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Proud Peasant biography
Proud Peasant come from the celebrated 'live music capital of the world' town of Austin, Texas, a place that defies categorization in that it supports the widest variety of musical styles, including prog. Leader, composer and guitarist Xander Rapstine tired from the usual rock stylistics and ventured deep into the symphonic progressive rock universe. He composed three long instrumental tracks that were fleshed out by some dynamic contributions from drummer David Hobizal, bassist Kyle Robarge, keyboardist Jay Allen and multi-instrumentalist Mark Poitras. Their debut Flight was released in May 2014, they are also committed to touring in order to promote their work.

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PROUD PEASANT discography

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

4.00 | 32 ratings
3.88 | 8 ratings

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

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

4.33 | 3 ratings
The Avatar
4.00 | 3 ratings
Cosmic Sound


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cosmic Sound by PROUD PEASANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 3 ratings

Cosmic Sound
Proud Peasant Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band PROUD PEASANT was formed back in 2001, and so far they have one album and two single releases to their name. "Cosmic Sound" is the most recent of the latter, and is set for an April 2016 release on vinyl through UK specialist psychedelic rock label Fruits de Mer Records.

The greater majority of productions released bu Fruits de Mer Records consist of cover material in part or in whole, and the latter is the case for this label debut by Proud Peasant. They have opted to go for two progressive rock classics on this occasion: Daybreak (Eloy) and Saturn, Lord of the Ring / Mercury, the Winged Messenger (Manfred Mann's Earth Band).

Eloy's classic 1973 single is given a rough 70's hard rock makeover in this case, with galloping bass and guitar riffs not light years away from the core Hawkwind bass and guitar sound from the early 70's, with calmer, mellow interludes where the keyboards and, unless I'm much mistaken, the violin combines to craft flightier arrangements of a kind and manner that should tickle most classic era progressive rock fans the right way.

The band's take on Manfred Mann's classic is more of a quirky one, with ethereal passages and interludes separating firmer sequences, of which a bass-pumping blues based hard rock section in the opening half and a gritter dark riff based galloping sequence more or less of the same general nature as explored on the Eloy track in the second half of this track are the most prominent. The manner in which guitars, keyboards and violin combine here also gives this song something of a Kansas vibe here and there, and for many I suspect this aspect of Proud Peasant's take on this song is the one that will stick best to memory on initial inspections.

Proud Peasant deserves credit for taking on this classic pair of progressive rock songs and transforming them into material that sounds cohesive, despite the originals not being all that similar to begin with. The end result is two compelling songs, perhaps with a bit too much of an early 70's hard rock vibe for some, but for me at least this aspect of the material elevated these songs as a total experience, with the vibrant, energetic take on Eloy's Daybreak as the standout track on a high quality single.

 Flight by PROUD PEASANT album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 32 ratings

Proud Peasant Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Austin, Texas is rightly revered as the "live music capital of the world" , a panoramic musical scene that has always promoted ideas, innovations and mostly, a place to hone one's craft in a slew of live settings. Xander Rapstine got tired of the saturated pop/rock rut he was mired in , so he moved to build a quintet of like-minded proggers and satisfy his inner urges by molding a lovely debut album , built out of 3 long epics in the fine mold extolled by KC, GG, Genesis and Oldfield. The band started playing live in June 2014, providing audiences with "the soundtrack to sublime dreams . . . and wicked nightmares". Darn, ya all, this is thrillin' stuff, dudes! Guitarist and composer Xander Rapstine leads this merry crew into a world of symphonic prog exuberance, blending classical music, soundtrack score, as well as some Mexican style folklore (mariachi trumpets), with winks at bands like Gryphon, Gentle Giant, Gnidrolog, King Crimson, well, you get the picture! Keyboardist Jay Allen slings a wide variety of analog synths, piano and organ, while bassist Kyle Robarge masters the low end and shoving master drummer David Hobizal along. Various guests provide an eclectic assortment of surplus orchestral ornamentation (tuba, clarinet violin, trumpet, flute, timpani, French horn, cello and trombone). There is also some heavenly choir work that shows up at different times, giving the arrangements even more depth.

An album with only three long and juicy tracks (count 'em!), with the sole intent to mystify, enthrall and invigorate the moribund (I have heard it all before) prog listener. Each track is broken down in sub-sections, in typical suite form. "The Prisoner" (12.28) sets the cocky peasant in motion, a slow burn acoustic guitar intro, laden with various effects but bolstered by some truly dazzling playing. This early melody opens the door (literally) for some solid drum, bass and synthesizer twirls, exuding a slight medieval/baroque groove that would wink at stuff like the Morrigan, Colin Masson, the aforementioned Gryphon or its distant cousin the Enid and a dash of Canterbury. The Hispanic /Mariachi section is utterly and absolutely genial, nattily incorporated without sounding cheesy, something previously only Phil Manzanera did very well, so sombreros are doffed in salute, senores! Rapstine later repeats the rather complex opening guitar theme and proceeds with some incessant crystalline guitar chops that show both intensity and fire, while Hobizal marshals the military snare with precision. A tremendous piece of glittering symphonic prog.

The whopping 19 minute and 34 second epic "Awakenings" is not related to the Robin Williams/Robert de Niro film classic though, in all fairness, there is a similar sense of hidden wonderment in the music, just like with the movie's storyline. Church organ in a bucolic setting suddenly explodes into a maelstrom of stop and go pieces, stretching the extremes from sweet to howling on the turn of a dime, grandiose synthesizer melodies are propelled by some rabid guitar slashes. A gentle flute relaxes the mind with devoted loveliness, spiraling like some rivulets in a stony stream, a perfect segue into quirky guitar mathematics, odd synth noises, a long studious brass section that is unafraid to do a little New Orleans/vaudeville/ragtime (a sense of humor?) and finally, colossal choir work that left me quite dazed and confused by its sheer eloquence. Totally unpredictable, explosive and utterly creative. One word = epic.

"The Precipice" clocks in at 13.20 and performs its closing duties better than a Texas Ranger relief pitcher, knocking down the side with heat, guile and heart. The band gets a stormier attitude going, not content to mellow out but quite to the contrary, kick it up a notch! Drummer David Hobizal shows off some clever beats throughout, helping the raunchy guitar express itself convincingly. Flute, choir and electric piano deliver some contrast, rolling along like progressive tumbleweed. Bright and yet full of bravado! This has to be one of the most impressive debut album in the symphonic category in quite a while. The bombastic finale will settle any doubts one may have, as its sheer grandiose brilliance that parallels Steve Hackett's finale on "Shadow of the Hierophant". Yeah, I know, Wow!

A majestic ride, a 'thrillin' hot diggetty-dog' debut from Austin, Texas! Ya gotta love it! Best US release in a long time.

4.5 gratified farmers

Thanks to tszirmay for the artist addition.

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