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PROG RELATED

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Related definition



No musical genre exists in a vacuum. Not all of the bands that have been a part of the history and development of progressive rock are necessarily progressive rock bands themselves. This is why progarchives has included a genre called prog-related, so we could include all the bands that complete the history of progressive rock, whether or not they were considered full-fledged progressive rock bands themselves.

There are many criteria that the prog-related evaluation team considers when deciding which bands are considered prog-related. Very few bands will meet all of this criteria, but this list will give an idea as to some of the things that help evaluate whether an artists is prog-related or not.

1) Influence on progressive rock - The groundbreaking work of artists like Led Zepplin and David Bowie affected many genres of rock, including at times progressive rock. Although both of these artists created rock music in a dizzying array of genres, both contributed to the ongoing history of progressive rock several times within the span of their careers.

2) Location - Progressive rock did not develop at the same time all over the world. It may surprise some people that as late as the mid-70s the US had very few original progressive rock bands that did not sound like exact copies of British bands. Journey was one of the first US bands to present a uniquely American brand of prog-rock before they eventually became a mainstream rock band. We have collaborators from all over the world who tell us which bands helped the progressive rock scene develop in their corner of the globe, even if those bands were like Journey and were known more for being mainstream rock bands.

3) Members of important progressive rock bands - Although most of the recorded solo output of artists like Greg Lake and David Gilmour falls more in a mainstream rock style, their contributions to progressive rock in their respective bands insures them a place in our prog-related genre.

4) Timeliness - Like many genres, prog-rock has had its ups and downs. In the late 70s and early 80s prog-rock was barely a blip on the radar. During this time artists such as David Bowie and Metallica released albums that captured key elements of the spirit of prog rock and did so while contributing their own original modern elements to the mix.

5) Integral part of the prog-rock scene - Sometimes you just had to be a part of the scene during a certain time period to understand how some bands fit with the prog rock scene of their time. Although Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash may seem like mere hard rock bands, in their time they stood apart from other hard rockers with their more serious lyrical content and more developed compositions. Put simply, in the early 70s every prog-rock record collector usually had full collections of all three of these artists. These three bands were very much part of the prog-rock scene without being total prog-rock bands them selves.

6) Influenced by progressive rock - From the late 60s till about 1976 the progressive tendency was in full effect in almost all genres of music. Once again, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century a melting pot of prog-metal, math-rock, progressive electronics and post-rock influences have once again made a progressive tendency in rock music almost more a norm than a difference. Yet in other periods of musical history receiving influence from progressive rock could really set a band apart and make them worthy of our prog-related category.
Being influenced by progressive rock is hardly the only factor we look at, and in some periods of musical history it is almost meaningless, but still, it is almost a given that most of the artists listed in prog-related were influenced by the development of progressive rock.

7) Common sense - Nitpicking over the above listed criteria is not necessarily the correct way to evaluate a band for prog-related. Sometimes you just have to use some common sense and look at the big picture.
A very good way to describe prog-related would be to imagine an exhaustive book that covered the history of progressive rock. Would such a book include references to led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven', David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World' or Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Probably so.
- Easy Money

Prog Related Top Albums


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

4.41 | 1231 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN IV
Led Zeppelin
4.50 | 393 ratings
BLACKSTAR
Bowie, David
4.36 | 881 ratings
QUEEN II
Queen
4.32 | 1039 ratings
PARANOID
Black Sabbath
4.30 | 1019 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Queen
4.26 | 725 ratings
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie, David
4.23 | 937 ratings
BLACK SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.24 | 736 ratings
ARGUS
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 818 ratings
SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON
Iron Maiden
4.20 | 565 ratings
RISING
Rainbow
4.19 | 547 ratings
HUNKY DORY
Bowie, David
4.13 | 781 ratings
POWERSLAVE
Iron Maiden
4.13 | 806 ratings
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.11 | 779 ratings
MASTER OF PUPPETS
Metallica
4.10 | 651 ratings
RIDE THE LIGHTNING
Metallica
4.08 | 817 ratings
MASTER OF REALITY
Black Sabbath
4.14 | 379 ratings
SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)
Bowie, David
4.20 | 254 ratings
REMAIN IN LIGHT
Talking Heads
4.16 | 302 ratings
SECRET TREATIES
Blue Öyster Cult
4.05 | 1016 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews


 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.84 | 62 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by ElChanclas

4 stars First of all, thank God for letting these guys make such high quality music so advance in their lives and careers, there is a lot of great classic bands putting out top shelf records in the past 2-3 years, incredible! With that being said, let's dive into this exiting surprise, NWOBHM pioneers and their latest studio album "Tactics and Strategy", or better said, SENJUTSU. The title track opens the first album with a very clear statement: this is a concept album, not the heaviest/fastest in the catalog, clearly melodic and memorable and is going to be a long ride, but a real fun and enjoyable one. 8 minutes of grandiose and dense heavy metal with the use (a lot) of an ingredient not necessarily used too often by the band but that fits perfectly nowadays, Bruce's multiple vocals harmonizing to provide pitch and intensity to the genius musicianship. Did I mentioned the outstanding guitar soloing?

Stratego, the 2nd track and coincidentally the 2nd promotional single. One of the fastest tunes in the record, sounding a lot more IM than the opener track and with Dickinson demonstrating how good of a metal singer he still is! I predict a long standing (at least for the future duration of the band) concert staple, it has everything a fan will expect and crave from the band. Gers & Harris marriage delivers a very good song, but is the overall playing by the band that really rockets the song some levels up!

The first promotional single, The Writing in the Wall. Another future concert staple for sure, I can picture the crowd singing along Bruce like reviving any old classic. What makes this song really unique within Maiden's discography is the use of that Celtic-cowboy-folky feeling guitar melody, it's basically enchanting. The three guitarists perform their parts perfectly and blend together in a way is difficult to picture another trio doing in rock history again. I'm not sure if I would have chosen this song as my first promotional single, but it sure enhances the experience of the listener and prepares him for all things to come in this incredible double album.

Lost in a lost world is the first solo statement by Harris here, and to be honest, I think that if this song was placed as opener for album two replacing the notable opener The Darkest Hour, not only would we have being given a Harris solo album, but alado a even better double effort by the band. The riffing is unequivocally prog and is one of the highlights of this track, then the orchestrally programmed guitars start kicking in, first two, then one, then 3, then one again, the two again, if that's not a wisely planned performance by Master H then, well, it just has to be, right? And the tone, the bass tone, the drumming, the storytelling being accompanied by the pleasant guitar licks. 65 year old (average) musicians do come up with this stuff, Long live [%*!#]ing rock and roll!

Days of future past is a guitar song, composed by the duple Smith & Dickinson, that resembles some of the early raw moments of the band some 35 plus years ago, with a modern twist at the beginning and at the end but witan classic Maiden structure in the centre: rapid and catchy riffs, galloping rhythmic section and memorable (with a surprisingly high pitch) vocals and lyrics, a classic, the guitar solo is a short but powerful one.

The Time Machine, the second song on this CD to feature Gers & Harris credited as writers and again a future concert staple for sure, this time more for the singalong-like guitar playing instead of Stratego's vocal melodies. It closes the first album of this double set evidencing that this band feels very conformable with the "new tempo" in which their music has surfed since... Brave New World maybe? Gers sounds great ant the twin guitar melodies bring back so many good memories from so many good songs from so many good albums, even the FOTD-style pause fits perfectly here, one of my favorites. I apologize in advance but this band is getting closer to the progressive metal genre as years how by, is undeniable.

Darkest Hour? beach and birds??? to open the 2nd album? Mmmm just a mirage, Smith's unequivocal guitar licks (and shredding soloing) lead the way to a heavy ballad, the perfect scenario for Bruce to display all that vocal power he still has, sounding more like a solo album (circa Tear of the Dragon) but preluding what's to come for the next 30 plus minutes.

Death of the Celts, the first epic on this record. An elegant and mature Maiden playing from beginning to end? I guess that's part of what Celtic-like melodies do to a bunch of musicians like these. Harris, the prog head of the band pumps his volume in the mix and brings his masterful playing upfront, leading everyone into this heavy metal nordic-like progressive tune. The twin guitars become a trio, because Harris has playfully united to the harmonic feast and that anthemic feel kicks in, to never let go. I've heard and read people saying that maybe this song (or any of the epics) should be a little shorter, I rather disagree, please give me more guitar solos like these, more triple-guitars/bass battles like these, bring me more epic storytelling, I just can't get enough of such greatness.

The Parchment, Harris again, and again, and again. This song and its melody has the mischievous "bad boy" imprint all over the place, like the atmosphere that surrounds a rainy day in the aftermath of a Viking battle, slowly upgrading the tempo with a wiser and serious sounding Dickinson who is co-leading the scene with the guitar licks. This is my favorite song from this album, the desperate and sometimes painful guitar playing just hooks me without any available remedy. Smith, Gers & Murray are simply fantastic together, period. Almost 13 minutes of perfectly crafted "mid tempo" heavy and melodic heavy metal! Again, the lyrical content is out of bounds!

Afraid to shoot strangers. Sorry, my bad! The almighty Hell on Earth, with the most accurate and actual track title in the whole double set! Traditional Maiden galloping brain designed by H, maybe the more hit single fitted out of the three epics, it just sounds like any song from the SSOTSS era?memorable, melodic, powerful and even just a little bit mainstream. Signature instrumental pause preparing the vocals reentrance at full and furious capacity! Guitar galore with a flawless Nicko and a more than cohesive band! This album is a grower, it just gets better with every listen, but is also guaranteed to grab your attention at first ride, and it might not be the best Iron Maiden ever, but is definitely the best new Iron Maiden ever! The End!

 Sheer Heart Attack by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 653 ratings

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Sheer Heart Attack
Queen Prog Related

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars Listening diary 28th January, 2021: Queen - Sheer Heart Attack (glam/hard rock, 1974)

I've been quite harsh on Queen in recent years, since their dramatic fall from grace as my favourite band aged 9 to being one I consider to be amongst the most overrated of all time. But revisiting this for the first time in years, perhaps for once they've gone up in my eyes rather than down. Perhaps it's because this is the one I knew the least from during my years of Queen spam. Even the deep cuts from their earlier albums I was familiar with, but of this, only "Killer Queen" was part of my obsession.

It still has much of the same criticisms you can throw at a Queen record - wild inconsistency in both style and quality, torrid lyrics, love-em-or-hate-em harmonies. But there are surprisingly more decent songs than poor here, and I even quite enjoy the break we get from Freddie Mercury on "Tenement Funster" - to the point where I'd actually say Roger Taylor should have got a lot more songs on lead. It stutters in the second half, as Queen albums tend to do, but for the first time since I was 13 or so, I put on a Queen record and didn't want to turn it straight off, and that says a lot.

6.6 (3rd listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 246 ratings

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Flying Colors
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 463

"Flying Colors" is the eponymous debut studio album of the American super group Flying Colors and was released in 2012. This super group is formed by Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse, Steve Morse, Dave LaRue and Casey McPherson. The formation of the group started with the idea of having several virtuoso musicians and a pop singer joined together to make new fashioned music in the old fashioned way. The idea appeared in 2008 by the executive producer Bill Evans and the album was made with the help of the music producer Peter Collins. Intrigued with the idea and the prospect of working together, this group of musicians signed on to a contract to form a band and record a full length studio album.

So, the line up of the album is Casey McPherson (lead vocals), Steve Morse (lead and rhythm guitar), Neal Morse (vocals and keyboards), Dave LaRue (bass guitar) and Mike Portnoy (vocals, drums and percussion).

"Flying Colors" has eleven tracks. The first track "Blue Ocean" starts with a good and solid bass line by Dave LaRue. Vocalist Casey McPherson shows early that he is able to hold his ground within this so strong cast of musicians. By the other hand Steve Morse supplies the first, of what will be the main characteristic of the album, great melodic solos. The second track "Shoulda Coulda Woulda" represents a heavier rock track where Portnoy and LaRue make an excellent rhythm section. It's a standard hard and heavy rock song that shows the high quality of all musicians. This is the heaviest track on the album and is also probably to standard to my personal taste. The third track "Kayla" begins with a very promising way. Soon, I felt that it was to be a strong track with a great melody and a great vocal line by Casey. The vocal line in the chorus takes us into the catchy territory of American bands like Styx, Kansas and Journey. The fourth track "The Storm" is another hook filled track once more with some rally concise and fine guitar solos. I know this is a very standard rock track but, we are in presence of a very well written, performed and executed piece of music. The fifth track "Forever In A Daze" presents us with a fine interplay between Portnoy and LaRue. The song has a nice and rhythmic passage and the vocals are some of the strongest made on the album. The song has a funky, bluesy and even jazzy line and it has also a great guitar work by Steve Morse. The sixth track "Love Is What I'm Waiting For" is typically a commercial pop rock track. This is a song very influenced by The Beatles and it has also some Queen influences, particularly the guitar work that reminds us Brian May. This is a typical song of the 60's and 70's pop rock genre. The seventh track "Everything Changes" is a typical ballad with acoustic guitar to start and a simple back track of drums and bass to keep things moving. Once more we can see the influence of The Beatles on the song. And, once more, we can see a superior vocal and guitar works on this powerful and beautiful ballad. The eighth track "Better Than Walking Away" is another typical American ballad fashion way that gradually becoming louder and heavier and where its climax appears just before the song ends. This is AOR in its optimum form. The ninth track "All Falls Down" is like "Shoulda Coulda Woulda" a heavy rock song with some fast paced drumming and a great riff. It demonstrates that despite should the fancy take them, then the area of progressive metal can be very well on the album. The tenth track "Fool In My Heart" sees Mike Portnoy taking over the microphone. Once again Neal Morse taking the upper hand in the musical arrangement giving the song a rare blend of Portnoy and Morse sound. The bluesy solo by Steve Morse completes the feel of the song. The eleventh and last track "Infinite Fire" is the epic track on the album, the most progressive of all. It's a very well structured song and where we can see clearly the hand of Neal Morse. The song combines several styles of music, from blues to rock, funk and jazz. It's a perfect way to close this intriguing, surprising and magnificent album.

Conclusion: This is the kind of albums that divide the opinions of the prog heads. For the purists, this is an outrage for the progressive rock. It will annoy some radicals for its pop prog tendencies and modern production. Many may ask how can a group of such esteemed progressive musicians make an album like this, with any overt progressive leanings and choose a pop rock singer. Sincerely, I'm not in this group. I sincerely recommend this album, because probably I had no great expectations with it, in the beginning. "Flying Colors" is the kind of albums that grows as I heard it, and the more I heard it, the more I like it. It's true this isn't properly truly a progressive rock album. Still, I like this album, really. As I wrote before, I can't see any weak points on the album and I sincerely like the vocal work of Casey McPherson. So, and concluding, if you're looking for some sort of Transatlantic, Dream Theater or Deep Purple stuff here, you are wrong, and barring the last track "Infinite Fire" this may well not be the album you are looking for. However, if you search for a catchy and crafted melodic rock album with more than just a hint of progressive music, you're in the right place here. It captures your fancy and you willn't give a misused your money and time spent with it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.84 | 62 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Iron Maiden has consolidated its 21th century style since Brave New World with producer Kevin Shirley. He gives the band all freedom to work in a sort of live in the studio setting; recording bit by bit the tracks as they are written. That album - Brave New World - sounded fresh and modern at the time, but since then the progression of the band its style has come to a stalemate. As with all other albums since then I can't really stop thinking about all missed opportunities for the band. To me the songs sounds unfinished and under-produced. The importance of the overall arch of the songs is ignored, making the songs just 'long' without any build-up that justify the length. The mixing is awful and makes the songs ineffective; everything is just loud all the time. By taking back some gas during refrains or during bridges a lot of excitement could have been build. The recording of the instruments sounds however far better then on the sloppy 'Book of Souls', that sounded like a demo to me. This album has some strings / synths hidden in the mix. They could have been a welcome addition, had they been given the space to work like they did on the 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' record. The legendary vocalist Bruce Dickinson still has a very loud voice and manages to scream over most triple guitar riffing, but his voice sounds much better if doesn't have to do that all the time. My main concern with Iron Maiden latest records is however the lack of a recognizable style for each album like they had up to 'Fear of the Dark'.

Even the title track 'Senjutsu' has nothing more than a bit of ethnic war drumming to it. A good producer would have, by the way, strongly advised to give that song a short pre-chorus or break because the chorus comes out of nowhere and misses its opportunity to shine completely. 'Stratego', co-written by Janick Gers, is a relatively concise song and has some of the better melodies. Without the flat mixing this could have been a classic track for the band. 'The Writing on the Wall' has a nice folky intro and sets up the band to do something original here. The chord patterns and rhythms for the rest of the song are however Iron Maiden recycling its power chord patterns as they have done so often the last twenty years. "Lost in a Lost World' hints at how interesting a spacey folk song by the band could have sounded, but alas, after a few minutes we get boring hardrock riffs. The main melodic theme of the song (starting at 3:38) is the most effective part of the album. A bit like how the song 'Brave New World' struck at first spin. In the ending section we get to hear this part in a clean setting with Bruce not having to scream and it is really beautiful. A good producer would have forced Iron Maiden to rewrite the song and use that as an opening. The solo sections remind me of the X-factor album, though that album showed a nice restrained when it comes to the production - giving the themes a sense of depth. 'The Days of Future Past' is written by Dickinson and Smith and does indeed sound like a track that wouldn't have done badly on an album like 'The Chemical Wedding' (Dickinson solo). 'The Time Machine' is a leftovers song; it has a pleasant atmospheric opening section (where are the sound effects Shirley?) before the riffing starts. The verse riffs in the major key and vocals are among the most exciting of the record and the way Dickinson rises in pitch is very uplifting. At 3:03 another track starts out of nowhere and the form of the song is ruined. 'The Darkest Hour' has a nice opening section with a lead guitar lick reminding me a bit of the 'Somewhere in Time' period. The song has some clean guitars, which gives it some time to breath and work as a song. This is another composition by Smith/Dickinson and it sounds like a fine Dickinson solo recording like 'Taking the Queen'. Then begins the run of Harris' three epics. By the way, they all open with the acoustic bass of Harris. 'Death of the Celts' is basically a rewrite of 'Viritual XI' its 'Clansman' and you can't really blame Iron Maiden for recording it, on this album it is one of the least faceless songs. 'The Parchment' has little new to offer and it doesn't sound very memorable either. The album's closer 'Hell on Earth' fails to leave an impression on me as well. Just Iron Maiden galloping in the minor key and some simple lead guitar melodies.

In conclusion; Iron Maiden has become a band that has its success guaranteed since the return of Bruce Dickinson. They are confident and do what they feel like. They record an album the way they want to. With the song-writing talent they have, the vocals of Dickinson and instrumental prowess they can still showcase they are sure to have another well selling heavy metal album and sold out gigs all over the world. Progressive rock fans have shown great interest as well in this album because of the lengthy epical songs. I myself am not impressed by this record that should have - yet again - been so much more. Had I been given the choice; the full Senjutsu album or a single song like 'The Flight of Icarus', I would have probably chosen the second option. The overall production sound is however the best since Brave New World and it surely is one of the better records of their 21th century run.

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.84 | 62 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Senjutsu" is the 17th album by English metal prog gods Iron Maiden. First of all a brief background of my history with the band. I remember buying "Brave New World" back in 2000 and liking it. But then lost track of them and it wasn't until 2010 when "Final Frontier" came out that I would listen to them again. That was my favourite album by them up until this year. I loved all the longer tracks on the album especially. Then their next album "Book of souls" came out five years in 2015 which I also bought and was a double album. For a band that pushes their sound and their own boundaries a lot this was ambitious even for them and featured their longest track to date which was in the 20 minute ball park.

Here we are though in 2021 and now finally after 6 years we have a new Maiden album. Obviously, there was an extensive "Book of souls" tour, but they also did a tour looking back at an older album too with their "Legacy of the Beast" tour. This year thanks to Tim's Twitter listening party where two of the albums involved were "Powerslave" and "Seventh son of the seventh son" has seen me really get into Maiden in a bigger way than ever before. While I haven't got into the whole back catalogue yet. I have listened to a lot of the 80s stuff and also bought a lot of the live DVDs they have released over the years.

In terms of the build up to "Senjetsu", Maiden did make it fun for fans by giving out t-shirts to famous music friends like Frank Turner and Tim Burgees and getting them to wear the t-shirts or post on social media to create this hype wagon. There was then a countdown to specific day and time at one point which ended up being the premier of a new song which was "Writing on the wall" which was soon followed by the album announcement. "Writing on the wall" I felt shows everything which is good about Maiden; great guitar work, great vocals and all round great song composition. I did see some reaction afterwards from reviewers saying Bruce's voice has gone but I have to disagree with that. I think he still has it.

In terms of the album, like "Book of souls" this is a double album which is roughly 40 minutes per CD. 6 tracks on the first side and 4 tracks on the second side. The first 6 tracks have what I would call some of the more accessible tracks on the album and ones which would appeal to more people. Tracks like "Writing on the Wall", "Stratego" and "Days of Future past" are the shortest tracks on the album. "Stratego" I thought was alright when I first heard it but I think it's a track which fits on the album better than listening to it as an individual track. "Days of Future past" for me is a better track. It has a fast tempo kind of like "The Trooper" without being a carbon copy. For me it's a lot more of a hit than "Stratego" and I think it deserves the single treatment and definitely an appearance in their live set.

Title track "Senjetsu" sets up them album well, being the first track. The big drum comes in straight away and the 8 minutes it lasts for feels like it's over all too soon. Much like other tracks on this album. Another track on the first side is "Lost in a lost world" which is the longest track on the first side at around 9 minutes. I would say this has one of the best outros on the album as it winds down with about a minute to go with Bruce's lyrics slotting in absolutely perfectly with the music.

To be honest I think they could have gotten away with just releasing the first disc as an album itself. Yes, it's 6 tracks but it's also 40 minutes which is more than acceptable for an album. It is nicely contained, has the longer tracks and has the more anthemic tracks. I certainly wouldn't have complained if this was the album. However, if you hear the 4 tracks on the second disc you would probably change your mind. The first disc is excellent, but the second disc reaches places and moments which are out of this world and for me arguably up there with best Iron Maiden have ever done.

The shortest track on this disc is "Darkest Hour" which is still 7 minutes long. Then you have "Death of the Celts" at 10 minutes, "The Parchment" at 12 minutes and "Hell on earth" rounding off the album at 10 minutes. Now I think the best way to get across how good these songs are, is that when you look across at say 5-6 minutes through any of these songs. I don't look at it and go "Oh no another 5 odd minutes to go". At these points I'm thinking "You absolute beauty 5-6 minutes to go". These songs are all absolute epics. I must pay particular attention to "Death of the celts" as this gives me major goosebumps. The long guitar instrumental section on this is just sensational. The way the track progresses and the change in pace along with the interplay between guitarists is this best passage of music I have heard all year. "The Parchment" I feel has an uphill task following this and I think on most other Maiden albums it would stand out a lot more as it well and truly still has its moments. And when I say moments, in Maiden terms moments equals minutes. The way this song builds up and finishes with an epic guitar solo is spot on.

Overall, I think and hope this goes down as a classic Maiden album. I think it's better than "Book of souls" and "Final Frontier which was my favourite album by Maiden for a long time has now been moved off its perch. It's harder to compare it to the classic albums they did in the 80s. This is a very different beast. I have listened to this at least twice a day for the last week and I still think there is more to discover and unlock. One things for sure, if I have an hour and twenty minutes to spare in the coming months I sure know what I am going to be doing with it!

 The Two Sides of Tony (T.S) McPhee by GROUNDHOGS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.61 | 12 ratings

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The Two Sides of Tony (T.S) McPhee
Groundhogs Prog Related

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There are two albums from 1973 with "Two Sides" in its title. One from Peter Banks, the other of Tony McPhee of Groundhogs fame. With the Peter Banks album it consists of one side of compositions and the other sides of jams with side one considered the superior side. With that album the flaws were obvious as he was being rushed to get his solo album out exactly the same time as the final Flash album Out of Our Hands. Now with Two Sides of Tony (T.S,) McPhee the two sides are even more striking. Side one consists of unaccompanied largely acoustic blues pieces with just vocal and guitar. This type isn't actually too shocking given this type of approach did find their way occasionally on Groundhogs albums. Side two consist of the side-length "The Hunt" and is simply amazing. Tony McPhee was clearly not just another white British blues guy, here's it's full-on electronic music utilizing the ARP 2600 (which isn't what you see in the insert with those awful mess of wires, it's simply an awful mess of wires attached to some other electronic equipment, the ARP 2600 interior is actually rather clean and clutter-free). Lots of spoken dialog criticizing fox hunting as practiced by the English aristocracy. His anti-establishment views was likely the big reason the Groundhogs appealed to John Peel. Anyways, it's hard to believe that a white British bluesman created such creative and innovative use of the ARP 2600 like you do here. It does sound a bit dated, but it's an amazing piece and those into progressive electronic, "The Hunt" is a must hear. Strangely the blues-influence can still be felt, especially during the sung parts. McPhee was already experimenting with the ARP 2600 on Hogwash, but was kept strictly in a band context. Without a band, he lets the ARP run loose on "The Hunt". This album all comes down to taste. If you like the acoustic blues side of the Groundhogs then you should have no trouble with side one. So even more so than Two Sides of Peter Banks, Two Sides of Tony (T.S.) McPhee shows a striking contrast between the sides. "The Hunt" is truly something that would be totally out of place on a Groundhogs album. So glad it was released and that I now own a copy.
 The Serpent Is Rising by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.99 | 131 ratings

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The Serpent Is Rising
Styx Prog Related

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Kind of a silly album, in a good way though. The lyrics on tracks like Witch Wolf and The Grove Of Englantine grace the listener with some really over the top stereotypical progressive lyrics (it's like a spoof of how people see "prog"). Then you get hard rockers like 22 Years and Young man with typical raucous rock lyrics that really are at odds with the fantasy ones. Then you get silly songs like As Bad As This and Krakatoa with memorable quirks, odd album.

Witch wolf kicks off with energetic guitar riffing that is joined by pseudo cowbell cymbal work, organ and lead guitar. Vocals come in with lyrics like "raping the minds of infants? Witch Wolf! Night Rider!" Towards the end the track transitions into a quiet bridge then back to the chorus and done.

The Grove Of Englantine opens with harpsichord. Then boom, guitar and drums come in. The singing really recalls the classic British sound of bands like Yes. This is followed by a nice instrumental with some pleasant changes. This is followed by the singing again that goes till a fade out. With a bit more instrumentals this could have been on an early yes album.

Young Mans a hard rock tune with a neat organ bridge reminiscent of Keith Emerson. The song ends with some different vocals that head into a closing instrumental section of organ and guitar.

As Bad As This Starts off with bluesy country vocals and acoustic guitar then an arpeggio led section acts as an interlude for the second half, Plexiglass Toilet.

Winner Takes All hard rock like the next track.

22 Years

Jonas Psalter is one of the hard rock numbers.

The Serpent Is Rising has a near hissing drone in the background of riff as an opening, then heads into a section reminiscent of the vocal sections of Tarkus.

Krakatoa is some poetry being shouted for a minute with synths whirling around in the background.

Hallelujah Chorus is a tune by Handel. Church music.

Overall this is an acceptable album and a solid end for Styx's progressive rock early years.

 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 70 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by The Jester

4 stars Review # 113

Starting this, I have to say that I was never a fan of Styx. I have a couple of their old albums in my collection, I listened to a few more, but they were never my cup of tea. Yes, they have some very good songs here and there, but that was it for me. So, because of the thigs I mentioned, I discovered The Mission rather late. To be honest, I was very surprised by its quality and the overall songwritting. (At the time I am writting this, their new album Crash of the Crown has been released, which is also very good). The Mission is a concept album with an interesting main theme, and lots of good songs included in it. I could not believe my ears when I was listening to it for the first 1-2 times. Wait, what? This is STYX?? How's that possible? Then I checked PA, and I found out that The Mission has the highest average rating of all their albums! So, I'm not the only one I guess...

At this point I should make clear that it is not a masterpiece; don't get me wrong. Because lately I see the word "masterpiece" been used a lot, and that's not right in my opinion. but it is a wonderful, highly enjoyable album, which is going to be appreciated not only by the fans of Styx, but from many more people; like me for example.

Give it a try, it's a really good one! My Rating: 4.0 stars

 Soil Festivities by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.50 | 97 ratings

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Soil Festivities
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars After Vangelis had finished his foray into a more popular and accessible style through the early 80's, he came to the conclusion that he didn't have to necessarily always make his albums accessible. His output during this time included the "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack, work with Jon Anderson (as Jon & Vangelis) and a few more accessible solo albums. However, this wasn't giving him the satisfaction he needed as far as his compositional and improvisational style called for. So, in 1984, he returned to his more experimental style and he started this new phase with the album "Soil Festivities".

This album is probably one of his most progressive albums in quite a while, and it is a pleasure to hear him return to this form. Vangelis moves away from his most recognizable style of melodic tracks to a more improvisational style based upon nature, specifically as seen through the eyes of "life in miniature". Before you think that this seems like a new age type of recording, think again. This one is much more hypnotic and experimental in nature, the first side being jubilant and the second side much darker and sinister sounding. But overall, he leaves behind structure for the most part and becomes more experimental and going wherever the music takes him, but based upon a concept.

Movement 1 - Opens with a thunder crash and the sound of rain. In the background, we hear a single repeated note that sounds like it could signify a steady drip, drip, drip that continues while improvised synths play over the top with some nice harmonies. The overall feeling of the track is playful and joyous, a celebration of life in the world. Though there doesn't seem to be a strong melody in this very long track (over 18 minutes), the synths are still song-like and almost seem like short structured passages at times. The percussion is sometimes complex, never really following a pattern and the bass is quite captivating and really stands out at times. There are many sounds and timbres going on throughout the track. Surprisingly enough, it never gets dull, but instead, with the steady "dripping" tone in the background, can be quite hypnotizing. The last part of the track is calmer surrounded by thunder crashes and sparkling keys.

Movement 2 - This one is more tranquil feeling with a two tone, repeating motif in the background that changes with the chord/key changes that are directed by a lovely synth. This time, the music is more melodic, though the melody is probably improvised. The first part is accented by high notes which later is replaced by lower string effects later, almost feeling like the action from the first movement is coming to rest and dusk is approaching.

Movement 3 - In contrast to the first 2 movements, this one is quite a bit darker and seemingly discordant, probably representing the harshness of nature. There is quite a bit of chaos and menacing sounds making the scene seem violent and unpredictable. Once again, there is no real melody here as there has been in the more accessible Vangelis albums. Instead it is dramatic, a bit noisy and dissonant at times, though it also resolves for short spaces only to turn sinister again. The end of the movement does have a feeling of victory, however.

Movement 4 - Slow and pensive, this one rolls along based off of a three note cadence that persists throughout the track while a minimal synth plays over the top and occasional thumping percussion rumbles sounding like far off explosions. This keeps the overall dark timbre of the previous track, but much less chaotic, however there is still a sense of danger in the air with the suspense generated from the synths and keys.

Movement 5 - This track is probably the most improvisational of the album as tempos are always shifting, the percussion is more unpredictable (almost symphonic in style), and styles and moods constantly shift from happy to dark, melodic to chaotic. This is one of his most progressive tracks in his discography.

I really find this album to be one of my favorites in Vangelis' works. It seems that he has a lot more say in where he wanted this album to go, and since it is mostly improvised, it seems like it is more from the heart and less like the formulaic albums that he had been producing previous to this. I have always liked his style but there have been some weak albums in his past. This is not one of them. If you aren't familiar with the improvisational Vangelis, then you should probably give this album a chance. I think "Soil Festivities" is one that is meant more for the music lovers that like their music unpredictable and complex, not based off of melodies.

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.84 | 62 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by The Jester

4 stars Review #112.

I bought my first Iron Maiden album when it was released, back in 1981. Yes, it was the album Killers, and I was 13 years old. Since then, I listened to many different styles of music, but I was always following Maiden's releases.

Their last album, The Book of Souls wasn't good in my opinion, with the exception of the - very good - Empire of the Clouds. So, when I heard about this new album I didn't pay much attention to be honest, because I thought it would be similar (or worse) in comparison with "Souls" But I was wrong, very wrong!

No, it's not the new Powerslave or the new Number of the Beast, but is there a person who was expecting something like that?

So, in my humble opinion, Senjutsu is a very good and well made album, which includes not one, not two, but three epics! All three of them are really great songs; not in the typical style of Iron Maiden though. I listened to the whole album 4-5 times so far, and I believe that it is one of their best releases after Brave New World, which was released a long, long time ago! But have in mind that it needs some time to fully appreciate it, because it is not as easy going as some of their previous works. For me, this was a very pleasant surprise by Iron Maiden! I would like to give 3,5 stars, but since I can't I am going to give 4.0 (3.0 would be an unfair number to give). Enjoy! :)

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