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HAZE

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Haze biography
HAZE was formed in 1978 by brothers Chris and Paul McMahon and were one of a handful of groups in the late 70's/early 80's who embraced progressive rock and formed the neo-prog movement in the UK. The band spent years going through several lineup changes and small gigs, until 1983 when drummer Paul Chisnell joined the band. The band would remain stable for the next five years until its demise in 1988.

The band released its albums on its own label Gabadon Records. In 1984 the band released its first full-length offering titled "C'est La Vie". The band then toured, releasing several tapes, including "The Ember", "Cellar Replay" and the live "Warts n' All". In 1987, the band released its second and last LP "Stoat & Bottle" and followed that up with a tour of Holland.

In 1988, the band decided to call it quits, plagued by financial difficulties and musical differences. They played a farewell concert in Sheffield in May and disbanded. Chris and Paul McMahon formed a new group called WORLD TURTLE shortly thereafter, without drummer Paul Chisnell, but including Pendragon drummer Fudge Smith. Paul McMahon soon left the band however and retired from the music business. Chris went on to form TREEBEARD, a folk outfit, as well as releasing his own solo album.

In 1993, Kinesis Disks released the HAZE compilation album "In The End: 1978-1988". This sparked renewed interest in the band, and Paul McMahon came out of retirement to reform WORLD TURTLE with his brother. An album titled "World Turtle/Haze" was released in 1994, although it has never been clear whether this was the final album for HAZE or the first album for WORLD TURTLE. Because it includes many songs written and recorded by HAZE, it has been included here.

In 1996, Cyclops music released the compilation "C'est La Vie/The Ember", followed in 2000 by "Cellar Replayed" and in 2008 by "Stoat & Bottle". As these are the only available versions of original HAZE studio material, these are included as their studio albums, with "In The End" listed as a compilation album. The band WORLD TURTLE has released further albums, which take a more commercial approach to music. HAZE has reformed occasionally to do anniversary concerts, the latest of which was captured on their "30th Anniversary Shows" live CD in 2008.

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HAZE discography


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

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

3.25 | 8 ratings
C'est La Vie/The Ember
1984
3.12 | 13 ratings
Cellar Replayed
1985
3.22 | 16 ratings
Stoat & Bottle
1987
2.37 | 8 ratings
World Turtle
1994
3.67 | 6 ratings
Wilderness Of Eden (as World Turtle)
1997
3.41 | 38 ratings
The Last Battle
2013

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

3.75 | 4 ratings
10th Anniversary Show
1988
4.33 | 3 ratings
20th Anniversary Show
1998
4.84 | 6 ratings
30th Anniversary Shows
2008

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
In That Branch Of The Lake (DVD)
2010

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

3.23 | 7 ratings
In The End
1993
3.67 | 3 ratings
C'est La Vie & The Ember
1996
3.10 | 2 ratings
The Cellar Tapes 30th Anniversary Edition
2013

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

HAZE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Cellar Tapes 30th Anniversary Edition by HAZE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.10 | 2 ratings

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The Cellar Tapes 30th Anniversary Edition
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Haze came to life in Sheffield, UK in 1978 by teenager brothers Paul McMahon (guitar, vocals) and Chris McMahon (bass, keyboards).Originally the band was a quartet, but they soon abandoned the idea of having a full-time keyboardist with Chris playing the keyboards along with his bass duties.The band changed some drummers over the years, from Andy McNaughten (who played on the band's 81' 7'' single) and Dave Kirkham (member circa 1982) they settled with Arthur Deas and with this core they recorded their debut cassette ''The cellar tapes'' in 1983, apparently captured in the cellar of the McMahon brothers.

There's no need to get out and search for the original cassette, the band made this album available in 2013 as ''The cellar tapes- 30th anniversary edition'' along with some demo and live tracks and the pair of cuts present on Haze' lone 81' single.''The cellar tapes'' is a great evidence of how desperate some young musicians were back in early-80's to produce refined, semi-symphonic music with influences from giants such as GENESIS and PINK FLOYD, they would do whatever it took to get their stuff exposed and Haze established their own Gabadon label to promote this first work.Musically it's somewhere between soft Symphonic Rock and the emerging Neo Prog sound, borrowing tunes from a handful of famous Rock and Prog tracks and throwing them into their own ideas, for example ''Turn around'' contains echoes from Genesis' sentimental ballad ''Afterglow''.The material contains the typical raw values of 80's British Neo Prog, it's played with honesty and passion and swirls around synth- and organ- drenched arrangements with full-blown electric guitars and some theatrical aspects during the vocal parts, while the more symphonic moves contain some light flute parts, performed by guests Jill Stoddart and Judith Copey.Some strong synth runs, some pastoral passages and even some New Wave aesthetics pop up here and there, the recording sounds very rough at moments, but there is a definite mood by the McMahon family to deliver elaborate and progressive tunes, even if at times they derail and sound more angular than needed.

This is a direct order by the band's website.The early days of Haze are exposed here in an amalgam of fading symphonic and emerging New Prog stylings with organ, synths, electric piano and electric guitars in evidence, mixing rockin' themes with 70's-styled lush arrangements.Recommended.

 The Last Battle by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.41 | 38 ratings

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The Last Battle
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Before there was MOSTLY AUTUMN, GRACE, JUMP and RED JASPER, HAZE rolled in on the glassy tarn of early 1980s neo prog. They have remained relatively obscure, as much because they owe less to GENESIS or PINK FLOYD than most second or third wave bands, and more to the likes of JETHRO TULL, STRAWBS, or LINDISFARNE, as well as to less folky classic British rock. This first studio recording in over 20 years unfortunately does not represent a welling up of creative juices, as most if not all of these tracks have already appeared on Haze related albums in different versions..

The improved sound quality enhances the appeal of already majestic cuts like "The Last Battle", "For Real" and "Edge of Heaven", but it can't really do much for lyrically limp and musically hokey material like "Classic Rock Bar" and "The Barrister and the Barghast". Rocking out also yields mixed achievements, with "Train" a genuinely endearing blues folk number that is part SWEET and part HORSLIPS, and "Long Long Gone" a plod rock bore.

One of the problems with HAZE is that they are not really convincing in any of their facets - for instance, the Celtic instrumentals lack the wherewithal of more committed practitioners. "Balder and the Mistletoe" drags on for 5+ minutes without ever piercing its tightly wound trad bubble, electric instrumentation notwithstanding. "Is That It" and "The Red Room" are probably the most progressive tunes here but again should have wound up mostly on the studio floor. They fare best when positioned in the broad crossover folk rock of "Dragonfly", "Over the River", and the previously mentioned highlights.

As a dusted off and polished summation to HAZE's career up to now, "THE LAST BATTLE" is a modest success, but let's hope that they can return to the front with new weaponry before the old gets recycled yet again.

 30th Anniversary Shows by HAZE album cover Live, 2008
4.84 | 6 ratings

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30th Anniversary Shows
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars It is incredible to note that Haze were formed in 1978, and that this 30th Anniversary concert is already five years old yet they are still gigging, have just released a new studio album, and show no signs at all of slowing down. When I moved to NZ I lost touch with Chris McMahon, but recently we started swapping emails and he sent me 'The Last Battle', the reissued 'Stoat' and this one. Given that they had already released a 10th Anniversary album and a 20th Anniversary (where I was thanked in the credits, which was much appreciated), there was always going to be an issue with repeated content but they got around this by playing some rarely aired numbers, a few by World Turtle and Treebeard, and some new songs which would later appear on the new album as well as the old favourites. In addition, they also extended their sound by moving away from the set trio of Paul Chisnell (percussion, vocals), Paul McMahon (vocals, guitar, guitar synth) and Chris McMahon (keyboards, bass, vocals) by bringing in Ceri Ashton to provide flute on various songs, who has since joined as a full member of the band. There are also a couple of guests on the final song of the night, namely Rog Patterson and Greg Smith from Twice Bitten, another Eighties band who never gained the recognition their music fully deserve.

The plan was to record two nights in 2008, but there were sound issues at the first gig in Kingston so only one song has been included from that set, a version of 'Seven Stones' which they didn't play the following night in Sheffield. The rest of the songs are all from Sheffield, in the order in which they were played so if you were lucky enough to be there that night this was what you would have heard. Haze are one of the prog bands that I have never managed to catch in concert (in my defence they were gigging hard in the Eighties but didn't know about them until the Nineties when they were not as frequent), but I did manage to see World Turtle which was the McMahon brothers plus a drum machine and they blew me away that night (plus I have managed to catch Chris a few times as well).

All of the guys are incredible musicians, and they blast through a set which contains just about everything a fan would want with 'The Vice' and 'Another Country' being real standouts, while they also play 'Let Go' which is my favourite World Turtle number and here it gains an additional presence. Chris is a master of switching between bass and keyboards, often in the same song, so this rarely sounds like a trio while Paul is a polished guitarist who points out that thirty years earlier he only owned one guitar, which was the one he was playing then!

Haze are a band that have always been masters of the live environment, and here they have the space to shine in front of hardcore fans in their home base of Sheffield, and they certainly relished the experience. If you are new to this band then this is the album to start with as neo-prog doesn't get any better than this, and if you are aware of Haze what is your excuse for not having this already?

 Stoat & Bottle by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.22 | 16 ratings

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Stoat & Bottle
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars And so, in 1996 Haze released what was going to be the first of a trilogy of CDs, making available the recordings they made in the Eighties. At this time I seem to remember that the band were no more, although Paul and Chris McMahon were working as World Turtle and were also in Treebeard with Haze drummer Paul Chisnell, but given that these guys have resurrected the Haze name more than once as well as playing in other bands nearly every night of the week I could be wrong! A mere four years later and the second CD appeared, and as quick as a flash (okay, it took another eight years) the final part arrived, 'Stoat & Bottle'. When they attempted to remix these it was discovered that the original tapes were not exactly up to the task so instead they concentrated on just digitally transferring them. So, what this means is what I am listening to sounds pretty close to how it would have been played back in 1987 (vinyl and cassette no less). That means that at least for the first song I found that I was concentrating more on the quality of the recording than of the quality of the music, but soon moved on to discover the delights that are contained within.

The original album contains some gems that the band still play in concert today, such as "The Vice" which has always been one of my personal favourites. It is the longest song on the album, and it always amazes me that somehow Chris manages to switch between keyboards and bass so effectively when playing this in concert, the only other musician I have ever witnessed managing to pull this off with aplomb is Geddy Lee! As with much of Haze's music, this is driving over the top neo-prog with crunching guitars, swathes of keyboards, pounding bass all being muscled along by powerful drums. "Autumn" starts off as a blues number, with some strident soloing from Paul and it is the combination of different styles that makes this work so well.

There are lots of additional tracks, and while the sound is undoubtedly the product of being an old recording originally made on a budget by an underground prog act, there is no doubting that any fan of the band or of neo-prog in general will need to discover this further. These guys knows that the word 'rock' is as important as the word 'progressive' and provide plenty of blast to go with the finesse and skill. For me I enjoyed going back to hear the original versions of some songs I already knew, plus plenty of new ones, but for a newcomer to the band I would get one of their Anniversary show concerts first and then come back to discover some great music from a prog band that started in the Seventies and keep coming back for more.

 The Last Battle by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.41 | 38 ratings

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The Last Battle
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Haze are, like Solstice, one of those first-wave neo-prog bands who never quite clicked with me and always kind of felt that they'd been lumped in with the neo-prog cloud by accident. At most they seemed to just play mildly psychedelic melodic rock hampered by middling production values, somewhat naive lyrics, and not especially interesting or varied song structures. Now, after a long hiatus, they've returned for a new album, and guess what: they've brought all their bad habits back with them.

To an extent, this is inevitable, since as far as I can tell a high proportion of these songs are bits and pieces from the archives of Haze (or various other Haze-related projects) given a dust- off and a new recording. However, the mildly improved production values only demonstrate how little these compositions had to offer in the first place. Meh.

 Cellar Replayed by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.12 | 13 ratings

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Cellar Replayed
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Surely, Haze are one of the best-loved British prog bands, although I have studiously managed to miss all of their gigs since they reformed. In the Eighties, they appeared to live on the road, bringing prog to the masses. Their first album release was a cassette called 'The Cellar Tapes' which came out in 1983. Having sold all of the copies, and having gained a new drummer in Paul Chisnell they decided to go back into the studio in 1985 and re-record many of the songs for a new cassette, 'Cellar Replay'. Therefore, what I have in my player is a CD remastered reissue (with some extra tracks) of the 1985 re-recording of the 1983 album!! Confused?

This is very much like going back in time. The band have moved on a great deal since 1985, and even classics such as "Dig Them Mushrooms" (which was originally recorded for a single in 1981) sound quite different today. It is not an album that I would suggest that someone new to Haze should go for (get the superb, wonderful live album instead), but is one that anyone who has ever heard them should get immediately.

Originally appeared in Feedback #60

 The Last Battle by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.41 | 38 ratings

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The Last Battle
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A long time coming, this is the first CD of new studio recordings from Haze for over 25 years ('Stoat & Bottle' was released in 1987). The classic line-up of Chris McMahon, Paul McMahon and Paul Chisnell have been joined by Cat & Ceri Ashton of The Outlandish Knights (which is the ceilidh band which features all five of them ? so one could argue that this is an Outlandish Knights album with Haze influences, or possibly the other way around). One thing these guys have always managed to do is keep different bands going with different names and musical styles (I have seen Chris onstage at least three times, but never as part of Haze!). So here we have a prog album with plenty of folk influences. While Haze have always swapped instruments and all taken lead vocals, the addition of the Ashton sisters who are both happy on woodwind and strings has given the music a further depth and a much stronger folk sound.

If you can imagine classic Seventies rock mixed with Red Jasper and later-period Fairport Convention then may just get close to what this album sounds like. It is all over the place in terms of what is going on so a folk number may get blown away by an electric rocker while the drum kit may be replaced by congas or a yambu. This is all about quality melodic songs, not about being flash and over the top so consequently the listener soon finds themselves wrapped into their world. All three guys take on lead vocals, sometimes duetting or swapping lines, which again adds to the depth of the album.

I greatly regret never having seen Haze in concert, but do have fond memories of World Turtle (the McMahon brothers with a drum machine) who not only released incredible albums but were amazing live, and I can only imagine that Haze were even better! I would love to have been at the Haze 30th Anniversary show where some of these numbers were showcased for the first time. They have also tried a couple of these out with some of their other bands before settling them into Haze.

There is no doubt in my mind that Haze are one of the most criminally overlooked bands from the UK, whatever genre. These guys are all about producing class music that is accessible and layered that can be enjoyed from the very first play. Chris is the happiest guy I have ever seen onstage, always with a huge smile on his face, and isn't music all about having fun? Sadly this turned out to be Paul Chisnell's swansong as he had to retire due to suffering severe tinnitus. So, keeping it in the family the new drummer is Danny McMahon (Paul's son) while the band has permanently expanded to a four-piece with the full-time addition of Ceri Ashton. If you go to the website not only can you order the album (either physical or downloads) but you can also see the details for each song, who played what and the story behind it plus the lyrics. Of course, while you're there check out the gig list, what other items they have for sale and of course the rest of their bands. If you haven't a copy of their 20th Anniversary double CD set then there is just no excuse and you need to pick that up at the same time. www.gabadon.co.uk

 Cellar Replayed by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.12 | 13 ratings

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Cellar Replayed
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Despite the release of their first ever LP and the relatively good success many UK Neo Prog bands were tasting in mid-80's, Haze still struggled to come on the surface regarding their promotion, remaining a pretty underground band yet with a solid fan base.However they toured the whole UK, gigging endlessly and in 1985 another one of the many cassette releases of Haze entitled ''The cellar replay'' sees the light.

Surprisingly the trio of Chris McMahon/Paul McMahon/Paul Chisnell returned with a stronger sound than on ''C'est la vie'' and it wpuld be quite unfair if this album had been lost in time.It was fortunately re-released in CD format by Cyclops under the title ''Cellar replayed'', featuring four more tracks and resulting a 16-track Neo Prog adventure.The sound of the album is quite raw for most of its length, typical sound of many underground UK bands, mixing more straightforward tunes with somewhat symphonic-oriented Progressive Rock definitely with the flashy edge characterizing the Neo movement.And while the rockier parts in the vein of early JADIS or JUMP were strongly presented on ''C'est la vie'', the more symphonic-inclined style of the band was pretty much hidden on their LP.Haze even deliver some good acoustic passages and add flute parts in some tracks to sound heavily influenced by GENESIS (just listen to the similarities between ''Turn around'' and GENESIS' ''Afterglow'') and their style on these tracks follows a secure but very delicate Symphonic Rock led by sensitive guitar work, a mix of synths and organs and some very beautiful vocal work by the trio.The Neo Prog fundamentals though are still present.Guitars alternating from fiery riffing to emotional solos, a pounding rhythm section and more aggressive vocal lines.But this time the band blended nicely this style with an elegant symphonically-adjusted side to perform in a more varied situation and finally earning good respect.

Thanks to the Cyclops' team the listener will have the opportunity to taste another rough but inspired Neo Prog experience with a balanced sound and a variety of atmospheres and approaches.Recommened, especially to fans of underground Neo/Symphonic Progressive Rock.

 Stoat & Bottle by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.22 | 16 ratings

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Stoat & Bottle
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars This, the third album from this English neo-prog band makes me want to go to that tavern pictured on the front cover and drown my memories from this album in stout ale. Well, it is not that bad. But it is not an album that cheers me up too.

Haze does, tried to do commercial accessible neo prog without sounding progressive. It is like making a porn movie with five layers of clothes on. The result is an album like this.

The melodies is lacking in contents and substance. They are more pop-rock than progressive rock. The sound and vocals is firmly in the new-romantics era. The songs was probably written in this era too so no wonder. A couple of the hooks and chorus lines has been nicked from popular, multi million songs from that era. Thankfully, I cannot remember their names, but beware of thieves when going to your local tavern.

The vocalist and the musicians does a good enough job. The melodies, even the nicked and modified ones, are pretty substandard. There are a couple of decent songs here. But this album has been caught in a time warp and does not look good in this day and age. This album is a reminder how bad the 1980s really was.

2 stars

 World Turtle by HAZE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.37 | 8 ratings

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World Turtle
Haze Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars When HAZE reformed as WORLD TURTLE, they took a decidedly more AOR approach to their craft. In that sense it was wise that they effected a name change, even if on this debut it's hard to ferret out the group name vs the album name.

The ingredients are largely the same as before, and the timbres of the voices and instrumentation both possess the mark of HAZE, but the compositions are more simplistic and the arrangements more reliant on riffing and hard rock cliches. If this type of music doesn't have hooks to speak of, then there's little point in the exercise, and sadly that is the case here. It's radio friendly without the friendly. "Ship of Fools", "Edge of Heaven", and "Another Country" are the only ones that really rise above average or worse. "Epitaph" typifies the high volume low quality philosophy at play. As for the trilogy of house vignettes that closes out the effort, it's sheer tedium, whatever questionable lyrical brilliance yielding to bellicose plod rock.

World Turtle would continue on in this vein for a few increasingly less interesting albums in which most high points were re-workings of early HAZE classics. A soft shelled and short lived critter.

Thanks to the doctor for the artist addition.

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