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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.

IvŠn Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 09/07/17

IvŠn Melgar Morey (IvŠn_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 | 4000 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 3722 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.60 | 3230 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.44 | 3152 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2815 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.39 | 2350 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.38 | 2017 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2719 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.38 | 1540 ratings
HYBRIS
ńnglagŚrd
4.35 | 1156 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUI»ME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2655 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.29 | 2549 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.29 | 2048 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.27 | 2290 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.31 | 1040 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.32 | 771 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.24 | 1862 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.25 | 962 ratings
VILJANS ÷GA
ńnglagŚrd
4.25 | 911 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.22 | 984 ratings
LEFTOVERTURE
Kansas
4.16 | 2072 ratings
TRESPASS
Genesis
4.22 | 632 ratings
ASHES ARE BURNING
Renaissance
4.13 | 1673 ratings
BRAIN SALAD SURGERY
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.19 | 620 ratings
TO SHATTER ALL ACCORD
Discipline
4.20 | 583 ratings
? [AKA: QUESTION MARK]
Morse, Neal
4.16 | 768 ratings
BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER
Transatlantic
4.21 | 501 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE (RE-RECORDING)
Camel
4.10 | 1729 ratings
WIND AND WUTHERING
Genesis
4.11 | 1444 ratings
TRILOGY
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.18 | 582 ratings
SOLA SCRIPTURA
Morse, Neal
4.15 | 689 ratings
POINT OF KNOW RETURN
Kansas
4.25 | 366 ratings
UNFOLDED LIKE STAIRCASE
Discipline
4.14 | 739 ratings
V
Spock's Beard
4.13 | 631 ratings
SONG FOR AMERICA
Kansas
4.24 | 299 ratings
MARSB…LI KR”NIKŃK (THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES)
Solaris
4.05 | 1631 ratings
TARKUS
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.03 | 1797 ratings
GOING FOR THE ONE
Yes
4.08 | 715 ratings
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII
Wakeman, Rick
4.07 | 685 ratings
SMPTE
Transatlantic
4.05 | 869 ratings
THE WHIRLWIND
Transatlantic
4.08 | 621 ratings
FOCUS II [AKA: MOVING WAVES]
Focus
4.06 | 720 ratings
BANKS OF EDEN
Flower Kings, The
4.11 | 449 ratings
BLOMLJUD
Moon Safari
4.05 | 760 ratings
RAJAZ
Camel
4.08 | 556 ratings
TURN OF THE CARDS
Renaissance
4.10 | 444 ratings
ONE
Morse, Neal
4.07 | 590 ratings
EPILOG
ńnglagŚrd
4.17 | 284 ratings
SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM
Echolyn
4.07 | 506 ratings
ECHOLYN
Echolyn
4.16 | 283 ratings
BETWEEN FLESH AND DIVINE
Asia Minor
4.25 | 196 ratings
IN THE REGION OF THE SUMMER STARS (1984)
Enid, The
4.05 | 531 ratings
BACK IN THE WORLD OF ADVENTURES
Flower Kings, The
4.13 | 304 ratings
MEI
Echolyn
4.27 | 173 ratings
10.000 ANOS DEPOIS ENTRE V…NUS E MARTE
Cid, Josť
4.06 | 434 ratings
WHO'S THE BOSS IN THE FACTORY?
Karmakanic
4.05 | 418 ratings
TESTIMONY
Morse, Neal
4.02 | 547 ratings
TESTIMONY 2
Morse, Neal
3.96 | 1152 ratings
CAMEL
Camel
4.00 | 611 ratings
BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP
Spock's Beard
4.05 | 354 ratings
THE NEAL MORSE BAND: THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM
Morse, Neal
4.00 | 515 ratings
DESOLATION ROSE
Flower Kings, The
4.20 | 171 ratings
BLŇ VARDAG
Atlas
4.08 | 281 ratings
L'HEPTADE
Harmonium
3.99 | 540 ratings
KANSAS
Kansas
4.10 | 242 ratings
THE FLOWER KING
Stolt, Roine
4.15 | 193 ratings
NOSTRADAMUS BOOK OF PROPHECIES
Solaris
4.20 | 161 ratings
METANOIA
Nexus
4.23 | 148 ratings
SLOW DANCE
Phillips, Anthony
3.96 | 621 ratings
A NOD AND A WINK
Camel
3.90 | 2171 ratings
TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS
Yes
3.99 | 408 ratings
MOMENTUM
Morse, Neal
4.02 | 325 ratings
THE GEESE AND THE GHOST
Phillips, Anthony
4.09 | 227 ratings
CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND ELECTRIC ENSEMBLE
Kotebel
4.16 | 167 ratings
TRIANA (EL PATIO)
Triana
4.12 | 191 ratings
REFUGEE
Refugee
4.06 | 231 ratings
THE WAY
Anima Mundi
3.95 | 452 ratings
FLOWER POWER
Flower Kings, The
4.04 | 236 ratings
MARSB…LI KR”NIKŃK II (THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES II)
Solaris
3.92 | 534 ratings
STARDUST WE ARE
Flower Kings, The
4.13 | 157 ratings
GLORY OF THE INNER FORCE
Finch
3.95 | 390 ratings
FISH OUT OF WATER
Squire, Chris
4.09 | 171 ratings
OVERGROUND MUSIC
After Crying
4.10 | 163 ratings
L'ARAIGN…E-MAL
Atoll
4.10 | 160 ratings
LOS DELIRIOS DEL MARISCAL
Crucis
4.06 | 190 ratings
TARDIGRADE
Simon Says
3.94 | 347 ratings
ILLUSIONS ON A DOUBLE DIMPLE
Triumvirat
4.08 | 165 ratings
SONG OF THE MARCHING CHILDREN
Earth And Fire
4.13 | 139 ratings
POLLEN
Pollen
4.14 | 135 ratings
CICLOS
Canarios, Los
4.00 | 224 ratings
LOST SYMPHONY
Karfagen
3.96 | 268 ratings
AU-DELņ DU D…LIRE
Ange
3.95 | 283 ratings
AS THE WORLD
Echolyn
3.90 | 405 ratings
RITES AT DAWN
Wobbler
3.97 | 241 ratings
OUT OF THE BARNYARD
Fright Pig
3.90 | 383 ratings
THE SUFFERING JOY
Magic Pie
3.88 | 483 ratings
UNFOLD THE FUTURE
Flower Kings, The
4.08 | 149 ratings
SOMEWHERE BUT YESTERDAY
Citizen Cain
4.03 | 179 ratings
SOLO
Kaipa
4.00 | 203 ratings
ON A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
Shadow Circus
3.90 | 387 ratings
666
Aphrodite's Child

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
SAECULA SAECULORUM
Saecula Saeculorum
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY
Exodus
WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus

Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea by DISCIPLINE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.51 | 61 ratings

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Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea
Discipline Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With the departure of founder member and long-serving lead guitar player Jon Preston Bouda, it's no surprise that Captives of the Wine Dark Sea represents something of a sonic shift for Discipline. With Chris Herin from Tiles stepping in on guitars, the sound of the album feels like an exploration of a path less taken - like the sort of material you'd get if, after the neo-prog-ish Push and Profit, the band had taken their sound in a more art rock direction instead of the symphonic prog-oriented sound of Unfolded Like Staircase or To Shatter All Accord.

That isn't to say that this is a simple or straightforward release, mind; in terms of the overall attitude, I'm reminded of the warped pop music sensibilities of Slapp Happy or late Art Bears running head-first into the dark energy of Discipline's big inspiration, Peter Hammill and VdGG. At point's there's a sort of prog cocktail jazz sound to proceedings, but whilst the album reaches a quasi-mainstream peak in the middle (Love Songs, in particular, comes across like a parody on the subject), it concludes with a two-set of songs which will doubtless please prog fans with their extended instrumental breaks, even if they aren't quite in the mode we are used to Discipline working in.

I get the feeling that this is a bit of a transitional release - at points it sounds more like one of Matthew Parmenter's solo releases, particularly given the extensive multi-instrumentalist duties he takes on here and the generally more conventional song structures he tends to go for on those - but Discipline are good enough that even their transitional works are worth paying attention to. Approach with an open mind and don't hold your hopes out for Unfolded Like Staircase 2: Unravelled Like Escalator and you'll probably get the best results.

 Albatross by ALBATROSS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.12 | 42 ratings

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Albatross
Albatross Symphonic Prog

Review by tlehman

4 stars This is a bit of personal insight to the Albatross LP. I am Tom Lehman, one of the credited engineers (and the voice of Mr. Natural :-) on the album. I also ran the boards for Albatross' live gigs from 1974 to 1977.

This is a rehash of a review I did in 2011 (as tlehma) with a few corrections and updates for you completion-ists out there.

This album is certainly a rarity as there were only 2000 albums pressed. Given that the bulk of the albums was never distributed, or were trashed, makes it even more of a rarity! Add that to the fact that we never really expected it to find its way out of the Rockford area it is truly astounding that the LP has shown up in even international locations! I am truly amazed and gratified that there is still talk (good or bad!) of the album after all these years.

I have read the reviews here and on some of the other Prog websites and do not intend to challenge any of the reviewers or defend any part of the album. I would only like to offer a possibly different perspective on the music and the challenge of making an album of this type at that point in time.

Over the years I have lost contact with all of the band members except Joe Guarino (Bass)... Joe and I remain the best of friends.

Ah?. Before it fades into the mysts (sic) of memory here is what and how I remember it?.

Albatross - The Band

Mark Dahlgren Keys-Classically trained musician.

Mark was a classically, college trained, musician (Masters of Music Degree) and a monster talent. He composed all of the bands tunes. That, of course, is not to say that all of the other band members didn't contribute, they did! Mark's biggest fault (if it can be considered a fault) was a lack of consistency. When I first joined the band as the sound guy I was amazed at the technical prowess of Mark's playing. But, what I also discovered was that he had the nasty habit, at least to me, of rearranging on the fly! No two performances were the same! The rest of the band did an admirable job of adapting but things tended to occasionally go wrong. As soon as we had a PA that allowed talk-back through the monitors from the boards I would admonish Dahlgren with the words: "Consistency, Dahlgren, Consistency!" To Mark's credit he saw the value of a consistent group effort to the performance and reigned himself in (somewhat anyway :-).

Equipment included: two Mellotrons, two Mini-Moog Synthesizers, Arp Odyssey Synthesizer (note: I could have sworn he used two of these as well!), Hammond B-3 (note: I was talking to Joe recently and he remembers that he cut the organ down and put it into a road case for portability), two modified Leslies (we tossed iron filings down the horns to give them that "Keith Emerson sound"!), Fender Rhodes Piano that was later replaced with a Yamaha CP-70 Portable Grand Piano. Two Tapco Mixers dedicated to the keyboards and to sub-mix to his stage amp and monitors. Mark later picked up a guitar! I have no idea what the equipment was other than I believe the guitar was a Fender Stratocaster.

Joe Guarino Self-taught Bassist and Guitarist

I saw Joe's bass playing described as "plodding" in another review. I always thought of it as "Solid". Joe was a technically proficient and very solid player. His bass lines drove the band and provided the stabilizing foundation the band needed. And, although not utilized as a lead vocalist he had a pleasant enough voice and harmonized well when called upon to do so. As a bassist myself I was in awe of Joe's technical precision.

Joe is a very detail driven sort of person with a great ear for what is right. This attribute would serve him well in the studio and later in his sound company business ventures. Without doubt Joe was the most sensible and practical member of Albatross.

Equipment: Fender Precision Bass, Ampeg SVT head, Ampeg 8x10 cabinet (mic'ed), direct box to PA

Mike Novak Vocals-professional vocal coaching

Mike's singing was usually spot-on as far as pitch (after some voice lessons). He also wrote the lyrics for the tunes. The timbre of his voice was however? unusual. He always sang in an open voice and I can't remember him ever singing in a falsetto or anything but his own natural voice. Equipment: Shure Mics, for live sound equipment see below. Mike had a great out-going personality and was great fun to be around.

Dana Williams Percussion High School Band Self-Taught

Dana was a percussion gadget freak! If something came along that he thought he could insert tonally into the mix he bought it! As I recall he had a full time job just to support his percussion Jones. He and Joe went to Chicago and bought, literally, a van FULL of drum set , traps and cases. After a day of negotiating a decent price they stopped at restaurant in Chicago to celebrate. They parked in the restaurant parking lot (it was clearly marked) and went inside. After lunch they came out to discover the van was GONE! Panicking they went back into the restaurant and called the police. The police determined the van was towed. When Joe and Dana contacted the towing company they claimed Joe was parked illegally in the parking lot. Even though Joe had his receipt from the restaurant they would not release the truck without paying a $250 "fine". I remember Dana as a quiet, humble sort of guy, always a pleasure to work with and talk to.

Equipment: Dana was a percussion whiz with a passion for unusual drum sounds. I THINK his main kit was made by Pearl but I can't be sure. What I do know is that his kit consisted of (at a minimum) double-Bass Drums, double toms up top, double Roto-Toms up top, two Timbales, three floor toms, snare, tubular bells, a bell tree, at least three cowbells, and triangle tree, blocks, and an extended range of cymbals.

Paul Roe Guitar Professionally Trained

I didn't have much interaction with Paul but remember him as a quiet, serious sort. He was a guitarist in search of his sound. Age-wise he was the youngest of the bunch and I think he felt a little behind the rest. Technically he was a good, solid player but still somewhat immature. He just got better and better!

Equipment: As I recall, and seeing as that was a long time ago :-). Paul played a Gibson Les Paul and used Orange Amps and Cabinets (Mic'ed). I know he occasionally used a couple of pedals but I am not sure what.

Live Sound

Albatross had a very good live sound. As the complexity of the music increased, the need for a more sophisticated system also increased. When I started with Albatross in 1974 they were equipped with a loud but totally inadequate system that consisted of eight Altec Voice of the Theater Speakers, some sort of six channel powered mixer and no monitoring. We eventually went to an Altec 1220 twelve channel mixer and BGW amps in order to increase the flexibility and clarity of the system. It worked but was far from ideal.

When it started to get serious the band purchased an all JBL speaker system that consisted of (as I remember it):

4 - 18" subs

6 - dual 12" cabinets

4 - Mid-range horns

4 - horn tweeters

6 - JBL wedge monitors

2 - Electronic crossovers (4 way)

Amplification BGW (Monsters!) - At least 10 BGW amps of various sizes to power all of the cabinets.

- Mics We stuck with all Shure mics for vocals and on the Bass/Guitar cabinets and with a variety of mics on the drums.

The console was still the Altec 1220 but with four Tapco mixers added for additional inputs and for monitors and sub mixes. That actually worked very well and provided for a wonderful tight and full range sound, plus it was just as loud as we wanted it to be? i.e. terrific dynamic range.

The Story?

Ah, the 70's.... Live music was still king with Disco yet to be seen (but hiding in the wings creeping into the mid-70's from the sides, ready to rear its ugly head). Rock and roll was a broad and diverse genre of the musical universe. Prog rock was dominated by, as is mentioned in most of the reviews, by Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and their contemporaries.

Oddly enough when associated with Albatross I never considered them to be a "Yes Clone". I considered the music fresh and new. Mark Dahlgren, the keyboardist, was the primary composer of the group with Mike Novac the principle lyricist but with all members contributing heavily.

Were there traces and influences of Yes in the music?... CERTAINLY! We were all great fans of Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, the Dixie Dregs, Genesis, et al. Some of the music recorded on the album was written and being performed by Albatross as early as 1971. But, much as musicians throughout history have named certain composers and musicians as their "influences", we did the same with the big names of the genre and the time. As I listen today I can certainly identify with the critics who labeled Albatross as "Yes Clones". At the time we thought new ground was being broken. Keep in mind that the Albatross album preceded the Starcastle release by a full year. (Note: Joe and I saw Starcastle live in 1976 at Rockvalley College... and yes they were a carbon copy of YES. On the other hand... they did sound good live and if you closed your eyes you could swear YES was on the stage during certain tunes!

The ALBATROSS album was produced in an effort to be noticed and to promote the band. It was done as an independent effort (something not easily done at the time) in a studio that was owned by three partners, Joe Guarino, Jim Guarino, and me. We built the studio (Audio-Trak) in 1974 in an effort to bring professional recording to Rockford, Illinois. Rockford was the second largest city in Illinois at the time.... Unfortunately Chicago was sitting only 70 miles away. Living in the shadow of Chicago it was difficult for bands and studios to compete within that market. So with a great deal of effort, not much in the way of market research, and a tremendous amount of hope (and being very naÔve) we invested in the studio.

The studio was a piece of art (to us) and we had some of the best equipment of the time:

- Auditronics Son of Thirty-Six Grand Console (24 inputs and outputs!!!) I know that doesn't sound like much by todays high channel count but we were impressed :-)

- MCI (later bought by Sony) 16 track 2" analog recorder (we bought it from Milam Audio in Pekin, Ill. It was the very same recorder, we were told, that Styx had laid the basic tracks for "Lady"!)

- MCI, Scully and Revox two tracks

- DBX and Dolby A noise reduction

- EV Sentry III monitors

- Phase Linear Amps

- UREI compressors

- Allison Research Gates, Compressors and Expanders

- Nakamichi cassette

- Neuman U87 and U47 Mics, Sony C500 Mics, EV Mics, Shure Mics, Byer Ribbons, AKG Mics

- Atlas stands

- AKG Pro Spring Reverb (the thing stood about five feet tall and two feet on each side!)

- Pearl studio drum kit (I think it was Pearl)

- Mason and Hamlin grand piano Note: We modified the piano by filing the hammer pads and soaking them in lacquer to make the sound "brighter" and more defined.

- We even had one of the first digital delay lines. I don't remember the maker of the unit but had an orange face, patch cords to set the delays, a very artificial sound and was VERY EASY to overload (no headroom). It was pretty much useless by today's standards but was fun to play with back in the day?.

- JBL 4311 monitors in the studio for talk-back and playback.

We had everything except customers!

Side Note: The studio was later upgraded to 24 tracks (MCI), a 32 input MCI 532 console and Eventide digital reverb and delay, UREI Monitors (using Altec 501 speakers), BGW amplification, Yamaha mini monitors, and a lot of new outboard gear not to mention a Steinway Grand. Joe and Jim also switched locations two times after I left with each location growing progressively bigger and better! The bigger locations even allowed for natual reverb chambers.

When we brought Albatross into the studio we had only gone through three projects!

The Album - Track-By-Track - Keep in mind this was 38+ years ago and is to the best of my recollection! Any one of the band members may have a completely different take on things.

Side 1:

1. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Mark Dahlgren, Mike Novak)

Yes, this was the big one! Because of the length and complexity we had spent the most time putting this together. It was it turned out to be the most interesting and dynamic piece on the album. It was called the Four Horsemen because there were four distinct movements in the tune. Because of the many layered keyboards and the guitar/keyboard synchronization it took many takes and overdubs. The end featured a huge Chinese gong. The gong sound was from one of Mark's Mellotrons! Live this song was a little less cluttered but actually sounded great!

2. Mr. Natural (Mark Dahlgren, Mike Novak)

OK?. Somebody called this a "throw-away"?. To me Mr. Natural was a fun song. It always went over well in concert because it was an up tempo tune that the crowds liked. A lot of that had to do with Mark Dahlgren's crazy antics with an old man mask and a long extension cable on his ARP pedal. He would don the mask and run into the audience, frightening the girls (truly!) and acting outrageous. When Mr. Natural was recorded some of the live feel and performance antics, of course, were lost. The recording was fairly straight forward with few overdubs.

I was the voice of Mr. Natural. As I remember Mike Novak was in the studio trying voice after voice and not quite getting where we wanted to go. I finally told Joe, "Let me try it!" I went in the vocal booth and laid down about four takes and then when back to the console where Joe and I took the different takes and bumped them over to one of the two track recorders then started layering them on the multi-track at different speeds added reverb and delay and loops until we got the craziness we were looking for. We played a cassette dub of it before any live performance of Mr. Natural thereafter.

Side 2:

1. The Devil's Strumpet (Mark Dahlgren, Mike Novak)

Well, I hated this tune?. To me it was just a hot mess! After a long involved intro using a real pipe organ intro recorded at a local church it just jumped into these strange time signatures and tempos. No matter how many times we tried to record this it always seemed too fast and jerky (to me) with Mike always seeming to race and then lagging on the lyrics. Paul had the same issues with the guitar parts. The band had other tunes that, to me would have worked better here. It took almost as long to record this song as the Four Horsemen.

It was the same in concert and was never well received. As with Mr. Natural we played the pipe organ intro from tape with Dahlgren coming in toward the end with Mellotron Pipe Organ live. I finally got the guys to cut the pipe organ intro down quite a bit and to slow the tempo and it sounded better and played better.

2. Cannot Be Found (Mark Dahlgren, Mike Novak)

Another choice of material I did not understand. Certainly it showcased Mark's piano skills but also showed Mike's less-than-delicate ballad voice and dissed the rest of the band. It was irritating to me but there it stayed! It was easier to record as we recorded Mark's piano then later came back to Mike at a different time. We used our 7' Mason and Hamlin grand studio piano. I keep hearing occasional plays of this on internet stations like Delicious Agony and YouTube. I was talking to Joe just the other day and he did not even remember this tune as being on the album even though he was the only other instrument playing on the tune!

3. Humpback Whales (Mark Dahlgren, Mike Novak)

I really liked this song played live. I was less happy with the studio version. In concert the opening with the synths was essentially the same but Dana would take the lead in with a snare intro. The studio version with the tubular bells and triangle intro was difficult to record (the triangle kept overloading the freaking preamp in the console and we just didn't catch it!) and it seemed rather dis-jointed. At the end the "SAILING!" ending was at my insistence. They had made the decision to take out that live element and use some synth montage thing at the end. When I heard that I just freaked. The continuity of the song was ruined. I raised such a fuss they went back to the in-concert ending but kept the crappy beginning.

While the album was being recorded the band hired a local artist for the jacket art. We formed the independent label, Anvil Records, and registered everything with ASCAP. The tapes were delivered to a mastering facility and then on to the pressing plant.

We were in business!!! The records were carried to every major record store in the Rockford area and passed out to every local record station. As I recall three stores agreed to sell the record and one radio station actually played the album in its entirety.

We always carried a few LP's with us and offered them at gigs. Unfortunately we didn't sell too many.

Albatross went through some changes shortly after the album. They tried costumes (ala Jethro Tull)?. They tried free concerts and the live sound equipment was updated to an incredible array (at the time) of JBL speakers, Altec and Tapco mixers and BGW amps. The lighting system was expanded to professional level; anything to draw some positive attention to themselves.

Meanwhile... The album was not selling. Disco was becoming more popular and live progressive music less popular. And, they were totally overshadowed in the Rockford market by Cheap Trick. (Sidebar - Bun E. Carlos happened to be Mark Dahlgren's cousin) Note: even before the release of their first album Cheap Trick dominated the area club scene through a combination of solid management, an incredible live sound and an absolutely incredible stage presence.

The band was getting absolutely clobbered, ignored and pushed aside.

In an effort to become commercially viable the band went into hiding for eight weeks to re-tool. Even the live sound guy (me) was not allowed in the practice sessions. Coming out of isolation for a gig in Rockford I was informed that they had an entirely new set. They still refused to even give me a song list telling me only that they would start with an original that had been in the line-up since the beginning of the group, a song called "Saturday". "Saturday" was an original rocker that usually worked well with all types of audiences.

To my astonishment the band appeared on stage sans costumes (something that had been poorly implemented anyway!) and proceeded to play. After "Saturday" I was given the play list. I was flabbergasted! There were songs from a variety of artists that included Bob Seger, Queen, the Beatles, other rock acts of the time. Even Gino Vannelli!!! (Note: I have to blame myself for the last?. I had introduced the band to Gino! At least the tunes they played were "Mama Coco" and "Son of a New York Gun"!)

I could not believe my eyes or ears! Mark Dahlgren had even picked up and played a GUITAR! It seemed that the world had turned on end! That dogs and cats would soon be mating and that the lions would lie with the lambs! The only other original song they played that night was "Mr. Natural". To best of my knowledge they never played "The Four Horsemen" again! The only other Prog tune they would still hang on to was "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson.

I have to admit this sort of format change did bring more gigs and a little more visibility to the band but would also end up being the death of the band as well. This format would continue to be the norm until Albatross disbanded about 18 months after the album was released.

Most of the band members would go on with a band called Blitzen and after a year of so go their separate ways.

Mark (Keys) Would go on to other musical ventures like Puppet. You can actually find a video clip from a Rockford news station posted on YouTube about Puppet :-)

The only other references I could find of Mark were as a sort of community activist still in the Rockford area.

Joe (Bass) Would go on with the studio and then on to establish a very successful live sound touring and sales company. Today, he still resides in the Rockford area and still owns Audio-Trak, runs live sound, and specializes in sales, installation and service of REALLY BIG AV systems. He has expanded into high end home theater design, sales and installation. There are lots of references to Audio-Trak on the web. Dana (Percussion) Would go on to manage a cafeteria. Sorry Dana I lost track after that!

Mike (Vocals) Would go on to other bands, suffer an aneurism, recover and work with a band called the Blues Hawks. Sorry Mike! I lost track after that! There is a picture of Mike on the Blueshawks website.

Paul (Guitar) Sorry Paul! I lost track after the band broke up. I was able to track down at least one pic of Paul performing as a guest with the Blues Hawks. Check the Blueshawks website under "guests" for pictures of Paul.

Me (live sound) I left the band about three months before the reformation into Blitzen for personal reasons. I also had to sell my part of the studio to Joe and Jim because of an ugly divorce. I did stay associated with the studio until 1980 when I moved to Dallas, Texas and returned to my interrupted career in the electronics industry. Over the years I stayed in that industry as a technician or manager of technicians, as a videographer and video editor and IT support and eventually ended up at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as co-director of a disaster medicine/response training program. ( www.ndls.us ). Update: 2016 I retired from UT but continue to manage the disaster medicine gig and well as manage websites for two programs.

Well I know that this was certainly long winded and way more than any of you probably wanted to know! But there it is! Albatross was a great bunch of people and players and had a very good live sound. Each and every one of us, band and grunts alike, wanted it to work. Unfortunately we all had far more optimism and hope than experience or know-how.

If anyone is interested I think Joe still has a few unopened LP's left :-).... (UPDATE! All the albums are gone. I still have my personal beat up copy and Joe still has one of the original master proofs left. It's all out there so if you want a copy you'll have to find it "In The Wild" !

Still Loving the Music,

Tom Lehman

 Spektra by KARFAGEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.17 | 53 ratings

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Spektra
Karfagen Symphonic Prog

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

5 stars Ukranian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin is one of the proud modern flagbearers of the symphonic prog sound, and his Karfagen project has delivered a string of eclectic and colourful works in that style that mix vocals and luxurious instrumentation for many years now. But every once in a while, Antony and his musical collaborators deliver a purely instrumental grand work, with 2011's `Lost Symphony' being particularly special, and 2014's `Magician's Theater' a heavier one, but here he returns to that initial approach for late 2016's `Spektra', and it is without question their most wondrous artistic achievement under the Karfagen banner to date.

`Spektra' is keyboard-dominated symphonic music often accompanied by exotic instruments such as accordion, flute and violin, and it calls to mind everything from The Enid, `Snow Goose'-era Camel, the early Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips solo albums, Gryphon and Pink Floyd, as well as modern influences like the Flower Kings and the Ayreon project in its occasional heavier bursts. Running just over an hour, the album is split into three multi-part suites each running between fourteen and twenty-four minutes, the whole resembling a continuous concept piece, although the sparse CD packaging doesn't state implicitly that it is (and there's no CD booklet either) in this instance.

The opening title track of `Phase 1' introduces the disc with a massive fanfare of alternating guitar and keyboard grand themes - some mysterious, some darker and dramatic, but all truly magical. It's peppered with David Gilmour-esque guitar strains, a touch of E.L.P-like vigour, sparkling piano and some drowsy guitar strums in the opening minutes that almost sound like they're right off Porcupine Tree's `Sky Moves Sideways'. The suite proceeds to dash through a series of shorter interludes, which finds `Troy' starting as a warmer acoustic reflection flecked with the lightest of unease before rising in power with some snarling bluster, and `Transaleatorica II' adds a touch of classical piano, spooky Mellotron choirs and Moog bubbliness that could have popped up on Bo Hansson's `Lord of the Rings' album alongside some dashing harpsichord. The closest the album comes to a vocal piece is the booming Latin choir around swooning violins of `Terra Incognita', `Celebration' is a victorious electric guitar and shimmering Hammond organ theme, `Homonymous (Part 1)' offers Genesis/Steve Hackett-like classical guitar prettiness, and `Angel Tears' closes the first set on a spooky Mellotron lament.

`Phase 2' encompasses the four part, twenty-one minute `Olympia' movement. `Zeus' is a brash, up-tempo and bombastic heavy symphonic blast frequently in the E.L.P tradition with plentiful aggressive keyboard soloing, while the quirky and gently dangerous `Dionis' lovingly recaptures that breezy and rollicking seafaring sound that permeated Roine Stolt's underappreciated water-themed `Hydrophonia' solo disc from 1998 in between bouts of electronic weirdness. `Poseidon' brings relentless guitar bursts, fluid bass leaps and bashing drums, `Aurora' offers plenty of reprising electric guitar themes, sighing female wordless harmonies and some Flower Kings-like unexpected psychedelic touches, and the section closes on a delicate Steve Hackett-like acoustic reprise of `Homonymous' from earlier in the disc.

`Dios Pyros' opens the third `Phase' as a whirring accordion and synth fanfare, then `Natural Charm' is a classy symphonic piece highlighted by lightly jazzy and beautifully romantic piano runs and gorgeous flute playing in the winning Camel tradition. `Eye Witness' is a wistful and ghostly interlude, and the contemplative and deeply moving album closer `Juggler And The Cloud' (which the CD proudly boasts as being recorded in the studio live!) casually comes to life with swooning prettiness yet great dignified restraint, and it might be one of the most truly beautiful moments to ever appear on a Karfagen disc - what a way to end such a wonderful disc!

So there you go, folks - modern symphonic prog works don't get much more exquisite, rich and impeccably performed than `Spektra', a disc that would make for the perfect introduction to Antony Kalugin's works for newcomers to look into. It sits alongside Monarch Trail's `Sand', Cellar Noise's `Alight' and Barock Project's `Detachment' as one of the finest symphonic works of the last twelve months, and also serves as one of the greatest discs under the Karfagen name to date.

Five stars - symphonic listeners are in for a real treat!

 Sandrose by SANDROSE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.52 | 85 ratings

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Sandrose
Sandrose Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars I finally got an old Musea CD reissue of this. Well, better late than never, given I've heard of this group for literally years and heard of their reputation. One of those albums I should have owned in my early days of collecting prog rarities and obscurities (but around 1993-94 I never heard of them, not until around 1999). It's apparently one of the first titles Musea ever reissued back in 1988 (it's not the first release on the label, as they released stuff as far back as 1986). It seems Sandrose was already a rarity and collectible even back in 1988. I don't have the money on me to get an original LP copy to begin with. First released in France in 1972 on Polydor, it received a UK release the following year, but the French original does feature the gatefold the UK pressing lacks. Whatever the case it seems Sandrose has been a Musea best seller.

OK, the one band frequently brought up is Earth & Fire. Certainly, like the Dutch band in question, a female-lead band with Mellotron. But Earth & Fire had pop sensibilities that made them big in their home country. Sandrose didn't. If you replace Rose Podwojny with a male vocalist, it's not too terribly different from early UK prog found on Vertigo and Neon, like Spring, Gracious, Cressida, and Beggars Opera (particularly Waters of Change). A lot of French prog bands I've heard tended to be spacy with a King Crimson or Pink Floyd influence (Pulsar, Carpe Diem, Arachnoid and Artcane comes to mind), but clearly Sandrose follows the early UK prog template of those bands mentioned. So in that case, if you like those UK bands mentioned, you'll have no problem adapting to this. The only trouble may be Rose Podwojny. While she's quite accomplished for an 18 year old, she sometimes had trouble controlling her voice when hitting loud or high notes, so it ends up a bit shrilly. But like those UK bands, Henri Garella packs it with lots of Hammond organ and Mellotron, Mellotron fans certainly need this album as its packed with it. "Vision", while I love the mood and vibe shows some of Rose's disadvantages with her singing as she sounds a bit strained in places. I still love this piece. "Never Good at Sayin' Good Bye" sounds very much like Cressida with a female vocalist. "Underground Session (Chorea)" sounds like it should be a bunch of nonsense, but actually it's just a wonderful extended piece with some nice jazzy parts. "Old Dom is Dead" was actually released as a single, again showing that UK influence. "Summer is Yonder" is a cover, but I can't seem to pinpoint who did it, other than J. Cockenpot is credited. "Metakara" is clearly different, this is a Henri Garella instrumental where he cuts loose on clavinet and Hammond organ. I gather this was towards the end of recording as he never used a clavinet elsewhere. Reminds me of Brian Auger's "Ellis Island" from Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger & the Trinity's Streetnoise from 1969. The last one features a German title "Fraulein Kommen Sie Schalaffen Mit Mir". It's a real short piece, just a bunch of goofing about. I'm glad they didn't try polka here. While the focus seems to be on Rose's singing and Henri's keyboard playing, it seems the mastermind of Sandrose is guitarist Jean-Pierre Alarcen. The only flaw may be Rose Podwojny, as her voice can be a little hard to take in, but the music is very much the classic it is. Worth your time.

 DeLane Lea Studios 1973 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2015
3.14 | 15 ratings

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DeLane Lea Studios 1973
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Annie Haslam, vocalist of Renaissance, earned the sobriquet of Queen of progressive rock for her incredible exploits. But even she had to start somewhere. Given that her first proper band experience (excluding the cabaret band she was in earlier) was with Renaissance, she was still finding her feet in the early years. While her innate talent and classical training gave her a headstart, the contrast with her mid 70s peak is pretty stark.

As it is, unfortunately, on this album. On the face of it, the track selection alone should make this album, taken from a 1973 concert at DeLane Lea studios, a winner, even within the cornucopia of Renaissance live albums. Let It Grow, At The Harbour and Sounds of the Sea aren't on any official live releases of the band, though the former did make it to Annie Haslam's solo live album Brazilian Skies. Further, Andy Powell and Al Stewart guest on Ashes Are Burning, making it one of only two recorded live performances which have the guitar solo (the other being the Academy of Music concert).

But, as said above, Annie is yet to attain the sheer, frightening perfection she would only a couple of years down the line. There are pitch issues but I wouldn't mind them so much if not for another issue that really spotlights them: her attack. At this point, her attack is still a bit harsh and it makes her singing sound stiff (in comparison to what she would go on to do). If you were to compare her performance of Carpet of the Sun here to the one on Midnight Special in 1977, it is particularly evident. There was, after all, a point of time when even a singer as great as her was worried about getting it right. Ironically, this fear pushes her into committing more errors than she would in concerts from later on where she simply cut loose.

Not to worry, Annie's B minus game is still pretty damn good and the vocalese coda of Sounds of the Sea is especially gorgeous, with an unexpected twist at the end. There is also the mesmerizing coda of At The Harbour to savour. And as in so many other shows, she raises her game come time to perform Ashes Are Burning. The musicians perform their parts impeccably well and with feeling, which too forgives a lot. The sound isn't awesome but it will do. So what gives?

Just that there isn't a compelling reason to add one more Renaissance live album to your collection here. Not unless you are particularly fond of the rawness of bands in their early days, say like the popular music reviewer George Starostin. Me, I do like the rawness but only when it adds to the energy of the performance. Rawness can also mean hesitation and lack of confidence and there's more of that here. Renaissance gave better concerts than this one and plenty of them. But if you do get this album, you won't regret it.

 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 984 ratings

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Leftoverture
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Lush, bombastic, uniquely 'murican: 8/10

KANSAS was one of the first bands in America to attempt to emulate the roaring (and by their time decadent) European prog and to succeed doing so without sounding like a ripoff. They were able to not only drain from the intercontinental musical fountain but also to amalgamate that with American influences, ultimately crafting a style particular to them. With that being said, KANSAS is an American prog band first and foremost, even with its rather unorthodox leanings.

In LEFTOVERTURE the band crystallizes its musical archetype: [b]focus on melody[/b]. The guitars, the vocals, the synthesizers, the piano or the violins; they are all directed at creating a lush, immersive environment, usually having little complexity (for prog standards at least). Here is where they begin to schism with European prog (which is much more technical-focused, even the Symphonic types). Two other characteristics are also noteworthy: KANSAS ' approach on violin with a cheerful tone and as an accompaniment - rather than as a classically-imbued, lead instrument, typical on British prog - and their hard rocking stance (akin to [b]Rush[/b]). Altogether, these three factors cement KANSAS ' uniqueness.

Something that really deserves attention are the moments KANSAS signals to have quite a lot of potential to build much, MUCH more ambitious musical moments than just their typical "melodism". Specifically for that matter three songs deserve praise: [b]Carry on my Wayward Son[/b], which needs no introduction; [b]Miracles out of Nowhere[/b], which doesn't go overly passionate (as, sometimes, the band does) and culminates in an explosive mixture of their archetypal melody with a dynamic instrumental jam, unexpectedly enjoyable; and the(ir) polyphonic [b]Magnum Opus[/b]. Indeed deserving its name, it's an almost entirely instrumental track with spectacular technicality, complexity, and virtuosity akin to top-notch European prog; unrelentingly eclectic, vivid and creative. It's no stretch to claim that, during those eight minutes, KANSAS becomes the American GENTLE GIANT.

I'm not much of a fan of melodic stuff so I expected KANSAS not to appease me, yet surprisingly they did. I admit that sometimes they feel exceedingly melodic and rather generic, but, generally, their (implicitly bluesy) hard rock feels fresh when combined with lush synthesizers. Combine that with the details described in the last paragraph, and you can understand why LEFTOVERTURE is quite a great album.

 Invisible Touch by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.43 | 1146 ratings

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Invisible Touch
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by FalconBleck

3 stars #3 Review

Before i begin i must say that i lied, there were actually 5 songs that i heard from Genesis first on the same day, that make me stay with the band without hearing anything else until today, 1 of those songs is on this album.

Invisible Touch is an album that was destined to be much better than the final product, see songs like "Do the Neurotic" that isn't in the final cut, it's a really nice song. As always i'll review the album by song.

1.- Invisible Touch 6/10 The hit from this album, really simple and catchy, sometimes you can start the first notes that the battery does and you already know the song, it's not a bad song but it doesn't fit that much into the prog aspect, but for what the 80s asked, it's probably one of the best songs on that era.

2.- Tonight, tonight, tonight 8/10 A song that was destined to be much more than the final product, it fits in the long side of songs and it was even longer, it has a really eery feel to it, really interesting lyrics that describe how people trapped in drugs feel. It has a really interesting solo, and i think that everything in the song translates really well the feelings of everything, and that's what Genesis is about, or not?

3.- Land of Confusion 8/10 This is the song, this is the first song i heard from Genesis, i was watching youtube, searching for 80s musical videos, i came to PGs SledgeHammer, and yt recommended me the video of this song, wich i loved it, this is probably the only pop song that i have in my phone. This song it's really catchy, i think that this was the best pop song that the 80s had to offer alongside PG's stuff, it's simple, catchy and a little edgy, to sing this and to play it is really entertaining.

4.- In too Deep 7/10 A really relaxing and chill song, really pop tho, but it's nice to have a change of pace... it sure is repetitive, but short and at the end it doesn't feel that repetitive, it's like well balanced, that's why it has a 7.

5.- Anything She Does 5/10 The lowest in this album and i fell like it doesn't fit at all here, it's like they tried to have another hit like the first song, but didn't succeed, it gets repetitive and a little annoying fast.

6.- Domino 9/10 It's hard to judge this one as one because it has 2 parts, In the Glow of the Night and The Last Domino, both are really nice pieces of music tho, the first part starts really chill and then goes a little exagerated, it really represents well the night, it can be really peacefull but always bound to be surprising... and then the song its ending in a really pacific note to go at 100% with The Last Domino, a song that makes me feel like i'm travelling on a portal through time and space, the song gets really epic but then at then the last 3 minutes it goes pop for no good reason. This is the longest song in the album and it was another song that was longer and much more prog than what it became... another interesting thing is that this song is from what they got many song ideas for this album.

7.- Throwing it All Away 6/10 Another chill song that gets a little repetitive, it really doesn't feel like it throws anything away really, this song is pretty average but it's well executed i guess?

8.- The Brazillian 10/10 This is the best song in the album, it's prog, i now that it could've been better (not deserving of a 10/10) but this song for me represents what this album could've been, this scores goes to every prog song that didn't make it to this album. As for the song, it's a little repetitive, it's all instrumental tho and it feels like a trailer for a nice movie near the end... maybe for the new Blade Runner... idk, but it's still a really nice song, i really would like to do a compilation of every prog song, or every part that it's prog that was made by Genesis in the 80s.

In the end, this album goes a little higher in score, maybe i gave it too much praise, but i think this album, the concert that followed it, the videos, the songs that didn't make it and the practices that they did were all good, and if it wasn't for this album, probably many young people wouldn't have been able to know Genesis, and i'm grateful for this album to exists.

The final score is 74/100, and here i'll give it 3 stars.

 Lebensuhr by STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (STERN MEISSEN) album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.23 | 4 ratings

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Lebensuhr
Stern-Combo Meissen (Stern Meissen) Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

3 stars This is the first proper studio album (actually a double album) with new songs of the Stern-Combo after 24 years, although the band was touring pretty much all the time in between. The album is of very limited appeal to the prog purist; although some material is more advanced listening than on their pure pop albums "Taufrisch" and "Nšchte", it is in the first place a further collection of mostly radio-friendly pop songs, although with some sophistication.

Nevertheless it is an interesting album, and assessed against what it aims to be, it is quite good. The band always had a weak spot for mildly philosophical lyrics on the general path of life, and this is the strongest theme again on "Lebensuhr" ("clock of life"). Except that this time indeed the path of life of some band members is near its end. Founding member Norbert Jaeger left the band shortly before the release of "Lebensuhr" and passed away in 2016. Keyboarder Thomas Kurzhals, for Lebensuhr returned to the band, left this planet in 2014, and long term Stern-Combo singer Reinhard Fissler was diagnosed in 2000 with ALS (the disease from which Stephen Hawking suffers), was in a wheelchair and had difficulties to communicate by the time Lebensuhr was recorded. His Lebensuhr ceased to tick in 2016.

Fissler wrote the most impressive track on Lebensuhr, "Mal seh'n wohin die Reise geht" (Let's see where the journey goes); actually the only track on which he is present. This track hints at some of Stern Meissen's and some more general musical history, and can surely be interpreted as some kind of swansong. Fissler obviously worked very hard to put the vocals together for this song, very clearly marked by his illness. It seems that at times he could only sing one or two words and the melody was pieced together of lots of attempts. He doesn't sound "good" or healthy but this is a truly unique and unforgettable performance. The composition is quite complex with unusual chord progressions and quite quirky jazzy keyboards, but at the same time surprisingly relaxed and uplifting. For me, this track alone already justifies the acquisition of Lebensuhr.

Apart from this highlight, the quality of the songs is mixed. Some songs ("Der zweite Blick", "Prima Klima", "Ein Tag, ein Jahr und ein Leben") are cringeworthy, some are fairly pleasant but nothing special ("Das kurze Leben des Raimund S.", "Verlieren ist sinnlos", "So geseh'n"), and some are pretty good ("Es geht die Zeit", "Die Zeder von Jerusalem", "Zeugen dieser Zeit", the dynamic instrumental "TNTK", the tasteful ballads Waldesstille and the excellent "Ewigkeit"). Apart from "Mal seh'n...", all can be classified as easy listening, but with high musicality and taste over most of the distance, and very well executed (like on earlier Stern-Combo albums, a nod goes to the bassist, this time Robert Brenner).

I'll be generous and give it 3 stars because I'm overall delighted that this band came up with something like this as recent as 2011. "Mal seh'n..." and "Ewigkeit" are really strong and much of the rest is pleasant enough but honestly most prog fans will want to steer away from this.

 Children Of The Sounds by KAIPA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.95 | 64 ratings

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Children Of The Sounds
Kaipa Symphonic Prog

Review by The Jester

3 stars Children of the Sounds is the brand new album of the Swedish band Kaipa, which was released a few weeks ago. It is their 13th studio album, and the 8th since the band was re-formed in 2000. It comes 3 years after the release of ? the very good ? Sattyg, but I'm afraid that is a weaker album. I have the band's latest four releases in my collection, and I believe that "Children" is the weakest album of all four. The style of the album is the usual style of Kaipa, with the familiar Folk Rock influences, the beautiful guitar passages, the nice female vocals on most occasions, and the long complicated compositions. But there is something missing, and I can't realize what. Maybe the fact that many songs remind me of other songs from the band's previous albums, but this time they are not so inspired. The album includes five songs, and has a total running time of almost an hour. There are three songs more than ten minutes in length, and the remaining two songs are seven and nine minutes long. I must also mention the wonderful cover, that continues the line of the beautiful album covers of Kaipa. Speaking for myself, I listened to the album 4-5 times so far, but almost every time I stop and turn back to their previous works. That surely means something, don't you think? Favourite songs: Like a Serpentine and What's Behind the Fields. Children of the Sounds is a decent album, but I wouldn't recommend it easily to people who are not fond of the music of Kaipa. I'm afraid I cannot give more than 3.0 (out of 5.0) stars.
 In the Region Of The Summer Stars (1984) by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 196 ratings

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In the Region Of The Summer Stars (1984)
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars (Based on a book chapter.) The ENID was relatively a latecomer in symphonic prog, but in a sense the group represents the ultimate development of the genre. Hardly any other band with rock instruments has managed to sound so orchestral and classical. The frontman Robert John Godfrey had made orchestrations for Barclay James Harvest in the late sixties and early seventies. His solo debut Fall of Hyperion (recorded early in 1972 but released in 1974) already points at the style of The Enid, even though it's not instrumental; the classic poems of John Keats are sung by Christopher Lewis who has remained quite unknown.

The Enid was founded in 1974 by Godfrey and the guitarists Francis Lickerish and Stephen Stewart. Accompanied by a drummer, bassist and another keyboard player, they signed a deal with EMI and recorded their magnificent debut album In the Region of Summer Stars (released on February 1976). Just like the Steve Hackett solo debut The Voyage of Acolyte (1975) a couple of months earlier, the inspiration and the concept was taken from the Tarot pack. The partly re-recorded 1984 release has a slightly different track list. This newer version is much better available than the original.

The introductory 'Fool' starts with powerful piano chords. The watery sound effects and an ethereal trumpet pave way for more dynamic prog rock of 'The Tower of Babel'. However, both the detail-rich sound and the compositional style seem to be closer to (neo) romantic orchestral music than rock; the delicate and moody 'The Lost Ones' would almost pass for a slow movement of a piano concerto. On several tracks the synths are practically taking the place of strings, but for example electric guitar and drums are still easily recognized. On later Enid albums the technological development made it possible to take the (mock-) orchestral sound even further away from rock. In any case, as a strongly art music influenced prog album, In the Region of Summer Stars is a truly delicious work: romantic without being too sweet, and dynamic without being pretentious. A unique masterpiece.

Data cached

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
AD ASTRA 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
ńNGLAGŇRD Sweden
ANIMA Argentina
ANIMA DOMINUM Brazil
ANIMA MORTE Sweden
ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APH…LANDRA 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
ASTRň 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
CELLAR NOISE Italy
CHAKRA United States
CHALCEDONY United Kingdom
CHAOS CODE United States
CHRONOS MUNDI Brazil
JOS… CID Portugal
CINEMA Japan
CIRCLE Germany
CIRKUS Canada
CITIZEN CAIN United Kingdom
CLAY GREEN'S POLYSORBATE MASQUERADE BAND United States
CLEARLIGHT France
CODA Netherlands
C”DICE Mexico
COLLEGIUM MUSICUM Slovakia
COTO EN PEL Spain
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