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ECLECTIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Eclectic Prog definition

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

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

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

- written by Ricochet (Victor)

Current Team as at 7/1/2022

Ian (Tapfret)
Mike (siLLy puPPy)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Mira (Mirakaze)

Eclectic Prog Top Albums


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

4.63 | 4558 ratings
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson
4.56 | 3619 ratings
RED
King Crimson
4.47 | 2255 ratings
GODBLUFF
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.43 | 2369 ratings
PAWN HEARTS
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.41 | 3136 ratings
LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC
King Crimson
4.35 | 1829 ratings
IN A GLASS HOUSE
Gentle Giant
4.32 | 1797 ratings
H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.31 | 2147 ratings
OCTOPUS
Gentle Giant
4.31 | 1751 ratings
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Gentle Giant
4.30 | 1644 ratings
STILL LIFE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.29 | 1645 ratings
FREE HAND
Gentle Giant
4.31 | 941 ratings
THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE
Hammill, Peter
4.28 | 1679 ratings
ACQUIRING THE TASTE
Gentle Giant
4.25 | 1520 ratings
VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE
Hackett, Steve
4.26 | 623 ratings
ANABELAS
Bubu
4.25 | 431 ratings
MEMENTO Z BANALNYM TRYPTYKIEM
SBB
4.23 | 526 ratings
BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH
Birds And Buildings
4.19 | 766 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC - PART TWO
Beardfish
4.14 | 2147 ratings
DISCIPLINE
King Crimson
4.13 | 2376 ratings
LIZARD
King Crimson

Eclectic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

ZEALOTRY STERBLICHEN SCHIZOPHRENIA
Seamus
NOT OF SOUND MIND
Zapotec
DIAGONAL
Diagonal
MASAL
Prat / Masal, Jean-Paul

Latest Eclectic Prog Music Reviews


 All the Pretty Days by FREN album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.02 | 46 ratings

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All the Pretty Days
Fren Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "All The Pretty Days" is the second studio album from Poland's FREN. A four piece of bass/synths, guitars, drums and piano/mellotron/synths/organ. Some vocal expressions as well on that almost 25 minute closer. This record really surprised me after reading some opinions on it on another site. I was eager to hear it and it's all instrumental save for those vocal expressions I mentioned earlier. There's a lot of piano on here and a surprising amount of what is similar to jamming but it's more like they hang on to a theme for sometime. I actually thought of Post-Rock as it has that style down at times not with the guitars or sound but style. This record is a little different and the band deserves credit for that.

The opener "Hammill" a reference to the great Peter Hammill, this track along with the song "Bajka" feature a lot of slowly played piano and I found these two of my least favourite tracks. Maybe if it was fender rhodes I don't know. "Wiosna" is a really good song at 10 1/2 minutes with the growly bass, the atmosphere and the aggressive guitar which is a nice touch.

"Romantik" also opens with piano sounding very relaxed and it will close the same way and we get some piano melodies only in between as well, but it's here I experience that mellotron. The title track is where the bass shines and we get active drums and piano. Guitar solos over top after 6 minutes and later too. I like when the bass stops after 9 minutes, such a great sound here. "Turque" has some of the most uplifting moments and I like a few of the guitar sections a lot. Again we get plenty of piano on this one as well. We get a powerful ending with vocal expressions.

Like the album cover I'm not 100% sold on this but I certainly feel it's worth the 4 stars. I'm just not the biggest piano fan unless it's electric or distorted(lol). More guitar next time please.

 Trust Us by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.10 | 112 ratings

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Trust Us
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars This is the last Motorpsycho album they released in the 90s. Released one year after Angels and Daemons at Play and two promotional EPs, this album would be considered one of the band's best works in their hectic starting decade, and it's easy to see why many people, especially Prog rock fans, gravitate towards this album. I think it's because it released at the perfect time in the 90s when Prog rock was starting to get back into popularity with acts like Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, and with Motorpsycho's glamorous mix of Prog rock, hard rock, folk, and jazz, it would make sense people would find a huge attachment to this album.

For me, Trust Us is an interesting record, and quite a hefty one too. If, say, Blissard was an experiment in composition, and Angels and Daemons was an experiment on releasing, then Trust Us is an experiment on what the band wanted to be in their next decades to come as this marks the band's turning point to tried and true Prog rock music. They dabbled in it earlier in the decade, but here we get full on Prog rock music that sounds really good.

What I think this record has a good hand in is the amount of variety you get on here. You get some slower movements like Vortex Surfer and Coventry Boy, but also some really hard hitting psychedelic heavies like Psychonaut and Mantrick Muffin Stomp. Really, this album is one huge collage of various artistic examples the band has nods and winks to. From hard rock, to jazz, to psych, to folk, basically what the band would be highly known for can be found on this album in spades, and I really love the album for it. It is like going to a museum and looking at different paintings by the same artist. They all look different, but you know they are made by some artist from like Sweden or something who was a painting prophet at an early age but died at the age of 20 due to a falling anvil in their grandfather's workshop. It is really special in a weird way.

Though, like a museum, it can be a little tiring, standing and walking around, and also not every painting will be as amazing as some others. This album is long, and as someone who generally likes hour-long albums, this one feels a bit too long for me. With a lot of songs on here, some ranging to the 10 minute mark, it starts to feel tedious sometimes, and I feel as though that is the album's biggest weakness. This is an album that is packed to the brim, but it feels like it is in a small box. To be honest, I feel like some tracks on here could be cut down, like some of the tracks that were on the two EPs that were released prior to this, Ozone and Hey Jane. Personally, the big amount of stuff on here feels a tad overwhelming, especially with the harder stuff. You kinda have to be attuned to what the band wants you to get into this giant album.

I think, though, Trust Us has a lot of good things about it to where it outweighs the bad stuff. The songs are tightly knit, heck even more so than prior releases. You can tell they had a clear idea and wanted to expand on it each waking moment, and I love that. I love Motorpsycho for their prowess of song making, and I never get bored of their music even after listening to them for a long time. They are just that good.

That is the best thing about this album, it isn't boring by any means. You'll get a lot of stuff out of this, though it is an album that is quite a bit too big. It's a museum of various artistic paintings by one artist. It is a very nice experience but one that'll leave your feet feeling very tired. If you liked Blissard or Angels and Daemons then this album is a great treat for you.

 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 378 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

3 stars When people think of what Prog rock sounded like in the 70s, most people would think of either the more symphonic stuff of Renaissance or Genesis, and or the jazzy stuff of Gentle Giant or Van Der Graaf Generator. Most people won't really think of the more space rock side of things unless they are fans of Gong or Pink Floyd. Space rock style of Prog has existed since the 60s but never really caught on with the scene until the 70s, and even then it wouldn't be the most popular bunch of music until like the 2000s. Not to say it wasn't influential, but it wasn't what most people would gravitate towards 'less we talk about Pink Floyd. Though, while the scene wasn't as grand as some may say others are, it still brought about some great albums and songs, especially on today's subject of Solar Fire.

I have known about Manfred Mann's Earth Band for a bit, but never had interest diving into them, not until I heard their cover of Bob Dylan's Father of Night, which is also on this album. I am not a Bob Dylan fan, but I take any chance I can get in hearing a good cover of his music. This is one of my favorite Dylan covers now, and it's impressive a band can make a minute and a half song be extended to 9 minutes long. It made me grow interested in listening to the rest of this album since it was such a good cover.

However, that song is probably the only really big number on this album. While the songs here aren't bad to me, I feel as though the band raised the bar of expectations really high to where they couldn't meet expectations. Songs such as Pluto The Dog or Earth The Circle parts 2 and 1 do not hit the same marks that Father Of Day, Father Of Night gave. What you get here though is some fairly well made hard progressive rock standards. You get a lot of songs that sound very close to groups like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, but obviously with a more progressive twist. In The Beginning, Darkness is a number that really does sound very good in the hard rock camp in my opinion, and with the few meddlings of the more progressive flavors, it does sound good.

I think what this album excels at is the general fun flavor the band exudes. They aren't clearly trying to be big and epic, but they aren't being wild or crazy either. They kinda just do what they feel like, and that is honestly really respectful since you'll know their work will be of quality and be generally good. However, my main issue with this fact is that the more I listen to this album the more apparent it is that they aren't gonna be as groundbreaking as say Camel or Alan Parsons Project. Really, I compare them more to Nektar, being this generally good Prog rock sound that never really extends past the good markings. It's not something I hate with all my heart, but I cannot help but feel the band have missed some opportunities within what they could've done.

Solar Fire, to me, is great at best, and good at worst, but never a complete masterpiece. It is an album that I think can work well introducing new people into Prog Rock, but as a piece of music that can extend the boundaries of what music can be, I am sorry but you can find a lot more out there. Sorry for the disrespect, but I think it should be said to some degree.

 22 by WIPPY BONSTACK album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.67 | 3 ratings

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22
Wippy Bonstack Eclectic Prog

Review by Grumpyprogfan

5 stars Wippy Bonstack is the solo project of songwriter/composer Ben Coniguliaro and he is back with his second solo release. And what a release it is. If you're tired of bands that prefer to write similar music over and over, Wippy is for you. If you believe "back in my day" was the only time good music existed, Wippy is for you. If you want to progress and expand your musical horizons with some challenging modern music that pushes boundaries, Wippy is for you. The best word that describes this 37-minute album is - FUN. Loaded with jaw dropping musicianship throughout, "Ambitions" knocks my socks off with its Mike Keneally vibe. "Shadow Soaked" and "Scientific Candy" come armed with upbeat infectious grooves make me want to dance, and I don't like to dance. For those that don't know, Wippy plays most all instruments and provides reverb drenched vocals with a charming timbre that fits this music perfectly. The only negative comment I have is that no physical copies of this or his first release are offered. Darn it! Anyway, easy 4.5 stars rounded up. Rock on Wippy. I guess the album title "22" is because it was released on November 22, 2022?
 The High Places by OBLIVION SUN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.74 | 65 ratings

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The High Places
Oblivion Sun Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

4 stars Seek the words, seek the paths ... Stanley Whitaker and Frank Wyatt once were locked up in a cage on high places for this production? Okay, why not? When the result actually justifies all the effort. Anyway, for obvious reason OBLIVION SUN was formed to be the follower of the band 'Happy The Man'. What remains is the inspirational core and the ability to develop very melodic yet not really commonplace compositions. As quite usual, concerning the bass and drum requirements, their second album sees new collaborators again. David Hughes and Bill Brasso on this occasion. The quartet offers an interesting symbiosis of symphonic and canterbury respectively jazz fusion here. This means rather accessible songs, yes, but arranged with depth, definitely not a light-minded case.

Since years I'm occasionally listening to this. It's still growing, always an enchanting experience. Charming lead vocals matter, I assume it's Whitaker. We can also enjoy Wyatt's quirky synths and floating piano lines at its finest. Marching drums on March Of The Mushroom Men, who wonders? 'Everything is still a mystery ...' - sooner or later the ballad Everything invites to sing-along, hard to resist. And then the instrumental Dead Sea Squirrels develops to a real guitar showcase, partially with mellotron background. 'The High Places' opus with its six partitions marks the highlight finally. A very entertaining album due to some fine arrangements and the masterful instrumental execution.

 Road to Planet Circus by MAD FELLAZ album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.97 | 28 ratings

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Road to Planet Circus
Mad Fellaz Eclectic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Road To Planet Circus" is the fourth album by Mad Fellaz and was self-released in 2022 with a renewed line up featuring Paolo Busatto (electric and acoustic guitar), Andrea Cecchetto (drums, percussion), Ruggero Burigo (guitars), Carlo Passuello (bass), Enrico Brunelli (keyboards, synthesizers), Rudy Zilio (flute, clarinet, synthesizers), and Luca Brighi (lead and backing vocals) plus some guests such as Giovanni Forestan (sax), Davide Baratto (guitar, backing vocals), Evridika Cuder (backing vocals), Fabio Trentini (backing vocals), Giancarlo Romano (trumpet) and Marcello Sambataro (additional keyboards). As on the previous album, during the recording sessions they were helped by producer Fabio Trentini (Moonbound, Le Orme) and shaped their compositions with a strong focus on the "groove" in a nice blend of prog, jazz-rock, fusion, funk, afro and even a bit of soul. The beautiful artwork by Antonio Carrara tries to depict the musical content...

The opener "The Animal Spell" features hypnotic atmospheres and exotic flavours that might recall the imaginary landscapes of Roger Dean. The music and lyrics in some way invite you to close your eyes and take off from the ground jumping up to the sky where life beats hard and you can find beautiful, deep colours and paint your dreams with them...

The lively, carefree "Free As A Dog" portrays a man walking on a street as free as he can be in a bright sunny day. He can run wherever he likes and no chain can stop him, all he needs is the light of the sun shining through the rain and its warming effect on his skin to feel good. The music every now and again reminds me slightly of PFM...

"Jokepot" is a funny piece inspired by the character and the story of Giancarlo Pelosini, an Italian TV quiz show contestant who answered by a suggestive joke to an ambiguous question about the warlike qualities of the legendary Amazons. He lost a huge sum of money but became famous... Next comes the lively "Sips Of Confidence", a warning against the charming, false promises of modern barkers who draw your attention to sell you illusory remedies to soothe your pains...

"Rise And Shine" starts by a soft, acoustic intro. Here the vocals are used just like an instrument to add a touch of colour. When the rhythm rises the dreaming atmosphere does not vanish and the music shines like the sun upon the desert producing mirages... The following "Tuareg's Dance" evokes in music and words a long caravan of tired men and women that, step after step is crossing a hot, sunny desert. The falling rain is like a blessing for them, an injection of hope for their hard journey towards the sea... Then, "Exodus" describes their feelings, the silent cries they left behind and the difficult choices they had to made leaving their homeland to reach the shore from where diving into the unknown...

On the notes of the sarcastic "Candy Store" you disembark on a greedy world where you have to keep calm and maintain your self-control because all what you can see is deceiving and dangerous. Real happiness lies on a magic land where there's no crime nor lies, a paradise where you can find love everywhere... A place that doesn't exist! Next comes "Babylon" where there are some passages that might recall Gentle Giant blended with Oriental flavours. The music and words convey a sense of dramatic awareness about all what's going around you. It's written in your eyes that you want back your liberty...

The following "Rise Again" begins a cappella and the influence of Gentle Giant is stronger than ever when the vocals evoke the sense of freedom that can experience children plying games and climbing trees... Eventually, the long, beautiful instrumental "Tennouheika No Sakura" (Cherry Blossoms of His Majesty the Emperor) closes the album with a surreal, dreamy atmosphere...

On the whole, a very good work that is worth listening to.

 Equinox by RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ, OMAR album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.74 | 12 ratings

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Equinox
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Eclectic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars While Omar continues to explore the electronic elements of his music in a similar way to how he tapped into them with Octopus Kool Aid, Equinox sees him taking things in a far more abstract, formless direction. There are very few melodies to latch onto and the rhythmic elements feel jagged and chaotic, as if they're barely being held together and often just entirely falling out of time and trying their best to keep up, it's all a very bizarre, messy listen that takes on a very experimental edge on the whole. The issue to me is that I feel like it goes a bit too far in this direction to the point where it's difficult to find much tangible at all for the majority of the album's runtime, even if it has its standout moments such as the warped, almost dancelike beat of Lovely Rain and Dientes para el osmosis just generally reeling things back in a touch to really play to the strengths of the erratic vibes while working in some of his classic magic to really bring it to the next level. I continue to really enjoy ORL's approach to music being so free but at the same time I really do find that his best work tends to flourish whenever he is able to add more of those elements of nuanced structure and moments of more subdued material to help guide his music in a direction that makes those intense moments feel so much more impactful. I feel like Equinox is emblematic of both sides of this as well, as despite being so freeform for most of it and feeling a bit homogenous as a result, those few moments where everything gets stripped back a layer reveal some of his signature greatness, and I'm hoping some of the albums of his I'm yet to hear further expand upon this again, especially those that continue to play around with electronics.
 All the Pretty Days by FREN album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.02 | 46 ratings

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All the Pretty Days
Fren Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Back in 2020, Polish newbies Fren arrived on the scene with a stunning all-instrumental debut, universally praised by both fans and critics and left an indelible impact on the community, perhaps signalling a new emerging talent to further raise the progressive bar. With respect to the many one-shot wonders, the proverbial question remains: Can you do it again and perhaps even better? The wait is over, and the answer is a resounding YES! This Polish- Ukrainian quartet of Oskar Cenkier on keyboards, guitarist Michal Chalota, bassist Andrew Shamanov and Oleksii Fedoriv on the drum kit return with another dizzying slab of music, this time incorporating a choir for effect for the final 24 minute plus "Turque", a crowning achievement.

As everyone knows full well, Ukraine was invaded by the Russian troops and eschewing any kind of political diatribe, the fact remains that war has once again arrived at the gates of Europe and this past year has been one of general fear, concern, disgust, and anguish. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the new album, entitled "All the Pretty Days", has absorbed all the pain and suffering associated with conflict and one can hear and feel it from the initial few seconds and all the way through. The production is less refined, with a raw intensity and obvious grit that seeks to overpower the mundane. This will undoubtedly be a more emotional experience, at least it was for me (I was born in Hungary, and I know what its like in that neck of the woods!).

When the sombre piano cries out its pain on "Hammill", the emotion becomes palpable, the starkness self evident, the cymbals threatening and the electric guitar entering the fray with resolute acquiescence. Many feelings join in union: solemnity, sober reality, courage, defiance, will power and hope. A stunning opener. Out of this unambiguous intro, a swooning groove emerges on the austere "Wiosna", a 10 minute + lumbering steamroller of harsher riffs, walloping bass lines amid a massive drum rumble verging on the ferocious and unrelenting. The insistent piano exudes passion and boldness to unparalleled heights of exaltation., boldly halting the onslaught long enough for the guitar to lick its wounded frets. This is Fren's version of King Crimson's mythical Red album, in that it is a challenging listen, a gut wrenching musical experience, to say the least. Breathe?. "Romantik" is not exactly all sunshine and flowers either, a sorrowful bass and piano-driven etude that maintains the pain, as only the main melody emits some semblance of a once strong impression of beauty, perhaps taken for granted in the context of human survival. A sweet mid-section reminds one of some familiarity with more blissful moments, but it still rages on?. The vibrant piano resonates with unabashed power and conviction, a genuinely sensational display by Oskar, while Michal's guitar oozes impossible shivers. The rhythm section has no interest in any kind of surrender and will never give up the fight, as it occasionally rests within the valleys of the arrangement, just breathing for a final assault. There is a gorgeous but subdued melody that has a repetitive gravity to put this to bed and blanket the piece with a semblance of momentary peace. The mood seemingly calms down on the atmospheric "Bajka", but its really just an illusion, an oasis within the sandstorm, a respite from the madness, a lull from the thud of endless detonations. It does last longer than its 3 minutes, as the context will simply not allow any kind of relief.

The final two epic tracks are the hallmarks of this magnificent release, the vitriolic bass-fuelled title track with its incessant, to the point of obsessive, piano hammering as its succumbs to a slow infernal dirge, the caustic electric guitar splashing bloodied licks, amid hellish confines of gnarly tones. One cannot help but to viscerally feel the earnest agony embedded within each note, (perhaps even in between each one). Relentlessly pounding away like a barrage of cluster bombs savagely destroying everything in its programmed path, animal, mineral and vegetal reduced to ashes. Gulp!

And then we arrive finally to the Tartarean 24-minute masterwork that simply encompasses all that Fren can do (and had done up to now) in one mighty cogent and convincing piece. A dynamic piece with everything one can hope for, flushed with dissenting contrasts, lightning rapid playing by all four master musicians, loaded with exalted melodies and elongated jams that sear and soar. Both Shamanov and Fedoriv propel the arrangement to dizzying heights, a muscular and mordacious duo intent on steering the band uncompromisingly to areas where only the bravest men go. After the briefest of silences, the highly reflective and suave mid-section etches an elegant piano and guitar theme, later adding on a shimmering choir vortex that will leave one speechless, worthy of the most beautiful music heard in quite a while, without any hint of either gimmickry, ultra-polished production sheen or overt winks at accessibility. There are even hints of future happiness and frolicking in a jazzy moment for the ages. Just honest, heartfelt, melancholic, and raw music. Not pretty at all but very effective.

Can we stop the war now please! 4.5 Salvation salvos

 All the Pretty Days by FREN album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.02 | 46 ratings

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All the Pretty Days
Fren Eclectic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars A fantastic love letter to a variety of classic prog musicians all performed through this very lush, melancholic lens that clearly also ends up taking a lot of cues from the compositional style of post rock as well, with these longer drawn out passages that seem more invested in crafting a delicate and often majestic atmosphere above all else. A big thing that makes All the Pretty Days so interesting then is the way that there's still clearly a lot of the underlying prog approach combined with all of this, with impressive bouts of technicality and complexity being interspersed throughout these sweeping passages of pure beauty. The title track ends up representing one of the main instances of this mixing of sounds and then takes it one step further to differentiate itself with its vaguely darker tone that's reinforced by the heavier electric guitar, all of this mixed with a lot of sparse moments that give everything a bit of room to breathe and really allow the listener some time to sit back and absorb what they're listening to. In general this is one element of the album as a whole that I heavily, heavily appreciate, with it being clearly comfortable to take its time and allow the listener to slowly digest what they're listening to, making those empty spaces in between the biggest, most bombastic moments feel just as significant to the imagery evoked as the climaxes themselves.

All of this isn't to say that the album is lacking in its more direct and instantly memorable elements either, it's definitely interested in striking a balance between its complexity and something to easily latch onto, such as with the central melody of Romantik or the punchy piano rhythms playing off the psychedelic background about 6 minutes into Turque. It's all a careful balancing act that isn't afraid to challenge the listener at points while also ensuring that it never gets lost in a sense of madness, and the end result is an album that feels truly beautiful while having a lot that can appeal to the prog lovers out there. This album definitely surprised me quite a lot with how much underlying nuance there was while never losing sight of the sense of cohesion that it was able to establish near-immediately and keep throughout. Heavily recommended for fans of instrumental prog because this is some of the best stuff out there in that vein that I've heard in quite a while, especially with how much of a genuine masterpiece the final track is.

 Angels And Daemons At Play by MOTORPSYCHO album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.57 | 71 ratings

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Angels And Daemons At Play
Motorpsycho Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars After their strange venture to more concrete songwriting prowess on Blissard, Motorpsycho would go back to more jammy songs for their next studio album. Unlike previous sonic experiments, the band decided to experiment with releases. Instead of just releasing their next studio workings, the band would instead release three EPs, all with various feels of music, and release them one by one with limited copies, and then combine those EPs together to create their 6th studio work. These three EPs, Babyscooter, Have Spacesuit Will Travel, and Lovelight all contribute to various feelings of this 50 minute extension of music in the Motorpsycho lineage.

If I had to describe Angels and Daemons At Play with one word, it'd be dense. This is a very densely packed album, with each EP contributing to the album's general sonicscape in various ways.

The Baby Scooter EP is the introduction to the album, having the familiar, winding, and verbose sound of their more Psychedelic Alternative Rock efforts from Timothy's Monster or their Manmower EP. What I like about this part of the album is that it holds no punches and just gets right to the chase immediately. It knows what you want, and it knows how to give it. A really solid foot forward within the band's usual sound, while also doing some different things like emphasizing slower songs and more textural experiences, which I think absolutely helps with the feel for the album as a whole.

The real gemstone of the album for me and probably for other Progheads out there is the Have Spacesuit Will Travel parts of the album. On vinyl releases the band does add in the full EP into the workings, which end up making the album an hour and more long, but since I am stuck with the streaming version, the only song off that EP is Un Chien D'espace, but that'll just have to do. Despite its singular song status, this is absolutely my favorite part of the album. This thirteen minute journey through more raw, heavy, and acidic feelings of music without it feeling overly drawn out or way too forced in the album's general atmosphere makes this an extremely great song. Furthermore, this is their first TRUE progressive effort. I know I said in the Timothy's Monster review that Timothy's Monster was the band's first progressive rock album, but in terms of sonically, Angels and Daemons At Play with the Have Spacesuit Will Travel parts really takes that cake.

Lastly is the Lovelight parts of the album, and this is probably the weakest EP of the album sadly. After the psychedelic wonderscape of Baby Scooter and the progressive rock beauty of Have Spacesuit Will Travel, this EP doesn't deliver on a sound as well. It has an effort in a more pop punkish and general alt rock sound that bands like Green Day and The Offspring would bathe in, though Motorpsycho does try some newer things to keep that style of music on this EP to feel a little more adventurous than some efforts from those bands I have mentioned (Though Green Day did make some long songs on American Idiot a few years later.). What this EP lacks in is the eccentric energy previous EPs have, and even when there is energy, I never felt like the band was honing in on the music to make it truly special, but rather just playing for the sake of playing. I never found this part of the album to be entirely special, and I cannot help but find it really lacking in huge material that I'd be excited to hear again from the band's efforts moving forward. Sad that this otherwise great album ended with a whimper rather than a bang.

Even despite the last EP, this is still another great effort from the band's discography. It is kind of like a more streamlined, polished, and less heavy Demon Box with each part of the album contributing to improving and learning more of the band's sounds. The vinyl edition is definitely the best way to experience the album, but the streaming and cd editions are also perfectly fine too. Another great effort from Norway's best band.

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Eclectic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
16 DEADLY IMPROVS United States
17F Switzerland
4/3 DE TRIO France
8 DAYS IN APRIL Germany
A.C.T Sweden
ABRETE GANDUL Chile
ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE United Kingdom
ABSURDCUS Romania
ACADEMIE OF FARSIDE Indonesia
ACINTYA France
ADVENT United States
AFFINITY United Kingdom
AKO DOMA Slovakia
AKRITAS Greece
AKT Italy
JEAN-PIERRE ALARCEN France
ALBATROS Germany
ALCO FRISBASS France
ALEXL Brazil
ALGERNON United States
ALICE'S MIRROR Italy
ALLOMERUS Australia
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PREFERS TO HIDE IN THE DARK Various
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