Friday 31 March 2017

Denny. Sandy ‎– Like An Old Fashioned Waltz (1973)

The third album from this Welsh singer.

This goddess had help from Richard Thompson and other old friends again. There is a lot of strings on this album in addition to guitars, bass, drums, piano and keyboards.

Sandy Denny's vocals is never in doubt. She did a fantastic job in Strawbs, Fairport Convention, on Led Zeppelin's IV album and in Fotheringay.

This was albums which had great music too. Folk rock was her calling and she delivered some cornerstones in that genre.

On this album, someone, maybe herself, decided to remove Sandy Denny from that scene. The result is a pop and a jazz album. Mostly, that is.

The title track is a very good song. But there is some tracks on this forty-three minutes long album which makes me cringe. The jazz bits here, commercial jazz, is not good at all.

As I said in the beginning of this review; her vocals is never in doubt. The arrangements and the songs here makes her 30 years older than she was. This is granny music. And that is not good at all.

The end result is a decent to good album which has just about been saved by the title track.

2.5 points


Thursday 30 March 2017

Worster. Martin - If We Could Talk (2016)

The second album from this Dutch artist.

Martin Worster does the keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals here. He gets xtra help from saxophones, piano and guitars.

I reviewed his 2014 debut album And Now.. on the day two years ago. That is 30. March 2015. It is a pure coincidence that I am reviewing the follow up on the day, two years later.

I did not like that album and felt a bit cheated as I thought it was a progressive rock album, having been listed in ProgArchives.

So why the heck I did not learn from my mistakes and gave this album my attention ? I do not know. I guess I am too much of a curious cat to learn from my mistakes. At least when it comes to music.

This almost fifty minutes long album is the product of a singer-songwriter who does everything himself. There are some guitars, keyboards, sax, bass, drums and piano here. But the music is stripped down.

The music has this post-punk sound and feel. It does not have this traditional US singer-songwriter sound (Dylan, Springsteen, Petty & co). There is some college rock here too and some 1980s new-wave stuff here too.

There is no really good songs here and this album does not really gives a prog and jazzhead like myself much pleasures. Martin Worster has not developed into a progressive rock artist either since the debut album.

This album is pretty decent and that is what I am giving this album. A decent rating.

2 points


Three Man Army - Three Man Army Two (1974)

The third album from this English band.

The band was again a trio with Adrian Gurvitz on guitars, keyboards and vocals. His brother Paul Gurvitz served the cause on bass and vocals. The only non-family member was Tony Newman on drums.

This is their final proper album, the 2005 album Three Man Army Three only being an archives and leftovers album.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for this band. Something they have earned on their three albums. Their two first albums was a mix if psych, hard rock and some beat music.

The trio has not changed much since their 1972 album Mahesha. We still get a lot of hard rock with superb guitars from Adrian Gurvitz. I am not surprised that he is rated among the top ten best guitarists in the world. His work on this album and the two previous albums are breathtaking. Very intricate solos and backing work. A top rate musician by all means and he really sets this band and album alight.

The band has calmed down a bit on this album and have even included a pretty bad ballad here. A tearful ballad. It is best forgotten..... and forgiven.

The more positive developments here is the return to some The Beatles like melodies. A couple of these tracks has some strong hints of the Sgt Pepper era.

The quality is good throughout and I like this music a lot. What this album is lacking is a killer track or two. Besides of that, don't ignore this band and this album. Check it out.

3 points

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Styx - Crystal Ball (1976)

The sixth album from this US band.

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

This is also the first album with the ultimate, so I have been told, Styx vocalist. His name is off course Tommy Shaw.

After struggling with getting some recognition and album sales, Styx were starting to hit the jackpot and their stride.

Styx was a strange band, viewed with European glasses and eyes. Or not to mention; an European mindset. The sound on this album is very American. That means big and brash. To a large extent, Styx were a poor man's Kansas. Not at least on their first six albums. Sometimes, they also has got something from Eagles.

The music here is pomp prog with a lot of of hard rock included. The choruses is very much in the teenybopper pop mould.

This half an hour long album has some really good songs. The title track is one of them. The Old Man and Mademoiselle is two other tracks. There is hardly any bad track on this album. The choruses are a bit cheesy. But the band delivers the goods on this album. And I am known to like a piece of cheese now and then. Styx and Crystal Ball is my kind of cheese.

3 points

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Opeth - Ghost Reveries (2005)

The eight album from this Swedish band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, percussion, bass, drums, organs, mellotron, moog, piano and vocals.

Opeth's change from a death metal band to a progressive rock band had given us some strange albums. The contrasts between their 2002 album Deliverance to their 2003 album Damnation is massive. Almost like two different bands.... No wonder their fans were confused.

Their fans has found something else to sink their teeth into on Ghost Reveries. To a certain degree, this album combines Deliverance and Damnation.

The album opens with some death grunts vocals and I am fearing the worst. But I am much mistaken.
The album is opening up very nicely and we get some pretty good progressive rock here too. Even the metal and even the death metal here sounds very progressive. It is because it is progressive rock on this album.

This album shows up some contrasts. A lot of light and shade. A lot of very exciting stuff. It has now become very obvious why this band is so admired and revered. Even I am getting this message loud and clear now.

I really like this album a lot. There is no great songs here. But it is really full of interesting details. Enough for a lifetime. This is indeed their best album so far and a very good album.

3.5 points

Monday 27 March 2017

Negasphere - Castle In The Air (1984)

The debut album from this Japanese band.

The band was a five piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, organ, synths and English vocals.

The band was Kawasaki Kaoru's band and the band released two albums before splitting up. The band is not among the highest rated Japanese symphonic bands. But I still wanted to give their two albums a go in this blog.

Symphonic prog it is. Take the more mellow parts of Peter Gabriel era Genesis, add some ELP and a lot of UK too. On the top of this, add a lot of fusion too. Allan Holdsworth is a good reference here.

The band is unmistakenly Japanese in their sound and vocals. The vocals is thin, but not too bad. They remind me about the vocalist in Pendragon.

The band did not use the best studio when recording this album. The sound is pretty bad throughout. But the material still shines through on this album. Thirty-eight minutes of not too bad material.

There is a lot of good stuff here, indeed. In particular the more Genesis sounding stuff here. The guitars are also good. But there is also some bad stuff here. Some decent stuff here. The typical 1980s guitar and drum synths is also very bad.

With a lot better sound, this could have been a good album. This album is still worth checking out.

2.5 points

Sunday 26 March 2017

iamthemorning - Lighthouse (2016)

The third album from this Russian duo.

The duo, who does the female vocals, grand piano and keyboards, has got help from numerous other musicians who provides guitars, strings, drums, percussions, synths and woodwinds.

Those who knows this band knows that their music is based around Marjana Semkina's vocals. She has a voice which is not too far away from Kate Bush.

The band is skillfully incorporating a lot of classic music into their blend of pastoral folk, symphonic and religious ethereal music. Hence their dedicated following. Their 2012 debut album is one of the best ever debut albums from the progressive rock scene.

The vow factor from that album has somewhat disappeared. Nevertheless, Marjana Semkina's vocals is as strong as ever and she does her best on the material and songs delivered by the other person in this duo; Gleb Kolyadin.

The arrangements and the vocals are great. The songs are not that great. This forty-seven minutes long album does not really deliver us a great piece of music.

This album is very good throughout and I am really enjoying it. I still believe this band can and must become one of the alltime greats. And I very much enjoy their music. But this is not a great album.

3.5 points

Iris - Crossing The Desert (1996)

The one and only album from this French band.

Iris was a six piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions and voice effects.

Iris was a kind of a supergroup lead by Sylvain Gouvernaire (Arraken etc etc) in the front of Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley from Marillion. The three other members were far more peripheral then this three men big core.

The music here is instrumental. ProgArchives has labeled this band and album as neo-prog. It is instrumental neo-prog indeed.

The music here is pretty epic with soaring guitars and keyboards. All of it played by Sylvain who also wrote all music on this album.

A lot of this music sounds like symphonic prog. I had expected some sort of fusion influences here. But there is none. There are some prog metal influences though.

Eight songs, forty-eight minutes done by musicians who knows their stuff inside out. Sometimes, that means some pretty dull albums. Sylvain was a well meaning composer here and did his best. The end result is nothing more than a decent album. Check it out if this sounds good to you.

2 points

Invertigo - Next Stop Vertigo (2010)

The debut album from this German band.

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

The German neo-prog scene is big and vibrant. Germany too is big and vibrant... Invertigo does not shame Germany and it's neo-prog scene with their musicianship and this, their debut album.

It is obvious that Marillion and Satellite has been a major influence on their life. But I do also find a lot of The Tangent influences here.

You see, this album is not really a run of the mill neo-prog album. It takes a lot from prog metal, yes. But it has also taken some subtle, but still noticeable influences from the Canterbury scene and the more eclectic British prog rock scene. Not to mention the krautrock scene.

The songs here has some interesting twists too. But this album still sounds like a very solid neo-prog album in the German vein. A scene more diverse than the British one.

The music sometimes detours into prog metal for a minute or two. But it is mostly very melodic and with some nice twists. 

This fifty-three minutes long album is by no means a very exciting, groundbreaking album. It is still a very solid one with good music throughout. OK, fans of avant-garde and eclectic music will find this album a bit stale. Despite of that....... this is not a run of the mill neo-prog album.

This is a good album and fans of neo-prog should really pick up this album.

3 points

Saturday 25 March 2017

Thrilos - Kingdom Of Dream (2016)

The debut album from this Polish band.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, viola, violins, flutes, drums, keyboards and male English vocals.

It is my understanding from ProgArchives that this band started out in the 1990s as Hands before changing name to Thrilos. This album was recorded in 1997 with a view to get it released in 1998. But it was only released in 2016 through the very good Lynx Music label in Poland and worldwide.
I am not sure if the band is still around.

Well, it is a very good thing (thanx, Lynx !) that this album finally saw the light of day.

Labeled as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives, this one hour long album sets out on this one hour long journey with a pastoral mix of acoustic guitars, keyboards and flutes. This eighteen minutes long title track is the best piece of music here. There is a lot of ambience in this music before vocals kicks in too.

The album also brings in some neo-prog on the other tracks. But most of this album is less-is-more and pastoral. This album is not shouting out loud and neither is it a smorgasboard in impressive timeshifts and technical prowesses. The band did not intend to be one of those bands too.

The result is a good album which will appeals to everyone into moods more than breakneck music. It is recommended !

3 points

Friday 24 March 2017

Morgan - Nova Solis (1972)

The debut album from this English band.

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

Morgan, named after the band leader Morgan Fisher, released two albums. Both of them to be reviewed/has been reviewed here.

Morgan Fisher and the other members had a long career in the music business in soul, beat and pop bands before they formed Morgan.

I am not sure why they went progressive rock with Morgan. The result is this.

This is nominally a symphonic prog album. On paper...... Well. What comes from my speakers is a mix of soul, pop and some sort of progressive rock. OK, symphonic prog, then. But I am not reminded about Yes, Genesis or any other symphonic prog bands here.

Some of the problems is the vocals which is not that suited to the four tracks on this forty minutes long album. Neither is the synth sound. This album reminds me a lot about a decent Italian symphonic prog album. Come to think of it, RPI is the best label on this album.

The first three songs are OK with a few good idea thrown into the mix. Not too bad, those three tracks. The twenty minutes long title track starts out very good before it descent into a landscape of utter confusion. It again reminds me about RPI with a lot of piano and rampant keyboards. This piece sounds confused and not so coherent.

The end result is a decent enough album made by somone who did not clearly "get" progressive rock when they made this progressive rock album. The result is halfway house and an album I am not that happy about.

2 points

Thursday 23 March 2017

Submarine Silence - Journey Through Mine (2016)

The third album from this Italian band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, mellotrons, moog, piano, organs, bass, drums and English vocals.

I reviewed their 2001 self-titled debut album back in July 2011. An album I did not like at all. 
Their 2013 album was therefore bypassed before I decided to dip my feet into the water again with this album, their third album.

There is no denying that this band is a side-project of Moongarden too.

The band is more than happy to go back to the glory 1970s on this album and to worship at the altar of the old, glorious Genesis albums.

Take Trespass, Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot. All three great Genesis albums. All three albums has greatly influenced this Submarine Silence album.

There is hardly any RPI here. Well, there is none at all. This one hour long album is drenched in mellotron, acoustic guitars and good English vocals.

And the band has managed to get a very good album out of this. Well, the music is as original and innovative as an average rain shower. But the quality is still here and this is an album you must check out if those three Genesis albums is your thing. Hence my verdict on this album, reflecting one of my guilty pleasures.

3.5 points

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Three Man Army - Mahesha (1972)

The second album from this English band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals. That means Tom Newman on drums and the two leaders of this band, the Gurvitz brothers. Adrian and Paul, that is.

Tom Newman had replaced a trio of world famous drummers from the first album. An album I really liked a lot.

Adrian is a highly powerful and great guitarist. But he and his brother Paul did also back up the guitars with some really clever writing and songs on their first album.

The band and the brothers are at it again on this album. Some pretty hard rock is underpinning some really clever songs here. The music is what we can label a mix of US southern rock, hard rock and British hard psychedelia rock.

The band and their music almost sounds like a US band. But the psychedelic sound and sporadic pieces of music drags us back towards the shores of England again. We splash down somewhere between England and USA.

There are even some of The Beatles lurking around here. A bit of The Doors too.

The album is displaying some hard rock at the beginning before some really clever and more pastoral music takes over at the end.

I am surprised about how underrated this band is. This album is really a good album. It is also largely a timeless album who still shines and feels relevant anno 2017 too.

The album is thirty-five minutes long and that is some really well spent minutes. Many times thirty-five minutes in my case. This was time not wasted.

3 points

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Denny. Sandy - Sandy (1972)

The second album from this English singer.

Sandy Denny on vocals got help from old Fairport Convention members Dave Swarbrick and Richard Thompson together with numerous other helpers. The lineup is a mix of guitars, piano, keyboards, woodwinds, bass, drums and percussions.

I gave her debut solo album The North Star Grassman And The Ravens a glowing great review back in December 2013. A truly great album.

It is well known that Sandy Denny had her best years in Fotheringay and in particular; Fairport Convention. Her contribution to one of the greatest albums of all time; Led Zeppelin's IV album (duet with Robert Plant at The Battle Of Evermore.

It is also well known that Sandy Denny was a star who burned up far too young. She passed away 21. April 1978. Her ten years long career gave us some fantastic music. I am on record and I am happy to state my opinion that she is the greatest female vocalist of all time.

Sandy is a forty minutes long album which mainly gives us folk-rock and some country music too. Her feet are steeped in those genres here. There are plenty of mandolin and violins here. Most of all; there is plenty of Sandy Denny's vocals here. And Richard Thompson's guitars also plays a big part here.

The songs are not that interesting to be honest. But Sandy's vocals saves the day..... saves this album.
But it is nowhere as good as The North Star Grassman And The Ravens. But Sandy's vocals is alone the reason to check out this album.

3 points

An ode to Progarchives

This may sounds a bit strange since most people think I am an enemy of Progarchives. Well, I am not. I use ProgArchives most days. ProgArchives has meant a lot to me and still means a lot to me. It is one of those online places which has changed my life. Due to circumstances mostly out of my control, I had to leave ProgArchives and a lot of other places earlier this year. 75 % of my life was turned around during a period of a few weeks. Initially, leaving ProgArchives had nothing to do with ProgArchives. But I have to admit I don't miss the bureaucracy and the non-music stuff which my time in PA was filled with at the end. I was very relieved when I could return to listening to music and then writing about it in my own blog. That is what I like so much about my own review blog. Music.

I joined ProgArchives because of my interest in music. At that time, I was a fan of Rush, Saga, Focus, Dream Theater, Genesis and the more symph prog, melodic and metal end of the progressive rock world. ProgArchives has 21 different prog rock genres if my memory serves me right. I looked upon the likes of Soft Machine, Magma, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Univers Zero and the other more avant-garde with a mix of sheer horror and bemusement. I started to explore them by first getting Caravan's excellent In The Land Of Grey And Pink album. An album I really loved/still love. The slippery slide took me through The Tangent's excellent Not As Good As The Book album before I went through Gentle Giant, King Crimson and a lot of other bands before I ended up as a Soft Machine and Magma fan. I had a lot of fun in this slippery slide towards them and now the ultimate in prog rock: The Japanese zeuhl bands. I have also become a jazz and fusion fan. I now barely listen to the bands who made me interested in ProgArchives now. I no longer have any interest in Dream Theater and progressive metal. I have not been listening to Rush, Genesis and Focus for ages.

All this due to the tempting, inviting ProgArchives front page. I have a lot to be grateful towards ProgArchives for, indeed. And I am still on a musical journey. Mostly by using ProgArchives as a guidebook on this journey.

No, I am by no means an enemy of ProgArchives. I am happy with my blog though as I am only in this because of the music and nothing else. You see, exploring different music and sounds is intellectually stimulating. In particular; exploring avant-garde and zeuhl. I also love to write about this music. I love to find and write about new and old hidden gems. It keeps my brain cells well lubricated. This has a very good effect on my health.

In other words: ProgArchives deserves an ode or ten. And I will forever be grateful to everyone involved in ProgArchives. Their names are too many to be mentioned here. But they know who they are and they know I owe them, big time. I raise my coffee mug to them and their work in ProgArchives. Keep up your good work and keep ProgArchives up to date. Keep on adding those bands.

July 2012

... An introduction to this blog (updated 2015)

This is my three years old blog for reviews. I started it back in 10. February 2012 because I wanted to do my own blog, free of any restrictions placed on me by rules, regulations and editors.

I have been reviewing albums (casettes, LPs, CDs) for over 20 years now for various magazines and newspapers. I still have some hundreds/thousands of unreviewed albums in my collection and this blog is my outlet for these reviews. I am not going to run out of old and new albums for a long time, I am afraid.

The ratings will be added to the bottom of each review as x out of 5 points. I have always been forced to use a 1-5 points system and it is difficult to snap out of that filthy habit. I am too old to snap out of the habit now.

This review blog is just a personal hobby with no pretenses of being too serious. I do take the music seriously and I am thoroughly listening to the music. But I am not into writing long pieces about each album. I would refer you to ProgArchives and other music magazines for the likes of them. I like to keep my reviews sweet and short.

Neither is this a piracy blog with links to download albums. I may link to legally free albums, but that will be the full extent of what I can offer of freebies.  

Please note that this blog does not have a "best album of the year" rankings as I could not be bothered. I believe ProgArchives has the best list here and I refer you to them. 

Regularity of reviews/updates ? Whenever I feel for it. As simple as that. 

That's the intro out of the way....... I still got hundreds of old albums to review and I love this hobby and blog. Absolute love it. And I hope that shines through in my reviews. I also want to share my enthusiasm for music with you. 

.... and I you wonder what this rather strange blog title means, it is actually referring to something my mother said to me 40 years ago when we were listening to some fusion/rock on the radio. I was a small boy back then. She called the music "cat music". Which to a large extent is true. Some of the music I feature here in my blog is like the sound of fighting cats. Hence this blog title. 

I hope you will enjoy this blog and my writing here. If you like more of my writing, please note that I have two novels out now. My first novel The Final Ride was out in 2013 and my second novel Fragments Of Peter Svarttjern's Saga was out in 2014.

15. November 2015 

Monday 20 March 2017

Hidria Spacefolk - Symetria (2007)

The third album from this Finnish band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of synths, electric piano, bass, guitars and drums. Five other guest musicians contributed with trombone, harmonica, cello, jawharp, accordion, trumpet and more synths.

You will find my review of their three other albums in this blog. Hidria Spacefolk is a band I quite like and their three other albums is pretty good. Check out the reviews.

These Finns are giving us space rock. Ozric Tentacles is a very good reference, I have heard. I have yet to give Ozric Tentacles my attention. But if they are really similar to Hidria Spacefolk and this album, I will soon review the albums I have got with them.

Space rock can mean a lot. From the more primitive, almost black metal sounding space rock to the more refined and melodic type of space rock. This almost fifty minutes long album is very much in the refined and well developed space rock genre.

The music here is almost bordering to elegant. But space rock can never become elegant. This album is well within the space rock genre. Hence, there are some dirts on the wings of this album. Some muddy space rock.

The music is interesting, although not great, throughout these fifty minutes. Some more quality and greater song writing could had been an advantage. But this is nevertheless a good, entertaining album with some interesting twists and details. I hope this band is still around because I would not say no thanx to anything more from them. A new album would be welcomed in my house.

3 points

Osanna - Landscape Of Life (1974)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

The band was a five piece big band with a lineup of flutes, bass, drums, percussions, keyboards, guitars, mellotron, saxophones, vibraphone and Italian and English vocals.

Osanna is a band I am having problems really getting on with. Their music, that is. My problems with their music has been expressed in my reviews of their previous albums. See the Alphabetical Review List of reviews to the right. I am not sure what this band really want in their music.

Their fourth album is a bit more accessible Italian progressive rock album than their previous three albums. The band has focused on more than ten things on this album.

The music is a lot more focused and a lot more melodic than I am used to from this band. The saxophone, mellotron and the guitars are still here and adds a lot of quality. The band sounds as dark as Van Der Graaf Generator and half as avant-garde as Area at times. But most of the songs here are melodic.

This constant switch between English and Italian vocals is a bit a annoying. I would prefer them to stay with their Italian mothertongue. Then again, the title track is a good song.

The big, massive letdown is the sound. Something I cannot overlook when deciding on the points and final opinion on this album.

Hence, this very good album looses half a point due to the bad sound. Clean this album up and you get a very good album. But now, this is a good album. A thirty-six minutes long album.

3 points

Taproban - Per Aspera Ad Astra (2017)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

The band is a three piece band with a lineup of bass, percussions, guitars, keyboards, synths and the occasional vocals. Both in English and Italian. A hired saxophone player add some extra colours to the album too.

This is their fifth album and you will find reviews of their third album Posidonian Fields here and their fourth album Strigma here.

I have to admit I have not overly enjoyed their albums. Although I am a fan of Italian progressive rock, their albums does not really fit into this genre, no matter how Italian these three musicians are.

It is obvious that ELP has been their biggeste inspiration. But the band has moved slightly away from ELP on this album and gone their own way. There are also some references to avant-garde prog here.

Most of all, this fifthy minutes long album has gone a bit neo-classical music. Not only a bit, but neo-classical music is what we get here. That with guitars, keyboards, synths.... well, the usual rock band setup.

The music is pretty eclectic in other words. There are some more melodic stuff here too. Even some traditional songs in Italian and English. But most are neo-classical music.

The band is very ambitious here without really getting what they deserve. Good or even great music in other words. The bands does not really pulls this off, in other words.

The end result is a good album and one to really check out. Do that. I will still stick by this band and hope they one day will reach Jerusalem.

3 points

Introitus - Elements (2011)

The second album from this Swedish band.

This is a seven members big band with a lineup of percussions, guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, flutes and female vocals.

There are four members of the Bender family here and three other unrelated (?) members. But the Bender family rules the roost here.

I reviewed their most resent of their so far three albums back in September 2015. A fairly good album, my review says. So I said yes when I was offered their second album, this album.

Sweden is the homeland of ABBA. That occured to me when listening to this sixty-six minutes long album for the seventh time. The music here is neo-prog.

Neo-prog with a lot of dramatic, theatric prog metal, goth and symphonic prog. The music is a mix of simple ballads which makes me cringe a bit and some rather complex theatrical melodies.

Talking about cringing......... The lyrics, repeated over and over again during eight minutes, on the ballad Like Always, is horrible and makes me cringe. The music here is also on the simple side. A terrible song who takes this band into a budget version of Mostly Autumn.

The rest of the album is a lot better, thankfully !!! The closening epic Soulprint is a rather good seventeen minutes long romp through theater-land.

The end result is a decent album who is suffering from the lack of any great or even good songs. This is not a bad album though and it has it's good moments. But not many enough.

2.5 points

Solstice - Espresso (1981)

The second and final album from this Canadian band.

The band was a five man big band with a lineup of clarinet, bass, percussions, drums, guitars, electric piano, keyboards, synths and organ.

The band was one of the more forgotten bands from the Quebec scene. A scene giving us Harmonium, Maneige and many other bands. It is also one of my favourite scenes as I am collecting everything I can lay my hands on from that scene.

That includes also the 1978 debut album Mirage from this band. You will find my review here.  I was not overwhelmed by the quality of that album.

Three years on and the band is continuing down the same path again. That means jazz/fusion in the Weather Report and Gong vein.

There is a lot of Pierre Moerlen's Gong influenced fusion here. Both Solstice and that incarnation of Gong were around the scene at the same time. Solstice is clearly influenced by them.... Gong.

Both the clarinet and the piano is doing most of the leads and solos here. The clarinet is what sticks to mind here. The guitars is much more playing a supporting role. To a large extent, the same goes for the keyboards too. 

The end result is this thirty-five minutes long album. An album which does not offer the most interesting jazz/fusion around. The music is a bit light-weight and a bit lacking in substance. The end result is another album somewhere between decent and good. I am not overly excited by this band. But check out both albums.

2.5 points

Inner Prospekt - Deep Ghosts (2016)

The fifth album from this Italian project.

Inner Prospect is the one-man project of the Mad Crayon keyboardist Alessandro Di Benedetti. He does all the instruments here. That is drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals. English vocals.

This is my first meeting with Inner Prospect too. I have only reviewed and listened to one Mad Crayon album too. An album I liked a lot.

I feared this was going to be a plonk-pling-plong ambient album. One-man band tends to be leaning towards less complex music due to just being one musician. Thankfully, I was wrong in this case.

Inner Prospekt is off course leaning towards the less-is-more formula. But there is also a lot of meaningful melodies here. Melodies leaning towards the darker side of neo-prog.

The music on this fifty minutes long album is both melodic and very melancholic. It is also a bit gloomy. The music is also very clever as it has a good piano, keyboard and guitar tone. The time shifts, shades and lights are well done. Well done and good.

The vocals are rusty and very melancholic too. Those vocals, which is not that dominating, is also adding a lot of quality to this album.

The end result is a surprisingly good album and one project I want to explore more. This is an album well worth chedking out at this Bandcamp page.

3 points

In Spe - Typewriter Concerto in D (1984)

The second and final album from this Estonian band.

The band is listed as a nine piece band here with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, flute, typewriters (!!!), electronics and French horn.

I liked their self-titled 1983 debut album and reviewed it back in April 2014.

The band is still very much Mike Oldfield influenced. But there is also a lot of classic Russian and Estonian music here.

The addition of typewriter as an instrument is highly unusual. It is a first for my blog. But it is also a highly annoying instrument and one that is best not used in a music scene.

Most of the music here is classical music and ambient music. It is very pastoral too.

Tens of minutes of this is fulfilling my need for dull, unegaging music. That is the best part of this album.

Then we get some German keyboards nonsense with 1980s sound and added in cheering audience. It is a cringeworthy part of this album.

In short, this forty-three minutes long album is a turkey through and through. There is not much positive to be said about this album. If anything.

1 point

Jeronimo - Time Ride (1972)

The third and final album from this German band.

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

The band was pretty popular during their all too brief life. They went up like a rocket, burnt out and then disappeared somewhere in the wilderness, never to be heard of again. But Youtube has their three albums. This has secured this band's immortality. Which is a great thing.

Their music, their three albums, deserves to be heard and enjoyed again by both old and young people. Both those who were there and their children and grand-children. I am great believer in making albums like this available for new people and potential fans.

This German band, rumoured to be US army personell serving in Germany at that time, has again kept themselves pretty close to their blues roots. That and a lot of hard rock. Southern rock too.

But they have also incorporated a lot of krautrock into their music. This album starts of with a couple of Led Zeppelin'ish tracks. Led Zeppelin anno their debut album. That before they calm down and goes into a much more krautrock landscape. There are some psych rock on this forty minutes long album too. Even some space rock too.

Most of all, this is a bluesy rocking krautrock album.

The quality is not that great or even good though. It is a decent album from a band who really deserves a lot more respect and attention from old and new generations of rock fans. I am really glad I got to know their three albums.

2 points

Apocalypse - Lendas Encantadas (1997)

The fourth album from this Brazilian band.

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

I very much liked their third album Aurora Dos Sonhos and rated that as a very good album. So I was looking forward to this album.

Apocalypse is one of those bands who tries to carry forward the great South American prog rock scene from the 1970s. But with other means than just symphonic prog.

This band has been operating somewhere between neo-prog and symphonic prog throughout their first three albums. This is a great territory to explore. And it is being explored by a lot of bands too.

On their previous album Aurora Dos Sonhos, they were leaning towards symphonic prog. One year later, they ordered a removal van and went back to neo-prog again.

.... Which is what this album is. Lendas Encantadas is a neo-prog album through and through. Neo-prog in the Pendragon and the English style of neo-prog. The songs are not that long, averaging five minutes. It is only the final track Levando A Vida who passes the ten minutes mark.

We get fifty-two minutes here divided on ten tracks. Ten pretty light hearted neo-prog tracks.

The music is good throughout. No problems there at all. I pretty much like this album. But it is not a great album from a band who really need to release their potential. Something they have not done on this album. Nevertheless.......

3 points

Celeste - I Suoni In Una Sfera (1992)

The third and final album from this Italian band.

The band was a five piece band here with a lineup of flute, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions, guitars, saxophone, harmonica, piano and some very sporadic Italian vocals.

Celeste is a band who changed style and genre on all their three albums. Only their debut album was released while the band was alive. Their two 1990s albums was released long after the band's demise.

I Suoni In Una Sfera is a soundtrack to a 1974 movie by Enry Fiorini. I have tried to track down the movie and anything by this Enry Fiorini without coming up with anything. So I guess the movie was unreleased.

The music is here though and it is a soundtrack. The music is very mellow and jazzy. It is essentially a soundtrack. Fans of Goblin will like this album, in short.

Flutes, keyboards, piano and saxophone makes this a very laidback album. Almost a horizontal album which is a bit difficult to engage with. 

The music is not too bad. But it is a bit of a non-event, these forty minutes. There is no real good tracks here and the music is dull. So dull that it can be used as a cure against insomnia.

I am tempted to call this album a turkey. But the album is half decent and not a fully developed turkey. If you want to check out this band, get their very good debut album and don't bother about the rest of their albums.

1.5 points

Bocca della Verità. La - Avenoth (2016)

The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a six piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, moog, mellotron, keyboards, organs, piano, synths and male Italian vocals.

There is another generation of Italian Progressive Rock bands (RPI) popping up now. A lot of great bands who mix in their own ideas with the best ideas from the likes of Banco, PFM, Picchio Dal Pozzo, Area and Osanna. The inheretance and their own style mixed together in a great, great scene.

The result has been some great albums. The result will also be some more great albums as there is no stop to the great music from Italy.

La Bocca Delle Verity is one of the new breed who has delivered a couple of songs to the great Italian compilation albums before they have gone their own ways again. They started out as a tribute and cover band before coming up with their own stuff.

Take the likes of PFM, Banco, Osanno..... and then add some of the more new Italian bands to the mix too. The Fabio Zuffanti bands. Then you add the likes of Kansas, Genesis, Yes, Dream Theater and a bit Deep Purple to the mix. Then you get this album.

This album is one long suite. An eighty minutes long suite. One heck of a mouthful. Enough to kill most bands. There are a lot of guitars here and not so much keyboards and synths as I feared. The sound is surprisingly organic. The vocals are great and the guitars makes the many themes here really flower.

The strange thing, and a joy to behold, is that the band pulls it off. There are a lot of great themes here. Superb and excellent themes in a couple of instances. Some of the best I have heard for a while.
And the music is so typical Italian and RPI too.

The end result is a great, great album. Even with a couple of none so great themes, this album comes up trumps. It is an album everyone need to check out. An album that put RPI in the forefront of the prog rock genre again. I am full of joy because of this album.

4 points

Iamthemorning - Belighted (2014)

The second album from this Russian band.

Iamthemorning is essentially a duo with the unearthly beautiful vocals of Marjana Sempkina supported by Gleb Kolyadin's keyboards, string arrangements and piano. Both members are equally important to this band.

The duo is supported by two string ensembles, drums from the likes of Gavin Harrison, bass, guitars and harp.

Their 2012 debut album is rightly regarded as one of the modern prog rock's classic and best ever albums. Everybody, including myself, were going mental over this unearthly brilliant album. And I still stand by every single word I said and wrote about the band and that album.

Belighted, released two years later, was bound to be a letdown. And it is..... But not by much.

We still get this Russian ambience and melancholy. These sorrows. We also get a largely acoustic album with Marjana's excellent vocals on the top of them.

It is tempting to compare this band with Renaissance. But they are not a clone and not anywhere near Renaissance although fans of that band will also love Iamthemorning. Iamthemorning is pretty unique in the scene as far as I can see.

The music on this fifty-five minutes long album is much more commercial and accessible than the debut album. It is also a lot more songs focused. There are a slight drop in quality. But not by much.

There are no really brilliant pieces of music here. But the quality is very good to great throughout. This is another prove that Iamthemorning is one of the best prog rock bands today. It is also a must-have album.

3.5 points

Three Man Army - A Third Of A Lifetime (1971)

The debut album from this British band.

The band was essentially a duo of the brothers Adrian and Paul Gurvitz from The Gun. Paul did the bass and vocals. Adrian did the Mellotron, organ, guitars and vocals. On drums, they used the two world famous musicians Buddy Miles and Carmine Appice.
The third drummer was Mike Kellie, who sadly passed away some weeks ago.

The band went onto releasing four albums. The three first ones is up for reviews here/has been reviewed in this blog.

I have to admit I had never heard about this band before. That is, until the beginning of this year, 2017. Some Youtube songs and their inclusion in ProgArchives made this band a priority for me.

..... Which is the whole reason for this blog !!!! Discover new and old artists.

The Gurvitz brothers was obviously two great musicians. Adrian's guitars shines through here and he has duly been added to my guitar-hero list. No wonder Buddy Miles from Jimi Hendrix band plays drums on some tracks here ! Those two also worked together on at least one more project.

The album starts out as a hard rock album. But it mellows down after some minutes and we get a very nice pastoral song in the second track, the very good Daze. The album is from there an excersise in hard psych, rock and hard rock. There is also plenty of progressive rock here.

There is also plenty of food for the brain on this fifty minutes long album. The songs are intricate and melodic. Some are just intricate and eclectic. Others are very melodic with some beat tendencies. The Beatles has made an impression on this album. So has The Moody Blues too.

The result is a very good album which surprises me on every songs. Positive surprises a plenty.

This is indeed a very good album and a must-check out piece of British rock.

3.5 points

Krokofant - Krokofant II (2015)

The second album from the Norwegian band.

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

I reviewed their 2014 self-titled debut album back in November 2015. An album I quite liked.

The band has just released their third album called Krokofant III.

The music here is very intense jazz with some degree of eclectic prog too. There is a lot of King Crimson's music and attitude in their music.

No bassist, you say. The bassist role is being fulfilled by the saxophone who both does the bass, solos and the rhythm guitar job here.

The drum is hyper-active while the guitars are both solo and rhythm.

The music is very intense and leaves no space for reflections or normal harmonies. This album is being hit by a hammer throughout these forty-four minutes.

I have to admit this is not really my kind of tea. The novelty factor wears off and I am left with an album which is not good enough. It is another nearly-there album. A somewhere between decent and good album.

2.5 points

In Limbo - Interstices (2013)

The second album from this French band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. Two guest musicans is helping out on flute and organ.

The band is delivering instrumental progressive rock and they have done it on three albums.... so far. They are all free downloads from this link.

I am no big fan of instrumental progressive rock so I think I will give their first and third album a miss. But the link is above and check them out. Bands like this deserves huge credit and support.

The music here is not symphonic prog.... although there are some elements of that here. My first thoughts goes to post-rock, then experiemental metal and then fusion. There is no metal here so I am wrong in that respect. But take post-rock, fusion, space rock and symphonic prog. Then you get this album.

Clocking in at thirty-six minutes, this album is not outstaying it's welcome either. The music is dynamic with some distinct good themes. The music is driven by half-acoustic guitars and the occasional electric guitar, keyboards and flute. The bass and drums keeps the whole thing together.

The result is not earth shattering exciting. But this album is interesting enough to captivate the listener. And it is short enough to keep the listener's attention too.

This is a good album which deserves more open ears and more attention. Maybe I should get the two other albums too.......

3 points

Solstice - Mirage (1978)

The debut album from this Canadian band.

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

Solstice released two albums between 1978 and 1981 before they gave up the ghost.

Solstice was one of the bands in the famous and highly quality driven Quebec scene. A scene who gave us Maneige, Harmonium and some other bands. It is also one of my favourite scenes.

Whereas the other Quebec bands were fusion, folk prog and eclectic prog, Solstice went a slightly other path.

Mirage is much more straight quartet band jazz than fusion. These thirty-seven minutes reminds me a lot about both Weather Report and Nucleus. A hybrid of those two.

The tempo and mood is pretty melancholy throughout. The clarinet is the main instrument here and it has it's own sound and ambience. There is some ballads here where the clarinet, played by Michel Martineau, really comes up with the goods. There are also some good half-acoustic guitar solos here.

This album perhaps not fully blown jazz. A bit fusion is what we also get here. Nevertheless, it is a good intro to the pleasures of jazz.

The quality is not always good here so I am again falling down on a mix of decent and good here as my verdict. Nevertheless, Solstice has been added to my collection of Quebec bands I like.

2.5 points

Hidria Spacefolk - Balansia (2004)

The second album from this Finnish band.

The band is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussions, synths and electric piano. They also got help from five other guest musicians who provided marimba, cello, vibraphone, slide guitar and trumpet.
I very much liked their 2002 debut album Symbiosis. The review is here. It was a promising space rock album. An album which pointed towards a good career. A career with so far four studio albums.

Balansia is following down the same path. Although I would use the space rock label here, there is a lot of other influences here too. Music genres too, in fact. This album is therefore barely a space rock album.

There is a lot of TV series and cinematic music on this album. You will find a lot of similarities between this music and the slick big budget crime and action TV series from the 1980s and the 1990s. Miami Vice springs to mind. A TV series where Jan Hammer provided a lot of music. There is also some cinematic over the music here. 

The music is dynamic throughout the whole fifty minutes long album. Dynamic, but a bit too slick and too 1980s/90s for my liking.

Those who love pure space rock will look with disdain at this album. An album without that many good themes either. But it is a decent enough album..... decission time. It is somewhere between a decent and good album. It is lacking teeth and substance, this album. Therefore.....

2.5 points

I Am The Manic Whale - Everything Beautiful In Time (2015)

The debut album from this English band.

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

I Am The Manic Whale comes from Reading, an hour west of London. I spent a night there (in 2000) after a job interview and did not like the place. The employer did not like me either so that was a lucky escape for both of us. But this town/city has a lot of good bands.

I have had this album for a long time and was meant to write this review one year ago. But I have had my problems with it.....

I was not sure what to make of it. But I am sure enough now to write a review although this is an album that still bewilders me....... Slightly....

The album starts out with a strong leaning towards Genesis and all the classic British symphonic prog bands from the 1970s. Then we get to the third song, the five minutes long Princess Strange who has some strange and very strong teenybopper and Blink 182 vibes. Both in the verse-chorus-verse structure and the lyrics. The final two minutes takes that song back to the prog rock scene again. A strange song and one I am no fan of. The first three minutes of it, that is.

The rest and the first two songs of this album is a mix of neo-prog and symphonic prog. The vocals is good and I am really enjoying these seventy-three minutes minus the abovementioned three minutes.

The album sounds a bit light and a bit light hearted. A bit teenybopper at times. But this is still a very good album with a lot of good guitar solos, melodies and details. Check out this album and band. Let us get more albums from this band.

3.5 points

Hoelderlin - Rare Birds (1977)

The fourth album from this German band.

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

This album is the final album from them which has any progressive rock interest. I am not keen on pop albums and cannot be bothered with the three remaining albums. The final one released ten years ago.

The band has already changed a lot since their 1972 debut album Holderlin's Traum. My review of that and the two other albums can be found on the alphabet index on this page.

There is hardly any folk rock left here. Make that..... there is no folk rock left here. What we get is something that approaches symphonic prog.

The songs are very long, almost hitting the ten minutes mark. To be more precise, the six songs are all between four and nine minutes long on this forty-three minutes long album.

I stated that the album was approaching symphonic prog. But it is not symphonic prog. It is much like pomp rock with elegant, elaborate songs. They feels like a melodic version of Genesis.

The songs are not particular good and I cannot see that any of these tracks (one of them is instrumental) is grabbing my attention. The band shows great musicianship and not much great writing skills.

It is a sad thing to state. But this is a rather dull album without many interesting details. It is one of those decent to good albums which I cannot say is either decent or good. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Horus - Stelle di Battaglia (1993)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of drums, guitars, keyboards, bass and Italian vocals.

This half an hour long album is a compilation of cobbled together tracks from 1978-79. Normally I avoid albums like this. But this is an Italian band and I love RPI. Hence this review....

There is one original track here with a good sound. The opening track Respiro which was also released as a single by the band. The only release from this band as a going concern. The band was long gone and history in 1993. Mellow Records spliced together this album from an old demo.

The sound is not the best here. But we can still hear the music and understand it.

The music is a bit of pastoral Italian symphonic prog (RPI), fusion and hard psychedelic prog. References are Eclat and Finnforest. But there is also strong and very easy to find references to Genesis here.

The vocals is really good and the band had a lot of good melody ideas. Ideas which reminds me a lot about Genesis.

The songs here are just sketches of what could have been if these songs could have been finished and completed.

But what we get here is decent enough to give it a decent rating. I am afraid this is the only sign of life we will ever hear from this band too. So enjoy it and take if for what it is.

2 points

Styx - Equinox (1975)

The fifth album from this US band.

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

I have yet to be impressed by Styx. But I have been informed that the band was finally "arriving there" on this album. This after four pretty decent and not so good albums.

This is an album where the band were in a transfer between the old blues and naive classic rock dominated Styx to become the Styx that sold millions of records. So I have been told. So says ProgArchives too.  The good old Styx changed vocalist after this album. John Curulewski does his final stint here before leaving the vocals duties to the far more famous Tommy Shaw, the man everyone associate with Styx.

There are still a lot of classic rock on this album. This is a classic rock album. A stadium filler of an album. The blues has largely gone and so has the flirtations with psych rock too. There are still a lot of teenybopper stuff here.

There are also some good songs here. Songs who even I, who are not a great fan of this music, really find charming and good. Lonely Child and Suite Madam Blue is the good songs here.

I am not a big fan of this kind of music. But I admit this is an album with it's merits. Is it a good album ? I find the verse-chorus-verse formula a bit tiring and there is not much good music here. There is not much food for my brain. It is no-nonsense classic rock which appeals to the body and not to the brain. Hence my reservations.

2.5 points

Opeth - Damnation (2003)

The seventh album from this Swedish band.

Opeth was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussions and English vocals. Steven Wilson is the producer and does a lot of Mellotron, keyboards, organs and piano here.

Is this really the same band who released the rather avant-garde death metal album Deliverance ? Indeed it is. Damnation is one of the biggest turnaround in genres I have ever heard. Probably the biggest.

Gone is death metal. Gone is death grunts and the raspy vocals. Gone is everything metal.
The replacement is pastoral progressive rock, tender vocals, tender melody lines and tender use of Mellotron, guitars, drums and organ.

My ears had problems taking this one in and to accept that there was not death metal penetrating the air and my headphones.  My brain too did a lot of processing here.

Thankfully, this blog has given me a lot of exposure to strange music.

I have been crying out for a Opeth progressive rock album since I started to review their albums. I have finally got it.

The result is a bit of a stripped down, pastoral Porcupine Tree with some post rock influences and a lot of symphonic prog influences. The guitars and the Mellotron is very good throughout. Ditto for the vocals.

The music on this forty-five minutes album is a bit on the one dimentional side. A bit samey. But on the other hand, there are still some very good music and songs here. So much that I wonder if those who hails Mikael Akerfeldt as a genious is spot on. They probably are.

I suspect I will revisit this very good album in the near future again.

3.5 points

Jeronimo - Jeronimo (1971)

The second album from this German band.

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

This band was quite a big band back in the early 1970s and released three albums. Each of them to be reviewed/has been reviewed here. The review of the debut album is here. An album I was not that impressed with as it was a hard beat album.

The band has moved on with this album. What we get here is hard psych and hard rock.

There is a lot of hard riffing here. More or less the full forty-five minutes is dedicated to hard psych and hard riffs.

The music is still pretty effective and verse-chorus-verse dominated. Some good guitar solos is included. Some solos in the Led Zeppelin vein.

.... Why the earth the band decided to kill of the good mood on this album halfway through with a totally pointless drum solo is something I cannot understand. The acoustic parts here is not that impressive either. But they are good compared to that atrocity of a drum solo. A dull as heck many minutes long drum solo......

There are some good stuff here, the disasterous drum solo and some decent stuff. So my overall impression is that this is a decent to good album. It is not an album I will remember for long.

2.5 points

Celeste - Celeste II (1991)

The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of Mellotron, flute, percussions, saxophone, xylophone, drums, guitars, marimba and Italian vocals.

The band had split up ages ago when this album was released. But their 1976 debut album Principe di un Giorno, and the only album from the band as a going concern, was and still is a classic album in the RPI scene. There was a clamour for more, anything, from this band. Hence this album.

The first twenty-five minutes, the first half of the forty-seven minutes long version I have got of this album, is studio tracks. And with a very good sound too. This part is the only reason to get this album as this music is very good.

The music had changed a lot from Principe di un Giorno. The music on the studio tracks are mainly straight jazz with some fusion and Canterbury scene weirdness thrown into the mix too. If this album had been in this vein and with the same sound, I would have gone bananas in joy.

Well, I am not.

The final half is bad sounding live stuff and some oddities and loose ends. The sound, the bad sound, does not make these twenty minutes a delight. But it is not too bad either. A decent rating is awarded.

Hence, I am giving this album a decent to good rating. Closer to good than decent. But it is still what it is.

2.5 points

New blog......... same old story !!!

Welcome to # 2 of The Sounds Of Fighting Cats blog franchise.

Without further ado and celebrations will this blog just continue from where # 1 left it at at the end of February 2017.

All reviews from March 2017 will be lifted over to # 2 from the original blog.

Why # 2 and a new blog ? The reasons is that the Alphabetical Reviews List on the original blog was becoming too long. 20 - 30 centimeters longer than the post list. Which is not good at all.

Under no circumstances did I want to drop old reviews. So the only solution was to create this blog as a direct continuation of the first one. 

No changes are planned. This blog will be about the types of music which makes dog panic and run of over the horizon. Eclectic, eccentric and informative. Just as we like it.

3500 reviews and 5 more years will follow on this blog before # 3 takes over.

Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans,
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood,
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well,
But he could play a guitar just like a ringing a bell.

Go Go
Go, Johnny, go, go
Go, Johnny, go, go
Go, Johnny, go, go
Go, Johnny, go, go

Chuck Berry R.I.P
So let’s crack on with the the joy of music and the joy of life.

20. March 2017

Torodd Fuglesteg
Glasgow, Scotland