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NEO-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Neo-Prog definition

Neo-Progressive rock (more commonly "Neo-Prog") is a subgenre of Progressive Rock that originally was used to describe artists strongly influenced by the classic symphonic prog bands that flourished during the 1970s. At the beginning of the neo-prog movement, the primary influence was early to mid-70's Genesis. Debate over when Neo-Prog actually came into being often takes place, with some asserting it began with Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear in 1983. Others contend it began with Twelfth Night at the dawn of the 80s, while some even suggest the popular symphonic prog band Genesis gave rise to Neo-Prog with their 1976 album, A Trick of the Tail.

If one analyses the progressive movement just before 1980, then some albums which heavily influenced the Neo-Prog movement easily come to mind: Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings, Genesis - Wind & Wuthering, Genesis - And Then There Were Three, Genesis - Seconds Out, Saga - Saga, all the Camel albums between Breathless and The Single Factor included, and some Eloy's albums, especially Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes.

This new form of progressive rock originated in the UK, and is most strongly associated with bands such as Marillion, Pendragon and IQ; and while theatrical stage antics were a part of the live performances of many artists exploring this subset of the progressive rock genre it's the musical elements that are key to the genre; typified by the use of atmospheric guitar and synth soloing with symphonic leanings, with a tendency towards floating synth layers and dreamy soloing. An additional trait is the use of modern synths rather than vintage analogue synths and keyboards. The main reasons for Neo-Progressive artists to be separated from the ones exploring Symphonic Prog in the first place are the above, as well as a heavier emphasis on song-form and melody than some of their earlier symphonic counterparts.

As time went by other artists appeared that also deviated from the norms created by the classic wave of progressive rock artists in the 70's. The late 70's had given the world punk music; the 80's gave the world new wave; and the 90's grunge. These, as well as other forms, had a tremendous amount of influence outside of the progressive rock realm. The advent of the modern synth also inspired artists like Tomita, Vangelis and Kitaro to explore dreamier musical works.

These and other forms of more or less newly made musical genres influenced artists exploring progressive rock as well. Although many artists did so within the framework of 70's progressive rock, more and more artists developed a sound and style so heavily influenced by these more recent musical developments that categorizing them within the existing subgenres of progressive rock became increasingly difficult.

While the Neo-Progressive genre initially consisted of artists exploring a modernized version of Symphonic Prog, these days artists coined as Neo-Progressive cover a multitude of musical expressions, where the common denominator is the inclusion - within a progressive rock framework - of musical elements developed just prior to and after 1980. The Neo-Progressive genre in it's refined form thus covers a vast musical territory, to some extent covering all existing subsets of progressive rock and also searching out towards genres as different as new age on one side and punk and metal on the other.

Opening paragraphs written by Stonebeard, Cygnus X-2, Greenback

Revised, edited and refined April 2009 by windhawk, The Doctor and E-Dub



Current Neo-Prog Team members
as at 27/8/2014

Apostolis (psarros) ... Team leader
Matti
Tom (Roland113)

Neo-Prog Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Neo-Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.43 | 446 ratings
THE ROAD OF BONES
IQ
4.24 | 1474 ratings
MISPLACED CHILDHOOD
Marillion
4.22 | 1415 ratings
SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR
Marillion
4.20 | 449 ratings
CONTAGION
Arena
4.13 | 897 ratings
CLUTCHING AT STRAWS
Marillion
4.13 | 640 ratings
FREQUENCY
IQ
4.11 | 775 ratings
MARBLES
Marillion
4.14 | 339 ratings
POSTHUMOUS SILENCE
Sylvan
4.13 | 353 ratings
FANFARE & FANTASY
Comedy Of Errors
4.13 | 364 ratings
A TOWER OF SILENCE
Anubis
4.09 | 323 ratings
EMPIRES NEVER LAST
Galahad
4.06 | 494 ratings
THE VISITOR
Arena
4.02 | 666 ratings
DARK MATTER
IQ
4.04 | 438 ratings
EVER
IQ
4.03 | 447 ratings
THE SEVENTH HOUSE
IQ
4.08 | 240 ratings
SEVEN
Magenta
4.38 | 66 ratings
AMBIGIOUS POINTS OF VIEW
Shamall
4.25 | 92 ratings
IS THIS HUMAN BEHAVIOUR?
Shamall
4.08 | 196 ratings
THE TALE OF THE GOLDEN KING
Psychedelic Ensemble, The
3.97 | 919 ratings
FUGAZI
Marillion

Neo-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Neo-Prog experts team

TRAVELLER
Magus (The Winter Tree)
NEW LIFE
Solstice
TIMANFAYA
Healing Road, The
ARGOS
Argos

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Latest Neo-Prog Music Reviews


 Skye by MONARCH TRAIL album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 61 ratings

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Skye
Monarch Trail Neo-Prog

Review by daisy1

5 stars I first heard of this album on the ClassicRock Prog sampler.Luminescence was the track,and I just had to get the rest.The band remind me partly of Flower Kings in their more symphonic outings,and also Greenslade ,Triumvirat and ELP.So you've guessed pretty well keyboard led by Canadian maestro Ken Baird.There are vocals on 3 of the 4 tracks and also guitars,drums support well.Track one,Luminescence is really 2 halves- keyboard driven first half then a beautiful slow symphonic second half where the keys just build up and build up to a triumphant climax.track 2 is lighter and more vocal and leads into a brilliant instrumental track3 which bounces along with all synths blazing,then goes more symphonic in a Greenslade type of way,before exploding again- brilliant! The epic 4th track is one of the best longer tracks you will hear.The back synth drop reminds me a bit of ELP Trilogy track- but 20 minutes zooms along with no holds barred.

I think this album could be my favourite of the year with IQ Road of Bones. It is SO good.All keyboard driven fans should lap this up- especially if you like Glass Hammer,Flower Kings,Greenslade,Tiumvirat,ELP.Ken's playing is some of the best prog keys I have ever heard.I will now have to buy his solo stuff.My only criticism is the album was over too quickly- so we need a bonus disc and some live playing. So excellent 10/10.

 Disguise Serenades by ARLEKIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.26 | 23 ratings

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Disguise Serenades
Arlekin Neo-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Disguise Serenades" is the sole project by Arlekin with all instruments and vocals performed by Igor Sidorenko from Ukraine. Unlike Igor's other band that is Post Rock instrumental, Arlekin have a retro Neo Prog sound familiar to those who have had their ears blessed by the magic of Marillion, especially when Fish was at the helm in the 1980s. Igor's voice at times has a theatrical quality like Fish or early Peter Gabriel in his Genesis art rock phase. This quality in vocal tone is noticeable on 'The Lost Path' and 'Dance of the Jester' and the music is dominated by staccato keyboards, with a Hammond sound. The mix on the vocals is a bit too loud at times, and wavering in melody becomes distinct. However the music is spellbinding with wall to wall passages of flute synth, heavy drums and bass rhythms, along with memorable guitar riffs. Igor is an accomplished guitarist and allows himself room to perform some amazing solos. I actually heard this album earlier before I received the album and did not realise this music was generated by one artist. This in itself is an incredible achievement. There is a great deal of passion injected into the songs, and Igor pours out his heart in the lyrics.

'Romance' has a similar intro melody to Pink Floyd's 'Empty Spaces' but the verses are very different. The vocals are a bit shaky but they improve on 'In This Puzzled Roundabout' the best song on the album. I love the bass on this, and the way that it builds into some aggressive distorted guitar riffs. The simple crashing cymbals are effective, and it really picks up when the tempo changes direction and a synth solo follows along ascending musical phrases. The length at over 15 minutes gives room for Igor to lash out on the keyboards and experiment with varying tempo changes and time signatures. There is a terrific lead break amongst all the prog, and Igor's voice sounds like Gabriel when it is multi-tracked. The twin guitar medleys are particularly effective, with a distinct Neo quality. Overall this song is worth checking out to experience Arlekin at it's best.

Arlekin will appeal to those who enjoy the likes of Babylon, Pink Floyd, early Genesis or Marillion. It is astonishing how one musician can create such beautiful music with so many layers and time signature changes. I can recommend "Disguise Serenades" to those who like their prog with experimental musicianship and lashings of keyboards and theatrical vocals.

 Pure by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.90 | 511 ratings

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Pure
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings

3 stars When you decide to check out a band for the first time and you see they have nearly a dozen albums, how do you choose which one to start with? Do you listen to samples on YouTube or download it from somewhere? Do you read the reviews on PA or other sites? Do you choose by the cover or year of release? When I first decided to purchase a Pendragon album, I listened to bits on iTunes, read some reviews, and decided that I would probably like "Pure" best because of the cover.

Pendragon are known as one of the big neo-prog bands from the early eighties, but it seems that by "Believe" they shifted their sound to something heavier. Indeed, I now own two of their older albums and "Pure" (as well as "Passion") are much heavier and rock out more. By now, heavy prog would be a better subgenre to put them in, at least as far as their last two albums are concerned (and I see a new album is due out anytime).

For me, a fan of heavier stuff, "Pure" was an excellent choice for getting acquainted with Pendragon. The guitars rock, the drums are exciting, things get pretty bombastic at times and there are nice shifts in the music to lighter shades as well. The guitar solos sound like Nick Barrett was a big fan of David Gilmour; however, he puts a lot of his own feeling into his playing and there's an extra bit of "umph" that sets him apart from the Pink Floyd legendary guitarist. This is refreshing as I have heard a couple of Gilmour clones in the last couple of years and though I am sure the flattery is nice, original playing is appreciated.

About Barrett's vocal abilities, it's been said that he can be an acquired taste. Having heard a couple of the older albums by now, I have concluded that he is stronger when he sings harder. The slow, gentle approach is his weakness, or rather perhaps it could be where his uniqueness shows through better. I, however, think he holds a note better when he puts more power in his voice. Barrett doesn't do slow and gentle well in my opinion.

The first three tracks are for me where the real highlights are. "Indigo", "Eraserhead", and "Comatose I: View from the Seashore" show the band steeped in their heavier new sound. Of course they shift to melodic passages and show off lots of emotive guitar soloing. That's part of Pendragon's legacy to have such pleasant interludes. But the guitars have more crunch than before and the drum sound is ripe for the energetic bursts and fills that Scott Higham blasts in. "Comatose I: View from the Seashore" begins with some slow piano but after a bit the song thunders into an almost metal section. I love how the heavy minor chords abruptly change to bright major chords, giving the song a 70's AOR rock sound for a few moments.

Parts II and III of "Comatose" begin to loose me a little, especially in the third part. All those spoken lines about being alone make me wonder if I have misunderstood the song. Then things get weirder. "Fear is the most powerful weapon we have," says someone. "This world is an illusion." "Are we alone?" asks another voice. "What does it mean? Nothing can save you now. The beginning of the end." OK. The song ends.

"The Freak Show" is a normal length song with a very heavy intro but soon changes to a melancholy tale of someone's insecurity. I like this one quite a bit, though it's not as "progressive" or shall we say musically complex as the previous tracks.

I've read a fair bit of praise for the last track "It's Only Me", a slower number with a strong melodic chorus. Personally, I find it a little non-captivating. I gave it a good listen again the other night and it's pleasant enough but still the first half of the album is where it's at for me.

This album has received some great reviews and is an excellent effort by the band. I am wavering between calling it an excellent addition to any prog collection or good but not essential. I'll say it's very good but not essential and give it three stars. But I may decide to change that to four later.

 The Human Machine by OVERDRIVE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.09 | 6 ratings

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The Human Machine
Overdrive Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Little-known Neo Prog act from Milan, Italy, reputedly found in mid-80's by a core which included keyboardist Domenico Del Signore, drummer Joe Torelli, bassist/singer Mauro Caputi and guitarist Jimmy A.Apparently the line-up was expanded to five musicians, but not without losses, Caputi and Jimmy A. left and were replaced by Pino Federiconi (vocals), Milton Damia (guitars) and Marco Marcelli (bass).The band's only album ''The human machine'' was recorded and mixed at the Campolungo Studio in Viterbo from May to October 1990, featuring also Eva Pietroni on flute, Max Carlaccini on sax, Manuela Chiariello on female vocals and Vito Laruccia, who lent a hand as a sound engineer on Ezra Winston's ''Ancient afternoons'', and was released the same year on Musea.Another member of Ezra Winston, keyboardist Mauro Di Donato, helped the band on songwriting.

Does this sound though anynthing like EZRA WINSTON due to the presence of Di Donato?The answer is definitely yes, certain tracks contain this outlandish, symphonic atmosphere of the Italian legends, based on poetic male vocals, atmospheric keyboards and refined melodies, especially during the long, second track ''Spectral forms'', which features also some nice flute work.All vocals are in English and Domenico Del Signore even uses an organ during some lighter parts among his usual offerings on piano and keyboards.Had the band followed the same style throughout we would be talking about a great album, however some of the unique EZRA WINSTON moods are lost in the process for the favor of a more MARILLION-esque Neo Prog sound with crosses to compatriots GALLANT FARM, led by the more pronounced and edgy synthesizers and the melodic guitars, falling a bit short compared to the previous stylings.The material though is not bad at all, it is pretty decent actually with plenty of dramatic sections and ethereal passages, retaining part of the deep, symphonic echoes of ''Spectral forms''.The problem comes from the average production and the thin keyboards sound, which was a major issue for most of 90's Neo Prog bands.The 9-min. long ''Twentieth century: another cry'' features some more references to EZRA WINSTON's style with the contrast of orchestral breaks and angular guitars, mixed with some PENDRAGON vibes in the major keyboard department.

Yet another album of the 90's, struggling to locate itself between Neo Prog or retro Symphonic Rock.Good stuff overall with interesting compositions and structures, far from personal but at least well-played.Recommended.

 Under A New Sign by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.92 | 137 ratings

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Under A New Sign
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by progpig66 (arnold)

5 stars Under a new sign is the second album from this solid Dutch neo-prog band and in my opinion it is by far their best achievement. I played the album over and over again and I loved every track. The synth sounds by main man Gerben Klazinga are as transparent and beautiful as can be, the guitar sounds are all perfectly chosen and I so much loved the huge sound of the Rickenbacker bass and the Moog Taurus pedals ! Just check out the guitar doubled riff in "Mastermind". I also loved the contributions by Joop Klazinga on his flute and recorders. It makes a perfect counterbalance to the solid, almost metal based guitar/bass riffs. Magnum opus on the album is the second part of "A Different Man". With over 13 minutes of music, this is a true symphonic masterpiece, full of fantastic strong guitar and keyboard themes.

Under a new sign, by Knight Area is a great opportunity to get to know one of the best Dutch prog bands of this moment and I won't hesitate to call it a masterpiece!

Progpig66.

 The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.43 | 445 ratings

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The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Deathangel

5 stars Never expected this.

I've always had a fondness for IQ - after all, they were one of the very few bands that kept the flag flying during the 'wilderness years', and everything they do has a certain quality to it. Having said that, they've released some less than great stuff IMHO so I'm not one of those 'IQ=autobuy' guys. But, after reading all the glowing reviews of 'The Road Of Bones' I thought I'd check it out for myself, and I'm sooo glad I did. Here's a band in their 30th (at least) year still managing to push the boundaries of their musical world, and the result is some of the best music they've produced in their entire career.

I think more than a few people were waiting to see what they'd be able to do without Martin Orford, and I must admit I had my doubts as to whether this line up could deliver the goods, but wow: goods delivered, and then some.

Starting with the first disc, the whole thing runs beautifully. The heavier edge adds a sense of urgency to the songs which elevates the band to another level. All five tracks on this disc are really kicking, even the ballad 'Ocean' works where it is, sandwiched between the epic 20 minute 'Without Walls' and the closing song 'Until The End' which, at 12 minutes is pretty epic in itself. The title track is just gorgeous, with the 'false sense of security' beginning, the introduction of the creepy noises and uneasy lyrics and the final massive riff bringing in the whole band on a relentlessly hypnotic groove. Best thing they've ever done. All the band are working overtime on this disc, with my only reservation the relative lack of guitar solos.

But the really incredible thing about The Road Of Bones is the second disc of so called 'extras'. Very different in feel to the first disc, but each one is worthy of a proper release, the quality is so good. 'Constellations' is classic prog a la 'Wind And Wuthering' (they've never quite lost their Genesis influence) and 'Fall And Rise' has a sublime, sexy fretless bass line running through it that you just can't ignore.

Very impressed that IQ can pull this out of the bag at this stage in their career - can't wait to see what they do next.

 Beyond Man And Time by RPWL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 354 ratings

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Beyond Man And Time
RPWL Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One can easily mention the characteristics of legendary prog music , for example the music of Genesis or Yes were considered as being symphonic and melodic; Gentle Giant was complex with great choirs while Pink Floyd was considered simple but great with their "feel" as well as soundscape. RPWL has been pigeon-holed by prog fans as a Pink Floyd- influenced band and many like the band very much. What I can say about RPWL is the simple side of Pink Floyd as RPWL has not so far demonstrated the "feel" part especially with Gilmourian style in playing guitar. Occasionally I know also the music of Cold Play and I would say the music of RPWL is somewhat similar as well with Cold Play even though RPWL is less poppy compared to Cold Play.

You will find this album full of joy while you spin it as each and every individual track has been nicely composed and it flows naturally from start to end with practically regular beats and tempos producing nice grooves. The only exception is the opening track that basically an ambient opening to the album and sets the overall tone of the music featured in this album. You will find some guitar work here and there but it's thinly mixed and not extremely exposed beyond the surface like typical Pink Floyd with stunning guitar solo and feels. It's probably by design as today's youngsters are not quite keen with harsh or heavy guitar solo but they'd like the thin sound instead. You may refer it to the music of Cold Play which basically no exposure with guitar solo.

From the second track "We Are What We Are [The Keeper]" (9:33) you can find right a way how nice the music is especially with its combined melody through the vocal line and the rhythm section that lends itself from the Pink Floyd platform. "Beyond Man And Time [The Blind]" (6:42) provides the nuances of Division Bell's sort of sounds with some guitar solo that makes the music really nice."Unchain The Earth [The Scientist]" (7:19) flows slowly with good ambient as opener plus some guitar fills, moving in crescendo with good soundscapes. The upbeat tempo The Ugliest Man In The World [The Ugly] (8:09) might be of interest to you as it has quite straight forward structure combined with some breaks using acoustic guitar and vocal line. There are some harder parts with a bit of exploration on guitar work. Most of you who adore prog music might want to digest the tenth track "The Fisherman" which has an approx 17 minutes total duration in three movements: High As A Mountain [Part 1], The Abyss and return back to High As A Mountain [Part 2]. One of the reasons could be the use of mellotron-like soun that reminds us to the hey day of progrock in 70s. I also like this epic as it flows nicely from start to end with nice soundscapes.

Of course you would not get something in the nuances of Pink Floyd's "Dos" or "Pigs" or "Have a Cigar" in this album by RPWL. But for sure you can get many things in the vein of Division Bells all along the entire album here. It's a very good album especially for those of you longing for Pink Floyd. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Balloon Astronomy by BALLOON ASTRONOMY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.98 | 25 ratings

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Balloon Astronomy
Balloon Astronomy Neo-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Generally speaking, Balloon Astronomy is a showcase of talented and engaging pop songs adorned by progressive rock staple instruments. Many times, I am reminded of post-Gabriel Genesis. While several of the songs are underwhelming and some of the transitions lacking cohesion, there are outstanding moments. The first time I heard it, "One Summer" left me shaken.

"Crows in the Field" Hauntingly beautiful, the peaceful beginning is like someone trying to recall a piece he used to play when a loved one was still alive.

"Even Odds" So it's bizarre to transition from "Crows in the Field" to electronic, Neo-Prog bombast and boisterous vocalizations. While the unruffled movements are agreeable, with crystal clear guitar and uplifting harmonies, the busier moments are an unfitting contrast.

"Roots Run Deep" Adopting a country pop style, "Roots Run Deep" is quite different from the previous track- almost as though a different band had begun performing. All the same, it's a fun, catchy ditty.

"The Odyssey" Following a mystifying bit of distorted vocals, the song proper consists of straight-ahead progressive pop rock, sometimes even breaking away for simple acoustic guitar strums.

"Gentle Day" Returning to serene piano and adding graceful acoustic guitar is this interlude.

"Sourness of Days" Somewhat meditative, this otherwise upbeat song especially reminds me of post-Gabriel Genesis.

"By the Strange Water's Edge" After a menacing series of wails comes a smattering of percussive tones because abandoning that delicate piano. The clarinet pierces through in a plaintive way. As with the transition from the first track to the second, I'm scratching my head regarding the shifts from one section to the other in this instrumental; the individual parts seem to arrive and leave without any sense of cohesiveness.

"Eagle" Darker, organ-led rock with soaring lead vocals makes me think of IQ even though the composition is not as complex. The bass and Mellotron in the coda make for an elevating experience.

"Sigmoid Fletcher" Peppy and peculiar, this short number takes on the atmosphere of a bar tune.

"One Summer" This song does a good job evoking the feeling of spending the evening at a summer fair, when the air is hot but not unpleasantly so. It's easy to just listen and enjoy the lovely instrumentation, gentle vocal presence, and that slide guitar solo. In this particular instance, I had to read the words without the music. Now I know that this is one of the saddest songs I have ever heard.

"For Jackie" A third piano work provides a graceful moment- almost a requiem for "One Summer."

"Summer Afternoon" The final piece begins like a hymn in a church and ends like little girl at her ballet recital.

 From Land To Ocean  by GALLEON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.65 | 84 ratings

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From Land To Ocean
Galleon Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars After some gigs in Spain and their homecountry Galleon focused on working on a double album, an idea Göran Fors was thinking of for a number of years.The band entered the Fenix Studios and worked there for three consecutive years, only interrupted for some rare lives.The album was titled ''From land to ocean'' and was released in 2003 on the Progress label.

First CD (''The land'') is structurally typical of a Galleon release, a mix of 10+ min. mini-epics with a few shorter tracks thrown in, built around balanced guitars and a combination of heavy synths and vintage organ.I get a feeling that the band comes a bit closer to contemporary Prog bands like SPOCK'S BEARD, adding a few jazzy and poppy tunes into the mix, revisiting more often the GENESIS fundamentals, but they have not lost their identity by any means.Lots of acoustic interludes and electric fests with powerful keyboards around, delivered via some spacey moods and overpowered by symphonic colors and neurotic flashes.Again the melodies are very good and the solos are sensational, Galleon were a mature enough band to compose another solid album.But the mellow parts and the overall arrangements sound now just an inch closer to the 70's, PINK FLOYD, GENESIS and MARILLION being the basic influences.

The whole centerpoint of this double album though is the second CD ''The ocean'', consisting of one single piece, clocking at 52 minutes.Was the band inspired by a similar attempt by THE FLOWER KINGS a few years back noone actually knows.I say this because ''The ocean'' contains lots of elements from the style of their compatriots, retaining a personal identity all the way.This is not all about classic Neo/Symphonic Prog here, the long duration allows Galleon to move comfortably between unrelated segments and the whole discussion falls into the track's cohesion.Several spins later I can say that this is an excellent piece of music with a great proportion between heavy rhythms, epic tunes, atmospheric soundscapes and symphonic textures, passing through ambiental moods, grandiose orchestrations and complex twists with the influences expanding to RUSH and KING CRIMSON and a few more doses of jazzy lines thrown in.Solid piece of art, always relying on the MARILLION school of Prog but with a more flexible and nostalgic style, similar to acts such as THE D PROJECT or DAGMAHR.

One of the top Galleon albums and a good candidate for the year's best Prog album.Mature Progressive Rock with strong inspirations from the classic era, mainly PINK FLOYD and GENESIS.Great music, highly recommended.

 Disguise Serenades by ARLEKIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.26 | 23 ratings

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Disguise Serenades
Arlekin Neo-Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Disguise Serenades" is the debut full-length studio album by Ukrainian progressive rock act Arlekin. The album was independently released in August 2014 (both as a digital download and as a CD digipack). Arlekin was founded around 2005 by Igor Sidorenko, who handles all vocals and instruments on "Disguise Serenades", and a demo was recorded and released in 2008. Sidorenko got preoccupied with some of his other projects like Stoned Jesus and Krobak though, and Arlekin was put in the vault until this year when he found some time and inspiration to record the material in a professional studio.

Sidorenko is known for a wide varity of musical projects and styles (among others stoner rock and post rock), but on the Arlekin project, his focus is on playing neo-progressive rock, greatly influenced by 80s artists like Marillion and IQ, but also by later neo- progressive artists like Collage, Red Sand, and Shadowland. Like on most neo-progressive releases there are also nods toward mid- to late 70s Genesis and even Pink Floyd in the music.

The sound of the music on the 5 track, 41:03 minutes long album probably won´t surprise you if you are familiar with some of the above mentioned artists, and Sidorenko does nothing to hide his influences. It´s not to a point of the album being a tribute release though and the material on the album are generally well written and catchy. It´s keyboard heavy, but the rhythmic playing is solid too and there are also some pretty great guitar playing on the album. Both rhythm and lead. Sidorenko proves to be a pretty good vocalist with a pleasant and relatively convincing delivery. He pretty much sticks to safe ground, and doesn´t make excursions into wild theatrical territories, and it´s always good to know your limits. There´s a slight bit of Peter Gabriel (Genesis, solo) and Fish (Marillion, solo) in his voice and in the way he delivers his vocal lines, but again this is not a tribute, and he does manage to add his own vocal touch to the music.

The sound production is very successful to my ears. It´s professional, clear and detailed, and it´s got the right authentic 80s atmosphere about it too. A journey back to the glory days of neo- progressive rock is guaranteed. Overall "Disguise Serenades" is a quality product by Arlekin, and if you can live with the fact that the album doesn´t exactly bring much new to the genre in terms of an original sound, there´s no reason why you shouldn´t enjoy the high level musicianship, the well sounding production job, and the inspired and clever songwriting, that are on display here. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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Neo-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
25 YARD SCREAMER United Kingdom
ABACAB France
ABEL GANZ United Kingdom
ABRAXAS Poland
ACCEPT Japan
AD INFINITUM United States
ADN France
AELIAN Italy
AETHELLIS United States
AFTERGLOW France
AGENESS Finland
AGENTS OF MERCY Sweden
AHMSHERE Netherlands
AIRBAG Norway
AIRBRIDGE United Kingdom
AISLES Chile
ALBION Poland
ALKOZAUR France
ALMA SIDERIS Italy
ALSO EDEN United Kingdom
ALTAVIA Italy
AMANDA Belgium
AMON RA Germany
ANAMOR Poland
ANANKE Poland
ANDROID Hungary
ANIMATOR United States
ANNALIST Poland
ANUBIS Australia
APPLE PIE Russia
ARAGON Australia
ARCANSIEL Italy
ARCHANGEL Italy
ARENA United Kingdom
ARENAL Chile
ARGOS Germany
FINN ARILD Norway
ARK United Kingdom
ARKUS Netherlands
ARLEKIN Ukraine
ARLON Poland
ARRAKEEN France
ASGARD Italy
ASTRALIS Chile
ASTURIAS Japan
ATEMPO Argentina
ATRIA France
ATRIUM Portugal
AUFKLARUNG Italy
AVALON USA United States
SIMON AYRES United Kingdom
BACKYARDS France
BALLOON ASTRONOMY United States
BAROCK PROJECT Italy
NICK BARRETT & CLIVE NOLAN United Kingdom
KEVIN BARTLETT United States
SAULO BATTESINI Brazil
BEING & TIME Japan
BEL AIR Germany
BELIEVE Poland
BELLAPHON Japan
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