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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 01/01/2015

Iván Melgar Morey (Iván_Melgar_M)
Scott Tuffnell (AtomicCrimsonRush)
Anton Fritz (SouthSideoftheSky)
H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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 | 3395 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 3143 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 2718 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.43 | 2629 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2364 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.38 | 1950 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.40 | 1302 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagård
4.38 | 1673 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2280 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.37 | 970 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2215 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.29 | 2114 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.27 | 1931 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.27 | 1705 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.34 | 653 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.31 | 866 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.24 | 1523 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.26 | 806 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagård
4.25 | 758 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.17 | 1750 ratings
TRESPASS
Genesis

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

GUET-APENS
Ange
ET APRÈS
Memoriance
SAECULA SAECULORUM
Saecula Saeculorum
SÈVE QUI PEUT
Ange

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Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Everlasting Instant by IZZ album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.19 | 17 ratings

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Everlasting Instant
Izz Symphonic Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars Here we have the outstanding new IZZ album,in fact album number three ,and the last from the trilogy which started with the phenomenal album -THE DARKENED ROOM,released a few years ago!Definitelly,this album is a very ambitious and inspired closing third chapter of this ambitious work of this wonderful American talented band!What is the first thing that comes into my mind after a first audition of this album,is the very mature songwriting and the diversity of the compositions,plus the unbelieveble and impressive technical skills of all the members of the band!There are also some musical themes that are reviewed from the first two albums,and this is a mark of the strong cohesion and unity of this ambitious musical trilogy!The artwork is simply superbe,the very expressive photo is offering to the listener an image of what it is going to be like,the musical journey where we are invited by the band,in their universe of many different and weird emotions and moods!Definitelly,this is the most elaborate and mature album of all the three that compose the trilogy,it's a very mature songwriting and musicality of all tracks!Maybee it's not so spectacular like THE DARKENED ROOM,but the strong ideas presented here ara having a strong impact on the listener,and that makes of this album,a very serious and passioned audition for any good prog rock music lover!Definitelly to choose any particular song from the album to be pushed ahead,all is in a very monolythic manner ,and the whole ensemble of the album is very strong indeed!The boys voices are perfectly combined with the girls ones,and that makes the diversity of the album even more catchy and fascinated!Musically speaking,there is a strong influence of the classic prog rock icons,like Genesis,Yes,Floyd or Gentle Giant...plus a little modern touch a la Spock's Beard,Echolyn or The Flower Kings....but with the strong IZZ musical personality and blueprint!Anyway,it's king of vintage prog rock,but cleverly "'dressed"' in a more modern outfitt...very attractive and tasteful for the listeners!I repeat,the mature compositions,the exceptional songwriting is impressive,plus the technical and so fine technical aspect of IZZ' music,all this ingredients are so well made,that makes of this album a very enjoyable and wonderful musical experience!The production is excellent,top class indeed and the whole sound os IZZ's music is easily recognisable-there is definitelly a particular IZZ sound,touch in their music!Strong 4.5 stars for me and my sincere compliments for this outstanding musical release...one of the best prog rock albums of the first half of 2015...
 Between The Universes by TRITONUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.20 | 27 ratings

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Between The Universes
Tritonus Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars I've been aware of Tritonus for many years, since 2000 when their albums were reviewed on Tommy's Forest of Progressive Rock (later called Vintage Prog, no longer updated, but the site still exists), at the same time I understand why this band was never a high-priority band for me. This band was lead by Peter K. Seiler, and he's still very much musically active to this day. It's obvious that this band was modeled after the likes of ELP and Triumvirat, but Seiler often has a few tricks up his sleeves that neither Emerson nor Fritz would have never done. But the problem I have is a few parts of this album are unbearable to me. Parts of the title track and the "Suburban Day Suite", but there's some nice moments, but if they got rid of some of those cheesy parts, this could have been one of the great German prog bands. "Mars Detection" might not be to everyone's liking, it might sound like a bunch of synth doodling, but I love that strange synth pattern Seiler comes up with, and while he uses the typical Moog and Solina string synths here, he also uses a PPG module. What I love of this piece is the spaciness, of the kind ELP or Triumvirat would have never thought of. It seems that Geff Harrison of Kin Ping Meh and 2066 & Then sings on some of the music, and since he was British, English would not be a problem for him. Tritonus had troubles with the English language, as did Frank Bornemann of Eloy, a perfect example going for "Sunday Waltz" off their debut where the song goes: "At 8:30 in the evening / while teewee is on" ("teewee" meaning "TV"), which ended up unintentionally hilarious. So at least that was less of a problem on Between the Universes thanks to Geff Harrison.

To me, not a high priority band, if you can get it on the cheap, then do so, but paying full price for an original LP might be a bit much (they don't come cheap). Three stars.

 Patchwork Cacophony by PATCHWORK CACOPHONY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.46 | 8 ratings

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Patchwork Cacophony
Patchwork Cacophony Symphonic Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars My first acquaintance with Ben Bell's work was back in 2013 with the "debut" album of Fusion Orchestra 2, an excellent example of long heavy progressive rock compositions. Here Ben takes it on his own to create a much more symphonic progressive rock album, keyboard-laden and mostly instrumental.

For a one-man job, Patchwork Cacophony is impressive, full of original ideas, talented keyboard playing and two major moods: the dreamy (even spacey) 70's symphonic rock side (mainly influenced by Genesis) and another, much more jazz/funky one, which counterbalances the melody with more dynamic passages and keyboard lines. Ben experiments with all sorts of keyboard sounds, from moog to organ, piano and so on. See for example the "trouble-free" No U-Turn, a tune to accompany you to your summer drives across the coast. The two moods interchange often and the track lengths as well, offering the right amount of variation.

Dance of the Fleet-Footed Heffalumps does what it says: a folksy/dreamy atmosphere on acoustic guitar and flute driven sounds, perhaps somewhere in the middle of the woods with Gryphon lurking in the background; Nylons for Parot flows in a similar vein, proving a nice interlude before the multi-part Dawn Light. Brinkmanship is perhaps the highlight with a playful main theme which does not tire, no matter how many times it is repeated. It follows a melodic piano intro, similar to how the album opens in Sketch of a Day. In fact the two tracks are very similar in the way they evolve, with the former being the flagship of the funky side of Ben and the latter the more melodic, Genesis-inspired, earning even more points by its grandiose ending.

The Dawn Light suite starts off with an Eloy-inspired theme but continues with two parts accompanied by Ben's vocals, in a mid-tempo rocking background, the more impressive of the two being No Time. The jumps between reprises and rock tunes continues throughout the duration of the suite, with Scorched Earth taking me by surprise by its dynamic, swinging keyboard riff. The underlying Deep Purple influence is confirmed in the melodic hard rock tune Final Sunset; I would expect you be up and dancing by now, while the Purple/Heep organ solos rage on. Not a very coherent suite all in all, but certainly with enjoyable moments.

Apart from the excellent keyboard work and surprisingly good performance on vocals, the rest of the instrumentation/arrangements are fairly basic and are there to support, rather than create, with the drum arrangements perhaps in need of the most improvement. However, this does not affect the professional work produced in this album. This is the second album I get to listen to this year that has such a high level of keyboard talent and ideas, the other being Unreal City's sophomore release.

Is it the era of keyboards? We shall see - this is certainly a great way to start a solo career.

3.5 stars. Highlights: Brinkmanship, No Time, Scorched Earth, Final Sunset

 Danger World by ANYONE'S DAUGHTER album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.43 | 16 ratings

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Danger World
Anyone's Daughter Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Even the replacement of Harald Bareth as lead singer with Andre Carswell could not by itself explain the dramatic shift in the sound of ANYONE'S DAUGHTER as they "reformed" around the year 2000 and released "Danger World". Rather, the material itself betrays a self conscious shift, to a more robust, modern rock more suited to the albeit far greater dynamics of Carswell's voice, with which I find little fault. Matthias Ulmer's keyboards, as in the original lineup, remain dominant and at times recall the original band's complexities, other than the two obvious cases when the band revisits classic songs.

While a few fine tracks emerge, specifically the enthusiastic ballads "Nina" and "I'll Never Walk that Road Again", the proggy "Helios" and the techno pop "No Return", we are also subject to some truly unredeemable material like "Good Gone Bad", "The Glory" and "Wheel of Fortune", which sound like anonymous modern rock with an above average keyboard player. The rest of the original material is mediocre, its lack of conviction magnified by the searing technique and soaring emotion of "Moria" and "Sundance of the Haute Provence", both originally appearing on their self titled second album from 1980. As a side note, I love to hear "sunbathing" correctly pronounced this time around.

From a prog perspective, there really is little to recommend here, and even from a pop or rock perspective, I'm not sold. If you must enter the dangerous world of 21st century ANYONE's DAUGHTER, I suggest doing so via the "Trio Tour" live CD, which includes the best material from this and the follow up disk "Wrong". That's assuming you have already caught up on their classics from the original incarnation.

 Garden Shed by ENGLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.85 | 141 ratings

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Garden Shed
England Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is another one that I missed out on when it originally came out in 1977, though I can only be partly reassured that it went unnoticed by many more fans, being that 1977 was the universally agreed death year for prog. Punks with bad teeth and worse manners entered the mainstream and kicked serious musicians in the behind and right off the main stage! In retrospect that may have been a good thing as the dinosaur mentality had crept in by then (Hello Tony Emerson and Keith Banks). England released this puppy to little fanfare, even though it is regarded in hindsight as a quirky little masterpiece, featuring a gifted talent in keyboardist Robert Webb. The cover is perhaps one of the most fascinating in prog, very English style like Robertson and Sons' Marmalade or Twining's Tea. The music is quite reminiscent of The Enid in that classic symphonics are blended with orchestral arrangements, sugared by some blatant rock multi-tracked vocalizations that can run the span between Gentle Giant, Yes, Supertramp, Genesis, Druid, Greenslade etc?

"Midnight Madness" provides exactly that kind of premise, the high pitched vocals meandering down a symphonic river, with clever little e-piano motifs that wink at Supertramp, vibraphones wrestling with slippery synths, slamming organ ushering the crew along. Of course, harmony vocals add a great amount of choral depth to the arrangements, which is easily admirable to any prog fan. High-pitched vocals almost have a Russell Mael feel (he of Sparks fame) or even Freddie of Queen. In fact, I would not be surprised if Webb and company had been influenced by the Champions. England, Queen, yeah! All in all, a thrilling introduction.

A mini-piano etude "All Alone" simply sets the table for the first section of the main opus here the "Three Pieces" suite, as such I cannot help but feel a reminder of an artist such as Anthony Phillips , meaning it's all very British, wot? "Introducing Three Pieces" is definitely symphonic in style that at times sounds a lot like Yes, what with the grandiose orchestrations and the ruthlessly trebled bass guitar, veering close to the edge in more ways than one. Drummer Jode Leigh has his Bruford tapes working nicely for him, Martin Henderson must have heard of Chris Squire, while only the guitarist Franc Holland differs a tad, being more Hacketty than Howey. Robert Webb can compete with the Wakemans, Emersons and the Greenslades of the world, a clever utilizer of all forms of ivories. The result is a brisk-paced, densely choired as all four musicians sing, reverential homage to "Close to the Edge" in a multi-hued, uncanny reworking that is ultimately enjoyable. The electric guitar has a muffled 'in a tube' sound that actually fits the mood quite well, followed by a thunderously harmonious bass solo from Mr. Henderson, Webb shuffling in his cozy mellotron to great effect, even discreet winks at snippets of la Marseillaise. The Queen/the Korgis/Sparks high pitched voice is actually cool and well performed.

"Paraffinalea" is a jaunty little affair, heavily vocalized, and doused in waves of glorious mellotron splashes as well as some coily synth loops. I actually liked the next piece a great deal, "Yellow" wallows in pastoral noodling, handled by some quality orchestrations and a Beatles-like vocal presence, a reminder of a psychedelic past that once ruled over the first prog wave. The Anthony Phillips hints are again quite clear and determined. There is even room for some brief soloing to make matters more interesting.

The tectonic plate on which this album revolves is the epic 18 minute + monster "Poisoned Youth", a scintillating composition that wastes little breath in getting the troops moving forward. The bass is up-front and brash as it leads the crew into some multifaceted territories where all is molded into a whole musical experience, tight drum attack, spooky vocalisms and the obvious colossal keyboard colorations. Paced in such a manner as to provide a slew of unpredictable peaks and valleys, wrapped in various layers of mood and contrast, this is a perfect example of a typical progressive rock epic.

Nice music ! Great cover , really!

4 Lawn barns

 Time and a Word by YES album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.27 | 1011 ratings

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Time and a Word
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This is an album I had never heard before, losing it in the shuffle I guess, until I unconsciously thought about what Squire and Bruford were doing before 'The Yes Album', which was my Yes initiation upon its release. This oft reviewed recording needs no added comment from me, certainly undeserving after 44 year absence, other than it did provide me a huge glimpse into the burgeoning talent of the dynamic rhythmic duo. Peter Banks was certainly a gifted guitarist, rockier than Steve Howe, which can also be applied to Tony Kaye and his raunchy organ. Seeing composing credits such as Stephen Stills, Richie Havens and David Foster are certainly unsettling but so what? The songs are decent enough, certainly taking the still pubescent 1970 sound to increasingly technical heights which would blossom with the impending arrival of technology (synthesizers, multi-tracking, mellotron and classical acoustic instruments).

The Rickenbacker playing is up-front and brutal, Squire could never be accused of shyness and modesty, so I thoroughly enjoyed following his devastating runs on each and every track. Bruford was already experimenting with his simple drum kit and keeping the time like only he can. The seeds of looming genius are obvious to behold. There are sections that are deliriously entertaining, like the biting guitar, choppy organ, booming bass and frantic drum interaction followed by lots of bluesy inflections, some jazzy feel (at times it was like listening to Sade) on 'Everydays'. The opener is also a rousing affair, an orchestral megalith that blasts ahead unrepentant, directed by that nasty bass that veers the whole piece into a more-Deep Purple/Uriah Heep direction. My only negative feeling is the rather ineffectual use of orchestra, it's obvious that other producers/arrangers mastered this union of rock and orchestra much better than Misters Cox and Colton. Perhaps with Moody Blues maestro Tony Clarke, the results may have been more symphonic as opposed to the feeling of Scotch tape that hovers over the pieces. There are also moments of amateurish simplicity where things just do not mix well, such as on 'Astral Traveller', which could have been so much better.

While it would be unnecessary to further elevate the upcoming series of albums which catapulted Yes to the highest office in Progland (and basically sucked for the next 20 years!), this remains an interesting educational recording, another clear example of how quickly the scene evolved in those 'glory days' of exalted perpetual change.

3 clock lyrics

 King For A Day by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 5 ratings

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King For A Day
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by progpositivity
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since these proggers from Norway released their promising debut "Motions of Desire". At that time, their music struck me as an enthusiastic combination of classic prog and classic hard rock. (Think Deep Purple for the hard rock side of that equation.) At their best, they offered memorable passages and pieces that sounded like they very well could have been long lost recordings from many years ago. At their worst, they sometimes fell short of filling the big shoes of the legendary bands whose music they strove to emulate. That's actually not bad for a debut album from a new prog band. I found much to like and looked forward to hearing from them again in the future.

Checking back in on them a decade later, I must say that I am very impressed with how they have developed and matured. No longer do I get the feeling that certain sections of songs are direct homages to any particular band from any one particular decade of prog's illustrious history. Their influences, while still very present and valid, are now more varied, including a greater percentage of modern reference points. More importantly, their influences are just that--merely influences rather than templates or even primary reference points.

The sound quality on "King for a Day" is superb thanks in large part to the enlistment of sonic genius Rich Mouser (whose resume includes similar work for prominent contemporaries like Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Dream Theater).

Keyboardist Erling Hananger is an excellent addition to Magic Pie's recipe. His keyboard parts are expressive, dynamic and integral to the music. When appropriate, his leads seamlessly blend, harmonize, and work synergistically with electric guitar.

The lyrics have a melodramatic and somewhat tragic flair this time around, but this is prog so you should be accustomed to the musical ride including a few tragic tales from time to time by now, right?

OK ' so it's time for the "magic" question... A decade after their debut album, how has my impression of Magic Pie changed?

On "King for a Day", I now hear a band which has found "its own voice", one that resonates confidently in the space somewhere between classic arena rock of yesteryear (on prog-steroids of course) and modern melodic prog of the 21st Century (like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings). Add a few dashes of modern prog-metal to taste and you, my friend, have baked up a very nice confection indeed... MAGIC PIE!

If you love modern prog anthems with big harmonies and 'sing along' choruses, give "King for a Day" a listen! I'm glad I did!

(On a side-note, it appears I now have some important 'catching up' to do. I look forward to checking out Magic Pie's 2011's release "The Suffering Joy" in the very near future!)

 Trio Tour by ANYONE'S DAUGHTER album cover Live, 2006
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Trio Tour
Anyone's Daughter Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The version of German act ANYONE'S DAUGHTER that was reformed around the beginning of the millenium seems stalled at two studio releases, perhaps because it was able to convince neither old fans nor a younger audience of its viability. Nonetheless, their more straight forward rock approach with concessions to pop and electronica, and nods to a full on proggy past deserves better than a dishonorable discharge from whatever implements are now being used to connect ear and artist. But what of a quasi acoustic version with the singer, guitarist and keyboard player alone? Lore has it that the band was merely compiling a video to promote a tour in this configuration when they sensed that the medium might indeed be the message, and "Trio Tour" was born.

While the DVD portion consists of a mere 4 tracks identical in sound to those on the CD, it also serves to confirm the intimacy that one feels when surrounded by these three gentlemen, two of whom I should note are original members of the band that sold 120,000 records in their heyday of 1979-1983. No bass or drums are present but the sound remains textured, at times even dense. Apart from the voice of André Carswell and the largely acoustic guitars of Uwe Karpa, it's really Matthias Ulmer's arsenal of keys that steals the show for better or worse. Usually his considerable chops win the day but occasionally they are like a tugboat trying to lift the titanic, especially on endemically weak numbers like "The Wrong", "Without You", "Miscellaneous" (based unsuccessfully on a riff in "La La", off the 1982 album "In Blaue"), or the Celtic misfit "Porth Mhuirghesa".

The best tracks here bust right out of their studio conventionality: "Far Away" and "Nina" benefit most from the sparkling acoustic backing, while "I'll Never Walk that Road Again" strikes a mood more appropriate to its surroundings than in its original incarnation. Both "Helios" offerings are at least the equal of their studio versions, but it's the rendition of "Adonis II - The Disguise" that tips the scales. At a mere 2:52, it simultaneously reaffirms the compositional and technical mastery of the group's early years while affirming that they "still got it". What's shocking is that the audience doesn't seem to recognize it until the vocals kick in over halfway through, because the progression is faithful even if the instrumentation is dramatically altered. The final encore is a pleasant piano dominated version of their classic prog-pop anthem "Der Plan".

If you have not caught up with ANYONE's DAUGHTER since their reformation in 2000, I recommend this live offering over either of the studio releases, but don't expect another "Adonis" or even a "Neu Sterne". Sadly, it seems that it's just not in der plan.

 Last Tracks by ANYONE'S DAUGHTER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.02 | 15 ratings

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Last Tracks
Anyone's Daughter Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars It seems that at least one streaming site is now including vinyl, since as far as I know this recording has never seen a CD release, and, judging by the abysmal sound quality, it badly needs a remaster. But, hey, never let lo fi get in the way of reviewing a pivotal archival release, or, er, a less pivotal one.

Historically speaking, "Last Tracks" is intriguing in that it brackets the original years of Anyone's Daughter's run in Germany, and, since they were a fairly popular and well regarded band during a nadir for prog, it warrants closer examination.

The group was formed in 1972 but no recordings are available from before 1977, while their first album "Adonis" was not released until 1979. The last 4 tracks here are culled from 1978, and three of them had never been released in any format until this 1986 "compilation". Their successful run lasted until 1983, concluding with the gutsy neo prog of "Neu Sterne", before they bowed out to better financed UK purveyors of the movement. Their vocalist Harald Bareth left for military service and eventually became a medical doctor. He reappeared in relatively recent times as guest vocalist on a couple of albums by INES. The first 5 tracks here are from 1986 sessions with a new vocalist Michale Braun, as well as a new drummer and bass player.

This is thus two half albums in one, and, believe me, never the twain shall meet. In the LP era they are two halves of an unholy whole, but in these streaming times no break is long enough to convey the infinite gulf. Suffice to say that the 1986 tracks bear no resemblance to even the poppier material on Neu Sterne, nor are they similar to the more modern hard rock of the band's reformation around 2000. Instead they resemble what one might have heard from the garage of GENESIS (the singers delivery is strongly reminiscent of PHIL COLLINS), AHA, or ROXY MUSIC during that time period. In all fairness, the melodies are decent, especially on "Too Much too late", but the robotic programmed percussion and the lack of even the basic complexity of the weaker tunes on "Neu Sterne" render them just to the good side of unlistenable.

Three of the remaining four tracks are really why you have read this far. "I Hear an Army" is Teutonic prog in the style of TROYA's one off of 1975, with sing songy meters but searing guitar leads over organ washes. and establishes the gravitas of the group's initial releases. "Sally the Green" is quality pop and represents an early version of "Sally" that would appear on "Adonis" a year later, so is somewhat dispensable. The remaining 2 track are the ones that are seriously worth all the cringing. "Ma cherie Marquise de Sade" is a rare instrumental in a frenetic style only occasionally explored further on subsequent albums. The Emersonian organ is the predominant feature, shouting Matthias Ulmer's dexterity to the skies, but the rhythm section is holding its own as well. I can hear snippets of what surfaced on the astonishing epic live bonus tracks in the 2010 release of "Adonis".

Still, "Window Pain" is even better and more representative of what the group would become over the next few releases. While the band is often compared to CAMEL and GENESIS, not without reason, they alway struck me as owing much to the more accessible softer tracks from KING CRIMSON - think "The Night Watch", "Book of Saturday", or and parts of "Lizard", and Barath's voice is not the only reason. This monumental piece ebbs and flows through vocal and instrumental segments, the latter dominated by lead guitar even more succinct than most of what appears on the "Adonis suite", with string synthesizers soaring above and rollicking bass and drums underneath. The only reason I can think why it took so long to see the dim light of a bygone day is that the band already had one side long epic and they might have felt the pressure to change with the times. They did betray their ambitions again with 1981's "Piktors Verwandlungen", but that utilized the hook of Herman Hess narrative and, in terms of genuine musical excitement, does not come close to "Window Pain", a true lost classic.

I'm not sure if the price being charged for the few available LP versions is tenable, but hopefully more streaming sites will pick it up. Largely dispensable for the last tracks, but essential for the "first tracks", this rarely considered entry in the ANYONE's daughter contains two lengthy tracks that led to one of the pillars of early 1980s symphonic prog in Germany.

 Orígenes by ARCABUZ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Orígenes
Arcabuz Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Have to admit that I have a weakness for Spanish Flamenco influenced Prog sinceI heard TRIANA for the first time, so when ARCABUZ was suggested to the Symphonic Team, I didn't think it twice and voted yes after listening some Youtube songs from Origenes, an album that had to wait more than three decades to be released.

So we added them and immediately bought the album expecting lots of acoustic guitar and maybe some cante jondo blended with Moog and percussion, but to my surprise ARCABUZ presented us a totally different musical menu.

Even when the Spanish-Moorish influence is more than evident, they play some sort of Eclectic Andaluz Prog leaving behind the Flamenco guitars, the counterpoint between the distorted guitars and the organ are simply delightful, the rhythm section is impeccable and the band adds some sort of Hard Rock atmosphere that creates a fresh and interesting approach.

I know that ARCABUZ doesn't sound at all like them, but this guys remind me of FOCUS due to the long and fluid instrumental passages, especially for the guitar solos that resemble the style of Jan Akkerman'.Even when musically we are talking of two different universe'And of course, the lack of vocal also surprised me.

The album starts with Confrontaciones Dolorosas (Painful Confrontations) and it's breathtaking organ intro with a Psychedelic feeling, but what captured me instantly was the coherence between rhythm section, distorted guitar and lush keyboards, it is like the collision of two musical worlds that seems created 'ex professo' to be played this way. Also loved the endless instrumental passages in which the band gives priority to coherence rather than to soloing.

La Setrilleira starts with the classical Andaluz sound with soft and cohesive musical sections with Spanish and even Celtic influences, but then comes the radical change, they leave Symphonic territory to enter into some kind of Floydish fantasia with impressive guitar solos in the vein of Gilmour and the drumming that reminds me of Mason, something I didn't expected but loved it.

Música Después de la Vida (After Life Music) is more what I supposed this band was going to play, Andaluz Prog at it's best with radical keyboard passages with a hint of Keith Emerson, abruptly interrupted by heavy guitar'But in the back José Luis López (Bass) and Aurelio Ortega (Drums) manage to keep the band with the feet in the ground.

Al Final de Una Larga Espera (At the end of a Long Waiting): Sounds like a title for an autobiographical book about ARCABUZ, but it's also one of the most beautiful and fluid tracks I ever heard, strangely the guitar solo reminds me a bit of Mark Knopfler with that repressed violence that explodes after a large keyboard solo. This guys keep hitting the nail in the head.

Geisha is the only epic of the album with it's 10:23 minutes and my favorite, because they rescue that natural Moorish sound so preeminent in bands like MEZQUITA, IMAN or MEDINA AZAHARA from the Andaluz Prog golden era. With marvelous performances and radical changes is just what the doctor would prescribe to any Progressive Rock listener.

Raptus Emocional (Emotional Raptus): Probably my least favorite piece from the album, even when it has strong moments, the mainstream elements take over the track making it too predictable, something that ARCABUZ had avoided until this point'Sounds like something taken from the 80's MTV. Still not bad as a tension reliever.

The album is closed by Melomanía en Re (Tributo a un Reencuentro) (Melomania in Re [Tribute to a Re-Encounter]), and they do it in great form, with a track that has everything from melodic passages to frenetic explosions with that marvelous sound that only Spanish guitarists can provide'A great finale for a great album.

I was tempted to go with 5 stars because I'm a fan of Andaluz Rock and this guys are great on it, but I never rate a debut release with the maximum, being that doing that could imply that the band has reached it's peak, and I expect much more from ARCABUZ, so will go with 4 solid stars.

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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
BANANA Argentina
BANZAI Belgium
ZELJKO BEBEK AND PODIUM Yugoslavia
BEGGARS OPERA United Kingdom
ROBERT BERIAU Canada
BLACK SEPTEMBER United States
BLAKULLA Sweden
BLANK MANUSKRIPT Austria
BLEZQI ZATSAZ Brazil
BLUE SHIFT United States
TOMAS BODIN Sweden
BONDAR & WISE United States
BRIMSTONE United States
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
DR. COENOBITE Netherlands
DRAGONFLY Switzerland
DRAMA France
DRUCKFARBEN Canada
DRUID United Kingdom
EARTH & 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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