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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Progfest '95 CD (album) cover

PROGFEST '95

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

4.00 | 14 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars For years i've compared the lineups for "Progfest94" and "Progfest95" and debated which was better. Of course I would love to go back in time and check both concerts out, but if I had to pick between the two I always thought "Progfest94" with ANEKDOTEN and ANGLAGARD would be my choice. While those two bands are my favourites out of all the bands from both festivals "Progfest95" clearly boasts the better lineup overall by a substantial amount. This was made very clear by spending a lot of time with both of these double disc recordings.

"Progfest95" began Saturday with ARS NOVA followed by WHITE WILLOW, DEUS EX MACHINA and SOLARIS. Sunday began with SPOCK'S BEARD followed by LANDBERK and PENDRAGON. PENDRAGON ?! I know a lot of people didn't even know they played at this festival let alone headlined it.They did though. I understand that they requested their performance not be on the audio or video recordings because they just weren't that happy with the way they played. I have the program from Progfest95 which for me is so valuable with all the information and interesting ads from that year. I like the bios and pictures of the bands as well. DEUS EX MACHINA has the best picture by far, they're having too much fun. I'd love to have that picture on my wall. I should mention that this cd was dedicted to the memory of Kevin Gilbert who passed away some time after this concert. He did record it though and as usual allowed bands to use his mellotron and other equipment if they so desired. SPOCK'S BEARD also thanks him in the liner notes."A million thanks to Kevin Gilbert who at the end of the gig said to us: "Congratulations, you just had the sound man that I always wanted". This may be the only time you hear DEUS EX MACHINA use mellotron in their music, as they decided to use Kevin's mellotron. While "Progfest94" had it's moments there were plenty of songs i'd skip over, not here.

I was so surprised with ARS NOVA and SOLARIS especially who blew my expectations out of the water. SOLARIS were really the band that the fetival held up as being headliners because they were in a country that was previously communist and so never were able to come to the USA, and many thought they would never see this band live. Interesting that on both "Progfest94" & Progfest95" recordings they switched the bands around from the order they actually played in at the festivals. So it's not surprising to see SOLARIS as the final band on disc two where PENDRAGON should have been, and they switched WHITE WILLOW with LANDBERK because WHITE WILLOW brought the house down with their set from Saturday.

I haven't even got to the actual music yet. ARS NOVA's "The Goddess Of Darkness" wasn't even released yet but they play "Morgan" off of it and man it's absolutely killer ! Check out the organ and huge bass lines, they are deep ! The organ that follows makes me think they're from Sweden.That's a compliment. "Danse Macabre" from their "Transi" album starts off sinister and the keyboards again dominate. Amazing performance. LANDBERK are a band that I love.They don't disappoint. "Kontiki" from "One Man Tells Another" is heavy and growly to start. It does settle with mellotron. Great guitar from Reine Fiske here.The vocalist really entertains as well. "Time" is my favourite from the band and it just moves me it's so uplifting. DEUS EX MACHINA are avant, experimental and freaking crazy ! Alberto on vocals is simply incredible. The fact they have more music on this double disc than anyone else should tell you something about their performance. 2 songs from their self titled album and 2 from De Republica. WHITE WILLOW at this time had only one album out and we get two songs from it. Both are heavier and more powerful than the studio versions with plenty of mellotron. I like when the crowd roars it's approval after a killer section after 7 minutes on the song "Cryptomenysis". SPOCK'S BEARD had just released "The Light" and we get to hear the title track from it. Great performance ! This song has it all including a huge, dramatic section 9 1/2 minutes in which draws cheering from the crowd when it ends. SOLARIS opens with "Apocalypse" from "The Martian Chronicles" and I am sitting there with my jaw hanging open. Unbelieveable ! They just rip it up throughout. We get 3 more tracks and i'm surprised at the prominant guitar. Man these guys can play !

The cover art is so well done. It's definitely the Progfest I would recommend to you the most if your thinking of buying one. From start to finish it's a blast. Wish I had been there.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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