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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

4.40 | 1216 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.50 | 385 ratings
Bowie, David
4.36 | 874 ratings
4.32 | 1034 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.30 | 1013 ratings
4.26 | 716 ratings
Bowie, David
4.23 | 933 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.24 | 728 ratings
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 805 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.20 | 553 ratings
4.18 | 539 ratings
Bowie, David
4.13 | 767 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.13 | 799 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.11 | 773 ratings
4.15 | 374 ratings
Bowie, David
4.09 | 643 ratings
4.08 | 812 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.19 | 247 ratings
Talking Heads
4.16 | 300 ratings
Blue ÷yster Cult
4.05 | 1002 ratings
Led Zeppelin

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews

 Getting to This by BLODWYN PIG album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.04 | 27 ratings

Getting to This
Blodwyn Pig Prog Related

Review by Artik

4 stars Wow, I'm surprised how little reviews and ratings this band has gathered so far. I assumed their Jethro Tull connection would help to promote Blodwyn Pig a bit more. Their second album is very fine example of early stages of rock music when many things were trown into one big melting pot. Blodwyn Pig speciality is a catchy mixture of rock, blues, jazz (with brass) showing band's musicality. There are occasinal guitar noodlings which could be shortened and the longest piece isn't cohesive at all (but still contains some great passages). The music is very energetic and with flute parts here and there it would fit nicely in one of early Jethro Tull albums. Very enjoyable stuff. Three and a half star rounded up to four to help upgrade overall grading which is currently below three which is to harsh.
 Down to Earth by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.79 | 191 ratings

Down to Earth
Rainbow Prog Related

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

4 stars It's amazing to think how quickly things moved in the 1970s in comparison to the first two decades of the 21st century. It's nothing for bands to wait five years between albums these days but back then things were set to jet speed. Ritchie Blackmore started the 1970s with Deep Purple rising to the top and then going through several changes in the band before going solo with RAINBOW in 1975 but even with his own band never managed to keep the same lineup for any album. Luckily his prize vocalist Ronnie James Dio stuck around for the first three albums but then one day Blackmore decided to drop the swords and sorcery themes and steer the band into a more commercial arena and Dio jumped ship.

While a true blow to the band's overall sound, Blackmore was accustomed to auditioning new members and it seems in retrospect that half of RAINBOW's time was spent recruiting new members rather than actually playing! Before Dio split, both bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist David Stone were fired and replaced by Clive Chaman and Don Airey but soon after Chaman didn't workout and former Deep Purple bandmate, bassist and producer of the previous albums finally stepped up to fill in as an actual musician. The task of replacing Dio was met sensibly by finding somebody would fit in with the band's new slicker hard rock style that was more akin to bands like Styx, Foreigner and Whitesnake. Graham Bonnet formerly of The Marbles was chosen to fit the bill and while he did a remarkable job on the band's fourth album DOWN TO EARTH, he wouldn't last long. This was also the last album to feature drummer Cozy Powell.

DOWN TO EARTH is very much a product of the late 1970s timeline when fantasy infused prog had all but surrendered to more immediate hard rock with more DOWN TO EARTH themes and less subterfuge in interpretation. While heavy metal would soon regain all those dark fantasy and occult themes, this speed bump in history favored songs about love, life and other banalities that resulted in partying and having a great time with your friends. For the hardcore Dio fans, this move was a slap in the face and RAINBOW lost much of its devoted fanbase but where one door closes another opens and DOWN TO EARTH did indeed to prove to be the ticket to more radio airplay and charting singles which led to the expected uptick in sales. The group's popularity was also boosted by RAINBOW headlining the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England.

Stylisitcally, DOWN TO EARTH fit right in with the nascent New Wave of British Heavy Metal with catchy bass grooves, infectious guitar riffs and melodic sing-along lyrics. The opening track and single "All Night Long" sounded somewhat like KISS meets Bad Company with a more pounding bass and drum drive but addictively composed with lots of catchy twists and turns. Bonnet's vocal style proved to be the perfect answer to this new pop infused heavy rock. The other single was a cover of Russ Ballard's "Since You've Been Gone" and proved to be one of RAINBOW's biggest hits hitting the top 10 in England. Same with "All Night Long." While no other singles were released, DOWN TO EARTH doesn't really have any bad tracks. The diverse tracks includes a reprise of the dramatic keyboard symphonic opening on "Eyes Of The World" which also is quality single material as well as the familiar boogie shuffle on "No Time To Lose" although without Dio sounding a bit more like AC/DC or Foreigner.

"Makin' Love" also featured exotic music scales in the vein of earlier songs like "Gates Of Babylon" only eschewing the arcane subject matter. The final three tracks are also of equal caliber thus making DOWN TO EARTH a really good specimen of heavy bluesy rock with classical crossover elements. Yeah Dio was gone but so what. Those first three albums were already about 85% the same as what is presented here only without dungeons and dragons themes and more focused on blue collar worker subject matter. Whatever the case i'm in it for the music not the poetry recitals and DOWN TO EARTH delivers the goods in the vein of many of the contemporary hard rock bands from Aerosmith and Thin Lizzy to Uriah Heep and the Scorpions only with the extra touches of keyboards. While RAINBOW may not have been reinventing the wheel in any way, Blackmore sure knew how to craft a competent collection of hard rockers that ticked off all of the boxes that made hard rock so popular during this era and while many may disagree, i really like Graham Bonnet's vocal contributions. This is one of those i find under-appreciated by the majority.

 Long Live Rock & Roll by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.55 | 277 ratings

Long Live Rock & Roll
Rainbow Prog Related

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

5 stars In many ways, i'm the electron that orbits the atom in the opposite way of all the others! Many classic albums i really don't see the hubbub about and likewise other styles of music that make others bonkers rock my world! Well such is the case with RAINBOW's final album with Ronnie James Dio. While many herald the band's second album "Rising" as the cream of the crop of Ritchie Blackmore's rotating cast of musical characters, i actually find the pinnacle of the band's musical prowess to be in the form of the band's third album LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL which emerged two years later after the stunningly well received live album "On Stage" sandwiched in between.

Of the eight studio albums that Blackmore released under the RAINBOW moniker, not a single one had the same lineup and LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL was certainly no exception. This one was a bit unique in that it found bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist Tony Carey beginning the album and then leaving the band half way through thus only contributing a few tracks each. Unable to find satisfactory bassist, Blackmore himself recorded the bass parts although Mark Clarke of Colosseum, Uriah Heep and Tempest was chosen but Blackmore hated his playing style and fired him on the spot.

Continuing the style of the previous albums of early heavy metal with bluesy guitar riffing infused with classical elements, RAINBOW pretty much followed in the footsteps of "Rising" although the subject matter was less uniform and only certain tracks were based in the realms of fantasy. The rest were much more straight forward heavy rockers with lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio's rock god status stealing the show once again. Why this third installment of the RAINBOW universe appeals to me more than the others is that every track is at the top of its game as the band was a perfectly oiled machine at this point and although new members came and went, Blackmore cracked the whip and made his boys perform exactly as he wanted.

The album opens with three perfectly fueled anthem rockers including the title track, "Lady Of The Lake" and "L.A. Connection" which all hit the high notes of catchy melodic connections, intense rhythmic drive and impeccable musicians playing perfectly in tandem but the album really takes off on the fourth track "Gates Of Babylon" which is one of my all time favorite songs from any musical genre. The track would've fit in perfectly on "Rising" with its exotic musical scales, epic nature, symphonic touches and sizzlingly hot guitar solos not to mention a hard charging bass and drum backing. Same goes for the track "Kill The King" which challenges the tyranny of the world and rouses the masses to pull out the pitchforks! The track first appeared on the live album "On Stage" but came to satisfying fruition on LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL.

"The Shed (Subtle)" and "Sensitive To Light" continue the bluesy hard rock heft in perfect fashion and the album finishes off with the band's first slow cooker, the "ballad" so to speak. "Rainbow Eyes" reminisces of a Jimi Hendrix song at first but slowly builds into a monster ballad that finds Blackmore keeping it cool playing clean arpeggios while Dio provides his most subdued performance in all the RAINBOW years. The track is highly symphonic with lots of contrapuntal keys and four guest musicians that provide violins, viola, cello and flute making it sound a bit like a Renaissance song brought to the modern world. In some ways it's RAINBOW's closest thing to a "Stairway To Heaven" but never drifts into heavy rock.

While still considered a classic early heavy metal album, most fans will point to LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL as a step down in quality but for my tastes, i actually find it a step up since "Rising" didn't sustain what it excelled at for its entirety. While the first three albums are considered classic by today's standards, the band didn't really experience commercial success on the level they had hoped therefore Blackmore decided to steer the band in a more accessible direction and ditch the fantasy themes altogether which ultimately convinced Dio that it was time to move on and as we all know he would soon join Black Sabbath and replace Ozzy Osbourne and give that band a resuscitating surge in popularity. Sure, "Rising" wins for better cover art and overall visual presentation but when it comes to the compositions themselves, i much prefer this one to the other Dio led albums. Yeah i'm spinning on a different trajectory than most of you other electrons out there but hey, i still produce electricity!

 Rising by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.20 | 553 ratings

Rainbow Prog Related

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

4 stars Considered one of the pinnacles of 1970s hard rock and one of the primary impetuses of the world of power metal that would take off in the 1980s, Ritchie Blackmore unleashed RISING his second release with RAINBOW (after truncating the longer moniker Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow) in the spring of 1976 which played a pivotal role in ushering the hard rock 1970s into the heavy metal 80s. While building on the bluesy rock riffs infused with classical elements from the debut and previous Deep Purple experiments, Blackmore decided to start from scratch and fired his entire band with the exception of lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The new lineup recruited drummer Cozy Powell best known for playing with Jeff Beck, newbie Jimmy Bain on bass another newbie in the form of American keyboardist Tony Carey.

The album is often simply called RAINBOW RISING, a phrase used in the fantasy fueled subject matter of the album's 8 1/2 showpiece "Stargazer" which tackles the theme of a wizard turned to the dark side by enslaving humanity to achieve his self-serving ways. The track featured epic crossover progressive rock attributes such as symphonic influences, extended solos of the guitar, keyboards and drums and a series of interesting musical scales. The original vinyl release featured only four songs on side A and two songs that extended past the eight minute mark on the B side. The album was fairly short at only 33 1/2 minutes but packed with all those well established hard rock sounds of the 70s laced with the extra elements that made RAINBOW RISING one of those foundational albums that took the world of heavy metal to the next level.

The album begins with the sounds of distant keyboard sounds that offer a nice electronic contemplation before breaking into the guitar, bass and drum fueled hard rocker "Tarot Woman" which immediately launches the album into the mystical world of the occult and fantasy which would essentially become the subject matter for the world of much of the metal music that would dominate the 1980s and beyond carried on by Ronnie James Dio himself when he launched his own band Dio. In fact many of the tracks on RAINBOW RISING gave hints as to what Ronnie James would sound like on albums like "Holy Diver" and "The Last In Line." It's uncanny how RAINBOW RISING revisited the past glory of Blackmore's Deep Purple years while prognosticating the future simultaneously and while transitional albums can often sound stilted, RAINBOW RISING pretty much stands on its own as a masterwork of the era.

The highlights of the album are without a doubt the sole two songs that make up the second half of the album. "Stargazer" is perhaps the most famous song of RAINBOW's decade long existence and rightfully so as it perfectly embodies the stylistic approach Blackmore was striving for, that being an artful blend of razor-sharp heavy rock instrumentation infused with classical elements, ethnic folk flavors and symphonic prog sophistication without sacrificing the immediacy of a harder leaning rock band. The closing "A Light In The Black" begins with that hard boogie stomp that Blackmore made ample use of throughout his career. Stylistically this track isn't really different the average Blackmore penned composition but rather simply extended and infused with excellent guitar, keyboard and drum heft and perhaps one of the most energetic outbursts of heavy metal up to this point.

Considered one of the true masterpieces of the ages by many, personally this album took me a while to warm up to. Most likely due to the fact that it is similar and less dynamic than Dio's own stylistic interpretations from his solo releases. Let's fact it, Vivian Campbell added a fiery virtuosic energy that Blackmore was never able to achieve but alas i must consider this album for the time it was rendered and simply accept it on its own terms. In that regard, RAINBOW RISING is indeed an excellent album that is chock full of instantly addictive early heavy metal guitar riffs, organ swells and drum rolls made all the more viable by Ronnie James Dio's spot on metal vocal style. Despite it all this just doesn't resonate to me on the same level that many make it out to be. While "Tarot Woman" and the two longer tracks are certainly 5-star masterworks, the triumvirate lesser songs of "Run With The Wolf", "Starstruck" and "Don't Close Your Eyes" are fairly standard of the day. Personally i find the band's following album "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" to be superior and their crowning achievement however this is obviously an essential album for anyone into rock or metal.

 The Width of a Circle by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
3.00 | 1 ratings

The Width of a Circle
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by sl75

— First review of this album —
3 stars A dive into the archives for just one year of David Bowie's long career, 1970, featuring most of the non-album singles from that year, and extensive live recordings.

The first CD consists entirely of a live set recorded for John Peel's The Sunday Show in February 1970. It was apparently his first performance with Mick Ronson. The set draws mostly on the Space Oddity album, but also includes embryonic versions of songs he would record later, notably an unfinished version of The Width Of a Circle.

The second CD opens with songs recorded during a live performance of Lindsay Kemp's pantomime "Pierrot In Turquoise or The Looking Glass Murders. A throwback to an older Bowie period, the set is bookended by his 1967 song When I Live My Dream, with short songs written for the show (in some cases using musical material he would develop into other songs eg Threepenny Pierrot which would become London Bye Ta-ta.

Later on the CD, there is a live set recorded for Sounds Of The 70s, featuring the band then known as Hype, with Ronson now much more integrated into the sound. They perform one reimagined track from the Space Oddity album, embryonic versions of two songs from The Man Who Sold The World, and a heavy rock cover of Lou Reed's Waiting For The Man.

The balance of the CD consists of his 1970 singles, both in their original versions, and in recent remixes by Tony Visconti (including an unsplit version of Memory Of A Free Festival). (I'm honestly not sure how much the remixes add to the listening experience.)

It's interesting listening for how it captures a transitional period in Bowie's career, as he moved from a singer-songwriter-ish phase to developing a rockier sound with Ronson. There's the tension between on the one hand attempting to produce catchy pop singles (in an unsuccessful attempt to get him back into in the pop charts he'd briefly topped the previous year), while also creating longer more exploratory pieces. Hearing the older songs from the Space Oddity album played in this way gave me a new appreciation for some of those songs.

I'd love to rate it higher, but it's really only an album for committed fans and collectors.

 Collections by BLUE ÷YSTER CULT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
2.00 | 3 ratings

Blue ÷yster Cult Prog Related

Review by Prog123

2 stars I feel a certain sense of guilt in reviewing this compilation. The reason I put it in the foreground: in the creation of US Power Metal BOC are one of the fundamental bands. And among my favorites. But as a Progressive band... I don't understand where Progressive is to be found in their music, if not in seeking, as mentioned, the innovation from Hard Rock to US Power Metal which, however, I find much more in bands such as Dust, Mountain or Grand Funk Railroad.

Having said that, how to judge "Collections"? Like one of many... Too many compilations from the last few years... Last 30 years. That is, this compilation is useless. It's not enough "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Godzilla", "Burnin 'For You" or a "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" to change my mind. Moreover, without a biography or other liner-notes. Only the price could push us to buy it. Unfortunately, in recent years, the proliferation of compilations like this one has been one of the real problems that have led to today's comatose state of the recording industry. At least in the previous decades they were used to promote the bands or to take stock of the production or, like live albums, to sanction the end of an evolutionary period and the opening of another evolutionary period or, again, to thank the fans for the success achieved. But the music contained here is really good. It just doesn't make me change my mind about this compilation (and this kind of compilation).

 More Songs About Buildings and Food by TALKING HEADS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.84 | 133 ratings

More Songs About Buildings and Food
Talking Heads Prog Related

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars While Talking Heads' debut was certainly a success in a number of ways, not only landing a huge hit with Psycho Killer, but immediately establishing a compelling approach and sound, it's really their 2nd album, More Songs About Buildings and Food, where the band properly found that stride of releasing total masterpieces. With that said, their sophomore album in general feels rather different in a few key areas to the rest of the band's output. Everything here just feels as if it's far more grounded, with the more personal, introspective approach to lyricism rather than the often broader or more abstract subject matter, or at least presentation of those topics, making it quite powerful and impactful in many instances. Combine this with the other decisions such as the greater focus on guitar or how the majority of the songs are shorter and feel more about capturing a mood as opposed to a full fledged song, and you've got yourself a truly excellent and fascinating listening experience.

Thank You For Sending Me an Angel immediately represents this shift in approach by almost sounding as if it's starting in the middle of the song during a particularly climactic moment, with driving drums pairs with the bouncy guitar and bass especially giving off this vibe. Really energetic opener that never feels as if it slows down in the slightest, which is most clear in the way that even the little guitar solo is used to simultaneously support the rhythm and stand out in its own way as a neat little moment of technicality. This sort of seemingly unchanging steadiness to each individual track on the first side contributes to the band feeling as if they have near boundless amounts of energy to bring to the table, almost as if the album will just never stop going this hard. What's most impressive in this regard is how it translates so neatly into the 2 mid paced songs on this part of the album, The Good Thing and Warning Sign. The way The Good Thing slowly escalates is a significant reason for this, and makes the more intense, frenetically played conclusion feel perfectly natural. Warning sign is even more effective at crafting this sort of latent energy with the way its slower melodic elements are contrasted by a faster paced, underlying rhythm from the guitar. It also helps a lot that this is such a charming and catchy song, though you could say that about the majority of them here.

The album isn't only about these short bursts of energy however, with a few longer songs finding their way onto More Songs About Buildings and Food as well, as can be seen with the side 1 closer, Found a Job. While certainly similar in vibe to everything preceding it, the different sections of the track feel more clear-cut and and obvious. Once again the guitar really is the star of the show here, with the way it perfectly plays off the rhythm, feeling both tightly regimented yet very fun and groovy, with the interactions with the keyboard further elevating things to the point of being one of the band's greatest instrumental moments. And if that wasn't enough, what follows is the fantastic one-two punch of Artists Only and I'm Not In Love. Artists Only feels as if it is able to represent the experience of the creative cycle both through its lyrics and music itself. I'm quite a fan of the way this so harshly can switch gears while remaining cohesive, with stretches of driven energy being balanced by moments of off kilter instrumental madness, before quickly picking itself back up and sounding as if it will keep trying the same thing yet again. It hits the point where it almost feels as if it's desperately working towards some sort of goal by the end, making for some nice parallels to the lyricism. I'm Not In Love on the other hand is not something I can as easily express my feelings on, it's just a song that really gets it, hard to explain it much more than that, it just works remarkably well on a personal level for me. That said, what I can easily say about it is the way that nothing stands still at any point makes for a sight to behold in its own right, like, wow there's so much greatness bombarding you in this one song.

The album ends things well with a couple of of more grounded, long songs that feel like a good way to calm things down to a near halt, and are overall just very chill ways to end things after such an album. Of these I definitely like Take Me to the River a bit more, with its iconic hook and awesome keyboard elements giving it a lot of really fun sections that know how to get stuck in your head for ages. Overall, this album is what I'd consider to be a resounding success, further refining Talking Heads' sound, while pushing them in some different and interesting directions, all when ensuring that the album itself is constantly fun and interesting. This is where the band became something truly special to me, and the fact that they'd comfortably top this a bit later is totally insane. Not the first place I'd send someone in the Talking Heads discography, but undoubtedly a remarkable album that is essential listening.

Best songs: Thank You for Sending Me an Angel, Found a Job, Artists Only, I'm Not In Love

Weakest songs: Stay Hungry

4.5 stars rounded down

 Argus by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.24 | 728 ratings

Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars How do you judge the size of a band? From the fame and number of records sold, from the artistic integrity or from the originality of the sound? Or does success depend, rather, on good luck or a certain amount of chance? Even better if they are artists with strong personalities, stubborn and gritty, who do not lack class. Let's imagine that to support them there is a record label that believes and invests in the project. If today they appear semi-forgotten, Wishbone Ash could boast all these elements on their side when, in those early months of 1972, they reached such a wide notoriety that led them to join The Who, Ten Years After and Black Sabbath on American tours. Best lineup of 1971 for the Melody Maker, "Argus" best album of 1972 according to Sounds magazine. The band was a quartet consisting of Steve Upton (drums), Martin Turner (bass and vocals), Ted Turner (guitar and vocals) and Andy Powell (guitar and vocals).

Argus certainly represents the spearhead of the entire thirty-year career of this underrated band. Each song is a small jewel set in a musical framework that recalls bucolic and pastoral sensations, with influences taken from progressive, but certainly the great technical expertise of the two guitarists combined with the fact that they were the only ones to play that way, makes this work a cornerstone of 70's hard rock.

"Time was" opens the dance, a nine-minute song, in which you immediately feel that Wishbone Ash have refined and matured the sound compared to the two previous albums, taking above all in this song the progressive feel I mentioned before, the interesting fact is that these nine minutes fly by without even realizing it, the sound of the guitar riffs slips pleasant and harmonious as well as the voice of bass-vocalist Martin Turner is endowed with an intimate timbre, able to convey suggestive emotions to the listener. "Sometime World" begins as a muscled electric ballad and then morphs into a choral run, led by sharp rhythmic guitars and bass harmonies. At the end he unleashes in a fulminating, delightful solo. "Blowin 'Free" is a strong boogie rock piece.

The second part is perhaps even more valuable than the first. Three of the four pieces deal with specific themes, unlike the previous ones, which reflect on the human condition from a more abstract point of view. "The King Will Come" contains the most famous moment in the band's career, that military intro with snare drum and wah wah-infused guitars. The ideal to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the text to follow, a free elaboration of the biblical Apocalypse, complete with a sky that falls to earth and a prophet that separates the good from the bad. A granite midtempo supports the vocal harmonies, while the bass emanates lush, creative lines. Upton is the lead author of "Leaf And Stream", despite the fact that his contribution in the recording phase turns out to be a rattle. Sung by Martin Turner, this time without the support of others, it is a splendid ethereal picture that returns to question the meaning of existence. The closing is entrusted to a sort of mini-concept in two songs, "Warrior" and "Throw Down The Sword". The first tells of the pride of a warrior ready for battle, his ideals of glory and freedom, his gaze towards the future; the second shows the change of perspective once the battle has ended, and only the misery it has generated remains to be contemplated, so much so that "The battle is over, neither lost nor won". The music reflects the two different visions: although both are power ballads, one is rhythmic and aggressive, the other more relaxed and reflective. Both end, yes, with glorious multi-line solos. They are in fact the songs that immerse the entire disc in a medieval atmosphere and better explain the cover.

This album is a timeless success, a masterpiece that will forever remain imprinted in the history of music as one of the most perfect heavy rock albums.

 In for the Kill! by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.76 | 146 ratings

In for the Kill!
Budgie Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars When the material was finished, the artists were already getting ready for a concert tour in Germany. While the recordings were being mixed, a truck with the equipment was waiting in front of the "Rockefield" studio, ready to go. The album was produced in a great hurry and was not refined in terms of composition or sound, which was often mentioned by the band's leader. The musicians took care of the production, and Pat Moran and Kingsley Ward were again sound engineers. The album was released in England on May 17, 1974 and was the first Budgie release to appear on the British charts. In "Melody Maker" it reached 18th place on the list of "Top Albums", while in "Music Week" and "New Musical Express" it was placed on the 30th place.

There has been an inevitable change in the composition of the formation. Drummer Ray Philips was a supporter of the more commercial face of music. Shelley and Bourge asked him to leave and it finally happened, unfortunately in an atmosphere of conflict. Ray last performed with his friends on November 4, 1973 at the "Zoom Club" in Frankfurt. To meet their concert commitments, Dave Corke (also agent Judas Priest) and Budgie manager Graham Maloney quickly found a new drummer. It was Peter Boot, who has so far performed in the band Bullion. He turned out to be a talented musician, as he was employed at 9 am, on the same day at 8 pm he was already on stage and played flawlessly. It is worth mentioning that Shelley initially wanted to hire Steve Williams, who plays in the Quest team, on drums. Even, they had an appointment in Cardiff, but in the end the meeting did not take place. But soon, in December 1974, their musical paths finally came together, and for many years to come.

The album opens with the title track "In For The Kill" deeply marked by terrifying bass scales which, along with Philips' drums, accompanies Shelley's unusual vocal timbre strangely on this harder, deeper, otherworldly track , even in a falsetto juncture, he is the author of a test that is nothing short of amazing, ranging from moments of quiet and vocal cleanliness to others of total inspiration in which it is his voice and not the sound, the melody, that leap to attention. of the listener. The piece continues to its conclusion especially along the Bass / Drums combination. Extraordinary track in the melodic composition and in the vocal part. Song number 2 "Crash Course in Brian Surgery"- those who expect a slowdown are very wrong, immediately they are overwhelmed by a captivating and quick riffing and, later, by Shelley, once again brilliant and extremely versatile, the final part is introduced by a fascinating and gloomy bass solo, the piece ends on the high notes of the Welsh singer. "Wondering What Everyone Knows" is the inevitable ballad, slow and amaliatrice lives in the vocal-guitar combination. These are precisely the occasions in which you can notice the extraordinary singing skills of Shelley capable of angelic voices during ballads like this one. With the advent of "Zoom Club" the decibels go up, the sound returns to being raw and fiery, even in this track there are high falsetto notes, however the song is mainly instrumental with long guitar and bass solos. It is the longest song on the album at 9.58 minutes. The initial part of "Hammer and Tongs" is really suggestive, almost total silence interrupted at times by dark bass sounds, only to be completely torn apart by the powerful tolls of the drums that give the official start to the song. Both in the lyrics and in the melody we can notice more than in any other track a strong blues approach, especially in the final part. Shortly after the middle of the piece you can appreciate an unusual segment performed once again in silence, and interrupted by the rustle of instruments in the background but, what differentiates it from the opening part is the use of the voice, limpid, angelic. Continuing the ride we arrive at the penultimate composition "Running from My Soul", characterized by a cadenced, enthralling and danceable rhythm, it is proposed to the listener as a 60s Rock and Roll piece culminating in the refrain but above all in the sound, which enters the veins and pushes you, transports you, to dance. Seventh track and last "Living On Your Own" fast and lively is an almost totally instrumental track, crossed by the continuous performances, technically unobjectionable, of guitar, bass, and drums.

After the release of "In For The Kill", the artists promoted the publishing house by playing a tour of Europe that began at the end of July 1974 and lasted three weeks. The seventh place of the album on the Swedish charts was a huge success, thanks to intensive and costly advertising. The musicians even played an open-air performance for an audience of 15,000 in Stockholm. MCA also released this album in the States, but unfortunately the planned tour in the USA did not take place and the album did not gain popularity there. Budgie's fourth album takes a very good position in the team's discography, one of the best , without any weaknesses. It cannot be compared to any previous or later studio release due to its very successful marriage with blues. At the same time, both this outstanding work and the previous "Never Turn Your Back On A Friend", set the artistic level quite high.

 Squawk by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.40 | 127 ratings

Budgie Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars It was a fantastic debut that of Budgie who, with their first and self-titled album, established some of the coordinates that a few years later, will contribute in a fundamental way to outline the basic characteristics of NWOBHM. Almost by return of post, a few months after Budgie's release, the band released their second album curiously titled Squawk. A work that - in spite of a very little martial and aggressive title - marked on the one hand a slight simplification of the musical plots and, on the other hand, a greater immediacy and overall aggressiveness also recognizable in the average playing time of the rather low pieces. Aggressiveness also exemplified by the cover signed by Roger Dean. All this always under the watchful eye of producer Rodger Bain, a very important character who at that time worked with Budgie and Black Sabbath and, shortly thereafter, he would contribute to making Judas Priest debut on vinyl. As mentioned, compared to the previous test the sound here takes a heavier turn, with Tony Bourge's guitar slightly less present in favor of Burke Shelley's bass, completely master of the scene both on an instrumental and vocal level. It is precisely the changed approach of the bass lines that defines the fundamental difference between the previous album and Squawk, since these are less redundant and sought after on the latter, in favor of greater linearity and greater speed, producing a result less eclectic final, but perhaps more significant from a pre-metallic point of view. As always precise, but inconspicuous in comparison with the other two, Ray Phillips' work on drums.

One of the group's goals, however, is to make their proposal even more powerful and aggressive, and in this case the opening track, "Whiskey River" seems to leave no doubt to chance. Tony Bourge's guitar riffs are in fact much sharper and more incisive than the debut, and Burke Shelley's bass lines fit together very effectively, managing to recreate an incredibly essential and compact sound wall. This power of execution will also be emphasized later, as for example in the Bluesy "Drugstore Woman", strong in catchy riffs and vibrating and enthralling guitar solos, or in "Stranded", an absolutely dynamite song thanks to the incredible sound wall erected by the guitar and the bass, where the musicians have fun dampening and accelerating the rhythms, managing to keep the listener's attention always alive. Alongside more powerful and essential tracks, however, there are also songs of different nature and suggestion, within which the band manages to show a certain musical eclecticism (the group has always distinguished itself for a remarkable compositional taste), which does not do anything other than make the record more varied and interesting. As in the debut, here too a couple of exquisitely Folk songs appear, namely "Make Me Happy" and "Rolling Home Again", which, although short, manage to pleasantly strike the listener, thanks to refined arrangements (embellished with simple but suggestive lines of piano and Mellotron) and at the same time melodic, while instead songs like "Rocking Man" and "Hot As A Docker's Armpit" tend to wink towards more Psychedelic and moderately Progressive sounds. The first song seems, in fact, to combine guitar riffs and purely Hard Rock sounds in a natural way, with a central bridge much more moved towards the Psychedelic side, while the second song is certainly the most articulated and varied of the whole album, presenting a great variety of instrumental cuts and interweaving between guitar and bass, which develop through tempo changes and Pseudo Progressive atmospheres, with the sound of the Mellotron placed in the background. Among all these songs, however, the wonderful "Young Is A World" stands out (preceded by a nice instrumental piece, "Bottled"), a sort of Power Ballad characterized by multiple facets with a guitar background of sure suggestion and impact. The piece is in fact chiseled by numerous chiaroscuro of electric guitar which together form very wavy and "liquid" atmospheres, occasionally interrupted by powerful guitar and bass chords that try to give power to the atmosphere. Finally, the final solo by Bourge is splendid, very painful and rich in pathos.

This Squawk is certainly a small masterpiece of creativity and imagination, where each song shines with its own light and life, while at the same time developing the heavier and heavier side of the group.

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