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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

4.39 | 1115 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.48 | 328 ratings
Bowie, David
4.35 | 791 ratings
4.30 | 943 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.29 | 918 ratings
4.22 | 852 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.22 | 642 ratings
Bowie, David
4.22 | 656 ratings
Wishbone Ash
4.19 | 762 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.18 | 492 ratings
4.12 | 720 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.12 | 716 ratings
4.15 | 482 ratings
Bowie, David
4.15 | 335 ratings
Bowie, David
4.08 | 734 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.09 | 591 ratings
4.06 | 843 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.16 | 258 ratings
Blue Öyster Cult
4.05 | 738 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.04 | 914 ratings
Led Zeppelin

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews

 Club Ninja by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.45 | 68 ratings

Club Ninja
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Club Ninja" was the 10th studio album album released by Blue Oyster Cult. It followed on the heels of "Revolution By Night" which was not a commercial success, and the plan was that Club Ninja would be the album to bring that back to the band. Trying to obtain a heavier sound against the usual synths and keyboards that graced their other albums, this album mix the keys down a bit further and bring out the guitar sounds more than on the previous album. Some of the tracks also tried to bring in the more commercial friendly sounds of the hair bands that were running rampant around the time of this release, 1986. But, nevertheless, there are still some gems to be culled from this album, so it shouldn't be a complete wash out.

The album starts with two excellent BOC style tracks with some great, memorable hooks, namely "White Flags" and "Dancin' in the Ruins" which both are both accessible and more akin to BOC's past classics. However, this is followed up with a track that is less memorable and more arena rock friendly in "Make Rock Not War". Yeah, it's pretty cheesy. However, the next track is one of BOC's best ever. "Perfect Water" is a progressive classic and has a more complex sound along the lines of their more progressive work of the past. It is not really as guitar heavy as the previous tracks, but that is okay because some of BOC's best music is not always reliant on heavy guitars anyway. The tempos shift and the melodies are more complex. So, to this point, the album is sounding really good.

Unfortunately, we come into the part of the album that is either devoid of much personality and lean towards the commercial heavy metal or hard rock sound of the day. "Spy in the House of Night" is based upon a poem by Richard Meltzer, a music critic who had worked with the band in the past. The words are interesting, but there in nothing really memorable about the track. It took me a long time to get the melody to remain in my head, and now that I can pick it out before I hear it, it still has nothing about it that is interesting. This is then followed by "Beat 'em Up" which is a typical stadium rocker that raises the cheesy factor back up to 100. At least some of the band's more commercial songs previous to this were still great rockers, the more commercial songs on this album are frightfully bad and much lower than the bar set for the bands music. I mean lyrics like "You take a lickin and keep on tickin" and "You start rockin' when we start sockin'" just doesn't hold up to BOC lyrics from the past, but they do come right out of the hair metal era.

Things get a little more interesting after this though. "When the War Comes Home" has a better progressive edge to it and is co-written by Sandy Perlman who has written many BOC classics and also produced many of their albums. It starts with a rousing spoken word intro by Howard Stern, who was the cousin to Eric Bloom's (vocalist, guitarist) wife. The song has most of the band singing in unison, and the melody is not very memorable, but it has a nice guitar hook to it, it is more atmospheric, it has the ooga-chaka vocal that will help you remember it, and the ending, which emulates the sounds of machine gun fire and war sounds with the drums, guitars and synths is pretty great if you really listen to it. Talk about the use of tension and drama in music, this track is a highlight for me. I can imagine this track would do well in concert with a cool pyro-techniques and light effects. "Shadow Warrior" has a complex melody that takes some time to get stuck in your head, but it is actually a great progressive track with a terrific guitar solo stuck in there. The same can be said for the closer "Madness to the Method" which is a bit less of a rocker than the previous track, but is still a great progressive track nonetheless.

No doubt that this BOC album took some time to grow on me, because the hooks are not quite as obvious in some places, and in others, the songs are just too commercial. The music isn't quite as catchy as some of their past albums, however, not only is there a move to some more commercial songs, but there is also a move to more progressiveness here too. I don't really think this album is as bad as some make it out to be, I think it takes a little more time for some of the tracks to grow on you though. But, I do see this album as a step towards the excellent album "Imaginos" that would come next. Call me strange, but I find this album better than most, though at one time, I would have agreed with most saying that this was one of their worst albums. If you try to block the commercial tracks out of your head and give this one a better chance, I think most would agree that most of the tracks are actually good. I'll give it 3 stars, but I think it is closer to 3.5 stars and there are times when I would consider it 4 stars depending on my mood.

 Rising For The Moon by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.28 | 41 ratings

Rising For The Moon
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This one should have been Fairport Conventions ticket back to the high life. It´s really a shame it wasn´t. All the effort to bring back Sandy Denny to the fold, and the recording company suggestion of ace producer Andy Johns to coordinate the whole project should do the trick. Sadly it did not. Johns was against the use of traditional material or covers, in a time they did a fantastic version of Dylan´s All along the Watchtower. Besides, Trevor Lucas did push their sound maybe a little too much into american styled country rock (the presence of yankee Jerry Donahue certainly did not help matters), which alienated much of their fan base. Or maybe the timing simply was not right.

Still, the music here is beautiful, with Denny delivering some of the best tunes and performances of her short career. Her and Lucas voices blend very well too. Songs like the title track, White Dress and One More chance are the highlights of this very good album. Production is a little slick, but it works. With time I´m sure Fairport Convention would find their feet and could take this line up very far. Alas, this was not meant to be, since Denny and Lucas would leave the band after the tour to promote it. Some people think it should have been a Sandy Denny album, but really it only takes a few spins to figure it is far better than most of her solo work. The magic was there, they just didn´t let it grow its debut (few) limitations.

All in all a very fine album, although not that much folk-ish. My rating would be something between 3,5 and 4 stars. I´ll round it up to four because I really love it.

 The Secret by PARSONS BAND, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.75 | 25 ratings

The Secret
Alan Parsons Band Prog Related

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Fifteen years on from the last Alan Parsons studio release, 2004's electronica-influenced `A Valid Path', the man and his revolving door line-up of musical collaborators return with `The Secret', a themed album based around the art of magic, a long-time fascination for the artist. Although hardly some full-blown prog-rock concept piece, what we have here is an impeccably produced and absolutely reliable selection of soft rock/pop tunes and elegant ballads with tasteful vocals, soothing harmonies and grand orchestration, all in the classic Alan Parsons Project tradition.

Parsons and his assembled musical cohorts play their prog card right from the start; Hoping to make you instantly forget of Mickey Mouse and Disney's `Fantasia', former Genesis guitarist playfully rips through an adaption of `The Sorcerer's Apprentice' with plenty of pomp and spectacle, almost sounding as if it's wandered off one of Clive Nolan's theatrical projects! Pop singer Jason Mraz sings `Miracle', a harmless tune that sets much of the standard formula here, sounding like plenty of Alan Parsons Project tracks and albums past, being a mid-tempo pop-rocker with chiming electric guitars, melodic soloing, a memorable chorus and contemplative lyrical themes.

Alan himself takes the lead vocal on `As Lights Fall', a pleasant soft-rocker that reminds of plenty of Steve Hackett solo discs and could have easily fit onto the early Eighties Camel albums. Based around the moon landing, spoken word samples and dramatic orchestration ripples through the more epic `One Note Symphony', helping make it one of the `proggier' spots of the disc. `Sometimes' is one of those big and swooning emotional ballads that were always a Project trademark, with Foreigner's Lou Gramm's dignified voice filling the role that Project mainstay, the late Eric Woolfson, would have delivered years back.

Exquisitely sun-kissed, multi-part harmonies throughout its chorus makes `Soiree Fantastique' one of the absolute standout tracks of the set, and the nasally snarl to guest singer Mark Mikel's voice on the dreamy `Fly to Me' will make many listeners instantly think of the Beatles (lovely shimmering guitar solo on this one too). The rollicking `Requiem' is peppered with sax and horn blasts, `Years of Glory' is another sighing ballad, and `The Limelight Fades Away' is a simple rocker enlivened by a catchy chorus. Closer `I Can't Get There from Here' is a rousing piano and orchestration-lifted ballad to send every listener away in a great mood.

The album could easily have done with a couple of longer vocal-free sections or even another purely instrumental piece, but if you've always dug the Project and now Alan Parsons `solo' discs, `The Secret' fits in nicely alongside many of the LP's in their back-catalogue, essentially picking up right where 1984's `Vulture Culture' left off. So while the prog-rock touches are minimal, you get a collection of classy tunes with confident vocals that make for an undemanding and pleasing background listen, all wrapped in the studio polish expected of Mr Parsons.

Three stars, but Parsons/Project fans should absolutely adore it and can add a whole other star.

 Decadent Lights by EVOLVE IV album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 6 ratings

Decadent Lights
Evolve IV Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This is a new album to me, even though it is actually quite old, as it was released back in 2007! Peter Matuchniak kindly sent me some older albums of his, so here we have a quartet comprising Michael Eager (vocals, rhythm guitar), Peter Matuchniak (lead guitar, keyboards), Jim DeBaun (bass) and Paul Sheriff (drums). It took me quite a while to get into this album, as I wasn't too sure of Eager's vocals, which are more workmanlike than stunning, but if ever an album deserves listening to more than once then it is this one. Peter may be an ex-pat (there are a few of us about), but he plays as if he was born American as there is very little in his style to let one realise that he formed his first band (Janysium) when at Little Ealing Middle School!

There are times when he lets his more progressive style come to the fore such as when he is breaking through "Rolling Along" where Natalie Azerad (who also performed on later Matuchniak albums) provides some wordless lead vocals. A special mention should also be made of saxophonist David Gilman (who has also kept his relationship with Peter) who has a major impact on "Listen Up". This isn't a classic album, yet the more I played it the more I enjoyed it. It isn't pure prog, but American rock with proggy influences here and there, and while the songs are fairly commercial, poppy and in your face, it is Peter's guitar which really makes it stand out. Apparently, there were supposed to be more albums as they had written a lot of material, but to this day this is the only release. It may not be essential, but it is still well worth a listen and is thoroughly enjoyable.

 Live At The Rainbow '74 by QUEEN album cover Live, 2014
4.29 | 33 ratings

Live At The Rainbow '74
Queen Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Everyone knows that Queen were a fine live act... but god daaaaamn, were they amazing in their early years! Live at the Rainbow '74 captures not one but two complete shows (some truncated editions exist - ignore them), the first from the Queen II tour and the second from the Sheer Heart Attack tour.

As a London-based group, the Rainbow was something of a home turf for Queen, and the rapturous response they receive from the crowd is rewarded with a fine performance each night. I would actually give the Queen II set the edge - not only does it showcase just how much excellent material there is on the first two Queen albums, but it also seems a bit tighter. By the Sheer Heart Attack set they are already adapting to a different musical direction, and the somewhat longer set begins to flag.

Evidently, they were struggling to find a balance between keeping the set at a reasonable length and including everything they wanted to throw in there, a problem which would only become more acute as their parade of hits grew longer. The Night At the Opera setlist, as captured on the A Night At the Odeon live album, would be trimmed back appropriately; if you picked up that live set too then between that and this you'd have more or less the perfect sampling of live Queen from their early almost-prog/not-quite-metal days.

 Technical Ecstasy by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.75 | 387 ratings

Technical Ecstasy
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Up until 1977, Black Sabbath came across as a band that had control over their sound. They had been inspiring bands since their beginning and would eventually inspire a whole new genre called heavy metal and its many sub-genres. So what happened that turned many of it's fans against them in September of 1976? The answer to that is more than a simple single reason.

The band's 7th album was ill fated from the beginning. Black Sabbath had put out 6 amazing studio albums before that, and it looked as if they could not make a mistake. Their music was not only loud and dark, but it was also better than the norm with many progressive elements. Most of their tracks had multiple melodies and themes. The band was not afraid to change and experiment with their established sound and that made their music exciting and innovative. Sure, they had that reputation of creating the music of the devil, but to them, that was just an aspect of a few of their songs that dealt with dark subject matter, drug use, war, and mental health just to name a few subjects. In order to prove that they were not just a one-trick-pony, they even wrote songs dealing with spiritual matters and more positive subjects as proven in the album "Master of Reality", but the fans loved the dark and heavy sound, so that was almost always retained. But in those heavy tracks, the band explored the softer side of music too, and did it very well.

It seemed all was going well for this band. But then, their 7th album was released. "Technical Ecstasy" was a surprise to everyone, and most people didn't take it very well. People still wonder why there was such a sudden change in their music and the quality of it. First of all, the band had just gone through several legal battles that seemed to plague the album "Sabotage", and they were quite tense about that. Of course, there were drug problems galore. The world was also changing their music tastes with punk music, pop music, disco and new age with heavy use of electronics and synthesizers. Tony Iommi started to think that maybe the band was becoming outdated, that their music wasn't relevant anymore, and he thought a change in style was in order. Strangely enough, back then you couldn't just put out a heavy metal album like you can now and know that people would but it, as Iommi has stated. Also, around this time, Ozzy was considering leaving the band, and actually did during the tour of this album, though he came back to record their next album. The band recruited vocalist Dave Walker from "Savoy Brown" to take Ozzy's place during the tour and they actually wrote some songs with Walker.

Iommi's biggest concern during this time was the sound of the band and trying to make them not sound out of date. He thought the band needed to sound more like "Foreigner" with their more commercial sound. He could also see that albums like "Hotel California" by the Eagles and "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac were selling like crazy. He was also affected by The Eagles who were recording "Hotel California" in the same studio (who, incidentally, had to postpone recording sessions because Black Sabbath's recording sessions were too loud and they couldn't hear themselves). Anyway, this all led to Black Sabbath experimenting with new sounds which they weren't necessarily equipped to play well.

The album cover took many by surprise too. This looked so different from anything else the band had put out. It had that cartoon-y look and was colorful, not dark like past album art. The designer, George Hardie, said that he was trying to make something that reflected the title, so he used the technical part of the title to be represented by robots. The Ecstasy part had to have something to do with love, so he made a female and male robot, passing each other on opposite escalators and squirting mechanical fluid at each other, as robots would probably do if they fell for each other.

The band consisted of their original line up of Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals, Tony Iommi on guitar, Geezer Butler on bass and Bill Ward on drums. Joining them was Gerald Woodroffe playing keyboards who also played on "Sabotage". He also went with them on tour, but performed offstage.

The album started with "Back Street Kids" which was still guitar heavy, but more commercial sounding, sounding a lot like other heavy bands at the time, using repetitive melodies with pop-like sensibilities. Half-way through, there is a distinct synth sound which sounded totally out of place in their music. The song itself was quite forgettable and the guitar hook was too bright. It still had a nice guitar solo, but it was accompanied by a distracting, high-pitched synth. "You Won't Change Me" gave some hope as it had that darker sound with a heavy riff and a thick organ sound. The rhythm was slow and dense which reflected back to their trademark sound from the past. I can imagine the fans were a bit disappointed with the opening track, but had some hope when this track started.

"It's Alright" was written solely by Bill Ward. The band wanted him to also sing this track, but he didn't want to offend Ozzy. However, Ozzy was all for it, so he did. The song was also released as a single and Iommi wanted to use it because he wanted the public to see that everything about the band had changed. The song is a ballad and sounds very much unlike anything the band had done before, mostly led by piano. Even on this album, it sounds completely out of place in the entire Black Sabbath catalog, especially placed after the previous song. "Gypsy" begins with a very upbeat and almost danceable drum pattern and an organ that sounds more like a "Deep Purple" track. Even though it has a repetitive guitar riff, it feels so much lighter than most of the band's songs, and definitely has a pop feel to it. You can also hear a definite "Foreigner" style with the repeated piano chords pushing it all along, it almost copies the "Cold as Ice" riff in its stripped down form. At least there was a good guitar solo in there.

"All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" is about a transvestite that is elected as president of the United States. This is really bad, and sounds like the beginning of hair metal than anything else. It still has the guitars, but they are lightened up quite a bit and the synth parts don't fit in well. The best part is the funky bass line, but nothing else works on this track. As one critic said at the time, "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" sounds like the band trying to imitate "Kiss" even down to the cow bell. There is a bad honky-tonk style piano in there too. The guitar riff is also very cliché. It's bad!

"She's Gone" is another ballad. It is thick with orchestral effects. It probably would have worked as a nice ballad on one of their earlier albums, but on this album, it just gets forgotten mixed in with sub-par material. All alone and taken out of context, however, it is a lovely piece, but it lacks a bit of depth that previous ballads by the band had. The last track is the longest on the album. "Dirty Women", according to Iommi, is about the many hookers that Butler had seen around Florida. The song is ruined by the bad synth that backs up the chorus. It's probably the 2nd best track on the album, after "You Won't Change Me" and has some excellent guitar work, but it still lacks depth in it's melody and themes. The instrumental melodies are also a bit repetitive, and even though it has a sudden change in tempo towards the middle, it's not enough to save the album. At least it ends on an okay note with this song, but by now it's all a lost cause. It doesn't help that Ozzy's vocals sound brassy in the last half of the song.

Yes, the album is as bad as they say, especially since the band had set the bar so high on previous albums. If this was any other band, it still would have been a 2 or 3 star album. That's how bad it is. The band's signature sound and attitude was missing here, and it definitely was missed by the fans. It was going to be hard for the band to return to it's glory days after this mess. It's true that Iommi had quite a dilemma in trying to make the band relevant, and if only he could have seen the future, he wouldn't have bothered trying to fit in with the current sound. This probably would have been a completely different review. There just isn't that much on this album that will keep you coming back.

 SIGIL Soundtrack by BUCKETHEAD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2019
3.00 | 1 ratings

SIGIL Soundtrack
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars BUCKETHEAD has been rather low key in the last couple of years as he's probably kicking back in the Bucket-Cave after exhausting himself from the explosive frenzy of activity during the earlier part of the decade when he released something like 300 albums in a few short years. Or maybe he's just recharging his batteries! Brian Patrick Carroll is of course not only a chicken loving eccentricity but is without a doubt an extremely versatile and talented musician who has inspired many far and wide with his mold of William Shatner's Captain Kirk mask and signature KFC pale upon his head.

One of his biggest fans has been John Romero who created the classic 90s video game Doom which in the year 2019 is celebrating it's 25th anniversary. In honor of this landmark occasion, Romero has decided to go all out and create a deluxe boxed set that adds on new levels to the Doom game in the form of SIGIL which will surely please fans with eight new regular levels, one new bonus level, an epic boss fight and the most difficult episode yet to emerge. Of course all of this needed a new soundtrack and as he has spent countless hours programming code to the music of BUCKETHEAD, which Romero deemed the perfect sort of sounds to exist side by side with his masterful classic video game extensions.

The SIGIL SOUNDTRACK isn't exactly a custom made score for the Doom universe's latest installment but rather is a compilation of tracks from the massive PIKE series with the sole exception of the opening track, "Romero One Mind Any Weapon" which is the only new track to be featured. Romero's hope was to introduce BUCKETHEAD to a wider audience and although many have heard of this mysterious legend, many still probably have never been exposed to his music, therefore this SOUNDTRACK is more like an introductory compilation of sorts.

"Romero One Mind Any Weapon" (9:04) -The only new track displays the avant-garde metal intensity of BUCKETHEAD's earliest albums when he emerged in the 90s on such albums as 1992's "Bucketheadland." This track conveys a standard classic metal approach with lightning fast metal guitar riffing that keeps a "normal" metal groove in place but with a BH track creeping past the 9 minute mark, you're bound to get a pocketful of electronic weirdness, progressive off-kilter breakdowns and a mix of sizzling solos and ambient mood enhancers. And of course there's a touch of funk! This track is sort of a tribute to BUCKETHEAD as it has a dash of this and a dash of that which makes up the chicken lover's lengthy career. While the track isn't unusual from anything from his past, i can understand why this makes a wickedly cool addition to the SIGIL experience.

"13th Floor (7:15) from PIKE 118 - Elevator - I can understand why this track was chosen. It's a heavy rocker that has a marching into battle drive to it. The track goes through a series of nice emotionally charged passages with elegant soloing and an epic feel. A great choice for SIGIL.

"Buildor 2 (13:43) from PIKE 224 - Buildor - This track utilizes a Pink Floydian Gilmour type of space rock guitar lick before being joined by another distorted power chord guitar and then it totally mellows out back to a space guitar lick, ambient background and very slow drumbeat. This tracks basically goes on and repeats the riff, adds solos, takes breaks with ambient passages and follows the traditional PIKE playbook but has found its true calling on SIGIL.

"The Patrolman" (7:30) from PIKE 8 - Racks - This track starts out with a clean guitar lick and more energetic drum beat joining it. It lets the melody gently unfold but this is one of those tracks that doesn't really go anywhere. It is predictable and by the books without any improper freakiness. It's too much like something off of the "Electric Tears / Sea" albums and sounds like a leftover track or something. OK as an active listening experience but perfect for the multi-tasking of video game playing.

"Cold Frost Part 6" (5:10) from PIKE 205 - 2 Days Til Halloween: Cold Frost - This is a snippet of the dark ambient releases from 2015's Halloween countdown. Now this is prime video game music as it has a Twilight Zone feel with icy darkened atmospheres and spooky chilling effects. While many didn't like these ambient releases, i find the electronica of BUCKETHEAD to be some of the most refined and interesting of all.

"Melting Man Part 2" (6:38) from PIKE 10 - The Silent Picture Book - This track is one of those distorted and mellow ballads which also is not very engaging actively but is a nice chill pill for intense video game action.

"Far 5" (10:41) from PIKE 266 - Far - This track begins with an atmospheric ambience and begins immediately with heavier guitar riffs along with the space rock sounds. A guitar solo is finally allowed to erupt into a sped up bluesy frenzy. Although this one has more of rockin' feel, it still is nothing more than a repetitive loop of a few chords that continue on with soloing over the main rhythm.

"Poseidon 4-6" (16:56) from PIKE 264 - Poseidon - Like the PIKE from which these three tracks are stitched together here, they seamlessly transition together. A nice mix of heavy rock with crunchy riffs, licks and solos with some downtime for ambient sections and other deviations from the norm.

"Fastpass" (7:03) from PIKE 231 - Drift - This track starts out slow and mellow with a synth, a slow guitar and it sounds like it's gonna be one of those Pink Floyd slow tempo bluesy guitar tracks. Yep. Continues as the same style and doesn't really go anywhere interesting. Nice tones and does have chord changes but BH has done this much better before. OK but not OMG

At a running time of 84 minutes, this one might be a little too long for many as an active listening experience but as a series of musical experiences in conjunct with the SIGIL playing it is perfect! I think many of the PIKEs were too simply constructed for active listening experiences but make perfect background music for a multi-media project such as this. BUCKETHEAD Pikes have found their calling at last and Romero has expressed interest in incorporating more of the chicken lover's music into his future projects. All in all this is a decent introduction to anyone unfamiliar with the PIKE series but personally i enjoy the more adventurous and experimental sector. For those not so adventurous as i, this is a decent PIKE 101 stepping stone into the greater universe but for true fans this will be of little interest with only the first track providing new material.

 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.30 | 943 ratings

Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars This will be my 100th review on this websitek, so I took a bit of time trying to think of what I'd want to do for such a milestone, eventually settling for this album. The reason for this is that this was one of the 3 albums that originally got me into music in the first place, along with Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast and Dio's Holy Diver. Of these three, this one definitely holds up the best for me, being highly consistent while also musically and tonally being the strongest. Many of these songs are quite catchy and all around very accessible for fans of rock or metal, but also clearly sowed the seeds for future doom metal bands to further expand on this genre and provide so many of the overwhelming behemoths that came onto the scene later, making it important as well as awesome.

The album starts off with War Pigs, one of the better songs here, starting off with slow, droning guitar chords before the song begins speeding up, highlighting Ozzy Osbourne's vocals, which while not great, really fit the overall sound presented to us. The song eventually speeds up slightly more, and introduces an awesome, groovy riff, occasionally pausing to showcase a drum fill, before kicking back in, all around being a great time, culminating in an outro that keeps crescendoing and speeding up as a riff continuously repeats, bringing in a powerful sense of urgency, all before completely hitting its peak and dying down immediately. Paranoid is the song that everyone knows from this album, and for good reason, as while it's not the best song on the album, it's certainly the one that sticks in the mind the most. The faster pace of it combined with riff after riff, each sounding near perfect, the vocal melody and memorable lyrics on top of this, make it easy to see why this song became so popular. The song is a prime example of how simplicity can be so effective, and it lays out the building blocks for other bands to then expand upon it in the numerous covers there are of it, ranging from the thrashier Megadeth version, to whatever the hell The Dillinger Escape Plan did to it. Planet Caravan is probably one of my favourite songs on the album, despite the fact that it sounds nothing like anything the band had ever done before, or since, but the gentle, spacey atmosphere accentuated by the filters put over the vocals make this such a relaxing, psychedelic track that carries me away in a similar fashion to Rainbow's Catch The Rainbow.

Iron Man is this album's other massive hit, with what I consider to be one of the most iconic riffs in all of metal, being simple, but heavy and absolutely menacing, while simultaneously being really cool and catchy. The way the song speeds up and throws in a guitar solo is also a really cool aspect of the song. Electric Funeral is definitely my personal pick for highest point on this album, being the most doom oriented, and heavy song of the lot, with a really gritty riff and a remarkably unsettling, droning vocal line. The sudden transformation from this into the fast paced bombardment of energy from all fronts is really what sells this song for me though, especially in terms of that incredible bassline. Hand Of Doom is once again, another great song, easily the most ominous and dark one the album has to offer, having some really quiet sections with a creeping bassline, Ozzy's vocals, and little else. The way these then escalate and become so intense is what really sells this song for me though, the power and panic behind it, while still maintaining a relatively slow pace is nothing short of amazig in its execution. Rat Salad is a short instrumental track that mainly serves as a showcase of Bill Ward's drumming ability, filled with fills before eventually a short drum solo, all around being pretty cool. Fairies Wear Boots closes off this album well, with an intro with elements fading in and out, weaving between one another and flowing from one riff to another, especially impressive to hear on a good pair of headphones when they do this between the left and right ear. The song then becomes a catchy, bluesy number with fun, memorable lyrics referring to seeing things while being high. While it's one of the more repetitive songs here, there's really no denying that it works in its favour to create an infectious song all around, and a decent closing track.

There's a pretty good reason why this is considered such an essential album in metal, not only was it an extremely early example of the genre (some say first, others say Deep Purple did it beforehand), but it holds up really well even today. The songs have great riffs and some really great atmosphere, backed up by some good variety in the form of songs such as Planet Caravan and Fairies Wear Boots. This is an album that I feel like most people calling themselves metal fans have heard, and if not, get onto that, not to mention the fact that it would be a pretty great entry level metal album in general, as nothing is particularly challenging to listen to here, and everything sounds absolutely great. I can definitely see how this was one of the albums to originallly get me into music in the first place, since I still see such value in it.

Best songs: Planet Caravan, Hand Of Doom, War Pigs

Weakest songs: None

Verdict: An excellent metal album that hits all the right notes and is simply excellent. While not reaching the same sort of heights as some other albums in the genre, this is nonetheless an extremely good album, and and absolutely essential one to anybody even slightly interested in hard rock and metal.

 The Secret by PARSONS BAND, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.75 | 25 ratings

The Secret
Alan Parsons Band Prog Related

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It will be pointless to measure or rate both, the Alan Parsons Project or Band, according to the ever existing closeness his albums and artistic goals have with mainstream Pop music and real distance with Prog music.

In fact he only has some Progressive Electronic songs (which this release has none) or symphonic oriented arrangements buried under tons of Pop / mild-Rock albums. Of course some of his his art covers were all Prog but that is another matter.

He, a master of repeating the same formulas and coming up with new disguises, releases under his Band´s discography (or under these archives listings), The Secret (2019).

An 11 track album with a wholesome list of vocalists & collaborators to add some punch to his ever recurring musical ideas (cheesy ones included).

Music composition wise it is an unsurprising mixture between his style, The Beatles´ & Peter Gabriel´s Pop side, some semi classical symphonic arrangements here and there and a cover of "The Sorcerer´s Apprentice" (composed by Paul Dukas) which together conform the overall mood of this work.

Now as for rating Pop/mild Rock albums in a Progressive Music site is quiet funny to say the least, but Pop or not I wouldn´t hold on to this one but I can bet his fans will be delighted...

2.5 PA stars.

 Alpha by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.79 | 310 ratings

Asia Prog Related

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

3 stars After a stunningly successful debut album that surpassed the wildest dreams of the 80s supergroup ASIA, the band, made up of the 70s prog heavy weights vocalist and bassist John Wetton (King Crimson, UK), guitarist Steve Howe (Yes), keyboardist Geoff Downes (Yes, The Buggles) and drummer Carl Palmer (ELP), wasted no time trying to follow up the multi-platinum super smash that created a new form of progressive pop. Having hit #1 on the album charts as well as scoring a #4 Billboard hit with "Heat of the Moment," ASIA proved to be one of the most unexpected success stories in the new wave infatuated early 80s.

Unlike the self-titled debut which weaved in 70s progressive rock elements that were crafted into catchy pop infused melodic ear worms, ALPHA on the other hand left behind many of the pompous grandiosities and focused more on the pop side of the equation with the hopes of an even more lucrative sophomore experience that would keep ASIA relevant as a new force in the 80s music scene. Unfortunately the album failed to even come close to the debut's phenomenal reception however ALPHA still cracked the top 10 on the album charts and two top 40 hits in the form of "Don't Cry" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes."

Despite the album going platinum and keeping the band somewhat relevant in the changing market place, the album is generally seen as a big dud that derailed the momentum generated by the debut and as a result Steve Howe would be the first of the superstar cast to jump ship which proved to be the right choice as the music's quality would plummet to a pathetic low on the following "Astra," an album so utterly devoid of relevance that i scratch my head in amazement that this project was deemed worthy of further exploration.

While ASIA is a group that hardened proggers love to hate, i have a soft spot for these kinds of prog pop projects that focus on irresistible melodies while adding small packets of prog power to give that extra bombast. There's no denying that ALPHA was a step down from its power-packed predecessor but all in all i can't say ALPHA doesn't have many great tracks on it. While side A which was referred to as ALPHA was clearly the stronger of the sides (side B was penned the Beta side), the album contains a wealth of catchy prog infused pop songs that displayed many of the attributes of the debut.

While "Don't Cry" was a suitable first single that barely cracked the top 10, "The Smile That Left Your Eyes" is a power piano driven ballad that i actually love quite a bit. After that the track "The Heat Goes On" is a stellar organ led rocker that displays Wetton's best vocal style, the best guitar work of the album as well as nice keyboard led jams towards the end. The rest of the album starting with "Eye To Eye" seems to be a little more forgettable however as the second side seems to recycle some of the riffs and melodic grooves of the far better ALPHA side of the album. "Never In A Million Years" and "My Own Time" are also both nice tracks.

The track "The Last To Know" initiates the biggest gag reflex as the band was clearly trying to craft the perfect ballad, the sort Celine Dion would make a career out of however "True Colors" exhibits a more memorable keyboard hook with softer verses and more bombastic choruses, however for the most part other than that one track i find it impossible to remember what any of the side B tracks sound like. ASIA had their brief day in the sun and it was apparent that the project was slated to be more of a one hit wonder type project that just happened to get lucky and have slight success on this sophomore unit.

This is probably the time when the band should've just called it a day but to many a progger's chagrin continues to the present day cranking out new products in this style ad nauseum. In conclusion ALPHA is a worthy consideration for roughly half the tracks on board but for only those who don't mind a little 80s pop playing the 70s exploitation game. Personally i pretty give up on ASIA after this album. "Astra" was a major turd in the punch bowl and left me with zero interest in checking out even one album that followed. To me ASIA is a two album band and nothing can convince me otherwise. OK, maybe with Ron "Bumblefoot" That joining the lineup, i'll at least have to consider it.

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