Friday, 15 January 2021

Apogee - The Garden Of Delights (2003)

 

The fourth album from this German one man band.

Apogee is Arne Schaefer on guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals. He has got help from Uwe Vollmar on drums and percussion and a guitarist on one tracks.

I have reviewed a couple of his albums and has so far liked what I have heard.

Arne Schaefer does neo-prog in the German vein.

There is a lot of Van Der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammil in the music on this five tracks and seventy minutes long album.

There is also this German melancholy take on neo-prog too. Add some Marillion too and you get this album.

The vocals is really good and Arne uses the sparse resources offered to him in a very effective way. The music is pretty complex and technical.

The longest song is well over twenty minutes long and the shortest around five minutes long.

The music is good throughout although I would not brand the music here ground breaking. 

This is a solid, good neo-prog album in the German tradition and will find a lot of fans.

3 points




Thursday, 14 January 2021

Lef - Hypersomniac (2016)

The debut album from this world wide project.

Lef is Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari on vocals. He got an all star team on drums, guitars, synths, saxophones, trumpet, bass and vocals.

The guys involved is Bill Laswell, Eivind Aarseth, Kenneth Kapstad, Rebecca Sneddon, Stale Storlokken and Nils Petter Molvaer.

These guys comes from an experimental jazz and rock background. Some of them also has played in Motorpsycho.

This very much tells the listener where this album is heading.

Dystopian heavy music somewhere between jazz and rock. Include a lot of King Crimson psych too and you get this album.

There is a lot of dissonance on this album and the music is mostly painting a bleak landscape. Or a bleak soundscape if you want.

This is by no means easy on the ears. Nevertheless, the musicians knows what they are doing and they have had free hands to create this universe... a bleak universe.

Fans of these musicians and King Crimson will love this album and I am pretty much won over myself. Lef is a mix of the beauty and the beast.... and a very good album too.

3.5 points



 


Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Aragon - Mr. Angel (1997)

The fifth album from this Australian band.

The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of programming, keyboards, piano, bass, guitars and vocals.

The band has lately re-released their album as Name Your Price album through Bandcamp and this album is one of them. 

I have earlier reviewed two of these re-released albums and I have quite liked them.

Aragon does pure, melodic neo-prog. Their take on neo-prog is neo-prog in it's purest form.

This means a mix of melodic symphonic prog and melodic rock.

The mood and music is upbeat and positive. The music reflect the cover art-work. It is a smiley form of prog in other words.

The vocals too is really positive and bright.

There is not many intricate details here. The music still works and this is an album somewhere between decent and good.

Check out this album from the link above.

2.5 points



Tuesday, 12 January 2021

LamaGlama - Tierra Del Sur (2017)

The one and only album from this band from Chile.

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

This band is new to me. They are from the capitol of Chile, Santiago, and released this album through Bandcamp.

The music here is a mix of art rock and neo-prog.

The vocals are in Spanish and the music has also some folk rock and fusion influences.

The music is mostly cool and laidback with some good guitars and keyboards. The vocals are good too.

The whole package with the cover art-work and the music gives this album a very arty flavour and this is what the music is. Arty.

The music is really melodic too.

The band has come up with a forty-two minutes long album and it is a good album too. 

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 


Monday, 11 January 2021

Preacher - Signals (2014)

 

The debut album from this band from Scotland.

The band is an eight piece big band with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

I guess the band were a project at this stage as the cover art-work only shows three persons. 

The band, who has so far released two albums, comes from Ayr just down the road from me. They are/was more a live band than a studio band. Their live shows was something special and full of lights.

Their music on this one hour long album is a mix of Pallas and Pink Floyd. They are more leaning towards Pink Floyd than neo-prog, though.

The band's take on the commercial psych rock/pop music comes with a big sound in the vein of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The vocals are both male and female.

The music still got some edges and the song writing is good.

There is not much excitement around here and not so much spice. Nevertheless, this is a good but barely a good album. Check it out. 

3 points

 

 


Sintonia Distorta - A Piedi Nudi Sull' Arcobaleno (2020)

The second album from this Italian band.

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

I was not particular impressed by their 2015 debut album Frammenti D'Incanto. Too much power pop and not good enough songs.

There are still some power pop here. But not much. It has been largely been replaced by RPI. Some of the RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano - also has this lush 1970s sound. 

Some of the RPI is more contemporary, though. That is a good thing as this is a modern band.

The Italian vocals are very good and the band has a winner here.

The flutes also gives the pastoral music some extra smell of flowers. Banco is therefore a very good reference here.

There is some more hard rocking pieces here. Most of this album is pretty pastoral though.

The band has pulled it of and the result is a very good album. 

This album is well worth checking out.

3.5 points



 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Stray - Move It (1974)

The fifth album from this British band.

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

Stray, due to some dubious managers who then ripped them off and did not fulfilled the promises they gave the band, was a band very much flying under the radar during their career.

That is a shame as this band has released some decent albums.

Move It is a rock album.

Stray has put the brakes on a bit from their earlier albums. The music on Move It is a fresh breeze compared to their socalled prog rock album Mudanzas.

There is a lot of 1960s in their music and some really good harmonies. The music sounds actually pretty much like an indie band in today's day and age.

The songs are also good and this album, which I did not have any hopes for whatsoever, did make me sit up and really take notice. 

This is an album worth checking out. 

3 points

 

 

 

 

 


Arco Iris - Arco Iris (1970)

The debut album from Argentina.

The band was a trio with a lineup of maracas, timpale, bass, cello, guitars, flute, saxophone, claves, citarina, piano, organ, guiro and Spanish vocals.

The band also had help from some female vocals.

I got their albums and I will be reviewing them this year. 

....Starting with this one. I am here reviewing the original 1970 album and not the 2004 version.

The band is a fusion band and that kind of shines through too at this album. 

Most of the album is a mix of psych rock, progressive rock and folk rock. Yes, there is some fusion here too but not that much.

The album is forty minutes long and the sound is not that good. It has a very lush, pastoral sound with some good vocals too.

The music is not bad at all and this band sounds like a band I should get interested in. This debut album has made me curious about them.

Check out this album.

2.5 points 

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Ring Van Möbius - The 3rd Majesty (2020)

The second album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of timpani, percussion, drums, bass, tubular bells, organ, keyboards, effects, moog, clavinet, theremin and vocals.

I really loved their 2018 album Past The Evening Sun. It was a great album in the Van Der Graaf Generator vein.

Van Der Graaf Generator is still very much present in their soundscape.

This album starts out much more in the vein of ELP and continues like that for a long time before the Van Der Graaf Generator elements also kicks in and merges with the ELP influences.

Add some psych and a lot of Yes influences too and you get this album.

The music is pretty playful and the songs are long. 

The music has this 1970s sound, upgraded to our this day and time ears.

The band has again delivered a great album and one to really enjoy

4 points

Friday, 8 January 2021

Lamagaia - Lamagaia (2017)

 

The debut album from this Swedish band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of effects, drums, bass, synths, guitars and organs.

A guest musician added his saxophone.

This album is thirty-five minutes long and it is divided into two pieces of music. 

And yes, this is space rock. Very spaced out space rock. 

The two pieces of music sounds like a jam too.

I like dirty sound space rock. The saxophone sounds like it has been recorded at the bottom of an ocean and falls a bit flat on it's face.

The music is interesting enough. It is still a halfway house between dirty sounding space rock and much more clear sounding space rock. The sound is not right.

This is still a decent to good album and one to check out.

2.5 points


Laktating Yak - Origin Of The Yak (2018)

 

The first album from this US based band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of drums, percussion, violin, saxophones, bass, guitar and vocals.

Two guest musicians helped out with didgeridoo and vocals.

The art-work and band name tells the listener that this is not a run-of-the-mill melodic prog band.

This is indeed a more avant garde prog band. Actually, this band plays zeuhl.

Zeuhl is one of the smallest music genres in the world, if not THE smallest music genre in the world.

The didgeridoo opens this half an hour short album and it takes us straight into a King Crimons, Frank Zappa and Magma dominated landscape.

The rhythm section is taken from the likes of Magma while the saxophones and violins is a bit more in the King Crimson vein.

The music is quirky and has some chamber rock feel to it. 

The quality is good though and all zeuhl fans and those more into King Crimson and Magma.

This is a good album indeed.

3 points

 

 

 

 

 

 



Thursday, 7 January 2021

Knight Area - D Day (2019)

The seventh album from this Dutch band.

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

A guest musician added grand piano to the sound on one track.

This album is a concept album about WW2 as far as I gather. An interesting subject indeed.

The band started out as a neo-prog band and that is how they came to my attention.

Unfortunate for me, the band moved to progressive metal and that's where we find the band on this album.

D-Day is essentially a progressive heavy metal album. Well, forget the progressive tag here. Heavy metal is what this album is.

There is a lot of the normal heavy metal cliches here, starting with the normal heavy metal vocals. Then you got the guitar shredding too. 

The songs are not really that good either. The quality of the songs are decent and just that.

Heavy metal fans will like this album a lot, I guess. Fans of neo-prog can bypass this album and band now.

2 points



Minasian. David - The Sound of Dreams (2020)


The fourth album from this UK artist.

David Minasian does some of the keyboards, guitars, percussion and vocals himself. 

He has got help of around ten other musicians who has provided drums, bass, flute, guitars, keyboards, percussion and vocals.

The list of the most known guests can be found on the cover art-work above. But for those who cannot find it, the likes of Annie Haslam, Billy Sherwood, Justin Hayward and Steve Hackett makes some very good contributions to this album.

The music is a bit of a middle of the road symphonic prog. It is also bordering to rock, the music on this album. 

This well over one hour long album has a lot of good music and it is indeed a good album. There is no outstanding pieces of music here or even a killer track. But it is always nice to hear Annie Haslam again and her vocals is the best thing on this album.

This is an album symph prog fans must check out.

3 points


 

 


Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Lucifer Was - In Anadi's Bower (2000)

The second album from this Norwegian band.

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

Their debut album was a wild album with obvious Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull influences. But it was a likeable album.

In Anadi's Bower sees the band widen their horizons a bit.

There is still plenty of hard rock here and this album is indeed in the hard prog genre. There is also a lot of Jethro Tull and Prudence influences here. The symphonic prog band The Moody Blues has also left their marks on this album.

The vocals is a bit heavy accented but that is pretty charming. The vocals are also good. 

Some Norwegian folk rock also springs to life on this album, although this is a pretty hard rocking album with a great 1970s sound. I believe the songs on this album was written in the 1970s.

The quality is good throughout this album and it is an album well worth checking out.

3 points



Anathema - Eternity (1996)

The third album from this British band.

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

The band was helped out by some guest musicians who provided keyboards, female vocals and spoken words.

Anathema was in the good old days one of the best new bands in the new wave of British doom metal. They were in the scene together with My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost. 

Anathema soon left that scene after one album and one EP. 

Eternity gives us a mix of doom metal and Pink Floyd'ish psych rock.

The music is pretty good throughout the one hour. There are some pieces of music which falls a bit flat on it's face too.

The band is still in a bit of transition and this album is well worth checking out.

2.5 points




Tuesday, 5 January 2021

White Willow - Future Hopes (2017)

The seventh album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, percussion, guitars, e-bow, flute, mellotron, keyboards, organ, piano, programming, vocoder and vocals.

The band was supported by a handful of guest musicians who provided guitars, clarinet and trumpet.

This is as I am writing these lines their latest album. But I guess we will see this band return again. They are simply too good to go away.

The band had gone more dream-pop and electronica by now and that is reflected by this album. A fifty minutes long album.

There is not much symphonic prog left here. Well.... traditional symphonic prog. 

The vocals is a mix of some male and mostly female vocals. There are more and better guitars here than on others White Willow albums thanx to Hedvik Mollestad's involvement. 

The overall quality is good throughout. This album is their most esoteric album to date but it is still worth checking out.

3 points

 

 

Magnesis - Alice au Pays des Délires (2019)

The tenth album from this French band.

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

I have followed this band with great interest since I started out reviewing prog rock. I got their albums, but missed out on their last two albums after a stressful last year. Yes, the dreaded 2020.

I got this album for review now and their 2020 album for review later this month.

Magnesis is a band with strong influences from Ange and the 1970s French symphonic prog scene. But the band is still something pretty original. If not mistaken, they are from a part of the France with a strong self-contained identity and music scene.

This album is a double CD. The first CD has a lot of very good French symphonic prog which reminds the listener how good this band is. The music is epic with a lot of great vocals. It is also pretty pastoral and the French vocals really brings the best out of the music.

The second CD, a forty-two minutes long concept piece of music, has it's moments. It is not as good as CD 1 and falls a bit flat on it's face at times.

The overall quality is therefore good and just that. 

I am still an admirer of this band.

3 points



Monday, 4 January 2021

Logos - Sadako E Le Mille Gru Di Carta (2020)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

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

A further quartet of musicians added saxophone, guitars, drums and vocals.

The band is one of the better new RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano bands. 

Their self-titled debut album was released back in 1999 and got a great welcome. It is one of those albums all RPI fans must check out.

The two following albums cemented their position as one of the progressive rock bands to keep an eye on.

The band returned again in July 2020 with this album.

The music is lush and pastoral RPI with a lot of ELP like pieces of melodies inbetween cascades of classic RPI with a great 1970s sound.

The vocals are great and there is a lot of interesting pieces of music here. 

The album is over an hour long and offers up some very good music.

This is an album everyone into RPI and symphonic prog should check out. 

3.5 points



Sunday, 3 January 2021

Pineapple Thief. The - Your Wilderness (2016)

The 12th album from this English band.

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

They had help from some guests who provided viola, violin, guitars, clarinet and choir.

The band returns again with this album.

The music is the usual mix of indie rock, djent, Radiohead and Marillion.

This mix and Bruce Soord's great vocals has established The Pineapple Thief as one of the biggest names in the progressive rock scene.

The music is pretty pastoral and vocals dominated on this album. It also pretty moody with a great ambience.

The band has again delivered a good album and one I will revisit in my old age. I really like this band.

Check out this album.

3 points





Saturday, 2 January 2021

LaHost - Erotic Antiques (1992)

The one and only album from this English band.

The band had nine members during their life and the instruments here is drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This is, as I found out after starting listening to this album, a compilation album of every song this band ever recorded. That include live songs from the Marquee club in London.

For some reasons, they played the Marquee club and that shows that someone has a different view on their songs than I have got.

LaHost played pure neo-prog in the vein of IQ and Pendragon. 

Their standards was miles away from the high standards set by Pendragon and IQ. The songs on this almost one hour long album is of a poor quality.

A couple of half decent songs saves this album from being a turkey. Only diehard neo-prog fans should check out this album, just to get their collection of neo-prog bands and albums complete.

The rest of us will survive without this album.

1.5 points

 

 


Marillion - Radiation (1998)

The tenth album from this British band.

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

They had help from guest musicians providing backing vocals.

The band was very much active and alive those days as they are today too. 

Their output had been good after the split with Fish and there had even been some great pieces of music albums along the way.

The band went a bit half-acoustic on Radiation and went for minimalism. 

The Radiohead influences is very much present here and the music does not give their excellent guitarist Steve Rothery a lot to do. This is Steve Hogarth's album.

The album is too silent for my liking.

The quality of the songs on this fifty minutes long album is a mix of good and decent. There are some really good songs here and they makes this album well worth checking out.

Radiation is one of the weakest Marillion albums but still well worth a purchase.

2.5 points



Friday, 1 January 2021

Pohjola. Pekka - Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva (1972)

The debut album from this artist from Finland.

Pekka Pohjola did the organ, bass, piano and violin on this album.

He got help from guest musicians providing drums, organ, piano, saxophone, flute and clarinet.

Pekka Pohjola started out as the bassist in the excellent Finnish band Wigwam before striking out on himself with around ten solo albums before he sadly passed away in 2008.

I got all his albums and will review them in this blog.

This album takes us through a landscape with some Finnish folk rock, fusion, jazz and some avant-garde bass noodling.

There is a good balance of bass, clarinet, piano and keyboards here.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. More decent than good, though. The musicians tries their best on some pieces of music which is not particular great.

It is well worth checking out this album if 1970s Scandinavian prog is your thing and you want to check out this artist from Finland.  

2.5 points


 



Sintonia Distorta - Frammenti D'Incanto (2015)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

The band is new to me but they have released two albums so far. The last one was released a few months a ago and will be reviewed later this month.

Frammenti D'Incanto gives us a mix of hard rock, some progressive metal and some Rock Progressive Italiano. 

There are also some power pop and some goth in their music on this album.

The vocals are in Italian and the vocals are good throughout. 

The music is pretty heavy and epic. There is also some more pastoral pieces of music here.

The quality is a mix of decent and good. It is good enough to make the band try again and that is what they have done. Check out this album.

2.5 points

 

 




Thursday, 31 December 2020

Karfagen - Birds of Passage (2020)

The eleventh album from this band from Ukraina.

Karfagen is one of Antony Kalugin's bands and perhaps his main band. He did the percussion, programming, keyboards and vocals here.

He had help from nine other musicians who provided guitars, bassoon, flute, violin, bass, drums, percussion and vocals here.

This is Karfagen's first of second albums this year and his third album as he also released a solo album I will come back to later this winter together with the second of the year Kalugin album.

I guess Antony became restless and bored during the Covid 19 lock-down. A lock-down denying him the chance to tour and travel around. 

So, he got hot holed up in his home studio, then.... Well, that is what I believe and Antony may disagree with me. 

There is no denying that he is one of the best, among the four-five best progressive rock artists these day. And I mean world wide. 

Birds Of Passage is a lush symphonic prog album with some influences from both progressive metal and classical music. 

It has two pieces of music, two suites called Birds Of Passage # 1 and Birds Of Passage # 2. Both are around the twenty-two minutes mark and the album clocks in at forty-four minutes.

There is a lot of details on this album but no real killer tracks or outstanding pieces of music. That is a bit frustrating with some of the Kalugin albums. Nevertheless, there is no doubts that this this band is a great symphonic prog band.

This is indeed a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

 

 

 

 


Submarine Silence - Did Swans Ever See God? (2020)

 
 
The fourth album from this Italian band.
 
The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, keyboards and vocals.
 
The band was helped out by some guest musicians who provided drums, percussion, flute, bass and vocals.
 
Submarine Silence started out as a side-project of Moongarden. I believe they, four albums later, is a proper band as Moongarden has been very silent for a long time.
 
Submarine Silence, despite of the unusual name, gives us Rock Progressive Italiano of the more classic sort. 
 
The vocals are in English and there are indeed some Brithish classic neo-prog in their sound and music too. They have always had that element in their music.
 
That is mixed up nicely with the 1970s RPI sound.
 
That gives us forty-five minutes of pure class and joy. There is no killer tracks here, though. Nevertheless, I enjoy this album as much as I have enjoyed their first three albums.
 
3.5 points
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Minasian. David - Random Acts of Beauty (2010)

The third album from this English artist.

David Minasian plays numerous instruments including keyboards, guitars, bass, woodwinds, strings, melotron, moog and vocals himself. 

Five guest musicians including Andy Latimer from Camel contributes to this album with drums, guitars and vocals.

David Minasian releases album every ten years or so. He released one earlier this year, ten years after the release of this album.

David Minasian is heavy involved in so many other project that finding quality me-time may be a problem here. 

Random Acts Of Beauty is symphonic prog in the vein of both Camel and Steve Hackett. There is also a lot of classical music and cinematic music references on this one hour long album.

The musicians does a very good job on this good album. There is no killer themes or tracks here and that is a bit of a shame.

That said, this is a solid good album well worth checking out.

3 points






Haze - Back to the Bones (2020)

The seventh album from this British band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, mandolin, fiddle, flute, keyboards, piano, electric mandola and vocals.

I have reviewed most of their albums for # 1 of this blog and you can find these reviews here.

The band debuted back in 1984 and has sporadic been alive. They have also released some live albums too.

The band was one of the first ever neo-prog bands. But when the likes of Marillion kicked on and became famous, Haze was withering away. The quality of their albums was nowhere near as good as Marillion and the other great neo-prog bands albums.

Haze became a cult band with some local support and very scattered support around the world.

And we have now arrived at their seventh album. An album recorded mostly in a Covid 19 lockdown.

The music is a mix of folk rock and a lot of neo-prog. The usual fare from Haze in other words and it is a corner of the scene the band has claimed for themselves.

The album is seventy minutes long and the sound is a bit thin. The songs are not their best either. The music is not complex and neither is it particular symphonic.

Quality wise, we are again talking about a barely good album. It is still a good album and well worth checking out.  

3 points



Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Yob - The Great Cessation (2009)

The fifth album from this US band.

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

This US trio returns again with an hour of distorted and dirty post-metal.

The sound is very dirty and that is done by purpose. This type of music needs a muddy soundscape and this album has just got that.

The vocals is death grunts and very doomy.

There is much more death metal here than on their previous albums. Some of the music is indeed death doom.

There is also a lot of space rock in their take on post-metal. 

The quality is pretty good too. There are some pieces of music here which falls a bit flat on it's face. The rest is good and this is not a bad album at all.

Check it out.

2.5 points





Apogee - Sisyphos (1998)

The second album from this one-man project from Germany.

Arne Schafer is the man using the Apogee name as his artist name. He also played in Versus X on their albums. On this album, he plays all instruments equals bass, guitars, drums, programming, keyboards and vocals.

I have got a handful of Apogee albums and is planning to review them this winter. 

This album is over one hour long and the songs was recorded between 1991 and 1998. The material is coherent throughout and there is no collection of songs feeling here. Hence, I regard this as a normal studio album.

The music is neo-prog and neo-prog of the most basic kind of neo-prog.

The vocals is a mix of Andy Tillisson and Peter Hammill. 

The music is pretty symphonic and pretty complex throughout. It is also both organic and melodic. It also has some flowery, pastoral bits.

The songs and the music is good throughout and I my first meeting with an album from Apogee has left a good taste. Check out this album.

3 points

 

 

 


Monday, 28 December 2020

Gungfly - Alone Together (2020)


The fifth album from this Swedish project.

Gungfly is Richard Sjoblom from Beardfish on guitars, keyboards and vocals.

He had help from Petter and Rasmus Diamant on drums and bass.

This project has been around for a while but this is my first meeting with Gungfly. I will also give Beardfish my full attention later this winter.

This is a one man project and it has this singer - songwriter stamp all over it. 

It is by no means a simple sounding album. The music is indeed neo-prog with some Swedish folk rock and symphonic prog influences. There is also some hard rock influences here.

The sound is very much a Swedish fresh folk rock sound with some good guitar solos and sounds.

The vocals are very good and that makes me look forward to reviewing the Beardfish albums.

I am surprised by this album and it's good quality. Me thinks I should get some more Gungfly albums and give them a go too.

Check out this album.

3 points



 

 

Maschera Di Cera. La - S.E.I. (2020)

The seventh album from this Italian band.

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

Two guest musicians provides drums and saxophones.

Fabio Zuffanti, whose solo albums I am also reviewing these days, is the bassist and a regular member of this band. A founding member of this band too, he is. Great !!

The music on this album as on their previous albums is unashamed Rock Progressive Italiano.... RPI.

The band has inherited the sound and music from the 1970s great bands like Banco and PFM. And they have developed it and made it their own.

La Maschera Di Cera is one of the great and best bands of the second wave of RPI. Listen to their previous albums and you will agree.

S.E.I gives us forty-five minutes of great Italian vocals and some really flowery RPI. The band is unashamed looking back to the 1970s here and is adding their own bits too.

The songs are pretty long too and has a very lush feel. A very......... Italian feel. And there is no great shame of being an Italian and expressing the flowers, smell, language and the music of this country.

Fans of RPI will adore this album. I think it is an album somewhere between very good and great. I really like this band and I need to give their other albums, long ago reviewed albums, a spin or more.

Check out this album.

3.5 points

 

 

 

 



Sunday, 27 December 2020

Picton. Chris - Still Life (2012)

The second album from this English artist.

Chris Picton did the drum machine, bass, guitars and keyboards himself. 

He had enlisted another guitarist who chimed in on two tracks and a female and a male vocalist who did one track each.

I was very unimpressed by his 2010 opus See Me Thru. An album just about surviving not being admitted in my turkey yard. 

My hopes for Still Life was therefore nill, null, zilch and not there. 

The album opens and several improvements has been noted. Most of all the ability to write a piece of music without being the object of a turkey yard. 

The first instrumental pieces is solidly in the one-man symphonic prog genre. The music is instrumental and laidback with some ambient pieces too.

The album provides a pretty big shock on the female vocals song Face To Face. It is a good song. The title track completes with male vocals is also a good song. 

There are also some more solid guitars and melodies on the instrumental tracks too and that makes this album a very solid upgrade on the debut album. So much that I should probably get the third and final album too.

Still Life is a decent to good album and well worth checking out.

2.5 points




Saturday, 26 December 2020

Three - The End Is Begun (2007)

The fourth album from this US band.

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

This is one of the US bands who has been flying below the radar for some years. Their music is pretty commercial and that is not a problem.

I reviewed their third album, the 2005 album Wake Pigs earlier for this blog and I was not a big fan.

The End Is Begun takes us through a landscape full of power teenybop pop, a bit Radiohead art-rock and some metal. 

The music is more melodic on this album than on the rather harsh and naked sounding Wake Pigs. There are more vocal harmonies here. 

The music is still too much nu-metal sounding and does not have much quality. Linkin Park springs to mind and I am not overly impressed.

Check it out if all above sounds like your kind of music.

2 points





Homunculus Res - Andiamo in Giro di Notte e ci Consumiamo nel Fuoco (2020)

 

The fourth album from this Italian band.

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

The album also had contributions from guest musicians providing woodwinds, vibraphone, viola, banjo, bass, vocals and electric piano.

This band is one of the more remarkable bands in the new RPI scene. Yes, their music is Rock Progressive Italiano.

It is not RPI as in symphonic prog, though.

Take a lot of Caravan, the early Soft Machine and add some Picchio Del Pozzo and Area to the mix too. The result is Canterbury scene prog with some Italian avant-garde and folk rock implemented into the sound.

The Italian vocals are both good and quirky. The music is quirky and eclectic. 

The band has found their sound and their niche and I hope they are not giving up as this band has again given us a very good album, rich on originality, quality and quirkiness. 

Check out this album.

3.5 points



Friday, 25 December 2020

Stray - Mudanzas (1973)

The fourth album from this English band.

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

This album is their socalled progressive rock album. An album the band spent and overspent their studio budget with zillions....well, several thousands of pounds... to record and finish. It is said that some of these zillions came from the English mob at that time. That include the Kray Twins and his brother.

I had really been looking forward to find out if the Kray Twins had invested wisely. 

The answer is no as this album was a flop in all senses of the word.

The progressive rock aspect here is the inclusion of some piano and a couple of songs which is a bit slow down. They are leaning more towards pop and soul than progressive rock.

The album is a mix of teenybopper pop, soul and harder rock.

The quality is decent enough but there is nothing here which is improvements on previous albums. It is slightly different from the other albums, but not an improvement.

2 points

 

 

Zuffanti. Fabio - Ghiaccio (2010)

The third solo album from this Italian artist.

Fabio Zuffanti does all instruments and vocals here himself. That means guitars, bass, keyboards and computers.

Fabio Zuffanti is a legend in the Italian Progressive Rock scene. As much of a legend as Steven Wilson and Roine Stolt is legends. 

During his remarkable short life, he has been involved as musician, mentor and publisher in a lot of the new bands in the RPI scene. 

I am not fans of his first two albums Merlin and Fabio Zuffanti. The first one was a rock opera which did not hit the right notes and the latter one was a more electronica album.

Fabio Zuffanti returns with an album where the music is somewhere between electronica pop and electronica rock.

There is some hints of RPI here and the Italian vocals is very good. 

There is a lot of moods, shades and lights on this album and the music on this one hour long album is actually pretty good.

This album is still not exactly good. But it has some good pieces of music and is his best solo album so far. 

2.5 points

 

  

 


Thursday, 24 December 2020

Matterhorn - Outside (2020)

The debut album from this Norwegian project.

Matterhorn is Tommy Halseth on most instruments. That means keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals.

He got help from guest musicians who provided drums, violins and extra vocals.

This is an album released on Appolon Records prog rock sub-label. 

There is some doubts about this being a progressive record or not. Let me explain...

The music takes us back to some of the art-pop from the 1970s and 1980s. The organ sound is old style. 

The vocals too is pretty old style. 

Nevertheless, the music is somewhere between pop and rock. There are some progressive rock here but not much.

The songs are all decent to good. I am not entirely won over but wish Tommy all the best with this project.

2.5 points



Mad Crayon - Drops (2020)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

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

The band was helped by some guest musicians who provided drums and backing vocals.

Mad Crayon debuted back in 1994 with an album called Ultimo Miraggio. They then released an album in 1999 and 2009 before a long break followed.

The band is an Italian band and has been associated with the Rock Progressive Italiano - RPI - scene. I also believe I have reviewed their other albums too. 

.... And I am wrong as I have actually only reviewed their 2009 album Preda an a review can be found at this link. A review of Ultimo Miraggio will follow next year. 

Drops gives us one hour of everything from pop to some rock, funk, jazz, vaudeville rock and a bit of Italian progressive rock.

The quality is not really that good and I am having really difficulties finding many positivities from this album. It is a name your price album from this link and it is well worth checking out, I guess.

This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

 

 

 

 


 

 




Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Millenium - The Sin (2020)

The 16th album from this band from Poland.

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

This band released their self-titled debut album back in 1999 and had released albums on a regular basis since then. The vocalist Lukasz Gall has also released some solo albums too if I am not much mistaken.

The music is Polish neo-prog. 

The music is on this album very commercial, slick and melodic. The lyrics and music is a concept album about those who sins. The seven song titles is lifted from the ten commandments. 

The English vocals is very well pronounced and perfect. The songs is therefore out there and in your face for those who cares about lyrics.

The music is a bit too slick and there is not that much intricate thought provoking music here. Which is a bit of a shame and that makes this album less than good

This band has moved a lot towards commercial rock on their last albums and this album is in that trend. Not all the songs are good either so the album lands somewhere between decent and good.

But check it out.

2.5 points






Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Marathon ‎– Mark Kelly's Marathon (2020)

 

The debut album from this British project.

Mark Kelly is the keyboard player in Marillion and his band consists of two other members with a lineup of drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

Some guest musicians is also adding their talents to this album. That include most of Marillion.

This album and band has been described as a Covid pandemic project. It is done by bored musicians who has nothing to do while self-isolating and trying to stay alive. 

The music is a mix of AOR, art-rock and neo-prog. It is not a million miles away from Marillion. There is more AOR in Marathon than in the far more arty and progressive Marillion.

The musicianship is top notch and the vocals are good.

The music too is good and Mark Kelly has spent his time in isolation very good. 

This is not an album full of exciting music. Nevertheless, the music is good and this album is well worth checking out.

3 points

 

 





Monday, 21 December 2020

Lucifer Was - Underground and Beyond (1997)

The debut album from this Norwegian band.

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

This band has been around since the 1970s in the Telomark region before they released this and six more albums. I will review them this winter.

The band is one of the first Norwegian bands in the progressive rock genre. The music here is not purely progressive rock.....

Take a marriage between Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull and add some Norwegian folk music and some symphonic prog as bride-maids in the wedding photo. 

There are also some Edvard Grieg here too.

The music is muscular and pretty heavy throughout. It is also pretty melodic and the folk rock is pretty refreshing and very much working.

The flutes are cool too and the vocals pretty good.

This forty minutes gives us a mix of decent and good music. It is a surprisingly good album though. Check it out.

2.5 points

 


 



Knight Area - Heaven And Beyond (2017)

The sixth album from this Dutch band.

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

I have been reviewing a couple of their albums as this is pretty interesting band.

They are listed as a neo-prog album in most archives.

The music on this one hour long album is more leaning towards symphonic progressive metal than neo-prog.

There is a lot of metal with a great deal of progressive metal orchestration.

The sound is pretty sparse with only the keyboards, which also acts as a piano, guitars and the vocals on the top of the bass and drums.

The music is good throughout and this album will find fans among those who likes their music somewhere between neo-prog and progressive metal.

Check out this album while I will do and publish my review of their last album sometimes before the end of the year.

3 points

 

 


Sunday, 20 December 2020

Anathema - The Silent Enigma (1995)

The second studio album from this English band.

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

Two guest musicians added vocals and spoken words.

I did review their 1993 debut album Serenades for ProgArchives some eleven years ago. I also reviewed their Crestfallen EP for ProgArchives the same year.

It has taken me eleven years to return to Anathema. Those eleven years has been filled with thousands of reviews of more standard prog and fusion albums.

Anathema was a very big band in my world when their debut album Serenades arrived in 1993. It was a revolution, that album. And I loved it. I did not love it that much in 2009 when I did the review for ProgArchives.

The Silent Enigma sees the band trying to break out of the doom/death metal genre and into a much more Pink Floyd like genre. Just as Opeth did later although Opeth embraced the old symphonic prog genre.

The Silent Enigma gives us one hour of a transition between doom death metal and Pink Floyd. There is more doom metal here than anything else and there is some death grunts.

The songs and the pieces of music is still decent enough as this album is not an impressive album. I am now going to review all their album during this winter and spring and I hope I will see a much more progressive rock band on the albums that followed this album.

This album is a decent album, though.

2 points

Gazpacho - Fireworker (2020)

The 11th album from this Norwegian band.

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

The band has been pursuing their own style and sound since their second album. Their fans, and I am an admirer of this band, knows what they are getting from an Gazpacho album.

Take Marillion, add some art-rock and then some post-rock and add some electronica and shoegaze.

This is what we get from them. 

On this album, the band has added another string to their bow.

Some light opera in the beginning heralds some gloomy, doomy rock too. The twenty minutes long Space Cowboy is therefore a quite unsettling piece of music.

The rest of the album is not as gloomy. But that is the direction the band has taken.

Gloomy and majestic is what this album sounds like. The quality is very good and the band is in great form.

Gazpacho has again delivered the goods and my faith in them has again been rewarded.

3.5 points

 

 

 



Saturday, 19 December 2020

Picton. Chris - See Me Thru (2010)

The debut album from this British multi-instrumentalist.

Chris Picton plays the guitars, bass and keyboards here. He has also fixed a drum sound.

He has so far released three albums and I got two of them to review.

The music on this album is instrumental prog and rock. 

The music is pretty dynamic and a bit hard. The music is dynamic with some pastoral pieces inbetween. There are some guitar solos here too. They are not particular interesting.

The performance is OK enough.

The music is pretty dull and uneventful during these twenty-seven minutes. It is a half-decent album and nothing more than that.

1.5 points




Homunculus Res - Della Stessa Sostanza Dei Sogni (2018)

The third album from this Italian band.

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

The band was supported by contributions from numerous guest musicians who provided woodwinds, strings, keyboards, organ, mellotron, mandolin, guitars and vocals.

I have praised their first two albums in my reviews of their albums in # 1 of this blog. You can find the reviews in this blog at this link.  A review of their new album will be added too before the end of this year.

There is no doubts that this band is one of the more exciting bands from Italy right now. 

The band has taken a lot of their music from bands like Area, Picchio dal Pozzo and the more symphonic RPI bands. Add some old Caravan too and you got them.

Quirky, eclectic RPI with a lot of Canterbury scene takes us and the band over to the Canterbury scene genre and drop them there.

The vocals is a mix of male and female vocals. The music is quirky with a slight jazz and folk feel too.

There is a lot of things going on at this album and the music is very good. The band is still one to really follow for all Canterbury scene and RPI fans. 

This is indeed a very good album.

3.5 points

 

 

 





Friday, 18 December 2020

Opium Cartel. The - Valor (2020)

The third album from this Norwegian band.

The band, or make that a project, were a ten pieces big band with a lineup of programming, drums, percussion, strings, bass, guitars, saxophones, synths and vocals.

The Opium Cartel is one of Jacob Holm Lupo's projects. I would not say one of his many projects as he only have a handful projects.  

Jacob Holm Lupo has taken this project down a much more power pop and art-pop direction than on his other projects.

There is a lot of female vocals here and a lot of dream pop.

There is also a lot of electronica here and music that reminds me about the good old horrors of disco music. 

Some of the music here can indeed be played in a club where people comes to dance. But most of the album is thankfully as bad as that as there is some more pastoral parts here.

The album is forty-five minutes long and it is a decent to good album. I am not fan of the more disco parts here and those pieces of music is not good. Hence the restrained joy about this album.

2.5 points



 



Thursday, 17 December 2020

Osiris - Take a Closer Look (2020)

The fifth album from this band from Bahrain.

The band is an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, synths, keyboards and vocals.

Bahrain or the Arabian peninsula is not a hotbed for progressive rock. But Osiris has been around since the late 1970s and has released five studio albums and two live albums. That is impressive.

I believe they are the only recorded progressive rock band from this area too. 

The band started out as a symphonic and neo-prog band. They did evolve a bit and I have had the pleasure of reviewing some of their albums.

The music here is a mix of neo-prog and art-rock.

There are a lot of pretty subtle Arabic influences here in the sound and in the melodies. 

The sound is not particular good though. The sound is a bit murky.

The songs are somewhere between decent and good as some of the songs are really not up to standards. This addition to the pretty poor guitar sound.

Their take on neo-prog and art-rock is different than the rest of the scene so it is always worth checking out their albums, including this album.

2.5 points

 

 

 

 

 

Marillion - This Strange Engine (1997)

The ninth album from this British band.

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

The band had help from guest musicians who provided balalaika, trumpet, saxophone and a choir.

Marillion post Fish had really established themselves now. Fish was doing his own thing and releasing some good albums. Ditto for Marillion with Steve Hogarth at the microphone. 

 It was a win win situation for everyone. I am not complaining, at least.

Marillion was now more leaning towards art-rock than neo-prog on this album.

Steve Rothery gave us some very good guitars and the rest of the band was firing on the cylinders too. Perhaps not all of the cylinders.

Not all the songs are good on this album. The sound is good though and a couple of songs are a step above the rest of the songs.

The end result is another good album from Marillion and another album well worth checking out. This band has so far delivered and I hope they did that on the remainder of their studio albums. Reviews of them will follow this winter.

3 points





White Willow - Signal To Noise (2006)

The fifth album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of drums, glockenspiel, percussion, woodwinds, bass, guitars, keyboards, moog, mellotron, organ, piano, ebow, electric sitar and vocals.

White Willow is one of the pioneers in the Norwegian symphonic prog scene.

Their sound, as featuring on Signal To Noise too, is a mix of Scandinavian symphonic prog, Scandinavian folk music, electronica and more Radiohead like rock. 

The vocals are female and they are pretty prominent.

The sound has a lot of 1970s vibes too.

The music is at times very pastoral and with some additions of electronica.

This is one of the better White Willow albums and a very good album too. This although the songs are not that long. They are much more punchy than normal and that suits this sound. 

This may be the first White Willow album you should check out.

3.5 points