Saturday 30 April 2016

Jeavestone - Spices, Species and Poetry Petrol (2008)

The second album from this Finnish band.

Jeavestone is a five piece band on this album. Their lineup is flutes, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, percussions, melodica and English vocals.

I quite liked their 2005 debut album Mind The Soup. Good eclectic prog. So I gave them another chance.

The term "playful" very much applies to this album. This album is like a playful, slightly demented cat. Make that; quite a demented cat. But still a friendly cat who just want to cuddle and be your friend.

The basis here is pretty much funky rock. Add some jazz, folk rock and a lot of eclectic prog in the Gentle Giant mould. Beardfish is also an excellent comparison.

The music is very much in the Nordic vein with a lot of influences from Sweden. Even from the likes of The Flower Kings, although these influences are quite subtle. But it is obvious that this is a band from the Nordic countries and Scandinavia.

There are even a half-amusing parody on US promotional advert for the ankles wonderstuff Swankle. It was fun for the first two times. Then I am skipping that one.

The rest of the album is forty minutes of playful eclectic prog with good melodies throughout. This band is very much a good addition to the European prog rock scene and this album should be checked out.

3 points

Black Mountain - IV (2016)

The fourth album from this Canadian band.

The band does not consider their movie soundtrack Year Zero as an official album. But I did that in my review of that album. So as far as I am concerned, IV is their fifth album. It seems like ProgArchives agrees with me.

Black Mountain is a five piece band on this album. The lineup is bass, drums, keyboards, drums and vocals. The main vocals is Ms. Amber Webber's very good vocals. There are also some sporadic male vocals here too.

The music here is a mix of psychedelid rock, Pink Floyd, college rock, indie rock, post rock, progressive rock, eclectic rock, space rock and jazz. In short; modern progressive rock.

The music is both melodic and pretty eclectic too. This one hour long album is very youthful with some gloomy and uplifting moods.

The vocals are good and the instruments are also good. There is not much to dislike here. The only thing I may dislike is that I am not 20 years younger so I can share the sentiments of this album ! But even an old grumpy man like myself finds a lot to like here.

My only gripe is the lack of one or two signature tracks. A track or a melody which lifts this album above their peers. There is none. Nevertheless, I have duly noted down the name of this band and will follow them with great interest.

This is a good album with a lot to offer. Check it out !

3 points 

Ougenweide - Eulenspiegel (1976)

The fourth album from this German band.

This German band was a sextet on this album with mostly accoustic instruments + electric guitars and vocals. German vocals. Both male and female.

The band was operating in the more medieval folk music end of the folk rock spectrum. These songs could had been written 2-300 years ago in pubs and taverns in Bavaria and the rest of Germany. A country then split into several small states.

Thankfully for me, the music has got a much more contemporary sound and instrumentation. Piano is pretty much everywhere. The bass is also very much everywhere. There are also some electric guitars here. That and some flutes and mandolins, drums and percussions.

The vocals are very good. Both the male and females.

The songs are very much rooted in the past. They are pretty easy on the ear and would work a lot better if I was tanked up with a lot of beer. This review has been written by a stone cold sober reviewer, though.

Even stone cold sober, I really like this album a lot. This is indeed a good album where the good melodies shines through. Melodies which deserves to be heard loud and clearly.

I am not a big fan of folk rock. But this is a good album. A forty minutes long album which really shines a lot. Check it out.

3 points

Friday 29 April 2016

Flower Kings. The - The Sum Of No Evil (2007)

The tenth album from this Swedish band.

The Flower Kings is really legends in the scene. They deserve a lot of credit for the re-emergence of prog rock again after a long cold night without a lively prog rock scene.

The band is back again as a five piece band. Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Tomas Bodin, Hasse Froberg and the new boy in the band; the drummer Zoltan Csorsz. A very vibrant setup and one of their best ever setup.

The band has also found a bit of a new life on this album. An eighty minutes long album.

The band is both looking back on their Swedish folk rock roots and is looking forward to new territories. A bit blues and harder rock has found it's way into the band.

This though is a pretty epic album with some very good epics. The twenty-six minutes long Love Is The Only Answer is a very good epic from this band. The opening song One More Time takes their fans back to their roots and their first albums again.

Not everything here is great. But those two epics are pretty much great. The album tails off at the end and becomes a bit lost in a landscape of epic complexity for the sake of epic complexity. The band looses their way a bit through that landscape.

The end result is a very good album from these masters of progressive rock. It is another album which has cemented their position in my house. Get this album.

3.5 points

Yvoski. Fernando - Dos Mundos (1975)

The one and only album from this Venezuela artist.

Fernando Yvoski had a short album career. This is his only solo album and for all I know; he never released an album again. I have though found a Facebook profile with a photo which reminds me a lot about him.

Fernando did the vocals and guitars here. He had help from around 15+ other musicians on this album. This album has a very orchestral sound so most of the musicians does piano, strings and keyboards. This in addition to drums and bass.

Fernando Yvoski is from Venezuela and the vocals is in Spanish. But the music is wholly Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI). It has that sound and music.

The music is very pastoral and folk music orientated throughout. It is also very symphonic. Take PFM and take them down the pastoral symphonic prog path. That is when you meet up with Fernando Yvoski and this album. You can also compare this album to most of the more pastoral symphonic prog bands from Italy.

The vocals is very good throughout. The music is sparely orchestrated. Less is more is the ethos and it really works wonders on this album.

There is no great tracks here. Nevertheless, this is a good half an hour long album. One album that I really enjoy and label as a hidden gem. Fans of RPI need to get this album.

3 points   

Thursday 28 April 2016

Seven Steps To The Green Door - Fetish (2015)

The fourth album from this German band.

Seven Steps To The Green Door is a five piece band with a lineup of woodwinds, keyboards, bass, guitars, percussions, drums and vocals. There are no less than two dedicated vocalists in this band. One male and one female.

The band got support from numerous other musicians here. Mostly on vocals and some on violins.

I have never heard about this band before. Which is a shame as German neo-prog is one of the scenes I really like.

This album clocks in at almost 80 minutes and the cover artwork speaks loudly about a concept album or a more theatrical album.

The band has taken a theatrical, conceptual approach on this album and has made quite a diverse album. From pastoral female vocals pieces to much more harder and bombastic pieces with lots of instruments and vocals.

Yes, this reeks of concept album. It is a kind of a rock opera in all but it's name.

The music is diverse. But the songs are not that great, it has to be said. The quality is good. But there are not really any great stand out songs here. Not even melodies.

Those into rock operas and concept albums will love the diversity and the ambience here. I have my reservations though. Nevertheless, this is a good album.

3 points

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Konchordat - Rise To The Order (2016)

The third album from this English band.

This is a quartet from the Kent area in England. Their lineup is keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

The band has been listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives and that is a 100 % correct label. At least for the first two albums....

....And this album too.

The music is at times very bombastic here. Bombastic can easily be confused with metal. Progressive metal in this case. I have to say that the music here is crossing over to progressive metal a lot.

The basis is neo-prog, though. And I mean the neo-prog from the late 1990s.

The music feels a bit cold and calculated. The lack of any originality is a big problem here. This album is just a follower. Follower of all other albums which has gone down this road before.

There are no really great songs here and the neo-prog cliches comes thick and fast. There are a few goodies scattered around this album. But this is not a good album. It is merely a decent album and an album I am cannot say I enjoyed. Hence my verdict.

2 points 

Monday 25 April 2016

Family - Family Entertainment (1969)

The second album from this British band.

Family was a five piece big band with a lineup of saxophone, flute, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. The now living legend Roger Chapman was the vocalist and main man/motor in this band.

I very much liked their 1968 debut album Music In A Doll's House. It is one of the better albums from the 1960 and one who built and expanded on the groundwork laid down by The Beatles.

Family Entertainment also continues in the same vein. With the help of the strings orchestra The Heavenly Strings, Family takes another look at classical music and the work laid down by The Beatles.

The result is a forty minutes long album which is a bit more avant-garde than I thought it would be. There is not so much beat music here. Most of the music is a mix of psychedelic rock and avant-garde musings with some heavy influences from classical music thrown into the mix too.

The circus aspect of the music comes through, loud and clear. Family wanted to smash the borders and explore their avenues. They succeeded.

In the middle of this, there are some good melodies too. But I have to admit I regard Music In A Doll's House as far better than this album. I think Family went a bit too far on this album. It is still well worth checking out as this album is somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points  

Threshold - Subsurface (2004)

The seventh album from this British band.

Threshold more or less continued as a five piece band here with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. They had got a new bassist and that was pretty much that.

This is the follow up to the great 2002 album Critical Mass. Both a critical and commercial success. So the band was eager to follow up this album with a new killer album.

You get the same thing here as on Critical Mass. Soaring vocals and vocal harmonies from Andrew Dermott. A great guitar wall. Great keyboards and proper bass and drums.

The first half of this one hour long album makes us believe that we have another Critical Mass on our hands. Some very good songs fills the air. A couple of great tracks also follows.

Then we get some pretty substandard songs. Some songs which does not really conforms to the standard set on this album. They are not bad.... They are just not up to standard.

It is more or less impossible to live up to the standard set on Critical Mass. And this album is not up to that standard either. This is still a very good album from a band which deserves a lot more recognition and commercial success. Check out this album and band.

3.5 points

Sunday 24 April 2016

Kerygmatic Project - Now and Again (2015)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

Kerygmatic Project is a trio with a lineup of synths, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. English vocals.

I have reviewed their previous two albums in this blog and I have not been impressed. But I decided to give them another chance. A final chance.

I just had a peek at their homepage and found out that they are a Christian band. Which is fair enough. It also explains some of the lyrics here, performed by a very good vocalist which I believe is Samuele Tadini. My main source ProgArchives has not named the vocalist. Hence, I went to their homepage to investigate. A homepage not that revealing either. Is it really that difficult to give out relevant information on a webpage ?

As I alluded to in my review of their 2013 album By Sheer Chance, I felt the band had become much more a pomp rock/pop band than a progressive rock.

That transformation has happened here. There is some hints to Banco. But there is far more hints to the pomp pop and rock bands of the 1980s and 1990. Big hair, big sound, big vocals, big everything.

The music is somewhere between pomp rock and pomp pop on this album. A bit Saga influences creeps in too. But this is mostly one hour of songs with tonnes of synths and some guitars. That and the larger than life vocals.

What is missing here is some great songs. Even some good songs would had been appreciated by me. But there is none of that here. Just one hour of pomp rock/pop which is not going anywhere in my world.

This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

Outside - Naked (2016)

The fourth album from this French band.

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

This album has been released through the Musea Parallel underlabel of Musea. A label with some strange albums. This is not one of them.

Listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives, I had my doubts to the pleasures of this album. But it came up for review and it will be reviewed.

Neo-prog is about right. Well, if a prog rock tag should be attributed to this album. Maybe it should be attributed to this band. But not to this album.

We get forty-six minutes of youthful rock here. The music is a bit melancholic at times. It also has a bit of a punk feel too. The music is also pretty melodic.

The songs are pretty short and straight to the point. The chorus-verse-chorus formula works here and there is no interesting timeshifts here. The guitars are pretty much in the power-pop mould with some punk involved.

The art of good song writing is not something the band has applied to this album. This album is youthful and punchy. It has some sporadic glimpses of quality too and I really like the melancholic ambience on some of the stuff. But this is not an album I can recommend. It bores me a bit. Hence the lack of any really good points here.

1.5 points

Catharsis - Le Bolero du Veau des Dames (1976)

The fifth album from this French band.

Catharsis was again Roland Bocquet's band and he had help from three other musicians. He did the farfisa organ and the other tangents. His three companions did bass, guitars, drums and percussions. There are some sporadic vocals here, used as an instrument.

Catharsis is a strange band. It is also a unique band. Which is pretty much the norm for French band. France has and had a lot of one-band-scene bands with their own sound and music.

Individualism is and was a positive word in France. And I agree with that sentiment. Very much so. Hence, I am not turning down any French albums when I get the chance to review one. Me and this blog like France !

We are again in an instrumental landscape. This time a lot more with a symphonic prog touch than before. This is indeed their most symphonic prog influenced album.

There are some classical music influenced pieces here. There is also some psychedelic prog influenced pieces here. Symphonic psychedelic prog is what I am tempted to label this album as.

This thirty-two minutes long album is off course dominated by Roland Bocquet's farfisa organ. That gives this album and indeed this band it's very own sound and music.

There is a lot of mood, ambience, interesting details and good melodies on this album. An album not that overly exciting. But it still works and it is indeed a good album. An album everyone into.... well, who would be into this kind of music ? Well, everyone into progressive music will like this album. It comes recommended.

3 points

Klockwerk Orange - Abracadabra (1975)

The one and only album from this Austrian band.

Klockwerk Orange was a four piece band with a lineup of keyboards, trumpets, guitars, bass, drums, tubular bells, organs, synths and vocals.

Listed as Symphonic Prog in ProgArchives, I purchased this album with a lot of expectations. I felt it was time for another chunk of ELP inspired symphonic prog. In particular after the tragic passing of Keith Emerson.

There has been a lot of bands inspired by The Nice and ELP. This band should be included among these bands. The first minutes of this album, indeed the first twelve minutes long track is very much down the ELP and The Nice alley. A lot of church organs like keyboards.

But Klockwerk Orange is not a The Nice and ELP copycat. Their inclusion of trumpets with the same sound as a Sergio Leone western movie soundtrack is bewildering. But it also suits this music too.

There are some vocals before this album goes a bit overboard and into the avant-garde territory. Which is far from the ELP and The Nice territory.

The vocals and those melody lines is btw very naive and very much rooted in the mid 1965. It is beat music and it is a bit pop music too.

The synths and keyboards sounds is good here. Interesting too. The melodies not so good. I am not particular impressed by this album which spans over a lot of valleys and peaks. It is a decent to good album which will appeal to the symphonic prog collector. But not to everyone.

2.5 points

Saturday 23 April 2016

Babe Ruth - Stealin' Home (1975)

The fourth album from this British band.

The band continued on with some good success in USA, UK and Canada. The band was again a five piece band with keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. The female vocals of Janita Haan is off course present here.

But I did not know that the UFO and Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden also played on the final two proper Babe Ruth albums; this one and the follow up.

The guitars are pretty heavy. The music is boogie and heavy metal. There is nowhere to hide this fact.

There is also a lot of blues and hard rock here. The keyboards and piano is honking away in the background. The music is pretty much vocal chords breaking and Janita Haan sounds a bit strained and worn on this album. This is not music for female vocals. This is not music for her vocals.

There is still a lot of quality in this band despite of the not so good songs this band is having to perform and record here. They manage to get a forty minutes long decent album out of this.

The songs are quite decent throughout and the musicians does what they can. The hard rock here is a bit naive and innocent sounding. It is still an album I can do without and I will pass over their final two albums.

This is a decent album from a band whose first album was a good one and the rest of their albums not so good.

2 points

Fufluns - Spaventapasseri (2016)

The debut album from this Italian band.

This may be their debut album. But the band is some sort of a supergroup with members from Daal, Prowlers, Il Bacio Delle Medusa, Tillion and La Bocca Delle Verita. The band is a five man band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, minimoog, mellotron, bass, mandolin, drums and Italian vocals.

And yes, Alfio Costa does the tangents. The core of the bands is him and his bandmates from Prowlers.

The music has to be Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) with these members and it is. But with a twist...

The music is clearly symphonic prog, the Italian way. But the album starts in an almost folk rock vein. A bit pastoral folk rock in the Italian vein. A pretty strong start with some good songs.

There are also some symphonic prog instrumental pieces on this album where the musicians can stretch their legs and musical prowesses.

There is a lot of interesting details scattered around this album. An hour long album which will please fans of modern RPI.

My gripe with this album is the lack of one or more great tracks. There is none here and that is a pity. I am not sure if Fufluns is a one off band or a more permanent band. But there is enough here to wish for more of the same...

3 points

Fotheringay - Fotheringay (1970)

The debut album from this English band.

The second album was recorded in 1971 and meant for the release the same year. But Sandy Denny's solo plans changed that. She went solo and released a very good solo album. The follow up album, named 2, was released in 2008 to very good reviews. Unfortunate, Sandy Denny passed away long time ago.

Sandy Denny is still one of the most tragic passings and waste of talent the music scene has ever seen. Just listening to her voice and music makes me want to cry because of this gross injustice. Self inflicted injustice as Sandy Denny burned the candle at both ends and burnt out far too young.

The name Fotheringay is taken from a Fairport Convention song and the band is a splinter group of this band. I don't know why.

This album has got a mythological status. And that for some good reasons.

Sandy Denny's vocals is simply excellent on this album. Stunning. Out of this world. This is probably one of the best female vocals album ever to see the light.

She is supported by four other greats from the English folk rock scene too. Linda Thompson does some backing vocals too.

The music is melodic and pretty progressive folk rock. The music is a bit more progressive than the usual Fairport Convention fare and more focused on Sandy Denny's vocals.

The nine songs here are all good to very good. That is without Sandy Denny. But she adds the dot over the i and makes this a great album. Take away Sandy Denny and you still got a very good album.

If you only want one Sandy Denny associated or solo album; this is the one you need. This is also probably the best English folk rock album out there too. I am sold and I am hooked. This is a great album.

4 points 

Friday 22 April 2016

Marsupilami - Arena (1971)

The second and final album from this English band.

The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, mellotron, tubular bells, woodwinds, flutes and vocals.

Peter Bardens from Camel produced and played percussion on this album. An oddity worthy a note.

Their 1970 self-titled debut album was a complex, ecletic album which I liked. So I wondered if the band was going to go soft and more commercial on the follow up album, this album.

The band did the opposite. This album is a kind of a concept album about the Romans and the Roman Empire. And the album is far, very far from being commercial.

The music here is very eclectic and very complex. So complex that it is difficult to keep track of what is going on. The themes and melodies are rapidly changing on this forty-five minutes long album. An albums divided into five songs. The longest song, the title track, is clocking in at thirteen minutes.

Eclectic and complex....... but not particular good. There is only sporadic goodies here. The album is suffering from being a tad too complex. A tad too clever. A tad too eclectic.

The good themes and the good song writing handicraft from the debut album is missing. But I still have to give this band a lot of credit for their bravery and balls. There is also some good stuff here and I like their sound a lot. But I am not surprised that the band was not invited back to release their third album. This album must have been a bridge too far for even the audiences in the 1970s.

This is a decent to good album. It is also a challenge to anyone who likes eclectic prog. Check out this album.

2.5 points

Frob - Frob (1976)

Another one album wonder band from Germany.

Frob was a quartet with a lineup of bass, keyboards, guitars and drums.

The band is listed as a krautrock band in ProgArchives. But as many other reviewers has also noted, this band is not playing krautrock at all. A bit strange, that krautrock label when it comes to Frob.

Frob was a fusion band. No less and no more. Their fusion can be compared to a bit Soft Machine, a bit National Health and a lot of Iceberg, Ibliss and ExMagma.

The bass are pulsating like mad and the drums are following up these pulses. The guitars are the main solo and melody leading instrument here together with the keyboards.

The music is both fast and energetic. It is also full of interesting details and melodies. Despite of the reasonably bad sound, there is a lot to enjoy here.

This album is closing at forty minutes and it showcases a band I would have wished some more albums from. This is indeed a very good album from a band who had a lot of promise. Promise not fulfilled. Shame !

3.5 points 

Thursday 21 April 2016

Fusonic - Fields Of No Man's Land (2015)

The second album from this Dutch band.

Fusonic is a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, ebow, violins and some sporadic vocals.

I reviewed their 2010 debut album Desert Dreams for ProgArchives back in January 2011 and found that a good album. A good album in the Camel mould.

The band continues down the Camel road. Well, sort off. A couple of proper songs, where the five minutes long Time Waits, is the best one, are surrounded by one hour and five minutes of instrumental music. The two proper songs are all together elleven minutes long. Which makes this a seventy-six minutes long album.

Most of the music here is long guitars and keyboards themes and solos. The music is very ambient and in the Camel mould. Even the two proper songs are in the Camel mould.

I have to admit this album is really testing my willing to review this album, let alone continue to review albums like this one. But I am still both running this blog and reviewing this album.

The music is mostly dull with only some sporadic interesting themes. The two good songs and these few interesting themes are saving this album from being a turkey. This album is not really my cup of tea.

This is a decent album and that is it. If you are really into Camel, this album may be something for you.

2 points

Fromage - Ondine (1984)

The debut album from this Japanese band.

This band released all in all two albums. Ophelia, their second album, was released in 1988. That is the last thing we have ever heard about this band.

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

Fromage has a pretty big reputation so I was delighted when I found this album. The band has a pretty big reputation as a symphonic prog band.

Which probably means Ophelia is a very good symphonic prog album. This because Ondine is much more a straight rock and neo-prog album than a symphonic prog album.

That said, there are some hints of symphonic prog here. Strong hints. But most of the music is pretty much straight forward neo-prog, the Japanese way.

The vocals, as always with Japanese vocalists, are an acquired taste. I will probably never become a fan of this thin type of vocals. I prefer my vocals with a lot more meat on the bones. A lot more beefy.

The flutes here are very good and so are the guitars and keyboards.

The music too is good. There is no great songs on this fifty-four minutes long album. But it is still one of the better Japanese albums I have ever heard. And I will now try to get their second album as I guess that one is a really gem of an album.

Ondine though is a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Section IV - Superhuman (2015)

The debut album from this British band.

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

Section IV was started to make prog rock accessible to the masses... Well, I have to say that there is a lot of bands who are doing just that. Not to mention the widely available Prog Magazine, Radio shows and ProgArchives. Prog Rock is very much accessible to the masses.

And there is even a lot of bands who makes progressive rock which really appeals to the masses. Muse springs to mind. So does Dream Theater and some bands from the 1970s.

Section IV's brand of progressive rock is a mix of prog metal and neo-prog. That on this seventy-one minutes long album.

You get soaring guitars on the top of soaring songs. Some of them are also long. That means ten minutes plus. Other songs are rather more punchy and short. There are even power ballads here.

You may have detected that I am rather negative to this band and album. Well, I wish the band well. But bands who still do power ballads is not really my cup of tea. I thought we were well past this abnomality. But this album has proved me wrong...... twice.

My main gripe is the lack of any really good songs. This album is not a turkey. There are a couple of good things here. But this album never rises above decent. If this is your game, you are welcome to it.

2 points

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Frankie Dymon Jr - Let It Out (1971)

The one and only album from this US artist who operated out of Germany and UK.

A lot of mystery has followed this album. From what I know from ProgArchives, he was a member of the UK chapter of Black Panthers and a political activist. For some reasons, he ended up in Germany for a while and did this album with Achim Reichel from A.R & Machines, Conny Plank and other German musicians from the krautrock scene. Utterly bizzarre and nothing has been heard from Frankie Dymon Jr after this album.

The music here is performed with a lot of guitars, organs, bass, woodwinds, sound effects, drums, spoken words and normal vocals.

The music is krautrock. But with a large difference. The vocals and spoken words are in English and with a very obvious English accent from the home counties. An upper class accent. Which is strange taken into account Frankie Dymon's membership of Black Panthers.

It is also strange when it comes to the lyrics and spoken words here. Which is Black Panthers influenced, to say at least. Fair enough. The upper class accent makes this bizzarre......

The music is good in itself. Achim & co supports Frankie Dymon and his rants in the best possible way. There is a lot of Amon Duul II here. There is also some Amon Duul here. The music is a bit far out.

This is one of the most bizzarre albums from this scene and it is also a good one. Check it out !

3 points

Jeavestone - Mind The Soup (2005)

The debut album from this Finnish band.

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

Rightly listed as Eclectic Prog in ProgArchives, this almost forty minutes long album offers up a lot of......... stuff and influences.

The organs/keyboards is pretty funky and reminds me about the 1970s. The music is also pretty funky and very modern progressive rock.

Despite of being modern, the roots here lies in the music of The Beatles, Gentle Giant, Rush and various folk rock bands.

The guitars are driving and strong. The organs chunky big. The bass is always hovering around and the vocals is pretty Finnish with a heavy accented English.

Although the music is pretty good, what is missing is a great or even a good song. There is none. That is my major gripe with their debut album. An album which showcases a band with a lot of promises. But that promise has not been unleashed on this album.

2.5 points

Monday 18 April 2016

Karfagen - 7 (2015)

The seventh studio album from this Ukraine band.

The band is now touring quite extensive in Europe together with Sunchild and it seems like Karfagen is on everybodys lips these days. Which is just what the band deserves.

Karfagen is Antony Kalugin with four other musicians on this album. A bit slimmed down and a more touring friendly band. The lineup is male and female vocals, bass, keyboards, drums, percussions and guitars.

The half an hour long Seven Gates is the main composition on this fifty-two minutes long album. A good and pretty dynamic piece of music. A piece of music which very much highlights the development of this band from album # 1 to this album.

In the beginning, this band was all about Antony Kalugin and his keyboards. Most, if not all, of the music was instrumental. This is no longer the case on 7.

There is a strong, very strong element of neo-prog on this album. This has made Karfagen a lot more accessible and a lot better too.

Besides of the vocals, there is still a lot of instrumental stuff too. Stuff where the composer Antony Kalugin can really make something special. Which he sporadic does. Not all on this album and on the previous albums has been good. But this gives Karfagen their own identity and their own space in the prog rock scene & heaven.

This album is a good album from a band who can rightly be regarded as one of the better prog rock bands from Europe right now. My only gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs and pieces of music. That aside, the band has won me over.

3 points 

Sunday 17 April 2016

T.Phan - Soon (2016)

The second album from this French band.

T.Phan emerged from the 1970s band Tai Phong. I have reviewed their albums. T.Phong is also the creative vehicle of Stephan Caussarieu. He was previously in Tai Phong.

I don't think I have the 2009 debut album Last Warrior. Maybe I will get it one day.

Stephan Caussarieu does everything on this album. That means keyboards, vocals, drums, guitars and bass.

Soon is a bit of a strange album. Some songs are clearly live with an audience. That is the last songs of this album. But before that, we are taken through some bewildering songs. Headscratching bewildering songs.

The album starts with the title track. A ten and a half minutes long track which is a......... zeuhl track. Magma looms large over this track. A good track and the best on this album. But I am still wondering what the heck is going on here.

And we get some more zeuhl-light on this album. But there is also some more jazzy rock and pop songs here. And then we get some rock and jazz-light tunes too. At the end, we get some live tracks.

I like the zeuhl stuff. But T.Phan going zeuhl ?? Do I see pink elephants flying past my windows ? Strange album, this one.

The live tracks is not particular good although the studio bits are good. Hence my rating. I am still scratching my head.....

2.5 points 

Catharsis - Illuminations (1975)

The fourth album from this French band.

The mastermind in and behind Catharsis, mr Roland Bocquet, got help from five other musicians on this album. The lineup was his farfisa organ, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions, charango, guitars and some female vocals.

The band is continuing down the same path as on the previous two albums. Dirge like music, in short. Dirge like krautrock, that means.

This twenty-eight minutes long album is more or less one twenty-eight minutes long piece of music. You get the farfisa organ with some female vocals, percussions and synths on the top.

The vocals is without any words. It is an instrument and that is it. The farfisa organ is very effective though and is carrying this album.

This album is almost like a religious dirge and has got almost a funeral dirge written all over it. 

The music is actually pretty good throughout. This despite this being a bit too one dimentional for my liking. I find this album too dull and the sound is not the best either.

This is a decent to good album. It is still well worth checking out as this album brings something very different to a music lover's table. Something I have not heard anything like before. Check it out.

2.5 points 

Doping Hornets - Doping Hornets (2015)

The debut album from this Canadian band.

If my memory serves me right, this is also a name-your-price Bandcamp album too. Yes, it is. Check out the link.

Doping Hornets from Montreal, Quebec is a five piece band with flutes, drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals. Most songs are in English although this Canadian province is a French speaking province.

The band has been listed as a Crossover Prog band in the always almighty ProgArchives and I agree with that.

What we get here is forty-two minutes of college rock and prog rock. The band is youthful and that is what you get here. Young, innocent music. But this is not teenybopper rock and they are hundreds of miles away from that their countrymen Justin Bieber throws up on his albums and teenybopper riot gigs.

The musicians does a good job and so does the vocalist. What is a great shame here is the lack of really good songwriting. The music is youthful..... but not good. There is nothing here which really catches my attention.

This album is by no means a disaster. But next time, please write some good tunes and songs. Anyway, download this album and disagree with me and this review. 

2 points


Black Mountain - Year Zero (2012)

The fourth album from this Canadian band.

Or commune as they prefer to call themselves, according to ProgArchives. Which makes me believe this band/commune has at least one foot in the hippies/drop out scene.

It seems like this is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

The music is at times very hippie and psychedelic. Most of all, this fifty minutes long album comes a cross as a mix of post-rock, space rock and krautrock. Those three genres has been mixed together and the result is this album.... and perhaps their other albums too. I only got this one and their new one so I don't know.

Hippies and flower power anno this cynical day and age is as good label. The post-rock and space rock genres provides the music with a stronge bass and guitar wall. Krautrock supplies the melodies.

This album has this modern feel while looking backwards. There is a lot of ebbs and flows in this music. A lot of moods and ambience inbetween the rather crass space and post-rock.

The result is a bit of an uneven album where some parts is really great and other parts is merely decent to good. The opening tracks is really something to behold where the interchanges between beasts and beauties is very good.

The end result is a good album and another band I am keeping an eye out for. I am really looking forward to listen to and reviewing their new album too. But Year Zero is a good album in it's own right.

3 points

Saturday 16 April 2016

Family - Music In A Doll's House (1968)

The debut album from this English band.

I first heard about Family three decades ago in a book about a Norwegian band called Prudence. They had blown Family of the stage at the Roskilde festival forty-five years ago. That did not really made me interested in Family.... But sheer curiosity and a nice price made me purchase their first two albums a while ago. I am driven by curiosity. Hence this purchase and this blog. All the 3000 reviews.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of strings, woodwinds, bass, drums, guitars, mellotron, keyboards and vocals. Family was also Roger Chapman's band. He was a great vocalist in both Family and for Mike Oldfield. He is in fact regarded as a living legend.

Music In A Doll's House is a thirty-seven minutes long album which gives us a mix of the late 1960s. From The Beatles rock and pop to jazz and blues. All this with a progressive streak.

Some parts of this album is very standard pop/rock in the vein of The Beatles. The opening songs, for example. Then the album goes into a blues and then an almost avant-garde album full of strange ideas.

I have to admit that this album really impresses me a lot. In particular Roger Chapman's vocals which is something special. But most of the music here is good to very good. And it is one of the better albums from 1968. And it is underrated. It has not survived the test of time that well. It is still a good album, bordering to being a very good album.

It sometimes pays to be curious. 

3 points

Fucci. Claudio - Claudio Fucci (1974)

The debut album from this Italian artist.

Claudio Fucci had a pretty good career in the 1970s in bands like Le Mani before he did something else for some decades before he returned again a decade ago. He has released three albums between 1974 and 2006.

Claudio Fucci does the vocals and guitars here. He has got a lot of help from various other musicians. With the exception of moog, the instruments here are acoustic.

Claudio Fucci has been compared to Angelo Branduardi a lot. And I can see the reason why, based on this album.

The music is gentle and mostly acoustic Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI). The music is hardly rock at all. It is hardly progressive rock at all.

The music is very gentle indeed with the focus on Claudio Fucci's vocals and gentle acoustic guitars. Some glockenspiel, flutes, strings, moog, piano and woodwinds adds a lot of melody and ambience to this sound. They very much also adds substance to the melodies which is not as stripped down to vocals and acoustic guitars as I first feared. The good harmonies comes thick and fast on this thirty-five minutes long album.

There are a couple of electric guitar solos here which adds substance to this album.

The melodies and music here is actually, to my surprise, good. I am not a big fan of these acoustic RPI albums. But this one has got my attention and my praise. This one is like a well deserved rest for my head and ears.

It is a good album and one I recommend.

3 points

Rocchi. Claudio - Volo Magico N. 1 (1971)

The second album from this Italian artist.

Claudio Rocchio was always on the fringe of the Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) scene. Not quite RPI, but still pretty much RPI.

Claudio did guitars, vocals and piano on this album. He had help from a lot of other musicians here too. They contributed with (lots of) vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, mellotron, harmonica and drums.

No matter what Claudio did before and after this album, Volo Magico N. 1 is very much a Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) album.

The title track is nineteen minutes long and is almost space and krautrock. It is also pretty much a psalm with some haunting vocals, guitar solos and choirs. A very good song which will live long in my memory. Most of all also because it has this RPI pop feel too. A bit of a folk rock feel too.

RPI mixes very nicely with Italian folk rock and pop on the remaining three songs too. The eleven minutes long Giusto Amore is very much haunting RPI and Italian pop too. Ditto for the closing track too.

Claudio Rocchi has a very good voice and he has created an unusual, but still a good album here. It is bordering to a very good and even a great album. But this thirty-five minutes long album has it's shortcomings too. Mostly, it is too one-dimentional where one theme is being used throughout.

Nevertheless, check out this album.

3 points  

Friday 15 April 2016

Babe Ruth - Amar Caballero (1973)

The second album from this British band.

Their 1972 debut album First Base is rightly regarded as a semi-classic album. It had a great mix of hard rock, southern rock, blues and progressive rock. I very much liked that album.

The band is a quartet on this album. The lineup is drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and female vocals. Janita Haan is again the vocalist here.

Where First Base was a solid unity of hard rocking music, Amar Caballero sees the band doing some experiements. In comes a lot of jazz and some ethnic music. Mostly South American folk based ethnic music.

The title track, which is a suite divided into three parts, sees the band branching out in all directions. But before that suite, we have got the usual fare of hard rocking stuff with some southern and blues rock.

This album is very much about pushing the envelope and is therefore pretty progressive. The vocals is a bit too forced and strained in my opinion. The hard rock here is good though.

This is a very brave....... and foolhardy album. An album which will not make the fans of the debut album scream in joy. It takes some time to really get to know this album.

Nevertheless; this is a decent album and one that may be worth checking out. Get it as a 2 for 1 CD together with First Base (as I did).

2 points 

Marchesi Scamorza - Hypnophonia (2015)

The second album from this Italian band.

I was pretty happy with their 2012 debut album La Sposa Del Tempo. A great album in the Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) tradition. So I was very happy to take delivery of this album.

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

The band is very much following in the RPI tradition again on this album. Gone is the Pink Floyd influences though. What remains is PFM and Genesis influences.

Despite of having two long tracks, both topping thirteen minutes, this album is not particular overly symphonic. This album does not reminds me about a Le Orme album at all.

The two long songs, Il Cammino Delle Luci Erranti and La Via Del Sognatore, is pretty much in the middle of the road RPI songs with some guitars and some keyboards with some vocals added too. Both songs are remarkable unremarkable.

I have been listening to this album for a long time as I really like this band a lot. The music is good throughout with some glimpses of what could had been a so much better album. There is no greatness over this album at all. I am left a bit disappointed.

Nevertheless; this is a good RPI and prog rock album. It is very much well worth checking out. This and their debut album.

3 points  

Thursday 14 April 2016

Marsupilami - Marsupilami (1970)

The debut album from this British band

This band released two albums before they broke up. They were a sextet with a lineup of bass, flutes, organs, drums, guitars, percussion, harmonica and vocals.

Listed as an Eclectic Prog band in ProgArchives, I approached this band with an open mind. A wise choice as this album has a heady mix of.....

Well, let's start with blues. That is their roots. Then take a lot from King Crimson, Gentle Giant and some of Genesis and Yes. I have heard they have been compared to East Of Eden. A band I have yet to hear a tone from. I would compare them to Gnidrolog though.

The flutes are everywhere and so is the heavy organs. The music is both complex and melodic. Eclectic, this album is.

There is a lot of very interesting details and melody lines here. The vocals is also very good. The flutes is sometimes off key as a sound effect. Very effective indeed. The guitars are sharp and to the point.

There is alot to enjoy here. Not at least the complex melodies. All of them based in heavy blues. All of them really tasty.

This is a good album from a band I have never heard about before. A good forty minutes long album. Check out this good album.

3 points

Steeleye Span - Hark! The Village Wait (1970)

The debut album from this English band.

Steeleye Span is legends in the British folk rock scene. Legends on the same level as Fairport Convention. They have also released a lot of albums and I am going to review most of them.

The band was a five piece on this album with a lineup of banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, guitars, bass, fiddle, drums and lots of vocals. The main vocalist is Maddy Prior.

The music is pretty basic folk rock with a lot of vocals. The vocals is the main thing here. But some nifty dulcimer, guitars and other instruments is making this a bit more than just another vocals dominated folk rock album.

I am not denying that I find a lot of the folk rock music pretty dull. But it is obvious already from this debut album that this band was going to be a good band. Not only a good folk rock band, but a good band.

There are some interesting instrumental parts here and a couple of good songs. Maddy Prior is a great vocalist and her vocal harmonies are great.

This is one of the few basic folk rock albums I have really liked. Mainly because of Maddy Prior's vocals and the instrumental parts. It is a decent to good album and one well worth checking out.

2.5 points 

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Outre Mesure - La Ligne Perdue (2015)

The second album from this French band.

Outre Mesure is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flugelhorn, trumpet, flute and tenor sax.

Their 2009 debut album Abacadae was compared to the works of the avant-garde band Henry Cow. Which is not bad as Henry Cow is still a very much missed band.

La Ligne Perdue is a jazz album. It is also very much an avant-garde and chamber jazz album. The woodwinds is very much alive here with flugelhorn and trumpets really blazing off at full pelt.

The guitars are also very interesting here. Ditto for the drums and the bass.

The whole album has this chamber jazz feel. It is an intimate experience, this album. It is an album where less is more. Where less is enough.

I have to admit it has taken me a looooooong time to get comfortable with this fifty minutes long album. Comfortable enough to write and submit a review and an opinion.

But I have grown to like this album. Avant-garde prog and RIO is a genre I like. Although I have so far labeled this as a jazz album, it is as much an avant-garde prog album as an avant-garde jazz album. 50/50 of each, I would say.

The end result is a good album which is a bit of a mouthful for me. But which I can recommend.

3 points

Frame - Frame Of Mind (1972)

The one and only album from this German band.

Frame was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, organs, mellotrons, bass, drums and English vocals.

The band is listed as a heavy prog band in ProgArchives and I am not disagreeing with that. It is spot on, in fact.

There was a lot of heavy prog bands in Germany at that time. Some of them were operating in and out of the krautrock scene. Some of them were heavy influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath. Others again was heavy influenced by southern rock and the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Frame was....

Frame was still influenced by the blues rock scene. Both in USA and in the UK. The music is pretty heavy although there are some good prog rock here too. A bit pastoral soul influenced at times.

This thirty-six minutes long album has eight tracks. That includes the eleven minutes long All I Really Want Explain which is a reasonably good song.

The music here is pretty good. The band is not reinventing the wheel. Neither does this album sounds too dated. Age is not an issue here. The vocals are good throughout and the organs are good.

The songs are not particular good. But there are some flashes of good things now and then. Hence my verdict. Check out this album.

2.5 points

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Frequency Drift - Over (2014)

The fifth album from this German band.

Frequency Drift is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, violin, viola, harp, flutes, percussion, cello and female vocals. A lot of guest musicians has also contributed to this album.

This band has been around since 2006 and has released seven studio albums. I reviewed their fourth album, the 2012 album Laid To Rest some years ago. I rated it as a very good album.

Isa Fallenbacher is the vocalist here and she does a great job. Her vocals is pretty dreamy and spacy. The music is at times very dreamy and spacy too. That within a very melodic frameset.

Neo-prog is the genre here. But the music is on the dreamy and symphonic end of that spectrum. There is also electronica here, played by flutes, cello and viola... and some keyboards.

The music is a bit Enya at times. Some keltic influences comes through at a couple of tracks.

This album is very long. Seventy-five minutes, no less. My main gripe is the lack of any great songs here. There is none. The music is also not that focused and it tends to become a bit too dreamy and spaced out. I love the vocals though. But I wish the vocals had been on the top of some better songs and melodies.

This is a good album from a very good band. A band everyone should check out.

3 points

Sunday 10 April 2016

Ougenweide - Ohrenschmaus (1976)

The third album from this German band.

Ougenweide was a six piece band with a wide variety of acoustic instruments. From flutes to instruments I have no clue what even is. The music is topped up by German vocals.

There is some instruments here which sounds like the classical and folk music sounded 200 - 400 years ago. Not that I was there. But I have heard some medieval music in my time and this album has a lot of that.

Ougenweide was trying to combine folk rock anno the 1970s and medieval music from hundreds of years ago.

And I have to say they have created a thirty-six minutes long album which takes us back in time. Not to the 1970s, but to the medieval times. That with a nice blend of folk music and folk rock.

Actually, I cannot remember that I have ever heard an album like this in my life. Lots of strings and lot of elegance.

The music is drenched in good melodies too. Which is very much helped by the elegant use of piano, flutes, strings and vocals. Both male and female vocals. Often in duets.

My only gripe is the lack of any great songs. Besides of that, this is a good album which will interest anyone into folk rock and progressive rock. I really like this album. A gem of an album.

3.5 points

Threshold - Critical Mass (2002)

The sixth album from this British band.

The band returned to the studio again as a six piece and with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Andrew McDermott was at the microphone and does a sterling job here.

The band has shown a great progression on their previous five albums. They had bettered themselves, album by album. They had also developed their very own style and sound.

Threshold has a sound and style which neither conforms with the prog metal scene or the neo-prog scene. They are inbetween those two genres. This explains their status as a cult band instead of a status of a best selling band.

Not even this album would change that.

Their 2001 album Hypothetical laid the groundwork for Critical Mass. An album which starts with some immediate great songs. They are great, but also bordering to cheesy. But the hooks and the choruses are great. This alone makes an album bordering to great.

The title track is fourteen minutes long and showcases a band pushing borders and the envelope. A great symphonic prog suite in a more prog metal and neo-prog sound.

The end result is a great album and their best album to that date. It is an album you should check out, from an underrated band.

4 points

Samsara Blues Experiment - Waiting For The Flood (2013)

The third and so far the latest album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, moog, sitar and harp.

Samsara Blues Experiment is a band in the sludge core and space rock genre. Their debt to Black Sabbath and the many Hellhound Records bands. St Vitus springs to mind.

The music on this fifty minutes long album is divided into four songs. All of them over ten minutes long.

I have reviewed their first two albums and I have liked them. But three albums with the same music.... Well, that is wrong. The subtle introduction of moog, voice effects, harp and sitar gives a couple of songs an Asian and Middle East flavour. The songs is also a bit more varied and not in this all out sludge and space rock assault.

When that is said, this album is very hard and not easy-listening. Very hard and metallic at times. But there are some subtle changes and developments on this album I did not find on their previous two albums.

This album is though an aural assault on the ears and the other senses. It is also very much spaced out. The song structures is pretty good throughout. But this is not a commercial sounding album. Not by any means.

My main gripe is the lack of any great songs. There is no great songs here and a couple of the songs are also a bit substandard. This is still a band I will keep an eye on and I will still get their albums if they are still alive and well. This album though is a good album.

3 points

Saturday 9 April 2016

New Trolls - E (2015)

The twentieth album from this Italian band.

From their early start in the 1960s, New Trolls has splintered and fractured into many different bands and factions. I have given up trying to get on the top of their family tree. I gave up long time ago. But here is the twentieth album under the New Trolls name. Or UT New Trolls as this version of New Trolls is now called. I have no idea why....

Gianni Belleno and Maurizio Salvi is the members from New Trolls here. They have got help from five other musicians.

New Trolls has been involved with a lot of music genres. From proper symphonic prog to Italian pop music. Add some fusion too and lounge music too. Not to mention; Italian folk music.

And this album very much showcases the wide variety of music New Trolls has been involved with. This album has every genres above. It feels like a compilation album.

I am not sure what the concept behind this album is. It sounds like one and each of the members of New Trolls has got their own song and own space here. New Trolls does not sounds like a band here. They sounds more like total confusion.

This album is not too bad. But it is not an album I will ever play again. It is not an album which brings much credit to the New Trolls name and brand. I don't think I will get another album from this band.

2 points

District 97 - In Vaults (2015)

The third album from this US band.

District 97 is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and female vocals.

District 97 is also one of the better progressive rock bands in today's scene. Their outlook and sound is from the New York area. Their vocalist and main asset Leslie Hunt sounds like a New Yorker to me. A great and very cool sounding vocalist.

The music on this album is in the eclectic genre. Take the coolness of jazz and add neo-prog and some hard rock and symphonic prog to that mix. This album is also very American.

The whole sound and attitude of this album is very American. Big, brash and unrepenting what it is. There is a lot of this Greenwich Village mentality here too. This artistic feel no other nations does better than the Americans. 

There is a lot of twists and turns on this one hour long album. An album who need a lot of time before the listener gets it.

There is a lot of twists and turns on each of these nine songs too. It is a bit of a wild ride with a mix of heavy riffs and more pastoral riffs.

What is missing here is a couple of great songs. I am a bit disappointed by this album as there is not much of good melodies or details here too. I will rate it somewhere between decent and good. But check out this album.

2.5 points  

Flower Kings. The - Paradox Hotel (2006)

The ninth album from this Swedish band.

The Flower Kings has been one of the best progressive rock bands on this planet during the last 20 years. Their influence has been massive.

The band returned with their ninth album. A two hours long double CD album. The band was more or less the same as on the previous albums. Marcus Liliequist has taken over the drums from the previous occupant and the band has expanded to six members. That is the only difference.

The band still relies on a lineup of guitars, keyboards, synths, bass, drums and vocals.

The band is still very much based in the Swedish symphonic prog sound on this album. There is a small difference from the previous albums, though......

The music on Paradox Hotel is a lot darker than I am used to from this band. It is almost a bitter album where cynicism is the major factor here. This in the normal settings of the Swedish symphonic prog sound.

What is missing here on this album is some great songs. The songs are not up to the normal standard from this band. That is normally a very high standard. The band seems a bit dithering on this album and more based on expressing their dark side. That is more than giving us some great or even good songs. Or even melodies.

This album is a let down. It is barely a good album. But a handful of good songs and melodies saves the skin of this album. I am not impressed by this album.

3 points

Fragil - Serranio (1990)

The second album from this Peru based band.

Their 1981 debut album Avenida Larco was a good symphonic prog album. Released far too late to catch the symphonic prog wave, that album was probably not a best seller.

.... So the band returned nine years later with the follow up. The lineup was synths, keyboards, flute, mandolin, guitars, bass, drums and Spanish vocals. The band was now a five piece band.

The band has moved away from symphonic prog and the music they gave us on Avenida Larco. But thankfully not too far away from that album. This is still Fragil. This is still South American prog rock.

To be more precise; loosely speaking neo-prog with a lot of pop, rock and folk music influences. That means a lot more rock/pop than neo-prog.

We even get a rockabilly song here. A pretty horrible song which I want to forget/skip over. The rest of the album is far, far better.

The thing that hits me most is the elegance of this album. There are tender flutes and mandolin parts with some elegant synths and guitars parts helping out too. The vocals are elegant too.

The songs are pretty good too. That except from that horrible rockabilly song. The album is forty-three minutes long and it has some good stuff. It also has some decent stuff too. Hence my rating. Nevertheless, check out this album.

2.5 points

Thursday 7 April 2016

Froberg & Musical Companion. Hasse - HFMC (2015)

The third album from this Swedish musician.

Hasse Froberg has been a member of The Flower Kings for a while now where he has been doing some vocals and guitars. During one of their breaks, he released his 2010 debut album and followed it up with the second album in 2012.

The band is a five piece band with Hasse on vocals and guitars. The other instruments are lead guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. All of the musicians are Swedish.

It would not come as a surprise that the music and sound is well within the Swedish symphonic prog genre. Anglagard, Kaipa and The Flower Kings is obvious references.

What sets Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion a part from those three bands are that this band is not as symphonic as those three bands. It is a tad more normal prog rock and rock here.

The Swedish sound is still present though and that makes this album very interesting and a must-have for those of us who love that sound.

It has to be said thoug that the music here is good on this one hour long album. The band does all the right things and pushes all the right buttons. But this is not the most interesting album in the scene and it feels a bit like the band is going through the motions here. Nevertheless, this is a good album.

3 points 

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Catharsis - 32 Mars (1973)

The third album from this French band.

Catharsis was a quartet on this album. Their lineup was farfisa organ, drums, percussion, guitars, bass and some vocals.

Catharsis was also a band with their own identity and sound. Their own genre, in fact.

Take space rock, add some krautrock, avant-garde rock and some French symphonic prog. Roland Bocquet's farfisa organ is very much in the centre of their music. That gives this band their own sound. Add a lot of the French humour and eccentric nature too and you get this.

The opening track, the title track is a straight edge space rock workout, the Catharsis way. Which means tonnes of farfisa organs. It is a long track too, clocking in at over eleven minutes.

The second track Masq is something entirely different again. It is a circus track which you will find played in a the circus when the artists is doing their bits.

The other two tracks is a bit on the symphonic prog side, not too far away from what Focus did on their best.

The album is far too short. Then again, you can just put it on the repeat button and play it over and over again. Something this album is worth.

My only gripe is the lack of a truly great track. But this is still a good album and well worth checking out.

3 points

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Forgas Band Phenomena - Acte V (2012)

The fourth or fifth album from this French band.

Forgas Band Phenomena is a seven piece band with Mr Forgas, Patrick Forgas on drums. He is joined by flutes, woodwinds, bass, guitars, keyboards and violins.

I am not sure if this is the fourth or fifth album from this band. ProgArchives says four albums. The album title says five albums. I do not know.

I have heard about this band a lot and I have had this album in my collection from the day it was released. But it has been forgotten and misplaced during that time......

I bought the album because it was being compared to Soft Machine. I know now why.... This is a bit of Sixth with violins and trumpets. Lots of violins. Jean Luc Ponty comes as an obvious (cheap ?) reference here. But the band still sounds like Soft Machine from the Fifth to Seven album.

The music on this fifty-two minutes long album is entirely instrumental. It is medium intense where the violins is pretty much everywhere. The violins sounds a bit gypsy like. The music does not.

I don't rate this album as good as a Soft Machine album from their glory days. Their intensity is not here either. Nevertheless.......

This is a good album where my main gripe is the lack of any great melodies and details. But I cannot fault this album at all.

3 points

Sunday 3 April 2016

Lonely Robot - Please Come Home (2015)

The debut album from this English project.

Lonely Robot is the guitarist John Mitchell (Arena, It Bites, Kino, Gandalf's Fist, Frost*, John Wetton and The Urbane) solo project.

Hence, he has got help from many of his friends here. Most notable Heather Findlay and Steve Hogarth. But you can also add a lot of other contributors here. John Mitchell does vocals, guitars, keyboards and bass here.

This album has all the marks of a come-together neo-prog dominated albums of which we have seen a lot of during the last five years.

Kompendium was a great come-together project and delivered the best album of 2014. There has also been some not so great projects in this genre.

John Mitchell and Heather Findlay does as celtic prog inspired duet on the track Why Do We Stay. Quite a nice sugar drenched ballad. In addition to this ballad, we get a lot of uptempo instrumentals and some more proper songs.

The musicians knows what they are doing and this album does not disgrace John Mitchell in any way. The music is pretty safe and good. Maybe I am a bit cynical. But I think I will stay a bit away from these kind of projects in the future.

Anyway, there is nothing bad to be said about this album. My only gripe about this album is the lack of any surprise and non-formula songs. Missing is also some great tracks. Sorely missed, they are.
Besides of that, this is a good album. Safe, good and not particular exciting.

3 points

Saelig Oya - Chaos Chaos (2015)

The debut album from this French band.

Saelig Oya is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. That means a mix of English and French vocals. And oh, the vocalist is a female vocalist. Helene Pean is her name.

No keyboards means rocking out. And the band is correctly labeled as a heavy prog band in ProgArchives. And the band also got a lot of fans in ProgArchives. And rightfully so.

Take heavy and prog. Not prog metal. This is where we get this album. Some of the guitar chugging and walls may mislead someone to believe the music here is prog metal. Well, they are wrong.

The music on this album is very much progressive rock. Although with a melodic and hard rocking twist. And may I say; an eclectic twist.

There is a lot of hard guitars here. There is also a lot of very clever half-acoustic guitars here. And the vocals from Helene Pean is adding the final twists and quality to this album.

All the six songs on this thirty-eight minutes long album is very cleverly made. There is a lot of variations between the harder stuff and the more half-acoustic eclectic stuff. All songs has these contrasts. All songs has some very melodic stuff and choruses too.

I think this band is onto something that may break them commercially too. This album very much deserve a bigger audience than just the prog rock crowd.

This is indeed a very good album and it should be checked out through the normal sources. It comes with my recommondations.

3.5 points