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PROGFEST '95

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Progfest '95 album cover
4.03 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc one:
ARS NOVA
1. Morgan (10:53)
2. Jihad (5:56)
3. Danse Macabre (9:19)
LANDBERK
4. Kontiki (7:31)
5. Dream Dance (4:39)
6. Time (3:57)
DEUS EX MACHINA
7. Exordium (9:35)
8. Res Publica II (6:11)
9. Ad Montem (4:44)
10. Si Tu Bene ... (9:03)

Disc two:
WHITE WILLOW
1. Lord Of Night (6:49)
2. Cryptomenysis (10:16)
SPOCK'S BEARD
3. The Light (16:30)
SOLARIS
4. Apocalypse (4:22)
5. Oz (8:11)
6. Hungarian Danse (3:42)
7. Solaris (5:30)

Total Time 127:23

Lyrics

Search VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Progfest '95 lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Progfest '95 tabs

Line-up / Musicians

ARS NOVA
- Keiko Kumagai / keyboards
- Kyoto Kanazawa / bass
- Akiko Takahashi / drums

LANDBERK
- Reine Fiske / guitar
- Patric Helje / vocals
- Stefan Dimle / bass
- Jonas Lidholm / drums
- Simon Nordberg / keyboards

DEUS EX MACHINA
- Claudio Trotta / drums
- Alessandro Porreca / bass
- Maurino Collina / guitar
- Alessandro Bonetti / violin
- Luigi Ricciardiello / keyboards
- Alberto Piras / vocals

WHITE WILLOW
- Sara Tronal / vocals
- Tirill Mohn / violin, classical guitar
- Jan Tariq Rahman / keyboards, flute, vocals, accordion
- Jacob Holm-Lupo / electric guitar
- Per Christian Nessoe Svendsen / bass
- Danny Young / drums, percussion

SPOCK'S BEARD
- Neal Morse / lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic Guitar
- Alan Morse / guitars, vocals, percussion
- Dave Meros / bass, vocals
- Ryo Okumoto / keyboards, percussion
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, vocals

SOLARIS
- István Cziglán / guitars
- Róbert Erdész / keyboards
- László Gömör / drums
- Attilá Kollár / flute, keyboards
- Tamás Pócs / bass
- Csaba Bogdán / guitar
- Gábor Kisszabó / bass

Releases information

Musea FGBG 4180.AR

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the addition
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Progfest '95 ratings distribution


4.03
(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(82%)
82%
Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Progfest '95 reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The 3rd annual Los Angeles International Progressive Music Festival (Progfest, for short) is captured in all its idiosyncratic glory on two CDs, like the 1994 edition offering an invaluable introduction to the wider world of 1990s Prog Rock. There's fewer groups and less music than on the Progfest '94 double-disc, but it's a far more geographically diverse mix of talent, with bands from America (this year only one: the ubiquitous SPOCK'S BEARD), Scandinavia (of course), southern and eastern Europe, and the real novelty of the line-up: Japan's ARS NOVA.

All the featured bands were new to me at first, and none was more surprising than ARS NOVA: a gender-bent oriental analogue of EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER (I kid you not). Maybe it's a cultural thing, or maybe it's the cold, clinical sound of all those modern digital keyboards, but even at their liveliest the ARS NOVA girls are a dispassionate bunch, only occasionally generating anything close to real musical excitement. But at least the trio is more original than other ELP clones (step forward Jürgen Fritz and TRIUMVIRAT).

Next up are three songs by LANDBERK, a now defunct and underappreciated Swedish combo (partially reformed as PAATOS, and still worth a listen) known for their melancholy spirit and surprising post-Punk guitar sound. Except for the mellotron I'd hesitate to even call it Progressive Rock, but never mind: this is galvanizing stuff, moving from the dense power chords of "Kontiki" to moments of subtlety (and in the same song!) so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop in the auditorium, all performed with an energy and emotion never dreamt of in a group like U2 (kindred spirits, believe or not).

Closing Disc One is the Italian outfit DEUS EX MACHINA, with four songs of incredibly complex, high-octane Jazz-Rock Fusion. This is clearly the most demanding and difficult music on either CD, not least because of the operatic tenor vocals of Alberto Piras (singing in Latin). But to patient ears it can prove in the long run to also be the most rewarding, despite a typically indulgent but mercifully brief drum solo during the otherwise rocket-fueled climax of "Si Tu Bene Valeas Ego Bene Valeo" (a song title unlikely to ever appear on a jukebox single, I think we can all agree).

After that it's a relief to sit back and soak up the (relatively) more relaxed ambience of WHITE WILLOW, then fresh from recording their debut album "Ignis Fatuus". This versatile group from Norway has a range extending from the atmospheric to the aggressive, with a lovely vocal performance (in English) by Sara Tronal on "Lord of Night", a song recalling the fabulous supernatural narratives of Anne Rice. Woodwinds and violins add a nice classical touch, but the band is still capable of the occasional no-holds-barred psychedelic freak-out, as in the 10+ minute "Cryptomenysis", which builds up to an apocalyptic climax of near-biblical proportions.

The popular and prolific Neo-Proggers (and local So Cal heroes) of SPOCK'S BEARD will likely need no introduction here. Like WHITE WILLOW, they were basking in the glow of their first album, "The Light", opening their set with the excellent 16+ minute title track (like many of the other invited bands, The Beard would later release their entire Progfest performance separately, in this case on the 1996 "Official Live Bootleg" CD).

I confess it took a long time and several listens for me to warm to the melodramatic vocal style of Neal Morse, but there's no denying the sheer instrumental power (and good old fashioned chops) of their music. I only wish more of their repertoire had been included here: with a miserly running time of only 55 minutes, there was certainly room on Disc Two for another epic multi-movement suite.

The final group of the two-CD set is SOLARIS, a muscular instrumental septet from Hungary, combining Keith Emerson-style keyboard histrionics, breathy Ian Anderson flute playing, and lots of macho guitar riffing. An energetic performance, and the distinct Magyar flavor of their music, properly wowed the receptive LA audience, and together with Ars Nova provided a fitting pair of likeminded international bookends to the festival.

One advantage of a live compilation like this is that none of the bands are allowed enough time to wear out its welcome: a moot issue anyway, with this collection of talent. But the real benefit is a chance to expand your horizons with a handy and generous one-stop sampling of new Progressive music from around the world. Judging from how my own CD collection began growing exponentially after first hearing this collection (and its 1994 predecessor), I can only say it became a much- valued cornerstone in one Proghead's music library.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#65327) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars For years i've compared the lineups for "Progfest94" and "Progfest95" and debated which was better. Of course I would love to go back in time and check both concerts out, but if I had to pick between the two I always thought "Progfest94" with ANEKDOTEN and ANGLAGARD would be my choice. While those two bands are my favourites out of all the bands from both festivals "Progfest95" clearly boasts the better lineup overall by a substantial amount. This was made very clear by spending a lot of time with both of these double disc recordings.

"Progfest95" began Saturday with ARS NOVA followed by WHITE WILLOW, DEUS EX MACHINA and SOLARIS. Sunday began with SPOCK'S BEARD followed by LANDBERK and PENDRAGON. PENDRAGON ?! I know a lot of people didn't even know they played at this festival let alone headlined it.They did though. I understand that they requested their performance not be on the audio or video recordings because they just weren't that happy with the way they played. I have the program from Progfest95 which for me is so valuable with all the information and interesting ads from that year. I like the bios and pictures of the bands as well. DEUS EX MACHINA has the best picture by far, they're having too much fun. I'd love to have that picture on my wall. I should mention that this cd was dedicted to the memory of Kevin Gilbert who passed away some time after this concert. He did record it though and as usual allowed bands to use his mellotron and other equipment if they so desired. SPOCK'S BEARD also thanks him in the liner notes."A million thanks to Kevin Gilbert who at the end of the gig said to us: "Congratulations, you just had the sound man that I always wanted". This may be the only time you hear DEUS EX MACHINA use mellotron in their music, as they decided to use Kevin's mellotron. While "Progfest94" had it's moments there were plenty of songs i'd skip over, not here.

I was so surprised with ARS NOVA and SOLARIS especially who blew my expectations out of the water. SOLARIS were really the band that the fetival held up as being headliners because they were in a country that was previously communist and so never were able to come to the USA, and many thought they would never see this band live. Interesting that on both "Progfest94" & Progfest95" recordings they switched the bands around from the order they actually played in at the festivals. So it's not surprising to see SOLARIS as the final band on disc two where PENDRAGON should have been, and they switched WHITE WILLOW with LANDBERK because WHITE WILLOW brought the house down with their set from Saturday.

I haven't even got to the actual music yet. ARS NOVA's "The Goddess Of Darkness" wasn't even released yet but they play "Morgan" off of it and man it's absolutely killer ! Check out the organ and huge bass lines, they are deep ! The organ that follows makes me think they're from Sweden.That's a compliment. "Danse Macabre" from their "Transi" album starts off sinister and the keyboards again dominate. Amazing performance. LANDBERK are a band that I love.They don't disappoint. "Kontiki" from "One Man Tells Another" is heavy and growly to start. It does settle with mellotron. Great guitar from Reine Fiske here.The vocalist really entertains as well. "Time" is my favourite from the band and it just moves me it's so uplifting. DEUS EX MACHINA are avant, experimental and freaking crazy ! Alberto on vocals is simply incredible. The fact they have more music on this double disc than anyone else should tell you something about their performance. 2 songs from their self titled album and 2 from De Republica. WHITE WILLOW at this time had only one album out and we get two songs from it. Both are heavier and more powerful than the studio versions with plenty of mellotron. I like when the crowd roars it's approval after a killer section after 7 minutes on the song "Cryptomenysis". SPOCK'S BEARD had just released "The Light" and we get to hear the title track from it. Great performance ! This song has it all including a huge, dramatic section 9 1/2 minutes in which draws cheering from the crowd when it ends. SOLARIS opens with "Apocalypse" from "The Martian Chronicles" and I am sitting there with my jaw hanging open. Unbelieveable ! They just rip it up throughout. We get 3 more tracks and i'm surprised at the prominant guitar. Man these guys can play !

The cover art is so well done. It's definitely the Progfest I would recommend to you the most if your thinking of buying one. From start to finish it's a blast. Wish I had been there.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#210716) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Latest members reviews

4 stars When you put together some of the great 90's prog bands into a live record the result just can be good. That's what happens with the Progfest collection (94, 95 and 97) but in my honest opinion this version is the best. The album starts with three songs played by the japanese trio Ars Nova: v ... (read more)

Report this review (#77569) | Posted by progadicto | Monday, May 08, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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