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Last 50 reviews
 The Power To Believe by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.97 | 1215 ratings

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The Power To Believe
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

4 stars A very powerful and experimental material prefect to close King Crimson's fourth era

"The power to believe" was the first King Crimson album that I bought and had on my CD collection, not the first one that I heard but the first that I got. Here in Mexico, this album is the easiest to find in the King Crimson's catalogue, is the only one that you can easily find in a national (non-imported) edition and with a very low price that oscillates from 80 to 120 Mexican pesos (between 3 and 5 dollars this days, 7 to 10 dollars back in 2011 when I bought the album).

The metal/very hard rock from "Thrak" and "The construKction of light" still remains in this one but here we can find some songs with more electronic/spacey sounds that give a very interesting and eclectic atmosphere. The mind-blowing drums by Mastelotto and Fripp and Belew's guitar lines are in the same channel of the previous albums but creating solid and very original new arrangements.

This album is very far to be considered one of King Crimson's best albums, but it doesn't have anything to make it a bad album either.

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 Chicago [Aka: Chicago  II] by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.19 | 207 ratings

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Chicago [Aka: Chicago II]
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Perhaps the progressive jazz-rock peak of the band. Releasing the second double-album out of series of three allowed them to expand the sound, extend epic compositions and bring diversity.

The album starts with a jazzy rocker with amazing saxophone solo, then trumpet and trombone. Together with the voices of Kath and Cetera, they describe the classic sound of Chicago.

"Poem for the people" is the first real gem with jazz-guitar licks, brass hooks while "In the country" is a nice rocker with well developed singing and guitar playing.

Then we have the first suite, by Pankow, starting a bit adventurous before more conventional vocal comes in and there's a plesant guitar solo closer to jazz than rock. The following short pieces are mainly instrumental and remind a bit of big band structure. The standout is "West Virginia Fantasies" with excellent brass arrangements and guitar strumming. "Color my world" is almost a soul number, very down to earth and mellow. "Now more than ever" is a good finale of the suite.

"Fancy colors" has the jazz-soul feeling, nice organ and rocking guitar solo. The hit "25 or 6 to 4" is a rocking number, quite good but non-essential to me.

"Memories of love" is a classically inspired mainly instrumental suite, quite ambitious for the age of the band and its members. Jazz is put aside here.

Right next we have another suite - this is the most conventional - typical jazz-rock exercise. "2nd movement" is a standout with flute and brass workouts.

"Where do we go from here" leaves the listener on a formidable and accessible note.

Essential masterwork of jazz-rock.

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 The ConstruKction of Light by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.15 | 809 ratings

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The ConstruKction of Light
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

4 stars Beautiful and underrated album

Continuing with the formula of "Thrak" but without the double trio line-up, the Belew-Fripp-Mastelotto-Gunn's King Crimson published "The construKction of light" in 2000; a nice way to say goodbye to the 20th century and to welcome the 21st. This album was fresh and aggressive with lots of insane guitar riffs and very interesting electronic drum patterns.

The instrumental songs of the album show a more stylized King Crimson (not too much of improvisation, but rather songs extremely rehearsed), there are no soft ballads in this one, all the piece is hard rocky/bluesy metal from the beginning to the end. Maybe the softest part of the album is right in the middle of "FracKtured", but as a whole the album has a very powerful sound more oriented to progressive and industrial metal.

Maybe this album is not as great as "Larks' tongues in aspic" or "Red", but it is frankly more moved and interesting than "Starless and bible black" or "Three of a perfect pair".

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 The Chicago Transit Authority by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.07 | 222 ratings

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The Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Apart from the questionable "Free Form Guitar" and "Prologue, August 29, 1968" and an average cover "I'm a man", this is a first-rate jazz-rock album that together with "Blood, Sweat and Tears", created the prototype for this kind of music.

The band has not problem to rock hard and convincingly, extend to jazz territory with capable and memorable brass section but remains accessible also thanks to the great down to earth rhythm section and use of keyboard. You can even hear traces of fusion or progressive rock. Improvisation is in line with 1969's spirit of freedom.

All instrumental players are very competent as we will also hear on the next albums. What is striking is the compositonal maturity of the songs - no uncertainly or foolish mistakes. Also, since it is their debut album, it's the only album with no apparent desire to create commercially friendly material as would happen in the future. The highlight of jazz-rock, pushing boundaries of pop/rock/jazz.

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 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 18 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by felonafan

4 stars "StarStuff" is the fourth studio album by OVRFWRD, a Minneapolis-based instrumental quartet that has existed for eight years with the same lineup: Chris Malmgren (keyboards), Mark Ilaug (guitar), Kyle Lund (bass) and Richard Davenport (drums). If the previous (2018) album lasted about 54 minutes, then the new one does not even reach 40 minutes. This is probably a good thing, because if "StarStuff" were longer, then perhaps its disadvantages would be even more noticeable. Such disadvantages include the lack of bright, "catchy" moments and in some places the background nature of the music. The best of seven tracks is the second, "Let It Burn (King George)", featuring beautiful parts from guest flutist Paula Gudmundson. Thanks to her, the middle of the opus stands out especially. The first and third tracks are little inferior to this work - the driving, energetic and nervous "Firelight" with memorable aggressive organ parts a la Jon Lord and the title track with its psychedelic, meditative and sad "notes". Moreover, I can focus on a very good fifth composition "Daybreak": it is a beautiful, jazzed, purely piano "contemplative" piece. Much of the rest of the material - especially, perhaps, the last track "From Parts Unknown" - loses in terms of having something that would capture the spirit and imagination of listeners. This music clearly lacks either vocals, or good parts on strings and/or winds (it's a pity that Gudmundson played so little on the album), or just some godsends in the field of melodies, chord sequences, thematic development, or stylistic diversity. The already mentioned 2018 album was richer in sound and genre diversity: the musicians either played hard and aggressively, then went to the "East" or ambient. Therefore, despite the much longer duration, the 2018 release was not perceived as too much long. The musicians of OVRFWRD are strong professionals. They are not only proficient instrumentalists, but also "play conjunctly", "in a cohesive way". The band has great potential and is able to record a "StarAlbum". The conclusion: "StarStuff" as a whole can be seen as an attainment of an ensemble that is able to achieve more. 3.5 rounded up.

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 Anamnesis - Letter in a Bottle by SOUNDDIARY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 12 ratings

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Anamnesis - Letter in a Bottle
SoundDiary Crossover Prog

Review by bartymj

3 stars Mental strife as a musical concept is pretty much as old as the concept of concept albums. If you can follow that.

For this particular offering, see inspiration from Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and Dream Theater's "Metropolis: Scenes from a Memory Pt2". Two of the big daddies of the theme.

Austrian band SoundDiary here take us through a Five Act journey, each with six tracks, a lengthy list of 30 but probably best to regard this as five roughly 15 minute suites.

The concept is loosely a metaphorical journey from birth to death, intertwined with memories of a past life (Dream Theater anyone?). I often get lost in the complexity and symbolism of concept albums, but the 'glass prison' of track 1 is a recurring theme, and perhaps due to some of the band members singing in a second language, the lyrics are relatively simple so its definitely accessible.

I'm not going to do a detailed breakdown of the plot, its worth listening to without knowing that, but it is pretty much the staple scene-setter, bombshell, truth reveal, hubris, conclusion-but-at-what-cost of many concepts. The musical composition itself is very well put together, guest vocalists complement it very well harmony-wise, but the lyrics themselves are a little bit clunky. Its certainly worth an hour or so to sit down and concentrate on but a fairly middling album for me.

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 Auto Reconnaissance by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.73 | 98 ratings

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Auto Reconnaissance
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars The Tangent is one of those bands where you never know what they will bring to the table. Since The Music That Died Alone from 2003, which is to this day my favorite album from the band, they roamed trough various sub genres of prog and delivered cool music to the listener. Auto Reconnaissance is their 11'th studio release and it delivers exactly what you expect from the band, a very different path from their previous albums The Slow Rust and Proxy. The album throughout gives that jazzy feel with cool guitar work and all in all not a bad release. Jinxed in Jersey is a fun song with satiric lyrics, but it's too long for this kind of song. The highlight of the album for me is Lie Back & Think of England , which delivers all the power of the band, truly great eclectic prog with The tangent flavor.

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 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 151 ratings

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The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by frareinif

2 stars Long time since my last purchase of a RW album... his 70s albums were among those forming my musical taste as a teen in spades. He was the first among the members of the then prog supergroups I noticed as a solo musician when listening to the "Six Wifes". But "Criminal record" was his last release getting hold of me and which I still listen to.

Since "The Red Planet" got so many excited reviews, I purchased it unchecked... I should have done it. Sorry, Rick, for being so straightforward. But comparing TRP to what means to me "Rick Wakeman" based on your early albums I have to say they are worlds apart.

While listening through the whole album, there was no moment I felt those reviews are right. Most of the time it is simply boring: always straightforward 4/4, simple harmonies and chord changes. I did not find any melodic line catching me immediately, to be honest not even after having heard it the second time. No compositional depth, no enthralling transitions. The whole thing feels like a patchwork of uninspired pieces lacking completely what made RW that outstanding musician at the dawn of his career. I remember an interview with him where he said regarding TRP something like "the best album of my career". I can't believe he meant it. If he did, my simple reply is "No, it is not".

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 Space for the Earth by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.76 | 44 ratings

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Space for the Earth
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars Ozric tentacles is a band that made the biggest impact on modern space rock. Since their Pungent Effulgent from 1989 to my favorite album Arborescence released in 1994, they established them selves as a band that delivers a new and fresh sound to this prog rock sub-genre and influenced and keep influencing the bands that carry on similar style. But the repetition that they did on album after album had made me lose a little bit of interest in the band. Same is with their new album Space for the Earth, don't get me wrong, it's a good record with songwriting that made them who they are, intro, repeating synth lines and then the rhythm section with cool guitar solos and oriental feel from time to time, make this just another Ozric tentacles album.

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 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 18 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Ovrfwrd is back after their fantastic Blurring The Lines... A Democracy Manifest from 2018. Their new album StarStuff brings another fantastic instrumental heavy prog ride. Firelight is the first song on the album and it welcomes us with roaring Hammond the best way to start this heavy prog heaven. Let It Burn [King George] is a great song and it reminds me of Uriah Heep's Deamons and Wizards period which of course is not a bad thing. The entire album brings a fine Hammond driven prog rock with great guitar riffs and solos. It also delivers some slower tunes with great usage of Mellotron and piano which gives that dreamy feeling. All in all is a great heavy prog album and it will not leave you disappointed.

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 Whoosh! by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 59 ratings

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Whoosh!
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

2 stars Deep purple is a band that does not need an introduction. From the beginning they made a significant impact to rock music in general. Albums like In rock, Fireball, Machine head and MK III's Burn will be forever known as classic milestones of rock. Deep purple had lot's of line up changes and from the beginning of their career until 2020 they released 21 studio albums. For me personally the magic stopped after their Stormbringer album. There are solid efforts from the band from 1974 but they never captured the magic from the period and albums mentioned in the beginning. Whoosh! Is a third studio effort produced by Bob Ezrin and it's the weakest of the bunch. I must say that I never had a problem when a band changes their sound for the better, but it the case of Deep purple not many good things happened. The songs on this album are weak and none of the 13 songs bring anything memorable. This is an album that I will not return to any time soon.

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 Alone Together by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.89 | 81 ratings

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Alone Together
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Gunfly is a project from former Beardfish vocalist and keyboard player Rikard Sjöblom and he released five studio albums so far. With On Her Journey To The Sun from 2017 and Friendship from 2018 he really delivered great prog rock. Alone Together is the latest release from Gunfly and it's a great album. Traveler is a first song and it represents the continuance of great over 10 minute prog epics written by Rikard Sjöblom. This song delivers a great modern sounding progressive rock which is mostly dominated by great Hammond and keyboard, great melodic bass and guitars, end of the song brings us a really great instrumental session with elements of blues and classic sound of heavy prog. Happy Somewhere in Between is a really happy sounding song with a fantastic opening riff and if this was a normal world it would be a radio hit all over. Alone Together starts with a fantastic melodic guitar solo and it takes us to a really great prog rocker if you missed Beardfish you will feel the presence of their trademark sound but with a little twist. On the Shoulders of Giants is a grand almost 15 minute song and it sums up the album fantastically with all of the elements that make Rikard Sjöblom's song writing awesome. If you love Beardfish, classic sounding but filled with modern takes prog with great hard rock organ and guitar you are in the right place.

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 2023 by MANCO, BARIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.97 | 14 ratings

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2023
Baris Manco Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Baris Manco from Turkey was apparently one of the pioneers of Anatolian rock and apparently a household name. 2023 shows him exploring the world of space rock. Turkish folk influences show up with the occasional use of saz and kanun but mainly rock instruments including a Korg synth and Solina String Ensemble. The singing is in his native Turkish which I can't say what he's singing about although I'm pretty sure it's a concept album, perhaps about the future given the title 2032. I get reminded a bit of Pink Floyd, had they been Turkish. Lots of spacy synths and occasional flute and as mentioned instruments common to the area. The albums does feature a couple of ballads. While the Turkish folk influence is a bit obvious when it surfaces I was surprised to find a bit of Latin American influence in one of the songs but you won't mistake for Santana but retaining that proggy spaciness. The production of the album and the sound quality isn't particularly good the music is wonderful. The Turkish vocals work very well. Well worth getting!

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 Demo (2003) by WOBBLER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.85 | 4 ratings

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Demo (2003)
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Wobblers 2003 EP demo finally sees the light on the day. These versions of two epics were not available for 15 years I think. If epics like Imperial Winter White Dwarf and Leprechaun Behind the Door are the first thing you release then there is not a question that you will be one of the best prog bands ever. Songs originally recorded in 1999 are filled with amazing musical work, really heavy peaces with various styles of music. Strong Hammond followed by rest of the band really exploring the depths of compositions and their ability, makes this 30 minute ride monumental and delivers strong quality and symphonic prog at it's best.

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 Love Beach by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.08 | 683 ratings

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Love Beach
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

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

2 stars One of the more hilarious examples of a once mighty early 70s prog band dismally falling from grace, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER was quite ready to call it a day instead of convert to the changing musical tides or be crucified but unfortunately the band's record label Atlantic had other plans for them to fulfill the last album of their contract. Was this album a big middle finger to the industry or just a bad joke? Well, most opinions cite this as one of absolute worst examples of an album gone wrong from one of the greats of 70s progressive rock and a huge departure from eh band's intricately designed classical and jazz scores in their 2 volume "Works" albums.

Whatever the case ELP had finally run out of steam and wanted to rest on their laurels but after the Works tour were forced to head to the studio and start what would become their last album of their earliest incarnations. LOVE BEACH was named as such due to the fact that the band were tax exiles and had retreated to the Bahamas where they are seen sporting their classic Bee Gees look on the album cover. This album has attracted a few staunch supporters who would love their favorite band even if they recorded breakfast cereal commercials but the hardcore proggers were having none of this pop rock, AOR and yacht rock soup mixed with a few proggy remnants of the past. In reality and hindsight from someone who wasn't around back then to complain, this album isn't as horrible as the album cover suggests.

LOVE BEACH was divided into two sides, the first consisting of short catchy pop flavored tracks that in many ways sound like a rough draft of what would emerge in the 80s as Asia especially given the Greg Lake connection. The second side featured a return to the prog side of things with the side-long track "Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman" which consisted of four distinct parts and sailed past the 20 minute mark. Despite this attempt to please the fans, this album was seen as a bloody outrage and still receives probably more hate than any other prog gone wrong album in the history of the entire genre. However if one simmers down and actually evaluates the album on its own terms, it's not that bad! Not great either but certainly better than many other albums that were popular even by prog bands.

The first five tracks are all vocal oriented and feature prog pop constructs with the silliest being the title track which unfortunately taints the flow of things if you consider this an album experience but if you can simply fast forward and delete the impressions of the stinkers then this album is definitely worthy for the feisty classically infused "Canario" which is an excerpt from Joaquín Rodrigo's concerto "Fantasía para un Gentilhombre" which finds Keith Emerson in a triumphant return to keyboard wizardry with the other band members cranking out the instrumental prowess ELP fans were accustomed to completely sans vocals.

The 20-minute closer "Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman" delivers the prog goods as a concept piece that recounts the story of a romance between a soldier and his wife to be during World War II although the band had lost control of content at this point and the lyrics were crafted by the additional outside help of Peter Sinfield who not only was one of the key lyricists of King Crimson's lauded debut "In The Court Of The Crimson King" but was even more successful in the world of pop music having worked with Cher, Cliff Richard, Leo Sayer and many others. While this final opus hits all the prog notes especially with beautiful piano riffs with an attempted return to prog, this overweening pompousness turns out to be the weakest side of the album! It sounds like a drunken Elton John trying to venture into classical music in a smokey bar struggling to hit the right notes but saved somewhat by the cool fourth movement.

Oh well. Every great band has an expiration date and although ELP was well aware of that they gave it their best shot to fulfill their obligatory contract and in the process manufactured one of prog's greatest buffoonery sessions. Yeah, this was an admitted embarrassment as expressed by all the band members but personally i don't think it's a complete waste of time either. While the 20-minute B-side is somewhat of a disappointment as is the ridiculous title track, the rest of the tracks are not that bad and as already mentioned crafted the perfect practice sessions for the progressive pop 80s bands that followed and perfected some of the simplified prog that is on display here. As it stands this will probably remain one of the most hated albums in music history and i have avoided this for years but alas i have finally tuned in to see what all the scorn was about and all i have to say - wow!

2.5 rounded down

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 Wickman by WYXZ album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Wickman
WYXZ RIO/Avant-Prog

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

4 stars After the debut album the bizarre rule-breaking WYXZ could only be expected to continue the pattern of jittery avant-prog angularities fortified with extreme math rock, experimental weirdness, noise fueled abstractness and an utter inability to stay focused on any one style of avant-garde alienation for too long and such is the case with this other one of three albums that emerged in the year 2017 titled WICKMAN!

Yes, this is the style of what is now called brutal prog and this is complexity and avant-garde weirdness for its own sake so don't even come close to this one if you can't stand the most deranged aspects of progressive rock, noise collages and math rock all turned up to 11, well beyond actually! This is a maelstrom of sound that would be almost unrecognizable to those who can only tolerate cute cuddly melodies while they sip a piņa colada on the beach. This is the avant-garde angularity that either dreams or nightmares are made of! Yes, you know of what i speak, hehe.

Sort of considered an EP or a short album or whatever since nobody cares about these distinctions any more, WICKMAN basically continues the bizarre weirdness of the debut and doesn't change one bit. This is still all instrumental with math rock guitar antics taking the lead but laced with avant-prog's oppositional qualities unleashed in hurricane category 5 intensity! That's exactly why i love WYXZ! This artist is utterly uncompromising and for those of us who absolutely crave the weirdest of the weird, well this is for us.

Granted if you ONLY listened to this type of music, you'd probably lose your sanity but as a journey into the freaking nut farm, this music just avant-rocks my friggin world with one uncompromising unconventional time signature attack after another and despite the brutality of it all, there are still tangible patterns to keep your attention although based on the most intense musical deviations of Henry Cow, Univers Zero and all those RIO / avant-prog masters that came before only this stuff features increased tempos, bombastic counterpoints and ridiculously irregular patterns which find ideas sputtering out and replaced with unrelated bouts of weirdness.

This is for those who have heard it all and love to go into those scary rooms where all the attributes of prog rock and noise are thrown into the cauldron and set on fire. This shorter release is unrelenting in its pursuit for the next bombastic attack of the senses and takes the listener to an underground of some of the most extreme progressive outbursts with little consideration for anything resembling compositional consistency. Brutality on steroids. Time to go break something. Arrrggghhhh!

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 Pike 280 - In Dreamland by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Pike 280 - In Dreamland
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars As we approach Thanksgiving 2020 in the USA i suddenly have a bizarre notion. I've reviewed every single BUCKETHEAD album as a solo artist under that moniker (and the BUCKETHEADLAND one). I feel like i've become fused with this mystery man behind the mask below a KFC hat. Have we become psychically connected like Voldemort and Harry Potter? If so which one am i? LOL. These are the existential quandaries of the universe i ponder on a daily basis. No wonder i'm socially awkward :/

The great mystery of what happened to PIKE 280 has been solved and released after PIKEs 281-283 and finally appears in November 2020 with the extended issue title IN DREAMLAND. This one features four tracks and clocks in at 30 seconds shy of 30 minutes. This is one of those mellow acoustic rock albums that Mr Chicken Lover has released so many of. Gawd, i really wanna call him Clucky Nogger.

There's really not much to say about these. He's done quite a few at this point. Lazy slow tempos with clean guitar riffs, mellow atmospheres frosting the horizon with a bass and drumming section that merely accompanies the lazy processions of arpeggios and unambitious guitar licks. Yep, it's all been done before but these newer ones are much better for some reason as the production has been much improved and a nice backdrop atmosphere is like a zephyr wind that the melodies ride upon. Sleepy time is upon us.

Yeah, this has been called lullaby music and it's certainly not my favorite style of BUCKETHEAD's rotisseries of genre mashups but like i said'. these newer ones just work a tad bit better than the older ones and i can only surmise that is due to production upgrades. Glad mr BH is using the proceeds for a good cause. Not my fave yeah but for those into the mellower side of Clucky Nog, then this one is for YOU! Just don't expect any chickens to lay any eggs over this. For that they need BH to break out da funk! OK, nothing more. Next.

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 Afterglow by WOBBLER album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.83 | 324 ratings

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Afterglow
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Wobbler made a big statment with their first album. With Afterglow the band only got bigger. The first song The Haywain is a short intro and it gives a medieval feel to it. Imperial Winter White is a 13 minute epic and the best piece of music from the band at the time. It is a grand piece of music filled with fantastic ideas. It starts heavy and then it drifts to a calming place of mellotron with little bit of jazz elements. The whole epic is just majestic, symphonic, eclectic, heavy with elements od jazz and folk.Same thing goes for In Taberna, a masterfully written piece. The album ends in the same way it started, The armoury is a three minute medieval ride and it concludes the whole album in a fantastic way. This album if you compare it to the first record represents Wobbler's heavier side with two majestic epics and it will speak to the fans od various prog sub genres.

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 K.G. by KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.23 | 13 ratings

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K.G.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by dougmcauliffe

4 stars King Gizzard returns off the back of two 2019 releases. One of which I loved a lot, Infest the Rats Nest, and Fishies for Fishies which I thought was just alright. As this album got hyped up and singles were dropping I started to get a bit nervous cause I found that I was a little lukewarm on the songs that were coming out. After finally getting to sit down and give the album several spins, my worries and expectations were absolutely shattered. This album is fantastic! As usual we get a set of great songs with memorable hooks, riffs, on top of a nice, comfortable runtime. However, on this album I find the songs.... especially good, even for their already high standards. They cover a multitude of styles expanding on the previous venture into microtonal experimentation, which happens to be my favorite King Gizzard album. All the tracks flow into one another creating a very satisfying and fulfilling listen when taken in as a single piece of music. The thing I really like about this as well is that they actually put a lot of effort into the transitions and every song typically delivers something fresh and interesting as it gets ready to head into the following track. From a production standpoint I think this is their strongest yet, the album is pure ear candy and they sound as full and as dialed in as they ever have. This is probably their most psychedelic release in a long time, however the elements of metal and prog they've picked up over the last few years are very much present. I love the 3-punch combo this album opens up with. You got the menacing "K.G.L.W" which sets the dusty middle eastern mood kicking right into the heavy and headbanging "Automation" which just kicks ass! One thing I find within this album is that there is a greater emphasis on the grooves and the drum sound just packs so much punch, there's a lot of awesome odd times in the mix as well. Automation flows right into "Minimum Brain Size" which keeps the energy going and offers some nice breathing room before kicking into a sweet jam at the 2:45 mark. I'm not sure whose singing on this track, but I really dig the softer and more melodic vocals on this one. "Straws in the Wind" was one of the singles that flew over my head and like the others, it really sounds so much better in the context of the album. It has a real trancy feel to it with pretty punchy acoustic guitar playing throughout. There's also some sweet heavier psychedelic sounds coming through in the latter half. The next track, "Some of Us," is a really sludgy venture that hits you with an awesome wall of melting riffage and melodic guitar/vocal lines. The distorted clavinet playing at the end is just so damn cool. It's after this song where the album really takes off for me packing what are probably my three favorite tracks in succession. "Ontology" is a super groovy, driving and mesmerizing track. The main instrumental hook is a harmonica-led celebratory ear worm that alternates comfortably between 7/4 and 6/4. In the last minute and change of this track it hits you with a nasty hypnotic guitar solo. "Intrasport," which seem to be the most talked about track is another favorite of mine. I love the electronic instrumentation, vocal effects and dance-like grooves within it. Towards the middle it sort of fizzles out and strips down before slowly building back up and dropping right back into the main motif delivering an awesome payoff. "Oddlife" follows this and it's incredible. It's super hypnotic and once again, the drum parts sound great. Especially as they're overlaid with crisp psychedelic instrumentation and effects. This song is particularly dense, there's so much going on and I find myself constantly picking up on new details upon every relisten. "Honey" was my favorite of the singles and I still really enjoy it. It's a pretty simple song, but it's very pleasant and warm with memorable bass work in the mix. Closing the album is "The Hungry Wolf of Fate" and it is FILTHY! Wow! The riffs and guitar tones are totally face-melting, and the contrast between soft and heavy in this track creates a really satisfying dynamic. Even during the quieter sections, you can feel something brooding bubbling beneath the surface. The song ascends during the final minute with a illegally heavy playout closing out the album.

This album has really blown me away. As I said before, Flying Microtonal Banana has been my favorite King Gizzard album since I first heard it and without a doubt in my mind, I believe this is a very worthy follow-up. It's still too soon to call, but this is already one of my favorite King Gizzard albums. Who knows? Maybe it'll even take the crown... but i'd have to do some revisiting to say something like that for certain. K.G. doesn't tread the same water as FMB, rather it explores different sounds with instrumentation that just happens to be microtonal, and that's its greatest strength. A very comfortable 4 stars!

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 Memorie dal presente by JUGLANS REGIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Memorie dal presente
Juglans Regia Heavy Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars After a long hiatus, Juglans Regia are back with new energies and ideas. In 2019, more than ten years after their previous album, Visioni parallele (2008), the band from Sesto Fiorentino released an interesting EP entitled Memorie dal presente (Memories from the present) with the original line up featuring Alessandro Parigi (vocals), Antonello Collini (guitar), David Carretti (drums), Lapo Martini (keyboards) and Massimiliano Dionigi (bass). After all this time their friendship is still intact and the flame of their passion burning to give form to their personal mix of hard rock, metal and prog. The evocative artwork by Sara Parigi can give you the idea of a motivated band ready to seize the moment...

The powerful opener, 'L'imperdonabile' (The unforgivable), is a kind of manifesto of the band's come back where the music and lyrics invite you to stand up facing the difficulties of life, fighting for your dreams to come true. If you fall get up, it would be a pity to give up without try hard again, unforgivable! Electric guitar riffs and keyboard waves wash out illusions and deceptions backed by a solid rhythm section...

The following 'Maschere' (Masks) alternates raging parts to lighter passages depicting a sensation of solitude and alienation: even in the middle of a crowd e person could feel absent and distant from reality, other people pass by hiding themselves behind appearances, time runs out... But the music you love can still stir your emotions and set you free from the chains of an ordinary life. All you have to do is open the doors and follow the harmonic tracks in the air you breathe...

Next comes 'Primo istinto' (First instinct), my favourite track on this album. It begins softly by a delicate piano passage and a soaring electric guitar solo, the mood is dreamy but as the vocals come in the dream turns into a nightmare, the rhythm rises, the atmosphere becomes dark and disquieting... The cryptic lyrics evoke something threatening coming up to the surface from under your skin, the fear of the dark and of the unknown, you catch a strange look in the people staring at you, then there's an explosion as your soul separates from the body...

'Le virgole del tempo' (The commas of time) closes the album with bursts of energy and some reflective moments. The music and lyrics evoke nocturnal landscapes where rain, fog and darkness fall down covering unavoidable secrets and vain ambitions, pushing you to reflection. Eventually the border between dreams and reality melts under the thundering sky of this restless, mysterious night...

On the whole, a very good work. Welcome back Juglans Regia, don't give up!

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 Insolitariamente by TILION album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.33 | 14 ratings

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Insolitariamente
Tilion Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by progaardvark
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tilion had its origins back in November 1998 in Bergamo, Italy. It was formed out of the ashes of a 1990s Italian group called the Prowlers. The band is made up of bassist Roberto "Bobo" Aiolfi, drummer Paolo Cassago, keyboardist Alfio Costa (credited with Hammond organ, Minimoog, and Mellotron, plus others), guitarist Flavio Costa, and lead singer Andrea Ricci. On their debut album, recorded in the summer of 2002 and released the following year, the group is accompanied by guests Vincenzo Zitello on harps and flute, Laura Mombrini on vocals, and Adriano Ossoli on saxophone.

"Insolitariamente" almost seems like its a concept album, but my lack of understanding of the Italian language prevents me from ascertaining this based on the lyrics. However musically, the album has a prologue, an epilogue, and multiple short interludes between the main songs. This is the only thing that hints at that possibility. Online translators don't really help and my fellow reviewers here and elsewhere aren't hinting at that either. Oh well, let's move on...

The music on this one is generally a dark mix of psych and symphonic prog. But that just touches the surface. Not only are there influences from bands like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Le Orme, but also from King Crimson, Trespass-era Genesis, and even soundscapes that remind me of the Ozric Tentacles, plus occasional heavy guitar work. Some of the piano work is beautiful and sort of hints at Tale Cue. There are lots of quiet-to-loud and back to quiet transitions, all done seamlessly. The interplay of the members is fantastic. I think the one thing that bothers me most about the arrangement of the album is that the interlude tracks seem like filler. They often sound like short experiments that didn't lead anywhere and seem more like a distraction from the more important songs. The album to me would be better without them. All the meat is in the main tracks that range from six to over sixteen minutes long.

As for the production, this sounds very retro. It definitely has a 1970s sound rather than 2003. Whether that's on purpose is something I cannot answer for sure. The mix is sometimes inconsistent across the album. Bassist Roberto Aiolfi is an amazing player. He sort of reminds me of an Italian Mike Rutherford that can also slap the bass. Many times his playing is drowned out by the other instruments, however on Torpore Celebrale he's mixed in at the right level to show off his skills. Throughout the album, the snare drum comes off louder than I think it should. For some reason, most of the keyboard solos are placed slightly on the left side of the mix, rather than having them centered or evenly distributed across the stereo spectrum. I don't know if these slight flaws were due to limitations of the recording equipment or maybe they made some mixing decisions while being distracted with eggs or chickens or something. Nonetheless, these flaws don't distract my ears seriously enough from the enjoyment, the energy, and the powerful delivery of the music. It's a really great debut album.

If the flaws I mention above seem like they would bother you enough that you couldn't enjoy the music, then maybe this isn't the album for you. For RPI fans, this is well worth your time.

9/10 stars: Buio; Dietro i Ricordi (the two longest tracks) --- 8.5/10 stars: Luna --- 8/10 stars: Orizzonti sintetizzati; Torpore Celebrale --- 7.5/10 stars: Prologo; Epilogo --- 7/10 stars: Il Custode; Corale Tribale --- 6/10 stars: Solitaria Mente; Il pensiero dal Basso.

Overall rating: 8.25/10 (4.13 PA)

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 Dual I by ALY album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Dual I
Aly Progressive Metal

Review by phobosgva

— First review of this album —
4 stars Familiar, Comfortable, yet innovative.

This is a very interesting proposition from Aly. I've been waiting for this album for a long time now, but back when I heard this album was going to be sung in Nahuatl ( a Mexican Native Language) I didn't knew what to expect... well... for sure I didn't expect this.

Except from the fact that the lyrics are sung in Nahuatl, this album is everything you know, everything you have heard, it is your comfort zone, it brings you home, right where you want to be... except not. As you listen, you think you know exactly were the composition is going and where it's coming from... from David Gilmour to Steve Vai, with hints of Yes, IQ, Supertramp, Metallica even Manuel M. Ponce... I'm sure you'll notice your own favorites in here without being able to finally pinpoint where everything is coming from. This feeling I'm talking about comes from Aly's ability in composition and conceptualization to take what he loves of several influences and make something totally new.

Being an Aly album you'd expect to hear that guitar virtuosity that characterizes him everywhere, but no... virtuosity is only displayed where it's needed which makes those passages more enjoyable rather having a full song without any spaces between notes.

The vocals on this album are great. One singer imposes herself right away, the other has a sweetness in her voice that makes the complexity of nahuatl phonetics really mellow.

This is a very enjoyable album from start to finish, a bit addictive for me I must say, I find myself playing it over and over again, looking for more details, those details make this a great album.

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 A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk by BARONESS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
3.62 | 12 ratings

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A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk
Baroness Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This is an early (in the terms of the bands involved) split album that was released to try to bring some attention to what were both sludgy sounding bands. All the tracks on this album were exclusive to this release, and for fans of Baroness and /or Unpersons, this is a big plus. Being a Baroness fan myself, I am mostly interested in their tracks, which are both quite stellar on this album, even though these are early tracks and it shows the band searching for their own sound.

It begins with Baroness featuring two songs, one of them a medium length song called "Teiresias" (over 6 minutes), which proves that the band was trying to find a niche with Mastodon fans. It's a heavy song, much heavier than the albums that would follow, with a lot more yelling/singing than what the average Baroness listener might be used to. It is also quite progressive and one that will appeal to the progressive metal listener. The 2nd track, though, is the real epic masterwork from the band and the one worth the price of admission. "Cavite" is a 12 minute monster which, except for the heavier vocals, points the direction that the band was to take for both the "Red" and "Blue" albums to follow. It is very dynamic and progressive, changing heaviness, meter, and style throughout, yet remaining heavy and also stepping out of the sludgier aspects of metal. This is one that will appeal to Isis fans.

The 2nd part of the album belongs to the more unfamiliar band "Unpersons". They have four tracks, 3 of which are around 3 minutes and the last one which stretches past 6 minutes. Their music is definitely more unhinged, with wild and wacky vocals, yet keeping a changing sludgy atmosphere, yet not really bogging things down much. It's the right amount of their insanity as much more might get to be a bit too much. However, with about the same amount of time total as the 2 Baroness tracks, it's the right amount. Most proggers might find this part of the album a bit too wild for their taste, but progressive metal lovers will also enjoy this, even with the insane sounding vocals. The last track has the trickiest aspects with meters and riffs going off everywhere, and it is fortunately their longest, which, on the 2nd half, goes off into some more experimental, noise rock territory.

Typically, I usually skip the Unpersons tracks, but when I'm in the right mood, they are quite enjoyable anyway, but their not as good as the Baroness tracks. Their tracks are a solid 4 star attempt, where Unperson's tracks tend to hand around the 3 star range with the last one of the bunch the best of them. This is a great EP/Split album for progressive metal heads, especially those that love their heaviness thick, sludgy and dirty. However, this will appeal to fans more than anyone. '

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 Chronosthesia by TIME SHIFT ACCIDENT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.95 | 5 ratings

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Chronosthesia
Time Shift Accident Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by progaardvark
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Time Shift Accident are an instrumental quartet that hail from Nuremberg, Germany, and had their beginnings back in late 2013 as a loose jam band founded by a couple of friends. The rhythm section has been their mainstay since late 2014 and consists of drummer Paul Ettl and bassist Michael Schetter. According to the group's Bandcamp page, Schetter has also been in the groups Relocator and Seven Steps to the Green Door. Dave Mola, of prog metal band Effloresce, joined the band in 2017 and this was followed by jazz keyboardist Gunter W. Schmuck. The band started recording their debut album in June 2019 and it was released in September of that year under the title Chronosthesia. Obviously there must be some connection between the album's title and the band's name as they both relate in some way to time travel, mental or otherwise.

If you enjoy jazz rock/fusion instrumental albums, leaning heavier towards the rock part of the equation with addictive grooves, jazzy keyboards, melodic guitar solos, and skilled drumming, this album might be up your alley. It starts off with lots of energy from the first track and is relentless all the way to the end of the album. At times it gets heavy (Mola was in a prog metal band), occasional Eastern and Latin flavors appear on a couple songs, and some funk here and there. It has a rather diverse palette. The complexity level is about average for this style of album; it's complex when it needs to be, but nothing chaotic or dissonant is present. The production is fantastic and well-balanced; all four members are allotted equal space in the mix and no member overwhelms the others. Overall I can't seem to think of a band to compare them with, but there are occasional hints to the Dixie Dregs, Planet X, and Herbie Hancock.

A great listen. Definitely one to bring on road trips. Highly recommended if you enjoy this style.

9/10 stars: Ignalina Forest; Damascus Dance; The Hand of God --- 8.5 /10 stars: Boonar Eclipse --- 8/10 stars: Pompei; Borsuki --- 7.5/10 stars: Cold Case --- 7/10 stars: Wish

Overall rating: 8.39/10 (4.20 on PA)

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 THRAK by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.67 | 1106 ratings

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THRAK
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

4 stars Strong, mathematical, interesting, beautiful

After the second disintegration of King Crimson in 1985, the band came back ten years later with a (once again) brand new sound. The four members of King Crimson (Bruford, Levin, Fripp and Belew) were again in the band with the addition of two new members to the line-up: Pat Mastelotto (drums) and Trey Gunn (Chapman stick) so they made the line-up of the double trio. The songs on the album are more oriented to a metal/hard rock style with some soft moments as well.

"Walking on air" is a beautiful and romantic song; "B'boom" is a very nice drum jam that opens the door to a hard instrumental piece with some amazing Fripp's riffs. "Inner garden" has kind of an obscure and spooky atmosphere while "People" is more moved and with a very fresh jazzy rhythm with nice choruses and a futuristic ambient in some moments.

"One time" is definitely my favorite song of the album, which is a soft rocky ballad with a sweet riff that goes over and over again through the singing of Belew and the relaxed percussions of Bruford and Mastelotto. "Sex, sleep, eat, drink, dream" is also great, it has a bluesy rhythm mixed with a hard rock-y guitar riff in the middle section. "Vrooom" (divided in its three parts) is a very aggressive rock gong with intense riffs and drum lines.

So the fourth age of King Crimson started really well; this is a very amazing album, not a masterpiece but yet pretty great.

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 Three of a Perfect Pair by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.28 | 1177 ratings

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Three of a Perfect Pair
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

3 stars "Three of a perfect pair" is probably the album of King Crimson that I like the less. The band continued with the new-wave/post-punk sound we can find in the previous two albums but with less interesting songs.

The opening song and "Sleepless" are maybe the most moved songs in the album. The B-side (also called the Right Side) is mainly instrumental but with songs clearly not as good as the ones on their other albums, but rather slow and kind of boring songs.

"Model man" is a nice ballad song but is not as moving as "Matte kudasai" or "Heartbeat"; even the third part of "Larks' tongues in aspic" (which I don't understand how did they dare to call that), is slow and not very interesting.

The album is not bad per se; it's just not amazing either. I love the red and the blue ones, but the yellow not so much.

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 The Moon Is a Dry Bone by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.98 | 4 ratings

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The Moon Is a Dry Bone
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Riccardo is stepping way outside his usual sound and style palettes with this panoply of "nufolk" songs, most of which contain layers of heavily-treated (electrified) instruments. Even some of the vocals are more rollicking and quirky than anything I've ever heard from a Corde Oblique album before.

1. "Almost blue" (3:01) I was not ready for this heavily-effected instrumental, but I like it! (8.75/10)

2. "La strada" (4:24) aside from the male vocal in the lead, this could come from any other Corde Oblique album. Great song base, violin display, and background vocal. (8.75/10)

3. "The moon is a dry bone" (3:04) She was a momur! Factor in some cabaret Burzaco and you might get what it is I feel I'm hearing. I like it! (9/10) 4. "Le grandi anime" (3:48) discordant guitar chords somehow conveying a very familiar Corde Oblique melody. I swear: Caterina Pontrandolfo could sing the clothes off of a monastery of monks. A wonderful addition to the great Corde Oblique catalogue. (9/10)

5. "Le torri di Maddaloni" (4:12) opens with 90 seconds of lute-like guitar play with subtle accordion in the background. Then it switches to hand drum over which a coven of witches led by Rita Saviano chant their pagan chant. At the end of the third minute after nylon string guitar enters, there is a lull and tehn an evening out and beautification of the music. Feels deeply antique. (9/10)

6. "Il figlio dei Vergini" (4:30) classical guitar and accordion (beautiful!) with the one and only Caterina Pontrandolfo singing a over the top. In the second minute there is an awesome wordless vocalise and b-vox chants as the guitar and accordion dance beautifully with each other. Then, in the third minute, there is a amped up fast rhythm (led by hand drum) over which Caterina returns to the original melody. The song then finishes with an an unusual right turn with Sergio Panarella lending his vocal talents to sing wordlessly over first a bare-bones section and then a full band. Interesting--and very different--song. (9.25/10)

7. "La casa del ponte" (5:39) like a film soundtrack with spoken word vocal and both fast and slow dynamics and moods. At 3:40 the coven of witches returns to sing their curses or dirges (in Italian, of course) over the band (with some damned fine drum and bass play). Another interesting and wonderfully fecund song. (9.25/10)

8. "Temporary peace" (4:58) Another Riccardo interpretation of an ANATHEMA song from the 2001 album, A Fine Day to Exit). Lead vocal (in English) from Rita Saviano and piano from Luigi Rubino. (8.75/10)

9. "Il terzo suono" (2:14) another off-beat m'lange of styles that is very unlike anything I've heard from Riccardo before. All-male vocals, performed by Miro Sossano. (4.5/5)

10. "Herculaneum" (3:18) any chance to hear the sublime voice of Caterina Pontrandolfo--here with accordion, strummed acoustic guitars, and hand drums--is welcome, a highlight. Lovely to hear the accordion expressing itself so fully and prominently. (8.5/10)

11. "Almost Blue part two" (3:41) a multi-guitar instrumental with effects rendering a kind of shoegaze sound to it. Pretty, melodic, but nothing very new or exciting here. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 42:49

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of Progressive Folk music--one that truly spans the full spectrum of Prog Folk, musica antica to modern NuFolk.

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 Numbers by LIGHT DAMAGE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.03 | 32 ratings

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Numbers
Light Damage Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars LIGHT DAMAGE is putting the cover back on with an immense album that will become cult over the years. A group from nowhere or from a dark little road on a moonless evening to an endless destination; LIGHT DAMAGE which takes off started in 2005 to cover titles from different groups then slowly defined its style of music to offer something unique. Their eponymous 2014 album already at its best for me ... LIGHT DAMAGE or the OLNI (unidentified Luxembourg object)! On the influence side, because we often look for influences to know if we will read the column to the end. I will quote you GENESIS just for the use of a "Musical box", MARILLION for the flute and the guitar, SYLVAN'S for the phrasing and the long flights, a little of JETHRO TULL and of KING CRIMSON in bulk and of David DARLING for the cello used and a lot of LIGHT DAMAGE because this group has its own sound! This is where it gets interesting! Indeed, this implies that you risk diving into the album as I literally dove into "Misplaced Chilhood" or "Clutching at Straws" a few years ago now, without concessions, without control and without research. 'influences! OLNI I tell you!

Regarding the titles, 6 including a Dantesque of almost 20 minutes with use of cello, flutes as in the good old days, phrasing monologue; from "Number 261" the rhythm organ to the 30''TO MARS, a plaintive guitar ā la KING CRIMSON 2nd version accompanied by an energetic and very present drums set the tone (failing the A!) on duet voices . "Bloomed" follows with this haunting, alluring instrumental where the guitar plays in jerks just long enough to introduce "From Minor to Sailor". This flagship title that stunned me: a plaintive guitar, melodic synths, a clear almost aerial drums on one side, the two voices that call out around 5 minutes for a sweet exchange, a break around 7 minutes to rest a little before moving on to a Rotheryien solo. An atmosphere again Misplacienne (the darkest moment of the title) around 9 minutes then opening on a succession of instrumental and vocal returns and a final around 16 minutes on the resumption of the main air as if nothing had happened. passed before. Until the flute concludes this epic journey on a miner wanting to build a boat. A plaintive, melancholy and also paradoxically lively sound. The second part of the album, like in the days of LPS and other K7s, begins with relaxing cello notes before giving way to the voice and then to the enjoyable guitar with Rothery returns; an exhilarating beautiful crescendo. "Phantom Twin" comes along with an explosive intro, AYREON-style atmospheres on the voice of P. DICK, bringing here also a plaintive song with detours on the neo-progressive current of the 80s, but updated, boosted with a more raised sound , demonstrative and striking. Lastly, verses by E. GALEANO on a calm, sober tune giving pride of place to classical piano and violin instruments, just to return to the current world.

This 48'30 '' album struck me by the mastery of the tunes on offer, by the logical thought given to the instruments, whether wind or electric. By the time given to the guitar often plaintive then less melancholy to give more hope to the atmospheres, by the distribution of almost meditative, dark atmospheres followed by others more cheerful to bring to a note of serenity at the end of this album! You will understand, a very great moment for a band that has transcended and captured a sound of the 2020s, quite simply! An OLNI bomb !!

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 Dancing Maze by THEM MOOSE RUSH album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Dancing Maze
Them Moose Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Grumpyprogfan

4 stars Clocking in a little over 36 minutes, "Dancing Maze" is my favorite hard rock album of the year. The band describe themselves as a "prog rock-pop space noise trio which will change your percpetion of how a modern rock trio sounds.'' Sure did for me. TMR has a rhythm section to die for and a highly emotional vocalist who's not afraid to let it rip.  They have been a band for over eight years and this is their third full length disc. They also have three EP's. I wasn't aware of them until spring this year and quickly became a fan. First off, this music is fun. It makes you want to sing, dance, or be foolish, and the world needs more of that. Try and listen to "Judes Got Another" without it putting a smile on your face. Watch the video, and experience the humor this band possesses. With titles like "Jerry's Bacon Flavored Vegan Potion" or "Chris's Cake Crisis" it's fair to say TMR don't take themselves too seriously. And that's why I dig them so much. Finally, even though the mix is a bit crushed, the music benefits from it. Thought I would never say that.

3.5 stars rounded up. 

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 Dwellers of the Deep by WOBBLER album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.43 | 193 ratings

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Dwellers of the Deep
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by poslednijat_colobar
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Continued polyphonic saturation mastery with modern implementation

Dwellers of the Deep is the next part of this exceptional journey that Norwegians Wobbler have had for these 20 years or something. This further exploration of the deepest recesses of symphonic progressive rock flourishes with the completion of another accomplished masterpiece after From Silence to Somewhere , which in itself is amazing. This work builds on several aspects of its predecessor, especially the hints to the modernization of the sound, slightly higher concentration to the musicianship and improvisation rather than the songwriting process and third but not last - even lusher saturation with atypical but brilliant moments. The self-confidence of the band members lead to great solo performances, with special note to keyboards and bass. Another symphonic prog brilliance from Wobbler, with different angle of sharper challenger to the predecessor. Do not miss!

Another top notch threat to the tops of different lists!

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 StarStuff by OVRFWRD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 18 ratings

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StarStuff
Ovrfwrd Heavy Prog

Review by Tull Tales

3 stars The album is performed well and the overall "sound" as far as engineering & production are concerned, is good. I really like the first two songs, Firelight and Let It Burn (King George). Unfortunately, for me it goes down substantially from there.

The songwriting just does not move me. It seems very repetitive. They utilize a riff or chord progression over and over, and then move on to the next one. Some of these are interesting enough, but they don't ever seem to develop into anything substantive after that. Someone else mentioned the lack of vocals and I do feel like many times the album sounds like a backing track for the missing vocals.

I have given this one many listens trying to see if it is a grower or maybe I was missing something, but for me it just does not have that "it" that I look for, sorry.

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 Alight by CELLAR NOISE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.78 | 92 ratings

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Alight
Cellar Noise Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hailing from Milan, Cellar Noise took shape in 2013 on the initiative of Alessandro Palmisano and Niccolō Gallani with the aim of blending classic seventies prog with modern influences in their new original compositions. Once found the right formula, after some line up changes and a good live activity on the local scene, in 2017 the band released an interesting debut album on the independent label AMS/BTF entitled Alight, a conceptual work about a surreal trip on a London Underground train. It was recorded, mixed and mastered at the Zerodieci Studio in Genoa with the help of Fabio Zuffanti, Luca Nasciuti and Roberto Vigo and with a line up featuring founder members Alessandro Palmisano (guitars) and Niccolō Gallani (piano, organ, synthesizer, Mellotron) along with Francesco Lovari (lead and backing vocals), Loris Bersan (bass, classical guitar) and Eric Bersan (drums, percussion) plus some special guests such as Chiara Alberti (cello), Luca Tarantino (oboe) and Giulia Zanardo (flute) who gave their contribute during the recoding sessions to enrich the sound. The result is very good...

The opener "Dive With Me" is a long, beautiful instrumental track that sets the atmosphere and starts by the sounds of an underground station. As by magic, a charming music rises from those confused sounds... Then it's the turn of "Underground Ride" that conjures up the image of a man, a commuter wrapped in his own thoughts and fed up by the daily grind. He gets lost in a kind of parallel world and you're invited to follow the trip of the protagonist diving into his dream. The art work by Francesca Serpi might give you an idea of the scene... "Once he got on the train, he started to observe the names of the stops printed on the signs. As he watched, the words came to life and started to fuse with the visions from his imagination. Each name generated different places, characters and stories that moved in the dreamlike dimension as the train moved on..." (quote from the liner notes).

"Embankment" begins by a delicate piano pattern, then the music veers from a dreamy mood to Gothic atmospheres. The music and lyrics tell the story of a girl that day after day meets the ghost of a beautiful young man during her commuting trips in the subway and finally establishes a contact. Then she jumps from the train to follow him in the world of spirits, the afterlife. A wonderful track and a very strange way to depict a suicide on the underground rails...

The following "Temple" starts by a classical guitar arpeggio, then the atmosphere becomes dark and the rhythm slowly rises while the lyrics evoke the stage of a crumbling, abandoned opera theatre. The shadow of an old caretaker slowly moves around, drawn into a whirlwind of emotions and memories for a last, tragic show...

The nervous, aggressive "Blackfriars" conjures up images of riots and rebellious acts contrasting with the words of unscrupulous politicians disguised in men of peace who try to canalize hate and manipulate the crowd... The it's the turn of the calm, introspective "Move The Stone" where the visions seem to stop for a while and a frozen, hidden memory emerges as the protagonist comes back to reality...

The closer "Monument" is the last stop of the journey, a piece where music and lyrics try to depict the new awareness of the protagonist and convey a healing feeling of freedom. For him it's time to take another train and a new direction leaving behind the chains of his false self and grey routine...

On the whole, an interesting concept and a beautiful album...

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 Hinterland by WOBBLER album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.81 | 388 ratings

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Hinterland
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Welcome to the mighty world of Wobbler, their first album Hinterland was released in 2005. It starts with a short Mellotron intro Serenade for 1652 and magic starts with self titled 30 minute epic. Bombastic start that will blow your mind. Later on song takes a more melodic approach with guitar and bass complementing each other. Vocals, flute and mellotron deliver an enchanting melodic part. This whole epic is filled with heavy eclectic parts and mysterious fragments. Folk elements can be heard and when all combined it represents a breathtaking journey. Rubato Industry and Clair Obscur continue in the same manner. This album is a fantastic mix of symphonic and eclectic prog that will take you trough feeling of restlessness to the peaceful place and back again. Fantastic works of Lars Fredrik Froislie goes throughout and musicianship in generall it out of this world.

4.5

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 Someone Here Is Missing by PINEAPPLE THIEF, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.57 | 274 ratings

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Someone Here Is Missing
The Pineapple Thief Crossover Prog

Review by Devolvator

5 stars "Simple-complex". So you can characterize this album in a quick fluent way, which makes the record absolutely unique in its kind. "Someone Here Is Missing (2010)" by The Pineapple Thief consists of many rather biting and deliberately straightforward pieces, barely exceeding 5 minutes. This is the hardest and most controversial (for the mass of fans) disc released by the band. They challenged themselves to break away from the image of the followers of Radiohead and Porcupine Tree, as well as the standards of modern progressive rock. Only here there is much more heaviness and melody than those of the above, this album is simply too unlike the rest of the group's works, among which there are many masterpieces. The recording has "everything and anything": an emotional and high-pitched voice, powerful guitar, acoustic moments, atmospheric keyboards and hard drum programming. In all these aspects, the ensemble is extremely competent and does not "overflow" even once! But the simplicity of tracks, as well as the album itself, is only a seeming phenomenon at first glance. The group managed to achieve the effect of creating a complex unified whole from many pieces of broken mosaic. If you love this group and "dig the genre" then you will get all 50 shades of splendor. The title composition is a kind of connecting - musical and semantic - link of the entire album. In which everything merged together, what is presented separately in each track. The song "The State We're In" could well have served as a single to the album (though the band didn't bother too much about this) and the last song "So We Row" is just some kind of powerful mixture of psychedelics of the 1970s, Brit-pop, nu metal and art rock. A bright and multi-layered conclusion to the original release. The production itself is incredibly clean! I've never heard such an aggressive guitar sound, which sometimes turns into direct distortion, but at the same time it sounds incredibly crystal-clear. This is despite the fact that the group's discs were released exclusively by indie labels. Of particular note is the incredible album cover. Reissued already without the name of the group (as the musicians originally wanted). There is a feeling of something really forgotten, the authors of the idea had to stick around the model with sticky pieces of paper for this. I will say right away that this photo has nothing to do with Hipgnosis, the studio that worked with Pink Floyd. Although the similarities are obvious. So, before you is a mystery album that needs to be listened to very carefully. The reward will not be long in coming, especially since the group is immensely talented. Here they act as conceptual artists.

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 Clairvoyance by HIERONYMUS DREAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Clairvoyance
Hieronymus Dream Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
3 stars One or two may argue that new respectively contemporary psychedelic space rock bands are out and about with worn out shoes in general. Just aimlessly jamming, copying successful Pink Floyd recipes, or delivering uninspired heavy stoner riffs for the thousandth time. This, in my humble opinion, mirrors a somewhat negative point of view. Yes, and No, multiple shades of grey, that's the truth, still in 2020. Here we have a rather promising exception to the aforementioned unsophisticated impression. Five musicians, hailing from somewhere out of Greece have recorded this EP, which is consting of four tracks with a total running time of 30 minutes. Not any further informations available about this band, yet, at this time.

Eh, there's no need to hide though, I don't see any reason for that. Instrumentation is genre typical, sound quality top, all comes clear. The band's unique vibe predominantly derives from the fine melancholic dual guitar interplay, and this is paired with a proper krautrock touch. The overall atmosphere is well developed. Bass lines are either lively, though krautish hypnotic in the same way. Prolific drum work, spheric synth layers everywhere. The well arranged songs evolve like ebb and flow, with suspense. No need to emphasize a particular one. A nicely done kick-off I would say. Now waiting for a full-fledged and more varianted debut album to come anytime soon. 3.5 stars.

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 Caress of Compassion by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.29 | 18 ratings

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Caress of Compassion
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Compassion' sounds like a warm and fuzzy word. And yet, when you think about it, it is almost the opposite. Compassion is essentially the sympathetic consciousness of, and concern for, the suffering, distress and misfortunes of others. Its Latin roots translate it almost literally as "suffer with". Not so warm and fuzzy then? I mention this because it is something I hadn't thought about before listening to Compasionizer's debut album, Caress of Compassion. I was expecting something cosy and comfortable, warm and inviting, and what I heard did not always match those expectations. So, then a 'Caress of Suffering', an almost paradoxical combination of ugliness and beauty wrapped up in twelve exquisite and atmospheric tracks, at once subtle and grandiose.

The album pulls the listener in gently with the quite beautiful yet vaguely unsettling Whole. There's a quote about compassion that I've seen do the rounds on social media several times over the year. It wasn't too hard to find an example, and this is what it said: "I don't just listen to your words. I listen to your use of words, your tone, your body movements, your eyes, your subtle face expressions. I interpret your silences. I can hear everything you don't say." Whole seems to be as much about what isn't present, than is. So while it might declare itself to be 'Whole', it leaves me feeling that it isn't. "I'm fine", it declares in words, while all other cues suggest otherwise. It's an absolutely fabulous opening number.

At this point, I should point out that the files I received did not have complete names, so 'Whole' was indeed not at all whole, as it is actually The Whole Creation Travaileth in Pain Together. So I reviewed an album based upon what I was hearing, and inferring, and it seemed to match the titles of the tracks. Yet they were not the full titles. I wondered whether to start the review again with this new knowledge, but instead merely inserted this paragraph as explanation.

The blurb I received declared Caress of Compassion to be "Melodic Atmospheric World Avant Music", and one aspect that I love about this is the various textures and tones provided by using instruments from both the west and the east. As Whole progressed, it started to remind me of the recent album from 3,14 which fused the instruments and instrumentation of west and east in a musical representation of the various peoples and cultures spread along the length of the legendary Silk Road. And yet, the ghost of Roz Vitalis (from which Ivan Rozmainsky of Compassionizer will no doubt be better known) is ever present, giving Compassionizer an avant edge missing from that descriptive blurb.

Street feels like a somnambulant walk down familiar roads, which I am prone to doing on routes so well known I can walk them on autopilot. There's a sense of haze and daze, and the beat is almost hypnotic, disappearing at times, the way I can be conscious of my footsteps, then not, as I drift away in my thoughts while continuing to walk. It's over before I know it ? just like those walks down those familiar streets. I had to check if it were just an interlude, because it seemed to be only a minute or so long. But actually, it's almost three-and-a-half minutes long.

The intriguingly titled How Poems is beautifully minimal, and yet very much present. Unlike Street's sleepwalking quality, How Poems booms and resonates in a quiet fashion, that precludes passive listening. I love what I assume is a bass clarinet in this number. It's absolutely wonderful. But further delights are not at all far away! Caress #1 begins with a delicate, almost Disney-like melody. It's the most beautiful passage so far, not seeming to have an undercurrent of something not so beautiful. This doesn't last too long, though, as it becomes less assured. The chiming delicacy of this Caress is irresistible.

Beware begins in a suitably spooky and ominous manner. The beat that kicks in comes as a complete surprise (though not a jump scare), and it's almost like listening to psychedelic-era Porcupine Tree, mixed with soundtrack-era Ulver. It's a trick and a treat ? and it's a glorious and unexpected one. So much so, that when the darkness returns with Heart (heart of darkness?), I suddenly realise I have been as incautious as Red Riding Hood, and forgotten to heed my warning. Beware? I heard no wolves (unless you count the aforementioned Ulver). Heart sounds almost like an admonishment, nevertheless. It almost comes across as a conversation between two parties ? one of which is giving the other some truths. There's a back and forth movement to the piece, but one half of this is definitely in a stronger position than the other.

I'm only halfway through the album. I could go on, but I feel like this is something that, if you've read this far and are still interested, you're already caught in the Sinkhole. Compassion can be misguided, and I'm well aware that I'm quite possibly reading into the music ideas which come from my own personal circumstances. Caress of Compassion feels like an album that will make every person feel something different, but will also without doubt make the listener think. This is the compassion, I feel, as the listener is drawn to think about what the music is telling them (or, as I alluded to earlier on, not telling them). Caress of Compassion is not a passive listening experience. It is not always a comfortable listening experience. But it is always a beautiful listening experience, and part of that beauty is the empathy the listener has for the music. This might well be Ivan Rozmainsky's best work yet! Wow!

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 From Silence to Somewhere by WOBBLER album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.37 | 697 ratings

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From Silence to Somewhere
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars After amazing Rites at dawn we had to wait for six years for the new Wobbler release and the only thing I can say it was worth it.

Selftitled 21 minute epic begins quietly and bursts into heavy Hammod, mellotron and guitar riff, since that moment Wobbler was ready to take you to unforgettable journey filled with complex passages, melodic parts, grand musicianship and brilliant storytelling. Dark, light, confusion, maddnes, all combined into this undisputed masterpiece. Fermented Hours is a truly heavy track and may be one of the heaviest that the band ever recorded. Yet again the band delivers a masterful passage from heavy and dark to mysterious and what is important every part speaks for itself, it's a fantastic feeling to hear how everything builds up and then take us back to the beginning. If Fermented Hours started heavy than Foxlight is the opposite, flute and vast Mellotron introduce this epic and it just keeps growing to the grand conclusion of this masterpiece.

From Silence to somewhere is one of the greatest prog albums ever to see the light of the day. With this album they broke all barriers, and showed how grand music can be.

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 Rites at Dawn by WOBBLER album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.97 | 528 ratings

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Rites at Dawn
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Rites at dawn is a third release from Wobbler and for me it represents a new beginning for the band. First two albums were fantastic and brought amazing epics, but with the arrival of the vocalist, main lyricist and a second guitarist Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo the band really rose to the top of the prog universe. The album starts with Lucid a short intro that leads to La Bealtaine the first song that delivered the sound that defined Wobbler, brilliant opening guitar riff followed by mighty bass and drum which takes us to Hammond and mellotron heaven and for the first time introduces us to vocals and lyrics from Prestmo. This song represents not a departure but introduction to new Wobbler, a band that writes fantastic epics filled with power but also feel of tranquillity. In Orbit starts with a nice acoustic guitar part and dreamy vocals only to explode with fantastic band play along, and it continues to troughout the song. This Past Presence for me brings the ultimate mashup of tones from the first two albums and new brilliantly executed sound. The river is one of my favorite songs from Wobbler and it delivers a mad opening riff filled with eclectic and symphonic vibes. This album brings it all from heavy to dreamy and mysterious. Guitar work, Hammond, mellotron, rhythm section and lyrics on this album are out of this world, truly a masterpiece.

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 Beat by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.08 | 1197 ratings

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Beat
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Uruk_hai

4 stars The four members of King Crimson who played in "Discipline" remained in the band for the following two albums, in 1982 Beat came out with music quite similar to the one in the previous album but with less interesting and experimental songs. The songs in this record are more into a new wave less progressive kind of rock. It has very catchy songs between moving themes and some slow ones.

"Neal and Jack and Me" is a very energetic and moving song, "Heartbeat" is more quiet and slow but pretty great too;"Neurotica" is mind-blowing, a lot of resemblance to the 70's Crimson sound; "Sartori in tangier" and "Requiem" are two very nice instrumental pieces.

In general the album is very good, not amazing but definitely an excellent addition to any Progressive Rock collection, so 4 stars.

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 Changes by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.61 | 129 ratings

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Changes
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This time, there's less focus on the brass section and the sound has been improved as well as updated. Kudos to the drummer, who's trying harder on this album - just listen to his fill-ins on the first track.

The sense of improvisations is still preferred instead of rigid structure. The proof is the "Reflections" track that is rather directionless and the vocal is as improvisational as the saxophone. The track goes on for too long. I have the same complaint about the third track - 12 minutes again.

"Charing Cross" actually looks promising with having only 7 minutes instead of 12 and there is a melody and motive - bit of a lazy feeling but that changes to the frenetic speed after 2 and half minutes. "It could only happen to me" absorps Canterbury electric piano and chords - it is a highlight and there are no vocals!

Still, this album can't make it higher than to 3 stars, despite sounding less awkward than the debut album.

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 Catapilla by CATAPILLA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.45 | 119 ratings

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Catapilla
Catapilla Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The line-up and song lengths look very promising at first sight. There surely must be plenty of ambition on this record! The female vocal is used sparsely, not surprisingly - there are more than enough instrumentalists. The sound by the band is quite typical for 1969-1970 so even a bit older than the album was released in. By its nature, the music is not as adventureous as one might expects, however there's plenty of improvisations especially by saxophone, clarinet and flutes. Jam is the right word to describe the nature of the lengthy songs. The rhythm section is actually quite rock/hard-rock oriented. The classic rock combo provides the harder edge without falling into virtuoso danger. "Naked death" is a good listen but not too memorable or developed. "Tumbleweed" reminds me a bit of later Curved Air. It is quite a melodic piece of straightforward rock. "Promises" is a hard jazz-rock number but I don't like screaming by the vocalist. "Embryonic fusion" takes more risks. It has a couple of section and motives but if it wasn't for the saxophones and clarinet, it would be a painful listen for 24 minutes. This album would have been better if the first and last trac were cut by half. Not much for the progger to explore but a good testimony of the jazz-rock/hard-rock beginnings.

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 A Trace of Memory by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.22 | 14 ratings

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A Trace of Memory
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by Grumpyprogfan

4 stars My first listen of this release was underwhelming. What did I miss, was I not focusing? It was good, solid but mellow, sounding familiar. "The Yellow Ship", the available song before the album came out, was awesome. So fast forward to several listens later and I can say, I was so wrong with my initial thoughts on "A Trace of Memory". This is a brilliant release that could now be my favorite Hum. Dark, brooding, heavy, and more Canterbury sounding than their usual output. Superb arrangements and changing moods through each song with plenty of instrumental breaks to showcase the bands fiery passion. Half the album is instrumental, and songs with vocals have space for jamming. Joff is throwing down some awesome guitar riffs. He is a severely underrated guitarist and the rest of the band mates aren't too shabby. I don't understand why they aren't more popular with the prog folks. Easily in my top five albums of 2020. This band deserves more exposure and this release should be required listening for all music lovers. 4.5 stars rounded down, but it may go up with repeated listens.

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 Andiamo in Giro di Notte e ci Consumiamo nel Fuoco by HOMUNCULUS RES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.91 | 58 ratings

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Andiamo in Giro di Notte e ci Consumiamo nel Fuoco
Homunculus Res Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by felonafan

5 stars The album titled "Della stessa sostenza dei sogni" by the Italian - more precisely, by the Sicilian - band Homuncuus Res, released in 2018, turned out to be Album of the Year for me, along with the debut release of the project organized by the bass player of Anglagard (by this project I mean All Traps on Earth) ... On July 23 this year, the fourth full-length studio disc of Italians was released - with an even more intricate title "Andiamo in giro di notte e ci consumiamo nel fuoco". And again we hear songs, Canterbury "in spirit", but sung in Italian. And again, these songs are built mainly on jazz harmonies and are characterized by a complex structure, odd and changing time signatures and frequent changes in musical patterns, but at the same time they sound relaxed and even pop, if the word "pop" is not taken as a "curse". In general, it is believed that the first "Italian response to the Canterbury" was made in the second half of the 1970s by the Picchio Dal Pozzo, but the music of Homunculus Res is prettier, brighter, more pleasant, more accessible, and, I must say, almost does not look like the work just the mentioned ensemble. So if they tell you somewhere that Homunculus Res is almost the same as Picchio Dal Pozzo - don't believe it! At the same time, the music of the heroes of the review is not at all perceived as secondary - in comparison, say, with Hatfield and the North - the quintet from Palermo led by composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dario d'Alessandro has its own face, claiming uniqueness, not without reason! The main point is the following. What Homunculus Res is doing is by no means reduced to "Canterbury". Musicians are open to different influences. Their compositions organically "include" both vocal chants a la Yes ("La Salamandra"), and a direct quote from "Hey Jude" by the Beatles ("La Luccicanza") and elements of music that could easily become a soundtrack for films by Fellini or other Italian directors ("Non Dire No"). Complexity, beauty, jazz, sensual melodies, irony, detachment - everything is combined into a single whole in this work of Homunculus Res. The musicians approach the development of the compositions, perhaps even more carefully even in the 2018 album, as a result of which they turn out to be longer and, possibly, "unified". This is in stark contrast to the first two Homunculus Res albums - 2013 and 2015 - which were full of short pieces, often lasting 1-2 minutes - the music was very interesting, exciting, but often unnecessarily fragmentary. The new disc contains no songs shorter than three and a half minutes. True, the detailed "elaboratedness" of the opuses often turns out to be boring, which the first three albums of the Sicilians were almost deprived of. Some fragments in some compositions are somewhat tiring. Therefore, at the moment I like the new disc a little less than the previous one, but it still "catches", and with each listening it gets stronger. Among the best pieces here, along with the aforementioned "La Luccicanza" and "Non Dire No", I would include the brilliant "Supermercato" with a gorgeous ending played by a whole ensemble of musicians playing wind and strings. These people are mostly guests. And once again I will say about the concluding track "Non Dire No" - you will not find anything like it in releases by Soft Machine, National Health or Hatfield and the North - this is a very beautiful, tender, sad and lyrical song in the form of a waltz, very Italian in spirit. Summary: The album "Andiamo in giro di notte e ci consumiamo nel fuoco" is excellent, one of the candidates for the title of the best in 2020!

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 Moonmadness (Dance of the Spirit) by ENINE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.64 | 2 ratings

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Moonmadness (Dance of the Spirit)
Enine Crossover Prog

Review by felonafan

5 stars Today the "trademark release" of Enine is the debut studio full-length album "The Great Silent", released in 2018 by the Moscow label ArtBeat Music. But about two and a half years have passed since the release of this beautiful disc! During this time, the collective has released several singles that "marked" the movement of the ensemble towards world music. Now the musicians began to call their style "shaman prog", and this is no coincidence. "Moonmadness" is a "special case". This single released early this Autumn. The style is different from the "path" that the band has followed in recent years. Perhaps that is why, according to the press release, this single will not be included in the ensemble's upcoming second studio full-length album. In "Moonmadness" world music elements are almost absent, and the space rock/symphonic prog guitar and keyboard interplays dominate. Musical events in the composition change many times, an ending is unexpected, and the feeling of anxiety and mystery remains all the time. Bass, keys (mainly with organ sounding), or electric guitar come to the fore from time to time. Listening to "Moonmadness" is like making a trip to the secret branches of the Cosmos, either in your own soul, or somewhere else. After multiple "listens" this track grows on me. I can add that the composition is almost perfectly recorded and mixed. The single reveals new facets of the talents of Enine's musicians. Highly recommended!

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 The Man Whose Wings Were Cut Off by ROZ VITALIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.94 | 7 ratings

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The Man Whose Wings Were Cut Off
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Devolvator

5 stars Despite the fact that the recording of the new single of incomparable ROZ VITALIS took a long time, this work turned out to be very atmospheric and intense. It is pleasant to realize that the ensemble, having developed its own corporate style, in which it has been moving for the last 10 years, has not changed its trajectory. Roz Vitalis every year stride through the world of progressive music with increasingly dense and dark steps. The group not only did not exhaust own powers, but began to sound much more voluminous and multi-layered, which speaks of the great contribution of each musician as a whole. Music has become much less avant-garde (like the earliest albums of Roz Vitalis), much more influence of the classics of the genre has appeared, which is highly appreciated by the leader himself Ivan Rozmainsky. These over 6 minutes, I am sure of this, will give the listener a particle of an ocean of musical thought and saturated quiet energy. For newcomers, the style of the group may not be so simple. For a more comfortable understanding of music, the term "quiet power" should be used. When the music does not cover you with a flurry of energy but goes to the very center of your soul, where it opens like a rose.

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 Panther by PAIN OF SALVATION album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 138 ratings

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Panther
Pain Of Salvation Progressive Metal

Review by Devolvator

4 stars Actually "Pain of Symphony". How can you describe the emotions you hear? It's as if the crumbly potatoes have learned to roar like an old lion. Let's get serious now! They still have courage and good shape, despite the fact that the group is 31 years old! Oh gods, why do they still exist? After all, everything has already been written and played 15-20 years ago! However, there is something to listen to, although we understand the lack of novelty. But let's be honest: after all, people should do something if they still have energy and talent! And I have no moral right to criticize them for their habit of writing records. There is still a lot of anger and unbroken teeth in Daniel Gildenlöw, but this anger is more theatrical than not. The voice has undoubtedly become quieter, and this fact is carefully hidden by expensive mixing. Among the shortcomings: the integrity of the songs is very lame, and sometimes there is a feeling that the musicians are trying to outmatch themselves, which is in vain. However, melodicism has never been a strong point of POS. There is a feeling as if Opeth of the early 2000s strongly "simulate" Gentle Giant, only with the addition of flamenco and synthesizers. Delighted with the sublime sadness of Daniel's voice and the still unforgotten feeling of flight, which is so vividly revealed in the composition titled "Wait". Although the drums still run chaotically and randomly (which POS has always had), this is their trademark, but this is for "big fans". In general, the melody of the song is original and seems to emerge from various musical moves together. "Keen To a Fault" is also pleasantly drawn into a whirlwind of sounds, where you can recognize the old battle vocal cry from Gildenlöw, as if rushing from the heights. Together with the characteristic "behindhand" drums. This whole atmosphere is permeated with atypical acoustic guitars at the ready with a heavy component. And the alternative "smash-hit" titled "Panther", in which Dan deftly gets involved in heavy hip-hop, diluting it with something similar to the work of the Norwegian Gazpacho. Not to say that this is a successful opus, but it is easily recognized and listened to in one breath. It is not boring. Well, and the uncompromising "Species", where the young brutal Pain Of Salvation suddenly hits the ears, with powerful screens of depressing and falling overloads of guitars. Yes, the melody is absent in the album as a class, but there are no boring and mediocre tracks. They put everything on the line for the originality of the moves, realizing that they apparently had nothing more to bet on. Perhaps these old dogs are no longer so strong and evil, but they are too smart and resourceful to make it clear to the listeners. The technical side is perfect. If you are not afraid to constantly switch your consciousness from one move to another, then listen to this album in full. And not an ounce of fatigue, although this feeling is more likely the result of many hours of studio work, rather than a suddenly opened "second wind". Do you want the truth?! Pain Of Salvation's music is still complex, heavy and non-trivial, just like before! It's just that now the listeners need to find the edges of the musicians' talents themselves, and not receive it "on a silver platter", as in the 2000s. This may be the best Neo-Progressive album, but only if you want to.

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 All The Wars by PINEAPPLE THIEF, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 191 ratings

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All The Wars
The Pineapple Thief Crossover Prog

Review by Devolvator

5 stars Album titled "All The Wars" (2012) by The Pineapple Thief, came out not so unambiguous. This is probably because the band was busy touring and the musicians didn't have enough time to write more stuff. The disadvantage of the album, in my opinion, is the excessive "diversity" of the compositions. And the ballad component, alas, is not the strongest side of the Thief. But when it comes to powerful tracks, the band has refined its sound again and added depth to the once raw and deliberately primitivistic sound. The keyboards also became brighter (they were always there, they just seemed to have grown from this album). And of course the vocals of Bruce Soord from this album blossomed with bright colors and still does not fade. He can rightfully be called the new Robert Plant from the neo-progressive scene, with a guitar skill that rivals David Gilmour, only unlike Dave, who has a more raw, grungy approach. In any case, these qualities in one person are a real gift for connoisseurs. There are two tracks to focus on. One such subtle masterpiece is "Someone Pull Me Out", with its airy, flying harmonies and paranoid intro. And of course "Reaching Out" is a 10 minute masterpiece, which is perhaps the best composition of the group. A magnificent thin and soulful voice, coupled with symphonic arrangements, turning into a harsh meditative psychedelic and ending with a powerful hysterical guitar explosion. All of the above is superbly combined and perfectly executed, because in any approach the group is much more competent than its "older brothers". And, as always, a beautiful album cover.

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 Islands by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.01 | 99 ratings

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Islands
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Devolvator

4 stars "Fantasy tangerine" keyboard landscapes are forever behind!" But the blues crunchy guitar tunes intensified. Complex, sometimes unnecessary, but this is the nature of the most sophisticated and multifaceted neo-progressive group titled The Flower Kings. It is not clear what was the reason, but two double albums in 2 years are a titanic success. While both records are great! Since 2012 - from the album "Banks of Eden" (which your humble servant considers one of the three strongest releases by TFK) - a strong bias towards a powerful guitar sound has been taken, which has benefited the musicians. And the last record to date is no exception. The music is still full of optimism and unrestrained fantasies of Roine Stolt, only with a different approach. The album is imbued with morning mood and layered guitar landscapes, and is very suitable for displaying large-scale scenes that are literally "off the ground". This time the music, almost devoid of sharp jumps, rather resembles the transition from "hill to river". The main drawback of the album (although more likely the last 10 years) is the vocalist's somewhat worn out: the voice has become too quiet and almost devoid of past emotions. Years are felt in it, which is depressing, given the general "pacifying" canvas of the group. It is still difficult for me to choose the highlight, because in fact all tracks are insanely interesting. So, "From The Ground" is a good example of a classic TFK with all their soaring chants and "widescreen bridges". Morning News is a fun, almost Christmas "connective tissue" between powerful album hits. Its initial simplicity is deceptive, and very soon it turns into sublime sadness, which culminates in a virtuoso and rather dynamic "Broken". And, in general, the whole album is incredibly good, the material is of the highest quality, despite the rather spoiled vocals. Perhaps the only miss is "Tangerine". Hey guys! You shouldn't write silly songs with a lack of melody and integrity. Perhaps, only it completely falls out of the album - and indeed not in the spirit of The Flower Kings. Everything else is better just to listen, because I will not have enough nerves to describe 2 discs, superbly played and complex pieces, as well as your desire to read all this! In any case, the dying world of the neo-progressive is still tapping out of the grave, and in this case, it broadcasts from it quite confidently and beautifully. True, no one knows how much of this is left ...

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 How Do We Want To Live? by LONG DISTANCE CALLING album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.04 | 38 ratings

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How Do We Want To Live?
Long Distance Calling Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Devolvator

5 stars It is still gloomy, aspiring and powerful! In spite of very slight softening of the sound, the listeners still have the same incredible Long Distance Calling as 10 years ago. Everything is in the best canons, well, almost everything. The auxiliary two-part composition is very reminiscent of the refined early Porcupine Tree of the "Up The Downstairs" era with its long "walking" rhythms and monotonous urban guitar chords. The strings are still "crunchy minor", and this has been unchanged since the beginning of the band's existence. Hazard with her sci-fi color and changing tempo. Immunity is the most impressive thing on the album as reflects both the characteristic scale and the classic "acceleration uphill" for the band, seasoned with hopelessly depressive syncopations and repetitive riffs. In general, we have an excellent recording, not inferior to the previous opuses of the group, if not for one thing. The disc is very much reminiscent of the Porcupine Tree of the early 90s: the albums "Up the Downstairs" and "Sky Moves Sideways". Feeling like you've heard it all before. But this is not a flaw in the album, but rather a direct reference to the legislators of the genre. It's just that until today, Long Distance Calling had a more unique vector. Now they have maximized and modernized the style set by the records that existed long before LDC. This can hardly be considered an omission, perhaps a kind of suppression of the lack of fresh ideas by the resurrection of old traditions. Moreover, the recording material is still at its best.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.30 | 1580 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Devolvator

5 stars "The Dark Side Of The Moon" level album. To date, the pinnacle of Steven Wilson's tremendous creative journey. Unfortunately, the last album leaves much to be desired, and the freshest opuses are hardly worthy of any attention at all. Heavy, airy, powerful, energetic, dirty, crystal-clear, rough, melodic, beautiful, scary, splendid, ugly. Probably, any epithets can be balanced in it, despite the fact that this is a dense conceptual canvas. Shake, this is the pinnacle beyond which neither Steve nor neo-progressive in general will ever rise. In terms of scope and beauty, it simply has no competitors. The recording dates back to 2015, and here we are talking about a woman found dead in her own apartment, but not just dead, but forgotten, in front of the TV on. As the booklet says, the story was real. The album rather resembles a person's diaries, his routine experiences, both adolescent and mature. Steve shows himself as a poet of the highest quality and as a conceptual artist, touching on the problems of abandonment and alienation in the modern world. Absorption of a routine that interferes with development and self-improvement. The main line is the author's worries about his unrealized human potential, and the second side is short human memory. The ability of people to forget quickly those who were once near. The voice is in great shape and the lyrics blend perfectly with incredible and non-trivial music. Which is revealed in ALL facets: from heavy metal to airy, almost intangible angelic chants, coupled with a huge palette of musical instruments. From acoustic guitars to hard syncopated metalized drums. Everything is extremely incredible and laconic, and does not contain a single passing note, let alone a composition. What I love Steven Wilson for is his humanity and ability to turn a rather soulless and cold direction into something clear and tangible, while not slipping into the vulgarity of "commonplaces". Isn't this genius? To describe each track, whole notebooks are needed, and it is better to hear everything yourself. But you can dwell on the basic. The leitmotif of the album can be considered "Perfect Life", which is absolutely not like anything at all, but it contains a simple and terrible thought: "Each of us has our own Perfect Life", and we are the creators of our alienation. Towards the end of the song, the chorus of "We Have Got a Perfect Life" grows into a huge number of voices, as if every one of hundreds of people is in this "perfect" state. This is the very creepy "Perfect Imperfect", catching everyone in their chains and forcing them to forget about everything and everyone. First, opera singer Ninet Tayeb testifies in a cold voice about her dead and forgotten sister. And it is no coincidence in the phrase "Hand. Cannot. Erase." after each word a dot - it turns out that life and destiny can be deleted from our consciousness, because each of us has our own perfect life. Well, the composition "Transience", in strength and beauty, is incomparable with anything, except perhaps with the best albums of the 70s. Powerful, tragic, eerie, majestic. This is a whole rock opera in 12 minutes, which reflects a whole universe of ideas and styles. Well, the ending of the album "Happy Returns", Merry Christmas. An unsent letter found near the deceased. However, no matter how I describe this album, all the metaphors pale in comparison with the original source. Better to hear it once. p.s. We have got, we have got a perfect life...

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