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The Start of the Neo Prog Era

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kenethlevine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2017 at 13:01
Originally posted by Progmind Progmind wrote:

Adonis by Anyone´s Daughter (1979)

I'm always happy when the great AD is referenced, even when being accused of starting neo prog!
But really, I think Adonis is a symph prog album.  One might consider the sub titled second album, or even "Neu Sterne" from 1982 to be the first, even though sung in German.  

Then again, there are only a few officially neo prog albums that I consider to be better than any of the Anyone's Daughter studio albums. 


Edited by kenethlevine - September 17 2017 at 13:02
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2017 at 16:26
It started with ATTWT, and Dukes Travels & Dukes End, perfected with Second Home By the Sea. Yes, they were a pale imitation of themselves. However, it was also a part of a period which saw a lot of tribute bands, especially Genesis tribute bands. Neo Prog bands were tribute bands that did not want to do covers.

All Neo stuff is not bad. Some stuff in the Script had some small micro innovations in the Prog spirit. I do not see a problem in gaining influence and inspiration from older bands. However, for those who define Prog by its fusion with other styles (not me necessarily), Neo was not this and it was probably pretty noticeable to a lot of people. I remember a couple Marillion guys were interviewed on the radio once when passing through Buffalo. Someone calling in asked them why they sounded like Old Genesis, and the Marillion guys got immediately defensive, denying much of an influence. The keyboardist insisted he was much more influenced by Yes. I thought it was odd at the time that Old Genesis as an influence could be a negative thing. The real question is what the music achieves.

For me, Neo-Prog got real boring, as it either avoided doing instrumental stuff, or did very bland instrumentals with synth atmospherics worthy of anyone's time on an elevator.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2017 at 18:56
Originally posted by verslibre verslibre wrote:

Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Saga seems to be a good contender for first neo prog band. I've also heard that ATTWT by Genesis was the first neo prog album. There was some stuff before that that maybe hinted at neo prog. It's hard to tell but I don't think neo prog became official until the eighties.

Saga's a symph band that took inspiration from Styx, Gentle Giant, Yes and other bands. They didn't sound like emulators, though. 

Now Starcastle were essentially Yes wannabes, and they got their first album out two years earlier (1976). So those guys would be neo way before Saga would.

This is the first time I've ever heard it suggested that emulating someone(whether intentionally or not) automatically equals neo prog. If you listen to Starcastle their music is way more traditional symph prog and complex than typical neo prog so imo they don't qualify. I would even say Styx would be a better candidate than Starcastle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 02:05
The second Machiavel album (1977) is also an early example.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 04:08
To me, neo prog is a less of a genre and more of a designation for the 2nd wave of prog bands that formed in the eighties and nothing more than that. Prog is prog.

Edited by SteveG - September 18 2017 at 06:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 05:16
Originally posted by ClaudeV ClaudeV wrote:

Neo-Prog is an invention by some purists. It does not exist. All those 80's bands were prog forced to put a few pop songs in there for record companies to bbe happy.

All genre labels are such inventions; the music can happily live without them, and the question of "existence" is always a question about how we like to talk rather than what's really in the music. This doesn't make neo-prog any less useful or fitting as a genre label than any other.

I think neo-prog is associated with a certain attitude of starting something new that is distinctly different from other musical trends of the time but makes very conscious reference to more classic prog (which at that time was frowned upon). I found this attitude pretty explicitly in Marillion for the first time, but I may not know earlier contenders. Surely, in my view, the label should not apply to bands that were around for a long time already in 1980, because regardless of how their music sounded at that time (or be it even 1976), this was not their attitude.

PS: I came across Saga before Marillion but I think that the conscious reference element wasn't as strong in their music; they wanted to do their own thing entirely. I love Anyone's Daughter but in the framework of the neo-prog discussion I'm afraid that they came late to the party (if as an extremely welcome guest) rather than being part of the creation of a new movement.


Edited by Lewian - September 18 2017 at 05:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 06:12
Neo is just a sticker. After the initial surge of 80s prog had slowed down and the internet got up and running people have found a lot of bands from the end of the 70s that sounded very close to the neo sound ie a distinct 80s sounding production especially heard through the keyboards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kingsnake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 06:45
If you count Saga as neo-prog, than Kingdom of Madness by Magnum should be a neo-prog record, or the debut by Toto.

But I don't think Saga is neoprog. The were too much of a pop-prog band. They didn't have extended songs and until Generation 13, they didn't even have a conceptalbum (except for the chapter, but that's different).

I love Saga to bits, but mainly because they were more direct and had a combined hardrock/synthpop approach. Both of wich are not really prog-genres.

I guess the whole, Twelfth Night/Pendragon/Pallas/Marillion-movement count as neoprog, also because other neoproggers base their sound on those bands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cristi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 06:55
Originally posted by Kingsnake Kingsnake wrote:


I guess the whole, Twelfth Night/Pendragon/Pallas/Marillion-movement count as neoprog, also because other neoproggers base their sound on those bands.

you forgot about IQ who released music before Pendragon and Pallas. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kingsnake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 08:28
Originally posted by Cristi Cristi wrote:

Originally posted by Kingsnake Kingsnake wrote:


I guess the whole, Twelfth Night/Pendragon/Pallas/Marillion-movement count as neoprog, also because other neoproggers base their sound on those bands.

you forgot about IQ who released music before Pendragon and Pallas. 

That would be a typo. How could I ever forget the great IQ, or even The Lens which existed even before IQ.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cristi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 09:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Icarium Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 10:08
I believe Vienna by Ultravox both album and song hade some impact on neo progs sound aesthetics as did other new romantics act. Midge Ure era Ultravox reminds me of the pathos of Pallas and Marillion

Edited by Icarium - September 18 2017 at 10:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 11:26
Ultravox were one of my favorite groups of that era.  You couldn't really call them prog but they did have that serious arty aspect that we prog fans like.  I thought Vienna superb and then "Quartet" was also a great album, particularly "Hymn"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 11:35
Vienna is such a great album...but I must say that I've never thought of Ultravox as a prog band or even affiliated with the scene.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 12:55
Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

I would even say Styx would be a better candidate than Starcastle.

Styx isn't prog. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progrockdeepcuts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 17:33
early Split Enz?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 17:37
Originally posted by Kingsnake Kingsnake wrote:

But I don't think Saga is neoprog. The were too much of a pop-prog band. They didn't have extended songs and until Generation 13, they didn't even have a conceptalbum (except for the chapter, but that's different).

I love Saga to bits, but mainly because they were more direct and had a combined hardrock/synthpop approach. Both of which are not really prog-genres.

Good points.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2017 at 17:43
Originally posted by progrockdeepcuts progrockdeepcuts wrote:

early Split Enz?


Mental Notes (1976) is an excellent album, but I wouldn't call it neo prog.  To me it doesn't sound like they're trying to emulate any 70's prog bands, it has it's own style Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote essexboyinwales Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2017 at 07:23
Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:

To me, neo prog is a less of a genre and more of a designation for the 2nd wave of prog bands that formed in the eighties and nothing more than that. Prog is prog.


This makes a lot of sense to meSmile

And perhaps there needed to be a "label" when Marillion made it big and people actually noticed that prog was still around.

I like the idea that Ultravox influenced '80s prog, I've often thought that they could have made a great concept album with long complex songs: Vienna is such a brilliant mini-epic and still sounds absolutely amazingClap

Anyway, for what it's worth, IQ (for me) are still the best and most consistent neo-prog band, whether the label is right or not...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote siLLy puPPy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2017 at 07:56
Well, according to Wikipedia which you should always take with a grain of salt, neo-prog took lots of influence from Genesis, Camel and Pink Floyd with touches of funk, punk and hard rock.

The Enid also gets credit as a predecessor for fusing rock with classical especially with Ralph Vaughan Williams influence. Another influence seems to be the keyboards on Rush's "Grace Under Pressure" however i'm not sure i buy that since Twelfth Night and Marillion were well under way as bands at that point. 

There is also word that the Swiss band Nautilus could be a link between the symphonic prog of Genesis and the true neo-prog as RYM classifies it as neo-prog and PA as symph. Defining when genres and subgenres begin is usually not so easy as it is an introduction of elements over time that usually gently nudge a style in any particular direction. Some have even called Genesis' "Wind And Wuthering" a neo-prog album.

Personally i would go with Twelfth Night
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