Sunday 28 February 2021

Ellesmere - Wyrd (2020)

The third album from this Italian band.

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

Numerous guests contributed their flute, saxophone, violin, keyboards and vocals.

I have reviewed their first two albums in both # 1 and in this blog. And I have liked their albums.

Ellesmere does instrumental, intricate symphonic prog. There are some vocals here but there is not much of it. 

The music is pretty dark and brooding. Parts of it.....

There is some throwbacks to the good old ELP too. Well, this album is in their spirit with some Karfagen and Goblin influences thrown in too.

Then the band throws in a curve ball in the form of a couple of pop like tunes. Those comes complete with female vocals too.

This is pretty heavy album too with cascades of keyboards and some moog and melotron too.

The result is a good solid album which sometimes sparkles. There is no great pieces of music here but this is still a satisfying album.

3 points


Saturday 27 February 2021

Stray - Houdini (1975)


The seventh album from this British band.

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

The band was trying to stay relevant in the scene. Hence albums like Houdini.

Their base is still hard rock.

Add some US arena rock, southern rock, funk and disco. 

Yes, all this this to stay relevant.

There is not much good to say about this album. A couple of decent songs saves this album from being a turkey and a total disaster.

It is still an album well worth avoiding at all costs.

1.5 points

Shob - Solide (2019)

 The second album from this French band.

The band was a one man band with Shob playing percussion, guitars and bass.

He had help from numerous guest musicians who provided drums, congas, jumbe, percussions, woodwinds, guitars, keyboards and some vocals.

Their 2018 second album Karma Obscure was a good jazz album. I was looking forward to this album.

We get some pretty hard core jazz again on the more avant-garde side of the spectrum.

A lot of times, small themes getting repeated over and over again. The music is pretty narrow in it's expression.

We also get a couple of vocal jazz tracks which is pretty impressive and the highlights of the album.

The bass here too is good and Shob as a bassist player shows off what he can.

The overall quality is therefore good. It is maybe a jazz album a bit too narrow minded. Nevertheless, check out this album.

3 points

Maschine - Rubidium (2013)

The debut album from this British band.

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

The band is the band of The Tangent guitarist Luke Machin. It is also out on the same record label Inside Out. 

It is also a reputed prog metal album. Which explains why I avoided this band for a long time. I am no fan of guitar hero albums either.

I was in for a surprise, though.

This album is seventy minutes long and it contains most prog genre.... with the exception of Canterbury prog. The same genre as mostly occupied by The Tangent in other words. 

This album of Maschine does not sound like The Tangent at all.

There is some guitar hero stuff here, yes. But most of the stuff is a mix of mainstream melodic prog and progressive metal. There is even some djent here. But not much and there is not that much progressive metal either. This though the band sounds like Dream Theater most of the time.

This album offers up a lot of variety and vocal styles.

It is also a decent to good album which does not really pass the mustard. Nevertheless, this is an interesting album well worth checking out.

2.5 points

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Lucifer Was - The Divine Tree (2007)

The fourth album from this Norwegian band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, flute, Hammond organ, keyboards and vocals.

This Norwegian band continues on their path with this album.

Lucifer Was sounds like a mix of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull again on this album. The sound and music is from the 1970s.

The sound is very good though and the vocals is also very good.

The music is also very catchy with a lot of good flute, organ and guitar runs.

There is a lot of interesting details in their music too.

Music which I would label as hard folk rock. 

The quality is really good throughout this album. A killer track or two is very much missed here but that is all I am missing here.

3.5 points

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Anathema - Judgement (1999)

The fifth album from this British band.

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

Two guest musicians contributed with piano and vocals.

This band's gliding path from being a death doom band to become a more Pink Floyd like band was more or less complete.

It is though interesting to see that the band takes a bit of a step back towards doom metal on this album compared to the previous album Alternative 4 from the previous year.

The music is still pretty soft and Pink Floyd'ish. 

The band is softly painting a soundscape on this album. Softly. 

There are some slightly harder stuff here too. But the emphasis is on the ambience of the tunes.

The quality of the songs on this one hour long album is good throughout. I am not entirely won over this album. But it is still an agreeable, although slightly dull album.

Check it out.

3 points


Monday 22 February 2021

Elisir D'Ambrosia - Elisir D'Ambrosia (2018)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

A further quartet of guest musicians provided bass, keyboards and percussion.

The RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano - scene is alive and well. Many new bands follows the big bands from the 1970s while most of those bands again is still alive. 

And it is very much kicking too.

This band from Venice gives us forty-five minutes of unashamed RPI. 

The music is hard at times while it also gives us some pastoral RPI too. 

It is an album full of contrasts in other words. The vocals is very good and the bass players is doing a very good job too.

There is no great tracks here though. Nevertheless, this is a more than acceptable album in the RPI tradition and a very nice addition to this scene and sound.

3 points


Sunday 21 February 2021

Zuffanti. Fabio - La Quarta Vittima (2014)

The fifth album from this Italian artist.

Fabio Zuffanti plays bass, harpsiscord, loops, programming and vocals.

Hired guest musicians adds drums, guitars, percussion, theremin, vibraphone, glockenspiel, flute, violin, saxelle, clavinet, minimoog, synths, keyboards, mellotron, organ, piano and vocals.

Fabio's solo output has been quite a mixed bag so far. They had not been on par with the material he had released in other bands. 

It is therefore with joy I can note that Fabio Zuffanti went for a bigger piece of music on his fifth solo album.

La Quarta Vittima has this rock opera feel. And that in a good sense.

There is a lot of long guitar solos, tender flutes and tender vocals here. The music is mostly epic and it ebbs and flows a lot. 

There is some nods back to the RPI era here too. But the sound is mostly the modern British sound. 

The music is really good throughout this one hour long album. There is no great pieces of music here. I can live with that. 

This is his best solo effort so far and one to check out.

3 points

Saturday 20 February 2021

Distortion Ride - Burning Waves Of Silence (2020)

The debut album from this French band.

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

The band has released an EP before they released this album. Both that EP and this album is available through this Bandcamp site.

The band gives us one hour with a mix of hard rock, hard prog, stoner and psych rock.

The vocals is pretty bad and the band sounds a bit ragged and not so polished. There is this punk feel over this album.

There are also some post rock here..... or the band tries to make some post rock here. Well, they succeed to a large extent. 

This band is largely following the stoner path and I wish them good luck with that. I am not really won over by the quality of the songs and the music here and I have my reservations. But check out the band on the link in the start of my review.

2 points


Maschere Di Clara. Le - L'alveare (2013)

The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, bass, piano, electric violins and vocals.

This is the follow up to their 2011 debut Anamorfosi. That album is an album I liked a lot and gave a positive review in the first volume of this blog.

The band continues to combine RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano with avant-garde/RIO on this album. 

These two albums are in this respect pretty like sounding.

There is a post-punk feel to this album too as most of the music is aggressive and straight in your face. Parts of this album is pretty brutal in fact.

The electronic violin is used to great effect although the bass is the main instrument here. The vocals is both male and female vocals. All vocals are in Italian.

I am not overly impressed by this album as it does not have much going for it. 

It is a decent enough album but just that. But check it out.

2 points


Friday 19 February 2021

Satisfaction - ...Three Ages Of Man (1971)

The second and final album from this British band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, congas, bass, guitars, woodwinds, flute, harmonica and vocals.

This band appeared, released two albums and then disappeared again. They are very much an obscure bands anno 2021. That is why I like to bring albums and bands back again from obscurity.

This album is actually a concept album about the ages of the man. The life of a man.

The music is still a mix of brass rock, blues, jazz and rock. There is also pretty heavy Jethro Tull vibes here with the flute and hard folk rock.

The music sounds a bit dated. It also has a bit of a concept album feel too.

The flutes are pretty good here and adds a lot to this album. The music is pretty hard and it backed by some good vocals too.

This album deserves a listen and some more attention and it is their best album by far. 

Check out this album.

2.5 points

Mister Robot - Fables for Robots (2020)

The debut album from this Russian one-man band.

Mister Robot is mr. Aleksei Ruzakin on all instruments. That means keyboards, computers, guitars, piano, bass, drums and vocals.

I thought this album was another Ex- Soviet Union states one man and his keyboards project like for example Little Tragedies.

I was very much wrong.

Although this forty minutes long album is divided into two twenty minutes long pieces of music, there is a heck of a lot of vocals on this album. 

The music is still pretty symphonic prog, but with lots of vocals.

There is also a lot of Russian folk here too. But influences from Elton John and Billy Joel also shines through.

Mister Robot adds something new to the scene and I do not doubt that. The music is still too generic pop/rock for my liking although large parts of it is leaning towards symphonic prog.

The music is good though and well worth checking out. Something I recommend. I hope we will hear more from Aleksei in the future.

3 points



Wednesday 17 February 2021

Marillion - Anoraknophobia (2001)

The 12th album from this British band.

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

A handful of guests provided cello and vocals.

Marillion continues down the art-rock path they started on when Steve Hogarth became their vocalist.

The music is at times pretty poppy while it is pretty complex at other times.

This album offers up over an hour of this mix.

There is no real great tracks on this album. This album is a pretty pleasant piece of music. But it is not up to Marillion's standards and it is falls a bit short.

This is one of their weaker albums, indeed.

2.5 points

Monday 15 February 2021

Pohjola. Pekka - Keesojen Lehto (1977)

The third album from this Finnish artist.

Pekka Pohjola did the bass, grand piano, spinet and synths on this album.

He had help from the likes of Pierre Moerlin, Mike and Sally Oldfield on vocals, guitars, mandolin, whistle, drums, synths, grand piano, glockenspiel, percussion and vocals.

Pekka was now on Virgin Records and this was after Mike Oldfield had his massive Tubular Bells success.

So someone thought Pekka too was ripe for the same type of music.....

The music on this album takes a lot of Tubular Bells influences, adds some Camel influences and a lot of folk rock and classical music influences.

There is also The Hamburger Concertos (Focus) influences here.

Mike Oldfield is let loose on his guitars and the music is very epic throughout. 

The music is both ambient, epic and cinematic. It also has some very good music and I would even label this as a great album.

This is indeed a great album and one to really enjoy.

4 points

Sunday 14 February 2021

Mary Newsletter - Distratto Dal Sole (1998)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, mandolin, sitar, piano, flute, keyboards and vocals.

Numerous guest musicians provided strings, bouzouki, keyboards and female vocals.

I have never heard about this band before. But I should have done that as they released four albums between 1996 and 2004. It is my loss, not having heard about them before now.

The music on this album is a mix of Italian folk rock, RPI and psych rock.

It is indeed psych rock that springs to mind when putting a label on their music. There is some strong hints of RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano and the band has borrowed a lot from this 1970s scene and era. 

The band is still very much following the route of psych rock on this album with some really psyched out melodies. They sounds like The Beatles at their most psych excesses too. But Mary Newsletter is far more weird and throws some far more weird song structures than the fab four ever did.

The quality of the music is good throughout and it make me go and search for the rest of their albums. This band and album is indeed a hidden gem.

3 points




Saturday 13 February 2021

Three - The Ghost You Gave To Me (2011)

The sixth album from this US band.

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

Their previous two albums gave us a lot of power pop with teenybopper influences. Blink 182 was a clear influence here.

Youthful hard pop/rock in other words. 

I did not have any hope at all for The Ghost You Gave Me as this is a type of music I do a lot to avoid.

Yes, the band has not changed a lot on this album.

Well, but something has changed and that has improved their music.

There is a lot of vocal harmonies around though. There is also some Rush influences here and some more catchy songs which works out. The title track is a pretty clever, good track.

The music is very hard and djent like throughout and nu-metal is also a label I can put on this album.

The result is a decent album but not something you will hear me playing again in my living room.

2 points


Solstice - Sia (2020)

The sixth album from this British band.

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

Solstice released their debut album Silent Dance back in 1984 and has been infrequently releasing albums after that. Their most active period was around 2010.

They are now back again.

Their sound and soundscape has always been neo-prog with a lot of celtic folk rock influences. 

The music is dominated by Jess Holland's vocals. Her vocals is very soft and sometimes she get help from some male vocals too. 

The music is indeed pastoral. It is still neo-prog and pretty epic too. The songs are not particular long, but they follow a pattern and can be regarded as one piece of music. 

This album is just over fifty minutes long and is very much in the vein of their previous albums.

It is an album which should appeal to everyone into more folk-rock like neo-prog. It will also satisfy the many Solstice fans out there.

It is indeed a good album.

3 points



Tuesday 9 February 2021

Shob - Karma Obscur (2018)

The second album from this French one man band.

Shob is the bassist here and he has got support from woodwinds, drums, guitars, keyboards and some vocals.

I have not had the pleasure of listen to their 2015 debut album Pragmatism. I guess I should get this album.

Karma Obscur is one hour full of jazz and fusion.

There is some avant-garde and funk on this album. 

Most of the album is a mix of classic jazz and fusion. 

The woodwinds and the bass, Shob's bass, is the main instruments here and most of this album reminds me about Passport.

There is a lot of interesting details on this album and I fail to understand why this album and band has not got more attention than they already got. Fusion and indeed prog rock fans will really like this album.

There is no really great tracks here. But the album is still a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

Sunday 7 February 2021

Illusion Of Gravity - Too Late (2020)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

The band is from Turin in the north of Italy and they are a new band to me.

Italy has a very rich progressive rock tradition called RPI - Rock Progressive Italiano. Illusion of Gravity plays progressive rock and it would be easy to put this band in this genre, the RPI genre.

It would also be totally wrong.

Illusion Of Gravity gives us forty minutes of muscular neo-prog. A lot of the music is clearly hard prog. Modern hard prog. 

Hard but also melodic with the usual neo-prog sensitivities. 

The vocals are good and the band has a lot of interesting details in their music. 

This is not a sparkling great debut. Nevertheless, this band and album is a good addition to the Italian neo-prog scene. A very good scene these days and this album is not letting the scene down.

Check out this solid, good album.

3 points

Atomic Roooster - Atomic Roooster (1970)

The debut album from this British band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, guitars, brass, flute, cello, acoustic guitars, organ, piano and vocals.

Atomic Rooster is a legendary band who released seven albums between 1970 and 1983. I will review all of them this year.

I am off course starting with their debut album. Carl Palmer, later in ELP, did the drums here. He and another member of Atomic Rooster had played together in Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come band. That is the Atomic Rooster nucleus. 

The music on their debut album, this album, is pretty varied. Much more varied than my prejudgements of this band. 

Take some blues, soul, hard rock, a lot of psych, brass rock, some Canterbury prog and a lot of symphonic prog. That is where you end up with this forty minutes long album. 

Nick Graham's vocals are really powerful and the brass is also adding a lot of this music.

There is a lot of things going on here.

The quality is good though and my first impression of this band is good. I am looking forward to getting to know this band a lot better in the coming months.

3 points




Saturday 6 February 2021

Apogee - Mystery Remains (2008)

The fifth album from this German duo.

The duo did the drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals themselves.

A guest artist provided drums and percussion on one track.

Apogee had so far delivered four solid neo-prog album in the German neo-prog tradition. A tradition they were among the bands creating.

The music is pretty much based on both half-acoustic rock and some elaborate neo-prog here. All this during seventy minutes of music.

The vocals is really good.

The other musicians is acceptable too.

The songs are all long and epic. I get this The Tangent and Van Der Graaf Generator feel during most of this album.

The end result is another good, solid album which fails to sparkle but who still deliver the goods.

3 points

Friday 5 February 2021

Yob - Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)

The seventh album from this US band.

The band is a trio of drums, bass, guitars and vocals.

Yob is one of those post-metal bands who has also had a look at space rock and liked what they have heard from that scene.

Hence their music.....

The music is doomy, spacey, gloomy and pretty brutal.

It is still pretty melodic too.

The vocals is screamo and guttural howls.

There is also some pastoral breaks inbetween the onslaught of brutal sludge. And the music is brutal indeed with several visits into death metal territory.

This sonic attack goes on for over an hour.

The music is good too. Their take on sludge space rock is refreshing and a rewarding listening. 

Check out this album.

3 points



Thursday 4 February 2021

Argus - The Outsider (2020)

The second album from Holland.

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

Their 2016 debut album Tell Me did not really enthuse me. The album had too much bland poppy neo-prog for my liking.

The band then returns four years later.....

We are very much in the middle of the Dutch neo-prog scene. And sound. 

The sound is very much in the Dutch neo-prog vein. It is pretty light and fluffy.

The band has ditched a lot of the poppy stuff from the debut album and has retreated to a lot less commercial ground. The music is proper neo-prog with the usual Genesis and symphonic prog influences. There is even some Yes and Focus influences here.

The vocals cannot be faulted and the musicians does their best during this one hour long album.

This is an upgrade from their debut album and although the songs are not really exciting, this is a good album. It is also a fine addition to the Dutch neo-prog scene.

3 points

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Marquette - Human Reparation (2015)

The debut album from this duo from Germany.

The duo contributes drums, keyboards and guitars.

Numerous guest musicians adds bass, piano, keyboards, orchestra and vocals.

Marquette released their second album last year and I may get a copy of it and review it. At the moment, I only got this album.

Marquette is one of those eighty minutes long or longer albums containing one member and then being supported by numerous guest musicians. 

In the case of this album, there is two members in this band.

As I expected, the music is concept like and comes with a very big sound. 

There are a lot of rock opera feel here too. 

Long instrumental parts follows songs and they again are followed by long instrumental parts. This is the formula and I am OK with that.

It is great that someone is willing to take huge risks by making albums like this. 

The music is also good throughout. It is a bit on the bland side though and there is not many sparks here.

I hope their 2020 album is more sparkling than this album.

3 points




Mariavah - Les Heures Incolores (1979)

The debut album from this band from Belgium.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, piano, flute and French vocals.

This band from Belgium released two albums before they disappeared again. I do not have their second album so this is my only review of this band's creative output.

The music is a bit all over the place.

Take a bit funk, add a lot of Ange like symphonic prog and add some rock too. There are also some French pop here.

The band is certainly from the French speaking and French culture part of Belgium. It is by all means a French band too.... as I thought until the Discogs file corrected me.

There are some breezy funky west-coast in their music too.

The vocals are very good and there is nothing here I don't like. A couple of better songs would have sealed the deal for me.

2.5 points

Monday 1 February 2021

Satisfaction - Satisfaction (1970)

The debut album from this British band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, congas, bass, guitars, woodwinds, flute, harmonica and vocals.

This band appeared, released two albums and then disappeared again. They are very much an obscure bands anno 2021.

I got both their albums and will review them, starting with this album.

We are here listening to band in the Blood, Sweat & Tears vein. Very much so.

There is not that much fusion here as most of the album is is pop and rock. Although with woodwinds and some guitars. 

Add a lot of vocals too.

The music is pretty cheery and positive.

The music sound and is dated. It is not too bad. Brass rock fans would lap up this decent album.

2 points