Saturday, 30 September 2017
The eleventh album from this Italian band.
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) was a quartet on this album with a lineup of mandocello, guitars, bass, drums, synths, violin and vocals.
PFM started out as a beat band before becoming a prog rock band who released some brilliant albums. Then they moved on from the dead prog rock genre and to something else.
The band was starting their midlife crisis with this album.
The music on this album is a mix of pop and rock. Lots of socalled catchy music with a dreadful 1980s sound and even worse clothes. I have seen videos and they are gruesome. Almost as gruesome as the music.
Which says a lot.
This album is very dire and an addition to my collection of turkeys. A worthy addition indeed. Avoid this album at all costs.
The one and only album from this Polish band.
Belgrad was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, flute and vocals. Mostly Polish vocals.
The band was helped out by six other musicians who provided violin, female vocals, xtra bass and guitars. Colin Bass from Camel was one of the guest musicians here.
Belgrad arrived and disappeared without a trace in a short period of time. This album is not even listed on Colin Bass wikipedia disco. But Colin Bass is listed on this album as an xtra bassist. That tells you how obscure this album and this band is. It was also released on a small Polish record label.
The music is a mix of Barclay James Harvest like prog, neo-prog, folk rock and standard rock. The vocals are in Polish with the exception of two songs which is in English and has some catchy lines. I guess these two songs was earmarked for export to the world wide neo-prog market.
The music on this fifty minutes long album is not too bad. It is just too generic and too unfocused. It is like a family photo album where everything is thrown together, no matter of season or activities. In short, this album is everywhere.
It is still a decent album. But not one I would recommend.
Friday, 29 September 2017
The fifth album from this Polish band.
Believe was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Their old violinist appears on two tracks with her/his violin.
I thought this was the final sign of life from this band. But I learned yesterday that they are returning with a new album in October. Which is probably out when you read this review.
But back to The Warmest Sun In Winter again.... The band has dropped the violin on the majority of this album. Which is the big news on this album. And does not feel like a step forward or any form of improvements.
The band has changed into a latter days Marillion band on this album with a pretty basic, downsized neo-prog sound.
The songs are still on the melancholic and pretty beautiful side of the neo-prog spectrum. There are a lot of post-rock moods in their music. The vocals are also good and melancholic.
I find this album a bit on the dull side. The songs are pretty good, but not exciting. This album is among their two weakest albums and I hope the new album sounds a lot more fresh and giving.
The debut album from this Brazilian band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of organ, flute, percussion, bass, guitars, piano, drums and vocals. Vocals are both in Portoguese and in English.
The famous artist Milton Nascimento does vocals on one song. It is my understanding that this band was his backing band for a while.
Som Imaginaro (imaginary music in English) released three albums before they split up. I got all of them and reviews will follow this fall/you will find reviews of their two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
It is great fun to discover new music and sounds. So I decided to give this influential band my attention.
Their music is clearly psychidelic and a bit avant-garde. They are also clearly influenced by The Beatles. There is also some bossa nova and local folk in their music.
The music here has it's roots in the 1960s too. It is a bit of a strange and rhythmic music we get on this half an hour long album.
It is an OK debut album. It is not a good album though. It is decent enough and would warrant some investigations if psychedelia is your thing.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
The one and only album from this Australian band.
Blackmilk is a sextet with a lineup of (I believe) synths, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
I have to admit I fell for the artwork here long before I decided to review this album. Then I started to listen to this album......
The band hails from Perth on the west coast of Australia. I have been told many times that Perth and the west coast feels like an own planet as it is so far removed from the mainstream Australia. A full continent with the most barren, inhospitable landscape lays between Perth and the rest of Australia.
That creates it's own culture and mentality.
The music on this album is psychedelic rock with a lot of indie and college rock influences. The vocals are good here and the sound is semi-acoustic with some good synths and guitars.
The music may not be progressive rock. But who cares. The music is pretty melodic and not particular commercial. It is light on the ear though. It has a lot of youthful enthusiasm too.
The songs on this fifthy minutes long album are pretty good. So I would rate it somewhere between a decent and a good album. Check it out.
The third album from this British band.
Skin Alley was a quartet with a lineup of accordion, Hammond organ, bass, guitars, drums, piano, electric piano, saxophone, flute, percussion and vocals.
I have reviewed their two first albums and I cannot say their outputs has impressed me. You can find these reviews here and here. I have decided not to bother about their fourth and final album.
The band was a jazz/fusion band. Urban fusion, I think is the proper genre. At least on this album. An album released after they were dropped from CBS (who released their first two albums). Two Quid Deal was released on a folk-rock label.
But here is no folk-rock on this album. Take urban fusion and then add a lot of funk and hard rock. That is what you get on this album.
Party rock is perhaps not a bad label either. The music is very lively and hard. Hard but not heavy. The Hammond organs and flutes are really cool here. The band also knows how to jazz too on this album. But it is mostly funk here.
The result is not too bad. OK, this is not a good album. But this three quarters of an hour long album is not a bad album either. I would label it a decent album which or maybe not deserve a place in a record collection.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
The debut album from this Spanish band.
Enbor was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, woodwinds and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
After running a couple of the song titles through Google translate, I have found out that the vocals are in their Basque language. Hence, this band is from the Basque province of Spain.
There was and still is a lot of Basque folk and prog rock bands. The scene was pretty big. Enbor released two albums before they gave up. I will review their second album sometimes soon too/you will find a review of their second album somewhere else in this blog.
The music on this just over half an hour long album is melodic and pastoral. Steeleye Span, Pentangle and Fairport Convention is good references. Enbor does have some good vocals. But they did not have any great vocalist as the three other bands I mention did have.
The songs are warm, cosy and melodic. Maybe a bit too samey with a bit of a lack of varitations. The choirs and the vocals are really good, though. Ditto for the woodwinds. The electric guitars are OK and the acoustic guitars good.
I am a bit charmed and won over by this album. It is a good album which perhaps does not offer up the most technical music, but still hit some of the right buttons. Check it out.
The third album from this Dutch band.
Solution was a quartet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, string synth, organ, piano, guitar, saxophones, flute, percussion and vocals.
I liked their 1971 self-titled debut album a lot. See my review here. I have missed out on their 1972 album Divergence although I may get and review that one on a later date.
I have got this, the Cordon Bleu album and their 1977 album Fully Interlocking. I will do a review of Fully Interlocking sometimes soon/you can find a review of that album somewhere else in this blog.
Cordon Bleu is a continuation of their debut album.... sort of.
There is not much symphonic prog here. Instead, they have moved towards funk and mainstream US rock in addition to a very big chunk of jazz and fusion. Jazz and fusion is the mainstay of this album.
The beating bass, the driving saxophones and the pulsating keys is great here. The vocals is also very good and this album is at times one big party because of the musicians playful delivery of the music.
The rock parts, which is very cool and melodic, is really cool. There is a lot of different styles and genres here. But they all fits into one unity, one album, one piece of music.
That makes this album pretty special in my mind. It is also a bit difficult to review....
Nevertheless, this is a very good album. My only gripe is the lack of one great song. Check out this album and have fun.
The eight album from this German band.
Jane was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussion, keyboards, drums and vocals.
Peter Panka, Martin Hesse and Klaus Hess was the members in Jane on this album.
The band was in their midlife crisis on this album. Well, at the start of their midlife crisis. Those who knows this band and most other progressive rock bands from this period knows what I am talking about. The band starts out with a lot of fresh and great music. Then tries to go a bit more mainstream by ditching what made them artistic great = their midlife crisis and then finish with some rather good albums after returning to their roots. Some bands have had this midlife crisis.
In the case of Jane and this forty-four minues long album, gone is the Eloy influences. They have been replaced by a mix of mid-1970s Rolling Stones and hard rock.
Lots of guitars and mid-tempo songs with some guitar solos. The songs are not good and the sound as dull as watching paint dry. And frankly, this album is not far from being a turkey. And a cure against insomnia.
This is a dull, half-decent album with not much going for it.
The second album from this Swedish band.
Ensemble Nimbus was a quartet with a lineup of clarinet, bass, drums, guitars, violin, viola, tapes, loops, percussion and voices.
The band has members from Zamla Mammaz Manna and The Flower Kings. Two Swedish progressive rock bands which could not be more different, in other words.
Ensemble Nimbus released three albums between 1994 and 2000. I only have their two final albums. I have not heard their 1994 debut album Key Figures and cannot therefore comment on that one. But review of their third and final album will soon follow/can be found somewhere else in this blog.
Ensemble Nimbus music is avant garde/RIO. Unmistaken so. I find a lot of Univers Zero and Present in their music. I have also been told that there is a lot of Samla Mammas Manna in their music too.
This fifty minutes and eleven songs long album is a mix of chamber rock and avant garde rock. The use of clarinet is really good. The guitars too is good and the voices are demented funny.
There is a lot of food for thoughts in their music and indeed on this album. This is what avant garde is all about in my view. There is a lot of thought provoking weird melodies and rhytms here. And the stuff is really good too. This band may be half-forgotten and ignored. This album is well worth checking out.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
The second album from this French band.
Eider Stellaire was a trio with a lineup of piano, guitars, bass, percussion and French vocals. The trio was supported by three guest musicians who provided flute, percussion and harp-synths.
I actually reviewed their debut album Eider Stellaire I back in November 2014 for # 1 of this blog. You can read the review here. Why I did not review all their three albums back in 2014 is beyond me. But I am completing that job these days.
Eider Stellaire is a zeuhl band. So much is true. They sound more like Eskaton than Magma. Nevertheless, the Magma influences are pretty obvious.
Where Magma went for a much more dark and theatrical form for zeuhl, Eider Stellaire (and Eskaton) went for a much more jazz focused version of zeuhl. There is different directions within the zeuhl genre and their direction is pretty unique.
The music on this half an hour long/short album is also pretty light and uplifting. Not that zeuhl as a genre is uplifting. But the music here is light on the ear and not particular dark. The bass here is not so dissonant and the vocals, which is wordless, is also pretty light.
In short, a jazzy zeuhl album with some good stuff. It is an overall good album which is not among the best zeuhl albums out there.
The third and final album from this Danish band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of mandolin, bass, guitars, sitar, organ, piano, percussion, drums and vocals.
Culpeper's Orchard started out with a very good/great album and followed it up with a pretty good album. So I had my trepidations before sinking my ears into this album.
Not without reasons, it turned out.
Gone is the funny, eclectic prog from the debut album. A great debut album. Gone is the good things from their second album too.
Culpeper's Orchard chose to dumb down from their debut album on the two follow up albums. They ended up with a country'n'western album....... the Going For A Song album.
OK, there are some eclectic music here in the beginning of this forty minutes long album. But the final half is country'n'western from Nashville, Tennessee. It is not quite the Grand Ol Opry House country'n'western...... thankfully. But it is country'n'western allright.
In short, this is not a good album at all and I (and many others) can only mourn the demise and the fall from grace of this once great Danish hope for the prog rock scene. A hope that crashlanded in Nashville Tennessee.
Monday, 25 September 2017
The debut album from this artist from Venezuela.
Vytas Brenner on all things with tangents got help from seven other musicians who provided bass, guitars, cuatro, maracas, drums, percussion and harp.
Vytas Brenner, of German heritage, released nine studio albums between 1973 and 1993 before he sadly passed away in March 2004. He was a leading musician in Venezuela all his life and made very significant contributions to the local progressive rock scene. He is still fondly remembered in this country.
His music is a mixed bag of everything and I have got some of his albums. Reviews to follow this fall/you can find my reviews of some of his other albums somewhere else in this blog.
This album is a strange mix of classical music, South American folk music, blues, a drum solos and some pop music. Very eclectic indeed.
It is obvious that this is a debut album where everything is crammed in to represent his talents and his world. And that is a big world ! Not to mention some very considerable talents.
This album still works despite of the huge variations in style. And it is a good album too with some exotic music. I really want to hear some more albums from Vytas Brenner.
The second album from this Italian band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, Fender piano, saxophone, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
I liked their 1975 debut album a lot and you can find my review of that album here. A good promising album.
.... A promise the band tried to live up to on Mattanza. The album starts with some Area and Frank Zappa type of weird vocals and general weirdness before the album evolves into something else.
That something else is a mix of Soft Machine, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. The saxophone and the Fender piano is driving the jazz forward. There is still some space for some Area/Frank Zappa type of vocals and use of voices as a rhythm instrument.
This fifty minutes album is most definate an Italian jazz album as you can hear their influences from Italian progressive and avant-garde rock here. Made In Italy indeed.
And this is indeed a good album too. It does not have any really great track. But I am enjoying this album indeed. It has it's qualities.
The fourth album from this German band.
Samsara Blues Experiment is a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass, drums and vocals.
I have reviewed their previous three albums for # 1 of this blog. You will find my reviews here, here and here.
I am kind of captivated by this band and their stoner rock. Their stoner rock has a lot of post rock and classic rock influences too.
There is indeed a lot of interesting details and some influences from classic rock here. I have seen that some has even compared this album with albums from Grand Funk Railroad, one of the truly classic US arena rock bands.
The Hammond organ sound from the synths is a very nice sound and adds another dimension to their music. Music which is not particular flowery and exciting. But stoner rock is what stoner rock it. It is nice in small portions and it has a hypnotic effect.
This fifty minutes long album is not outstaying it's welcome and it delivers some good guitar solos too. The songs are good and the details are good too. I like this band and I also like this album a lot.
Check out this good album if you want to get a taster of stoner rock.
Sunday, 24 September 2017
The second album from this Italian band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and English vocals.
The band released three studio albums before they gave up the ghost. I did actually review their 1992 debut album Diary Of A Blind Angel back in August 2011. My review of that album is here.
Black Jester was a progressive metal band whose two first albums has got a legend status. I got no idea why. I am no fan of progressive metal and can hardly stand that genre.
OK, there are some acceptable albums out there in that genre which even I can tolerate and even like. When that is said.....
Welcome To The Moonlight Circus is a forty-seven minutes long album with all the progressive metal cliches..... and ills.
The guitarist tries to sound like Yngwie Malmsteen with some neo-classical solos. The drums, keyboards and bass is pretty generic and the vocalist should never have entered a studio and a vocals booth. He is pretty terrible.
The songs are not too bad. I have heard a lot worse progressive metal than the music on this album. But there is too many negatives here and I cannot ignore them.
The debut album from this British band.
Birzer Bandana is actually a trio with one member from Salander and two others. The instruments are bass, drum programming, violin, guitars, synths, drums, piano, organ, mellotron and vocals.
The result was released through Bandcamp and you can check out the album here.
Salander is now in hiatus after their member Dave Bandana moved from the cold British isles to Lanzarote. He asked Brad Birzer from the organisation and website Progarchy to come up with a concept and lyrics Dave could make and album of. Hence the name of this band and why this project came to light.
The music here is a bit dreamy spaced out symphonic prog with some strong hippie and ambient music references. The music is not particular dynamic and fast. It is much more based on moods and quiet soundscapes. Those are also created by the computer generated vocals from Dave.
The result is an almost fifty minutes long album. An album which is quite OK without really impressing me. It is nice on the ears but a bit short on substance. Hence, it is somewhere between decent and good in my estimation.
Saturday, 23 September 2017
The fourth album from this French band.
Malicorne was a quartet on this album with a lineup of dulcimer, mandocello, guitars, violin, psaltery, zither, hurdy gurdy, mandolin, cello, keyboards, crummhorn, percussion, recorder, bass and vocals. Both male and female French vocals.
There was also some guest musicians contributing xtra strings.
I reviewed their third album Malicorne II (1975) for # 1 of this blog back in February 2014. The review is here. I liked that album a lot. But it took me three and a half years to follow up this band again and complete my reviews of their albums. Something I intend to complete very soon/you will find reviews of all their albums somewhere else in this blog.
Malicorne is again exploring the old age French folk music scene and tradition. Their material has been written by themselves. But they are based on old age traditions.
I do not speak any French and that is a bit of a problem on such vocals dominated songs like this. Songs also populated with acoustic guitars, violins and other acoustic instruments. Gabriel & Marie Yacoub's vocals are very good and haunting. There are some funeral dirge over their vocals. But most of the music is uplifting.
This is not the most interesting album when it comes to music. It is too vocals focused. But it is not a bad album at all. Hence my verdict....
The fourth album from this Polish band.
The band was a seven piece big band here with a lineup of sitar, dilruba, bass, keyboards, guitars, drums, violins and vocals.
I have followed and reviewed this band's albums with great interest during the last weeks. Actually, I reviewed their debut album back in November 2010. That review is here. The two other reviews can be found somewhere else in this blog and I will soon do a review of their fifth and final album too/ you will also find a review of their fifth and final album somewhere else in this blog.
Believe is a neo-prog band. Their guitarist Mirek Gil were also the guitarist in Collage and now as a solo-artist.
The addition of violins makes Believe stand out from the rest of the crowd. There is a melancholic feel to their music. The further addition of sitar and dilruba also gives the music a bit of an Eastern or an Indian feel.
That sound is not a dominant impression here, though. This album very much follows on from their previous album, the 2009 album The Bread Is Mine. There is even some nu-metal and djent here for a couple of minutes.
The music is pretty complex. There is no really very good or even good songs here though. This fifty minutes long album leaves me slightly frustrated as it is a step backwards from this band. Hence my rating.
Friday, 22 September 2017
The second album from this English band.
Skin Alley was a quartet on this album with a lineup of flute, Hammond organ, trumpet, saxophone, bass, percussion, harmonica, guitars, drums and vocals.
I was not overly happy with their self-titled debut album from 1970. Read my review here.
Skin Alley has not changed their skin (pun intended) between these two albums. We get the same on their album # 2.
That means jazz/fusion with folk rock influences (Jethro Tull) and soul. Add some standard British rock anno late 1960s too and you get my drift.
The songs are a bit more well crafted on To Pagham And Beyond than on their debut album. Well crafted soul songs, that is. There is also a lot of saxophone lead jazz here and some flutes lead folk rock.
A mixed bag in other word. And a quite good forty odd minutes long album. The mastering is not good and the sound not impressive. Most of the songs is not to my liking either. This album is still well worth checking out, though.
The third and final album from this US band.
The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Sir Lord Baltimore released their debut album in 1971 and the followup album in 1971. You can read my reviews of them here and here.
Then there was a very long silence from the band.....35 years, no less. During these 35 long years, the band had been stated as a major inspiration for a lot of the heavy metal and rock musicians of the day. So the band reformed again for a last bite of the cake.
They reformed with some very straight forward Christian lyrics and some very straight forward heavy metal. Mostly very straight forward heavy metal. And that was long after heavy metal had arrived and gone again.... Well, the mainstream heavy metal scene. There was and will always be a very strong sub-underground heavy metal scene. A pretty over-crowded scene where this album landed.
Forget the first two Sir Lord Baltimore albums. This album is nowhere near them in style and genre. This is heavy metal. No ifs and no buts.
It is not a disasterous bad album. But it is running close to being that. Heavy metal fans will like it better than I do. There is no good songs here. It has a couple of decent songs and that is it. Don't waste your money on this album.
The seventh and final album from this Monaco based band.
Edhels was a trio on this album with a lineup of programming, guitars, bass and keyboards.
Saltimbanques is a total break with the previous six Edhels albums. This is indeed almost a new band with only Marc Cecotti being the only link with the old Edhels.
Gone is the neo-prog and pop flirtations. Totally gone, indeed.
Pop and neo-prog has been replaced with a landscape full of fusion, a bit symphonic prog and lots of Mike Oldfield references. There is also references to Chinese classical music here as explored by Jean Michel Jarre.
The music is at times ambient. Those ambient pieces interchanges with some very dynamic fusion pieces. Hence, I would not label this album as a fusion or a symphonic prog album. It is somewhere inbetween those two genres.
The music is mostly driven by guitars with some help from keyboards. And the guitars sounds very good.
The music is always interesting and shows up various soundscapes. The music is also always good without really impressing me. But this album is waaaaaay better than any other Edhels albums. Check out this album on it's own merits and enjoy.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
The second album from this Danish band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of sitar, mandolin, organ, piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion and English vocals.
Their self-titled 1970 debut album has won a lot of praise. Also from this blog. So I was more than happy to purchase their two remaining albums. The third album will be reviewed shortly/you will find a review of their third album somewhere else in this blog.
The band continues down a pretty lush progressive rock landscape. References to Barclay James Harvest and The Moody Blues is pretty evident. Ditto for Gentle Giant references too.
Compared to the debut album, Second Sight sees the band approaching mainstream and cutting back on the more eclectic music and sounds from their very innovative debut album. A lot of country'n'western has also been introduced here and their sound were moving in the direction of the country'n'prog band Wally.
Which is a bit of a shame. But there is still a lot of rocking out here and a lot of progressive rock too. The sound is a lot more pastoral too.
There is not much good or very good stuff here. The sound and the vocals is good. So is the musicians. But this is a step backwards from their debut album, I am afraid.
The one and only album from this British band.
Beckett was a six piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, organ, drums and vocals.
The band is pretty unknown although one of the songs here, A Rainbow's Gold, found it's way to the B-side of Iron Maiden's 1994 hit-single 2 Minutes To Midnight. It is also a good song. Actually, both versions are good.
The vocalist in Beckett, Terry Wilson-Slesser, almost got the vacant vocalist job in AC/DC after Bon Scott's passing. Terry also worked a lot with Paul Kossoff from Free.
It is fair to say that Beckett is one of those hidden gems in the British scene. Gems who should get a lot more exposure.
The music on this forty odd minutes long album is a mix of rock, hard rock, prog rock and blues. The music reminds me a lot about Led Zeppelin on the first four albums.
The songs are all well crafted with a lot of good guitars, bass, organ and drums. The vocals are the best here and I can understand why Terry Wilson-Slesser was so highly rated.
The only really good song here is A Rainbow's Gold. But there is also a lot of good details here. Hence my rating of this album.
Wednesday, 20 September 2017
The tenth album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty on violins had support from a quintet who provided guitars, bass, drums, percussions, synths, organ and piano.
Jean Luc Ponty had made a total clear out from the setup who made Enigmatic Ocean back in 1977. An album I really liked.
In comes five unknown musicians and a more world music approach.
There is a lot of African rhythms here and some tabla and percussions. There is also a lot of synths here in addition to some guitars and a lot of Jean Luc Ponty's violins.
The music on this forty minutes long album is pretty laidback with some melancholic pieces of music. There is also some fusion here and we get some reminders of what Jean Luc did in Mahavishnu Orchestra and on his own albums like for example Enigmatic Ocean.
The end result is not bad at all. But it is rather a let down from Enigmatic Ocean. An album I love. I do not love Cosmic Messenger. That's for sure.
The end result is somewhere between decent and good, I am afraid. And I am disappointed.
The debut album from this Dutch band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of organ, piano, saxophones, flutes, bass, drums and vocals.
Solution released six albums between 1971 and 1982 with moderate success before they gave up and were disbanded. This is one of those bands who never really made it big. Their music has been saved from a life in obscurity by the likes of ProgArchives, Discogs and Youtube. And by a curious mind like myself and fellow music lovers.
Listed as a jazz/fusion band in ProgArchives, I spotted this band and got three of their albums. The other two will be reviewed asap/you will find reviews of the other two albums somewhere else in this blog.
This album is pretty special because half of it is jazz/fusion and the other half is symphonic prog. The band was very influenced by the likes of Frank Zappa and Soft Machine here. The band had also adopted a classical music piece by the obscure French composer Jaques Ibert. There is also clearly some influences from the Canterbury scene band Egg on this album.
There are also some fine vocals with some good melodies here. Kind of Egg like melodies. Maybe even some Caravan too.
The end result is a very good album which will impress a lot of people into fusion, Canterbury and symphonic prog. Check it out !
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
The one and only album from this French band.
Bahamas was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, piano, organ, synths, bass, drums and French vocals.
This album is really a very obscure album. So obscure that it is not included in ProgArchives. I think it has a place there, though..... But that is their choice and I have nothing but respect for ProgArchives.
Le Voyageur Immobile is a thirty-five minutes journey through a pop-progressive rock landscape. A landscape that reminds me a lot about Supertramp. It is fair to say that Supertramp is a major reference for this album and this band.
Being French, Bahamas does it their own way. That means the usual theatrical progressive rock.... The usual references to Jacques Brel and some references to Ange too. But not many.
Unfortunate, the lack of any good songs and music is destroying the harmony here. The music is ticking nicely over without really leaving many positive impressions. It is by no means a bad album. It is just lacking any good songs and pieces of music. The best thing about Le Voyageur Immobile is the good vocals. The rest is not worth writing home about...... unless you are a Supertramp fan.
The fifth album from this German band.
Mythos was a duo on this album with a lineup of guitar, flutes, drums, synths, vocoder, sequencer, synths and vocals. Markus Worbs did the drums while Stephan Kaske did all the other instrumens plus the vocals.
I have reviewed three of their first four albums and you will find the reviews somewhere else in this blog. It is fair to say that I have a rather ambivalent releationship with Mythos music. Hence my reviews.
Quasar sees the band stripped down to a duo. But it is essentially a one-man band with Stephan Kaske taking over the band and the name for what is essentially his solo-album.
The result is a strange one. Take a lot of new-wave, some new romantics (Ultravox & co) and a lot of electronic krautrock in the vein of Kraftwerk. Gary Numan has also been mentioned in connection with this album as a reference.
There is no denying that there is a lot of electronica here. Well, mostly all of this thirty-four minutes long album is a journey through an electronic music landscape.
That said, the music here is pretty dynamic too. This is not new-age ambient music. Quasar comes with a considerable kick and lots of energy.
It does not have much good music though. But I am not entirely dismissing it as a bad album as there is some good details here. I quite like this album. And the frequent use of flutes does not hurt either. Check out this album.
The third album from this Spanish band.
Cai was a quartet on this album with a lineup of clavinet, synths, bass, drums, guitars, handclaps, percussions, piano, electric piano and Spanish vocals.
I have reviewed their first two albums and you can find the reviews here and here. I really liked those albums and it is fair to say that Cai has been included in my database of good Spanish bands. A pretty big database as I really like Spanish progressive rock.
Cancion De La Primavera delivers some Spanish prog rock, indeed. Thirty-two minutes of pure Spanish progressive rock.
That means symphonic progressive rock with a lot of folk and hard rock. There is plenty of flamenco here and some harder rock. Well, there is not that much hard rock here. But the music here sometimes becomes pretty hard. That is just to show some light and darkness in the songs, I suspect.
The vocals is really good. The sound is perhaps too polished and the folk rock edges has been removed. Edges the previous two albums had plenty of.
What remains is a pretty smooth album in the standards of Cai and Spanish prog rock. But this is by no means a sugar sweet album. There is some hard edges and a lot of eclectic songs and vocals here.
It is also a good album which I really enjoy although I do not speak a single word of Spanish.
Cai is indeed a good Spanish band.
Monday, 18 September 2017
The tenth album from this Italian band.
The band (PFM) was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, cello, keyboards, violin, viola, percussions and Italian vocals.
Bernardo Lanzetti had left the band and given the microphone to Franco Mussida. Franco is a good vocalist when it comes to the music on this album.
It feels like PFM on this album is a totally different band from the band who eight years earlier gave us the excellent Per Un Amico album. The change between different styles and genres was to a large extent the trademark of this band. Which is a bit frustrating if you started to love this band on Per Un Amico....... Like I did.
Suanare Suonare has often been compared to a half decent Elton John album. Which is a bit harsh.... It is fair to say that the music on this album is Italian pop-rock. And yes, with a lot of Elton John influences.
This album is mostly rooted in the Italian pop tradition with a lot of Italian folk music influences. And the music is not too bad at all. There are some fairly decent to good songs here on this forty-five minutes long album. But it is not a good album by any means.
The third album from this Swedish band.
Dynamo Bliss was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, banjo, accordion, keyboards and vocals.
This seems to be the final album from this band as we have heard nothing from them since 2013. Which is a great shame.
I have reviewed their two first albums and you will find the reviews here and here.
Dynamo Bliss is one of those bands who operated somewhere between retro-pop and progressive rock. You will find lots of references to ELO, 10CC and The Beatles here. There is also some references to west coast rock here. And there is even some more exotic Spanish folk music references here. Not to forget; some references to Scandinavian symphonic prog too.
All this during forty minutes of music.
The music is light and flowery. It feels like summer music enjoyed by people in shorts and t-shirts. And this is good music too. Mostly....... The sound is very good and that makes up for some of the shortcomings here.
This is a good album and almost an essential album for those into flowery light progressive rock.
Sunday, 17 September 2017
The second album from this Norwegian band.
Thule was a quartet on this album with a lineup of organ, synths, bass, drums, guitars, accordion, percussion, harmonica and Norwegian lyrics.
Thule lives and made this album just a few miles south of North Cape, the most northern point in Europe. That is where they were living throughout their career and five albums.
Back in August 2009, I reviewed their debut album Ultima Thule (from 1987). You will find my review here. That was a very good and very promising debut album. I am always on the look for more Thule albums so I may review their other albums if I find them too.
Back to Natt, though. The band explores a frosty, almost gothic landscape on this album. The music is pretty heavy, a bit post-punk and a bit gothic. There is also a lot of Scandinavian symphonic prog in their music. Anglagard springs to mind. The emphasis is on atmosphere and ambience here. Something the vocals really supports. The vocals are good and very fitting for this music.
There are one very good song here called Tægn. This song has a very good melody with some great guitar harmonies too. The rest of the album is decent to good. Mostly good though.
Thule is a very strange bird, even in Norway. But this is a good album and one fans of Scandinavian prog rock should seek out.
The seventh album from this German band.
Jane was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, percussions, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
Their previous album, the 1977 opus Between Heaven & Hell was a mixed bag. But it was also a good album. See my review here. So I had hopes despite of hearing some not so good things about the albums that follows on from Between Heaven & Hell.
Age Of Madness is the first of those albums.
Age Of Madness sees the band going in a more direction of Pink Floyd and Eloy. It is a psychedelic space rock album. But it is not an outer space album with long unhinged trips into outer space. Age Of Madness follows the rock formula with verse-chorus-verse.
Despite of the verse-chorus-verse structure, it has the Eloy sound and tries to sound like a space rock album.
Clocking in at just under thirty-seven minutes and nine songs, the themes and melodies are not exactly abstract. Neither are they good. OK, there are some good songs here. But the rest is not that good. Hence my verdict of a pretty likeable album who falls a bit too short.
Saturday, 16 September 2017
The third album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I got their first album, the 2011 self-titled album, from Black Widow Records and reviewed it in # 1 of this blog. See my review here. In 2013, they released Ravens. An album I hope to review sometimes in the future.
The band plays a form of stoner rock with some influences from early Italian symphonic prog and hard rock.
There is definate a lot of Italian hard rock in their music too. And a some space rock too. So here you have it; stoner, space and hard rock.
There is a lot of good organ interplays and sound on this album. The vocals too is good. The songs are not always good on this fifty minutes long album. This album is having a bit problems keeping my attention. The last twenty minutes is not good at all. Hence my verdict.
The 19th album from this German band.
Dice was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.
I very much liked their 2016 album X Is Double Two On The Dice Map. Good psychedelic rock. You can read my review here.
Dice was a vibrant space and psychelic prog band many years ago. These days, they have withdrawn to a more safe distance from outer space and the psychedelia thing.
...Something this album proves.
The music on this one hour long album still has some pshychedelia. But most of the music is pop-rock. And that with some country'n'western influences their previous albums did not have.
Christian Nove's vocals has also gone downhill during the last couple of albums. They are directly pretty bad on this album. I think it is about time to hand over the microphone to a new generation on the next album. Or let the backing singer Ramona Nove do the lead vocals.
The songs here are not interesting at all. Neither are they any good. This is not a bad album. It is just a decent album and just that.
Friday, 15 September 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
Christadoro is the drummer Massimiliano Christadoro on drums and with help from the likes of Fabio Zuffanti on bass, Paolo Botta on keyboards, Pier Panzeri on guitars and Andrea Dal Santo on vocals. They have also got help from PFM and Biglietto Per L'Inferno members on piano, cello and vocals.
This constellation has given us a type of album which I am pretty sure will be repeated during the next years and decades.
Christadoro has namely re-recorded and given their own take on old Italian symphonic progressive rock songs. They are not necessary old classics, these eight songs. But they have been stripped down a bit and given a new and contemporary sound.
That means a much heavier sound and I am not sure if I agree or even feel comfortably with this type of re-recordings and cover versions. I have also been in severe doubts if I was even going to review this album.
That said, and you have now got my reservations about albums like this one, the music here is good. OK, the music is heavier than I would like and parts of the charm has been removed from the original songs. But I understand the bits of giving old songs a new lease of life.
The end result is a good album so no further complaints from me. Check it out here.
The fifth album from this Monaco based band.
Edhels is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, percussion, guitars and vocals.
I reviewed their 1988 album Still Dream and their 1991 album Astro Logical back in November last year (2016). I think it is fair to say that I hated them and I therefore gave up on this band. My reviews are here and here.
One year later and my wounds has (to a large extent) healed and I reviewing Angel's Promise and Saltimbanques this month. Starting with.....
Angel's Promise. Seventy minutes and thirteen tracks long. The artwork does not promise a lot.
There is a lot of loooooooong and not so interesting guitar solos in the beginning. They sounds like someone loves their guitar, but have not fully understood what to do with it and the purpose of a guitar. Or the purpose of a music instrument, for that matter. I love great guitar solos. But guitar solos can also be very dull. Like for example on this album.
Then there is some vocals and some gothic type of vocals and music too before the album ends with some more looooooooooong instrumental parts with keyboards and guitars.
Edhels is still not really impressing me. The art of creating good music has bypassed them on at least the three albums I have heard from them. This album is merely decent and just that. Some decent music saves it from the turkey yard. But just about....
Thursday, 14 September 2017
The debut album from this Danish band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of harpsichord, bass, drums, guitars, drums, percussion, organ, flute, piano and English vocals.
The band released three albums in the beginning of the 1970s before they gave up the ghost and disbanded. I think one or two members moved to other bands.
I will review the two other albums too before the end of this fall/you will find the review of the two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
The cover artwork is colourful and so is the music. Take the playfull Gentle Giant, add some The Beatles and Cream into the mix. There is also some Barclay James Harvest here and some King Crimson. And some Yes too. And some fusion and some bluesy rock too.
Eclectic music in other words. Eclectic prog in other words. But the music is not as dense as the Amazon jungle. There is lots of very good melodies here which really makes this album one interesting album for both the ears and in particular; the brain. This album is food for thought.
This forty minutes long album is one heck of a good album which only lacking a great song or two. Nevertheless, this is one very good album.
The second album from this Spanish band.
Cai was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, percussions, keyboards, piano and Spanish vocals.
Their 1979 debut album Mas Alla De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas was a good album. Symphonic prog meets Spanish flamenco and folk music. Read my review here.
Noch Abierta continues in the same vein as their debut album. Clever eclectic symphonic prog with lots of flamenco and folk rock influences. The Spanish vocals are good and the flamenco creates a pretty unique sound. A pretty unique sound the band shares with a lot of other Spanish bands too.
I have always both enjoyed and respected the Spanish prog rock scene. This album is regarded as one of the best albums from that scene. I am not sure about that.
Nevertheless, the music is flowery and dynamic with lots of interesting details. The songs are good to very good and the sound is lovely.
The album is thirty-six minutes long and has a very good ambience. A very good Spanish ambience which makes you respect this country a lot. The album draws you in and does not leave you. Hence my verdict.
The (first/) second album from this French band.
Malicorne was a quartet with a lineup of bass, crummhorn, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, violin, viola, percussion, hurdy gurdy, dulcimer, psaltery and French vocals. Both male and female vocals from Mr and Mrs Yacoub.
.... and here is the confusion about if this is the debut album or the second album from this band. This is what I alluded to when I reviewed the Gabriel & Marie Yacoub album earlier this month. See my review here.
I would regard Malicorne 1 as their second album. I also see that ProgArchives does the same and I am following their example just for the sake of clarity.
Following on from the Pierre De Grenoble album from the year before, we get a lot more French folk rock again. They use a lot of exotic instruments here and a lot of vocal harmonies.
The best reference here are Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. But Malicorne's folk music is a lot more dense than their English counterparts.
The music here is not easy listening by any means. But the music is sometimes melodic and has some OK instrumental parts too.
I would not label this thirty-eight minutes long album as a good album as I find the hardcore folk music a bit jarring and disharmonic. But they are getting better........
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Dynamo Bliss was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
I actually know this band pretty well from my review of their second album, the 2013 album Poplar Music. My review from August 2013 can be found here.
Their albums can be found here.
The band has released three albums and I am hoping to review their third album next week/you will find a review of their third album somewhere else in this blog.
21st Century Junk is a nice collection of psychedelic prog songs with solid The Beatles, 10CC and ELO influences. There are also some pretty less obvious Pink Floyd influences.
The music is pretty light and airy. The songs are full of vocals and guitar harmonies. The sound is very good and this album is indeed a very nice.
The qualities of the songs are not quite on the level of their second album Poplar Music. The music here is too pop music and does not have that much bite and substance. But it is not a bad album by all means. And it is a more than acceptable debut album. Check it out.
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, flutes, saxophone, drums, bass and some Italian vocals.
Napoli Centrale released six albums before they were disbanded. They were often mentioned in the same breath as Area.
It is indeed jazz/fusion we have the pleasure to listen to on this forty-five minutes long album. But the album starts out as an Osibisa album. And the vocals parts on this album reminds me a lot about Osibisa indeed.
The jazz/fusion parts here is full of keyboards and saxophone. There are also some flutes here with pulsating bass and drums.
The jazz/fusion reminds me about a mix of National Health and Soft Machine with some Weather Report influences too. The sparse vocals parts is pretty eclectic with some weird vocals.
The music is good throughout. This album has an eclectic feel which would appeal to everyone into Italian music. Indeed; Italian progressive rock. Check it out.
The third album from this Polish band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, violin, keyboards and English vocals. Two guest musicians contributed xtra guitar and some cello.
I reviewed their second album Yesterday Is A Friend earlier this month and liked that album. The review is here and it also has a link to their debut album which I reviewed some years ago.
One year after the release of Yesterday Is A Friend, there has been some changes in personell and music on the follow up album The Bread Is Mine.
The music is still neo-prog. But the music is much more mellow. That goes for the vocals and for the more implemenation of the violin. Their sound reminds me about Gazpacho at times. That means the band has moved pretty close to what Marillion sounded on Brave.
There are also some hints of melancholic pop and some post-rock here too. The music is very melodic with some good guitar solos too.
This one hour long album has eleven medium long songs. I regard this album as one long piece of music as the songs floats into each other. One hour long melancholic melodic piece of music.
The end result is a good album which stands out from the rest of the neo-prog scene because of the frequent use of violin. It is well worth checking out this album and this band.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
The one and only album from this German band.
Thrice Mice was a sextet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, organ, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.
Thrice Mice released this album, did not get any success and morphed into Altona who released two albums. Both of them reviewed in # 1 of this blog.
Thrice Mice was a band from Germany who has been lumped into the krautrock genre by many magazines. And they are right. But krautrock is a broad church, a pretty wide scene with some genres lumped together. Which is fair enough and I am myself 100 % guilty as charged here.
The music on this forty minutes long album, later re-released on CD with lots of bonus tracks, is blues, psychedelia, prog rock and with some soul influences. The saxophone is pretty dominant and it is supported by some good vocals, organs and guitars.
The four songs are really long with the longest pushing thirteen minutes and the shortest one pushing nine minutes. Progressive rock and krautrock indeed.
The quality is somewhere between decent and good. I am no big fan of that saxophone. But this is still not a bad album. Check it out if you like Altona and early krautrock.
The second album from this US band.
Sir Lord Baltimore was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, drums, bass and vocals.
I was not particular impressed by their 1970 debut album Kingdom Come. See my review here.
Kingdom Come is the album which probably started the stoner genre and the band therefore deserve some attention in this blog and all other music places.
The band was a hard rock band. Indeed, a review of this album in a magazine coined the phrase "heavy metal" and that is the first ever use of that phrase in public.
I am not sure if I would use the phrase "heavy metal" on this album. There is a lot of blues on this album. But the music is very hard indeed. The drummer also doubles up as the vocalist here. The vocals are very raw. The double guitars are very raw too.
Maybe heavy metal is the right phrase for the music on this half an hour long album. Nevertheless, there are still some more psychedelic moments here too.
The difference between Sir Lord Baltimore and the likes of Black Sabbath is simply the quality of the output and the albums. Sir Lord Baltimore was (at best) a second rate band and this album is a second rate album. Black Sabbath was first rate in every sense of the word.
This album is merely a decent album and only that. That is because the songs are crude and not much worth any attention. But the band had a decent standard and this album is not too bad. Hence my verdict.
Monday, 11 September 2017
The one and only album from this Minnesota, USA band.
This Oneness was a quintet with a lineup of woodwinds, piano, bass, drums, synths, percussions, guitars and vocals.
The band was actually Olivia Newton-John's backing band in the mid-1970s. That was during her most famous years who also spawned the big hitting movie and soundtrack Grease with John Travolta.
The band decided to go their own way after a while and ended their cooperation with Olivia. They recorded this album and then disappeared without a trace. Bad career move ?
The band was very influenced by the likes of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. That is obvious on this album.... the final half of this album, that is. Side B on an LP, that is.
Side A makes us suffer through some sweet songs with clear references to Olivia Newton-John. It is a pretty bad experience for listeners anno 2017. Side B on the other hand delivers some rather good fusion somewhere in the ballpark of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The playing is fast and furious at times. And good. Good fusion indeed.
It is difficult to forget their turkey like Side A which really is a test of anyone's patience and will to live. Hence my rating......
The debut album from this English band.
Skin Alley was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, woodwinds, harpsischord, organ, piano, congas, mellotron and vocals.
Skin Alley released four studio albums between 1970 and 1973 before they gave up and were disbanded. I got their first three albums and will review them this month/you will find reviews of their two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Skin Alley was one of the many bands who debuted around 1970. Some had their breakthrough and became big bands. Others again had a local following and then became forgotten. Thanx to ProgArchives and Youtube, bands like Skin Alley has gotten a second life. Their music has now gone global. Good !!
The band is listed as a jazz/fusion band in ProgArchives and I fully agree with that when it comes to this album at least. It the only album I have heard from them yet.
The music on this forty minutes long album is a mix of blues, folk rock and a lot of fusion with also a great deal of jazz at the end of the album.
There are some vocals here too and that one is good. The saxophones, flutes and the keyboards (mellotron etc etc) is creating a good synergy and some good songs too. There are some not so good songs too. But the album really becomes good at the end after a very shaky start and mid-phase.
The end result is somewhere between a decent and a good album. Hence my rating.
Sunday, 10 September 2017
The second album from this Scottish artist and member of Citizen Cane.
Stewart Bell does all instruments and some vocals here. He has got help from Phil Allen on guitars and vocals throughout this album.
Arjen Lucassen, Simone Rossetti (from The Watch) and Bekah Mhairi Comrie also adds vocals.
I reviewed Part 1 of The Ancechamber Of Being series back in March last year. You will find this review here, in # 1 of this blog.
This album has several vocalist and this album really starts of with a bang with Simone Rossetti on the opening opus Early Days. He is easily one of the best vocalists of his generation and this opus reminds me a lot about Genesis from the Peter Gabriel era.
Early Days is a symphonic prog opus and that is where we also finds this album. This is neo-prog meets 1970s symphonic prog. This is Citizen Cane meets Genesis. That is the music on this well over one hour long album.
The music is symphonic and complex. I can understand why Arjen Lucassen got involved as this too is his territory. The music is almost as complex and big as his Ayreon project. But it is not quite that big.
This one hour long album takes us through a nice, flowery landscape with some mountains and some deep rivers. This is also a good album where my only gripe is the lack of a great song or two. But Stewart Bell deserves a lot of credit and praise for this and his previous album in this series.
The third album from this German band.
Mythos was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, mellotron, synths, percussions and English vocals.
I have reviewed their first two albums and you will find the reviews here and here.
I also intend to review their Quasar album within the next week/you will find a review of their Quasar album somewhere else in this blog.
Mythos started out as a raga-rock ambient krautrock band on their two first albums. Then something happened after their second album Dreamlab back in 1975 because they returned two years later with Strange Guys and a different style of music.
Strange Guys is much more in the vein of Eloy than their previous two albums. It is a total break with their two first albums.
The music on this forty-one minutes long album is pretty beautiful Eloy landscaped symphonic prog. There is also some folk rock influences here. The six songs here are medium long, five to nine minutes long. The vocals are good and the sound is very warm and at times, pastoral. A couple of the songs are pretty hard rocking too.
There is no great songs here. But this is a comfortable good album which should really please anyone into progressive rock.
Saturday, 9 September 2017
The ninth album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty on violin was joined by a quintet with a lineup of guitars, percussion, bass, drums, piano, clavinet, organ and synth.
The guitarists here are Allan Holdsworth and Daryl Stuermer. That is two of the best guitarists in the scene back in 1977... I say no more.
I was not really blown away by his 1976 album Imaginary Voyage. Too few good tracks and a bit too wishy washy for my liking. Too dull too. See my review here.
1977 sees him teaming up with Allan Holdsworth in addition to keeping on Daryl Stuermer from the Imaginary Voyage album. The result is big fireworks.
I love the first Mahavishnu Orchestra albums because of their intensity and godlike musicianship. It is obvious that Jean Luc Ponty, who played violin on those albums, have taken this album pretty close to those albums. It sounds like it.
The duets between the guitars and the violin is excellent and exactly why I purchased these albums. There is also some very good synths and keyboards here. The six tracks on this forty-five minutes long album is all great.
In short, this is a great, unmissable fusion album which will send most people into a state of euphoria.