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NOW

Neo-Prog • Belgium


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Now biography
Led by guitarist-singer Vincent FIS, NOW produced powerful and dynamic Progressive rock, and was one of the best bands of the international scene in the early Nineties. A four piece group (one girl) heavily played in the style of YES in the older days, or at beast sounds very colorful, intricate, melodic in a neo-prog sort of way.

"Complaint..." (1988) is their earliest, but similar to the others in overall style. "Spheres" (1991) offers sophisticated music with beautiful melodies and features a long, primarily instrumental, 33-minute suite that is the core of the release. While the melodic work recalls MARILLION and the British neo Progressive style. "Deep" is more mature in its conception. You'll find there a splendid epic suite in two parts ("Wheels of Time"). If I had to do it again, the only one of these three I would buy is "Spheres". A real must-have...!

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NOW discography


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

2.57 | 11 ratings
Complaint of the Wind
1988
3.40 | 24 ratings
Spheres
1991
3.17 | 26 ratings
Deep
1992

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

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

2.94 | 4 ratings
Now (EP)
1990
4.00 | 1 ratings
Children of a Dying World / Lost
1992

NOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Now (EP) by NOW album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1990
2.94 | 4 ratings

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Now (EP)
Now Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars In 1989 the debut of Now was re-released in CD by German label In-Akustik, but the band was yet to be discovered by a major Prog label.The following year the Belgians released a nowadays extremely rare self-titled EP with two tracks, another independent offering by the band.It was distributed in a limited number of 400 copies.

The first track ''Children of a dying world'' had a good and moving title and a pretty decent chorus, more in an AOR/80's Rock vein akin to Trevor Rabin-era YES of the same period.It appeared in the next full-length work of Now, but it is mostly characterized by its annoying plastic synths and an awful production, not to mention the dull backing vocals, eventually making it extremely cheesy and fairly uninteresting.The main reason of the EP's significance is definitely the long ''Whirl'', which is the rarest track ever recorded by the group, not appearing in any of their future efforts.Though not particularly conveincing, it follows a proggier path and reminds me of PALLAS of the 90's era.With plenty of variations but still in a commercial prog vein, ''Whirl'' alternates between laid-back synth/piano sections and more upbeat moments with interesting guitar parts by Vincent Fis.The annoying backing vocals are still there, but some decent keyboard lines and Fis' nice guitar work show some potential.Not really extraordinary, but certainly well-played.

The scarcity of the EP along with its rather mediocre material make it an unneeded extravaganze for the prog listener.Thus, its interest should be limited to Prog collectors and Neo-Prog fanatics, mainly because of the rare ''Whirl'' track contained in here.

 Deep  by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.17 | 26 ratings

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Deep
Now Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Deep is their third album from 1992 and aswell their swansong. The album has only 5 pieces, 4 composed by the band and one cover version of famous Led Zeppelin - Kashmir. The highlight of the album is Wheels of time the two parts who opens the albums and aswell ends, both parts are very good, specially the guitar parts with intricate parts and solid melody lines. Maybe for some listners this is their best and most mature work they ever done, but to me Sphere is their most acomplished work for sure. Even the compositions from here are ok in neo prog tradion, is little less convinceing then previous effort. Anyway the cover version of Kashmir is one of the best version I ever heared from this pieces, and I think across the years were hundreds of versions, but this one played by Now is truly excellent. They keep the Zeppelin atmosphere but they infuse some Now elements that gives a special listning and a fairly enjoyble ride, very strong is the voice of Vincent Fis here. All in all another worthy album, but not a special one in my book. 3 stars maybe 3.5 stars in places.

 Spheres by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.40 | 24 ratings

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Spheres
Now Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Now from Belgium is a forgotten and pretty unknown band to wider public, who mange to release 3 albums and then falling into oblivion. The second album released in 1991 at Musea records named Spheres is probaly their best one from all 3, the music is something between Yes and neo prog bands like Iq or Pendragon same peroid. The arrangements are melodic specilly constructed on guitar, who is btw very strong here. The album is mainly solid because of the 33 min epic Converging universes, divided in 7 parts, is a solid piece where each musician shine. The voice is also pleasent but little pale in some parts and without energy, but overall is more then ok. The keyboards in combination with guitar is very well structured and enjoyble most of the time, diffrent chops and tempo changes gives to this album a good aura and a good ride if anyone is intrested to discover this band. A fairly good towards great release, anyway nothing is groundbreaking here but is very enjoyble. 3 stars , maybe 3.5 in places.
 Deep  by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.17 | 26 ratings

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Deep
Now Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This appears to be the last studio album for this Neo-Prog band from Belgium. "Deep" was released in 1992 and it was their third studio record.The centre-piece of the album is the over 14 1/2 minute cover of "Kashmir" originally done by LED ZEPPELIN. I find it rather strange that they did this. It's not that the cover is bad, it's just that they were talented enough to focus on their own material that is all. Vocals are in English with an accent and we do get female vocals as well helping out.

"Wheels Of Time Part One" is my favourite.The guitar is the focus and it's so emotional. It starts off with the sound of someone walking and then opening a door then the music kicks in with guitar out front. So good. It settles after 3 minutes with piano then the guitar makes some noise briefly.Vocals for the first time before 6 1/2 minutes with synths. "Kashmir" certainly lacks the power of ZEPPELIN and the vocal talents of Plant but it's not a bad cover.They keep me interested most of the time. "Lost Original Version" opens with synths, a beat and reserved vocals. It turns fuller before a minute then settles back as contrasts continue. Good song.

"Back To The Silence" opens with drums then a full sound kicks in quickly. A calm follows then reserved vocals. It picks up 1 1/2 minutes in then another calms settles in after 2 minutes.The piano becomes prominant then the guitar. It picks back up late. "Wheels Of Time Part Two" builds with some nice bass until it settles in around a minute. Reserved vocals and sound after 2 minutes. I like the chorus with backing female vocals. Organ after 5 minutes. Soaring guitar 6 minutes in. Nice.The synths after 7 minutes remind me of RUSH then the song kicks in with guitar leading.The sounds of waves washing in only come in after 10 minutes to end it.

A good album that Neo-Prog fans may want to check out. I like the cover art.

 Spheres by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.40 | 24 ratings

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Spheres
Now Neo-Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An excellent neo-prog album were it not for the first 2 tracks and, to a lesser extent the vocals and some improvable production. The closest reference for this belgian band is Yes. Which Yes? Well, actually a mix, we will find fragments evoquing the symphonic prog of the classic line-up, and moments more reminiscent of the Trevor Rabin period (especially because the guitar is much more Rabin-like than Howe-like). This is neo-prog, but leaning more to the symphonic side than many other neo-prog bands like Jadis or Illuvatar who are more melodic-pop-oriented.

The music stands mostly on the constant interlacing between the very good keyboards of Herve Borbe and the guitar of band leader Vincent Fis, who combines standard prog rock playing in the most symphonic parts with a hard, nearly metal edge in other parts. This was 1991 and the influence of Eddie Van Halen on many guitarists of that generation was evident. The bass (by female Veronique Duyckaerts who also supports with backing vocals) and drums are good but they are penalized by the equalization and mix, mostly the bass which often sounds too high-pitched. The lead voice by guitarist Fis is not very good, but it stands the level of "acceptable". In fact the vocal phrasing is really fine, it's just that his timbre is not the most pleasant around.

The album starts disappointingly bad with 2 tracks which will screw your listening experience of all the rest, so I strongly advice you to skip them and start straight from track 3, which is what I always do. These 2 disposable tracks are the opening 170191 (presumably the date in european format in which the recording began) which is just a sonic intro of distorted guitar and keyboards which my dad would call noise, and the second track "Children of the dying world", a neo-prog-AOR song clearly inspired by Yes' "Owner of a lonely heart" but worse. Skip them both.

If we start from track 3 things get really interesting, with the 33 minute suite "Converging Universes" which forms the core of the album. The first movement starts with a great instrumental introduction with a nice time signature of 16/8 - 19/8, followed by a good melodic verse and including an organ solo alla Rick Wakeman. Fis uses frequently the figure of transposing a scale to different octaves in his soloing, something much done by Howe, but he uses also more modern and heavy-guitar techniques. A really nice symphonic 13 minutes. The second movement is more standard neo-prog with hints of Pendragon, Pallas or IQ. The third movement starts with a short acoustic guitar bridge followed by a mid-tempo part which could remind us of the first part of Yes "I've seen all good people" mixed with the Simple Minds (yes I know that sounds strange), a nice catchy melody which is revisited in instrumental fashion in the final "Reprise".

Then we have "Source" which is a beautiful piano solo piece, again with some Wakeman influences, and "Lost" which is a simple slow-mid tempo track, a bit repetitive and nothing special by itself, but in the whole scheme it fits. Not everything in a good prog album needs to be complex.

The final instrumental "Paradox" is another fine piece of neo-prog, not formally related to the suite but since it has a similar style it feels as a kind of reprise and wrap-up, closing nicely the complete set of tracks 3 to 10.

Once again, this is neo-prog and you should judge it as that, do not expect a "Gates of Delirium" here, but this is certainly better than many acclaimed neo-prog albums. Just remember to skip tracks 1 and 2.

 Complaint of the Wind  by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.57 | 11 ratings

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Complaint of the Wind
Now Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars An unknown band emerging from the 80's Belgian scene,who blended progressive rock with more commercial sounds.Formed in mid-80's and led by guitarist Vincent Fis,NOW featured also current MACHIAVEL keyboardist Herve Borve in his first steps in the music scene.For their first LP,released in 1988 on Auraphon Label and entitled ''Complaint of the wind'',they were helped by MACHIAVEL singer Mario Guccio.Reportedly the album was recorded in August 87' in a castle and mixed in a studio in Switzerland by Glenn Miller,who had collaborated with ''Talk Talk''.

Seemed the band wanted to hit big time,however the album was a typical product of the 80's , in ''progressive'' terms,with all its positives and negatives.At times the keyboards sound a little bit cheesy and the piano parts are somewhat ''plastic'',while the compositions follow a rather simplistic form,sometimes they are closer to 80's hard rock/A.O.R. than prog.On the other hand the band features a very strong vocalist under the presence of Fis,who's voice can be thrilling and dynamic at the same time,reminding of PALLAS' Euan Lowson.Speaking of PALLAS,this album holds a lot of similarities with 80's YES but mainly with PALLAS' ''The sentinel'' from 1984.Compositions are mainly short with some grandiose symphonic keys here and there,some hard rockin' guitar work with a lot of energy,a strong drumming performance by Andre Hercot and a few memorable melodies played by Fis...strange combination really...The result is a work of easy-listening progressive rock with some good but also some flat moments.Not exactly recommended,expect you're a devoted fan of neo progressive rock...2.5 stars...

 Deep  by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.17 | 26 ratings

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Deep
Now Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This extremely discreet Belgian band has capitalized five reviews out of their three albums (of which three of yours truly). "Now" definitely deserves more than that. Even if they don't play in the Champions League, of course.

Their "Yes" oriented music is rather interesting. Unlike a band as "Starcastle", they don't uselessly try to be a clone of this great band. At least, "Now" shows some good writing skills. Maybe that vocal are the weak part of their repertoire; but in terms of musical passages (which are the majority of their work), they are producing some convincing music.

In those days, playing epic songs was not a common feature, but they kept on doing so, for the best musical experience. On their previous album, they deliver a good thirty-one minutes suite ("Converging Universe") and they just do the same here with "Wheels Of Time". Almost nineteen minutes of great guitar play (Steve being almost present at times, but Rick isn't far away either.), nice harmonies and pleasant melodies : it is without doubt a song to discover if ever symphonic prog does make part of your genes. But I have no doubt about that.

Still, It seems that the band is out of steam because they are passing again a song already featured in their previous album ("Lost" which is featured here in its original version). This mellow rock ballad is just average to be honest. Somewhat "Simple Minds" oriented (while not playing their great rock and catchy song).

Even if "Back to the silence" is more pop oriented, I have to say that it is quite acceptable. Of course, "Yes" is not far away (but I warned you already), but you have to consider this as a serious tribute.

Now, in terms of tribute I'm not sure that "Kashmir" was the one progheads could have been expecting. I am a deep lover of Led Zep (you can get this confirmed if you would ever read one of my reviews from this great band) but this heavy rock song has basically nothing to do with the "Now" repertoire.

This cover version starts very nicely (even the vocal is not bad) but the over-extending version (almost fifteen minutes) is too much stretched. The keyboards sounds are adding an unexpected touch to this cover which is even very good at times (especially during the guitar solo at half time).

The band will fall apart after this album, and it will time for their very good keyboard player (Hervé Borbé) to join "Machiavel" (one of the very few legendary Belgian bands) for a very long time (he is still playing with them, as with "Cannonball" which is a VERY good Tramp cover band.

Three stars for their last work (as for their two previous efforts).

 Spheres by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.40 | 24 ratings

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Spheres
Now Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second album from this Belgian band is fully dominated by the epic "Converging universes". Over thirty minutes and four "movements" for this very good song.

Major influence is by no doubt "Yes". But the band is not trying to be only a pale copy, nor a tribute band à la "Druid" or "Starcastle". This composition is full of beautiful music and harmony.

Even if it is a very long number, it is not dull. I only regret that the finale is a bit flat. I was expecting some kind of a bombastic finale which will never arrive. But before this one, the "Light Waves" section is simply excellent. Probably the most "Yes" oriented of all. It lasts for over thirteen minutes and is by far the best track (or portion of a track).

Church organ to start (you know like.), followed by a complex instrumental part (very much in the style of CTTE). Vocals are very pleasant. Calm, profound: only some more conviction could have been integrated. The most interesting parts are obviously the instrumental ones. They evolve into some "Gates Of Delirium" pieces which are rather pleasant.

The second section ("The Light Of Reason") is almost as good. Clocking at over eleven minutes, it features more vocals. It is more popish, but great symphonic moments are achieved as well. Still, it falls a bit short after such a great opening part.

The very short third section (less than a minute) is an acoustic guitar piece. Peaceful. As I have mentioned, the fourth and last section lacks in grandeur. Such a long track should have deserved to get a bombastic finale. "Hymn To The Light" is just a mellow acoustic closing. What a pity to end on such an average mood.

None of the other songs are really great. Just average and shy of the epic. Both the opener (170191 - another Yes relation ?) and the AOR-ish "Children Of A Dying World" are forgetable.

"Reprise" is an all instrumental track full of synth sounds while "Source" is all subtlety and features a great piano part. The latter is definitely pleasant; almost classic. Hervé is performing nicely. But the guy is gifted.

"Lost" is a rock ballad, somewhat mellow and not really memorable and the closing number Paradox is just a filler IMO. Too bad.

As I have mentioned in my intro, this second "Now" album only performs thanks to "Converging Universe". Still, three stars for the whole.

 Complaint of the Wind  by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.57 | 11 ratings

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Complaint of the Wind
Now Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the first album from this discreet Belgian band. Mario Guccio (from Machiavel) doing the backing vocals, while the young Hervé Borbé is playing the keys. After the "Now" split, he will join "Machiavel" (he is still playing with them as I write).

Under these circumstances, there is no wonder that "Now" sounds a bit like the symphonic "Machiavel" (the one from the seventies of course). This is easily noticeable during "Ballade For A Soul". "Genesis" is also very close in the short "Preliminary".

Lead vocals are on the soft (mellow) side. Nick Barrett ("Pendragon") or Martin Wilson ("Grey Lady Down") oriented. Probably less passionate and warm, but still very pleasant.

This album was released in 1988, and the popish / AOR sound is very present on this first album. While it is bearable during "Welcome To The Dreamworld, the next one (To find Your Track) is as weak as some poor YesSongs out of the eighties/nineties.

This album also flirts with the neo-prog genre to be honest; and I can't say that I am thrilled while listening to "Runaway's Fight"; on the other hand, the romantic "The Troubadour" is very melodic and includes a very good and emotional guitar break (hi Nick).

This album ends on two of the best numbers featured. Both "Dreamaker" and even more "The Complaint Of The Wind" are fully symphonic, catchy and very well executed. Let's hope that "Now" will pursue into this direction for their upcoming albums.

A good album. Three stars.

 Deep  by NOW album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.17 | 26 ratings

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Deep
Now Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Now is a talented Belgian neo progband with more potential in my believe than they show on this album. This is a good album but with only 5 tracks of which one cover (Kashmir) and a track of their previous album in a slightly different version and two of the other three related through a part 1 and part 2 version, well I have seen more original albums, also by this band !

I have to say that the two related songs (Wheels of time) are terrific compositions and well executed. Part 1 starts very interesting with someone walking through pebblestones before a short piano tune sets in the musical part. Then the guitar takes over in a tremendous way to play a thrilling solo. Then the whole band plays a very impressive instrumental segment until it all quiets down. Then the vocal part starts and the fun is over (for me). I think this bands vocals are not their strongest point. It's not out of tune but I feel the singing of both the male as the female singer are slightly annoying (nasal and not really natural). But in the Wheels of time tracks this is my only criticism.

Kashmir is a Led Zeppelin cover, nicely done, but anyone who reads my reviews knows I don't respect covers too much unless they are done in a highly original way. This is a borderline case on that point. It's not bad but not a highlight either.

The "other version" song (Lost) and the other short song (Back to the silence) are ok but no more than that. So I think 3 stars is a fair judgement for this album.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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