Friday 31 July 2020

Yes - Union (1991)

The thirteenth album from this British band.

The band was an eight piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band had help from numerous other musicians who added synths, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

This version of Yes is in short a union of Yes and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe.

Add numerous other musicians and you get  very big project indeed.

Some would call it a muddle and a compromise.

The compromise is between the AOR and the pop Yes did and the more symphonic prog ABWH did. I refer to their respective albums before this union.

A muddle and a compromise it is.

The songs are not that good and the band has lost a lot of their identity on this album.

This is a decent to good album but nothing more than that.

I am not impressed.

2.5 points

Thursday 30 July 2020

Majestic - String Theory (2008)

The second album from this US one man project.

The band is Jeff Hamel on drums, percussion, guitar, keyboards and vocals.
He got some help on vocals and flute.

I reviewed the latest Majestic albums and then found this album somewhere. So I am now returning to the band to review this album.

This album is seventy minutes long.

The music is a mix of symphonic prog and neo-prog. US symphonic prog and neo-prog, that is.

Everything is bold and big on this album. Bombastic too.

There are still some pastoral parts on this album.

Jeff Hamel was still developing as a composer and was not still on the mark and on the target.

This is a melodic album with some decent to good songs. I am not won over but the band has later become good. So no worries, then.

2 points

Spock's Beard - V (2000)

The fifth album from this US band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, bass, cello, samples, organ, synths, piano, mellotron, french horn and vocals.
Some guest musicians provided woodwinds and strings.

This is their fifth album and their sound was now established. Kansas meets Gentle Giant meets Yes.

The album has a warm US sound with nods to Americana too.

The band has not changed much since their sensational great debut album The Light and that is a good thing.

V has a lot of vocal harmonies, guitars and an organic sound from the tangents. The strings adds to the rather somber feel at times.

The two long tracks is very good. The rest of the album not so very good.

Nevertheless, this is another very good album from this band and one to enjoy for the upcoming decades.

3.5 points

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Quercunian Camerata - Ponce (2017)

The second album from this Spanish band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of vibraphone, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Two guest musicians provides flute and keyboards.

This album is only a twenty-one minutes long EP and you can download it from here.

 It is a release well worth reviewing and checking out though.

I also liked their debut album Prometeia a lot and this band has my ears.

The music  here is a mix of folk rock, medieval folk music, baroque music and symphonic rock. That with a Spanish sound and English vocals.

The vocals are really good although with a pretty heavy Spanish accent.

The music has some nice flute and guitars. The music is also pastoral and not technical.

This is an EP and it is short. This is still a good release and well worth downloading. Let us hope the band is still around and more albums will be released.

3 points


Madden & Harris - Fools Paradise (1975)

The one and only album from this Australian duo.

The duo was Dave Madden on guitars and vocals & Peter Harris on mandolin, guitar, harp, violin, sax, synths and vocals.
They had help from a bassist and a drummer.

This album was released in 500 copies and then sunk without a trace. A Korean label re-released it so we could enjoy it again.

The music has it's basis in the 1960s folk rock. Add a lot of light pop from the 1960s and the 1970s too. This album sounds like Sir Paul McCartney meets Fairport Convention.  

Add some subtle classical and jazz influences too and you get this album.

The vocals are really good on a not so complicated music. There is not technical complicated music here. Just some songs and vocals.

The instruments like mandolin, guitars and synths are adding a lot of value to this album too.

This album is a hidden gem and it deserve a lot more attention. I am so glad I found this album. It is indeed a good album and one to really enjoy.

3 points

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Generous Men - More Than Meets The Eye (2013)

The debut album from this Swedish band.

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

The band has so far released two albums and I got both of them up for reviews. Which off course is a pleasure.

More Than Meets The Eye is what we call a heavy prog album.

In this case, there is a 1970s organ sound here combined with a more modern guitars and vocals sound.

It is not progressive metal and it is not neo-prog or old symphonic prog. It is somewhere between early 1970s progressive rock and progressive metal.

The opening half of this album is strong with some really very good songs. The quality falls of at the end. Not as in a cliff edge. But the fall in quality is noted.

The sound is very good and the vocals too is very good.

This is a good album indeed and I am looking forward to sink my ears into their second album. I hope this band is generous enough to continue as they sounds like another very valuable band from Sweden.

3 points

Monday 27 July 2020

SBB - Amiga (1978)

The sixth album from this Polish band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussion, drums, minimoog, mellotron, electric piano, clavinet and vocals.

The band lived their lives behind the Iron Curtain and were perhaps a bit isolated.

In any case, the band has this time around come up with a funk album. Yes, the cover art work is a warning and I should have heeded it. But I am doing reviews so it does not matter. To say that the art work lowered my expectations is still true.

The funk is mixed with some fusion during these forty minutes (eighty minutes if you get the Metal Mind version).

There are some vocals at the end of the album too.

The result is not horrible bad. The band knows how to make the funk and the fusion work. The music still sound second rate and not particular original and full of identity.

It is a run of the mill album and a decent one too.

I am not won over by this album.

2 points

Univers Zero - Ceux Du Dehors (1981)

The third album from this band from Belgium.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of harmonium, drums, percussion, cymbals, violin, bass, clarinet, English horn, bassoon, oboe, viola, glockenspiel, church organ, moog, piano, organ, keyboard and vocals.

Univers Zero is an unique band who operates totally outside the frameworks of modern rhythmic music..... also called rock and pop.

Their music is avant-garde chamber music.

It is also an album full of pretty dark and disturbing music. Most of the fifty minutes long album contains dark and gloomy music. That with the full use of their instruments.

Some of their rhythms are pretty zeuhl like too.

This is  not easy listening music. The final track Triomphe Des Mouche is a very good track with some really dark vibes.

As per usual with the albums from this band, their albums is a difficult to understand for a person with a background from prog........ read rock and pop....... Nevertheless, this is a good album and one I really like.

My collection of Univers Zero and Present albums is a collection I think  I will like more and more in the future.

3 points

Sunday 26 July 2020

Lucifer's Friend - Too Late To Hate (2016)

The tenth album from this German band.

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

Their latest albums had been pretty poor and I did not have any expectations to this album whatsoever.

John Lawton is back again and there seems to have been a bit of a cleanup in the Lucifer's Friend household.

The hoovering and washing has resulted in a better sound and some other improvements.

John Lawton has one of the better vocals in the hard rock and heavy metal. His work in Uriah Heep was also great and that is brought over to this band too. It says a lot that he still want to be in Lucifer's Friend.

The songs are so much better on this album too and the sound is really cool.

The music is a mix of good old hard rock in the vein of Rainbow/Deep Purple and good old heavy metal in the vein of Dio.

The music is catchy and really good. A couple of tracks are not that good. But I am in a forgiving mood when listening to the other songs.

This is indeed a good album from one of the most underestimated bands in the scene.

3 points

Yardbirds - Little Games (1967)

The third and final album from this English band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussion, harmonica and vocals.

Jimmy Page was on guitars here after a long apprenticeship as a studio musician. Keith Relf was still on vocals with Jim McCarty did the drums and Chris Dreja. The two latter ones reformed Yardbirds and released an album in 2003.

Keith Relf formed Renaissance/Illusion and Jimmy Page formed New Yardbirds and then renamed the band to Led Zeppelin with the same New Yardbirds personell.

The rest is history.

Yardbirds has a messy discography. Their importance and place in history is undisputed, though. It is a band none can bypass.

Little Games starts with the rather sweet beat song of the same name. Then we get a blues song where Jimmy Pages spreads his wings before we end up with a composition later used by Led Zeppelin. It is called White Summer and it can be found on several Led Zeppelin compilation albums.

The rest of the album is a mix of beat and blues songs. This album leaves no doubts where the origins of Led Zeppelin comes from. It is an album who has at least two fingers pointing towards the first Led Zeppelin album.

Besides of that, this is also a good album in it's own right. There are some really good blues and beat stuff here and this album should really be checked out. It is indeed one of the best 1960s album I have ever heard. It is still relevant to this day.

3 points 

Magister Dixit - Cellule de Crise (2006)

The second album from this French band.

The band is a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, violin, piano and vocals.

This is another new zeuhl band. There is not many zeuhl bands around and I cherish every new bands and albums.

I have not to this date managed to get hold of their debut album. I am working on the case, though.

Cellule De Crise is an half an hour long album and it is very much in the Magma tradition.

You get a mix of male and female vocals here. The vocals is hypnotic and works as a choir. There is a lot of melody from the piano, guitars and violin in addition to the vocals.

Their take on zeuhl is not very brutal. It is a pretty much in the middle of the road where some beauty is also present.

The music is a bit too close to Magma to really make a big impression. A bit more originality and identity would have been nice. Then again, the violin sets the band apart... so they have some originality after all.

A bit longer album would have been nice too. Nevertheless, this is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

Saturday 25 July 2020

Hypnotic Floor - Foggy Bog Eyes (2020)

The debut album from this Austrian band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of harp, guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.

Austria has a great prog rock scene although it is not particular the talk of the prog rock world.

A lot of the bands is associated with the krautrock scene. The new krautrock scene.

Hypnotic Floor is one of these bands.

The band name says a lot about their music. The music is indeed pretty hypnotic.

It is also pretty much a throwback to the spacey krautrock from the early 1970s. It even goes further back in time than that with a couple of psych beat tracks.

The music is pretty heavy at times. The vocals are really good.

The band is onto something here and they are really talented too. This forty minutes long album is a good debut album and the band is a very welcome addition to the krautrock scene.

3 points


Gamma - Darts (1974)

The second album from this Dutch band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of guitars, organ, bass, woodwinds, drums and percussion.

The band has got rid of the vocals and most of the Canterbury prog influences this time around.

These has been replaced by pure fusion and some ELP like symphonic prog. The band has stolen some melody lines from the first two ELP albums.

Some Canterbury prog elements is still hanging around on this album.

There is also some really melodic Camel elements here which takes us into symphonic prog territory.

This album too was self-released as the band and their music was incapable of securing a record deal. I can understand that based on their two albums. They are not good and not exciting.

Nevertheless, they are now on Youtube and well worth a listen or two. Just for a change of scenery for the avid music lover.

This is a decent album, indeed.

2 points

Thursday 23 July 2020

Mabel Greer's Toyshop - The Secret (2017)

The second album from this British band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.
Peter Banks also appeared on this album before he passed on.

This is the pre-Yes band who decades later finds out that they would like to have their songs recorded and released too. Hence the debut album which I reviewed here, four years ago.

We more or less get the same here. A mix of vaudeville and folk hall pop, a bit crooning and some weird pomp pop.

The music is a bit the good old English holiday camps like (Butlins etc etc) at the worst.

There are some improvements though as some of the music is pretty prog rock like too.

The music is melodic and quite nice. There are a couple of cringe worthy songs here. There are also a couple of good songs here.

The vocals is pretty good too.

The music is perhaps too mellow and indeed it is. Nevertheless, this is a decent to good album which now has nothing to do with Yes whatsoever, but lives on on it's own.

2.5 points

King Crimson - Beat (1982)

The ninth album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, Chapman stick, guitars, Fripptronics, organ and vocals.

This is their second album after the comeback. Robert Fripp, an undisputed genius, is at the helm again and the band very much continues in the same vein as on their comeback album Discipline.

That means eclectic prog.

King Crimson has set the standards for eclectic prog. There is no doubts in my mind about that. And they are a wonderfully eclectic band and one of the best ever progressive rock bands.

Beat gives us a lot of weird melodies and rhythm structures.

The songs are weird with some good vocals from Adrian Belew. Tony Levin and Bill Bruford too adds a lot of colours to this album. Robert Fripp's guitars are holding it all together.

Beat is not one of the best King Crimson albums. It still have some fascinating stuff only the likes of King Crimson can come up with.

This is a good album indeed and one who fits nicely together with the rest of the King Crimson discography.

3 points

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Gam - Eiszeit (2005)

The second album from this German band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of trumpet, guitars, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.

This album was recorded in 1978 but only released thirty years later. Which is a bit of a shame, really.

The music is spaced out krautrock. There is a lot of electronica here and it is fair to label this as an electronic krautrock album in the Klaus Schulze vein.

Some parts of this album is rather hypnotic and in the minimalism genre. Other parts are rather more expansive where the trumpet plays a big part.

The vocals is used as instruments to create high pitch noises. This adds a lot to this album.

Fans of Klaus Schulze will really enjoy this album. It is a pure krautrock album.

I am not a big fan, I have to admit. Nevertheless, this album is still somewhere between decent and good. It is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Walk the Rail - Embroidery (2018)

The debut album from this band from Chile.

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

The band has been around for some time and has gigged in Chile a lot. That is all I know.

Their music is a mix of Porcupine Tree like heavy prog and some more melodic neo-prog. There is the usual Genesis references here too. Rush and Marillion is also good references.

There is a pretty huge contrast with their most heavy stuff and their most melodic stuff.

The guitars is very heavy at times and very much in the djent tradition.

The vocals is good throughout.

This fifty minutes long album is in a desperate need of some more good songs. It is a pretty good album but not really on the required standard. It is a decent to good album.

Check out this album from the link above.  

2.5 points

Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die (1970)

The fourth album from this British band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, tambourine, percussion, bass, wind, flute, saxophones, organ, electric piano, piano, guitars and vocals.
Two guest musician, including Bill Graham, contributed with guitars, bass and spoken vocals.

This is the comeback album from Traffic after the original members went to join Blind Faith and other bands. This was originally meant to be Steve Winwood's solo album too. But with three of the four original Traffic members doing the studio recording, it soon became clear it had to be a Traffic comeback album.

A good choice although Steve Winwood deserve a lot of credit in his own right.

Their mix of jazz and blues with folk rock really sets this album a part from most other albums in the scene. Traffic had their own style.

That is very much evident on this album which has some dark blues and some rather bright jazz. This in addition to some really traditional folk rock in Traffic's own take on folk rock.

The great title track is an old folk song and Traffic's version is a grower. The rest of the songs are more own stuff and very good indeed.

Steve Winwood and the other two does a very good job here with some very good songs. This is for me one of the better albums from this era.

3.5 points

Monday 20 July 2020

Brimstone - Paper Winged Dreams (1973)

The one and only album from this US band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, clarinet, organ, grand piano, synths and vocals.

The band released this album as a private pressing and they gave up the ghost in the 1980s.

The band is as rare as a symphonic prog band from the USA. I am not sure if we can even call it a scene as USA is a vast, massive country of 50 distinct states.

The band was based in Ohio. This album has not got much attention. It should get a lot more attention as the album is easy available.

And so is the music.

Take some good old Barclay James Harvest and some folk rock hippie moods, add a lot of Genesis too and you get this album. There are even some Yes influences here.

The music is not bad at all. This album is quite a gem and has some good stuff.

There are not enough good stuff here to label it as a good album. Nevertheless, this album is well worth a listen through Youtube.

2.5 points


Sunday 19 July 2020

Bella Band - Bella Band (1978)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of saxophone, electric clarinet, flute, clavinet, organ, bass, guitars and drums.

The band's only connection to the rest of the scene is that it was formed by the bassist of Campo Di Marte. The rest of the musicians does not have any history in the music scene.

The band plays fusion. Fusion which is highly dominated by jazz.

Nevertheless, this is fusion and the music is pretty melodic at times.

There are some very good saxophone and guitar solos. These two instruments lives well together in this band and creates a lot of good things.

The clavinet and the organs too really does a good job and they are all underpinned by the rhythm section.

It is a great shame that we only got one album from the band as this album showcases a really good band.

The result is this good album and fusion fans.. and progressive rock fans... will find a real gem in this album.

3 points

Saturday 18 July 2020

Gamma - Alpha (1973)

The debut album from this Dutch band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of trumpet, flute, flugelhorn, guitars, organ, electric piano, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.

This is a totally obscure band who released two albums before they were disbanded. I have yet to see a review of their albums. You heard about this band first in this blog..... I am afraid.

This album is just over half an hour long.

The music is a mix of folk rock, symphonic prog and Canterbury prog. Bands like Supersister and Focus springs to mind.

The use of flugelhorn and trumpet is a bit strange. The vocals too is strange male vocals. It most certainly gives the band their own identity.

The music is both melodic and pretty catchy. The old 1960s beat and psych sound is pretty prominent.

It is not difficult to understand why the band had to release this album as a private pressing and why it is an obscure album. It is neither commercial or good enough.

Nevertheless, this a decent, interesting album and well worth checking out.

2 points

Friday 17 July 2020

Zim Zum Crash - Synesthetic Dream Palace (2019)

The debut album from this German band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, synths and vocals.

I am not sure why this landed in my inbox well over one year ago. For some reasons, it missed the 2019 boat and was postponed until this year. Accidents happens in this office.

The music on this one hour long album is mainly dream pop.

The female vocalist deliver her vocals on the top of some half-accoustic guitars and organs.

The sound is.... well, dreamy and the vocals are really good.

The songs are pretty short but also pretty punchy.

The quality is OK. I would say somewhere between decent and good. This album is perhaps not the best example of dream pop around.

The band has a lot of talent though and this album is well worth checking out.

2.5 points

Thursday 16 July 2020

Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe - Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe (1989)

The one and only album from this Yes offshot from England.

The members here are Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford.
They got help from other guest musicians.

I remember well this band was touring but could not use the Yes name because Chris Squire had the sole rights to the name and he did not allow the band to use the Yes name. Long story and I am not going to go into details here.

I think the band used the ABWH abbreviation name when touring.

Anyway, the band released this album and the album was followed up by the Yes album Union. That tells you that the two versions of Yes saw sense and became united under one name.

The music on this album is still very much rooted in the 1980s with the 1980s sound and some 1980s pling-plong in the drums. The guitar sound is not good either.

There is also one songs here who makes me cringe with sheer embarrassment.

Most of the album is pointing towards the 1970s and their finest days. The song structures is mostly good to very good.

This is an one hour long album who does not shame the Yes name and reputation. It is well worth checking out.

3 points

Ben - Ben (1971)

The one and only album from this English band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of congas, percussion, drums, bass, clarinet, saxophone, flute, guitars, electric piano, harpsichord, Moog and some vocals.

A rare album made available again through a CD re-release.

This band were a member of the loosely organized British jazz and fusion scene. Other bands in this scene was Nucleus, If and Soft Machine.

Ben sounds pretty similar to the bands above.

The music is instrumental with emphasis on the woodwinds and their solos. There is not many guitar solos and the pianos works most in a supporting role.

There is a lot of Canterbury prog and jazz quirkiness and oddness in their music. This is by no means a straight forward jazz and fusion album.

It is also a charming album with some very interesting details which really makes the listener turn up the volume and get into the music.

This is another good and rather obscure album from England and well worth checking out.

3 points

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Lucifer's Friend - Sumogrip (1994)

The ninth album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
Two guest musicians provided drums too.

John Lawton was back in the band and was the main vocalist here.

For some reason I do not know, the band called themselves Lucifer's Friend II on this album. That reminds me about the current Nektar situation where two bands are laying claim to this name.

John Lawton is the original member of Lucifer's Friend and this album is a genuine album from this band.

Music wise, this album is a heavy metal album of the old 1980s style. I cannot understand why the band did not stick to the 1970s sound and kept the fans from that time instead of seeking a new market which in 1994 was not there.

This album is out of touch with 1994 too.

The heavy metal sounds American and is melodic. It is also pretty dire.

The art work is dire and so is  the music. This is a bona fida turkey and a disgrace when it comes to this band's good name and reputation.

1 point

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Quercunian Camerata - Prometeia (2015)

The debut album from this Spanish band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of vibraphone, drums, keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals.
The band had help from two guest musicians who provided keyboards and flute.

I have never heard about this band before. They have released this album and an EP in 2017..... which seems a bit long so I will actually review it too later this summer. It helps when it is a name-your-price Bandcamp download........

This is an interesting album. It is labeled as symphonic prog in ProgArchives. And it is symphonic prog.... But not the bombastic kind of symphonic prog.

The music has some sparse instrumentation and good vocals. That takes us towards folk rock.

This is indeed a genre this album is close to. But it approaches this genre from the symphonic prog genre.

It is therefore fair to label this album as a folk rock symphonic prog album.

There is not much Spanish influences on this album. I am more reminded about cider drinking symphonic proggers from England. The music takes me to the apple orchards in Somerset and Devon.

The vibraphone is used a lot and that adds a lot of original and identity to this album. Their identity.

The end result is a pretty good album who deserve a lot more attention. I am afraid this band seems to have been abandoned and there is not much buzz about this band either. That is a great shame.

3 points


Gam - 1976 (1986)

The debut album from this German band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of trumpet, guitars, bass, drums, percussion and vocals.

Gam only released two albums during their short career. This one and one in 2005. Both of them were recorded back in the 1970s.

1976 was recorded in one of the musician's cellar and the sound is..... well, very underground and dungeon like.

The sound fits the music though.

The music is dirty krautrock. That means spacy and dirty improvised krautrock.

This forty-six minutes long album is divided into three similar length pieces of music. One of them, the last one, includes the main Fur Elise theme of Ludwig Van Beethoven's fame.

The rest of the music is a bit repeating itself with some screamo and growling vocals on the top.

The music is decent enough and the band is not shaming their genre. It is nice to hear some dirty krautrock now and then.

This is indeed a decent album. It is for krautrock fans only, I am afraid.

2 points


Monday 13 July 2020

Jefferson Starship - Freedom at Point Zero (1979)

The fifth album from this US band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, organ, keyboards, drums, percussion and vocals.
Two guest musicians provided horns.

Grace Slick and Marty Palin had left the band by now and Mickey Thomas was the new vocalist. Grace Slick returned on the next album, though.

The band was originally called Jefferson Airplane and that was an important band in USA. Their first albums as Jefferson Starship was also pretty important and good albums.

Then the rot set in and the band went more towards stadium rock and AOR.

Freedom At Point Zero is indeed a stadium rock and AOR album. There is nothing left of the good old Jefferson Airplane and indeed Jefferson Starship here.

The migration towards commercial rock was complete on this album.

Which is more than acceptable if the songs are any good. They are not.

The songs on  this forty odd minutes long album are decent enough but just decent. This album marks the end of my interest in this band and I better leave them here.

This is a half-decent album but nothing more than that.

1.5 points

Sunday 12 July 2020

Passport - Garden Of Eden (1979)

The ninth album from this German band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of saxophone, clarinet, keyboards, bass, guitars, drums, percussion and vocals.
Two guest musicians added harp and female vocals.

Klaus Doldinger & Co had left the instrumental fusion scene behind them and gone a bit funk and vocals dominated fusion.

There is this Miami sound all over the album.

There is still some Klaus Doldinger trademark on this album. There is a lot of saxophones and guitars here. Add keyboards too.

Unfortunate, the male and female vocals means some pretty dire songs too and they.... well, they are dire.

Commercial sounding, they are and only Klaus saxophones saves them from a total disaster. It is a close thing, though.

This is not a Passport album who lives up to the standards the band set on their first albums. It is a half-decent album and one to forget.

1.5 points

Saturday 11 July 2020

Proximal Distance - Proximal Distance (2010)

The one and only album from this US band.

This band is a duo of Jeff Hamel from Majestic and Gregg Johns from Slychosis. They do the keyboards, guitars and bass.
They have help from three other musicians who does the drums and vocals.

The vocals are female and the music is pretty much middle of the road US neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog, AOR and some metal influences. There are also some electronica and some musical influences here.

The album is seventy-five minutes long and starts off with some dynamic instrumental bits where also electronica plays a part.

The album starts to who it's true colours after ten minutes with a lot of female vocals and melodic prog.

There is some dissonant vocals around this album too and that adds colours to this album.

The music is a bit of a child of it's time. US neo-prog was in vogue ten years ago. Proximal Distance is a good example of this genre.

This is a good album where the standards never drops. There is no outstanding tracks here though. Nevertheless, this is a fine effort.

3 points

Friday 10 July 2020

Proud Peasant - Flight (2014)

The so far one and only album from this US band.

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

Three songs, forty-six minutes. Yes, this is symphonic prog.

But with some added spices.

Take Gryphon and Morrigan, add some Camel and some of Caravan. Add English folk rock and medieval chamber rock and some Mexican folk rock.

You will then end up with this album.

The music has some really cool stuff and a very good ambience. It is also very dynamic with mood and melody changes on a frequent basis.

The mix of keyboards and guitars are great. The keyboards also generates some trumpet and flute sounds which is cool.

This is indeed a very good album and a breathe of fresh air in the symphonic prog genre. Check out this album.

3.5 points

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Yardbirds - Roger The Engineer (1966)

The second album from this UK band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of harmonica, guitars, bass, piano,  drums and vocals.

This album was released under various different names in different territories. The disco of this band is a total mess and some even claim this is Yardbirds only album. I want to include Yardbirds in this blog and has chosen three albums to represent them.   

Jeff Beck was very much present here and did all the lead guitars. The only album where he did all the leads as Eric Clapton had by now left the band.

The music is a mix of blues, teenybopper and blues.

Some of the music sounds incredible naive and teenybopper anno 2020. Some of the lyrics are pretty risky anno 1966 but totally strange anno 2020.

Times has changed, indeed.

The music is not too bad although it has barely survived the test of time. Barely.

There is some interesting bluesy and beat songs here. But some of the songs falls a bit flat on their face. Yardbirds has been an incredible important band for the history of modern rock and this album should be included in any serious record collection.

2 points

Yes - Drama (1980)

The 10th album from this British band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, percussion, piano, vocoder, keyboards, synths, guitars, steel guitar, mandolin and vocals.

Jon Anderson was out of the band. Trevor Horn did the vocals. Both has reasonably similar voices so there is not much of a change in that department.

The cover art-work is pretty bad. That too is a change from previous albums.

The music still sounds like Yes and retains a lot of their trademarks. Steve Howe is still on the guitars and steel guitars. The band has moved on with the time and we get a couple of not so good songs here where the band has adopted their style to fit into a more accessible format. Into The Lens, although a long song, is a good example. It is not a good song at all.

The opening track Machine Messiah is a ten minutes long song and it is Yes at their usual great. It is an epic song and well worth the purchase on it's own.

The rest of the album is decent to good. I am not rating this album among their best albums at all. It has lost some of the Yes magic..

3 points

Monday 6 July 2020

Tiger Moth Tales - Story Tellers Part Two (2018)

The fourth album from this UK band.

Peter Jones, who is also an important member of Camel, is the man in this band and he does all the instruments here. From keyboards to drum programming and vocals. Emma Friend does the female vocals.

Tiger Moth Tales has just released a new album and I will get back to that one when I get it. In the meantime, it is all about this, the fourth album.

Peter Jones continues with what he has always been great at. This album contains some Pink Floyd and Genesis like songs. There is a strong Genesis influence here, indeed. As on this album as on his first three albums.

There is also a musical song here with Emma Friend. The usual in other words. I guess Peter Jones also want to show of this part of himself as it is a very lucrative career move.

The child story Three Little Pigs is included too, Peter Jones own take on this story and it is actually both good and funny. And it fits in well on this album.

Peter Jones has again delivered the goods and this is a good album.

3 points

Saturday 4 July 2020

Fleesh - Across The Sea (2018)

The third album from this Brazilian duo.

The band is a duo with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and vocals.

The band is heavy involved in the tribute scene and has done tribute albums to both Marillion and  Renaissance.

I reviewed their 2017 album What I Found a week ago and really liked that album.

Sometimes, melodic prog rock with female vocals are really great. Others acts falls flat on their face, though.

There is a lot of pitfalls in this genre. One of them is to sound too commercial and poppy. Being a duo, Fleesh is not the most technical band around. This is not Yes with female vocals.

The music is at times too pedestrian. The vocals is great though and overshadows the less than good instrumental works here.

This is an album to feel happy about as it is not too taxing on the brain cells. It is still enough interesting details and good songs to make this a good album, indeed.

Brazil has again got a good band. Fleesh is the name.

3 points

Protean Circus - Rhymes In The Voice Of River (2019)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

The band is a youthful, enthusiastic band and that is reflected in their music.

Their music is not really RPI at all. It is progressive to a large extent, though.

Take some neo-prog, some celtic rock and add AOR and progressive metal to the mix. That is where you will find this album.

The album is a concept album too. An hour long concept album.

The music is a mix of melodic and pretty hard rock with some metallic edges. The music is also ambitious and the band has set themselves some high standards.

The album is sadly lacking in the quality department. The songs are not as good as I hoped. The vocals are good though and the band is good too.

This album falls between decent and good. It is still well worth checking out. If they release more albums, I will most certainly check out these.

2.5 points

Friday 3 July 2020

Protocollo C - Protocollo C (2018)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

This band is a new name to me and they have only released this album to this date.

The music is entirely instrumental with some organs and lots of half-acoustic guitars.

The music is very much jazz minded and steeped in that tradition. There is some hints of Camel, but not many.

I have to admit I find this kind of music pretty dull. When I get albums like this which is sorely lacking in both originality and quality, I am not overly pleased.

This is a half-decent album but not more than that. I am not impressed at all.

1.5 points

Spock's Beard - Day For Night (1999)

The fourth album from this US band.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of mellotron, synths, organ, piano, guitars, bass, percussion, drums and vocals.
The band had some help from a strings and woodwind ensemble.

The band had found their formula, they found it on their debut album, and were pursuing this on their albums.

That means a mix of Kansas, Yes, Gentle Giant and Genesis. This with an US sound and take on symphonic prog.

The music is a mix of epic, drama, symphonic and quirky on this album.

There is a lot of good ideas floating around here. Unfortunate, some of them feels like they have been used before on their previous albums.

The music is indeed good. But it also feels like the band is  threading water on this album and is not developing at all.

The vocals and the ideas here is still good and this is indeed a good album. Nevertheless, I did expect better things from this band.

3 points

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Black Painted Moon - Personae (2020)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

This band is new to me as this is their debut album.

Despite of the rich RPI tradition in their homeland, this band has chosen to bypass this tradition and go for a mix of US progressive metal and neo-prog.

The music is slightly melancholic and gothic.

Most of all, this a female vocals driven progressive metal album. One hour long album, no less.

The vocals are really good and the best thing about this album.

The songs are decent to good.

This is a very much acceptable debut album and the band has a lot to go on here. This band should  try to write better songs and develop their more melancholic edge. Then they may become a lot better than they are on this album.

2.5 points