Sunday 30 October 2016

Carol Of Harvest - Carol Of Harvest (1978)

The debut album from this German band.

Carol Of Harvest was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and vocals.

The band has so far only released two albums. My August 2010 review of their 2009 album Ty I Jar can be found here. The band promised a lot more albums in an interview I also did with them. None has yet to see the light of day.

Carol Of Harvest released their (much sought after among collectors) private-pressing album in the aftermath of the passing/death of the German psych folk rock scene. Yes, Sex Pistols and punk was all the rage and nobody had any time for the likes of Carol Of Harvest.

Largely thanx to the excellent ProgArchives, the interest in this band and this album is here. That 30 years after the releases of this album. Which says everything about the power of the internet and the mankind.

And this album is a pretty special album. The female vocals of Beate Krause is special. And so is the guitar solos of Axel Scmierer too.

The psych folk rock here is both pretty much folk rock orientated and a bit psyched and spaced out. The genesis of the music is folk music. The arrangements takes it into psych and rock territory.

The music changes between pastoral psalms like and harder rocking stuff. This makes an interesting mix to say at least. There are several synths and guitar duels here too. That also makes for some interesting listenings.....

The overall quality of the music is really good throughout. There is no great stuff here. But folk rock fans should really lap up this album and the forty minutes of music here. Check it out !

3 points

Circulus - Clocks Are Like People (2006)

The second album from this English band.

Circulus is a seven piece big band with a lineup of bongos, percussions, crumhorn, flutes, sequencers, synths, Moog, bass, drums, guitars, saxophone and vocals. The vocals are both male and female. 

I have yet to hear and get their 2005 debut album The Lick On The Tip Of An Envelope Yet To Be Sent. An impossible long and weird album title. An album title which to a large extent perfectly describes this band.

We are back in folk rock land again. Or prog folk as ProgArchives labels this band. A label I totally agrees with. That lumps them together with the likes of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention.

Which is both fair and unfair. Mostly unfair. Circulus does not have the ethereal great vocals Maddy Prior and Sandy Denny gave those two other bands. For Circulus, this is not a loss because (their vocalist) Lo Polidoro and Circulus has taken a different path than Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention.

Clocks Are Like People are a very contemporary album rooted in the acid folk rock scene. There is also a lot of psychedelia here too. The songs and music here is a bit weird. The sound is great and the vocals is exactly doing what they should be doing in music like this. They are not dominating this album although they are everywhere.

The Moog and the flutes gives this album an edge. The songs are not particular great. But the forty odd minutes long album is very agreeable and has some very interesting details.

This is indeed a good album and I have ordered their two other albums. This band and their music requires some further investigations.

3 points

Hackett. Steve - Defector (1980)

The fourth album from this British artist.

The Steve Hackett is listed here on guitars, synths and some vocals. His brother John Hackett and some other musicians (including Nick Magnus) is also helping out.

Steve Hackett and his albums has by now settled down into a groove. You get some light sprinkling of symphonic prog, folk rock, some off the mental hospital wards vaudeville songs and some cinematic sounding ambient stuff.

What I want to hear is Steve Hackett's guitars and his melodies. Most of them are instrumental and some of them are cinematic ambient sounding.

I don't care so much about anything than Steve Hackett. When that is said, his brother John Hackett is really stepping up to the plate here and is giving us something really good he has always done. Something I have not really acknowledged on the previous Steve Hackett albums. So credit where credit is due. Some brotherly help does a lot for this album and the Steve Hackett albums.

This album is thirty-seven minutes long and it has a good flow. It is indeed a nice album which does not really cause my eyebrows to move up towards my receding hairline.

This is indeed a good album and a cosy one. A bit of a better album would had been preferred though and I am not so sure if I will ever visit this album again.

3 points

Saturday 29 October 2016

Time Horizon - Transitions (2015)

The second album from this US band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, synths and bass. The drummer is one of many hired hands. Four of them belongs to Tony Kaye and Bill Sherwood.

I have yet to get their highly rated 2011 debut album Living Water. From what I understand, the band was changed inside out during this five years long break.

The music is loosely speaking pomp rock. Or pomp prog if you want. Saga from just across the border from USA is a good reference.

To my horror, and so is the hair metal bands from the 1980s and 1990s too. The opening song Only One Way gives me horrible associations to that era. Thankfully, the rest of this almost one hour long album is not that bad. But the feeling of that era never really leaves me when listening to this album.

There is a lot of Saga references here and some songs Saga could have recorded too. Some of the stuff here is also pretty catchy. The vocals are pretty good and the mix of synths, keyboards and guitars are pretty good too.

The album is very lightweight and does not offers up much of what I could label neo-prog. It is also leaning toward rock and pomp rock. Not much progressive rock here. It is more pomp than prog.

Neither does this album offers up much quality either. The musicianship is rather good and the references hits a Saga fan like myself in a weak spot and speaks to my heart. But this album is a bit forgetable and does not offers up much substance. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Goblin - Non Ho Sonno (2001)

The twentieth album from this Italian combo.

Goblin was a quartet again with all the most important Goblin members featuring. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums and lots of synths and keyboards.

This is the soundtrack for this film. The description of the film sounded so interesting that I have just bought the DVD.

The soundtrack is instrumental throughout too, with the exception of some wordless soprano vocals. Vocals which adds a lot to this soundtrack.

Being a soundtrack, this is based on the movie itself. It is a thriller and horror movie. A movie I very much look forward to watch.

Based on the soundtrack, I am not in for a too scary movie. The music is pretty much in the Camel area of symphonic prog. It also has a lot of neo-classical music. It is not that complicated either. We are not talking about music in the vein of Yes.

The melodies here are good throughout. We are not talking a masterpiece here. It it is nicely ticking over with some nice guitar solos and synths. A piano and a saxophone also chimes in.

Non Ho Sonno is one of the better Goblin albums out there and well worth checking out. It is music I find relaxing and nice on the ear and brain. It is stressfree music with a lot of substance as the music here is really good. Check it out.

3 points


Cast - Endless Signs (1995)

The fourth album from this Mexican band.

The band was a five piece band and their lineup was synths, flutes, banjo, bass, drums, guitars and English vocals.

I was not that impressed by their 1994 debut album Landing In A Serious Mind. Pretty much copycat Pendragon neo-prog. I have missed out on their two other 1994 albums (but would like to get them). Their last two albums has showcased a band in a serious development.

Back to Endless Signs.... The band had already developed from a one dimentional neo-prog band with limited abilities (on Landing In A Serious Mind) to slightly something else again.

We are still in neo-prog land. But the compositions are pretty long and the ideas and music are leaning more symphonic prog.

There is a lot of Ange in their music. The baroque classical music version of symphonic prog shines through here on several songs. Well, on the whole album really.

Their affinity to the British neo-prog scene also shines through. The band is very much a neo-prog band.

The album is very long and is using the abilities of the new medium, the compact disc. It is long enough and there is not much waste of space on this album.

The sound is pretty thin and very much 1990s. The vocals are pretty limited in range. Nevertheless, this is a good album as it has some really good songs. I have always thought Cast has been a very underrated band. This album confirms these views.

3 points


Friday 28 October 2016

Dream The Electric Sleep - Heretics (2014)

The second album from this US band.

Dream The Electric Sleep is a trio with bass, drums, guitars and vocals. I do suspect that the band also has got help from a synth player too.

I was pretty impressed by parts of their debut album. A pretty radical debut album. Perhaps too radical for me.

The band is by no means pussy-footing around on Heretics too. The band is very much based in the post-punk and post-rock scene and sound. But the difference is that they have not rejected the music from the likes of The Beatles, Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and the 1970s bands. They have embraced and incorporated it into this album.

No, this album does not sound like a 1970s album. No, it does not sound like a Pink Floyd clone either. The sound is very much post-millenium. Maybe too much post-millenium for prog rock fans.

Heretics though is a progressive rock album. It is also well over an hour long too. And it has eleven songs.

The album is surprisingly very songs orientated. But there is a heck of a lot going on in each of the songs. The vocals are also very good.

There is also surprisingly many very pastoral minutes and songs here. Some of the music is almost entering The Beatles, post Rubber Soul territory. I am most surprised !

The sound is still post-rock and pretty hard-edged. But the music is also very good throughout. I am absolute certain that this band has hit on something and I hope they will develop it further. I am very much looking forward to listen to their 2016 album. In the meantime, I really like this album.

3.5 points

Thursday 27 October 2016

Carpet - Elysian Pleasures (2013)

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

Or maybe musical collective is the right words here about Carpet. The 2009 debut album The Eye Is The Heart Monitor was a solo album from Maximilian Stephen who recorded the album together with Jacob Mader.

Carpet sounds like a full project with a big sound on Elysian Pleasure though. You get everything from guitars, synths, vocals, bass, drums to woodwinds and strings.

This is indeed an ambitious project, this album. But it is neither a rock opera or a piece of symphonic prog.

It has it's roots in the psychedelic prog scene. The roots has given growth to a piece of eclectic music.

The vocals is downtuned, but still melodic. The sound has got a distinctive post-rock ambience. The music are sometimes leaning towards King Crimson. In particular at the end of this fifty minutes long album.

The opening song, the title track, has a captivating eclectic melody and a sting in it's tale. It is a very good song. The rest of the album is not that very good. The end of this album is not particular interesting unless you are a die-hard King Crimson fan. But most of this album is indeed good to very good.

This is a bit of a fascinating album from a band/project which deserve a lot more attention. Attention hereby given.

3 points  

Quantum Fantay - Dancing in Limbo (2015)

The sixth album from this Belgium based band.

Quantum Fantay is a four piece band on this album with a lineup of keyboards, synths, guitars, drums and bass. Four guest musicians also contributes with congas, flutes and xtra guitars.

I was very pleased with their 2014 album Terragaia. It was indeed a very good album. So I went ahead and purchased this album. An album I should have had reviewed one year ago as it was released back in September 2015. But better late than never.

Quantum Fantay plays some kind of undefined music somewhere between space rock, symphonic rock and fusion/jazz. It is not easy to pinpoint their genre.

In particular is this difficult on this album which draws in various elements from these three genres. There is a lot of guitars here which points in the direction of fusion and jazz. The synths are in the direction of space rock and the general music is leaning towards instrumental symphonic prog rock.

There is also a lot of Arabic and Middle-East folk music like music here too. The band draws in a lot of inspirations from various parts of this planet.

The album is forty-five minutes long and it is not too bad. I is a step back from Terragaia and sounds not as fresh as that album in my ears. There is no great piece of music here. Music which sounds a bit bland to me. I am not overly impressed. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Anderson. Ian - Thick As A Brick 2 (2012)

The fifth album from this British artist and icon.

Ian Anderson did the vocals and flutes on this album. He had help from six other musicians who provided woodwinds, drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, Hammond organ, glockenspiel and additional vocals.

Thick As A Brick from 1972 was and still is one of the best ever albums to see the light of day. A true masterpiece. So I was a surprised when I learned that Ian Anderson wanted to release a follow up without the Jethro Tull name and without Martin Barre. The album was released as an Ian Anderson solo album. Odd !!!

And there is certainly a hard act to follow, part 2 of an album most people love.

The music is totally new and nothing has been carried over from the 1972 album Thick As A Brick. That album was an LP too where part 1 took up the whole of side A and part 2 took up the whole of side B. It was basically one piece of music.

Returning to 2012 again and this is not the case with Thick As A Brick 2. This album is almost fifty-four minutes long and it is divided on seventeen songs. The longest one is eight minutes. But there are also a lot of shorte soundbytes between one and two minutes long.

The quality of the music is very good. But there is something seriously missing with all the Ian Anderson albums. And that is the balance between Ian and the other musicians. Ian dominates this album and does not really let it get a breathing space.

Too much sugar can kill you. And that is the case here. Very good songs. But there are also too much of Ian and too much stuff which does not stands up to the high standards set by Jethro Tull's golden age. I still love Ian Anderson and what he does. But with a soberiety which also allow criticism where criticism is well due. As on this album.

3.5 points 

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Tiles - Window Dressing (2004)

The fourth album from this US band.

The band was a four piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Matthew Parmenter from Discipline and Hugh Syme (artist, painter) guests together with Kim Mitchell on a couple of tracks.

Tiles output has always been somewhere between AOR, prog metal and hard prog. Kansas, Rush and Dream Theater springs to mind.

The band has tended to move around between these genres a lot. Some albums are harder than other albums. Even on the three first albums.

The band is comfortable in this landscape between Rush and Dream Theater. Sometimes they sounds like a Rush copycat. A copycat with some college rock added onto the mix. I am a Rush fan and don't disapprove of their flirtation with Rush. These parts are the best parts of this album.

The same also goes for the seventeen minutes long opening track. The title track, no less. There is a lot of good things on this opus. The band is clearly flirting with the symphonic prog genre here.

The band has an interesting sound throughout this album. An hour worth of good things. I am starting to like this band. Well, I started to like them already on their second album.

There is no great tracks here. But this is nevertheless a good album.

3 points


Sunday 23 October 2016

Cartoon - Martelo (1999)

The debut album from this Brazilian band.

Cartoon was a four piece band with some funny names and a lineup of piano, flute, guitars, synths, drums, bass and Portuguese vocals.

I reviewed their third album, the 2008 album Estribo back in July 2013. An album I quite liked. I will get onto their second album/a review of their second album can be found somewhere else in this blog. The band released four studio albums before they split up.

The cover artwork and the band name says a lot about the music we get here on this sixty-five minutes long album. The music is cartoon'ish and quite humerous. I don't think the band took themselves so very serious. The music though is serious.

The music is based on the 1970s funk, soul and hard rock sound. A lot of Zappa can be heard throughout this album. The music also has this vaudeville theatre feel too.  There is also some Brazilian folk rock on this album.

A lot of things are happening here. The music is both wild and a bit lounge jazz. It goes from one extreme to another. From the almost punk like music to jazz. From folk to hard rock.

There is no real good songs here and I am really struggling to find anything good here. But there are good things inbetween some rather decent stuff. The verdict is somewhere between decent and good. But good enough to recommend it. Youtube should be the place to listen to this stuff before you purchase this album.

2.5 points 

Ellesmere - Les Châteaux de la Loire (2015)

The debut album from this Italian project.

Ellesmere is Roberto Vitelli from the Italian band Taproban together with some hired musicians. The two most known of them are John Hackett on flutes and Anthony Phillips on narration and some guitars. There are ten other (Italian) musicians too. The lineup is acoustic guitars, flutes, electric guitars, Moog, Mellotron, strings, percussions, bass, viola, violins and some vocals.

And Italian project with an English name and a French album title is pretty rare. Not to mention strange. But there is both method and meaning in this project.

Anthony Phillips has been mentioned here. He opens up the album with some story telling and narration. And the rest of the album is down his alley too.

Those who like this ex Genesis guitarists albums can now stop reading this review and go to an online shop to purchase this album. This fifty minutes long album is very much in the vein of Anthony Phillips. My guess is that Anthony Phillips was delighted when asked to add his voice to this album.

The music here is through and through pastoral with a lot of acoustic guitars, flutes and Mellotron. Those are the dominating instruments here.

This album is softly spoken. But it still has an awful lot to say. The music is good to great throughout. It also comes with a great sound and an great ambience. An ambience which makes me relax and just makes me enjoy the music which comes out from my speakers. This is indeed a very good album and one to enjoy. More of this please....... and I am getting some more Anthony Phillips albums.

3.5 points

Crystal Palace - Dawn of Eternity (2016)

The seventh album from this German band.

The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. There are also two guest musicians on this album.

I have reviewed two of their previous album and have rated them as good albums. Good neo-prog albums.

And the band plays classic neo-prog as they have ever done. Neo-prog with a German twist. If you want to know what German neo-prog sounds like, this and Argos is the main bands in this scene. A great scene it is too.

..... So I was a bit surprised to hear the first couple of minutes of this album. The vocals and the band sounded like Dream Theater. It was like Dream Theater had occupied this album. Spooky !!

The album clears up after those two minutes (the song called Dawn) and we are back into the usual Crystal Palace terrain again.

That said.... The band has gone a bit heavier this time around. There are even some djent hanging around here. This in addition to the usual neo-prog. But this one hour long album is somewhat more edgier than I am used to from this band.

The result is not particular impressive in my view. This is a Crystal Palace I am struggling with. The main problem is the lack of any great material here. There are barely any good material here too. The album is not a bad album. But it somewhat decent and good. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Saturday 22 October 2016

Eden - Erwartung (1978)

The debut album from this German band.

Eden released three albums and was more a collective of musicians than a band.  There are nine musicians listed as members of Eden and two other guest musicians. The lineup was spoken words, vocals, Moog and Arp synths, guitars, sitar, violin, bass, drums, percussions, flutes and woodwinds.

The setup and music is not as freeflowing improvisations as the Amon Duul albums. Thankfully !!

 Eden was one of those bands who populated the quite popular German, Swiss and Italian Christian prog and folk rock scene in the 1970s. This as an alternative to the secular prog and folk rock scene.
Most of this scene was Catholic. Catholic young people on a mission. This scene produced some good music which I am happy to give a go.

The music on this forty-two minutes long album is built on a platform of folk rock. There is a lot of flowing flowery German male and female vocals here. There is also a lot of flowery folk rock here. I am tempted to call it hippie and flower power music. But it is more folk music orientated than that.

There are also some clear influences from Eloy and The Moody Blues in their music. The music also rocks out for a couple of minutes. The "rock" element of the "folk rock" is pretty much present here in the form of some racy electric guitars.

The music is very sweet and nice. There is no really great songs here though and the music is missing a bit bite and substance. But I am pretty much enjoying this album. Eden is maybe an obscure band. But they are nevertheless well worth my time.

3 points 


Cargo - Cargo (1972)

The one and only album from this Dutch band.

Please note that this is the review of the forty-two minutes, five songs long 1972 album and not the seventy-five minutes long CD which includes a lot of bonus tracks and oddities. The CD offers the best value for money so get that one. But this is a review of the 1972 album.

Cargo recorded this album with nine musicians. I don't know the core of this band. But the lineup includes guitars, bass, drums, electric piano and vocals.

Progarchives has labeled this band as Heavy Prog and I am in full agreement here. I also cannot fail to notice that the album art-work is much more iconic than the band ever was. It is one of the great art-works from the prog rock scene. One I have been admiring for the last ten years before getting the album myself and then listening to it.

And the album is indeed also interesting. Not iconic though..... Take a lot of guitar based blues, add some psychedelic rock, a lot of British heavy metal, a lot of space rock and a lot of southern rock. There is a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd here.

This album is also very pastoral at times. Very subtle too. Very cleverly made. And it is very much a 1970s album.

All guitar fans should bring out their air guitars and listen/get going to the final track Summerflair. The rest of us can also enjoy this good song and the four other songs. This album is really a good album with a great sound. There is no great tracks here though.... But enjoy and get the seventy odd minutes long CD !

3 points

Friday 21 October 2016

Caplan. Gadi - Morning Sun (2016)

The third album from this USA based Israeli guitarist.

I know next to nothing about this guy as all my reference sources is offline at the moment. But I gather he got his musicial education from a guru in India and the Berkelee guitar university in Boston, USA.

He graduated from that university and released his debut album in 2010. His second album followed in 2013. That is all I can remember before my reference source went offline.

Gadi Caplan plays guitars and does the vocals here. He has got help from some other musicians too. The music is sparsely populated by instruments. Keyboards, synth, bass and drums. That in addition to the guitars and vocals.

The music is low-key and pretty much indie music. There is a lot of lounge jazz here in addition to a lot of post rock and a lot of pop music.

The music is by no means loud. It does not scream. It just whisper silently.

Everything here is subtle and low-key.

There is no real great music here and not much is happening. The music is decent to good throughout these forty odd minutes. The problem is the lack of really good and great melodies. Nevertheless, this is not a bad album.

2.5 points

Thursday 20 October 2016

Invisible - El Jardín de los Presentes (1976)

The third and final album from this Argentine band.

The band returned again as a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. All vocals are in Spanish. The most known musician here is Luis Alberto Spinetta who later released some albums under his own name. Reviews to follow in 2017.....

I have never really warmed to this band. Their two first albums has left me cold and unimpressed. But changes were coming.....

Most of the maniac/manic hard and eclectic stuff was gone and replaced by a much more measured, melodic approach.

ProgArchives has been labelling this band as a symphonic prog rock band. I take issue.... There is no Yes/Genesis like music here. None whatsoever.

What we get in Latin-American prog rock with a lot of influences from the likes of Carlos Santana. Both the music and the guitars are pretty much influences by him. But the music is still very melodic and warm. So this is not a fusion album at all.

Still, there are some lounge jazz here together with some pop music and good old Latin-American prog rock. The music here is indeed very local and sounds like what it is. A prog rock album from Argentina.

The quality has been raised some notches on this album. There is a lot of interesting details and some good music here. Most of the melodies is indeed good.

This is by far their best ever album and one to check out.

3 points

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Carducci. Franck - Torn Apart (2015)

The second album from this Dutch artist.

Franck Carducci is back again with the follow up to the Oddity debut album.

He is doing the vocals, rhythm guitars and mellotron himself. A host of other musicians helps him out on other instruments. Steve Hackett shows up on track # 2 on lead guitars.

I have now learnt that Franck is French and has relocated to Holland. Just to correct myself......

Torn Apart is an hour of original songs plus a cover of Supertramp's School. That he has done a cover of Supertramp is not typical for the rest of the album. Most of the music is in the classic prog and hard rock school from the 1970s. It is indeed a retro-rock album. The Supertramp cover sounds a bit strange to me. But it is a good cover version so why not... I have no complaints.

Retro-rock is fine for me. It has a good sound although most of the album is too hard rocking for my taste.

There is no really great songs here among the original material. There is some glimpses of what Franck Carducci is able to do in a very inspired moment. But that is all.

Nevertheless, this is a good album which should please everyone into a bit harder prog rock.

3 points

Monday 17 October 2016

Canarios. Los - Ciclos (1974)

The third and final album from this Spanish band.

I have yet to hear the first two albums from this band. Their debut album was released back in 1968, the second one in 1970 and this album was released in 1974. I have no idea what they sounded like.

Ciclos was recorded as a seven piece orchestra with lots of keyboards, synths, chorals, voices, bass, guitars, drums, percussions and symphony orchestral instruments.

Antoni Vivaldi (1678 -1741) and his Four Seasons symphony gets another good thrashing on this album. This for the numerous time and I am pretty sure our friend Antonio Vivaldi is pretty peeved off by now, there he sits somewhere in afterlife and is glumly watching those musicians who gives his Four Seasons their attention. I am pretty sure he has mixed feelings about his Four Seasons symphony right now.

The copyright laws means everyone can now make their own version of this symphony. A license a lot of bands has taken up and abused over the last fifty years. Some has made something very good out of it. Others has not.

Los Canarios has made their own version of this symphony. These seventy-four minutes is mostly classical music of some sort. But there is also some rock stuff here. This album is not progressive rock at all.

And frankly speaking, Ciclos is like giving The Four Seasons a solid beating up. Nothing here really works and this album is a disjointed effort I find impossible listening to from the first to last second. It is an abysmal album by all standards. It is indeed a turkey. One I am very happy to send over to my turkey yard, later to be enjoyed at the Christmas table.

1 point

Saturday 15 October 2016

Goblin - La Via Della Droga (1999)

The nineteenth album from this Italian band/constellation.

This is the soundtrack for the Italian police TV series Poliziotteschi. I have yet to find the DVD anywhere..... but I have only been looking in the world of Amazon.

Goblin was a four piece on this album with Fabio Pignatelli (bass), Agostino Marangola (drums, percussion), Massimo Morante (guitars) and Claudio Simonetti on keyboards. From what I understand, the classic Goblin.

Which probably has concentrated their minds.

Goblin soundtracks is so much better in the movies than on CDs/MP3s. This goes for most soundtracks. Goblin has indeed added some turkeys to my collection of turkeys. Not many, but enoug for me to approach another Goblin movie with a lot of angst and trepidations.

So I was pretty pleased after listening to this half an hour long album for the first time. Pleasure which only increased after some more listening sessions.

The band has added some jazz to this movie soundtrack. Jazz as in Gong without Daevid Allen. Their Shamal album springs to mind. But most of this album is cinematic music, ambient and soundbytes like.

The end result is not that bad. It is indeed an album with some good stuff and some decent stuff. Hence my rating.

2.5 points 

Krokodil - Swamp (1970)

The second album from this Swiss band.

The band was a seven piece band with a lineup of violins, bass, drums, sitar, harmonica, flute, keyboards, percussions, guitars, drums and English vocals.

I was not particular overly awed by their self-titled 1969 album. Too much blues-rock for my liking. Although, that album had some psychedelic music too.

Those psychedelic influences has been refined a lot on this album while the blues-rock has been replaced by a much more folk rock type of music. The music is not that hard, although it has it's hard pieces too.

There is also some pretty naive The Beatles like melodies here too. This album is a child of the 1960s. There is an aura of hippies and flower power on this album.

Not all musicians chimes in at the same time. The sound is pretty sparse on instruments throughout this forty minutes long album.

The sound is still populated enough to make the music pretty lively and rich in substance. This album is very much focused on songs. Good songs. The vocals and the vocal harmonies here are really good too.

This is in short a good album with good songs throughout. It is an album well worth checking out.

3 points 

Anderson. Ian - Rupi's Dance (2003)

The fourth album from this British icon of our time.

I am a pretty big Jethro Tull fan and I do not say "no thanx" to Ian Anderson albums either. Hence my purchase of them and the reviews.

Ian did all the flutes and vocals as per usual. Ten other musicians helped him out here. A track from the Jethro Tull Christmas album is bonus track here. Not a good track, btw. But it tells you where this album is heading....

It is pretty easy to label this album.

Take away the rock elements from Jethro Tull and add some Celtic folk music and pop. That is what this album is.

The songs here are pretty short and based on Ian's vocals. His flute also chimes in here. The flute is very much in the Irish jig vein.

This album is fifty-five minutes long. It has thirteen songs. Thirteen songs which is pretty good. But they also offers an overload of sugar at times. This is very cosy, but not so much rich on substance. Not if you are prog and jazz-head as myself.

This album falls a bit short of my expectations, I am afraid. Hence the rating.

2.5 points


Friday 14 October 2016

Cameron Project. The Ben - Tipping Point (2014)

The debut album from this Australian artist.

Ben Cameron has had help from his brother (?) Chris Cameron on drums and percussion on this album. Ben is doing the guitars, keyboards, bass and vocals himself.

The same project has just released their second album. An album I have yet to get. That album has got a proper band behind it.

I do not know much about this project. But Ben Cameron seems like a young chap on the picture I have seen of him on ProgArchives. Long hair and all that. Well suitable to play progressive rock, this chap.

And that is what he does on this album. But with a twist....

The album is divided into two songs. Part 1 is clocking in at twenty-one minutes. Part 2 is clocking in at seventeen minutes. Not particular traditional, this album.

The music is somewhere between Yes, Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree. It is what ProgArchives would label as heavy prog, this album. And with full justification. It is indeed a heavy prog album.

Most of this album is pretty hard. Hard, but not heavy. It is also pretty melodic at times.

Both songs has it's good parts and some pretty average parts. This thirty-eight minutes long album is a decent to good album which does not enthuse me. Neither does it disgust me. It is well worth checking out.

2.5 points 

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Dream The Electric Sleep - Lost And Gone Forever (2011)

The debut album from this US band.

Dream The Electric Sleep is a trio from Lexington, Kentucky. And I have no idea what that band name means. Anyway, their lineup is drums, bass, guitars and vocals. Male vocals.

This band is among the new breed of US progressive rock bands. The ones taking over from Kansas and those bands. Well, there has never been that many traditional progressive rock bands from USA.

Dream The Electric Sleep is not a traditional progressive rock band either. It is with a bit trepidations I am reviewing their three albums. The band are still alive, I guess. So more albums will surely follow.

But back to Lost And Gone Forever.

I am not sure what the band thought about themselves on this almost eighty minutes self-released album. An album they do not regard as their debut album. More of a collection of earlier material, I guess. But I am still reviewing it.

This album covers a multitude of genres and styles. From more traditional progressive rock in the Pink Floyd and Yes mould to more AOR, classic rock, hard rock and grunge. There is a lot of Pearl Jam not so well hidden in this album. Soundgarden is also well represented.

A mixed bag in other words and a bit of a frustrating listening experience. The quality is not particular good either. But I am not giving up on this band. It is well worth checking out, this album.

2 points


Hackett. Steve - Spectral Mornings (1979)

The third album from this English artist.

Steve Hackett scaled back a lot this time when it came to using musicians. His brother John did the flutes, Nick Magnus all the keys, Dik Cadbury the bass, John Shearer the drums and Pete Hicks shared the vocals duties with the always guitar playing Steve Hackett.

The result is back to the start again. Spectral Mornings is a restart and back to where he started off with The Voyage Of The Acolyte in 1975, his debut album. The previous album Please Don't Touch ('78) is just a bad memory.

The album starts of with two great symphonic prog songs in the form of Every Day and The Virgin And The Gypsy. Eleven minutes of greatness. A very much John Hackett dominated interlude follows and it is a great folk tune too.

Then the album goes a bit of rails....... I am not sure what this folk music hall ditty The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man is doing here. ELP also did comedy songs like this. Songs very much in the Monty Python mould. But this one is actually a good comedy song. But I am not sure why it is used on this album.

Some more odd and very good ambient folk music stuff where the two brothers are working together follows before the great title track closes this album after thirty-nine minutes.

This is by all means a great album. Barely a great album, in my opinion. But nevertheless a great album and one to really cherish. Something I do.

Check it out !

4 points

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Tiles - Presents Of Mind (1999)

The third album from this US band.

Tiles were a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, mandolin, banjo and vocals.

On their two previous albums, Tiles ('94) and Fence The Clear ('97), the band was operating somewhere between Dream Theater and Rush. Fence The Clear was actually a good album too. I am not that big fan of their debut album.

Fence The Clear was a fresh album with a fresh and lively sound. Ditto for the music. So I had high hopes for their third album when it came up for review.....

Presents Of Mind sees the band branching out from their hard rock roots and into a much more diverse landscape. From the more adult orientated rock landscape with ballads to a more mature heavy metal landscape.

The band would like to show the world that they are a serious, very intelligent band. The result is this one hour long album.

That though requires some good melodies and songs. There is none of that here. The music is not too bad and the band knows their stuff. But this type of music requires good tunes, good melodies and a lot of substance. Which there is not much of here. Hence my rating.

2.5 points

Sunday 9 October 2016

Camberwell Now. The - All's Well (1992)

The box-set from this English band who compiles the '12 and the album this band released.

I first thought this was a studio album so I started to listen to it. I never ever review box sets and compilations. But as I was already forming an opinion, I made an exception from this rule.

The Camberwell Now only released one album, the 1986 album The Ghost Trade. They left a big impression though and is an often used reference source when people are referring to avant-garde music.

The band was only a trio with Charles Hayward as the leading member. He did all the vocals here. Other instruments used was tapes, piccolo, ukulele, mandolin, bass, guitars, saxophones, voices, synths, drums and keyboards.

Punk is clearly an inspiration source here. So is avant-garde and krautrock. This seventy-four minutes long box set is a marriage of these three genres.

Charles Hayward's vocals is haunting, to say at least. The minimalism here is also haunting. It also creates a lot of moods and ambience. An ambience of hopeless excistense. Most of their music was a reaction to Margaret Thatcher's England.

This being a box, there is a pretty wide variety of music here. But all of it is within the krautrock avant-garde punk scope.

It is not the type of music I normally like. But the hype around this band is justified as it is based on quality and an unique form of music. I cannot remember ever hearing anything as "out there" as their music.

The quality is also good throughout this box. It is a box with some very good songs (the opening song Cutty Sark) and some less good songs. But the overall quality is good. Check it out.

3 points

Anima Mundi - I Me Myself (2016)

The fifth album from this Cuba based band.

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

I pretty much liked their previous outputs and was really happy when this album arrived. An album with three long suites and three shorter songs. Well, short and short.... shorter than ten minutes, that is. This album is altogether one hour long.

The band continues on the path they marked out on the last album I reviewed by them, the 2010 album The Way (having yet to purchase their 2013 album The Lamplighter). A mix of progressive metal, eclectic prog and symphonic prog.

We even get some Italian symphonic prog on this album. And that is exactly what this album reminds me about. A RPI album.

There is some really great melody lines here. There are also some good melodies here. The album is pretty much technical and dense eclectic the whole way. It jumps a lot between moods and melodies. Between pure tech stuff and pastoral melodies.

It is not easy to get a handle on this album. But I like it a lot. Anima Mundi is a great band whose five albums is well worth checking out. This album is indeed a very good album.

3.5 points 

Steeleye Span - Wintersmith (2013)

The twenty-first album from this English band.

My last review of a Steeleye Span album was the 1976 album Rocket Cottage. A lot had happen since then.

Tim Hart had left the band in 1982 and then passed away in 2009 (R.I.P). Maddy Prior was still a member of the band and she had got five other musicians too in this band. The lineup was vocals, bass, drums, guitars and fiddle.

The sound had also changed a lot during those years. This is still Steeleye Span, but with a new and updated sound. The loss of Tim Hart is one of the most obvious changes.

Wintersmith was based on the work of the author Terry Pratchett and this album is indeed a collaboration between him and the band.

This album is also mainly a pop-folk album. A few rock and a few pure folk elements are still present. But most of this is pretty clean pop-folk. There are also some Irish folk music tunes here.

This album is just over one hour long and it has a couple of good songs and some decent songs. The title track is a good track. But most of this album is pretty docile and not that interesting. I very much prefer their first albums and would suggest that people interested in this band should stick to those albums.

2.5 points

Saturday 8 October 2016

Gracious - This is.....Gracious!! (1971)

The second album from this English band.

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

Gracious was one of those sthird division symphonic prog bands who never really reached the heights of Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd. They mostly opened for these bands on bigger gigs. And that was as good as it could get. The band has been rediscovered with the help of ProgArchives and other similar websites. It was through ProgArchives I discovered them.

The band released three studio albums. I reviewed their debut album back in June 2010. An album I liked.

This forty-three minutes long album really incorporates a lot of different styles. From the semi-classical music of The Moody Blues to the more eclectic and atonal world of King Crimson.

The Mellotron plays quite a big role on this album. After a chaotic start of the album, the Mellotron takes over a lot and creates a lot of harmonies together with the vocals and the guitars. These harmony parts is mixed in with some more eclectic and almost avant-garde like pieces.

This album is indeed a mixe bag. It has also a lot of fans. I am more restrained as I am really missing some great stuff here. There is none. Nevertheless, this is a good album with some very good ideas. Ideas not fully brought into life. Which is a pity.

3 points

Invisible - Durazno Sangrando (1975)

The second album from this Argentine band.

The band was a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and Spanish vocals. The band was fronted by the guitarist and vocalist Luis Alberto Spinetta who later released some solo albums.

I was not too impressed by their 1974 self-titled debut album. A bit of a messy album who were kicking in all directions. Not so much in the progressive rock direction, though....

The band is listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives and I had my hopes when purchasing their three albums. Hopes not fulfilled by their debut album.

They are still not an all out symphonic prog band on this album either. They are much more an eclectic prog band. Their music is also touching into symphonic prog territory. But that very much the South Americian version of symphonic prog instead of the symphonic prog version most of us know.

That means a lot of South American passion and folk rock. The music here is passionate, folk rock influenced and with some pop music influences.

This type of symphonic prog does not automaticly resonates with me. This almost forty minutes long album requires a lot of time. Time well spent.

I am still not convinced about it's qualities. The album is a bit messy with some sporadic melodies and inspired ideas. The quality is not that good either. It is still an improvement on the debut album. But only just.

2.5 points


Carducci. Franck - Oddity (2011)

The debut album from this Dutch artist.

Franck Carducci does the bass, keyboards, guitars, mandolin and vocals here. He is helped out by the likes of John Hackett (flutes) and many others on various instruments.

I have been aware of Franck Carducci and his two albums for a long time. Most of my friends rates them very highly. So me too wanted a piece of the action.

Franck Carducci debuted on Hammond organ when he was 5 years old. He comes from a family where music is everything and their whole life. Which is great.

This is also reflected on this album. An album which can be labeled as a symphonic prog album. References are both Genesis and Yes.

This one hour long album includes three long songs/suites, one short song and a very good version of the Genesis classic Carpet Crawlers.

Franck has a good, but slightly naive voice. The music is also upbeat and positive. Enough to make me smile and feel jolly. The music is indeed jolly.

Not everything here is symphonic prog. There is one blues track here which is not really my cup of tea. A folk ballad follows too and that is not met with my approval. The opening suite Achilles is very good, though.

This album is a mixed bag. It is also a good album which deserves a lot of credit and one to check out. Go so forth and do so.

3 points

Friday 7 October 2016

Goblin - Phenomena (1997)

The seventeenth album from this Italian band.

The original soundtrack for this Dario Argento movie was released back in 1984 and included the likes of Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Accept and other heavy metal bands. It only included four Goblin tracks. That soundtrack was not the one used in the movie of the same name. That soundtrack was released thirteen years later...... in 1997. Hence my review of that soundtrack.

 I am not sure which of the Goblin versions involved here as ProgArchives listing of this album does not include any info. But the use of instruments are really sparse. You get keyboards, guitars, drums, bass, a female soprano vocalist, some flutes and some percussions.

This album is almost fifty minutes long and it include some music which probably was never meant to be released outside that album. Which shows.....

The movie is not a masterpiece, I have been told. The best thing about it is the soundtrack, I have been informed.

The soundtrack is pretty ambient, gothic, very 1980s with some horrible drums and other sounds from that time. It sounds a bit plastic, the soundtrack.

The female soprana vocals is pretty haunting.... and poor. It breaks up the ambient stuff. Ambient stuff where the five themes here are repeated until they die. Fifty minutes is too long on a CD. I am sure they are just about right in the movie.

This soundtrack has not survived the transfer from movie to a music album. It is nevertheless a decent album.

2 points 

Thursday 6 October 2016

Ave Sangria - Ave Sangria (1975)


The one and only album from this Brazilian band.

Ave Sangria was a six piece band with a lineup of guitars, synths, keyboards, percussions, drums, bass and Portuguese vocals.

The band was quite a colourful group on stage with a lot of strange clothes and fuzz guitars. A bit psychedelic and glam rocking.

But their music is not really glam rock. It is folk rock of some sort.

Take folk rock, add some of David Bowie's quirky songs, add some vaudeville, rockabilly, jazz and a some psychedelic rock. Also add the colourful culture of Brazil and you get this album. An album full of quirky music.

The vocals is falsetto and normal male vocals. The vocalist Marco Polo (!!) is all over the place. But his vocals is very good. The rest of the band also does a good job.

The quality of this thirty-eight minutes long album is not that good. This album is a curiosity these days. It is still an album well worth checking out if you are a big folk rock fan.

2 points

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Anderson. Ian - The Secret Language Of Birds (2000)

The third album from this British artist.

Yes, I should have reviewed his second album, the 1995 album Divinities: Twelve Dances With God. But classical music bores the life out of me and I found that album too boring to be reviewed. And I don't really want to say too many bad things about Ian Anderson either as I am a fan of him. So no review. Divinities: Twelve Dances With God. is a classical music album and that's it. I don't even touch albums like that with a barge pole.

Ian Anderson has mostly got help from Andrew Giddings here on keyboards, orchestral sounds and numerous other instruments. Martin Barre helps out with guitars. Ian is doing the flutes and the vocals.

The Secret Language Of Birds is basically Jethro Tull without the more hard rocking elements. There is hardly any rock on this album. Neither is this an edgy album

This album is really a flowery, very flowery folk rock album with Ian's very flowery vocals and flutes. That is what this album can be labeled as. And it is a very good label indeed.

The cover art work more than gives the game away. This is a very colourful album indeed. One to make me/you smile.

There are also some very good songs here. The title track, both # 1 and # 2, is very good. The rest of the album is not the best. But I would still give it a weak very good rating. It is far better than any of the Jethro Tull albums post The Broadsword And The Beast album from 1982. And that says it all.

3.5 points


Tuesday 4 October 2016

Aperco - The Battle (2016)

The debut album from Israel.

Aperco is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Two guest musicians contributes flute and saxophone.

From what I can see, Aperco was created to make progressive rock with a 1970s sound and feel. A bit of a retro band with original material.

And that is what they have done......... largely.

Although the music is a bit harking back to the 1970s, the sound is very much contemporary and very much anno 2016. The music.....

Take a large slice of Pink Floyd anno 1975 - 1985 and add neo-prog to the proceedings too. The music also has a lot of Steven Wilson influences. Lots of it. Not necessary from Porcupine Tree as Aperco is never that hard as that said band. But this is Steven Wilson at his most reflective, ambient moments.

There is a lot of ambience and reflective pieces of music here. A lot of Pink Floyd like music here. There are some songs too and they are all good.

This one hour long album is indeed a good album. It is not particular exciting and I am not enthused by it. But you can have a good listen and perhaps purchase a digital copy of this album from their Bandcamp site. Check it out.

3 points

Monday 3 October 2016

Anima Morte - The Nightmare Becomes Reality (2011)

The second studio album from this Swedish band.

Anima Morte expanded into a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bouzouki, synths, bass, drums, Mellotron, keyboards and organ.

I was not a big fan of their 2007 debut album Face The Sea Of Darkness. You can read my review here. Not good enough music in my view.

Their mix of Goblin and Swedish symphonic prog gave some hints of a direction well worth checking out. Something they have not done on The Nightmares Becomes Reality.

Well, there are some traces of Swedish symphonic prog on this album. The band is Swedish after all. But this album is much more about Italian symponic prog than Swedish symphonic prog.

Anima Morte has again visited the land of Goblin and has gotten very inspired by them. They are still disciples of Goblin. Fans of Goblin will love this band. ...........And this album.

This album is almost 50 minutes long. It is at time majestic and epic. It is also cinematic and symphonic. Fans of symphonic prog and Goblin will really like this album.

It is also a good album. It is still lacking a bit greatness. But the band is on a mission and I guess their third album is a better album than this one. But get this album.

3 points


Sunday 2 October 2016

Anyone's Daughter - Adonis (1979)

The debut album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organ, MiniMoog, keyboards, piano and English vocals. Vocals very similar to Eloy's vocals.

I reviewed their third album Piktor's Verwandlungen for ProgArchives back in November 2011. An album I really liked. I think I need to get the two other highly rated Anyone's Daughter albums too.

Anyone's Daughter were a band who released eight albums between 1979 and 2004. There were a fifteen minutes long break between their sixth and their seventh album. Their 1980s albums is said to be good albums.  

Adonis, and indeed the career of this band, starts with the twenty-four long title track. A suite which comes across as a mix of space rock and symphonic prog. Indeed; between Eloy and Camel.

And it is between Eloy and Camel that is where we find most of this album. Very melodic, but still with a bite and a lot of intelligence.

The sound is really great and very much in the Eloy vein. It is the type of warm glowing sound I really like.

Adonis is the best piece of music here. The rest of the album is also really good. A couple of flirtationw with pop music does not impress me. But this album makes me sit up and really smile a lot.

This is not a great album. I am missing a great track or two. Nevertheless, this is a very good album which is converting me to this band. Their others albums is being ordered.

3.5 points

Satin Whale - As A Keepsake (1976)

The third album from this German band.

Satin Whale was a quartet with a lineup of organ, piano, keyboards, guitars, drums, bass and English vocals. A female choir and some woodwinds, flutes and strings also contributes to this album.

I have to say I have not been the most impressed reviewer of their previous albums Desert Places (1974) and Lost Mankind (1975). You will find the reviews here and here. Their hard blues rock is really not my thing.

So imagine my surprise when I got this album.....

The band has changed their direction.... slightly.... on this album.

Gone are most of the soul and the blues music and sound. It has been replaced with a mix of space and symphonic prog. It has been replaced by Eloy.
I did not know that Eloy was that influential. But Satin Whale has taken a big chunk of ideas from them and added it to their music. Add some soft music too and you get a pretty heady mix.

This forty-five minutes long album showcases a pretty mature band and a band in transition. In transition to a much more commercial and cinematic sound and music. The two albums that followed is like that.

I pretty much like this album and rate it as their best album. It is indeed a good album well worth checking out.

3 points


Saturday 1 October 2016

Steeleye Span - Rocket Cottage (1976)

The ninth album from this English band.

The band was still a six piece band with the vocals of Maddy Prior and Tim Hart the soul and heart in the band. They are backed up by violins, guitars, mandolins, banjo, bass, tabor and drums.

I have reviewed their first eight albums and have found a great band who sometimes also comes up with some great songs and albums. They is among the best folk rock acts this planet has ever spawned.

Maddy Prior and Tim Hart's vocals is both superb. The band also does their best.

Rocket Cottage sees the band move more towards mainstream rock again. Their sound and music is punchier and harder. There are still some folk music elements here. But even they have a much more punchier and a lot more world music and funkier sound and melody.

There is even some disco music rhythm patterns here in addition to the slightly funky music. The band is pushing the boat out here.

The band is kicking in all direction on the final half of this forty-one minutes long album. The band is trying out different styles and sounds.

Even the violins are pretty funky and playing with modern rock here. 

Rocket Cottage is as the title says, not a safe voyage. It is the band trying to come up with something new. I get the feeling that the band was growing a bit restless here and wanted to push the envelope. Hence this album.

This is by all means a good album. But I feel that the band was running a bit empty on this album. A weak three, three minus award is fitting here.

3 points 

Krokodil - Krokodil (1969)

The debut album from this Swiss band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, sitar, violin, piano, flute, bass, drums, harmonica and English vocals.

Krokodil released five albums between '69 and '73. All of them will be reviewed by me. The band was regarded as a krautrock band throughout their career. Hence my interest in this band.

This, their debut album was a much more straight blues-rock album than anything else. On the surface and in your face, at least. But there are strange things hiding in the details.

It is pretty obvious from the sitar and the strong leanings towards Indian music on a couple of tracks that the band was on the move towards a much more psychedelic landscape. Indeed, most of the songs here has a pretty notable psychedelic twist.

Psychedelic blues-rock ? Indeed, their music is.

This is by no means the most interesting music around in my views. But this forty minutes long album is pretty charming and it has some good stuff.

This album even sounds timeless at times. Which is quite an achievement. I am not fully charmed into submission by this album. The stuff is somewhere between decent and good. Check out this album as you may find it your cup of tea.

2.5 points