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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 02/17/2014

Ivan_Melgar_M (Iván Melgar More
Scott Tuffnell (AtomicCrimsonRush)
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 | 3129 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.62 | 2874 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 2487 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.42 | 2394 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2149 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.41 | 1199 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagård
4.37 | 1772 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.38 | 1524 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2086 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.39 | 903 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.28 | 1924 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.28 | 2025 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.27 | 1750 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.27 | 1547 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.30 | 772 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.32 | 601 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.23 | 1365 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.25 | 739 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagård
4.24 | 694 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.16 | 1612 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

TALES FROM AN ISLAND - IMPRESSIONS FROM RAPA NUI
Blank Manuskript
POLLEN
Pollen
LA MARCHE DES HOMMES
Morse Code
WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus

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Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Conflict And Dreams by CAIRO album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.57 | 98 ratings

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Conflict And Dreams
Cairo Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings

3 stars As a new-comer to the progressive rock world two years ago, the nineties intrigued me as it was a time when prog began to experience a rebirth, and somehow Cairo was presented to me, most likely on Amazon or iTunes. After a sampling of their three albums, I knew it was the first or second I should get because they were harder rocking and closer to my metal roots.

"Conflict and Dreams" is the second album by Cairo, said to be slightly more together than the first and showing the band's development of an individual sound. Based on hard rocking electric guitar, a wild organ, and a fast-paced rhythm section, Cairo's music is a bit like Uriah Heep with more speed and prog than what Heep was actually recording in the nineties. In some ways Cairo could sound a bit like Steve Morse when he rocks out but with a guitar playing style more like a generic metal band than Morse the Great.

By every account, this rock out melange of lengthy songs featuring a healthy dose of tempo shifts, time signature changes, flashing fingers across the keyboard, vocal harmonies (at times), and strong melodies played over hard and heavy guitar and punctuated by brief atmospheric intervals of synthesizer now and again should be an absolute delight to my ears. It's almost like Yes on speed!

However, my lingering impression of this album after two years is that it is lacking something. The first two tracks come off pretty strong. "Angels of Rage" show the band playing as well as any prog metal band, and "Corridors" has a strong melody and catchy intro, plus more synthesizer to offer a soft contrast to the metal guitar. "Western Desert" shows the band at full tilt, going like a metal version of Glass Hammer almost. Rhythm changes come continuously as the guitar solos dive and slice along with the steady drum beat.

But by the time the vocals come in, my first dissatisfaction with the album becomes clear to me: I don't really care for the vocals. Now it's not that he can't sing. Bret Douglas has a strong and powerful voice that well suits the music. It's perhaps the timbre of his voice that doesn't grab me. Realizing this makes it difficult for me to enjoy the sung parts of the songs. Others may not think so.

As "Western Desert" moves into a lengthy instrumental section, I also find my mind can't remain focused on the music. A shame really as there are some very nice moments and some great playing. But one thing that tires my patience is really long solo sections. I enjoy prog because epic tracks don't tend to rely on extended jams but instead feature complex and varied music. After the ten-minute mark, I'm looking forward to hearing something new but the theme melody returns and then for a minute or two it sounds like something is up. But then there's just some repetition until nearly the final minute when at last the awaited change occurs, interesting, refreshing, and over way too soon.

The only real contrast to show up on the album is the short acoustic instrumental, "Image". It's a pleasant break after 40 minutes of mostly driving hard rock, organ and guitar solos, and appreciable rhythm and melody changes that by now are starting to sound formulated.

The last two songs, "Then You Were Gone" and "Valley of the Shadow" continue on in the same vein as most of the album. There are plenty of highlights, like the guitar melody at around 2:30 on "Then You Were Gone" and the almost Deep Purple-esque organ solos or ELP-ish fiery keyboard solo of "Valley". This final song in particular seems intended to be a masochistic finger exercise on organ, piano, and synthesizer.

Certainly any one song added to a mixed playlist is likely to impress anyone with a taste for heavy prog or progressive metal. The album is chock full of searing instrumentation, prog rock at its most intense and frenetic at times. But overall the album feels too "samey" to me. Perhaps if I liked the vocals more I might regard the album more highly. I'm not surprised to see that some have awarded "Conflict and Dreams" with four stars. It's worthy of it. For me, however, three stars is the maximum as I still can't really warm up to it enough..

 Yessongs by YES album cover Live, 1973
4.29 | 680 ratings

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Yessongs
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Yessongs' - Yes (90/100)

I'll start this off by admitting that, for the longest time, I've had my doubts surrounding the worth of live albums. There's a dimension of immediacy and spontaneity in experiencing a band live that a pre-recorded product could never emulate; to me, it often seems like a live recording in rock music becomes limited. Though little of this criticism has anything to do with Yessongs, it does feel like most live rock albums sound like garbled facsimiles of a band's studio work, with three-word introductions and a static howl from a crowd that sounds the same no matter which album you're hearing their applause on. I think the way Yessongs has wowed me in spite of these doubts only goes to show what an amazing album it is. Consider me convinced that a live album can offer something fresh and exciting to a band's discography. If a band's studio performance suggests a default manner in which a song should be performed, it is the live album's duty to play with those conventions in the hopes of creating a fresh experience. Though it's still a bit rough around the edges, I cannot think of another live album in rock music- perhaps save for Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won- that encapsulates the essence of a band so successfully.

There are plenty of things you can peg a live album's quality on, but the most determinant factor usually is (as evidenced here) the choice of songs themselves. Prime cuts have been drawn from The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge, with the latter of the three enjoying a complete representation. All three studio efforts have earned a spot as generally acknowledged classics in the progressive rock canon, and while I've never been entirely sold on the 'give peace a chance' cheer of The Yes Album, there's no doubt that the album's uplifting tone translates well in the live arena. "Southside of the Sky" would have made for a better choice than "Perpetual Change" or "Yours Is No Disgrace", and it would have been pretty cool to hear Yes attempt "We Have Heaven" live, but I don't think the selection of music can be faulted without delving into obsessive nitpickery.

Praise of the music itself should come as no surprise to anyone with experience in any of the three albums represented here. "Close to the Edge" is a perennial masterpiece of a composition which alone would be deserving of a paragraph's analysis (the likes of which I've given in the studio review). "Siberian Khatru" and "Yours Is No Disgrace" are heinously energetic rockers, with more than enough sophistication to keep the mind engaged as much as the body. On the other end stylistically, the slower pieces "Mood for a Day" and "And You And I" demonstrate Yes' rare ability as a prog band in tune with feeling and emotion. It might seem undercut to offer a live album as a perfect place to introduce oneself to yes, but Yessongs is an all-encompassing document of what made the band's golden era so awesome.

A short detour from Yes' flagship material comes in the form of "Excerpts from the Six Wives of Henry VIII", a medley comprised of sections from Rick Wakeman's then-recently released solo album. Besides taking a break from the longer-form epics and giving fans a taste of Yes music they may have never heard before, this inferno of synthesizers pretty much embodies the Yes keyboardist's style and approach. Grand piano tones are traded in for Moog synths, all under the context of Classical pomp and bombast. The mellotron interpretation of Handel's "Hallelujah" in particular is shockingly good. I've never been too inclined towards Wakeman's contributions to Yes' studio material, but here and throughout the rest of Yessongs, he does well to convince me he's deserving of the lavish praise people have aimed his way. The live setting offers more liberty for solos and extended instrumentation, and Wakeman has capitalized on the opportunity wonderfully. The same goes for Steve Howe, whose lead guitar playing has only benefited from these live renditions in the form of added flourishes, improvising and conscious deviations from the studio versions. "Siberian Khatru" and the instrumental passages of "Close to the Edge" are plenty fertile landscapes for this sort of creative license, and it's no surprise they've ended up becoming my two favourites on the album.

Fans of Bill Bruford's drumming should find "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround / The Fish" to their liking (they are, I believe, the last published recordings of Bruford in his original stretch with the band) but Yessongs is an incredible introduction to Alan White, then a newbie to Yes but destined to become one of the band's longest-lasting members. Listening to the aggressively packed fills on "Siberian Khatru", I get the strong impression White was clearly set on impressing and staking his claim in the band. For my money, I've usually preferred White's work in Yes to that of Mister Bruford's, but there are clearly those within the band's fanbase that disagree. If you're one such listener, give Yessongs another spin and see what you think afterwards. Alan White nails it.

Of the criticisms I've seen regarding Yessongs, almost all are directed towards the quality of the recording itself. Re-issues appear to have solved some of the more overt flaws, but the sonic clarity is still a far cry from the studio material. To be honest, it doesn't affect an appreciation of the music at all. Yessongs isn't trying to compete with the studio versions, it's operating on a different wavelength. The fact alone that Yes can stay true to the original wonder of these songs while simultaneously refreshing them seems to achieve exactly what a live album should set out to do.

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.37 | 1772 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings

5 stars Camel was one of those bands, along with Gentle Giant and Van der Graaf Generator, that seemed like classic prog bands worthy of getting into. But, like the other two, it took me a few listens of samples before I found a song that really captured my musical taste. After purchasing and quite liking "Moonmadness", I left Camel alone for a while. Then one day I saw a song off their debut included in a heavy rock of the early seventies playlist on YouTube and I thought I might want to check out their older material. That brought me to "Mirage", and while it may not have anything that qualifies as true early seventies heavy rock, it is quite an impressive album.

It opens with the very exciting, at times tension-filled rocker, "Freefall". Organ and guitar solos, rhythm changes, light and hard passages. A surprise after the softer "Moonmadness".

"Supertwister" begins with a slow flute-led intro and soon changes to an up-beat, odd time signature piece with Camel showing off their ability to play interesting instrumentals with many rhythm and melody changes. The flute takes the lead throughout this slightly jazz- influenced number.

"Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" is about Gandalf of Tolkien's books. After a kind of spacey intro we here horns and fanfare, cheering. Then the main song commences, slow and mellow with Mellotron, a hint of Renaissance melody, and flute before the song abruptly changes gears for a snarling organ solo followed by synthesizer, and then guitar brings the instrumental segment home and with a cymbal crash we return to the main song once more. The conclusion is an exciting cosmic instrumental with an eerie, forbidding baseline, delayed guitar effects and an intense guitar solo with equally intense drumming. This is my favourite part of the whole album.

"Earthrise", is introduced with tinkling percussion and a haunting wind, soon joined by guitar and organ. Presently, the music picks up pace and establishes itself as what is now to be understood as the signature sound of classic Camel. A well-composed and executed instrumental with many changes in tempo, time signature, and melody. And just listen to that high-speed bass playing during the main solo sequence. Great progressive rock from the seventies!

The last track already and over 12 minutes, "Lady Fantasy: Encounter / Smiles for You / Lady Fantasy" begins with an almost heavy metal intro. Exchange the keyboard notes for electric guitar and you'd be in proto-metal territory. No worries if that's not your bag. The main song comes in nice and mellow but not really slow and features a scratchy, psychedelic guitar solo with some wonderful backing music on organ, bass, and drums. Then, true to every track on the album so far, we change gears and go to an almost funky, up beat instrumental bit for electric guitar. Camel exhibit a wonderful knack for combining psychedelic rock with jazz and funk. But before I can even finish typing that thought, we are back to the slower main melody and a keyboard solo, then wind down gently with electric guitar.

I guess this is where the final Lady Fantasy part begins because a new melody is introduced with soft electric guitar, acoustic picking, and another haunting keyboard theme. "Saw you riding on a moon cloud / Saw you walking on a whirlpool" when the words "My Lady Fantasy, I love you," are proclaimed the musicians, almost restlessly, stir back into a furious rocker for the organ instrumental, and once again flip the switch for the closing of the song and take us out with the slower main guitar melody.

I simply cannot find fault with this album, unless someone wants to nitpick about the lyrics. I don't. The music is simply fantastic. It's not just blazing instrumentals but abrupt and often unanticipated changes, beautiful melodies contrasted by intense instrumental workouts, jazz-flavoured moments in one track and vivaciously kicking psychedelic guitar in another. I don't expect to find a Camel album as enjoyable as Mirage, though "The Snow Goose" just arrived in the mail today, so we'll see about that one. A firm five stars for "Mirage".

 Book Of Hours by WILLOWGLASS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.82 | 79 ratings

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Book Of Hours
Willowglass Symphonic Prog

Review by brotherjohn

3 stars Willowglass produces some lovely music with great sound, instrumentation, and overall production. Andrew Marshall blends acoustic and electric instruments masterfully, and plays them very well I might add. What prevents this album from being more than just "good", however, is the composition. Take "The Labyrinth", the albums fine closer. This piece begins beautifully featuring acoustic guitar. I'm thinking we could have something great here. But then, things start to repeat themselves a bit, and later in the track there is a synth solo that I don't really connect with, and, as with other tracks, the music is just a little too repetitive, without a whole lot in the way of chord changes or variation. This is why the album is not in the territory of something like Anthony Phillips' "The Geese and the Ghost". Now if one could mix the beauty and feel of Willowglass with the compositional density of, say, Anglagard or Cirrus Bay, I think we'd have a masterpiece. Still, this is a very nice album throughout, with beautiful artwork and packaging (as good as any I've ever seen), to lend to a very nice listening experience. So, although the music is typically quite "safe", even slightly "new age", in my opinion, it is also pretty and pleasant, and on occasion, even haunting.
 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.51 | 220 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Typically, I have always written my review while playing the music of the album being reviewed. But not this time. I do it intentionally for one chief reason: I don't want to listen to the album again and I don't want to force myself to have a listen for the sake of writing the review. And ...probably I only played the album three times with the third one was actually I forced myself to have it spun but ... I could not afford to continue it. Big apology for Chris, Steve and Alan as I have admitted myself being a big fan of YES but in fact I am not a loyal fans. I put my self as loyal prog music fans irrespective who is the band. If the music I consider it as prog and good quality, then I am on it. But if it's not .....whoever plays it I don't really care if I can not enjoy the music.

The only good thing about this album is its fabulous artwork. Oh there is also another thing: the legendary prog band Yes is still producing an album after decades of their existence in the music industry. The other good thing also is that John Davison voice is quite good and quite close to Anderson in some ways. But the music ...which is the most important one is not the one that I expected to be. First, it's quite weak on composition as the main structure lies on the kind of ambient flow with all soft sounds of almost everything: keyboard, guitar, drums and even voice. The dominating sound is really Chris' bass sounds that represent on how he played with The Sync. I can still find the nuances of Rickenbaker in his playing.

Second, melody line is quite weak even though it sounds OK at the beginning of the album, the opening and second track. But on the third track and later I feel so sleepy and get bored with the music that to me does not sound like it moves. It's so flat to my ears as I can not any beauty in its subtleties. I then start to blame on the limited capability of Geoffrey Downes on keyboard innovation. He only chooses simple notes and not really catchy to my ears. If he does play excellent, I think he can provide such inventive keyboard sound being a melody line. Unfortunately, it's not happening at all. There are only mediocre keyboard sounds throughout the entire album - or at least I fail to identify it as he plays so mediocre.

Third, there is basically no changes of styles or I would say the music is less dynamic than typical Yes music in the past. All flow from start to end so flat with no significant changes of style or tempo that truly represent standard progressive music. There is no inventive keyboard sounds like Awaken or energetic guitar work like in Perpetual Change or dynamic drumming like in Roundabout. Nothing that sounds significant in terms of changes.

Fourth, you might consider the structural integrity is quite good as all songs are alike. But this creates problems, obviously, as it becomes sooo boring listen to the music with basically no movement or very little movement from start to end. What structural integrity of an album serves you if at first you don't enjoy any piece of song in the album?

So ...

What should I say? Of course I am not going to give a one star for this lackluster. And I think two-star rating is a good one and I am quite happy to give two stars, meaning ...it's for the die hard fans of Yes. But remember ...there are many excellent prog albums from younger generation that deserve more attention too .... Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.51 | 220 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Bilkaim

5 stars This album touched me deeply. To be honest, after "Fly From Here" I didn't expect anything from the new Yes album. But after several listening to "Heaven & Earth", I'm more than positively surprised by the musical freshness and creativity by the old masters. This album has its identity, from the beginning to the end, and this is what differs it from the majority of its predecessors, excluding "The Ladder" and partly "Magnification". There is no doubt that Jon Davison has brought some new energy to the band and saved Yes from disappointing mean and lack of expression. "Heaven and Earth" proves that Yes can make a good album without Jon Anderson. A new perspective is open. Thank you Yes! I can't give less than five stars.
 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 2086 ratings

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Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by farmboy

5 stars This is one of the pinnacles of the entire progressive rock genre. This is where folk music, rock music, fusion music, and classical music are thrown into a mixing pot and emerge as a piece of art that musical fans will enjoy--if they have the patience to take it in--for many, many years. Relayer was beyond my understanding on my first listen; it doesn't have a song with an easy "hook" like Roundabout or the symphonic but understandable structures of tracks like Close To The Edge or And You And I...but repeated listening has moved it to the top of my Yes album list and competing for the top spot of all prog albums. This is not easy music most of the time--it is music that active listeners will love and love more with each spinning of the vinyl. If you have never heard Relayer realize that you might be completely overwhelmed the first time you hear the album. That is to be expected. As you listen to it more often you will grasp the incredible musicianship and incredible melodies that are all over this album...and you will continue to do so for a long, long time. Yes, as technical as they were as musicians and vocalists, were usually never in the same camp as a King Crimson for playing or a Gentle Giant for vocals--but this album is the rare one that is a listening feast for both fans of "players" and fans of "vocals." I cannot rate this album high enough; it is one of the high marks of intelligent music from any genre in the modern era. I am not sure that any other prog album even comes close to the overall sound, feel, and playing of this disc. This really does have it all--if you like symphonic prog music there is no higher mountain to climb.
 Sundialer  by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.95 | 11 ratings

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Sundialer
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by FXM

4 stars Sundialer is a bit of an oddity in The Enid's catalogue. It contains five tracks, four of there are reworkings/remixes of previous compositions, only the title track is a new piece. They have introduced a dance/electronic element to the music. When it was released in 2005 there was a mixed reaction from Enid fans and it is commonly regarded as one of their weaker works. However, I quite like it and it remains one of my favourite Enid albums.

Sundialer the title track and the only new composition starts off as a typical classical sounding Enid track then evolves into a more modern sounding piece with a dance beat - Enid music you almost could dance to if so inclined!!!! Although interspersed with some bursts of lead guitar and more classical passages.

Track two is Chaldean Crossing originally appeared on The Seed and The Sower from 1988. A nice mellow track.

This is followed by Dark Hydraulic one of my all time favourite Enid tracks. This was original on their previous album Tripping the Light Fantastic from 1994 (another superb album) I saw them play this live last year and they performed a blistering version of it - it was outstanding. The version on this album is a bit more subdued again with a bit of a dance beat but nevertheless it is a fine piece of music.

Track 4 is Ultra Violet Cat which was also from Tripping the Light Fantastic. This is a more of an electronic composition and is a mellow dreamy piece.

The final track is Salome 95 from of course the 1986 album Salome. This has some vocals but more as a sound effect than as song based lyrics and again has the dance beat in the background. Some may find this off-putting if they know the original well but it gives the track a different feel.

Overall it quite a relaxing mellow album.

 Human Race Party by TERU'S SYMPHONIA album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.67 | 10 ratings

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Human Race Party
Teru's Symphonia Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars When you have a secure contract and manage to set up a stable line-up, life becomes easier.And Teru's Symphonia became part of this rule.Three years between the debut and ''Egg the universe'', but just one between the second and third album , ''Human race party''.1989 was the year of release and Crime was again the supporting label.

This one belongs among the most uneven efforts by the Japanese veterans, containing both weak and masterful moments.For example, the title track is one of the best pieces ever recorded by the band, bombastic, pompous Symphonic Rock with beautiful Classical variations/interludes in the style of THE ENID and strong keyboard pyrotechnics of the E.L.P. school, while Megumi's voice is absolutely efficient.The relaxed ''The clock'' is too long for its own good, sounding like a hypnotic GERARD with orchestral synths/sampled strings and melodic guitars, but dynamics is an issue here.With ''Midnight dreamer'' both the energy of the band and Megumi's nice voice are back for a track with definite symphonic colors and a style close to the more familiar GERARD stylings, even the guitars are harder and some jazzy bits are thrown in, pretty fine cut despite some AOR leanings.''In the back of Welfare'' sounds actually more like a poem , the sensitive CAMEL-esque guitar melodies with the atmospheric keyboards will save the day, but again this one is pretty long to be appreciated.''After the party'' is one the most Neo Prog-gy tracks of the album with theatrical leanings and some cheesy, almost childish vocals in the process, the music is mostly good, swirling around fairytale passages and grandiose Symphonic Rock with pronounced synth parts.On the other hand ''Twinkle children'' sounds the most dramatic piece in here with a melancholic vocal performance and depressive/atmospheric piano themes towards a very pompous second part with full-blown orchestral atmospheres and cinematic melodies, great piece.

Had the band followed the style of the opening and closing tracks, we would be talking about a Japanese Prog masterpiece.At the form it was released, ''Human race party'' remains a pretty nice effort along the attempts on Symphonic Rock during the 80's.Anyway, ''Twinkle children'' and the eponymous opener are fantastic enough to make you track this down.Recommended.

 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.63 | 133 ratings

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Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Suedevanshoe

3 stars Soft Vanilla for sure, but I love this album in the same way I love Rubber Riff by Soft Machine and Blitz by Thirsty Moon. It's transitional fluff probably in part to keep with the times and in part because this monster four piece ran out of useful ideas. Akkerman is restrained, the music is a mishmash of background music like the kind you'd hear in an elevator or grocery store. It is tasteful and has a place in my collection as background music, a curiosity I pull out sometimes when I'm washing my car. Serious prog fans should check out previous releases, Focus is a great band. This is not a great album, but All Together....Oh That! is a superb, awesome instrumental that features pedal steel and terrific piano and wouldn't be out of place on a Flying Burrito Brothers album. That song is worth the price of the album for me. It's gorgeous, if you have a chance listen to it
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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
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