach is the same. Maybe the band is closest to a band like Cream, Humble Pie or Spooky Tooth.

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