Forum Home Forum Home > Progressive Music Lounges > Prog Recommendations/Featured albums
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Little Atlas - Hollow
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Topic ClosedLittle Atlas - Hollow

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
avestin View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: September 18 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 12620
Direct Link To This Post Topic: Little Atlas - Hollow
    Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:06
This 2007 release from the Miami based band has slowly crept into my mind and conquered its domain there. Well composed and performed, it is as varied as it is catchy.
 
Here are several reviews:
 
 

LITTLE ATLAS — Hollow

Review by erik neuteboom (erik neuteboom)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Expert

4%20stars

WATCH OUT: THIS IS LESSER AND UNKNOWN PROGROCK!

FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM

Little Atlas is an USA four piece band (with an additional female singer) that was founded in the Nineties, in 1998 they released their debut CD entitled Neverwordly. This new album is their fourth, released in 2007. One can conclude that Little Atlas took their time to produce this new album and indeed, it has paid off, what a varied and exciting progrock album with strong vocals!

The 10 compositions are song-oriented but due to the frequent shifting moods, breaks and strong soli on several instruments, Little Atlas succeeds to keep my attention during this new album. A very tasteful extra dimension is the use of the vintage keyboards, from choir-Mellotron and Hammond organ to Minimoog synthesizer and Fender Rhodes electric piano. Despite these typically Seventies keyboards, Little Atlas doesn’t sound dated. In contrary, they sound fresh and modern, here are a few examples. The long track Silence contains lots of variety, from an intro with soaring keyboards, a slow rhythm with saxophone and a break with choir- Mellotron to compelling with propulsive drums and rhythm-guitar, a mid-tempo with fluent piano runs and a dreamy final part with sensitive electric guitar, emotional vocals and beautul flute. In Paranoiac the atmosphere is often compelling with powerful Hammond waves, sensational Minimoog flights, biting guitar and strong interplay between keyboards and guitar. My highlight is the track Symbiosis featuring lots of shifting moods and dynamics, exciting work on guitar and keyboards and a strong build-up to a compelling, verybombastic grand finale. The final song Special contains a warm sound with piano, acoustic guitar and violin, then a solo on acoustic guitar and in the end we can enjoy a synthesizer solo that delivers a sound that is mighty close to Lucky Man by Keith Emerson.

This is a very good new album by Little Atlas, the band has made a stuning progression, perhaps Hollow will be the breakthrough for these crafted and creative musicians. Highly recommended!



Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007, 16:28 EST | Permanent link

 
 
 
 
 
 

Little Atlas: Hollow

It's truly a wonderful thing when a modern progressive rock band knows how to execute and deliver memorable vocal melodies, and mix that up with vintage 70's sounds as well aggressive passages found in modern hard rock and metal. Miami's Little Atlas have done all these things and more on their third CD Hollow, their first for up and coming label 10T Records. Although their first two releases were strong, you could say that three times a charm here on Hollow, a musical document that envelopes everything that we love about prog. Soaring vocals, nimble, at times aggressive guitar work, loads of vintage sounding keys, tight rhythms, thought provoking lyrics, and just the right amount of drama, whimsical humor, and grandeur.

Although you can hear references to such bands as Gentle Giant, Echolyn, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Yes, and Marillion, the songs here on Hollow are not really derivative in any way. The lead vocals of Steve Katsikas are both mysterious and powerful on the stunning "Paranoiac", and he's supported by his own intricate keyboard lines, Rik Bigai's nimble bass grooves, and the sinewy guitar work from Roy Strattman. Bigai's incredible work on this one seems to come from a fusion perspective, and adds the perfect amount of pizzaz to this symphonic rocker. Other highlights include the epic "Silence", complete with some nice hooks and robust instrumentation, the melodic Flower Kings influenced sing-along "Contumacious", the charming acoustic tinged "Hiding", and the rollicking "Stage", a song that has its fair share of bouncy rhythms, funky electric piano lines, ripping gutiar leads, and effective vocals from Katsikas. However, it's the hard rocking & grandiose prog of "Symbiosis" that might be the CD's most accomplished track, as the band almost does for US prog what Kansas perfected in the late 70's. All the players are locked in on this one, with drummer Diego Pocovi really laying down some complex grooves along with Bigai's bass licks, allowing Katsikas and Strattman to really work overtime delivering some catchy riffs and solos. Check out Strattman's wild solo on this one, as he explodes with some fiery prog metal fury before toning it back for a delicate Steve Howe flavored run. If all this weren't enough, the album closer "Special" is just a gorgeous number with fantastic vocal melodies, rich backing vocals, lush acoustic guitars, and a neat retro synth solo from Katsikas.

If you haven't already been sold on Little Atlas, chances are this epic and cohesive recording known as Hollow is going to reel you in, hook, line, and sinker. Modern prog with a sophisticated edge, littered with plenty of pop, hard rock, and 70's elements-what more can you ask for? Bravo guys, keep up the good work!

Added: November 5th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:

 
 
 
 
 
 
From the DPRP reviews pages - http://www.dprp.net/reviews/200762.php#little
 

Geoff Feakes' Review

The ambiguous face within a face artwork on the cover of the fourth album from Little Atlas speaks volumes about the music. Hailing from Miami, Florida this is a band with hidden depths. On the surface the songs display a contemporary song based prog style that would appeal to fans of Echolyn, Marillion, Cryptic Vision and Spock’s Beard especially. Further investigation however reveals rich instrumental work that owes much to the classic bands of old. Hollow follows the very well received (by the DPRP at least) 2005 Wanderlust album. With their roots dating back to 1994, the band comprises Steve Katsikas (vocals, keyboards and saxophone), Rik Bigai (bass, synths and cuatro), Rod Strattman (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals) and Diego Pocovi (drums and percussion). Providing additional vocals is Joanna Katsikas.

Lead by a punchy chorus the purposeful title track combines fat power chords with crisply melodic electric and acoustic guitar fills. The full on bass sound has been previously likened by a DPRP colleague to Dave Meros, which I would largely agree with. The excellent drum work has a precision and weight that brings Mike Portnoy to mind whilst Nick D’Virgilio is a close comparison for Katsikas’ assured and expressive vocals. His backdrop of synths hang relatively low in the mix on this occasion but the keys become more prevalent on later tracks as does his saxophone playing. Speaking of which the hazy ambiance of the intro to Silence nods its head in the direction of Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond accompanied by a sultry sax break. Excellent drum work drives the tempo upwards before lyrical piano and guitar brings things to a stately conclusion.

Paranoiac is resplendent with a beefy guitar and Hammond sound joined by syncopated verses and mellotron to add a touch of bombast to the chorus. The majestic synth solo is pure Keith Emerson lending a supercharged ELP sound circa the Trilogy album. In contrast, Contumacious is an understated song with a relaxed vocal delivery and smooth harmonies. Although written by Strattman this is not a guitar feast but instead he provides a spacey guitar break in the songs latter part. Preying continues in the same vein before a snatch of sampled dialogue at the mid way point is followed by an unexpected burst of psychedelic pop. It recalls The Beatles in I’m Am The Walrus mode complete with cute “la la laa” harmonies. Following a reflective piano led intro, Orderly comes as close as any of the songs here to SB. It develops into an energetic guitar and organ workout that has the Alan Morse and Ryo Okumoto stamp of quality before a typically proggy ending.

Tranquil piano and acoustic guitar lend an elegant ballad like atmosphere to Hiding. The drum punctuations are superb as is the soaring David Gilmour like guitar solo towards the end. A change of pace once more for Stage, which has a fast and slick King Crimson style sound alternating with a breezy vocal part. It features solid bass work throughout joined by a cutting guitar break. Symbiosis has some real heavy weight moments with monumental drumming and lighting fast metal guitar soloing. In the more strident moments Katsikas’ voice seems to go out of its way to sound like Metallica’s James Hetfield. Penned by bassist Bigai, Special is a gentle strummed acoustic guitar and piano lament providing a surprisingly lightweight conclusion. The rich harmonies once more hark back to The Beatles joined by waltz like percussion. More Emerson style synth work to close this time echoing the famous solo from Lucky Man.

Given the positive reviews picked up by the last album it was a no-brainer that I would be onto a winner with Hollow. I was unprepared for the sheer quality on display however suggesting that the band has raised the bar by several notches. To my jaded ears the juxtaposition of confident song writing and proggy instrumental passages works a treat. The bands sense of melody and technical prowess demonstrates a rare potential to straddle the void between mainstream appeal and prog credibility. The excellent production with mastering by Joe Palmaccio plays a not inconsiderable part in achieving a highly deserved recommendation from this reviewer at least.

Tom De Val's Review

Miami’s contribution to progressive rock is pretty limited, but if you’re only going to produce just the one prog band, then you might as well make it a good one! Little Atlas impressed me with their 2005 release Wanderlust, and I’m happy to report that the quality has been maintained on their latest (fourth) release. Hollow is, to all extents and purposes, a concept album, but those not keen on the often unwieldy format of these things needn’t worry here – the ten songs take the form of character studies, told from a first-person perspective, and are in themselves distinct individual songs – I’m reminded of label-mates Man On Fire, who used a vaguely similar technique on their Habitat album. The songs are, in fact (and as a general rule) more concise than those on Wanderlust, and shows that the band continue to develop as songwriters.

Having just re-read my review of Wanderlust, I’ve realised that to describe the band’s sound in any detail would be to repeat myself, so I’ll point you to the second paragraph of that review! In a nutshell, this is modern, generally up-beat US prog rock, occupying the same general ballpark as Echolyn, Spock’s Beard, Izz and the like. The influences of the seventies greats such as Genesis and ELP shine through more in the instrumentation than the songs themselves, particularly main-man Steve Katsikas’ keyboard playing – he seems to have acquired even more of an armoury of vintage keyboards here than on Wanderlust, and the warm tones of the Hammond and mini-moog add a good deal of colour to songs which, if taken on their (often dark) lyrical basis alone, could have come across as less approachable. Indeed, whilst I singled out guitarist Roy Strattman last time out, this time around its Katsikas who takes the limelight, not only through his fine keyboard playing and songwriting but also with his vocals – seemingly more assured than on previous albums, his voice perfectly gets across the various emotions and thoughts expressed by the different characters, and he manages the trick of conveying high drama without being overly theatrical (if that’s not a contradiction in terms!)

Song-wise, the first three tracks in particular stand out for me and have to rate as the best I’ve heard from the band to date. The title track has a slightly dark feel to the driving, jangly verses, before dovetailing into a catchy, symphonic chorus. The rich, densely layered but crisp sound is worthy of note, no doubt helped by the fact that the band have employed Grammy Award-winning engineer Joe Palmaccio to do the final master. There’s a great flow to the whole song, and the mellower coda works well in conjunction with the darker nature of the song as a whole.

The epic Silence is a real treat. The moody opening is sketched out by Katsikas’ saxophone playing, bringing to mind David Bowie’s late 70’s instrumental work on albums such as Low and Heroes. The song moves fluently through its varied sections, showcasing both the more pastoral side of their band (although its pastoral with a haunting edge) and at their most bombastic and strident – the build up of the main instrumental section, founded upon a relatively simple clockwork rhythm, is a joy to behold, and both Katsikas (in his keyboardist guise) and Strattman get to have real fun on this one. The only possible criticism I have of this one is that it should perhaps be placed towards the middle of the album, as for me it’s the centrepiece.

Paranoiac completes this golden trinity; a quirky rhythm is established by bassist Rick Bigai and drummer Diego Pocovi around which Katsikas trades notes on his Hammond with Strattman’s bluesy riffing. The vocals in the verses are half whispered and carry a distinct air of menace about them – reading the lyrics, they seemed to be similar to one of the storylines from The Lord of The Rings, where Gollum jealously guards the ring from Frodo (at least, that’s my interpretation). The powerful chorus features a heavier vocal style from Katsikas, whilst the instrumental interpretation of a person overtaken by madness is cleverly done. Strattman’s short but sweet guitar solo towards the end of the song, fluent and emotive in a Gary Chandler vein, is just the icing on the cake.

If the rest of the album carried on to this (extremely high) standard we’d be talking album of the year contender; to my mind, it doesn’t quite reach these heights but that’s not to say the rest of the material is lacking – far from it. Contumacious is based around a simple (and rather sad-sounding) strummed acoustic chord pattern and tabla drums, with Katsikas’ vocals striking the right balance between laid back and emotive. Preying features an odd juxtaposition of dark lyrics and heavy power chords with some almost reggae-ish sections (well, The Police/ Rush style ‘reggae’ anyway), whilst Orderly comes on like As The World-era Echolyn; polished and catchy prog/pop which finds room in its structure for Strattman to really let rip with a great multi-note solo.

Hiding is a ballad which gradually intensifies as it goes along, although I prefer the earlier section, where the instrumentation is sparser and Katsikas’ vocals take the central role in proceedings. The rather biting Stage takes lyrical pot-shots at all the insincere poseurs out there, and there’s some great guitar work by Strattman to accompany the bile-filled lyrics – I could detect an Alex Lifeson influence in his playing on this one. Symbiosis is a complex multi-part track which probably bears the most resemblance to the material on Wanderlust, whilst the closing Special for me is a bit of an anti-climax – not that special at all really, although it flies by breezily enough.

Overall, Little Atlas can certainly be proud of what they’ve accomplished on Hollow – a fine modern-day prog rock album that certainly contains enough to appeal across the prog rock spectrum. Quite why the band are still almost completely unknown, even in the prog rock world, is a bit of a mystery to me, but hopefully the quality of this album – along with a strong promotional push from their promising new label – will widen their fan-base considerably.

Conclusions:

GEOFF FEAKES : 8.5 out of 10
TOM DE VAL : 8.5 out of 10

 
 
 
Track list:
 
1. Hollow (5:02)
2. Silence (10:47)
3. Paranoiac (5:47)
4. Contumacious (4:28)
5. Preying (4:45)
6. Orderly (5:05)
7. Hiding (5:50)
8. Stage (4:32)
9. Symbiosis (7:14)
10. Special (4:05)

Total Time 57:35

Line-up/Musicians


- Steve Katsikas / Vocals, Keyboards, Saxophone
- Rik Bigai / Bass,Synths, Cuatro
- Rod Strattman / Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
- Diego Pocovi / Drums and Percussion

Additional Vocals: Joanna Katsikas

 
 
Little%20Atlas%20-%20Hollow
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back to Top
E-Dub View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: February 24 2006
Location: Kansas City, MO
Status: Offline
Points: 7822
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:08
I'm going to see if I win DPRP's giveaway; but, if I don't then I'm ordering it immediately.

E
Back to Top
Ricochet View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: February 27 2005
Location: Nauru
Status: Offline
Points: 46279
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:14
I have it and I'll listen to it soon. Smile
Back to Top
avestin View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: September 18 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 12620
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:21
Originally posted by E-Dub E-Dub wrote:

I'm going to see if I win DPRP's giveaway; but, if I don't then I'm ordering it immediately.

E
 
Good luck!
 
 
Back to Top
avestin View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: September 18 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 12620
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:22
By the way, several of the tracks can be listened to here:
 
 
Back to Top
erik neuteboom View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer


Joined: July 27 2005
Location: Netherlands
Status: Offline
Points: 7659
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 16:03
 
                      Can't we start a Prog Archives giveaway Assaf, M@X has 
           plenty money to supply some promo's for us poor collaborators  Wink ?!
 
But seriously, I am astonished that this stunning new band Atlas is hardly reviewed on this site, it's such an adventurous and modern PROGROCK SOUND Thumbs%20Up
 
 
Back to Top
PhideauxFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member


Joined: August 14 2007
Status: Offline
Points: 1129
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2007 at 06:39
There was already a subject about thsi band. Wink
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=41554&KW=little+atlas .

For me, Little Atlas is a band which improves and progresses with each new album. Great US prog rock!  Smile
Back to Top
avestin View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: September 18 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 12620
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2007 at 09:06
Originally posted by PhideauxFan PhideauxFan wrote:

There was already a subject about thsi band. Wink
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=41554&KW=little+atlas .


 
So? You'd think this is such a talked about band that people are tired of it being mentioned and besides, I am doing a series of threads about my favourites albums of the year and this is one of them.
 
 
Back to Top
Padraic View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: February 16 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline
Points: 29896
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2007 at 10:35
Originally posted by erik neuteboom erik neuteboom wrote:

 
                      Can't we start a Prog Archives giveaway Assaf, M@X has 
           plenty money to supply some promo's for us poor collaborators  Wink ?!
 
But seriously, I am astonished that this stunning new band Atlas is hardly reviewed on this site, it's such an adventurous and modern PROGROCK SOUND Thumbs%20Up
 
 


Great review of the album, Erik, I'll have to look into this band.
Back to Top
erik neuteboom View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer


Joined: July 27 2005
Location: Netherlands
Status: Offline
Points: 7659
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2007 at 11:39
Thanks for the compliments NaturalScience, I am glad this band got more attention, thanks to threads like this and good luck with your progrock quest Thumbs%20Up
Back to Top
glass house View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 16 2005
Location: Netherlands
Status: Offline
Points: 4986
Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2007 at 17:07
Listened to the songs on their website, very good songs!!
 
 
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.01
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.094 seconds.