Saturday 31 December 2016

Toundra - IV (2015)

The fourth album from this Spanish band.

The band is now a quartet with one bassist, one drummer and two guitarists.

Toundra is a band in the experimental metal genre in ProgArchives. I would also label them as a post rock band. But I have no problems with what ProgArchives has labeled them as. A great job from the ultimate and best prog rock website on the net.

The band has shown some interesting developments on their previous three albums (I, II, III). They have gone from a bit barren landscape to a much more flowery landscape. Their III album was a good one.

The band still produce a lot of barren post rock landscapes on this album too. They have added a great deal of avant-garde to their music too. So much that they are, very fast, approaching the avant-garde territory.

It can be said that Toundra has always been an avant-garde band. I would fully understand that sentiment. They have gone an extra mile on this album towards that territory.

A couple of the tracks almost have a The Beatles anno Revolver feel about them. Toundra must have had a look at that album, me believe.

There is a lot of colours on this album. A lot of interesting pieces and structures. Toundra has not managed to put those into a coherent and great enough album. But there is enough good stuff here to make this an interesting & good album. I like this album although I am no fan of this genre. Check out this album and this band.

3 points


Empirical Time - Songs, Poems and a Lady (2013)

The debut and so far only album from this Italian band.

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

Released on Ma.Ra.Cash Records in December 2013, it is very easy to label this album as another traditional Italian progressive rock/jazz album. Well........

....You would be very much mistaken. There is a few, very few Italian progressive rock references here. Most of this album is something entirely else again.

This album is much more in the English and US progressive rock tradition. Mostly the US progressive rock tradition. New York to be more precise.

The basis is some sort of symphonic prog. A thin layer of symphonic prog with some sprinklings of Italian progressive rock. Add a lot of cool jazz and post rock to the stew too. And some rock too.

This one hour long album is softly spoken and has a "less is more" concept I find interesting. It is also very melodic with some jazzy twists here and there.

There are ten songs here and some of them are rather good. Although I really like the ambience, most of the album is a bit on the decent and sub-standard side of the scale. Better songs next time, guys. Please.

2.5 points


Friday 30 December 2016

Eyevory - Inphantasia (2016)

The second album from this German band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of flute, guitars, piano, synths, drums, bass and female vocals.

The band is the continuation of Pink Mercury, a band I have never heard about. This band released some albums before they changed style and therefore changed their name. The result was their 2013 debut album Euphobia.

This band also consists of two females and two males. The two females does bass, flute, lead and backing vocals. I believe no one is designated as the lead vocalist here.

The artwork gives me a lot of hints about what I am about to experience here. Some sort of progressive metal. Well, that is only partly right.

The music here is based on a mix of neo-prog and progressive metal. There are also some pop music here. Lots of it, in fact. The music reminds me about a more commercial version of Mostly Autumn.

The music is very melodic and on the theatrical side. There is a lot of pomp here with some strings orchestras run through the synths. The band released a live album in 2014 with a full symphony orchestra. They still retains that sound.

The vocals is good. The music too sugary sweet and a bit bereft of any really great ideas. I don't rate this as a good album. Hence.....

2.5 points


Thursday 29 December 2016

Ex Vitae - Mandarine (1978)

The one and only album from this French band.

Ex Vitae was a seven piece band with a lineup of flutes, clarinet, saxophone, violin, vibraphone, drums, percussions, bass, keyboards and guitars.

Ex Vitae was a member of the French jazz/fusion scene. The band was from Limoges in France.

The band was still a bit of an oddity in that scene. This forty-one minutes long album is divided into four songs. That reminds me a bit about the Third album from Soft Machine.

After an opening minute of pure avant-garde jazz, this album becomes more melodic again. But it always retains a free-jazz and avant-garde jazz feel and sound. This album also has some Canterbury influences.

Soft Machine is not a bad reference. But Ex Vitae is a bit of an oddball.

There is a lot of clarinet solos and some guitar solos here. A bit keyboards also adds solos. The saxophone adds a lot of avant-garde edges.

The big problem with this album is the lack of quality here. The sound is good. The music is not. There are some good stuff here. But not enough to label it as a good album. But those of you who are curious should perhaps visit Youtube and have a look for the album there.

2.5 points  

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Eveline - Waking Up Before Dawn (2008)

The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, synths, percussions, drums, bass and English vocals. There is also some samples here.

The band released their debut album Happy Birthday Eveline in 2005 and their so far final album Alpha Omega in 2011. Mostly without creating any ripples in the prog rock community. Very few reviews has been posted in ProgArchives.

Listed as crossover prog, this album does not fit that description. Well, not prog in a traditional sense. There is nothing here which reminds me about the 1970s prog rock scene. Nothing.

This album is all over the place. From hard core, college rock to avant-garde rock, post rock and experimental metal.

Sometimes, the band is playing two or more songs at the same time. Mostly with harsh distorted guitars. This to create dissonance and noise.

Some of the songs are pretty decent. There are even some good stuff on this forty minutes long album. This album is not a lost cause. But.....

The quality is not here and the album is too messy, too fragmented. The result is a decent album which should appeal to those very young at heart. It is not really hitting me at home.

2 points

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Exploit - Crisi (1972)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

Exploit was a trio with a lineup of organ, piano, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals are both in English and in Italian. Mostly Italian.

There is a lot of Italian one-shot bands. Bands who released one album and then disappeared again. Mostly by moving over to other bands. But Exploit arrived, did not conquer and then disappeared again.

This is a very weird album. Remember the old LP/Cassette format ? Well, side A has one long suite they named Crisi Suite. It is twenty minutes long and it is in the ELP/Le Orme mould.

This suite is pretty interesting throughout. The keyboards throws up some interesting details. Parts of this suite even has both English and Italian vocals. I don't understand why. But that was their choice.

So far, so good.

Then we move onto side B.... Oh boy what is we getting here !! Italian pop, no less. Six songs of tear inducing knee jerk and well over the top Italian pop music. The likes of what the good old housewives liked back in those days. The types of Italian pop you dance cheeek to cheek to with that girl/boy you then spend the next 50 years with, married.

Talk about an album with two sides. Talk about a two-faced album. This album fits that description perfectly.

Who was Exploit, I have to ask.

The end result is a decent album by the laws of average. I have heard worse Italian pop music than on this album too. It is barely a decent album though... Well, on reflection, it is not even that good. Hence my verdict.

1.5 points

Monday 26 December 2016

Everfriend - Sphere of Influence (1981)

The second album from this US band.

The band was a trio with bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The band released their debut album Tropicsphere in 1980 and a third album has been rumoured. But I got no information on that one. The band had a short but hectic life before they were disbanded.

There is vocals only one track so we can label this as a largely instrumental album. Which means lots and lots of keyboards and piano.

The band has been labeled as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives. Which is a right label.

The one vocals filled song Music Means The World To Me is so cheesy that the mice is all over it. That one is followed by some attempts of sounding like ELP. That and trying to sound like elevator music. Not to mention; movie music.

The music is pretty dynamic throughout so the term "elevator music" may sound unfair. I would rather walk the stairs to the 100th floor if confronted by this music. I guess that is a sentiment shared by everyone who want some peace and quiet in an elevator. Yes, you can get that in an elevator. Peace and quiet.

This album is an obvious attempt to sound like ELP and the band is failing by miles. Many miles. The pieces of music on this, mercifully short half an hour long album is all failing by miles. This album is no less than a turkey with all the stuffings. It is a horrible album. Avoid !

1 point

Electric Mud - Electric Mud (1971)

The one and only album from this German band.

Electric Mud was a four piece band with a lineup of organ, bass, drums, piano, guitar and German vocals.

Nominally a member of the krautrock scene, Electric Mud offered a different take to this genre. This genre had bands who were all over the place in this big country of West-Germany. There is a long way from Munich to Hamburg. Not to mention the satelite in DDR called West-Berlin. The German krautrock scene was pretty big in the numerous industrial towns between Munich and Hamburg. It is the story of the rebuild of Germany after the war. The story ended with the reunification of Germany in the 1990s. But the 1970s gave us a lot of great music.

Electric Mud's music is pretty primitive based on a strong guitar and a strong supporting role by the organ. The piano is also giving the songs here something different again.

The vocals too is different and special. A bit hard to define. But they works.

The music is medium hard rocking without the big bombastic explosions. There is a lot of blues feelings here. Ditto for soul. The music is pretty melodic and vocals driven.

This album is thirty-six minutes long. It is divided on four songs. There are some good things here. A few bits of good things. But most of the album is decent enough from a band who never really made it. The album was also released on an obscure label and re-released on CD on an even more obscure label. Hence this band's lack of popularity. That too is due to the lack of quality of their music.

Check out this album if you like medium hard rocking krautrock.

2 points

Eyesberg - Masquerade (2016)

The second album from this German band.

The band is a trio with a lineup of synths, bass, guitars and English vocals. Jimmy Keegan from Spock's Beard plays all drums.

The band is listed in ProgArchives as a neo-prog band and that is totally correct. My own review of their 2014 debut album Blue also alludes to that.

The band is not a teenage sensation. They may have been that when they started out 30 years ago. But the band pictures of them today shows up some happy men in their mid-50s. Which is a good age for a prog rocker.

As golden oldies prog rockers, they have at least one leg in the 1970s. Or to be more precise, they have at least one Genesis album and that shows.

There are more than one strong references to Genesis on this fifty-two minutes long album. But the sound is contemporary and is made in 2015-16. The sound is indeed very good.

The synths and the guitars are working very well together on the many instrumental parts here. The vocals is also very good. The bass and drums is doing their bits.

There is no real great tracks here. That is a shame. But this is a good album throughout and Eyesberg takes their place among other good German neo-prog bands. A very good scene indeed and this album is not a disgrace to this scene. Fans of neo-prog will like this album more than I do.

3 points


Sunday 25 December 2016

Eden - Eden (1978)

The one and only album from this Canadian band.

This band must not be confused with the German folk rock band of the same name.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, keyboards, bass, guitars and vocals. French vocals.

The band was from Quebec and a part of the rather large and great Quebec scene back in those days. A scene who also included Maneige and Harmonium.

It is pretty obvious that their main inspirations and references are the likes of Atoll, Ange and Yes. In particular Atoll as the vocals is pretty similar to Atoll's vocals and the music is in the vein of the two first Atoll albums. The band is therefore listed in ProgArchives as a symphonic prog band.

The music here is very much French symphonic prog with a lot of French folk music influences incorporated on this thirty-five minutes long album.

The music is pretty laidback without the big bombastic symphonic explosions. There is still enough good details here to make this an interesting album.

The songs are not that long either with some rather short and slightly avant-garde influenced songs at the end of this album.

The music is also pretty much keyboards dominated and includes some baroque sounds too. The keyboards has a special sound.

The sound quality is pretty good and I have no problems with the sound. The songs are a bit meandering. The songs simply not really that great or even good.

This is therefore an album somewhere between decent and good. It is well worth checking out, though. You may like it better than I do.

2.5 points

Etcetera - Fin de Siecle (1999)

The third album from this Danish band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, percussions, bass, drums, keyboards and male vocals.

The band released four albums during their far too short life. They disbanded in 2004. This is my first taste of their music and probably my only taste of their music as I do not have their three other albums.

The band is listed as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives and that made me interested. Very interested. What I got....

The band is obviously very influenced by the 1970s. The sound is very much the 1970s prog rock sound. Barclay James Harvest springs to mind. Ditto for The Moody Blues. There are some very strong Genesis influences scattered around this album.

The vocals are in English... with one exception. The Vuggevise song is in Danish and it is a good song.

There is a twelve minutes long song called Anagrams with a strong Genesis vibe and nothing else. It is going nowhere fast, that song.

There is also strange pop and rock here. Art rock like pieces where mellotron is being used.

The end result is an album which is kicking in all directions. I was close to abandoning reviewing this album after the first listening sessions before I decided to go ahead with it after all. The reason is that I find most of this album a bit too dull and too bland. There are a few good things here. But most of it is decent. Hence my verdict below.

2.5 points


Eurhybia - Eurhybia (1990)

The one and only album from this very obscure French band.

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

The band came, released this album and then disappeared. Nothing is known about the band members. But I am sure a Facebook search may find the individual members. But do they want to be reminded about this album ? Leave them in peace.

The album was produced by Francis Deschamps from Ange and released on a very obscure French label. It was later re-released by Musea and I believe it is now available to be enjoyed at Youtube.

The band played neo-prog. Pretty much classic neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog included. References are IQ and Pallas.

The sound is surprisingly good and not so mired in the awful 1980s and the 1990s. This album has survived the test of time.

The songs are pretty long and well crafted. Not to mentioned, well composed. There is a slight French twang and accent in the English vocals. But the vocals are still good.

The keyboards and the guitars works well together on these slightly long songs. The album is three quarters of an hour long and offers some really good neo-prog.

The end result is a good album which really deserves a lot more attention. Check it out as you may find it as enjoyable as I did. And I am not a big neo-prog fan.

3 points

Eye - Vision And Ageless Light (2016)

The third album from this USA band.

The band is a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths, organs, mellotrons, percussions and vocals.

This is my first meeting with this band. A band I have hardly ever heard about. I am not that much into the US psych/space rock scene. They are pretty big over in that scene, I believe.

We are somewhere in the psych and space rock scene here. There is a lot of stoner rock here too. Again, not a scene I know that much about although this scene should interest me. Perhaps later in my life.....

References here are Hawkwind and Black Sabbath. I have also seen other mention Astra and I agree with that after some more listening sessions. I would also add that I detect some The Moody Blues influences here too. There is also some avant-garde here too.

The harshness of Hawkwind and Black Sabbath meets the sounds of flower power on this album. Soft symphonic prog, even. The mellotron adds a new dimention to their music. Another face, no less.

The twenty-seven minutes long As Sure As The Sun epic is a brave one and they pulls it off.

The result is a forty-six minutes long album which will surprise a lot of people. I was surprised. It is also a good album without any great tracks. I will add this band to the list of bands I will keep an eye one.

3 points 

Saturday 24 December 2016

Hackett. Steve - Guitar Noir (1993)

The tenth album from this British artist.

Steve Hackett does the guitars, harmonica and vocals here. He has got help from Nick Magnus again and some other musicians which provides keyboards, clarinet, strings, bass and drums.

Steve Hackett has been a bit all over the place on his nine previous albums. His best album is still his debut album Voyage Of The Acolyte from 1975. He was still a member of Genesis back then.

His other albums has been a bit hit and miss. He has also done classical music on at least one of those nine albums. I don't review classical music so I have bypassed those albums in my reviews of his albums.

So this is his tenth album and we get a mix of his guitars and pop/rock music. There is also some ambient pieces here. But Steve Hackett is trying to follow the music world. In 1993, that meant some funky music. This partly due to the standards set down by his old band, the then Tamla Motown tripping Genesis. But blues was also popular back then and we also get some blues'ish songs here.

Most of all, this is Steve Hackett trying to sound relevant anno 1993. I still think he should have stucked to his guns and gone a bit more closely to his symphonic prog roots. Then again, that did not pay the bills back then.

So this album is fifty percent Steve Hackett and fifty percent pop and rock anno 1993. There is no really great songs here. Neither is there any good songs here. Steve Hackett sounds a bit lost here and I am not a particular fan of this album. But it is still a decent to good album.

2.5 points

Et Cetera - Et Cetera (1976)

The one and only album from this Canadian band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of cello, flutes, vibraphone, keyboards, drums, guitars, saxophone, drums, percussions, bass and vocals. French male and female vocals, that is.

The band is from Quebec, the French speaking part of Canada. This city had a great music scene back then with a lot of great bands like Maneige, Harmonium etc etc etc.

This album was a private pressing back in 1976 and a very obscure album with a very limited distribution. Unidisc re-released it on CD back in 1997 and this album got the distribution and attention it deserves. I also believe it is on Youtube too. Oh the joy of this digital age !!

It is not easy to label this album. Take a big slice of Maneige and Harmonium, add a lot of Gentle Giant and some French pop music (chanson ?) too. Add folk music too. Then you may get the essence of this album.

The sound is great so don't be fooled by this private pressing thing. The sound is as good or even better than on megabucks production major label albums.

The music is a bit difficult to penetrate, let alone label..... The French vocals are delightful. So is the acoustic instruments. The music on this thirty-six minutes long album is also all over the place. It has a very eclectic feel.

There are some really good themes and melodies here. The emphasis is on being eclectic, though. And not all ideas is great here.

The end result is a beautiful but still only a good album. An album too fragmented to feel like a great album. But check it out as this review should wet your appetite for this album.

3 points

Gryphon - Raindance (1975)

The fourth album from this British band.

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

Their previous album, the 1974 album Red Queen To Gryphon Three, was a big hit in my household. It is indeed a great album. That album was released after two good albums.

Gryphon was a mediavel baroque folk rock band on the three first albums. OK, Red Queen To Gryphon Three was also influenced by Yes after Gryphon had toured with them. That was evident on that album.

The Yes influences is even more evident on this album where the band has taken a considerable step away from their mediavel folk rock roots. Raindance sees a different Gryphon.

The band combines symphonic prog and mediavel baroque folk rock on this album. That is the basics of Raindance in one liner.

Raindance is half electric and half acoustic. It is also an album with a lot more vocals than on previous Gryphon albums.

The Gryphon DNA is still here though. Only Gryphon could have released Raindance. And they have pulled of their slight change of direction. This album is a let down from Red Queen To Gryphon Three. But not by much.

There is still a lot of delightful details and good melodies on this album. The sixteen minutes long Heldenleben is Gryphon's way of doing a Yes epic. And that is a good track too.

I was initially disappointed by this album. But I have come around to really find this a good album. I am becoming a Gryphon fan, I am afraid.....

3 points


Friday 23 December 2016

Return To Forever - Light As A Feather (1972)

The second album from this US band.

2/4 of what I regard as the ultimate Return To Forever lineup was already in present on this album. The band founder Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. Joe Farrell did flutes and tenor saxophone, Airto Moreira did drums and we had a female vocalist in the form of Flora Purim.

The album starts with a song by Flora Purim and I wonder if I am listening to the wrong album. That was before I became aware of this lineup. I am a huge fan of their classic lineup and the Romantic Warriors album. A top 5 album in my record collection.
I have also done a review of their third album Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy.

I did a review of their self titled debut album back in July 2013 and found that album a bit bland. So I am trying to complete my remaining Return To Forever reviews this winter.

The song by Flora Purim is OK. I am more happy when Chick Corea is letting himself loose on some more jazzy instrumental tracks. The title track is one of them.

The music is still a bit Latin-American fusion and that partly due to the sporadic vocals. But both Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea is at top form here and Chick Corea is delivering some very impressive work here. Ditto for Joe Farrell on flutes.

This album is still not up to the standard I expect from Return To Forever. Nevertheless, this is a good album where I find these instrumental parts very good. This is really good jazz and to my liking.
All Return To Forever albums are interesting so don't hesitate here. Check out this album and this band.

3 points


Thursday 22 December 2016

Cast - Al Bandaluz (2003)

The eleventh album from this Mexican band.

Cast was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Spanish vocals. Guest musicians contributed with xtra vocals, woodwinds and flutes.

This is a double CD album, lasting close to one hundred minutes. A hugely ambitious project. The type of projects the likes of Cast and their brethren in The Flower Kings undertook on a regular basis.

Both bands are symphonic prog bands and their motto seems to be "excess all areas". That is my personal motto too, btw.

You really have to be on the mark with one hundred minutes to fill with your music. In particular when you as Cast has released albums on a very regular basis. Long albums too.

The album starts with a long symphonic bombastic hard rocking piece before the vocals chimes in and we the music becomes a bit more melodic.

There is a lot of guitars and keyboards interludes on this album. There are also some sporadic vocals too. Most of this album has a bit of a rock opera feel. It also has a Mexican and Italian pop music feel with some ballads like songs.

This album ranges from bombastic hard rocking stuff to more pop and quiet rock. But it is always within the symphonic prog genre. The music is also very Italian symphonic prog throughout.

The quality is not great as the band is not really sparkling here. But this is a good album with one hundred minutes of good stuff throughout. It is well worth checking out this album.

3 points

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Moogg - Italian Luxury Style (2016)

The second album from this Italian band.

Moogg is a quartet with a lineup of percussions, drums, bass, guitars and keyboards. There are some wordless vocals too on this album. But not much.

I very much liked their 2011 debut album Le Ore I Giorni Gli Anni. A very good crossover between symph, eclectic and fusion. So I was looking forward to this album.....

5 years is a long time. Things may happen during these years. Hence some change of direction.

Gone is the eclectic and symphonic prog. What remains is a bit fusion...

A bit fusion and a lot of jazz.

The album starts in the more fusion and Canterbury style prog. That before it heads into jazz land. Pretty much hardcore jazz, too. There is some Soft Machine here. Actually, quite a lot of Soft Machine. And there is a lot of D.F.A too.

The difference between Moogg and the likes of Soft Machine is the lack of woodwinds. Instead, the guitars and keyboards does the main work.

There is a lot of guitars here and there are some references to Mahavishnu Orchestra here.

What this almost one hour long album is sorely lacking is some quality stuff. This is a good album. But it falls a bit flat on it's face due to having no real great stuff. I still rate this album as a good album. I am still left wanting a lot more. Next album, perhaps ?

3 points


Monday 19 December 2016

Gift. The - Why the Sea is Salt (2016)

The third album from this British band.

The Gift is a sextet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. The two ex-Genesis guitarists Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett makes guest appearances.

I very much liked their 2006 debut album Awake And Dreaming. Great symphonic prog in the old vein. I have missed out on their second album, the 2014 album Land Of Shadows.

The band is still on the same path as on their debut album. Symphonic prog in other words. Symphonic prog with a twist.

Take a bit Genesis and Pendragon. Add some Dream Theater to the proceedings too. The music is not overly technical and complex. It is a bit jarring at places though with some Dream Theater like metal dissonances.

The album is almost one hour long. The centrepiece is the twenty minutes long epic All These Things. A good epic which includes a lot.

This album is bookended with the best melody here At Sea. And the sea theme runs through this album throughout. It is a journey over an ocean.

The vocals is very good and I also very much like the guitar solos here. The keyboards is also great.

Not everything here is great. Well, not much here is great. The art of great songwriting has bypassed this band on this album. But there is enough very good stuff here to make this a very good album. One of the best 2016 albums in my view.

3.5 points 

Sunday 18 December 2016

It - The Stranger Inside The Self (1994)

The debut album from this British band.

The band was formed by Nick Jackson back in the early 1990s and has released four albums. A new albums is out early 2017. 

This album was Nick Jackson on vocals and guitars. That was It. He had three guest musicians helping out on keyboards and female vocals. I guess the bass and drums is programmed.

It has always been labeled as a neo-prog band. Not at least because of this album. 

The music on this album is pretty basic neo-prog. The music is very melodic and pretty simple chorus-verse-chorus based. This album and the band is leaning much more towards the rock and pop end of the neo-prog scene than the more symphonic prog end of the neo-prog scene.

That may be explained by the lack of resources the band was straddled with during this recording. No organic drums and bass. And that is evident on this album.

The songs are pretty catchy too. Some of the music is leaning towards Pink Floyd. That's David Gilmour's Pink Floyd. Not the 1970s Pink Floyd. 

The songs here are not too bad. The catchy tunes pulls some of my strings, to put it like that. The longviety of this album is pretty short and it did not take me long to form an opinion on this album. That is never a good sign.

This is a decent album but nothing more than that. I hope the other two It albums is better than this one.

2 points


Napier's Bones - Tregeagle's Choice (2015)

The second album from this British band.

The band is a duo with Nathan Tillet on vocals and Gordon Midgley on all instruments. Together, they create a lot of noise.

Meaningful noises, that is. There is a lot of Mellotron, flutes, guitars, bass, drums and vocals here. Enough to make the casual listener panic and move away.

I very much liked their debut album too and the review is here. I have taken some xtra time with Tregeagle's Choice though as it is a very complex album.

I believe this is some sort of a concept album as it has all the trademarks of a concept album. The word "Tregeagle" is being branded around the whole album and that is not a common English word. It is in fact not a word. It is the name of a district in Cornwall, a particular unpleasant magistrate called Jan Tregeagle and a demon/ghost of the same name.

The ghost and demon theme really resonates with the music on this almost one hour long album. A very dark album at times. A dark concept album somewhere between eclectic prog, neo-prog and symphonic prog. Add some folk rock too and you get this album.

The story is very bleak and dark. The music too has a haunting feeling. The very effective use of Mellotron is giving this album an extra haunting feeling.

A killer or a great track would had been something of a blessing here. But there are none. Nevertheless, this album drags in the listener and does not really let it go. There are also a few pieces of great music here at the same time as there are no weakness on this album.

This is indeed a very good album and an essential pay whatever you like download from here. The band deserves some donations as this is a very good album.

3.5 points

Eris Pluvia - Different Earths (2016)

The third album from this Italian band.

Eris Pluvia is a quartet with a lineup of flute, bass, drums, piano, keyboards, percussions and English vocals.

I was prett impressed with their 1991 debut album Rings Of Earthly Light but not so impressed by the 2010 follow up album Third Eye Light.

The band is following up with a similar type album again. That means mainly neo-prog. Understated neo-prog with a strong emphasis on the good melody.

The band is not overly technical although the music is well within the progressive rock genre. The music is very understated and a bit pastoral throughout.

The music is not within the Italian progressive rock (RPI) formula. I cannot remember any RPI bands with their sound. Maybe with the exception of good old Eneide.

The music is very elegant though with a very tasteful use of keyboards, guitars, flutes and piano. The vocals too is very tasteful and elegant. Classy is the slang-word I would use. Laidback is another word I feel is fitting.

The overall quality of the songs on this forty-eight minutes long album are actually good. Almost very good at times.

The end result is a good, classy album which will find a lot of favour with RPI and neo-prog fans. I am happy about it, indeed.

3 points


Styx - Styx (1972)

The debut album from this US band.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions, organ, piano, samples and vocals.

Styx is one of those bands I have admired from afar without really having heard as much of a tone from their many albums. But I have always thought this band was something for me. So I got a handful of their albums.

One of the reasons, or excuses, why I run this blog is to explore bands like Styx and other bands I have heard about, admired from afar or just want to explore more. Hence my many reviews, short as they are. It is a great hobby, though.

I have been told by reviews in ProgArchives that their debut album is a bit of an oddity in their 20 albums big discography.

It starts with a thirteen minutes version of Aaron Copland's famous Fanfare For The Common Man. Well, parts of that piece is being used here together with Styx own music which starts out like some southern rock pieces. It is fair to say that Emerson, Lake & Palmer's version of this song is far superior to Styx's version. Styx's version is not too bad. It is just a bit flat and not interesting.

The rest of the thirty-three minutes album, the remaining twenty minutes, is a mix of southern rock and US stadium rock. There is still some pretty big progressive rock references here though. None of these songs are that particular good though.

The end result is a decent debut album but nothing more than that. I will persevere this winter with my reviews of the Styx albums I got as this album has not frightened me off.

2 points


Saturday 17 December 2016

Episode - Starlight Tales (1993)

The second and final album from this US band.

Episode was a five piece band with a lineup of synths, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals. The vocals are OK. Not particular great and not too bad.

I very much liked their 1989 debut album Into The Epicenter and awarded that album a four pointer. So I was looking forward to sink my teeth into Starlight Tales, four and a half years after liking their debut album.

We are still in the symphonic prog land. Very much so. Take Renaissance and add some Yes too. Then remember that Episode is from USA. Therefore, add a lot of US symphonic prog to this mix too. US symphonic prog is big and boastful. And so is this album too.

The music here is not overly technical or complex. There is a lot of emphasis on light and shade here. A lot emphasis on the more pastoral and melodic aspect of symphonic prog.

This album includes one fourteen minutes long song. One twenty-five minutes long epic and some shorter songs. Altogether sixty-five minutes.

The twenty-five minutes long epic has it's good moments. Ditto for the fourteen minutes long epic too.

The biggest killer on this album, the biggest weakness, is the horrible production and sound. It is so limp and lifeless that we are in the suicide territory here. This is the best example why symphonic prog album should be produced. This album has not been properly produced and it therefore falls dead on it's face.

There are a good album lurking somewhere here. But it died somewhere on the road to being published. Hence my rating where the death has been confirmed. What a shame !

2 points


Frost - Falling Satellites (2016)

The third album from this British band.

The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Joe Satriani is guesting on guitars on some tracks.

I have reviewed their first two albums and have always noted how commercial their music is. Some reviewers in ProgArchives has even labeled their music "pop music".

I am not so sure about that. Pop music is Beiber, Rihanna, Abba etc etc. Frost does not play pop music. But their brand of progressive rock is very commercial and in the same vein as Muse.

The music on this almost one hour long album is very catch though. But it also grows on the listener.

The basis is neo-prog with a lot of rock and metal elements. And yes, there are also some pop music elements here. The music is reasonably complex too and that saves the music from falling off the progressive rock scene.

The music is also very majestic and is also suffering a bit from delusion of grandeur. The music also has a very contemporary sound which means the soaring bits is full of synths and voice effects. Vocals which already is good enough.

Still........ This is a very good album indeed. It is close to be a great album indeed. It is also their best album by a few miles. I really like this album and is putting the band back on my list of bands I should follow very closely. Check out this band.

3.5 points

Toundra - Toundra III (2012)

The third album from this Spanish band.

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

I was not really that impressed by their debut album and the follow up album. Those albums were a bit too dull post metal/rock for my liking.

Post rock/metal is a bit of an acquired taste. And I like a good slab of post rock and post metal. When it is properly done, that is. That means music with a lot of feel and emotions.

This is something Toundra has been trying to achieve on their albums. But they failed a bit on their first two albums. Albums too one-dimentional for my liking.

So I went to this album without any great hope. And I got a bit of a surprise.

Toundra has kept the post rock/metal essentials. That means the contrasts between sun and storm. Shadows and sun. The contrasts between the guitar walls and the more pastoral bits.

The pastoral bits has become a lot more colourful and not so predictable. The contrasts between the two pieces of extremes has become bigger and wider.

The melodies has also become better and the band feels a lot better on their instruments too. This is still a shoegazing band and they have got their own style. But with a lot of added quality I did not find on their first two albums.

Hence, this is a good album, bordering to a very good album. Hence my rating.

3 points

Friday 16 December 2016

Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse (1998)

The third album from this Swedish band.

The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, piano, drums, synth and vocals. The band had help from three other musicans too and that included the inclusion of a Hammond organ into their sound. Only sporadic, though.

This is the type of albums I would haved died for 15 - 20 years ago. The band is still mixing death/black metal with some acoustic guitars and folk rock elements.

The death/black metal here is in the Dissection vein and I really liked that band...... 20 years ago.

These days, I have moved on and death/black metal does not move me that much.

Neither does this album. The band uses this combination of acoustic guitar interludes and brutal death/black metal which was so fashionable back in those days.

OK, the music is a bit more than that. It is pretty complex. But the band has yet to develop any interesting progressive stuff on this fifty-two minutes long album. What is left is just some decent death/black metal with some fairly decent acoustic stuff too.

I am not that impressed and my two points reflects that. Onwards to the next Opeth album and hopefully something far more interesting than this one.

2 points

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Esagono - Vicolo (1976)

The debut album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of cello, flute, piano, elctric piano, synths, bass, drums and percussions. About ten guest musicians supplied guitars, woodwinds and vibraphone.

Esagono was formed when Arti E Mestieri broke up after two albums. Then the band reformed again after Esagono had released this album and Esagono became surplus to requirement. Their next album, called 2, was released in 2007 and their final album Apocalypso was released the year after. Arti E Mestieri is still active, btw. Errate Corrige also supplied members to Esagono. 

A stop gap band or a splinter group, you can call Esagono whatever you want.

This almost forty minutes long album is a jazz album more than a fusion album. There are some references to Soft Machine here and some other references to Arti E Mestieri. But the music here is much more hardcore jazz.

It still have a lot of the drive from the fusion genre. But not much rock and/or progressive rock.

The album starts out with some pretty fancy tracks before it turns a bit more jazzy and introvert. There is a lot of flutes and woodwinds on this album. Both are the driving force on this album. The flutes also gives this album a bit of a fusion sound although the music is jazz.

The stuff here is good throughout. The tracks are pretty good and the woodwinds and flutes adds a lot of quality to this album. And so does the electric piano. This is perhaps not the most exciting jazz album around. But it does deliver a punch and that is what I like about this album.

3 points


Tuesday 13 December 2016

Gryphon - Red Queen To Gryphon Three (1974)

The third album from this UK band.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of flutes, bassoon, keyboards, crumhorn, tympani, guitars, bass, percussion and drums. Two xtra musicians supplied organ and acoustic bass.

The cover art-work must be one of the most iconic art-works in progressive and folk rock. I have always wondered what was hiding behind this art-work. An art-work I really love.

I have got an inkling by listening to and reviewing Gryphon's first two albums. Two albums I still have to admit is growing on me. And I mean that in a positive meaning.

I am starting to get a lot of love for this band. A band still doing gigs. I guess I am turning into a fan.

This forty minutes long album does not make me any less happy about Gryphon. On the contrary !!!

The band has taken the best things, without copying any music, from the first two albums and fused that into four pieces of music on this album. Four pieces of medieval baroque folk rock which glides into each other with elegance and poise.

The flutes is great here where it plays against the crumhorn and bassoon. The melodies are all great.

The result is a great, great album. One I would claim is one of the best folk rock albums of all time. Or is it folk rock ? No idea. But it a joy to behold. An album which is both complex and melodic. An album which is is a timeless album.

4 points

Monday 12 December 2016

Ping Pong - Ping Pong (1973)

The second and final album from this Italian band.

The band was a sextet here with a lineup of guitars, saxophone, clarinet, keyboards, bass, drums and Italian vocals.

Their 1971 debut album About Time was a pretty dismal album and I approached this album with some dread.

The band had moved on from About Time. Their new stuff was a mix of Italian pop, Italian progressive rock, some hard rock and some fusion and jazz.

From the more fusion stuff to very commercial ballads. Ballads they could have taken to the melody festival in San Remo. Maybe they did that too.

The fusion stuff is pretty good and the prog stuff not too bad.

There is some good stuff here. The problem with this thirty-five minutes long album is that the band is trying to suit everyone. That and the lack of the quality here.

This album is miles better than the disaster About Time really was. But it is still not good enough in my humble opinion. I can understand why the band gave up after this album. Not enough talent and not enough to justify any 3rd album.

2.5 points

Sunday 11 December 2016

Entransient - Entransient (2015)

The debut album from this US band.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions and male vocals. A guest musican contributed on clarinet.

As we speak, this band and album has not got that much attention at ProgArchives. Something you may or may not understand based on this review.

This album starts out as a grunge album. The reason is that the vocals is in the Pearl Jam mode. But not as good as the vocalist in Pearl Jam. But they are forceful vocals which tends to overshadow the rest of this album. The vocals here are really good.

The music is somewhere between grunge, Rush, classic rock and a bit post rock. The band is still listed as a prog rock band in ProgArchives though. But don't expect any symph prog or any left-field stuff here. This is a modern classic rock album.

The music is pretty hard throughout. There are still a lot of tasty details here. Details which reminds me about the likes of Rush.

This album is sorely lacking any great or even good songs. This is, despite of some tasty details, a very workman like album. The band need to up their game a lot if they want to continue as recording artists, I am afraid. This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

Moogg - Le Ore I Giorni Gli Anni (2011)

The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of Mellotron, synths, electric piano, percussions, bass, drums, guitars and Italian vocals.

I became aware of this band some years ago after my friends in the scene were praising this band as one of the new hopes in the Italian progressive rock (RPI) scene. One of the many great hopes in the scene now as this scene is as healthy as a grand national winning horse. As I like most things Italian...

The opening minutes of this album takes me back to the first Caravan albums. To songs like Golf Girl. Very very elegant and it does not fail to make me grin like a happy cat. Which I essentially am.

Yes, the first song is the title track and the track I was referring to above.

The album then takes of in another direction. We are still hovering around the Canterbury scene. We are in the now sadly departed Italian band D.F.A territory.

This album's DNA profile is a mix of Caravan like whimsical jazzy rock to the more fusion in the vein of DFA.

The sound is very good and so goes for the music which is really hitting the right notes. My only small gripe is the lack of a killer track. But fans of RPI and Canterbury prog should find a lot to be very happy about on this one hour long album. I am very happy about this album and band.

3.5 points


Saturday 10 December 2016

Hackett. Steve - Till We Have Faces (1984)

The eight album from this British artist.

This is the review of the CD version which has a vastly different track lineup than the original album. All tracks are still the same as I have omitted the two bonus tracks from my review.

This ex-Genesis guitarist has released eight albums under his own name but with a lot of musicians. Nick Magnus is still with him on keyboards and everything with keys. Steve Hackett is doing the guitars and some vocals. The rest of the musicians is a mix of English and a lot of South American musicians. That includes a three man big rhythm ensemble.

Rhythms and drums is the recurring themes here. There is a lot of flat techno 1980s drums and a lot of South/Latin American rhythms here.

We also get some pop here in addition to the usual guitar stuff where Steve Hackett shows us that this is still the same man who once played guitars in Genesis.

I applaud Steve Hackett when he takes risks. But it seems like those days, he was too afraid to take the ultimate risk; releasing symphonic prog albums. Albums where Steve Hackett was not drowned out by drums and pop music. And also in this case; blues.

This is a colourful album. But it is still an album I will never play again because the clashes between Steve Hackett's guitars and these Latin American rhythms and pop music is too big and frequent to make this album a joy to behold. Nevertheless, this is a decent album.

2 points

Endlich Allein - Le Voci Del Mondo (1996)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

Nothing is known about this band. No lineup and no names. Even their page at Mellow Records bandcamp page is bare and has no information except from the information their record label Mellow Records has copied from ProgArchives (!!).

From what I hear, we are getting guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and Italian vocals here. 

Their name sounds a bit German to me. I first thought this was a krautrock album as it was included in a krautrock box I bought years ago. Well, the seller was wrong.

What we get here is mellow neo-prog from the 1990s.

All songs are well below the five minutes mark and they are all connected with some short acoustic guitars interludes. Just like the black metal bands did at that time..... I guess this was something "clever" bands did in the 1990s.

The vocals are pretty good. The electric guitars are pretty poor with a bad sound which adds aggression to melodies who are not aggressive or hard at all. Not a good idea.

The songs are all decent enough. Ditto for the sound. It is fair to say that these forty-five minutes is not particular interesting or exciting. Nothing here really strikes me and I can understand why the life went out of this band after this album. There is not much quality here.

Those who collect Italian progressive rock, like myself, would like a copy of this album. But just under the understanding that not everything that comes from Italy is great.

2 points

Frost - Experiments in Mass Appeal (2008)

The second album from this British band.

Frost, who calls themselves Frost*, was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, violin and vocals.

The band is more or less a supergroup and is a very popular progressive rock band. Highly respected too and I am more than happy to give them my respect. 

I reviewed their first album, the 2006 album Milliontown back in October 2008. I was planning to review this album too at the same time. But that never happened. I cannot remember why. 

The band is continuing on the path chosen on Milliontown. That means commercial neo-prog with a big production and a lot of catchy choruses. A lot of noise and a lot of good feelings all around.

The music is indeed catchy on this one hour long album. And it is not bad at all. There is a lot of guitar walls and other things that reminds me about the likes of Muse. 

I am not so sure if this is neo-prog at all. Stadium rock is perhaps the right label. With two live albums under their belt, I am sure they are a great live band. On an album....

Well, this is a good album. But there is no great songs here and the album is lacking in substance. Nice as this album is, it is "only" a good album in my estimation. I am still a happy owner of this album and have no plans to sell my copy. That too speaks volumes.

3 points

Thursday 8 December 2016

Toundra - Toundra II (2010)

The second album from this Spanish band.

Toundra was a fourpiece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass and drums.

I reviewed their debut album last November (2016), some weeks ago and quite liked it. This despite of not being a big fan of their genre.

We are again in the middle of experimental metal and/or post-rock. The music is instrumental too. The music is pretty hard and overstepping the border into metal with some miles. But the metal always has this post-rock feel with a lot of ebbs and flows.

The guitars, electric and half-acoustic, is pretty hard with some more roots and folky interludes between the walls of sound they are putting up.

There is a lot of light and shades here. More shades than light as this is a pretty hard album. But there are also some Arabic folk music and rhythms here too.

I have to admit that this is not the most interesting music around. Their music is a bit lacking in quality too. Nevertheless, this is a decent to good album. I am not entirely won over by Toundra. But check them out yourself from this link.

2.5 points

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Anaid - Libertad (2016)

The third album from this French band.

Wow !! I did not expect the return of this band after the sad passing of Hugh Hopper, the bassist and one of the founding members of this band. Yes, this legende also did zeuhl in his time. The previous two Anaid albums proves that. I have reviewed their second album, the 1989's Belladonna album here. And that was the last time I thought about this band.

But Anaid has returned with a new lineup, 27 years later. Emmanuelle Lionet is still the vocalist here. She has got help from three other musicians who provide vibraphone, drums, percussions, keyboards, piano and bass.

We get over forty minutes of music here, including a tribute to Hugh Hopper at the end of this album. A moving tribute.

The rest of the music reminds me a bit about both Zao and Cos. Also a bit about Gong again.

Emmanuelle Lionet's vocals and her use of it reminds me a lot about Kari Rueslaatten from The Third And The Mortal album back in 1994. A bit over the top throughout this album.

The vibraphone is really good and there are a lot of good guitars here. The second song La Louve is very operatic and dark. Very zeuhl. And that is what this album is. A dark zeuhl album. An album with a lot of influences from opera music.

This album is good throughout. There is no great tracks here. But Anaid is more than welcome back again and I hope we will hear a lot more from them in the future.

3 points

Friedhof - Friedhof (1971)

The one and only album from this German band.

Friedhof was a trio with a lineup of guitars, percussions, bass and drums. No vocals in other words.

This is one of many bands who came, released an LP and then disappeared again..... only to show up on Youtube 40 years later. Hence, I am very happy about Youtube and the MP3 converters which makes it possible to review albums like this without an LP player and a second mortgage to pay for this extreme rare LP.

I think there is a CD version of this album too out somewhere. Bootleg or not.

This album is listed as a krautrock album in ProgArchives and the CD is listed as a psych prog album on Amazon. Both listings are to a certain degree right.

What we get here is forty-three minutes of hard blues. There are no vocals and most of the music here sounds like a jam. Hence the krautrock and psych prog references. There are also a long drum solo here which does not sound that interesting.

There are more than one references to Black Sabbath. The guitar solos comes thick and fast. Most of the stuff is guitar solos here. If you want guitar solos, this is your album.

The sound is not that good and the melodies is left wanting. This is still pretty much a charming album as I like my guitar solos. But not all the time. Not forty minutes with guitar solos. Hence my rating.

1.5 points

Ping Pong - About Time (1971)

The debut album from this Italian band.

This band is a totally new band to me. This band and their two albums. But I found their name and listings in ProgArchives and their two albums on Youtube a couple of years ago. So I decided to give them a try.

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

The band is not listed as an Italian progressive rock band in ProgArchives. I can understand why although the band was Italian and a bit progressive. On this album, at least.

Take good old beat music, add some pop music. Mould that with some psych, funk, fusion and progressive rock in the Caravan vein. That is when you get this album. An album where the artwork is pretty much spot on when describing these thirty-four minutes of music.

The sound and music was pretty much outdated already in 1971 and sounds very odd in 2016 too. The music does not drive me to bouts of exctasy either.

Some of the music is driving and pretty dynamic. There is one ballad here and some hard rocking flutes too. Somehow, I don't really think this album was a multi-million selling hit. The reason is the lack of quality and a hit-song. There is no good songs here. There is barely any decent songs here.

This album has it's charms and I have heard some worse beat music albums than this from Italy. But there is not much joy to get from this album. Hence my rating.

1.5 points

Monday 5 December 2016

Cast - Imaginary Window (1999)

The eight album from this Mexican band.

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

Their output so far had been dominated by their overflow of material going back to the 1970s when the band was formed. 1994 saw three albums from them and 1995 had two albums. One album in 1996 and one in 1997 followed before the flow of material and albums ended with no albums in 1998. All the albums was around 70 minutes long too.

Reviewing Cast album means a lot of listening as their albums is so long and complex.

Cast is without any doubts one of the best symphonic prog bands in the world post the 1970. I have previously compared them to The Flower Kings and wondered why they are not as big as them. I guess Mexico sounds less great than Sweden. Mexico has been bullied and unpopular long before Donald Trump arrived. Just ask Cast and those of us who rate this band very highly.

Cast is again giving us highly complex symphonic prog with some pretty strong neo-prog influences. The band has not yet shaken of their neo-prog sound on this album.

There are a lot of pastoral pieces here in addition to the symphonic prog the band is giving us on this sixty-seven minutes long album. Lots of piano and thankfully; lots of flutes too.

The end result is a very good album where the synergy between the vocals and all instruments works really well. The lack of a killer track is my only gripe with this album. Besides of that, get this album.

3.5 points

Edition Spéciale - Horizon Digital (1978)

The third and final album from this French band.

Please note that this is a review of the original thirty-seven minutes long album where the five bonus tracks on the Musea CD album has been omitted from the review.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of vibraphone, bass, drums, marimba, percussions, keyboards, guitars and vocals. Both male and female French vocals.

The band returned again with the follow up to the rather good Aliquante album. The band had again moved on from that album again and had embraced a music where half of the tracks was instrumental and the other half was vocals driven music.

We are still in the middle of French fusion land. Most of the music is fusion and they are sailing pretty close to Weather Report at times. The music is full of colours and life. Very dynamic too.

The vocals, and Ann Ballester had taken aboard the criticism from their first album and learn from it, is now very good at times. Excellent comeback by Ann Ballester. It warm my heart.

The vocals tracks are still in the fusion tradition with some xtra heavy influences from the likes of Gong and Gentle Giant. These tracks are also very funky and a bit dadaism is running through them... and the fusion tracks.

This album is very much a playful album which really needs some more attention. Attention hereby given as this is a good album which will find a lot of loving owners and fans if given the chance.

3 points

Sunday 4 December 2016

Food Brain - Bansan Social Gathering (1970)

The one and only album from this Japanese band.

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

From what I gather, this band was put together by Polydor in Japan to get this label a local progressive rock act they could promote and sell to the Japanese youth. Remember, the world was so much bigger in 1970 than today, in 2016. Travelling between Japan and Europe was not that easy. Getting albums from Europe was not easy either. Remember this when reading my reviews and this review. The world has really deflated over the last 50 years. Our world is now a village. Thankfully !

So the Japanese youth got this band and album. A one of album as the band was not that coherent. And neither is this album. An album which was pretty big back then and influenced a lot of people, as Polydor indeed had intended. But these days, this album is regarded at the enfant terrible among Japanese prog and psych albums.

Not without good reasons.

This is a some sort of a psych album with some progressive rock influences and a lot of krautrock influences. There is also a lot of avant-garde on this album. Even some Deep Purple heavy rock.

This album is forty minutes long and it ends with some meaningless pling-plong avant-garde doodling. Up to then, we have been entertained by music who does not sit well together. It is a mish mash album who gave the Japanese youth a glimpse into the future of music. And let us remember this album for that.

2 points

Free Wave System - Nonostante Tutto (1981)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, bass, drums and keyboards.

Free Wave System was one of many Italian jazz and fusion bands who operated side by side with the Italian progressive rock scene (RPI). There was a lot of crossover between the two genres. Still is !

It is fair to say that this album has been a bit influenced by the RPI scene too. But most of it is pure fusion jazz. The saxophone is the dominating instruments here. I have lately heard that the band regretted that. But done is done and the record is here. Noone from the band continued as musicians after the release of this album either. One of them is a leading business man, according to ProgArchives.

There is a lot on this forty minutes long album which reminds me about Soft Machine. The intensity of some of the tracks here. The melodic nature of the music. Most of all, this album reminds me a about their countrymen Perigeo. If you like them, you will like this album.

I wish we had heard a lot more from the keyboards here which tends to be shouted down by the saxophone when they keyboards is onto something interesting. I agree with the band. There is too much saxophone on this album.

The result is a decent to good album which does not really hits home. It is still worthy an investigation.

2.5 points

Napier's Bones - The Wistman Tales (2014)

The debut album from this British duo.

Napier's Bones is Nathan Tillet on vocals and Gordon Midgley on all instruments. We can hear sounds of guitars, keyboards, Moog, Melloron, drums and bass here. Most of it computer generated, is my guess.

Napier's Bones was touted as the great white hope in prog rock when this album was out. There was some hype around them. Their so far three albums is also free downloads from here.

The artwork looks great. All their artworks is great.

ProgArchives has listed them as a crossover band. I don't disagree with that.

The Wistman Tales is a sort of a concept album and it is in this respect very much in the classic prog rock tradition. And the band is very much trying to put their own stamp on classical progressive rock on their albums. At least on this album. Thumbs up !

Some of the music has this Moog and Mellotron in the background with some long and lingering guitar solos. Classic prog rock.

The opening track A.D 1069 has a great prog folk feel to it too with a story about the long gone past of England. The rest of the album has a much more symphonic prog feel.

The sound of this album is contemporary. But this is still classic prog rock with great influences from prog folk and symphonic prog.

I rate this as a good album and one well worth checking out. It is a most definate a obligatory download. Give the band some money too when downloading.

3 points

Saturday 3 December 2016

Gryphon - Midnight Mushrumps (1974)

The second album from this British band.

Gryphon was a five piece band with a lineup of mediavel instruments. Electric guitars and organs is the only electric instruments here in a lineup full of woodwinds and strings. The also includes some ancient type of keyboards.

I pretty much liked their debut album. This despite of their music being a bit alien to me.

And there is no denying that Gryphon carved out their own style and scene. They are still doing the occasional gig so I guess their fans are fanatical about them. But others should also see them because Gryphon is an unique band.

I am not sure if we can even label this album as a folk rock album. There is not much vocals here and only some occasional electric guitar. The electric organ is much more in the front. But the mediavel times instruments are far more in the front here.

The sound is like from 200 - 300 years back. And the music is a bit like chamber orchestra. But just a bit. Chamber rock is the label I think fits this forty-three minutes long album best.

The nineteen minutes long title track is very good. The rest of the album not so good. Gryphon feels a bit strange to me and I am not entirely a fan of them. This is really really radical music.

Still......... There is no denying that this is a good album and one that everyone should check out to make up their own mind. I may well be in a small minority when I deem this only as a very good album. So check it out for yourself.

3.5 points

Goblin Rebirth - Goblin Rebirth (2015)

The debut album from this Italian band.

As you may have noticed, this is a kind of a rebirth of Goblin. One of four constellations named after or named Goblin at the moment. Then you have other bands who operates more or less as Goblin copycats.... I think it is fair to say that Goblin is very popular these days. And why not ? They deserve it. But perhaps as a less fragmented band as they are now.

Goblin Rebirth is the rhythm section of Goblin going on their own with three other members. Yes, that is Agostino Marangolo and Fabio Pignatelli with a guitarist and two keyboards players.

The music is instrumental throughout with a couple of pastoral voice parts with no spoken vocals. And yes, this music is somewhere near Goblin territory.

Somewhere near because the music is more majestic and more symphonic than the usual Goblin soundtrack. In this respect, this album reminds me a lot about the last album with the Goblin name, the Four Of A Kind album from 2015, the same year as this album was released. Both albums included Agostino Marangolo and Fabio Pignatelli too... No, I don't understand.

This album is not a soundtrack album. It is a forty-four minutes long album who stands on it's own two feet. Both feet are firmly planted in the Goblin tradition and fans of this band will love this album. And with good reasons.

There are a lot of dark and brooding music here. But not as dark and brooding as expected. This album is the more lighter and positive feelings Goblin associated albums I have ever heard. The emphasis is on symphonic and majestic music. Not so much as frightening the life of the listener.
It is dark enough to nicely fall into the Goblin tradition.

There are some really very good stuff here and some good stuff here. I regard this as a very good album and wonder if this band will return again with another rebirth album.

3.5 points 

Fourteen Twentysix - In Halflight Our Soul Glows (2012)

The second album from this Dutch band.

The band was formed by Chris Van Der Linden back in 2009'ish. He is doing vocals and guitars on this album. He has got help from four other musicians here. All four plays keyboards, but also supplements that with drums, bass, vocals and xtra guitars.

I have yet to listen to their 2010 debut album Lighttown Closure. I have heard good things about that album, though.

Dark and brooding neo-prog, ProgArchives is labelling this band as. They are again spot on here, in my view.

The neo-prog here is not run of the mill neo-prog. Or is this neo-prog at all ? Well, there are strong elements of neo-prog on this album. The basis here is neo-prog. But there is also very strong elements of post-rock here.

This is a forty-five minutes long album of shoegazing neo-prog with very strong post-rock influences. There are some samples and a lot of electronica here too. The music is a bit ambient. But the vocals is clear and the music is pretty dynamic.

This is indeed a new breed of progressive music and a welcome one too. My gripe, and it is a substantial one, is the lack of any great or even good songs here. The music is decent enough and it has some good moments. But it is lacking in quality, I am afraid. Check it out as you may find this a good or even a great album. I don't.

2.5 points

Friday 2 December 2016

Frozen Geese - Disclaimer (2011)

The second album from this English band.

Frozen Geese is a duo of Dave Lazonby and Graham Baily. They play multiple instruments. All of them digital and computer run. There are some vocals here though....

This forty minutes long album is divided into two tracks. Disclaimer part 1 and Disclaimer part 2.

Part 1 is just electronica with repetetive sounds which may be good for those stoned or transferred to outer space by a spaceship or illegal drugs. Being a sober reviewer, I am in doubt that this track should be reviewed at all. This track is slightly dynamic though. But not dynamic enough for sober persons like this reviewer.

Part 2 comes up with some more guitars, bass and some vocals. This track is actually reasonable good. It is also a dark track with a lot of dynamic melodies although it is clearly pretty ambient.

I am probably far too old for this kind of albums. Frozen Geese probably appeals to trendy people more than it does to a foghorn like myself. A proper multicolour show with lasers and exploding lights is also required to enjoy this album.

So this is not an album I really enjoy. On it's own, it is barely a decent album. It is not a turkey though as the Part 2 is a rather good track. Fans of krautrock will like this album.

2 points