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SYMPHONIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Symphonic Prog definition

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Iván Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 06/02/16

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

Symphonic Prog Top Albums


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

4.66 | 3925 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 3642 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.60 | 3152 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.44 | 3082 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2749 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.39 | 2299 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.37 | 1967 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2661 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.38 | 1507 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagård
4.35 | 1126 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2587 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.29 | 2495 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.29 | 1998 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.27 | 2237 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.31 | 1015 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.32 | 757 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.24 | 1824 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.25 | 942 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagård
4.25 | 883 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.22 | 949 ratings
LEFTOVERTURE
Kansas

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

L'ARBRE-CIMETIÈRE
Maldoror
WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus
BOOK OF HOURS
Willowglass
HIJOS DEL AGOBIO
Triana

Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome by YES album cover Live, 2014
2.78 | 48 ratings

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

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars A (dull) venture

Having released Fly From Here - a belated follow-up to 1980's Drama - in 2011, and with four of the five members that originally played on Drama it would had been the perfect time to resurrect the Drama material and perform it side by side with the "new" Fly From Here material (especially as Jon Anderson was now no longer in the band). I would have loved to have a live album with all the songs from Drama as well as the full Fly From Here suite. The latter has never been featured on an official live recording. They did indeed play a couple Drama songs live and some from Fly From Here, but sadly no official live recording emerged from those shows.

A couple of years later they instead released this live album containing 1971's The Yes Album and 1977's Going For The One albums performed in their entirety. Now, I'm sure it would have been nice to be there on the night, but in the form of a live album this doesn't work so well. One of the charms of live albums is that songs from diverse sources can be heard in a new context. Performing the songs in their original album running order only tends to emphasise how inferior this line up is to the original ones. The weakest link is Jon Davison whose voice is too weak and thin to carry these songs. I catch myself wondering "why am i listening to this instead of the original studio album?" Besides, almost all of these songs have appeared on earlier official live recordings in much better versions. The only rarity is A Venture which haven't appeared on an official live album before.

While I am really glad that Geoff Downes got a second chance with Yes as there clearly was unfinished business there that he got to fulfil by re-joining the band and completing Fly From Here after all those years, it would have made lot more sense for this version of Yes to focus on the material that Downes played on originally instead of having him mimic Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman which makes a lot less sense.

An unnecessary live release.

 Karda Estra & Artemiy Artemiev: Equilibrium by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.23 | 9 ratings

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Karda Estra & Artemiy Artemiev: Equilibrium
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars I was having a conversation one day with Richard Wileman, and had been looking through his back catalogue and noticed that I hadn't heard everything he had released. So, this how I have come about to be listening to this 2002 album which was a collaboration between Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev (synthesiser, sampler, electronics, percussion) and Richard Wileman (guitar, bass, electronic and acoustic percussion, loops, vocal and woodwind arrangements), along with Ileesha Bailey (vocals, breathing loop) and Caron Hansford (oboe, cor anglais). Apparently, this was one of four collaborative albums released by Artemiev in 2002, and he has certainly had a major impact on the overall sound as there are significant parts where I wouldn't have said that this was a Karda Estra release at all.

It is the songs where Richard has the upper hand, such as "Open Window", where the album comes to life. The background stays where it belongs, and Richard's guitar provides a repetitive motif that works well, but there are many others where this is an ambient electronic album where Richard is not able to make the impact that he would if it was all under his control. That the artists recorded separately, Karda Estra in England and Artemiev in Russia, probably says a lot about the album itself. That Artemiev's name comes first on the cover probably says even more.

I have been a huge fan of Richard for more than twenty years, long before Karda Estra back when he was working as Lives & Times, but although there are elements that I really enjoyed, overall this is just too ambient electronic for me.

 A Nod And A Wink by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.96 | 614 ratings

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A Nod And A Wink
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 116

'A Nod And A Wink' is the fourteenth studio album of Camel and is also their last original studio album until now. It was released in 2002. It's true they released a new version of 'The Snow Goose' in 2013, but this isn't an original new work. The album was dedicated to Peter Bardens, their former keyboardist and one of the main composers of the group with Andrew Latimer, in their first musical period. Sadly Bardens passed way in January of the same year, in 2002.

The line up on the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, flute, guitars and keyboards), Guy LeBlanc (backing vocals and keyboards), Colin Bass (backing vocals and bass guitar), Denis Clement (drums), Terry Carelton (backing vocals and drums) and J.R. Johston (backing vocals).

'A Nod And A Wink' has seven tracks. The first track 'A Nod And A Wink', is the title track and was written by Latimer, Hoover and LeBlanc. It's an incredible song to open the album and represents one the greatest moments on it. This is also one of the lengthiest songs composed by them. It's a song where the music flows constantly and has also a great musical structure. This is a great epic song that moves beautifully and where the vocals fit very well. The second track 'Simple Pleasures' written by Latimer and Hoover is a very beautiful and melancholic song and represents for me one of the most beautiful moments on the album. It has a great rhythm section very well accompanied by great guitar work. On this album, and particularly on this song, we can feel the similitude of the styles of Latimer and David Gilmour on guitars. However and despite that, I think Latimer has his own style. This is really a very enjoyable and beautiful song. The third track 'A Boy's Life' written by Latimer and Hoover is a song that begins very calm, with acoustic guitar and vocals. It's a song with different musical passages with calm and nice moments and fast and explosive moments. This is also a slow and an acoustic track. The second part of the song is really good and has a fantastic guitar work too. This is the song which is particularly dedicated to Bardens and it has in me strong emotional feelings. The fourth track 'Fox Hill' written by Latimer and Hoover is a happy song very well structured. This is a song with great electric guitar work, fantastic keyboards and good drumming work too. It has even a mini drum solo. It's an enjoyable song, very consistent, that delivers an excellent musical composition. This song reminds me strongly Genesis in Peter Gabriel's era, particularly the lengthy and great epic songs made by them, like 'The Battle Of Epping Forest'. It's probably Latimer's musical composition more close to Genesis' sound. I've no problem with that because, in the first place I love Genesis and in the second place the typical Camel's sound is always present all over the song. The fifth track 'The Miller's Tale' written by Latimer and Hoover is a short and sweet acoustic ballad in the typical Camel's style. The first part of the song begins with acoustic guitar played in Steve Hackett's style and the second part is a typical symphonic song. It's the simplest track on the album and is probably the weakest too. However, it's a very beautiful and a peaceful moment, with good flute and great acoustic strings works. I enjoy it very much. The sixth track 'Squigely Fair' written by Latimer is almost an instrumental song that takes us to the good old times of Camel in the 70's, and that reminds us strongly their third album 'The Snow Goose'. It's a song full of good flute and acoustic works which brings us an enjoyable and beautiful moment of peace and tranquillity. This is one of the highest moments on the album. The seventh and last track 'For Today' written by Latimer and LeBlanc is another song with a guitar sound very close to the floydian style. This is a song very well sung and with great guitar work, with a guitar solo really stunning, and also good drumming. Oh Boy. The final of the song is absolutely incredible and represents for me a real hymn to their music and to the progressive music in general. Here we can feel the emotion of the music at its peak. That is really astonishing. This is, in my humble opinion, a great and a perfect ending not only for this album but probably and sadly for their thirty years of career.

Conclusion: Fifteen years have passed since the release of this album, and due to Latimer's health problems, this was probably their last original studio work too. However, I think they can be proud to leave us a great musical legacy. Camel is one of the few groups that always maintained a certain musical coherence and never forgot their progressive roots. I want to leave my deep admiration and my personal thanks to one of the greatest and most important prog rock bands and to leave also my homage to Bardens. He was one of the finest keyboardists ever and his presence in the first musical period of Camel was one of the keys of their sound. He and Latimer are one of the best prog composers' duos of ever. 'A Nod And A Wink', is a truly masterpiece. It's very well produced and all songs have good arrangements. The quality of the musicians needs no comment. The album has a more melancholy and mellow style than earlier works of Camel, but it fits the process of getting older, not only Latimer, but also his fans from the past, of whom I'm one too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Bedside Manners Are Extra by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.45 | 161 ratings

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Bedside Manners Are Extra
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Most critics and fans alike rate Bedside Manners Are Extra as Greenslades best album. I tend to agree with them. Not that is great, but surely is far superior to their disappointing debut (although the cover did become quite iconic) and everything they put out after that too. The LP has a consistency that no other of their releases had, with the good moments outlasting the mediocre ones, especially on the instrumental parts. The vocals are not bad either, Dave Dawson doesn´t blow things up like he would on 1975´s Time And Tide but once again this CD, like all others by this grup, shows why he is not exactly one of prog´s most loved singers.

Anyway, there is a maturity on the compositions and the arrangements are tasteful most of the time, If you´re a fan of keyboards driven, guitar-less bands, or has a special love those analog, vintage keyboards sounds, this is a nice finding. Unfortunately not even here they find a way to sabotage a nice song with the apply titled Drum Folk. Yes, they recorded a drum solo in the studio. And, believe it or not, the short instrumental middle section has probably the best melody line of the whole disc. its a very fine moment. Then the drums come again and spoiled it all. A real shame, but quite telling. It is no wonder they never made prog´s first league.

Conclusion: Greenslade best, no doubt about it. I guess the only one I can hear from start to finish without skipping a track (even with that very annoying drum solo). If you´re new to this band, this is a good starting point. At least some coherence and an overall good songwriting throughout.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

 Tavasz by YESTERDAYS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Tavasz
Yesterdays Symphonic Prog

Review by Katusnya

— First review of this album —
4 stars After their last single (Indulok - érkezel), Yesterdays is back with a new single, this time as a duet of Koncz Kriszta (lead vocals) and Bogáti-Bokor Ákos (guitars, bass, drums and mellotrons). Built around a Hungarian poem of Háy János, Tavasz (Spring) is a beautiful and melancholic tune. The first impression is that it's an unusual pop song, but after listening it several times you'll find that it's like a HOGARTH era MARILLION song with delay-driven electric guitar soundscapes, mellotron (used with taste) and the guitar solo is 100% Steve ROTHERY. The structure of the song is very interesting. It builds up slowly with a groove, with the addition of deep bass notes (using octave effects) and lush electric guitar chords. The mellotron helps the chorus flow even better and the duet of Kriszta and Ákos sings 4-5 part multiple harmonies over it. After the second verse they transpose the song down a half step. Very surprising move! Kriszta's voice can handle these deep notes, she's an alto singer, so her deep voice really shines in the third verse. The final chorus is the uplifting part of the song, where they use even more vocals to add some kind of gospel feeling to the ending, using hand claps and a constant electric guitar solo in the background. Melodic prog lovers and fans of Hogarth-era Marillion (as me) will love this single. Four solid stars from me as I am looking forward to hear more Yesterdays music in the near future.
 Get Your Dog Off Me! by BEGGARS OPERA album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.38 | 54 ratings

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Get Your Dog Off Me!
Beggars Opera Symphonic Prog

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

3 stars Big changes arrived with Scottish band Beggars Opera's fourth album, the absurdly titled `Get Your Dog Off Me!' in 1973! Bass player and flautist Marshall Erskine had departed before the recording of the previous album `Pathfinder', but more crucially, distinctive and charismatic singer Martin Griffiths was gone this time around too, robbing the band of one of their most defining features. In came new vocalist Linnie Paterson, and now their music was mostly stripped of many of the more interesting prog-rock qualities for something definitely aimed at American audiences. It's not quite the total disaster it's often made out to be, but it will certainly be a disappointment for many of those who enjoyed their previous albums.

The opening title track is a fiery pop-rocker that holds some of the playful cheekiness of those breezier Caravan tracks like `Behind You', although Linnie's gutsy vocals are a world away from Martin Griffith's pomp and it really alters the identity of the group, despite the playing from many of the same musicians clearly still being up to scratch. `Freestyle Ladies' is book- ended as a fairly throwaway piano-pounding retro rock n'roller, but it delivers an ambitious chorus and a rip-roaring brief Hammond solo burst in the middle, while `Open Letter' is an angry tirade against critics and reviewers (uh oh!) that boasts a proud and defiant lead vocal, shambling guitars and thick murmuring bass. `Morning Day' is buoyant country-lite pop, but at least teasing instrumental `Requiem' offers searing electric guitars that have just a little taste of early Seventies Pink Floyd to them, although it sounds underdeveloped and like a fragment of something larger cut down to the scant two minute interlude here.

The second side's opener delivers an unexpected highlight with `Classical Gas', but rather than a tired acoustic remake, the band deliver a pimped-out, progged-up version! Throwing in everything from ravishing piano, sparkling harpsichord, spiralling Moog, frantic drumming, red-hot guitar wailing and searing Mellotron veils, it would have been a complete standout on any of the earlier defining Beggars Opera albums. `Sweet Blossom Woman' is an easy-to-enjoy but throwaway country-flecked rocker (lifted by some breakneck Moog and electric piano soloing in the finale), and confident rocker `Turn your Money Green' slides into ballad-like moments of dreamy chiming guitars and ruminative bass. `La-di-da' is a romantic sing-along with a Joe Cocker-like quality with the warmest of humming Hammond organ, and `Working Man' is a final husky R n'B bluesy rocker that may not be a particularly memorable closer, but it at least allows for nice soloing moments from the players.

Recent CD reissues include two bonus tracks of both sides of an exclusive 1973 single - `Two Timing Woman' is a roaring horn- powered grooving scorcher, and `Lady of Hell-Fire' opens as a baffling screeching AC/DC-ish belter before carrying on as an Atomic Rooster-like heavy metal rocker! These two pieces would have probably jarred with the sound of the proper album, but they might actually be stronger than several of the tracks on it!

Despite the arrangements mostly becoming less intricate and the singing being entirely different to what came before, careful listening to the instrumentation means `Get Your Dog Off Me!' is still recognisable as coming from the musicians who delivered those first three classic Beggars Opera discs. Prog purists will want to stick to those first few, but repeated listens of `Dog' at least reveals an undemanding and enjoyable rock album with very strong melodic qualities and great playing, which is more than enough to gently recommend it.

Two stars as a prog album, but three for a perfectly decent rock album.

 Toward The Sun by DRUID album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 117 ratings

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Toward The Sun
Druid Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars I've just discovered this band, thanks to David Silly Puppy and a YouTube suggestion link. I'm impressed. The Yes similarities are obvious but this album leaves me wondering, "Did every band who ended up sounding like Yes or Genesis intend to come out that way?" Something here makes me answer, "no." The folk-like use of sound and space, the unusual and impressive poetic pronunciation of the singer, the constructs are not quite as classical or hard rock in their outcomes. Classic rock, psychedelia, folk, and even early Styx and Rush and Narada Michael Walden/Nova come to mind. I like the vocal arrangements and sounds more than any of the above (though I find it remarkable that they're all performed by male voices.) A truly enjoyable find that I will without doubt enjoy coming to know more intimately. Nice sound engineering and production throughout. Nobody trying to impress me with their egos, just nice, solid, cohesive, beautifully-constructed songs.

Favorite songs: 1. "Voices" (8:14) (8.5/10); 2. "Remembering" (5:24) (8.5/10); 3. "Theme" (5:26) (9/10) and the title song (5:08) (9/10).

 Rajaz by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.06 | 747 ratings

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Rajaz
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 115

'Rajaz' is the thirteenth studio album of Camel and was released in 1999. The album was considered by both, fans and critics, the return of the band to their original form of music, their original roots, the return to the good old days.

'Rajaz' is a kind of poetry that was sung on caravans during the desert crossing to the rhythm of the camel steps to keep the travellers awake. In contrast to their two predecessors albums, 'Dust And Dreams' and 'Harbour Of Tears', 'Rajaz' isn't a conceptual album. Except in the title track, the theme is only taken up in two other songs, 'Sahara' and 'Lawrence'. Correspondingly, the songs here are more separated, instead of flowing into one another, as happen with the conceptual albums. Musically, 'Rajaz' is nevertheless coherent. The songs aren't really overly complex, and instead, the emphasis is placed on the atmosphere. This was particularly successful on the title track, which in its slow and uniform rhythm, allows the loneliness and strains of the travellers in the desert to be comprehended. Contrary to the earlier Camel's albums, the songs are dominating on 'Rajaz', because only two tracks are instrumental pieces.

The line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (vocals, flute, guitars, keyboards and percussion), Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards), Colin Bass (bass guitar), Dave Stewart (drums and percussion) and Barry Phillips (cello).

'Rajaz' has eight tracks. All tracks were written by Latimer except 'Three Wishes', 'Lost And Found' and 'Lawrence' which were written by Latimer and Susan Hoover. The first track 'Three Wishes' is an instrumental piece, very solid, very intriguing and exotic, which make of it a brilliant opener for the album. The song is very good and the instrumental tune changes for several times all over the song. It's very well performed and has one of the most beautiful guitar works made by Latimer. The second track 'Lost And Found' is another great song. It's a song with a good rhythm and with great combination between guitar and bass which makes an effect on the song pretty good. The song is full of great guitar work and it has also a fantastic keyboard work. This song has good vocal work too. The voice of Latimer is soft and with low timbre. It seems a new Latimer singing. The third track 'The Final Encore' is another captivating piece. It's another song very well sung and it has clearly the influence of the oriental music, making of it a song with an exotic sound. It reminds me the historical time of the Ancient Egypt. It has also interesting organ and guitar works. The fourth track is the title track 'Rajaz'. This is another great song of the album, very temperamental and full of feelings, what gives to this album a certain extravagant ambience and a unique character. It's a very calm song with a very beautiful beginning performed by Latimer's acoustic guitar and Phillips' cello. Latimer's voice is really good, nice, and dreamy and is very relaxing, too. The fifth track 'Shout' is a nice ballad, once more very well sung. It's a song quite different from the other songs on the album. The song is pretty good but it hasn't anything special or fantastic to listen on it. It's perhaps the weaker point on the album, and I may say, the only one. The sixth track 'Straight To My Heart' is a song with a bluesy tune with a slow slide guitar in the style of David Gilmour, which isn't so surprising because Latimer is often compared with him. This is another song with a nice and calm starting, with great singing and beautiful acoustic guitar work. The performance of all musicians is very competent and the song has also a beautiful instrumental ending. The seventh track 'Sahara' is another instrumental piece and represents one of the highest moments on the album and is also the best instrumental track on it. It has wonderful guitar work with some great Arabic musical tones, what can be considered a tribute to the band's own name. This is another song that reaches completely the very special and exotic atmosphere of the all album, like 'Rajaz' and 'Lost And Found' do as well. The eighth track 'Lawrence' is a great ending to the album. This is a song with great and beautiful musical moments and nice guitar solos. Once more we have a song very close to the style of Gilmour with great feeling and good instrumental work. I really enjoy this song.

Conclusion: 'Rajaz' is a very special album for Camel and for Latimer. Twenty three years have passed since Camel released their last great masterpiece, their fourth studio album 'Moonmadness'. So, this can be considered a historic achievement, because it's unusual a band from the 70's release a masterpiece so many years later. 'Rajaz' is a great album, very melancholic and that sounds with influences of the eastern music. It has great musical parts, especially the instrumental parts, and it has unexpected vocal parts too. We may say that Camel pays homage to their natural environment, the deserts and camels. This is perhaps their musical work in which the guitar of Latimer is more close to the sound of the guitar of Gilmour. 'Rajaz' is one of the best Camel's albums and is absolutely an essential piece. The sound is quite different from the 70's, but this is progressivity, and Camel is one of the few 70's progressive bands that still progresses in these days. Buy it, because this is pure Camel's music on its highest peak. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Time And Stars by KARDA ESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.56 | 6 ratings

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Time And Stars
Karda Estra Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars This 2016 album is actually a bringing together of the two 2015 EPs 'The Seas & The Stars' and 'Future Sounds'. So, if you have both then you have no real need to get this, but of course if you haven't then this is an easy way to get them both on a single CD! The first six songs are from the first EP, which according to Richard "chronicles the collision between the Andromeda galaxy and our own Milky Way, the eventual end of everything, a celestial intervention and a return to where everything began - viewed from an impossible, empty shoreline." I couldn't have put it better myself. Here, Richard provides acoustic, electric, classical, prepared and bass guitars, keyboards, melodica, accordion, kalimba, Appalachian dulcimer, rastrophone, bouzouki, glockenspiel, percussion, while Ileesha gives us some of her stunning vocals, and Amy Fry assist with clarinet, alto saxophone and flute. I have found this one of Richard's more difficult releases to write about, as each time I try to write about it I find myself spending way too much time listening to it and not enough time capturing any words! Having the words above saying what this EP is about is a great help, as on this release, as with much of KE's output, this is incredibly visual, and I find myself playing a film in my head while listening to this. One unusual aspect is that Ileesha sings some words, whereas normally her vocals are wordless and eerie, but they fit with the very science fiction feel of the whole piece. This may only be some twenty minutes long, but within the layers and depths the majesty and hypnotic style takes the listener to a far different place.

The second half of the CD is the 'Future Sounds' EP, and here Ileesha features with her wonderful haunting vocals on one number, clarinetist Amy Fry appears on two and drummer Paul Sears on another, but for the most part this is just Richard and whatever instrument he believes is right for the moment. I have long said that Richard is one of our greatest modern classical composers, with more than a hint of film music about what he does, and this is even more cinematic than normal. There is an incredible amount of space within the music, and a haunting ethereal edge that reminds me a lot of some of Roger Eno's work. It is deeply compelling, and is a world where the dominant instrument is a slightly phased poignant electric guitar that is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time. As always with Karda Estra, this is music that really does benefit from being played on headphones: it is important to pay full attention to what is being played, as only then will the listener fully understand the complex yet simplistic world. I can imagine being lost in space, wondering at the majesty of the stars, with this being played as the backdrop, Cinematic, enthralling, beguiling, beautiful Karda Estra.

I gave both EP's top ratings when I reviewed them independently before, so how can I do anything different when reviewing them together? Richard consistently produces some of the most important music coming out of the UK, and I urge anyone who hasn't heard Karda Estra yet to seek them out immediately if not sooner.

 Morsefest 2015 by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
3.08 | 5 ratings

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Morsefest 2015
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Here another live release of Neal Morse or I can say more of "Morsefest" only after a few months the band decided to do another show in the same church that for the DVD Morsefest 2014. This is more than 5 hours of music with 2 complete albums that are played: "Question Mark" and "Sola Scriptura". Those songs have been played before in previous tours and also on the 2008's DVD. So that's where I had troubled with. Those two albums have been released for so long that I did lose the excitement of fresh material. "Question Mark" is a very good album but I didn't have the same fun to watched it here. I did enjoy the 2 songs "The Call" and The Grand Experiment" from the first Neal Morse band album and the cover "MacArthur Park", but I didn't like "New Jerusalem" and the acoustic "Waterfall". Neal did for the first time an epic song of 25 minutes from his first solo album "A Wole New Trip" which is again not his best song.

In the first set, I thought I was having a nightmare when I saw the priest made an appearance in the middle of a song to give his religious speech pitch. I don't think this intrusion belongs in a music concert. But knowing Neal, I knew this was his kind of thing that didn't bother him and was in fact prepared. During the show, there was also some dancing, I didn't think again that this animation was adding something to the show.

In the second set, I jump up off my chair for the first time when I saw Nick D'Vigilio behind the drum set playing one of the best song of Spock's Beard "At The End of the Day". They did another song from Spock's Beard "Wind at my Back" before closing things with a medley of Transatlantic "Whirlwind" album. As for the picture quality and sound, it seems that with each DVD, those things improve as the light show. The 1-hour documentary is very professional and done with some real technician, and also with some good interviews and good stories. The next Morsefest recording is already scheduled and will feature the latest Neal Morse Band album which I will definitely enjoy more than this one.

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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
LEON ALVARADO United States
SERGIO ALVAREZ Argentina
AMAGRAMA Argentina
AMENOPHIS Germany
AMOS KEY Germany
ANABIS Germany
ANCIENT VISION United States
ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE United Kingdom
ANDERSON/STOLT Multi-National
ANGE France
ANGIPATCH France
ÄNGLAGÅRD Sweden
ANIMA Argentina
ANIMA DOMINUM Brazil
ANIMA MORTE Sweden
ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APHÉLANDRA France
APHRODITE'S CHILD Greece
APOCALYPSE Brazil
AQUAPLANAGE United Kingdom
ARABESQUE United States
ARACHNOID France
ARCABUZ Spain
ARION Brazil
ARS NOVA (JAP) Japan
ART IN AMERICA United States
ASA DE LUZ Brazil
ASIA MINOR Turkey
ASTRË United States
ASTURCON Spain
ATILA Spain
ATLANTIS PHILHARMONIC United States
ATLAS Sweden
ATMOSPHERA Israel
ATOLL France
AUTUMN United Kingdom
AUTUMN BREEZE Sweden
AVIVA (AVIVA OMNIBUS) Russia
AXCRAFT United States
AZABACHE Spain
BABYLON United States
BACAMARTE Brazil
BANAAU Italy
BANANA Argentina
BANZAI Belgium
ZELJKO BEBEK AND PODIUM Yugoslavia
BEGGARS OPERA United Kingdom
ROBERT BERIAU Canada
ED BERNARD Canada
BLACK SEPTEMBER United States
BLAKULLA Sweden
BLANK MANUSKRIPT Austria
BLEZQI ZATSAZ Brazil
BLUE SHIFT United States
TOMAS BODIN Sweden
BONDAR & WISE United States
BOX OF SHAMANS United States
BRIMSTONE United States
BURNING CANDLE Germany
BUSKER Canada
CAFEINE France
CAI Spain
CAIRO United States
CAJA DE PANDORA Mexico
CAL Spain
CAMEL United Kingdom
LOS CANARIOS Spain
CANNABIS INDIA Germany
ALEX CARPANI BAND Italy
CAST Mexico
CATHEDRAL United States
CHAKRA United States
CHALCEDONY United Kingdom
CHAOS CODE United States
CHRONOS MUNDI Brazil
JOSÉ CID Portugal
CINEMA Japan
CIRCLE Germany
CITIZEN CAIN United Kingdom
CLAY GREEN'S POLYSORBATE MASQUERADE BAND United States
CLEARLIGHT France
CODA Netherlands
CODICE Mexico
COLLEGIUM MUSICUM Slovakia
COTO EN PEL Spain
COUSINS & CONRAD United Kingdom
COVENANT United States
CRACK Spain
CRAFT United Kingdom
CRESSIDA United Kingdom
CRONICO Mexico
CROOKED MOUTH United Kingdom
CRUCIBLE United States
CRUCIS Argentina
DAWN Switzerland
DEJA-VU Japan
DELUGE GRANDER United States
DIALOGUE (DAWN DIALOGUE) Russia
DIAPASAO Brazil
DISCIPLINE United States
DOGMA Brazil
DORACOR Italy
DOUG WOODS & COLIN POWELL United Kingdom
DR. COENOBITE Netherlands
DRAGONFLY Switzerland
DRAMA France
DRUCKFARBEN Canada
DRUID United Kingdom
EARTH AND FIRE Netherlands
EARTHRISE United States
ECCENTRIC ORBIT United States
ECHOLYN United States
ECLAT / ECLAT DE VERS France
ECLIPSE Brazil
EDEN Canada
EGGROLL Israel
EIK Iceland
ELLESMERE Italy
ELOHIM France
ELOITERON Switzerland
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER United Kingdom
REDJY EMOND Canada
ENGLAND United Kingdom
THE ENID United Kingdom
EPIDAURUS Germany
EPIGNOSIS United States
EPISODE United States
EQUILIBRIO VITAL Venezuela
ESPIRITU Argentina
ESTRUCTURA Venezuela
ETCETERA Denmark
ÉTERNITÉ Canada
ETHOS United States
EVERFRIEND United States
EX-VAGUS France
EXODE France
EXODUS Poland
EZRA WINSTON Italy
FAITHFUL BREATH Germany
FALLING EDGE Canada
FANTASY United Kingdom
FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY United States
FICCION Venezuela
FINCH Netherlands
FIREBALLET United States
FIRST+AID United Kingdom
FLAGSHIP Sweden
FLAME DREAM Switzerland
FLAMING BESS Germany
THE FLOWER KINGS Sweden
FLÜGHT Mexico
FLYTE Belgium
FOCUS Netherlands
FOREVER TWELVE United States
THE FOUNDATION Sweden
FRÁGIL Peru
FRIGHT PIG United States
FROMAGE Japan
FRUUPP Ireland
FUSONIC Netherlands
G.A.L.F. Brazil
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
JORDSJØ Norway
KAIPA Sweden
KAIPA DA CAPO 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
KOGAION Romania
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
MAGIC SPELL Switzerland
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
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MIA Argentina
MIDAS Japan
MIKLAGÅRD Sweden
MIKROMIDAS Norway
MILKWEED Canada
MARIO MILLO Australia
DAVID MINASIAN United States
MIND SKY United States
MINOTAURUS Germany
MIRROR Netherlands
MIZUKAGAMI Japan
MONA LISA France
MONOLITH United States
MOON SAFARI Sweden
MOONGARDEN Italy
MORGAN United Kingdom
MORILD Norway
MORSE CODE Canada
NEAL MORSE United States
TIM MORSE United States
MOSAIK Sweden
MOTH VELLUM United States
MUGEN Japan
JESÚS MUÑOZ FERNÁNDEZ Spain
NAUTILUS Switzerland
IAN NEAL United Kingdom
NEGASPHERE Japan
NESSIE Belgium
NETHERWORLD United States
NEUSCHWANSTEIN Germany
NEVERNESS Spain
THE NEW GROVE PROJECT Sweden
NEXUS Argentina
THE NICE United Kingdom
NOSTRADAMUS Hungary
NOTTURNO CONCERTANTE Italy
NOVALIS Germany
NOVELA Japan
OAKSENHAM Armenia
OCEAN Germany
OCTOPUS (NOR) Norway
ODYSSICE Netherlands
OMNIA Argentina
ONE Argentina
ONIRIS France
OPUS Yugoslavia
ORION France
OUTER LIMITS Japan
PABLO EL ENTERRADOR 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 CORAÇÃO DA TERRA Brazil
SALMON Netherlands
SANDROSE France
GUSTAVO SANTHIAGO Brazil
SCARAMOUCHE Germany
SCHICKE FUHRS & FROHLING Germany
SEBASTIAN HARDIE Australia
SECOND MOVEMENT Germany
SENSITIVE TO LIGHT France
SEVEN REIZH France
SHADES OF DAWN Germany
SHADOW CIRCUS United States
SHARKMOVE Indonesia
SHINGETSU Japan
SHYLOCK France
SICHER Switzerland
SILVER LINING France
SIMON SAYS Sweden
SINKADUS Sweden
SIRIUS Germany
SIXTY-NINE Germany
SKRYVANIA France
SOCIAL TENSION Japan
SOLARIS Hungary
SOULENGINE Italy
SPHINX Multi-National
SPIN XXI Brazil
SPOCK'S BEARD United States
CHRIS SQUIRE United Kingdom
STARCASTLE United States
STENCIL FOREST United States
STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (STERN MEISSEN) Germany
ROINE STOLT Sweden
STONEHENGE France
SUBLIMINAL Argentina
SUPERNOVA Argentina
SURPRISE United States
SWEDISH FAMILY Sweden
SYNOPSIS France
T-TAURI Netherlands
TABULA RASA Finland
TABULA SMARAGDINA Hungary
TAI PHONG France
TANTRA Portugal
TARANTULA Spain
TARKUS Brazil
TAURUS Chile
TAURUS (NETHERLANDS) Netherlands
TEMPUS FUGIT Brazil
O TERÇO Brazil
TERPANDRE France
TERU'S SYMPHONIA Japan
TESIS ARSIS Brazil
THETA Japan
THIRTEEN OF EVERYTHING United States
THRILOS Poland
TIBET Germany
ARMANDO TIRELLI Uruguay
TISARIS Brazil
TOCCATA Mexico
TOMPOX Hungary
TONIC Germany
TRACE Netherlands
TRANSATLANTIC Multi-National
TRAUMHAUS Germany
TREM DO FUTURO Brazil
TRESPASS Germany
TRESPASS Israel
TRIANA Spain
TRILOGY Germany
TRION Netherlands
TRITONUS Germany
TRIUMVIRAT Germany
TRY Germany
ÜNDER LINDEN Argentina
UNIFAUN Sweden
URBAN TRAPEZE Spain
MARIÁN VARGA Slovakia
VERMILION SANDS Japan
VERSAILLES France
VERTICAL ALIGNMENT United States
VESANIA Brazil
VIA LUMINI Brazil
VIA OBSCURA Germany
THE VOYAGER France
RICK WAKEMAN United Kingdom
WALLENSTEIN Germany
WALLY United Kingdom
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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