Friday, 6 December 2019

Pattern Seeking Animals - Pattern Seeking Animals (2019)


The debut album from this US band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, mandolin, synths, bass, drums and vocals.

This band is a side-project of three Spock's Beard members and they are joined by the fourth member. The result is this band. A band I hope will stay around for sometime.

The music is off course not a million miles away from Spock's Beard.

The music can be labeled at US neo-prog.

The music here is really catchy and hooks based. It is also very melodic. There is some bites here and there from a chugging electric guitars. But the music is never really hard. 

There is a lot of vocal harmonies throughout this album. More than I am used to from a prog rock band. There is also lots of guitar harmonies.

The music is dynamic and full of life, though.

The music is also good and offers up a lot of delights....to start with. My gripe is the lack of any really great songs. There is none here.

This is a more than acceptable debut album and we can only hope for some helpings from this band.

3 points


Thursday, 5 December 2019

Riveryman - Views, Fears & Stories (2018)


The second album from this Finnish project.

Riveryman is a one-man project from Toni Jokinen who does the guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals.
He is helped out by a drummer and an extra keyboardist.

Toni Jokinen is a product of music academies and other rock bands. He is a professional musicians who is using Riveryman as his solo-project/hobby.

The music has it's basis in neo-prog. From there, it branches into neo-classical music and jazz.

There is also some metal here but not much. The music is pretty epic at times.

It is really limited what you can do with a one-man band. And the limits is pretty obvious here.

The sound is a bit thin and not muscular enough. The keyboards and bass sounds a bit on the primitive side and Toni plays it safe on these two instruments.

The vocals is not good at all. Toni should get a dedicated vocalist on the next album.

The songs are decent enough but does not really rise the album up from that level. This fifty minutes long album is pretty dull at times and is not really that interesting.

This is a decent album but nothing more, I am afraid.

2 points




Last Flight To Pluto - A Drop In The Ocean (2019)


The second album from this UK band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals.
Three guest musicians added their keyboards, moog and piano.

This band released their first album some years ago without any fanfare. I am not really able to find it... but I have not really tried that hard. Then the band need an xtra keyboards and one member of the band ask a friend who then ask Rob Reed in Magenta and White Knight Records to add the keyboards. Rob Reed, a really heavy-weight in the British prog rock scene, likes the band so much he adds the keyboards and sign the band. Hence, the band get a lot more publicity.

...Something they really deserve as their music is pretty commercial.

The band is run by Alice Freya on vocals and guitars. She has some very good vocals and a personality to add to it.

Her vocals fits in very well on an album of a mix of neo-prog, prog metal, rock and pop. Yes, commercial prog indeed.

There is a lot of integrity in their music though. The music is commercial, but also honest and comes from their hearts.

There is a lot of good stuff here. Well, everything is good here. From the small details to the big songs. There is a lot to enjoy here. This album is indeed a good album and I hope the band get a bit more of a push. In that case, we will be talking about the future of British progressive rock.

3 points

 

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Dice - Yes 2 5 Roger Roger (2019)


The 21st album from this German band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of bass, keyboards, drums, guitars and vocals.

The band has had an interesting career with some ups and downs.

Their output has been on an upwards curve since the last album, the album before this album. The album called What If My Black Cat Is An Alien from last year. A really good album.

Yes-2-5-Roger-Roger gives us six songs and one hour of music. Most of the songs are over ten minutes long.

The music is space rock with a lot of psych and krautrock influences. Well, maybe it is krautrock and not space rock. The music is really medium spaced out with a lot of Eloy influences.

Dice has indeed occupied a lot of Eloy's territory on this album. The music has a lot of long guitar solos intertwined with some half-poor vocals and some good keyboards.

The vocals is not good at all. But they do not detract too much from the good music here. And the music is really good.

Dice is on a comeback and I can only applaud this band for their two last albums. Two good albums. Of the two albums, this is the best one by a fraction or two.

Surprise yourself and check out this album.

3.5 points


Hammill. Peter - Fool's Mate (1971)


The debut album from this British artist.

The Van Der Graaf Generator frontman Peter Hammill did the vocals, piano and guitars on the album.
He was helped out by other greats in the scene who provided guitars, bass, mandolin, harp, saxophones, organ, piano, drums, percussion and vocals.

I have always been a Van Der Graaf Generator fan and an admirer of Peter Hammill. I have been aware of his solo albums and have been collecting some of them.
These are now up for review this winter in this blog.

.... Starting with his debut album which I have heard is a bit different from the other albums.

Peter Hammill's vocals is pretty evident from the start to the finish. There is a lot of the same structures in the songs here as we finds on a good VDGG album. The dramatic melancholic vibe.

The music on this album is a lot lighter and a lot more poppy than the VDGG albums from that time. Albums who were pretty dark.

This album is almost light and sunny compared to the VDGG albums. It still has a melancholic edge.

The music is good throughout and that makes it an enjoyable album. I am pretty sure I will become a fan of his solo albums too.

3 points


Ross - Ross (1974)


The debut album from this British band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, drums, percussion, bass, keyboards and vocals.

The band was a short lived band who released two albums and then broke up.

The band had some success in Holland and Germany which they were touring. They made no impact in their homeland whatsoever. An US tour split the band up halfway through the tour and the musicians went on to form and play for other bands.

Ross was a hard rock band. This album is indeed a hard rock album.

There are some nuances here though.... Some of the songs are pretty melodic. Melodic but not soft. There are some catchy riffs and hooks here. Something that makes me wonder if this band and album ever got a fair chance.....

There are even some psych rock here and a couple of songs are even in the southern rock vein.

The piano, guitars and the vocals are really good here. Not all the songs are up to the same level.

This is an album well worth checking out though....

2.5 points


Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Dyble. Judy - Summer Dancing (2017)


The sixth album from this British artist and singer.

The real artist title is Judy Dyble & Andy Lewis. The latter one was the bass player for Paul Weller and in The Jam. He is now a producer.
I am not entirely sure who also takes part on this album. There is flutes, strings, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and drums on this album.

The music is described as acid folk and these two Dyble & Lewis albums is regarded as being a bit different than her five solo albums.

I am not so sure about that.

I see Summer Dancing as a logical move from her 2013 album Flow And Change.

The music is indeed acid folk with Judy Dyble's excellent vocals on the top of the music. Her vocals is sometimes a bit distorted. Acid, may I say.

The music is still folk rock and the roots are still Fairport Convention.

And the music on this forty odd minutes long album is really good. It is well crafted and the melodies are both complex and good. Plenty of interesting details throughout this album can be found too.

This is an album well worth checking out.

3 points




Patch - The Star Suite (1973)


The one and only album from this Australian project/band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars and keyboards.
They had help from some guest musicians who provided organ, electric cello, bass, cello, saxophone, flute, synth, guitars and percussion.

This project is a studio project put together by the composer and producer Peter Dawkins. It is about the four elements of the Zodiac.

Four long compositions equals forty-two minutes.

The music is a mix of symphonic prog, jazz, psych rock, hard rock and fusion.

Some of the music most of all sounds like jam pieces. But these parts are still properly structured.

Only for the grace of Progarchives has this album still got a life instead of being forgotten. And it should not be forgotten. There are some decent to good stuff here.

Nevertheless, some of the stuff here is unremarkable and keeps it difficult to concentrate on listening to this album. It is a bit third rate, the music here.

It is still an album well worth checking out for those who can find an hour and the album on Youtube. It is a decent enough album.

2 points



Froberg & Musical Companion. Hasse - Parallel Life (2019)


The fourth album from this Swedish band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, grand piano, keyboards and vocals.

I am by no means a fan of super-groups and one off projects. So I ignored their first two albums.
Evidently, I have been wrong about this band from the very first beginning. This is a band and this is far from being a run of the mill project too.
That was very much proved by their third album HFMC from 2015 and you can find my review here.

Hasse Froberg and his band mates has something to say about who is the best Swedish symphonic prog band this year..... or during the last years.

This album is a fully blooded Swedish symphonic prog album in the vein of The Flower Kings. A band who has recently also released a new album. Me ? I am not complaining.....

The music on this album is epic, symphonic and wrapped up in a warm sound where the guitars and the vocals really burns brightly. Ditto for the keyboards.

This album is at times a real smorgasboard where my only gripe is the lack of a true great songs.

Nevertheless, this is a very good album and one who keeps the cold weather away.

3.5 points


Sunday, 1 December 2019

Habelard2 - Qwerty (2013)


The debut album from this Italian one-man project.

The project is the ex Ad Majora keyboardist Sergio Caleca on keyboards and vocals.

Sergio has to this date released six albums under this name and I have three of them up for release.... starting with this one.

I am mad about RPI.... Progressive rock from Italy. So when I heard about Habelard2 and the label "RPI", I went for three of their albums.

This "RPI" label is a bit of a hit and miss label. Sometimes, those who include bands under this label gets it horrible wrong.

This album is a good example.

Qwerty is to put it kind a bit of a Goblin light album. This because it has twenty-one pieces lasting from half a minute to closer to six minutes.

The opening ten minutes is pretty horrible where I am really struggling to find any positives. The album gets a bit up to speed from there with a couple of really good pieces around the half an hour mark.

Those pieces is the only ones who saves this keyboards driven dreary album from the turkey status. This is an album best avoided unless short keyboards themes is your thing.

1.5 points


Eloy - The Vision, The Sword... Part II (2019)


The 20th album from this German band.

The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band had help from keyboards, female vocalist and a youth choir.

Eloy is now Frank Borneman, the original member of Eloy.

This album is part II of the Jean D'Arc epos. The first epos released two years ago got a warm welcome. Mostly because Frank Borneman had the guts enough to go for such a project. And the music was also good and warmed the hearts of all Eloy fans. It was true to the Eloy as a band.

Frank Borneman deserve a heck of a lot credit and admiration for these two albums. Brave albums when nobody would have blamed him if he had retired Eloy or released less brave albums.

These two album has gone on to cement and enhance Eloy's good reputation.

I think the label "spaced out German symphonic prog" also fits the label on this album. The album reeks Eloy from their classic era at the same time as this is also a symphonic prog album. Although with some neo-prog elements.

The story should be well known for anyone into European history and Eloy takes us through it with keyboards, guitars, choir and vocals. Mostly Frank's good vocals who still stands up to all tests on this album.

The music is both epic and melodic. There is no great songs here. Nevertheless, fans of Eloy can rightly be proud of this album. Me too is very happy about spending time with this album.

This is a good album indeed.

3 points





Saturday, 30 November 2019

Etron Fou Leloublan - Batelages (1976)


The debut album from this French band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of bass, woodwinds, strings, percussion, guitars, drums and vocals.

This band was one of the founders of the RIO movement. Rock In Opposition in other words. Other bands was Henry Cow, Stormy Six, Samla Mammas Manna and Univers Zero.

We are in other words in for some seriously weird avant-garde here.

Being a French band too also add some weirdness too.

I was for a time really wondering if I would be able to put together a review of this album..... and their other albums as reviews of their albums also follows on this winter.

Avant-garde/RIO has this ability to creep upon me and make sense after some hours. This album is a bit of a slow grower.

Take folk-rock, add some mad woodwinds and vaudeville music. Add some mad theatre with vocals and spoken words in French. Add some cowbells and that kind of madness and you get this album.

This is rock in opposition and not for the masses. It still has a lot of quality though.

And this album is a good album. It is quite an experience too which is hard to forget. Of the RIO albums I have heard, this is one of the most avant-garde.... but it works.

3 points

Barock Project - Seven Seas (2019)


The sixth album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, synths, keyboards and vocals.

I have reviewed their first five albums in this and # 1 of this blog. Most of them in # 1 of this blog.

Barock Project is a neo-prog band and they are unashamed neo-prog too.

Their music is symphonic at most of the times. The vocals are great and their music is both elegant and full of intriguing details.

That also goes for this album. It is kind of their trademark and their reputation. Reputation who has sent them all over the world on festivals and gigs.

The music is also very melodic with some ebb and flow along the way. Between more pastoral and more heavy songs.

The album is over seventy minutes long and the band is again impressing the listener with the quality and the skills. My only gripe is the lack of any true great songs here.

That aside, this is a very good album from a very good band.

3.5 points





Friday, 29 November 2019

Colour Haze - To The Highest Gods We Know (2014)


The tenth album from this German band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

This trio has been delivering some very good albums in the outer space genre for a long time now. Their gigs is also said to very good.

It is fair to state that this band is one of the leading bands in the space rock today.

They celebrate their tenth studio album with..... well, this album.

The first part of the album showcases a dynamic trio who are the masters of their genre. They are not firing at all cylinders though....

.... But the last ten minutes of mindless nodding and tired avant-garde and raga rock still comes as a surprise.

The band is not themselves on this forty-two minutes long album. There are a couple of very good moments here inbetween some rather good and downright decent stuff here.

This is not this band at their best.

Nevertheless, this is still a decent to good album which may please a lot of their listeners.

2.5 points



Thursday, 28 November 2019

Patanga - Patanga (1985)


The one and only album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of pan flute, sitar, tabla, bass, acoustic guitar, banjo, percussion and keyboards.

This band was a very short lived band and it is more than possible that the band was a music academy project as the music has that feel and ambience. The album was released on an obscure record label and the band is not known to have gigged.

The music is instrumental folk rock with some Indian and South-American influences. The Indian influences are very strong.

The use of pan flute is very unusual in these settings as the pan flutes was mostly used in cheap and nasty commercial elevator music back then.... and now.

The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is a mix of intense high speed and some more laidback music. The musicians is pretty much masters on their instruments. Hence my suspicions that this is a music academy project. My guess is that all four musicians got their deserved good grades.

There is some keyboards pieces here in addition to mostly the acoustic pieces.

The end result is a respectable and highly original album who is not making big waves but is still a decent enough album. Check it out if folk music rocks your boat.

2 points





Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Wish - Stay Here My Friends (2019)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.

I have never heard about this band from Rome before. But new blood is always good and the cover art-work made me splash out for this album.

The band is from Italy, but the music is not much in the RPI tradition.

The band mixes a bit post-rock, neo-prog, goth, prog metal and AOR in their music.

Some of the music is rather dark and goth influenced. There are some keyboards reminding me about Keith Emerson in ELP.

The music is pretty melodic with a dark edge.

The vocals is pretty bad and is letting some of the music down. Then again, some of the music is built around these vocals.

The quality of the songwriting is not particular impressive. There are a couple of good songs here inbetween the pretty mediocre stuff.

This is a decent to good album. Fans of Italian prog may want to give this album a chance.

2.5 points


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Chicago - Chicago VIII (1975)


The seventh album from this US band.

The band was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of keyboards, piano, bass, guitars, drums, percussion, woodwinds and vocals.
A classical orchestra also add their bits to this album.

I had hope for this band after their surprisingly good VII album. An album that really came as a surprise after a very weak VI album.

VIII is a surprise again and it is not a positive one.

The band has clearly been listening to Elton John and decided that they too want to go down that route.

There is a mix of rockers and more country, rock and pop songs here. All of this with woodwinds, piano and guitars.

The music is sugar sweet with Peter Cetera's vocals and ballads.

The songs are pretty bad and falls flat on their face..... well, most of them. 

A couple of decent songs saves this album from the turkey yard. It is not album which will ever grace my speakers again.

1.5 points




Monday, 25 November 2019

MaterialEyes - In Focus (2019)


The second album from this English band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, flute, percussion and vocals.

This is the second album in two years from this Manchester in England based band. It is a band who has flown well below the UK progressive rock radar and I have just been made aware of them.

I have not heard their debut album so I cannot comment on their development.

The band gives us almost an hour of melodic neo-prog.

The band quote Pink Floyd, Camel and Focus as the references here. Which is fair enough references.

The music is very melodic though and at the most melodic end of the neo-prog scene. There are some hints of folk rock throughout some of the album.

The band does their best and the vocals are more than acceptable. The lack of quality songs are a bit of a problem here.

I still think this is fairly good album well worth checking out for progheads. There are some really good stuff here.

2.5 points




Sunday, 24 November 2019

Cellar Noise - Nautilus (2019)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, Mellotron, synths, keyboards, bass, percussion, grand piano, organ, electric piano, guitars and vocals.
A female vocalist added her vocals on one of the tracks.

Cellar Noise is one of the better neo-prog bands from Italy right now..... although they have moved on from the neo-prog they did on their debut album. An album reviewed somewhere else in this blog.

The band has indeed moved on a bit although there is still plenty of neo-prog here. They have though moved into a much more lush symphonic prog landscape.

That does not necessary mean RPI although RPI fans will be very friendly with this album too. There is though some RPI here... make that not an inconsiderable amount of RPI.
There is also some prog metal here although there is not much of that.

The music is very melodic and nice on the ear...... and brain. There is plenty of details to keep the brain occupied.

Fransesco Lovari's vocals is very good and gives the band an edge over most other bands.

The music is good to very good throughout. This one hour long album is only missing a killer track to make it a great album. Besides of that, this is a very good album.

3.5 points




Pastorius. Jaco - Jaco Pastorius (1976)


The debut album from this US bassist.

Jaco Pastorius on bass had a myriad of musicians with him on this album providing woodwinds, strings, guitars, all sort of percussion, all sort of keyboards and vocals.

Herbie Hancock, Lenny White, Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker and David Sanborn is some of the most famous musicians helping out Jaco on this album.

Already by then, Jaco was regarded as one of the finest musicians of his generation. He had already worked with Weather Report, Miles Davis, Pat Methany and many others.

In short, he was a big star already.

This album elevated him further up into the stratosphere.

It offers a mix of jazz, some r'n'b, some prog and some fusion. Everything with his playing in the forefront.

It is not for nothing that this album is called the ultimate bass album and the best bass album of all time. The album erupted onto the scene and made many musicians drop their jaw to the floor.

It is off course brilliant even for those of us who are not playing bass. There is a lot of good stuff here.... Well, all of it is good stuff and the album deserve the cult status it has got.

It is also a great testament to a musician who passed away far too soon. A musician who will never be forgotten.

3 points

 

East Of Eden - East Of Eden (1971)


The third album from this British band.

The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, violin, flute, saxophone, drums, percussion and vocals.

When a band makes their new album self-titled, like Metallica once did with their fifth album, I get the feeling that the band is making a statement that the band has found a new direction.

As with Metallica, as with East Of Eden twenty years before Metallica did the same.

This album is a total break with the more experimental stuff in Snafu and Mercator Projected. Which explains why only one member from those two albums is now in  the new East Of Eden.

This album gives us a mix of country & western, folk rock and a bit of blues. It is a very simplified soundscape. The music is also pretty melodic and easy on the ear.

The vocals is very good though. Thank you, David Jack. The other musicians puts in a good shift too.

The music is decent to good. There is no really outstanding tracks on this forty minutes long album and that is a bit of a pity.

The old East Of Eden gave us excitement and lots of details. I miss them. The new East Of Eden is not a bad band either. But this album is just one of many albums in this genre, I am afraid.

Nevertheless, check out this album.

2.5 points



Saturday, 23 November 2019

Infringement - Alienism (2019)


The second album from this Norwegian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

Their 2017 debut album created some waves in the scene. You can find the review here.

The band continues in  the same vein on their new album. A lot of Arena, Pendragon and IQ influences.

Having listened to the last Magic Pie album, these two albums has a lot in common too.

That means muscular, melodic progressive rock. There are some symphonic prog on this album, too.

The vocals are really good and ditto for the keyboards. The other musicians does a good job too. The keyboards, in it's variations, is the ones that pops out here.

The four songs are pretty long and the album clocks out at forty minutes. Almost half of it is spent on the seventeen minutes long Delirium opus. A good opus.

Although there is a lot of very good details here, the band is a bit sorely lacking a killer track or two. That is my only gripe with this album. Nevertheless, this is a good album.

3 points


Thursday, 21 November 2019

Parzival - BaRock (1973)


The second and final album from this German band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of violin, cello, guitars, bass, piano, organ, flute and vocals.

I reviewed their debut albums many years ago and you can find the review here. An album I liked.

It is a shame that the band only released two albums as their type of music were pretty unique and had a lot of potential. Something the debut album proved beyond any doubts.

Their music is a mix of krautrock and English muscular folk rock in the vein of Jethro Tull. Add some more folky folk rock too and you get this album and their music. There is even some medieval classic music in their music. The music is still melodic and catchy.

The vocals are both female and male ones. There is lots of violins and some flutes here in addition to some guitars.

The music is at time very pastoral and beautiful too. There are some really very good instrumentation on this album.

This band is a bit of a lost talent and their two albums is really good.

This album too is a good album and one well worth checking out.

3 points


Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Kaprekar's Constant - Depth Of Field (2019)


The second album from this UK band.

The band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, guitars, flute, whistles, keyboards, percussion, piano, mandolin and vocals.
Ian Anderson does some narration here.

The band continues on from their debut album and in the same vein.

David Jackson from Van Der Graaf Generator is still in the band. I can understand why as this band/project offers him some good opportunities to stretch his wings.

The band gives again over an hour worth of flowery, folk rock and rock opera influenced symphonic prog.

The songs are pretty long and are more compositions than songs. The longest one is over twenty-two minutes long.

All the music is very pastoral and beautiful. It is full of female and male vocals. It sounds a bit too sweet at times as there is not much shade here.

This is a beautiful album, it has to be said. And it has a lot of what makes new progressive rock so great.

A couple more very good songs and melodies would have moved me more. It is still, under some doubts, a very good album and one fans of positive nice progressive rock will love.

3.5 points


Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Emergency - Entrance (1972)


The second album from this multi-national band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of saxophone, flute, keyboards, mellotron, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

Their debut album was a good fusion and blues album. The band therefore continued their musical path with this album.

The vocals is English/US bluesy vocals and gives the band a lot of credibility and authenticity..... as an US band. Which they are not.

The sound is honest enough.

The music is a mix of fusion, blues and soul. More soul and blues than fusion.

The band packs a lot of details and some good music into this forty-five minutes long album. There is a lot of guitars and saxophones here in addition to the vocals.

Unfortunate, this album is a slight drop in quality from their debut album. Not everything or even half of this album is good. The rest is fairly decent.

This is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points

Riveryman - Magic World (2009)


The first album from this one man band from Finland.

The band is Tony Riveryman on bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
He is helped by a drummer.

There are a lot of good musicians around coming out of the music academies and universities. Tony is a product of that culture.

Besides of this band, he is also guitarist in the pretty popular metal band Throes Of Dawn and some more pop bands. Everything to keep the hunger away from his doors.

The basis of Magic World is neo-prog. From this platform, he branches out into neo-classical and some jazz.

The vocals is not particular good and the sound is thin and not muscular enough for the material on this seventy minutes long album.

There is not enough good music here to make seventy minutes into a good album. There is not much good music at all.

This is a debut album where the musicians is trying to find their form. It is a decent enough album too. I will soon be reviewing the second album too and is expecting a progression from this album.

2 points






Monday, 18 November 2019

Orion - Orion 2.0: Virtual Human (2019)


The fifth album from this French band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, keyboards, bass, piano, guitars and vocals.
Two guest musicians does extra guitar and keyboards solos.

The band debuted back in 1979, but did not really got going before 2013 with their second album. Three more albums, including their new one, has followed after that.

I have reviewed their previous four albums in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.

The band has always been a French symphonic prog band and they remain that on this album too.... although with some twists.

There are some other pop, rock and jazz influences on this album. There is also some funk influences. Some of the music is actually very funky. Very Supertramp at times.

The band still delivers some good French symphonic prog although the music is pretty laid-back at times.

This is not their best album. Nevertheless it deliver some good music and very much upholds the band's good name and reputation.

3 points




Sunday, 17 November 2019

Os Mutantes - A Divina Comédia Ou Ando Meio Desligado (1970)


The third album from this band from Brazil.

The band is a trio with a lineup of theremin, autoharp, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion and vocals.
Guest musicians helped out on drums, classical orchestra, percussion and vocals.

The band continued on from their two first albums with this album.

Psych rock is what we get here. Psych rock with strange vocals, humour and local tropical flavours.

There is a lot of vaudeville and party mood on this album with some wild and weird vocals. The female vocals are really good when the album gives us more serious music.

This album is psyched out and not too dissimilar with Gong's wildest moments. But with a local flavour.

The music is decent to good too... although totally unpredictable and wild.

This forty minutes long album is one of a kind, indeed.

Check it out.

2.5 points

Magic Pie - Fragments Of The 5th Element (2019)


The fifth album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion, bass and vocals.

Magic Pie is one of the legends in the Norwegian prog rock scene. All their albums has got a big welcome from the world wide prog rock scene and the band has fans all over the world.

I was fearful of this new album as I thought the band was turning into a progressive metal band based on their previous album and their vocalist. A vocalist who has done a lot of metal in his time.

My fears was unfounded.

Yes, there are some fragments of progressive metal here. Most of the album is muscular and melodic progressive rock. There are some heavy prog, neo-prog and symphonic prog in their music. A very good blend indeed.

And not least a catchy blend where the good melodies and vocals really dominates.

There is also a lot of very good guitars, keyboards and details on this album. An album with four shorter songs before the twenty-two minutes long The Hedonist closes this album.

The Hedonist is a captivating epic. The four shorter songs too are good to very good.

Magic Pie has delivered the goods again and this is indeed a very good album, well worth checking out.

3.5 points



Saturday, 16 November 2019

Regal Worm - Pig Views (2018)


The third album from this UK project.

Regal Worm is Jarrod Gosling on all sorts of keyboards, basses, tangents, mandolin, accordion, drums, glockenspiel, percussion and vocals.
He has got help from some other musicians who provided harp, flute, woodwinds and vocals.

I liked their debut album a lot but bypassed their second album after some doubts about how much genuine new material it contained. My review of the debut album can be found somewhere else in this blog.

The music on this album is a very mixed bag, style wise. From very melodic lush symphonic prog and pop to more jazzy zeuhl. This album has it all.

I guess this album can find a home in the crossover prog genre, if pressed.

These fifty minutes takes us through a some progressive rock sub genres and it does it very well. There are even some female vocals here  too and some rock opera moments.

The music is really fascinating and full of interesting details. The use of Mellotron makes this album a lot more interesting than it could have been.

This is also a very good album which deserve some serious attention and play among prog fans. Get this album.

3.5 points




Friday, 15 November 2019

Goblin - The Devil Is Back (2019)


The 23rd album from these Italian legends.

The band is now a quartet with a lineup of bass, keyboards, drums and guitars.

Claudio Simonetti is at the helm of this band and they are still touring and gigging for full houses. Mostly theatres.

The band is in truth true legends with a history going back fifty years.

And Claudio Simonetti is still composing and coming up with new music. Music in the good old Goblin style and tradition.

The music on this album has a sinister undertone.... and it is not even a soundtrack for an Italian gore and horror movie.

The undertone of gore and horror is still there on this instrumental album. This is not elevator or shopping mall music. Neither is it all out horror music.

The interactions between the instruments are really good and ditto for the sound. An Italian progressive rock sound.

Not all of the music here is great. But on average, this is a good album which very much defends being labelled a Goblin album. Fans of this band should be satisfied.

3 points


Thursday, 14 November 2019

East - A Szerelem Sivataga (1988)


The sixth album from this Hungarian band.

The band was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, synth, trumpet, saxophone, drums, bass, percussion and vocals.

The band served the prog and rock scene behind the Iron Curtain with distinction throughout their career and is still regarded with fondness in Hungary and in the Eastern Europe.

It is no surprise that a band like East followed the trend and the other prog rock bands from both sides of the Iron Curtain, and went AOR and pop-rock.

That is indeed what they did here.

There is a lot of Pink Floyd, the latter days Pink Floyd, in their take on AOR.

The vocals is both female and male Magyar, the language in Hungary and parts of Romania.

The music is decent enough but not particular interesting. The music feels a bit overblown and overcooked.

The main problem is that the songs are not good enough and the music is not particular interesting at all. It is at times pleasant. But most of it is pretty dull.

Sorry.....

2 points

Psychic Equalizer - The Sixth Extinction (2019)


The fourth album from this Spanish band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, woodwinds, percussion, piano, keyboards, handclapping and vocals.
They had help from two other musicians who added their percussion and handclapping.
A local choir added their voices too.

I have not heard their first albums and singles so I am totally new to this band and their music.

The music gave me a big surprise and I was not sure how to review this album at first. But the words slowly appeared....

Ethnic progressive rock is probably the label here.

The music is based on a mix of jazz and local pastoral folk music. Add a lot of Genesis riffs and influences to the music too and some Camel influences. The band has even loaned some Genesis riffs and melody lines here. That just to confuse us all..... and add some excitement to the music.

There is a lot of female vocals and pastoral piano, flute and acoustic guitars here. The music is also hard and crass a couple of times. There is even some flamenco here.

The music is actually good and a good indication that Spanish ethnic progressive rock is alive and well through this and their other albums. It is an album who demand some time though....

3 points









Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Hawkwind - In Your Area (1998)


The 21st album from this British band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, computer, synths, guitars and vocals.

This album is half and half live and studio recording.

The live tracks has a very punky feel with a lot of reggae too. There is not much space rock here.

The studio track has a bit more space rock feel although the punk feeling is still there. But it still has a lot more space rock than punk.

The sound is OK. Nevertheless, this album has the feel of being cobbled together and rushed onto the market. Even the logo is wrong and unworthy a band like this one.

The music here is nowhere near the standards set by the band on their first albums. The album is cheap and nasty.

Half a point added to the studio part. The live songs are a total disaster. And this is the worst album I have ever heard from this album. Avoid.

1.5 points






Sunday, 10 November 2019

Big Big Train - Grimspound (2017)


The tenth album from this British band.

The band was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, synths, banjo, mandolin, lute, violin, viola, cello and vocals.
Judy Dyble added some extra female vocals too.

The band has now found their sound and music.

That is neo-prog with a strong folk rock and symphonic prog influence.

The vocals still reminds us about Peter Gabriel in Genesis. That is, when David Longdon gets the microphone. There is also other vocalists here.

The music is leaning a lot towards folk rock on this album. That in addition to the normal fare of melodic neo-prog. The sound is really warm.

Most of the songs are pretty pastoral.... well, they are pastoral. They are also lush and full of warmth.

Although this is a good album, I get the feeling that the band can do a lot better than this album. I feel they are threading water on this album.

In my view, everyone of this band's albums is well worth a purchase. That also goes for this album although I feel there is an air of stagnation on this album.

3 points

Opra Mediterranea - Isole (2019)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of synths, moog, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, percussion and Italian vocals.

The band is totally unknown to me. It seems like the vocalist has been active in musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar. Their homepage is entirely in Italian and it seems like the band is very happy to keep their music within the Italian borders.

If that is the case, it is deeply unfair towards themselves and their music. This album should be enjoyed in Oslo, New York, Paris, Sydney and London too.

Isole gives us melodic RPI with a modern neo-prog sound and a lot of Italian pop and folk rock influences. That is the core and what this forty minutes long album is.

The vocals are really first class and among the better one. The instruments does their job without trying to be brilliant. A bit better details and a more brave sound with more interesting details would have made the songs even better.

The songs are all good and RPI fans and other fans of melodic prog will find a good album here. I really rate this album and welcomes more albums from this band.

3 points




Saturday, 9 November 2019

Psychedelic Ensemble. The - Mother's Rhymes (2019)


The fifth album from this US band.

The band is a one man band fronted by a man nobody knows who is. He does the vocals, keyboards, organ, piano, bass, guitars and percussion here.
He got help from some other musicians who adds strings and vocals.

I reviewed some of his previous albums at # 1 of this blog years ago and liked them. So a new album from him = purchase & review.

The band plays neo-prog the American vein. Well, the neo-prog is pretty much somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is fine balance between British and US neo-prog here.

There is also a lot of symphonic prog here and that symphonic prog is very much the US version of symphonic prog. Influences from both Kansas and Spock's Beard can be heard here.

The music is at times very epic. It plays along finely too with this blend and the good vocals.

There is a couple of tunes and songs who elevates this fifty minutes long album to a very good album. The sound is really good too and the listener get a lot out of this album. I am again won over by this band.

3.5 points







Friday, 8 November 2019

Dyble. Judy - Flow And Change (2013)


The fifth album from this British artist.

Judy Dyble on vocals had help from numerous other musicians on this album. The lineup was drums, percussion, guitars, keyboards, woodwinds, strings, piano, dulcimer, male vocals and steel guitar.

The ex Fairport Convention vocalist's previous albums has been very lush and pretty bold in the sound. That off course based on her own vocals.

Flow And Change sees a pretty big shift in her sound and music.

Everything has been scaled back.

That is not a bad thing, though. This re-invention.

What we get is Judy Dyble in a much more pastoral setting and sound than before. The music is pretty less-is-more and downtempo. The vocals is still there.

Some of the more progressive attributes had disappeared though...

What is remaining is fifty minutes of solid vocals lead pastoral music. This is also a good album and one to check out.

3 points



Chayan - Forgotten Dreams Of An Unbeliever (2019)


The debut album from this British band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, guitars, bass, percussion, keyboards and vocals.

This is a new band from the north-west coast of England. Lancashire, to be more precises. Four middle-aged men and women decides to go progressive rock.

The vocals are female.

The music is a mix of progressive metal, neo-prog and folk-rock.

The album is seventy minutes long.

The vocals are good and the highlight here. The rest of the band does a good job here.

My main gripe and it is a major one is that the music is soooo safe. It is so mainstream and it does have all the right things.... with the exception of moments of surprise, good details and good songs.

This is by no means a bad album. It is just an album who are suffering from the lack of good songs and excitement.

I am sorry, but that is how I see it. Hence....

2 points



Thursday, 7 November 2019

Colour Haze - All (2008)


The eight album from this German band.

The band has expanded to a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, organ, mellotron, grand piano and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

The band has really impressed me on their albums and I really like their brand of space rock.

Their space rock was in the beginning pretty primitive and leaning towards punk and Hawkwind. Their latest albums has seen them branch out and take on a much more wider horizon.

That is true for this album too.

The album is their most broad church album to date. There is organ and female vocals here. Even mellotron and grand piano.

That does to a certain degree water out their take on space rock. Then again, it just expand on the theme outer space rock.

Outer space rock is what we find on this seventy minutes long album. That to my satisfaction.

There is a lot of interesting details here in addition to the usual outer space rock.

The result is both intriguing, interesting and good. It is also a groovy album which makes my feet wonder in strange directions...... dancing.

Check out this album.

3 points


Chicago - Chicago VII (1974)


The sixth album from this US band.

The band was a seven piece big band here with a lineup of woodwinds, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, mellotron, minimoog, synth, piano, clavinet, fender rhodes, percussion and vocals.
The band also had help from ten guest musicians who provided keyboards, bass, woodwinds and vocals.

Their VI album was a pop album and I had given them up after that. But I still have some Chicago albums to review and I am continuing this task, no matter how bad they would be.

My hope for this album was nill. My surprise was big when when heard this album for the first time.

The album, a double-album, starts out very funky with a lot of jazz. No pop in sight..... for a while. And the opening minutes does not lie either.

There are some pop here. But the pop is better than the pop on their VI album. A couple of ballads like pop songs are actually rather good and gets my approval.

The main music is tropical, funky and jazzy brass rock. The brass is here, yes. And it is the best woodwinds album from Chicago since their debut album. There is also a lot of keyboards and piano here. Just to top it off; Terry Kath's guitars and guitar solos is very good on this album.

This gives us seventy odd minutes worth of music and I have to say I am pretty impressed. Those who want to check out this band can do a lot worse than starting with this album. It is a good album in it's own right too.

3 points

Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno - In Rock (2019)


The third album from this Italian band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, flute, saxophone, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.

If this twenty-eight minutes long record is an album or not, is up for debate. It does not include much new material and the inclusion of Ozzy Osbourne's Mr. Crowley as a filler gives me some doubts.

The band is one of the real cult bands of the RPI scene and I will still review it.

I reviewed their first two albums for ProgArchives ten years ago and I really liked them. They gave us a mix of epic RPI and jazz. This band has a good reputation in my world and this is why I picked up this album almost on the day it was released.

The jazz parts has gone here but there is still some folk rock in their RPI and some epic compositions.

The album starts with three newish and re-arranged songs in the good old RPI tradition and these are really good songs. Dramatic, epic and good.

Mr. Crowley..... why the heck did they do a cover of this evergreen ? It is a fantastic song but I would stick to the original or the one from the Randy Rhoads tribute live album. The version here feels out of place and out of touch.

The two final songs are OK without reaching the level of the first two songs.

This is still a decent to good album and I hope we will soon get a full on album from this band. This is a decent teaser, though.

2.5 points




East Of Eden - Snafu (1970)


The second album from this British band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, percussion, bagpipes, flute, trumpet, stylophone, electric violin, piano, strings, harmonica, guitars and vocals.
The band were helped out by two guest musicians on tape.

Another album from this band, another classic album art-work and another cult album. I am intrigued and has been that for a long time. It has taken me a while to sink my ears and brain into their albums, though.

I very much liked their debut album. An album with music I did not expect. East Of Eden was indeed one of a kind in the 1970s British music scene. My review can be found somewhere else in this blog.

The band continues on from their 1969 debut album Mercator Projected. That means some gypsy and folk rock mixed up with eclectic prog in the vein of King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Add in some electronica/tape loops too and some avant-garde rock.

Not easy listening in other words and proper out-there.

This is weird music... but it works.

There are some really good melodies here and a lot of good details and ideas. And it is an album I want to listen to again in some years time too. It is a good album and one to check out. It's cult status is deserved.

3 points




Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Clouds - Watercolour Days (1971)


The third and final album from this band from Edinburgh, UK.

The band was a trio with a lineup of organ, piano, harspichord, mouth organ, bass, drums and vocals.
Their manager did the full orchestration.

How this band never had a breakthrough is a mystery nobody really can answer. Well, their manager can. They were poorly managed, from what I have heard.

The band has scaled back on their ELP influences from the second album and gone a bit more psych.

There is still enough ELP influences here to make it really interesting in addition to the psych and the beat you find here.

Sophisticated psych and beat is perhaps the right label on this album.

The vocals and the Hammond organs are really cool here. There is no guitars here and they are not missed at all. The Hammond organ does what need to be done here. And that sound is fat as in creamy. A delight for both cats and prog rock fans.

The songs are not as good as on their second album. It is still an album somewhere between decent and good.

This band's three albums is collected in one box and this box should be purchased. It is a smorgasboard box.

2.5 points




Drifting Sun - Planet Junkie (2019)


The sixth album from this Multi-National band.

The band/project is a quartet with a line-up of guitars, drum-programming, bass, drums and vocals.
They had help from ten other musicians who provided saxophones, strings, organ, clarinet and vocals.

I have not exactly been too impressed by their previous output. You can read one review here and the other one somewhere else in this blog.

The band does neo-prog and has always dedicated themselves to this genre. Colin Mold is on board as a guest-vocalist too here and there is even female vocals.

This album is one hour long and it has some rock opera influences on the top of the neo-prog. The music is complex.

I have always got the feeling that their neo-prog is soulless and lacks human life. That is why I have never been a fan.

The music is still too clinical in my view and I am again failing to be impressed.

The songs are somewhere thereabouts. Some of them are rather good while others are decent enough.

This is another decent to good album from this band/project. An album from neo-prog fanatics.

2.5 points


Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Emergency - Emergency (1971)


The debut album from this German based band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of trumpet, saxophone, guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals.

This band, who were multi-national, released four albums before they gave up and were disbanded. I got all of them and reviews of the three other albums will follow in the coming weeks.

The band is a fusion band, to cut a long story short.

But that is not the full story.

This album gives us some forty odd minutes of jazz and blues influenced fusion. There are even some psych on this album. It is almost tempting to label this a krautrock album.

There are some really powerful vocals on this album in addition to some full on saxophones, guitars, trumpets and organs.

The music is not particular varied and flowery. Nevertheless, it is really groovy and powerful. There is some songs here which makes my feet wander away on their own.......... dancing. Yes, really dancing. There are also a couple of more ballads stuff here.

As a debut album, this is really good from a band who I feel has already found their groove. It is indeed a good album and well worth checking out. I am really, really looking into sinking my teeth into their remaining three albums now.

3 points




Forest Field - Seasons (2019)


The fifth album from this Dutch band.

The band is run by Tom Cox who does most of the instruments. That is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. He has got some help on some instruments.

I reviewed their second album for # 1 of this blog and the review can be found here.

Tom Cox has labeled his music as "elaborate rock". Huh ? What the heck does that mean ? So progressive rock is not elaborate ? It is a totally meaningless label and a total waste of time. Not to mention; insulting too.

The music is, as on their second album, a mix of AOR, progressive metal and Neo-Prog. It is melodic, yes. It is not particular technical or symphonic.

A lot of the music here is very heavy and well within the progressive metal genre.

The music is commercial in other words.

The vocals is good. There is not much brilliance from the instruments. But they do the job very well.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. I am not won over. But all five Forest Field albums will find happy listeners among those who likes thix mix of AOR, prog metal and Neo-Prog.

2.5 points


Lloyd - Black Haze (2019)


The debut album from this French band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of electronics, bass, guitars, drums, percussion and vocals.

I have never heard about this band before. Their music is available on Spotify and on CD.

I was told this is a progressive rock album. Well...... that is not quite what showed up here.

Art rock is the most progressive I can call them. There is a huge chunk of commercial rock here with some pretty strong blues influences.

There is also a lot of metal here. Not progressive metal, but heavy metal.

The vocals are OK and the songs are guitars and keyboards based. They are pretty short too.

The music is decent enough with a couple of good songs and some facepalm inducing songs too.

This is a debut album and I get that. But they really have to take a big step forward if they want me to follow them.

This is a decent album and only that.

2 points



Monday, 4 November 2019

Light in the Ocean. The - The Light in the Ocean (2019)


The debut album from this US band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, drums, saxophone, keyboards, bass and vocals.

This band from Minneapolis, Minnesota is new to me and this album dumped into my mailbox not so long ago.

The band is described as a third generation progressive rock band...... and that is something I totally get and agrees with.

This is progressive rock anno the noughties. There is no Genesis or Yes influences here. There are some Radiohead and Porcupine Tree influences here. That and a lot of post rock influences too. Not to mention college rock.

This album even visit the death metal genre for a couple of minutes. That though is the exception of the rule on a mainly pretty understated, pastoral sounding album.

The vocals are really good here and the melodies is good throughout this one hour long album. The harmonies between guitars, keyboards and vocals are at times very good.

This album may be a bit too ambient for most progheads. But this is the final days of the noughties and this is the sound of progressive rock sounds these days. New progressive rock, that is.

This is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

Parthenon - Mare Tenebris (2005)


The one and only album from this band from Venezuela.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, percussion and female vocals.

This band arrived, released this album and then disappeared again without a trace. Which is a bit of a shame. The band was onto something....

The first three letters that hits the listener first and mostly throughout this album is the letters E, L and P. Yes, the band sets out like they are possessed by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

There is a big difference though and that is the smattering of Spanish female vocals throughout this album. There is not much of that, but it is notable. In particular on the three bonus tracks.

The vocals are really good and adds a lot of spice to an album which without them would have been a bit too tedious. Spice is not bad at all. Neither is this vocals.

There are also some Latin-American vibes and rhythms on this album which you will not find on other ELP copying albums.  And this album is not a ELP copying album when it comes to it. It is just elegant at times.

The end result is a good album and one that makes me want more from this band. Check it out and enjoy.

3 points