Tuesday, 7 April 2020

German Oak - Nibelungenlied (1976)


The second and final album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of windchimes, bass, drums, tape loops, percussion and guitars.

I reviewed their 1972 self-titled debut album back in February 2012 and really liked that album.

Nibelungenlied is a collection of archive material from 192-76, I discovered too late. I normally never review archives albums. But I will let this one pass.....

The music is pretty primitive and dark krautrock with a pretty dark sound. Bad sound, I would say.

Some of the songs are pretty well structured. Nevertheless, they sounds half-baked and half-finished.

.... Just like abandoned archive material.

There is a couple of decent ideas and songs here. Instrumentals, but nevertheless.

This is an album best ignored unless you are a die-hard krautrock collector. Evidently, I am......

Avoid.

1.5 points

London Underground - Through A Glass Darkly (2003)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mellotron, wurlitzer, hammond organ, clavinet, piano and vocals.
Three guest musicians provided flute, saxophone and vocals.

I very much liked their debut album. A debut album full of psych beat. It is an album with the sound of the late 1960s psych beat scene.

Through A Glass Darkly continues on from the debut album. The opening organs is very good and the vocals then comes through like a better version of Ozzy Osbourne.

The sound is still late 1960s. The music is classy and takes me back fifty years.

The music still sound contemporary though. So much that there is a stoner feel over the album.

The vocals and the tangents are really good. Ditto for the guitars. The added flutes and saxophones adds groove to this groovy music.

The band has written a lot better songs this time around. This album is a pretty substantial improvement on the debut album.

The end result is a very good album. One album fans of old prog would love. Check it out.

3.5 points






Jadis - Fanatic (2003)


The sixth album from this British band.

Jadis was a quartet on this album with a lineup of percussion, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
The band had help from a female vocalist too.

The band's music is clearly neo-prog. Standard British neo-prog.

Their brand of neo-prog is more poppy than most other bands. It is also pretty elegant and is has some art rock influences too.

The vocals are good and so is the keyboards and guitars.

The sound is more than good enough.

The songs are rather short and to the point. There is some interesting details scattered around this album.

The problem with this album is the quality of the songs. They are somewhere between decent and good. It is not one of their best albums.

2.5 points

 




Monday, 6 April 2020

Watershed Drag - Practice & Peril (2014)


The fourth album from this US band.

The band is a one man band from John Huxley. He plays the guitars, bass, synths, programming and some vocals himself.
He has got help from a female vocalist.

This is the last sign of life from this band and I guess John Huxley has given up this band. The albums are name your price albums on Bandcamp and worth a listen or download.

The music here is female vocals fronted neo-prog. Just as on their previous album.

References are mostly Touchstones. The music is pretty hard and at times bordering to progressive metal.

This album is a bit short, clocking in at twenty-four minutes. As a download album, that is OK as there is no reason to cry foul here.

The sound is good and so is the musicianship and the vocals.

The music is somewhere between decent and good. There are some good ideas here and it is a bit of a shame that the band has given up the ghost.

2.5 points



 


Bernard & Pörsti - Gulliver (2020)


The debut album from this international duo.

This duo is Marco Bernard on bass and Kimmo Porsti on drums and percussion.
They had help from twenty guest musicians who provided guitars, keyboards, violin, woodwinds and vocals.

Bernard & Pörsti is a part of the Samurai Of Prog family. The musicians is the usual musicians involved in that project. This time, Steve Unruh was not available to 2/3 of Samurai Of Prog; Bernard & Pörsti, went alone.

This concept album is based on Jonathan Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels. It is still a very popular novel and a classic one.

The music very much follows in the same vein as the other Samurai Of Prog albums. Fans of this band, flash your credit card now.

That is flowery symphonic prog with some classical music influences. The vocals are in various languages and from various vocalists.

This album is one hour long and the Gulliver story weaves it's way through some pretty varied music and in a concept album manner.

It is also a very good album indeed which very much would make any symphonic prog fan happy.
If this is the future of the Samurai Of Prog franchise, I am happy.

3.5 points



Sunday, 5 April 2020

Lucifer's Friend - Where The Groupies Killed The Blues (1972)


The second album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, string & brass-arrangements, guitars, moog, organ, piano, mellotron, bass-fiddle and vocals.

When I approached the albums from this band, I thought I was in for a pretty straight forward hard-rock experience.

Well, the debut album proved me wrong.

The music is hard, yes. But there is a lot more to their music than just hard rock. Something I discovered on their self-titled debut album from 1970. An impressive album, indeed.

The band follows up that album with this album. And we get more of the same.

The basis is hard rock with a lot of references to Uriah Heep. And the music is hard, indeed.

There is also a lot of psych rock in their music.... and blues. There is even quite a considerable amount of soul on this album. The music is also pretty complex with a lot of progginess throughout this album.

The songs are pretty cleverly crafted and the vocals are great. John Lawton, take a bow.

This is indeed another good album from this band. This band has so far surprised me and I am looking forward to reviewing the rest of their album.

3 points


Gepetto - From Heaven To The Stars ... (2016)


The debut album from this one-man band from France.

The band is George Pinilla on moog, mellotron, guitars and vocals.
He has got help from some friends who has contributed drums, bass, percussion, piano, keyboards, background vocals and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

George Pinilla was running a record shop before and after the release of this album. I guess he became creative and wrote some songs who were recorded and released through Musea.

This album gives us one hour of neo-prog.

There is a considerable amount of French symphonic prog influences on this album. Not so much in the sound but in the music.

The sound is the British neo-prog sound. A sound which is pretty thin and not so muscular. It is too thin and has the feeling of never seen a proper recording studio.
There is a lot of French prog here though.

There are both male and female vocals here. The songs are on average ten minutes long and there is a lot of variations in them. The guitars and keyboards makes the songs happens in the addition to the vocals.

The quality is somewhere decent. I am struggling to find a good song here. There is none. It is still an album maybe well worth checking out if French prog is your genre.

2 points





Saturday, 4 April 2020

Gentleland - Once Upon A Time (2017)


The one and only album from this Mexican band.

Gentleland was a couple of brothers, the Storms brothers. The lineup is what I understand guitars, bass, drums, synths, programming and vocals.

It is quite a pain for a reviewer that there is not much info about this band. This album more than deserve a review.

The music is a mix of pop rock and progressive rock.

There is quite a lot of Queen walking around on this album. The songs are still pretty simple and poppy. There are also some ELP and ambience popping up on this album.

The vocals are OK and there are some good guitars here on  this fifty minutes long album.

The sound is kind of bedroom sound with some proper recordings done through laptops. The sound is not too bad. Nevertheless, this album has this bedroom feel.

Their ideas is cool and there is no musical reasons for the band to give up the ghost.

But maybe it was not to be, Gentleland. This is a decent album which I am afraid is pretty much a lost cause.

2 points




Passport - Doldinger (1971)


The debut album from this German band.

Passport was a quintet with a lineup of saxophones, flute, organ, keyboards, drums and bass.

This band is the band of Klaus Doldinger and it has had a long career. I reviewed their seventh studio album Iguacu back in April 2012 and then purchased their two boxes. For various reasons, I have not come around to review the rest of their albums.... before now.

Klaus Doldinger decided to record this album after some time as a sax player. It was first meant as a solo album under the name Doldinger. The album was given the title Passport.
For some reasons, that changed and the band was given the name Passport and the album suddenly became Doldinger. A smart move in my view as Passport is a much better band name.

The music on this album is honest fusion. Jazz rock is what many would have called this album.

On the surface and after the first listening sessions, it seems like there is more jazz here than rock.

That is slightly wrong. There is a lot of funk and a lot of rock here too. It is subtle, but it gives the album a lot of character and identity.

There is off course a lot of saxophones here and the saxophones are very good. Klaus Doldinger also gives the organ and the flute a lot of space and that really adds a lot of quality to this album.

The music is not very intense. Nevertheless, the mid-tempo fusion is very effective and gives us forty minutes plus of really good music.

I agree with those who says that Passport never got the attention they deserved. This is indeed a good band and this is their debut album. Check it out ! 

3 points




Friday, 3 April 2020

Whalefeathers - Declare (1970)


The debut album from this US band.

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

The band released two albums before the were disbanded in 1973. Twenty years ago, both albums was re-released on CD as a 2 for 1 CD.

The band name is..... ehh.... inventive. It is easy to notice, though. But perhaps for the wrong reasons. I am sitting on the fence here.

The music is not so strange or inventive.

Take Deep Purple, Mark 1 and add some symphonic prog and psych rock to the mix. That should give a pretty strong hint where we find this band.

The music is pretty heavy for those days. But not as heavy as heavy metal. 

The Hammond organ is pretty great here and so is the vocals and the guitars. These keeps us entertained throughout these thirty-five minutes.

The songs are not bad at all. They are decent enough and there is some good stuff here too. The band knew what they were doing and this album deserves a listen or ten. It is recommended for those in seek of obscure bands and albums.

2.5 points


Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door (1979)


The eight and final album from the greatest rock band the world has ever seen.

The band was a quartet of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham and Robert Plant. The lineup was guitars, bass, drums, piano, synths, mandolin and vocals.

Led Zeppelin was a band who had a ten years long lifespan. Their first six albums was between superb and brilliant. Indeed, some of the best record albums this planet has ever seen and heard.
Their live albums are all great and proves that this is perhaps the best live band the world has ever seen too. The band still get new fans and that is highly deserved.

Their previous album Presence was a good album and we are now at this, their final album.

Hard rock has been dropped. Instead, we get some.... yes, what do we get ?

The music here is hard to describe. It goes from sloppy psych pop to progressive rock and some bluesy rock songs.

The band is there and does their normal job.... ie being the best band on the planet. But the songs are well, well below par and it hard to find something good about this album.

I get the feeling that Led Zeppelin ran out of steam. The signs was on Presence and there was no steam left on In Through The Out Door.

This is a Led Zeppelin album I will not play a lot. It is better to stick to their first five albums.

2 points


Thursday, 2 April 2020

Gens De La Lune - Épitaphe (2014)


The third album from this French band.

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

Once upon a time in France, there was two brothers called Christian Decamps and Francis Decamps. These two brothers started the brilliant French symphonic prog band Ange before Francis Decamps went his own way as a solo artist... and later, as the founder of Gens De La Lune.

Gens De La Lune has released three albums. I really liked their first two albums and was really looking forward to reviewing this album.

This is a double CD album, no less. It is concept album too. It is about the Leon Deubel, a French poet who lived among us between 1879 and 1913. And that is all I know as the lyrics and vocals are in French.

This album and Gens De La Lune gives us a slightly more classical theatrical music orientated form of symphonic prog than Ange did. Not as in ELP form of cascading keyboards, but much more in pastoral classical music. Theatrical classical music in other words.

The music is indeed pastoral on this album. There are also some more epic stuff and some avant-garde intermezzos. Not to mention, the spoken words pieces.

I do not speak a word of French. Nevertheless, I find this a fascinating piece of music. Every song flows effortless into the next song. This is indeed a proper concept album and a great one too.

Check out this great album and everything you can find of this band. It is a truly great French band.

4 points


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Rope and Ladder - Rope and Ladder (2020)


The debut album from this US band.

The band is a duo with a lineup of programming, bass, guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals.
There is some female vocals here and I guess these two male members has hired in some guest musicians to get this big sound.

Another new debut album from USA. As I have noted in another review, there is a lot of new bands and projects popping up now from USA. Mostly on CD Baby or Bandcamp.

Music wise, we are not exactly talking Simon & Garfunkel here. The sound is big, bold and epic.

The rock opera, this one hour long rock opera, and I have no idea about it's lyrics and contents, opens quite pedestrian and pastoral before it really become very epic and bold.

This part, the rest of the album can be found somewhere between hard rock, progressive metal and djent.

Besides of the screaming, the male and female vocals are good. The musicians does an OK job.

The problem with this rock opera is the missing contrasts between shades and lights. If the cover art-work did not say A Rock Opera, I would never have guessed that it is a rock opera. It could had been a collection of songs with no connections between them.

The quality is not good either. The songs are pretty generic and this album does not really appeal to me at all.

Progressive metal fans should check out this album.

2 points

Molly Hatchet - Molly Hatchet (1978)


The debut album from this US band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
They had help of three guest musicians who did keyboards, percussion and bass.

This is the debut album from this once so popular band. Very popular in USA, that is.

Their music lives and breathes U S A .

This thirty-six minutes long album contains a mix of country'n'western and southern rock. In these days and time, some call this Americana. Maybe it is.

There is some Led Zeppelin and blues influences here too. The music also boogies pretty hard.

The music is not as hard as I expected. This album was sold to me, 30 years ago, as a heavy metal album. So I bought it and became very disappointed.

It has some catchy tunes though and I am not surprised to learn that it got platinum status in USA.

It is a decent enough album and a snapshot of that USA culture back in 1978. It is not a bad album at all, even these days.

2 points


Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Genco Puro & Co. - Area Di Servizo (1972)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

To my knowledge, this was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Italian vocals.

This is Riccardo Pirolli's solo album and project. He was the guitarist in Franco Battiato's band. Hence, Franco Battiato is also a member of Genco Puro & Co together with Bruno Canzian from I Pooh.

That is all I know about this album and "band".

The music is a mix of Italian pop rock and RPI.... Rock Progressive Italiano.

Most of the music here is pop rock with Italian flavors. A massive amount of Italian flavors which also comes from Italian folk rock.

The vocals are really good here and the two other musicians does their best on an album which was almost outdated when they released it in 1972. Most of it sounds like Italian beat and pop from the 1960s.

This album sounds totally out of it anno these days. The sound is good though. Nevertheless, this is an album well deserving a bypass and blissful ignorance.

1.5 points






Monday, 30 March 2020

Watershed Drag - Radiations (2013)


The third album from this US band.

I do not know anything about this band except from their albums. But their lineup is guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals. Both female and male vocals.

Their albums can be downloaded from here.

I really liked their 2012 The Smoking Mirror debut album and you can find my review from November the same year here.

I have for the last years been planning to follow up that review with the three other albums. I am dropping their Christmas album and will stick to this one and their most recent album.

The band debuted with the above mentioned album which was a mix of Mostly Autumn and Touchstones.

There is not much Mostly Autumn left in their music. Touchstones is still there and the music has become a lot harder. There is a lot of progressive metal here and some djent.

The vocals are really good. That is the only good thing about this very short album.

The quality is decent enough, but just that. If that sounds great to you, the album is available from the link about.

2 points




Jade Warrior - Waves (1975)


The fifth album from this British band.

Jade Warrior is a duo on this album with a lineup of acoustic guitars and keyboards.
The duo had some help from guest musicians who provided electric guitars, drums, moog, saxophone, flute, piano and vocals.

The first three Jade Warrior albums did not instill any confidence in this band. The classic Floating World album from 1974 changed all that. Ambient prog at it's best.

Jade Warrior follows up that album with Waves.

Waves is an album in the same vein as Floating World. Hazy landscapes with lots of ambience.

I thought this was going to an all out ambient album. I was wrong.

There are two compositions here. Each of them around the twenty minutes mark.

Waves I is a pretty gentle ambient piece of music with some Japanese classical music. It is a very good composition which has a lot of interesting details.

Waves II is full of details and very much submerged in Japanese sounds and classical music. Nice flute and lots of interesting details here. There is even some voices here.

Waves is indeed a very good album and well worth checking out.

3.5 points




Os Mutantes - Fool Metal Jack (2013)


The tenth album from this band from Brazil.

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

The band was by now veterans and hardly any of the original members was left in this band. They still soldiered on under this name....

The band changed from lyrics and vocals in their mother-tongue and went English. The female vocals are back.

The band also moved much more back towards psych rock on this album. There is not so much tropicana, though...

This fifty minutes long album offers up a huge variety of music. From reggae, hare krishna and to pop and folk music. That with a lot of psych and acid rock colors in the music.

The male and female vocals are OK and the rest of the band does their best on some not so good material. Songs which is pretty simplified and does not offer the brain much stimulants. 

This album is a shadow of what Os Mutantes was on their best. It is still a decent album though.

2 points


Sunday, 29 March 2020

Gecko's Tear - Primati (2016)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of organ, synth, bass, drums, guitars and Italian vocals.
The band has got help from some guest musicians who provided saxophone, trumpet, bass and female backing vocals.

I have not had the chance to hear their 2006 debut album Contradiction so I don't know anything about that album. Their current status seems to be disbanded or no activities whatsoever.

The music on  this album is what matters, indeed.

The music is pretty eclectic with some pretty strong indie rock references. The music also has a lot of jazz too. A lot of the guitars are half-acoustic with lots of jazz riffs.

Other references is the likes of King Crimson and Area.

The music is both heavy and loud, most of the time. Youthful music, it is. The vocals are both melodic and screamo. They are good though.

The music may be too eclectic for those into more melodic prog. There are song structures here, but they are pretty much eclectic.

The overall quality is somewhere between decent and good. I have not been won over by this album.

2.5 points




Hammill. Peter - And Close As This (1986)


The 15th album from this British artist.

Peter Hammill is doing the keyboards and vocals himself on this album.

This is a true solo album. It has no inputs from the other members of Van Der Graaf Generator.

Peter Hammill has a very powerful voice and his lyrics are good too. That is what we have to rely on here as the piano and keyboards is just there to support his voice.

This is a very barebone solo-album, indeed.

The music is also very gloomy and angry. I do not think Peter Hammill do happy music.

So gloom it is.

I am not won over by this album at all. It is too bareboned for my liking and there is no good songs here.

Hence.....

2 points




Galia Social - Rise (2020)


The debut album from this US band.

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

Another debut album.... I have previously noted that it seems like this new decade means a reset of the scene with lots of new bands coming into the scene.

This band is a duo and a studio project only, I presume.

The music on this album is a mix of good old Tears For Fears, funk and indie.

There is not so much progressive rock here. Well, none.

The music is still lush and colourful. It is also pretty epic and melodic with multiple layers of vocals and instruments. Mostly guitars and keyboards, that is.

This is indeed a nice album, but nothing more.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. Check it out.

2.5 points


 

Saturday, 28 March 2020

My Arrival - Satur9 & Indigo (2020)


The debut album from this Dutch band.

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

The beginning of the 2020s and a new decade sees a lot of debut albums. It seems like there is a new start, a new wave of progressive rock bands hitting our scene now. And that is great !

My Arrival has taken the Steve Hogarth era Marillion route. The music is indeed neo-prog in that vein.

The music is essentially art-rock, though.

The music is mid-tempo and a bit laidback. The guitars and the keyboards sound is nice and really adds to this album. Ditto for the vocals.

It is too early to say if this is going to be a great band for the scene as the music on this album is a bit on the safe side. Nobody will dislike or get offended by the music and many will like it.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good.

This is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points


Water - Damburst (1976)


The second album from this Dutch band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of harmonica, flute, keyboards, drums, bass, guitars, organ, vibraphone, slide guitars, electric piano and vocals.

I was not at all impressed by their debut album. A really substandard folk rock influenced rock album. See the review somewhere else in this blog.

The band only released two albums and this is the final sign of life from this band.

It is an obscure band and album.... and with good reasons.

This album gives us three quarter of an hour full of folk rock influenced rock and progressive rock. The band has indeed included some Genesis inspired songs here.

There are also some americana influenced music here.

The vocal harmonies is male and female vocals. The music is a bit soft and not so full of details. It is very pedestrian and does not offer much.

This album is a slight improvement on their dire first album. But not hardly any noticeable improvement and this album is again a fiasco.

1.5 points

IQ - Seven Stories Into 98 (1998)


The seventh album from this British band.

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

This is not really a new studio album. This is a re-recording of their 1982 cassette album where some of the stuff was kept on. Hence the band being a seven members big band at this album.

The band must have had a great affinity for this 1982 cassette album. That explains why they re-recorded it.

And the band was not wrong.

Most of this fifty-two minutes long album is instrumental. The instrumentals are really epic with good guitar solos. They very much deserved to be heard on a CD too.

The vocals tracks are also epic and well rooted in the neo-prog scene.

Yes, the band did a good thing by re-recording this 1982 album as this is a a good album.

It is a different album than their previous album and the other IQ album. Seven Stories Into 98 is indeed an oddity in their discography. Nevertheless, it is a good album.

3 points




Friday, 27 March 2020

Versailles - Blaise et Benjamin (1998)


The fourth and final album from this French band.

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

The cover art-work makes this album out to be a thrash/death metal album. It is not and the cover art-work is not fitting the music.

I have reviewed their first three albums and they have all been French symphonic prog albums.

Blaise Et Benjamin is no difference. We get some very complex French symphonic prog.

Most of this album is pretty operatic and bordering to being an opera. The four songs is pretty long and complex. The music is indeed very eclectic.

Most of the time when it comes to French symphonic prog, I add Ange as a reference. The exception is this album as it is so far out eclectic that King Crimson is a more fitting reference. That and neo-classic/opera music.

The music is indeed very complex and not so easy to follow.

The keyboards sound is very good and ditto for the vocals. The sound could have been better.

I have really enjoyed their albums and this album is no exception. This is indeed a good album and worth checking out.

3 points


Thursday, 26 March 2020

Jefferson Airplane - Crown Of Creation (1968)


The fourth album from this US band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of piano, organ, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Numerous guest musicians provided congas, bongos, talking drums, guitars, woodwinds, piano, keyboards and vocals. David Crosby and Frank Zappa is among those guest musicians on this album.

The now established Jefferson Airline setup is with us on this album. That shows.

The album starts with a folk rock song though and I wonder if I by accident had got the wrong album. I had not.

The band has gotten rid of their avant-garde and ambient stuff. What is left is a songs orientated album.

The music has also been a lot more streamlined and all dead weight has been disposed of.

The music is much more commercial than on their previous album After Bathing At Baxter's. But it is not pop music what we get here.

The music is very much west-coast psych rock.

There is a lot of harmonies on this album which is both intricate and full of quirky details. Grace Slick does a great job on her own too. 

The music is accessible but also pretty dark and intricate. The best song is the title song. A very good song indeed. The other songs are not that strong or as immediate as the title track.

This is a good album which really should appeal to everyone who likes psych and progressive rock.

3 points





Aadal - Silver (2020)


The debut album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, guitar, bass and drums.

This is the Norwegian guitarist Michael Aadal's band. I have to admit I do not know his music or who this is. Nevertheless, the album is here and is blasting through the speakers in my office.

The music here is fusion........... some sort of fusion.

I did expect an epic bombastic guitar based jazz album. That is not what showed up.

The saxophone is given a lot of free reign on this album and that is indeed a clever move. There is not as much guitars as I did expect. The saxophones are really good here and a joy to behold.

The music too is a bit of a surprise. Aadal takes us from jazz via fusion and eclectic prog to americana and country music to new wave of British heavy metal.

All of this is instrumental and all of this through superb musicianship. No wonder this album was released on a progressive rock label (Apollon Records) instead of on a jazz label.
That said; those who loves most of the output from Moonjune Records will love this album too. 

The result is forty minutes of good music and an album which will make a lot of waves in the scene. We have not heard the last tone from this band.

3 points




Nektar - The Other Side (2020)


The 15th album from this British band.

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

This version of Nektar includes three original members of the band. This in contrast to the version of the band who, under the name New Nektar, released the pretty poor Meglomania album back in 2018. That album is still regarded as a Nektar album though and The Other Side is the follow up album.

It has to be said that the three original members knows how Nektar sounds and should sound. The good old order has (almost) been restored on this album.

This album is over an hour long. It is a double LP no less. A single CD too, it is.

The music is a mix of rock music and psych rock in the vein of the good old Nektar. Yes, the Nektar who the fans love is very much present here.

The vocals are good and the musicians does a good job on the not so overly complicated music. It is still complicated, psych and proggy enough to give the brain some food for thought. There are some really clever music on this album.

The result is a good album which goes a long way to restore the very good reputation of this band.

3 points


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Zio - Flower Torania (2020)


The debut album from this British band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, keyboards, bass and guitars.
They have got help from extra musicians and vocalists who provide accordion, guitars, bass and vocals.

This band/project has got members from Karnataka, Mostly Autumn, Franck Carducci, Mantra Vega, Haken and The Enid. Among the vocalists, you will find Heather Findlay, Joe Payne and Franck Carducci.

In short, this is not a spring chicken project.

From what I understand, this is a kind of a rock opera. Each song has it's own vocalist. And it is indeed a rock opera/concept album. The story line can be found on their homepage listed above.

The music is pretty symphonic throughout. There are also some hints of musicals type of music too. Broadway or the West End type of music.

The music is pretty epic and dynamic. The bass and drums creates a wall of sound where the others can base their talents on.

Epic is the word here and that is what they tries to do. The music is sometimes borderline progressive metal. Still, it is not progressive metal.

I am no big fan of projects like this. Nevertheless, there is no denying that this is a good album. It will win it's fans and I can understand why. Check out this album.

3 points

Jadis - Understand (2000)


The fifth album from this British band.

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

Their previous album, the 1997 album Somersault, did not really impress me. Not good enough songs and a bit lackluster delivery of these songs.

The band returns again three years later with Understand.

Again, we get neo-prog. An album full of neo-prog.

The songs are not overly long and symphonic. Neither are they particular pop orientated. There are some pretty strong new-romanticism references in their songs.

Most of this three quarters of an hour long album is solid English neo-prog.

The music is a slight improvement on Somersault. It is still not an album that makes me very convinced about the qualities of this band.

Nevertheless, this is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Gandalf - Gandalf (1977)


The one and only album from this Swedish band.

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

The album was self-released and it is sold for an insane amount of money on Discogs. The album is as obscure as it gets.

The album was probably recorded in a pretty bad studio too. The mix and sound is pretty sub-standard.

The music is a mix of rock, some punk and some heavy prog. Half of the album is in Swedish and the other half is in English.

The vocals is OK. The guitars is half-decent. The rest of the band is hanging on for dear life.... and fails.

This album deserve to be an obscure album because the quality of the music is dire. This is indeed a turkey of an album.

1 point



 


Leb I Sol - Rucni Rad (1979)


The third album from this band from Macedonia.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, minimoog, mellotron, organ, drums, percussion, bass and vocals.
A guest musician provided saxophones.

Their first two albums really impressed me. It is obvious that Leb I Sol is one of those lost treasures from behind the iron curtain. Their country back then, Yugoslavia, was a communist - stalinist state although Tito and Stalin and the following Sovietrussian leaders loathed each others with a burning hatred.

Leb I Sol was nevertheless trapped behind the iron curtain.

Their music is a mix of the local Macedonian pop scene and fusion. Mostly fusion.

Mahavishnu Orchestra springs to mind during large parts of this album. So does Return To Forever too.

Vlatko Stefanovski is a superb guitarist and he gets a lot of time of prove just that on this album. The other musicians are also very good. There are some really great keyboards work here and the vocalist is good too.

The mix of Macedonian pop-rock and fusion really gives this album a good flavour.
This is indeed a very good album and fusion fans will love this album.

3.5 points



Magic Bus - Magic Bus (2010)


The debut album from this English band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of flute, drums, percussion, penny whistle, bells, tabla, guitars, piano, autoharp, keyboards, ukulele, bass, finger cymbals and vocals.

This band is another new discovery in my life. They have released three albums so far. All three are up for review this spring.

The cover art-work above both tells the story and is a bit misleading.

Yes, their music is flowery and hippie. It is not psych or space, though. Far from it. Magic Bus is bang in the middle of the Canterbury scene.

The first half a minute of this album gives the game away. The music and vocals of Caravan comes through the air, loud and clear.

On the two first songs, that is. The album is still Caravan'esque, but the band is still carving out their own identity.

The music is still very much hippie and flower power rock in the Canterbury scene vein. There are even some hints of apple orchards folk rock here.

The album is stylish with some good vocals and great musicianship. It is a borderline sensational brilliant album. A couple of fillers makes this a great album and one all fans of the more songs orientated Canterbury scene has to check out.

4 points



Monday, 23 March 2020

Lucifer's Friend - Lucifer's Friend (1970)


The debut album from this German band.

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

My first of the many planned reviews of their albums. I plan to review all their eleven albums this year, starting with this, their debut album.

Many has claimed that this band is a Uriah Heep copycat band. That though is not entirely justified.

References is the likes of Jane, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin.

The music here is very hard and this album is among the hardest albums from that year, the golden year of hard rock and progressive rock.

A lot of the music is rather bluesy. There are even some progressive rock here with some organs and piano. The song structures are surprisingly good and the vocals are really good.

In this hard rock, there is a lot of interesting details and subtle melodies. Melodies which elevates this album to becoming one of the better albums from 1970. It is indeed a good album.

3 points




Marsyas - Emergence (2020)


The debut album from this Italian band.

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

Marsyas is another new band to me and they has just released this album.

The band's music is heavy prog.

References are Riverside, Porcupine Tree and IQ. There are also some RPI influences in their music.
Ditto for djent.

There are also some fusion and jazz influences here and they are pretty visible in their sound. That sets the band a bit apart from most of the other new bands in the heavy prog genre.

The vocals are decent enough. They are struggling pretty hard when put to test on high notes. The band does a good job.

The songs are medium long on this almost one hour long album.

My gripe with this album is the missing quality of the songs. Their music has some fusion and jazz elements and that is the only thing that stands out here. There is not much else to enjoy here as the songs are pretty dull.

Nevertheless, check out this album.

2.5 points



Sunday, 22 March 2020

Gamma Repeater - G. R. (2017)


The one and only album from this US band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of electric piano, bass, drums, percussion, guitars, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
Two guest musicians provided guitars and flute. 

I do not know the band at all. They comes from Portland on the north-west coast of USA. Their album is a Bandcamp name-your-price album and I do not think the band has much of a following outside their local area. 

The music is pretty much art-rock. Art-rock with a lot of indie and some Americana influences. There are also some neo-prog and mainstream rock influences and stuff here.

The cover art-work is a bit of a mystery as there is no space rock or psych rock here. 

The vocals are OK and acceptable. Actually, make that good. The vocals are good.

The musicians is doing their best during this almost fifty minutes long album. There are some good guitars here.

The quality of the songs leaves a lot to be desired. There is nothing here that really drags me into this album. 

This is a decent album but just that.

2 points





Nous - Entre Nous (2020)


The debut album from this US band.

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

This is another band with their debut album released in the last couple of years. The two last years has seen a flurry of debut albums in the progressive rock genre. A small genre, but still a very healthy genre.

That makes running this blog so fun and so interesting.

Nous is giving Rush a nod with the title of the album. Entre Nous is one of Rush best loved songs and one of my favourite songs.

And yes, there are some Rush influences here. The music on this album is pretty hard at times and the Rush influences shines through. So does other bands in the hard and heavy prog genre. The music is not progressive metal, but it still rocks.

There are also some Genesis and Yes influences here. In particular Yes influences. And there are some hard rock influences. Bad Company springs to mind.

The vocals are good and the use of slide guitars gives the band an edge and an identity. There are a some good harmonies here too.

This album clocks in at fifty-two minutes and the quality is somewhere between decent and good. The songs are simply not good enough here. Some better songs and this band will go places.

2.5 points





Saturday, 21 March 2020

Water - The Second Day (1975)


The debut album from this Dutch band.

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

This very obscure band released two albums between 1975 and 1976 before they broke up.

... And that is all I know about this band.

The band's music is a mix of folk rock, psych prog and pop/rock.

There is not much progressive rock here though as most of the music is in the folk rock vein.

The female and male vocals, including vocal harmonies, are good. The musicians does their best on this forty minutes long album.

For some reason, the band name springs to mind when describing the music and the quality. It is a bit watery and it is very much caught in a time warp.

The result is a half-decent album which is not horrible but still not offer up much value. This album and band is obscure for a good reason.

1.5 points




Lazuli - Le Fantastique Envol de Dieter Bohm (2020)


The eight album from this French band.

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

I have heard about this band for a while without really being interested in checking them out. Well, I admit this was a mistake.

Lazuli is a band in the French symphonic and eclectic prog tradition.

Good references are Ange, Gens De La Lune and Mona Lisa. Minimum Vital is also another good reference.

The music is also influenced by the likes of Gentle Giant and Genesis.

This album is a concept album in four acts. I am not sure what the story is about. But it cannot be a bad story as the band is really doing a very good job on expressing it through the vocals and the music.

The music is really very lush and symphonic with some very good French vocals and a very good French sound. There are also some pastoral bits here and some more soaring epic bits. This album has it all for symphonic prog fans.

The end result is a very good album and I will try to get the rest of their albums now.

3.5 points

London Underground - London Underground (2000)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of clavinet, banjo, piano, hammond organ, moog, mellotron, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
Four extra musicians did pedal guitars, guitars and strings arrangements.

This band has been kicking around the scene for a while. They have released four albums and I got three of them to review now. I get the feeling from this, their debut album that this will be a pleasure.

The cover art-work says almost everything about the music. Old style psych from the last years of the 1960s.

References are The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Birth Control. Add some The Moody Blues and beat influences too and you get this album.

The music is very stylish and it feels like it was composed and recorded in 1968. But it is not.
The sound quality is very good though.

The songs are pretty slow and they tries to be catchy.

In this, they fails as the quality is not the best. It is still an album I rate between decent and good. It is an more than acceptable debut album.

2.5 points


Friday, 20 March 2020

Led Zeppelin - Presence (1976)

The seventh album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. Their gave us bass, drums, percussion, guitars and vocals.

Led Zeppelin.... we are talking about the best rock band in the history of mankind. My favourite band is Rush. Nevertheless, Led Zeppelin's first five albums cements them as the best ever rock album. Add Physical Graffiti too to that list. I do not rate The Rolling Stones as highly as I rate Led Zeppelin. The Beatles was the best ever pop band our planet has ever seen.

Led Zeppelin and The Beatles in their own level above all other bands in my honest opinion. 

.... And that was my personal confession....

I have not really had much time for Led Zeppelin's final two albums. In the case of Presence, that is a shame and I have underestimated this album.

Jimmy Page is still at it with his guitars and John Paul Jones does the bass brilliantly. John Bonham proves that he is one of the best drummers of all time. And Robert Plant... Truly brilliant on vocals.

This album was written and recorded in very difficult times for this band. It was not their full focus and that is obvious.

This album has two great songs in Achilles Last Stand and Nobody's Fault But Mine. The rest of the songs are decent to good.

This is still an album I will return to as it is not as bad as I thought it would be. It is a good album indeed.

3 points

 



Os Mutantes - Haih... Or Amortecedor... (2009)


The ninth album from this Brazilian band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of oud, cello, guitars, harmonica, hammond organ, percussion, drums, bass, keyboards, flutes, clarinet, violin, grand piano and vocals.
Vladimir Putin opens the album on spoken words.... no doubts as a sample.

Their 2000 album Technicolor is in some places regarded as their ninth album. As that 1970 album only consists of English and French versions of their best songs from their first four albums, I am disregarding that album. I it is a good album though. But I will not review it.

I am therefore focusing my efforts on Haih... Or Amortecedor.

There is only one original member of Os Mutantes left on this album. That shows.

Gone is the flirtations with Yes, ELP and the symphonic prog genre. The band has returned to the tropicana roots and what they did when Rita Lee was still a member of the band.

The music is a mix of tropicana, psych and pop. All of this in Portuguese and with a strong Brazilian flavour.

The result is an exotic album, made in Brazil. It is also a laid back album indeed.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. It is not their best album by far. Nevertheless, it is still worth a listen or two.

2.5 points



Thursday, 19 March 2020

Laughing Stock - Sunrise (2019)


The second album from this Norwegian band.

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

This is my first meeting with this band as I did buy their 2018 debut album The Island. That album flew well under my radar.

I am perhaps not in the immediate target group of this album either. The band comes across as an indie band.

That is slightly correct, though. Nevertheless.....

... There is a strong Marillion, the Steve Hogarth era, influence in their music. A-Ha and Airbag also springs to mind. In short, the music is a mix of indie and neo-prog.

The music is very melodic and a bit laid-back on this forty-five minutes long album. Ethereal is the word.

There are some guitar solos and some good harmonies on this album. The vocals and vocal harmonies are all good.

The album is not an immediate hit with the listener, I would hazard to guess. It is a grower and it takes time to really settle. When it's nuances has revealed itself, this is a pretty good album. A good album indeed.

3 points

  


Versailles - Le Trésor de Valliesres (1994)


The third album from this French band.

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

This band got my attention when I reviewed their 1992 album Don Giovanni back in July 2014. Then I forgot about the band before I got their final two albums not so long ago.

Don Giovanni was their second album and a good album. See my review here.

Versailles is off course the big castle the French emperors built and lived in when they were in power. I believe the French president now live there. It is a massive building and one of the must-see places in Europe.

So it is only fitting that a French symphonic prog band use that name. What is more natural than that ?

Versailles takes a lot from Ange and the chanson singer Jacques Brel. There is also the usual French folk music fare here too.

Some of the songs are long, almost twenty minutes long. This album clocks in at almost seventy minutes too.

The French vocals are really good. The music is both theatrical and complex. Very complex at times. The keyboards sounds also gives us a rich melotron sound and some orchestral pieces.

Fans of French symphonic prog gets their wishes fulfilled here. This album is indeed a good album and one to check out.

3 points



Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Galaverna - Dodsdans (2019)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of viola, xilophone, bass, flute, percussion, drums, sitar, guitars and vocals.

This is a new Italian band who debuted with this Bandcamp album.

Their name is Swedish and I thought this was a Swedish band. I was very much mistaken.

Galaverna gives us a three quarter of an hour of dark and gloomy folk rock.

Opeth, these days Opeth is a very relevant reference here. There is also some Jethro Tull and a lot of Swedish folk music references here.

There is no metal here at all. The music is folk rock but very dark folk rock.

The music is mostly done by acoustic instruments and it has a very Scandinavian sound and feel. The viola is pretty much in the front of the mix. Hence why I believed this was a band from Sweden. They are from Verona, Italy..... Strange, but good.

The vocals are really good and adds to the very good sound. Ditto for the acoustic guitars and the organ.

The quality of the music is very good throughout. The mix of doom and folk rock is a new one to me and the music on this album is pretty unusual.

That alone makes this is album well worth checking out. Add the quality too and you got a very good album indeed.

3.5 points


Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Jade Warrior - Floating World (1974)


The fourth album from this British band.

The band was a duo on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, piano, glockenspiel, piano, organ, cello, various percussions, flutes and alto sax.
The band had support from some guest musicians who provided harp, string bass, drums, guitar, spoken word and choirs.

After three albums of various testing out genres, the band changed genre again on this and became what everyone regards as Jade Warrior.

Floating World is an album full of ambient music. The music is still full of interesting details though and by no means the usual fare of ambient music.

The music is clearly influenced by the Far-East. The Japanese flute used here is interesting. The music is still rooted in the British music scene too.

There is a lot of interesting, lingering guitar solos here and some interesting melodies and details. There is also a lot of acoustic details here too.

Ambient music is not the most interesting genre. This album though is a classic album and a very good one, clocking in at just over half an hour.

Check out this album.

3.5 points


Monday, 16 March 2020

Offramp - Turbulence (2019)


The ninth album from this New Jersey, USA based band.

I do not know anything about this band. The lineup from what I can hear, is drums, bass, guitars, synths and keyboards.

I have not heard their previous eight albums and this band is a mystery to me as they have no social media presence from what I can see.

The band is offering up one hour of medium dynamic instrumental rock. Add some fusion too and you get the picture.

References are Camel, Vangelis and Pink Floyd.

Other references are the other numerous bands and studio projects doing the same genre. They all do instrumental music bordering to ambient music.

The music here is not ambient. There is not many interesting details in the music either.

The music is not too bad. But it is not really something that appeals to the progressive rock crowd. I find this album pretty dull and uninspiring. Hence my lack of enthusiasm.

1.5 points


Sunday, 15 March 2020

Ur Kaos - Av Sprucket Ut Är Valt Ett Inuti (1999)


The third album from this Swedish band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, strings, clavinet, bass pedals, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

I really liked their debut album a lot. Accessible avant-garde prog, but still enough avant-garde to satisfy my interest in this genre.

I have not got their second album and I doubt if I will ever get it.

So I am jumping straight to their third and final album.

Us Kaos still gives us some dark avant-garde music.  One hour of dark avant-garde prog to be more precise.

A good reference here is King Crimson. But Ur Kaos music is much more darker than them. There is also some Scandinavian noir and gloominess in their music.

The music is driven by keyboards, clavinet and guitars. The vocals are good and they really adds to the dark sound of this album.

The quality is good throughout. It is an album also the eclectic prog and King Crimson fans will really enjoy. Check it out.

3 points


If - If 5 (2016)


The ninth and so far latest album from this British band.

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

If started out as a brass rock band in the same vein as Blood, Sweat & Tears. Their first eight albums was solid, unspectacular brass rock albums.

This album is their comeback album after a thirty-two years long break. There is hardly any original members left of the original band too.

The 2016's version of If gives us jazz. Standard jazz with some saxophone solos, some organ sounding keyboards, jazz drums and jazz vocals.

The vocals are good. They are more in the jazz crooner tradition than the rock tradition.

In short, this is a 100 % bog standard jazz album.

This album has nothing whatsoever to do with the band of the same name from the 1970s.

The music is not interesting at all and this album is best ignored.

1.5 points

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Hammill. Peter - Over (1977)


The sixth album from this British artist.

Peter Hammill did the guitars, keyboards and vocals himself.
He had help from the rest of Van Der Graaf Generator on violin, bass and drums.

Peter Hammill had and still have a solo career in addition to his leadership of Van Der Graaf Generator (VDGG).

I am a big fan of VDGG and I have also started to dive into Peter Hammill's solo output. See the reviews of the first five albums somewhere else in this blog.

Peter is the voice of VDGG and there is no denying that there is similarities here.

The big difference is that his albums is much more stripped down and his voice much more personal.

Over is a good example.

The music is pretty angry at times. There is also some pop here which would have been totally out of kilter on a VDGG album.

Over is very much a stripped down album based on vocals and some rather tasteful less is more instrumentation.

The quality of the music is good throughout this album. It is an enjoyable album where Peter really excels. It is an album well worth checking out, indeed.

3 points