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THINKING PLAGUE

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Thinking Plague picture
Thinking Plague biography
Colorado-based THINKING PLAGUE explores the frontiers where rock, folk, jazz and modern symphonic music meet. THINKING PLAGUE has established itself as the logical successor to HENRY COW and ART BEARS, bringing the Rock in Opposition style into the Nineties. As with all of the better RIO bands, THINKING PLAGUE's music is both melodic and angular, containing equal measures of rock and jazz. Definitely on the cutting edge of the current progressive rock scene.

"In This Life" is highly recommended. This 70 minute disc captures a unique style that is about as reminiscent of ICONOCLASTA as that band is of Lamb-era GENESIS. A really great release but not for those who don't like way our RIO. "In Extremis" should become a classic in the Rock in Opposition sub-genre. This is still plenty RIO styled, but it's not as difficult to listen to as "In This Life". As a matter of fact, some of the pieces remind me a bit of GENTLE GIANT at their most raucous ("The Power and the Glory").

2000 brought "Early Plague Years", a two-on-one CD rerelease that allowed many people to hear the first two albums for the first time. This album is hard to beat. You'd have to be primordial ooze to not think this is brilliant. A new PLAGUE album is due out in 2003.

Thinking Plague official website

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Buy THINKING PLAGUE Music


Decline And FallDecline And Fall
CUNEIFORM 2012
Audio CD$12.76
$10.44 (used)
In This LifeIn This Life
CUNEIFORM 2015
Audio CD$11.72
$10.00 (used)
In ExtremisIn Extremis
Alliance 1998
Audio CD$119.56
$15.00 (used)
History of MadnessHistory of Madness
Cuneiform 2003
Audio CD$39.95 (used)
Early Plague YearsEarly Plague Years
Cuneiform 2000
Audio CD$13.99 (used)
Upon Both Your HousesUpon Both Your Houses
NEARFest Records 2006
Audio CD$19.25
$26.50 (used)
In This LifeIn This Life
Rer 2003
Audio CD$19.00
$11.95 (used)
In This Life by Thinking PlagueIn This Life by Thinking Plague
CUNEIFORM
Audio CD$61.70
Decline And Fall by Thinking Plague (2012-01-31)Decline And Fall by Thinking Plague (2012-01-31)
CUNEIFORM
Audio CD$59.34
A History Of Madness by Thinking Plague (2003-09-19)A History Of Madness by Thinking Plague (2003-09-19)
Cuneiform
Audio CD$130.46
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THINKING PLAGUE discography


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

3.44 | 29 ratings
A Thinking Plague
1984
3.54 | 33 ratings
Moonsongs
1987
4.01 | 56 ratings
In This Life
1989
4.33 | 149 ratings
In Extremis
1998
4.15 | 70 ratings
A History Of Madness
2003
3.31 | 48 ratings
Decline And Fall
2012

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

4.00 | 17 ratings
Upon Both Your Houses
2004

THINKING PLAGUE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.07 | 18 ratings
Early Plague Years
2000

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

THINKING PLAGUE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Decline And Fall by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.31 | 48 ratings

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Decline And Fall
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It's a pretty ballsy move calling an album "Decline and Fall", especially when it's your comeback after nearly a decade has gone by without any studio work from you has come up. This followup to A History of Madness feels, to be honest, just a little lukewarm. All the usual Thinking Plague motifs are here, but somehow they add up to less than the sum of their parts, and at points it feels like the band hit on something which could be a really nice art-pop tune which they they then feel obliged to clutter up with the sort of RIOish mayhem we expect from them.

Is this the sound of a band clinging to their old sound for so long they begin to repeat themselves, or flirting with the idea of changing direction but ultimately chickening out? We can't know for sure, but what I do know is that if you have In Extremis or In This Life you don't have any need of this.

 A History Of Madness by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.15 | 70 ratings

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A History Of Madness
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Thinking Plague's History of Madness demonstrates that a little thinking goes a long way. Often cited as being difficult, the fact is that none of the Plague's output has exactly been simple and accessible, and the avant-jazz stylings of this album don't feel like an enormous departure from past precedent. To my ears, each Thinking Plague album since the debut saw a fairly major development of their sound, but by this point they are more evolutionary than revolutionary, and this evolution takes them a little too far into the realms of complex technical execution without a distinct and strong idea behind it. Competent, but not classic.
 Upon Both Your Houses  by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Live, 2004
4.00 | 17 ratings

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Upon Both Your Houses
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a live set from Nearfest in June 2000, where Thinking Plague played an intimate set for an appreciative audience. Due to the complexity of their material these live renditions naturally end up sounding a bit different from their studio versions - but different enough to be worth a listen in their own way. Naturally, the band's then-latest studio release In Extremis is heavily represented, and there's also three songs from In This Life and two songs (well, one song and some extracts) from Moonsongs, so a reasonable spread of the group's career is represented; plus you have some on-the-spot improvisations in the form of Hamster Dance and a piano solo.

The setlist is carefully chosen and delivered in such a way to provide a varied experience which flows quite well, with even songs from very different stages of the group's development fitting together naturally. The recording quality is also excellent, making this a worthwhile pick for any RIO fan.

 Moonsongs by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.54 | 33 ratings

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Moonsongs
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thinking Plague refined their approach between their debut and the more mature Moonsongs, which has a more distinct sound all of its own that is less dependent on the Plague's various RIO influences and antecedents. The epic title track works its way through pulsating rhythms and strange vocal experiments and is an obvious highlight, whilst elsewhere the album reveals a darker and more aggressive direction for the group than the debut album had offered. Whilst I think that In This Life has the edge as far as Thinking Plague's 1980s materials goes, Moonsongs is certainly hot on its heels and worthy of the attention of any avant-prog fan.
 A Thinking Plague by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.44 | 29 ratings

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A Thinking Plague
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thinking Plague's debut album - quite rare in its original issue, and much easier to find as half of the Early Plague Years compilation - mashes up the avant-prog RIO sound of Henry Cow with a more whimsical and less overtly political outlook, and freshens things up with a distinctive 1980s sound thanks largely to Sharon Bradford's minisynth and a production style reminiscent of, say, Peter Gabriel's third or fourth self-titled album. It's certainly an oddball number, and Thinking Plague accomplish what their inspirations Henry Cow sometimes failed to do in terms of producing material that is experimental enough to feel fresh but at the same time isn't extremely difficult to get into. A promising start all round.
 Moonsongs by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.54 | 33 ratings

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Moonsongs
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bj-1
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A step up from their interesting but slightly unfocused debut album, Moonsongs shows a more mature and relentless new edge to TP's musical vision. The material is fairly dark, edgy and delightfully creepy throughout, with several mindboggling twists lurking everywhere, and while all of it is on a very dissonant note, TP's unique sense of melody and rhythmic challenges makes this album good for dozens of repeated listenings. Highlights are the gritty and apocalyptic opener "Warheads", which starts out right in your face with spiky and jagged rhythms before segueing into a most atmospheric and pessimistic purgatory, and the monolithic title track, which features intruging tribal percussion for a good rhythmic start before going into a forest of strange vocal samplings (reminiscent of Jarre's 'Zoolook' album from '84) and bizarre couplings of jazz, avantgarde classical and brutal industrial rock.

Finishing a TP album is like finishing a good, twisted horror movie - you simultaineously get mind[%*!#]ed and euphoric, yet can't really shake the thing off for a few days. This is some really dark and weird music but any adventurous listener should check these guys out. Their 1989 masterpiece "In This Life" is also recommended!

 In Extremis by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.33 | 149 ratings

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In Extremis
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by marcobrusa

5 stars First time i thought it was crap. Second time too. Third time i was maybe more intrested because of some moments but nothing more. And after listening a few more times, it began to hit me. This is one of those albums that needs at least ten listenings to experience it properly. First, production is practically perfect (except for the compression maybe... sometimes instruments sound packaged). Second, this album has a variety of moods and instrumentation in every track that coud seem a little excessive. The truth is that the compositions are so good and different that instead of bothering me (like the first time i listend to this album) they began to attract me. Everything is complex all the time. After several listenings y developed the taste for the dissonance in these songs! This is a necessary album for the ones that are looking for obscure feelings through music.
 In This Life by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.01 | 56 ratings

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In This Life
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thinking Plague's In This Life finds the band following the precedent set by the Henry Cow/Art Bears/News From Babel dynasty. Blessed with the intriguing vocals of Susanne Lewis, who would part ways from the group after this release, I am particularly reminded of the Art Bears side of the equation, since Thinking Plague also seem to be seeking a balance between structured songwriting and avant-garde soundscapes this time around. It has a somewhat different vibe from In Extremis, most likely because of the personnel changes between the two releases, but it's a strong and credible release from an earlier era of the Plague.
 In Extremis by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.33 | 149 ratings

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In Extremis
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars 1. "Dead Silence" (4:03) The first two and a half minutes of this song sound as if they've done a modernized cover of KATE BUSH's "Sat in Your Lap;" the final ninety seconds sound more like KING CRIMSON Discipline-era. (8/10)

2. "Behold the Man" (4:26) is rife with strings of scales runs performed by instrument after instrument while Deborah Perry sings melodically (and sometimes not so melodically) over and within. Awesomely conceived! Again the TONY LEVIN/King Crimson influences are obvious--as are those of PHILLIP GLASS. I really love listening to this song--and it does not grate against me as some of TP's more dissonant songs can. (10/10)

3. "This Weird Wind" (8:03) comes across as some kind of anthemic YES-monster for the first ninety seconds. Then a strange JOHN CALE-like lull and pounce section begins (awesome drums sound!) The keyboard work beginning at 2:20 is awesome--as is the acoustic guitar work that follows. A JON ANDERSON-like male voice presents in that same third minute. The ensuing two-minutes of music continues to build and morph like a condensed, abrasive STEVE HOWE/JON ANDERSON composition--even down to the heavily treated voices and psychedelic section in the sixth minute. 5:45 brings us back to the more straightforward YES style and sounds. Great final minute! Really an outstanding exercise on Yesorcism! YES would/should be proud! (10/10)

4. "Les études d'organism" begins as if one had awakened suddenly on a ocean-going vessel during a heavy storm. Then the ensuing wobbly walk around below-decks, trying to keep balanced, while trying to pursue some answers: Is this just a dream or really a dream within a dream? At 2:25 the zoo animals have burst into the ship's hallways! 2:54 you find a lounge in which people are out of it. Back into the hallways, running around the perimeter of the ship--Carnival Lines, of course! 4:30 brings us to some higher functioning, for a moment, before the circus engulfs you again. 5:17 begins the organized entertainment: a bike-rider standing on his seat, doing waterless-water jokes from his hat while riding in a circle. The clowns are doing their best to attract you attention, as are the show girls. Horses riding around the circle with fast-stepping acrobats doing their jumps and flips to and from animal. At 7:50 arrives the elephant, lumbering, plodding, a bit unsteady on the sea-rolling ship, a very good natured, patient elephant, performing by rote all the while looking out into the audience for its saviour. Tensions mount as the elephant stands on its hind legs: immense above the crowd. At 10:25 is seems as if all of a sudden time begins to stand still; you become aware of someone running in from the stormy outside screaming "I'm here! Sophie, I'm here!" The disciplined flow of the circus collapses, the elephant turns and bolts out the door with the young man--sheering the doors from their hinges as it does--revealing the calm, sunny skies outside--your view from your portal window as you awaken from a long night's sleep. (9/10)

5. "Maelstrom" (3:35) begins quite malevolently, dark and heavy, until at 0:45 the vocal harmonizes with some positive chords--obviously there is hope. Return to a quieter, more controlled form of trepidation. The final minute is complete with the all-out struggles and inevitable resignation of the end. Interesting song. (9/10)

6. "The Aesthete" (4:39) or "the me song," sounds like a JANE SIBERRY masterpiece, such a tongue-in-cheek lyric. The steady, strong drums move us forward while the guitars, bass, accordian, and horns try to move us every which way but forward. But when the drums disappear, what then? We are left to float, left to our own devices, left alone. Me, alone. Not really such a scary prospect, if only our heart keeps beating. (9/10)

7. "Kingdom Come" (13:45) YES and KING CRIMSON are what come to mind when listening to this extended piece. A kind of "Gates of the Delirius Red Nightmare," if you will. (9/10)

An collection of uniquely conceived and unusually rendered songs--not one's typical pop or smooth jazz melodies. Avant garde. Out of this world! But stunningly engaging and starkly beautiful! An album I go back to over and over because of the new and unusual--and often excitingly disturbing and unnerving--emotions and imagery evoked herein. This is not abrasive or as are much of the experimental/post, technical or doom metal music I encounter. This is unsettling in a way that is, I believe, to provoke a growth response. If you really want to see music/rock/progressive rock 'progress' then this album is essential for you.

 Decline And Fall by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.31 | 48 ratings

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Decline And Fall
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I normally pride myself on knowing quite a bit about music, but when I come across a band that has been going since 1978 and recording since 1984 yet are new to me I hang my head in shame. Although to be honest the form of music these guys provide is not likely to feature much in the mainstream press. This is experimental RIO free form that pushes the boundaries of what many would consider music at all, yet at the same time is strangely compelling. Singer Elaine Di Falco sings in a strange monotone that combines with the otherworldy music that is taking place around her to really take the listener to a dischordant future. This is music that has so much space you could drive a truck through it, yet at the same time is incredibly layered and complex. It is modern classical music being taken to an extreme: the scores for this must be incredible.

It is emotional, hard to listen to, complicated and doesn't belong in any sensible music collection. But being fair, who on earth wants to be sensible? Most people will listen to a few seconds of this and turn away in horror to the latest pop creation, but if you want your music to be challenging and with substance then this may just be for you. www.cuneiformrecords.com

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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