Friday, 30 September 2016
The third album from this US band.
Anubis Spire is a seven piece band with keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, various instruments (!) and voices.
The various instruments listing does not mean much here. This album is totally guitars driven with some keyboards chiming in now and then. Some voices adds voices too. But not much. This is an instrumental album.
Music wise, this album reminds me alot of Pink Floyd anno the Gilmour era. The Momentary Lapse Of Reason album. That without the vocals. Add some Camel too and the instrumental symphonic prog genre. This album can be labelled as instrumental epic symphonic prog.
There is also some Arabic and Middle-East influences on this album. The music is also very cinematic and a bit ambient. But there are also plenty of prog metal here too.
There is enough bite in this music to make the ambience new age audience run away in panic. The guitar solos are soaring, epic and very noisy. But they are also soothing. New age for heavy metal fans ? There is a lot of heavy metal solos here.
This album is over one hour long. I am a big fan of guitar solos. But this album is too much based on guitar solos. Moderation is not the word I would use here. There is no truly great songs here either. There are some good stuff here though. But not enough for my liking. Hence my verdict.
Thursday, 29 September 2016
The debut album from this Argentinian band.
The band was a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Spanish vocals.
Invisible released three albums between 1974 and 1976. Luis Alberto Spinetta was the driving force in this band. He later formed the jazz/fusion band Spinetta Jade. I am planning to review their albums too in the near future. That means sometimes in 2017.
Invisible was something else, entirely. They are listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives. That based on their two other albums (both will be reviewed). To my disappointment, there is no symphonic prog anywhere on this album.
What we get instead is forty-five minutes with a mix of psych prog and jazz. Luis Alberto Spinetta's voice and guitars gives the album a cool jazz vibe. The drums and bass also adds to this.
The main music here is psych rock though. A sort of psych prog which relies a lot on the local flavours and sound. This is not west coast psych or English psych. This is psych from South America.
This album and this type of music demands a lot from the listener as the good things are always in the small details. Of whom there is not much of here.
The end result is a decent album who does not deliver any good stuff. Check it out on Youtube if you must/feel for it. I am not overly impressed by this album.
The second album from this Australian band.
Anubis was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars of all sorts, bass, drums, keyboards, hammond, mellotron, farfisa, percussion, moog, harpsiscord, piano, flutes, sax and vocals.
A big sound in other words.
Anubis has got a very good reputation and I liked their debut album 230503 in my review some years ago which you can read here.
Anubis has got a good reputation because they as a neo-prog band is really pushing the envelope and that genre. The vocals is pretty melancholic and so is their music too.
The melancholy also takes us into a pretty epic songs territory. The longest one here is eighteen minutes long. The opening track, no less. A bit of a commercial suicide if you want a mainstream audience. But Anubis has found their audience and scene in the prog rock scene.
Two other songs are also past the ten minutes mark. The other songs are not far away from being ten minutes long too. Altogether, this album is over seventy minutes long and is pushing the max lenght of a CD.
There is no really great song on this album. But there are several really interesting songs here. Both good and interesting. I am not a paying member of their fanclub and I find this long album a bit unsatisfactory taken into the account that I want great or superb albums to grace the air in my office. This is not a great album. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one to check out.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
The debut and so far the only album from this Finnish band.
The band is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussions, keyboards, drums and vocals. Male Finnish vocals, no less. Which is a rare event. Far too rare in my opinion.
The album is self-released as a digital release. Get it from Itunes here.
The band operates with a keyboardist. But most of the music here is based on guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The keyboards is pretty sparse.
That's because the music is pretty heavy. They are listed as a Heavy Prog band in ProgArchives and that with very good reasons. The music is hard and heavy. But the music is not heavy metal.
Take some grunge, add some 1970s hard rock and some post-rock. Then you get this album.
You can also add some Finnish madness here. The vocals are sometimes well over the top and crazy.
The music is heavy, very Finnish and sometime melodic too. This music kicks butt. It is probably a lot better live than on CD or MP3. The sound is still very powerful.
My main gripe here is the lack of any good songs. The album is decent enough. But not much of these fifty minutes leaves any ever lasting impressions. It is power and noise for the sake of power and noise. Not for the sake of good melodies and interesting details.
The end result is a decent album and just that. I am not impressed.
The debut album from this Portoguese band.
Griot is a trio with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and English vocals. They have got help of numerous guest musicans here who has supplied strings, woodwinds, backing vocals, Moog, flutes and piano. The end result is a thirty-three minutes long album with a lot of different sounds.
I have recently been complaining about the lack of bands from Portugal in my in-tray. By accident, I have now got a lot of albums from Portugal. Which is great for me.
There is indeed some Portugal flavours in this album. There is a cool and detached feeling here. Which is a bit of a difference from most other albums I review.
The music here is progressive rock. Mainstream progressive rock which is fairly in the middle of the well populated neo-prog land. But..... There is also a pretty big jazz flavour on this album. Add some folk rock too and you get this album.
The sound is really good here. I also believe this is a concept album of some sort. Have a look at the art-work above. Concept album ? The album is divided into Chapter I to V. Concept album ! Which is great for me.
... And indeed, there is some cinematic concept album influences on this album. I can hear that clearly now.
The music is really good here. All five songs are good in my opinion. My only gripe is the lack of that xtra great song, the album signature song. That aside, this is a nice addition to any neo-prog and melodic prog collection.
The second album from this US band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The classic rock'n'roll lineup known from the times of The Beatles.
I am in the process of reviewing all their albums and have arrived at their second album. It is quite an adventure, reviewing a band's discography. It is one of the reasons I run this blog.
I quite liked the debut album. See the review here. It had though some major faults I could not overlook.
Fence The Clear is their second attempt at the cherry/making a great album. It is almost an hour long album divided on twelve songs.
From having a major crush on Dream Theater, the band has moved on a bit. Moved on a bit towards the likes of Rush. A band Tiles sometimes gets compared to. And with good reasons, taking this album into account.
Half of this album is really good. The half I don't really like is the ballads, the vocals and the prog metal stuff which is still lingering on. The half I like is the guitars and when the band is being progressive and hard. In other words, I like it when they sounds like a unique band with heavy influences from Rush. There is a niche they can occupy here and I hope they have just done that on the albums following this album. Albums I am soon to review.
Half of this album is decent. The other half (make that: the first half an hour) is good. Hence my verdict.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Anima Morte is a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.
And no, they are not a death metal band. Neither are they a black, doom or speed metal band. But their logo still points in the direction of the dark world........ Dario Argentino's movies and Goblin's music.
There is a lot of new bands who is very inspired, fanboys in fact of Goblin's musical universe. Anima Morte can be added to this group of bands. It is a nice trend and one I welcome.
It is not the most exciting music though, instrumental as it is. We are talking cinematic music here. Cinematic music to movies never made. Darkness and gore. The full package..... which reminds me that I need to watch those to Dario Argentino movies I recently bought on DVD.
The music on this forty minutes long album is a mix of Swedish symphonic prog and Goblin though as I can hear some flutes sounds from the keyboards. The band is Swedish and they are not even trying to hide that on this album.
I find most of this album pretty enjoyable. There is no real focal point, no real piece of music which makes this album kick on. My rating is therefore somewhere between decent and good. I will give this band another chance though.....
Monday, 26 September 2016
The one and only album from this Argentine band.
Anima was a four piece with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards and Spanish male vocals. The band got help from around ten guest musicans who supplied guitars, woodwinds, synths and choirs. That includes female vocals too.
This band has been lumped together in the Symphonic Prog genre in ProgArchives. I neither agree or disagree with that choice. The reasons is.....
Anima offers up a bewildering mix of music on this album. Cinematic movie scores, instrumental symphonic prog, Pink Floyd rip-offs, pop music and some standard rock too.
I guess the label "rock opera" is what this album is. The music and vocals is operatic. It is also far too overblown and narcisstic.
The band must have suffered from a delusion of grandeur on this fifty minutes long album. Harsh words, but I think they are justified.
The music is so overblown and so badly constructed that I sometimes wonder what I am listening to. The pop songs here are pretty bad. The Pink Floyd'ish female vocals wailing is facepalm inducing. But worst of all; the music is both dull and simply not up to scratch. The music is so dull that I find myself falling asleep. That is never a good sign.
This album is not even a decent album. It is an addition to my collection of turkeys. You have been warned.
The third album this Cuban band.
Anima Mundi is a five piece band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Three guest musicians adds bassoon, flutes and percussions.
I have reviewed their previous two albums for ProgArchives many, many years ago. But I never really got around to review this album. Which is a bit of a shame.
My review of their debut album is here and my review of their second album is here. My interview of the band is here. In short, I really liked their two first albums.
The Way is an hour long album divided on four songs. The longest one is the twenty-seven minutes long The Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men suite.
And yes, we are talking symphonic prog here. Yes springs to mind. So does Kansas and a bit The Flower Kings. I have heard the phrase "romantic symphonic prog" being used a lot on this album. I have to agree. In particular the almost half an hour long The Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men suite is very romantic. It reminds me a bit about Russian prog rock too. This suite is very flowery though with some guitar solos and great vocals. A bit sugary sweet.
The album opens with a cascade of prog metal though and I am fearing the worst from the first tone. I am not a big fan of the fourteen minutes long opening track Time To Understand.
The two closing songs Flying To The Sun and Cosmic Man does not much for me. A bit too prog metal and neo-prog for this album where the suite has set the tone.
The album is a bit uneven both when it comes to the genres and to the quality. The suite is really great. Not so much the rest of the album.
This is a very good album though. It is well worth checking out.
Sunday, 25 September 2016
The one and only album from this US band.
The band was a five piece band with synths, keyboards, percussions, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.
Babylon has been described as Genesis from the Nursery Cryme era. This album has been described as the long lost Genesis album.
... and my opinion.... That is not far of the mark. Take a bit more theatrical Peter Gabriel, of which Doroccus in Babylon wants to sound like, and add Genesis from that era.
It is obvious that Babylon was not as good as Genesis. The four songs on this thirty-five minutes long album is not in the same class as Trespass, Nursery Cryme or Foxtrot. But the sound is the same. The same pastoral sound. The same use of guitars and bass. Babylon use a bit more synths than Genesis too.
The four songs here are all enjoyable. A bit long'ish songs. A bit more complex and a bit more American than Genesis.
But this is indeed an album for the diehard Genesis fans out there. And what is there not to like about an album like this ?
I like it. But my main gripe is the lack of any great tracks. Babylon was never great song writers. Hence, they did not survive as a band. This is a good album though and recommended.
The fourth and final album from this Spanish band.
The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, saxophone, bass, drums, keyboards and Spanish vocals.
I have had the joy of listening to their four albums and I have got a lot of respect for this band. A sadly overlooked band in the history of European prog rock. Although I have not been giving their albums a lot of points, this band has got my attention. It is a charming band with some charming albums. I am glad I got the chance to getting to know them !
This is their final album. I have not heard about any attempts to reform this band. Which is a bit of a shame.
This album is thirty-six minutes long divided into eight tracks. The sound is rather good. Good enough to let the music shine.
This album starts out with two pretty much commercial hard rocking tracks before progressive rock and folk rock starts to make it's presence felt. There are even some fusion here.
There are also some Camel like instrumental symphonic prog here. But with a large Spanish twist. Music which is rather good.
The end result is a decent to good album which I find charming. But not charming enough for my rather cold blooded analytical mind. But check out this album and this band. Give them the respect they deserve.
The second album from this English artist.
Steve Hackett has now quit Genesis and this is his first album on his own. Although he has got lots of lots of help from other musicians here. Steve Walsh from Kansas does vocals on three songs, including the opening songs (I thought I had put on a Kansas album by mistake....). Richie Havens does vocals on two songs and Randy Crawford does the vocals on one song.
Steve's younger brother John Hackett can be found on flutes and lots of others are also guesting on various instruments.
In short, Steve Hackett gets a lot of help. This album has also been recorded in a fancy studio with a big budget.
The result is disputed as this is a hate or love album. Taken the excellent 1975 debut album Voyage Of The Acolyte into account, I feel Steve Hackett lost the plot with this album. He got lost and he lost himself.
There is not much Steve Hackett and his guitars around. When they appear and we get some one to one with Steve, this album comes alive.
But most of this album is a mishmash of what was commercial music back then. The music is not much coherent. Neither is it much good. And I am sure the dollars and pounds were piling up here. But this is not a good album at all. It is a decent album and I am glad that it was... so I have been told... a one off album.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
The thirteenth album from this Italian band.
Goblin split into two bands before the release of this soundtrack album. This is the Goblin splinter band who had splintered off the original Goblin. They were a quartet and their lineup was woodwinds, keyboards, drums, bass and percussions.
The four members here are Antonio and Agostino Marangolo, Fabio Pignatelli and Maurizio Guarini. Just so we know what this version of Goblin was.
I have heard nothing about this movie. Well, I have to correct myself. The details about the film can be found here. It seems like a diversion from the usual horror movies Goblin usually did.
The movie soundtrack is said to be the best thing about this movie. Which makes me not that sorry that this movie cannot be found at Amazon.co.uk. I think I will therefore bypass this movie altogether.....
This half an hour long soundtrack is not that interesting. A mix of funk and easy-listening fusion. And there are some sound effects and some light rock too.
Frankly, this is the music that can send anyone to sleep. Try it tonight and you will see what I mean.
This half an hour is frankly too dull for me.
I can see why some says the 1980s was a terrible decade for Goblin. This album proves it. One decent track saves this album from ending up in my turkey yard among the other turkeys.
The second and final album from this Portoguese band.
The band was a five piece band with a lineup of drums, guitars, bass, piano, percussions and English vocals.
I quite liked their 1979 debut album Regresso As Origens. Good jazz/fusion. So I was looking forward to this album.
To my horror, I get some vocals driven rock thrown into my face. On closer inspection and a closer proximity to the speakers, the music is a bit of rock with a lot of progressive rock influences. All the seventeen minutes of it. The male vocals is a bit too cheesy for my liking. But the music is pretty decent. Cheesy, but still decent.
But I wanted jazz/fusion. Not rock. And not vocals. And not heavy guitars.
This album is forty-five minutes long and the remainder of the album is taken up by fusion. Which is a sharp contrast to the first seventeen minutes. Two different bands ? I doubt it. This is still Ananga Ranga. Both of them.
The fusion is pretty cheesy too, although not as cheesy as the rock stuff on this album. There is some woodwinds here. It is cool and it is everything the first part of this album is not.
And just to spoil the party, some sort of a party, we get some more vocals again. Funky vocals with the whole slick and sleezy feel.
The end result is an album which kicks in all direction. It is a decent album though. But it is not a coherent album so it is a weak decent rating, bordering to being a turkey rating. The pretty good fusion bits saves it's bacon.
The eight album from this English band.
Steeleye Span was again a six piece band on this album. The lineup was guitars, piano, bass, drums, mandolin, violins, tabor and vocals. Both male and female vocals. And yes, both Tim Hart and Maddy Prior is very much present here.
Maddy Prior and Tim Hart must surely be one of the best vocals combinations the scene has ever seen. I believe this musical pair has also released one or more albums as a duo.... Summer Solstice, this album is called. I will put in an order ! Their vocal harmonies on this Steeleye Span album and most other Steeleye Span albums is really great.
All Around My Hat sees the band doing what they can best. Electric folk rock with very strong vocals and some good songs too. In this case, almost forty minutes of it.
The album starts with the haunting Black Jack Davey. A song I rate as one of their best ever songs. Another great song is the title track.
The other songs are good, although I don't really understand what a clarinet do on the rather throwaway song Dance With Me. A song which takes the band into the pop scene.
The other songs are much more genuine and honest folk rock. There is no denying that the band has become a bit more commercial acceptable on this album. There are no really hardcore folk music here. The corners has been cut and the rough edges smoothed over.
That aside, this is a very good album and one to check out.
The second album from this German band.
Satin Whale was a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, flutes and English vocals.
The name of the band grabbed my attention and their inclusion in ProgArchives also made me grab their first three albums. I reviewed their 1974 debut album Desert Places earlier this month. An album I quite liked.
The band has not changed much during the few months between these two recordings.
We still get heavy blues-soul with a lot of rock'n'roll too. There are a lot of hints of krautrock here too. The band was pretty active in the German scene and krautrock was the king back then. Hence some psychedelia too on this album.
Their sound is a bit special with this mix of soul and hard rock. The keyboards almost feels like Hammond organs here. The vocals too is very bluesy and soul like.
The music here has also got some Jethro Tull influences. In particular in the flutes and keyboards harmonies.
I am not completely sold on this album. My problem is the lack of any really good tracks here. There is a lot of interesting details here. But no really good tracks.
My rating is therefore a decent to good rating. I am not won over.
Friday, 23 September 2016
The second album from this German band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and English vocals.
I very much liked their 2013 debut album Good Morning Dystopia. I reviewed it back in May 2014. Good neo-prog.
The band has moved on a bit since then. Not much, but still notable moved on. Gone is most of the neo-prog. The replacement is art rock with some cool west-coast influences. Cool as in cold. Not cool as in fashionable.
There is also some very notable Americana in their music. The music still retains a German feel to it's core and sound. The vocals is not heavy accented. But you can still hear that his first language is German.
The music is made by a mix of guitars and keyboards. And the music is rolling on nicely throughout these forty-four minutes this album last.
Cool as in a cool breeze is what my enduring memories of this album will be. The quality is not what I will remember it for. The music is at times pretty dull and without many memorable moments. There are some quality here. But the album is too dull for my liking. Nevertheless; this is a decent enough album. But it is not my cup of tea.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
The third album from this English band.
Multi Story is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
The band released their debut album East West in 1985 and the follow up album Through Your Eyes two years later. And then...... nothing....... until now.
From what I gather, the only remaining member from the 1980s is the keyboardist Rob Wilsher. The vocalist and acoustic guitarist Paul Ford played on the debut album and on this album, sitting out Through Your Eyes. I have also been sitting out that album as I have reviewed East West two years ago. An album I did not like that much.
It is obvious that the band were around in the neo-prog heydays. They were never prolific and I have problems remembering anything about this band from those days. The band never got any breakthrough, although releasing two albums back then were really well done.
We are talking neo-prog and AOR rock here. Paul Ford has a good voice and he uses it well. The other musicians also do a good job.
The music is a bit too comfortable and too much safe. The band is not really pushing out the boat here. They stay close to the shore and is not joining the greats of this scene with this album.
I guess the band is both happy and comfortable with their place in the scene and their music. Music which may light up a prog rock or a rock festival. Music that sits well in an open air festival as in a pub gig.
The songs are not really that good though. But there are some positives and good things here. An hour with this album, several hours in my case as I have had problems sorting out my impressions enough to write a review, is a bit too much for my liking.
This is a decent to good album. If old style neo-prog is your cup of tea, get this album.
The debut album from this Italian band.
The band has not released anything else after this album so I wonder what is happening to them. Maybe they will join the very long list of Italian One-Albums-Wonders bands.
The band is a six piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, piano, synths, harmonica and vocals.
All the vocals here are in English..... with one notable exception. The best song here are in Italian.
The music here is bluesy classic rock. There are hints of prog rock. But not much. The Italian song Guerra Mondiale is touching into the RPI scene. A good progressive song with a pastoral feeling.
The rest of the album is pretty hard rocking with a bluesy undertone and feel. The band is doing their best on a pretty meagre, poor material.
There are also material here which is touching into modern heavy metal with some Soundgarden influences. I am not impressed....... Grunge is not my type of music.
This album is one hour long and only Guerra Mondiale is saving it's bacon. It drags it up to a weak decent level. I am no fan of this album. Fans of classic rock may check it out. But with a health warning...
Monday, 19 September 2016
The band was now an eight piece band with a lineup of woodwinds, guitars, synths, bass, percussions, marimba, timpani and both male and female Japanese vocals.
Bi Kyo Ran was previously very close to being a King Crimson copycat. In particular on their debut album and to a lesser degree on their second album.
That though changed on this album. An album which is slightly bizzarre.
The forty minutes divided on five pieces of music takes us through a bit jazz, a bit zeuhl, a bit of King Crimson like eclectic music, a lot of avant-garde and a lot of US funk and Caribbean salsa. The music is pretty weird with a Robert Fripp'esque guitar underpinning some rhumba and salsa. This would be too far even for Robert Fripp.
And this music is far, far out. It is as eclectic as it can get. It is also pretty commercial and pretty dance-friendly. Put on your dance shoes and dance..... Yes, do that to this album.
Parts of it is very dance friendly. Other parts is too dense avant-garde to step out on the floor to this music.
The quality is not too bad. It is not good either and I am able to restrain my praise for this album. It is too weird for my view. Too far out there. Too incoherent for my view.
This is a decent album and worth checking out if you like music far from the well trodden path.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
The debut album from the Jethro Tull frontman.
Ian Anderson is a man I highly respect and admire. He is one of the elder statesmen in the scene and I soak up everything he says. I am probably a fan of his...... Yes, I am. But I take pride in that.
Most of the Jethro Tull albums is really great. But they suffered a slump, a self inflicted one, in the early 1980s with a couple of albums where they wanted to sound current and relevant.
This too is a product of that misguided belief. Ian Anderson does the vocals and guitars here. Peter-John Vetesse does everything else. Mostly with computers and synths.
There is a lot of artifical sound on this album. Synths, computers, electronic drums and a lot of the type of silly sound which sounded OK in the 1980s and just horrible today. Oh yeah, there is plenty of that sort of thing on this album.
The sound is dubious to say at least. Dubious as in really bad 1980s sound. The synths are everywhere, to say at least.
On the top of this, we get Ian Anderson's very good vocals. And some of the songs are not that bad either. Songs that I suspect would had been a lot better with a more acoustic and organic sound.
The sound kills this album flat for me. The songs are decent too good though. The result is a decent album and I hope for better things to come as I am now reviewing all his solo-albums.
The fifteenth and final album from the much missed Daevid Allen.
Daevid Allen (Soft Machine and Gong) passed away in March last year and left a huge amount of album behind him. A huge legacy. His partner and wife Gilli Smith (Mother Gong) passed away last week too and the world has lost their two most foremost dada'ism musicians.
It is pretty obvious that the songs Daevid is contributing with here has been recorded well before he passed away. There is a lot of songs he is not contributing anything on and which I suspect has been recorded after his passing. The band behind Daevid Allen is Paul Sears from The Muffins, Don Falcone from Spirits Burning, Trey Sabattelli from The Tubes and Michael Glare.
Daevid Allen is very much alive on the first tracks. Some very whimsical tracks with his vocals and guitars. Very good they are too. Melodic pop tunes too in the Allen/Gong vein. I cannot help myself smiling.
The band takes over and creates a lot of music in the spirit of Daevid Allen. Whimsical and slightly avant-garde. Also pretty jazzy without being jazz. There is even some post rock and some slightly zeuhl influenced music here. All of them genres in the spirit of Daevid Allen.
This album is both an album from Daevid Allen and a tribute to Daevid Allen. On it's own, it is also a remarkable good album too. It is by no means a masterpiece. It is not even a great album. But I find myself liking this album a lot. Check out this album.
The debut album from this German band.
Satin Whale was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, saxophone, keyboards and English vocals.
Satin Whale released six studio albums and a live album between 1974 and 1981. They were a moderate successful band in Germany and not so known outside Germany... make that West Germany back in those days. Their first three albums are a bit sought after these days as the band is loosely associated with the prog rock scene.
Desert Places is not a progressive rock album though.
Take a lot of blues, soul and hard rock. Inject some folk rock to their sound and you get this album. A pretty commercial sounding album it is too.
Most of all, this is a hard rocking album with some screaming guitars and some heavy keyboards. There are also a lot of soul here with the saxophone involved. The flutes drags the music slightly towards Jethro Tull. But only slightly.
I am by no means fan of this type of music. But I cannot deny that the songs here are good and there is a lot going on here on this forty-three minutes long album. Forty-three minutes divided on five songs, where the longest song is clocking in at almost thirteen minutes. This album defends the good reputation this band has now got, long after they split up.
Saturday, 17 September 2016
The debut album from this Portuguese band. A band who released two albums before they gave up the ghost.
Both albums are available through Youtube for a good listen or ten. Their albums does not have many reviews. None at ProgArchives, from what I can see. I think they deserve your ears and longer writeups, if anyone from ProgArchives reads this.
Ananga Ranga was an eight members big band. Their lineup was saxophone, organ, violin, guitars, drums, percussions, vocals and piano.
This album starts up as a bit of a movie soundtrack fusion album. Which is not a good start in my ears as I am no fan of slick fusion movie soundtracks. I got enough of them when watching the TV crime series from USA in the 1990s. It was all the rage back then. It does not give me any fond memories.
But gradually, this thirty-six minutes long album is changing style. A violin comes into play and is introducing some folk music into this album too. Some guitar solos also livens up the music. The music also takes a turn towards more solid jazz territory. More towards the likes of Return To Forever and dare I say it...... Mahavishnu Orchestra.
The end result is an album with a bad opening and a good finish. It is still not a good album by any means. But one to check out. Youtube is the place to do that.
The debut album from this French band.
Amphetamin is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.
The band released this album after a couple of EPs. The band was originally members of the far more successful French band Sebastian. Amphetamin was or is a side-project of that said band.
Post rock is not something I review anymore although I have reviewed albums in this genre a lot for ProgArchives and in the first two years of this blog. This album reminds me that I should do a lot more post rock in the future.
Yes, this is as post rock album. But you can also include a lot of influences from Radiohead and Gazpacho on this album too. Even from Marillion.
There is a lot of shoegazing here. There is also some experimental metal here too. Post metal, it is called.
The vocals is very good and the guitars both lays down walls of sound and some more half-acoustic gentle finger picking pieces. The keyboards adds a lot of textures too.
Yes, there is a lot of ebbs and flows in this music. There is also a lot of majestic soaring melodies here too. Not to mention some intereting details too. The mood is broodening dark too and that completes this picture.
There is enough goodies here to make this a good album. A forty-five minutes long album which does not outstay it's welcome. I very much like what I hear. Check it out.
The debut album from this Dutch band.
I don't know much about this band, but I gather (as I don't speak Dutch) from their homepage that they are a trio of bassist, drummer and a guitarist/vocalist. A keyboards player is helping them out as a guest musician. Their homepage is here so check them out.
Elements is another band added to the Dutch neo-prog and prog scene. Another addition and one yet to make any waves.
Their music is leaning much more towards AOR and rock than progressive rock. The songs on this fifty-five minutes long album are pretty short.
I very strongly suspect that the driving force in Elements is their guitarist. His guitar solos takes up a substantial part of these fifty-five minutes. And his guitar work is very good and the best thing about this album.
The songs are not that good to be perfectly honest. The vocalist and the other musicians does a good job. But the art of songwriting has passed this album by.
This album survives because of the guitars. And the music is not that bad either. This album is not reinventing the wheel by any means and it is following a very well trodden path. But the guitars is saving it's bacon.
Friday, 16 September 2016
The third album from this Spanish band.
Bloque was a four piece band with a lineup of drums, bass, keyboards, guitars, percussion and Spanish vocals.
Bloque's first two albums was very interesting. A good combo of Italian and Spanish prog rock with a lot of heavy rock too.
The band very much continued in the same vein here. A bit less heavy and a bit more melodic. A lot more psych rock has also sneaked into their sound and music.
The band still sounds like an RPI band. But there is also a lot more Spanish folk and psych rock here too. That very much adds to the RPI stuff and makes this album a lot more interesting.
There is a lot of good stuff on this thirty-four minutes long album. Some of the stuff also are also leaning towards more commercial rock. But this is never a dull album.
The lack of a great track is my only gripe with this album. An album which would make any prog rock fan from Spain pretty proud. Check it out !
Thursday, 15 September 2016
The fourth album from this USA based band.
Circa was formed by the Yes associated Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Alan White some years ago. They had Jimmy Haun on guitars, helping them out. They did the 2007 self-titled album together.
Nine years later, only Billy Sherwood (vocals and guitars) and Tony Kaye (keyboards) remains. They are helped out by the two Circa members Rick Tierney (bass) and Scott Connor (drums).
I have always heard about the band. Their association with Yes is off course a big attraction to me. But I did not expect a Yes clone when I got this album. Neither is this album a Yes clone.
Circa is much more a neo-prog band. Neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog. Well, 60 % is neo-prog and the remainder is symphonic prog.
The symphonic prog shines through at the four pretty long songs on this fifty minutes long album. The average lenght is twelve and a half minutes per song.
The almost twenty minutes closing song Our Place Under The Sun is the main piece of music here. It has a very majestic main theme. That song is as usual sung by the very good vocalist Billy Sherwood. The three other musicians also do a very good job here.
The sound is pretty much mid-2000s neo-prog and that is a refreshing sound. The sound is indeed very good.
My only gripe with this album is the lack of a truly great song. There is no weak songs either and the music is really good. That is what this album is. A good album well worth checking out.
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
The third album from this German band.
I am not sure why they have titled this album as No 4. Maybe this is German humour or they have an album ProgArchives is not aware of ? I don't know.
The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass and drums. And no vocals and no nonsense like on the previous album. An album I hated/hate.
The band, who once upon a time released the semi-classic album Vampire State Building, their debut album, has not really impressed me or anyone else. Well, mostly nobody else. The band may have some fans out there. Good luck to them.
No 4 is another radical change of direction. A funky bass with some guitar solos on the top is what we mostly get here. Spaced out bluesy rock... Krautrock in other words.
This album is forty-six minutes long divided on seven tracks. It does not really open that promising. But it gets into gear after some minutes and contines mostly as a hard rocking album.
The music is pretty primitive and raw. This is not progressive rock. This is balls-to-the-walls rock. But there are also some pretty pastoral pieces here.
I actually quite like this album. It is not a good album. But it is a decent to good album. It also partly restore their reputation in my estimation. Not bad.
Monday, 12 September 2016
The debut album from this US band.
I have always thought this band was from Canada. I have been wrong all the way. I have always wanted to review their albums as I am a fan of Rush. I have therefore collected their albums and will now review all their albums in the coming weeks and months (yes, I wrote the same thing about Steve Hackett too).
Tiles was a three piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals. The bassist was a session music and the fourth musician on this album.
I have no idea why this band has caught my imagination...... The album covers, perhaps ? This is their debut album and the album cover is pretty poor, it has to be said.
What we get here is a bit of a mix of neo-prog and prog metal. The vocals are OK and just about right for this album. The music is on the naive and light-weight end of the scala. The band has yet to embrace complex song structures. Well, I hope they did that on their coming albums. Otherwise, this band and their disco will be a test of both my tolerance and stamina.
The music and sound is rooted in the early 1990s and has a lot in common with those days Rush. The Roll The Bones album springs to mind.
There are also some heavy metal stuff here. That stuff makes me cringe. And we also have some neo-prog.
In short, this forty-six minutes long album offers up a lot. But what is sorely missing here is good songs. There are none. This is nevertheless a decent album with some hints of talents.
Sunday, 11 September 2016
The debut album from the Genesis guitarist.
Steve Hackett was still a member of Genesis when he recorded and released this album. This is the first of a very substantial amount of albums from Steve Hackett and I am trying to run through them, album by album, in the coming weeks and months.
Steve Hackett did the guitars, most of the keys and some vocals here. On the vocals, he also had help from Phil Collins and Sally Oldfield. John Hackett helped on flutes and Mike Rutherford did the bass. Those among other guest musicians as Steve Hackett had yet to get a band at this stage.
I have been "warned" by many of my friends that I will fall in love with Steve Hackett's music. His more new one albums has not done much for me. I reviewed two of them for ProgArchives. So with trepidations.....
Voyage Of The Acolyte starts out as a wild Steve Howe inspired Yes moment before it takes a much more pastorial direction. Yes, Genesis is a great reference here. In partictular when it comes to the guitars.... I wonder why....
This album is a much more complex symphonic piece of music than Genesis ever produced. And I am not saying a bad thing about the first Genesis albums with Peter Gabriel at the microphone. But this album is different and Steve Hackett on his own is different from Genesis.
The result is a symphonic prog album with a lot of eclectic moments. The best pieces here is Star Of Sirius where Phil Collins does a great job on a track I feel Genesis should have included on one of their albums. The second great piece here is the twelve minutes long Shadow Of The Hierophant who closes this album with a very dark theme.
The end result is a superb album who only need one or two brilliant tracks to make this a brilliant album. It runs it close, though... Get this album.
Saturday, 10 September 2016
The debut album and so far the only sign of life from this Russian band.
Algabas is from the Russian town Vladimir, 200 km east of Moscow. Russia is a vast country (and I am a geography buff) and I had a bit difficult finding it's location within Russia on Google Maps. But I found it. The town looks like a typical Russian town. Functional and well planned with some pretty sights.
Algabas is a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and.......... Russian male vocals !! A big plus in my books.
The album is also a free download Bandcamp album too. Get it from here.
Algabas has chosen to follow the paths somewhere between neo-prog and heavy prog. They are rightly listed as a Heavy Prog band in Progarchives. The music is not that heavy though.
The music is pretty much neo-prog, in fact. But what makes it heavy and different is it's heavy leaning towards Russian folk and rock music. Russia is a big, big country. Something reflected in their music and language. Russian is a heavy, highly profile language. And the vocals are pretty prominent here.
The end result is a much heavier album than if an English band had recorded this album. It is also a brash album with a lot of flavours.
It is also like a breath of fresh air. The songs are all good. The Russian culture and flavours gives this album something extra. Something I have never heard before from a neo-prog and that kind of progressive rock band.
It does the band no damage whatsoever that they are good musicians too. There is a lot of very interesting details on this album.
In short, this fifty minutes long album proves that free albums too is well worth checking out. This album is as professional and good as any £ 12 albums. So get this gift, this album and enjoy.
The second album from this French composer who released three albums between 1978 and 1998.
Jean Pierre plays guitar and keyboards here. He is helped out by only six other musicians. They contribute with more keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and orchestral direction. Some parts of a symphonic orchestra is involved here.
His self-titled 1978 debut album were a mishmash of jazz and classical music. One track was jazz, the following track was classical music and so on. Not the way to please me and I was not pleased in my review of that album.
Jean Pierre Alarcen has gone for a symphony this time around. A symphony in three movements. A symphony with guitars, bass, drums and keyboards in addition to some sprinkling of traditional symphonic orchestra instruments.
A forty minutes long symphony with a generous sprinkling of jazz and rock. This is by no means my favourite type of music as I find this type of music very regressive and false. It is indeed fake, this music style.
The music here is pretty decent throughout. But it leaves me a bit cold and very bored. I have to conclude that Jean Pierre Alarcen is probably a great guy. But his music does not do anything for me.
The second album from this Japanese band.
The band is again a power-trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Japanese vocals. They have hired in cello, trumpet, Mellotron, keyboards and violins.
The band was very much influenced by King Crimson on their self-titled 1982. See my review here. It was also an album I liked a lot.
Two years has gone and the eclectic avant-garde edges from their debut album has been taken away from their music and sound. Melodies has come in here and has replaced the eclectic avant-garde stuff.
Largely speaking, the band still sounds like a Japanese twin brother of King Crimson. There is a lot of Fripp'ism and King Crimson here. But melodies has been introduced..... Danger, danger, danger.
But the band and their music is still eclectic enough to make them sounding very edgy. This throughout this forty minutes long album. The melodies are good and the band has kept most of their basic ethos.
Although more melodic, this is not music for the masses. And that is a good thing.
Another good thing is the music too. There is no really great tracks here. But this is still a good album and an album well worth checking out.
Friday, 9 September 2016
The third album from this Swedish band.
This is the only album I have got with this band and I am quite eager to get their 2015 album Picture You in my collection.
The Amazing is a five piece band with a lineup of electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Flutes and saxophones also contributes to this album. The guitarist here is Reine Fiske, one of the leading new guitarists on this planet right now.
This album is by no means a guitar hero album. Reine Fiske does a great job. But this album is not his album.
The Amazing takes us back to the US west coast anno 1969 and add a lot of the more new Scandinavian/Swedish prog rock to the mix too. Add a lot of Landberk and Dungen too. There are also some Swedish folk prog on this album too.
The sound is very warm and the vocals, sung in English, is very good.
There is a lot of really good details to enjoy here. Reine Fiske contributes with a lot of very interesting details. He has not done himself and his reputation any harm on this album. Let me put it that way.....
The eight songs on this forty-five minutes long album is all very good. Ditto for the sound.
There is no killer tracks here. That is my only gripe. Nevertheless, this is a very good album. An amazing very good album.
Thursday, 8 September 2016
The second album from this Spanish band.
Their 2010 debut album Dance Of The Goodbyes created a close-to sensation in the scene. I also very much liked it in my own review of this album.
Six years is a long time and the band has returned again as a six piece band. The lineup is Mellotron, Moog, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and lots of woodwinds. Half of the band plays woodwinds.
Dance Of The Goodbyes was a slightly jazzy Canterbury album. A very good one too. It was also like a breathe of fresh air into that scene and it inspired other bands to give that genre a go too.
Second Split is a lot more jazz focused, though. The rock instruments plays an important part here, yes. But the woodwinds gets the main share of the limelight and the sound.
The emphasis is on traditional jazz here. Bebop, to be more precise. That is my main impression of this album.
But when listening a bit more carefully, there are also some pretty quirky details and pieces of music here. But I am afraid these are a bit drowned out by the pretty traditional bebop.
The end result is a bit of a let down of an album. This band is hugely talented and this is indeed a good album. Perhaps I had wildly unrealistic hopes here. Hopes not fulfilled.
When that is said, this is a good album and one to enjoy.
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
The second of in total three albums from this Argentine band.
The band had released their self titled debut album back in 1976. An album pretty much praised everywhere. But it took them seven years, seven years of the worst years of the military dictatorship in Argentina to come up with their second album.
The core of Alas and this album was trio with a lineup of synths, woodwinds, bass, drums, percussions and acoustic guitars. The trio got some help from three other musicians who contributed with flutes and bandoneon.
The band is listed a fusion band in the almighty ProgArchives. Something I agree with. The fusion here is with more than rock, though. Add some avant-garde, symph prog and folk rock to the baseline of jazz. Both Weather Report and some Italian avant-garde bands springs to mind here. Most of this album reminds me a lot about the Canadian band Maneige. In particular when it comes to the use of flutes, folk and jazz.
This album is forty minutes long and divided on four tracks.
The album is a slow starter and really never kicks on. The material here is a mix of decent and good material. I am not as much fan of this album as my friends are. It does not excite me.
That said, this is not a bad album. Hence my verdict.
The second album from this Dutch band.
Profuna Ocean released their 2009 debut album Watching The Closing Sky to some critical acclaim. I have to admit this band has totally passed me by until this year's album. The reason may be their long break.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English male vocals.
The music is a mixed bag of progressive metal, some crossover and symphonic prog and a lot of neo-prog. Their music has clean and crisp sound.
There is a lot of Dutch bands, let alone, European bands in this crossover genre between neo-prog and progressive metal. Almost too many bands. But I quite like this type of music so I am not complaining. There is a considerable scene and most bands gets something out of it. Most bands work fulltime too as bank managers etc etc etc so this is just a hobby to them. Good for them and I am not going to belittle them. On the contrary, I kind of admire them.
This one hour long album is leaning more towards classic neo-prog than progressive metal. There are some hints to Marillion here. But most of all; this band and album sounds like if it is made in Holland.... and indeed, it is.
There are some more pastoral songs here and a lot more heavy stuff. The overall quality is good with some few pretty decent stuff too. That is balanced by some very good stuff too.
This is not an exciting album and it is not going to set the prog rock world on fire. Nevertheless, this is a good album.
Monday, 5 September 2016
The second album from this Spanish band.
The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, effects, percussions, keyboards and Spanish vocals.
I quite like their 1978 self titled album. A 2.5 points score. Quite a charming album too where there was enough good elements to build on.
After a quite hard rocking opening song which is well over the top heavy, the album settles into a nice theme and rhythm. This is a concept album and it casts a lot of glances over towards the Italian symphonic prog rock scene. The RPI scene.
A lot of Spanish and other Spanish language bands has had a look at the RPI genre and has copied over what they thinks suits them best. I think this is a good idea.
Hombre, Tierra Y Alma is almost a fully blooded RPI album. Although with Spanish vocals which sounds very much different from the Italian vocals. I find Spanish a lot harsher than the more fluid Italian language. At least when it comes to progressive rock albums.
The music is pretty heavy at times. It is also pretty pastoral at times. There is a lot of contrasts on this thirty-six minutes long album.
The sound is pretty good and so is the music. This is a weak good album. I still gives it a Good award as the music is good throughout. Check out this neglected and almost totally forgotten album and band.
Sunday, 4 September 2016
The third and final album from this Chile based band.
The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of electric piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, bajo, flutes, percussion and drums. That and some Spanish vocals.
Their previous album Del Volar De Las Palomas from 1971 was a very vocals dominated folk music album with very little of musical values. Hence, I did not rate it highly.
And I dreaded having to endure a similar experience. So I was very surprised after a few minutes of this forty-two minutes long album.
Locomotora is in fact the polar opposite of Del Volar De Las Palomas. This is mostly an instrumental album. And the music is not folk music. Well, there are a lot of folk music influences and some good folk music here. But this album is a psych folk rock album.
These forty-two minutes are divided on five songs. The first track is instrumental and is meandering around space and jazz rock. Though with some folk rock influences too. On reflection; this is actually a krautrock track. The name of the track is Allegro Ma Non Troppo and is clocking in at twelve minutes.
The other four tracks also has some blues and prog rock music. All of it is anchored in folk rock.
This album has some good melodies and a lot of interesting details. The sound is very good too.
The end result is a charming good album which leaves me with some good memories of this band. Los Blops is a band you should check out.
The second album from this German band.
I reviewed their 1971 debut album Vampire State Building back in November 2012. A good krautrock album who explored the landscape between jazz and blues. So I had some hopes here...
Seven years is a long time and the band returned as a five piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and German vocals.
Seven years is indeed a long time and the band had changed their style. And that to a more vocals based style.
Energie Programm In Rock is twenty-five minutes long divided on ten songs. Two and a half minutes on average, these songs are.
The music is vaudeville theatre pop/rock with some krautrock influences and some Gong influences. There are some humour, or make that some feeble attempts of being funny here. Spoken vocals and some sound effects is on the top of some very sparse and funky pieces of music.
As I stated in my review of the Vampire State Building; that album is far better than any of their five follow up albums. Energie Programm In Rock stinks like a turkey yard. It is indeed a turkey and a total waste of space unless you speak German. And even Germans would find this a very difficult album to like.
Saturday, 3 September 2016
The debut album from this English project.
Grice is Jim Peters vehicle and solo project. He does all vocals and some guitars and percussions here. 15 other musicians from bands like Porcupine Tree and other bands guests and contributes to this album. There is a bewildering amount of instruments here. Both acoustic and electric instruments.
The album starts as an ambient album. It starts very slowly and it does not really become a racing car.
The label on this one hour long piece of music, divided into twelve tracks ? Modern rock. Modern prog rock with a lot of ambience and post rock influences.
Jim Peters have a reasonable good voice. The other musicians contributes to this very untraditional sounding album. An album with a lot of Arabic and Middle-East influences.
This is by no means a traditional English neo or symphonic prog album. It is a total break with this tradition. Just so that is said.
This is a one-man band. One man and his synth and keyboard. It does sound like it too. The songs are not that good and this album is not really hitting the right tones and the righ level of quality. The sound is good. But the music is not.
This is a decent album and I am not going to be sleepless, waiting for a new Grice album.
The twelfth album from this Italian band.
The movie plackards says Music Di Simontelli - Pignatelli and Morante. That is Goblin anno that movie. The lineup is guitars, bass, digital drums and lots of synths and keyboards.
The movie from the legendary movie producer is a classic horror movie with the same name. You can also get that one from all Amazon outlets. Now even on Blue-Ray in addition to DVDs. The prices for this movie is not that bad and I am a bit tempted as this is really a classic horror movie. I have actually found the uncut version and have purchased it right here and now. It is a classic Italian movie too. Well, I think I will get this DVD. A DVD also complete with the music here as this album is it's movie soundtrack.
The movie is a suspense horror movie. The music is suspense music. The music is pretty sinister and it is fully instrumental.
I guess this soundtrack is going to scare the life out of me when it is the soundtrack for all the horror I will watch on that DVD.
It does not work that well as a music album. But it is not a bad album, the half an hour of it. It has a lot of good melodies. It is in fact a good album whose only gripe I have got is the lack of any really great melodies.
This is one of the better Goblin albums I have heard and I am looking forward to receiving the DVD. So in this case; the music has sold the movie to me. Job very well done, Goblin !
Friday, 2 September 2016
The one and only album from this Spanish band.
The band was a five piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and keyboards.
The band is listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives and that gave me a lot of hope. Hope dashed. I am not sure why this band is so mislabeled as this.
Their music is simply instrumental rock with a lot of progressive rock leanings. That and a lot of fusion leanings too. Add the likes of Camel too and you get this album.
This whole one hour long album is instrumental. It does not have much of a Spanish flavour. There are some and you can hear this band is from the Iberian region. This time; from Spain.
The music goes through the motions with a lot of guitars and keyboards. And I wonder... where the heck is the neo-prog ? It is not here.
And I also wonder.... when will this album really kick off and kick on ? Hitting the strides, so to speak. It never does.
There are some decent stuff here. But this album is far too generic and does not offers up anything of interest. This album is not progression. It is regression and a lot of running through somebody elses motions.
This album is only saved by some decent melodies. Besides of that......