Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Titus Groan - Titus Groan (1970)

The one and only album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, organ, piano, oboe, saxophone, flute and vocals.

This album is very obscure and a highly valued album among those who likes quirky progressive rock. 

The music on this album is indeed a bit of an oddity.

Take some simple 1960s pop, add some symphonic prog and brass rock. Add some jazz and eclectic prog too and you get this album.

There are some saxophones on the top of some naive, simple melodies made into longer songs. Songs who then becomes pretty quirky as layers of melodies is added to each other. Hence, the songs are pretty symphonic prog'ish.

The vocals are nice and in the 1960s pop vein.

The music is decent enough and is pretty alien to those used to today's songwriting and melodies. It is still an album well worth checking out. 

2 points

 

 

Konom - Konom (2021)

The debut album from this band from Great Britain.

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

Another new band has entered the British progressive rock scene and we should all be happy about that. The scene always needs new blood, new bands and new albums.

The band released an EP under the name Ascent back in 2015 before they changed their name. Their new album has been released through Bandcamp.

This album is fifty minutes long and has one long suite who takes half of the album and three other long songs.

The music is heavy and their music is somewhere between progressive metal, hard prog and neo-prog. Dream Theater, Pallas and Porcupine Tree springs to mind here. 

There are some good guitars here throughout these epic songs and a lot of interesting details. The vocals are good too and the musicians is doing a good job.

This album grows on the listener and the listener gets more from it every time. This is indeed a good album and this band is added to my list of new talents well worth keeping an eye on.

3 points


 


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made (2012)

The 17th album from this British band.

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

The band was helped by a handful of extra vocalists.

Marillion has been going on since the early 1980s as recording artists. First with Fish and then with Steve Hogarth on vocals.

The band has adopted a more art-rock sound after Steve Hogarth joined the band. 

And that is what we get here. 

That means some epic art-rock with complex songs based on good melodies. 

The vocals are as per usual very good and the band really hits it off during these sixty-five minutes. 

There is not a bad song here and parts of this album is really interesting. There is no real great songs here and that is my only gripe with this album. Nevertheless, this is a good album. A solid one too and one I will listen to again and again.

3 points


Monday, 10 May 2021

Blackfoot - No Reservations (1975)

 

The debut album from this US band.

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

Blackfoot was a southern rock band who operated in the shadows of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers Band. The leader, Rick Medlocke is now a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I got a handful of their albums and will review them this summer as I find this an interesting genre and band.

The band debuts with some pretty melodic hard rock on this album. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers is good references here.

The guitars are really good and Rick Medlocke, one of the bigger personalities from the 1970s rock scene, is a good vocalist and guitarist. He is very much carrying this album.

There are a lot of good guitar solos here. 

The end result is a good US hard rock album which will interest everyone into this scene. For the rest of us, this is a decent album.

2 points

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Arco Iris - Los Elementales (1977)

The seventh album from this band from Argentina.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, bandura, saxophones, flute, organ, synths, piano, mini moog and vocals.

Arco Iris has so far given us two classics and some not so brilliant albums. Their mix of fusion, folk and prog has engaged me and it has been fun reviewing their first six albums.

We are now at their seventh album and that one starts out with an epic piece of fusion. The music is pretty close to where we found Mahavishnu Orchestra. 

Is that the whole story of this forty minutes long album ?

No.

The band then switches over to some funky, Spanish vocals driven rock and pop. There is some folk rock and progressive rock in these songs before we get some more fusion.... or Arco Iris take on fusion.

The music is pretty good throughout and this album is giving me a lot of food for thought. Just like I prefer music to be. The music is also groovy too. It is very much a satisfactory album.

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 


Ainur - War of the Jewels (2021)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

The band is a twelve members big band with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, contrabass, guitars, violin, viola, cello, horns, flute, keyboards and vocals.

Three guests added their keyboards, narration and vocals.

Ainur is a kind of band where J.R. Tolkien has inspired. I have reviewed two of their albums. Their first one was a turkey and the second one was pretty good.

This seventy minutes long album opens up with an epic, goth like piece of music and that sets the tone.

The music is a mix of neo-prog and goth metal.

There is a lot of very good female vocals here and some good male vocals. The guitars are mostly in the progressive metal vein and that too sets the tone.

The songs are OK and follows the normal goth metal formula. This is a sort of a rock opera... well, it is a rock opera.

It feels a bit bloated, the music. I am no fan of goth metal but I guess this album will be very popular among those vast numbers of people who like that genre and lives for that genre.

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

2.5 points

 

Friday, 7 May 2021

MaterialEyes - Strange Road (2018)

The debut album from this English band.

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

This band has just released their new album and I felt it was appropriate to review their debut album before I reviewed their new album. 

I reviewed their second album In Focus two years ago when it was released and was not impressed.

That album gave us some very melodic prog in the vein of Pink Floyd and Camel. 

Strange Road though gives us one hour of pop-rock. There is some Americana/Country in the sound too. But there is not much, if any, progressive rock on this album.

The music is inoffensive middle of the road pop-rock and just that. It is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

 


Atomic Rooster - Nice 'n' Greasy (1973)

The fifth album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, strings, arp synth, electric piano, organ, piano and vocals.

A new album from this band. An album also named IV for some reasons.

This band was at this time a start-stop band from now one as they took a looong break after this album.

The great Chris Farlowe did the vocals and Vincent Crane did the arrangements and the tangents here. 

The band had ditched their progressive rock roots and gone for hard rock and blues on this album. Most of the music is pretty dirty and raw.

The more calm and controlled Goodbye Planet Earth is a good track by far the best piece of music on this album. It is a semi-classic track too. 

The rest of the album is run-of-the-mill songs and pretty much worth forgetting.

The result is a decent album but nothing more than that. 

2 points



Thursday, 6 May 2021

Saga - Symmetry (2021)

The 22nd album from this Canadian band.

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

Why ?

That is my question when I listened to this album for the first time. Saga was my introduction to progressive rock forty years ago and I have been more or less a fan of them since the late 1970s. More or less. 

The band has released some great albums and some turkeys along the way. At their best, very few bands beats them in my opinions. I am listening to their great song Tired World from their debut album when I am now writing these lines and that song is up among the ultimate best of them in the pomp prog genre.

That song and many other great Saga songs is included on this "new" album from Saga. The difference between a best-of album and Symmetry is that Saga, which is Jim Gilmour, Ian Crichton and Michael Sadler from the original Saga + two other musicians, has made acoustic versions of these tracks and labeled it as a new album.

Acoustic and semi-acoustic versions, that is. Most of the electricity has been removed from the songs. When comparing their new version of Tired World with the original 1978 version of this song, most of the sparkling and fizz has been removed from this song. It is still a very good song, but not a superb song as the original song is/was.

That goes for most of the other great and superb songs here. The fizz has gone and the songs sounds a bit stale. Saga has also added some less great songs here from their long career and they do not sound that good.

I was a looking forward to new songs from Saga. What I got was a reminder who great band Saga is... by comparing the far better original songs with the songs on Symmetry.

I am still a life-long fan of Saga. But this album lack the sparkle and fizz I associate with Saga at their best. 

BUT it hard to argue against great melodies though and this is why I give this album a good rating. Simply because the melodies, no matter who much the sting has been removed from them, is great and i can therefore live with second rate versions of them and some duds/songs who is not among their great stuff.

But this is still for fans only as there is best-of and live albums there much more worthy your attention than this one.

3 points

 

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Bacio Della Medusa. Il - Deus Lo Vult (2012)

The third album from this Italian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, piccolo, saxophones, theremin, flute, harp and vocals.

This band is not particular productive. Nevertheless, each of their four albums has put the band on the map as one of the best new RPI bands out there.

Rock Progressive Italiano is an own genre and it can have a lot of various expressions.

Il Bacio Della Medusa mixes up English and Italian folk rock with some occult hard rock and a lot of RPI.

The music has a mix of harsh sounds and more pastoral and epic sounds. The vocals is a mix of pastoral and harsh. The folk rock and the flutes reminds us a lot about Jethro Tull and that also goes for some of the music.

The music is still RPI and takes a lot of inspirations and sounds from the old RPI scene from the 1970s.

The end result is a rather short album clocking in at just over half an hour. But there is no dead wood here and not a waste of time here. This album packs a punch and it hits home.

This is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

 

 


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Apogee - Endurance of the Obsolete (2020)

The tenth album from this German one-man band.

It is actually a duo now with the drummer Eberhard Graef helping out the band owner Arne Schaefer who does the keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals.

I have reviewed a handful Apogee albums this winter and have found them quite a pleasure.

Sixty-five minutes divided on six songs. The longest one is clocking in at sixteen and a half minutes.

Arne Schaefer has managed to create some quite dramatic, epic neo-prog on the previous albums. Yes, this album is in the German neo-prog tradition and sound. Apogee is one of the leading acts in that scene. 

This time around, the sound is a bit stripped down and the music is not that bombastic. 

The music is pretty melancholic and vocals based. There is still enough details around here to make it pretty interesting.

This time around, I am not entirely won over by an Apogee album. There is not enough good stuff here to satisfy me. 

The quality is somewhere between decent and good on this album. Nevertheless, it is still worthy checking out for all neo-prog fans. 

2.5 points


Mekong Delta - Visions Fugitives (1994)

The sixth album from this German band.

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

Mekong Delta occupies the position as the most exciting progressive thrash metal band around. It is a small scene which also includes bands like Cynic, Coroner and Voivod. 

There is new bands and new growth in that scene, though. But Mekong Delta is still the kings of that scene.

This album starts with a couple of thrash metal songs. They are a bit quirky as this band does not do straight thrash metal. I am no big fan of the scene but this is not bad.

Then we get a symphony of some sort. Dark and brooding symphony with some zeuhl influences too. This symphony is rather good.

The album closes with a couple of more progressive thrash metal songs. They are more progressive rock than thrash metal, it has to be said.

Mekong Delta surprises me and that in a good way. This is actually a good album and a pretty remarkable album too. 

Check out this album as it is very progressive and quirky. And we all like that.

3 points

 



Monday, 3 May 2021

Anathema - Hindsight (2008)

The eight album from this English band.

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

The band continues on their way in exploring the more ambient, somber parts of the progressive rock genre.

Take some Pink Floyd, a lot of Marillion, Gazpacho and Radiohead. Well, Anathema has got their own sound and niche in the progressive rock scene. 

There is no metal here.

The music is rather somber, gloomy and doomy. 

It is also pretty epic and majestic at times.

The male and female vocals and the guitars are good and the band has painted a nice soundscape on this fifty minutes long album.

It is indeed a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points


Sunday, 2 May 2021

35 Tapes - Home (2021)

The second album from this Norwegian band.

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

The band is back again after their very good 2019 debut album.

The band has not changed genre or style either.

We get a mix of Camel and Genesis here with some Yes and other British symphonic prog influences. There is also some influences from the US band Cathedral's debut album.

The songs are mid-length and pretty intricate and quirky. The vocals are very good.

The mellotron and guitars gives this album a 1970s sound and that is indeed what this album sounds like. A 1970s symphonic prog album.

The music is very good throughout and Norway has again got a very good symphonic prog band. Something their two albums proves. 

Get this album.

3.5 points

 

 

 

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Tonton Macoute - Tonton Macoute (1971)

The one and only album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, clarinet, saxes, flute, organ, piano and vocals.

There is a lot of pretty obscure albums in the history of British rock and prog. Not to mention bands.

Some of them are obscure because they have not dated that well. Some are obscure because of the lack of quality.

This album clocks in at three quarters of an hour. During those minutes, we are being treated to some naive pop from the 1960s, jazz, blues and some hard rocking progressive rock.

The vocals are good and the band is doing their best on songs with a limited amount of quality.

In short, this is a pretty interesting album with a lot of woodwinds and piano. The songs are pretty quirky too.

But the quality is not there and this album is just a decent, although a pretty interesting album with it's own style.

Check it out if you want obscure albums from the early 1970s.

2 points