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CROSSOVER PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Crossover Prog definition

Crossover Prog contains progressive rock music that, though 100% progressive, may have a musical connection to popular music-- whether it be the lack of emphasis on extended compositions, or an influence from mainstream music in addition to classical, jazz and folk. Compositions, however, still exhibit a high degree of sophistication, sometimes outright complexity, and the musicianship and virtuosity is often on a par with established Prog acts. Much like their kin in the established prog sub-genres, these groups will incorporate many major parts of what defines prog rock: the fusing of rock with the structures and discipline of more traditional musics, the use of syntheisizers and new technologies, intelligent thematics, and the expansion of the form.

The defining characteristics of Crossover Prog are a pop music influence that is largely vacant in typical prog rock. Songs tend toward shorter, more concise presentations though still reach beyond the typical verse, bridge, chorus pattern. The harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic structures may be more easily digested in Crossover while not losing the musical integrity that a prog listener expects. Whereas Prog Related bands are generally commercial groups with certain prog elements or players that were involved in prog acts, Crossover Prog artists are predominantly progressive with elements of popular music.

The most representative examples for this genre include The MOODY BLUES, SUPERTRAMP, DREDG, CINEMA SHOW, RADIOHEAD.

- written by micky (Michael) and Chus (Jesus)

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Crossover Prog Top Albums


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

4.34 | 1032 ratings
CRIME OF THE CENTURY
Supertramp
4.34 | 847 ratings
OMMADAWN
Oldfield, Mike
4.32 | 1069 ratings
THE RAVEN THAT REFUSED TO SING (AND OTHER STORIES)
Wilson, Steven
4.24 | 704 ratings
DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON
Phideaux
4.26 | 339 ratings
~
iamthemorning
4.22 | 588 ratings
PETER GABRIEL (3 - "MELT")
Gabriel, Peter
4.19 | 1133 ratings
GRACE FOR DROWNING
Wilson, Steven
4.18 | 744 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART ONE)
Big Big Train
4.18 | 663 ratings
SNOWTORCH
Phideaux
4.17 | 528 ratings
THE UNDERFALL YARD
Big Big Train
4.14 | 526 ratings
DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED
Moody Blues, The
4.14 | 432 ratings
NIGHT
Gazpacho
4.10 | 548 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART TWO)
Big Big Train
4.24 | 115 ratings
THE SHAMING OF THE TRUE
Gilbert, Kevin
4.22 | 127 ratings
LOVE REMAINS THE SAME
Von Hertzen Brothers
4.11 | 303 ratings
PASSION
Gabriel, Peter
4.15 | 192 ratings
THE HEMULIC VOLUNTARY BAND
Ritual
4.10 | 330 ratings
WAR AND PEACE & OTHER SHORT STORIES
Filkins, Sean
4.15 | 178 ratings
QUICKLY QUICKLY QUICKLY
Tea Club, The
4.06 | 757 ratings
TUBULAR BELLS
Oldfield, Mike

Crossover Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

PRE-EMPTIVE FALSE RAPTURE
Chrome Hoof
FOLKLORE
Pez
ONE OF SEVERAL POSSIBLE MUSIKS
Livgren, Kerry
BLACK DOG THERE
Box, The

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Latest Crossover Prog Music Reviews


 On My Hands  by MADRIGAL album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.70 | 13 ratings

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On My Hands
Madrigal Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Madrigal (not to be confused with countless bands with same name) was an obscure progressive rock band from USA with only two albums relased and then gone into oblivion. In my opinion this band is very unnoticed in prog circles. Their music is inspired, complicated with many memorable passages and has some quite intresting arrangements on both albums. The first album Waiting from 1989 is quite hard to find but the second can be found on CD here and there and definetly worth purchasing. With nods towards Yes, Happy the Man, Gentle Giant Madrigal definetly worth to be investigated. The music has everything a prog rock album must have, complex passages, nice guitar moments, polyphony in Gnetle Gian manner and a very fine voice that just goes hand in hand with the music. All 8 pieces stand as great to me so for that reson 4 star easy, underrated album.

 WHITE by WHITE, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.96 | 4 ratings

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WHITE
Alan White Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is an album recorded by YES`s drummer ALAN WHITE while he was working with some musicians from Seattle (Kevin Currie, Steve Boyce and Karl Haug) with the addition of Geoff Downes from ASIA on keyboards. White have lived in Seattle for several years, and after YES`s last tour with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman in 2004, YES was inactive as a band until 2008. So, White, like Chris Squire (who worked a bit with THE SYN during those years) worked for a time with these musicians from Seattle , and they recorded and released this album, which is not really a solo album from Alan White, but more a collaboration album which was released in 2006 under the band`s name WHITE. Alan White has credits as songwriter in 5 of the 10 songs of this album, but the main songwriters are Haug, Currie and Boyce, with some collaborations from other musicians like their former keyboard player Ted Stockwell.

The musical style of this band is more Hard Rock with some Prog Rock arrangements and sometimes sounding a bit Pop Rock. Currie`s vocals (who by the way has the same name as one of Supertramp`s former drummers from the early seventies) sound more oriented to Pop Rock and Hard Rock than to Prog Rock. The rhythms are not very complicated and are very related to Hard Rock and Pop Rock too. The main instruments in this album are the guitars played by Karl Haug, who is a very good guitarist, and the keyboard arrangements are more in the background, playing a more supportive role.

The listener can`t really expect this album to sound related to YES`s musical style, like in Alan White`s first solo album from 1976, titled "Ramshackled", which also was more a collaborative effort with other musicians than a real solo album by White. But at least in this WHITE`s band self-titled album Alan White collaborated to the songwriting. He plays the drums very well, as always, and his style of playing shows his talent for playing several musical styles very well. The recording and mixing of this album is very good, but the mixing gives more emphasis to the guitars and the drums.

The cover art was done by Roger Dean, and it is maybe the most YES-related thing in this album, more than the musical style of the band by itself.

 Monster by OPUS SYMBIOSIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
3.03 | 5 ratings

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Monster
Opus Symbiosis Crossover Prog

Review by The Mister

5 stars As for justification for five stars, this EP deserves it because it is, as EPs go, a statement of perfection in my collection. Very few albums over the last few years have gotten as many repeat listens as this EP. The band has poured as much of their heart into this EP as most other bands would have poured into a full-length album.

The four relatively short songs on this EP form a suite that easily could have been a part of a longer release. Nonetheless, this is a masterful collection of songs. Christine Sten is a wonderful vocalist, even if, on this EP, she seems to avoid the sotto voce that she masterfully employs at regular intervals on the band's previous release Nature's Choir. In fact, the only thing that seems to be missing from this release is that contrast of light and dark, piano and forte.

The strong presence of Victor Sĺgfors, who has taken over as full-time keyboardist on top of his regular duties as lead guitar player (as well as producer and songwriter), is also a plus. Apparently, Victor uses a synthesizer hooked up to an old Commodore 64 console. I'm not precisely sure what that does for him, but it results in some rather interesting, if slightly reedy, sounds to the band's palette.

The music itself is wonderful. I've always had a thing for the masterful union of well-played guitar and well-played synths, particularly when sequencers are used - but not overused! - as a backdrop. Certain musical themes repeat on different songs. You get a riff repeated here, but then a new variation thereon, a leitmotif elsewhere, just enough to tie the songs together musically, but not to the point that the songs seem too derivative of each other.

The progression of songs is also interesting in that the first song, "Icebreaker", is entirely in 3/4; the second, "Snowfarm", is about two-thirds in 3/4, the rest 4/4; #3, "Noolan", is about one-third 3/4, the rest 4/4; and the final, "Frost", almost entirely 4/4. It's an interesting aspect of the songwriting.

I can't wait until Opus's next release. I'm hopeful that it is full-length.

 Songs in Flesh Minor by UTU album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Songs in Flesh Minor
UTU Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars The Finnish UTU consists of musicians from Tampere and Helsinki. This is their only album so far. And this is (my translation of) how they describe their music themselves: "We are a mind-blowing group that makes new and individual art pop. Our storytelling is a mix of contrasts, between both acoustic & electronic and styles & dynamics. When asked, the style or genre is said to be a state of emotion." The leader and sole composer is Petra Poutanen who sings - in English - and plays acoustic guitar and kantele, being probably the only Finnish pop/rock (non-folk!) artist to play kantele.

Those rather bold words are not without truth. At least for a Finnish group - even with our historical/national instrument involved - this is quite original and fresh 'art pop' and actually in no way reveals what country it comes from. Petra's seducing and slighly creaked / fragile, girlish voice does resemble some English-speaking artists but I'm not sure who. JOAN NEWSOM is one of them, and this is not just an association due to the closeness of kantele and harp (not that kantele would be very audible in the sound, as harp is certainly in Newsom's music). There is a dash of BJÖRK in the singing style, but no, she's not among those I'm trying to remember now. How about Swedish SOPHIE ZELMANI, at least in the most delicate places? Anyway, the vocals are very much in the centre; in a blindfold test I'd think this is a singer-songwriter album. A highly artistic one, of course, but I probably wouldn't have had the guts to suggest UTU into ProgArchives. Glad they're added.

The group's acoustically oriented, slightly jazzy sound is nice, emphasized on delicate nuances instead of rocky sound walls. The songwriting is totally free of folk or Ethnic flavour in my opinion, but naturally kantele, jouhikko (I don't know its translation), viola and accordion bring such elements. The dry, slow and delicate percussion is present to a notable degree. Piano sometimes. As they said, dynamics change and there's a lot of contrasts. And yet the sound seems to have a thoroughly thought nature to make the whole very coherent.

The songs are mostly balancing between calmness and some sense of unease or self-search. As pop music this is not easy-listening stuff, and it probably takes some time to get into its introspective aura. My first impression wasn't very positive but now I'm enjoying this much more. My favourites are tracks full of dreaminess and emotion, such as 'I Try'. 'Today' is too much built on percussions in a way I don't like, but even that song has beautiful, more melodic sections, occasionally.

There aren't memorable melodies in this album but once you get into the wave-length it offers an interesting and emotionally deep listening experience. Not necessarily "prog" but so what. Recommended internationally to listeners of calm, female fronted art pop, who accept some jazz & folk nuances too.

 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.32 | 1069 ratings

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by JCDenton

5 stars This album is so well-written all the way through. Every track sounds so great, both in context of the album, and they even do very well as stand-alone songs. The best tracks for me are "Drive Home", "The Watchmaker", and "Luminol". I know it's half the album.

There are many oddities about the album. The saxophone honestly sounds like a guitar to me at times. The choice in harmonies also really sticks out, if anyone is so interested in such of a thing, or being aware of that. It can be difficult to describe. I find a meeting between eeriness and beauty, both at the same time present in sections like the later parts of "The Watchmaker" and "The Pin Drop". The instrumental performances are also eclectic and highly expressive. It's exciting. The sound produced on this album, though inspired by groups such as King Crimson, is very distinguished. Steven Wilson has really done something unique here. I'm stoked to see where he will decide to build off of projects like this.

Excellent album.

 We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks by REBEL WHEEL, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 13 ratings

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We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks
The Rebel Wheel Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars My first experience with the Canadian band THE REBEL WHEEL is their 3rd album WE ARE IN THE TIME OF EVIL CLOCKS. This is a truly eclectic progressive rock band with a whole host of influences ranging from the eclectic prog champions King Crimson to the spaciness of Pink Floyd and the wild time signatures of classic Yes. There is metal guitar, funky fuzzed out beefy bass lines and jazz-fusion saxophone and keyboard riffs. There are folk passages between highly energetic and heavy ones. There are both male and female vocals trading off when the mood of the piece demands it. In short this is one mighty beast of an album that tackles the ever so occult themes such as clocks turning to the dark side and even worse, witchcraft.

The majority of the album is filled by nice tastily composed instrumental jam sessions with vocal segments punctuating the often time consuming musical workouts. All is timed fairly well to keep your interest and the variety between the songs is surprisingly diverse. The first five tracks are very well constructed displaying their eclectic nature with gusto with titles like "Scales Of The Ebony Fish" and "Settling Of Bones." All tracks are melodic and have well thought-out developments and progressions. The highlight of this album though is by far the 5-star masterpiece of the album, the 30 minute plus 7-part epic "The Discovery Of Witchcraft." This track truly satisfies the progressive itch like few others do. It has heavy dramatic parts followed by folky atmospheric ones followed by incredible progressive workouts only to come back to a more subtly quiet passage. It cleverly ratchets up the energy and mood building crescendos until a satisfying climax is achieved. It is then ushered out with the ambient finale "Evil Clocks" which adds a terrifying layer of weirdness that makes you wonder how evil the clocks really are and if they are really as sinister and nefarious as THE REBEL WHEEL implies.

 An Ocean Held Me by MICE ON STILTS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.34 | 41 ratings

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An Ocean Held Me
Mice On Stilts Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Mice on Stilts passed through my radar undetected, perhaps due to the fact that their name somehow did not inspire me = I had pet mice when growing up but moved on and was never very impressed with stilts. Poor attempt at humor, I guess but let's face it New Zealand is not exactly a prog hotbed but this only goes to prove that prog globalization is becoming a reality. A full blown world-wide community. My previous unrequited love for the ultra-quirky Split Enz has definitely added to my evaluation. And why, not, as the instrumentation here is just as uniquely original and both sublime vocals /instrumentation.

So guitarist Ben Morley sent me their EP, something I also am generally averse to, being a stickler for full ALBUMS as opposed to songs (MP3s I am really not a fan of). And frankly, once again, I am proven to be a moronic dingbat. Hey, humility only makes you stronger! Truth is that Mice on Stilts offers masterful progressive rock music, definitely original in terms of instrumentation, though there is a flowing Floydian mood that is palpable. With a track entitled "Syd's Socks", what do you expect? But all the focus should be on the lead, harmony, backing and special effect vocals that are exemplary. Honking organ, windswept saxophone and that clanging guitar all combine to shape this brooding opening song. The unshaven voice is tired, frazzled and disconsolate.

A lamenting viola (Sam Hennessy) introduces a piano that expresses the deepest sorrow, the slowly evolving "Binocular Bath" (now that is what I call a prog title!). It's also a fabulous song, a conspicuous dirge of profoundly felt melancholia, swooning vocals, prominent Sam Nash bass, and pulsating 'drumster-isms'. The electric guitar is stormy and aggressive when needed, the melody overpoweringly effective. The lead vocalist (Ben, Is that you?) sounds eerily similar to Airbag's singer Asle Torstrup, who owns a Dave Gilmour slash Robert Smith wail.

The Nick Wright piano introduction to "A Moss Ocean" is so crushingly beautiful, I had a hard time believing my ears! The voice is breathlessly passionate, the classical-tinged orchestrations are very close to Penguin Café Orchestra's Simon Jeffes (a sadly unknown genius), with dense use of viola, saxophone and trumpet to highlight the pain. The overall mood is one of anguished reflection, a style I particularly love as it permeates deep into the soul and takes you somewhere you know well but have never been. This one really kicked me in the pants, I was one step away from crying. The final lyric "She left in a Russian car" only adds to the mystery. Love this stuff!

The loping cinematography of "Vulnerable Vader" is perhaps a tad more straightforward with winks at Radiohead as it veers into slight dissonance, the circumspect saxophone (Aaron Longville) blowing through the blustery clouds (OMG, what a sublime instrument that is, eh?). Tolling guitar chimes, piano rivulets, brooding bass and hefty drum support are all impeccable but it's that damned viola creeping forth that really nails you to the cross. The vocal effects are also exemplary giving backbone to the gritty wail of the deranged sax and the dirty guitar. This quickly veers into Mel Collins meets Bob Fripp delirium as found on "Sailor's Tale"! Tortuous, deranged and damned angry, the gruesome oil of rage is expertly expressed.

Then finish off with the larger-than-life "Tuatara Lawn", an astonishing composition spanning a dozen minutes that expertly encompasses the values of the Mice on Stilts sound, inflicting Dead Can Dance pain, releasing Anathema-like sunny angst and having it then marinate in Pink Floydian symphonics, with the added viola/sax in unison with the delicate piano. The upward vortex of specially effected voice sounds, courtesy of Joseph Jujnovich give the whole that wailing operatic flavor that hits you hard in the gut. Powerful and majestic, densely atmospheric and utterly gorgeous. Morley gives his resonating, echo- laden axe a long, simple and lovely workout, oozing emotion with a profound sentimentality. Music of this caliber should appeal to a wide swath of progressive fans and maybe even be inclined to give some outsiders a further understanding of how meaningful talents create masterful music in relative silence.

Colossal and timeless surprise, I bow in subjugated appreciation. Wow!

5 Fellini rats

 Post by BJÖRK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.45 | 86 ratings

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Post
Björk Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I started checking out Bjork earlier this year and have been somewhat surprised to find how interesting her music is. I've always liked the female voice whether it was Barbara Streisand's, Linda Ronstadt's or Billie Holiday's but didn't encounter it to any extent in the progressive realm's heydays of the 60s and 70s so when courageous ladies like Bjork and Tori Amos appeared on the scene in the 90s I paid them little attention. But prog rock paints on a much wider canvas these days and it took me a while to accept that all progressive music isn't necessarily going to sound like Yes or Genesis or ELP. Once my horizons were broadened (thanks in no small part to this template-expanding website's existence) I realized that I'd only been limiting myself by not giving the younger proggers a fair listen. Bjork is one of them and she is cool in every sense of the word. Her first official solo record, "Debut," was impressive and made me want to investigate her aural art further so "Post" was the logical next step in my education.

As she did with "Debut" she opens her sophomore CD bravely with something challenging. This time it's "Army of Me." A strong drum beat and a NIN-styled synth bass line precede the emergence of a strange, wandering vocal melody that doesn't seem to be grounded in any kind of established chord progression. In other words, if you come here looking for something akin to Aretha Franklin you'll quickly realize that this ain't exactly the queen of soul. The excellent "Hyperballad" is next and it's a song that possesses a little more structure that makes it much more comprehensible. The tune's jazzy electric piano as it wafts over a light techno rhythmic scheme is intriguing and Bjork's singing motif sticks out as being wholly unlike any other on earth. "The Modern Things" follows. Its underlying track develops in a way that's reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's early solo work and the jazz influence detected in her songwriting is undeniable. Yet Bjork is remarkably unorthodox on all counts so you never know what to expect. "It's Oh So Quiet" is a case in point. As she did on the previous disc, she slips into nostalgia mode skillfully and without apology, this time as she brazenly fronts a big band. What's great about this cut is how she manipulates the contrasting dynamics and her clever humor so brilliantly. It's highly entertaining stuff. On "Enjoy" she jumps back into an industrial groove that Trent Reznor would approve of and once again sings in a key that only she can hear. The number creates a bizarre, unnerving aura that is somehow magnetic. "You've Been Flirting Again" is a short vocal-with-string- section piece that provides the album with a classy change of pace moment right in the middle.

"Isobel" is another standout song. It sports a full orchestral opening and then morphs into a number containing a pulsating rhythm that exudes a slight South American vibe but the tune avoids becoming your average girl-singer fare because Bjork takes the score wherever she wants to regardless of conventional wisdom. I like that she so openly flaunts her freedom. "Possibly Maybe" is next and it begins with an electronically-generated loop of sampled sound before evolving into a slow-paced number wherein her emotionally-charged voice dominates, establishing a dichotomy between the serene and the passionate. "I Miss You" is another highlight. Its subtle dance beat is augmented by both artificial and authentic percussion instruments as the track strides beneath her aggressive vocal. She wisely lets the intoxicating momentum carry the song on its shoulders without hindrance and the brassy horns are an exciting addition. "Cover Me" is a brief arrhythmic, experimental composition that displays her fearless nature flawlessly. She closes with "Headphones." After an extremely subdued start she introduces muted synthesized toms that instigate a beat pattern to guide you through an array of inventive vocal snippets and manifestations of her free form poetry and utterances that tastefully manage to skirt around the potholes of becoming irritating or insincere.

Released in the summer of 1995, "Post" reached #32 in the USA but streaked up to #2 in the UK. The singles that the CD spawned also did much better in Britain than here in the states and that further confirms to me that the English continue to be much more prog-minded and flexible in their musical tastes than their Yankee counterparts. The effects of the MTV virus still linger, evidently. Bjork's music also suggests that the final decade of the second millennium was a lot more progressive than I realized and that may be due to the fact that her eclecticism kept her off of US radio stations that were too timid and conservative to give her songs a decent chance to flourish. Over here she was more likely to gain exposure from her wild costumes and exotic looks than from her adventurous music and that's a shame. Hopefully a lot more American proggers will discover her charms in time. Give her a spin. 3.5 stars.

 L'assenza by MESEGLISE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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L'assenza
Meseglise Crossover Prog

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

— First review of this album —
4 stars A pleasant side road

Sithonia has been around the RPI scene for about 25 years, releasing over that period five studio albums and a live album, all fairly solid entries into the second wave of RPI canon. Over the last 14 years, members of the band wrote and recorded several songs in a slightly different style, more in a singer-songwriter vein than Sithonia, with progressive and Mediterranean shadings. Sithonia keyboardist Paolo Nannetti and guitarist Marco Giovannini decided to take these songs and create a side project. They added three members (Maurizio Lettera on drums, Maya Seagull on bass, and Maria Robaey on violin) and enlisted other Sithonia personnel to assist on the final recordings. The result is the debut album by the band Méséglise, entitled "L'assenza."

The music of Méséglise on this debut album is highly melodic art rock, mainly laid back with a distinct Mediterranean sound, including much piano and frequent accordion. There are many keyboard flourishes that make prog fans feel right at home (including a fair bit of mellotron), and the ambience created is a comfortable, nostalgic one. The songs are always well written if not complex, sometimes brooding, other times content, often wistful. But the music is always welcome, never tiresome, and the experience is overall a very enjoyable one. Samples are readily available on the web, and the album is widely distributed by Lizard. 4- stars (Gnosis 11/15)

 The Light Beyond The Shades by SPLEEN ARCANA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.06 | 43 ratings

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The Light Beyond The Shades
Spleen Arcana Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

5 stars Spleen Arcana is a one-man French band in which Julien Gaullier is responsible for all of the instruments, compositions, vocals and technical details, the only exception is the drums recorded by David Perron. The Light Beyond The Shades (2014) is an album that took around four years to be completed for Julien recorded everything on his own calmly at his home studio in Paris.

I got to know the band back in 2009 when Julien himself got in touch with me asking if I would like to review his first album, The Field Where She Died (2008). At that time despite seeing that the project had quality I thought that something was missing in Julien's music, perhaps a greater identity to it. Well, in The Light Beyond The Shades (2014) he got that!

For fans that follow Spleen Arcana two of the three tracks on the new album are not that new, despite the fact that they have new outfits in the new album they were available before through the band's Bandcamp page as singles around 2 years ago. But, as I mentioned, for the new album they were re-worked and can be considered new. The tracks are 'Erin Shores' and 'Fading Away'.

The opening track, 'Erin Shores' starts where the last track of The Field Where She Died (2008) ? 'A Kind Of Heaven' ? ends and shows Julien's passion for Scottish folkloric music. Julien's vocals are calm, serene and gentle, however his music not always follows this path, especially in the instrumental moments. Listening to this opening track is quite obvious that Julien is a big fan of the classical period of Prog, the 70's, however Spleen Arcana's music sounds fresh and new. This fact is even more noticeable in the second track 'Fading Away' where his wife Marie Guillaumet helps him with backing vocals (like on his first album). Julien is a great instrumentalist now, and one can see his growth from his first album, he does well both in the bass and in the electric and acoustic guitars. Keyboards are also present, but in a discrete way most of the time. The instrumental section on this second track is simply superb, at the same time Julien was able to write something that is worthy of the great 70's Prog bands but with a freshness rarely present in the new bands. I must also say that David Perron's works in the drums are great on this track.

But to be honest, the surprise of The Light Beyond The Shades (2014) is the third and final track 'Memento Mori', an epic of 24 minutes. 'Memento Mori' is a perfect example of the classic Prog Rock format in the 70's and the new Prog Rock made in the last ten years or so. Julien shows us that it is possible to mix both and that they match perfectly. Moreover, he shows us that you don't need to be trendy and super hyped to be a good Prog band nowadays. My only complaint is the vocal parts. Though I recognize that Julien improved a lot since his first album in this matter I think that the vocals on his new album are much alike, however I don't think this downgrades his work much, and the sounds you'll find in The Light Beyond The Shadows (2014) are so rich that honestly you'll find a great number of details for you to hook on.

Plenty of times when I start to write a review I ask myself if there's a way of sounding like the Classic Prog that we love but at the same time bring something new to the table. Most of the time I disappoint myself with new bands because of that. I believe that Spleen Arcana is my answer to that question! The album shows Julien with loads of Classic bands influence such as Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd and King Crimson but at the same time he's listening to the new bands like Porcupine Tree as well. You can be sure that this five years waiting was worth it.

If you're one of those listeners that love the 70's and grew up listening to those but also like to know what's going on right now The Light Beyond The Shades (2014) is your album, you can buy it with no fear. On top of that I think this is a great format for an album: 3 tracks in 46 minutes.

I just hope that Julien will not take another five years to release a new album, but if that happens and if he can top The Light Beyond The Shades (2014), I don't mind waiting!

4,5 stars

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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Crossover Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
17 PYGMIES United States
3 United Kingdom
3 LEGGED MONSTER United States
3RDEGREE United States
7TH KIND United States
90 DAY MEN United States
A.L.F. Brazil
AARDVARK United Kingdom
AARDVARK' Finland
THE AARON CLIFT EXPERIMENT United States
ABACUS Germany
ABARAX Germany
ABBFINOOSTY United Kingdom
ABIOGENESI Italy
LEE ABRAHAM United Kingdom
ABSENTE H Spain
ABSINTHE JUNK United States
ACANTHE France
ACTIVE HEED Italy
THE ADDICTION DREAM United States
THE ADVANCEMENT United States
AFTER... Poland
AGATHORN Denmark
AHOORA Iran
AKIN France
AKROPOLIS Denmark
ALIAS EYE Germany
ALL OVER EVERYWHERE United States
ALTERNATIVE 4 United Kingdom
ALUX NAHUAL Guatemala
AMAROK Poland
THE AMAZING Sweden
TORI AMOS United States
AMPERA Norway
ANALOG MISSIONARY United States
THE ANALOGUE United Kingdom
ANANTA Venezuela
LAURIE ANDERSON United States
ANGULART Chile
ANOTHER ROADSIDE ATTRACTION Canada
ANTARES Italy
ANUBIS SPIRE United States
ANYWHERE United States
APATHEIA Czech Republic
APOCALYPSIS Greece
APOGEE Germany
APPLESEED Poland
AQUILA United Kingdom
ARCHANGELICA Poland
ARCHIVE United Kingdom
AREA 39 United Kingdom
ARGENT United Kingdom
ARGO Lithuania
ARNIOE Australia
BRADY ARNOLD United States
TONY ARNOLD United States
THE ARS SUPERNOVA United States
ART BY NUMBERS United States
ART CINEMA Denmark
ART DECO Finland
ARTLAND Israel
ARZ United States
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