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SYMPHONIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Symphonic Prog definition

Symphonic is without doubt the sub-genre that includes†the most bands in Progressive Rock because for many people it's almost synonymous classic Prog, something†easy to understand being that†most of the†classic and/or †pioneer†bands†released music that could be included in this sub-genre, except JETHRO TULL and PINK FLOYD (who still blended some symphonic elements), even KING CRIMSON who very soon expanded their horizons to more experimental music, made their debut with a Symphonic album, "In the Court of the Crimson King" which is a cornerstone in the development of the genre.

The main characteristics of Symphonic are the ones that defined all Progressive Rock: (There's nothing 100% new under the sun) which among others are:
  • Mixture of elements from different genres.
  • Complex time signatures.
  • Lush keyboards.
  • Explorative and intelligent lyrics, in some cases close to fantasy literature, Sci Fi and even political issues.
  • Non commercial approach
  • Longer format of songs

In this specific case the main characteristic is the influence of Classical music (understood as Orchestral works created from the late Gothic to Modern Classical) using normally more complex structure than other related sub-genres like Neo Progressive (That's why sometimes the borderline that divides Symphonic from Neo is so unclear being that is based mostly in a degree of complexity rather than in an evident structural difference)..It is easy to find long keyboard solos reminiscent of Johan Sebastian Bach or melodic works that could have been written by†Handel.

As in any other genre, different Symphonic bands had different approaches to Classical music, for example YES and GENESIS are mainly influenced by the Baroque and Classical periods, while EMERSON LAKE & PALMER has a predilection for post Romantic and modern authors like Mussorgsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Bartok or Ginastera, being†that†their sound†is less melodic and more aggressive.

The peak of the genre starts in 1969 and lasts until the mid/late 70's† (more precisely until the release of A Trick of the Tail), when the genre begins to† blend more mainstream influences that took to the birth of Neo Progressive (a new approach for a new decade).


It†is important to remember that even though the creative peak of Symphonic Progressive†ended before the 80's,†we can find†a†second birth†in the 90's coming from the Scandinavian countries (specially Sweden with ANGLAGARD or PAR LINDH PROJECT) and even bands that still in the 21st Century recreate music from this period like SPOCK'S BEARD or ECHOLYN.

Before ending this short description I feel necessary to say (In order to be strictly accurate) that the term Symphonic is not 100% exact, because†these†bands†very rarely†played symphonies and was†probably used because the music that influenced the genre was†performed by Symphony Orchestras, but†it is†so†widely accepted†by the Progressive Rock community that†would be absurd and futile for†anybody to†attempt a change after so much time.

IvŠn Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 9/12/2022

Louis (rdtprog)
Anton Fritz (SouthSideoftheSky)
Ken (progaardvark)

Symphonic Prog Top Albums


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

4.68 | 5050 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.65 | 4650 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 4041 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.46 | 4036 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 3574 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.41 | 3044 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.40 | 2597 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.38 | 3466 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.35 | 1860 ratings
HYBRIS
ńnglagŚrd
4.31 | 3292 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.31 | 3347 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.31 | 2596 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.32 | 1403 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.28 | 2939 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.35 | 862 ratings
FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE
Wobbler
4.23 | 2357 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.28 | 935 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.26 | 1171 ratings
VILJANS ÷GA
ńnglagŚrd
4.25 | 1137 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.26 | 873 ratings
ASHES ARE BURNING
Renaissance

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus
SAECULA SAECULORUM
Saecula Saeculorum
L'ARBRE-CIMETI»RE
Maldoror
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY
Exodus

Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Tarantula by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 46 ratings

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Tarantula
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars When I started to write about prog in the early Nineties I was very lucky that around that time many rare prog LP's were put on CD, like Zarathustra from Museo Rosenbach but also reissues from bands like Spring, Crusis, Los Jaivas, Mezquita and ... Tarantula, from Spain, one of the most overlooked prog countries. The office of my progrock magazine was flooded by these reissues, I was in Prog Heaven! In those days I got their two albums to review, I noticed a huge difference: the first (1976) contains wonderful, vintage keyboard drenched symphonic prog (often reminding me of the Classic Italian Prog) but the second (1978, another line-up) delivers a harder-edged and more direct approach with hints from Heavy Proggers Uriah Heep. This review is about their eponymous debut LP, my favorite one.

Recuerdos (6:00) : The atmosphere in the first and final part alternates between mellow with Mellotron flute and soft Minimoog flights and bombastic with dramatic vocals and majestic Mellotron violins eruptions, very moving! The mid- section features an accellaration with Hammond floods and fiery electric guitar, this sound brings German prog bands like Jane and Ramses on my mind.

La AraŮa Y La Mosca (4:20) : First a pleasant harmony of cheerful Mellotron flute drops, fat Minimoog sounds, Emersonian Hammond waves and fiery electric guitar runs. Then the moods shift from dreamy with tender piano and melancholical vocals to slow with sensitive electric guitar work and a catchy rhythm with a lush vintage keyboard sound (Mellotron, Hammond and Moog).

Singladura Final (6:16) : This song starts and ends with a beautiful mellow atmosphere featuring twanging guitar, soft organ waves, a warm string sound and wonderful vocals. The break halfway contains pure rock and roll with heavy guitar and raw vocals, how surprising!

Un Mundo Anterior (5:49) : A slow rhythm contains Mellotron (flute and violin section), followed by a very sensitive electric guitar solo and tender piano runs, goose bumps! The tension between the Grand piano, Mellotron flute and electric guitar is great and carries me away to Prog Heaven.

Imperio Muerto (9:38) : This epic composition opens with a psychedelic atmosphere, due to a haunting organ and ominous fat Moog flights. Then lots of changing climates with sensational Minimoog runs, another rock an roll break and dramatic vocals, excellent!

La Danza Del Diablo (3:02) : A mid-tempo song with strong interplay between organ and electric guitar and a swirling Hammond organ solo.

Lydia (2:06) : A short piece that sounds Bach-inspired with warm classical guitar and powerful organ.

Paisajes Pintorescos (7:00) : This final composition is very alternating with the sound of a harpsichord, fiery electric guitar work and great, very expressive vocals. The final part delivers an up-tempo rhythm with wonderful vocals, lush organ and a harder-edged guitar solo, very dynamic and exciting!

Another strong and captivating example of the interesting but overlooked Spanish prog (from Triana, Alameda, Canarios and Iceberg to The Storm, Bloque, Itoiz, Atila en Ibio). Especially the excellent vocals and the lush vintage keyboard sound are a bonus.

 The Songs & Tales of Airoea Book 3: Magical Chronicle (Ascension) by CHRONICLES OF FATHER ROBIN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.10 | 20 ratings

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The Songs & Tales of Airoea Book 3: Magical Chronicle (Ascension)
The Chronicles of Father Robin Symphonic Prog

Review by TheEliteExtremophile

2 stars The Chronicles of Father Robin return with the conclusion of their Airoea trilogy. Book I covered the land of Airoea, and Book II its waterways. You can read about my thoughts on those, as well as some notes on this band's background, in my original reviews. Book III, now, is exploring the skies of Airoea.

With the Airoea trilogy now concluded, I've included my thoughts on the project as a whole at the end of this review.

Book III begins with "Magic Chronicle". Gentle guitar and flute provide a warm backing for the opening verse, but it doesn't take long for momentum to start building. The rhythm guitar is charmingly ragged, and the lead has a refreshing, jazzy nature. TCOFR channel Yes clearly in this opening song, but it's not a rip-off. There's a synthesis of past influences into something original. Much as Book II fostered a vaguely aquatic feel throughout its runtime, this song has a fittingly light and buoyant aura. Even during more urgent passages, this song stays aloft.

"Skyslumber" slowly fades in, eventually emerging into a dreamy, floating verse. The guitars are again light and jazzy, and all the instrumental elements dance around each other delicately. It's a pleasant cut that builds up some good intensity by its end, but both its intro and its ending drag on too long.

This gentle mood continues with "Cloudship". The band's Yes-iness is a bit distracting here, however. In particular, this piece sounds a lot like certain passages on Tales from Topographic Oceans. The bit of narration in the middle also crosses the line from fanciful to corny. This is not the band's most compelling song.

"Empires of the Sun" does its best to make up for the underwhelming end to side one. It's immediately peppy and impactful, with a fun, muscular guitar riff. The blending of folk and harder-rocking elements is a rousing success on this song.

The last proper song in the Airoea trilogy is "Lost in the Palace Gardens". Mandolin and acoustic guitar give this song some slight Celtic or bluegrass flavors. (And bluegrass does descend, at least in part, from Celtic music, so that makes sense.) The chorus is strong and catchy, and the song eventually develops a smooth, rolling pulse. The drama is clear in the singer's tone, but the instrumentation is relatively restrained. The song winds down to a rather mellow conclusion, and this is followed by the minute long track "Epilogue", a collection of wind and water sounds.

Book III was the shortest album of the trilogy, and this was a pretty short review. This album felt like it lacked development, and a lot of the songs come off as samey. Nothing on this record is bad, mind you, but a lot of it just kinda floats along and doesn't really make much of an impact.

With all of Airoea in the rearview mirror now, I can take a look at the trilogy as a whole. Across the span of these three connected records, each successive installment grew shorter and gentler. Shorter is not necessarily a bad thing, but having each album be softer is simply not good structuring. Having a big, impactful, flashy opening, followed by a slow-burn part two, and a folky conclusion strikes me as a puzzling way to plot out the drama. A movie with a comparable structure would not make for the most entertaining watch.

This isn't to say it couldn't have ended on a calm note. There'd be absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem is ending it on a 34-minute calm note, with only a couple flashes of anything else along the way.

In retrospect, Book I is my favorite of the bunch, and Book II has grown on me a bit. I'm writing this review about a month before Book III is officially released, so we'll see if my feelings change in the interim. (Edit 2/25/24: Nope, they didn't.) As it stands, this is probably the most disappointing of the bunch. Taken in isolation, Book III is decent; but in the context of a three-part, two-hour conceptual piece, it's a let-down. I respect this band for putting out such a big record of mostly-solid music, and I commend them for following through on a long-dormant dream. In the end, though, it is plagued by pacing issues throughout. The music, while enjoyable at points, is not particularly original. The Chronicles of Father Robin are an unnecessary project. The dozen or so people who are in every Norwegian prog band do much better work elsewhere.

Review originally posted here: theeliteextremophile.com/2024/02/26/album-review-the-chronicles-of-father-robin-the-songs-tales-of-airoea-book-iii-airoea-overview/

 Tarantula by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 46 ratings

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Tarantula
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nļ 749

As I wrote in many other occasions, the progressive rock music made in the 70's was essentially a British phenomenon. However, there were many other great progressive rock bands that appeared in many other parts of the world, mainly in Europe. So, some of the best prog made in those days was also made in many European countries, such as, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the Nordic countries, mainly Sweden, only to mention probably the most important of all. The same can be applied to the Iberian Peninsula that despite never was a hot bed for the progressive rock music saw the born of some prog acts in Portugal and Spain. So, this is the case of Tarantula, which is the subject of this my review.

Tarantula was formed in Valencia, Spain in 1973. It was part of the first wave of the Spanish progressive bands from the 70's. Tarantula was one of the many progressive rock bands that appeared in Spain in the second half of the 70's. It was one of the formations that were born in Spain, such as Triana and Mezquita. Tarantula has been described as some of the big responsible for the best prog to come out of Spain with Triana, Los Canarios, Gotic, Mezquita and Granada.

Tarantula released their self-titled debut studio album in 1976 on the Zafiro's Chapa label. The line up on the album is Rafael Cabrera (vocals), M. G. Peydro (guitar), Vicente Guillot (Hammond organ, Melotron, Moog and synthesizers), Jose Pereira (bass guitar) and Emilio Santoja (drums). Their second studio album that was named "Tarantula 2" and that was released in 1978 features a different line up and it's essentially a pop album.

On their eponymous debut studio work, Tarantula's musicality is unique and emerges through wonderful keyboards and an extremely melodic guitar. Cabrera's vocals are another highlight of this first album of the band. The sound tends to be keyboarding driven, although not overly complex, and is supported well by the rhythm section and good writing. Their style is fairly original, elements of rock, classical, blues, folk and other forms in various extended arrangements, with changing tempos and rhythmic textures. Some rudimentary comparisons might be made to some of the Italian prog bands of the same period, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and Le Orme, for example, but an occasional hard-rock outburst lends the band a different character beyond the progressive realm, giving them a truly chameleon feel. The excellent writing, Cabrera's powerful vocals and clever arrangements, give the music the real strength of the album.

"Tarantula" has eight tracks. The album is opened by "Recuerdos", a song with a fresh keyboard touch and Cabrera's powerful Spanish vocals. This is a dramatic composition with vocals, drums, electric guitar and a great keyboard solo. "La Arana Y La Mosca" is an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's style instrumental theme with great performance. The keyboard sound echoing from the left side symbolizes a spider, and the guitar playing on the right side symbolizes a fly being eaten by a tarantula. "Singladura Final" is a Spanish style song with a rather rustic keyboard performance and vocals with a slow tempo, which suddenly changes to a hard rock theme with a slow tempo from the middle of the song. At the end, the previous theme is reintroduced. "Um Mundo Anterior" is a prog rock song where you can enjoy their fantastic performances for a long time. The electric guitar bounces like a mandolin, the mysterious chorus and a magnificent keyboard work completes the beauty of the trinity. "Imperio Muerto" is a great song with an excellent vocal work that is again broken by a frenetic rock & roll in the classic Tarantula's style. In the end the keyboard and the guitar calm down again. "La Danza Del Diablo" is a chilling tale by Cabrera with the keyboards played as a reminiscent of Italian bands with drum rolls and a Spanish voice and were the sophisticated electric guitar and organ are performed sparkly. "Lydia" is a short instrumental with classical guitar and happy keyboards. It's a prop that puts forward the pride of Spain, the original country of the classical guitar. "Paisajes Pintorescos" is a theme that takes up previous passages with the predominance of the Mellotron. As the powerful electric guitar and the organ explode, soft and delicate vocals and a beautiful organ work flows. After that, Cabrera's vocals turned normal, including a chorus part, ending the album nicely.

Conclusion: "Tarantula" is a very decent album with a classic symphonic sound, an interesting sample of the Spanish progressive rock in a year when the progressive rock was just beginning to take its first steps in Spain. The themes are very varied and changeable, ranging from the romanticism that came from Italy and the more aggressive rock and roll. The Spaniards definitely keep the prog standard of the time with this album that apart the vocals of course and some Spanish elements, mainly the short, folky-jazzy "Lydia" dominated by the classic acoustic guitar, is very influenced by the European progressive rock style, mainly the Italian sub-genre, which at times it makes us remember of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme and Il Balletto Di Bronzo, for instance. So, despite the album doesn't provide any particularly original moment, the lovers of the melodic gentle variety of the classic symphonic prog should definitely like the album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Marsbťli KrůnikŠk (Martian Chronicles) by SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.25 | 388 ratings

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Marsbťli KrůnikŠk (Martian Chronicles)
Solaris Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars After I had discovered the legendary 70s Classic Prog bands from the UK (especially Genesis, Yes, ELP and Pink Floyd are my favorites) since the mid-Seventies I started to discover 'non-UK' prog from Italy (PFM and Banco), Germany (Grobschnitt, Novalis, Eloy, Jane, Hoelderlin and Triumvirat), Spain (Triana) and France (Ange), I could purchase the LP's in Dutch record stores and a friend put the first two Triana albums on cassette for me. In the Nineties I stumbled upon the amazing progrock mailorder-service Syn-Phonic from Greg Walker, the many prog CD's I bought are still the foundation of my prog collection. A band that I discovered at Syn-Phonic is still one of my all-time favorite 'non-UK' prog bands, Solaris, from Hungary. This awesome formation was founded by a bunch of school friends in 1980, the name was derived from the title of book by SF writer Stanislaw Lem. In 1984 Solaris released their debut album entitled The Martian Chronicles, it sold almost 40.000 copies.

If you have your first listening session with this mainly instrumental album I am sure you will be blown away by the skills of the classically trained musicians, not only on the instruments but also as composers. The sound of Solaris is build upon The Holy Musical Trinity of flute, guitar and keyboards, with lots of dynamics, tension and musical ideas. The one moment mellow with tender classical flute, the other moment a sumptuous outburst with spectacular pitchbend driven Moog synthesizer flights. Or an electronic atmosphere with hints from Jean-Michel Jarre, like in the first part of the titletrack.

I highly recommend this masterpiece from Hungary, a bit forgotten during the years.

 A Temporary State of Bliss by RESIDUOS MENTALES album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.37 | 16 ratings

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A Temporary State of Bliss
Residuos Mentales Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Residuos Mentales is a studio project from Athens, Greece, formed by Stratos Morianos (keyboards, synthesisers) and Alexandros Mantas (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, flute, bass) in 2012. It took until 2018 for their debut album to make an appearance, 'Introspection', and now a further five years for the next one. There are a lot of guests on this which turn it into a full band with Dimitris Radis (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass), Yiannis Iliakis (drums, percussion), Leonidas Sarantopoulos (saxophone, flute), George Karayiannis (guitar), Vaggelis Katsarelis (trumpet), and Maria Tseva (wordless vocals). Yes, this is an instrumental prog album (way too few of these around), and in true old school fashion it opens with a dynamic track which is more than 17 minutes in length. Actually, there are only four songs on this 44-minute-long release which gives plenty of time for the band to move and shift.

Here we have instrumental music with real purpose and drive, taking the listener on a journey which has many twists along the way, so much so that one never knows what is going to come next. There is no doubt that the final sections of the lengthy "The Stuff of Dreams" are heavily influenced by Andy Latimer in the guitars, while the introduction sounds much more like Galahad as the music is built on layers of keyboards towards the climax which is surely to come, but no, we move into picked acoustic which feels far more like Anthony Phillips. To my ears this is a very English sounding release, much more than other bands from Greece I have reviewed in the past, with plenty of takes from the golden age through to the current day, always polished and with a true sense of direction. We get symphonic combined with neo, with crossover tendencies here and there as they follow the muse where it takes them as opposed to keeping it tightly constrained.

Due to the way they keep shifting, and also having some guests only on certain tracks, one never knows what is going to happen yet, but there is always a real clarity and is an album where any proghead can just sit back and let the music wash over them. Released through Dutch label OOB Records one can only hope it is going to get the recognition it so richly deserves as this is a delight.

 Medina Azahara [Aka: Paseando Por La Mezquita] by MEDINA AZAHARA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.73 | 49 ratings

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Medina Azahara [Aka: Paseando Por La Mezquita]
Medina Azahara Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars In the second half of the Sixties an increasing amount of young musicians in the southern Spanish province Andalusia started to incorporate the traditional flamenco of their region in a wide range of musical styles, from rock, psychedelia, and jazz to jazzrock, blues and symphonic rock. Interesting proto-Rock Andaluz are Sabicas with Joe Beck (also featuring Tony Levin) and Smash. This culminated in the mid-Seventies into the socalled Rock Andaluz movement, speerheaded by the legendary and highly acclaimed trio Triana. Other fascinating Rock Andaluz bands/artists: Cai, Alameda, Quadalquivir, Mezquita, Iman, Azahar, Montoro, Mantra, Diego de Moron, Vega, Tarantos, Gualberto and Juan Martin (Picasso Portraits, with Tony Hymas, John Gustafson, Simon Phillips and Ian Mosley ). The main features of all these bands are the use of typical flamenco elements, from the art of the flamenco guitar and distinctive intense vocals to a strong Arabesca undertone in the keyboard - and guitar sound. Anno 2024 Rock Andaluz is still a vivid musical movement, with lots of interesting new bands, like Alhandal, Taifa, Alpesa, Qamar, Anairt, Sherish, Arabiga, Randy Lopez, Varekai, Vandalus, Zaguan, Saraqusta, Juan Antonio Vergara (Periplo project), Canastereo, Cangrejos, Sacristia and Sevilla Distorsion.

A special mention goes to Medina Azahara from Cordoba, rooted in the late Seventies but last year this very popular Rock Andaluz formation released their 21st studio-album, incredible. This review is a musical time travel, to their eponymous debut album (aka Paseando Por La Mezquita), from 1979, a Rock Andaluz classic. It gained a double- platinum status, which means sales over 200.000!

On their very first album Medina Azahara sounds like a harder-edged version of Triana, but with less obvious flamenco hints. The most important Rock Andaluz element is singer Manuel Martinez with his flamenco inspired vocals, on stage the huge and blond Manuel looks like a mix of David Byron and a Viking, very passionate. The most exciting composition is the first track entitled Paseando Por La Mezquita (a wonderful Morish building in their hometown Cordoba where the original band members met for the first time), the climate is very Morish influenced and the sensational catchy guitar riff turned into the Rock Andaluz anthem, it sounds like "the Smoke On The Water of the Rock Andaluz!". The beautiful songs En La Manana and Busco deliver captivating parts with flamenco guitar by guest musician Paco Cepero. The other tracks are a blend of Rock Andaluz (mainly due to the vocals), melodic rock and Neo-Prog (Mark Kelly inspired synthesizer flights), topped with excellent guitar work, from sensitive and howling to electric rhythm guitar that creates a flamenco atmosphere. This matches perfectly with Manuel his emotional vocals, and fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section.

A very interesting album for those progheads who are up to discover the fascinating world of the Rock Andaluz.

 Archive 1967-1975 by GENESIS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
4.28 | 300 ratings

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Archive 1967-1975
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Archive albums often have a difficult position of balancing music quality with historical relevance. Fortunately, on this one, it's the first that wins. We have a rich 4-CD collection which goes rather backwards, starting with a 1975 full Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and finishing with 1967's demos on disc 4.

Genesis' excellent era started with 1970's Trespass and to the most paranoid fans, lasted till Gabriel departed. at minimum. So we have many prerequisites for this to rate this archive 5 stars. However. 1.) Listening to the highly satisfying first two live CDs is not fully authentic due to Gabriel's added vocals and Hackett's added guitar. 0.5 star down. 2.) The fourth disc is historically important, no doubt about it. Nevertheless, it's music quality and importance is mediocre. Genesis, till 1970, were lightning miles away from being a major and potential rock band. Another 0.5 star down. We're down to the solid 4 stars.

 Clockwork Revenge by AIRLORD album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.39 | 45 ratings

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Clockwork Revenge
Airlord Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars I just checked on Wikipedia in the category Prog from New Zealand: 6 bands are mentioned, of course Split Enz, but not Ragnarok and Airlord. I don't know Ragnarok but in the mid-Nineties I bought the vinyl version of Clockwork Revenge by Airlord from the known Spanish proghead Angel Romero. He had started to suffer from severe dust allergy while having a huge prog vinyl collection (including lots of rare Italian prog, like Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach). So he had to get rid of his many thousands of prog LP's, what a sad story!

Airlord was a 5-piece band, hailing from Wilmington in New Zealand, rooted in 1976 and disbanded in '1978. Let's have a look on the 7 tracks of their only effort entitled Clockwork Revenge, from 1977.

Clockwork Revenge : This is an impressive opener that has a fluent rhythm, sensational synthesizer flights, great duo- guitarwork (both guitarplayers have their own sound) and very distinctive duo- vocals (one sound as 'the Very Down Under nephew of Peter Gabriel). The final part includes a powerful, biting guitar solo.

Pictures In A Puddle : The first part is very mellow with emotional vocals, soaring keyboards and acoustic rhythm- guitar, then a mid-tempo featuring fiery electric guitar and beautiful Mellotron choir drops.

Ladies Of The Night : It opens with a slow rhythm and a folky climate, then lots of shifting moods including majestic Mellotron choir waves and fiery and biting, wah-wah drenched guitar soli. The excellent duo vocals give an extra dimension to the music, very disctinctive!

Earthborn Pilgrim : This is a mellow song with twanging guitars, good vocals and in the end a bluesrock inspired guitar solo.

Out Of The Woods : A very alternating track that ranges from bluesy to mid-tempo delivering a splendid build- up guitar solo, from sensitive to howling and fiery, accompanied by lush organ.

Is It Such A Dream? : Here the typical string-ensemble sound and a sensitive guitar perfectly blend, in the end a biting electric guitar solo.

You Might Even Be : Another very alternating track, the vocals reminds me of the early Peter Gabriel (Nursery Cryme- era), the duo-guitarplay is very strong, supported by a dynamic rhythm-section. The final part contains the sound of many 'laughs', this emphasizes the original approach from Airlord.

An obscure band worth to discover, especially for the 70-77 Genesis fans.

 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.38 | 3466 ratings

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Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by ken_scrbrgh

5 stars Presently, in response to the multifarious, heinous, and gut-wrenching global realities of today, I'm listening to an indomitably pertinent album, Yes' 1974 "Relayer."

Inspired by Tolstoy's "War and Peace," what more applicable composition exists than "The Gates of Delirium," both lyrically and musically, to the present mess we call "The Human Condition?" In "Sound Chaser," Anderson, Howe, Moraz, Squire, and White present an aesthetic in search of the foundations of musical expression. With "To Be Over," the band further develops its explorations of death begun in "Close to the Edge." Born from the lyrics of "The Remembering" from "Tales from Topographic Oceans," 'Relayer" encapsulates a high regard for human history and a piercing honesty regarding the "double-edged sword" we call humanity.

My first exposure to "Relayer" came in the summer of 1975 during a one day stint painting the inside of a clinic in Downtown New Orleans. A professor with Tulane's Medical School, one of our best friend's father had hired a group of us soon-to-be high school juniors to spend a day painting. I don't recall how well we painted, but I do remember the fascination I had hearing what I would learn to be the climactic battle passage of "The Gates of Delirium."

Not "to put the cart before the horse," but the "Gate" towards which "Delirium" moves could very well be the soundtrack to the climax of "The Lord of the Rings" in "The Return of the King" when Sauron realizes the one ring of power not only has been, "under his nose," in Mordor, but also has descended to its destruction with Gollum into the fires of Mount Orodruin. The interplay between Moraz's synthesizers and Howe's Telecaster and steel guitars captures the potency of any triumphant, military breakthrough. Surely, the rhythm section of Squire and White provides the bastion upon which this feverish apex occurs.

The listener passes through this "Gate" into an almost ethereal, transcendent resolution to the profligacies of war. Although Anderson's vocals and Howe's steel guitar preside over this resolution, Moraz's backing synthesizer accompaniment girded by Squire and White's bass and drums solidify the sublimity of this passage.

If only the relatively linear journey of "The Gates of Delirium" could intimate a solution to the nefarious invasion of Ukraine by the daemonic "leader" of Russia.

At this point during the 70's, one would flip the LP of Relayer to side two, and enter the jazz inflected, forward looking "Sound Chaser." In the 1970's greater New Orleans area, WRNO-FM was the "rock" of the Crescent City. The management of this station chose Moraz's opening electric piano line supported by White's tuned percussion from "Sound Chaser" as its signature theme, never mind that the actual music of "Relayer" was too "dense" for airplay on this supposed "album oriented" station. However, in all fairness, WRNO was the home of what we would consider most "classic" rock.

Succinctly, "Sound Chaser" embodies the imaginative power of "Relayer" in words and musical action. Of all of Yes' music, "Sound Chaser" may be the piece in which the lyrics and music are truly intertwined. The focal point for the band is to perceive the look in its listeners' eyes. I wouldn't mind the band seeing the look in my eyes in response to Howe's landmark steel guitar solo towards the end of the piece. Moraz's frantic, jazz-inflected synthesizer follows. And, earlier Howe delivers what would be something like "Mood for a Day" on his Fender Telecaster. White's percussion is, to put it mildly, "muscular." And, the "skeleton" of the song is Squire's bass.

The final third of "Sound Chaser's" lyrics could be an autobiography of the band:

From the moment I reached out to hold, I felt a/sound, And what touches our soul slowly moves as touch rebounds./ And to know that tempo will continue/ Lost in trance of dances as rhythm takes another turn, / As is my want, I only reach to look in your eyes.

I am loath to assert one can ascertain one interpretation of its lyrics, but "To Be Over" advances a powerful equanimity in the face of human finitude:

After all your soul will still surrender. / After all don't doubt your part, / Be ready to be loved.

And, leading up to the above quotation is one of Steve Howe's most convincing steel guitar and guitar solos. "Childlike soul dreamer . . . ." might just sum up the thrust of the majority of Jon Anderson's lyrics and Yes' music. The goal requires we be "childlike" without being "childish." We have the power imaginatively to envision "better solutions to the realities of 'The Human Condition.'"

Most regrettably, the maze of human propensities lurches towards an end far more sobering, than even "childish" would intimate . . . .

 Los Delirios Del Mariscal by CRUCIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.18 | 221 ratings

BUY
Los Delirios Del Mariscal
Crucis Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Recently I listened to a new live CD by Nexus featuring tracks from the two studio-albums by Crusis, what a joy, a top notch current Argentine band playing Argentine prog legend Crusis, wow! It inspired me to listen to Crusis their highly acclaimed second album Los Delirios Del Mariscal (from 1977).

The music is partly instrumental and partly with strong Spanish vocals. The emphasis is on the vintage keyboards, from Hammond organ and Solina string-ensemble to a range of synthesizers, and Steinway - and Fender Rhodes piano. The rhythm-section sounds powerful and adventurous. The compositions are strong and dynamic with surprising breaks and the interplay between the electric guitar (lots of wah- wah drenched soli) and varied keyboards is captivating. On their second album the tracks are longer with more soli and a stronger influence from jazz rock, and Dutch prog legend Focus. Highlights are the epic titletrack and Abismo Terrenal, in my opinion the best ever prog from (often overlooked) Latin- America!

Highly recommended!

Data cached

Symphonic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
21. PERON Turkey
35 TAPES Norway
5BRIDGES Netherlands
7 OCEAN Belarus
AAMUNKOITE Finland
ABBHAMA Indonesia
ABSTRACTION LAYER Brazil
ACCENT Romania
ACHE Denmark
ACUITY United States
AD ASTRA United States
ADVENTURE Norway
AETHER Brazil
AFTER CRYING Hungary
AFTER THE FIRE United Kingdom
AGENTS OF MERCY Sweden
AGNUS Argentina
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AIRLORD New Zealand
AJALON United States
AKACIA United States
ALAMEDA Spain
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ALBATROSS United States
ALL TRAPS ON EARTH Sweden
ALMS Spain
ALPHA CENTAURY France
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ALTER ECHO Sweden
LEON ALVARADO United States
SERGIO ALVAREZ Argentina
AMAGRAMA Argentina
AMENOPHIS Germany
AMOS KEY Germany
AMUZEUM United States
ANABIS Germany
ANCIENT VISION United States
ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE United Kingdom
ANDERSON / STOLT Multi-National
ANGE France
ANGIPATCH France
ńNGLAGŇRD Sweden
ANIMA Argentina
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ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APH…LANDRA France
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APOCALYPSE Brazil
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ARABESQUE United States
ARACHNOID France
ARC France
ARCABUZ Spain
ARION Brazil
ARS NOVA (JAP) Japan
ARS PRO VITA Brazil
ART IN AMERICA United States
ARTEFACTRON Mexico
ARTNAT Portugal
ASA DE LUZ Brazil
XAVIER ASALI Mexico
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ATILA Spain
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ATLAS Sweden
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ATOLL France
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AVIVA (AVIVA OMNIBUS) Russia
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BANANA Argentina
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ZELJKO BEBEK & PODIUM Yugoslavia
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JEF BEK United States
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ED BERNARD Canada
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BLŇKULLA Sweden
BLANK MANUSKRIPT Austria
BLEZQI ZATSAZ Brazil
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LARS BOUTRUP'S MUSIC FOR KEYBOARDS Denmark
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BRESK Norway
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BUSKER Canada
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CAL Spain
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CANNABIS INDIA Germany
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CAST Mexico
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CHAKRA United States
CHALCEDONY United Kingdom
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THE CHRONICLES OF FATHER ROBIN Norway
CHRONOS MUNDI Brazil
JOS… CID Portugal
CINEMA Japan
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THE CIRCLE PROJECT Spain
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CITIZEN CAIN United Kingdom
CLEARLIGHT France
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COVENANT United States
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CRAFT United Kingdom
CRESSIDA United Kingdom
CRONICO Mexico
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DAWN Switzerland
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MAINHORSE Switzerland
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MANTRA Spain
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MARCO Mexico
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OTA PETRINA Czech Republic
PETRUS CASTRUS Portugal
PH2 France
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PHOG France
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POLLEN Canada
PRE United States
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REFUGEE United Kingdom
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RAIMUNDO RODULFO Venezuela
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SAENA Mexico
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SATAN France
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SECOND MOVEMENT Germany
SENSITIVE TO LIGHT France
SERENE Germany
SEVEN REIZH France
SHADES OF DAWN Germany
SHADOW CIRCUS United States
SHALASH BAND Russia
SHARKMOVE Indonesia
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SICHER Switzerland
SILVER LINING France
MICKEY SIMMONDS United Kingdom
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SPOCK'S BEARD United States
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