Friday 30 November 2018

Deus Ex Machina - De Republica (1995)

The third album from this Italian band.

Deux Ex Machina was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, violins, bass, drums and Italian vocals.

I have so far reviewed their debut album and their (so far) final album. So an album somewhere in the middle would be welcome... and this is one of them.

This band has taken a lot of their inspirations from the likes of Area. That is very obvious. In particular in the vocals.

But the music too has a lot of Area influences.

This sixty-six minutes long album is somewhere between avant-garde prog, Italian folk rock, Italian prog rock and jazz. Italian jazz, no less.

There is a lot of very strange time-shifts and themes here. Even in the progressive rock genre, this music is both very progressive and odd.

The music is also very dynamic with lots of violins and guitars. Add the drums, vocals, bass and keyboards too and you get a heady mix.

And the music is also good throughout. Not as good as on their last album. But it is still a good album and I feel I need to get their remaining four albums too before I am fully satisfied.

3 points

Jaivas. Los - Obras De Violeta Parra (1984)

The eight album from this band from Chile.

Los Jaivas was a quintet on this album with a lineup of various local flutes, guitars, piano, electric piano, electric piano, mini-moog, tambourine, accordion, bass, drums and vocals.

The band has started out as a folk music band but had expanded into progressive rock. Something my reviews of their albums in this blog will tell you.

The band totally goes progressive rock on this album. Sort off...

There are still some lingering folk rock here. And some very welcome folk rock too. Most of this album is dark progressive rock. I have heard that the classical music composer Bartok is a huge inspiration on this album. His music is really dark.

And so is this seventy-seven minutes long album too.

The vocals are still very much folk rock. The mood is dark with a lot of avant-garde in the vein of Present and Univers Zero.

That makes this an interesting album and their most ambitious album so far...... by a huge margin.

There is a lot of very interesting things on this album. A good album which takes a lot out of the listener. This is also an unique album and a landmark in the history of South American progressive rock. Check it out.

3.5 points

Thursday 29 November 2018

Popol Vuh - Spirit Of Peace (1985)

The 16th album from this German band.

The band was now as trio with a lineup of piano, acoustic guitar and vocals.
Two guest musicians helped out with electric guitars.

The trio was Daniel Fichelscher, Renate Knaup and Florian Fricke. These are legends in the scene.

The band has released albums also after their best period in the 1970s. A lot of these albums are movie soundtracks. In this respect, they went down the same route as Goblin from Italy.

This is to my knowledge not a movie soundtrack. It is an independent release with nothing else to support.

The music is some sort of new-age chanting and music. It is very very pedestrian and these forty minutes are pretty much bereft of any dynamics and ideas. It is one idea throughout. One theme, one idea.

I am finding it hard to find anything positive to take away from this album. The theme here is half decent but nothing more than that. This is an album best forgotten and ignored.

1.5 points

Doracor - Passioni Postmoderne di un Musicista Errante (2016)

The ninth album from this Italian band.

Doracor is Corrado Sardella on keyboard, synth with friends.
His friends is adding flutes, trumpet, guitars, keyboards, bass, electric violins, saxophones, drums and Italian vocals.

There are members from I Pooh, La Maschera Di Cera, Paradox, Delirium, Mangala Valis and Labyrinth involved on this album.

I have reviewed their previous albums in # 1 of this blog and have lukewarm relation to them. Not all their albums are good. 

The album is two CDs and ninety minutes long.

The sound is good and the vocalists does a great job. Ditto for the other musicians. 

The music covers a lot of ground. From music bordering to muzak and neo-classical music to RPI and more symphonic prog.

Most of the music is bombastic and theatrical dramatic. It is also very elegant without being too sugary sweet.

And this is a good album from this veteran band. I like this album a lot and would recommend it to anyone who likes elegant music. Check it out.

3 points

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Soft Machine - Hidden Details (2018)

The 12th album from this English band.

The band is a quartet with John Etheridge on guitars, John Marshall on drums, percussion, Roy Babbington on bass and Theo Travis on Fender piano, flutes and saxophones.

The first three is veterans from the old Soft Machine while Theo Travis is one of the leading lights in today's music scene.

This is their first album since 1981 and the less than good Land Of Cockayne.

Yes, I know that the band has used the monicker Soft Machine Legacy for many years. I never felt that that band was anything but a tribute band to Soft Machine made up by ex Soft Machine members. Some of them passed away during those years too. But were they the real thing, Soft Machine ? No. I like Soft Machine Legacy a lot on their own merits and that is all.

It seems like I am not the only one with those thoughts. So the band dropped the tribute part and went for the essence of Soft Machine. Which is more jazz between prog and avant-garde.

This album has a different feel and sound than the Soft Machine Legacy albums. Hidden Details sounds like the real deal, a Soft Machine album.

And it is !!

There is some re-arranged old and some new stuff here. The music is like a mix of Softs and 7.
You get both the woodwinds and the guitars version of Soft Machine here.

We also get some avant-garde as this album has an avant-garde edge throughout. And that is a good move.

This is a Soft Machine album I really like and indeed rate highly. This album deserve the Soft Machine name and reputation. It is indeed a big welcome back to their former greats and a very good album in it's own right. Get this album !

3.5 points

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Scherzoo - 04 (2018)

The fourth album from this French band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of mellotron, electric piano, organ, drums and bass.

This French zeuhl band is back again with their fourth offering.

I have reviewed their first two albums in # 1 of this blog. I have yet to get hold of their third album and will try to get that album sometimes soon.

The band's take on zeuhl is minimalism first and foremost. The band makes a lot of sound. But the music is not as grand and big as Magma and other zeuhl bands.

I have always compared this band to the likes of Present and will do it again. There is some very vicious dark tones in their music. Brooding, doomy music.

The music on this forty-five minutes long album still works and there is a lot of very interesting details here. The bass for example.

This is not music for everyone. This is music for the few. But it is a rewarding experience, this album.

There is no great pieces of music here. The overall quality is good though and I like this album a lot. So check it out.

3 points

Monday 26 November 2018

Distorted Harmony - Chain Reaction (2014)

The second album from this band from Israel.

The band is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

I was a big fan of their 2012 debut album Utopia. I gave it almost full score... See my review here.

Six years has gone and I am finally reviewing their last two albums. About time, I would say.

The band still plays progressive metal with Dream Theater as the basis for their music. Add in some Opeth, Porcupine Tree and Tool too.

In short, progressive metal with some djent and some melodic prog mixed into their sound and music.

I am not that big on metal any longer. That too goes for progressive metal. The readers of this blog will find very few progressive metal reviews here.

Chain Reaction is a fifty minutes long album with dominantly good music. There are some really interesting details here. I am not that enthusiastic about the music and that tells me that this is merely a good album which is ticking on nicely.

Fans of progressive metal should check out this good album.

3 points

Sunday 25 November 2018

Nemo - Si, Partie II (2007)

The fifth album from this French band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and French vocals.
A female vocalist also helped out the band on this album.

I really love French symphonic prog. Bands like Mona Lisa and Ange is big in my musical world. So us Magnesis too. Not to mention the zeuhl genre and Magma.
So French prog is very popular in my home.

Nemo too is getting a pretty big star in my home after I have reviewed their first albums.

Si, Partie I was a very good album indeed. It has some of the better things from the French symphonic prog scene together with some prog metal. It also has some very good songs.

Si, Partie II is trying to follow up that album.

There is still some symphonic prog here. But a lot of that has been replaced by the latter days Pink Floyd while the prog metal influences are still here.

The songs are not as very good as on Part I either. This one hour long album has a lot of good songs and the quality is good. But something is missing.... Better songs, for a start.

The music is also really big and this album has a big sound. Sometimes, that drowns out the really interesting music here.

Nevertheless, this is another good album from this band and well worth checking out.

3 points

Karmic Juggernaut - The Dreams That Stuff Are Made Of (2018)

The debut album from this US band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, flute, keyboards, percussion and vocals.
They had help from guest musicians who provided percussion, trombone and trumpet.

This band has done some good gigs this summer which has put them on the map. That is why it is so strange that their album has got so few reviews.

It deserves a lot more reviews.

The band is listed as an avant-garde/RIO band in ProgArchives. Something that made me approach this album with a lot of caution. This genre takes a lot out of me in a busy working life.

I should not have been worried.

The band offers up a mix of jazz, eclectic prog, college rock, symphonic prog and..... avant-garde/RIO. The music is both melodic and not so melodic.

It is full of life and madness too where the woodwinds comes in and falls out the most strange places in some music that is very lively. Ditto for the vocals and the guitar solos.

There is even a track which could had been on a 1970s album from Yes here. And that says a lot. And that track is not an odd one out track on this album.

This album is infectious lively and full of youth. It is an album you should all check out. It is a very good album indeed.

3.5 points

Saturday 24 November 2018

Doldinger's Motherhood - Motherhood (1970)

The one and only album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of saxophones, clarinet, piano, organ, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
The band first released an album as The Motherhood before they split up and started afresh under the name Doldinger's Motherhood.

Klaus Doldinger was the motor in this band. He later joined Passport, another German band who released numerous albums. Reviews to follow next year.

Doldinger's Motherhood was one of the many German bands who played and recorded music somewhere between blues, psych, hard rock and fusion.

In other words..... krautrock. The music is a raw version of krautrock with a lot of the qualities and common values from this genre.

The music is not as raw and wild as I thought it would be. There is a lot of saxophones here too. The music is undeniable hard though.

The quality of the music on this thirty-five minutes long album is decent throughout though. It is not good enough for my liking though. Krautrock fans should perhaps check out this album.

2 points

Værket - Young Again (2018)

The second album from this Danish band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of flute, trumpet, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

I do not know anything about this band other that they are included in ProgArchives and listed as an Eclectic Prog band. That is all I needed to know before purchasing this album.

And eclectic prog it is......

The trumpet and some of the music reminds me about Mexican tijuana. Add in some gloomy rock, folk rock and psych too and you get this album.

The trumpet is everywhere and is supported by flutes, keys and guitars.

The vocals too comes in and adds to the strange music here.

Forty minutes of strange music, that is.

But it works, the music here. Some of the music here is really good and some is not that good. It is an interesting album indeed.

I am not won over by the quality and will not get their debut album. But this band has potential and they offers up something different. Check them out.

2.5 points

Deux Ex Machina - Gladium Caeli (1991)

The debut album from this Italian band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, percussion, violins and Italian vocals.

I reviewed their seventh and so far final album back in January 2017 for # 1 of this blog. You can find my review here.

I have managed to get hold of a couple more of their albums and will review both of them in the coming days......... starting with this review.

The band is said to be a jazz/fusion band. There is not much evidence of that on this album.

This album feels like a low-budget jam album. It is also seventy minutes long and the sound is not particular great.

There is some Area influences here. There is also a lot of Led Zeppelin influences here. There is also a lot of psych, blues, some jazz and a lot of heavy rock on this album. There are also some avant-garde jazz elements here.

There is a lot of really loud and wild guitars on this album with the violin also piping up with a lot of stuff. The vocals is also pretty wild.

Most of all, this album sounds like a jam album with some loose song structures. The poor sound makes this a worse album than it should have been. Hence the low score.

2 points


Friday 23 November 2018

Nektar - ...Sounds Like This (1973)

The third album from this British band.

Nektar was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.

This band is a new band to me and I thought I was getting a grip on them on their first two albums. Albums I really like.

........ Then this album comes along....

Forget about their first two albums. The band has done it too. Which is obvious on this album.

I had really problems believing my ears before I got the full story of this album. And that took me some listening sessions.

It turns out that this album is a free flowing and free jamming seventy-five minutes long album. Jams over psychelia krautrock and blues rock themes. The album was also recorded live in studio and is very much free flowing

There is a lot of great guitar solos and vocals from Roye Albrighton. The drums, bass and keyboards is also good here.

The music is spaced out and in the krautrock genre and spirit. The sound is not good and I find seventy-five minutes of this a bit of a chore. This album, this jam, is overblown and self-indulgent. It is not a good album though and an oddity in their career. Something I am happy with.

2 points


Thursday 22 November 2018

Zwoyld - Zgond (2018)

The second album from this French band.

Zwoyld was a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.
A guest musician provided saxophone.

I reviewed their 2014 debut album 200 000 back in August 2014 and liked it a lot. The review can be found here.

The band is regarded as a zeuhl band. This is a genre I really love. So I was looking forward to this album.

The band is open admirers of Magma. But they do not sound a great deal like Magma. Their take on zeuhl is much, much more subtle.

The first part of this forty five minutes long album is not zeuhl at all. It is jazz more in the vein of Django Reinhardt than Magma.

The vocals arrive and we turn this album much more in the direction of zeuhl. The music never becomes hardcore zeuhl and it is debatable if this is a zeuhl album at all.

In my estimations, it is indeed a zeuhl album.

The bass and the keyboards plus the guitars are very much chugging along zeuhl pattern lines. So it is a subtle take on zeuhl.

The album is good throughout though after the not so interesting opening salvos on this album which feature pretty uninspired jazz. But it becomes a good to very good album after that.

Check out this album.

3 points

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Water Garden - Himiko... (2014)

The one and only album from this Japanese band.

Water Garden was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and female Japanese vocals.

This album was picked up by Musea for a world wide release and it is a great shame that it has not got the attention it deserves.

Just the name of the band kind of gives the music away. Then again, it does not.

The music is flowery, exotic neo-prog with a great Japanese flavour. There are some strong hints of Japanese classical music throughout this fifty-five minutes long album.

The music is elegant and classy throughout. The piano and the keyboards are really great here. The vocals are good.

What is letting this album down.... slightly.... is the quality of the songs. They are good but not living up to the great sound.

I am kind of fond of this album because it adds colours to the neo-prog scene. I like what I hear. But I am not overly impressed. Hence the rating. Check out this album and give it some attention. Attention it deserve.

3 points

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Presto Ballet - Invisible Places (2011)

The third album from this US band.

Presto Ballet was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, Mellotron, clavinet, Hammond organ, electric piano, keyboards, synths, bass and vocals.
A guest musician provided drums and percussion.

I do not have their second album, the 2008 album The Lost Art Of Time Travelling and I am not so sure if I want it either. I got far too many albums and far too many reviews to get through.

The band was pretty popular back then. Kurt Vanderhoof from Metal Church was still the engine in the band.

The band still sounded like a mix of symphonic prog and progressive metal. The Metal Church influences is there and so is melodic prog influences. Add some neo-prog too.

This album is one hour long and it is not their finest hour.

There is a distinct lack of very good and great songs here. Not all songs are good either. The music is not particular heavy and intricate either.

There is something missing here and that is this album's lack of ability to engage with the listener.

This is another almost-there album. An album between decent and good.

2.5 points

Sunday 18 November 2018

Pymlico - Nightscape (2018)

The fifth album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of saxophones, keyboards, percussion, guitars, bass and drums.
Four guest musicians provides trombone, trumpet, flute and extra guitars.

I have been following this band with a great deal of interest during # 1 and now this volume of this blog. I guess you can find my reviews of their four previous albums in both # 1 and this volume.

The band has always been operating in the symphonic prog landscape around Camel and other more elegant instrumental symphonic prog bands.

To a great deal, this album also reminds me about the long forgotten Norwegian band Lava and their take on the Icelandic band Mezzoforte.

The band has in short moved a great deal towards fusion and jazz.

The music is pretty soft and not that intense. There are also some funk here. The symphonic prog elements has been toned down a great deal. But they are still there.

Bands like Weather Reports now props up as someone this band can be compared to.

Is that a good thing ? Does it really matter if the music they gives us is instrumental fusion or symphonic prog ?  Not a bit. The quality is the only thing that matter and this is a good album.
It is not as good as I expected it to be, though. Then again, I rate this band very highly. But get this album as it will be a good companion to you.

3 points

Galahad - Sleepers (1995)

The fourth album from this British band.

Galahad was a quintet on this album with a lineup of harpsichord, guitars, keyboards, harmonium, synths, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
Two guest musicians provides operatic female vocals and percussions.

The band has shown some good progress on their two previous electric neo-prog albums. Their acoustic album can be bypassed in silent peace although I have reviewed it. You can see my reviews somewhere else in this blog.

The band is one of the pioneers in the neo-prog scene and is still around. They are very much alive and well anno 2018.

This album sees the band take on a more complex neo-prog sound and style. There are a couple of pretty melodic songs like for example Julie Anne. A very good song.

The rest of the album is complex and at times, symphonic neo-prog. The vocals is very good and the rest of the musicians also does a very good job.

Not all the material here is very good, or even good. But this sixty-six minutes long album has a lot of hidden layers and debts. It is indeed a good album well worth checking out. I cannot wait to hear and review their other albums.

3 points

Saturday 17 November 2018

Cosmic Dealer - Child Of Tomorrow (1973)

The second album from this Dutch band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.

This band was a short lived band. So much that they had split up even before the release of this album. An album of six songs.

The 2012 version also comes with live and demo tracks. But I am only reviewing the original recording, released as this album.

I was not in awe of their 1971 debut album Crystallization. You can find the review somewhere else in this blog.

The band had got rid of most of the hard rock and gone towards a more psych beat sound. The album sounds like it had been recorded back in 1967. In those days, that is not 6 years. That is 6 light-years.

Child Of Tomorrow is therefore massive out of tune with the rest of the albums from 1973.

The sound is good but the songs are a bit lacking in quality....

The songs are pretty charming psych beat tunes with some good vocal harmonies and a very naive song structure.

This album is still a small charmer which will raise a smile or two. There are also a some good details here which saves the album from being a total failure. It is a decent album well worth a listen or two.

2 points


Uzva - Niittoaika (2002)

The second album from this band from Finland.

The band was a seven piece big band with a lineup of marimba, percussion, vibes, drums, guitars, bass, piano, flute, violin and cello.
Two guest musicians provided accordian and clarinet.

Uzva released three albums between 2000 and 2006. All of them received with a mild indifference.

The band was a fusion/jazz band throughout. Not the most popular genre these days....

Niittoaika gives us three pieces of music. Three suites worth forty-seven minutes of music.

The first two suites gives us some very melodic fusion. The music is almost bordering on muzak and elevator music at times. But the music is still good and full of ideas. There is a vibraphone like sound here which really makes these two suites interesting.

The final suite, Drontti, has a much more Italian fusion feel with some avant-garde elements. It has a lot of interesting details too and is not that melodic.

The overall quality is really good. Nevertheless, this album is not one of the better albums in the scene and will probably never ever be played again in my household.

3 points

Friday 16 November 2018

Popol Vuh - Yoga (1976)

The ninth album from this German band.

The band was only Florian Fricke on piano and harmonium on this album.
He had help from guest musicians who provided tabla, sitar, sarangi and vocals.

Popol Vuh has given us some strange, colourful albums during their existence. This is among their strangest albums.

Florian Fricke goes totally India on this album.

The music here is some Western music meeting up with India and creating a mostly Indian sounding album.

This album can almost be labeled raga-rock. But it is not. There is far too much Indian music here to create the balance between east and west the label raga-rock demands.

There is also a lot of hare-krishna at the final of the two pieces of music on this forty minutes long album.

Some of the music is rather very interesting. It is never a good album though. It is far too much one sided Indian album. The music is not even interesting Indian music.

This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

Thursday 15 November 2018

Mystery - One Among The Living (2010)

The fourth album from this Canadian band.

Mystery is a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals.
Numerous other guest artist, famous and none so famous, contributes with keyboards, bass, moog, children laughter, female vocals and guitars.

The band has had a steady career so far. It was a bit sidetracked when their vocalist Benoit David joined Yes for a period.

He is very much present on this album and he is the only male vocalist present on an album full of guest musicians. His vocals is at times superb.

The music is a mix of symphonic prog and prog metal throughout this seventy minutes long album. There is also some pomp rock here too.

There are also some rather banal children music here too. But not that much, thankfully.

Mystery is now proving that they are very good in their craft..... and their sound. The music is a bit too hard to fully get the nuances in their songs. That is a gripe I have got with this album.

Besides of that, this album is a good album from a very good band. A band who are now touring and making a good name for themselves. Make sure you pick up this album, wherever you can find it.

3 points

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Ovrfwrd - Blurring The Lines ... A Democracy Manifest (2018)

The third album from this US band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars and drums.

I have heard about this band before but it took me some years to get one of their albums. Yes, I am a bit slow to react.....

Their music is a mix of fusion and progressive metal. Instrumental too....

In short, I am in theory completely failing to develop any pulse over this. I find that genre pretty dull.

And it has taken me some time to really pull myself together and write a review of this album. It is something I am now doing.

The album is one hour long and contains some really varied stuff. From some Indian sitars (keyboards generated, I guess) to some more symphonic prog, prog metal, fusion and jazz too.

There is some guitar solos and some more complex guitar pieces here. 

The music is not particular exciting but it still works well. There are some really good stuff here. Even some very good stuff here.

The overall quality is good throughout although I have to admit I am not totally falling for this album. But check it out.

3 points

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Overworld Dreams - Voyage (2018)

The debut album from this US band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

The purpose of this band was to reconnect the 1970s prog sensibilities with today's world. I think I have heard that motto before.... but I fully agree with this motto !!

And the band really delivers when it comes to the genre. Melodic US neo-prog with a lot of English symphonic prog too. There is no Kansas around here.

The emphasis is on elegance here. Elegant guitars, keyboards and vocals. But there is still enough bite here to make this album anything but slick. OK, it is slick but there is also a lot of substance here. A good church organ and a dirty guitar solo here and there.

And the music is really good on this fifty minutes long album. There is a lot of really good details here. And the melodies too are really good.

This is a really promising debut album and I really hope this album is not a one-off. We need bands and albums like this one.

3 points

Sunday 11 November 2018

Coïncidence - Clef De Ciel (1979)

The second and final album from this French band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, percussion, bass, drums, saxophone and piano.

Their first album was not a good album. Therefore, I did not have much hope for this album.

The band continues with their own take on fusion.

There is a lot of Weather Report in their music. That inspiration is easy to detect throughout this album.

There is also a lot of strange keyboards generated sounds throughout this album. What is a bit different with this album is the use of so much acoustic guitars. This on some really melodic fusion which puts the emphasis on the good melody instead of finesse and interesting details.

This is a very obscure album but I cannot really understand why. Most fusion fans would find something to like here. The music is not too bad either.

I guess albums like this is forgotten and being left behind. Which is a pity because this album is a decent one and one to check out.

2 points

Utopian Fields - Utopian Fields (1989)

The debut album from this Norwegian band.

The band was an eight piece big band with a lineup of flute, harmonica, percussion, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

I reviewed their second and final album back in for February 2015 for # 1 of this blog. I did not like that album at all. See my review here.

The band has only released these two albums and they are very obscure even in the Norwegian scene. Not without reason, I have to say....

The music on this album is listed as neo-prog. Well, the band is. The music is not....

Take a lot of Camel, some early psych prog and some early Pink Floyd. That is where you get this album.

The instruments is good and ditto for the vocals. The songs are long suites in and around the ten minutes mark.

The songs are mid-tempo with a late 1970s sound. A good sound.

The sound, the instruments and the vocals is masking up what is a pretty mediocre album. It is still a decent album well worth checking out for those who want everything progressive rock from Norway and Scandinavia. You may be positive surprised.

2 points

Saturday 10 November 2018

Presto Ballet - Peace Among The Ruins (2005)

The debut album from this US band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, organ, piano, electric piano, synth, mellotron and vocals.

Presto Ballet is the Metal Church's founder Kurt Vanderhoof side project. Metal Church are back again but Presto Ballet is probably dead after four albums and one EP.

I will review the EP and two more albums of them this autumn.

I was expecting some pretty heavy music on this album. I was expecting prog metal despite of ProgArchives labeling them as a crossover prog band.

ProgArchives was/is right. The music on this fifty minutes long album is crossover.

Take some hard rock, symphonic prog and progressive metal. That is where you find this album and band. It is kind of Kansas meets Deep Purple.

OK, the music is pretty hard and not for the faint hearted. It is also has some good Mellotron and Hammond organs on some pretty melodic, but still dynamic songs.

The overall quality is good throughout and I am surprised how good this album is. Check it out.

3 points

Medina Azahara - Trece Rosas (2018)

The 19th album from this Spanish band.

Medina Azahara is a quintet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and Spanish vocals.

This band is some sort of national institution in Spain. So much that two young female friends of mine, both from Spain, have heard about them and like them. They were very surprised when I casually remarked that I had heard about them and had indeed reviewed most of their albums in ProgArchives and in # 1 of this blog.

The band started out as symphonic prog band back in the 1970s, switched to folk metal and then metal before they went more hair metal and soft heavy metal on their last albums.

The music on this album is a mix of singalong rock and singalong hair metal. Hair metal from the 1980s.

I would have laughed bands like this out of my album collection if their names had been other than Medina Azahara. But their Spanish vocals is charming and the music is not really terrible.

The band has also retained the North-African flavour from the 1970s too and the vocals is special... and melodic. There is something about this band....

They have a bit of an x-factor and a bit of an exotic flavour which even brightens up hair metal. So much that this is a decent album and not a disaster.... But check out their first albums instead of this one.

2 points

Friday 9 November 2018

Ut Gret - Ancestors' Tale (2014)

The fourth album from this US band.

Ut Gret is a quintet with a lineup of clarinet, Chapman stick, percussion, guitars, electronics, drums, bass, mellotron, organ, electric piano, piano, samplers, marimba, vibraphone, bassoon, contra basson and flute.
Three guest musicians provides saxes, double bass, didgeridoo, violin, flutes, percussion and female vocals.

This album was one of the big sensations in the prog rock scene back in 2014. I got it as it was released by AltRecords... but I found it a bit too avant-garde for me. So I left it to now.

And this album is indeed an avant-garde/RIO album. Picchio Dal Pozzo is a band that springs to mind when I listen to this album.

The music is still melodic though... The female vocals adds a lot to this album.

There is also some really cool jazz here with good woodwinds throughout. The organ also adds a lot to this album.

The music is very good throughout this one hour long album. This album function best as one hour long entity where the very good stuff comes thick and fast.

I am glad I waited these years to immerse myself into this album. It is an album that grows on me. Not to mention the avant-garde/RIO genre itself.

Check out this album !

3.5 points

Crack The Sky - Living In Reverse (2018)

The 18th album from this US band.

The band is a sextet on this album with a lineup of organ, bass, piano, drums, guitars and vocals.

The band was at their best in the 1970s and has suffered an indifferent time after that.

This is my first meeting with this band and probably my only meeting with them too. So I have to judge this album on it's merits alone.

The music on this fifty minutes long album is a mix of retro rock, americana, a bit Pink Floyd and a lot of normal college rock.

I cannot free myself from the feeling that I have heard most of this music before. But I have not heard this album and these songs before.

The music is not that original in other words.

Neither is it that exciting and I lose interest after some listening sessions.

There are some good songs here. But most of this album is pretty decent and average. In short, I am not won over.

2.5 points

Thursday 8 November 2018

Cosmic Dealer - Crystallization (1972)

The debut album from this Dutch band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of percussion, flute, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

Some closer inspections and browsing through Youtube and Discogs sometimes brings up bands and albums well worth checking out.... Well, at least based on what others writes about these entities.

Cosmic Dealer released two albums. Both are reviewed in this blog/are to be reviewed in this blog.

The band's name made me believe this was a krautrock band. I was wrong.

The band plays hard rock with some psych and blues inspirations.

There are a lot of Led Zeppelin in their sound. There are also some krautrock hanging around too. The flute makes me think about Focus and Jethro Tull too.

The music is pretty hard rocking at times and blows the flies of the walls. The guitars are OK. The band has both a rhythm and a lead guitarist. That sets them a bit apart.

There is no real great music on this half an hour long album. There is no good music either. This album is still worth a listen or ten.

Check out this album.

2 points

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Tryo - Crudo (1998)

The second album from this band from Chile.

Tryo is a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussion, cello, drums and vocals.

I reviewed their 1996 self-titled album one month ago for his blog and you can find that review somewhere else in this blog. I was not too impressed with their heavy rock and fusion crossover.

That album was a mild earthquake compared to the shock Crudo gave me.

This three quarter of an hour long album comes in two halves.

The first half is a live album with power heavy metal with some fusion influences. But it is mostly heavy metal and the guitar solos is not interesting. Neither is the music. It is a pretty dull first half of this album, to be brutally honest.

The final half sees the band turns into a classical music chamber orchestra. Yes, there is nothing wrong with your eyesight. Classical music chamber orchestra.

The music is totally acoustic and based on a cello with some acoustic guitars inbetween.

This half is pretty dull too. It has a couple of decent ideas but that is all.

I am not impressed at all with this half-decent album. It is well worth avoiding.

1.5 points

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Albion - You'll Be Mine (2018)

The sixth album from this band from Poland.

Albion is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, loop programming and vocals.

I was pretty happy with their fourth album, Broken Hopes from 2007. You can find the review somewhere else in this blog.

The band is fronted by a female vocalist again as in 2007. But a different vocalist, I see. The music is still what it was back then.

That means a mix of neo-prog, some folk rock and some rock. There is some pretty strong Gazpacho influences here too. Marillion too.

The music on this forty-five minutes long album is solid with some good vocals and guitar solos. The music is decent to good throughout this album.

What is missing is that ekstra x-factor. The sparkle, that small piece of inspirations.... some more good songs.

This album sounds a bit too much female-vocalist fronted neo-prog formula to me. There is no real surprises here and the dullness creeps in.

Solid, but not good.

2.5 points

Monday 5 November 2018

Popol Vuh - Letzte Tage Letzte Nächte (1976)

The eight album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, piano, percussion and vocals.
Two guest artists provided sitar and tamboura.

Renate Knaup from Amon Duul II also joined Popol Vuh in addition to her daily job in Amon Duul II. Which is a good thing...

The album is far more dynamic than most other Popol Vuh albums.

The album also sounds like a dirge at times and the themes are pretty dark and somber. Not gothic, but dark and somber.

The vocals is really full of effects although they are without any words. They are like instruments on the same line as the guitars and the piano.

The guitar solos is really both intense and good here. The sitar adds a lot to this album. It adds that little xtra which makes me listen up.

The piano is also good on this album. An album I would rate as one of their better ones.

Check out this album.

3 points

Sunday 4 November 2018

Urban Trapeze - Reactivated Tarkus (2006)

The one and only album from this Spanish band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of flute, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.

The album is a bit unknown and this album was released by the band on their own. The band was from Catalonia too. They changed style to avant-garde rock, from what I have heard.

That was after the release as the music here is not avant-garde rock in any form or shape.

Take some Canterbury fusion, add some King Crimson, some Camel and a lot of Latin - American symphonic prog. You may end up with something like this.

I had expected a lot of ELP influences on this album as Tarkus is a word/name in the title of this album. I was wrong. Something I am not unhappy about.

There is a lot of South America in this Spanish band's take on symphonic prog. The flute and the keyboards is really warm and adds a lot of positives to this album. The pretty unassuming vocals are OK but nothing more than that.

The music is at times very interesting though and the band proves that they know their stuff.

This fifty minutes long album is an intriguing symphonic prog album who should interest everyone into this genre. It is also a good album who does not disappoint.

3 points

Farflung - This Capsule (2018)

The eight album from this US band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of synths, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
A guest vocalist appeared on one of the tracks.

I have previously reviewed two album by this band back in November 2016 for # 1 of this blog.
Albums I liked a lot.

The band delivers a mix of space-rock, post rock, post metal and krautrock on this album... and on their previous seven albums too.

The band is primary a space rock band.

There is a lot of inter-galaxy flights on this album. There is also a lot of post rock light and shadows type of music too. There is a lot of variations on this album with some weird vocals and rhythms. There is also elements of avant-garde rock here.

The music is a times very melodic, but also still edgy and spaced out.

The end result is a fifty minutes long good album fans of space rock should check out. Farflung is one of the better bands in that genre and they deserve a lot more attention.

Check out this album.

3 points

Saturday 3 November 2018

Asturias - Across The Ridge To Heaven (2018)

The twelfth album from this Japanese band/project.

Asturias is Yoh Ohyama and friends. He plays guitars, mandolin, bass, keyboards, glockenspiel and synths.
He has got help from other musicians on cello, clarinet, keyboards, guitars, drums, viola, oboe, flute and voices.

I reviewed two Asturias albums for # 1 of this blog back in December 2015 and was not impressed at all by them. Mike Oldfield copycat albums, I wrote.

This fifty minutes long album still sounds like a blend of Aranis, Mike Oldfield and Flairck. Not much has changed.

Neo-classical music is what I may call it, this music.

There are some good electric guitar solos here though and the album is leaning quite heavy towards Camel and the instrumental symphonic prog tradition and scene too.

And the music actually good. That to my surprise as my two previous meetings with their music had not left a good taste in my mouth.

There is a lot of soaring, good melodies here. There are also some intricate details. This is very much likeable music to a prog rock head like myself.

This is a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points

Birth Control - Increase (1977)

The seventh album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, synths, clavinet, mini-moog, polymoog, electric piano, percussion, alto sax and vocals.

After some good albums, the band reached 1977 and the maelstrom of various impulses which ruled that year. It was not a good year for music.

One of the main members left Birth Control and the drummer got a lot more influence than before. Which shows....

Increase gives us a mix of Latin-Rock, fusion, disco, Euro-rock and some progressive rock.

There is a lot of variation of styles on this forty minutes long album. From disco to pastoral progressive rock.

There is no real good songs here and the disco does nothing to improve my mood. I really abhor disco.

Some of the music, most of it, that is..... is really tacky and very outdated anno 2018. It sounds like a bad dream.

To be fair though, the music is decent throughout this album. There are even some borderline good music here. But this is not a good album, I am afraid.

2 points

Friday 2 November 2018

Coïncidence ‎– Coïncidence (1977)

The debut album from this French band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of clavinet, guitars, bass, keyboards, electric piano, synths, drums and some vocals.

This is one of reasonably many fusion bands from the mainland Europe who showed up on the basis of the popularity of fusion in the 1970s. A great decade for fusion.

This thirty-six minutes long album was recorded and released on a tight budget.

That explains the sound and the poor packing of the album.

The music is pretty standard fusion with some French prog rock in the vein of Ange thrown in at the end where the vocals comes in.

Nothing here sounds really interesting. There is a couple of decent tracks and that is all.

This is not an album worth paying any money for.

1.5 points

Thursday 1 November 2018

Unkh - Traveller (2014)

The debut album from this Dutch band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

I got their 2018 album Innerverse earlier this year and liked that album. You can read my review here.

So I went for their debut album too...

Debut albums can be a bit of a hit and miss. A lot of them are albums where bands finds out what works and what is not working.

Traveller has a lot of things who does not work at all.

The album offers us seventy minutes of neo-prog of some sort. Dutch neo-prog with a lot of rock and some AOR too.

The material is very dull at times. But there is also some more lively and more good material here. Material who really works out fine.

This is not an impressive album by any means. It is still a decent to good album. Go for their new album instead.

2.5 points