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Protos biography
UK act PROTOS was formed in 1977 by Rory Ridley-Duff (keyboards) and Steve Anscombe (guitars), who experimented with the art of creating music while studying. After creating a couple of demo tapes they decided that they wanted top make a full fledged album as well and with the addition of Neil Goldsmith (drums) recordings commenced. In 1982 One Day a New Horizon was issued as a limited edition vinyl LP. A real band was set up following this, and throughout 1982 and -83 Protos played a number of live shows. No record contracts were forthcoming though, and other real life issues started to appear as well. And after a final gig in 1984 Protos disbanded.

Throughout the 90's the founding duo learned that their one excursion into the field of music creation had become something of a collector's item, and a direct result of that was a reissue on CD in 2006. Another result was more music. Both Duff and Anscombe remained interested and to some extent active as musicians in the 22 years that had passed between the release of the Protos album and it's reissue on CD, and in 2007 a new studio album from the duo appeared: The Noble Pauper's Grave.

The same year also saw the release of the live album In the Mouth of the Tiger, documenting the live performances of the last version of Protos from the early 80's.

Protos are currently enjoying their newfound and rather surprising commercial interest, and are planning to release more new material in the forseeable future.

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PROTOS discography

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

3.98 | 9 ratings
One Day A New Horizon
2.22 | 4 ratings
The Noble Pauper's Grave

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Into the Mouth pf the Tiger

PROTOS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PROTOS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PROTOS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PROTOS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 One Day A New Horizon by PROTOS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.98 | 9 ratings

One Day A New Horizon
Protos Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars 1982, two years before the 'Armageddon' that never happened! Lost amid the putrid dysfunction and social apathy where 3 million are unemployed in the UK, conveniently camouflaged by the Falklands war, the Red Brigades kidnapping of American general, the birth of the very first computer virus (The Elk Cloner) , the Unabomber strikes , racer Gilles Villeneuve dies, 'ET' comes to town and then goes home, Sabra/Shatila and many more events, Time's Man of the Year was the computer! And in the midst of another wide turn in modern evolution, the world of music relied on Jackson's Thriller, Madonna's first single and Abba was at its zenith. Prog relied on the ultra-commercial debut of Asia, but Marillion and IQ would only show up the next year, signalling the rebirth of prog. Things were very bleak and yet, we discover this hidden masterpiece, almost 32 years later! Treasure hunting indeed, as this is not only good, it's phenomenal! As far as instrumental albums with exemplary playing, I have rarely heard anything as shimmering as this jewel: everything is first rate class, from Rory Ridley-Duff majestic keyboards that span the entire analog spectrum, to guitarist Steve Anscombe's slippery guitar style, a delicious mix of Steve Hillage and Bacamarte's Mario Neto and finally some real tight bass and drum combinations , this is a finely chiseled gem , a particular focus is on writing blooming melodies, groups of notes that have a meaning and a purpose, in an overtly symphonic configuration.

"The Fugitive" instantly reminds of some soundtrack movie, with the obligatory chase scene, full of ebbs and flows, pastoral landscapes that glow with sonic maturity, a vibrant 9 minute canvas of picturesque horizons and fragrant details, a lush opener to a masterful opus. Guitarist Anscombe often parallels the synth lines as well as exploding into liquid lead forays that exude both charm and elegance. He has a soft spot for the volume pedal which can evoke the '3 Steves' (Hackett, Howe, Hillage). Yes, the keyboards have that 80s synthetic sound, as if wrapped in some delicate veneer, not cheesy at all but instantly recognizable as a period sound. The playing is truly superb, jubilantly romantic one second and pastoral refreshing the next.

Never before has a title been as accurate as this, "Thing of Beauty" is precisely that! A resounding synth melody that will sear into your brain permanently, I have been humming this uncontrollably lately, as well as pressing the replay button like some test monkey! Crystalline and heavenly, the only negative is that it's too short, could have gone on for another 7 minutes but, hey, no worries, the follow up tracks are all sheer delights!

"The Maiden" shows her age, a typical 80s melody, a jangly theme that weaves, wanders and wastes little time in impressing, Neil Goldsmith's drumming being hyperactive and resolute. The instrumental technique displayed is both complex and ear friendly, sounding like a variation of Genesis' Wind and Wuthering album, especially the non-vocal tracks.

Sleek and immediate, "Panamor" has a bass keyboard melody that gives it a modern sheen, with Anscombe entwining some nice string patterns a la Ant Phillips , providing the ideal setting for Ridley-Duff to caress his synthesizer with loving tenderness. Another fascinating piece that is compelling listening.

The brief "Hunting Extremely Large Animals" suggests another glittering Tony Banks-like keyboard piece, the synths blazing brightly as the drums keep the mood tight and athletic. This serves as a perfect intro for the irresistible epic, the near 10 minute long "New Horizons/Protos" suite, a celestial platform for Ridley-Duff to show all his skills, merging a whole series of melodies and intertwining them skillfully. His piano work in particular has that Wakemanesque quality of speed, elegance and a classical touch that is hard to challenge. Guitarist Anscombe definitely recalls the great Anthony Phillips in combining both acoustic and electric into the mix, flashing a few glittering solos in the process and always at the service of the glorious keyboard onslaught. Dynamic and cinematographic, the arrangement is never dull or directionless, quite the opposite effect is expressed, again with great style and 'delicatesse'. Truly grandiose stuff that needs an appreciative audience.

This 2006 rerelease offers two bonus tracks, with a different crew in Nigel Rippon on guitars, keys and Ian Carnagie on keys, bass. The brief "The Flea" and the slightly longer and more classically constructed "Variations on a Theme?" really does not alter the sound, still clearly in the Oldfield/ The Enid school of Brit sympho-prog.

The shocker is the fact that this delightful album has gone unnoticed and unloved for so long, as it represents the archetypical treasure that fans constantly seek to search out, far beyond all the big prog classics. A major discovery that is thanks to our own Apostolis, whose vivid descriptions brought this to my attention.

4.5 fresh skylines

 One Day A New Horizon by PROTOS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.98 | 9 ratings

One Day A New Horizon
Protos Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A very good band from Chichester, UK, formed in 1977 as a studio duo by high-school friends keyboardist Rory Ridley-Duff (named simply Rory Duff around the time) and guitarist Steve Anscombe.In early-80's they were joined by drummer Neil Goldsmith and the track ''Flea'' was released on the Airship's compilation ''Seaside Rock''.The band started gigging with Nigel Rippon on bass, later helped by drummer Iain Carnegie when Goldsmith's interest in the project was waning, and in 1982 the debut ''One Day a New Horizon'' sees the light on Airiship, recorded only by Duff/Anscombe/Goldsmith without any bass guitar and pressed in the limited number of 250 copies.

The year and place of release always confuses Protos with the Neo Progressive Rock wave in the UK, but this band was actually less aggresive than any of the Neo bands with a very romantic and highly symphonic sound.Some flashy synthesizers by Duff bring to mind the early-80's British Prog sound, but the truth is that Protos used the guitar techniques of MIKE OLDFIELFD, the intense keyboard workouts of GENESIS and the symphonic grandieur of THE ENID, eventually to come up with a style close only to early QUASAR.Atmospheric Symphonic Rock with rapid changes between the instrumental keyboard passages and occasional guitar vibes with a melodic content.The production is far from top notch, but actually this is the charm of these early-80's British Prog rdcordings.The arrangements are mostly beautiful with alternation between lovely, romantic passages and keyboard-based bombastic themes, while the guitar of Anscombe colors the sound with an extreme beauty.

The album has been re-released on CD by the band some 25 years later with a pair of bonus tracks.It contains the early composition ''Flea'', more or less in the same style as the tracks of the original ''One Day a New Horizon'', atmospheric and virtuosic Symphonic/Electronic Rock, while the second one entitled ''Variations on a Theme by Iain Carnegie'' is originally contained in Rory Ridley-Duff's solo album ''Passing decades''.This is an instrumental OLDFIELD-ian attempt of Symphonic Rock mixed with New Age, much based on Duff's keyboards, with a great and elegant mood.

Fantastic band, that desrves some more fame.Intricate and perfectly composed Symphonic Rock in a hard period, albeit not quite original.Still highly recommended.

 The Noble Pauper's Grave by PROTOS album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.22 | 4 ratings

The Noble Pauper's Grave
Protos Neo-Prog

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars A few years ago Rory Ridley-Duff started posting in several prog and music forums about his band Protos re-releasing its 1982 album One Day A New Horizon. Later came the announcement that a new album will be released called The Noble Pauper''s Grave. As I''ve only heard a few samples from their previous album, One Day A New Horizon and liked the little I heard, I was intrigued to hear this new release. I am not sure how this compares to that album but I hope that the previous album is better than this one.

This album (like several other prog bands) takes its sound from both the old and new. There are vintage sounding keyboards along with more powerful, modern sounding guitars (and overall production), making it a hybrid of past and present. This is instrumental, with several narrative parts giving a background to the idea behind the music and all of it is a part of the bigger concept this album deals with. Here is what the press release says about the album: "The Noble Pauper''s Grave (released 18th October 2007) tells the story of a man born to privilege who rejects his upbringing. Drawn to the plight of the poor, he helps to organise and rally support for their cause whilst finding love amongst them. A tale of humility, tragedy, courage and affection conveyed through ambient narratives and rock music"

The first track is dynamic and exciting, but then I find it weakens somewhat to duller, less inspired (or rather less inspiring to me) tracks. It has this slow, ponderous and even romantic feel in some of the tracks, but I''m not taken away by those and they mostly pass me by. Even a track like "Rally", an 11 minute long composition which is more energetic than the previous ones, just strikes me a superficial, trying to make impression with bombastic arrangements than actual melody writing and composition. It has a nice shell to it, but there''s no content. It sounds like a superficial and bland rendering of Mike Oldfield and ELP at times (especially the musical chorus). The keyboard solo part is lost on me, but the guitar does manage to bring this track back to life while it plays and then it all recedes back to the quite boring and pompous aspect of the track (again to me, I am sure others will like, especially after reading glaring reviews of the album).

While it is a well done and melodic album, one that is nice to listen to, there are no hooks or any special memorable pieces or parts to it that make me think about it afterward and say "ah, yes that was a memorable experience, one that I want to come back to later". Plus, there are too many places in the album I just lose interest. It''s not a bad experience; but it isn''t one that particularly strikes me as being special or worthy of any special attention in the plethora of progressive rock albums coming out in these times. However, I think that many listeners will find many good qualities in this album to make it worth their time, so the above mentioned criticism is obviously my own view and should not deter any symphonic prog fans and any sophisticated, mostly instrumental rock listeners. It is a melodic, mostly melancholic and beautiful record. Only that to me, as one who loves all styles of music, I find nothing too special and I will not give this future listens probably (maybe one or two more times at most). I am not in the business of trashing musicians efforts and composition, so I don''t want to give the impression this is bad music; quite the contrary. It is well written and executed. This is a matter of taste, and this doesn''t appeal to me that much. There isn''t much in terms of excitement in the music, no ear candy, no musical click. As I like this sort of prog rock among the many other styles I like, I prefer to give my attention to other records which I find to be much better, more attractive and more exciting.

I honestly can''t recommend this to others, but to make up your own mind about it, you can listen to samples on the band's myspace and website and you can read more views there as well.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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