Wednesday 30 March 2016

Forever Twelve - Taking Forever (2010)

The third and final album from this US band.

I cannot help feeling that I have reviewed another album with the exact same cover art-work. An album from another band and genre. Nevermind....

The band is a five piece band with a lineup of flutes, bass, drums, guitars and keyboards. That and Cat Ellen's vocals. Some very good vocals.

The band is being labeled as symphonic prog in ProgArchives. Which sounds right for the two previous albums if the reviews is to go by. Which I do not doubt for a second. This album though....

Well, it is still symphonic prog. US symphonic prog. But with a strong influence from the British wave of female fronted prog rock bands. The sound is very British indeed.

The album is one hour long, divided on nine songs. The longest one is nine minutes. That is the opening track To The Hill which together with the second track Vanishing Us is the two best tracks here. They are pretty epic with solid, good melodies.

The rest of the album is the usual mix of reasonable fast, epic tracks and ballads. None of them impresses me that much.

I like the opening tracks. I do have my reservations towards the rest of the album. This album is let down by some pretty dull and uninspiring tracks. Which is a pity. So I rate this album somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points 

Fossil Evolution - World in Motion (2014)

The debut album from this band from Belgium.

... Although it is the debut album under this name. Arnold De Schepper from Isopoda was doing some Isopoda reunion gigs when the wish to do something more than reunions became a full band. Instead of taking the easy way out and label the new band as Isopoda, the band started afresh with a new name..... Fossil Evolution.

Isopoda may be a fossil and this album and band being the evolution. What do I know.. Fossil Evolution is a family band with father Arnold De Schepper supported by his three sons Arne, Martin and Wouter. The family friend Pieter De Groeve supplements this family affair.

The lineup is guitars, keyboards, synths, drums, bass and vocals.

The music is not that far away from Isopada. Melodic neo-prog with good hooks, riffs and melodies. The music has taken a lot from both the Dutch and the English neo-prog scene.

The music sounds very fresh and lively. It has a pretty high percentage of high energy and class. The music is not particular hard or metal sounding. It is just fresh and lively. It has a lot of refined power.

Fossil Evolution has by no means reinvented the wheel on this fifty minutes long album. But it is a pretty good and fresh sounding slab of neo-prog. One that is well worth checking out.  

3 points

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Fragil - Avenida Larco (1981)

The debut album from this band from Peru.

Yes, this blog is covering all corners of this world. Peru had and still have a pretty big folk and progressive rock scene. I review albums from this scene on a very regular basis.

Fragil released four albums and is still alive in some way or another. I got this and their second album from this band.

Fragil was, surprise surprise, a five piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, synths, piano and Spanish vocals.

Their music is nominally symphonic prog. Symphonic prog in the South American way.

Take a slice of Genesis and add some pop to it. Add some Supertramp and Latin rock too and you get this album and music.

The music is very gentle and pastoral. The synths is gentle and ditto for the guitars. The music is much more based on melodies than technical prowesses. They have plenty of the latter one, but that is not what they are trying to play on.

The vocals are everywhere and they are gentle too.

The melodies slowly but surely sneaks up on the listener and soon becomes very forceful and memorable. The album is a slow, but still a good burner. 

35 minutes of this 40 minutes long album is good to very good. The final five minutes is a throw away rock'n'roll song and a waste of time. This is still a good album.

3 points

Monday 28 March 2016

Ougenweide - All Die Weil Ich Mag (1974)

The second album from this German band.

Ougenweide was pretty popular in Germany back in the 1970s. I reviewed their debut album four years ago for this blog and quite liked it.

Ougenweide was a sextet with lots of acoustic instruments, woodwinds, guitars, bass, flutes, percussion and German vocals. Both male and female vocals. They were singing in old German.

Their music is essentially folk music. But with some classical music and rock influences. Their music was though in essence medieval folk music.

The female vocals are great and the male vocals OK. The music is not as primitive folk music as I feared. The mix of ballads and more faster songs are pretty good here.

This album is forty minutes long and some of the songs are touching seven minutes. I have to admit there is not enough instruments here and far too much vocals for my liking. There are a couple of good songs here.

This album is what I would label as a decent enough album. It is not my cup of tea. Folk rock fans should really get this album and everything else by this band.

2 points 


Mad Fellaz - Mad Fellaz II (2016)

The second album from this Italian band.

I very much disliked their 2013 self-titled debut album. Elevator music was one of the words I used when I gave it 2 points.

So the band has returned again as an eight piece band with a lineup of clarinet, saxophone, guitars, keyboards, bass, percussions, drums and female vocals. English female vocals, that is.

As you can see from the lineup, this is not the normal fare. Neither is it avant-garde either... or jazz. That said, the music here is very eclectic at times.

Strangely enough, this one hour long album is also an album in two halves.

The first half of this album is dominated by the vocalist Anna Farronato and her great vocals. She is not a soprano and she sings normally. The songs here are still eclectic with a lot of jazzy, eclectic melody and rhythm structures. Some songs are fast and some songs here are slow and pastoral. Pastoral with a lot of half-acoustic guitars, organs and other instruments.

The final half of this album is a mix of heavy prog and jazz. A lot of jazz, in fact. It is still very eclectic though with a lot of organs, woodwinds and guitars. There are still some vocals here. But most of this is instrumental stuff.

And strangely enough, I am not sure which half I like best. I think they fits each other.

The result is a good album which still needs a great piece of music to put it's head over the parapet. This is an album which very much appeals to everyone into jazzy eclectic progressive rock. This band is onto something here.

3 points


Sunday 27 March 2016

Flower Kings. The - The Rainmaker (2001)

The sixth album from this Swedish band.

I was not impressed by their previous album Space Revolver from 2000. A pretty terrible album, being an album from The Flower Kings. So I had some reservations about this album.....

Jamie Salazar, Thomas Bodin, Hasse Froberg, Jonas Reingold and the big boss himself; Roine Stolt, is still involved here. They have got help from Hasse Bruniusson and Ulf Wallander on vocals and saxophone. This in addition to guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The first minutes of the opening song Last Minute On Earth makes it clear to me that Space Revolver can safely be forgotten as the failed experiement it was. The Flower Kings is back again. The real Flower Kings, this time.

The music is very symphonic, very Swedish symphonic progressive rock with a good grounding in Swedish folk music. There is a lot of great details and melodies on this single CD, seventy-minutes long CD.

The music flows like a fine river. One great melody follows another great melody. The flow is very impressive on this album and everything feels organic and natural.

There is a heck of a lot to be happy for on this album. It is a classic Swedish symphonic prog album. My only gripe is the lack of another superb or brilliant track in addition to Last Minute On Earth. Nevertheless, this is a great album and one of their best albums.

4 points

Greenslade. Dave - The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony (1979)

The second album from this British legend.

Dave Greenslade was previously in the bands Colosseum and Greenslade. He broke off and did his five solo albums. Cactus Choir from 1976 is his best and most famous album.

This one though is the most infamous album. An eighty minutes long monster.

But it is also a monster who has greatly influenced techno, ambient, new-age and electronica music. It should not be underestimated.

Dave Greenslade plays all kinds of keyboards and everything with tangents attached to the instruments. Strangely enough, Phil Collins is the drummer on those tracks who requires drums. Yes, THE Phil Collins. John Lingwood also helps out on drums and percussion. Dave's own daughter Kate helps out with children voices.

Everything here is very electronica. Very synths and keyboards orientated. But there is actually a considerable amount of drums and percussion here too. There is rhythms on this album.

Most of it is avant-garde music based on synths. Which is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, a lot of the stuff here is not bad. This is actually a decent enough album. One I am sure will interest a lot of people out there. Check it out.

2 points

Floating State - Thirteen Tolls At Noon (2003)

The one and only album and sign of life from this Italian band.

This band was a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, woodwinds, piano, percussion and vocals. English vocals, that is. Three guest musicians on woodwinds contributed also to this album.

I have never heard about this band before and I only became aware of them through ProgArchives. I am a collector of Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) albums and got this album.

The band has gone back to the basics of RPI and stripped it bare. Stripped bare, we find a lot of 1960s flower power, folk music and a bit jazz and hard rock. This is what we get here. Although in the English language.

There is also a lot of ska on this album too. Which is odd to say at least.

The sound is contemporary and up to date anno 2003. The vocals are OK. Ditto for the musicians here.

This album is seventy-four minutes long. Too long in my opinion as this album does not sound that focused. This album also have a forty-five minutes long song. Very odd.

A lot of this album is good too very good. Some of this music sounds a bit disjointed and seventy-five minutes x many times is a lot of time. But I still think this is a good album with a lot of good ideas and melodies. It is still an oddity in the RPI scene.

3 points

Saturday 26 March 2016

Tulipe Noire. La - Matricide (2013)

The sixth and so far latest album from this Greek band.

The band returned seven years after their fifth album with Matricide. They also returned with a new logo and a new vocalist named Julie Massino. They were a sextet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, organ and synths.

Let me first add that Julie Massino is a far better vocalist than their previous vocalist. Her range is very powerful and gives the band and their new music a lot of power and soul. Something they did not have on the first five albums. The change of vocalist gets a big plus in my book and this review.

The music has also slightly changed. It is a lot heavier, more symphonic and more epic. It is a lot more powerful. It is also based around Julie's vocals too.

The sound is a lot fatter too and the band really rocks out on this album. The end result is an album which is definate closer to heavy prog and prog metal than neo-prog.

There is also a lot of intricate details here and some really good stuff. In particular on the stuff which takes this album into rock opera territory.

The album is one hour long and it a really good album. It is by far their best ever album and a new start for this band....... I hope !!

Not everything is great here. But based on this album, I think this band has a great future.

3.5 points    

Neodyme - La Signature du Temps (2015)

The fourth album from this Canadian band.

The band is from Quebec, a city with a great progressive rock and jazz/fusion tradition going back to the early 1970s. And Quebec has never really stopped giving us some great bands.

This four piece is fitting nicely into this tradition and scene. Their lineup is guitars, keyboards, flutes, bass, drums, trumpet, percussion, piano and vocals.

The music fits nicely into the Quebec tradition. Neodyme is a traditional Quebec band because their music eclectic. Very eclectic in fact.

Take a big chunk of fusion and jazz. Add some folk music and symphonic prog. Then add some experiemental metal and post-rock. Then you get the music on this fifty minutes long album.

Most of this album is instrumental and the vocals is only sporadic.

There is a lot of very good ideas and melodies on this album. The music is indeed eclectic. Very eclectic and very much based on rhythm structures. It sometimes also dips into zeuhl and avant-garde.

The lack of any really great tracks is my only gripe with this album. Besides of that, this is a good album which everyone into Quebec should check out.

3 points

Catharsis - Les Chevrons (1972)

The second album from this French band.

Their 1971 debut album Masq was very far from being an impressive album. So something had to be done...

The band was a sextet on their debut album. The band owner Roland Bocquet slimmed down the band to a quartet with a lineup of organs, keyboards, drums, percussion, bass, guitars and vocals.
The band continued with the same personel and lineup on their remaining five albums.

Where Masq was dark and brooding, Les Chevrons is much more light and uplifting. It still has a small sinister streak. But it is a lot of power and life here. The music is really dynamic too.

There are some sporadic vocals here. But most of the music is instrumental though.

The music can best be labeled as ELP going psychedelic. Add Eloy and Santana here too and you get the picture. There is also a lot of classical music influences here. Not to mention krautrock.

In short; this is a heady mix of keyboards and rhythms.

Most of the music is dominated by Roland Bocquet's keyboards. He creates a lot of vibes, interesting details and dynamics throughout this half an hour long album.

The end result is a good album which should appeal to everyone into krautrock, psychedelic prog and symphonic prog. Catharsis is one special band and well worth checking out.

3 points 

Friday 25 March 2016

Pink Floyd - The Endless River (2014)

The fifteenth and final Pink Floyd album.

Pink Floyd from England needs no introduction. This album requires some explanations, though.....

Roger Waters was long gone to his worldwide tours of The Wall. Yes, he is still touring The Wall. I have no idea why. I guess The Wall is the one thing that pays his bills.

Richard Wright passed away in 2008, six years before this album was released. So that makes me guess that this album is from another record session..... Oh yes, it is the left over oddities from The Dvision Bell. An album I am not fond of.

Nick Mason and the main culprit there; David Gilmour, is responsible for this album. A lot of other musicans + professor Stephen Hawkins chimes in with their contributions too.

I am not entirely convinced that this should be regarded as a studio album. The music is mostly instrumental and it screams "left overs !!" at you. The music is also pretty pedestrian and a bit fleshed out by adding more instruments to the pieces here, long after the original recording sessions was finished.

Pink Floyd was a fantastic band. This album just feels cheap and it cheapens this brand. It does nothing to add value to this band. I feel bad about this whole album. This despite of this album not being bad at all. It is just...... a cheap final payday. It is by far their worst ever output.

2 points   

Diatessaron - Sunshine (2015)

The second album from this Canadian band.

This band is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, organ, drums and vocals.

I got this album because the band was listed as crossover prog in ProgArchives. That got my full attention....

The cover artwork tells a different story though and that is what I got here. What should I label this as ? Power-pop springs to mind. College-rock also springs to mind. Teenybopper-rock. Or simply rock post-2000.

Progressive rock or crossover rock is not what I would label this album as. This fifty-four minutes long album.

The music is pretty powerful and it has got a very youthful vibe. Teenybopper vibe. They are not as bad or shallow as McFly. Their music are far better and more mature than McFly's drivel.

Youthful is what this album is and I am sure they are a great hit on the live circuit. The problems I got with this album is the lack of quality. There are no good songs here and the themes are not that interesting either. This album is mostly young punk'ish power for the sake of being young. And I am not jumping up and down to this music. Some good harmonies drags this up to the verdict I have arrived at.

1.5 points 

Karfagen - The Key to Perception (2009)

The third album from this Ukraine based project.

Karfagen is Antony Kalugin and his synths and programming.

There is not much I know about who has the honour to do the female vocals. But there is a lot of female vocals and I don't think it is the masculine man Antony Kalugin's vocals. If that was the case, I think a lot of bands would pay him a small fortune get the software he has used here.........

The music here is mostly instrumental with some female vocals in some proper songs. This album is very long. Two and a half hour on two CDs which has been filled to the max. You get full value from Antony Kalugin and the Welsh record label Caerllysi Music who has brought his music to the rest of t the world. For this, Caerllysi Music deserves a lot of praise. Praise hereby given.

A mad professor from the ex USSR countries and his synths........... Well, it is not exactly something that makes me become joyfull and in a good mood. And I have approached Karfagen with a lot of apprehension too.

In the case of The Key To Perception, my apprehension has been misplaced and I have been very pleasantly surprised.

The music is a mix of Ukraine folk rock dominated melodies and more modern music. Some of the melodies here are superb. The opening 20 minutes of this album is superb. And the first CD is really great to superb. The second CD also has some great stuff too. The far too few songs with female vocals is really great too.

My overall verdict on this album is that this is one of the best ever albums to come out of Ukraine and Antony Kalugin's crowning glory. It is indeed a great album and I really love it.

A mad professor and his synths........ Sometimes that works out very well. In particular when this mad professor is Antony Kalugin.

4 points  

Thursday 24 March 2016

Formless Form. The - Stillest Embrace (2015)

The debut album from this US band.

I have never heard about this band before this album ended up in my inbox. The cover art work did not entice me. But I decided to give it some listening after learning that ProgArchives had labeled this band as psychedelic space rock.

The Formless Form is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

And no. The band is not a stoner band. Not at all. Neither are they a metal band. That to my relief.

Take a big chunk of post-rock and add psychedelic music on the top of that again. There is a lot of ambience in their music and the music is not screaming at the listener. Neither is it terrorizing the listener. Softly, softly is the theme here.

And softly softly is the music on this album creeping under the skin of the listener. The songs are floating around in the room and the guitars is creating a lot of positive, melancholic vibes. Ditto for the vocals. A lot of the guitars are half-acoustic. Which is great.

The bass is everywhere and the drums are creating a delicate vibe.

There are no really great songs here and the album tends to be a bit dull at times. But there are a lot of very good stuff here. A bit better songwriting without loosing the vibe they have got here and this will be a great band.

This is a good album from this new band. Check it out.

3 points

Mabel Greer's Toyshop ‎- New Way Of Life (2015)

The debut album from this UK band.

Mabel Greer's Toyshop was actually Yes before they changed their name to Yes in 1968. Mabel Greer's Toyshop was formed in 1966 and a couple of their songs was released on the Yes debut album. Some time ago, the two non-Yes members reunited and got help from Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Hugo Barre to do this album. Mabel Greer's Toyshop was back in business again.

The result is the album they should have released if not Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Peter Banks and Tony Kaye had not released the Yes debut album and gone with that name.

This one hour album consists of re-recorded versions of their old songs. These almost 50 years old songs.

The music has retained the naivity and beat from those years. The music is pop-rock with a lot of beat and some hints of psychedelia.

It goes without saying that even with the new sound, this album sounds dated. The Yes members did the right thing by writing new songs and go for a new name and a different album. It was probably their first masterstrok/really clever thing they did.

Frankly, the songs are not good at all. This is an album which sounds second rate at best. But as a Yes fan, I am glad it has been recorded and released. It is a part of the Yes story.

As for the music....... It is barely a decent album.

2 points 

Formativ - Formativ (2014)

The debut album from this US/UK/Dutch band.

This four piece band has two members from Maryland in USA, one from UK and the fourth member comes from Holland. Their lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

It is not known if these four persons have ever met each other as this album was put together on the net. It was also produced on the net. It is for sale at CD Baby.  I guess this is the way to go these days and I have no problems with that. The technology is here. Let's use it !

This sixty-five minutes long album starts out as a Yes copycat. This despite of the band describing this album as "unique music which blends classical, jazz, electronica and pop elements together". Well, right........

The Yes element is very obvious throughout this album. But there is also a lot of other influences here too. And yes, the influences mentioned above. But why hide the fact that there is a lot of Yes influences on this album ? Everyone into Yes, and there is a lot of us, should get this album. More album sales does not harm you, guys...........

Besides of the influences mentioned above, there is a lot of modern US prog and rock here. The music is indeed soaring and very melodic. There is also a lot of Dutch neo-prog on this album.
There is a lot of neo-prog here, indeed. The vocals also reminds me a lot about Jon Anderson in Yes.

The end result is a good album. An album anyone into melodic progressive rock should check out. The first bits where they are a Yes copycat is very charming. The final ten minutes is a bit on the dull side. Nevertheless; this is a very solid debut album who deserves a lot of attention and praise. Praise hereby given. The next task for this band is to write some really great songs. The potential is there.

3 points

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Samsara Blues Experiment - Long Distance Trip (2010)

The debut album from this German band.

I wonder if this quartet gets any invites to the many blues festivals around Europe. If that case, the blues crowd is in for a big shock.

This quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, sitar, organ, synths and vocals is nowhere near being a blues combo. This band plays music dirtier than the muddy Mississippi river. There is more mud in their music than water. And that is not mud as in delta blues.

It has to be said that a couple of the more melodic stuff here makes a detour into delta blues. But I take it as a bit of a joke from the band.

The music is not blues. It is very muddy space rock. Dark as tarmac and very dirty. This one hour long album also have some melodic stuff. But most of this album is guitar walls followed by guitar walls. Post rock is another influence on this album too. But Black Sabbath is the biggest reference here.

The result is dirt and mud. The sound is as dark as it should be for a record like this. The vocals are bluesy growling. They are pretty much overrun by the guitars here so the vocals is taking a backseat.

The lack of any really great or even good songs is the main problem with this album. It is nevertheless a decent to good album. Check it out.

2.5 points   

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Folque - Folque (1974)

The debut album from this Norwegian band.

Folque was a six piece band with a lineup of dulcimer, fiddles, flutes, bass, piano, banjo, mandolin, guitars and vocals. Both female and male vocals. But mostly female vocals. The vocals are in Norwegian. Traditional old Norwegian, that is.

Folque was and still is a legendary folk-rock band. They released eight albums and I believe a version of the band is still doing the occasional gigs under the Folque name.

The band was more a folk music combo on this album with a lot of traditional Norwegian folk music. Which is not my cup of tea, in fact. It is too primitive for my liking.

This album comes complete with a very good song, though. Alison Gross is the name of this song and it is actually a pretty long and developed song with a very good arrangement. I am won over..... almost.

I have some issues with these female vocals which is too overpowering. I had the same issue on the reviews of the two follow up albums to this one. Reviews you will find in ProgArchives. Many years later, I still got these issues on this album.

Nevertheless, this is a decent to good album. It is also the best Folque album I have ever come across.

2.5 points

Patte. Indrek - Thank And Share (2014)

The second album from this Estonian vocalist.

Indrek Patte is a true veteran in the Estonian music scene. Both when this very nice country was brutally oppressed by the Russians in the Sovietunion and when they finally won their freedom back in the beginning of the 1990s. Indrek Patte was there, singing his heart out.

Indrek Patte does the keyboards, guitars and vocals here. He has got help from numerous guest musicians.

The music is mostly keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals orientated. But there is also some strings, mandolin, tin whisle and flutes here.

Indrek Patte's 2011 debut album Celebration was more or less a celebration of Genesis. Indirectly, that is. Indrek Patte has moved more towards modern, contemporary rock and neo-prog on this album. There are still some Genesis about, though.

The album starts out very well with some good songs before it tails of into a much more rock and pop landscape at the end of this one hour long album. The first half is good to very good. The final half is not so great.

The end result is a good album though and one to check out.

3 points 

Sunday 20 March 2016

Neo Prophet - Time (2015)

The second album from this Belgium based band.

Their 2009 debut album Monsters got some very good reviews in ProgArchives and I thought it was a good idea to check out the follow up album when I got the chance. I had to wait for a long time, though. Six years.

The band is a quartet where two members is also members of Quantum Fantay. That is another great band from Belgium. The instruments lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English vocals, that is. Male vocals, too.

We are again walking around in the neo-prog land. A pretty big and wide scene, these days. Some neo-prog is pretty epic, some is a bit avant-garde and some bands in the neo-prog genre is very melodic.

You can add Neo Prophet to the last batch of bands. This one hour long album is indeed very melodic. It also has some metallic edges. Progressiv metal, in other words.

This scene is very much overcrowded at the moment. It has always been overcrowded. Neo Prophet does not really add anything of interest to this scene and they does not stand out from the rest of the crowd.

What this band has delivered is a good hour worth of good, melodic neo-prog. And that is all they have done. I quite like this album although it does not really appeal to my brain. It appeals more to my heart. This is a good album.

3 points 

Threshold - Hypothetical (2001)

The fifth album from this British band.

Threshold has shown good progress during their previous albums and has by now established their sound and music. Sound and music they are pretty alone with. They are indeed their own country.

Their setup as a six piece band is also stable. Andrew McDermott is still their vocalist and he is helped out by guitars, drums, bass and keyboards. He also helps himself with multi-layered vocals.

The vocal harmonies is very much noticed here, yes. The same goes for the, at times, very heavy guitars and the guitar-walls.

Threshold has always occupied their own plot of land somewhere between neo-prog and progressive metal. The same goes for this album too. This time, their sound is also very epic. More epic than heavy. Sometimes, epic and heavy get confused.

This album is very epic and melodic. Very melodic too. It also has some cracking good songs too. There are some great songs here too. The Ravages Of Time, which also gave the name to a best-off Threshold compilation album in 2007, is perhaps the best song here.

The songs are pretty long too on this one hour long album. Long and epic. Not everything here is great. But this is nevertheless a very good album and one I recommend.

3.5 points

Florio. Mike - Reconcile (2014)

The third album from this US artist.

I know nothing about Mike Florio. I just know that some progsites (not ProgArchives !) has labeled his music as symphonic prog. His listing on CD Baby namedrops the likes of Foreigner, Kansas and Genesis as references.


I would say that CD Baby is more spot on when it comes to Kansas and Foreigner than Genesis. Forget Genesis. He and this fifty minutes long album is not anywhere near Genesis.

Reconcile is built around Mike Florio's keyboards. There are drums, bass, guitars and tonnes of vocals in addition to the keyboards.

I guess Mike Florio is doing the vocals. They are very much in the Foreigner vein. The one that belted out the massive plague like hitsong I Want To Know What Love Is. I get a lot of these associations from my reasonable happy childhood when I listen to this album. Foreigner is therefore a very good reference.

AOR in other words. This album is wholly AOR with cascades of keyboards added on.

The songs are not particular good. The music is overblown and sounds well over the top. This album is not a disaster as there are some good stuff here despite of overall being a pretty decent album.

If AOR is your kind of stuff and you are longing to get back to the 1980s and the 1990s before Nirvana killed that music; this album is straight up your street. But don't expect to be blown away by the quality of the songs here.

2 points

Procession - Fiaba (1974)

The second album from this Italian band.

This was their last album before the band took a 33 years long break. Their third and final album was released in 2007.

The band was a four piece on this album with a lineup of saxophone, guitars, flute, bass, drums and Italian vocals.

The band was very heavy rocking on their 1972 debut album Frontiers. But that album also had it's pastoral, folky moments. The band decided to dump the more heavy rocking stuff and go folky and pastoral on Fiaba. A very wise choice in my opinion. 

The music is still dynamic and lively on this album. Gianfranco Gaza does a very good job on the vocals and the flutes is also very good.

The song material is lacking a bit in quality. But the sound and the folky ambience is making this album a bit of a joyful experience.

Not everything is good on this thirty-five minutes long album. Nevertheless, this album is a good album and one I would recommend to anyone into Italian progressive rock. It is maybe not that progressive. But it is a good album, neverthelss.

3 points

Saturday 19 March 2016

Different Light - The Burden Of Paradise (2016)

The third album from this Czech band.

The third album since 1996. The band is originally from Malta and released their first album there back in 1996. They relocated to the Czech Republic in 2007'ish and released their second album there in 2009. Their new album is also released from their location in the Czech Republic.

Different Light is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. English vocals as their founder and vocalist is from Malta.

We are deep into neo-prog land again. This sixty-six minutes long album is split into eight songs. Two of them are long suites. So I expected some highly symphonic prog influenced neo-prog.


Most of the music is pretty light on complexity and contents. Some of the music here is pop. Dare I say that some of the music is almost boyband territory. It is that simple.

There are a couple of more complex and better worked out themes where it sounds like the band has tried to stretch themselves. But most of the stuff here is light. Very light on contents.

When that is said, the melodies here are not bad at all. This is actually a pretty good album. The vocals and guitar harmonies are good and ditto for the sound. But don't expect an eclectic progressive rock album. It is on the opposite end of the prog rock spectrum and it is a good album. Hence my rating.

3 points 

Catharis - Masq (1971)

The debut album from this French band.

Catharis went on to releasing six albums altogether. I am reviewing all off them/I have reviewed all of them for this blog.

Roland Boqcuet and his farfisa organ was the main man and signature sound in this band. He got help from six others here. The lineup was guitars, bass, drums, percussions, keyboards, organs, male vocals, female vocals and numerous other instruments.

The high number of instruments does not mean we are here in the middle of some great orchestral music. Far from it. The music here reminds me a lot about Amon Duul. And I don't mean Amon Duul II. I mean the first incarnation of Amon Duul.

The music is simple, improvised hippie krautrock in other words. Thankfully, this album is only half an hour long.

Most of the music is simple and improvised. There is some structured music too here and there seems to be some brain and visions behind this album. But the result is still a poor album. Half a point for some music here which seems to be a bit rehearsed and meaningful. Nevertheless, you can safely bypass this album.

1.5 points


Friday 18 March 2016

Novalis - Vielleicht bist Du ein Clown? (1978)

The fifth album from this German band.

Novalis was a bit of a strange band. The band had their roots in symphonic prog. But they branched out after a couple of albums and became quite mainstream rock after a while.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of clavinet, guitars, flute, bass, drums, keyboards, Moog and vocals. German vocals.

Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown gives us a thirty-four minutes mix of instrumentals and songs. The band had left symphonic prog behind them and comes out as a mix of AOR, rock and a bit prog rock.

Saga, Kansas and the mainstream rock of that age is good references. But Novalis is Novalis. They have implemented a lot of influences and musical genres to create this album. Even some Ska has been included on this album.

The instrumentals are OK. Ditto for the songs. Nothing here really impresses me and this is not an album that captures my mind and my heart. Nevertheless, it has some good stuff inbetween the decent material. Hence my verdict on this album.

2.5 points 

Thursday 17 March 2016

Medina Azahara - Origen Y Leyenda (2009)

The fifteenth album from this Spanish band.

Medina Azahara, who shot to fame in the 1970s, is still releasing albums, strangely enough. That is a good thing, though.

The band was a no-nonsense five piece band on this album. That is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. A bit stripped down.... on paper, at least.

The band has followed the times and has gone back to a much more ethnic sound. Ethnic as in Spanish and Arabic. The music here reminds me a lot about the couple of Arabic music leaning albums they released in the 1970s.

Spain is a country with a great Arabic and Muslim history. Both in culture and the architecture. I therefore understand their more Arabic culture leaning music.

Spanish culture and a great deal of Western rock'n'roll and pop music is still the basis here. The music is a bit of a mix of power ballads and hard rock. You get a lot of leather trousers here. I have seen some picture of this band in a live setting and they are still strutting around as it was the late 1980s. Which is not a bad thing. This is Medina Azahara and they are a proud band with their own sound.

I am not overly happy about their music though as it feels a bit dated and is not that good. But I like this ethnic slant on this one hour long album. An album I would rate somewhere between decent and good. There is still life in this band.

2.5 points 

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Leap Day - From The Days Of Deucalion, Chapter 2 (2015)

The fourth album from this Dutch band.

Leap Day is a five piece band with a line up of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

This is # 2 of the From The Days Of Deucalion. I really loved # 1 of this series and gave it a great rating, 4 points. I was therefore really looking forward to this album.

The vocals from Jos Harteveld is really great and gives the opening song, after the brief three minutes long interlude, Amathia a great vibe.

From there on, there is not that much happening. The music is very pedestrian and pastoral. Almost too modest at times. It is really an album where the sound speaks more than the songs.

There are some glimpses of greatness here and there on this one hour long album. Most songs are a bit on the short side and a long suite would had been preferable to these short themes and songs. Short and short..... Five to six minutes long songs is a bit too short.

Jos Harteveld is really carrying this album. An album which only sporadic shows flashes of greatness. I am slightly disappointed although I really like this album a lot. Hence my rating.

3.5 points

Monday 14 March 2016

Flower Kings. The - Space Revolver (2000)

The fifth album from this Swedish band.

The Flower Kings is legends in their own right and rightly so in my view. I am an admirer of both them and their forerunner and the still going strong Kaipa. Hence, I love Swedish symphonic prog and that is hard to admit for a Norwegian like myself.

No, no..... I love Sweden so I was just joking there. I envy their symphonic prog scene. Bands like The Flower Kings. But we got Gazpacho....

The lineup here is the usual guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. There is a lot of woodwinds here too and that marks a bit of a deviation from the usual The Flower Kings fare.

This despite of the setup being Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Thomas Bodin, Jamie Salazar and Hasse Froberg. But......

The band has moved more towards mainstream rock here. There is also some more jazzy stuff too. The songs on this seventy-six minutes long album is not that long either. And this is just a 1 CD album. Yes, that is worrying as the band normally released 2 CDs albums.

That may mean that the band is much more restricted and focused on 1 CD. In this case... no.

The material here is a bit paltry and leaves a lot to be desired. There is no really great song and the music sounds a bit substandard. This is my least favorite album from them. It is indeed not even a good album. A bit of a let down. A big one too. I just feel that the band sounds tired on this album. Tired and bereft of any good ideas. Hence the rating of this album.

2.5 points  

Sunday 13 March 2016

Pink Floyd - The Division Bell (1994)

The fourteenth album from these British legends.

The band had split with Roger Waters by now and was a trio of Richard Wright, Nick Mason and bandleader David Gilmour. They had help from numerous guest musicians.

The previous album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was the comeback album and the first one without Roger Waters. The end result was a very melodic album. An album followed by a big tour documented as the huge selling live album A Delicate Sound Of Thunder. Oh yes, I remember both albums and events very well.

The Division Bell is a continuation of the themes from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. You get the 1990s sound here. You get the same type of melodies. The same guitar sound. The same wailing female vocals. The same David Gilmour vocals and mostly the same everything from that album.

What is missing is the good old Pink Floyd magic and edge. Magic and edge supplied by Roger Waters. Pink Floyd was not particular good without the four members. And this incarnation of Pink Floyd is suffering from a delusion of grandeur.

It is also suffering from blandness. This album is also suffering from the lack of any truly great or even good songs. Too me, it sounds like a left-over album from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Or an album with pretty substandard songs. Which it is. This album is not terrible. It is just not interesting. Hence my rating.

2.5 points 

Fluttr Effect - Marking Time (2006)

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

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of cello, guitars, marimba, synths, drums, bass and female vocals.

The band's debut album Trithemis Festiva from 2004 was a good modern eclectic prog album. The band is following up that album with a pretty much similar sounding album.

Similar sounding as in the same vein. They have not copied their debut album. But they have stucked to the formula that worked very well on Trithemis Festiva.

Some pretty busy rhythmic songs with a very buys and passionate vocals on the top. Very good vocals too. The vocalist is Kara Trott.

The music is heavy at times. But it is still very much forward looking progressive. The album also has good melodies throughout.

I have to admit I am much more into more melodic music than the busy, staccato forte music Fluttr Effect is giving us here. All the sixty minutes of this album. Nevertheless, this is a good album which should appeal to anyone who want to check out what modern progressive rock sounds like. Fans of King Crimson should also check out this album. A good album it is.

3 points 

Greenslade. Dave - Cactus Choir (1976)

The debut album from this English artist and composer.

Dave Greenslade is off course better known for his bands Greenslade and Colosseum. On both bands, he collobrated with some pretty prolific musicians. On his own, so far, five solo albums, he has done all music.

This album though is the most Greenslade, the band, like albums of his solo albums. It is in all but name a Greenslade album.

Dave Greenslade is doing all keyboards here and has got help from numerous other guest musicians.
Mostly guitars, bass, drums, vocals and an orchestra. Classic music orchestra, that is.

The music has got a good eccentric English vibe throughout. Some clear references to Kevin Ayers are pretty obvious. The vocals songs here are that quirky and that Canterbury scene influenced. The song Time Takes My Time is a very good and quirky Canterbury scene song.

The vast majority is instrumental tracks though and showcases a great composer of movie soundtracks and just melodies.

The end result is a great album which is also helped a great deal by this Roger Dean cover. It is an album I find highly enjoyable. Get it, whatever it cost.

4 points  

Patte. Indrek - Celebration (2011)

The debut album from this Estonian artist.

Although this is his debut solo album, Indrek Patte has been a vocalist and musician in the Estonian scene since the 1970s. That was when Estonia was a part of the Sovietunion and terror reigned over Estonia.

Indrek Patte has confessed to some prog magazines (no torture was involved) that he is a prog rock fan. Celebration is a prog rock album.

Indrek Patte does the vocals, guitars and keyboards here. He has got help from numerous other local musicians on woodwinds, bass, drums, flutes, vocals, guitars and keyboards. A bit of a thank you to this veteran musician, me would like to think. Maybe I am wrong.

The progressive rock here is of the most melodic variety. Think Genesis anno The Lambs... Think neo-prog too. The music is neither hard or particular symphonic. Indrek Patte's vocals are very good throughout and I am left in no doubts this is a great artist.

The music is gentle and good throughout. There is no big sparks of genious or greatness on this album. Just some very good handiwork which reminds me of Genesis.

A good, solid album it is.

3 points

Saturday 12 March 2016

Tulipe Noire. La - Nostimon Hemar (2006)

The fifth album from this Greek band.

The band continues with a new album and a pretty stable setup. That means five members and a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and female vocals.

I am never really going to like Ima's vocals. But she seems to improve a lot, album by album. I would even label them as acceptable on this album.

This is a one hour long album. The music is a sort of neo-prog with female vocals. It reminds me about the more successful British bands in this genre. But not much......

The music is as always from this band, pretty melancholic and dark. There is also a lot of goth and metal in their music. This in addition to the neo-prog we get here.

I really want to like this album. I want to like it a lot. But the music is not particular good. I don't like this goth either.

This is a decent to good album from a band I wished I really liked.

2.5 points

Flight 09 - Human Nature (2005)

The third album from this Uzbek band.

Flight 09 is widely regarded as the first ever prog rock band from Uzbekistan, a country which has given us some other prog rock and fusion bands too. FromUz comes to mind.

Flight 09 is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals. The vocalist Igor Savitch sounds like Alice Cooper at times. Well, he sounds like Alice Cooper. Which is not my style.

The music here also reminds me about Alice Cooper. The music is somewhere between 1980s heavy metal and 1980s neo-prog. The sound is reasonable good.

There is songs here with so simple and cliches filled structures that it makes me cringe. There are also some half decent stuff here.

These fifty minutes is not good fifty minutes. My main gripe is that the music is simple and very much in the heavy metal tradition. Pretty much 3. rate heavy metal too.

Yes, there are some neo-prog here too. But this album is still a turkey and it has been included in my collection of turkeys. This is not an album for me or anyone who does not like the 1980s.

1 point 

Friday 11 March 2016

Procession - Frontiera (1972)

The debut album from this Italian band.

Procession released altogether three albums between 1972 and 2007. Their most relevant albums was their debut album and the 1974 album Fiaba.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of mouth harp, mandolin, guitars, bass, drums and Italian vocals.

It would perhaps not come as a surprise to you if I include this band and album in the Rock Progressive Italiano - RPI - genre. It has all it's hallmarks.

The RPI genre includes a lot of sub-genres and musical/artistic expressions. In the case of this album, we are in the more heavier end of the spectrum. There is a lot of hard rock on this album. An album with not a particular good sound.

The mandolin adds a lot of folk rock and Italian feel to this album too inbetween the hard rocking wild stuff. There is some mature songs too. But the sound and the more wilder stuff is a bit annoying and I am not able to see past it.

This is a decent enough album. A decent to good album because of the more folky stuff. I will explore more stuff from this band.

2.5 points 

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Bell. Stewart - The Antechamber Of Being Part I (2014)

The debut album from this Scottish artist.

Stewart Bell was the vocalist in Citizen Cane for some years and has given this band their voice. After their 2012 album, he split from the band and went his own way.

He is doing most instruments and vocals himself here. He is getting help from Simone Rossetti (The Watch), Mhairi Bekah Comrie and Arjen Lucassen on vocals plus his ex Citizen Cane bandmate Phil Allen on guitars.

I have recently seen the adverts for part 2 of the The Antechambers Of Being opus. I guess I will get that one too.

We are back in the neo-prog land here. This album is far more symphonic prog than most other neo-prog albums. I would almost label this as a symphonic prog album. There is also a lot of prog metal inklings here and you get the full rock opera treatment too on this album.

The references to Genesis is pretty obvious. And the references to Arjen Lucassen's other projects is also obvious.

The album starts really very good. The first ten minutes, that is. But the quality and my interest in this album goes a bit downhill when we get the cascades of guitars, keyboards female vocals and male vocals after a while. Rock opera, or the most overbloated form of rock opera, is not really what I like most. Parts of this album is a bit on the less quality side and has some dull moments.

Nevertheless, this is a good album and I will also get # 2 of these albums when it is released. There is hope in this project. I will live in hope.

3 points

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Box Of Shamans - Belief and Illusion (2015)

The debut album from this US band.

The band is basically the US band Heliopolis. Two of the members in this trio also moonlights in bands like Mars Hollow and Rocket Scientists.

This trio creates the music here with guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

Box Of Shamans was set up to do some cinematic and rhythmic prog rock. Modern progressive rock, this is. ProgArchives has listed them in the Symphonic Prog genre. I do not agree. The music here is very eclectic. Very eclectic indeed.

Take some of Yes more eclectic moments, add some Gentle Giant, some King Crimson, some Rush and add a lot of modern rhythms orientated progressive rock. Then you end up with this album. A forty odd minutes long album.

I am not a big fan of this modern prog rock movement in USA. But I don't deny that this album has both class and quality. This is progressive rock anno 2015.

Inbetween the power trio heavy stuff, there is also some very good melodic stuff. The album is also full of interesting details.

In short; this is a very good album which everyone should check out. I like what I hear.

3.5 points  

Monday 7 March 2016

Flied Egg - Dr. Siegel's Fried Egg Shooting Machine (1972)

The second album from this Japanese band.

This band released one album under the name Strawberry Path before they changed name to Flied Egg. This is therefore the first album under this name. Flied Egg released another album before they folded for good.

Flied Egg was three Japanese musicians who played drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and did the vocals. English vocals with one exception. That song was in Japanese.

I expected a bit of a Gong like album here. And it starts out in that vein too. The title track, by far the best song here, is a bit Gong'ish.

Then the album continues into a mix of The Beatles, Moody Blues and all forms of rock possible. Even heavy rock. Then you also get some late 1960s pop tunes. Like for example the six minutes long and pretty charming Plastic Fantasy.

The rest of the album is a bit of a let down. It is a bit eccentric. But it is also copying the good and the very bad things from the late 1960s and early 1970s. You even get some Deep Purple like stuff here.

I understand that Japan was pretty hungry for western music and bands and albums like this was necessary and a good thing. But anno 2016....... It is at times charming. But the standard is not good, to say at least. Hence my rating of this album.

2 points

Sunday 6 March 2016

Flight - Incredible Journey (1976)

The second album from this US band.

Flight was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, trumpet and vocals.

The logo and the artwork is a bit of a giveaway. Sort of....

Take a big chunk of ELP and add a lot of commercial, slick fusion/jazz. Mostly fusion. Then you get most of this album.

ELP had some really lackluster music in addition to all the interesting, great music. Take the worst of ELP and you get the ELP references here. USA also had and still have a great movie and TV series soundtrack scene. In particular those crime and thriller TV series. Take a big chunk of those too and you get this album.

Everything here is very slick and very schmoozing corporative. Everything very sugary.

There are some interesting stuff here too. A lot of interesting stuff too. But it is getting snuffed out by an almost theatre & stage drama sounding songs. Most of that makes me cringe.

The end result is barely a decent album. It is a decent album, but it does not give me any appetite for their two other albums. I think there is a good reason why this band is so obscure.

2 points

Flame Dream - Out in the Dark (1981)

The third album from this Swiss band.

This is the follow up to their 1979 album Elements. An album I like a lot. And yes, I understand why this band has been labeled the best ever symphonic prog band from Switzerland.

During the two years between these two albums, the band added a guitarist too. The band was now a five piece band with a lineup of synths, woodwinds, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. English vocals, that is.

I don't find much guitars here. Just one guitar solos and that is that. The music is drenched in piano and synths though. That and some woodwinds. Saxophones, mostly. And flutes.

The music on Elements was a mix of Yes, Van Der Graaf Generator and Genesis. This is still the case on this album. Add a bit early Saga too and you get the picture. The Genesis influences are massive though although the album starts as a Yes pastisj. But Genesis takes over.

This album is classic, classic English symphonic prog drenched in synths and keyboards. But the band has their own style, their own way of create their own music out of their influences.

This forty odd minutes long album is a very cosy, warm album with a massive appeal to fans of the above mentioned bands. People like myself. This album has also plenty of quality too. This is a good album although it is not breaking any new ground. Hence my verdict.

3 points 

Medina Azahara - La Estación de los Sueños (2005)

The thirteenth album from this Spanish band.

Medina Azahara is an icon and an institution in Spain and rightly so. They have been going on since the 1970s.

They were a four piece band on this album with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and Spanish vocals. Some very typical heavy metal vocals. The band is also helped out by some flamenco guitars too.

The quality of their musical outputs has been....... ehh...... not overwhelming good since their debut album. A couple of albums has been good though and I have a soft spot for this band. The vocals are memorable and I like the Spanish and flamenco stuff in their music.

Music which on this album is not as heavy metal as on their other previous albums. Their 1990s albums for example. The band is keeping an eye on the trends and has found out that some more mellow music, still with red-hot passionate vocals, is what people want in 2005.

The result is one of their better albums. No, it is not a good album. It is still full of cliches and some of the stuff makes me cringe. Actually, a lot of their stuff makes me cringe. But there is also some more quality on this album. This is not a bad album at all.

2 points

Saturday 5 March 2016

Threshold - Clone (1998)

The fourth album from this British band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.

The band had again changed vocalist from Damien Wilson, who did the vocals on the previous year's Extinct Instinct, to Andrew McDermott on this album. Changing vocalists is never a good thing for a band like this. But Andrew McDermott fits in very well in Threshold.

The music is again somewhere between progressive rock and progressive metal. This is their niche and they are really comfortable here. They have indeed also got their own sound too.

The mix of keyboards and guitars are really good. So is the drums and the bass. The vocals also fits in very well.

There is some songs here which is still very much played by the band. Songs which all concerns the theme of cloning. A big theme back then. Clone is a bit of a concept album.

The music is still melodic with a lot of prog metal guitars and heaviness. There is also some really very good details here too.

And this is indeed a very good album which must be pretty high on everyone's list of top Threshold albums. Of their first four album, I rate this as their best album. Check it out.

3.5 points

Subsignal - The Beacons of Somewhere Sometime (2015)

The fourth album from this German band.

Subsignal is a splinter group of Sieges Even and has grown to become a well respected, popular band. And that with good reasons.

The band is a five piece now with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, piano and vocals. English vocals, that is.

The band positioned themselves somewhere between neo-prog and power metal on their previous albums. This is still where they mainly are on this album. A seventy minutes long album. But there are some changes.....

The band uses a lot of vocal harmonies on this album. Vocal harmonies which reminds me about Yes. And yes, they have moved a lot towards Yes and their latest albums. I am not a big fan of the new Yes albums so this is not good news for me.

Some of the vocal harmonies and melodies are pretty sloppy commercial and easy on the ear. Some of them are pretty annoying too. But the band has thankfully also included a lot of very interesting technical, progressive melodies and details.

But my main impression is that the band has moved a bit away from progressive rock and is seeking, perhaps, greener grass in the more mainstream rock and metal scene.

While weighing up the pros and cons, I have come to the opinion that this is a good album. But these musicians can do a lot better albums like this one. Hence, I am not impressed with this album.

3 points

Quiver - Gone In The Morning (1972)

The second and final Quiver album before they merged with the Sutherland Brothers and released five albums with them.

This band actually had a pretty big hit on their own with a song whose name escapes me. It is not a remarkable song either so I have forgotten it.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of flutes, guitars, banjo, drums, bass and vocals.

Their self titled debut album was not bad at all. Decent half-progressive rock. But the band has moved on from that album and gone very country'n'western on this album.

This thirty-three minutes long album has been describes as a country-rock album in all the online reviews and archives websites/blogs. I would say they are leaning more towards country than rock. But there is also a very strong element of southern rock here. Not at least in the guitars.

So I would label this album as a mix of southern rock and country. Which is a wholesome US mix and made in USA. It cannot get more USA than this.

The music and sound is outdated by at least forty years. The music is not too bad though and fans of southern rock must not ignore this album. I am not a huge fan. The title track is a good track though.

This is a decent album which is not disgracing my record collection.  

2 points

Flash Range - On The Way (2009)

The debut EP from this English band and the only sign of life from them.

The name may be new. But this is.. or was a cooperation between three IQ, Kino, Jadis, It Bites and Arena members.

It would not come as a surprise if the music on this 18 minutes long EP was neo-prog. And it is indeed a fully blooded neo-prog we get here. All the above mentioned bands above is solid good references.

There are four songs here. The vocals are very good and ditto for the guitars, keyboards, drums and bass too.

The songs are OK. Well, somewhere between good and decent throughout. There is no excitement to be found here. Hence, this band only released an EP because this music was so similar to the other bands and that there was no room for this band in the scene. That is my guess.

This is a decent to good EP which fans of the above mentioned bands should check out.

2.5 points

Friday 4 March 2016

Novalis - Brandung (1977)

The fourth album from this German band.

Novalis was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of keyboards, flutes, guitars, bass, drums and German vocals.

I was starting to warm towards this band after their previous three albums. Their music on those albums was a mix of krautrock and symphonic prog. Just what I like.

So I was looking forward to explore this band a lot more. So I got this album.

Brandung is a thirty-three minutes long album with four songs. The seventeen minutes long Sonnenwende and three shorter songs.

There is not much krautrock here. Just a lot of German rock and symphonic prog.

The sound is good enough and I like the vocals. The same goes for the instruments. But.....

My main gripe is the lack of any really good songs here. The music is simply too dull and to bereft of real quality to really interest me. I like everything else but the quality of the music.

Some good details here and there makes this an album somewhere between decent and good. Besides of that; this album is not something I like.

Edit: One of the themes on this album has stucked to my brain like glue. Which means I am upgrading this album to a good rating.

3 points 

Thursday 3 March 2016

Pink Floyd - The Final Cut (1983)

The twelfth album from these English legends.

Pink Floyd is commercially the biggest ever prog rock band. It can also be argued that they were also the biggest band in artistic terms too. I am in four minds (Yes, Floyd, Crimson and Genesis) about that. But just let us say that they were and still is massive. They have left us some truly brilliant albums.

After the massive double album The Wall, which Roger Waters is still touring, there was some internal power struggles within the Floyd camp. Richard Wright was thrown out of the band and Pink Floyd was reduced to Waters, Mason and Gilmour. That and a lot of guest musicians. On the next album again, Waters was out and Wright was in........

I am not so sure if The Final Cut is a Pink Floyd album at all or just a piece in the fight over who owned the Pink Floyd name. Roger Waters won the first battle as this is his album. More or less a solo album where Gilmour and Mason is reduced to being do-as-you-are-told members.

There is not much Pink Floyd to be found here. There is a lot of Roger Waters and his preaching vocals over some piano and sporadic other instruments. Gilmour is making an appearance now and then. But minimalism is the name of the game here.

Roger Waters sounds peeved off and disillusioned throughout the whole album. This album is firmly within the "angry albums shouting at you" genre. And that is all.

There are a few good bits here and there. And there is some annoying bits too. This is a decent album and nothing more than that. It is also the least interesting Pink Floyd album I have ever heard.

2 points

Rufus Zuphall - Phallobst (1971)

The second album from this German band.

Rufus Zuphall was a five piece band with a lineup of flutes, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and German vocals. Male vocals, that is.

This band has always been regarded as Germany's answer to Jethro Tull. When it comes to this album, I don't really understand/get that comparison. Phallobst is something different again.

OK, we can always start in Jethro Tull area aka Songs From The Wood. And then we make our journey deep into avant-garde and krautrock land again. That and a lot of folk rock.

The flutes is the only thing that connects these two bands; Jethro Tull and Rufus Zuphall. On Phallobst, Rufus Zuphall has created their own universe with some blues, hard rock, avant-garde, folk rock and krautrock.

Most of the material on this thirty-seven minutes long album is instrumental. The vocals is very good though. But the instrumental music here is very intriguing and introvert. Sometimes with open outbreaks of pure blues and folk rock. But mostly introvert music where less is more.

This is not an easy listening album and it has taken a long time for this album to grow on me. And it is not a great album by any means although some of you will disagree with that. This is a good album though and one of a kind. It is indeed a very original album and I cannot remember I have heard anything like this album before.

In short; this good album is well worth checking out.

3 points