Sunday, 30 November 2014

Le Orme - Amico Di Leri (1997)

The sixteenth album from this Italian band.

.... Although it is not really a new album. Spurred on by their comeback and the reactions to their gigs, the band went back into their old albums and re-recorded some of the songs from those albums with new recording studios and all the mod cons. This just to give those songs an updated sound.

Well, I thought this is what we used live albums for. But Le Orme have other ideas. I cannot find anything wrong with the old versions either. Neither can I find anything wrong with the 1970s sound either. For me, this album is a bit pointless. Yes, the songs are great. The idea is poor. Hence my verdict here and I am moving on to their final albums.

2.5 points

Locurcio. Emilio - L'Eliogabalo (1977)

The only album from this Italian movie producer, author, actor and music teacher. He also released this album.

With his background, I am not surprised to having listen to a forty minutes long mainly theatrical album. Take a bit Area and Ange. Take a lot of acting, spoken words and dramatic vocals over some music produced by keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and numerous other instruments. The vocals are shouting and rather spoken male and female vocals. The vocals are in Italian and I don't understand much here. 

The whole album sounds a bit street theatre and chaotic. There are some rather jazz music included here and some decent instrumental music. Most of it is chaos. 

The end result is a fairly decent album. The first songs are rather good before the inmates of this mental asylum takes over and makes the rest of the album a bit of a waste of time. That is really all I can say about this rather obscure album.

2 points

Living Stilts - Shipwreck (2014)

The debut album from this Italian band.

Progressive rock is the order of the day. But not Italian progressive rock as we knows it. The band is wholly inspired by the English scene and this sixty minutes is indeed a full on English prog rock album. That means English vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, narration, choirs and drums.

Yes, this is a concept album about shipwrecks. The perils of the sea and all that. It is also a rock opera. It is more a rock opera than a concept album. So we get an hour long rock opera here with music the band can take to a stage and perform as a rock opera. For all I know, the answer is on their homepage, that is what they have been doing and is doing with this music.

There is a lot of theatrical sounds here with a ship bell chiming and all that. That inbetween some songs too. Some of the music is instrumental and some songs are with full vocals. 

The music is not too bad although I suspect this piece of music is better on a stage with actors than on this album. I have belated landed on a good award. Fans of Camel and rock operas would land on a far better rating. The smell of Camel is everywhere on this album. You can also add neo-prog and the Kompendium project as references. It is a good album, but I am not convinced I ever want to hear this album again. This rock opera deserve a stage and not only a sterile album environment.

3 points 

Pageant - Abysmal Masquerade (1987)

The second album from this Japanese band. 

Japan has their own take on symphonic prog. That means thin female vocals, lots of keyboards, some guitars, bass and drums. In this case, lots of flutes too. 

The music is pretty pedestrian with female Japanese vocals. Vocals in their native tongue is great and I really like that. The rest of the music is following in the English symphonic tradition. Lots of Camel and Renaissance references. Lots of Genesis references too. The music is not particular complex although there is some classical music references.

The end result is a good album which neither angers or enthuses me. I may check out their two other albums too on the basis of this album.

3 points 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Saga - The Human Condition (2009)

The 19th album from this Canadian band.

I guess this album will go down in the history as the album where Michael Sadler took a break and left the microphone to Rob Moratti. Michael was back on the microphone on the next album though. 

The reason for his return is obvious when listening to this album. I am sorry Rob, but you don't belong in this band. Not as a vocalist. Saga without Michael Sadler is like Coca Cola without the black colour and the logo. Although Jim Gilmour and the Crichton brothers are still here, this album simply lacks the Saga trademark. It took me two listening sessions to get my head around the fact that this is a Saga album. Sort off....

This album is very heavy throughout. It does not have much colours and the trademarks a good Saga album got. It is full on all the time. No great vocals from Michael. That said, Rob Moratti is not a bad vocalist. He is actually a great vocalist. On this album, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is much more suited as a prog metal vocalist. This album is a prog metal album in all but name. And that is not Saga. This band is not what it has been made to be on this album. 

This album is also anonymous and toothless. Send this as a demo tape to any record label and the label will turn it down..... without even replying. This album does connect with me at all. It is a decent album though. It has some decent music. But it is only a Saga album by name and not by right.

2 points  

Laser - Vita Sul Pianeta (1973)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The Italian prog rock scene has got their fair share of one albums only bands. The reason maybe that recording an album was hideous expensive back then. If you did not sell many albums, you were down and out. In many cases, that also meant that their record label was down and out. Your next job was in the docks or as a hard-working laborer on a building site. 

Laser was one of those bands who did not make it in the record stores. The main reason was probably because this album was as much in fashion as a horse and a cart on a busy motorway. The music here is basically Italian beat with some pop and psychedelic rock influences. The music is pretty hard too.

The music is performed with guitars, Hammond organs, bass, drums and Italian vocals. The vocals is shrieking and thin. Sometimes it is downright false. The vocalist is simply not hitting the notes. Very bad and not so endearing to the buying public back then who had a lot of great vocalists to choose between. The vocals here is probably one of the most inept I have ever heard on an Italian prog rock album.

There are some half decent songs here. That saves it from the turkey yard. Barely. Don't pay hundreds of dollars for this album. Just ignore it.

1.5 points 


Marbin - The Third Set (2014)

The first live album from this Israeli-US band. 

Marbin is one of those bands who I have always regarded as a very tight band with a pretty heavy, noisy brand of jazz. The band has played hundreds of gigs and has got a very good reputation. So it was about time they released a live album after three studio albums.

Marbin plays a very intense form of jazz here. They starts out in five hundred miles an hour with some hard and fast jazzy guitar solos before the saxophone comes in and the tempo is slightly becoming slower. A bit slower. The band combines the saxophone and the guitar very well.

Music wise, their music comes across as heavy jazz/fusion with a lot of blues and hard rock influences. I prefer to call it intense music which straddles many types of music. Even the hard rock fans will like this album a lot. 

There is no doubts that this is a great live band. There is no really great tracks on this one hour long album. I would still give this live album a very good rating. Check it out and make sure you are there next time this band visit your town. 

3.5 points 

Lokomotive Kreuzberg - Fette Jahre (1975)

The fourth album from this rather strange left-wing German band who lived in West-Berlin, a stone throw from East-Germany. 

They have rightly lumped this band into the krautrock genre although they are not playing what I would regard as traditional krautrock. The music here is a mix of folk/gypsy rock, a lot of theater and circus music, pop and rock. The music here is pretty much avant-garde too. The music never get the chance to overshadow the message, as expressed in the German lyrics. I spent the two years of German lessons peacefully asleep (30 years ago....) and my German is a bit rusty. But I gather that they are not overwhelming happy about capitalists, wars and the military. Which is fair enough. 

The music is weird to say at least. Weird in a sense that it feels like a madman has written it. It is vaudeville with a lot of Eastern European influences. It is like cabaret music. This half an hour album is a cabaret. 

The music is strangely enough pretty good. Not good, but it is a decent album. It is also an album nobody in their right mind would release today. This was the weird, weird 1970s and this album is a time capsule. It is in it's own right a fairly decent album. Hence my rating.

2 points     

Conqueror - Stems (2014)

The fifth album from this Italian band.

I have to admit I have got an ambivalent relationship to their previous four albums. This Italian progressive rock band has never really won me over. They are trying their best to win my heart with Stems. 

The band is now a four piece band with Simona Rigano doing the vocals as per usual. The sound and her Italian vocals is in the cool sea breeze tradition. So cool/cold that I almost want to jump into some warmer clothes. Getting sun burns is very unlikely with this music. The music has also got a detached lounge jazz feel with a lot of semi-acoustic guitars and a lot of jazzy keyboards. The band is by no means threading onto Sade's territory. But they are not too far away either. 

The slightly warmer guitar solos makes this album not a frost-fest. It is obvious that this band has got their own style and probably their own fanbase too. The music is still Italian progressive rock. But it is different from most bands, if not every bands in this scene.

That is not a problem whatsoever for me. My main gripe though is the lack of any great tracks here. It is by all means a good and a very pleasant album. But that is really it. Better songs would had made this album a lot better.... it goes without saying. I would still recommend checking out this album. 

3 points      

Living Life - Mysterious Dream (1981)

The second and final album from this Italian band.

I was fairly pleased by their 1975 debut album. It took six year to produce another album and the world had changed a lot during those six years. The jazz and prog scene they lived in had gone long time ago and we were in the beginning of the most cynical decade we have ever seen; the horrible 1980s.   

The album starts out with a live track and that makes me question if this is a studio album at all or a compilation album. The other tracks are not live albums. The remainder of the album also have a huge variety of genres too. From Soft Machine like jazz to space rock and more poppy material. 

What unites this album is the lack of quality. There are one good track and that is all on this thirty-five minutes long album. It is not by any means a horrible album. The music here is decent enough. But nothing more than that. Both this album and the band is obscure. There is a good reason for that. Period.

2 points 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Syzygy - The Allegory of Light (2003)

The second album from this five piece US band and their first under this name. Their first album was released under the Witsund name.

This album is a crossover prog rock album in it's real meaning. The band has never denied that they have gone back to the 1970s and got inspirations from that scene. Bands like ELP, Kansas, Yes and even Genesis has inspired this band a lot. You can hear a lot of Kansas and ELP here. Not to mention most bands from the 1970s. That also includes the likes of Frank Zappa. Spock's Beard is also very much present here in their sound and music.

The sound is very contemporary and clean. The main instruments here are keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The album is full of intricate details and it is fair to call this technical traditional progressive rock. The music is mostly hard and the production is a bit on the prog metal side.

I like most of this album. An album who is very technical, but not so moods and melody orientated. The guys here are almost too clever and has created a bit of a soulless album. That aside, this is a good album. I am not entirely convinced about this album.

3 points   

Kaipa - Händer (1980)

The fourth album from this Swedish band. One of the pioneers in Scandinavian progressive rock and one band I am a bit fascinated by.

Their three first albums were pretty good albums. The year was 1980 and the prog rock scene was pretty much dead and buried. Roine Stolt too had left the band and the art work tells the story about a band who had gone mainstream rock. 

Take a slice of ABBA and Swedish rock. This is pretty much where this album can be found. Maybe not so much ABBA as Swedish rock. But the music here is slick and suffers from all the ills of the post-punk and the post-prog era. The drums, Swedish vocals, bass, keyboards and the guitars offers up little to nothing of any interest. The verse-chorus-verse songs here are pretty dull. Even the instrumentals are not that good. This is a weak decent album which barely avoids being thrown into the house where my turkeys lives. 

2 points 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Eloy - Destination (1992)

The 15th album from this German band. A band who had their best days in the 1970s.

The last two albums Codename Wildgeese and Ra was two pretty dire albums. Albums from a band who had given up the ghost and their self belief. They moved towards mainstream rock and pop. A music style which did not suit them at all.

Destination is another example of a misplaced piece of music. The tracks here follows a strict songs formula with verse-chorus-verse throughout. The music is 1990s rock with some ballads and some rather heavy songs too. A kind of Mr Big, Scorpions and those bands type of rock. There is no psychedelic or space rock here. Just some songs.

On it's own merit, this is not a bad album. It is a pretty decent album which shows promises. But it is not a good Eloy album or anywhere near good at all. It is only an album for collectors, I am afraid. 

2 points 

Marblewood - Marblewood (2014)

The debut album from this Swiss band and a Bandcamp download too.

Switzerland is not far away from Germany and I guess this band has been listening to both old and new krautrock. It is krautrock we get here. 

The music starts out as hard blues/psychedelic rock before the album takes a turn towards ambient krautrock with a lot of jazzy improvisations and electronica. The psychedelic stuff is really very good with a lot of hard, edgy guitar solos and guitar runs. The bass is rumbling around in the background and the drums follows suit. The vocals are also good. 

Not everything on this seventy minutes long album is very good though. The albums tails of after an hour and some mindless electronica and ambient music follows. I am not a fan of that.

The end result is an album which is somewhere between good and very good. The album should mean this is a band well worth following. I am keeping an eye on them. I give this album a good rating.

3 points


Lorien - Children's Games (1994)

The debut album and so far only album from this English band.

The neo-prog scene was in full flow in 1994 and a lot of bands were around back then in a quite lively scene. Lorien was one of those bands who never really made it. This despite of having Sean Filkins on vocals and guitars. The rest of their setup is the usual guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. 

Children's Games is a fifty minutes long album of middle of the road neo-prog. Their brand of neo-prog is a mix of Marillion, Yes, Genesis, Pendragon and some subtle hints of Saga and Pink Floyd. 

The music here is actually good. The vocals is a bit thin and an acquired taste. That aside, the guitar solos and the keyboard runs are good. Ditto for the bass and drums. The band did not offer up anything new with this album. It is a good album nevertheless. 

3 points

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Lava - Tears Are Goin' Home (1973)

The one and only album from this German band.

It may not come as a surprise that we are again facing up to a krautrock album. Lava was a pretty successful live band before they took the plunge and recorded their material. Unfortunate, the main composer died shortly afterwards and the band were disbanded.

Take a solid dose of blues and add an ever bigger dose of psychedelic rock. Then add some electronica too. Yes, this is all what krautrock is about. Mainstream krautrock. Lava is very much in the mainstream of krautrock.

The songs goes from hard rocking blues to a more melancholic psychedelic theme to avant-garde electronics. This album has it all. It also has some very good vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums, flutes and bass. 

It also has some very good songs too. The opening title track is the best one here. The other pieces are good to very good too. The end result is a very good album everyone into krautrock should get themselves. 

3.5 points  

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mr Toad - Trench Art (2003)

The debut album and the only album so far from this Israeli band.

Some albums are so diverse that it is almost impossible to review them. This is one of those albums. It is based in folk rock... or rather baroque folk rock. Take a solid dosage of classical music and symphonic prog too and add a big dash of King Crimson. Add the likes of English folk rock and Aranis too. The end result is somewhere near this album.

The music is very much softly spoken and almost shoe-gazing. Less is more is the motto on this forty minutes long, very dense album. The music is performed with a lot of acoustic guitars, all kinds of woodwinds, drums, percussions and vocals. 

The music is both naive and eclectic at the same time. The woodwinds almost gives this album a hippie feeling. The smell of cider and English apple orchards is very much in the air. 

The end result is an album which really demands a lot from the listener. No book reading here, I am afraid. The end result is also a very good album with a lot of very interesting melodies and songs. It is an album which really deserve a bigger audience. Get this album !

3.5 points 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Moolah - Woe Ye Demons Possessed (1974)

A one shot US band with their only sign of life.

Krautrock is the word which best describe this aural assault coming from the speakers. Take a large slice of avant-garde and ambient drone techno. Then you get this album.

There is a lot of electronics here and some droning vocals. Add some Hammond organs and percussions too and you get this album. It is not anywhere near melodic. Not to mention; harmonic. This is a forty minutes long aural assault on the senses.

I find this album pretty decent and far from my ideal night with an album. It has it's good moments and that is it. It is not an album which will grace my life on a regular basis. Hence my verdict.

2 points

Machines Dream - Machines Dream (2013)

The debut album from this Canadian band. Or Ontario to be more precise.

The band is walking down the well trodden paths of neo-prog. Or perhaps; crossover prog as ProgArchives calls it. Take RPWL, modern days Marillion and Airbag. Then you get their sound and music.

The music is melancholic throughout with a great deal of guitar solos, keyboards, bass, drums and the very good vocals from Craig West. The sound is excellent. 

I have to admit this is a type of music that really interest me and Machines Dream has been duly noted in my book of bands I need to check out more. I don't think I am the only one who has taken down their name as one to look out for. 

The music is lush and very organic with the excellent guitars from Keith Conway. This gives away a warm radiance from this album. Something that chases the cold weather away.

My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs. Besides of that, this is a very good album and one everyone should check out.

3.5 points

Backnee Horn - Backnee Horn II (2011)

The second album from this Israeli band.

Their debut album really impressed me. First of all that there is a krautrock band from Israel. Second of all because their hypnotic music on the first album was really good. 

The band more or less continues down the same path on this album. The same hypnotic, purposeful type of krautrock again. They reminds me a bit of the house/ambient band The Faithless here. Not at least on the vocals delivery and some of the more ambient soundscapes. 

And Backnee Horn are sailing pretty close to that ambient whatever it is called scene throughout this ninety-six minutes long album. It is very ambient at times. But it still has a great deal of substance and contents. 

This album is not as good as the debut album. It is still a good album where half of it is really good. It is still a grower and I may value it higher in the years to come. Keep an eye on this band as I am pretty sure they have a great future.

3 points

Saturday, 22 November 2014

L'Ange Vert - Le Sang Des Hommes (1995)

I know next to nothing about this French band. But I guess this is their debut album. It is actually their debut album and the first of three albums.

This band plays an energetic form of folk rock. They have been compared to Gwendel a lot. Which is a good comparison. OK, to put it into my own words though.... The music here is lush folk rock. It both has influences from punk, French symphonic prog (Read: Ange) and celtic folk rock. 

The band is from Brittany and that area of France has a very strong celtic folk music tradition. You can include this band in that tradition although the band has mixed in a lot of rock into their folk music. The music is performed with flutes, guitars, bass, drums and some other acoustic instruments. Most of this album is indeed acoustic. Add some very good vocals to the mix too.

This album is hideous long, clocking in at well over an hour. But you get a great deal of value here. Almost a bargain if you love this type of music. 

And the music is good throughout. My only gripe is the lack of any great songs. The overall quality is good and the album is for sale at Amazon. I think it is a good purchase and well worth checking out.

3 points

Budgie - Impeckable (1978)

The sixth album from this Welsh power trio.

The band had gone through some pretty lows and highs up to this album. The high and lows was normally on the same album, only a few minutes apart. Listening to a Budgie album was like traversing the mountainous Welsh landscape with it's high peaks and deep valleys. 

Well, the band has this time around managed to deliver an album which is without these big hills and deep valleys. The whole forty-five minutes of it is without any cringe-worthy stuff. Bravo !

The sound is really great this time around too. The riffs is really good too. And best of all, there is no really bad ballads here. The band has chosen a more funky and mainstream brand of hard rocking boogie this time around. The vocals, guitars, bass and drums is sitting there, basking in some very good riffs. There is a big red thread on this album. No flippant songs. This is a good rocking album who is also looking back towards rockabilly too. 

There is no real great songs here though. It is still a good album from this band I am warming more and more towards. Investing some of my hard earned money was not such a waste of money after all...

3 points

Lagger Blues Machine - Tanit Live (1970)

The live album from this Belgium band and their first ever recording although it was released in 1992, twenty years after the release of their only studio album.

This band originated from the jamming jazz scene in Belgium and moved towards zeuhl on their studio album. In 1970, they created a lot of noise and jams with guitars, vocals, Hammond organs, saxophone, flutes, drums and bass. A lot of noise ! So much that the heavy rock genre was pretty close to their heart during that time.

The music sounds structured enough and their music is pretty good. The sound is pretty bad throughout this seventy odd minutes album. But we are able to hear what they are doing here. This album though is just a warm up before their studio album and a pretty decent one. My rating is a weak two pointer, a weak decent rating.

2 points

Makajodama - Makajodama (2009)

The first and so far only album from this Swedish combo who was an off-shot of Gosta Berlings Saga before they attracted new members and released this album.

The band's lineup is cello, violin, bass, flutes, guitars, drums and keyboards. That says something about this album. A wholly instrumental album, the whole hour this album lasts. 

Take a mix of King Crimson, Aranis and Univers Zero. That is the essence of this album. The cello, flutes, violins and (the often distorted) guitars is leading the melodies here and solos. The music is pretty laid back throughout with a lot of the Swedish folk music vibes too although these are not clearly pronounced throughout this album.

I am by no means a fan of instrumental albums and I have to admit that this album fails to excite me on all levels. There is no real good melodies here and the solos fails to ignite. This is an album which works as background music and nothing else. Put it in a shopping mall and it may excite people there in between the pastries and wine racks. It does not work in my humble abode. It is nevertheless a decent album.

2 points    

Marche La Void - The Origin of Non​ Entity (2012)

I always connect post-rock with the letter I. I stands for Iceland. I also stands for Indonesia..... but I do not connect post-rock with Indonesia ! But here is a post-rock band and album from Jakarta, Indonesia.

This is a Bandcamp album and a free download album from another link which you can find on the same Bandcamp page. The music here is pretty much middle of the road post-rock with a lot of ebbs and flows in the music. The music is pretty somber and depressed on this one hour long album. Some of the songs are very long too. 

The music is based on guitars, bass and drums. There are some sampled vocals and some keyboards too. The keyboards aspects is working very fine. The end result is a good post-rock album in the Sigur Ros vein and well worth the effort to get it. I am mildly impressed by this album although one hour in it's company is too much. In my case, many times x one hour. But check it out.

3 points 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Living Life - Let: From Experience To Experience (1975)

The debut album from this Italian band who went onto releasing a further one album before they split up.

No, this is not Italian prog rock. This is jazz. Some sort of jazz. Not like Area either. This is much more like Weather Report and Kraan. Though with some of the intensity of Soft Machine.

Take saxophone, flute, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and some vocals. Then you get this album. In addition to the influences listed above, there is also some Latin American influences here. In particular when the vocals breaks through this largely instrumental album.

To say that this is a varied album with many different styles is an understatement. I think it is too fractioned and too much coloured by a band who yet did not know what they wanted. This is another decent to good album. An album who partly works and who partly fails. Hence this rating.

2.5 points 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Blue Öyster Cult - The Revölution by Night (1983)

The ninth album from this US art rock band. 

The band entered a bit of a heavy metal phase in the middle of the 1980s. This album has some of the ills of this era too.

Their most prolific songwriter Albert Bouchard had just left the band. The band was left on their own devices and was seen scrambling for some pieces to release on this album. The album is a mix of hard rock, catchy poppy songs, AOR and some very hints of what this band had been in their previous incarnation.  

The title track and a couple of other tracks are fairly good. The rest is fairly decent stuff. This album suffers a great deal from the lack of any really worthy material. The material here is way below their usual standards. This is a decent to good album.

2.5 points 

Edison's Children - The Final Breath Before November (2013)

The second album from this super-duo of Eric Blackwood and Peter Trewevas. They have expanded to a super-trio on this album with the inclusion of Henry Rogers from Touchstone.

Those who loved their first album will also love this album. Let me put it that way. Edison's Children has always been about emotional charged neo-prog with some avant-garde and strange forays into vaudeville heavy metal. 

There is a lot of guitars, bass, drums and some keyboards here. The vocals are great. The guitar solos is very good too. Comparisons to Pink Floyd has to be made.

The melodies on this seventy minutes long album is mostly straight melancholic. The themes are perhaps overused during these seventy minutes. Or they are completed just in time. 

The end result is a great album which has a couple of dubious tracks in addition to some really superb tracks. The average is a great album and that is my rating.

4 points   

Monday, 17 November 2014

Merlin, Swara, Ilor & Friends - Cosmic Kraut Experience (1975)

The only album this band graced us human beings with.

As you may have gleaned from the album title; this is krautrock. The four band members comes from the whole world. But I guess Germany has a lot to answer for in this band. 

Style-wise, this album comes across as a mix of Amon Duul, Spanish flamenco, a bit drone and some raga-rock. Minimalism is the word I would use here on the music. Swara Samrat's not so good vocals is dominating this forty minutes long album.

To say that this album is a dreary affair is an understatement. The sound is not good and the music is so minimalistic that the listener falls asleep after some minutes. I like the Spanish influences here and that is saving the album from the turkey yard. Well, almost. This is indeed an awful album. Meet me at the Christmas dinner. 

1 point

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Moetar - Entropy Of The Century (2014)

The second album from this US band. A band recommended to me by the great writer Rafaella Berry from ProgArchives and the webzine So I got this album. And now, I have also ordered their first album too. 

Moetar is a new name to me. This album has been released through the Magna Carta label and the band is a six piece band. The setup is guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Female vocals by Moorea Dickason. She has a great voice and is to a large degree carrying this album. Both with her single vocals and multiple layered vocals. 

For her vocals to be great, she need some music to work on. And the music here is best described as modern retrospective American progressive rock. Retrospective because it is looking back the the 1930 and the genres back then. Vaudeville music, circus music and ragtime. The songs on this forty-five minutes long album is really quirky and off kilter. But that is progressive music for you and Moetar is progressive. I am not sure which century they are referring to in the album title. But that is another day, another mystery. 

Moorea Dickason's vocals is everywhere and it is fair to say that the music here is pretty much vocals based. That is good and well as I am not sure if their music is not that suited without her vocals guiding it through this quirky soundscape. The instrumental bits we find here is very good and the band is doing a great job.

There is no truly great songs here and that is my only gripe with this album. That aside, this is a very good album. I will give their debut album a piece of my mind too when I get it.

3.5 points  

Nu - Viejos Himnos Para Nuevos Guerreros (2011)

The 13th album from this Spanish band.

I have just heard & reviewed two of their albums. They have not left me much impressed and it is fairly fair to say that I will perhaps not review another Nu album again. The band comes across as too similar to Medina Azahara and Mago De Oz to really interest me.

We get folk rock with a lot of heavy metal influences and Spanish rock. They have been compared to Jethro Tull (= why I bought 3 albums) a lot. I cannot see why. Nu is very much based in the 1980s heavy metal scene. There are a lot of Skyclad references here. But the folk music they incorporate here is Spanish folk music and pop/rock.

There is too much heavy metal to really interest me here. I am by no means fan of 1980s heavy metal scene with the notable exception of Iron Maiden. When that is said, this album is a rather good album with violins and flutes in addition to the full heavy metal setup. The Spanish vocals are powerful and suits this music perfectly. That is the best I can say about this album which is not winning a new friend in me.

2 points 

Last Turion - Seduction Overdose (1996)

The second and final album from this German band. 

Their name gives me associations to speed and thrash metal. Well, at least to power metal. This not exactly what we get on this one hour long album.

What we get is a mix of neo-prog, rock and power metal. You get the full monty here with keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. Unfortunate, you also get overblown over the top emotional ballads and songs here. One of them even got a children choir. It is a totally disgusting song. 

The rest of the album could even send active fire and lava spewing volcanoes back to sleep. It is that boring/dull. The music is so bad and generic that it becomes a painful listen. The vocals is really annoying. Ditto for the lack of creativity. This my friends is what I call a turkey of an album. Avoid !

1 point   

Mathematicians - Irrational Numbers (1994)

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

Five years ago, I reviewed their 1996 album Factor Of Four in ProgArchives. An album I very much liked. Their brand of fusion mixed up with funk and prog rock is quite infectious and hard to dislike. 

Ditto for this album too. Behind a ghastly ugly art work (don't look at it), we find a good half an hour of bass, guitars, percussions and keyboards driven fusion. The sound is not great. The music is not particular great either. I cannot fail to notice that the bass is thumping around in the foreground and sometimes function as a solo instrument. Maybe this was the band leader.

There is nothing bad or great I can say about this album. It is a good fusion album which brings a smile to my face. It is not earth shattering great though. Check it out.

3 points 

Curved Air - North Star (2014)

Their eight album, released 24 years after their last album Lovechild and 44 years after their debut album Airconditioning. Their final payday ?

Wrong !! The phrase "final payday" means one lousy, half-baked album to milk the last dollars from a career. North Star is certainly not a "final payday" album. The band has been touring quite extensive and I guess touring means new ideas and new music. And there is nothing half baked about this album either. A very long album it is too. A double LP in the good old days.

Besides of a great version of the Beatles classic Across The Universe, the original stuff here sounds very vital too. Sonia Kristine's voice has her limits, 44 years after she debuted. That goes without saying. She is a smart, very smart vocalist/human being and sings within her limits. The rest of the band does a great job too.

North Star is also a fine return to the core of what most people would regard as the true classic Curved Air. A lot of jazzy and folky progressive rock with Sonia Kristine's vocals incorporated. Those who loves the first four classic Curved Air albums will find to their joy what this album is for them.

Well, you can add North Star to those four albums. There is no real great new songs here. Nevertheless, this is a very good album from a band who takes great, great pride in the Curved Air name and everything good this name stands for. The band is now touring and please make sure you catch them on this tour. Curved Air is very much alive and kicking.

3.5 points

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Metropolis - Metropolis (1974)

The only sign of life from this German band.

Listed in the krautrock genre on most prog websites, this album is certainly difficult to pin down/label. This six piece band use Hammond organ, guitars, drums, bass and multiple of female and male vocals. This on this forty minutes long album. The vocals are in English.

The band also use a multiple of genres here. Mostly west coast psychedelic rock in the vein of Jefferson Airplane. That band is a pretty good indicator of what this band is doing on this album. You can also add some space rock and a few minutes of avant-garde music here. 

My main gripe is the lack of any really good songs here. This is by all means a decent album. It leaves me cold though and that is not a good sign. A bit of a plus to the band when they sounds like a west coast band. That aside, there is not much to feel good about this album.

2 points 

Mahoujin - Babylonia Suite (1978)

The one and only album from this Japanese power trio.

Well, we are not talking hard rock here. We are not talking Rush copycat. Far from it. Their setup is exactly the same as ELP with a keyboardist, bassist and drummer. Though with Japanese names and a story nobody but themselves knows. There is not much info on this band.

Their music is in the same vein as ELP and the first Triumvirat albums. That is cascades of keyboards supported by bass and drums. Which frankly is not the most interesting music unless you are a keyboards freak. Which I am not. Not by any means. When that is said....

... This is quite an interesting and very enjoyable album. The band has made and recorded some good music on this thirty-six minutes long album. An album I really like. Well, in small dosages. Yes, the album is sometimes approaching airport/elevator music. But most of this album is very dynamic and has a spring in it's step. So much that it is, quality wise, not far off the standards set by Triumvirat and ELP. This is a good album and one recommended to the fans of those two bands.

3 points

Maryson - On Goes The Quest (1998)

The second and so far the final album from this Dutch band.

We are back in melodic prog land again. Some sort of neo-prog to be more precise. This band is the vehicle of William Maryson. He does the keyboards and vocals here. Thijs Van Leer from Focus is guesting as the flute player here too. The band itself is a five piece band with bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. A female vocalist is also guesting here in addition to Mr. Van Leer. 

This is a concept album about a master magician. Just as their debut album was a concept album about a master magician. There is a theme running here....

Unfortunate, the music here is not particular good. It is decent enough, though. The sound is thin and the music is going nowhere. To put it as simple as this: There is not much quality here. The guitar solos are good. The rest is not particular good. 

Nevertheless, I have heard far worse albums than this pretty dull album. In the big ocean of prog bands, this band is merely a sardine. This based on albums like this one.

2 points

Saga - 10 000 Days (2007)

The 18th album from this Canadian band.

Can you teach an old horse new tricks ? That is my immediate thoughts after some listening sessions spent on this album. Saga has always been rooted in this Human League and the British new romanticism movement which sprung up as a reaction to punk music. This was back in the early 1980s. The difference between that movement and Saga was that Saga's music was more heavy and punchy. They played pomp rock and released some hit and miss albums. 

Not so on this album. This is very much a Saga album, looking back towards their best albums from the early 1980s. But they have also gone progressive rock on this album. They have always been thereabout throughout their career. It was indeed Saga who introduced me to progressive rock and this band has a special place in my heart. Nevertheless..... Saga has never released a progressive rock album...... before this album, that is. 

The guitarist Jim Crichton gets a bit of a free reign here on many long and progressive sounding guitar solos. Saga has always been running a tight reign on solo excesses. Not on this album, though !
The solos is kind of getting too long here. This album still retain all the DNA's from Saga. That is both good and bad. There is no really great tracks here. 

That said, this is a very good album which has really entertained me and rekindled my desire for this band. Oh, they got a special place in my heart, indeed.

3.5 points

Friday, 14 November 2014

Mind Sky - Timewise (2005)

The debut album from this US band.

Symphonic prog can mean a lot to a lot of different people. The band and this album is listed in this category in some music websites. I am not sure if I agree.

Mind Sky is a no less than a seven piece strong band. That is two keyboards, one Chapman Stick player, one guitarist, one bassist, one drummer and one vocalist. Josh Gleason is the vocalist and he does a good job. 

The music is pretty dynamic and is leaning pretty heavy on AOR and neo-prog. The songs are pretty long so yes, this is a symphonic prog album. I have to give them that. The music is also pretty rich on details too. 

Unfortunate for me and others who has the chance to listen to this album, there is no really good songs here. The album is walking in well trodden footsteps of the greats in this music. It also has a very typical US sound. A very clean and radio friendly sound without having any songs a radio would play. This is one of those obscure US prog albums and will probably remains so too. It has no good songs, but is still rich on details. Hence my rating.

2.5 points 

Mother Gong - Best Of Mother Gong (1998)

The best of this Gong splinter group.

Mother Gong existed between 1979 and 1994. It was set up by Daevid Allen's wife Gilli Smyth and Hari Williamsen. Daevid Allen only appeared sporadic on their 11 albums and 3 live albums. Yes, they also played on the Glastonbury festival several times. The band is now a part of Gong again. That is all I know about Mother Gong. Let's say that the whole Gong family, who counts tens of people, was a very creative family who released many, many albums under many different names.

Mother Gong is pretty true to the psychedelic drop out jazz sound Gong is famous for. They stayed true to this formula during their fifteen years together. Gilli Smyth's vocals is everywhere and ditto for the quirky lyrics.

Everything depends on how much you like this band as this is a good summary of what they were up to. It is said to have the best songs from their best albums. This album is seventy-five minutes long and offers good value for money if this is your type of flying teapots. But get some of their albums too. 

3 points 

Moody Blues. The - To Our Children's Children's Children (1969)

Their fifth album and their final 1960s album.

The band released five albums between 1966 and the end of 1969. With the exception of their debut album, these albums are very good albums. Surprisingly great, in my view. The band took what The Beatles did on Sgt Peppers and took it further onto a much more progressive rock terrain. I think it is only fair to call this band one of the fathers of the prog rock genre.

This album though is a bit of a reverse trip back to the 1960s again. 1967 or thereabout. The music here is pretty naive pop rock songs with a very progressive twist. Yes, they played around with loops and tapes here. But who did not that in 1969 ? Most bands did. Inbetween the naive pop songs, there is a lot of instrumental songs here too.

There are some short songs here. The one minute long I Never Thought I Would Live To Be A Hundred. A very effective one minute and one of the highlights of the album. Actually, the best song on this album. Strangely enough.

I got the original forty minutes long album (there is also a 2 CDs version around with xtra tracks) and I really like this album. It is a quirky little album which in my cement this band's position as one of the greats in this scene. I wonder if they could maintain this standard in the 1970s..... I will soon find out.

3.5 points

Metamorfosi - E Fu IL Sesto Giorno (1972)

The debut album from this Italian band who went on to releasing a widely perceived masterpiece in the form of Inferno. That was their second album.

This is their debut album though and we meet a band in the middle of a transition from being a 1960s inspired psychedelic rock band to become an ELP/Le Orme inspired Italian symphonic prog band. The band had their legs in both camps on this almost forty minutes long album. 

The band used all the Italian prog instruments here. Flutes, Mellotron, Hammond organs, Moog, bass, guitars, drums and Italian vocals. The vocals are very good. Ditto for the sound which still retains the typical Italian prog sound from the 1970s. A great sound in my ears. The Italian folk rock sound is also very evident here.

There are some catchy songs here and some more psychedelic rock songs inbetween some symph prog work outs. The end result is a good album without any great songs. It is still an enjoyable album I really recommend to all fans of Italian prog rock. 

3 points 

Multi Story - East West (1985)

The debut album from this UK band who released two albums before they split up.

UK is the home of the neo-prog scene with bands like Pendragon and Marillion leading this scene. Behind them again, we have a lot of bands. Bands who did not really make it because of either lack of quality and/or the lack of label support. 

Multi Story is one of these bands in this jungle. A jungle who now sees a lot of re-releases. This album is not one of them. I picked it up in a second hand sales shop in Glasgow. Pennies well spent as this is not a bad album. We get 1980s neo-prog here in the more pop rock end of the scene. The vocals, bass, drums, guitars and keyboards are very light and there is not many symph prog influences here. This is verse-chorus-verse terrain.

The end result is a decent to good album which will forever remain an obscurity. That unless this world really goes mad. Which is not likely. For neo-prog fans only.

2.5 points

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mindgames - MMX (2010)

The third album from this Belgian band.

Since I have recently praised Brazil, let me also praise the good people of Belgium too. They have spawned a lot of very good progressive rock bands in all sub-genres.

Mindgames may or may not be one of those very good bands. I have not heard their previous two albims. I am not sure if the band is still around either. The band got a lot of attention after they released this album and I have been itching to get hold of a copy since 2010. Which I finally got this summer. 

Mindgames offers up one hour with pretty fine neo-prog on this album. We get keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and some very fine vocals here. The songs are very melodic and not that symphonic. This is very much a middle of the road neo-prog album which does not really excel when it comes to great songs. There are none of that here. There are some very good details scattered around. Nevertheless, this is fine addition to anyone's neo-prog collection and a good album.

3 points 

Montechiari Project - How Was the Future (2009)

The one and only album from this Brazilian band.

Brazil has given us a lot of varied music through the years. From black metal and grind-core to folk music and salsa. Within the progressive rock genre, Brazil has also given us a lot. This five piece band has put down roots somewhere between boyband pop music, AOR and symphonic prog.

Some of the songs here are boyband territory. The vocals are very much boyband territory. Most of the music here is AOR with some sporadic forays into symphonic prog too. 

The music has been performed with guitars, vocals, bass, drums and keyboards. No acoustic instruments who adds spices to this fifty minutes long album. A couple of good keyboards runs is the only interesting addition to an album which lacks good songs and quality. The music here is generic and bland. It is a decent album and I understand why this band did not really make hay with this album. It is recommended to those of you with insomnia though.

2 points

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Conqueror - Sprazzi Di Luce (2009)

This is a self-released EP from this Italian band as a thank you to their fans after two years of touring.

And it is a nice gift too. The three studio songs here are far more vocals orientated than the songs on their albums. Simona Rigano is a great vocalist so no problems with that. 

The music here is still Italian progressive rock in the more symphonic end of the spectrum. This EP is less symphonic than their albums though. 
The three studio tracks are all good with the title track being the best song here. The live track here is also pretty good although the sound is not as good as the studio tracks. 

This is a good, twenty minutes long EP which does not really comes across as a great release. Nevertheless, check it out.

3 points