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VIENNA

Crossover Prog • Japan


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Vienna biography
Consisting of four piece (keyboards, guitar, bass & drums), VIENNA were something of a supergroup of Japanese prog during their short existence. The band performed a kind of music based on power as well as on a sense of emergency, and built on energetic themes as well as speedy rhythms and vocals. In many ways, they can be compared to GERARD, a progressive band with metal/hard rock tendencies.

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NEW WAVE/ Ultravox - Vienna (LP) US $8.99 Buy It Now 40m 14s
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BEETHOVEN- SYMPHONY # 6 "PASTORAL"- MONTEUX- VIENNA PHILHARMONIC US $3.95 [0 bids]
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The Vienna I Love, Waltzes From My Heart (CD, Jan-1997, Philips) US $0.99 [0 bids]
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Falco- Vienna Calling / Tango The Night -45rpm US $0.99 [0 bids]
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THE VIENNA BOYS CHOIR sing mozart LP VG+ PHS-900-157 Philips 1967 Stereo Promo US $40.00 Buy It Now 1h 56m
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Ave Maria By Placido Domingo And The Vienna Choir Boys (CD) US $5.99 Buy It Now 1h 56m
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Ronnie Munro & Orchestra Tales from the Vienna Woods 78 Classical Die Fledermaus US $13.01 Buy It Now 2h 12m
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VIENNA TONKUENSTLER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA grieg peer gyn / tschaikovsky 1812 LP VG US $30.00 Buy It Now 2h 19m
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OSCAR PETERSON**LIVE IN VIENNA 1968**CD US $13.50 Buy It Now 2h 32m
SILLS RUDEL welcome to vienna LP Mint- ABC ATQD 24002 Vinyl Record Quad US $12.00 Buy It Now 2h 34m
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MAREK WEBER and His Orchestra Tales from the Vienna Woods 78 HMV B2406 US $22.05 Buy It Now 2h 43m
SCHUBERT, FRANZ [VIE - SCHUBERT: WINTERREISE [SCHUBERT, FRANZ [VIENNA]] - NEW CD US $13.70 Buy It Now 2h 47m
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Ultravox - Vienna LP US $6.79 Buy It Now 2h 51m
VIENNA TENG**DREAMING THROUGH THE NOISE**CD US $12.58 Buy It Now 2h 58m
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Hollywood "Waltz Time in Vienna - Viennese Waltzs" Record (33) US $0.99 [0 bids]
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Carmen - Price, Corelli, Freni, Karajan, Vienna Philharonic (3 CD Set, 1995) US $4.99 [0 bids]
5h 21m
Vienna Revisited CD 2009 Frederick Moyer Pianist Mozart Schubert Beethoven VGUC US $9.99 Buy It Now 5h 29m
FROM PARIS TO VIENNA: UNFORGETTABLE MELODIES / VAR NEW CD US $31.77 Buy It Now 5h 31m
Richard Wagner WAGNER'S RING Vienna Phil. George Solti London LDR 711 NM US $9.95 Buy It Now 5h 33m
Douglas Gamley Cond London Philharmonic Orch Pop Concert Vienna 9 Track Vinyl LP US $9.74 Buy It Now 5h 40m
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VIENNA discography


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

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

3.07 | 11 ratings
Overture
1988
3.34 | 10 ratings
Step into.....
1988
3.64 | 6 ratings
Unknown
1998

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

3.10 | 2 ratings
Progress - Last Live
1989

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

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

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

VIENNA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Overture by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.07 | 11 ratings

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Overture
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Sort of a Japanese supergroup,formed by musicians coming from the very best of Japanese 80's prog groups.The project was an idea of Gerard's guitarist Yukihiro Fujimura and Outer Limits' keyboardist Shusei Tsukamoto,who were joined by Novela's/Mugen's drummer Ryuichi Nishida and ex-Afflatus and later Gerard's bassist Toshimi Nagai.The band was signed by King Records and released their debut ''Overture'' in 1998.

''Overture'' contains some of the greatest elements of 80's Japanese prog but at the same time suffers from the cheesiness,that characterized this music.The opening ''Follow you'' is actually quite good,somewhat pompous Symphonic/Art-Rock with some complex themes and guitars and diverse keyboard sounds.The follower ''Seek a sign'' is pale Pomp Rock of a groovy path with horrible partly-Japanese,partly English vocals,really amateur.The long ''The metamorphic time in paradise'' is great Hard/Symphonic Rock in the vein of NOVELA with Tsukamoto,delivering an excellent symphonic intro with harsichord and church organ,while his flashy synths later are also outstanding.The guitar work is strong and consistent.Vocals are again a problem,but they are lost in the depth of the great musicianship.The eponymous track is a lyrical disaster with awful vocals,but the flashy Neo Prog-ish solos of Tsukamoto and the driving guitars of Fujimura will save this track from being a total failure.''Magic motion'' is more of the same,the vocal arrangements are decent but Fujimura's voice is absolutely cheesy,a track with a Pomp Rock edge and some cheap symphonic keys,rather forgettable.We will have to wait for the closing 10-min. ''Canone'' for some really good music again.Opening with Tsukamoto's bombastic cinematic keys,the track unfolds as a grandiose ballad,interrupted often by powerful guitar- and keyboard-driven symphonic sections and an excellent finale with a dynamic performance.

Vienna's debut has plenty of beautiful as well as amateur moments and it sums up very well what was going on in prog Japan during the 80's.Uneven release,however the good moments are more than the bad and this is a good recommendation for fans of pompous Symphonic Rock.

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 Unknown by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.64 | 6 ratings

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Unknown
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After 2 studio albums and one concert recording during 80s Vienna disbanded, but in late 90s they decided to give it one more try and group was resurrected from the grave. However this time we have a new drummer in the line-up: Kozo Suganuma, and I have to admit that I like his style more than Ryuichi Nishida's less-technical one. So this change is really warmly welcome by me. Anyway after rejoining they recorded only one album "Unknown" and finally called it a day. And it's a real pity, because this CD is definitely their best one. All this 80' cheesy/corny approach completely vanished here and musicians play tighter than ever. While their first 2 albums presented rather typical hard rock meets neo-prog staff with pop/AOR atmosphere, "Unknown" is more rooted in melodic prog-metal, symphonic rock and 70s style heavy prog. Yukihiro Fujimura's guitar is much sharper here and Shusei Tsukamoto prefers to use much more Hammond organ and analog (or analog-sounding) synthesizers. All in all very good combination.

Let's proceed to songs' descriptions:

1. "Entrance" - great start with this heavy rock song! Vienna has never sounded darker before. Vocals are surprisingly aggressive, electric guitar is ultra powerful and new drummer is bashing his gear accordingly. Toshimi Nagai's bass work is more audible too, so finally we can hear his amazing skills. Keyboardist uses modern synths for solos, but main riffing is made on fat-sounding Hammond. While in the middle we can witness very short but absolutely hilarious fragment with harmony vocals a la Uriah Heep or Queen!

2. "Shesp Ankh (Sphinx)" - another winner clearly inspired by famous J-prog band Novela. Lots of busy guitar playin' and expressive vocals (but not over-expressive like Novela's vocalist's :-). But the real highlight of the song is of course extended, brutal organ solo performed in the vain of Jon Lord's work in Deep Purple days. Yeah, it's that great!

3. "Legend" - mini-epic with more symphonic feeling this time. We have some melancholic vocals and lovely acoustic piano bits here. But in the second part of the track we have also more dynamic fragments with up-tempo drum beat, wild Hammond blasts & heavy guitar solos. Overall very solid mini-suite.

4. "Open Sesame" - definitely the least successful song on this album. Too much radio- friendly / poppy for me. While pipe organ & harpsichord sound gorgeous, pseudo-romantic- style singing is killing any enjoyment. Especially when keyboardists switches to modern gear, it sounds too much like throwback from their 80s material. Not recommended but not so offensive either (except ending with annoying "lalala" singing). BTW there is a great pipe organ passage in the middle which shouldn't be missed!

5. "Anubis" - Oh man! This is a great instrumental! Partly prog-metal, partly symphonic-prog and definitely entertaining as hell. I can say that it sounds like mix of Gerard with Ayreon & Dream Theater. Inferno of shredding guitar, high-pitched Moog-like synthesizers and growling organ solos.

6. "Melancholy of Matador" - masterpiece after masterpiece! "Melancholy of Matador" is one of my all time favorite compositions from Japan, it's so damn good! First part of this mini- suite is a melody and energy filled instrumental section with unbelievably bouncing main rhythm with significant middle-east flavor. It reminds me a bit of Ars Nova's material but it's still definitely original music. About 5th minute there is a complete change in pace. Instead of freakin' crazy electric guitar/keyboards playin', we have very melodic, charming music here with typical Spanish-folk elements. Fujimura's vocals are amazingly passionate (whatever he's singin' about, I don't speak Japanese...) and his acoustic guitar skills are perfect as well. But near the end guys come back to ass-whipping style in a frantic, headbanging finale. Splendid staff!

7. "Moonstone" - baroque-like AORish ballad with melancholic vocal delivery and always welcome harpsichord presence. Some nice, atmospheric orchestral keyboards & acoustic/electric guitar moments are here too. Good interlude between hard-edged material of "Unknown" disk. BTW we can also witness some gorgeous pipe organ section!

8. "The Destruction Day" - standard song in the vain of early Gerard or Novela, but I really dig such songs so I like it. However it's not very memorable, synth/organ/guitar interludes and aggressive vocals are excellent here as usual on "Unknown".

9. "For An Illusion" - more symphonic rock staff but with rather mainstream vocal lines, especially "lalala" fragments are horrible (only David Byron knew how to sing such bull**it in a really proggy way :-). Some fanfare-keyboards are also quite sloppy for me, but overall it's not a totally terrible song. Just average.

To sum up: if you want to begin your journey with Vienna, it's definitely the best place to start. Especially if you like keyboards department to be dominated by meaty organ sounds, you have soft spot for heavy metal riffing mixed with symphonic rock atmosphere and you have an allergy for 80s, plastic-sounding production (like on Vienna's first two records). This particular album I can especially recommend to fans of Ayreon, Gerard, Scheherazade, Ars Nova, Novela, Uriah Heep, Cairo and even Dream Theater, but I'm pretty sure that fans of Argentinian band Nexus might find "Unknown" the most enjoyable. It's shame that Vienna seemed to disbanded forever after this CD was released. A pity!

Best tracks: "Melancholy of Matador" & "Anubis"

4 solid stars from ozzy_tom

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 Step into.....  by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.34 | 10 ratings

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Step into.....
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After not bad, but average "Overture", the same year Vienna decided to record another longplay - "Step Into...". And I have to say that it was a wise decision, because in spite of short time which passed between these albums, we can hear an improvement. However songs are slightly shorter here, they became more energetic, lively and heavier. You could think that shorter duration of tracks means automatically more mainstream approach, but I can assure you that on "Step Into..." situation is quite opposite, compositions are less pop/AOR-oriented and more prog this time. While cheese factor connected with 80s gear and production is unfortunately still presented here, it doesn't bother listener as much as on "Overture". I'm especially fond of wider usage of old-school Hammond organ sounds. It was a clever decision to mix-up more vintage vibe in keyboards department, but of course it was 1988 so high-tech synths still dominate on this record.

And now the songs:

1. "Step Into The Vivid Garden" - beginning of the album is a real surprise. Yukihiro Fujimura sings in English and we have very nice piano melody there. Is it really Vienna or rather Procol Harum?! However it's only few seconds and later on we have very soft instrumental part filled with cute keyboard sounds (often flute-like). In the middle we have grandiose symphonic orchestration attack and near the end vocal part appears again. Nice, little ditty, very untypical for this band. Good introduction for me.

2. "Gathering Wave" - instrumental bombast very much in the vain of Gerard. Shusei Tsukamoto rather successfully tries to re-create Toshio Egawa's synthesizers histrionics and plays like there's no tomorrow, while Yukihiro Fujimura is blasting our ears with heavy-handed metal riffs. Truly furious performance, definitely the most Gerard-inspired composition in Vienna's repertoire.

3. "Schvelle" - first vocal-oriented track on this album is a standard heavy prog number driven by hard-edged guitar and dazzling synthesizers. Very energetic & "busy". There are also some brief but good organ passages. Similar to other Japanese prog-rock bands like Novela or Scheherazade.

4. "Magic Eyes" - first mini-epic (only slightly above 8 minutes long) is a decent track with as usual competent vocals and above average keyboards performance. I truly enjoyed those ass-beating Hammond rides and melodic piano bits, even fanfare-like 80s synthesizers sound OK here. I love the middle part with military-style drumming and (electronic created) flute sounds too. All in all very symphonic approach.

5. "Caution!" - similar to "Schvelle" but I think it's slightly better. Only this too sloppy/poppy refrain can ruin your fun, but it's a small complaint 'cause the main attraction of this song are solos of course. And these guys surely know how to deliver the goods! Especially extended, ripping Hammond organ solo is a blast! It's so frenzy and hard beating fragment, that it could make even Toshio Egawa proud.

6. "Sleepless night" - delicate ballad filled with melancholic vocals and soaring synthesizer sounds. Nothing particularly stands out here. Can be to take a deep breath between more dynamic tracks but that's all.Similar songs took too much space on Gerard's 3rd album "Irony of Fate" later IMHO.

7. "Fall in alone" - the longest composition of the album is too messy for me. There are too many corny, pop-oriented vocal parts for my taste (some of them in poor English), while Ryuichi Nishida's drumming is too heavy and busy at times. However solos are top notch as ever so I definitely can't say it's a waste of disk's space.

"Step Into..." is an enjoyable effort but I don't think it will ever break to anybody's TOP 20 list. Gerard's influences are much more evident here than on Vienna's debut album, and that's actually good news for me 'cause I'm Gerard's admirer, but Shusei Tsukamoto isn't as spectacular as Toshio Egawa. He's solid, but he is just unable to impress me as much as other Japanese keyboardists. However I appreciate that he decided to use more Hammond on this longplay, it's always a big plus for me. In general it can be an interesting album for fans of such J-prog bands as Novela, Scheherazade, Gerard and to a lesser extend also Moondancer, Teru's Symphonia or Outer Limits.

Best tracks: "Magic Eyes" & "Gathering Wave"

Almost 4 stars...but rather 3,5 from ozzy_tom

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 Overture by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.07 | 11 ratings

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Overture
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Vienna" was a kind of Japanese super-group because of inclusion of 4 musicians who used to play in popular prog-rock bands: Yukihiro Fujimura ("Gerard"), Shusei Tsukamoto ("Outer Limits"), Toshimi Nagai ("Afflatus" & later also "Gerard") and Ryuichi Nishida ("Novela" & "Mugen"). What could go wrong with such splendid line-up? In fact music presented by this formation on their 3 studio albums isn't very original or groundbreaking. More or less it can be described as mix of neo-prog and harder edged pop-rock with hints of symphonic progressive rock. Rather average (especially taking in consideration this promising line-up!) but without doubt worth checking by fans of 80s Japanese music.

Let's check songs included on their debut album called "Overture":

1. "Follow You" - first song immediately welcomes us with rather dated sounding drum beat and some digital synth sounds. Typical 80s stylistic I can say. It was 1988 after all, so we can't expect sophisticated percussion work or too many vintage keyboards here, but don't worry it's not so bad. In fact soon you'll probably become used to overall atmosphere here, I surely did. Anyway "Follow You" is the shortest song of the album and the most commercial sounding but I somehow like it. Yukihiro Fujimura's vocals are competent just as during his "Gerard" days, not joyfully goofy as some other Japanese vocalists (i.e. Hisakatsu Igarashi from "Novela") but also not significantly strong. Anyway he's a much better guitarist for me, and he proves it during lovely, Spanish-like acoustic guitar solo.

2. "Seek a Sign" - Shusei Tsukamoto was famous from playin' modern synthesizers in his mother band "Outer Limits" but during his years in "Vienna" he sometimes ventured into 70s prog roots. And this song is a prefect proof that he definitely knows how to handle Hammond organ! Thanks to his phenomenal organ work "Seek a Sign" successfully blends traditional symphonic prog and more recent pop-rock tendencies. Defnitely I can think of Emerson's approach in "Karn Evil 9" here. Fujimura's electric guitar riffs are also great.

3. "The Metamorphic Time in Paradise" - another good track starts with charming harpsichord melodies, soon afterwords replaced by big pipe organ ones. Rick Wakeman would be proud! More melancholic vocals ale suit here perfectly. Later on tempo significantly speeds up and guitar & high-tech keyboards become more prominent. The second part of this mini epic have many moments filled with synthesizers pyrotechnics in the vain of Toshio Egawa from "Gerard" & "Novela".

4. "Overture" - more complex track with untypical signatures and adventurous drums work. Nagai's bass is very prominent here and Fujimura's guitar is more aggressive. However vocal fragments are too poppy for me and all of those modern keyboards (for 1988, mind you...) sounds can become tiresome.

5. "Magic Motion" - this song begins with quite impressive instrumental work where especially Yukihiro's guitar shines in its full glory but soon "Magic Motion" degenerates into rather sloppy pop offender. Disco-like keyboards sound atrocious! Only slightly better than J-schlock music presented for example on last 2 albums of "Novela". In fact there are also some decent solos in here, but lenghty vocal parts sound really shoddy.

6. "Canone" - come back to great form! Very symphonic sounding mini-epic very similar to early "Gerard's" staff. Very melodic keyboards, acoustic guitar licks and decent drum work. Everything is here. I only have one complaint: too repetitive fragments where vocalist sings again and again: "It can't be true"(yes, this time in English). But overall it's a good ending for the album.

Summarize: average but entertaining album for all neo-prog & symphonic-prog rock fans who aren't afraid of digital synthesizers onslaught, pop music inclinations and some harder-edged guitar moments. I can especially recommend it to people who already checked up such bands like "Gerard"(first 4 albums), "Novela" or "Scheherazade". But if I'd have to point only one band the most similar to "Vienna", it it would be "Moondancer" - very obscure but decent Japanese prog-rock formation from late 70'.

In general "Overture" is not a bad album at all, but if you want to start your journey with "Vienna" I suggest you to listen to "Unknown"(1998) first. Their last album doesn't feature this cheesy 80s atmosphere and Shusei Tsukamoto plays much more Hammond organ there.

Best track: "Seek a Sign"

3 stars from ozzy_tom for this band's debut.

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 Step into.....  by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.34 | 10 ratings

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Step into.....
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The second album from this Japanese orchestra.

Pomp rock is not officially an own genre within the ProgArchives community. Hence the use of the Crossover genre here. But truth to be told, Vienna plays Pomp Prog in the same alley as Magnum and Saga. That means pompous synths, pompous vocals, pompous guitars and pompous songs in the area in between symphonic prog, neo prog and progressive metal.

Quality wise, this album is good. It also have some very good melody lines. But I am not able to pinpoint a single great, memorable song from this album though. That is my main gripe with this album. But I still like Vienna's brand of pomp rock and this is a band with great skills too. Unfortunate; they did not manage to unlock all of their skills on this album and that is a pity. It is still a good album though.

3 stars

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 Step into.....  by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.34 | 10 ratings

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Step into.....
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Vienna is one of the forgotten band from Japan, who never gained the recognition they desearve across the years. The keyboardist from Outer Limits - Shusei Tsukamoto together with the bass player Toshimi Nagai the band Vienna in 1987. Step into.. is their second effort from 1988 released at King records. The music Vienna playes is a combination between their country fellows Gerard and in places some ELP influences are present but tinged with edged rock in places, but for sure their background is towards symphonic prog. The album is quite good, the musicianship is ok, the voice is nothing spectacular but ok, lyrics being in japanese gives to the album a special atmosphere, even I didn't get a thing from what Yukihiro Fujimura sung here. I like the keyboards how sound here, from fast to slow, always keeping with the rest of the instruments a good and enjoyble journey in Vienna's music. Good bass lines, quite complex and with the drums give a solid rhythm section. While the album is quite good, something tells me that is little less convinceing then Gerard works for ex. It took me long time to find this album, but fortunately I found it on CD , in novemeber and I was really thriled for sure. Hard to find, but if anyone wants to give a chance of this band, that for some reson never made it in prog circles, try Vienna, for sure will not be a deseppointed listning. 3 stars, good release but far from being something of a lost treasure.

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 Overture by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.07 | 11 ratings

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Overture
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I do not know this band at all. But it is pretty obvious that they are from Japan. The vocal style gives the game away. The rest too has some Japanese traits.

Crossover Prog. I have no issues with that label here. The music has a lot of Saga in it. Yes also pops up. So does Magnum and Marillion. The songs are pretty symphonic. But they are also metallic grey and commercial. The keyboards are put in several layers and the vocals are OK. The release year is pretty right too because this album sounds like a Japanese heavy metal album. Loudness springs to mind. Well, sound wise, that is. The sound is pretty dated. Vienna's music is keyboards based though. Pompous keyboards and almost theatrical over the top songs. It is so 1980s. The songs are not bad at all. There are some good stuff here (the symphonic prog bits) and this album shall not be derided. But although there is some good stuff here, I am not overly impressed. This is middle of the road music which is neither offensive or great. That's it.

3 stars

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 Step into.....  by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.34 | 10 ratings

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Step into.....
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars How nice to find a progrecord almost totally unknown to most progressionists.... progfans so to speak. I downloaded this by accedent and it got the grip on me at the first moment I listened to it.

Step into... begins with a piano and a voice making such an nice melodie that it makes me happy. This melody only last for 10 seconds and is recorded not loud anough. After that a symphony of keyboards plays a composition that would have fit in a fantasy game or something like that. But if you don't bother with the plingploing sound of this song you might actually come to like it very much. At the end you'll hear the first lyrics, all in a language I can't understand. Are they Japanese?

The second song is called Gathering Wave. It start with an mathemetical tune that somehow fits in another tune played at an other speed. I like this! Then a high tempo symphonic rockpiece comes. The title is chosen well, for you get the feeling of an underwater world. Everything in this song is quite complicated. No crossoverprog to be found here... I wonder how they get that lable? In the soloparts of this raging wave you'll hear a lot of great musicianship! It's somehow strange, but very interesting to listen to. Great track!

Schvelle starts off amazing, then come a great riff in some strange tempo, they don't like normal rythms! This is the first song of the album. You can cope with his voice, or you just don't like it. I myself can apriciate the Japanese sound though he sings as high as if it were a powermetal act. In this song you also hear great instrumental parts! You got the feeling these guys are intelligent. I also totally like this guitarist, he is inspiring because of his own intepretation of music.

Magic Eyes then. This is more of an epic, you get the feeling it's about an important middle ages battle. A royal sound is created by the keyboards. Some more lyrics here, but also very nice instrumental parts. In the middle instrumental part a great way of building up tension is shown and so also this song is a succes.

Caution! took me some longer to like. But now I think it's a very ok song. It's a bit fast with strange keyboard sounds, a bit elektronic sometimes. I like the tension on this track. The title was well chosen to discribe the vibe of this track.

Sleepless Night is a balled. If you like his singing, you'll like the song for it is very moody in a way. Nice emotions are to be heard here. I personally think the vocalist is asking to much of his voice. But, nice melodies. Peacefull song.

Fall in Alone is the last song. This song I never listen. It's just not as good as the other and should not have been released. The voice here is bad, the song just doesn't work. It's a pitty, because so far so good and this blows the whole thing up. Bad shot!

Hopefully I still was still able to make some people interested in this album. I like to listen to it, but it's not something a lot of your friends are going to enjoy. Some say they thought it would have been great music for pokemon (a children tv hype). Nevertheless, I think Vienna has moved some frontiers on this album. It's inspiring, innovating and yes... it's realy progressive! No crossover prog to be found on this record.

Great music, progressive, but not recorded perfectly and the last song is not so good. So... 3.5 five stars... but I'll make it four. Just give this a try!

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 Unknown by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.64 | 6 ratings

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Unknown
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars After an 8-year hiatus and having two studio albums and one live album in their résumé, Vienna returned to the recording studios with "Unknown", arguably their most powerful item. "Unknown" finds the band exploring their symphonic-meets AOR sound with added touches of heavy prog and metal- prog. Compositions also bear a fuller atmosphere, since the melodic and harmonic ideas are thoroughly integrated by the inputs of guitar and keyboard and their mutual interactions, while the rhythm duo keeps itself genuinely busy. The result was a Vienna more pompous and more powerful than ever before, indeed, just as I stated earlier. Chamaru's vocal style remains an acquired taste: he's got skills, undoubtedly, but his timber may not be everybody's gold (although, the same can be said about the lead singers of Outer Limits, Mugen, Midas and others). The album kicks off with the overwhelmingly potent 'Entrance', a real pyrotechnical progressive voyage that is set to shake the listener's conscience from step 1. It's catchy and impressive (although it may sound suspicious to those who dogmatically prefer subtlety above all other sources,. but.). The second track is more focused on AOR-ish territory with symphonic prog adornments, not unlike "90125"-era Yes. 'The Destruction Day' also bears an AOR tendency, but definitely it is more vibrating in comparison. 'Legend' is the longest track in the album, with its almost-10 minute span: it is certainly a well accomplished number in terms of composition and arrangements, with a special mention to those mesmerizing chamber music ornaments that so well fit the symphonic rock standard. The keyboardist sure isn't shy when it comes to showing his skills, but the fact remains that his performance is tasteful among the inherent pomposity of the track. Later on, in 'Moonstone', the influence of epic chamber music will return in full swing, once again with a featured role by the keyboardist as he conveys mesmerizing Baroque-style orchestrations. Acoustic and electric guitars are used as a counterpoint-provider companion to the keyboards. 'Open Sesami' is basically a power ballad, like a moment of melodic serenity before the instrumental tour-de-force 'Anubis' frontally brings the storm of complex rock that had already been present in the opening song. Sure Vienna has assumed the influence of early 90s prog-metal in a very thorough fashion. 'Melanchol of Matador' is yet another symphonic prog zenith in the album - starting with a dexterous instrumental section full of Arabic allusions, things turn into a suave mood for the 3/4 tempo sung section. The synth lines bear a Flamenco vibe that feels very consistent with the track's title, ultimately leading to its amazing closing climax. "Unknown" ends with the power ballad 'For an Illusion', a song that pretty much retakes and reflects the old 80s Vienna sound for its main sections: the coda brings a dramatic tempo shift akin to the prog metal standard, and this makes it for a coherent closure. I firmly believe that this band's musical legacy should be more disseminated and appreciated than it is. This is an excellent prog album, and it sure won't disappoint those who love their prog really symphonic with a hard rocking edge and a solid melodic structure.

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 Unknown by VIENNA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.64 | 6 ratings

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Unknown
Vienna Crossover Prog

Review by StyLaZyn

2 stars These guys are placed under Art Rock here but this album has some agressive moments that push them slightly into the Prog Metal realm, a la bands like Cairo, Symphony X or Vanden Plas. Although the lead vocals are strong, the harmonies do not blend well for a clean sound. After listening to the entire CD a few times, I found that I've heard this before from other artists. Nothing new is brought to the table. In fact, generally, the music is uneventful. Tedious comes to mind as no strong emotional statements are completed when started. There is no song that leaves you feeling fulfilled. The musicianship is fine but the production is lacking as no interesting effects are used. In fact, the same effects are used over and over.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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