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VARIOUS GENRES

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Various Genres definition

Albums or CD's where more than one artist is featured either as a SAMPLER or a TRIBUTE to a particular band. Examples: - Peter and The Wolf - Prog Fairytale - 1975 / The Reading Room - 2000 / Leonardo - The Absolute Man - 2001 / Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever - 2003 / Un Voyage En Progressif Volume 1 to 8 / Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic.

Various Genres Top Albums


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

4.26 | 125 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.26 | 66 ratings
INFERNO THE DIVINE COMEDY - PART 1
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.35 | 36 ratings
LA BIBLIA
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.22 | 69 ratings
ODYSSEY - THE GREATEST TALE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.22 | 50 ratings
DECAMERON: TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART 1)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.30 | 31 ratings
THE SPAGHETTI EPIC 3
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.21 | 42 ratings
REWIRING GENESIS: A TRIBUTE TO THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.79 | 9 ratings
LEADER OF THE STARRY SKIES: A TRIBUTE TO TIM SMITH, SONGBOOK 1
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.06 | 44 ratings
THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT: A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.01 | 54 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK ALBUM)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.01 | 39 ratings
PURGATORIO THE DIVINE COMEDY - PART 2
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.16 | 19 ratings
DECAMERON. TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.02 | 32 ratings
(THE) 7 SAMURAI
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.73 | 6 ratings
PAOLO CHIARANDINI PLAYS GENESIS
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.13 | 17 ratings
MARSCAPE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.00 | 29 ratings
THE TALES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE - A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.44 | 7 ratings
VISIONS OF AN INNER MOUNTING APOCALYPSE (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA)
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.50 | 6 ratings
HUR! HOMMAGE À LA MUSIQUE DE CHRISTIAN VANDER
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.10 | 11 ratings
RETURN TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - A TRIBUTE TO PINK FLOYD
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.92 | 21 ratings
THE ROME PRO(G)JECT
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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Latest Various Genres Music Reviews


 Classic Rock Society - New Species by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Classic Rock Society - New Species
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars This is the first "New Species" volume of Classic Rock magazine's supplementary prog sampler discs that have rapidly grown in numbers within few years. I presume the magazine gives more information on the artists of each sampler, but I have received this - and one other - separately, and therefor my review won't be very informative. Instead I'm approaching this solely as a listening experience.

FREQUENCY DRIFT, one of those I've just heard the name of. 'Tempest' is a dreamy and melancholic track that continues four minutes before the female vocals arrive. The chorus repeating "fierce (fears?) the tempest" sticks out as more intense. A great 10-minute track that makes me interested in the band. - Norwegian WHITE WILLOW, Metal-oriented prog band with female vocals, I already know more or less. The track has some fine keyboard work and a nice but short guitar solo, while the song itself leaves me a bit cold. - DAY SIX is depressive Metal, not much to impress me. Or wait, that proggy instrumental section stepping further from the Metal style is pretty good.

WOBBLER is a highly appreciated Norwegian prog band with lots of nearly Gentle Giant-ish complexity and a strong YES flavour in sound. 'La Bealtaine' (7:53) shows their skills in an economic form and is a perfect choice for a sampler. - CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX, haven't heard before. A cross between Muse and Porcupine Tree perhaps. They try hard to sound original and occasionally - without the wailing vocals - they also succeed in it. - Australian UNITOPIA play pop-oriented modern cleanly produced prog. Longish 'What Kind of World' has many good things but slightly too much of quite average vocals.

Who's PAUL MENEL? His chosen track is tightly packed pop song with an ambitious sonic texture. Some less of political voice samples would do, thanks. - MORPHEUS RISING: what else can I say than that they sound to me like dozens of other Metal bands. - The U.S. artist PHIDEAUX I have already an interest in; having heard two albums I think 'Tempest of Mutiny' isn't Phideaux at his best, especially on the vocals. - And finally KONCHORDAT (??), whose 'Panic Room' (9:20) is abbreviated here. It's so exhaustingly full of energy and in-your-face edginess that I'm not encouraged to find out more.

"No moths were harmed in the making of this CD!" I like the covers of this series (that echo TALK TALK's The Colour of Spring - perhaps unintentionally). Musically this volume has some great things and some not exactly up to my taste. I've listened to many worse compilations, so three stars are easily earned.

 21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Official Bootled v.1 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.00 | 1 ratings

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21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Official Bootled v.1
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Early King Crimson resurrected to great effect!

I think it is a real shame that this brilliant group of King Crimson alumni needs to be hidden away in the tributes section. With two founding members of King Crimson - Ian McDonald and Michael Giles - and a further two - Peter Giles and Mel Collins - who were part of that band very early on it is hard to complain about the band members pedigree. Jakko Jakszyk was the only one here that at the time of this "live in the studio" recording had not previously been a member of King Crimson, but Jakszyk too has now recently joined the ranks of King Crimson and is touring with them at the moment.

The present album was recorded live in the studio just before the band performed some great shows in Japan, one of which was captured on film and released as Live In Japan. The track list of this teaser CD is a little selection of tracks that they performed on those shows all of which originally came from the 1969 to 1972 period of King Crimson when these guys were part of that band (but never all of them at the same time).

Three tracks represent the ground breaking 1969 debut In The Court Of The Crimson King, two from the second album In The Wake Of Poseidon, and two from the fourth album Islands. Lizard is however overlooked. Everything is excellently performed and Jakszyk does a fantastic job as a vocalist and guitarist. Having these brilliant songs recreated by some of the people who originally wrote and performed them back in the days utilizing modern recording technology is simply great. This is especially significant in virtue of the fact that Robert Fripp and co had completely turned their backs on material from the band's early days. The 21st Century Schizoid Band is much truer to King Crimson's original sound and spirit and they carry on the flame and preserve the great legacy of that band better than anyone else.

This "official bootleg" disc is a very nice addition to any progressive Rock collection, but the subsequent live releases from 21st Century Schizoid Band are even more interesting. I highly recommend the aforementioned live concert video Live In Japan and even more so the later double live CD Pictures Of A City - Live In New York both of which offer a wider range of tracks from King Crimson's early days as well as a few selections from the members solo albums.

 The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft: A SyNphonic Collection by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.06 | 44 ratings

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The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft: A SyNphonic Collection
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT: A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION is one of those various artists releases that I decided to pick simply because of a couple artists involved despite not knowing many of the others involved in the project. Those artists were Daal and Nexus. Two eclectic symphonic bands that have kept my attention time and time again. As expected the two tracks by them are outstanding and worth the price of admission alone, however what was most unexpected is that I find every track on this sprawling triple disc album to be worth having, albeit some are far superior to others. The majority are really very good and I am quite happy to have purchased this release despite my usual dislike for such projects where more often than not it is only a few select tracks that warrant heightened enthusiasm and mental orgasmic activity.

I was also surprised to learn that this is actually the 19th release of a lofty ongoing collaboration between The Finnish Progressive Music Association and Musea Records. The idea is to pick a concept and ask various bands to write a track within the parameters of its subject matter. Although I have not yet savored the fruits of the other installments in the grandiose project, I have to admit that if they are anywhere close to being as enjoyable as this release then sign me up for MOOORE!!! Despite the unfounded fears that the thematic unification would be a total train wreck of clashing sounds and ideas, the total opposite rings true with THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT: A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was, of course, the author who haunted pulp magazines and lived a most eccentric life before he died in poverty due to the fact he never made it big during his lifetime but had great success posthumously. He was obsessed in his stories with forbidden and occult knowledge. The characters in his stories were seekers of dark and esoteric wisdom often meeting their own demise by going just a tad too far in their quest. The music on this release perfectly represents these themes and I am utterly amazed at how well it holds together despite the twenty bands existing in seemingly different corners of the symphonic prog realm.

The album just bursts into your consciousness with the first attention grabbing track by The Samurai Of Prog and continues throughout the entire 02:58:25 duration. This was love at first listen with a few tracks seeming a little lackluster but only in comparison to the better ones. I have never been a huge Glass Hammer fan and I have to admit it's one of my lesser faves here but like I said, there is no bad track here. Only outstanding and very good. Most tracks are instrumental and the few that aren't incite LOVECRAFT's poetry and literary themes. I am happy to say that my favorite band on here Daal is the one who carries the weight of his most popular tale "The Call Of Cthulu" where they deliver their appropriate creepy symphonic take on it. There is no need to go through this track by track and I would bore you to tears if I did. All I can say is that this is one massively brilliant behemoth of well-LOVECRAFT-ed symphonic prog going on here.

Of the bands I know well including The Samari Of Prog, Glass Hammer, Jinetes Negros, Daal, Nexus and Simon Says, I have to say that they deliver their best here and all the other bands I have not yet encountered give me a gleeful introduction to their particular sounds that warrant further exploration. The musicianship on here is outstanding and the tracks really spice it up so as to keep the theme unified over the need for self-expression yet every track is clearly by a different musical entity. GREAT stuff on this one.

In case you're wondering here is the whole list of Colossus Project released so far:

Tuonen Tytar: A Tribute To Finnish Progressive (2000)

Kalevala - Finnish Progressive Rock Epic (2003)

The Spaghetti Epic - Six Modern Prog Bands For Six Seventies Prog Suites (2004)

Odyssey - The Greatest Tale (2005)

The Colossus of Rhodes (2006)

The 7 Samurai - The Ultimate Epic (2006)

The Spaghetti Epic 2 - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (2007)

Treasure Island (2007)

Giallo! One Suite for the Murderer (2008)

The Empire and The Rebellion (2008)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part I - Dante's Inferno (2009)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part II - Purgatorio (2009)

Rökstenen - a Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's (2009)

The Spaghetti Epic 3 - The Great Silence (2009)

Tuonen Tytar-A Tribute To Finnish Progressive Rock Of The Seventies - Volume Two (2009)

Iliad: A Grand Piano Extravaganza (2010)

The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: A SyNphonic Collection (2010)

Decameron-Ten Days In 100 Novellas - Part I (2011)

THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT: A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION (2012)

Decameron - Ten days in 100 novellas - Part II (2014)

 The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 10 ratings

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The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by SteveG

2 stars Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby. As much as I love the Lips and appreciate their love of classic progressive rock music from KC to Yes, this take on PF's DSOTM just comes up short. First of all, they share the bill with Wayne Coyne's brother's band Stardeath and White Dwarfs, and neither have the vocal abilities to carry this material, showing us just how good the vocal abilities are of the Floyd themselves.

Another problem with the material is that it's not going through the usual filter of Flaming Lips distinctive quirky sound as the FL's weave acid rock motifs around the opener Breath, it's reprise and Any Color You Like. Money starts off as a more chunky version of the well known song that immediately sinks as Wayne Coyne's vocal is robotized by vocoder effects. The less said about the butchering of the Great Gig In the Sky by a guest vocalist named Peaches, the better.

This album only drives one to seek out the original upon completion of listening instead of driving you on to other Flaming Lips albums. Bypass this turkey and grab the dark existential Popol Vuh like 2012 album The Terror, or stick with the older feel good psych pop of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and get back into what the Flaming Lips do best. For completists only, 2 stars.

 21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Live In Japan (DVD) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover DVD/Video, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Live In Japan (DVD)
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Impressive Show by King Crimson Alumnus PLUS

Anything about King Crimson has always attracted my attention as the band is truly a progressive band: it evolves in many forms and styles of music. 21st Century Schizoid Band were a King Crimson alumnus plus one musician formed sometime in 2002. Everyone who claims as prog head must have known that "21st Century Schizoid Man" is a legendary name that refers to a brilliant song by King Crimson from their debut album, sung by Greg Lake (originally). I love the early years of King Crimson where they had Mel Collins on saxophones, flute and keyboards, Michael Giles on drums, Peter Giles on bass, Ian McDonald on saxophones, flute and keyboards which span across four albums - all of them are excellent ones. Those alumni plus Jakko Jakszyk on guitar and vocals formed the new band. The band played live and filmed in this DVD, recorded in November 6, 2002 at Shinjuku Kouseinenkin Hall, Tokyo, Japan.

When the concert starts off with "A Man, A City" I was so stunned by the excellent performance they play especially on the ability to provide energy and harmony of this wonderfully crafted track from Lizard album. One that really impresses me is Michael Giles who still can play drums wonderfully as it was in the late sixties or early seventies with his varied shots plus raw drum sounds. It's really wonderful especially looking at the fact that he is no longer young by the time the concert was recorded. The other is Mel Collins who has been very consistent in prog music since then until now. My favorite "Cat Food" was performed in slower tempo that at first listen did not impress me at all ...but later I like it because it's different than the studio version. Jakko is really good in vocal as well as guitar work.

To me it's something like a trip to the past where most of legendary tracks performed again live in 2002 with much better audio technology so I can feel the vintage "In The Court of Crimson King" performed with better sound quality but maintaining the raw drums sound. I think Michael Giles creates the character of the music here as his work makes the overall music rich in nuances. Flute work also nice and it's performed sometimes by Collins and sometimes by Ian McDonald (like in I Talk To The Wind where he gave long flute solo). "Formentera Lady" from Islands album is another great performance, in some way it's better than the studio version. I think the most interesting part is "Ladies of The Road" as the song was performed differently with excellent delivery of complex arrangement at the end.

The performance was peaked at Epitaph where at the end of the song the band members closed the performance. It's quite a joy having "Epitaph" performed by maintaining its vintage nuances. Jakko's voice can produce great voice even though quite different from the original studio version. The mellotron-drenched composition still make the song enjoyed as if it was the seventies performance. The band gave two songs as encore: one from McDonald's instrumental song "Birdman" and the really last one is the wonderfully-crafted song "21st Century of Schizoid Man". WOW!!! This last song really make my day! It's really great performance and almost flawless from the beginning until the end part. I do enjoy the sax improvisations as well as stunning guitar solo by Jakko. Oh by the way ... Peter Giles also played wonderful bass guitar throughout the show. The sax solo is played initially by Collins and then followed wonderfully by McDonald ...Oh man ......! You will be amazed with this performance!!! I always replay this last song as it's really top notch! In fact the distorted sound of vocal by Jakko is also great.

Overall , this is an excellent performance by King Crimson alumnus plus Jakko as lead vocals and guitar. I envy on Japanese who had the opportunity to watch this excellent performance. Long live King Crimson! Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Beyond Frontiers by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
3.97 | 3 ratings

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Beyond Frontiers
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by OldSchoolProg

4 stars I've found that people either love sampler CD's, or absolutely hate them. Personally, I've always found them enjoyable and look forward to getting them in magazines or as promotional material. Progstravaganza's release is no different, I've given "Beyond Frontiers" multiple listens off their audio stream link, and with each listen, it get's better and better. Seconds Before Landing starts us off with a very solid offering, "I'm All Alone." It's haunting lyrics sent chills up my spine with the closing whispers and gunshot, very powerful. Fughu picks up where the previous track left off and then draws you in with its arpeggio like organ runs before the theater opens. I find myself listening to this story with its unique lyrical qualities that peak my interest and "Quirk of Fate" offers up a little bit of everything prog that I like. Traffic Experiment is no accident; this is a smooth poetic track of coolness called "Weight of the World." The easiness explodes at the end with its electric guitar solo giving way to a chorus of organ outro. Machines Dream "Broken Door" has that dreamy quality before giving way to the guitar also. The flute bridge ties the two halves together nicely. The Moonling literally takes you "Backstage" in the theater of life, taking over from where Fughu started earlier in the disc. "Backstage" took a couple listens with the vocal gymnastics and circus sounds, but its quirkiness is quickly becoming a favorite. Rolf Remlinger gives us our first instrumental track. The 6/8 section after the opening is very well developed with hints of mellotron, booming bass, and gentle synth solo. "Corrosive Exponent Too" explodes in the last half with an epic battle between guitar and synthesizer. Riccardo Sandri takes us on a folksy waltz style journey in his native language with classical guitar and simple percussion, accordion and organ. Just when you think you've heard the whole song and melody over and over again (which is still playing in my head!), he rocks it out at the end and really kicks it in overdrive. Cea Serin, "The Victim Cult," cooks from beginning to end. I may not be a fan of some of the vocal styles used, but they make it work and balance throughout the piece. This song really rocks this disc and adds a whole new layer for the listener, a lot going on here (which I'm liking more and more). Overhaul, "Three Judges," shows multiple progressive qualities in different sections tied together with some real nice solo piano work. A lot of unique rhythmic changes and textures keep the listener interested. Celluloid Winter "Feigning Insanity (Part 1)," offers up some nice acoustic guitar work and vocals. I need to hear part 2 now! "Tin Man" by Amber Herd picks up the tempo with some almost "surf" sounding guitars throughout, a straightforward fun piece from beginning to end with a little march style bridge. The only other instrumental track, Fed Colombo "Midgar" takes us on a relaxing journey adding more and more layers as we go along finally driving home a rocking beat. The fade out at the end appropriately closes the disc in perfect fashion. Overall, I look forward to getting the physical CD and spinning it in the car stereo on many trips. I like the variety, all are solid quality recordings and the artists should be recognized for their efforts. There are minor flaws, some tracks may not be to every one's taste, but as far as samplers go, I can listen to this one from beginning to end without any track skipping.
 21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Pictures Of A City: Live In New York by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Live, 2006
5.00 | 3 ratings

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21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Pictures Of A City: Live In New York
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars The best of classic King Crimson performed live by some of its original creators!

Pictures Of A City - Live In New York is a double live album recorded in 2004. Compared to Live In Japan--a live album and video they recorded a couple of years earlier--there has been one change in the line-up of the 21st Century Schizoid Band with Ian Walace having taken the place of Michael Giles behind the drum kit. Ian Walace was the original drummer on the Islands album from 1971. Peter Giles and Mel Collins first participated in the making of 1970's In The Wake Of Poseidon and both of them are still here along with original Crimson member Ian McDonald who played a central role in the creation of the ground breaking 1969 debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King. The fifth and final member of the 21st century Schizoid Band, Jakko Jakszyk, is the only one that had not previously been a member of King Crimson at the time of this live recording (however, Jakszyk too has become a King Crimson member at the time of writing).

The set list featured here overlaps to a significant degree with that of the aforementioned Live In Japan release but there are several noteworthy differences. With Michael Giles gone it was perhaps natural that they dropped the songs from his non-Crimson career including songs from the 1971 McDonald & Giles album. Instead we get two 21st Century Schizoid Band originals, one written by Mel Collins and one by Jakko Jakszyk. There is still one song from Ian McDonald's 1999 solo album Driver's Eyes, but otherwise they concentrate on material from King Crimson's first four albums to which the members of the 21st Century Schizoid Band originally contributed in various constellations.

We get four out of the five songs originally from In The Court Of The Crimson King, two of which for Ian McDonald single-handedly wrote the music (with Peter Sinfield writing the lyrics) and the other two also bearing writing credits to him. In The Wake Of Poseidon is represented by three tracks in Pictures Of A City, Cat Food and Cadence And Cascade. Giles and Collins participated in the original recording of that album and McDonald is credited with writing some of the material that ended up on it even though he had left the band before this album was recorded. Spend Us Three is the Collins original and it is a piece written for three (!) flutes which here functions as an introduction to Cadence And Cascade. The other 21st Century Schizoid Band original, credited to Jakszyk, is Catley's Ashes. This is an instrumental workout which works well among the classics.

1970 also saw the emergence of Lizard, the band's third album to which Mel Collins contributed as a full band member. This album is here represented by its best track, Circus--excellently performed, like everything else here. This brings us to the fourth album, Islands, to which Collins and Ian Walace originally contributed. Formentera Lady, Ladies Of The Road and Sailor's Tale were originally on that album. The second disc of this live album is pure bliss with I Talk To The Wind, Epitaph, 21st Century Schizoid Man and Starless. These are just the four best King Crimson songs ever all in one place! The original version of Starless featured both Mel Collins and Ian McDonald as guest performers.

Compared to the already very good Live In Japan release, Pictures Of A City - Live In New York is even more solid with one great classic after another and not a single sub par song. 21st Century Schizoid Band is an extremely tight unit with a goldmine of great material to draw from. The existence of this great band and this fantastic live recording in particular is especially significant in light of the fact that Robert Fripp and co have entirely turned their backs on material from the band's early days. 21st Century Schizoid Band is much truer to the original sound and tradition of King Crimson than the band bearing that name today. Yet, the 21st Century Schizoid Band is not just about recreating the old, but also about re-interpreting it and quite a few of these songs sound better than ever in these confident live versions. In my view this double live CD is a lot more interesting than anything King Crimson proper has put out since the 1970's.

An absolutely superb live album!

 21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Live In Japan (DVD) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover DVD/Video, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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21st Century Schizoid Band (King Crimson alumni group) - Live In Japan (DVD)
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars The original and best!

The 21st Century Schizoid Band is a King Crimson "alumni group" consisting of Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Peter Giles, Mel Collins and Jakko Jakszyk. Ian McDonald and Michael Giles were of course founding members of King Crimson contributing to the ground breaking 1969 debut In The Court Of The Crimson King and Mel Collins and Peter Giles both have histories with that pioneering progressive Rock group that go all the way back to the recording of the second album In The Wake Of Poseidon. Jakko Jakszyk was the only one here that at the time of this live recording had not previously been a member of King Crimson, but Jakszyk too has now recently joined the ranks of King Crimson. Here we have these five men performing an excellent concert in front of an ecstatic audience in Japan in November 2002.

With only two exceptions, the set list consists entirely of material that was written or co-written by someone on the stage. The show opens with a brief ambient instrumental credited to Jakszyk which sets the mood for the show and leads into A Man, A City. The latter is a song that was originally performed live by King Crimson after the release of In The Court Of The Crimson King and later became Pictures Of A City which first appeared in studio form on the follow up album In The Wake Of Poseidon. Next up is Cat Food which is another song from that second Crimson album. It bears a writing credit of Ian McDonald even though he didn't play on the original album version of the song since he and Michael Giles decided to leave the group around this time. After Cat Food comes a song of a much more recent origin, taken from Ian McDonald's 1999 solo album Driver's Eyes (which also featured Michael Giles as well as John Wetton and Steve Hackett and many others) Let There Be Light is a good song that sounds better live than in the studio and fits very nicely into the 21st Century Schizoid Band repertoire. The same must be said of Progress which is the only song in the set that I had not heard before. It is taken from Michael Giles solo album of the same name which was recorded around 1978 but was not released until 2002.

No less than four out of the five tracks from In The Court Of The Crimson King are here, every one of them excellently performed. Not only is this by far King Crimson's best album, it is also an eternal milestone of the whole genre of progressive Rock. Having these brilliant songs recreated in 2002 by some of the people who originally wrote and performed them back in the days utilizing modern recording technology is amazing. This is especially significant in virtue of the fact that Robert Fripp and co have entirely turned their backs on material from the band's early days. Hearing these great performances, I don't miss Fripp for a second.

The title track from In The Court Of The Crimson King as well as I Talk To The Wind were both written by Ian McDonald (with lyrics by Peter Sinfield) while Epitaph and 21st Century Schizoid Man were group compositions credited to Fripp, Greg Lake, McDonald, Giles and Sinfield. Moonchild is the sole song from that classic debut album album that is not included in this live set. Even though I certainly would not have minded hearing the first, harmonic, melodic part of this song, it is a blessing not to have to hear that aimless second part of the song. In a way, what we have here is the best of early King Crimson without any of the dross that made it onto some of their albums.

While the band's third album Lizard is not represented in this set list, we get two songs from the fourth album Islands. These are Formentera Lady and Ladies Of The Road, both credited to Fripp and Sinfield. Both of these live versions are in my opinion improvements over the original albums versions that had a very weak sound. The same can be said of Tomorrow's People and Birdman which both come from the 1971 McDonald & Giles album. The first of these features Michael Giles on lead vocals and the second is (in the present version) a great symphonic instrumental. The only song in the whole show that doesn't really fit in is If I Was, another one from McDonald's Driver's Eyes. It is a conventional Pop song on which McDonald himself takes the lead. While in general McDonald is an underrated and brilliant song writer, this is hardly his finest moment and his voice is too weak to carry the song.

Overall, this is a great live concert recording. The 21st Century Schizoid Band is much truer to King Crimson's original sound and spirit and they carry on the flame and preserve the great legacy of that band better than anyone else.

 Beyond Frontiers by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
3.97 | 3 ratings

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Beyond Frontiers
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Progstravaganza is a series of samplers that saw the light of day in 2010, at the instigation of enthusiastic founder of Prog Sphere website, Nikola Savic. The aim was to get the word out about new artists, be they self-produced or signed on a label, that lack exposure on the progressive scene.

After 20 samplers proposed in digital version, the talent digger decided to give his samplers a physical format. 'Beyond the frontiers' is the first of a series of samplers that will now be released as physical copies. Since this support doesn't offers the same time possibilities as digital versions, the number of artists sampled had to be reduced. The diversity in the material has also been restrained, for a specific focus on traditional progressive rock. The previous samplers proposed indeed a very wide range of musical styles, including ambient, jazz-fusion and extreme metal, besides progressive rock. The originality and the diversity of the bands' material on the new sampler allows nonetheless to realize that the current trends in progressive rock are far from being fixed and predictable.

As an example, one can senses the influence of trip-hop with Seconds Before Landing and their sensitive frailty, just like with the hybridous Fred Colombo where a Glass-like piano ensures the transition to a galloping progressive metal. The theatricality of Genesis can be witnessed in Fughu's music, who even benefit from the collaboration of the ever passionate Damian Wilson (Landmarq, Threshold) on vocal duties. As for Traffic Experiment, we navigate in cheerful pop seas yet with that 60's psychedelic vibe, where those exhilarating guitars and majestic Hammond fire on all cylinders. In a different range, Rolf Remlinger invites us to a devilish rockabilly supported by blazing guitars and keyboards. Conversely, our ears delight to a solar folk, first with Riccardo Sandri and a passion for traditional vibes, second with Celluloid Winter, in a more modern approach to the music. Progressive metal is not forgotten, as the music of Cea Serin, a band that went out of the silence after 10 years, is celebrated with its dynamic structures and a wide range of voices. One will also notice that Porcupine Tree continues to have disciples, with Machines Dream and their hazy music. Post-punk of the eighties is also feasting on the sampler, in its tribal form on one hand with The Amber Herd and their mesmerizing guitars, and gothic form on the other hand with The Moonling and their spectral guitars, together with the obviously snoring bass of Joy Division. With Overhaul, we are amazed by the diversity of the sound canvas, that ranges from symphonic pop to heavy prog and to traditional hard-rock and Chopin-like piano.

Progstravaganza is therefore the key to a very creative world, yet in need of help to surface from the vast progressive ocean. This projet is acclaimed by progressive rock lovers since its inception, and even if the number of bands sampled will be reduced with the new support, the diversity will still be there. A welcome return to ambient and extreme digressions is even planned on the forthcoming samplers. In short, this is a project to follow if you wish to be aware of the evolution of the progressive movement, and support original bands and artists. The release is planned for October 14th of 2014. The sampler can be pre-ordered at Progify.

 Marscape by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.13 | 17 ratings

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Marscape
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Marscape is a soundtrack performed by some of the finest British jazz-rock musicians, mostly schooled within Brand X and under the leadership of keyboardist Robin Lumley and lyricon (an electronic wind instrument) player Jack Lancaster , both having glorified previous careers with the Brit prog universe. Brand X back up is provided by guitarist extraordinaire John Goodsall, the slippery fretless master Percy Jones and the ridiculously talent drummer turned future torch singer Phil Collins. Finally, Simon Jeffes (Penguin Café Orchestra) arranges the necessary orchestrations where needed. I had this LP since its release and only recently found a CD version, so I was thrilled to add this puppy into my collection.

The material is mostly instrumental, but sort of strange and ethereal, purposefully so in order to really expand on its uniqueness. The sound is obviously closely associated with Brand X, as well as cousin projects Wilding-Bonus, Quantum Jump, Isotope and John G.Perry solo. Percy Jones needs no introduction, for my money among the top bassists ever (Perry not far behind), his fretless technique way more complex and technical than say the master of wobble Mick Karn of Japan legend. His playing is simply remarkable throughout, in perfect alignment with Collins' terrific rifling style. But this is really Robin Lumley's pet project, fully developing his piano artistry, adding harmonium, synths, organ and autoharp to his ivory arsenal, as well as being helped by Lancaster's saxes, flutes and the much- maligned lyricon.

The material for the most part is relatively mid-tempo, at times out right spacy like on the opener and on the unreservedly thrilling two-part "With a Great Feeling of Love" (an album highlight) and gets all stitched up on "Olympus Mons". This killer track really is typical of the British jazz rock scene, starting out with brooding sax, a driving rhythm and sudden plunges into oddball weirdness, such as the echoing gongs swimming in aquatic samples and traversed by blitzing piano rivulets, to then explode into a manic excursion into neo- Mahavishnu Orchestra land, everyone soloing like madmen but in controlled harmony with each other (Jones, Goodsall and Collins just cook and broil). Lumley really develops incredible mastery on his piano in particular, displaying a lavish style that is unafraid of jumping to intense zones of expression, whist doing the traditional jazz thing too.

Then when you least expect it, a synth-bass introduces "Hopper", an homage to the Soft Machine bassist I presume but cleverly camouflaged as the nickname for a Martian land rover, a rollicking excursion over sand, rocks, valleys and peaks, the lads having a ball bouncing all over their instruments with a little tchaka-tchaka guitar and calypso drum outro. At times, the mood becomes experimental and outer-worldly. This is no pop record as "Dust Storm" is just like its title would claim, an opaque and cross winded blizzard of microscopic molecules that rustle and inflict odd sensorial reactions (hey, 1976, okay!). After the koto infused "Blowholes" adding even more oddness to the proceedings, things revert to more rational behavior with the choir-led "Desolation", a 6 minute magnificent hymn to the galactic entities, a track that has all the traits that thrill the prog fan to no end. Sublime mood, incredible confidence, scintillating bass and drums, all built as a platform to dish out some sizzling soloing, as both Lancaster and Lumley let it rip, but in this cool jazz way. Jeffes' orchestrations are spot on, too. This track alone is worth pursuing the album, finally available nicely re-mastered and at a reasonable price (for a very long time only available as a Japanese import for mucho dinero).

'Domo arigato', Jeffes plays the koto again, in accordance with Lancaster's delicate flute, "Release" is the final cut of a true prog collector's addition. A classic.

4.5 Alien chocolates

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Various Genres bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Various
VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) Various
VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) Various

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