Monday, 27 November 2017
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Italian vocals.
The band has also help from extra vocalists and saxophones. And some narration too.
The narration bit makes me believe this is a concept album about George Orwell's 1984. A dystopia written not so far away from where I am sitting now. And no, I have not read it.
Black Widow is the label and some sort of progressive rock is what we get here. Well, it is Italian symphonic prog. As simple as that.
This is clearly a conceptual piece of music who weaves itself along this 1984 theme.
There are some good keyboards work here which reminds me about PFM. Some of the guitars is pretty harsh and dissonant.
This album sounds like a rock opera at times with some pauses in the music at the end. It also has this grandeur opera feel too. The sound is a mix of the 1970s and today's day and age.
I am not entirely convinced about this almost one hour long album. There is not enough good melodies here to interest me. Hence my rating.
Saturday, 25 November 2017
The second and final album from this Slovenian band.
The band were a quartet with a lineup of flute, saxophones, bass, drums, accordion, trombone, guitars, programming and wx7.
Their 1995 album De Profundis was a good album and it was reviewed in this blog one week ago. Read the review here.
It is a bit sad that the band were a bit ahead of the upsurge in avant-garde/RIO music in the last years. Their music would have found a lot of fans in today's scene.
The band is from the Balkan region and that is something pretty obvious from their music. There is a lot of Balkan jazz and klezmer in their music.
Their music is very much dominated by saxophones playing some really dense avant-garde popjazz. It is neither jazz or pop. It is totally out there in the avant-garde area.
A bit of a reference is Present from Belgium. Besides of that, I am a bit speachless when met with this forty-five minutes long album.
The music both melodic and harsh avant-garde'ish. A bit of a mixed bag. And I like what I hear. It certainly blows my brain free of any cobwebs. This is a good avant-garde album from a band who deserves a lot of attention.
The sixth album from this German project.
Oliver Rusing is listed as playing everything on this album although I find that hard to believe. The lineup is drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, vocal harmonies and vocals.
This is my first meeting with this band although I have heard a lot about them. The band called Karibow is playing live all over Europe and there is one live track at the end of this album too. I am puzzled.... But OK.
Oliver Rusing is for me known from Last Thurion, a not so impressive German neo-prog band whose albums I reviewed years ago for # 1 of this blog.
The music on Man Of Rust is the typical German neo-prog. Emotional and a bit dark music with the usual neo-prog fare.
Karibow has lined themselves closer up towards pop and rock than symphonic prog. There are some more than hints of stadium rock anno 2010 on this album. Commercial rock in other words with some strong choruses and vocal harmonies. Not to mention vocals.
This is not excactly my favourite brand of neo-prog. But there is no denying that this is a good album who deserve a lot of respect and a lot of sales too. I would not mind seeing this band live somewhere in Europe.
The third album from this Swedish band.
Kebnekaise was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of mandoline, violin, bass, drums, guitars, sambaros, harmonica, congas, tamburine, bells, percussion and vocals.
I have previously reviewed their debut album for this blogg and a couple of other albums for ProgArchives. You will find my review of their debut album here. I am now reviewing the remaining Kebnekaise albums in this blog/you will find other Kebnekaise album reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Kebnekaise was a Swedish prog band who were everywhere. From Swedish folk rock to African folk rock to fusion and rock. A strange band. But also an influential band well worth checking out if you are into the likes of Kaipa and The Flower Kings.
This album takes Kebnekaise into folk rock. Swedish folk rock. There is lots of violins here and the music, mostly instrumental music, is based on Swedish folk music. This again was the Swedish popular music 100 years ago or so. It also forms the base of what Kaipa and The Flower Kings later did.
The music is far too much Swedish folk music to really being good. The whole half an hour of this album. It is a decent album with some value for those who likes Swedish music. But to give it a Decent rating is perhaps being to kind. But check it out for yourself.
Friday, 24 November 2017
The second album from this band from Brazil.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Portoguese vocals.
I reviewed their self-titled debut album for ProgArchives many years ago and I have also reviewed an album for # 1 of this blog. I am now until the end of the year reviewing the remaining Violeta De Outono albums/you can find other Violeta De Outono reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Violeta De Outono was a psych prog band with some hints of Porcupine Tree throughout.
Em Toda Parte is a very much stripped down album with a lot of post-punk influences. It has guitars, a pulsating bass, a steady drum beat and some vocals. That is that.
Naked it is.
There are still some space rock and some local Brazilian influences here. But not many of the latter. The space rock influences is pretty obvious and at time, rampant.
The vocals are pretty good. The music is not the most exciting or good I have heard from this band. It is a bit of a let down, this album.
Nevertheless, it is a decent album which does not really fully represent this band.
The debut album from this British band.
Home was a sextet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, violin, keyboards and vocals.
Home released three albums before they were disbanded. Reviews of their two final albums will follow before the end of this year/you can read my reviews of their final two albums somewhere else in this blog.
Home was the first band of the bassist Cliff Williams who later made a substantial career in the hard blues/metal band AC/CD. He retired from that band last year.
The album title Pause For A Hoarse Horse is typical British humour. Nobody else would give an album that title....
The music on Pause For A Hoarse Horse is rock with a lot of folk rock and country'n'western. There is a lot of guitars and keyboards here with some violin, vocal harmonies and lead vocals too.
The music is not that good. It is not good at all. But this forty-four minutes long album has some good stuff. The title track being the good stuff.
This is a decent album from a decent band. It is worth checking out.
Thursday, 23 November 2017
The second album from this Japanese band.
Outer Limits is a quintet on this album with a lineup of violins, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Some guest musicians has provided cello, violins and xtra vocals.
I reviewed their debut album, the 1985 album Misty Moon, ten days ago and really liked that one. Read my review here.
I immediate went onto some listening sessions of the one I am now reviewing and found that a challenge.
A Boy Playing The Magical Bugle Horn is a massive complex album with different layers. All of it in a different culture from mine too. The Japanese culture.
This forty-three minutes long album is what I believe is a concept album. A symphonic prog concept album. Yes, someone did that in 1985. Outer Limits may have been the only band releasing a symphonic prog concept album in 1985.
The music is pretty massive and very operatic at times. And the Japanese heritage and culture shines through every minute of this album. There is a lot of ELP and Yes here too. But this band has created their own soundscape and musical world.
The vocals is good and ditto for the violins and the keyboards. Those two instruments are dominating this operatic landscape together with the vocals. The music still feels organic and not at all forced or false plastic fantastic.
The result is a good album everyone into symphonic prog must check out. And that just for the challenge of it.
It is also a good album from a band which deserve a lot of respect. It is probably the best symphonic prog band from Japan.
The second album from this Spanish band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of saxophone, flute, guitars, drums, keyboards and bass.
A guest musician provides synths.
I really liked their 1978 self-titled debut album a lot. It is indeed a very good album and you can read my review here.
The band returned again two years later and released this album. The art-work is very good and I would not mind having this LP as a piece of art.
The music are again Spanish folk music inspired fusion. In this case, a lot more fusion than folk rock.
There are some flamenco here and some other Spanish folk dancing rhythms. Nevertheless, the music is pretty slick fusion.
There are some Al De Meola like guitars here, some nice saxophone solos and some nice keyboards work here.
The music is very nice, but also a bit toothless at times. A bit more bite and some better tracks on this forty-two minutes long album would have been great.... litterary speaking.
It is hard to fault an album like this too as this is a really good fusion album. And that from a band I really rate highly.
The second and final album from this US band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, woodwinds, percussions, synths, piano, bells, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
The band also had help from numerous other musicians who added moog, violin, cello and vocals.
Please note that this is a review of the 1985 album and not the two re-releases of this album.
I reviewed their 1981 debut album Sudden Dusk one week ago and was not that impressed. My review is here.
So I was not exactly full of hope when approaching this album despite of the excellent reviews it has got in ProgArchives. It is rated as a Great album there and as a classic masterpiece. Well..... with all respect.
The album starts with a female vocals lead AOR track and my fears is being confirmed. Another AOR track confirms my fears.
The album takes a bit of a detour towards fusion and some jazzy vocals songs after that. And yes, we are revisiting AOR land again.
This album is a truly album of ideas and songs from various genres thrown together. All forty odd minutes of this album. The quality standard are decent but just that. I am not impressed at all by this album and band. Sorry......
The fifth album from this Italian band.
Barock Project was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, percussion and vocals.
They had help from three other vocalists on this album too.
I have reviewed their previous four albums for # 1 of this blog and you will find my reviews and opinions about those albums there.
It is fair to say that I have enjoyed their previous four albums.
Barock Project does some pretty standard middle of the road neo-prog. The emphasis is on the good songs and some pretty OK details.
The music is not overly technical. But there is still enough skills and technical details to keep the music interesting. That even for a proghead like myself.
And the music is indeed progressive music. Seventy-five minutes divided on thirteen minutes. There is no epics and no songs longer than ten minutes here. But the band still get their music across to a proghead like myself. OK, the music is a tad too pop-rock. But it is still convincing music.
This is a good album bordering to a very good album. It is actually a very good album in my mind so I am upgrading it. Check out this album and everything else they have done too. Go to their gigs too.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
The fourth and final album from this Spanish band.
Iceberg was a quartet with a lineup of percussion, piano, drums, synths, guitars and bass.
I have earlier this month reviewed their debut album in this blog. You will find this review here.
Three years ago, I reviewed their second and third album for # 1 of this blog and you can find the reviews here and here.
The band has delivered good albums in the fusion genre. OK, their debut album was more a hard rock album, though.
The band continues on here from their third album Sentiments from 1977. Fusion in the vein of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. More the first band than the latter band.
There is a lot of strong guitar and synth solos here backed up by some strong bass and drums. The music is very groovy too throughout these forty minutes.
Some of the piano and synths reminds me about Chick Corea. And that is both an observation and a compliment.
The tempo is mid to fast tempo. It is very groovy, this music.
There is no great tracks here. But this is a solid, good album which will please anyone into fusion.
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
The 15th album from this French artist.
Jean Luc Ponty was on the violins again. He also played some piano and synths here.
He had help from a quartet including George Benson and Chick Corea. The lineup was guitar, drums, tabla and synths.
The artwork is very stripped down and I get the feeling that the music too is not going to be exactly flowery when I read the credits and the details on the CD. A very sparse setup, indeed.
Stripped down too, was my fears.
So we get one guitar solo from George Benson and two synths solos from Chick Corea. The rest is drums, no bass and lots of Jean Luc Ponty. That means Jean Luc Ponty on violins and synths.
Lots of violins, in fact. And that means the sound and this forty minutes long album is not as stripped down as I feared. It is just a proper solo album where Jean Luc Ponty is everywhere. He probably did the coffee and catering too.... He is the producer, at least.
Punk rock, this album is not. It is actually quite a flowery jazzy album with a lot of fusion and Latin-American influences. There is just one flower here and that is enough. The music is pretty groovy too and in the same vein as the albums preceding this album. Lots of violin solos on the top of a groove and a melody.
The end result is actually another good album from this maestro musician. It is a different album, but still a good album. I bow my head in the front of this maestro.
The 16th album from this band from Italy.
The band was a quartet here with a lineup of drums, percussions, bass, guitars, piano, synths, organ and Italian vocals.
They had help from The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, lead guitars and lots of opera singers and narrators.
This is indeed a rock opera. Which is probably the last piece in the Premiata Forneria Marconi jigzaw puzzle since the 1970s. They had been doing everything since the 1970s.
You will find my reviews of their albums somewhere else in this blog and in # 1 of this blog too. Reviewing their albums has been quite a journey and not always a good journey, I have to say.
So..... Dracula is a rock opera and to a large extent a return to the old ways and pastures. Green pastures, it has to be said.
Yes, rock operas with full symphony orchestras and opera singers is overblown and cringeworthy by default. But Premiata Forneria Marconi has largely pulled it of due to really dominating this opera themselves and not falling into the trap of taking a back seat or going totally over the top.
The songs are decent to good and there is a large degree of a band effort here. Yes, the music is a bit sickly sugary at times with lots of Italiano pop songs influences. That has never been far from this bands music anyway. Even in their heydays in the 1970s. But there are still a lot of quality here.
This is largely a comeback album and a bit of return to form. I am still not convinced this is a good album. Hence my rating of this album. A welcome album, btw.
The third and final album from this US band.
The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards, harmonica and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
This album saw the third set of personell in three albums. Only the band founder and Barbara Hudson had survived these two massacres.
This time, the sextet was basically hired hands and studio musicians with no connections to the band and the idea behind it. As you gather from my reviews of their two previous albums, see here and here, the band was a psych band from Boston, the east coast who tried to challenge the psych bands from the west coast. They failed.
... Which sees them trying stadium and commercial rock on this, their third album. The last throw of the dice.
What follows is forty minutes of some US rock. There are a couple of psych rock songs here too and the general mood is psych rock.
Ultimate Spinach was a charming band who released three charming, decent albums. And this is a decent album from a band who did not conform to any rule or any genre. They are well worth checking out.
Monday, 20 November 2017
The debut album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, solina, mellotron, drums, percussion, fender rhodes, bass and finger cymbals.
Some guest musicians is providing voices, violin and flutes.
Gosta Berlings Saga is one of the more critically acclaimed prog rock bands from Sweden and they have got a very dedicated fanbase around the world. So it is with a great deal of trepidation I am now reviewing their first three albums/you can read reviews of their two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
It has actually taken me some years to pluck up the courage to review these albums. And I should really also get their new album too.
Their music is instrumental bar some talking and some soundbites. The music is very eclectic with a great deal of half-acoustic guitars, mellotron and fender rhodes in their sound.
The music is also a mix of jazz, symphonic prog and Swedish folk music with some avant-garde music thrown in too. There is some Samla Mannas here too. The music is also very dynamic and lively throughout these fifty-five minutes.
The end result is a good album which shows a great deal of promise. I think I will really enjoy their other two albums too.
The debut album from this band from Finland.
The band is a trio with a lineup of bass, guitars, keyboards, drums and some vocals.
Onsegen Ensemble released a couple of EPs ten years ago and then disappeared. Then they shows up again with this full length album.
Most of the album consists of those two EPs and does not contains much news if you have those two EPs.
Onsegen Ensemble does heavy, heavy psych with a lot of space and garage rock influences. As sweet and short as that.
There is a lot of guitar walls here and it feels like the listener is walking through a room of guitars - blindfolded. Various disharmonic sounds is the result of a tour like that.
But this album is not chaos. It is just really heavy with lots of heavy guitars. And there is a lot of good riffs and hooks here. There is a lot of good moods on this forty odd minutes long album too.
The vocals works as sound effects and the bass and drums is howling around in the background.
This is a good old style dirty heavy space rock album and it is a good one too. Check out this album.
Sunday, 19 November 2017
The ninth and final album from this French band.
Malicorne was a quintet on this album with a lineup of hurdy gurdy, mandocello, harmonica, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, crumhorn, mandolin, violin, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals from Mr and Mrs Yacoub, the founders of this band.
The band also had some help from guest musicians providing tin flutes, uillean pipes, programming and bagpipes.
Their previous album, the 1981 Balancoire En Feu saw the band begin to strip down their complex sound and instrumentations. This was what everyone was doing in the 1980s and Malicorne just followed that trend.
This album also follows that trend. The music and sound is more complex than on Balancoire En Feu. But not as complex as their 1970s albums.
There are also some plastic feel over some of their songs. Songs which is more easier and more pop focused than on their 1970s albums.
There are even some attempts of embracing the Depeche Mode like electronica on a couple of the songs here. Terrible, horrible, terrible.
At the best, this is a good to very good album. But it also has it's really bad sides. This album is not their finest time and album. It is still a decent to good album.
The 12th album from this Swedish band.
Opeth was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, harpsicord, mook, mellotron, grand piano, organ and vocals.
They had help from some strings and some spoken words too.
I have reviewed their albums both in this blog and in # 1 of this blog for the last years and have found a band who has changed from being a good death metal band to a........ I am not so sure. But you can read my reviews of their album somewhere else in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
Which Opeth do I prefer ? I find death metal dull now and do not listen to death metal at all. On the other hand, I am not so sure about the new prog rock version of Opeth either.
In short; Opeth has split my opinion right down the middle and I am not really sure what I mean about them.
Sorceress is an album where the band expands on their previous album Pale Communion. They take their music deeper into progressive music. The music here is more dynamic than on Pale Communion. Which is a good thing.
There is still parts of their music that does not work at all. Their ambient stuff does not really work at all. The more dynamic stuff is at times very good. But there is not enough of it.
This is barely a good album from a band still on a progressive journey. I wonder where that journey will take them. Only Opeth knows the answer.
Saturday, 18 November 2017
The second album from this French band.
Alkozaur is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, samples, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.#
They have got help from a female vocalist one one track.
I knew there was something familiar with this band when I got this album. But I could not really put my finger on it..... until I visited their ProgArchives page and found out that I had reviewed their 2011 debut album Serum Of Life. You can find my review here. A review from January 2012.
The band probably sees Alkozaur as a hobby and not as a career. Which is a wise thing because it is next to impossible to break through in today's scene. Even in the prog rock scene.
The band offers up an hour full of music in the vein of Marillion with a lot of references to Gentle Giant and King Crimson too. There is also a lot of hints of jazz here too.
The vocals is very good and the band comes up with some eclectic details in some rather melodic songs. There is a lot of spices and strange flavours around in this stew. Even some David Bowie influences.
The end result is a good album. A good art-rock album who really makes the listener sit up and take notice. Check it out.
The debut album from this Slovenian band.
Kapela La Chatelier was a quartet on this album with a lineup of trombone, flute, guitars, bass, drums, saxophones, accordion, synths and some vocals.
I first thought this was a French band when I got their second album. Then I discovered it is a band from Slovenia and then got this album. Those are the only two albums they have released. A review of their second album is also coming up next week/can be found somewhere else in this blog.
The band is labeled as an avant-garde/RIO band in ProgArchives and all other places. I would also give them that label.
Their music is a weird mix of jazz, avant-garde in the vein of Stormy Six and Balkan jazz, rock and pop.
That is an eclectic mix and this seventy minutes long album is never going to be loved by those who love easy listening music. These seventy minutes are indeed challenging. But these minutes are still pretty melodic although slightly staccato too.
The music is driven forward by accordions, woodwinds and some distorted guitars. And then you get some vocals too on the top of that.
The result is an album with it's good and decent sides. It is not quite a good album but it is not a bad one either. Fans of avant-garde music should check out this album.
Friday, 17 November 2017
The debut album from this British band.
Strawbs was a trio on this album with Dave Cousins, Tony Hooper and Ron Chesterman on vocals, guitars and bass. I believe Tony Visconti did the producing here and added a lot of xtra sounds and wizardry. It was one of his first jobs as a producer and he later did a lot of producing for David Bowie.
I am not sure if Strawbs is the first fully recorded album from Strawbs. They recorded an album with the utterly fantastic Sandy Denny and another album before this album, Strawbs, saw the light of day.
I have previously done a couple of reviews of their albums for ProgArchives back in 2009 and these reviews can be found here and here.
It is my intentions to review those Strawbs albums I have got in my collection in the coming months/you will find other reviews of Strawbs albums somewhere else in this blog.
It is something I have been looking forward to for a long time, sinking my ears and brain into the remaining Strawbs albums. I am an admirer of Dave Cousins and Strawbs. Their music, that is.
This 1969 is pure folk rock though and it is pretty basic music too with vocal harmonies, guitars, bass and studio wizardry. The song The Battle was showing the way forward for this band though.
The end result is a decent to good album which still has the ability to please anyone into folk and progressive rock.
The debut album from this Spanish band.
Iceberg was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, saxophone, bass, drums, mellotron, synths, keyboards and Spanish vocals.
The band released four albums between 1975 and 1979. I have reviewed their second and third album for # 1 of this blog. These reviews are here and here.
Those two albums, Coses Nostres and Sentiments, was fusion albums. Very good fusion albums too. Tutankhamon is not a fusion album, though.
Take some Led Zeppelin and add some more hard rock too. Then add some symphonic prog with the mellotron and add a few sprinklings of fusion, soul and Spanish folk too over this stew. Then you get this album.
Tutankhamon is to a large extent a hard rock album with agressive guitars and guitar solos. The vocals is really good and adds quality to this album although I do not speak Spanish.
The end result is a passionate, soulful album which really rocks and moves the listener. It is also a very progressive album with a lot for the brain to digest too. It is a good album which I would recommend. Check it out.
The debut album from this Swedish band.
The band was an eight piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, chorus and vocals.
This band is a legendary band in the Swedish scene. Their last album, of of in total nine albums, was released back in 2012. There has been some starts and stops in their career.
I reviewed their second and their fourth album for ProgArchives many, many years ago. The reviews are here and here. I will now review the remaining albums from this band/you will find other reviews of this band somewhere else in this blog.
Their debut album, this one, is an untypical album in their discography. The band was previously a hard rock band under a different name, chose a new band name (Kebnekaise.... after the highest mountain is Sweden) and recorded this album. Hence this noisy racket.
There is a lot of hardrocking vocals and instrumental songs here. There is also a lot of krautrock influences here. And a lot of blues influences too.
This album is half an hour long and it throws quite a punch. It is still a funny and life loving album. It is indeed a playful album. And I would rate it somewhere between decent and good.
Thursday, 16 November 2017
The third album from this US project.
Onevoice is Dan Costello on all instruments and vocals with some help from the guitarist Jason Gold on one track.
I have reviewed his first two albums in # 1 of this blog. You will find these reviews here and here.
Both of those albums got high score by myself. And I know I am not the only one to rate Onevoice very highly.
Don Costello still gives us ethereal symphonic prog-lite. There is a lot of keyboards, organ and piano in the music here. That and his vocals which is also pretty dominating too.
Don Costello very probably knows his strenghts and weaknesses. The music here and on the two previous albums is not playing on his weaknesses. But holy squirrel do he know how to play on his strengths !
Neither is this album outstaying it's welcome with meaningless sounds and misuse of time. Thirty-five minutes is what we get here and not a single wasted note.
This means melodic, ethereal music with lots of very good details. And the music is also very good. It is perhaps not music for the diehard tech and eclectic prog fan out there. But uncomplicated prog also has it's place and it really work on this very good album. Get it from here.
The debut album from this Australian band.
The band was a duo of Sean Timms (keyboards, computers) and Mark Trueack (vocals) at this album.
The duo had help of some other musicians who provided guitars, bass, drums, woodwinds, percussions and more vocals.
This band has so far released four albums and have been around the scene as long as I have been around the scene. And I should have reviewed their albums earlier. I am reviewing their three first albums before the end of the year/you will find my reviews of their next two albums somewhere else in this blog.
The music on this album has it's base in neo-prog. From this base, the music goes off in most other direcions. Pop, rock, prog metal, funk, eclectic prog and some symphonic prog.
Their cool Australian sound shines through too and the vocals from Mark is very good. The music is also good. This is an album which kicks in all directions and has something to offer even for those not into progressive rock. I am a bit lukewarm to this album and awards it a weak Good rating.
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
The fourth album from this US band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band also had some help from guest musicians who provided cello, violin, didgeridoo, tuba, saxophone and vocals.
The band has released their four albums on Bandcamp from where they can be purchased pretty cheap.
The band has been correctly labeled as a heavy prog band. There is also a lot of references to experimental metal and post-punk here. Very much so. And you also get some post-rock here.
The music on this fifty minutes long album is pretty much dominated by half-acoustic guitars and some good vocals. There are also some death metal vocals half way through this album. That kinds of breaks of up the ambience here. Ambience also created by some mellotron like keyboards.
This album is by no means interesting or good. I find it pretty dull and a bit weak in it's contents and quality. I guess I was looking for the shoegaze label to plaster over this album. I have now found this label and is plastering it on this album. Shoegaze is what Ollocs is doing here. And it is not a good album.
The debut album from this US band.
However was a quartet with a lineup of woodwinds, various bells, drums, bass, clavinet, synths, autoharp, glockenspiel, guitars and vocals.
Various guest musicians provided cello, violin, vibraphone, xylophone, whistling, marimba and woodwinds.
This US band released two albums before they gave up the ghost. I am reviewing their second album later this month too/you will find a review of their second album somewhere else in this blog.
The high praise in ProgArchives and the jazz/fusion label made me purchase these albums. Well, Sudden Dusk is not a jazz/fusion album.
Take the most weird jazzy things from the Canterbury scene and add a lot of Frank Zappa to the mix. Frank Zappa without the vocals, I hasten to add. Add a lot of weird avant-garde jazz too and you get this album.
Something I don't mind at all. This fifty minutes long album though has it's own things going on though. There is a lot of woodwinds and bells here. There is not so much vocals here.
The ten songs here sounds like scetches and not really finished products. The really worked through tracks here are good. The scetches is just frustrating and not so good.
This is an album that I am struggling with. Both to really form an opinion about and to really agree with those who rates it as a great album. It is not a great album. It is merely a decent to good album and a frustrating one too.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
The second and final album from this Latvian band.
Olive Mess was a sextet with a lineup of baroque guitar, archlute, keyboards, guitars, bagpipes, percussion, drums and vocals.
A female opera singer is adding vocals to one of the tracks.
I have yet to hear their 2002 debut album Gramercy. The avant-garde/RIO label has tended to scare me off getting albums like that one. I have had Cherdak, Russian for "attic", for many years before I took the plunge and gave it some listenings and my attention.
Olive Mess was in their early life a King Crimson tribute band. That is something I can clearly hear on this album. King Crimson and Univers Zero is big influences on this album. So much that I would label them as crossover between those two bands.
Which is both a statement of fact/what I hear and a compliment.
The music here is both quirky, ecclectic and avant-garde. It is still a melodic album. The male vocals is dark and baroque. Ditto for the music too. There is a chamber rock feel over this album.
The album is almost an hour long and it is divided on four tracks of similar lenght. The music is a heady mix and pretty esoteric.
This is also a good album which would satisfy anyone into King Crimson and eclectic music. Check it out as this is a bit of a hidden gem too.
The second and final album from this Russian band.
The band was a sextet on this album wth a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, flute and some vocals.
I reviewed their debut album, the 1986 album Summer In Town one week or so ago. It was a good album in the direction of ELP and Yes. You can read my review here.
I was warned by reviews in ProgArchives that The Portrait Of A Boy was an avant-garde/RIO album. So I mentally prepared myself for an onslaught of weirdness....
....Which did not appear. OK, the music here is not really easy-listening. But it is not that esoteric as I was warned it would be.
There is actually a lot of Jean Michel Jarre in this music. Music which also has some influences from the likes of Univers Zero and Present too. But not that much.
There is a lot of airy symphonic stuff on this album. A forty minutes long album. There is a lot of things to really like here and to feel comfortable with. This album is that melodic.
The end result is another good album from this Russian band. An album in the Russian tradition and slightly eccentric. It is also an album from a very underestimated band who deserve a lot more attention. I hope they will get this attention and you should all seek out their two albums.
The second album from this US band.
Ultimate Spinach was a sextet on this album with a lineup of harmonica, flutes, guitars, drums, bass, sitar, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
The band leader Ian Bruce-Douglas split up the band after the debut album and hired a new setup. The only one remaining was the vocalist Barbara Hudson.
Their self-titled debut album, also from 1968, was a decent to good album. You will find my review here.
The band continues in the same vein again. A bit west-coast psych rock combined with mainstream rock. The band was from Boston on the east-coast and they tried to establish an east-coast scene to rival the west-coast scene. The west-coast scene had the likes of Jefferson Airplane and other bands. The east-coast scene had Ultimate Spinach.... Well, the west-coast won that fight on a technical knock out.
This album or indeed Ultimate Spinach is not bad at all. The music here is the typical psych rock from the end of the 1960s. A lot of The Beatles, blues and Jefferson Airplane. A bit soul and stadium rock too. There is a nice mix of female and male vocals here too.
Unfortunate, this is not a good album. It is a decent album though and one to check out if psych rock is your thing.
Monday, 13 November 2017
The debut album from this Japanese band.
Outer Limits was a sextet with a lineup of bass, violins, guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Outer Limits has been labeled as Japan's answer to The Enid. Unfortunate, I have yet to discover The Enid although I do collect their albums, but have yet to review them.
I have also collected Outer Limits five albums and reviews of the remaining four albums will follow before the end of the year/you can find my reviews of their other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Outer Limits does symphonic prog with a considerable classical music influence. So much that we are here talking about a crossover between classical music and symphonic prog.
There is still a lot of rock music in their music too. The vocalist sounds like John Wetton and there are also some jazz influences in their music.
There is also a lot of violins and keyboards in this music which is more instrumental than vocals dominated.
The album is just over fifty minutes long and has a lot to offer to everyone into both symphonic prog and eclectic music. The music is very far from being straight forward and it is quite quirky at times.
This is indeed a very good debut album and proves that this band's very good reputation is deserved. I am very much looking forward to let my ears and brain enjoy their four remaining albums.
The debut album from this Spanish band.
Guadalquivir was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, saxophones, flutes and drums.
The band also had help from a string quartet, hand clappers, piano, percussion and keyboards.
This band released three albums before they gave up the ghost. I will review all of them/you can find reviews of the two other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Guadalquivir has taken their name from a village on the outskirts of Valencia in the south of Spain. That is where the band is from. Which may explain the warmth of their music.
The band plays fusion strongly influenced by flamenco and some Spanish folk music. The flamenco is in most places and is tending to overshadow the fusion here. Well, the fusion is much more jazz than rock music.
The mix of jazz/fusion and flamenco is a very heady mix which has increased the temperature in my freezing cold office by several degrees. My mood has also been changed from rather gloomy to rather sunny.
Besides of being rather sunny, the music on this forty-five minutes long album is also very good. The band really knows what they are doing and the mix of saxophones, acoustic and electric guitars drives this album forward on some really very good tracks. The flutes and hand clapping is also very effective.
This is one of the better Spanish albums and it justifies this band's very good reputation. Check it out.
Sunday, 12 November 2017
The 12th album from this German band.
Jane was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band had help from some female vocalists and a hammond organ.
For some reasons I do not really understand, Jane now split into Peter Panka's Jane and Werner Nadolny's Jane. This album's official band name is Peter Panka's Jane. It is even written on one of the cows in the picture above.
Werner Nadolny's Jane mostly released collection albums and re-recorded versions of old stuff. So I am bypassing them and the remaining eleven Peter Panka's Jane and Werner Nadolny's Jane albums.
This album is fifty minutes long and contains that many minutes of pop and rock. Big sound pop and rock with roaring guitars which is leaning towards heavy metal.
Jane has gone mainstream and commercial on this album. I am not sure what they mean with the album title. A part of me thought it meant they were going back to progressive rock again........ But no... I was left mentally scarred and disappointed.
The vocals and the synth/keyboards sound is horrible. Ditto for the music. This album is a turkey with all the trimmings. Avoid !
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, synths, bass, drums, guitars and female English vocals.
I reviewed their second album, the 2015 album Back To Earth for # 1 of this blog back in July 2016 and found it an OK album. See my review here.
So I decided to check out their debut album too. The band has so far only released two albums and I like everything from Italy.
The band play rock'n'roll with some hard rock, AOR, prog rock and soul influences. As simple as that.
There is some stadium rock here too. But I think this is more a pub rock band than a stadium rock band.
Cinzia Catalucci's vocals is the focal point of the sound, music and the band. And her vocals is good, indeed. The music on the other hand.....
I would label their music unchallenging and pretty OK, dull and standard rock'n'roll. I am sure this band is so much better on a stage than on this album. I am pretty sure I would like their gigs. But in a sterile office with two speakers and one record...... This is only a decent to good album. But play your gigs, guys.
The fourth album from this Australian band.
Anubis is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, moog, sitar, bass, drums, organ, synths, mellotron, glockenspiel, percussion and vocals.
Various musicians contributes voices and additonal vocals.
I have reviewed their first two albums for # 1 of this blog and you can find these reviews here and here.
This album is a concept album about the downfall of a media baron. The figure of Robert Murdoch is not mentioned here. But I get the feeling he has not been that far of the band's mind when developing this concept album. Fair enough. Robert Murdoch splits opinions in Australia too.
The Second Hand gives us seventy minutes of music. The song are medium long. The longest one is seventeen minutes long. The other eight songs are on average eight minutes long.
The music is neo-prog and simply progressive rock with a lot of symphonic prog influences. Yes, neo-prog with symphonic prog influences is the right label here. There is a lot of Pink Floyd influences here. Pink Floyd from the David Gilmour era. There is also some Camel influences.
The music is big and brash. There is no modesty, no false modesty in this music and sound. There is a lot of big guitars and keyboards here. The vocals is really good too.
The end result is a very good album from one of Australia's best bands. If not Australia's best prog rock band. Get this album.
Saturday, 11 November 2017
The fifth album from this US band.
Discipline is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, violin, tambourine, keyboards and vocals.
This band is mostly Matthew Parmenter's band and vehicle. He has a good solo career too with some albums. But from what I understand, Discipline is his main priority.
The parallels to Peter Hammel and Van Der Graaf Generator hits me when I am writing these lines. The same setup there as with Mr. Parmenter and Discipline.
The music is also not dissimilar. There is a strong VDGG element on this album. OK, Peter and Matthew have to different voices. But Matthew has.... let us say..... been very inspired by Peter's way of using his voice and pipes.
There are also some pretty melancholic in Discipline's music here. It is by no means as dark as VDGG's dystopic landscapes. Discipline is also taking a lot from Supertramp too. The main difference is that Discipline comes from USA, the new optimistic world whilst VDGG is from the old world and has taken a lot of their inspirations from the dying UK in the 1970s.
The music on the forty-five minutes long Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea is good throughout. The musicians is doing a good job and Matthew's vocals is very good. My gripe is that there is no great song here and no real great piece of music here. Hence my Good rating of this album.
The third album from this US artist.
Jan Hammer on synths, mellotron, piano and congas had help from three other musicians here who provided drums, guitars, violins, bass, saxophone, cello and vocals.
I know Jan Hammer from the TV hitseries Miami Vice. A TV series which symbolise the whole 1980s. It was a too slick and plastic fantastic TV series and the whole TV series makes me shudder. Jan Hammer did the soundtrack. I later discovered that he was a member of Mahavishnu Orchestra and I then insantly forgave him.
I reviewed his 1975 solo opera The First Seven Days one week ago and found that a challenge. See my review here.
Melodies is something totally different again. I have not heard his second album and have jumped straight to this album. So I cannot say anything about his development from 1975 to this album in 1977.
Melodies has a lot of funky pop with lots of fusion included too. It is vocals and keyboards driven too. There is lots of bass here too and this is an album full of rhythms. There is also a lot of synths and piano here.
The songs are not particular good and this album falls a bit flat on it's face. It is still a decent album which does not do much for me, I am afraid.
Friday, 10 November 2017
The eight album from this French band.
Malicorne was a quintet with a lineup of clavinet, Scottish bagpipe, synths, guitars, bass, drums, mandocello, autoharp, dulcimer, percussions, crumhorn, lyre, vibes, electric piano, tubular bells and vocals. Both male and female French vocals.
Numerous guest musicians contributed their glockenspiel, woodwinds, piano, xylophone and Bulgarian bagpipes.
Malicorne has given me names and sounds of musicial instruments I had no idea even excisted. Just to do the listings on their albums is like a visit into a strange, strange world.
Their music and albums is strange, esoteric happenings in themselves. Their previous albums, see my reviews somewhere else in this blog, is as esoteric as folk rock albums can get, seen from an Anglo-American perspective.
Balancoire En Feu is not as esoteric and vocals focused folk rock dominated as their previous albums. The music is pretty melodic and welcoming here. The band has taken some steps towards the likes of Ange on this album. There is also some, shock horror shock, some pop music influences here.
This album is still an unmistakenly Malicorne album with strong vocals and good music throughout. And this is indeed a pretty good album. Check it out and give Malicorne your attention.
The second album from this Norwegian band.
The band was an eleven pieces big band with a lineup of samples, spoken words, bass, drums, saxophone, flutes, trumpet, keyboards, woodwinds, synths and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
This band actually play gigs as a ten piece big band. Which is impressive. The band is one of the best bands coming out of Norway right now and that says it all as progressive rock is now taking over from black metal as the biggest and best underground music export from Norway. That too says a lot !
I reviewed their 2015 self-titled debut album one week ago and gave that a Very Good rating. See my review here.
The music on Clock Unwound is a bit more complex and dense than their debut album. There is still a lot of Van Der Graaf Generator and Genesis influences here. They are just a lot more subtle than on their debut album. There is also a lot of Ange influences here.
The music is pretty moody, complex and varied with a lot of ideas coming into play on this fifty-five minutes long album. Ditto for a lot of instruments too. There is guitars, synths, saxes and flutes in the forefront together with the very good vocals. There are some really good guitar solos here, indeed.
The music can sound a bit unhinged. But there is method in this madness. There is a lot of the methods used in the 1970s. The music has one foot back in the 1970s and one foot in this day and age.
The result is a very good album and one that is already making waves in the prog world. That is highly deserved, indeed.
The debut album from this German band.
Oktober was an eight piece big band with a lineup of string ensemble, bass, guitars, synths, spinet, flute, organ, percussion, drums, choir and German vocals.
Oktober released three albums before they gave up the ghost in 1979. I only got this album from them and this is my only review of their albums unless someone sends me a copy of their two other albums.
My German is not excellent. But I believe their lyrics is about getting rid of capitalism and introduce a hardline communist state. German was split into East and West-Germany at that time. Well, each to their own, I reflect when listening to the vocals here. Some good vocals.
Those remarks was to give you a flavour of the times and the moods from the days this album was recorded and released. It was a political album with lots of lots of vocals. The music is more in the background.
When that is said, the music is krautrock and it has it's moments of good details. When the music is free flowing, the result is some pretty good krautrock. Unfortunate, that is not often as the vocals comes in and dominates the soundscape.
The end result is a decent album which does not impresses me. But I am glad I have got this album as it is a pretty good political krautrock album from the far left.
Thursday, 9 November 2017
The sixth album from this Luxembourg band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band released their debut album Zodiak back in 1993 under their previous name No Name. A namer they kept on for their first four albums.
I reviewed their fifth album The Clock That Went Backwards (2014) for # 1 of this blog back in December 2014 and rated it very highly. You can read my review here.
The band plays neo-prog. Unmistaken neo-prog with a lot of Dutch influences.
There is a lot of AOR in their music. Much more on this album than on their previous album. There is also some symphonic prog here.
The vocals are pretty dominant and they are good vocals. They are supported by keyboards and guitars.
The songs are all pretty good. Some really good details adds a lot of value to this album. The band has lost a lot of their own identity on this album and the music sounds a bit generic.
This is still a good album although I am having problems working myself up over the music here. This album is a bit of a step backwards from this band.
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
The one and only album from this band from Venezuela.
Odrareg was a seven piece big band with a lineup of bass, synths, drums, guitars, keyboards, drums and some vocals.
Four guest musicians provided woodwinds and xtra keyboards and vocals.
This band was the sideproject of Tempano's drummer Gerardo Ubieda who needed a jazz/fusion outlet for his ideas. Musea picked up and released this album.
The music on this seventy minutes long album is very complex, esoteric jazz/fusion. There are some RIO and zeuhl influences on this album and a lot of John Coltrane influences. You can also add a lot of Present influences too as the music is sometimes very moody and dark.
It has a lot of darkness, this music. But some of the jazz is pretty light too.
The music is very intense and very far from being easy listening. And the music is much more jazz than fusion.
I find this album intriguing. It has a mood and a raw, bleeding nerve which is very interesting. The music is also good throughout although it bordering to being too esoteric even for me.
Check out this good album if esoteric, eclectic music rocks your boat.
The debut album from this US band.
Ultimate Spinach was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, sitar, flutes, harmonica, vibraphone, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
The band, who was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, released three albums between 1968 and 1969. I will review all three albums this month/you will find my reviews of their three albums somewhere else in this blog.
Ultimate Spinach was from Boston on the east-coast of USA. They sounds like a west-coast band though. But they were very proud of Boston and being an east-coast band. I better not provoke the band into an argument here....
.... but obvious references are Jefferson Airplane. Which means the band was a psychedelic rock band. There is also a lot of The Beatles in their music. There is lot of beat here and some harder rock.
The female vocalist Barbara Hudson, who together with Ian Bruce-Douglas was the only person featuring on all their three albums, sounds like Grace Slick too.
Nevertheless, this band's crossover between The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane gives this band and album it's own identity. The spaced out guitars and sitar also gives this album an edge.
There is no wonder why this band is regarded as one of the original psych rock bands. Fifty years later, this album still throws a punch. The quality is somewhere between decent and good. Check out this album if psych rock is your thing.
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
The debut album from this Scottish band.
Long Earth is a quintet with a lineup of percussion, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band includes a couple of Abel Ganz members and it was inspired and promoted by Huw Montgomery from the same band. They have played warmup for the Pallas frontman Alan Reed on some of his gigs.
.... And the band contains five grown up men. Average age must be around 55 years going by the band photos. Well done ! I would love to do this when I become 55 years old.
The band members are all veterans and they have been around since the 1990s. That is very much reflected in their music.
This one hour and five minutes long album is an unashamed neo-prog album with some symphonic prog influences and lots of lots of 1980s and 1990s neo-prog influences. That without the plastic fantastic sound from that era. Bands like Marillion and Abel Ganz is references.
The sound is very good. Make that superb and it is a sound that connects with the listener from the first tone. The vocals is also very good and ditto for the rest of the musicians.
The quality is also good to very good throughout. It is unashamed and bashful neo-prog and there should be no shame about enjoying this very good album.
The 11th album from this Swedish band.
Opeth was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, mellotron, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
Steven Wilsen helped out on backing vocals and mixing. Dave Stewart did the string arrangements.
Opeth and Mikael Åkerfeldt is someone I deeply respect and like. More than I like their music. A lot more than I like their music, in fact. You will find some reviews of their albums in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
Pale Communion is not as one dimentional as the previous album Heritage which I found a bit on the dull side of the spectrum. There is still no death metal and growls on Pale Communion. That is a bygone era now, mourned by a lot of their fans. I am not one of their fans so I am not sure what to think.
The music here is progressive rock of some sort. I am not sure what kind of progressive rock. But Camel springs to mind and so does Cressida. Early symphonic prog ? Well, maybe.
Mikael's vocals is a bit strained at times and is hitting the limiter..... and beyond. It is not a pretty sight or nice sounds from my speakers. But they are mostly OK, his vocals.
The music is again good without really impressing me. I am afraid I am simply not getting why this band's music is so great. Great human beings, but not so great music.
The 14th album from this French violinist.
Jean Luc Ponty returned again with a quartet. And what a quartet ! Allan Holdsworth, Randy Jackson, Ray Griffin and George Duke was his band this time in addition to his own violins. Guitars, keyboards, bass and drums is the other instruments.
Jean Luc Ponty was in the middle of a really good period. This was in an era where most other bands were in a slump and was releasing really awful albums. Jean Luc Ponty did not. I raise my glass to that.
The music on this album is more or less in the same direction as his previous albums. George Duke adds some funk here and Allan Holdsworth adds a lot of fusion and guitar wizardry. Not so much as in solos. But more in the sprinkling of great, but very notable small details. A hook here, a lick there...
On the top of that, Jean Luc Ponty adds his violins in this forty minutes long fusion album. An album not on par with his best albums. But it is still a very good album and one I really enjoy. I am becoming a fan, now....
Monday, 6 November 2017
The fifth and final album from this Portoguese band.
Tantra was a quartet on this album with a lineup of drums, synths, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
The quartet has got help from numerous guest musicians who provided bass, keyboards, drums, female vocals and poem.
Their 2002 album Terra was not too bad. You can read a review of this album and their other albums somewhere else in this blog.
As on Terra, Tantra was now reduced to be Manuel Cardoso's band and vehicle for his own music and visions. Gone was everything good from their first two albums. Their two classic albums.
Delirium is a mix of Pink Floyd and some classical opera. All of this on keyboards, guitars, bass, synths, vocals and bass. No classical music orchestra was hired to perform this fifty minutes piece of music.
Manuel Cardoso is a lead guitarist and his guitar solos are pretty much dominant here. They are supplemented by some synths and vocals.
The music is not good at all. It is barely decent. The sound is a bit on the plastic side and does not feel honest at all. It is pretty hard not to be annoyed by this album which sounds cheap and nasty. A couple of good details saves this from the turkey yard. But avoid this album. Only their first two albums is well worth having.
The one and only album from this British band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of vibraphone, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, percussion and vocals.
This album was released on the famous Vertigo label. A label which is now very popular among collectors. It was later re-released in the 1990s on CD too.
Their music has rightly been labeled as heavy prog by ProgArchives and there is no disagreements from me here.
The music is heavy with a lot of early Deep Purple references. But there is a lot more to their music too. There is a lot of beat and psychedelic rock here too. There is even some pretty notable ELP references too.
The music is brash with a some good vocals. The sound is the typical 1970s sound. A good sound but a bit outdated anno 2017.
The keyboards and the guitars are good. The music is not that good and it is seriously lacking in quality.
This is a decent album which will please those into harder progressive rock. I am not won over.
The debut album from this Russian band.
Horizont was an eight piece band with a lineup of voices, keyboards, flute, guitars, bass and drums.
This band should not be mistaken with the Swedish band of the same name.
This Russian band released two albums before they gave up the ghost. I will review both albums this month/you can find my review of their second album somewhere else in this blog.
Horizont is a band that falls into the symphonic prog label. At least on this album. Take a classical composer like Sergei Prokiev and mix his music with the likes of ELP and other symphonic prog bands. Then you get this album.
There is some of ELP's dissonans here and a lot of classical music leaning symphonic prog. There is also some references to Yes here. There is also a lot of cinematic music here. And some avant-garde rock too.
This forty minutes long album is a bit dark and brooding too. Most Russian music is like that. It reflects their history. A long bloody history full of suffering. Hence their brooding music. Something reflected on this album.
This is also a good album and a very welcome addition to my collection of symphonic prog albums. Check out this album and you will not be disappointed.
Sunday, 5 November 2017
The 15th album from this Italian band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, organ, percussion, synths, bass, synths and Italian vocals.
Four guest musician provides drums, strings, vocals and guitar solos.
Their previous two albums was pretty bad and in one case; a solid turkey. None of those albums has been nowhere fit to wear the Premiata Forneria Marconi album. You can read my reviews of those two albums and other Premiata Forneria Marconi albums somewhere else in this blog.
So I approached this album with a lot of trepidations.
The music is still a mix of pop and rock. Italian pop and rock. There are some good pianos and some organs and guitars around. The vocals are pretty decent. The choruses are a bit cheap and nasty.
There is a bit of an improvements here. The songs are better. But the music is not that interesting. Italian pop and rock does not really go down well. There is some hints of progressive rock here. This album is barely worth the attention of a Premiata Forneria Marconi fan.
The end result is a decent album. A fifty minutes long album I am never ever going to listen to again.