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Matthew Parmenter Horror Express album cover
3.69 | 92 ratings | 9 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In the Dark (9:22)
2. O Cesare (3:41)
3. Escape into the Future (4:47)
4. Kaiju (3:51)
5. Snug Bottom Flute and Starveling (3:41)
6. Golden Child (3:51)
7. Monsters from the Id (7:53)
8. Polly New (10:07)
9. All Done (Horror Express) (7:19)
10. The Cutting Room (5:41)

Total Time 60:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Parmenter / vocals, performer, composer, producer, recording & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Ryan Parmenter

CD Strung Out Records ‎- SOR 6806 (2008, US)

Digital album

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MATTHEW PARMENTER Horror Express ratings distribution

(92 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MATTHEW PARMENTER Horror Express reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Four years in making, 'Horror Express' differs a lot from ANY Prog album of today. Prog-Metal/Modern- Prog tendencies? None. Retro-Prog filled with cliches and filler in order to reach 79 min of playing time? Wrong again. Best DISCIPLINE traditions combined with singer-songwriter attitude? You've hit it!!!

Starting from 'In the Dark', album carries you into Darkness just like that express mentioned in the title. 'In the Dark' is easily the best song on the whole record, just like 'Now' was on 'Astray' - dark, sincere, dramatic and epic. Then shorter songs follow, from utterly dark 'O Cesare' to unusually poppish 'Escape into the Future', with 3 instrumentals following each other, different in moods and tempo, sounding just like sections of a certain trilogy. 'Monsters from the Id', piano-driven killer, changes to 'Polly New', disturbing and sinister epic. 'All Done' is a future classic, another track that can be compared with best DISCIPLINE pieces, is a pre-last one. 'The Cutting Room', nervous and biting instrumental, ends this close-to-masterpiece album.

Matthew has grown in terms of songwriting; I mean, this is the closest thing to singer-songwriter stuff I heard from him. Some Dark Folk thrown in instead of Psychedelic/Blues influences that were on 'Astray', but I don't think Matthew cares for tags to pigeonhole his music. One of the best Prog releases from this year so far, 'Horror Express' is dark and moody. Don't dare to miss it! Highly recommended

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Horror Express" is yet another manifestation of Matthew Parmenter's art-rock genius, and mostly, a particular highlight in the world of prog rock for this year 2008. The album's title is not misleading at all, and neither is the album cover, with that disturbing picture of a giant alien emerging in the darkness of night among skyscrapers massively on fire: this repertoire seems to have been created, arranged and performed to explore humankind's deepest fears as they materialize in the real world. There is definitely some relatedness with the darkest side of Discipline (especially the brilliant sophomore album "Unfolded Like Staircase"), but it is also clear that Parmenter didn't intend to see himself as some substitute of the band in itself. The album is heavily dominated by piano, also featuring plenty of vintage synth sounds (Moog, Theremin) and mellotron: these are the most recurrent sonic sources in the instrumentation, but never getting tiresome. The 9+ minute long opener 'In the Dark' sets the mood quite right, an indication of the overall motivation stated by the repertoire as a whole: uneasy darkness, sense of mystery, abundance of textures, clever use of monotony. The first lines are somehow humorous with those handclaps and playful backing vocals, but the song is genuinely creepy. There is a lyrical moment that states a mixture of early solo Hammill and late 60s Procol Harum - a great opener, indeed. 'O Cesare' sounds like a leftover from an Art Bears album retraced with a set of Landberk-inspired arrangements, and engineered by the producer of Hammill's "The Silent Corner". Parmenter really shines in his softly demented vocal deliveries (including flowing falsettos), as well as the sinister violin phrases. It is as long as 3 ¾ minutes, but more than enough to leave a mark in the listener's mind. 'Escape Into the Future' bears a lighter mood, bringing a more explicitly articulated scheme that is somehow related to the avant side of Brit-pop: the use of unusual rhythmic patterns in some passages and the eerie use of synths keep this track from inconveniently getting too poppy. 'Kaiju' brings back the darkness, even enhancing the density inherent to terror: there is a sad mood to it, like a moment of nostalgic evocation in a creepy environment. Univers Zero-style violin and cello dominate the instrumental framework, which also includes some guitar ornaments that partially emulate the Frippertronics. 'Snug Bottom Flute and Starveling' is another instrumental excursion, this time more extroverted while not devoid of tension: it is a progressive feast as a sort of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic-meets- Univers Zero. 'Golden Child' (almost totally instrumental) sounds like a "Vandergraffized" Radiohead. 'Monsters from the Id' pursues the continuity of stylized horror initiated with 'Kaiju', bringing familiar airs of 72-74 Hammill, unmistakable really. The 10 minute long 'Polly New' is the longest track in the album. This track keeps loyal to the general environment of terror and mystery, but definitely the allusions to psychedelic-era Beatles in the rhythm pace and piano chords helps to light up the mood a bit. Still, the possibility for disturbance is never denied, and so the mellotron emulations of string ensemble and choir get in through some specific passages. When things speed up, the variations state a momentary increase of the dramatic potential before settling in for a slower pacer: from there onwards, a sense of introspective desolation prevails in a very Hammillesque fashion. 'All Done (Horror Express)' almost sounds like a continuation of the preceding track, even reinforcing the aura of solitude. The lyrics are menacing (referring to a job done) but the mood seems more connected to the protagonist's inner self than to the aforesaid job. The mood makes an explosive shift to a sustained crescendo whose climax is transformed into an intensified retake of the sung portion. 'The Cutting Room' closes down the album with a sense of splendorous bleakness: closer to Univers Zero and Present than to VdGG or Peter Hammill, this is actually the liveliest piece in the album, as if it claimed a grand finale for this excursion of progressive terror. The slightly space-infected Anglagard-type finale brings a mechaneic feel to the eerie creepiness that goes on flowing like a recurring nightmare. Matthew Parmenter's genius has found a definitive expression in this amazing album.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I was taken back a little when I heard Matthew's vocals on the first track, I thought he had Peter Hammill guesting on it. It's not just Hammill's voice he's channeling here though it's the lyrics. Simply put they are brilliant, especially on the song Polly New, but throughout this record. I really like the album cover as well. Matthew thanks a lot of people individually and alphabetically in the liner notes. So he thanks each member of ANEKDOTEN as well as TILES'' Jeff Whittle for letting him use his bass guitars. He thanks the father and son team of PRESENT and many others. Yes this is dark as all Parmenter related projects (DISCIPLINE) tend to be. Piano and vocals dominate.

"In The Dark" is the over 9 minute opener where you would think Hammill is singing. The piano is dark and the sound is reserved although it does get fuller. "O Cesare" features piano and theatrical vocals.Violin after a minute and some mellotron too. Drums and vocal melodies create a great sound 3 minutes in. "Escape Into The Future" could be a PHIDEAUX song. Oh he does thank Xavier in the liner notes as well. The focus is on the vocals on this mid paced catchy track. "Kaiju" is dark and almost spacey. Violin before 2 1/2 minutes. "Snug Bottom Flute And Starveling" is fairly uptempo at the beginning and the ending. In between it's calm with piano. "Golden Child" features reserved vocals,bass, piano and light drums. Guitar after 2 minutes. Great sound.

"Monsters From The Id" opens with the sound of a monster. Reserved vocals and piano follow. It's dark. Tempo picks up after 4 1/2 minutes with organ. Vocals are back 6 minutes in as it settles right down. The organ is back. "Polly New" has such thoughtful lyrics. I just like to read them. Mellotron and full sound hit us right off the hop. A piano / drum interlude comes in after 3 1/2 minutes. Vocals are back a minute later.The ending is dark and intense. "All Done (Horror Express)" opens with piano and reserved vocals. Drums after 4 minutes and a full sound follows. It settles again. "The Cutting Room" has some theremin in it, yes those spacey "Lost In Space" sounds. This one has a really VDGG feel to it other then the threremin.

Tough not to give this 4 stars but i'm just not really into it yet so i'm going to continue to listen.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For his second solo album, Horror Express, Mathew Parmenter has in his own words produced "a collection of musical nightmares masquerading as a horror film". He plays all the instruments with the exception of some of the drumming. Being the vocalist/keyboard player with USA Proggers Discipline it's no surprise that Horror Express is a heavily keyboard driven album with much use being made of acoustic piano.

The music fits the album title perfectly, the notes and chord structures having a melancholy and gloomy feel throughout the album with some suitably dramatic vocal work, Parmenter coming across sounding like Peter Hamill at times, most notably on album opener In The Dark, 9 minutes of suitably atmospheric and gothic piano driven music.

The music in general is not overly complex with simple drum work, in part no doubt down to the fact that Parmenter does some of the drumming himself but it's totally in keeping with the overall vibe of the album, much of it at a slow tempo conjuring up a funeral march feel.

It's not all acoustic piano based though as on the synth driven and slightly more upbeat Escape Into The Future though it turns out to be one of the least satisfying pieces on the album. Kaiju, an instrumental makes good use of haunting Violin and Cello to add to the feel of doom and gloom. Not an album to cheer you up then but the music does have a haunting beauty much of the time, none more so than on Golden Child which has a bit of a Radiohead vibe about it in their more melancholy moments.

Monsters From The ID turns out to a favourite of mine, starting out as more slow tempo piano based gothic horror before picking up for an organ driven mid song section.

Polly New has a fuller sound with a lot more going on musically than on most tracks with a greater array of instrumentation. It's also one of the more dynamic pieces and the 10 minute length is made use of for some interesting changes. Van Der Graaf Generator particularly spring to mind here in places.

Another particularly haunting melody is All Done (Horror Express), starting off with piano and vocals only, it builds dramatically with some fittingly over the top screeching vocals towards the end.

Overall Horror Express is a very good album though the prevailing mood starts to wear a bit thin towards the end but then it is in keeping with the concept of the album so in that sense works very well. Fans of Discipline will no doubt want to check it out and also recommended to fans of Van Der Graaf Generator. 3 ½ stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first time I heard this I though mr. Parmenter had unearthed a long lost gem from Peter Hammill's golden era. Usually such a blind devotion and tribute to one artist makes me turn away quite quickly but this one has won me over in no time.

Main reason is the very consistent quality and artistic vision on this album. Parmenter proves himself not only a songmaster but also a master in execution and instrumentation. The basis is laid by his dramatic and sensitive piano playing. No great gestures but strongly contained emotion that bursts out in gulps but only at the exact moment when they're needed.

Parmenter does really well in mimicking Hammils vocals style. His voice is a bit more gentle, a bit smoother and less exuberant as Hammill's. But not lacking in expressivity and tunefulness.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Matthew Parmenter of DISCIPLINE fame continues his theatrical musical expression in the same vein of PETER HAMMILL though, in this listener's opinion, Matthew does it better. Unfortunately, Peter did it first, so the comparisons will never end for the uber-talented Parmenter.

The instrumental formulae for Matthew's music is often so simple, and the song structures seem also rather predictable, but it's the performance--the power of the instruments' performances, the power of the incidentals, and, ultimately, the unquestioned power and stylings of the vocalist that make (or, at least, should make) Matthew Parmenter a superstar in the prog world.

Favorite songs: "In the Dark" (9:22) (9/10) and the beautiful, Japanese-tinged instrumental, "Kaiju" (3:52) (9/10).

Review by Warthur
4 stars Matthew Parmenter continues to impress with his multi-instrumentalist chops on Horror Express. Musically speaking, it's a lot like his last album in that it's essentially Parmenter advancing the Discipline sound by himself; that means a lot of influence from Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill, smoothed out with a range of other symphonic and neo-prog influences and combined with the theatricality of Gabriel-era Genesis. Parmenter impresses with the range of instruments he masters over the course of the album, whilst the subject matter of the songs remains as dark and troubling as we've come to expect from the spooky mime of prog.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Four years passed between Astray and Horror Express release. In this new album, Matthew Parmenter execute, compose and interpret all the instruments, except the drums. In the dark, the opening track, immediately remember us the Peter Hammill“s voice and his penetrating style. Accompanied of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#190579) | Posted by Usulprog | Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars OK, 'Horror express'! What is this going to be??!! Well, Matthew had stated that the next CD would be slightly different to the 'Astray' album and he was not wrong! This new set of songs is a lot more varied in style than anything he has done by himself or with Discipline. Not to say that is a b ... (read more)

Report this review (#172923) | Posted by transend | Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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