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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 12/24/14

rdtprog
Thanos (aapatsos)
Frank (infocat)

Heavy Prog Top Albums


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

4.40 | 2099 ratings
MOVING PICTURES
Rush
4.37 | 1767 ratings
HEMISPHERES
Rush
4.35 | 1645 ratings
A FAREWELL TO KINGS
Rush
4.30 | 1531 ratings
PERMANENT WAVES
Rush
4.24 | 1929 ratings
IN ABSENTIA
Porcupine Tree
4.23 | 1973 ratings
FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET
Porcupine Tree
4.21 | 1021 ratings
DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM
Mars Volta, The
4.15 | 753 ratings
THE MOUNTAIN
Haken
4.15 | 570 ratings
SALISBURY
Uriah Heep
4.09 | 1587 ratings
DEADWING
Porcupine Tree
4.09 | 1578 ratings
2112
Rush
4.10 | 784 ratings
VISIONS
Haken
4.07 | 1033 ratings
THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS
Porcupine Tree
4.07 | 794 ratings
AQUARIUS
Haken
4.10 | 490 ratings
LOOK AT YOURSELF
Uriah Heep
4.15 | 301 ratings
FROM WITHIN
Anekdoten
4.06 | 743 ratings
FRANCES THE MUTE
Mars Volta, The
4.02 | 1151 ratings
LIGHTBULB SUN
Porcupine Tree
4.13 | 239 ratings
SOUND AWAKE
Karnivool
4.03 | 546 ratings
DEMONS AND WIZARDS
Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

MÉMOIRES INCUBUSSIENNES
ExCubus
SKELETON IN ARMOUR
Fusion Orchestra
HIGH TIDE
High Tide
A.F.T.
Automatic Fine Tuning

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Latest Heavy Prog Music Reviews


 Clockwork Angels Tour by RUSH album cover Live, 2013
3.96 | 55 ratings

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Clockwork Angels Tour
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars I am a big (not to say huge) Rush fan, I own almost all of their releases, saw them live and keep following what they do. But, I must say that it's very, very sad to hear all this great music that Rush has in its back catalogue for the thousandth time live since 1997 (this is the sixth live release since then against 3 studio albums in the same time) and even more so it's really sad when you hear how bad Geddy Lee is singing.

I am one of those guys that always fought back when people accused him of having a horrible voice, because I always thought he has an amazing powerfull voice. So it's really sad when you hear him suffering so much and even going out of tune to reach notes that he would hit so easily in the past.

It's particular bad in tracks like 'Far Cry' (one of my favorite from the band), where his voice is REALLY bad.

To be very honest the material played in this 3 hours set is, as always with Rush, superb! They play if flawlessly as always. But I'm really surprised that they keep releasing live stuff as it is now. Sure, play concerts, people still want to see you live but do not release every single tour as it has been since 2002. To be honest, I'm not even sure if they hear the tapes before releasing them... because I have the impression that if they did, they would not put this album out...

 Futile by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.43 | 124 ratings

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Futile
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A great companion E.P. to "In Absentia" as it contains a variety of material from those sessions. This review is based on the digital version of this release. The other "hard copy" version contains another live track, and interview with Steven Wilson, an Opeth track from their "Damnation" album which SW helped co-write and produce and contributed to some of the instrumentals, and a promo ID from SW. This downloadable album makes more sense since it is more available than the original E.P. and is more consistent since it contains only music from PT.

It starts out with "Collapse" which is a very shortened alternative version of "Collapse the Light into Earth" from the original album. I love the original song and this acts as more of a intro to the E.P. and give you an idea of how the entire song sounds. It serves the purpose of being a great opener and only lasts a minute and a half. This was originally supposed to open the "In Abesentia" album, but was left off probably because of repetition, so it is used as an introduction to this E.P. From there, we go into the MOR song called "Drown With Me" which is also available on the European edition of IA as a bonus track. This one is very accessible and has a nice hook with a great chorus full of the signature PT harmonics. Following this is a hard edged instrumental called "Orchidia" which sounds more upbeat and even in it's current underdeveloped state, still is an excellent track. The title track of the E.P. is next and is also a harder edged PT song this time with vocals. Any of these outtakes would have fit quite well upon the original album, but who is to complain when you can add these extra songs yourself to an already excellent album.

The following track is a live version of the excellent epic song "Hatesong" performed in Philadelphia on July 26, 2002. This is a definite hard and heavy song in a live atmosphere and is one of the excellent highlights of the original album. The song transfers well to a live format, and you can hear some differences in the vocal harmonics and a slightly heavier sound with some pronounced keyboards in certain passages and also features an extended guitar solo. This gives a slightly more developed sound to the song, which remains amazing. The last track is another great outtake that isn't available on the hard copy of the E.P. or anywhere else before this called "Chloroform" which is a very moody mid-tempo song with an accentuated bass line, some amazing vocals from Steven Wilson and later develops into a hard instrumental break with an excellent guitar solo. This one lasts over 7 minutes, so you know it's worth getting the downloaded copy over the hard copy (which is actually just a promotional release which explains the strange addtions of the interview and the Opeth song).

Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson fans owe it to themselves to get this as it is one of their best E,P.s and it is worth the money to get the extra additions to one of the most loved albums in the PT discography. I can't call it essential because it really belongs together with the "In Absentia" album, but it is definitely excellent even at the 32 minute run-time. Excellent companion to the IA album by all means. 4 stars.

 A Billion Years of Solitude by SKY ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 132 ratings

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A Billion Years of Solitude
Sky Architect Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I really enjoyed this band's debut from 2010 called "Excavations Of The Mind" but skipped their next one after seeing some not so favourable reviews. This most recent recording by SKY ARCHITECT is pretty darn good but in my opinion it doesn't match the quality of the debut which was two years in the making.

"The Curious One" has a dramatic intro that gives way to some meandering drum work and spacey sounds. Strummed guitar and spacey synths take over after 3 minutes. Reserved vocals after 5 minutes then it starts to kick in after 7 minutes instrumentally, an impressive display. The vocals will proceed to come and go as the song plays out. I like the laid back atmospheric section starting after 12 minutes, especially when the spacey sounds are added. It kicks back in before 15 minutes for a kick-ass ending. "Wormholes(The Inevitable...)" opens with vocals, drums, organ and more before it settles into a groove although this song will continue to evolve and change. Some good organ runs late before we get a big finish. "Tides" is one I like a lot with those melancholic vocals which are the focus. Water sounds end it.

"Elegy Of A Solitary Giant" opens with piano and atmosphere before it kicks into an ANGLAGARD-like section which is really surprising and well done. It changes after 2 minutes with reserved vocals and a mellow sound. It starts to build. Horns 4 minutes in which is another surprise. A calm with piano like the intro follows then it kicks back in after 5 1/2 minutes. Impressive. Piano and a mellow vibe again before 8 minutes as we get a dreamy section with more horns. It's heavier late to end it. "Jim's Ride To Hell" is a really good kick-ass instrumental with some great bottom end sounds with atmospheric synths. Check out the guitar as well. "Revolutions" is my favourite and it has a punchy instrumental passage to start that is quite impressive along with the guitar before a minute. Organ to the fore then we get a calm before 2 1/2 minutes with vocals. Some nice guitar as a new instrumental section takes over at 5 minutes, but the vocals will come and go. "Traveller's Last Candle" is a catchy vocal-led piece that changes before 2 minutes with mellotron and manipulated spoken words. A calm with melancholic synths before 3 minutes then the vocals return a minute later. I like the way it drifts along after 5 minutes then it kicks back in. Vocals are back before 10 minutes then an intense slow burn ends it all. Nice.

3.5 stars but i'll stick with the debut when I reach for a SKY ARCHITECT album.

 Galactic Vibes by FREEDOM'S CHILDREN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.15 | 12 ratings

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Galactic Vibes
Freedom's Children Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Freedom's Children were a band from South Africa that formed in the sixties. Initially a part of the psychedelic movement, they became domestically famous for their fuzz-toned guitar covers of songs like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and other popular guitar hits. Their early concerts were advertised to feature 30-minute freak outs. Being South African led to problems for the band with such a bold name that appeared to challenge authority. Their first album "Astra" had to be released under the band name Fleadom's Children. They began recording music for the second album but feeling stifled in South Africa, they moved to the U.K. before the album was complete. The record company decided to finish it for them and hired guest vocalists to sing the songs and added horns to some of the songs. All this was done without the band's consent.

Being from South Africa delivered more problems for the band in the U.K. Because of their home country's apartheid policies, South Africans found it difficult to get work. Eventually Freedom's Children began making headway, and by 1971 they released their third album, "Galactic Vibes".

Freedom's Children may be regarded as both a progressive band and a heavy rock band. This album features both styles of music, albeit the progressive side is not similar to the giants of prog in the early seventies. It is more accessible and not so experimental or bold.

The first track "Sea Horse" is very loud hard rock. It makes a good start to the album, but as many bands in the day often put their heaviest rocker as track one, it does make you wonder if this is going to be the only one in this style.

Recorded live, "The Homecoming", begins as another heavy guitar rock song. Three minutes in, the song part ends and there is a 1-minute instrumental followed by a 3-minute guitar solo. Then comes a 7-minute drum solo. It might be a very good drum solo for all I can tell. The thing is that so many bands around this time felt it was necessary to include drum solos that I find it tedious to listen to them now. The main complaint I have is that any other "solo", be it guitar, keyboards, flute, saxophone, violin, or whatever, will usually be played to background music. Why is it that drum solos have to be exactly that: drums only? Ginger Baker's "Toad" was good, and I really like Ron Bushy's drum solo in "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" because he makes it rhythmic and musical, not just an assault on every piece of percussive instrument set before him. So this drum solo is perhaps a good one but it's a long one. After the solo the song returns and ends soon. It's rather a good song and so I wish they had recorded a studio version with about 8 minutes of soloing, both guitar and drums, removed.

Side two opens with "That Did It" which is even a heavier rocker than "Sea Horse". It is often included on proto metal and early hard and heavy rock playlists on YouTube. The vocals sound borderline hysteric in some moments. Great heavy rock!

"Fields and Me" begins with, oh no, a drum solo again? No. It quickly switches to an acoustic number with a very pretty melody. An orchestra joins. Beautiful composition. The vocals could be a little more in tune in moments but generally they do a good job of delivering the melody and emotion. Here, however, the production becomes an issue. It's not so clean at the louder moments with the orchestra and sounds like a live recording. Actually the whole album sounds like the master tapes were either dusty or the studio's equipment couldn't handle higher volume well. This is not bad for the heavy rockers as it adds to the distortion and energy. But this more beautiful music suffers somewhat.

"The Crazy World of Pod" is a bizarre psychedelic spacey sound experiment. I often wonder what the point of these ventures were. Should we drop acid first in order to appreciate it better? Thankfully it's only just over two minutes.

The next track "1999" is closer to a pop number. It has a country groove but with a guitar that sounds oddly like early new wave. Again the sound quality is not so good. It's more like a 1978 demo except the chorus which resembles some of the tracks from Episode Six's "Corn Flakes and Crazy Foam" double album of demos and poorly recorded live performances. Icecross recorded a song called "1999" around the same time and it's much more interesting and great a proto metal song, too!

The album closer is "About the Dove and His King". It's another song with vocals and orchestra. It seems that the sound quality is getting worse in places and both the louder and softer parts sound like some four track demo at times. Not a bad effort musically but the sound should be cleaner.

The biggest problem is the sound quality. It may be alright for the rockers but especially the orchestral parts are hurting. The CD comes with a detailed history of the band which can be found verbatim on a web site about South African music. The author claims that, hyperbole aside, this may have been the greatest band that the world never got to know. I do think the album has some great moments and in particular I enjoy "Sea Horse" and "That Did It" and also most of "Fields and Me". But for the band to have made a bigger impression, I think they should have presented their music with a cleaner sound and worked a bit more on the vocals which do go off the note occasionally in the slower songs.

The copy I have doesn't include all the additional songs listed in the track list above. Perhaps that version has been cleaned up better?

 In Absentia by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.24 | 1929 ratings

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In Absentia
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I've found as I've gotten older as a musician, a composer and a fan of listening to music in general, I've found my tastes in music change. As well as pretty much everyone does at one point in their life or another. Ever so slightly, but they do change. The most notable of mine which takes the form of moving slowly away from the more symphonic prog (Yes, Flower Kings, etc.) and moving more into more digestible, shorter tracks, but still filled with emotion and juicy stuff. I've hoarded onto Haken's entire discography for quite some time, yet haven't truly listened in depth to their stuff until just recently, and am also currently on a Porcupine Tree binge.

I've never been a fan of pop music, yet I'm always a sucker for a catchy lick, a cool lyric, and maybe once in a blue moon, a high pitched falsetto. My sheer addiction to electronic infused indie pop and rock music can attest to that, but PT fills that niche as well, believe it or not. I've had "Trains" on my driving playlist for quite some time, and it's become one of my favorite tracks ever. The beautiful simplicity to it, the complex rhythmic and yet completely accessible structure, and maybe just the overall mature sound of it is just hypnotic. It's the same case I've made for "Piano Lessons". Both are mature examples of a British prog pop sound.... I think. Or I could just be making stuff up, I'm not sure.

After all, the opening sentence of PT's bio on this site sums them up nicely; there is no one word to describe their sound or genre. Maybe it's just the smoothness of which their music is composed and performed. Or maybe it's their British accents. I am, after all, a sucker for British accents. Or maybe that's just to do with my love for famous British automotive television shows (RIP Top Gear).

Either way, Porcupine Tree as a subtle way with inserting catchy and sophisticated songs in between straight up hardballs with a subtle and rhythmic complexity that prog fans adore. Part of it falls to Steven Wilson's masterful composing skills, and part of it lies with the extraordinary drumming of Gavin Harrison. I personally believe as a drummer, Harrison is underrated. Each drummer strives to create their own unique sound: Bernard Pretty Purdie for the "Purdie Shuffle", Mike Portnoy with his chest-crushing bass sounds out of his set, Terry Bozzio with his 5-million tom drum set (or is it 5-million and 1? he might have added a few more, I'm not so sure). Point is, in every facet of life, you have to stand out from the crowd with a distinction completely unique to your self.

Harrison's greatest contribution is his ability to fool you. He doesn't focus on blistering solos around the kit or furious double bass onslaughts. He doesn't try to be clever and throw a 12/25 polyrhythm in 5/8 bar. His style is much simpler than that, yet is still clever. He throws accents on the offbeat, displaces it, relies more on syncopation. He'll play, for example, in 9/8 on a track in 3/4 and fool the listener it's just a standard 3/4 groove. You can never play in time with him because every time a rhythmic cycle turns around, he'll throw the snare on a different beat, add in an extra bass hit, throw in another fill, displace the beat not once, but TWICE in the same measure.

In short, it's genius, but subtle. Very subtle.

I recently bought his books "Rhythmic Illusions" and "Rhythmic Perspectives" for drumset, and it's both a fascinating read, and great to practice. First off, unlike most drumset methods books, he introduces every excercise or set of excercises with explenations on how to perform it and what illusion it emits or what it's supposed to convey. You get a feeling that he actually wrote the book himself, rather than just let the publication company rip off some of his beats from PT tracks and simply stuck his name on it. And that philosophy really echoes in his drumming style. You get a sense that he isn't just "rocking out". He's creating a groove, and then playing with it a bit. An extra snare hit here, a displace bass drum hit there. All resulting in a groove that you can feel and bounce to, but you can't air drum to it, simply because no two grooves are ever the same to him.

This frankly is what upset me with the disbandment of Porcupine Tree. Wilson and Harrison are like Yin and Yang, Lennon and McCartney, Hall And Oates (ok, maybe scratch that one). Point is, both cannot survive without the other, and yes, while I do still like Wilson's solo stuff, the drumming tends to be more static and less interesting sometimes, luckily without detriment to most of his music, but it still isn't the same. Harrison's solo stuff hasn't fared that well, where you stay for the drumming, but ignore everything else.

Maybe this is why I've been listening to more Porcupine Tree. I've had this stuff for so long, yet haven't listened it so much until a few years ago. Maybe it's for nostalgia's sake, I don't know. But In Absentia is one of those rare albums where you can't quantify it into a singular sound or motive, yet it's so distinctive and pronounced, you'd never be able to mistake it for anything else. Yes, it's a bit heavier than their previous work, less psychedelic and less jam band-y, but tighter, more focused, more concise, more mature.

This album really does have everything. From the ballad-like "Trains", to the instrumental "Wedding Nails", from the ethereal "Lips of Ashes" to the grunge-echoing "Strip The Soul". It's album that's a testament to the time of its recording, yet manages to be so much more that it's still a fresh and inviting listen each and every time, even 13 years later, and when you come across music like that, you know you've found a future classic right there.

Faults? The drums do sound a bit tinny at times, and the heaviest sections on the album, such as on "Strip The Soul" and "Wedding Nails" have a bit too much bite, and not enough sound, more of a gut punch than musical phrasing. Apart from that, the composition and songwriting is just mesmerizingly brilliant.

Now, is it for everyone? Admittedly, no. No prog album can be recommended to every prog fan. Even fans of progressive rock are divided in styles. Most fans of traditional symphonic prog will probably find it too depressing for their tastes. Some people I know actually loathed Porcupine Tree for phasing out of the psychedelic phase, to which I responded "Well, that's what happens when you mature; your tastes evolve". And frankly, I don't think there's any better evidence of maturity than In Absentia. It finally caps a superb trio of albums with Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun. Sure, In Absentia isn't the most accessible album. In fact, Stupid Dream has the most pop-like songs that PT has recorded. Yet, it's still a complete piece of music that just can't be ignored by any fan of music in general. It's unique, it's catchy, it rocks hard, and delivers a unique listening experience every time.

I may regret comparing Wilson and Harrison to Hall and Oates... or Lennon and McCartney.

At least I didn't compare them to Pinky and the Brain.

 Restoration by HAKEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.85 | 75 ratings

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Restoration
Haken Heavy Prog

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I'm going both go against the grain (given some folks' criticism of this album) and set a new personal first (never given 5 stars to an EP) and call this album a masterpiece of progressive rock.

I'm late to the game in truly appreciating Haken, although I have been monitoring their buzz and attention on ProgArchives and at festivals and live events. There were a number of aspects to their previous works (a bit derivative, playful bits that were perhaps a bit more childish than interesting, etc.) that just kept me from really coming back (although I have to admit that I have overcome some of these reservations in more recent times).

I can find none of these nitpicks on this album. There are no extraneous or repetitive parts. There are no playful bits that make me cringe the first time I hear them. There is no pushing of vocals beyond what I would consider to be tasteful or out of range. Instead, this is the work of a band that appear to be songwriting and recording pros. Of course, given that this album consists of reimagining prerecorded material (which I admit to not having heard), there is perhaps a bit of irony to my initial stance. On the other hand, it could instead be the case that Haken are more able to cut the fat and get down to business in a way that they were not able to when first starting out. I'm going to go with the second option. I love every second of this album, and there are very, very few albums about which I can say this.

Darkest Light is the rifferific opener, and it is great throughout, and just bursting with creativity and variety. Sometimes with the syncopated bits and thundering bass lines, I hear the brutality of some of my favorite Leprous material, only to be pushed out of my short term memory by a crunching riff that worms into my brain. I wouldn't want a whole album of this, but it's an excellent slice of prog metal in my book.

Earthlings is the haunting comedown from the opener, and it is captivating to my ears throughout. Relying much more on traditional song structure, this song really works due to the musicality (note: not technicality) involved, from each slight guitar vibrato to subtle bass crescendo. And just when the traditional song structure might begin to tire, a powerful and understated outtro takes us home. Great atmosphere and restraint throughout.

Crystallised represents the band's finest epic in opinion. Although earlier extended songs contained undeniable high quality material, there were either moments of extending too far (Visions) or not quite nailing the change-of-pace sections (Celestial Elixir), with this song I hear a procession of creative and well-executed ideas, strung together in a way that flows quite nicely, and transitioned expertly. This song has just about anything I could want from Haken, from a killer guitar solo to open the middle section to inspired and energetic vocal harmonies to the grandiose conclusion.

There you go: a great album throughout, without a second that I wouldn't qualify as excellent. So what if it's under 35 minutes??? If I don't hold it against Rush, than I'm not going to hold it against Haken either. I'm certainly looking forward to what Haken might come up with next!

 Spoke of Shadows by SPOKE OF SHADOWS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 6 ratings

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Spoke of Shadows
Spoke of Shadows Heavy Prog

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

4 stars A modern progressive band and album instantly in need of more attention, exposure and praise is U.S band Spoke of Shadows and their superb self-titled album from 2014. A collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Herd of Instinct member Mark Cook and session drummer Bill Bachman (who's also worked with Neal Morse), along with numerous collaborators from bands such as Djam Karet, Thought Chamber and others, their debut work is simply one of the finest instrumental works that appeared last year. While it may initially take some influences from the heavier `Thrak'-era King Crimson period onwards, there's also dark jazz flavours, slinking electronics and even little traces of chamber prog worked in as well. Cook's bass is the absolute standout of this disc, gliding and weaving throughout every second of it, his performance truly the equal of Bill Noland on the second Eccentric Orbit album `Creation of the Humanoids' from last year as well (look into that one, progressive listeners!), and you won't find more varied and spontaneous drum execution than what Bachman delivers here.

The Crimson influences permeate much of opener `Dominion', a brooding concoction of eerie Mellotron choirs, thick distorted bass murmurs, imposing drum rattles and slimy mud-thick metallic grinding over angular guitar unease. The melancholic yet impossibly beautiful `Images' is carried by near-orchestral Mellotron veils, creeping Tool-like guitar tension and spiralling flute in the finale. Gentle late-night jazz ambience tiptoes through the reflective and heart-breaking piano and singing bass of `One Day', then `Harbringer' brings back the attack with snapping drums, relentless bass chases and unravelling guitar trails racing with devilish glee. Traces of the melody of `Lost One' could have almost been lifted from a Seventies Italian horror movie, wistful flute dancing around heavier monolithic guitar intimidation.

No surprise to find one of the longest tracks here, the seven-plus minute `Pain Map', is one of the most ambitious pieces, including everything from droning hums, strolling bass grooves, skittering jazzy drumming and reaching electric guitars. Although probably one of the heaviest pieces here, the reigned-in hard riffing never becomes too obnoxious or dominant, and listen out for the spacey electronics bubbling around an orchestral chamber prog outro. `Persona' is initially a more sedate romantic guitar piece with flute trills and very low-key electronic grooves that gently transitions into perfectly controlled electric guitar fire and drum eruptions by the final minute.

More lonely Mellotron sighs and weeping flute throughout `Splendid Sisters', then powerful metal drumming, plodding dinosaur guitar grunt and Goblin-like Mellotron slices leave `Tilting at Windmills' sounding not far removed from the heavier later Porcupine Tree moments. `Accord' is a thoughtful bass rumination over serene synths and wavering draw-out guitar chimes with just a hint of classical prettiness breaking through, and both `Dichotomy' and album closer `Drama of Display' reprise those chiming elongated drawn-out Crimson guitar notes with infernal Mellotron, rolling drums, and even psychedelic backwards effects.

Spoke of Shadows are truly Progressive as opposed to lazily recreating the vintage Prog sounds of old in fawning and slavish devotion. Nineties-era King Crimson may be starting point for them, and fans of that band should easily enjoy what they discover here, but Spoke of Shadows take it much further - tasteful and evocative instrumentals full of constantly shifting light and dark moods, dynamic playing and always remaining melodic with a very modern sound. The duo and their musical guests have already set the bar for future works incredibly high here, so hopefully they're not going to be a mere one-off project.

Four stars for the perfect soundtrack to early A.M hours!

 Knots by GLASSWORK album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Knots
Glasswork Heavy Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars From the power metal band Eternal Dream, these three musicians were thinking about this new project long time ago. Being inspired by many old and new progressive rock and metal bands, their music still have this own identity. The album starts with a strange and dark song with piano and drums high in the mix. In fact, the production of the whole album is very clear with synths/drums/guitars being clearly mixed. The band has cleverly chosen to put more instrumental parts to the music with occasional vocals in English. A nice addition is the use of harmonica in the song "Being Man" and the flute in some songs. There is some nice balance between the heavy guitar riffs and the delicate keyboards lines. "Hopeless" has a nice crescendo and some irresistible melody with a duel flute/drums. "Song for Ariadne" brings the Hammond sound upfront and a Grimskunk vibe. "Being Man" is a look back to the past with the guitars and this song is different from the rest of the album with plenty of harmonica. The vocals on "Beside Me" are working well with the music while the guitars, the keyboards and the flute have their own time and space to shine.

I didn't find any weak track on this album, and when you enjoy the production and the songwriting you can only, think that this band got some potential for the future. Let's hope for some more releases soon.

 Jane III  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.84 | 47 ratings

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Jane III
Jane Heavy Prog

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

3 stars A band with constant revolving door line-ups, the sudden departure of keyboard player Werner Nadolny from German rock band Jane meant the sound of their eventual third album in 1974 would be powered by guitars. Acid, psychedelic and hard rock still dominate, no surprise as those are all part of the usual Jane template, but perhaps `Jane III' was still their least ambitious album to date at the time. However, although the lack of keyboards and that beautiful glistening Hammond organ from their previous discs means `III' is initially quite disappointing from a progressive rock standpoint, patient listeners will still find a decent collection of Seventies rock tunes with plenty of instrumental fire to interest them here.

Just listen to the way the bass murmurs in constant delight throughout the plodding opener `Comin' Again', with repetitive guitars strums chiming into infinity and Charly Maucher's mud-thick bass and rough-as-guts vocals slurring through the mix. There's definitely a stoned, wasted Krautrock lethargy to the thick atmosphere, but the manic rising guitar solo in the finale is quite joyous and transcending. Dusty bluesy fire grooves through `Mother You Don't Know', `I Need You' starts as a dreamy ballad that grows in gutsy power as it moves on, and nice piano and acoustic guitar floats through weary ballad `Way to Paradise'.

`Early in the Morning' is wailing acid rock with oceans of electric guitar feedback and some very hazy hallucinogenic panning feedback back and forth in the mix to really bring your mind grinding to a halt! `Jane-Session' starts as a mellow jam with just a hint of droning menace before guitars rage in every direction as it builds in tempo. While the tune of `Rock N Roll Star' is pretty unmemorable, it picks up during a fuzzy heavy psychedelic second half, `King of Thule' is a brief regal instrumental, and `Baby What You're Doin' closes the album, a stomping grooving rocker with a fairly inane boogie chorus, but it's throwaway fun in a fairly brainless way.

`Jane III' is a good little rock album from a great psychedelic hard rock band, and while they made better (and slightly proggier!) albums, this is still a fine collection of rocking tunes and great playing, with a welcome heavy wasted quality throughout the entire disc. The gorgeous psychedelic artwork makes it just a little better as well - lucky those who have it on vinyl!

Three stars.

 In Absentia by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.24 | 1929 ratings

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In Absentia
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Terakonin

5 stars The first album in Porcupine Tree's metal phase, I personally think it is both the best and most original, and among their very best work, and a great example of what I believe Porcupine Tree do best- many relatively short (for prog) but great tracks. It has quickly become a favourite of mine.

The album opens with Blackest Eyes, a track full of rather malevolent guitar work and savage drums. It opens with some deceptively calm guitar work, but it's not long until the new drummer Gavin Harrison ramps things up, working with Wilson to belt out high quality, cutting hard rock sections interspersed with beautiful, drifting ambient passages for Wilson to sing over.While only five minutes long, there's not much missing in this song, and it feels longer. (10/10)

Following up the hard to beat opener is Trains- a beautiful acoustic track where Wilson's singing is more emotional than usual. Separated into two distinct sections that however share perhaps one of the greatest choruses in recent memory, and with stunning chords and melodies that alternate over its six-minute run time, it shares the number one spot on this album with Blackest Eyes. (10/10)

I said that Trains followed up a hard to beat opener, and held its own- but the next track, Lips of Ashes, has to follow up two of the best tracks of the album. It certainly manages to do so, with unusual instrumentation and bell sounds. Strange string-like arrangements and stranger percussion provide a backdrop to Wilson's self-harmonies. The introduction of the electric guitar at 3/4s provides an excellent contrast to the rest of the song, and is accompanied by Wilson's wordless vocals. (8/10)

The Sound of Muzak is a bass driven, slightly sinister track about the death of music and the industry. Perhaps just as important as the distinctive bass riff are the introspective and darkly humorous vocals. (8/10)

Gravity Eyelids, the longest track on the album at four seconds shy of eight minutes, is an atmospheric track, with instrumentation that sounds strangely muffled. The only sound unaffected by this effect seems to be Wilson's vocals, but then the strangely beautiful chorus comes in with piano chords, and even his singing gives way to the subduing filter on the music. When the next verse returns, his vocals are clear again, and the next time the chorus rolls around it plays over the top of the verse, which then disintegrates. A well handled track that is more complex that it appears. (8/10)

Following Gravity Eyelids is the hard rocking instrumental piece Wedding Nails, with incredible and intricate guitar work. Cycling betweenequally driving and distinctive riffs in the vein of King Crimson's Red, screaming guitar notes, atonal static, and sinister ambience, it provides a great heavy metal interlude to the vocal tracks. (8/10)

Just when you thought Wilson had run out of great riffs, he brings in Prodigal, with a melancholic riff supported by a thick bassline. The introspective lyrics deal with religion and finding oneself, from a glass-half-full perspective, typical of Porcupine Tree. As the track slowly increases in intensity, processed robotic vocals come in, interspersed with Wilson's wordless harmonies, as his electric guitar reaches new heights. (8.5/10)

The strong bass sounds evident in The Sound of Muzak return in .3, where they are much more prominent. Short bursts of rippling keyboard synths that can only be described as weird come in, providing a delicious counterpoint to the melody, just before the track turns into a softer, more ballad-like piece, with piano, acoustic guitar, and, once again, Wilson's melancholy vocals. After a while the keyboard returns, bringing the track soaring up. (8.5/10)

Ah, one of my favourites from the album. The Creator Has A Mastertape. An urgent, intense piece of music. The prominent bass continues and in this song it can only be described as paranoid. Wilson's vocals are distorted, accompanied with rising synth-string blasts and frenetic drumming. After the first chorus, the track becomes incredibly chaotic, before dropping suddenly into the next verse. The schizophrenic feel of this track and its mindblowing lyrics put it up there with Blackest Eyes and Trains. (9.5/10)

Heartattack in a Lay-by is a depressed ballad with clean but faintly jangly acoustic guitar work that controls the mood and direction of the song with ridiculous precision. Wilson's vocal lines interrupt each other, creating an ethereal layered effect that that rides over the top of the slow guitar riff. (8/10)

After a short absence (clever pun???) the bass returns in Strip the Soul, which, partnered with The Creator Has a Mastertape, is one of the two paranoid tracks on the album. The vocals and lyrics are menacing, as if Wilson has repressed homicidal tendencies. They are once again distorted, and accompanied an impressive variation of guitar lines that link the segments of the song into a coherent piece. Around halfway in, an acoustic chord progression comes in, with whispered vocals by Wilson that sound like he's breathing down the back of your neck. Dissonant guitar work enters and the rest of the song becomes a juxtaposition of the themes of the first half of the track, with melody lines swapping instruments constantly and faint snippets of a dialogue recording. (8/10).

Collapse The Light Into Earth is the finishing track. The piano chords, vocal delivery and lyrics seem to represent a catharsis, as if Wilson is recovering from the hellish psychological terrors of the majority of the songs on the album. It also has a faint love-song feel to it. Along with Trains, it is one of the more conventionally beautiful tracks on the album. A good finisher to a great album. (8/10)

The cover of this album and the lyrical and musical themes of the songs lead me to believe that this could be a semi-concept album about paranoia or something similar. Nothing I have said in this review can truly describe the excellent production and layered textures of this album. Porcupine Tree's masterpiece. 10/10.

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