Thursday, 31 August 2017
The debut album from this US band.
Sir Lord Baltimore was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
The band released three albums before they broke up and then reformed again as a gigging band in 2006 for a short period of time. I intend to also review their two other albums too in the coming weeks/you will find reviews of their two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
This band is regarded as one of the creators of the stoner genre. Indeed, this album is regarded as the first ever stoner rock album. And there is a lot of merit in that claim. A claim coming from those who knows the stoner rock genre far, far better than I do. So I guess they are right.
The vocals are pretty raw. The drummer is actually the vocalist here. I know about only two other band where the drummer is the lead vocalist. Those two bands are the death metal bands Autopsy and Nocturnus. In 1970, this was pretty radical stuff.
The guitars are also raw and wild. Ditto for the drums and bass. The music is hard and stoner like. Indeed, the music is stoner rock.
Where Black Sabbath's two 1970 albums had iconic songs and were very well structured, the same cannot said about this album. There are a couple of more melancholic songs here. The rest of this forty minutes long album is hard and straigth in your face.
The quality is decent throughout. But this is not a masterpiece and they were light years behind the quality music Black Sabbath gave us.
The 17th album from this German band.
The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of harmonica, bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and English vocals.
I was really unhappy and unimpressed by their 2014 album Twentaurus. A pretty bad album. So I was not looking forward to reviewing this album.
Twentaurus was a pop/rock album. Son.Sister.Sun still got some of that too. But the band has again moved towards psychedelic rock and has indeed made a psychedelic rock album here. There is also some pretty strong symphonic prog influences here.
The title track is four minutes long. The five other tracks are all over ten minutes long. Which is a bit strange... but also clever.
"Clever" is a word that sticks to my mind when listening to this album. The music and the details are really clever and tells me that Dice is in general a clever band who know what they are doing. Seventeen albums........ Oh, they know what they are doing.
The songs are all good and there is also lots of clever details here which makes the listener sit up and take notice. My faith in this band has been restored. Onwards, onwards towards their two final album.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
The seventh album from this Argentine band.
Nexus was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, drums and some Spanish vocals.
I know this band from some years ago when I reviewed their fifth and sixth albums. You will find these reviews here and here.
It is now five years since their last album. Two albums in one year, no less. That was 2012 and the band has changed a bit, I note from my reviews. Most of the vocals has now gone. What is remaining is instrumental symphonic prog.
Instrumental symphonic prog is not really my kind of symphonic prog. Some vocals is always keeping the focus of both the band and the listener. Instrumental symphonic prog can be a bit wishy-washy and muzak at times. Hence my reservations against instrumental symphonic prog.
The music on this album is pretty dark on this almost one hour long album. Some parts of this album is very dark and I get some RIO vibes from the likes of Present and Univers Zero. The music is also very technical with lots of keyboards, piano and guitars involved.
The music here is therefore neither muzak or wishy-washy. Neither is it great. I am not really convinced about it's quality either. It is sorely lacking some very good to good tracks. It is there an album somewhere between decent and good. It is a step in the wrong direction from this band.
The debut album from this US band.
Theo is a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, Chapman stick, guitars, piano, synths, percussions and vocals. They are helped out by some extra guitars on a couple of tracks.
Theo is four well established jazz musicians who wanted to make a progressive rock album in the vein of ELP, Yes and Genesis. Where have I heard this before ? Ahh.... The four musicians win Return To Forever when they recorded and released Romantic Warrior. That album ended up as a fusion album and one of the best albums ever to hit our planet.
The Game Of Ouroboros is not a fusion album. The band has created a genuine progressive rock album. It also has a nice 1970s musical landscape with a contemporary sound.
The music more in the vein of Pink Floyd than the likes of Yes and Genesis. There is some ELP references here too. There is also some jazz references here. There is also some Supertramp references here.
It is obvious that the band has not forgotten that they are jazz musicians and their take on progressive rock is in the jazz vein. That makes up for some less than impressive songs on this one hour long album. The music here is not great. But it has a nice style and lots of class. This is therefore a good album which really shines at times. But not enough times to make it a sunny day.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
The seventh album from this Japanese band.
Baraka was again a trio with a lineup of drums, synths, bass and guitars.
I have so far reviewed two of their albums and this one is my third review of their albums. I have not been impressed... See my two other reviews here and here.
In short..... I was not looking forward to sink my teeth into this album.
Baraka is again giving us fusion. The opening track Palm Trees Of The Maldives is really, really good and one heck of an ear-opener. These five minutes heavy dynamic fusion got my full attention. It is the best piece of music I have ever heard from this band.
The band then dives into a more Japanese electronica and ethno landscape. It is still fusion, but with a lot of interesting details.
The music becomes a lot more pastoral at the end of these fifty minutes and is not really that interesting. Nevertheless, this is a good album and by far the best Baraka album I have ever heard. My belief in Baraka has been restored........
The second album from this Spanish band.
Glasswork is a quartet on this album with a lineup of flute, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.
I am not familiar with their 2014 debut album Knots. But I think I will get this album in the near future based on Fear And Trembling.
Glasswork plays some pretty heavy prog rock with a lot of references to post-rock and folk rock. Reference are obviously Porcupine Tree. A very big reference here. But there is also some post-rock references too.
The keyboards sometimes dips into both mellotron and moog sounds. There is also a very good Hammond like organ sound here. There is also some electronica and more 1970s symphonic prog too. This album is a good fusion between 1970s progressive rock and 2010s progressive rock.
The songs are both melodic and pretty challenging too on this forty-five minutes long album. An album with a good sound and with a good soundscape too. The songs are always good and interesting.
Glasswork is a new name to me. But I will most definate check out their debut album Knots and I have made a mental note of this band.
Monday, 28 August 2017
The second album from this German band.
Mythos was a trio on this album with a lineup of mellotron, bass, drums, percussions, guitars, flutes, synths and English vocals.
I was not that overwhelmed with happiness by their self-titled 1972 album and voiced my opinion here.
It is rarely that I listen to this kind of krautrock too. The pretty ambient, pastoral raga-rock type of krautrock which Mythos has decided to explore on their albums. Well, at least on their debut album.
The band has developed during the three years between the debut album and Dreamlab. The raga-rock elements is more or less gone. The flutes, the very dominating flutes, has some Indian and Asian feel and ambience. But not much.
The album starts with some pretty ambient, subtle krautrock before it becomes harder and more dynamic at the end of these forty minutes. The music is in the less-is-more vein and has a lot of good ambience.
Maybe the flutes is too loud and too much dominant. But that is a minor gripe. A bigger gripe is the lack of any great songs and melodies. That said, this is still a good album and one to enjoy. Check it out.
The one and only album from this Italian band.
Theatre was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, mellotron, bass, drums, organ, piano and English vocals.
Their death-metal like band logo is highly suspect to say at least. And very, very misleading.
The sound coming from my speakers, and I have checked them out, is not death metal or nu-metal. It is neo-prog. Neo-prog in the vein of Fish era Marillion and the Lambs Lies Down On Broadway era Genesis. There is also some Pendragon like neo-prog here.
There is lots of lots of lots of Genesis and Marillion references in the music here. It almost becomes a sport to recognice that and that Genesis/Marillion melody line on this one hour long album. I have so far found eight references. Each of them lasting more than 5 second each.
The music here is also easy-digested music with some nice melodies and details. The references to other bands comes too often in my view.
I am not entirely happy with the standards of the musicians here either. This in the addition to the run-of-the-mill neo-prog this album gives us. There is no real sparks here. No real teeth and substance.
When that is said, this is a good album despite of the lack of teeth and substance. Neo-prog fans will really like this album. It is a weak three points, but nevertheless a three points album. Enjoy.
The second album from this US band.
Thank You Scientist was a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, trumpet, violin, guitars and vocals.
Back in February 2013, I reviewed their 2012 album Maps Of Non Existent Places. My review is here.
That album was quite a lively album with an emphasis of merging several different genres into their music. So I took a mental note of their name and purchased Stranger Heads Prevail when that was released. Due to other commitments, I have only had the chance to listen to and review it this month.
Stranger Heads Prevail continues on from their debut album. That means a heady mix of college rock, vaudeville rock, boyband pop, jazz and eclectic prog.
Yes, it is quite a mix. The album starts out as a boyband album with some boyband vocal harmonies. I was not impressed..... But the album became better after half a minute. The trumpet and the saxophone is everywhere in the music and makes the songs here quite eclectic. The vocals are probably the star on this seventy minutes long album. The songs are pretty melodic and has many good hooks.
The end result is a good album which should get this band more fans. I am perhaps not among them. But I am again making a mental note and will get their next album.
Sunday, 27 August 2017
The fourth album from this Swiss band.
The band was reduced to basically one person, Jean Pierre-Scenk who played keyboards, drums, virtual bass and the English vocals. He was helped out by two guitarists who split the guitars recordings between them.
Their previous album, the 2005 opus Then All Was Silent, was a very good neo-prog album with a lot of improved musicians and song-writing skills. So I was really looking into sinking my teeth into Dark.....
Four years had passed and the band had seen some changes. Not so much in the music, though. Dark sees a continuation of what the band is all about.
That is neo-prog. That is what this band is all about. The music on Dark is a bit.... I am hesitant to state the obvious...... dark. It is dark with some agressive heavy guitars and some melancholic songs.
This album is a nice addition to their previous three albums and does not really bring anything news to their music. This one hour long album is also a good album and should be checked out by all those into neo-prog. It is another good album from a good neo-prog band.
Saturday, 26 August 2017
The debut album from this German band.
Force Of Progress is Hanspetter Hess from The Healing Road with three other musicians. The lineup is keyboards, bass, drums, samples and keyboards.
From what I remember from The Healing Road, that band/project was a neo-prog band. I reviewed one of their albums in # 1 of this blog and the review is here. I now see that I have also reviewed another album from them. The review is here.
Force Of Progress have though moved in another direction than The Healing Road. First of all, the music on Calculated Risk is instrumental progressive rock. And the music is pretty heavy.
I think it is fair to say that we are pretty much, 75 % so, in progressive metal territory here. The remaining 25 % is neo-prog.
The music is as heavy as a mountain at times. But there is also very good interplays between the keyboards, guitars, bass and drums throughout this album. I am starting to wonder if this is a band who do gigs. The reason is that the band is working very well together and knows what they are doing here. If they are not playing live, may I suggest that this music deserves to be played live, guys ?
The music on this fifty-four minutes long album is instrumental and that is a very difficult genre. There are no great pieces of music here and no good ones either. The music is very dynamic and will create joy among those who likes very technical and loud progressive rock/metal. I have my reservations.....
That said, this album falls somewhere between decent and good. It is most definate a concept/band to develop and take further.
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Terramater is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, flute, keyboards, drums, bass and English vocals.
Terramater comes from Meløy, a small island just south of Bodø and sligthly north of the Polar Circle. They comes from Northern Norway in other words. And they are virtually unknown in the Norwegian progressive rock scene. Being a curious cat, I learned about their excistence and got hold of this album.
Something I do not regret at all.
Terramater is offering up fifty minutes of a blend of 1970s hard rock, folk prog and symphonic prog. The music is very organic and warm. It is also classic progressive rock without the long opuses and suites. The longest song here is seven minutes long.
The sound is very warm and ditto for the male vocals. The production is very professional and faultless.
There are no great songs here and that is my only gripe. Besides of that, this is a very good album which deserve a lot more attention. Any attention at all would be a good start........
Friday, 25 August 2017
The third album from this Polish band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I have a bit of soft spot for this Polish band. Something you will discover yourself when you read my reviews of their debut album here and the follow up album here.
OK, did not like their move towards prog metal and djent on their second album Living Mirrors from 2013. But four years later, the band has taken a breather and come up with a much more wise career move.
The band has always been surfacing around the neo-prog genre. They are a neo-prog band indeed. But with a large twist and some roundabouts.
This time, they have gotten rid of their djent and prog metal. That has been replaced by a much more organic, melodic take on neo-prog. There are some half-acoustic guitars here and some electric guitars. The songs are pretty cleverly written with some more than subtle hints of eclectic prog and jazz. The music feels warmer and much more inviting.
The music is still complex and dense. But the songs on this almost one hour long album is clever and really good. The result is a good album throughout and a new belief in this band.
Thr 16th album from this German band.
Dice was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, harmonica and English vocals.
Dice started out in 1979 with their debut album Christian before they returned in 1997 with their second album Nightmare. The band then continued to release new album on an almost annual basis.
I reviewed their 13th album Newborn (2011) one week ago and liked this good album.
The band once was a space rock band and they have been wandering through some strange, different landscapes since the debut album. I do not know much about them, I am afraid.
Twentaurus sees a departure from the sound on the Newborn album. The sound may have changed on the two albums between these two albums for all I know. But gone is the woodwinds and they have been replaced by a pretty spartan, down to the basics soundscape.
There is not much excitements to report from this album. A nice harmonica adds some colours to a pretty dreary rock album. The music is at times slightly bluesy and also has a slight psychedelic edge. But most of the music is well trodden soft rock. The one that bores the life out of me.
There is some quality here and this is not a turkey. It is indeed a decent album from a band who feels a bit tired and has run out of steam and sense of adventure on this album. The band is so much better than this album.
The third and final album from this Japanese band.
Mugen was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of mellotron, guitars, synths, bass, percussions and vocals.
I have recently reviewed their first two albums and you can read the reviews here and here. It is fair to say that I am not entire won over by their first two albums.
Mugen was a Japanese symphonic prog band. Symphonic prog with some neo-prog and a lot of baroque classical music influences. That goes for this album too.
My guess is that the band wanted to do beautiful symphonic prog with a Japanese identity. And they came up with this album. An album where they to a very large extent succeed in this endevour.
This album is very flowery and baroque. Lots of synths and mellotron who recreates a chamber-orchestra sound. The male vocals sounds like female vocals and are on the top of that again.
I have a slightly weak spot for Japanese symphonic prog. Nevertheless, the sound and the ideas here are very good. The result is not that good, I am afraid. There is not enough quality here to convince me that this is a good album.
The result is a decent to good album. One I respect and I really respect this band. But this album.... Well, I am not won over. But check out this band.
Thursday, 24 August 2017
The eight album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, organ, moog, keyboards, percussions and English vocals.
I have been reviewing their previous albums, minus the duplicate English albums, on and off since 2010 for # 1 of this blog and ProgArchives. I liked their previous album, the 1975 album Chocolate Kings pretty well. See my review here.
When I am listening to both Chocolate Kings and Jet Lag, I get the feeling that the vocalist here, Bernardo Lanzetti, is taking the band pretty close to the Peter Gabriel era Genesis. In particular on Chocolate Kings. I like his great vocals. But were they right for this PFM ? I am not sure.
I have my big reservations towards the English vocals on PFM albums too. I very much prefer Italian vocals. In particular on PFM albums. The good example is the only Italian vocals song here; Cerco La Lingua.
Jet Lag is not so much a Genesis copy here as a more Jean Luc Ponty influences band. The violin sound is synthetic and generated by keys. But it is here and all over the album.
I do not mind at all. But PFM sailing close to the fusion genre ? It feels strange. This album feels strange and I am wondering if the band is all at sea here.
That said, this is a good album. Which almost feels wrong to write. PFM is not a fusion band.... Oh, yes they are. At least on this album. There is still some Italian prog rock here and some Genesis too. But this is a weird fusion like album.
As I said, this is a good album with some really good stuff. So check it out.
The debut album from this Canadian band.
This band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, synths, male and female vocals.
This band is totally new to me as I did not get their two preceeding EPs when they were released a couple of years ago.
Pareidolon is one of those bands who has been soaking up everything from the 1970s symphonic prog, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd to the more contemporary bands like Haken, Opeth etc etc. It is always nice listening to a wide variety of music !
The end result of this listening is an album which has taken some influences from Opeth and Haken, added a bit of Camel and incorporated a lot from the British female fronted prog rock scene. Panic Room, The Reasoning and District 97 springs to mind.
They have got a lot of things going on during this thirty-seven minutes long album. There are some mellotrons and a lot of very good female vocals here. The sound is good too.
A bit better songs would have been desireable. Nevertheless, this is a good album and a very promising debut album. Let's hope this band and their musicians continues with progressive rock.
Wednesday, 23 August 2017
The sixth album from this Japanese band.
Baraka was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and some synths and vocals.
My only exposure to this band before Shade Of Evolution was the 2007 album Baraka VII. A fairly good album in my view.
ProgArchives and their reviewers promised us a mix of hard prog and fusion. A promise kept and honoured by this Japanese band on this album.
This sounds great on paper as I really like heavy fusion. The likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra and those bands sends me into fits of pure pleasures.
This mix of hard prog and fusion can also be pretty frustrating if the band and the album does not come up with some good tunes and good technical playing.
Shades Of Evolution is one of those albums.
The music here is pretty standard power trio stuff. Bass and drums is honking away without being too overworked. The guitars and the occasional synths sounds pretty formula based.
This is in short a pretty dull album who fails to light up my life. It is decent album too. But I am sure this band can do better.
The debut album from this Italian band.
CosaRara is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, samples, keyboards and synths.
I got this album last year and have had problems really making up my mind about this album during the last months.
This band has been compared a lot with the British post-metal band IO. I am not familiar with IO either.....
The music here is entirely instrumental.... all fifty minutes of this album.
There is a lot of shoegaze, post-rock and some post-metal and some stoner on this album. The music is somewhat harsh and cruel at times. This is not Italian symphonic prog.... to say at least. There is not much warmth in the music.
The music is instrumental and is dominated by guitars helped out by samples and synths. The music is not always hard. It has a lot of space rock and psychedelic prog too.
This album is a mixed bag when it comes to the music. But it really works out very fine. The good hooks, riffs and melodies are there. It has a nice balance of space rock and post-rock/metal. The result is a good album and one to build on if the band is still around. I hope so.
The fourth album from this Glaswegian, Scottish band.
Comedy Of Errors was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
I reviewed their 2015 album Spirit earlier this month and liked that album a lot. A very good album indeed.
I have previously reviewed their 2011 debut album Disobey here and the follow up, the 2013 album Fanfare & Fantasy here.
Comedy Of Errors plays around with the neo-prog genre. They started back in 1984 but did not release any substantial albums before 2011.
Their music is pretty much symphonic neo-prog with a lot of long songs and concepts. Their music and attitude is very much in the 1970s symphonic prog era. That is not making them a best selling band. But they are still regarded as one of the better prog rock bands in today's scene.
The music here is symphonic with a dense soundscape. The music is not particular hard. Neither is it soft and commercial. The vocals are very good and so is the music too. My only gripe is the lack of a great song here on this fifty minutes long album (forty minutes if you got the LP). I like this band and their music.
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
The 34th album from this US drummer and artist.
Billy Cobham on drums had help from 18 other musicians on this album. They provided woodwinds, bass, guitars, synths, piano, keyboards, Latin percussions, cello, violin, steel drums and viola.
This living legend has contributed on numerous other albums than his solo albums. Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra and numerous other bands. A true living legends and I bow my head in admiration for him. We have all been blessed by his contributions to music.
On paper and after almost 50 years in this business, Tales From The Skeleton Coast should be a pretty dire, uninteresting cash-in. Well, yes and no.
The steel drums and the Latin percussions is this album's trademarks. The one that defines this album. That and the Latin-American funky jazz this album is offering up. The drums are as per usual great and they works very well with the rest of the contributions here.
After putting my cynicism to bed, I find myself actually liking this album. There is a heck of a lot of engaging Latin rhythms here. And it is not of the cheap and nasty cruiseship to Bahamas type of type of Latin rhythms too. This is a pretty complex album which surprises me on many different levels.
I get the feeling Billy Cobham has delivered some music he believe in here. It feels like it from my side of the speakers.
And this is actually a good album. It is an album well worthy your attention. Check it out.
The third album from this Swiss band.
The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, synths, keyboards, guitars and English vocals. This trio were helped out by two guest musicians who provided flutes and xtra guitars on one track.
I am really starting to like this band. Their two first albums was not great albums, but they were not bad either. See the reviews here and here.
Metamorphosis plays neo-prog with a lot of good old symphonic prog influences. There is no denying that. They have taken a lot of inspirations from the likes of Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis. Their sound is very clean and crisp.
On this one hour long album, they have expanded their sound and music a lot. No, there is no opuses and epics here. Eleven songs in one hour is not symphonic. But they have incorporated a lot more Pink Floyd and has also taken some impulses from the Italian symphonic prog scene and incorporated them here. There is also still a lot of Pendragon and Arena influences here too.
The band has also raised their songwriting skills to a new level. So much that there is a lot of very good songs here. This album is really a joy to behold at times. It is not a great album by any means. I hope the remaining two albums I have got to review are great. Nevertheless, this is a very good album and one I am really enjoying.
Monday, 21 August 2017
The eight album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty on violin and synths had help from guitars, keyboards, bass, organs, drums and percussions here.
Jean Luc Ponty came to my attention on the two best Mahavishnu Orchestra albums. I have reviewed two previous albums of him and rated the Aurora album to be a very good album. More reviews will follow/you can read more reviews of his albums somewhere else in this blog.
Jean Luc Ponty uses both electric and acoustic violins on this album. I still find violins a bit of a novelty in fusion and jazz. But it is a very, very effective and great instrument in these two genres and in most other genres too. His violins blew me away on the two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums.
And they also made me a happy man on the Aurora album. So I was looking forward to this forty minutes long album.
... An album which falls a bit short of my expectations. Perhaps unreasonable high expectations. But I find this album great on instruments, but pretty ordinary on the quality of melodies. This album feels at times a bit too wishy-washy. There is no real raw energy here.
The end result is a good album which I will probably listen to again..... many times. But it is nothing more than that. I am still a believer, though.
Sunday, 20 August 2017
The fifth album from this German band.
Jane was a quartet with a lineup of bass, organ, piano, moog, guitars, drums, synths and English vocals.
The first four albums has seen the band gradually change from a German sound to a much more American hard rock and arena rock sound. Which is fit and proper if trying to crack the English and the American market.
I am not sure of they had any success with going west.
Fire, Water, Earth & Air sees the band on a return flight back to Germany again. Back comes some pretty noted Eloy influences. This while they still keep a lot of the US sound incorporated in their music. So much that the band really should have named this album Landing In The Atlantic Ocean. Because that's where you will find the sound and the music on this album.
There is some very fine organs and guitar sound here. The vocals is also good. The music is mid-heavy.
The end result is a pretty good album. It is just over half an hour long and has a lot going for it. Check it out.
The second album from this French band.
Chrysalide was a trio on this album with a lineup of cumbus, percussions, bass, guitars, cello and vocals. Both male and female French vocals.
Their 2004 debut album Apres La Chute was an awful album. So I did not have much hope for this album either.
All the things that made that album such an awful album is still here. The strumming acoustic guitars who works as drums and melody maker is still here. The cello is still here although it is drowned out by the strumming acoustic guitars. Not much difference here.
The female vocals and the male vocals has got a bit more room though and is sometimes noticeable over that strumming guitar.
And yes, the big weakness here is the strumming acoustic guitars who is everywhere on this one hour long album. And it is awful.
There are some sporadic attempts of creating decent melodies. And the vocals creates a desolate musical landscape. Then, the guitars.........
There is no good songs here. Not even decent songs. And this is another turkey from this band. And I am now really hating strumming acoustic guitars after two albums from this band.
Saturday, 19 August 2017
The second album from this US band.
The band is a trio on this album with a lineup of synths, drum programming, bass, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I did a review of their 2015 self-titled debut album last summer and quite liked that album. So the band sent me this album for review.
..... Although album is perhaps not the right thing to write. This album is twenty-nine minutes and some seconds long. Then again, an EP is twenty-five minutes long. So this is an album. OK ??
This twenty odd minutes long album also means a more punchy straight to the bone album. No dilly-dallying here.
This album starts out with a lot of David Bowie inspirations from his last albums. No, not one of his many eras. The more stripped down albums. R.I.P David as you have probably inspired this band too.
The female vocals kicks in and the music turns to a much more laidback jazzy and cool rock. The album then turns into a much more experiemental album with som avant-garde and jazzy stuff.
So the first half of this album is good to very good. The last half sounds like the band has run out of steam and good melodies. I am again not convinced that we are facing a good album here. But keep at it, guys. Don't give up.
The debut album from this German band.
The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, synths, drums, sitar, flutes, percussions and English vocals.
Mythos has released eight albums. The last one in 2015 and they may even be alive and well today as far as I know. I have got four of their early albums and will voice my opinions about them in the coming weeks/you can find other Mythos reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Mythos were and probably still is a krautrock band. The music here is very much, 100 % proof krautrock.
Mythos krautrock were on the raga-rock end of the spectrum. There is a lot of tabla and sitar here with some dreamy vocals too. There is also a lot of guitars and synths here too. But the Indian mysticism is very obvious on this album.
The music is pretty much cosmic too with ethereal flutes and guitars too in this music.
This is a forty minutes long debut album with trials and errors. The art of songwriting and making some above average good tunes is missing here. But this album still gives an indication about their intentions and is an acceptable debut album. Check it out.
The debut album from this band.
Il Cerchio Medianico is a project from Stefano Agnini who is also involved in La Curva Di Lesmo and La Coscienza Di Zeno.
He has got help from the likes of Boris Savoldelli, Fabio Zuffanti, Luca Scherani, Stefano Lupo Galifi and some other Italian musicians on this album.
The instrument used is synths, bass, drums, guitars and Italian vocals.
I am not entirely sure what this album is all about. It is an opera but my lack of Italian does not tell me much. I just goes by the names of those involved and that makes this album very interesting to me..... On paper at least.
The cover art tells already gives me a forewarning that this is perhaps not the most sane and happy music around. Not to mention the story here in this opera. The opera is a bit grotty gothic at times.
And the art-work above is right.
The music here is basically pretty folky and dark Italian progressive rock. There are a lot of Frank Zappa influences here and some pop and funk too.
This album is a bit strange. Unfortunate, it does not have any great music. There is some good music here though and this is an interesting album because the music is plainly odd and strange.
It is also a brave album which does not follow the trend. So I would say it is a pretty good album with some great vocals. Hence my verdict.
Friday, 18 August 2017
The second and final album from this Italian band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, Hammond organ, drums, synths and Italian vocals on this album.
This album is actually old demos from 1973-74 cobbled together by Mellow Records into an album. It is demos made before their one and only studio album was recorded and released in 1976. You can read my review of that album on this link.
I should not really have reviewed this album at all as this is old demos. But I liked their one and only proper album and decided to have a go at this album.
This album is well over one hour long and it has some pretty bad sound. Bad but not bad enough to notice that the music is somewhere between Banco and ELP here.
The music is pretty powerful and unrestrained throughout these demos. There is also some more pastoral parts. The music is pretty much run of the mill Italian progressive rock. Not outstanding and not great. Just pretty average.
The bad sound does not make this a great or even a good album. It is a decent enough album but nothing more than that. Spend your money more wisely than on this album.
The second album from this Japanese band.
Mugen was a seven piece big band with a lineup of mellotron, keyboards, bass, drums, flute, violin, guitars, piano and vocals.
Their 1984 debut album Sinfonia Della Luna was a good album. You can read my review here. So I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into Leda Et Le Cygne.
The band has taken big step towards baroque classical and folk music on this album. The vocals has also been pushed forward in the mix. Not that I understand a word of the French or English (???) the vocalist is singing. His voice is really high and typical for Japanese vocals.
The music is baroque and clearly rooted in classical music with a lot of rock influences too. This is Japanese symphonic prog.
Unfortunate, the music is a bit bland and is not really that interesting. There is a lot of interesting details here. But the art of good song writing and technical interesting music has bypassed Mugen on this album, I am afraid.
This album is therefore an almost-good album. An album which is close to making it, but which is failing in that respect. It is still worth checking out.
Thursday, 17 August 2017
The seventh album from this Italian band.
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) was a sextet on this album with a lineup of drums, flute, violin, keyboards, guitars and English vocals.
I have been reviewing their albums very sporadic over the last years. Reviews are here, here and here. I will now review the remaining PFM albums/you can find reviews of other PFM albums somewhere else in this blog.
I have always avoided the English language albums as they have been re-recording of Italian language albums. So no reviews. But Chocolate Kings is a true album with no re-recordings.
I rate their previous albums very highly. So I was looking forward to this one.
OK, the English vocals from the Acqua Fragile vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti feels strange. They reminds me very much about Peter Gabriel and takes the band in that direction. Yes also props up as a good reference. But old PFM can only be heard in the flutes and a few bits and bobs along this thirty-seven minutes long album.
I am not hearing much Italian symphonic prog either. This album sounds like an English symphonic prog album with a lot of Kansas elements thrown into the mix too.
I am disappointed. But this is still a good album and one I am reasonably happy with. It is not one PFM album I want to remember them for.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
The debut album from this US band.
The band was a trio on this album with bass, drums, keyboards and lots of vocals.
I discovered this zeuhl band when they released their second album Quetzalcoatl. A truly great album. I also got in touch with them and asked them about their debut album. The band was not keen on giving me access to it or even sell me one. They were not proud of it, I gathered.
The album has now been released on their Bandpage page together with their newest album, released last year. A review will soon be published/you will find my review of that album somewhere else in this blog.
I can understand why the band is a bit hesitant about this album. A different lineup and a bit underdeveloped music.
Where Quetzalcoatl is very lush, this album is very primitive and a bit RIO as in the music from Present. Dark, very fast, tribal and pretty primitive is these five songs and sixty-five minutes.
When that is said, the music is still hypnotic and it proves that the band was really onto something with their music. It is indeed a good album. But this is not as Corima is on their second and third album. That is a different band again. But this album is still worthy checking out.
The 31st album from this US drummer and artist.
Billy Cobham plays the drums here and he has help from violins, guitars, woodwinds, keyboards, percussions and bass.
It is my understanding that this album is re-recorded and re-arranged songs from his earlier albums. In short, this is not really a new album from him. I also gather that most of the songs originally did not include woodwinds. On this album, this "error" has been rectified. They now got woodwinds.
Some of the songs was from his funk era and some songs from his more jazzy era. So they have been re-recorded and re-arranged.....
The music here is very laid back with lots of woodwinds and the sporadic guitar, keyboard and violin inbetween. The drums is also very laid back and ditto for the bass.
We get seventy-five minutes with this laid back jazz. Jazz which almost crosses over to muzak at times.
Billy Cobham has released a lot of great albums. Both on his own and together in bands and as a studio musician. Palindrome is one album we should rather forget. It is not his usual standard.
The 13th album from this German band.
Dice is a quartet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, sitar, keyboards, flute, guitars and English vocals.
I am not sure what this band has been up to on their previous 12 albums. This is my first meeting with them and their music. I have also more than often mistaken this band for being the Swedish band with the same name.
From what I know, Dice has been doing space rock and krautrock on the 12 previous albums. I have got four of their most recent albums and will review them this summer/you will find reviews of three other Dice albums somewhere else in this blog.
The saxophone opens up the proceedings here and we get a nice laidback eight minutes long song with some good saxophone, good vocals on this good song.
That sets the trend of the rest of the album. There is also plenty of flutes and keyboards here on this one hour long laidback psychedelic progressive rock album. I just kick myself because I have not really given Dice my attention before now as I really like what I hear.
The songs are really long here and has a lot of nice details too. Nice sound too.
This is not a great or even a very good album. Well, some parts of this album is very good though. A bit more flutes and some better songs and I would have rated this album a lot higher. But check out this album and this band.
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
The debut album from this French duo.
Chrysalide was Geoffroy Vincens on vocals, bass and tamborine. Jacques Malinvaud played cello and guitars.
Chrysalide released three albums from their own website. I was trying to find their third album from that website. But it has closed down and I am not sure from where you can find this album.
I got their two first albums and I also believe I were in touch with the band through ProgArchives ten years ago or so. But I did not listen to this album...... before last weekend.
The music is listed as folk rock in ProgArchives. I am not so sure about that. This album sounds more like post-rock and krautrock to me. It is supposed to be a concept album too.....
So far so good.
What is really terrible here is....... well, the music. The music is made by some strumming acoustic guitars and that is the rhythm and the melody creating instrument here. An acoustic guitar.....
There are some sporadic (pretty poor) vocals, electric guitars, cello and bass here too. There are even some sporadic outbreaks of melodies here. Meaningful melodies and music.
In short, this one hour is pretty much a study in suffering. No, not for the musicians. The listener, the reviewer, I mean. This album is no less a turkey and a pretty fat, big one too.
The third album from this French band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.
The band had added a keyboardist after the 2013 album The Fall. An good album and you can read my thoughts on that album here.
The keyboards add another layer of melodies and melancholia on their mix of shoegaze, post-rock and experiemental metal.
There is a lot of chugging, hard guitars here and a lot of melancholic melodies. There is indeed beauty in their music. There is also big majestic soundscapes in their music, very much helped by the piano and the guitars.
This album reminds me why shoegaze and post-rock indeed is a very effective way of musical communication. No matter how instrumental and introvert this music is, it still communicates with the audience and the listener.
That also goes for this fifty minutes long album. There is no real great songs here. But the music is still very good and one I like a lot. This band is on my list of bands I will follow a lot closer.
Monday, 14 August 2017
The fourth album from this Glasgow, Scotland based band.
The band is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
I have previously reviewed their 2011 debut album Disobey here and the follow up, the 2013 album Fanfare & Fantasy here.
The band only lives some kilometers away from me, but I have yet to meet up with them. I am not the most social person and like to keep myself to myself. The band is gigging quite hard so I will perhaps see them in a gig up the river in Glasgow before the end of the year.
Comedy Of Errors plays unmistaken and unashamed neo-prog. That in the same vein as Pendragon and IQ.
But there is a bit difference here. While the other bands went for shorter songs, Comedy Of Errors always goes for big, long ambitious pieces of music. This album consists of the forty-five minutes (!!) long title-track and an epilogue and a single version of the title-track at the end.
That's progressive...... That is symphonic prog'ish........ but still with the typical neo-prog sound.
This fifty-five minutes is a big mouthful, indeed. And it has no great tracks. However, the music is very good throughout with a lot of brain-food and interesting details. And the final climax of this album is really cool. Really bombastic symphonic prog too.
This is another very good album from a band who is widely regarded as one of the best progressive rock bands in today's scene.
The debut album from this Dutch band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums, moog, percussions and vocals.
This band should not be confused with numerous other bands with the same name.
This is the first of their in total two albums. The band was closely connected to Kayak. The bass player in Kayak formed this band. Taurus was a band with a lot of members coming and going in their short history.
Their music on this album is a mix of Yes, Kayak and in particular; Genesis. That is the Wind & Wuthering era of Genesis, btw.
There is a lot of good keyboards and moog parts here on this forty-five minutes, eleven songs long album. There is no long songs here as the band has chosen to write some shorter, more punchy songs. That was the prog rock world anno 1981.
The vocals though is pretty poor and ditto for the sound. The sound is in desperate lack of beef and muscle. The vocals is a lost cause, I am afraid.
The result is a decent to good album. It is a lot better than that if you are an avid Genesis fan and can live with the vocals. But the quality is not good enough. Hence my verdict.
Sunday, 13 August 2017
The one and only album from this Brazilian band.
Tau Ceti was a trio with a lineup of bass, percussion and keyboards.
Tau Ceti is one of the many prog/jazz/folk rock bands coming out of Brazil in the 1990s. Both ProgArchives and indeed The Sound Of Fighting Cats # 1 and # 2 is full of reviews of their albums. I find this scene very interesting indeed. These albums is fruity and very colourful...... normally, that is.
Tau Ceti has a lineup most people would associate with the likes of ELP. Which can only mean..... And that is not far off the mark either.
But there is more to this fifty odd minutes long album than symphonic prog with classical music flirtations.
The band is half and half a symphonic prog and a fusion band. There is a lot of fusion here. And there is indeed even some zeuhl flirtations here too. Some disharmonic music which reminds me a lot about zeuhl, it is.
Most of this album lacks a great deal of dept and substance. You get some fusion, a bit zeuhl and some Johan Sebastian Bach flirtations. The music is based on keyboards and piano. The rhythms is not interesting at all.
The end result is a decent album and nothing more than that. It is a bit of a run of a mill album which does not really bring much to the table in form of originality. Hence.......
The fourth and so far latest album from this Canadian band.
The D Project was a trio on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals. They had help from members of Big Big Train, Nemo and Lazuli on saxophone, additional guitars and keyboards.
Stephane Desbiens is still they keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist here. His vocals are reasonably good.
I cannot say I have been that impressed by their previous three albums. Reviews you can read somewhere else in this blog.
Their first album was a symphonic neo-prog album. From there on, they have been on a slide towards pop/rock and neo-prog.
The forty-six minutes long Making Sense includes two long songs and six shorter songs. The songs are pretty punchy. They are also somewhere between Pink Floyd, neo-prog and pop/rock.
The songs are reasonably good. But some of them are too sloppy and too much pandering to the pop/rock audience. Nevertheless, some of the songs has good Pink Floyd themes. There are also some chugging guitars here.
Making Sense is one of those four The D Project albums who falls a bit short. The quality is not there. Again, this is a pretty good album. But nothing more than that.
Saturday, 12 August 2017
The third album from this multinational trio.
Machine Mass is Antoine Guenet on keyboards, piano and synths. Tony Bianco on drums and percussion. And finally, Michel Delville on guitars, programming, samples and electronic.
I reviewed their 2012 debut album As Real As Thinking back in February 2012. I have not heard their follow up album Inti yet from 2014. Maybe one day.....
Machine Mass Plays Hendrix has created a lot of buzz and talking in the scene. Jimi Hendrix is an icon, off course. So how would a jazz band like Machine Mass bridge over to Jimi Hendrix own world and cover his songs ?
Well, Machine Mass has not done that. They have done something far more radical instead.
Forget your narrow narrative of Jimi Hendrix songs. Open up your mind and think totally out of the box. .... Which took me a long time as I am now listening to this album for the 21st time in 2 months.
Open up your mind and think jazz. Rather avant-garde jazz at times.
Machine Mass is what Machine Mass is and always will be. So they took Jimi Hendrix own songs and made them into their own songs.
Not much here remains of Jimi Hendrix arrangements and melodies. What we get is avant-garde jazz versions of those songs. Yes, it is shocking and very, very unusual. Almost too far out there and so unusual that the songs falls apart at their seems.
Nevertheless, this is a very good album. Not a great one as I feel the band has taken the songs too far from the original arrangements. But this is not far from being a great album.
This is a very good album who appeals to all open minded persons. It is by no means an easy listening album and it feels a bit jarring at times. But check it out and find out what the buzz is about.
The fifth album from this Japanese band.
Baraka is a trio with guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
I have known about this band for a long time and have always wanted to check out their albums. Unfortunate, I have only got their last four albums. The first review of them is this album/you will find reviews of the other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Listed as a heavy prog band in ProgArchives, I was expecting some hard hitting and noisy heavy prog bordering to jazz. Well.....
.... The music here is not noisy or hard hitting at all. Neither is it heavy prog....
We are again in the fusion land. Fusion with some jazz and some heavy prog too. The music is at times heavy and lively. But parts of this album is also very pedestrian and very much like a TV/movie soundtrack.
The trio does a good job. Nevertheless, this is not the most interesting, not even remotely so, fusion album I have heard. The quality is pretty good but not really good. Hence my restrained sprinkling of points over this album.
The one and only album from this Argentine band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussions, drums and keyboards. A guest musician also provided flute and saxophone.
This Argentine band must not be confused with the Portoguese band with the same name, btw.
Tantra plays space rock. Space rock from the outer space. Lots of guitars is driving the music forward together with some keyboards too.
The band manages to create a good ambience with their music. Music which is pretty dynamic at times. But it is still space rock from the outer space.
The use of half-acoustic guitars are interesting. Ditto for the flutes. That aside.......
The music on this one hour long album is fairly good. Not awfully interesting, but it is still a good tapestry. The five minutes Tensiones is a song they should have built more on and expanded on. It has some good percussions, flutes and guitars. The rest of the material is not that good.
In short, this album lands somewhere between decent and good.
Friday, 11 August 2017
The fourth and so far the latest album from this Norwegian band.
Aunt Mary was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and English vocals.
This was Aunt Mary's first studio album for over forty-three years. Which is a long break..... The album came about after some of the golden oldies Norwegian bands from the 1970s had re-formed. Ruphus, Høst and Aunt Mary springs to mind. So why not a new studio album in this "new dawn" ?
So they went to a studio.
In my reviews of their first three albums, I never really understood why this band was regarded as a hard rock band. Well, they are a hard rock band on New Dawn. Hard rock, but never heavy metal. That is a very big difference here.
The music is a mix of hard rock, hard blues and rock. Which is very live friendly in pubs and in small concert halls. The bread and butter of Aunt Mary's "new dawn".
There is no complicated music here and no progressive rock. Glenn Lyse does a very good job on vocals and has the vocal range to give this album an xtra edge. It also gives Aunt Mary a new life. My guess is that he also aces their old material in their gigs. Perfect !
The guitarist and only remaining orginal member Bjørn Kristiansen too does a great job on this forty-three minutes long album.
The result is an honest hard rocking album. It is also, to my surprise, a good album too. It is well worth checking out this album if hard rock anno the 1970s is your thing.
The second album from this Swiss band.
The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drum machine, flutes and English vocals.
Their 2002 debut album After All These Years was a pretty good debut album with some good and bad things. So I was looking forward to review this album in my quest to review all their five studio albums.
Metamorphosis is a neo-prog band. There is no ifs and buts here. They are an unashamed neo-prog band.
Ditto for this one hour long album. Unashamed neo-prog with a Pendragon sound. The vocalist does a good job and ditto for the rest of the band. A small minus for the use of drum machines here. But their neo-prog in the British tradition really works here.
The eight songs are around eight minutes long on average. The longest one are over twelve minutes long. Which makes some interesting music.
The guitars are good and the melodies are decent to good. There is some progress from the debut album and I find myself really liking this album. Hence my verdict.
Thursday, 10 August 2017
The fourth album from this Norwegian band.
Tangle Edge is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, electronics, drums, moog, synths and all kinds of percussions and drums.
This band released eight albums between 1989 and 2010. I do not know what they are up to now. Maybe a long break or they are no more. They have left eight albums behind them for us to listen to and enjoy. I have only got this album though from them.
This is an album I almost gave up on before I pulled myself together and collected my thoughts. I am glad I did that.
The music here is mostly improvised soundscapes somewhere between raga rock, psychedelic rock, krautrock, post-rock and jazz. As simple difficult as that.
The album is one hour long. The music is anchored by a pulsating bass, drums, percussions and some electronica. On the top of that, mostly one single electric guitar are driving forward the music and melody. The music is mostly raga dominated with a lot of Indian twists.
That does not make the most dynamic, straight in the face music. That is everything this album is not. But the music is like a journey through a soundscape on a planet far away from here. And that makes this album something special. It is not a great album. But it is a good album indeed. Something very far from the beaten track who still works and makes sense.
This is indeed a good album and one to check out.
The fourth album from this German band.
Jane was a quartet on this album with a lineup of organ, bass, synths, electric piano, drums, guitars and English vocals.
I have so far enjoyed my journey through their first three albums. Reviews to be found somewhere else in this blog.
Jane did turn towards a US rock sound on the previous album. That without any keyboards and purely guitars based sound. The keyboards has returned to the band on Lady and everything is OK again.
Jane really relies on a strong organ sound. That is proven on this album. Yes, the guitars are good. But the organs adds that little xtra which is their sound.
Jane is still beavering around somewhere between USA and Germany. No, not in Great Britain or Ireland. Half of the sound, more than half of the sound on this album is US rock. The rest is krautrock.
What really matter is the good sound and if the quality is there. And it is.
This album is forty-five minutes long and it has nine good songs. The music has some hard rock influences and is really rocking. There are also some more softer songs here. The balance between hard and soft is about right, I reckon.
The end result is a good album and one to enjoy. Check it out.
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
The debut album from this Japanese band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, synths, guitars, mellotron, bass, percussions and male vocals.
Mugen released three albums before they gave up and all of them will be reviewed this month/has been reviewed this month.
Mugen is one of the bands in the Japanese symphonic prog scene. One of the better ones in that scene. This scene is known for their, ehh.... special vocals. The vocals here is male. But in my European ears, they sounds like female vocals. The vocals are in English and Italian. That is impossible to hear because the vocals are pretty much hidden in the mix.
What is not hidden is the cascades of mellotron and synths. The music is surprisingly organic despite of all this synths. The music is also very bombastic and grandeur. It also has some pastoral melodies too. Symphonic, the music is indeed.
References are ELP and early Genesis. Sky has also been mentioned by other reviewers. Yes, I would agree with that.
The result is a fifty-two minutes long album. An album which showcases Japanese symphonic prog. And it is also a good album indeed. I very much enjoy this album and I am pretty sure you will do the same.
The third album from this Canadian band.
The band was now a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Tony Levin, Lalle Larsson, the vocalist of Quidam and Claire Vezina helped out the band here. Andy Jackson, a Pink Floyd producer did the production job here.
The D Project is Stephane Desbien's band. It is his vision and his compositions. You can find my reviews of the first two albums here and here. A review of the fourth album will soon be posted too/you can find the review of the fourth album somewhere else in this blog.
This band and their albums has not really made that good impressions on me. And on Big Face, Stephane has made a very diverse album.
Take a big chunk of the David Gilmour's era Pink Floyd. That goes for some songs here. Then we have one teenybopper rock track which makes no sense whatsoever. And we also get some grunge and some pop here.
This fifty minutes long album is a bit of a chaos and too diverse in my view. Then again, I admire and like Stephane Desbien. But this album is still a step in the wrong direction.
There are a couple of good tracks here, though. So........
Tuesday, 8 August 2017
The fourth and final album from this British project/band.
Mandalaband is and has alwayd been David Rohl's project. He is also a world famous Egyptianologist and an ex studio technician and producer. He produced and engineered this album besides of writing everything.
He had help from the likes of Wooly Wolstenholme who passed away shortly afterwards. This album is dedicated to him. He was also involved in all previous Mandalaband albums too.
These two stalwarts had help from keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, flutes, whistles, violas, violin and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I have reviewed their previous three albums and you can find review of them somewhere else in this blog plus a review of their first album here.
There was far fewer musicians involved this time than on any other Mandalaband albums. The music feels a lot more compact too.
But do not despair, those of you who loved their previous albums. This is very much a Mandalaband album. Not much has changed in their music and sound.
You get soaring flutes and melodies. Soaring vocals and guitars. There is some Irish folk music sounding symphonic prog here as there was on the previous three albums too. Troy Donockley's uillean pipes adds a lot to this album. This is as per usual.
The music sounds pretty fresh and contemporary. This eighty minutes long album is a big mouthful and not everything here is good and great. There is no great music here. But this is still a cosy and good modern symphonic prog album. Hence my verdict and three points awarded.