Sunday 30 March 2014

Salis - Sa Vida Ita Est (1971)

The debut album from this Italian band who released three albums and never really became anything more than an obscure band, well behind the greats in the popularity stakes.

This, their debut album is an album which feels a bit, not to mention a lot, outdated even in 1971. We get Italian beat music here with strong pop rock influences. Yes, there are some prog influences here. But this album would had been relevant in 1966 and slightly outdated in 1967. This thanx to The Beatles and the riveting revolution the beat genre went through back in those days.

The music is created with guitars, bass, drums and some pretty decent vocals. The vocals feels a bit forced and screaming at times. I would not recommend this vocals in a smoke filled pub. An immediate loss of the voice would be the result, followed by some days of silence.

The music here is not too bad. It is a half-decent album. One hour of this music is a bit too much and you really have to be a die-hard fan of Italian music to go for this album. A weak decent reward has been issued. The next album must be better than this one.

2 points

Fotgjengeren - Coming 'Round The Bend (2012)

The debut album by this project, lead by Cristopher Manning.

Cristopher has created his own little universe with this album. In this universe, he has got help from friends who has added woodwinds, cello, bass, screams, drums and clarinets. He has done the guitars himself and the vocals. The vocals are really good and one aspect well worth concentrating on.

The music is a mix of Frank Zappa'ism madness, avant-garde prog and college rock. I would put this album in the avant-garde genre if pressed. It also have a this college rock and shoegaze naive approach to the world. There is a lot of dissonans in the music and clashing worlds. From death metal grunts to acoustic pieces who would not even offend a sleeping cat. We also get a bit punk'ish music here too.

The result is a lot of noise and not that much substance, compared to the considerable noise level. This album is in essence a debut album with all it's faults and mistakes. We all debuts somewhere with something. This album is a classical example of that.

In short; there is things who does not work here and there is things that works here. The second album, which I hope is not too far away, will sort this one out. Only experience and talent will make good albums. Cristopher has plenty of the latter ones and not much experience. Onwards to the second album with the gained experience from this decent to good album. Check out the album yourself from the link below.

2.5 points

The album

Klan - Mrowisko (1971)

The debut album from this Polish band who in total released three studio albums. Klan operated in the fusion to symphonic prog genre during their far too short lifespan. This album is generally regarded as their best album and a semi-classic album.

Something I understand when listening to this album. We get a mix of Canterbury jazz here, fusion, eclectic prog and Eastern European fusion. The music here is to say at least very playful throughout these forty-three minutes. The album has long instrumental parts and some vocals too. Great vocals, btw. The songs are not particular long. But they works as one piece of music, forty-three minutes long. I get the feeling the album is a symphony and a concept album. I may be wrong. The music and the songs flows gently together, creating a symphony.

The music is created with guitars, keyboards, bass, vocals and drums. There are also some female choirs here. The music is pretty eclectic. It is also pretty easy accessable too. It very much appeals to both the brain and the heart. There are some great melody lines here and the Hammond keyboards is a joy to behold. The folk rock influences is also pretty obvious here. The music is also pretty melancholic in between being pretty playful too. It also has it's ELP moments too. Not to mention some Italian symph prog moments too. There is a lot to like on this album. A lot.

Mrowisko is a great album and one of the best albums ever to emerge from Poland. Check it out as it is well worth the effort.

4 points  

Saturday 29 March 2014

Amenophis - Time (2014)

The third album from this German symph prog band.

I did not expect a new album at all from this band after their rather lackluster 1988 album. But I got a big surprise when the band sent me this album. It is nice that old bands also reforms in Germany as this has been the trend in both Italy and England for the last years. Long may it continue.

I have never been a big fan of this band. A band adored by most other reviewers. They have never hit my heart strings and brain cells. I did not have many great expectations to Time either.

The band has at least abandoned the path they set out on the 1988 album. That itself is very good news. Well, at least for me. Instead, the band has returned to where they left it at the end of their good debut album. We are in symph prog land again. Not in the sense of long rock opera tracks lasting half an hour or so. There are none of them here. The songs are clocking in around average seven minutes long on this one hour long album.

The best song on this album comes at # 2. The superb The Sandglass Symphony. That is a true symph prog track in the best tradition. It is full of vocal harmonies, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. That is the main instruments on this album.

The rest of the album is not all symph prog. Add in a lot of neo prog too and quite regular rock/pop too. A bit of a folky feel is what I get here too. The music is very clever throughout despite of being a bit too light weight in my view. The final half of the album is not particular great either. The sound is great though and Time is easy their best album. An album any fan of German symph prog should check out. This is indeed a very good album and I leave it like that.

3.5 points

Algarnas Tradgard - Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden (1972)

The debut album and in reality the only album from this Swedish band. Their second album Delayed was released long after the band had been disbanded. Review to follow.

The Garden Of Elks, as the band's name are in English, has taken krautrock and made it into a Swedish thing, complete with the full IKEA furniture range. Take a large chunk of Swedish folk music with violins, sad melancholy, psalms and minus thirty degrees cold weirdness. Add the likes of Amon Duul and the weirder part of the krautrock scene to the mix. Then you end up with an album like this. A sixty five minutes long album with a very good sound too.

The music is very fuzzy throughout with a lot of tape loops and synths. There are some guitars, vocals, piano, bass and drums here too. The violins is also pretty dominant at times.

Besides of being a Swedish take on krautrock, the album can also be labeled in the avant-garde genre. The music here is not easy listening by any means. Not all the sixty five minutes on this album is good too. There are some very good stuff here though too. The mix of krautrock, some Indian music and Swedish folk rock makes this a pretty unique take on the krautrock genre. Or for that matter; the avant-garde genre.

The album has a great ambience and good enough stuff to make is a very interesting album. I would rate this as a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points

Perigeo - Genealogia (1974)

The third album from this Italian fusion band.

I really liked their first two albums. It is with great delight that I discover that the band is continuing down the same path on this forty-five minutes long album too.

The music is much more jazz than rock, the other half of the fusion genre. The music is performed with a great deal of Rhodes keyboards, bass, woodwinds, Moog, guitars and drums. The Rhodes keyboards is great and works very well with both the woodwinds and the guitars. The bass and keyboards reminds me a lot about Soft Machine from the 6th album. Ditto for the intensity of the playing too. As a Soft Machine fan, this album really appeals to me. The difference on this album is the inclusion of guitars in this mainly jazz album. Soft Machine did not use guitars before the Softs and Bundles albums. Perigeo shows that guitars has it's place in this type of jazz too.

The intensity of the music is really a big attraction to me. The songs are also great and it really gives me a kick, this album. It is a great musical experience and one I feel I am moving more and more towards. Perigeo is so far the best find of the year for me. This album is a great album.

4 points

Thursday 27 March 2014

Ianva - Disobbedisco! (2006)

Once in a blue moon, there comes a band who is so different from the other bands that it makes me scratch my fleas infested head. Admittedly, there has been a lot of blue moons lately due to the scene's ability to reinvent itself. But Ianva from Italy is something very special, indeed.

This is their full debut album after an EP released in 2005 which I quite liked and gave a three pointer back in August 2010 in ProgArchives.

Ianva is the ancient name on Genova. Their music is somewhat younger, but not much younger. Take some Edit Piaff, add Jacques Brel and and a chamber orchestra to the mix and you get this band's music. Both that and this one hour long album. The band and the music is more French than Italian. It is much more rio than Italian prog. It is listed as an Italian prog album most places. But forget that. This album sits most comfortable in the cabaret rock and avant-garde labels. I am not sure if progressive rock comes into play at all.

In any case, the music on this album is highly original and really presents me with a challenge. Some of this music is really great too. The mix of accordion, female vocals and the trumpets is great. There are other parts of this album which falls a bit flat on it's face, though. The live elements is not a successful experiment. The end result is a very good album which really knows how to blow of the cobwebs in an experienced reviewer's head. And I no longer have fleas either.

This is a very good album well worth checking out.

3.5 points

Nautilus - 20,000 Miles Under The Sea (1978)

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

Nautilus was a mix of a symphonic prog and a krautrock band on this oceanic album. An album clearly influenced by Jules Verne. This despite of Switzerland being landlocked. But the oceans fascinates all of us. That also goes for what lays beneath the surface too.

The music on this album has a nice mix of guitars and keyboards with bass and drums also supporting it. On the top of this, you will find some very good English vocals. They are not particular heavy accented and they really fits the music.

The music is pretty melodic with some pop music elements in between the more symph and krautrock dominated music here. The music is pleasing enough to the ear.

My main gripe is the lack of any really great songs here and the music being a bit too light for my taste. The sound is great though and this very good album should appeal to anyone into German symph prog and symph prog in general.

3.5 points

Monday 24 March 2014

Carptree - Nymf (2010)

The fifth and so final from these Swedish proggers.

I have not heard their previous four albums so I cannot comment on their development. On Nymf, their music comes across as a mix of Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Marillion and The Flower Kings. The music is created by guitars, keyboards, piano, bass, drums and English vocals. Very good vocals too, it is.

The music is pretty big and gothic. Very brooding with a lot of neo prog and symph prog connotations. The songs are not that particular long to be that symphonic. More in the area of six to nine minutes long. This forty-five minutes long album still throws a big punch though. The music is very well composed indeed.

Unfortunate, a big track or two is missing. That could really have elevated this album to a great album or even better. All the ingredients is there. A great sound and songs who are going somewhere. But they are not completing the run. It is still a very good album which sadly is drowning a bit in the massive onslaught of similar sounding albums we have seen during the last five years. Check it out.

3.5 points

Saturday 22 March 2014

Dead Heroes Club - Everything is Connected (2013)

The third album from this Derry, Northern Ireland based band.

Derry is most known for the Bloody Sunday massacre, it's castle and John Peel's favourite band The Undertones with it's lead singer Feargal Sharkey. The town with the recent very violent history has always had a strong music scene too. This despite of the civil war who split the town into two warring halves.

Dead Heroes Club is a product of this scene and have been bubbling just below the surface in the prog rock scene for the last five years. Those few who has heard their three albums has always rated them very highly. The problem is "those few" here. Hopefully, this album will give them a bit more attention.

We are talking pretty dark neo prog here. The darkness comes mainly from the lyrics which to me seems to be about the split in Derry between the two warring tribes. The use of piano and the pretty dark vocals is also adding the darkness here. A bit of melancholy. A bit of tragedy as Derry, which I have visited many times, really is.

The music is in the same street as Marillion. Neo prog in other words. The sound is pretty big and art rock like. But it is still pretty similar to Marillion, though. The band uses keyboards, guitars, piano, drums and bass on this album. That and some sampled other instruments. That and vocals too.

The songs are very good and the lyrics resonates with me on this fifty minutes long album. This is indeed a very good album. I feel the lyrics is adding another dimension for me personally and I therefore upgrades this album to a great album. It is a weak four pointer though. The band need to get themselves a signature track on their next album, though. A song that sets them apart from the many bands with the same sound and music.

4 points

Purple - Body Mind Spirit (2012)

The third and so far the latest album from the UK one man project Purple.

I have reviewed the previous two albums too and I am failing to be impressed by Purple. The project has evolved a lot over the three albums though and that is a positive.

Dan Hodgson is still doing all the composing and instruments though and herein lays my main gripe. Although I as an author prefer to write all my novels alone, I still thinks the creative processes from coming up with ideas for music to finally record them needs inputs from more than one mind, one person. There is a huge difference between novels and music albums.

That difference can be heard on this album. Dan has turned his attention towards folk music and more jazz on this album. The music is pretty much idea based where the ideas has not been worked on properly. Thankfully, the music has been recorded with a vast array of instruments, computerized or not.

The end result is decent enough. I still think the music here should be filtered through a band where the unworkable  things had been removed and the ideas that work recorded and released as an album. The album is fragments based. Check this album out for yourself from the link below.

2 points


Eternidad - Apertura (1979)

Another one of band from Argentina.

Argentina had some very good bands in the folk prog genre who only released one album and then disappeared again. Hopefully not over the open ocean, dropped from helicopters as 30 000 of their fellow countrymen/women were at that time. The odious dictators were ruling the country at that time. No, let's hope all the band members are still alive and well today.

The music on this well over half an hour long album is more fusion and symph prog orientated than most folk rock albums from that time. In this respect, this album has a lot in common with the Italian and the Spanish prog rock scene. So much that I mistook this album for being a Spanish album.

The album still retains some South American flavours though. Enough to make it exotic for a northern hemisphere reviewers like myself. The Spanish vocals adds to this flavour too. Not that Spain is that terrible faraway for me. The inclusion of a vast array of instruments here makes their sound very big and symphonic too. Big, but never bland. We get flutes, violins, piano and acoustic guitars in addition to the usual electric instruments, the tools of the trade.

The songs are very good too. The fusion and the sometimes Genesis rip off riffs really pulls my heart strings and make them sing (huh ? There is some poetry in this review). The end result is one of the better Argentine and prog folk albums I have heard during the last years. It is a very good album, well worth checking out.

3.5 points  

Thursday 20 March 2014

Echo - Coming Home (2013)

The second album from this Romanian band.

Echo debuted in 2010 with the rather promising The Dream. A nice stroll down a modern progressive rock path. Coming Home follows nicely in the same path.

This fifty minutes long album has three long compositions in the ten to fifteen minutes bracket. I suspect this is a concept album. The sound is great. The mood is pretty melancholic with some of the more melancholic Eastern Europe feel. Romania's history is pretty dark. Well, at least the last 100 years has not been a joyful dance for this country and it's population. I get that mood and ambience in their music. A mood that resonates with me.

The band has the typical keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and male vocals setup. There is some references to Pink Floyd here too. The music is not hyper technical although it is pretty clear this band knows their stuff. The keyboards and guitar sound is in the Pink Floyd area.

The end result is a good album which is sorely missing the dot over the i. That is; a great track or two. On it's own, this album is ticking away nicely without really impressing me. I will still keep an eye on this band though as they are talented enough to come up with far better albums than this one. Keep up the good work, guys !

3 points

Univeria Zekt - The Unnamables (1971)

The one and only album from this Magma offshot. It is Magma in all but name.

This album was recorded and released just after the Magma album 1001 Centigrades as a introduction to zeuhl for the broader market. It is an introduction to zeuhl. Well, it was supposed to be that.

The Unnamambles has (with one exception) the same line up as the band who released 1001 Centigrades too. The difference is that we get more straight edge jazz. The mood is far lighter than on any Magma album, Merci excluded. The music is a bit fusion light too. Piano and woodwinds can be found here too. The occasional outbreak of kobaian from Christian Vander can also be found here. A bit demented and that is the only thing this album has in common with zeuhl.

I really don't get this "introduction to zeuhl" element here the band tried to attempt. Zeuhl as a genre is so much darker and brooding than this album. It seems like Magma totally missed the boat with this album. That is why I am so glad they did not release it under the Magma name. This album is not as bad as Merci. But it runs that album pretty close. Nevertheless, it is a decent album which recovers a great deal at the end of this half an hour long album.

2 points

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Nuvole Di Paglia - And Then (1993)

The one and only studio album from this Italian band. They released a live album in 1973, re-released by Mellow Records in 1992. The band split up in around 1975 and reformed with two original band members in the beginning of the 1990s. The two other original members are guest musicians on this album together with Aldo from Le Orme.

We are not particular talking Italian prog rock here. On the contrary, this is a hard rock album anno 1975. You get some Black Sabbath and a lot of the other classic UK hard rock bands here from the 1970s.

The vocals is pretty strong here and the big positive from this album. The guitars, bass and drums are so and so. Ditto for the music. A good hard rock album need good songs. There is none here. The sound is good though and if someone gave this a good re-release, it would please the resurgent hard rock scene like honey among grizzly bears. I don't think that will happen and this album will forever remain an obscurity. It is not my cup of tea either. This is a decent album and nothing more than that.

2 points

Ring of Myth - Ring of Myth (2011)

This is the third album from this US band. I am not sure why this album is a self titled one. It seems like they are disowning their two first albums Unbound (1996) and Weeds (2006). Or they are taking a Metallica, signaling a substantial change in style with the new album.

The style on this self titled album is a mix of college rock, American symph prog, grunge and hard prog. There is a lot of Rush here. In particular when the guitars comes to the fore. Very good guitars, btw. The vocals are not particular interesting though. A bit too much pitchy male vocals for my liking. Ring Of Myth is a trio and they sometimes drifts into the power trio concept. The bass, drums and keyboards is anchoring their music.

What is missing here is some really good music. The songs sounds disjointed and too technical without having anything to be technical about. I am not really grasping the ideas on this album. I don't think there is any really good ideas here. This is a decent album from a band who should really put their thinking caps on, enjoy some fresh air and find out what they are. Answers on an album, please.

2 points

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Amon Düül II - Flawless (1997)

The sixteenth album from this German krautrock band.

Flawless was one of the final signs of life from this band and it was released on a very obscure label. It is pretty difficult to get hold of today.

Flawless is really a mix of somewhat new and some old remixed material. You get Renate singing over a lot of weirdo hippie and electro stuff. Some of the material is almost dance music. Some of the other material has a lot of krautrock influences. Flawless is electro krautrock. It also has a lot of the free-form madness from Gong and an playful atmosphere.

Some of the material here is bordering to being good. Others again is plainly dull and over the top waste of time. The law of average says decent and this is a decent album. It is not worth the amount of money it is currently trading for.

2 points

Huis - Despite Guardian Angels (2014)

The debut album from this Canadian band.

Huis is a prog rock band from Quebec. I guess the band is from the French speaking part of Quebec. The vocals are in English though and a couple of musicians are from another, far more established Quebec act; Mystery.

The music is being performed with the usual keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and male vocals. And yes, we are somewhere in neo prog land here. Neo prog with a very soft touch and a pop-rock sound. The songs are melodic enough with a lot of acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies and piano too. The songs are still dynamic though.

I am by no means a fan of this type of neo prog which has a great deal of crossover appeal to the pop-rock audience. The music is full of interesting details though and is keeping my attention. There is a lot of fans of this genre and they should all check out this album. It is by all means a good album. My gripe is the lack of any really great tracks here. Besides of that; check them out.

3 points

Sunday 16 March 2014

Brown. Charles - Light Of The Dawn (2013)

To my knowledge, this is the debut album from the US guitarist Charles Brown.

This album has been inspired by the Apollo moon missions. It is also an instrumental guitar album. It is greatly helped by bass, keyboards and drums. All of them competently played.

The music is somewhere between symphonic prog, neo prog and prog metal. Charles Brown is competent in both shredding, power chords, harmonic and epic guitar riffs. There is plenty of space in between the shredding stuff. Most of the album comes across as pretty heavy. Prog metal is probably where most of you would label this album under. I label it as instrumental guitar prog. There is a lot more to this album than progressive metal.

When that is said, I should have a big sign around my neck saying "I don't like progressive metal and instrumental guitars prog". The songs here is decent to good. That also include the inclusion of the rather odd Marillion medley here. I don't feel that Charles Brown is bringing anything new to the genre. Nor does he raise the quality of the genre. I understand, as an author myself, that we should all express ourselves as we see fit. I applaud and salute Charles Brown for his expression of his inner self and wish he will find a more receptive audience than my home office, complete with a grumpy middle aged man. Those who like this genre, that is.

2.5 points

Saturday 15 March 2014

Sagrado Coração da Terra - Sagrado Coração da Terra (1985)

The debut album from this Brazilian symphonic prog band.

The 1980s were pretty barren when it comes to symphonic prog. It was a nasty decade by all means. This band were one of the few highlights from this decade. Well, hardly anyone knew back then. Marillion were the kings back then.

Sagrado Coracao Da Terra plays a pretty lush form for neo prog and pop music tinged symphonic prog. The music is created with lots of various instruments. The feel is still pop music and pretty soft. The use of keyboards sometimes reminds me about the Phil Collins era Genesis. There is also some melodies and songs here which reminds me about that Genesis era. The album also have a pretty distinctive South American feel.
It also have a lot of neo prog influences and some folk rock influences. The vocals are lush and melodic.

The music is very orchestral at times and it feels like the songs sometimes are strangled by this vast array of instruments. From strings and keyboards to violins. It is a bit too sugary for me. That the band has ripped off some Genesis riffs too and put them into a medley like song does not amuse me that much. There is no really great songs on this forty minutes long album either. This is still a good album. The sound is good too and I really like what I hear on this album. It is by no means a classic album. It is still a good debut album. I am looking forward to hear their other albums too.

3 points

Dzyan - Mandala (1972)

The live album from this German krautrock band.

The recordings was done on the basis of their self titled first album and does not include material from their more famous and better second and third albums. Which is a bit of a pity and makes this live album a bit of a mystery. It was re-released in 2010, btw.

Dzyan takes us through a mix of blues, fusion and space rock here with some long guitar, woodwinds and keyboards solos. Most of the album was recorded live in a studio with a selected live audience. That was quite normal back then and a quick way to earn some much needed cash.

The music is pretty intense at times and showcases a band which is fond of trippy solo runs. Either that being woodwinds or guitars. The blues kicks in a lot here and the band is kind of still living in the late 1960s on this fifty minutes long live album. The final track Celestial City is much more a krautrock track and points towards the future of this band. A band who radically changed their style after the recording of this live album. They were a very good krautrock band on their remaining two studio albums.

This is a rather good album in it's own right. I rate it somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points

Ethos - Ardour (1975)

The debut album from this US band.

Ethos was a symphonic prog band who did not really become as big as the likes of Kansas or as a sought after cult group as Cathedral. Their music is perhaps the reason why. It usually is.

Ardour is a forty-five minutes plus album which takes in the likes of Genesis, King Crimson, Kansas and a bit fusion and folk rock. Ardeur is an American prog fusion of all those above. The music is performed with keyboards, Melotron, guitars, strings, bass, drums and a lot of vocals. The sound is great.

The music is also based on vocal harmonies a lot and has some cinematic influences. The keyboards is a bit too slick for my liking. The music has a lot of details though. Interesting details. What is letting this album down is that the music is a bit too bland and is lacking a bit bite and substance. Besides of that, I still think this band deserve somewhat more respect and attention as this is a good album. I would recommend visiting Youtube and a record shop to check out this band.

3 points

Friday 14 March 2014

Panzerpappa - Astromalist (2012)

The fifth album from this Norwegian avant-garde/RIO band.

If there is anything as a breakthrough album in the very small RIO scene, Astromalist broke Panzerpappa and gave them a well deserved bigger audience. It also earned them a highly deserved spot in one of the biggest annual RIO festivals.

The band has always been influenced by Samla Mammas Manna and that is evident on this forty-five minutes long album. The music is pretty understated and melodic to be an avant-garde album. They use a vast array of instruments here. From xylophone to woodwinds, guitars, drums, bass to keyboards. That gives the sound a lot more than a chamber orchestra sound. It gives the sound a modern avant-garde sound and a full band sound.

The music is good throughout. A bit stronger melodies and some more light and shadows, my favourite aspect when it comes to the RIO/avant-garde genre, would had been appreciated by myself. But this is how Panzerpappa is and I accept that. My main gripe is the lack of stronger melodies. It is a very good album for people wanting to check out this genre and I understand this album's popularity. Check it out.

3 points

Ayers. Kevin - Joy Of A Toy (1969)

The debut album from this ex- Soft Machine guitar player...... and later a prolific solo artist.

Joy Of A Toy has got a mythological status and I felt it was about time to check it out for myself. It is a band who were deeply rooted in the first Soft Machine album which also included the likes of Daevid Allen, later Gong. I just wanted to include this, Gong that is, as it has some relevance to this album.

Joy Of A Toy very much has a lot in common with the more whimsical parts of Gong where Daevid Allen ran the show. Whimsical pop with some jazz and space elements is what this fifty minutes long album is best described as. It is the first Soft Machine album with a lot of added pop music added. Pop music in the vein of The Beatles. There is a lot of The Beatles here. In particular from their Revolver era.

The result is an almost perfect album. If I was more into whimsical pop than I am, I would label it a perfect album. The songs are weird with a lot of very weird rhythm and solo structures. The lyrics is whimsical to say at least. The melodies are brilliant. Most of them, at least. I think this album deserves the status it has got and it is head and shoulders above the flying teapots and other whimsical pop albums and trilogies. It is one of those albums you need to get.

4.5 points

Thursday 13 March 2014

Happy The Man - Better Late... (1979)

The third album from this US symphonic prog rock band.

The band was dropped by their record label before the release of this album and it did not see the light before many years later.... or so. I am not an expert on their history so I may be wrong. I think it is safe to say that the music on this album was as popular in 1979 as a fox in a poultry farm.

The music on Better Late... is a mix of fusion, a bit jazz and a great deal of symphonic prog in the Camel vein. One of the songs here also ended up on a Camel album. I am not surprised. Half of the music here is instrumental and the rest has vocals on it. The vocals are good.

What made Happy The Man such a cult group, they still are, is their fusion symphonic prog. There is a lot of elegant fusion in their take on symphonic prog. Imagine a jazzy Genesis. That is what this band is.

The overall quality is good throughout. I am not particular fan of this album as it is suffering from a bit bad sound and anonymous songs. It is still a good album well worth checking out. Everything from this band should be checked out.

3 points

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Tale - Elysium Fields (1998)

The second and so far final album from this multi-national neo prog band.

Well, this six piece band is listed as a neo prog band in Progarchives. That is only a half truth in my humble opinion. Others may disagree with me.

Elysium Fields is an hour long romp along the commercial art rock path. We get some celtic folk rock, melodramatic rock, some neo prog, a lot of female and male vocals dominated rock and some strings. The music is in the light category where the band is not power riffing much. There is a lot of piano on this album. There is also a lot of pomp pop too with some vaudeville rock influences. Well, make that considerable vaudeville rock influences. The music is performed with piano, saxophone, strings, guitars, bass, keyboards and drums.

The end result is a pretty generic art rock album which is on the lighter side. Both in substance and in quality. This is a decent enough album which should appeal more to those into rock and pomp pop. I am not.

2 points

Gandalf's Fist - The Wizard's Study (2011)

This Cumbrian duo (England, btw) with their fourth EP.

I reviewed their first two albums for Progarchives back in 2011 before I turned my attention towards other artists. Those two albums are good (very) Pink Floyd inspired albums. The same can also be said about this half an hour long EP. A Pink Floyd copycat on the first track Emerald Eyes before folk rock and female fronted crossover prog takes over on the next tracks. I don't know her name/I am too lazy to find her name, but her vocals are good enough. She adds a much needed new focal point for this band.

The music on this album is therefore not only a Pink Floyd worship session. It also take a lot from the neo prog scene and even from Iron Maiden. It is in this area you can find this band.

This EP is a free download from their homepage (link below) and a good EP too. It may even give them some new fans. Check it out.

3 points

The EP

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Calomito - Cane di Schiena (2011)

The second album from this Italian avant-garde combo.

I very much like avant-garde music in the vein of Univers Zero and Present. I also like some of the Eastern European and Scandinavian avant-garde bands. I am also a fan of the likes of Area and Picchio Da Pozzo. Calomito should be straight up my alley and that is why I bought this album.

Calomito takes something from the likes of Area and Picchio, adds a lot from the likes of Yugen and creates their own space......sorry, make that music. Take a lot of half-acoustic guitars, violin, synth, woodwinds, bass and drums. Then  you get a pretty nifty somewhat chamber orchestra, ready to entertain you from the band stand in your local park. Unfortunate, mine burnt down one year ago. But you get my drift.

The music on this one hour long album is ticking away nicely without really impressing me. It is a kind of a halfway house as it is neither a fully chamber orchestra or a fully darkened avant-garde orchestra as in Present. The band is spreading their tentacles around a lot, but the tentacles is not long enough.

Cane Di Schiena is by all means a very good album. But the dot over the I is missing here. I would still recommend this album.

3.5 points

Purple - Under a Binary Tree (2009)

The second album from Dan Hodgson under the Purple name.

I was not impressed by the first album 11 Bells. A pretty one dimensional album. Mostly due to the dominance of keyboards and Dan's doing everything here. He still does everything on Under A Binary Tree. But there is some new strings in town too.

The return again with Under A Binary Tree sees him starting out with a lot of guitars and other strings. The first suite The Ebony Queen has a nice folky and avant-garde combined with some Pink Floyd like guitars and melody lines. The best Purple has done so far. This is actually a good, good suite. The other suite The Ivory Tower is not anywhere as good ast The Ebony Queen. It is more a trip-hop avant-garde doodle and not my cup of tea.

The end result is an improvement on 11 Bells. It is not a good enough improvement though. The album is free from the link below.

2.5 points

The album

Monday 10 March 2014

Nautilus - Above Water (2013)

The debut album from this US band.

Both the prog rock and the fusion genres are going strong these days. They have somewhat developed on their own with a lot of fans liking both genres. I am one of them. There is not many bands who attempts to fusion both fusion and progressive rock. Nautilus is one of those few bands.

Take some cool jazz, some fusion and some progressive rock. Then you get a band like this and this one hour long album. An album sold through CDBaby for a cool price.

The sound is great and the music is made with a lot of guitars, some keyboards, drums, bass and cool vocals. The songs are really well worked and the band will get a lot of friends from both fusion and prog rock with this album. Not to mention the indie scene too. The musicianship is really high too and the end product is a very good album. Check it out as this band may become something really big in due time.

3.5 points

Sunday 9 March 2014

Libra - Schock (1977)

The third and final album from this Italian band.

Schock is the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. A horror movie. Two Goblin members are also helping out on this album. Libra was compared a lot to Goblin and this album very much proves why.

Schock gives us forty minutes of cinematic movie track music here. That means electronic music anno 1977 and instrumental music. The album opens with the title track which is the best track here by miles. A nice funky track which shows a lot of promise. The rest of the album is very much in the Goblin and horror movie soundtrack. We are not exactly talking Grease or Saturday Night Fever here.

I have to admit horror movie soundtracks is not my forte or the type of music I enjoy. I am not even a Goblin fan. This album is a decent enough album and nothing more. It is not my cup of tea. Fans of Goblin will love this album, though.

2 points

Superdrama - The Promise (2014)

A new German band with two Argos members.

Germany have it's own pretty dark neo prog/art rock sound. A sound with some roots in Van Der Graaf Generator, Goethe, Wagner, Genesis and German melancholy. It is still very melodic though.

The Hammond organs and dark vocals creates the melancholy here. The guitars are present too. Ditto for the bass and drums. The full neo prog setup, in other words.

The band has got most things right here with the exception of writing great songs. They have set out their goods in he market square. What is lacking here is some great songs, some great sounding pieces. The music is ticking away nicely and the sound is great. The music is a bit one dimensional throughout this one hour in their company. That is my only gripe with this good album. An album which should encourage the band to release more albums.

3 points

Saturday 8 March 2014

Electric Light Orchestra - Live at Winterland '76 (1998)

One of two archive live albums released by whatever was the band in 1998. The other one was the Live At Wembley '78 and I will come back to that one later this spring.... whenever spring arrives here in Scotland.

Archive live albums like this is not a bad idea at all and this album showcases this band as they sounded on their Face Their Music tour which hit Winterland in San Fransisco too in 1976. This is the sound of that gig, edited down a bit. It is a one hour long album and I hope they played longer than that in this gig.

I have had my doubts about Electric Light Orchestra in a live environment. They are pretty lush with their strings and mod cons in a studio. Stripped down on a stage with sometimes faulty tapes with the strings making their already stripped down sound even more naked. The tapes were working in this gig though. A gig where they sometimes sounds a bit rockabilly. They are far more rock'n'roll on stage than in studio. I guess that is a combination of adrenaline, the tour environment and a compensation for what they cannot bring to the gigs from the studio.

The end result is a pretty cosy, altogether different version of Electric Light Orchestra. The sound is good, but not great. We get the rather good Evil Woman here and a very good version of Nightrider. Then we get a ballsy version of Chuck Berry's evergreen Roll Over Beethoven. That song has been one of my all time favourite songs for the last.... well... 37 years or so. Both Berry's and ELOs version. ELO is rockin'n'rollin throughout the version.

The end result is a decent to good live album which is not particular interesting for the casual listener but pretty essential for ELO fans. Go for their first studio albums instead.

2.5 points

Seventh Wave - Psi Fi (1975)

The second and final album from this English band.

I reviewed their first album not so many weeks ago and this is my final verdict on their outputs. Outputs which can be purchased as a 2 for 1 albums on one budget CD. Recommended and that is how I got this band in my collection.

Their first album Things To Come from 1974 was a decent album. I therefore had high hopes for this album. It seems like this band was not really for me in the first place. Psi Fi is a mix of the most whimsical bits of late era Pink Floyd, a huge dash of 1970s pomp rock and some symphonic prog. Add a lot of whimsical English eccentricities to this strawberry jam jar too and you get this album. This is essentially eccentric pomp rock with a lot of different instruments and voices. It has some rock opera elements too.

My main gripe is the lack of any really good tracks. That and this forty-five minutes long album being messy and a great deal of stucked in a time warp. It has not aged well. It is not my cup of tea. It is a decent album though. If you like this, check out Ebay and/or Amazon for cheap copies of  the CD.

2 points

Clearlight - Mosaique (1996)

The twelfth album from this band. A band now reduced to a duo; Cirille Verdeaux on keyboards and Gumar Amundsen on keyboards and vocals.

I am not sure if the guitars are hired or sampled and the run through the keyboards. The drums sounds a bit sterile and I am pretty sure this is a drum machine. The bass is not particular interesting either.

In any case; the music is a mix of new age orchestral pieces and 1990s AOR with Mr. Amundsen doing his best to sound like John Parr or anyone from that hairspray doped down 1990s AOR/poodle rock scene. I got my doubts about the quality of his hair, but the music is hitting pretty much straight on that button. I leave it to you to decide if that is a compliment or not.

The new age pieces are too far between too. Most of this album is AOR. I did not expect this from Clearlight. But I guess some finds this scene good too. For me, this is a decent album and nothing more. I much prefer their early 1970s albums.

2 points

Friday 7 March 2014

Warm Digits - Interchange (2013)

The second album from Warm Digits, the krautrock band from Newcastle or thereabouts in England.

Their Keep Warm was a good krautrock album and the band established themselves as a part of the neo-krautrock scene. More or less, that is. It is us reviewers who comes up with ideas like that. I think the band would fret and hiss a lot this label.

Anyway..... us losers aside....  The band has moved away the krautrock sound and more into a whatever they call electronic music these days. I am far too old for this. But hard beats electronica it is. Electronica with good melodies too. Not only this thump-thump-thump thingy I am not that happy about. There are some of that too and that makes me less happy. There are some good melodies and I cherish them.

The end result is a good album a bit far away from my regular musical path. I would still recommend it. Check out all tracks and videos on Youtube or their homepage.

3 points


Perigeo - Abbiamo Tutti un Blues da Piangere (1973)

The second album from the Italian band Perigeo.

Perigeo really impressed me with their debut album Azimut. A superb blend of fusion and Soft Machine. The band very much continues on the same path with Abbiamo Tutti Un Blues Da Piangere. Those two albums is very like.

The band continues their woodwinds, keyboards, bass, guitar and drums formula. An excellent formula if you ask me. But you would not do that. Trust me.

The best two compositions is the Soft Machine'esque Nadir with the great intensity and the rather introvert and Picchio Dal Pezzo like title track. Both superb tracks. The rest of the album is very good to great. There is not much else to write about this fifty minutes long album than I have already written about Azimut. Get both albums.

4 points

Thursday 6 March 2014

Soniq Theater - Overnight Sensation (2012)

Album no. 12 from Germany's Alfred Mueller's one man band Soniq Theater. For a change these days; the band name fits the music. Refreshing !

One man band normally means lots of keyboards and that too is the case here. This fifty minutes long album has more keyboards than a man can carry on it's shoulders. The drums are programmed as in a drum machine. I guess that goes for the rest of the instruments, bar the keyboards too. There is no vocals here.

The music is not bad at all. It is pretty dynamic throughout and we are not talking shopping mall music here. Despite of that; the music is a bit too sterile for my liking. I have to admit I have grown a lot tired of ELP and Jean Michel Jarre lately. I liked both of those a lot before. Fans of those + Little Tragedies and Vangelis should get everything by Soniq Theater. Check link below. For me; this album is too sterile and one dimensional. It is still a decent to good album well worth checking out as it is a free download album together with the other Soniq Theater albums.

2.5 points

The albums

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Scherpenzeel. Ton - The Lion's Dream (2013)

The fourth album from the keyboard player in the legendary Dutch band Kayak. A band I have yet to taste and that tells you everything about my recent interest in prog rock and the amount of bands I have yet to discover. Hence this blog.....

Ton Scherpenzeel has taken the route another great Dutch band has taken on this album. The mighty Flairck, that is. Take a big chunk of Flairck, add some Genesis like symph and lots of medieval chamber music = this album. Hence my surprise when I was listening to this album for the first time.

The music is full of flutes, some ancient guitars, violins, strings, medieval drums and pastoral male and female vocals. The music is very chamber music like and pastoral. Not chamber rock as in avant-garde or rock in opposition. The music here is very melodic throughout.

The lack of a great song is my main gripe here. The music is both pleasing and good. And that is all, I have to say. I am missing a bit more beef, a bit more bite and a lot more substance. Hence this verdict.

3 points

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Gong - Pentanine (2004)

Which one of you is Gong ?

Daevid Allen had returned to Gong and take back the control of the name by now. Then we get a new Pierre Moerlin album again under this name. Not Pierre Moerlin's Gong, but Gong. What the heck is happening here ? Well, I guess it is better this way than fighting it out with very expensive solicitors.

This is probably the final Pierre Moerlin album under the name Gong too. 2032 was a full Daevid Allen album and so is the recent Gong gigs and tours too. As with all Pierre Moerlin's albums under the name Gong, his vibraphone is pretty much dominating here. He has got three Russians with him on guitars, bass and keyboards. The album was recorded in St. Peterburgh and I get the feeling this is a budget album.

The music is good jazz in the usual Pierre Moerlin vein. The formula sounds a bit tired and this album is not in the same class as Shamal and Gazeuse. The vibraphone is too dominating here and the melodies not particular interesting. It still offers up fifty minutes with fairly good jazz, well worth checking out. It is a weak three pointer.

3 points  

Monday 3 March 2014

Umphrey's McGee - Death By Stereo (2011)

Umph ???

This is the seventh album from this US band. A very good band according to the blurb and my friends in the scene. So I got this album and this is my first ever meeting with this band.

The music is performed with tonnes of guitars, bass, drums, some keyboards and a great deal of vocals. All this sounds competent to me.

This is an unashamed US band with an unashamed brash and bold US sound. The music is a mix of power trio heavy prog, stadium rock, grunge, funk, neo prog and believe it or not.... some disco and soul music too. One of the tracks on this forty minutes long album is a disco flirt. Which frankly does not sound good to me. The other stuff sounds a lot better.

My two gripes with this album is that the music does not sound original and that the songs here is not particular good either. This album leaves me cold and I wonder what the fuzz is about. This is the worst ranked of  their albums by all the music archives. Maybe I should give this band another chance. This album is a decent album and just that.

2 points

Pooh. I - Opera Prima (1971)

The fourth album from this Italian band who are still going strong in 2013.... and possible in 2014 too. I reviewed their 2012 album Opera Secondo some time ago. That album did not impress me that much. That album was the follow up to Opera Prima too although they have released 20+ albums inbetween.

Opera Prima is a kind of an operatic album with Italian pop and very much little else. You get some tears inducing Italian vocals, lots of strings, some keyboards, some guitars, bass and some drums. You probably also get the band in silly dresses too, looking like Elvis Presley in Honolulu. Thankfully, I got no pictures of the band in my house. I guess there is a law against that in this country.

The music on this forty minutes long album is sweet with some occasional outbreaks of rock'n'roll. Very commercial in 1971 and probably a big selling album too. The music is too simple for my liking and cannot be called Italian symphonic prog. This is still a decent to good album though as I am giving this album the same rating as I gave the 2012 follow up album.

2.5 points

Sunday 2 March 2014

Ultime Atome - Dark Visions (2003)

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

Both the band name and the album title indicates that the music may be somewhat dark. And the album title is not much wrong. The sound is dark and ditto for the music. Dark neo-prog, that is. Take the darkness of the avant-garde band Runaway Totem and add the neo-prog and vocals of the Fish era Marillion.

Jean Marc Tesorio's vocals is pretty similar to Fish's vocals. The phrasing and the diction. The guitars are pretty Runaway Totem like and the keyboards sometimes reminds me about black metal keyboards. The sample choirs and the narrations also gives me some goth and black metal vibes. The four songs are also very long with the longest one clocking in at 22 minutes and the shortest one at 8 minutes. The result is a 54 minutes long album.

Unfortunate, not terrible much happens during these 54 minutes. The idea is very good. The result is barely good. Actually, this is a good album which could had been a lot better. I am not a fan of the guitars here too and the album is straying far too much into goth territory. Almost into Cradle Of Filth territory.

This is a good album which should be checked out.

3 points

Banda del Gnomo. La - Después Del Rock (2010)

A Chilean band from Santiago with their second album and the follow up to their El Canto Del Angel album from 2009.

The band was formed in 1982 and I suspect this album is a re-release of their earlier stuff as the sound quality is not the best. The music is performed with guitars, some keyboards, bass, drums and Spanish vocals.

The music itself is rock'n'roll. No less and no more. Rock'n'roll with ballads and some faster stuff. The band sounds like a garage band with some very loose drumming and bass. The guitars is a bit loose too. The songs are decent though and very much in the commercial rock'n'roll vein. It is a very local band with no or little appeal outside their local area. Why I in Scotland review this is something I really don't understand. I don't know where I got their album from either.

Anyway.... this is a decent album and nothing more than that.

2 points

De Scalzi. Vittorio - Gli Occhi Del Mondo (2011)

The fourth solo album from the New Trolls vocalist if I am not much mistaken. His first solo album was released in 1966. That is some years ago.

Gli Occhi Del Mondo is a solo album with all that means. The music is Italian rock with a lot of diverse influences. From celtic folk rock to traditional Italian folk music to Italian pop, rock and some jazzy uptempo rock with woodwinds and all that.

Most of the songs on this fifty minutes long album is reflective ballads. I guess Vittorio is taking us through some confessions here as the ballads sounds very confessional. I don't really know because all the vocals are in Italian. On these ballads, his voice is really great. His vocals floats on the top of some subtle keyboards, acoustic guitars, percussion, violins, flutes and bass. Very folky pop music.

My main gripe is the lack of any really good songs here. The vocals seems to be the most important here and my Italian is not the best. Both two Italian words I speak, that is. And Vittorio does not use any of them. So I am missing out on this album. This is a decent album which I am sure you Italians will like more than I do.

2 points

Seventh Wave - Things To Come (1974)

The debut album from this English band who grew out of the space rock combo Second Hand. The duo Seventh Wave all in all released two albums.

The duo created this half an hour album with guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.

The band is clearly influenced by the symphonic prog and art rock scene in England at that time. Both David Bowie and Genesis influences can be detected here. There is also a lot of space rock influences here. The sound has a lot of plastic feeling with some jingles and tapes running riot here. The keyboard sound is not good. It is like a cheap version of Keith Emerson at times. Not to mention ELP.

I am not entirely convinced the band knew what they were doing here. I am not sure what this album is. It is so all over the place. It is a decent album though. But don't bother.

2 points

Saturday 1 March 2014

Niacin - Krush (2013)

The sixth studio album from this US band.

I do not know anything about Niacin and I have yet to hear their other albums. This is my first meeting with them.

Niacin plays a pretty Hammond organ heavy type of fusion. Being a bass, Hammond organ and drums trio, that is pretty obvious that the Hammond organ plays a central role here. The drums and bass is complex too and the fusion, make that jazz, is pretty complex too. It actually reminds me a lot about John Lord in Deep Purple at his best. Yes, that is not jazz. Fans of the late and very much missed John Lord will enjoy this album.

This one hour long album has some very good stuff. It is a bit one dimensional though and the trio concept has it's limitations. This is a good album and I am tempted to check out their five other studio albums too.

3 points

Hostsonaten - Summereve (2011)

The sixth album from this Fabio Zuffanti band.

Hostsonaten is an Italian band mostly influenced by the Scandinavian and the English symphonic prog scene. Influences which very much comes to the front on this album. An album where we have now reached the summer after going through the seasons, one by one, on the previous albums.

Summer is a good, light time of the year. Warm and sunny. Ditto for this album too. Fabio Zuffanti has taken a Vivaldi here and described the summer in flutes, keyboards, bass, guitars, Moog, oboe, violins, cello, piano and drums. Yes, and some instruments I have forgotten too. But you get my drift. All the music is light and flowery.

The combination of that and a main theme which is really great throughout this forty-five minutes long album makes this an album I really highly enjoys. Even in February and March too. This album is one of the reasons why Hostsonaten is one of my favourite bands for the moment and why the albums will remain in my living room. This is a great album by a great band with a great vision. Move over Vivaldi and let Fabio Zuffanti tell the world the news.

4 points

Yugen - Mirrors (2012)

Their first and so far only live album.

Mirrors is an hour full run through this Italian RIO band's (I believe) back catalogue of compositions. Yugen is firmly in the RIO and chamber avant-garde orchestra category. They use piano, drums and bass as a dark sinister backdrop with the woodwinds adding light and life on the top of that. That is the typical RIO chamber orchestra way of doing things. For that matter; Present also used this formula.

The melodies are dark on this album and has this full orchestra feel. I guess going to one of their gigs must be one heck of an experience. Unfortunate; I am in Scotland and they are in Italy. I will put visiting Italy and a Yugen gig on my wish list.

This live album is a good live album with a good sound and good music. Check it out.

3 points