Friday, 31 October 2014

Eclipse - Jumping From Springboards (2003)

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

The band is listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives where they caught my attention. In a broad sense, they are a symphonic prog band. The sound is very neo-prog though. You get the typical guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. You get both female and male vocals here. The vocals are in English. Then we also gets some flutes too on songs which reminds me about Jethro Tull.

There is a lot of various styles and genres on this, their debut album. It is an album where the band explores themselves and want to find out what is working and what is not working. I note a lot of folk rock influences on the first songs before the album turns into a more gentle direction with a lot of laid back jazz and rock. 

Bands like Bacamarte and Index has been mentioned as a good reference to this album and this band. I agree. There is a large whiff of South American prog rock on this album. But I am not finding many really good songs here. The title track is a good song. The rest not so. This is an album between decent and good. Hence my rating here.

2.5 points

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Etna - Etna (1975)

The one and only album from this band from Sicily, Italy. Actually, the band and the same lineup released other albums under the Flea name. 

Etna is the big volcano in Sicily who is still very much rumbling along and is threatening to explode again and bury at least one major city on Sicily. Just like Vesuv did on the Italian mainland 2000 years ago. It buried Pompeii in lava and rocks. Not nice......

Etna the band was a more friendly entity altogether. We are talking fusion here. Fusion with clarinet, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, guitars and mandolin. And we are not in Mahavishnu territory either. The music on this album has a lot in common with Arti E Mestieri and to a lesser degree; Area. I would also compare them to Soft Machine to a lesser degree too.

There is not that much fusion here either. This forty minutes long album is leaning a lot more towards jazz than fusion. The tempo is mid tempo and the jazz/fusion is not particular intense. It leaves the mandolin and the other instruments a lot of air to breathe in. Both the guitars and the keyboards is doing the leads here, helped by the clarinet and the mandolin. The mandolin sound is odd, but it also adds a lot of extra quality and life to this album.  

The result is a very elegant and a very good album whose only flaw is the lack of a great track or two. Besides of that, this is one of the better Italian jazz/fusion albums I have heard and you can safely add it to your collection.

3.5 points

Mad Fellaz - Mad Fellaz (2013)

The debut album from this Italian band.

I bought this because it was sold to me as an Italian prog album. So I expected vocals and the whole Italian prog sound and music thing. That is exactly what I did not get. 

What I got instead was an instrumental album with a lot of Hammond organs, keyboards, guitars, bass, woodwinds and drums. A bit like the neo-prog lineup with some added bells and whistles. And the music is not far away from neo-prog either. Take a mix of neo-prog and fusion. Then you get this album. Unfortunate, add some elevator music too.

The music is pretty dynamic throughout. My main gripe with this one hour long album is that the music is so generic and it just floats through the room without making much of an impact. This album is pretty dull too. This album is missing the/my boat by several oceans. It is still a decent album and nothing more than that. But try Italian vocals next time, guys. Or go all out fusion. At the moment, this album is neither a fish, a sheep or a bird. It is just a decent album with some decent ideas. 

2 points   

Monday, 27 October 2014

Curved Air - Midnight Wire (1975)

The fifth album from this English band.

After some rather good progressive rock albums, the band felt it was time to capitalize on their music by moving more towards mainstream accessibility. That is what I believe happened here. The album starts with the rather feminist statement Woman On A One Night Stand. Maybe not the best song to play to a rather timid girlfriend whose suspicions about my love for this band has been raised many albums ago. A rather good song who sets the tone for the rest of this album.

Sonja Kristine is dominating this album and she gets support from a rather changed sound from this band. Southern rock was not what I expected here from this band. But this US sound is what I get. Maybe the band was looking to cash in on this ex British colony in the west ? It feels like it. Sonja Kristine's voice and vocals is rather seductive and the music is soft. It is also rather poppy in between the forays into southern rock. 

The end result is their weakest album by far. Sonja Kristin's vocals is very good. But the band has swapped England with USA and it does not feel right at all. This is not the album I wanted to hear. Hence my verdict.

2.5 points       

Emerald - Crown Of Creation (2004)

The debut album from this Dutch band. A band formed in a school by five young men. 

The setup is the typical keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals neo-prog setup. The vocals reminds me a lot about the vocals in the fellow Dutch band Us. I believed in the start that the band shared this vocalist. But I was wrong. 

The music is a mix of neo-prog and normal traditional rock. The songs are pretty nice and decently crafted. The balance between the keyboards and the twin guitars are good. There is nothing here to be offended by.

Herein lays the problem. This album is very bland and safe. There is no real exciting details to report about. Neither does this album have any good songs. Not even the twelve minutes long epic Insubtantial Liberation offers up anything worthy of any notice. 

This is a decent album and nothing more than that. That's it, really.

2 points

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Evolutive - Le Mythe de Sisyphe (2005)

The third album from this French band.

I reviewed their debut album Analogue three years ago in ProgArchives. They have this band listed as a neo-prog band and I noted how little neo-prog that album was. That same observation also goes for this album too. Forget neo-prog. There is none of it here. There are some hints of Pink Floyd, but these are pretty faint. 

This twenty-six minutes album got a lot of French vocals, electronica, guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. It also has some Arabic music and a lot of alternative, indie music in addition to electronica. The music also has a lot in common with krautrock too. This album is to a large extent a krautrock album. 

The album is very short and pretty frustrating too as it has no real good melodies. The band tries and tries their best, but does not manage to pull of a good album. Their homepage with this as a free download album has also been pulled. It seems like this band is now a lost cause. This album has something going for it, but not much. It is a decent album.

2 points  

Blue Öyster Cult - Fire Of Unknown Origin (1981)

The eight album from this art rock band from USA. 

This band remains a bit of an enigma to most of us. Their music is always very intelligently crafted. But I am not always sure in which way they are going. Some of their stuff is a bit ga-ga in my ears. 

This album is on the more intellectual side despite of being released in the God forsaken year of 1981 where the mankind was seriously dumbing down in the decade where dumb became a lot dumber. This album was bucking the trend. Sort of...  The band had finally found a bit of a style here with their take on art rock. The melodies are pretty clever without being clever. A couple of tracks, most notable the title track, are really very good. Ditto for Sole Survivor. Some other tracks are barely acceptable. The song Heavy Metal is hardly even half-decent.  

This album is pretty much how I conceive this band and their concept. Intelligent tracks and a left field art rock sound. The mix of guitars and keyboards are good here. The sound is great and ditto for the vocals. The end result is a good album which should be checked out.

3 points 

Epidaurus - Earthly Paradise (1977)

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

Germany has produced a lot of hidden gems in the prog rock genre. It is always great fun to seek them out and listen to them. In this case, we have got a Moog drenched symphonic prog album. A thirty-two minutes long album. 

This album has got female vocals on two tracks. Not impressive good vocals as it falls a bit flat on it's face. But it is still there and makes this album to what it is. The Moog is the real deal here though, the real star. That normally means some ELP inspired music. That is partly right here. ELP with some jazz, that is. 

That sometimes means a bit too much elevator music. But not in this case. The band really comes up with some very good melody lines. Some really soaring melodies too. The bass and the drums also contributes to this.

The end result is a very good album and a hidden gem, just waiting to become discovered. Check it out if you are into symphonic prog. 

3.5 points

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Erasmus - Voyage (2002)

The debut album and final album... so far.... from this Welsh band. This album has just been re-released again and there may be hope about more albums from them. My review is of the original album.

This band is unknown. The keyboardist is not. His name is Rob Reed and he is known from Cyan, Magenta, solo albums and Kompendium. Just to mention a few of his bands and projects. He is no doubts one of the leading lights in the prog rock scene in Great Britain today. Not to mention; in the world.

Rob Reed has got help from a guitarist and vocalist, bassist and a drummer on this album. The music is pretty straight on neo-prog with some chugging guitars and solos. The vocals are good. Ditto for the rest of the band. 

The two opening songs Gate Keeper and Silent Dreams is very good. The rest of the album not so good. The music is arch typical neo prog from the 1990s and beyond. No surprises here. 

The quality is good throughout and the songs pretty melodic. There is no symphonic excesses here and nothing that will offend a neo-prog fan. Not for that matter; anyone else too. Good, good, good...

3 points 

Electric Mud Generator - To The Disdain Of Polyhymnia (2008)

The second album from this English band.

The band name is really a give away. This is either a space/krautrock band or a stoner band. In this case, a bit of everything, really.

This seventy-three minutes long album features some long songs. They are surprisingly melodic songs. I did expect some work outs from outer space. There are some of it here too, but not much. The emphasis is on melody. 

The vocals are clear and good. Most of the guitars are chugging although there are a lot of the usual, standard metal solos here too. The bass and drums is chugging along too. The keyboards is working along in electronica type of music vein. 

Some of the music here is very good. Some of the music is pretty dire. I am most of all surprised about how often this album is dipping into psychedelic rock territory. In this respect, this is a krautrock album. 

I quite like this album and would recommend it. A shortened version without some of the middle bits would had made this a great album. As it is now, it is still a good album. Check it out if you can.

3 points 

Merlin Bird. The - Chapter and Verse (2014)

The debut album from this Australian band.

The band has been around for some years, having previously released an EP. They seems to be quite popular in Australia too. Which does not surprise me at all when I am listening to this album.

Take a great deal of medieval folk rock, add symphonic prog and some of the female fronted crossover prog from England. Then a small sprinkling of goth on the finish and sound. That is when you get this album.

There are some very good female and male vocals here on the top of some piano, keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. The sound is also very good and fits this music. The solo runs by keyboards and guitars are very good too and there are some interesting details here.

The end result is forty-five minutes with light, airy and commercial music. Music which sounds great after 1-2 listening sessions, but not so great after that. This album is sorely lacking a couple of great tracks and some instrumental creativity. There is not enough interesting details here to make this an album with a long life. That said, this is still a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Eggroll & The Shakes - Fairytale (2006)

The debut album from this Israeli band although they released a live DVD in 2004. A bit untraditional career, it has to be said.

That DVD was all about symphonic prog with some then unreleased material and some cover tracks from Yes, Genesis and Jethro Tull. Since the release of that DVD, they lost their flautist and their keyboards player. Two brilliant musicians, I have reliable been informed. So a bit of a change in direction was needed. So they went for..... Electric Light Orchestra ! Or ELO as they are best known as.

ELO was then again a grown up version of The Beatles. Something John, Ringo, Paul and George commented on several times. And there are a lot of references to The Beatles on this album too. The material here is somewhere between that band and ELO. These are not bad bands and I am a bit surprised that no one else has taken the baton from ELO and run with it. 

The sound and songs here are both light and reasonable commercial. That without really making the music banal and bereft of substance. There is enough substance here to make this an interesting album. There is no denying that this album is a bit light and airy. The songs are all good and I really like their sound and their homage to ELO here. They are not a copycat as they are too smart to fall into that trap. This band is very much their own masters and they have created their own little universe. This forty-five minutes long album, in other words. 

The vocals are very good and the band does a good job on guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. In short; this is an album well worth checking out. Can we get a second helping from this band, a second album ?

3 points 

Emeraude - Geoffrey (1981)

The debut album from this French band who released two albums. This album and the Voyageur album from year 2000. Both of them are pretty hard to find these days.

Folk rock is what we get here. Folk rock who is glancing towards symphonic prog. This with French lyrics and a lot of French style and texture. Think Jacques Brel here amongst others.

The music is pretty understated and with sparse instrumentations. A guitar and a keyboard is sparely used in addition to the vocals, bass and drums. It is rare that more than one of the melody creating instruments is used at the same time. The bass sometimes kicks in as a melody creator and the very good vocals is also adding melody. This is very understated music indeed. 

An obvious comparison is Harmonium from Canada. They are a very obvious comparison indeed. The end result is a thirty-five minutes long good album indeed. The very long title track is the best track here by miles. My only gripe is the lack of any exciting, great track here. One or more of them would had made this a killer album. Nevertheless, this is a good album well worth checking out.

3 points  

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Erytheia - An Old Monkey (2011)

The debut Bandcamp album from this Cadiz, Spain based band. The band is still playing live, but this is their only album to this date.

The band has called themselves an alternative rock band. They have also tagged their Bandcamp album as a prog rock album. I happens to agree with both tags. They are indeed playing modern prog rock in the vein of the new wave of prog rock. This is by no means retrorock as the countless Yes and Genesis copycats. 

Take alternative rock, add some post rock, fusion, psychedelic rock, Spanish folk rock and some good old prog rock. Then you loosely gets this album. The instruments are keyboards, guitars, flutes, bass and drums. There are some vocals here too. 

This is a debut album and the band is trying out a lot of things here. It is also a free download album (see link below) and everything is allowed here. The end result is a forty minutes long album which includes a lot of changes in style and contents. The band still manages to keep it together reasonable well.

Some parts of this album is good. Other parts is decent to good. I do not want to discourage this band so I am elevating this up to a good rating. It is most certainly worthy the free download and your attention. Get it and make up your own mind.

3 points

Hopper. Hugh - Numero D'Vol (2007)

The eleventh album from this late, still highly revered bassist. An icon from the likes of Soft Machine. 

I have to admit I am no great fan of his solo albums. Too avant-garde even for the likes of me who actually likes avant-garde music. Hugh Hopper's albums is a bit too much for me.

He has returned with a four man band on this album. Himself on bass, Charles Hayward on drums, Steve Franklin on keyboards and the star here, Simon Picard on saxophone. This album is focused on his saxophone and various ways of playing it. The music falls into the avant-garde jazz category. Easily so, I would say. 

There are some pretty melodic pieces here and some very avant-garde meandering pieces here. There is no real drive here and no real melodies either. I am OK with the lack of melodies, but I am missing the drive and the substance in this avant-garde stuff. The material is very dark too and almost paranoid in it's mood. 

The end result is a decent album which does not do much for me. I am not a hardcore jazz fan and this album is one bridge too far for me. 

2 points 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Exmagma - Exmagma (1973)

The debut album from this German band who released three albums before they went their separate ways.... or so I believe. Their final album was released in 2006 and maybe we are in for some more albums.

Exmagma was originally named Magma. But we all know the French band with the same name so they respectfully changed name to Exmagma. Fittingly enough, I would say. 

This trio created a lot of cosmic krautrock with Hammond organ, sax, guitars, bass and drums. That and some tape recorders and loops. 

The first part of this album reminds me about Soft Machine a lot. The middle part is pure cosmic, electronica infused krautrock with a lot of loops and avant-garde plodding. The third part is a return to a much more jazzy landscape in the vein of Soft Machine again.

The end result is a bit of a frustrating album. It is most certainly not an easy listening album. I am not a fan of the middle part of this album where the avant-garde is pretty aimless plodding around in search of life on Mars. No life found is what I can report. I very much prefer the jazzy bits on this thirty-five minutes long album. 

The end result is a fine, good krautrock album. I will give their second album a chance too in the coming days. Check out this album.

3 points

Ertlif - Ertlif (1994)

Ertlif was a short-lived band from Switzerland. This album is a combination of their 1972 album Ertlif and their 1974 album Heavenly & Heavy. I am not sure if all the tracks from these two LPs is included here.

Ertlif was quite a pioneering band in Switzerland who came to the ball pretty late. The ball was the krautrock ball and this CD, both LP albums, can be best described as proto-krautrock. 

Take a lot of blues, heavy rock, rock and some psychedelic rock. Then you get this fifty minutes long album. The music is performed with a lot of Hammond organs, vocals, guitars, bass and drums.

The result is a pretty hard rocking album with a lot of potential. The sound is not particular great though. It is good enough to let the vocals shine through and that is the best thing about this album. The music is dated and it has not dated well. This is nevertheless a decent album for those who want everything (loonies like myself). Decent is the word I would use about this album and nothing more than that.

2 points  

Edera - And Mouth Disappears (2005)

The third and so far final album from this Italian band.

I have to admit I was not particular impressed by their debut album Settings For A Drama and I have not heard their second album Apart. So my expectations to this album was a bit low, to say at least.

Edera plays a bit of a modern neo-prog with a dark, operatic male vocalist and a lot of gothic darkness all around. The music is created with keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. That in addition to these English vocals.

This fifty minutes long album offers up a mix of tender acoustic and chugging, electric guitars. The music feels as it is a concept album of some sort even though the songs here are pretty short. It is indeed a concept album. The music is dark and brooding. 

The music is also decent to good throughout. Not much here is really making a good impression on me. It feels so generic, this music. Nevertheless, the band knows what they are doing and the music is very competent played. I give it a weak three pointer, just because the band sounds tight and well balanced.  

3 points

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Barock Project - Rebus (2009)

The second album from this Italian band.

Their debut album Misteriosevoci from 2009 was quite a lively affair. Good Italian neo-prog. But it was a light-weight album with little substance. I am therefore pleased to note that the band has moved back to the good times of the Italian symphonic prog scene from the 1970s.

This is, to put a long story a lot shorter, what this album is. There is still traces of this neo-prog sound here. There are also some English vocals songs here and that is not good. The best vocals is reserved for the Italian vocals songs. The line up is, besides of the vocals and backing vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. No flutes, Moog or Mellotron. The keyboards are pretty vintage though.

The band also fully embraces their band name. The band name is no joke here. It is also the type of music here. Barock and with a lot of long glances towards the Italian classical music composers from a bygone era. 

The end result is a very melodic, elegant and great neo-prog album which is hugely influenced by the 1970s Italian symphonic prog scene. It hovers somewhere between very good and great. But I will give it a very good status as it does not really have any great tracks. Just a lot of great melody lines. Get this album.

3.5 points 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Ergo Sum - Mixolidio (1999)

The second and so far final album from this Chile based band.

This band has been described as folk rock in ProgArchives and I am again amazed about where they got that label from. Their first album was not particular folk rock and neither is this album.

Their self titled 1997 debut album was a pretty hard rocking album. This one though is somewhere between jazz and symphonic prog. That is; the five studio songs here. They are all pretty much dominated by vibraphone and guitars. It is like Pierre Moerlin's Gong having reformed again. Add a lot of guitars to a mix of symph prog and jazz and you will get this album. Those five songs, that is.

The live bit is much more hard rocking prog rock mixed with folk rock and jazz. A live recording with a good sound. I just wished they had split this album into two albums. One studio and one live album. The studio album is different from the live album, both in style and in contents.

In short, this is a good album from a band which really had great potential. I really hope they would give us another chance and get us a third album. That would be great.

3 points    

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Baccini. Sophya - Big Red Dragon (2013)

The second solo album from Sophya Baccini. She is a highly skilled vocalist with six albums with Presence and some other albums as a studio musician. That include the final Delirium and Osanna albums.

Her debut album Aradia from 2009 was quite a good album. This time around, she has gone down the concept/rock opera album route with this album about William Blake's visions. I notice that the number 666 is pretty prominent here and would not recommend playing this album in the presence of religious persons. I did that and was told of, henpecked as I am.

The music is the normal rock opera routine. Sophya's excellent vocals on the top of some piano, classical orchestral instruments, guitars, bass and drums. That and a lot of help from a male vocalists. Christian Descamps from Ange, Sonja Kristine from Curved Air and Lino Vairetti from Osanna contributes here in addition to members from Tempio Del Clessidre and Death SS. An impressive guest list, I have to say.

The music is as operatic as I expected. That means a lot operatic throughout these seventy-two minutes this album last. There are some really good stuff here and not so good stuff. It depends on the willingness to embrace the rock opera concept. I am not a big fan of it. 

Nevertheless; this is a good album where Sophya's vocals adds another half a point. OK, this is a very good album then. Check it out.

3.5 points

Delirium - '71-'75 (2005)

This is a collection of the first three Delirium albums + the many singles this Italian band released from 1971 to 1975.

Delirium released three very good and poppy Italian progressive rock albums during that period. They had at least one megahit and several smaller hits with their singles. All of them are included here. 

This is therefore an essential collection, a 2 CDs collection, if you are into this band. I am not particular fond of this band as they have really never gelled with me. I am in a minority here, I have noticed. 

This is a good 2 CDs collection and that is all.

3 points 

Excubus - Mémoires Incubussiennes (2008)

The debut album from this Canadian band.

This band were previously called Incubus and they were pretty big on the gigs circuit between 1970 and 1974. They recorded four tracks and then broke up. The band reformed again in 2007 and were finally offered a deal by a local label. This album includes those four tracks and four new ones. The album is split into 1974 and 2008. Appropriate enough, I would say.

The band has been put in the heavy prog genre by ProgArchives and that did not give me much hope. But I was much mistaken. Hope, there is plenty here. 

Their use of church organs and the ELP keyboards sound is really great here. The 1974 tracks has a bit of a bad sound though. They feel like 1974 and they are indeed that. The setup back then were keyboards, bass, drums and guitars. These are still good tracks and pretty enjoyable. 

The 2008 tracks has some vocals and is very much keyboards focused in the vein of Keith Emerson. We get a modern take on ELP in many ways. Great keyboards and a great symphonic prog feel throughout. 

The end result is a very good album and one heck of a surprise. I am indeed surprised. Fans of ELP should and must pick this one up. Fans of all good music must pick this one up.

3.5 points  

Baroque - Rocq (2011)

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

Baroque was looking more towards the theatrical symphonic prog scene in France than towards the Italian progressive rock scene. That goes for both their albums. Both albums is more influenced by the likes of Ange and Area than the likes of Banco and PFM. 

The music is pretty theatrical and vocals orientated. Which means a non-Italian speaker like myself is loosing out a lot when listening to this album. The music is a bit vaudeville and circus like. A bit avant-garde too with spoken and sung vocals on the top of it. It feels like I am on a cafeteria or in a small theatre somewhere in Milan. I would not had minded that.

The music is still pretty good though with some strange twists and turns. Yes, there are a lot of the madness of Area in this music. This album is forty-two minutes long and this is a good album. Barely a good album, but that is what I am awarding this album.

3 points

Nu - Cuentos de Ayer y de Hoy (1978)

The debut album from this Spanish band who went on to release 13 albums.... so far. The latest one was in 2011 and we can always hope for more albums.

This band has in my estimations always lived in the shadows of Triana and Medina Azahara. Which is one of the injustices I have been dishing out to many bands. I am not a perfect man by any means.

This band is playing a pretty hard rocking form of folk-rock on this album. The flutes are everywhere and ditto for the hard working vocals, violins, guitars, bass and drums. This is hard rocking stuff, but also pretty melodic at times. Yes, some comparisons can be made with Medina Azahara. But Nu has a lot more folk rock as their basis. The flutes and violins makes sure of that.

Yes, there are also a lot of Jethro Tull influences here and those who like Jethro Tull will also find this band one to get into.

This though is their debut album and while not everything is great here, this album is showcasing a very promising band. There are some really interesting parts here amid the hard rocking noise. This is a good album which makes me wanting more from them.

3 points

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Progeland - Gate To Fulfilled Fantasies (2014)

The debut album (I believe) from this Finnish band where the main man also plays in Corvus Stone.

This band and album has been talked about for a couple of years now and the expectations has been pretty big. Ditto for the hype around them. The art work did not exactly dampen the expectations. 

Progeland plays a mix of neo-prog and symphonic prog. All of it with pretty short songs and not the ELP like excesses towards classical music and/or fusion or jazz. I would call this neo-prog though. The sound is a lot more softer and organic than what goes for neo-prog. It is leaning more on the 1970s with a great Hammond organ leading the way. I like that Hammond organ sound. It is helped by some pretty great vocals, guitars, bass and drums.

The songs are very catchy and easy to like. Which in my experience can be a bit of a bad thing too as it can feel a bit worn out after the twentieth time you are listening to it. Anyway, the album is easy digested and it also has got a lot of good details too. It is not one of the most complex albums of all time.

This album is also a progressive rock album with big letters too. No shame in that and I like that attitude. I also think this is a very good album with some great vocals and hooks. There is not really any great songs here. But this is a debut album and one of the most promising ones I have heard from Scandinavia for a long time. Get this album.

3.5 points 

Eden Shadow - Hail (2012)

The debut offering, an 27 minutes long EP, from this English band.

The music here is wholly instrumental. It has been created with guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. Genre wise, we are talking instrumental neo-prog with some prog metal and symph prog influences. The band set out to create a nice and exciting progressive rock EP and most reviewers has agreed that they have managed to do that.

OK, this is a good EP. Technically, they cannot be faulted. There is no great tracks here and I am not a big fan of instrumental albums unless it has something extra. This has a bit of a good X-factor to it. It is indeed a promising debut. I hope their 2014 album is better than this one, though. I hope the hype around this band has some substance. 

3 points

Mostly Autumn - Storms Over Still Water (2005)

The sixth album from this British band.

Mostly Autumn is most of all known as one of the first celtic prog bands. Their music is heavy rooted in both English and celtic folk music. Add neo-prog and you get their sound. Their music is very potent and has spawned a full genre worth of other bands. 

Storms Over Still Water is in many ways a pretty much middle of the road Mostly Autumn album. The album is full of really good songs. Heather Findlay and Bryan Josh shares the vocal duties. They are backed up by a lot of synths, guitars, bass and drums. Troy Donockley shows up on one of the tracks with his ullian pipes.

This album is very much songs based with the exception of the more dreamy landscapes on the title track. A track very untypical for this album where the rest of the songs are very much verse-chorus-verse and straight to the point.

The result is not the most interesting album. In particular when it does not include any great songs. The band is threading water here, it feels. I still like this album. A good album in my view.

3 points

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Edera - Settings For A Drama (2002)

The debut album from this Italian band who so far has released three albums. 

We are again in a progressive rock mood. Not to mention; in this territory. The setup is the typical neo-prog setup with guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and vocals. English vocals, that is. Which is a bit of a pity, really.

I think the band would had done themselves a big favour if they had made this album with Italian vocals instead. The reason is that this album is not really an album with a great deal of identity and individualism. The music is somewhere between neo-prog and pomp rock. The material is pretty soulless and safe. The band has had a listen to some Marillion albums, has found the formula and has followed it without much of their own souls and personalities. There is nothing from Italy on this album and it could had been released by a band from York in Yorkshire for all I know. Sometimes, identity is a very good thing. This album proves that.

There is no good songs here and only a few good stuff here who saves it from the turkey yard. The vocals is at least good although the words are in the wrong language. I also like the piano a lot. That aside; there is not much joy to be found here. It is a decent album though.

2 points 

Ego - Sistema (2014)

The fifth album from this Italian band. 

I have never really become friends with their releases. I am pretty sure the band are good guys, but their music is not exactly my cup of tea. It is more like my kind of cure against insomnia.

This is another instrumental album from this band. And we are nominally talking progressive rock and fusion here. Nominally. 

The music here is created with tonnes of keyboards, flutes, trombones, bass and drums. It is pretty dynamic and pretty funky throughout. The bass is really thundering along this road. How to describe this music ? A mix of fusion, electronica and cinematic music. Add a hint of avant-garde too and you get it.

I am not a big fan of this music. I am not finding any really good tracks here either. The music is dynamic enough and very contemporary anno 2014. I am not the fan of electronica either and I find this a pretty dull. It is not a turkey as it has some good points. But it is only worthy a decent rating.

2 points

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ballettirosadimacchia - Ballettirosadimacchia (1974)

The one and only sign of life from this true mystery of a band.

The legends would have it that this is a Japanese band who latched onto the Italian scene and pretended that they were an Italian band. Another legend is that this was a German band, latching onto the Italian scene. A very popular scene back then. It is still a very popular scene.

Personally, I like the Japanese legend best, but I still think this is a band from Germany. The music is supposed to be Italian prog rock, rooted in Italian folk music and rock. The attempt partly succeed. The reason why I think this is a German band is the strong Krautrock influences here. In this respect, this album straddles the Alps like no other albums I have ever heard.

A combination of Krautrock and Italian prog is truly weird. This album is very weird indeed. It is like a crash between two forces. The result is not good. The vocals is horrible, even in the Krautrock standards where great vocals is not the greatest focus. The music is performed with guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and these strange vocals.

The legend is much better than the music, no matter which legend you believe in. The music itself is nothing more than decent to good. It is not an album I will play again. But I would like to solve this mystery once and for all. Who were these guys ? Please let me know.

2.5 points 

Brimstone Solar Radiation Band. The - Mannsverk (2014)

The fourth album from this Norwegian band who has now shortened their name to Brimstone after releasing three albums under the Brimstone Solar Radiation Band name. 

I have yet to hear anything from this band although I did an interview with them some time ago for ProgArchives/another magazine. I got the feeling from their band name that they were a space rock/krautrock band. I was proven wrong. 

The music on this almost one hour long album is psychedelic rock with a lot of influences from the 1970s English prog scene. There is also a lot of influences from more contemporary bands here. Mostly from the Norwegian scene. A pretty weird scene. 

The songs are a lot pop orientated and is tipping over to indie and college rock/pop a lot during this album. This is too pop for me, I have to admit. I am having big problems working up any opinions about this album as this music is a bit alien to me.

When that is said, the music is good throughout. There are a lot of good stuff here. A lot to be happy about. It is a good album and that is all.

3 points

Monday, 13 October 2014

Ergo Sum - Ergo Sum (1997)

The debut album from this Chile based band.

I was supposed to be in for some folk rock here according to ProgArchives. Maybe on the second album, that is. This forty minutes album has some great flutes throughout and some folk rock in the beginning. Then we get some chugging riff based guitars dominated tracks. 

Alexandros Tafarikis on guitars really let rip on this album. An album that cannot be labeled any other way than a guitars dominated heavy rock album. Yes, the flutes, bass and drums also kicks in here too. But it is guitars all day long here. Well, all the forty minutes. 

The tracks are OK although they reminds me a lot about the heavy rock and heavy metal we got in the 1970s. The flutes, played by Juan Daniel Rios, is off course a major difference here. I cannot recall Van Halen ever played flutes. They should had done it, but they did not. 

The lack of any really great tracks here is a bit of a problem. Then again, this band has a lot of style, cheek and attitude. Both the flutes and the guitars scores big in my book. I like their sound too. This is actually a charmer, this album. I cannot help myself smiling. It is therefore a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points 

Moody Blues. The - On The Threshold Of A Dream (1969)

The fourth album from this legendary English band. 

We are still in 1969 and the band has already released four albums since their beat music 1966 debut album. An album many regard as an oddity. It was only when the band started to mix The Beatles with classical music they really found critical and commercial success.

They creates their music with flutes, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and Justin Hayward's very impressive vocals. Angelic vocals, that is. There is no denying that his vocals is one of the strongest sides of this band.

This album is a pretty naive 1960s album with a lot of short, but still very intelligent crafted songs. Lazy Day is a very good 1960 anthem. I fully agree with the lyrics here ! The band also showcases a lot of their affinity for classic and pastoral music on the other classic here, the mighty Are You Sitting Comfortably. A very clever song. 

The other songs on this thirty-six minutes long album is not in the same class. This is a very good album though and another cracker from this band. A band which really impresses me.

3.5 points

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bellaphon - Delphi (1995)

The second and final album from this Japanese band.

Their 1987 album Firefly did not impress me. I was therefore a bit downhearted when I heard this album was a collection of left overs and live tracks. In short; Firefly was their only true studio album. 

Left overs from a studio session which produced a rather mediocre album ? Well, we get  much more jazzy album this time. A pure jazz album with some Italian prog rock connotations. The sound is not particular good. The drummer sounds like he is smashing around on some paper bits. Pretty annoying, that drum sound.

The rest is a mix of keyboards and guitars. That in addition to bass and no vocals. The music is pretty dire and as interesting as taking medicine against insomnia. The live track is pretty poor too. 

In short; this is a proper turkey of an album. A forty-seven minutes long suffering. Avoid at all cost. 

1 point

Balletto Di Bronzo - Il Re Del Castello (1990)

A posthumous EP from this Italian band/a record label with left overs songs.

Balletto Di Bronzo is most of all known for their 1992 YS album which is one of the standard bearers in the scene. The rest of their creative outputs is a bit of a miss, really.

This is a 23 minutes long EP with 7 tracks of Italian beat and pop tunes. OK, there are some prog here too. But most of it is beat and pop. This EP is nowhere the standards the band set on YS. It is meandering music with Italian vocals. There is a couple of good songs here. There are also some pretty heavy and raw guitars here too. The band is a pretty heavy rock influenced Italian prog band and that shines through here too.

Nevertheless, this is a decent album and nothing more than that. Stick to YS, guys.

2 points  

Brainstorm - Planetfall (2012)

The fifth and most resent album from this Australian band. A band not to be confused with that German jazz/blues band and the many heavy-metal bands with the same name.

Brainstorm has kept it going for over 20 years without really gaining much attention here in Europe. I got this album by chance and did not take much notice of it before I decided to give it a chance.

It is a bit pity that this album and band is so neglected. Brainstorm's mix of 1960s psychedelic rock and 1970s space rock is quite a treat for anyone into this kind of music. There is a lot of us who would really appreciate what Brainstorm are doing... if we knew about them.

Planetfall is seventy-eight minutes album with largely this type of music. Great value for money, in other words. The music is created with keyboards, Hammond organs, guitars, flutes, percussions, bass and drums. That and some David Bowie like vocals. The vocals are more like one of the instruments than proper vocals. They fit the music very well.

The music here is melodic and not that spaced out. They are more hogging the planet earth than going on long space exploration projects. It is still spaced out enough to attract the space rock fans.

Planetfall is a good album who is perhaps a bit too long and is lacking a killer track or two. That aside, this band and this album deserves a bit more attention. The band should be proud of this album.

3 points

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Tacita Intesa - Tacita Intesa (2014)

The debut album from this Italian band.

I am not exactly revealing any secrets here when I state the fact that the prog rock scene in Italy is in very rude health. New, exciting bands joins the scene every month with their debut albums. The old bands is also holding the fort against any invaders too. This scene is a great, great scene.

This five piece band gives us half an hour worth of Italian prog. They creates their noisy racket with keyboards, Hammond organs, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Italian vocals, thankfully.

This half an hour offers up some very complex and eclectic prog. They goes from folk rock inspired, pastoral Italian prog to some very heavy, djent like progressive metal. On the route from these two extremes, they also visits the likes of Gentle Giant, Yes, Django Reinhardt and King Crimson.

The result is one heck of a mouthful of an album. It has taken me one month from the first listening session to my final listening session. That says a lot about this album.

My gripe is still the lack of a great song and some more high quality stuff. This is by all means a very good album and a very, very promising debut album. One album which should put this band on the map and get them a lot of support from everywhere. Not at least from record labels. This is indeed a very good album.

3.5 points

Brave New World - Impressions On Reading Aldous Huxley (1972)

The one and only album from this German band.

Germany had their fair share of one album wonders too. In particular in the krautrock scene. And this is where we are now. Deep into the krautrock jungle.

Behind the long winded (pretentious) album title, we are being treated to some instrumental krautrock. Krautrock with a lot of psychedelic space rock. There is a great deal if psychedelic naive attitudes on this album. It is like the mind of a free and untroubled child who has the life ahead of it. No worries and total innocence. There is a great deal of sun on this album. And album created with lots of woodwinds, synths, drums, bass and some guitars.

The result is an album which largely works. It is a bit of an odd album. But most krautrock albums is and should be strange. That is the whole point about krautrock and the band has got it.

The end result is forty minutes with good krautrock with some great stuff and some stuff who does not work at all. Hence this rating. A good and safe rating.

3 points

Backnee Horn - Backnee Horn (2009)

The debut album from this Israel band.

OK, I may be living in a strange world, but I did not expect krautrock from Israel. OK, krautrock has always been borrowing ideas and music from Israel and the Middle-East. Agitation Free and other German bands is a very good example of that. So it is pretty obvious my ideas of krautrock is a bit strange and very far from the truth. They were up to the day I first heard this album, that is.

The band has released four albums so far and this is their first one. The band is occupying the more hypnotic, ambient end of the scene. No blues, rock and jazz here. The compositions is full of soundscapes with some vocals inbetween. The vocals reminds me a lot about that house/dance band Faithless. The band with that massive hit Insomnia. The vocalist in Backnee Horn has borrowed a lot of ideas from Faithless and that to good effect. The very sparse vocals here is really good.

The music is created with lots of synths and Mellotrons. Yes, they use Mellotrons and that to great effect. Add some acoustic guitars, drums and bass too and you get a pretty unusual sound. A very modern krautrock sound too.

The result is a very, very good album which really bowls me over. There is no real great tracks on this one hour long album. But the ambience here and the sound is very good. The band has really something going for them.

3.5 points

Barrock - Oxian (1994)

The second out of total three albums from this Italian band.

Italian progressive rock with female vocals is what this band was pretty famous for. A bit of a rare combination, I have to say. I really liked their debut album too which was a great Italian prog rock album.

Oxian is a bit of a different animal altogether. The band has turned their attention towards the very strong goth rock scene at that time. That is perhaps why we get two synth players and two female vocalists here. The two vocalists gives off some goth vocals. The synth players takes the goth theme a lot further and into the dungeons of a church. We get some church organs synths here throughout this fifty minutes long album.

The whole concept reeks gothic and I am not a big fan of that scene. In particular not when a promising Italian prog band morphs into a goth rock band. Not a great development in my view, although this was 1994 and the goth scene were miles stronger than the prog scene that year.

There is no really good music here either and the vocals sounds a bit plastic too. This album may be a good soundtrack for a Dracula night in a student bedsit. Besides of that, this album is not recommended. It is a decent album though.

2 points

Friday, 10 October 2014

Panic Room - Incarnate (2014)

The fourth album from this English band.

This band, most of the Karnataka line-up from their 2003 album Delicate Flame Of Desire plus the ex Mostly Autumn vocalist Ann-Marie Helder, has kept on going with album releases every second year. They have slowly but surely become one of the most popular, if not the most popular female fronted new prog rock bands in England.... if not the rest of the world too.

It is easy to understand why. Great, catchy songs with Ann-Marie Helder's vocals on the top of them. She is not in the same class as the best female vocalists out there. That is not the point either. Her vocals is very enticing and in the Corrs mould of vocals. Very commercial and very seductive. I am seduced.

The music behind all this seduction is based on catchy and not too overly complicated songs. I have mentioned Corrs here. Maybe I should mention Mostly Autumn too. Or maybe not. Panic Room is most certainly one of the most commercial female fronted prog rock bands around. The songs are bordering to pop at times. With a big record company behind them, we would had been talking a hit album here. Maybe if this album is re-released by one of them and we turn our clocks back to 1995, Incarnate would be a multi-million selling album.

But we are in 2014 where everything has collapsed, including good taste too. My only gripe with this album is the lack of some great details and brainfood on this album. It is sugary as in pure sugar. Which is good for a short while, but my body need more than sugar to survive.

When that is said, there are a couple of great songs here and this album is one of the better ones from this scene. It is indeed a very good album which I would recommend without any problems at all.

3.5 points

Bellaphon - Firefly (1987)

The debut album and the first of two albums from this Japanese band.

Japan has always had a strong prog rock scene. A pretty weird prog rock scene too. They have combined Western progressive rock with their own Japanese cultur and heritage. The result has mostly been great to fantastic music.

Bellaphon and this album is a more throwback to English progressive rock. English symphonic progressive rock. Take the clean, dry sound from the neo-prog scene and fuse that into an hour with Camel like symphonic prog music. Everything here is instrumental. The music is created with the typical neo-prog setup. Keyboards, drums, bass and guitars.

The result is a pretty elegant album with some decent to good tracks too. A lot of keyboards and soaring guitars. The music is OK enough.

Maybe I am listening to too much of this type of music. But this does not enthuse me at all. The band does not add anything new to the scene. That said, this album is not a bad album. It is a decent to good album. Maybe it is even good company on a long journey. Check it out.

2.5 points

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Hopper. Hugh - Two Rainbows Daily (1980)

The fourth solo album from Hugh Hopper, England.

Hugh Hopper was an ex member, founding member, of Soft Machine and later Soft Machine Legacy before he sadly passed away in 2009. He also released a lot of solo albums plus took part in a lot of other projects.

I have previously reviewed Hopper Tunity Box from 1976 which I really liked. So I was really looking forward to sink my ears into this album. An album made a lot more interesting by the appearance of another one of my favourite musicians; Alan Gowen. He sadly passed away on the 17. May 1981 after a battle with leukemia. A terrible disease which robbed us of one of the best keyboardists and composers we have ever seen in the age of approx 30 years old.

This album is very much a cooperation between Hopper's bass and Gowen's keyboards. There are some percussions and drums here too. But the bass and the keyboards is the main instruments. This album is a duo between those two instruments.

The result is a very, very stripped down album which does not offer up any really big fireworks. The music is subtle to say at least. It is not easy listening too and I have been struggling like mad with this album from these two giants in my music world.

I have started to like this album though although it will never get much airplay in my house after this. It is simply one too demanding album for me. It is too avant-garde too. I give a weak good rating as I understand where Hugh and Alan comes from here. I am not a big fan of this album, though.

3 points

Baroque - La Fiaba Della Buonanotte (2008)

The first album from this Italian band who so far has released two albums.

The band title says a lot about this band and this album in particular. It is like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had been reincarnated. This is off course an Italian progressive rock album, but with a pretty large twist.

Forget ELP here. Remember Le Orme, though. There are some Le Orme here. But most of all; there is a lot of cabaret, theatre and opera throughout this fifty minutes long album. There has been some Italian band going down this alley throughout the last fifty years. Baroque can and should be added to this list. Add some folk rock, Italian rock and some symph prog to this mix too and you get this album.

The Italian vocals are very good. They has been laid on the top of keyboards, piano, guitars, bass and drums. The whole album is pretty intriguing and interesting. Unfortunate, without really offering up some great tracks. That is my only gripe with this album. The lack of any really great tracks.

This is very much a good album and just that. As a debut album, this is more than an acceptable album.

3 points