Sunday 31 July 2016

Bacamarte - Sete Cidades (1999)

The second album from this Brazilian band.

This is actually a solo album from their guitarist Mario Nete, who does all instruments here. Drums, percussions, keyboards, flutes, vocals, piano, bass and guitars.

I very much liked the Bacamarte debut/only album Depois Do Fin. A great symphonic prog album with a lot of local folk music thrown in. That album is among the five best ever progressive rock albums from South America and a must have album.

I reviewed that album for ProgArchives back in August 2009.

Mario Nete is keeping that Bacamarte name as the name of the record label and his album. I can understand why.

Sete Cidades is a thirty-eight minutes long album in the same vein as the 1983 album. There is still a lot of Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) influences in this album. A lot of RPI influences from the likes of Banco too. Add a lot of South American folk music and symphonic prog to the mix too and you get the result.

Some of the guitars and sound reminds me a lot of Al Di Meola. There is a lot of Spanish guitars here and Latin American guitar picking.

The music has a very strong South American feel and most of the music is very good. This album does not shame the Bacemarte name. It is indeed a very good addition to Depois Do Fin and a great addition to anyone's record collection.

3.5 points 

Bambibanda E Melodie. La - Bambibanda E Melodie (1974)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

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

When I state that this is the one and only album from them, I have heard they released another album in the 1980s too. A pop album. The leader (& guitarist, vocalist) of this band, Bambi Fossati, has also been very much involved in Garybaldi.

This album is a bit of an odd album. It is very rhythm focused. The percussions and the drums are very much in the forefront here.

That says, the music is a mix of Caribeen steel music, space rock and jazz. It also feels like an instrumental post rock album thirty years before someone invented this genre. Post rock fans will love the first half of this album. The same goes for krautrock fans as there is a lot of Agitation Free influenced music.

Most of this album is instrumental. The first half, that is. The second part is still very much rhythm focused. But there are some blues here too and some hard rock. There is also some vocals too.

The end result is a rather special and intriguing album where the first half of this forty-two minutes long album is very good and the rest is in the decent to good bag of goodies.

It is most definate well worth checking out this album as it has some charm and a lot of style. A lot of class too.

3 points


Saturday 30 July 2016

Goblin - Patrick (1979)

The ninth album from this Italian band.

The band was a four piece band with a lineup of keyboards, percussions, drums, bass and guitars. All music is instrumental.

This is the soundtrack for the Australian scary movie Patrick. A movie quite popular and now re-released on Blue-Ray. It is still available on DVD too. I am not that tempted as this is not really my kind of movies.

The movie is also a semi-classic and a cult-movie.

.....Which cannot be said about the music.

The music here is pretty dark and very much in the film-score setup with a lot of ambient music with some jazzy influences. The music is pretty dark and brooding though. The music reflects the movie, I have been told by Amazon's reviews of the movie.

As a stand alone album, this album does not offers up much value. The frequent use of piano and keyboards adds a lot of ambience here. This album is almost a new-age album at times.  There is a lot of sinister moods going on here.

The music is decent enough though and in it's own right a far from horrible album. It is a decent fifty minutes long album. This is not one of their best albums.

2 points

Social Tension - It Reminds Me of Those Days (1990)

The second and final album from this Japanese band.

Their 1989 debut album MacBethia did not overly impress me. Very ELP at times and a good album.

The band is again a trio with the same lineup as ELP. That is keyboards, drums and bass. There are also some Japanese vocals here.

We get the same here as on MacBethia. Bombastic ELP like symphonic prog. We also get an 18 minutes long suite here which is very bombastic.

There is also some more vocals orientated pieces of music here. The male vocals are OK and suits the music. These pieces also introduces Japanese pop music into this album.

Where MacBethia was a bit innovative, this album (It Reminds Me Of Those Days) are not that innovative and does not sound that fresh. This album plays it safe and does not go out on a limb. 

This album is also thirty-six minutes long too and it seems like the band is running out of steam here. 

On the positive side, there are some good stuff here. A lot of good stuff. But not enough.

You can get both albums on 1 CD as 2 for 1. Recommended if you love ELP or symphonic prog. If you can get this without breaking the bank, go for it.

2.5 points 

Bag - Soudain L'éléphant (1993)

The one and only album from this French band.

The band came from the Bretagne area and they were a five piece band. Their lineup was bass, keyboards, drums, bombarde, crumhorn, guitars, drums, flute and saxophone.

The music on this fifty-five minutes long album is all instrumental.

It is not too difficult to pinpoint their location to Bretagne as the band is very much rooted in their folk music scene. Lots of folk music can be found here.

Take jazz too and add that into the mix. Add some avant-garde rock, chamber rock and even some zeuhl into the mix too.

The music is eclectic to say at least. Eclectic but still melodic. Melodic and jazzy.

I guess the label on this album is "fusion with folk music influences".

The sound is great and the music is fresh and contemporary. There is not much of the dreaded 1990s here. The music is indeed timeless and it has a great deal of originality and it's own style.

Fifty-five minutes of instrumental music on the slightly anonymous side of the spectrum is a bit too much for most of us. There is no great pieces of music here. But the music is not bad either and this album deserves a lot of credit for it's originality. Hence my verdict.

3 points


Thursday 28 July 2016

Goad - The Silent Moonchild (2015)

The ninth album from this Italian band.

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

Black Widow Records has released this album. This label is more than slightly interested in occult rock. Some of their bands is occult rock bands. All their bands has a dark sound.

Goad is no exception from this rule. I am not really sure that they are an occult band. But their sound is very dark and very original. I have reviewed three of their albums and I cannot remember any other bands with the same sound and conceptual music. Goad is one of a kind, I believe.

Their music is still very melodic and it has elements from AOR, stadium rock, RPI, classical music and symphonic prog.

Maurillio Rossi's vocals is very original to say at least. Very dark and at times very operatic vocals. But nowhere near metal vocals. The vocals are indeed very melodic and pastoral. They have to be heard to be believed and they take some time to get used to. I got no problems with them, whatsoever. I think they are very good.

The music on this fifty-six minutes long album is a bit hit and miss. There are some operatic symphonic prog stuff here and some AOR stuff here. All of it is dark as a thunder-storm. Which pretty much describe this music and this album.

This is not a great album. But it is a good album where most stuff works out very well. I think this band deserve a lot more listeners than they have got now. Check them out.

3 points

Midlake - The Courage of Others (2010)

The third album from this US band.

Midlake was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, piano, keyboards, dulcimer, autoharp and vocals.

I really loved their 2006 album The Trials Of Van Occupanther. An album with a very strong The Beatles reference and sound.

Midlake is still very much a folk rock band. A very much downtuned band where less is more.

The less is more ethos very much applies to this album. Stripped down is the overtly The Beatles references. They are still here. But not so obvious.

What remains is a darker, more melancholic and somewhat a more psychedelic folk rock album. It still has some Jefferson Airplane references too. But this is essentially folk rock with a twist. Folk rock with very strong English references. Not so much US and Americana references.

Tim Smith's vocals is again pretty central in their sound. They are pretty eerie and brooding. Which very much adds quality to this album.

This album is not as good as their 2006 album The Trials Of Van Occupanther. There are not much greatness here. It is still a very good album. All the forty minutes of it. It also very much pushes the folk rock envelope and adds a lot of value to this genre. I love that !!

3.5 points

Sunday 24 July 2016

Backhand - Through The Turbulence (2014)

The one and only album from this band from Venezuela.

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

The band was a kind of a Venezuela supergroup where all members was and still is involved in other projects. From jazz to doing TV and film scores.

I am not sure why they did record this album though. But it is my understanding that it is a labour of love and something they had wanted to do for a long time.

The band list Rush, Led Zeppelin, Joe Satriani and Dream Theater as major influences on this album.

Oh yeah, that is pretty obvious.

The Dream Theater influences here are pretty obvious. The band is influenced by Led Zeppelin although that is not obvious here. But which rock band is not influenced by Led Zeppelin ?

This album is almost eighty minutes long. Yes, that is one hour and twenty minutes. Which makes me believe this album is a one off album where everything recorded has been included. I don't think we will hear anything more from this band.

Which is not that big shame. The band has some great musicians. There is no doubts about that. But the art of creating something original and some good songs has escaped this band.

The music is so mainstream rock and hard rock that it is impossible to detect any originality here. Even the suites here does not shine. There is not much here which makes me smile. A bit soul, creative quality and personality in addition to the musicianship would had made a huge difference here.

This album is a decent album with some sporadic good stuff. Nevertheless, it is a decent album. I am not impressed.

2 points

Saturday 23 July 2016

Roads To Damascus - R2D2 (2012)

The second album from this north-east (Aberdeen ?) of Scotland band.

I was not overly impressed by with their debut album One from 2009. Decent music, but just that.

The band has expanded from a duo to a proper fabelous four on this album. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The band has also got themselves a bit of an identity too. A bit of a sound. Which is a very positive development.

Neo-prog is still the basis here. But not the beginning and the end of it all. Far from it.... The band Runrig from Skye on the other side of Scotland made a very good sound on their albums. I believe Roads To Damascus has had a bit of a look in that direction as some of the music and the sound is leaning towards Runrig. We are not talking copycats here. We are talking inspirations here.

Roads To Damascus has aquired quite a useful Scottish sound and ambience.

The music is not that symphonic. It is not symphonic at all. It is normal verse-chorus-verse with some solos inbetween. Short songs, but still pretty punchy short songs.

The end result is an one hour long album. An album with some very good vocals and some good songs. The musicians is doing a good job too and the sound is good and Scottish.

This is a good album which has surprised me as I did not have much expectations after that debut album. Check out this album.

3 points

Friday 22 July 2016

Steeleye Span - Parcel of Rogues (1973)

The fift album from this English band.

Steeleye Span was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of banjo, mandolin, guitars, tabor, piano, violins, bass and vocals. Maddy Prior is still the female vocalist and Tim Hart does the male vocals. 

I have been listening to and reviewed their first four albums with great interest. Not everything is great or even good. But this band easily defend their position as one of the best ever folk rock bands from UK. Put them next to Fairport Convention or rather; just slightly lower than them. Fairport Convention is still the kings in my opinion.

This mostly due to Sandy Denny's vocals and Richard Thomsen's guitars in Fairport Convention.

When it comes to Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior is a superb vocalist and her vocals really comes to the fore on this album.

The band is also stepping a bit away from some of the more primitive leg stomping folk music on this album. The songs are more refined and melodic.

Parcel Of Rogues also includes the hit song Alison Gross. A song I gave some worthy comments when I earlier this year reviewed the Norwegian band Folque's debut album. It includes a Norwegian version of that song. But Parcel Of Rogues has the original version.... although that too is a cover version of the original which was done by a duo back in 1970.  ...Anyway, this is a great song. One of some great songs on this album.

Although this forty minutes long album also includes a couple of merely good songs, this is still a great album and one to really enjoy. Hence my rating of this album.

4 points

Thursday 21 July 2016

Hillage. Steve - Open (1979)

The sixth album from this English artist.

Nick Mason from Pink Floyd is the producer here and Steve Hillage has got help from six other musicians. All of them with Canterbury associations. Dave Stewart is the most known of them.

I have bypassed his previous album Rainbow Dome Music as I cannot stand that type of electronica. I would have given it a one point review and Steve Hillage deserve better than that. So no review of that album. Hence, I have jumped to this album.

Open is to a large extent an summary of everything Steve Hillage has been doing. It goes from Canterbury prog to punk, electronica, jazz and space rock. There are references to the likes of Space Khan and Gong here. Plenty of references.

There are even some punk like melodies here. Yes, punk can be melodic too.

The common theme here is Steve Hillage, his guitar and his vocals. That is the thing that binds this album together. A forty minutes album with a rather very bad taste cover artwork. Yes, I cannot stand it.

The result is a very diverse album that has some really bad things and some really good things. I am in doubts..... I like most of this album though and would award it a weak good award. The point is that, the pling-plong album Rainbow Dome Music excluded, Steve Hillage has always let his personality shine through. There is a heck of a lot convictions in his music. Even when he is barking up the wrong tree. Something he does a lot here.

This is barely a good album. But it is still a good album. Check it out.

3 points

Temple Of Switches - Temple Of Switches (2015)

The debut album from this US band.

This four-piece is from Buellton in California. Their lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. The album can be listened to or even bought from their Bandcamp page.

I have to admit that this review has been long coming as I have been unsure what to mean and put into this review for a very long time. But here I go....

The basis here is neo-prog. US neo-prog, that is. Which is an entirely different beast than their counterparts in UK. Or in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Everything is bigger and more fat in the USA. Which is proven true on this album. Their sound is fat and so is the music. Take the piano and the vocals. Take the guitars and keyboards. Fat as in....... a burger from a Texan steakhouse. Big, bold, brash and fat. That is the music here.

Unfortunate, the music sometimes becomes a very banal and teenybopper like. Which does not please me at all as I have got a nasty allergy towards banal teenybopper music.

The rest of the album is pretty intelligent and well made. Clocking in at fifty-four minutes, this is by no means an overkill.

The lack of any great tracks is my main gripe. That and some banal melodies. Besides of that, this is a decent to good album from a band who should be encouraged to give it at least another try.

2.5 points 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Social Tension - MacBethia (1989)

The debut album from this Japanese band.

The band released two albums before they split up. Two album which is widely regarded as some of the best ever prog rock albums from Japan.

The band had adopted the ELP lineup on this album. They were a trio and the lineup was bass, keyboards, vocals and drums. Just as in Emerson, Lake & Palmer..... ELP.

That is not a coincidence. 20 years after the first ELP album saw the light of day, the band is more or less going down the same route.

More or less as this album is not a copycat. Neither is the band any copycat.

The sound on MacBethia is pretty big and bombastic. There is also some jazz, pop and a lot of Japanese classical music here too. The few vocals, male vocals, around here is in Japanese. That alone adds a lot of interest to this album.

This album is almost fifty minutes long album. The pop stuff here is pretty psalm like and eerie. Although I don't understand a word of these vocals, I understand the sentiments expressed there. It is that eerie.

This album suffers a bit from keyboards for the sake of keyboards. There is lots of it. Lots and lots. But the music is still interesting and this album never really becomes dull or uninteresting. It is an album I like a lot. There is no great songs or even great pieces of music here. But this is still a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points


Tuesday 19 July 2016

Moongarden - Voyeur (2014)

The seventh album from this Italian band.

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

I am not the most avid follower of this band. I am a big fan of progressive rock from Italy though... But Moongarden has always been more Anglo-English than Italian. Hence my slightly lukewarm feelings for them. You will find my reviews of two of their albums somewhere else on these pages. Scroll down the alphabetical list of reviews.

The basis for their music is neo-prog. A very basic form of neo-prog with some strong hints of progressive metal. That and some rock and nu-metal influences.

There is not much Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) influences in their music. There is none on this album. You will find some Genesis influences, though.

This fifty-five minutes long album sounds very commercial and slick. It has a pretty big sound too. It is pretty low on substance though.

My main gripe is the lack of any really great stuff. Half of this album is good and the rest of the album is barely decent. I am trying to find out what really sets this band and album apart from other bands in this genre. I am failing a bit here. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Minimum Vital - Pavanes (2015)

The seventh album from this French band.

The band is a trio on this album with a lineup of percussions, acoustic and electric guitars, oud, keyboards, vocals and woodwinds.

I have been a reasonable eager follower of this band and have reviewed most of their albums for ProgArchives and this blog. I have also interviewed the band for ProgArchives. So the rumours about the demise of this band has saddened me. This is rumoured to be their final album. Even as their other band; Vital Duo. It is sad because the prog scene need bands like Minimum Vital and Vital Duo. Bands who pushes the envelope.

Something the band is doing here.  Very much so.

Take jazz structures and strip them bare. Add folk and medieval folk music to them and some rock. That on a double CD, ninety-five minutes. Which is a big mouthful.

This album is also very much a challenge for the listenener. The music sounds a bit similar throughout this album. And that is true. There is not much variations here. The themes used here is down to a couple of themes. The band is adding flavours and variations to these themes. Repetitions with variations is the theme here.

Basically, you have to be into jazz to really like this. No matter how much the band is playing medieval folk music on this album.

This album is too much of a mouthful in my opinion. The album feel a bit claustrophobic. In particular after ninety minutes. This album is indeed minimalistic, despite of the folky, lush sound. And it is indeed a very lush album too. This despite of it's limitations.

This is indeed a good album and one I like a lot. I hope it is not their final album. But please open up the landscape next time around. I feel I have been running through a narrow, lush canyon on this album.

3 points

Sunday 17 July 2016

Sassi. Yossi - Roots and Roads (2016)

The third album from this Israeli artist.

Yossi Sassi was the founder member of Orphaned Land. A band now resting in peace somewhere in the Megev desert.

Yossi Sassi does vocals, guitars and some traditional acoustic instruments. He has got help from twenty other musicians here. That includes both well known and lesser known musicians.

I really liked Orphaned Land a lot. Their now 22 years old debut album Sahara blew my mind. Their 20 years old follow up album El Norra Alila was also a genre defining album. The band was and still is one of the greats in Middle-East orientated prog/metal.

To a great deal, Yossi Sassi is continuing the work Orphaned Land laid down. You get tonnes of Middle-East influences mixed with prog metal and neo-prog. Yossi Sassi does not hide his roots.

Which is great as I prefer the way he has chosen instead of taking a total clean break with his past. Respect and love !

I have never really been comfortable with the pop aspects on his two latest albums. Inbetween some good prog metal and prog rock, we get at least one commercial song which does not sit well with the rest of the material.

Roots And Roads is a much more coherent album though. This despite of the 20 + guest musicians. Which make me wonder why he is now suddenly Yossi Sassi Band....... That aside, the music here is good. The Middle-East aspect is stronger than ever. So much that the prog metal and prog rock is taking a bit of a backstage. Of all his three albums, this one feels like the most Israeli album.

My main gripe is the lack of any great tracks there. There is none. I also wished that a band really meant a band as in a tight unit. There are too many cooks here. Nevertheless, this is a good album and one to check out. This from an artist who becomes more and more interesting by each album.

3 points


Saturday 16 July 2016

Old Rock City Orchestra - Back to Earth (2015)

The second album from this Italian band.

Old Rock City Orchestra is a four piece band with lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organs and vocals. Female vocals from Cinzia Catalucci and they are all in English.

The type of rock I review here in this blog normally means Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI). RPI or associated genres. I am not sure if the music here can be loosely associated with RPI, though. Well, I guess it can be that. There will be those who gets a lot of RPI vibes from this album. I do get some, but not that many.

This band has moved their focus away from Italy to the rich pickings of USA. USA in the 1970s. And I mean the arena rock bands from that time.

You get a lot of southern rock and hard rock here. You also get a lot of 1970s AOR and the more hit singles focused bands. You even get Kiss associations here. You also get a lot of Led Zeppelin and white blues associations here.

The female vocals are pretty raw and raunchy. Blues springs to mind here. The music is pretty hard and........ well, pure rock. Rock as in r.o.c.k.

This is simply a 1970s rock album. That includes a ballad too. A tear filled ballad. The whole lot.

The quality of the music here is pretty good. I am not that big fan of the music and I am missing some more food for my brain. There is not much of that. Half of this album is decent and the rest is good. In short, this is a halfway house album. But check it out if you love the 1970s and USA.

2.5 points  

Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther (2006)

The second album from this US band.

Midlake was a seven piece band on this album. The lineup is bassoon, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, violin, flutes, French horn, piano, percussions and vocals.

And yes, this is not a run of the mill album. Neither is Midlake a run of the mill band. Not even in the US standards of things.

Things here means folk rock. Folk rock of some sorts. Take a lot from The Beatles, something from Jefferson Airplane, a lot from Fairport Convention, something from America and something from Radiohead. Also include a lot from USA itself. The states and the culture itself. Take a lot from the bohemian New York too. The Village. 

The band gave us a pretty good debut album back in 2001 in the form of Bamnan And Slivercork. An album which showcased a lot of promise.

Promise unleashed on this album, their really break through album. Not so much commercially as artistic. This album is forty-five minutes long and contains eleven songs of melancholy and hope.

The music is rather understated and has got this US flair and sound. It has also got this English folk rock sound and flair. The vocals is sublime superb.

Not everything here is great. But it runs this standard pretty close. I am so happy to have discovered this album and this band. I am happy that I have got everything from them as they are one of my favourite bands now.

A couple of not so great songs drags this album down a bit. But it is still a great album in my ears. Check out this band and this album as they are one of the better ones in the progressive rock scene at the moment.

4 points

Vecteur K - Incident Au Café (2016)

The second album from this Canadian band.

This French-Canadian band to be more precise. I guess these French speaking Canadians have their origins in the Quebec province.

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

The band has a French attitude and sound, too. Although there is a lot of Rush heaviness here, Ange also comes into play throughout this album. The music on this one hour long album is mostly pretty heavy. Heavy but not as in progressive metal. Hard is perhaps a much better phrase than heavy.

There is also a lot of jazz in their music. That and a lot of influences from Jacques Brel. Yes, Ange is as good reference here.

This band has taken all this and has made it a lot harder and more contemporary. The use of half-acoustic guitars makes this a pretty special album too. This band is indeed a special band too. Something they demonstrated on their 2009 debut album too.

What this album so sorely missing is the good melodies and hooks. It has not much of that. Instead, this album is running around with a lot of purpose, but not much quality.

I really love their attitude and style. The music........ well, the lack of any good songs is an issue I cannot ignore. Hence my verdict. I just wish the music was so much better.

2.5 points

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Roads To Damascus - One (2009)

The debut album from this Scottish band.

The band comes from the north-east corner of Scotland. That normally means Aberdeen and/or Aberdeenshire. I know this area very well.

The band is a duo here. Steve Simms on vocals and Calum Jamieson on guitars and keyboards. I guess a drum machine does the drums as they have a strong plastic fantastic sound. That is not a compliment. Far from it !

The music here is a bit of a heavy take on neo-prog. Heavy and pretty modern. The songs are pretty short with this verse-chorus-verse structure. No symphonic prog is showing up here. Chapter I-IV of The Pilgrim's Progress shows up on a regular basis. Ditto for some spoken narrations too. But this does not sound like a suite to me.

The music is pretty heavy at times too.

Heavy and a bit restless. The band and the music sounds a bit hurried and not settled yet. The material also sounds a bit underdeveloped.  Neither is the sound particular great either.

The material is not particular good either. It is an acceptable debut album from a band who at this stage has released two more albums. Albums to be reviewed/has been reviewed. I hope they are better than this one.

2 points

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Steeleye Span - Below The Salt (1972)

The fourth album from this British band.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of fiddle, banjo, mandolin, piano, guitar, bass, tabor and vocals. Tim Hart does the male vocals and Mandy Prior the female vocals.

There is no drums here and the founder of the band, Ashley Hutchins, had also left the band.

Steeleye Span was one of the best and most prolific folk-rock bands in the UK and the world during their time. The band is still a bit alive with new albums and gigs now and then.

The band is expanding a bit out from their folk-rock roots on this album. There is some blues, psychedelic rock and some progressive rock on this album too. That after a very traditional first half of this forty minutes long album. That part is good folk rock. Though with some blues too.

The more progressive rock and psychedelic rock pieces is experiemental. But they are still very much in tune with what this band stands for. These pieces does not feel out of place on this album.

It is obvious that the band is not content with being "only" a folk rock band. They are soaking up blues and prog rock here. Not to mention psychedelic rock. All these four elements are being distilled into this album.

The only thing this album is sorely lacking is some more good music than what we get here. This is a decent enough album. But not good enough in my view. This is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points  

Monday 11 July 2016

Perfect Beings - II (2015)

The second album from this US band.

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

I reviewed their self titled 2014 album back in October 2014 and found that an agreeable album. Good neo-prog in the US vein and sound. I also noted the considerable college rock and melancholic sound.

The band has continued down the same road on their new album.

Take some Rush and add a lot of neo-prog. Also add a lot of mainstream rock and AOR too. Add some arena rock from the 1970s too and a wrap it into this big, almost Americana style of sound.

There is indeed a lot of Americana here with a big dash of country music. The music is melancholic too.

The music is pretty good on this fifty minutes long album. The sound is good and the musicians does a good job. A good job on some pretty good songs who does not do the band the justice they deserve.

My main gripe is, as you can understand from the paragraph above, the lack of any really good or even great songs. Everything but the quality of the songs are good here. I also find this album a bit dull and lacking in excitement. Hence my verdict.

2.5 points

Saturday 9 July 2016

Pererin - Yng Ngolau Dydd (1985)

The fourth and final album from this Welsh band.

Pererin was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, mandolin, violins, flutes, percussions and Welsh male vocals.

Welsh is a pretty flowery language. Wales is the nation in Great Britain where the singing is reputed to be strongest. I got one multiple-Oscars winning Hollywood movies marketing that myth. A myth which may be true or false. I do not know. But I like this myth a lot.

Vocals is what we get a lot on this folk rock album. An album and a band who flirts a lot with pop and progressive rock.

This flirtation is evident on this album. An album which I guess Mostly Autumn and the likes of them must have known about before they set out on their career. But it is the Scottish band Runrig I get some associations with when I am listening to this forty minutes long album.

The songs on this album is mostly pastoral with a lot of melancholic ambience running through them. The vocals is very good and it is both unusual and great to listen to this Welsh language. A language very much underused in the music scene.

The end result is a good album which has a lot to offer to both the folk rock and the prog rock fan. This is very much an album well worth checking out.

3 points  

Mindspeak - Pictures (2014)

The one and only album from this Vienna, Austria based band.

.... Although we can and should hope for more albums from this band. The band has released a Name Your Price live album with most of the songs from this album. I am downloading now......

The band is a five piece band with guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards and female English vocals. A male vocalist and saxophone is guest musicians here.

The band is listed as crossover prog in ProgArchives and that is spot on. There is a lot of influences here from progressive metal, neo-prog and in particular; symphonic prog. Most of the songs has symphonic prog structures. That also goes for the half an hour long The Big Sleep suite. A pretty impressive suite where the band is let loose and creates a lot of very good suite structures.   

I am not a big fan of Victoria Simon's vocals. They are a bit shrieking and I am not fan of this type of vocals. But the band is really doing their stuff and the piano pieces are really great. But Victoria Simon's vocals is no excuse not to buy and like this album. No excuse whatsoever.

There are some not so good stuff here too. And there are some great stuff here too. Fans of neo-prog and symphonic prog will lap this up as a cat is lapping up some milk. I am both slurping and lapping this up......

This album is not too long either. Fifty-four minutes is long enough and the band has got their message across, thank you.

This is indeed a very good album. The band has a great deal of talent and is perhaps the next big thing from Austria....... or Europe. Keep an eye on this band and get this album. See link above.

3.5 points 

Friday 8 July 2016

Goblin - Squadra Anti Gangsters (1979)

The eight album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, percussions, drums, bass and keyboards. The band had hired two vocalists from USA/UK on this album. One female and one male vocalist.

This album is a soundtrack. Most of Goblin's albums is soundtracks. Hence, they are a bit.... make that a lot of hits and misses.

The film has been described here. The film did quite well a the cinema. This album though is a big, big miss.

Take funk, disco and some fusion. Some very cheap and nasty fusion, funk and disco. Compile it into an album and you get this album. This music is mainly a view into the worst part of the music scene anno 1979. Muzak is the prettiest word I can use on the best parts of this album.

The best music here is pretty dire. The worst parts of this album is dismal. It is so cheap that it feels like a parody. A parody on the worst of the worst.

Avoid this as you would avoid some nasty viruses.

1 point

Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun (2000)

The sixth album from this British band.

The band was a four piece band here with Steven Wilson, Colin Edward, Richard Barbieri and Chris Maitland. The lineup was guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals.

The band was hitting their stride now. Their mix of classic prog, heavy rock and post rock was quite a shock to the progressive rock scene. A very welcome shock. The band was already then one of the most importand bands in the scene.

Take post rock, heavy rock and classic prog. Mix them together and you get this album..... Which is both true and not true. The band has moved on a bit since the previous album, the 1999 album Stupid Dream.

Lightbulb Sun sees the band take influences from both The Beatles and the electronica scene. The second song on this album, the very good How Is Your Life Today is very The Beatles and very much Sir Paul McCartney. This one could had been a song from the epic Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart album. OK, this song is not as good as any songs from that album. But it is in the same mould. A funny song too. One who brings a smile to my face although the subjects in the song is anything but funny.

The final part of this fifty-five minutes long album sees the band exploring a bit electronica.

Inbetween these two extremes, the band is very much like themselves with a fine mix of very good songs in the heavy prog, post rock and classic prog genres.

The end result is a very good album and one to really check out. Not at least because of the lush sound and the use of strings and flutes. This is another album cementing this band's excellent reputation.

3.5 points


Tuesday 5 July 2016

Eccentric Orbit - Creation of the Humanoids (2014)

The second album from this US band.

Eccentric Orbit is a four piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, electric violin, synth mandolin, synth guitars and computers.

The music here is entirely instrumental as you may have guessed by the lineup.

I very much liked their 2004 debut album Attack Of The Martians. Good, eclectic symphonic prog. It was also a pretty much new type of progressive rock, too.

The band returned ten years later with another take on eclectic symphonic prog. And.......

The electric violins reminds me about both Jean Luc Ponty and the many Japanese bands who use electric violins to great effect. The bass is hovering around the zeuhl and avant-garde genre.  The keyboards are sometimes operating in the 1970s symphonic prog territory with some Moog and Melotron sounds and soundbytes.

The music..... It is very synthetic and has a plastic fantastic feel. Which is the whole concept behind this band. A concept of alien and alienation.

The music is not particular good and I have put off this review by a year or so. Basically because I thought this album was too cheesy to be reviewed. It is very much a cheesy fifty minutes long album. Cheese and plastic goes hand in hand here. The bass, keyboards and the electric violins is saving this album from a grave.....well, not so bad review. Some of the melodies are also good. But this is far too much cheese for me. On reflection, cheese is not my favourite food. Neither my favourite music either.

2.5 points 

Sunday 3 July 2016

Threshold - For The Journey (2014)

The tenth and so far final album from this UK band.

The band is still very much alive so I hope that we will get some more albums from them.

The band is still a six piece with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Damien Wilson is still at the microphone. That is a place he really belongs as he is a very good vocalist and well suited to this band.

Threshold's formula is very much settled and gives the band a lot of oppurtunities to explore the landscape between neo-prog and progressive metal.

The band has not reinvented themselves on this album. But there is still subtle differences here from their previous albums. A bit more challenging melodies and a bit more soul has been added to their music. You still find the chugging guitars here. There are also some more pastoral pieces. Some of the songs even has some symphonic prog structures. Oh yeah, this is a progressive rock band. They are neither Yes or Genesis. They are Threshold and they are still a progressive rock band.

I really like this band and I am almost a fan. Almost. But I am still able to hear the faults with this album. The gripes I have got is the lack of any really great songs. There is none.

This fifty minutes long album starts really strong before it tails of at the end. Some parts here is almost dull.

That aside, this is still a very good album which will surprise a few non-fans and make their fans very happy. I really like this album.

3.5 points

Saturday 2 July 2016

Gazpacho - Molok (2015)

The ninth album from this Norwegian band.

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

I am an admirer of this band. I am one of the far too few Norwegians who admire this band. Which is a shame. But it is also pretty understandable as their brand of music is very eclectic...... to say at least.

The band started out as Marillion admirers and then moved to their own universe, their own space in the music world.

Take a big chunk of emo, neo-prog and post rock. Then add Jan Henrik Ohme's very special vocals and add some melancholy. That is pretty close to what you get on this album.

Gazpacho has removed themselves more and more from the mainstream prog rock scene on their last two albums. Molok showcases the band as eclectic as they have ever been.

Eclectic, but still melodic. There is no avant-garde egotrips here. The songs, or even hymns, are pretty difficult to get after a couple of listening sessions. It feels like the bands is doing hymns instead of songs now. The vocals are pretty big and the music is pretty understated. Even on the long instrumental run outs.

This rose, this album only opens up after more than a couple of runs through the speakers and headphones. It then reveals some very good songs.... make that hymns. There are no great songs/hymns here and the folk music piece on the middle of this album feels a bit surplus to requirement.

This is indeed a very good album from a band who operates in their own universe. A band and a universe who deserve a lot more attentions. Check out this album and give it a lot of your time.

3.5 points

Martigan - Distant Monsters (2015)

The fifth album from this German band.

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

Until I started my research on this album, I thought I had reviewed a couple of their previous albums. But I neither own them or has reviewed them. Which is a shame and a personal loss as this band is a good band.

We are back in the German neo-prog scene. A very good scene. Something due to, amongst others, the contributions from this band.

The music here is mostly guitars dominated neo-prog in the same vein as Pendragon, RPWL and Argos. You can also add a lot of Saga here too. Saga is very popular band in Germany and Scandinavia. There is a lot of their DNA profile in both the Scandinavian and German neo-prog scene. This album is no exception from that rule.

The songs here are mostly pretty dark. Something Kai Markworth's vocals can be given credit for. His vocals are very good...... and dark.

The album is seventy-five minutes long and offers good value for money. I am not happy about that synth sound. But the guitars are far better and very good. Ditto for the rest of the sound.

My only two gripes is the lack of any risk taking here and the lack of any great songs. That aside, this is a good album which will serve this band very well.

3 points