Sunday, 31 December 2017
The third album from this US band.
As Follows is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
They have no less than three vocalists and two instrumentalists.
I have actually reviewed their first two albums for # 1 of this blog. You can read the reviews here and here.
It is fair to say that this band has not set my world on fire. I hoped this album would lit the fuse... So I started to listen to it last week.
As Follows plays a mix of college rock, indie and heavy prog. There is some King's X and Rush influences here.
The music is pretty hard and a bit on the rocking side of the spectrum. The music is progressive rock, but in the more modern vein of progressive rock. I think the millenials would understand this album more than I do.
There are some good guitar solos, hooks and riffs on this one hour long album. The vocals is good. My main gripe is the lack of any good songs. The band has again problems with coming up with some good songs.
This album is their best so far.... But I am not overly impressed and happy with this album. Hence my rating.
The fifth and final album from this Japanese band.
Outer Limits was a quintet on this album with a lineup of violin, grandstick, bass, cello, viola, keyboards, drums, pipeorgan, mellotron, guitar and vocals.
I have reviewed their albums during the last two months and that has been a pleasure. A bit difficult though as this band is not a run of the mill band. Neither is their music.
Japanese progressive rock is not the most easy music on the ear. In particular if you are used to European and American music. But that makes Japanese prog rock such an interesting genre and such an interesting scene..... and country. Japan has most certainly added a lot of colour to our lives during my lifetime.. 50 years, that is.
Stromatolite sees the band from a more accessible side. That without becoming commercial, whatsoever. The DNA of the band is still here. But the music is a lot better.
The music on Stromatolite is a mix of symphonic prog (ELP), folk rock, avant-garde rock and fusion. The music is eclectic as per usual from this band. But the first half of this fifty-two minutes long album sees two very simple songs. Lullaby is one of them and it is an odd song for Outer Limits to include on an album. I am almost shocked.
The final half of this album takes the band into a much more ELP like landscape with bombastic symphonic prog. And there is also a good song here.
This is in my view their best album and one that I really cherish. It is almost a great album... but not quite. I really rate this band very highly. They are perhaps the best Japanese band ever.
This album is a very good album, indeed.
The third album from this Norwegian band.
Magic Pie was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, guitar synths, percussions, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I have earlier this month reviewed their first two albums and have found a good band. One of the pioneers in the new Norwegian wave of progressive rock. You can read the reviews of these albums here and here.
The band recruited the previous Artch vocalist Eirikur Hauksson and he has added his voice to this band's sound. Voice and experience. And a lot of credibility too. Eirikur Hauksson means business.
The band is continuing on from their debut and the second album. That means symphonic prog with a mix of progressive metal and Swedish symphonic prog. The Flower Kings is a good reference here.
That The Flower Kings reference shines very much through at the opening suite, the half an hour long A Life's Work. A suite also incorporating the seventeen minutes long title track. That is a good suite indeed with the title track being the best track here.
The rest of the album is good too. A bit less prog metal would have been kind. But we get what Magic Pie has given us here and that is a good, seventy minutes long album.
Saturday, 30 December 2017
The second album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, percussions, keyboards and Swedish vocals.
I reviewed their 1974 self-titled album back in April 2012 for # 1 of this blog. I closed the review by promising to review the rest of their albums. Then I got lost in the world of prog and fusion. Other albums got my attention and Trettioåriga Kriget was forgotten. Until now, that is.
You can read my review of their debut album here and I am planning to review the rest of my Trettioåriga Kriget albums during this winter and the spring.
The band was a heavy prog band and they have released new studio albums up to 2016. For all I know, the band is still active.
Krigssång is regarded as a classic Swedish prog album and I can understand why. The album is a mix of Swedish hard rock, symphonic prog and some fusion.
The second song Metamorfoser is a very good song. It is in the great Lamb Lies Down On Broadway mood and melody. It is also a very pastoral song. With English lyrics, Metamorfoser could have been included on that Genesis album.
That song is not typical for this thirty-four minutes long album though. The album is pretty heavy and pretty lively. The ideas is decent to good throughout and the abovementioned song lifts this album up to a good rating. Yes, I will now pursue their discography and review their albums.
The third album from this English band.
The Inner Road is a trio with a lineup of bass, orchestration, drums, guitars, keyboards, Chapman stick and vocals.
The members of The Inner Road also plays in Coalition, a neo-prog band who has released three albums. The latest one earlier this year. The band did not feel that the material they had written and who later became The Inner Road's debut album fitted in the Coalition style and concept. Hence The Inner Road.
I have reviewed their previous two albums. You will find the reviews here and here.
Sanctuary is a seventy-seven minutes long symphonic prog album. It is mainly ambient with a lot of piano, guitars and some vocals. The vocals are more like instruments than words.
Enya springs to mind on large parts of this album. But the album is not as celtic and not as ambient as that...... thankfully !!!
But there is no denying that there is a distinct lack of dynamic melodies here. The music on this album is mood music and does not offer up much else than that.
The quality is a mix of decent and good. The melodies are not great and these seventy-seven minutes is a bit of a test. Hence my rating.
The fourth album from this Norwegian band.
Jordsjø is a trio with a lineup of keyboards, flute, guitars, drums, percussion, bass and Norwegian vocals.
Jordsjø is an offspring of Tusmorke, another Norwegian band. A band who are not that dissimilar to Jordsjø.
I first heard about Jordsjø earlier this year and was enough intrigued to get their 2015 self-titled compilation album. That is a compilation of earlier released EPs. You can read my review here.
Both that album and this album, Jord, has got raving reviews from both metal magazines and prog rock magazines. I can understand their crossover appeal.
Jordsjø combines prog rock with early Norwegian folk rock. Both Kong Lavring and in particular Folque springs to mind as band references. And so does Tusmorke too... off course. There is also some more modern influences here. The likes of Third And The Mortal.
The music is dominated by flute, a Mellotron like keyboard sound and the vocals. It is music pretty much fluent and in line with folk rock.
Jord is almost forty minutes long and it has been released as a cassette (hence the artwork here) and as a digital download. It is a good album too and one to check out. This is an upcoming band with a great future if the band members choose to continue with this band.
Friday, 29 December 2017
The third album from this English project.
Looking Glass Lantern is the creative vehicle of Graham Dunnington from England. This professor in music and modern music plays all instruments and does all the vocals here. The instruments sounds like keyboards, drums, bass and guitars to me. Some of them may have been created by computers. I do not know.
Graham Dunnington is a classically trained musician and that shows. Both on his second album, the 2014 album The Hound Of The Baskervilles and on this album. You can read my review of the 2014 album The Hound Of The Baskervilles here.
That album was a concept album about Sherlock Holmes, Watson and this world famous novel and movie. Movies in fact as this novel has seen many screen adoptations. I have one of them on DVD. It is not one of my favourite movies, I have to confess.
Candlelight And Empire is a concept album about the British Empire and the disappearance of that. It was disolved in a matter of a few decades.
This part of our history is a good concept for a seventy-five minutes long album. An album in the symphonic prog genre. Although with a lot of neo-prog influences.
I was impressed by The Hound Of The Baskervilles and I am impressed by Candlelight And Empire. Clean melodies which is given a lot of air to breathe in. The album is pretty pastoral too. There are a few great pieces here too. Most of the stuff is very good throughout though.
This is surely one of the best albums from 2017 although I am not doing any end of the year lists and ratings. But if I had done so, this album would had been on my top five list. Check out this great album.
The fifth album from this US band.
Frogg Cafe was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, viola, mandolin, violin, banjo, percussions, glockenspiel, trombones, trumpet, cello, keyboards, flugelhorn, piano and vocals.
They had help from numerous other musicians who added numerous other instruments.
This album was one of ProgArchives highest rated albums for 2010 and my plan was to review it back then. But that did not happen as I got lost in this very exciting world of prog and jazz. I simply forgot this album in my delirious confusion. Too many sweets, too many albums to review. Too much fun to be had.
I have reviewed their previous four albums and you can read the reviews here, here, here and here.
It seems like Frogg Cafe is no longer amongst us. Which is a shame as the band was very creative. That too goes for this album.
This album is almost 80 minutes long. And it is an album which goes from one genre to another. From progressive rock and rock to fusion and jazz.
There are some long songs and some shorter songs here. There is a lot of instruments here. In particular woodwinds and percussions. There is also a lot of good vocals here.
This album is well over the top as it is everything to a lot of people. Not every people, but a lot of people. The quality is suffering a bit as not everything here is up to standard. But this is a good album throughout and one I can understand why people really like. I am not one of those, I am afraid. But it is a good album.
The sixth album from this Japanese band.
The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of violins, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, guitars and vocals.
I did not even know this band was still active as they debuted with their Beyond The Clean Air album back in 1988. But they are very much alive and that makes me a happier man.
Their music is symphonic prog. Japanese symphonic prog which includes plenty of violins and local culture. I regard Japanese symphonic prog as a genre in it's own right. And Midas has been flying and is still flying the flag for Japan and this genre.
The music is symphonic prog with a lot of violins and Japanese vocals. The music has a great deal of influences from both folk music and classical music. It is also pretty eclectic too.
Midas does not use big guns and melodies here like ELP did. The music is pretty pastoral and full of interesting details. It is also very flowery and I feel that I am in the middle of a Japanese garden, full of exotic flowers, on this album.
It is indeed exotic music and something I really like.
This is also a good album where my only gripe is the lack of some better music. But you cannot go wrong with this forty odd minutes long album. Get it.
Thursday, 28 December 2017
The second album from this Australian band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and percussion.
I have not had the fortune to listen to their 2012 debut album Avadante yet. I do not have it which may explain why. So I do not know about their progress. But the band has released no less than eleven singles. Which may explain the market in Australia or this band. Or both. I do not know.
The band is playing an instrumental mix between post-rock, experiemental metal, post-metal and some melodic prog. ProgArchives has described their music as heavy prog and I agree with that.
Yes, there are plenty of melodic stuff on this album. The guitars and the keyboards drives through some barren landscapes and some lush landscapes. Just as Australia itself.
This forty minutes long album is like a soundtrack to the landscapes of Australia. The first part of this album is pretty harsh with some vegetation and nice melodies. The album ends on a melodic note with a great symphonic prog theme.
I am not a big fan of this genre Kettlespider is having a great deal of fun and success in. But this is a good album indeed. I really enjoy the quality here and the music. Check out this album.
The debut album from this Finnish band.
Hadal Sherpa is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bouzouki, cello, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion.
Three guest musicians provides flutes, percussion and trumpet.
This band has been one of 2017 most spoken about new bands. At least one of the most spoken about bands from the last half of this year.
Hadal Sherpa continues in the same path as Hidria Spacefolk. We are talking space and psych rock here.
There is a vital difference though. Hadal Sherpa has also a lot of folk music and folk rock influences. Influences you can hear from the first tone on this album. They have therefore been compared to the Swedish band Agusa. Something I would agree with.
So take lots of space and psych rock, fuse that with folk rock/music and you get this album.
This album is seventy minutes long and is carried by flutes and guitars. The keyboards is playing a supporting role here.
The end result is a more than acceptable debut album. A very good album in fact. This band is one of the best hopes for the future and I will follow them.
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Italian vocals.
The PFM vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti started out in this band. A band who has just released their third, new album. I will come back to this one later this winter.
Acqua Minerale was one of those not so known bands in the Italian symphonic prog scene. They have been a lot more known now with the invention of Youtube and the internet. ProgArchives has also made the band well known now. More they ever was in the 1970s.
Their music on this album is very pastoral with some Peter Gabriel like vocals. Something bands like The Watch later copied.
The music is also very much Genesis from the Peter Gabriel era. The early Peter Gabriel era, that is.
The quality of these seven songs on this thirty-seven minutes long album is not in the same class as Genesis.
The music is pretty good and I am enjoying this album. There is no great songs here and the band is not sounding like an Italian symphonic prog band here. I have my doubts, but....
Wednesday, 27 December 2017
The fifth album from this Spanish band.
Itoiz was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Basque vocals.
They had help from two musicians who provided saxophones and keyboards.
Their previous album, the 1983 album Musikaz Blai, was a pretty bad album.You can read my review here. That one came after three good first albums. But the band had changed from folk rock to commercial pop-rock. Maybe to survive or to follow the trends.
I therefore did not have any hopes about any improvements on Espaloian. What we get here is thirty-five minutes of much the same as on Musikaz Blai.
You get some reggae too here in addition to some funk. But most of all, this is pop-rock.
The band was not good song writers and that shines through on this album. It is an album as funny as watching paint dry. But two of their first albums was really very good and I loved this band. So their latest two album therefore becomes a bigger letdown.
This album is a turkey of an album and well worth avoiding at all cost.
The seventh album from this Brazilian band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of organ, synths, keyboards, drums, bass, guitars and Portoguese vocals.
I have previously reviewed a couple of their albums for ProgArchives and # 1 of this blog. I decided to complete the reviews of their in total seven studio albums and have done it this winter for this blog. You will find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Their music on this album is a bit difficult to pinpoint. The band plays psychedelic rock with a lot of space rock influences. There are even some spaced out songs on this album with the good old space rock sound. There are also some hippie rock and classic 1970s rock here too.
The organ sound is very good and the vocalist also does a good job. The guitars are sometimes half-acoustic and that adds a lot to the songs.
The sound is very warm and comfortable on this forty minutes long album. An album who could had been released in 1975 as it has that sound. It is unlikely that the band members was even born then....
The end result is a pretty good album which may interest those into pysch and classic rock. Ditto for their six other albums too. Check out this band and album.
The third album from this German band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, sax, flute, keyboards and vocals.
The band had help from some guest musicians who provided vibes, congas, guitar, sax and vocals.
Their second album and their first one after the reforming of the band, was a good album. Check my review here.
The band plays some good fusion with lots of references to Miles Davis, Return To Forever and Embryo.
Their music is also a mix of krautrock and Canterbury prog. The second track High Life, with the female vocals, has both of these two scenes. It is a pop song with lot's of fusion influences. It is like Caravan meets Embryo.
The music is pretty jazz influenced too with the saxophones taking centre stage. The bass is also thundering along in the background where the keyboards and the occasional guitars also adds their bits.
This mix of jazz and the genres above makes a very potent forty-five minutes long album (when the live tracks has been omitted). And it is also a hidden gem and a band I did not even knew about six months ago. Which is one of the reasons I run this blog.
This is a very good album and a nice addition to my life and the enjoyment of life. Get it.
Tuesday, 26 December 2017
The debut album from this US band.
Geppetto's Retribution is a quartet with a lineup of organ, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band has been working on these songs for the last ten years before they recorded and released them as this album.
The band was added to ProgArchives some weeks ago and I got a copy of this album based on the art-work and the promise of some retro-rock.
This album is indeed retro-rock where the band looks back to the 1970s. Which is nice....
This fifty-three minutes long album is a classic rock album with a lot of funk and some jazz influences. This is indeed a very funky album with lots of guitars and organs.
The vocals is good and the songs are catchy. There is not much progressive rock here and not many interesting details. The songs are almost good. But they are not quite there. This is music for the younger generation too. This is good pub rock and music which suits the gigs scene more than being recorded.
This is a decent to good album which does not really hits the right notes.
The fourth album from this Japanese band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of violin, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Outer Limits albums is not the easiest albums to review as they tend to criss-cross many genres. I think Eclectic Prog is their rightful home and genre.
Outer Mania is another album that fits that mould. The album starts with the straight forward song Marionette's Lament. A really good song.
The album then goes very eclectic with a lot of influences. Everything from symphonic prog and fusion to zeuhl. Yes, the final part of this album is in the zeuhl mould with some Japanese avant-garde in the vein of Ruins also thrown into this mix.
The violin is everywhere on this fifty minutes long album. So much that this album is a violin dominated album.
The music is not easy listening at all and demands the full attention & more from the listener. Bit it is a good altbum throughout from one of the best Japanese prog rock bands.
Monday, 25 December 2017
The second album from this Norwegian band.
Magic Pie was a sextet with a lineup of sitar, guitar, bass, drums, marimba, harmonica, keyboards, cello and vocals.
The band also had help from some other musicians who provided kid voice, trombone and xtra vocals.
I very much like their 2005 debut album Motions Of Desire. You can read my review here.
Magic Pie was one of the first bands in the new wave of Norwegian progressive rock. A scene and a wave who has given us a great 2017 with some superb albums.
Magic Pie does a mix of symphonic prog, neo-prog and prog metal. Circus Of Life is very typical for this mix of these three genres.
The music here looks back to the 1970s and the hard rock and symphonic prog scene there. Parts of this album also looks towards Dream Theater and soft prog metal. The sound is very nice, indeed.
The overall quality on this one hour long album is good without really excelling. It is a solid album which neither enthuse me or repels me. I still rate this album very highly.
The debut album from this Italian musician.
Andrea Orlando is the drummer in Hostsonaten, Finisterre and La Coscienza di Zeno. He plays the drums and percussions on this album.
He has got help from other bandmates and members of Ubi Major who provides guitars, bass, cello, violin, trombone, keyboards, piano, synths, viola and Italian vocals. Both male and female vocals.
This album tells you everything about how alive the Italian prog rock scene is anno 2017 and post millenium. Here Andrea Orlando did a great jobs in the background on drums before he finds out he has enough of his own material to make a solo album.
And rightly so.
I am impressed by this scene. A scene who has a lot of albums I have yet to hear and which I will try to review in the next weeks.
The music on this album is very flowery classic Italian symphonic prog with lots of acoustic instruments and great vocals. The addition of the trombone adds some extra spice. An already spicy album.
This album is fifty minutes long and that is not a second too long. The complex sixteen minutes long title track is the best track on a very good album. An album all RPI fans must check out.
Sunday, 24 December 2017
The second album from this English band.
The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of xylophone, drums, percussions, guitars, bass, drums, murpathron, keyboards and vocals.
Two guest musicians provided cello and flute too.
I had the pleasure of reviewing their 2015 album Everything Beautiful In Time back in March this year and gave it a very good rating. You can read my review here.
The band plays a type of crossover between neo-prog and commercial rock. It is more leaning towards neo-prog than commercial rock. So I would call it neo-prog.
There is a lot of clever arrangements and song structures on this seventy minutes long album. There is also a lot of pretty commercial choruses and melodies here too. There are also some good keyboards and guitar solos here.
The songs are well crafted and this band knows what they are doing. Compared to the debut album, the songs seems a bit more dumbed down and a lot less focused on clever details. They are still there. But the band has gone for more easy solutions all around.
This is still a good album with a good sound. But it falls a bit short compared to my too high expectations to this album.
The second and final album from this Italian band.
I still have no idea how many members this band had. But I can hear guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, drums and Italian vocals here. Both male and female Italian vocals.
This band later became, quite soon after the release of this album, became Panther & Co, another Italian band who has so far released two albums. Reviews to follow later this winter/you will find reviews of these two albums somewhere else in this blog.
This album is btw a free download through Jamendo.
I was not a fan of their debut album Indipendence One as you can read in my review here. And neither was the band, I have been told. So I did not have much hope for Indipendence Two.
This album is twenty-five minutes long and it is much more a demo than an album. Something I discovered too late to pull my plans to review this album. So I went ahead.....
The music here is a mix of neo-prog and Italian symphonic prog (RPI). The sound is...... well, demo sound. It is not good. But it is still good enough to review this album.
There is a lot of vocals here and some more pastoral pieces without vocals. This is most definate modern RPI and one well worth checking out although I may believe the band disagrees.
The album is short, but it has some good stuff and some less good stuff. It is somewhere between good and decent. Hence my rating of this album.
The eight album from this Swedish band.
Kebnekaise was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of timbale, djembe, percussion, drums, bass, mandolin, electric violin, violin and guitars.
It is always difficult to approach a Kebnekaise album because they are so different from each other. Mostly, they are folk rock or world music.
In this case with Idioten, the idiot in English, we get mostly folk music with some world music and some rock music incorporated.
The folk music is typical Swedish and includes old Swedish waltz and more pastoral Swedish folk music. On the top of that, the band has also incorporated some gloomy world music and some Americana into the music.
The end result is a fifty minutes long album with some very eclectic music. Most of it really works. But even the most hardened folk rock fans will find this album a very big mouthful and hard to swallow.
The quality of the music is decent throughout these fifty minutes. I am not really sure what to mean and how to rank this Swedish band either. It is an oddball of a band. A band who influenced some other bands again. This album though is a decent album.
The second album from this German band.
Karakorum is a quintet with a lineup of flute, guitars, bass, drums, percussions, organ, synths and vocals.
I was not that impressed by their self-titled debut album from 2016. It was a decent to good album and you can read my review here.
This band is a new addition to the German psych and prog rock scene. Their cover artworks are really cool and among the best ones in that scene. But it is all about the music........
Their music is a mix of psych rock and prog rock with some hard rock thrown into the mix too. There are clearly some krautrock here too and the band deserves to be included in that genre, perhaps.
The Pink Floyd inspirations shines through now and then. But the music is too technical to really be fully compared to Pink Floyd. There are therefore a lot of symphonic prog influences here.
The vocals are OK and the sound is good. The songs are not that interesting and the band is failing to write some interesting music.
This fifty minutes long album is therefore not a great improvement on their debut album. I would rate this album as I rated their debut album....
Saturday, 23 December 2017
The 20th album from this Italian band.
The band (PFM) was a duo on this album with a lineup of bass, drums and Italian vocals.
The band had help from a quintet of guest musicians who provided keyboards, guitars, drums, violins and extra vocals.
No original members of PFM is left in PFM and their most innovative, creative days is long left behind them. The band was left to play their songs with symphony orchestras and to be new prog rock fans real heroes. You can include myself among the new prog rock fans. And yes, they are among my alltime heroes. But that is not based on what they released after 1980.
This album has been released as both an Italian and an English vocals album. My version is a Double CD with both languages included. I am only reviewing the Italian version as I think this band is on their best in Italian.
..... Which does not say a lot, I am afraid.
The music is Italian pop music with some decent to good melodies. Some of the songs on this one hour long album is both cheap and nasty.
Then again, there is a couple of good songs here too. This is by no means a terrible album although I prefer their 1970s albums.
The fourth album from this Spanish band.
Itoiz was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and Basque vocals.
The band had help from two guest musicians who provided saxophones and piano.
I reviewed their debut album earlier this month in addition to my reviews of their second and third album for # 1 of this blog. The reviews can be found here, here and here.
The band was a very good folk rock band back then. Their albums was good folk rock and everything was a bliss. Well, perhaps not the record sales which I guess was not great.
....Which may explain Musikaz Blai......
The band has made a big U-turn here and gone for commercial pop-rock. That anno 1980s. The turkey the man in the foreground is holding up is not far off what we get here.
Some chugging guitars, some reggae and some funky pop is not what I expected from this band. And frankly, this album is pretty bad. It is not a turkey, but it is close to being one. A couple of decent songs saves it from being included in my turkey yard.
Friday, 22 December 2017
The fourth album from this Swedish band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
I have previously reviewed their three first albums for # 1 of this blog and you can find the reviews there.
The band is very much a retro version of hard rock. Hard rock and heavy blues, that is. Add psychedelic and southern rock too and you get this album.
References are the likes of Led Zeppelin and Mountains. There is also some hints of Lynyrd Skynyrd in their music.
The sound is very retro. But both the sound and the music is very potent and relevant anno 2017. The grand-fathers of this day and age will off course love this album. Their grand-children will beg their grand-fathers to turn of this noise pollution and racket. That is the generation gap for you anno 2017....
The music on this fifty minutes long album is a bit funky and repetetive. The formula sounds a bit in a need of a renewal. The band rocks on in the same tempo throughout these fifty minutes.
This is by no means a bad album. It is a decent to good album. But it is not as good as their first three albums.
The second album from this German band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of flute, sax, bass, drums, keyboards and guitars.
This band released their debut album back in 1970 with a different lineup of and setup. The music was also totally different. I have yet to find that album. That band broke up shortly afterwards.
Their drummer Lutz Oldemeier got together a new band again with a different set of ideas and music. Hence this album and some more albums during the 1970s. I got another one of their album too.
The band anno 1974 was a pure jazz and fusion band. They have been compared to Embryo a lot. I am not sure as I have yet to come around to review the Embryo albums. It is on my to-do list.
The jazz and fusion here has a lot of mystic rhythms and a great deal of African music. The music also has a lot of classic jazz and some rock too. Fusion in other words.
The flutes and saxophones is pretty much in the foreground here and fans of saxophones should really check out this album. The album and the saxophones solos is really groovy too. My feet is drumming away during most of this album.
Germany had a very good fusion scene in the 1970s. Although this band did not really make it big, this almost forty minutes long album is really good and very enjoyable. This is one to really enjoy.
The ninth album from this Canadian band.
Miriodor was a quartet on this album with a lineup of electronics, drums, percussion, bass, synths, piano, keyboards, turntables and guitars.
Miriodor is not a band I am familiar with, having only got their eight album, the 2013 album Cobra Fakir. You can read my review here.
The band is clearly an avant-garde/RIO band. It is a nerd-prog band too. The music on this album is very nerdy, indeed.
There is no vocals here. These fifty-two minutes contains eleven strange, weird pieces of music. The realms of music has been expanded and the envelope has been pushed here.
The music is also pretty cinematic too. I don't think many people with a mainstream music taste would brand this music as horrible. The mellotron sound on some of the pieces of music also gives the album an almost Swedish symphonic prog feel.
The music is not jarring and it is not dissonant and disharmonic. It has a lot of melodic qualities, at the same time as it is weird.
The end result is a good album which deserve a lot of more attention outside the avant-garde/RIO crowd. I think most progheads would find this album very enjoyable.
Thursday, 21 December 2017
The second album from this Canadian band.
Innerspace is a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, guitars, drums and vocals.
There is also some female vocals and wailing here.
The band released their debut album The Village back in 2012 and I was not too impressed by this album in my review of it in # 1 of this blog. See my review here.
The band is still very influenced by Pink Floyd. That is from their David Gilmour era. A Momentary Lapse Of Reason is a Pink Floyd album which has really influenced Rise, this album. But we can also add the German band RPWL as a very big influence on Rise and Innerspace.
Rise is a concept album about a dystopian world. Which is a common theme these days and something many, rightfully, fear is going to be the future of this planet.
The album is seventy minutes long and the the music is clearly conceptual. The music is mid-temp to pastoral. There are also some monks choir like vocals here which is very effective in adding a great, scary mood.
There is no real piece of great music here. But Rise is a definate improvement on The Village and I hope we will soon get a new album from this band. Check out this album.
The fourth album from this Japanese band.
Midas was a quartet on this album with a lineup of violins, bass, drums, percussion, guitars, synths, keyboards and Japanese vocals.
I have reviewed a couple of their albums for ProgArchives and # 1 of this blog. You can read these reviews here and here. Midas has just released a new album and I will review that one sometimes next week/you will find a review of their new album somewhere else in this blog.
Midas is a Japanese symphonic prog band and they have sporadic released albums since 1988. Six albums, that is. None of them has made it to the tops of the rating polls.
International Popular Album is a strangely titled album for an album with this kind of music. The music here is very Japanese and very softly spoken. My guess is that the album title is sarcasm and ironic.
The music is very softly spoken with a lot of understated melodies and songs. The vocals is really softly spoken too. I would compare this album to a Japanese version of Genesis. But there is also some neo-prog here. This album is perhaps a more neo-prog album than a symph prog album.
The music is good throughout these forty minutes and it is a bit of a shame that this band is so underrated. I rate them as a good band, well worth following and keeping an eye on.
The second album from this US band.
The band is an eight piece big band with a lineup of rhodes, percussions, drums, bass, electronics, guitars and female vocals.
This band has a three female vocalists big choir at the heart of the band.
RIO/avant-garde is the genre this band is listed under in ProgArchives. I therefore prepared myself for some difficult listening sessions and some difficult music.
What met me was something else again..... OK, this album is by no means easy listening. Neither is is dense avant-garde either. It is it's own genre.
Take three soprano vocalists and put it on the top of some cool laidback psychedelic jazzy rock. Add some chamber-rock too the proceedings too and some zeuhl.
There is a lot of guitars here with bass and drums in the background. There is also some synths here. But the sound is surprisingly organic. Very organic indeed.
The music is very original and it is also very good throughout these forty minutes. There is no really great pieces of music here. But I would still rate this as a great album.
Get this album !
Wednesday, 20 December 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
I got no idea how many members this band had and their lineup. But I can hear lots of guitars, piano, synths, bass, drums and Italian vocals. Both female and male vocals.
This band is, as far as I understand it, the forerunners of the Italian band Panther & Co who released their debut album in 2015 and the follow up album in 2017. I got their 2017 album and will review it later this winter.
Panthercoisp released two albums through Jamendo and this album I am reviewing here can be downloaded for free from here. Jamendo also have some other free prog rock albums worth downloading.
The music on this album is...... well, a mix of Italian symphonic prog and a bit ambience. There is a lot of Camel in their music. There is also some Pink Floyd.
There are also some good female and male Italian vocals who lights up this album. An fifty-five minutes long album.
Most of this album is very pedestrian and not that good. But this band has both got guts and visions. There is something here the band probably built on in their second album. A review coming up later this month/winter. But this album is a decent, solid debut album.
The third album from this Argentine band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of sequensers, bass, guitars, synths, drums and Spanish vocals.
I have reviewed their two first album and an EP in # 1 of this blog. Two good albums indeed. All of them has been released through Bandcamp.
The band may have changed name too. They are now called Gardenia Y El Adversario Del Tiempo, the same as the name of this album. But I will stick to their first name, Gardenia.
Their music is still psychedelic rock. The music is not too spaced out. But it has some Pink Floyd references..... Pink Floyd from the late 1960s. Not David Gilmour's Pink Floyd.
The music is pretty weird and in the same vein as Violeto De Outono. Weird, but also melodic. The vocals is pretty thin and not so fleshy. But it is clearly male vocals.
The music is based on half-acoustic guitars, synths and electric guitars. And this is a fairly good album. After some more listenings to this half an hour long album, I am landing on a Good rating.
This band's music is pretty eclectic and will never become commercial. And we need bands like this.
The second album from this English band.
Lifesigns is a trio on this album with a lineup of percussion, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
The band had help from five other musicians who provided guitars and backing vocals.
I reviewed their 2013 self-titled debut album back in March 2013. You can read my review here.
Steve Hackett is no longer involved in the band. He is busy enough on his own and on other projects. Lifesign has used four other guitarists instead.
The band continues as a melodic neo-prog band with both mainstream rock and symphonic prog influences. The album is pretty much keyboards based with a lot of vocals and some guitars also creating a lot of dynamics here.
The longest song is the opening song N, clocking in at eleven minutes. The title track is clocking in at ten and a half minutes. The album is fifty minutes long.
The music is melodic and not too hard. It has a lot of good details and songs. The songs are pretty catchy and easy digested.
This is indeed a good album which never really offers up some great music. Good is good, but I was hoping for another great album. Nevertheless, this album will find a lot of fans.
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
The fourth album from this Brazilian band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and Portoguese vocals.
I have previously reviewed some of their albums for this blog, # 1 of this blog and Progarchives. I have not been impressed by the two albums I have reviewed for this blog. See my reviews here and here. But I really liked their more recent albums.
This band is a bit difficult to pinpoint, music wise.
That too goes for this album. The start off point is psychedelic rock. Add some South American symphonic prog and folk rock. Add some indie rock too. That is when you get this album.... sort of......
The vocals is very softly sung and performed. Something which gives the album a bit of a psych prog feel.
The thirteen songs on this fifty-five minutes long album is very much chorus-verse-chorus focused. There is no trippy spaced out pieces of music here. The music is very much guitars and keyboards dominated. The songs does not have a big songs. The songs are more sparse when it comes to instruments.
There is no really great songs here. Neither is there any really good songs. The overall quality is between decent and good, I am afraid. And only that.
Monday, 18 December 2017
The 17th album from this French violinist.
Jean Luc Ponty did the violins and synths here and he had help from a bassist, drummer and a guitarist.
Jean Luc Ponty's output had been remarkable good during the 1980s. Where other great bands and solo artists from the 1970s were lost and released sub-standard albums, Jean Luc Ponty took his violin to the studio and came up with the goods. OK, there was a bit of a drop in the quality and he too succumbed to the 1980s synths wizardry.
The musicians he worked with was not the best ones and you can feel that his recording budgets was not the best ones. The good times from the 1970s was over and Jean Luc Ponty was pushed out onto the margins of the record industry. But the reduced budgets did not mean sub-standard albums from Jean Luc Ponty.
....... Until this album, that is.....
The Gift Of Time takes us straight into a plastic fantastic synth world with a lot of violins and some bass, drums and guitars.
The synths and the terrible 1980s sound dominates this forty minutes long album. The songs are not really good either. There is though a Japanese-Chinese feel in the electronica here though and that is a saving grace which saves this album from the turkey yard. But this is by far his worst album and I hope it is not the sign of time from Jean Luc Ponty. I still have three more albums from him to review.
The fourth and final album from this German band.
The band were a quartet on this album with a lineup of synths, bass, drums, guitars and German vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I have reviewed three of their albums, includeding a compilation album, for both this blog and # 1 of this blog. It is pretty fair to say that I am not a fan of this band.
Their debut album was a pretty hideous bad album and a nice additon to my collection of turkeys. So I was not that hopeful when this album came up for review.
The band is a krautrock album with some political German lyrics. The band also fits the vaudeville genre too with some very weird threatrical melodies. Some of the vocals is also being spat out by some angry sounding men and women. Not a good feeling, listening to that.
The music is also a bit funky here and mostly all over the place. A lot of Frank Zappa is evident here. But a third rate version of Frank Zappa.
This album is an improvement on their debut album but also a step backwards from their 1975 album Fette Jahre, their third album. I just get the feeling that this locomotive was running out of steam and that it would be parked up for good in a remote trainstation at the end of a remote railway track.
Sunday, 17 December 2017
The 13th album from this Swedish band.
Kaipa was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English male and female vocals.
A guest musician provided violin.
I have reviewed a lot of Kaipa albums in # 1 of this blog and some Kaipa albums in ProgArchives. Visit these places to read my Kaipa reviews if any interest.
I am a bit a of fan of this band, a band who maybe deserves to be labeled as the grand-fathers of the Swedish symphonic prog rock scene. Roine Stolt started out there and he now has his Kaipa tribute band called Kaipa Da Capo. Many would say his band The Flower Kings is in the same mould as Kaipa. I am one of those who would say that.
Under the steady leadership of one of the founders of Kaipa, Hans Lundin, the band too has developed on from where they once started. The added female vocals of Aleena Gibson has given the band a lot of added flowery sounds. It is still Swedish symphonic prog, but with some more added folk rock influences.
The music is very flowery at times and it is also pretty much guitars dominated at times. The sound is great.
Unfortunate, the songs are not that great on this one hour long album. But this album prove that Kaipa is a must-support band and worthy of my admiration. This is indeed a very good album from this Swedish band.
The sixth album from this Swedish band.
Kebnekaise was a quintet with a lineup of drums, timbales, congas, percussion, violin, guitars, piano, organ, moog, bass and Swedish vocals.
Kebnekaise started out as a heavy rock band, switched to a folk rock and folk music band and then tried out a bit fusion before they arrived at this album.
The opening track Friheten is a commercial pop/rock track. And that is not a good sign. Well, music and quality wise. It was probably a good sign when it comes to the sales figures as potential mainstream buyers would probably purchase the album. Long term fans must not have been pleased.
The rest of the album is a bit more interesting, though. A bit more music and some good vocals. But it is not much better and/or interesting.
The music here is mainstream rock with some hints of hard rock and folk rock. There is also some hints of progressive rock. But the main body of the music is simply mainstream rock.
This is not a bad album though. It has some fairly good songs. But it is not a good album by any means. It is a fairly decent album who does not really appeal to me.
The fifth album from this British band.
Strawbs was a quintet with a lineup of banjo, guitars, mellotron, piano, organ, bass, drums and vocals.
The band lead by Dave Cousins, whose book about these times in Strawbs is a very good read, had established themselves with some fine albums.
The band had also moved away from their base in the folk rock scene. They moved into a much more pop and prog friendly landscape.
This forty minutes long album has some poppy folk rock songs. Yes, they are still pretty much a folk rock band. But their move to pop music is pretty obvious and cannot be ignored. Ditto for some pretty strong prog rock influences.
The album is very fine and cosy until the album hits this jarring and out of place compared to the rest of the album Part Of The Union. This is a primitive football terrace chants like song and a big hit for the band. It is so out of the tune with the rest of the album too. And it is a pretty bad song too.
That song leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth as it is a jarring pause, halfway through this album. It is a toilet break in this album.
The rest of this album is not much impressive. But it is still a decent album and does not shame this band too much.
Saturday, 16 December 2017
The fourth album from this French band.
Orion was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitar synths, guitars, keyboards and French vocals.
The band had help from some guest musicians who provided drums, bass, piano, guitars and xtra vocals.
I have reviewed their previous four albums for # 1 of this blog. You can read my reviews here, here and here.
I rate Orion as a very good French symphonic prog band. The references to Ange, Atoll and Mona Lisa is obvious through their first three albums.
These references are also obvious on the three quarters of an hour long Le Survivant. An album which deserve to be labeled French symphonic prog too.
The music is pretty dramatic and has diffent moods and themes. It is not as theatrical as Ange. Le Survivant is much more melodic and is leaning more towards Camel than a fully theatrical Ange.
There is a lot of very good melodies on this album and the vocals is very good too. The guitars are a bit low in the mix. But that is not a big problem.
Le Survivant offers up some very good French symphonic prog, rich on both guitars and keyboards. And I really find this album very enjoyable and very good too. Orion is a band well worth keeping an eye on.
The eight album from this Canadian band.
Miriodor is a trio with a lineup of banjo, turntables, keyboards, guitar, bass, piano, synth, percussion and drums.
I have not heard their first seven albums as this band has only come to my attention when they released this album. I got this album and their new album, the 2017 album, from them. A review of that album will come next week/you can find a review of that album somewhere else in this blog.
Miriodor is an avant-garde/RIO band. There is no doubts about that, listening to this album and visiting their band pages. The three band members are truly nerds with a very sideways look at music and art. Which is a good thing in my opinion.
The music is not crass and it is not dissonant. It is very harmonic and nice on the ears.
The melodies are avant-garde throughout with a lot of very nerdy strange melody lines done by electronica and keyboards. There are also some nice and gentle bass and guitars involved.
This fifty minutes long album are very playful with a lot of fun and quirky melodies and tracks. It is also a good album which will appeal to everyone into eclectic and avant-garde prog. This album is indeed a nice introduction to avant-garde music.
Friday, 15 December 2017
The third album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, mellotron, moog, fender rhodes, synths, bass, percussion and drums.
The band had help from a quintet who provided musical saw, woodwinds, cello and fx.
I did not really clicked with this band's music on their first two albums. The music was too eclectic even for me. It was eclectic for the sole purpose of being eclectic. You can read my reviews here and here.
On Glue Works, it sounds like the band has become a lot more disciplined. The band is trying to play on their strenghts here. Which is a good thing.
The music on this three quarters of an hour long album is still instrumental. It still has a lot of influences from Swedish folk rock, The Flower Kings and King Crimson.
Those are three very good influences and the result is very much a Swedish sounding album. An eclectic album with some strange rhythms and melody lines.
It is also an engaging album which grabbed hold of me from the first listening session. After my problems with reviewing their previous two albums, Glue Works really engages me.
This is not a great album as it is missing a killer tracks or two. Nevertheless, this is a very good album and one I really enjoys. Maybe I should get their 2017 album too....
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Magic Pie was a sextet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
I think it is fair to say that Magic Pie was perhaps the band who kickstarted the Norwegian prog rock scene again after this scene had been close to dormant for several years. This album got a lot of attention abroad and put Norway on the maps again.
The band was being compared to The Flower Kings on this album and the opening song Changes, a twenty minutes long epic, is in the Flower Kings vein. A very catchy theme based epic and the highlight of this album.
The title track is also very good before the album loses a bit steam and becomes a good symphonic prog album. The sound is very much in the 1970s symphonic prog mould and there is also some prog metal influences here.
The overall quality is good and I am really looking forward to reviewing the rest of their albums. I also hope we soon will get a new Magic Pie album as the band is touring and playing gigs. This is indeed a very good band with a good debut album.
Thursday, 14 December 2017
The debut album from this US band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band started out as The Continentals in 1961 before they changed their name to Ford Theatre. Ford Theatre released two albums before they dissolved. This album and Time Changes from 1969.
The band was from Boston on the east coast of USA. That town had a scene to rival the west coast scene and Ford Theatre was one of those bands. Ultimate Spinach, whose three albums I reviewed in this blog one month ago, was also one of those Boston and east coast scene bands.
Their music is vintage psych prog in the vein of Jefferson Airplane and Vanilla Fudge. There is also some strong Ultimate Spinach influences here. But Ford Theatre's music is not as eclectic as Ultimate Spinach's music.
There is also some very strong British blues and psych influences here.
The vocals is really good and ditto for the keyboards sound which really sounds like Hammond organs at times.
The quality is surprisingly high although this is not a good album anno 2017. But fans of retro psych should really check out this album. This album is still a hidden gem and very much worth seeking out.
The second album from this Italian band.
Marygold is a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, flute, drums and English vocals.
I reviewed their debut album, the 2006 album The Guns Of Marygold, back in November 2014 for # 1 of this blog and liked that album. You can find my review here.
Marygold plays a mix of symphonic and neo-prog which does not really fits into the Italian symphonic prog (RPI) scene and formula. There is some Italian bands like that.
I would probably label them as neo-prog instead of symphonic prog, though. Both their albums is neo-prog with some Saga influences and a lot of Marillion influences.
The music on this album is pretty intricate and melodic. The vocals are good and the keyboards are really good. There is a couple of ten minutes plus songs here too on this one hour long album.
The overall quality is good throughout. But this album does not really sparkle and it does not really become a very good or a great album. There is something missing here which adds another level to this album. The x factor, no less.
Nevertheless, this is a solid, good album.
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
The third and final album from this British band.
Home was a quartet with a lineup of steel guitar, piano, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
Home's two first albums was a mixed bag to say at least. They were folk rock with US country influences and not much else. You can read my reviews here and here.
The band changed direction on The Alchemist. Gone is country and folk rock. In comes progressive rock. But this was sadly their final album as the bassist Cliff Williams joined AC/DC and the three others became respectable studio musicians and members of other less known bands
Take old style UK symphonic prog rock from the likes of Cressida and Barclay James Harvest. Add some Wally and ELO too and a hint of Yes and The Beatles. That is when you get this album. But the band is still retaining some of their identity from their first two albums.
The music surprisingly complex throughout. I also believe this is a concept album too. There are a lot of strings like keyboards here and the sound is pretty big.
There is no denying that this forty odd minutes long album surprises me. And there is those who regard this album as a hidden gem in the prog rock scene. I am not disagreeing..... This is indeed a good album.
The third album from this Japanese band.
Outer Limits was a sextet on this album with a lineup of violin, keyboards, drums, bass and vocals.
A three men big choir also added their voices to this album.
Outer Limits is a very eclectic band with music it is difficult to penetrate....... and review. Hence my many attempts of reviewing each album before I am finalising an opinion. You can find my reviews of their first and second albums here and here. Both albums is very eclectic.
After having heard three of their in total five albums..... and with plans to review their final two albums before the end of 2017/you will find my reviews of their two final albums somewhere else in this blog.... I have to agree with those who rates Outer Limits as one of the best and most interesting Japanese/Asian bands of all time.
Listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives and other places, Outer Limits comes up with an album which has more in common with King Crimson from their Red and Larks Tongue albums than symphonic prog.
There is a lot of symphonic prog in the early Genesis era here too. But the music is eclectic and very King Crimson throughout most of this almost one hour long album.
The overall quality is very good and this is indeed a very good album, drenched in mellotron and keyboards it is. It has a lot of twists and turns too. But never in the wrong direction.
Fans of eclectic prog must check out this album..... and band.
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
The third album from this band from Brazil.
Violeta De Outono was a trio on this album with a lineup of craviola, minimoog, guitars, bass, drums and Portoguese vocals.
The band had taken a ten years long break since their not so great Em Toda Parte album from 1989. My review of that album is here.
That break had done the band some good.
The music is still psych prog with a lot of space rock influences too. The thin vocals is special and makes their music a bit difficult to really penetrate because the vocals tends to get too much attention in the sound.
There are also some post-rock influences here and those are good. The band has cleaned up their sound and music a lot since their previous album and that is a good thing.
Sixty minutes is what we get here with some pretty spaced psych prog. Pink Floyd's classic Astronomy Domine is thrown in at the end of this album too.
The end result is a special album who is pretty good. But not good enough. Check out this album.
The 18th album from this Italian band.
The band (PFM) was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Italian vocals.
The band also had help from three guest musicians who added their drums, violins, guitars and keyboards to this album.
The band has gone through some bad and good patches during their career. The band was in some sort of resurrgencene on their latest albums and not at least; their latest gigs and tours. Mostly with classical music with their music floating on the top.
This happens when bands and band members gets old. They either move towards folk music or classical music.
PFM has done both. Their gigs was full of symphony orchestras. This album is very much a folk rock or even old style Italian pop album.
This album is not quite in the Angelo Branduardi mode. But it is clearly a mix of old pop and folk rock. There is a lot of vocals where. Vocals lost when you are not a native Italian speaker.
The music is not particular interesting or good. Well, some parts is fairly good. But the music is very little challenging and offers up next to no food for my brain or imagination. It is in short not a prog rock album.
The end result is a decent to good album. An album better than their worst ones. But nothing more than that.