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AZURETH

Crossover Prog • Multi-National


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Azureth biography
AZURETH is built around a commitment to compositional excellence, expansive epic melodies, moving musical drama, with deeply poetic, philosophical, well crafted lyrics underpinning this solid musical foundation. In one big sweep, AZURETH captures the essence of YES, GENESIS and KANSAS, distilling them into their very own, more contemporary "Alternative" flavored brand of Progressive Rock self evident in songs like "The Lathe Of Heaven", while on the other hand quoting the finest aspects of STEELY's DAN songwriting and story telling crafts, which can be heard in the poignant space ballad "The Grand Design". All the same, they manage to rip it up with fiery solos propelling the band into high speed exchanges and odd time signatures. This international group of progressive musicians are deeply influenced by the mystical and epic nature of Progressive Rock, the furious rhythm sections and fiery solos of Jazz-Rock Fusion, along with the power and raw energy of Progressive Metal.

After a year in the making, AZURETH is proud to announce immediate availability of their debut CD. AZURETH is a progressive rock band made up of musicians from US (Mark Connors & Steve Rivera) and Norway (Kenneth Aspeslaen). If you like bands like ELP, YES, KANSAS, RUSH, FLOWER KINGS, STEELY DAN, you will love AZURETH. Our debut CD contains almost 70 minutes of music. Beautifully illustrated lyric sheets and other goodies from AZURETH's website are included on the Extended cd version.

: : : Stephen Rivera, USA : : :

Azureth official website

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Promethean SyndromePromethean Syndrome
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$13.44
$5.99 (used)
Yesterdays Future Tomorrows PastYesterdays Future Tomorrows Past
Azureth 2005
Audio CD$90.00 (used)

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AZURETH discography


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AZURETH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.40 | 17 ratings
Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
2004
3.76 | 12 ratings
The Promethean Syndrome
2007

AZURETH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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AZURETH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.40 | 17 ratings

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Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Azureth originally formed from a collaboration of artists from different parts of the world. The lead vocalist and drummer (and bass player too) is from Norway. The keyboardist is from Florida and the guitarist is from Texas. So the music for this debut album was recorded in three distant studios and probably shared over the Internet between the three musicians.

The album really starts off with a bang with the wonderful Wake the Dragon, reminding me at first of early Arena, but the instrumental ending is very reminiscent of Yes' Starship Trooper ending. Nice song to start the album off with. Unfortunately things go downhill from here, and then have a series of uneven ups and downs. This is expected from many debut albums by a band, let alone a band that collaborates across the Internet, that's just trying to find itself. The songs range from ballads, to pop rock numbers with neo prog leanings to full-out symphonic prog outings.

The album also features an "epic" entitled The Grand Design which is apparently about 36 minutes long. But don't let that scare you. It's not really a 36-minute long song. It consists of tracks 4-9, and each track sounds like a separate song to me. I notice no overarching theme between any of the songs and cannot even tell if they are lyrically connected. So, it's not really an epic, per se; just a bunch of unconnected songs. Again, it's like the rest of the album with the highlight being the instrumental Overture. I found myself skipping through some of the less interesting numbers.

The real highlight of this album is the keyboard-driven instrumental Timeless Moments in Sherwood. Other than a misplaced guitar solo that feels out of place, this song is a true treasure of Genesis-like inspiration and the one song keeping me from rating this album any lower than three stars.

They close off the album with a cover of Genesis' Afterglow. It's actually rather nicely done, but doesn't really compel me like the original song does. It's also one of the easier Genesis numbers to perform, so the band doesn't extend itself beyond its capabilities.

Some of the poorer moments on the album are the use of subpar nature sounds that aren't properly mixed into the beginnings of the few tracks that use them. You really need to fade these into the songs. The spoken parts I found quite distracting. The other disappointing part was that the CD doesn't come with a booklet with lyrics, but rather you need to go to their website and "register" it in order to download a PDF file and look at artwork and other goodies. The problem was that I could not find where to register the CD, as both places mentioned on the CD appear to no longer exist on their website. In fact, their website hasn't beeen updated since 2007.

I got the impression from other reviewers that Stephen Rivera uses an arsenal of modern and vintage synthesizers, but the insert seems to indicate that he uses mostly modern synths supplemented by virtual synths (i.e., synthesizer software). He uses the Arturia Moog Modular V, which is a virtual synth that replicates what an authentic Moog synthesizer would sound like. I don't consider this a bad thing. Use what you can to get the sound you want sounds like a logical thing to do. But I felt this was worth bringing out for the purists out in "Prog Land."

Overall a solid three stars for a somewhat haphazard release, with good and bad moments, and a couple of great moments. This debut has intrigued me enough to add their followup to my list of future purchases.

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 Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.40 | 17 ratings

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Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars AZURETH are a trio made up of 2 Americans and one Norwegian. I must say that this album was a pleasant surprise to me.There is an accent to the vocals as the Norwegian drummer / bass player is also the singer. I really like the guitar and the keyboards on this one.This is some sort of a concept album.

My favourite track is the opener "Wake The Dragon". It opens with nature sounds as the vocals join in. Guitar before a minute. Great sound. Nice prominant bass too. Synths lead 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar 3 minutes in sounds great and so do the synths and bass that follow. The guitar is back before those nature sounds return to end it. "Searching" opens with guest cello and other sounds as vocals join in. The guitar before 2 minutes is Gilmour-like. "Man On The Moon" opens with spoken words before it kicks in. Vocals and strummed guitar follow. Drums and keyboards are next and guitar late. "The Grand Design" is divided into 6 parts. First up is "Overture" with the church organ leading the way before drums, bass and guitar join in. Keyboards take over 2 minutes in in this uptempo section. It settles with sampled mellotron. Bass follows as the drums continue. Synths are next before the guitar returns.Part II is "The Grand Design" which opens with spoken words before the music kicks in. I like the guitar 4 minutes in. Lots of synths late.

"Shadow Of A Man" opens with piano. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in and they get passionate after 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar a minute later sounding great as usual. It settles as contrasts continue. It blends into "Fanfare" and they really end up jamming here with guitar. "Humanity Revisited" opens with piano followed by a full sound including vocals. "The Sleeper Has Awakened" opens with nature sounds and spoken words. Vocals and acoustic guitar follow. The wind is blowing as the bass joins in. "Timeless Moments In Sherwood" is led by synths and drums early. Guitar 2 minutes in then it backs off. "The Lathe Of Heaven" is laid back with the focus on the vocals and message. There is an instrumental break though then the vocals return. "Afterglow" is the best track of course. Well that's because it's a GENESIS cover. They do a great job by the way.

So a good album and a solid 3 stars.

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 Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.40 | 17 ratings

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Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars AZURETH is the result of the collaboration between two musicians from USA and one from Norway.Leading figure keyboardist Stephen Rivera hails from Florida,guitarist Mark Connors comes from Texas,while drummer/bassist/vocalist Kenneth Aspeslaen is the Norwegian guy.While info about this project are scarce,it seems that their work came as a result of exchanging music ideas through the web!Their debut had the surreal title ''Yesterday's future,tomorrow's past'' and it was pressed privately in 2004.

AZURETH seem to have been influenced by the giants of prog rock's golden era.Immediately GENESIS,E.L.P. and YES spring to mind,while listening to this album,of course there are lot of modern elements in here,but the three musicians definitely wanted to create something close to the likes of these bands.The album is characterized by the extremely well-crafted melodies,the retro aesthetics and the absolutely well-executed compositions,while everything in here seems to have been worked very well.Rivera does an excellent work,using both modern and vintage keyboards like the Hammond organ with also some traces of mellotron and guitarist Connors is the guy responsible of all the great melodies played in this effort.Aspeslaen uses the grandiose Rickenbacker bass and his voice is very balanced and emotional.The greatest example of these guys' talent is the grand suite ''The grand design'',clocking close to 40 minutes and split in six parts,offering everything a classic prog fan wishes for:melody, changing moods, shifting tempos, Classical piano/keyboard parts and a heavy amount of emotional atmosphere!There is also a very good cover of GENESIS' ''Afterglow'' from the ''Wind and wuthering'' album, which I really enjoyed!Generally this is an absolutely satisfying release with some good and some great moments,which I personally recommend more than highly.An unknown modern progressive rock pearl!

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 The Promethean Syndrome by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.76 | 12 ratings

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The Promethean Syndrome
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second album from Azureth is a fine neo-prog creation. A concept album that is depicted fairly well in the little booklet.

Music is overall pleasant and straight forward. Easily accessible, it should be of definite value to all neo- prog lovers. Fine (but mellow) vocal harmonies (Chains That Bind), good and inspired keys work during the instrumental Breakaway are indeed enjoyable moments of music.

The whole album flows easily, mostly because the music played is on the soft mood, no songs will upset your senses but I also have to say that none will take lots of wow out of you either. Beyond The Boundaries is such track: the long and repetitive vocal lines which are featured at the end of the song, kind of ruined the ensemble which was good.

One song has to be considered as out of the common here. The fine Shadow II features some fine acoustic parts as well as a poignant closing full of passion. This song is one of the most complex from this Prometheum Syndrome. From symphonic to jazzy it provides eight enjoyable minutes.

But one also has to bear in mind that some of these songs are just average, mellowish and much less interesting (Into The Nowhere).

The epic A New World is another of the best moments here: some fifteen minutes of well developped music. It is diverse and holds some delicate acoustic guitar, good drumming when the rhythm catches up, along with with bombastic keyboards. A highlight.

This album is a good one, but I wouldn't rate it higher than three stars.

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 Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.40 | 17 ratings

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Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Azureth is a multi-national band who proposes an enjoyable and very accessible prog music.

This album sounds pretty fresh and full of dynamics and it is quite daring to create an epic of over thirty-six (yes 36!) minutes on a debut album; even if the five parts are clearly marked.

This is a good mix of bombastic keys, fine vocals and pleasant instrumental harmonies. Even if some parts are less interesting, the whole of The Grand Design (I bet you!) is a fine musical moment. I felt absolutely not bored with this lengthy song: it is sufficiently varied to avoid this. And believe me, to be able to keep the listener's attention for such a long time is not an easy affair. Still, brilliant parts aren't too many either. Otherwise, it would have been a masterpiece, right?

The fourth part (Fanfare) is the most energetic one. Keys are strong of course, but there is also a very good guitar solo on a crazy and jazzy background: the whole sounds pretty dynamic and breaks the overall mood which is usually softer. It is a fine interlude.

It is true to say that the closing section (six minutes) is not as good: I would have expected some more grandeur to finish this epic. But it won't come. Too bad.

The other songs are (relatively) short pieces which are more on the neo side like the good and speedy opening Wake The Dragon or the synth oriented instrumental Timeless Moments In Sherwood sounding like Genesis.

If ever you are in the mood of a romantic ballad, you can listen to Searching: somewhat mellowish but featuring a great guitar solo.

And we'll even get a cover: Afterglow. It starts with some notes from Dance On A Vulcano. Vocals are rather flat and lacks the passion of Phil while he was singing this great piece of music (one of the highlights from Wind & Wuthering IMHHO). It also ends with some guitar work which is not too bad and brings another angle to this song.

This is a very even album; nice to listen to the opening number to the closing one with no need to press any next key but it lacks of ground breaking songs as well. Three stars.

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 The Promethean Syndrome by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.76 | 12 ratings

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The Promethean Syndrome
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars

This five-piece formation contains members from both the USA as Norway, I had never heard of Azureth so I missed their debut CD entitled Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past (2004). Now I am very grateful that I purchased one copy of Azureth their new CD The Promethean Syndrome in order to review it, what a great album! My good friend and fellow Dutchman Angelo (he also added Azureth to PA) asked me to have a look at Prog Archives, there I noticed a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, now let's quickly make an musical analysis of this awesome new progrock band.

One of my first actions to make a review is collecting information like reading the biography and discography and having a look at the instrumentation, especially because of my fascination for 'vintage' instruments (like a Rickenbacker bass guitar or Hammond B3 organ). Well, Azureth didn't disappoint me on that front, in contrary: the guitarplayer owns a Fender Telecaster (Steve Howe uses it to play with power) and an acoustic Ovation DeLuxe (featuring that distinctive sound and shape) and the keyboardplayer has a wide range of great vintage synthesizer sounds like the modular Moog (Keith Emerson in early ELP) - and Yamaha CS80 synthesizer (Eddie Jobson in UK) and he also uses the Yamaha P80 digitale Grand piano to create a warm Grand piano sound.

And now the music, what a captivating musical experience! Azureth delivers 10 alternating and tastefully arranged compositions with a clear production. The one moment the sound contains bombastic keyboards and howling guitar or a heavy mid-tempo with flashy synthesizer flights and fiery guitar solos, the other moment you can enjoy mellow and accessible parts with warm twanging acoustic guitar and Grand piano or acoustic rhythm guitar with vocal harmonies. Thanks to the many fluent and exciting shifting moods Azureth succeeds to keep my attention for every second, I am delighted about the frequent excellent solos on guitar (from sensitive to biting wah-wah drenched) and keyboards, especially the use of the pitchbend button is sensational like in Shadow Of A Man II (wonderful changing climate from dreamy with acoustic guitar and Grand piano to an accellaration featuring bombastic keyboards and fiery guitar) and Into The Nowhere (spectacular guitar and keyboards). But the ultimate thrill on this CD is the final composition, the epic A New World: first a slow rhythm with a bit sultry atmosphere and soul-inspired vocals, then a cascade of shifting moods (from an accellaration with propulsive drums and fiery guitar, a beautiful part with Grand piano and acoustic guitar, an interlude with heavy Hammond and fat Moog and a blistering wah-wah drenched guitar solo) to a splendid conclusion, culminating into 'Keyboard Heaven' delivering all classic synthesizer sounds, perfectly blended with a piece of ELP (Pictures At An Exhibition) and fiery guitar runs, GOOSE BUMPS!

After the excitement of new albums by lesser known progrock bands like Simon Says, Moonrise, Nemesis, Cronico, Mind Furniture, Tricantropus and Moon Safari, again I am absolutely delighted about a new lesser known progrock band: a big hand for Azureth with their second CD!



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 Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.40 | 17 ratings

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Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars A prediction of the future

Together with a promo copy of The Promethean Syndrome, Azureth send me a copy of their debut album - released three years earlier in a different line up. The album clearly shows what the band was already capable of right then. Even though the album is not as progressive as The Promethean Syndrome, it deserve judgement on it's own merits.

What is clear on this album from the first instant is that we are dealing with skilled musicians who take their job seriously. Wake the Dragon contains very well performed keyboard, guitar and bass work - supporting a well sung, Grendel like (?) story of a dragon. It is followed by the ballad-like Searching, which is more of a mainstream rock song, with clean and/or acoustic guitar work. Man on the Moon, the third track, is pretty much a guitar driven rock song, with some very nice keyboard and bass work in the background. Too bad the lyrics revert to "lalala" at some point. The 36 minute (!) epic The Grand Design covers tracks 4 through 9 on the CD. Listening each individual track give the impression that the album is a mix of prog and non-prog tracks, combined they definitely show a clearer prog picture. Most striking for me was in track 6, Shadow of a Man, which clearly shows late 60s and early 70s influences. A bit of Beatles, a bit of Pink Floyd (around the time of Wish You Were Here) and even some Moody Blues influences in the vocals. After the epic, we are treated to three more tracks. The first one, Timeless Moments in Sherwoods is strongly keyboard driven, and reminds me of some of the keyboard intermezzo on later Styx albums. The Lathe of Heaven is a bit off on the album, like searching, it is more of a pop/rock song with a vocal melody that brought the line "The captain of her heart" to mind... Afterglow closes the album in a rock ballad like manner, which doesn't do much for me - even though it contains a nice guitar solo.

All in all, Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past is certainly far from a bad album, but it clearly shows room for growth. Growth that has since taken place - the list of keyboards and emulations used by keyboardist Stephen Rivera is amazing, but nowadays it sounds a lot more coherent and complete than on this album. Azureth is definitely a band to keep an eye on - lurking in the background of the prog stage.

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 The Promethean Syndrome by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.76 | 12 ratings

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The Promethean Syndrome
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Every once in a while, a nice surprise comes along.

Through the dark, hidden paths of ProgArchives, I was provided with a promotional copy of this album. Azureth - a band not known to me before - turned out to be one of these surprises that you run into every once in a while. The band claims to be influenced by bands like Yes, Kansas and Genesis, but have managed to make it into something of themselves. I have to admit that on occassion Vince Font's voice reminds me of Marillion's Steve Hogarth - another influence that's not mentioned? The sound is definitely 70's like, but at the same time quite modern - not surprising given the instruments used, like a 1975 Fender Custom Telecaster, in combination 21st century compositions and modern recording and production techniques.

The instrumental title track The Promethean Syndrome is the introduction to, as the band calls it, 'a conceptual Prog-Rock Opera about a man who tries to fights against an egalitarian society where intellect is discouraged in favour of uniformity'. A dark keyboard melody guides us into his world, shortly accompanied by the rest of the band for a close to 4 minute prog fan catching introduction. After this, the piano opening of Being Alive changes the atmosphere and creates the path for the first vocals of Vince Font on this album. And what a vocalist he is. The first time the album was in my CD player, I got distracted by something else, until he started singing. My attention was caught and I really wondered whether I was listening to a young Peter Gabriel, or to Steve Hogarth in good shape. The singer on Azureth's debut album Yesterday's Future Tomorrow's Past, Kenneth Aspeslåen, was far from bad, but Vince Font is more than just a replacement. Breakaway is another instrumental, with a quick fingered guitar and keyboards taking turns - but without showing off. There's a synth organ in here that I wouldn't mind replacing for a Hammond... The organ returns in Chains that Bind, a song that in a way reminds me of Aragon's Solstice (on their 1988 debut Don't Bring the Rain). Beyond the Boundaries is a great, atmospheric track of just over 10 minutes - for which old Genesis, Kansas, Camel or early Marillion would not have been ashamed - recommended to those who are investigating Azureth for the first time. Here, Azureth's own sound signature shows through. It's not just keyboards and technical guitar work, sometimes a guitar needs to be played as a rhythm instrument to make this really rock - and it does here. After this long track, we're back to an instrumental journey - this time joining in on the four minute Flight of Prometheus. A great piece of rock, with loads of guitar, bass and keyboard solos and improvisations. Recommended to be listen on head phones at night - in bed and with the lights out. This applies also to the following Shadow of a Man II - which has a laid back acoustic intro, followed by great organ work. There's a bit of drums and bass guitar behind the organ that is just sufficient to complete the sound and not disturb it. Via Into the Nowhere, another piece that shows how Azureth can create an emotional atmosphere, we end up in the Garden of Ignosense. A varying track, with a multi-vocal piece as well, and a nice prologue to closing epic A New World, which lasts almost 16 minutes. Contains some pulsing keyboard and great bass work in the rockier pieces, again as a background for great vocals.

The Promethean Syndrome has a very clear and crisp production - which is not too common among private releases. All instruments can be heard clearly, a fitting reward for the musicians that play them. The only possible improvement in that area according to my ears would be put the drums a bit more forward in the mix. Details on the concept, it's sources in literature, as well as the lyrics can be downloaded from the web site, after entering a code that comes with the CD. This band deserves to be up the charts along with other hidden - yet different - treasures like Bacamarte and Circa. Highly recommended to anyone looking for, as Erik Neuteboom calls them, 'lesser-known prog bands' - and to fans of classic and symphonic prog in general. Now what was the definition of a cult band again?

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 The Promethean Syndrome by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.76 | 12 ratings

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The Promethean Syndrome
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by Synthphony

5 stars Azureth V.2 - All good things come to those who wait ! Almost two years now since this release was shelved and coming on the heels of the newest Flower Kings -'Sum of No Evil' , I have to say this is the more original effort , in terms of putting a new face on retro symphonic prog rock. Stephen Riveira , the keyboardist, his addition and use of the Arturia Moog Modular will appeal to fans of that analog sound and he layers his with spacey and swirling effects -especially on the instrumentals, which this band succeeds at because this time around , every element gels , including the vocals! Last album, some might have said the drummers vocals were like listening to a 'tone deaf Viking' (yikes), well rest assured Azureth regrouped and got a new lead singer and a background vocalist for chorus. Think Alan Parsons Project longtime member Chris Rainbow melodicism combined with a touch of Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac and add a 70's execution and you have the new recipe - and it succeeeds.

This concept album works start to finish, and had it been released in the golden classic era of prog rock, Azureth would be grouped alongside their fellow greats Yes and Genesis, but the comparison stops there, because the Azureth soundworld has its' own style and sensibilities and they cannot be considered a 'clone', as this is a mature sophmore release and anyone who says otherwise is not lending a fair ear. Consider, for those progsters not really aware of Azureth, if you know and like Phideaux - 'Doomsday Afternoon' , you will most likely love 'Promethean Syndrome' , really!! That is why I can safely say that this IS a modern day masterpiece, because side by side, I believe it better than Phieaux. Azureth is not metal, so metalheads dont expect any, Azureth is not folk or jazz, so to my esteemed collegues who would prefer to listen to those genres instead of pure symph prog, again dont expect that either. Every good boy deserves favour, thus I would treat them to a playing of Azureth - Promethean Syndrome and let the synthesizers and burning guitar work take him on a hours length journey to prog Heaven!

Azureth needs to be supported and I recommend them heartily , but remember these guys are doing this in their spare time, so acknowledge the fact that Promethean Syndrome is of such lofty quality that the brilliant musicianship and song structures and awesome keyboard/guitar interplay is being performed as a labour of love and not as a soundmill enterprise. These guys should be headlining Nearfest!!

Five Stars for the music and the merits mentioned above! Buy your own copy of Promethean Syndrome today and pick up thier first album as well , if you havent already and feel the difference. Azureth will have a bright future if we progsters can create a fan base for them like fellow American band Glass Hammer.

Thank you Stephen and Mark for the privilege of hearing/enjoying the 'Promethean Syndrome'!!! Prog rock needs more heroes like you , best regards to all - Chris

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 Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past by AZURETH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.40 | 17 ratings

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Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past
Azureth Crossover Prog

Review by Thierry

4 stars How could this gem have not been released by a prog label is still a mystery for me. For this disc really deserves wide attention. Calling all symphonic prog heads, this disc is for you! All fans of Yes, Geneis will enjoy this album, especially Stephen Rivera's gorgeous keyboards! By the way, the fact there is a (great and welcome) Genesis reprise ('Afterglow') is meaningful. A pity the band couldn't benefit a better production and distribution. In a nutshell, recommended.

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