Monday, 31 July 2017
The debut album from this Mexican band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, flutes, drums and Spanish vocals.
The band released two albums before they gave up the ghost and disbanded. The second album is called Vol II and was released in 1979. I do not have that album so this is my one and only album from them.
The band wanted to play symphonic prog in the vein of Pink Floyd (!!), Yes, Jethro Tull (!!) and ELP. So they started this band.
Oh yeah, this band is very close to Jethro Tull on this album. There is also some strong ELP influences here. The band is not anywhere near Pink Floyd and Yes in their music.
The flutes and the vocals are everywhere and reminds me a lot about Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Ditto for the music which is heavy folk rock with a lot of symphonic prog influences. The ELP influences comes into fore at the end of this album.
The vocals is charming. The music is wild and their thirteen minutes long Sinfonia De Rock No 1 is pretty good. And wild.
The end result is a thirty-seven minutes long album which has some good and not so good music. It is an album that falls down somewhere between decent and good.
The debut album from this Swiss band.
This band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
This band has so far released five albums and I intend to review the remaining four albums asap/you will find reviews of the four other albums somewhere else in this blog (see the Alphabetical Reviews List, the right menu).
The band plays unashamed neo-prog on this album. One hour and five minutes of unashamed neo-prog.
The guitars sounds like David Gilmour in Pink Floyd and there are also some other David Gilmour era Pink Floyd influences here. Strong ones, that is. But there is also some very strong Arena influences here.
The songs are medium long and contains some good vocals. There is no real great songs here. The album is nicely meandering away to the one hour mark and beyond. It is a pretty good album, but not quite a good album. Check out this album if neo-prog is your thing.
Sunday, 30 July 2017
The second album from this French band.
Siiilk is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and English vocals. Both male and female vocals.
The quintet are helped out by some guest musicians who provides woodwinds, violin and tabla. Roland Richard from Pulsar is one of the guest musicians here.
I reviewed their 2013 debut album Way To Lhasa back in November 2013 and found that a likeable, good album. My review is here.
When reading that review again, I notice that Siiilk has not moved far away from the music they gave us on Way To Lhasa.
Endless Mystery gives us forty-five minutes of indie and post-rock with a lof of psychedelic pastoral music and some Pink Floyd influences.
The label "pastoral psychedelic art rock" is probably best describing the music here. Music which is really ambient with some guitars and keyboards dominating the music. The female and male vocals is heavy accented. Sticking to French would had been a better idea as there is no language barriers in progressive rock any longer.
The music is a bit too ambient for my liking. There is no great tracks here either. When that is said; this is a good album which fails to get my pulse racing. Nevertheless, there is nothing bad I can say about this classy art rock album.
The debut album from this German band.
Thirsty Moon was a seven piece big band on this album. The lineup was organ, congas, percussions, guitars, drums, bass, woodwinds and English vocals.
Thirsty Moon released five studio albums between 1972 and 1981. Their first two albums is regarded as their best ones and I am exploring/reviewing both of them this summer/you will find a review of their second album You'll Never Come Back somewhere else in this blog.
Thirsty Moon is a forty-two minutes long album and an interesting one too.
Take a lot of eclectic prog in the vein of King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Add a lot of krautrock and jazz too. Add some spacerock on the top of that. That's kind of where you ends up with this album.
This band has often been compared to Out Of Focus whose first three albums I have just reviewed. I can agree with that.
The music on this album changes from jazz to eclectic prog and space rock throughout this album. There is even some funky jazz here. The music twists and turns 180 degrees throughout this album. Which makes this an entertaining album.
The quality is also good so I am really enjoying this album. No great songs, though. Nevertheless; check out this album.
The eight album from this British band.
Magenta was a quintet on this band with the usual culprits Rob Reed, Christina Booth and Chris Fry complemented by Jon Griffits on drums and Dan Nelson on bass.
I am no denying that I am a minor fan of this band. They and Mostly Autumn is the best female fronted vocals progressive rock band in the scene right now. A throne they have shared for the best part of fifteen years.
Where the new Mostly Autumn album was merely a good album, Magenta steps in and.... read the rest of this review.
Magenta has, not to my satisfaction, moved towards less complicated progressive rock on their previous two albums, Chameleon and The Twenty Seven Club (see my reviews somewhere else in this blog). We Are Legend are a different beast, though.
We Are Legend is a return to their first albums. The fifty minutes of music here is dense and pretty sophisticated complex. Well, the music is full on sophisticated complex.
You get soaring guitar solos, soaring vocals, complex rhythms and big, monumental songs. Three songs, no less. The longest song, Trojan, clocks in at twenty-six minutes. The two other songs are on average eleven minutes long.
Christina Booth's vocals is great and the other musicians is doing a great job too. There is no great tracks here. But this is still a very good album and one to please those of us who really believe in and appreciate this band. Get this album !!
Saturday, 29 July 2017
The debut album from this US band.
Arcane Atlas is a trio with a lineup of guitar, bass, drums and vocals.
The band has so far released two albums. Both will be reviewed here/you will find the review of their second album somewhere else in this blog.
It is a bit strange and not so good that they have got no reviews in ProgArchives and in most other prog web magazines and blogs. Bands like this one deserve reviews and attention. Good or bad reviews.
ProgArchives list Rush, Steely Dan, Yes, The Beatles and Pink Floyd as comparisons. I would only include Rush and The Beatles here, based on this one hour long album.
There is also a lot of college music here and some subtle jazz influences.
The sound and music is youtful and idealistic. The music is based on harmonies and slightly quirky rhythm-structures. Both guitars and vocal harmonies.
And the band succeed in this. Partly succeed in this.
Their sound and music is a bit naked. The music reveals that this is a trio..... indeed. The music is not the most exciting. Youthful, yes. Exciting.. no.
The end result is somewhere between a decent and a good album. The band has something going here. But they need to start to write good songs and some good tunes. Pronto.
The fourth album from this Belgium band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, piano, keyboards, synths, bass, drums, mandolin, mellotron, strings and English vocals.
This band is a national institution in Belgium and they are still around.
Their career made a very big artistic dip during a long period in their career. A dip where the band produced and released cheap & nasty second rate rock and pop.
The forty-three minutes long Urban Games is the first album of their big and long dip in form... I am afraid.
Take a bit from Supertramp and a big chunk of Elton John. Add some Euro rock and pop too. And if that is not bad enough, and it is, add a lot of disco too.
There are a couple of decent songs in the beginning of this album. But it soon nosedive into a totally unacceptable bad album. It is not quite a turkey. But it is close to being a turkey. It is an album well worth keeping on an arm lenght distance.... or even further away from sensitive ears. Avoid.
Friday, 28 July 2017
The third album from this Mexican band.
Chac Mool was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, flute, drums, bass, percussions and Spanish vocals.
I quite liked their first two albums. See my reviews of them somewhere else in this blog. Those two and this album was the only ones they released in the 1980s before they reformed in 2000 and released one album before they disbanded again.
Their two first albums were somewhere between folk rock and symphonic prog. Unfortunate, the band then made a total 180 degrees turn and came up with Caricia Digital.....
The music on this thirty-four minutes long album, veeeeeeery looooooong thirty-four minutes, is plastic fantastic rock/pop from the 1980s. Terrible sound and gruesome music in the vein of a dumbed down The Police.
I grew up in the 1980s and hated the pop music from that time. This album brings back these memories and those are not good memories.
The quality of this music is abysmal horrible too. This album is flung over the fence to my turkey yard where it can cluck-cluck with the other turkeys in my collection. Avoid this turkey.
The debut album from this Swiss band.
Circus was a quartet with a lineup of flute, tenor saxophone, bass, drums, guitars and English vocals.
Circus most not be confused with numerous other bands with the same name. Too many bands has used that name, I am afraid.
The band released three studio albums and one live album between 1976 and 1980. Their first studio albums is regarded as their best ones and well worth checking out. Something I am doing now.
Their music is a bit special. So much that I totally agree with ProgArchives who has labeled them as an Eclectic Prog band.
Take Van Der Graaf Generator and mix in a lot of Harmonium too. That is where you mainly find this band. Well, at least this album.
There is a lot of flutes here and not so much tenor saxophone. The vocals is really pastoral and so is most of the music too. There are some disconant contrast too in their music and some of it sounds a bit harsh. But this is mostly a gently, pastoral album.
There are no really outright good songs here. But the music is always engaging and somewhere between decent and good. This is most definate an album to check out.
The debut album from this band from Birmingham, England.
Tea & Symphony was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, percussions, woodwinds and vocals.
This band released two albums before they split up. This one in 1969 and the follow up the year after. I will review the follow up album within the next days/you will find my review of the follow up album somewhere else in this blog.
This album is very sought after and some very high prices are being paid on Ebay. Thankfully, Youtube has a listening example so no worries.
The album was released on the legendary Harvest label, a division of EMI. Which may explain why this album demand such insane high prices.
The band name, album title and the cover art-work may give you the impression that this is a whimsical prog or psych album. That would be a pretty correct assumption.
This forty-five minutes long album contains some whimsical progressive folk rock with a lot of psych rock elements too. There is a lot of flutes and acoustic guitars here. The vocals are pretty weird too. I get the feeling that the lyrics is mad as in English humour too.
The songs are proper songs and not some avant-garde ditties. But the songs are whimisical and weird.
The quality is not that good. This album is not surviving the test of time. But all those into folk rock and psych should give this album some attention. It is a decent enough album.
Thursday, 27 July 2017
The third album from this German band.
Jane was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, percussions and English vocals.
This album is most known as the Jane album without any keyboards. Jane did indeed use a lot of keyboards. But the keyboardist was sitting out this album and returned on the next album. So no keyboards.....
I really like their first two albums and have found, for me, a new and interesting band here. It pays to go back to the 1970s and dig around a bit for exciting bands.
The music is still hard rocking with some krautrock influences. But without any keyboards....
The music here is also pretty melodic with a lot of guitar harmonies filling the holes previously occupied by other sounds and instruments.
To say that this is a guitar dominated album is an understatement. The guitars are also pretty much spacy too.
But........ There is also more than a nod towards the US hard rock scene on this forty-three minutes long album. Or the US rock scene, including the southern rock scene, if you like. The US influences here are pretty obvious.
The end result is not a good album. It is not really a bad or a decent album either. It is somewhere between decent and good. I prefer the band with a bit more colours and a bit more krautrock.
The eight and final album from this Italian band.
Stormy Six was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, vibraphone, clavinet, organs and Italian vocals.
Stormy Six started out as a folk rock band back in 1969. Their first three albums was folk rock albums. Then they changed direction again and became a great RIO/avant-garde band. Their 1980 album Macchina Maccheronica, the one preceeding La Volo, was a totally over the top RIO album. Their best RIO album is the 1977 album L'Apprendista. Both has been reviewed in this album.
And now the band has totally changed direction again.
Take a big chunk of post-punk and add another big chunk of RPI - Italian symphonic prog. That is what we get here.
The music is very minimalistic with a great deal of cold, desolate synths. The vocals is also very cold.
The music is rather good though.... OK, it is not great. But the melodies are all good. I have my reservations and I am probably never going to play this album again. But it is still a good post-punk RPI album. A good minus has been rewarded.
The second album from this British band/project.
Mandalaband is the now famous Egyptologist Davy Rohl's project. He has hired in numerous other musicians here. That include 10cc, Barclay James Harvest and Maddy Prior and Justing Hayward (two of my alltime favourite vocalists) from Steeleye Span and The Moody Blues.
The lineup is all kind of imaginable instruments.
At that time and before he became a world renowned academic, Davy Rohl was the studio-engineer and inhouse producer in Strawberry Studios. So he worked with a lot of musicians and could pick and choose those for this project.
I reviewed their self-titled 1975 album for ProgArchives back in June 2009 and rated it very highly. I am aiming to review their final two albums within the next weeks/you will find the reviews of their two final albums somewhere else in this blog.
As a project about a Tolkien world, this album is a very mixed bag. It starts with the title track which is a very good track. The opening minute of that track has been used in numerous TV and films as a soundtrack.
The music is broadly speaking cinematic prog with some proper songs and some more cinematic themes. It is a mixed bag of those genres. Maddy Prior and Justin Hayward sings like the great vocalists they are.
Not everything here is good. But on balance, this is a good album. Barely a good album, but still a good album. It is a typical overblown 1970s and 1980s album though. But this forty minutes long album still works out fine and gives me forty reasonably good minutes. Check it out.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
The second album from this Belgium based band.
Now was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths, piano and English vocals. They had help from an xtra member who did backing vocals.
The band was established by a part-time Machiavel member who is now a full time member of this band. The band released three albums and two EPs before they called it a day.
Based on Spheres, I am now looking to get their third album too. Their debut album is said to be a rather forgetable album. So says ProgArchives.
The music on Spheres can best in simple terms be described as symphonic neo-prog. There is a lot of references to Yes here. If you can get your head around the concept of Yes going neo-prog (!!!!), you will end up with this album. And probably with this band too.
This fifty-four minutes long album is based on the half an hour long Converging Universes suite. A very diverse piece of music with a lot of acoustic guitars too and some great synths.
The other songs are in the same vein too and it is not direcly easy to see many, if any, differences between this suite and the other songs.
The vocalist does a great job and so does the band. I am sold on this band despite of the lack of any great songs. Nevertheless, this is a very good album.
The sixth album from this Swedish band.
Carptree is a duo with a lineup of keyboards, guitars and English vocals. They are helped out by the No Future Orchestra who provides background vocals, bass, synth, percussions, bouzouki and drums.
I reviewed their fifth album, the 2010 album Nymph back in March 2010. It has taken them seven years to come up with a follow up album.
Was it worth the wait ?
Emerger is a mix of symphonic prog and neo-prog. The music is much closer to the English and the US symphonic prog scene than the Swedish symphonic prog scene. The likes of The Flower Kings and Kaipa in other words...
There are also a lot of references to the RPI scene (the Italian symphonic prog scene) in their sound and music.
The music is pretty big and monumental. It is mid-heavy without really descending into prog metal.
The vocals is very good with some really good guitars and keyboards too.
The music is very good throughout. There is no great tracks here though. But this album is still one to get if symphonic prog and neo prog is your thing.
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
The fifth album from this US drummer and artist.
Billy Cobham on percussions and moog synth had help from ten other musicians on this album. The lineup was guitars, organ, keyboards, clarinet, flute, violin, cello, viola, and bass.
Of those I know here, I notice John Scofield on guitars and George Duke on keyboards.
No Brecker Brothers in other words. But the inclusion of the funk-master George Duke gave this album a very funky edge.
In short, this is a fusion album with a funky edge. The fusion is also bordering to jazz on some of the tracks on this album.
The album is forty minutes long and it gives good value for money for those into funky fusion. It is clear that whilst maintaining the core of his music, Billy Cobham has also added a lot of other stuff to his music.
There is no drums here and that gives this album a very laidback feeling. On a warm summer day, that is not a bad thing. It is not a bad thing on a cold winter night either.
This is a good album and one I really enjoy. This despite of the lack of any really great music here.
The second album from this Mexican band.
Chac Mool is a quintet on this album with a lineup of flute, bass, guitars, keyboards, percussions, drums and Spanish vocals.
I reviewed their debut album Nadie en Especial (from 1980) a few days ago and rated it as a decent album.
Chac Mool is a band somewhere between folk rock and symphonic prog. Well, that was not entirely the case on their debut album. But Suenos de Metal sees the band adopting this style.
The keyboards creates a strings quartet and there is lots of strings here. The music is though rooted in pop and folk rock. That with a lot of symphonic prog too.
The music is pretty pastoral and commercial. There are some New Romantics pop music here too. Oh yes, this album is a mix of most genres. That is, there is no heavy or even fast music here. The tempo is slow to mid-tempo.
This thirty-five minutes long album contains some pretty good vocals too. The music is a slight improvement on their debut album. But not by much so I am still sticking to a decent rating. I don't think I am signing on as a fan of this band.
Monday, 24 July 2017
The debut album from this US band.
Nostradamus The Tank Engine was sextet with a lineup of violin, flutes, percussions, drums, gongs, bass, guitars, mellotron, piano, dulcimer, cello, mandolin and some vocals.
This album is the only lifesign from this band. They have a website, but no activity. So I guess that's it from this band. This album, that is.
I have no idea what they mean with this band-name either. Neither does I know what the meaning of the artwork is either. The album was released through Bandcamp.
The music is a pretty decadent mix of jazz, post-rock, avant-garde and eclectic progressive rock. It is kind of Frank Zappa meets Sigur Ros.
Most of this album is instrumental. The vocals is mostly used as sound effects. The music is also very downtuned and at times; cinematic.
The mix and mastering is almost criminal bad. These fifty minutes does not really come across as an overwhelming good experience. Mostly due to the very bad mix and sound.
The end result is a decent album which is good on paper, but only decent when arriving from the speakers and headphones. Give the album a try if you want.
The third album from this Belgium based band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mellotron, mandolin, organ, piano, strings, synths and English vocals.
Machiavel is now a national institution in Belgium and rightly so. They are still releasing albums too and gigging. I like their attitude and the world need more people like these.
Their previous album Jester was an interesting album. A very colourful album too. Which seems to be the style the band chose after that album.
Mechanical Moonbeams continues on from Jester. A touch of hard rock, pomp rock, symphonic prog and AOR gives this album it's own style. Ditto for the heavy accented vocals. Those vocals are quite good too.
This album is forty-one minutes long and has a lot of good songs. So much that this is indeed a good album. It is also a charming album too. I kind of like this band and their first albums.
Sunday, 23 July 2017
The third album from this German band.
Out Of Focus was a quintet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, flutes, stylophone, guitars, bass, drums, organ, piano and English vocals. Guest musicians provided woodwinds and bongos.
Out Of Focus started out as a folky progressive rock band before they moved to fusion and now to the music on this album. Three pretty different albums, in other words.
Four Letter Monday Afternoon is a cosmic krautrock album. Cosmic krautrock with a lot of Soft Machine at their most avant-garde and some other jazzy bands. There is also a lot of space rock on this album. In short; cosmic krautrock.
A lot of the music on this album is solos and improvised music. If not all of this album. The song... make that, track structures is very loose with a lot of guitars and woodwinds.
There are some sporadic vocals here. But most of this album is instrumental and spaced out into the outer space. Which makes this an interesting adventure.... This forty odd minutes long album.
There is some good stuff here and some not so good stuff. The end result is a fairly good album who sits somewhere between decent and good. Check out this album if krautrock fuels your spaceship.
The third album from this British band.
Procol Harum was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, marimba, piano, harmonica, organ and vocals. Robin Trower is actually involved in this album on guitars.
Procol Harum is most known for one of the biggest songs in the history of popular music, the mighty A Whiter Shade Of Pale. A song/piece of music which was released on a single, but originally never on an album.... although I was included on the US and later represses of their self titled debut album.
The band was never a one-hit wonder though and are still playing gigs.
I started to review their albums back in December 2011. My review of their self-titled debut can be found here. That was followed up by a review of their second album, the 1968 album Shine On Brightly in April 2012. See review here.
Salty Dog is another album from the band in the same vein as their two first albums. You get a mix of folky rock and more symphonic prog. Symphonic prog anno 1969, even before this genre was invented.
The sound is warm and so is the songs. This is a cosy album without any great songs. But it is a good album indeed and I like both this album and this band. There is something charming about this band.
The seventh album from this British band.
Magenta was again a trio with Christina Booth on lead vocals, Chris Fry on guitars and Robert Reed on bass, keyboards, piano, guitars and mandolin. He is also the producer here.
Andy Edwards guests on drums.
There is no denying that I have for a long time have had a fondness for this band. Magenta was the first post '70s prog band I really fell for. I am also a big fan of Christina's vocals and...ehh.... person.
The Twenty Seven Club continues on from the 2011 album Chameleon and their previous albums. But mostly from Chameleon.
The music on The Twenty Seven Club is pretty complex though. It is also a bit on the heavy side too. It is a bit strange when I get Gentle Giant vibes from a Magenta album. Nevertheless, I get them from a couple of songs on this album. And that is not a bad thing.
There are also some more melodic songs here. The music is very clever throughout. Rob Reed, please step forward. Your fingerprints is all over this one hour long album.
The result is a good to a very good album. There are a lot of very good details here so I would elevate this to a very good rating. That also because of Christina's vocals. Check out this album.
Saturday, 22 July 2017
The debut album from this Canadian band.
The D Project was a one man band run by Stephane Desbiens from the Canadian band Sense. He did the vocals plus guitars, keyboards and mellotron.
Stephane Desbiens had help from the likes of Martin Orford, Tomas Bodin, Fred Schendel plus some other guests who provided drums, bass, xtra keyboards, chapman stick, mellotron, synths, moog and backing vocals.
The D Project has so far released four albums and I am intending to review these four albums this summer/you can read reviews of their three other albums somewhere else in this blog.
The D Project and this album is a rather ambitious entity. The start off point is neo-prog. IQ and Arena is a good reference. So is the US symphonic prog band Glass Hammer too. Add some prog metal too and you get this album. And you can off course add Stephane Desbiens second band Sense too as a reference.
The sound is big and most of the music is very bombastic. And it is well played, taken the musicians into consideration too. The male and (sporadic) female vocals is very good.
The only thing lacking here is some good songs. There is none. But this band and Stephane Desbiens has shown enough promise to warrant checking out this album and their three other albums too.
The seventh album from this Italian band.
Stormy Six was a nine piece big band with a lineup of trombone, vibraphone, saxophone, cello, clarinet, guitar, bass, drums, violin, mandolin and Italian vocals.
Their last album, L'Apprendista was a great album. One of the best RIO/avant-garde albums I have ever heard. So I was looking forward to sink my ears into Macchina Maccheronica.
Three years had passed since L'Apprendista. There are still a lot of similar ideas in Macchina Maccheronica. But there differences too.....
This forty-eight minutes long album is packed full of RIO and avant-garde. The music is chamber-rock with a few electric guitars thrown in. The music is very typical Stormy Six.
There is one big difference though. There are no really great songs here. Most of the music is too dense with whimsical melodies and themes. The music become avant-garde for the sake of avant-garde.
Most of the album is good though. There are even a few great ideas here. Nevertheless, some of the music and themes here lacks a coherent structure. Hence my rating.
The one and only album from this German band.
Nosferatu was a sextet with a lineup of flute, saxophone, guitars, organ, drums, bass and English vocals.
Nosferatu was one of those many German krautrock bands who never made it. At least they released one album before they split up.
The album was produced by the famous producer Conny Plank. More about him on this link. That means this album has a good production.
The music itself is at the more rocking, noisy end of the krautrock scene. The music is pretty much spaced out too with some hypnotic, spacy melodies.
There is also a lot of hard rock and blues in this music. The saxophone adds some jazzy stuff to this music. The vocals are pretty good and in the hard rock vein.
There is no good songs here. But there is alot of interesting details and this is not a bad album at all.
Krautrock fans should really check out this album as it has a lot of interesting stuff.
Friday, 21 July 2017
The debut album from this Mexican band.
Chac Mool was a quintet with a lineup of synths, keyboards, cello, drums, percussions, mellotron, flute, bass, mandolin, guitars and Spanish vocals.
Chac Mool is perhaps an unknown band to you all. But they released three albums between 1980 and 1984. After a long break, their fourth and final album was released in year 2000.
The band is listed as a folk prog band in ProgArchives. That is promising. The additon of Mellotron is also promising.
What we get is folk rock influenced pop and rock. Mostly mainstream rock with some post-punk influences.
There are some sporadic prog rock here. But the album is most of all a melting pot of everything the band thought sounded clever and slightly commercial anno 1980. The synth sounds false here.
The album is saved from the turkey yard by a couple of decent songs and some half-clever use of flute and Mellotron. Besides of that, this forty odd minutes long album is rather forgetable.
The second & final album from this US band.
Northwind was a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, woodwinds, keyboards, percussion and vocals.
Their EP and two albums was never really released due to no interest from the record labels. They was released on Bandcamp forty years after their recordings and release on demo.
I have reviewed their previous two releases for ProgArchives back in November 2011 and January 2012. See these links for the reviews. I believe I even interviewed them for ProgArchives.
Distant Shores offers up a collection of some slightly progressive songs. A good reference are Barclay James Harvest. There are also some country here and some more mainstream US pop/rock.
The woodwinds offers up something extra and the vocals are good. The guitars and the keyboards does not offer up anything special here.
There are also enough to progressive rock here to make it interesting. Unfortunate, there is also a calypso song. A very bad song and out of tune with the rest of this album.
The album is almost one hour long. It offers up some good fun and cosy songs. They are not good songs though. This album is a name-your-price album and well worth checking out. But it is not a good album. Just a cosy, warm sounding album.
Thursday, 20 July 2017
The second album from this Belgium based band.
Machiavel was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, harpsicord, keyboards, piano, sax, clarinet, mellotron, glockenspiel and vocals. There was also a lot of other minor instruments here. That list is very long.
Their 1976 self-titled debut album was not particular impressive. A band not really in full bloom. A band not yet finding themselves.
This album made the band. So much that they are still alive and well with twelve albums under their belt and a huge local following. Machiavel is Belgium. That in both my estimation and in the estimation of a lot of other progheads too.
It is a bit difficult to pinpoint Machiavel and their music. Take a big chunk of Ange and Supertramp. Mix them with a lot of Kayak and you are there.
The music is most definate symphonic prog on this album. The songs are medium long and the song structures are very much in the symphonic prog vein. They still sounds a lot like Supertramp, though....
That is not anywhere near being a bad thing. I find this forty-six minutes long album very charming and engaging. The music is good throughout. This is by no means an easy-listening album. It is a rather dense and demanding album with multiple layers. That is perhaps why this album is still a popular album. And with good reasons. Check it out.
The 12th album from this British band.
The band was a seven piece big band on this album. The lineup was guitars, keyboards, percussions, drums, bass, Hammond organ, whistle, flute, tambourine and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
Two guest musicians contributed with uillean pipes and violins.
I have reviewed their eleven previous albums and is a bit of a follower of this band. New albums always finds their way to my flat and then this blog. See my reviews of their first eleven albums somewhere here in # 1 of this blog.
Olivia Sparnenn Josh is the female vocalist here and her husband Bryan Josh does the male vocals.
Their latest albums has been a bit of a mixed bag. I prefer them when they goes a bit back to their celtic prog roots. That is largely abandoned here.
We get a lot of great vocals from the married couple Josh. We also get a lot of dramatic songs throughout these seventy-four minutes the band has given us on this album.
Most of the songs are pretty poppy with a few exceptions. The opening song, the title track, is fifteen minutes long. There are also a couple of ten minutes long songs. The songs are on average pretty long, seven minutes long on average. This is not easy listening and teenybopper.
The standard is good throughout. It does not shame the band, this album. But it does not really live up the best of their albums either. I am neither disappointed or overly happy about this album. But Mostly Autumn is a great band and it is always nice/good to listen to one of their albums.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
The third album from this German band.
Frumpy was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organ, percussions and vocals.
By The Way is the third and the final 1970s album from Frumpy. They released their final two albums in 1990 and 1991. None of them were worthy of the Frumpy name. Hence, I am bypassing them/I could not be bothered.
Inga Rumpf was still at the microphone. Her bluesy, soulful masculine vocals was one of this band's trademarks.
The music has taken a turn towards classic rock here. Stadium rock or whatever we call it. But classic rock, the German way.
Hence, there is a lot of soul and blues here too on this forty minutes long album. There are still some progressive rock here. But not that much.
The title track is very good and one I will remember. The rest of the album is barely good. But Frumpy was a very good band and I am very pleased that they are still popular these days.
This is a good album which deserves a bigger audience 45 years after it's release.
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
The sixth album from this Norwegian band.
Kerrs Pink was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
The band has again switched vocalist. Being a vocalist in Kerrs Pink is as safe as being a midge in my office. This time, we have got some royalty behind the microphone. Eirikur Hauksson, the current vocalist in Magic Pie and the previous vocalist in Artch. He is also from Iceland and a great vocalist.
Hence, one of the weakest points in this band has been solved.
The music is again pretty close to the Scandinavian symphonic prog genre created by the likes of Kaipa and The Flower Kings. Close, but not quite there....
Take a bit of English symphonic prog, a bit prog metal, a large slice of Scandinavian symphonic prog and some folk rock.
... And yes, there is still a lot of the old Norwegian prog rock Kerrs Pink gave us on their previous five albums.
There is no great songs here. But this is still a very good album. A seventy minutes long album. This is one of the better Norwegian prog rock albums from one of the least known Norwegian prog rock bands. Check out this album.
The second album from this German band.
Out Of Focus was a quintet here with a lineup of flutes, saxophone, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, stylophone, organ, piano and English vocals.
Out Of Focus is one of those almost-great German bands who nearly made it. Their 1970 debut album Wake Up! was a reasonable good album. The band was then a prog rock band.
Out Of Focus is a transitional album where the band stand with one leg in progressive rock and the other leg in the fusion camp. The band was moving towards fusion and indeed became a fusion band.
The use of saxophones is most definate jazzy and in the fusion camp. The flutes and guitars are still stuck in folk rock influenced progressive rock.
There is a lot of good guitar solos here which bridges the progressive rock and fusion gap. Well, in the case of this album, there is no gap between two genres. They are two parts of one harmony.
The result is a good album. It has it's flaws. But it still comes through as a good album, this forty odd minutes long album. It is one of those non-krautrock German albums well worth checking out.
Monday, 17 July 2017
The second album from this US band.
North Star was a trio on this album with a lineup of keyboards, flutes, marimba, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.
North Star has released six albums between 1984 and 2015. Sporadic releases in other words. I have only got this album and I am not able to make any fair comment on the band as such.
This album starts out with some Phil Collins vocals and some post- Lambs Broadway Genesis like music. A very good start.
North Star is listed as neo-prog in ProgArchives. That is probably right as this album continues down that route.
The music is keyboards driven and it has some good melody lines. Unfortunate, the attempts to make anything interesting here is punctuated by some ambient sleep inducing electronica stuff at the final half of this album.
The more Genesis and neo-prog like material is not particular good and neither is the ambient stuff. The end result is a decent album which fails to impress me. I hope this is not a reflection of the band who does their best here with the sub-standard songs.
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Aunt Mary was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, flutes, bass, drums, piano, organ, harmonica, saxophone, keyboards, mouth-organ and English vocals.
Aunt Mary is supposed to be the first ever Norwegian hard rock band and I was looking forward to giving this album my full attention.
I am not so sure about this hard rock thing and Aunt Mary....... Not on this album, anyway.
Take a big chunk of the 1960s beat, add some fusion aka Chicago, add a lot of psych rock, a lot of soul and some hard rock. Add some traditional Norwegian pop music too. Then you get this album.
The music is pretty naive and colourful. It has a lot of colours taken from the flutes, piano and organs. It is also all over the place, the music.
The quality is not that good though and it feels very dated. It is a decent enough album and that is that.
Sunday, 16 July 2017
The second album from this English band.
Nope is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, synths, percussions and drums.
The band has two drummers and no bassist, according to ProgArchives. That is unusual. And I cannot detect any bass in their sound either. Unusual !
I have not heard their 2012 debut album Revision and knows next to nothing about this band. They have toured UK and Europe a lot.
That is pretty evident here as their music is very much lively and live-like. It is also instrumental.
Take post-punk, a bit of post-rock and a lot of alternative metal. That is when you get this album. It is pretty much rhythm orientated with a lot of strong beats.
The title track is twenty-nine minutes and comes in part 1 and part 2. The two other tracks are three minutes and eight minutes long. In total just over forty minutes, in other words.
The music is not pretty narrow in it's scope. Less is more like music.
There is no great or even good music here. I am not really impressed by this album and it is really not for me. Hence my ratings.
The debut album from this Brazilian artist.
Gustavo Santhiago did the keyboards and flutes here. He had help from a quintet who helped out with sitar, guitars, bass and drums.
This album created some shockwaves in ProgArchives and other places when it was released. It was considered to be one of the better 2016 albums. So I purchased this album and promptly forgot it until now.
Gustavo is a member of the fusion/eclectic prog trio Stratus Luna who has a pretty good following in Brazil. The music on Animam did not fit into the Stratus Luna concept so he released this album instead.
The music on this almost fifty minutes long album is symphonic prog. Instrumental symphonic prog. There are clear references to Camel here. Very clear references indeed. There is also some good Yes references here and also, not surprisingly, some good RPI references. Yes, Italian symphonic prog.
Gustavo Santhiago has by no means re-invented the wheel or even revolutionised the symphonic prog scene with this album. The music is unassuming traditional symphonic prog with some medieval classical music references.
But Gustavo does this very well and this album is one of the better instrumental symphonic prog albums I have ever had the fortune to encounter. This is inedeed a very good album which should be a must-have for those into this genre.
The debut album from this German band.
Neuschwanstein was a sextet on this album with a lineup of flutes, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, synths and English vocals.
The band has released three albums. I have reviewed their second album Alice In Wonderland (from 2008) here and their third album Fine Art (from 2016) here.
For some reasons I cannot understand, I only got their debut album Battlement last week. I immediate went onto it for the first listening sessions.
It is very obvious that Genesis was a massive influence on the band on this album. So much that they have used the first twenty seconds of Carped Crawlers on one song.
There is also some krautrock aka Eloy in their music too. So this is not a Genesis copycat. They have incorporated Eloy and a bit Camel into their music too.
The music melodic, but not soft. The seven songs is on average six and a half minutes long. There is a lot of synths and vocals here. The guitars are more restrained. But they are there.
The quality of this music is very good throughout. There is no great songs on this almost fifty minutes long album. But the quality is very good throughout and this album is a hidden treasure, ready to be explored by those who goes looking for some great music.
Saturday, 15 July 2017
The debut album from this German band.
Out Of Focus was a quintet with a lineup of flute, saxophone, bass, guitars, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
The band was one of those German bands who almost made it big.... but did not quite make it. The 2nd division of the league of great German bands. That is where they and their five studio albums can be found.
.... Which off course make the band a very interesting band. I love exploring bands and albums like this one.
The band was mainly a fusion band. But not quite on this, their debut album.
Take a mix of Jethro Tull, Maneige and some jazz. That is where you find this album. There is a lot of folk rock on this album. Hence the much used flute here. There is also some hard rock here.
.... Then there is some very noticeable jazz influences here.
This sounds like a band not sure where they were going. And I believe the band was a bit unsure about themselves. Which is what debut albums are for.
The quality is decent throughout. No great or even good songs. But there is a lot of hope here. Hence my rating and my desire to explore more of this band.
The fifth album from this US band.
Vanilla Fudge was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, drums, bass, keyboards and vocals.
Strangely enough, they had the same lineup and setup as they were when they started up. But the band broke up for 15 years after this album before they reformed for a short while in 1984, 2002 and 2007.
The classic Vanilla Fudge, the real Vanilla Fudge can be found on their first five albums. Their 1960s albums. The quality of those five album varies from turkeys to some good albums.
Unfortunate, Rock & Roll is not the right way to go out on. Two of the band members were already involved with Jeff Beck in Beck, Bogart & Appice. The two others were also making other plans... post-Vanilla Fudge plans.
The songs here are a mix of gospel, soul and some hard rock. That with the full Vanilla Fudge treatment.
The songs are not the usual Vanilla Fudge standard and not even some very good keyboards work can hide that. That said, this is not a turkey, this album. But it is only a half decent album, done by a band already being broken up by it's members. This is not a good way to go out.
Friday, 14 July 2017
The fifth album from this Italian band.
Nosound was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and vocals. Both English and Italian vocals. Danny Cavanagh from Anathema contributes with some vocals too.
I very much liked their second album Lightdark (2008) and their third album A Sense Of Loss (2009). I have yet to get hold of their debut album Sol29 (2005) and their fourth album Afterthoughts from 2013. But I have just bought their best of compilation and will really enjoy that one, I guess. I may even review it one day too although i normally never review compilation albums.
Nosound deliver a good mix of post-rock, Pink Floyd, Gazpacho and Marillion influenced progressive rock here. In short, a pretty much ambient album with no explosions and no exploding fireworks.
This album demand a lot of concentration of the listener as this album does not speak in big letters and fonts.
Subtle is the word here and this album delivers on that front. More than deliver.
Emotional and melancholic fifty minutes is what we get here. And the music is very good throughout. My only gripe is the lack of any great piece of music. That aside, this is indeed a very good album from a band who has played themselves straight into my heart.
Thursday, 13 July 2017
The sixth studio-album from this British band.
Magenta was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass and female vocals. Two guest musicians provided drums and xtra guitars.
Christina Booth had recovered from cancer and did all the vocals here. Her vocals is as good and dominant as always. The hyper-busy Rob Reed did the keyboards and Chris Fry did the guitars.
I have been following this band for the best part of ten years now and have always rated them. But it is a long time since last I reviewed a Magenta album..... So I am reviewing their last three albums this summer/you can find reviews of their two more recent albums somewhere else in thie blog.
Magenta very much have their own sound. It is a mix of Renaissance and neo-prog. Their music is perhaps a bit too much pop orientated. But they always delivers interesting albums.
And Chameleon is no exceptions. Solid progressive rock in the same vein as their previous albums. The songs are a bit shorter and the music not as symphonic prog as on their first three albums.
Chameleon gives us fifty minutes of the usual mix of uptempo, epic songs and ballads. All well presented with some guitar solos and great keyboards work.
In short, this is a good album from a very good band.
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
The second album from this German band.
Frumpy was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Inga Rumpf was still on the vocals. The band had added a guitarist though after the 1970 debut album All Will Be Changed. An album that I really like.
Frumpy continues on with their mix if blues, symphonic prog and krautrock. The funk part of their sound has been toned down a bit on this album. It has more or less gone altogether, the funk part. There is still a lot of soul to go around here. Ditto for hard rock.
The keyboards, read mellotron and organs, is everywhere though. And the guitars adds to the sound too. Frumpy II has a better and more solid sound than All Will Be Changed.
The result is a hard rock album. One with a great groove too.
The album is forty minutes long divided on four songs. The last song Duty is very, very groovy with some insane krautrock stuff at the end. The best five minutes of this album.... but not by far.
The result is a very good album which has made my week. This is an album that need to be checked out if you like hard, noisy prog and rock.
The second album from this German band.
Jane was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, mellotron, keyboards, drums and English vocals. They also got help from numerous guests who provided electronics and backing vocals. Dieter Dierks, the later Scorpions producer, also helped out on this album.
I very much liked their 1972 debut album Together and noted that this band's albums would give me a lot of fun during this summer and the rest of this year.
.... And so Here We Are has proved too.
Here We Are sees the band a lot more mature and restrained than on Together. The blues is still there. But not as wild as on Together. The music has become a lot more softer and a lot more prog rock like too.
There are also some psychedelia as in krautrock here. The band has very much moved in the direction of krautrock here. But they are still not a fully blooded krautrock band.
There are still a lot of hard rock and US rock influences on this album too. It has a very nice 1970s flavour, this album.
I still like their sound with a mix of organs and guitars. What I am not really happy about here is the lack of any great or even good songs. That is my only gripe with this album. An album well worth checking out.
The fifth album from this Norwegian band.
Kerrs Pink was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals. Two female guest artists did the female vocals. There are also some saxophone and violins here.
I have reviewed their previous four albums for this blog (see the reviews) and I will also review their sixth and final album/you will find a review of their sixth and final album in this blog.
I have yet to find a great album from this band.
Their mix of art-rock, symph prog and folk rock is very good in theory and really appeals to both my brain and heart. The problem is the lack of quality, the lack of any great songs.
I have a soft spot for this band so I am really trying my best to tell everybody how great they are. But in all honesty; I can't justify that.
Tidings is a one hour long album and it starts with some new-era Kaipa'esque material. They have indeed moved pretty close to Kaipa on this album. This album is a mix of symphonic prog, some art-rock and folk rock. Scandinavian symphonic prog in other words.
And it has to be said that this is their best album so far. There is no great songs here. But the standard is very good throughout and Tidings is a very welcome addition to my home. It is an album that reminds me about the sunsets over the small lakes and big forests in Scandinavia. A very homely album and a very good album too.
Check out this album.
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
The third album from this German band.
Neuschwanstein was a eight man big band on this album with a lineup of viola, violin, synths, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, flutes and descant recorder.
The band with this impossible long name has released three albums. Their debut album Battlement in 1978 and their second album Alice In Wonderland back in 2008. I reviewed Alice In Wonderland for ProgArchives back in May 2009 and my review is here.
I have just got Battlement and will review it asap/you can read my review of Battlement somewhere else in this blog.
I did not expect a new Neuschwanstein album, to be honest. So I was very surprised when this album showed up.
Listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives, I thought this was going to be some krautrock inspired symphonic prog. Kind of Eloy like.
What we get here is forty minutes of some theatrical movie soundtrack which is much more gothic classical music than symphonic prog. The music is bombastic. Very bombastic. And very orchestral. Very symphonic orchestra like. Rock opera it is. Instrumental rock opera.
There is no real great piece of music here and I am really struggling to find any good pieces of music here. It is an OK album which falls between decent and good. But I am not a fan of this album.
Monday, 10 July 2017
The debut album from this band from Tblisi, Georgia.
Orion is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass, drums, sampling and vocals.
Georgia's contributions to the world has so far been Josef Stalin and some good folk and prog rock bands. I have also heard that their wine and other agricultural products are excellent. The nature in Georgia is also supposed to be great. Maybe I should go there one day......
Orion has released their album as a name-your-price album on Bandcamp.
This album has been listed as Crossover Prog in ProgArchives and that made me dive in and download this album. Then choosing it for review. No reviews in ProgArchives also made me wanting to give this album my time.
Lunatic Asylum is a bit of a.... ehh..... lunatic asylum. But not insane enough for my tastes. What we get here is a mix of nu-metal, grunge, prog metal and a tea-spoon worth of progressive rock. The synths and bass sometimes comes up with some strange atonal details which makes what we get here a bit more interesting.
But not interesting enough. The band does a great job. But nu-metal and grunge is not really my thing. Even when some neo-prog takes over and the album becomes a bit more melodic does this album fail to get to me. It is a decent enough album in my view. Check it out yourself and disagree with me.
Sunday, 9 July 2017
The one and only album from this US band.
Netherworld was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, piano and vocals. Three guest musicians contributed with oboe and xtra drums.
The album was released on a local US label on LP in 1981 and re-released on CD by Musea under the name Netherworld in 2002. This after a lenghty search for the band-members by a Dutch prog rock magazine.
The band and this album is listed as symphonic prog in most magazines. Which may be right. In my view, this album has all the hallmarks for an album where the band members were unsure about which direction they were going to follow.
There is a lot of Kansas influences on this album. During the first songs, that is. It then turns slightly towards prog metal and the likes of Dream Theater. A band which had yet to debut back then. But in retrospective; there are some Dream Theater references here. There are also some more gothic influences here on the final track.
The first song, the heavy Kansas influenced Too Hard To Forget is the best song here. The remaining fifty minutes sees a considerable drop in quality. This is not exactly an interesting album. It is a pretty dull album unless US prog rock is the biggest interest in your life.
The end result is a decent album, but nothing more than that. I find it a rather dull, eventless album. Check it out if you are a collector of US prog rock.
The fourth album from this US group.
Vanilla Fudge was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, organ, keyboards, drums and vocals.
Vanilla Fudge had created quite a nice niche for themselves with their blend of west-coast psychedelia and hard rock. That combined with some excellent musicianship gave them a name. OK, their second album The Beat Goes On was a truly horrible avant-garde album. But their two other albums was good albums which gave the band a big following.
The four members of the band were excellent musicians and went onto having great careers on their own and in other bands. Bands like Beck, Bogart & Appice, Ozzy Osbourne Band, Cactus, King Kong, Alice Cooper Band and many other constellations. Their judgements and ideas though were sorely lacking. This album is a good example. Not to mention the horrible The Beat Goes On album.
This album forty-five minutes long. The first half is a studio album. The second track Some Velvet Morning is a fairly good album which remains me about a band called...... Vanilla Fudge. Vanilla Fudge as on their previous album Renaissance and their self-titled debut album.
The two other studio tracks are OK too. The twenty-four minutes long studio jam Break Song is a studio jam where each instrumentalist has their own space. That includes a drum solo.... Oh dear.
In short, this is a decent album and a bad follow up to the Renaissance album. Just when I thought the band was back again, this album happens. Oh dear, oh dear.
Saturday, 8 July 2017
The sixth album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of mandolin, guitars, violin, bass, drums, xylophone, vibraphone, viola, piano and Italian vocals. Numerous other musicians adds cello, keyboards, bassoon, saxophone and percussions.
Stormy Six was one of the founders of the RIO movement. That is short for Rock In Opposition. It is in my view another word for avant-garde prog. I have a kind of a joyful fear for that music. Hence the very sporadic reviews of RIO and avant-garde prog in this blog. Too few reviews, in fact. I will correct that abnomality this year. That includes more Stormy Six album reviews.
Stormy Six was a folk rock band before they changed course during the half and half folk and RIO album Un Biglietto Del Tram in 1975. See my review here. The Cliche album from 1976 was a much more coherent RIO album. See my review here.
On L'Apprendista from 1977, the band had found a rich source of material. Self-written, that is. And it shows.
The vocals from Franco Fabbri and Umberto Fiori is pretty dominating. They are helped out by lots of violins and all kinds of accoustic instruments. This is mainly an accoustic album.
The music is pretty impossible to describe. Vocals based ensemble and chamber rock ? Vocals based chamber rock ? Yes, I would settle for that.
The music is pretty bombastic. Even on the one electric guitars based song here. The vocals are very bombastic, at least. It is like the words are hammered into a piece of wood with a hammer. The acoustic instruments are not exactly modest either. Bombastic, it is.
The electric track Il Labirinto is a bit different from the rest of this almost fifty minutes long album. But it is a very good track and I don't mind. It is still an avant-garde prog song.
The best song here is the haunting title track who has a great melody and some great vocals.
The end result is a great album which will win over even those not that interested in RIO. It has a crossover appeal and has the potential to win the genre many new fans. Check out this great album.
The fourth album from this US drummer and artist.
Billy Cobham on drums had help from ten other musicians on this album. That include guitars, bass, woodwinds and keyboards. The Brecker brothers were back again and John Scofield added some guitars.
I very much liked Billy Cobham's previous three albums. Really good fusion with some funk incorporated.
I am still scratching around on the surface when it comes to jazz and fusion. A music genre I really both enjoy and love. Billy Cobham is therefore my kind of guy.
It would be far to simplistic to say that this is a very funky album based on the album title itself.... and the very funny album art-work. But there is no denying that this is mainly a funk album. And a very lively one too.
There is a lot of brass and woodwinds here too. The album almost has a bigband jazz feel over it. Almost, that is. But a long drum solo from Billy Cobham during the middle of this forty minutes odd long album kills of the bigband idea.
What remains is as good, uplifting fusion/jazz album with a lot of good ideas and details. Just the type of album that brightens up a dull gray day.