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PROG ARCHIVES intends to be the most complete and powerful progressive rock resource. You can find the progressive rock music discographies from 10,034 bands & artists, 53,896 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,440,889 ratings and reviews from 58,871 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
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 Masquerade by DREAMS OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.36 | 5 ratings

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Masquerade
Dreams Of Sanity Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars After a fairly messy and raw debut, Dreams of Sanity are back with 'Masquerade', an album where the band really refined their sound, and while the songwriting would still be lacking in places, it certainly laid the blueprint for their next album, which would go on to be their best (and sadly, final) release.

Most noticeable with this album is the much-improved production, with a crisp and clear sound that really emphasizes every instrument. The musicianship is fantastic between the band members, with heavy and interesting guitar riffs that are perfectly complimented with some intricate keyboard melodies. The interplay between everyone involved is great, while never being overbearing or detracting from the flow of the music itself.

There are a few moments where things tend to lull, but for the most part, this is a solid effort. The songs fit together well, with lots of energetic performances that makes for a good listen. Some of the highlights involve parts one and two of the five-track piece 'Masquerade', 'Within (The Dragon)' and 'Lost Paradise '99'. Of particular note is 'Masquerade Act 2', which ends with a fantastic crescendo that builds up with more and more tension over a minute and a half, but never dips in momentum.

Overall, this is a good album by Dreams of Sanity. It's far from perfect, but it's a huge improvement upon their debut, and a precursor to what will become their finest work, with their next album.

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 Sailing the Seas of Cheese by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.93 | 152 ratings

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Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Primus Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Not these guys again...

There was a time in my youth when I'd have loved the quirkiness of a band like Primus. With their obscure sense of humour and their blend of rock and funk, there's truly no other band like them. But what makes them so unique is also what pretty much puts so many people off of them.

And to put it bluntly, it's mostly boring self-indulgence.

While the musicians themselves are all incredibly talented, and certainly adept at thinking outside the box, the music itself is very hard to follow, and definitely requires the listener to be equally open-minded. There's very little singing, with vocalist Les Claypool preferring more of a spoken-word type of vocal style, and a lot of the music itself tends to plod along with no real melodies sticking out. As a whole, it's just a complete mess.

If I had to pick out some highlights, it'd have to be 'Tommy the Cat' and 'Jerry Was a Race Car Driver', most probably because these are the notable singles from the album, and while they do have some infectious grooves in the music, as per usual with this band, the spoken babble that is the lyrics kind of ruins them.

I'm sure there was a time when I loved this band, especially as I seem to recall asking for some of their albums as Christmas and Birthday presents in my early twenties. But I listen to 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese' now and it bores the life out of me. Primus really are in a league all of their own when it comes to "keeping an open mind", sadly, it's just not a very good one.

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 Route One or Die by THREE TRAPPED TIGERS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.34 | 4 ratings

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Route One or Die
Three Trapped Tigers Post Rock/Math rock

Review by PearOfSalamanca

5 stars Three Trapped Tigers are three guys from London who first got together in 2007, and have released this album and another album, Silent Earthling, which I have not heard yet. But here's the reason why I haven't- this album is a whopper. What other album can you think of that mixes noise rock, post rock, math rock, IDM, and ambient? And to be honest, I am not certain if this album is any of those genres. It sounds like they all had sex, sure, but its offspring is a beautifully mutated beast who resembles all of the species of music I just listed. And this mutant is raucous. Not the sort of raucous that kills people, but the amiable sort of raucous, the sort that makes you want to hum loudly along, like you're listening to a goddamn national anthem that got addicted to caffeine. I highly recommend this album, and remember- this is a trio.

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 Palepolitana by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.49 | 72 ratings

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Palepolitana
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars While Italian progressive rock band OSANNA was one of the hottest tickets on the Rock Progressivo Italiano (RPI) scene in the early 70s, the band pretty much fizzled out after their landmark masterpiece "Palepoli" unleashed in 1973 which after its release band infighting and musical interests ripped them apart. After a couple less than perfect albums that followed they called it quits, however lead singer Lino Vairetti has been trying mostly in vain to resurrect the band's original lineup ever since with a couple of lackluster albums in the early 21st century under the OSANNA name with different lineups. It took me by surprise that a good 42 years after the release of their most celebrated album "Palepoli" that Vairetti would put together a totally new lineup under the OSANNA moniker and not only release an album of new material but include a second disc which is a completely new recording of their 1973 classic. Cleverly titled PALEPOLITANA, this new album is clearly making references to those glory days in the hopes of reviving interest if not a bonafide rekindling of the past. While OSANNA in their heyday never consisted of more than five band members, this new era of the band consists of six official band members with an additional five guest vocalists and musicians including David Jackson of Van Der Graaf Generator on sax and flute.

Needless to say, i have never been a fan of albums such as "Landscape Of Life" and "Suddance" as they were very much downers after the progressive rock brilliance of "Palepoli" which has weaseled its way into my top 100 album list of all time (if listening time counts for these things.) So awaiting a new OSANNA album has never really been on my radar as i count them as down and out and nothing, absolutely nothing could ever rekindle the magic afoot on the first three albums which culminated on their third. And just as i predicted, after all the expectations that just maybe the unthinkable be true, turns out was just a false alarm. That's not to say PALEPOLITANA isn't a worthy effort by any means but certainly not the return to past glories that propelled them to the top of Italy's prog scene. Like the albums of the old days, all lyrics are sung in Italian just like a good Italian prog album should be. In fact i swear that Italians have immortal vocal chords because Vairetti sounds like he hasn't lost one little iota of his vocal prowess over the four decades since OSANNA was at their peak.

Disc One consists of the album PALEPOLITANA and despite a slow symphonic start that gave me a gut wrenching fear that the album was recorded in a nursing home somewhere outside of Naples complete with aging groupies to pick up any dentures that may have been spit out in the making of the album, i soon realized that in many ways Vairetti still has his magic mojo as one track after another churns out rather well polished addictive melodies completely frosted with Neapolitan folk hooks, heavy rock embellishments and gutsy sax and harmonica solos that harken to the good old days for the band. In fact, musically speaking, PALEPOLITANA is the best thing that has been put out under the OSANNA name SINCE "Palepoli." The disc is a varied one with a preponderance of Italian folk fueled rockers like "Santa Lucia," tender ballads such as "Anni Di Piombo" and more progressive hard rocking numbers such as the title track that is the one that most reminds me of past greatness. Perhaps the most out of character track on the entire disc is the super sappy "Canzone Amara" which is a duet between Vairetti and Sophya Baccini which makes me think of a winner of Italy's version of American Idol or even worse yet the worst of American AOR from the 80s.

Disc Two is a completely reworked and recorded version of "Palepoli." Ugh, i dreaded listening to this one. I mean, i can understand re-recording an album that you got wrong in the past but why in the world would you want to mar your magnum opus? Granted they tagged this on more as a bonus disc rather than an album itself but still?. WHY?!!!! Ok, after the shock and awe of knowing one of my favorite albums was about to be "updated" and presumably "perfected," i took a deep breath and then i pushed play. OK. It starts out similar. The notes seem to be all the same. The band really can keep up with the demanding frenetic workouts that this album contains BUT?. it's not the same of course. First of all, I DID NOT WANT a remake of "Palepoli." I DID WANT a remastering though. The differences are stark despite the band's best attempts to remain as faithful to the original as possible. While Vairetti absolutely nails his vocal parts to a T showing him to be a singer of the utmost caliber, the main problem is that this version lacks the crazy freneticism and spontaneity that the original displayed in full force. This new version sounds way too polished and the production is far too slick for its own good with subtle atmospheric embellishments creeping in and castrated guitar licks where once hyperactive jittery freak outs once existed. I should be clear that this is beautifully done. If this was the very first time i ever heard this, i'd give it four stars as it blows away almost anything of recent memory in compositional prowess. However, this is not the very first time and this version just doesn't hold a candle to the original as it is far too calculated and a "light" version of the past glory.

Overall, i'm conflicted about PALEPOLITANA. While my initial listen left me cold and i shelved it for over a year before i tackled it again, i have to say that a few more listens has left me with a warmer reception of it. I'm talking about the new tracks. The remake of "Palepoli" still rubs me the wrong way but i listened to it again for the sake of this review and while very well performed, seems by the numbers and lacks the fiery passion of the original. The main problem i have with PALEPOLITANA is not that it doesn't contain twelve beautifully crafted tracks that are catchy and well performed, it's more that OSANNA has always been a progressive rock band in my book and the progressive part is what's really on low flame on this one. This is more of a catchy pop rock type of album designed for some commercial crossover potential. While i'm not against that kind of music in any way, it has left me a little underwhelmed in this case simply because of the rekindled connections to the band's most prized contribution to the prog rock world. While i'm not sorry that i sought this out and have placed it in my collection, i at the same time can only consider this a very good supplemental album to my RPI collection and not essential in any way.

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 Stern Meissen - Stundenschlag by STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (STERN MEISSEN) album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.81 | 8 ratings

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Stern Meissen - Stundenschlag
Stern-Combo Meissen (Stern Meissen) Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

3 stars It is very clear why "Stundenschlag" is not that popular in these quarters, as it marks a turning point of Stern Meissen to more radio friendly and straightforward songs and away from what we'd call the "progressive" style. Apparently, on the other side of the iron curtain, bands were not immune to this virus either, that befell many of our heroes around this time.

That said, I don't think that Stundenschlag deserves to be treated more harshly than the style change of many western bands around the same time or a few years earlier. Actually, as a transition album, Stundenschlag still has traces of the good old values. The instrumentalists are the same as on the marvellous "Reise zum Mittelpunkt des Menschen" and they haven't suddenly lost their quality. Guitarist Uwe Hassbecker is actually a welcome addition, he certainly knows what to do with his instrument, and bassist Peter Rasym is as creative and dynamic here as he was on the "Reise". Fissler does some more vocals here than on the predecessor, which is also good, because he is a quality singer. I have no complaints about the occasionally added percussion either. There are two pretty strong tracks for the prog listener. "Das Paar" is just wonderful, a very nice dreamy atmosphere with classically inspired keyboards, and its length allows for some twists and turns. "Also Was Soll Aus Mir Werden" is a tasteful understated opener with good vocals and a surprising instrumental interlude.

The remaining songs are not prog by any means, but the majority of them is still of solid quality, very well executed and with some good ideas, and you may find some of them quite catchy. Admittely you also find the odd annoying sound, arrangement or lyrics. I'm very keen on the Stern today and think that this is easily worth three stars although there are days on which my impression of this is more dominated by its flaws than by its qualities, so honestly it shouldn't have more than three either.

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 Stern Meissen - Reise zum Mittelpunkt des Menschen by STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (STERN MEISSEN) album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.79 | 20 ratings

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Stern Meissen - Reise zum Mittelpunkt des Menschen
Stern-Combo Meissen (Stern Meissen) Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars Apparently Stern (Combo) Meissen were on stage in the mid- to end-seventies an absolute legend in the GDR but had to struggle with censorship, so their published regular albums mostly didn't do them much justice, and after the "Reise" they turned their backs on prog and morphed into an at times hardly endurable pop group.

"Reise zum Mittelpunkt des Menschen" is quite an exception to this. It's a very fine album, although it came in 1980 too late - too late for what is considered to be the best time of the band, but also even in their own country the tides of music changed and the audience wanted more direct and less complex music - unfortunately it got far more of the latter than the former.

The music on "Reise zum Mittelpunkt des Menschen" is very keyboard-oriented. There's only keyboards (two keyboarders), bass, drums and vocals. The vocals are only there for a few minutes, but these few minutes demonstrate very well the quality of the vocalist, Reinhard Fissler, and his very characteristic expressive voice. Fissler adds some warmth to the overall rather cool musical landscape on this album. The instrumental performances are very strong. Of course the keyboard work plays the key role. The Stern are obviously fans of ELP, their sound is unsurprisingly somewhat behind the "western time", and one can criticise the GDR-icon Thomas Kurzhals and Wolfgang Kramer for using a bit too much of that influence. Another reference is the West German symphonic band SFF. That said, not only are the keyboards virtuous and technically flawless, they are also somewhat less showy than Emerson's (if somewhat less wild and unpredictable). One way in which the "Reise" has an edge over all ELP work (except perhaps "Pictures at an Exhibition") is that it is very organic; it's a concept album in which all the compositions serve the overall musical message. The composition work is clearly classically influenced. There's some dynamic in terms of speed and intensity on this album, some parts are very calm and melodic, others more powerful, but overall the sound is quite homogeneous. This is in contrast to all other works of the Stern, in which there are always some attempts at different styles, at times welcome but more often than not rather on the annoying side for a prog fan. The "Reise" though is pure prog. Overall, the compositions are a good tasteful mix of complexity and musicality and very well done, if a bit on the cool intellectual side (as easily happens with lots of keyboard and no guitar).

The drummer Michael Behm and the bass player Peter Rasym also deserve to be mentioned. Behm is virtuous and precise, but the secret star of the show is Rasym; the bass on this album is not only flawless but very creative and colourful, and at the same time fits seamlessly into the overall teamwork. Surely a five star performance by this internationally probably totally unknown bassist.

Despite the ELP references, this album stands easily on its own as a highlight of GDR art rock which has its very own atmosphere and characteristic; actually it is the strongest GDR prog album that I know by some distance; unfortunately the Stern themselves never came close before or after (I don't know their 1996 released 1976 live album, which may be a contender).

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 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 1081 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars An immature but still amazing Gentle Giant: 8/10

After the successful experiment of ACQUIRING THE TASTE, which denoted that the prog crowd would warmly embrace GENTLE GIANT's peculiar music and acquired the taste for it (that's the pun and objective of the album's title after all), there was no barrier that discouraged the band from further exploring their potential and wildest ideas. GENTLE GIANT wanted to try something new, namely, a concept album, and their first bid was THREE FRIENDS. Its concept is based on, well... three friends; as they grew older they grew further apart socially and even ideologically (for instance, the first friend values physical work while the latter prefers intellectual, leadership roles). There's no doubt the storyline is weak and feebly constructed, but it was more an experiment on how to create a concept album rather than trying to output a masterpiece. This is visible as the concept is barely linked to the music. Subsequent efforts (IN A GLASS HOUSE, THE POWER AND THE GLORY) would depict heavy interconnection between them both, creating a conceptuality that would transcend the "lyrical plane" and be perfectly reflected in the song structure and its instrumental interludes. To make it shorter, the "concept" part of THREE FRIENDS is crude, rudimentary. That detail is crucial to understand why THREE FRIENDS didn't achieve, for me, the status of a masterpiece.

But, in terms of enjoyability, all that stuff really doesn't matter. THREE FRIENDS is still a GENTLE GIANT album, and although I'm not sure whether it is an evolution or regression compared to ACQUIRING THE TASTE, it's pretty fun still. The tracks offer several multilayered solos - just like GENTLE GIANT always does, after all - focused on the keyboards; more precisely, on the organs (heck, never before I have listened to a GENTLE GIANT album with SO MUCH organs). It's eclectic as you'd expect, with some highly dynamic instrumental parts, but there's also a lot of calmer moments (not bad, but I'd rather have more of their typical complex and amusing technical jams). GENTLE GIANT is, apparently, not fully matured - at least from a progressive perspective - as there is still a big influence from blues and hard rock in their music in counterpart to their emblematic "genre neutral" style that would later become the norm. The blues is especially visible on the first part of Working All Day and the hard rocking Peel the Paint, which features four minutes of Gary Green freestyle-soloing a la Jimi Hendrix. Of course, this isn't a complaint, neither a reason why this isn't proggy because duh it's GENTLE GIANT and they are, by default, proggy (at least until FREE HAND).

Overall, it's a great album, not their best, but definitely far from their worst, or from being universally bad for any matter. Bluesy, hard-rockin'. A sturdy album.

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 7 (or 8) by KINSKI album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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7 (or 8)
Kinski Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars After wrestling with a more listener-friendly Hard Rock style on their previous outing ("Cosy Moments", 2013), Kinski gets the formula right in their latest-to-date album "7 (or 8)", so named because apparently no one could unravel the band's convoluted discography (**).

This set follows the same headbanging trend as its predecessor, but seems to have been galvanized by a renewed sense of self-confidence and musical cool: the latter reflected in the cover portrait of indie screen idols John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, with no mention of a band name or album title.

There's a higher percentage of instrumental tracks too: a good sign that the quartet hasn't sold out yet, despite the more elemental songwriting. Further reassurance can be heard in the album closer "Bulletin of the International String Figure Association": a slow-burn anthem clocking in at one-second shy of twelve full minutes, and refining the usual twin-guitar blitzkrieg with oscillators, synth textures, and pianos (unplugged Grand and electric Fender Rhodes).

This one track is enough to justify the band's continued presence on this site, but not as Psychedelic/Space Rock anymore. File the new album under Heavy Prog instead, and I do mean Heavy: what it lacks in scope it gains in concentrated energy, aggression, and spiffed-up garage band enthusiasm.

(** The full list includes official LP's, self-released limited editions, and split-albums shared with likeminded noisemakers such as Bardo Pond and Acid Mothers Temple. I'm guessing the 2004 album "Don't Climb On and Take the Holy Water", recorded under the pseudonym Herzog while the band was between drummers, is the missing piece of the numerical puzzle)

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 Legends Of The Shires by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.29 | 64 ratings

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Legends Of The Shires
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Saralgam

5 stars We all knew that Threshold is a standard value in prog metal scene...but this album is a new top,a great monumental masterpiece.Sincerely is the best prog metal album i've heard last 5 or even 10 years.

Thershold manage to captivate the listener with their, neither childish nor overhighly sophisticated approach of progressive metal.The vocal melodic lines are awesome,full of meaning and power executed by a majestic and powerful voice,that of Morgans'.The compositions and guitar riffs are so inspirative that makes you think prog metal was reinvented in a sec!All cosmic feeling, space sounds and professional mix are still here as distinct signatures of Threshold.There are also some new elements here, like the melodic rock/AOR feeling vocals in some choruses that enhances depth and commerciality of the songwriting and, a light floydish breeze over some songs that brings quality to a new level

Overall,the Legend of the Shires brings the listener to a place that only a prog metal album of such lever can bring.Thanks to this band, progressive metal proves to everybody that can be on the top very for many years more!Hail to England,to Threshold and to this colossal masterpiece and probably a legend for this music genre...we'll see

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 Live At The Northern Prog Festival by LEAP DAY album cover Live, 2016
3.46 | 7 ratings

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Live At The Northern Prog Festival
Leap Day Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Forming in 2008, hailing from the Netherlands and with connections to Trion and Flamborough Head, Neo prog band Leap Day have been putting out a steady stream of solid studio albums every few years, really stepping up with their two most recent efforts `From the Days of Deucalion: Chapter One' and `Two' that aimed big by adapting texts based on Immanuel Velikovsky's baffling alternative-history book `Worlds in Collision' from the Fifties. For the unconverted, Leap Day sounds like a mix of Pink Floyd, early Pendragon, Australian groups Unitopia and the United Progressive Fraternity, and perhaps a more obviously prog-focused Jadis, where strong tunes are always the priority over an abundance of instrumental trickery. So while fans wait for a third volume of the `Deucalion' series, the band have issued a cool little stop-gap disc entitled `Live at the Northern Prog Festival', taken from their November 2015 gig, and despite a few issues addressed later, it's a charming, professional and accomplished performance that is very easy to enjoy.

For the concert, the group offer a selection of seven pieces taken from all of their four studio works, and while all the musicians give superb and energetic performances, much prominence is given to Eddie Mulder's regal and fluid electric guitar soloing ringing out the grandest of symphonic majesty, and vocalist Jos Harteveld's raspy croon sounds even more charismatic in a live setting. Among the very faithful takes on the studio tracks, several highlights emerge - the electric guitar solo from Eddie at the climax of `Walls' instantly calls to mind Andy Latimar and Camel, the volume on the striking mood- setting spoken-word introduction to the punchy `The Messenger' has been amplified, and the keyboards on `Amathia' hum with endless quivering warmth (both Derk Evert Waalkens and Gert van Engelenburg are credited to keys here, so not sure which plays this bit, but the same restrained care is applied to the sublime synth outro of the above mentioned `Walls'). Symphonic gem `What Would You Do' could also really be a lost Pendragon piece, sharing similar sparkling Clive Nolan-esque synths and the same romantic optimism of the early era of that more well-known English band.

It has to be said that a live Bluray or DVD would be a much more exciting prospect, because Leap Day's live effort here as a mere CD release makes it hardly an essential pick-up. It's only a single vinyl length at 46 minutes (so we're not talking `Yessongs' here!), the cover with the mobile phone is forgettable and only reminds of the worst aspects of modern concerts (although the inside of the fold-out digipack case is colourful with some great photos of the band in action), but perhaps the biggest issue is that the band rarely divert from the structures of the studio versions - solos included. So while you get a very tight and faithful recreation of the recorded discs, a little more in the way of jamming or extended improvised soloing might have been more exciting.

But there's an integrity to Leap Day's music that is deeply admirable, the band playing a proudly retro-styled prog-rock that ticks all the right boxes that Neo and symphonic listeners would want to find, and it just serves to remind that the Dutch band deserves a much bigger audience than they currently enjoy. Newcomers to the group should look into the above-mentioned `Deucalion' studio discs first, but longtime and loyal followers should absolutely snap this up, as there's plenty of magic in hearing Leap Day's wonderful music performed in another environment, and those fans already know how subtly special their music is.

Three and a half stars, but Leap Day fans can make this a four.

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