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RIO/AVANT-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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RIO/Avant-Prog definition

Avant-Prog

Avant-prog is an umbrella term which refers to any progressive rock artist with a strong leaning towards avant-garde and highly experimental approaches to music. Therefore, it includes the sub-genres of Rock In Opposition (see below) and Zeuhl in addition to general avant-prog artists.

Avant-prog is generally considered to be more extreme and 'difficult' than other forms of progressive rock, though these terms are naturally subjective and open to interpretation. Common elements that may or may not be displayed by specific avant-prog artists include:

- Regular use of dissonance and atonality.
- Extremely complex and unpredictable song arrangements.
- Free or experimental improvisation.
- Fusion of disparate musical genres.
- Polyrhythms and highly complex time signatures.

Most avant-prog artists are highly unique and eclectic in sound and consequently tend to resist easy comparisons. However, Frank Zappa is often cited as a major influence on many avant-prog artists due to his early adoption of avant-garde and experimental attitudes within a predominantly rock/jazz context.


Rock In Opposition

Rock In Opposition (RIO for short) is the name of a short-lived movement that has gone on to define a sub-genre of progressive rock, and which is now sometimes applied to musicians whose careers hadn't even started by the time the movement had ceased to exist in any official capacity. It is not synonymous with the term avant-prog, for whilst bands associated with RIO are (generally speaking) avant-prog in nature, most avant-prog bands are not associated with RIO.

The roots of RIO can be traced to Henry Cow, a UK progressive rock band with a distinctly avant-garde sound and left wing political ideology. Henry Cow toured extensively in Europe throughout much of the 1970s and came into contact with a few similarly inclined bands, in an ideological sense as much, if not more, than a musical one. These groups did not always have much in common stylistically, apart from a basic leaning towards fusing avant-garde qualities with elements of rock. Most of these bands were working independently at the time and had no distribution or realistic opportunity of touring outside their native countries. The idea of Rock In Opposition was to create an independent network of like-minded performers that would not be dependent on the largesse of major record companies for their survival.

Henry Cow invited four of these bands to play alongside them at the first Rock in Opposition festival on 12th March 1978, at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane in London. The British Arts Council helped the funding of the festival with a ú1000 grant. The Rock in Opposition slogan "The music the record companies don't want you to hear" was altered very slightly for the flyer advertising the first Rock in Opposition concert.

The five initial Rock in Opposition bands were:

Henry Cow (England)
Univers Zero (Belgium)
Etron Fou Leloublan (France)
Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden)
Stormy Six (Italy)

Three additional bands were later officially elected to the movement:

Art Zoyd (France)
Art Bears (England)
Aksak Maboul (Belgium)

The involved bands had many disagreements in a meeting at Sunrise Studios in Kirchberg, Switzerland in December 1978 about the purpose of the group, and its meaning. They eventually came up with a plan to continue their joint concerts. They organised three more festivals and co-operative record distributions but eventually the RIO group dissolved. It left behind a legacy that would initially be picked up by later projects from the many musicians involved with the original movement, and later on by artists inspired by the original RIO groups. Miriodor and Ensemble Nimbus are often said to be influenced by Samla Mammas Manna, for example, and are consequently sometimes referred to as RIO bands.

Since 2007, a contemporary RIO festival has been held most years in Carmaux, France. This festival has included artists closely associated with the original RIO movement alongside bands from the wider world of avant-prog and experimental music.

Dates of the original RIO festivals

12 March 1978 at New London Theatre, Drury Lane, London, England (set up by Henry Cow)
26 April 1979 to 1 May 1979 at Teatro dell'Elfo, Milano, Italia (set up by Stormy Six)
28/29 September 1979 in Uppsala, Sweden (set up by Samla Mammas Manna)
Bruxelles, Belgium (set up by Univers Zero)

Useful links

Information on RIO from Chris Cutler's website

Additional historical information on Squidco

Written/Compiled/Edited by past and present members of the RIO/Avant-Prog team

Current team members:
as at 20/05/2016

Raffaella (Raff)
Luca (octopus-4)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)
Ori (frippism)

RIO/Avant-Prog Top Albums


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

4.33 | 1535 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.33 | 906 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.32 | 899 ratings
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 247 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.47 | 60 ratings
TAIGA
OOIOO
4.31 | 177 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.27 | 317 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.39 | 81 ratings
BOOK M
Secret Chiefs 3
4.27 | 285 ratings
HERESIE
Univers Zero
4.41 | 71 ratings
H─XAN
Art Zoyd
4.27 | 291 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.24 | 371 ratings
CHOIRS OF THE EYE
Kayo Dot
4.25 | 278 ratings
M┼LTID
Samla Mammas Manna
4.57 | 35 ratings
JACKSON
Korekyojinn
4.35 | 84 ratings
N║ 6
Present
4.35 | 84 ratings
DECEIT
This Heat
4.48 | 44 ratings
LETTERS HOME
News From Babel
4.42 | 53 ratings
SIRENS AND SILENCES / WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER
News From Babel
4.29 | 113 ratings
ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
Cardiacs
4.23 | 245 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs

RIO/Avant-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

THE VIOLENCE OF AMATEURS
French TV
TIGROVA MAST
Tigrova Mast
VEUILLEZ PROCEDER
Rouge Ciel
DOOR FLOOR SOMETHING WINDOW: LOOPING HOME ORCHESTRA LIVE 92-93
Hollmer, Lars

Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 Animal by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2018
2.92 | 5 ratings

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Animal
Shining RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars J°rgen Munkeby (saxophonist and guitarist, a graduate of the Norwegian Academy of Music) has long been the driving force between Norway's jazz-metal collective, Shining. Over the years they have broken down musical barriers and have refused to be categorised into any particular style of music, as they mixed progressive, technical metal, jazz, avant-garde and experimental sounds. But now he is back with something different "I was tired of doing the same thing," he explains. "I was done with 'Blackjazz' and wanted to create something new and exciting. I needed a change. I'm finally at the point where I have nothing to lose and everything to win. We had 360 degrees to play with so we could've gone in any direction. This new record is more Muse than Meshuggah, more Ghost than Gojira, and more Biffy Clyro than Burzum!"

It is all over the place as one might expect from the quote, and given Shining are known for having the sax as a key instrument it is somewhat surprising for one not to make any appearance anywhere on this! Devin Townsend has been an obvious influence, as have Linkin Park, and it is when the guys are really pushing the envelope with downtuned guitars and stacks of groove that they really make the listener stand up and take notice. It is mainstream for the most part, and it will be interesting to see how hardcore fans view this, as while it is an okay album, it is never really much more than that, and certainly not one which would be expected from him/them. It is almost a case of treating this as a brand-new band, and while the sound is very modern and powerful, for some reason it feels as if it as all been produced at the same level and consequently there just isn't enough drama for it to be consistently interesting.

 Cerberus Shoal  by CERBERUS SHOAL album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.47 | 11 ratings

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Cerberus Shoal
Cerberus Shoal RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Cerberus Shoal ia a RIO/Avant Prog collective that has been around since 1994 (forming in Boston) and has released 14 albums up until 2010. Their lineup has changed a lot, which is why they consider themselves a collective. Their self-titled, debut album consisted of Caleb Mulkerin (guitar, vocals) who relocated from Portland, Chris Sutherland (bass, vocals), Thomas Roger (drums) and Josh Ogden (guitar). The album was also reissued on CD in 2004. This album actually has a more post rock feel to it with the use of dynamics and twin guitar riffs, and the building of themes through repetition and intensity, but in the case of Cerberus Shoal, the intensity changes are usually quite quick.

The album begins with the first track titled 'Rain' on the album. It is a mostly easy going track with a moderate tempo which suddenly gets quite intense when the dual guitar riff comes in after 1 minute. Everything calms again a minute later as we are left with just the bass finishing off the short track. 'Daddy as Seen from Bar Harbor' begins heavy, cools off after a minute as subdued spoken vocals come in surrounded by a heavy beat and strong bass with a start/stop pattern on a tricky meter. Just before the 5 minute mark, everything gets suddenly louder when full guitar power kicks in. At 8 minutes, the music quiets down with the introduction of a smoother rhythm and a more melodic vocal, that still remains somewhat subdued while the spoken vocals continue further in the background. A quick crescendo just before 10 minutes cranks up the intensity immensely as the melodic vocal turns to shouting.

'Elena' is a softer track with a steady mid-tempo beat and more of the spoken word vocals mixed in at a lower volume. 'Change' is more dynamic with a soft, almost minimal beginning that interchange with louder sections, vocals still mixed down low that are more spoken than sung, but become close to screaming on the louder sections. 'Breakaway Cable Terminal' continues with the same dynamic soft to loud feel, but in a less formulaic way and with a more melodic vocal at times, but with screaming on the louder sections.

The second track titled 'Rain' comes next, and is hard to tell what the tie in to the first track is, but it continues with the soft / intense pattern as before and the soft spoken word and screaming vocals. The track listing above shows that this track is 39 minutes, and this has caused some confusion as it is actually just over 5 minutes. There is then a bit over 4 minutes of silence before an untitled track begins. A bass line repeats while percussion and a drone play which is joined by a melodic guitar later. Everything intensifies quickly for a while and the pattern repeats with differing feedback drones. This pattern just repeats for the rest of the 29 minute track with some variation in the instruments, but no variation in the rhythm or bass line.

The sound of this album starts out well enough, but after the first two tracks, the loud and soft pattern tends to grow old and there is very little change in the vocals or sound from one track to the other. Even though there were a lot of strong reviews with this album, I don't see what the draw is to it since there really isn't much change in the sound. Yes, it was early in the days of post rock, but even then there were better bands and albums out there. There were times when the band were much better, so I guess we can give some slack to them since it was their first album, but this debut album just doesn't expand on the basic sound enough.

 Night of Desirable Objects by SNAKEFINGER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.92 | 4 ratings

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Night of Desirable Objects
Snakefinger RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by patrickq

4 stars How could there not be any reviews, as of March 2019, of Night of Desirable Objects on Prog Archives?

First, a bit of background (actually, this is almost all of the background I know of). Snakefinger (Philip Lithman) was a British guitarist and singer whom I heard of primarily through his association with the Residents. He guested on a handful of their late-1970s and early-1980s albums, and was signed to their record label. Apparently the Vestal Virgins were a real band, but it also appears as though Snakefinger was the main attraction on the road and the bandleader behind the scenes. Night of Desirable Objects was released about four months before Snakefinger's death while he was on tour.

In terms of its musical atmosphere, Night of Desirable Objects sounds like it was recorded in 1980 or 1981. The sound quality is good, as are the performances, especially Snakefinger's fretwork.

Night of Desirable Objects seems to have been most directly influenced by the Talking Heads, although the drum-machine and synthesizer of "The Golden King" would already be a homage to 1980s Nile Rodgers, even without the call-and-response vocals. There's also some reflection of Frank Zappa and Adrian Belew. The songs vary widely- - or maybe wildly - - from European folk to new-wave to guitar-based jazz and rock.

About half of the original album is comprised of cover songs. "Sawney Bean" is an old, obscure English folk song about the fabled Scotsman cannibal Alexander Bean, while the traditional "Sophia's Playful Pipes" is identified in discogs.com as a Bulgarian tune. "Jesus Gave Me Water" is an early 20th-century African-American hymn popularized by Sam Cooke. "Move" was written by bebop drummer Denzil Best and made famous by Miles Davis on Birth of the Cool. And "8╝" is based on Rota's score for the Fellini film .

The original songs (including the eight bonus tracks on the version I downloaded from emusic.com) are nearly as diverse. As good as "The Golden King" is, the best song here is "There's No Justice in Life."

Night of Desirable Objects falls short of masterpiece status in my opinion, mainly due to the compositions, which are good, but not great. Nonetheless, this is an excellent album, with or without the bonus tracks. While Snakefinger is listed here as "avant-prog," Night of Desirable Objects is something closer to eclectic. Even if the Residents are too far out for you - - much of their work is to me also - - I'd give this disk a try.

 Eskimo by RESIDENTS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.93 | 91 ratings

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Eskimo
The Residents RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by patrickq

2 stars It's really easy to dismiss something like this album as a bunch of noise thrown together in an afternoon. Even by progressive-rock standards, Eskimo is avant-garde. It makes Zappa sound like a pandering pop-peddler. And even if the Residents had a tiny fanbase, their music could still be art - - but I'm willing to concede that their music speaks to far too many people to simply be an inside joke.

Right?

Eskimo is creative, and even clever, in concept, but it eventually wears thin. I'll admit, too, to being unnerved by some of the animal noises - - maybe that's part of my ambivalence about the album. I should also say that for some reason, Eskimo struck me as having a plot similar to that of Nancy Kress's sci-fi novel Steal Across the Sky, which is something that endeared me toward the album. The story in the liner notes turns out to be totally different, of course.

Ultimately, there just isn't enough substance here for a forty-minute album, although there's nothing about the concept, per se, which should limit it. Two stars for audacity and originality.

 Apostrophe (') by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.03 | 647 ratings

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Apostrophe (')
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by patrickq

4 stars Apostrophe starts off strong, with three great tunes. "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" and "Nanook Rubs It" are really one hilarious song, after which the listener has to ask whether Zappa can keep this up for another twenty-five minutes. With a lead-filled snowshoe, and rightly so, "Nanook Rubs It" segues into "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast," which is only a nonsequitur because Zappa offers a ridiculous (and funny) claim that all three songs (and maybe the fourth, "Father O'Blivion") form a continuous story.

But even if the story is continuous, the songwriting quality isn't. Lacking the catchy melodies and amusing lyrics we've gotten used to in the album's first eight or nine minutes, "Father O'Blivion" is a bit of a letdown.

Luckily, side one closes with another strong song.Zappa's anti-drug moralizing on "Cosmic Debris" sounds a bit blaxploitation-y to me (yes, I understand that Zappa is absolved of political incorrectness as long as George Duke and Don "Sugarcane" Harris are on the record), although the song is still impressive.

"Excentrifugal Forz" and "Apostrophe" are, to me, the weakest songs on the album, but without them, Apostrophe wouldn't even fill one side of a twelve-inch vinyl album - - which is probably why I suspect that they're here more for filler than anything else. The overlong "Apostrophe" is notable for its distorted Jack Bruce bass part. I guess you could say that this album lends some insight into how Zappa could turn out so many good albums so quickly.

Anyway, get your shoes and socks on, people; things improve a bit after "Apostrophe." Each of the last two songs on Apostrophe seems to take one aspect of "Cosmic Debris." The black characterization is retained on "Uncle Remus," a comment on the US civil-rights movement, which Zappa co-wrote with Duke. Meanwhile, the self-assured, no-jive DJ voice from "Cosmic Debris" returns for "Stink-foot."

I'm sure that Zappa could have produced a five-star album every year and a half during the seventies; instead he churned out about two good albums per year. Apostrophe seems to be a perfect example of this strategy, reminding us that Zappa was an astute businessman as well as a musical genius.

 Pantophobie by NI album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.09 | 7 ratings

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Pantophobie
ni RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars Not feel phobic at NI's heaviness. This album 'Pantophobie' can be mentioned as another creativity by a French avantgarde project NI. You should suffer from a large burn if you easily think this is sorta French RIO production.

From the beginning of the first track "Heliophobie" heavy, deep, metallic sound complication explodes widely. This crazy atmospheric effect can be heard via some Tech / Extreme Metal or Experimental / Post Metal projects, not simply Avantgarde progressive ones. The second "Alektorophobie" is kinda madness too ... distorted, dissected voices completely scratch our inner mind. A short but excessive track indeed, and this audible procession would let you expect much.

Sarcastic intonated disclosure and convoluted sound complexity could be interpreted as NI's laughter in a cynical manner. In "Leucoselophobie" sticky perverted sound vision (yes sounds visible really) grabs your live energy out, followed by massive attack of sound that should be squeezed into your vacant brain. Dynamic, energetic sonic inferno is quite impressive for all of avantgarde rock fans let me say. Melodic lines in 'Catagelophobie' would remind you of the similar vein to King Crimson in Discipline Era (more and more complicated needless to say though). This repetitive tonebox collective is definitely lovely.

Anyway sorta tough issue is hard-edged melodically minor stream in a deep, magnificent metallic manner keeps on and on from the beginning until the epilogue 'Stasophobie' ... really wondering what their real phobia is. But hey, it's even interesting with thinking around lots of things around NI, I imagine?

 Elephant Live by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2018
4.11 | 9 ratings

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Elephant Live
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Roz Vitalis have been one of the most consistent progressive rock bands out of Russia for many years now, always stretching boundaries with avant garde and jazz inspired music, and this their latest album definitely shows them playing to their strengths. Recorded at two different venues in Saint Petersburg and Narva in 2018, the line-up now has a new drummer in Evgeny Trefilov, while band leader keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky has also brought in saxophone player Ilya Belorukov which also allows the band to spread their wings even further. While four pieces are from their most recent studio album, 'The Hidden Man of the Heart', the other three are new compositions.

It is completely instrumental, and while Rozmainsky is at the heart of everything which is taking place, the use of sax on five of the numbers and clarinet on the other two has the band combining jazz, avant garde and elements of VDGG to create something which is sometimes challenging, always fascinating and certainly never boring. No one can accuse Roz Vitalis of wanting to follow the prog mainstream but instead are out there attempting to push boundaries and create something which is truly progressive and not another clone. This album has been released through Bandcamp, and I urge you to discover not only this but also the back catalogue of one the most interesting and enjoyable prog bands around.

 Fractal Guitar by THELEN, STEPHAN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 6 ratings

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Fractal Guitar
Stephan Thelen RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Stephen Thelen is a solo artist that has been releasing albums since 1990 under his own name. Considered to be a RIO/Avant Prog artist, he utilizes new technology and new ways of playing guitar in his music, yet composes similar to the classical artists. The album "Fractal Guitar" was released early in 2019, and continues with that style, experimental and innovative. In the 1990s, he was involved with the Guitar Craft Seminars along with Robert Fripp, so you can imagine that his playing and style is innovative. "Fractal Guitar" consists of 5 tracks and the total runtime of the album is 67 minutes, so the tracks are all quite long. There are several guest artists on this album, and between some of them and Stephen, there are several various types of guitars and styles used. Stephen also returns to a heavy use of effects on this album. Marcus Reuter guests on all of the tracks, mostly playing the U8 Touch Guitar and so does Matt Tate on the U8 Touch Bass.

Starting off with the longest track at over 18 minutes, "Briefing for a Descent into Hell", we get Stephen using Fractal and Tritone Guitars. The fractal guitar utilizes a rhythmic delay and a high feedback level that creates some awesome sounds. Also, on this track guests use U8 Touch Guitar and Bass, Cloud Guitar and Electric Guitar to generate some interesting layers and etc. The track has a steady bass and rhythm foundation and the different layers play out against this, creating melody, textures and atmospheric effects with the delay causing some interesting off-beat sounds. At the 8 minute mark, the constant rhythm stops for a short time allowing things to float for a minute before coming back again. A different sounding guitar takes over, I assume this is the tritone guitar because of the sudden smoothness of the transition from one note to another. Soon, the beat starts to break up a bit, and a new arpeggio type pattern is established before the rhythm starts up again, this time a bit more complex. Once the fractal guitar takes the spotlight again, this is where you can really hear the power of this guitar and its uniqueness in sound. Now the foundation isn't quite as steady as before, but more involved in what is going on around it. Around the 15 minute mark, things get quite a bit calmer until the guitar screeches and growls its way to the end.

"Road Movie" has Stephen using fractal guitar and a blue sky guitar as well as granular loops. Guests use other electric guitars, atmospherics, and both U8 touch guitar and bass. The rhythmic foundation has a boiling bass and drum pattern that is a bit reminiscent of Pink Floyd, but with guitar chords making for a more tense atmosphere. A beautiful and somewhat shimmering melody is played on top of this, and is later joined by a more intense melody on top of it. Power and intensity ebbs and flows throughout the track with a nice variation of sound coming from the different guitars and effects improvised over it all. The continuation of the rhythm throughout and the use of improvisation gives this track a space rock vibe, but with a huge amount of experimentation involved. Also, all of the guests get a chance to solo on this and their performances were added to the track.

"Fractal Guitar" utilizes echoing and repeating patterns of 5 notes against a 9 / 8 meter established by the rhythm section to create a nice lush sound as patterns echo and fade as other patterns are established over them. As things continue, the rhythm builds in intensity, sounding more complex as it goes. Marcus later comes in with a rousing solo giving everything that Fripp-ian feel. Things calm down again just before the 6 minute mark as new echoing patterns and effects return.

In the track "Radiant Day", the bass pattern and the main guitar pattern are the same, except that the bass is twice as slow as the guitar and also played an octave lower and this creates an interesting and complex foundation. Shimmering guitars and effects play over the top of this, much of it played by Marcus with inspiration coming from Mike Oldfield's music.

"Urban Nightscape" is a new version of an older piece that Stephen has recorded before. It has a tricky part played by the bass that serves as the foundation and features a very odd meter, a fractal guitar part played in another meter, and has that automated and metallic feel of Discipline-era King Crimson. This is my favorite track on the album and has the perfect placement as the last track. Not only that, it is 17+ minutes of genius, powerful, rapid-fire delivery, screeching chords and feedback, heaviness, coldness, just perfection. The guitar solo is amazing! After 10 minutes, things start to break down slowly and after 12 minutes, the entire track turns into a beautiful soundscape.

No doubt that this is the work of a genius, but at times it can develop quite slowly. Things get a bit less interesting in the middle, but still showcase the talent and ingenuity, but I tend to lose my interest a little, but that last track is just plain awesomeness and makes the entire journey worthwhile. With repeated listenings, you start to catch things that you missed before and different moods can make certain sections more appealing that were not so noticeable before. This is a recommended album, and I definitely want to explore some of his other albums.

 Every Night Something Happens by LOST CROWNS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.22 | 50 ratings

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Every Night Something Happens
Lost Crowns RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by axeman

4 stars I don't like a lot of RIO stuff. But most of this album sounds like people trying to actually make music, just expand and experiment on standard vertical and horizontal harmonies. The more familiar harmonies are there if you listen hard enough of. It's somewhat like Echolyn, only not as accessible. I definitely think it deserves the 2nd from the top slot for the year that it's currently in.

It just seems to defy a track-by-track listing, especially on first listening. But I plan on listening again. I can give it a 4. It would make an *interesting* addition to any prog collection.

 Pantophobie by NI album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.09 | 7 ratings

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Pantophobie
ni RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Ni" is the name of the RIO/Avant-prog band from France that calls themselves "a French shady riff ministry". The music could also be classified as Experimental Metal or Math Metal. The band has 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. The band was founded and released their first EP in 2010, then another EP in 2012. Their first full length album was released in 2015, and then four years later, they finally released their 2nd full length album "Pantophobie" (which means fear of everything. There are 9 tracks on this album and each is named after some type of phobia.

Beginning with "Heliophobie" (fear of the sun or bright light), it starts with single guitar chord and drum hits and after a while a dissonant melody begins with a guitar while the other instruments continue to pound away with the single chord hits. After 2 minutes, the entire band quits the single chords and plays a dark, ominous and progressive instrumental. Things get louder and there are screaming vocals deep in the mix that never get overused. Complexity builds in the melody line as the thumping and heavy background continues.

"Alecktorophobie" (fear of chickens) is a quicker tempo with the same dark feeling, but with a catchier riff and some goofy spoken word and vocal sounds. There is more psycho screaming here too, but I think it's supposed to be humorous, and it is not mixed to the front either, so it doesn't take away from the excellent heavy sound of the avant-prog guitars. "Lachanophobie" (fear of vegetables) begins more atmospheric and mysterious with the bass meandering and spooky sounding guitar effects. After one minute, the band kicks in with jangly guitars, sounding almost post-rock in the process. The guitars play against each other with dissonant notes. The middle part of the track starts a progressive stop/start rhythm while a guitar plays short snippets of riffs. Later, a rolling bass line steadies out the rhythm while the guitars play arpeggios increasing the intensity to return to the main riff with the wild vocals screaming in the background.

"Leucoselophobie" (irrational fears) begins with echoing guitars in a psychedelic style. The band starts up after a minute with a complex, progressive heavy rhythm and some neat sliding guitar effects. "Catogelophobie" (fear of being verbally abused or put down) starts right off with a lumbering guitar and Primus style vocal noises and music. Things get more intense at times, but still has that Primus vibe with heavy bass and funky guitar riffs. Just before 2 minutes, it suddenly gets sludgy sounding as the rhythm slows way down and then works its way back to the original sound.

"Athazagoraphobie" (fear of forgetting or being forgotten) has a mellower feel to it, striving for more of a heavy fusion sound, while still being complex. When the second guitar comes in, things intensify. After 2 minutes, it all becomes minimalistic with short sudden bursts of energy. Suddenly, screaming vocals join in to a heavy guitar riff. Then the guitars and drums start to churn making for a dizzying build to different climaxes just to return to that churning feeling in order to build to another heavy climax each time. A wild screaming guitar joins in on one of these builds. Even though this started out with a mellow sound, it definitely gets quite crazy by the end.

"Khakorrhaphiophobie" (fear of failure) begins loud and complex at the beginning with warring guitars creating dissonant harmony and a heavy start/stop bottom end. After the King Crimson Discipline-like section, things get suddenly slow and sludgy at around 3 minutes. After 5 minutes, the tempo starts to pick up returning to the original sound. "Lalophobie" (fear of speaking or talking) fades in with a subdued drone and drums. As the rest of the band comes in, the intensity builds up with different repeating riffs coming from the instruments as they all seem to stumble around trying to find agreement to something. "Stasophobie" (fear of standing or walking) commences immediately to dissonant guitars and complex heaviness.

It would have been nice to have a few tracks with less heaviness mixed in there, but as far as the heaviness factor goes, it is quite unrelenting at times. But the music is always interesting regardless. The screaming vocals are not too over-the-top and not mixed to the foreground, so they don't distract from the overall feel as much as they become another layer of heaviness, and they aren't always there either. The music is definitely complex and heavy, but also unique and experimental, but almost always on the loud side. Experimental Metal and/or Heavy Mathcore would be the description, but the dissonance also lends itself to the Avant-prog genre, but remember that it is noisy and loud.

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RIO/Avant-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1870 (MIL OCHOCIENTOS SETENTA) Mexico
LA 1919 Italy
3 MICE Multi-National
5UU'S United States
THE A BAND United Kingdom
A-MUSIK Japan
A.P.A.T.T. United Kingdom
ABSOLUTE ZERO United States
AFENGINN Denmark
AFTER DINNER Japan
AFUCHE United States
AHLEUCHATISTAS United States
AHVAK Israel
AKINETËN RETARD Chile
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