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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



The neo-prog team has also decided on 5 representative albums of neo-prog that encapsulate the essence of the genre. They are as follows:


Marillion-Script for a Jester's Tear
Collage-Moonshine
Satellite-A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset
Sylvan-Posthumous Silence
Frost-Milliontown


Current Neo-Prog Team members
as at 10/07/2016

Roger (Roj)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)
Cristi
Tony (Hercules)

Neo-Prog Top Albums


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

4.24 | 1890 ratings
MISPLACED CHILDHOOD
Marillion
4.25 | 1040 ratings
THE ROAD OF BONES
IQ
4.22 | 1801 ratings
SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR
Marillion
4.18 | 578 ratings
CONTAGION
Arena
4.14 | 1174 ratings
CLUTCHING AT STRAWS
Marillion
4.15 | 430 ratings
POSTHUMOUS SILENCE
Sylvan
4.10 | 821 ratings
FREQUENCY
IQ
4.09 | 979 ratings
MARBLES
Marillion
4.13 | 430 ratings
A TOWER OF SILENCE
Anubis
4.05 | 613 ratings
THE VISITOR
Arena
4.08 | 378 ratings
EMPIRES NEVER LAST
Galahad
4.03 | 834 ratings
DARK MATTER
IQ
4.05 | 577 ratings
EVER
IQ
4.10 | 301 ratings
SEVEN
Magenta
4.05 | 460 ratings
FANFARE & FANTASY
Comedy Of Errors
4.04 | 435 ratings
ALL RIGHTS REMOVED
Airbag
3.98 | 1202 ratings
FUGAZI
Marillion
4.00 | 583 ratings
THE SEVENTH HOUSE
IQ
4.09 | 195 ratings
COFFEE IN NEUKÖLLN
Barock Project
4.03 | 313 ratings
MOONSHINE
Collage

Neo-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

THE SPARROW
Metaphor
SONGS FROM PENNSYLVANIA
Ezra
TALES FROM THE DAM
Healing Road, The
CROWN OF CREATION
Emerald

Latest Neo-Prog Music Reviews


 Elementals by ASTURIAS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.71 | 19 ratings

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Elementals
Asturias Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars First of all, this is NOT neo-prog in any sense of the term, wrong label and labels suck when they are patently false. Japanese veterans Asturias released "Elementals" , a 2014 album that was very highly rated and having already their first two albums ("Circle in the Forest" and "Brilliant Streams") in my collection, I was intrigued enough to take a slight gamble on their newer stuff and spend the money. I am very delighted in my foresight though I had a pretty good idea of what was going to be in store. Masterful instrumental performances from a slew of ridiculously talented pros, led by the enigmatic multi-instrumentalist Yoh Ohyama. "Elementals" leaves very little to complain about, a blistering fusion of powerful jazzy compositions, spiced by some creative meanderings that hearken back to more classical styled experimentation, namely the prominence of the violin, that absurdly majestic instrument that defines so many different styles of music from all around the globe. Yoh handles the bass guitar with gusto, my favorite anchor in all forms of expressive music, and he certainly keeps the low end interesting and exploratory.

While evidently a jazz-rock outfit, there are numerous influences at play here, the leadership of the Tei Sana's luxurious violin notwithstanding, there are plenty of King Crimson-styled moments that keep surfacing here and there, armed with scorching guitar pirouettes from Satoshi Hirata, dexterous piano additions played by Yoshihiro Kanagoe and polyrhythmic beats from masterful drummer Kiyotaka Tanabe. They have the chops, believe you me! For technical music like this to be successful, the composing needs to be first-rate, deliberately steering away from rambling noodling tendencies and focusing stringently on mood creation. Keeping sections vibrating and fresh, with occasional and unexpected instrumental sniper fire from the soloists, is what makes or breaks an album like this.

All the tracks from the scorching opener "Deadlock Triangle", as well as 3 follow-up tracks that prepare for the 4 part Elemental Suite that spans , are blistering compositions played with perfection as well as deadly speed , that will leave the listener enthralled, mystified and utterly spent. That does not mean that it's all 'strum und drang' bombast, as the violin in particular takes a few romantic exits from the whirlwind and wallow in some deep romanticism, as expressed on the second track, the voluptuous 9 minute "Time Traveler", that veers off into some delicate piano work before morphing into the classic King Crimson 'bicycle' math-rock, clicking with intricate guitar phrasings that defy logic or gravity. The jazzy onslaught is pure hard-fusion, perhaps closer to fellow Japanese proggers Kenso but ornamented with some softer pools of reflection and groove.

Falsely creating the impression that this might be a Tangerine Dream-like electronic workout, "Tangram Paradox" is a tortuous, polyrhythmic convulsion that hurls at Mach 3 speed, both into conventional and experimental zones that gain defy the norm. Again, this is no Neo, sorry Matrix fans! The sheer delirium espoused by all soloists is mayhem, but of a controlled kind. The bass and drum work impress to the nth degree and the 3 soloists are just all guns ablaze! "Honeycomb Structure" is a musical maze of labyrinthine proportions, fluid violin in the lead, screeching while the guitar scorches, rambling organ undertow, while the bass and drum duo wallop and bruise. Another piano solo takes this straight into Chick and Herbie territory, very jazz and very much controlled fury. But the clincher is the rollicking, blues- infested guitar flip out from Satoshi Hirata, a pure marvel to behold.

Things get decidedly more orchestral and symphonic with the nearly 29 minute suite, as the violin continues to guide the pack, a flawless example of how 5 rock musicians with classical and jazz backgrounds can compose music that is both vivaciously contemporary, yet still retain all the qualities of timeless classical legend. Defiantly effortless and concise, heavily loaded up on melody and technique, the quintet smolders like a radioactive fire, sizzling fusion of styles and sounds that mark their muse with incomparable gusto. Hard then soft, majestic and sub-atomic, swift and measured, this is simply phenomenal, whatever your musical taste might be limited to. Funny how a repetitive piano chord can provide the platform for a sumptuous violin waltz that is easy to master in terms of accessibility, yet still complex and technically proficient. The second part (the aptly named "Salamander") flies straight into the darker clouds of heavy symphonic bombast, with trilling synthesizer runs, fiery violin forays, brooding organ runs and monster rhythmic gymnastics. A roller coaster of rippling notes and dense arrangements make this quite a breathless ride. Dive into the volcanic flow and come out on the other side, unscathed but exhilarated. The third section is "Sylphide" and it showcases the gentler romanticism of melody and passionate musical discourse, an arsenal of keys keeping the carpet rolling for some gorgeous violin runs from Tei Sena, enveloped in mellotron waves and ethereal beauty. Occasionally playful, often serene, the soloists keep the tense fusion of sounds within a very linear furrow that refuses to back down and kneel at the shrine. The bass guitar takes over and leads with uncommon valor and spunk. Just beautiful.

The finale "Gnome" chooses a more playful theme, altering the melody only slightly, thus providing reassurance and yet adventure on a different plane. Choppy, intense and explosive, the masters empty their creative juices with abandon , giving the impression that this complex music is only second nature to them, a true sign of genius, in my opinion. This band played on the 2014 and 2017 version of Cruise to the Edge and blew the audiences away, same at Rosfest 2013. Perhaps the most underrated artist in the prog world, Asturias deserves huge recognition and massive applause. Getting "Fractals" next!

An easy 5, my dear Watson!

 The Hay-Man Dreams by COSMOGRAF album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 13 ratings

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The Hay-Man Dreams
Cosmograf Neo-Prog

Review by shaunch

4 stars It is winter here in New Zealand but I am a teacher with two weeks off in the school hols and time to listen and absorb this new offering from Robin Armstrong and guests. I have to say that I would probably give" The Hay man Dreams" 4.5 star rating with a view to maybe the full 5 stars in the future. I don't think this is supposed to be a masterpiece, unless you can accept that a "less is more" approach is enough to warrant any album this title. This collection of songs flies in the face of the overused term "progressive" and it is reassuring that it does. I have been frustrated by much of the anticipated music over the last 7 months and if it wasn't for a recent UK trip which momentarily side stepped market towns, castles and fine ales to an IQ concert and the Marillion weekend, I would have some serious withdrawal symptoms. Personally, I would say that any music that has twists and turns and darkness and light alongside thoughtful ideas, concepts and lyrics does it for me, it doesn't need to progress beyond that. There is not a weak moment on this album and is a great follow up to last years "unreasonable silence" although they are different but equally effective. One thing that I have enjoyed is the confidence in the singing of Robin Armstrong which was not always present in the past. He is able to convey his emotions in a number of guises ranging from that quiet almost spoken word of Ian Anderson or Fish to the melancholy of Steve Hogarth to the angst of Roger Daltrey. The minimalist approach of the music is it's strength as it doesn't try too hard to be anything but a solid rock album, this is most evident in the tracks; "Trouble in the forest", "Cut the corn" and "Melancholy death of a gamekeeper" which is the main catalyist for the theme of the album. How could the themes, I guess, of loss and yearning be better portrayed than with restraint and melancholic beauty. This restraint is all over the album, in the offering from guest musicians who never try to take over , the backup and lead vocals from Rachel Hall which just add a sense of dreaminess and almost ghostly affect, to the narration which is never guilty of over staying it's welcome; instead it actually adds to the overall feel and continuity, not unsurprising as these are words are spoken by David Allan who was the BBC continuity announcer for almost 30 years.

A teacher who must save their best verbal attacks for the best possible affect, this is also apparent in this album, which let's loose on three occasions, opening with "Tethered and bound", the raucous rock build up in 'The motorway" and during the climax in the title track before restraint is resumed. The feeling built up is frustration and a longing that has become too much for the Hay- man, and you can feel it.

This album is not the best by Cosmograf but not the worst either,it is just different, does that make it progressive for Cosmograf? I am more than happy to keep listening to this style of music and thumbs up to Cosmograf who have given the first album for a while that has had me going back to it on multiple occasions for quite a while.

 We're All In This Together by IT album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.93 | 37 ratings

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We're All In This Together
IT Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Urgency greets the listener with IT's new album "We Are All in this Together", a sense of current desperation that is infused into the brash tracks, taking neo-prog to a much raunchier level than one might expect. Led by multi- instrumentalist, producer and vocalist Nick Jackson, this talented crew also includes co-producer Andy Rowberry on guitars and keys, a tight rhythm section of bassist James Hawkins and drummer Will Chism, as well as keyboardist and sax player Ryan McCaffrey. Toss in a slew of guests including the venerable Rupert Greenall of The Fixx fame and you get a tight album that has tremendous melodic warmth as well as loads of anger, frustration and genuine rage. The tracks are nevertheless smoothly thought out, packing a wide expanse in terms of musicality, but with a strong penchant for boundless vocal work from Nick as well as some tremendous choir and backing vocals. IT is definitely part of the modern version of new prog, contemporary themes wrapped in a tighter bundle, somewhat akin to bands line Deeexpus, Cairo, Touchstone, Final Conflict, Comedy of Errors, Drifting Sun etc?

The aptly titled Power" blasts ahead with a snivelling bass onslaught, garnished with sensationalist voice effects and a rough beat. Nick molests the microphone, spewing venom-drenched lyrics that illustrate the state of the world we live in. Tyrant rants, fake news, lies that lie beneath the veneer of self-loving truths, snarling tirades and jagged edged music are the details that make this progressive hurricane so appealing. Crunchy riffs that recall Porcupine Tree and Kyros, dabbed with slick synthesizer cascades that verge on techno (much like recent Galahad), the table certainly seems set for quite the prog ride.

Financial torpor is dealt with on "Born in Debt", a complex maze of increasing liability and tumbling quality of life that seems to be the norm, as the rich get wealthier and the masses get apathetic. Like a pleading sermon, the sequencer- laden piece segues rather brilliantly into the mesmerizing "the Working Man", a definite album highlight, a modern prog classic that owns all the marbles, with a magnificent chorus, whispering yet angry vocals and a slick arrangement that may conjure memories of Arena or Ayreon, in terms of melodic structure. This is what intelligent prog sounds like, a clever nugget that has appeal, worth and wealth, accessible yet brainy. And very contemporary! The wailing female voice (I am a total sucker for that!) is a massive highlight that transcends time and space.

Another timeless and whopping melody greets the listener on the equally appealing "Last Chance", a rather doomsday- like ballad that has meaning as well as proverbial bite. "Got nothing to lose, it goes on and on and on". The sheer quality of the piece says a lot about the continuing elevation of the neo/symph genre, as writing compelling music is not an easy a task, and adorning it with breathtaking pomp and ceremony simply takes this to a higher plane. "Together forever", Nick sneers!

Another bass-driven track is the punky "Gamble the Dream", a venom spewing affair that has an almost Stranglers?like drive, Nick belting out his rage with little respite or complacent modesty. Nasty, greasy and torrential. The Nine Inch Nails influence is front and center, adding some well-grounded angst to the proceedings, Nick even daring to growl. Short and hard. Love IT.

Throwing in some classic psychedelia on "Voices" gives this slower piece a strong Beatles-like feel, where dreamy, echo- laden pleading on the microphone elevates the track to a modern day rant against government and political confusion (Blair/Bush project), using a George Galloway speech to great effect (I do not agree with his self-serving pseudo-politics, which I find politically typical of hypocritical slicing dicing and outright lying). Music is great though!

How about a nice 11 minute epic to further the cause? "The Path of Least Resistance" stretches out their inspiration, incorporating a fine Floydian atmosphere of clanging and shimmering guitars, whispering voice and current affair commentaries. This is definitely the centerpiece monument, a towering arrangement that sets the scene and then glowingly wraps humongous melodies over the top, exhilarating in both depth and accessibility. Multi-faceted and constantly evolving, one musical step leads to another on the road to a clear destination, the brazen riffs come clambering out of the urban ghetto and Nick's heavily effected voice provides some much needed snarl and bite. A stupendous prog anthem that deserves a wide audience, rapturous applause and pumped fists!

If there would be a 'hit single' here, it would be "House", a finely chiseled jewel of a prog pop song, very near something The Fixx would create, with slashing West-Oram styled guitars and a Cy Curnin-like vocal performance that will astound the cognoscenti. I band I still adore, The Fixx often rode the fine line between 'alternative' and prog, to great studio effect and stunning live performance. You wear your influences well, I guess. The endlessly repeated title highlights the slick Rowberry guitar work, both rhythm flicks and lead licks. Crucify me! Wow! Rabid and quite pissed off, "Down the Hatch" infuses a vocally violent counteraction to the apathy that permeates the world, lyrics grabbing the jugular, forcing it 'down, down, down, down,"! Crisp, crunch, cringe and crave. Brutal. Dark. Defiant.

As an amateur historian, "Revolution" means a lot to me, having been victimized by one as a new-born, so I embarked on analyzing the concept throughout the ages. Dejectedly, some have succeeded only in regressing, instead of supplying the deliverance promised. It's a bold concept, mothered by societal frustration at being led by countless idiotic profiteers and hypocrites. Sadly, there is no such thing as a great leader, there is no such thing as a good human. The music offers pain, despair and anger. IT also shows understanding and the yearning for a better future. It's a revolution, an evolution in a primitive world.

Tremendous musical journey, full of sizzle and explosion. We are all in this together, indeed.

4.5 atoms

 Fugazi by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.98 | 1202 ratings

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Fugazi
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 129

'Fugazi' is the second studio album of Marillion and was released in 1984. In relation to their debut studio album 'Script For A Jester's Tear', 'Fugazi' shows some musical differences. Marillion streamlined the intricacies of group's progressive rock leanings for a more straight ahead rock identity. Still, it remains clearly a Marillion's album. We even can say that, in a certain way, 'Fugazi' remarks Marillion's consistency on its musical direction solidifying the group.

The line up on the album is Derek Dick 'Fish' (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosley (drums). The album has also the participation of Linda Pyke (backing vocals). This was the first album with the presence of Mosley after the departure of their drummer Mick Pointer to form Arena. The album was produced under difficult circumstances, with the group employing and ejecting several drummers in quick sessions.

'Fugazi' has seven tracks. All songs were written by Fish, Rothery, Trewavas and Kelly, except 'Punch And Judy' that was also written by Jonathan Mover and 'Emerald Lies' and 'Fugazi' which were also written by Mosley. The first track 'Assassing' is a very good song to open the album and became one of the classic songs of the group. This is a very interesting song because it sounds at the same time quite different and yet familiar compared to the songs of their debut studio album 'Script For A Jester's Tear'. It's a very energetic song with a touch of Islamic music, with a beautiful interlude, a good bass line and a very dynamic drumming. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the highlights of the album. The second track 'Punch And Judy' was the song chosen to be released as the first single of this album. The lyrics of the song are a very amusing subject on a married life and are about a marriage that gone bad. It's the shortest track on the album but is for me a very good song. This is a wonderful song although not very typical of their music until now. However, it features everything that's great in Marillion's songs, catchy riffs and melodies and their typical sound so characteristic of Fish's era. The third track 'Jigsaw' it's a bit slow rock song, very nice and I particularly like of it very much. This is probably a song partially obscured by the two previous songs. It's a song about everything in Marillion, their music, their audience and the accusation of being a Genesis' clone, what really bothered them. This is a very sensual song with beautiful lyrics that we want to sing as we take our morning shower and leaves us well prepared to begin our day's work. Definitely, I love this song. The fourth track 'Emerald Lies' is, in my humble opinion, a good song but it's also at the same time weaker than the previous songs. It doesn't represent a truly progression on their music and it even sounds a little bit na've in comparison with the other songs composed by them until now. However, it has a good bass line, great guitar melody, the vocal dynamics are very good and the lyrics are particularly simple and clever. So, it remains a good song. The fifth track 'She Chameleon' is the other weaker song on the album. It's a very simple song with depressing lyrics and with a very simple organ work, a tasteful guitar melody and some bombastic drums. This is still a very decent song but isn't as great as the others are and, in my humble opinion, this song and 'Emerald Lies' brought this album a little bit down. The sixth track 'Incubus' is fortunately the return of the band to the great songs. This is with 'Fugazi' one of the two epic tracks on the album. The theme of the song is about nightmares and has very good lyrics. It's a song with a very strong musical structure with a very melodic musical composition and different tempo. Its music moves dynamically all over the song with smooth musical transitions from one melody to another. This is really a brilliant song. The seventh and last track is the title track 'Fugazi'. This is another brilliant epic track. As with the previous debut studio album 'Script For A Jester's Tear' where the last track 'Forgotten Sons' is considered by many, the best song on the album and one of the best musical compositions made by Marillion too, with this song is the same thing. I completely agree with those who saying that this is a great song. It's a fantastic song with great mood and a melody that changes all over the song. This is, in reality, the ending of a great musical journey made by the group and an incredible way to closing this magnificent album.

Conclusion: Perhaps 'Fugazi' is the weakest album of Marillion in Fish's era. But saying this, it seems like a sacrilege. In reality, Marillion has no weak albums in that period of time, and so, 'Fugazi' is still a great piece of music. As I wrote before and, in my humble opinion, the album has two songs with musical quality below of the others, 'Emerald Lies' and 'She Chameleon'. So, for that motif, 'Fugazi' can't be considered a masterpiece, as happened with their preceding album 'Script For A Jester's Tear' and their following album 'Misplaced Childhood'. But, 'Fugazi' remains without any doubt a great album. 'Fugazi' is an excellent album that can be recommended to all progressive rock fans. Just simply don't compare it too much to the previous one, because there's music here for every progressive rock fan to love.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow by ETERNAL WANDERERS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 52 ratings

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The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow
Eternal Wanderers Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

This album is my first introduction to the music of Eternal Wanderers, the Russian band led by sisters Elena (lead vocals, keyboards) and Tatyana Kanevskaya (guitars, backing vocals). I wandered over to their site and discovered that earlier this year they played a gig with another of my favourite Russian groups, Lost World Band, and I bet that would have been quite interesting as in many ways they are similar yet also very different indeed. What we have here is a double CD that has very much a science fiction feel to it, so much so that it reminded me less of Tangerine Dream (who have obviously been a major influence), than of Hibernal who in some ways is following a similar musical path. Apparently, the double CD set comes with a fully illustrated booklet (I only have a digital copy), and there is lots of information on the website (which thankfully can be turned to English by clicking on the Union flag) about each song, and what they are about: given that many are instrumental that is certainly a useful facet.

Given that two songs and more than twelve minutes have elapsed before Elena starts singing, it came something of a surprise to hear what a strong singer she is, more alto than soprano, and with plenty of power and emotion. For some strange reason these guys are listed on ProgArchives as neo prog, but they would much better fit within the Crossover genre, although I am sure that Eclectic would love to lay claim to them if they could. What I like so much about this album is that it is just so enjoyable from start to end, and the ninety minutes just flies by: it really is music to get lost inside. The keyboard sounds are all over the place, bringing in quite a few that would normally be at home more in electronic, while the guitars can be there just to provide some counter harmonies or leads, or to crunch out riffs in quite a metallic manner.

There are some amazing bands coming out of Russia at present, and Eternal Wanderers is one that every proghead should be looking out for.

 Sounds That Can't Be Made by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.56 | 555 ratings

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Sounds That Can't Be Made
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the massively underrated Happiness is the Road, Marillion managed to release another solid album.

In terms of production, the band never sounded better because all instruments are clear and pristine. Maybe the Trewavas's bass could have had a bit more protagonism, but it's ok nevertheless. And It's incredible to check that after 25 years in Marillion, Steve Hogarth's voice is still in top form!

It's a pity that this guy has so an affected and studied pose on stage, because he has one of the best prog-rock voices in my humble opinion. But let's talk about the songs in Sounds That Can't be Made.

Gaza starts the album in an incredible way, achieving of the band's highlights. An impressive song with strong lyrics, heavy guitars and great progression. Together with acts like The Invisible Man and This Strange Engine, Gaza is without a doubt one of the best songs of Hogarth's era. Just a must hearing track for every prog lover.

Sadly Sounds taht Can't be Made can't maintain this quality level with its silly text and boring melodies. Just too repetitive and dull, except for the great guitars towards the end. Pour My Love is a song in the style of the worst tracks in Radiation and Marillion.com. Just forgettable and the lowest moment in the whole album. This trip-hop influences... Just lame.

Luckily the rythmic Power raises our souls with its beautiful keyboards and good Trewavas work, while Montreal is another highlight of the album despite its mundane lyrics. A gift for the fans showing the most variable and prog side of the band. Invisible Ink is a beautiful little song in the vein of the most intimate compositions of Happiness is the Road. Lovely despite (or thank to) it's simplicity.

Lucky Man is solid, but a bit repetitive for my taste despite the powerful Hogarth's singing. The Sky above the rain closes the album brilliantly, with its beautiful lyrics and increasing intensity. It's a song perfect and effective to be played live, but with a too much Hogarth's protagonism. Another little classic from this album!

Conclusion: Sounds that Can't be Made is clearly not one a peak in the band's history, but it's still a very solid release from a veteran band which refuses to live from the past and it's always exploring new paths to expand their music. This album is not so good and surpising like the previous Happiness is the Road, but easily surpases other Marillion's efforths. It has three wonderful songs (maybe four), and the rest is also pretty enjoyable if not memorable with the exception of the forgettable Pour My Love.

Good work, guys!

Best Tracks: Gaza, Montreal, The Sky above the Rain.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded down to three stars.

 Script For A Jester's Tear by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.22 | 1801 ratings

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Script For A Jester's Tear
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 128

"Script For A Jester's Tear" is the debut studio album of Marillion and was released in 1983. The album was released after their fantastic EP "Market Square Heroes" with also "Three Boats From The Candy" and on the B side with their great epic "Grendel". The line up on the album is Derek Dick "Fish" (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Mick Pointer (drums). Beyond "Market Square Heroes", this is the only album to feature Pointer in the group. He left Marillion to found Arena where he is still their current drummer.

"Script For A Jester's Tear" has six tracks. All songs were written by Fish, Rothery, Trewavas, Pointer and Kelly, except "The Web" which was also written by Brian Jellyman and "He Knows You Know", "Garden Party" and "Forgotten Sons" which were also written by Jellyman and Diz Minnett. The first track is the title track "Script For A Jester's Tear". This is a fantastic song, is a brilliant opener and is also without any doubt a memorable musical moment on the album. It's clearly progressive rock music with a strong melody and sung wonderfully by the magnificent voice of Fish. It's a song that reminds us perfectly, the good old times of the progressive rock music, especially the masterpieces of Genesis in the vein of Gabriel's era. The second track "He Knows You Know" was the song chosen to be Marillion's second single and is a song that tells us about the abuse of drugs, and alludes particularly to intravenous drug use. This is the shortest song on the album but it's still a great track and represents also another great musical moment on the album. It's a very powerful song with powerful lyrics too. The song begins with the guitar followed by Fish's voice and soon the keyboards appear also and then, the song reaches its great musical climax when the drum section enters on the scene. The third track "The Web" is another great song with a beautiful composition and powerful lyrics and is very enjoyable to listen to. Probably it isn't as appealing as the other two previous songs, but it's without any doubt a song that fixes us firmly into the territory of the progressive rock music. This is a very melodic song and it has also a magnificent harmonic musical progression, making of it a truly progressive track. It has also magnificent individual musical performances, especially the fantastic guitar work of Rothery and the magnificent and bombastic keyboard work of Kelly. The fourth track "Garden Party" was another song chosen to be released as a single and it was their third single. This time, the song is a parody of social elitism and snobbery in our society and this is probably the least depressing song on the album. The lyrics are absolutely fantastic, very satiric, and it represents perhaps Fish's best lyrical performance on the entire album. This song reminds me strongly the very personal and unique style of Gabriel in the good old Genesis' times. This is also, in my humble opinion, another great track. The fifth track "Chelsea Monday" is another great song and represents another highest moment on the album. This is one of the simplest tracks on the album but it's still a very powerful song. It became one of the classic songs of the band and it remains, even today, as fresh as it was in those days. This always was one of my favourite songs of the group, very mellow with a very reach musical ambience and with also very deep lyrics that almost make us cry. The musical arrangement of this song is, for my taste, absolutely fantastic. The sixth and last track "Forgotten Sons" represents another highlight of the album and is without any doubt a perfect way to close this incredible musical work. This track represents for many of us the best musical moment on the album. The opening of this song is very powerful and reminds us a group of soldiers marching into their destination, the battlefield. It's also a song with very powerful lyrics and a clear political message. This is, in my humble opinion, one of their greatest pieces of music with absolutely fantastic individual musical performances, culminating with a great guitar solo. This is really a very powerful and overwhelming song, a great close for the album.

Conclusion: It's commonly accepted that "Script For A Jester's Tear" is with "Misplaced Childhood" probably the two best studio albums released by the group in the music era of Fish. It's also true that the opinion of which of these albums is the best, is divided. Both have their supporters. However, and in my humble opinion, "Misplaced Childhood" is a better album because is a more cohesive and well balanced musical work. Still, nobody can't deny the fundamental importance of "Script For A Jester's Tear", in those times, for progressive rock. In a certain way "Script For A Jester's Tear" was as important as "In The Court Of The Crimson King" of King Crimson was for the progressive rock music in the 70's. In the summer of 1982 the punk explosion was gone but remained some echoes, a parade of a new romantic musical movement. So, when the music world seemed to be at the mercy of the new romantics, "Script For A Jester's Tear" represents a landmark and a breath of fresh air that progressive rock music, so needed at the time. We can even say that since "Script For A Jester's Tear" the world of progressive rock has raised again and no longer was the same.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 140 ratings

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Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by IconiK11

5 stars It was interesting and unexpected to find such an authentic album coming from Eastern Europe. I don't depreciate progressive rock from that part of the world in any way, but it is really striking to hear, how former USSR country representative absorbed Western music and gave it it's vision. I love how diverse this album is. You can follow the style and musical "habits" of the author, but, at the same time, each piece is something new. It shows especially with the help of "Meditations", which, represented in two versions, not only vary in languages and arrangements, but also has different moods and feels to it (with Russian version being more acoustic and, as a result, more pure and young, full of clear hopes and tender dreams. At the same time, more drive and " hard" emotions are given through the English, re-analysed, meditating process, with the composer going deeper in his thoughts and bringing some darker and more mature results from the depth of the soul). The title piece, "Touch the mystery", is well-composed and arranged. It might sound primitive, but I love the bold decision to use that many musical instruments - the richness of the sound is amazing. And it really takes you more than once to hear all of the parts each instrument has, which is great, because you tend to discover more with every " Touch". I also love the voice, which, though, in the above-mentioned Russian "Meditations" was more light and flexible and now has more mature and deep feel to it, but still is well-presented in both cases. My favorite piece from this album would be "Swamp". First of all, it is impressive that this was played live. Secondly, the strings here are amazing. Big heads up to the drama and sorrow they give. Honestly, I am trying to keep myself away from thinking about the actual swamp while listening to this piece, even though I think there can be more philosophical explanation of the name, with " swamp" being a symbol of the unfortunate events and happenings in composer's life. But I will probably keep these thoughts to myself and to Vladimir himself. As a final resume, I can do nothing but hope that we can expect more albums from "Modern Rock Ensemble" in future and that the project will give life to more interesting and fascinating music in the nearest future.
 Sand by MONARCH TRAIL album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.35 | 9 ratings

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Sand
Monarch Trail Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is album number two for MONARCH TRAIL the project of keyboardist/ vocalist Ken Baird who's out of Dundas, Ontario. I became aware of Ken through his solo albums which were recommended by James Unger or loserboy on this site. Ken is one of many bands and solo artists that I have discovered through James' web-site back in the day. MONARCH TRAIL seems to appeal to the Prog fan more than his solo stuff maybe because this is more challenging instrumentally and the synths really dominate the sound overall. I do prefer Ken's solo music, especially "Martin Road" which I highly recommend to every one who's into timeless, meaningful music with an emphasis on vocals and exceptional lyrics. My two cents.

Like the last album we have a trio here of keys, bass and drums with three guests helping out on guitars. The very same lineup as was on the debut. I swear the girl on the cover art of the first album "Skye" is the same one depicted in the art work on "Sand". The piano is exceptional on "Sand" but Ken offers a variety of keyboards here, and of course his vocals really resonate with me. I was really surprised to see an over 24 minute track as well. Some of these tracks blend into each other as we have this cosmic theme. It's all so well done.

"Station Theme" opens with bass, piano and drums which are joined quickly by synths. A calm 1 1/2 minutes in with piano melodies and atmosphere. I like this. Synths are back then bass and drums. it kicks back in after 2 1/2 minutes with synths leading the way. "First Thoughts" might be my favourite track on here. Atmosphere and finally Ken's vocals before we get some tasteful guitar around 2 minutes as the vocals step aside. I love how the atmosphere starts to build after 2 1/2 minutes until it dominates to the end. So good! It blends into the next song.

"Back To The Start" features bass and atmosphere as the synths roll in. It kicks in with guitar, drums and more. This is really good as the vocals join in as it settles back. I also enjoy the guitar on this one. Kicking butt 3 1/2 minutes in without vocals followed by a calm with synths and bass then the drums return along with guitar. Nice. Great sound as well before 6 1/2 minutes.

"Missing" has what sounds like mellotron-flute as piano then bass helps out. The atmosphere starts to rise then the vocals and a beat take over. Love the vocal harmonies after 2 minutes then the synths start to dominate as the tempo picks up. The vocals are back after 4 minutes as the synths step aside then they trade off again. "Charlie's Kitchen" opens with bass, drums and piano before the atmosphere arrives around 2 minutes. Synths to the fore a minute later. There's that mellotron-flute sound again after 5 1/2 minutes. Guitar later from Ken. Nice.

"Another Silent World" is a short piece with synths and atmosphere throughout. "Sand" is the ambitious title track to close the album. Vocals, bass and keyboards to start as that mellotron-flute sound joins in. It turns majestic before 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals continue. A calm follows after 2 minutes. The mood becomes serious a minute later with concerned vocals. Nice bass lines 4 1/2 minutes in then it picks up with synths over top as the vocals stop. Guitar before 6 minutes as the synths bow out for now. They are back then we get a calm with atmosphere before 8 1/2 minutes.The synths and guitar will trade off. A calm with piano before 13 1/2 minutes. Some nasty synths before 17 minutes as the vocals step aside but not for long as the synths and vocals continue to trade off. The guitar starts to solo before 22 minutes then the synths return as they both solo over top.

Another solid 4 star album from MONARCH TRAIL. Please check this band out along with Ken Baird's solo albums. You will find quality and meaningful music if you do.

 Wonderous Stories by MAGENTA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
4.30 | 11 ratings

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Wonderous Stories
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, I guess it would be a mater of time before Magenta would record a cover of one of their most beloved influences. Still I was quite moved by this version of Yes Wonderous Stories. The main track is a very respectful and straightforward performance, an almost note by note reproduction of the original, with very few chances. And Christina Booth beautiful vocals were just perfect for this tune. I liked both the alternative tracks (one total acoustic and one instrumental) too. Even the cover is interesting, although I was waiting for something more Yes-ish (like a Roger Dean painting, but I guess that was expecting too much).

A very nice cover that shows just how good Magenta is. Let´s hope they come up with more like this!

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