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GREY LADY DOWN

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Grey Lady Down biography
In 1992, vocalist Martin Wilson, keyboard player Louis David, and guitarist Julian Hunt were in a band called Shadowland. When bass player Sean Speer, and drummer Mark Robotham joined, they realized there was another band using the Shadowland name. Not wanting to run into this problem again, they chose to name themselves after an obscure 1978 movie, starring Charlton Heston, and a pre-Superman Christopher Reeve. Thus GREY LADY DOWN was born.

They became well known around Oxford, and even distributed large numbers of demo tapes to far corners of the world. This led to them Phoenix Studios in 1993. The seven songs that were recorded would become the makeup of their debut album. A rigorous tour, and a performance at the Marquee Club, resulted in signing a two-album deal with Griffin/Cyclops. The Phoenix recordings were released as "The Crime" in early 1994. The supporting tour had GREY LADY DOWN opening for such acts as Jadis, and The Enid. The live shows were very well received, and the year ended with The Classic Rock Society awarding them with the "Best New Band" title, and "The Crime" taking third place in the "Best New Album" category.

With new material having been written during the previous year, the band entered The Warehouse studio in 1995. "Forces," produced by Tim Turan, was released in June. Many critics were pleased with the sophomore effort as well. Wonderous Stories even awarded it a 6 out of 6. More accolades followed. GREY LADY DOWN came in fourth for 'Best Band,' and second for 'Best Album,' in the Classic Rock Society rankings. They were also Cyclops' best selling act. The performance at The Marquee club was also one of the most successful by a non-mainstream band. This led to a Christmas show at the Astoria Theatre. Unfortunately, this was also Louis David's last appearance.

Mark Westworth was brought in to fill the keyboard slot, and the band prepared to tour Europe, and the U.S. in 1996. Before hitting the States, Julian Hunt had to leave due to personal issues. Sphere's Steve Anderson was brought in as a temporary replacement, but it ended up a permanent assignment. This would be the lineup for 1997's "Fear," again produced by Tim Turan. Technically, their contract with Cyclops had already been fulfilled. However, they were Cyclops' biggest seller, so keeping them on the label was a no-brainer. The reviews for "Fear" were again positive, and the supporting tour had them playing with Mastermind, and Ars Nova. Af...
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CrimeCrime
Import
Cyclops Records 1994
Audio CD$19.49
$8.77 (used)
FearFear
Import
Cyclops Records 1999
Audio CD$56.86 (used)
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GREY LADY DOWN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GREY LADY DOWN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 45 ratings
The Crime
1994
3.12 | 25 ratings
Forces
1995
3.57 | 23 ratings
Fear
1997
3.21 | 19 ratings
Star-Crossed
2001

GREY LADY DOWN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 2 ratings
Live - The Official Bootleg
1997
3.80 | 14 ratings
The Time Of Our Lives
1998

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GREY LADY DOWN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Forces by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.12 | 25 ratings

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Forces
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars The wonderful ''The crime'' was followed by several gigs by Grey Lady Down, opening for acts such as Jadis and Pendragon, while they also received the award of ''Best New Band'' by Classic Rock Society.1995 opens with the band entering The Warehouse Studios in Oxford along with producer Tim Turan, preparing their sophomore effort.The result was ''Foces'', eventually released in June 95' again on Cyclops Records.

The band seemed to be in an orgasm, as the gigs not only slowed down the recording process, but Grey Lady Down returned in fact with a more mature and adventurous album.This is some great Neo Prog in the classic vein of ARENA, ABEL GANZ, IQ and MARILLION, the band obviously lacks in personality, but what's left to make this one a trully excellent release?Firstly comes the fantastic voice of the man called Martin Wilson, among the top singers of the genre, sensitive, dramatic and expressive chords all the way to result a first-class performance by the band's frontman.Additionally the songwriting and compositions seems now more tight and intricate.The band added a few extra elements in the previous style like grandiose symphonic passages, more evident GENESIS-inspired synth solos and a greater number of dramatic atmospheres.Nothing unique, but the well-accomplished and promising sound of their debut now has a more cohesive and dramatic result.Superb flashy synths, great guitar solos and lots of symphonic grandieur along with a more complicated but always well-polished songwriting guarantee a really fantastic listening.

''Forces'' is no less than awesome Neo Prog in the best early-80's tradition, switching from the roughness of these years to more elaborated parts, but played a bit later, just to satisfy all the fanatic audience of the style.Highly recommended.

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 Star-Crossed by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.21 | 19 ratings

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Star-Crossed
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars The sands of time led them into a new age of truth

Even if it appeared only four years after their previous album, Star-Crossed was a kind of comeback album by a reunited Grey Lady Down after an initial split. As far as I understand from the biographies of the band that I've read (as well as other reviews here), this album was initially intended to be released under a new and different band moniker, but in the end it became the fourth (and to date the most recent) Grey Lady Down album. This little background story might explain why Star-Crossed sounds so different in comparison to the earlier releases by the band and perhaps also why (if true?) some of the band's fans seem to find the present album somewhat disappointing. For me, on the other hand, this album far outshines all the previous three albums by the band. Indeed, Star-Crossed is the one and only Grey Lady Down album that I find really worthy and wholly enjoyable.

The line-up remains the same as on the previous album with two exceptions: original guitarist Julian Hunt returns to the fold and a Phill Millichamp takes over the drum stool. The drums sound better here than on previous albums and Hunt seem to have improved as a player since the early albums. For the first time in their career, Grey Lady Down here sounds as if they had finally found their own musical identity and style - a finding that apparently gave them a newfound confidence that really can be felt while listening to this album. In my review of the band's previous album, I already remarked that they had taken steps in the direction of a more distinctive and more original sound and Star-Crossed completed the transition of the band from being a rather anonymous and second-rate band in the Neo- Prog scene during their early days to a more honourable and exciting musical entity in its own right. Admittedly, the music here is still by no means highly original or in any sense ground-breaking, but this is not the point, the important thing is that the band no longer sounds like an also ran of the British Neo-Prog scene of the 80's (but 10 years too late), but instead like a band that deserves to be heard by somewhat wider audience (namely, all fans of the sub-genre).

While on the early albums the primary influence seems to have been Fish-era Marillion, they now seem to have a slightly wider set of influences. Actually, they now sound more like recent IQ (for which keyboarder Mark Westworth would later go on to play), but a bit rockier and grittier. Again like on the previous album, there is a harder edge. The keyboard sounds are more varied and rely more on classic piano and organ than before. There are also a stronger presence of acoustic guitars and even some flute on one track, played by guest Hughie McMillan. Another rather unlikely guest appearance is Bernie Marsden (who played Whitesnake and many others), who plays a guitar solo in the final track!

The most important aspect of why this album stands out in the otherwise rather weak Grey Lady Down discography, however, is simply that the material is strong. The melodies are memorable and the band members sound passionate as a result. It was exactly in this department that the band's previous albums failed to resonate with me. Another positive aspect is a greater variety and a better balance between rockers and ballads. The band's official website now states that the band is still together and a new album is a possibility. If a new recording will build on the foundation of Star-Crossed, this is promising news.

If you want to investigate Grey Lady Down, Star-Crossed is the place to begin (and then move in backwards chronological order).

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 Fear by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.57 | 23 ratings

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Fear
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars And finally... something a bit better

With their third album release, Grey Lady Down finally managed to avoid sounding derivative and indistinctive. With the present album - that was given the title Fear - the band took their first steps out of stylistic anonymity and towards their own musical identity and the end result is certainly something a little bit more original than anything they offered us before. Indeed, for this reviewer, Fear was the first good Grey Lady Down album. After having listened to all four of the band's studio albums, I can only assume that the only reason for which people like the first two albums is nostalgia. On these earlier albums, Grey Lady Down simply wore their influences on their sleeves and produced music in the already well-established style of the British Neo-Prog scene of the 80's with (early) Marillion standing out as the most obvious role model. Maybe many people were starved on this kind of music in the early 90's (about ten years after the first Neo-Prog bands emerged), but today, albums like Grey Lady Down's 1994 debut, The Crime, and the 1995 follow-up, Forces (both rated with two stars each), sound seriously dated. (Besides, bands like Pendragon were doing that sort of thing much better at the same time). It is in this context that Fear sounded a bit more refreshing to these ears.

Compared to the earlier recordings of the band, Fear is a more mature effort; it is less derivative and much less 80's sounding. It also has a harder edge (even heavy at some points!) and is darker in both tone and subject matter. I would say that the compositions here are more complex and developed too. To what extent this rejuvenation and revitalization of the band was due to the replacements in both the keyboard department and the guitar department is unclear, but I suspect it had a lot to do with it. Judging from this album, Mark Westworth is a better and more interesting keyboard player than the previous Louis David and Steve Anderson a superior and more powerful guitarist compared to Julian Hunt. With Westworth and Anderson on board, Grey Lady Down seems to have acquired a newfound confidence and the whole band benefits here including singer Martin Wilson who sounds better here than in the past.

While I find this album to be more enjoyable than the previous ones by Grey Lady Down, the material here is not that much stronger. Fear is an enjoyable listen for sure, but the songs are again not particularly memorable; unlike with the previous two albums, Fear is a rather pleasurable listen, but afterwards I don't remember any of its melodies. It never really grips me. There is also not enough diversity and variation on this album to make it really exciting. And, the cover art picture is simply dreadful!

An improvement for sure, but still far from essential

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 Forces by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.12 | 25 ratings

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Forces
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Rather grey

Forces was Grey Lady Down's second album and the follow-up to the previous year's The Crime. Musically, this album is a pretty straightforward continuation of the previous one and there are very few changes in the sound of the band here. Once again, we get a style of music heavily rooted in the sounds of the 80's British Neo-Prog scene with (early) Marillion being an obvious primary influence. It is fair to say that Grey Lady Down were 10 years behind their time. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, particularly if you manage to make the style your own and execute it with good taste, much talent and strong material. It is in all of these latter respects that Grey Lady Down fails, however. To my ears, this band is rather anonymous and, frankly, bland. Or should I say, grey?.

While Forces is slightly better produced (which has eliminated the slight Punk-ish feel that I found on the debut) and features a more tasteful and intriguing sleeve picture, this album is haunted by all of the same problems as the debut: every song sounds just like the next one and there are again not enough of changes in mood, tone, tempo or in the instruments used to keep my interest till the end. Even if I found Forces to be slightly more enjoyable (which means mildly enjoyable) than The Crime, I found this album too to be rather tedious to listen to in one session due to the severe lack of diversity and variation and the indistinctive, anonymous and derivative sound.

Only for fans and collectors

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 The Crime by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.33 | 45 ratings

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The Crime
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Criminal record

Grey Lady Down is an archetypal and rather generic British Neo-Prog band playing music that is quite heavily and straightforwardly in the same style as that of (early) 80's IQ, Marillion and Twelfth Night, but without any of the novelties and distinctive features of those bands. This debut album released in 1994 (but could just as well have been released in 1984 from the sound of it) also lacks the memorable melodies of the more well-known 80's Neo-Prog bands. Personally, I fail to see the attractions of The Crime and my biggest problem with it is that every song sounds just like any other. There are not enough of changes in mood, tone, tempo or in the instrumental attack on the album and the result is rather flat. I detect a Punk (or Post Punk?) flavour in this recording, especially the drums are often simplistic and straightforward.

If judged one by one, almost all the songs here are decent and even mildly pleasant, but after only a few tracks I tend to tire of the sound of the album. All the way till the end, the listener is basically offered just more and more of the same middle-of-the-road Neo-Prog. There are a couple of exceptions, though, one positive and one negative. The positive one is the acoustic introduction to Thrill Of It All which sounds very good. But when the synthesisers and drums enter it all gets back to the same established sound once again. It does get a bit tedious after a while, even for me who have learned to appreciate much music in the Neo-Prog category. The negative exception is the embarrassing Annabel, the only track of the album that is downright bad and cheesy (which frankly could be expected as it is after all a song with a girl's name as its title).

The vocals of Martin Wilson gets a lot of praise, but for me he has a rather anonymous and indistinctive voice. He has some talent for sure, as does the rest of the band in terms of instrumental skill, but as song writers, they leave a lot to be desired. They are obviously attempting to be catchy, in a Marillion' Market Square Heroes-way, but as the songs lack strong enough melodies, they fail to "catch" the listener (this listener, anyway). I thus found this album to be a rather tedious listen, but after having forced myself to sit through it several times, I can conclude that it leaves little impression on me.

Only recommended for Neo-Prog fanatics

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 The Time Of Our Lives by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Live, 1998
3.80 | 14 ratings

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The Time Of Our Lives
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well this was to be the final concert for GREY LADY DOWN in London on July 11 1998 but the band (not the same lineup as here) would release another studio album in 2001 which turned out to be a mistake because it just wasn't that good. Interesting enough that we've got some recent news that the band has reformed in 2011 and will be playing some live gigs in the UK this year and possibly work on a new studio album in the future. So up to the point of this 1998 concert the band had released three studio albums and since this double album has over 145 minutes of music you could say they just about played all their songs (haha). What I like about this recording is that it does capture the emotion of it being their final show.You can hear the audience at times singing along and seemingly hanging on every word from the vocalist.

A couple of treats for those present was playing a new song called "The Perfect Dream" which hadn't been released on any of their previous albums.This might be my favourite track on here. A definite top three anyway.The other gift was playing all three of the "The Crime" songs together for 33 minutes worth of music.The singer says to introduce this epic that they never had the guts to do this before. A top three for sure. It seems that the songs from the first album ("The Crime") that they perform here are the ones I like the best. The other top three is also from that one and it's called "Annabel" and it's actually a bonus track here and not part of that concert. I love how heavy it is and how prominant the guitar is on it.

The second disc is the better of the two by far as they seem to take a while to get going.Or maybe it's just that the material they chose to play first didn't do a lot for me, I don't know. I like at the start of the song "12:02" (another highlight) where he introduces the band then before the song kicks in he says "I will see you again,who knows." Well this year GREY LADY DOWN's fans will get a chance to see them again.

If I could make this one disc with my favourite tracks it would be 4 stars. Over 145 minutes of music and there's a lot that just doesn't do much for me. Hence the 3.5 star rating. Welcome back guys !

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 Star-Crossed by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.21 | 19 ratings

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Star-Crossed
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This was a comeback album of sorts for the band as they had broken up after the "Fear" album and even recorded a double live farewell album the following year in 1998. So yes this came out of left field as the band reformed and recorded this in 2001.The drummer (Robotham) was already with THIEVE'S KITCHEN so we get a new guy behind the kit.The original guitarist returned and the bass player and vocalist are also original members. Westworth the keyboard player had been with the band since the "Fear" album. He would later join DARWIN'S RADIO then IQ after Orford had left. Interesting that SPHERE3 (who should be on this site) has had a relationship with GREY LADY DOWN over the years. Anderson who played guitar on a couple of GREY LADY DOWN albums is from SPHERE3 and for this album Westworth borrowed a mellotron from Neil Durant (SPHERE3) as well. And some recent news is the fact that SPHERE3's keyboardist Neil Durant has just replaced Westworth in IQ, and yes he has his own mellotron (yay). Back to this album. I have to admit that for me this is my least favourite GREY LADY DOWN studio album. I like some of the heavier sections on the final two tracks but really this album does almost nothing for me sadly.

"Fading Faith" opens with piano but it kicks in fairly quickly until it settles back when the vocals arrive. It does pick back up. A calm with reserved vocals around 4 minutes then it picks back up before 6 minutes. "Shattered" kicks in at a minute with prominant bass. It settles again as contrasts continue. Mellotron after 2 minutes. "As The Brakes Fail" is mellow with reserved vocals until it gets fuller before 2 1/2 minutes. "Fallen" opens with synths as drums, bass then guitar join in. It settles with laid back vocals before 2 minutes. It continues to pick back up then settle back the rest of the way. Organ before 6 1/2 minutes followed by some aggressive guitar then keyboards. It settles again and vocals are back after 10 minutes. It picks up then settles with piano after 12 1/2 minutes.

"New Age Tyranny" is vocal led with some good guitar after 5 minutes. "Sands Of Time" opens with strummed guitar then it picks up with vocals and other sounds. A guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Truth" is fairly heavy until it settles after 1 1/2 minutes.Vocals follow then it gets fuller after 3 minutes. Heavy again before 5 minutes. "Crossfire" has this heavy intro that I like but it changes quickly with vocals. It's still fairly heavy and intense though. Contrasts will continue but this one rocks pretty good.

A really low 3 stars would be generous but since this is my least favourite and i've rated the other studio albums at 3 stars I have to go 2.5 stars.

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 Forces by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.12 | 25 ratings

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Forces
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is album number two for UK's GREY LADY DOWN released in 1995. I do prefer the debut and the follow-up to this one but there's some good stuff on here regardless.

"Paradise Lost" opens with samples before the music kicks in with vocals. Some nice guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. "The Nail" opens with water sounds.The music kicks in around a minute, vocals follow. Synths and vocals lead on this one and there's lots of energy. "Battlefields Of Counterplane" is heavy to start with female sampled words. A music box joins in too. It all stops after a minute as reserved vocals and synths take over. It starts to build after 5 minutes then the vocals return.

"Without A Trace" opens with synths galore with heavy outbursts that come and go. It settles in with vocals before a minute. Some nice guitar then water sounds end it as it blends into "The Cold Stage".Thunder here as well before strings and piano take over. Reserved vocals join in.Soaring guitar comes and goes. "I Believe" features lots of synths and drums with vocals. "The Flyer" opens with sounds of fighter planes and gunfire in a dark atmosphere. It settles 1 1/2 minutes in then reserved vocals arrive a minute later.Tasteful guitar after 5 minutes then it turns heavy as the tempo picks up. It settles again as the tempo continues to shift in this the longest track at over 13 minutes.

A good album that may be of interest to Neo-Prog fans.

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 The Crime by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.33 | 45 ratings

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The Crime
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the debut of Neo-Prog band GREY LADY DOWN released in 1994.They're from the UK and feature drummer Mark Robothom who go on to play in THIEVE'S KITCHEN. Certainly the synths, drums and vocals dominate the sound here. It's kind of cool that they have a "Crime" Part One and Two on this album, and a Part Three on their "Fear" album.They put them all together on their final live record for an interesting 33 minutes suite.

"12:02" opens with samples before the music kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals follow and they are the focus. "All You Join Hands" is drums and synth led as vocals join in in this energetic and catchy track. "Thrill Of It All" features laid back guitar to start as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in after 2 minutes.This is better with the synths and drums out front. "The Ballad Of Billy Grey (The Crime Part One)" opens with spacey synths and electronic-like sounds. A beat before a minute. It settles before 3 minutes as reserved vocals follow. It picks up before 8 1/2 minutes.

"Circus Of Thieves" has a good guitar intro then synths and drums join in.Vocals before a minute as it picks up. Not a fan when it settles down, especially of the vocals. Contrasts continue. "Annabel" has some fairly heavy guitar early along with pounding drums. It settles 1 1/2 mjinutes in as reserved vocals join in then it picks up again. A guitar solo after 4 1/2 minutes then the vocals return late. "The Fugitive (The Crime Part Two)" is energetic to start. It settles before 3 minutes and relaxed vocals join in. It picks back up before 5 minutes. It settles back again as contrasts continue.

A good debut but I prefer their "Fear" album more and would suggest starting there.

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 Fear by GREY LADY DOWN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.57 | 23 ratings

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Fear
Grey Lady Down Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Third album of Lady Grey Down from 1997, keeping the same level with the predecesor, and I mean solid song writting and top notch musicianship. Haveing a strange cover art with a big title of the album - Fear spelled on entire front cover art and aswell funny band pictures inside the booklet, this neo prog band done it again big time. Again elaborated pieces, quite long, some of them over 10 min, whre simply all the members truly shines on each instrument. Brilliant keyboards arrangements, solig guitar lines, drums sounds better then before, so a great album with a cristal sound. The main members and the ones who done the most hard work on previous album Forces the keyboard player Louis David and the guitarist Juliant Hunt , left the band , for family reasons, this time replaced by another two excellent musicians, respectivly Mark Westworth behind the keyboards and on six strings Steve Anderson. They've done a pretty good work here aswell, almost never knowing that they are new members, they integrated very well in the Grey Lady Down sound. Martin Wilson from vocals department did aagain a great and spectacular vocal arrangemenst, from mellow passages to more rougher ones, this guy kick major ass in his field, one of the perfect voices for neo prog, and above all he is not a copy of Fish, Gabriel like 80% of the singers from this fiels. Unique and talented vocalist. All pieces are very strong , just listen to the excellent Roller coaster, and Finally, superb songwritting with blistering keyboards. I will give another 4 stars for sure, recommended one of the better bands from neo prog zone who are very underrated in my opinion, quite far from another bands in poplarity, and for sure needs a wider recognition because they are very good. One of the most enjoyble bands and without reason very unnoticed.

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