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PERSEPHONE'S DREAM

Heavy Prog • United States


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Persephone's Dream picture
Persephone's Dream biography
Formed in Pittsburgh, PA, USA in 1993

Claiming influences like RUSH, GENESIS and OZRIC TENTACLES, Pittsburgh,PA band PERSEPHONE"S DREAM (named after a Greek myth) was formed initially in 1993 by guitarist Rowen POOLE and bassist Christ SIEGEL. The duo drafted an intern named Judilynn NEIDERCORN to sing vocals and recorded the band's first album, 'Evening Mirage', in Rowan's dining room. Although the album was not released until 1997, it gained some radio play and a cut off the record was used on a U.S. soap opera.

In 1998 with NEIDERCORN out of the picture, drummer Ed WIANCKO and singer Karin NICELY joined and the band released their second album 'Moonspell'. This record received world wide acclaim and was known on college radio stations for its longer song explorations and diverse styles: everything from fast, almost punkish songs to moody, hard-edged folk. In an effort to transmute this broad sound to stage, the group added percussionist John TALLENT and keyboardist Kim FINNEY in 2000 to the lineup. The next year the band released their third album, 'Opposition', which attempted to further diversify their sound, making the harder numbers harder and the ethereal songs more so.

To this day, PERSEPHONE'S DREAM continues to work on its stage show, building it up with a larger and more artistic sense of props and lighting. They have opened for artists like D.C. COOPER (of ROYAL HUNT) and The FLOWER KINGS. The material consistently reflects a blend of gothic and fantasy elements, electronic effects and good old fashioned 1970's hard rock, resulting in a mix that recalls classic art rock.

- The Whistler -

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PERSEPHONE'S DREAM discography


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

PERSEPHONE'S DREAM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 3 ratings
Evening Mirage
1997
3.79 | 10 ratings
Moonspell
1999
3.91 | 7 ratings
Opposition
2001
3.70 | 12 ratings
Pyre of Dreams
2007
3.89 | 95 ratings
Pan - An Urban Pastoral
2010
3.69 | 8 ratings
Anomalous Propagation
2019

PERSEPHONE'S DREAM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PERSEPHONE'S DREAM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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PERSEPHONE'S DREAM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PERSEPHONE'S DREAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Opposition by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.91 | 7 ratings

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Opposition
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Persephone's Dream 2001 album is "Opposition" sounding very different to the next three albums to follow which are all masterpieces of Heavy Symphonic Prog to my ears. This release has the endearing vocals of Karin Nicely, a confident performer who is easy on the ears. Bevel opens the album with a heavy guitar riff and and some nice sound effects of water lapping. It is a rocker with some catchy melodies.

Kindred Soil is a quieter approach with beautiful guitar reverb from Rowen Poole, and a steady tempo from percussionist Ed Wiancko and John Tallent, who appears on other albums. There is a spoken section which is rather interesting. The bassist is Chris Siegle, wonderful on these albums, appearing often, and keyboardist is Kim Finney.

Puppetmaster is next, driven by a heavy riff, and Karin's forceful vocals sounding similar to Toyah, who I adore. Listen to Marionette, The Packt or anything from "Anthem" and it is a similar style. A cool lead break and marching snare take over til the verse returns "where are you going? Ruled by your ego."

Endymion caresses your ears as it zooms in and out of your drums with synth pulses. Then lovely singing and guitar delay add to a haunting atmosphere. I love that bass against the soundscape of synths and dreamy guitar as Karin sings "Endymion, Can you give her the keys to her slumber, Endymion the silent sleeper, forever lost in the night." The spaciness and ambiance is powerful on this track. Karin is outstanding with a passionate performance I am beginning to enjoy more and more as the album progresses. Her outro of operatic intonations is towering.

Hyperspace Minefield, an Ayreon like title, opens with pounding drums and bass, joined by Karin and the guitars ringing out. Rowen's guitar work is excellent with chord progressions that complement the musicscape.

Other notable tracks include 10th Moon, with Pink Floyd style intro, moving into a steady rock beat with soft guitars, and spacey synths. The vocals are gentle and augmented by inventive musicianship with some fantastic percussion. The cadence gets heavier and progressive towards the end.

Agent of Chaos has a sparkly synth chime intro like a music box and then synths similar to Jean Michel Jarre pulsating. The bass is low and ominous as more prominent synths and guitars caress the atmosphere. Karin enters with intense vocals about the havoc surrounding a protagonist, "confusion sets in on unknowing mind, he laughs to himself".

There is also the mystical Far Side of Eden, opening with floating flute sounds and very pretty guitars, and the innovative Stormchaser, with its Deep Purple like title. This track stands out with its wind effects and guitar delay intro. It builds into distortion and Karin crying out to the heavens, "Can't you see I don't want to be lost and alone in the violence, I want to sail into the wind". An ambient atmosphere follows with synth pads and multi tracked harmonies. Thunder rolls across the sky and the music becomes heavier, lifting into a choppy rhythm and then descending into synths drones and the storm clouds open in the end.

We segue into Serene Sea to close the album, a steady rhythm motorvating along as Karin sings sweetly about the power of nature.

This album is not as masterful as the next three albums but it is still an excellent journey into the world of Persephone's Dream. There are some wonderful tracks and Karin is a fabulous vocalist. "Opposition" is yet another reason that Persephone's Dream are a worthy band to check out at your earliest opportunity.

 Pyre of Dreams by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.70 | 12 ratings

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Pyre of Dreams
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars "Pyre of Dreams" escaped me when it was first release in ancient 2007; was it that long ago? The world has changed since then but this music and its lyrical content still holds a place in today's society. The first thing that strikes me about the album is the music is dominated by spacey synths and passionate vocals of Colleen Gray, and Heidi Engel who I grew to love with Persephone's Dream's most recent "Anomalous Propagation". This album again grows on me with every listen, getting better and better, until I have to resign to the fact I am listening to masterful prog.

Threnody opens with a wonderful mixture of melodic catchy vocals, scintillating synth, and guitar delay. The themes are dark laced with dark shadows, moonlight, blood and sunshine; vampiric perhaps. Is that a stake being driven in at the end? Mind you the "Keep it secret, keep it safe" is a Lord of the Rings reference so it is perhaps forging a ring.

Synesthesia has a crunching guitar riff and weird synths as Colleen speaks "sight, sound, scent, taste, touch". The riff locks in, one of the best I have heard from the band, and the vocals have a beautiful layered texture. I am already in love with the album. It is heavy guitars and progressive structures, complex at times, but there's no mistaking that grinding Deep Purple organ sound with a 1970's vibe. This is as good as anything from the prog heavy 70's when Hammond and heavy guitars dominated. It breaks into a reverb lead guitar solo along a proggy time sig. A soundscape of complicated rhythms; so endearing to the ear. Brilliant so far!

Nightfall has a droning synthscape, then some bass and drums as Colleen sings of dreams and visions, astral waves, "are you safe from my touch? If you stop the moonlight you will lose in the dance of darkness." The guitar delay is atmospheric but those synths are mesmirising and ethereal. Now I am beginning to wonder why I had not immersed myself in this album sooner as it is becoming addictive as Ayreon who I cannot get enough of.

Next song, what am I going to encounter? Its called Cryptoendolith, which must mean something secretive. The rototom toms percussion is prominent, jungle rhythms abound and then a bell chimes; we are transported to deepest Africa. The drum solo is amazing forcing me to look up who it is, Scot Harvey, but it's way too short.

Temple in Time - Mist has some lovely singing and Hammond sounds; both welcome to my prog sensitive ears. I have heard over 1,337 prog albums to date so I have become attuned to what is good prog and what is not; you simply feel it in your senses, and you cannot be dissuaded by other prog reviewers as it purely subjective. This is very good prog; so well executed and structured and no filler, all killer.

Temple in Time is a prog suite in 5 parts. Temple in Time: ii. Nimiane begins with lapping water and breathy voice over echoing in the netherworld of dreams. Ethereal music and mystical overtones permeate the atmosphere. It merges into Temple in Time: iii. Soliloquy of a King (King Arthur mix), Temple in Time: iv. Camlann (King Arthur mix) and Temple in Time: v. Avalon conclude the multi movement suite of prog. Avalon is my favourite with some amazing vocals from Colleen and great bass and percussion work throughout, with Rowen's guitars as excellent as I have heard. Android Dreams has a relentless guitar rhythm and pulsating bass powering it along. Colleen sings of androids syntactic breakdown, electronic impulses, wires, senses burning, photo induction reality destruction. The guitars are heavy and grinding, ringing out with a shimmering Hammond; simply stunning musicianship.

Aphrodite features the crystalline vocals of Heidi Engel, so incredible on the latest album, and has a spacey synth buzzing intro. The symphonic layers are joined by sporadic drumming and basslines. The guitars have a dirty sound, and I am transfixed by how Heidi sings with that bass going wild in the background. Heidi is phenomenal on this with her beautiful sexy vocals and that operatic high register she can reach. It is little wonder that the band returned to her vocals in subsequent albums.

Alien Embassy opens with layers of synth and Oxygene style washes before the bass begins and then guitar delay. Mystical multi tracked vocals enter singing about aliens, delusions, creation, chemicals, and Apollo. The bass line again is impressive, locking in as a drum tempo dominates and more guitar delay. The song gains tempo until breaking with a weird vocal over a synth pad and then a pulsating bassline. It is very atmospheric and spacey, and so are the lyrics that involve shenanigans with an alien race.

The album returns to two previous tracks providing an alternate version of each Temple in Time: iii. Soliloquy of a King (Lady in the Lake mix), and Temple in Time: iv. Camlann (Lady in the Lake mix). They are similar with some slight differences in length and musicianship.

Overall this album is as innovative and progressive as subsequent releases, with some very strong material and powerhouse vocals. The musicianship is incredible at times, and there are definitive highlights. The story revolves around the legend of King Arthur and the slaying of a dragon, including the sword on the Lake, Excalibur and other medieval themes. As a concept album it works very well, and the overall structure is powerful. The revolving door musicians of the band is as prolific as Ayreon though Ayreon always hires guest musicians as a rule. It means every album sounds different than the previous and they are all brimming over with new ideas and melodies as a collaborative unit in fine form. In any case I am enamored by the music of Persephone's Dream and I am rating this highly, that's three masterpieces to my ears along with "Pan" and "Anomalous Propagation", as it delivers what I love about prog, similarly to Ayreon.

 Anomalous Propagation by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 8 ratings

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Anomalous Propagation
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars Persephone's Dream have released their 6th album 9 years since "Pan", "Anomalous Propagation", with almost 74 minutes of pure quality prog. The album focuses on primarily the vocals of Heidi Engel who is exceptional, and some fine musicianship from Rowen Poole on guitars and synths, Chris Siegle on bass and synths, Jim Puskar on percussion, Jason English on guitars, and Laura Martin on keyboards. Band members assist on vocals also and there are a lot of harmonies which are well executed. Heidi is in fine voice with a similar style to "Pyre of Dreams" with songs such as Aphrodite. It is a polarizing album as it is not as proggy as previous releases, namely the masterpiece "Pan" that I had described in the 5 star review as "an offering of melody and dense music poured out onto a labyrinthine canvas of artistic beauty." Could this followup live up to such a glowing review? "Anomalous Propagation" is certainly progressive though less than "Pan", and it is not as conceptual as previous albums, but definitely wrapped in a pseudo conceptual framework with inter-related songs that revolve around the idea that our world is locked in a digital prison where technology has become our master and we are under constant surveillance. Surveillance, Deep Web and Rhizomatic Horizon are inter-related in this context with surveillance, secretive conspiracies and digital highway being primary within the lyrics. I contacted Rowen Poole, guitarist and band visionary, about the meaning behind the lyrics and I will reiterate some of his musings in this review.

Red Light Syndrome is referred to by Rowen as a bit of a joke reference that has been in the band for years, being "the condition one experiences when the red record light comes on and you suddenly forget everything about the parts of the song you are trying to play for the recording... it's like being under this super electron microscope, everything sounds horrible and mistakes are amplified a million times." Interesting side note that the term is found in the Urban Dictionary unbeknownst to the band. The track actually sparkles with synth building into a crescendo of drums and bass in an odd metronome signature, jarring to the ear but effective, along with the seductive breathy vocals of Heidi. Some very choppy guitar rhythms along with complex keyboards lock in and then a glorious lead break. It halts and we hear the sound mixers agony of trying to get the sound right and then Heidi trying to explain it will all be fixed in the mix. There are a lot of in house speak and jargon here that I can relate to as a musician myself in a church band, acoustic guitar, bass and now drums, and I enjoyed the innovation of allowing the listener in to this recording studio environment. It is fun to hear all this fly on the wall banter and especially the last words "only 9 more tracks to go".

Surveillance is about the CCTV that is everywhere with us being constantly under the camera eye. According to Rowen, it was actually inspired by a late night 2:00am visit to the grocery store, where he walked down an aisle in mid darkness and as he walked the lights began to come on triggered by motion sensors. He and his wife began to count the amount of cameras and there were over 250. It was a revelation that led to a conversation with the store cashier where Rowen asked if there had been that much shop lifting that they would require a massive amount of CCTV and she replied not at all, in fact there were even cameras in the break room that watch the staff. This inspired Rowen to write this song based on the constant surveillance that seems to be everywhere these days and what is the real reason for such an influx of cameras; what are they really there for and who is watching. This unsettling subject matter is enhanced by some genuinely creepy whispers and odd ramblings about being on a film set with electronic terminology and a glossary of filming terms. It is very effective to transport us into this shrouded closed in world, augmented by synths and guitars that seem to emanate from some other worldly dimension. The drums are powerful along with the repetitive guitar motif with haunting synths that reverberate. As a big fan of Toyah I was reminded of her style and I loved the hyper strange atmosphere on this track. It launches into an aggressive vocal with guitar distortion and a glorious lead guitar break that climbs into the stratosphere. Absolutely mesmirising and a definitive highlight.

Despoina's Dagger is a lengthy track clocking 10:45, with a concept about Persephone's sister Despoina, and based on a short story Rowen wrote about "a man that wakes up in a room and is, as far as he can tell, being seduced by a beautiful spy, or so he thinks." The spy is based on Marvel Comic's Black Widow, a film that is still on hold due to CoVid-19. The song moves along a powerful bass line, played like Geddy Lee, and some well executed vocals with dreamy, sexy breathy technique. The tempo changes throughout and the vocals almost battle to keep up. This is one of the more complex tracks on the album. At 4 minutes in it changes into a funky bass thump rhythm and some off sync vocals with blazing synth and drums. It gets crowded for a while until lone bass solos provide relief and a vocal section with mystical qualities. I like how the song keeps changing yet flows nicely from one idea to the next. The lyrics muse about the mystery and passion, of refined, and undefined love.

Queen of Fools is based on broken relationships, with some off sync vocals and chaotic rhythms to show the interplay between unrequited love and broken promises. Heidi sings about frozen dreams, icy relationships, fate, destiny, and visions. This is a more spiritual approach to the album with very ethereal musicianship. There is a cool marching snare rhythm and heavy breathing over a wall of synths and guitar picking. The ascending keyboards empower the song with an empathic feeling of melancholy. A very pretty piano solo chimes in with gorgeous violin strings and acoustic flourishes. Heidi moves into Nightwish opera mode in a magical interlude permeating the calming atmosphere "craving one small sign (and) hollow echoes".

Rhizomatic Horizon is another highlight about surveillance and the web are dominating society and the rhizomatic structure of it all, according to Rowen, "you can get here from anywhere and that path isn't the same path I arrived at this point either." This is a fantastic song with an incredible promo clip that makes it all the more potent. The music is a frenetic mix of dissonance and order with a great riffing guitar bouncing along a synth line. The inflection and cadence in the vocals is superb. There are some heavy distorted guitars balanced with guitar picking reverb. The outburst of keyboards and axe with new tempo rhyhms is terrific, and Heidi sings "I am everywhere" as though the internet has found a voice. There is a twin lead guitar solo with harmonics and arpeggios, Then some off kilter operatic vocals begin ascending into the highest C register, as good as Floor Jansen or Heather Findlay can reach.

Deep Web is about the darker side of internet surfing with genuine moments that made me shudder, speaking of the seamy, steamy dark web that is to be avoided but the protagonist finds themselves drawn in without escape. The lyrics speak of "encrypted limited access... beware conspiracy, spy and surveillance's eye, for the deeper you search, the more you find only in the depths of the deep web." A cautionary tale that the web can be a dark place with forbidden truths that will leave a scar on your life. Obviously a place that should not be entered.

Translucent opens with a screeching synth, footsteps and awesome bass line, then soaring twin guitars. Heidi sings with powerful resonance about "the heat and the dark of the night, deep desires, glitter and starlight, hiding in plain sight, down it goes, chasing what was once forbidden, yearning for your touch." The multi layered vocals are wonderful and I love the heavy guitar riffs and incredible rhythms of percussion and bass. The musicianship is excellent and at over 8 minutes there is plenty to love with twists and turns exemplifying a band that is really in full flight, a delight to listen to. The story behind the song involves a short story about the one person in life you want to be with, but with mixed signals things get complicated and it becomes unrequited love.

Defenestrated, Latin for thrown out the window, is based on Rowen's short story about a taxi driver sitting in his favourite bar late at night having a drink with a frequent denizen of the joint, reminiscing about life and a mysterious, attractive woman he encountered in the Burbs who may or may not be a spy. It open with a synth soundscape, a steady tempo and vocals that seduce in their cadence. A blistering lead guitar is a highlight akin to Andy Latimer or Steve Hackett; amazing indeed in its soaring power. It gets cacaphonic towards the end and hyper fast with some sensational fret work.

Love is a love story of sorts with male and female vocals, an interplay of emotions, and even a raspy vocal as the aggression sinks in. There are distorted guitars and relentless drum rhythms that cause a dissonant scape, jarringly appropriate as the lovers argue.

Candlelight is a song that sounds like Mostly Autumn for a moment with female vocal intonations over a guitar reverb. The lyrics are purely about the way a candle flickers is akin to a metaphor for life, as an ember, glowing, flickering, then being snuffed out, "a light to guide us on our way". A hypnotic guitar motif drives the song, until a new tempo locks in faster and more urgent, and Heidi becomes more enraged, "will you follow the darkness, empty and hollow". There is a break and another rhythm comes in till it returns to the beginning riff, bringing the song to its conclusion.

Principle Amor is a short stab of prog at 2:10, with a grandiose bass line and pounding percussion, till Heidi's vocals and a guitar breaks through. Heidi sounds breathless and acts as a temptress singing of the principle of love, or is that lust? An odd way to close the album, but there is a bonus track with Surveillance NSA Mix, a different version of Surveillance and one worth hearing; its such a great song.

The band released two excellent promo videos with Surveillance and Rhizomatic Horizon that are definitely worth having a look at. Overall this new release by Pan's Labyrinth is one of the best albums of the year and a real grower; with every listen it becomes more powerful and I really grew to enjoy the vocal work of Heidi and the endearing melodies. I rate this high because it really resonates with all that I love about prog; innovative interchanging time sigs, powerful lyrics, gorgeous vocals and heavy concepts layered with virtuoso musicianship. Now I am going to immerse myself in the Persephone's Dream back catalogue. There is so much to love about this wonderful band.

 Anomalous Propagation by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 8 ratings

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Anomalous Propagation
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I do not know why it took 9 years for Persephone's Dream to release their sixth album, but it is interesting to see they have looked backwards as well as forwards, re-establishing themselves by going back to their roots in some ways. Guitarist and co-founder Rowen Poole (who also provides synths) may be the only person who played on the previous album but he has welcomed back onboard fellow co-founder and bassist Chris Poole (also synths) alongside singer Heidi Engel who was on 'Pyre of Dreams'. They have been joined by Jim Puskar (drums, percussion) and Laura Martin (pianos, keyboards, synths, vocals) plus what is possibly the most interesting addition, a second guitarist in Jason English (who also provides vocals). This is the first time they have used a twin guitar line-up and definitely sees them looking back into their earlier works. This CD has been released in a digipak with a fold out booklet, and it is interesting to see a manikin on one of the panels, as that alongside the colours being used immediately made me think of 'Opposition' which they released back in 2001.

They deliberately use vocal discord, which can be somewhat unsettling until one gets used to it ' given there are harmonies placed against it, and it is something which was experimented with on the previous album I am sure it is seen as a point of difference. When she needs to Heidi is perfectly on key, and I have yet to get fed up of Heidi pleading with the producer not to delete her vocals and make her do it again during opening song 'Red Light Syndrome' and being told it will not be fixed in the mix: the fact we are told it also 'needs more cowbell' makes me smile. With two guitarists there is room for some rather complex interplay as the guys move into far heavier territory than in recent years and keyboards not nearly as dominant although there is some nice underlying piano. This is an album which is going to really split opinion, as there will be some who really enjoy it and others who feel it is an opportunity missed. Me, I am much more to the former than the latter, as they move far more into 90's neo-prog with some interesting songs and approach.

 Pan - An Urban Pastoral by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.89 | 95 ratings

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Pan - An Urban Pastoral
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 2010 saw the band back with their fifth studio album, alongside yet more significant line-up changes. Guitarist and co- founder Rowen Poole, plus percussionist John Tallent were back, alongside keyboard player James Waugaman (who also provides vocals) who had debuted on the last album, as had drummer Scot Harvey who last time had played on just one track but this time was a full-time member of the band. The line-up was completed by new singer Ashley Peer and new bassist Roman Propenko. It is interesting to compare the number of reviews for this album on PA as opposed to the others, due in no small part I am sure by now being signed to a label who would send out promos (although strangely I didn't get this although I was working with PRR at the time), plus also very much due to the change in the band's approach.

This time around we have a full-blown concept album, containing nineteen songs which generally run into each other, so it feels like one continual piece of music. As well as sound effects there has been quite a shift in the musical direction, with Rowen letting James come far more to the fore, the result being something which musically is far more symphonic and less heavy than previously, with instruments such as glockenspiel being used effectively, along with clarinet. There are far more lengthy instrumental passages and less concentration on the vocals, and while James has a theatrical style to his voice the real presence here is Ashley with a wonderfully controlled soprano, and her choral entrance to the piece is simply beautiful.

This is an album which demands both careful and repeated listening as it is only with time that one really gets the complexity and breadth of styles within this. There are some wonderfully dated synth leads while Rowen's guitar can often be found underpinning the overall sound, rarely allowing himself the luxury of throwing out some power chords or lead licks. It sounds as if this is destined for the stage as opposed to "just" an album, and I am sure I am missing some things by not having that visual element. It is a very different release to the previous album, in so many ways, and I find it quite hard to compare the two as musically they have headed in quite a different direction. There is also a much bigger focus on male lead vocals, something they had started on the previous album, yet to me their music felt better suited to a female lead. I would have liked to have heard more from both Rowen and Ashley, combined with being able to actually see them perform this. This is a considerable undertaking, but personally I would have preferred to have seen a more logical continuation from the last album as opposed to something which is so far removed.

 Pyre of Dreams by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.70 | 12 ratings

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Pyre of Dreams
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Having released their second and third album relatively quickly, it would be some six years until Persephone's Dream came back with their fourth. Here is a band whose personnel was very much in flux as Karin Nicely had departed, as had keyboard player Kim Finney while drummer Ed Wiancko only played on one song and co-founder and bassist Chris Siegle only played on four. This left just guitarist and co-founder Rowen Poole, along with percussionist John Tallent, as full members of the band from the previous album. The songs are listed as being written over a five-year period and given the way certain band members only play on certain songs, I am sure this was a long drawn out recording process. However, Poole was determined to press on and for this album he had three strong singers in band members Colleen Gray and Heidi Engel and guest DC Cooper (who is probably best known for his time with Royal Hunt).

Although this may been recorded with more than a dozen musicians and singers, this is a far more powerful album than one might expect, feeling very much as a band album as opposed to any sort of project, and listening to this reminded me just why I enjoyed their previous two albums so much. The artist I found myself thinking of with this album was Lana Lane, but if she was in a band where all the music was being written by the guitarist as opposed to the keyboard player. Musically there is a huge difference between this and the debut, released ten years earlier, with this hitting every mark which was missing on the debut. The additional percussion adds a significant difference on tracks such as "Mist", which also benefits from some great lead vocals combined with wonderful harmonies. All these guys can really sing and combined with strong arrangements the result is a guitar-led symphonic prog album which is still relevant and really enjoyable all these years later. There will be some who may be put off by the Arthurian concept in the middle, but I have no issue with it whatsoever. Again, a self-release with a good booklet containing all the lyrics, this is a really good starting place for progheads to discover Persephone's Dream.

 Evening Mirage by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Evening Mirage
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars At some point in 2019 I heard that Persephone's Dream had signed to MRR and was going to be releasing a new album for the first time in nine years. My ears pricked up at that, as I recalled reviewing two of their albums some time ago, and a quick check of TPU Vol 2 showed that was back in 2002 when I reviewed their second and third albums. I had never heard their debut, or any of their later releases, so I was determined to change that, so here we go. The debut was released back in 1997 when the band were actually a duo of Rowen Poole (6, 7 and 12 string electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, voices) and Chris Siegle (5 string bass, drums, percussion, keyboards and voices), along with Judilynn Niedercorn (vocals) who is not listed as a member of the band, so I presume this was a session gig. Rowen and Chris are still with the band today, although Chris wasn't involved with the band for a spell. This is the only album with Niedercorn, as she was replaced by Karin Nicely before the next album, 'Moonspell', and I can't say I am too surprised as it is the vocals which are definitely the weakest part on this album. When someone is singing in a more delicate manner, then there needs to be total control and power throughout, and while there were some great female singers in the prog world in the 90's, they were less prevalent than they are now, and while Debbie Chapman (Legend) and Tracy Hitchings (Quasar, Landmarq etc) immediately spring to mind both of those musicians had far more control. It is quite frustrating as there are times when Niedercorn's vocals are spot on, but others they are just not quite right.

Rush is an obvious influence on the music on the album, and while there are some keyboards these are few and far between, with the focus normally on the voice or the guitar (alongside some delicious bass). The album doesn't feel well connected at times, but that probably isn't surprising as this process took a few years to complete. For a self- release, the booklet is substantial, and as well as including artwork and all lyrics it also states when the lyrics were written, when the music was recorded, and when the vocals were recorded. When it is just Rowen and Chris it feels far more together, with the two of them obviously connected very deeply, as the instrumental "Press Zero For Assistance" demonstrates.

This does have the feeling of a project as opposed to a band, and of musicians working their way towards what they wanted to achieve. It was from this that they brought in Karin Nicely (vocals) and drummer for Ed Wiancko for 1999's 'Moonspell" before further adding keyboard player Kim Finney and percussionist John Tallent for 2001's 'Opposition'. For those who already know the band then tis was the starting point for their journey more than 20 years ago, but not the best starting place for people just discovering the band.

 Anomalous Propagation by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 8 ratings

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Anomalous Propagation
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars In 1993, a guitarist named Rowen Poole and a bassist named Chris Siegel found a vocalist by the name of Judilynn Neidercorn got together and created an album called "Evening Mirage" under the moniker of "Persephone's Dream". In 1998, some changes were made and Karin Nicely became vocalist and drummer Ed Wiancko joined the band. The music started becoming longer and a bit more complex, and in order to take the show on the road, they added John Tallent on percussion and Kim Finney on keyboards in 2000.

In October of 2019, the band is still going strong as they released their 6th album "Anomalous Propagation" 9 years after their previous release. To say that the band came out of their hiatus relatively unscathed would be an understatement as the band lineup is completely changed from those earlier days, except for the original duo that founded the band. The current line-up consists of Rowen and Chris on their original instruments and adding in synths to both of their contributions, but beyond that, everyone else has changed. Heidi Engel is now on vocals, Jim Puskar on drums and percussion, Jason English on guitars and vocals, and Laura Martin on pianos and keys along with vocals. The band has definitely gone through a lot of personnel in their time. "Anomalous Propagation" consists of 11 tracks and has a robust run-time of just over 74 minutes.

"Red Light Syndrome" (8:10) (with lyrics by Heidi) starts it all off with a complex, sometimes soft, sometimes heavy track. The verses tend to be deceptively simple while the chorus is more complicated with heavy progressive sounds. Some of the vocals seem to be a bit off as far as tone, and I don't think that is intentional, at least it doesn't seem to be. Granted, the instrumental parts don't necessarily follow the vocal melody, so it is obviously difficult to sing on key, but the vocalist's delivery isn't really that appealing. The music itself is excellent, though, with some great guitar and keyboard work, and a level of complexity. There is some band banter in the middle of the track as the band resets for a very interesting turn of style as the singing turns into a layered, almost operatic style and the music intensifies quite well. This change is a turn for the better, for sure, as things get more interesting, but before the end, it returns to its questionable state felt mostly in the vocals. At the end, Heidi says "Nine more songs to go." Hopefully they are better, at least from her end.

"Surveillance" (5:50) has an Alan Parsons/Pink Floyd feel to it and the vocals starts out as spoken word, and then regular singing follows. Again, things seem to be a bit off between the instrumentals and vocals. The music is a bit lighter here, and I would rather hear the vocalist do the spoken sections. Also, again, the music is in a better league than the vocals. It's really too bad that things don't seem to mesh up between the two, because the music itself is quite good. Unfortunately, things don't change as the album goes on. The stirring and catchy intro to "Desponia's Dagger (10:45) starts off promising with a nice "Rush"-like bass line, but now it seems like the entire band is off. It is more noticeable as the intro tries to catch the solid groove, but now it all sounds off-beat. Also, you can hear some great ideas here, but the music needs a high level of tightness in the band to really be good, and it just doesn't get there. It comes across quite messy.

Going through the album, you keep hoping that things will get better, because the great ideas keep trying to shine through and the progressive level is there, but it is very distracting that everything just doesn't seem to come together very well. It ends up sounding very disjointed and out of sync. The first part of the album just seemed to be an issue with the vocals being out of synch, but after a few listens, you notice that things are also a bit off there too. It's really too bad that this issue wasn't worked out, because it could have been a decent album with the excellent ideas that are here, but that all comes to naught when it is all put together. In the end, it all just becomes very difficult to listen to.

 Opposition by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.91 | 7 ratings

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Opposition
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 'Opposition' came out in 2001 and the band had grown to a musical six-piece with the inclusion of Kim Finney on keyboards and John Tallent on percussion. It is interesting in the booklet to see that Jonathan Fleischman (lighting and stage show design) and Audre (artwork and web design) are all credited as band members. I must mention the booklet design, as it is one of the finest you will see, with great artwork accompanying each set of lyrics. The booklet has also been printed on a different quality paper to normal so that it is not glossy which gives it a tactile sensation reminiscent of old album covers.

Musically the band has decided to move into a darker and heavier sphere, with Karin's distinctive vocals rising over the top. While some songs tend to fit a bit more neatly into the neo- prog mould (although not completely by any stretch of the imagination), there are plenty of other influences such as Ozric Tentacles that clearly come through. Of the two I felt that in many ways this was the more complete album, one that makes more sense when listened to in it's entirety, but in some ways some of the sheer experimentalism and therefore 'difference' of the previous album are missing.

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

 Moonspell by PERSEPHONE'S DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.79 | 10 ratings

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Moonspell
Persephone's Dream Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Persephone's Dream are a female fronted progressive rock band hailing from America, and 'Moonspell' was their first album as a four-piece when Rowen Poole (guitars/keys) and Chris Siegle (bass/keyboards) were joined by Karin Nicely (vocals) and Ed Wiancko (drums). When I initially started playing the album I was taken not only by how strong the vocals and instrumentation were, but also on the care that had gone into the production and the atmospheric spoken introduction to the opening number, "Millennium Moon". I soon had the band's musical direction worked out, that they were a modern version of Renaissance, or did I?

By the time I had finished playing the album all the way through for the first time I found that not only was I impressed but also quite confused. There are just so many different strands being brought together, both lyrically and musically. Take "Learning Curve" for example. It is starts off gentle with plenty of acoustic guitar and folk influences, but the percussion on the first verse is quite at odds to the music and when the lyrics are listened to the realisation dawns that the song is dealing with the subject of date rape. As the songs progresses the electric guitar becomes much more important and the mood changes throughout the piece. Some of the songs are quite strange in their approach with "Earth Dreams" the longest on the album at over 12 minutes. It is quite a surreal instrumental, which has more than a hint of New Age, okay it is full blown New Age and in many ways is quite at odds with the rest of the album.

But overall did enjoy the album? A resounding "Yes". This is a prog band that is truly trying to be that, bringing together styles and music in a way quite dissimilar to others in the genre.

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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