Wednesday, 28 February 2018
The seventh album from this British band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mandolin and vocals.
A guest musician added percussions to the lineup.
Their previous album Lockup is regarded as a disaster and I am not reviewing that one. Neither am I going to get that album.
I have though reviewed their first albums and you can read these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
The band had left their progressive rock roots behind them by now. They were still mostly known for their Argus epic and their live gigs.
New England was a new start too after that Lockup disaster and this forty minutes long album showcases a band as they want to sound.
... Which is, a hard rock band with some Americana influences. The songs are pretty good and the sound is good. The twin guitars kicks in on a frequent basis. This is clearly an US rock album with all it's whistles and drums.
The quality is somewhere between decent and good. It is a nice album and just that. Check it out.
Tuesday, 27 February 2018
The 22nd album from this British band.
Strawbs was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, programming, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band had help from numerous other guest musicians too.
I am a pretty big fan of Strawbs and have reviewed a lot of their albums. Some of the reviews can be found somewhere else in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
Not everything this band has done has been great ideas. I have bypassed and chosen not to review their reworking of Heroin And Heroine they have called Heroin And Heroine In Ascencia. I see no reason to review an album twice.
A lot of the stuff on Prognostic is also reworking of old stuff. Even live tracks which has been cobbled together with some new studio tracks to make this an album..... and a trap for those of us who really like this band.
Yes, I feel that I have not got value for money here.
The music does not make this feeling any better. It is Strawbs going classic rock with some folk rock influences. There is too many instruments on this album and this album is too hard to really being a vintage Strawbs album.
I find it really hard to knock this band and talk bad about them. But this is only a decent album, I am afraid. In all honesty.......
The second album from this Dutch band.
Hangover Paradise is a seven piece big band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
I had the joy of reviewing their 2013 debut album Mirrors back in August 2015. You can find the review here.
That was a good album in the neo-prog genre. A genre they are still following on the follow up album Out Of Sight.
In my review of their 2013 debut album, I noted that their music was pretty soft. That is very much the case on Out Of Sight.
Their brand of neo-prog is bordering to, and sometimes crossing that border, pop-rock. The music is very soft and light-weight.
That too also because of the vocalist who has his limits. He sometimes steps over those limits and the result is jarring and vocals a crow would have been familiar with. The lyrics is a bit on the cheesy side too.
The songs on this fifty minutes long album does not have much substance and I am not impressed. Hence my rating.
Monday, 26 February 2018
The one and only album from this French band
Madrigal was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and English vocals.
The band is one of those semi forgotten bands whose LPs is for sale at Discogs and album is available on Youtube. It is there to be discovered for those who are into sonic adventures.
.... Hence, I got this album. I like everything French prog too so that was an easy choice too.
Prog rock is a slightly misleading label. There is some The Moody Blues here, some Queen and a lot of classic rock and some symphonic prog... And a lot of keyboards generated mellotron too.
There is a lot of everything rock on this forty minutes long album. Maybe so much that it neither sits comfortably in the prog rock or the classic rock genre. It falls a bit between various chairs in this genre driven music industry and collections.
The music has a good standard. The vocals are good and the rest of the band does a good job too. Even the songs are good here. This is an unearthed gem and one to check out.
The second album from this English drummer.
Bill Bruford had help from the same musicians from his first album. That is Jeff Berlin on bass, Allan Holdsworth on guitars and Dave Stewart on synths and keyboards. A very strong setup indeed.
They had help from Eddie Jobson on violin, a guitarist, a narrator and a female vocalist.
I really liked his debut album Feels Good To Me from 1978. You can read my review here. I was therefore looking forward to this album.
The female vocals from Feels Good To Me has gone and been replaced with a much more clean and focused fusion sound.
Bill Bruford's drums and Allan Holdsworth's guitars is weaving a lot of soundscapes on this album. The music is pretty intense, but not the most intense I have encountered. The band also slows down a bit on half of the material here.
The sound is based on this quartet of musicians and therefore much more barren than on the debut album. This is much more a true, hardcore fusion album with a lot of jazz influences too.
The end result is a good album though. It is different from the debut album, but it is still a good album. Check it out.
The seventh album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The quality of their outputs has been a bit of a mixed bag. I am not sure what their style, genre and purpose is either. The music is not easy to define and label.
That too goes for I Borjan Och Slutet (In the beginning and the end).
Take their previous six albums as the base. That means a bit hard rock, psych prog, symph prog and classic rock. Then add some more modern psych prog again.
It sounds like the band has come of age here and is showing of their grown up, mature side. The music is restrained and has a good 1970s prog feel. Organ, mellotrons and guitars.
The album fifty-five minutes long and the lyrics are on the reflective side. This album sounds like someone taking stock of their lives and careers. This band's life and career. Thankfully, the band released two more albums so this is not the end. But it feels like it.
The songs are decent to good throughout this album. I am quite liking this album at the same time as I am missing some really good songs here. Hence the rating.
The debut album from this US band.
Appaloosa was a quartet with a lineup of violin, cello, guitar, bass and vocals.
They had help from guest musicians who provided harpsichord, piano, drums, strings, vibraphone and saxophones.
The band is an interesting one. They released this one and then one album, a socalled Appaloosa album called Never Gone, in 2012. I have yet to hear that album and I am not sure if I will ever sink my ears into that album.
Appaloosa were one of the many baroque folk music/pop bands in 1969, the final year of innocence.
Their music is very flowery and based on vocals. Some great vocals. There is also a lot of cello, violins and acoustic guitars here. Some drums, saxophone and the other instruments also contributes to this album.
The music is pretty simple........ on the surface. There is still a lot going on here and the instruments are really adding value to the vocals.
It also helps that this forty minutes long album has eleven good songs. I am actually pretty smitten by this album and is bowled over. This is indeed a good album from a genre I really do not rate.
Sunday, 25 February 2018
The second album from this Dutch band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums and guitars.
I reviewed their 2000 debut album Impression some days ago and was not impressed. It is a decent enough album though. You can read my review here.
Odyssice plays instrumental progressive rock somewhere between neo-prog, progressive metal and symphonic prog.
Although the tracks are pretty long on this album, the symphonic prog bit is not that big so I feel this one can be discounted. So no symphonic prog for me today.......
So we are left with almost one hour of guitar solos and keyboards in the neo-prog and prog metal vein.
The music is sometimes pretty hard and in the prog metal genre. But most of the music is pretty mellow.
There is not much good music here. There is no really good piece of music here and the album proves that it is so difficult to make good instrumental progressive rock with only guitars and keyboards. Odyssice is another band who has failed to do so. What a shame.
Saturday, 24 February 2018
The third and final album from this multi-national band.
Esperanto was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of violins, cello, keyboards, drums, bass and vocals. Both male and female English vocals.
I have reviewed their previous two albums in this blog and given them very mixed reviews. You can find them somewhere else in this blog.
I am still not sure what to think about this band. But they came, conquered and then left again after three albums. A lot of people liked them. Some people still do. Maybe I am one of them. I am still in two minds about that.
This album starts with a radical version of The Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby. This song is perhaps my favourite Beatles song off all time and among my top five favourite songs. Their version is nowhere as good as The Beatles version. I am not overly happy about the band by now.......
The rest of the album sees the band do orchestral pomp pop/prog with lots of good vocals and a lot of very good violins, cello and in particular; keyboards. They are really exploring the limits of the keyboards on this album and it pulling it off with flying colours.
The songs on this forty minutes long album is indeed good. There is a lot of very good details too here. This is by far their best album and perhaps the only one I would recommend from them. Check it out.
The second album from these Dutch legends.
Kayak was a quintet with a lineup of mellotron, guitars, bass, drums, percussions, harpsichord, organ, piano, fender rhodes, accordion, harmonica, marimba and vocals.
A string quartet also added their strings to this album.
I very much liked their 1973 debut album See See The Sun. You can read my review here.
The band followed up with this album. An album where the Yes influences is a bit toned down. But we get a lot more Supertramp and Genesis influences than on their debut album.
It is fair to say that the band had their own sound and take on symphonic prog now. They and the other big Dutch symphonic prog band from that era, Earth & Fire.
There are also some harder rock here. But most of the album are mid-tempo to pastoral. The music is dominated by piano and organs. That and some very good vocals.
Some of the music is pretty commercial too. There are some catchy tunes here.
This thirty-seven minutes long album has one nine minutes long song and eight other more punchy songs. Punchy and effective. All songs fits each other.
There is no really great songs here and I am a bit in two minds about giving this a good or a very good rating. But I feel this is a very good album and one to check out. Go so forth.
The fifth album from this US band.
Anubis Spire is a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, guitars, bass and vocals.
This is my first ever meeting with this band and their music.... or so I thought. But I have actually reviewed their third album, the 2016 album Between The Two Eternities, back in September 2016. You can read my review here.
The band has cut back to a quartet here, from what I understand. There is not much I understand about this band so I may be wrong.
The band has always been unpredictable and outside any genres and scenes, from what I understand from other reviews.
Oh boy is Divining Rod an example of doing your own things. This album is almost an album of different genres. From the depressive British indie rock/pop Here's That Love Song who reminds me a lot about The Smiths to a space rock runout on Breathless. If I am not mistaken, we even have a cover version of Mountain's Nantucket Sleighride.
Add some Americana, progressive rock and heavy prog here too and you get the picture. Well, maybe not. It is difficult to describe this album in words. Just be prepared for a sonic surprise. All this packed into fifty-three minutes.
I am not really won over by this band and album. The reason is the lack of quality. There is a couple of good songs here. The rest is not so good. Hence my rating.
Friday, 23 February 2018
The second and final album from this Italian band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, mandolin, stick, bass, drums, keyboards and Italian vocals.
I really enjoyed their 2005 self-titled debut album. You can read my review here.
That album was a very lively album, incorporating jazz and psych into their Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI). A strange, but good album indeed.
The band has cut back on the jazz and psych excesses on this album and gone for a more straight RPI sound..... and music.
There are some heavy prog here too. But most of the music is guitars and organic keyboards based music with the vocals on the top. There is even some mandolin here.
The music is slightly dark and sinister on this one hour long album too.
The songs are more like suites than songs. There is long dynamic instrumental parts between the vocals too. There is a lot of timeshifts and change of themes.
This is an enjoyable album and my only gripe is the lack of any great songs. Check out this album if RPI and symphonic prog is your thing.
The third album from this Polish band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, piano, bass, drums and vocals.
It now occurs to me that I am actually reviewing the 2010 remaster as the songs here are in English. I do not have the Polish language disc. But the music is the same, and from 2002, so I will continue with this review.
I am planning to do a handful of reviews of their albums this winter/spring and this is my first one/you can read my review of their other albums somewhere else in this blog.
Millenium is one of those bands in the Polish neo-prog scene. A scene very much a pretty big rival to the Dutch, English and German neo-prog scene.
The music is very melodic here. It also has got a lot of details and is also pretty symphonic at times. This is very much neo-prog. Gentle neo-prog.
The vocals are very good. The music can be a bit too sugary/sweet at times. It is also taking a couple of detours into pop music. The guitars and the keyboards is keeping this album honest, though.
The end result is a decent to good album who needs a couple of good songs to really shine. It is still a band I am really looking forward to explore.
Thursday, 22 February 2018
The debut album from this Finnish band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, synths, bass, guitars, woodwinds and vocals.
The band released an EP and two singles before they released this album.
Finland is a strange country. Something this forty minutes long album will confirm. All the stereotypes about Finland is being unleashed here........
Don't get me wrong. I love Finland. So this is not an insult towards this fantastic country.
... In A Brown Study is a weird psychedelic prog album, though. There is a lot of avant-garde music here too. I think the label "avant-garde psychedelic jazz prog" is a very fitting label for this band and album.
There are also a large element of krautrock in their music too. The woodwinds and synths has a 1970s feel and the very sporadic Finnish vocals and spoken texts adds lots of local colours to this album.
The album is also very jazzy and comes up with some jazzy grooves towards the middle of this album.
This album is a weird collage of ideas from avant-garde, psych and jazz. And it is a decent to good album too. I hope this band will continue as there is a lot of talents in the band.
The seventh album from this US band.
Majestic is Jeff Hamel on guitars and keyboards.
He has got help from a drummer and four vocalists.
I really like his previous albums and find Jeff Hamel a highly talented composer and musician. Majestic is his project, labour of love and one to check out. You can read my reviews of the other Majestic albums somewhere else in this blog.
The first thing I notice is that this album is substantial shorter than the previous Majestic albums.
That sometimes means the album is punchier and more quality driven than on longer albums. In this case... Well....
Epsilon 1 is fifty-five minutes long and is part 1 of a 2 parts Epsilon series. Both albums released the same year.
The music is neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog influences and some progressive metal chugging. The vocals are both male and female.
The music is really majestic, soaring and conceptual. This is clearly one piece of music. Not different songs collected in one album.
And the band has again come up with the goods. This is a fascinating, very good album which flows nicely and begs for more music. It is indeed a very satisfying listening. Check it out.
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
The second album from this US band.
Pavlov's Dog was a sextet on this album with a lineup of mellotron, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, guitars and vocals.
Several guest musicians, including Bill Bruford and Michael Brecker, contributed with organ, drums, saxes, mandolin, string ensemble, child choir and vocals.
I really liked their 1975 debut album Pampered Menial. You can read my review here. That album is rightly regarded as a classic and really cemented this band's very good reputation.
So I had hopes for this album.
David Surkamp's vocals are again in focus and the trick is to see past these vocals. I am not a fan of these vocals, I have to admit.
The music here is much more songs and melody orientated than on their debut album. There is also a lot of commercial memorable hooks and pop choruses here. It is obvious that Elton John and Supertramp has been great inspirations for this album.
There are a lot of saxes and keyboards which gives this album an arena rock feel. Some of the music is still pretty quirky.
This album is thirty-five minutes long and it is not really a good album. It has some good moments though and I would rate it somewhere between decent and good. Check out this strange band.
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Ossicles is the brothers Sondre and Bastian Veland. Those two plays drums, percussion, keyboards, guitars, bass, upright bass and all vocals.
The band and this album was discovered Steven Wilson who heaped praise on the brothers and this album. Hence, some more people took notice.
The band is still as underground as you can get although they are now signed on Appollon Records, one of the bigger and emerging prog and artrock labels around.
The music on this album is not easy to describe. It is not old style progressive rock, let me put it like that.
Take Porcupine Tree and broaden their sound and music with some jazz, djent and electronica. That is the best I can come up with. It is also accurate as far as I am concerned.
This album is seventy-five minutes long and a big, big chunk of meat to take in. It starts with a lot of mellow songs orientated material with lots of good vocal harmonies. The final half of the album gives us some more hard edge modern prog and electronica.
The first half is really, really good. The Veland brothers proves that they have something going on here. The final half is not that good and a bit of an experiment.
This is a debut album though and it is a weak, but still a good album. Check out these brothers as I think they should get more attention.
The debut album from this Northern Irish band.
Andwella was a quartet with a lineup of flutes, guitars, bass, piano, drums, organ and vocals.
Andwella's previous name was Andwellas Dream and they released a very good album called Love And Poetry back in 1969. See my review here.
The band has wisely moved away from the civil unrest torn Northern Ireland and down to London where they released two albums under the name Andwella. Their second album People's People was released the year after (?).
The band had also changed a bit music style. Gone is the flower power and hippie music. In comes rhythm'n'blues and folk rock. Well, mostly blues and rock.
The vocals are pretty raw and in the Mike Patto vein. The flutes adds some flavour. The organ adds some progressive rock flavours.
The album is thirty-six minutes long. It has some rockers and some more mellow songs. It has a good sound and it has it's moments.
It is more an album of historic interest than anything else. Nevertheless, it is not a bad album at all. It sometimes grooves. It is indeed a decent album and just that. Check it out.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
The fifth album from this Austrian band.
Eela Craig was a quintet on this album with a lineup of synths, bass, guitars, drums, keyboards, flutes, piano and vocals.
A choir added their voices to this album too.
I have had the pleasure, sometimes the pleasure, to review their albums and you will find my reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Their previous album, Missa Universalis, was a Catholic mass. It was a good album too. So I had hopes for this album....
The album starts pretty decent with a song which gives me hope for the rest of the album.
I am very much mistaken.
The rest of this album has some hints of Supertramp now and then. But the rest of this album is mostly pop music and........ horror o horror o horror......... disco.
This album is very light and does not offers up much for anyone into a bit more substantial music than third rate pop music. Hence my rating of this forty minutes long album.
The debut album from this Dutch band.
Odyssice was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, mandolin, keyboards, drums, flute and bass.
The band has released two full length albums and I am reviewing both of them this year/you will find the review of their second album somewhere else in this blog.
Holland/The Netherlands has given us a lot of progressive rock bands during the last twenty years.... well, since the invention of progressive rock. I am currently listening to and doing some reviews of Kayak albums and they proves my point.
During the last twenty years, there has been a lot of new bands too. Mostly mainstream melodic progressive rock bands. Most in the neo-prog and prog metal genres.
Odyssice is a band who is following in the footsteps of Camel. Yes, these British legends.
We get seventy minutes of instrumental symphonic prog here. That means long guitar solos and some keyboards work. The music is melodic and not particular hard.
Although the music on this album is soaring towards the skies, mostly in long guitar solos, the music does not offers up anything news. The art of good melody composing has bypassed this album by a mile. That means seventy minutes of decent music which really does not do much for me. It is not a bad album. It is just....... decent.
The third album from this British band.
Hats Of Gentlemen It's Adequate is a sextet with a lineup of piano, synths, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, flutes and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
This band with the very original bandname has released three albums and has been flying well under my radar during this time. I dumped into this album by pure accident.
This album starts out as a nice David Gilmour era Pink Floyd album. The first five tracks on this seventy minutes long album is the best tracks on this album.
The album is very Pink Floyd and mainstream rock orientated throughout these seventy minutes. There is also some ambient and some cinematic music here. There is also a lot of electronica too and some pub rock.
The vocals, both male and female, is very good. The album drops a lot in quality during the end of the album and I have not been too sorry during these listening sessions when the album has come to it's final tones.
I guess this album is modern rock, modern mainstream rock with all this electronica and Pink Floyd influences.
This is a decent album. It is also an album which is kicking in all directions. From pub rock to electronica and ambient music. If this sounds interesting, check out this album.
The debut album from this cooperation between the two giants of progressive rock.
Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt did the vocals, synths and guitars here.
They had help from numerous other musicians from mostly Sweden/The Flower Kings who provided drums, bass, keyboards, grand piano, piano, synths and backing vocals.
Neither Jon Anderson or Roine Stolt need any introduction. Yes and The Flower Kings is among the giants in the progressive rock world.
A cooperation and an album from these two was not that an obvious career choice, though. But the record label Inside Out got the two men together and some song writing over the internet ensued. Then they recorded this album.
Does this album sounds more like Yes or The Flower Kings ?
I would say this album sounds like Jon Anderson on a The Flower Kings album. He has though contributed with a lot of his own stuff, though. Everything here is original stuff, as in contrast with the Anderson/Ponty album. But this album still sounds like a The Flower Kings album. Maybe that is because The Flower Kings has always had a big chunk of Yes in their music.
The sound is very much The Flower Kings.
The music on this one hour long album is symphonic prog with lots of longer suites and classical music influences. It is classic symphonic prog with a lot of complex music and details.
It is also a very good album indeed. A lot of wisdom and efforts has gone into this project and that shows. This is an honest project with the purpose of creating timeless great music and they have almost succeeded. I am positive surprised and pleased. Check out this album.
Monday, 19 February 2018
The sixth album from this German band.
Electric Orange was a quartet with a lineup of tapes, piano, Hammond organs, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Rhodes electric piano.
I have previously dipped my toe into the water of this band by reviewing their eleventh album XX from 2012. You can read my review here.
It is my intention to review a handful of other Electric Orange album this year/you can find my other review of their albums somewhere else in this blog.
The reason is that I really liked XX so much that their albums has been on my radar for a long time. It also helps a lot that I like their genre.
Their genre is krautrock. Spaced out krautrock with a lot of fuzz and noise. I am not so secret follower of this genre. Space and krautrock suits me fine.
Platte is an hour with quite repetitive music which is also pretty ambient. It has a pretty 1970s sound as most of the instruments are from that time. Hence the sound.
There is not much variations here and this album is not really as good as XX. I am a bit bored with this album and it does not inspire me. But it is not a bad album. It is a decent enough album from a band who can do a lot better.
The third album from this German band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of flute, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and German vocals.
Earlier this month, I reviewed their 1973 debut album Tips Zum Selbstmord and you can read this review here.
That album was a hard hitting krautrock album. I have sadly not had the opportunity to listen to their 2012 comeback album Haifische.
The band has not moved far away from their 1973 semi-classic debut album. The music is still pretty hard. There is still some psych rock here. The music is pretty close to being krautrock.
I would actually claim this is a krautrock album. The Hammond organs and the flutes in some pretty psych'ish rock tunes is krautrock good enough for me.
Yes, the band has moved more towards mainstream rock and is in that area. It is pretty hard and lively. This is music for early night music festivals and early nights parties in your house. It is not particular taxing on the brain and it has a minimum amount of interesting details.
The songs are not particular good on this forty minutes long album either. It is a decent album though with a more mainstream appeal than an album for krautrock fans.
The debut album from this English artist and drummer.
Bill Bruford on drums had help from Jeff Berlin on bass, Allan Holdsworth on guitars and Dave Stewart on synths and keyboards. A very strong setup.
They also had help from guest musicians who provided bass, flugelhorn and guitars.
Anette Peacock did some great female jazz vocals here.
Bill Bruford is a well known musician from the likes of Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and other bands. He also released four albums on his own and some other albums in other constellations. A great drummer and composer in other words.
I have always been curious about his solo albums. So I purchased some of them. Reviews to follow soon/you can find reviews of the other Bill Bruford albums somewhere else in this blog.
The album starts almost immediate with some scatching jazz vocals from Anette Peacock and I wondered what the heck this album was. Very good vocals and a good song. But I expected fusion.
Anette sings on two tracks and does a very good job. The rest of the album is instrumental fusion with a great deal of jazz too. The musicians does a very good job on this fifty minutes long album. The music is good throughout without really letting rip. This is indeed a good addition to anyone's fusion collection.
Sunday, 18 February 2018
The 20th album from this English band.
Strawbs was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, banjo, autoharp, hammond, piano, orchestrations and vocals.
They had help from guest musicians who provided cornet, fiddle, harmonica and a children choir.
The band has had it's ups and downs since their Copenhagen recording sessions with Sandy Denny and their debut album in 1969. I have always found this band interesting and relevant, though.
The band has returned to their roots on this album. The son of their first keyboards player is even present on this album. Yes, step forward Oliver Wakeman.
The band has also returned to their folk rock roots here. There are some pretty mainstream rock here too. But most of the album is folk rock with Dave Cousins vocals and guitars the central element here. There are even some fiddles here. There are also a good suite here, lasting eight minutes.
The cover artwork is loony though and I am not sure what the meaning of the artwork is. British off the scale humour I guess. Even I do not get this one.
The songs are mostly pastoral with a couple of uptempo rockers thrown in too. The title track being one of them. The quality of the songs on this forty minutes long album is really good and I am very much enjoying this album. It is another interesting, good album from this band.
The second album from this US musician.
Dave Kerzner plays keyboards, guitars, bass and does the vocals here.
He has got help from numerous other musicians who has provided cello, drums, bass and guitars.
Dave Kerzner is most known for his bands Mantra Vega and Sound Of Contact. But he has also played with Phil Collins, Tom Waits, Steve Hackett, Neil Peart and numerous other famous musicians. He is a studio musician and a hired hand in live bands in other words.
He lets rip with his own ideas and music as a solo artist. And that is great and noble from Dave Kerzner. We like creative musicians who take chances. And Dave Kerzner is doing that. Most recently in the Prog Cruise in the Caribeen Ocean where he played several gigs on board this cruise liner.
The music here is standard neo-prog with some AOR included. There is some progressive metal here too.
The music is very melodic with a great sound and some very good vocals and harmonies.
This seventy-five minutes long album has this project feeling where everyone is contributing without being members of this band. Nice to have great friends.
The music is very nice indeed, but not great. It is a good album which offers plenty for the ears, but not so much for the brains. Enjoyable when the music last. Check it out.
Saturday, 17 February 2018
The debut and so far only album from this US band.
The band is Barry Thompson's band and he has got help from numerous other musicians too. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, synths, violins and vocals. Many vocalists in fact. But only male vocalists.
The album is out on the US label 10T Records who has released some melodic neo-prog and metal albums. A very good record label indeed.
The Anabasis was one of their main bands and it is easy to understand why.
Lots of very solid, talented musicians has helped out Barry here on this album. A seventy-four minutes long album.
There are three long suites here and some rather shorter songs. The suites are all really good and interesting.
The main, the only problem with this album is the lack of some really great songs. The music is melodic with some strong prog metal influences. That include some chugging guitars and keyboards. The vocals are really good too.
And that is that. Everything here is good and would enthuse those who thinks neo-prog with prog metal and AOR influences are their favourite music. I am not entirely won over.
The second album from this multi-national band.
Esperanto was a nine-piece big orchestra with a lineup of viola, cello, violin, bass, drums, vibes, harpsischord, piano, organ and lots of vocals.
Two guest musicians added guitars and more vocals.
I was no fan of their pretty abysmal debut album Esperanto Rock Orchestra album from 1973. An album with a great artwork and very cheesy pop music.
The band turned around during the year between those two albums and went down a totally new path. The album starts with a classical music piece and I am mislead to believe that this is a neo-classical album.
Well, I am thankfully wrong. We get some 1960s hippie pop and psych rock after a while. This with a folk rock influence.
The music is pretty complex and eclectic. Make that....... very eclectic. Almost too eclectic.
Although this album should really suit my taste and preferences, I am not convinced. The quality is simply not here and the album sounds a bit half-baked. Hence this decent album rating I am giving it.
Friday, 16 February 2018
The debut album from this Italian band.
Notabene was a sextet with a lineup of violin, trumpet, bass, drums, guitars, vibraphone, percussions, flute, programming, keyboards and Italian vocals.
Notebene is one of those Italian bands from the 1990s who arrived slightly before Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) became popular again. It is down to archeologists, like myself and likeminded men and women, to dig up and give attention to these bands and their albums.
Notabene released two albums. I will review their second album next week/you will find my review of their second album somewhere else in this blog.
Notabene's music is not straight forward RPI. Well, it starts out like a pretty straight forward RPI with some really great vocals. It is not great music, but it is still RPI.
Then something strange happens......... We get some chamber folk rock, chamber rock and some very jazzy symphonic prog. The trumpet adds a lot of weirdness to this album.
There is some Area resting over this album and there is a lot of Banco too resting on this album. I am intrigued to say at least.
The music is not great. But this fifty-four minutes long album, which includes a hidden track at the end, is still a good album and I have duly noted their name. Notabene deserves a lot more attention.
The fifth album from this English band.
The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, mandolin, banjo and vocals.
They were helped out by two guest musicians who provided synths, congas and organ.
This album sees the first change in guitarists. Laurie Wisefield replaced Ted Turner.
Guitars is the keyword here. The music on this album is rock'n'roll in their own vein and style. There is lots of twin assault guitar attacks and harmonies here.
The music is pretty hard and most of the material here also reminds me a lot about the bands who copied Wishbone Ash twin guitars assaults. Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden springs to mind.
There are also a couple of more quiet and pastoral songs here. Ballads in other words.
But the main theme on this album is hard rock'n'roll. It is still their own take on this genre as this band is pretty unique and has their own style. This album is a prime example of this style.
The album is forty minutes long and it is also their final classic album. The band took a very sharp left turn on the next album and headed straight into a nightmare.
There's The Rub is indeed a good album and one well worth checking out.
The sixth album from this Spanish band.
Amarok was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of eastern string instruments, harp, keyboards, accordion, metal percussion, guitars, bass, saxophone, mallet percussion, flutes, violin, drums and Spanish female vocals.
The band was helped out by three guest musicians who provided vibraslap, Spanish guitars and oboe.
This band must not be confused with the Polish neo-prog band or any of the dozens of other bands with the same name.
Amarok has so far released eight albums since 1994. They are a folk rock band with a prog rock leaning.
O boy is this album progressive. It offers a big challenge for any listener.
The basis here is folk rock....... in a liberal sense of that genre. Add lots of Eastern and Middle East influences. Mostly from Turkey. And I mean folk music. Then you can add some rock music, progressive rock and lots of lots of jazz. That with a big spoon of Spanish folk music too.
Ms. Marta Segura's vocals are superb and the signature of this album and probably of this band, too. There is tonnes of other things going on too on this album. An hour long album when we remove the uninteresting bonus tracks from the review.
Yes, this is a progressive rock album and a good one too. It is not an easy listening album though. This album means I may check out some more albums from this band as I find them interesting. They deserve a lot more attention.
Thursday, 15 February 2018
The fourth album from this Austrian band.
Eela Craig was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of electronics, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, piano, flute and vocals. The vocals are in no less than in Latin, French, English and German.
This album is a Catholic Mass set to piece of symphonic prog. Which is a very very very ambitious project.
The lyrics does not comes across as overtly Christian and preaching. This is more about the mass itself than any savings of lost souls.
And that comes as a relief as I am not too happy about preaching albums.
The album is forty-two minutes long and it really offers up a lot of good and some very good pastoral symphonic prog. Yes, I can hear that this is some sort of a Catholic Mass. They have almost hit their target here. Well, they have hit the target.
A couple of more lively tracks even makes this mass a bit lively too. But that only enhances this keyboards drenched album. An album with some very good synths too. There are also some guitars here which is well hidden, but still a part of the sound.
The result is a good album which is not shaming this band. It is also their best so far. Check out this album.
The second album from this French band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
I reviewed their 1988 debut album Fulmines Regularis last week and was not overjoyed by this album. You can read this album here.
Their second album, this one, has no female zeuhl vocals. There are some male zeuhl vocals here.
There is still a lot of zeuhl here. But much more glad and jolly zeuhl than I am used too. I am not sure if this is zeuhl at all. For me, zeuhl is bombastic music with a dark edge. The music on this album does not have this edge. Yes, I can hear the zeuhl. But not the menacing dark edge. Hmmmm........
There is also a lot of jazz here too and some whimsical jazz too. Which is not too bad.
The sound takes me back to the 1970s. Much more on this album than on their debut album. The album is seventy minutes long. But the studio part is only thirty-five minutes long and that is what I am concentrating my mind on. The live parts are OK, but not reviewed.
The music is not particular interesting and my interest wanes after five minutes every time I listen to this album. It is zeuhl and jazz lite album and there is not much quality on this album. In short, it is a decent album.
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
The fourth album from this British band.
Ten musicians contributed to this album which was recorded long time ago. They contributed with bazouki, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, flute and vocals.
The tapes for this album was found when the eartly possessions of their drummer Stu McDade, who passed away in 2016, revealed an unmastered new album. This album.
Cirkus released their first album in 1973, their second in 1994 and their third in 1998. I have yet to hear any of them. But what I hear, the music was a mix of progressive rock light and commercial rock and pop. They were on the fringes of the progressive rock scene.
So one of the vocalist on this album, Dave Ramshaw, mastered this album and released it on his own label Ramshaw Records. Their fourth record label, no less.
The Blue Star is forty-five minutes of a mix of mainstream rock, a bit progressive rock, some funky pop and lots of pop-rock. The vocals are OK, the sound is good and the musicians is doing an OK job.
The music is too sugary and full on fat. The band tries to be very commercial with lots of sweet synths and melodies.
There are no really good songs here and it sounds a bit too dull for my liking. The audience for this album is the pop-rock and adult pop scene. Not the progressive rock scene. It is not a bad album though. It is just not something for me and the quality is a bit poor.
The sixth album from this Swedish band.
Trettioariga Kriget was a quintet on this album with a lineup of mellotron, organ, piano, bass, guitars, drums and Swedish vocals.
The band returned again after a 20+ years long break. I do not know the full story here but I am sure you can find it somewhere on the web. Actually, I did an interview with the band back in 2011 and the band explained their reason for this break in this interview which you can read here.
Maybe I should start to read my old interviews again.......
Speaking of which... You can also find my other reviews of their other albums somewhere else in the blog you are reading now.
The band plays a sort of modern rock on this album. It is very prog rock type of rock. Got to think of it...... it is indeed prog rock. The music is pastoral at times and at times, a bit heavy. But the heaviness is restrained. The lyrics is reflective and based on hard won life experiences.
The 20+ years long break seems to have concentrated the minds of the band. The music sounds more reflective and more coherent than before.
This forty-five minutes long album is indeed a good album with a lot of good songs and interesting details. The band sounds like a very good band on this album and has come of age. I am glad the band are still together and has released more albums. Check out this album.
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
The one and only album from this Australian band.
Aleph was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, synths, percussion and vocals.
This band and Sebastian Hardie was the Australian bands who kept the symphonic prog rock flame burning down under. This was the time when Australia was very much isolated from the rest of the world. I can now Skype and send an MP3 album to anywhere in Australia and that would only take a minutes. Back in those days, it took weeks. And the album had to pass the vigorous currency control and the toll customs.
It was hard, living in Australia. They got their own scene and that is how it worked.
Aleph was almost forgotten until a local Australian fan brought them to attention of ProgArchives and I got their album after noticing this band on the same website.
Their music is progressive rock with some very melodic and commercial sounding songs. References are a mix of Yes and Supertramp. There is a heck of a lot of both bands in their music. There is also some Genesis references too.
The music is not particular complex. But the guitarist has some rather wild and wonderful guitar solos. One of them are a rip off of a well known Yes song. You should check out this album yourself and find out which Yes song I am referring to....
This album is just over forty minutes long. The vocals are in the vein of Jon Andersson in Yes and maybe not everybody's cup of tea. They are still good and fits in well with the rest of the music.
This is a good album and one to check out if you think this is something for you. This band deserves some attention. Attention they have never really got.
The fourth album from this band from Chile.
La Desooorden was a sextet on this album with a lineup of ebow, trutruca, guitars, percussions, chainsaw, didgeridoo, saxes, piano, bass, ocarina, drums and Spanish vocals.
I have reviewed two of their albums earlier this year and you can find these reviews here and here.
It is a bit difficult to describe their music. But as on their previous album, I would still say the references are Area, Stormy Six, Frank Zappa and Los Jaivas.
The album is a bit more gloomy this time around. The Australian aboriginal instrument didgeridoo has one track for itself.
The music is still pretty jazzy with lots of Frank Zappa and Area like vocals. The music is a bit absurd and avant-garde. A bit da-da ism like music.
We get one hour of music on this album which has a lot of variations and is not that dissonant. It is more gentle atonal than dissonant. And there is a great sense of melody here.
The end result is a good album which should be checked out if jazz and rock with a slight avant-garde leaning is your preferred option.
The debut album from this German band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of synths, organ, bass, drums, guitars and German vocals.
I have bypassed this album many times because I do not like the album title and because I am not into electronic ambient music.
OK, the album title is still not a good one in this current epidemic of suicide my community and our society is facing now. But I was wrong on the electronic ambient music bit.
The music here is in fact hard krautrock with a lot of psych and space rock involved too. There is even some opera symphonic prog too here.
The guitars are harsh and unforgiving. The sound is the typical 1970s krautrock sound. There is a lot of early Hawkwind in their music.
The vocals is also pretty harsh German. They are also good. The organ sound is also good and there is rumbling drums and bass in the bottom of the music.
The original album I am reviewing is forty-four minutes long. You can get an extended version with bonus tracks which takes this album up to over seventy minutes long.
There is no really very good songs here. But this album has a lot of interesting details and that makes it a good album. The band released their third album last year and I will have a look at that one too.
The second album from this British project.
Birzer Bandana is Dave Bandana from Salander on mellotron, piano, synths, organ, bass, drums, programming, guitars and vocals.
He has got help from four guest musicians who provided acoustic guitars, spoken words, mellotron and violins.
I reviewed their 2017 debut album Becoming One back in September last year and found it OK. I noted it was a debut album. In other words, Birzer Bandana was not a finished article or a settled matter. There was room for improvements. You can read that review here.
Birzer Bandana plays a modern form of neo-prog. Dave Bandana's vocals is distorted and there is a lot of mellotron here. New music meets old music.
The music is pretty much pastoral without much guitar riffs in the prog metal vein. There is a lot of moods and ambience here. The mood is melancholic and a bit sad.
The songs are most definate an improvement on their 2017 album Becoming One. The band has actually done what I suspected. They have solidified and found their style. They have also written better songs.
The end result is a very good album indeed. An album I think most of you will really like. Check it out.
Sunday, 11 February 2018
The debut album from this Dutch band.
Kayak was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, synths, marimba, bass, accordion, harpsichord, electric piano, moog, piano, keyboards, guitars, mellotron and vocals.
The band is also supported by some guest musicians who provides cello, violin and barrel organ.
Kayak is one of these big mainland Europe bands in progressive rock. They have released lots of albums and I am planning to review those I got of them this winter. That is a handful of albums.
This fifty minutes long album sees the band debut with music which is a mix of The Beatles, Yes and Barclay James Harvest. There are even a couple of jazzy like runouts by the guitars here.
The band has thrown everything at this album in hope that something will work and will be liked by the general publich which have to part with hard earned cash to get this fifty minutes long album.
And in most cases, the material gives value for money. It is a lot different from most other bands and albums. Kayak were very quick to get their own style and niche. But it works. Mainly because of the warm tones from the organs, mellotron and moog. The songs are pretty good too.
The result is a more than acceptable debut album which gives a forewarning about even greater things to come from this band.
The fourth album from this Polish band.
Albion was a trio with a lineup of guitars, keyboards and female vocals.
They are helped by a trio of guest musicians providing bass, drums and saxophone.
I was pretty sure I had reviewed their most recent album some years ago and I was right. You can find my review of their 2012 album The Indefinate State Of Matter here. Sadly, nothing has been heard about this band after that year.
I really liked that album and were hoping for more of the same on Broken Hopes.
Broken Hopes gives us solid neo-prog with female vocals.
....... There is a difference here though. Something that sets Albion a bit apart from the rest of the crowd. The difference is the occasional use of saxophone. Albion's music is also laidback and quite lounge music at times. The very good vocals and the laidback guitars and keyboards also gives this album a cool feeling.
This made these listening sessions quite pleasant. The music is not particular taxing on my brain either. The music is a bit short on contents. It still has a lot of details and substance. It is not a brain-ripping album, this fifty minutes long album.
The end result is a good album. I hope we will hear more from this band although I fear they have broken up.
Saturday, 10 February 2018
The 16th solo album from this British drummer and member of Toto.
This album was recorded by a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums and bass.
I am still not really into the very intricaties of hardcore jazz and I feel that I am on a very thin ice when I am trying to review an album from a jazz solo artist. Bands is also a familiar thing to me and I have reviewed a lot of fusion albums from bands.
His homepage is here and I have now discovered he is the drummer in Toto. Gosh........ I am just reading his discography now and he has been involved in everything.
That explains why this album sounds so professional. The four highly skilled and well known musicians here has, put together, 200 years experience as record artists and musicians.
And they have put this to good use here. This album is one heck of a racket. There is a lot of guitar, bass and keyboards solos over a solid beat from Simon Phillips. The drums are precise and full of fills.
The musicianship is very impressive. There is no real great pieces of music here though and this album is a bit of run of the mill fusion album.
That aside, this is indeed a good album from four veterans in the scene. Check it out.
The sixth album from this US band.
Majestic is Jeff Hamel on guitars, bass and keyboards.
He has got help from a drummer and some vocalists.
I have started to warm to Jeff Hamel and his music. The previous album, Labyrinth from 2011, is a good album. See my review here. You can also find my review of Ataraxia, the 2010 album, here.
V.O.Z is a double album, clocking in at two hours. Which is a lot of music.
The music is a mix of AOR and neo-prog. But this is Jeff Hamel's take on these genres so we can also add in some avant-garde, prog metal and symphonic prog too into this album.
The music is not that heavy. It is surprisingly melodic. It is very surprisingly organic.
The vocals are good and ditto for the instruments here. The music has got a good groove, indeed. It flows nicely indeed.
The music is also pretty interesting. But two hours of this kind of music can test the most patient listener and reviewer.
There is no real great tracks here. It is nevertheless a good album and an interesting one. It is one to check out as it has it's moments, riffs and melodies.
The fourth album from this Norwegian band.
Airbag is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, programming and vocals.
They had help from three guest musicians who provided Hammond organ, piano and percussion.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing their previous three albums. You can find my reviews here, here and here.
The band's music has always been pretty close to the music of Gazpacho, another great Norwegian band I admire and really like.
The genre is neo-prog with a lot of post-rock influences. Refences are Marillion, Radiohead, A-Ha, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd.
The music is really laid back and a bit pedestrian. And that is not a bad thing at all. Well, it is nice to have bands like this too.
There is a lot of long and poignant guitar solos here in addition to some very good vocals. The bass and drums is also good. The keyboards and programming is adding a lot of mood and ambience.
There is no really great or even very good songs on this fifty minutes long album. Which is a bit of a shame. I got a lot of time for Airbag.
Friday, 9 February 2018
The debut album from this US band.
Pavlov's Dog was a seven piece big band with a lineup of mellotron, guitars, drums, bass, violin, vitar, viola, percussion, keyboards, flute and vocals.
Both this band and this album is regarded as classics in the prog rock scene and I was really looking forward to listen to it and review it. I am also going to review three other albums from this band/you will find three other reviews of their albums somewhere else in this blog.
David Surkamp's vocals came as a bit of a shock. Then again, Rush is my alltime favourite band and David's vocals is in the vein of Geddy Lee. No problems.
The album was produced by the Blue Oyster Cult producer Sandy Pearlman.
The music here on this half an hour long album does indeed have some Rush and Blue Oyster Cult influences. It also has some ELO and Led Zeppelin influences. Kansas is another band I would say the music is influenced by.
It is though difficult to describe the music and sound here. There is a lot of things going on here. From the ballad Julia who starts the album and the ball. Even that ballad is pretty complex. And the album continues down the same road with complex and multi-layered music.
This is indeed one of the most remarkable US prog rock albums from the 1970s. It is also an album that age better with every time you listen to it.
Best of all; it is also a very good album who lives up to it's reputation. Check out this album.
The third and final album from this Yugoslav band.
Korni Grupa was a quintet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
They had help from the local vocalist hero Josipa Lisac.
Korni Grupa was a good band from a now gone country. A country constructed by the big powers and destroyed in a very, very nasty civil war in the 1990s.
Yugoslavia had some good prog, folk and jazz bands though and I have lined up some more bands for reviews in the coming years. Korni Grupa has stirred my inbuilt curiosity.
I have reviewed their two previous albums for this blog and you can find the reviews somewhere else in this blog. Two interesting albums.
1941 was a year when Yugoslavia was invaded and brutally repressed by Nazi-Germany, well helped by the internal conflicts within Yugoslavia where old scores was being settled. A poet wrote a poem and this was made into a TV series. Korni Grupa provided the soundtrack...... which is what I am reviewing here.
Two long tracks and I had my grave doubts before I started to listen to this album. Well, I got a surprise.
The sound is a bit iffy as this album was recorded live in the studio. But the two long songs are greatly enhanced by the vocals from Josipa Lisac.
The songs are both heavy, brooding and very much in tune with the theme described over. This is war and suffering music. That also means some gloomy pastoral music too. There is lots of guitars and keyboards here on this half an hour long album.
The sound is not good and this album could had been a lot better if it was recorded in a normal way with takes and retakes. Nevertheless, this is not a bad album at all. It is somewhere between decent and good. It is a lot better than I thought it would be. This album deserves some attention.
Thursday, 8 February 2018
The second album from this Greece band.
Mother Turtle is a sextet with a lineup of flute, violin, saxophone, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, ukulele and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
They have had help from two other vocalists too.
I really liked their 2013 self-titled debut album. A good journey through everything 1970s prog rock. So I was looking forward to the follow up.
Mother Turtle has expanded to a sextet and expanded their sound too. There is a lot more sound on this album.
The three minutes long sound collage The Towers, which is about 9/11 and the falling Twin Towers, is a painful to hear sound collage. Not that I disagree with it. Far from it. But it brings back some really awful memories from that day. One of the worst days in my life. The sound collage is poignant and very good. It also makes my skin crawl. A great tribute to those who perished that day.
Besides of that, the band again visits the 1970s and the more pastoral parts of those days rock and prog rock.
The quality has dropped a lot, I am afraid. There is no good songs and the forty-five minutes of music is pretty dull, I am sorry to report. The result is an album somewhere between decent and good.
The debut album from this French band.
The band was an eight piece band with a lineup of saxophones, bass, drums, guitars, synths, piano, percussions and vocals. Both male and female vocals. French vocals.
Magma is a band who has inspired some bands. Not many enough bands, in my view. But still some bands and we should be grateful for those who plays zeuhl.
You get the soprano vocals and some demented male vocals here. You also get the pulsating bass. A bass which is not as harsh and atonal as in zeuhl.
The zeuhl here is very upbeat and happy. Not dark and demented as the zeuhl the masters Magma did. There are also some avant-garde nodding and ambient music here in the middle of the album before it return to some happy chappy zeuhl.
The album is almost seventy-five minutes long and pretty obscure. It is not really a good album and the zeuhl is a bit toothless. It is like going to war with guns who are only firing blanks.
The end result is a decent to good album which does not really makes the grade, I am afraid.
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
The seventh album from this Spanish band.
Kotebel is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion.
A guest musician provides flutes.
I have done reviews of four of their albums for # 1 of this blog and one for Progarchives which you can read here.
I named the review for ProgArchives as "Kotebel does not do easy listening". That is so true. Their music is on the very complex end of the music spectrum.
Their music is generally somewhere between neo-classical music and symphonic prog. Mostly neo-classical music.
That is not really the case on Cosmology, though. They have chosen a slightly different path here. They still mixes neo-classical music with symphonic prog. They have though added a bit jazz and a bit Spanish folk music into their music on this album. There is a Spanish flavour in their music on this album. There is even some hot blooded flamenco here !
The music is still complex. But it is also melodic to a certain extent. It is by no means easy listening music. It still have enough bite and sneer to scare off most people. But it is still a lot of melodic stuff here and some really good details.
The album clocks in at just over one short hour. I say short because time flies in the company of this album. There is lots of goodies here and food for the brain. This is indeed a very good album and another reminder that Kotebel is one heck of a band. One of the most interesting bands in the prog rock scene.