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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 | 3240 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 2981 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 2580 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.42 | 2485 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2235 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.41 | 1231 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagård
4.38 | 1843 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.38 | 1582 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2169 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.38 | 917 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2095 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.29 | 1997 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.27 | 1822 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.27 | 1608 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.34 | 610 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.31 | 799 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.23 | 1414 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.27 | 738 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagård
4.25 | 709 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.17 | 1666 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

BOOK OF HOURS
Willowglass
NOCHE ABIERTA
Cai
SAECULA SAECULORUM
Saecula Saeculorum
ET APRÈS
Memoriance

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Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light) by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.30 | 90 ratings

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Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light)
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by progbaby

4 stars 4.3 stars :-)

Best Renaissance album since "Song for all Seasons". Might even be better than that. Does not matter. Great stuff.

I respect everyone's review here on this album. I respect the low reviews and the high reviews. We all see/hear different things in the same album. What makes the world exciting.

I'm not hearing any "tiredness/weariness" from Annie's voice. I don't know how old she is now but I imagine perhaps in her early-mid 60's?

The opening "Symphony of Light" his you hard with her angelic/operatic style similar to what you hear on SCHEHERAZADE and other stories. Fabulous. Add in the usual classic 70's Renaissance classical riff sections with piano/bass, etc.. Just this song alone makes the album worth while.

"Waterfall" so much reminds me of the classic "Bound for Infinity" from Prologue. OMG, I'm back in 1972 again and it's 2014.

"Grandine il Vento" is another classic 70's sounding piece that could easily find a home on their "Ashes are burning" album.

Ian Anderson adds a nice touch with his flute solo on "Cry to the world"... Just fabulous.

"Air of Drama" sort of reminds me of the song "Kiev" from Prologue. Almost like a Dr. Zhivago soundtract song :-)

So nice to hear John Wetton on Blood/Siler/Like Moonlight. Haunting melodies.

Album closes with an attempt for the most powerful fairytale like song "Mystic and the Muse". Classic sound.

Personally, I prefer the opening track but this is a very strong effort from 2 of the members of their classic 70's period.

I wish Camp/Tout were back (for completist novelty sake) but this is not to take anything away from their replacements who were excellent.

This is a wonderful "return to the Prologue --> Scheherezade" period.

Annie's voice has not lost a step. In-fact, it's even more operatic here and she still hits those high notes.

One way or another, this album is a blessing. considering years back in the 90s I never figured they would ever reform. Tucsany (2000) was a nice album but was more 90's-like. This album is intentionally a return back to their 70's sound.

I am so grateful that they reunited back to do this. This is not just a ho-hum "lets do one for old time sake" albums. They put their heart and soul into this. And it shows. To Annie and the rest, I'm so appreciative for this album!!

Right on up there with the classic albums they did in the 70's. There's nothing "modern" sounding. You could have haev released this in 1973-1974 and it would have fit right in.

 Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light) by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.30 | 90 ratings

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Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light)
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Billy900

4 stars I've enjoyed the work of Renaissance since the 70's but have recently revisited some of the core albums:-

1974 Turn Of The Cards 1975 Scheherazade And Other Stories 1976 Live at Carnegie Hall

I've spent many many hours in recent years swallowed up in these masterpieces which are all solid 4 and 5 star albums in my view.

Being a big fan of the original sound, I approached 2013's Symphony of Light with caution but was surprised and delighted with the material and the performances. This album is absolutely classic Renaissance in every way. Annie Haslam, who's voice is one of the defining qualities of the band, is spot on, hitting impossible notes and retaining that unique clarity of tone throughout. The quality of the compositions is right up there with their core albums as far as I can hear, and Symphony of Light can be listened to right after Scheherazade without skipping a beat - they flow so naturally, it could have been recorded the same year.

High points for me are "Porcelain" with beguiling atmosphere, hook and melody, the acoustic piano driven "Blood Silver Like Moonlight" with a great vocal duet, and the somewhat Lloyd- Webber-esqe "Tonight" - just a sublime anthem, with some headphone challenging high-notes!! Be warned. Weaker tracks: "Immortal Beloved" and "The Mystic and the Muse" are still engagingly theatrical songs that would be standouts in almost any other song-list.

It's very unusual that a band can connect to the muse so strongly 40 years later!

I'd really like to give this 4.5 stars, but 4 is fair!

 Long Goodbyes by CAMEL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Long Goodbyes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It was until ten years ago that I first listened to CAMEL`s "Stationary Traveller" album, and it also was ten years ago when I wrote a review about it . And by the way, it also was ten years ago when I started to write reviews in Prog Archives and also I was asked then to become a Prog Reviewer. Tonight I discovered that this single was without a review, so I am writing a review about it.

I first saw the "Stationary Traveller" album in some record shops in my city in 1984, and more because it was released by a record label in my country. At that time, I never have listened to CAMEL, and I really was not interested in this band. It was unitl 1993 that I first listened to this band.

Like other Prog Rock bands, CAMEL by 1984 became a more commercially oriented band, and "Stationary Traveller", despite having some very good Prog Rock arrangements, was not an exception. The conceptual theme of the album is now somewhat dated (Cold War) but by 1984 it still was a bit relevant for some people. It also had some typical things from the 80s, like the use of electronic drums, the use of some then new digital keyboards which sometimes sounded like being programmed, and a very "digital" sound. It is a good album, anyway.

Maybe "Long Goodbyes" is the best song from that album, but the live version which was included in the "Pressure Points - Camel Live in Concert" video was played better, with more energy, despite being somewhat marred (like other songs from that video) by a very "telenovela" style conceptual video which was showed along the images from the concert. Fortunately, the band decided to re-release the video of that concert titled as "Total Pressure" with more songs years later ...and fortunately without those "telenovela" style scenes. "Long Goodbyes" is really a ballad, a good ballad, with music from Andy Latimer and lyrics from Susan Hoover (Latimer`s wife, who also wrote the idea for the concept of the album...and maybe also the ideas for those scenes which I don`t like from the original "Pressure Points" video).

The song from the B-side, "Waltzing Frauleins", was not originally included in the "Stationary Traveller" album, but it was included at the start of the "Pressure Points" concert video. I don`t like this song, but it was finally included as a bonus track in the reissued version of the "Stationary Traveller" album some years ago.

 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Thai Divone

4 stars Asia Minor is a unique band. It is a small one, not widely known, and this one feels so? I would have said mine, but it is not right. And yet, there is something in their music that is closer to me that many other bands. Perhaps it is the middle-eastern sound, or perhaps it's the way I found them, going through long lists in dark hours, when I had the time, when I was younger than today. But this band, and especially this album, is one of those that shaped me, that made me what and who I am.

If I had to describe their music, it will be a combination of Genesis, Camel and early King Crimson, with the addition of some middle-eastern influences and a great rhythm section. The music is complex, but not too much, feeling a little bit like the connection, the missing link, between Mirage and Moonmadness to Marillion's Jester.

Nightwind opens with a great bass-drums line, accompanied a little bit later by a very nice guitar and keyboards duet. 44 seconds and it starts to change, adding some great solos by the guitars, keyboards and an amazing flute. 1:48 and we're changing again, and around the 2 minutes mark words enter. The song becomes much slower, much calmer. The bridges between the verses are made by some amazing flute lines. 3:40 and we're changing again, getting into shape, moving rhythmically forward. Very Camelish transitions. 4:46 and we're changing again, getting back to a slower pace, moving towards the ending section. It feels grandiose, but so right. The guitars take the lead in this section, and it is just amazing.

Northern Lights opens with some ethereal keyboards, a little bit pastoral, a little bit spacey. Flute enters at 39 seconds. A soft fingerstyle guitar accompanies it all. 2:08 and all is changing, a new musical world enters. Electric Guitars take us through a new journey. And yet, I always feel during those moments the real star is the drummer, who is just mind-blowingly amazing. 3:43 and we're changing to a lot softer section, with vocals entering around the 4:35 mark. 5:14 a guitar-based bridge, and then the vocals return 20 seconds later. A nice guitar solo takes us to the end, playing over a little fingerstyle riff.

Boundless then starts, a short ballad. A little bit simple, yet so very beautiful. Unlike the rest of the songs in here, this one is very classic-rock in terms of structure, with a verse-chorus thing, and a long middle 8 as an outro.

Dedicace, on the other hand, reminds me a little bit of Ashes are Burning in terms of the bass line, but just a little. The flute, though, is unique and amazing. It goes all rock-y at around 1:15, with the drums yet again amazing. 1:54 and we're changing again, transitioning towards a different rock-ish sound. And at 2:48 vocals enter, and they're sung like their on fire. It reminds a little bit of Lady Fantasy. 3:22 and we're changing again, going to a more gentle sound, before picking a different pace at around 3:52. The guitar riff beneath the vocals is no less than brilliant. 5:03 and we're picking the pace again, back to the rock-ish sound, back to the Lady Fantasy like sound. Then it almost too abruptly ends, at around 5:58, leaving us with a lone Hammond note.

Lost in a Dream Yell is so ethereal, starting with some stormy SFX and then going slowly towards strong (but not heavy) notes by the bass accompanied by a great electric guitar lead and a nice keyboards arpeggio. The drums are just precise, making the sounds just when needed, with no beat to waste. 2:20 gives us a new spacey line, before going almost silence for a few seconds. The stage is cleared for the SFX and fingerstyle guitar, only to serve as a background to an amazing flute solo. The drums are soft, and a little bit march-ial. Different instruments share the stage with the flute, each time a different one taking the stage for a few phrases.

Dreadful Memories opens a little bit like the soundtrack for a James Bond movie (or at least, that's what it reminds to me), picking a nice pace before keyboards join around the 49 seconds mark. It's a little bit repetitive, a little bit "not-going-to- anywhere", but after all those great composing achievements, it's nice to get something simple for a change. It is not a great track by itself, but it is the perfect fit for this album.

And so the album ends- perfectly, but way too short. So, is this album an essential addition? I don't think so, but one can't wrong go wrong with this album though. So? 4 stars and a half, rounded down for being non-essential.

 Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome by YES album cover Live, 2014
3.08 | 6 ratings

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Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars A band that didn't make a great album in decades is still popular around the world. So they can't stop touring even if their lead singer Jon Anderson is not there anymore. Jon Davidson has replaced Benoit David and Geoff Downes replaced Rick Wakeman on keyboards. So the machine is still rolling at the same level. The songs are played faithfully with the unique style of playing of Steve Howe on guitar and Chris Squire on bass. Alan White looking much older got enough juice to sustain the rhythm section.This show shot in high definition is only available in stereo, believe it or not. And the make things worst, they decided for whatever reason to exclude the album "Close To The Edge" in this live release. So we have a short hour and thirty minutes of the albums "Going for the One" and "The Yes album" and no extras at all. Also the visuals are nonexistent with a amateur light show. It could have been much better for this legendary band.
 Sommerabend by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 142 ratings

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Sommerabend
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Thai Divone

4 stars Novalis are a magnificent band. Some even call this band legendary. So when I first came to this album, the one regarded as their best, I came to it with high anticipations. I hoped for something unique, revolutionizing. As it turns out, they're not revolutionary, but rather very much symphonic, especially Romantic-period style symphonic.

But it doesn't mean that I was disappointed, as this album is another one of my favorites. It combines much emotion with much elegance, and just like the poetry of Novalis himself, or the poetry of Coleridge and Byron, beauty and virtuosi join forces to create something that is so old and primitive, yet so fresh and new.

The album opens with the magnificent Aufbruch. Some watery sound effects lead to an amazing keyboards riff, with added sparkles of an amazing yet simple electric guitar. Drums and bass join around the 35 seconds mark. Hammond joins not much later, and it all centers around the keyboards' riff, that still grows and changes, even though it does that a little bit slowly.1:48 and we're presented with our guitar motive, an amazing, elegant and beautiful line, and then the piece's pace grows, all to lead to a certain spacey feel. Neo-Prog and Kraut-Rock join forces with some Beethoven? Perhaps. The motive comes back, leading this time to a different segment, at around 4:00. Slow, with much use of drums and bass.at around 4:26 it changes yet again, going the keyboards-rock route. Quick and precise, virtuosic and suspenseful. Then it changes again, around 5:15. Then layers are taken off, leaving us with only bass, Hammond and drums, only to inject them again. Then we're presented with the keyboards riff from the beginning, this time on a different instrument and with a much rock-ish feel. 6:53 and the motive is presented again, feeling much fuller and much more worthwhile and hard-won.7:32 leads to a beautiful guitar solo, simple yet beautiful. Two guitars harmonize each other, solo on each other's backs. Then a rock-ish bridge to bring us near the ending segment, or should I say to another keyboards riff? And then the closing segment, which is a little bit just like the way we begun, with the same "keyboards-with-some-electric-guitar-sparkles", and then another SFX as an ending. What a great way to open the album.

Wunderschätze opens much more quickly, and around the 34 seconds mark stops a little to let the fingerstyle guitar-riff take its place. Vocals join around 1:10. I wished that I knew some German, to understand them, but they do sound beautiful, and so full of sorrow. It does feel, though, like a verse-chorus-verse-chorus kind of song during those early minutes. Before the harmonies of 3:12, but the pace is built during those moments, all to lead to a certain come-back to the early riff-like beginning. The bass here is no less than amazing. 4:08 is where the song starts to really shine with some amazing instrumentals building on each other. Keyboards solo, then electric guitar, then an almost drum-solo and back to the guitars. And around 5:24 we're back to the beginning riff-like motive. 5:48 and we're back to the fingerstyle guitar. This time it is different, and it is allowed to linger a little bit, before coming back to the vocals and to the earlier sound of it. 8:06 and we're back to the instrumentals, more suspenseful and a little bit less melodic. And it all feels like building to a certain crescendo, with layers added and pace rising slowly but surely. And when it comes? It doesn't disappoint.

Sommerabend is the side-long track, and it opens slowly, taking the time to build itself. It sounds spacy, known but unknown, English yet so-not-English. Drums and keyboards on them, doing no less than magic. The bass is slow and simple, yet adds so much. Then a keyboards motive enters around 2:10, giving us an ethereal feel. Nylon-string guitars enter around 3:10. 3:51 and a fingerstyle guitar riff is presented to us. 4:30 and some lone and long keyboard's notes are added, and sometimes it is just Hammond chords. It takes its time, giving us the atmosphere it deserves, building it for us. 6:19 and vocals join in. they feel like the words of a man who saw too much for his own good. 8:14 and we're back to instrumentals, changing the song completely but not too much, guitars giving us a beautiful harmony around 9:03, and then we're back to vocals around 9:20. It feels a bit conservative, during those moments, like they hold themselves in purpose. 10:00 and we get the vocalic melody, on Moog. 10:40 and we're back to vocals. 11:24 and we're back to keyboards' melody. And then it builds to? 12:06 is a mark than one just has to listen to for himself/herself. There's no way to describe the change of pace, the genius of this transition. It is just mind-blowingly brilliant. The change backwards, at 14:28 is no less amazing. 15:07 and the vocals come back again, a little bit happier, and the voices are harmonizing each other. 16:32 and we're back to the sound of the piece's beginning, even though it is a bit more spacy, more ethereal, more airy. This circular ending, though, feels so right for this piece, so part of its genius.

And so the album ends. Which brings me to its rating question, because as much as I like it, essential? I don't think so. So 4 stars: excellent (and even more than just excellent) addition to any Prog-Rock collection, but not essential.

 The King by LIFE LINE PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 44 ratings

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The King
Life Line Project Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The game of life is present on Life Line Project's next work.After being diagnosed with cancer and told to have only months left to live, Erik de Beer wanted desperately to finish an ambitious suite, which he started working back in 1978 with his first group J.S. Quasar and then with Zoundworks.The more serious attempts came upon Life Line Project's formation with an early version clocking at about 23 minutes.His backing group now was Ludo de Murianos on drums, Ramon Bergwerff on bass and Bram Vroon on guitars with three guest singers and a small orchestra, featuring classical instruments like bassoon, oboe, flutes and clarinet.By the end of the recording the diagnosis had changed from cancer to sarcoïdose, but de Beer had also to face his wife depression after such an intense period of pressure.He was convinced to release the album, so this would be launched in 2009 after so many years of working and an emotionally very hard period.

''The king'' had now reached the mark of 38 minutes, a long Symphonic Rock opus, divided in 10 variations, presenting the already familiar style of the band, now showered by lovely acoustic Classical sections, which even have a slight MIKE OLDFIELD perfume due to the surprising use of mandolin.Instrumentally ''The king'' is extremely tight and well-composed, some straight rock tunes are a bit out of place, but most of it is solid Symphonic Rock with beautiful keyboard parts, performed on synths, organ and harsichord by de Beer, and a new guitar hero found in the face of Bram Vroon, an excellent player, which could add some furious chops and memorable melodious lines in the process.While the music is pretty great, I can't say the same thing about the lifeless vocals, both male and female, propably de Beer needed a more professional team to sing the lyrics, because the present vocalists had not enough range to support the music.The drumming is also a bit robotic, but fortunately de Beer and Vroon will dominate the composition with their influences from CAMEL, FOCUS and even THE ENID, creating a powerful and talented duo of guitars/keyboards, flavored by the small Classical injections of the suporting orchestra.''The king'' is not the sole piece displayed in the album, there are four more songs offered in the opening minutes, somewhere between Neo Prog and dark Retro Prog, always guided by de Beer's keyboard acrobatics, especially his organ parts are impressive, much in the vein of E.L.P., with his synth flashing showing strong links to the sound of ABEL GANZ and MARILLION.

Had ''The king'' been recorded with a more expressive vocal team and lacking the few yet present straightforward lines, we would be talking about a great Symphonic Rock fest.The album still comes warmly recommended, because de Beer is an excellent composer and player, while Vroon is definitely the most accomplished and passionate guitarist he ever had in his group.Some great dramatic passages and charming orchestrations are the best highlights of the album.

 Voyeur by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.33 | 15 ratings

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Voyeur
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by fphoenix

5 stars It's been five years since their last album and while the personnel is largely the same, Moongarden's style has changed for the better since "A Vulgar Display of Prog".

"Voyeur" is a much more focused concept album that follows the story of Vickey as she spies on various other characters living in a skyscraper. The album incorporates a wide variety of styles and sounds yet manages to make them work together cohesively within the context of the album. There's no filler tracks on here. Every single song gets 5 stars from me. "Voyeur" is full of breathtaking moments from start to end, finishing off with the astounding "Message From The Last Floor" and sublime "Voyeur Part Two".

Moongarden has never made a secret of their Genesis influence, but it's never been more clear than it is on Voyeur. Parts of the album sound like they would've fit right in on "Wind & Wuthering" or "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway".

That being said, although they've brought the typical array of Banks-like synths and Hackett style guitar solos to the mix, Moongarden brings the classic Genesis sound to modern times. The addition of new electronic sounds, instruments, and modern effects not typically seen in prog rock give it a new dimension. This isn't some copy. They've brought prog rock to the 21st century with great success.

As for the vocals, Simone Baldini Tosi does incredibly. His emotional delivery throughout lend the songs a lot of power. He also contributes by way of violin, used only a few times but very effectively. Every time the violin enters the picture is a highlight.

An absolute masterpiece. If you're looking for what Genesis might have sounded like had they never lost their sense of musical experimentation, look no further.

 Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.86 | 49 ratings

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Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by lampug

3 stars oh my lord!!!! female vocal? came on...... by any doubt the album is not to bad , the new parts quite interesting... but the female vocal ? It has nothing to do with the music ! Problably i have listen for too much time the original album, one of my Rick's favorite, with all of his problems (poorly mixed, performance from the orchestra not perfect,, singers off-key at times and so on...) ..... I think this new record is less exciting than the old one . I will give 3 stars just in memory of old times, otherwise 2 .
 Spyglass Guest by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 80 ratings

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Spyglass Guest
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars What a charming little band Greenslade were! Not exactly the coolest of prog bands (Ha, as if there has even been such a thing!), there's a slightly daggy appeal to Greenslade and their mostly upbeat, infectious and proudly melodic duel keyboard player dominated music. Very easy to listen to and enjoy, full of colourful and joyful instrumental runs and quirky vocal numbers, their third album, 1974's `Spyglass Guest', is not quite as successful as the previous albums, but there's still plenty of undemanding and tastefully played adventurous rock music to discover. Perhaps the song-writing on the vocal pieces isn't as strong or catchy this time around, but the instrumental passages and overall great playing makes it another worthy addition to their run of very decent albums from their vintage 70's peak period.

Opening instrumental `Spirit of the Dance' couldn't be more appropriately titled, because the energetic synth duellings full of movement of Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson couldn't be more dance-like! A cute keyboard jig with playful Moog spirals, light Mellotron flecks (pretty sure the 'Tron is actually singing in the final minute too!) and glistening electric piano with Andrew Mculloch's urgent snappy drumming, it's almost like a more peppy version of those rollicking Genesis and P.F.M numbers in parts. Odd jazz/fusion groover `Little Red Fry-Up' is almost comical with a variety of loopy vocals with lightly naughty grooves worked through slinking bass, tinkling electric piano and bluesy electric guitar wailing. The slightly melancholic `Rainbow' is full of mystery, eerie electronic drones, ambient synths and creeping electric piano with sighing group harmonies. `Siam Seesaw' might have one of the loveliest and most romantic melodies on any Greenslade album, drowsy acoustic guitar and dazzling harpsichord weaving blissfully together with humming bass and dreamy electric piano.

The almost nine minute symphonic piece `Joie de Vivre' turns out to be quite a jaunty tune, with many frequently whimsical moments driven by stirring violin and joyous keyboard soloing that wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of the mid 70's Caravan albums. `Red Light' is a brief somewhat silly vocal/electric piano piece that appears to be about a prostitute or an obsession with a cheater partner - maybe both! `Melancholic Race' doesn't really develop too well, jumping around from nice sweeping Mellotron fanfare, strolling electric piano walkabouts and outright jazz/fusion rupturing bass explosions. It's a whole mess of ideas, but a glorious and addictive tasty mess all the same! The album closes on a fairly plodding yet smooth cover of Jack Bruce's `Theme For An Imaginary Western', let down by a scratchy endless Lawson vocal that pushes the friendship, but at least Tony Reeves' lovely murmuring bass lifts it slightly higher.

Greenslade remind me of a band like Fruupp in that they released a run of quality albums in their vintage prime and got out before the rot of too much commercial pressure and the changing musical taste of the public led them to making really sub-standard albums. `Spyglass Guest' may not be the most challenging or important prog album, but there's still so much to enjoy about it, performed by a first-rate bunch of musicians, and it probably works best as a pleasing background listen.

Three 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
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
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
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
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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