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NEO-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Neo-Prog definition

Neo-Progressive rock (more commonly "Neo-Prog") is a subgenre of Progressive Rock that originally was used to describe artists strongly influenced by the classic symphonic prog bands that flourished during the 1970s. At the beginning of the neo-prog movement, the primary influence was early to mid-70's Genesis. Debate over when Neo-Prog actually came into being often takes place, with some asserting it began with Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear in 1983. Others contend it began with Twelfth Night at the dawn of the 80s, while some even suggest the popular symphonic prog band Genesis gave rise to Neo-Prog with their 1976 album, A Trick of the Tail.

If one analyses the progressive movement just before 1980, then some albums which heavily influenced the Neo-Prog movement easily come to mind: Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings, Genesis - Wind & Wuthering, Genesis - And Then There Were Three, Genesis - Seconds Out, Saga - Saga, all the Camel albums between Breathless and The Single Factor included, and some Eloy's albums, especially Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes.

This new form of progressive rock originated in the UK, and is most strongly associated with bands such as Marillion, Pendragon and IQ; and while theatrical stage antics were a part of the live performances of many artists exploring this subset of the progressive rock genre it's the musical elements that are key to the genre; typified by the use of atmospheric guitar and synth soloing with symphonic leanings, with a tendency towards floating synth layers and dreamy soloing. An additional trait is the use of modern synths rather than vintage analogue synths and keyboards. The main reasons for Neo-Progressive artists to be separated from the ones exploring Symphonic Prog in the first place are the above, as well as a heavier emphasis on song-form and melody than some of their earlier symphonic counterparts.

As time went by other artists appeared that also deviated from the norms created by the classic wave of progressive rock artists in the 70's. The late 70's had given the world punk music; the 80's gave the world new wave; and the 90's grunge. These, as well as other forms, had a tremendous amount of influence outside of the progressive rock realm. The advent of the modern synth also inspired artists like Tomita, Vangelis and Kitaro to explore dreamier musical works.

These and other forms of more or less newly made musical genres influenced artists exploring progressive rock as well. Although many artists did so within the framework of 70's progressive rock, more and more artists developed a sound and style so heavily influenced by these more recent musical developments that categorizing them within the existing subgenres of progressive rock became increasingly difficult.

While the Neo-Progressive genre initially consisted of artists exploring a modernized version of Symphonic Prog, these days artists coined as Neo-Progressive cover a multitude of musical expressions, where the common denominator is the inclusion - within a progressive rock framework - of musical elements developed just prior to and after 1980. The Neo-Progressive genre in it's refined form thus covers a vast musical territory, to some extent covering all existing subsets of progressive rock and also searching out towards genres as different as new age on one side and punk and metal on the other.

Opening paragraphs written by Stonebeard, Cygnus X-2, Greenback

Revised, edited and refined April 2009 by windhawk, The Doctor and E-Dub



The neo-prog team has also decided on 5 representative albums of neo-prog that encapsulate the essence of the genre. They are as follows:


Marillion-Script for a Jester's Tear
Collage-Moonshine
Satellite-A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset
Sylvan-Posthumous Silence
Frost-Milliontown


Current Neo-Prog Team members
as at 1/3/2020

Luca (octopus-4)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)
Dan (earlyprog)

Neo-Prog Top Albums


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

4.27 | 2399 ratings
MISPLACED CHILDHOOD
Marillion
4.25 | 2218 ratings
SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR
Marillion
4.25 | 1399 ratings
THE ROAD OF BONES
IQ
4.19 | 1521 ratings
CLUTCHING AT STRAWS
Marillion
4.18 | 532 ratings
POSTHUMOUS SILENCE
Sylvan
4.15 | 740 ratings
CONTAGION
Arena
4.15 | 523 ratings
RESISTANCE
IQ
4.11 | 1220 ratings
MARBLES
Marillion
4.11 | 1014 ratings
FREQUENCY
IQ
4.09 | 767 ratings
THE VISITOR
Arena
4.11 | 486 ratings
EMPIRES NEVER LAST
Galahad
4.06 | 1025 ratings
DARK MATTER
IQ
4.07 | 772 ratings
THE MASQUERADE OVERTURE
Pendragon
4.07 | 766 ratings
EVER
IQ
4.15 | 211 ratings
NIGHT DREAMS & WISHES
Modern-Rock Ensemble
4.08 | 404 ratings
LOVE OVER FEAR
Pendragon
4.16 | 176 ratings
FORSAKEN INNOCENCE
Drifting Sun
4.00 | 1524 ratings
FUGAZI
Marillion
4.06 | 401 ratings
MOONSHINE
Collage
4.04 | 504 ratings
A TOWER OF SILENCE
Anubis

Neo-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

NEW LIFE
Solstice
VOICES
T
THE ART OF MADNESS
Psychedelic Ensemble, The
HUNTING THE FOX
Ines

Latest Neo-Prog Music Reviews


 The Wake by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.78 | 672 ratings

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The Wake
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In the midst of the complex context faced by the bands that were the standard bearers in the revitalisation of the progressive movement, not only to resist the onslaught of the new musical currents of the decade, but also to deal with the scepticism that lurked in the specialised critics regarding the originality and value of their initiatives, IQ released their second album, "The Wake", in 1985. A conceptual work related to the sensitive and mysterious transition from earthly life to the unknown afterlife as a plot (a theme that with the corresponding hostile, bloody and thunderous nuances is also dealt with by Opeth in their "My Arms, Your Hearse" from 1998) to develop a proposal that goes through moments of darkness, despair and luminous hope.

Already from the energised and initial "Outer Limits" with Tim Esau's low and disturbing bass hits simulating the beating of a heart about to be extinguished accompanied by Martin Orford's eighties synth artillery and Paul Cook's raw drums, and the melodic verses of the eloquent Peter Nicholls reinforced by Mike Holmes' brief but determined guitar solo in the aggressive "The Wake", the influences of the Genesian universe sifted by IQ's particular style overfly the album; both in the changing "The Magic Roundabout" and Orford's anguished and anxious keyboards backed by Esau's marked bass in its prolonged and forceful introduction, and in the world music essay of "Corners" with the interesting sitar as protagonist, a piece in the style of the Peter Gabriel of those years.

And without leaving aside their progressive streak as a guide, IQ was not aseptic to the musical trend of that time, new wave elements (of bands like Cure or A Flock of Seagulls for example) are perceived in the guitar riffs of the extensive "Widow's Peak" and above all in those of the accelerated "The Thousand Days", before bringing the album to a close with the emotive optimism of "Headlong", one of the pieces that began to cement the style that would help define the Englishmen over the years.

Although "The Wake" is a good album, as well as a key piece for the consolidation of the band and the Neo Progressive movement, in my opinion it is a step below the freshness and daring that their debut album "Tales from the Lush Attic" brought with it.

3/3.5 stars

 From a Fading World by RUBBER TEA album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.60 | 24 ratings

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From a Fading World
Rubber Tea Neo-Prog

Review by Andis

5 stars This fantastic young German group continues to impress. On their second album, it's immediately evident that the band is willing to push their boundaries further. Their flirtation with Canterbury becomes more pronounced, and their delightful singer exudes a newfound boldness. Right from the start, the saxophone emerges, leading us into a melodic journey reminiscent of the pride Caravan would feel if they had produced it. While the group's style is labeled as neoprog, don't expect just another Marillion clone; instead, you're greeted with a remarkably mature band that effortlessly navigates styles evoking Camel, Caravan, Beardfish, Pink floyd, Big big train, Phideaux, Khan and King crimson. Attempting to describe this eclectic mix is a challenge in itself. The songs seamlessly blend together, creating a captivating flow throughout the album, prompting you to check your CD player to track your progress. Their ability to transition from tranquil subtlety to intricate complexity is admirable, never compromising the underlying melodies. The enchanting vocals complement the music flawlessly, never overshadowing the instrumental prowess. There's ample room for musical exploration, allowing each track to evolve organically. This marks yet another triumph for the burgeoning German band, deserving of wider recognition. Bring on more!

I can't give them anything less than a five-star rating. It's impossible to rate them lower when I've been listening to the album non-stop since I discovered it, and every time I do, I sit back and thoroughly enjoy it.

 Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends by PENDRAGON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2022
4.05 | 17 ratings

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Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a significantly revised version of the compilation originally released under the self-deprecating name of "The Rest of Pendragon". In that configuration, it brought together their debut release - the Fly High, Fall Far EP - with the subsequent EP/single releases of Red Shoes and Saved By You, providing a one-and-done summation of the band's non- album releases from the 1980s.

The Rest of Pendragon hasn't had an update since it originally came out in the early 1990s - when it was one of the first releases on Toff Records, the band's own label - and more recently, the Fly High, Fall Far tracks have found a new home as bonus material on the latest rerelease of The Jewel. Thus, rather than simply remaster and rerelease the compilation (selling the same four tracks to fans twice in rapid succession), the band have reconfigured the collection, removing the Fly High, Fall Far tracks but substantially expanding it by tacking on their two major EP releases of the 1990s, Fallen Dreams and Angels (clue's in the title!) and As Good as Gold.

None of this material qualifies as what I'd call top-tier Pendragon goodies, but they're all pretty pleasant, and taken together showcase a slightly poppier side of the band (especially in the 1980s material) than was captured on their studio albums. Keen fans will want this. Those not sold on their 1980s and 1990s album releases won't find this B-grade material convinces them.

 Infusion by RUBBER TEA album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.22 | 26 ratings

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Infusion
Rubber Tea Neo-Prog

Review by Andis

5 stars What an extraordinary band this is, a young German ensemble crafting stunning progressive rock. While some categorize them as neoprog, I respectfully disagree; they defy convention in a manner quite distinct from the norm. Describing them proves challenging, but I would liken them to a fusion of Big Big Train and Zopp (British Canterbury), infused with unmistakable echoes of Pink Floyd, Beardfish, and occasional visits from the likes of King Crimson. Their allure doesn't reveal itself immediately; they demand time and attention, but the investment pays dividends. By the third listen, I find myself sporting a silly grin, utterly enthralled by this unique and enchanting group. Their vocalist is a marvel, effortlessly navigating between rock and jazz-infused melodies, occasionally toying with tone and rhythm. Adding to their allure, she also wields the saxophone, imbuing their compositions with an extra layer of depth. Their debut album is a veritable feast of captivating melodies, audacious experimentation, and sheer musical brilliance. It may, perhaps, appear more subdued in comparison to subsequent releases, where they push the boundaries even further and embrace greater risks. This is a band that warrants wider recognition, one to which I consistently return. Highly recommended for connoisseurs of exceptional, boundary-defying music.

***edit*** While composing this review, I find myself immersed in the album's melodies. Having done so for nearly two years on a weekly basis, I now recognize the necessity to elevate its rating to a five. Albums that beckon one back time and again, even after years of listening, undoubtedly merit the highest acclaim. At least, that's my perspective.

 Tales from the Lush Attic by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.81 | 567 ratings

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Tales from the Lush Attic
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars At a time when the predominance of trends such as new wave and more digestible pop were giving the progressive movement more than sour moments and even two of its most important representatives, Genesis (resolutely turning to new sounds) and Yes (looking for a formula for subsistence) were moving away from the recognisable canons, proud squires of the genre emerged to inject a breath of vitality and renewed vigour into it. One of them was IQ. With almost no budget and taking advantage of an offer from Major Record Company to record and produce 1,000 LPs in five days for 1,500 pounds at the time, the Englishmen released "Tales from the Lush Attic", their debut album, in the second half of 1983.

The huge suite "The Last Human Gateway" kicks off the album with a theme related to the recurring human quest for immortality and the tragic contradiction of not being able to bring closure to the cycle of life, with a prolonged and suspenseful introduction dominated by the keyboards of Martin Orford and the sublime singing of Peter Nicholls until the irruption of the clean and persistent sounds of the moog, to then go back and forth through moments of calm and agitation that towards the end intensify with the participation of the riffs and guitar solos of Mike Holmes and the active drums of Paul Cook, closing the piece epically. One of the album's best.

And both the agitated and disturbing "Through the Corridors" and the instrumental "My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm a Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long" with Orford's rushing classical piano solo, both brief interludes interspersed, precede the Genesian (Gabriel era) "Awake and Nervous" and the multiform "The Enemy Smacks", a suite that without reaching the mileage of "The Last Human Gateway", describes the deterioration of a heroin addict in three phases with an instrumentation that adds to the identifiable progressive elements, bluesy touches, hardened hard rock riffs and lysergic atmospheres reminiscent of the 70's, with a solid base built by Tim Esau's bass and Cook's intensity on drums until the conclusive ending with the full band.

"Tales from the Lush Attic" is a very good album and an unbeatable start for IQ, a precursor band of neo-prog that, with few exceptions, has been consistent throughout their career, respecting their original roots.

4 stars

 Hard Times by ARCANSIEL album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.08 | 3 ratings

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Hard Times
Arcansiel Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

3 stars 30 years after their last album, on a neo prog movement dear to Marillion, IQ... This group is reborn from its ashes, well have the ashes been cold since time!?

1. Too Late for the flowing title, just a hushed, soft, melodic prog rock sound, the Genesisian keyboard with the Italian tessitura, more fruity; break for barely 6 minutes on bright, airy synths, heavy bass and it starts again, like in the 80s, yes very beautiful, but it was 30 years ago, and we have aged; too bad because Sebastiano releases a very beautiful guitar solo; the keyboard break clearly leans towards jazz-rock; piano, harpsichord, it's crystalline, melodic, it turns on a usual consensual pop rock variation; it's good but agreed; 11 minutes and the vocal feedback with a finally neo prog sound, more fleshy, heavy and with a vintage country air; 3 minutes of finale with the return of the grandiloquent Rondo sound and the orchestration that suits it; the more the musicians in fact, the less the chained breaks which are overflowing now, too late for that; too bad because the guitar is divine 2. Puppets and Puppeteers clean guitar and marillionian keyboard in a staccato; the voice pulls on a Vital Minimum with the very danceable rhythm, hold on to the vocals of Jethro Tull now; abrupt, romantic, depressive dark break, bringing musical warmth; the guitar solo on that of a Hackett with finesse; keyboard again and the vocal which lacks depth; yes if we compare to Marillion we are below for the debauchery of sounds piled up in a hurry; the finale with yet another keyboard rhythm and a final guitar solo

3. Heaven is Not Here with the flute and the chirping of birds for a major bucolic intro; calm, relaxation, we are far from the Italian rhythm, we approach the contemplative symphonic melody and 2'25 of pure happiness; paf a Frippian tablature, a Genesis keyboard for a quick note, the sound slows down phew we are there in the belly of the album with a well-characterized air between melancholic sweetness and Genesisian reverie; Marco plays the archangel, it's very beautiful; the calm air is very effective with this trumpet sampled in the distance, the drum roll soothes before an RPI guitar departure on the metronomic, predictable drums, which unfold without more; the reminiscences go as far as Focus, Santana or Return To Forever; solemn vocal finale which wakes me up, damn it was better without the voice, come on a little birds anyway, it's spring 4. My Old Same Mistakes ends with a Genesisian air... again yes we go further down the musical time scale, good that of the trio with the paw of Tony who guarded the boat as much as he could; vocal which borders on Phil's, yes whether we like it or not this sound is well done, well calibrated but lacks creation; a regressive sound whatever one says; festive fruity break, the sound of Arcansiel which suits them better and we return to the spleen atmosphere, hop piano jazzy break, here we go again, we get lost, too many breaks kill the breaks... save me, ah save mistakes I hadn't heard everything; Sebastiano's guitar does the job, Davide's keyboards intermingle for the pleasure of some, for the too full side for others; In short, 30 years is not nothing.(3.5)

 The Theory of Molecular Inheritance by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.14 | 149 ratings

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The Theory of Molecular Inheritance
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The Theory of Molecular Inheritance is the first Arena album to feature Damian Wilson on vocals, a matchup which fits so elegantly that it feels obvious in retrospect that Wilson is the perfect man for the job. After all, even before his stints in British prog metal stalwarts Threshold and his guest spots in Arena solidified his prog metal credentials, Wilson was the lead vocalist for 1990s neo-proggers Landmarq. Since Arena are very much in a neo-prog vein, but work in the odd metal influence here and there, Wilson already has a well-established grounding in both aspects of their sound, and he's able to tackle the dramatic, theatrical style that Arena's concepts call for brilliantly.

The musical backing here is squarely in the metal-tinged neo-prog style the band have been offering up since Contagion, but it's Wilson's exceptional vocals which really push this over the finish line, making it perhaps the grandest album Arena have ever offered up. The sheer compatibility of the band's established approach and Wilson's well-honed talents shines through, and it's enough to make you want to hear Wilson's renditions of other Arena tracks as well, since I can't think of a single song in their back catalogue which would not become even more compelling with him on the mic.

 Jumping the Milestone by FLAMBOROUGH HEAD album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.68 | 31 ratings

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Jumping the Milestone
Flamborough Head Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Flamborough Head was founded in 1990, the name is derived from a part of the rocky British coast and comes from prime mover Edo Spanninga, an Anglophile, he wanted a double name like Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep. The band gained a lot praise since their wonderful debut album Unspoken Whisper from 1998, and their performances on the legendary Progfarm festivals. In 2018 Edo told me that Flamborough Head actually never stopped. Due to family priorities, side-projects (solo, Trion, Leap Day), personal changes and 'getting older' the activity was very low. But in recent years Flamborugh Head played in Poland and England, and will perform on the German 3-day Art-Rock festival in early April (along many bands, from The Alex Carpani Band with David Jackson and Spanish prog sensation Flying Cricus to the veterans of Comedy Of Errors and Chandelier). Then Flamborough Head decided to work on a new CD, in the end it took 4 years to complete this latest effort, in 2022 (the first since the on PA highly rated Lost In Time from 2013), of course the corona misery played a huge role in the delay. The recent line-up still includes Margriet Boosma, Edo Spanninga and Koen Roozen, former Flamborough Head guitarplayer Eddie Mulder now plays bass and the new guitarplayer is Hans Spitzen.

Well, during my first listening session I got more and more excited about this latest Flamborough Head album, for sure it has been worth the long wait! The band delivers six tastefully arranged and elaborate compositions, embellished with wonderful work on guitar, keyboards and flute, fuelled by a dynamic rhythm-section, and topped with the beautiful and distinctive female vocals by Margriet Boomsma.

The two longest compositions are wonderfully drenched in the 70s symphonic rock tradition, and new guitarplayer Hans Spitzen shines, he is a real asset to the band.

The Garden Shed (10:30) alternates between dreamy (with soaring flute, acoustic guitar and warm female vocals) and bombastic eruptions, with synthesizer flights, Mellotrons and powerful guitar riffs. The one moment delicate interplay between a folky flute and acoustic guitar, the other moment a moving guitar solo in a compelling atmosphere. Jumping The Milestone (12:18) starts with dreamy piano, flute and vocals, gradually the sound turns into more lush with sensitive electric guitar and intense vocals. Then back to dreamy featuring a moving guitar solo that culminates in howling runs and a bombastic eruption with Mellotron. In the second part lots of changing atmospheres with exciting work on keyboards and guitar. Finally first a dreamy climate with flute, tender piano, then an excellent build-up to a compelling grand finale with a moving guitar solo and a majestic Mellotron sound, goose bumps!

The other four tracks also sound tastefully arranged.

Tomorrow Is Another Day (7:42) sounds as a very melodic and harmonic blend of rock and folk, with a lush instrumentation (from flute to synthesizers and organ). Halfway beautiful interplay between flute and electric guitar, followed by a long and moving guitar solo.

Start Of A Nightmare (8:15) features a lot of variety, dynamics and strong musical ideas. From bombastic symphonic rock with Hammond and synthesizer flights to Neo-Prog with moving guitar and folk with soaring flute and tender acoustic guitar. The one moment a distorted bass solo, the other moment an ominous final part with biting wah-wah guitar solo, turning into a sumptuous atmosphere with synthesizer flights, what an awesome build-up and climax!

Fear Of Failure (8:57) to me sounds like early Kayak, very melodic with a sensitive electric guitar solo and lots of Vintage Keyboard Extravaganza, from Hammond and Minimoog to Mellotron (especially the choir section), wow, I love it!

Walls Of Words (8:00) is the most mellow track, layered with intense vocals, tender piano, subtle volume pedal driven electric guitar, melancholical flute play, a moving guitar solo, and finally Hammond runs and a fading Mellotron.

What a wonderful and inspired new album by Dutch masters Flamborough Head, I am sure the many fans of the band on Prog Archives will be delighted.

 Geography by OVERWORLD DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.99 | 26 ratings

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Geography
Overworld Dreams Neo-Prog

Review by Progressive Heart

4 stars Geography is the third album by the American neo-progressive band, Overworld Dreams. In a way, the album represents an exciting turn in the group's musical journey. After the releases of "Voyage" and "Gateway," two albums that I consider good but lacked the ability to captivate me lastingly, being more suitable for listening in small doses, the band veered towards a direction that is always quite daring, delivering an album with only two songs, but when their lengths are combined, they reach almost 50 minutes.

Although an album in this mold is not necessarily groundbreaking, with only two epics comprising the entire record, we must assume that they also cannot be seen as common albums; in a way, they challenge established conventions and break with the traditional structures of a standard album, so to speak. Whenever I come across something produced in this manner, above all, I applaud the band for their artistic courage; after all, I see this as a genuine desire to expand and explore musical ideas in a deeper and more comprehensive way.

Despite being credited as a band of six musicians, unfortunately, the sad note is the passing last year of the guitarist, Randy Sandmann. He passed away before being able to hear the album he helped create.

The title track is the first of the two epics. Divided into 8 parts that succeed very well one after the other, it starts off smooth and tranquil, as if the band were laying out a red carpet for their greatest achievement in their career - so far - to walk upon, delivering a sound that becomes increasingly captivating, as if we were embarking on an exciting and contemplative journey towards the unknown.

The piece has a wide variety of tempos, but manages to do so in a natural way, without seeming like the band is trying to force its length in any way, thus avoiding dragging the music without any sense of direction, and thus, building a completely bland and tedious work. When listening to Geography, the listener will encounter a band that gives itself fully and in a carefully guided manner, demonstrating a clear understanding of its direction and purpose.

Male and female vocals intertwine creating an engaging dynamic. The voices of Matt Mauger and Elizabeth Holder were meant to be together, and fate wanted it that way, so they could sing and transport the audience to a world of imagination and deep feelings. The keys create rich and immersive soundscapes that add layers of depth and texture. As for the guitars, there's no room for vanity; each guitar embraces the other in pursuit of a common goal, to create a high-level epic. The solos are exciting and technical, but always serving the music as a whole, rather than seeking individual spotlight. Behind all this, a solid and cohesive rhythm section serves as the glue that holds all these pieces together. The bass and drums work in tandem, providing the foundation upon which the entire sonic structure is built, keeping the rhythm pulsating and engaging when needed.

"Forces of Nature" is the other epic on the album. Once again, the band hits the mark in the creation, development, and progressiveness of the piece. Divided into 3 parts, over its more than 23 minutes, all the musicians display remarkable skill in creating immersive sound textures, where each instrument plays a crucial role in building the musical narrative. It starts subtly with beautiful piano notes and male and female vocals singing together. Then, the electric chords bring a new dimension to the music, adding depth and texture to the sonic landscape.

As it develops, some more sinuous and unpredictable melodies emerge, as if the band wanted to capture the intriguing essence of an unknown nature. In its central part, it is adorned with some melodic vocals that reverberate like a distant echo in the mountains, along with some intense guitar and keyboard melodies, while the rhythm section remains solid. The guitar solo is also very fitting.

The music then enters its third part. It starts serenely, but I found the atmosphere very similar to that found at the beginning of Pink Floyd's "On The Turning Away." Piano notes emerge to give personality to the music, where, combined with Elizabeth's vocals, they create an ethereal atmosphere. As the music gains a more robust body, its arrangements become more complex and expansive. The vocal wall created by Matt and Elizabeth, but then augmented by Ken Walker and Chris Parsons, is sensational. A song that manages to fill the listener's heart with a sense of admiration and reverence for the grandeur of nature.

A record containing only two pieces, one over 26 minutes and the other over 23, might deter listeners seeking immediacy. However, unlike more complex albums that still require multiple listens for their essence to be felt, Geography, with its more accessible and palatable sound, has the ability to deliver everything it has in an engaging manner upon first contact with the listener.

Geography is a remarkably consistent work, with its elements of progressive and symphonic rock merging harmoniously throughout, thus creating a rich and exciting musical experience that celebrates a sonic and poignant tsunami that takes the listener on an exploration of various facets of the forces of nature through music.

 Veil by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2024
4.39 | 29 ratings

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Veil
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

5 stars Although DRIFTING SUN is celebrating its fourth decade in 2024 as a band having formed in Chesham, England way back in 1994, founder and remaining member Pat Sanders didn't really get the band started until it reformed and started releasing albums again in 2015 with "Trip The Light Fantastic." Since then DRIFTING SUN has been quite productive and not only has the band released six albums in less than ten years but has in the process become incrementally a better band with each passing release as well as becoming one of the most revered neo-prog bands of the modern era. Following the excellent "Forsaken Innocence" from 2021, the band is back with its 8th overall release - VEIL.

With an ever rotating cast of musicians and backing singers, VEIL finds Pat Sanders back in the driver's seat performing another keyboard dominated slice of stellar prog. Also returning is ex-IQ bassist Jon Jowitt as well as vocalist John "Jargon" Kosmidis who took the last album to an entirely new level of prog perfection. New to the team is guitarist / mandolin player Ralph Cardall of Thedeepstate and ex-Pendragon drummer Fudge Smith. The new lineup is joined by Suzi James from Fearful Symmatry and T.A.P. who performs violin on a few tracks as well as seven choir members who pop up randomly on this eight track album that spans the playing time of just over 47 minutes.

Despite a new lineup the band sounds like a team of seasoned pros on VEIL and demonstrates how to make the proper neo-prog album for the 2020s. Graced with a diverse listing of tracks, this album is a wild ride that implements all the expected keyboard heft with flashy synthesizer runs and layered atmospheres but goes so much further in exploring textures, timbres and dynamics. Starting out with a short two-minute instrumental with the time signature of a waltz, "Veiled" delivers a piano-based orchestral with dramatic a dramatic choir and a slow build up to the album's longest cut, "Frailty" which takes on the role of a mini album's worth of ideas in its own right with its many movements that tackle soft melodic passages with the grittier heft of guitar based rock.

The album continues with one killer strong track after another with all kinds of pleasing developments. Melodic hooks without any cheesiness and dynamics that range from pacifying piano rolls to raucous guitar solos add the spice. The highlights include? well everything! ~ however some interesting moments include the moments of virtuosity which neo-prog doesn't usually excel in. This includes the guitar shredding antics on "Eros And Psyche" and Sanders demonstrating his virtuoso piano rolls on the phenomenally precise "2-Minute Waltz." Another personal favorite is the closing "Cirkus" with its circus music rhythms and Kosmidis' vocal style that reminds me a bit of Anekdoten. The use of keyboards, guitars, choirs and varying percussion makes this entire album a gem of a listening experience.

Honestly i wasn't too impressed when i sampled the tracks available before the album's release but when i hear the album in its entirety i'm completely blown away! DRIFTING SUN really is the hottest ticket in the neo-prog section of the prog universe delivering a fresh new stylistic approach that doesn't rely on past masters for its inspiration. Sanders demonstrates his musical genius on so many levels on this one. I was fearing "Forsaken Innocence" would be a one-off fluke of brilliance but i am happy to be totally wrong on that note. VEIL is every bit as original and compelling as its predecessor and a welcome surprise in the first quarter of 2024. This band is on fire! I sure hope they can keep this intensity and perfection up for a few more albums because this is really the stuff melodic prog dreams are made of.

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Neo-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
25 YARD SCREAMER United Kingdom
ABACAB France
ABEL GANZ United Kingdom
ABRAXAS Poland
ACCEPT Japan
AD INFINITUM United States
THE ADEKAEM Poland
ADN France
AELIAN Italy
AETHELLIS United States
AFTERGLOW France
AGENESS Finland
AHMSHERE Netherlands
AIRBAG Norway
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