Tuesday 31 March 2015

Røsenkreütz - Back To The Stars (2014)

The debut album from this Italian band.

This four piece band was put together with the purpose of making progressive rock with both a modern prog metal twist and a good old symph prog twist. That according to the press blurb on this album.

Well, so far the blurb. The bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and English vocals is a bit on the safe side. Ditto for the music too. Music who does not have much in common with good old Yes and Genesis.

What we get here instead is music somewhere between slick rock, pop, neo-prog and progressive metal. The sound is slick and so is the music. Verse-chorus-verse. That is the formula here. Some keyboards and guitar solos freshens things up a bit. But not by much.

The music is decent enough without really impressing me. Neither is any of the songs any good. This is a decent album where their version of I Am The Walrus is the only bright light in an ocean of tedious music. I seriously doubt I will ever listen to this one hour long album again.

2 points  

Sigma - Implemental View (1998)

The debut album and I believe the only album from this Brazilian band.

I know absolute nothing about this band. From what I hear in their music, the lineup is keyboards, guitars, xylophone, bass and drums. This is an instrumental album.

And it is also a symphonic prog album in the same vein as Camel. They are very like Camel from the late 1970s. Well, like Camel throughout their career, with the exception of their AOR stuff. 

Both their guitars and keyboards runs are pretty good on this one hour long album. The music is pretty pleasing on the air and not so taxing or even pleasing for the brain. It is by no means shopping mall music. Neither is the music in particular technical too. 

The end result is a decent to good album without any really good tracks. Fans of Camel should get this album. The rest of you...... maybe not. 

2.5 points 

Monday 30 March 2015

Worster. Martin - And Now... (2014)

The debut album from this Dutch singer and songwriter. He plays guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and synths on this album. Henk Van Wijk does the saxophones.

The music here is pretty much downtuned singer songwriter music. Not exactly Bob Dylan, but a bit more melodic than that. The dominating instrument is the vocals and the guitars. The other instruments pipes in on a regular basis.

I am not entirely sure why I bought this album and why it is here. It was tagged "progressive rock" and I am a sucker for progressive rock. Sometimes, that tag comes with a rat trap included and my nose is a bit sore right now after the rat trap bloodied my nose.

The music is not really bad. It is just that it is dull and uneventful. It is also following a well trodden path and it does not really offers up anything new. This is barely a decent album and that is it.

2 points

Warhorse - Red Sea (1972)

The second and final album from this Nick Simper (ex Deep Purple) fronted British band.

I very much liked their first self titled album from 1970. Really good hard rock with a lot of prog rock incorporated. 

The follow up, this album, is very much in the same vein. Deep Purple meets Vanilla Fudge and The Nice. The sound is early 1970s and the band has taken a lot from the stadium rock acts from that time. The one that toured USA from coast to coast. This album sounds like a stadium rock album. 

Ashley Holt is great on vocals and he is backed up by bass, drums, guitars and a Hammond organ. I very much like the Hammond organ sound and I like this sound. It is a driving sound which takes no prisoners.

Yes, the band sounds very much like Deep Purple. They still got their own sound. And the songs are good too. I like this type of music, I have to admit. This is a very good album.

3.5 points

Sunday 29 March 2015

Crack - Si Todo Hiciera Crack (1979)

The one and only album from this Spanish band. It is also widely regarded as one of the best ever Spanish albums. 

That is one of the best ever Spanish prog rock albums, that is. I am not sure what Spain has given other music genres though. They are pretty good on death metal and jazz too. So far, that is all I know.

Crack was a five piece band with a lineup of mellotrons, keyboards, flutes, guitars, bass, drums and Spanish vocals. A very effective lineup.

The music is symphonic prog with a lot of early Genesis influences and some Jethro Tull influences. But mostly Genesis and a lot of Italian symphonic prog influences. The music is on the pastoral side and somewhat dramatic. But mostly pastoral. Crack very much created their own sound and music here. I guess other bands has copied them. 

This forty minutes long album offers up some very good mellotron, guitars and vocals. The rest of the instruments are good too. The end result is a very good album which I do not rate as highly as most others has rated this album. This album does not have the great songs I am looking for. It is still worth purchasing.

3.5 points

Mostly Autumn - Dressed in Voices (2014)

The eleventh album from this British band. 

Their previous ten albums has been a mixed bag, to say at least. The band has followed their formula of Keltic rock tinged commercial prog rock with excellent female vocals. First with Heather Findlay and now with Olivia Sparnenn. Bryan Josh does all the male vocals while Ann-Marie Helder (Panic Room) does some backing vocals.


There has been some lineup changes since the Diamond album. That is normal in Mostly Autumn who has never had a stable lineup. Fair enough as the concept has been set in stone long time ago.

Mostly Autumn fans, and I am slowly becoming one, get what they are used to here. Excellent vocals over some dramatic songs and some ballads. They are never gothic and they are never keltic rock enough to be put in any camp. They have got their own style, deeply rooted in the apple orchards in the west counties of England. 

Dressed In Voices is a very good album with a couple of very good songs and all around a great listening experience. This is quite a heavy album too with some heavy organs/keyboards and guitars. The music is always a pleasure and this album is one very good album. It is recommended.

3.5 points   

Waste Lagoon - Shadow Chaser (2001)

The one and only album from this Norwegian band.

Waste Lagoon was a four piece band from Bergen, Norway's second largest city and a city who has spawned a lot of great bands. Most of the Norwegian black metal scene was from Bergen. 

Waste Lagoon played progressive metal though and their lineup was bass, vocals, drums and guitars. Their music were not the heaviest prog metal around. I would call them a crossover between neo-prog and prog metal. 

There is not much all out thunder and lightening here. Neither is the band high on majestic, symphonic songs. This although they have taken a lot from Yes and in particular; Rush. Their Rush influences are pretty obvious and comes as frequent as rain-showers in Bergen. 

It is a shame that the quality of the material here is not that great. I am not a prog metal lover and avoids this genre as much as I try to avoid getting rabies. This album has some good stuff though. Hence my rating.

2.5 points 

Saturday 28 March 2015

Flea - Topi O Uomini (1972)

The second album from this Italian band. 

Their debut album were a 1960s beat album from what I have heard others say about it. So this album comes as a bit of a surprise.

Flea were a four piece band with guitars, bass, harmonica, keyboards, drums and Italian vocals. The music here is pretty heavy and blues based. It is also a Italian progressive rock album too. That although on the more bluesy, heavy side of the scene.

The sound quality is pretty good throughout. The band makes a lot of noise on this album. They still have some really good vocals, vocal harmonies and some good hooks throughout this thirty-six minutes long album.

There is no really good songs here and I am not particular impressed with this album. Nevertheless, this is a decent to good album.

2.5 points

Woolgather - Programmes Vol II The Reality Principle (2011)

The second and so far latest album from this US band. 

I was not a fan of their first album. A too much metal dominated album. So I was inclined to not review this album. I am glad I did. The listening sessions with this album has not been too bad.

The band is still gravitating towards post-rock and some stoner rock on this album. The vocals is in the Eddie Vedder mould. The guitars are pretty much chugging along although they have been moderated a lot. There are some good guitar harmonies here too. The bass and drums is also working hard here. There are some sparse, but very effective piano, cello and keyboards here too.

The album is the moderate and big enough mouthful forty minutes long. It is a well balanced album and one I quite like. The vocals are good and the songs are also pretty good. 

I am therefore awarding it a weak good award. 

3 points

Friday 27 March 2015

Trees - The Garden Of Jane Delawney (1970)

The first of two albums from this English band. Both of them released in 1970. Curiously enough. 

Trees was a five piece band with female vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. The music here is folk rock with some psychedelic rock and flower power influences. 

Trees was pretty much slaughtered by the press for being a Fairport Convention ripoff back in 1970. I have to admit they got a point. Trees did not have Richard Thompsen and Sandy Denny though, although the vocals here are very good. So is the guitars too. 

The music is also very much more traditional folk rock than Fairport Convention was back in those days. This may be down to the band's limited abilities. Not that they were bad musicians. It is just that they were not brilliant musicians. 

The Garden Of Jane Delawney is still a forty-five minutes good album. It is a bit too pedestrian during the first two songs. But it does open up a lot during the final twenty minutes with some good folky psychedelic rock.

This is a good album and one folk rock fans must check out.

3 points 

Thursday 26 March 2015

Hansson. Bo - Attic Thoughts (1975)

The fifth album from this Swedish musician and composer. He released nine albums in total and this is very much the halfway point in his career.

Bo Hansson does all the tangents here and has enlisted around ten other musicians to do other instruments. Mostly woodwinds in addition to bass, drums and some guitars. There is no vocals here.

The music Bo does is not easy to grasp. At least not on this album. There is a lot of symph prog, classical music, Swedish folk music, new-age and jazz here. That and some avant-garde music. Both jazz and rock. 

Bo plays his tangents very competently and the sound is very good. There is a lot of influences here. What this album is missing is some really good music. There is none as far as I am concerned. This forty-three minutes long album is plodding along without really making me happy. It is kind of Jean Michel Jarre without the inspirations. This album is not for me.

2 points

Year One - Year One (1971)

A one off album from this US band who broke up just after the release of this album.

Year One was the remnants of the US band Fantasy who released a self titled album in 1970. A pretty successful album too. So they broke up and Year One was formed. 

Year One was a four piece on this album. The lineup was guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. When it comes to diversity, this album probably takes the biscuit as the most diverse album I have ever heard. In a matter off sixty-four minutes, this album features funk, folk rock, fusion, country, symph prog, AOR, rock, stadium rock and hard rock. It is like listening to an album sampler from the likes of RCA, Atlantic or EMI. 

This is off course it's biggest weakness. It is too diverse by many, many miles. OK, it is a double album, four LP sides. Still, large parts of this album is cringe worthy.

Then again, large parts of this album is pretty good too. Hence, I am rating this as a decent album. But be forewarned. This is not an easy listening album.

2 points 

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Iraklis - I Stigmi (1984)

The third and final album from this Greek band. 

I have to say I have not been particular impressed by this band up to now. The band is at least now a six piece band and they have adopted a much more psychedelic rock sound than on the previous two albums. 

The exotic Greek instruments has also been dropped. Mandolin, fife, banjo and violins is the only none standard instruments here. To those instruments, add keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. That is both female and male vocals in their mother tongue. 

The psychedelic vibe here also gets some support by their penchant of going down the folk music route. A very effective mix.

Effective if they also had included some good songs here. There are none. This is still a decent to good thirty-five minutes long album. It is well worth checking out.

2.5 points   

Wigwam - Fairyport (1971)

The third album from this Finnish band. The band released ten albums, the last one in 2005, before they gave up their career as recording artists. I know next to nothing about this band so please prove me wrong.

Their first album was a bit of a raunchy rocker. Fairyport is not ! The band was lead by Jukka Gustavson now and he enlisted a lot of the best musicians in Finland for this one hour long album. There is a lot of woodwinds here in addition to his own piano, organs and vocals. We also get guitars, harmonica, bass and drums here.

Jukka's vocals is very similar to Peter Gabriel's vocals. Some songs here are very Genesis like. Other songs are much more organs dominated and some others are more leaning towards folk and jazz. This album is though a symphonic prog album in my view.

The music here is very good throughout. The songs are solid and really worth the purchase price. It is an album I really like.

3.5 points 

Aquanaut - Golden (2010)

The second and so far last album from this Australian band.

I quite liked their previous album The Psychonaut from 2009. Good space and psychedelic rock in the good old tradition from the 1970s.

That was the US and English/Welsh space rock tradition. The band has evolved over the 12 months between the albums and have moved their interest to Germany. The album is very much in the krautrock vein. 

Modern krautrock, that is. Neo-kraut, perhaps. Some heavy metal influences has been retained. German heavy metal, that is. The band is now a four piece with keyboards, samples, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. The guys does their stuff pretty good. 

My main gripe is the lack of any really good songs here. The album is huffing and puffing throughout these fifty-two minutes without really getting into full bloom. The other gripe I have got is those Germany heavy metal influences. I cannot stand German heavy metal and I am getting plenty of that here. Not good !

This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points 

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Yatha Sidhra - A Meditation Mass (1974)

My house/blog is full of one albums only bands (albums, that is...) and this is one of them. This band comes from Germany and they played krautrock.

What happened here was that Achim Reichel became so impressed by a jam from a heavy metal band Brontosaurus that he offered them a record if they, for that album, changed their name to Yatha Sidhra. A change of musical direction also followed.

The new musical direction was cosmic krautrock. Very much in the vein of Achim Reichel's own band/project A.R & Machines. But not quite so electronic. 

Actually, there is a great organic sound on this album. Mostly due to the enchanting flutes which carries some of the melodies forward. There is also a lot of bass, moog, percussions, drums and guitars here. The band was a four piece band, btw. 

This forty minutes long album, which contains the title track divided on four pieces, have some very good stuff indeed. There are also some not so good stuff here. It is a cosmic krautrock album I really like and will enjoy again sometimes in the future too. It is a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points 

Moody Blues. The - Long Distance Voyager (1981)

The tenth album from this classical UK prog band. 

My fellow reviewers around the globe has hailed this as the final hooray from this great band. The band released six more albums. All of the mediocre of these reviewers are to be believed. I will soon review some of them myself.

Justin Hayward is still behind the microphone and has got help from the ex Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz, John Lodge, Graeme Edge and Ray Thomas. Those and The New World Philharmonic Orchestra. 

The result is a pretty poppy album with a lot of soft strings arrangements, soft vocals and soft music. Very much like 1981 and in the same style as the cover artwork. The music is reasonable progressive with some interesting details. 

I am not fully signed up to the brigade who says this is a good to very good album. It is too soft and too wishy washy for my liking. Too much strings and not enough substance. Hence my verdict here.

2.5 points 

Monday 23 March 2015

Window - The Empyreal Ballet (1978)

A one of album from a pretty obscure US band.

US symphonic prog was very special even back in the 1970s with a pretty much all around different sound than their British counterparts. This album is a very good example.

The core element of this band is a four piece with piano, vocals, bass, guitars and drums. Add twenty more guest musicians and instruments. Mostly of them pretty much classical instruments and lots of more vocals. 

The music is a mix of theater music, jazz, vaudeville rock, symphonic prog and pomp rock. The music is to put it mildly very varied. It still got this theater and musicals feeling. Maybe this is a musical. I don't know. 

The end result is a bewildering but still a good album with a lot of very good ideas which has not been carried out as well as I wished they had been. This is a one off album in every sense of the word and well worth checking out.

3 points 

Samadhi - Samadhi (1974)

A short lived Italian band with it's one and only album.

Samadhi grew out of the Italian bands Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno, I Teorimi, Kaleidon and L'Uovo Di Colombo. All of them with albums releases. Samadhi was what we can call a super group.

All of these bands played pretty complex music. That is not what we can say about this seven piece band. The lineup was Italian vocals, piano, woodwinds, guitars, bass, percussion, drums and keyboards. 

That normally means a pretty big sound and some lively music. And yes, there are plenty of life here. The music though is a mix of Italian progressive rock and Italian pop music. Very simplified, but also pretty big at times. The sound is very big at times with plenty of big feelings and pathos throughout this thirty-five minutes long album. 

The end result is a good album with no great songs. It is still an interesting album, well worth checking out.

3 points   

Sunday 22 March 2015

Kaipa - Mindrevolutions (2005)

The eight album from this Swedish band and the third album after the band was reborn again. 

The band is still a six piece band and it includes the likes of Stolt, Reingold, Agren, Lundstrom, Lundin and the female vocalist Aleena. The lineup is keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Everything is as they should be in Kaipa.

This is a very long album, seventy-nine minutes long. I do feel that the band is on an overkill journey on both this album and their previous album. What was once a fresh breeze is now a bit of a stagnant air. 

There is no real sparkle on this album. No real exploding rockets and interesting details. It is a bit of a run of the mill, this album. If I am not mistaken, it was also their final album with Roine Stolt and maybe that is where the problem is. The follow up album Angling Feelings was a bit better than this album.

In short; Kaipa had become a bit stale on this album. Nevertheless; this is a good album and a very nice addition to any Kaipa collection. I did expect a better album than this one, though. 

3 points

Silhouette - Beyond the Seventh Wave (2014)

The fourth album from this Dutch neo-prog band. One of the best Dutch bands in this genre.

The expectations to this album had been raised sky high after their previous two albums. This five piece band has really impressed me. It goes without saying that my pulse rate was raised a lot when I got this album.

The lineup is still dominantly keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals is great as always. Ditto for most of the instruments.

I cannot remember this band doing instrumentals before. But there are some on this album. Both long pieces and short ones. This in addition to the usual Silhouette fare of intelligent neo-prog melodies and songs. I am surprised. The album art work also surprised me a lot. It seems cheap and a cheapening of the Silhouette brand. 

The songs here are not as bad as I expected, based on the cover art-work. A lot of the songs are very sugary sweet though, bordering to too sweet and sugar overdoses. But.... my main gripe is the lack of any really great songs here. All the guitar and keyboards solos is great. Ditto for the vocals. Nevertheless; this album is one step back for this band. I both hope and believe the band will recover from this album.

3 points

Caravan - Paradise Filter (2013)

The thirteenth album from this English band. 

Of this once so great band, only Pye Hastings and Jan Schelhaas is left from the good old days. They are joined by four other musicians. The lineup is keyboards, vocals, viola, drums, guitars, bass and banjo. 

Gone is the great, groundbreaking music from the 1970s. They are replaced by pop rock with some folk and Americana. A bit lazy music in my view and not particular taxing on my head. 

To my surprise, this album still got a great deal of the Caravan DNA incorporated. Although the music is on the surface very much radio friendly, scratch a bit on the surface and what comes across is a Caravan album.

There are no good songs here and I will probably never play this album again after these listening sessions. Nevertheless, this is a decent to good album who takes the band on the road where fans want to hear anything but this album. And the band plays on and delivers the goods. Respect !!!

2.5 points     

Gravy Train - Second Birth (1973)

The third album from this British band.

I quite liked their second album (and I have just ordered their debut album). Nice hard prog in the good old British tradition. 

The album title refers to them leaving Vertigo Records and going their own way on a new label with a lot of new inspirations. And there is indeed a lot of news here compared to their second album A Ballad Of A Peaceful Man. The band had got new life indeed. But perhaps not the kind of life everyone like.

The sound has become a lot harder and rawer. It has also some influences as diverse as Neil Young and the US hard rock scene. Two very different styles incorporated into this album. You will find a lot of flutes, guitars, bass, drums and vocals here. There are also some more sporadic saxophones and keyboards here.

The result is a pretty raw and hard rocking album. The result is also an album with only one good song; the very much Neil Young inspired/rip off September Morning News. That is a ballad, btw. The rest of the songs has some good ideas and that's it.

The end result is a decent to good album. No less and no more.

2.5 points  

Saturday 21 March 2015

Fields - Fields (1971)

A British power trio with musicians from King Crimson and Rare Bird with a one off album.

Well, another shelved album has just been released through Esoteric. That was meant to be their second album, but their record label dropped the band and this album. The band is no more.

Fields is a forty minutes long album. The lineup is mellotron, organs, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. I have seen the music has been described as heavy prog. I am not so sure about that. The music is much more a mishmash of everything. 

Everything here goes from classical music, symphonic prog, rock'n'roll, eclectic prog, folk rock and heavy prog. The band goes through it all and changes directions a lot during this album. Which is not a bad thing. 

This album is an arch-typical British album from 1971, the year of excess all areas. Excesses also taken into albums like this. 

The result is a mishmash of various ideas which is not always fully developed into a finished product. The instruments are everywhere and the listener gets bombarded with opposing themes all the time.

The end result though is a good album. A good and a very charming album. Sadly, their only album. This band had great potential, never to be fulfilled. Sad.

3 points    

Yesterdays - Holdfénykert (2006)

The debut album from this Romanian/Hungarian band. An album re-released last year with a new cover and booklet. I believe without a remix or re-mastering. 

Both the mix and the mastering is excellent on the 2006 version and there is no need to fix something that is not broken. 

The band is listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives. And with good reason too. Their music is not Yes/Genesis copycats though. Their music is much more flowery and down the folk rock alley than just clinical symphonic prog.

Most of this is due to the mix of female vocals, Romanian vocals (or is it Hungarian ?), moog, melotrons, some guitars, bass, flutes, piano and drums.... and I have probably forgotten an instrument or two here. My point is that the sound and music is like a flower bouquet. And the amount of colours and smells is almost bewildering here.

The songs are good too. There is no killer tracks on this almost one hour long album. It is an album I am pretty sure will be loved by those who purchase the new version. Do it.

3 points 

... The review of your album is no longer here ? Introducing the blog for older reviews..

.... So you cannot find the review of your album I posted some years ago ? Why have I removed it ?

Well, I have not removed it. The problem with this blog is that only the last 2000 albums is indexed in the Alphabetical List of album. Old reviews is still listed in Blog Archives though. But that is not a good solution. 

This is why I have set up a new blog for the old reviews which has fallen out of the max 2000 reviews in the Alphabetical List on this blog.

I will copy over all the 2012 and the 2013 reviews to that blog whenever I got time. The blog will have 2000 reviews at the end too while I am still updating this blog with more new reviews.

The name of this blog is 

The Sound Of Fighting Kittens

The url is http://thesoundoffightingkittens.blogspot.co.uk

A link to this blog is....


Scotland March 2015

Nice Beaver - The Time It Takes (2015)

The third album from this Dutch band.

This four piece band is one of the core members of the Dutch neo-prog rock scene. The bassist here also plays in Leap Day and I also believe the other members are involved in other projects and bands.

They released their debut album On Dry Land thirteen years ago and their second album Oregon eleven years ago. It has taken eleven years to come up with this album and I thought the band was long gone until I got this album through my letterbox. 

The linup is the usual vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards and drums. The sound is pretty traditional neo-prog sound.

Ditto for the music too. Neo-prog with some symph prog, fusion and prog metal influences. The music is very melodic, yet pretty edgy too. This album is fifty-five minutes long and offers up some really great details along the way.

The guitars and the vocals is great. The music is not as great.... but it is still a very good album from a band who deserves a lot more attention. Both based on this album and the Oregon album released in 2004. I really like this album and the band's interest in beavers. 

3.5 points  

Whitewater - The Sound of a Galaxy Smashing (2013)

The debut album from this British duo which handles a multitude of instruments. Their names is Paul Powel and Stuart Stephens. Their instruments are bass, guitars, drums, keyboards and some vocals. 

Both members are not boyband material and I guess they have been tinkering for many, many years before they came up with this cooperation and album. Which is a great thing to do. Tinkering is good. 

The sound is not the best here and the music is in the David Gilmour era Pink Floyd mode. That and a lot of ambient stuff. The emphasis is on creating moods and ambience here on this fifty-five minutes long album. There is a lot of samples here and some passages with spoken words.

The main focus here is the guitar though. The guitar playing is meandering from ambient acoustic to full on chugging all out assault. Both without making much headway.

The end result is not really hitting the target, I am afraid to report. The music is far too pedestrian and is lacking some good tunes and themes. It is a debut album and it gives scope for improvements. They released another one in 2014 and I hope that is a much better album. This album is merely a decent album.

2 points

Thursday 19 March 2015

Soft Eject - Nine Mountains Away (2003)

The sixth album from this band from Georgia.

Yes, this band is from the ex Soviet Union republic Georgia. It is not a country you would think was a hotbed for music. But it is as much as every country is a hotbed for music. 

Soft Eject is a national institution, indeed a national treasure in Georgia. And I understand why when listening to this album.

The music here is labeled progressive folk music. I wholly agree with that. The first band that springs to my mind when listening to this album is the Dutch band Flairck. And with good reasons. 

The music here is wholly performed with acoustic, local instruments. It is also a wholly instrumental album, sixty-seven minutes long as it is. Flutes is driving the music forward with some help of brass, bass and some percussions. The tunes and tracks here are actually very good. Ditto for the musicianship of the band. 

This album is a bit of a rarity in this blog and in my world. I really like what I hear on this very good album and would fully recommend it. Get it.

3.5 points 

Xanadu - Follow the Instinct (2014)

The second album from this Polish band.

Naming their band after one of the alltime great Rush songs, I have always had faith in this band. I like their Riverside influenced debut album a lot. 

Xanadu is a five piece and the lineup is keyboards, drums, vocals, bass and lots of guitars. The sound is brooding dark. The guitars is both chugging and half-acoustic. There is no real guitar solos here.

I guess the right label is modern hard prog. The music is very much progressive. But not in the 1970s vein of prog rock. This is very much a modern album.

And it is a good album too. The last half of this fifty minutes long album is the best part of this album with it's majestic melody lines. The first half of this album is more or less a bit one dimensional and brooding darkness for the sake of brooding darkness. 

This band has a lot going for them and I hope they will continue their voyage down this path. 

3 points 

Werwolf - Mystic Land (2014)

The second album from this five piece German band.

The far from good art work kind does not give me much faith in this album. Unfortunate, I am not wrong. A bad artwork sometimes gives the game away.

The lineup here is keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, flutes and both male & female vocals. Most female vocals. 

The music is a kind of a gothic folk music. Folk music in the German way with some attempted opera singing. Attempted because the vocals here is not particular good. The rest of the instruments also feels a bit cheap and not competently played. The music has this plastic fantastic feel.

The sound is a cheap and the music feels very much like a cheap German album. The guitar sound is also in particular bad. 

The result is an album which is just about a turkey. A couple of decent songs saves it from joining the rest of the turkeys in my turkey farm. This album is best avoided unless you like cheap and not so cheerful German gothic folk music.

1.5 points

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Aquanaut - The Psychonaut (2009)

The debut album and first of two albums from this Australian band. It is also the follow up to the Taste Maker Suite EP released the year before. 

This Aussie five piece has the all too familiar keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and male vocals lineup. The sound is good. It is also very grungy.

Their music has been described as Hawkwind meets The Mars Volta. I don't know because I am not that familiar with those two bands. The music is grungy psychedelic rock. That I know. The vocals is in the Eddie Vedder area. The guitars are sometime pretty chugging and aggressive. 

There is a Black Sabbath and early 1970s hard rock feel over the music too, the full forty-five minutes of this album. 

The music is not too bad. What is missing is any really great songs here. Even some good songs would not have gone amiss here.   

This is a decent to good album where the band show some promise. I will keep an eye out for them.

2.5 points 

Monday 16 March 2015

Warhorse - Warhorse (1970)

The debut album from this British band. A band set up by and focused around Nick Simper, ex Deep Purple. This five piece released one more album before they finally split up.

The lineup is keyboards, Hammond organ, piano, bass, guitars, drums and vocals. To start with the vocals, they are very good and I understand why the vocalist Ashley Holt later played with Rick Wakeman as his vocalist. 

Nick Simper too does a very good job here. He had a lot of label backing behind his Warhorse too. The rest of the band is good too.

It would not come as a surprise to learn that the music here is pretty heavy. Not heavy as in heavy metal. The music is a mix of psychedelic rock, blues and hard rock. Good references here are the likes of Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple. 

The end result is a good album which has survived the test of time to a great degree. Those into Deep Purple should very much get this album. But I also like this album.

3 points   

Sunday 15 March 2015

Zion - The Three Hands (2007)

The debut album from this Italian band.

To label it as an album is perhaps going a bit too far. This album is only twenty-five minutes long. EP, I think we will label this as.

Zion is a four piece band with a moog, piano, English vocals, guitars, bass and drums lineup. Nothing really extraordinary here. The three songs here is called Hand Of Instinct, Hand Of Reason and The Third Hand. Hence, it is a concept album about....... well, hands or something like that. I guess this is a metaphor. A deep one too. 

The music here is middle of the road neo-prog with some jazz, space and heavy prog influences. The music is enough interesting in making me interested in the band and their brand new album which I will now purchase. This band has some X factor here, the undefined xtra thing. Hence this somewhat weak good rating. 

3 points  

Nuova Era - Dopo L'infinito (1989)

The second album from this Italian band.

I very much liked their debut album and purchased their other albums based on that. A very good investment, I believe.

The band continues on from their debut album. Very strong retro Italian symphonic prog (RPI) with very good vocals, mellotron, guitars, bass and drums. Very colourful music too.

The music is more in the direction of Banco and Le Orme than other bands. Their use of classical music themes are very effective. The album is two long suites, the title track and Planeta Transperante, divided on many different parts. Both suites are really great although Planeta Transperante is my favourite here.

The end result is a forty-five minutes long album. A great album it is too and puts this band among the best RPI bands in the scene. A truly lovely album with great music.

4 points

Spring - Spring (1971)

The first of in total two albums from this English band.

This band was a five piece band with no less than three mellotron players. That in addition to bass, vocals, guitars, drums, piano and organ. So this is a symphonic prog album then ?

Not quite.........

The basis here is folk rock. There is a strong guitars presence here and the vocals is very much in the folk rock vein. 

I would still not label this as a folk rock album. The cascades of mellotron gives it a symph prog feel too. 60 % of this album is still folk rock. The rest is symph prog. 

The songs on this forty minutes long album is very good throughout. This album has been labeled as a hidden gem and it certainly is that. It very much combines the best of folk and symph prog. Check it out.

3.5 points   

Oneira. The - Hyperconscious (2014)

The second album from this multi-national Italian based project.

I reviewed their debut album back in 2012 and rated it as a good album. On this, their new album, they are a six piece band with a core of three members and three guest musicians. The lineup is keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. English vocals done by several vocalists.

That give strong hints about neo-prog. I would actually label this as an art-rock album. There are strong elements of prog metal, neo-prog, eclectic prog and mainstream rock here. There are more than a whiff of Rush throughout this album. I would also add King's X here. You can also add Transatlantic here. 

This album is both very technical and melodic at the same time. Melodic progressive rock in other words. 

The end result is a good album as it does not really have any killer tracks. A good album with a lot of interesting details. It is a feel-good album and very much one I like.

3 points 

Streetmark - Nordland (1976)

The debut album from this German band. A band who went on to release in total five studio albums although their third studio album was in essential the same as their second studio album. No, I don't understand this either. 

Streetmark was a very obscure band, mostly known as the band where the brutally murdered (by two drunks one night) Wolfgang Riechmann played. 

Streetmark was a five piece band with keyboards, guitars, drums, bass and vocals. The vocalist Georg Buschmann gained notoriety because of the supposed bad vocals on this album. Well, they are not great. They are actually pretty bad. But he and his vocals does not fully deserve this notoriety. 

What is really bad though is their mangling of the Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby. They have got that song totally wrong. This is by far the worst version of this song I have ever heard.

Besides of that, this album offers up some pretty standard late 1960s and early 1970s German rock. A bit krautrock, but the music is too dull to be labeled krautrock. There is some symph prog, jazz and blues in their music. 

The classical piece Italian Concert In Rock is a good, but far too short track. The rest of the album is a mix of dire and decent music. Streetmark was/is an obscure band for good reasons. They were simply not good enough.

2 points 

Saturday 14 March 2015

Zoo - Zoo (1973)

The one and only album from this Dutch band. One of many bands who released one album and then disappeared without a trace.

Zoo was a four piece band with English vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. The bass player was Bert Veldkamp, the Kayak bass player. To a certain extent, Zoo was a pre-Kayak band.

The music on this thirty five minutes long album is a mix of 1970s rock, symph prog, west coast rock, Eagles, The Beatles and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

The songs are not particular long and the emphasis is on verse-chorus-verse here. Pretty standard stuff. There is a The Beatles medley here which is pretty poor. Pretty poor because they runs through the songs without much respect for them. Desecration, this is called. 

Their own self written original songs comes across as a bit better. There is no real good songs here and I cannot say Zoo is much missed in the scene. Their demise in 1974 was OK in my view. 

This is not a turkey kind of album. It has some good details and it is a decent album. The vocals is the best thing about this decent album though.

2 points    

Vertical Alignments - Signposts (2006)

The one and only album from this US based project with Ajalon, Salem Hill and Glass Hammer members. 

This is a Christian symphonic prog project with Christian themed lyrics on the top of US symphonic prog. References are Kansas and the three above mentioned bands. The amount of musicians on this album is both staggering and impressive. 

The main instruments here are vocals, keyboards, bass, drums and guitars. With the exception of mandolin on one of the songs, there is no other instruments than those listed above. A lot of people chips in with their little or large contributions.

The music is US symphonic prog. No less and no more. The music is really slick with slick Christian lyrics and a slick production. The vocals are also slick and ditto for the keyboards and guitars.

This means a sugar sweet album. And it is indeed that. Too sugary sweet for my liking. My other gripe is the lack of any really good songs here. This is a decent enough album and that's it. I can understand why it was a one of album. If you are really missing albums like this, try one of Neal Morse's albums. Or you can buy this album.

2 points

Iraklis - Pezis Me Tis Mihanes (1981)

The second album from this Greek band. 

I pretty much liked their debut album Se Allous Kosmous from 1976. A pretty good folk rock album with some psychedelic rock. 

The band were back again in the recording studio again and released this album. The band were a five piece band here with a harmonica, Greek vocals, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, violin, guitars, bass and drums lineup. A folk rock line up in other words.

This forty minutes long album has a pretty good sound. The band has shed some of the psychedelic rock sound and gone for a much more blend of folk music and rock. The music is much more rock than folk music, though. It is a much more commercial album which would appeal to the record buying Greek population. This is a mainstream Greek rock album.

The result is a decent album. It has some cringe worthy stuff and some rather good stuff. The vocals are pretty good and ditto for the musicians. There is not much interesting details. Some of the songs are very simplified and well into silliness and teenybopper rock music. 

But check out this album if this appeals to you.

2 points 

Woolgather - Programmes Vol. I: The Pleasure Principle (2009)

The debut album from this US band.

I picked up this album because it was described as crossover prog in ProgArchives. I did not for a second believe that meant what I got here. But crossover prog can also mean the likes of this album. Point taken and some mental notes taken down. 

Woolgather is a four piece band with keyboards, vocals, guitars, drums and bass. Nothing really fancy. Their music is a bit more fancy though.

I am not really into this modern rock and metal scene. This band has one foot in each camp. Take a lot of grunge and add some modern rock and metal to the mix. Also add a lot of prog metal too and that has given them an inclusion in ProgArchives. A well deserved inclusion in my view.

The music here is both emotional and pretty depressive too. It got a lot of piano and vocals in addition to a wall of chugging guitars. This sounds pretty nice.

However; there is no really good tracks here. This album trudges on into the sunset without really taking off into the sky. Hence my rating of this album. A debut album from a band with a lot of promise.

2.5 points

Xensez - Collage (2014)

The debut album from this Peru based guitarist. I don't know his full name as it does not feature on his Bandcamp page.

I am by no means a fan of guitar based instrumental rock. I find this music downright boring. Xensez does guitar based instrumental rock with some blues and prog influences. A good reference is a less proggy version of Camel. 

Where Camel (mostly) always came up with some good tracks, this album does not. The lineup here is guitars, bass, drums and some keyboards. That is all and it all sounds generic to say at least. I do not for a second doubt the sincerity of this man behind this album. I don't doubt he is an honest man. 

My problem with this album is that it is so bland....... traveling down so well trodden tracks. When that is said; this is not a horrible album. It is a very good investment for those who likes this kind of music. I don't. Nevertheless; this album is decent throughout. It can be purchased from here.

2 points  

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Canto di primavera (1979)

The ninth album from these Italian legends.

Their previous album De Terra was a wholly classical music album. Something that did not go down too well in my house. I am therefore glad to report that this album is back to the basics for this band.

The full band is back again with a lot of lush instruments and the godly vocals of Francesco Di Giacomo. Great vocals !!

The band has moved towards Camel on this album. An album regarded as the final classic album from this band. It is an album which does not have these great prog songs. However, it has a lot of very clever and sophisticated Italian folk tunes. Yes, the music reminds me about Mr. Branduardi. Too much, in my view. Nevertheless.... I am not complaining too much.

The end result is a forty minutes long beautiful album. My only gripe with it is the lack of a killer track or two. Besides of that, this is a very much recommended album.

3.5 points