Saturday 31 October 2015

Wood. Roy - On The Road Again (1979)

The third solo album from Roy Wood.

Roy Wood is mostly known for the founding member of The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. He also penned and performed one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time; I Wish It Was Christmas Every Day. He is also a rock'n'roll personality on his own here in the UK. A living legend.

His solo albums is not what he is remembered for, though. Which is a bit of a shame...... Sort of.

Roy Wood gets help from John Bonham from Led Zeppelin on this album which never saw the light of day in his homeland; Great Britain. It was only released in USA, BeNeLux and Germany. It is a part of that Roy Wood Original Albums though and finally available in the UK.

The album is not that good, though. It is leaning quite heavy on the music and sound of Electric Light Orchestra, The Beatles, some ditty English humour and rock'n'roll from the 1950s. Roy Wood is undeniable a very good songwriter. But not on/for his own albums.

This album sounds very dated these days. It is a decent album though and it deserves a listen or two.

2 points

Nuova Divisione - The Last Man In Europe (2014)

The debut album from this Italian band.

This new band consists of four young men with a lineup of synths, Mellotron, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English vocals, that is.

This band is listed as crossover prog in Progarchives. That is hitting the bullseye, really. These four young guys really takes on the whole progressive rock universe from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. They visits and does a take on The Beatles, Supertramp, Barclay Harvest Band, Moody Blues, Genesis, ELP and Yes on this album. I have probably even forgotten some bands here too.

All of their visits is made with their own songs and sound. This album is a good tribute to our heritage, our music.

The music on this one hour long album is not particular original. Neither is it particular great. But it still gives the listener a good history lesson and a good hour in the company of some good music.

This is a good debut album and I hope to hear more from this band.

3 points

Biglietto Per L'Inferno - Vivi. Lotta. Pensa. (2015)

The fourth album from these Italian legends.

After a long break, the band has come together again for some gigs and a couple of new album. Although new albums is a bit of a disputed phrase here.

From being an electric band in the 1970s, the band has now become a much more acoustic band. There are still some electric guitars and keyboards here. Not to mention bass too. But the sound is mainly an acoustic sound with a lot of folk music instruments from Italy.

Mariolina Sala's raw and bluesy vocals is pretty much dominating this album. Her vocals is everywhere and her vocals is very good.

This forty-three minutes long album has one new song and four reworked version of songs from their two 1970s albums. Hence my dispute of this being a new album. Well, it is a new album but in a different way than most other new albums.

This album has retained a lot of the heavy rocking sound and music from their 1970s. Even the acoustic music is pretty heavy rocking here. There are no really great pieces of music here and this album does not really capture my imagination. This is a good album though and well worth checking out.

3 points 

Konchordat - English Ghosts (2009)

The debut album from this English band.

This band has so far released three albums. I have also reviewed their second album.

Konchordat is a duo consisting of Steve Cork and Lee Harding. They are helped out by three other musicians here. The lineup is the usual keyboards, piano, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

This one hour long album takes us to a neo-prog dominated landscape. The title track is a twenty minutes long suite with ebbs and flows. The rest of the songs are pretty epic too.

The dry sound does not want me to label this as symphonic prog. There is a lot of instrumental symphonic melodies here. The sound though is neo-prog.

My main gripe with this album is the lack of any real good melodies and songs here. Even the title track falls a bit flat on it's face. Ditto for the vocals which is a bit substandard. There are a few good bits here and there. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Friday 30 October 2015

Comus - To Keep From Crying (1974)

The second album from this English band.

The band was nine piece big and it included the Gong member Didier Malherbe on saxophone. The other instruments was male and female vocals, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and cello.

The band really never got any breakthrough in their lifetime. It was only during the second coming of progrock around year 2000 the band got a breakthrough, long after they had broken up. They released their third and final album in 2012 named Out Of The Coma.

To Keep From Crying is the follow up to their debut album and semi-classic First Utterance from 1971. It is also a total clean break from that album.

What we get here is fifty minutes of reasonable light psychedelic folk rock. A bit West Coast and a lot of folk rock is what this album gives us. The music is pretty decently covered by instruments and we are nowhere near simple, downtuned folk rock. The music here is actually pretty lush.

The female vocals is pretty much everywhere and they are a bit over the top. A bit insane and very psychedelic. 

Lush without really offering any good music at all. It is a decent enough album with some decent songs. Nothing here really interest me, I have to admit. Hence my verdict.

2 points

Thursday 29 October 2015

Kraan - Wintrup (1972)

The second album from this German band.

I really liked their debut album and was looking forward to this, the follow up album.

The lineup of four band members and sax, guitars, bass, drums and vocals was still there. The sound was also good and there was still a great deal of experiementations on this album.

This thirty-seven long album is much more melody and song based than the debut album. It has a psychedelic sound with the sax, guitar and vocals in the foreground. They works as a holy trinity on this album. That makes a bit of a strange sound. A bit of a jazzy sound too. There is a lot of jazz influences on this album, indeed.

The overall quality of the songs, the details and the melodies are very good indeed. It is one of the better albums loosely related to the krautrock scene. This is by all means a krautrock album and one I really rate very highly.

3.5 points

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Kayanis ‎– Where Abandoned Pelicans Die (2007)

The second album from this Polish band/project.

Kayanis is the brainchild of a Polish composer and keyboardist with the same name. He has got help from a symphony orchestra and some more classic rock and pop musicians. We get bass, guitars, drums and keyboards in addition to the full symphony orchestra. We also get some male and female vocals here. Most of them are in the operatic vein.

This is an album with one and a half leg in classical music and the other half a leg in the rock and goth camp.

The classical music here is actually at times very good. The rock part is too much pomp and goth to my liking. But it has to be said that Kayanis has managed to do what few others has done. Namely to merge classical music and rock to a coherent unity.

The end result is actually a good album. I am no big fan of this. But I rather like this album. Check it out on their Bandcamp site.

3 points

Monday 26 October 2015

Kollektiv - Kollektiv (1973)

The debut album from this German band.

Kollektiv was a four piece band with a lineup of flutes, saxophone, guitars, bass and drums. A bit unusual lineup.

This forty minutes long album is instrumental and the music is pure krautrock. Krautrock as in improvised spaced out space rock. Agitation Free springs to mind here if I have to make a comparison.

The flutes are pretty much everywhere and also gives this album a bit of a folky feel. There are also some very good guitar works and solos here which adds a lot to the album.

The Agitation Free references comes thick and fast. Kollektiv is by no means their copycats. I really love Agitation Free and this very dynamic album is just down my alley.

There are no really great pieces of music here though. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one every krautrock fan should lend their ears to.

3 points

Jethro Tull - A Classic Case (1985)

The sixteenth album from this British band.

That according to ProgArchives, that is. This is not really a JT album. This is Ian Anderson and his flute fronting London Symphony Orchestra.

On paper, this is a great collection of JT songs. Probably their best off. I would never really say that these songs are bad. But when you are adding a symphony orchestra to them and removing the rock bits, you are also removing the sting and the bite of these songs.

The result here is forty-two minutes of muzak which does not do any of these songs any favour. Neither does it do the great London Symphony Orchestra any favours either. This is a rubbish album and a pretty bad looking turkey too. Horrible, horrible....

1 point

Sunday 25 October 2015

Glass Hammer - Three Cheers for the Broken Hearted (2009)

The tenth album from this US band.

This album is a bit of an oddity in their discography. Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, the two mainmen in Glass Hammer decided to hire the female vocalist Susie Bogdanowicz. They did indeed base this album around her voice. They also got help from two guitarists too.

The end result is an oddity in their discography.... This album is very much female vocals focused and a stripped down version of their sound. We now get reasonable catchy short songs. The symphonic prog rock stuff which made Glass Hammer a household name has largely gone.

The music is not bad at all. They have even come up with a naive pop song here in the form of A Rose For Emily. This is a very good song.

The rest of the album is reasonably good to good. I am glad that this album is an oddity and did not become the norm. Glass Hammer returned to their old sound and format on their follow up albums.

This is a good album.

3 points 

Kong Lavring - Kong Lavring (1977)

The debut album from this Norwegian band who released two albums before they gave up the ghost.

The list of those involved in this project is too long to mention. The lineup is a mix of bass, drums, guitars, piano and traditional Norwegian folk music instruments. Instruments you probably have never heard about before. The bassist Geir Holmsen has later played with Terje Rypdahl and other jazz musicians. The rest is unknown names for me.

There are also numerous female and male vocalists here. 

King Lavring is forty odd minutes with rocked and popped up old folk music hymns from Norway. Mostly from the long valleys in Norway. The lyrics is naive and almost childish in their innocence. They are indeed lyrics from an innocent time in the Norwegian history.

I am not a big fan of rocking/popping up or even making old folk tunes a lot more melodic by the use of pretty female vocals, piano, bass, guitars and drums. You are taking a lot of the bite out of the tunes. Then again, I don't like Norwegian folk music.

The songs are decent enough and the musicians has actually done something with the songs instead of just adding electricity to these old tunes. This is by no means a good album and I will never play it again. But I have heard far worse album than this one.

2 points  

Ramses - La Leyla (1976)

The debut album from this German band who so far has released five albums. The last one not so many months ago.

Ramses was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

No, this is not krautrock. But it is not that far away from being kraut. Take a big chunk of Eloy and mix it together with Jane and Novalis. That is where I have heard this band can be described as. Novalis is on my to do list before the end of this year and I am currently getting some Jane albums. Hence, I am not sure about these references.

For my own sake, I would compare them to a mix of Eloy and the British psych folk scene. Pink Floyd and Procol Harum also springs to me. Add some krautrock to the mix too and you get this album and this band.

The vocalist is very good and the musicians also does a very good job. This album has this typical 1970s sound and is perhaps a bit too dated for some. I very much like their sound. A very warm, cosy sound. The keyboards and the guitars sound deserves praise here. 

On this thirty-eight minutes long album, the five minutes long Garden is a great song with a great melody line. The rest of the songs are not that great. But this is still, surprising enough after the first listening sessions where I did not like this album at all, a very good album. The prog rock scene and my hunt for great music has again thrown up a very good band. Hence my happiness.

3.5 points 

Saturday 24 October 2015

Wood. Roy - Boulders (1973)

The debut solo album from Roy Wood.

I recently bought an Original Albums box with Roy Wood which included one The Move, one Wizzard, one Electric Light Orchestra and two solo albums from him. That describes this man in a nutshell. He was one of the founding members of both The Move and Electric Light Orchestra.

He is most known for his big hit I Wish It Was Christmas Every Day which is one of the most popular Christmas anthems of all time. Roy Wood is also called the grandfather of glam rock.

Nothing of all this can be found on this album, though. An album which includes a mix of The Beatles like pop music and a bit of quirky naive pop tunes. A bit vaudeville like working men clubs like songs.

There is a lot of British humour on this album. Both in the lyrics and in the music itself. This album most definate has a novelty value. It is not particular good though and has not survived well the test of time. It is a decent forty minutes long album.

2 points  

Iconoclasta - Reminiscencias (1985)

The second album from this Mexican band.

I really liked their debut album and was looking forward to getting tucked into this album. The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, synths and keyboards.

It is pretty obvious that ELP has been a big inspiration for this band. And so has the fusion movement. The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is pretty much bombastic symphonic prog with a lot of fusion influences.

The synths and guitars are both taking the melodies forward here. They interchange and plays together. The bass and drums is all holding it together.

The music is also flamenco inspired with some really cool flamenco acoustic guitars breaking up the onslaught of bombastic guitars and synths. Ditto for some operatic choirs too.

There are no really great music here. But the music is by all means good enough for me to enjoy large parts of this album. Check out this album if you can.

3 points

Solaris - Nostradamus Book Of Prophecies (1999)

The third album from this Hungarian band.

Solaris was and still is quite a popular and respected band from Hungary. Their debut album is regarded as quite a classic album by everyone except from myself.

The band was a six piece on this album with a lineup of synths, keyboards, Moog, bass, flutes, guitars and drums. The music is instrumental.

The art work on this album is quite a great classic album cover. The music on this sixty minutes and one second long album is a mix of classic music, fusion and symphonic prog.

Take Camel's instrumental work and make them a much more classic music and jazzy orientated. Then you both get this band and this album.  

There is a lot of good old keyboards sound here in addition to some gothic monks singing and doomy guitars. The album is pretty dark and in line with Nostradamus prophecies. They were not particular uplifting prophecies. Hence this pretty dark album.

Unfortunate, there is no great music here. It just meander away, the music. It does not really make any favourable impressions on me and I wonder what all this fuzz about this band is all about.

This is a good album from a good band. And that is all I can say.

3 points

Avalanche - Perseverance Kills Our Game (1979)

The one and only album from this Dutch band/project.

This band was/is the multi talented musican Jan Blom's vehichle. He was an organist in several churches and cathedrals before he got together five other musicians and recorded this album. The lineup is flutes, bass, drums, piano, keyboards and mandolin. That and some vocals.

The music is not easy to define. ProgArchives has defined this as prog folk. Which is probably right. But this is not cider thumping English folk rock or even rhythm based South American folk rock. This is something entirely else again.

Take acoustic guitars and piano in a pretty ambient acoustic setting. Then add some vocals and some of the other instruments here too. Most of the music on this forty minutes long album is sheer minimalism.

Minimalistic but a bit bereft of any good songs. There is none. Still...... this is not a bad album. It is indeed a very decent album with some good handiworks and sporadic interesting stuff. Check it out if you can find it.

2 points 

Friday 23 October 2015

Karnataka - Secrets of Angels (2015)

The fifth album from this British band.

Karnataka has been one of the best female vocals fronted prog rock bands for the last years. Even with a new vocalist in the form of Hayley Griffiths, the band is still going on strong.

Her vocals is supported by four other musicians and a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. The usual, in other words.

The band were leaning quite heavy on the keltic folk rock on their previous albums. On Secrets Of Angels, the band ditched that sound and gone for a mainstream and pretty commercial style. A style bereft of any keltic music.

The first forty minutes and seven songs are pretty dull and not particular great. Some of the music is dull and far too soppy and sugar coated. The band has gone ABBA for most of those forty minutes.

Then we get the twenty minutes and four seconds long closing album title track. The keltic influences are back again with a vengeance and the result is a very good song. It is dynamic and epic. It is what the rest of the album should had been. It is what this band was all about before this album.

The end result is a good to very good album. Or as I am falling down on; a good album. I very much prefer the old Karnataka.

3 points 

Thursday 22 October 2015

Gazpacho - Demon (2014)

Album number eight from this Norwegian band.

It is fair to say that this six piece band is Norway's best kept secret. They are famous abroad and unknown in Norway. We norwegians does not know what we are missing out on. Well, I am one of the few one norwegians who have heard about this band.

Their lineup is mandolin, accordion, violins, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals. Jan Henrik Ohme's vocals is as usual great.

I have really enjoyed their previous albums. Progressions has been made in leaps and bounds, album by album.

The good old Gazpacho is still here. They have adopted a much more bohemian and Balkan theme this time around. And it does not really work.... mostly, it does not work. The opening tracks and most of the nineteen minutes long closing Death Room is somewhat working. But they are not great tracks and that is what is missing here.

Demon is by all means a good album. But stagnation has set in here. I hope their brand new album is better than this album.

3 points  

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Agusa - Två (2015)

The second album from this Swedish band.

Agusa is a five piece band with a lineup of flute, Hammond organ, bass, guitars and drums. The music is entirely instrumental.

I really liked their 2014 debut album Hogtid which was a very refreshing take on instrumental folk rock influenced prog rock.

The band has continued down the same path on this album too. Two Swedish folk tunes is getting long workouts. Eighteen to twenty-one minutes long workouts, to be precise.

The first song here, Ganglat Fra Vintergatan has a great start before it starts to repeat itself throughout the twenty-one minutes. It sounds great to begin with. But as it is mostly a folk rock tune, it outstays it's welcome by at least five minutes.

The second song Kund Bores Dans is not that immediate. But the acid space part halfway through these eighteen minutes is pretty good.

I am not sure these two folk tunes was the best choice either. I have heard them in their original versions as they are common fare in Scandinavia. Any version of them are old news and does not feel fresh. More obscure folk tunes would had been a better idea.

Nevertheless, this is a good album well worth checking out. Agusa is a band well worth following.

3 points  

Monday 19 October 2015

Alluminogeni. Gli - Scolopendra (1972)

The debut album from this Italian band.

I reviewed their second album Geni Mutanti some time ago and was not impressed by that album. So I was not overly happy before giving this one a try.

The band was a trio with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Italian vocals here. So far, so good....

The lineup and setup is in the 1960s beat style and that is what we get here. Hard and heavy beat with a lot of psychedelic twists. The keyboards evokes Procol Harum. The rest of the instruments are far more straight on heavy. The vocals pretty emotional and soulful.

This album was released at least five years too late. The music is beat and not the more fashionable progressive rock back in 1972. This forty minutes long album is by all means a decent album. And that is all. Most of the albums from Italy released in 1972 was far better than this album. Anyway....

2 points 

Twin Age - Moving the Deckchairs (2000)

The third and final album from this Swedish band.

Their first two albums Month Of The Year (1996) and Lialim High (1997) was two enjoyable neo-prog albums in the good old Genesis tradition.

Three years later, they returns again with a new album and a new style. Gone is the overly Genesis style. In comes a much more diverse neo-prog style. The band is a five piece band here with a female vocalist as a guest musician. The lineup is cello, guitars, synths, bass, drums and male vocals.

The band very much has tried to copy the Flower Kings success formula. The twin vocals is adding a lot of soulful textures here. The band has also adopted a bit of a Swedish folk rock sound too. Most of all; the band has added this Flower Kings sound.

I am not entirely won over by this one hour long album. The music is a bit generic. It does not hold many surprises, these songs. It is an elegant album by all means. But the band has bitten over a bit more than they can swallow, I feel. The good songs is missing too. The vocals is not impressive either.

This is by all means a decent to a good album which has some good and some bad stuff. If Swedish prog is your thing, check out this album from this largely forgotten band.

2.5 points

Sunday 18 October 2015

Jethro Tull - Under Wraps (1984)

The fifteenth album from this English band.

Jethro Tull is legends in the music world. They have released numerous stunning albums. So it is always a pleasure to sink my teeth into one of their albums.

Ian Anderson and Martin Barre got help from a keyboardist and programmer on this album. Or "help" as I would call it. His name is Peter-John Vettese. Dave Pegg on bass completes the band.

Many would rate this as their worst ever album and I can understand why. There is a lot of 1980s pling-plong from the synths and programming here. Ian Anderson's vocals is still very much here and in good form. But the music is almost abysmal. Well, it an abysmal bad album. Something the cover art work alludes to.

This is a 1980s pop version of Jethro Tull where the synths and programming has added nothing but disgrace to their name and music. I would add half a point for some of the music here and Ian's vocals. But it is a turkey in all but it's name. It is an utterly horrible album.

1.5 point

Comus - First Utterance (1971)

The debut album from this British band.

Comus was an unknown band during their lifetime. A lifetime where they released two albums. Decades later, they are now regarded as a legendary band. Mostly due to this album which is regarded as one of the true classic albums of the folk-rock genre.

The band was a six piece back then with a lineup of female and male vocals, woodwinds, guitars, violins, viola, percussions and bass.

I was expecting this usual folk rock fare. Well, that is not what I got. The opening track and their single Diana is reasonable melodic. The six other songs is not.

First Utterance is fifty minutes with dark and deranged acid folk rock. And it is far more acid than folk rock. Dissonance is a major factor here. So much that this album is very hard to digest. Some of the music also reminds me about the acid psychedelic music from California. Jefferson Airplane and so on. But this album is not that melodic. This album is not melodic at all. It has a pretty substantial krautrock feel.

And strangely enough, this album works in many respect. It has it's qualities and Diana is a very good song. There are also some music here I am having difficulties getting into. The legend status is justified as this is one heck of an album. But not necessary quality wise. It is still a very good album though and one to check out.

3.5 points

Kenso - Kenso III (1985)

The third album from this Japanese band. A band who has so far released ten albums.

Kenso was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of woodwinds, synths, bass, drums, mellotron, kalimba, autoharp and guitars. There are some wordless vocals here too. The band also got help from numerous guest musicians on this album.

This is my first ever exposure to their music. I have heard about this band for a while. They are one of the leading jazz/fusion bands in Japan, I have heard. And that may be true.

What we get here is melodic fusion in the 1980s slick and stylish vein. Plenty of funky bass and synths is driving the music forward. The piano is busy and the guitars adds a lot of textures to the music.

This is by no means particular exciting music. But it is good music and this is a good forty minutes long album. A bit more bite and quality would have been preferred. Nevertheless, this is what it is and it is a good album.

3 points

Saturday 17 October 2015

Arlekin - Disguise Serenades (2014)

The first and so far only album from this Ukraine project.

It is wrong to call this a band as it is a one man project. Igor Sidorenko plays everything here. That means drums, guitars, bass, synths and vocals. His vocal is somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Fish. Acceptable, they are. His English too is acceptable.

Music wise, we are talking early Marillion here. Marillion with Fish. We are also talking Genesis. But the music is very much neo-prog and not symphonic prog.

The music is very melodic throughout on this one hour long album. Melodic but still missing that xtra little bit which is the difference between a good and a great album. And it is a good, enjoyable album. It is not a classic album though. But fans of Marillion and Fish should get this album.

3 points

Quinteto Armorial - Sete Flechas (1980)

The fourth and final album from this Brazilian band.

This band had previously released some decent to good albums. All of them has been reviewed in this blog.

The band was a five piece band here and the lineup was all kinds of local folk music instruments plus acoustic guitars and violins. This twenty-five minutes short album is mostly instrumental.

This is very much a folk music album where all instruments are acoustic and there is not much electricity going on. The sound is not the best either and the band did not use many dollars on electricity in the studio.

The band sounds very tight here and the music is very intense throughout. I am not a big fan of folk music. So this album passes me a bit by.

There is not any good songs here and the music does not really resonate with me. Fans of folk music should really check out this album though. In my estimations, this is a decent album and nothing more than that.

2 points

Nucleus - Under The Sun (1974)

The eight album from this UK band.

Nucleus was the trumpeter Ian Carr's band. It also served as a proving ground for musicians who later joined Soft Machine. Hence my first initial interest in this band. I later moved on to becoming interest in this band because of their music.

Ian Carr has been the described as the white Miles Davis. There is some truth in this. Ian Carr is a more than capable trumpeter and composer. One of the finest British jazz musicians of all time. If not the finest British jazz musician of all time, that is. Sadly, he passed away a couple of years ago and is much missed.

Ian Carr has got with him seven musicians on this album. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums, synths, trumpet and other woodwinds.

The music on this forty minutes long album is both pretty funky and jazzy. Add a lot of fusion too and you get this blend. It is a typical British jazz album where an eye is constantly viewing the prog rock and blues scene.

The title track is a twenty minutes long suite and is the best piece of music here. The rest is not up to that standard and feels a bit stale. The end result is a good album which is not among their best. It is still a good album.

3 points 

Kraan - Kraan (1972)

The debut album from this German band who released fourteen albums between 1972 and 2010.

Maybe Kraan is still alive. Their latest album has not got good reviews. Their first five albums is regarded as their best albums.

I reviewed their Andy Nogger album, their third album, some years ago and really liked that one. Good prog fusion.

The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of alto saxophone, guitars, bass, drums and some vocals. A highly dynamic lineup.

The music on this thirty seven minutes long album (seventy minutes on the CD) is space psychedelic jazz with a lot of krautrock influences. It is by all means krautrock they are playing and I would label this as krautrock. The infusion of some German mad humour also makes this a krautrock album. Ditto for some subtle Indian rhythms too.

The five songs are all dynamic. The longest piece here, Head, clocks in at nineteen minutes and is a very good piece of music.

Most of all, the music on this album is very intense and straight in your face. It still has a lot of very good melodies and details too.

I am a bit fascinated by this album and rate it as a very good album. I need to hear more from Kraan.

3.5 points

Friday 16 October 2015

Graal - Chapter IV (2015)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

I quite liked their previous album. Good honest metal/rock. So when this album came up for review in my lottery, I was quite happy.

I don't much about their members and who plays what. I guess the lineup is keyboards, organ, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.

The band is clearly influenced by the 1970s as this one hour long album is packed to the rafters by hard rock anno the 1970s.

Take a bit southern rock, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Bad Company. Then you get this album. The sound is still both elegant and up to date anno 2015.

The album has a couple of very good songs and a lot of interesting details. There are also some substandard tracks too. The sound is very good though. That makes this an enjoyable good album well worth checking out.

3 points

Kaizen - Gargula (1994)

The one and only album from this Brazilian band.

Brazil has given us a lot of great music throughout the last fifty years. In particular in the prog rock genre. This five piece band has contributed with this album.

Their lineup is violins, guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. Four guest musicians contributes with woodwinds.

A bit of an untraditional lineup, this one. The music too is untraditional. This one hour long album is instrumental. The leading instrument here is Kleber Vogel's violin. The music is.....

Well, a mix of rock and classical music. Classical music light. The music tends to lean pretty heavy on baroque classical music. It is bordering to RIO and chamber prog at times. But it is far too commercial and melodic for that.

It tries to be commercial and melodic. Although it is stealing some melody lines from some classical composers. But mostly everything of the material here is their own music.

......Which is the problem here. The music here is not particular good. It is pretty bland, although the violin is adding colour to the music. But an hour with this album is a bit on the dull side of life. This is a decent album, but nothing more than that.

2 points

Thursday 15 October 2015

Glass Hammer - Culture Of Ascent (2007)

The ninth album from this US band.

Glass Hammer has been around for many years and has been flying the flag for symphonic prog with some success. Both artistic and commercial.

Glass Hammer is essentially Fred Schendel and Steve Babb with friends and guest musicians. Which sounds like a great idea as they are very much in tune with what they want.

I am a bit baffled by the first song of this album. A cover of the great Yes song South Side Of The Sky. Why ? I got no idea. It is a great cover version though, but still pretty different from the rest of the album. This one hour long album glides over in familiar Glass Hammer territory. Elegant and great sounding US symphonic prog where nothing is spared to create great symphonic prog.

Well, it is not a great album. It is though a good to very good album where the many small details really makes me enjoy most of this album. The occasional female vocals adds a lot of spice to these long and epic songs. The longest is clocking in at twenty minutes.

What is missing here is some really great music. There is none despite of the many great details. Nevertheless, this is a very good album.

3.5 points 

Kaamos - Deeds and Talks (1977)

The one and only album from this Finnish band.

The band was a four piece band with a lineup of synths, Moog, bass, drums, guitars and English vocals. The usual.......

Their music is not particular usual though. The vocalist comes across as a Paul Rodgers copycat. Some of Kaamos sound and songs also sounds a bit like Bad Company too. There is also Jethro Tull connotations here. No, there is no flutes here. But some of the music sounds like latter days JT.

Add some funk and jazz to the proceedings too and you get this album.

The musicians here are good and they must have been good as they were moving onto other Finnish bands after this album and the dissolution of Kaamos. The art of good songwriting was lost on them, though. At least when writing and composing this album. It is a decent enough album, but only that. I am slightly disappointed.

2 points

Jumbo - DNA (1972)

The second album from this Italian band.

Jumbo was a six piece band with a lineup of mouth harp, flutes, woodwinds, guitars, bass, drums and Italian male vocals. The vocals are raspy, bluesy.

Jumbo started out as a blues band as many from the Italian prog rock did when they started out. On DNA, the band adopted the Italian prog rock sound and genre. The music is still heavy with a lot of heavy drums, bass and guitar solos. But there is a lot of more pastoral melody lines too. The music is also very folky with some very solid nods towards the likes of Jethro Tull.

It is pretty correct to use Jethro Tull as a good reference on this forty minutes long album. But Jumbo has a lot more contrasts in their music.

I am struggling to really find any great pieces of music here. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one to check out from this genre. This band is for me a new and enjoyable find from this scene.

3 points

Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls (2015)

The sixteenth album from these masters of true heavy metal. A band from London, England.

I have been a fan of the band since 1985 and my favourite Iron Maiden album is Powerslave. I am also a fan of the band post Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson's return to the band on Brave New World.

Where bands with the wealth and fanbase like Iron Maiden would become slackers and release sub-standard albums in the knowledge that the fans would buy them anyway, Iron Maiden has actually gone the other way and released high standard albums. Their attitude towards their fans, people like myself, is highly appreciated.

Their lineup is unchanged since Brave New World and Bruce Dickinson has survived a potential fatal meeting with cancer. Why he is not Lord Dickinson is beyond me. He is hideous talented and a great ambassador for United Kingdom. When he speak or sing; you have to listen.

The lyrics on this album is of a hideous high standard. Let that be said. There is a lot of stories here which deserve to be told and Iron Maiden does that. They are great story tellers.

Which brings me over to the music. On reflection and after a long digestion period, this is not their best album. It is one of their most ambitious albums though, clocking in at ninety minutes. Their music is again very proggy. I am not sure if Iron Maiden is a progressive metal band or just a heavy metal band. Frankly; the band blows the metal and prog genres to pieces with this album.

The band has at least one leg in the heavy metal genre where they are shoulder and head above the rest of the other bands in this crowded genre. At last one half of their leg is in the progressive rock genre with some solid nods towards Wishbone Ash and Yes.

... And then to the songs. There is a lot of great and superb melodies here. There are also some metal for the sake of metal melodies here which is a nice nod back to their past, but not necessary great pieces of music.

After seventy odd minutes of great music, we arrives at their most ambitious piece of music to this date. Although; I am not so sure about that. I still think Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is their most ambitious piece of music to this date. But the piece of music I am talking about here; the eighteen minutes long Empire Of The Clouds is still very ambitious...... and the band pulls it off. The most untraditional song of Iron Maiden's career and a great piece of music. Piano and Bruce's vocals then followed by some traditional Iron Maiden guitars after some minutes.

That ends a truly great album. One of Iron Maiden's many great albums. Oh boy am I proud of this band after listening to this album !! I love this band because of their standards and their music.

Get this album !

4 points

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Jelly Fiche - Symbiose (2011)

The second album from this Canadian band. A band from the French prog powerhouse Quebec, no less.

I reviewed their debut album for ProgArchives some years ago. I really liked that album. 

The five piece band Jelly Fiche is following in the same paths as Harmonium and other great French speaking Canadian band from the same city. Their lineup is the standard keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and off course; French vocals. A fine lineup. In particular the vocals.

This one hour long album starts out as a Harmonium album before it goes much more into a power prog territory. Rush sometimes springs to mind. But the Harmonium references are always there. There are also some laid back jazz on this album. That and some more powerful stuff.

The result is a good album which is only lacking a great track or two. In that respect, it is a slightly disappointing album. Nevertheless; check it out.

3 points

Karnataka - The Gathering Light (2010)

The fourth album from this British band.

Karnataka is one of the few bands who sprung out of the female vocalist fronted prog rock scene around the millenium. The pioneers was the likes of Magenta and in particular; Mostly Autumn.

That is female vocals fronted celtic music inspired progressive rock. The Gathering Light is an album in that genre.

Karnataka was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of mostly guitars, bass, drums, synths, piano, Celtic instruments and Lisa Fury's female vocals. Some excellent vocals too.

The music on this seventy minutes long album is both symphonic and dramatic. The band is painting a lot of pictures in my speakers. The sound is big, bold and colourful.

The fifteen minutes long title track is great. The others seven tracks are good to very good too. I really like this album a lot and should and must get more albums from this band.

3.5 points

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Ancient Veil. The - The Ancient Veil (1995)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The Ancient Veil was the continuation to Eris Pluvia, a band with some moderate artistic and commercial success. They released two or three albums as far as I remember. All of them reviewed in this blog.

That band was pretty much Genesis influenced. This duo + a lot of friends = The Ancient Veil, has some moderate Genesis influences. The main influence is medieval, baroque folk music. There is some woodwinds and percussions here in addition to a lot of flutes and percussions. Add acoustic guitars, bass and vocals to the blend too and you get this album.

The end result has come as a surprise to me. Surprise because this one hour long album is a blend of symphonic prog and folk music. Also as a surprise because this pretty modestly sounding and pastoral album is a very good album. It has a vibe I really like and the music too is very good. A great track would have elevated this album to a higher level. Nevertheless; this is a very good album. Check it out.

3.5 points 

Zen Carnival - Lucid Dreamer (2015)

The third album from this US band.

The band is a six piece band and the lineup is the usual keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals setup.

The band got a good name for themselves by combining Canterbury prog, fusion and progressive rock. That combination is always a winner in most prog rock reviewers hearts and minds.

On Lucid Dreamer, the jazz and the Canterbury elements has been toned down despite of them still being here. But this to a lesser degree. The album is much more a one dimentional rock and prog rock album. There is a lot of vocals here too and the instruments does not get much breathing space either.

I feel the band has dumbed down a lot with some pretty basic, simple song structures. A lot of soul has been induced too in the melodies. Which is not a bad idea.

The songs are not that good. I like the remnants of the jazz and Canterbury influences the band once had. They are the saving grace on this album. It is not a bad album, which btw is clocking in at forty minutes. It is just that it is not that interesting. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Jump - The Black Pilgrim (2013)

The twelfth album from this English band.

The band is a six piece band on this album with a lineup of bass, keyboards, drums, guitars and vocals.

I distinctly remember Jump as a neo-prog band. One of those bands who followed in the wake of Pendragon and Marillion without really making any headway with their albums. The first of them was released back in 1991. I reviewed their 2001 On Impulse album some weeks ago and did not like that album that much. Plodding second rate neo-prog is the best I can say about that album.

So I was not overjoyed when this album appeared for review. That changed after the first listening session when I discovered that the band had changed direction and that in a much better direction.

Forget neo-prog. The Black Pilgrim is not a neo-prog album. Mainly not a neo-prog album, that is. I have no idea what has prompted this change of direction, but what I get here is a warm, lush folk-prog album.

A forty minutes long warm and lush folk-prog album, that is. Jethro Tull springs to mind in addition to the many other great folk-rock bands from the 1970s. So does Manning too. What is lacking is violins and flutes. That though is not something this album is missing as they have been replaced by great vocals from John Dexter Jones, lush acoustic guitars and a great pub-rock feel. And yes, some neo-prog too.

And yes, I would gladly pay to see this band doing this album live in a pub near me. This album is a perfect beer & steak in the local pub piece of music. And it is a very good album too. A killer track is missing and that is my only gripe with this album. Besides of that.......

3.5 points

Monday 12 October 2015

Jono - Silence (2015)

The third album from this Swedish band.

Jono is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals. 

I believe I reviewed their previous album, the 2013 album Requiem. And I quite liked it too.

This album comes across as a mix of Rainbow, Flower Kings, Supertramp and a bit pop music. There is a lot of heavy metal in the vein of Rainbow and the Swedish prog rock sound. There is also a lot of pomp pop here too.

This forty minutes long album is full of upbeat songs and music. The guitars are soaring and ditto for the vocals.

This is not really my cup of tea. But I quite like this and find this a good album because of the obvious references to the above mentioned bands. Their music is pretty original and not a bad at all. This is indeed a good album and one well worth checking out.

3 points  

Moody Blues. The - December (2003)

The sixteenth album from this groundbreaking English band.

Their previous album Strange Times from 1999 was sheer horror and a pop music pastisj. It was not even good pop music. It was truly horrible third rate pop music.

So the band returned again four years later as a four piece with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, strings, drums and vocals. Justin Hayward and John Lodge is still involved here.

This time, the band is taking a stab at....... Christmas ! Yes, December is a Christmas album. And no, the band has not improved on Strange Times. They have actually made a worse album.

The lyrics are turkeys in themselves and the music is not any better. This is pop music and a stab at releasing a Christmas album. Jesus, you don't deserve this album ! The music is sugar sweet throughout. The songs are horrible too. This album screams CLIFF RICHARDS throughout these painful forty-one minutes. And that is not a compliment. This is all but name a Cliff Richards album. It is as bad as that. It is as kitschy and bad taste as that. This is a turkey. One of the biggest, fattest turkeys in my turkey yard.

1 point 

Sunday 11 October 2015

Kinetic Element - Travelog (2015)

The second album from this US band.

I believe I have reviewed their debut album Powered By Light too for this blog. I cannot remember the review though and the alphabetic index is down at the moment. Anyway, I have kept an eye out for this band and I guess there must be a reason for that.

Kinetic Element is a four piece band with keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. The band has hired in three session vocalists for this album. One female and two male vocalists.

Most of this seventy minutes long album is instrumental with the occasional vocals chiming in at the right places. The five compositions are all over ten minutes long. The longest one is over twenty minutes long.

And yes, the music is very symphonic. I would label this album as a symphonic prog album. Add some neo-prog and a lot of fusion to the mix too and you get this album. The sound is very good throughout. The music is majestic and soaring most of the times.

The music is good to very good throughout. The closening nineteen minutes long track Vision Of A New Dawn has some great melodies and vocal lines. That is the best composition here.

The end result is a very good album well worth checking out.

3.5 points

Khatsaturjan - Beast, Machine & Man (2015)

The third album from this Finnish band.

Khatsaturjan is a four piece band with a lineup of violin, keyboards, guitars, bass, cell, drums and vocals. A pretty unusual lineup...

Their music is not that unusual though as I noted in my review of their debut album. Take a good chunk of rock, funk, theatrical rock, neo-prog and symphonic prog. Then you get this album.

The vocals is both male and female vocals. Both of them are good enough. Good enough on this one hour long album.

An album I have problems working up some enthusiasm for. The sound is by all means very good. The album lacks a great song or more. Even a great melody would not go amiss on this album. There is none of that here. What we get is good prog rock. I am not won over although this is a good album.

3 points 

Iconoclasta - Iconoclasta (1983)

The debut album from this Mexican band.

Iconclasta has so far released ten albums or so. I got a handful of their albums and will review them in this blog before the end of this year.

Iconclasta was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, synths and strings arrangements. There is vocals on one of the songs.

That this is a debut album is pretty obvious as it is full of styles and genres. A bit of pop and classical music, a lot of symphonic prog and prog metal combined with a lot of fusion. The band later evolved into a fusion band, according to ProgArchives. This album is not a fusion album although it is an instrumental album.

It is obvious on this forty-five minutes long album that the band is something special. The music is good throughout. Good but not the most exciting music I have heard. There is no real great music here either. It is still an interesting album and an album well worth checking out.

3 points

Saturday 10 October 2015

July - July (1968)

The first and only proper studio album from this Ealing, England based band.

July is most known as the band where the Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield) producer and solo artist Tom Newman started his career. July also had three decently charting singles from this album too.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of organ, bass, drums, flutes, guitars and vocals. A proper normal lineup in 1968.

The music too was pretty normal. That means psychedelic rock/prog. The songs, even the singles, are pretty weird and unusual after today's standards. A bit avant-garde indeed with distortions and feedbacks throughout. The songs are also pretty naive and innocent sounding too.

The sound and music is very much beat anno the 1960s too. This is hippies and flower power music. It is also a pschydelic trip in a garden of flowers. 

This album is regarded as a classic album in the psychedelic prog/rock genre and rightly so. It does sound dated though and there is no really great or even good tracks here. It is a decent album though and well worth checking out.

2 points 

Jethro Tull - The Broadsword And The Beast (1982)

The fourteenth album from these English masters of folk rock progressive rock.

Jethro Tull released some excellent albums in the 1970s and is still a big name in the world of rock and pop. The 1980s was not a nice decade for rock and progressive rock. The 1980s sound was pretty horrible all around.

The previous album A was not a good album at all. So I was not looking forward to this album at all....

Martin Barre and Ian Andersson is still here. So is most of the Jethro Tull blueprint too. Yes, some of the ills of the 1980s sound and music has sneaked into this album too. The songs are a bit simple and not so symphonic progressive and folky as JT was on their best. In short, this album is a bit too commercial minded for my liking. There is still good enough songs here to make this a very interesting album indeed.

The best song here is Broadsword. The rest of the songs are still good enough songs. The end result is a very good album which is by no means shaming the Jethro Tull name.

3.5 points

Zhoda - Manic Fantasies (2015)

The debut album from this Texas, USA band.

Zhoda is a new name to me. One of the many new bands and debut albums this year. Zhoda is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and female vocals.

Ashley Kethley's vocals are very good and floats nicely over Zhoda's blend of prog metal and neo-prog.

The band has defined themselves as a prog metal band. The use of piano and the vocals also brings in a lot of softer elements to their music. There is not as much chugging metal guitars as I expected from this album. Hence my neo-prog tag too on their music.

There is a lot of good ideas on this album and some references to the female vocals bands from the 1970s too. There are also references to the female vocals bands from UK too.

The album is a free album from Bandcamp (but please donate $ 5 or more) and a nice download too. I like this good album and would recommend it.

3 points

Friday 9 October 2015

Finneus Gauge - One Inch Of The Fall (1999)

The second and final album from this US band.

They continues on from their 1997 debut album More Once More. Which means..... Well, I will come back to that...

Finneus Gauge was a five piece band with female vocals, bass, drums, guitars and keyboards.

On this and their debut album, their sound and music is a blend of laid back bohemian jazz, pop, symphonic prog and folk rock. The music has a great New York feel to it. Greenwich Village to be more precise.

Although a bit laid back, there are also some pretty intense bits of music here on this almost eighty minutes long album. A far too long album in my opinion. It has some very good moments and not so good moments.

In short, this is a good album which is a bit too long.

3 points 

Thursday 8 October 2015

Gazpacho - Tick Tock (2009)

The fifth album from this Norwegian band.

The six piece band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, piano, drums, guitars and vocals was by now developing their style and genre.

Their mix of elegant pop, ambient prog, Marillion like neo-prog and post rock was by now an own genre and other bands was following in their tracks.

The opening track Desert Flight is perhaps the most obvious track on this four tracks long album. A forty-eight minutes long album where the title track clocks in at over twenty-two minutes.

There is no really obvious great tracks here and I would not rate this album among their finest moments. The music is still very good and has a lot of very interesting details. Check it out as you will not feel let down.

3.5 points

Sunday 4 October 2015

As Follows - The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (2015)

The second album from this US band.

As Follows is a power trio with a lineup of bass, drums, synths, guitars and vocals.

I quite liked their first album so I got this album as a result. And that is when my problem started..... That is; when I was trying to review this album. This is my sixth attempt of writing a review of this album.

The narrations in the beginning speaks of a concept album. An hour long concept album. I was settling in for some neo-prog or perhaps some symphonic prog. What I got was some head scratching instead.

The basis here is rock and the band includes a lot into this style. A lot of Rush like music and some more college rock. Take some heavier prog too and you get this album.

The music is very lively and rocking. Unfortunate; the music is also pretty dull. I have problems finding things I really like here. There is nothing good here and the album feels like a vacuum, bereft of good music. The band has some right ideas, but has not carried them out. The art of good song writing is missing here. Hence my verdict.

2 points