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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

4.20 | 185 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.25 | 89 ratings
ODYSSEY - THE GREATEST TALE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.31 | 52 ratings
LA BIBLIA
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.23 | 85 ratings
INFERNO THE DIVINE COMEDY - PART 1
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.15 | 79 ratings
DECAMERON: TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART 1)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.19 | 52 ratings
THE SPAGHETTI EPIC 3
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.18 | 50 ratings
REWIRING GENESIS: A TRIBUTE TO THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.78 | 12 ratings
LEADER OF THE STARRY SKIES: A TRIBUTE TO TIM SMITH, SONGBOOK 1
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.12 | 65 ratings
THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT: A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.05 | 84 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK ALBUM)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.11 | 53 ratings
PURGATORIO THE DIVINE COMEDY - PART 2
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.23 | 30 ratings
THE BLACK CODEX (EPISODES 1 - 13)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.26 | 23 ratings
THE BLACK CODEX (EPISODES 14 - 26)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.04 | 51 ratings
DECAMERON. TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.04 | 43 ratings
(THE) 7 SAMURAI
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.06 | 31 ratings
THE BLACK CODEX (EPISODES 27 - 39)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.07 | 28 ratings
THE BLACK CODEX (EPISODES 40 - 52)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.13 | 22 ratings
RETURN TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - A TRIBUTE TO PINK FLOYD
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.01 | 29 ratings
MARSCAPE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.93 | 37 ratings
GIALLO! ONE SUITE FOR THE MURDERER
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

Latest Various Genres Music Reviews


 The Sled by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2018
5.00 | 1 ratings

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The Sled
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
5 stars Here I am writing about a compilation album which you cannot buy, but is easy to obtain. Perhaps I had better let Nick Katona explain: 'Each Year we host a holiday release to showcase many bands and artists that you may not be aware of; but should be. The album will feature many styles of holiday music and original music; all of which will touch your heart and soul. May it inspire you for in giving, we receive so much more. To receive your copy as a gift from MRR and with the kind permission of all of our contributing artists we ask you to commit a great act of kindness. Send us proof of you donating to your local charity of choice, it can be your time, or tangible goods such as blankets, food or clothing. Think outside of the box, donate your time at the local food bank, soup kitchen or shelter. Certainly, the hospitals would be grateful for volunteers or donate blood today and save a life. We would like to promote the good deeds of great citizens and with your permission, we will share your photos on our page set up this holiday season to spread the good news.'

15 songs, nearly 80 minutes in length: one thing I really enjoyed about this album is the sheer variety, and it has allowed me to come across bands I have not heard of before. 'The Sled' starts with two of these, Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra and Jack Potter. 'Fall Leaves, Fall' is stunning in its arrangement, and I felt that I was listening to a reborn version of Renaissance, with beautiful orchestration, great woodwind, stunning rock guitar, and a singer who reminded me of Annie Haslam. A short piece of detective work later and I discovered that it was indeed Annie and that this song came out a few years ago. This is one of the delights of this album, as it truly is meant to be broad and wide-reaching, so while it does include songs from MRR artists, of course, it isn't restricted to just that. Jack Potter's 'Snow Globe' is delicate, starting with just piano and again wonderful vocals, this time care of Salley Elsey. Taken from the 'Pride Before The Fall' album which was released earlier this year, I was reading more about it when I started filling up and had to compose myself for a minute. The reason is that one of the guitarists is none other than Colin Tench, and I don't think any of us who knew him will ever really get over his loss last Christmas, so to find him on a Christmas album for 2018 feels both poignant and fitting. I know he would have a laugh about it.

I have always been a fan of Don Schiff, so it is great to see him here, while one of MRR's newest signings, DC Snakebuster shows that rough and raw blues, with some great harmonica, also has a place at Christmas. Federico Fantacone provides some gorgeous piano, while Darrel Treece-Birch treats us to a song from his new album, 'The first step..is to take one' with the glorious 'For Giving' which contains not only the sweeping keyboards we have come to expect but also some glorious guitar. Andy John Bradford is in fine form with 'Raise A Glass For Christmas', and overall the whole album is a delight.

So, what are you waiting for? This album is streaming until the end of January, but you can get your own copy now just by doing something for others at Christmas. Surely that is what the season should be about, instead of the commercial brashness it has become? Think outside the box, make a difference. Many already do so without any thought of reward, and for those who do, then here is a gift from some wonderful musicians just to say thanks.

 The Zodiac : Cosmic Sounds by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.97 | 25 ratings

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The Zodiac : Cosmic Sounds
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The 60s, of course, was a time of extreme experimentation. A time in music, when after decades of fairly streamlined music pumping out of studios worldwide, was suddenly let off its leash and became quite en vogue to create imaginative and even compellingly complex concept albums. Inventive developments such as progressive rock were led by the likes of The Mothers Of Invention, Procol Harum, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and The Beatle's famous "Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Heart Club" album which catapulted experimental rock into the mainstream, however even within these rich and fertile times, a few albums emerged that remained enigmatic and utterly unique even within the creative outbursts that began around 1967 and has been churning on ever since.

Of these musical anomalies that emerged was the collaborative effort called THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS which was a collectively constructed concept album about the, you guessed it, 12 astrological signs that represent the ecliptic paths of the planets, sun and moon. It was a clear sign that record companies were becoming more adventurous in their marketing strategies as this musical eccentricity was released on the Elektra label which formerly was known primarily as a catalog for folk recordings and folk rock hybrids such as Love, Judy Colins, Tom Rush and Tim Buckley amongst many others. However, Elektra owner Jac Holzman struck it big by taking a chance on a fledgling new band called The Doors which showed him that risk could indeed be a very profitable endeavor.

THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS was unlike anything else of the time period. This was not an album initiated by any particular artist but rather commissioned by Elektra owner Jac Holzman himself who clearly had his fingers on the pulse of the burgeoning flower power hippie movement that gained significant popularity in the Summer of Love and whether you call it psychsploitation or just brilliant marketing, it's pretty much agreed upon that this one fell outside the parameters of pretty much everything else that came out of the era. At first glance, the album art connoted more of a hippie jam sort of album with its gaudy paisley cover art and the back sleeve that advertised in capital purple letters that this album "MUST BE PLAYED IN THE DARK." Add to that the colorful font and overall cosmic vibe, THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS really couldn't have come out in any other time than when it did.

Predictably the album is divided into 12 tracks that cover each astrological sign at the beginning stages of the psychedelic rock years where such occult subject matter was becoming quite mainstream in the tune out / drop out counterculture. Musically this was quite unlike anything of the era as well. A queer mix of psychedelic rock and Moog rich keyboard electronica were tenderly teased out into symphonic semi-classical constructs that only The Moody Blues would also engage in on their landmark "Days Of Future Passed" which emerged a mere month later (some claim this album influenced some of the material on that one.) This was truly a collaborative effort with disparate talents finding themselves working together for the first time.

The album was produced by Alex Hassilev who worked with Mort Garson and Jacque Wilson who constructed the 12 tracks. Garson would create all the music while Wilson would create the poetic lyrics that were not sung but rather narrated by Modern Folk Quartet vocalist Cyrus Faryar. While Garson would be the sole writer of the musical aspects, the instruments were performed by some of the 60s top session musicians who were quite prolific on the Los Angeles scene. This included bassist Carol Kaye, drummer Hal Blaine, bass flautist Bud Shank, keyboardist Mike Melvoin, electronic wizard and Moog player Paul Beaver alongside Emil Richards handling the exotic percussion and Cyrus Faryar's often flowery poetic prose. The album floats by on gentle mode with slow tempos and instrumentation that weaves their magic into a greater sum of the parts.

While THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS may be completely unlike anything of its era, in a way it's the absolutely perfect representation of where the Western culture especially in the US was at in 1967. Don't bother using Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix or The Mamas and the Papas as your reference to the counterculture hippie movement that emerged at the time. This uncanny collaboration captures the zeitgeist of the peace and love era more than any other album i've heard as it marries the musical ingenuity of what came before and contorts the traditional into a contemporary relevancy that captures society's interest in all things cosmic in a rather naive yet charming manner. While some albums that emerged at the time resonate as timeless classics that don't carry the baggage of their time period, THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS is the exact opposite and could not be mistaken for having been released in any other era except the late 60s which it represents perfectly.

While some may find this cheesy and tacky, i find that the naive charm of the goofy lyrics along with the innovative symphonically driven psychedelic rock and electronica takes me like a time portal to the very year it was released. So period dependent is this one that i can easily imagination this as a secondary soundtrack to all those wild days in an Austin Powers movie. The music is as Austin would say, "Groovy, baby!" Yeah, the whole thing sounds a little farfetched and full of itself but that's kinda what the era was all about now, wasn't it? While the album didn't exactly match the success of Elektra's superstars The Doors in terms of sales, it did generate enough interest that would allow Garson and Wilson to expand the idea so that a series of 12 albums would be dedicated to each astrological sign. While that might be overkill for all those except the most hardcore lovers of everything 60s, this one compilation that introduces the idea is refreshingly unique and charmingly delivered.

 Rockandalus by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
5.00 | 2 ratings

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

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars 'Record company Sony : official sponsor of Rock Andaluz'.

Andalusia is the southern region in Spain where the flamenco was born and still florishes. You can divide the musicians and fans in two parts. One considers flamenco as a kind of religion, with strict rules. The other experiences flamenco as a challenging art to broaden their musical horizon. In the second half of the Sixties and in the Seventies that group consisted of many young musicians, but also known experienced guitarists (like Sabicas, Paco De Lucia and Juan Martin), they started to blend flamenco with other styles, from blues and rock to jazz and progressive. This new Spanish music movement was categorized as Rock Andaluz (or Rock Andalus). It became popular in the second half of the Seventies by Triana their pivotal sound on El Patio (1975) and Hijos Del Agobio (1977). Their music has a strong link with the Spanish people their wish for freedom under the brutal dictatorship by Franco,. This is wonderfully expressed in Triana their emotional lyrics, like 'La guitarra a la manana le hablo de libertad ' from the song Rumor.

This CD compilation from Sony Music Spain (released in 1994) is a very comprehensive introduction to the varied and captivating world of the Rock Andaluz, it contains 16 tracks from 5 known bands: Alameda (6), Medina Azahara (3), Iman (3), Cai (2) and Guadalquivir (2).

1. Aire Calido De Abril (4:05) - Alameda: The Morish occupated the southern region of Spain between 711 and 1492, this had a huge impact on everything, also on the development of the music, obviously traced in the Rock Andaluz. In this sultry track the Morish influence is blended in the sound of the keyboards (piano and strings) and the vocals by José Roca, what a passion and expression, perhaps one of the best singers in the Rock Andaluz movement!

2. Tarantos (3:55) - Iman: This is a swinging and powerful fusion of jazzrock and flamenco (tarantos is a typical flamenco rhythm), the dynamic music features an outstanding rhythm-section, mellow keyboards and a guitar player who sounds like the Andalusian answer to Carlos Santana.

3. La Esquina Del Viento (3:17) - Medina Azahara: This is one of the bands that epitomizes Rock Andaluz, along with Triana. But their sound is harder-edged with a tight beat, tasteful keyboards (from lush organ to pleasant synthesizer flights), topped by sensitive electric guitar runs and excellent, very powerful vocals, with obvious hints from the flamenco tradition.

4. El Manglis (7:05) - Gualdalquivir: More swinging jazzrock with a strong rhythm-section and splendid solion saxophone and guitar.

5. Noche Andaluza (5:04) - Alameda: A romantic ballad with wonderful work on piano and strings, the music is carried by Jos' Roca his highly acclaimed voice.

6. Noche Abierta (4:02) - Cai: One of the known Rock Andaluz bands, on this track they present wonderful vocals, strong interplay between electric guitar and keyboards and exciting flamenco guitar play (with rasgueado and picados).

7. Al Caer (4:07) - Alameda: Another strongly Morish inspired atmosphere, especially in the vocals and the subtle colouring of the keyboards and the sound of the electric guitar.

8. Paseando Por La Mezquita (2:40) - Medina Azahara: This is the Rock Andaluz anthem, one of the most popular and known compositions in the genre's history. The music alternates between a catchy beat with powerful guitar riffs and quick synthesizer flights and dreamy with sensitive electric guitar runs, topped by the excellent vocals from Manuel Martinez.

9. Cancion De La Oruga (5:32) - Iman: This is one of the most elaborate tracks with many strong musical ideas, like the Morish sounding keyboards (reminding me of Mezquita) and the propulsive percussion, very captivating.

10. Amanecer En El Puerto (3:57) - Alameda: A varied composition, from a spacey intro with fat synthesizers to a swinging rhythm with spectacular Minimoog runs and in the end first twanging Spanish guitar and senstive electric guitar and finally bombastic with synthesizer flights and sparkling piano.

11. Guadalquivir (5:16) - Guadalquivir: Again swinging jazzrock with soli on saxophone and electric guitar, a top notch band for the jazzrock aficionados.

12. Ninos (3:05) - Iman: A beautiful romantic ballad featuring warm vocals and delicate work on the Spanish guitar and synthesizer.

13. Dos Amores (3:50) - Alameda: A Morish climate with sparkling piano, handclapping and a bit wailing, typical flamenco vocals, then a mid-tempo with a cheerful atmosphere and a wonderful blend of vocals, piano and keyboards.

14. Sone Contigo (3:45) - Cai: First an intro with fat synthesizers and a swinging bass, then a compelling blend of jazzrock, classical, symphonic rock and flamenco with sparkling piano and expressive vocals (this song is from their highly acclaimed album Noche Abierta).

15. Andalucia (4:04) - Medina Azahara: The third appearance of Medina Azahara on this CD, again exciting harder- edged Rock Andaluz with propulsive electric guitar riffs, synthesizer flights and the powerful and emotional vocals by Manuel Martinez, an extra dimension!

16. Desnudos (4:11) - Alameda: The final track delivers a dreamy ballad with Spanish guitar and clarinet, layered with a fine strings sound and the distinctive Jos' Roca vocals, simply wonderful.

Keyboards and electric guitars with strong Morish undertones, the art of the flamenco guitar, Spanish vocals with distinctive passion, rock, blues, symphonic rock, jazzrock, welcome to the exciting and unique world of the Rock Andaluz!

Also recommended:

Juan Martin : Picaso Portraits (featuring ex-members of Trace, Marillion, Roxy Music and Jeff Beck).

Paco De Lucia Sextet : Live One Summer Night (outstanding and unique prog folk)

Sabicas - with Joe Beck : Rock Encounter (with a very young Tony Levin on bass).

 American Indian Rock Opera - 2006 Holiday Tour Brulé And AIRO by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2007
4.00 | 1 ratings

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American Indian Rock Opera - 2006 Holiday Tour Brulé And AIRO
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

— First review of this album —
4 stars 'The native Americans go Prog!'

In 2010 my passion for the culture of the native American Lakota tribe (aka Sioux) got an extra dimension. I had visited the Pine Ridge reservation (including Wounded Knee), where I witnessed the Third World in the USA: entire families in small shabby houses, most without running water and electricity and the highest ratings with physical - and mental diseases, unemployment, alcohol - and drugs abuse and adolescent suicides in the USA, really heart breaking! But I had also seen hope and pride in the education centre, fuelled by the inhabitants their strong determination to maintain their Lakota culture (almost destroyed by the white men). Back in the nearby Rapid City I stumbled upon that Lakota hope and pride, in the shape of a live DVD entitled American Indian Rock Opera - 2006 Holiday Tour. I couldn't believe my eyes: native American music, blended with acoustic ' and electric guitars and keyboards, wow!

A first session turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster, due to the flood of extreme contrasting emotions the images and the music generated. On one hand I had to think about all those extreme cruelties to the native Americans, done by the white men (even worse than the South-African Apartheid). But on the other hand I was very touched by their mental strength and flexibility to keep on thinking positive, by showing the crowd the wonderful Lakota culture.

On this DVD you can watch a genuine 'pow wow' choreography on stage: on the left and right a huge tipi and in between a musician with traditional drum kits, and in front of the stage the other musicians and the dancers (with their wonderful traditional clothes and feathered headdresses), you will be carried away to the visually breathtaking world of the pow wow, unique!

The way these visuals are blended into the music is very compelling and emotional, especially in Maka Canté (four dancers symbolizing the different directions of the wind), Canon Of Life (duel between a female ballet dancer and a male eagle dancer) and the final track Star People (awesome 'hoop' dancers).

The music sounds accessible and is simply structured, but also a very harmonic progressive blend of folk, New Age and melodic rock: the one moment the music reminds me of Clannad (folky with mellow keyboards), the other moment Kitaro (atmospheric with orchestral keyboards) or Camel (dreamy parts featuring acoustic guitar, flute and piano).

The musical and visual eyecatcher is the very passionate female flute player, what a jawdropping blend of skills and emotion. This ranges from tender to swirling, for me she is the native American version of Dutch prog folk band Flairck their flute play. She shines with moving play in the two Christmas renditions Silent Star Night and O Holy Night, accompanied by a varied keyboards sound, from warm piano runs to bombastic orchestrations.

My highlights.

Shelter From The Storm : From sensitive acoustic guitar runs and passionate flute traverse play in a catchy beat to a bombastic eruption with powerful electric guitar riffs.

Maka Canté : An up-tempo rhythm featuring moving electric guitar play and intense work on the flute, wonderfully blended with the dynamic dancers and their colourful traditional clothes, impressive.

Thunder Across The Plains : A catchy beat with compelling blend of acoustic guitar, flute and piano, this is mighty close to early Eighties mellow side of Camel.

Canon Of Life : First a dreamy atmosphere with piano, acoustic guitar, flute and soaring keyboards. Then a more lush climate delivering electric guitar with howling runs (between Rothery and Latimer), the music in combination with the dancing 'eagle' is magical.

Buffalo Jump : An intro with emotional spoken words about the dangerous bison hunt while chasing a part of the herd to the edge of a cliff, with screen projections about this subject. Then another catchy beat with swirling flute play, powerful native drum beats and moving electric guitar play, the music and images perfectly match.

Star People : A mindblowing final track, starting with spoken words from a grateful band. Then a cheerful and dynamic atmosphere featuring propulsive native drum beats, swirling flute play and howling electric guitar runs, blended with jaw dropping art of the 'hoop' dancing, wet eyes, this is such a compelling musical and emotional experience!

So welcome to the fascinating and emotional world of the native American Lakota tribe with their progressive blend of ethnic music and melodic rock on this unique live DVD, to be discovered for the fans of prog folk.

 Duende Electrico by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Duende Electrico
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars In fact this comprehensive 2-CD (including an informative 16-page booklet) is a captivating journey to the often overlooked but very interesting world of Spanish progressive rock, with the focus on Rock Andaluz, the unique blend of progressive rock and ethnic Andalusian flamenco. The variety is incredible, from Sixties rock inspired Smash and legendary flamenco-symphonic rock band Triana to Nuevo Flamenco bands like Ketama and Manteca. But also a few highly adventurous musical projects, like Lole Y Manuel, so creative and emotional Rock Andaluz!

CD1:

1. El garrotin / Smash : Late Sixties UK rock meets Spanish flamenco featuring powerful Spanish vocals, flamenco rhythm guitar and raw, distorted electric guitar.

2. La flamenca electrica / Iceberg : Outstanding swinging jazzrock with lush vintage keyboards (clavinet, Moog, Fender piano, string synthesizer) and awesome interplay, top notch Rock Andaluz.

3. Quiero contarte / Triana : A mid-tempo with flamenco rhythm guitar, wonderful flamenco inspired vocals and moving electric guitar, blended with delicate Fender electric piano.

4. Castrelos / Secta Sonica : Impressive swinging jazzrock with electric piano and conga percussion.

5. San Jose' de Arimatea / Veneno : Three flamenco guitars sounding as a fusion between jazz and flamenco, topped with excellent vocals.

6. Tarantos / Iman : Awesome blend of a flamenco rhythm and jazzrock with lush vintage keyboards, flamenco rhythm guitar and Santana-like sensitive guitar, one of the highlights on this compilation!

7. Tarantos (para Jimi Hendrix) / Gualberto : An exciting musical encounter between classical (beautiful violin play), rock (raw and fiery electric guitar) and flamenco (rhythm and palmas).

8. Al Andalus / Miguel Rios : A compelling example how Arabian music influenced flamenco featuring Morish sounding violins, propulsive ethnic percussion and expressive vocals (the climate reminds me of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin).

9. Baila gitana / Guadalquivir : Swinging jazzrock with a flamenco atmosphere and soli on saxophone and electric guitar.

10. Todo es de color / Lole y Manuel : One of the Rock Andaluz gems on this compilation with wonderful passionate female vocals and flamenco guitar (by Manuel Molina from legendary Smash), topped with majestic Mellotron drops, goose bumps!

11. Aqu' y ahora / Goma : A dynamic rhythm-section with fiery electric guitar and saxophone, the King Crimson avant-garde hints are obvious.

12. Aires de la Alameda / Alameda : A great example of the unique Rock Andaluz with flamenco guitar, sparkling piano, soaring strings and wonderful, a bit melancholical vocals, for me the Spanish answer to Italian progrock legend Francesco Di Giacomo.

13. Hablo de una tierra / Granada con Manolo Sanlucar : The first part delivers majestic Mellotron violins, first blended with flute and then with flamenco guitar, flamenco meets The Moody Blues and Camel! The final part sounds like a tribute to Paco De Lucia, the guitar work is in the vein of his worldwide known composition Entre Dos Aguas, very exciting Rock Andaluz!

Disc 2:

1. Paseando por la mezquita / Medina Azahara : A live version from the 'Rock Andaluz anthem' featuring a propulsive rock guitar riff, a tight beat and cheerful synthesizer flights, topped by strong, flamenco inspired vocals and varied guitar play (from moving to metal), wow!

2. Rock del cayetano / Pata Negra : Two acoustic guitarists who blend flamenco and rock, topped with strong vocals, what an exciting blend of skills and emotion.

3. Tu mirada / Cai : A swinging rhythm with beautiful vocals, sparkling synthesizer runs and a sensitive electric guitar solo.

4. Sole' del tio raimundo / Arrajatabla : Nuevo Flamenco with the Rock Andaluz guitar veterans Raimundo Amador and Luis Cobo Manglis delivering a pleasant blend of rock and flamenco, topped with emotional flamenco inspired vocals.

5. 'Ay, morena! / La Barbera del Sur : Nuevo Flamenco with a modern sounding blend of flamenco and rock, the colouring is very tasteful featuring violin, percussion and saxophone.

6. Me estoy quitando / Tabletom : Eighties Spanish prog band returns to the scene in the Nineties with a swinging blend of jazz, rock and funk, expressive vocals and powerful saxophone.

7. La pipa de Kif / Ketama : Nuevo Flamenco with a fresh blend of flamenco, rock, funk and fusion, topped with strong vocals and an exciting break with propulsive Afro-Caribbean percussion.

8. Quitate la bata / Kiko Veneno : A slow rhythm with a tight beat, supported by powerful vocals and rock guitar (including subtle fiery runs).

9. Ay que gustito pa mis orejas / Raimundo Amador : Another presence of this prolific and creative veteran, now with a surprising reggae climate and lots of brass.

10. Tarifa / Manteca : Nuevo Flamenco with a swinging rhythm and varied instrumentation (piano, saxophone, trumpet) and strong vocals.

11. Echale, echale /Martires del Compas : Another swinging rhythm on this compilation, with a strong flamenco atmophere featuring sparkling flamenco guitar, along cajon and palmas, the percussion is exciting.

12. Despertar (rondea) / Diego de Moron : The longest track on this compilation (almost 8 minutes), we can enjoy an unique blend of flamenco guitar and the sound of vintage keyboards, especially the string synthesizer, what a captivating musical encounter between flamenco and symphonic rock!

Highly recommended to those who want to explore the captivating world of the Spanish prog and Rock Andaluz. Another good 2-CD compilation is Hijos Del Agobio Y Del Dolor (including a docu DVD).

 Dubber Side Of The Moon by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Dubber Side Of The Moon
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars "Space reggae version of Dark Side Of The Moon"

As a huge fan of Seventies Pink Floyd I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon this extraordinary reggae version of the most legendary progressive rock album, Dark Side Of The Moon. The musicians are the ''house band' of the Easy Star Records label. After the original 2003 release entitled Dub Side Of The Moon this band was frequently asked to perform the album on stage. Eventually this led to a Dub Side Of The Moon worldtour, meanwhile the sales went over 300.000 copies. Due the this success, the live experiences of the musicians and the evolution of the songs during the years, the label decided to re-release the album in 2010, now named Dubber Side Of The Moon.

It looks like a weird idea to do a reggae version of a progressive rock album, but DSOTM is not the usual prog virtuosity and complexity like Gentle Giant, Yes, King Crimson and ELP. In fact Pink Floyd is on DSOTM more close to blues than classical music, with their melodic, accessible and atmospheric prog. And these elements are starting points for the Easy Star All Stars band on Dubber Of The Moon. Mostly without the legendary guitar - and keyboard sound of Gilmour and Wright, but with pleasant catchy rhythms, the distinctive reggae vocals and the inventive use of modern electronics and exotic percussion. DSOTM is 'a wet dream for hifi snobs', well, Dubber Of The Moon is also an exciting experience on that point. Sometimes I had to think of Ozric Tentacles.

My highlights.

Speak To Me/Breathe : captivating blend of Seventies Pink Floyd and modern electronics.

The Great Gig In The Sky : deep echo and excellent vocals by Kirsty Rock.

Money: great groovy bass and echo vocals.

And Any Colour You Like : sensational use of synthesizers and electronics.

Pretty disappointing is the rendition of On The Run, too much relaxed reaggae, too far away from original ominous atmoshpere, created by the VCS 3 synthesizer sound.

The four bonus tracks are nice, no more or less.

Step It Pon The Rastaman Scene: lots of reggae and electronics, along clarinet by Katie Gabriel

Money : fat bass and echo vocals.

Time: nice instrumental version.

On The Run : fat synthesizer runs and surprising work on the Fender Rhodes electric piano.

If you are a PF fan and up to a very special musical adventure, this is an album to discover. And in fact this music is more progressive than tons of prog albums from the last 3 decades.

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Bohemian Symphony by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Bohemian Symphony
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

— First review of this album —
3 stars Queen was a highly acclaimed band in Japan, with even The Beatles-like scenes on airports and around hotels. So it ain't no surprise that after Freddy Mercury his tragical death (on November 24th, 1991) the two known Japanese progrock musicians Terutsugu Hirayama (Novela, Scheherazade, Teru's Symphonia) and Toshio Egawa (Earthshaker, Novela, Gerard, Scheherazade) founded a band in order to pay tribute to the legendary Queen singer. They named the band the Bohemian Symphony Project and the album Bohemian Symphony.

As a huge fan of the Japanese progrock since the early Nineties and a huge fan of Queen since the early Seventies I had expected an album that was loaded with sumptuous music. Simply because many known Japanese progrock bands (like Gerard, Vienna, Social Tension, Deja Vu, Novela and Ars Nova) deliver bombastic progrock and Queen is (in)famous for its bombastic and theatrical outbursts in many compositions. But no, in contrary, most of the renditions of the Queens songs on Bohemian Symphony contain a subdued classical sound, I could hardly recognize songs like Radio Gaga, Bicycle Race and We AreThe Champions (it lacks power). In general the songs on this CD sound very beautiful and pure but I miss the fiery Brian May guitar work and the expressive, often theatrical Freddie Mercury vocals.

The best tracks are the more powerful or expressive renditions like Love Of My Life (wonderful, very moving electric guitar play), You Take My Breath Away (lush strings and piano work) and You're My Best Friend (great interplay between classical guitar and violins).

My highlights are Somebody To Love (the violin replaces the vocals very impressive and we can enjoy a strong guitar solo), the legendary Bohemian Rhapsody (great classical orchestrations) and Save Me (exciting bombastic atmosphere).

So on one hand I am a bit disappointed because in many songs I miss the typcial Queen elements. On the other hand, Japanese progrock feature many bands with classical undertones (Mugen, Outer Limits, Bellaphon, Ieraishan, Fromage, Midas), because many Japanese progrock musicians are classically trained. From that point of view this is a wonderful and honest tribute to Freddy Mercury.

My rating: 3,5 star

 Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part III by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.85 | 50 ratings

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Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part III
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars The Colossus Projects began their ambitious projects in 2001 to promote the outstanding accomplishments of Finnish progressive rock (which there have been many) and then the whole thing kinda took on a life of its own as the collaboration with Musea Records created a synergistic effect that guaranteed an exposure to a worldwide network of tuned in prog aficionados salivating for something both creative, traditional and, of course, entertaining! After a diverse eclectic palette paving the way for even more sophisticated projects, in 2011 Musea Records released "Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part I" which isn't remotely Finnish but rather a collection of Italian tales excavated from the 14th century. The word DECAMERON is a neologism of the Greek words deca (ten) and mera (days) and THE DECAMERON which is subtitled Prince Galehaut is a collection of novellas written by the author Giovanni Baccaccio (1313-1375) and is structured as a frame story that contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men who were sheltered in a secluded villa outside of Firenze (Florence), Italy in order to escape the black death plague that was rampant at the time. Well, three years after the first installment of this series came DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II which continued the themes in musical form with some artists making a reprise and yet others entering the Musea equation for the very first time. Two years later, the label once again released a third installment in the series and in 2016 the various artist release DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART III was born.

Once again PART III is a monster of a release with 4 CDs stuffed full of lengthy symphonic leaning progressive rock tracks in thematic unison. Once again as well the packaging is exquisitely beautiful with period artwork gracing the cover and discs alike accompanied by a generous booklet with liner notes continuing the artistic flair as well as band photos and lyrics to those tracks that have them. While the Musea Colossus Projects tend to have the same artists on every most of their releases, PART III contains many new cast members but a few such as Nexus, Jinetes Negros and Rebel Wheel are back for another round. While these compilations are fairly global in nature, this one seems to have an extraordinarily heavy emphasis on Italian bands (12), USAmerican (7) with Argentina coming in at a distant third with only (3). While the music on these behemoths are always thematically connected, on PART III there is also a lot of continuity musically speaking which is one of the reasons i'm finding it less compelling than the other two installments of the DECAMERON series and unfortunately one of my least favorites of the entire Colossus Project that i've encountered.

Right from the first track, PART III sounds very different than its counterparts. It begins with an almost showtune sort of track titled "HeeBeeGeeBee" by UK artist Robert Webb. For the first listen, i had to actually check my CD to make sure that someone didn't slip a Broadway musical release into the jewel case by mistake. Nope, this was the right one alright. It just so happens that the entire 4.5 hours of playing time consists of such gleeful merry musical meanderings that could easily fit in the world of theatric drama and such. What's also noticeably different about PART III is that there seems to be a deliberate attempt to simplify the progressive elements with a lot more crossover potential than previously heard. There are more direct and bombastic ear wormy hooks reminiscent of classic Supertramp keyboard runs as well as more simplified guitar parts that often result in simply staccato chords. Garage prog anyone? Yeah, the material is considerably weaker on this one and i have to admit that not one single track jumps out and blows me away as these compilations usually do. I've been wondering if perhaps the different lineup of artists may be to blame but even the artist i'm familiar with don't crank out their usual quality material bursting with passionate delivery.

This one was fairly disappointing i have to say with the first two discs leaving me fairly cold. It does pick up a bit on Disc 3. The Rebel Wheel kick off with a strong track followed by some creativity of Taproban, S.A.L.U.E.N.A and Blank Manuscript which offer some of my favorite tracks of the comp but there are also silly tracks by Castle Canyon and Ozone Player that trade off spoken narrative with operatic vocals. There also seems to be a general lack of vivaciousness most of the tracks are fairly prog-by-the-numbers with lots of nods to 70s Pink Floyd not to mention that the vocals are mostly flat and unsuitable for the music. Not all is a waste of time. There are plenty of moments on this one that are indeed satisfying but nothing that exceeds the satisfaction of the first two DECAMERON editions. The whole affair seems rather sleepy and lazy and only fueling on half octane potential. Several listens later and not only has this not grown on me but actually has become quite irritating for the most part. It's not that the good parts are bad, it's just that most of the album cruises along on automatic pilot and nothing really jumps out and surprises. This may be an omen that the DECAMERON idea has been milked of all its possibilities and time to move on to other ideas. Three editions with bloated quadruple discs is quite the momental task. They succeeded quite well on the first two but the staleness has set in, at least for me. Worth the listen but probably not one i will revisit until several years pass by and i forgot what it sounds like.

In case you're wondering here is the whole list of Colossus Projects 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)

DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART III (2016)

 Excalibur IV - The Dark Age of the Dragon by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Excalibur IV - The Dark Age of the Dragon
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars I have rated the middle part of the Excalibur trilogy with three stars. I think this one's notably better, but since it's still not exactly pure progressive rock or "excellent addition to any prog rock music collection" , I'll round my 3˝ stars downwards. We're dealing with a new chapter in the ambitious Celtic saga, or "rock opera" as some call it, that the Breton-Celtic musician Alan Simon has created over the years. His manager had suggested a new tour in 2015 and Simon felt it would feel right only with new material. He worked more than a year on this project and feels very pleased at the results. The preceding parts were released in 1999, 2007 and 2012 respectively. If you're unfamiliar with them, that's no problem at all in getting to know this album, which one can simply take as an individual, loosely conceptual collection of songs with various vocalists and various moods. The partly orchestrated music could be labeled as Crossover Prog or Celtic rock.

If you look at the song list on the CD's back cover, especially the words "from JETHRO TULL" and "from SUPERTRAMP" appear ridiculously often, just because Martin Barre, Jesse Siebenberg or John Halliwell happen to play on most tracks. There could have been a wiser way to mark the performers, but that's not a big deal. Otherwise the well-known guests on this album are vocalists - or singing players such as Alan Stivell and the mentioned Siebenberg. Michael Sadler (SAGA) and Moya Brennan (CLANNAD) sing two songs each, Bernie Shaw (URIAH HEEP) and Sonja Kristina (CURVED AIR) one song each. Roberto Tiranti is another heavy- style vocalist (on two tracks), while Siobhan Owen (on 'The Last Lament of a Fairy' and achingly delicate 'There Is someone') brings more of the ethereal Celtic romanticism with her beautiful voice and Celtic harp.

The only purely instrumental track is the energetic 'The Fifth Season' starring Martin Barre's electric guitar, and, to a smaller degree, John Halliwell's saxophone. The final 19th track 'Dun Angus II' is among the most pompous ones, featuring the operatic soprano of Maite Itoiz (from Elfenthal, which neither I nor ProgArchives know). It is indeed the exhausting grandiosity, or the fearful possibility of the music to feel exactly like a rock opera, that is the biggest thread to concept albums like this. But in the end this really is primarily a well produced and executed set of songs, some of them rather average and some very enjoyable. Hardly this will approach my list of prog favourites from 2017, but a pretty positive surprise this was anyway.

 The Empire And The Rebellion by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.60 | 19 ratings

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The Empire And The Rebellion
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars Colossus Project was an Italian musical project featuring four members and a wide range of guest musicians, including known names Keiko Kumagai (Ars Nova) and Fred Schendel (Glass Hammer) and fellow Italians Cristiano Roversi (Moongarden, Submarine Silence and The Watch) and Joe La Viola (Malaavia). The concept-story is based upon Georg Lucas popular Star Wars Episode IV as a tribute, you can read about that in the huge booklet also including words about the foundation of this project, the musicians, the instruments (mainly 'vintage') and the lyrics, embellished with tasteful pictures of all members.

The music sounds very varied, along pure progrock we can also enjoy a pleasant blend of several styles with lush vintage keyboards (especially the Mellotron, Hammond organ and Minimoog synthesizer): bluesy with tasteful work on organ, guitar, saxophone along Minimoog runs and a swinging Hammond solo in The Millennium Falcon - folky with soaring female vocals, flute and Celtic harp in the mellow My Tears For Alderaan - classical in the beautiful instrumental May The Force Be With You - jazzy with powerful saxophone in the short and funny The Millenium Quartet - melodic rock in the propulsive Meeting The Force (strong break with swirling Hammond solo by Fred Schendel) - dreamy with steel-guitar and Fender Rhodes electric piano, flute, acoustic rhythm-guitar and warm vocals in Two Suns - and a kind of 'symphonic rock ballad' in When I Was A Jedi (featuring the distinctive harpsichord sound, Hammond, Moog and dramamtic vocals).

My progrock highlights are the instrumental first composition Astral Prelude (wonderful vintage keyboards and a groovy bass solo, including the 'slap' technique), the alternating The Dark Lord Of The Sith (from intro with fado guitar and a final part with acoustic guitar to bombastic keyboard and Fripperian guitarwork) and especially the epic The Rebellion Suite (3 parts, around the 20 minutes), from beautiful flute ? and violin-Mellotron and howling guitar like Steve Hackett (glissando and 'hammering down') to a swinging bass solo and a compelling grand finale with excellent interplay between Grand piano, Mellotron and emotional vocals, goose bumps!

If you are up to tasteful and varied music that is layered with Moogs, Hammonds and Mellotrons, contains a wide range of instruments and has an important role for the vocals (only 3 songs are instrumental), you will be pleased with Colossus Project.

My rating: 3,5 star.

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