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HIGH SPY

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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High Spy picture
High Spy biography
Founded in England in 2006

HIGH SPY is a band based in the Midlands region in England, and is the latest in a long line of bands and projects involving keyboardist Mark Price (formerly of EXECUTIONER, FINAL CONFLICT, FRAMEWORK, GRACE, PROXY MUSIC, ECHOBASE, COLONIAL MOVERS). In this particular case he is the founder of the band, which he decided to form in February 2006.

Ade Peddie (vocals, guitar, harmonica) joins in March 2006, which becomes the official formation month of the outfit, and in June 2006 Lee Weston (bass, vocals) is added to the line-up. With the addition of Arran Powell (drums, percussion) in December 2006 the line-up is complete.

In January 2007 they decide to go for HIGH SPY as their official band name, and February 2007 marks the launch of this outfit as a live act. Following that concert the rest of the year is used to write and record new material and playing live on a few select occasions. In July they release the compilation CD "Rebirth: The Big Machine", a production consisting mainly of older work by Mark Price - reworked and rearranged during 2006. A live CD, one of many to come, is also issued in 2007, and the band's MySpace page and homepage are launched.

In 2008 HIGH SPY has played live on several occasions, have released a handful of live CDs, and more new material has been written and recorded. The planned studio release gets postponed for various reasons; and when Mark Stokes (guitars) join the band in August 2008 additional guitar parts needs to be recorded, prolonging the finalization of the album.

WHY THIS BAND IS INCLUDED IN THE ARCHIVES:

HIGH SPY is a UK-based outfit specializing in keyboard-driven progressive rock with careful and often atmospheric guitarwork; in a manner that should appeal to fans of classic Neo Progressive bands in general and early MARILLION in particular. The band was suggested to and quickly approved for addition by the Neo Progressive team.

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HIGH SPY discography


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HIGH SPY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 11 ratings
Rebirth - The Big Machine
2006
3.19 | 19 ratings
Head For The Moon
2009
4.03 | 11 ratings
Ignition
2012
2.94 | 14 ratings
Paralysed And Hypnotised
2015
2.17 | 8 ratings
The Code
2019

HIGH SPY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Revolutions
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Garden
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at the Rigger
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
An Official Bootleg
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
And Then There Were Five
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
The At The Greenstar
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
14 Original Timeless Classics
2017

HIGH SPY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HIGH SPY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HIGH SPY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock on the Rocks
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Take Me Inside
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Drowning
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Inner Peace - Be Free
2018

HIGH SPY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Code by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.17 | 8 ratings

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The Code
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

2 stars Four years on from the last studio album, and High Spy are back with their fifth. Mark Price (keyboards), Mark Stokes (guitar) are there of course, along with singer Ade Peddie but for this album they have dropped to a quartet and single guitar so Ade is now playing bass. They have also brought in a 'new' drummer in Tony Hall. I'm not sure how any times I saw the mighty Grace back in the Nineties, but of course Tony and Mark (P) were in the band together back then. In many ways it can be argued that High Spy were formed out of Framework, the band Mark (P) and Arny Wheatley formed after they left Final Conflict, and prior to Mark joining Grace. After he left that band he started again, and eventually it morphed into High Spy.

This is solid neo prog, and in many ways sounds as if it was recorded some 25 years ago, and if you had been as involved in the UK scene as I was, you would have heard quite a lot of material like this, particularly on the upbeat 'I Am The Code'. It is songs like this where the band allow themselves to rock and power through that they come through best, but on the slower songs there are some issues. In many ways there are similarities to early Big Big Train as many of us had problems with the vocals, and the same is true here. When the band is buzzing along then Ade gets away with it, but on songs such as 'She Knows' he is definitely struggling. One gets the impression these slower numbers would come across better at a gig, but here they appear to meander and there is no real sense of direction or purpose. I have enjoyed Mark Price's keyboard playing for more than quarter of a century, but I just can't get on with this album at all. Maybe next time.

 Paralysed And Hypnotised by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.94 | 14 ratings

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Paralysed And Hypnotised
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars High Spy's 2015 album, their fourth, showed the band unchanged from the last album (although bassist Lee Weston left not long after it was completed), but there were a couple of guests from the "old days" with both Andy Lawton (Final Conflict) and Adam Rushton (Grace) adding some extra guitar on a song each. For some reason this doesn't contain the structure and power of 'Ignition', with some unusual drum sounds, and the feeling that possibly the band isn't all exactly on the same wavelength. There are bits and pieces where the band show exactly what they are capable of, but there are others where it feels disjointed, as if the band haven't had the time to hone and polish, and there was a rush to get everything completed. Given the promise of the previous album I must admit I expected more than this, and while it is solid neo prog there is nothing here to really get a grip on. What is frustrating is there are instances when the band do shine through and show what they are capable of, but Rick seems to be far more constrained and basic in his approach then on 'Ignition', with an annoying snare sound, and neither Mark show the power and force I would expect from them.

Since this album Rick Maper has also departed, to be replaced by Tony Hall from Grace, and there is a new album out. It will certainly be interesting to hear what that is like, but if you enjoy solid neo prog then all of these are worth hearing, although for me the stand out is 'Ignition'

 Ignition by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.03 | 11 ratings

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Ignition
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars By the time of the third album, 2012's 'Ignition', Arny Wheatley was no longer with the band, and his seat at the drum kit had been taken by Rick Maper. Apart from that, here is a band very much continuing on from where they left off, with solid neo prog, but now being driven even harder by the two Marks as they vie for dominance. Rick also offers more textures from the back, far more dramatic than previously, while Lee continues to provide a solid attack on bass. In some ways the band have reverted in style, as the guitars are being riffed far more heavily than previously, and the keyboards are often providing in your face runs. They can still provide ballads and softer songs when they feel the need, which gives a totally different feel, such as on "Eyes of the World" which contains news commentary from 9/11 as the world tried to come to terms with what was happening.

"Arrival" has swathes of keyboards, but before one thinks it may be a Mark Price solo, it turns into a driving rock instrumental where they appear to egging each other on to drive it that little bit harder and faster. There are few bands who can still say they play classic neo prog, as many have moved away from the scene, while High Spy are moving very much into the centre. This is an album to be played with a smile on the face, and it makes me think of all the venues I have been to see bands like in the past. They may not be the poshest of places, and they may not be filled with the most fans, but some of my best gigs have been in places like this, and with this album High Spy show they are having fun and whoever goes to see them will enjoy it just as much as them. Fans of early Pallas, Abel Ganz, Freewill and Galahad will get a lot from this.

 Head For The Moon by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 19 ratings

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Head For The Moon
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars There was a step change between the first two albums, as the band had been gigging hard and by now knew what they wanted to achieve, and their 2009 album was a strong statement. The production is far sharper than the debut, and the album commences with dramatic keyboards, and when the rest of the band kick in it is as if the Nineties scene has never gone away as this is soaring neo prog in the vein of Pallas. The two Marks vie for dominance (the keyboards win, sometimes), while the rhythm section is strong, and Ade shows he is a powerful vocalist. The album contains plenty of keyboard fills, where Mark Price moves from providing layers of keyboard curtains in to something far more dynamic, while Mark Stokes has a clean guitar sound. The use of twin guitars does also lead the ears to sometimes compare some sections to Final Conflict, but that really isn't a surprise.

If the debut felt as if the band were trying to find their feet and make something available, this is much more a band knowing what they wanted to achieve, and the confidence is there for everyone to hear. The songs are commercial, yet not mainstream, so they are easy to listen to and enjoy without feeling that the band was deliberately aiming for a certain audience but instead were doing exactly what they wanted. Ballads such as "Just In Time" give way to harmonised numbers like "Joy Peace Love" which one can easily imagine going down a storm at gigs with catchy choruses and great hooks. This is the type of fun album which was coming from the likes of Abel Ganz and Comedy of Errors back in the day, and I am pleased I finally heard it.

 Rebirth - The Big Machine by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.13 | 11 ratings

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Rebirth - The Big Machine
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars I first came across keyboard player Mark Price when I was sent a copy of Final Conflict's 'Redress The Balance album to review at the beginning of 1992. But, during the recording of that album he and drummer Arny Wheatley left the band, later deciding to form a new group called Framework, which later featured Ade Peddiie (vocals/bass). However, Grace were calling, and soon Mark could be found playing keyboards on 'Pulling Strings & Shiny Things' and sharing the stage with the ever-demented Harry. Fast forward to 2006, and following the demise of his latest band, Drama (which featured ex-Final Conflict members Mark, Arny and Dave Bridgett along with Mike Gee), Mark decided the time was right for a new band and formed High Spy which included Arny and Ade, so in many ways this was a continuation of Framework as all three had played on 1993's 'Confidential Whispers'. The line-up was completed by bassist Lee Weston and guitarist Mark Stokes, and they soon recorded 'Rebirth', which in many ways is a compilation of music from Mark's career and includes the song 'Picture Glass Theatre' which was the title of Framework' debut CD. The cover show here is for the original release, which is what I have, but it has also been reissued with some additional live tracks with different artwork, and it is this which is available from High Spy's Bandcamp site.

I have always enjoyed Mark's playing, and saw him live with Grace many times, and also felt that Framework would have gone on to significant success if he hadn't taken the opportunity to join one of the finest prog acts of the Nineties. So, it was interesting for me to come across this album so many years after it was originally released, especially as I knew some of the songs already. In many ways it is a hard album to review, as this does feel more like a collection of songs as opposed to a complete album. Each song is performed well, but while neo prog is at its heart, there are also others which are far more straightforward and almost Seventies in style. It is the ones where they allow themselves to spread their musical wings which are the finest, but for some reason the bass isn't as high as it could be which gives the sound a distinctive feel which doesn't always work. But here was a band finding their collective feet, and this was recorded quite quickly after the band formed, so what would the next one be like?

 The Code by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.17 | 8 ratings

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The Code
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars High Spy is a Neo-Prog band from England, officially formed in 2007. Since 2006, they have released 5 full length studio albums and also several live albums. In March of 2019, they released their 5th studio album called "The Code". The band was founded by Mark Price who does the keyboards for the band. Ade Peddie is also one of the original members of the band and is in charge of vocals and bass. Currently, Mark Stokes is the guitarist and Tony Hall is on drums.

The album "The Code" consists of 11 tracks that take up a total run time of just over 54 minutes. The music on this album has got the basic ingredients for the neo-prog sound, lots of keyboards and a concept story based on a sci-fi theme with romantic elements that involve an android or alien of some type. The music is quite lyric heavy, which, in this case, is a big mark against the album because the vocals are weak and lacking in emotion. The music is quite typical sounding for Neo-prog, except for one major issue; there is not a lot of progressiveness to it. The music is in basic measure, the melodies are pretty simple and it's not that engaging.

"I am the Code" tries to amp up the heaviness, but the guitars are quite muddled sounding, and the vocals are not convincing enough. "Love Your Face" is one of the singles released from the album, and, granted, it has a nice ballad like feel, but it is missing a hook or anything really interesting that would draw attention. There is a guest female vocalist on this track, but seems to be off-key.

At the end of the album, the 3 singles from the album are presented again, this time in their single versions. Quite frankly, they aren't any better than the regular album versions.

Overall, the album isn't very interesting. The vocals are weak, the music is fairly typical of the Neo-prog sound, except they left the prog part of it off, the music is not engaging or really that powerful, the guitars sound muffled and the keyboards are too bright, and so what we end up with is an average sounding band with bad mixing and production. Not to be harsh, but this is not one that I would pay much attention to.

 Head For The Moon by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 19 ratings

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Head For The Moon
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars High Spy from UK is quite an obscure neo prog band that fail to make it big in prog circles, despite the good music offered. Head for the moon is a studio album released in 2009 after some live releases puted on market by the band. I ike what I've heared here, is the type of neo prog I like constantly to listen, even the production and overall sound is not crystal clear. Nice passages from more up tempo dominated by guitars dueling with keybords to more calmer almost Floydian in aproach this release is a winner in my book. Similaritis are with Final Conflict another lesser known neo prog act, and also they remind me a lot with Mangrathea also from UK. The music is as other reviewers observed , old fasion, vintage, sometimes sounded like in 80s. The arrangements are powerfull, the guitar is present all over, the keyboards same, there are long instrumental sections very similar with Comedy of Errors in apraoch. All in all fairly decent towards great.. Quite unnoticed band, they released a new album few months ago. 3.5 stars for sure, very nice, catchy neo prog.
 Head For The Moon by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 19 ratings

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Head For The Moon
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars With their first real teamwork yet to be released, Mark Price's High Spy decided to throw in the market several live releases and even a couple of DVD's to keep their fan base updated around the upcoming material.More than 5 live CD's and video footages were released between 2007 and 2008, while the group had a refreshed line-up with Mark Stokes as a second guitarist and new drummer Arny Wheatley in the place of Arran Powell.Their new work ''Head for the moon'' was eventually self-released in 2009.

Ok, this group has some history along the lines of early-80's British Prog with experienced members on the crew and ''Head for the moon'' is the best proof for the fact.This is old-fashioned British Neo Prog, like if it was recorded in early-80's, with Price being the main contributor, but having also interesting guitar parts in the process.The tracks are full of nervous synthesizer solos and floating keyboard textures akin to early MARILLLION and the guitar runs are also close to the Scottish masters as well as ABEL GANZ with quite a DAVID GLMOUR-ish touch in the more sensitive solos.This albums surely revives the dark Prog years, the silver period of the genre, blending the powerful, raw synth explosions of the 70's British groups with a slightly poppy flavor in some catchy overtones or the accesible choruses.But the music can get really bombastic at moments, leaving the pleasant and optimistic tunes for sharp, keyboard-based textures, backed up by strong guitar lines and solos.Good thing is the compositions are pretty well-crafted with plenty of enjoyable parts, while the shadow of 70's Prog covers the whole work.

Things are pretty clear.If you love early MARILLION, IQ, PALLAS, TWELFTH NIGHT, ABEL GANZ and PENDRAGON, this work is 100% sure to please you.The great keyboard work and a fair dose of beautiful melodies are among the highlights of a recommended, overlooked album.

 Head For The Moon by HIGH SPY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 19 ratings

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Head For The Moon
High Spy Neo-Prog

Review by Armchair

4 stars Having seen the band playing live on a number of occasions, I was intrigued as to how they would sound in the studio. The recent addition of an extra guitarist had certainly beefed up the band's live act and so hopes were high. The album clearly draws influences from a wide variety of prog genres aswell as from the various band members own past, with members at various times featuring in Grace, Framework and Final Conflict. It could be argued that too many influences can create confusion, but clearly these guys have picked the bits that work for them and have created a thoroughly enjoyable and highly competent album. There is something on the album to tick most prog lovers boxes. The quirky keyboards of Friend, the catchy hooks of Thunder and Time Of Your Life, the thoughtful Secret Garden and modern prog of All American Alien. The album comes across as a stepping stone from their last album, Rebirth: The Big Machine, and shows plenty of promise for bigger and better things in the future. If you get the opportunity, catch the band live as the songs really come alive on stage.
Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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