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SYMPHONIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Symphonic Prog definition

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Iván Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 01/01/2015

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

Symphonic Prog Top Albums


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

4.65 | 3302 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 3044 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 2632 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.42 | 2545 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2284 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.41 | 1260 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagĺrd
4.38 | 1880 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.38 | 1619 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2212 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.38 | 937 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIČME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2043 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.29 | 2138 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.27 | 1858 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.27 | 1645 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.34 | 633 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.30 | 829 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.24 | 1458 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.27 | 762 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagĺrd
4.25 | 727 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.17 | 1698 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

LA MARCHE DES HOMMES
Morse Code
SAECULA SAECULORUM
Saecula Saeculorum
WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus
BOOK OF HOURS
Willowglass

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Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Stained Glass Stories by CATHEDRAL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.77 | 125 ratings

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Stained Glass Stories
Cathedral Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When one approaches progressive rock, and in particular if you examine the early incarnations of the genre, you are bound to come across bands that have left such an impact on the progression of prog that it sometimes feel as though they invented the whole thing on their own. That is certainly not tthe case but still, quite a few bands created a musical universe so personal and unique in tone that they are almost immediately recognizable. Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Magma, Jethro Tull' The list is quite long. So, bearing that in mind there is little wonder that bands of the 70's found influence and inspiration in these acts. Who wouldn't?

There is sometimes put upon prog bands to be so utterly unique that it becomes nigh on impossible. Influences can be heard in many bands and being inspired by others is certainly no crime. To steal Yes blind is not alright, obviously, but nodding in their direction is perfectly alright.

Cathedral, then. What about them? It is interesting that the album was released as late as 1978, a time where prog (supposedly) lived in a state of oblivion due to the punk wave and what not. At that time Cathedral decided to record their album of classic prog, harking back to the glory days of early 1970's. It is true that there are quite a few nods to some bands and their sound. In particular I find that the Yes and Gentle Giant influences are clearly audible. The

So, does that mean Cathedral could be named Yes Giant? No. That is not the conclusion I am willing to draw. They are certainly an entity of their own.

The music is very complex with a multitude of parts and sections, in particular the longer tracks. There are very beaautiful, pastoral passages that are simply gorgeous. These parts act as soothing interludes before and after decidedly more challenging outbursts.

The instruments are not simply accompanying each other, in the sense that drums act as a metronome and the bass adds depth. Though the music builds as an entity every instrument acts on their own, adding spice and texture. It is almost like one has forged completely different tracks and put them together.

Cathedral plays a very challenging type of prog. It balances, sometimes, on the verge of dissonance and free form but manages to balance on the edge of the abyss without ever falling towards it's dark bottoms.

The most challenging piece is the opener, I think. This is really complex stuff and at first I stood astounded and dumbfounded, not really knowing what to make of Cathedral. It took a few listens and the puzzle unravelled itself. This is really a beauty to behold, or hear. Many a section and racing forwards, with only the occasional breather to catch the breath it is really a masterpiece of complexity. This track shows the very great promise and potential of this band.

'Gong' is an interesting little instrumental, similar in tone to the bands I've mentioned. 'The crossing' is an intense piece of progressive rock that takes my breath away. It is like being strapped to the top of a rocket and being projected straight into the heavens. One of the highlights and probably the shortest, clocking in at a 'mere' 6 minutes. The second last track 'Days & changes' is just as great as anything on here. The final, epic piece is truly wonderful. Amazing keyboards and instrumentation throughout this beautiful piece. In that song there is also a very Fripp-like sounding guitar which brings back images of early King Crimson, around Lizard.

When all is said and done, is this album anything to shout about? I'd say so. Though very much in line with early incantations of Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and some Genesis the concoction is quite delicious. They never stray or lose focus. The vision of music as a melting pot of genres is as genuine as with any other band. While they may not put forth, as already stated, a record of totally groundbreaking music that's never been heard prior to this, the end result is a magical slice of prog. Highly competent and visionary.

I find that, as with any great progressive album, new things pop up with every listen. 'There's a bas slick I didn't hear before' or 'That mellotron really is scary' and so forth. It is challenging, at times demanding and truly rewarding. If you dare step into the cathedral you will find it filled to the brim with light, excellent music and love of the genre. Because that's the greatest sensation here, the overwhelming love and commitment to the genre. Truly a lost gem, only recently receiving some recognition, and that's about time.

Rating: 4 stars

 Ammerland by SCHICKE FUHRS & FROHLING album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.76 | 37 ratings

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Ammerland
Schicke Fuhrs & Frohling Symphonic Prog

Review by floflo79

5 stars This album is very, very great. This is atmospheric, beautiful, relaxing, very progressive of course, hypnotic, etc.... This is the first of album of SFF without the drummer Schicke. So it's credited as Fuhrs & Frohling. The trio already made "Symphonic Pictures" which is one of the best 1976 progressive rock albums. The songs of "Ammerland" are based on acoustic guitar and synth melodies, with great developpement, some soloing, and great sound effects. The album is very calming and reminds me some Mike Oldfield moments. I think that "Ammerland" is one of the best discoveries that I made in 2015. Thanks to ProgLine who uploaded this masterpiece !
 Martian Chronicles II by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.05 | 92 ratings

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Martian Chronicles II
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars After 30 years from their debut this album is an Impossibility in an impossible Universe

It's hard enough for a band to maintain the level after an outstanding first release, but it's almost a suicide to attempt doing a sequel from that album after three decades, despite the difficulties implied SOLARIS dared to release Marsbéli Krónikák II and managed to keep the same level.

Of course is an advantage to maintain almost the same lineup and specially two extraordinaire musicians as Robert Erdesz and Attila Kollar, but to recapture the magic of a masterpiece is a test that SOLARIS passed with the highest grade. So after the praises, let's go to the music.

The album starts with Marsbéli Krónikák II - 1. Tetel, a pompous and brilliant opener with Robert Erdesz creating a magical atmosphere, enhanced by Attila's aggressive flute and the beautiful choirs. The Eastern Europe folksy sound is perfect to capture the mystery involved in the concept, and the guitar solos by Csaba Bogdan (Who was also present in the original record I as guest) are strong enough to capture the interest of the listener with heavy rock riffs.

Marsbéli Krónikák II - 2-6. Tetel, is a 12 minutes epic where the band returns to their roots with that marvelous Eastern European atmosphere, but this time with the voice of Zsuzsa Ullmann and a magnificent violin passage, which blended with an amazing rhythm section traps the listener in the wizardry of this band. In part two Erdesz adds his keyboards to make it more mystifying if this is possible, but a heavy guitar solo by Csaba Bogdan makes us remember this is Progressive ROCK.

Marsbéli Krónikák - 7. Tetel caught me by surprise, because after a beautiful acoustic guitar and bass intro they leave their typical Hungarian sound for some sort of Space Rock with clear influence of "A Great Gig in the Sky". Not a copy but obviously inspired by the Floyd.

Hangok A Multbol Tetel ? 1-2. (Voices from the Past), is the only track where the two parts are clearly different, the first one is basically a collection of sounds created by Erdesz upon an hypnotic melody, but in part 2, the band moves towards electronic music with an acoustic guitar that creates a delicious clash of styles, and to make it more complex, Attilla Kollar plays a killer flute. The finale is so pompous and excessive that made me remember with nostalgia the early years of Symphonic Prog.

A Vilag Nelkulunk (The World Without Us) represents one of the best team efforts by SOLARIS, even though the musicians have the chance to show their dexterity in several passages, it's a beautiful melody that flows gently from start to end with a couple of strong sections, specially provided by Bogdan's guitar and Kollars flute in a style that resembles Thijs Van Leer.

In Az Emberbogarak Buszkesege (Pride of Human insect) the band returns to the mood of the original 1984 album with that mystical Hungarian sound with a nice chorus to enhance the effect, but again Bogdan is in charge of some really heavy moments.

Lehetetlen ("Impossible" but translated as "We are Impossibility in an impossible Universe Ray Bradbury") is one of the strongest tracks of the album because of the radical changes from melodic to frenetic, SOLARIS pushes the pedal to the metal and offers us one of the tracks that we progheads love so dearly.

The album is closed by Alien Song, a catchy melody where Erdesz and Kollar feel free to add all the effects that they want crafting a track that works as a tension reliever after a strong album. Some people find it silly, I believe that humor has a place in Prog Rock (Ask Keith Emerson about "The Sheriff" or "Benny the Bouncer") and this track reveals brilliantly and with class this underrated side of music.

To finish this review will only add that I like Marsbéli Krónikák II even more than the band's debut, so I will rate it with 5 solid stars and propose it as the best 2014 album.

 Yesshows by YES album cover Live, 1980
3.62 | 371 ratings

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Yesshows
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the greatness of the first 3 record live set "Yessongs" back in 1973, Chris Squire was asked to put together another live album in 1980. The tracks on this new collection came from several shows recorded earlier and the tracks were all different from the "Yessongs" album, there were no repeats between this new collection and the previous live collection, so it was basically a continuation. This new live collection was entitled "Yesshows" and would be a 2 record set this time.

This collection featured two very long tracks, "Gates of Delirium" from "Relayer" and "Ritual" from "Tales from Topographical Oceans". These two songs take up most of the time on the album leaving room for only 5 more shorter tracks. Patrick Moraz plays keyboards for the two longer tracks. He was the original studio musician for "Gates of Delirium" but was taking on the "Ritual" track which was originally done by the master Rick Wakeman. Moraz does a very impressive job on both tracks and proves himself very well here. However, Moraz left the band just before the release of "Going for the One" and the other tracks on this album are played by Rick Wakeman, who returned to the band. Other than those two tracks, you have one of the classic Yes lineups with Alan White on the drums (who is considered a classic lineup, but so is Bill Buford, they were both awesome and interchanged with each other in their comings and goings to and from the band).

Unfortunately, the sound on this collection suffers mainly because of the mix. The good thing about the mix is you hear Steve Howe and Chris Squire quite well. But overall it is unbalanced because the keyboards are mixed too deeply into the mix and get buried in the sound. Every instrument in Yes after the first inclusion of Rick Wakeman was important, and having the keyboards buried really makes the overall sound suffer greatly.

Jon's vocals do stand out in the mix okay, and his singing is on target. However, the studio versions of these songs are so much better because of the overall sound. The sound was a little weak also in "Yessongs" but not this bad. That album still turned out to be an amazing live document. This one however, pales compared to the original. As other reviewers have said, you are better off getting the previous live album or "Keys to Ascension Vol. 1 and 2" over this one. The only problem with that though, is "Gates of Delirium" is not performed live on either of those, so that makes this collection still of value and not completely obsolete. If you really need that song in a live setting, then this is the best album to get that song on.

It is always great to hear how Yes can still perform these songs so well in a live setting and it is a testament to their musicianship in the playing of these complex masterpieces. I only wish the sound and the mix was better on this. As it is, I can only rate this with 3 stars. Good, but not essential unless you need to have a live recording of "Gates of Delirium".

 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.48 | 316 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Progosopher

2 stars Good Steve Howe starts this off with a nice introduction of notes fading in, just fine so far. Then it gets bubbly. Really bubbly. I mean frothy soap bubble bubbly, as if producer Roy Thomas Baker had scrubbed any and all edge out of the music. The sound is bright and clean, even sumptuous. This is nice music. Too nice. Perhaps the band as a whole has decided to outdo Jon Anderson's la-la-la style of happy songs and create the feel good album of their career. Only it doesn't feel particularly good. It feels like something is missing, which is ironic given that there are virtually no gaps in the music. Every little pause, every potential touch at drama, is filled by the lush production. Background drones, echoes, layers of instrumentation and vocals all smooth the sound out to a bland surface, even if they are all expertly done. Claude Debussy once said that music is the gaps in between the notes. If that is true, then this album qualifies little as music. That the songs are more precious than melodic is also part of the problem. None of them truly stand out. When I finish listening to this the sensation that remains is of a brightly lit cloud softly refracting in numerous shades of yellow, orange, and pink. This would be beautiful in an actual cloud, but not so much in music. Much of the playing is also pedestrian. Whenever some sort of edge comes into play, such as on Step Beyond, it is counteracted by opposing instrumentation. Howe's choppy guitar is smoothed over by the keys of Geoff Downes. In fact, I find his presence the strongest on the whole album. The keys are layered thickly. Howe does a great job on blending in with them, but it is too little to raise this album very high. To paraphrase a professor of mine, sometimes an album soars like an eagle but what we have here is a turkey pretending to be an eagle. Yes may have striven for creating a little bit of musical heaven, note my cloud imagery above, but they have given us an album that is more like a dimming fog than a billowing cloudscape. These kinds of images just keep presenting themselves to me as I listen. A fog can refract different colors of light and I think that looks cool, but again, that is not a good metaphor for music. It is not the quality of musicianship, not really. Jon Davison sounds good to me, I rather like his voice, and the background vocals of Howe and Squire sound good also. The playing is as clean as the production and precise. The problem with this album is not so much the lush production or the simplistic parts, although these augment the true root. No, the problem is the songs themselves. Any song or album requires good musicianship no matter the genre or style. For a band of the status of Yes, good musicianship is a given, and we find it here. But the best musicians need something good to work with, and with a genre such as rock, even prog rock, there needs to be good songs at the foundation, whether instrumental or vocal. The band does not have much to work with and no one is to blame but the band members themselves. After all, they wrote this album. My favorite moment is the final section of the closing number, Subway Walls. Overall, this song contains all the problems of the album in general, but that last section is truly uplifting and even energizing. If only they could have captured that feel more often. Heaven and Earth, an album I was anticipating with unusual excitement, especially after the very good Fly From Here, has proved my greatest disappointment from what is arguably my favorite band ever. Yes are among the elder statesmen of Prog, and one would hope that their profound abilities and august experience would result in an absolute masterwork, especially given the slow rate of releases these days. Great composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, all produced their greatest works at the ends of their lives. John Coltrane took his music into higher and higher levels. Steve Hackett has never sounded better than he does now. The latest album from Rush is their best in decades. And Yes? They seem to be trying to appeal to the brony crowd and to attract tweens who do not yet know better when it comes to the music they listen to. It has its merits but it is difficult to recommend this album very highly. I will admit that it does provide a pleasant listen in itself, just not one that deserves the moniker of Yes. There is nothing offensive about it, and mayhaps that is what actually offends. Pleasant I say in the sense that soft pillows and cushy chairs are pleasant; in the sense that a sunrise plieing above a verdant landscape of rolling hills and shaded dells is pleasant. Sign me up for that, but I require a little more edge to my music, a little more inspiration, a few more rough spots, and some of those gaps that Debussy loved so well
 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 307 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by Mista-Gordie

5 stars This highly controversial album has become, over the years, one of my very favorite progressive rock records of all time, although I didn't like it at all at first listen. In fact, the omnipresence of the Greek folklore influences that makes it so weirdly unique, added to the very short length of most of the tracks, made it very hard to grasp for someone who had just got into progressive rock .

However, give it a few listens and you won't fail to be impressed by such a unique masterpiece, however flawed it might be. A few standout songs constitute the heart of the album (Babylon, The Four Horsemen, The Lamb, Aegian Sea, Altamont, All the Seats were occupied) while some of it might be considered as filler by some, though I don't have a problem with it as they let the standout moments truly shine. The Four Horsemen, especially, deserves a special mention as it contains one of my absolute favorite vocal performances in all progressive rock, by the great Demis Roussos. Aegian Sea also contains great ambiences created mostly by the keyboard wizard Vangelis and by a stunning guitar solo, while the suite that takes almost all of the fourth side (All the Seats) is up there amongst the greatest in the genre with Echoes, Supper's Ready, Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick Part One, The Gates of Delirium, Nine Feet underground, etc.

9.5/10

 A Song for All Seasons by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.64 | 256 ratings

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A Song for All Seasons
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A Song For All Seasons was released in 1978, and is generally recognised as the last of the "Prog" albums released by Renaissance, although I personally find much merit in later albums. Not all "AOR" is bad.

Anyhow, that is for future reviews. This album, of course, contains the band's best known piece of music in the wider world outside of progressive rock music fans, Northern Lights, which, deservedly, became a smash hit. It contains, in my opinion, everything that is good about this great band, the soaring lyrics of the beautiful Annie Haslam, intricate and detailed songwriting, performed with panache. I fell in love with this track, and, as a result, with the band as a young 14 year old. I remember taking the album home with me on the school bus, with "who the f**k are they?" ringing in my ear!

The remainder of the album is a glorious example of how the best Prog rock bands from this "classic period" began to reinvent their sound, approach to songwriting, and musical commercial nous. Utilising the services of David Hentschel, he of Genesis fame, and the lovely orchestrations of The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the album still sounds wonderfully fresh and vibrant, and stands as a glorious buttress amongst much of the commercial new wave fodder of the day.

It is, in truth, symphonic folk Prog rock personified, only now, with the exception of two longer, "traditional" tracks, the wonderful Day Of The Dreamer, and the title track which closes proceedings, in a shorter form. This does not mean that any of the things which made this great band so vital are compromised. It merely made them more accessible, and that is never a bad thing to this reviewer's mind. The title track is one of the finest pieces of classical symphonic rock ever put to vinyl. Jon Camp's bass lines are simply to die for, and, at their best, as here, Renaissance most certainly gave Yes a serious run for their money in this sub-genre.

Of course, longstanding fans such as I will already have this album, and it is fair to say it still divides opinion. This review is rather directed to younger folk looking to see what they might enjoy whilst trawling through Prog Archives. If you want an immediately, beautifully performed, accessible introduction to the type of pastoral music that earned us lot the derogatory "bloody hippies" title in our schooldays, then look no further.

A joy to return to, four stars for this. An excellent addition to any serious progressive rock collection.

 Lover's End by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.87 | 365 ratings

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Lover's End
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars I've told you before that from now on Moon Safari would have a strong relationship with the Akesson family.In 2009 a third Akesson member joined the band, it was Sebastian, who would contribute on vocals and take over some of the keyboard parts for the upcoming album ''Lover's end''.It was some sort of a biograhical concept on the band's timeline from the early beginnings to the point becoming a well-known Prog band.It was released in 2011 on the band's own Blomljud Records.

More or less you should actually know what to expect from a Moon Safari album, with this effort they come as close as it gets to the NEAL MORSE-linked SPOCK'S BEARD years, so do not expect something original, the two bands sound very similar in stylistical terms, especially when Moon Safari insist on displaying sweet polyphonic harmonies throughout the album.But the band's music is still excellent, ranging from THE BEATLES to the classic sound of YES and GENESIS, despite the ultra-clean production organs and Mellotrons are heavily used in Symphonic/Pop Rock arrangements.You won't find any true epic in this album, ''A Kid called panic'' comes close to the 14-min. mark and all other cuts are less than 10 minutes, showing that the band was heading for a different approach on this album.In fact I think this is the most vocal-dominated effort by Moon Safari thus far and all these harmonies come with multiple voices.The instrumental background though is extremely cohesive to say the least, always melodious and delicate but very far from cheesy or accesible, filled with piano, synths, guitars and, wow, those incredible flute strings.You could accuse the band for becoming a bit pompous and too elegant at times, but dramatic tunes and atmospheres are not absent, there are plenty of great symphonic soundscapes in this work, suitable to all symphomaniacs' tastes.

Moon Safari always produced both sweet/elaborate and dramatic music, this one apparently crosses the line towards the more elegant side of the band.Still a very consistent work of Symphonic Pop/Rock with countless interesting instrumental moments and melodies.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Yes Solos by YES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
2.78 | 14 ratings

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Yes Solos
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars This is a rare sampler released in 1976 (between the Yes releases "Relayer" and "Going for the One") of tracks from solo albums the individual band members at the time: Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Patrick Moraz and Alan White. This was an attempt to try to get some radio airplay for the individual musicians relying on their status as Yes band members. As you can expect, you get quite a variety of music here, some great, some okay and some downright bad and cheesy. Production fluctuates throughout and genres are all over the place.

Each artist has two tracks that represent them here. Jon's tracks are from the album "Olias of Sunhillow" opening the sampler with track 5 from that album and closing the sampler with track 2 also from that album. Both of these songs are decent songs from the Yes vocalist, they are somewhat lite progressive and pleasant sounding. Chris Squire (bassist) is represented by two songs (tracks 2 and 9 on this sampler) from the "Fish Out of Water" album which are tracks 1 and 4 from that album. These are both excellent songs that showcase not only Chris' excellent bass playing, but his great songwriting skills and okay singing voice. Steve Howe takes up tracks 3 and 8 on the sampler and his songs come from the album "Beginnings"; tracks 4 and 9 respectively from that album. His first song is very good and gives a great representation of his guitar skills and his not always so great vocals (but they are passable at least). The second song is not as great but okay at least and also features a brass section. Patrick Moraz's first song is a piano solo and very new age sounding, but then his 2nd song is a full band with substandard vocals that is also very new age sounding, even though new age didn't really exist at the time. Both songs are quite cheesy. Alan White unfortunately doesn't fare much better in his representative songs that take up tracks 5 and 6 on the sampler (back to back). The first is a piano led instrumental which is really only Albinoni's "Adagio". The other track is a full band with lyrics sung by a soulful voice. It is very poppy and the voice again is cheesy but the brass section and the percussion is still great.

This sampler is only good for collectors or completionists. The songs are available on regular albums and are probably better served there than they are on this haphazard sounding sampler. I can only give this a poor rating because the production is not always very good, the songs are not conhesive and not always the best representations of the band members solo works, even for the time of the release. I highly doubt this sampler served it's purpose very well. For those who have to find it for their collections, all I can say is good luck, but it's probably not worth the time it will take to find it. You are better off getting the proper solo albums or sticking with the masterpieces released by the band. 1 star.

 Motions Of Desire  by MAGIC PIE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.82 | 204 ratings

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Motions Of Desire
Magic Pie Symphonic Prog

Review by progadicto

3 stars Ten years has passed since the release of this album and still sounds great for me. Perhaps the listening after all this time includes another elements and comparisons, this promising debut still surprises with their fine work on keyboards and guitars, epic moments and the balance of 70's-00's mixtures in most of the tracks.

Starting with the 20+ minutes magnum opus 'Change' this Norwegian band still impresses me with their musical skills that turns into very nice symphonic sections without losing the tasty 70's flavour. There are a lot of reminiscences here (from Deep Purple to Dream Theater) and even with the contemporary Flower Kings and Echolyn but Magic Pie definitively has their own and particular proggy style.

The technical playing of guitars and keyboards, the bombastic moments and the ambitious epic sections (sometimes even pretentious) repeats along the album, but if I got to pick some real jewel here, I choose the optimistic 'Motions of Desire', the almost metal prog 'Without Knowing Why', maybe the only piece that escapes almost totally from the 70's influence perhaps the sound of the keyboards, and the complex rhythm of 'Dream Vision' which turns into a really nice proggy song at least in their instrumental parts.

Ten years has passed and still 'Motions of Desire' is a very enjoyable album and that's quiet an achievement for any band or musician. 3.5*

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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
ÄNGLAGĹRD 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 MILĘNIO 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
MIKLAGĹRD 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
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 MAÇĂS 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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