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ROMANTIC WARRIORS: A PROGRESSIVE MUSIC SAGA

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3.90 | 15 ratings | 9 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2010

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1. Romantic Warriors: A documentary film by Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder

95 minutes

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Featuring:

- Cabezas De Cera
- Cheer-Accident
- Deluge Grander
- D.F.A.
- Gary Green of Gentle Giant
- Karmakanic
- La Maschera Di Cera
- Oblivion Sun
- Paul Sears of The Muffins
- Phideaux
- Qui
- Rob Martino
- Roine Stolt
- Gentle Giant

Releases information

DVD: Zeitgeist Media
Available here: http://www.progdocs.com/ProgDocs/ProgDocs.html
All/NTSC
Picture 16:9, Sound 2.0 Stereo
Language: English

Thanks to finnforest for the addition
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga ratings distribution


3.90
(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
67%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Superb documentary on the contemporary progressive scene

"Romantic Warriors" is a film I jumped on the second I found out about in the forums of ProgArchives. Finally, someone took the time to recognize and document the current day progressive rock scene. As filmmakers Adele Schmidt & José Zegarra Holder make abundantly clear, there is a ton of great progressive music out there right now, as much as there ever was. The problem is the music business among other distribution and media issues, and the fact that so many fans of progressive rock are still captivated by the 1970s. Of course the 70s remain the zenith for many fans but the film argues we have to put away our old faves from time to time and discover the current bands pushing the boundaries.

This high quality feature length documentary features the following bands:

-Cabezas De Cera -Cheer Accident -Deluge Grander -D.F.A. -Gary Green of Gentle Giant -Karmakanic -La Maschera Di Cera -Oblivion Sun -Paul Sears of The Muffins -Phideaux -Qui -Rob Martino -Roine Stolt -Gentle Giant

All of the artists are interviewed for their thoughts on their music and on the future of the progressive scene, as well as what it means to be a band in this competitive environment. We get rare live footage of them at the various East Coast USA prog festivals. These festivals and their fans and promoters are also stars of the show, giving their insights on the music and how they fight to keep the scene alive in the age of a brain-dead media. Prog rock insiders are also interviewed like the legendary owner of Orion Studios and the guys at Cuneiform Records, among others. (Sorry to those I left out, I wasn't taking notes for this review, I was too busy jamming to live DFA!) This is a documentary and not a live concert DVD, so keep in mind the live clips are fairly short and the narrative keeps interrupting the music. The live moments are the highlight for me but there are not complete songs here. Had the DVD come with full performance clips of the songs included as extras it would have been the icing on the prog cake.

The highlight for this writer was getting intimate and close-up looks at bands I admire very much, like Dan Britton and Deluge Grander. It was fantastic to see how he put together their last album and then see it played live. Equally delicious was the chance to see live performances, albeit much too brief, by Italian gems DFA and La Maschera De Cera. The obvious joy of Cabezas De Cera was captivating as was hearing Phideaux interviewed and seeing them perform. (Phideaux, when are we going to get a high quality live DVD?) The only sad part was seeing the small turnouts for some of the prog festivals, which in a just world would be drawing more fans than Taylor Swift. Then again, the world is not just and we are lucky to have these great bands willing to go to great lengths to be there for us, in a time and place where being a prog-rock musician is not exactly lucrative.

Many documentary films have been made about the 70s giants. This one about the current scene is very special and absolutely essential viewing to anyone who loves modern progressive rock and wants some insight into how it is surviving in this age. Very highly recommended - get it here: http://www.progdocs.com/ProgDocs/ProgDocs.html

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#287631) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the heyday of the genre in the 70's, progressive rock has from the latter part of the decade and onwards been something of an underground phenomenon, mythical to the point of being mystical and for the most part being ignored by the music industry at large.

But from the 1990's, especially after the internet started to become a natural part of most households in the western world, the genre has slowly and steadily grown in popularity. Still underground and very much a cult phenomenon, but the rise in interest has been steady and noticeable nontheless.

With "Romantic Warriors" US company Zeitgeist Media seeks to document this phenomenon, at least to some extent. The movie opens with a brief overview of the genre development in various parts of the world, but then opts to focus their attention on certain events in their own backyard. Wisely enough, as I suspect a great part of their target audience will be people living there and it will be the easiest market segment for them to reach.

What we're served here is a brief glimpse into the contemporary world of progressive rock, as experienced by promoters, arrangers and musicians active or performing in North-Eastern USA. Orion Studios gets most of the attention, as their efforts for the genre to some extent instigated what is referred to as the festival scene in that part of the USA. Legendary mail order company and record label Cuneiform Records are given the opportunity to present themselves as well, and among the handful or so of major websites supporting the genre Progressive Ears has been chosen as the place to spotlight on this occasion, albeit briefly.

Still the main focus is on Orion Studios, and following a brief visit to ROSfest the movie concentrates on Progday and Nearfest. But rather than documenting those festivals and the scene as such, volunteers and artists are given ample opportunities to reflect upon progressive rock as a genre, to present a bit of their own history and to reflect upon the status of the present day scene. The aim of this film seems to be to present those glimpses as a kind of a status report on the scene today, with most screen time given to local newcomers Deluge Grander and the more renowned and established act Cheer-Accident, filled in by comments other artists from the US and the rest of the world.

There's no real message presented in this documentary, and the film-makers doesn't seem to want to present us to any conclusions either. No questions are asked as to why the genre is an underground phenomenon, and there are no hidden messages or agendas that are taken up either. This is a purebred documentary, where the producers have given people involved in the scene the possibility to talk rather freely.

And therein lies the main weakness and strength of this movie. Those who enjoy critical documentaries seeking to find answers as to why the world - or at least a part of it - works as it does won't find much here to fulfil their needs in that department.

But those who enjoy a documentary where the main aim is to document, who enjoy looking at snapshots from a part of the world reflecting what it's like there and then, those people are in luck with this creation. Enjoying progressive rock in it's various guises is most certainly an advantage, but I'd think that quite a few people without an interest in this scene as such might also want to see this film.

The producers might also want to peddle this one to television stations interested in and known for buying documentary flicks. I'd guess that many European networks, and in particular those who are still partially or wholly owned by the government, might be a target audience there.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#288976) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 03, 2010

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Romantic Warriors is a DVD that arrived in the year 2010. I must acknowledge having been aware of the production of this DVD for some time now; I became aware of it in January 2010 through Cheer-Accidents webpage, which linked to the old youtube clip. It was with much joy that I opened the envelope that contained the DVD a few months later and put the disc in my DVD player.

To me, this DVD was like a breath of fresh air. Where I live, there isn't a very large community of progressive listeners, nor are there any notable prog festivals. And although I keep hoping, none of the prog acts that I am interested have made it here since I have been in a financial situation where I could afford to see them live. So in short, my connection to the prog community has mostly been through the wires of the internet, through websites such as this one.

In the East Coast of the USA, the story is just a little bit different. Three major prog festivals occur there each year (Progday, NEARFest, and ROSFest), each of which is covered to some extent in this documentary. As well, there is Orion Studios, and record labels such as Cuneiform. Being welcomed into this world for the price tag of the DVD, including many heartfelt commentaries by bands, festival producers, and even people involved in the music industry other ways (such as those working on music technology for computers) truly gave me a sense of the prog scene as something that was alive, that people were truly passionate about.

The DVD really does a brilliant job of bringing this scene to life, and if like me you live in an area where you are not geographically connected to the prog community, this is a very rare treat. (I know I thought it was really cool seeing the Cuneiform guys taking CDs off the shelf and putting them in boxes - I was thinking - I've ordered music from these guys! So that's where they come from!)

But that's not the only treat of this album. The live performances by the bands presented are quite thrilling. I was impressed, in particular, by Cabezas de Cera, DFA, and Maschera di Cera, whom I had not heard before. It was also quite a joy to see Phideaux, Deluge Grander, and Cheer-Accident performing live, each of which are bands from the modern era that I am quite interested in. I am convinced that I must find a way to see Deluge Grander live, for they sounded magnificent live - if the live performances that the footage from this film were pulled from were released, I know I would purchase it. The only downside with the live performances on this disc were that, due to the format of the documentary, no complete songs were played. This does not mean that the emotion of the band was not captured - for example, watching Dan Britton (again of Deluge Grander) playing The Solitude of Miranda on guitar was quite breathtaking.

There are even some moments in this DVD that made me laugh - such as when Dan was complaining about how difficult for new artists to compete with re-releases of the '70s masters (I had never thought about that), or Roine Solt conveying how odd it is when fans dance to his music.

Ultimately, to any who are lovers of this wonderful genre of music, particularly those interested not only in the past masters but those who are carrying the torch today and the direction that the genre is facing, and the passion of those in the underground scene, this DVD is an excellent item to own.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#289300) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 05, 2010

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Almost a Rockumentary on DVD, Romantic Warriors is a reportage depicting one the most lively scene, the centre of the Prog revival in the new world, the North East cost of the us, between North Carolina and Connecticut. Indeed as Zeitgeist Media implies, there is some 150 million people within a few hours' drive, and this lets whatever few progheads there are in that region within reach of each other. Over four festival are held yearly in that region, (and Montreal's FMPM within reach until recently), but in seems to point at Baltimore (and its Orion studio/club) as its gravitational centre and the creativity that comes from the different actors/players running into each other and having labels, specialised press, studios and rehearsal space at proximity. It's also pretty nice to put a face on forum names

A flew inaccuracies are spread, most notably in the maps that are developed in the first chapter, mixing Savatage, Fates Warning and Queensryche with the 70's time frame for North America and most of the list of 80's & 90's Japan groups also featured in that time frame, something so big that most expert would even qualify as "anachronologism" or the Eastern European scene's dates, Asia Minor's time frame, etc?. It's almost nitpicking, but if you're going to attempt such a history, it would be nice to be more rigorous. In the same mould, Martino's interview is maybe a bit too pedantic and not always on the spot (the computer supposedly playing mellotron, but sounding like a Hammond), but it is relatively quickly forgiven, because there are many interesting moments, including French festival footage or Japanese record stores.

One of the nice surprises is the choice of bands the documentary chose to feature, including Gentle Giant and The Muffins (to satisfy the old wavers), but Italian, Mexican, Swedish groups (can't escape the hyper-active Zuffanti and Stolt), even if understandably the majority are newer US artistes (DG's Megan's voice sounds like she's heard Dagmar Krause's style) that are equally deserving and it made me discover a few bands I won't fail to investigate further.

Obviously, the object of this DVD is to open the eyes of the outsiders of the prog current, but this will be mostly hitting the usual proghead crowd, and therefore might appear to some as a self-satisfecit, but who gives a damn, it feels good to the actors of the prog scene in question and might just be informative to other progscenes on the planet. Not essential viewing, IMHO (it's not like it's bringing something brand new to old progheads), but a pleasant and heart-warming film. Viewing Romantic Warriors almost gives you the envy to move over on the east coast and be part of the scene, even if only fitting-in as a spectator in the mostly greying beer-bellyed male audiences and become part of the Last Mohicans tribe.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#289709) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 09, 2010

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder have released a 95 minutes documentary that features several prog rock bands and label/studio owners. This is not so much a story of current progressive rock, as it a small survey of several bands and the USA North East coast fests. The Film features these bands and musicians and their take on Prog Rock, how they deal with the struggle to create and release music and their attempts to reach the fans of the genre.

The bands/musicians featured are: Cabezas De Cera, Deluge Grander, Cheer Accident, La Maschera Di Cera, D.F.A, Karmakanic, Oblivion Sun, Qui, Gentle Giant, Rob Martino, Gary Green, Phideaux, Roine Stolt, Paul Sears.

It's great seeing the shows and performances by Deluge Grander, D.F.A., Cabezas De Cera and the rest of the bands; it makes you want to attend these shows and be part of the scene and experience the atmosphere and spirit of these events.

There are some very interesting insights from the musicians on their music, how they create it and on Prog Rock in general (Particularly, Rob Martino, Gary Green, Dan Britton, D.F.A, Cabezas De Cera, La Maschera Di Cera) and on the struggles of prog bands (Cheer Accident, Dan Britton, Paul Sears). They also talk about how the prog fests can be a huge boost to the career of these bands. Also, I liked the fact that not only bands are interviewed, but also Mike Potter owner of Orion Studios and Steve Feigenbaum owner of Cuneiform Records and Wayside Mailorder, which give their side of the business. It's fascinating listening to Mike Potter as he guides us through Orion Studios and showing the rehearsal places and the performing stage, while also sharing his view on the current prog scene and the prog fests and how his place offers an alternative to the bigger fests. There are also some Prog fans appearing in the film that give their take on the matters at hand. Cheer Accident gives a good distinction of one of the major clashes in current prog (the so called "Retro-prog" vs. "true" progressive rock), when they say that some bands try to sound as if it's 1975 and others try to genuinely do something progressive with their music.

There is a nice segment describing Prog Rock history, how it came about and developed up until our days (though people will surely debate how accurate and expansive it is).

I didn't sense any strict order to the film; while there were no sections that were devoted to a subject and the movie seems to flow from one band and fest to the other, there were topics that came up and were discussed by several bands/individuals. But there is no sense of a plot moving forwards towards a point. Because there is no real point, as the object of the movie, as I understand it, is to describe a current state of international diverse prog rock and USA North East prog fests; to give prog fans a glimpse into the current prog scene and some of the individuals involved in it. The film is a descriptive movie that strolls around between the people and bands interviewed. It seemed to flow freely between the bands, people and fests featured, alternating between each individual band story or comments. Cabezas De Cera features prominently in the movie, telling about their history and their shows in the USA in 2009 (and there's some footage of these as well), as well as talking about their music. The same goes for Dan Britton of Deluge Grander (and Birds & Buildings) as he describes his past briefly and one of his current bands, Deluge Grander and their albums and their Prog Day show in 2009 (there is footage of that as well as some of the story behind it). Mike Potter does a nice job of showcasing his Orion Studios and what happens there. Steve Feigenbaum shows a bit of his Cuneiform/Wayside operation, how he started in this business and describes a few of his label's releases.

Another issue I have with the film is that there are interesting subjects that come up throughout the movie but those aren't develop and are left as fast as they came up. For instance the question of why is there such an abundance of Prog Fests on the East Coast of the USA (not that the West Coast doesn't have any). There is also the subject of internet prog forums brought up by Paul Sears, and for some reason a huge logo of Progressive Ears appears on screen but no mention of this great website otherwise (nor of any of the other wonderful prog dedicated websites). However, it just ends there and nothing more comes from it. They also go very briefly into Internet illegal downloading, mentioned by Roine Stolt, but again this is immediately dropped (it is mentioned along with Steve Feigenbaum's talk about Cuneiform's low sales and the incessant reissues of old Prog "masters" mentioned by Dan Britton). Another interesting issue that wasn't developed enough was the prog rock radio shows, and two radio hosts were featured, but there was no going further into their story and view of the prog scene and how they act to promote the prog bands. And lastly, the issue of why there seem to be less women who are fans of prog rock. I realize there is a limit to what you can include in the movie, but then I would question why include this short comments to begin with, or why not cut other sections and expand on these. But then again, the film brings up these matters and though it doesn't deal with them (and doesn't intend to), it does plant the idea in the viewer and lets him think of it.

Who is this movie not for? The way I see it, not for people who have no idea about Progressive Rock. Perhaps for those who are interested in getting to know it more, but do have an idea of what it is already. Otherwise it can completely bore them or even discourage them, particularly when hearing DFA saying that you need 20 listens of their album to grasp it and in the meantime you don't listen to anything else.

Who is this movie for? I personally feel It's for people who are connected with the current scene (for instance internet prog forums members and fests partons), people who are fans of the bands appearing on the dvd, people who are interested in seeing and hearing more about progressive rock musicians and promoters and how they struggle to ge their music out there to people who would listen to it.

The bottom message I get here from the bands and musicians is that the music is out there for the potential listeners to look for, to explore and give a shot to the abundance of bands that release progressive music these days. These bands operate mostly underground, so to speak, unknown to the masses and most of them do the work of promoting their music themselves or through their independent labels.

I for one enjoyed the movie (as did my wife) despite its weaknesses and have watched it several times. I enjoyed hearing from the musicians about their music, their struggles, the way they compose, seeing them rehearse and perform. This movie may very well encourage people who are unfamiliar with bands features, to try them out. It may very well entice people to attend one or more of the prog fests in the north east of the USA.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#290632) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is a heart-warming documentary which I recommend without reserve. It has opened my eyes and ears to the vibrancy and excellence of the contemporary prog scene, not only in the U.S. but in countries as far apart as Italy, Sweden and Mexico.

When I was sent this DVD in the post, there was one thing I was looking forward to: finally getting to see Deluge Grander, whose CDs I admire. They are one of the most audacious prog bands from the past few years but don't seem to play a lot of live concerts, so seeing them in action (even if it was only for BITS of various compositions) was a joy, and hearing their leader (Dan Britton) speak proved illuminating as well.

As I'm a somewhat old-fashioned progger with a preference for 1970s bands (and for Anekdoten, Shinsekai, Kenso, Discus and Big Big Train) I'll admit I'd never heard of most of the other bands included here. I was familiar with Gentle Giant, Karmakanic and Phideaux - and that was about it. Imagine my surprise when every single act turned out to be excellent! If you've got friends who still believe prog sounds soulless and hyper-technical, just get them a copy of this DVD and see if it doesn't blown them away. All the acts included seem so passionate, you can tell they're doing all this out of love for music; they're not just posturing; they're virtuosi with a lot of heart, and their music is in excellent taste.

I was particularly struck by Cabezas de Cera (a Mexican trio) and D.F.A. (an Italian ensemble); there can't be anything more exciting or sophisticated out there at the moment! You could tell from their performances they had rehearsed and (probably) performed quite a lot - far more than, for example, Deluge Grander, who seem to limit themselves to recording straight to computer. I mean: all the live music really breathed, and the first thing I now want to do is actually get hold of these incredible bands... I'm also determined to check out Cheer-Accident, La Maschera di Cera and Oblivion Sun, all of whom produce the kind of music that's close to my heart. So, a big THANK YOU to the makers of this DVD, for filming so many first-rate musicians, and for letting them speak to us.

The big question, though, is this: if you buy this DVD, how often will you watch it? Seeing as it doesn't include a single complete recording of any given song (all music continually gets interrupted by bits of interview), in all honesty I don't believe you'll do so more than two or three times at most. As a consequence, it seems reasonable to award ROMANTIC WARRIORS three stars.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#293783) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 08, 2010

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What do you expect more from a progressive music documentary?

Whenever I watched the live DVD of prog bands like Transatlantic, Genesis, ELP, King Crimson, Marillion, The Flower Kings, etc. I always interested with what typically called as 'bonus' material or in some cases 'disc 2' that comprises 'the making of' or 'the stories behind the scenes. To me, that is more interesting to watch than the concert itself. Why? By watching it then I know what is the concept behind the making of the DVD. One of the DVDs that I enjoyed very much on the bonus material was one of the Steve Hackett's ones (I completely forget which title). Sometime the bonus material could improve my appreciation towards the concert or the 'main menu' DVD for example the 'Genesis When In Rome'. The concert did not impress me musically but when I looked at the concept I was amazed then with the DVD despite moderate musical quality due to degrading voice of Phil Collins.

Amazing Progressive Music Documentary

This prog documentary impressed me the first time I got the package. First, I like the artwork that is really wonderful, depicting the progressive nuance and I felt like this is dedicated to me, I felt like I live in the best environment that fits my taste, really! Well, you might say it's simple because it's just a digipak packaging but the meaning of the artwork tells the whole story of progressive music. It's like saying 'Welcome to progressive world mannn?!!!'. It serves like a welcoming speech for the potential watchers. Second, I love the contents of the DVD which really fits with the excellent sub-title: 'A Progressive Music Saga'. Well, of course the main title reminds me to the legendary album by Return to Forever, one of my idols in prog music. Typically, I learned the typically stuff specific to one band only because the DVD was released by that band. But in here I got the whole picture of progressive world.

There are five chapters in the DVD: RoSfest & Prog World Map, Orion Sound Studio, Gentle Giant, ProgDay, NEARfest. Each chapter serves its purpose nicely. Wha surprised me really is the sound quality. Before I played the DVD I thought that the sound would be like a bootleg record. It's not. You will hear most of the footages with excellent sound production.

It's by coincidence that prior to watching this DVD I watched, with my proghead friends, the Rush 'Beyond the Lighted Stage' which is also a documentary of the band. But this RW DVD tells the story about the music that we all love: progressive. Since the opening part of the DVD I already impressed with the narration as well as short speeches by prog musicians starting with DFA about how they made prog music, Phideaux, Cheer- Accident, Roine Stolt. The good thing about having the speeches were the live footage like the concert by Karmakanic demonstrating Roine's guitar solo as well as Jonas Reingold bass-playing. The speech by Mike Potter is also very nice and encouraging as he tells a bit of history about progressive rock history with bands like King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, etc. The other thing interesting is the cast of rooms full with progrock posters. This is something that I really envy because I do NOT have any one of those posters posted beautifully on the wall.

I have seen references of prog music usually on a printed material like books and this is my first time watching a DVD about the music that I really love. One thing very innovative about this DVD is the appearance of progressive world map with its history starting from 1966 with musicians like Jeff Beck, Procol Harum and Moody Blues. None of these musician / bands I have never considered it as prog music but they had strong influence to the development of prog music. The idea of putting the progressive rock history in the forms of map with narration (starting at minute 9:55) is really innovative and brilliant. I cannot imagine how much the effort that has been spent by the movie maker as typically the prog history dealt only with time, not much with 'places' in the world map. The narration while the map is indicated by a blinking light is very good and it's encouraging ? especially for those who were there in late 60s and late seventies.

The story also tells about how prog was dwindled by punk music. But the story goes on with Scandinavian bands as well as US progressive metal. It then continues wth a footage of Prog Day. What is interesting is the interview with prog fans that are typically old men who tried to influence their sons with prog music.

One band that I have never heard before called themselves as Cabezas de Cera. Oh man .. this band is truly amazing! Their music is truly 'out of the box' with wonderful drummer and guitar (sitar?) player plus one in soprano sax. I relay want to have their CD. It must be an amazing record! Another band Deluge Grander is another unique band in symphonic prog scene. They made an excellent footage in this DVD. There is also nice footgae on a prog studio which accommodate prog band to play prog, like Oblivion Sun. The studio opens twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days in a year. It's a nice place to prog! The music of Cheer Accident is also nice, played live as a footage right here as well, plus interview with the band.

The DFA footage is also impressive especially with its song from the 4th album which I also purchased when the band played in Jakarta, Indonesia. The radio broadcaster makes her talks about prog followed then with a footage interview with Roine Stolt, Phideaux (who impressed me that he actually listened to King Crimson 'Red' as well). For theose who have the Gentle Giant on the Box DVD, it may not surprise you because theis one is taken from that DVD. But it's OK to make the full story complete. For those who have not seen the DVD, this is an excellent one especially coupled with Gary Green interview. Funny Way .. oh man .. what a great tune! Yes, you are right Mr Gary Green .. "Prog is timeless!".

The most interesting part of the DVD is the later half as there are many great footages from Prog Day and NEARFest. The Prog Day is an excellent prog vibes while the crowd enjoy the music at an open air, sit and relax while the prog bands play beautiful music. There is also footage from Japan prog record, Poseidon, who has made hundred titles of prog music. The performance its artist named as Qui is really good. The NEARFest footage is also another great entertainment to me as many bands like Deluge Grander, DFA, Cabezas de Cera make their live footages here.

Conclusion

If you expect there is something legendary presented here, like ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Yes, you would regret. This DVD focuses more on prog music nowadays and its future developments. I am amazed with the variety of styles they bands presented here make and most of them (like Cabezas from Mexico) have gone beyond traditional prog boundary. They have pushed the envelope further. But you can see the influences, especially from Gentle Giant, are right here at these bands. And also, of course with bands like Van der Graaf or King Crimson.

I really appreciate the producer who have made this wonderful progressive DVD reference that is very impressive and make the watchers feel confident that prog rock is alive and it's growing, at least musically it's much innovative. Personally, I have never heard bands like Cheer-Accident, Deluge Grander, Cabezas, Qui. But all of them are great bands and I believe they are the future of progressive music. Kudos for Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder. This is a great progressive music DVD! It's a more than 4.5 stars rating! For those of you who claim yourselves as proghead, you must have this! Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#294579) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Today we have a special review? special because it is centered on the documentary "Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga." In reality, the film is more than a documentary; it is above all a labor of love about a type of music that seeks to defy, enrich, and twist the parameters and confines of rock. Such a great love has been necessary to buoy a genre that has seen immense volumes of skepticism, disdain, and lack of respectful attention, both from the directors of the mainstream and from the general public. With this in mind, the pair José Zegarra Holder and Adele Schmidt developed, created, and produced an item so relevant within the progressive contemporary community. In doing so, they have already garnered significant attention from various e-zines, encyclopedias and Internet user collectives. José, a tireless music lover, is the creator and host of Autopoietican, our blog of progressive reviews. Adele, a filmmaker of German descent and a current resident of the United States, already has various documentaries and short films to her credit. Now, she has also developed her own audiovisual interpretation of progressive rock.

José and Adele take extensive interest in that which is innovative and stimulating about art, and together they share their interest with the world. In the case of "Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga," they present viewers with a unique and sophisticated form of rock, the likes of which have never been invented before.

I am not the first to suggest it, but it would not be unwarranted to reiterate that this documentary is not architecturally structured as a rigorous sequence of themes. Rather, it literally documents "that which happens" on the actual progressive scene of the East Coast of the United States (principally the events RoF Festival and NEARFest, just like the concerts at Orion Studios). The documentary performs this task with a relatively fortuitous attitude of presentation, almost as if a microphone was left turned on, ready and waiting to record the specific, necessary and most recurrent of matters that describe the genre. Keeping in mind this approach, it is one of the great successes of "Romantic Warriors" that an aura of closeness is generated between the interviewees and the "anonymous" interviewer. It is a pleasure to bear witness to the rehearsals and American travels of the Mexican ensemble Cabezas De Cera (whose members were practically the kings of NEARFest 2009). Likewise, it is a treat to follow the busy life of Deluge Grander (essentially a studio project) as they launch their first live presentation, and the vigor of bands like Cheer-Accident, La Maschera Di Cera, or Karmacanic, whose members already boast a good number of years in their musical careers. Viewers of the film can truly feel the energetic cost that necessarily accompanies such ambitious musical endeavors. In the realm of veteran traditionalists, we do not come across luminaries like the dynastic Yes, the triad Emerson, Lake and Palmer, or the survivors of Pink Floyd. Rather, we encounter marginal heroes like Gary Green (the guitarist of Gently Giant) and the American duo of Stanley Whitaker and Frank Wyatt (formerly of Happy the Man and now in Oblivious Sun). Gary offers one definition of progressive rock that seems simple but, in reality, guards a subtle complexity: "to find the true and unique voice, hoping that something thoughtful comes of it." Thus, it is about searching for the shape of something particular within the infinite and eclectic possibilities generated by rock music, splitting open the emotional to arrive at something thought-out, with heart and mind united in an artistic mission. In this way, music is created in and of itself, and does not have to be falsely identified with fashion. For Gary, music that reflects current fashions is not real music: it is only fashion and nothing more. In their way, Stanley and Frank allude, without dramatic exaggeration, that the progressive movement is destined to be ignored and forgotten by the commercial industry of musical diffusion: one is more likely to encounter progressive's impact in settings with little news coverage, where an underground public is committed to its enjoyment. But if we want a more "concrete" definition, John Collinge of Progression magazine maintains that progressive rock is like the music of founding rock artists, incorporating elements from other musical sources like jazz, folk, chamber, and electronic. It may sound trite, but to date it has been definitions like this one that have the most success when it comes to planting a standard point of reference in the mind of an audience?and this is what we want of a definition, is it not? (Ever since the ancient times of the restless and nonconformist philosopher Socrates, we have understood the purpose and value of a good definition!).

If Gary Green offers general guidelines for defining the progressive, the men of Cabezas De Cera provide a concrete manifestation of these guidelines through their musical intentions to absorb and recycle the common eclecticism of urban culture and the modern world. They define Mexico City as the city of all Mexican cities: its multitude of voices and perspectives stimulates the diversity of their repertoire. Each member of the group recalls with a certain fondness their first steps toward learning about music, and then their early experiences as a rock group looking to do something new. One feature of this incessant search for new things is the creation of instruments, including the Charrófono, a noteworthy "living myth" in the legend of Cabezas De Cera. Additionally, the Mexican ensemble resists allowing itself to be labeled. This is the same attitude expressed by the musicians in Cheer-Accident, who simply prefer to classify themselves as musicians and rock composers on a variety of paths. In particular, the members of Cheer-Accident habitually offer a distinction between the progressive musicians who focus on reiterating common sonorous themes of the 70's and those other musicians who seek to move "in a more forward direction," moving on from ancient, passed-on influences. The members of D. F. A. are the most explicit when it comes time to discussing their composing process: they deconstruct each other's ideas with a critical attitude and, rather than discarding those ideas, modify and add to them, adjusting them to the group's expectations. It is a game of corrections and mutual challenging that finally results in complete and cherished compositions. The group members themselves acknowledge that they seek to create musical pieces that must be listened to for twenty or more times before a listener becomes truly familiar with them. But, at the same time, the group knows that this overtly hinders their adherence to the "law of immediate and instantaneous enjoyment" that rules the music business. It is thus that a collective dimension to the notion of unique voice is described. This desire to create new works of complexity and to defy the usual restrictions on the musical language of the rock artist is also expressed in the involvement of Rob Martino, member of Chapman Stick Center: he gives us a glimpse into his work with digital processing, which recycles and redesigns uncommon sounds for electric string instruments (including vintage sounds of the Hammond organ and mellotron).

We also delve into the business aspect that exists in the world of progressive music. Steve Feigenbaum speaks to us from his offices at Cuneiform Records about his early experiences selling recordings of experimental music: what soon developed was his dream to disseminate music with special artistic merit that didn't receive proper attention from the administrators of the record stores where he worked in his youth. He recalls for us how his record label served to encourage the work of a variety of bands proudly situated on the most experimental edges of the progressive genre (the group Miriodor, from Quebec, seems to be the champion of Cuneiform's catalog). Such groups were principally the relics of the Canterbury scene (bootlegs of Soft Machine, practically all records in which Robert Wyatt or Hugh Hopper were involved), but they assumed the most commercial success for the label. In some relation to that, we also tune in to the words of Dan Britton, the leader of Deluge Grander, who points out that true prog groups not only have to fight against the current front of disinterest presented by the general public and the large record companies, but also against the new editions, compilations and the rest of the new offerings from classic prog bands (Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP, etc.). When all is said and done, every opportunity for commercial glory (in the marginal terms of progressive, clearly) is in the kiosk-based sale of records at the festivals: the higher the attendance of the general public, the more possibilities there are to attract the attention of people who are genuinely interested in broadening the scope of their musical collections. In this sense, Britton himself tells us, to play at NEARFest is to play in the major leagues: it is the ideal shop window for showcasing and diffusing the genre. Also in the documentary, we see the role that Orion Studios played and continues to play in making progressive a dynamic force on the East Coast. Mike Potter, who founded the studios years ago as rehearsal space, was always a fan of progressive rock, ever since his adolescent years spent listening to the music of King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd etc. while looking at stars with his telescope. In the 1990s, he had the stars much closer to himself? progressive stars, who prepared their shows at Orion Studios when they didn't have a welcoming environment for their more "select" public. The hanging of posters so that others could see them lead to the spontaneous formation and continuous remodeling of a "museum of progressive rock"? a signal that an undeniable part of the essence of love for progressive rock is the act of sharing. More than an act of generosity, it is a ritual of love directed toward the genre, a love that seeks to be amplified by the act of sharing itself. Another vital sign of this sharing can be seen in the broadcasting efforts of enthusiast DJ Debbie Sears, whose efforts are realized on the Prok Rock Diner Radio station. She herself is a regular at the concerts that take place at Orion Studios.

It is with a special gratitude and appreciation that we too see scenes of groups playing in the ProgDay festival and Orion Studios. The structure of the stage at Orion Studios almost gives the appearance that the group is practicing in a garage, though bands like Phideaux, Karmacanic and Oblivion Sun seem to feel more comfortable playing for an awake and receptive public. In its own way, the camping-esque and almost "casual" ambience of ProgDay provides that air of familiarity and intimacy that the aficionados of progressive music are so proud of. It seemed a bit puzzling to me to see the members of La Maschera Di Cera waiting patiently for the fans to approach them to buy CDs and ask for autographs, seated in their modest tent under the sun (it was still the time of "LuxAde" and one knows that with LMDC there is no loss; one only has to imagine it to hear that the group has attracted a multitude of fans in the progressive environment), but in the scenes of them playing for the meager audience assembled for ProgDay, what emerges is the fact of their intense communion with those who deign to offer them attention. The images of the Japanese group Qui playing in the middle of the audience, seemingly millimeters from contact with their audience, reinforces the idea that ProgDay is like a camping musical, and not so much like a festival: the music of Qui is suitable for such a setting because it puts emphasis on acoustic sounds based on fusion and World Music to generate a progressive line distinct from its sources. The musicians of Qui are not the only Japanese presented in the documentary: an executive from Poseidon Records also appears. Poseidon Records is a Japanese company dedicated to publishing and vigorously spreading the music of Japanese progressive and experimental bands both of the present and of the past. Additionally, the scenes of Silver Elephant are invaluable: how many CDs and DVDs of live performances by stupendous Japanese bands are recorded here! For Deluge Grander, this ProgDay serves as their stage debut: the ups and downs they experience include the absence of their bassist, which results in the tough, short work of finding new musical arrangements in order to present material that is complex enough with respect to melodic developments, changes of ambience, and rhythmic structure. Undertakings and efforts like these justify Mike Potter's comment that because these bands emerged at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, the old masters of past times "passed them the torch" of progressive rock.

One can appreciate these things and more in the 90-minute span of "Romantic Warriors," a documentary, a DVD, and an audiovisual testimony, but above all, a labor of love.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#299284) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a great DVD!

Fortunately in the last Cabezas de Cera concert I attended, I saw this DVD on sale and immediately bought it. I've already read about it here in Prog Archives and in other sources, and the most of the comments (if not all) were positive, so I really was keen on this video. After the first time I watched it, I knew those nice comments were written simply because this documentary deserved it. Now that I review it I can say I've watched it three times, and enjoyed all of them.

This is an wonderful documentary (and also healthy for the prog scene) that offers a bright vision of today's progressive rock scene, in which there are hundreds of bands creating original music that is not really known around the globe, bands that share their musical talent with complex and unique songs that should be better recognized. This is something that is in our hands as prog lovers, and now I can say that thanks to this DVD I've been enjoying a lot a previously unknown band to me: Cheer-Accident.

"Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga" saw the light in 2010, it is a video documentary divided in five chapters that together reach the 90 minutes. Here we can appreciate the history, thoughts, influences and musical visions of ten different bands/musicians that belong to the contemporary prog realm. In the first part there is also an explanation with a map, of how this genre has developed throughout the world, a brief history when some of the most representative bands are mentioned; it is like an introduction for beginners.

We can also witness some stories from people involved in this realm, who are not actually known for being musicians, people like Mike Potter, festival organizers (RoSfest or ProgDay among others), people from prog labels such as Cuneiform or Poseidon Records, and some fans, from old warriors to young newbies, but all of them with an interest in common: progressive rock music. I believe one of the aims of this DVD is to keep this music alive, and even increase the interest of people, but besides the interest of the genre as a whole, the particular interest in those newer bands, because like someone (don't remember who) in this video said "it is time to pass the torch to the new bands".

To be absolutely honest, the first thing that caught my attention about this DVD was that it featured my beloved Mexican band Cabezas de Cera; if you know me then you know how proud I feel about them and how I love their music, so my CDC radar told me I had to get this video, and now I am happy with it, and not only because of CDC. I fell in love with Cheer- Accident, I've been looking for their music and watching some videos on youtube, they are a very original band which surprisingly was unknown to me, despite having released more than ten albums. Dan Britton's talent and projects were familiar to me, however I loved watching him rehearsing, sharing thoughts and playing alive at Prog Day.

While I was watching, I imagine myself attending to those festivals, my only experience was in 2008 in the latest edition of Baja Prog Fest, which was amazing, something I will remember forever. The fact of being with unknown people from different parts of the world, but all talking about prog rock was something priceless, it is like belong to the same country or the same channel. I hope to attend soon to one of those big festivals.

Now talking about older (or more experienced) guys, I loved to see both Gary Green from Gentle Giant and Roine Stolt from The Flower Kings talking about the past, the present and the future, these legends were previously inspired by some of the prog dinosaurs, but now they are the inspiration of newer acts.

I enjoyed a lot the selection of the bands featured here, and how they were intercalated during this video. Also it is worth mentioning that topics like prog venues (such as Orion), or the internet culture were mentioned here, because they are linked to the music and have a lot to do with the music's faith.

What a great documentary, a great idea by the people who did it, kudos to them. I don't really think I could name this a masterpiece, but I can highly recommend it to any prog rock lover, no matter if you are old or new warrior, it is worth buying. My final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#372333) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 03, 2011

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