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SYMPHONIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Symphonic Prog definition

Symphonic is without doubt the sub-genre that includes the most bands in Progressive Rock because for many people it's almost synonymous classic Prog, something easy to understand being that most of the classic and/or  pioneer bands released music that could be included in this sub-genre, except JETHRO TULL and PINK FLOYD (who still blended some symphonic elements), even KING CRIMSON who very soon expanded their horizons to more experimental music, made their debut with a Symphonic album, "In the Court of the Crimson King" which is a cornerstone in the development of the genre.

The main characteristics of Symphonic are the ones that defined all Progressive Rock: (There's nothing 100% new under the sun) which among others are:
  • Mixture of elements from different genres.
  • Complex time signatures.
  • Lush keyboards.
  • Explorative and intelligent lyrics, in some cases close to fantasy literature, Sci Fi and even political issues.
  • Non commercial approach
  • Longer format of songs

In this specific case the main characteristic is the influence of Classical music (understood as Orchestral works created from the late Gothic to Modern Classical) using normally more complex structure than other related sub-genres like Neo Progressive (That's why sometimes the borderline that divides Symphonic from Neo is so unclear being that is based mostly in a degree of complexity rather than in an evident structural difference)..It is easy to find long keyboard solos reminiscent of Johan Sebastian Bach or melodic works that could have been written by Handel.

As in any other genre, different Symphonic bands had different approaches to Classical music, for example YES and GENESIS are mainly influenced by the Baroque and Classical periods, while EMERSON LAKE & PALMER has a predilection for post Romantic and modern authors like Mussorgsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Bartok or Ginastera, being that their sound is less melodic and more aggressive.

The peak of the genre starts in 1969 and lasts until the mid/late 70's  (more precisely until the release of A Trick of the Tail), when the genre begins to  blend more mainstream influences that took to the birth of Neo Progressive (a new approach for a new decade).


It is important to remember that even though the creative peak of Symphonic Progressive ended before the 80's, we can find a second birth in the 90's coming from the Scandinavian countries (specially Sweden with ANGLAGARD or PAR LINDH PROJECT) and even bands that still in the 21st Century recreate music from this period like SPOCK'S BEARD or ECHOLYN.

Before ending this short description I feel necessary to say (In order to be strictly accurate) that the term Symphonic is not 100% exact, because these bands very rarely played symphonies and was probably used because the music that influenced the genre was performed by Symphony Orchestras, but it is so widely accepted by the Progressive Rock community that would be absurd and futile for anybody to attempt a change after so much time.

Iván Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 06/02/16

Iván Melgar Morey (Iván_Melgar_M)
Anton Fritz (SouthSideoftheSky)
RdtProg (Louis)

Symphonic Prog Top Albums


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

4.65 | 3762 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 3489 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 3019 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.44 | 2937 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2627 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.39 | 2175 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.38 | 1872 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.39 | 1440 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagård
4.36 | 2535 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.36 | 1062 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2456 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.29 | 2365 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.28 | 1898 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.27 | 2130 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.30 | 964 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.32 | 720 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.24 | 1716 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.26 | 891 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagård
4.25 | 836 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.22 | 868 ratings
LEFTOVERTURE
Kansas

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Symphonic Prog experts team

BOOK OF HOURS
Willowglass
TALES FROM AN ISLAND - IMPRESSIONS FROM RAPA NUI
Blank Manuskript
ET APRÈS
Memoriance
BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER - THE LIMITED EDITION
Transatlantic

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Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 The Molotov Ribbentrop Pact by AUTUMN BREEZE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.75 | 4 ratings

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The Molotov Ribbentrop Pact
Autumn Breeze Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Prog is the one musical genre that reaches out to history and literature in order to create a soundtrack for a good story and further the depth of adventure and art. I always found it rather surprising that one of the most ground shaking events in history has had such a light influence on prog, as there are few references to WW2 around. I can think of Coda's understated "Symphony", Big Big Train's "Gathering Speed" and a few great tracks (Renaissance, Al Stewart, The Flower Kings) but there is quite a scarcity of material that focuses of the calamity of WW2. I have been studying and writing about this catastrophe since I was a young lad, fascinated by the extraordinary righteousness of that war, a rather rare event I can assure you, as no other war was as justified and ultimately heroic than the last big one. I shudder to think what life would have been like as an 'untermensch' under such a devilish authority. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact refers to that extremely treacherous and thus brief alliance between the 2 bitter idealistic rivals of WW2, Nazi Germany (represented by foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop) and the Soviet Union (foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov), the two opportunistically ganging up on their neighbour poor little Poland and attacking it from both sides. No time in history had ever witnessed two more brutal and sinister dictatorial governments, repressing their own populations with dreaded secret police (OGPU/NKVD on one side and the Gestapo/SS on the other), Stalin and Hitler are easily among the top three mass murderers in history. Swedish progressive artist Autumn Breeze took up the challenge and created a rather disturbing symphonic opus based on this clear example of political backstabbing and moral cowardice. Composer, lyricist and vocalist Gert Magnusson has researched this tragic event with a great amount of curiosity and interest, having read thoroughly amid various available archives and has come to the same conclusion that so many have come to: madmen can take over any society by promising illusion ("Nobody has to make war") and providing destruction. The various themes are all encompassing events that offer a window into a space and a time that still resonates today with potentially lethal consequences. There are tons of samples, hysterical speeches by Adolf Hitler, air raid sirens, detonations and pompous military bravado. The whole is deliberately chaotic, startling, at times monstrous and certainly never peaceful. Gert's hushed voice is brilliantly unique and original, sprinkling the tracks with quirk, strangeness and charm (Hey, Hawkwind). The backing crew is a full prog compliment of guitars, keys, bass and drums.

The opening song "Watchguard in Auswitch" (misspelled) is infectious, I was caught singing it the other day, a totally mesmerising intro into this quite eclectic recording. There are some extreme juxtapositions, a modern 'danse macabre' of colliding emotions, with contrasting manic guitar phrasings ("Vodka in the Moscow Night"), insane drum fills throughout and bizarre contradictions such as on "Katyn" the infamous massacre of the Polish elite in a forest that was blamed on the SS but in fact perpetrated by the NKVD, the Soviet secret police. 22,000 of Poland's finest minds, including military officers, diplomats, landowners, priests, jurists and politicians who were shot and reduced to disappear into mass graves. The chorus sounds almost like a love song until one realizes the context! There are Zappa-esque moments, such as the rumbling bass and oddball weirdness on "Helsinki fires in the Night" referring to the pre-WW2 Soviet invasion of Finland and the subsequent valiant defence put up by the taciturn Finns who beat the living daylight of the Red Army, a 10/1 kill ratio that is still taught today at military academies such as West Point, Sandhurst and St-Cyr. There are also moments that are straight out oblique rock music twists that wink at RIO and Avant, throwing in some cabaret stylings as well, raunchy guitar not withstanding (Party Girls). Carnival piano and merry-go-round 'Achtung' nods at Falco (the 80s Austrian rock singer who died in his prime). The miss- spelled "Bliezkrieg" is reminiscent of electronic duo Yello in its insistence and almost danceable mania. There is also a ton of sarcasm as the USA literally became an overnight super-power when attacked at Pearl Harbor, something many people seem to forget. And on it goes until Hitler's death.

This is a disturbing, choppy, frenzied, insidious musical symphony of immense originality and a rarity in the prog world, a subject matter still relatively untouched for reasons that I cannot understand.

5 fall winds

 Selling England By The Pound by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.63 | 3489 ratings

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Selling England By The Pound
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by Scorpius

5 stars This album personally is my favorite Genesis record. The concept, the lyrics and the music tie together perfectly to create the greatest 53 minutes and 50 seconds of your life.Dancing with the Moonlit Knight and Firth of fifth are both classic prog epics, while The Battle of Epping Forest and Cinema show boast some of the greatest instrumentation by Genesis. Not to mention Firth of Fifth has one of the greatest guitar solos ever to grace a Genesis song. I know what I like (in your wardrobe) was a surprise hit, and definitely a highlight on the album. After the Ordeal is an underrated gem for me, and really a great instrumental. More Fool Me is probably the only track I could do without, but its still a good one. Overall, this is an amazing album and a must have for any prog fan.

Overall Track rating: "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" - 9/10 "I know what I like (In your Wardrobe)" - 8/10 "Firth of Fifth" - 10/10 "More Fool Me - 6/10 "The Battle of Epping Forest" - 8.5/10 "After the Ordeal" - 7.5/10 "Cinema Show" - 10/10

 Spartacus by TRIUMVIRAT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.80 | 290 ratings

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Spartacus
Triumvirat Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgressiveHypocrite

3 stars This album could easily be confused as an ELP record. You can't deny that it's got all the trademark elements; booming bass, ferocious drumming, Hammond organ and moog swells; it's ELP in all but name. Maybe I'm being too harsh; this is my first listen. I don't hate it; The ballads are a nice inclusion, like School of Instant Pain, The Sweetest Sound of Liberty, and March to the Eternal City. If I had the option to add half a star, I would. I don't feel I can give this album four stars; it's too derivative. I'm better off for giving it a chance though, and maybe I'll give it another listen someday.
 Land Of Shadows by GIFT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.59 | 50 ratings

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Land Of Shadows
The Gift Symphonic Prog

Review by Dirkteur

2 stars I bought this album blindly, because of the former masterpiece. But even with these big historical credits, after some months listening, I'm not running enthousiastic for it. There aren't any thundering parts that make me shiver, like in Awake & dreaming. Instead, the river is slowly meandering and this experience is quite the same during the songs, the big and wide views aren't appearing. I couldn't create it myself, so that should save some respect, but as a listener I feel the band is trying very much, sadly not touching my inwards with this second piece. Still grateful though, for the mean out of 2 album is still above average.
 Tormato by YES album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.96 | 1266 ratings

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Tormato
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

3 stars Review Nº 75

'Tormato' is the ninth studio album of Yes and was released in 1977. It became for being the last studio album with the group's usual classic line up. In 1980 Jon Anderson left the group and returned only in 1983 with their eleventh studio album '90125'. After de departure of Anderson, Rick Wakeman also quit the band, because he believed that Yes couldn't continue without the Anderson's voice, which was one of the key elements of the band's sound. He only returned in 1991 with their thirteenth studio album 'Union'. 'Tormato' became a mark in Yes's musical career, because after it, there was no more stability in the line up of the band, with practically constant changes from album to album, in the future. This line up would only be joined again on their compilation album, 'Keystudio', released in 2001.

After 'Going For The One', it was also Hipgnosis who made the design for the art cover of 'Tormato'. However, the photographs taken by Hipgnosis for the album's cover were so impressive that Wakeman, displeased, decided threw a tomato to the pictures taken for the album. As the original album title was to be 'Yes Tor', due to a geological formation in southern England, the cover and the title of the album were adjusted accordingly to this new occurrence.

'Tormato' has eight tracks. The first track is divided in two parts 'Future Times' written by all band's members and 'Rejoice' written by Anderson. This is a good track, not as great as some others from their previous studio albums, but still is a track where we can even see some progressiveness. It's a good opening to the album and represents, for me, one of the best three tracks on the album. The second track 'Don't Kill The Whale' written by Anderson and Chris Squire is a very interesting song chosen to be released as a single with the aim of promotion the album. This is the Yes's animal rights protest song, the ecological message of the band. In those times, these songs had a respectable and important message when the environmental concerns were beginning to rise. The third track 'Madrigal' written by Anderson and Wakeman is the shortest song on the album but it's also an amazing piece of music. This is clearly a Wakeman's song where we can clearly see some influences of the medieval music. This is one of the three best songs on the album. It has great melody and it has also great harpsichord and acoustic guitar works. The fourth track 'Release, Release' written by Anderson, Alan White and Squire is also another interesting track. It's clearly a song influenced by rock, very energetic and with some interesting performances by all band's members. The fifth track 'Arriving UFO' written by Anderson, Howe and Wakeman is, for me, the most weird and weakest song on the album. It's an uninspired song that reflects the fascination for the star trips, so usual in those times, but that doesn't deliver in musical terms. I even don't like the way of singing of Anderson on the track. The sixth track 'Circus of Heaven' written by Anderson, represents another weak point of the album. I don't say that this is a bad track, but this is clearly an Anderson's song that shouldn't be part of a Yes's album. This song should be part of an Anderson's solo work, because has nothing to do with Yes. The seventh track 'Onward' written by Squire is a simple, calm and beautiful love ballad with excellent arrangement and orchestration, dedicated to his wife. This song is different, in style, of the rest of the album, because besides the orchestra there is few use of other instrumentation by the other band's members. The eighth track 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom' written by Anderson and Squire is the lengthiest song on the album. It's the last of the three best songs, the third best track on the album. It's also considered the only song genuinely progressive of the album. It may be the favourite track on the album by some, perhaps due to its sound, which is more Yes than anything else on the album. It's a symphonic and a jazzy song with good individual performances by Howe and Wakeman, guided by the energetic drumming beat of White and the harmonious bass of Squire.

Conclusion: 'Tormato' is undoubtedly the Yes's album from the 70's less loved by their fans. Many believed that half of the album only serves to occupy space and others said it was a logical progression from 'Going For The One'. In my opinion none of them have reason. When the album was released I bought a copy and me and my friends liked the album. 'Going For The One' is one of the best albums from the band and 'Tormato' isn't as bad as many say. We mustn't forget that 'Tormato' was released in the high of the punk rock era, during which, Yes were seen as old dinosaurs of the progressive rock and were criticized by representing it. So, it's for me evident that Influenced by such musical ambient, they began to change some aspects of their sound and composing shorter songs, performed in a lighter style. So, it was born 'Tormato', a transitional album and an album that even the band's members themselves said that they weren't sure about some of the material on it. However, the album maintains the basic and unmistakable sound of Yes, unlike Gentle Giant's last studio album 'Civilian', where the band's sound is practically unrecognizable.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Carry on for no Return by KANSAS album cover Live, 2016
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Carry on for no Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

— First review of this album —
2 stars Well this is kind of interesting. The 'latest' for Kansas fans who are eagerly awaiting their first studio album in nearly seventeen years ('The Prelude Implicit' will release in September, 2016), here is yet another blast from the past to whet your appetite. 'Carry on for no Return' is the release of a live FM radio broadcast first recorded November 20, 1980 at the Palladium in New York City.

Let's start off by acknowledging this thing for what it is. I'm not sure who owns the label Good Ship Funke but they are clearly an intentionally-anonymous industry insider with a firm grasp of the intricately nuanced world of publishing and broadcast rights, and of music licensing in general. This is of course not a major label release, obvious since the band hasn't even been on a major label in more than twenty years. On the surface this actually looks like a bootleg, but turns out it is a marginally, technically legal release although not authorized or endorsed by the band. Much like the 'Bryn Mawr 1976' CD off the Smokin' label in 2014, this is a live radio broadcast where someone managed to get their hands on a moderately decent recording and secure rights to release it. I seem to recall reading a couple years ago about somebody buying rights to recordings from a buttload of 70s and 80s live performances. Can't remember the details and it doesn't really matter, but I suppose that would explain why we've seen so many baby boom-era live concerts being released on CD in the past few years.

Anyway, the signs of skirting the edges of publishing laws are many. First the album name 'Carry on for no Return' since 'Know Return' would have been more appropriate but would I'm sure also have drawn the interest of Kirshner and Eric copyright attorneys. The font used for the band name hints at their signature form by using an unusual style, but carefully avoids drawing from the actual authorized band font. And the stock photo on the front cover was cleared many years ago in a press kit, so the label didn't have to shell out anything for artwork or pay licensing fees to a photographer.

Speaking of photos, there's another 'public domain' photo used on the back cover and the liner notes. This one features Steve Morse and Steve Walsh live in concert. Unfortunately, Steve Morse didn't even join the band until 1986, and this photo comes from a series of concerts in Philadelphia in 1989, nearly a decade after the concert on the CD. Interesting though that the folks at Good Ship Funke included their own copyright claim for the CD packaging and artwork, even though both photos in the artwork were released by the band themselves as promotional material many years ago.

There are no performer or production credits in the liner notes (since that's not legally required) but there are credits for each song's composers on the back cover (because that is required when one owns the broadcast but not the publishing rights for a piece of music). And that's about it, other than a brief and accurate but boring 'history' of the band on the inside sleeve.

So to be clear, this CD is a shameless attempt to grab a few bucks based on name recognition and probably hopes that the timing will lead to confusion by some dullards who will pick this up thinking it if the new Kansas studio album. Kind of like last year when the film Krampus came out and right after it finished its limited-theater release, Redbox started promoting Krampus: the Reckoning leading fans to believe (probably intentionally) that this was a sequel when in fact it was an appallingly awful and poorly produced movie that had no connection to the real film whatsoever. So for that alone I'm deducting two stars (probably should make that three).

So why bother to write about the record at all? Well, anyone who knows the band knows they've been around for more than 45 years, but their heyday was clearly 1975-1980. And back then they were known as a supremely talented live act, with many fans even preferring their live performances to the studio ones, as evidenced by their 1978 double-live 'Two for the Show' topping one million sales just three months after its release. But surprisingly there are relatively few live recordings that survived that period, other than a small number of fairly well-known bootlegs, none of which is of very high quality and none at all that I'm aware of that are from the Audio-Visions tour like this broadcast was. So for those reasons the disc is worth some consideration, at least by serious fans.

In addition to a rather nice introduction from Wagner's 'Lohengrin', there are thirteen Kansas songs on the CD along with one each from Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh's respective solo albums that were both released in 1980. I'm not sure if that was the entire concert but given the playlist matches those from several other shows on the same tour I'm guessing this was all or at least most of the music that was performed that evening. And for the most part I think the thing is in its actual sequence, the exception being the closing 'Relentless' which was probably originally played somewhere in the middle of the show but moved to the end here because it would make a stronger closing piece for the radio broadcast than the more languid 'Hold On'. Seven of the ten tracks on the Audio-Visions album are performed, along with the obligatory 'Dust in the Wind' and 'Point of Know Return' (although surprisingly not 'Carry on Wayward Son'). The front half of the concert consists of abbreviated versions of older material including 'Icarus/Borne on Wings of Steel', 'Hopelessly Human', 'Paradox' and a shamefully brief 'Cheyenne Anthem' that clocks in at less than four minutes. This is followed by a clear break from the past with Walsh's 'So You Think You Got It Made' from his 'Schemer Dreamer' album that was released that spring. This morphs into 'The Mask of the Great Deceiver' from Livgren's own 1980 solo album 'Seeds of Change', the two contrasting their respective authors' styles as 'Mask' is a much more progressive, brooding and introspective song than Walsh's boogey blues rocker. After that the concert shifts focus to the present and other than an abbreviated 'Miracles out of Nowhere' the rest of the show consists of songs from their current album ('Audio-Visions').

There are several observations about the quality of the show that night that are worth commenting on. First and foremost, the early stages of Walsh's vocal fall from grace are evident here. While he manages to hit some key notes (particularly early in the show), he struggles later, is sometimes off-key, and several times lays off high notes when it seems to be beyond his range. There's also more vocal participation from Robbie Steinhardt, something that would become common over the ensuing years until Steinhardt left the band. And there seems to be a bit of a struggle at times between the two of them over who is leading, when to harmonize and when to step back. This is most apparent on the newer stuff although Steinhardt steps all over Walsh on 'Miracles' where I think he's trying to take some of the higher stuff Walsh isn't reaching but Steve doesn't want to let those go. This is also something fans would continue to see at Kansas concerts for many years after this. I witnessed it myself during at least five concerts in the 80s and 90s.

There's also an interesting attempt to placate older fans while reaching out to new ones, and doing this in the ADHD-and-coke 80s where long progressive songs were about as popular as rectal thermometers. So the band includes some old-timey favorites like 'Icarus' and 'Cheyenne Anthem', but guts the instrumental passages to get them down to something resembling an MTV-length soundbite. 'Cheyenne Anthem' suffers most and of all the live versions I've heard of that song over the years, this one is by far the worst.

On a positive note though, there are several songs here that you will have a tough time finding live versions of anywhere else, in particular 'Don't Open Your Eyes', 'So You Think You Got It Made', 'No One Together' and 'Anything for You'. All are from 'Audio-Visions' and as far as I know no other live versions of these songs has ever been legitimately released. And the performance quality on these is pretty decent so if you're a fan of that album then this CD might be worth your time.

Otherwise I can't say this is something anyone should go out of their way to find and listen to. It is interesting to hear the band in concert shortly before they fractured into pieces, but beyond that there's not much new here and the sound and production quality isn't much better than if you had recorded this on a TDK cassette back when it first aired thirty-five years ago. Two stars for the historical significance and for having live versions of songs that aren't available elsewhere, but nothing more than that.

peace

 More Never Is Enough by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Live, 2011
4.28 | 105 ratings

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More Never Is Enough
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars If you didn't have enough of live releases from the Whirland Tour, here's a chance to get not only a DVD fo that same tour, but also 3 cd with another performance of that tour in Manchester. The picture quality of the DVD is not at the same level as the previous DVD, it is a lot darker but still acceptable. So we have an evening of epics starting with the whole album of Whirland for 80 minutes. The second set is other long epics including one of their best song and favorite "Stranger in Your Soul". And that's where I have troubled with. Transatlantic's music or Neal Morse's solo songs are too long. I am ok with 20 minutes songs, but 30 minutes when the same themes are repeated seem going too far no matter how brilliant are those songs. And it's more an endurance exercise to sit through a complete show on DVD. However the performance is energetic as usual, Neal and Mike are always the ones that seem to enjoy themselves the most. If it wasn't enough there are some extras of jam improvisations on the song "Stranger in Your Soul", each different in many locations. You won't watch this a second time. This is good music, plenty for your buck with almost 7 hours, and you can listen or watch it in a complete week, one hour a day!
 The Kindness Of Strangers  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.76 | 428 ratings

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The Kindness Of Strangers
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by sukmytoe

4 stars For me, a much more coherent album when compared to their first release. The band is maturing and it shows. The musical playground is still there but this time the ideas that make up the music are allowed to breathe and are given room to claim their own space. The sound quality here is a great deal better than it was on their first album. There is the raucous nod to the first album here but there is also musical subtlety which is so important to coherency as a whole. Neal Morse is not as grating here in the vocal department as I found him to be on the bands first release. The musicianship here is strong as it was on the first album although more restraint is shown and things are tighter and more under control. All in all a much more mature and coherent album from the Beard, one which will be explored again very soon as there are depths to the music herein which demand more time to absorb fully. A four star effort to my ears.
 The Light  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.85 | 568 ratings

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The Light
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by sukmytoe

3 stars There is a lot of energy here - almost too much. Throughout the tracks there are a lot of musical ideas making up each track and coherency is at risk although the musical ideas in themselves are strong. The music making up the album is playful rather than serious and I think that to enjoy this album one has to approach it from that direction. If you are looking for a musical playground then this album is possibly a good one. If you are looking for a serious approach to music then this album may grate the ears. Neal Morse is not my favorite vocalist although he is not terrible. At first his nasal style is a little grating but after a while listening to him I can accept him as a lead vocalist. The musicianship throughout is strong. For me this is a kind of 10 CC does Yes offering - makes little sense but it does work to an extent. The music borders on the corny, coherency and idea wise. Many ideas are toyed with throughout but none of those ideas are given room to breathe on their own.

This isn't an album that I would rush to put in my urgent to listen to again pile and if I listen to it again it will be in a couple of months time. It is playful and therefore a pleasant trip around the monkey bars now and then but it is nothing that I feel bound to seriously get into. Three and a half stars from me, pulled down to three for its inability to draw me in.

 Space Revolver by FLOWER KINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.85 | 482 ratings

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Space Revolver
The Flower Kings Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I guess I've been wrong for dismissing the Flower Kings through all the years. It's probably because simple 30 second samples at Amazon hardly does them justice. I also had too many bad experiences with contemporary prog where they cram as much as they can on one CD as possible without enough good material to justify such a lengthy CD. That and the fact the Flower Kings are so prolific, it isn't even funny and bound to give a lot of filler in the process. In recent years they had toned down their output, between 2007 and 2012 there were no new material released, and after 2013 with the release of Desolation Rose, there's been nothing new since. So, now, in 2016, I went and bought two used Flower Kings CDs, Space Revolver and their newest one, Desolation Rose in Eugene, Oregon. I took a gamble, and lo and behold, Space Revolver is great. I know many fans consider this one of their better albums, and for good reason. Just check out the opening "I Am the Sun (Part One)". I am particularly fond of the more calm, atmospheric passages. This album brought in Jonas Reingold, whose bass playing is obviously influenced by fusion, especially the fretless bass. "Dream On Dreamer" is a really nice, atmospheric piece that sounded like it should have belonged to a suite, instead of being on its own, but still it really blew me away. Nice jazzy sax moves too. "Monster Within" is most noted for the guitar riffs that I really dig. "Chicken Farmer Song" bears more than a passing resemblance to Phish. Here the band is exploring their less serious side. I have referred to the Flower Kings as a hippie prog band, even if they weren't attempting to be a progged version of the Grateful Dead, it's because their CD titles often bore hippie references: Stardust We Are, Flower Power, and the cover to The Sum of No Evil depicts a hippie VW bus/goldfish combo, but they basically stay to the traditional symphonic prog template. But the Phish resemblance on "Chicken Farmer Song" is another reason I referred them as a "hippie prog band". "You Don't Know What You Got" is my least favorite, an acoustic piece that sounds like something I've heard off public radio. "Underdog" threw me off with the bagpipes at the beginning, I was wondering if they were going to do some sort of Celtic/Scottish thing, but instead they go into Yes territory. "A Slave to Money" is a song as equally relevant in 2000 as it is now in 2016 (and probably 1985 as well, when I started noticing the greed mentality starting have its presence known in America).

I am actually happy to finally come to terms with the Flower Kings. As mentioned before, I understand Space Revolver is one of their better releases, so it's something I don't regret purchasing. At first listen it gave me that impression as to why I dismissed them all these years, but then it really grew on me. If you're a fan, you already have this, but if you want to start with the Flower Kings, this is a great place to start, besides it's one of their "shorter" releases (because it's a single CD set, as they released their share of double CDs).

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Symphonic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
21. PERON Turkey
5BRIDGES Netherlands
7 OCEAN Belarus
ABBHAMA Indonesia
ABSTRACTION LAYER Brazil
ACCENT Romania
ACHE Denmark
ACUITY United States
ADVENTURE Norway
AETHER Brazil
AFTER CRYING Hungary
AFTER THE FIRE United Kingdom
AGNUS Argentina
AGNUS GRAAL Brazil
AIRLORD New Zealand
AJALON United States
AKACIA United States
ALAMEDA Spain
ALASKA United States
ALBATROSS United States
ALMS Spain
ALPHA CENTAURY France
ALPHA III Brazil
ALTER ECHO Sweden
SERGIO ALVAREZ Argentina
AMAGRAMA Argentina
AMENOPHIS Germany
AMOS KEY Germany
ANABIS Germany
ANCIENT VISION United States
ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE United Kingdom
ANGE France
ANGIPATCH France
ÄNGLAGÅRD Sweden
ANIMA Argentina
ANIMA DOMINUM Brazil
ANIMA MORTE Sweden
ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APHÉLANDRA France
APHRODITE'S CHILD Greece
APOCALYPSE Brazil
AQUAPLANAGE United Kingdom
ARABESQUE United States
ARACHNOID France
ARCABUZ Spain
ARION Brazil
ARS NOVA (JAP) Japan
ART IN AMERICA United States
ASA DE LUZ Brazil
ASIA MINOR Turkey
ASTRË United States
ASTURCON Spain
ATILA Spain
ATLANTIS PHILHARMONIC United States
ATLAS Sweden
ATMOSPHERA Israel
ATOLL France
AUTUMN United Kingdom
AUTUMN BREEZE Sweden
AVIVA (AVIVA OMNIBUS) Russia
AXCRAFT United States
AZABACHE Spain
BABYLON United States
BACAMARTE Brazil
BANAAU Italy
BANANA Argentina
BANZAI Belgium
ZELJKO BEBEK AND PODIUM Yugoslavia
BEGGARS OPERA United Kingdom
ROBERT BERIAU Canada
ED BERNARD Canada
BLACK SEPTEMBER United States
BLAKULLA Sweden
BLANK MANUSKRIPT Austria
BLEZQI ZATSAZ Brazil
BLUE SHIFT United States
TOMAS BODIN Sweden
BONDAR & WISE United States
BOX OF SHAMANS United States
BRIMSTONE United States
BURNING CANDLE Germany
BUSKER Canada
CAFEINE France
CAI Spain
CAIRO United States
CAJA DE PANDORA Mexico
CAL Spain
CAMEL United Kingdom
LOS CANARIOS Spain
CANNABIS INDIA Germany
ALEX CARPANI BAND Italy
CAST Mexico
CATHEDRAL United States
CHAKRA United States
CHALCEDONY United Kingdom
CHAOS CODE United States
CHRONOS MUNDI Brazil
JOSÉ CID Portugal
CINEMA Japan
CIRCLE Germany
CITIZEN CAIN United Kingdom
CLAY GREEN'S POLYSORBATE MASQUERADE BAND United States
CLEARLIGHT France
CODA Netherlands
CODICE Mexico
COLLEGIUM MUSICUM Slovakia
COTO EN PEL Spain
COUSINS & CONRAD United Kingdom
COVENANT United States
CRACK Spain
CRAFT United Kingdom
CRESSIDA United Kingdom
CRONICO Mexico
CROOKED MOUTH United Kingdom
CRUCIBLE United States
CRUCIS Argentina
DAWN Switzerland
DEJA-VU Japan
DELUGE GRANDER United States
DIALOGUE (DAWN DIALOGUE) Russia
DIAPASAO Brazil
DISCIPLINE United States
DOGMA Brazil
DORACOR Italy
DOUG WOODS & COLIN POWELL United Kingdom
DR. COENOBITE Netherlands
DRAGONFLY Switzerland
DRAMA France
DRUCKFARBEN Canada
DRUID United Kingdom
EARTH AND FIRE Netherlands
EARTHRISE United States
ECCENTRIC ORBIT United States
ECHOLYN United States
ECLAT / ECLAT DE VERS France
ECLIPSE Brazil
EDEN Canada
EGGROLL Israel
EIK Iceland
ELLESMERE Italy
ELOHIM France
ELOITERON Switzerland
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER United Kingdom
REDJY EMOND Canada
ENGLAND United Kingdom
THE ENID United Kingdom
EPIDAURUS Germany
EPIGNOSIS United States
EPISODE United States
EQUILIBRIO VITAL Venezuela
ESPIRITU Argentina
ESTRUCTURA Venezuela
ETCETERA Denmark
ÉTERNITÉ Canada
ETHOS United States
EVERFRIEND United States
EX-VAGUS France
EXODE France
EXODUS Poland
EZRA WINSTON Italy
FAITHFUL BREATH Germany
FALLING EDGE Canada
FANTASY United Kingdom
FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY United States
FICCION Venezuela
FINCH Netherlands
FIREBALLET United States
FIRST+AID United Kingdom
FLAGSHIP Sweden
FLAME DREAM Switzerland
FLAMING BESS Germany
THE FLOWER KINGS Sweden
FLÜGHT Mexico
FLYTE Belgium
FOCUS Netherlands
FOREVER TWELVE United States
THE FOUNDATION Sweden
FRÁGIL Peru
FRIGHT PIG United States
FROMAGE Japan
FRUUPP Ireland
FUSONIC Netherlands
GALIE Mexico
GENESIS United Kingdom
GENS DE LA LUNE France
THE GIFT United Kingdom
GLASS United States
GLASS HAMMER United States
GOTIC Spain
GOVEA Mexico
GRACIOUS United Kingdom
GRANADA Spain
GRAND STAND Sweden
GRANDBELL Brazil
GREENSLADE United Kingdom
GREYFIELD Spain
GROBSCHNITT Germany
SHAUN GUERIN United States
GUILDENSTERN Germany
HALLOWEEN France
HANDS United States
BO HANSSON Sweden
HARLEQUIN MASS United States
HARMONIUM Canada
HECENIA France
HELIOPOLIS United States
ANDERS HELMERSON Brazil
HIGH WHEEL Germany
TERUTSUGU HIRAYAMA Japan
HOGGWASH Ukraine
HOKUS POKUS Norway
LYLE HOLDAHL United States
HOLDING PATTERN United States
HOLY LAMB Latvia
HORIZONT Russia
HYACINTUS Argentina
I.C.U. Germany
III MILÊNIO Brazil
ILVCIA Spain
IN SPE Estonia
INDEX Brazil
INFINITY United States
THE INNER ROAD United Kingdom
INQUIRE Germany
JACK INTVELD United States
INVISIBLE Argentina
ISILDURS BANE Sweden
ISOPODA Belgium
IZZ United States
JELLY FICHE Canada
BJÖRN JOHANSSON Sweden
KAIPA Sweden
KAIZEN Brazil
KALABAN United States
KALO Japan
KANSAS United States
KARDA ESTRA United Kingdom
KARFAGEN Ukraine
KARMAKANIC Sweden
KHATSATURJAN Finland
KING EIDER Netherlands
KLOCKWERK ORANGE Austria
KOTEBEL Spain
KVAZAR Norway
KYRIE ELEISON Austria
LADY LAKE Netherlands
LANVALL Austria
LÁQUESIS Argentina
LAZA I IPE Yugoslavia
LEGACY United States
LEI SECA Brazil
LEITMOTIV Canada
LETHE Netherlands
FRANCIS LICKERISH United Kingdom
LIFE LINE PROJECT Netherlands
LIFT United States
PÄR LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON Sweden
PÄR LINDH PROJECT Sweden
LITTLE TRAGEDIES Russia
CAILYN LLOYD United States
THE LOAD United States
LOCH NESS Brazil
LORD FLIMNAP Israel
M-OPUS Ireland
DUNCAN MACKAY United Kingdom
MADAME CLAUS Argentina
MADISON DYKE Germany
MAGDALENA Japan
MAGIC PIE Norway
NICK MAGNUS United Kingdom
MAGRATHEA United Kingdom
MAHOUJIN Japan
MAINHORSE Switzerland
MALDOROR France
MANDALABAND United Kingdom
MANDRAKE Japan
MANGROVE Netherlands
MANTICORE Sweden
MANTRA Spain
LA MÁQUINA DE HACER PÁJAROS Argentina
MARCO Mexico
MARYGOLD Italy
MASQUE PREMIERE United States
MAZE OF TIME Sweden
MEDINA AZAHARA Spain
MELVIN'S NOSEHAIR Netherlands
MEMORIANCE France
JACQUES MENACHE Mexico
MERLIN Germany
METABOLISME France
MEZQUITA Spain
MIA Argentina
MIDAS Japan
MIKLAGÅRD Sweden
MIKROMIDAS Norway
MILKWEED Canada
MARIO MILLO Australia
DAVID MINASIAN United States
MIND SKY United States
MINOTAURUS Germany
MIRROR Netherlands
MIZUKAGAMI Japan
MONA LISA France
MONOLITH United States
MOON SAFARI Sweden
MOONGARDEN Italy
MORGAN United Kingdom
MORILD Norway
MORSE CODE Canada
NEAL MORSE United States
TIM MORSE United States
MOSAIK Sweden
MOTH VELLUM United States
MUGEN Japan
JESÚS MUÑOZ FERNÁNDEZ Spain
NAUTILUS Switzerland
IAN NEAL United Kingdom
NEGASPHERE Japan
NESSIE Belgium
NETHERWORLD United States
NEUSCHWANSTEIN Germany
NEVERNESS Spain
THE NEW GROVE PROJECT Sweden
NEXUS Argentina
THE NICE United Kingdom
NOSTRADAMUS Hungary
NOTTURNO CONCERTANTE Italy
NOVALIS Germany
NOVELA Japan
OAKSENHAM Armenia
OCEAN Germany
OCTOPUS (NOR) Norway
ODYSSICE Netherlands
OMNIA Argentina
ONE Argentina
ONIRIS France
OPUS Yugoslavia
ORION France
OUTER LIMITS Japan
PABLO Argentina
PAGEANT Japan
PALE ACUTE MOON Japan
PANTA RHEI Hungary
PARAGONE United States
PARTHENON Venezuela
PATCHWORK CACOPHONY United Kingdom
PAZZO FANFANO DI MUSICA Japan
PELL MELL Germany
PENTACLE France
OTA PETRINA Czech Republic
PETRUS CASTRUS Portugal
ANTHONY PHILLIPS United Kingdom
PHYLTER Belgium
PI2 Spain
PICTORIAL WAND Norway
PIG FARM ON THE MOON Venezuela
THE PINK MICE Germany
MICHAEL PINNELLA United States
POÇOS & NUVENS Brazil
POLLEN Canada
PRE United States
PRISMA Netherlands
PROGRESSION BY FAILURE France
PROJECT (ALSO KNOWN AS PPRY) Finland
PROTO-KAW United States
PROUD PEASANT United States
PULSAR France
PUPPET SHOW United States
PYTHAGORAS Netherlands
QUANTUM Brazil
QUATERNA REQUIEM (WIERMANN & VOGEL) Brazil
QUILL United States
R-U KAISER Chile
RAIN United Kingdom
RAINBOW THEATRE Australia
RAISON DE PLUS France
RAK Switzerland
REALM/ STEVE VAIL United States
RECORDANDO O VALE DAS MAÇÃS Brazil
REFUGEE United Kingdom
RELAYER United States
RENAISSANCE United Kingdom
RING OF MYTH United States
ROCKAPHONICA Argentina
ROCKET SCIENTISTS United States
RAIMUNDO RODULFO Venezuela
KURT RONGEY United States
ANTON ROOLAART United States
JAIME ROSAS Chile
ANDREW ROUSSAK Russia
ROUSSEAU Germany
RUMBLIN' ORCHESTRA Hungary
RUMPLE STILTZKEN COMUNE Switzerland
SAECULA SAECULORUM Brazil
SAENA Mexico
SAGRADO CORACAO DA TERRA Brazil
SALMON Netherlands
SANDROSE France
SCARAMOUCHE Germany
SCHICKE FUHRS & FROHLING Germany
SEBASTIAN HARDIE Australia
SECOND MOVEMENT Germany
SENSITIVE TO LIGHT France
SEVEN REIZH France
SHADES OF DAWN Germany
SHADOW CIRCUS United States
SHARKMOVE Indonesia
SHINGETSU Japan
SHYLOCK France
SICHER Switzerland
SILVER LINING France
SIMON SAYS Sweden
SINKADUS Sweden
SIRIUS Germany
SIXTY-NINE Germany
SKRYVANIA France
SOCIAL TENSION Japan
SOLARIS Hungary
SOULENGINE Italy
SPHINX Multi-National
SPIN XXI Brazil
SPOCK'S BEARD United States
CHRIS SQUIRE United Kingdom
STARCASTLE United States
STENCIL FOREST United States
STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (STERN MEISSEN) Germany
ROINE STOLT Sweden
STONEHENGE France
SUBLIMINAL Argentina
SUPERNOVA Argentina
SURPRISE United States
SWEDISH FAMILY Sweden
SYNOPSIS France
T-TAURI Netherlands
TABULA RASA Finland
TABULA SMARAGDINA Hungary
TAI PHONG France
TANTRA Portugal
TARANTULA Spain
TARKUS Brazil
TAURUS Chile
TAURUS (NETHERLANDS) Netherlands
TEMPUS FUGIT Brazil
O TERÇO Brazil
TERPANDRE France
TERU'S SYMPHONIA Japan
TESIS ARSIS Brazil
THETA Japan
THIRTEEN OF EVERYTHING United States
TIBET Germany
ARMANDO TIRELLI Uruguay
TISARIS Brazil
TOCCATA Mexico
TOMPOX Hungary
TONIC Germany
TRACE Netherlands
TRANSATLANTIC Multi-National
TRAUMHAUS Germany
TREM DO FUTURO Brazil
TRESPASS Germany
TRESPASS Israel
TRIANA Spain
TRILOGY Germany
TRION Netherlands
TRITONUS Germany
TRIUMVIRAT Germany
TRY Germany
ÜNDER LINDEN Argentina
UNIFAUN Sweden
URBAN TRAPEZE Spain
MARIÁN VARGA Slovakia
VERMILION SANDS Japan
VERSAILLES France
VERTICAL ALIGNMENT United States
VESANIA Brazil
VIA LUMINI Brazil
VIA OBSCURA Germany
THE VOYAGER France
RICK WAKEMAN United Kingdom
WALLENSTEIN Germany
WALLY United Kingdom
WANIYETULA Germany
WELCOME Switzerland
WHITE WILLOW Norway
WILLIAM GRAY Argentina
WILLOWGLASS United Kingdom
WINDCHASE Australia
WOBBLER Norway
X RELIGION Uzbekistan
XII ALFONSO France
XNA United States
YES United Kingdom
YESTERDAYS Romania
ZARAGON Denmark
ZEBULON Germany
ZEN ROCK AND ROLL United States
ZOMBY WOOF Germany
ZOUNDWORKS Netherlands
ZYCLOPE Spain

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