Friday, 25 September 2020

Gildenlöw. Kristoffer - Homebound (2020)

 

The third album from this Swedish artist.

Kristoffer Gildenlow does the bass and vocals here himself.

He is supported by a long list of guest musicians who provides drums, bass, guitars, piano, brass, cello, synths and backing vocals.

Kristoffer is the ex bassist in Pain Of Salvation and has released three albums on his own.

I am not particular familiar with Pain Of Salvation. But I am certain that their music is pretty different from what Kristoffer is offering up here.

The music on Homebound is very pastoral and singer/songwriter based.

The music is his vocals with one or two instruments. That's really it.

That means the songs really have to be good.

They are not. 

They are instead full of cliches and unoriginal ideas. Kristoffer is walking down the path so many others has been walking before him since the dawn of time.

This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

 

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Repsel - From Dawn To Dusk (2015)

  

The debut album from this Italian band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, violin, guitars, synths, piano and female vocals.

Two guest guitarists provided extra guitar solos.

The band released two EPs and this album before they vanished without a trace. I guess they have split up but I hold out hope that they may return.

The vocals are in English and the music is a mix of neo-prog and progressive metal.

The music is very commercial sounding it is indeed very catchy and commercial.

There is a lot of chugging guitars from the two guitars here and these guitars are supported by some synths and piano. There is some sparse violin too here.

The vocals are in the front of the music. But the two guitars is the main players here.

The music is a mix of hard songs and ballads like songs.

Commercial in other words.

The quality is good though and I tip my hat to the band and this album. They have indeed given the world a good album. 

Unfortunate, not many is listening to this album and I can understand why the band is inactive.

3 points

 

 

 

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Relaxer - Unreal/Cities (2017)

The second album from this USA & Canadian band.

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

I have not had the pleasure to listen to their 2014 debut album Lasers. I therefore do not know this band's progression. 

This forty odd minutes contains a mix of psych rock, space rock, old heavy metal and stoner rock.

There is a lot of the latter days Hawkwind in their music.

The music is mostly psych rock and it rocks pretty good. It has a nice 1970s USA sound. A fat organ instead of the synth would had been a better choice.

The vocals are good.

The songs are decent enough. The songs are not good though and herein lays the problem with this album.

Check it out...

2 points

 


 


Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Wappa Gappa - A Myth (1998)

 
 
The second album from this Japanese band.
 
The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
 
I really liked their 1996 debut album Yamataikoku. It had a good mix of pop, prog rock and jazz.

They returned two years later with this album A Myth.

I believe the vocals are in Japanese. The vocalist is again Ms. Tamami Yamamoto.
 
The jazz bit is not so much present here as it was on the debut album.
 
The music on the one hour long long A Myth is much more neo-prog. Neo-prog with female vocals. 
 
The British female fronted neo-prog bands and wave springs to mind. 
 
The vocals is still very good.
 
The songs here are all good. The album is still a bit of a backwards step from the debut album.
 
Both albums are still worth checking out and this band is a good band.
 
3 points
 
 



Warm Dust - And It Came To Pass (1970)

The debut album from this band from the UK.

The band was a six piece band with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, flute, harmonica, woodwinds, organ, piano, guitars and vocals.  

This band released three albums before they broke up. I have all three albums and will review them this autumn.

Their debut album is a double album and it is clocking in at seventy-seven minutes.

The album is a mishmash of various genres. From soul and blues to folk rock and even rockabilly.

There is some Jethro Tull here and some blues and mostly everything.

The double album is confusing to say at least and not particular good either. It is an overblown double album where everything is thrown into the mix in the hope that it will float above the surface.

It fails to do so.

It is not a hopeless album. It is an annoying album though as it is so overblown and bloated with mostly hot air.

I hope the two other albums is better than this one.

1.5 points

 



Sunday, 20 September 2020

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Gimme Back My Bullets (1976)

 

The fourth album from this US band.

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

The band had help from some guest musicians who contributed with dobro, mandolin, harp and female choirs.

The band had settled into this new genre called southern rock. A genre they and The Allman Brothers had created on their own.

The music is a mix of soul, rock, hard rock and country. It is very much an "Born in the USA" genre and in particular, in the southern states of USA. 

This album, and most other albums in genre, is the sound of these states. 

The band had by now moved away from Led Zeppelin and had gone a bit more pastoral and country than on the previous three albums. 

The songs are OK and mid-tempo. There is no fireworks here at all. 

The vocals is great and the musicians does their best on some songs which is not their best by far. 

This is therefore only a decent album from a band who left us far too soon.

2 points

 

 

Guerin. Shaun - The Epic Quality Of Life (2003)

The second and final album from this US musician.

Shaun Guerin did the drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals all by himself.

He was supported by three guest musicians who provided bass, keyboards, mellotron and guitars.

Shaun Guerin was a very successful studio musician before he decided to release his two albums. He would have released more albums if he had not passed away in 2004. 

An archive collection was released after his passing on the same year.

His 2002 debut album By The Dark Of Light was not a good album and missed the boat by some lakes. 

The Epic Quality Of Life gives us music in the vein of the album title. Epic symphonic prog with a lot of pomp pop sensibilities.

Genesis in the vein of Wind And Wuthering is the best reference here. The vocals is in the Peter Gabriel vein although the music is in the first albums of the Phil Collins era.

There is indeed a lot of Phil Collins in the vocals too.

The music is indeed good on this fifty odd minutes long album and one Genesis fans should check out. There is also a lot of US symphonic prog in the sound and music on this album.

The music is really good and the passing of Shaun Guerin may have robbed us for a lot good albums. I do not know but his two albums is well worth looking into.

3 points



Friday, 18 September 2020

Traffic - When The Eagle Flies (1974)

The eight album from this British band.

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

This is their next to last album. The band members split up the band and went on their ways to have successful careers somewhere else.

Steve Winwood, the vocalist and main man in Traffic, had indeed a very successful career. This is an artist me and many others respect very highly. He is a national treasure, no less. 

When The Eagle Flies is forty minutes long.

The music is a mix of folk rock, symphonic prog, rock and art-rock.

There is also a hint of soul in the music on this album. Steve Winwoods vocals is indeed very soulful and can be used as an instrument in it's own right.

That is something he has done here.

The songs are not particular good. But there is a vibe on this album which makes it sound a lot better than it is.

This is therefore an album somewhere between decent and good.

This is my final review of Traffic albums and I both like and respect this band. It is one of the more interesting crossover folk rock bands from UK. 

Check out this band.

2.5 points






 



Reign Cycle - Solstice (2012)

 

The one and only album from this US trio.

The band is a trio with a lineup of percussion, piano, bass, guitars, harmonica and vocals.

Two guest musicians adds trombone and female vocals.

The band plays a mix of emo-rock, Radiohead and post-rock.

There is a lot of vocals and piano here. The music is pretty slow and sparse on details. The guitars are mostly acoustic.

Emotions is the big thing on this album.

The album is just over half an hour long and it does not have any really good songs. 

This album is a decent enough album, but nothing more than that.

Fans of emo-prog should check out this album.

2 points






Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Regent - Illusions (2016)

 

The one and only album from this UK band.

The band is a duo with a lineup of guitars and backing vocals. 

The duo, Jonathan Youdale and Martin Collins, has hired in guest musicians who do drums, percussion, bass, keyboards, saxophones, male and female vocals.

This album has got next to no exposure in the prog media and that is a bit of a shame. All albums deserve to be heard and reviewed.

Hence, this review.

The band has described this as a neo-prog album. The album has five songs and clocks in at exactly half an hour.

Truth to be told, this album is somewhere in a no-mans land as it is neither fully rock, pop or neo-prog. There is elements of all of this and it also comes with a whiff of Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

There is a mix of female and male vocals here. The saxophones adds a lot of texture to the music and the music is at times pretty heavy.

Unfortunate, this album does not really have any good songs. It is ticking over but there is little here to warrant any attention.

This is a decent enough album and just that. 

Sorry....

2 points

 

 

 

 

 


Pharaoh Overlord - Pharaoh Overlord (2000)

 

The debut album from this band from Finland.

The band is a trio on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, electronics and guitars.

Pharaoh Overlord is a side-project of the more known Finnish band Circle. They have released ten albums and I got three of them up for review.

I am starting with this album.

The music is pretty basic spaced out psych rock.

The band is somewhere in outer space.

There is a lot of bass here with some hard guitar works on the top. There are also some sporadic electronics here.

The guitars gives us feedback, distortions and some clean guitar solos and melody lines too.

The music is not bad at all. These fifty-five minutes can be a bit of a trial for those not into space rock. 

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. It is an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points





Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Yes - Open Your Eyes (1997)

 

The 15th album from this British band.

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

A couple of other musicians provided extra keyboards.

Jon Anderson was still at the helm together with most of today's Yes. 

You never know what you got with Yes after their best days, the 1970s. And this album proves the point.

Seventy-two minutes long where twenty-two minutes is silences, some animals and screams.Why ? Why these twenty-two minutes of nothing ? Beats me....

The music here is very, very poor being Yes. 

Take a lot of pop music and add some AOR into the mix. This is an album that is regarded with horror by all diehard Yes fans and I will add my horror too. 

There is not a single good song here. There is not even a decent song here.

There are some hints of what Yes once was. A great band. But these hints are faint and this album is a turkey.

Horror, o horror.

1 point

 

Monday, 14 September 2020

Hallas - Excerpts from a Future Past (2017)

 

The debut album from this Swedish band.

Hallas is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The band released a self-titled EP in 2015 before they released two albums. The last one some weeks ago.

This band is another Swedish band who lives in the 1970s.

There is a lot of Swedish folk rock here blended with some Black Sabbath and a lot of Uriah Heep. 

Heavy prog meets neo-prog meets folk rock. That is what we get here.

The Swedish prog rock sound is evident here. Think The Flower Kings. Hallas is very different from them, though.

The organ sound is great here and a throwback to the 1970s. That is the whole point with that sound. The vocals too is good.

There is a lot to be happy about on this more than acceptable debut album. There is no killer tracks here and I hope the band has raised the bar on their new album. An album I will review later this month.

3 points

 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Passport - Earthborn (1982)


The 12th album from this German band.

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

Klaus Doldinger continues on with Passport. This is his life and I can only admire him for that.

Passport has released some very good albums through their career and has mostly continued in the formula established on their debut album.

That means semi-intense fusion with a lot of Weather Report influences. 

The band is not so hard on the accelerator on this album. The music is mostly mid-tempo with a couple of ballads inbetween.

The music is mostly jazz on this album with some good saxophones from the master himself; Klaus Doldinger.

The music is fairly good... but with some exceptions. The song here with vocals is not good and reeks of bad 1980s taste. 

Besides of that song, this is a decent to good album.

2.5 points

 

 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Reed. Robert - Sanctuary II (2016)

 

The second album from this British artist.

Robert Reed did most of the instruments himself on this album. That means mandolin, banjo, guitars, bass. bodhran, grand piano, farfisa organ, keyboards, synths, marimba, vibes, glockenspiel, timpani, bells and tubular bells.

He had some support from a choir, drums and recorder.

Robert Reed is a member, founding member of Magenta and is involved with a lot of projects. He has released four solo studio albums.

The first Sanctuary album was a lush album with a mix of prog and classical music. 

Sanctuary II is two pieces of classical music with a total running time of forty minutes.

Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells springs to mind here. Sanctuary II has a lot of Irish and Scottish folk tune like classical music. 

There is a lot of melodic electric guitar pieces here together with a lot of bells, choir and synths.

The music is very melodic and pretty dynamic. 

This album is not as good as the first album in the Sanctuary series. Nevertheless, this is a rather good album who would appeal to all Oldfield and Camel fans.

3 points

 

 

 

 



Reed. Alan - First In A Field Of One (2012)

 

The debut album from this British artist.

Alan Reed did the synths, percussion, bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals himself. 

He did have help from a quintet who provided guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion and female vocals.

Alan Reed was the lead vocalist in Pallas from Scotland before they parted ways and both parties went on to releasing their own albums.

Alan Reed is a proud Scotsman and that influences his music. There is a lot of Scottish folk rock in his music. That is blended with some neo-prog and pop-rock.

Alan has a good voice and Christina Booth from Magenta also delivers some good vocals too. 

The music on this forty odd minutes long album has a singer/songwriter feel as Alan is trying to stand on his own two feet.

There are too much simple rock here and the music does not have any really good songs either. It is still worth checking out this album.

2.5 points




 




Friday, 11 September 2020

Spock's Beard - Octane (2005)


The eight album from this US band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, saw, theremin, guitars, keyboards, loops and vocals.
The band was helped by some guest musicians who provided strings, woodwinds and female vocals.

The band had lost Neal Morse some albums ago, but was still going from strength to strength.

The Snow double album is still their best album and masterpiece, but the band was trying to come up with albums in the same vein and quality.

Octane gives us one hour of a mix of US symphonic prog and some more modern rock. There are also some orchestral parts here.

Spock's Beard does not let down their fans with this album. There are indeed some very good pieces here. The vocals are really good and the other musicians also deliver the goods.

There is a couple of dead wood songs on this album. But on it's best, this album really pulls a punch.

This is indeed a very good album from these masters of US symphonic prog.

3.5 points








Wednesday, 9 September 2020

SBB - Wołanie O Brzęk Szkła (1978)


The eight album from this band from Poland.

The band was a trio with a lineup of bouzouki, harmonica, clavinet, moog, electric piano, guitars, drums, percussion and vocals.

I am here reviewing the original LP and not the two CD versions who comes with half an hour worth of bonus material. I guess the CDs offer better value than this LP.

This album is barely forty minutes long, a full LP in other words, and has two compositions.

Both composition are in the borderland between symphonic prog (ELP) and fusion/jazz.

The first one, the title track, is a full on hard rocking mix of fusion and symphonic prog. The music on this composition is really dynamic and fast paced.

It is also having some effects on my feet as they want to dance to this composition. Not to mention doing some air guitars and air synths. A very good composition indeed.

The second composition Odejscie takes a slightly different route.

It starts of in a somber, pastoral direction before that one too enters into a much more fusion and symphonic prog friendly territory.

The end result is a very good album and one who again demonstrate how good this band was. My respect for this band is again on the rise towards the skies.

3.5 points










Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Guerin. Shaun - By The Dark Of Light (2002)


The debut album from this US musician.

Shaun Guerin plays every instruments here. That means drums, bass, guitars, synths and vocals.

This much sought after studio and live musician released two albums before passing on 2003 after completing his second and final album. An archives album was released the year after.

I am reviewing this and the second album this autumn....

..... Starting with this album.

The music on this almost one hour long album is symphonic prog. That means US symphonic prog.

There are some melodic songs here intertwined with some instrumental pieces where Shaun showed what he could do on his instruments. It also showcased him as a composer.

Genesis is an obvious influence on his material. But there is also some more cinematic pieces here.

The songs are good and so is the more instrumental pieces. Shaun Guerin was indeed a good musician and a good composer.

This good album proves how good he was.

3 points


Negri. Fabiano - The Fool's Path (2020)

The debut album from this artist from Brazil.

I know next to nothing about Fabiano Negri and the lineup. But the lineup is the traditional keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals. 

I guess Fabiano does all the instruments here.

The music on this barely half an hour long album is a mix of progressive metal and neo-prog.

There is also some soul and pop in the music on this short album.

Most of the music is decent to good without really impressing me.

There is nothing wrong with this album at all. The music is melodic. Neither does it really inspire and give the listener a feeling that this is a good album.

Hence the sparse sprinklings of points...

2.5 points





Monday, 7 September 2020

Luup - Canticles of the Holy Scythe (2017)


The third album from this band from Greece.

The band is a project with around twenty participants who has contributed with woodwinds, strings, piano, keyboards, percussion and vocals.

The vocals are both male and female. They are in the more operatic vein.

There are also some black metal vocals here, sneering along with some songs.

I guess this is not an album about flowers and happy things. The music is really dark.

These thirty-six minutes is not really music as in a traditional sense. There are some songs and then a lot of noise and sounds that does not make much sense.

The music is not dark enough to be dark music. The sounds is haphazardly added and the vocals does not make much sense.

This album does not make much sense and it falls flat on it's face as both an avant-garde album and as a music album.

Avoid this album in other words.

1 point


Red - Red (1983)


The one and only album from this British band.

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

This is one of the more obscure bands and albums to come out of the British prog and fusion scene. 


Which is a bit of a shame as this album would appeal to a lot of people in the fusion and progressive rock scene.

The music on this album is a mix of heavy prog and fusion.

There is both Rush and Mahavishnu Orchestra influences on this album. The lack of woodwinds gives the music a lot more rock sound than a jazz sound.

The sound is really good and the guitars really rocks off and also has a lot of jazz licks on this album. The keyboards are not bad either. The rhythm section is also doing a good job.

The music is pretty good at times. There are some interesting parts on this album.

There are also some not so interesting parts too and that makes this album an album somewhere between decent and good.

Check out this album on Youtube or in a second hand LP shop.

2.5 points




Sunday, 6 September 2020

Univers Zero - Heatwave (1986)


The fifth album from this band from Belgium.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of drums, percussion, viola, violin, basses, saxophones, clarinets, piano, synths and guitars.

The band has gone from strength to strength since their debut album.

They are regarded as one of they original RIO - Rock In Opposition bands and their music is really avant-garde music.

I almost said avant-garde rock there. But the band's music is more classical music and cinematic music.

Heatwave sees the band move more towards rock and cinematic music again. A development started on their previous album.

The music on Heatwave is really dark and brooding. It is also doom and gloom.

There is more synths on this album than on their previous four albums and that creates some of the more cinematic sound. The acoustic instruments, like the woodwinds, is still the most dominating instruments in their sound.

The four pieces of music, altogether forty-two minutes of music, is very good and gives a lot of food for thought.

This is another thought provoking album from this band and a very good one.

3.5 points


Friday, 4 September 2020

Real Illusion - Impheria (2016)


The debut album from this Italian band.

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

This is a new addition to the Italian progressive metal scene. Or perhaps an old addition and a band who no longer are among us.

The vocals are in English and the sound is slightly gothic.

The music is really melodic though and there is not that much metal around here. The music is therefore leaning a lot towards neo-prog and symphonic prog.

These forty-seven minutes worth of music is pretty nice.

The vocals are good and the keyboards are really nice too. The sound is very good. 

Unfortunate, there is not many really good songs here. The standard is therefore somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points




Thursday, 3 September 2020

King Crimson - Thrak (1995)


The 11th album from this British band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of drums, electronic percussion, bass, chapman stick, mellotron, guitars and vocals.

This album is the first album with King Crimson as a double-trio. That format has now become the norm in the King Crimson camp.

Thrak is also an extended version of the Vrooom EP and a fully worth album in it's own right.

Thrak gives us an hour full of almost classic King Crimson type of eclectic prog.

It has some quirky melodic songs and a lot of eclectic prog with some avant-garde influences.

There is a lot of material here which reminds me about their great album Red and their best albums from the 1970s.

Robert Fripp and the musicians here is delivering a great album here and is more than proving their worth in the scene.

Thrak is one of the albums who prove why King Crimson is among the alltime greats in the progressive rock scene.

4 points






Mental Season - Mental Season (2020)


The debut album from this German band.

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

This is another new prog rock'ish band from Germany.

Well, their music is progressive rock....

The music is very melodic and not particular hard. It has it's main influences from the likes of Marillion and Pink Floyd.

There is also some art rock in their music.

The vocals are good and the guitars are let loose on some good solos on a frequent basis. There is also plenty of piano here.

The quality of the music is good throughout and the band is a good addition to the scene.

Check out the album if you can find it.

3 points



Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Randone - Ultreia (2014)


The sixth album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of ukulele, jaw harp, guitars, bass, keyboards, electronics, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
Four guest musicians provided harmonica, flute, percussion and vocals.

I have never really warmed to this band although I have reviewed most of their albums. But they have become better and better, album by album.

It is therefore a shame that this seems to be their final album.

Ultreia is an Italian symphonic prog opera. Yes, the music is RPI and Randone is/was one of the leading new bands in the genre.

The music is operatic and very epic throughout these seventy minutes of music.

There is also some pastoral parts, lights and shadows throughout this album.

All vocals are in Italian and this album is on the more operatic end of the RPI spectrum.

There is a lot of very good details and melodies throughout this album. An album who has given me a lot of pleasure. 

Check out this very good album.

3.5 points


Grace - Overdose (2019)


The fifth album from this British band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, flute, saxophone and vocals.

This album was recorded in 2003 with a limited release in 2005. It was finally released last year.

This album is the follow up to the 1996 album Poppy.

Grace was one of the neo-prog bands who never really made it. This due to the too infrequent album releases.

They had a couple of good albums though and should not be ignored.

Overdose contains almost one hour worth of British neo-prog from the 1990s. There is some folk rock influences here and some pop influences.

The inclusion of saxophone and flute is an inspired choice.

The songs are all decent to good. They are catchy though but still a bit light weight and short on good details and subtance.

Nevertheless, this is a good album.

3 points

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Maquina Vapor - A Direção Dos Bons Ventos (2018)


The second album from this band from Brazil.

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

I was not particular impressed by their 2010 self-titled debut album. You can read the review somewhere else in this blog.

The band has taken an eight years long break and has returned with this album.

The band still sings in their mother tongue and that adds a lot of quality to the music. The vocals is also very good too.

The music is a mix of Italian symphonic prog, symphonic prog, eclectic prog and a bit tropico.

The music is melodic in other words. The band still shows some aggression and teeth on some of the uptempo songs.

There is a lot of good vocal harmonies on this album. And the music is progressive throughout with a lot of interesting details.

This is indeed a good album and it should really appeal to everyone who likes RPI, although the band is from Brazil, and melodic progressive rock. I really like this album.

3 points






Saturday, 29 August 2020

Ramses - Light Fantastic (1981)


The third album from this German band.

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

I reviewed three of their in total five albums some years ago for # 1 of this blog and quite liked the albums.

I discovered this left-over album in my Billy CD shelf and decided to review it as soon as I could.

The music on this album is a mix of neo-prog and rock. There is also some metal here. But not much. Add some symphonic prog too and you get the drift.

The vocals are OK and the guitars does a good job.

There are some hints of Lucifer's Friend and Uriah Heep on this album.

The quality is not that good though and this album has a couple of cheap and nasty songs. There is also a couple of good songs here too.

The result is a barely decent album and just that.

Check out this band if German prog is your thing.

2 points


Friday, 28 August 2020

Wappa Gappa - Yamataikoku (1996)


The debut album from this Japanese band.

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

This band released three albums before they were disbanded. I will review these three albums, starting with this album.

The band is listed as jazz/fusion in ProgArchives and I was mentally prepared for some Japanese fusion. A genre I really like.

That though is not what we get on this album.

The basis of this album is neo-prog. Add some jazzy rock and then some symphonic prog. That is the hour of music on this album.

The vocals are really very good and Ms. Tamami Yamamoto is one of the best vocalists I have ever heard from Japan. Perhaps even the best vocalist.

The music is also at times pretty muscular and the musicians delivers one hour of good musicianship.

This is indeed a very good album which ticks most boxes.

Check it out !

3.5 points


Thursday, 27 August 2020

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Nuthin' Fancy (1975)


The third album from this US band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
Four guest musicians provided dobro, harmonica, piano, mandolin and percussion.

I reviewed their first two albums, their first two classic albums, some years ago for # 1 of this blog. I have again decided to review the remaining four albums I got of them.

The band is legends and that even before the horrible airplane crash who wiped out most of the band.

Nuthin' Fancy is one of the albums who adds to their standing and legends status.

Southern rock with some gospel, soul and country'n'western influences is what we get here. There is nothing fancy here.

.... And that is where I am wrong. The music is groovy, melodic, raw and pretty fancy. It is like the voices from the swamps, clubs, towns and farmlands in the deep south.

The songs here are well crafted and well delivered by the band. The classic lineup.

There is a lot to be admired on this album. An album without a killer track. It still has a lot of good music and great vocals from the lost voice of Ronnie Van Zant, who sadly perished in that airplane crash.

This is a really good album and one to check out..... also for progheads.

3 points


Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Gomorrha - I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was (1972)


The second and final album from this German band.

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

Their 1971 debut album Trauma was not a good album but I had heard a lot good things about the follow up album so I decided to lend my ears to it for some days.

We are still very much in the krautrock genre on this album.

It is indeed a krautrock album with a lot of heavy psych and hard rock inbetween some space rock and some more pastoral music.

The band really makes hard rock on this album. It is also very complex music with some flamenco also thrown into the mix.

There is a lot of organs here and that makes this album quite a good album. The vocals are quite good too.

We get forty-five minutes of hard and complex music here and it is an improvement on their debut album. A pretty big one.

Krautrock fans should check out this album. I got my reservations, but still rate this album as a good album.

3 points



Radiomobel - Gudang Garam (1978)


The second and final album from this Swedish band.

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

I have not bothered checking out their 1975 debut album Tramsebox as it is has horrible reputation. So I am jumping straight to their second one.... the best of their two albums.

The music on Gudang Garam is a mix of psych, acid folk, kraut and symphonic prog.

The sound is not the best and the female vocals are flat. If that is done by purpose or because the female vocalist has no voice, is something I do not know.

She sound like a Japanese female vocalist and I guess this is done by purpose.

There is little to be enjoyed on this album.

It is indeed a waste of time and a turkey.

Avoid.

1 point



Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Radavique - B Sides (1984)


The one and only album from this Dutch band.

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

There is not much known about this band. The album title is a joke although a listen to the songs makes me hope the band actually wrote something far better than the music featuring here.

The music is a mix of rock, pop and neo-prog.

Most pop and rock, I would say.

The songs are very short. Around three minutes on average.

The vocals are a mix of male and female vocals and none of them are good.

The music is in short light weight and a bit on the teenybopper side. Bay City Rollers is a reference and that is not a compliment.

This album is a turkey and nothing more than a turkey. Avoid.

1 point


Professor Tip Top - Tomorrow Is Delayed (2020)


The sixth album from this Norwegian band.

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

I have had the pleasure of having reviewed their two previous albums and they have been a bit of a mixed bag.

From psych rock to more commercial psych rock.

Tomorrow Is Delayed sees the band with a female vocalist.

Sonja Otto's vocals are great, btw and a good addition to their sound. Her vocals is also muscular and not soprano. Something that suits this music. Or maybe the band has built the music around her vocals. I do not know.

The music is still pretty commercial. It is also a bit psych rock with some folk rock influences. References are both Pink Floyd and Renaissance. There are also some French folk rock here in the vein of Edith Piaf.

This three quarters of an hour long album still pulls a punch and has some very good flute sounding synths and some good guitars.

The result is a very good album and a solid improvement on the previous two albums.

It is an album which will end up pretty high on the list of the best Norwegian albums of this year.

3.5 points






Monday, 24 August 2020

Traffic - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory (1973)


The seventh album from this British band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, saxophone, flute, organ, piano, guitar and vocals.
Two guest musicians provided keyboards and clarinet.

The band is continued to be lead by Steve Winwood, one of the most gifted British musicians of all time.

His vocals and music is the core of this band and indeed this album.

The music on this album is art-rock.

Intelligent art-rock with a lot of pop influences (Elton John) and some rock influences. Some parts reminds me about Bad Company.

There are some acid folk here too and the saxophone and clarinet adds a lot of colours to the music.

The music is cleverly composed and good throughout. It is not their best album. But Traffic was a good band and I really like them.

Check out this album.

3 points




Saturday, 22 August 2020

Passport - Blue Tattoo (1981)


The 11th album from this German band.

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

Klaus Doldinger had reverted Passport back to the lineup which worked very well on the first four albums.

The first four albums included some pretty intense fusion in the vein of Mahavishnu Orchestra. And they were good albums.

Passport is indeed a pretty underrated fusion band.

The intensity has slackened off a bit on this album. But we still get fusion with mostly jazz on this album.

The great solos is no longer here. This album is mostly laidback.

It still throws a punch though and the music is fairly good.

It is perhaps too laidback. But this is still a good album and one I like.

3 points








Yes - Talk (1994)


The 14th album from this British band.

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

Their fourteenth album follows the pretty horrendous Union album. An album with far too many members and far too many cooks in the kitchen.

Talk sees Yes stripped down to the bones.

No keyboards attacks. Just a Hammond organ.

No massive, elaborate songs. Just stripped down songs.

Most of this album sounds like AOR and pop-rock from the 1990s. That with Jon Anderson on vocals and the Yes identifier.

The result is a pretty OK album which is not as bad as I feared. It is not progressive rock though and it is nowhere near as interesting as their best albums.

The quality is decent and just that. It is an album I want to forget.

2 points


Grace - Grace (1979)


The debut album from this British band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of moog, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
Three guest musicians provided flute, saxophone, moog, drums, percussion and guitars.

This band has been operating well below the radar since they released this debut album. Their last, fifth album, was released last year and will be reviewed later in this blog.

I have reviewed their other three albums for # 1 of this blog and have found these albums reasonable interesting.

We are in the neo-prog land when it comes to this band.

Their debut album is a pre-neo-prog album with a lot of pop and rock inbetween some progressive rock.

The music is catchy but also naive and not so rich in texture. The vocals are OK but not particular endearing. 

This is a decent enough album but nothing more than that.

2 points


Friday, 21 August 2020

Bondage - Anima Terra (2000)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

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

This band and album is an oddity and it is a great shame that this album is their only output.

The fifty-two minutes of music on this album is divided into seven songs. But it should be regarded as one, fifty-two minutes long piece of music. A symphony of some sorts.

The music is still rock. Or to be far more precise; RPI. Rock Progressive Italiano.

The music is very dynamic and pretty eclectic too. It comes across as a mix of Banco, PFM, Camel and King Crimson.

There is a lot of epic melody themes here which makes the music soar towards the skies. The organ sound is very good. The vocals is good.

This symphony is a good symphony and this album is pretty left-field but still very much an RPI album.

It is a great shame the band did not follow up this symphony with more albums....

3 points


Constantine - In Memory of a Summer Day (2020)


The second album from this US one man project.

Constantine Hastalis did all the instruments on his own this time. That means mellotron, organ, piano, guitars, bouzouki, tambourine, bass, drums and vocals.

The 2015 debut album Day Of Light was pretty impressive. Acid folk with a lot of other influences. You can read my review somewhere else in this blog.

Constantine continues down the same path on this album, five years later.

Acid folk with some raga-rock, symphonic prog and some chamber rock influences.

The vocals are very good and there is a lot of interesting details here.

The music is mainly acoustic with some mellotron and organ adding a touch of electricity and texture where it feels natural.

The sound and ambience is very good as the listener is being transported back four hundred years in time. And it feels natural.

Constantine has again given us a quality acid folk album and it is about time people open their eyes to his two albums.

3 points


Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Bodkin - Bodkin (1972)


The one and only album from this Scottish band.

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

I am myself living in Scotland and Scottish bands is of interest to me. But I am not giving them any favours whatsoever.

Bodkin does a mix of hard rock, hard psych, blues and symphonic prog.

The Hammond organ is the key to the whole band and their sound. The guitars are also very much present here. The Hammond organ steals the show, though.

The vocals too is really good.

The organ adds a lot of psych and some symph to the music. Music not for the faint hearted.

Uriah Heep has been noted as a good reference for this band and album. Indeed it is.

This forty minutes long album stands perfectly on it's two (four ?) feet and gives the listener a good blast of good music.

Yes, the sound is very much the 1970s and may feel a bit dated. The music proves that this album is one of the best of the socalled obscure albums.

This is an album you need to check out.

3 points

 


Final Conflict - The Rise of the Artisan (2020)


The eight album from this British band.

The band is a seven piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, backing vocals and vocals.

The drummer on this album is strictly speaking a hired hand. But he is still very much in the sound.

This band debuted back in 1987 and their discography is full of long breaks. This time, it is eight years since their last album Return Of The Artisan. A very good album.

The band has never been one of the leading neo-prog bands. It is still a respected band.

The music on this album is pure neo-prog with a slightly modern sound.

The sound and vocals are really good.

The songs are not particular long. But most of them has some good details and melody lines.

There is no really bad songs here or even some bad pop here. The band stays true to their neo-prog roots and delivers a neo-prog album.

There is no great songs here. The quality is good throughout and fans of neo-prog should get this album.

3 points


Monday, 17 August 2020

Spock's Beard - Feel Euphoria (2003)


The seventh album from this US band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, loops, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
The band had some help from guest musicians who provided cell, violin, synths, fx and woodwinds.

Neal Morse had left the band and the band was a bit in the dark after the release of the fantastic Snow opus from 2002.

The band had left that sound behind them too as they wanted to make a clean break with Neal Morse.

The result is Feel Euphoria.

The album has some sporadic references to the good old Spock's Beard. The urge to make a clean break seems to be the main theme here.

That mean incorporating some grunge, rock and some metal into the sound which sometimes does not sound like Spock's Beard at all.

Their DNA is pretty well hidden but it is there.

The songs are not particular good with the exception of the title track and the final track. The rest is not really up to their normal standard. I hope this album is a blip and not the norm for the rest of their albums. Albums I will review.

2.5 points


Sunday, 16 August 2020

SBB - Follow My Dream (1978)


The seventh album from this Polish band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, bass, guitar, harmonica, clavinet, moog, electric piano, organ, mellotron and vocals.

The band's albums is slightly hit and miss. They were operating under the stalinist censorship and that made it difficult to write good stuff.

The music on this album has influences from the likes of Todd Rundgren (Utopia), Yes, Gong/Steve Hillage and the lines of Mahavishnu Orchestra.

There is a lot of symphonic prog and fusion themes here mixed up together.

The music is very epic throughout and uplifting.

It reaches for the sky and it has a great symphonic feel.

The end result is a good album which cement's their reputation as a very interesting band.

This is indeed a good album and one to check out.

3 points

 


Saturday, 15 August 2020

Gomorrha - Trauma (1971)


The debut album from this German band.

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

This band released two albums and then disappeared again.

The music on this album is not easy to describe.

It is a very long album, a forty-six minutes long album where we only got LPs as the format. A CD re-release has seventy-eight minutes worth of music.

I am reviewing the LP version and that one is a bit bewildering.

Take ELP, add a lot of blues, add a lot of acid rock, add outer space rock and add a lot of hard rock. The result is basically a krautrock album.

A very heavy krautrock album at times.

It is also a bit more pastoral at times.

The quality is not there though and although it is a decent enough album, it does not really interest me. Decent but nothing more than that.

2 points




Friday, 14 August 2020

Luup - Meadow Rituals (2011)


The second album from this band from Hellas.

The band is a project of twenty musicians with a lineup of male vocals, female vocals, traditional instruments from Hellas, strings, drums, percussions, woodwinds and guitars.

The 2008 debut album Distress Signal Code was a very bad album. My expectations for this album was therefore very low.

The album title is pretty descriptive for the music.

The music is cinematic ambient with a ritual feeling taking place in an old, ancient meadow.

There is a lot of acoustic instruments here and hardly any electric instruments. I think a synth can be heard and that is all.

The vocals are very good too and there is enough of them to make this an interesting album indeed.

The music is surprisingly dynamic too.

The problem is the quality and there is not enough good music to make this a good album. It is though a substantial upgrade from the debut album. Enough to check out this album if ambient music is your style.

2.5 points






Margaritas Ante Porcos - Gluposti (2014)


The one and only album from this band from Latvia.

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

I thought this band was from South America, Argentina, based on the both the music and the band name.

Then I discovered they were from Latvia.

Hence, I am very surprised.

After several listening sessions, I have to say they comes across as a mix of Budgie and Gentle Giant.
Add a lot of King Crimson too.

The music is eclectic and also very hard. The band is a power trio, indeed.

The vocals is wild and so is the guitars.

The quality is unfortunate only half-decent and it is not an album finding much joy in my office.

Hence....

1.5 points


Thursday, 13 August 2020

Marakesh - Marakesh (1976)


The one and only album from this Dutch band.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, trumpet, flute, organ, strings, piano, guitars, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.

This band was active in the mid 1970s before they released this album and then disappeared again. The members got normal jobs and this album remains a very obscure album.

The type of album this blog reviews.

The music on this album is a mix of pomp pop, pomp rock and symphonic prog.

Add some heavy prog and some hints of blues too and you get a pretty heady album.

The saxophones and trumpets adds the blues element, indeed.

The vocals and the guitar solos are quite good.

The songs are somewhere between decent and good in quality.

The album is obscure for a reason. Nevertheless, it is still worth a listen or two.

2.5 points