Monday, 30 April 2018
The debut album from this British artist.
Chris Squire did all the basses and the lead vocals here. He had help from Bill Bruford on drums, Jimmy Hastings on flutes, Mel Collins on saxophones, Patrick Moraz on hammond and moog. Some others also chipped in with pipe organ and vocals. A full classical orchestra helped out too.
Chris Squire was a member of Yes for the best part of 40 years until he sadly passed away three years ago. He also released, strangely enough, only two solo-albums. This one and one in 2007.
Prog Magazine put this album on their April 2018 front cover and I got this album soon afterwards after discovering that I did not already have it. A good choice !
This album is by all means a Yes album. Musically, at least. There is very little between this album and a fully fledged Yes album anno Close To The Edge and Topographic Ocean.
Chris vocals is very good. The music is big and fleshed out by some classical music instruments. The music is very bombastic at times.
It also has a good mood and sound. And the music is great from the beginning to the end of these forty-two minutes. This is indeed a great album and I am glad Prog Magazine pointed out to me that I should get it. Hence, I will still subscribe.....
Sunday, 29 April 2018
The debut album from this British band.
The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, keyboards, guitars, synths, programming and vocals.
The band is Clive Mitten's creation. He got help from Magenta members and other musicians.
From what I gather, this album is the first in a series of albums under this name. It is based on several suites of music. One of them, The Fifth Estate, takes up most of this one hour long album.
The album starts out as a symphonic neo-prog album before it becomes a lot more cinematic and instrumental. There is a lot of long guitar solos and synths wizardry. That is what this fifty-five long suite is about.
A rather old song, a five minutes long song called This City Of London, has been attached at the end of this album. That is a neo-prog song and a good one too.
Most of this album is cinematic instrumental music. The best part of this suite is the first chapter, chapter I. That has some very good symphonic neo-prog with vocals.
Most of the instrumental stuff is OK. It is not really impressive, but it works.
This is a good album which should appeal to anyone into neo-prog and cinematic prog. Check it out.
The 11th album from this US band.
Weather Report was a quintet with a lineup of saxophones, drums, bass, concertina, percussion, keyboards and synths.
The band had help from The Manhattan Transfer on the vocals and the voices bits. That band alone was a multi-million albums selling band at that time.
We still find Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul at the helm of Weather Report. Omar Hakim joined them on this album.
I reviewed all their previous ten albums in # 1 of this blog and really liked them. Those ten albums.... and Procession, is albums which will make my life happier in the decades to come.
Procession is following in the path of their ten previous albums in the beginning. Lots of great interplays between Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. Wayne Shorter's solos is great too. The music is both jazz and funk at the same time.
Manhatten Transfer's contributions to this album, which is my first ever meeting with this band, is good as these two bands merge and becomes one unity. The cooperation between these two bands sends this album to a more African landscape.
This forty minutes long album has again rekindled my interest in this band and their music. They are very high on my list of my favourite bands.
There is no real great songs on this album. This is still a very good album though from one of the masters of fusion and jazz.
Saturday, 28 April 2018
The one and only album from this band from Finland.
Fantasia was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, violin, bass, drums and Finnish vocals.
This band was previously called St. Marcus Bluesband before they changed name to Fantasia, released this album, toured the Soviet Union and changed back to their previous name St. Markus Bluesband again before they split up in 1979.
Blues is not what Fantasia is about. A good reference is their countrymen Wigwam. Fusion, in other words. There is also a lot of psych rock too in their music.
The music on this forty-two minutes long album has a lot of good tunes and details. The keyboards sound is very good. The vocals too is good.
The first half gives us some pretty good psych rock and fusion. The end of the album, the last eight minutes gives us some spaced out psych/krautrock which is not particular interesting.
Nevertheless, this is still a good album well worth checking out.
The third album from this German band.
Ash Ra Tempel was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, electronics, synths and bass.
Guest musicians provided organ, flutes, drums, tambourine and vocals.
This album was made in cooperation with Timothy Leary, a man the US president Richard Nixon described as "The most dangerous man in America". Timothy Leary lived in exile in Switzerland at that time and came up with the lyrics for this album and some musical directions.
Timothy Leary was the inventor and front figure for LSD, a narcotic substance which is now largely forgotten. It was a big thing in the 1960s and the 1970s, though.
Ash Ra Tempel continues on from their first two albums. The music is cosmic space rock with a lot of samples. You can almost label LSD rock although I would strongly warn against any use of LSD. A very dangerous drug indeed.
There is a lot of Gong influences on this album. That goes for the samples. The vocals are both male and female. Both Timothy's voices and some female wailing vocals.
The music is good to very good throughout this album. It their best album so far. It even has some good melodies inbetween the the cosmic spaced out wailing and guitars. This is indeed an album well worth checking out.
The third album from this US band.
The Aaron Clift Experiment is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, upright bass, keyboards, drums, percussion and vocals.
The band had help from numerous guest musicians who provided viola, violin, guitars, piano and mellotron.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing their two previous albums and you can find these reviews here and here.
Those two albums was good albums in the vein of Americana, US symphonic prog and English folk rock. That is a combination of genres not many bands does.
After I finished those reviews and published them, I had another listen to these albums and found a lot of similarities to the English band Wally. So when this album, If All Goes Wrong, arrived in my in-tray, that was indeed something I was going to check out.
If All Goes Wrong is a fifty minutes long album and it has indeed a lot of Wally references. The music is not particular heavy. It has this brashness you find everywhere in the USA. That is a good thing.
The band has continued down the small path laid out on their debut album. A small path they continued walking down on their second album too. Both this band and this album is unashamed born in the USA. There is a small subtle change to this album though. Some pretty strong English neo-prog influences had found their way onto this album.
That has in fact added value to this album. An album which starts a bit slow with some good melodies and stuff before the album become a lot better on the final half. In particular on the epic eight minutes long Dream Within A Dream.
The end result is an album which grows and grows until it has become a very good album. Check it out and enjoy it.
Friday, 27 April 2018
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Warpicks is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
The band comes from a village outside Oslo, the capitol of Norway, called Sandvika. I lived there myself for some months back in the 1990s.
The band released an EP back in 2014 called Good Enough For Jazz. I have yet to listen to that EP and I know next to nothing about what the band were back in those days.
Age Of Exploration is a concept album. This fifty minutes long album is divided into chapters I - VI. The lyrics is all about exploring new territories. Australia for example.
The music is hard and heavy. Take Dream Theater, add some Kansas and some Opeth too. There is also some detours into jazz on this album too.
There is a lot of guitars and vocals here. Some of the guitars are harsh and very riff based. Most of this album is like that.
The music is actually good throughout and the band really throws in some interesting details throughout this album. This is very far from being a run of the mill hard and heavy prog rock album. The band is onto something here and I hope we will hear a lot more from them in the future.
The debut album from this French band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of woodwinds, electric piano, drums, guitars, percussion and bass.
Speed Limit released two albums before they were disbanded. Both albums reviewed in this blog.
This band was another Magma side-project. Yocho Seffer was again involved as he was in another free jazz band I have reviewed. That band was Perception. See my reviews of their album somewhere else in this blog.
Speed Limit is indeed a free improvisation jazz band on this album. They changed on the second album, though...
There is a lot of woodwinds and a pulsating bass on this album. There is also a lot of electric piano on this album. There is some pretty strong zeuhl influences on this album.
Being an improvisation, this half an hour long album is built around long solos, underpinned by the drums and the bass.
The band throws up some decent jazz here. But nothing more than that. I am not particular impressed by this album.
The debut album from this multi-national project.
Esp is a duo consisting of Mark Brzeziki (drums, vocals) and Tony Lowe (bass, keyboards, guitars, vocals).
The band had help from David Jackson on sax, Yumi Hara on electric harp, David Cross on violins and a lot of other musicians.
In short, this is a super-group. They were meant to only release one album. But they have just released a new album under the name Esp 2.0 and I will review that album sometimes soon/you will find my review of that album somewhere else in this blog.
The music on this album is based on neo-prog. Melodic neo-prog.
The songs, make that suites, are pretty long on this almost seventy minutes long. Yes, the music is melodic. But it is also intricate and progressive.
There are a lot of influences from jazz on this album too. And some Van Der Graaf Generator influences. There is a lot of saxophones and nice keyboards here. Ditto for guitars. The vocals are also good.
My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great tracks on this album. It is indeed a good album and a nice one. But there is something missing here. A killer track or two.
Thursday, 26 April 2018
The one and only album from this German band.
The band was an eight piece big band with a lineup of synths, trumpet, bass, drums, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, guitar and percussion.
This band was largely an unknown band who played some gigs, released this album and then vanished without a trace.
Their music was fusion with a strong lounge jazz influence.
The music is not particular intense. It is sax and trumpet based with some guitars thrown into the mix too in the beginning. The bass is pretty strong here. After a while, we get some guitar solos and guitar orientated fusion too.
The album is thirty-six minutes long and the fusion is somewhere between intense and mellow.
There is no real good tunes here. Nevertheless, this is a decent fusion album and one fusion fans may want to explore a bit.
The 17th album from this Dutch band.
The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Andy Latimer from Camel contributed on some tracks with his guitars.
Kayak had stripped down to a quintet after the massive double CD rock opera Cleopatra from 2014. A rock opera with some very good qualities.
Seventeen sees the band back to basic again. No rock opera.... but still a couple of long songs. Songs which shows that the band still got it.
The beginning of this album with the rather short Somebody and the following twelve minutes long La Peregrina, makes me sit up and take notice. La Peregrina is a very good symphonic prog opus and alone worthy the whole purchase of this album.
After some more not so great tracks, we lands on this rather Iron Maiden like opus Walk Through Fire. A ten minutes plus long opus.
The rest of this sixty minutes long album takes us through some hopeless bad pop rock tunes and some good symphonic prog.
The end result is a good album indeed. The band is still gigging and playing festivals. Make sure you catch them live while you can as the members here are soon crossing the rainbow to another world.
The second album from this Norwegian band.
Seven Impale is a sextet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, tenor sax, flute, banjo, cello, percussion and vocals.
I really liked their 2014 debut album City Of The Sun when I reviewed it one week ago. You can read my review here.
That album was a very intense album. It was foot on the accelerator throughout the album. It was also a very eclectic album.
Contrapasso is not a radio friendly cosy album. Far from it ! This album is a very eclectic album. But the band has taken their foot of the accelerator and is offering something slightly different than their debut album.
Take the likes of Picchio Dal Pozzo, add a bit Area, add a lot of King Crimson and the likes of Anglagard and Anekdoten. Take some jazz too and some more pastoral symphonic prog.
... And you get something like this seventy minutes long album. An album full of contrasts between chugging guitars and saxophones. Those are balanced out by some soothing ambient themes and some good vocals.
Seven Impale allows the themes and the music a lot of breathing space on this album and that has given this album a lot of added quality. It is still as eclectic as their debut album, but in a different way.
The end result is a very good album indeed. Check out this album as it is one of the better albums from Norway, the new powerhouse of progressive rock.
The second album from this Japanese band.
Kinzoku-Ebisu was a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, samples, guitars, bass, drums and Japanese vocals.
I approached this album with some trepidation after seeing the low score in ProgArchives. That was a score without reviews so I lost my fear after that. .....And I cracked on with the task in hand.
I do not know this band at all. I only know this album. It is my understanding they were neo-prog in the beginning.
On this album, the band has taken a deep dive into dark progressive rock. Anglagard and in particular King Crimson looms large on the eighteen minutes long opening title track. A monumental title track. The cascades of guitars and keyboards is only broken up by some female vocals. There is also some very good pastoral music on this song. A very good song, indeed.
The second song, a five minutes long song, is not that good. The band reverts to neo-prog and prog metal. Not good at all.
The third and final song, a ten minutes long song, is a stroll along the path set down by Anglagard before some bad heavy metal ends this song. It is a fairly good song.
These three songs takes us up to thirty odd minutes. It is indeed a good album and one of the hidden gems of the prog rock world. It is one of the reasons I do this blog. Check out this album.
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
The 23rd album from this British band.
Wishbone Ash was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
The band had help from four other musicians who provided rhythm guitars, drums, hammond organ and percussion.
Andy Powell is the only remaining member from their great albums in the 1970s. He had just won the rights to the Wishbone Ash name in a High Court trial.
The Wishbone Ash albums released after the 1976 album New England had not been particular good. The band was chasing band wagons and trends. They were also chasing after the good reputation they had won on the Argus album.
When I was listening to this album, it hit me that I should be ashamed of myself, reviewing albums like this one.
The reason is that Power Of Eternity is not an album living up to Wishbone Ash good reputation and name. It is not a terrible bad album. It is just...... indifferent.
The music is pop rock with some hints of reggae, americana and this band's good old days. The quality of the music on this fifty minutes odd album is not good at all. It is a decent album though and that is all.
This is not an album I want to remember this band for, I am afraid.
The third project from this Dutch band.
The band was a sextet with a lineup of oboe, flute, guitars, electric piano, piano, harpsischord, moog, organ, drums, bass, lute, chittarone, mandolin and synths.
Life Line Project was started by Erik de Beer and has been going on for almost twenty-five years now. I have got a handful of their albums and will review them this summer.
The music is instrumental. Instrumental symphonic prog, that is.
The references to Camel comes thick and fast. The main difference is that Camel was and still is a guitar orientated band. Life Line Project is not. They are more like that other Dutch instrumental symphonic prog band...... Trace.
There is a lot of oboe and flutes on this album. That and some dubious sounding synths.
The music on this fifty minutes long album is not particular interesting. The tracks are pretty dull and does not really comes across as good music. It is not good music either.
This is a decent enough album and just that. I am not impressed.
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
The one and only album from this British band.
Kestrel was a quintet with a lineup of synths, bass, drums, guitars, percussion and vocals.
Kestrel was a band who released this album and then disappeared. Members of this band later played with the likes of David Bowie and in many other bands.
Lack of commercial success was the demise of this band and I can understand why this album did not sell that well.
The music is melodic proto-prog. Fantasy and Spring is good references. I would put pop rock as a label on their music too.
There is not much technical brilliance in this album. There are some really good mellotron though. The vocals is also good.
Those two things are the only positive on this decent to good album. It is a bit of a dull album which has not survived the test of time. Nevertheless, check it out.
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums and guitars.
The band comes from Kristiandsand in the south of Norway and this album has been released on Raindrops Records, a record label I have never heard about before.
The album is forty minutes long. The music is a mix of instrumental experimental metal and progressive rock.
The music is pretty hard and harsh at times. This inbetween some more mellow and introvert tones too. There is a lot of shoegaze music on this album, indeed.
The guitars are mostly distorted on the top of some bass and drums. The sound on this album is pretty distorted and dissonant.
The music is not particular impressive. The duo setup and instrumental rock setup is pretty restrictive and the band is not pushing the envelope here.
Nevertheless, this is a decent album and not an album for the masses.
The debut album from this Italian band.
Reale Accademia Di Musica was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, piano, electric piano, organ, mellotron, bass, drums, percussion and Italian vocals.
Guest musicians provided xtra mellotron and orchestral arrangements.
This band is an often forgotten Rock Progressive Italiano band.... Well, I forgot them until they released a new album earlier this year, which I off course purchased, and then found out that I had not reviewed their first and second album. So I am now doing that this spring.
This band occupies a position in the RPI scene pretty close to PFM. The music is both pastoral and melodic. It is also based on piano and some mellotron.
Henryk Cabanes vocals is really cool and fitting for this pastoral music. Ditto for the piano and the mellotrons. The guitars here are more like acoustic guitars although there are a few cascades of electric guitars here too.
This album is forty minutes long and has filled my office and my living room with some good moods during the last week.
It is also a very good album which serves as a timely reminder why RPI is such a great music genre. This album deserves a place in any good RPI album collection.
Monday, 23 April 2018
The debut album from this Russian band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and synths.
A guest musician provides saxophones.
The band is from Moscow and they released an half an hour long EP before they took the plunge and released this one hour long album.
The band plays some really spaced out space rock. The five tracks are all longer than ten minutes each.
The music is dirty and really hard at times with a lot of sound effects on the top of the bass and the drums. There is also a lot of guitars here. This is by no means an ambient album. It is far too much noisy than that.
There are some brooding vocals and saxophones here who adds a lot to this album.
I really like space rock and this album reminds about why I like this genre. This is a very good album indeed and one to check out if you like space rock from outer space.
The second album from this Mexican band.
Humus was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass, piano and drums.
I reviewed their 1992 debut album Tus Oidos Mienten three weeks ago and liked that album. You can find my review here.
Humus is a psych/space rock band. They are also a very obscure band who has released seven albums. The cover artwork on those albums are as eclectic as the cover artwork for this album, see the painting above.
This album is forty minutes long. It gives us a mix of space rock and some more eclectic music. All of it is instrumental. Well, everything here is psych rock, but also with some experimental metal and rock too.
The guitars is sometimes very harsh and distorted. There are also some nicer half-acoustic guitars here.
There is a lot of ideas here. Ideas which is not particular developed. It seems like this is an album of ideas and not an album of end products. It is a drawing more than a painting, if you get my drift.
The album is decent enough, but just that. It is also a step in the wrong direction from the debut album. I hope the other albums is better than this one. I will soon find out.
The sixth album from this multi-national band.
The Samurai Of Prog is a trio with a lineup of violin, flute, electric guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals. The band members are Steve Unruh, Kimmo Porti and Marco Bernard.
The band has got help from numerous other musicians and vocalists. Brett Kull and Stefano Lupo Galifi is the ones I know most.
This is a project and re-recording of some more or less known classic symphonic prog and RPI songs and suites. Yes, the vocals are in English, Italian and Spanish here.
I am not entirely into this Decameron trio of albums. But I have been told a lot of the songs on this album has been lifted from # 1 , # II and # III of that series. Maybe I should check them out.... These thirteen hours of symphonic prog.
The seventy minutes of music on this album is a mix of long songs and instrumental pieces. The vocalists does a good job and ditto for the musicians.
Not all of this album captures my imagination and there are some pieces here I can live without. On the other side of the coin... There are also some very good stuff here too. In short, this is a good album and well worth checking out.
Sunday, 22 April 2018
The one and only album from this Australian band.
Kanguru was a trio with a lineup of tabla, sitar, guitar, violin, cello and percussion.
This short lived band managed to release an album before they were disbanded. And that is all I know about them.
The band played indo/raga rock. A genre with not so many bands. I tend to avoid this genre myself. But during the last two days, I have reviewed two albums in this genre. This one and the Kalacakra album.
Kanguru has a lot of the Indian sound with sitar and tabla. You also get this Indian ritualistic music here. But in the middle of this Indian landscape, the band has thrown in violins and cello too.
That sounds a bit strange because the violins is a bit gypsy music and classical music like. The cello is classical music. This clash is interesting and the best thing on this album.
The album is forty-four minutes long divided on four songs. It is not the most interesting album I have heard. I find the music a bit dull, even with the violins and cello.
Nevertheless, this is a decent album and one well worth checking out.
The fourth album from this US band.
Montrose was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.
Ronnie Montrose was at the helm of his band and Bob James did his second Montrose album on vocals.
The band was also still hard rocking too. Their sound is a mix of hard rock, arena rock and some southern rock.
This is as American as you can get hard rock. And that is not a bad thing.
Bob James vocals is very good and ditto for Ronnie Montrose's guitars.The rhythm sections is rock hard and solid.
Unfortunate, this was their final hard rock album. The follow up called Mean was released eleven years later and it was a glam rock album. An album everyone wants to forget.
There is no real good songs on Jump On It though. There is a few good details. But everyone into hard rock should check out this band. I am a happy owner of their first four albums and they will remain in my record collection until the end of my time.
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Moon Safari was a quintet with a lineup of hammond organ, moog, mellotron, drums, percussion, bass, guitars, harmonica and vocals.
This band has released four studio albums and has played some of the bigger prog rock festivals in the world. I am reviewing their four studio albums this spring and summer. You can find the other reviews somewhere else in this blog.
The band is a symphonic prog band. A Swedish symphonic prog band. That means some folk rock influences and a lot of The Flower Kings influences. They are in the same scene as The Flower Kings too so that is no surprise.
This album is much more an English and US symphonic prog influenced album than just a The Flower Kings follower and copycat.
This is still a Swedish symphonic prog album, though....
The music is very mellow, bright and light at the same time. It is not that melancholic. There is a lot of sun and warmth in these songs.
This is a good debut album which sadly is missing some great songs. It is an album and a band you should check out....
Saturday, 21 April 2018
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Seven Impale is a sextet with a lineup of saxophone, cello, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
I have heard about this band for a while.... but that did not prepare me for the shock I got when I put this album on before my first listening session. I was stunned.
Then I read about the origins of this band. They are music academy trained jazz and classic music musicians. And they are trying to play progressive rock of some sort.
To say that the result is eclectic is an understatement. Heavy saxophones and guitars over some naive, yet very quirky eclectic prog is not what I am used to.
I think it is fair to say that this band have their own ideas and style. And that is a good thing. It is called progressive rock, btw.
The album is forty-five minutes long and it is full of quirky, eclectic music. Is the music melodic ? Yes and no. There are a lot of eclectic jazz here and some rather quirky poppy prog. These styles interact in an engaging way. The music never becomes avant-garde though.
The vocals is also very interesting and the vocals styles changes a lot throughout this album. That is a very good thing.
The songs are still not great. But this band has something on and this album is a must-check out for all those into eclectic prog.
The 16th album from this Dutch band.
Kayak was a seven piece big band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, percussion, guitars, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
They had help from numerous other musicians who provided violins and vocals.
This is a rock opera and a proper one. 2 CDs. The vocalists plays their roles as Julius Cesar, Mark Antony etc etc.
This album is a big, big undertaking. The music is also big and pretty much a mix of a musical and an opera. The vocals is not operatic. They are more like musicals. Cincy Oudshoorn and Edward Reekers from the regular Kayak is among the regular vocalists here.
It is pretty easy, and interesting, to follow the story. It is one of the biggest stories of all time. It always reminds me about the movie of the same name. One of the biggest and most known movies of all time.
The music on this almost two hours long album will never gain the same status and reputation. The music is good though and this is a very solid album. It is probably one of the albums Kayak will be most remembered for. Probably loved for too.
I have my reservations as there are no real great tracks here. It is a good album though..... and do not forget to watch the 1963 movie too.
Friday, 20 April 2018
The debut album from this band/project.
The band/project has numerous musicians who contributes flute, acoustic guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, ebow, mandolin, tubular bells, saxophones, grand piano, hammond organ, timpani, male and female vocals.
The band's full name is Oscillazioni Alchemicio Kreative. That means creative alchemical oscillations. The project's main man and probably songwriter too is Jerry Cutillo.
He got help from the likes of David Jackson, Sonia Kristine, Richard Sinclair, Jenny Sorrenti, Maart Allcock and members from Goblin. Just to mention the most known ones.
This is another all-stars project and album. I am not a big fan of those projects as they tends to be all over the place and slightly unfocused.
We get a mix of English and Italian male and female vocals on this seventy odd minutes long album.
We also get a mix of RPI, symphonic prog, a bit musicals songs, a bit more classical music like songs and some poppy tunes.
This may be a concept album. It probably is. It feels like it as the music is a bit all over the place. A bit of a rock opera, too.
There is some very good stuff here. There are some good stuff here and some decent stuff. This is an album which feels a bit unfocused throughout. It is a barely a good album. But it is still a good album and one to check out.
The debut album from this German band.
Kalacakra was a duo with a lineup of synths, cello, violin, piano, flute, vibraphone, guitar, congas, percussion, harmonica and vocals.
The duo, Heinz Martin and Claus Rauschenbach, released two albums before they split up. This one and the Peace album in 2002.
It would not come as a surprise when I reveal that this is a krautrock album. Some sort of a krautrock, that is.
The music has taken a lot from Indian music. The type of Indian music where you find cobra snakes dancing to the flutes of the brave soul that play the flute.
India meets Germany in a space rock like workout is what this fifty minutes long album is all about.
This is also a decent album with a lot of interesting Indian sounds and moods. The music is a bit on the samey side of the spectrum. Nevertheless, this is an album well worth checking out.
The debut album from this German band.
Everon was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
This is the first of my reviews of their whole studio output. That is seven albums, seven reviews. More reviews will follow shortly/you can find the other reviews somewhere else in this blog.
I was meant to do these reviews many, many years ago. But I forgot...... Well, I am at them now.
Everon is listed as a hard prog band in ProgArchives and I am sure that is right. On this album.....
...Well, the music is pretty hard in the beginning. It soon become clear that this band has been listening a lot to Saga. Saga was and still is pretty big in Germany and that shows in Everon's debut album.
The music is a mix of hard prog and pomp rock. The vocals is very Saga'ish. The music does not have the big sound Saga had. But it is still pretty similar.
Everon does have their own style though and the music sounds classy and commercial.
This fifty minutes long album has some good moments and a lot of decent moments. The art of good songwriting has eluded this album. That is my only gripe with this album. Hence the rating.
Thursday, 19 April 2018
The debut album from this Norwegian band.
Sonic Sight is a duo with a lineup of drums, guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals.
This duo consists of the neo-prog artist Finn Arild and Reidar.
And neo-prog is what we get here..... of some sort.
Take some AOR and add that to their neo-prog basis. Then you get something like this album. A fifty minutes long album.
Finn Arild does everything besides of the drums which is Reidar's domain. His vocals are good.
What is not so good is the not so muscular sound. The duo format is not adding a lot of muscles and beef to the sound. The sound is a bit thin.
The album is moving along in a pedestrian way with some keyboards, vocals and guitars on the top of the bass and drums. And that is what this is. A pedestrian album.
There is not much song writing quality here either. And the sound.... Not everything from Norway is gold. This album is not.
The second album from this US band.
Phideaux is a quintet with a lineup of mellotron, guitars, bass, drums, autoharp, piano, organ, synths, fx, percussion and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
They had help from numerous other musicians who provided farfisa, vocals, woodwinds, samples and narrations.
I reviewed their 1992 album Friction back in August 2012 for # 1 of this blog. I disliked that album with a passion. Read my review here.
I am going to review the rest of their albums this spring and summer/you can find some more reviews of their albums somewhere else in this blog.
I am glad they are back and with some more substance. And somewhat wiser too.
The music they gives us is a mix of folk rock, psychedelic rock and symphonic prog. Pink Floyd seems like a good reference. Add a lot more folk rock to the last three Pink Floyd albums and you would probably end up with something like this album.
The overriding feel and mood is folk rock on this album. Very gentle folk rock with lots of good male and female vocals.
Unfortunate, there is no really good songs here on this forty-five minutes long album. It is a decent to good album. And a promising one.
The fourth and final album from this US band.
The band owner Wolfgang Michels on vocals and guitars had help from a drummer, a bassist, keyboards and backing vocals. There was also some harps, harmonica, flutes and choir here.
This album, and indeed band and a 5 CDs collection, was sold to me on the basis of this album. An album which is said to be one of the best ever rock albums.
So I was looking forward to this album.
In particular after having to review their first three albums to get this far. Albums that really tested my patience and appetite for life. See my reviews somewhere else in this blog.
So I was not happy to discover that I really disagree with this album's elevated position.
This album has Wolfgang Michels on guitars and pretty bad vocals. He is helped out by some harmonica, drums, bass and keyboards.
The music is very acoustic and does not have much of colours..... or quality.
I am kind when I label this as a decent album. Too kind. It is not a turkey.... Well, it is a turkey. There is nothing here of any value. This is a really bad album and a turkey.
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
The fourth album from this Finnish - US band.
The Samurai Of Prog is a trio with a lineup of violin, flute, bass, drums, percussion and vocals. Steve Unruh, Marco Bernard and Kimmo Porsti is the trio.
They got help from numerous guest musicians who provides keyboards, guitars, narration, electronic bagpipes, saxophones, piano and vocals. Both male and female vocals.
I reviewed their third album, the 2014 opus The Imperial Hotel back in May 2015 for # 1 of this blog and you can read the review here.
The Samurai Of Prog gives us almost two hours of retro progressive rock with the sounds of the 1970s. All their material is original material. But it is easy to spot which bands they are mimicking now and then throughout this album.
The music is indeed symphonic prog with some eclectic influences. Those goes from Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, ELP and to King Crimson and Kansas.
It almost feels like their albums are tribute albums...... and that is probably how the music has been written and recorded too. And I find absolute nothing wrong in this.
This album comes as two CDs where the first half features some rather shorter tracks around the ten to twenty minutes mark.
The final half, the second CD is one long track.
The quality is really very good here and the sound is a joy to behold. This is indeed a very good album and one to check out.
The 11th album from this German band.
Solar Project is a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, bass, guitars, drums, percussion, keyboards and vocals.
I have to admit I have never even heard about this band before this album landed on my lap and I had to review it. Which off course is a pleasure to do.
The band debuted in 1990 and have released albums on quite a regular basis since then.
Their music and the band reminds me a lot about the German band Dice. More or less the same history too.
Progarchives has labeled them as a psych/space rock band here. They have also said there is a lot of neo-prog in their music.
All the things is true about this one hour long album. There is even some space rock here. Most of the album is somewhere between psych rock and neo-prog.
The vocals is OK. The keyboards not really good and the guitars are OK.
The quality of the songs are somewhere between decent and good. The music sounds stagnant and is not going anywhere exciting. Hence the rating.
The 14th album from this German band.
Electric Orange was a quartet with a lineup of guitar, mandolin, zither, cajon, bongos, congas, phonofiddle, trumpet, synths, farfisa, hammond organ, mellotron, bass, drums, percussion, cymbals and voices.
Electric Orange is one of the best, if not the best, new outer space/spaced out krautrock band in the scene. They sometimes reminds me a lot about Agitation Free, a band I love.
This quartet paints pictures of sound. Sounds that comes from another galaxy.
The sound is surprisingly organic though and rooted in the 1970s. There is a strong presence of Hammond organ and Mellotron here. Here and on their other albums.
This album is very long, seventy-five minutes long, and a huge mouthful of music. Music which sometimes may sound pedestrian ambient. I would disagree with that. The music here is really dynamic, but in a modest manner.
Yes, there are some ambient stuff here. But even those are working well.
This is indeed a good album. Check it out.
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
The 21st album from this UK band.
Wishbone Ash was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organ, sampled flutes, percussion, piano and vocals.
Four other musicians provided guitars, percussion and backing vocals.
I have reviewed some of their albums earlier this year and you will find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Besides of Andy Powell, all the original members had left the band by now. This is something Andy has described in his biography you can get in all good online bookstores. A very good book, btw.
Wishbone Ash had also split into two bands with the same name. A conflict only resolved through an expensive High Court case in London, UK.
Music wise, there is not much to be joyful about Wishbone Ash on this album and most albums they released after 1980.
Bona Fida is a straight forward rock album with some hard rock and US arena rock influences. There is also some very strong country and americana influences here.
The band have their own sound and it is not easy to explain. The Americana influences sets them apart from most bands.
Bona Fida is three quarters of an hour long and it has some decent songs. There is no good songs here and nothing to be joyful about. It is a run of the mill Wishbone Ash album.
The second album from this British artist.
Andy Jackson does all the instruments here with the exceptions from the saxophones where he has been helped by David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator etc etc) and the female vocals where he has got help from Anne Marie Helder from Panic Room.
Andy Jackson was the engineer on the final Pink Floyd albums.... from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and to the final album. In 2014, he released his first album Signal To Noise.
I thought this was going to be an all singing stars studded album with lots of guest musicians. I was wrong. Andy Jackson has gone for the less-is-more formula. And in this case; rightly so !
Pink Floyd is a big reference on this album. This album reminds me a lot about their The Division Bell album. There is also a lot of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason in his music on this album.
There is also some more psych and space rock here than on those Pink Floyd albums. That is the main difference between Andy Jackson and Pink Floyd.
The music is very laidback with good vocals and guitars from Andy. Both acoustic and electric guitars.
The album is almost fifty minutes long and is a good reminder about what makes this kind of music so good. This is indeed a very good album and one to really enjoy. Check it out.
Monday, 16 April 2018
The debut album from this Russian composer and pianist.
Gleb Kolyadin does the grand piano and keyboards here. He has got help from a very impressive list of guest musicians who provided flute, drums, percussion, guitars, bass, bodhran, saxophones, vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba, violin, cello, hang drums, spoken words and vocals.
Gleb enlisted the likes of Jordan Rudess, Steve Hogarth, Gavin Harrison, Nick Beggs and Theo Travis to play on this album in addition to many Russian musician.
Gleb Kolyadin is not an unknown man and he is not new to this game either. He is in fact the composer and 50 % of the highly impressive Russian band Iamthemorning. A band with a big cult following and you can count me in here.
On his own, Gleb gives us a much more eclectic album. It is piano based and based on Gleb's playing where everyone else is fitted around his grand piano and keyboards.
Parts of this album is leaning towards classical music and other parts is leaning more towards ragtime jazz and symphonic prog.
Gleb is brilliant in what he is doing. But the art of great songwriting is something he has not transferred to this, his solo album. This almost one hour long album is by all means a good album. But just that. I will stick with Iamthemorning.
Montrose was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
A guest musician provided viola.
I have reviewed their two first albums and you can find the reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Sammy Hagar had left the band and the band had hired a very good vocalist called Bob James. They also hired a keyboardist as a permanent member of the band. Ronnie Montrose was still the guitarist. The band name is indeed his surname.
The band had also moved a bit from hard rock and more towards straight rock. There is also some arena rock and a lot of blues in their music.
The band sounds like Kansas throughout most of this album. What is missing the violins and you have Kansas on a bad day.
The cover art-work is the best thing about this album, followed by Bob James vocals. The music is decent enough on this thirty-six minutes long album. And Ronnie Montrose does a good job on his guitars. But there is no good songs here, though. Hence the rating.
The second album from this German band.
Ash Ra Tempel was a trio with a lineup of guitars, electronics, organ, drums, bass and vocals.
They had help from three guest musicians who provided sax, jaw harp, percussion, vocals and bongos.
Ash Ra Tempel is doing spaced out krautrock and is regarded as one of the best bands in that genre. Well, in the whole of the krautrock genre.
I reviewed their 1971 self-titled debut album two weeks ago and you can read my review here. More Ash Ra Tempel albums reviews will follow/you can find my other Ash Ra Tempel albums reviews somewhere else in this blog.
Klaus Schulze had left the band before this album was recorded and the band was on their own here.
This forty minutes long album starts out with a very good twenty minutes long piece, divided in two parts. The first part is more ambient. The second part is full on attack with growling vocals and lots of distorted instruments.
The second part of this album, side B on a LP, is more ambient and pastoral. This one is a grower and it has been growing on me, each time I have put this album on.
I am still not won over by this album or this band. Nevertheless, this is a good album from a band I find more and more fascinating.
Sunday, 15 April 2018
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Blå Lotus is a trio with a lineup of Hammond organ, farfisa, mellotron, electric piano, flute, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
The band has been marketing themselves as "prog rock without guitars". That makes them special, in their views. Well, they are wrong.... Very wrong. There is some other prog rock bands without any guitars in their sound.
I also thought that the band had replaced guitars with woodwinds and brass. I am not a big fan of woodwinds, I have to admit. So I was not too keen to give this album my time.
I was totally wrong when it comes to the woodwinds and brass. Besides of a flute, there is none of that here whatsoever. Instead, we get lots of keys in all forms. See the list above.
And I really love keys in progressive rock.
In this case, we are talking old style 1970s heavy prog and symphonic prog. There is even some John Lord's Deep Purple like keys and music here. The Hammond organs sends warm shivers down my spine and gives me a silly grin.
Most of the stuff here is very good. The sound is really cool and I like this album a lot. Neither is it too long. Forty minutes is long enough and they even ship it as 180 g LP. Check out this album.
The ninth album from this Irish band.
Horslips was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, flutes, percussion and vocals.
The band had help from two guest musicians who provided piano and tambourine.
I have reviewed some of their albums this year and it is fair to say that I have found them underwhelming. You can find these reviews somewhere else in this blog.
This album was their last album before they were reformed again in 2004 and released an album called Roll Back the same year. I do not have that album. Neither am I going to purchase it either.
The band has played a lot of gigs too after they reformed again. Most of them in Dublin and the rest of Ireland where they still have a big name and a very good reputation.
Back in 1979, these pioneers of Irish folk rock were reduced to a band playing straight rock. Straight rock with a lot of very strong pub rock influences. Well, this is a pub rock album. A half an hour long pub rock album. There is even some rockabilly here and one song with some nods back to their folk rock roots.
The music is simple and without any quality. Well, unless pub rock is your style. The band sounds lost on this album. An album with no redeeming qualities. Hence it's inclusion in my exclusive list of turkeys.
The debut album from this British band.
Green Seagull is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
This band is another new name to me. They are signed on the Mega Dodo record label. A record label with an impressive amount of releases behind them in the acid folk and psychedelic rock genre.
And that is where we find this band and this release too.
Take a lot of The Beatles anno Sgt Peppers Band and add a lot of acid folk and psychedelic rock to the mix too.
The music is very colourful with lots of guitars and vocal harmonies over some keyboards, bass and drums too. The music is also very much based on folk rock too.
The music has a lot of good details despite of being very folky and not so complex.
There are several good songs on this forty minutes long album. An album with a nice early 1970s feel to it too.
It is nice to see..... make that; hear, that the acid folk scene is still alive and well. This album proves this and is a good sign of life. It is indeed a good album and one to check out.
Saturday, 14 April 2018
The one and only album from this US band.
Ivory was a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
This US band is totally obscure and long, long forgotten........... unless if you are a curious cat like myself who likes and live for digging out and reviewing albums like this one. Hence this blog.
This album was released by Playboy Records. And yes, it was a record label owned by the Playboy Magazine. Hugh Hefner & co. Read more about this record label here.
I am not sure what attracted this male band to Playboy. Their music is progressive rock of some sort and that was not what Playboy and this hedonistic lifestyle was about....... Or so I believe.
The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is a mix of piano dominated rock, some pop music and some ELP like symphonic prog. Then there is some US rock anno the 1970s here and some psych rock. But this is mostly pop rock.
This is not a bad album at all. It feels totally outdated anno 2018 and an anachronism. But the music is decent enough from start to finish. Check out this album on LP or Youtube and you may be up for a surprise.
The fifth album from this US band.
After The Fall was a sextet with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.
I had never heard about this band before this album landed on my lap, ready to be reviewed. So I cannot make any comments on their previous albums. There is not may Youtubes with their earlier stuff either.
Their music is not easy to label.......
OK, take some heavy prog, some prog metal and some symphonic prog. Add some pomp rock too and you should get this album.
There is also some vaudeville and musicals type of rock and pop here too.
This album is kicking in all directions and is full of surprises. Not all of them are that nice. It is an typical US album where big is good.
That is also reflected in the length of this album. Almost seventy minutes long. An album with not so many good ideas and an overflow of decent stuff. I am not won over. I am actually finding this album very dull and not gratifying. The reasons is the lack of any good songs. Hence the rating.
The debut album from this US - UK supergroup.
Dukes Of The Orient is a quintet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals.
The band is a cooperation with the ex Asia vocalist John Payne and the artist Erik Norlander. They have got help from three other musicians with background from (the band) Asia and the AOR scene.
Fans of Asia has been lapping up this album in the last weeks. There is no denying that the band sounds like Asia.
But this album is still standing well and truly on it's own feet.
The vocals are very good and the keyboards is also good. Ditto for the guitars and the rhythm section.
The AOR is pure and simple. There is not any nonsense here. Just melodies with some good choruses and verses. This is not really my cup of tea.
When that is said, there is no denying that this is a good album. The band is ticking all the boxes and the melodies tends to linger even after this fifty minutes long album has finished.
If you want one AOR album this year, this is the album you should go for.
Friday, 13 April 2018
The debut album from this Spanish band.
Entropia is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, Hammond organ, keyboards, bass, drums and Spanish vocals.
The band is from the Basque province of Spain and this is their first dip into the progressive rock water. A water considerably colder than the water in the Biscayne Bay.
What are we getting here ?
Let's take some psychedelic rock, add some space rock, a lot of traditional Spanish hard rock and a lot of vintage 1970s rock. Then add some symphonic prog too.
The Hammond organ and the Spanish vocals is adding a lot of colours and textures to their music. There is also some good guitars here.
There is no hiding that fans of Spanish prog and rock, and I am one of them, will find a lot of goodies on this fifty minutes long album. This album is a kind of an update of the 1970s Spanish scene and takes it into 2018. The sound is really modern and relevant too.
I have some reservations about the quality of this album. But it is still a good album and one I would recommend.
The 24th album from this French band.
Ange is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, bass, keyboards and French vocals.
Christian Decamps is the vocalist here and his son Tristan plays keyboards together with his father.
I have reviewed most Ange albums for # 1 of this blog and ProgArchives. Despite of some dubious albums in the 1980s and the 1990s, I rate this band very highly.
Their previous proper studio album Moyen Age from 2012 was a very good album too and proved that this and still had it. The original member is Christian Dechamps and he is involved in the excellent band Gens De La Lune too.
Ange delivers another album of French theatrical symphonic prog, influenced by both Jacques Brel and Genesis. As on Moyen Age, they have gone back to the sound from their first albums and used that as a base for their songs.
The songs here are rather pastoral and pretty theatrical. There is not much heavy stuff. Something Ange has never done.
Christian's vocals is excellent here. His son Tristan and the rest of the band also does a great job on this almost seventy minutes long album.
It is also a very good album and a timely reminder that Ange was and probably still is one of the best progressive bands on this planet. Check them out.
The second album from this London, England based band.
Of Petra is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and samples.
I have not yet had the chance to listen to their 2015 self-titled debut album so this is my first meeting with this band. Both albums can be obtained from the link above.
The band says they wanted to mix Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd in their music.
And they have done that, to a large extent.
The music is very funky and sometimes also full of guitar solos. There is also a lot of jazz here and a lot of eclectic progressive rock.
The music is eclectic, but also not particular avant-garde. The music is instrumental with some samples.
The music is also whimsical and playful. It is not confined to the standard rules of music. It is wild and unpredictable.
It is also a decent to good album. Some more good ideas and the band has a winner. Check out the link above if you like whimsical progressive rock.
Thursday, 12 April 2018
The debut album from this Polish band.
Noibla is a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, drums, keyboards and female vocals.
If you spell the Noibla backwards, you get Albion. That is another Polish band. Well, a now split up band. And three of the members of Albion formed Noibla. That include the guitarist and the female vocalist. So Noibla is the new Albion.
I really liked Albion so it makes me happy that their legacy now lives on in Noibla.
The album is out on the excellent Lynx Music record label. It is fifty minutes long...
And it really continue on from where the final Albion album finished. That means great female vocals over some really melodic neo-prog.
There is some laidback jazz in their neo-prog too and some really good melancholic stuff.
The music is a bit laidback with the emphasis on the vocals and some great moods. The music is good throughout too. This is an album I really like and would recommend to anyone into melodic prog.