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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 04/26/2015

Tom (Roland113)
Matti
Roger (Roj)

Neo-Prog Top Albums


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

4.29 | 879 ratings
THE ROAD OF BONES
IQ
4.24 | 1711 ratings
MISPLACED CHILDHOOD
Marillion
4.22 | 1634 ratings
SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR
Marillion
4.18 | 526 ratings
CONTAGION
Arena
4.13 | 1051 ratings
CLUTCHING AT STRAWS
Marillion
4.11 | 745 ratings
FREQUENCY
IQ
4.15 | 401 ratings
POSTHUMOUS SILENCE
Sylvan
4.14 | 394 ratings
A TOWER OF SILENCE
Anubis
4.09 | 877 ratings
MARBLES
Marillion
4.07 | 569 ratings
THE VISITOR
Arena
4.09 | 352 ratings
EMPIRES NEVER LAST
Galahad
4.06 | 521 ratings
EVER
IQ
4.06 | 417 ratings
FANFARE & FANTASY
Comedy Of Errors
4.03 | 775 ratings
DARK MATTER
IQ
4.09 | 273 ratings
SEVEN
Magenta
4.16 | 140 ratings
COFFEE IN NEUK?LLN
Barock Project
4.01 | 529 ratings
THE SEVENTH HOUSE
IQ
4.02 | 377 ratings
ALL RIGHTS REMOVED
Airbag
3.97 | 1074 ratings
FUGAZI
Marillion
4.07 | 235 ratings
THE TALE OF THE GOLDEN KING
Psychedelic Ensemble, The

Neo-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

HUNTING THE FOX
Ines
NEW LIFE
Solstice
TRAVELLER
Magus (The Winter Tree)
TIMANFAYA
Healing Road, The

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Latest Neo-Prog Music Reviews


 Home + New York Suite by MAGENTA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.74 | 83 ratings

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Home + New York Suite
Magenta Neo-Prog

Review by poito

4 stars Short and easy. If you go through the reviews of this album you'll see quite agreement. This band borrows, and it borrows a bit too much. Sometimes it looks as a tribute band. Songs like Journey, are but a salad of great classics by YES and GENESIS, and most others contain different amount of other's bits. You'll also find agreement as to the well-making, sensitivity?and the possibilities the band has to create own music. Should we overlook the near-plagiarism just because they play the sounds we never wanted their true parents to stop playing? This is where you'll probably get divergence in the reviews, some say yes, others say no. I go for the no. This band can do without it. There is a difference between borrowing a style and borrowing the ideas. The album is worth four and half stars, but I'm tempted below for too much help received.
 XX by ARENA album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.08 | 3 ratings

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XX
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by gringochucha

4 stars Paul Manzi is the best vocalist Arena has ever had.

I've been sick in bed for a week, so the fact that the new Arena DVD arrived in the mail today was a cause for celebration in a pretty crappy week. Being, as mentioned, sick at home, I put it in for a spin almost immediately, and I wasn't sorry. You see, I didn't get the last DVD because I was so disappointed with the Smoke & Mirrors one and I'd basically decided to only get the studio albums anymore. But when I saw that this one was going to have Moviedrome (one of my favorite songs ever) I preordered it immediately and here we are.

Enough of that; let's talk about the DVD. Understandably, the budget for the filming (once again in Poland) doesn't seem to have been very high. The lighting's pretty crappy and so is the resolution. The camera work is ok, but has the tendency to not show the musicians playing their solos, which can get frustrating. The thing is, from reading John Mitchell's Facebook posts, the tour doesn't seem to have been either very lucrative or particularly enjoyable for those involved (I'd pay good money to find out which Gentle Storm member apparently tried to kick them out of the shared dressing room...). From what I gleaned from John's posts, shows weren't very well attended and spirits were low, and you can kind of see this in the DVD ( (I personally couldn't make it here in Germany because the show was way too far away for me). The only ones that seem to be actually enjoying the experience are newcomers Manzi and Kylan Amos on bass.

That said, and having gotten the "negative" stuff out of the way, the performances on this DVD are generally top-class. Manzi shines both on his songs and on the classics. His voice is less whiny than Paul Wrightson's and more powerful than Rob Sowden's, with the power and drama of both combined. He barely misses a note here, and his rasp is also welcome. As mentioned, he adds some much needed energy and humor to the show, as the core of Clive, Mick and John smile maybe twice during the whole show between the lot of them.

The setlist is excellent. It took me a while to get into The Unquiet Sky, but the tracks from that album really shine here with Manzi. I'm actually sorry I didn't get the version with the CD, because now I want to listen to this concert on the stereo. Well, tough luck. After two very well played Visitor songs, we get to the long-awaited moment: Moviedrome on a live DVD. Up to now, the only live version was on the Breakfast at Biarritz album, and I always wished I could actually see it being performed. The one time I met Clive Nolan in Chile at a terribly attended Caamora show (seriously, it was pretty much me, my dad, and a few stoners), I asked him if he was ever going to play this live again, and he wasn't too optimistic. Luckily, as Clive explains during the concert, I wasn't the only one requesting it and finally they decided to record it for a DVD. Man, this apocalyptic masterpiece of a song has everything (including possibly Clive Nolan's best lyrics ever), and they pull it off admirably, even though you can tell they weren't as "at ease" with it as with the rest of the material.

At this point I have to say that the one guy who definitely isn't on top of his game here is Clive Nolan. John and Mick miss a beat every once in a while and John hits a few wrong notes, but mainly they're prett solid. Clive, on the other hand, doesn't really do a lot of his solos justice (Salamander?) and seems to have a lot of timing problems. I can't know what was going on while he was playing (bad monitor?) and anybody can have a bad night, but I get the impression that the maestro was kind of distracted. My two cents: The man has written so much great music, but unfortunately most of it is underrated and I can imagine it's not easy making a living playing progressive rock if you're not Dream Theater or Rush. But I digress and it's pretty ridiculous to try and psychoanalyse a guy based on his live show.

Back to the music: Manzi is excellent on the melancholic How Did it Come to This?, and the version of Bedlam Fayre is the best one I've ever heard (despite John's mistakes). It's weird for a song other than The Hanging Tree to follow Serenity, but The Unquiet Sky is a strong track with memorable vocal melodies and it's also sung flawlessly by Mr. Manzi. I'm really glad the mix on this album is good. You can hear everybody clearly (Clive Nolan was only miming on Smoke & Mirrors amirite?), and the harmony vocals by Nolan and Mitchell are very good and make you wish there were more a capella moments like when they sing "moving deeper into the land" on THT. Of course, John is an excellent lead vocalist in his own right. I have to admit I've been on something of a Lonely Robot/It Bites/Frost binge lately, and I can't help getting the impression he's happier on those projects than here. I mean seriously, the guy looks downright miserable at times here. But again I digress. Luckily he's a pro and his chops don't suffer.

Next, another one of Arena's great classics, The Hanging Tree, is performed beautifully. This song and John Mitchell's solos are so freaking good; I could listen to this all day. Next we get the only 7th-Degree track on the DVD: The Tinder Box. It's generally considered one of Arena's weaker albums, so it's not surprising they focused on other material. The song is really good, though; nice and heavy.

I have to admit that I skipped Solomon. I mean, it's good, but since I'm a "post-Visitor" fan and I only listened to the first two albums later I don't have that nostalgic obsession some Arena fans seem to have with the track. "Don't forget to breathe" (what's with the capitalization?) is a concert favorite for a reason and Manzi dons the customary top hat for the piece.

Of course, there are dozens of songs I could have wished to have seen on this DVD, but with Arena there's definitely a lot to choose from, and I think they put together the setlist very well. If I were rich I'd pay them to drop Solomon and play Opera Fanatica on their next tour (something I'm sure they'd be loathe to do considering the amount of work it would probably take to arrange and rehearse it). The DVD finishes as usual with the catchy "Help Me Heeeeelp Me Whooooaoaoaoa Help Me" (also known by its more boring title Crying for Help VII). This song's a friggin ear worm as the krauts say. It'll stay in your head for days.

All in all this DVD is a must for fans of the band. If you're not one then you probably stopped reading this a long time ago anyways.

 Sounds That Can't Be Made by MARILLION album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.65 | 465 ratings

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Sounds That Can't Be Made
Marillion Neo-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars For a band like Marillion, now with seventeen studio releases in their library, there is bound to be a lot to love... and a lot dislike. Even in the past three releases I've found myself captivated, inspired, disappointed, and now with Sounds That Can't Be Made, bored. This, despite the album's stellar production values and layers of musicianship... it's just a boring album.

The set-piece, a 17 minute opus that blends styles and inspiration into a surprisingly heavy and ominous composition, comes across as disjointed and unengaging. The band sounds great, but the song didn't grab me or leave me with much to walk away with. It's an experiment, and I respect Marillion for trying something like it, but it doesn't play to their strengths. Over rated and off-putting.

The better songs are those like the title track, "Pour My Love," "Power," and "Invisible Ink," which are extended art-pop pieces that feature the band's slinky cool and thoughtful playing. Rothery has a handful of great solos, and the rhythm section specifically stands out especially strong throughout. These few songs also have poetic and thoughtful lyrics by Hogarth.

Speaking of H, Hogarth does his vocal shtick well, giving us his characteristically interesting phrasing and emotional delivery. However, like the songwriting overall, there are no real passages that stuck with me because of the density and triteness of the lyrics in almost every other track on this album. Many songs are crammed with words, and too many of them are banal and unambitious. "Gaza," "Lucky Man," and the painfully bad "Montreal" are so uncreative and pandering that it actually took me three listens to make it through this album.

The handful of good tracks and the band's musicianship rescue the album from a 2-star rating, but that's being generous. Sounds That Can't Be Made is a collection of Marillion moments that sometimes coalesce into interesting songs, but more often overstay their welcome in lengthy and uninspired songs. As a huge fan I get a lot of enjoyment listening to the band play the instrumental passages, that's about it. Vastly inferior to the momentous Marbles or Brave; this album feels like This Strange Engine with higher production values. Let's see if the guys can rebound next time.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

 The Ghosts of Pripyat by ROTHERY, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.92 | 140 ratings

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The Ghosts of Pripyat
Steve Rothery Neo-Prog

Review by tjlefors

4 stars I have been a Marillion fan over many years and I was very glad to hear that the guitarplayer of Marillion, Steve Rothery finally had launched an album. The Ghosts of Pripyat is an instrumental album. No singing at all and I think that is nice. The album features the legendary Genesis guitar player, Steve Hackett on a couple of tracks. The album is about the ghosttown Pripyat in Ukraine that was abandoned after the Tsjernobyl nuklear disaster. The album opens with the track Morpheus featuring Steve Hackett. It opens with a very nice quiet guitar playing together with a quiet Pink Floyd'ish synth. This is one of my favourite tracks of the album. It has av strong melody line and it takes it very easy. They are not in a hurry. It moves slowly forwards and it is melodic. You can somehow feel the mood from Pripyat as it moves forwards. After a while a piano comes in playing very nicely. The rest of the track is solo guitar. Very strong track! Kendris is the second track. It opens with a quiet clapping sound together with a quiet guitar. This track is more rytmic and uptempo. Also a nice track. The third track Old man of the seas is more than 11 minutes long is also a very strong track. Opens with the sea rolling in and then a quiet guitar. Then some harmonica. All very quiet and slow. Steve Rothery is not in a hurry. And thats good. He is just a great guitar player and has a sense for harmonic lines. This track also features Steve Hackett. They play extremely well together. After a while the theme changes, but it is still slow. After about 8 minutes the pace changes to a more uptempo music line and there is a keyboard coming in. In the last part of the record both Hackett and Rothery plays together and it will climax in the end. I think this is the best track of the album.The next track is White Pass and it opens quiet with a guitar and then of course more guitar. A bit more uptempo in the beginning with the drums playing a special rythm. After approx 5 minutes it changes into a heavy guitar sound and also changes rythm. It is more heavy but still melodic. After a while the solo guitar comes in together with the heavy riff in the background. Also a good track, but not as good as the others before. The next track Yesterday's Hero opens with a slow rythm and guitar also rather laid back and quiet. After a while Rothery takes it up to a higher tempo and the solo guitar gets harder and stronger. Also a nice track but not as good as the others. The next track Summer's End opens very slow. The guitar is quiet. After approx 5 minutes the mood changes and the tempo is faster and the guitar gets harder. The rest is faster and heavier and gets stronger and stronger. The title track and the last track The Ghosts of Pripyat opens with a 12 string guitar. This is the shortest track. After a couple of minutes he changes to electric guitar, more than one. In the end it gets harder and harder. Also with a synth playing. In the end the solo guitar is playing and more guitars and synth. This is a great album and is absolutely worth buying. I am already looking forward to the next one.
 Fragmentropy by T album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.94 | 150 ratings

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Fragmentropy
T Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Reading the reviews on PA, I got that feeling that this was one of those albums I should just buy and try to get into it without listening to it prior to purchase. Many reviewers noted the complex and challenging music. I had to know what this was all about.

First, this is a full plate of music, running at just over 76 minutes. To add to that, the atmosphere of the album generally doesn't deviate much even though the music itself is creative and at times, yes, challenging. The atmosphere is for the most part very solemn and almost depressive except that there does always seem to be a ray of hope in there. It's like a good-hearted person is going through some great personal emotional trial but still manages to raise his head from time to time and add a hint of a smile to one corner of his mouth. We are going to get through this. "The Black of White" is possibly the song with the most positivity on the album, though it is sometimes quite heavy as in metal.

It's not a cherry album and 76 minutes of this might seem like too much. Fortunately, their are brief moments of intensity with some heavy crashing music or some abruptly frantic "proggy" exercises, or in a couple of songs, like "Brand New Mornings" and "The Black of White" some almost whimsical lyrics and music a la classic Genesis. T's PA bio mentions similarities to Gazpacho, Porcupine Tree and Marillion. I might add a bit of Radiohead in there as well, for the depressive side and also some Van der Graaf Generator for the vocal style at times, especially one part in "The Black of White". There's one part near the end of "Brand New Mornings" where a sad and breaking voice says, "I sit in here all day in this chair while you play guitar and sing. And I feel so bothered (or maybe bored)". It sounds like the person spoken to has an invalid mother, sister or wife who has to stay at home alone all the time while he goes out enjoying his music. Another line, in the song "Uncertainty" proclaims in a heavy Bowie voice, "I'm sorry. I'm leaving you". "If you love me, please stay home tonight." Not an album to play in the car with your spouse and kids while on the way to the zoo.

One of the big pluses to this album is that we never know what to expect. The songs are more like a flow of consciousness rather than following any formal structure. There might be some delicate minor key piano with a soft synthesizer in the background and T's vocals (which always remind me of David Bowie singing "China Girl") and then the music will turn more uplifting with double-tracked vocals, one in higher register, and then a thundering explosion of emotive music followed by soft acoustic guitar, piano, and maybe a woodwind instrument. The thing that impresses me is how naturally the parts flow together. I don't feel there's a conscious effort to go "now we change tempo and rhythm... Go!" Like a true stream of consciousness, each subsequent part flows from the previous one.

Where this might be a negative aspect is that it is easy to listen to this album without knowing when one song has ended and another has begun. Add to that the length of the songs, three over 13 minutes long and all but two over 8 minutes, and the fact that there is no clear break between the songs, it is difficult to know what track is playing. A change in the music doesn't mean a new track has started and neither does any nanosecond pause. Throw a song on a mixed playlist and you can hear the abrupt start and finish to the recording, clearly sounding like it was cut out from a flowing piece of work. As such, it is preferable I find to treat this like a continuous performance of music rather than cutting and pasting tracks. Shuffling the album is not recommended.

Overall, the music is composed and arranged with great skill and attention. It is a remarkable piece of work and perhaps more so knowing that, unless I've missed something, T (Thomas Thielen) plays everything: guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, brass and wood winds, and cello maybe, too. There is music here that is beautiful and wonderful and at times exciting in spite of the general absence of cheer.

Where this album will possibly turn off some listeners is in the melancholic atmosphere and the avoidance of any recognizable song structure. Some may not like T's voice but I find it very suitable to the music and a refreshing change from the many higher register prog singers I hear often. The album requires time to get through and in my opinion isn't a good one for pulling off favourite tracks. It's not going to be one for regular enjoyment but when I can devote the time and attention to it, "Fragmentropy" will be a special listening experience.

 T.I.M.E. by NEO-PROPHET album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.36 | 26 ratings

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T.I.M.E.
Neo-Prophet Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This band from Belgium needed more then 5 years to come with a second offer, issued in 2015 name simply T.i.m.e.. This is another worthy album from them, maybe not as great as the debut, but still good from start to finish. From neo prog moments to more heavy prog passages, Neo Prophet has sense of melody all through out. From complex partswith nice keyboards and guitar moves to more melodic ones, this band did a great job, imagine something between Enchant and Arena and you get the picture. All pieces stands as good not a weak moment here, but with all that I prefer the first one more. 3 stars for sure, in places maybe 3,5. Nice art work .

 Spirit by COMEDY OF ERRORS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 161 ratings

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Spirit
Comedy Of Errors Neo-Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars I really love this album, and it is their best one to date. My Grief Lies All Within starts with an awesome bass line layered with background vocals, excellent lyrics and musicianship. The album takes off from there with many changes and surprises, and it is an excellent adventure to explore again and again. If you are a fan of Comedy of Errors, you likely already have this one. If you love progressive rock, this is a must buy. Their previous two albums are also excellent, but if you are new to the band, start with Spirit. Joe Cairney's vocals are always excellent and provide an excellent tone for a perfect progressive rock album. I highly recommend this release.
 The Days Of Deucalion, Chapter 2 by LEAP DAY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 72 ratings

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The Days Of Deucalion, Chapter 2
Leap Day Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Hailing from Holland, LEAP DAY was formed some 8 years ago, consisting of veterans from the Dutch progressive rock scene. They have consistently released a new album every other year since their debut album "Awaking the Muse" appeared in 2009. Their fourth and most recent album is "From the Days of Deucalion Chapter 2", released by the Polish label Oskar Records in 2015.

Leap Day presents us with a tasteful album of neo-progressive rock with the second chapter of their Deucalion album series. The album isn't one that will provide you with too many unexpected developments, but for those with a taste for late '80s and early '90s neo-progressive rock this CD should come a cross as a quality specimen of this specific orientation, and I'd suggest fans of the Fish-era Marillion to be something of a key audience for this album.

 Distant Monsters by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 33 ratings

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Distant Monsters
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by tbstars1

4 stars Occasionally, just occasionally, in over fifty years of listening, a record turns up which I can simply enjoy from start to finish, without risk of causing severe damage to my right thumb as, in irritation, I hammer it down on the fast forward button. Think of...Forever Changes (Love's tour de force and, arguably, still the greatest LP ever released), Trespass, Stand Up (relegates Aqualung to the role of admiring bystander), CTTE, Pollen, Life is Beautiful (Holly Lerski) (criminally overlooked and under-rated indie masterpiece), War and Peace, Script, Masquerade Overture, Summer Stars, van Occupanther, Les Gens de...(Magnesis), Difference Machine, Road of Bones ... you get the picture. I wouldn't go so far as to elevate Distant Monsters to the giddy heights of the aforementioned, but this is an absolutely cracking, sumptuous-sounding CD, with all eight tracks bang on the nail, beautifully paced, with foot-tapping rhythms, swirling undercurrents, soaring guitar breaks and memorable chorus lines...all in all, neo-prog heaven. Overall sound is not too dissimilar to that of Red Sand, but that's no drawback at all. For sheer pleasure and enjoyment, this takes some beating. Release date saw it squeezed into back end of 2015, long after "Best of Year" polls, but this might otherwise have knocked the competition into a cocked hat. Absolutely loved it.
 Live On The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Live, 2015
4.84 | 10 ratings

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Live On The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by progbethyname

5 stars Well, did anyone actually think this album could've sucked?

Isn't it amazing how a band with a nearly 35 year-old tenure of making huge innovations in the progressive music scene can now be at their best? For me personally, IQ have always been incredible when lead by their truly great frontman, Mr. Peter Nichols. Ever since 'Ever' in 1993, which marked a glorious return of Mr. Nichols himself IQ have provided a consistency of making some of the best modernized symphonic Prog rock the UK or even the world for that matter, has ever produced or has to offer. There really are only a handful of bands out there that can keep the flame burning brightly after even 20 years, but IQ have managed to defy the odds and still stay very relevant and quite popular for the many that worship and absolutely adore the Progressive rock genre. 35 years is a long time, so IQ definitely have me singing their praises.

In 2014, IQ stormed back into the progressive world after a five year break and released which many now feel their best album to date, The Road Of Bones. Honestly I was one of those Prog listeners, who felt that The Road Of Bones double album did blow away or had annihilated the competition, so the rightful title of 'Album Of The Year' was greatly and well deserved for IQ back in 2014. Actually, I felt the album was so good that it wasn't even fair.

In late 2015, we get what is now the latest IQ offering to date and it's a double live album that, in my opinion, can't fail who ever out there truly loves this band and like myself, adored The Road Of Bones offering. To talk briefly about this album is next impossible because the level of character and musically it has is off the charts, but I shall try and do my best so I don't bore you, the reader.

Live: On The Road Of Bones is an archival release listed at #007 (yes, like the secret agent. I know. How awesomely British can that be) and the album is and can only be purchased exclusively on their Giant Electric Pea (GEP) website, so I know obtaining this album may be a wallet crusher for those who reside outside of the U.K or Europe, but for every extra schilling you have to fork over I can assure you it's highly worth it. After all, how can we put a price on great music anyway? To continue, Live On The Road Of Bones was staged at The Met, which is in Bury, England on September 2015. A date that many of us like myself, may have ingrained into our heads because an absolute huge musical achievement was put forth by IQ and I feel that this is a live album that is already a classic in the making. Furthermore, the set list is brilliant. You get all five tracks of the actual Road Of Bones album from disc 1 and a few tracks from The Wake (1985) The Seventh House (2000) Dark Matter (2005) and 2009's Frequency. There is also 1 track selected from 1993's Ever album and it's "Out Of Nowhere" which has a pretty clever and humorous twist added to it to inject some light hearted, humorous spirit which smartly balances out the set list. As many of us know, the subject matter in most IQ albums/ tracks is not cheery, so to step outside the Macabre or introspective look into a serial killer's mind, IQ took an excerpt or chorus passage from the broadway musical, Mama 'Mia and threw it into the middle section of "Out of Nowhere" ! Did it work you ask? Strangely enough, I feel it did! Definitely, IQ get full marks for trying to add a little levity to their Bone chilling or serious setlist. A nice highlight. Other great performances that stood out largely in my eyes would be the incredible mind jobs ' The Road Of Bones' and 'Without Walls.' I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my spine has shivered with anticipation and the epic joy I get each time I've listened to both these songs on this album. It is so refreshing to hear both 'The Road Of Bones' and 'Without Walls' performed live in their entirety and I think many who are new and old to discovering IQ will garner more respect for just how good of a live act IQ really is. Everything is going IQ's way right now and I feel their current line up of Nicholls, Durant, Holmes, Cook and Esau is their most chemically potent yet. I know many are major fans of what The former keyboardist and synth wizard, Martin Orford did for the band but Neil Durant is more than an adequate replacement to fill Orford's fairly large shoes. Most of you savvy listeners out there will really hear where Durant adds his own sonic flavorings that were of course originally constructed by Orford. For instance, 'Guiding Light' off the 'Seventh House' is cared for beautifully by Durant for the way his additions, by adding different tonalities to some of the lengthier piano and synth passages, really shine through to the uniqueness of the kind of player Durant is. 'Guiding Light' certainly serves as another nice highlight to this incredible live double album. Meanwhile, of course Peter Nicholls VOX are still incredible! I thought as you get older your voice gets deeper and most lose a bit of range in the higher octave region, but this is massively not the case for Nicholls himself. He has not lost one bit of an edge to his voice. Nicholls is a true professional and I consider him to be a premier vocalists. He is unique and he is a terrific frontman who embodies some of that Peter Gabriel like spirit we proggers love so much. For example, a narrative introduction is given to each track before it's performed. I have always loved this kind of style and presentation hook. Nicholls, like Gabriel does such a great job of doing just that. The listener is easily transported into the mind of the thematic and conceptual serial killer who terrorizes a small town through a series of 'nighttime activities' through Nicholls's poignant spirit. On another note...well the guitar side of things if you will, Mike Holmes I feel is really now one of the very best in the business. Holmes is an amazing guitar player. Virtually every song played on this live album is an assured highlight of greatness. I never actually realized how fast Holmes can play! His fret and finger speed is exceptionally high and very dexterous. All tracks performed on both live discs is an essential highlight. Holmes guitar playing embodies so much of the spirit that is IQ as a band. If I had to pick a track I'd say that "Born Brilliant" is really a Michael Holmes special. The track title is a true testament to his make up as a human being and as guitar player. Fearless fret work unleashed! Moreover, as the Bass work by Tim Esau is nothing short of powerful, punchy and charismatic on a usual basis I feel that the Esau presence' is definitely very strong On The Road Of Bones. Esau is a brilliant bass player and he reminds me a lot of Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike and The Mechanics) by the way he can bring down the house with those Moog Minitaur bass synths and powerful Roland bass pedals he uses in his arsenal of destruction. My whole house vibrates as if I live in a train station or something whenever I have these guys play in my living room. Above all, the Esau presence is felt greatly and I for one am so glad he is back with the band. I love his bass work on 'Ryker Skies' and of course The Road Of Bones s/t track. Truly , a thing of low end beauty. Last but not least. Paul Cook. This is a guy who could put on a clinic to show how you can make drums sound interesting by even just hitting a snare drum and having fun with cymbal crashes all day. Like Esau, I am so glad 'Cookie' is back with the band. His drum roll offs are exceptional, lively and energetic. Cook is a real definition of a spark plug with in the IQ band. I feel that on the 1985 album, 'The Wake' Cook put on a drumming clinic, so it no surprise that on this live album 'The Wake, The Outer Limits and the mini epic 'Headlong' are pure 'Cookie' magic moments performed on this live album. As I said earlier, everyone in the IQ band are on top of their games and what we, as listeners, have on our hands is a top tier live album. As Peter Nicholls would say, " What did you expect? It's an IQ gig. "

Lastly, I of course want to talk about briefly about the audio production and engineering quality of this album. Many of you know by now if you've run into me on the PA Forums, that when it comes down to audio, being as it is sound pressure waves interpreted by our brains, I can be a bit of a nutcase I know. Sound quality and the art and science behind sound recording is as every bit important to me as the music is itself. I can thankfully say without the slightest grimace on my face, that On The Road Of Bones Live is absolutely pure and utter sonic ear candy for even the most discerning listener. Mainly, the maestro at the helm of the audio console is Rob Aubrey. Rob Aubrey I honestly feel, since he joined the IQ audio engineering team back in 2000 for The Seventh House, that over the last 16 years Aubrey has cemented himself like a 6th member of the band. His degree and knowledge for proper engineering skills is widely apparent on this live album. To my ears, this is one of Aubrey's greatest audio engineering achievements. The Overall mix On The Road Of Bones is absolutely sublime, Chrystal clear with an exceptional degree of instrument separation. Nothing is unclear or hazy. Above all else though, the real audio achievement on this live album is a little something called DNR. Quite simply, DNR refers to the term Dynamic Range. DNR refers to the accuracy at which high and low frequency responses are portrayed or made 'audible' with in or on an album recording, meaning where the 'loud' parts are actually made loud and the 'lower' parts (frequencies) are made softly or quieter in the overall mix/production of the album recording, but still the lower frequency responses are made very audible or clear to the human ear, which is how 'nuances' or those nitty gritty details can be heard on an album warts and all. Long story short, Aubrey is a genius at giving DNR to a recording cause it enhances the life, the immersion and realism to what you are listening to. There were many times I felt I was inside Paul cooks drum kit or at the foot end of Peter Nicholls's microphone. I can literally hear his nose whistle! All in all, I am truly grateful to have this album and it is a Masterpiece or classic in the making on every level.

Indeed. A very forceful, 5 Bones.

Prog On.

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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
ARVE Germany
ASGARD Italy
ASSAL Poland
ASTRALIS Chile
ASTURIAS Japan
ATEMPO Argentina
ATRIA France
ATRIUM Portugal
AUDITE Germany
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
STEWART BELL United Kingdom
BELLAPHON Japan
BIG PICTURE United States
BIJOU Spain
BLACK PAGE Japan
BLIND EGO Germany
BLIND OWL United States
BLUE MAMMOTH Brazil
BOLUS Canada
FABRICE BONY France
XAVIER BOSCHER France
BRASSÉ Netherlands
DEC BURKE United Kingdom
TIM BURNESS United Kingdom
CAAMORA United Kingdom
CARPTREE Sweden
ALAN CASE Netherlands
RICH CASEY United States
CASINO United Kingdom
CASTANARC United Kingdom
CATAFALCHI DEL CYBER Italy
CATHEDRAL United States
CATWEAZLE Sweden
MARC CECCOTTI France
CENTAUR RODEO United States
CHANDELIER Germany
CHANETON Argentina
CHEST ROCKWELL United States
CHILDREN OF NOVA United States
CHRIS Netherlands
CINDERELLA SEARCH Japan
CIRKEL Netherlands
CIRRUS BAY United States
CLEPSYDRA Switzerland
CLIFFHANGER Netherlands
COALITION United Kingdom
COLD FAIRYLAND China
COLLAGE Poland
COMBINATION HEAD United Kingdom
COMEDY OF ERRORS United Kingdom
CONTEMPORARY DEAD FINNISH MUSIC ENSEMBLE Finland
COSMIC DANGER United States
COSMOGRAF United Kingdom
COSMOS Switzerland
CRAYON PHASE Germany
CREDO United Kingdom
CRIMSON SKY United Kingdom
CRISÁLIDA Chile
CROMWELL Germany
CRUZ DE HIERRO Mexico
CRYSTAL MAZE Germany
CRYSTAL PALACE Germany
CYAN United Kingdom
THE D PROJECT Canada
DARIUS Germany
DARWIN'S RADIO United Kingdom
DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW United States
DEAD HEROES CLUB Ireland
DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Australia
DEEP THOUGHT Switzerland
DELTA CYPHEI PROJECT Germany
DEYSS Switzerland
DIAL Netherlands
DIFFERENCES Netherlands
DIFFERENT STRINGS Malta
DIRECTION Canada
DISPERSE Poland
DISTANT DREAM United States
DOCKER'S GUILD Italy
TROY DONOCKLEY United Kingdom
DR. NO Spain
DRACMA Spain
DRAMA Uruguay
DREAM ARIA Canada
DRIFTING SUN Multi-National
DUSTER United States
EARTHSTONE United Kingdom
EAST Hungary
ECHO US United States
EDEN SHADOW United Kingdom
EDHELS Monaco
EDISON'S CHILDREN Multi-National
EDITH Italy
EGDON HEATH Netherlands
EGOBAND Italy
ELEGANT SIMPLICITY United Kingdom
ELEPHANT & CASTLE France
ELEPHANTS OF SCOTLAND United States
ELIXIR France
EMERALD Netherlands
THE EMERALD DAWN United Kingdom
ENDLICH ALLEIN Italy
EPILOGUE United Kingdom
EQUINOX Panama
ERASMUS United Kingdom
ESKAPE Germany
ESTHETIC PALE Germany
ETERNAL WANDERERS Russia
EUREKA Germany
EURHYBIA France
EVERY WAKING HOUR United States
EVOLUTION United Kingdom
EVOLUTIVE France
EXHIBIT A United Kingdom
EXOUSTIA United States
EYE 2 EYE France
EYESBERG Germany
EYESTRINGS United States
EZRA United Kingdom
FACTORY OF DREAMS Portugal
FANCYFLUID Italy
THE FAR MEADOW United Kingdom
FAUN Germany
FINAL CONFLICT United Kingdom
FISH United Kingdom
FIVE-O-ONE AM Netherlands
FJIERI Italy
FLAMBOROUGH HEAD Netherlands
FLAMMARION Portugal
FLUTTR EFFECT United States
FOR ABSENT FRIENDS Netherlands
FOR YOUR PLEASURE Germany
JACK FOSTER III United States
FRACTAL United States
FRAMAURO Poland
FRAMES Germany
FRAMEWORK United Kingdom
SALLY FRENCH United Kingdom
FROST* United Kingdom
FRUITCAKE Norway
THE FYREWORKS United Kingdom
GAILLION United States
GALADRIEL Spain
GALAHAD United Kingdom
GALLANT FARM Italy
GALLEON Sweden
GAMBIT France
GANDALF'S FIST United Kingdom
DANIEL GAUTHIER Canada
PETER GEE United Kingdom
GERARD Japan
GHIRIBIZZI Belgium
IL GIARDINO DEI VIZI CONTINUI Italy
JIM GILMOUR Canada
GLACIER United Kingdom
GOOD AUTHORITY Netherlands
ANDREW GORCZYCA United States
IAN GORDON United Kingdom
GPS United States
GRACE United Kingdom
LE GRAND BATON Guadeloupe
GRAND TOUR United Kingdom
GREEN SPACE France
JEFF GREEN Ireland
GRENDEL Poland
GREY LADY DOWN United Kingdom
HANGOVER PARADISE Netherlands
HARNAKIS Spain
HARVEST Spain
HAZE United Kingdom
THE HEALING ROAD Germany
HELLO MADNESS Mexico
HIDDEN LANDS Sweden
HIGH SPY United Kingdom
HIGHER CIRCLES United States
TRACY HITCHINGS United Kingdom
LALO HUBER Argentina
STEVE HUGHES United Kingdom
HUIS Canada
HYBRID United Kingdom
I AND THOU United States
ICE Netherlands
THE ID Multi-National
ILLUMION Netherlands
ILUVATAR United States
IN NOMINE Spain
INDISCIPLINED LUCY Sweden
INES Germany
INIOR Italy
THE INSTITUTE OF MODERN LOVE United Kingdom
INTROITUS Sweden
INVERTIGO Germany
INVISIGOTH United States
IQ United Kingdom
IRIS France
IT United Kingdom
VELISLAV IVANOV Bulgaria
IXION Netherlands
JADIS United Kingdom
JANISON EDGE United Kingdom
JESETER Czech Republic
JOLLY United States
JUMP United Kingdom
K2 United States
KAMPAI Germany
KEN'S NOVEL Belgium
KINETIC ELEMENT United States
KING OF AGOGIK Germany
KNIGHT AREA Netherlands
KONCHORDAT United Kingdom
KRAMER Netherlands
LAHOST United Kingdom
LANDMARQ United Kingdom
THE LAST PLACID DAYS OF PLENTY Canada
LEAP DAY Netherlands
LEGEND United Kingdom
LEGGAT Canada
THE LENS United Kingdom
LEVIATHAN Italy
LIFESIGNS United Kingdom
LIGHT Netherlands
LIGHT DAMAGE Luxembourg
LIKE WENDY Netherlands
LITTLE ATLAS United States
LONGSHOT France
LOOKING-GLASS LANTERN United Kingdom
LORIEN United Kingdom
LOW BUDGET ORCHESTRA Finland
LUNAR CHATEAU United States
MACROMARCO Italy
MAD PUPPET Italy
MAD TEA PARTY Germany
MADELGAIRE Belgium
MAGENTA United Kingdom
MAGNÉSIS France
MAGUS (THE WINTER TREE) United States
MAJESTIC United States
MALOMENOS Chile
MANDRAGORA Argentina
GEOFF MANN United Kingdom
MARATHON Netherlands
MARATHON Italy
MARILLION United Kingdom
MARTIGAN Germany
MARYSON Netherlands
MASCARADA Spain
MASQUE Sweden
MASTER OF CEREMONY Italy
MAYBE France
MICHAEL MAYER & DEAN ROUCH United States
MEDICINE MAN United Kingdom
MENAYERI Puerto Rico
MENTAUR United Kingdom
MERCHANTS VICE United Kingdom
MERCY TRAIN United Kingdom
METAMORPHOSIS Switzerland
METAPHOR United States
MILLENIUM Poland
MINDGAMES Belgium
MINOR GIANT Netherlands
MK II United Kingdom
MONARCH TRAIL Canada
MONTECRISTO Indonesia
MOONRISE Poland
MORIA FALLS United Kingdom
MORPHELIA Germany
MOTHS United Kingdom
MR. GIL Poland
MR. SO & SO United Kingdom
MUDWAY Italy
MULTI-STORY United Kingdom
MUTE ALBINO Belgium
MYSTERKAH France
MYSTERY Canada
BADER NANA Kuwait
NAOS France
NAVIGATOR United States
NEGUA Spain
NEMEZIS Poland
NEO-PROPHET Belgium
NEON LEAVES United Kingdom
NEPENTHE United States
NEW EDEN ORCHESTRA United States
NIADEM'S GHOST United Kingdom
THE NIGHT WATCH Italy
NINE STONES CLOSE United Kingdom
NO NAME / THE NO NAME EXPERIENCE Luxembourg
NO RESTRAINTS United States
NOLAN & WAKEMAN United Kingdom
CLIVE NOLAN United Kingdom
ERIK NORLANDER United States
NORTH STAR United States
NOSTALGIA Italy
NOVEMBER Netherlands
NOVOX Netherlands
NOW Belgium
NTH ASCENSION United Kingdom
NUANCE France
NUMEN Spain
NURKOSTAM Finland
NYL Russia
OCEAN Norway
ONZA Spain
OORT France
OPUS EST Sweden
MARTIN ORFORD United Kingdom
ORPHEUS Japan
OSIRIS Bahrain
THE OTHER SIDE United States
OUTSIDE France
OVERDRIVE Italy
OVERLOAD Pakistan
OVNI El Salvador
PALLAS United Kingdom
PANDORAS.BOX Germany
PANGAEA United States
PANTOKRAATOR Estonia
MATTHEW PARMENTER United States
PARZIVALS EYE Multi-National
JAKE PASHKIN Russia
INDREK PATTE Estonia
PAX ROMANA Finland
PBII Netherlands
PENDRAGON United Kingdom
PETER PAN Poland
PHAESIS France
PHENOM India
PHOENIX AGAIN Italy
PHREEWORLD United States
PI XPRNC Venezuela
PICKLELEGAZ Netherlands
PICTURES Italy
PILGRYM United Kingdom
PLACKBAND Netherlands
PRELUDE Belgium
PRIMITIVE INSTINCT United Kingdom
PRODUCT United States
PROFUNA OCEAN Netherlands
PROTEO Italy
PROTOS United Kingdom
PROVIDENCE Japan
PROXIMAL DISTANCE United States
THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE United States
PTS Netherlands
Q Chile
QANTUM France
QUADRA France
QUASAR United Kingdom
QUIDAM Poland
QUMMA CONNECTION Finland
QWAARN Canada
RADAVIQUE Netherlands
RAEL Argentina
RED SAND Canada
REVELATION United Kingdom
RICOCHER Netherlands
RIVENDEL Spain
RIVERSEA United Kingdom
RIVERYMAN Finland
RIZENGARD Mexico
STEVE ROTHERY United Kingdom
RPWL Germany
SAENS France
SAGITTARIAN Japan
MOTOI SAKURABA Japan
SALEM HILL United States
SANGUINE HUM United Kingdom
SAQQARAH France
SARIS Germany
SATELLITE Poland
SCAPELAND WISH United States
SCHEHERAZADE Japan
SEA VINE Poland
SEASONS OF TIME Germany
SECRET CINEMA Italy
SETI Chile
SEVEN DAY HUNT Netherlands
SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR Germany
P.J. SHADOWHAWK United States
SHADOWLAND United Kingdom
SHAKARY Switzerland
SHAMALL Germany
SILENT AGREEMENT Netherlands
SILHOUETTE Netherlands
SILVER KEY Italy
SINISTER STREET Netherlands
SINUS Poland
SIX ELEMENTS United States
SKEEM France
SKYFOX 8 Brazil
SLOW MOTION REIGN United States
SLYCHOSIS United States
MARK SMOOT United States
SNOWDONIA Spain
SOLIS Brazil
SOLSTICE United Kingdom
SPEKTRUM Sweden
SPLINTER Netherlands
STEALING THE FIRE United Kingdom
STEP AHEAD France
STRANGEFISH United Kingdom
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN United Kingdom
SUBSIGNAL Germany
SUBTERRA Chile
SUPERDRAMA Germany
SUPPER'S READY Luxembourg
ROBERT SVILPA United States
SYLVAN Germany
SYRIAK Venezuela
T Germany
TALE Multi-National
TALE Italy
TALE CUE Italy
TALE OF DIFFUSION Poland
TALIESYN Germany
TAMARISK United Kingdom
STEVE TASSLER United States
TAURUS AND PISCES Netherlands
TEA IN THE SAHARA Germany
TEE (THE EARTH EXPLORER') Japan
THALASSA France
THEATRE Italy
THIRD QUADRANT United Kingdom
TIGER MOTH TALES United Kingdom
TIME AND TIDE United States
TIME HORIZON United States
TIMELOCK Netherlands
TMP (TOON MARTENS PROJECT) Belgium
TOP LEFT CORNER Italy
TOWER Italy
TR3NITY United Kingdom
TRAMA Italy
TRANSIENCE United States
TRIANGLE Netherlands
TRISTAN PARK United States
TSUKI-USAGI Japan
TSUNAMI Germany
LA TULIPE NOIRE Greece
TWELFTH NIGHT United Kingdom
TWIN AGE Sweden
ULTIME ATOME France
ULTRA VIOLET RAYS United States
UNICORN Sweden
UNISPHERE Canada
US Netherlands
UTOPIAN FIELDS Norway
VANTASMA Indonesia
VESTAL United States
VIENNA CIRCLE United Kingdom
VINTAGE Spain
VIOLET DISTRICT Germany
THE VIOLET HOUR United Kingdom
MIKE VISAGGIO United States
VISIBLE WIND Canada
THE VOW Germany
THE WATCH Italy
WATER GARDEN Japan
WHITECHAPEL France
WILTON SAID Canada
WINTER United Kingdom
XENN Poland
YACOBS Germany
YAK United Kingdom
YLECLIPSE Italy
DAVID YOUNGER United Kingdom
YUKA & CHRONOSHIP Japan
YWIS Netherlands
ZENIT Switzerland
ZENOBIA Germany
ZIFF Germany
ZONK MONK Japan
TOMMY ZVONCHECK United States

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