Tuesday 31 May 2016

Parzivals Eye - Defragments (2015)

The second album from this Multi-National project. A project born in Germany.

This band was formed as a side-show of RPWL by it's then member Chris Postl. He then split from RPWL and Parzivals Eye became his main project.

Chris does all the vocals here. The other instruments are keyboards, bass, drums and guitars. That and some sporadic piano.  

But Christina Booth from Magenta does a cover of Yes's classic Long Distance. A track pretty untypical for this album and I am not sure what it does here. No offence intended towards the always great Christina Booth. The song is still a very good song and one of the best songs here. It still does not fit this album....

But.... This album is a melodic neo-prog album with references to RPWL and Sylvan. There are some references to classic rock here too. But neo-prog it is and that throughout this one hour minus the Yes cover.

The music is melodic and not particular epic. There are good songs throughout and the album is very pleasing. There is no great songs here and not much excitement around either.

Hence my rating and three points.

3 points

Sunday 29 May 2016

Sassi. Yossi - Melting Clocks (2012)

The debut album from this Israeli artist.

Yossi Sassi is most known as the founder of Orphaned Land, one of the most interesting metal bands of all time. A band who introduced ethnic folk and Middle-East flavours to the metal scene. Even the Scandinavian bands then copied Orphaned Land and did the same.

Yossi Sassi has now gone his own ways with a solo career and band. The first result is this album.

This album is to a certain extent following in the footsteps of Orphaned Land. But the music here is not as radical and ethnic as that band. Orphaned Land was far out there. Yossi Sassi is much more closer to the earth on this album.

His guitars and vocals has got help from a lot of other people and instruments. Some of these instruments are not traditional rock and metal instruments. Which creates an interesting album and sound. Some of the time.

What is also noteworthy, very noteworthy is that the music here is not particular metal. Take a mix og progressive rock and metal and you get it. I would say 65 % prog and 35 % metal. The music sounds fresh and vital.

Unfortunate, this one hour long album does not really include some great music. There are sporadic pieces of very good music here. But there are also some not so good stuff here where the music is just threading water.

The end result is a good album and one to build on. Which Yossi has done......twice. Reviews to follow. But check out this album.

3 points 

Saturday 28 May 2016

Michels - Full Moon California Sunset (1978)

The debut album from this German artist.

Wolfgang Michels was a member of the rather unknown band Percewood's Onagram. A band from USA whose albums is now available again under the Original Albums series sold everywhere. Lots of bands has found new fans through that series. A cheap 5 cardbox CDs collection. So I bought one with this band and this album was included too. I believe this is the only way to get this album on CD.

I have just googled and found out that 5 of his other albums has been released through the Original Albums series too. If the price is right....... Maybe.

The backing musicians here were all from Percewood Onagram, I believe. Michels is doing the vocals.

The music is sunny pop/rock with a lot of references to the 1960s. Mostly from the 1960s, it has to be said.

There is alot of innocence on this album. A lot of flower power and hippies ambience too. Added strings makes this a bit of a 1970s album too.

The result is a pretty charming pop rock album which does not offer much other than 1960s and 1970s sound and music. It sounds a bit outdated and the music is not much good. But I am not dismissing it out of hand. This is a pretty decent album.

2 points


Methexis - Suiciety (2015)

The second album from the Greece artist Nikitas Kissonas.

He uses this Methexis name to release his albums. Albums where he does the composing and some guitars. He has got help from various people on this album. People from The Enid and Birds & Buildings. The lineup here goes from woodwinds and strings to drums, bass, synths, vocals and guitars.

Suiciety is a concept album about growing up from boy to adult. A much used theme, these days. At least, this is not fantasy and Tolkien inspired. Which is slightly refreshing....

Being a concept album and being an album from Nikitas Kissonas, there is a lot of twists, turns and variations on this album. A lot of different genres too. From circus type music to ambient via pop, jazz and symphonic prog.

This is indeed a progressive rock album though. But in the eclectic prog genre as this fifty minutes long album is a big, big bite to swallow. In particular if you want to knot down your views on it as a review.

The quality of the music is a bit iffy. Nikitas has off course tried to make a masterpiece. He has not pulled it off, though.

Some music here is very good. Other parts of this album is decent enough. The end result is like the Alps with a lot of valleys and mountains.

The end result is a good album and one challenge fans of concept albums should check out. Those into challenges should also check out and support this artist. An artist who deserves a lot of support and praise.

3 points

Midday Veil - The Current (2013)

The third album from this US band.

Midday Veil is a six piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussions, drums, synths, computers and voices.

Yes, this is space rock. Well, sort of.

The band is basing their music around a multi-format stage show and this album is the soundtrack to these gigs and happenings. So what we get is a bit repetetive space rock.

I have seen Brainticket mentioned here. Can too has been mentioned. So we are in the realms of krautrock. And this is the best label on this album. Krautrock.

There is not an awful lot happening on this album. Not even after repetive listenings. The mood and the sound set to the stage show and the screens is the most important thing here.

The mood, music and sound is good though on this forty-two minutes long album. The music is very much under-stated and a bit anonymous. But this is still a good album where the good things are in the details and the moods.

This is a good spacy krautrock album and one every krautrock fan should check out. It is an album I like a lot.

3 points

Maglev - Overwrite The Sin (2016)

The fourth (?) album from this Dutch project.

Magev is Joost Maglev with friends. Friends who also includes the solo-artist Sebas Honing. The lineup is guitars, keyboards, violins, drums, bass and vocals. Mainly male vocals, but also some female choirs too.

Joost Maglev has also been a member of some other bands too. All of them in the symphonic prog and neo-prog genres.

This is very much where we also finds this album.

This fourty-eight minutes long album has got five songs. Five long songs between eight and thirteen minutes each. One of them are a bit in the modern prog metal mould. The four other songs are much more in the neo-prog and symphonic prog mould. Even in the pomp-rock/pop genres.

Very melodic and uplifting songs, in other words. Four of them, that is. The metal song too are a bit uplifting.

Joost is a very good vocalist. A bit too sugary perhaps, but still a very good vocalist.

The songs are all good and this is indeed a good album. My main gripe is the lack of any great songs and the lack of some salt and contrasts. Too much sugar is my main gripe. Nevertheless; check out this album.

3 points 

Friday 27 May 2016

Hillage. Steve - L (1976)

The second album from this English artist.

Steve Hillage has been and is now back again as a member of Gong. Although I believe Gong is no more after the very sad passing of Daevid Allen last year.

I reviewed his 1975 debut album Fish Rising back in November 2011 and found that a great album. So I was eager to review the rest of his albums this year, five years later.

L saw Steve Hillage and the record label Virgin Records hiring Todd Rundgren as producer and his band Utopia as musicians on this forty-three minutes long album. The result is a....

... Progressive rock album with a lot of of psychedelic space rock leanings. There is also a lot of avant-garde stuff here. But not so much that they detracts from the good melodies and Steve's good vocals and guitars. Steve Hillage was a guitar god of that time. He still is, as the Gong gigs a couple of years ago showcased.

The album starts with one of his alltime classics; Hurdy Gurdy Man. That in two versions, no less. Two very good tracks. The following track Electric Gypsy is also a very good track.

The twelve minutes long Lunar Musick Suite is a progressive space rock suite with a lot of good stuff. Very Utopia in parts. Very Steve Hillage of the future albums.

The end result is a very good album from an artist who is very much in the Gong family. Both as an artist and music wise. This album represents what Steve Hillage is all about. From the hard rocking guitarist to the more ambient, spaced out artist. In short; this album is very much well worth checking out.

3.5 points

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Mercy Train - Presence (1993)

The one and only album from this British band.

Mercy Train was actually a bit of a supergroup. The five members came from bands like Threshold, Shadowland, Pendragon and Casino. All of these bands were there or thereabout in or around the neo-prog scene.

Karl Groom is the most famous band member in Mercy Train. He was the guitarist in the keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals lineup.

The five band members did not really find their best form before well after this album had been released. That says a lot about this album. The band was meant to kick around for a long time. There has indeed been several attempts to resurrect this band since 1993. This without any success as their normal "dayjobs" in other bands has taken priority.

The music on this one hour long album is broadly speaking neo-prog. Neo-prog as in songs focused and a bit formula driven. Very much chorus-verse-chorus. Twelve songs on fifty-two minutes..... No epics here, in other words.

There is even ballads here inbetween the more faster and heavier songs. None of them are worth much attention as they are a bit uninspired and dull.

The overall quality is pretty poor to be honest. A couple of decent songs prevents it from ending up on my dinner table as my turkey dinner. And that is all I can say about an album I am happy to let collect dust in the back of my record collection. Don't bother about this album.

1.5 points

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Pererin - Haul Ar Yr Eira (1980)

The debut album from this Welsh band.

Pererin was a five piece band with a lineup of bodhran, flutes, congas, bongos, bass, acoustic guitars, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals. The language is Welsh.

I reviewed their second and most known album Teithgan back in October 2010 and found that a good album. So when I finally got the chance to get their three other albums, I picked them up.

This album is much less a folk rock album than the follow up 1981 album Teithgan. The music here is much more songs and folk music focused.

The vocals is really great and the sparse instruments are really good too. Less is more is what really this album is all about. The lush vocals harmonies creates a great sound, though. A sound that fills my speakers.

The flutes and bodhran is also adding a lot to this album. The bass and acoustic guitars is keeping up the rhythms and means the band is in cue. An album which is songs and vocals based.

I have always (Read: After October 2010) kept this band in mind because I felt back then that this band was something special. This has been confirmed by this album.

My main gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs. There are none. Not every songs here are even good. Nevertheless, Pererin is a special band with a special sound. A sound created by their language; Welsh. It is an album well worth checking out and a very good addition to any folk music and folk rock collection. Check it out.

3 points 

Monday 23 May 2016

Space Invaders - Dreadnought (2015)

The debut studio album from this German band.

It is altogether their third album. The two first albums was live albums. Which says a lot about this band and their music......... But I have nothing bad to say about them.

Space Invaders is a side project of Electric Orange, a great German space/krautrock band.

It is also a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and synths. And yes, the music on this eighty minutes long album is space rock.

Space rock means a lot these days. But in the case of Space Invaders, we are talking about space rock from outer space.

The music is reasonably dirty and very floating with some chugging, dirty guitars leading the onslaught on our planet and everybody who populates it. And it is an onslaught, this album.

Long, mostly improvised pieces of music is what we get here. Not much is happening in these pieces. But this is unmistaken space rock. Space rock for body and soul. Not so much for the brain.

There is nothing bad here and nothing really great. It is nice to listen to and float away on a space rock album. The quality is good too and I am not complaining. But this is not a masterpiece of an album.

3 points

Sunday 22 May 2016

Memo - Captain Thunder (1977)

The one and only album from this German artist.

His name is Memo Kurt and he does everything here. That means keyboards, piano, synths, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.

I got this album because Youtube says it is progressive rock. Youtube is wrong.

OK, there are some hints of progressive rock here. But most of the album is pop music with a lot of funk and some eclectic rock. That and some krautrock, west coast rock and progrock.

For some good reasons, this album reminds me a lot about the late Prince's debut album. An album where Prince too did everything and the result was not particular good.

For some reasons, Memo was not invited back for a second album. Prince was and the rest is history. But Memo Kurt was not a miracle worker. Prince was.

The music here is pretty soppy and not that good. There is a couple of tracks here which has some quality. But there are also some pretty dire stuff here. Some reminders that despite of the great albums the 1970s gave ut, this decade also gave us some pretty bad albums. This one is a good example.

This is a pretty weak album and it is best forgotten. You have been warned.

1.5 points

Neon Leaves - A Room Full of Strangers (2016)

The second album from this British band.

Neon Leaves is a quartet with the normal keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals lineup.

I reviewed their 2013 debut album Cinema Verites back in June 2014 (21. June.... see review) and noted that their sound was very different from the normal British neo-prog fare. I mistook this band as a German band.  

Cinema Verite was a pretty unusual neo-prog album with a lot of strange sounds and weird songs. Still a neo-prog album, but strange. And it is a good album too.

I am glad to report that this band has not changed their ways. The music on this thirty-six minutes long album is still neo-prog and wonderful weird.

It is obvious that the band is not following the normal neo-prog route and scene. There is a lot of weird songs and sounds here. The band sounds very European in their music. Very German in fact. I am still doing a double take here on their nationality.

The music is also pretty dark and full of soul. This is not a happy, cheerio album. It is rather dark and twisted.

The overall quality of the songs are good throughout. This album is very much an interesting album made by, I guess, some very headstrong individuals who follow their own path. Maybe this album is too strange for the average neo-prog fan. But I think they have hit the mark with the album.

My only complaint is the lack of any really great songs. Get that sorted out and we have a great band here. Keep up your good work, guys. You are onto something here.

3.5 points

Rousseau - Flower in Asphalt (1980)

The debut album from this German band.

Rousseau, named after a philosopher, was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, synths, bass, drums, flutes, mellotron and piano.

Germany has got some rather obscure, unknown symphonic prog bands. This band is one of them.

Unknown, obscure but still well worth checking out. There are hidden gems among these bands and their albums.

Rousseau's debut album was devoid of any vocals. Which is not a problem at all in this case as the music is pretty interesting. All the thirty-seven minutes of this album.

It is obvious that both Novalis and in particular; Camel has been a huge influence here. The music is pretty pastoral and it is leaning towards classical music. Not classical music as in the bombastic ELP take on classical music. Rousseau is much more softly spoken and gentle in their music. Very Camel'esque in fact.

But you can still hear that this is a German band as they have also adopted Novalis and their take on symphonic prog too.

The end result is a very pleasant half an hour and some minutes of music. One you can relax to. This is indeed a good album from a band who in total released four studio albums. I am already looking forward to reviewing the two other Rousseau albums I have purchased.

3 points


Saturday 21 May 2016

Porcupine Tree - Signify (1996)

The fourth album from this British band.

Steve Wilson is a major force in today's prog rock. Perhaps the major force in today's scene. And justifiable so. But this band was not only all about him. Porcupine Tree was a proper band. Not at least on this album.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, vocals and every kind of tangents and synths you can think of. There is also a lot of samples and computer gadgets here. Computer gadgets anno 1996. Which is 20 years ago and not a lot.

The emphasis is still on the good melody and on proper music. Music with a lot of influences from post-rock, classic rock, symphonic prog and psychedelic prog. This is where we find this album.

The interchanges between the old and the contemporary prog scenes here really works out.

I have never really been a fan of this band. I have never had a bad word to say about them, though. This because I not heard all their albums. Something I intend to change this year. A project....

But this is a great album in my estimations with one hour of above average great music. There is no brilliant and earth-shattering music here. But the overall quality is great throughout.

This is one of the albums I am doing this blog for. Just so I can discover great albums like this one.

4 points

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Novalis - Flossenengel (1979)

The sixth album from this German band.

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

I was not that impressed by their previous two offerings. So I dropped this band for a couple of months and did not bother about the two remaining albums I have got of them. But both curiosity and a sense of duty is a major driving force in my life and I decided to review these two albums.

Listening to this album, I am really happy with that decission.

The band has gone back to the past and their original modus operandi. Symphonic prog with psychedelic and space rock influences in other words. And that is what we get here on this forty-five minutes long album.

There is a lot of Eloy influences here. Ditto for Agitation Free and Pink Floyd influences. The music is at times very much floating around. Then there is also some more heavy stuff. A bit hard rocking at times.

The more spaced out parts is what I really like the most here. But this is really an album which positive surprises me because it is both edgy and melodic. And some of the melodies are great too.

The end result is a very good album. One to really saviour. One to really check out. Go so forth....

3.5 points

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Kujanpää. Juha - Kultasiipi (2015)

The debut album from this Finnish musician.

Juha Kujanpaa is a musician who has done and still does extensive writing and music composing for theatres, TV and movies in Finland and perhaps abroad too. He also gigs with his Juha Kujanpaa Ensemble. I have seen some photos of the gigs.

Juha does the keyboards here and is helped out by many musicians on woodwinds, guitars, bass, drums, violins, banjo, flutes and vocals.

Most of this music is instrumental. And the music is pretty eclectic too......

Finland. Finland. Finland. A mysterious land up in the north. Far north. And that is reflected in this music. Music which sits somewhere between Scandinavian folk music, Scandinavian jazz, Scandinavian classical music and Scandinavian symphonic prog.

I am not sure if Juha is familiar with the likes of Kaipa and The Flower Kings. But I am and I can hear both bands is popping out of the speakers now and then. No, there is nothing wrong with my brand new speakers. And yes, they are of the best possible quality. But I still get a lot of Kaipa and The Flower Kings vibes here. The instrumental parts of this album is very much in their vein.

I am no big fan of instrumental albums and I had to pluck up a lot of courage to both listen to and review this album. A review loooong overdue. But this album really punches above it's weight and gives me back my belief in instrumental symphonic prog albums. I would not mind a follow up to this album.

This album is almost one hour long and it is a very good album indeed. And it does help that it has this great Scandinavian sound. Check it out on this Bandcamp link.

3.5 points


Merlin - Vanish to the Moon (1989)

The second and final album from this German band.

Merlin was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, flutes, bass, drums and vocals. Both English male and female vocals.

I am no admirer of their 1984 self-titled debut album. Very much light symphonic prog. Light was in watered down as in the transition period of Genesis. The songs was not that good, either. But it was a decent album.

The band has not changed much during the five years long break. The music is still symphonic prog light. References are Genesis, their transition period. That and the other pomp pop bands.

The sound is the 1980s and not that good.

The vocals is pretty bad. Both the German accents and the vocals themselves. The band sounds a bit iffy too.

There is no good songs here. There is barely any decent songs here. A couple of decent songs saves this album from being a turkey and a desired object for my turkey club sandwiches. But this is not an album I will ever play again.

1.5 points

Monday 16 May 2016

Panda Fight Club - Ultimo (2015)

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

...And that is all I know about this band as they have yet to be included in ProgArchives, my normal source when it comes to info. Their homepage are also in Italian and that is not a language I speak.

There is a lot of buzz and talk about this band. Both in Italy and more abroad as in here in Scotland. Well, I am talking about them. Right here, in my living room. Buzz ? Well, buzz enough.....

This band is very much a progressive rock band. Their music, or brand of progressive rock, is somewhere between eclectic prog and heavy prog. The music is pretty hard.

It is also pretty melodic and pastoral inbetween these bursts of energy and guitar riffs. The vocals are very good and the melodies also got some jazzy stuff too. In particular when the keyboards are changing to a more organ sound.

The phrase "modern prog" springs to mind here. But the band is very much also looking backwards to the greats of Italian prog rock. Those bands from the 1970s.

The end result is a forty minutes long album which has a lot of good stuff, but not the couple of great tracks I would love it to have. Nevertheless, this is a good album and a very promising debut album. I hope we will hear a lot more from this band in the near future.

3 points

Magnesis - La Dame de Braise (2015)

The eight album from this French band.

This band is a sextet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and French vocals.

I have always been a fan of symphonic prog. Genesis is one of my alltime favourite bands. The Peter Gabriel era of Genesis, that is. Phil Collins never made it for me.

I have also discovered the French symphonic prog scene from the 1970s. The likes of Ange and Mona Lisa. Two great bands in my estimations and Ange is one of my alltime favourite bands. I love that French scene. A scene made even better these days with new bands like Gens De Luna and...... Magnesis.

Magnesis released their debut album back in 1993 and has become better and better with each album.

They are very much influenced by the theatrical, symphonic prog of Ange. A mix of Jaqcues Brel and Genesis. That is in essence what the band is offering up on this album.

The spoken words inbetween the very good vocals is very much what this scene is all about. That and a vintage sound going back to the 1970s and Ange.

This album has a mix of instrumentals and vocals/spoken words driven songs on this forty-six minutes long album.

Not everything here is great. But there are some great pieces inbetween some good stuff too. The end result is a very good album which I really like. Check it out among the rest of the Magnesis albums.

3.5 points

Jeavestone - 1+1=OK (2010)

The third album from this Finnish band.

Jeavestone has just released a new album (which I will soon purchase) and is pretty active. It is indeed an interesting band and I have reviewed their three first albums....... well, this is the review of their third album.

Jeavestone is a five piece band who use English sounding artist names. I guess they use this as a joke. Their lineup is keyboards, bass, flutes, drums, guitars and English vocals.

Their music is pretty funny too. Funny, but not as in a joke. But the music is funny as in sunny eclectic prog with a lot of west-coast psychedelic prog and power-trio heavy prog. There is a lot of The Beatles and The Beach Boys here too. This because of the very good vocal harmonies here. The main label I would put on them is classic rock, though.

Classic, but still fresh as in a fresh piece of loaf. There is a lot of interesting, eclectic rhythm figures here too. Not to mention; catchy melodies.

My only gripe is the lack of a truly great song. That is what is lacking here. But this forty minutes long album still offers up a lot of good stuff and it should have given this band the attention and fame the band really deserve.

This is a good album and you should check it out. This and their other albums.

3 points  

Sunday 15 May 2016

Zauner. Stefan - Prism & Views (1978)

The second and final album from this German artist.

Stefan Zauner was a member of Amon Duul II on some of their final albums.

On this album, he does keyboards and vocals. He is helped out by Evert Van Der Vaal on drums and Klaus Ebert on guitars and bass. Hence, this album was recorded by this trio.

I was not that overly impressed by his 1976 debut album Narziss. Progressive pop/rock in the vein of Genesis and Yes. And I don't mean the best albums from these two bands.

So we get another album from Stefan Zauner. And that more or less in the same vein as the debut album. This time with some less progressive rock and a lot more pop.

It is difficult to describe what hits me from my two new speakers. Pomp pop is perhaps the best label I can put on this album. It still has a lot of Genesis influences. But not influences from the Peter Gabriel era. It is rather from the transition era between their prog and their Motown soul era. That is... Stefan Zauner has rather dumbed down Genesis even from that era.

The music is very slick at times and a bit too keyboards influenced. Stefan is not a good vocalist either although his vocals is a bit love/hate for the listener.

This album is a bit of a step back from the not so impressive debut album and almost a turkey. On most dinner plates; this album is a turkey. But a couple of decent songs saves this album from the turkey yard and the dinner plate. I am not mourning the absence of more albums from Stefan Zauner.

1.5 points

Hedersleben - The Fall Of Chronopolis (2015)

The third album from this German band.

Hedersleben started as an offshot of both Nick Turner's touring band and Brainticket's last album.

They are also a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, violins, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Two of the band members are women and the vocals are female vocals. They are all in English.

The Fall Of Chronopolis is also a concept album based on a book of the same name by Barrington J Bayley.

The music is unmistaken krautrock. Unashamed krautrock, too. But krautrock means a lot of various genres put into one genre. So let me explain.....

This is a concept album and has all the hallmarks of a concept album. Which means the band is also entering symphonic prog territory on this forty minutes long album.

But most of all; there is a strong Hawkwind and psychedelic space rock vibe in this music. You can also add the likes of Brainticket too here. The music is indeed psychedelic symphonic prog.

.....Or krautrock as it is also called.

The vocals and the music is good throughout. My only gripe is the lack of any truly great tracks here. Nevertheless; check out this album as new krautrock bands of this type is indeed rare species.

3 points

Threshold - Dead Reckoning (2007)

The eight album from this British band.

I have always had a soft spot for this band. So I was both worried and happy when they signed for Nuclear Blast. Worried that they would become a German prog metal band and happy that a big record label as Nuclear Blast agreed with my views on this band.

The lineup is the same and my worries about them becoming a German prog metal band was totally unfounded. Nuclear Blast has let Threshold do what they do best: Write and perform songs in the border territory between neo-prog and prog metal.

There are a lot of subtle differences here between this album and the previous album, the 2004 album Subsurface. Mostly because Threshold has updated their sound and included as lot of more interesting rhythm figures. The band sounds refreshed on this album.

This is Andrew Mac Dermott's final album with Threshold. He very tragically passed away in 2011. May he rest in peace and be remembered with fondness and gratitude.

The rest of the band also does a great job. Unfortunate, the same cannot be said about the songs here. The opening song Slipstream is a very good song and a Threshold classic. The rest of the songs is good, but nothing more than that.

I like this album a lot despite of only giving this three points. Check it out.

3 points

Saturday 14 May 2016

Rocchi. Claudio - Rocchi (1975)

The sixth album from this Italian artist.

It is fair to say that Claudio Rocchi had a special career. His outputs were special and very diverse. Very, very diverse in fact.

This album is a prime example.

This album is forty-one minutes of playing around with some tapes, rewinding them, fast forwarding them and rolling them over until the end result is like the noises from a poultry farm.

There are some sporadic guitars and vocals here from Claudio. And those are horrible too. But most of this album is tapes being physically abused.

This is a horrible, horrible album and I want my money back. If you see me selling this album somewhere, don't buy it. Just so I can go out and dig a deep, deep hole in the ground and bury it there. If refound by someone, I wonder what those poor souls will make of it.

If these poor souls being aliens from a distant planet, I don't think this will reflect well on the mankind and the other inhabitants of this planet.

1 point

Zoundworks - 2014 (2014)

The debut album from this Dutch band.

Zoundworks is really Erik De Beer from Life Line Project's solo project. He does the flutes, guitars, mandolins, keyboards, ukule and drums here.

He has got help from some others on the very sporadic vocals here. The vocals are both female and male vocals.

I am not familiar with Life Line Project and their music. But I have been reliable informed that Zoundworks is not dissimilar to that band.

This means very melodic, mostly instrumental music which safely can be labelled as symphonic prog. Indeed, it is symphonic prog.

I don't really know Life Line Project. I intend to review their albums later this year. But I remember another Dutch band called Trace. The music on this fifty-one minutes long album reminds me a lot about their music. There is also a lot of Flairck in their music.

The music is very acoustic with a lot of flutes and strings like ukulele and mandolin. There is also a lot of piano and gentle keyboards here. The music is very melodic. But it is never bordering to being muzak. The music is pretty dynamic throughout. There are also some longing looks towards the Dutch pop scene anno 1965 here.

The end result is a good album which is lacking a great song or two. I am not he biggest fan of this type of music, but this album has some undeniable qualities. Check it out.

3 points 

Ougenweide - Frÿheit (1978)

The fifth album from this German band.

Ougenweide was a pretty unique folk rock band. Their influences was clearly more from the medieval ages than the 19th century.

Hence their use very old acoustic instruments in addition to more modern instruments like bass and guitars. The band was a sextet on this album. That includes a female vocalist who delivers German vocals. So does the male vocalists too.

I am no expert on medieval music and bands. This scene is not really my thing. But Ougenweide has delivered some good albums before this album.

The band has tried to become more commercial acceptable on this album as the band has moved a lot closer to the territory occupied by Jethro Tull. The songs are a bit easy on the ear. Plenty of flutes and electric guitars can be found on a couple of songs too. Jethro Tull has indeed got their territory invaded by this band.

But there are still a lot of good old Ougenweide here. Plenty of dulcimers and haunting vocals. Both male and female.

There are no really good songs here and I am not happy about the invasion of the Jethro Tull territory. There is still enough to reasonably satisfy their fans on this forty minutes long album. A pretty dark album it is too. But the band is really only threading water here and I am not that interested in this album.

This album is somewhere between decent and good. It is not their finest hour.

2.5 points 

Friday 13 May 2016

Methexis - The Fall of Bliss (2011)

The debut album from this Greek one man project.

The name of the musician here is Nikitas Kissonas and he has his background from bands like Yianneis and Verbal Delirium. Both bands has managed to fly undetected under my radar.

Nikitas does the guitars, synths, mandolins, bass and vocals here. His friend Nikos Miras does the drums. And that is Methexis. A band not to be confused the wine of the same name.

.... Although the music here is not unlikely a good cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay.

The music is very much vocals driven at times. Some very good Enlish vocals, that is. The music is gentle crossover prog with a lot of influences from neo-prog, prog metal, pomp pop, pomp rock and symphonic prog. Both Aphrodite's Child and Van Der Graaf Generator is also good references here. And it is a compliment when I compare Methexis with pride of Greece; Aphrodite's Child. Fans of that band must check out this album.

The music on this one hour long album is a lot more dynamic and more lively, though. It has got a lot of theatre about it too. A lot of modern prog too. This album also feels like a concept album at times. But I don't think it is a concept album.

Most of the music here is very good. I am not a fan of the metal parts here. I am more a fan of the more gentle, pastoral parts. But most of the music here is very good and this is indeed a very good album. This band has been included in my talents to follow notebook.

3.5 point


Flower Kings. The - Banks Of Eden (2012)

The eleventh album from this Swedish band.

The Flower Kings does not really need any introduction. It is one of the alltime best post-1978 prog bands. It's founder Roine Stolt was also a member of Kaipa in the 1970s. Kaipa is the grandfathers of the Scandinavian symphonic prog rock scene and still very much active in the scene.

Felix Lehrmann had taken over the drumsticks on this album. That is the only change from the previous album. Roine Stolt, Hasse Froberg, Tomas Bodin and Jonas Reingold is the four other members of this band on this album.

The band has both gone a bit back to the basic here and developed their sound a bit. The band lives up to the band name on this album. The music is very flowery on this album. Flowery symphonic prog, the Swedish way. The sound is always a pleasure to listen to.

The album is not too long too. The single CD version, as reviewed here, is fifty-three minutes long. Add another twenty minutes with bonus material on the more exlusive double CD version.

The music is good throughout. There is no really big signature tracks here. Which is slightly a let down and I do not rate this album among their best albums.

Nevertheless, the band has delivered the goods again and as a fan, I am satisfied. It is impossible not to become a fan of this band if you are into symphonic prog. Which I am. Albums like this floats my boat. But it does not move it forward.

3 points


Frattini. Roberto - La Memoria Delle Maschere (2014)

The debut solo album from this Italian artist.

Roberto Frattini is the vocalist in Sistra and he has also a long career in TV, movies and music. I don't know much about him so I will let that pass.

I don't know much about this album either. I got it from the record label Psych Up Melodies. This is a label who has specialised in psychedelic rock & prog. A very good label too.

This fifty minutes long album is well within the psychedelic rock genre. Add some Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI), Italian folk rock, Italian beat and a lot of blues too and you get this album.

I get the feeling that the recordings is many decades old. The sound is a bit iffy, although not bad. The songs has this beat feeling from the 1960s. I have heard albums like this before from the Italian beat bands of that generation. Bands who later developed into New Trolls, Le Orme, Banco and PFM. You get the drift.....

Roberto Frattini is the vocalist here and he get help from guitars, drums, bass and keyboards. The sound is pretty mucy psyched up and has a lot of eastern overtones too. The music is slightly weird, although melodic. This is indeed a psychedelic album. The Italian vocals also adds to the weirdo sound here.

I don't get the feeling that this album really represents Roberto Frattini the movie scores composer. This album is an oddity in his career.

The music is not too bad. It feels old and outdated. But the songs are decent enough. There are even some pretty good songs here. But there are also some pretty grim bad songs here.

The end result is a decent album and well worth checking out for those into Italian progressive rock.

2 points

Correction: Psych Up Melodies has kindly informed me that the Roberto Frattini here is not the same person as Roberto Frattini, the movie score and TV music composer. They are two different persons. But "my" Roberto Frattini is a guitarist and a member of Sistra. 

Thursday 12 May 2016

Steeleye Span - Please to See the King (1971)

The second album from this English folk rock band.

Please note that this is a review of the original 1971 album. It is not a review of the re-releases of this album.

Steeleye Span has released a lot of albums. 20+ if I am not wrong. They and Fairport Convention is the big bands from the English folk rock scene.

The band was a five piece band on this album with violins, dulcimer, mandolin, guitar, bass, organ, spoons and vocals. The female vocalist Maddy Prior does as per usual a very good job again.

The album starts with a very good song in The Blacksmith. One of the better folk rock songs I have ever heard. Maddy's vocals floats over a very good melody line.

The following songs are not of the same standard and violins takes the music into a pretty primitive landscape. A stoneage landscape. But some more Maddy lead songs takes the album up a notch again.

I am not a big fan of basic folk rock albums. But this one is a good album and I am warming towards this band. They got a bit of an X factor, even when they are delivering pretty basic folk rock. I really hope I am not turning into a folk rock buff now....... lead into temptation and eternal damnation by Steeleye Span.

3 points

Merlin - Merlin (1984)

The debut album from this short lived German band.

The band released only two albums and is rightly so regarded as an obscure band. Both albums are on Youtube now. Youtube and the digital age has also given new life to their music.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of flutes, guitars, synths, piano, bass, drums and female English vocals. Some good vocals too. A bit soprano like vocals. Very soprano, in fact.

The music on this thirty-six minutes long album is pretty much commercial art-rock with a lot of cabaret, neo-prog and symphonic prog influences.

The vocals is at times very good and the highlight of this album. An album which also includes a lot of melodramatic flutes and pianos too.

I am not overly excited about this album. The band was obscure for a good reason. This album and the music here springs too mind.....

This is a decent album which deserves a listen or two. Besides of that, forget it.

2 points


Saturday 7 May 2016

Zauner. Stefan - Narziss (1976)

The debut album from this German artist.

Stefan Zauner was a keyboard player who later became a member of Amon Duul II. He played keyboards on some of their final albums.

Stefan Zauner got help from the drummer Renard Hatzke on this album. Besides of drums, Stefan does everything here. That includes vocals. Vocals is not his strongest side, but the vocals here are pretty decent anyway.

It should not come as a surprise that the music is very much dominated by synths, clavinet, mellotrons and keyboards. But bass and guitars are also represented here.

It is fair to assume that Stefan has listened a lot to his Genesis albums. Much more than his Yes albums. There are still large Yes influences on this album. But mostly Genesis influences.

The music is pretty pop music orientated and not that technical and intricate. This album still have an oddity in the shape of a rock'n'roll song and an instrumental piece which feels out of tune with the rest of the album.

There is a couple of positives on this forty-two minutes long album. But most of this album is rather dull and uninteresting. This is a decent album and nothing more than that.

2 points   

Rocchi. Claudio - La Norma del Cielo (1972)

The third album from this Italian artist.

The guitarist, vocalist and bassist Claudio Rocchi returns again with a lot of guest musicians and a lush sound.

It is a bit difficult to place Claudio Rocchi in the music landscape. His takes on Italian music was all over the place. He is on the fringes of the Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) scene.

The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is pretty minimalistic with bass, percussion, piano, guitars and vocals as the main instruments. Some sitars, violins, choirs and strings also contributes to this album.

The music is a bit of a mix of Italian pop, folk and psychedelic rock. Or make that; psychedelic pop.
But most of the music here is a bit psychedelic. Psychedelic as in five years too little, too late.

There are some blatant pop songs here and there are some avant-garde psychedelic stuff here. A bit Pink Floyd goes to Italy and makes an Italian album inspired by India. Pink Floyd at their most psychedelic.

The result is a bit bewildering. Bewildering as in not so good music and a bit of a mess. Instruments and melody lines enters and leaves the album without making much sense.

The end result is a decent album which does not really improves my relationship to Claudio Rocchi's music. This is not Italian music at it's best.

2 points

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Catharsis - Et s'aimer ... Et Mourir (1977)

The sixth album from this French band.

Roland Bocquet has again gathered his troups and that for the final time. He and his Farfisa organ has again company of bass, drums, piano, percussions, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

Catharsis was always an odd band and this album confirms that oddity. The album is again heavily relying on the Farfisa organ and all the life Roland is able to get out of it.

The album is also pretty much a jazz album with some heavy symphonic prog leanings too. Which is a bit of an odd sound. Not to mention; a strange form of music. But this really works.

The album is perhaps too much muzak jazz at times and I feel that the life of Catharsis is ebbing away on this album. On this thirty-three minutes long album with some rather short pieces.

Nevertheless, this is not a bad album. It is not an interesting album and I get the feeling that Catharsis had run it's course here. But as a farewell album before Rolan Boqquet went on a solo career, this is not a bad farewell.

I would rate it somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points