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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

4.39 | 1067 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN IV
Led Zeppelin
4.52 | 296 ratings
BLACKSTAR
Bowie, David
4.36 | 753 ratings
QUEEN II
Queen
4.30 | 903 ratings
PARANOID
Black Sabbath
4.29 | 878 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Queen
4.22 | 817 ratings
BLACK SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.23 | 625 ratings
ARGUS
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 740 ratings
SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON
Iron Maiden
4.22 | 613 ratings
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie, David
4.19 | 476 ratings
RISING
Rainbow
4.17 | 456 ratings
HUNKY DORY
Bowie, David
4.12 | 698 ratings
POWERSLAVE
Iron Maiden
4.12 | 687 ratings
MASTER OF PUPPETS
Metallica
4.11 | 712 ratings
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.15 | 314 ratings
SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)
Bowie, David
4.08 | 563 ratings
RIDE THE LIGHTNING
Metallica
4.06 | 807 ratings
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI
Led Zeppelin
4.06 | 708 ratings
MASTER OF REALITY
Black Sabbath
4.16 | 237 ratings
SECRET TREATIES
Blue Öyster Cult
4.03 | 880 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin
4.07 | 373 ratings
LOW
Bowie, David
4.16 | 199 ratings
REMAIN IN LIGHT
Talking Heads
4.03 | 532 ratings
HEAVEN AND HELL
Black Sabbath
4.16 | 189 ratings
NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A FRIEND
Budgie
4.11 | 212 ratings
BLADE RUNNER (OST)
Vangelis
4.03 | 354 ratings
HEROES
Bowie, David
3.99 | 534 ratings
SABOTAGE
Black Sabbath
3.96 | 837 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN II
Led Zeppelin
3.98 | 557 ratings
SHEER HEART ATTACK
Queen
3.96 | 592 ratings
SOMEWHERE IN TIME
Iron Maiden
3.97 | 526 ratings
BRAVE NEW WORLD
Iron Maiden
4.00 | 342 ratings
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
Bowie, David
3.94 | 570 ratings
... AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
Metallica
3.92 | 809 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN III
Led Zeppelin
4.01 | 241 ratings
ÉQUINOXE
Jarre, Jean-Michel
3.98 | 290 ratings
STATION TO STATION
Bowie, David
3.90 | 776 ratings
HOUSES OF THE HOLY
Led Zeppelin
4.11 | 138 ratings
BLACK NOISE
FM
3.94 | 379 ratings
OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW
Anderson, Jon
3.94 | 377 ratings
ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY
Muse
3.87 | 492 ratings
INNUENDO
Queen
3.90 | 319 ratings
OXYGÈNE
Jarre, Jean-Michel
4.02 | 142 ratings
FRIZZLE FRY
Primus
3.85 | 566 ratings
IRON MAIDEN
Iron Maiden
3.86 | 419 ratings
ABSOLUTION
Muse
4.01 | 138 ratings
HOPE
Klaatu
3.83 | 596 ratings
VOLUME FOUR
Black Sabbath
3.82 | 644 ratings
THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
Iron Maiden
4.07 | 102 ratings
GRETCHEN GOES TO NEBRASKA
King's X
4.27 | 60 ratings
BICICLETA
Serú Girán
4.30 | 56 ratings
A RAINBOW IN CURVED AIR
Riley, Terry
3.85 | 328 ratings
ALADDIN SANE
Bowie, David
3.94 | 169 ratings
SAILING THE SEAS OF CHEESE
Primus
4.06 | 97 ratings
CHANGE WE MUST
Anderson, Jon
3.89 | 215 ratings
THE BOOK OF SOULS
Iron Maiden
4.12 | 80 ratings
FAITH HOPE LOVE
King's X
4.04 | 100 ratings
SPIDERLAND
Slint
3.90 | 182 ratings
THE NEXT DAY
Bowie, David
3.95 | 140 ratings
1492 - CONQUEST OF PARADISE (OST)
Vangelis
4.08 | 84 ratings
JUNTA
Phish
3.89 | 185 ratings
THERE'S THE RUB
Wishbone Ash
4.01 | 103 ratings
RISING FORCE
Malmsteen, Yngwie
3.78 | 497 ratings
A DAY AT THE RACES
Queen
4.16 | 64 ratings
THE STORY OF LIGHT
Vai, Steve
3.79 | 391 ratings
BLACKFIELD
Blackfield
3.82 | 243 ratings
WISHBONE ASH
Wishbone Ash
3.75 | 556 ratings
PIECE OF MIND
Iron Maiden
4.12 | 66 ratings
DIAMOND HEAD
Manzanera, Phil
3.83 | 209 ratings
HEAVEN AND HELL
Vangelis
4.29 | 46 ratings
JOHN CALE & TERRY RILEY : CHURCH OF ANTHRAX
Cale, John
4.05 | 75 ratings
OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET
King's X
3.84 | 155 ratings
SECOND NATURE
Flying Colors
3.94 | 99 ratings
MOONTAN
Golden Earring
4.13 | 56 ratings
ELECTRONIC REALIZATIONS FOR ROCK ORCHESTRA
Synergy
4.57 | 28 ratings
CREUZA DE MÄ
De André, Fabrizio
3.87 | 122 ratings
AMBROSIA
Ambrosia
4.06 | 59 ratings
GRASA DE LAS CAPITALES
Serú Girán
3.73 | 283 ratings
13
Black Sabbath
4.00 | 67 ratings
DOGMAN
King's X
3.70 | 374 ratings
BLACKFIELD II
Blackfield
4.04 | 59 ratings
RIFT
Phish
3.88 | 93 ratings
FIRE GARDEN
Vai, Steve
3.77 | 164 ratings
HEATHEN
Bowie, David
3.72 | 261 ratings
THE GRAND ILLUSION
Styx
3.85 | 105 ratings
EMBRACE THE STORM
Stream Of Passion
3.90 | 85 ratings
SARABANDE
Lord, Jon
3.71 | 267 ratings
RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW
Rainbow
3.84 | 103 ratings
TALES FROM THE PUNCHBOWL
Primus
3.95 | 68 ratings
NO QUARTER
Jimmy Page - Robert Plant
3.67 | 396 ratings
BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS
Muse
3.78 | 129 ratings
CHINA
Vangelis
3.64 | 485 ratings
QUEEN
Queen
4.34 | 29 ratings
TUTTI MORIMMO A STENTO
De André, Fabrizio
3.80 | 104 ratings
MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD
Talking Heads
3.86 | 81 ratings
REAL ILLUSIONS: REFLECTIONS
Vai, Steve
3.73 | 153 ratings
SPIRAL
Vangelis
3.63 | 415 ratings
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
Iron Maiden
4.32 | 28 ratings
L'ANGELO RINCHIUSO
Tagliapietra, Aldo
3.75 | 121 ratings
BUDGIE
Budgie
3.74 | 130 ratings
IN FOR THE KILL !
Budgie

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews


 Whalefeathers by WHALEFEATHERS album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.62 | 7 ratings

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Whalefeathers
Whalefeathers Prog Related

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This album is a delight but not so much as for the musical content as due to the mean and vicious organ, wreaking havoc on the listener. The sound of the organ is so raw and well played that I fall into a trance. It must be said, I love the Hammond organ. But a flower do not make a summer (or is it a swallow?) and a burger is next to nowt if you are only served a slice of bread. It need more to be a complete meal. Or summer.

Whalefeathers is just another band in a long line of bands that recorded one or a couple of albums in the 60's and 70's before realizing they're not going anywhere or seeing themselves being dumped by the record label. Sometimes you understand why and sometimes it's a bloddy shame. In the case of Whalefeathers it was, maybe, a sound decision by the record company to not wanting them to make a third album. If now that was the case.

It is not a bad album. Really, it isn't. I guess it's just a case of not being particularily great either. 50% of the material on the album is comprised of covers. That is slightly too much. Well, maybe that wouldn't be true if the interpretations hade been more interesting but they sort of aren't. The opening "World of pain", made famous by Cream, is the most interesting of the covers. The organ, as I said, is deliciously frantic and raw and the arrangement is actually quite interesting with some tempo changes. Unfortunately it grinds to a halt when they alter the frantic charge to a slow blues rock section at the end, which, sad to say, is like choking on your burger. It doesn't matter how delicious it was, you lose your appetite a bit.

"I don't need no doctor" is a quite straight forward heavy blues rock and it's great but not really done in a genuinely interesting version. It sounds like any and all of the great blues rock bands of the period. "It's a hard road" is a soulful blues which is alright, as is the percussion heavy "Bastich. The latter is one of the few tracks that sports any real progressive tendencies. "Pretty woman" is yet another bluesy workout. Alright but not progressive in the least.

The final track is the 10 minutes long "Shadows". Aaaah, the organ. Man, that sounds good. It is the only track that is progressive rock in it's true form, although in a proto-prog way. The opening organ leads into a vocal part that is quite gentle, before the whole thing ends in a jamming fashion with a lot of blues in the bottom.

And thus the album has come to a close. It was a pleasant journey but the only lasting impression is the organ. Listen to the album for the organ and crank up the volume if you're having a party. It is a great little party album and it would have been a treat seeing these guys in concert back then, cause I do think they could tear the place apart. The sheer energy and volume on the album suggests a terrific live band. But when all is said and done it's one of those obscure, alright albums that are pleasant to listen to but really provides litte to remember. Sorry, Whalefeathers. I must sail on, to another ocean.

 Master Of Reality by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 708 ratings

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Master Of Reality
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by SonomaComa1999

4 stars REVIEW #11 - "Master of Reality" by Black Sabbath (1971). 07/09/2018

Black Sabbath's first two albums were massively successful commercial hits, with the latter "Paranoid" being considered the greatest heavy metal album of all time in some circles. Over the course of one year the quartet of Ozzy Osborne (vocals), Tony Iommi (lead guitar), Geezer Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums) had gone from a local blue-collar rock act out of the West Midlands to the forefront of the burgeoning rock and roll scene alongside Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

1971's "Master of Reality", the band's third studio album, was also its shortest to date, lasting only thirty-five minutes and featuring six songs with two acoustic interludes. However, it would also stand as the band's most commercially successful album for over forty years, eventually being topped by the band's final album "13". This is one of the most influential albums in rock history, especially for heavy metal, alternative rock, and stoner rock; Iommi, who had lost parts of two of his fingers while working in a factory pre-Black Sabbath, had long struggled to find a technique which would allow him to comfortably play his guitar. He eventually was able to reduce the pressure on his fingers by downtuning the strings of his guitar to make them more soft and bendable. The result was an unintended stroke of musical luck as Iommi's guitar tone was now deep and roaring, a range that had only hardly been heard of by the dawn of the seventies. If heavy metal was not birthed by the band's self-titled debut, it had been chiseled out of stone and presented to an audience thirsty for blood.

Butler down-tuned his bass guitar in accordance with Iommi's new sound. The opening track "Sweet Leaf" exposes us to this once-radical maelstrom of noise. Although his simple guitar riffs mesmerized rock fans around the world on "Paranoid", they had a new edge which was unparalleled. Following the sound of the guitarist coughing after taking a draw of a joint, we are introduced to the formal beginning of the stoner rock genre. As the title may indicate, this song describes the bands love for cannabis. Ozzy's voice remains largely unchanged from "Paranoid", and still works very well with the rest of the music. Otherwise, this is a rather typical Sabbath rocker with a memorable riff, powerful lyrics, and a strong guitar solo. The band uses the same formula for the follow-up "After Forever", which is the album's track which discusses religion. One big misconception among the public (especially evangelicals here in the States) is that Black Sabbath was made up of "satanists." This could not be farther from the truth, as all four members of the band are self-proclaimed Christians; main lyricist Geezer Butler is a Catholic and wrote this song as a response to those who had falsely accused the band of worshiping Satan. The lone single off the album, it never matched the success of Sabbath hits such as "Iron Man" or "Paranoid" and consequently has gone under the radar despite being rather underrated. Following this piece, we are treated to a very short Iommi acoustic interlude titled "Embryo." Lasting only half a minute, it serves as a bridge to the classic "Children of the Grave". Considered by Butler to be "the most kick-ass song we ever recorded", it is hard to disagree as the thumping bass rhythm of this song is purely orgasmic. Throttling the bass, Iommi and Butler play alongside each other to create a sheer wall of noise which cannot be matched. While the lyrical themes of this song are not as overt as themes such as "War Pigs" or "Hand of Doom", this is another anti-war song penned by the band. This is one of the most iconic Black Sabbath songs, and is a staple of their live shows. The end of side one features a locked groove which repeats the album title in a whisper on the original LP; while this effect is obviously lost on CD and digital reissues, it is a cute little addition to finish off what is a very powerful first half of the album.

The album's second acoustic piece leads off the second side. Titled "Orchid", it is a minute longer than "Embryo", while still retaining largely the same theme and purpose; to provide a soft entrance into what is a looming and heavy main track. This time we are treated to what I believe is one of Sabbath's most underrated songs in "Lord of this World." Starting off in similar fashion to "Children" this one more prodding and less frantic. I believe the stoner rock band Sleep made a fantastic cover of this song some time in the 1990's; in fact, many of the stoner rock bands have made covers of each song on this album (minus the interludes), owing to the fact that this album was responsible for the birthing of their genre. Given the breadth of the Sabbath catalog, "Lord" often gets passed over, but if you have never heard this piece despite listening to the band on a casual level, I advise you to give this album a quick run-through just for this tune. Sabbath brings forth next a mellow reprieve from the metal, something that would become a recurring theme in the band's early discography, in the form of "Solitude". Similar in style to the much-loved "Planet Caravan" from Paranoid in its psychedelic themes and the fact it is a love ballad, it is nowhere near as popular as its successor, despite finding itself onto an episode of the TV series Supernatural. I did not find any problem with this song, and actually quite enjoyed it among first listen. Sabbath does a pretty good job at track listings, namely in juxtaposing songs so that you are constantly kept on your feet. Finally we reach the grand finale in "Into the Void", another classic heavy metal tune. The band uses apocalyptic and science fiction themes for this one, detailing humanity's exodus from a destroyed Earth and its journey to a new colony on the Sun. I find it funny that songwriters often choose the Sun as the new home of humanity - the title track from Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" album details humanity abandoning Earth for the sun as well - even though Mars or Venus, let alone an Earth-like planet in some distant galaxy, would be a better choice. All scientific gropes aside, this is a very heavy song, and is probably the most fitting track to conclude this very short album. It is also the longest at just over six minutes.

Let me set the record straight, if we were on metalarchives instead of progarchives, "Master of Reality" would get an easy five-stars, maybe somewhere bordering my fabled 100% review. However, this album is by no means progressive except in the sense it furthered the genre of rock in general. While an argument could be made for the band's first two albums to be included in the prog canon, there is simply no route for this one to fit in with the likes of Yes, King Crimson, or Rush. That being said, it is still a wonderful addition to your prog collection, as is the case with any of Black Sabbath's early work. While music critics lambasted "Master of Reality" upon its release, it has long stood the test of time, and now in the 21st century everything about it, from the musical content to the text on the album cover, has been immortalized and honored. Apart from the forgettable interludes, every track on this album is solid, from the much beloved "Children of the Grave" to the underrated "Lord of this World", and everything in between. In fact, even the album's short run time works well in its favor to avoid wearing the listener down. This album gets the highest rating it can get without being five stars, at a four-star (89% - B+) rating here in the prog community. Play this one loud, and under the influence of that "Sweet Leaf"!

 Yerself Is Steam by MERCURY REV album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.24 | 19 ratings

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Yerself Is Steam
Mercury Rev Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The first full album by Mercury Rev does not sound anything like what most people think Mercury Rev sounds like. First of all, the lead singer is not the same. Second, the music is completely different, in that it varies from soft noise rock to a full on wall of noise and distortion. The vocals are quite paranoid sounding also, adding to the strangeness of this album. The first three albums are a lot like this in fact, in varying degrees. And even though it is so different from the later sound of the band, I still love it. The timing of the tracks listed on the outer package is incorrectly noted and this, for some reason, was done on purpose, probably to contribute to the uncertainty of everything.

This album is considered to be one of the 50 greatest Shoegaze albums of all time, but it is so different from typical shoegaze music. There is a lot more to this music than just fuzz tones, there is chaos, even in the quiet passages, there are dynamics all through the album, lots of distortion and a feeling of being locked into something you just can't get out of. But even with all that, you want to hear more of it, because it is so different from everything else. Since two of the groups founders are also from "The Flaming Lips", a lot of people compare the two bands. I have heard some of The Flaming Lips albums, but as of yet, I haven't heard anything like this from them, unless maybe it is on their earlier albums. I will have to get better familiar with them if it is anything like this.

This album proves that there is beauty in noise and in chaos. But don't think this is all just a solid mass of noise, because it isn't that either. There are plenty of passages that are quiet, but still unsettling at the same time. The vocals constantly feel like someone just on the edge of sanity, either almost there or just barely tipped over onto the other side. The music matches the vocals too, everything fits together perfectly. Of course, those familiar with the more recent music by the band, know they are usually very mellow, but still very different and still full of emotion. In this debut album, the emotion is there, but it is not typical, as nothing about this is typical. Lyrics are strange, vocals are off kilter, instrumental passages are not typical, and it all fits together amazingly well.

The album name, "Yerself is Steam" is a lyric that keeps popping up on the first track and is a misinterpretation of the phrase "Your Self-Esteem". It is a study of contrasts throughout it's seven minute runtime. Loud and chaotic, soft and dissonant. "Blue and Black" has some deep vocals and remains the same throughout, not loud but definitely not peaceful at all either. "Sweet Oddyssey..." builds until it is taken over by fast paced drums and the guitars that combine to almost give it a gothic feeling, especially towards the last part of it. "Frittering" actually starts out with acoustic guitars and treated vocals that are given a far-away sound. Even here during a quiet moment, there is that sense of unease. At the 2 minute mark, drums kick in and so do the psychedelic sounds of guitars, building a wall of sound, the vocals becoming locked into the entire mix, not standing out, but not completely buried within either. It becomes more dissonant as it continues, then suddenly the wall is dropped and it's just acoustic guitar, but then it builds back again quickly. Guitar forms a melody just barely over the background noise.

"Very Sleepy Rivers" is a 12 minute track about a serial killer that uses a river as an analogy to how his moods can change so quickly from peacefulness to a sudden tendency to "snap". It is mixed at a subdued volume, vocals are again trapped in the mix, and totally psychotic sounding. The lyrics are very creepy but mostly indiscernible and the song is very dark, building in volume and intensity. Vocals also include some howling, but deep in the mix. This goes on a little too long in my opinion, and this works against the entire album unfortunately. This track is more of a shoegaze sound than the rest of the album. On the CD edition, there is also a hidden bonus track called "Car Wash Hair" which was released as a single as a follow up to the album. This is probably the most conventional song on the album, mostly because the vocals are easy to understand and mixed more to the front of everything. There is a nice combination of conventional and unconventional going on in the instrumentals behind the vocals that keeps things very atypical, and not very "single" sounding. When the guitars build their dissonance during the instrumental break, there is nothing conventional about it at all, but some sanity returns for the last verse, but loses control by the time we get to the end.

Not a lot of people will probably like this, especially if you are expecting something like the albums "All Is Dream" or "Snowflake Midnight", but I find that I keep coming back to this and that I actually enjoy it. It took me a few listens to get it, but it stirred my curiosity enough to want to understand it, so I kept listening until I grew to appreciate it. It's not perfect though, there are places where things fade out too quickly and other places where things go on for too long, but overall, I love the feeling of uncertainty, that feeling of going back and forth over the thin line of sanity/insanity. This is very interesting music, and it has a lot of emotion and dynamics, but is just not quite good enough to be considered a masterpiece, and I almost get the feeling that was the intention. Anyway, I consider it an excellent addition to my collection, and suggest that if you like Mercury Rev already, maybe you should venture into their earlier music and see if it suits you also.

 Budgie by BUDGIE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.75 | 121 ratings

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Budgie
Budgie Prog Related

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

4 stars If you're serious about diving into the origins of heavy metal you will no doubt tackle the usual suspects such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, but in the early gestation years of the late 60s and the fully formed heavy rock bands that provided the antecedents of the greater metal universe, there were quite a few contenders that didn't quite attract the same level of success as the big three. The Cardiff, Wales based BUDGIE was one of the earliest such bands that was a seminal influence on the NWOBM scene that would emerge at the tail end if the 70s. While formed in 1967 under the less-than-metal moniker Hills Contemporary Grass, they changed their name to Six Ton Budgie before finally truncating it to the more known BUDGIE which is an informal term for 'budgerigar,' an Australian parakeet which would become their mascot. This power trio of Tony Bourge (guitar), Tony Shelley (bass, vocals, mellotron) and Ray Phillips (drums, percussion) chose this name as a diametrically opposing term in relation to their bombastic bluesy rock bravado.

While Black Sabbath was in 1971 the heaviest band in existence, BUDGIE wasn't too far behind. Their eponymous debut released the same year as 'Master Of Reality,' followed the trends of the more successful bands and could be generalized as heavy rock straddling in between the heavy Sabbath riffing with Led Zeppelin inspired compositional constructs as well as Shelley's Robert Plant inspired vocal style. The Sabbath inspired parts come to the forefront with the opener 'Guts' which is a little too close to Sabbath's own 'Hand Of Doom' which sounds like a good case for plagiarism to my ears but the album quickly drifts off into their own unique middle ground between the great Sabbath and Led Zep. Many have cited as BUDGIE being the first version of the Canadian band Rush since they are a power trio and deliver a tight and compelling band sound out of only three musicians. On this debut they do indeed have that heavy rock gusto that Rush would unleash on their first two pre-progressive albums. Likewise BUDGIE, while rooted in ballsy blues rock with a more bombastic approach, did engage in progressively tinged compositional constructs.

While BUDGIE may have borrowed a lot from Sabbath and Led Zep, they have also been the influencers as well with tracks like the whimsically titled 'Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman' a clear antecedent into Golden Earring's hit 'Radar Love' which also displays Shelley's unique bass slapping style with a little funk technique and heavy rock groove with Phillips pounding out the supporting percussive drive accompanied by Bourge's guitar antics. Very heavy stuff for 1971 indeed and progressive as it clocked in at 8:41 and meandered through a series of clever musical moves not common in the bluesy rock world of the day. 'Rape Of The Locks' allows Bourge to show off some of his guitar tricks with a series of flashy solos before erupting into a boogie rock style that would become the staple of bands such as ZZ Top in the coming years. Tracks like 'All Night Petrol' find Shelley doing his best Robert Plant vocal exercises but alongside a Sabbath inspired doom laden riff in a mid-tempo groove. 'You And I' shows a mellower side with a short acoustic ballad.

BUDGIE created a very interesting sound for sure and although they didn't quite have the over-the-top performance charisma that Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin delivered to the world, they provided a unique glimpse in between the musical sounds where those two bands existed. While parts of BUDGIE's debut are clearly inspired by certain tracks from their influences, somehow they polish it out with their own unique stamp. The blues oriented hard rock riffing is more akin to 60s bands like Cream with Sabbath overtones (due partly to Sabbath's producer Rodger Bain in the picture), but they crafted their compositions completely differently with more complex constructs that meandered into more unexpected territory. In other words less calculated and more free. While destined to be more of a footnote of history for providing the blueprints of heavy metal riffing that would be fully realized by bands like Metallica in the next decade, BUDGIE are well worth checking out in their own right. The synthesis of heavy rock with progressive touches makes this more than a historical artifact.

 Kill 'Em All by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.39 | 435 ratings

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Kill 'Em All
Metallica Prog Related

Review by thwok

3 stars While I can't be as harsh as many other reviewers, I do think that KILL 'EM ALL is often overrated in Metallica's discography. Maybe it depends on your opinion of this brand of metal. I often find it repetitive and derivative. While I love Metallica, and I recognize the probable historical significance of this album, I just can't get too excited about it. Compared to their mostly illustrious later albums, KILL 'EM ALL isn't all that progressive. Metallica were already excellent musicians at this point, and probably outclassed most of their thrash comrades. However, their creativity and songwriting abilities took a major leap with the next album, RIDE THE LIGHTNING.
 Black Holes And Revelations by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.67 | 396 ratings

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Black Holes And Revelations
Muse Prog Related

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

5 stars It took them three long years but MUSE released their fourth album BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS in 2006 only this time on both sides of the Atlantic simultaneously. By this time, MUSE had become one of the biggest bands to hit Britain in the new millennium and had started to take America by storm as well but not quite to the degree of the 60s bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. While the previous album "Absolution" had been a little hit and miss for me, mostly on the miss downward spiral with a shoddy production, inconsistent compositional prowess and dumbing down effect to please their American record label, BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS on the other hand finds MUSE at the top of their game and in effect is a sort of crescendo creatively speaking in their career with even more influences than ever piled up on their smorgasbord of musical impersonations from the past.

While MUSE had already taken on a unique mix of alternative and progressive rock laced with electronica, New Romantic classical, tango and myriad other styles, on BLACK HOLES they upped the ante even further with cited influences including the synthpop of Depeche Mode, the harsh distorted rock of Lightning Bolt and the funk rock of Sly & The Family Stone as well as the heavier alternative funk rock of the lesser known Belgian band Millionaire from whom they acquired the unique stop / start rhythmic beat as well as that interesting bass groove. In a way, one could consider MUSE one of those ultimate mimicry bands much like Mr Bungle in terms of unbridled creativity where no stones are left unturned since there are actually many more influences lurking beneath the more familiar ones. Once again Matt Bellamy unleashes his best Bono ( of U2 ) inspired vocals afire in passionate display but also new to the mix are the keyboard parts that remind me a lot of the "War" era tracks of U2 such as "New Years Day." These keyboard parts recur throughout the album.

While political corruption, conspiracy analyses and extraterrestrial themes are nothing new in the MUSE canon, on BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS they excel like never before. With a comfortable foothold in America and top tier status in the UK, MUSE went for the jugular with themes covering political corruption, revolution, New World Order and the expected science fiction laced polemics such as UFOs. This album overall exhibits much more hard rock heaviness than the previous ones. While the first three albums were rather inconsistent in the heaviness department, on BLACK HOLES almost every track except "Soldier's Poem" and "Hoodoo" have hard rock as the main backbone of their compositional makeup. Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme has also stated that the band was more relaxed and it is apparent by the chemistry afoot on BLACK HOLES that it was the case. Add to that the production is OMG superior to the previous album and just by reading the army of mixers and producers makes it quite clear that this album was heavily manipulated in every aspect as to eke out the most pleasing sonic effects.

With a Queen meets ELO bravado, "Take A Bow" sets the tone with a jittery midi sequencer and a take no prisoners critique of the elite's destructive greed that has been ravaging the Earth with sharper vituperating lyrics that find MUSE in a cynical mind set as they hammer away at the miscreancy of the a ruling class run amok. "Starlight," one of the hit singles on the UK charts anyways offers a respite from the progressive wrath of the opener with a piano run churning out odd time signatures before jumping into rock mode. The band stated that this was the hardest track to record and about seven versions exist. Do i hear a box of unreleased goodies in the future? The next track and most successful single of the album, Super Massive Blackhole" was my personal introduction to the world of MUSE and the gateway drug to the larger spectacle that the band has become. Not only is this track an interesting alternative rock performance that utilizes Matt Bellamy's falsetto skills to fullest level (they're back after a dampening on "Absolution,") but it kinda sounds like Prince joined in as the track is funky, danceable and infectious as hell with a strong groove, interesting dynamic shifts and even a backmasked guitar solo.

"Map Of The Problematique" sounds sorta like something more modern that could fit in on U2's "War" album with the same Edge styled guitar sweeps and that famous piano run heard on "New Year's Day." The track tackles the polemic subject of limits of growth and escaping to Mars which the cover art refers to. While the album is by far the heaviest with almost every track rocking out big time, "Soldier's Poem" is a slow acoustic ballad sounding like something Freddie Mercury would've conjured up. Continuing the genre jumping, "Invincible," influenced by David Bowie's "Heroes" was the fourth single starts out slow with a military march percussive drive and evolves into a more sophisticated rock track with a haunting theremin adding an eerie atmospheric presence. "Assassin" is a bona fide heavy rock with stellar riffing in progressive time signature chops and performs much like the track title connotes.

"Exo-Politics" continues the rockin' out with a catchy guitar riff, spooky atmosphere with more theremin and a crooning Bellamy lamented the political suppression of extraterrestrial life. "City Of Delusion" begins with a Who inspired acoustic guitar strum-a-thon and wends and winds through some interesting progressions that venture into rock and electronica and ultimately back full circle while utilizing the main melodic theme to tie it all together. "Hoodoo" is an instrumental surf rock track with a few interesting twists and turns that is the perfect build up to "Knights Of Cydonia," inspired by the 1962 hit "Telstar" by The Tornados which featured Bellamny's father George Bellamy on guitar. The track is like riding in the wind through a spaghetti western with surf guitar and progressive pop accoutrements popping up all about including trumpets. This is one of the coolest songs ever and is the perfect way to end a perfect album as it fades to a satisfying crescendo of heavy rock, fight or flight bravado and references to self-preservation. The sequenced key parts are based on the five tone musical phrase from the film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

In the day many critics called the album "overblown." Sound familiar? Any time an artist dares exceed the comfort zone of a critic, it gets deemed overweening and dangerous to society. In the case of BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS i couldn't more wholeheartedly disagree with such punditry. This album is a masterful youthful critique of the world around the musicians involved. Not only does this trio deliver a passionate plea to the world in terms of ecological justice, spiritual elevation and conspiratorial analyses but it delivers simultaneously some of the most carefully crafted pop hooks disguised by a vast web of musical influences that are juxtaposed in perfect conjunct. Focus too much on a certain aspect of the MUSE-ic and it can certainly derail from overindulgent intellectualism but if one suspends the fact that many musical influences (which are openly cited), then one can come to the conclusion that ALL developments in not only music but science, linguistics and politics are derived from an amalgamation of what came before. MUSE excels in taking a ridiculous amount of musical antecedents and weaves them into something utterly unique. This album was love at first listen and after dozens if not over a hundred listens, it only gets better and better. While i've never made a top 100 album list, i can honestly state that this one would be on it. I simply don't understand why this isn't deemed one of the best pop rock albums of the 21st century. It certainly is for me.

 Carillions by BOFFO, JEAN-PASCAL album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.53 | 16 ratings

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Carillions
Jean-Pascal Boffo Prog Related

Review by WFV

4 stars I'm really enjoying the discography of French guitarist and prog veteran Jean-Pascal Boffo. I'm five albums in and, no matter the style, everything has been extremely tasteful and well crafted. I've listened to an easy listening light guitar album of his, two of what I'd call Jon Scofield styled modern guitar albums, and now two definite Steve Hackett inspired prog albums from the late '80's(!).

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but so far I'd rather listen to this artist over Steve Hackett. I found his discography rather mediocre, weak, too idiosyncratic and incoherent for my tastes.

Carillons has a natural flow and the accessible rock is definitely progressive. The first two songs set the table and are the standout tracks for me. The second side really makes excellent use of instruments and space and sounds like the best fusion band Steve Hackett never came up with excellent keyboards too

My non expert opinion is this guy is one of the most criminally unknown on the worlds' guitar scene. Certainly not a masterpiece like I feel the follow up is but at the top of the best and most pure prog albums I've heard to come from the 1980's

 Absolution by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.86 | 419 ratings

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Absolution
Muse Prog Related

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

3 stars MUSE released their third album ABSOLUTION approximately two years after their second "Origin Of Symmetry" but in that short time the world had forever changed. The terrorist attacks of 911 and the subsequent illegal wars launched on Iraq and Afghanistan added even more political furor and focus on conspiratorial analysis of world powers run amok. Due to creative differences mostly resulting from Matt Bellamy's liberal use of falsetto vocal gymnastics, MUSE refused to re-record their second album for American record labels (who demanded they did) and therefore didn't find a US release for that album until years later. Having finally resolved their differences, ABSOLUTION still didn't see the light of day for a full six months after its UK release but finally got them in the North American club which helped launch their career into the next phase - international alternative art rock superstars. The 21st century British Invasion had finally begun, although one could argue that it was a mere logical next step of the 90s Britpop scene that had simply branched out into more ambitious avenues closer to the world of progressive rock, but nonetheless MUSE struck a chord with their politically charged lyrics, catchy pop hooks and artful sophisticated approach of stylistic fusion.

Once again MUSE scored big in their native UK with their first top 10 hit "Time Is Running Out," but while finally hitting the shores of North America, only managed to find success on the alternative rock charts. Bellamy claims the title is not religious but rather more in the sense of "purity" which sounds like code for a sense of soul searching in the midst of the world wide chaos that was taking place. While MUSE had started out as political commentators, the events of the world had put their disheartening viewpoints as the focus which is reflected in the darker themes with a more melancholic feel to the album as a whole. While the previous album had a sort of childlike innocence to it, ABSOLUTION feels as if a dark cloud was cast over the band as they lamented the times in which they lived but felt they had to take a stand and be a resistant force in every possible way. Since music was their vehicle of communication, it became infused with their political charged viewpoints which left no room for ambiguities.

While stylistically a darker album in contrast to "Origin Of Symmetry," as heard with the first jaded electronic effects on the opener "Apocalypse Please" with its "Intro," musically speaking, ABSOLUTION is much like its predecessors with a heavy focus on Bellamny's concert pianist skills channelling his inner New Romantic with emphasis on Chopin-esque classical chops as the underpinning. While overall the album is a bit less in the rock arena and more subdued and mournful with symphonic rock influences making a more prominent presence as heard on tracks like "Butterflies And Hurricanes" and "Blackout" which featured a full 18-piece orchestra. There are a few fully charged rockers as well ranging from the single "Time Is Running Out" to the heaviest track on the album "Stockholm Syndrome." The ELO-esque NU-ENRG disco effect still straddles around the classical piano, tango-laced bass grooves and heavy guitar riffs still are abundant even though there are a few new elements such as the focus on electronica on "Endlessly."

MUSE were progressing! So why doesn't it sound like they were? ABSOLUTION has always been my least favorite album of the early albums but i've never bothered to figure out exactly why i always favor the previous albums or the following ones. Something about this one is just off and has always bugged me enough to just ignore it. Having done my research for reviewing these albums, it makes more sense. MUSE had been rejected from US labels due to Matt Bellamy's passionate and overwrought use of Prince-like falsettos in conjunct with a rather 80s Bono (of U2) type of vocal style. On ABSOLUTION he sort of tames it down a bit and the result is that the music suffers since they seem to be the focus despite the ridiculous amounts of musical styles that accompany them. While MUSE's lyrics have developed, the music seems to have taken a few steps back. These tracks are just OK as opposed to the kick ass musical orgy of styles on previous albums. Add to that the tracks are badly paced with a silly ballad ending the album and a horrible production and mixing job to boot. This one just fails on many levels but there are still plenty of great tracks to make it a worthy addition to your MUSE fix. It's just that none of them match the awesomeness of "Origin Of Symmetry" or the next two albums.

 Origin Of Symmetry by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.94 | 377 ratings

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Origin Of Symmetry
Muse Prog Related

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

5 stars MUSE spent most of the 90s building up their fanbase after a surprise win in battle of the bands that sent a semi-serious band into becoming one of the top British bands of the 21st century. On their debut "Showbiz," the trio of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard took their native Britain by storm with their unique take on alternative rock meets progressive pop. While showcasing their ambitious musical adventurousness on the debut, things hadn't quite simmered down into that addictive MUSE formula that propelled them into the next level, which is exactly where their second album ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY took them. On this album, they ratcheted up their experimental practices manyfold all the while finding more cohesive ways of fermenting them into a more organic formula. The album title signified a more intellectual approach in lyrical themes as it came from the fertile conceptual mind of theoretical physicist Michio Kaku from his best selling book "Hyperspace." The real MUSE had come of age.

While the band was becoming all the rage in their homeland, there were problems getting their music across the pond due to the fact that their US record label didn't care too much for Matt Bellamy's idiosyncratic soulful styled falsetto and demanded the band re-record for better airplay reception. After the band refused so did the label and the album would not be released in the US until 2010 therefore never managed to attract a North American audience as it had in the UK. Stylistically MUSE went for broke on ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY which found drummer Dominic Howard expanding his drum kit exponentially and even tried a little balaphone and animal bone percussion on "Screenager." The closer "Megalomania" displayed the unmistakable pipe organ and a whole army of new instruments with guest musicians were employed to bring an over-the-top bombast to MUSE's insatiable pursuit for new dynamics and timbres filling every nook and cadence to the maximally allowed allotment, thus there are healthy doses of violin, viola, cello, vibraphone as well as the expected rock guitar, piano, keyboards, bass and drums. Add to this all the mixing and production teams and what you have here is a seriously professional album that on paper sounds overproduced but in reality delivers quite brilliantly.

As if they were advertising their coming of age, the appropriately titled opener "New Born" goes for the gusto although gently treads through various movements as to ratchet up the tension instead of burying the listener with their barrage of creativity. Right away it's clear that MUSE were adding New Romantic period classical music with particular emphasis on Chopin-esque keyboard melodies as the backbone for their bouncy energetic rhythmic groove that borrowed a bit from the 70s NU-ENRG disco era and added a little tango bounce to it. Matt Bellamy found his perfect stomping ground with an 80s Bono (U2) passionate vocal style that found a touch of Prince falsetto. With a healthy dose of ostinato bass grooves, sizzlin' guitar riffs that shift from hard rock to funk with wah-wah-ish solos, "New Born" is an instantly addictive hooky progressive pop track that is incessant in its ratcheting up effect and throws in a few surprises for good measure. "Bliss" follows up with the famous synthesizer bombast that harkens back to 70s ELO but the melodic underpinning continues on with the classical meets rock fusion, interesting dynamic variations and stylistic changes.

"Space Dementia" debuts the unaccompanied Chopin-esque piano chops which Bellamy cranks out with concert pianist precision, a trait that would continue to develop well onto future albums. "Hyper Music" cranks out some serious noise and distortion and starts out with a beefy Hendrix guitar riff which the band skillfully weave into the classically infused rock sound that they call their own. "Plug In Baby" follows suit at least in the noise department but becomes one of those signature passionate vocal pleas with the heavy guitar and bass backup. "Citizen Erased" unleashes the heavy alternative rock minus the fancy shmancy classical leanings with Bellamny cranking out his conspiracy laden lyrics about the powers that be keeping us all down, down, down with the rotten ass system! Yet another track that skillfully alternates heavy rock with more downtempo chilled out contemplative moments.

"Screenager" is a fairly weird track with the use of a baraphone and animal bones for percussion. Also different is a classical guitar piece that is on full space rock mode with clean echoey reverb and set to chill mode, well at least until the NU-ENRG synthesizers runs create a hyperactive backdrop adding an interesting contrast. "Dark Shines" has a bit of a spaghetti western feel in the guitar riff as it remains mellow, but as it picks up steam it creates a hard rock tango which is hardly apparent but if you follow it, it has Astor Piazzolla meets Dick Dale surf rock doing spaghetti western all over it! "Feeling Good" goes for a loungy jazzy blues feel and reminds me most of Mike Patton's style on some of his 90s projects (such as solo, Faith No More and the later Mr Bungle.) "Megalomania" takes the MUSE style established on the album and adds a seriously heavy church organ sound although it for the most parts retains that sea sailing up and down ride the waves sort of groove. They actually recorded this piece at St. Mary the Virgin's Church in Bathwick, England thus showing MUSE's restless ambitiousness to walk the extra mile to make diverse and eclectic music that both captures the listener off guard as well as instantly hook them with infectious grooves and catchy pop hooks.

ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY was a grower for me. While certain tracks toward the beginning were instantly contagious and had me hopping and bopping like doing the Crocodile Rock, some of the tracks on the second half had to sink in to win me over. Many of the ideas presented on this album would be further developed into more satisfying crescendoes on futures albums such as "Black Holes And Revelations" and "The Resistance" however that does not mean for a minute that things are not presented in a perfectly balanced way without being more evolved. In fact, the simplicity of some of the tracks here only demonstrate how skillfully intertwined the disparate seeds of inspiration are crafted together like a fine woven tapestry. While there are times such as on "Citizen Erased," Bellamny's vocal style can sound more like Tiny Tim ready to belt out "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" rather than some seriously crafted progressive pop, they never go too far into parody territory to detract the overall listening experience. While i personally favor the above mentioned albums that ARE more sophisticated, ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY has ultimately won me over with the collection of over-the-top bombast that i find irresistible. While this album would make them huge in the UK, the millennial British invasion would have to wait just a wee bit longer.

4.5 but round UP!

 Blade Runner (OST) by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.11 | 212 ratings

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Blade Runner (OST)
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is my 1000th review; I wished to spot an album personally dear to me (and, as always, preferably without a huge amount of preceding reviews) which I haven't yet reviewed in all these years. This soundtrack album is exactly such case. Vangelis has been one of my favourite artists since the early 90's. Speaking of film music in general, it's not a field I would actively listen to -- other than as the integral part of the movie experience itself, of course. My two favourite film composers are Vangelis and Ennio Morricone; their music have the ability to move me emotionally also without the film context. What makes this very album even more special to me is the fact that I love it much more than the Ridley Scott movie from 1982, no matter how legendary classic of the SciFi genre it is. Besides, the music heard in the movie is notably inferior compared to the album, which was finished over a decade later.

The music is seducingly sensual, indeed electronic music at its most elegant. The production is head and shoulders above the average of the time, and it still feels fresh, not outdated. Well, perhaps the saxophone in 'Love Theme' is a bit cheesy. The music on the album paints very vividly the dystopian world somewhere in the future, not to mention the emotional content of the film, especially what happens between Deckard, the hunter of "replicants", human-like androids, and Rachael, the woman who painfully learns to be an artefact with planted memories instead of human being. Vangelis has edited some of the film dialogue into the music. This feature is simply fantastic in the case of Blade Runner. I got shivers down my spine hearing Rachael's frail words to Deckard, or the famous dying monologue from Roy Batty, the leader of dangerous replicants, in 'Tears in Rain'. Apart from those film dialogues/monologues, the album features the voices of Mary Hopkin (the one who had a hit in 'Those Were the Days') and Demis Roussos, Vangelis' bandmate from Aphrodite's Child.

The tracks flow seamlessly in a beautiful manner. This is music to float in, to listen to in a certain mood, not as a meaningless background music. Hats off also to Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982) whose original novel to which Blade Runner is based on is titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (1968). It would be far-fetched to say this was a masterpiece of progressive rock, as it isn't progressive rock, but in my opinion it is a masterpiece of electronic music and film music. Five stars.

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