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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 9,950 bands & artists, 52,958 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,414,777 ratings and reviews from 58,435 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
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 Scatology by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.94 | 11 ratings

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Scatology
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Balance and Christopherson's first album under the Coil name rather exists under the shadow of Psychic TV, which the duo had both contributed to prior to forming Coil. (Indeed, some editions include a cover of Tainted Love, linked to Psychic TV via the Marc Almond connection.) What you get is essentially a trip into synthesised industrial weirdness that's not too far off from what Psychic TV were doing at the time. Subsequent Coil releases would find them asserting their own distinct identity more, but this isn't without its grimy, leering charms and is worth a listen for anyone who wants to trace their musical development from their Psychic TV days.

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 Giant For A Day by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.30 | 406 ratings

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Giant For A Day
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Caleb9000

1 stars I wish that there was a 0/5 stars option so that I could express my contempt for the absolute trash that is this album. What truly baffles me is the fact that it came from Gentle Giant, a band who is known for its masterful compositional skills, which are able to manifest in their music while there is still plenty of emotion and soul. This album has soul, but it's the same kind that every other radio-rock album has. Cheesy vocal harmonies... check. Predictable vocal melodies and predictable music in general... check. Stupid, pretentious lyrics pretending to be meaningful... check. Guitar work that was stolen from other artists... check. A song called "Words From the Wise" that literally sounds like a carbon copy of "We Built This City"... check. A sellout band... quadruple check.

I actually struggle often to remember a whole lot of the music on here, despite the fact that I've listened to this album multiple times. What surprises me even more is that I can't remember things despite the fact that they stole from songs that have been ingrained into my head. Perhaps the vocals do this. They fail at being catchy so much that it is downright embarrassing. The simple tone of the vocals doesn't suit the music, as it did previous material from this band.

I'm aware that this is a very short review that hardly describes the music, but there is hardly anything to describe, as this album has little to no character of its own. Other pop-rock albums of the late 1970s could be described in a similar manner. This album is an absolute travesty against man and beast alike and because it failed to achieve the commercial success that Gentle Giant was looking for, the band split up. Possibly for the better, as I would hate to imagine them continuing and having this music as their main legacy.

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 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1345 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Caleb9000

5 stars This is an album that uses a formula that many have used years later, for the worse more often than the better. Many bands in the progressive genre tend to try to blend as many different instruments as possible, but not really caring as to what is being played on said instrument, resulting in pretentious music. This is an album that uses the formula correctly, but doesn't get too chaotic for its own good. Rather, it takes a unique approach to each instrument while still blending them together to create a common enough atmosphere to create emotion. "Proclamation" has a rather nightmarish atmosphere while maintaining a groovy-enough rythym to keep a casual listener interested.

Speaking of casual listeners, there is even a dance-type song on here (The Face), though it is so oddly structured and disjointed that one cannot think of any movement to make. But it is still highly enjoyable, due to the melody that is played on a violin that resembles funk, but keeps the classical touches of old. In fact, there are often different genres that are reflected by each instrument on an independent bases, but they all keep the progressive rock overtones to keep things to their roots without going into an over-convoluted mess.

Gentle Giant has been known for their "medeval" approach to vocals, but that aspects comes much more into play here than it does on any other album. In fact, the accent of the vocals almost sounds Scottish, which makes sense, considering the vocal melodies quite strongly resemble medieval Scottish music (there are no bagpipes on the album), while still maintained a blues/soul-rooted twist. They are also rather intricate, making a fair amount of use of the vocalist's range is quite a short amount of time, without sounding like Opera or ancient Middle-Eastern music (not bashing those genres at all).

While their previous album, "In a Glass House" may have been more complex, the melodies on each album were a bit derivative at times and they didn't branch out into other genres like this album does. This is a difficult album to listen to at first, but as times goes by, the album can be appreciated for the masterpiece that is is. This is an absolute landmark in progressive rock history from an underrated band that deserved credit that some other bands simply did not. There are no flaws what so ever, and there is no moral flaw in buying it with your money (or streaming for free).

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 Awaken The Guardian by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.00 | 247 ratings

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Awaken The Guardian
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Caleb9000

5 stars As odd a choice as it would seem, Awaken The Guardian has been my favorite album from this outing since the first time that I heard it. The material that this band issued with John Arch is often mistakenly written off as "generic 1980s power metal", when nothing can be farther from the truth. While largely void of Jazz influences, in contrast to later outings from Fates Warning and other progressive metal bands, this album invents a sound of its own, evident in the guitar and bass work, drumming patterns, and especially the vocal performance, which I will dive into later.

This is an album that takes multiple listens to fully understand, even for a fan of progressive metal, due to the jarring alterations, production and off-kilter vocals. Despite all this, it rarely becomes dissonant, and once fully understood, I failed to realize what put My off about it for a while. The atmosphere of this record is so strong that I failed to realize how I wasn't immediately sucked in. But this is an album that is meant to be listened to multiple times to understand, and this cannot be achieved with a soapbox mindset (until afterwards, of course).

The music of this records gives you quite literally anything that one could desire in Heavy Metal, each in different moments, yet still flowing together in its mystical, fantastical atmosphere, always with off kilter, progressive tendencies and it never uses the same ones over and over again. Each moment has its own unique spin without sounding remotely confused. Tracks like "Valley of the Dolls" and "Prelude to Ruin" boarderline on Thrash Metal quite often, while still containing multiple shifts in mood and tempo, without being forced. "Fata Morgana" has an epic power metal feel that puts the listener into an uplifting mindset, as does the ballad, "Guardian", which has a rather dark chord progression when you strip it down of its additional accessories, but those are able to make it sound so beautiful that one doesn't even notice, finishing with a faster, thrasher pace. "Exodus" is a song that captures the essence of fantasy itself, despite the fact that the lyrics have nothing to do with fantasy. The chorus is mesmerizingly epic, taking you to worlds of your wildest dreams. There's even a softer, more acousticly driven section that makes me feel as though I'm floating down a river in a cave, with Arch singing me to sleep.

Speaking of Arch, he is one of the most unique vocalists that I have ever come across. While he seems to have the influences of vocalists like Dickinson and Halford, but he also seems to have studied Indian music, as his vocal melodies have many similarities to that style. He makes both apparent by making his vocal melodies as intricate as possible, as well as sounding rather odd and twisted, sometimes making him sound haunting to the ear, but it still flows so beautifully that it's able to fit the diversity of the music. His tone is also unique, but an acquired taste. It puts strong emphasis on nasal and chest, which actually annoyed me at first listen. However, with each listen that I took part in, I grew to adore his voice. He is also a brilliant lyricist (all of the lyrics on the album are written by him). They cover a wide range of topics, including social commentary, history, fantasy, philosophy, disability, love, social commentary, even hating glam (though it is done in such a genius way that I can't even complain). He uses metophor that relates to the other varying topics throughout the record, making it impossible to understand the meaning without reading through it with sharp concentration. His qu with words invokes emotion in ways that I cannot describe, but there is one thing that I must point out. In one instance, he uses alliteration. "Blasphamous black bible bias, you betray bigotry".. I've never heard anyone else do that on any other piece of music that I've ever listened to!

This is an album that triggers many different emotions, each at different times, but at its end, it leaves you with an astounding feeling of absolute triumph, amazingly without any epic speed metal (there really isn't anything over 100 bpm on here). With brilliant usage of odd time signatures, sneaky use of acoustics, as well as astonishingly vivid atmosphere, this album is an absolute wonder of a journey that never even gets predictable or gineric for one second. Definetly the magnum opus of Fates Warning's career, the greatest power metal album ever made, and one of the greatest albums of all time.

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 Just A Game by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.66 | 44 ratings

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Just A Game
Triumph Prog Related

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

3 stars The Canadian power trio TRIUMPH had been on an upward trajectory of gaining popularity in their home country and with their second album "Rock & Roll Machine" finding a global market, their reputation as a hard rock and heavy metal band was growing by the day which included a small crossover from prog fans who were hoping that they would delve more into those arenas. However on their third album JUST A GAME, the comparisons to Rush had finally taken their toll so TRIUMPH streamlined their sound more into the hard rock camp but also found their niche with those catchy AOR power ballad hooks that found two of their most popular tracks of their career hitting the top 40 worldwide including the Billboard charts. "Lay It On The Line" and "Hold On" showcased Rik Emmett's high pitched vocals while the more heavier tracks focused on hard bluesy rock which were primarily written by drummer Gil Moore.

As a result of the world of popular music ditching prog oriented music in favor of punk and heavy rock in the latter part of the 70s, TRIUMPH jettisoned the ambitious longer tracks presented on their first two albums and created a more cohesive albeit less exciting collection of nine tracks. JUST A GAME as well played as it is, sounds very much in tune with the mainstream hard rock of the era with not only the Styx and Journey sounding AOR tracks but with the bluesy rockers such as "American Girls" that remind me a lot of 38 Special and other Southern-tinged hard rock of the late 70s / early 80s turnover. Musically TRIUMPH basically sold out as JUST A GAME doesn't even feature any outstanding virtuosity of Emmett's guitar skills as heard on the previous albums however as a standard commercial sounding hard rock album of the era, all tracks are catchy and pleasurable to listen to as they are well performed, well produced and take the final step in finding their unique sound that jettisons many of the characteristics of fellow Ontario mates Rush.

While JUST A GAME may not be the most sophisticated album musically, the album cover is absolutely brilliant with the original LP vinyl version that folded out to display a giant board game that could actually be played although bassist Mike Levine convinced the band that it should be impossible to win and so it was! The futuristic looking front cover also contains a symbol that depicts every song on the album, so apparently they weren't quite ready to let go of the all the prog urges which becomes even more apparent by the short classical guitar number "Fantasy Serenade" that sounds a bit out of place actually. When all is said and done, JUST A GAME is a competent album that plays it all too safe. While commercially it was the right thing to do, it seems a little too tame in comparison to the albums that surround it. While the singles are some of the strongest TRIUMPH had to offer, the rest of the album seems a little mediocre in terms of quality. Pleasant album but not outstanding either.

3.5 rounded down

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 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
1.00 | 1 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

— First review of this album —
1 stars The first time commercial correctness struck prog: 1/10

By 1974, the year GENTLE GIANT wrote & released THE POWER AND THE GLORY, they had a respectable "cult-follow" but still were commercially unsuccessful. The band was partially disappointed to this, but WWA was simply devastated. They demanded the lads to write some singles which would be commercially approachable, and so they did - they wrote three, and as Derek Shulman (one of the multi-instrumentalists of the band) recalls it, "This song's the worst". Indeed, it is.

The Power And The Glory is a highly complex synthpop. That's it. It is a two-minutes long synthpop song twisted on GENTLE GIANT's viewpoint. In a certain way it is MUCH more appaling than the band's dreaded later albums because those were fruits of a thorough, complex process, whereas this aberration was given life on the apex of their paradigmatic creativity. It is an absolute offense to everything GENTLE GIANT represents, and to prog rock as well. It's by no means a bad song, it's just contextually dread. There's Proclamation played live in 1977, which is a really great gig by the way, but that isn't enough to recompose a GENTLE GIANT connoisseur after the atrocity heard.

This review is meaningless as I can suppose no one really gives a damn about this curious little eponymous track. But if you do... well, you can take a look by searching it on YouTube (yes, it's available there). But please, don't buy it. Every time someone buys The Power And The Glory single, a Shulman sibling dies. Stop exterminating the Shulman species. Stop buying bad singles.

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 Live In Gettysburg by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live In Gettysburg
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
4 stars I'm not sure who has milked their biggest album more. Roger Waters with his never ending Wall remakes and newer concert performances, or the Strawbs beating Hero And Heroine to death with this surprisingly good concert performance of the entire album, from the 2016 Rights of Spring Festival, that features some wonderful new keyboard links from guest player Dave Bainbridge.

For all intents and purposes, this album is really a live rendering of the Hero and Heroine remake from 2011 called Hero and Heroine In Ascencia. What really drives this concert is that Dave Cousins is in fantastic voice and knows it as he excitedly pushes his voice beyond on the limit once or twice, which is audible on this album's fine sounding 5.1 ch DVD. It's wisely edited out for the CD master as there's no visuals of an excited Cousins to gloss over the two flubs. No problem, as this is Cousins finest vocals as of late and the band, especially Bainbridge and super drum Tony Fernandez, are on fire. Dave Lambert is also is fine voice and is note perfect in his brilliant guitar playing.

The sound mix and mastering of the CD by bassist Chas Cronk and is very dynamic and is full of presence. Indeed, its very big and detailed sound is very reminiscent of the recording work done by producer Tom Allom on the original Hero And Heroine album. Imitation, it seems, is still the highest form of flattery.

I know that Live In Gettyburg will only appeal to die hard fans, but there's not that much live Strawbs of such wonderful sound and video quality available. I have played it every other day since receiving it in the post two weeks ago, as It's a live CD&DVD that just grabs you. 4 Stars.

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 Absorption Lines by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2017
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Absorption Lines
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by marbles259

— First review of this album —
5 stars Jet Black Sea ? Absorption Lines (2017)

In 2013, Nine Stones Close main man Adrian Jones teamed up with Dutch electronics wizard Michel Simons, to produce Jet Black Sea's debut album, the magnificent The Path of Least Existence. The album was a collection of eloquent, ethereal but nonetheless intense instrumental pieces, which provided the pair with a no limits platform for experimentation.

While Absorption Lines, the sophomore outing for the Anglo-Dutch duo, unquestionably has the DNA of the first album within its psyche, Simons and Jones have shown, that neither is happy with simply giving us more of the same. Absorption Lines draws on a wider range of musical genres, sounds, styles and influences. The album twists and turns through these diverse passageways, never allowing the listener to become totally at ease or ever convinced they can predict what is coming next. Absorption Lines is an altogether different animal to its predecessor.

Within the first three minutes, opening track Wrong Turn, becomes a head-spinning multi-directional piece, delivering swirling keyboards alongside a truly forceful hook that mesmerises from the start.

The Sixth Wheel roams (and later marches) through entirely different scenery to the opening salvo of Wrong Turn. Middle-eastern influenced synth work runs throughout the heart of the track, while Jones' crunching riffs, some of the heaviest on the album, demonstrate the seamless coalescence that occurs when Jet Black Sea combine their not inconsiderable talent. Jones and Simons have chosen further contributors to the album wisely; The Sixth Wheel is the second of three tracks benefiting from the input of Nine Stones Close drummer Pieter van Hoorn and also the first of two to feature Riversea keyboardist Brendan Eyre. Both help to make this one of the most intriguing tracks on the album. Complementing this wealth of talent, the production on the album dances with an iridescent, opalescent vigour and The Sixth Wheel is no exception. Sound engineer Paul van Zeeland has helped to construct what may be the best sounding album of Jones' career. No mean feat, considering the multi-layered approach Jet Black Sea use in their beguiling compositions.

Jumping to a Conclusion (Part 1), is a short link instrumental which leads us directly into the title track. Absorption Lines, the longest track and centrepiece of the album, clocks in just a few seconds short of eleven minutes. It is a melancholic, wraithlike piece, which transports us to the stricken Apollo 13 spacecraft, leaving us drifting helplessly along with the crew; the original recordings of dialogue between the astronauts and Houston, adding an ominous, gritty reality. The title track steadily builds its atmosphere layer by layer, until six minutes in, when Adrian Jones unleashes a powerful slide guitar solo so haunting, your stereo will need an exorcist. Jones himself has stated "it's probably the best piece of slide playing I have managed so far." Few would disagree. Absorption Lines is a masterpiece of the slow reveal.

As the first Jet Black Sea album was an entirely instrumental undertaking, it may surprise some that fifth track Cathedral, is the first of two songs on the album. Cathedral, doesn't give up all its secrets straight away; the lyrical segment of the track not kicking in until the fourth of the song's seven minutes. However, make no mistake, this is undeniably a Jet Black Sea composition ? Cathedral was originally conceived as an entirely instrumental piece - the lyrics added late on in the recording of the album ? but one which exudes a darker malevolence with the addition of the exhilarating vocal provided by Jones' Nine Stones Close bandmate, Adrian (AiO) O' Shaughnessy. "Hollow heart and hollow wisdom?...Paradise is not here" intones O' Shaughnessy , as Cathedral becomes a captivating paean to a man losing his faith.

Up next is Hours Slip into Days, the second longest track on the album. It opens with a hypnotising piano section which could easily be a direct continuation of the exquisite coda on the final track of the band's first album. Hours? is surreal, somnolent, almost trancelike in its construction. Eight-and-a-half minutes float by in heartbeat. There is a swirling, celestial feel to the lyric, delivered flawlessly by Tony Patterson - his vocals the perfect fit for such a song. "You don't know me, Out of reach, Medicate, Alleviate, Mask the fear." As has always been the case, Jones' lyrics dig deep into the soul and draw the listener inexorably into his dreams.

Completing the album, is a second track influenced by the plight of those aboard Apollo 13; 133 Hours referring to length of one of the possible return flight plans put forward by NASA after the now famous "problem". While no less potent in its empyrean poignant atmospherics than the title track, 133 Hours delivers a greater feeling of optimism in the latter part of the track; the closing minutes of the album bringing to mind the successful splashdown, in the Pacific Ocean, of the command module - Odyssey.

With the release of Absorption Lines, Jet Black Sea have made a significant leap forward in their sound; the album only revealing its full trove of treasures with multiple listens. While maintaining the innovative, inventive qualities that made "The Path of Least Existence" such a success, Simons and Jones have pushed themselves to the limit once more. Without a doubt they bring out the best in each other.

Mysterious yet charismatic; ambient yet powerful; alluring yet secretive - Jet Black Sea deserve your attention.

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 The Garden by UNITOPIA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.57 | 155 ratings

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The Garden
Unitopia Crossover Prog

Review by IconiK11

4 stars The album is taking you through a journey. A journey of admiration and, unfortunately, bitter disappointment. But let me explain myself, as well as the reason behind this review being a 4.

My first encounter with Unitopia happened years ago, from this very album, which was casually playing in my friend's car when he was giving me a ride. I still remember that 'I Wish I Could Fly' was playing and I was really mesmerized by the duo of guitar and flute, which somehow made me think remotely of the 'Firth of Filth' from Genesis' 'Selling England by the Pound' (predictably, any flute, used in progressive music, makes me think of either Genesis or Jethro Tull, depending on the extraction of sound). And, even though the rest of the 'I Wish I Could Fly' didn't impress me that much, my friend proposed playing the album from the very beginning, claiming that this is so far, the best Australian prog rock band for him.

To be honest, I am grateful that back then I took his advice, bought the CDs next week and dedicated myself to listening to 'The Garden'. Which I love till today. Well, some parts of it.

The thing is that there is a great BUT with this album. The BUT begins when 'Give and Take' starts playing. For me this song signifies that the Australian authentic magic came to an end and commercial melodies are coming to spoil the impression, which was so carefully built throughout the first hour of the album. Yes, the arrangement is still very professional. Yes, the sound is still great. Nevertheless, it feels like the band has already planned creating a double album and didn't want to refuse this idea even after realizing that there is an obvious lack of an original music material (and, to my honest opinion, the same approach took place when 'Artificial' was created, as it lacks original and rich diversity of melodies. I am also surprised 'Artificial' is ranked higher by the Progarchieve users, as, for my humble opinion, 'The Garden' demonstrates better the composing talent of the band).

To sum up, I am rather critical to the CD2, even though my claim for 'bitter disappointment' in the first paragraph is, of course, exaggeration. Exaggeration, which is coming from an idea that the title song, 'The Garden' (with its interesting composing paths, which include a combination of fragile and touching melodies, masterly followed by the aggressive guitar invasions and, later on, some impressions of a tropical summer jungle or jazz), and 'Angeliqua' (which, with its sensitive intro somewhere from Sahara Desert, sets a mood of mystery and intrigues you to find out what is it about that woman, and hits you in your face with first guitar riffs) are setting a very high benchmark for the rest of the album. A benchmark, which, in my opinion, wasn't reached by some of the pieces of the second Unitopia album. Still, my ranking would be a 4 for absolutely great, rich, inventive arrangements and professional sound, which, for me personally, makes worth listening CD2, even taking into account the critics written above.

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 Aerie Faerie Nonsense by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1977
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Aerie Faerie Nonsense
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Listening to this and In The Region Of The Summer Stars back to back I like this a lot more.The question being posed by other reviewers seems to be whether this is actually prog rock or a symphony.Does it matter if its good? Anyway there is definitely a drummer on the album so it comes under prog rock! At pretty much the same time this was released ELP were recording the brilliant symphonic prog track Pirates(from Works Volume One) with the L'Orchestra Du Paris so I'm comfortable this comes with the genre we are discussing.

BUT is it any good? Certainly is! I found this overall a much more satisfying listen than In The Region Of The Summer Stars. The composition is more complete to my ears with more thought given to the flow of the music.I also really enjoy the use of orchestra and classical instrumentation. I have a tiny classical collection so my knowledge of such things is a bit sketchy. However I do know this is beautifully written and conceived. It is mainly orchestrated but drums,synths and guitars do figure along the way.All done for the benefit of the music to my ears.Despite the grandiose themes the music never sounds bloated or overdone. The creative vision reigns supreme.

Masterpeice then? Yes why not. Music like this is so rare it should be treasured

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