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HEAVY PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Heavy Prog definition

Heavy Prog defines progressive rock music that draws as much influence from hard rock as it does from classic progressive rock. In simple terms, it is a marriage of the guitar-based heavy blues of the late 1960s and 1970s - artists such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath - and the progressive/symphonic movement represented by King Crimson, Yes and Genesis.

The electric guitar, amplified to produce distortion (or 'overdrive') is a crucial element, providing the 'heavy' tone required for this aggressive style, and later for the British and North American heavy metal of the late 1970s and 80s. The primary rock format of drums, bass and guitar with keys and/or vocals on top is represented strongly in heavy prog. The presence of the Hammond organ with its deep, intense rumble was also common among harder progressive groups such as ATOMIC ROOSTER. Although certain other acts, such as King Crimson and Jethro Tull, utilize a heavy guitar, bass and keyboard sound, the bulk of their work over the years puts them in a different category.

Bands that represent Heavy Prog would include RUSH, PORCUPINE TREE, THE MARS VOLTA, URIAH HEEP, TEMPEST, BLACK WIDOW, DR. Z,ATOMIC ROOSTER, WARHORSE, BIRTH CONTROL, TILES.

- written bt Atavachron (David)

Current Team as of 15/09/2013

Andy (Andy Webb)
rdtprog
Thanos (aapatsos)

Heavy Prog Top Albums


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

4.41 | 1857 ratings
MOVING PICTURES
Rush
4.37 | 1564 ratings
HEMISPHERES
Rush
4.35 | 1453 ratings
A FAREWELL TO KINGS
Rush
4.31 | 1339 ratings
PERMANENT WAVES
Rush
4.22 | 1736 ratings
FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET
Porcupine Tree
4.21 | 1694 ratings
IN ABSENTIA
Porcupine Tree
4.23 | 906 ratings
DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM
Mars Volta, The
4.22 | 570 ratings
THE MOUNTAIN
Haken
4.14 | 494 ratings
SALISBURY
Uriah Heep
4.08 | 1410 ratings
2112
Rush
4.08 | 1416 ratings
DEADWING
Porcupine Tree
4.11 | 693 ratings
VISIONS
Haken
4.09 | 922 ratings
THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS
Porcupine Tree
4.07 | 702 ratings
AQUARIUS
Haken
4.05 | 695 ratings
FRANCES THE MUTE
Mars Volta, The
4.15 | 255 ratings
FROM WITHIN
Anekdoten
4.02 | 1017 ratings
LIGHTBULB SUN
Porcupine Tree
4.06 | 419 ratings
LOOK AT YOURSELF
Uriah Heep
4.12 | 210 ratings
SOUND AWAKE
Karnivool
3.98 | 923 ratings
STUPID DREAM
Porcupine Tree

Heavy Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

HIGH TIDE
High Tide
SNEAK ME IN
Lucifer's Friend
MÉMOIRES INCUBUSSIENNES
ExCubus
SKELETON IN ARMOUR
Fusion Orchestra

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Latest Heavy Prog Music Reviews


 Where The Devils Live by OSADA VIDA album cover DVD/Video, 2012
4.02 | 3 ratings

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Where The Devils Live
Osada Vida Heavy Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars A few months ago I reviewed the latest studio album by the Polish band, Osada Vida. The album is called Particles (2013) and you can read that review on this link: progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1039037. Metal Mind (the label of the group) also sent me their latest DVD to review. The DVD is called Where The Devils Live (2012) and even if it's a 2012 release it's interesting to review because it closes a circle for Osada Vida.

The DVD was recorded in a pretty Teatr Śląski im. Stanisława Wypiańskiego in Katowice, Poland, on November 10, 2011. Where The Devils Live (2012) shows Osada Vida still having the bass player Łukasz Lisiak as the lead singer of the band, the fact that would change later when they announced their new singer Marek Majewski for the aforementioned album Particles (2013).

It's interesting to note that after the instrumental intro of 'Remember Your Name' the band gives continuity to the concert with the energetic track 'Hard-Boiled Wonderland', that would only be recorded in their next studio album one year later with Marek on the vocals.

Sonically speaking Osada Vida is just great, especially in the instrumental parts and each musician of the band (Łukasz Lisiak - bass / Rafał Paluszek - keyboards / Bartek Bereska - guitars / Adam Podzimski - drums) shines in their respective instruments. Tracks like 'Uninvited Dreams' and 'Brain' show it very clearly.

Visually Where The Devils Live (2012) is simple but highly professional with great camera moves. The DVD doesn't present any special effects with the exception of a few tracks like the heavier 'Muscle' where we have some slow-motion effects and images that overlap the band playing on stage and on the instrumental track 'Is That Devil From Spain Too!' that after a short presentation shows us once again images that overlap the band on stage. In general, the DVD focuses on the band action and it has a very good photography. The few words spoken by Łukasz are in Polish, but wisely the DVD has legends in English.

All in all, after the ten tracks presented on Where The Devils Live (2012) we have the sensation that Osada Vida is a great live band, despite the vocals being weak (that's exactly why the band got a new lead singer). The DVD shows a band very well-rehearsed in an impeccable recording that includes 2.0 and 5.1 sound in a 16:9 aspect ratio screen. Not just that, Where The Devils Live (2012) would be the last live register with this Osada Vida's line-up, since apart from a new singer the band now also has a new guitar player. Bartek Bereska that recorded this DVD, has no longer played with them since the beginning of this year.

As bonus material on the DVD we have an interview with the founding member of the band Łukasz Lisiak and Rafał Paluszek. In this interview they talk about the story of the band answering questions from an unknown interviewer (as it is common in Metal Mind DVDs interviews). There's also a mini making of from the preparations for the concert that resulted in the DVD. There's also biography, discography, photo gallery and Desktop images.

Resuming, Where The Devils Live (2012) is a great collector item for any fan of the Polish band!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

 First Base by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.66 | 88 ratings

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First Base
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Babe Ruth would shift from being a hard-edged progressive rock band to being a hard rock band with a few progressive touches on subsequent albums, but this debut finds them at their proggiest, with a capable cover version of Frank Zappa's King Kong - one of the most intricate and technically challenging compositions from the original Mothers of Invention era - demonstrating their strong capabilities as a group. The album's sound is unique in the band's back catalogue due to the aforementioned hard rock emphasis of their subsequent releases, which is a shame because had they persisted in this direction I think they could have been major names on the prog scene.
 Age Of Madness  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.91 | 24 ratings

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Age Of Madness
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Age of Madness, indeed: 1978 was all that and more, to fans of Progressive Rock. After reaching a creative plateau on their ambitious 1977 album "Between Heaven and Hell", the hard-rockers of Jane followed a lot of other prog acts into shallow waters toward the end of the decade. But let's face it: unlike some groups they didn't have to swim very far.

In fact the band sounded very much at ease in the less sophisticated musical tide pools of the late '70s, at least over the initial three tracks here. That burst of classic Hammond organ grunge kicking off the album was a conscious throwback to an earlier, heavier Jane: the musical equivalent of slipping into an old pair of sneakers after a formal night on the town. The song itself was still uncomfortably in debt to PINK FLOYD, but with a welcome economy of style compared to the bloated, faceless wall Roger Waters was erecting at the time.

And then we arrive at the bluntly-titled "Love Song", sounding like a different group altogether: a soft rock ensemble from the beaches of southern California, perhaps. It helps to hear the track as a clever parody of a radio-friendly single, which I'm sure wasn't the intention, but the almost robotic repetition of rhythm and verse might have worked as satire in another context. From that point on, the madness in the album's title can be officially diagnosed as schizophrenia: half creative energy, half commercial tripe.

Okay, so that last comment was a little harsh, and not entirely true. Yes, there's a 50/50 separation in quality over the album's nine tracks, divided almost equally between songs and instrumentals (and here I count the two-part title track as an instrumental, with singing). But even at its lowest common denominator the album is occasionally lit by incandescent flashes of energy, typically sparked by guitarist Klaus Hess, in the dramatic sustained notes of "Bad Game"; or his striking solo turn in "With Her Smile"; or the driving pace of "Get This Power", the latter effort shortchanged only by Peter Panka's lack of traditional New Wave drumming chops.

The overall structure of the album helps it too, with the better (wordless) selections bookending the weaker songs, in effect supporting them in a firm musical embrace. And despite its split personality the complete package strikes a more unified tone than the somewhat contrived prog stylings of their more popular "Heaven and Hell". While not a triumph by any means, it's hardly the stumble I might have expected, and actually compares well to the late-inning rallies of other, bigger prog bands nearing the end of their relevance.

 The Last Tribe by DIALETO album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.88 | 54 ratings

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The Last Tribe
Dialeto Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is DIALETO's third studio album and their first to be released by Moonjune Records. It's pretty cool that Fabio from VIOLETA DE OUTONO and the INVISIBLE OPERA COMPANY OF TIBET mastered this album, he's one of my favourite musicians. My only experience with this band was with their debut which i'm a big fan of but here we are some five years later and unlike the debut there are no vocals this time around. This truly is a power trio bringing to mind the music of later day KING CRIMSON with that muscular instrumental work with prominant bass, intricate touch guitar along with drums and guitar. This is often dark and somewhat heavy, but very melodic and relaxing as well. It really has grown on me from what I thought was a 3 star album to a 4 star recording.

"Windmaster" has become one of my favourite. Talk about a feel-good tune that features some killer distorted guitar leads. "Dorian Grey" has this ground-shaking bass to start before the drums then guitar join in. A tune that takes it's time yet is all of that. Man these guys would be great to see live. "The Last Tribe" is the title track of course but also the shortest song on here at just under 2 minutes. This picks up quickly and is quite catchy. "Lydia In The Playground" is a relaxing track but there are some outbursts that provide some cool contrasts. Some beautiful guitar on this one. "Unimpossible" is the longest song at just under 8 minutes. It does as Ivan mentions in his review sound like Santana early on, mostly the guitar tone in my opinion. It starts to build after 2 minutes until they are ripping it up.

"Tarde Demais" really reminds me of IRON MAIDEN for about a minute and it's again the guitar tone as he solos in a relaxed manner before it changes. Such a calming, laid back track. "Vintitreis" opens with what sounds like vibes as bass joins in then takes over before it kicks in. Love the sound of the guitar on this one. Great tune. "Whereisit" opens with some guitar that has character as the bass rumbles and the drums pound. Cool stuff right here. One of the heavier tunes. "Sand Horses" is complex and building. Check out the bass ! The guitar starts to solo before 1 1/2 minutes than it's the bass' turn. "Chromaterius" is intricate to start as this atmosphere rolls in like a fog. It kicks in hard just before 2 minutes. Nice.

Well worth checking out if your into the all-instrumental thing.

 Between Heaven and Hell  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.36 | 41 ratings

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Between Heaven and Hell
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It seems a strange thing to admit on a website advertising itself as "Your Ultimate Prog Rock Resource", but I prefer the music of Jane when the band was languishing in Hard Rock hell, instead of striving toward Progressive heaven. Their earliest work was simpler, more straightforward, and aesthetically genuine in a way this album wasn't. The band's previous LP ("Fire, Water, Earth and Air") made a virtue of its added refinement, but this effort leaned too far toward pretension: a noble aim for Prog Rockers if they understand the rules before trying to break them.

Which I don't believe was the case for Jane. The quartet deserves credit for expanding its musical boundaries, but in the end they resemble tourists from the wrong side of the tracks, trying to blend in at an upscale resort without having mastered the local language. Opening the album with an awesome four-minute cosmic drone doesn't automatically qualify it as legitimate Space Rock, no matter how openly the song later plagiarizes PINK FLOYD's "Brain Damage".

It's all part of the episodic, side-long title track, an ambitious but uneven achievement marred by sudden, arbitrary jumps in mood and direction. The rocking and rolling sections, typically Jane's raison d'être, actually sound more leaden than heavy, something no one could ever say about the band's older albums. Compare the song itself to the slowly escalating jam beginning soon afterward: one of those moody, hypnotic workouts rarely heard outside Germany at the time, and arguably the group's finest moment on record. It's too bad the rest of the album didn't follow the same improvisational path.

In between is an odd Latin Gregorian chant, not very happily integrated into the larger musical structure, to a degree suggesting unintended satire. Like the kindred Anglophonic rockers of ELOY, there was always a touch of Spinal Tap to Jane's proggier ambitions (think of the controversial Tap album "Rock 'n' Roll Creation"). The band was always more vital when manhandling a Hammond organ instead of caressing a bank of string synthesizers, although the ecclesiastic keyboards (with harp!) at the end of the mini-suite "Twilight" are very effective. In low-brow contrast, the final track ("Your Circle") is a routine bit of troglodyte machismo tossed like a raw bone to the group's less adventurous fans.

Over a career spanning multiple decades Jane approached the rarified air of Progressive Rock only twice: evidence of musical bandwagon jumping more than innovation. But in those two albums they ran the Prog Rock gamut through "Fire, Water, Earth, and Air" to somewhere "Between Heaven and Hell". Giant steps indeed for such a roughshod group, only a little unsure of its footing on this second leap of musical faith.

 Distance by VULTRESS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.67 | 9 ratings

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Distance
Vultress Heavy Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Note: this is also a review of Zentraedi's Seven Medley Sins

I'm actually glad I've been given a decent chance to talk about this album, since I failed to do so last year when it was released. It came to me through bandcamp's name your price system, something that had heralded many gems the year before, but as much as I wanted this to be a timeless classic, there were simply too many things that brought it down in my books, no matter how good some parts were. So now, I've been given another opportunity, since Seven Medley Sins came along and I decided to do this 'experimental' double review. Because, hey, if experimental music exists and so does experimental film and sculpture and literature, why can't experimental music criticism exist?

This review is published in two versions, with different introductions and conclusions, but the same body, because these two albums, in my opinion, have very similar great parts and very similar flaws, and talking about them together only seems logical. Of course, the fact that one of these albums is significantly better than the other may veto this fact, but I really, honestly couldn't think of another way of discussing these records. So I'll do so by running through a few central topics of similarity (and difference):

i. Production

Ok, ok, I first must get this one out of the way, since this is probably the only major topic upon which these albums differ. Distance's production was a huge obstacle for me, it sounded weak and amateurish, and during the parts when it wasn't being awesome, it really did start to frustrate me. Both albums suffer from a lack of variation within tones ? and with long albums this can definitely get a bit grating, but Distance had the frustrating problem of the vocals sounding distinctly placed out of the mix, as if they were floating over the top rather than blended in with the music. Often as well, the vocals would start to sound a bit off-key, especially when Anthony Capuano goes into his full Claudio Sánchez impression.

On Seven Medley Sins, the production is far less of an obstacle, but there still is much to be desired. My major problems really lie with the tones of the instruments, particularly the keyboards, which house some inevitable cheesy sounds during this record's duration. "Dodging the Remote" features some rather nasty ones, especially during the instrumental jam section. Fortunately, for every average keyboard tone, there is a less average one in a different section. The band makes regular use of the IQ/Arena 'stretchy' neo-prog synth that I am a big fan of, although I'm not certain it fits entirely with this music.

ii. Vocals

Although both these records centre themselves around progressive metal, with ample use of synthesiser and Dream Theater aesthetics, both bands have vocalists that pull them from that crowd and straight into the post-prog sounds of Coheed and Cambria or Circa Survive. Vultress' vocalist channels a very Claudio Sanchez inspired delivery for much of this record, although missing much of the ridiculous theatricality and pronunciation that many find unappealing about Claudio's voice. Zentraedi's vocalist reminds me a lot of Nathan DaSilva from Canadian band Slyde, but considering Slyde are pretty underground too, that's probably an unhelpful comparison. Either way, both these vocalists would feel more comfortable on alt-rock or post-hardcore records, but I feel that may be what brings them out of the generic prog metal field.

iii. Structure/Wanking

As I have mentioned, one of the many odd similarities between these albums is the fact that both records have seven tracks, and both records clock in at around 70 minutes. So, by use of brilliant mathematical deduction, it means these tracks are long. Really long. Aside from "The Siren's Song" (which Vultress even label as an interlude), we don't have a single track under six minutes, and only two under eight. Between these records, we have six songs over 10 minutes, and one that nearly hits 25 in its length, and when I see track lengths like this, I hope to hell that the band knows how to structure them.

But honestly, I have yet to find a band that can make this many epics in a record and make them all sound cohesive, and although there are tracks that are pretty decently structured here, many of them meander and piss about, and generally feel like a bunch of song ideas stacked on top of each other. Both bands have an obvious Dream Theater influence in the way they use synth and guitar parts together, but there's also the influence of DT's messy gluing together of longer tracks, to the point where a few of them just completely lose all sense of greatness part way through the track. "The Path" on Distance has a really brilliant lead vocal melody and chorus, as well as some really nice instrumentation to back it, but the solo and bridge just lose themselves part way through, and even the final chorus isn't enough to really get any of the greatness back.

There are exceptions though, and I could cite both opening tracks as being pretty decently structured. Zentraedi throw one of the best choruses on the album right at you, straight off the bat, which I feel is a rather bold move, but it was certainly what sucked me in. I feel they did wait a bit long to bring the melody back into play, since it only reprises about a minute before the track ends, with a lengthy instrumental break and some hardcore wanking in the middle. Vultress take the tack of having a long and jamming instrumental to introduce the album, and is honestly one of the few instrumental sections on either album that I thoroughly enjoy. Despite taking up nearly half the track, it doesn't feel too long at all, and I really like the riff that comes in underneath the first vocal line. Unfortunately, toward the end of the track, they bring in one of the best melodies on the entire album, but 7.5 minutes into the track, it feels way too late to bring in such a great melody, and is one of the very rare times when I wish they actually continued and developed around this melody, because it feels so under-used.

But many of the tracks, and the biggest culprits here are "Time Capsule" on Seven Medley Sins and the closing "At The Edge" on Distance, which are both very meandering and aimless tracks. "Time Capsule" really just feels like a bunch of ideas flung together, and most of them are killed by completely unnecessary time changes, like the way that the intro never settles into a groove, constantly shifting and being rather annoying with the accented beats. Sometimes time changes are great, but here it just feels disjointed and irritating. "At The Edge", being nearly 25 minutes, has its fair share of long-winded and boring sections, and especially combined with the fact that it has as many memorable melodies as one of the shorter tracks, makes it a rather arduous listen. Vultress do have moments of good structuring though, and the reprises of the "Siren's Song" melody during both of the last two tracks is really nice, especially considering it's one of the best melodies here.

I think the basis of a lot of this meandering is because both these albums are heavily concept and lyrical-based. Seven Medley Sins as a title is a terrible play on 'seven deadly sins', and I have had my fair say of anger towards long-winded concept albums about deadly sins in the past. It doesn't come directly to the front, but on both albums, there are sections that are just lengthy storytellings, as if the music has been written around the lyrics. And of course, combine that with many prog bands needs to wank aimlessly for minutes on end, and you have some pretty tiring material. It would be something that affected my opinions of these records greatly, if it weren't for the massive redeeming feature?

iv. Melodies

I've often said in my reviews, at least of the albums that I say negative things about (yet somehow like) ? "everything is irrelevant if you have good melodies"

And as much as I love to talk about music in terms of everything but the melodies, you can't forget that melody is the core of music, and if you have great melodies, there's a 90% chance that your music is going to be great, no matter how you present it (there are still those (*cough Amaranthe *cough) that somehow manage it). But the fact is, everything I have said in criticism of these two records is fixable. The production will improve with success and fans and therefore better funding, the structuring and wankiness will come with time and practice, these bands just need to get a feel of where the songs are heading, so I guess that although these factors do affect my enjoyment, there are enough memorable riffs and melodies to make me forget all of that and enjoy the music.

Unfortunately this is where these two albums start to spread out a bit, in terms of my opinions about them, because it's obvious that Vultress have a far better knack for great choruses than Zentraedi, and that certainly has a bigger effect on my views. On Seven Medley Sins, the album opens with a bang, as I have stated the chorus of "Swarm" as being truly excellent, and there are certainly some other great ones ? "Dodging The Remote" and "Dek80z" are both littered with catchy little hooks in their verses, but nothing on here compares to some of the stuck-in-your-head-all-day stuff on Distance. "The Siren Screams" has an absolutely phenomenal chorus, awesomely catchy and memorable, which is a pity since a fair bit of the rest of the track is pretty lacklustre. "The Siren's Song" also has a nice little melody, and Vultress are smart enough to reprise it a few times during the last two songs.

Conclusion

But I guess the point is that, regardless of their similarities, these two records are both excellent debuts in the prog metal world that push beyond the obvious drawbacks to be significantly unique within the scene. Both these bands can be given the same advice, and with some more focus, they cold both release stellar follow-ups.

Distance - 8.0 Seven Medley Sins - 7.1

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Sorrow and Promise by DIVINE IN SIGHT album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.40 | 7 ratings

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Sorrow and Promise
Divine In Sight Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars One-shot US Christian Prog band from Lombard, Illinois.Divine In Sight consisted of Bartholomew Boge on guitar and vocals, Jonathan Dexter on bass and occasional keyboards and Frank Ralls on drums and percussion.Their sole album ''Sorrow & promise'' was recorded at Ark Studios in Appleton, Wisconsin and appears to be a Rock Opera with a religious content.It was released independently in 2001.

Far from some cheesy and uninteresting Christian-inspired concepts, ''Sorrow & promise'' is a very good effort of mostly RUSH-influenced Progressive Rock with a fantastic comfort on changing tempos and executed with passion and sheer energy.All tracks are interesting with mascular guitars and absolutely marvelous bass work, very upfront in the mix, passing through impressive rhythmic parts to bombastic tunes and melodic themes, while there are also some keyboard background to add a slightly orchestral feeling to the music.Surprisingly Bartholomew Boge's voice has a slightly female angle but also an excellent voice depth, a bit reminiscent of RELAYER's John Sahagian.Other good reference point are also compatriots TILES and ENCHANT.Without being very complex or flexible, the album is very interesting with plenty of breaks, a pure rockin' power and some complicated guitar moves, while lyrically it appears to have a nice value as well.Among the energetic guitar-oriented moments there are some clever passages with a mellower approach, led by atmospheric keys and Boge's unique vocals.Moreover the guitar does have a strong Neo-Classical edge at moments, occasionally breaking from Heavy/Power Rock grounds to Orchestral Prog Rock with an angular vibe.

Overlooked and underrated band, which seems to have disappeared after its sole effort.Powerful, RUSH-influenced Heavy Prog with a fair dose of different atmospheres, full of pomposity and grandieur.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Exit... Stage Left (VHS) by RUSH album cover DVD/Video, 1981
3.93 | 98 ratings

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Exit... Stage Left (VHS)
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I added this video to the Prog Archives database some years ago. I even can`t remember now when I did it. But finally this week I watched to this video so now I can write a review about it.

"...forever young...".

Well...that is the impression that I have when I listen and even more when I watch to some bands playing after many years on the road. RUSH is one of those bands. And after watching to this video and to their "Grace Under Pressure Tour" video I still have the same impression, because the main audiences of this band were and maybe still are very young people (I could be wrong, but in both videos there are some scenes taken from the point of view of the audiences...and there were a lot of teenagers and maybe a lot of university students among the fans of this band, or even some pre- teenagers too...with maybe some of their parents attending the concerts with them). Well. Anyway, this band is a very good band and even if I am not as young as most of their fans are I still sometimes enjoy listening and watching to a band like RUSH. I listened to the "Exit... Stage Left" live album for the first time in 1983 (when I was 18 years old) and it remained for at least two years among my favourite albums from that period. Maybe it is their best live album and for my taste their period between 1978 and 1984 was their best, at least in Prog Rock terms. The band sounded very well rehearsed, very energetic, very creative, very heavy. Each musician played their instruments very well, with a lot of precision (particularly drummer Neil Peart, one of the best drummers in Rock music). Bassist Geddy Lee was singing very well in those years and also was playing bass guitar and keyboards and bass pedals, and some rhtyhm guitar (in "Xanadu"), and even controlling the keyboard sequences and playing some keyboard parts using pedals, helped a bit by Alex Lifeson. Lifeson still is a very heavy guitarist, but he sometimes used some acoustic guitars (on the first part of "The Trees" and in "Closer to the Heart", this last song being one of the few songs from the band on which the lyrical themes are not about "modernity", science fiction or technology, themes on which i am not very interested now, but maybe are very interesting for their fans).

So, this video is still very enjoyable, despite the images are not very good. But the sound is good. I think that the performances of the songs are not the same as in the album, or maybe some of them were overdubbed in the recording studio or mixed differently. Anyway, this video is a very good companion to the album, and even has some songs which were not included in the album ("In the End", for example, is one of my favourites from their early seventies period). The only thing that I did not like from this video was the omission of Peart`s drums solo in "YYZ" which is presented in an edited form. But they included "The Trees", "Xanadu" and "Free Will", three very good songs which are among my favourites from their repertoire.

 Fire, Water, Earth and Air  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.34 | 49 ratings

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Fire, Water, Earth and Air
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A purist (and what else is a true Proghead if not an Apollonian purist?) might tell you these guys had no business sitting at the Progressive Rock banquet table. If you listen to their albums leading up to this 1976 epiphany, you won't find a band in the Symphonic Rock or Jazz Fusion or Avant- Garde tradition (and certainly not from the more seditious culture of Krautrock). But at least they tried. And unless we're misleading our children it's the effort that counts, isn't it?

For this album, the band's most ambitious to date (ambition being a relative term for such an earthbound collective), Jane raised its PINK FLOYD banner higher than ever, with the tempos, the melodies, and especially the vocals all but screaming, "Wish We Were There". Jane might have started life as a gang of rock 'n' roll delinquents, but they fell eagerly in step with Progressive music trends in the mid '70s, and better late (almost too late, in 1976) than never.

Clearly the band members had done some homework, and learned their lessons well. The album opens with an actual Classical Rock fanfare, en route to an extended Klaus Hess guitar solo: quintessential Jane, and still exhilarating. And it's a concept album too, recalling Peter Sinfield's employment of the four Platonic elements in his lyric for the KING CRIMSON tune "In the Wake of Poseidon", with each 'movement' cued, somewhat obviously, by the appropriate sound effect.

The album may be secondhand Floyd, but Jane was a more unified band in 1976, when the Floyd was already showing symptoms of creative malaise. Jane's music at the time was also far more melodic, if not quite so elemental as the title suggested...diluted perhaps (like a lot of Prog Rock) by too much air and not enough fire. And the lyrics, when audible, never rose above the standard give-me-some-sweet-lovin' plateau of '70s banality. But this was the more consistent of the band's proggier efforts, less self-consciously ornate than its popular follow-up "Between Heaven and Hell". Over the album's 33-minute flow of more-or-less continuous music, the group walked a precarious tightrope between the artless guitar rock of their earlier recordings and the extended Prog cosmetics of the later LP, without ever missing a step.

Having only just heard it for the first time (on the recommendation of a Fellow Traveler in these Archives), I'm standing up for the maligned 3-star rating with a possibly too conservative trio of sympathetic stars here. The album is hardly a classic, but when measured by the yardstick of nostalgia it's still a classic slice of the 1970s.

 Lady  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.05 | 32 ratings

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Lady
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Hanover quartet of Jane was beginning to sound more American than German by 1975, yet another reason why Krautrock elitists have always ignored them. The Kosmische Musik geek inside me wants to likewise turn up his nose, but after belatedly taking some time to explore their music in depth his teenage garage-band doppelgänger simply won't allow it.

The band's fourth studio album saw yet another line-up shuffle, this time arguably to their benefit. New vocalist (and keyboard player) Gottfried Janko possessed a more distinctive singing voice than drummer Peter Panka, something a prosaic outfit like Jane desperately needed (imagine CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, after years of expensive therapy). Janko's keyboard playing didn't have the same raw vitality as his predecessor (and eventual replacement) Werner Nadolny, but it was a moot point: the bedrock of Jane remained guitarist Klaus Hess, still in good form despite the weaker material here.

The music itself was nowhere near the creative acme of Progressive Rock, despite the occasional synthesizer squirt. And the songwriting is rarely strong enough to be entirely convincing four decades later. As usual the band was at its best when flexing its instrumental muscles and sticking to the riffs, as heard in the "Midnight Mover" jam, not coincidentally also the longest cut off the album. And the intro to the title track is an air-guitarist's fantasy come true: one of those quintessential '70s anthems able to drive an acne-damaged high school dropout to headphone ecstasy.

It would be easy for a musical snob like me to simply accept bands like Jane as a guilty pleasure, and move on. But isn't that akin to damning them with faint praise? And why feel any guilt at all? Jane never quite met the ideals of Progressive Rock (transcendence, virtuosity, so forth), but as a boilerplate hard-rocking ensemble with higher-than-average aspirations they were close to peerless in their mid-'70s heyday. And Progheads know better than anyone how to live with a guilty pleasure: by ditching the pointless guilt and unearthing the buried pleasure.

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Heavy Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
2066 & THEN Germany
2112 Argentina
4X United Kingdom
ABASH Italy
ABIGAIL'S GHOST United States
ADVENT HORIZON United States
AFTER THE FALL United States
AICAN Russia
ALBATROS Spain
ALGARAVIA Brazil
ALTERED STATE United States
AMUSIA Canada
THE ANABASIS United States
ANDROMEDA Germany
ANEKDOTEN Sweden
ANKH Poland
ANOMUS Finland
ANTI-DEPRESSIVE DELIVERY Norway
APOLLO Finland
ARABS IN ASPIC II Norway
ARAXES Switzerland
ARC United Kingdom
ARCANE Australia
THE ARISTOCRATS Multi-National
ARMAGEDDON United Kingdom
ASTEROID Sweden
ATLANTIDE Italy
ATLAS VOLT Sweden
ATOMIC ROOSTER United Kingdom
AUSTRALIS Chile
AUTOMATIC FINE TUNING United Kingdom
BABE RUTH United Kingdom
BADGER United Kingdom
BAKER GURVITZ ARMY United Kingdom
BAKERY Australia
BALISET United States
BALLOON Netherlands
BARAKA Japan
DAVID BARRET TRIO Canada
BATTLE CIRCUS New Zealand
BBI France
BI KYO RAN Japan
BIBLE BLACK Japan
A BIG GOODBYE United States
BIGELF United States
BIRTH CONTROL Germany
THE BITTERS United States
BLACK BONZO Sweden
BLACK MARKET SEROTONIN United Kingdom
BLACK WIDOW United Kingdom
BLOOD CEREMONY Canada
BODKIN United Kingdom
BOLT United States
BOOK OF HOURS Sweden
BREAKING ORBIT Australia
THE BROWN Japan
BULL ANGUS United States
BURNING SAVIOURS Sweden
CACTUS PEYOTES Brazil
CAMAFEO Argentina
CAPHARNAUM Canada
CAPTAIN BEYOND United States
CAPTAIN OF THE SWEDISH TEAM Canada
CARDEILHAC Switzerland
CARGO Netherlands
CARGO CULT REVIVAL United States
CARPADIUM United States
CARPE NOTA United States
CASUAL SILENCE Netherlands
CELELALTE CUVINTE Romania
CELESTIAL OEUVRE United States
CHAIN United States
CHOLO VISCERAL Peru
STEVE CICHON United States
CLEAR BLUE SKY United Kingdom
CLEVIS United States
CLIMAX Bolivia
COBWEB STRANGE United States
COLT Poland
CONTRA United States
CONTRARIAN United States
COSMIC NOMADS Australia
A COSMIC TRAIL Germany
TYLER COTNER United States
COUNTRY LANE Switzerland
CRACK THE SKY United States
CRYPTIC VISION United States
CRYSTAL BREED Germany
MICKEY CURTIS AND SAMURAI Japan
CYNICISM MANAGEMENT Slovenia
CYTRUS Poland
D'ACCORD Norway
DAH Yugoslavia
DÁNAE Argentina
DAREDIABLO United States
DARK United Kingdom
DEAD END SPACE United States
DEAFENING OPERA Germany
THE DEATH COBRA Australia
DEEEXPUS United Kingdom
DEFORMICA Argentina
DEJA-VU Norway
DELLA TERRA (AEGIS INTEGER) United States
DELTA RED Mexico
DELVOID Norway
DEMIANS France
DEVIL DOLL Multi-National
DIALETO Brazil
DIFICIL EQUILIBRIO Spain
DILEMMA Netherlands
DILLINGER Canada
THE DIVINE BAZE ORCHESTRA Sweden
DIVINE IN SIGHT United States
EL DOOM & THE BORN ELECTRIC Norway
DR. Z United Kingdom
DRAGON Belgium
DRUGI NAčIN Yugoslavia
DUST SCULPTURES United States
EARTH FLIGHT Germany
EASTER ISLAND United States
EIGHTH WHALE United States
ELF PROJECT United States
ELIAS HULK United Kingdom
ELONKORJUU Finland
ENCHANT United States
ENMARTE Argentina
EPHRAT Israel
ESCHERBACH United States
ESTIGMA Chile
ETT ROP PÅ HJÄLP Norway
EVERON Germany
EVERY OTHER FATE United States
EXCUBUS Canada
EXPLORERS CLUB United States
EXSIMIO Chile
FACING NEW YORK United States
THE FALL OF TROY United States
FANTASMAGORIA Japan
THE FAR SIDE Italy
FIELDS United Kingdom
FITNES Serbia
FLOTANTE Chile
FORGOTTEN SUNS Portugal
FRAME Germany
FREEDOM'S CHILDREN South Africa
FRIJID PINK United States
FUMIGUN Chile
FUNGUS Italy
FUSION ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
FUSION ORCHESTRA 2 United Kingdom
FUZZY DUCK United Kingdom
GÅTE Norway
GATE 6 Netherlands
GHOST IN MIRRORS United Kingdom
GNOMONAUT United States
MOOSEHEART GODBLESS THEE United States
GOMORRHA Germany
GOODTHUNDER United States
GOSIA United Kingdom
GRAN TORINO Italy
GRAVY TRAIN United Kingdom
THE GREAT LABYRINTH PROJECT United States
GREYHAVEN United States
HADES Norway
HAKEN United Kingdom
HALLELUJAH United Kingdom
HAYSTACKS BALBOA United States
HAZE Germany
HEADSPACE United Kingdom
HEIR TO MADNESS United States
HERO Italy
HEROINE United States
HIGH TIDE United Kingdom
EL HOMBRE ASTRAL Spain
HØST Norway
HUMAN LIFE INDEX United States
I AM THREE PEOPLE Finland
I BOW CANDLES Multi-National
IMAGERY Brazil
IMAGIN'ARIA Italy
IMPULSO DE LOS SONIDOS INCONSCIENTES Argentina
IN OCEANS United Kingdom
INDIAN SUMMER United Kingdom
INDISCIPLINE Canada
INFRONT Russia
INTROVISIÓN Costa Rica
IRISH COFFEE Belgium
IZ United States
JACK YELLO Germany
JACKAL Canada
JANE Germany
JARDIN DE PIEDRA Peru
JENGHIZ KHAN Belgium
JIMMY CHAMBERLIN COMPLEX United States
JOHN PAUL JONES United Kingdom
JONESY United Kingdom
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KARMAMOI Italy
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KOURTYL France
LAGITAGIDA Japan
LANDBERK Sweden
LANDSCAPE Netherlands
LAST LAUGH Sweden
LEECH Estonia
LEGEND United States
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LIQUID SCARLET Sweden
LIQUID WOLF Finland
LONE STAR United Kingdom
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HEDVIG MOLLESTAD TRIO Norway
MONTRESOR Australia
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MORTE MACABRE Sweden
MOTHER TURTLE Greece
MOTHERJANE India
MURPHY BLEND Germany
NAIKAKU Japan
NAKED France
THE NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GOATS Italy
NEBULOSA Sweden
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NEM-Q Netherlands
NEPOčIN Yugoslavia
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NEW SUN United States
NIGHT SUN Germany
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NO BRAIN CELL Greece
NO LIFE ORCHESTRA Norway
NORTHWIND United States
NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED United States
NOUGHT United Kingdom
OCEAN France
OCEANA COMPANY Netherlands
ODIN United Kingdom
OF THE I Switzerland
OKO Yugoslavia
OLLOCS United States
ONSÉGEN ENSEMBLE Finland
OPRAM France
OPUS 3 Chile
OPUSCULUS Canada
ORATRISM France
ORPHAN BLOOM United States
ORPHEO Netherlands
OSADA VIDA Poland
PERSEPHONE'S DREAM United States
PESKY GEE United Kingdom
PHANTOM'S OPERA United States
PHI Austria
PHOENIX DOWN United States
PINKROOM Poland
PINNACLE United States
PIRATE Australia
PLAYGROUNDED Greece
POINTS NORTH United States
POP MASINA Yugoslavia
PORCUPINE TREE United Kingdom
PORT MAHADIA United States
PORTMAN Croatia
POSEIDOTICA Argentina
PRO MUSICA Romania
PROGRESIV TM Romania
PSIGLO Uruguay
PSYCHOCEAN Italy
EL PUENTE DE ALVARADO Mexico
PUGH'S PLACE Netherlands
PULSONICA Argentina
QUATERMASS United Kingdom
RAG I RYGGEN Sweden
RAINER TANKRED PAPPON Brazil
RAM United States
RED STAR REVOLT United States
ALBERTO RIGONI Italy
ROLE OF THE OBSERVER United States
ROOM United Kingdom
ROSALIA Japan
RUPHUS Norway
RUSH Canada
S&L Italy
S.O.T.E. (SONGS OF THE EXILE) Netherlands
SAILOR FREE Italy
SANDCASTLE Italy
SARCASME France
SARTORIUS Mexico
SCARLET HOLLOW United States
SECTION 3B Multi-National
SENECA United States
SHAA KHAN Germany
SHOW-YEN Japan
SIENA ROOT Sweden
SKELETONBREATH United States
SKY ARCHITECT Netherlands
SL THEORY Greece
SLP Canada
SOLAR ARCHITECT Canada
SOLUTION SCIENCE SYSTEMS United States
SONIQ CIRCUS Sweden
SORRY NO FERRARI United States
SOUND & SHAPE United States
THE SOUND OF ANIMALS FIGHTING United States
SPECTRUM Chile
SPETTRI Italy
SQUAT CLUB Australia
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STANDARTE Italy
STEEL MILL United Kingdom
STILL LIFE United Kingdom
STOLAS United States
STORM AT SUNRISE United States
THE STORM Spain
STRATEGY United States
SUBSPACE RADIO Finland
SUGARLOAF United States
SVANFRIDUR Iceland
SYLVIUM Netherlands
T2 United Kingdom
TDW Netherlands
TEA Switzerland
TEMPEST United Kingdom
TESKA INDUSTRIJA Yugoslavia
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THEORY OF AFFECT Russia
THERHYTHMISODD Sweden
THREE SEASONS Sweden
THULE Norway
TILES United States
TIME TRAVELLER Finland
TINKICKER Denmark
TRAUMPFAD Germany
TRILI Puerto Rico
TWO CHILEKINGS Philippines
TYBURN TALL Germany
THE UNDERGROUND SET Italy
URANIAN Argentina
URIAH HEEP United Kingdom
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VARGTON PROJEKT Sweden
VÉLOOO France
VIRUS Germany
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VULKAN Sweden
VULTRESS United States
WALRUS United Kingdom
WARHORSE United Kingdom
WARPIG Canada
WATERLOO Belgium
WEEND'Ô France
ANDY WEST United States
WHERE ARE YOU LIAM? Russia
WHITE WITCH United States
WICKED MINDS Italy
THE WINDMILL Norway
WRITING ON THE WALL United Kingdom
XANADU Poland
YANG France
YGGDRAZIL Italy
YSMA Germany
YURT Ireland
ZARATHUSTRA Germany
ZION Italy
MICHAEL ZUCKER United States
ZUNDAPP Italy
ZYDRA Chile

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