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Proggin' in communism: Prog in ex-Yugoslavia

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Weirdamigo View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 06 2010 at 09:06
---------------------------------------Background-----------------------------------------

This thread has been created to introduce the prog/rock scene in SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) and to explain how it came to be in a communistic country.

The first post may be regarded as a sort of history lesson to those who would like to know how rock n' roll was allowed in ex-Yugoslavia:

Ex-Yugoslavia had a unique communistic system under "President-for-life" Josip Broz Tito. His socialistic ideology is commonly referred to as "Titoism" which has some major difference compared to communism in the USSR.

Yugoslavia was seen as an Independent nation whose communistic party had no connections to Moscow which even remained neutral during the cold war with Egypt and India (see Non-aligned Movement).

For this neutrality people from all over the world came to Yugoslavia and brought with them the gift of music, the magic of rock n' roll,progressive rock,jazz and blues.

The regime allowed this "craze" to settle with the people saying that they did not want to hinder the creativity of the socialist youth (even though discos were outlawed) and soon the first rock bands to came to be.

One of the most plausible and accepted theories of why Tito allowed rock to spread in Yugoslavia is surprisingly simple: Tito had a great love for international art and photography and banning music would mean to ban art as well.

In 1989 Yugoslavia ceased to exist, the rock scene had simply vanished.
Yet the spirit of rock lives on though a revival is sadly nowhere in sight.

To show you the atmosphere of rock in former Yugoslavia a certain song always comes to mind: 
"Elektricni Orgazam" (Electrical orgasm) with the song "Igra rokenrol cela Jugoslavija" (All of Yugoslavia is playing Rock n' roll)



The next post I will introduce the blues rock/progressive rock band "Smak" (End of the World)













Edited by Weirdamigo - August 06 2010 at 14:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snobb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 09:27
I wonder but there exist some new/old prog bands on ex-Yugoslavian countries though. You can find some of them added on PA.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 09:36
Yes that is true,even the old Prog bands are still active ,but what I was meaning to say is that the people on the balkans (especially in Serbia) have completely lost interest in rock and prog.
Now Turbo-folk and House dominate the  music scene in serbia (if not in all ex-YU countries).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote omardiyejon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 09:56
wow, this is an interesting post which really got my attention. thanks for this weirdamigo..

i had heard about elektricni orgazam in an old yugoslavian movie. the yugoslav army was in war with the croatians(forgive me if i am wrong), and josip broz tito(the communist leader of former yugoslavia) was in charge. one of the soldiers in the yugoslav army wrote the name of this elektricni orgazam band on a wall of one of the military buildings. the commander had got really pissed off with him as far as i remember. i do not think that this is really related with the topic but i just wanted to share it...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snobb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 10:02
Originally posted by Weirdamigo Weirdamigo wrote:

Yes that is true,even the old Prog bands are still active ,but what I was meaning to say is that the people on the balkans (especially in Serbia) have completely lost interest in rock and prog.
Now Turbo-folk and House dominate the  music scene in serbia (if not in all ex-YU countries).


You still have great Exit in Novi Sad , and not everyone listens to Ceca . But yes - it's almost impossible to find something different than "narodniak" around Serbia or Bosnia nowadays. Happily the situation in Croatia or especially Slovenia is very different
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 10:34
--------------------------------------------Smak--------------------------------------------

Smak (End of the world)
Founded:1971
Country: Serbia
Genre:Progressive rock, Blues rock, Hard rock
Years active: 1971-1981,1984,1986,1992,1994- (On hiatus)

Current Members:
Radomir "Tocak" (The wheel) Mihailovic (lead guitar)
Slobodan "Kepa" Stojanovic (drums, percussion)
Dejan Stojanovic (drums)
Dejan Najdanovic (vocals)
Milan "Miki" Milosavljevic (guitar)
Sale Markovic (Bass)

Former Members:
Slobodan Kominac 
Boris Arandeljovic
Miki Petkovski
Tibor Levay
David Moss (guest)
Dado Topic
Chris Nicols
Srdan Miodragovic
Zoran Milanovic

Discography (Studio Albums):

Smak
1975
Crna dama (Black Lady)
1977
Black Lady
1978
Stranice našeg vremena(Pages of our time)
1978
Pages of Our Time - Dub in the Middle
1978
Rok cirkus (Rock Circus)
1980
Zašto ne volim sneg(Why I don't like snow)
1981
Smak 86.
1986
Bioskop Fox (Cinema Fox)
1995
Egregor
1999
NOTE: There are excellent reviews of these albums on Progarchives (Thank you Seyo and clarke2001 !)

Foundation:
Smak is perhaps the most successful Prog band in Ex-Yugoslavia winning many fans not only on the balkans but also in central europe and in the U.S.A.
Smak was founded in 1971 by Radomir "Tocak" Mihailovic,who is arguably one of the greatest musicians on the balkans and known for his unique playing style, with his childhood friends: Drummer Slobodan "Kepa" Stojanovic, singer Slobodan Kominac, bassist Zoran Milanovic and organist Misa Nikolic.

 


"Smak" 1st Album 1975
After 4 years of playing Gigs around the Balkans and hiring vocalist Boris Arandelovic they have produced their Blues influenced work to date: the self-titled album "Smak".

A song that has thrown Smak into popularity was the Blues song "Bluz u parku" (Blues in the park) with phenomenal guitar licks by Radomir Mihailovic and a fantastic tenor vocal peformance by Boris Arandelovic

Bluz u parku:


Put od balona (Path of ballons) is a very progressive instrumental piece with very elegant tones by both Mihailovic and Misa Nikolic

Put od balona:


This Album has marked the beginning of Smaks legacy

EP Satelit (Satellite) and Crna Dama(Black Lady):

If one had to choose the most famous Smak song most fans would yell "Satelit!". This Song has a cathy riff and probably the oddest lyrics in a serbian song:

Hocu u Michigan 
da vidim lejdi En
Hocu u Hollywood
da vidim lejdi Wud

Translated:
I want to go to Michigan
to see Lady Ann
I want to go to Hollywood
to see lady Wood


This song has become so famous in the United States and in Serbia, that the yugoslavian airlines opened a new plane route to New york and Smak had to play on that plane which happened sometime in 1976.

Satelit:


But of course the band did not just go in a plane to perform to maybe a hundred people, they were more on a business trip.
They came to New York to record Crna Dama which is regarded as Smaks greatest album.

The album features many of their greatest hits and was (again) such an international success that the band had to make an english version of the album.
Here's the song "Daire" (Tambourine) in serbian and in english for your pleasure and, to some, for your amusement

serbian:


english:



Stranice naseg vremena - The pages of our time
By now most of you will say "This all nice and all but where's the prog?"
Well the moment has come to show you the most progressive album that the band has produced "Strane naseg vremena". Even though the friendship is deteriorating between band members this album is still one of their greatest works.
Lyricist and guitarist Radomir Mihailovic left the band shortly after the release in 1978

Povedi me sa njim (take me with him):

Return of Mihailovic,"Rok cirkus" and "Zasto ne volim sneg":

Radomir Mihailovic returned to Smak in 1979 and with him Croatian rock musician Dado Topic.
Now the band could function again after failed attempts of replacing Mihailovic.
Topic had some new plans with Smak and worked on a more mainstream-rock album with the other members.
"Rok cirkus" however is seen as a very weak album by most critics and the rock scene had to cope with the new "New wave" music which spread throughout Yugoslavia.

One year after the release of the unsuccessful "Rok Cirkus" came the more melodic and slightly more Prog-like album "Zasto ne volim sneg".
Zasto ne volim sneg is actually Radomir Mihailovic's solo album with the help of Topic but the record label insisted that the album was to be released under the Smak name.

Even though it did not share the same fame as "Smak" and "Crna Dama" it is still regarded as an above-average album with some very energetic songs.

Nonetheless the disputes between band members continued which, with Topic leaving the band, ultimately led to the bands disbandment in 1981.

Juzni voz:



Return of the band 1986 and 2nd disbandment

The band reformed with most of the original members (Milan Durdevic replacing Laza Ritovski on keyboards) and recorded the album Smak 86. which the critics found even weaker than the"Rok cirkus" album.
After a short tour the band disbanded again at the end of 1986.

Reunion and odLIVEno

Smak came back together 1992 to play at their live concert odLIVEno were they played Blues covers like "Crossroads" by Robert Johnson and "Tobacco road" and the traditional serbian song "Ukor" in addition to their hits.

Even though the live concert was a success Smak disbanded soonly after.

Final Reunion in 1994 and "Bioskop Fox"

Mihailovic and Drummer Stojanovic hired a completely new line up with young members such as Vocalist Dejan Najdanovic, bassist Sale Markovic and Stojanovic's son Dejan.

A great difference between the new Smak line up is that instead of hiring a new Keyboardist the band hired a second guitarist which did not bode well with fans.

"Bioskop Fox" had mixed reviews, but was refreshing album after unsatisfying "Smak 86".
The album has returned to the roots of the self-titled album"Smak". It focused on blues rather than on mainstream-rock, and with Najdanovic deeper voice, has become a highly enjoyable album even though no traces of prog can be found.

Organizam Blues-


Egregor and Smak today

Egregor is the latest release of Smak with all songs written by Mihailovic.
No line up changes and almost a instrumental album (if you disregard Najdanovic's moaning and wailing).
Not a very successful album but full of enjoyable riffs which Radomir Mihailovic provides.

Smak is currently on hiatus with most members of the band focusing on their on own projects.


Hope you enjoyed the first post on my Blog and hopefully there will be plenty more for you to enjoy.

Feedback is appreciated as urgently as needing to go to the toilet after writing 3 hours non-stop on a postTongue.





Edited by Weirdamigo - September 07 2010 at 09:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 10:48
Originally posted by omardiyejon omardiyejon wrote:

wow, this is an interesting post which really got my attention. thanks for this weirdamigo..

i had heard about elektricni orgazam in an old yugoslavian movie. the yugoslav army was in war with the croatians(forgive me if i am wrong), and josip broz tito(the communist leader of former yugoslavia) was in charge. one of the soldiers in the yugoslav army wrote the name of this elektricni orgazam band on a wall of one of the military buildings. the commander had got really pissed off with him as far as i remember. i do not think that this is really related with the topic but i just wanted to share it...

I'm suprised that you know about the movie! 
The movie is called "Lepa sela lepo gore" ("Pretty villages burn nicely" english film title "Pretty village,pretty flame") Although I must correct you, serbs were at war with Bosnian muslims and Tito's death started the whole mess. 
It was a funny scene in a serious movie with the elektricni orgazam reference and even the song i used above could be heard in the movie.
I'm glad that you found my post interesting and I hope you will enjoy the future posts on my blogSmile

Originally posted by snobb snobb wrote:

You still have great Exit in Novi Sad , and not everyone listens to Ceca  . But yes - it's almost impossible to find something different than "narodniak" around Serbia or Bosnia nowadays. Happily the situation in Croatia or especially Slovenia is very different

Thank goodness for that LOL I've had all my life to get use to Ceca, Lepa Brena and all those musical absurdities and it still bothers me to be in the same room when someone starts playing Turbo-folk.




Edited by Weirdamigo - August 06 2010 at 12:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rune2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 12:27
Originally posted by Weirdamigo Weirdamigo wrote:


I'm suprised that you know about the movie! 
The movie is called "Lepa sela lepo gore" ("Pretty villages burn nicely" english film title "Pretty village,pretty flame") Although I must correct you, serbs were at war with Bosnian muslims and Tito's death started the whole mess. 
It was a funny scene in a serious movie with the elektricni orgazam reference and even the song i used above could be heard in the movie.
I'm glad that you found my post interesting and I hope you will enjoy the future posts on my blogSmile

Every respectable movie snob should have seen at least one Srdjan Dragojevic movie! Thumbs Up

PS
I've seen two. LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 13:06
Originally posted by Rune2000 Rune2000 wrote:

Originally posted by Weirdamigo Weirdamigo wrote:


I'm suprised that you know about the movie! 
The movie is called "Lepa sela lepo gore" ("Pretty villages burn nicely" english film title "Pretty village,pretty flame") Although I must correct you, serbs were at war with Bosnian muslims and Tito's death started the whole mess. 
It was a funny scene in a serious movie with the elektricni orgazam reference and even the song i used above could be heard in the movie.
I'm glad that you found my post interesting and I hope you will enjoy the future posts on my blogSmile

Every respectable movie snob should have seen at least one Srdjan Dragojevic movie! Thumbs Up

PS
I've seen two. LOL

Haha looks like serbia isn't only remembered for sounding a bit like siberiaLOL
Let me take a guess what the other movie was. "Mi nismo andeli" (We are not angels) perhaps? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zappadaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 16:15
In late 70's I have heard one song from some yugoslavian band  which I liked a lot at that time but I don't remember name,they were singing something like shoshona.Can someone  tell me what it was?
My heroes are Frank Zappa,Ozzy Osbourne,The Plastic People of the Universe,Sun Ra and Mirek Wanek from Uz jsme doma
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 17:09
Originally posted by zappadaddy zappadaddy wrote:

In late 70's I have heard one song from some yugoslavian band  which I liked a lot at that time but I don't remember name,they were singing something like shoshona.Can someone  tell me what it was?

I can't help you with that,sorry.
You can try the band "Bijelo Dugme" but I am not sure if they produced the song you are looking for.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote barberie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2010 at 20:37
The band's name is :Dah and the song is :Sosana.
I hope that's what you're looking for.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 00:51
-------------------------------------------Time----------------------------------------------

Name: Time
Founded: 1971
Country: Croatia
Genre: Progressive rock, Rock, Jazz
Years active: 1971-1977

Former members:
Dado Topic
Tihomir Pop Asanovic
Vedran Bozic
Mario Mavrin
Ratko Divjak
Brane Lambert Zivkovic
Pečo Petej
Ivan "Piko" Stančić
Karel Novak Čarli
Mladen Baraković
Nenad Zubak
Christopher Nicholls

Discography:

Time
1971
Time II
1975
Zivot u cizmama sa visokom petom (Life in boots with high heels) 
1976

NOTE: There are fantastic reviews about these albums by a dozen members.
(Thanks go to In the flesh?,FruMp, clarke2001,bsurmano, Seyo,  erik neuteboom and ljubaspriest!)

Foundation:
Time can be considered as one of the most progressive rock bands in ex-yugoslavia.
Time was founded in 1971 by Dado Topic, who left the band "Korni grupa" at the time, and by manager Vladimira Mihaljeka.

"Time" the first album:
With experienced musicians such as Dado Topic(Korni grupa), Tihomir Pop Asanovic(Generals), Vedran Bozic (Gresnici,Roboti,Wheels of fire,),Mario Mavrin(BP,Convention),Ratko Divjak,(Dinamiti,BP,Convention) and Brane Lambert Zivkovic (Grupa 220) how could the first album "Time" not be a success? The first self-titled album was a great success with positive reviews by critics.

With an elegant progressive sound, one could really relax listening to this masterpiece of yugoslavian prog.

Pjesma No.3 (Song No.3)



"Time II"
With the pressure of a successful album and the pressure of demanding fans, Time had to release a new album to please the masses. Though some problems occurred, like Dado Topic refusing to serve military duty in the JNA (Jugoslav People's Army), the album was recorded without further complications (Divjak and Asanovic were serving military duty but were lucky stationed in Ljubljana were the band had often recorded) and was released in 1975.

The album "Time II" cannot be compared to the debut album "Time".
As Topic later did in "Smak" , he moved on from progressive rock onto mainstream rock as can be clearly heard on the album.

The album received mixed reviews from critics who were hoping for a progressive rock album.

Alfa romeo GTA:


High Heels and Disbandment:
For the next album Topic had constructed an almost completely new line up, suprisingly replacing Asanovic with Nicholls on the keyboards to which the fans negatively responded. 

Zivot u cismama sa visokom petom (Life in boots with high heels) revolves around Rockstar life and is regarded by fans and critics alike to be the bands most unsuccessful album.
Not one bit of prog, only mainstream rock.

Rock'n roll u beogradu (Rock'n roll in belgrade):


In 1976 Topic tried to create a supergroup called "K2" (which never came to be) and it was clear that he had no plans for Time after he hired two student musicians to replace Divjak and Nicholls. A couple of months later in 1977, The band ceased to exist

I hope you enjoyed the second post of my blog and I will continue the journey of prog in yugoslavia with the hard rock band Kerber (Cerberus).





Edited by Weirdamigo - August 07 2010 at 02:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 03:57

@Weirdamigo

Smak's "Crna Dama album was recorded (succesfuly)  in Belgrade PGP's "Studio 5", not somewhere in New York 1976 as you mentioned. You can read that on the album jacket. Also, Crna Dama was recorded later on. Yes, they get a free tickets ("Smak are gonna to play in a plane"LOL - well, it was communism Smile) for that promo JAT fly, but they were just tourists that time.
 
Regards, bro!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ljubaspriest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 11:00
Finally,someone with enough time and passion on their hands to make post about Yugoslavian prog-rock music of the past.Not too many names who fit the  specific definition of the genre,but some of them an absolute delights to anyone ready to breach language barrier in search for musical catharsis.Indexi's "Modra rijeka",Time's self titled debut,Korni grupa's debut,Tako's both albums,Smak's "Stranice naseg vremena",Buldozer's first couple albums,Leb i sol's seventies albums and many more are well worth investigating and I hope Weirgamigo is going to continue with this interesting journey.Way to go & svaka cast,Dusane!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ljubaspriest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 11:15
Originally posted by ljubaspriest ljubaspriest wrote:

Finally,someone with enough time and passion on their hands to make post about Yugoslavian prog-rock music of the past.Not too many names who fit the  specific definition of the genre,but some of them an absolute delights to anyone ready to breach language barrier in search for musical catharsis.Indexi's "Modra rijeka",Time's self titled debut,Korni grupa's debut,Tako's both albums,Smak's "Stranice naseg vremena",Buldozer's first couple albums,Leb i sol's seventies albums and many more are well worth investigating and I hope Weirgamigo is going to continue with this interesting journey.Way to go & svaka cast,Dusane!
Izvinjavam se,STEVANE!My apologies!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 13:56
Originally posted by ko ko wrote:

@Weirdamigo

Smak's "Crna Dama album was recorded (succesfuly)  in Belgrade PGP's "Studio 5", not somewhere in New York 1976 as you mentioned. You can read that on the album jacket. Also, Crna Dama was recorded later on. Yes, they get a free tickets ("Smak are gonna to play in a plane"LOL - well, it was communism Smile) for that promo JAT fly, but they were just tourists that time.
 
Regards, bro!

I fail obviously LOL.
That was my fault for my lack of knowledge and the fault of that one friend whose always giving wrong information (such as saying that Mihailovic was in Bulldozer.... yeah right!) and the fault of my poor CD collection ( Smak, Bioskop Fox and Stranice naseg vremena).

Thanks for pointing that out ko!

Originally posted by ljubaspriest ljubaspriest wrote:

< ="utf-8">
Originally posted by ljubaspriest

Finally,someone with enough time and passion on their hands to make post about Yugoslavian prog-rock music of the past.Not too many names who fit the  specific definition of the genre,but some of them an absolute delights to anyone ready to breach language barrier in search for musical catharsis.Indexi's "Modra rijeka",Time's self titled debut,Korni grupa's debut,Tako's both albums,Smak's "Stranice naseg vremena",Buldozer's first couple albums,Leb i sol's seventies albums and many more are well worth investigating and I hope Weirgamigo is going to continue with this interesting journey.Way to go & svaka cast,Dusane!
Izvinjavam se,STEVANE!My apologies!

Thank you for the compliment ljubaspriest! sadly, yes I do have a lot of TIME on my hands LOL(I'm no good at puns).
With all my friends gone on holidays the only things I can do is listening to music,playing the guitar, and making this blog which I of course will continue until all bands are covered. 
Little Spoiler: After the Kerber entry I will post Indexi next.

Don't worry about getting my name wrong, desava se (it happens). 
I hope you enjoy my upcoming posts.Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 14:55
Heres alot of progressive but not Prog bands, as for example Darkwood Dub>


Edited by ko - August 07 2010 at 15:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weirdamigo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 16:47
Originally posted by ko ko wrote:

Heres alot of progressive but not Prog bands, as for example Darkwood Dub>


I have heard of Darkwood Dub before but only by name.
Now I have another band to post about, thanks ko!

P.S: If you, the people on the other side of the screen, have any other prog bands from ex-yugoslavia I haven't reviewed yet about (not the obvious ones like Bulldozer and Korni grupa) please post it here so I can get my work cut out for me Smile.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 07 2010 at 18:02
Tako and Leb i Sol are two wonderful bands!Clap
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