Friday 28 February 2014

Indisciplined Lucy - About the Black Eyed Girl (1999)

Another Swedish one shot band. They released one EP and this album before they were disbanded.

We are somewhere in progressive rock on this album. A bit of a Scandinavian darkness prog territory with cello and violins in addition to guitars, vocals, keyboards, drums and bass.

Of references.... well, not easy. But the cello and violins are in the Aranis vein. The guitars are sometimes pretty heavy in between also being half-acoustic. The English vocals is in the Ange vein. Very theatrical in other words. Ange is not a bad reference at all. Indisciplined Lucy sounds like a Scandinavian take on Ange.

The melodies are melodic throughout with some very short added avant-garde stuff in between. The music are good too. This is a band I think demands a bit more respect than it has got so far. I like this album and recommends it.

3 points

Libra - Winter Day's Nightmare (1976)

Well, I did not expect this one.

Libra was an Italian band who released three albums in the 1970s. Winter Day's Nightmare was their second album. I also got their third and final album too which is scheduled for a review in March.

The reason why I did not expect this music is the band's classification as an RPI band in ProgArchives. RPI is exactly what we don't get here. The album starts with some Yes rip-off riffs and then goes over to rip-off The Rolling Stones on a regular basis on this album. Most of all; the album is a funky run through of the pre-disco pop and funk scene in the 1970s.

The English vocals is very funky and ditto for the music. That goes for the guitars, keyboards, bass and drums too. Strangely enough, this 1976 album does not feel out of time in 2014 either. It almost feels like a Jamiroquai album. The vocals is very much in the Jay Kay vein.

I am by no means a fan of this music. This album is a good album though despite of being a bit alien to me. The album has rhythm and tonnes of joy. It also got a lot of style too. It is in a perverse sense a funny and a good album. Check it out.

3 points

Thursday 27 February 2014

Petrus Castrus - Ascenção e Queda (1978)

The second and final album from this Portugese band.

I reviewed their 1973 debut album Mestre back in January 2010 for ProgArchives and were not that impressed by that album. They have moved on since that album, though.

Ascencao E Queda is a rock opera with various instruments. Guitars, sound samples, keyboards, bass, drums, piano, choirs and male & female vocals. The vocals are both normal and opera. This as in an opera. The music is a mix of symphonic prog and some standard rock. But mostly symphonic prog. It is not particular heavy music either.

The vocals are great throughout and the music is pretty good too. The sound is acceptable. The music is good throughout without including any great tracks on this forty five minutes long rock opera. This is a good album from a pretty much forgotten band.

3 points

Perigeo - Azimut (1972)

Perigeo's debut album.

Perigeo is an Italian fusion band who I have never heard about before I put this album on. After the first listening session, I ordered some more albums from this band.

Azimut is an album which sits in the Soft Machine, Weather Report and Iceberg tradition. As a Soft Machine fan, I really like their occasional very intense brand of fusion/jazz. They creates their music with woodwinds, electric guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and the occasional vocals. Most of the music here is instrumental.

There is a lot of great guitars, keyboards and saxophone solos here. The bass is pretty thundering and distinct. Ditto for the drums. The musicianship is great. Ditto for the sound.

The title track is a superb track. The rest of the songs are great too on this forty minutes long album. This is an album which fusion fans will both love and cherish.

4 points

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Zippo Zetterlink - In The Poor Sun (1971)

A one off band from Hamburg.

We are deep into the krautrock scene again. Krautrock with improvised melodies and a pretty poor sound. The mix is not the best either with the drums and bass far too much in the forefront and the guitars hovering around in the background.

This a forty minutes long album divided on five tracks. A twenty minutes long track and four shorter ones. The music here is of the trippy blues krautrock sort. The sound is not doing much for this trip and the meaning of this project.

The end result is not a pleasure. Mostly due to the sound. This album quack-quack like the turkey it is. Don't repeat my mistake by shelling out money for this one. Use the money on chickens instead.

1 point

Phileas Fogg - Coma Depasse (1986)

The first and only album from this French band.

Phileas Fogg was a French fusion combo with a female vocalist. Their music was made by keyboards, guitars, congas, percussions, drums, bass and female vocals. The music is in the light jazz/fusion genre with some pop music like vocals. Isabelle Sobkowiak is her name. Very light, thin vocals which suits this music.

This forty minutes long album is filled with long solos and intricate details. The music is pretty technical and intricate. The music is also borderline Canterbury and I have seen the Belgium band Cos has been named as a comparison. I have yet to dig out my Cos albums yet so I don't know. The music is also pretty proggy with a lot of eclectic prog influences. Picchio Dal Pozzo also springs to mind here.

The result is a very good album which is sadly forgotten. In my view, that is a tragedy as this album would enhance any fusion and Canterbury prog collection. My only gripe is the lack of any great songs here. That is my only gripe. Maybe a re-release is in order of this album. I will tip of the right record labels.

3.5 points

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Jeremy & Progressor - Searching for the Son (2013)

I believe this is the second album and so far last album in the cooperation between Jeremy and Progressor. Their first one was in 2005. Jeremy is an established artist in his own right. See reviews of other Jeremy albums in this blog too. Ditto for Progressor too. Progressor is Vitaly Menshikov's artist name. I believe he is active in Fromuz too. My memories is not the best and I am also sitting in an office, trying to push this review through before the end of my lunch.

Jeremy has his own style. Lately, that has been a bit of west-coast psychedelic rock. That is very much present here too. He also does the vocals and the guitars here. Very competent in both instances. There is also a lot of cool jazz here too and I suspec Vitaly is responsible here. That too also goes for the symphonic prog here too. This very much describe the music here. Keyboards, woodwinds, vocals, guitars, bass and drums is what we get here.

The result is a cool breezy eighty minutes long album which probably the best fit is the psychedelic rock label. It is also a good album which offers excellent value for money. I am a bit restrained in my praise as this music does not really resonate with me. Me about that.

3 points

Monday 24 February 2014

Capsicum Red - Appunti Per Un Idea Fissa (1972)

Another one shot Italian band who released one album and a couple of '7 singles before disappearing again. This band included a member of I Pooh, a very successful band who released a new album some months ago. I reviewed it for this blog.

Capsicum Red was a much more classical music and ELP orientated band than I Pooh. The music on this album is also mostly instrumental and takes us through the cathedrals in Italy and down to the rocky coastline where we enjoy some dry Cinzano bianco on ice and with some apricots slices. That is the essence of this album.

The music is made by keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. That and some sound samples. The sound is not the best where the guitars tends to get lost in the mix. The vocals too is a bit muddy. But we get the music and the music is good. Music in the good old symphonic Italian prog tradition.  

This album is not highly rated and it is obscure to say at least. It is still a good album well worth checking out.

3 points

Sunday 23 February 2014

Contemporary Dead Finnish Music Ensemble - Dark Matters (2014)

The third album from this Finnish art/neo prog band.

I quite liked their five years old second album Land Of Hope. I suspected their music would reflect their complicated long band name too. I was wrong.

This band with this long name plays neo/art prog with female vocals. In this respect and in most other respects too, they can be compared to the likes of Touchstones, The Reasoning and Panic Room. Not to mention; Magenta. Their music is a bit hard and epic. It is still pretty commercial though and nice on the ear.

The music is performed with saxophone, keyboards, Moog, guitars, bass and drums. They are all supporting and working around Katja Sirkia's vocals. Even the sporadic male vocals is doing the support role here. The sound is clear and contemporary. It is also very much in the English female fronted crossover prog vein.

The end result is a very good album. I only have one gripe and that is the lack of any great tracks. Besides of that; this is an album you have to check out if you like anything listed above in this review.

3.5 points

Sungrazer - Sungrazer (2010)

The debut album from this Dutch stoner rock band.

This young band has obviously been inspired a lot by the grunge scene and the old doom metal scene. Not to mention bands like Colour Haze. The music on this half an hour long album is not particular spaced out or anywhere near the sun. The music is firmly on this planet.

The music has some heavy guitars, some grunge vocals, a heavy bass and heavy drums. The music is also in the ebb and flow as in post rock.

The end result is a contemporary sounding stoner rock album with some half-acoustic guitars in addition to some pretty heavy guitars. The music is also pretty melancholic too.

This album is not for the space cadets out there who likes outer space stoner and space rock. It is still a good album which showcases a band with great potential. Check them out.

3 points

Saturday 22 February 2014

Malicorne - Malicorne 2 (1975)

The third album from this French folk rock band.

For some reasons I don't know, their third album was named Malicorne 2. Maybe that was due to some issues with their record label. Who knows. The result is anyway a forty-two minutes long album.

Folk rock can mean a lot of different things. In this case; it means a mostly male French vocals dominated album helped out by strings like mandolin, cello, bass, violin, guitars and other strings. That and some supporting female vocals too, woodwinds, percussions and keyboards.

The vocals are in the funeral dirge tradition with a slow, soulful delivery. Ditto for the music which is in the melancholic, almost funeral dirge tradition. The result is not an album which spreads fun and gaiety in my office.

The quality is good throughout. This is very much a fascinating album in many ways despite of the lack of any great tracks here. It has a great deal of style and poise. The angelic female vocals are great. It is very much an album and a band well worth checking out because of their originality and style.

3.5 points

Manning - Margaret's Children (2011)

Guy Manning & Co's twelfth album.

Margaret's Children is part 2 of Anser's Tree. It was not planned as that, but Guy got the inspiration from the excellent Margaret Montgomery song from that album and decided to follow the family. That as far as I remember it. Guy Manning may disagree with my hazy memories. It is a good, no make that an excellent way of telling a story and to develop this concept. An excellent concept. I have used it on my latest novel myself.

So we follow Margaret Montgomery's offspring here and their stories. That is seven songs, seven people with their stories. From 1645 to 2022, in eight years time. Every song has their name. Every song is pretty epic too, following the stories of the persons involved.

The music is varied too. The gospel song Jorgen Barras (Revelation Road) is a superb song. I am not a fan of gospel. But I am waving my arms and moving my legs to this one. Gospel is an effective form of music and Guy Manning hits the bullseye with it. It is one of his best ever songs. If this had been released on a major label, we would had been talking about a hit single here.

The seventeen minutes long Amy Quartermaine (A Perfect Childhood) is an epic symphonic prog song and is also hitting the right notes. The rest of the album has some lounge doo wop jazz on Harriet Horden, folk rock, symphonic prog and some songs based rock.

The end result is a great album and probably Manning's best ever album. The quality of Guy Manning's albums is very high anyway and he is without any doubts one of the best songwriters in the UK. This album is close to being essential. All his albums is in my view worth purchasing.

4.5 points

Colombo. Roberto - Botte da Orbi (1977)

The second and so far final album from the keyboards player in Le Orme.

Hence, this is an album in the Italian prog rock tradition. Loosely speaking, that is. Roberto Colombo is very much threading into the avant-garde fusion territory on the half an hour long Botte Da Orbi. Not to mention; Canterbury prog.

Take some of Gong's weirdest moments, translate it to Italian music and you get this album. That means funk, fusion and avant-garde. There are some mad mental asylum type of Italian male and female vocals here. Add a lot of woodwinds, a very funky bass, percussions, drums, keyboards and some guitars to the mix too.

The result is actually good, as mad as it sounds. This album is funny, brings a smile to my face and has some interesting details. It is never dull though. Even the potty plants in my office think the music is funky. It is a weird album, but still recommended.

3 points

Legendary Pink Dots - Taos Hum (2013)

This, their 31rd album since 1982 is my first ever meeting with this London, England based space rock band.

A lot of albums normally means improvised tracks and albums. Or they also means computer generated music with a lot of samples and not much organic music. Taos Hum probably falls into both categories.

The music on this fifty minutes album falls into the more electronic end of the krautrock spectrum. A lot of nodding around, both from the band and the listener. This album cures insomnia. It is so pedestrian and so dull, full of electronic avant-garde it is.

All this would had been great if the music was good. It is not. It is not even decent and the band is throwing ideas at the listener without really carry them through. The band is not hopeless. They are just missing the boat with this album which is hovering very close to the turkey yard. But a couple of decent tracks saves the album from my dinner table.

1.5 points

Friday 21 February 2014

Clearlight - Visions (1978)

The fifth album from this French band.

The Cyrille Verdeaux fronted Clearlight is continuing on from the previous album Les Contes Du Singe Fou from the previous year. Symphonic prog with space rock and fusion violins which reminds me about Jean Luc Ponty. So far, not any news.

On Visions though, they have finally included French vocals. That suits their music so much better. They have also taken a sharp left turn towards Indian folk music here with a lot of tabla drums and an Indian feel. That and a new age feel. The mysticism of the east is what the visions is here. In the midst of this vision, Cyrille's piano is also very present here together with the violins and guitars. That and keyboards, drums and bass.

The end result is not the most interesting result. Too much new age and plodding around for seventy-five minutes. Not particular interesting stuff. Nevertheless, this is a decent album.

2 points

Solar Soma - So Much For Style (2013)

The debut album from this Adelaide, Australian band.

The band has released this album as a "name your price" album on Bandcamp and that is a good career move as this is a debut album. The band should also reach a good and receptive audience with this album.

The music here is a mix of progressive rock, progressive metal and djent. Cat Johns (female) vocals is one of the focal points of this band and draws comparisons with the likes of Panic Room and Touchstones. The guitars are aggressive and in the progressive metal vein. At times, they are also riffing in the djent traditions. The guitars can be pretty melodic too. The keyboards adds a melodic touch to the album while the drums and bass is thundering along.

The quality of the music is good throughout and this album is more than acceptable. The lack of any great tracks is a problem. I am not that enthusiastic about their djent pieces. Maybe I am a bit too old for this. Check out the album from the link below and make up your own mind.

3 points

The album

September Code - Remembering Mirrors (2012)

The debut album from this Greek band who I believe has just released a new album, their second album. It is named 2 Smiles Ago.

Back to Remembering Mirrors, though. The music on this album is a mix of art rock and progressive metal. That is a 50/50 split. Include a lot of neo prog too here in the art rock segment. The sound is contemporary and the band uses everything available to them. That includes keyboards, classical music instruments samples like for example strings, guitars, bass, drums and male English vocals.

Despite of this standard setup, the sound is surprisingly warm and human. Yes, the sound is clinical perfect and leaves nothing amiss. The vocals are good too with a bit of a rasping metal feel. A bit djent like.

The music is very good throughout without really being great. There is no great tracks here. The band has yet to develop their own identity too. The band is firmly placed in this new modern art rock genre which is so populated these days. That said, this is a very good album well worth checking out.

3.5 points

The band's homepage

Thursday 20 February 2014

Kuusumun Profeetta - Huutoja Hiljaisesta Huoneesta (2012)

The sixth studio album from this Finnish band who makes albums with impossible long album titles.... in Finnish. I would not even try to pronounce this album title. Eccentric, this band are.

Eccentric is their music too. It is clearly progressive rock of some sort. Progressive rock with a very strong Finnish and Russian flavour. That is not only because of the Finnish vocals. The music has this Scandinavian - Russian melancholy. Melancholy from the vast forests up in the north.

The music is created with guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and some woodwinds. That and some good Finnish male vocals.

The music is melancholic and pretty mid-tempo too with a couple of ballads and some up-tempo tracks too. I detect a lot of post rock influences in their music too. A bit Icelandic post rock, that is. There is also some pretty theatrical stuff here in the Ange mould. Yes, that is Ange from France. That and some Balkan prog.

The end result is an album and a band with their own style as far as I am aware of. A bit weird band and eccentric. Ditto for this fifty minutes long album too. It is a good album which should make the listener stop up and take note. It is a bit too weird for me. It is still recommended though.

3 points

Doracor - La Vita che Cade (2011)

The eight and so far last Doracor album.

The eight and so far last Doracor album also pretty much draws the lines to all their albums too. A lot of instrumental tracks here with some vocals dominated tracks too. All of them pretty monumental and grand.

Doracor has operated somewhere between prog metal and symphonic prog on their last two albums. This very much follows that trend. The difference is that most of the tracks here is instrumental. Instrumental and very much symphonic and towering giants. They are soaring up towards heaven. The music is full of keyboards and guitars with some additional woodwinds and violins too. That and drums and bass.

The result is strangely and disappointingly sterile. There is not much human life here. Everything is hard granite and other hard objects. The only thing that adds human lives here is the saxophones, vocals and piano. There is not much of those.

When that is said, this is a good seventy minutes long album from a pretty underestimated band. Well, I do value Doracor and I hope we will hear more from them. This is a good album and a bit of a let down, taking their two previous albums into considerations.

3 points

Pentola Di Papin. La - Zero 7 (1977)

Another one album only Italian band from their prog rock scene.

La Pentola Di Papin were an unknown band who did not have much success before they split up. I am not even convinced this album were recorded in 1977 either. Their sound and music has more in common with 1969 than 1977.

The music is a mix of psych, hard rock and the likes of ELP. The guitars are pretty distorted and brings a space rock feel to the table. The Hammond organs is in the ELP and Deep Purple mould. Ditto for the bass, drums and vocals too. The music is pretty hard anno 1969 and pretty dated anno 1977.

The Italian vocals is pretty good while the guitars is pretty annoying, this being a pretty melodic album at times. There are even some pastoral parts here where the guitars feels misplaced. The Hammond organs parts is good.

The end result is a psychedelic rock album with an Italian twist. It is also decent to good album too which has some good songs and not so good songs. It is well worth checking out this album.

2.5 points

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Flor De Loto - Volver A Nacer (2012)

A compilation album with re-recorded and reworked songs from their first three albums. A sort of a best of album. I thought nobody released best of albums any longer.

Flor De Loto is a mix of a folk rock and folk metal band. Mostly folk metal band. Folk metal is pretty high on my pet hate list. I cannot stand this mocked up genre at all. This genre is for lager louts and people who drink too much. It can only be enjoyed in muddy fields and with a blurry vision and hearing. Close to being in a coma, this genre is OK. But only then.

Flor De Loto is kind enough to include a lot of South American folk music influences in their music. That is the only saving grace here. And their adaptation of the South American folk music is very good. I just wished they had dumped the metal stuff altogether. They are at times pretty similar to Iron Maiden here too. A bit more like Thin Lizzy would had been better.

This is a good album though and the first port of call for those interested in this band. I don't think the new versions of these songs is better than the old ones. The old ones were more folk rock than folk metal. But check out this album.

3 points

Utopia - Utopia (1973)

A strange band who were and were not Amon Duul II during the Wolf City recording sessions.

Utopia was the result due to a quarrel and a split up of Amon Duul II during those sessions. Half of the band did Wolf City and the other half this album. Then Amon Duul II became friends again and did Wolf City together again while still completing and releasing this album under a different name. This album was re-released as a Amon Duul II album in the 1980s for commercial reasons.

Utopia is a forty minutes long album with some very quirky, happy mental asylum kind of krautrock. The mental attitude is like a Gong album, Daevid Allen wise. But with German humour and style. Very quirky with a lot of fusion too. Yes, Gong is a good reference here. I have heard Passport also been mentioned as a good reference too. It is ages since I have listened to Passport so I cannot really comment on that.

The end result is a zany krautrock album full of German humour. There is no really good stuff here. Just some German in a hippie mood. A decent album it is with some decent songs.

2 points

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Hybrid - Integration (1999)

The second album from this rather unknown British neo prog band.

I quite liked their first album Chasing The Dream from 1997. Quite liked it is the word here. The band has developed a lot since that album though on Integration.

The worst Pendragon and early neo prog influences has been dropped on this one hour long album. They have been replaced with some more classical rock and symphonic prog influences. There is a lot more Genesis and monumental symphonic prog stuff here with long guitar solos and keyboard runs. The setup is still guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals are rather good. Ditto for the guitars.

Integration has some less good stuff. Some pretty generic symphonic prog and classic rock. It also have some very good music too. I think this album is a bit of an ignored album which more people should check out. It is a good album indeed which should please fans of guitars based symphonic prog.

3 points

Monday 17 February 2014

Ombraluce - Distanze Ravvicinate (2011)

The debut album from this Italian prog band, one of the many bands who has expanded on the 1970s sound and created their own little niche.

The Italian prog scene is in a rude health and bands like this is one of the reasons. I am not sure if they are still around, though. Their music only have one foot in the Italian symphonic prog scene. Mostly due to the Italian vocals and the frequent use of vintage keyboards. Their music is pretty heavy too with a very 2011 like sound. The sound is therefore modern and contemporary.

The band produce their music with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals is very good throughout.

When I stated that the band only had one leg in the Italian symph prog scene, I also implied that their other leg was somewhere else. Step forward, Area and Picchio Del Pozzo. Ombraluce has very much combined those two bands with a melodic sound. They have even included some Mr. Stratos like yodeling on this concept album. That is what this album is; a concept album. I am not sure about what.

This album offers up fifty-five minutes of very good music. As a debut album, this is very promising and it should be followed up by many more albums. Keep on going, guys.

3.5 points

Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief (1969)

Their fourth album and their third album from 1969 if Prog Archives is to be believed. And they are to be believed.

1969 was a good year for this band, anyway. Their setup was pretty stable too with Richard Thompson on guitars. One of the best guitarists that year when Jimi Hendrix was still alive. Richard Thompson did not get the same accolade. But his understated work on this and the previous album Unhalfbricking has never really got the accolade it deserve. On Liege & Lief, another musician also takes one step forward and shines brightly. Yes, that is you Dave Swarbrick on fiddle. Excellent fiddle work and in the good old folk music tradition. He anchor this album inside the folk rock genre. As per usual; the fantastic vocals by Sandy Denny also shines brightly on this album. The drums and bass fills in the rest. They too does a great job.

There is no really classic songs on this album. Despite of that, Liege & Lief is one of their best albums. It is one of their more classic albums they even plays these days on their annual Copredy festivals. Liege & Lief is a technical album filled with very good songs. It is a weak great album status.

4 points

Sunday 16 February 2014

Birds & Buildings - Multipurpose Trap (2013)

The second album from this critically acclaimed US band.

Birds & Buildings is a avant-garde whatever band. With whatever, I am not sure where to put them. Probably as an eclectic jazz/prog band. Their music is performed with woodwinds, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and some vocals.

Stylewise, take Mr Bungle, National Health and Magma. The end result is this album. You can also add Gilgamesh to this mix too. The band has also taken a lot from All Over Everywhere, the very much missed US band on the same label as Birds & Buildings. If I am not mistaken, one of their tracks is included here and the female vocalist there is also involved here. Could we now get a new All Over Everywhere album, please ?

The end result is a wild, eclectic album with only great stuff. It is a jazzy album and a swinging one too. It has this life loving feeling which will make everyone smile too.

I am sold on this band and regard this as a great album.

4 points

Foglie di Vetro - Foglie di Vetro (1996)

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

Foglie Di Vetro is obviously fond of the 1970s RPI scene. We all are. Well, most of us. The ghosts of Banco is very heavy in their music. The music is performed with flutes, bass, drums, guitars, piano, keyboards, Italian vocals and even some saxophones.

The end result is a pretty song orientated symphonic prog album with plenty of Italian poise and elegance. Very nice melodies in the middle of the road Italian symphonic prog tradition. The band does not add anything new here and their original personality is to say at least pretty weak.

My gripes with this album is the lack of any really great tracks here. When that is said; this is a very good fifty minutes long album which gives an RPI fan like myself a lot of pleasures. Hence my verdict.

3.5 points

Saturday 15 February 2014

Zenobia - Delayed (2006)

The second and so far final album from this German band.

Their first album October was a nice neo prog album with a lot of good ideas and songs. So I hoped I got some more or even something better than that album. An album where they build on October.

Well, that is not what Delayed are. Well, in fact it is that. But in the wrong direction. They have gone more down the vaudeville rock path with a lot of straight rock and pop too. The music is produced with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.

The music is pretty good. There is no songs that stands out or are interesting. For me, this sounds like an art rock album gone a bit wrong. It has become a bit dull and the band has not pulled it off.

This is another decent album and I hope the band will return again with another try.

2 points

Sogno del Marinaio. Il - La Busta Gialla (2013)

As far as I know, this is the debut album from this Italian band.

Il Sogno Del Marinaio is a band who likes to mix things. Which they have done here. The music is firmly in the eclectic music area with some references to Area. This album is a forty minutes long journey through various music styles. From Big Block 454 like avant-garde to Caribeen like music to post rock, jazz and eclectic prog.

La Busta Gialla is a bewildering listen to a large extent where the music never sits still and creates an unity. The only unity here is chaos. Most of the music is instrumental, produced with a bewildering variety of instruments.

The end result is a too fragmented album which sounds like seven different albums instead of one album. It is a decent album which is streamed from the link below and can also be purchased from that link.

2 points

The album 

Hybrid - Chasing the Dream (1997)

The debut album from this English band.

The rather successful neo prog scene spawned a lot of now household names and a lot of not so household names. The trio Hybrid is forgotten by most people, I believe. Very few reviews around too. The right sort of band for my blog, then. I got both their albums.

Chasing The Dream is a mainstream neo prog album who has taken a lot from the new romanticism scene and from the likes of Genesis. The music is leaning towards the likes of Pallas and Pendragon with a lot of guitar solos and Pendragon like vocals. The music is pretty heavy at times too while still retaining that neo prog feel and sound.

The very long guitar solo on the seven minutes long Dreaming Of Sanity is the best piece of music here on an album which is sorely lacking in originality but who still offers up some good neo prog. There is no real bad songs here too. No songs which makes me blush in shame. The sound is very much the 1980s and 1990s neo prog sound with keyboards, guitars, drums, bass and some not too bad vocals.

The end result is a decent to good album which sounds a bit dated. Fans of Pendragon should get this album.

2.5 points


Manning - Anser's Tree (2006)

The eight album from Guy Manning & Co.

Anser's Tree is the first of two albums who deal with Margaret Montgomery's family. The second album Margaret's Children from 2011 was more an accident by birth and Guy had no plans of making this history into a two CDs series.

Manning has their own style, dominated by Guy's vocals. Vocals that not everyone likes. I think they are great so no problems there. The music is also drenched in keyboards on this album. More keyboards than usual on an Manning album. But we also find guitars, mandolin, fiddles, bass, drums and woodwinds on this album. An album with a great sound.

The album opens with the best song of the album and one of his best ever songs. Margaret Montgomery is the name of this song and it is a great song. The quality falls a bit after that on this one hour long concept album. The concept itself is very interesting and I have myself touched the same strings in my new novel.

The end result is a very good album from Manning which proves that Guy Manning & Co is one of the most interesting artists and bands in today's scene. All Manning albums should be purchased as a matter of principle.

3.5 points

Friday 14 February 2014

Purple - 11 Bells (2008)

The debut album from the British classically trained pianist Dan Hodgson who releases his albums under the name Purple.

What we get here is exactly an hour with instrumental music. Music with plenty of piano and keyboards. But as the cover art work also reveals; there is plenty of guitars here too. Drums, flutes and bass is also included. Dan Hodgson plays all instruments and have also written all music.

The music is somewhere between fusion, americana and neo prog. The sound is good. Dan Hodgson is trying out a lot of things on this album as it is his debut album. That is the norm when it comes to debut albums. The end result is a decent album which I cannot really say appeal that much to me.

The album is a free download from here.

2 points

Thursday 13 February 2014

Yugen - Yugen Plays Leddi Uova Fatali (2008)

The second album from this Italian chamber avant-garde orchestra.

Orchestra is the right word here as the band combines the woodwinds and strings from a classical music chamber orchestra with electric guitars, bass and drums. Yugen is more a classical orchestra within the RIO avant-garde genre than a rock band.

The music is not easy to digest. Avant-garde never is. But this genre gives me a lot more brainfood and pleasures than most other genres. On this album, the band is playing music from Tommaso Leddi, one of the members of the legendary Italian RIO band Stormy Six. A band who has inspired the whole avant-garde genre. Hence this album.

Uovo Fatali is a forty-eight minutes long album and it is an album with some melodic avant-garde. It took me a long time to really get this album and I am not convinced that this is a masterpiece either. It is not. It is a good album though where the electric guitars are playing in harmony with classical music instruments. The music is not particular dark either. Neither is it claustrophobic. The tone is light and gentle. It is a good album well worth checking out.

3 points

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Lethe - Lethe (1981)

Lethe was another Dutch band who only released one album and then disappeared. The year was 1981 and this album was as far from trendy and acceptable as it was possible to be that year.

Lethe is a thirty-five minutes, four tracks long album in the instrumental symphonic prog genre. The most obvious comparison is Camel. The only comparison when it comes to the more established bands in this genre.

The music here also has some clear fusion influences. Not at least because of the electric guitars who are far out there in the fusion/jazz landscape. The keyboards, drums, oboe, flutes and bass are more in the Camel landscape. The guitars are pretty intense too and that means the music here cannot be labeled shopping mall music as many other albums in this genre can be labeled as.

The end result is a decent symphonic prog album which will appeal a great deal to Camel fans and perhaps not to many others. I am not a particular fan so I am a bit restrained in my praise. It is nevertheless worth checking out.

2 points

Crystal Palace - The System of Events (2013)

The sixth album from this German neo prog band. A band sharing it's name with a not so beloved English football team and a World Exhibition building in London who burned down some decades ago (no, I am not bothering looking it up on google).

The German band called Crystal Palace is a neo prog band. They are among the very fine bunch of German neo prog bands. A great scene. Their albums has got mixed reviews to say at least. I quite liked their 2010 album Reset. That was their fifth album, btw.

Crystal Palace has expanded their sound a bit on this album towards the likes of RPWL and the more commercial stadium rock bands. There is a lot of different influences on  this album and it feels like the band themselves are reaching out towards a bigger stage.

The System Of Events is a seventy minutes long album, divided into eight songs. The songs are pretty long and includes a lot of soaring guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. The sound is pretty massive at times. It is also pastoral when that is called for. The songs are pretty varied and this album offers good value for money.

Unfortunate, the result does not match the ambitions. There is no killer tracks here and the album feels like a more generic stadium rock album. It is a big, big album which does not really hit me at home, wherever my home is.

This is a good album though and those into big and ambitious neo prog of the more stadium seeking type should check out this album.

3 points

Flor De Loto - Imperio De Cristal (2011)

The fourth studio album from this Peru band.

Flor De Loto plays a kind of a folk rock. On this album, make that folk metal. Actually, I think they are a fully fledged folk metal band. Not as metal as Mago Del Oz, but still a lot of metal.

The music on Imperio De Cristal is metal mixed in with South-American folk music with pan flutes and other flutes. Add metal riffs on guitars and a pretty heavy sound too. Add some South-Americal prog rock to the mix too and you get the music here. That and the Spanish vocals.

There is a lot of variations and interesting details on this one hour long album. The South-American sound and music makes it a lot more interesting than other folk metal albums. A genre I cannot stand. But I like what I hear on this album. It is not a great album though as it is in dire need of a great track or two. There is none here.

Those into folk metal should check out this album as this band is one of the best in this genre.

3 points

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Gentle Giant - Civilian (1980)

The final album from one of my favourite bands.

Gentle Giant was a genre creator together with King Crimson. Yes, I am referring to Eclectic Prog. Some of their albums is simply stunning in their complexity and pastoral melodic elegance. During their final albums, the band tried to get commercial success by watering out their music with pop rock.

The music on Civilian is reasonable uncomplicated and straight forward. Derek Schulman's vocals are still great on this album which also has some pastoral pieces which is a reminder how great this band once was.
The rest of the songs are not that good. Too much straight forward and too much an attempt to get commercial success. Gentle Giant is now more popular than ever. But this album is not.

This is a decent to good album which is not among those I will remember this band for. Free Hand will forever be my favorite Gentle Giant album.

2.5 point

Carpe Diem - En Regardant Passer le Temps (1975)

The debut album from this French band whose second and final album Cueille Le Jour from 1976 is a great album.

Carpe Diem comes from the same scene as the likes of Ange, Atoll and Mona Lisa. French symphonic prog rock in other words. In the case of this album, most of it is instrumental with only vocals on two tracks. The music is performed with saxophone, flute, keyboards, bass, guitars and drums. Comparisons ? A bit Ange and Soft Machine. Ange without the vocals and Soft Machine's saxophone sound.

The music is a mix of light symphonic prog and fusion. At times, a bit too lounge music for my liking. The music is light and flowery in general.

The result is a good album with good melodies and sound. There is no real great music here. But it is still worth checking out this album.

3 points  

Monday 10 February 2014

Touchstone - Oceans Of Time (2013)

The fourth studio album from this English female fronted prog rock band.

Touchstone is one of the better female vocals fronted prog rock bands in the UK and have been that for a long time. An album from them is eagerly awaited/anticipated in my household.

The band continues from where they left it at their previous album The City Sleeps from 2011.... with some notable changes. Rob Cottingham and Kim Seviour was sharing the lead vocals duties on their previous three albums. On Oceans Of Time, Kim is now doing all the lead vocals and Rob is a bit pushed in the background. He is still very much with us on the keyboards though. I also think the band has shed themselves of some of  the most generic prog metal stuff. They are a bit more clean prog rock on this album.

That aside, the band plays on as they did before. Kim does a great job on the vocals. The songs are a bit more elaborate this time around too. The band is, sorry about the pun, progressing on this album. The danger is that they are now one of the many bands with female vocals. But this scene is not as big as I thought it would become four years ago. In any case; the songs on this album would not have suited the Rob & Kim dual vocals from the previous albums.

The end result is still a very good album which very much pleases me. I think their status is cemented with this album. It is an album I recommend.

3.5 points

Zenobia - October (1999)

The debut album from this German band. The first of two albums in total.

I leaned back and waited for a krautrock attack. It did not arrive. Instead, Zenobia went down the neo prog route. Neo prog with pretty long songs played with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals. The English vocals has a notable German accent. But that is not a minus in my book.

Despite of long songs, the music is not particular symphonic. I would rather say the music is more elegant in a pop music meaning of the word. There is hardly any hard songs here. The music is also dominated by the vocals too. The music is elegant and pretty dated too. It is 1990s music.

That said, this is a good seventy minutes long album. The songs are good to very good. The music is pretty generic though. This is a melodic neo prog album which will appeal a great deal to those into pop rock too.
It is still a good album.

3 points

Clearlight - Les Contes du Singe Fou (1977)

The fourth album from this French band.

Clearlight started out as a Mike Oldfield contemporary on Virgin Records and then did some symph prog albums. The mainman here, Cyrille Verdeaux are still releasing albums under this name. Those are more new age albums.

The music on this album though is not what I expected. A space rock album with strong fusion and symph prog influences. Sometimes, it is difficult to hear the difference between fusion and space rock. This album is a good example.

This album even have vocals and starts out as a pretty commercial pop rock album before the right kind of music kicks in. I was very much put off by the English vocals in the beginning. But they are rather good and I accept them. The violins, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums are very good.

The end result is a surprise and a good album. This is no doubts the most commercial accessible Clearlight album out there. It is a weak good award where the album is saved by the fusion pieces.

3 points

Sunday 9 February 2014

One In A Million - Double Sight. The Complete Recordings (2008)

One In A Million was a Glasgow, Scotland based band who released two singles before they split up. Both singles are highly sought after collector items. The English retro psychedelic rock specialist label Wooden Hill released this half an hour long compilation album (CD) with a fittingly great booklet.
The lead guitarist in One In A Million, Jimmy McCulloch later joined Sir Paul McCartney's Wings before he passed away to a drug overdose in 1978, aged 26.

Double Sight includes the single of the same name and ten other psychedelic rock songs. Beat rock mixed with psychedelic rock, that is. The sound is rather good despite of these tracks being compiled from acetate discs and these two singles. The music has not stood the test of time. It can be compared to a rawer version of early Status Quo in their psychedelic rock period. The guitars are pretty distorted and too much in the forefront in the mix.

There are a couple of good songs here. This compilation album is what it is; a compilation of obscure music from an obscure band who did not make it. This is nevertheless a decent album and well worth checking out for those into the 1960s scene.

2 points  

Memoriance - L'Écume des Jours d'Apres Boris Vian (1979)

The second and final album from this French band.

Their first album Et Apres from 1976 was a very fine symph prog album in the best French tradition. That album also included strong influences from Steve Hackett and Pink Floyd. That set Et Apres a bit apart from other French symph prog albums from that time.

3 years later, most of the Steve Hackett and Pink Floyd influences has been put in the background and the more French theatrical symph prog tradition has come to the forefront. That means Mona Lisa and Ange.
The music is still very melodic and symphonic. Very much so. The French vocals is now more spoken and narrative than just vocals. There is plenty of clean harmonic vocals here too, but not as much as before. The Jacques Brel tradition is also more present here with a lot of folk influences too. But the music is still very symphonic and lush. The church organs here is great.

The end result is a thirty-eight minutes long album with no particular great songs, but still with some very good songs who underlines this band's credentials. Those into symph prog should check this one out.

3.5 points

Action - Action (1972)

I don't know much about this German band, but I believe this is the only album they ever released. I got the Garden Of Delights re-release from 2009 with bonus tracks.

We are in the krautrock scene again. Krautrock in a pretty loosely sense of this label. The music is somewhere between Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Eloy. The sound is pretty good throughout with a notable lack of sound quality on the bonus tracks.

The pretty good Miscarriage Of Human Thinking suite takes up the first twenty minutes of this album and that piece of music is a mix of Eloy and Deep Purple. The music is created with Hammond organs, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals. The Hammond organs is pretty impressive and this suite has some good ideas.

The two other original album tracks is also both long and has some good ideas. The bonus tracks is best forgotten. That makes this album a seventy minutes long album with it's fair share of both good and dire stuff.
The law of average makes this a decent album. One maybe worth checking out.

2 points

Randone - Linea Di Confine (2009)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

Randone is Nicola Randone's band and he has just released a new album too. I will get that one in due time.

Linea Di Confine is an album in the Italian prog rock genre. The music is pretty pastoral with Nicola's Italian vocals playing a central part here. This album also have some pretty symphonic prog pieces too. This album though is very much on the pop rock end of the Italian prog rock spectrum/scene. It has taken a lot from the traditional Italian pop music from the 1970s. Much more than most new Italian prog rock albums.

The music is pastoral, mellow and ballads focused. There is no hard rock excesses here. Some electric guitars can be heard, but they are only there to fill in the gaps. There is a lot of keyboards and piano here. That and symphony orchestra instruments. Bass and drums is also present here.

The result is over seventy minutes with some decent to good prog rock. The music is ticking over nicely without really becoming overly interesting. Mellow and pastoral, but not raising my pulse. It is a decent to good album without the great melodies.

2.5 points

Djam Karet - The Trip (2013)

The sixteenth album from this US band.

This album is also my first meeting with the band despite of their very good reputation. So I bought this album.

The Trip is a forty-five minutes long album with only one track; The Trip. Yes, that sounds eclectic and eccentric. The instrumental music is a mix of ambient music and space rock. Very pedestrian at times. At times, very rocking too. This album fits very well into the krautrock genre. It is a krautrock album.

The music is eked out with keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. It is at times dynamic and at times very ambient and pedestrian. It comes across as a mix of Amon Duul II and Agitation Free. Not on their finest moments, I hasten to add.

The music is decent enough. It has a lot of ebbs and flows in the good old krautrock tradition. The Hammond organs is always nice to hear. The lack of any really interesting melody lines is a bit of a problem though. I like parts of this album a great deal. There are also parts here who leaves me stone cold dead. This is a decent to good album.

2.5 points

Saturday 8 February 2014

Present - A Great Inhumane Adventure (2005)

The second live album from this Belgian avant-garde band.

Seventy minutes of dark claustrophobic avant-garde prog is what we get here. The music is still melodic, but also very dark. The music is dissonant and pretty cinematic at times. The music is wholly instrumental. References are both King Crimson and Univers Zero.

The sound is very good throughout and the band does a very good job. The album also includes the great twenty-three minutes long Promenade au Fond d'un Canal from their debut album. The rest of this album is not that good. But this song is alone worthy purchase of this album. An album that does not add anything new to the scene. It is still a good album.

3 points

Vital Duo - Ex Tempore (2001)

The side project from the Payssan twin brothers from the French eclectic prog band Minimum Vital and their only album so far.

The idea of Vital Duo was to make a medieval classic music inspired symph prog album. Hence Ex Tempore. The twin brothers plays all instruments themselves. That means tonnes of keyboards, guitars, percussion, mandolins and bass. The sound of church organs is prominent here. Which gives this instrumental music a medieval classic music and folk rock feel. This is also a path later explored by Blackmore's Night, Advent and in particular Three Monks.

The album starts with the great seven minutes track La Tour Haute and I am getting the feeling that all the hype around this album in ProgArchives may be right. Four less interesting songs follows before the album is getting a lot better on the final tracks. This is an uneven one hour long album.

It is though a very good album and one well worth checking out. I will keep listening to this album.

3.5 points

Friday 7 February 2014

Twenty Four Hours - Before and After the Boundary (2008)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

Well, it is not really their fifth album. This is a ninety minutes long collection of demos and oddities recorded before they released their debut album The Smell Of The Rainy Air back in 1991.

The music is a mix of everything from ballsy hard rock to indie rock, space rock and prog rock. The sound quality varies widely too. The music is generally speaking pretty poor throughout. I am not a big fan of this band. They have released some decent albums and that is it. This compilation album is a turkey though. A free turkey from the link below. Check it out yourself.

1 point

The album

Fish - A Feast Of Consequences (2013)

The eleventh solo album from this ex-Marillion vocalist. I am a big fan of the Fish era Marillion and not so big fan of the band after they split from him. Or to be more precise; I have not heard much of Marillion, post Fish.

I got this album in the expectation that Fish still lived in 1985 and did the type of Genesis rip-offs. Hey presto, he lived in 2013 when he released this album and had moved on ages ago. No Genesis, then. Neither much bagpipes and slaying (English) dragons either.

A Feast Of Consequences is much more a singer-songwriter album with Fish great vocals and some guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. There are some Scottish influences here too. Well, actually a lot of it. Although very subtle at times, it has to be said. Fish is from Dalkeith outside Edinburgh and that shines through. That is one of the strong points about this album. The best thing, in fact.

The eleven songs are very vocals dominated and can be taken out on pub tour without loosing anything. They will probably sound far better in an intimate live situation than on this record. The songs are in the pop rock vein and I find them somewhat lacking in interesting details and excitement. They leaves me a bit cold because they are so verse-chorus-verse based. That formula is tiresome.

This is still a good album which should satisfy his fans. I am perhaps not one of them. Maybe I should get some more Fish albums. Maybe I should.

3 points