Tuesday, 31 October 2017
The tenth album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mellotron, wurlitzer, grand piano, organ, percussion and vocals.
Some other musicians has helped with flute, percussion and piano. Steven Wilson is credited for some producing here.
I have been reviewing their albums on and off during the last months. You will find reviews of their albums in both this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
I have not been too eager to review their albums due to the zillions of other reviews their albums has got in ProgArchives and other magazines/blogs/websites. I prefer more obscure and pure fusion/prog/folk albums and bands than Opeth. I say that with all respect to Opeth. I have massive amount of respect for them.
Heritage sees the band shedding all the death-growls and death metal music. What we get instead is some sort of progressive rock. What kind of progressive rock has been a much debated issue.
I find them droning about too much on this album. I am relieved when this album breaks into some hard rock too and some more pastoral stuff.
I am really in doubt if this is a good or merely a decent album. But there is some good details here and I have found a lot more good stuff when I put my head into the speakers and gave it my 100 % attention. But it is still a weak good rating.
The fourth album from this Portoguese band.
Tantra was a sextet on this album with a lineup of synths, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and English and Portoguese vocals.
The band had help from xtra keyboards, vocals and a choir.
Their last album, Humanoid Flesh from 1981 was a disaster trip into post-punk and new romanticism. A true turkey and you can read my review here. Their first two albums is really good though so this band has some merit.
Their first two albums was in the symphonic prog genre. The band took a twenty years long break after the Humanoid Flesh disaster and returned again to a more well known landscape.
We are somewhere in the border counties between pomp prog and symphonic prog. There are also some pop here. But not much. Most of the music here is in the symphonic prog genre.
The vocals are ok and a bit operatic. The other instruments are OK too. The sound is pretty organic and not too much synths dominated. Some of the music is a bit on the overly inflated side of the spectrum.
This album is one hour long and it has some long songs and some short songs. There is no great pieces of music here. Most of the music is decent to good. This album is not the most exciting album around. But check it out.
The third album from this Swedish band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of flute, organ, bass, drums, percussion and guitars.
Agusa is one of those bands I have knotted down in my notes as one band to follow. I did that already on their excellent debut album. You can read my review here.
Their second album was a very good album too and you can read my review here.
Agusa is one of those bands who has returned to the 1970s and further back to get inspirations and their own identity. Indeed, their music goes back two hundred years. To the times of Swedish folk music and Swedish popular music recorded on old '78 LPs.
Agusa combines this folk music with a lot of what Kaipa and later; The Flower Kings did. But in particular Kaipa is a big inspiration here on this album.
So we get Swedish symphonic prog with a folk music twist on this album. There is a lot of flutes and organs here. Two instruments who creates a warm sound. The lack of vocals is no problems here as both the flutes and the organs more than replaces the vocals.
The great artwork does not shame the music either. Some three quarters of an hour filled with warm Swedish folk symphonic prog.
The result is a very good album which proves that Agusa is one of the best Swedish bands around at the moment. Just like I said they would be back on their debut album some years ago. Enjoy !
Monday, 30 October 2017
The second and final album from this US band.
Fred was a sextet on this album with a lineup of saxophone, keyboards, drums, bass, electric violin, guitars, percussion and some vocals.
This is again a collection album of various recordings the band made in 1973/74. Just as their self-titled debut album was recordings made in 1971/72. Which is fine for me as the band and their recordings is too good to be ignored. You can find my review of the debut album here.
The music on Notes On A Picnic is totally different from their debut album.
What we get on a Notes On A Picnic is fusion. Fusion in the vein of Jean Luc Ponty and a bit like Mahavishnu Orchestra too.
The music is very intense at times with a great deal of organs and electric violins here. There is also some vocals at the end with some good electric guitars too and some funk. There are also some weird pop music here where the vocals kicks in.
Most of this one hour long album is fusion though. This is a better album than the debut album and it proves that Fred was not a bad band at all. Check out both albums as they are rather quirky and worthy of some attention and tender loving listening sessions in a sofa.
The debut album from this French band.
Ocean was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
There is numerous other bands with the name Ocean and this French combo should not be confused with the German and other combos with the same name.
This French combo has released three albums. The last one in 2016. Their second album was released in 1981. Well done, I have to say.
Ocean's music on God's Clown is very heavy. It is not truly heavy metal though. The music is a mix of Led Zeppelin, Man and Budgie. Add in a lot of blues and King Crimson too and you get this album.
The album is very noisy and full of spirit. Unrestrainded spirit. This forty minutes long album is a wild, wild ride.
There is also a lot of quality in this wild ride. It has a few mellow parts too amid the mayhem. Mayhem which also makes a lot of sense with air-raid like vocals and guitars. There is a lot of quality here and a lot of very interesting details.
The end result is a good album which deserves a lot more attention. Attention hereby given.
Sunday, 29 October 2017
The third album from this Italian band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, glockenspiel, triangle, percussion, keyboards, bass, drums, saxophones, flute, clavinet, organ, mini-moog and vocals.
This band was one of the many Italian fusion/jazz bands in the 1970s. This scene was almost as big as the Italian symphonic prog (RPI) scene.
I have reviewed their first two albums and intend to review their final album too. Yes, the band released four albums before they disbanded. You can read my reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Nova was never really one of the most jazzy of the fusion bands. Their previous album Vimana from 1976 had a lot of Latin-America rhythms. A good reference is Santana.
Their first album, the 1975 album Nova had a lot of hard rock influences too.
It has to be said that the band did not rest on their laurels....... or music style. Three albums in and we get a new take on fusion from the band. This time with a lot of funk and a lot of Latin-American and Italian pop music too. OK, this album is not many miles away from Vimana. But it still feels different indeed.
There is a lot of vocals here mixed with some funk and fusion. The pop music is not particular good. But it is OK. The fusion is very good and the funk is passable. The flute adds some xtra folk music too and a bit Focus like progressive rock.
This is actually a good three quarters of an hour long album from an underrated band. There is a lot of good stuff here and that warrant a good rating. Check it out.
The debut album from this US band.
Discipline was a trio with a lineup of guitars, piano, keyboards, violin, bass, drums and vocals.
This album was originally released in 1988 and re-released again in 2013 with a bonus track. The albums are basically the same as the bonus track was also recorded in that 1988 session.
I reviewed their third album, the 1997 album Unfolded Like Staircase back in September 2010 and rated that as a great album. I also noted it was a perfect mix of Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator. See my review here.
It is also my plan to review their last two albums within the next weeks/you will find my reviews of their last two albums somewhere else in this blog.
I would not really say that this album, Chaos Out Of Order, is a perfect blend of Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator. Chaos Out Of Order is a concept album of some sorts.
The music is pretty much bland neo-prog meets pomp pop. It is some Supertramp here and that is it. The art of songwriting has is a bit scetchy and very much lacking on this fifty-three minutes long album. There is no good songs here and the sound too is found wanting. Hence my rating.
Saturday, 28 October 2017
The second album from this Japanese band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of mellotron, keyboards, synths, bass, guitars, tapes, drums, piano, timpani, vocoder, percussion and vocals.
An man also provided narrations.
Their 1973 debut album An Old Castle Of Transylvania has got a cult status and with good reason. You can read my review here.
That album sounded like a mix of Eloy and Jane. The band has not moved away from the krautrock genre on A Journey With The Cosmos Factory.
We get more of the same on this almost forty minutes long album. The songs are a lot more eclectic this time around with lots of strange twists and turns.
There is also a substantial amount of RPI influences here. Enough to draw parallels to the likes of Banco and PFM. This due to a lot of mellotron and Italian like melodies.
The Japanese accent English vocals is not dominating the sound and the music is pretty pastoral at times.
The end result is a good album which is not as immediate as the debut album but creeps up on you as a silent assassin. Enjoy.
The debut album from this band from Germany.
Oblivion Road is a trio with a lineup of guitars, programming, drums, bass and English vocals.
The band has also got help from a grand piano, xtra bass and vocals.
Oblivion Road is actually two Colombians and one Mexican who somehow has ended up in Cologne, Germany. They have also got help from another Colombian, one French, one Bulgarian and one Italian on this album. A multi-national album in other words.
I only wish the music was as exciting too.
The music on this forty minutes long album is a mix of college rock, indie rock and the likes of Rush and Kings's X. It is also song based and the usual pop/rock formula. Pretty short and punchy songs in other words.
The band knows what they are doing on their instruments. This is a good band which I guess has honed their skill by playing other band's songs. Individually or as the band Oblivion Road.
The music is not good I have to confess. Some details is really good and there are a couple of good songs here. But most of this album is decent. Hence the rating.
Friday, 27 October 2017
The third album from this Dutch band.
PBII is a sextet with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, piano and vocals. Both male and female vocals. The female vocals are mostly soprano opera vocals.
Nad Sylvan does guest vocals on one song here.
PBII is mark 2 of the Dutch neo-prog band Plackband who only released one album in 2002.
I reviewed their second album, the 2013 album 1000 Wishes back in September 2013 for # 1 of this blog. You can find the review here. As you can see, I rated that album as a great album.
I had high expectations to their new album, in other words.
The band plays a mix of neo-prog and symphonic prog. I would say 50/50 of both genres. It is also my impression that this is a concept album about a Dutch inventor who did rockets.
The album soars of towards heaven with the opening track Rocket # 1. Five minutes of soaring, dramatic melodies. I was sold.
The rest of this one hour long album is not as dramatic and soaring. But the title track's main theme is repeated in variations two more times. And it is a great track indeed.
And so is most of the songs too. The quality is great throughout. This album has great melodies, a good concept and plenty of great details. The vocals is also great and so is the guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.
This is one of the best albums of the year. Check it out.
The third album from this Portoguese band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals. Mostly English vocals.
Tantra had up to now released two really good symphonic prog albums and I was very much looking forward to listening and reviewing their three remaining albums. You can read my reviews of their first two albums here and here.
The first listening session of this album, Humanoid Flesh, was like getting a bucket of cold water over my head. Although the cover art-work should have warned me that something was amiss.
There is not much that is not amiss here.
The music on this half an hour long album is some sort of post-punk and new romantics. The music is naked and has some terrible bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals. The drums too is terrible.
The sound is also terrible. I am trying to find a good reference here and the best I can find is Adam Ant on his worst and most sloppy.
There is no quality here and the music is horrible. This is a turkey and one turkey with some bad feathers too. Avoid !!!
Thursday, 26 October 2017
The fourth album from this Venezuelan - German artist.
Vytas Brenner on strings, synths, piano and vocals had help from a sextet here who provided drums, bass, guitars, mandolin, congas, percussion, cuatro, clavinet and background vocals.
I have reviewed his first three albums and and you can find my reviews of those somewhere else in this blog. Ofrenda, this album is my final review of his albums although he released many more albums.
After releasing a surprising fusion album in 1975 (Jayeche), Vytas Brenner returned to the roots put down in earth on his first two albums. Eclectic folk music and pop music.
This half an hour long album has a false start though with a pure Latin-pop tune. Funky, but with vocals and a song with a hit potential anno 1978. It probably was a big hit in Venezuela too. Well deserved.
The album changes over to a much more eclectic fusion and folk avant-garde prog album after that false start/pop song. The music is still a bit cinematic. But it is also full of life and Latin lust for life.
Lots of congas, guitars, piano and synths. Lots of interesting details.
The music is dynamic and really funky throughout. So funky that it is infectious.
This is a really good album from an artist who deserve some more attention. His four first albums are really good and will please everyone into prog and fusion.
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
The second and final album from this German band.
Et Cetera was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass and guitars.
This band was Wolfgang Dauner's band. He got help from Collusseum's Jon Hiseman and the famous Larry Coryell. Larry Coryell sadly passed away earlier this year. I am in the process of getting his albums just based on the guitars he does on this album alone.
I reviewed their 1971 self-titled debut album some weeks ago and you can read the review here. It was indeed a good album.
The music here is a sort of jazz or fusion. There is some eastern feel on this album with some use of tabla and percussion.
The use of some rhythms from the Indian peninsula and other things like a lot of space and psych rock fused with fusion makes this a bona fide krautrock album. And it does have this great krautrock feel.
Larry Coryell's guitars are really interesting here and I have again discovered a new tone, a new sound and a new musician I want to check out. Yes, I am late to this dinner. But better late than hungry. I will get some of his albums.
There is a lot of interesting things on this album and as a fan of krautrock, this forty minutes long album is the right ticket. This is indeed a very good album.
The 13th album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty on violin and synths has help from a quintet here who provides guitars, electric organ, piano, bass, percussion, drums and some sporadic vocals.
The quality of the outputs from Jean Luc Ponty has been a bit up and down so far in his career. I still think his work in Mahavishnu Orchestra is the artistic highlight of his career.
But some of his solo albums has also been very good to great. They rises and falls like waves throughout. Two very good albums followed by some lesser good albums and then another two very good albums.
Mystical Adventures sees Jean Luc Ponty return to fusion again. Proper fusion with a lot of jazz. But there is also a lot of symphonic prog here. His violin playing is sublime superb.
A bit more guitar focus and less synths would have been great on this forty minutes long album. But that is just a minor gripe.
There is a lot of very good melodies and details here. So much that this is indeed a very good album. A timeless album from a great artist. Enjoy !
The one and only album from this US band.
Oberon's Parabola is the brainchild of the drummer Aaron Parks from Texas. He has got help from a sextet here who provides keyboards, trumpet, trombone, sax, bass and electric mandolin.
Although this is the only album under the Oberon's Parabola name, he has got many other projects and albums. See here for a list of them.
We are in instrumental music territory here. We are somewhere between instrumental prog and fusion here. The progressive rock is very heavy at times. It is bordering to fusion, but it is not fusion.
References are Marbin.
The music is dynamic and pretty noisy. The electric mandolin works as an electric guitar and creates a good sound. Ditto for the other instruments.
What is lacking is a kind of a focal point here. That is a problem with instrumental prog releases. It is not a problem with fusion albums though.
This album is just over fifty minutes long and it does not offer up much excitements and interesting stuff. It is a run of the mill instrumental progressive rock album. And only that.
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I know next to nothing about this band other than the trio all have Amlie as surname. That means Katrine, Petter and Kristian Amlie. OK, Katrine and Kristian are siblings.
The band is from Oslo and they have been together since 2008 as a band. My guess is that they have been sharing a house with their parent(s) far longer than that.
The music here is soft, soft progressive rock. The band can be compared a bit to The Corrs. But they can also be compared to the female fronted prog rock bands around. Mostly Autumn and Iona springs to mind. Katrine Amlie has an excellent voice and one of the best ones I have heard from a Norwegian vocalist.
The music on this one hour long album is pretty progressive. It also has a lot of pop too. Not the bubblegum teenybopper form of pop. But much more mature pop for the more older generation...... from the mid 20s and older.
The music is pastoral and very elegant at times. It is typical trio stuff. And the Amlies knows this format and plays on it's strenghts. There are a lot of good details here which makes even a proghead like myself a bit happy.
This is a good album who deserve a lot more respect and attention from progheads and others. Check it out.
The 14th album from this Italian band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, piano, organ, synths, percussion, drums and Italian vocals.
The band took a twelve years long break after the hideous bad Miss Baker album from 1987. See my review of that album and my other reviews of Premiata Forneria Marconi albums somewhere else in this blog.
The band was once a great progressive rock band. But they went more commercial after a while. Just like Genesis, one of their peers. The result has been some dubious albums during the 1980s.
The new start was also the re-birth of the progressive rock scene where people like myself and many others was listening to their first albums in pure awe and admiration.
The band still comes up with an album like Ulisse. From what I have heard, it is their final album from their years in the wilderness. And it shows.
Ulisse is fifty minutes long album with Italian pop and pop-rock. There is a lot of Italian vocal harmonies and very radio friendly songs here. The music is an overload of sweet music. Music which does not engage the brain.
This album is not a turkey as it shows some signs of improvements. But it runs close to my turkey yard and I am very happy to put this album into the darkest corner of my record collection. That is where it will remain.
Monday, 23 October 2017
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Oak is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, programming, drums, bass, keyboards, percussions and vocals.
This album was digitally released in 2013 and released on CD through the Norwegian label Appolon Records in 2016. I am reviewing the 2013 release. But I am pretty sure the 2016 version offers the best value for money.
Oak is based in Oslo and is a new band on the Norwegian progressive rock scene (and heaven). I hope we will hear a lot more from them in the future.
The band's progressive rock is a mix of Gazpacho and Porcupine Tree. Well, that is a simplified description of their music. But fans of both bands should sit up and take notice of this album & band.
The music is pretty laidback throughout on this fifty minutes long album. The vocals are really good and they are supported by a nice mix of guitars, piano, keyboards and programmed in mood sounds. The piano is very good here. Ditto for the understated guitars, bass and drums.
The end result is a solid, good album which adds a lot of value to the Norwegian progressive rock scene. Check it out.
The third album from this US band.
Paradise is a quartet with a a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
This album has been produced and mastered by no less than Ron Nevison. This after two rather unremarkable albums from 2012 and 2014. All their albums released on Bandcamp.
This band is run by Mr and Mrs Berk and it is based in Portland. This town/city is just south of the slightly more known town/city of Seattle in Oregon. We are on the west coast of USA, up towards Canada.
The band has described this album as a homage and a tribute to the 1970s progressive rock scene. To albums like The Wall, Tale Of Topographic Ocean and so forth. Ron Nevison did Tommy and Physical Graffiti, their Bandcamp page says.
Paradise has a background as a college rock and garage rock band. That shines a bit through now and then. But to be fair, this album sounds like an album from British female fronted bands like Touchstone and their side projects.
That means slightly hard prog with female and male vocals. That also means some pretty commercial melodies with a lot of references to the 1970s. Even to the likes of Alice Cooper.
The quality is OK on this forty minutes long album. This though is another one of those albums who is almost good and almost there. But the quality is not there. It is still worth checking out.
Sunday, 22 October 2017
The third and final album from this Swedish band.
Splash was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, violin, woodwinds, bass, guitars, trombone, percussion and keyboards.
Their first two albums did not set the world alight. You can read my reviews of them somewhere else in this blog.
Their Swedish take on the fusion genre is eccentric and based on Swedish folk music and some progressive rock.
That too is very much the case on this album too. It starts with their eight minutes long take, variations of two Swedish polka and waltz standards. Their take on those two standards are pretty much true to the originals too, but with lots of woodwinds and trombones included. A very strange track, but it works.
The rest of this forty minutes long album is much more fusion and rhythm based. Much more Blood, Sweat & Tears influenced. Woodwinds and keyboards are duelling with some guitars thrown into the mix too.
There are also some pretty pure jazz here and that, in addition to the opening track, is the best part of this album.
The music here is decent enough. Somewhere between decent and good in my view. Check out this band and this album. Their debut album is their best album.
The one and only album from this Argentine band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, mellotron, synths, organ, piano, guitars and Spanish vocals.
I know absolute nothing about this band as I got this as a file from a friend in Argentina who wanted me to review this album. Which I am more than happy to do. I have noted that this album, LP, is a collectors item on Discogs. $ 120 no less.
This album is not out on CD and that is a shame. It should be picked up by a label and re-released.
The music here is a mix of Latin American folk rock, pop and symphonic prog. There is even some country'n'western here on this album.
The album is half an hour long. The vocals are really great. The music is pastoral and delicate beautiful throughout. It is too sweet at times. There is a lot of piano here with some acoustic guitars and organs too.
There are no great songs here and there is not that much good music either. The music is very nice on the ear, but does not offer the brain much food to live of.
This is a decent to good album which deserve a re-release as I am pretty sure it will find a fanbase. But I am not among them.
Saturday, 21 October 2017
The debut album from this US band.
Fred was a seven piece big band with a lineup of bass, guitars, keyboards, piano, drums, violin, percussion and vocals.
This album is a compilation of recordings the band did in 1971/72. Ditto for their second and final album who contains recordings from 1973/74. I will review that album later this month/your will find a review of that record somewhere else in this blog. So 2001 is only the year this compilation album was released. I have still chosen to review both albums.
Fred was an acid folk rock band. Which is reflected on this album. There is also more than a nod to the English folk rock scene on this album. The sound and music is pretty similar.
There is a lot of violins and guitars here. Ditto for keyboards. There is also some instrumental parts. The vocals are really good. Male vocals, all of it.
This album, cobbled together remember, is almost one hour long and it has some fairly interesting moments. It is not the most exciting music. The band also knows how to rock and there are some hard rocking parts on this album. There is indeed some arena rock like music here too.
The music is not that exciting and not that good. The music feels too generic and too bland. But this is still a decent to good album. The sound is really good so this album is well worth checking out.
The tenth album from this German band.
Jane was a trio on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and English vocals.
I have reviewed their previous nine albums (?) and you can read the reviews somewhere else in this blog.
It is fair to say that this band has come/gone a long way from their debut album. There has been a lot of musicians in this band. Most of them has now gone.
Germania sees the band reverting to the basics. Which is pure rock. Hard rock in fact. The trio format does not really allow for anything else than pure rock. Or in this case; hard rock.
Music which even in 1982 was outdated. Jane was finding the times very hard and they were playing to mostly deaf ears. So they included a reggae song too on this album. Everyone did that back in those days. Rolling Stones...... everyone.
Germania is forty minutes long and it is not a disaster. It is actually a pretty decent album. One that those who loves stripped down hard rock will probably like..... the reggae song excluded. The nine other songs are decent enough. Hence my rating.
Friday, 20 October 2017
The third album from this US band.
World Trade is a quartet with a lineup of bass, guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals.
World Trade was and is the band of the Yes bassist and solo-artist Billy Sherwood. World Trade released their self-titled debut album back in 1989 and the follow up album Euphoria in 1995. Both albums has bypassed me.
Billy Sherwood left the band in year 2000 and went solo. And then joined Yes.
But World Trade was resurrected again and has released this album. I got a promo copy emailed to me... Hence this review.
I was fearing a bland AOR album. Or even worse; a bland progressive rock album. I was mistaken.
Billy Sherwood, probably the leading light in this band, has taken some good influences from his employer Yes and fused it with some AOR and straight rock.
From the first tone of this album, my worst fears are vanishing. OK, there is lots of AOR here. But no progressive metal. And the album is a bit symphonic prog edgy AOR too.
It is obvious that the musicians here..... and in particular the vocalist and songwriter Billy Sherwood, of whom I have never been a fan..... before now..... are truly classy musicians and song-writers. All songs, hooks and vocal harmonies are straight on the money.
That said, there are no really great songs here. There are no sparkle and no surprises here. But this fifty album is still a good album, well worth checking out. Do so.
The fifth album from this Italian band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, bass, keyboards, drums and Italian vocals.
This album was self-released and did not get much distribution.
The band has come a long way from being very Area influenced band on their first two albums to this album......
This album is something entirely different from their Area influenced days. Take a big chunk of the Ghana/London band Osibisa and add some Italian pop, samba, reggae and a considerable amount of jazz. That is what this album is.
There is a lot of vocals here. The music is pretty much mid-tempo with a lot of African mid-tempo rhythms and some Latin-American jazz, samba and reggae.
The music is not that interesting. The vocals is not good at all and some parts of this album reeks of cheap & nasty choices. That mostly goes for the saxophone. The 1980s and the 1990s in a nutshell, in other words.
The end result is a forty minutes long album which has it's moments. But not many enough. I think I will bypass their sixth and final album.
The third album from this Venezuela based musician.
Vytas Brenner did the synths, keyboards and some guitars here. He had help from his band, a quintet, who provided mandolin, percussion, guitars, bass and drums.
This album is a bit of a turn around after some very flowery folk inspired avant-garde jazz.... or whatever I called it.... first two albums. My reviews can be found somewhere else in this blog.
His first albums was very complex and dense eclectic. That cannot be said about this album, Jayeche.
Latin-American fusion is the label I would put on this album. Fusion with a lot of progressive rock too. The album is instrumental throughout. Vytas Brenner originally comes from Germany.... Which may explain one or two distinct references to krautrock on this album too. There is a bit of Agitation Free on this album. Very much so.
The music is not the most intense fusion I have heard. Neither is it particular laidback fusion either. There is a lot of dynamic pieces of music here, lead by organs and guitars. The bass, percussion and drums are also very busy.
But this music does not stress out the listener as it is quite nice on the ears and a dog tired body after work.
The result is thirty-seven minutes long album and a good one too. There is a lot of food for both the hearts and brains on this album. It is indeed a nice album despite of a very sub-standard cover art-work.
Thursday, 19 October 2017
The sixth album from this French band.
The complete title of this album is L'extraordinaire Tour De France D'Adélard Rousseau, Dit Nivernais La Clef Des Coeurs, Compagnon Charpentier Du Devoir.
Malicorne was a quintet with a lineup of hurdy gury, clarinet, glockenspiel, timpani, crummhorn, flute, postif organ, harmonium, piano, synth, bass, percussion, viola, violin, tamporu, cello, mandolin, mandocello, melodeon, dulcimer, guitars, banjo, autoharp and vocals. Male and female French vocals.
Four guest musicians provided electric guitar solos, drums, organ and fanfare arrangements.
Malicorne was a French folk rock band who released nine albums between 1973 and 1986. You will find reviews of their other albums somewhere else in this blog and my review of the Malicorne 2 album in # 1 of this blog.
As you can imagine from the list of involved instruments and the full title of this album, the band has really pushed the boat out on this album.
I guess this is a concept album with a theme and a message. There is a lot of intros and outros on some of the songs. Songs which is basically French folk rock. Well, more like folk music at times. The music is really pastoral throughout and somber. The various instruments, mostly acoustic, gives this album a very serious sound and almost a funeral dirge like ambience.
The music is dominated by Mr and Mrs Yacoub's vocals. It is a vocals driven album as with all other Malicorne albums.
The quality could had been a lot better. It is lacking in that department, I am afraid. Some of the songs are good. Some songs are decent. Fans of weird folk music, acid folk music will like this album.
The debut album from this French band.
Draw The Sky is a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, saxophone, guitars and keyboards.
I know next to nothing about this band. But I have noted that they are gigging a lot around Europe. Mostly at jazz clubs. This album can be purchased from their Bandcamp site.
....Which brings me over to trying to describe this album. Even labelling their music.
The music here is fusion with a strong jazz influence. There is indeed a lot of progressive rock here too. The more jazzy bands from the Canterbury scene springs to mind. The likes of Gilgamesh.
The music is very melodic and slightly quirky. Oh yeah, there is most definate strong progressive rock influences here.
The saxophone is the most dominating instrument here. But there is also some good guitar solos here and some good keyboards solos too.
This album is just over one hour long and showcases a very good band and a good album. It is not the most exciting album around. But fans of fusion and the Canterbury scene should check out this album and this band.
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
The second album from this Italian band.
The band was a trio with a lineup of saxophone, flute, clavinet, synths, mini-moog, string ensemble, bass, guitars, marimba and vocals.
Four guest artists, including Phil Collins from Genesis, provided percussion, drums, bass and congas.
Their 1975 debut album Blink was a good fusion album who gave fusion fans like myself a great deal of pleasure. That and a new band to get into. Read my review here.
While Blink was a very intense fusion album, the band has taken their foot of the accelerator on this album. The tempo is mid-tempo and pretty pedantic.
References here are Santana and the final two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums. There is Latin-American feel over this album with a lot of saxophones and some laid back vocals who does nothing good for this album. The vocals, that is. The piano is also a bit dubious.
After some listening sessions, I was starting to get some serious doubts about this band. But there is still enough good stuff here to save it's bacon.
This is barely a good album and it is only saved by some good fusion at the beginning of this album.
The fourth album from this Canadian band.
Machines Dream is a quintet on this album with a lineup of acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
I reviewed their 2013 debut album back in November 2014 and you can find my review here. I also reviewed the follow up album, the 2014 album Immunity back in December the same year. That review can be found here. It is fair to say that I really liked those two albums as I rated them very highly.
I have yet to get their 2016 album Record which is a live in studio album. I guess the "live in studio" part scared and still scares me off.
Machines Dream is a classic neo-prog band. The sound is crisp, clean and contemporary. There is a lot of piano and half-acoustic guitars in their sound too. The vocals is also warm and good.
There is also a lot of vocal harmonies and other harmonies here. The music is mid-tempo with some pastoral melodies and arrangements too. The guitar solos are nice.
This almost one hour long album is indeed a cosy, warm album. It is also a good album bordering to a very good album. It is a bit lacking in the quality segments. It is not a sparkling album. It is more like warm beer. Not that I am no fan of warm beer. But this album is a bit predictable throughout.
Nevertheless, this is indeed a good album and it should cement this band's very good name and reputation.
The one and only album from this German band.
Burning Candle was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion and English vocals.
This band was a short-lived band who released an LP on a small record label and then disappeared again. The LP is a collector's item due to the very few copies being manufactured. The LP is also a collector's item because of the music too. It is out on Youtube too for those who want to listen to this album.
It is obvious that both ELP and Eloy has been big influences on this band. Indeed, Burning Candle and this album is a fusion of those two bands....... music and sound wise.
The album has a great krautrock feel too. The keyboards are really cool and a mix of Eloy and ELP. A perfect mix.
There is a lot of very good keyboards runs here. The bass and the guitars are also contributing a great deal. Even the vocals is good here. A bit German in it's accent. Great accent.
The album is thirty-five minutes long divided on five tracks. The five tracks all have some very good themes and flows effortless into each other. It is indeed a very well balanced album and one of those great finds among the more obscure albums out there. Check this one out !
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
The debut album from this Japanese band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, percussion, guitars, mellotron, synths, keyboards and English vocals.
A guest musician provided violin on one track.
Cosmos Factory released four albums between 1973 and 1977. I got their first three albums and will review them in the coming weeks/you can find the reviews of these albums somewhere else in this blog.
Most Japanese bands sounds a bit weird to our Anglo-Euro-American ears. The Japanese prog rock scene had it's own sound. Mostly due to the non-masculine vocals. That is not a derigatory comment. I am really fond of the Japanese sound and prog rock scene. They add a lot of quality and colours to the world prog rock scene and albums.
An Old Castle Of Transylvania is a colourful album. Take psych rock and add a lot of krautrock in the vein of Eloy and Jane. Other references are Vanilla Fudge, Uriah Heep and Pink Floyd.
The music are mostly in the krautrock vein though and that is not a bad thing. Only the vocals gives the game away.
The music is mostly played with mellotron and keyboards. This is indeed a vintage keyboard's fantatics wildest dream. So if you are a fan of vintage keyboards, get this album.
The title track is a twenty minutes long suite. A good suite. The other tracks on this forty minutes long album is also good. In short, this album deserves to be checked out and to be cherished by the scene. Which it already is...
Monday, 16 October 2017
The second album from this Argentine band.
Espiritu was a quintet on this album with a lineup of mellotron, synths, guitars, organ, piano, drums, percussion, bass and Spanish vocals.
Their 1975 debut album Crisalida was a good album. You can read my review here.
The band released five albums before they gave up. But I have only got their first two albums, but will probably get their three other albums too. This is indeed a good band.
It is widely regarded as one of the best ever bands to come out of Argentina. Which says a lot because this vast country has always had a great prog and fusion scene.
This album starts out with the same sound as Yes anno Fragile. The same warm symphonic prog sound. And the band continues with the same Fragile sound until the end of this album. A big plus in my books, this sound.
The sound has off course also a strong local Argentine flavour. The very good Spanish vocals adds a lot of local flavours too.
There is a lot of contrasts in their music. Between the more bombastic and the more pastoral pieces of music. Mostly in the same song too.
This album is thirty-two minutes long divided on eight songs. No long suites in other words. But the music on this album is very good throughout and an improvement on the good debut album Crisalida. Both albums should be checked out and enjoyed.
The first and so far only album from this US band/project.
Built For The Future is a duo of Kenny Bissett on vocals and Patric Farrell on vocals, bass, drums, keyboards and guitars.
The duo has got help from three other musicians who provides cello, viola, guitars and violins.
I know nothing about this band besides of them releasing this album. An album handed to me one year ago in a trade deal.
ProgArchives tells us that the duo want to expand into a full band so they can play the songs on this CD live. Which seems like a good idea to me. Go for it !
Built For The Future plays neo-prog with a lot of AOR influences. There are a lot of post-millenium Rush influences here too as the material is mid-tempo and contemporary.
The sound is..... not exactly exciting. Very typical US neo-prog. Ditto for the music. It has a lot of vocal harmonies and guitar harmonies.
The album is seventy-one minutes long and it is pleasant on the ear. It is a pretty much a run of the mill album which does not really bring anything new to the scene. It is a decent to good album which may interest those into US neo-prog.
Sunday, 15 October 2017
The third and final album from this Brazilian band.
Som Imaginario was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, violin, bass, keyboards, flute, contrabass, drums, percussions and some vocals.
Two guest musicians provided saxophone and guitar.
Som Imaginario was the backing band of the famous Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento. But they still released three albums without him.
Mainly a psych/space rock band, the band changed style on this, their final album. Gone is both psych and space rock. Gone is rock music too.
What we get here is a mix of fusion, jazz and bossa nova. Mostly fusion, though.
The nine tracks on this thirty-six minutes long album are mid-tempo. There are some intense music here with some intense guitar solos too. But always mid-paced and pretty melodic.
The very few vocals here are used as sound effects and nothing else. Sound effects which makes this album a pastoral album too.
The quality of the stuff here is pretty good, although not good. But it is a decent to good album from a band who deserves some more attention. Check them out.
The fourth album from this band from Belgium.
Fish On Friday is a quintet with a lineup of chapman stick, keyboards, bass, guitars, drums, percussion and vocals.
The band has got help from Theo Travis on saxophone and flute. Alan Parsons and some others provides extra vocals.
Fish On Friday is one of the better bands coming out of Europe..... well, this planet during the last decade. I reviewed their 2012 album Airborne for # 1 of this blog back in December 2012 and you can find my review here.
Fish On Friday is a neo-prog band. They are pretty close to both Pink Floyd and Marillion in their sound and music. There are also a lot of indie pop sensibilities here too.
Their music is very airy and ambient. There is not much tech prog here. If any, that is. The soundscape is very open.
There are both male and female lead vocals here. The other musicians does an OK job.
This music is not particular challenging. But this is still a good one hour long album who does not enthuse or offend me. It is a good album and one I like. It lives up to this band's good reputation.
The second album from this band from Portugal.
Tantra was a quartet with a lineup of sitar, guitars, mellotron, grand piano, clavinet, minimoog, organ, clarinet, bass, drums, percussion, tubular bells and Portoguese vocals.
Back in September 2009, I reviewed their debut album Misterios E Maravilhas for ProgArchives. My review was both poorly written and probably inaccurate too. But you can read it here. Maybe a revisit of that album and a new review is in order..... I will see.
Tantra is a symphonic prog band from Portugal. It is one of the many good symphonic prog bands from the Iberian peninsula.
Their music takes a lot from Genesis. But there is also a lot of fusion and local folk and pop music here too. There is also a lot of Van Der Graaf Generator in their music. Ditto for RPI influences.
The music is pretty softly spoken with only sporadic pieces of harsh and hard music. But most of the music is very softly spoken.
The vocals and the musicians are really good. And the music too is good. It is an album which surprises me on many different levels. It sounds a bit dated anno 2017.... but that is not much of an issue. Tantra and this album deserve your attention.
Saturday, 14 October 2017
The one and only album from this Argentine band.
Bubu was an eight piece big band with a lineup of guitars, piccolo, flutes, violin, sax, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
The band had help from some guest musicians who provided choir and piano.
Anabelas is one of those mythological albums who a lot of people talk about in hushed voices. Some people even regard this as the best ever album to come out of the progressive rock scene.
I do not agree with that, though. Anabelas is a special album though.
Take King Crimson, add some Anglagard and a lot of jazz, zeuhl, avant-garde chamber rock, eclectic prog and folk music. That should basically cover all the bases.
The violins and the piccolo adds a lot of dissonant avant-garde chamber rock feelings here. There is a lot of dissonans on this album. But that is not off-putting at all. The frequent saxophones and angel-choirs is also adding contrasts here. The guitar solos is also adding a lot to this album.
The music is very, very complex throughout this forty minutes long album. And that makes it what it is. The album is also divided into three tracks. The longest track is twenty minutes long. But I regard this as one piece of music, the whole forty minutes long album.
And it is a very good piece of music indeed. It demands a lot from the listener and it may lead to outbreaks of sweaty hair. To the this album, you really have to listen....... hard. It is still a very good album and one I really enjoy.
The second album from this Swedish band.
Splash was a twelve man big band on this album with a lineup of woodwinds, guitars, bass, drums, maracas, violin, organ, synths and vocals.
I very much liked large parts of their 1972 debut album Ut Pa Vischan. You can read my review here.
Splash's music can best be described as a mix of Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Add some more standard rock and Scandinavian folk rock too and you get this band and their music.
There is even some hard rock on this album. Deep Purple springs to mind.
The album is forty-three minutes long and the long winded titled first track takes twenty-one minutes of these forty-three minutes.
This track sounds like a jam pastisj between Deep Purple and Blood, Sweat & Tears to me.
The second track is only seven minutes long before the album finish of with a fourteen minutes long jam where some avant-garde and folk-rock with violins closes this album.
The band had huge ambitions with this album. I am afraid they failed. The album is decent enough. But only decent. Check it out if this sounds interesting.
Friday, 13 October 2017
The twelfth album from this French artist.
Jean-Luc Ponty on violin had help from a quintet on this album. They provided guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. Daryl Stuermer is included in this quintet and he did a couple of guitar solos.
Jean-Luc Ponty had shown great form on the previous album after a couple of not so great albums. You will find the reviews somewhere else in this blog.
He and his violins returns to medium to intense fusion again on this album. OK, there is not enough guitars here though as the keyboards has taken too much space. Far too much space.
The eight tracks on this forty minutes long album is mostly dominated by keyboards and violins. The guitars plays a secondary role here. The bass and drums are not first rate either.
The music here is a bit laidback and not particular intense. I have heard and reviewed more laidback albums from him before so this album is at least an improvement and a change of speed from those albums. This album is by no means lounge-jazz or muzak.
The end result is a good and pretty cosy album which holds my attention. There is no real excitements on this album and it is also a bit short on interesting details too. But this album still works and it does not diminish his good reputation in my house.
The debut album from this German band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of flute, keyboards, trumpet, sitar, electronics, lute, percussions, guitars and vocals.
There is some other bands called Et Cetera too. But this one only released two albums before they gave up. The band was the brainchild Wolfgang Dauner and is often referred to as Wolfgang Dauner's Et Cetera.
Our Et Cetera is an unashamed krautrock band. Avant-garde krautrock, that is. There is a lot of jazz and space rock here too. And that best describes this album.
My version of this album, and the one I am reviewing, is the 2008 CD version with some bonus tracks. It is one hour long and the bonus tracks fits in very well with the rest of the album. They actually improve the album.
An album which starts out as an avant-garde carcrash. An ugly carcrash called Thursday Morning Sunrise which has turned me off reviewing this album twice before I steadied myself and listened to the rest of this album.
The rest of the album, including the bonus tracks, is actually bordering to very good. There are some really good space and jazz melodies here. Some really classy melodies too. This album also has plenty of food for thought and is also very groovy at times.
So I do not regret that I took the plunge and reviewed this good album.
Thursday, 12 October 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and Italian vocals.
New bands from Italy is as welcome as water in the Sahara desert. Well, that is my opinion.
MonnaLisa is not entirely conforming to the Italian symphonic prog (RPI) formula. Their music is too much metal and too hard for that.
.....Although the album has been released on an Italian heavy metal record label (Andromeda Relix), I am not so sure if MonnaLisa is playing progressive metal at all.
It is not always easy to get the difference between symphonic hard rock and progressive metal. OK, parts of In Principio is progressive metal. But not all of it and this is therefore not a progressive metal album. Not entirely.
Take some RPI and fuse that with progressive metal. You will end up with this forty minutes long album.
Besides of the more harder progressiv metal and symphonic stuff, there are also some more progressive rock which will appeal to all RPI fans. Fans of modern RPI, that is.
The end result is a good album which will please both fans of RPI and progressive metal. Check out this album.
The 13th album from this Italian band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, violin, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The band also got help from guest musicians who provided saxophones, horns, keyboards and female vocals.
Miss Baker is off course Josephine Baker. This artist was the first ever coloured artist who became a major star in entertainment. She made the way for the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson. She is perhaps a bit forgotten. But she should never be forgotten as she was a great dancer and visionary.
And that is the best thing I can say about this album. It is also the only thing I agree with Premiata Forneria Marconi on this album.
The album starts out as a cheap and nasty version of Saturday Night Fever. It continues down the disco path until it changes to become a bit of a Phil Collins album. Phil Collins at his worst, that is. Phil Collins at his most cheasy and nasty songs.
Miss Baker is a mix of cheap and nasty disco, Italian pop and soul. And it is everything Premiata Forneria Marconi was not on their first albums. It is a terrible album indeed.
And it should never have had the Premiata Forneria Marconi name on it.
The second album from this Mexican band.
Alpha Lighting System is a trio with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass and vocals. A drummer guests on this album.
I have never heard about this band before I got this album sent to me. But the band created a bit of a sensation back in 2015 with their debut album Walking On An Earthlike Planet.
The trio is a young and very enthusiastic trio with lots of energy. Energy channeled into the music on this album.
Their music can best be described as a mix of psych rock, heavy prog, fusion and symphonic prog. Take a mix of Dream Theater, Yes and Rush. Then you are somewhere near this album.
There is no progressive metal here though. The music is sometimes hard and noisy. But it is never metal. That itself is refreshing. The band has replaced the heaviness of metal with the heaviness of the most intense aspects of fusion.
The vocals and the vocal harmonies is very good here. The melodies is good and the sound is very good. This band is indeed very talented and their skills comes across very well here.
The end result is a very good one hour long album who never outstays it's welcome.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
The third and final album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of clarinets, loops, tapes, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, viola, violin and voice. Two guest artists provided xtra keyboards. Tomas Bodin was one of them.
The band had members of The Flowers Kings and Zamla Mammas Manna plus a couple of other members too.
I very much rated their second album, the 1998 album Scapegoat and you can read the review here. A good album.
The band continued down their Univers Zero influenced path. Avant-garde progressive rock in other words. The three types of clarinets (standard, altered and bass) used here is pretty dominating their soundscape. That gives a lot of associations to chamber-rock.
There is a lot of chamber-rock here indeed. But the band has also taken a lot of influences from progressive rock too and incorporated those into their music.
Not everything here really works. But there is still some very good stuff and some not so good stuff on this almost fifty-five minutes long album.
The band was a shortlived band. But they still left a pretty good impression and three good albums. Albums well worth checking out.
The one and only album from this German band.
Blue Spirit was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band was one of those who released an album through CD Baby and then gave up the ghost. And I mean nothing bad about CD Baby at all. But this band was not meant to be and they split up. I don't think anyone from Blue Sprit is still involved in music.
This album is in five acts and it is a concept album about a man. I know nothing more about this.
The music is a mix of Dream Theater and neo-prog. The band claims they sounds like Genesis too. I am not so sure about that. The more melodic parts here is most definate mainstream neo-prog. The band does not bring anything new or exciting to the scene with this album.
The sound is pretty poor. The drums are far too much in the front of the mix. The drummer is not great either. The guitarist, bassist and the keyboardist is more competent. The vocals is horrible and I am pretty sure the vocalist got some lifelong injuries on his very strained vocal chords after finishing this recording.
I am afraid this is a very poor album and a turkey. And it is best forgotten. I am sorry.
The second album from this US band.
Blue Shift is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, drums, guitars and female vocals.
I got this album after hearing they are a symphonic prog band. That was based on their 1997 debut album Not The Future I Ordered. An album compared to ELP, Yes, Genesis and Supertramp. I did not get that album though.... I got Levels Of Undo, released eighteen years after their debut album.
Well, the band has packed down their Yes, ELP, Supertramp and Genesis albums in a box and put them in a cold storage. Which explains my long face...
What we get here is a mix of pop, cool vocal jazz, a bit avant-garde, a substantial chunk of electronica, a bit psych rock and yes, a pretty substantial chunk of US symphonic prog too. Discipline is a band that springs to mind.
The title track is over twenty minutes long. The opening track is over ten minutes long. And I am still confused about what I think about this album. There is so many things going on here and the album kicks like a wild horse in all directions.
The melodies and vocals is OK. Decent in fact. And that is the level of quality this very ambitious album has reached. There is no real good stuff here and I am a bit underwhelmed by this album. But check it out yourself.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
The one and only album from this Italian project.
Blue Phantom was the brainchild of the Italian filmscore composer H. Tical aka Armando Sciascia. The musicians here are uncredited. But there is keyboards, drums, bass and guitars here.
Armando Sciascia was a film score composer who had done some films (surprise surprise). Then he decided to go into a much more psych and space rock territory with his compositions. Hence this album.
One of the songs here sounds like the classic Black Sabbath song by the same band from their debut album. It is more or less a variation of that track. A very dark track indeed.
Some of the other songs are more ambient and more like proper film scores. And a couple of these tracks are proper psych and space rock sketches.
Sketches and unfinished tracks is what these ten tracks are. They are brief outlines of what could had been proper songs with vocals and it all.
In short, this almost forty minutes long album does not feel like anything other than a demo and half-way houses. Nevertheless, it is a decent enough album which tells a lot about how big talent and composer Armando Sciascia was.
The debut album from this Argentine band.
Espiritu was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Spanish vocals.
Argentina has had a lot of very good symphonic prog bands and also a very good scene. There is still coming some very good bands from that scene. Nexus is one of the new bands and you can find a review of their latest album somewhere else in this blog. Crucis was another great band.
Espiritu was one of the first bands from this scene. Their first two albums is regarded as cult classics.
The music here is indeed symphonic prog heavy influenced by the Italian symphonic prog scene. That scene again heavy influenced the Spanish symphonic prog scene. Besides of the same language, it is easy to note the Spanish symphonic prog influences here too.
There are a lot of Yes influences here too as the music is pretty complex and technical. Much more than the likes of Genesis.
There is a lot of South American culture and sound here too. And there is some hints of folk rock too. But mostly from Yes and the Italian scene.
The music is complex and full of technical details from all the instruments. These forty minutes is indeed full of dense music with some very good vocals on the top. And the sound is good too. In short, this is a good album and one well worth checking out.
Monday, 9 October 2017
The second album from this Brazilian band.
Blue Mammoth was a quartet on this album with a lineup of cello, flute, guitars, bass, drums, percussions, keyboards and English vocals.
I had the fortune to review their 2011 self-titled debut album back in December 2011 for ProgArchives. On Christmas Eve, no less. You can read my review here.
Five years has gone and they have returned again for a new album. Their debut album was a good neo-prog album. I am pleased that the band has returned to the same genre again..... but with some additions.....
The band is a neo-prog band. They have though branched out a bit on this album.
Take Dutch neo-prog and add some folk rock in the vein of Jethro Tull. Not much, but there is a unmistaken smell of Jethro Tull here from the Aqualong album. The sound, mostly. Add a lot of classic symphonic prog too and we arrive at this almost seventy minutes long album.
The songs are all good and the sound is very good. The vocals are really good. I really like this album a lot and it has a lot more qualities than just the songs.
In short, this is a very good album which should get the band a lot more attention. Should.....