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ECLECTIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Eclectic Prog definition

The term 'eclectic' in the context of progressive rock describes a summation of elements from various musical sources, and the influences and career paths of bands that take from a wide range of genres or styles. While progressive music can be, in a larger sense, eclectic, the 'Eclectic Prog' term is specially meant to reference bands that trespass the boundaries of established Progressive Rock genres or that blend many influences.

Eclectic Prog combines hybrids of style and diversity of theme, promoting many elements from different sources. The Eclectic category recognizes bands that evolved markedly over their career (in a progressive, evolutionary way), or have a plural style without a clear referential core.

The basic features lie within the music's variety, rich influences, art tendencies and classic prog rock elements. Among the representative bands are KING CRIMSON, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, and GENTLE GIANT.

- written by Ricochet (Victor)

Current Team as at 07/10/2016

Rob (Epignosis)
Sagi (Sagichim)
Logan (thellama73)
Kevin (Magnum Vaeltajas)

Eclectic Prog Top Albums


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

4.61 | 3651 ratings
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson
4.53 | 2872 ratings
RED
King Crimson
4.49 | 1735 ratings
GODBLUFF
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.42 | 2448 ratings
LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC
King Crimson
4.42 | 1851 ratings
PAWN HEARTS
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.35 | 1423 ratings
IN A GLASS HOUSE
Gentle Giant
4.31 | 1400 ratings
H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.30 | 1317 ratings
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Gentle Giant
4.29 | 1635 ratings
OCTOPUS
Gentle Giant
4.32 | 715 ratings
THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE
Hammill, Peter
4.29 | 1282 ratings
STILL LIFE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.28 | 1269 ratings
FREE HAND
Gentle Giant
4.25 | 1274 ratings
ACQUIRING THE TASTE
Gentle Giant
4.23 | 1188 ratings
VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE
Hackett, Steve
4.27 | 457 ratings
ANABELAS
Bubu
4.27 | 406 ratings
BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH
Birds And Buildings
4.25 | 361 ratings
MEMENTO Z BANALNYM TRYPTYKIEM
SBB
4.20 | 639 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC: PART TWO
Beardfish
4.16 | 740 ratings
SPECTRAL MORNINGS
Hackett, Steve
4.12 | 1836 ratings
LIZARD
King Crimson

Eclectic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

NOT OF SOUND MIND
Zapotec
DADARUHI
Replikas
SNAFU
East Of Eden
ASTRID PRÖLL
Astrid Pröll

Latest Eclectic Prog Music Reviews


 Sound Dependence by POTAPOV, VYACHESLAV album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Sound Dependence
Vyacheslav Potapov Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars When you think of eclectic progressive rock whether it be the hard driving kind or more psychedelic in nature, many parts of the world come to mind but the former republics of the ex-USSR aren't usually amongst them. However nestled away amidst the endless supply of -STAN countries occasionally a lone progger finds his way out of the local scene and rises up to make him/herself heard on the world scene. Emerging from the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan comes the eclectic musician VYOCHESLAV POTAPOV who got interested in prog in his teen years during the 90s but due to his adventurous musical tastes in a part of the world not inclined to engage in such practices found little success in creating his dream band. By the time the millennium turned over the odometer POTAPOV was ready to take his musical endeavors in his own hands and began creating his own music in 2003 which yielded the results as this first offering to the world called 'SOUND DEPENDENCE.'

This debut album reflects the earliest efforts of POTAPOV's musical experiments and a testament to his creativity finding a way to express itself. 'SOUND DEPENDENCE' is unlike the rest of his canon and the only album to be primarily based in psychedelic rock before he would unfold his tastes into more eclectic and jazz-fusion oriented material. This debut is very much a DIY (do-it-yerself) affair and was titled 'SOUND DEPENDENCE' because it was recorded minimally with only a 6-string acoustic guitar, bass, microphone and drum samplers and had to be tweaked in the production process with different kinds of compressors that allowed the minimalism to maximize the results. True that the album feels like a homemade piece of art (because it is) but it is evident even at this primeval stage that POTAPOV had an ear for all things prog with a heavy leaning on the 60s psychedelia and Krautish lysergic offerings of the 70s.


'SOUND DEPENDENCE' sounds fairly rich considering the scant instrumentation involved. POTAPOV ekes out a plethora of possibilities despite it all and creates some crazy surreal soundscapes with some outstanding compositions. The album flows quite organically as the opening track 'Jungle' slowly unfolds its mysteries into a rhythmic march of electronic noises that slowly intermingle with the guitar and percussion. The different parts dance side by side by slowly become freer and freer until they sound like totally unrelated parts and then fall in line again. While this isn't quite progressive rock per se at this point, it is more of an experimental ambient type of album that includes rock aspects that weave in and out of the cosmic flow of things. A tripper's paradise type of album if there ever was one and probably the absolute strangest album i've ever heard from Kazakhstan! OK, maybe the only one as well ;) Just check out the sublime 'Ant Hill' where the percussion simulates the busy army of ants and the detached bass line adds strange bop inspired fret workouts.

While much of the album is a river of pleasant sounds ebbing and flowing together like a brackish river mouth meeting the sea, some tracks such as 'The Story Of Arabian Wise Man' have a definitive guitar groove that provides a melody and reminds me much of early 70s Krautock trippers such as A.R. & Machines meets Guru Guru. POTAPOV utilizes all tricks available with back masking and interesting time signatures where different sounds overlap in complex polyrhtyms garnished with sound effects and ambience. While this isn't the best of what POTAPOV has to offer, 'SOUND DEPENDENCE' is a unique listening experience that already displays fully developed compositions that don't quite reach their potential due to the underdeveloped production techniques. Still though this is a pretty good album worthy of any psychedelic rock fans' attention.

 La Marmite Cosmique by BUKWALD, ARNAUD  album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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La Marmite Cosmique
Arnaud Bukwald Eclectic Prog

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars A brilliant and totally fresh smorgasborg of avant jazz/jazz fusion song stylings from French composer/musician Arnaud Bukwald. The journey that Arnaud takes one on through the songs on this album is quite nostalgiac as there are familiar sounds, riffs, and stylings in virtually every song. And yet, the music is totally fresh, new, and unpredictable. The compositions and arrangements work very well throughout.

1. 'Chop suey' (2:15) opens the album on a wild and crazy percussive journey with xylophone and drums leading flutes and synths along like lemmings over the cliff. Then a jazzy JERRY LEE LEWIS-like piano section ushers in vocals, horns, psychedelic electric guitar lead and drums for about 30 seconds before a toilet flush signals the end and exit. (7/10)

2. 'Dedicated to Hugh' (3:10) (Hopper? or the same 'Hugh' of Robert WYATT's 1972 dedication on his first MATCHING MOLE album?) 'a m'est 'gal, for in the end this is a truly wonderful instrumental tribute to all Canterbury artists of the late 60s and 1970s'so perfectly composed and performed. (10/10)

3. 'Mars caravan' (3:06) opens with a voice sample from a 1950s-60s film about alien/(Martian) before turning into a kind of film score soundtrack to a credits roll or film montage of alien visuals. Very dramatic, even melodramatic, ' la ENNIO MORRICONE or someone else of that ilk. (8/10)

4. 'Gran Torino' (3:39) ventures into the funk jazz fusion found in a lot of late 60s early seventies film and television themes (especially Black exploitation and disco-era cinema.) Very catchy, dance-groovy. (9/10)

5. 'Time and space' (2:11) opens with heavily spaced flute and then Fender Rhodes piano play before a vocal (!) from a very deep GREG LAKE-like voice. The second minute turns into quite the upbeat 70s television theme song. Very fun song! (10/10)

6. 'Fairy Tales' (10:23) opens with its first two minutes feeling very much like a section out of ELP's 'Tarkus.' The next section shifts gears and moods into feeling like GENESIS's 'Watcher in the Sky mixed with Mike Oldfield's tubular bells. Then, at the end of the fourth minute we get to hear the sounds of birds, woodsy-lumberjack sounds, and then crackling sticks over the fire next to the babbling brook. This is then replaced by the gradual fade in at the 4:50 mark of strummed mandolin, harp, and woodwinds, before a more rollicking orchestrated section bursts in at 5:48: double bass, orchestral strings, tympani and orchestral percussion'which are soon joined by a jazzy horn section but the, just as quickly, all is dropped in favor of an extended section of some strum-play on the strings inside a piano. Slowly a mysterious organ enters in the background before tribal drum play and piano percussives play over the top. The final 45 seconds of the song engage a Moog synth solo played with tubular bells and church organ. Not all of Arno's influences/references are clear to me. He's told me that Cyrille Verdeaux, Art Zoyd, Gong, and Ange are among his all-time favorites'all of whom are not as familiar to me as they could be'thus I suspect that some of the references I miss are from nods to those bands. (9/10)

7. 'Cirrus sequence' (9:26) opens with a combination of STEVE HOWE acoustic guitar harmonics play with David Gilmour 'Wish You Were Here' blues guitar lead and synth play common to TANGERINE DREAM work taking turns and then woven together. Clever and awesome! After the 3:40 mark, the Wish You Were Here' section ends and an eerie, spacey 'screaming alien howler monkey' section plays out over the same crackling fire noises from the previous song to the end of the song. Again, I am disappointed to say that this reference is lost upon me. But it is unique and interesting. (8/10)

8. 'T'ton effrayant - sauerkraut' (16:57) is a tribute to the Kosmische Musik (aka 'Krautrock') happening in the musk schools and hippie ashrams in Germany in the late 60s and early 70s. Bands like CAN, ASH RA TEMPEL, NEU!, AMON D''L, and even FAUST can be heard in this one. The shifts in the play of the rhythm section in this one are particularly noteworthy and fascinating. You can tell Arnaud gave great attention and love to the details of this one. Synths, percussions, saxes, and effects all play such critical roles in the weave of this one. It is hypnotic as well as trippy (like a circus-like acid trip). The Kraut rock fathers would be proud! At 8:10 there is a break leading into another GENESIS-like organ-synth and martial drum-led 'Watcher of the Skies' section before the previous Kosmische rhtythm reestablishes itself to support various independent appearances from Keith Emerson synth, Mellotron, Another break at 10:30 yields a very airy-empty space wash out of which a 'rocket takeoff' rising synth not appears and leads us into a very spacey, Berlin School of Electronic Music section. Could be straight out of any of TANGERINE DREAM, Manuel G'TTSCHING or the KLAUS-meister's 1970s masterpieces. Brilliant! Masterful end with avery slowly decaying synth sequence. My favorite song on this wonderful album! (10/10)

A near-masterpiece of true progressive rock music. Check this guy's music out! You won't be sorry!

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.80 | 16 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

5 stars Another abstruse offering from these California revolutionaries in their fearless quest to transcend art. Once again, there's no faithfulness to style and anything flies, although conspicuous acknowledgements are made to Jean Michel Jarre and Pink Floyd amongst others without being too pronounced. Those familiar with Djam Karet and their revisionist approach to creating music will find that Sonic Celluloid is much more expressive than some of their previous work. Imbued with waves of keyboards, magnetic instrumental sweeps and electronic scenery each composition possesses it's own curious identity within the concept of music as film.

Contrastive elements and ideas form the notion of an aural gallery. 'Saul Says So', 'Forced Perspective' and 'Long Shot' that introduce the work are more illustrative of the Djam Karet modus operandi. We get dynamic mingling of Hammonds and mellotrons along with cool jazzy electric and acoustic guitar runs, subaqueous bass, and Chuck Okden jr's usual spot on drumming. The latter part of the album shifts into Buddhist mode with tracks such as 'Numerous Mechanical Circles' with it's creeping world beat that resembles some of the reworked material that appeared on Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for the 1984 film 'Birdy'. The metallic 'Oceanside Exterior' with its coastal ambience and 'Au Revoir Au Reve' are sympathetic to one another and induce dreamlike neural sensations. 'Flashback' is like a narcotic with it's looping phantom rhythm, mellotron backdrop and quixotic guitar lines. 'Lower' gets very metaphysical and conveys nothingness. With no beginning or end it just wallows on in lethargic fashion as it cross fades out into human crowd chatter that makes it even more claustrophobic. The most interesting piece for me was 'No Narration Needed'. The piece opens with a lonely introductory melody that is abandoned for a picturesque ceremony in an ethereal garden with exotic lizards perched on rocks and foliage. A Greek bouzouki entertains and is joined by an acoustic guitar. My only qualm: too short. The capstone of this mind meld, 'The Denouement Device', features bass player Henry J. Osborne's melodious bass lines. It sculpts and intensifies, blending multiple melodies using all sorts of keyboard wizardry and electric guitars and is by far the most complex piece on the whole album. At times it reminds me distantly of 'Entangled' from the 1976 Genesis Trick Of The Tail album possibly revealing early musical roots..

I wouldn't say that listening to Sonic Celluloid was like watching a collection of short films in my head Admittedly it's a pretty far out concept and must be approached with a problematic mindset Largely produced under the direction of mastermind Gayle Ellett with contributions of varying degrees from the other members, to those not acquainted with the Djam Karet method Sonic Celluloid will tend to sound disjointed at times. Even I found myself saying, 'why the freak did you have to stop there? I was just getting into it', on more than one occasion. Nonetheless the knowing ones such as myself will revel in this Jewel. Djam Karet madness all the way! It also seems that they are on some sort of fantastic crusade to out-engineer/produce each previous album. The production here is simply exquisite and Sonic Celluloid is definitely one to lose your mind with with the headphones cranked to infinity!

 Prog Noir by STICK MEN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.74 | 70 ratings

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Prog Noir
Stick Men Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rule of thumb: maybe it pays to be wary of a Progressive Rock album with the word 'Prog' anywhere in its title. Sadly, the term still carries an unfair taint of mockery, no matter how challenging the actual music might be.

The new release from Tony Levin's Stick Men trio doesn't approach the nadir of Billy Sherwood's odious "Prog Collective" albums. But it doesn't quite redeem the cinematic self-deprecation implied by its title either, despite the ace musicianship. It opens strong, on the chunky downbeat of Levin's trademark Chapman Stick, propelling the title track. But here and elsewhere some persuasive chops are let down by the lack of a genuine lead singer.

The tongue-in-cheek "Plutonium" is a happy exception, with its deadpan comic narration and oddball musical digressions, from Carl Orff to classic Yes. And most of what follows is (fortunately) instrumental, better showcasing the trio's capabilities. Levin puts his Stick through some impressive, gut-punching calisthenics, matched by his whirling-dervish King Crimson rhythm buddy Pat Mastelotto.

But the songwriting sounds oddly forced to these ears, as if the band was trying too hard to fit a mold labeled Prog, instead of throwing caution to the wind and attempting anything truly progressive. The tired melody of "Mantra" underlines the album's hairline cracks, by resembling a not-quite successful attempt to break through a wall of writer's block.

The end result is a more accessible sub-Crimson side-project, easy on the ears but hard to recall in detail, even after multiple spins.

 There Is An End To Everything by POTAPOV, VYACHESLAV album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.30 | 8 ratings

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There Is An End To Everything
Vyacheslav Potapov Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars - The First Review for this Artist - Vyachelav Potapov (VP) from Kazakhstan makes his instrumental music all by himself. Guitar, bass and programming are listed on the album info, but the sound is more varied (ie. not so clearly guitar-emphasized) than what one could expect from that listing. Of course it is also more or less synthetic, artificial, as opposed to a more organic sound. [Note: All VP albums are available digitally only. They however have pretty fine cover designs too, so I decided to stretch from my principle of not making reviews based on downloads, and - with kind help from the artist - made a couple of VP discs for my use.]

This album is one of the two released in 2004 after the psychedelic debut the year before, starting a growing orientation towards progressive jazz/fusion style. But since the music really cannot be pigeonholed into one subgenre, Eclectic Prog is a valid choice. There are also flavours of Avant-Prog and electronic music. The 8-minute opening track 'The Man from Sand' is an interesting, sonically colourful prog piece. Especially I like the sharp guitar sound reminiscent of the one in 'Sleepless' by the 80's King Crimson. The second, short track is more restricted but it's followed by the largest piece 'The Observer in a Shadow' (11:22). It is pleasantly spatial, rooted on a steady bass motif. Wait a minute, no real drums used? They do sound real to me. The wide sound pallette features (digitally made) horns, reeds and a glockenspiel. The composition has an intense climax of 2-3 minutes which I personally don't enjoy, it sounds a bit noisy and embarrassing.

The briefest one, 'The Fiery Butterfly', feels more like a little sonic excercise than a finished piece, and the 7-minute 'Difficultly Plaited' is where I begin to lose my interest quite badly. Complex, haphazard melodies for the sake of complexity, to me void of emotional meaning. The title track in the end is another highlight in its moody sensitivity. It is calm, electronic music that reminds me of e.g. NIK TYNDALL, or SOFTWARE, ASHRA and other numerous, usually German artists that have been released in the -IC- (Innovative Communication) label.

A bravely eclectic album, to say the least. One may miss the lack of the more organic overall sound (that especially all the jazzy nuances remind one of), and here and there the introvert music may not make much (emotional) sense to the listener. 2˝ stars rounded up for beautiful cover art.

 Live at Babooinumfest by PANDORA SNAIL album cover Live, 2017
4.03 | 8 ratings

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Live at Babooinumfest
Pandora Snail Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

No prizes for working out that this is a live album, which was recorded at a festival in St. Petersburg on 6th November 2016. This was my first introduction to this eclectic progressive band, although they released a studio album in 2015, which I haven't heard. There are some interesting bands coming out of Russia at present, bringing together multiple different styles, and these guys are yet another that is totally out of left and producing something that is a million miles away from the mainstream, yet is also accessible (at least to me) and enjoyable the very first time I played it. What we have here are five people who are all incredible musicians, and have the jazz confidence in their bandmates that comes from many hours of playing together, are combining that with modern classical influences and then bringing in elements of RIO and the more complex areas of progressive rock music to create something that is refreshing and new. No Genesis clones here!

In terms of instruments we have keyboards (which is often piano), bass, drums, electric guitar and violin (plus a guest trumpeter on two songs) with no vocals. If there are boundaries in music, then these guys aren't just stretching them but are trampling them underfoot as if they don't exist. If I was to liken to them to another band then possibly After Crying, but I can also see Frank Zappa getting a real kick out of what they are doing, and would it be too much to bring Art Zoyd into the equation? It doesn't sound as if they were playing in front of a mass crowd, but those who were there were certainly provided with a musical treat. I look forward with great interest to hearing more from Pandora Snail.

 Thank You (edit) by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
1.50 | 7 ratings

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Thank You (edit)
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

1 stars It amazes me how friendly ratings (without reviews, of course) this single has received here. I recently listened to all the post- Interview albums of GENTLE GIANT, and it's easy to pick Giant for a Day (1978) as their worst album ever. Its biggest problem is that the songs go nowhere, they're ripped bare of progressive characters. A good example is the opening track 'Words from the Wise' that starts sharply sounding more or less like the classic GG with its vocal harmonies, but as the song goes on and on unimaginatively till the end, the listener realizes that the band, once so innovative, original and skillful, had truly lost their touch, as the preceding uneven album The Missing Piece had indicated. I even prefer the last, equally forgettable album Civilian (1980) in which the former prog group and now an average pop group at least managed to update their sound fairly convincingly.

'Thank You' is an extraordinarily boring, forgettable, country-flavoured middle-of-the-road song from Giant for a Day, actually among the poorest tracks of the poor album. Like it's said in the 4-CD set "I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis Years 1975-1980", it could be a harmless little song by an American midwest band called Montana or something like that, without anyone giving a second thought on its strengths or weaknesses. But being a Gentle Giant song, it's like an acclaimed Nobelist writing a technical manual.

Instrumental 'Spooky Boogie', another outtake from the album, is mildly humorous and witty, definitely better and more original (Gentle Giant -ish) than 'Thank You', but still missing the progressive final touch. At least I don't care to listen to it more than a couple of times. Featuring only weak album material and even having a poor cover design, I see no valid reason to give more than one star to this miserable single.

 Swamp Of Dreams by DJAM KARET album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.59 | 7 ratings

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Swamp Of Dreams
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

5 stars This is music only the abstracted brilliance of Djam Karet could give birth to. The greatest band that nobody has ever heard of ! Swamp of Dreams contains 6 titles have been dredged up and reworked from various one off contributions that appeared on anthologies and benevolent albums between 1990 & 2006. They have been cleverly presented in reverse chronological order which is a real treat for hard core followers like myself. Dark, vaporous and menacing sequenced rhythmical effects drive each piece with boundless intensity. A multitude of styles and devices are employed and melded together into something that has some semblance of congruity and it is hard to believe that they were all conceived over a 16 year time span. The whole album is characterized by flawless production, superb musicianship and technical prowess.

The opening track, Voodoo Chases The Muse is anchored by a pulsating, regurgitating synth template. A groovy psychedelic guitar riff plays on as if the wah wah pedal was just discovered. Jimi Hendrix meets Tangerine Dream. It then reinvents itself into something more frightening and conflagrated in some bizarre time signature that only aliens can figure out with Moogs and Fender Rhodes going maniac. The Shattering Sky appeared in original form on a humanitarian CD to raise money for victims of Hurricaine Katrina which devastated New Orleans back in the summer of 2005. The sky actually sounds like it's going to fall at the onset as the piece proceeds to work itself into a furious rage with frantic jazz bass and thundering synth barrages and fuzz guitar getting into a real cool groove that unfortunately ends too soon.. I actually googled the meaning of the title of the third track, Pentimento, and came up with two different results and tried to associate them with this psychotic piece. It commences with phantasmagoric spacey atmospheres and then transmogrifies into a manic guitar inferno with globs of plodding tonal wreckage. New Light On The Dark Age and the title track are more coherent and fluid pieces and for the most part are free of all the sonic havoc that has to be dealt with on the other pieces. Inventions of the Monsters is my favourite track. An alternate auditory interpretation of creation possibly influenced by Dali's surreal painting from the 1930's. Grotesque cat, dog and horse sounds can be heard amidst shifting sound walls and spooky tubular bell-like progressions. The whole thing seems to be gradually closing in on the listener in slow motion. Far out terrifying stuff.

I'm unaware of how the pieces that constitute Swamp of Dreams sounded in their initial forms but what has been done here is simply eye watering. A must listen for anyone who wants to grow up to be a synthesizer. Five outa this world stars.

 The Alchemist by HOME album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.65 | 48 ratings

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The Alchemist
Home Eclectic Prog

Review by Maceta

5 stars "The Alchemist" is HOME´s most progressive, and overall best release. After several listens I can say that the album works much better listened as a whole 40 minute piece rather than each song individually. In fact, whenever I come back to this album it is always to listen to the whole thing, rather than one individual song. It´s very eclectic and explores almost every mood possible, going from standard prog rock to funky moods, from reagge to dramatic symphonic rock. And yet manages to do all this while mantaining a coherent storyline that flows effortlessly and cohesively. A great example of how a concept album should be. It has really grown on me and I cannot think of it as anything other than a forgotten masterpiece.
 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1317 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

Even prior to the statement attributed to Lord Acton in his 1887 letter to Archbishop Mandell Creighton, the premise behind this statement was, and continued to be used to tell many a tale. And of course it is no secret how many times it plays out in real life. The point being, this is the premise behind Gentle Giant's outstanding 1974 concept album, The Power and the Glory. As a concept it is clear that they can lay no claims to originality. However, the manner in which it is presented musically and lyrically is unrivaled and unique.

Not being in any regard a language specialist or connoisseur, it is difficult to properly relate the manner in which the story is so poignantly delivered with precision and brevity. The band had previously demonstrated a love for the alliterative ruminations of RD Laing; using a lot of the same words in rounds to say what could likely be said with a couple short sentences. In The Power and the Glory, the lyrical patterns use some of the Laing influenced metrics, but with more being said with far fewer words. In particular, So Sincere, with its in-line antinymn contradictions. It is one of the few albums that I have been truly able to feel the lyrical content as an essential. That point has been solidly driven home by the recent re-master that include a Bluray disc with video lyric presentations. The word are often in a jumble and seemingly pulled at random or displayed in reverse. A brilliant underscore of the concept as it pertains to double talk in political speaking or drawing example to fit a narrative. Again, its an outstanding bit of lyrical brevity to convey a grand process.

Musically The Power and the Glory is deeply complex. It is an essential complexity that drives the album's theme home. The opener Proclamation uses oddly metered instrumentation in a talkback style that seems to mimic a public discourse that escalates in speed and intensity to eruption of the ultra-dissonant "Hail..." chant. So Sincere uses a freely dysjunctional rhythmic pattern with the previously mentioned use of in-line antonyms to further keep the listener off balance in analogy of political subterfuge. Every little subtlety is a mechanism for storytelling. It is no doubt challenging to the listener to be present in the story. And it is a level of challenge that is well documented in making some uncomfortable. Surely it is not too much to expect that the given subject does come with a little discomfort.

The presentation has been further augmented in recent years by a 5.1 remaster by the 5.1 master of re-master, Steve Wilson. It is for that reason that I have chosen to engage in a review of this already thoroughly reviewed masterpiece. For many years it occurred to me that The Power and the Glory was absolutely made for a surround mix. And, indeed, Mr. Wilson has once again hit the mark. That aforementioned talkback sequences with each instrument coming in one-by-one leading into the final verse of Proclamation was everything I had imagined. The mix adds another amazing element to one of my favorite works of all time.

The Power and the Glory was one of the most routinely bashed albums among mainstream critics in the mid- 70's. And with good reason, its an album that is not a passive listening concept. For my part I find every aspect of this album a delight. From the talent of the players and their individual multi-instrumental capabilities to the completeness of concept, it is a 100% essential piece to any prog collection. 5 stars.

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Eclectic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
16 DEADLY IMPROVS United States
17F Switzerland
4/3 DE TRIO France
8 DAYS IN APRIL Germany
A.C.T Sweden
ABRETE GANDUL Chile
ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE United Kingdom
ABSURDCUS Romania
ACADEMIE OF FARSIDE Indonesia
ACINTYA France
ADVENT United States
AFFINITY United Kingdom
AKO DOMA Slovakia
AKRITAS Greece
AKT Italy
JEAN-PIERRE ALARCEN France
ALBATROS Germany
ALCO FRISBASS France
ALEXL Brazil
ALGERNON United States
ALLOMERUS Australia
ALON United States
ALPHA RALPHA France
ALQUILBENCIL Spain
ALQUIN Netherlands
ALTABLANCA Argentina
ALTAIR Spain
ALTERNATIV QUARTET Romania
ALTERS Poland
MICHEL ALTMAYER France
AMPLEDEED United States
APERCO Israel
COSTE APETREA Sweden
APPLE BELLS Poland
ARBATEL Mexico
ARDO DOMBEC Germany
AREKNAMÉS Italy
ART AND ILLUSION Italy
ARTCANE France
PETER ASHBY United Kingdom
THE ASHQELON QUILT Israel
ASTRID PRÖLL Puerto Rico
ATHELSTONE Malta
ATLANTIDE France
AUDIENCE United Kingdom
AUDIO VISIONS United States
AUNT MARY Norway
AVE ROCK Argentina
AVIATOR United Kingdom
ÁVORA DI CARLLA Brazil
AXON-NEURON United States
BAD ALCHEMY United States
VLADIMIR BADIROV Uzbekistan
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CONSIDER THE SOURCE United States
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CRIME IN CHOIR United States
CRÓ! Spain
THE CRYSTAL SUN United Kingdom
CULPEPER'S ORCHARD Denmark
CURVED AIR United Kingdom
CZAR United Kingdom
DAAL Italy
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DAGMÄHR Canada
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DARK AETHER PROJECT United States
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS United States
GUILLAUME DE LA PILIERE France
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DIAGONAL United Kingdom
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DISTINGUISHED PANEL OF EXPERTS Multi-National
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ECHOES France
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ET CETERA Canada
EVELINE'S DUST Italy
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FAMILY United Kingdom
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FLIGHT United States
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FROM.UZ Uzbekistan
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HALF PAST FOUR Canada
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HOME United Kingdom
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INTERFACE Japan
INTERPOSE+ Japan
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IXT ADUX United States
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NARR France
THE NATURAL MYSTIC Italy
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NECROMONKEY Sweden
NEMO France
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NÉODYME Canada
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NEUTRONS United Kingdom
NEWCROSS United States
NICE BEAVER Netherlands
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NIL France
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NOVA Finland
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OBLIVION SUN United States
OCTOHPERA Brazil
ODYSSEE Germany
RYO OKUMOTO Japan
THE OPEN WINDOW United States
OPERATION: MILKSNATCH United States
ORDER OF THE LIVING Finland
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ORIGINS United States
ORNE Finland
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THE OTHELLO SYNDROME United Kingdom
OUT OF THE BEARDSPACE United States
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PALEY'S WATCH United Kingdom
PANDORA SNAIL Russia
HET PANDORRA ENSEMBLE Netherlands
PANGÉE Canada
PEANUT BRITTLE SATELLITE United States
THE PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
PENTWATER United States
THE PEROTIC THEATRE Germany
PHILHARMONIE France
PINGVINORKESTERN Sweden
BRUNO PITCH France
THE PITTS MINNEMANN PROJECT United States
PLAMP Switzerland
PLAT DU JOUR France
PLATURNO Chile
POETICA IN SILENTIO Netherlands
LAURI PORRA Finland
VYACHESLAV POTAPOV Kazakhstan
JEAN-PAUL PRAT France
PRAXIS Mexico
PRAZSKY VYBER Czech Republic
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PROFIL Germany
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PROGRES 2 Czech Republic
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PSI VOJACI Czech Republic
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LA PURA REALIDAD Mexico
PURGE SOLENOID United States
QUAKER Argentina
QUARTETO 1111 Portugal
QUILT Canada
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RACHEL'S BIRTHDAY Germany
SIMON RAILTON United Kingdom
RAW MATERIAL United Kingdom
REDD Argentina
THE REDZEN Italy
THE REFORMATION United States
EL RELOJ Argentina
REPLIKAS Turkey
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OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ Puerto Rico
ROOTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS United States
LA ROSSA France
ANDRES RUIZ Argentina
THE RUNNING MAN United Kingdom
SACCHARINE TRUST United States
SAHARA Germany
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SBB Poland
LUCA SCHERANI Italy
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SCYTHE Germany
SEAMUS France
THE SEASON STANDARD Germany
SENOGUL Spain
SEVEN IMPALE Norway
SFILTROM Slovenia
SFINX Romania
SHAMBLEMATHS Norway
SHESHET Israel
SHINSEKAI Japan
SINATLIS TSELITSADI (THE LIGHT YEAR) Georgia
RIKARD SJÖBLOM Sweden
SKALDOWIE Poland
SKE Italy
JÓZEF SKRZEK Poland
SKY United Kingdom
SLEEPY PEOPLE United Kingdom
JULIE SLICK United States
MALCOLM SMITH United States
SIGMUND SNOPEK III United States
SOLUS3 United Kingdom
SOM NOSSO DE CADA DIA Brazil
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SOPHISTREE Germany
SOUL ENEMA Israel
SPECIMEN13 Canada
SPEKTAKEL Germany
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SPRING United Kingdom
STA IMA? Croatia
STAR PERIOD STAR United States
STELLA LEE JONES Japan
STICK MEN United States
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STORM CORROSION Multi-National
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JAMES SUDAKOW United States
SUMO ELEVATOR Israel
SUPERLUMINAL PACHYDERM United States
SYLBAT France
SYLVIA BLISS United States
SYNKOPY Czech Republic
SYRIUS Hungary
TAAL France
TAGYERIT United States
THE TANGENT Multi-National
TÁNGER Argentina
TCP United States
TELIOF Israel
TELLAH Brazil
TERRENO BALDIO Brazil
THIEVES' KITCHEN United Kingdom
THORS HAMMER Denmark
TIME United Kingdom
TIN SCRIBBLE United States
TMN Switzerland
TOOTSCATS Russia
TOWNSCREAM Hungary
TRAFFIC United Kingdom
I TRENI ALL'ALBA Italy
TRIODE France
TRIPCYCLE Serbia
TROYA Germany
TU United States
TULLY Australia
UK United Kingdom
UMLÄUT Australia
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD United States
UTOPIA United States
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR United Kingdom
LAURENCE VANAY France
JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER France
VELUDO Brazil
THE VIRIDIAN GROOVE Venezuela
VISITOR 2035 United Kingdom
VISITORS France
VISOKOSNOE LETO Russia
VITA NOVA Multi-National
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VITKASTE Finland
VOX NOSTRA France
VU METERS Italy
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VY Puerto Rico
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WEJAH Brazil
WHALEPHANT Russia
WLUD France
WOOLLY WOLSTENHOLME'S MAESTOSO United Kingdom
WOMEGA Belgium
THE WORM OUROBOROS Belarus
ALEX WROTEN United States
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XL Finland
YEAR ONE United States
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ZWEITON Germany

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