Monday, 22 October 2018

Undominated. The - Epiphany (2018)


The debut album from this USA based project.

The Undominated is the project of Jonathan Mildner from Wallkill, New York.
He is doing most of the instruments here and has got help from a vocalist and some guitarists.

I am not really sure where to put the progressive rock borders. In particular symphonic prog. Is bands like Sky progressive rock ? No.

And neither is this project.

This album is eighty minutes long. That is eighty minutes with some instrumental monumental neo-classical music intercepted by some AOR and then finishing off with some neo-classical instrumental music again.

That is not symphonic prog.

It is nevertheless music which deserves a listen or five. Music which deserves to be taken seriously.

There is a lot of Mike Oldfield inspirations on this album. An album which is a bit too long. It is a decent album though and one to check it out as it is a Bandcamp album.

This is a decent enough album.

2 points

 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Nektar - A Tab In The Ocean (1972)


The second album from this British band.

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

I was really impressed by their 1971 debut album Journey To The Centre Of The World. A very good crossover between symphonic prog, psych and hard rock.

So I was happy after the first listening session. A Tab In The Ocean brings more of the same.

Their crossover between symphonic prog, hard rock and psych rock is also very eclectic. Something the seventeen minutes long opening title track proves. This is music which really takes a lot out of the listener..... and gives back a lot more.

Nektar has their own style on their first two albums and I hope it will continue as I am reviewing some of their other albums too.

The title track is very eclectic indeed. Ditto for the three other tracks on this album, although they are more accessible and more commercial. Maybe even more hard rocking too.

The end result is another very good album and an album which really captivates me. A great song or two is missing and that is my only gripe with this album.

3.5 points

Braen's Machine - Temi Ritmici E Dinamici (1973)


The second and final album from this Italian band.

The band was a duo of Alessandro Alessandroni and Piero Umiliano. The lineup was keyboards, guitars and bass.

This studio project gave us two albums before they gave up.

Their 1971 debut album Underground was deeply unimpressive. So I did not have many expectations for this, the follow up album.

I was not in for a positive surprise.

This half an hour album is basically short pieces of instrumental music which can be used for TV series or movie filmscores.

Where their countrymen Goblin really pulled this off and made some memorably and very good film scores, Braen's Machine fails miserably on this album.

The first half of it, Side A, is not too bad. There are some decent music here and the sound is pretty organic.

Side B is an unmitigated disaster with a lot of pling plong synthetic melodies which sounds like a nightmare.

This is an album well worth avoiding at all cost. You have been warned.

1.5 points

   


Shineback - Dial (2018)


The second album from this British project.

Shineback is the Tinyfish/Valdez vocalist Simon Godfrey with friends.
The list of guest musician is long. It contains some of the more hard working musicians in the UK neo-prog rock scene. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.

I am pretty lukewarm to projects like this one. One man projects. They tend to lack both their own soul and identity.

And on the surface, this is also the case here. Pink Floyd meets neo-prog meets Porcupine Tree. The usual fare. Something that does not really makes my heart goes any faster. Or makes me motivated enough to really review albums like this. But in the name of serving the people, I still review these kinds of albums.

If scratching below the surface though, what comes clear is a treasure trove for those of us who likes good, even great guitar solos. Slow and soulful guitar solos.

There is a lot of good vocals here........ and slow, soulful guitar solos. Kind of David Gilmour'ish guitar solos.

There is a lot of them on this one hour and ten minutes long album. Lots of them !

And that makes this album something different than just another solo album with friends. It gives this album an identity.

The songs are good and the guitar solos really good. My pulse has gone up some notches and this is a project I will follow with interest if it continues. Check out this album.

3 points

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Cozmic Corridors - Cozmic Corridors (1996)


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

The band was a quartet with a lineup of percussion, Hammond organ, Minimoog, effects, guitars and vocals.

The krautrock scene has given us a lot of one-off bands/projects. Entities who has released one album and then disappeared again without a trace.

Cozmic Corridors gives us forty minutes of loopy spaced out drone krautrock. Cozmiz krautrock or whatever they label it. Early Ash Ra Temple is a good reference.

There are some spoken words here on the top of the drones created by guitars, organs and keyboards.

There is still a lot going on in their music. It is not dynamic by any means. But there are some ideas here which is not bad at all. There is even melodies here..... some sort of melodies here.

The vibe is somber and dark. There is a lot here who reminds me about the dark droning music which comes out of Italy now and then. Goblin is a good reference.

This is by no means a good album. But it has some charm and a dark vibe. It is well worth checking out this album if krautrock and more cinematic music is your cup of tea.

2.5 points

Ring van Möbius - Past The Evening Sun (2018)


The debut album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of Hammond organ, clavinet, keyboards, Moog, bass, drums, timpani and vocals.
A guest musician adds his saxophone.

This band has made some pretty huge waves in the Norwegian scene this year and is widely regarded as the next big thing from Norway.
The ring-leader in this band played in a black metal band before starting this band. He also left the 1990s behind him and went back to the 1970s.

This is very much a progressive rock album in the good old style. The likes of Van Der Graaf Generator is a very relevant reference here. Ring Van Mobis plays a much more psych rock brand of progressive rock than VDGG.

There are three tracks on this album. One of them, the "single" and video from this album, is twenty-two minutes long. The other two are far shorter songs. Which makes this an altogether forty minutes long album.

The music is wild, but also pretty pastoral at the same time. The band knows how to combine pastoral music with some pretty wild music.

The saxophone and the various forms of tangents is everywhere. Moog and Hammond organ in particular. We also get lots of clavinet. The vocals are also really good here.

This album is one of the better albums coming out of Norway and it is a great album. I hope we will hear a lot more from this band in the future. Fans of VDGG and psych rock will love this album.

4 points


Friday, 19 October 2018

Walker. Mike - Courage to Trust, Act I (2018)


The debut album from this British artist.

I believe Mike Walker does most of the guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and male vocals here.
There are some female vocals here too.

The album is about a young girl. It will be followed up by Act II in the near future which sees the girl become a woman. We are talking concept albums here.

That is all I know about this concept.

The music is a mix of neo-prog, Porcupine Tree and Pink Wilson. Add some pop and rock too.

The vocals is good and the instruments are OK. There are also some good vocal harmonies here which adds some folk rock flavours to this album.

This album is another addition to this Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree flavoured part of the neo-prog scene. I have heard a lot of albums from this "genre" lately.

This is a steady album which has some good songs and some not so good songs. It feels a bit too formula driven, this album. Nevertheless, it is well worth checking out.

2.5 points




Thursday, 18 October 2018

Galahad - Not All There (1994)


The third album from this British band.

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

The band called themselves Galahad Acoustic Quintet on this album for some reason. Maybe because they were not as electric as usual.

Another reason is that they tried to sound a lot more folk music like on this album than on their usual neo-prog albums.

There is still a lot of pop and rock music here, though. Mainstream too. The end result is a pop/rock album with some folk rock influences.

The vocals and the instruments are all good. But the music is to say at least not challenging at all.

The music is decent enough. And that is all. There is no good songs here and nothing that reminds me about neo-prog or anything I know Galahad can do.

This is not really an album I rate highly.

2 points



Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Caterpillarmen - Adopt A Monkey (2010)


The debut album from this Icelandic band.

Caterpillarmen is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.

This band exploded into the scene some years ago and released three albums. I hope a new album is due as this is a good band.

The band is regarded as an avant-garde and RIO band.

That is true enough, though.

The opening of this album showcases a band with a fascination with the Hammond organ sound from the 1970s. These pieces are really retro-prog. The are also very good.

The album has this 1970s sound and style. The music is not overly avant-garde and RIO. This album sounds a lot more like a King Crimson and to a certain degree; a Gentle Giant album than an avant-garde album.

There is a lot of minor avant-garde themes here. But most of the album is melodic and eclectic.

The album is forty minutes long and it offers up some really good music. Music not to be ignored. Check out this album.

3 points




Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Júnior Cordeiro - Céu, Hades e Outros Porvires (2018)


The second album from this Brazilian artist.

I know nothing about this artist/band. But the band has the traditional keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and Portoguese vocals lineup.

The band/artist released the debut album Sonhos, Sertao & Loucura back in 2016. That album went well under my radar.

But someone sent me this album and I am therefore reviewing it.

Junior Cordeiro does a mix of hard rock and melodic prog. The vocals are Portoguese and that gives the band some exotic flavour.

The most remarkable thing about this album is the theft of some well known chord structures from Jimi Hendrix masterpiece Voodoo Chile.

The rest of the album is pretty dull and not interesting at all.

I am afraid to label this as a turkey. It has some decent stuff. But not enough. Check out this album for yourself. I am not impressed......

1.5 points


Sunday, 14 October 2018

Mystery - Beneath The Veil Of Winter's Face (2007)


The third album from this Canadian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
Three guest musicians contributed with bass and fx.

Mystery is one of the brightest lights in today's neo-prog scene. That is why I am reviewing all their studio albums and I have now come to # 3 of their albums. See my other reviews somewhere else in this blog.

Mystery put themselves somewhere between pomp prog, symphonic prog, neo-prog and progressive metal.

On this album, the progressive metal part of their music comes to the forefront.

The music is really heavy on this one hour long album. Heavy and pretty slick too. It is also complex and dense.

There is no really easy on the ear music on this album. We get a lot of guitars, keyboards and vocals cascades on this album.

There is also a lot of chugging guitars on this album. There is not much else than bombastic, chugging music, I am afraid.

This album is big and bloated. But most of it is bluster and does not have much substance. This album is a bit of a letdown, I am afraid.

2.5 points



Shem - The Hill AC (2018)


The debut album from this German band.

Shem is a quintet with a lineup of clarinet, drums, percussion, synths, guitars, bass and vocals.

This is a new name and band to me. Their album has been released as a Name Your Price album at Bandcamp (see link above) and that has earned my attention in these hard times.

And I would not mind paying full price for this album either.....

Their music is space rock in the vein of Electric Orange. They sounds like that band.

Space rock.... or in this case; krautrock. Let's label it krautrock.

We get one hour of krautrock here with strong guitars and some hypnotic rhythms. Mostly carried out by bass which is pulsating really hard here.

There is some variations in their music and some cleverness. But not enough for my liking as I much prefer Electric Orange. Shem is not on their level....... yet. But they may grow into becoming a great krautrock band.

There are something good with this album and I have taken a mental note of their name.

This is a decent to good album which should be checked out.

2.5 points


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Oaksenham - Upon All The Living And The Dead (2018)


The second album from this band from Armenia.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, grand piano, sound effects and violin.
Three guest musicians provides flute, basoon and vocals.

I honestly thought this band was gone and disbanded for good after their superb 2006 album Conquest Of The Pacific. But I was wrong. Thankfully, I was wrong.

You can find my ten years old review of that album here.

This band from this landlocked country is again pretty much interested in nautical matters. See the art-work above.

Times has changed since 2006 and so has this band. Gone is the more eclectic music. In comes a much more fusion and folk rock influenced take on progressive rock.

Camel springs to mind on this album. That and their country Armenia and their folk music.

The music is really gentle and pedestrian throughout. There is a lot of gentle fusion influences here in their brand of symphonic prog.

The female vocals adds a lot of colours to this album. An album performed mostly with gentle violins, guitars and grand piano. Yes, the word "gentle" again.

This album is not as good as their debut album. It is also a different album too. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one who will bring joy to a lot of prog rock fans. Welcome back, Oaksenham !

3 points

Covenant - Nature's Devine Reflection (1992)


The one and only album from this US one man band.

Covenant is David Cryder on drums, bass, percussion and various synths, organs and keyboards.

David has experience from several thrash and heavy metal bands. Both before and after making this album. He is still active in one or more thrash metal bands.

This album has two fifteen + minutes long compositions and one shorter one. Three compositions altogether.

And yes, this is an album drenched in keyboards, synths and organs.

This album is like an ELP album without Greg Lake. It is like Keith Emerson going insane on the tangents.

Organs, synths and keyboards merges into a bombastic landscape and unit throughout this forty odd minutes long album.

It is an interesting album it cascades of tangents supported by bass and drums is your thing.

To be fair, this is not a bad album at all. It is nowhere near melodic and it's qualities is a bit dubious. But I am glad he did this album and that SynPhonic released it.

This is a decent album and one fans of ELP and keyboards will find enjoyable.

2 points




Sinclair. Dave - Out Of Sinc (2018)


The seventh album from this British artist.

Dave Sinclair does most of the vocals and keyboards on this album. He has got help from numerous other more or less famous guest musicians on woodwinds, bass, drums, guitars, rainstick, female vocals, choirs and tin whistle.

Among the more known musicians is Andrew Latimer and Pye Hastings.

Dave Sinclair is an ex member of both Camel and Caravan. That was when both bands were pretty vibrant. So he has paid his dues.

This is my first ever meeting with his solo work. I am not a fan of old musicians going solo as the result tends to be pretty uninteresting but well meaning pop/rock albums.

This is one of those well meaning pop/rock albums.

There is a musical feel over this album. Lots of guest artists contributes on this one hour long album. The music is a mix of English rock, musicials, some Irish folk rock influenced pop and retro-rock. 

There is plenty of very nice female and male vocals. The melodies are toothless and does not have much substance. The guitar solos are pretty bland too and does not add much joy and interest to this music.

The end result is well meaning, nice music. A nice, well meaning album with not much substance.
It is a decent album though. And that is the nicest thing I can write about this album.

2 points



Braen's Machine - Underground (1971)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band was a duo of Alessandro Alessandroni and Piero Umiliano. The lineup was drums, guitars and synths.

This studio project gave us two albums before they gave up. I got both albums and will review the second album sometimes soon.

Braen's Machine is regarded as an RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano band. The music is nowhere near the like of the RPI standards bearers PFM and Banco.

The music on Underground has more in common with krautrock than RPI. Much more in common with krautrock than RPI in fact... Guru Guru springs to mind here.

OK, the music is in the vein of Goblin and the movie tracks scores. Enrico Morricone was a major influence on Braen's Machine. Both members of this duo worked with him before setting up this duo.

The music is still very dynamic with a lot of distorted guitars, a lot of avant-garde trickeries and some fuzzed out keyboards. The music is pretty heavy at times and nowhere near ambient.

It still has this movie soundtrack vibe and quality. Probably for a horror movie and a gory crime movie. Or TV series, for that matter.

The quality is actually decent to good as this forty minutes long album is pretty compelling listening. Yes it has some flaws. But there is still enough here to interest the listener. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Friday, 12 October 2018

Popol Vuh - Das Hohelied Salomos (1975)


The sixth album from this German band.

Popol Vuh was a trio on this album with a lineup of electronics, percussion, guitars, piano and soprano vocals.
The band had help from two guest musicians who provided tabla and sitar.

This band is one of the most legendary bands from the krautrock scene. And also let me add; the electronic prog scene. Their first two albums were electronic prog. They moved over to a more ambient landscape after that.

They also did a lot of original movie sound tracks after a while.

This album is not a movie soundtrack, though.

This album is softly spoken with faint soprano vocals over some piano, percussion, guitars and the occasional sitar and tabla. That's it, really.

The first half is good to very good. There are some enthralling melody lines and soprano vocals here. The middle part is a bit of a miss before the album ends very well with some great guitars and vocals.

The cover art-work also gives the game away here. This is quite a delightful half an hour long album which has a lot going for it. It is a bit on the pedestrian side and the melodies could had been better.

Nevertheless, this is a good album and one to check out.

3 points

Bubu - El Eco del Sol (2018)


The second album from this Argentine band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of saxophones, flutes, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, violins, choirs and Spanish vocals.

I never ever expected to hear anything more from this album. But it turns out that the band has released an EP two years ago and a new album was announced when I reviewed their debut album in October last year. You will find my review here.

Gosh... that was one year ago. Time flies fast in this blog. Very fast.

This album starts out as an RPI album with a lot of eclectic RPI like progressive rock. Symphonic progressive rock, that is.

And this album grabs the listener, at least if the listener is into RPI and eclectic prog, from the first second of this fifty minutes long album.

Unfortunate, the album is a bit unfocused during the final half with a lot of instrumental pieces which is nice, but not of the same standard as the opening songs.

The vocals are really good here and the use of choirs gives this album an eclectic edge. Both Gentle Giant and King Crimson springs to mind when reviewing this album. Bubu has translated their attitude to music to a more Latin-American way of doing eclectic prog. That is the main difference between Bubu and those two bands.

The end result is a mighty album and a great follow up to the 1978 debut album Anabelas. This is a great comeback and a very welcome one too. Check out this very good album.

3.5 points



Cornucopia - Full Horn (1973)


The one and only album from this German band.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
A guest musician provided saxophones, flutes and guitars.

There is a lot of German bands who released one album and then disappeared again. Mostly in the krautrock genre.

Cornucopia is one of those bands. The art-work has got a semi-legendary status. But not many people ventures behind the art-work and the cover of the album.

Inside the cover, we find a forty minutes long krautrock album.

Krautrock with a lot of blues influenced bombastic hard krautrock. This album is not for those with faint heart beats.

The music is also very complex and weaves itself between bombastic pieces and more pastoral pieces. There are also some spoken words here.

The music is a bit chaotic at times. But that is krautrock for you. Krautrock is a wild genre where most things goes. And this band has released a krautrock album. An album that divides opinions.

And it is even a decent to good krautrock album. A bit more quality would have been good. But I still find a lot good things here to enjoy. Check it out.

3 points


Barca. La - Eclosión (2011)


The second album from this Argentine band.

La Barca was a sextet with a lineup of percussion, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

The roots of this band can be found in the Argentine band Pablo El Enterrado. A band I like a lot.

That is why I got three albums from La Barca. You can find my reviews of the two other albums somewhere else in this blog.

Their debut album was a soft symphonic prog album. So I had my hopes for this album, Eclosion.

Hope soon dashed, it has to be said.

Eclosion gives us three quarters of an hour worth of soft rock and pop music. Latin-American pop/rock, I think we can label this album as.

The album is thankfully not a teenybopper and hooks dominated pop/rock album. It is based on some really tasteful and sugary soft vocals from Jose Maria Blanc. A great vocalist.... but this album gives us an overdose of his vocals.

There is not much else going on here than the vocals and the soft music.

The music is not bad at all. This is a decent album. It is not a progressive rock album and it is not the type of music that stimulates the brain. Hence my reservations.... Serious ones, too...

2 points

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Tryo - Tryo (1996)


The debut album from this band from Chile.

Tryo was a trio with a lineup of cello, guitars, bass, drums and Spanish vocals.

This band from Valparaiso in Chile has released six albums so far and I will review them this fall and winter.

.. Starting with their self-titled debut album.

The band is listed as a fusion band in ProgArchives and rightly so.

...Although fans of heavy rock will also find a lot of music to be happy about on this album.

The band is a power trio here and sometimes breaks into power trio hard rock on this album. The Welsh band Budgie is a reference here.

There is also a lot of fusion here. But this is not a straight out fusion album.

So with fifty/fifty of each genre, this album rocks on.

The music is not too bad although it is not that exciting. There is a lot of guitar riffs here and some Spanish vocals. The album almost breaks into a death metal album at the end of this fifty-five minutes long album.

This is still a decent album but not an album I hope represent this band.

2 points


Supertramp - Slow Motion (2002)


The eleventh and final album from this British band.

Supertramp was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, harmonica, saxophones, woodwinds, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Some guest musicians provided trumpet, trombone, guitars, percussion and backing vocals.

Rick Davies and John Helliwell continued on without Roger Hodgson on another album under the Supertramp name. Another album which proves that Roger Hodgson was an essential part of Supertramp.

This is another album that wants me to put on their Paris live album just to get a reminder how great this band was at their best.

Rick Davies and John Helliwell gives us fifty minutes of third rate vaudeville and jazzy pop. The music reminds me about what the working men's club in England gave their punters. Cheap and nasty music which sometimes sounded like pop and rock.

The music here is cheap and nasty. Rick's vocals and keyboards is the only reminder about Supertramp.

This is a horrible album and a terrible way to end a great career. Avoid at all cost.

1 point





Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Birth Control - Backdoor Possibilities (1976)



The sixth album from this German band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of hammond organ, moog, electric piano, grand piano, guitars, bass, drums, synths, saxophone, percussion, tubular bells and vocals.

The first five Birth Control albums has opened my eyes to the delights of their music. Some considerable delights, that is. See my reviews of their albums somewhere else in this blog.

The band moved towards symphonic prog on this album..... and made a German symphonic prog album on Backdoor Possibilities. Yes, it is even a concept album !

Three medium long suites and two rather shorter songs are what we get here.

The band combines symphonic prog with some weird Canterbury prog on this album and creates their own world on this album.

Lots of strange guitar riffs and rhythm figures. Lots of strange melody lines performed on variout types of tangents. The sound is good. Ditto for the vocals too.

Backdoor Possibilities is a rather strange album, indeed.

Nevertheless, the band pulls it of. There is a lot to feel joyous about on this album. There is no great piece of music though on this album.

Nevertheless....... this is a good album.

3 points


Argos - Unidentified Dying Objects (2018)


The fifth album from this German band.

Argos is a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, mellotron, synths, keyboards, guitars, electric and acoustic piano, percussion, drums, organ, clavinet, melodica and vocals.
Four other musicians, including Andy Tillison, adds some keyboards, saxophones, trumpet and clarinet.

This album comes with a great cover art-work which promises a lot.

I reviewed their 2015 album A Seasonal Affair last month and found a very good album. Read my review here.

I have always regarded this band as one of the better bands in the pretty big German neo-prog scene. Perhaps they are the best band in that scene.

The band continues on from 2015 with a pretty dark album. Van Der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammell springs to mind again. But Argos music is not as dark as that.

This time, you can add symphonic prog too and not so much neo-prog. Well, remove neo-prog altogether. Label it VDGG influenced symphonic prog.

There is a lot of keyboards/synths and guitars interplays here. The music is very complex and perhaps too complex throughout this one hour long album. There is not many hooks here. Not many straight melodies either.

The music is still very good and proves that Argos is one of the best European bands out there. The quality need a lift next time around, though.

3.5 points

 


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Backspace - Human Nature Architecture (2018)


The debut or so album from this band from China.

I know next to nothing about this band. I have therefore contacted their label and asked them for more information about them. I will add this information to this paragraph when I get it.....

I can now confirm that this is their debut album and that the band is a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Thank you to Nevin from Maybe Mars for the quick reply.

There is a big scene in China now for alternative, punk and space rock. Something this Bandcamp page proves. 

Backspace gives us a solid mix of space rock, krautrock and post rock.

It has to be said; mostly space rock though with lots of dirty and hard space rock filling up this forty-five minutes long album.

There is a lot of restless and manic music on this album. There is a lot of youthful post rock too.

The sound is really young and full of life. There is also some light and darkness here. But not as much as I would expect from a post rock album. And this is not a post rock album.

The band sometimes goes on the full attack with guitar walls. They sometimes become a bit pastoral. I guess the vocals are Chinese too and the vocals are a bit sporadic.

I really find this album enjoyable. I find a lot of quality here too. If this is a new band, this is a band who deserve an audience also here in the West. This good album deserves to be heard. Check it out.

3 points



Jaivas. Los - Alturas De Machu Picchu (1981)


The sixth album from this Chilean band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of pan flutes, mini-moog, fender rhodes, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, various percussion and flutes. The vocals were in Spanish.

This is said to be one of the most important ever albums from South America in the progressive rock and folk music genre. So says everyone. An icon of an album, it is said.

But I have my own opinions and voice them in this blog.

The band has now moved into a folk rock flavoured symphonic prog landscape. That not only because this is a concept album based on the poems of Pablo Neruda.

The music is at times pretty complex and symphonic. There are also some psych and space rock in the music on this album. A forty minutes long album, no less.

There is still a lot of South American folk rock vocal harmonies on this album and some very good vocals. Something that adds value to this album.

There is also some hand clapping in addition to the keyboards and guitars here. The music on this album is like Chile meets United Kingdom without making any compromises whatsoever.

And it works really well. A great track or two is missing. But this is still a good album from a band I am starting to really get more and more into. I am still not a fan. But I really appreciate this band.

3 points





Copious - Neo Fusion (1986)


The one and only album from this US band.

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

Almost nothing is known about this band. They released this album and then disappeared again. It is very unlikely that this album shifted a lot of copies. It was also released on a very small record label.

The music on  this album was not exactly the flavour of those times either. Or the flavour of any decades after the happy 1970s. Hence this album's obscurity. There is not even a review of it at ProgArchives.

So I will write some words about this album and then express an opinion. My opinion.

The music on this forty minutes long album is fusion. Slick fusion with the plastic fantastic 1980s sound. There is not much of the organic sound from the 1970s here.

You get some slick guitars and synths over a tight rhythm section. The synths, described as keyboards here, has a pretty bad plastic like sound. The guitars are not much better.

The music is too dynamic to make it a movie score but too slick to really interest the fusion fans. So this album falls a bit between two chairs and two camps.

There are a couple of good tracks here and this album is by no means an album worth avoiding. I think it deserves a listen or two. And some more reviews.

The quality is decent enough although the 1980s sound is pretty bad.

2 points


Art In America - Cloudborn (2018)


The second album from this US band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of tambura, koto, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
Some guest musicians has provided bass and keyboards.

The band released their self-titled debut album back in 1993. It is fair to say that this album is pretty bad, from what I have heard. Light pop music with some symph prog influences.

The band returns again this year with a more distinct progressive rock sound.

The roots of the music on this album is symphonic prog and neo-prog. Light and fluffy symphonic prog and neo-prog, though.

The sound is somewhere between English and the US symphonic prog and neo-prog.

The vocals are really good and ditto for the sound. The music is not really that complex although it is more complex that it sounds. This is a one hour long progressive rock album.

There is some rock and Americana influences in their music and some of the songs are really catchy. And there are also few reasonably complex pieces of music here.

I am not really overwhelmed by the quality of the music here. This is a decent to good album who is suffering a bit in the lack of quality songs. It is still worth checking out this album, though.

2.5 points




Monday, 8 October 2018

Wingfield. Mark - Tales From The Dreaming City (2018)


The new album from this British guitarist.

Mark Wingfield on guitars has got help from Asaf Sirkis on drums and Yaron Stavi on bass. Dominique Vantomme also does synths on some tracks.

I have no idea how many albums Mark Wingfield has ever done. I reviewed one album he was very much involved in back in May this year and you can find the review here.

I love the cover art-work on this album and it really deserve to be included in my blog. It adds value to my blog in my humble opinion.....

Tales From The Dreaming City is a laid-back jazz album. A jazz album dominated by Mark Wingfield's guitar and his excellent solos and hooks.

There are also some synth solos here. But most of the music is dreaming, laid-back jazz.

This is a guitarist album from a great guitarist and mostly for other guitarists. It has a great deal of charm for those of us who does not really play guitars.... and I have been playing air-guitar to this album. It is impossible not to do so.

It is also an album you can relax on a sofa with when listening to this album. I have done that too.

There is no real attention grabbing moment on this album. On this rather good album. It is still a good album people more into the art of playing music will enjoy more than I do.

3 points

 




Barca. La - La Barca (2002)


The debut album from this band from Argentina.

La Barca was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion and Spanish vocals.

I have heard about this band for a long time. Their roots are in the Argentine band Pablo El Enterrado. A band I like a lot.

I reviewed the new La Barca album two months ago but did not really fall for that album. You can read the review here. So I got two more albums from them based on what I knew about them.

Their 2002 debut album is a different kettle of fish, though.

We are talking soft symphonic prog here. Soft symphonic prog with a lot of RPI influences too. There is a lot of Banco in their sound and music.

The vocals is really cool here. The guitars and the keyboards is pretty understated. The vocals and the pretty much pastoral melodies here are the main focus.

There is no great pieces of music here. Neither is this a particular exciting album. It is still ticking over nicely though and is satisfying everyone into melodic symphonic prog. Check it out.

3 points

 




Sunday, 7 October 2018

Izz - Everlasting Instant (2015)


The seventh album from this US band.

Izz is a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
Two guest musicians provided cello and flute.

Izz has released six albums before this album with US neo-prog and symphonic prog. They started out as neo-prog, but soon moved to a landscape somewhere between neo and symphonic prog.

I do not have their newest album, the 2016 album Amplersand Vol II. But I guess we can also find the band in this landscape too on that album.

Everlasting Instant gives us guitars, keyboards and female vocals drenched melodic neo and symphonic prog. This album is not as hard as their previous two albums. Neither is this a soft album with easy melodies and AOR like music.

The music is again very complex and dense. There is a lot of strange turns and going ons on this album. Not everything seems logical on this album. Very few things sounds logical here.

That is Izz's weakness and strength. Their lack of some really proper melodies and the complexity of their music. At times, their music sounds is getting lost.

This is still a good album and a good band I really care about. A band I follow. I wish they would step up one level and deliver some great music, though. But I cannot complain too much about this album.

3 points


Nemo - Prélude À La Ruine (2004)


The third album from this French band.

Nemo was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, banjo, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

Back in July 2012, I reviewed their 2003 second album Presages and liked that album a lot. Read my review here.

I am now planning to review their remaining albums this fall and winter. I think that will be a rather special, eclectic journey !

The band sings in French and their music is very much French with a French take on progressive rock. That means some Jacquel Brel influences as Ange made French symphonic prog so special.

Nemo takes a harder, heavier approach to this scene and adds in a lot of progressive metal and extreme metal into this album.

It still sounds eclectic though. Their mix of symph prog, folk rock and prog metal is very eclectic and nowhere near straight forward.

Nemo has their own style and that comes across with some French folk rock woven into their music.

One hour of music which is really good and special on this album. It sounds different, but still good. This is another fine album from this fine French band.

3 points

  

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Argos - A Seasonal Affair (2015)


The fourth album from this German band.

The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, percussion, flute, keyboards, guitars and vocals.
Three guest musicians, including Andy Tillison, helps out on sax and keyboards.

I have really enjoyed their first three albums and have always rated this band as one of the best bands in the German neo-prog scene. You can read two of my reviews in # 1 of this blog.

The band has slightly changed direction on this album. The band sets the tone on the first song of the album. A tone closer to the world of Van Der Graaf Generator than before.

There is indeed a lot of that British band and Peter Hammell in the music on this album. There is also some Canterbury prog and a lot of neo-prog too on this album.

The tone is darker. The music is still melodic and pretty complex. Well, make that complex.

It is not really easy to follow the songs and melodies on this album. Some of the reasons is that the music here is not as great as I hoped. I rate this band very highly indeed and this album is slightly a let down and drop in form.

This one hour long album is still an album who should please everyone into neo-prog and complex, dark prog. It is also a very good album well worth checking out.

3.5 points

 

Swan Chorus. The - The Swan Chorus (2018)


The debut album from this British band.

The Swan Chorus is a quintet with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, synths, guitars, organ and vocals.

This band is formed by members of Plenty, Nerve Toy Trio and the Genesis tribute band Mama. My review of the Plenty album can be found here.

The vocalist in The Swan Chorus also doubles up as a Phil Collins copycat in the Genesis tribute band Mama. Which says a lot. Fans of Phil Collins vocals will love this album.

The music on this one hour long album is somewhere between the Genesis albums Duke and Invisible Touch. That is some prog with a lot of Tamla Motown soul and some commercial rock too.

The musicians knows what they do. The vocals are really good.

The music is really slick though and the songs is not really that good. I am getting a lot of Phil Collins and the latter days Genesis vibes here. That is my takeaway from this album.

And that is not the type of music I really appreciate. In particular when the music is not good. Hence the rating.

2.5 points





Friday, 5 October 2018

Controcorrente - Controcorrente (1979)


The one and only album from this Italian one-man project.

This album and project was made by Massimo Ruggeri. It is sometimes being referred to his album and released in his name as Massimo Ruggeri - Controcorrente.

This album is not really an Italian progressive rock album at all. It is not a RPI album. But I have chosen to write a short review of it as it is available and easy to find.

Massimo Ruggeri does everything here from guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The music is soft Italian pop with a lot of pastoral elements. It is a pretty beautiful album with a lot of elegant music. The Italian language and vocals is like a nice piece of fur on this album.

The music sounds dated though.

This forty minutes long album is not too bad and a decent journey through some pastoral pop music. Some may even like this album from the golden age of Italian pop.

It is a decent enough album and that is it.

2 points





Fedelissimo Bracco Branco. Il - Appunti Di Navigazione (2017)


The debut album from this Italian band.

This band with the long name is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, accordion, keyboards, guitars and Italian vocals.

The RPI scene comes up with some rather strange bands and sounds in addition to the normal Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) bands and sounds. Those based on PFM and Banco.

Il Fedelissimo Bracco Branco is one of these bands who does not really fits the standard RPI bands format.

Take a big chunk of bands like Ianva and their accordion based RPI and add some of Banco, Italian pop and folk music. That is when you get an album like this one.

The accordion is an instrument that sounds more dominant on this album than it really is. That is because accordion is not really an usual instrument in this genre or in the progressive rock genre.

And accordion is everywhere together with acoustic and electric guitars. Then add the very good vocals too.

The music is pretty bombastic where it throws hand-grenades in all direction. It is also pretty melodic and pastoral at times.

The quality could had been a lot better though. Nevertheless, this is a good to very good album which will send RPI fans happy to their beds. Check it out.

3 points 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Supertramp - Some Things Never Change (1997)


The tenth album from this British band.

Supertramp was a quintet with a lineup of woodwinds, saxophones, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
They were helped out by some guest musicians who provided trumpet, trombone, kalimba, percussion, guitars and backing vocals.

Rick Davies was the boss of this band after Roger Hodgson left the band two albums ago.

The dynamics between Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson was in many ways what made Supertramp and their music. That is pretty obvious on the albums where Roger Hodgson are absent.

Some Things Never Change is the follow up to the truly awful Free As A Bird album. It was one of the biggest turkeys I have ever met in my life. And I have met a lot of turkeys in this and other blogs.

Some Things Never Change is again a blues, pop and jazz album. A seventy minutes long album too.

The quality has improved from Free As A Bird. But not by much. There are still a couple of good tracks here and a lot of decent tracks.

The result is an album which seems a bit lost and a decent album. It is still nowhere near as good as the best albums from this band and I do not really think it deserves the Supertramp label.

2 points


Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Kershaw. Mike - Arms Open Wide (2018)


The fifth album from this British artist.

Mike Kershaw on vocals and keyboards has got help from five other musicians who provides bass, guitars, drums, spoken word and vocals.

I have yet to listen to his first four albums, but I have heard they are good. Hence my purchase of this album.

Mike Kershaw gives us a mix of neo-prog, psych prog and symphonic prog.

The music is rather in the Pink Floyd vein throughout.

The music is not particular complex or bombastic. It is rather simplistic and easy on the ear. It is not very taxing on the head, so to speak.

The music is performed with keyboards and guitars. Mike's vocals are OK, but comes to short on some songs. He is not a good singer, plain and simple.

The songs are decent to good on this fifty minutes long album. I am not really overawed by this album and I guess I will not really get many more of his albums. But this album is well worth checking out.

2.5 points


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Nektar - Journey To The Centre Of The Eye (1971)


The debut album from this British band.

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

Nektar has had a long career with thirteen studio albums behind them. The last one in 2013. Some incarnation of Nektar is still doing the odd festival job.

I got some of their albums and will review them this autumn and winter.

... Starting with their debut album Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.....

It soon becomes apparent that this is not another British symphonic prog, folk rock, Canterbury prog or a hard prog band.

We are here somewhere between the likes of Eloy, Yes and The Moody Blues. That is somewhere between krautrock and symphonic prog.

The music is also very spaced out and symphonic. It has some very good themes too and it is very easy to like this album.

The organ, Mellotron and the guitars are working really well with the vocals on this forty odd minutes long album.

The result is a very good album I really like and which really makes me interested in this band. A new discovery to me, almost fifty years after the release of this album.

3.5 points




Monday, 1 October 2018

Roverart - Labyrinth (2018)


The debut album from this Italian band.

Roverart is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, mandolin, flute, Hammond organ, guitars and English vocals.

Italy has come up with and is still coming up with a lot of bands who is seeking their inspirations and musical landscapes in the 1970s.

That does not necessary means taking inspirations from their native RPI scene. 

Roverart has taken their inspirations from bands like Kansas, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull. That is something they gladly admit in their CD Baby page.

That is also something the listener very easily picks up from listening to this album.

The sound is really good and the music is medium to pretty hard. The band rocks off a lot. There are also some more quiet pieces of music here.

Most of the album is pretty hard and is really in the 1970s hard rock mode. The vocals are very much in the 1970s mode and ditto for most of the instruments too. This album has a very good vibe.

The music on this forty minutes odd album is good and it should bring a smile to most people's face. 
Check it out.

3 pages





Sunday, 30 September 2018

Facing Forever - Metanoia (2018)


The debut album from this US band.

Facing Forever is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and female vocals.

This is another totally unknown band to me and an album I have got on MP3 from a friend who want me to review it.

So I will.

The music on this album is somewhere between prog metal and prog rock. US prog rock, that is.

The sound is pretty metallic and pretty poor. The sound quality is very good. I am though referring to the inhuman mix where all good work is being ruined by the mixer and the mastering.

The female vocals is good. The guitars and the guitars sound is really horrible and must come from the floor of the mixing desk. Terrible, terrible.

The songs on this one hour long album is not too bad, though. But the mix destroys what is good here.

Nevertheless, this is a decent album.

2 points


Contramarea - Insistante (2017)


The debut album from this band from Argentina.

Contramarea is a duo of Edgardo Marchi on keyboards and Santiago Benedetti on drums.

The lineup is very unusual, I have to say. I cannot remember seeing a setup like this before.

The music is instrumental, though.

Instrumental it is and a mix of symphonic prog, RIO, zeuhl, fusion and jazz.

The drums here are really effective and something other synths wizards should check out. The drums adds a lot of hard textures and substance to the music. Music which tends to be pretty bland.

The fifty minutes long album Insistante is therefore not bland, thanx to the drums. The synths is also very good too.

The music is very dynamic with some zeuhl and RIO like tunes. The album though starts with a Soft Machine like intro which makes me very interested from the first tone.

There are some not so good stuff here. But there is not much of that. The overall quality is good throughout.

This is one of the few instrumental albums well worth checking out. I am not a fan of instrumental albums. But this one gets my approval.

3 points



Saturday, 29 September 2018

Finch - Finch (2018)


The debut album from this Canadian band.

Finch is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mellotron, organ and female vocals.

This band from Victoria, British Colombia should not be confused with the Dutch band of the same name. The Dutch band is a semi-legendary symphonic prog band from the 1970s who released some good albums.

Finch from Canada has just started out.

The art-work is pretty dark and tells stories about a dark album.

It is a dark album.

It is not dark metal, doom metal or goth rock, though. The music is a mix of symphonic prog, neo-prog and fusion. There is some very strong hints of jazz here too.

The music is dark though and that because of both the dark guitars and the female soprano vocals from Danya VB. The music is pretty haunting and full of melancholy. It is never gothic, though.

The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is also cool with a lot of jazz sensitivities too.

The music is pretty original and refreshing in a scene where too many follows the rock and neo-prog formula. This album is not doing that and that is good.

This is a good album from a band I would like to hear more from in the future. Keep up the good work, guys !

3 points


Gothik Serpent - Usurper (2018)


The third album from this band from Singapore.

Gothik Serpent is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, programming and vocals.

In reality, this is another one-man project. The man behind it is Lerwin Tsang.

It is not often I review albums from Singapore in this blog. Has it ever happened ? I do not think so.
So it is a delight to introduce you to this album and band.

The music on this one hour long album is a mix of neo-prog, college rock and commercial rock.

There is some traces of Porcupine Tree in the music and some modern symphonic prog in the US vein too. And that is what we find here.

The sound is really good and the musicians knows what they are doing. The vocals are really cool too.

This album has not re-invented the wheel. It is pretty normal music from this genre with the normal standard and quality. It is not an album that excites me.

It is still a good album though and maybe one to check out. Some great tracks is really what this album is missing. Hence the rating.

3 points





Anima Sound - Musik Für Alle (1971)


The second and final album from this German band.

The band was a duo of Linda and Paul Fuchs. Linda did the vocals and voices. Paul did the tapes, drums, bass, woodwinds and synths.

Their 1971 debut album Sturmische Himmel was an utterly horrible cosmisch krautrock album. So I had no hope to this album and was not looking forward to reviewing this album.

With very good reasons, it turned out.

I was not in for a positive surprise here.

This album gives us thirty five minutes divided on two tracks worth of "music". The "music", make that anti-music, is screaming and some woodwinds.

This album is, and this is really incredible, even worse than their debut album and a sure turkey.

Avoid at all cost.

1 point




Friday, 28 September 2018

Galahad - Nothing Is Written (1991)


The debut album from this British band.

Galahad were a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, Hammond organ, bass, drums, tambourine, percussion, guitars, synths, Mellotron, piano, FX and vocals.
Two guest musicians provided keyboards and operatic vocals.

Galahad is a band in the British prog and neo-prog scene which does not really need any introduction. I have previously reviewed a couple of their albums and will review the remainder of the albums I have got of them this fall and winter.

Their debut album was released in 1991 and showcases some really poppy neo-prog.

The music is really simple neo-prog with a chorus-verse-chorus and not much else. The songs on this one hour long album is really short. Short without much substance.

The songs are catchy and slightly bubblegum like in texture. The taste quickly disappears and a bland taste remains.

This album is nowhere near their finest hour. It is still a fairly decent album which show some kind of promise. Promise later fulfilled.

2 points




Thursday, 27 September 2018

Fritsch. Eloy - Exogenesis (2012)


The ninth album from this Brazilian artist.

Eloy Fritsch continued and still continue to write and record his albums with the help from a mountain of synths. Eleven albums so far.

This is the final one of his albums I have got and I doubt that I will ever get more of his albums.

This album starts pretty bright with some electric guitars solos samples before going into a more Irish soundscape. Enya springs to mind.

There are even some female vocals here. Sampled off course.

The rest of this album is in the more traditional symphonic prog with synths landscape Eloy Fritsch lives in. His music, that is. There is a lot of space sounds here too.

The sound is bereft of any human life and is very plastic.

I am not a big fan of this sound. Rather; I do not like this sound at all. The music is decent enough. But it is still muzak in my ears.

2 points








Hovercraft - Full of Eels (2018)


The debut album from this Polish one-man band.

Hovercraft is the project of Bartosz Gromotka.

The Bandpage page is in Polish and I know next to nothing about this project. The instruments I can hear is guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, synths, samples and vocals.

This is one of the many one-man projects in or around progressive rock these days. Not many of these projects has a good standard.

Full Of Eels comes across as a blend of Porcupine Tree and some ambient music. There are even some Americana in this music.

The first half of this one hour long album has some songs of a reasonable good quality.

The album runs out of steam halfway through and becomes an ambient nodding off session after that.

The end result is a decent enough album which will not appeal to many progressive rock fans, I am afraid. Check it out at the link above.

2 points

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Mystery - Destiny? (1998)


The second album from this Canadian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Some guest musicians also provided special FX, violin, narration and vocals.

I really liked their 1996 debut album Theatre Of The Mind and you can find my review here.

The band returns two years later with another album.

The Kansas influences and the symphonic prog is mostly gone. What is remaining is a mix of neo-prog and progressive metal.

The music is really heavy here and in the vein of Dream Theater and other prog metal bands.

There is a lot of good guitars and some good vocals here. Ditto for good keyboards.

This one hour and five minutes long album is both steady and solid. The band rocks off and gives us some good songs too.

I am not really won over by this album as the production and the music sounds far to sterile for my liking. That said, it is difficult to fault this album on anything.

Good, but not great is my verdict on this album. A bit more sparkling music on the next album is what I want.

3 points


Monday, 24 September 2018

Contraband - Time & Space (1971)


The one and only album from this Dutch band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of double-bass, piano, saxophones, flutes, violin, organ, bass, drums, percussion and guitars.

This band was a one-off band who recorded this album and then disappeared again.

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

Most of the music is piano and saxophone dominated jazz with a lot of free improvisations and avant-garde jazz bits. Music which sounds bit too dense avant-garde too me and most of us.

The opening minutes of this forty odd minutes long album is very promising fusion though. The saxophones on this album is really good too.

It is not an album who really speaks well to those outside the jazz aficinados crowd. I am not one of them and this album is not winning me over.

Still, some of the music here is really good and I feel drawn more and more towards jazz when listening to albums like this one.

Check out this album if jazz is your thing.

2.5 points