Monday, 19 August 2019

Cream - Disraeli Gears (1967)


The second album from this British trio.

Cream was a trio with a lineup of guitars, harmonica, piano, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.

Cream was Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Together, they created a heck of a lot noise. They were also one of the origins of today's rock scene. A highly, highly influential band.

This album is one of the reasons for that.

Cream has moved a bit away from pure blues on this album and gone heavy psychedelic. Something the album art-work more than hints about. There is a lot of hippie about it.

The band has not gone soft, though. The heaviness has been ramped up. Even the hit single here, the evergreen Sunshine Of Your Love is even today a pretty heavy, hard rocking song. It is a very good song too.

The rest of the album is not as commercial. It is much more psychedelic and intricate.

Some of the stuff sounds a bit dated today. It is still a very fine album and one well worth checking out.

It is a very good album, indeed. And I think it will age well in a good record collection.

3.5 points

 

Energy - Energy (1974)


The one and only album from this Swedish band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of piano, Fender Rhodes, organ, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, percussion and some vocals.

The band was one of not so few Swedish fusion bands in the 1970s. The like of Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report made a huge impact in Sweden too.

Energy was one of the bands very inspired by Mahavishnu Orchestra. And it is difficult not to be inspired by this band. At least if you got the abilities as a musician.

Energy did not have Mahavishnu Orchestra's level of musicianship. They are not so intense either and the violin is not here. But the music is still pretty intense.

There is a lot of guitar solos and licks here. There is also a lot of organs here.

.... And halfway through this album, we get a Yes like song too.... Very peculiar. But the song is not bad at all. The vocals are at least good.

The rest of the album is pretty intense fusion. The likes of fans of Mahavishnu Orchestra will like.

The quality is good too. The band does a good job. It is still a pretty enjoyable album and another gem well worth checking out.

3 points


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Emma Myldenberger - Tour De Trance (1978)


The second album from this German band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of mandolin sitar, guitar, contrabass, percussion, drums, winds, flute, banjo, glockenspiel and vocals.

This band is one of those obscure krautrock bands who released three albums at the end of the 1970s and then disappeared. I only got this album so I cannot really say much more about this band.

Krautrock is a strange, esoteric genre. So I was well prepared. But this album is more weird and esoteric than the vast majority of the other krautrock albums.

Take a bit of Amon Duul, add a lot of banjo and mandolin sitar. Add some more folk rock again and some more primitive psych rock. Then you get this album. An album re-released through Garden Of Delight not so many years ago. A well worth re-release.

There is even a lot of medieval folk rock here. Well, that is what the folk rock is. The vocals are both female and male.

The music feels medieval and from some monastery ruins. It has this earthly feeling.

The sound is also downtuned and does not have many electrical instruments. It is a rather acoustic album.

The music is decent enough and a bit lacking in quality. That said, I believe a lot of my friends will like this album. It is indeed a hidden gem....

2 points


Samurai Of Prog. The - Toki No Kaze (2019)


The seventh album from this multi-national project.

The project is a trio with a lineup of bass, violin, guitars, flute, drums, percussion and vocals.
They are supported by twenty guest musicians who provides trumpet, sax, French horn, keyboards, guitars, piano and vocals.

The Samurai Of Prog is a communal project and it has given us seven albums. I have reviewed some of them in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.

The albums is always long.... seventy-five minutes long.

And the music is always melodic symphonic prog. Melodic symphonic prog with some RPI and folk rock influences. Not to mention classic music influences.

This time, we also get a lot Japanese symphonic prog influences too. Even Japanese vocalists takes part here. That is a welcome variation from their other albums.

There is a lot to be happy about this album. I feel like a well stocked smorgasbord has been put in front of me. And I am really having a very nice meal... as I am taking in the various flavours this album offers me.

The only thing missing here is a really killer track. A track which would elevate this album from the very good status it deserve.

This is indeed a very good album and one album symphonic prog fans should get.

3.5 points

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Numen - Cyclothymia (2019)


The third album from this Spanish band.

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

I have been a long term admirer of this band and my reviews of their two albums can be found somewhere else in this blog. 

Neo-prog is their genre. Sort of..... OK, it is neo-prog.

There is a lot more to the band than just neo-prog. Their sound and music reminds me a lot about early Marillion.

This album is indeed very comparable with early Marillion. No, the vocalist does not sound like Fish. The vocalist in Numen has a totally different voice. The vocals are indeed great.
But the music reminds me a lot about early Marillion.

Numen combines neo-prog and symphonic prog on this album. Which is a very good combination. The music is not massive technical. It still have a lot of intricate details, though.

The album is fifty minutes long and not a single tone outstays it's welcome. There is a lot of power and melody on this album. 

The melodies and the music is indeed great and the album has a classy feel.  

Numen is one of those gems in the neo-prog scene who deserves a lot more attention. I rate them as one of the best neo-prog bands in the world at this moment.

4 points

 

Colour Haze - CO₂ (2000)


The third album from this German band.

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

This German band is one of the leading bands in the fuzz/space rock genre and has released albums who proves that.

It is therefore my joy to review these albums and I am doing it this year..... all of them.

This album sees the band finding their formula. A formula they, with some small variations, has been following since this album.

Space rock is the genre here. Space rock with a lot of post-rock influences too. Make that; a mix of these two genres.

The bass-drums-guitars setup works very well here on these forty minutes. The title track clocks in at eleven minutes.

The sound is good and dirty. Ditto for the vocals who sounds a bit forced, but suits the music perfectly.

This is indeed a good modern space rock album from a band now hitting their strides.

3 points


Friday, 16 August 2019

Elspeth Meadow - Elspeth Meadow (2019)


The debut album from this British one-man band.

Elspeth Meadow is mr. Ken Senior on all instruments. That is synths, guitars, bass and perhaps drums too. He also does the vocals.

Being a one man band, I did not have much hope for this album. An album I got from someone.

The album has been described as a back to the mother nature progressive rock. Symphonic prog has been described as a genre this album falls into.

The music is pastoral and with lots of vocals. It is also very much a folk-rock dominated album. I am not sure where the symphonic prog comes in here. It is not much of that here.

The one-man-band format puts in some severe restrictions on the music. It has to be simple by nature. And it is.

The melodies are rather decent to good though. It is not a bad album at all.

This album is worth checking out if melodic and instrument based folk rock is your thing. I am positive surprised.

2.5 points



Chicago - The Chicago Transit Authority (1969)


The debut album from this US band.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, organs, woodwinds, tambourine, drums, percussion, bass, cowbell and vocals.

I never thought I would ever review or even listen to another Chicago album after I bought their Hot Streets album forty years ago. The albums Chicago released after that was considered very uncool pop albums. You can read my review of Hot Streets here, btw.

So I have got this band wrong, all the time. And I am a curious creature. So this is the first review of their earliest albums.

And it is a double album, no less. Seventy-two minutes, no less.

A double album which combines a lot of the genres from that time and age. We find blues here, rock, soul, jazz, fusion, pop and rock. We also get avant-garde jazz.

There is a lot of guitars from the then guitar maestro Terry Kath. A guitar maestro who lost his life far too early. We get lots of brass too. And a lot of organs. And last but not least; a lot of very good vocals.

This album is a smorgasboard of everything that were shaking and rolling in 1969. It was a also genre busting and genre hopping album.

And the music still feels very good and strong. Terry Kath takes the price as the best performer. But everyone here comes out of this smelling of roses and they can truly say they created something special here.

3.5 points


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Spiral Orchestra - Atlas Ark (2019)


The debut album from this band from Switzerland.

The band is a twenty piece big band with a lineup of digdgeridoo, piano, bass, percussion, cello, violin, guitars, woodwinds, flute, programming, male and female choir.

Tomas Chaillan is the man behind this project and the music is about the world. It is instrumental but that is what they says it is.

The music is a mix of symphonic prog and soundtrack music.

It is over seventy minutes long too.

The sound is very big with a major orchestra feel. Only when the guitar solos comes through does this feel like it is not an orchestral piece of music. There is a lot of guitars here and the rock feeling is very much here.

Albums like this can feel and sound very sterile. This album has a bit more soul to it than I expected... and feared.

The problem with this album is the lack of any really great pieces of music. There are some good stuff here and some not so good stuff. Seventy minutes is a bit much of this...

The overall conclusion is that this is a.... under doubt..... good album. It will probably not grace my ears on a frequent basis, though.

3 points


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Isildurs Bane - In Amazonia (2019)


The 12th album from this Swedish band.

The band is a ten piece big band with a lineup of drums, various percussion, viola, violin, bass, keyboards, piano, organ, woodwinds, clavinet, glockenspiel, grand piano, synths, guitars and vocals.
They had support from six other musicians who provided e-drums, percussion, violin, trumpet, percussion and backing vocals.

This is a project with Peter Hammill on vocals cooperates with Isildurs Bane on an album. I guess the music is written by Peter Hammill and the band is filling this music with their very own take on music.

Peter Hammill's music as solo artist and a part of Van Der Graaf Generator is usually pretty much naked. It is his vocals and with a few instruments supporting it.

This is not the case on this album.

Peter Hammill's vocals is very much a big part of this album. But there is a lot of instruments and sound here too. From strings to woodwinds and percussion. There is a lot going on here.

The music is not a million miles away from his work in Van Der Graaf Generator... the golden era. But Isildurs Bane also adds their own style and it is therefore right to say that this is a good mix of their two different styles.

His vocals is also very good on the top of the music. Music and sound which is on itself is captivating at times.

This album is another dimension of Peter Hammill's huge talent and artistic ability. This is another side of Peter Hammill and a good one. It complements all his other albums, solo and band.

It is also a good album in itself. The title track is very good indeed. It is an album well worth checking out.

3 points

Brand X - Do They Hurt? (1980)


The fifth album from this British band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of bass, guitars, drums, keyboards, piano and vocals.
Four other musicians provided drums, bass and percussion. Phil Collins was one of them.

This album is supposed to be left overs from the Product album session. In that case, that must have been a very fruitful recording session.

We are here being treated to forty minutes of fusion here. Lively fusion. There are some vocals here too. All of it very jazzy.

The music is very jazzy and probably more jazz than rock.

There is a highly satisfactory amount of intricate details here from the bassist, guitarists and the drummers. The keyboards is very good too.

The melodies are really good. Of the two albums, Product and this one, from the same recording session, this one is far better than Product. Left overs ? Nope. Not in my view. This is the album well worth having in your record collection.

3 points

 






Monday, 12 August 2019

Octavio Sendero - El Umbral (2015)


The second album from this Argentine band.

The band was now reduced to Nahuel Espino on synths. That's all....

Their debut album was a flowery good prog album. You can find my review somewhere else in this blog.

I was then aware of the change the band, read Nahuel Espino had made for this album. This is also the final Octavio Sendero album as far as I know.

This album is also the soundtrack to an Argentine movie with the same name.

The music is a sound track with sounds and sounds effects. It is a kind of a Goblin sound-track.

I am no big fan of electronic pling-plong albums like this. And I am not overly impressed by this album too.

I find this half an hour pretty dull as this is not free standing music. It is a sound-track meant to support whatever the movie actors are doing there and then in the movie.

There is some quality here so it is not a total disaster, this half an hour. But it is running close to becoming a member of my collection of turkeys...... Close.

1.5 points






Canturbe - El Vuelo de los Olvidados (1980)


The debut album from this band from Argentina.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, percussion, harmonica, bass, drums and Spanish vocals.
The band had help from two guest musicians who provided keyboards and piano.

This band has released five albums between 1980 and 2018. They are still alive.

I got three of their albums they will be reviewed this summer.

The band started out very early and at the end of the golden age of the Argentine symphonic prog. And that is the sound this album has got too.

The music is very much based on South American folk music with some bossa nova and lots of acoustic guitars. There is not a lot of electricity in their music at all. There are some electric guitars and some keyboards.... and that is all.

The vocals are really good and the musicians does a good job.

Is this prog rock at all, some will ask. Yes, it is. The music is progressive, but not so intricate and full of details as it may should have been.

The words here on this forty minutes long album is "gentle" and "soft". It still has some qualities though.

This is indeed a good album and one to explore. I am looking forwards to the two other albums I got of them.

3 points


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Gift. The - Antenna (2019)


The fourth album from this British band.

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

I have reviewed their other albums at # 1 of this blog and have always rated they highly. This is a band I really like.

So I was really looking forward to this one.

I wish I would write that the band continues more or less on the same path as they did on their first three albums....

BUT....

The band has shed their symphonic prog sound and the ten songs on this one hour long album are pretty short. Two songs are touching ten minutes and that is all.

The music is pretty straight forward rock too with some pub-rock and neo-prog influences.

There is not many good details here and I feel that the band has lost touch with the art of writing good prog songs.

The instrumentation and the vocals are pretty standard. Standard and dull. There is no prog here.

The album is not too bad. But it is still two steps in the wrong direction. I am not impressed.

2 points


Saturday, 10 August 2019

Eloiteron - Lost Paradise (1981)


The one and only album from this Swiss band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of French horn, flute, Mellotron, keyboards, electric piano, grand piano, organ, strings, flute, cornet, trumpet, synths, saxophone, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

This band was a short lived band who only released this album and was quickly forgotten........... until ProgArchives and then Youtube dug this album up again from the sea of obscurity.

The band is still obscure and this review is one of the very few reviews of this album, indeed. Which is a bit of shame......

The band plays symphonic prog. Mostly instrumental prog. So far, so good....

References are a bit difficult..... OK, Focus from their Hamburger Concertos album. That is a good reference. Add some Caravan too and some ELP. 

The music here light, pastoral and quite baroque. There is a lot of Johan Sebastian Bach here too as this Swiss band is very influenced by church music. A lot of the music here feels like played in a church or cathedral. It is not bombastic, though. It is just pastoral...

This is indeed a good album too. It has a lot to offer to those who likes their prog with a lot of organs and Mellotron. The vocals too is good and the melodies just as good.

This album deserve a second life.

3 points




Blue Effect - Svět Hledačů (1979)


The seventh album from this band from Czech and Slovakia.

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

The band has been changing style (and name) almost from album to album. Due to some Stalinist purges on everything who smells USA/UK, they also had to change their name to Modry Efekt.

The previous album Svitanie was mostly instrumental and great.

The band changed to a much more vocals dominated band on this album, though. Yes, Genesis, Grobschnitt and the Italian symph prog scene (RPI) springs to mind here as references.

The excellent guitarist Radim Hladik does not get enough space to light up this album as on previous albums. He is here, but just as a part of a band.

The music is still pretty heavy though. It is also very pastoral at times. And the band still knows how to write very good songs and perform them.

This is indeed a very good album and one to really get into for those of us who likes quality progressive rock.

Check out this album and their other albums.

3.5 points



Thursday, 8 August 2019

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Transiberiana (2019)


The 19th album from this Italian band.

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

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso is legends in the prog rock scene. It is one of the best and biggest bands ever to come from Italy.

I thought the band was history long time ago after their AOR albums. But no....... and that was followed by a very big positive surprise when I heard that the band had returned to their roots.

RPI....Rock Progressive Italiano.... This band was one of those who gave us this genre and the best albums from this genre. And the band has with this album returned to this genre.

Bravo !!!!

The vocals are very good and the first songs proves that the band has indeed returned to their roots. That is pastoral RPI.

That means a bit slow and melancholic RPI too. This is a concept album too. And the art-work leaves no doubts that the band is back too.... well, at least for this album.

There is no great songs here on this one hour long album. Nevertheless, this is a very good album and a very big positive surprise. It is also their best album for a very long time. Bravo !!!

3.5 points


Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Novela - Paradise Lost (1981)


The third album from this Japanese band.

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

I was not particular impressed by their first two albums. The sound and music was too much heavy metal for my liking.

So I hoped this album would prove why this band is regarded as legends in the Japanese symphonic prog scene.

I still wonder why they have got this status after many listening sessions spent with this album.

The album starts with some punkish heavy metal pieces with shrieking vocals which does not make any sense.

The album then meander slowly towards some sort of symphonic prog on the three stages suite Requiem. There is a lot of vocals and vocals harmonies here and some bad guitars. This suite is saved by the keyboards. A pretty OK sort of a suite with the best melody of this album.

The album runs out after some more vocals and not so good melodies after forty-seven minutes.

This is a decent enough album. But just that. I am not won over by any means and will give the band a final chance on their follow up album.

2 points





Blood Sweat & Tears - Blood Sweat & Tears 3 (1970)


The third album from this US band.

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

This band was a very big band at the end of the 1960s and the early 1970s. They were selling lots of albums..... but are mainly forgotten now.

Brass rock, as their genre was called, is more or less a forgotten genre these days.

The music is not fusion and not jazz. It is blues, soul and pop with woodwinds/brass. Hence the nine members and hence the almost thirty different instruments used on this album.

I have to admit brass and woodwinds is my least favourite instruments in rock/prog rock. David Clayton-Thomas vocals is very good though.

The music is very brass dominated over some music who goes from soul and pop to blues.

The band has made their very own version of the Rolling Stones classic Sympathy For The Devil. An eight minutes long not so traditional version of this classic song. It is an decent take on this song.

The rest of the album is decent enough too. It is not particular interesting though. If brass is your thing.....

2 points


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Oregon - Moon And Mind (1979)


The eight album from this band from Oregon, USA.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of dulcimer, percussion, tabla, sitar, piano, drums, oboe, congas, Hammond organ, guitars, bass, bass clarinet and flute.

This band is an interesting band who are still around. Their debut album was released back in 1972.

Oregon is an prog avant-garde jazz band. I think that is the best label I can put on them. I have reviewed two albums of them for # 1 of this blog and will now review, including this one, four more albums from them.... and some more when I get hold of their albums.

Oregon albums is albums well worth keeping an eye open for. This although they are very much on the fringes of my taste in music.

This album is one I have been struggling with.

It opens with some really good raga done by sitar and I am totally with this album. Very hypnotic avant-garde/krautrock raga.
The more acoustic pieces of jazz in the middle of this forty minutes long album is not really something I find appealing.. It is still not bad at all.
The band comes together again as a full band with lots of woodwinds at the end with some good jazz and raga again.

The end result is a good album which should appeal to everyone on the fringes of jazz and avant-garde music. It is not an instant hit album. But give it some time and you will get it.

3 points





Elixir - Sabbat (1986)


The debut album from this French band.

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

This band and this album was one of the first bands/albums on Musea ever. But the band only released two albums before they gave up.

The album is strange as it may sound an album full of neo-prog. That is neo-prog, the French way of thinking.

There is a lot of Ange in their music. The music is also very theatrical too. It is also melodic and pretty dark.

Baroque is a word that springs to mind when it comes to this band's take on neo-prog. The forty-five minutes of neo-prog is dominated by some weird, dark vocals and some melancholic, dark neo-prog. Neo-prog with some folk rock influences too.

A run-of-the-mill neo-prog album, it is not. It is pretty unique in style and sound.

It is also a good album where the band delivers some good stuff. I find this album enjoyable as the Ange and French symph prog fan I am. But other fans of melodic neo-prog will find this album very interesting.

Check out this album.

3 points






Monday, 5 August 2019

Moon Letters - Until They Feel the Sun (2019)


The debut album from this US band.

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

The band is from Seattle up in the north-west of USA and the band does not play grunge...... Sorry, just had to mention it.

Instead of grunge, the band plays pretty much heavy neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog influences.

Being American, the album has also got some AOR and US prog influences.

The music is both melodic and interesting at the same time. The band gives us fifty minutes of intricate keyboards, vocals harmonies and guitars based music where flute and trumpet adds a lot of intricate details and textures too.

The music is indeed flowery and full of colours.

There is no real great piece of music here. Nevertheless,  this is an album that will please most of those into melodic intricate progressive rock. It is indeed a good album.

3 points



Nektar - Megalomania (2018)


The 14th album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion and vocals.
The band has been helped by a violinist and backing vocals.

Nektar was dead and gone after Roye Albrighton passed on after the last Nektar album. But his son Che got a new band together and called it New Nektar. Me and other forums only call it Nektar and add it to the Nektar discography.

Right or wrong. But I see this is a new Nektar album and a new era of that band. The fact that the band also consists of old Nektar members also helps my decission.

Whose Nektar is showing up this time ? The old legendary psych band or the new AOR band ?
Unfortunate, the latter one.....

The band gives us three quarters of an hour worth of a mix of AOR and pub rock. The music is pretty similar to what another fallen great is doing these days; namely Wishbone Ash.

The music is pretty heavy and pretty straight forward. The songs are lacking a lot quality. This is an OK album and a decent one. But it is not a good album and I would suggest some more freshness and fresh sounding songs next time......... or a return to the old psych band Nektar.

2 points




Sunday, 4 August 2019

Mad Fellaz - Mad Fellaz III (2019)


The third album from this Italian band.

The band is an eight piece big band with a lineup of sax, synth, Hammond organ, Mellotron, keyboard, piano, guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
Numerous other musicians provided cello, viola, violin, guitars and woodwinds.

I have reviewed their first two albums for # 1 of this blog and you can read the reviews here.

There is an interval of three years between their albums and they have used this time to change directions and lineup. That too also goes for this album.

Gone is the female vocals. Male vocals has replaced them. Most of the style from II from 2016 has also gone.

The replacement is male vocals, a great sound and flowery neo-prog with influences from folk rock and jazz. Indeed; influences from RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano.

There is a lot of instruments here which is really complementing the sound, the music and each other.

There is also a baroque feel over their music and some Arabian influences. Indeed, this is an album from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

It is also full of life and fun.

Unfortunate, it has not real great songs. Nevertheless, this is a a good album and very much an album well worth checking out.

3 points

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Elephants Of Scotland - The Perfect Map (2016)


The third album from this US band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, noises, keyboards and vocals.
Three other musicians provides doumbek, violin and female vocals.

I have been following this band since their debut album a few years back. First of all because of their very funny band-name. I live in Scotland and find their name funny. But the music has taken over and I genuine like them because of their music.

Music which falls inside the neo-prog genre. US neo-prog, that is.

The band has not developed too much since their six years old very good debut album. You can read my reviews of that and their second album at this link.

The album is pretty much in the classic vein of neo-prog. It is sometimes pretty bombastic.... well, pretty bombastic as a whole. It still has some mid-tempo and more vaudeville like stuff too.

The music is still melodic and full of interesting details. It has a nice sound too and the vocals are really cool.

The Elephants Of Scotland has again delivered the goods. It is about time they get the attention they deserve.

This is an album well worth checking out.

3 points


Cosmograf - The Hay Man Dreams (2017)


The sixth album from this British project.

Cosmograf is Robin Armstrong and he does the guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals here.
He has got help from numerous other musicians who has provided drums, violin, guitar solos, spoken words and female vocals.

Cosmograf is one of the most impressive projects/bands coming out of UK in the last years. Robin Armstrong does not have the big PR machinery behind him and the music is not commercial enough to hit the scene as hard as for example Muse. Their albums is still impressive enough and a joy to behold for those of us who know this "secret" that is Cosmograf.

I wish Cosmograf was not a secret. But that is this day and age where every song has to be short and punchy. Not to mention; attached to a scandal or outrage.

Cosmograf falls a bit short in that respect.

I guess this is another Cosmograf concept album. Which is a great thing. The songs on this forty-five minutes long album is medium long with the title track being thirteen minutes long.

Both Pink Floyd and Marillion is a good reference here. The music is melodic and melancholic. It has a lot of passion and longing for what has been lost somewhere sometime.

That melancholy is also due to Robin's great vocals and the music leaning towards folk rock too. Fairport Convention comes to mind.

This is another very good album from Cosmograf and another triumph for the British prog rock cottage industry who keeps on churning out great acts. More people need to hear about Cosmograf.

3.5 points

Noa - If Tomorrow Comes (2018)


The second album from this Japanese band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, percussion, guitars and keyboards.
Guest musicians provided flute and synths.

I am a bit surprised to see the band return, 20 years after their debut album. But it is nice to see bands wanting to have fun and a second bite at the cherry.

Noa plays jazz-rock as they says. I am not sure about the progressive element they claim... but I have noticed they have stolen big parts of the Yes classic Gates Of Delirium without crediting the band.
That is the progressive part of this album ? I guess so.

I would rather label this as a fusion album than jazz-rock which means the same.

The music is not as intense and virtuoso as the big masters of this scene. Noa's take on fusion is very laidback, indeed.

The tempo is mid-tempo with lots of space to breathe... and let every instrument have their say.

The music is still good with some nice details and skills. It is an album to enjoy when relaxing and it still gives the brain something to work on. Check out this band.

3 points




Friday, 2 August 2019

Hawkwind - PXR 5 (1979)


The ninth album from this British band.

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

This album is a mishmash of studio tracks and live tracks. I guess this too is a way of earning money... but it is not really honest work.

The band had discovered new wave and punk. The opening track is close to punk. Death Trap is intelligent punk though with a lot more than just being punk. The next song is also a new wave song before a live version of an golden oldie takes us back to space rock again.

This is the formula on this album. A bit punk, a bit new wave and some space rock. This goes for almost forty minutes before the album ends with the title-track.

The space rock here is OK. It not enough of it and the rest is pretty poor.

The band has taken a big step backwards here. It is not quite a turkey, this album. But it is close, close...

1.5 points




Numen - Samsara (1998)


The debut album from this Spanish band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, Spanish guitars, bass, drums, synths, percussion and vocals.
Numerous other musicians provided violin, flute, saxophone, slide guitar and vocals.

Their very good second album Numenclatura from 2014 put this band on my map of good bands. You can read my review here.

The band has had a stop-start career with this album released sixteen years before their second album and twenty years before their third album. I will soon review their third album too.

Their brand of music is neo-prog. Neo-prog with some local folk music influences.

The vocals are English, but the music sounds Spanish to me. The neo-prog, that is. Which is a good thing.

The band has not really mastered their sound yet and that is pretty evident. The vocals are good, but could had been a lot better.

The music is good though with a lot of guitars and synths. Those are supplemented with the other instruments in a clever way. In particular by the flutes.

The result is an hour long album. A good album indeed and one to check out. This is one of the better bands in the neo-prog scene and deserve a lot of credit and popularity.

3 points






Thursday, 1 August 2019

Octavio Sendero - Como Lograr Despegar En Un Unico Intento (2011)


The debut album from this band from Argentina.

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

I know next to nothing about this band, I am afraid. They have released two albums. Two very different sounding albums, I have heard. I am also reviewing their other one this summer so I will soon find out.

This album gives us fifty minutes of South American prog. Prog with roots in the Argentine prog scene.

The music is a mix of psych and neo-prog. There is also some space rock hanging around here.

The sound and music has a cool vibe throughout with some long, wailing guitar solos on the top of some spaced out synths. The vocals are really good too on the top of that.

There is some space rock fests inbetween the melodic songs too which makes this album a lot more interesting and worthwhile.

There is also some good avant-garde stuff here.

It is indeed a good album and one to check out as it is criminally unrated and ignored. Check out this good album.

3 points

Riis. Bjørn - A Storm Is Coming (2019)


The third album from this Norwegian artist.

Bjørn Riis does the guitars, bass, vocals and most other instruments himself.
He got help from other musicians who provides guitars, keyboards, drums and female vocals.

Bjørn Riis is a member of Airbag, a very good Norwegian bands whose albums are recommended. But he has also managed to establish his own career based on the two first albums. Two very good albums, indeed.

We are somewhere in the neo-prog landscape. Neo-prog with a great deal of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd influences.

There is also a lot of latter days Marillion influences here and his music can be compared withe Gazpacho's music.

Melancholic, ambient neo-prog in other words.

The music is all melodic. There is also a lot of moods and substance here.

The songs are all good. Even the ambient stuff at the end is fairly good. There is no very good or great songs here and this album feels like a step backwards in quality from the last album. It is still a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points



Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Big Big Train - Gathering Speed (2004)


The fourth album from this British band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of blues harp, bass, percussion, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals.
A female vocalist added here vocals on a couple of tracks.

The band was on a march from light poppy art-rock towards proper heavy progressive rock on their first albums. That also includes this album.

The band has here given us an hour worth of music.

That is music somewhere in the landscape of mid-Genesis. Genesis in their Wind & Wuthering era.
The vocals reminds us about Yes. But that is all.

There is some slightly ambient over this album and a lot of pastoral music. I am also reminded about the latter days Marillion.

The music is really relaxing and has some long songs and pieces of music. The guitars are very Steve Hackett from the above mentioned Genesis era.

The music is good throughout although it feels a bit wishy-washy. It still comes up with the goods..... barely. Check out this album.

3 points

 

Perspective Vortex - Out of Order (2019)


The debut album from this Brazilian band.

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

The band is really Paulo Viani from the band Mahtrak with fellow members from that band and a guest from Univers Zero.

The band has used words like RIO, Avant Garde and Canterbury to describe themselves. Which is a fair description of their music. Their music is not the melodic standard fare.

Neither is it particular complex either.

I would add Ambient to their description too.

The music is about minimalism and making potential complex music less complex.

Most of the music is minimalist with either a synth or some piano used as the basic melody developer. Sometimes, we get saxophones and guitars too.

In the middle of all this, we get a normal song with normal song structures and vocals. Why ? It is baffling...... Then again, it dawns on the listener that the song is very much a Caravan like song. The band is true to their Canterbury roots. Then this song makes sense.

The end result is a fairly good album where the ideas is better than the finished result. I will give it a weak three rating as this album will very much appeal to the Canterbury crowd.

3 points

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Elephant Plaza - Momentum (2016)


The debut album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums. percussion, keyboards and vocals.
Numerous other musicians has provided cello, bass and female vocals.

Reading the list of who is who on this album, I get the feeling that this is a Magic Pie side-project. Mostly everyone from that band is involved with this band, although the main man is not involved in Magic Pie.

The music is not a million miles away from Magic Pie either. Muscular progressive rock with some Pink Floyd influences.

The music is pretty mainstream and is sailing pretty close to mainstream rock at times. Harder mainstream rock, that is. There is also a lot of AOR here.

There is also some pop floating around here on this album. But most of all, this band sounds like Magic Pie.

The quality is decent to good. There is no real eye-opener songs here. There is no real bad songs here although the pop elements are a bit jarring, but still pretty good.

I am not entirely won over by this one hour long album.

2.5 points


Monday, 29 July 2019

Electric Outlet - On! (2006)


The one and only album from this German band.

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

This album is very obscure to say at least.
I know next to nothing about this band. A band who met in a studio, did a lot of improvisations and then recorded them.
Then the improvisations became more streamlined songs and the recordings became this album.

It goes without saying that this album is somewhere in the jazz genre. Well, fusion, that is.

Classic fusion it is. Fusion with some blues, soul and hard rock influences.

The music is a pretty lively affair with lots of hard guitars and keyboards. There are also some more pastoral pieces here.

There are some classic organ sounds here too and that adds a lot of quality to this album.

The quality is fairly good throughout without really being impressing. This album is obscure for a good reason. It still deserve some more attention and some more reviews. Check it out.

2.5 points




Tercerdia - Mira Sin Mirar (2019)


The debut album from this band from Chile.

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

... And that is all I know about this band who says they are Christians.

The music is the thing that matters though and the band gives us a mix of symphonic prog, neo-prog and some prog metal on this album.

The music is very intricate throughout with some great vocals and guitars. The band sounds very tight and the Spanish vocals adds some exotic colours to the mix.

This album is over seventy minutes long and also include some soaring, catchy songs. Songs that makes me listen up and smile.

The pastoral parts also makes me listen up and smile. Even the prog metal parts makes sense on this album.

Not all the music here is that good though as the album rises and dips in quality throughout. But fans of this music should check out this album which really deserves an international release outside CD Baby.

This is a good album, bordering to a very good album and well worth checking out.

3 points


Sunday, 28 July 2019

Voyag3r - War Mask (2019)


The second album from this US band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, drums, percussions, synths, piano and saxophone.

This is a new name to me as I have not heard their 2016 debut album Are You Synthetic.

This band has labeled this album as early 1970s synths meets early 1970s Black Sabbath. I do not agree that much with this.

Let us call it a mix of synths and stoner. Instrumental synths and stoner.

The music is pretty heavy and laidback at the same time. Yes, stoner........ The mix of heavy guitars and synths makes this a heavy album indeed.

The inclusion of a synth version of King Crimson's alltime classic Red is a bit strange. The original version is miles better than the version here. The only thing their version highlights is how good and innovative King Crimson was compared to Voyag3r.

I am not won over by this album by any means. It has some good stuff though so it is well worth checking out.... for stoner fans.

2.5 points

   

Cream - Fresh Cream (1966)


The debut album from this British band.

Cream was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, harmonica, piano and vocals.

This band is legends in the history of music, a step or two below the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

Their lineup is the legends Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker.

And their music were years before their time. This album was even recorded and released before The Beatles music changing Sgt Peppers album.

Does it stand the test of time and will it be highly rated on a prog rock blog like this ?

The music is hard blues with a lot of beat and psych. The music is very heavy at times and must have been detonating like a bomb back in those days, four years before heavy rock was officially invented.

There is also some melodic pearls here. The hit song I Am So Glad is still a very good song anno 2019.

The three musicians really get going on most of these tracks and that is the best thing about this album.

OK, there are some not so good things here too. Nevertheless, this is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points


Saturday, 27 July 2019

Noa - Tri Logic (1987)


The debut album from this Japanese band.

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

Japan is the land of rising sun and the land of some very challenging music. Their take on progressive rock and fusion is a bit more challenging for the Western listener than the normal fare of prog and fusion.

Hence, I am normally very excited when Japanese music comes up for review through my internal lottery.

Noa's debut album gives us forty minutes of fusion. Fusion with some progressive rock influences. King Crimson springs to mind here.

There is some King Crimson influences indeed.....

Most of this album is melodic fusion though. The drummer is said to be a big fan of Bill Bruford. Which is well and fine. The music here reminds me about Bruford, his fusion band.

There is nothing I can fault this album for. It is not particular interesting or even good at times. It is a nice fusion album with some King Crimson influences and that is all.

2.5 points


Farmhouse Odyssey - Fertile Ground (2019)


The third album from this US band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, Rhodes, Moog, Mellotron, drums, piano, bass, mandolin, percussion and vocals.

This is really an interesting band. Their first two albums has been very interesting indeed. See my reviews of them somewhere else in this blog.

In my review of their last album, I described their music as "Greenwich Village like bohemian folk and pop-folk mixed with English symphonic prog. The bohemian world meets the apple orchards."

That too goes for most of this album. The Greenwich Village sound is a lot more stronger than the smell of an apple orchard on this album.

"Pastoral symphonic prog" is perhaps the best label on this album. The music is pastoral, but also very complex at the same time. And most certainly symphonic prog. Which proves that there is many different ways of playing symphonic prog.

The music is both pleasant and full of intricate details. The vocals is good and the musicians does a great job.

The songs are good too. Which makes this a good album and well worth looking into for all fans of progressive rock.

3 points

Friday, 26 July 2019

Colour Haze - Periscope (1999)


The second album from this German band.

The band is a trio on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
A guest musician provided extra drums on one track.

I think it is fair to say that the krautrock genre never went away. It has always been here. After the 1970s, it became an underground scene.

Colour Haze has been plying their trade since the 1990s and is still around. Their spaced out krautrock has never been in fashion. But they have survived.

I have heard that the band found themselves on this album. Their debut album was post-punk krautrock album and a pretty bad one too.

Periscope is a true spaced out krautrock album. It still have some song structures. Some really good ones too.

The sound is slightly dirty and the music rumbles on. The bass is in the front of the mix. There is some ebb and flow in their music. A mix of pastoral and all out space rock where the band creates a wall of sound. The vocals is really cool. But there is not much of it. Which is fair enough.

This album clocks in at forty minutes and it is forty minutes well spent. Forty minutes times many times as this album deserves a lot of listening sessions.

This is indeed a good album and I am looking forward to review the rest of their albums too.

3 points


Thursday, 25 July 2019

Electric Desert - Let's Talk About Freedom (2016)


The second album from this band from Israel.

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

I reviewed their 2014 self-titled debut album exactly four years ago for # 1 of this blog and was not too impressed with it. You can read my review here.

The band gives us a mix of folk-rock and happy metal. Gung ho metal, you may want to call it.

The difference between the likes of Tyr, Mago De Oz and Electric Desert is that Electric Desert is much more rock based.

Electric Desert has, as Orphaned Land has done, taken the folk music from Israel and the Middle East. From their ancient folk music traditions.

The music on this album is not that heavy either. It still invites the listener to a party and a dance. This is party and dance music. Not particular music you listen to in a sofa.

This is something the soprano saxophone and the vocals invites you to. A party. And the music is lively.

The music is not particular good, though. It is a decent enough album, though. But it is not an album I can endorse as the music is not good enough.

2 points


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Brand X - Product (1979)


The fourth album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion and keyboards.
There is vocals by Phil Collins on two tracks and numerous others also contribute bass, drums, sound effects and vocals.

The opening song Don't Make Waves with Phil Collins on vocals give warning that the band has moved down a funky, pop direction. It is not a good song. It is followed later on by the sub-standard Soho which is even worse. It is most horrid with lyrics and melody which is so cheap and nasty. Phil Collins on vocals again and I bet he want to forget that song.

So would I.

The rest of the album is much more traditional fusion with a lot of jazz too. There is a lot of keyboards and guitars here with a thundering bass who makes this album a lot better.

This fusion is good indeed.

The album is forty minutes plus and has two bad songs among some good fusion. And my suspicions, life-long suspicions about Phil Collins has been confirmed by this album. I do not doubt he is a nice man. But his music is dubious to say at least. Shady man, this Phil Collins. And the Soho track is a reason why I remove half a point from this album.

2.5 points



Djam Karet - A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof (2019)


The 19th album from this US band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, keyboards, bass, guitars and numerous other strings and percussion instruments.
They had help from four other musicians who provided choir, sitar, bouzouki, charango, guitars and bass.

I have in my review of their last two albums expressed my strong reservations towards the quality of these two albums. They were decent enough. But that was it. You can find reviews of these two albums somewhere else in this blog and one from # 1 of this blog at this link.

This album continues down the same road as the previous albums. Ambient music with some pretty heavy krautrock influences.

There is also some Irish ambient music influences here. The music is acoustic guitars driven with additional instruments added on too.

The acoustic guitars core of the music really drives this album forward into a more pastoral landscape. 

This landscape is really lush and the cover art-work really reflects what is on inside. A lush, ambient album.

And the quality is also really good too. So much that I have found an ambient music album I really like. Well done, Djam Karet.

3 points


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Egonon - Risveglio (2011)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of bouzouki, mellotron, guitars, bass, drums, oud, sitar, sarangi, piano and vocals.
They had help from numerous musicians who provided woodwinds, cello, violin, bansoori, darbuka, piano and vocals.

This is an album I have previously tried to review without finding the right words and opinions. So I discarded a half-written review and decided to wait some years before trying again.

Egonon does modern RPI. That is Rock Progressive Italiano with a new sound, but still within the frameworks of the RPI genre.

There is some grunge here and there is a lot of avant-garde here with a lot of nods towards Ianva.

The vocals and guitars are at times really dissonant and esoteric. There are also some woodwinds here who, when given space, takes this album towards jazz and Italian folk-music.

Nothing is straight forward on this one hour long album.

The music is really eclectic with a mix of thunder and more pastoral pieces.

The music is good though and this album has a lot of qualities. It is also a pretty unique album who stands out in the RPI scene. It is an album well worth checking out.

3 points

 

Lyrian - The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass (2016)


The third album from this British band.

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

I quite liked their first two albums and my reviews has reflected my opinions. See reviews somewhere else in this blog.

The band is basing their music on medieval folk and classical music. They have added folk rock and symphonic prog to the proceedings and has got themselves three albums out of that.

That is a good thing though and Lyrian is/was an exciting part of the British prog rock scene. I hope they are still around.

This album is seventy minutes plus long. It is a concept album and the music and the narration is about a jester. That is all I know.

The music is mid-tempo with some haunting guitars and vocals. The keyboards is always here.
The music is also pedestrian and can feel like a bit of a test as this album is so long.

But there is still enough quality here to make this a good album. All their three album is most certainly well worth checking out.

3 points

Monday, 22 July 2019

Blue Effect - Svitanie (1977)


The sixth album from this Czech-Slovakia band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of string synth, arp, organ, percussion, drums, bass, guitars, pianos, mandolin, bass and vocals. The vocals are in the local language.

I reviewed their 1974 album Modry Efekt and Radim Hladik back in May 2011 for ProgArchives and that album really made me interested in this band. But the years went by and it took me eight years to review the rest of their albums.

The band was forced to change their name from their English name to a name in their local language on the orders from their Stalinist rulers at that time. No Anglo-US band names were allowed. Tape trading on bad cassettes was these countries influences from the west.

But Blue Effect, aka Modry Efekt, continued as a band. They had got rid of their jazz orchestra and re-emerged as a purebred band instead.
 Radim Hladik is a massive impressive guitarist and one of the better ones from behind the iron curtain. He and Marian Varga from Collegium Musicum is the two greats from this part of Europe.

Back to this album........

Gone is the jazz from this album. What emerges here is a mix of symphonic prog, fusion and RPI. Yes, Rock Progressive Italiano. There is a lot of passion in Radim's guitars. There is a lot of passion in the music on this album. A lot of melancholy too.

The music is great from the first tone and Svitanie offers up some really great symph/RPI/fusion here. Even the vocals are really good. Radim's guitars and the great melodies steals all the attention here. Even on the long songs.

This is an album you need to have in your collection.

4 points





Mindspeak - Eclipse Chaser (2019)


The second album from this Austrian band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
The band had help from guest musicians providing flute, alto saxophone, backing vocals and a big choir.

I do not think I have got their 2014 debut album Pictures. I have not reviewed it in # 1 and # 2 of this blog. So this is my first meeting with this band.

The band is a neo-prog band. That is obvious right from the first tone of this one hour long album. The music has a lot of nuances though.....

The band uses female vocals and there are both some faint folk-rock and some very big symphonic prog influences here.

The music is also muscular and the band can be compared to the likes of Panic Room.

This album has an half an hour long suite, a shorter song clocking in at eighteen minutes and the opening song clocking in at ten minutes. This album is therefore quite a mouthful to say at least.

And it is ticking along nicely. There is no great pieces of music here. But there is enough to satisfy, and more than that, fans of muscular neo-prog. I am not entirely won over. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one I recommend.

3 points




Sunday, 21 July 2019

Collage - Safe (1995)


The fourth and final album from this band from Poland.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, percussion, drums, bass and vocals.
Two guest musicians provided extra guitars and vocals.

This was the final album from this legendary Polish band. The band members went onto creating other Polish neo-prog bands after Collage split up.

The band is still true to their neo-prog roots and the genre. There are some developments, though.....

The band has added some more mainstream rock to their neo-prog and some symphonic prog. There is also some folk-rock here.

The album is again over seventy minutes long and that gives good value for money.

The music is melodic, nice and.......... safe. Sorry, but the chosen album title is a bit of a self inflicted pain from the band as it says what is on this album. Safe music.

There are some pieces here which is bordering to exciting though. The symphonic prog stuff.

I do feel that the band has run out of steam and has done their bit. So I can understand why they split up and fragmented into other bands.

This is a good album and well worth checking out from a very good band.

3 points



Saturday, 20 July 2019

Blood, Sweat & Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969)


The second album from this US band.

The band was a nine-piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, guitars, percussion, bass, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, alto sax, organ, harmonica and vocals.

The true birth of this band and mega-selling album. Not at least because of the two hits from this album, "Spinning Wheel" and "You Made So Very Happy".

Al Kooper was out of the band and was replaced by the very good vocalist David Clayton-Thomas. His vocals is a big part of this album.

The music on this album is a mix of brass jazz rock, soul, prog, jazz and blues. The album has some cover versions of Traffic, Billie Holiday and other's songs.

There is a lot of brass here, but not overwhelmingly so. I am no fan of brass. There is also a lot of organ and guitars here. Now we are talking..... And "Spinning Wheel" in an infectious song.

There is a strange eleven minutes long piece here called "Blues Part II" which I have heard is a filler. And it is. The album is long enough to justify a purchase of this LP (the original media).

The rest of the album is good to very good. Even the brass is pretty good here and my stance against brass is being softened up.

This is a good and lively album well worth checking out. Not to mention; purchase. Get it.

3 points