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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)

Current Team Members as at 04/26/2015

Tom (Roland113)
Evolver (Scott)
tszirmay (Thomas)
rogerthat (Madan)

Crossover Prog Top Albums


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

4.32 | 1300 ratings
CRIME OF THE CENTURY
Supertramp
4.31 | 1620 ratings
THE RAVEN THAT REFUSED TO SING (AND OTHER STORIES)
Wilson, Steven
4.32 | 1054 ratings
OMMADAWN
Oldfield, Mike
4.30 | 1028 ratings
HAND. CANNOT. ERASE.
Wilson, Steven
4.23 | 837 ratings
DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON
Phideaux
4.21 | 1464 ratings
GRACE FOR DROWNING
Wilson, Steven
4.20 | 857 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART ONE)
Big Big Train
4.20 | 727 ratings
PETER GABRIEL 3 [AKA: MELT]
Gabriel, Peter
4.21 | 461 ratings
~
iamthemorning
4.18 | 729 ratings
SNOWTORCH
Phideaux
4.36 | 106 ratings
SHINY EYED BABIES
Bent Knee
4.17 | 614 ratings
THE UNDERFALL YARD
Big Big Train
4.16 | 658 ratings
DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED
Moody Blues, The
4.13 | 671 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART TWO)
Big Big Train
4.17 | 283 ratings
ONES & ZEROS: VOL. 1
3RDegree
4.20 | 187 ratings
FOLKLORE
Big Big Train
4.12 | 514 ratings
NIGHT
Gazpacho
4.23 | 138 ratings
THE SHAMING OF THE TRUE
Gilbert, Kevin
4.21 | 147 ratings
LOVE REMAINS THE SAME
Von Hertzen Brothers
4.11 | 334 ratings
HOUNDS OF LOVE
Bush, Kate

Crossover Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

NARROW-CASTER
3RDegree
GENERAL WINTER'S SECRET MUSEUM
Tea Club, The
BROKEN CHINA
Wright, Richard
ONE OF SEVERAL POSSIBLE MUSIKS
Livgren, Kerry

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Latest Crossover Prog Music Reviews


 Ocean Suite by INNER PROSPEKT album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.58 | 3 ratings

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Ocean Suite
Inner Prospekt Crossover Prog

Review by malamala

5 stars Ocean suite is an extraordinary piece of music. It's a unique track 50 minutes long, that brings us in a very mysterious world. It's inspired by a book, that I haven't read yet, so I can't say how Alessandro has been guided in the composition of the suite, but indubitably it must be a very intriguing story, regarding a painful story from the past, a mysterious girl that can bring into the dreams, this sort of things.

I'm very impressed with the composition: it's hard to maintain the interest and the balance in a so long song, but Inner Prospekt master this art, and you can listen all the 50 minutes with ease. He has found a perfect balance in high and low moments, in "forte" and "piano", and in the density of the arrangement, so that the listener can feel the flow of the music and appreciate all the details and the melodies inside.

Pros: wonderful melodies, great soloing (in Banks style, but not only that as we have hammond too, and flute), complex chords and complex composition, old and new sound togheter (hammond, mellotron, etc, along with drum machines and electro sounds), very groovy songs.

Cons: the recording audio quality isn't exceptional, it's something near a home studio recording, the voice sometimes is weak although the choir work is very good, and I missed the presence of a real drum and real bass. It would be great to hear Inner Prospeks works played by a real band, like Alessandro's Mad Crayon, for example.

The real power of this music is the level of detail: you can listen over and over, and always discover new melodies, new aspects that you've never noticed before.

Five stars without doubt.

 Death is Just a Feeling by AWAD, AMADEUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.08 | 73 ratings

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Death is Just a Feeling
Amadeus Awad Crossover Prog

Review by Mastyrx1979

5 stars My first introduction to Amadeus Awad was 2014's EON - The Book Of Shadows. I walked away so blown away by what I heard I thought this was his opus. Well sometimes what we think and actual reality are two different things. I believe 2015's Death Is Just A Feeling could be his Magnus Opus. Whereas EON- The Book Of Shadows was more progressive metal in its nature, 2015's Death Is Just A Feeling carries some of the most progressively diverse character and instrumental content I have heard since 2004's, Pain Of Salvations - Be or 2000's Ayreon's The Universal Migrator Part 1 : where the Dream Sequencer was more the progressive rock side and Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator was the heavier progressive metal half. On Amadeus Awad's - Death Is Just A Feeling you get a lot of both worlds. The albums diversity is also properly supported by a very diverse support cast this time around. You have Ayreon himself Arjen Lucassen on vocals, Annke Van Geirsbergen vocals and Eli Monasef on vocals. This one also carries 2 world class drummers in Marco Minneman and James Keegan. With a cast like this Amadeus Awad has allowed himself a lot of creative freedom in Death Is Just A Feeling. This concept is about suicide addiction and what life is like in the one persons world who suffers from drug addiction with suicidal thoughts.This will resonate with the one who listens to it and think of themselves in the same situation. Opia begins with a power synthesizer and guitar creating a atmospheric signature. This is accompanied by a wonderful narrative piece eloquently done by Dan Harper. The narrative is a person really on a journey of soul searching. The instrumental atmosphere is very Pink Floydian in nature. Annke's feminine vocal gives it a delicate balance diverse off the heavily brooding narrative the intro produces. Sleep Paralysis opens with a more progressive metal side with a killer straight away riff compounded with great time signatures and hooks that continue the journey the project takes the listener in. A some points it is almost a neo progressive metal vibe. Lyrically it introduces you to the initial effects of when a stimulant based drug begins to consume the person physically, mentally and spiritually. There are some very old school hammond/mellotron elements in the backdrop that are on point. Monday Morning begins with a very Ayreon vibe especially carrying elements of The Human Equation and 01011001. With some killer rhythm fills from the dums and the keyboards gradually taking you into the track makes for a very easy yet perplexed listen. At times it carries some Steven Wilson type atmospheres with it. Tomorrow Lies has a wonderful piano acoustical guitar intro with a heavy brooding bass drum rhythm progression. This carries many Floydian elements. Eli Monsef has a very unique and distinctive vocal. It often reminds me of Jonas Renske later Katatonia albums in its influence. Tomorrow Lies also contains a wonderful thought out and written orchestral section in the middle. This is followed up by a beautiful guitar solo passage. Tomorrows Lies also carries some various vocal effects that perfectly compliment the orchestral sections. Lonesome Clown a unusual flamingo style acoustical vibe as it opens. This is supported wonderfully by Annke's chant like vocals that are used more as a instrument. Amadeus Awad executes a double overdubbed vocal of Anneke in this one making her sound like many more than one. The vocal is almost choir like in nature while maintaining the lead vocal integrity. Then the track takes on a various series of neo progressive time signatures and hooks. This is followed by a beautiful bass guitar rhythm drum combination before going into a nice guitar solo. Lyrically it is as if the person is finding a way of escape from their predictiament. Temporary effectively ends the concept in the arrangement. It opens with a wonderful cello section on top the semi acoustical vibe. Arjen Lucassen soon comes in with his distinctive voice. Temporary carries a very Beatle-esque atmosphere to it. The clarinet solo is beautiful in the middle section. Temporary is the most orchestral based track on the concept that sounds like a symphony orchestra throughout the track. There is track 7 - Time of The Equinox and track 8 - Poetry of Time that are pre order bonus tracks that effectively wet the curiosity of the listener waiting on Death Is Just A Feeling. While both are still heavily armed with orchestral atmospheres, Time of The Equinox is strictly instrumental while Poetry of Time contains lyrics. Not since 2004's Ayreon - The Human Equation where Me is in a coma for 20 days evaluating his life in his psyche, have I heard such concept with such personal conviction attached to it. Death Is Just A Feeling is a very emotionally driven and heavily atmospherically armed concept with many twists and turns within the human experience. Many feel this is possible Album of The Year material for 2015. I have to agree it is a strong heavy contender for it. I give this a 5/5 .
 Procol's Ninth by PROCOL HARUM album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.78 | 87 ratings

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Procol's Ninth
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars A natural follow up to Exotic Birds and Fruit, Procol's Ninth does have it's flaws. Having dispensed with producer Chris Thomas, whose productions were getting denser by the record until the reverberant "wall of sound" found on Exotic Birds and Fruit was the resulting cut off point for the band. Seeking out uber American R&R producers Leiber and Stoller, Procol recorded their cleanest and most uncluttered record since A Salty Dog. And what does work on Procol's Ninth, works wonderfully, while what doesn't is hardly bearable. Namely the album's closing track, a cover of The Beatles' Eight Days A Week.

It truly is bad enough to make one twinge. However, eight of the album's ten tracks are good, with the two worst placed at the end, so ending this listening trip early seems unencumbering.

The leadoff tack Pandora's Box, with it's exotic mix of marimba, guest flute and more of Keith Reid's esoteric lyrics, let PH have one more UK hit, getting as high as number 16 on the British charts. Fools Gold seems like more of Reid's and Gary Brooker's laments about chasing riches and the eventual fall back to earth that worked so well for the group on Exotic Birds and Fruit. Brooker's vocals are as convincing as ever, but it seems like we've heard this all before. Indeed. With Exotic Birds And Fruit, we have.

Taking My Time is a bluesy number, naturally suited to Brooker's voice, and has the unusual accompaniment of brass. Many have said, including guitarist Mick Grabham, that the band sound like Chicago on Procol's Ninth, but in fact, the brass is more New Orleans style jazz and fits even better wit the later bluesy track I Keep Forgetting. Yes, as many have said, Chris Copping's organ is relegated to the background, but if Procol Harum fans have not heard enough organ played on the previous hundred PH songs, then they truly deserve a cigar.

R&B and blues is also central to the excellent The Unquiet Zone which features Reid's take on the ravages of war, and some of Grabham's best guitar playing on the album. And this is saying a lot as he's stellar throughout the whole album and has an ear for melody and tone quite similar to Tull's Martin Barre if Ian Anderson would have let him cut loose a bit more.

The Final Thrust and The Piper's Tune are quintessential Procol Harum. The former featuring stately piano from Brooker and the later featuring Lowery Organ in place of bagpipes. Both work well with more of Reid's pessimistic lyrics to give the songs that special Procol Harum gravitas.

The less said about the last two tracks, Typewriter Torment, and the afore mentioned cover of Eight Days A Week, the better. The only thing I find off putting about Procol's Ninth is that I can only play it as a follow up to Exotic Birds and Fruit, as it has the same vibe but lacking the bombast I love so much about Exotic Birds and Fruit. I would never play it at any other time.

With that in mind, 3 stars seems right for this good but non essential album from the once mighty Procol Harum.

PH would go on to make one more album in the seventies, the dismal Something Magic before the band broke up. An album not even worth reviewing simply because the lack of objectivity that drove band to record a cover of Eight Days A Week only became worse by the time the band recorded Something Magic. Truly sad.

 Sanctuary II by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.39 | 19 ratings

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Sanctuary II
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by M3g52

5 stars Personally, despite some references, this begins to not be Mike Oldfield, but the work of a worthy follower.

What we have here is the very talented multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Robert Reed, (Magenta, Kompendium, Kiama) with its continuation to "Sanctuary" purely Oldfield 2014. Produced, mixed and directed by Rob, and this time joined the original production equipment technician "Tubular Bells", Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth, who have helped the album a cleaner sound. Sanctuary II (2016) has the rare peculiarity of sounding like an album of Oldfield without it easy to find the exact references. The technique of striking melodic progress is there, the risky combination of instruments of all kinds also still in force, and especially the singing voice still carries that clean and expressive electric guitar ... but still sounding Oldfield, we do not know very well what melody referenced, and that can be a great virtue for those who want to see Reed get away from the canon and tinkering on your own. Making a complicated exercise in imagination, perhaps we could understand Sanctuary II as an album Oldfield would have composed if his instrumental epic stage had not been completed.

Reed Sanctuary II gives an air sometimes more rock, sometimes more folk than the first album. Or what is the same, the ends are accentuated. In progressive rock slope it contributes the notable presence of Simon Phillips, essential Oldfield ochentero battery. While it is not yours an instrument that can be left an imprint too personal, their interventions are timely and refreshing. On the other hand, Robert Reed has had another collaborator Oldfield, Les Penning, flutist category here contributes to several playful passages

And let's not forget the excellent vocal solos Angharad Brinn that leads to soft guitars. And the chorus Synergy Vocals always present surround us.

And all this achieved, which is in my opinion, that while "Sanctuary" was a formidable album, "Santuary II" as a sublime album. With what we were is the commitment of Robert Reed to fulfill the desire of the old Mike: someone to take over and continue composing instrumental long in which the listener can dive. It has taken years anyone to carry to term this idea so explicitly, and we can only hope that in the future and more than likely Sanctuary III (apart from the probable recording of the live performance by the end of 2016), Robert Reed be able to continue delighting without being in the shadow of the giant. Gradually it is achieving.

 Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra by PROCOL HARUM album cover Live, 1972
4.05 | 106 ratings

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Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Procol Harum Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars There are few essential live prog albums and Procol Harum Live In Concert with the ESO is certainly one in that excels on two crucial levels. First off, it's remarkably recorded and secondly, It's one of the few live albums that I've heard, Renaissance being an exception, where the band and orchestra mesh perfectly and create a certain chemistry that truly sounds as one coherent artist's vision.

In the case of a group like Renaissance that spurned electric guitars, blues riffs and were pastoral, Procol Harum were a full on rock band that could boogie with the best of them on any given night, so their special orchestral collaboration, captured here, seems more remarkable when compared to groups like Deep Purple, whose live collaboration with an orchestra left a lot to be desired.

Recently departed from PH was the great Robin Trower, who would go on to his fame and acclaim as a blues guitarist, his place was taken up by the lanky David Ball who did wonders to make past Trower riffs shine. Indeed, it's said that his nervousness during the performance compelled him to a play a better lead solo than the one that was re-recorded for this album's performance of the song Conquistador. This was actually a good thing as the group, and their producer, quickly realized that what performances they had were special and never altered another in post production. What you here is what was played live.

Especially noticeable is the dynamic playing of drummer BJ Wilson who at times sounds like an orchestrated Keith Moon with magnificent drum fills on the afore mentioned Conquistador, which leads off the album and benefits greatly with the inclusion of the orchestra. The score written by vocalist/pianist Gary Brooker himself, who also did the score for the studio version of A Salty Dog. Brooker's commanding voice is in fine form throughout.

A Salty Dog is a rival to it's studio version and Brooker's stirring vocal is superior as unbelievable as that sounds, while Whaling Stories is greatly inproved over it's studio counterpart as the choir accompaniment is magnificent in the "Shalimar" verse. The proto prog song-suite of In Held 'Twas In I is the only song not improved upon as Brooker's spoken word opening naration was never compelling and lyricist Keith Reid's soliloquy seems less impressive and somewhat amateurish compared to his intriguing studio version.

The strange thing about Procol Harum Live In Concert with the ESO is that it was a single LP record release which is disappointing as it's over too soon at it's running time of 45 minutes. Also strange is the absence of the group's first megahit A Whiter Shade of Pale. Even stranger is the fact that it's not even missed, as this album's live version of Conquistador became Procol Harum's second ever worldwide smash. 4 stars.

 Night And Day by ECLIPSE album cover Studio Album, 1977
1.03 | 4 ratings

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Night And Day
Eclipse Crossover Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

1 stars I think that Sean Trane said enough about this one already when he said that "Night and Day" is "to be avoided at all cost", but I feel that by having an average score of 1.05 at the time of me writing this, this album has been treated far too generously by this website. It really has got to be one of the worst recordings I've ever heard.

After a debut which featured the gorgeous "Vision Intérieure", those involved with Eclipse must have gone through some sort of traumatic incident that stole their souls, because "Night and Day" is absolutely hideous. The music on this album is exclusively synth-pop and disco shrill that ends up butchering several classic rock songs and the cover makes "Love Beach" look like a Roger Dean masterwork. Seriously, what is up with those eyes on the far left? Put simply, there is no point in owning this album, except perhaps as a conversation piece or, more realistically, a torture device. This may very well be the single *worst* entity in the entire progarchives database. 1 star, rounded up.

 Northlands by PATTERSON - EYRE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 52 ratings

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Northlands
Patterson - Eyre Crossover Prog

Review by poito

1 stars Short and easy. If you are looking for smooth calmed music for a rainy day, there you have it. Northlands is ambient music, the kind of stuff uncomplicated people likes to have in the background, or when doing something else that does not demand your attention, like reading or working in the laptop, because there is no much that can fix your attention in this music. The composition is naif, soundtrack-like, and we all know what that means, it takes little to write tons of music like this. Sorry for the lovers and followers, but I have to be sincere. This music won't win a price for creativity and originality. I've listened to death metal sons with more music inside. There are hundredths of New-Age music in the early 90's that can give you smooth high quality music with gorgeous compositional work and tons of innovative elements. If that's what you care for, have a look to Windham Hill or Narada's artists and collections.
 Equations of Meaning by PATTERSON - EYRE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.79 | 66 ratings

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Equations of Meaning
Patterson - Eyre Crossover Prog

Review by poito

1 stars Short and easy. I came to Patterson attracted by the PA ratings and comments and I check everything that smells to early Genesis. Have to admit that waht I listened here is not my style and I may not be rigorous enough, but who can as music concerns? What I can say after a couple of turns is that there won't be a third. Patterson's may remind Parsons,,, in his worst version. The music is kind of ambient. It's dull, slow and unspired, the kind of music one would describe as take-a-nap-while-I-do-my-stuff, or relax-you-won't-notice-it. It is obvious I'm not in the line but I couldn't find any original or innovative element. By the way, comparing this to Genesis, Hackett and friends is a bad joke. Space-ambient Prog can be good too, this isn't. Definitely for completionists and very close relatives.
 Our Oceans by OUR OCEANS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.20 | 13 ratings

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Our Oceans
Our Oceans Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I love it when metal heads are smart and creative enough to eschew their habitual 'sturm und drang' day job and seek to delve into the softer realms of sonic manipulation. Case in point this new band from the Netherlands which nicely proves my point. Tymon Kruidenier is both a leading member of prog death metal band Cynic as well as Exivious, a highly talented guitarist, composer and vocalist. While these bands are not my cup of tea, I was quite determined to review this album, not only for the fabulously gorgeous cover art (album art of the year, me thinks!) but also because I was intrigued by the fretless bass video demonstration from Robin Zielhorst, which really resonated with me. His playing throughout is first rate, nicely up front and center, thankfully not buried deep in the mix. Tymon also has some pretty amazing vocal chords and the material he chooses surely elevate his talent even more. Shouldered by a terrific drummer in Jasper Barendregt and second guitarist Michel Nienhuis, this foursome certainly can deliver the goods. All four form the basic lineup of Exivious and having heavy and technically expert musicians playing 'lighter' material is a true measure of the excellence displayed here. What kind of music you ask? Well, generally short songs firmly in the crossover genre, relatively mainstream accessible but with overt power in the delivery and confidence on the playing ability. The quality of the pieces are on par with similar acts such as Steve Wilson or even recent Riverside which frankly comes as a purely intended compliment. Tymon sings with passionate thoughtfulness throughout, hitting a variety of high notes with seemingly little fuss, crowning the melodic prog-rock with some expressive power and feeling.

Songs flow naturally, all imbued with their own melodic preciousness, each one hitting the listener with immediate positivity. They are all fabulous tunes, no filler here, believe you me! Immediately attractive songs like the deliciously overpowering opener 'What If?' with its jazzy feel, airy vocals and fluid bass lines and the more mysteriously demure 'Tangled' really show off some serious talent, exuding both interest and confidence that bodes very well for the future. Tymon's vocals are awe-inspiring and technically intricate, the man can sing with the best of them. The electric guitar solo is a trembling and trilling flurry of sizzling notes and heartfelt zeal. More spine- tingling leads 'Precarious' along, a brief slice a dreamy atmospheric prog that really hits the mark. There are times when a slight jazz feel shows its head, a bit like Holdsworth-era Level 42, again a huge compliment indeed. The surprising 'Lioness' Sunrise' is the first of two longer track here, clocking in at over 6 minutes and is perhaps the most atmospheric and laid-back, showcasing restraint and ambient feel. Robin's bass roll dazzlingly along, a master of fretless resilience that really elevates this album to heights that I can really quantify.

The supremely melodic 'Am I Still Here?' hits some very high notes (damn, those metal boys sure can wail!), thus always keeping things interesting within the rather restrictive genre they have chosen. This short piece contrasts hard and soft craftily, seeming like a roundabout turnstile track and a sign of things to come. 'Illuminate' does exactly that, showering shimmering light upon the psychedelic proceedings, a warm settling breeze blowing through the clouds, 'drifting out of mind' . There is a cool Anathema-like feel, dreamy atmospherics marshaled front and center, with an airy voice that can suddenly wail mightily as the aromatic Zielhorst bass blows like a Mediterranean zephyr. The second part really intensifies into a grandiloquently lit stage for some harrowing interplay.

Another fabulous track, and longest here is the sinewy 'Turquoise', a dreamy and atmospheric journey that smolders like a sizzling campfire, mostly due to Robin's fascinating fretless bass furrow, rekindling commemorations of giants like John G. Perry, Percy Jones and the immortal Mick Karn. The colliding guitar cascades are harrowingly perfect, as both Kruidenier and Nienhuis cross axes with apparent affluence, Jasper beating his kit like some madman across the water. Stellar track, this! The immediacy of 'Let Me' aims straight for the pleasure nodes, a rolling and rocking piece that cuts to the chase and delivers a harder edge. The helium-fueled soaring vocals from Tymon are mind bending, the mood overpoweringly bombastic and a true blast for its immediacy, freshness and virtuosity!

My favorite track among many, 'Reawaken' is the splendiferous finale, fully loaded with serenity and eloquence, featuring Tymon's softest voice yet, gradually working up into a frenzy as the spirit of the song 'reawakens' the sense of pleasurable listening that permeates this entire recording. Pastoral and bucolic at times, then forceful and animated, the track does wonders with the enthralled mind seeking deliverance.

All in all, a stimulating addition to our precious prog community and certainly very deserving of added interest as well as more reviews on our site. Fans of Anathema, Sylvan and Riverside will like what they hear. Great debut with many more to come!

Dank u wel, Tymon!

4.5 Shared Waters

 Hope for a Mourning by MICE ON STILTS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.20 | 63 ratings

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Hope for a Mourning
Mice On Stilts Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars From gorgeous New Zealand, we have a new album from Mice on Stilts, a progressive crossover artist that caught the community's attention with 2014's rather engaging debut 'An Ocean Held Me' and kept us wondering if another gem would be in the cards. Two years later, this sophomore release continues from where they had left off, a mercurial and original take on the crossover style that does not mean that it's the 'poppiest' of genres within the prog spectrum but rather wishes to incorporate a certain sense of accessibility. Ben Morley's has quite a singular flair when it comes to forging his own musical persona, a heady combination of various influences that defy the norm. Firstly, he possesses a voice that is just made for melancholic and heartfelt music, with a definitive yearning for emotional release and lyrical expression. At times, I was reminded of a modern-day Jim Morrison in terms of delivery though not necessarily tone. The musicians he chooses are closer to jazz and chamber, with lots of woodwinds, cellos and violas, way closer to Penguin Caf' Orchestra than your archetypal neo-prog line-up. The heavy use of piano and choir is another lucid clue into the Morley musical psyche, a deliciously intense universe of artistic seduction that deserves to be further noticed by the prog community. This is a major talent, proggers!

The tracks are impressively astute canvases on life, from the sweeping opener 'Kandallah', a piece that really sets the melancholic mood with reflective piano dispositions from the talented Brendan Zwaan and a soaring vocal delivery from Ben Morley, anointed with clever pastoral meanderings and a delicate sense of orchestral structure, swelled by a wall of sound effects that seek to blur the senses.

The splendid 8 minute 'Orca' is a different fish altogether (oops), the acoustic guitar taking the spotlight as Ben navigates the aching whitecaps of his tempestuous soul, Rob Sanders' slick drumming pushing the wavy brass section into an aquatic frenzy. There is a tremendous mid-section that first seeks out ambient paradigms, only to let the sax brave the seas and let the shrill synthesizer scour the sprays. A truly magnificent opus that has cinematographic tendencies as well as immense depth and sonic boom.

'The Hours' is short and sombre, 'a moment on my own' delivered in that fatigued, pillow-infected voice that is sleepy but despondently insistent, wholly minimalist at first with the piano and acoustic guitar in tow. That Jim Morrison impression shines through once again, a door into the past and I see it as rather unmistakable.

The next trio of songs form the core of this amazing piece of work, a trilogy of essence and creative genius, starting off with the 'And We Saw His Needs'', again the piano being the orchestra conductor, decorating the lush arrangement, along with some sensational trumpet work from guest Guy Harrison. When the celestial choir work kicks in, the proverbial jaw has hit the floor, as both Catherine Walker and Esther Tetlow elevate this to unforeseen heights! The resonant Zwaan piano is sheer brilliance, crystalline pearls of reverence and despair, furthered by the persevering choir. The very calm 'YHWH' keeps the agony ongoing, perhaps more soporific and psychedelia- induced at first. The guitars come clanging in rather brutally, slashing and slicing through the clamorous veil of sound, hinting somehow at those 90s bands that specialized in Gothic doom (Swans, Lycia, Black Tape for A Blue Girl, Love Spirals Downwards, His Name is Alive etc'). Again, sheer brilliance! The title track serves as a reversal of mood, very sinewy and obscurely swerving in ambiance, a slick vocal duet between Morley and one of the ladies, spurred on by thrilling brass and jazzy drumming. The agony and the ecstasy is plainly heard and ably expressed as the ethereal mood rolls forward like some grayish cemetery mist, momentarily chilling the senses.

All this impressive music is nothing compared to the magnificence of the incredible 11 minute epic 'Funeral', a fittingly somber reptile of a track full of sorrow and regret, nearly on the threshold of surrender. Ben offers up a heartfelt expanse of emotions that pulls at all the heartstrings, cello, violins and viola in tow. There is a definite Swans feel here, loads of dramatic interface, bellowing brass and furious drumming that swell ultimately into a rather obvious and expected apotheosis, with all musicians involved up to the hilt. A masterpiece of progressive rock music. Amen.

Hard act to follow such genius but so is the butterfly morphing from the caterpillar, as 'Monarch' sets the sun down on another stellar production from a musician that is truly carving out new territories. The song feels like a finale, a bittersweet and yet tender au revoir. This is the perfect lights-out, candles-lit, glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in the goblet type of recording, definitely nocturnal and perhaps even autumn-esque. Truth is the quality is so great that anytime, anywhere and anyway will work fine.

The cover art is once again a winner, deeply melancholic and childlike in its pure sensibility, as if designed to be a prog pastel coloring book. There is no doubt that Steve Wilson is a genial producer, composer and musician but the prog world needs to make some room for Ben Morley and his Mice on Stilts.

5 Courageous Bereavements

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Crossover Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
17 PYGMIES United States
1974 United States
1O1 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
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