Saturday, 12 June 2021

Emerald Dawn. The - To Touch the Sky (2021)

The fourth album from this English band.

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

This band has over the last years emerged as one of the best and most exciting bands in the English scene. 

A lot was expected from this album based on their last two albums.

What we get here is forty-eight minutes divided on three compositions. 

I get this Ashes You Feel (a band from Croatia) feel again in their music. The music is really, really dark.

It is also gothic without being gothic. It has this goth feel but it is instead very dark. The bleak female vocals gives the compositions this goth feel.

The music is still pretty melodic too although this album is their least melodic and least accessible album. The music requires a lot of attention and concentration from the listener.

This album is without a doubt an album which will feature high on most prog fans best album of the year list and I understand that. It will also be on my list. 

This is indeed a great album and one to really enjoy. Check out all their albums and this album.

4 points

 

 

 


Friday, 11 June 2021

Moonrise - Soul's Inner Pendulum (2009)

The second album from this band from Poland.

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

The band was helped by a pair of guests who contributed vocals and bass to this album.

This band is Kamil Konieczniak's band and he does most instruments here. 

The band's 2008 debut album The Light Of A Distant Bay was a very good debut album. So I had hopes for this album. High hopes.

The band plays neo-prog.

That is Polish neo-prog with a lot of flowery symphonic prog influences. The songs, although vocals focused, is pretty long and full of intricate details.

The music on this album is colourful and flowery. The music is not as melancholic as most albums from Poland. It still have a lot of soul. 

The music is really melodic and with a lot of guitar solos and harmonies. 

Moonrise has again given us a very good album and I have really taken notice of this band. Moonrise is one of the best neo-prog band from Poland and that says a lot.

Check out this album.

3.5 points



Pohjola. Pekka - Space Waltz (1985)

 

The eight album from this Finnish artist.

Pekka Pohjola did the bass and keyboards here.

He got help from ten guest musicians who contributed with drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

His career has so far had some great albums and some not so good albums. He has done movie soundtracks and more jazzy albums.

This time, he visits a more jazzy area. There are still some rock here and the genre is therefore fusion.

There are some hints of Focus and Return To Forever here. There are also a lot of TV friendly light music here. 

The outstanding instrument here is guitars and we get a lot of guitar solos here. Those are saving this album from being just too light-weight. They adds a lot of substance to the album.

The synths are also good.

The music is bordering to muzak throughout this album. But they are saved by the guitars.

This is a good album though and Pekka knows what he is doing. That is to record and  release good albums. Like this one.

3 points


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Blacksmith Tales - The Dark Presence (2021)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

Another year, another batch of debut albums from new bands. And the world moves forward and we should all be grateful for that.

We should all be grateful for the Italian scene who still comes up with some new bands and albums. It is a gift that keeps on giving.

This band gives is well over seventy minutes worth of a mix of RPI, symphonic prog and neo-prog. 

The vocals are both male and female. And they are really good. 

The music is both melodic and epic. There is a lot of very intricate details in their music too.

The music sometimes crosses into musical territory and that is one of my gripes with this album. My other gripe is the lack of more great songs. 

On the plus side, all songs are very good and this album is very much hitting the right tones. This is indeed a very good album and one well worth checking out.

3.5 points

 

 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Kalugin. Antony - Stellar Gardener (2021)

The fifth album from this maestro from Ukraine.

Antony Kalugin does all the instruments, guitars, drums programming, keyboards and bass on this album.

He got help from a female vocalist on one song.

Antony Kalugin is what I would call a maestro in the progressive rock scene. He is one of the most prolific artists in the scene. 

His main band Karfagen is a great band and one of the better ones in the scene.

His main music is symphonic prog with a lot of influences from eclectic prog and classical music. That is also the case on this one hour long album.

That is a one hour long composition where his keyboards and his creativity get free reign. Just as on last year's solo album Marshmallow Moondust. That was a good album.

There is a lot of interesting melody ideas here. Mostly when Antony Kalugin visits the territory occupied by The Flower Kings and other Scandinavian symphonic prog bands. He is very good at implementing small pieces like this in his music.

An hour full of instrumental music can be a bit dull. But Antony implements a lot of quirky details in his music. Although this is not great music, the music still keeps the listener interested and it maintains a good standard.

This is another good album from the maestro. Check it out.

3 points


Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Multi Story - CBF10 (2020)

The fourth album from this British band.

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

This band released two albums in the mid-1980s, took a thirty years long sabbatical and then returned in 2016 with their third album Crimson Stone. I have reviewed that album and their debut album for # 1 of this blog.

Their music is neo-prog. 

Melodic neo-prog, that is.

The vocals are good and the band does their best on this one hour long. They still stick pretty close to the neo-prog formula and does not deviate from this narrow path of classic British neo-prog.

The songs are medium long and on average six minutes long.

The quality are again somewhere between decent and good. The sound is very good and the album has some intricate details too. That elevates the status of this album with half a point.

This is a good album from one of the lesser neo-prog bands in the scene. A band who never really made it but are still around. Neo-prog fans will really enjoy this band and this album.

3 points


Taskaha - Taskaha (2020)

The debut album from this Norwegian band.

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

There is a lot of new progressive  rock coming from Norway these days. This small country has become one of the bigger territories when it comes to progressive rock. That is; when it comes to bands. The media and the general public could not care less. The Norwegian progressive rock bands never ever get any media coverage in Norway.

And that makes me flipping angry.

This album was released by the band themselves last year. Digitally released.

The music is a mix of neo-prog, rock and progressive metal. There are also some hints of AOR here.

The sound is slick and the band does all the right things.The vocals too is really good.

My main gripe is the art of songwriting. The art of writing good songs. That is the one thing missing here.

This is a promising debut album but the next album must be better and it must include a lot of better songs.

2.5 point



Monday, 7 June 2021

Blackbirds - Touch Of Music (1971)

 
 
The second album from this German band.

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

Their 1968 album No Destination was a pretty poor album. Basic beat music and psych pop. 

The band returned again three years later and had added some more strings to their bow.

The Nice is a band that pops out of the speakers as an obvious reference on the first couple of tracks.... and throughout the rest of this three quarters of an hour long album.

Add in some psych rock and some blues too. 

Essentially, the music on this album is krautrock. The music is pretty primitive and very much left behind in the 1960s. It is still krautrock.

The music is pretty decent. In particular when they uses the organ and sounds like a second rate The Nice. The vocals are good and the guitarist gets space enough on a bluesy song where he dominates the song.

This is a decent album and well worth checking out. It is said that the band was active until five years ago. But no new album has seen the light of day. 

2 points


Loonypark - Perpetual (2016)

The fourth album from this band from Poland.

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

I did review the follow up album to Perpetual, the 2019 album Deep Space Eight, a couple of years ago.

I noted their mix of neo-prog, americana and goth.

Perpetual was released three years before that album.

The music here is darkened neo-prog. It is not so much clearly expressed goth in their music. It is much more melancholic than gothic.

The mood is dark indeed and the band gives us a full compliment of guitars and keyboards. There is a nice balance between the guitars and the keyboards. The music is pretty much vocals focused.

The quality is a mix if decent and good. I am not totally convinced about the quality here. The sound is good but the album is sorely missing some more good songs.

The band has just released a new album and I hope that one is better than this album. Just like Deep Space Eight was an improvement on this album.

2.5 points

 

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Clepsydra - More Grains Of Sand (1994)

The second album from this band from Switzerland.

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

Their 1991 debut album Hologram was a decent album. But I knew/know that the band could do a lot better than that.

The band plays neo-prog in the British tradition and sound. Pendragon is a big reference here.

If the songs and sound is good, this is a very good genre.

The band gives us an hour of smart, intelligent and melodic neo-prog on this album. The vocals are really good and their song writing has improved a lot since their debut album.

The songs are pretty long, around seven to eight minutes long. The balance between vocals, keyboards and guitars are good.

This is a pretty big improvement on their debut album and an album well worth checking out for those into neo-prog. It is also a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points




Saturday, 5 June 2021

Beardfish - Destined Solitaire (2009)

The fifth album from this Swedish band.

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

Beardfish is without any doubts one of the more original bands to come from Sweden. Well, within the progressive rock scene, that is.

Take Swedish folk rock, add symphonic prog in the vein of Kaipa, add Canterbury prog and lots of Frank Zappa. That is more or less this band.

That is also more or less this album too.

This album is very long.... Seventy-seven minutes long, no less.

The quirky music flows nicely and the vocals are good. Really good. The 1970s organ sound is really cool. Most of this album is a throwback to the 1970s.

The music is really playful too and works on so many different levels. 

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

3 points


Hillward - Alternate Timelines (2021)

The third album from this band from Canada.

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

I have not heard their previous two albums so this band is new to me. They are from the French speaking part of Canada; Quebec. 

The Quebec scene has given us a lot of great bands and albums. Hillward's vocals are in English though and they are more set on world wide success than just local success.

The music is a mix of hard prog and neo-prog.

The vocals are good and so is the musicians. 

The album is forty minutes long and it is a good album. The band is doing everything right. It may be a bit of run-of-the-mill album who offers no surprises. Nevertheless, the music is solid and good.

Check out this band and album if the mix of hard prog and neo-prog sounds good to you.

3 points


Friday, 4 June 2021

Kerrs Pink - Presence of Life (2021)

The eight album from this Norwegian band.

The band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of drums, accordion, bass, guitars, mini-moog, mellotron, keyboards, organ, piano and vocals.

This album is their comeback album after an eight years long break.

The band continues on from their previous seven albums.

That means symphonic prog with a lot of folk rock references. The Flower Kings and Kaipa springs to mind here. There is also some good references to the old Norwegian prog and folk rock scene on this album.

The Icelandic vocalist Eirikur Hauksson is on the vocals here. He has done vocals for a lot of Norwegian bands, starting in the speed-metal band Artch almost thirty years ago. He is also vocalist in a couple of prog rock bands too.

His vocals is really good, btw.

The music is really good too. I have some issues with the choir and pretty bad closing parts of the closing composition In Discipline And With Love which removes parts of my positive impressions of this album.

This is still a good album which could had been a lot better with some better songs. 

Check it out.

3 points

 

 


Tiles - Pretending 2 Run (2016)

The sixth album from this US band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of glockenspiel, maracas, percussion, drums, bass, guitars, mandolin, tambura, mellotron, keyboards, organ, piano, harp, trumpet and vocals.

The band had support from a symphonic orchestra full of instruments, a choir, moog, hammond organ, guitarist, bass and guest vocals.

The band had taken an eight years long sabbatical since their 2008 album Fly Paper. I have reviewed their five first albums for # 1 of this blog and you can find them there. 

Sheer laziness means I did not review this album before now. The reason is the length of this album and me getting a bit more interested in other bands and prog rock genres.

This album is over one and a half hour long. It is a double album, a 2 CDs album. That is probably 4 LPs if the band did some vinyl pressings of this album. It seems like the band is on another sabbatical or they have broken up.

That is a shame as Tiles is a good band indeed.

The band gives us one and a half hour of mostly catchy hard progressive rock here, bordering to progressive metal. The band is not really crossing over to metal. They are more like Rush hard progressive rock. 

There is some instrumental pieces of music at the end of this album which works really well. Yes, Rush is a good reference.

The vocals is really good and the band varies their music and introduces some The Beatles and Led Zeppelin harmonies too on this album.

This is indeed a good album from a good band. I hope the band is still around or they will reform. Tiles is one of the better prog rock bands from USA.

Check out this album.

3 points

  

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Ambigram - Ambigram (2021)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

They were helped out by some guest musicians who provided oboe, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This band is a new band. But the members has had and have solo-careers and long careers in other bands. It is a kind of a RPI super-group.

Italian progressive rock, it is. But not particular symphonic Italian progressive rock.

The music is a mix of art rock, AOR and neo-prog. 

The music is a bit heavy at times and is touching hard rock territory.

The musicians is doing a good job throughout these fifty-three minutes. The vocals are good too.

The songs are not very convincing and leaves a lot to be desired. The songs are pretty standard and a bit on the dull side too.

This is another album somewhere between decent and good. I am not won over by this album. But check it out if you can.

2.5 points



Bondar & Wise - A Live Legacy (1994)

The one and only album from this US band.

The band is a duo of Bob Wise on drums and Allen Bondar on keyboard and bass pedals.

This band toured parts of USA back in the 1970s but did not release any studio albums. A live recording was made in the 1970s at one of their gigs and the result is this album. 

This album released long after the duo had split up and the sound is the typical 1970s sound.

The music sounds like an imitation of ELP minus the vocals and the more fuller sound ELP had.

This album is basically tonnes of keyboards supported by drums. It is not a very original combination.

The sound is pretty good and you can hear the audience clapping and all that.

The music is pretty poor and their song writing does not offer up any good songs. 

This album is a borderline turkey. There is a couple of decent compositions here and that saves this album's dignity. It is not an album worthy of your attention.

1.5 points

 

Emerald Dawn. The - Nocturne (2019)

The third album from this band from England.

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

Their previous album, the 2017 album Visions, changed my mind on this band after a not so impressive debut album. 

After hearing their first album, I thought this band was a poppy neo-prog band. I was wrong. Very wrong.

Visions was a rather dark and gloomy album. Nocturne continues down the same road.

There is a lot of similarities between Visions and Nocturne. The female vocals are dark and gloomy. So is the music too. The vocals reminds me a lot about a band I was involved with as a record label owner twenty-five years ago..... The Croatian band Ashes You Leave. 

Nocturne is not as gothic as their albums. But the music is dark and the guitar solos is shrieking and wailing. 

And the music is working very fine, thank you. 

This is indeed a very good album from a band which rightly is becoming one of the finest UK prog rock bands around these days. 

Check out this album.

3.5 points

 

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Blackfoot - Flyin' High (1976)

The second album from this US band.

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

Two female backing vocalists added their vocals to  a couple of tracks.

This US band is widely labeled as a southern rock band.

The band is also very much associated with Lynyrd Skynyrd these days as Rick Medlocke, the vocalist on this album, now does the same job for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

This is their second album and it did not do that well on the charts.

The reason is the not so good songs here. This album gives is some pretty mediocre hard rocking southern rock with some OK vocals.

The saving grace on this album is the rather ballad'ish final track Mother which elevates this album up to a decent album status. Besides of that, this is not an album those interested in finding out what Blackfoot did should put their money into.

2 points



Arco Iris - Faisán Azul (1983)

The tenth album from this band from Argentina.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of percussion of all sorts, drums, bass, guitars, melodica, flute, saxophone, pan flutes and vocals.

The band had taken a small sabbatical before they returned with this album. A well deserved one too.

The band returns with a three quarters of an album worth of music full of jazz and fusion. That is jazz and fusion very much inspired by and infused with the local folk music. Native folk music.

There is a lot of pan flutes here. But not soppy pan flutes as in the numerous commercial muzak albums with pan flutes which has littered the music scene for the last thirty years. 

The pan flutes on this album is played with lots of soul and great skills. The other flutes and guitars are also delivered with great gusto and adds a lot to this album.

The music is pretty intense and with lots of voices used as instruments. There is a some avant-garde prog on this album because of that. 

The music here is exotic and pretty unusual to say at least. Western ears and cultural identities may have some problems getting used to this music. The music is really good though and well worth checking out... and enjoying.

Check out this album.

3 points