Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Titus Groan - Titus Groan (1970)

The one and only album from this British band.

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

This album is very obscure and a highly valued album among those who likes quirky progressive rock. 

The music on this album is indeed a bit of an oddity.

Take some simple 1960s pop, add some symphonic prog and brass rock. Add some jazz and eclectic prog too and you get this album.

There are some saxophones on the top of some naive, simple melodies made into longer songs. Songs who then becomes pretty quirky as layers of melodies is added to each other. Hence, the songs are pretty symphonic prog'ish.

The vocals are nice and in the 1960s pop vein.

The music is decent enough and is pretty alien to those used to today's songwriting and melodies. It is still an album well worth checking out. 

2 points

 

 

Konom - Konom (2021)

The debut album from this band from Great Britain.

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

Another new band has entered the British progressive rock scene and we should all be happy about that. The scene always needs new blood, new bands and new albums.

The band released an EP under the name Ascent back in 2015 before they changed their name. Their new album has been released through Bandcamp.

This album is fifty minutes long and has one long suite who takes half of the album and three other long songs.

The music is heavy and their music is somewhere between progressive metal, hard prog and neo-prog. Dream Theater, Pallas and Porcupine Tree springs to mind here. 

There are some good guitars here throughout these epic songs and a lot of interesting details. The vocals are good too and the musicians is doing a good job.

This album grows on the listener and the listener gets more from it every time. This is indeed a good album and this band is added to my list of new talents well worth keeping an eye on.

3 points


 


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012)

The 17th album from this British band.

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

The band was helped by a handful of extra vocalists.

Marillion has been going on since the early 1980s as recording artists. First with Fish and then with Steve Hogarth on vocals.

The band has adopted a more art-rock sound after Steve Hogarth joined the band. 

And that is what we get here. 

That means some epic art-rock with complex songs based on good melodies. 

The vocals are as per usual very good and the band really hits it off during these sixty-five minutes. 

There is not a bad song here and parts of this album is really interesting. There is no real great songs here and that is my only gripe with this album. Nevertheless, this is a good album. A solid one too and one I will listen to again and again.

3 points


Monday, 10 May 2021

Blackfoot - No Reservations (1975)

 

The debut album from this US band.

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

Blackfoot was a southern rock band who operated in the shadows of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers Band. The leader, Rick Medlocke is now a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I got a handful of their albums and will review them this summer as I find this an interesting genre and band.

The band debuts with some pretty melodic hard rock on this album. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers is good references here.

The guitars are really good and Rick Medlocke, one of the bigger personalities from the 1970s rock scene, is a good vocalist and guitarist. He is very much carrying this album.

There are a lot of good guitar solos here. 

The end result is a good US hard rock album which will interest everyone into this scene. For the rest of us, this is a decent album.

2 points

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Arco Iris - Los Elementales (1977)

The seventh album from this band from Argentina.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, bandura, saxophones, flute, organ, synths, piano, mini moog and vocals.

Arco Iris has so far given us two classics and some not so brilliant albums. Their mix of fusion, folk and prog has engaged me and it has been fun reviewing their first six albums.

We are now at their seventh album and that one starts out with an epic piece of fusion. The music is pretty close to where we found Mahavishnu Orchestra. 

Is that the whole story of this forty minutes long album ?

No.

The band then switches over to some funky, Spanish vocals driven rock and pop. There is some folk rock and progressive rock in these songs before we get some more fusion.... or Arco Iris take on fusion.

The music is pretty good throughout and this album is giving me a lot of food for thought. Just like I prefer music to be. The music is also groovy too. It is very much a satisfactory album.

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 


Ainur - War of the Jewels (2021)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

The band is a twelve members big band with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, contrabass, guitars, violin, viola, cello, horns, flute, keyboards and vocals.

Three guests added their keyboards, narration and vocals.

Ainur is a kind of band where J.R. Tolkien has inspired. I have reviewed two of their albums. Their first one was a turkey and the second one was pretty good.

This seventy minutes long album opens up with an epic, goth like piece of music and that sets the tone.

The music is a mix of neo-prog and goth metal.

There is a lot of very good female vocals here and some good male vocals. The guitars are mostly in the progressive metal vein and that too sets the tone.

The songs are OK and follows the normal goth metal formula. This is a sort of a rock opera... well, it is a rock opera.

It feels a bit bloated, the music. I am no fan of goth metal but I guess this album will be very popular among those vast numbers of people who like that genre and lives for that genre.

This is a decent to good album and nothing more than that.

2.5 points

 

Friday, 7 May 2021

MaterialEyes - Strange Road (2018)

The debut album from this English band.

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

This band has just released their new album and I felt it was appropriate to review their debut album before I reviewed their new album. 

I reviewed their second album In Focus two years ago when it was released and was not impressed.

That album gave us some very melodic prog in the vein of Pink Floyd and Camel. 

Strange Road though gives us one hour of pop-rock. There is some Americana/Country in the sound too. But there is not much, if any, progressive rock on this album.

The music is inoffensive middle of the road pop-rock and just that. It is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

 


Atomic Rooster - Nice 'n' Greasy (1973)

The fifth album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, strings, arp synth, electric piano, organ, piano and vocals.

A new album from this band. An album also named IV for some reasons.

This band was at this time a start-stop band from now one as they took a looong break after this album.

The great Chris Farlowe did the vocals and Vincent Crane did the arrangements and the tangents here. 

The band had ditched their progressive rock roots and gone for hard rock and blues on this album. Most of the music is pretty dirty and raw.

The more calm and controlled Goodbye Planet Earth is a good track by far the best piece of music on this album. It is a semi-classic track too. 

The rest of the album is run-of-the-mill songs and pretty much worth forgetting.

The result is a decent album but nothing more than that. 

2 points



Thursday, 6 May 2021

Saga - Symmetry (2021)

The 22nd album from this Canadian band.

Saga is a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, clarinet, keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals.

Why ?

That is my question when I listened to this album for the first time. Saga was my introduction to progressive rock forty years ago and I have been more or less a fan of them since the late 1970s. More or less. 

The band has released some great albums and some turkeys along the way. At their best, very few bands beats them in my opinions. I am listening to their great song Tired World from their debut album when I am now writing these lines and that song is up among the ultimate best of them in the pomp prog genre.

That song and many other great Saga songs is included on this "new" album from Saga. The difference between a best-of album and Symmetry is that Saga, which is Jim Gilmour, Ian Crichton and Michael Sadler from the original Saga + two other musicians, has made acoustic versions of these tracks and labeled it as a new album.

Acoustic and semi-acoustic versions, that is. Most of the electricity has been removed from the songs. When comparing their new version of Tired World with the original 1978 version of this song, most of the sparkling and fizz has been removed from this song. It is still a very good song, but not a superb song as the original song is/was.

That goes for most of the other great and superb songs here. The fizz has gone and the songs sounds a bit stale. Saga has also added some less great songs here from their long career and they do not sound that good.

I was a looking forward to new songs from Saga. What I got was a reminder who great band Saga is... by comparing the far better original songs with the songs on Symmetry.

I am still a life-long fan of Saga. But this album lack the sparkle and fizz I associate with Saga at their best. 

BUT it hard to argue against great melodies though and this is why I give this album a good rating. Simply because the melodies, no matter who much the sting has been removed from them, is great and i can therefore live with second rate versions of them and some duds/songs who is not among their great stuff.

But this is still for fans only as there is best-of and live albums there much more worthy your attention than this one.

3 points

 

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Bacio Della Medusa. Il - Deus Lo Vult (2012)

The third album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, piccolo, saxophones, theremin, flute, harp and vocals.

This band is not particular productive. Nevertheless, each of their four albums has put the band on the map as one of the best new RPI bands out there.

Rock Progressive Italiano is an own genre and it can have a lot of various expressions.

Il Bacio Della Medusa mixes up English and Italian folk rock with some occult hard rock and a lot of RPI.

The music has a mix of harsh sounds and more pastoral and epic sounds. The vocals is a mix of pastoral and harsh. The folk rock and the flutes reminds us a lot about Jethro Tull and that also goes for some of the music.

The music is still RPI and takes a lot of inspirations and sounds from the old RPI scene from the 1970s.

The end result is a rather short album clocking in at just over half an hour. But there is no dead wood here and not a waste of time here. This album packs a punch and it hits home.

This is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

 

 


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Apogee - Endurance of the Obsolete (2020)

The tenth album from this German one-man band.

It is actually a duo now with the drummer Eberhard Graef helping out the band owner Arne Schaefer who does the keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals.

I have reviewed a handful Apogee albums this winter and have found them quite a pleasure.

Sixty-five minutes divided on six songs. The longest one is clocking in at sixteen and a half minutes.

Arne Schaefer has managed to create some quite dramatic, epic neo-prog on the previous albums. Yes, this album is in the German neo-prog tradition and sound. Apogee is one of the leading acts in that scene. 

This time around, the sound is a bit stripped down and the music is not that bombastic. 

The music is pretty melancholic and vocals based. There is still enough details around here to make it pretty interesting.

This time around, I am not entirely won over by an Apogee album. There is not enough good stuff here to satisfy me. 

The quality is somewhere between decent and good on this album. Nevertheless, it is still worthy checking out for all neo-prog fans. 

2.5 points


Mekong Delta - Visions Fugitives (1994)

The sixth album from this German band.

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

Mekong Delta occupies the position as the most exciting progressive thrash metal band around. It is a small scene which also includes bands like Cynic, Coroner and Voivod. 

There is new bands and new growth in that scene, though. But Mekong Delta is still the kings of that scene.

This album starts with a couple of thrash metal songs. They are a bit quirky as this band does not do straight thrash metal. I am no big fan of the scene but this is not bad.

Then we get a symphony of some sort. Dark and brooding symphony with some zeuhl influences too. This symphony is rather good.

The album closes with a couple of more progressive thrash metal songs. They are more progressive rock than thrash metal, it has to be said.

Mekong Delta surprises me and that in a good way. This is actually a good album and a pretty remarkable album too. 

Check out this album as it is very progressive and quirky. And we all like that.

3 points

 



Monday, 3 May 2021

Anathema - Hindsight (2008)

The eight album from this English band.

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

The band continues on their way in exploring the more ambient, somber parts of the progressive rock genre.

Take some Pink Floyd, a lot of Marillion, Gazpacho and Radiohead. Well, Anathema has got their own sound and niche in the progressive rock scene. 

There is no metal here.

The music is rather somber, gloomy and doomy. 

It is also pretty epic and majestic at times.

The male and female vocals and the guitars are good and the band has painted a nice soundscape on this fifty minutes long album.

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

3 points


Sunday, 2 May 2021

35 Tapes - Home (2021)

The second album from this Norwegian band.

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

The band is back again after their very good 2019 debut album.

The band has not changed genre or style either.

We get a mix of Camel and Genesis here with some Yes and other British symphonic prog influences. There is also some influences from the US band Cathedral's debut album.

The songs are mid-length and pretty intricate and quirky. The vocals are very good.

The mellotron and guitars gives this album a 1970s sound and that is indeed what this album sounds like. A 1970s symphonic prog album.

The music is very good throughout and Norway has again got a very good symphonic prog band. Something their two albums proves. 

Get this album.

3.5 points

 

 

 

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Tonton Macoute - Tonton Macoute (1971)

The one and only album from this British band.

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

There is a lot of pretty obscure albums in the history of British rock and prog. Not to mention bands.

Some of them are obscure because they have not dated that well. Some are obscure because of the lack of quality.

This album clocks in at three quarters of an hour. During those minutes, we are being treated to some naive pop from the 1960s, jazz, blues and some hard rocking progressive rock.

The vocals are good and the band is doing their best on songs with a limited amount of quality.

In short, this is a pretty interesting album with a lot of woodwinds and piano. The songs are pretty quirky too.

But the quality is not there and this album is just a decent, although a pretty interesting album with it's own style.

Check it out if you want obscure albums from the early 1970s.

2 points


Friday, 30 April 2021

Tonic - This Way (1980)

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, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, keyboards, metallophone and vocals.

A guest artist contributes with a flute on one track.

This band was a pretty short lived band. Maybe because of their music and being a seven piece big band.

The music is a mix of symphonic prog and brass rock. There is also some jazz here. Add some Latin-American rhythms too and you get the drift.

The forty two minutes long album has a mix of instrumental music and more songs based music. The instrumental music drifts towards jazz and brass rock. The songs are in the symphonic prog vein.

The album has a split personality in this respect and I do not think the band really know what they were doing.

There is no good songs here. Nevertheless, this is a decent enough album and well worth a listen or two.

2 points



Raven Sad - The Leaf and the Wing (2021)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, moog, organ, synths, piano and vocals.

It is ten years since the band released their last album so this must be regarded as a comeback album.

On their last album, Layers Of Stratosphere, they sounded like a mix of Pink Floyd and Gazpacho. Ten years has gone and they have changed a bit.

The Leaf And The Wing gives us seventy minutes of melodic progressive rock. There is a lot of neo-prog here and that is more or less the genre this album can be labeled under.

There is still a lot of psych prog here though and the music is not very technical.

The vocals are very good and the music is at times very muscular.

The music is indeed good and this album should please everyone into melodic prog. 

It is good to see this band back again.

3 points


Thursday, 29 April 2021

Tootscats - Jason Clause (2014)

The one and only album from this Russian band.

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

The band had help from two guest musicians who provided double bass and violin.

The band comes from Saratov, a town on the Volga river, the longest and biggest/longest river in Russia. Stalingrad/Volgograd is just down river from Saratov.

The music on this one hour long album is what we can call eclectic. 

Take some Russian folk, add jazz, Canterbury prog, Frank Zappa and add a lot of Gentle Giant to the stew. 

The vocals are in English and the songs are pretty short too.

The vocals are really good and ditto for the sound. The songs are pretty decent and this album scores pretty high when it comes to weirdness and originality.

Check out this album.

2.5 points

 

 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Toubabou - Attente (1975)

The one and only album from this band from Canada.

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

Quebec has a lot of good bands and has had a strong scene since the beginning of the 1970s. 

Toubabou is one of the more obscure bands from that era. Ditto for this forty minutes long album. 

This is actually their second album as they debuted with a live album. An album I have yet to get.

The band, or make it a recording project, was made by a member of Harmonium. 

The album starts with an African rhythm composition before jazz and some fusion takes over. There are also some prog here. Most of the album is pretty esoteric with some hints of zeuhl too. 

The music is very much based on percussion and driven by mostly African percussion. There is also some fat organ pieces here who also drives the music forward.

The quality is decent enough and this is a good addition to any Quebec scene collection. And that is what it is. The music is not particular good. Nevertheless......

2 points



Marillion - Happiness Is The Road (2008)

The 15th album from this British band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, clarinet, harmonium, glockenspiel, piano, keyboards, synths and vocals.

They had help from half a dozen guest musicians who provided French horn, dulcimer, percussion and arco bass.

The band returned again with a double album. A two hours long album and I gather this was a free download album too. 

I have noted this album is a love or hate album among the critics. So with some trepidation.... I put this album on.

Marillion is melancholic and pastoral on this album. The whole two hours. It is tempting do regard these two hours as one piece of music and not a collection of songs. That is how I see this album. 

This may sound like two wasted hours or an substandard album. No.

Marillion has a great vocalist in Steve Hogarth and four great musicians who peppers this album with a lot of interesting details and quirky melody lines. 

The end result is an album bordering to be very good. A couple of better melodies would had elevated this album to that status. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one to enjoy.

3 points

 

 

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Pohjola. Pekka - Urban Tango (1982)

The sixth album from this artist from Finland.

Pekka Pohjola on bass and keyboards had help from a sextet who provided drums, guitars, synths, keyboards, mandolin and vocals.

After his first five album, of whom three of them can be regarded as great albums, Pekka has entered the 1990s and it's sound and values.

Four long compositions lasting altogether forty-eight minutes is what we get here.

And yes, there is some tango here. And there is also some jazz blended with cinematic and movie soundtrack music.On the three first composition, that is.

None of them are that interesting. They are lacking in quality, I am afraid to report.They are too slick and they reminds me about a movie soundtrack for a rather second rate TV series.

The final composition is a song with vocals and all that. It is a mix of AOR and a musical song. It is not too bad, though.

This album is nowhere near as good as his previous three albums. It is still a decent album though. But I am now wondering where the next album is taking me as I am reviewing all his albums.

2 points



Perfect Storm - No Air (2021)

The debut album from this band from Holland.

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

This is a new band to me and most of you too, I guess. 

Perfect Storm is a new addition to the Dutch neo-prog scene. 

The use of both female and male vocals as the main vocals is well done and faultless. The bass reminds me about Mark King in Level 42. There is indeed some funk in their sound and some electronica too. Ditto for modern rock.

Most of all, this album has the same melancholic sound as the neo-prog bands from Poland. 

The music is muscular and really beefy. The guitars are at times really heavy and they are chugging away just behind the vocals. The music is really vocals based too.

This fifty-five minutes long album is a really nice album and a good addition to the prog scene. And ditto for the band too. I hope we will hear a lot more from this band in the future. Preferable with some better songs, though. It is still a good album.

3 points

 

 

 

Monday, 26 April 2021

Tramtracks - Then? (2020)

The debut album from this Australian band.

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

This album was released last autumn through Bandcamp and I just became aware of it.

So I got it and put it up for review.

The music on this forty minutes long album has a laid-back, cool breeze kind of sound.

The music is a mix of jazz and art-rock with some neo-prog too. It is some laid-back music and the cover artwork very much describe the music. 

This is music for the beaches and made on the beaches. Australian beaches minus the nasty stuff like stonefish, crocodiles and the big whites. 

The music is cool with some good vocals and guitars.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. It is not quite up there but the band shows some promise and I hope we will hear more from this band.

2.5 points




Toy Matinee - Toy Matinee (1990)

The one and only album from this US band.

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

Four guest musicians, including Julian Lennon, added their clarinets and vocals to this album too.

This band was a short lived band. The members later worked with Mr Mister and Sheryl Crow among many others. The leader of this band, Kevin Gilbert, died far too young.

I have seen few reviews of this album. Something I decided to do something about.

The music is not really progressive rock at all. It has some hints of art rock. But that is all.

The music is commercial rock with a lot of AOR included too.

The music is catchy and at times funky. There are also some ballads here. The music reeks of 1990 and the late 1980s. 

It is not a bad album though. There are some good songs here. The title track is a good, somber ballad which stands out as the best song of the album. 

It is an album well worth checking out if catchy rock and AOR is your thing.

2.5 points


Sunday, 25 April 2021

Gordon. Ian - His Quiet Hands (2021)

The eight album from this British artist.

Ian Gordon does the drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals himself.

Jennifer Gordon adds female vocals on two tracks.

My only meeting with Ian's music is my review of his 2011 album Terminally Brave I did some years ago. It is a good album.

His Quiet Hands is a collection of unreleased old songs from 2001 and there about. 

Most of the songs are in the singer-songwriter tradition with lots of vocals and not so much technical challenging music. The music is rock, bordering to art rock. There is no sing along commercially catchy songs here so comparisons with Billy Joel and Elton John... or Prince is not fair. 

The songs are pretty melancholic and sad. The vocals are really good.

This one hour long album is not the most exciting album around and there is only glimpses of vocal-free music here. 

The result is still a decent to good album. Half of the songs are good and the rest falls a bit short. It is an album well worth checking out if no thrills rock is your game.

2.5 points


Czar - Czar (1970)

The one and only album from this British band.

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

This was a short lived band who gigged a lot and recorded this album in between the gigs. 

Their music is based on simple melodies from the 1960s. References is early Procol Harum. 

These melodies has got spiced up with some blues too. But most of the melodies are 1960s pop music with some blues and early symphonic prog sound and additions.

There is a lot of organs and other tangents here. There are also some guitars. Sometimes pretty raw and hard guitars too.

This album is pretty unique and has it's own sound and music which sets it apart from the rest of the scene. 

The music is pretty basic though and does not offer that much joy for a proghead. 

Nevertheless, this is a decent album who stands alone on it's own in the scene.

2 points

 

 

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Curva Di Lesmo. La - La Curva Di Lesmo (2015)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band is a duo of Stefano Agnini (keyboards) and Fabio Zuffanti (bass).

They had help from numerous other musicians from the RPI scene who provided drums, percussion, guitars, bass, violin, accordion, flute, piano and vocals.

The living legend Fabio Zuffanti has taken part in around ten bands during his time in the RPI scene and is one of the most productive guys in the scene. A living legend, no less.

La Curva Di Lesmo is his project who splits a lot of opinions. 

These fifty-two minutes is divided on the opening song who clocks in at eight minutes, the second song who clocks in at eighteen minutes and the final song who clocks in at twenty-six minutes. 

The music is a mix of........... well, it is RPI looking back to the 1970s. That means folk rock combined with symphonic prog and some Italian pop. Add some female gothic vocals to the mix too.

The result falls well short of expectations. 

The music is pretty dull and only offers some decent melodies and details. The compositions is simply not good enough and parts of the album falls flat on it's face.

It is a decent enough album but that is all. RPI fans should check out this album.

2 points

 

Atomic Rooster - Made In England (1972)

The fourth album from this English band.

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

The band was joined by three guest musicians who provided bass and female vocals.

It is not easy to pinpoint the music on this album. It has such a variety of styles and music.

Take some jazz, blues, soul, funk and hard rock. That is what this album got. Chris Farlowe, ex Colosseum is the vocalist here and has contributed to this album with his own ideas. His vocals is very powerful as he was one of the best vocalists in the 1970s English scene.

The music is all over the place on this forty minutes long album. But the band leader Vincent Crane manages to keep this album under control.

The quality of the songs is somewhere between decent and good. 

It is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points


Friday, 23 April 2021

Beardfish - Sleeping in Traffic Part One (2007)

The third album from this Swedish band.

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

I have been observing this band from afar for a long time but I have not had the chance to review their final six albums before now. The reviews of the five other albums will follow this summer. 

Beardfish has often been associated with The Tangent. 

Not without reasons, it has to be said.

Beardfish's base sound is a mix of Swedish folk rock and eclectic prog. Gentle Giant springs to mind. So does The Flower Kings and Kaipa. Mostly Kaipa. Add Frank Zappa too in their music. 

The Frank Zappa influences was very strong on their first two albums which I have yet to get hold of. But it is still lingering on at this album too.

The music is very colorful and lush. It is also different from what I kind of expected and it shows a band with their own style and niche. Their use of accordion as a central instrument is unusual to say at least.

The music is also good bordering to very good. 

I very much look forward to listening to their remaining five albums, indeed. 

3 points



Thursday, 22 April 2021

Toboggan - Première Descente (2021)

The debut album from this French band.

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

It was with trepidation I decided to review this album. Their Bandcamp page speaks about some dense avant-garde music. It is the type of music I find difficult to review.

But the music is not that hard to describe and review. So I did not have that much reasons to fear this album and the task of reviewing it.

Parts of this album is indeed avant-garde prog with some hints of zeuhl and Canterbury prog too.

There is also some jazz here in the vein of Michel Delville and Mark Wingfield. Toboggan would feel themselves at home on a record label like Moonjune Records. 

The jazz is dense and unrelenting brutal in parts. 

This one hour long album visits some diverse soundscapes. None of them are easy listening. But the music is not very avant-garde. There is melodies and methods in the avant-garde and jazz music. 

I am not sure if Toboggan will ever decide if they will be a jazz or an avant-garde prog band. Or maybe they will be a crossover band. Premiere Descente is 50 % jazz and 50 % avant-garde prog.

And that makes this album rather good. 

Or decent to good. I am not entirely won over by this band and album. Nevertheless, check out this album.

2.5 points


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Crystalwood - Solaire (2014)

The one and only album from this US band.

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

My reference bible ProgArchives gave this album a high rating.... but it has no reviews there. So I thought this crossover prog album may be something for me and this blog.

The album is also clocking in at well over one and a half hour. A digital download in other words.

Crossover prog can mean a lot. In this case, it is not good news at all.

We get over ninety minutes with a lot of soppy pop music from the 1960s... And I do not mean pop music as in The Beatles. I mean pop music from the time before The Beatles shook up that scene and made pop music a credible form of music. 

Take some soppy pop music from the 1970s and add some rock to the proceedings.

A large part of this album makes me cringe. Really cringe and make we want this album to go away.

This is another turkey in my collection of turkeys and well worth avoiding.  

1 points


 


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Crystal Phoenix - Crystal Phoenix (1989)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

The band released two albums between 1989 and 2003 through Black Widow Records before they called it a day.

I reviewed their second album back in October 2010 and it has taken me more than ten years to revisit the band for a review of their debut album. Hmmm......

Their main force was ms. Myriam Saglimbeni on vocals and guitars. Her vocals is not good at all. Her vocals are in heavy accented English.

The music is a mix of metal, prog and folk rock. Mostly metal.

The music sounds as cheap as the front cover art-work. The sound is thin. The cliches comes thick and fast.

There is no quality in the music and this album is fully fat turkey. Avoid.

1 points

 


Lucifer Was - Morning Star (2017)

The seventh album from this Norwegian band.

The band was Thore Engen on guitars and vocals plus eight other musicians who provided drums, percussion, bass, guitars, zither, organ, piano, harpsicord, mellotron, flute and vocals.

This is so far the latest Lucifer Was album and I have had the pleasure of listening to all their albums. 

Lucifer Was is without doubts one of the gems from the Norwegian scene. Their 1970s sound mix of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull really hits the right tones for most of us.

Their albums is a bit hit and miss through. Five of them are really good. The two remaining is somewhere between decent and good.

Morning Star sees the band shed most of the Jethro Tull and early Black Sabbath sound. If anything, they now sounds like Black Sabbath, the Tony Martin era.

This album sounds a bit blander than the normal fare from Lucifer Was. It still has most of their trademark sound, but it seems like the band has moved more towards mainstream.

The quality of the songs are not their normal good either. 

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. And this is one of the two albums I feel is letting down their good name and standards. Nevertheless, check out this album.

2.5 points


Monday, 19 April 2021

Crystals - Crystals (1992)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

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

This album was recorded in 1974 but only released through Mellow Records in 1992. 

This is actually an RPI super-group with members from Area, Samadhi, PFM, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and Raccomandata Ricevuta Di Ritorno. 

So what could go wrong ?

The genre to start with. The music is not RPI at all. 

Take Led Zeppelin's debut album and add some more rock'n'roll to that album. Then you can add an Italian pop song too. Then you get this album.

The vocals are in English and the vocalist sounds a great deal like Robert Plant. But nowhere near as good. The rest of Crystals is nowhere near as good as Bonham, Jones and Page either. 

This super-group has still tried the same path as them and the result is not too bad.

The music is fairly decent and ditto for the sound. It is still a waste of talent and I am not sure why this album was recorded at all. An album written and composed by an Area member, btw.

Nevertheless, it is a decent album.

2 points



Caligonaut - Magnified As Giants (2021)

The debut album from this Norwegian band.

The band is Ole Michael Bjorndal's solo project. He is member of Oak and Airbag and does the guitars and vocals on this album.

He got help from members of bands like Pymlico, Wobbler, White Willow and Airbag. They contribute with drums, bass, violin, guitars, church organ, mellotron, synths, keyboards and vocals.

A bit of a super group in other words. But that does not necessary means a good product.

Magnified As Giants gives us fifty minutes divided on four songs... four compositions. 

References are Pink Floyd, Wobbler, King Crimson, Yes and Genesis. And you can also add the Norwegian symphonic prog scene as a whole as references. 

This is indeed a symphonic prog album. The music is a bit eclectic and more than most symphonic prog albums. But that is Norwegian symphonic prog for you and it's sound and style. 

The vocals is very good and the same can also be said for the music here. It is shading greatness, this album and the many great details elevates this album to greatness. 

This will surely be rated as one of the best albums of the year come next winter. Get this album.

4 points


 

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Bacio Della Medusa. Il - Discesa Agl'Inferi D'Un Giovane Amante (2008)

The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, vibraphone, viola, violin, saxophone, flute, keyboards, organ, piano and vocals.

This band broke through as a breathe of fresh air in the RPI scene earlier this century. They has so far released four albums and I am reviewing them.

I really liked their 2004 self-titled debut album. A great piece of RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano. 

The follow up album, the one I am reviewing here, takes us into some pretty hard RPI. There is also a lot of folk rock here in addition to some hard blues too.

One part of the RPI scene is the hard rocking scene and this band is firmly in that end of the scene. Hard rocking but never heavy metal. 

The music is also very complex indeed. 

There are also some very good melodies here and some really cool vocals. The musicians is also delivering some very good details too.

This one hour long album is indeed a very good album and takes it's place among some of the better new RPI albums. Check out this band and album.

3.5 points

 

  


Thursday, 15 April 2021

Arco Iris - Agitor Lucens V (1975)

The sixth album from this band from Argentina.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, quarango, guitars, saxophones, flute, quenas, clarion, organ, piano and vocals.

A guest artist added church organ to the album.

The band returned again after their fifth album, full of confidence after they had established themselves as one of the leading bands in Argentina.

Arco Iris released two double albums in the 1970s. Sudamerica in 1972 (see review) and this album... Agitor Lucens V. Both albums is regarded as semi-classic albums.

Well, classic albums in the history of South American progressive rock. A pretty undervalued scene who deserve a lot more attention. Attention I am trying to give it in my blog.

As with Sudamerica, we get almost ninety minutes here with a mix of pastoral symphonic prog, folk rock, psych rock and a lot of fusion. There is also some avant-garde rock here.

This album is almost like one piece of music as it takes us through some lunar landscapes. That with an Andean/South American flavour.

The melodies is very good throughout this album.

This is indeed a very intriguing album which some captivating parts. Not all of them are great. But the overall quality is very good. 

This albums lives up to it's reputation and is a well worth checking out.

3.5 points

 



Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Crucible - Tall Tales (1997)

The debut album from this US band.

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

Crucible was a short lived band who released two albums before they split up. Their second and final album Curtains was released in 2001.

Tell Tales gives us one hour of melodic symphonic prog. References are Kansas, Genesis and a bit of Jethro Tull too. 

There is also AOR influences here. Their sound is typical US sound. US symphonic prog.

The vocals are good and the organ adds a lot of 1970s feel to this album. This album has indeed a 1970s feel and sound.

There is a lot to enjoy on this album. In particular the sound.

The album is lacking a bit in the song quality. But the sound with the occasional mellotron and organ is making up for the lack of quality songs.

This is another forgotten gem from the US symphonic prog scene and it deserve a lot more attention.

Check it out.

3 points

 

 


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Crucis - Los Delirios Del Mariscal (1976)

The second and final album from this band from Argentina.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, guitars, drums, percussion, moog, arp, grand piano, organ, keyboards and vocals.

Crucis is one of the most legendary bands from South America. They only released two albums but their sound and influences can be felt even today. There is a lot of bands who has Crucis as one of their main inspirations. 

A lot of bands from Argentina, that is. Crucis is still criminally underrated outside South America.

I reviewed their debut album eleven years ago for ProgArchives and liked that album a lot. 

Los Delirios Del Mariscal gives us thirty-five minutes of lush symphonic prog. References are Nice, Focus and fusion.

There is indeed a lot of fusion on this album and the album has a very good mix of symphonic prog and fusion. Add in South American local music and Spanish vocals and you get the picture.

The organ and moog is very lush indeed. Ditto for the guitar sound. 

The songs are also great with some very memorable hooks and a sound which sets this album a part from most albums.

This is indeed a classic album and one of the best albums ever to come out of Argentina and South America. It is a must have album and one not to miss.

4 points

 

Cronico - Delirium Room (2007)

The one and only album from this band from Mexico.

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

It is nice to hear symphonic prog from other countries than the usual countries. Something we get on this album.

Female Spanish vocals. Lots of lush soundscapes. 

There is indeed a lot of Latin-American and South-American sound on this album.

The music is on the melodic end of symphonic prog. It is bordering to neo-prog and eclectic prog too. It is sometimes a bit poppy.

The female vocals is really good. The same goes for the guitars. The organs too is very good and add a great deal of 1970s feel to this album.

The end result is an one hour long album which will please most people. There is no really great songs here but the album is nicely ticking over and is a pleasant album indeed.

Check out this album if you can find it.

3 points

 

Monday, 12 April 2021

Apogee - Conspiracy Of Fools (2018)

 

The ninth album from this one-man German band.

Arne Schafer does the programming, guitars, keyboards and vocals himself.

He is helped by Eberhard Graef on drums.

Arne Schafer has carved out an own niche for Apogee in the German neo-prog scene. 

All the previous eight albums has been pretty good too. Arne is a good composer and there is no doubts about that.

We get seventy minutes here and all song/compositions is more than ten minutes each. There is one short song here and that is all.

The music is pretty epic too. Epic but still very melodic and very much in the neo-prog genre.

The sound is a bit thin this time and not all the songs are good. But a couple of very good details and melodies saves this album's bacon.

It is not his best album but it is still well worth checking out.

3 points



Sunday, 11 April 2021

Cria. La - Taiga (2011)

The one and only album from this band from Argentina.

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

I picked up this very obscure album from somewhere and decided to give it a review as it is listed as progressive rock.

The music is instrumental prog. 

...some sort of....

The band also packs in some djent, some avant-garde and some neo-classical music here too.

The problem here is that the music is pretty dull and lacks a lot of focus.

Instrumental prog requires a lot of good tunes and there is none here.

This album falls therefore flat on it's face and ends up as a turkey. Something this album is.

1 point



Shem - Shem II (2021)

The second album from this German band.

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

I reviewed their 2018 debut album The Hill AC some time ago and was not won over. Their take on spaced out krautrock did not win me over.

We are still in the space rock universe.

The music is pretty noisy with lots of guitars. A lot of distorted guitars too. 

There is some ebbs and flows here. There is some post-metal influences in this respect.

The album has three songs and the full play length is forty minutes. Which is about right for an album with this kind of music.

The music is still not really up to standard. The music is still not good enough to be called good.

This album just falls short but it is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points


Mekong Delta - Kaleidoscope (1992)

The fifth album from this German band.

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

I started on the review of their discography back in 2010 for ProgArchives before my last review, of their fourth album Dances Of Death, was posted in July 2011. 

It was always my intention to complete the review of all their albums and that is my plan for the next months. 

I am by no means a fan of thrash metal. I liked it in my youth. But that was before death metal arrived and I have always preferred death and doom metal to thrash metal.

Mekong Delta is a left-field progressive thrash metal band though. And by that, I do not mean their inclusion of Genesis Dance On A Volcano. A version Mekong Delta does OK.

Mekong Delta's thrash metal is at times pretty weird and quirky. It is speed with a lot of good details.

Kaleidoscope offers up some quirky thrash metal, a version of Sabres Dance and the Genesis cover.

This is not a bad album at all. I quite like it and I rate it somewhere between decent and good.

Check it out.

2.5 points


Saturday, 10 April 2021

Anathema - A Natural Disaster (2003)

The seventh album from this British band.

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

A female and a male vocalist added their voices too on a couple of songs.

Anathema has by this album carved themselves a niche somewhere between metal and progressive rock. Add post rock too and you get my drift.

A Natural Disaster gives us a much more livelier album than before.

The band has returned to their metal roots, picked the best bits from their past and then added a lot of post rock and progressive rock (Pink Floyd, Marillion) to the mix.

The result is quite a challenging album.

The challenge is the big jump from almost djent to the pastoral prog. That is a big contrast.

When the dust has settled, what remains is a good album with some really good songs and details. It is an album well worth checking out, indeed.

3 points

 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Crayon Phase - Two Hundred Pages (2019)

The second album from this German band.

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

This is a new band in the German prog rock scene. 

I have not had the pleasure of listening to their 2012 debut album Within My Recollection. Which is a shame and I may get that album too.

Two Hundred Pages gives us seventy-five minutes of epic neo-prog.

The vocals is good and the sound too is good. The musicians does their best in a rather sterile sound. I would not call the sound for organic.

There is a lot of synths in other words.

The music is times heavy and trespassing into progressive metal. Some may label  this as a progressive metal album and that with some justifications. 

The music here is good and well worth checking out. There is no outstanding tracks but the music is still solid and good.

Check out this album.

3 points



Thursday, 8 April 2021

Craft - Craft (1984)

The one and only album from this British band.

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

This band is a splinter band from The Enid. Two of their member left The Enid and formed Craft. 

Not with much success, it has to be said. This album sunk without a trace and the band folded.

The music is instrumental symphonic prog. References are The Enid and ELP.

The music is pretty epic throughout these thirty-five minutes this album last.

The music is decent enough without never being good. A couple of details are good. But this album never really hits the right notes.

Fans of symphonic prog should check out and perhaps get this album. I have my reservations.

2 points



Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Fuchs - The Unity Of Two (2014)

The second album from this German band.

Fuchs is Hans-Jurgen Fuchs on guitars, bass, keyboards and backing vocals.

He got help from seven other musicians providing drums, keyboards, cello, violin, guitars and vocals.

I reviewed their third album Station Songs (2018) some time ago and liked that album a lot. Good German neo-prog.

The band's started out in that genre too on their 2012 debut album Leaving Home and continues in the same genre on The Unity Of Two.

I guess this is a sort of concept album as there is some hints of Cain and Abel from the Bible throughout the album.

The music here is very much in the vein of Steve Hogarth era Marillion. There is a lot of art rock here in addition to the normal neo-prog the band always offers up.

Marillion is a good reference, but Fuchs has their own style.

The overall quality is good throughout and there is nothing I can fault this album on. Some better songs, though.......

Check out this album if Marillion floats your boat.

3 points



Autumn Electric - Star Being Earth Child (2015)

The fifth and so far last album from this US band.

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

The band had by now established themselves in the more poppy progressive and art rock genre. There is also a lot of youthful college rock in their music.

Star Being Earth Child sees the band take a slightly new direction. Slightly is the word here. There is no evolution and no revolution here.

The band has moved towards symphonic prog influenced neo-prog. Something that surprised me a lot during the first listening sessions of this album.

The music is still pretty pastoral and acoustic. But a lot of early to mid era Genesis comes up on this album.

There is also some Edit Piaff and chanson here too.

The result is a good one hour long album where the musicians and the vocalist is delivering a good job.

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 



Sunday, 4 April 2021

Frontecielo - Nights (2017)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band is actually a duo of Donatelli Basilico (percussion, drums, keyboards, vocals) and Piero Caniparo (guitars, bass, backing vocals).

This album was released through Bandcamp where it is now a free download. A worthy download too.

The music is some sort of neo-prog with a lot of RPI influences and rock/pop influences.

Most of the vocals are female and the music is not overly complex.

It is in fact pretty melodic.

There is some dark vibes throughout this album and there is even some arabic music here.

This album is pretty much a good album and I would rate it as a good album. It is most certainly a worthy download and a keeper too.

I hope this band will return one day. But this album need a lot more attention and play before that happens, I fear.

Check it out.

3 points