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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

4.38 | 1037 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN IV
Led Zeppelin
4.52 | 274 ratings
BLACKSTAR
Bowie, David
4.36 | 731 ratings
QUEEN II
Queen
4.30 | 870 ratings
PARANOID
Black Sabbath
4.28 | 854 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Queen
4.22 | 787 ratings
BLACK SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.21 | 720 ratings
SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON
Iron Maiden
4.22 | 605 ratings
ARGUS
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 590 ratings
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie, David
4.19 | 458 ratings
RISING
Rainbow
4.13 | 679 ratings
POWERSLAVE
Iron Maiden
4.16 | 438 ratings
HUNKY DORY
Bowie, David
4.11 | 670 ratings
MASTER OF PUPPETS
Metallica
4.10 | 685 ratings
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.10 | 549 ratings
RIDE THE LIGHTNING
Metallica
4.08 | 676 ratings
MASTER OF REALITY
Black Sabbath
4.15 | 297 ratings
SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)
Bowie, David
4.06 | 781 ratings
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI
Led Zeppelin
4.17 | 221 ratings
SECRET TREATIES
Blue Öyster Cult
4.03 | 851 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin
4.06 | 359 ratings
LOW
Bowie, David
4.17 | 180 ratings
NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A FRIEND
Budgie
4.16 | 187 ratings
REMAIN IN LIGHT
Talking Heads
4.02 | 517 ratings
HEAVEN AND HELL
Black Sabbath
3.99 | 541 ratings
SHEER HEART ATTACK
Queen
4.03 | 335 ratings
HEROES
Bowie, David
3.98 | 516 ratings
SABOTAGE
Black Sabbath
3.95 | 810 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN II
Led Zeppelin
3.96 | 578 ratings
SOMEWHERE IN TIME
Iron Maiden
3.97 | 514 ratings
BRAVE NEW WORLD
Iron Maiden
4.00 | 328 ratings
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
Bowie, David
3.95 | 558 ratings
...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
Metallica
4.06 | 198 ratings
BLADE RUNNER (OST)
Vangelis
3.91 | 786 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN III
Led Zeppelin
3.97 | 279 ratings
STATION TO STATION
Bowie, David
3.89 | 754 ratings
HOUSES OF THE HOLY
Led Zeppelin
3.94 | 369 ratings
OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW
Anderson, Jon
4.00 | 226 ratings
ÉQUINOXE
Jarre, Jean-Michel
4.11 | 131 ratings
BLACK NOISE
FM
3.91 | 409 ratings
ABSOLUTION
Muse
3.92 | 367 ratings
ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY
Muse
3.87 | 475 ratings
INNUENDO
Queen
3.90 | 305 ratings
OXYGÈNE
Jarre, Jean-Michel
3.85 | 554 ratings
IRON MAIDEN
Iron Maiden
4.02 | 131 ratings
FRIZZLE FRY
Primus
4.01 | 133 ratings
HOPE
Klaatu
3.82 | 578 ratings
VOLUME FOUR
Black Sabbath
3.82 | 630 ratings
THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
Iron Maiden
3.87 | 319 ratings
ALADDIN SANE
Bowie, David
4.08 | 95 ratings
GRETCHEN GOES TO NEBRASKA
King's X
3.90 | 204 ratings
THE BOOK OF SOULS
Iron Maiden
4.30 | 55 ratings
BICICLETA
Seru Giran
4.30 | 53 ratings
A RAINBOW IN CURVED AIR
Riley, Terry
4.07 | 91 ratings
CHANGE WE MUST
Anderson, Jon
4.04 | 97 ratings
SPIDERLAND
Slint
3.93 | 156 ratings
SAILING THE SEAS OF CHEESE
Primus
4.14 | 72 ratings
FAITH HOPE LOVE
King's X
3.81 | 380 ratings
BLACKFIELD
Blackfield
3.89 | 176 ratings
THERE'S THE RUB
Wishbone Ash
4.08 | 80 ratings
JUNTA
Phish
3.89 | 173 ratings
THE NEXT DAY
Bowie, David
3.94 | 133 ratings
1492 - CONQUEST OF PARADISE (OST)
Vangelis
4.01 | 96 ratings
RISING FORCE
Malmsteen, Yngwie
4.19 | 58 ratings
THE STORY OF LIGHT
Vai, Steve
3.82 | 233 ratings
WISHBONE ASH
Wishbone Ash
3.75 | 544 ratings
PIECE OF MIND
Iron Maiden
3.83 | 198 ratings
HEAVEN AND HELL
Vangelis
4.30 | 43 ratings
CHURCH OF ANTHRAX (WITH TERRY RILEY)
Cale, John
3.74 | 481 ratings
A DAY AT THE RACES
Queen
3.86 | 149 ratings
SECOND NATURE
Flying Colors
4.12 | 60 ratings
DIAMOND HEAD
Manzanera, Phil
4.05 | 69 ratings
OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET
King's X
3.89 | 115 ratings
AMBROSIA
Ambrosia
4.60 | 27 ratings
CREUZA DE MÄ
De André, Fabrizio
3.93 | 93 ratings
MOONTAN
Golden Earring
4.14 | 52 ratings
ELECTRONIC REALIZATIONS FOR ROCK ORCHESTRA
Synergy
4.07 | 56 ratings
LA GRASA DE LAS CAPITALES
Seru Giran
3.70 | 366 ratings
BLACKFIELD II
Blackfield
4.01 | 62 ratings
DOGMAN
King's X
4.04 | 56 ratings
RIFT
Phish
3.88 | 90 ratings
FIRE GARDEN
Vai, Steve
3.86 | 99 ratings
EMBRACE THE STORM
Stream Of Passion
3.77 | 157 ratings
HEATHEN
Bowie, David
3.90 | 82 ratings
SARABANDE
Lord, Jon
3.70 | 270 ratings
13
Black Sabbath
3.85 | 93 ratings
TALES FROM THE PUNCHBOWL
Primus
3.70 | 253 ratings
THE GRAND ILLUSION
Styx
3.96 | 63 ratings
NO QUARTER
Page and Plant
3.69 | 254 ratings
RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW
Rainbow
3.87 | 78 ratings
REAL ILLUSIONS: REFLECTIONS
Vai, Steve
3.77 | 123 ratings
CHINA
Vangelis
4.39 | 27 ratings
TUTTI MORIMMO A STENTO
De André, Fabrizio
3.65 | 387 ratings
BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS
Muse
3.81 | 96 ratings
MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD
Talking Heads
3.64 | 467 ratings
QUEEN
Queen
3.64 | 406 ratings
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
Iron Maiden
3.72 | 145 ratings
SPIRAL
Vangelis
3.76 | 110 ratings
LIEGE & LIEF
Fairport Convention
3.73 | 123 ratings
IN FOR THE KILL !
Budgie
3.62 | 386 ratings
THE FINAL FRONTIER
Iron Maiden

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews


 Albedo 0.39 by VANGELIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.66 | 156 ratings

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Albedo 0.39
Vangelis Prog Related

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars The second half of the 70s was a same fantastic and also hideous time for electronic music. It was fantastic because that was when the first modern synthesizers came to be and they opened a new world to artists like Kraftwerk and Vangelis himself. It was also hideous because suddenly everybody thought that they could make a record all by themselves, and that has resulted in much of what we have of terrible in today's music.... but this is not a time to talk abouit that!

Now, talking about Vangelis, pretty much everyone knows him, born in Greece, he was a member of Aphrodite's Child and in early 70's he was engulfed with 'keyboard music'.

'Albedo 0.39' is Vangelis' eighth album and sees the musician at a peak in his long career. Like many albums of that period in music (mid 70's) the theme of 'Albedo 0.39' revolves around the Space. Albedo, or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflection power of a surface, and in this specific case, Albedo is the power of light reflection of the Earth (which in 1976 was 0.39, hence the name of the album).

Like Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow (from the same year), 'Albedo 0.39' needs a moment of your time to be fully appreciated, it's not a record you can play and just use it as background music for wahetever you're doing. No! The floating sounds and the whole 'we're in Space' thing were made for the listener to lay down in a comfortable bed (or sofa) and imagine a movie inside its head. Let your imagination run with the music.

On these days we live in this is more than a challenge, isn't it?! Will you face it?

3,5 stars

 Creeping Death by METALLICA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.56 | 22 ratings

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Creeping Death
Metallica Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Metallica's 'Creeping Death/Jump in the Fire' EP, combining two singles/EP's on one disk, is a nice little collectable for die-hard Metallica fans, although being difficult to find nowadays. it's not really worth the effort, especially since the bulk of the songs (or should that be "the most important ones") are more easily available elsewhere.

The title track is arguably one of the best tracks from the 'Ride the Lightning' album, and the two accompanying covers are good, but again, are easier to obtain on other releases, namely, the 1998 album 'Garage Inc.', which collects every cover Metallica had recorded up to that point along with new ones recorded specifically for that album. The two songs in question are 'Blitzkrieg', originally by the band Blitzkrieg (who?) and 'Am I Evil', by Diamond Head (who... ah, never mind), a song Metallica have covered so well and so often that it has more-or-less become their own.

Unfortunately it's the "second half" of this EP that ruins it for me, the 'Jump in the Fire' section, which consists of the aforementioned song and two live cuts.

Whilst I like the album 'Kill 'Em All', I don't consider 'Jump in the Fire' to be an overly memorable song, and the two "live tracks" (rumoured to be normal tracks with crowd noises dubbed in) sound awful by the standards of todays live albums, whether the dubbed-in crowd story is true or not.

Overall this is a cool addition to the collection if you love Metallica and look to own everything, but since this can be pretty tricky to find anyway, it's really not worth the effort.

 No Plan by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.03 | 10 ratings

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No Plan
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The "No Plan" EP was released on what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday. Just 18 minutes worth of music but well worth picking up if you enjoyed the "Blackstar" album. That album was my number one for 2016 so buying this EP was a bit of a no brainer considering the songs here could all have been on "Blackstar" as they all have that same vibe. Of course the opener "Lazarus" is on the studio album.

"Lazarus" is incredible for it's lyrics which could make your hair stand up. Love the droning horns and overall melancholic mood which was there in spades on "Blackstar" and throughout this EP. I mentioned the lyrics and here's a sample... "Look up here, I'm in heaven!" which is significant with him passing just after "Blackstar" was released. love the line later on... "By the time I got to New York, I was living like a king." Such emotion in the lines that follow as well. Some abrasive guitar expressions late.

"No Plan" is the only tune that I'm not big on. It's still a good song though. Heavy drums, keys and sax as laid back vocals join in almost quivering. Vocals stop after 2 1/2 minutes then the sax returns as it plays out to the end.

"Killing a Little Time" is my favourite of the new songs. A surprisingly powerful sound here with impressive drum work from American Jazz drummer Mark Guiliana. It settles back as vocals arrive quickly but the power will come and go. Some emotion in those vocals. What a song!

"When I Met You" opens with drums and atmosphere as the bass and keys join in, then vocals just after a minute. Catchy stuff. Great chorus too. I just want to keep singing "When I met you" over and over just like Bowie does.

Easily 4 stars and a great companion to "Blackstar".

 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.13 | 28 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by stewe

4 stars It's been around 40 year since hey-days of Styx. After such period the band returned with a new conceptual album The Mission. I had no big expectations, so it came as the biggest surprise this year so far. It turned out for me that this might, without any exaggeration, be one of their best records. The best since their 1978's Pieces of Eight (which I rank highest in their catalogue).

Tommy Shaw in his mid-sixties sounds better than ever, so youthful, and so does basically the whole band. It's also a courtesy of a drummer Todd Sucherman, who is really exceptional here - dynamic, technical, creative, restrained when needed - fitting really perfectly. Compared to previous hit-and-miss "Cyclorama", Lawrence Gowan sounds much more confident and prominent. His contribution is equally important to Tommy Shaw's, creating a perfect leading tandem with him, like in old times with Denis DeYoung. Gowan's voice reminds strongly DeYoung, but still sounds somewhat distinctive, powerful in his own way. His synth parts are varied, innovative and produced with respect to original Styx sound. James Young holds up well with the leading duo still complementing them in his rough way as he did in 70s.

Sound and instrumentation are extremely well done and tight, production is excellent. Compositions are classic Styx at their best with soaring multi-layered harmonies and memorable melodic ideas; proving that pure AOR is not dead and that the band with such long career can come up with an excellent work of art. Album sometimes rocks, sometimes makes you feel relaxed, reflective. It has an atmosphere and tension. No dull moments and very little filler moments. Pop side may be a little "over-the-top" on few places, but without them it wouldn't be a Styx record, would be? Highlights for me include Locomotive with early 70s (America, Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young?) inspired melodies, semi-epic Red Storm, beautiful piano filigree Khedive and infectious anthem The Outpost captivating with heavenly harmonies and wonderful twists. By the last, title track, I feel a big dose of nostalgia when this little musical journey comes to its end. The Mission I never expected to undertake has been accomplished.

 Left Hanging (with Travis Dickerson) by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Left Hanging (with Travis Dickerson)
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars Yet another collaborative effort of BUCKETHEAD in 2010 and the fifth overall with TRAVIS DICKERSON. While this one is primarily a DICKERSON album, the chicken lover has received equally billing. This one is mostly a bunch of unreleased tracks from previous sessions of the "Dragons Of Eden" and "Population Override" albums as well as sessions from the other musical collaborations of the bands Thanatopsis, Axiology and Gorgone sessions. Because of the different sessions involved, this one has many drummers credited. BUCKETHEAD handles bass and guitar, DICKERSON plays keyboards and the drum duties are divided up between Brain, Ramy Antoun and Pinchface.

LEFT HANGING follows in the footsteps of the other BUCKETHEAD & DICKERSON collaborative effort that also included Brain (who is on this album but receives no equal billing) in that it continues the jammy jazz-fusion psychedelia of the "Dragons Of Eden" album. Back are the jazzy chord progressions and the psychedelic 70s mellotron sounding organ runs as well as the fusion bombast of the three respective drummers on board. Noticeably absent from this one is the haunting chamber rock cello added on "Dragons" which gave that a more distinct and unique sound. LEFT HANGING sounds more like a typical jazz-fusion outfit from the early to mid-70s at the zenith of the prog rock heyday.

Unfortunately this one isn't quite as interesting because it sounds too traditional compared to "Dragons." Everything is played excellently with BUCKETHEAD not only delivering some mean guitar workouts but some funky slappin' bass runs as well. DICKERSON dishes out some nice contrast of mellotron drenched organ runs along with more funky keyboard runs a la Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" era. Despite sounding like this is some long lost artifact from the 70s, it sounds authentic and organically constructed as all the musicians seamlessly jam and play off each other with ease. Despite the fact these tracks were all recorded during different sessions, they all connect fairly well and actually add more flavor to the overall feel of the album.

As someone who is well versed in jazz and jazz-fusion of the 60s and 70s, LEFT HANGING is by no means a top notch sort of album in that rich field of cross-pollination however this is a very engaging album that is excellently performed, nicely produced and elegantly retro to boot. Jazz-fusion is a type of subgenus that has a varying spectrum with some leaning heavy on the jazz side and other on the rock. I would say that BUCKETHEAD & DICKERSON are definitely closer to the rock side of things on LEFT HANGING with tight steady rhythms that for the most part are absent of strong syncopation and other overtly aspects of jazz. However the chord progressions and some of the dynamics are definitely out of the jazz playbook. The percussion is more of a simple rock beat and fails to engage in a jazz context. This is a fun album to listen to but i'm not as fond of it as "Dragons Of Eden" however there are a few surprises that will shock you!

3.5 but rounded down

 Captain Eo's Voyage by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.11 | 8 ratings

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Captain Eo's Voyage
Buckethead Prog Related

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

3 stars After a reference to CAPTAIN EO on the album "A Real Diamond In The Rough" titled "The Return Of Captain EO" which refers to the 3D sci-fi film by Michael Jackson, BUCKETHEAD revisited the idea with a whole album, his 29th, titled CAPTAIN EO'S VOYAGE with lots of references to Jackson's life. This album also begins the trend of releasing albums first digitally and then following them up with a physical format at a later date. The album also signified a departure from the TDRS record label and is performed only by BUCKETHEAD on guitars and Dan Monti on bass, drums and production. Yep, that even appears to be Michael Jackson on the album cover. The movie was associated with Disneyland which is another weakness for BUCKETHEAD whose whole idea for BUCKETHEADLAND was constructed. He has been purported to spends lots of time in the Magical Kingdom and on this release he pays tribute to both artists and theme park in one shot.

This one is on the mellower side of things but sustains a fairly strong drumbeat. Overall CAPTAIN EO'S VOYAGE is a rather psychedelic rock type of album with echoey guitars, snail's paced bass lines and intricate compositional developments that go beyond the usual mellow BH album styles of simple repetitive chord progressions that outstay their welcome. This one has more variety between tracks as well as dynamic shifts between the mellower aspects of BH's music and the more rockin' out however nothing on here approaches metal whatsoever. This is strictly a slowed down form of rock with psychedelic and even post-rock elements along with the occasional funk bass line. The tracks are instantly catchy and melodic while the guitar licks and solos are on the bluesy side of things. This one is cool in that the guitar, bass and drums seem to be happy existing in their own world instead of simply following a leader.

This one is pretty cool in the fact that it adds new ways to incorporate the clean echoey guitars and keep the tracks sounding distinct from each other. Whether it has any connection to the actual movie is beyond me since i've never seen it (and most likely never will) however this album has a playful feel to it and somehow it seems to fit with the theme. While this will never go down as my favorite BH album by any means, this one is a pleasant roller coaster ride, albeit a gentle one for those who get motion sickness too easily. Despite these mellower ones not topping my BH faves list, i have to admit that they are a nice recalibrating effect to put the others in perspective therefore even the ones i like lesser seem to have a purpose. This one may not excel beyond the original "Colma" album in performance but it's not a bad try.

3.5 rounded down

 Magnum II by MAGNUM album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.65 | 54 ratings

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Magnum II
Magnum Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Continuing exactly where 'Kingdom of Madness' left off, Magnum's second album, titled "Magnum II" (how original...), sticks to its tried-and-tested formula of 70's keyboard-based hard rock with progressive elements thrown in for good measure.

Magnum have never really been more than a small blip on my musical radar, although I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed their debut record. As it is, 'Magnum II' lacks the same energy and sense of fun that its predecessor has. There's some good songs on offer here, but there's also a few rather naff ones. And when you add in the cheesy lyrics and over-the-top vocal performances, as a whole there just isn't really anything of any major substance to inspire me to come back.

Brief highlights include 'Reborn', 'The Battle' and 'Great Adventure', though oddly enough, one of the more memorable songs is a bonus "acoustic" version of the song 'Foolish Heart', which is a jazzed up ballroom-style take on one of the albums more generic tracks. It features a brass section, a saxophone solo and an incredibly up-tempo rhythm that actually gets you quite pumped up. Why, oh why was this a bonus track?!

Overall, this isn't a terrible album, and Magnum have been able to at least grow on me a little, but this just doesn't have anything all that interesting going on. Listen to 'Kingdom of Madness' instead.

 Brain As Hamenoodle (with Brain) by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Brain As Hamenoodle (with Brain)
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars While BUCKETHEAD was releasing more albums under his own name exclusively he was also continuing to release collaborative efforts as well. In 2010 he and his friends Bryan "Brain" Mantia on drums and Melissa Reese on keyboards unleashed three collaborative releases. Two of these were massive boxed sets where all three got equally artist billing whereas the third one is only attributed to BUCKETHEAD and BRAIN since it doesn't feature Melissa Reese despite it fitting in with the other "Kind Regards" boxed sets. The album titled BRAIN AS HAMENOODLE is yet another experimental album that focuses on minimalistic bass and drums. I have no idea what the title refers to although i suspect it has something to do with the fact that previous albums were titled "Chicken Noodles" and the HAM part refers to Brain's personality in some way. This is pure speculation.

The album starts out with some girl uttering gibberish that ends with the term HAMENOODLE and then the funk session begins. This whole album is basically BUCKETHEAD slapping away on the bass and BRAIN pounding on the drums. Surprisingly despite the limited instrumentation this one has a lot of differing styles. While the opening "Meet Hamen" has a clear funk vibe, the following "Brad P" is more laid back with a slow groovin' bass that lets the percussion to have a hyperactive spastic attack. All in all this one reminds a bit more of the band Ruins only more on valium and without the zeuhl. After all that band has done many albums with nothing more than bass and drums and constantly finds new ways to invent that sound. Unlike that band there are no vocals to be found here. Only progressive rock meets funk workouts where some segments work better than others.

The comparison to Ruins is more than just a fleeting feeling. The extended jams that range from calm and placid to full-on freak outs is exactly the kind of freaky stuff that Tatsuya Yoshida would come up with. This album allows BUCKETHEAD to fully raise his freak flag on the bass and he nails it doing the craziest things as he does on guitars. BRAIN is equally competent on the drum set and is a master of changing things up. He has been rather reserved on many of his collaboration albums but on this one he really lets loose with a nonstop series of rhythmic assaults that seamlessly meld with the bass. While this isn't quite energetic enough to be considered metal there are energized moments that pass as heavy rock but for the most part this one remains in funk rock mode with other excursions into the avant-garde and beyond. Better than it sounds but not the kind of stuff i'm going to seek out many repeat listens either. Unlike a typical Ruins album, it doesn't quite have the zany zeal and over-the-top aesthetics that make their albums so much fun.

 Spinal Clock by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.04 | 4 ratings

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Spinal Clock
Buckethead Prog Related

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

2 stars For his second release of 2010, BH went a totally new direction with his 28th album SPINAL CLOCK which has been purported to refer to the chicken lover's back injury that occurred earlier in the same year of release. This album is unlike anything else in BH's vast canon and is the beginning of BH becoming a one-man show. All nine tracks are basically avant-garde banjo tracks although BH also includes guitar, bass and percussion and handles all musical duties solo. This was also the beginning of his artist direct to fan phase where he only issued 300 personally signed copies and then by popular demand extended that to 500 however, the album has never been released and is another case of U-toob being your best friend.

"Lafayette's Landing" begins with a droning buzz that sounds like a progressive electronic album is in the works. It slowly ratchets up the brooding atmosphere when finally a banjo emerges after an established bass line leads the way. This is some seriously slow moving activity here as the bass line gently thumps away and the banjo intermittently plucks out a lick or two and then vanishes into the darkness. Likewise "Whale On This" follows suit with a heady strange minimalism and extends on for almost 10 minutes by basically just shifting from weird to classical tune riffs to even Americana folk but it all seems rather pointless as if this were nothing more than trying out an instrument in the music store to test its playing ability. In between these snippets is often just noisy percussive nothingness that ruins any sort of flow.

This one is fairly disappointing because i would've hoped that some banjo music could be taken to unthinkable arenas in the chicken lover's hands but this one is basically alternates between droning pulses of repetitive bass lines and random parades of sounds that include periods of percussion, bouts of silence and other non-linear types of sound delivery. I'm pretty opened minded and crave BUCKETHEAD's experimental albums more than anyone but this one is not executed very well at all. Yeah, it sounds like one of those pointillistic type albums that reminds me of Karlheinz Stockhausen in many ways but this one is so minimalistic as to be rendered fairly pointless and devoid of any listening pleasure. Nice try, BH but this one will surely go down as one of your most bungled efforts. Even the the spastic banjo licks and nice melodic meandering at the end of "Spinal Cracker" are too little too late. Recommended only if you want weird for weird's sake with nothing tangible to grasp.

 Shadows Between the Sky by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.33 | 11 ratings

BUY
Shadows Between the Sky
Buckethead Prog Related

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

3 stars The year 2010 was a pivotal one in the twenty year career of the bizarre entity known as BUCKETHEAD. As the naughts proceeded Mr. Chicken Lover began releasing more and more albums under his own moniker with four being released in 2009. The very next year he would through this prolificacy explode as he would he would not only release three albums but also release an innocent little untitled album that was also known as "Happy Holidays From Buckethead" around Christmas time as a limited edition but unknowingly would launch the entire Pike series to follow. SHADOWS BETWEEN THE SKY, his 27th album is the first of the year and after a couple of strange avant-garde xenochrony type releases, BH reverts back to the same style as "A Real Diamond In The Rough." Like most of the albums released in this period, BH is joined by Dan Monti on bass and drum programming with Monti and Albert handling the production duties.

This is another fairly mellow album that could be compared to the "Colma" album of 1998. It is primarily constructed with clean guitar riffs, bass and percussion. Unlike previous albums of its ilk, this one has traces of flamenco as heard on the title track and more energetic percussive outbursts as well giving it more vim and vigor than other examples of BH's mellow musical journeys. While there are some great dark tracks like the slowcore "City Of Woe" which almost sounds like a spaghetti western that has been thawing after a cryogenic deepfreeze, many tracks such as "Rim Of The World" and "Sea Wall" are pretty much the mellow BH by the numbers routine with somewhat nonchalant clean guitar melodies that sort of have a verse / chorus structure and offer really nothing new in the vast BH palette.

"Sled Ride" is pretty cool as it is more upbeat with echoey guitar riffs, a nice atmospheric haze softening it out with energetic drums that offer more than a lazy march to the melody type of scenario. "Scenario" is proof that a truck can be mellow and still interesting as it has variations in its development and has nice riffs, echo effects and overall production dynamics. It is neither showy nor energetic but has captured the spirit of what it's trying to accomplish. Overall SHADOWS BETWEEN THE SKY is a mixed bag for me. There are some decent tracks but there are just as many okay but not outstanding ones. It's not a bad album to throw on when you're in a mellower sort of mood and fans of BH's slower material will love this one a lot more than i do but i have to admit that for his mellower albums that this one is decent if not consistent.

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