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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 | 4893 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.65 | 4525 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.61 | 3924 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.46 | 3896 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.41 | 3462 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.41 | 2953 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.39 | 2521 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.38 | 3354 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.35 | 1824 ratings
HYBRIS
ńnglagŚrd
4.31 | 3187 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.30 | 3248 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.30 | 2515 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.29 | 2852 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.32 | 1363 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.35 | 810 ratings
FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE
Wobbler
4.24 | 2285 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.29 | 915 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.26 | 1152 ratings
VILJANS ÷GA
ńnglagŚrd
4.25 | 1104 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.33 | 549 ratings
A DROP OF LIGHT
All Traps On Earth

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

L'ARBRE-CIMETI»RE
Maldoror
S»VE QUI PEUT
Ange
TALES FROM AN ISLAND - IMPRESSIONS FROM RAPA NUI
Blank Manuskript
BOOK OF HOURS
Willowglass

Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Rain Dances by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.65 | 1096 ratings

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Rain Dances
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Sidscrat

3 stars I was a big Camel fan starting with Mirage. Their instrumentals were tight and creative and complex. Camel were an odd man out band and highly underrated in their prime. While Andy Latimer was not a super fast guitarist he had his own style and it worked well with this unit. Bardens was a delight on the keys and also underrated. Decca who was their international record company had their local companies market the albums and they did little advertising or none at all which hurt the band in exposure and popularity. I had a lot of prog friends in the 70's who had never even heard of the band.

They were a tight 4 piece with Latimer & Bardens writing songs and the ever strong and solid Doug Ferguson on bass and the wild wizard of drumming, Andy Ward. From Mirage (1974) to Snow Goose (1975) to Moonmadness (1976) was the group's best 3 entries and the latter I feel was my favorite though the Goose was such an incredible work and is in a class by itself. Unfortunately like so many bands, they had to go in and mess up the system just when it was great. They would later admit that things were the best in the band during the Moonmadness sessions. After that tour Ward wanted to shift more into jazz territory and Ferguson was content where he was in his solid playing.

Ward threatened to leave the band if they didn't boot Ferguson and since Ward was such a great drummer, they agreed and broke up a friendship as well. Latimer and Bardens later said this was a big mistake and spelled the beginning of the end and from that point the band chemistry was lost. Doug was their anchor and did so much including resolve arguments between the 2 song writers. Ironically it would only be one more album after this before Bardens would split due to Latimer wanting to take the band to commercial pop land and himself threatened to leave if Peter didn't. Big mistake number 2. Breathless which was the last decent entry.

I say all of this as it is important to understand the history to really explain this album. Sure it has more jazz influence but so what? Sinclair is a good bassist and definitely gave the album's rhythm section a new twist but was it really necessary? Not in my opinion. Mr Ward got what he wanted but Sinclair and he did not get on well. The change was tragic for more than one reason. Rain Dances has some good tracks on it but it leaves me wanting whereas Mirage through Moonmadness were full meals in themselves. This was a few courses shy of a full meal.

I am not a fan of adding horns to a prog band that never had them before. Mel Collins would become a full member for Breathless only.

Tracks loved: Metrognome, Unevensong, Skylines, Rain Dances. The rest of the tracks are lacking for me. Highways Of The Sun is their first venture into pop land. While Elke has a hypnotic trace to it, I see it as a wasted track and it could have been merged with another piece that had a faster tempo.

This album sounds in many ways like a band trying to reformat itself which in reality it did. The next album only has a few tracks on it that come close to resembling the prog chops of their earlier works. After that it became Latimer's baby and never again would it reach the greatness that Camel was. I look at this album as the one where the house of cards began coming down. A tragic album. They should have stuck with Doug..

 Focus - Special Polydor by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
3.51 | 7 ratings

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Focus - Special Polydor
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nļ 612

"Focus - Special Polydor" is a compilation album of Focus. This is one of the many compilation albums released by the band during the career of the group in the 70's. So, "Focus - Special Polydor" has only tracks that belong to that musical period of Focus and that includes tracks from their first three studio albums, "Focus Plays Focus" aka "In And Out Of Focus", "Focus II" aka "Moving Waves" and "Focus 3". That means that we are talking about tracks that belong to some of their best studio albums. We are talking about albums that belong to their best and most prog phase. "Focus ? Special Polydor" has also a non-album's track, "Early Birth", which wasn't released on their original studio albums.

"Focus - Special Polydor" was released in 1975 and has twelve tracks. "Hocus Pocus" is from "Moving Waves". This is an extraordinary track, a legendary track from the band with intensity perfectly astonishing and, at the same time, we may also say that it has some beautiful insanity on it. It's a track that soon we heard it, soon we sing it, and that, in the end, we remain completely free from all tensions and stress after a day's work. This always was one of my favourite progressive tracks ever. "Focus (Instrumental)" is from "In And Out Of Focus". It's a revisiting of the peaceful opener track of that album "Focus (Vocal)". This track is the best and the most progressive song on that album and it's another classic gem of the band. It's an astonishing track with about 10 minutes with incredible improvisations that moves constantly between guitar, keyboards and flute. This is Focus at their best and represents perfectly the progressivity and the quality of their music and how great they can be. "Round Goes The Gossip" is from "Focus 3". This is a well humoured song with a curious and strange consecutive repetition of the title song, by Thijs van Leer, as if it was a lyric. It's catchy, a kind of a jazz-fusion song with nice instrumentation. "Love Remembered" is also from "Focus 3". It's a simple short and beautiful song. It's a relaxing song with a soft tune and a nice pastoral and bucolic melody. Basically, it's a song with acoustic guitar, flute and keyboards, with bass and drums on the back. "House Of The King" is from "In And Out Of Focus". This is a legendary track. It shows the compositional abilities of Jan Akkerman and the harmony between the flute of Thijs van Leer and the acoustic guitar of Jan Akkerman. Despite be short, it's an exciting and refreshing moment. "Early Birth" is a non album's track. It was only released as a bonus track on the CD release of "Hamburger Concerto". It was the B side of their single "Harem Scarem". This is a beautiful, short, simple and nice instrumental piece. "Focus II" is from "Moving Waves". It's an interesting and melodic piece dominated by the guitar of Jan Akkerman. This is a song that continues the Focus' series, with good song writing and great musical performance by all band's members, as is usual. It has a fantastic interplay between all band's members. This is one of the best examples of their unusual style. "Carnival Fugue" is from "Focus 3". It has varied musical sections. It begins in a calm and relaxing way that grows all over the theme. This is a jazzy oriented song with good instrumental playing in the line of their traditional style. "Janis" is from "Moving Waves". It's a soft track, despite it's a Jan Akkerman's song. The lead is taken by the magic flute of Thijs van Leer, perfectly supported by the other band's members. This is a very simple song but the melody and harmonies are so perfect and catchy that makes of it, somehow, a memorable song. Like some other reviewers, this is also a song that reminds me my good old and beloved band, Camel. "Elspeth Of Nottingham" is from "Focus 3". It's a beautiful medieval madrigal well performed by classical guitar and flute. I always loved the medieval music, and so, this song is a blessing for my senses. This is another great track with high quality. "Tommy" is from "Moving Waves". It's a small excerpt of their multi-part suite "Eruption", which is divided into many several parts. "Eruption" is a real progressive masterpiece with great organ sounds, tons of drums, very melodic bass and straightforward hard rock electric guitars. There are some intensely floating Mellotron and backing vocal parts. "Tommy" is probably the most known excerpt, a logical choice for a single. "Sylvia" is also from "Focus 3". It's a classic from Focus. It's a melodic song conducted by the electric guitar of Jan Akkerman and with great performances by all other band's members, in the supporting role. This is a very catchy song with an emotive and beautiful melody.

Conclusion: "Focus - Special Polydor" is very similar to other four compilation albums of Focus, "Masters Of Rock 1971 - 1973" from 1974, "The Greatest Rock Sensation" also from 1974, "Dutch Masters 1969 ? 1973" from 1975 and "House Of The King" from 1983. As happened with all those compilation albums it has only tracks that belong to their first three studio albums "In And Out Of Focus" from 1970, "Moving Waves" from 1971 and "Focus 3" from 1973, three of the albums that belong to their golden era, only missing tracks from "Hamburger Concerto" also of that era. And, as happened with "The Greatest Rock Sensation", "Focus - Special Polydor" has also the same special non-album's track, "Early Birth". So, we can really say that "Focus - Special Polydor" is a good compilation album released by the group.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Yes Album by YES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.31 | 3187 ratings

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The Yes Album
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by WJA-K

4 stars This is a remarkable album from a remarkable band.

Yours is no disgrace is one of the perfect songs from Yes 10/10

The Clap is nice but no more than filler for me 6.5/10

Starship Trooper is the second masterpiece of the album 10/10

I've seen all good people is great but not up to par with the masterpieces 8.5/10

A venture is well played, but doesn't do it for me 7/10

Perpetual Change is the third masterpiece 10/10

This 4-star album is a valuable asset for any prog fan. It has three brilliant tracks, but also some filler. This is why I can't give the 5-star rating.

 The Single Factor by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.65 | 560 ratings

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The Single Factor
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Hesedingking

3 stars WE WILL BE GEARED TO THE AVERAGE, RATHER THAN THE EXCEPTIONAL

With the rise of commercial pop c*** the qualitiy of music has started a downward spiral. Some bands of the 70s have maintained their standards, running the risk of becoming 'irrelevant'. Many of our favoured acts of the time have adapted to the ever changing moods of the broad mass, bringing us 'masterpieces' like Big Generator, Giant For A Day, Love Beach, ABACAB, etc., etc...

Like the examples mentioned above, Latimer fronted Camel was forced into this musical abyss as well. Pete Bardens left after the previously released 'Nude' (excellent album btw.). He propably knew what was about to happen. Ward also discontinued his collaborations with Camel after a tragic and (thankfully) unsuccessful attempt to take his own life. With only one original member left, Decca demanded hit singles.... Loads of them...

Recording started along with some high quality guests. Members of the Alan Parsons Band, Simon Phillips, Dave Mattaks (Fairport Convention) and others joined Latimer during the recording sessions. The songs recorded were shorter than usual. No Lady Fantasy Pt. 2 for you today, kids!

The music didn't nearly reach the quality of the song mentioned above. Most of them are dull, uninspiring and lack even the nesessary hooks to be a good pop song. 'No Easy Answer' for example is just annoying. But while some of the songs are dull, there are some true highlights to this album. 'You Are The One' is a fun and catchy little song, that'll play in your head over and over. 'Sasquatch' really is the best track on the album, being a nice instrumental with Pete Bardens on the keys. 'Manic' also is a good song with a catchy synth riff.

Aside these highlights the rest of the album feels a bit mediocre. Most tracks are not bad, but lack the strength to stand out. Overall the album is not bad in any way, but still it does not exceed the status of being 'good'. I think the reason why people hate this album is, because Camel has made so many great albums, that this album seems like a dud. But it isn't bad. Not at all. It's just a little too mediocre: Good, but not essential.

 Greyfield by GREYFIELD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 43 ratings

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Greyfield
Greyfield Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As the ratings show, the initial reception for this instrumental prog album was very warm. But unfortunately only two reviews ever appeared, and the artist's output withered after a digital single released in 2016. Greyfield was a one- man project of Fernardo MarŪn Vega from Southern Spain. If he plays all the instruments himself on this album, he's a truly gifted multi-instrumentalist! Keyboards, flute, guitars, bass, drums -- at least these are played to a very band-like effect.

Vega's musical influences include both classic symphonic prog acts such as ELP, Camel and Focus, and classical composers like Bela Bartůk and Igor Stravinsky. You guessed, organ is central in the sound, but the flute as well, actually even more. The rhythm section is powerful, and both electric guitar and Spanish-type acoustic guitar are bringing some sonic variety. On one hand, mainly speaking of the organ and the flute, the sound is rather retro (late 60's, early 70's), but the use of electric guitar is pretty modern and approaches heavy/metal. Also the synth arsenal contains some modern approach. This dichotomy has its pros and cons.

Have to say, I am not as impressed by this album as I hoped to be. In the end the pieces sound rather the same mainly because the mellower sections are painfully scarse. Compositional variety is narrow, emphasizing on the energetic power. I'm not very much into the ELP sort of organ dominance, but most of all I'm disappointed with the flute. In general I love especially the delicate, soft sounds of this fine instrument (think of some Camel pieces), but here the flute is heard too constantly and often too high-pitched, so my ears get tired of it. The nearly 11-minute final piece 'Mediterranean Sonata' may be a highlight on its own, as a dynamic and meandering composition, but sonically it doesn't really stick out from the rest.

 Fly from Here by YES album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.42 | 1208 ratings

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Fly from Here
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by altered_beast

5 stars Easily my favorite Yes album next to Relayer and Close to the Edge. No apologies no matter how much controversy I might stir up here. The most proggy and 70's styled album in decades. I had no way of ever complaining who was on the album and who wasn't. And being a fan of Canadas Neo-Prog gem, Mystery I have even less to complain about. Benoit David is the best voice for this album. The Trevor Horn version released more recently doesn't hold a candle to the original. The music is solid and enjoyable and the epic title track is one of my favorite Yes moments to date.

Howes guitar solos, especially the acoustic ones are just brilliant. They bring in a really mature Classical approach you wish represented all modern Yes albums. The late Chris Squire gives us a great farewell performance. Allan Whites drums are so memorable I have them stuck in my head more than any other album he ever played on. He really matches the rhythm of the other musicians on this album. Geoff and Oliver both on keyboards and man does this album benefit from having 2 keyboard players like Saga albums of old.

Many will compare this album to Drama or Age of Plastic from The Buggles. I don't hear much resemblance to either. In fact it sounds very laid back in places and very complex and well crafted at the same time. One huge epic and an array of mellow short songs. It actually reminds me of early 70's Pink Floyd in that regard. It's very authentic sounding to 70's Prog and somewhat like a really good Glass Hammer album being modern but giving you a taste of retro Prog.

I do find it a bit humorous that the opening guitar riff makes you think that this album might be going in a Symphonic Metal direction while the rest of the entire album is nothing of the sort. It had me fooled on my first listen years ago. While I have always been far more a 70's Genesis fan this album blows anything away Genesis ever did post Steve Hackett. This album brought back everything I could have hoped for in a modern Yes album. And once again I'm not complaining about the lineup that really delivers on this album.

 Ashes Are Burning by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.26 | 836 ratings

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Ashes Are Burning
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by WJA-K

5 stars I can't believe I haven't rated this album yet. I love it. This is such a great album. I adore the voice of Annie Haslam, the piano from John Tout, and the bass from Jon Camp. But it is all so good.

The intro from Can You Understand alone, is brilliant. But so is the rest of the song. 10/10

Some hate Let It Grow. But I see it as a ten out of ten. Whenever you are down, you only need to listen to this to be up again. What a voice, what a hopeful message. 10/10

On the frontier is another superb track. The flow of this one, the piano, the harmonies, the bass. 10/10

Carpet of the Sun is another gem. Again such a hopeful message and the arrangements are so fine 9/10

At the Harbour is my least favorite track, but I still love it to bits. 8/10

Ashes are Burning is a great closer. Annie Haslam is a goddess. But the guitar and the closing drums are marvelous too. 9.5/10

I am so fond of this album. It is one of the best records I know. So it's easily a 5 out of 5.

 Works Vol. 1 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.95 | 856 ratings

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Works Vol. 1
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

3 stars ELP obviously felt they could not take their type of high intensity Symphonic Prog any further after they produced Brain Salad Surgery so it was perhaps inevitable that they would head in a different direction with the next album. Infact Works Volume 1 is really a compilation of tracks that would not have fitted on regular hence each member does his own thing on three of the sides and just to make sure fans still consider this an ELP album all three play together on the fourth side. Keith Emerson was keen to be considered a "proper" composer and was desperate to record his "Piano Concerto No1".It is actually quite enjoyable especially the final "Toccata" movement which somehow fuses Bernstein,Copland and Stravinsky.The LP is worth owning for this side alone. Unfortunately, the good news ends there. I have always admired Greg Lakes compositions especially "From The Beginning" but on Works Volume 1 he suddenly thinks he is Neil Diamond and the songs are so saccharine especially with the overwelming orchestral arrangements that I find it hard to listen to. Carl Palmer's side is more interesting although the only track I really like is "Food For Your Soul" which is a big band instrumental that sounds like it could have come from a 70;s TV show.I canot really see the point in recording Prokofiev's exciting "Enemy Gods" from the Scythian Suite virtually the same as the original but with percussion added. The group do a much more exhilarating version as a Band on the "Live In Concert album" and just reinforces my feelings that the magic only really happened when the played together. He also decided to re-record "Tank" from the debut.I always think if you are going to re-record a Classic track at least make it sound better. His "Big Band" version is just cheesy and clumsy. Side Four where all three finally play together was the closest thing to Classic ELP but even here I feel it was a wated opportunity. "Fanfare For The Common Man" starts off well at least for the first few minutes with some great interplay but then for the next six minutes it just decends into an aimless jam presumably to show off Emerson's new Yamaha GX-1.Pirates is even worse and what should have been a great Prog Rock Classic just ends up sounding like a complete cheesefest. Overall, this is the first really inessential album by ELP

3 stars only

 Garden Shed by ENGLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.93 | 239 ratings

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Garden Shed
England Symphonic Prog

Review by AJ Junior

4 stars Garden Shed is the debut album by the classic prog band England. After its release, the band broke up because of a poor financial situation. England is known for having a very Yes + Genesis-esque sound and, this is definitely true on this great album. It is very mellotron heavy and the vocalist, Frank Holland, has some total Jon Anderson moments on here.

The opener "Midnight Madness" is a pretty good song. It has a very 'Genesis Nursery Cryme' era feel to it and the synth work throughout the song is pretty amazing with keyboardist Robert Webb playing Mellotron, Moog, and other assorted ARPs during the song. "All Alone" is an acoustic piano track where Frank Holland sings some somber lyrics over a very beautiful piano part which reminds me of Keith Emerson.

Track 3, "Three Piece Suite" is the masterpiece of the album and is by far the best song. Clocking in at almost 13 minutes, the 3 movement epic is dominated by some of the greatest chord progressions and instrumental passages in prog (which is not something I say lightly). At around the 4:00 mark, Frank Holland plays a very heartfelt guitar solo over a minor mellotron progression which is repeated about 30 seconds later with a variation in the solo. The final movement is my favorite and it brings in some impressive high-pitched vocals. Robert Webb's keyboards are extremely connected with the bass and drums making a really impressive rhythmic end to the song as well.

"Paraffinalea" was the lead single off the album. It is probably my least favorite song on the album but is by no means bad. The vocals and harmonies are a blatant Yes rip-off but, it sounds great so I'm not complaining. About 1/2 way through the song, Webb plays a spectacular mellotron riff that is unfortunately not progressed by the band. "Yellow" is a beautiful song dominated by acoustic guitar and mellotron. Very simple but does the job effectively and I just love it.

The 16-minute epic "Poisoned Youth" closes the album. It has a very doom-metal opening with a lot of minor chords from the mellotron moog. At around 6 minutes, the song has a sick mellotron progression that Is overlaid with organ and piano, then taken into a high-octane section. The song goes through many other phases before ending with a minute of ambiance. The bonus tracks on the remaster also contain some good cuts, namely "Nanagram."

This is album is a staple of prog and is a must-have for all collectors. I would give it a 4.5 but, since that isn't possible on this website I'll round it down to 4 stars. Super awesome album and definitely recommended to all mellotron lovers and Genesis/Yes fans.

 Normal Boy by BRESSLER, BILL album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.04 | 8 ratings

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Normal Boy
Bill Bressler Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Bill Bressler is a keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer from New Jersey, USA. Normal Boy is his sole album, originally a digital release, but according to his Bandcamp page it's available also on CD. The cover design is not necessarily very encouraging for a prog listener, but at least the expectation for keyboard-oriented -- and not dead serious -- music is fulfilled. The brief (34:39) album has six tracks, mostly of average song length and one longer piece. Bill Bressler is accompanied by four guys handling bass, guitars and additional vocals, but in addition to the dominant keyboards he plays also guitar and programmed guitars & drums. Programming can sometimes sound stiff and lifeless but not here. Perhaps it's justified to talk of a band effort instead of a one-man work with a little help from friends. Anyway the making of this album has clearly been a labour of love (for prog rock) and it took over three years to finish.

It starts with an elegant half-minute piano solo at the beginning of 'Fits and Starts', followed immediately by a lively full steam instrumental prog passage. The vocals enter in the 3-minute track's calmer latter half, backed by an acoustic guitar and some keys. Bressler is a fairly good vocalist; no particular references come to my mind, but it's an energetic voice typically heard in American rock. The title track incorporates some vocal harmonies and distorted vocals. The composition, or the whole album actually, is a dynamic mixture of hard-edged rock and symphonic prog with both modern and vintage key sounds.

On 'Guitarist' the vocals are partly heavily treated (vocoder?) which I don't like on this otherwise interesting song. On the mellower moments the keyboard sound reminds me of A Curious Feeling (Tony Banks), or Supertramp, but some wild Hammond and Mellotron sounds also appear. The electric guitar is gritty and biting. The album's highlight is definitely the 12-minute piece 'The Walk'. It is packed with energy, wit and tempo changes. One moment it may resemble 10cc, the next moment Spock's Beard.

All in all this music is emphasizing the modern prog instead of the 70's influences such as Genesis, Yes or Rush, and it also sounds very American. It is so well done that I have to rate it with four stars despite some negative details.

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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
AGNUS GRAAL Brazil
AIRLORD New Zealand
AJALON United States
AKACIA United States
ALAMEDA Spain
ALASKA United States
ALBATROSS United States
ALL TRAPS ON EARTH Sweden
ALMS Spain
ALPHA CENTAURY France
ALPHA III Brazil
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
ANIMA DOMINUM Brazil
ANIMA MORTE Sweden
ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APH…LANDRA France
APHRODITE'S CHILD Greece
APOCALYPSE Brazil
APOCALYPSE United States
AQUAPLANAGE United Kingdom
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
ASIA MINOR France
ASTRň United States
ASTURC”N Spain
ATILA Spain
ATLANTIS PHILHARMONIC United States
ATLAS Sweden
ATMOSPHERA Israel
ATOLL France
AUTUMN United Kingdom
AUTUMN BREEZE Sweden
AVIVA (AVIVA OMNIBUS) Russia
AXCRAFT United States
AZABACHE Spain
BABYLON United States
BACAMARTE Brazil
BANAAU / HOLLOWSCENE Italy
BANANA Argentina
BANZAI Belgium
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