Friday 30 June 2017

Cinema - Into the State of Flux (2000)

The second album from this Japanese band.

Cinema was a sextet on this album with a lineup of ocarina, violin, viola, synths, bass, drums, guitar and female vocals. The vocals are in English I believe although that is not easy to make out.

Cinema was formed after the two albums band Fromage split up. My review of their 1984 debut album Ondine can be found here

We are talking Japanese symphonic prog here. Cinema was living in the shadows of Ars Nova, Gerard and Mugen.

Japanese symphonic prog is most definate a very special and eclectic sub-category under the symphonic prog umbrella. Something this one hour long album proves.

Thin, shrieking opera vocals on the top of some classical and symphonic prog with some folk and metal influences is what we get here. There is plenty of acoustic guitar and synths here which goes out to create a neo-classical music vibe. Some may call this goth. But it is not.

There is some good stuff here and some rather decent stuff. I am not won over although it is a pretty good album. Hence, it falls between decent and good, this album. It is well worth checking out this album.

2.5 points

Wednesday 28 June 2017

UK - Danger Money (1979)

The second and final album from this British band.

Allan Holdsworth had taken his guitars and departed the band after their debut album. Bill Bruford had also taken his drums and departed the band after that album. What was left of this supergroup was Eddie Jobson (electric violins and keyboards), John Wetton (bass and vocals) and Terry Bozzio (drums and percussion).

UK was one of the first progressive rock bands I ever listened to. But I forgot to review their two albums.... Actually, I was not even a member of ProgArchives back then. That is ten years ago. That is now rectified as I reviewed their debut albums a few weeks ago..... or was it two weeks ago. Two weeks it is.

The debut album was a very good mix of AOR and jazz. But the songs were not that great and I am failing to see why this band is legends...

.. Well, I now know why. The lack of guitars means Eddie Jobson is being let loose. His keyboards and electric violins is great here.

The title track is a very catchy track..... and a great one too. The other short tracks are very good, with the exception of Caesar Palace Blues which is another great track. Yes, the album has been pretty cheesy up to now with some great vocals by John Wetton too. Vocals he use to great effect on the great track Rendevouz. Another cheesy track, but it is still a great track.

This forty-two minutes long/short album is full of very interesting and great details throughout. It is a a proper feast for my ears.

The big track here is the twelve minutes long Carrying No Cross which has Eddie Jobson in full bloom on his electric violin and keyboards.

The end result is a great album which very much survives the test of time. It has actually become better in my view. It is like a fine bottle of wine. Enjoy this great album.

4 points 

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Jane - Together (1972)

The debut album from this German band.

Jane was a quintet with a lineup of Hammond organ, flute, guitars, bass, drums and English male vocals.

I am planning to do reviews of their first albums/you can read my reviews of other Jane albums somewhere else in blog this summer and for the rest of the year.

I know next to nothing about this band besides of what ProgArchives has written about them. The link above has a very extensive biography of Jane. The band has also released a new album not many months ago. That too will be reviewed/has been reviewed in this blog.

I just chose this band and their extentive discography for reviews almost out of a hat. That is the way I like it as this means lots of excitements to my life. I love to listen to new (Read: old) music and get new influences.

Jane very much obliges to my wishes and requests on this, their debut album. The music is very bluesy and hard. It also has some very strong cosmic krautrock influences. A lot of this album is down the road of hard cosmic krautrock. That with a bluesy groove.

The quality is actually good to very good at times. Not everything is very good here. But the band and this album gives us some flashes of a better world. A world with screaming guitars, rough vocals, hammering organs, thundering bass and drums.

The final song Hangman is indeed a very good song. The rest is good without really bowling me over.

Being a debut album, this is indeed a forty minutes long album which makes me long for more of this band. Jane, you have my attention.

3 points  

Monday 26 June 2017

Isildurs Bane & Steve Hogarth - Colours Not Found In Nature (2017)

The tenth album from this Swedish band.

Steve Hogarth from Marillion is the vocalist here and is helped by Isildurs Bane who is an eight members big band on this album. The lineup is strings, flute, woodwinds, bass, drums, percussions, synths, keyboards and guitars.

From what I gather from their discography, the band cooperated with others on some albums. These albums showcased their music and the band from a totally different side than their proper albums.

I first thought I had got the wrong album when I first started to listen to this album. The references to Gazpacho and Marillion came thick and fast. I then discovered the reason for it........

There is not much of what I thought was Isildurs Bane's music here. I thought was in for another slab of neo-classical music based on what I heard on their Cheval album. An album which was very leftfield. This is not the case for Colours Not Found In Nature.

Take a mix of Radiohead, Gazpacho and Marillion....... then you get this forty minutes long album.

And it is indeed a good album. It has a lot of going for it. But not any great songs. I am not convinced that our planet needed another album in this genre. But that aside, this is a good album where Steve Hogarth sings very well and the band backs him up with some very well crafted music and musicianship.

Check out this album if Gazpacho and Marillion is your type of bands.

3 points 

Sunday 25 June 2017

Kerrs Pink - Art Of Complex Simplicity (1997)

The fourth album from this Norwegian band.

The band was a ten plus members big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organs, tin whistles, flutes, keyboards, viola, cello, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals. The vocals are all in English.

I really liked their 1993 album A Journey On The Inside. A good symphonic folk album. So I was looking forward to this album.

This album is almost seventy minutes long and it continues on from A Journey From The Inside.... with a few changes.

The band has switched to a much more pastoral sound now. Think a bit Mike Oldfield and a lot of Camel. Think a lot of folk music influenced classical music. But mostly folk music.

There are some sporadic vocals here. But most of this album is instrumental. The music is pastoral, but also with some good dynamics in the bottom. Most of them made by guitars.
 This makes this album not so ambient and lifeless as I feared it would be after a couple of listening sessions.

This album is like a rose, really. It does not fully opens up before you have given it some time. Even then, and after a lot of time, I am not really convinced this is a great album. It is nice enough, but just nice enough.

This is a good album though and it is a credit to the band, whoever is Kerrs Pink. Check it out.

3 points

Narrow Pass - In This World And Beyond (2009)

The second album from this Italian band.

The band is a duo of Mauro Montobbio and the vocalist Valeria Caucino. Mauro plays guitars and keyboards. The duo got help from numerous other musicians who provided woodwinds, drums, guitars, bass, vocals, violin and flutes.

Mauro Montobbio setup Narrow Pass in the 1980s and then joined Eris Pluvia, another Italian band who has released three albums. Narrow Pass debut album A Room Of Fairy Queens was not released until 2006.

Narrow Pass is a bit of an oddity in the Italian scene. They are very much focused on the music from another European country who starts with the letter I......... Ireland. There are a lot of keltic/Irish folk music influences on this album. The female vocals from Valeria Caucino more than alludes to a fascination of Irish music.

The music here though has also a lot in common with bands like Camel and Pink Floyd. La Mascera Di Cera is also mentioned by other reviewers as an influence on their music. But for me; this album reminds me a lot about Camel's very fine 1996 album Harbour Of Tears.

The English vocals are really good. The other musicians also creates an album with a lot of pastoral moods and soundscapes. This is a modern sounding album which floats nicely in my room.

There are no great songs here. But when that is said, this album is a more than welcome addition to my house and my record collection. This is a nice, good album which does it for me. I have duly added this band to list of bands I need to follow a lot closer in the future.

3 points

Saturday 24 June 2017

Encircled - The Monkey Jamboree (2017)

The second album from this English band.

Encircled is a quartet from Stoke on Trent in England. Their lineup is bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals. Male vocals.

I have not had the fortune of listening to their 2014 debut album The Gun Has Replaced The Handshake. But the motto for this band is "we do this for the love of progressive rock".

That is a great motto and I fully share that motto. I am though not sure if Encircled and I share the same view about what progressive rock is.

This album is fifty-five minutes long. It has seven rather short songs and one ten minutes plus long song clocking in at over sixteen minutes. The name of this song is Chasing The Ghost.

... And yes, we are again in the middle of neo-prog land. The album starts out pretty disappointing with the title track which comes across as a pop-rock song with a catchy chorus and not much anything else. Pretty poor stuff.

The album meander around the pop-rock and neo-prog light area for a while before it improves with the long song here, Chasing The Ghost. This piece of music is pretty good and the saving bacon for this album.

The end result is a decent to good album which simply does not do it for me. There is not enough details and enough quality here to really make me interested. A bit more of Chasing The Ghost and the band would become an interesting band.

2.5 points


Latte E Miele - Marco Polo Sogni E Viaggi (2009)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

Latte E Miele was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Italian vocals. Four other musicians contributed to this album.

This is the same setup from their two first albums. This was also their return after the horrible 1994 album Vampyrs and their three 1970s albums. I have with intent bypassed Vampyrs. Reviews of the three other albums can be found somewhere else in this blog.

Marco Polo is a concept album about, guess what...... Marco Polo and his journey to and from China. A mythical journey and also a well documented journey. This album follows this journey.

The vocals are in Italian and there is not much I understand. The music though is a form of Italian progressive rock..... If I am rather kind.

Pomp rock is more what I would label this album as. The music is operatic and musicals like. Strings, guitars and keyboards are very soft and not particular dynamic. Ditto for the vocals. There are some sporadic outbursts of classical music too.

There is not much technical stuff here. Not much progressive rock either. The quality is decent to good throughout. I am not enthused and will not remember this album with great fondness.

2.5 points


Friday 23 June 2017

Cellar Noise - Alight (2017)

The debut album from this Italian band.

Cellar Noise is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and English vocals.

Italy is full of new progressive rock bands. Some of them follows the avant-garde path, others are more fusion in the vein of Area, others follows in the footsteps of the 1970s bands and do RPI. Then we have the neo-prog bands.

Cellar Noise is a neo-prog band. Italy have a great neo-prog scene which lives a bit in the shadows of the excellent RPI scene.

Cellar Noise gives us fifty minutes of neo-prog. The band is also casting a long glance at the RPI scene too and is also incorporating a lot of those elements. There are the occasional mellotron here.

The vocals are very good and fitting for this album. An album which is pretty pastoral and does not venture into the prog metal territory. The music is well restrained.

What is lacking in bombastic songs has been replaced by quality songs. All songs are very good and bordering to great. This is indeed an impressive debut album and I hope we will hear a lot more from this band in the future. Check out this very good album.

3.5 points

Thursday 22 June 2017

Isildurs Bane - Cheval (1989)

The fifth album from this Swedish band.

The band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and woodwinds. The band also had help from a symphony orchestra and a choir here. That and some spoken French words.

This is my first ever meeting with this this band. I have heard about them for many years, but not been able or willing to discover them before now.

Isildurs Bane does a mix of classical music and symphonic prog. Neo-classical music is the label here........ sort off.

The music here is very melodic and not that complicated and intricate. Take the most melodic parts from classical music and add some rock to the music. Then you get bands like this. And albums like this. It is a bit cheap & fake in my opinion.

Isildurs Bane does a bit more than that on this forty minutes long album. This album is about Ferdinand Cheval, a man who built the rather hideous buildin The Palais Ideal in France. An eccentric man, in other words.

And there is a lot of eccentric ideas in this album too. Most of this album does not feel cheap and fake. There are a lot of good ideas and melodies here. Most of them with orchestra, guitars, keyboards and spoken words. That makes a good album which I find enjoyable. Check it out.

3 points

Wednesday 21 June 2017

White Wing - White Wing (1975)

The one and only album from this US band.

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

The band was from South Dakota and their album was recorded in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The record label was ASI. A single was lifted from this album (Hansa) which did rather well and became a minor hit.

The album was marketed as USA's answer to The Moody Blues. Which was missing the target by some miles. Forget The Moody Blues.

But remember the three first Styx albums instead. This is where we find this album..... more or less. The music here is not too hard. There are even some ballads here which is a bit soppy and emotional.

The rest of the album is a middle of the road mix of rock and progressive rock. This album is not really make any progressive rock fans day. Mostly because the quality is not that good. The band split up just after the release of this album as it sold pretty poorly. There is a good reason for that. The lack of quality.

This is a decent album and those interested may find it on Youtube for a listen or two. I am not that impressed.

2 points 

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Cobham. Billy - Total Eclipse (1974)

The third album from this US drummer.

Billy Cobham (on drums, percussions) had help from nine musicians on this album. They provided woodwinds, guitars, flutes, bass, congas, marimbas, piano and keyboards. John Abercrombie was the guitarist and the Brecker brothers did most of the woodwinds.

Billy Cobham moved a bit closer to clean jazz on this album. Much closer than on his ultimate masterpiece; Spectrum.

There is a lot of woodwinds here. Which is pretty natural for a jazz album. There is also some guitars and long guitar solos here. That is pretty much rock'n'roll. But jazz is the dominating genre here.

Music is a mix of harmonies and solos. A lot of solo runs from woodwinds, piano and guitars. The bass and drums is thundering around in the background.  

Billy Cobham does a very good job on drums with his fills. Ditto for the other musicians. Technically, this is top notch.

What is missing is the great tunes and the great stuff. There is none of that here. This is still a very good album which works on many different levels. An album that rekindles my interest in jazz.

3.5 points 

Monday 19 June 2017

Frogg Cafe - Fortunate Observer Of Time (2005)

The fourth album from this US band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, violin, cello, woodwinds, mandolin and vocals.

Their three first albums has been a mixed bag. I reviwed their third album Creatures and was pretty pleased with it.

The band still sounds like a mix of Canterbury prog and symphonic prog on this album. But they have got rid of the AOR stuff and has sharpened their pencils very considerably.

The added woodwinds and violins does a lot to give this album a very jazzy feel. The band has kept their prog rock and has moved a bit towards neo-prog. The opening track Eternal Optimist is indeed neo-prog. It is not the kind of music I wanted from this album and I almost gave up on this album there and then when listening to this album for the first time.

Thankfully, I was very much mistaken as the Canterbury prog quirkiness shines through thick and fast. Quirkiness that really makes me both smile and listen up. The vocals are also very good on this stuff.

So the album is half and half Canterbury and symphonic/neo prog. That is a good balance. There is not real great tracks here. But this album is sailing very close to greatness here and just misses that island with a couple of sub-standard tracks. Enjoy this one hour long album.

3.5 points   

Sunday 18 June 2017

UK - UK (1978)

The debut album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with Allan Holdsworth on guitars, John Wetton on bass and vocals, Bill Bruford on drums and Eddie Jobson on keyboards, synths and electric violin.

This is off course one of those supergroups with members from numerous great bands and solo-careers. This is also a band who got me into progressive rock, a transfer from metal, some fifteen years ago. I was listening a lot to this band. But I never reviewed their two albums. Something I am doing now.

The opening track In The Dead Of Night reminds me a lot Asia, another supergroup who came out of Yes and King Crimson. But it soon becomes a lot better. This song forms a suite with two other songs.

And it is where we find this band. A bit Asia, Yes, King Crimson and Eddie Jobson's electric violin on the top of that.

This album is a classic anyway so nobody cares about my opinion. I have to admit that this album has faded a lot in my estimation since I last listened to it. Yes, it is a good intro to progressive rock. But it has too much AOR for my liking and not enough great details. It a commercial album who did not sell as much as it should have done. UK was a bit of a failure as a commercial entity. It is still regarded as a classic band today. Unfortunate, only Eddie Jobson tours these days. Both Holdsworth and Wetton sadly passed away earlier this year and Bruford has taken early retirement from the music scene.

On balance, this is a very good album though. Wetton's vocals are great and the other musicians is doing a great job with songs which is not up to the standards they set in their earlier bands. Check it out.

3.5 points

Westfauster - In A King's Dream (1971)

The one and only album from this US band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of harpiscord, flutes, vibraphone, saxophone, guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and vocals.

The band was from Cincinatti and released their album on Nasco in Nashville, Tennessee. Very little is known about this band. The LP has been re-released on CD at least three times so there must be a fanbase of this band and album somewhere.

The music on this forty minutes long album is a mix of symphonic progressive rock, heavy prog and psychedelic rock. The title track takes 1/4 of this album and clocks in at ten minutes. That is a pretty complex track with a mix of piano, saxophone and vocals. It is also the best track here by some distance.

The other seven tracks are pretty short and does not really offer much besides of some pop and psychedelic music.

The end result is a decent album which may have something to offer to those who likes this kind of music. I rate the title track and that is it.

2 points

Werwolf - Creation (1982)

The debut album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and English vocals. Female vocals, no less. Two guest musicians is providing rhythm guitars and organs on selected tracks.

Please note that this album has been re-released by Garden Of Delight and made almost double the lenght. From forty minutes to seventy minutes. The re-release offers the best value for money, I have to admit. But the original is as good as the re-release. 

I reviewed their second album, the 2014 album Mystic Land back in March 2015 and hated that album. Terrible goth-light music.

Their 1982 is entirely a different kettle of fish. Thankfully... !

Gitta Loewenstein is the vocalist here and she sounds like Annie Haslam in Renaissance. She is not as good as Annie, obviously. But her vocals are seriously great. Her vocals floats on the top of the songs here.

.... Music who is a crossover between the likes of Renaissance and Eloy. Take some gentle spaced out German rock and fuse that with gentle jazzy symphonic prog. Add some folk rock too in the vein of Fairport Convention. The result is on paper a real pleaser.

The quality of the songs here are good, bordering to very good. It is actually a very good album, also taking Gitta's vocals into account. This is in short a hidden gem and one to check out.

3.5 points

Saturday 17 June 2017

Pochakaite Malko - Laya (2004)

The second and final album from this Japanese band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of violin, electric violin, bass, drums, tabla, percussions, piano and keyboards. Two guest provided oud and voices.

The band returned for one final album, three years after the release of their self-titled debut album. An album I liked a lot.

The band still provides us with avant-garde prog. The band has dropped the zeuhl influences and gone for a more lighter, sunnier sound. There are still a lot of Univers Zero hanging around. In particular from the halfway mark and out to the end of this album.

The dominating factor here is the electric and acoustic violins. Mostly the electric violins pared up with some piano and bass. Some chugging guitars are also evident here. Mostly at the end of the album, though.

There is also a lot of chamber-rock sounding stuff here. Stuff which does not sound that great. The band is at their best when they turn off the sound and goes into a much more darker territory. Their hellish dystopies suits this band far better than the light and sunny chamber-rock elements this album starts off with.

There is a lot of good stuff here. Even some very good stuff. On balance, this is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points 

Spirogyra - Bells, Boots And Shambles (1973)

The third album from this British band.

Spirogyra was a duo on this album with Barbara Gaskin on vocals and Martin Cockerham on vocals and guitars. They got help from numerous musicians who provided trumpet, drums, cello, bass, flutes, guitars, piano, whistles and violin.

Spirogyra was a folk rock band from Canterbury. Barbara Gaskin have had a great career with Hatfield & The North, Dave Stewart and other bands. The rest of Spirogyra has faded into obcurity and happy lives as anything else than being musicians.

I have heard that their second album Old Boot Wine was not a good album. I quite liked their debut album St. Radigunds. It was a pretty basic folk rock album though and pretty primitive. They branched out on Bells, Boots And Shambles though.

There is a lot of subtle hints of early Genesis on this album. Subtle, but still audible. Barbara Gaskin's vocals are really great and Martin Cockerham's vocals are also good.

The songs are all good, without really exceeding any expectations I have had to this album. It is an album who proves that this band was not only a folk-rock band. They were more than that and this is a good album. Check it out.

3 points

Stormy Six - Cliche (1976)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of balalaika, mandolin, violin, bass, sax, drums and Italian vocals.

This album is actually two albums, Cliche and Pinocchio Bazar, moulded together into one album. A sixty-seven minutes long album. The reason for this merge is that the album sounds very similar.

Which they really do. The merged album is the start of their RIO/Avant-garde era. They were indeed one of the five bands on the first ever Rock In Opposition festival together with Henry Cow, Samla Mammas Manna, Univers Zero and Etron Fou Leloublan.

The music here is acoustic with no electric inputs. There is not much vocals here either. The music is also what I would call chamber rock. There are some disagreements if this is a chamber rock album or not. In my opinion, it is.

The music is pretty dark and moody throughout. The violins drags the mood down a lot. There are some sporadic dark skies in their music too.

For an untrained ear, it is not easy to detect any good melodies here. But there is a lot of them. Ditto for interesting details too. As with all RIO albums, this album really demands a lot from the listener. But the rewards are here to be found.

Cliche is not a great album as the band is trying to find their feet after the swap over from folk-rock to RIO. But it is still a good album and one to check out.

3 points

Friday 16 June 2017

Werlang. Gerson - Memorias Do Tempo (2008)

The debut album from this Brazilian artist.

Gerson Werland does the vocals, keyboards and guitars here himself. He got help from numerous other musicians who contribute drums, bass, violin and female vocals.

Gerson Werland was the vocalist in the Brazilian band Pocos & Nuvens. A symphonic prog band who released two albums almost twenty years ago. These albums has been reviewed here and here. As you may have gathered from the reviews, the band never got a new fan in myself. But I respect them.

And we are again back in the Brazilian and Poco & Nuvens version of symphonic prog. That means gentle and pretty pastoral symphonic prog with a lot of folk and pop-rock influences.

There are not much distorted guitars and other instruments. The music is nice and there is a lot of male and female vocals here. The music is mostly performed by keyboards and acoustic guitars.

All vocals on this forty-eight minutes long album are in Portuguese.Which adds great colours to the music. Music who is not great. Neither is this a good album. The music is too bland and too wishy-washy.

Nevertheless, this is a decent album. Check it out if you feel for it.

2 points


Thursday 15 June 2017

Latte E Miele - Aquile e Scoiattoli (1976)

The third album from this Italian band.

Latte E Miele was a quartet on this album with a lineup of drums, percussions, organ, keyboards, guitars, clavinet, moog, piano and Italian vocals. They had help from New Trolls members who added their violin, sax and flutes to this album.

Their previous album, the 1973 album Papillon did not really set my world on fire. Too much classical music and not enough quality.

So they are trying again.......

This time with much of the same as on Papillon. The music is not as complex though. The music is at times pretty soft and laid back classical music/jazz.

The Italian symphonic prog and avant-garde jazz element is always here and makes this album a lot more interesting than just a piece of soft classical music/jazz lounge music. There are a lot of interesting details scattered around this album.

There is also a lot of baroque music scattered around here with some church organ types of synths. There is not much vocals here. The guitars are pretty sporadic.

There is some ELP influences here and the band is taking their interest in classical music pretty far on this album. The problem is the lack of any great music here. This is another good album which really fails to ignite and fly off into greatness. Which is a great shame.

3 points

Elleven - Transfiction (2015)

The second album from this German band.

Elleven is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, synths, organ, piano and female English vocals.

Their 2007 debut album Insight was a good album in the female fronted neo-prog genre. I do not know why the band took a break and returned eight years later with this album. Let us hope a new album is just around the corner.

The band has branched out a bit since their debut album which was in the neo-prog genre. Their guitars are a bit heavier and they have also incorporated rock and some prog metal in their music. The music has got a couple of more legs to stand on. Hence...

.. I think this album is pretty close to crossover prog these days.

Julia Graff does another very good job on the vocals and on her guitar. The rest of the band also does a good job. The music has a very contemporary feel with a good synth sound.

The music on this one hour long album is good throughout. It is not the most exciting album around. But fans of melodic crossover prog will like this album. And I do that. My gripe is the lack of any great tracks and the xtra spices this album would need to really become more exciting.

3 points

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Watch. The - Seven (2017)

The seventh album from this Italian band.

The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, mellotron, moog, bass, drums, keyboards, organ, synths, drums and English vocals. Steve Hatchett plays guitars on one track.

I believe I have reviewed all their seven albums + the album their forerunner The Night Watch released. A good journey as I really like this band.

I reviewed their previous album, the 2014 album Tracks From The Alps back in September the same year. 

The band has taken a long studio break and has toured their Genesis songs and albums cover shows. But they have returned again with their own material.

Material which is pretty similar to Genesis due to the vocalist Simone Rosetti's very Peter Gabriel like vocals. The music is also very similar to Genesis as it has always been. That is their whole modus operandi. And that is fair enough.

The band has not come up with any great tracks here. But this is still an enjoyable journey through a territory which is very similar to Genesis. This is therefore a good album. I am again pleased with this band. Pleased but not overwhelmed.

3 points

Monday 12 June 2017

Seti - Bold Travels (2016)

The third album from this Chilean band.

Seti was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Both male and female English vocals. The band was helped out by Damien Wilson from Threshold, Clive Nolan and Steve Rothery from Marillion.

I reviewed their debut album Life Signs earlier this month and liked it a lot. So I was looking forward to sinking my teeth and ears into this album.

This album is exactly one hour long and it brings us neo-prog in the good 'ole English way. The music is neither soft or hard. It is middle of the road neo-prog with lots of keyboards and some guitars. There is also some good vocals from Damien Wilson when he is given the chance behind the microphone.

The rest of the music is OK with no great songs.

The music is missing the good guitar solos from Life Signs and that is a pity as the band had something special there. What we get is good neo-prog with no real surprises and no real flirting with something greater than just neo-prog.

I am slightly disappointed. But this album is still a good album.

3 points

Sunday 11 June 2017

Warpig - Warpig (1970)

The one and only album from this Canadian band.

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

1970 was a great year for hard and progressive rock. My blog is full of albums released in 1970. That year is following me everywhere, I feel.

Besides of the Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath masterpieces, bands like Warpig from Canada also released their album. Their name is not taken from Black Sabbath and one of their masterpieces. This because the Canadian band was formed and named long before Black Sabbath released that masterpiece.

The music on this forty minutes long album is pretty hard, though. Take psychedelic prog, tune it up with hard guitars and add some blues and beat too.

The guitars, bass and drums are thundering. The vocals are OK too and there is also a lot of melodies here. 

This was the hard rock of those days and this album is a potent delivery of eardrums shattering music. This album feels very dated today and it has not dated as well as the albums from 'Sabbath, LedZep and 'Purple.

Nevertheless, this is a charming, decent album. It is well worth checking out too.

2 points

Frogg Cafe - Creatures (2003)

The third album from this Long Island, USA band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of mellotron, hammond organ, grand piano, mandolin, guitars, trumpet, banjo, viola, violin, electric violin, bass, drums, percussions and vocals.

I reviewed their 2002 self titled debut album back in June 2011 and their follow up album Noodles in December the same year.  Then other bands and albums got in the way and I dropped my interest in the band. It is my plan to review their three remaining albums this summer/see the reviews of their three remaining albums somewhere else in this blog.

Frogg Cafe was higly rated back in the beginning of the noughties after some highly rated albums. Albums like this one. I also interviewed the band back then for ProgArchives. Sadly, they have not released anything new since 2010.

Frogg Cafe's music is a mix of Canterbury prog and symphonic prog. But not so much on this album, though. They are very much in the AOR and general melodic prog. There are a lot of jazzy edges to their music too. The title track is a good example as it has got a good mix of melodic prog and Canterbury prog.

The end result is barely a good album and a bit disappointed reviewer who expected a lot more from this one almost one hour long album. But it is a good album. Check it out.

3 points

Saturday 10 June 2017

Spirogyra - St. Radigunds (1971)

The debut album from this English band.

The band was a quartet here with a lineup of guitar, violin, keyboard, bass and vocals. Both male and female vocals. Three guest musicians also provided drums, synths, trumpets and strings.

I reviewed one of their compilation albums A Canterbury Tale for ProgArchives back in August 2009 and was pretty happy about that album. So it was about time to give them some more attention. 

The female vocalist here was Barbara Gaskin who has contributed to a lot of the Canterbury scene albums during the last 50 years. See her bio on Wikipedia here.

It easy to confuse Spirogyra with the US jazz band called Spiro Gyra. I was more interested in that jazz band back in 2009 than in this band. I have yet to get any albums from that jazz band.

Anyway.... Back to this English band and their debut album.

There is a lot of British folk-rock, folk-prog bands around. Their music range from very folky to more progressive art-rock. Spirogyra is most definate at the more folky end of this spectrum and scene.

Their music is based on acoustic guitar, bass and violin. There are some male and female vocals on the top of that. The music here is pretty primitive. It is sometimes bordering to raga. But there is also some more melodic stuff here.

The album is forty-seven minutes long. Forty odd minutes which does not really offer the listenener much. The music is too primitive folky and does not have any great or even many good songs. It is an decent enough album, though. This is not an album on par with the best albums from this scene.

2.5 points

Latte E Miele - Papillon (1973)

The second album from this Italian band.

Latte E Miele was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Italian vocals.

I believe this is one of the albums that really got me into progressive rock ten years ago. But I did not review it for ProgArchives or this blog. So here is my well overdue review of this album.

I pretty much liked their 1972 debut album Passio Secundum Mattheum opus. A good debut album indeed. So I was looking forward to this album.

Latte E Miele was one of those Italian bands who got very inspired by ELP and made their own version of their mix of rock and classical music. In their case; a mix of Italian rock/pop and classical music. Latte E Miele was the band who sailed most closely to ELP.

Yes, that means a solid chunk of Italian pop/rock added with classical music.... and jazz. There are some Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart here too.

Most of this album is classical music and some jazz. There is not much rock here. Or progressive rock. Latte E Miele really took this concept to the extreme.

The music is pretty naive and child like. There is not much hidden depts here and this three quarters of an hour long album feels a bit shallow and cheap at places.

That said, this is a good album and a very good introduction to Italian progressive rock. It converted me many, many years ago. But it is not a great album. Check it out.

3 points

Walpurgis - Queen of Saba (1972)

The one and only album from this German band.

Walpurgis was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, congas, flutes, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

The band consisted of some Polish musicians who got help from some German musicians and the record label Ohr. And Dieter Dierks was the producer and they also got help from the Wallenstein keyboardist.

A lot of help from my friends on this album, in other words. This album is one of those who you need to break your bank to get hold of. But thankfully, we have got Youtube.....

The music on this forty minutes long album is not that exciting. Take some west coast psych prog and add it to the staple diet of German rock anno 1972. This is not even krautrock. The reason is that the music here is run-of-the-mill pop/rock. Just add a lot of congas and you get your own sound. Something Walpurgis got by adding these congas.

The congas is added to some pretty good guitars, keyboards and vocals. The songs has some guitar solos too. Not particular exciting guitar solos. That is about that.

The title track is pretty good. The rest of this album is pretty dull and a non-event.

In short, this is a decent album. For fans of 1970s pop/rock only, I am afraid.

2 points

Friday 9 June 2017

Quanah Parker - Suite degli Animali Fantastici (2015)

The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions, flutes and female Italian vocals.

I reviewed their 2012 debut album Quanah! one week ago and rated that as a very good album. I could not wait to hear this album though so I pressed ahead with it a couple of days later. In particular when I heard this album was an Italian vocals album.

Elisabetta Montino still do a great job on the vocals. Even better now as she does her vocals in the more natural mother-tongue. And Italian is a lot better language when it comes to this kind of music than English. Hence my interest in RPI - Italian symphonic prog. One of my passions.

The band has moved a lot in the direction of RPI on this album. They still have these strong jazz influences. But they are not as strong here as on their debut album. These jazz influences has been replaced by symphonic prog.

The first 1/3 of this album is clearly looking back at the debut album works as a bridge between these two albums.

The final 2/3 of this album sees a lot more focus on guitars, keyboards and intricate Italian symphonic prog. This is not easy listening music. But it is very interesting stuff indeed.

Quanah Parker has changed a lot. But the quality is still here and this is another very good album from this Italian band. A band who deserve a lot more attention. Include this band in the list of great new RPI bands.

3.5 points

Walrus - Walrus (1970)

The one and only album from this UK band.

Walrus was a nine members big band with a lineup of woodwinds, bass, guitars, percussions, drums, cowbells, claves, organ, piano and vocals.

This album was released through Decca and their imprint Deram, no less. This was a progressive rock label at that time. Which makes me wonder......

.... What is this album doing on that label ? OK, it is not as strange as I have outlined. Walrus did blues with a progressive edge. There is also a lot of soul and beat here.

The brass and woodwinds plays a very dominating role in their sound. It is everywhere together with the vocals.

The raw vocals from Noel Greenaway is very raw and unique. 

The end result is a forty-four minutes long album. A very strange album. Yes, the music is pretty straight forward and not avant-garde in any form or shape. But the soul makes this album into a strange bird. A peacock, no less.

The quality is not that good. This album is far more strange/unique than good. It is nevertheless a decent album which may surprise everyone. And yes, it deserved it's place on Decca and Deram.

2 points

Thursday 8 June 2017

Seti - Life Signs (2005)

The debut album from this Chile based band.

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

Seti was started by Claudio Momberg and another Subterra member. Subterra released three albums between 2000 and 2005. It was a neo-prog band too.

And so it Seti too. A neo-prog band.

Life Signs gives us forty-six minutes of neo-prog in the more symphonic vein. There are some ambient stuff here and some very dynamic guitars and keyboards fuelled melodies. Mostly keyboards and piano fuelled melodies with some sporadic vocals.

By far the best track here is the five minutes long Uncertainty with the great guitar solo at the end. This album also contains a seventeen minutes long suite called The Ship Of Joy. This suite takes the band into a bit of a Pink Floyd and Eloy territory.

The end result is a mixed bag with some rather very good and some decent stuff. This is a good album which the band can be happy about. Check it out if neo-prog floats your boat.

3 points

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Vanilla Fudge - The Beat Goes On (1968)

The second album from this US band.

Vanilla Fudge was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

I reviewed their 1967 self-titled debut album back in October 2011 for ProgArchives and then forgot about the band. Then I bought their drummer Carmine Appice's biography and my interest in this band was rekindled. Their following four albums was purchased and will be reviewed/has been reviewed in this blog.

I have no idea why the band hit the self-destruct button after the release of their popular debut album. Even Carmine Appice did not have a good explanation for this album.

The Beat Goes On is a three quarters of an album with soundbites and extracts from Elvis, Beatles and classical composers pieces of music. Then there is some talking over some music at the end.

This is an incomprehensive album. It is also an incomprehensive bad album. I have no idea what the band wanted on this album. It is a piece of nothing.

I have heard some really bad albums in my life. The Beat Goes On is among the five worst albums I have ever had the displeasure of listening to and reviewing. What the heck was these four boys and their record label thinking ?

1 point 

Flame Dream - Out In The Dark (1981)

The third album from this Swiss band.

Flame Dream was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, woodwinds, drums, vocoder, percussions, synths and English vocals.

Their first two albums was OK and I have reviewed them here and here. Good albums if Genesis with a twist is your thing.

The twist thing has been their use of saxophone. That too has mainly disappeared on this album. What we get is Phil Collins ripoff vocals with some Genesis copycat songs.

There is still some saxophones here and the band has moved nearer to the earlier albums of Genesis than as on previous albums; their mid-era.

There is not much guitars here. The dominant instruments are bass, drums and various versions of synths and plastic fantastic wizardry. Yes, there are some saxophones too. But the guitars are mainly nowhere to be found.

This and the Phil Collins'ish vocals gives the album a bit of a early 1980s sound. And that is not a positive thing in my book.

There are some good stuff, some decent stuff and some cringeworthy stuff here on this forty minutes long album. The band released three more albums before they gave up. I am departing their discography with this album as the remaining three albums does not seems interesting.

This album is a decent to good album. Genesis fans will again lap up this album. Fanatical Genesis fans, that is.

2.5 points

Elleven - Insight (2007)

The debut album from this German band.

Elleven was a quintet on this album with a lineup of organ, piano, synths, guitars, bass, drums and female English vocals.

Elleven was formed by two ex Chandelier members. A neo-prog band who did not exactly set the world on fire with their three albums. Hence the new band Elleven, I guess.

Julia Graff's strong, very good female vocals is the first that hits the listener. This will off course file the band under the "female fronted prog rock bands" label. And there is a lot of comparrisons with the British bands in that genre.

Elleven also does some pretty melodic neo-prog too. Well, that is their genre and their music fits in very well with the rest of the German neo-prog bands & their music.

The vocals are backed up with some good half-acoustic and electric guitars, synths and a good rhythm section. There are a lot of power in the music. Good vintage neo-prog in other words.

The songs are pretty long and has some nice riffs, quirks and melody lines. There is no great music here. But this is an album nobody would be feel ashamed of purchasing. If female vocals and neo-prog is your thing, this one hour long album offers very good value for your money.

3 points  

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Pochakaite Malko - Pochakaite Malko (2001)

The debut album from this Japanese band.

Pochakaite Malko was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, percussions, drums and bass. Two keyboards players, no less. Two guest musicians provided voices and guitars.

The band was formed by members of Koenjihyakkei and others zeuhl bands. There is also a member of Ghost here. That is a space/psychedelic band from Japan. I guess that band too is extreme. I need to check them out. 

I have had the two Pochakaite Malko albums in my collection for many years. I feel like a crow deciding to touch the tail of a sleeping tiger or not. Danger, danger..... I had to show my masculine, brave persona before I went ahead and put this album in my CD player. Bravery, indeed.

These two albums has a reputation of being extreme and dark. We are here talking a mix of Japanese zeuhl and RIO. It is not for the faint hearted.

The opening track really drives this point home. A wildly galloping bass, drums together with two mistreated keyboards is what this is about. And this is zeuhl.

The album takes a turn for the dark after a while. A band like Univers Zero springs to mind. So does Present too. The regular, but short outbreaks of very melodic keyboards and piano gives this band a very strange sound. Strange, but also wonderful in a pervert sense of the word.

This almost one hour long album feels like a journey into the realms of the doomsday. It is dark, brooding but also a bit light and..... full of hope ?

My only gripe is the lack of any great piece of music here. But this is still one heck of a zeuhl and RIO album. Don't be afraid. Come over and lift the tail of the sleeping tiger. Your wings flies faster than the annoyed tiger. Check out this album.

3.5 points 

Valdez - This (2017)

The debut album from this US band.

Valdez is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Brett Kull from Echolyn does additional guitars and vocals. He is also the producer on this album.

The band is formed by a couple of ex Echolyn and Tinyfish members too. The members of this band is pretty experienced and not newborn lambs in the field of progressive rock.

The art-work gives away most of the game here. This is positive, melodic neo-prog.

The music is vocals driven and pretty much verse-chorus-verse structured. The keyboards has sometimes a Mellotron sound. The guitars are also gentle.

The music is indeed gentle without really being ripping technical. A bit Pink Floyd is detected here.

The music is interesting enough with some good songs and well structured arrangements. It is a laidback album too.

There is a lot to like on this one hour long album. This is by no means the most exciting album around and it does not tick all my boxes. It is good enough to make me happy....... for a while. Check out this good album.

3 points

Monday 5 June 2017

Virus - Thoughts (1970)

The second album from this German band.

Virus was a sextet on this album with a lineup of Hammond organ, guitars, percussions, bass, drums and English vocals.

1970 was a busy year for this band taken into account that this was their second album this year. It was also their final album too. Their career was short and spectacular.

Short and noisy too. The created quite a racket on their two albums. I have reviewed their first album Revelation here.

Both albums fits the label "heavy krautrock" pretty well. Thoughts is a lot heavier than Revelation though. Where Revelation was a bit more cosmic and spacey, Thoughts is a return to blues again with some soul influences too.

The band also knew how to make hard rock with a lot of Hammond organs on the top of the guitars and vocals. There is actually a lot of soul here too. A lot of feel and finesse.

These forty minutes gives us a classy hard rocking krautrock album. One that does not have any great tracks. But it is nevertheless one of the better hard rocking krautrock albums out there. Virus is an undervalued band who deserves more attention. Give them that.

3 points

Vinegar - Vinegar (1971)

The one and only album from this German band.

Vinegar was a seven piece band with a lineup of flutes, bass, guitars, violin, drums, gulbratsche, organ and German vocals. 

Vinegar and this album is one of those bands and albums who has been long forgotten. The record collectors has paid a lot of money for this LP. One of them has put this album on Youtube. A lot of Krautrock fans finds this album there. It get some good writeups in ProgArchives and other prog/kraut websites.... and hey.... This band is no longer forgotten. It has even got a CD release.

Funny thing, this internet. And a very good thing. I don't know what the ex members of Vinegar feels about their new fame, though.

Fame is a bit misleading strong word. But this album has got some new listeners.

We are in the midst of the krautrock scene here. To be more precise; the music is not far away from Amon Duul II. It also has this rather jam feeling from Amon Duul too.

The music is a mix of naive pop/rock and some cosmic electronic space rock. The sound is pretty thin and a let down. More beef would have been nice.

This thirty-seven minutes long album does not have any good music. It is a decent enough album, though. And only that. I am not an admirer of this album.

2 points

Styx - Paradise Theater (1981)

The tenth album from this US band.

Styx had expanded to an 11 piece big band on this album. The expansion was due to adding six horn and woodwind players. Besides of those musicians, Styx was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.

Paradise Theater was a concept album about a theatre in Chicago who closed because TV took over as the main entertainment source for the local population. Styx built a story around this.

Concept albums = prog rock. No ? In this case, it is a big No. The music here is not progressive rock at all.

Take ELO from the late 1970s and add teenybopper pop, AOR, disco and some hard rock. Then you get this album.

The songs are all catchy. Some of the stuff is even emotional ballads like. Most of this album is stucked in a time warp, never to deserve a listen in 2017. Well, that was a bit harsh. But you get the 1981 sound loud and clear here.

The music is simple and not really that interesting. The horns and the electronic robot stuff is not good. There is not a single great track here either. The end result is only a decent album which does not interest me. Hence my rating.

2 points 

Sunday 4 June 2017

Kerr's Pink - A Journey On The Inside (1993)

The third album from this Norwegian band.

Kerr's Pink returned again as a quintet with a lineup of tin whistles, flute, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and English vocals. Both male and female vocals.

I have to admit that I have been less than enthusiastic about their first two albums. And when I learned that this album was seventy-two minutes long, I was not looking forward to these listening sessions. But I was/still is carrying on and keeping an open mind about every albums that comes my way.

After two albums with Norwegian vocals, the band changed to English vocals. And this also meant their third vocalist in three albums. Which is not a good thing if you want to keep an identity....

The band was more or less an art-rock band on their two first albums. Or they were just trying to find their way. But art-rock it was. The band moved a lot towards folk-rock on this album, though.

There is a lot of folk-rock here. There is also some AOR and normal rock here. There are also some strong hints of Camel throughout this album. Still art-rock in other words.

This album is a slight improvement on their previous albums. There is still too many decent songs and melodies here. But there are also a lot of good stuff here. There is also a lot of pastoral stuff here where the band is clearly moving into symphonic prog territory. I am still not convinced.......

... Nevertheless, this is their so far best album, out of three albums, and an improvement. This is also a good album. But I am not impressed by this album. The band has some way to go here.

3 points

Allen. Daevid - Good Morning (1976)

The second album from this iconic Australian artist.

Daevid Allen has again help from his wife Gilli Smyth and a host of other artists. They provides space whispers, guitars, bass, drums, Moog, female vocals, keyboards, percussions, mandolin and glockenspiel.

Daevid Allen arrived in Great Britain in the late 1960s and became a founding member of Soft Machine. He was denied entry again to Great Britain and formed Gong. He passed away a couple of years ago after leaving a huge legacy of music and ideas.

His 1971 debut album Banana Moon was a good album. Between those two albums, I guess Gong and other project interwined and took all his time. So it was about time to release another solo album.

Daevid Allen solo is a stripped down Gong. As simple as that. And I mean Daevid Allen's Gong. Not Pierre Moerlin's Gong.  

What we get on this three quarters of a long album is eight pretty simple, still pretty cosmic and psychedelic songs. Daevid Allen's songwriting and voice is being, brutally, put to the test here.

It is a test he passes with a good margin. The eight songs are really weird and quirky. There are a lot of cool arrangements here which really suits the songs really well. I have to say I am impressed.

There is no great songs here. But this is still a good album well worth checking out.

3 points

Saturday 3 June 2017

Landskap - III (2016)

The third album from this London, England based band.

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

Landskap has released three Bandcamp albums under the Name Your Price deal. I have reviewed their two first albums here and here.

Landskap plays stoner rock. Which is the simplified way of labelling them. But it is not that simple...

Take a big chunk of the 1960s psychedelic rock, add a lot of Black Sabbath and then add some of the early psychedelic hard rock bands. The likes of Black Widow and Necromandus. You can also add the more recent Swedish hard rock/psychedelia bands

The music here is pretty heavy. But it is also melodic. The bass and the drums is thundering along with the organ and the guitars on the top. The vocals are really good.

I really like the vintage organs who sometimes reminds me about Deep Purple and some German hard psych bands.

There is no real great tracks here. There is hardly any good tracks here too. Nevertheless, this is a good album who deserves to be checked out.

3 points

Quanah Parker - Quanah! (2012)

The debut album from this Italian band.

Quanah Parker was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and female English vocals. Some guest musicians provides xtra bass, vocals and drums.

The band started out in 1981, split up and then reformed again at this side of the new millenium celebrations. All members is older than boyband age. That also goes for the main member in this band, mr Riccardo Scivales.

The first thing I note is the vocals of Elisabetta Montino. She has a very mature, superb opera soprano voice who is also working as an instrument in addition to singing out words.

The music is a mix of RPI and jazz. The music is at times, well most of the time, laidback jazzy symphonic prog. 

The music on this one hour long album comes across as a fresh and life-supporting fresh breeze from the Mediterranean sea. The keyboards are very clever. The vocals superb. The guitars are also very clever and the rhythm section is just as great as they should be.

My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great tracks. There is none. That said, the music here is very good and so is this album. This band is a new discovery to me and I am looking forward to hearing and reviewing their second & so far latest album. It is laying just next to me and I cannot wait.

3.5 points 

Friday 2 June 2017

Cobham. Billy - Crosswinds (1974)

The second album from this US drummer.

Billy Cobham got help from seven other musicians on this album. That includes the Brecker brothers, George Duke and John Abercrombie. Those are the ones I know from before... I am still not fully dialed into jazz.

The lineup is woodwinds, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and percussions.

Crosswinds is the impossible follow up to Spectrum, one of the more classic and masterpieces in the fusion genres. How do you follow up Spectrum ? Well, you try your best by doing what you do best. You follow your heart too.
The Spectrum personell was changed around and new musicians entered the fray.

I am not a big expert on jazz, being a recent convert (OK... less than ten years). I just write about it after some listening sessions. But.......

Crosswinds sounds a bit more laidback than Spectrum. It is also more close to jazz than fusion. There is a lot of really good stuff here. The Brecker brothers are going for it on woodwinds and is the dominant voices here. Billy Cobham is also great on drums. The guitars are also very good. Ditto for the percussions.

The quality of the songs are good without really enthusing me. This is no Spectrum # 2. But it is still a good album from some great musicians.

3 points  

Flame Dream - Elements (1979)

The second album from this Swiss band.

Flame Dream was a quartet on this album with a lineup of woodwinds, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions and English vocals.

As I noted in my review of their 1978 debut album Calatea, the band was very influenced by Genesis. They were pretty close to a Genesis clone on that album.

There are some woodwinds on this album. Let me get that in first before I continue. What I will continue with is the very obvious similarities between this album and any of the Genesis albums from A Trick Of The Tail to Duke. Well, at least A Trick Of The Tail to Wind & Wuthering. I am not so sure about Duke and Then We Were Three. But you get my drift.

There is a lot more piano and a lot more woodwinds in Flame Dream and this album than there was ever those in Genesis. But there is some pretty blatant Genesis ripoffs on this album. And we are talking about more than a couple of ripoffs.

The difference between Genesis and Flame Dream is the considerable difference in the quality of the songs. That said, there is not much wrong with this album, Elements.

This three quarter of an hour long album, divided on four songs, delivers the goods. The songs are elegant and in the good old symphonic prog vein. There is even some ELP influences on some of the songs.

The result is a good album. A really good album and more than a good album if Genesis (and ELP) is the only band that makes your world move. Check out this album on Youtube before commiting money.

3 points   

Riso Degli Stolti. Il - Ventiquattro Fotogrammi Al Secondo (2016)

The debut album from this Italian band.

Il Riso Degli Stolti has got around six members and adds xtra instruments and musicians from song to song. But I believe the vocalist Antonelle De Simone is the engine in this band. Their lineup is mostly acoustic with strings and woodwinds dominating the lineup. That and some guitars, bass, drums, percussions and the Italian vocals.

This album was released through the relative new Italian record-label Psych Up Melodies. A label who has released some six or seven albums up to now. Not all of them has got good reviews in this blog.

So I was expecting some obscure psych rock here. I was wrong.

What we get here is Italian folk rock with some strong chamber rock influences. But there is also some strong influences from the Italian folk-pop scene from the 1970s. There is also some strong RPI, Rock Progressive Italiano, influences here. Ditto for jazz influences too.

The end result is forty-five minutes with some quirky folk-rock with very good Italian vocals. Vocals I like, but don't understand a word of. But Italian is a very good language for this kind of music. So I am enjoying the vocals.

My only gripe here is the lack of any really great songs. That aside, this is a good album from a band I hope will stay around for some more albums. Let's hear more from this band.

3 points


Red Sand - 1759 (2016)

The seventh album from this Canadian band.

Red Sand was a quartet on this album with a lineup of piano, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

I have a bit of a soft spot for this band. I quite like their arty, quirky art-work and I like their music a lot. Their location, Quebec, also hits one of my soft spots. I am a fan of this Quebec scene.

Red Sand is not one of those jazzy Quebec bands and is strictly speaking not a member of the Quebec scene. They are a pure neo-prog band. You can read my reviews of two of their earlier albums here and here.

The band has developed from being a Marillion clone to being a good neo-prog band in the vein of Pendragon, Arena and Shadowlands.

1759 is a concept album about the fight over Quebec. The Battle Of Quebec as described in this Wikipedia link.
That is indeed an interesting story and I have read the Wikipedia story with great interest. Three songs, including a twenty minutes long suite, takes us back to 1759.

The concept is indeed a very good concept. All credits to Red Sand for bringing this part of the history to our attention (Yes, I am a history buff...).

The music.......... There is no really great songs here and no real great pieces of music here either. Red Sand is one of those bands who are struggling to write great music. But I like this album a bit better than their two previous albums. That said........ Same amount of points again.

3 points  

Thursday 1 June 2017

Riversea - Out of an Ancient World (2012)

The one and only album from this British band.

Riversea was/is a duo on this album. It is Marc Atkinson on vocals and guitars. Brendan Eyre plays keyboards. The duo has been helped by numerous guest artists from the likes of Mostly Autumn, Breathing Space and other bands from the neo-prog scene. With the exception of some sporadic flutes, the lineup is guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. That means both male and female vocals.

The music here is a mix of most melodic types of progressive rock. Yes, this is a progressive rock album and an unashamed progressive rock album too.

There is not much technical wizzardy wonderkid stuff here. The music on this one hour long album is pretty laid back and based on the good melody and the mood.

Pink Floyd and Breathing Space + Mostly Autumn springs to mind here. That without the wailing female vocals. Most of the vocals is really male vocals with some sporadic female vocals.

The music itself is pretty wailing and laidback with the occasional guitar solos. Most of the stuff is vocal harmonies over some drums, bass and keyboards.

This album is not the most exciting album I have ever heard. Neither is it the best album in this genre either. The album is really lacking in the song writing department. No great songs. Nevertheless, this is a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points

Riff Raff - Original Man (1974)

The second album from this British band.

Riff Raff was a sextet on this album with a lineup of woodwinds, cello, percussions, flute, bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

I was not the biggest fan of their self-titled debut album from 1973. Too much pop and blues for my liking. But I heard from ProgArchives and others that Original Man was a far better album. So I dug in and started some listening sessions on that album.

There is still a lot of references to Chicago on this album too. But the band had moved some steps to the left and into some proper jazz and fusion. There is still a lot of progressive rock on this album too.

The band has left the more naive pop music behind them (Read: On their debut album) and had become more mature. The music is also far more beefy with some hints of hard rock too.

The label "Jazz rock" is very fitting here. The music here is not really fusion as the band has not really fused jazz and rock. Well, not in a large degree.

The jazz and fusion stuff here is really, really good with some very good guitars, woodwinds and keyboards thundering along. And to my surprise, the rock stuff is also very good. The vocals really rips and ditto for the other instruments too. The rock stuff reminds me a lot about Bad Company.

This three quarters of an hour long album is really breezy and cool. Cool music all way long. And there is a good rhythm and a good vibe throughout.

Original Man is really a hidden gem and one to discover. Check out this little gem.

3.5 points