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AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: A look at the best prog albums through the years
    Posted: November 05 2016 at 01:00
Wow didn't expect that. I'll take it. Cheers.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2016 at 09:19
All hail AtomicCrimsonRush!
"It just has none of the qualities of your work that I find interesting. Abandon [?] it." - Eno
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2016 at 03:12
Just stopping by to say hi. Haven't darkened this thread with my presence for 9 months. Glad to see it's still about. Cheers Prog on!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2016 at 16:28
I agree but at the time I remember PA did not include them as top albums and the poll was based on votes from the top albums. Problem is it is a popularity vote and those albums especially Phallus are an acquired taste to many. Thanks for the feedback. It's just a bit of fun to be honest. Not to be taken too seriously. Though many have. lol.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2016 at 05:08
A "Best of 1969" without the inclusion of "Phallus Dei" and "Sea Shanties" is in my opinion questionable. Yes, these two albums were named under "others", but they should have been included right away. Both groundbreaking albums. "Sea Shanties" is the definition of hard prog and "Phallus Dei" the definition of Krautrock,though it was not the first Krautrock album; that was "Psychedelic Underground", which was the first Krautrock album but rather like a blueprint (and I mean this in a negative way like "bad quality picture"). But "Phallus Dei" came shortly after that blueprint and was much better.


BaldJean and I; I am the one in blue.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2016 at 02:21
Wow I forgot to finish this. Oh well. It's nice to revisit tonight
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2014 at 17:38
Part 45: Prog Poll through the years 2011


well I have yet to compile this.

Working on it...


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 01:55
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2014 at 00:29
Very fun read! Interestingly enough I found my opinion to deviate from the norm more the further we went along.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 29 2014 at 07:20
You're too kind! 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2013 at 21:43
Oh wait. Another crowd of millions are giving you a round of applause:
 
ClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClap
Poseidon wants to Acquire the Taste of the Fragile Lamb
- Derek Adrian Gabriel Anderson, singer of the band Geneyesontle
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AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2012 at 03:17
Hi Mosh and others, Yeah I was working on this tirelessly and ran out of years Wink


so now working on detailed reviews from varied proggers of the best prog albums through the years on other thread.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2012 at 12:24
Hi,
 
Wow ... are there two of these threads? ... I'm not sure all thes pictures is making the thread any better ... prettier with all the collors ... but ...
 
I had some numbers on the other thread that merely listed these and had no pictures ...
 
Bummer!


Edited by moshkito - May 31 2012 at 12:25
... none of the hits, none of the time ... favoritism is not an artistic merit! www.pedrosena.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2012 at 20:04
Originally posted by Slaughternalia Slaughternalia wrote:

Originally posted by geneyesontle geneyesontle wrote:

You are the Robert Christgau of Progarchives.
Woah man no need to insult
 
I was just doing a compliment to him.
Poseidon wants to Acquire the Taste of the Fragile Lamb
- Derek Adrian Gabriel Anderson, singer of the band Geneyesontle
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2012 at 19:47
Originally posted by geneyesontle geneyesontle wrote:

You are the Robert Christgau of Progarchives.
Woah man no need to insult
I'm so mad that you enjoy a certain combination of noises that I don't
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2012 at 18:23
Great work. You are the Robert Christgau of Progarchives.
A crowd of millions is waiting to give you a massive ovation:
 
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Edited by geneyesontle - May 24 2012 at 18:24
Poseidon wants to Acquire the Taste of the Fragile Lamb
- Derek Adrian Gabriel Anderson, singer of the band Geneyesontle
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2011 at 07:10
Part 44: Prog Poll through the years 2010

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2010.

This year saw some new bands bringing out awesome debut albums, and included a heavy approach to the music. The impressive list shows a diversity of styles from many countries and proves that prog rock is well and truly alive and kicking worldwide.
 
 
 


The Results: 

Poll Question: Choose your favourite album in the list
VotePoll ChoiceVotesPoll Statistics

12 [18.75%]

3 [4.69%]

10 [15.63%]

3 [4.69%]

0 [0.00%]

The Courage of Others - Midlake6 [9.38%]

1 [1.56%]

1 [1.56%]

4 [6.25%]

4 [6.25%]

0 [0.00%]

1 [1.56%]

7 [10.94%]

1 [1.56%]

2 [3.13%]

9 [14.06%]




Others were chosen:

Bateless Edge - Frogg Cafe

Frogg Cafe Bateless Edge album cover

Coyote - Kayo Dot


Iridule - Yugen


One-Armed Bandit - Jaga Jazzist


La Buona Novella - PFM 


Time Mirror - Par Lindh Project

Pikapika Teart - Moonberry

The Myth of Dying - The Psychedelic Ensemble

Lover's End - Moon Safari

X - Spock's Beard

Spocks Beard X album cover

Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up - Oceansize





 And the Winner by 2 votes is:



Whirld Tour 2010 - Live From Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - Transatlantic

 

My Review coming soon:


In second place:

Aquarius - Haken

My Review:

***** Haken presents a turbo-charged debut of metal pandemonium and jazz infested chaos; THIS is what makes Prog great!

Haken's debut is a knockout metal virtuoso rock jazzfest. The best debut I have heard in a long time. In fact it is not easy to break this album into songs as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. After listening to this, one may be forgiven for thinking the band are sending up the prog genre, such is the ferocity of eclectic jazz styles, however this is no doubt one of the most innovative slices of creativity I have had the pleasure to experience; heavenly headphone bliss.

The first track encompasses everything great about prog. Jazz infused insanity, with carnivalesque whimsy and all out instrumental prowess. Haken are among the fast growing prog soaked movers and shakers of today, alongside colossal titans Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Porcupine Tree and Opeth.

The band capture a broad coverage of the genre, melancholia, psych prog, permeated with heavy metal chords and frenetic jazz blasts. Then there are the mellotron washes flowing lucidly over the soundscape, enhancing the ambience. It doesn't last long as around the corner is a maelstrom of chugging riffs or jazzy drumming to send everything off balance. It certainly isn't background music.

The band launch into frenzied machine gun riffing on guitars and at one point there are some brilliant razor edge lead breaks on the album that fly off the scale, with speed picking, high string bends and screams all played with precision and finesse.

The death metal Opeth growls are surprisingly out of place, like a fish out of water, but they present a level of dark intensity. They appear on two occasions only on the album and on both really darken the atmosphere. Overall, however there is a humorous light weight edge with light hearted flings where many different instruments are added to the syndrome, such as a banjo, accordion, xylophone and perhaps even a kazoo.

It is a fun romp getting through the album. Everything bar the kitchen sink is thrown in to the mix. I like the fact the band don't hold back in their energy and creativity and take massive risks. Not everything comes off but it doesn't matter as this is so enjoyable. You are never sure what is going to happen next. At the end of the first listen I could not recall a single melody and this is true prog in the "Tales Of Topographic Oceans" vein. You know you have heard a prog album when afterwards not one melody springs to mind. However, on the second listen a lot of pieces come flooding back. I was waiting for the death metal growls and they really infiltrate the soundscape, like another song wanting to burst through the music. Surprisingly, although the band are not focussed on death metal, they certainly are able to measure up to the likes of stalwarts such as Opeth.

At times though it may appear the band are sending up the genre, injecting so many styles into one album, but that's like Mohavishnu Orchestra meets Dream Theater with a smattering of Opeth and Spock's Beard for me, and I can't complain. The weird bass lines are totally off the scale at times even sounding like a different time sig to the guitars. The drums are chaotic in places and downright fracturing the rhythms and I love that the song is driven in different directions by off beat sporadic drumming. I was reminded of Pain of Salvation's 'Fandango' drumming style at one point. The time sigs are interchanging constantly and just when you latch onto one sig, another breaks through without remorse. It is quite amusing listening to how the time sigs shatter into one another in a tongue in cheek fashion. The bursts of xylophone are particularly funny and the accordion actually made me laugh, like a bizarre theme park ride with that jaunty rhythm you hear on a merry go round; perhaps that was the band's intention, to create a side show of prog. The music is allowed to breathe though in the ballad sections with straight rhythm patterns and a nice vocal style, so it's all not all jazz disorder.

The Neal Morse-ian reflective vocal performances are well ordered and bring the intensity down. Indeed the voice has a nice range from high octave to straight balladic. There are moments that are curiously light hearted and sound more like an amusement park side show alley than a rock song. These moments are strange and the bizarre riffs with off kilter drumming show the band are into high voltage jazz fusion styles. You might think of King Crimson in these sections or even Triumvirat, though the Hammond sounds are used at a minimum.

Favourite tracks? Well, without looking at the tracklist, I loved the first 2 songs and the last epic in particular but I really don't want to split this into sections as it's so enjoyable from start to end. And the quieter ballad songs in the middle are great to break up the pandemonium, and I quickly got used to the vocal style of Jennings.

A word about the booklet; wonderful art work throughout, and very nice colours that are consistent and thematic of the mermaid carried by the shrouded figure. It works as an iconic image for the band and of course has adorned magazines and forums to herald the entrance of Haken onto the scene. I only want to say that this is the start of something very special. It could have been a masterpiece from a band who had been producing albums for years, and rightly sounds like it too, however this is a debut! It buries a lot of new albums from bands that have become tired and devoid of creative energy. Here, Haken have created a compelling dynamic listen; a stunning debut that should be given credit where it is due. If I were to be involved in a debut, this is the type of album I would dream of. Make no mistake, this album is packed with some of the most awesome innovative prog on the planet.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:03
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2011 at 21:28
Votes will be collated for 2010 best albums this weekend and poll closed so still chance to vote those who have not.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2011 at 09:23
Wow, it may be time to complete the 2010 results. Vote if you haven't already but good luck finding it as its probably buried in the polls threads.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2011 at 11:04
Part 43: Prog Poll through the years 2009

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2009.

 

Last poll after an exhaustive list and 2009 was as difficult to select as the recent years where prog has found a massive resurgence. In one of the strongest years for prog the usual suspects were still churning out excellent albums and a lot of newcomers surprised many with some of the best material for years.

 
 

Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré – Magma

 
Part The Second – Maudlin Of The Well
 
Anno Domine High Definition – Riverside

Barbares – Nemo
 
The Underfall Yard – Big Big Train
 
Il Nome del Vento - Delirium
 
The Whirlwind – Transatlantic
 
The Second Death Of Pain Of Salvation - Pain Of Salvation
 
Crack The Skye – Mastodon
Mastodon Crack the Skye album cover 
 
Frequency – IQ
IQ Frequency album cover 
 
Digital Ghosts - Shadow Gallery
 
Tick Tock – Gazpacho
 
The Weirding - Astra
 
Addicted – Devin Townsend
 
The Incident – Porcupine Tree

 

Lots of interest with this poll. Some interesting posts:

Originally posted by Shevrzl

Addicted is here but where's Ki? Anyway, went for ADHD

ACR: Devin had a great year didnt he? I checked the ratings and Ki was just under so rather than have 2 of his I went for the best - there were a heap of albums I could not include - one of the best years in prog - I hope 2010 is as good if not better!

thx for voting all! Keep voting and making it count on the polls I had a great time putting these together and learnt heaps too in researching them!

SimZeppelin: Ah im in a real dilemma here, My favourite three albums of 2009 are in my opinion all reflective of some of the best work of each band: The Incident by Porcupine Tree, Frequency by IQ and Down and Out in PARIS and LONDON by The Tangent.

It's going to have to be Frequency by a very very small fraction. 2009 - What a year!

progmatic: I may be the only one at the moment, but I'd like to think others will vote for Astra "The Weirding". This sounds like a classic lost album from the '70s. I love everything about this album. It is mellotron heaven, but that's not all. The guitar playing, the singing, the '70s recording techniques, it all adds up to one great album.

I love others on this list but I can't tell you how anxiously I await another Astra album. I pray it's as good as the first.

Slartibartfast: Out of the choices other than Other, I have to go with The Incident.

I feel we've reached the point in prog history that "best" is totally irrelevant due to quantity and quality of really good stuff out there. Not that crappy stuff doesn't doesn't try and drag the rest down. I will not point fingers.

However, it does give us much fodder for pointless arguments and discussions and why not have some fun with it?


My 2009 other that isn't crap and god missed by too many, Knifeworld.

 

Originally posted by Slartibartfast

Out of the choices other than Other, I have to go with The Incident.

I feel we've reached the point in prog history that "best" is totally irrelevant due to quantity and quality of really good stuff out there. Not that crappy stuff doesn't doesn't try and drag the rest down. I will not point fingers.

However, it does give us much fodder for pointless arguments and discussions and why not have some fun with it?

My 2009 other that isn't crap and god missed by too many, Knifeworld.



Logan: I would largely agree except that I think that trying to choose a best "prog' album for any Prog year is ultimately pretty meaningless, There is incredible variety under the Prog umbrella (some styles are more popular and better-known than others). People have different ideas on what Prog is as well as tastes. No one knows every album out there; we can only choose from the limited amount we know. If this were limited to a specific category then I'd give it a little more worth, but still not much. At least if everyone knows all of the albums on the list, then it's something, but I often think that best equals knownness. In some polls where there are only two options people still vote for the only one they know.

I wouldn't say that my ten faves of 2009 are better than anyone elses (9 of my 10 faves I've listed before didn't make this list), and I'm sure as the years go by I will be exposed to many more from 2009 and my list would be different at a later date (plus part of it has to do with our particular tastes at a particular time -- unless someone's tastes always remain the same).

Contests are little more than a fun exercise -- although there was a greater point to these polls. Choose the best? Can only be the best for you at a given time from what you know. Definitive? There's too much variety in the categories here to choose a definitive album.

Every year has produced a lot of "quality" music (some obscure, some better known) from a broad range of styles. Even according to my tastes and limited knowledge, choosing one album from any particular year that I find best feels rather pointless (but I sometimes like to mention them to hopefully give those albums more exposure and share my passion, -- I know that's been my main reason for doing polls).

 

ACR: It aint serious, just let me indulge in this experiment

I am here to make you all think....

 

 

Many others were chosen indicating the strength of the 2009 prog output:

Destined Solitaire - Beardfish

BTBaM

Il Nome del Vento - Delerium

Number Seven – Phideaux

Still the Waters – Epignosis

The Hazards of Love- The Decemberists

The Thomas Tracks – 5bridges

Thin Air – Peter Hammill

Aranis – Present

2032 – Gong

Avanti! - Miriodor

Aurora – Litmus

Carboniferous – Zu

KI – Devin Townsend

 

Some lists were offered:

Cheer-Accident: Fear Draws Misfortune

Present: Barbaro (Ma Nom Troppo)

Wobbler - Afterglow

 

1- Blood - O.S.I.

2- Black Clouds and Silver Linings - Dream Theater

Martigan- Vision

Eureka- Shackleton’s Voyage

Manning- #10

Satellite- Nostalgia

Steve Wilson- Insurgentes

5 Bridges- The Thomas Tracks

Roswell 6- Terra Incognita

Mangrove- Beyond Reality

Strawberry Fields- River Gone Dry

Leap Day- Awaking the Muse

Knight Area- Realm of Shadows

Progression by Failure- same

Minstrel- Ahab

 

Between the buried and me - The great misdirect
An endless sporadic - An endless sporadic

Porcupine tree - The incident
Muse - The resistance

Transatlantic - The Whirlwind

Beardfish - Destined Solitaire

Leprous - Tall poppy syndrome

Karnivool - Sound awake

Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Exivious - S/T

Animals As Leaders - S/T

Gungfly - Please be quiet

Devin Townsend - Addicted

Devin Townsend - Ki

Chimp Spanner -

Bigelf - Cheat the gallows

Steve Vai - Where the wild things are

Katatonia - Night is the new day

Steve Wilson - Insurgents

Scale the summit - Carving dessert canyons

 

The results:

 
 
17 [9.77%]
13 [7.47%]
27 [15.52%]
2 [1.15%]
8 [4.60%]
2 [1.15%]
22 [12.64%]
0 [0.00%]
15 [8.62%]
10 [5.75%]
4 [2.30%]
6 [3.45%]
2 [1.15%]
1 [0.57%]
26 [14.94%]
19 [10.92%]
 

 

 

 
 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 
 
My Review:
 
*****  Anno Domini High Definition (ADHD) is all killer, no filler, a full blown masterpiece.

I publicly announce my official conversion to Riverside. Although I am new to this band I am absolutely convinced they are setting the bar high with their last 3 albums. This, their latest, is absolutely stunning music from end to end. The musical virtuosity is excellent, I love that pounding Hammond sound and the guitars are intricate and soar over the music. The vocals are easy to listen to, similar to Steven Wilson's style, and every track rises and soars with lengthy instrumental sections that feature incredible guitar and burning keyboards.

Egoist Hedonist utilises trumpets by guest stars and it is an effective moment on the track. The ambience of the quieter sections are balanced by all out psych prog freakouts and this is a heavy album with melancholy singing mixed with aggressive growling at times. The guitars are Jon Petrucci like, but there is a signature trademark sound that Riverside captures.

Every track seems to blend seamlessly into one 44 minute track but definitely a real highlight is 'Left Out' and the closer 'Hybrid Times' absolutely kills featuring Theremin would you believe!

'Hyperactive' is a short (5:45) opening number to get things started beginning soft piano that builds to a fortissimo of keyboards and bass. The killer riff chugs along frenetically and the off kilter drums are outstanding.

'Egoist Hedonist' would be one of the best prog metal tracks I have heard. It delivers with symphonic glacial landscape atmospherics with the warm vocals chiming in. The ambience of serenity is broken with the fractured angular guitars; an all out metal onslaught off the scale.

The absolute icing on the cake is the limited edition DVD that feature the band Live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, a popular venue for prog metal such as Pain of Salvation on their 'Ending Themes' DVD. The Riverside concert is resplendent with colourful lighting and a tiny display screen but the music is the main star. 'Volte Face' hammers along with shimmering organ and relentless guitar riffing. The band play many tracks from their last 2 albums. 'Volte Face', 'Conceiving You,' 'I turned you Down' and 'Reality Dream III' are from "Second Life Syndrome" and are played to perfection. The Tracks from "Rapid Eye Movement" are 'Beyond the Eyelids', '02 Panic Room' and 'Ultimate Trip'. Though this is not their best album from what I have read, the tracks are equally good on the live stage.

The crowd absolutely adore them and the band effortlessly perform one track after another with little explanation or introduction whipping them into a frenzy. The DVD runs for 40 minutes only, but it's well worth getting hold of. So this package features some of the best of the band thus far and is a pleasant experience. If you are new to the band you can expect accomplished musicianship with intricate drum patterns, screaming guitar breaks, keyboard flourishes and complex time signature changes.

There is a thread of Dream Theater, a layer of Porcupine Tree, a spattering of Deep Purple, and a teaspoon of Pain of Salvation, but Riverside are carving a niche in prog metal that is their own and deserved of cult status. If they were not mega stars in the prog world after their Reality Dream Trilogy, ADHD seals the deal and launches them to the stratosphere. Poland bands bow down and worship the new masters. They are undisputed brilliant musicians and this CD package is indispensable.

A 5 star triumph!

 
 
 
IN SECOND PLACE by a vote:
 
 
 
**** Porcupine Tree prove longevity is still possible in the world of prog.

PTree are undoubtedly one of the most influential groups of the past decade. Their albums in the early years are as weird as it gets with some dedicated to one sole idea and one song. Now on this latest release they present another one track conceptual album.

The main reason to purchase this is the 55 minute epic title track. 'The Incident' is a multi movement suite that features many songs merging seamlessly together to capture a narrative concept concerning a road accident, which is becoming popular on prog concept albums (The Human Equation, Octave).

The Incident is excellent in every respect, musically and lyrically it delivers, merging crunching metal guitars and ambient soundscapes of mellotron effortlessly; shades of dark and light. There are some tough fuzz guitars on these tracks and those melodic ethereal vocals of Wilson have never been better.

'Time Flies' is Porcupine Tree at their best, an incredible composition that is compelling and powerful. It is the highlight of ths very competent album.

The second CD features about 20 minutes of extras, at least they feel like it. They are Ok but no where near the epic title track. Its a bold move to release an album in this manner but it delivers and if only for 'The Incident' it will be hailed as a classic Porcupine Tree CD. It does not measure up to 'In Absentia' or 'Deadwing' but is still an excellent album, showcasing the sheer inventiveness and musical virtuosity of Porcupine Tree. I can't wait to see or hear them perform this live. 4 stars.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:48
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Part 42: Prog Poll through the years 2008

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 2008.

 

After an excellent year for prog experimentalism, 2008 continued the trend with innovative concept albums and more prog metal bands who were inspired by the new wave. Bands rode on the success of previous years and still managed to produced high quality albums. This is a selection of a very comprehensive list and I trust you will find a standout album among these great selections.

 

Reality Dream – Riverside

 
Bantam to behemoth – Birds And Buildings
 

Who’s the boss in the factory? – Karmakanic

Sleeping In Traffic Pt 2 – Beardfish
 

Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante - Il Bacio Della Medusa

Traced In Air – Cynic
 

Pure – Pendragon

Not As Good As The Book – The Tangent
 
Watershed – Opeth

Diagonal – Diagonal
 
Insurgentes – Steven Wilson
 
 

Experiments In Mass Appeal – Frost*

 

01011001 - Ayreon

 
ObZen – Meshuggah
 
Trisector – Van Der Graaf Generator

 

 
The Results:
 
 
6 [4.48%]
4 [2.99%]
7 [5.22%]
15 [11.19%]
6 [4.48%]
5 [3.73%]
9 [6.72%]
5 [3.73%]
29 [21.64%]
3 [2.24%]
9 [6.72%]
3 [2.24%]
13 [9.70%]
3 [2.24%]
4 [2.99%]
13 [9.70%]
 
 
The Others:
 
 
Seventh Wonder - Mercy Falls

The Way of all Flesh - Gojira
 
Live at Montreux - Return to Forever
Blomljud - Moon Safari
 
Tardigrade - Simon Says
 
Hostsonaten- Wintertrough
 
Metamorphosis - Magenta
 
 
Blue Lambency Downward - Kayo Dot
 
At Work - Rational Diet
Rational Diet At Work album cover 
 
Dark Shot - One Shot
 
 
 
 
THE WINNER IS:
 
Watershed by Opeth
 
 

My Review:

*** Transition to greatness.
 

I was inspired to check this one out after having seen Live at the Royal Albert Hall DVD so indulged in more Opeth, almost hoping that the brutal growling vocals would be used sparingly. The opening track did it for me. Beautiful acoustic Mikeal's wonderful clean voice and a guest from gorgeous vocal from angelic Nathalie Lorichs. The lyrics are filled with passion and pain; "Yes I can, see you, Running through the fields of sorrow, When you get out of here, When you leave me behind, You'll find that the years passed us by." A fantastic start.

'Heir Apparent' is a killer thrashing dark thing with tons of black metal influences and caustic brutal vocals. The riffs are even Morbid Angel meets Sepultura sound alikes. This is perhaps as heavy as Opeth get referencing their earlier material. It settles into synth flute and acoustic but only for a moment and then more riffing from newcomer Fredrik and speed double kick drumming from Axe who also does a great job on his first Opeth album.

'The Lotus Eater' is a great track I first heard on the Albert Hall DVD. I liked it better there but this is still full of innovation. The transition from clean to growling vocals is okay with me, and the lyrics are inventive; "All years caring for a liar, Benefit road is winding higher, You're a moth too close to the fire." The creepy interlude of synth is fantastic as are the lead breaks. The psychedelic passage of music is estranged but with a wonderful time sig culminating in the final moments and some of Akerfeldt's best singing. The end is talking to some girl about nonsense but it is effective.

'Burden' is an acoustic dreamy piece with some gorgeous vocals and atmospherics. The lyrics are somber and melancholy; "Some will ask goodbye, A broken line but underlined, There's an ocean of sorrow in you." Per's keyboard solo is fantastic. The song features a specific out of tune guitar outro that is rather chilling. It would be a pain doing that downtuning effect in concert as the guitar would be useless for the next number.

'Porcelain Heart' is another of the light and dark tracks, with quiet verses at the start and reeking of sadness and despair. The riff is okay, but the real drawcard is the sarcastic or cynical lyrics and Akerfeldt's vocal technique on sections such as; "I see roads beneath my feet, Lead me through wastelands of deceit, Rest your head now, don't you cry, Don't ever ask the reason why". The fade in of lead work and blasts of distortion are an effective augmentation.

'Hessian Peel' is a strange one with some interesting moments, even beginning with the weird note that doesn't belong there. The lyrics are melancholy expressions; "Will the children cry, When their mother dies, And in the autumn of their lives, Will they feel the same?" the reversed lyrics that follow are actually "My sweet satan I see you" and before one gets on their hobby horse about this backmasking, the whole thing was a joke reference to the backmasked words of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to heaven' that is now legendary ("here's to my sweet satan, no other made a path for it makes me sad who's power is satan"). I don't know how I acquire all this information. Anyway the song here is rather well structured with a heavier guitar sound in the middle, and growls at the end that explode suddenly and make me reach for the volume switch.

'Hex Omega' ends it all with an organ driven track. This is a rather pedestrian track without a lot of innovative moments. It has nice vocals for most of it singing about the demons we lock inside over the years become harmful to our sanity. The riffs are good but I prefer other tracks, though I love Per's majestic keyboards and his gentle piano.

So overall this album is a transitional album breaking in the new members but has nothing masterful on it unlike other Opeth albums to follow. It is what it is, a good album with average to good songs. If you are used to master works of the band you may be disappointed. At least I can say it is not as bad as the mess of Deliverance, but sits in between 3 or 4 stars for me. I will stick with 3 stars as I know the band are capable of so much better.



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 20 2014 at 02:46
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