Saturday, 31 March 2018
The seventh album from this Irish band.
Horslips was a quintet with a lineup of bodhran, guitars, bass, drums, fiddle, concertina, mandolin, flute, tin whistle, keyboards and vocals.
This band started out as a folk rock band on their first albums. They were indeed one of the first folk rock bands from Ireland and the most known of them.
Thin Lizzy had also made it out of Ireland with their mix of heavy rock and Irish folk rock. Most heavy rock, it has to be said. Why do I drag Thin Lizzy into this review ? Because Horslips had now moved on from their folk rock formula and onto something else.
There is a lot of Thin Lizzy in their music. Just listen to the opening full track The Wrath Of The Rain and you get a full on Thin Lizzy riffs. And the vocals are also at times in Phil Lynott modus.
There is also some Jethro Tull lurking around on this album and some country'n'western..... and some folk rock. Irish folk rock.
The music is pretty much standard rock with the influences listed above incorporated. The band had moved on, indeed.....
This is not one of their classic albums and I doubts their fans would rate this album. They would probably rather forget it. But it is still a decent album and not a total waste of forty minutes. There is some good things on this album too. Check it out.
The 12th album from this Polish band.
Millenium was a sextet with a lineup of saxophone, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
A female vocalist also added her voice and vocals to this album.
I have been reviewing some of their albums this winter and I have found this band a very good band. You can read my reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Millenium is one of, thankfully, many Polish neo-prog bands. The standards of Polish neo-prog is very high and Millenium is in the vanguard of this scene.
The band does their neo-prog a bit different than most other neo-prog bands as they have saxophone as one of their major instruments. They are also leaning towards Pink Floyd too in addition to being true to the melodic neo-prog genre.
The music is very melodic. The music on this fifty minutes long album is not as complex and symphonic as on their previous albums. The added female vocals, which is mostly everywhere in addition to the male vocals, has also given the band a new voice and sound.
Some of the songs are actually duets between male and female vocals. Nice.
This album does not have much of a nasty bite and complexity. It still delivers some good neo-prog though. This is another good album from this Polish band and just that. But it is not their best album.
The fourth album from this Argentine band.
The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of balalaika, organ, guitars, percussion, woodwinds, drums, bass and vocals.
The band had some help from other vocalists, bassists and guitarists.
Their first three albums has bypassed me, I am afraid. So I am not able to do a running commentary on their development.
The band started out as a psych/space rock band on their debut album. And they ended up with this album, which is the last sign of life from this band.
The music on Celula Dormida is avant-garde psych prog. There is a lot of psych rock here too. But most of this album is out there in the avant-garde land.
The band experiments a lot with psych rock and drags the tones out into outer avant-garde land. Some of this album is also spaced out.
The music and the use of instruments is all over the place.
This album is fifty minutes long and it has a few good ideas. But most of this album is half-decent to decent. This is an album everyone into avant-garde, really into avant-garde rock should check out.
The eight album from this Dutch band.
Kayak was an eight piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, banjo, lute, keyboards, percussion, two backing female singers and male vocals.
They had help from two other musicians who provided violin and trumpet.
This band is legends and a national treasure in Holland. With good reasons, in my view. I am reviewing a lot of their albums this year and have found a great band in Kayak. You can find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
This is a kind of a concept album, using the same theme as Rick Wakeman's "the myths and legends of King Arthur". We are back in the good old past in other words.
The music on this album is a mix of symphonic prog, AOR and more pop and rock. There is a lot of Supertramp influences here. But I would say Kayak has got their own sound on this album.
There is a lot of strings here, arranged by the keyboards legend and Kayak founder, Ton Scherpenzeel. The vocals is very good and the band hit the jackpot when they recruited Edwaard Reekers some albums ago.
The music has a commercial feel. But it is never really dull. There is a lot of good stuff here. My only gripe is the lack of a truly great track. Nevertheless, this is an album well worth checking out.
Friday, 30 March 2018
The second and final album from this Scottish band.
Pyramidion was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and chanting.
I had the joy of reviewing their debut album some days ago and that album did not really appeal to me. Read my review here.
The band was a spaced out krautrock band. The band was also a local supergroup from Glasgow with members from other jam bands and space rock bands.
This album is fifty minutes and four tracks long. All of them are space rock jams.
The bass is pretty good and the main instrument here. The guitars and drums are hovering around the bass-lines, adding textures.
Their take on spaced out krautrock is easy and simple. It is also pretty much working....... to a certain degree.
This is by no means a bad album. Neither is it a good album. It is a decent album which may appeal to the most spaced out krautrock fan among you. Check it out.
The one and only album from this British band.
I have no details or anything about this band. But I gather that the band was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals.
This album was released by EMI here in UK and Forum Records in USA the year after. A single was also released. These releases sunk without trace and this album has not been re-released on CD either.
The LP can be picked up pretty easy and cheap from Discogs.
Obscurity can happen for a good reason too. In this case, for a very good reason.
The music on this album is a mix of hard rock, AOR and some pomp rock. Supertramp is a good reference.
The music is also pretty commercial and very AOR at times.
The vocals are good and the music has some hit potential.... in 1975. The band and the label was four years too late with this album and I cannot really understand why EMI released this album.
The music on this forty minutes long album is decent enough and I give them credit for the musicianship and their skills. Nevertheless, this is a dull album which I doubt will get many fans these days...... or more reviews.
The sixth album from this British band.
The Pentangle was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, flutes, drums, dulcimer, banjo, harmonica, sitar, percussion and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
Solomon's Seal was the final album from their first period, the 1960s and the 1970s. The band re-appeared again with some albums in the 1980s and went on until the death of their key members a few years ago.
They were among the best ever folk rock bands in the British scene, make that the world wide folk rock scene. Their guitarists also gave their music a psych and acid sound too.
That also goes on this album. Folk rock with a touch of psych and acid rock. The guitars here are great. The vocals are very good.
This thirty-five minutes long album has a lot of good music. The vocals makes these songs a lot better. In particular Jacqui McShee's vocals.
This is a solid good album without any great songs which this album screams out for. Nevertheless, it is well worth checking out this album.
The debut album from this French band.
Nine Skies is a nine piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, piano, saxophones, keyboards, drums and vocals.
A guest musician provided flutes on one song.
I have never heard about this band before and I believe this band is rather more a studio project than a band. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
Nine Skies plays a sort of neo-prog.
Their music is pretty theatrical, with a nod to Ange, and a bit jazzy. There is also a lot of Marillion influences here and a influences from Robert Reed and his Sanctuary albums. Not to mention some Middle-East folk rock and symphonic prog influences.
The vocals are good and ditto for the guitars. The sound is very big throughout this almost one hour long album.
The music is good throughout. My only gripe is the absence of a great song. Nevertheless, this is an album well worth checking out.
Thursday, 29 March 2018
The debut album from this Brazilian band.
Quarto Sensorial is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, percussion and guitars.
Some guest musicans has added saxophones and cello.
Brazil has always had a great prog rock/jazz scene and this band is another addition to this scene. Brazil is also a vast country. One of the largest in the world.
This sounds like a jazz band and it is............ sort of.
Take latin rock, jazz, post rock and eclectic prog. Mishmash those genres and you get this band.
There is a lot of acoustic and electric guitars here. There is also a lot of bass and drums here. The saxophones are only used on half the tracks.
The music is instrumental and that is not an easy genre. The lack of a focal point is the problem here.
This album is just over half an hour long and it has some decent stuff. It feels a bit half-baked and the ideas should be worked on a lot more than the band has done. There is a few good things here too. Hence my rating.
Wednesday, 28 March 2018
The debut album from this UK band.
Mantra Vega is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, low whistles, keyboards and vocals.
The band got help from musicians providing bansuri, guitars and xtra vocals.
Mantra Vega is a supergroup with Heather Findlay, Dave Kilmister, Dave Kerzner and others.
Guest artists are Troy Donockley and Arjen Lucassen.
Impressive indeed !!
The music touches the bands these musicians has been involved in. Mostly Autumn, Sound Of Contact, Steven Wilson and solo projects.
That means a mix of folk rock, neo-prog, goth rock and modern symphonic prog.
Heather Findlay's vocals are again a treasure. The others are also doing a great job.
A great job on material which is failing to set the world on fire. There is a lot of good details on this one hour long album. But the songs here still leaves a lot to be desired.
This is indeed a good album with some great musicians who has been given some songs which is not up to their standards of musicianship.
The fourth album from this Norwegian band.
Arabs In Aspic was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing some of their albums in this blog and you can find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
There is no doubts in my mind that this band is one of the better bands from the Norwegian prog rock scene. This scene is perhaps the best scene in the world right now.
Their album art-works very much describe and explains their music. Something this band should get a lot of praise for. These guys are 100 % into what they are doing. Their clothing are also.... colourful.
And so is their music. Take the end of the 1960s flower power, add a lot of 1970s symphonic prog, psych rock and stoner. The end result can be something like this band and this album.
The keyboards gives us a rich Hammond organ sound and a rich moog and mellotron sound. The good old keyboards sound. The vocals are still heavy accented and charming. I hope their vocalist's English stays that way.
The music is melodic, flowery and good. This forty minutes long album offers both smiles and quality music to the listener. And that is not a bad thing at all.
The fourth album from this German band.
Squintaloo is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, mandolin, slide guitar, saxophone, musical saw, synth, marimba, programming, percussion, vibraphone and shanty choir.
Four other vocalist also added shanty choir.
The band has released four albums without much fanfare and attention outside their hometown Berlin. The band is known as a great live-band and that has been their life since the release of their debut album back in 1998. Uber Bord is their international breakthrough and a lot of positive attention has come their way.
Their music is instrumental eclectic prog. There is a lot of King Crimson, the jazzy era of Gong and krautrock in their music. Add experimental metal too and you will get this.
The music is very, very eclectic. So much that it is almost difficult to review this album. But the music on this one hour album is never really avant-garde and falls for the temptation of going ambient.
The music is very focused throughout. It is also very, very dense and pretty hard too.
There is some harsh guitar riffs here and a lot of other instruments. Synths, drums and bass springs to mind.
The end result is a good album. I would not mind seeing this band live as I believe they are far better live than on a record like this one.
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
The debut album from this US band.
Montrose was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
I have always heard about this band and I have always wanted to check them out. So when I spotted their 5 CDs box a couple of years ago, I bought it. But it has taken me until now to dive into this box. One of the CDs in the box is also a Ronnie Montrose solo album.
Besides of Ronnie Montrose, who gave the name to this band, you also find Sammy Hagar on vocals. The same man was less than complimentary about Ronnie in his self-biography released some years ago. But Ronnie Montrose can really play guitar and his guitars are really good. Ditto for Sammy's vocals.
This album has been branded as the first ever US heavy metal album. But I still think this is a hard rock album with some southern rock and blues influences. There is a lot of similarities with Led Zeppelin here. But Montrose was a hard rock band where Led Zeppelin was not.
This thirty-two minutes, eight minutes long album still stands up to scrutiny, forty-five years after it's release. It has a couple of very good songs (Rock Candy and Bad Motor Scooter) and some good songs. The overall quality is therefore good. This album is a treat for anyone into US hard rock.
The ninth album from this Ukranian band.
Karfagen is a sextet on this album. Antony Kalugin on keyboards and vocals has got help from a guitarist, drummer, bassist, sax player and a female keyboardist and vocalist.
I have reviewed some of their records for this blog, ProgArchives and # 1 of this blog. I have not liked all their albums. But I do respect Antony Kalugin as one of the leading lights in today's prog rock scene together with Fabio Zuffanti, Steven Wilson and Roine Stolt. He is up there with these three guys.
Karfagen is also leaning quite heavy on the more heavy and melancholic Eastern European and Russian classical music.
That is not so much the case on this album. An album which is pretty joyful compared to this tradition. There is still substantial darkness and melancholy in the music on this album.
Karfagen has gone slightly afar into the space on this album. But it is not space rock by any means. There is a lot of really great guitar solos here and a lot of keyboards wizardry.
The music is pretty much neo-classical symphonic prog and it is really good too. There is a lot of music to enjoy on this one hour long album. It is one album you should check out.
The debut album from this band from Glasgow, Scotland.
Pyramidion was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, percussion, guitars and vocals.
This Glasgow band was pretty short-lived and a local supergroup with members from several other Glaswegian bands. They released two albums. Both to be reviewed in this blog/both has been reviewed in this blog.
This fifty minutes long album is a krautrock album with references to Amon Duul and Ash Ra Tempel.
The sound has the 1970s feel and is not the best. I did not think this band paid top dollar for the recording. The music also sounds improvised and from outer space. The vocals contains of screams and shouts. None of them makes any sense.
This album is a good tribute to the bands mentioned above. It has three songs and only the final song is really any good. Nevertheless, the quality is not here on this album...... Hence the rating.
The debut album from this Brazilian band.
Ars Pro Vita is the Venegas brothers, Paolo Jose and Luis, band. They are playing everything here. That means synths, guitars, samples, programming and vocals.
Ars Pro Vita is a new name in the symphonic prog scene and very much a welcome addition to the genre.
Minor is a one hour long album. An album that reminds me a bit about the French band Elend. But there is also a lot of acoustic and more human sounds and music here.
There is indeed some semi-acoustic tracks here with vocals. My fear about another instrumental albums with cascades of synths was not founded in reality.
There is a lot of vocals and pretty nice songs on this album. All of them are pretty pastoral and mellow. All of them pretty symphonic too.
The album returns to being instrumental symphonic prog at the end of this almost one hour long album.
I am surprised how pastoral these songs are and how organic most of this album is. This is indeed a good album who promises a lot for the future. Get this album.
Monday, 26 March 2018
The one and only album from this Swedish band.
The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, synths, piano and Swedish vocals.
This is a very obscure Swedish band which not even I had heard about before this album showed up in my inbox. I thought it was a brand new band. It is not.
The sound and music is very much 1979. The sound is actually very good and crisp.
The music is a bit all over the place. Take hard rock, add a lot of Swedish pop-rock and some funk. At the end, we even get some fusion and reggae.
This is indeed an album with everything.
The guitars are very good. The vocals good and the lyrics is best forgotten.
The end result is a forty-five minutes long album which is not too bad. It is decent enough. It is a time capsule and a throwback to the 1970s Sweden. That is what this is.
The 12th album from this German band.
Electric Orange was a quartet on this album with a lineup of percussion, drums, cymbal, bass, bass violin, hammond organ, farfisa, synths, harmonium, moog, mellotron, rhodes organ, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitars and some vocals.
This band is one of my guilty pleasures. I really like their take on krautrock.
Their take on krautrock has a lot of post rock influences. The band is sometimes building walls of sound and sometimes being very ambient and pastoral.
It is all about moods in their world. It is also very much the early Pink Floyd.
Volume 10 is their twelfth album and I wonder if the album title means turn the volume up to 10 when listening to this album. Well, I cannot do that in my office and my flat. But I get their drift.
Volume 10 is eighty minutes long and it takes a lot to get going. It is almost painfully ambient in the beginning. Then it starts to bloom towards the middle part and the end before it ends after these eighty minutes.
It has to be said that this album is not their finest moment. It is still a fairly good album and that is what I am giving this album. There are far better Electric Orange albums out there, though.
The fourth album from this Norwegian band.
Pymlico is quintet with a lineup of bass, bass synths, keyboards, guitars, saxophone, piano, drums, percussion and voice.
The band had help from some other musicians who provided trombone, saxophone, trumpet and guitars.
I have reviewed their first three albums and I have liked them. You can read my review of their previous album, the 2014 album Guiding Light here. The review also have links to my reviews of the first two albums.
The band has always operated somewhere in the symphonic prog landscape with some pretty notable fusion influences.
This too is the case for this album. There is a notable difference though.
This album is sliding towards lounge-fusion and easy-listening music. Dare I say it.... elevator muzak. Well, they are not there yet. But some of the music here is pretty light on substance.
There are also other parts where the band sounds like the good old Pymlico. But I am worried about the development of this band. Too much light and commercial sounding music. Not enough substance. Hence my rating.
Sunday, 25 March 2018
The 14th album from this English artist.
Guy Manning does the guitars, bass, drums, mandolin, keyboards, percussion and vocals.
He has got help from numerous others musicians who does banjo, guitars, cello, violins, fiddles, viola, organs, saxes, flutes, bassoon, trumpet, percussion, bass, drums and background vocals.
This album is another concept album from Guy Manning. This time about a village left behind behind by everyone and then reclaimed by the nature and the forests. There is a lot of them around. In particular here in Scotland. But also in Guy Manning's Yorkshire.
This is said to be his final album as Manning and solo artist. I hope not as Guy Manning is a great artist who still has a lot to give. Then again, I do not know the circumstance here.
I have reviewed all his albums for Progarchives and # 1 of this blog. Most of these albums has been great to brilliant.
His music has been very accurate described as symphonic folk rock. And that is what we get on this concept album.
His vocals is in the same vein as Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull. A lot of the music here is acoustic and half-acoustic. The music is symphonic prog and folk rock at the same time. Symphonic folk rock in other words.
There is no real great songs here. But this is still a very good album from a very underrated artist and songwriter. Check it out and check out his other albums too.
The tenth album from this Polish band.
Millenium was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
They had help from two guest musicians who provided saxophone and female vocals.
I normally never review live albums. But after checking out this album, I discovered that this is a re-recording of their second album, the 2000 album Vocanda. My guess is that the band did not like or could no longer live with the original album. An album almost impossible to find.
....Aaah.... I see. This album was recorded during the rehearsals for their 15 years celebration gig for the launch of their record label Lynx Music. A great record label which I really like.
I very much like this band so I am very pleased to get the chance to listen to Vocanda songs. Live or not.
Millenium is a neo-prog band and I have reviewed some of their albums for this blog. Check out my other reviews somewhere else in this blog.
This band operates at the more melodic end of the neo-prog spectrum. The music is pretty elegant and full of nice guitar solos and soaring melodies with soaring male and female vocals.
There are some elements of Pink Floyd and symphonic prog in their music too.
This is indeed a good one hour long album which would really appeal to everyone into melodic neo-prog. Fans of this genre should urgently check out this band too.
Saturday, 24 March 2018
The debut album from this US-German band.
Percewoods Onagram was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, harmonica, flute and vocals.
I purchased their 5 CD box some years ago and reviewed Wolfgang Michel's solo album, which was included in this box, for # 1 of this blog back in May 2016. See the review here.
I have now come back to review the four Percewoods Onagram CDs included in that box.
The band had a pretty big cult following after being taken under the wings of Alexis Korner in London.
Based on this album, that is pretty strange. The music here is a mix of folk rock, acid folk, krautrock and psych prog.
The sound is pretty poor despite of the remastering. The music sometimes reminds me about the mindless music Amon Duul released and I hate.
But there is signs of intelligent life on this album. Not much intelligent life. But there are a couple of decent songs here.
I am starting to wonder what the heck I have done now as I have to review their three remaining albums too. I hope they are not as bad as this one.
A couple of decent songs saves this album from the turkey yard. Avoid this album.
The second and final album from this Japanese band.
Providence was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, guitars and Japanese vocals.
I really liked their 1989 debut album and rated it pretty highly here. A good, albeit an unusual album.
Seven years later and the band returned again with a very long album title and a pretty ambitious album too. The music is very ambitious here.
The cover art-work has a stoner/space rock feel. Even a metal feel. But this type of music is nowhere to be found on this album.
What we get is neo-prog. Neo-prog with some classic rock anno 1975 and a lot of Japanese symphonic prog inspirations.
The keyboards provides a great organ feel. A Hammond organ feel. The guitars are pretty melodic and flowery in the style. Ditto for the vocals in their native Japanese language. The music is both exotic and familiar sounding. The sound is great.
This fifty-three minutes has some good music and is really captivating. I am hooked and captivated by this very good album. Please give us more bands and albums like this, Japan.
The fifth album from this British band.
The Pentangle was a quintet on this album with a lineup of percussion, guitars, bass, drums, banjo and vocals. Both female and male vocals.
The Pentangle was one of the best folk rock bands from the 1970s and through all times. One of the reasons for their stature is this album.
There is a couple of US folk rock standards on this album. Their cover of Will The Circle Be Unbroken feels out of place and a cheap cash-in on this album. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The rest of the album is a mix of acid rock and folk rock. Bert Jansch's rather jazzy and acid guitars are all over the melodies here and is adding lots of value to this album.
The songs are pretty standard fare in acid folk and not overly exciting.... if Bert Jansch had not played on them.
The vocals are good too and this adds another layer of value to this album.
That elevates this album up to a good standard and one every folk rock fan should check out.
Friday, 23 March 2018
The thirteenth album from this British band.
Wishbone Ash was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
They got help from an extra bassist and two keyboard players.
The band was in pretty bad shape at this moment, commercially. The world had moved on and Wishbone Ash was chasing after it.
Heavy metal was all the rage in 1985. So the band thought they could chase after other twin guitars bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. After all, those two bands was heavy influenced by Wishbone Ash. So what could go wrong ?
The songs are pretty horrible. The vocals sounds strained and the band did not have a clue what heavy metal was. The band was never a heavy metal band. But this is a heavy metal album.
The end result is a convincing as a nun in the full nun uniform playing football. Trying to play football, that is. The heavy metal cliches comes thick and fast. All the bad ones, that is. The art work is horrible. There is nothing redeeming about this album whatsoever.
The turkey has been served and I am including this one in my collection of turkeys.
The fourth album from this British band.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of organ, synths, mellotron, bass, guitars, drums and vocals.
They had help from musicians who provided trombone, percussion and background vocals.
I have always thought Manfred Mann's Earth Band was a cover band who did other's songs and got some hits by them. They have done two early Bruce Springsteen songs from his two first albums and got a couple of hits with them.
It came as a surprise to me that they had released an album like Solar Fire. An album which is a total break with my preconceptions of this band.
So I purchased this album.
Solar Fire is pretty close to being an Eloy album. The music is very spaced out. It still retains some beat and hard rock too. And some symphonic prog and classical music. ELP also sometimes springs to mind during this album.
It is pretty obvious that this is not a space rock band as some of this music feels a bit forced. But there is still a lot of good details on this forty minutes long album.
I doubt that I will re-visit this band again. But this album is a good one.
The third album from this Norwegian band.
Arabs In Aspics is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, hammond, piano, synths, percussion and vocals.
Rune Sundby from Ruphus adds vocals on one track.
I reviewed their second album, the 2010 album Strange Frame Of Mind ten days ago and you can find my review here. I will review their remaining two albums later this month/you will find my reviews of their remaining two albums somewhere else in this blog.
This band is one of those bands who makes the new Norwegian prog rock scene so interesting. And some would say; Norway has perhaps the best progressive rock scene in the world at the moment.
Arabs In Aspics plays a retro psych and flower power brand of progressive rock. Some may label this as stoner rock. The music is perhaps too melodic to be called stoner rock. Nevertheless, the music is in that area.
The vocals are most in English. Heavy accented English.... which is very charming indeed. The vocals are good. The sound is very retro and very fresh at the same time.
There are also some sporadic heavy guitars here too and a great Hammond organ sound.
I am not really won over by the quality which is not as good as I had hoped. But this album, and indeed band, is a grower. This is therefore a good album from a band who I am getting more and more into. Check it out.
The tenth album from this Swedish band.
The band is a sextet on this band with a lineup of drums, guitars, bass, keyboards, saxophone and vocals.
This band has had a colourful career since their 1974 debut album. Most of their albums has been with Swedish vocals and lyrics. So it came as a surprise that the band switched to English vocals on this album.
The album is following up from their 2011 album Efter Efter. There is again a lot of grown up, reflective rock here.
There is also some strong hints towards their own 1970s albums and bands like Procol Harum.
Mellotrons and flutes, created by the keyboards, is adding a lot to their sound. Ditto for the vocals which is really good. The lyrics also reflects on their age and newfound wisdom.
There is not much technical wizardry here and not so much progressive rock. The musicians does what they have to do to drive the no-nonsense music forward.
The end result is a cosy, warm forty-five minutes long album who is falling a bit short in quality. It is still a weak Good rating from me as I am really enjoying this album.
Thursday, 22 March 2018
The third album from this band from the Dominican Republic.
El Trio is a trio with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums, guitars and Spanish vocals.
I have earlier this year reviewed their first two albums and have found them pretty OK. I am not a fan, I have to admit.
Their two albums has been a mixed bag of fusion and more harder rock too. It has taken them two album to develop into the band who has released this album, Las Manos.
Las Manos is forty-seven minutes long and it reminds me a lot about some of the Pez albums from Argentina. That means....
.. A mix of Latin fusion, jazz and folk rock. All this is mixed with modern hard rock again. Modern hard rock and some old hard rock from the likes of Jimi Hendrix.
This album has some hard music throughout and there is not many pauses between the unrelenting hard rocking music. Yes, there is some Latin fusion and some folk rock too. But most of all, Las Manos rocks and rocks hard.
It is a hard rocking album with a few good songs and details. Most of the songs are going nowhere fast and is severe lacking in quality. I am again not convinced. But I wish them well.
The second album from this Irish band.
Horslips was a quintet with a lineup of fiddle, concertina, mandolin, guitars, bass, drums, banjo, Uileann pipes, concert flute, whistle, keyboards, bodhran, percussion and vocals.
Horslips returned again with their second album.
I reviewed their debut album some days ago and I quite liked that album. You can find the review and some other Horslips reviews somewhere else in this blog.
The Tain is regarded as the band coming into their own. It is an unusual album, even these days where everyone does Irish folk music or even Irish rock with a touch of Irish folk music. This album still stands out.
The mix of Irish folk music and Anglo-Saxon rock music is pretty unusual. The folk music is very wild inbetween a couple of more pastoral songs. The rock music is pretty dark with a hint of Black Sabbath.
This is also a concept album about an Irish mythology saga. I am not sure what it is all about.
The music is pretty dark and brooding. The quality is very good and this must surely be one of the better Irish folk rock albums out there. Not that I am an expert. But this is a very good album indeed and a must have for those into folk rock.
The third album from this US band.
Schooltree is a sextet with a lineup of organ, piano, synths, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Female vocals, that is.
I have not had the chance to listen to their first two albums My Metal Mother (2011) and Rise (2013). Maybe I should get those two albums.
Schooltree does a female vocals fronted take on neo-prog. The British band Magenta immediate entered my mind and has stayed there throughout these listening sessions.
The vocals is much the same as Christina Booth and the way of approaching the melodies are also the same.
That is by no means a bad thing as Magenta has a big star in my home. In most prog rock fans homes, I would guess. Schooltree has a good taste !
The album is close to being one hundred minutes long. Not everything here is good. There are a few very good things here.... the vocals, the piano and some melody lines. This not the most exciting music around and one hundred minutes of it is one big dinner.
This is a good album though and one to check out.
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
The third album from this Norwegian band.
Pymlico is Arild and Oyving Broter on organ, keyboards, piano, drums and guitars.
They have got help from numerous other musicians who has provided synths, piano, trombone, bass, guitars, flute, percussion, saxophone and vocals.
Some years ago, I reviewed their 2011 debut album Inspirations for ProgArchives and you can find my review here. You can find my review of their second album Directions (2012) here.
The band has so far, anno March 2018, released four albums. A review of their fourth album will follow next week/you can find my review of that album somewhere else in this blog.
Pymlico does instrumental symphonic prog. The music is pretty cinematic throughout this album.
The obvious references are Pink Floyd and Camel. I also find some mid-1980s Jan Hammer lurking in their soundscape too. There are also some fusion influences too. And a lot of Porcupine Tree influences.
The music is good throughout these fifty minutes. It is not a sparkling spectacular album. But it is a good album, well worth checking out.
The debut album from this Italian band.
Afasia is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Italian vocals.
I am like a cat chasing birds when it comes to Italian progressive rock. My interest in this genre, RPI, is at times a bit unhealthy and leads me astray.
Getting this album is not that unhealthy. It is just that it is not Italian progressive rock.
Afasia gives us an hour of Italian progressive metal. Yes, there are some hints of the good old Italian progressive rock bands from the 1970s. PFM and those bands springs to mind.
I was starting to fearing the worst after four minutes when this already hard and heavy album gives us a minute of djent. Djent is not a good word in my world. But thankfully.......
The music turns more towards progressive metal and heavy/power metal from the 1990s. The music is hard and bombastic with a couple of more mid-tempo and pastoral parts inbetween the hard hitting music.
I am not particular taken in by this album. The heavy and progressive metal cliches comes thick and fast at times. There is too many of them for my liking. There are also some good stuff here too. Hence my rating.
The sixth album from this Dutch band.
Kayak was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussion, drums, celesta, harspischord, organ, piano, accordion, synths and vocals.
Two female vocalists also added their voices to this album.
Kayak had got a new vocalist on this album. Edward Reekers vocals is actually very suitable to this band's music and they are also very good.
The band continues on from their fifth album Starlight Dancer. See my review here. There is a lot of Supertramp, Genesis and in particular The Moody Blues here. There is even some Camel influences here.
That means prog rock bordering to pomp rock and europop.
The songs are pretty catchy and in tune with 1978s moods and sounds. The music is a bit pompous and dramatic. The songs are not long on this forty minutes long album. Ten songs, this album has.
Some of the songs are good. Some songs are not so good. The sound is not really that good. I have some small reservations against this album... Hence my rating.
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
The debut album from this Japanese band.
Providence was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and female vocals.
A guest musician provided xtra guitars on one track.
Neo-prog from Japan is not common fare. It took me some time to find any other neo-prog bands from this wonderful country. There is some other bands... but they are rare.
This band released two albums before they were disbanded. Both will be reviewed here/has been reviewed in this blog.
It is claimed that the vocals are in English here. I have yet to find a single English word in their vocals and I guess that the vocals are in Japanese. Which is great !
The music is pretty symphonic too. Fifty-three minutes divided on four songs means they are pretty epic, these songs. The sound is also very Japanese and Asian. This is indeed exotic, refreshing music.
The vocals are good and the musicians also do a good job. The songs too are good and I really like this album. It is an unusual album, a highly original album which is leaning towards Japanese symphonic prog throughout while still remaining a neo-prog album.
Check out this highly unusual album.
The one and only album from this Brazilian band.
Mandala was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, flute, saxophone, guitars, percussion, synths and some vocals.
A Brazilian friend with the same approach to music as mine tipped me off about this album and I went to Youtube to have a look and listen. A very good tip off it was.
I am still a jazz newbie and this album/band is among the most hardcore jazz albums I have so far reviewed for this blog and # 1 of this blog.
There is a lot of Weather Report, Return To Forever and some Soft Machine in their music. Music with a lot of good saxophone and piano solos.
There are also some more melancholic band pieces in addition to the solos. The piano is very good on both the solos and the band pieces.
There is also a lot of pretty standard jazz stuff here with the rhythm section following this classic structure. Yes, I am a jazz newbie.
As a prog rocker, I really like this album a lot. It is indeed a good half an hour jazz album. Check out this album.
The second album from this Polish band.
Wave is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, piano, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
A guest provides violins.
I have not had the chance to hear their debut album so I cannot comment on their progression. I have got this album and that is all I was given.
I am a fan of neo-prog from Poland. Wave is giving just that.
The music here is melodic and nice. There are some mainstream rock influences too here. But some of their music reminds me a lot about their fellow countrymen Believe.
The vocals are OK and just that. They are heavy accented too. The keyboards and guitars are really good.
The quality of this fifty minutes long album is decent to good throughout. It is not the most exciting neo-prog album I have heard from Poland and it is not among the best ones either. The band has talent and they need to raise their game in the future.
Monday, 19 March 2018
The debut album from this US band.
Doc's Ferment is a duo of Jason and Justin Bellino. Their lineup is mellotron, moog, synths, mandolin, percussion, drums, guitars, lap steel guitar, sitar, banjo and some vocals.
The band is from Cleveland in Ohio, USA and that is what I know about them.
This album is one hour and five minutes long. It can be purchased from the link above. Just to have got that one included in this review before I forget.
The music is progressive rock, no doubts about that. The first forty minutes gives us dreaming and reasonably ambient progressive rock somewhere between Camel and Pink Floyd.
There are some really good melodies here and some quite good details too. There is also a lot of mellotron and moog here.
The album goes over to becoming a quite hard riffing metal album after forty minutes and the final twenty-five minutes is confusing to say at least. There is no real connection between the first part and this metal part. The metal part is part djent but mostly progressive metal.
This final part is not bad at all and it breaks up an album which tended to be a bit on the dull side. It adds hot red blood to this album.
This is a good album and one this duo should be happy about. I do not know anything about their future but I hope they will carry on.
The ninth album from this Polish band.
Millenium is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
The band had help from three other musicians who provided trumpet, sax and vocals.
I have during the last weeks reviewed some of their albums and you will find the reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Poland has a lot of really good neo-prog bands and you can include this band among them.
I have also recently discovered that the main man in Millenium, Lukasz Gall has also released some solo albums under the name Gall. I have actually reviewed one of them and you can find the review here.
Melodic, epic neo-prog is what this band gives us on this album. Fifty minutes of melodic, epic neo-prog.
The music sometimes moves in the direction of David Gilmour's Pink Floyd. Epic and a bit melancholic. The sax, trumpet and the female vocals and choirs brings it very near Pink Floyd.
There is also some pretty normal neo-prog here.
The songs are really good and they makes a good album. There is no weaknesses here. Then again, there is no great songs here too. Hence my rating of this album.
The fourth album from this band from Ukraine.
Karfagen was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, guitars, programming, percussion and vocals.
They also had help from numerous other musicians who provided bassoon, viola, violin, cello, oboe, flute, keyboards, guitars and vocals.
Karfagen is off course Antony Kalugin's band. One of his three bands. He is one of the most prolific men in progressive rock at the moment. And he deserves all the praise he gets.
This album, an hour long album, is a mix of classical music, jazz and symphonic prog. Most of this album is pretty cinematic and almost like a soundtrack.
There is a lot of themes here which interact with each other. There is a pretty big nod towards classical music here. I would say most of this album is carrying classical music like themes.
The problem with this album is the lack of any really good themes and melodies. This album is a bit disconnected from the listener. I certainly do not connect with me.
This is a decent enough album but just that, I am afraid.
The one and only album from this Mexican band.
Manchuria was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, saxophone, drums, keyboards, percussion and Spanish vocals.
1985 was probably the worst year you could release a prog album. Nevertheless, the prog rock scene in Mexico was alive and coming up with new bands.
Manchuria was a one of band. A couple of members went to form the more successful Flught.
The music on this album is somewhere between symphonic prog and hard rock. There is a lot of wild vocals and guitars at the beginning of this album. A lot of red hot Latin blood in motion.
The album then goes into a much more symphonic prog mode. It becomes a mix of Yes and Camel. This part, which is keyboards focused, is instrumental. And side B is by far the best side of the LP.
This is a decent enough album betrayed by some not so decent sound. The sound is quite poor and does not do this album any justice whatsoever. So there is some positives here and some negatives. Hence my rating.
Sunday, 18 March 2018
The third album from this Italian band.
Profusion was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I really loved their debut album and you can find my review here. I have not been able to get their second album yet.
Profusion is an Italian progressive rock band who does not fit into the Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) genre. They are too much influenced by US and UK prog to be a RPI band.
That was very much the case on their debut album and that is again the case on this album.
The band is again very inventive and flowery in their music. The vocals is a great thing on this album. Both the male and the female vocals.
The band sometimes sounds like Dream Theater and there is even some djent here. But most of the music is very melodic on this fifty minutes long album.
There is a lot of guitars and vocal harmonies here. There is a lot of rather bombastic melodies too.
Profusion has again given us a very good album and I hope this band will continue to release albums. This is a very good band and album indeed.
The debut album from this German band.
Johnny Bob is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
This band was totally unknown to me until someone pointed me towards their direction and told me they were a talented bunch.
That was a great tip-off.
Johnny Bob sounds like some young people having great fun with melodic progressive rock. The sound is very youthful, indeed.
The music is a mix of neo-prog and art-rock from both Germany and USA. The band has listed Marillion as one band they would like to be compared to. Which is a right label. I would also add some hints of Rush, German neo-prog and some college rock to this label too.
There is a lot more to their music than just Marillion and neo-prog. This album is very arty and still very melodic. There is a freshness in their sound which feels like a cooling down breeze on a too hot summer day.
The guitars, keyboards and in particular the vocals is really cool here. The songs are actually very good and there is even some long songs on this fifty minutes long album. An album with a high x-factor.
This is one of the best albums from 2017 and one I really like. The band is recording a new album now and I am really looking forward to that album.
Saturday, 17 March 2018
The one and only album from this German band.
Mammut was a quintet with a lineup of organ, bass, flute, guitars, drums, percussion and vocals.
Mammut is one of those obscure German bands who released one album and then died. Basically because hardly anyone bought this album. It is only available on LP and on Youtube too.
The music is krautrock. Hard krautrock with a lot of blues and psych hard rock. That and a lot of sound bites and cinematic noises.
The music is wild, fast and hard throughout these forty minutes. The longest song clocks in at fourteen minutes.
The vocals are OK and the band does their best on material which is not the best. There are some wild guitar solos here and some mad vocals.
The quality is pretty decent and fans of krautrock and hard rock may like this album. I am not won over.
The tenth album from this German band.
Electric Orange was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, mellotron, rhodes organ, hammond organ, farfisa organ, synths, minimoog and percussions.
I have followed this band and their albums with interest. You can find my reviews of some of their albums somewhere else in this blog and in # 1 of this blog.
The band is a krautrock and space rock band. Their albums is long space rock symphonies and pieces. That may not sound like fun........ Well, I disagree.
The band manages to give each album it's own expression and identity.
Netto clocks in at eighty minutes and it has it's own identity.
.. Which is melodies which and builds up and breaks down again. There is a lot of post-rock here. Or there is a lot of space rock in post-rock. Anyway, the typical post-rock ebb & flows is very much in place on this album.
The moods are being set by the tangent instruments and the guitars puts some melody lines on the top of those again. The guitars are a bit harsh at times. The music is always pretty elegant.
Netto is a good album and one all space rock fans would like. The music is from outer space and to be enjoyed by us human beings on this planet.
The second album from this Italian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and Italian vocals.
I reviewed their 2012 debut album Respiri Lunghi 1000 Miglia last week. You can read my review here. That is a good album.
Plenilunio is an RPI band. Yes, Rock Progressive Italiano. That is Italian prog rock. Their debut album was a mix of Locande Delle Fate and PFM. That means pretty soft and poppy RPI.
They returned five years later again for a new album.... Instead of following the RPI route on this album, a pretty good route as this scene is very much alive, the band has gone for an Italian pop music style.
There is some PFM in their music. The post-millenium PFM, that is. There are also some Angelo Branduardi in their music. Music which is light and fluffy.
Italian pop music is not something I like. The vocals is trying to melt female hearts. The band is not creating any challenging music here. There are some interesting details and just that.
The end result is a decent to good album and just that. It is a major step backwards from their debut album, I am afraid.
Friday, 16 March 2018
The one and only album from this Italian band.
This band was a sextet from Trieste in Italy. Their lineup was synths, guitars, bass, drums, electric piano and piano.
That is the only think I know about this band, I am afraid. This review has been on my to-do list for the last two years but I have not had the guts to get on to it before now.
The music is entirely instrumental. The band sounds like a crossover between jazz and Camel.
There is a lot of guitars and synths here. The drums and bass is following up as best as they can. It is pretty clear that this band is not God's gift to the music scene as the band sounds a bit too loose at time.
The sound too is not particular good as it has this terrible 1980s sound.
When that is said, this is not an abysmal bad album. The tracks on this half an hour long album is decent enough and will very much please the Camel fans out there. Check it out if Camel is your thing. Youtube is then your next port of call.
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, synths, lap steel, keyboards and Italian vocals.
I have never heard about this band before. But their homepage, see link above, should provide you with the essentials.
Any new blood to the Italian prog rock scene is very much welcome. And so is this band.
The band is a new addition to the Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) genre too as their music is within this genre. The more modern part of this genre, that is.
Take PFM and add a lot of psychedelia and jazz to their sound. That is when you get this band and this album. A fifty minutes long album.
The sound and the songs is lush with clarinets, half-acoustic guitars and some mellotron sounding keyboards and synths. The vocals is good and fits well within the music.
The band is young and aspiring. The band has a future and a great one. My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs. Nevertheless, this is a more than acceptable debut album and a band I will follow with great interest.
Thursday, 15 March 2018
The third album from this British band.
The Pentangle was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, banjo, sitar, double bass, hihat, hand drum, drums, glockenspiel and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
The Pentangle is regarded as one of the best British folk rock bands of all time. Which says a lot because other bands has set the standards and bar very high......
I reviewed their 1968 self-titled debut album one week ago and you can read my review here. I have not had the chance to get their second album Sweet Child.
Basket Of Light is regarded as their best album.
Their acid folk rock with ethereal female and male vocals is pretty compelling listening. Bert Jansch is doing a great job on the guitars again.
The songs are pretty complex and psych like at times. There is a lot of complicated rhythms here. The basis is folk rock though.
This album is forty minutes long and it is a good album too. I am not really in awe of this album as much as I perhaps should have been. I am not entirely won over.... Nevertheless....
The debut album from this Italian band.
Profusion is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, keyboards and English vocals.
Two guests added bass, flute and female vocals to this album.
Profusion is one of those bands who do not fall into this Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) genre. This despite of their music being progressive rock.
The reason is that Profusion is playing Anglo-Saxon symphonic prog. Prog not based on Italian culture and music. Their lyrics are also English.
Take some Gentle Giant, add Yes and Genesis. That is when you get this band.
Their music is very lush and melodic. It is like a garden full of the strangest looking flowers.... and smells. The music is also a bit heavy at times.
This album is a bit of a smorgasbord of weird and strange symphonic prog. Symphonic prog anno the noughties. The vocals is very good, both the male and female vocals. The music is very good too. What is really missing is a great track. There is none.
This is a very good one hour of progressive rock and one album to check out.