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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 9,948 bands & artists, 52,949 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,413,275 ratings and reviews from 58,417 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
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 Undestroyed by FREE SALAMANDER EXHIBIT album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.15 | 33 ratings

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Undestroyed
Free Salamander Exhibit RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars Twisted and eccentric - and highly refreshing: 9/10

(Brief note to myself and to readers: the reviewing approach, in this case, digresses from what is common for me to do because assuming this is an album with few reviews I must be as pragmatic and utilitarian as possible)

FREE SALAMANDER EXHIBIT is, before anything, deranged. It is the offspring of SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM, a revered underground avant-garde band, so it couldn't differ much from its progenitor. Their stuff is... weird, even for avant-garde standards. So much so they're Avant-prog. Heck, I don't see much difference between these two names, but since anything with the prog suffix equals a more paradigmatic work, then, they're definitely Avant-prog-prog-to-infinity-prog. No, you won't hear grumpy screams or dissonant drums and flutes, not THIS type of paradigmatic, but instead, the deconstruct-concept-break-paradigm type. They're, pretty imposing for their philosophical significance alone. I haven't even begun to talk about the materialistic evidence.

UNDESTROYED can best be approximated as experimental death metal with glimpses of post-rock, although the Avant-prog name should suffice to warn that it can't be entirely labeled as such - doing so is not only an offense but also a severe mistake. It is nowhere as speedy or destructive as the image of death metal genre conjures; what it does is feature a dark, uneasy atmosphere, typical to both mentioned genres. The oscillation between soft and hardness confers a fluidity to the album, and are, respectively, unnervingly calm and creative (with many blends and influences, featuring different instruments [also, here's a challenge for ya: If you can spot the Theremin in any music, PM me. Seriously, I'm curious], with special regard to the effing killer flute) whereas the second is not brutal, but instead, evil, angered (moderately, don't expect GORGUTS). What really glorifies FREE SALAMANDER EXHIBIT is that their heavy style cannot be sufficiently named "x" or "y", it is a dystopic, angered expression of madman's creativity. Creativity articulated through the low-effort snarling vocals, intended to sound beastly (again: don't expect GORGUTS), and through the absurdly unpredictable arrangements and compositions, which almost paradoxically feature a lack of deeper technical complexity - the inconsistent structure exists not due to intricate mathematics, but instead, because that's how the band prefers it to be.

Worth mentioning is that the album has a solidly abrasive metallic foundation but it doesn't mean all songs are like that. Here's the fun of Avant-prog: the tracks are stylistically individual, with very little similarities between them aside most fundamental unconscious level (the inclination of adjectives that each song provokes; in this case, crazy and darkness). FREE SALAMANDER EXHIBIT makes it implicitly clear that they are not proposing a common concept, so the tracks are highly unattached among themselves.

Lyrics are cynical, sometimes humorous, sometimes revolted, but unanimously acidic and sarcastic. The topics covered are approached in a unique fashion, with FLE's own twisted interpretation. They seem to be the type of band that uses music as a form of expression over a form of art; so they're less methodical with things such as beauty and shape. This is reflected in the lyrics that do seem unorganized and which wordplay is rather confusing (there are some German words here and there, for instance), and in the structures, that sometimes makes no damn sense. Not a complaint.

Unreliable Narrator, featuring a common structure (verse-chorus-verse-chorus) begins blasting in the powerful guitar and maddened vocals. Lyrics are focused on the unreliability of religion, as well as the premise of "one true faith" and of trusting the gods because let's be honest almost all gods of almost all religions did some really horrible things. The riffs are simple and even catchy, but the structure, as I mentioned, is iffy. In general, it can be characterized as AGGRESSIVE, SLOW, and PHILOSOPHICAL. (9/10)

We're then presented to The Keep an acoustic piece. You can think of it as DARK, GLOOMY, ATMOSPHERIC. (6/10)

The Gift is a ferocious anti-modern rant against contemporaneous technology such as smartphones, going to so forth as calling the Silicon Valley visionaries "Utopian-cyber hippie" (we can all agree that's an unique way of describing Steve Jobs) who gave a revolutionary tool comparable to Prometheus giving humans fire, but also to opening the Pandora box and unleashing unfathomable evil: now the masses are robotized and live in virtual realities. The vocals are perversely angered, barely distinguishable growls (as usual), and there's an overdose of humor and cynicism, going so forth as breaking the fourth wall in two different fashions. The gentler midsection showcases the grandiose flute accompanying the sung vocals, which does sound so mystical and perverse. It is also the prime moment to observe FSE's dadaist composition style. In my opinion, it is solidly the high point of the album, being VIOLENT, HUMOROUS, and incomparably UNPREDICTABLE. (9/10)

Time Master is the most jocular track of them all. Under many approaches it is divergent to the whole: sane, old-school influenced sonority (as opposed to the post-rock homogeneity), atmospherically light - especially the vocals - and uses comical brass instruments and vocal passages. FREE SALAMANDER jokes with the concept of time: treated as a commodity, but simultaneously, it is vital to us as it is non-renewable, and how do we use our time to enjoy or to waste it, selling it to the Time Masters so we can feed our family - at the expense of not living at all. HUMOROUS, COMPLEX and ANOMALOUSLY LIGHT. (8/10)

Undestroyed begins caroler (world's cutest instrument, glockenspiel, accompanied by flutes), antithetical to the preceding hoarse, tense vocals and deeply dysphoric lyrics that corrupts the song to a drums-led transition, the pathway to, finally, the second half. Angered, sometimes clear sometimes growled singing is initially led by industrial, periodical metal riffs, but as the singer announces he is undestroyed, the mood quickly destabilizes into nonsensical guitar distortions scrapes, randomized sayings, and a return of the Jolly glockenspiel, which progressively sweeps the maddened anarchy beneath its soothing, delicate sound. GENTLE (glockenspiel intro), TWISTED and BLASTING. (7/10)

Glockenspiel meets us for a second ride, Atheists' Potluck. We have learned a lesson, though: we can't trust FREE SALAMANDER EXHIBIT with a glockenspiel. So it will anticipate something evil, right? Not... really. At most, it predicts a beautiful although terrified song, with dark non-distorted riffs, followed by even darker but distorted riffs. There's tension in the air and your gut feelings make you go uneasy... the clear, indisputable influence of post- rock becomes pristine, which is why I thought it would be fair to claim on the beginning their leaning towards this genre. It sounds kinda like Nirvana-dark or Alice-In-Chains-heavy, maybe? I don't know, I'm not good with post-rock. Nonetheless, a GLOOMY and rather DEPRESSING (I think those are synonyms, but still, you know what they say: redundancy means emphasis) track. (8/10)

Military trumpeting and the sound of horses' cavalcade preludes Oxen of the Sun a counter-intuitive 6/4 intro arrangement. Seems simple, but... it doesn't SOUND really that simple. Reminds me of Proclamation by GENTLE GIANT (bold to compare FSE to those gods, eh?). Growling dives into downright death metal guttural. The music develops into a crushing section with high complexity and unforeseen weight, mildly death metal; on the verses, especially. An eerie commodity is brought in the midsection: a shredding guitar solo, technical to the brim, which sounds SO spectacular especially for its scarcity. It announces an unexpected twist to pure technical death violence (including the typical blast beat), especially on the vicinities of the solo. Following a few overwhelming riffs and squeals (and return to normality), the song and album are over. (9/10)

UNDESTROYED... the cover is introspective, with the seemingly twisted canids (or are those rabbits?) and the eccentric coated chick. Twisted and eccentric. Is there any better way to describe to FREE SALAMANDER EXHIBIT?

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 Centre-Ville by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.02 | 9 ratings

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Centre-Ville
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars With the double entendre of the title signifying a shift to the bland stylistic center of 1982 rock, and an abandonment of essentially rural folk for city glitz, "Centre-Ville" did nothing to stymie the perhaps inevitable collapse of GAROLOU's initial run. Displaced from a field with few professional purveyors to a weedy city lot, they abandoned all folk roots and homogenized their sound, notwithstanding a fun reggae-tinged opener and an above average ballad "Aller-Retour". Rockers like "Terre" and "Je Savais Pas" are utterly without distinction. Perhaps the album's most notable "first" is that of first GAROLOU album to contain an English lyric, on the closing "Seul au Centre Ville", the only waking moment of a piece so light that it rivals the mellowest fare by mid 1970s AMAZING BLONDEL. You'll wish you'd been allowed to sleep right through it.

It appears that the band spirited somewhat out of retirement in the early 1990s with a fine live disk that conspicuously omits anything from "Centre Ville", if only because this made so little impact in 1982 that it could not be resurrected even by occult ritual. If "Centre-Ville" isn't totally awful, it also isn't worth seeking out by anyone but unapologetic fans, who all appear to have gone uptown by this point.

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 Chapter One by CELL15 album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.18 | 15 ratings

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Chapter One
Cell15 Crossover Prog

Review by progrocks2112

5 stars 6.24.17 I had the pleasure of witnessing Cell15 live. Now I am not a writer, musician or related in anyway to music other than being a fan. But today was also special because it was a memory for my 2 daughter's. I have been inducted into CLUB C. Window is closing so a memory had to be made. Now to the show. From the opening bell I was more impressed by the soul of this relatively new band then I was listening to a digi download. Bob Richardson, the founder, guitarist Shane Jones, drums,Kevin Thomas and former EoS bass man Dan McDonald round out what I believe is a power stroke of pure wizardry. I will say the most emotional track by any means is Manny's Gone Home. Being Ill has it's downs and few ups and the 1st time I heard this track it had my 57 yr old behind in tears. It was felt the same way by my oldest daughter as we were 'bawling bookends' at our table. Let's step back to chapter one, if you're a keyboard guy this is driven with a force that needs to be recognized. The entire set was an experience I for one shall never forget, the music, the outpouring of a soul, precise guitar playing and an intense McDonald who plays with as I had said to him with anger. Poor strings had their ass handled. Power keys and the recognizing my daughter's birthdays will live within me for what time I have left. Two new songs were introduced as well and I wonder if I'll get to hear a 2nd CD. Hard driven rock with a progressive lining, how can you go wrong. The only downside to today was they didn't play enough. A concept album should be heard in its entirety to make any real sense. I am only a fan as I had said and I am certainly be fan of this outfit. Look for them on band camp and maybe CD baby but good luck in getting a hard copy. I'll end by saying thank you to a group of hospitable fellas and in particular to Bob, who is responsible for a 5 star listen and putting the right guys in the right places'.

This may not or is not a true review but it is a factual account of an experience

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 Huono Parturi by HÖYRY-KONE album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.23 | 136 ratings

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Huono Parturi
Höyry-Kone RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Norbert

5 stars Huono Parturi is the second studio album by Finnish progressive /avantgarde rock band Höyry-Kone. The title of the album means "Bad barber", just look at the album artwork... The album featuring 11 tracks is about 49 minutes long, at least my copy. I have the one relasesed by Nordic Notes in 2013, I had to wait some time to get my hands of a copy of Huono Parturi. The music is performed by often operatic male vocals, two guitars, bass, violin, cello, flute, drums (Anders Nordin from Anekdoten makes a guest apperance in two tracks beside the Teemu Hänninen, the band's drummer), plus the wind ensemble in the purely jazz track called Baksteri. Beside cello player Marko Manninen the trained tenor singer and violinist Topi Lehtipuu deserves a special mention, but the musicianship is outstanding on this album. The album starts with a beautiful rendition of Beata Viscera by Perotin the Great. He was a composer of the 12th, early 13th century, one of the earliest known composers. Topi really shines here, I think Perotin would be pleased with this performance. Terva-Antti Ku Häihin Lähti suddenly explodes after the Perotin piece, and the other tracks of Huoni Parturi with the exception of the mentioned Baksteri are in more in less in the vein of the explosive second track. The music is somewhat similar of King Crimson and some classic avantgarde artists like Zappa or Univers Zero, but far heavier, than any of the mentioned artists, and Höyry-Kone certainly had the sound of their own. Some of the tracks are instrumental, some of them are supported by the gorgeous vocals of Topi Lehtipuu, but really all compositions are very impressive. Weird, quirky, really powerful and playful, an absolutely fantastic album, one of my 10 favourite albums of the Nineties.

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 Mathematical Mother by UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.44 | 49 ratings

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Mathematical Mother
Universal Totem Orchestra Zeuhl

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars

This band was originally formed as an offshoot of Runaway Totem, which probably goes some way to explaining why they released their debut in 1999, their follow-up in 2008, and this their third in 2016. They are often described as Zeuhl within the prog world, but I'm not convinced myself that the term has a great deal of merit outside of Magma, so let's instead keep this simple. However one wants to classify this album, or whatever sub-genre one wants to put it in, it can all be said in one little word, "beautiful".

Whether it is the soaring classical vocals, the perfect piano accompaniment, the amazing bass, or the move between jazz, fusion, funk, classical, Arabian and progressive styles, it really is the only word that matters. This is a delicate album with instrumental passages that are dynamic and powerful, with vocals that can be strident or fragile, with everything always working together in perfect harmony. Some of the guitar on opener "Terra Cava" is sublime, and it shows that even proggers can shred when they wish to, it's just that they often don't want to. At fourteen minutes long, this is an epic song in so many ways, not just in length, but in the sheer complexity and the way that all the passages make sense individually and come together to create a whole that is breathtaking both in its complexity and melody.

'Mathematical Mother' is a very special album, one that is incredibly complex and intricate, yet also very easy to listen to, and totally enjoyable the very first time it is played. Let's hope we don't have to wait quite so long for the next one.

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 Babel by SOUL SECRET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Babel
Soul Secret Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Soul Secret are an Italian progressive metal band based in Naples who released their debut album "Flowing Portraits" back in 2008, with Mark Basile (DGM) as guest singer. This is the only album of theirs I had heard prior to this, and remember thinking it was an incredibly strong debut. Obviously, I wasn't the only one as it led to them playing with the likes of Pendragon, Vanden Plas and Subsignal. They have been through a few line-up changes since then, and are now back with their fourth album, a concept telling the story of Sam and Adriel who are sent in space to find God, helped by logOS, an on-board computer providing cutting-edge technology to the mission. When they finally find the City Of Gods, they find it empty...

This album is full of strong songs, but I found the concept and spoken links were getting in the way of my enjoyment of the music, and after the first few plays it was getting harder and more difficult to get into the music. That is a real shame, as there are some strong performances on here. The vocals are superb, and there are some djent influences in the music at times, which is certainly a departure from the norm in terms of progressive rock. Possibly it is necessary to see the full release, and I only have a digital download to gauge my opinion on, but for me this just doesn't have the impact and power of the debut, and I expect bands to keep improving, not taking a retrograde step, which is a real shame.

It is light, pleasant, melodic progressive rock with some interesting influences, but not challenging or interesting enough for me to maintain my focus throughout, and the additional elements that have been put in that link that album are superfluous and over the top (although even I must smile when the code word is "Pendragon

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 Of Clans and Clones and Clowns by SOUL ENEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.08 | 5 ratings

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Of Clans and Clones and Clowns
Soul Enema Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars It is a long time since I last came across Israeli act Soul Enema, who were formed back in 2001, and released their debut 'Thin Ice Crawling' back in 2010 through Mals and Musea. It gained a lot of positive reaction at the time, but for some reason it has taken some seven years for them to release the follow-up. That of course may have to something to do with the fact that only keyboard player Constantin Glantz is still there, so in many ways this is a brand-new band. Singer Noa Gruman is a real find, as she is at home in whatever musical style that the band are prepared to throw out, and there are certainly plenty of them. The easiest way to describe these guys are as progressive, but progressive rock in its very truest sense as they bring in elements of melodic rock, progressive rock and metal, ethnic, psychedelic, jazz-fusion, sympho-rock elements etc., with a somewhat theatrical approach to the lyrics.

There are times when I find myself thinking of Orphaned Land in the way they approach some of the music, and a closer inspection of the guests shows the appearance of Yossi Sassi (ex-Orphaned Land, Yossi Sassi Band), as well as Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One). The album was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Devin Townsend, etc.), so as well as being intriguing in a musical sense, the production allows every instrument and nuance to shine show how important each element is to the overall sound. I haven't much from the Israeli music scene, and if this is an example of what is being produced out of that country then I really need to hear some more. The album is intriguing, and musically all over the place, so that if the listener doesn't like what is going on just wait a minute as it is going to be changing soon. I love this album, and sincerely hope that we're not going to have wait another seven years until we get the next one.

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 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 211 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars I remember the disappointment I felt in 2000 when Somewhere to Elsewhere was released, not that it was a bad album, because it is pretty decent, but there was no magic. In that moment I felt that the KANSAS studio album years were over and they would have to survive as a cover band of their early glorious years. But yesterday I listened The Prelude Implicit and was really impressed, specially because I expected nothing above average.

Some people complain that the original members of the band are away and that's true, but let's be honest, Steve Walsh had lost the voice long time ago and Ronnie Platt has a very similar range, Dave Hope never was a key member and Billy Greer is more important to the band both as bassist and singer. Dave Ragsdale is a long time member of KANSAS successfully replacing the the once irreplaceable Robby Steinhardt, so with this guys the two original members who keep getting better plus Zak Rizvi and David Manion, the band is sounding as in their best days'..The only problem is the absence of Kerry in the composition, but seems they can survive without him with all the band joining efforts in songwriting.

Now let's talk about The Prelude Implicit, an album that sounds to me as a visit to the band's history, where each song represents a stage in the early development of the band.

With this Heart reminds me of Song for America with songs that flow gently based in a simpler but fluid violin sections. Visibility Zero is a nice homage to harder tracks like Carry on my Wayward Son, but with a nod to the AORISH sound of the late 70's. As a comment, it's nice to listen Dave Ragsdale leaving his classical oriented comfort zone towards a more aggressive sound that is typical of the band and reminds us of Robby.

The Unsung Heroes is one of my favorite songs, being that they blend a powerful but nostalgic blues based ballad with the pomp so characteristic of the band recreating the spirit of the mid 70's.

Ok now is the moment of change and Rhythm in the Spirit marks a turning point, even when they start with a pompous intro as in many Leftoverture tracks plus the violin and keyboard sound of Point of Know Return, they add a modern touch with more emphasis in blues and rock. A nice blend that I believe they should explore more.

Refugee IMO inspired in Cheyenne Anthem, they go for a more mystical and nostalgic approach, simply delightful from start to end and Ronnie Platt does an outstanding job well supported by David Manion on the keyboards. Another high point.

After listening the first notes of The Voyage of Eight Eighteen, songs as Opus Insert, Lamplight Symphony and Song for America come to my mind and even when they change their approach repeatedly jumping from pristine Symphonic to Heavy Rock, it's like a time machine that takes me back to 1977, the best track of the album by far.

Camouflage reminds me of Freaks of Nature, more oriented towards good classic Rock rather than Prog, very nice song, but the least transcendent, luckily is followed by the amazing Summer, the perfect balance between artistic and commercial music.

Crowded Isolation took me by surprise, this is something new, seems that this could be the sound that the new formation is looking for, and it's very good, with radical changes and great choirs'.It's interesting to notice that Phil Ehart maintains the high level despite the years passed, the guy is really a fantastic drummer.

The official release ends with Section 60, another track that takes me back to Point of Know Return era, simply breathtaking and the perfect closer for the official record.

The Deluxe edition has two bonus cover versions of traditional American songs Home On The Range (Hymn of Kansas) and Oh Shenandoah , as a tribute to their state and nation, but I always rate an album in base of their official songs, and The Prelude Implicit deserves no less than 4 solid stars, being that is their best release since Point of Know Return, but without reaching the level of their peak.

I won't ever make the mistake of dismissing KANSAS again, so will be waiting for their next album, seems that KANSAS still has gas for a few more years without having to survive as a caricature of their early years like other classic bands that looked at the Topeka boys over the shoulder in the 70's.

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 Castaways And Cutouts by DECEMBERISTS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.58 | 53 ratings

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Castaways And Cutouts
The Decemberists Prog Folk

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

4 stars THE DECEMBERISTS began their indie rock career in Portland, Oregon and gained attention with their lyrical focus on historical incidents and folklore as well as combining the musical elements of chamber folk, indie pop, baroque pop and rock. Their style sensibilities can be traced back to the 60s British folk acts like Fairport Convention and the Fairport Convention with a healthy cross-pollination of the indie rock and newer contemporary folk acts ranging from Modest Mouse to The Postal Service and even alt-country acts such as Uncle Tupelo. The music can range from upbeat and even guitar heavy progressive pop to country tinged lush ballads. Their debut release CASTAWAYS AND CUTOUTS is a vocal led journey written by vocalist Colin Moloy's who narrates the tales of the CASTAWAYS of the world such as Spanish gypsies and Turkish prostitutes.

One of the greatest assets of THE DECEMBERISTS is the fact that their music is so diverse. While mainly led by Meloy who is the lead singer, guitarist and chief songwriter, there is also a heavy presence of keyboards by Jenny Conlee who employs ample uses of Hammond organ, accordion, rhodes piano and other synthesized effects. Also on the team is percussionist Ezra Holbrook, Nate Query on upright bass and Chris Funk who adds additional guitar parts including the pedal steel and occasional theremin. All of the these unique instruments add interesting atmospheres and crossover genre styles that give THE DECEMBERISTS their own unique sound. The differences between songs is quite pronounced. While "Grace Cathedral Hill" is more of a sorrowful tale of lament that is a lush country ballad, "The Legionnaire's Lament" is an upbeat pop rock track that utilizes distorted ska guitar techniques, energetic accordion, bass and drum interaction and a extra catchy pop hook.

CASTAWAYS AND CUTOUTS made an immediate impression and accumulated an instant fan base and the band found a unique niche that has been compared (unfairly) to Neutral Milk Hotel although as with any folk oriented bands, similarities can be heard. Although the debut is a much more stripped down affair from the second album on where the band would include more guest musicians adding a more extensive range of sounds, CASTAWAYS AND CUTOUTS focuses more on the strong songwriting and inventive genre fusion techniques led by Meloy. While not as popular as albums such as "The Crane Wife" or "The Hazards Of Love," the debut is a decent album in its own right with a stronger roots oriented feel to it. While i have to admit that Meloy's idiosyncratic vocal style that seems equidistant between country and folk with a little mopey indie rock thrown in for good measure, it ultimately has won me over and fits the mournful saddened feel of the album.

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 Romancero by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.04 | 9 ratings

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Romancero
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The dark forces of punk and new wave of the early 1970s were crowding out folk rock acts like GAROLOU, the resurgence of the genre under the auspices of bands like the POGUES and the WATERBOYS was still a few years off. It is thus not surprising that their third disk, released at the dawn of the 1980s, received less attention than its predecessors. It didn't help that it was also somewhat less inspired.

The compositions and arrangements are generally not as ambitious, but, if one explores more objectively, 3 tracks are prime prog folk, rivaling the best of earlier output: the heavy and atmospheric "Nicholas", the ominous epic "D'ou reviens-tu mon fils Jacques", and its apt successor "Le Condamne". Unfortunately none of them received their due, probably because the airplay outlets had vanished, and the album's most popular tracks, while thoroughly competent and, in the case of "Sur le Bout du Pont", quite refreshing, were concessions to the era, furthering the group's decline. I am also torn about the way in which the album ends, with the firing squad at the end of "Le Condamne". On the one hand, it's commendable that they continued to explore sober historical matters, but what a downer, especially when the album offers a good deal of lighter fare. Among these are the suave lightly jazzy "Dans Paris" and the live Cajun-tinged "La Danse de La Limonade". While the breadth of fare is eclectic, saving the best for last, where the best is so dire in subject matter, might not have been the canny choice.

"Romancero" proved to be the penultimate album of GAROLOU's initial run, and the last of interest to prog folk audiences. Guardedly recommended as a fling rather than an extended courtship.

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 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars This is my first encounter with the band that I discovered when we were asked to add them to the archives. From the first note, I could easily make my mind on what type of band we have here. The type of band that I enjoy since the 90's because the Anglagard influence is obvious with a symphonic Prog/Folk Rock style. The songs are well crafted with gorgeous melodies displayed around the flute, the delicate guitar lines, and the keyboards. The songs are not overly complex and could be on the lighter sides of things and sometimes joyful with some flute sections. While they fit into the melancholic tones of the Scandinave bands, they bring that driving energy in some passages that remind me of White Willow and even Jethro Tull. It's a shame that this band is not more recognized, I should check out their others albums.

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 The Second Brightest Star by BIG BIG TRAIN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.33 | 15 ratings

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The Second Brightest Star
Big Big Train Crossover Prog

Review by moulsham

3 stars This is an odd release. There's a couple of songs that sound quite unlike any recent releases (title track, skyline) a couple of instrumentals that feel like they were left out of the middle of some other song (haymaking, terra austalis), one stellar track that is as good as anything on folklore or grimspound (the leaden stour) and two rearrangements connecting bits of those albums together that probably should have been on the original albums. i suspect there may be a full power version of the recent albums down the road connecting the bits of the three most recent albums. Until then this is an inessential disc. Enjoyable - but unnecessary.

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 Lougarou by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.50 | 12 ratings

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Lougarou
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Having a rare distinction of two self titled albums with different names, GAROLOU, or LOUGAROU as they were initially known, hit the ground running with this 1976 release. The combination of muddy production and ragged arrangements offers rustic charms that were largely smoothed over on this album's highly accomplished successor, which means that both are sine qua non in the realm of Francophone prog folk of the 1970s.

This debut focuses on story songs that are both near and distant variations on traditional tunes, but nary a traditional instrument is used, with the group relying on with vocal harmonies and meters to convey connections to the past. The instrumental arrangements are decidedly rock oriented, with versatile and occasionally aggressive electric guitars, economical pianos, and occasional synths announcing their intentions. While every track has merit, the lengthiest are those that best fulfill the band's promise, namely "La Belle Francoise", the surprisingly hard rocking "La Partance" and the brilliant adaptation of "A La Claire Fontaine". In the latter case, the band parlayed a tune that everybody at the time and place knew by rote, yet effectively obliterated all memory of the original.

The shorter pieces are hardly less impressive, as young sibling Bobbly Lalonde contributes violin to the lively "La Vendee", with nimble plucking and sublime call and response vocals that rival the best of what TRI YANN was on about at the time. "Ah Toi Belle Hirondelle" might be my favourite of the lot, exuding a breezy mid 1970s ambiance, with an ultra catch riff and propulsive rhythm section that seems to presage the imminent arrival of DIRE STRAITS on the scene, although concurrent Laurel canyon artists and their ilk might be a more apt comparison. It's the sort of arrangement that might help warm a sub zero Northern Ontario night, if only by getting you out of your seat,

It is far from hyperbole to suggest that GAROLOU were the closest that any Canadian act came to attaining the highs of overseas Celtic prog folk artists of their day, which makes them pretty much essential if your wheelhouse boasts a Celtic cross.

The re-release business being what it is, you might have trouble finding this on CD, but I recommend it in any form you can manage, including as part of "Tableaux D'Hier" Volume 1, where only the final track, which happens to be one of the two weakest, is omitted. It's an album I never had much time for when it was current, having satisfied myself with the next album by these talented guys. Well, there is no time like the present to right old wrongs, and let the (were) wolves bay at your door for a spell.

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 Now And Here by I.C.U. album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.76 | 28 ratings

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Now And Here
I.C.U. Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ICU(no periods between the letters) were a six piece band out of Germany, listed here under Symphonic but Neo-Prog is what I hear for the most part. I did think of NO NAME as Bogdan mentions in his review and this is a concept album with lyrics in English. We do get some female vocals from the flautist but male vocals dominate and they're okay but nothing more. This hour of music was released in 1995.

"One Life" opens with atmosphere as acoustic guitar and flute take over. Sounds like mellotron after 2 minutes then reserved male vocals arrive before 3 minutes. A beat kicks in then a full sound as the vocals turn more passionate. Guitar a minute later before an atmospheric calm arrives 6 minutes in without vocals. Picked guitar and vocals take over a minute later then the tempo picks up. I like this. Another calm then the vocals return 10 minutes in. It kicks back in with some nice bass and synth work.

"Another Life" opens with organ then it kicks in with some punchy drumming and much more. The guitar comes in over the top then female vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as male vocals join in then take over. Keys and drums stand out then the guitar soars over top. Themes are repeated. I like the dark calm with spoken words 4 1/2 minutes in. It builds back to a full sound with vocals. Love the atmosphere after 9 1/2 minutes.

"The Same Old Way" opens with flute and lots of depth. Acoustic guitar plays over top as reserved male vocals join in. A good laid back tune. "Two Steps Ahead Of Time" features lots of keys early on then we get a bass solo 1 1/2 minutes in which signals the start of a full sound. Processed vocals after 2 minutes. I like the bass and drums when the vocals step aside briefly. It's fairly powerful here, at least for this band but then it settles back after 5 1/2 minutes.

"A Pair Of Hands" is my favourite song on here. Nice guitar and bass to start, in fact really nice as it builds. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as the sound changes some. This is good. I like when it settles back after 2 minutes with atmosphere, bass and guitar as the vocals return. Themes are repeated.

"Challenge Of The Unknown" opens with atmosphere followed by a scream and voices as the atmosphere continues. Acoustic guitar then reserved vocals join in. Organ replaces the acoustic guitar until the electric guitar arrives after 4 minutes. Synths swirl 6 minutes in, riffs also arrive as the tempo picks up. It settles back followed by soaring guitar leads as the vocals step aside to the end.

"In Every Stranger's Eyes" starts with atmosphere before keys and vocals arrive around a minute in this pastoral passage. It does turn fuller after 2 minutes with the guitar replacing the vocals. Vocals are back a minute later as the tempo picks up. Catchy stuff and lots of synths too as this plays out. Atmosphere and whales? ends it.

A good album for sure and for my tastes 3 stars is the right rating.

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 El Dia de la Tormenta by STORM, THE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.98 | 5 ratings

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El Dia de la Tormenta
The Storm Heavy Prog

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

4 stars Unfairly frequently dismissed simply for being such a complete change in sound from their minor- classic hard-rocking proto-prog debut (although it was late to that game by arriving in 1974!), Spanish band The Storm, formed by brothers 'ngel (guitars) and drummer Diego Ruiz, delivered a tasteful and reliable follow-up `El Dia de la Tormenta' (`The Day of the Storm') in 1979 that actually has plenty going for it. The band switched back over to their native Spanish language and headed in more of a `proggier' direction, and they ended up offering a set of highly melodic dreamy rock tracks, pleasing ballads and even some gentle symphonic instrumental pieces on this more than worthwhile follow-up.

`Este Mundo' is a cool opening rocker full of atmosphere and pensive mood, with plenty of whirring keyboard variety and bashing drums throughout, and although not quite as heavy blasting as the debut, there's still a welcome grunt to the guitars that instantly calls to mind that first album, given an extra touch of bite during the solos. `La luz de tu voz' is a slow-burn rocker with nice floating synths and a sweetly grumbling tone to the guitars, but the standout spot is a repeating infectious chorus where the lead voice soars with confidence.

The band definitely play their prog-card on `Saeta ensayo (1st Parte)', a lightly proggy instrumental that probably wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Camel albums of the same later Seventies period. A slow fade-in reveals crisp guitar runs chugging in unison alongside fanciful synth themes, with the lightest of dance-like flavours to the drumbeats to help it maintain an infectious and up- tempo energy the whole time, and there's plenty of wailing soloing throughout.

So enjoyable is the close of the first side that the band kick right back in with a second run at `Saeta ensayo, and `2nd Parte' reprises similar moments but also slows down for some more powerful gutsier spots, but before too long it's all galloping riff guitars soloing madly alongside frantic synth wig-outs. The freewheeling and joyful `Lejos de la Civilizacion' is a lightweight but spirited pop-rocker, and `Desde el mar y las Eestrellas' is tougher but holds a firm romantic quality with epic guitar soloing straight to the heart around the warmest of humming synths, and just listen to the sweetly murmuring bass throughout! Closer `El dia de la Tormenta' is simply another pop- rocker, the highlight being some almost trilling reprising synth-pop breaks from the keyboards.

The Storm would fold soon after this album, and sadly this second release is completely overshadowed by the hard-rocking debut (although that one's reputation is well deserved!). Because `El Dia de la Tormenta' has such a strong `pop' melodicism throughout it will likely be a bit too easily dismissed by stuffier proggers, but it retains a great dignity with strong vocals, intelligent and restrained yet dynamic playing and easy to enjoy rock tunes given light prog touches. It actually shows a lot more depth, variety and thought than the debut, and it just might be (whisper it!) the better of their two albums!

Absolutely a three and a half star album well worth the listen for the more forgiving of prog fans. A great album!

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 Kill 'Em All by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.39 | 418 ratings

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Kill 'Em All
Metallica Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Full of energy and pulse-pounding riffs, this is Metallica's debut album with which they changed the heavy metal world back in 1983. Although the songs are a lot more immature than Metallica's later material, in both lyrical and musical content, the songs are still great if you're after a straight forward headbanging album from start to finish, with many of these songs still being a major spotlight of any Metallica live set today.

Although some tracks are weaker than others, the album as a whole runs smoothly without giving the listener a chance to catch their breath. Metallica classics such as 'Seek and Destroy', 'The Four Horsemen', 'Hit the Lights' and 'Whiplash' make this essential for all metal fans.

It won't be your favourite Metallica album, but your metal collection won't be complete without it.

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 Shadowlands by GLASS HAMMER album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.72 | 195 ratings

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Shadowlands
Glass Hammer Symphonic Prog

Review by martindavey87

4 stars It's understandable that progressive rock is not always the easiest music to pick up, and an album like this, featuring just five tracks that range between seven and twenty-one minutes in length, certainly takes repeated listens before things start to fall into place. But the juice is worth the squeeze, because 'Shadowlands' is an enjoyable and infectious album, full of tasty melodies and catchy vocals.

With plenty of intricately-layered melodies, making full use of various instruments and multiple singers, Glass Hammer's sound, described as "symphonic prog", is as grandiose and epic as you can imagine. With interesting harmonies and some well thought-out lyrics, it's a shame that progressive rock, a genre that should be so appealing to so many people, is so easily overlooked.

Featuring some true gems such as 'So Close, So Far', 'Run Lisette' and the centerpiece of the album, 'Behind the Great Beyond', Glass Hammer's 'Shadowlands' is an awe-inspiring effort, which doesn't come across as pompous or self- indulgent. It's just one epic after another. The production does a fine job of giving every instrument enough clarity without being overbearing, which is quite a feat when there's so many things going on at any one time.

A true marvel of symphonic prog, this album is an absolute joy to listen to, and an essential addition to the collection of anyone who yearns for those classic days of yesteryear, when bands like Yes, King Crimson and ELP were all the rage.

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 Quiet Storms by GALAHAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.01 | 31 ratings

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Quiet Storms
Galahad Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars And so, at long last, I have published my 1000th review on ProgArchives. I have written many, many more than that over the years, but I recognise this as some sort of milestone. It is only fitting that it is about the band that in many ways started me on the path I have been travelling for the last 25 years.

Over the years, Galahad have always dared to be different, and have always produced music very much on their own terms. This has seen them produce an acoustic offshoot, a dance offshoot, as well as mixing and melding the styles that have seen them always moving forward, always progressing. When I first came across them they had won the Radio 1 Rock Wars, and had released their first CD: it seems like a very long time ago, but that's okay because it was. They were the first band I wrote to in the progressive underground (yes, it was snail mail, no other type had been invented yet), the first band I wrote a complete piece on, and the first band I felt really close to. Through Stu I was introduced to others in the scene, and he told some mates of his to contact me which is how I came across the demo of some lads who were calling themselves Big Big Train, but that's another story altogether. And so, at long last, I have published my 1000th review on ProgArchives. I have written many, many more than that over the years, but I recognise this as some sort of milestone. It is only fitting that it is about the band that in many ways started me on the path I have been travelling for the last 25 years. So here we have it, prog with a difference, in Galahad's own very unique manner.

What's different about this album? Well, for starters it contains some already released songs, although they are here in different versions ? therefore the booklet contains lyrics only to some numbers, as they are the new ones. But, the largest difference outside the style of music (more of that in a minute), is that here Galahad are performing as a trio with guests. A trio? Well, yes, and often they are a duo. This album is based around Stu's vocals and Dean's delicate touch on piano and keyboards, with just occasional percussion from Spencer. There is no room for bass, so "new boy" Tim Ashton, who returned in 2014 after 22 years off for good behaviour has taken a break on this one. But where's Roy? Roy Keyworth was the founder of the band more than thirty years ago, but in March the band announced the sad news that Roy had decided to retire from music. He makes an appearance on the very final song of the album, "Guardian Angel (Hybrid)", which originally appeared on the "Guardian Angel" EP, but that is his swansong. Guitar features on just one other song on the album, and producer Karl Groom provides acoustic on that, somewhat different to his normal crunching day job with Threshold. Sarah Bolter is back as a guest again, providing woodwind and backing vocals, reprising her role on "Iceberg", which appeared on 1994's Galahad Acoustic Quintet album.

Yes, if you hadn't already worked it out, this is a far more pastoral album, one that relies on tone and technique as opposed to force and power. I honestly believe that Stu is one of the most under-rated singers around, and he has lost none of his pitch, breath control and range, while in Dean Baker he has found the perfect accompanist. Their relationship makes me think very much of Martin Orford and Gary Chandler, in that they complement each other so perfectly, and make incredible music without anybody else being involved. Christina Booth from Magenta duets with Stu on "Termination", old boy Mark Andrews appears on "Don't Lose Control", which he originally played on back on that debut CD, while Louise Curtis provides violin on their take on Rammstein's "Mein Herz Brennt" (I much prefer this version to the original).

This isn't a prog album in its truest sense, but instead shows a band that are always confident in their ability, and move around in different styles yet deliver the goods time and time again. I think it was more than twenty years ago that I confessed that I was losing all ability to write rationally about any release by Galahad, as I love their music so much. The reason I love it so, is because they are always refusing to conform to anyone's expectations, and keep producing works of outstanding brilliance and quality, like this one.

The band still don't know who their new guitarist is going to be, but Karl Groom has kindly agreed to play on 'Seas Of Change', which is going to be released later this year as well. That is going to show a very different side to the band I'm sure. But for now, play this to your friends and astound them with wonderful music from deepest Dorset.

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 Hard Chargin' by DREADNAUGHT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Hard Chargin'
Dreadnaught Eclectic Prog

Review by KingRukus

4 stars The adventure begins with the cover, a phantasmagoric melange of images: a Polar bear, a mummy, a half-naked chained slavegirl, a speeding red General Lee-type car (all of which turn out to be characters in the songs) boldly arranged like an iconographic movie poster, with the title "Hard Chargin'" streaking across, some Tarantino / Rodriguez / Carnahan mash-up, a poster for a movie that was never made, or rather a movie that gets made anew in your mind every time you hear the soundtrack.

Have a Drink with Dreadnaught: the music begins with this jaunty, bouncey tune, a straight-forward upbeat rocker that is as close to anything "conventional" you are going to get on this disc. A psi-fi warbly keyboard theme interjects like an escaped flying saucer from a B-52's album, and with lyric lines like "spread your seed on the new grid" and "there's a polar bear!" we are in another dimension indeed! (Is that you Modine?) The lyrics to this tune, btw, refer to a story (penned by Geoff "Red Fez" Logsdon) about the band playing in some quasi-mystical bar where dead rock stars live and Duane Allman beats on Dennis DeYoung's balls with a bat, and you can hear his Broadway-worthy vocals howling into the night. You should read it sometime. Have a Drink With Dreadnaught.

Gaudy Baubles: it gets a bit more exotic here with strange effects on the instruments, proof in the pudding of the "veritable [&*!#]load of analog effects pedals" mentioned in the credits. And good for them! Let's hear more outboard effects than all this inboard added-later stuff! The impression of a movie soundtrack holds, a movie for your ears ala Zappa's "Hot Rats". Flute makes an appearance in the sonic mix to great effect.

That's The Way That You Do it (My Way) Suddenly Mr. Bungle roars in, a demonic distorted voice over a fast Ska?type beat, then a micro burst of Steely Dan-ish chords, like a window thrown open on The Royal Scam album, LA Fusion, then slammed shut by Bungle again, a riotous mob of hooligans chanting. This is where the adventure truly begins for me. And its only a 58 second song.

Takin' a Ride with the Fat Man (Fatta Fatta Puck Puck) the Bungle comparison continues for me here, and since I use Bungle as a touchstone / symbol of a certain type of radical genius (in your face energy / unpredictability / a will to craziness) it is one of the highest compliments I can give. I don't know about this fat man or what his deal is, but riding with him sounds like a night on the road with Mr. Toad on acid. A happy driving-down-sunny-highway melody "takin a ride with the fat man / takin a ride / fatta fatta puck puck! (my old percussion instructor taught drum parts by singing them ? "dakka dakka flubba flubba bang!" ? and you have to sing along with them to see how well it works) gives way to pantonal Mothers of Invention-like vocal parts. Rhythmic patterns come and go before you can fully get a grip on them. The music changes constantly then exuberantly unravels into a drum solo, toms rolling down a stairwell. It's over and then it isn't. This song gets the furry kitchen sink thrown in, and reminds me of an old review of Yezda Urfa where the writer advises "don't fight it just let it run bug[&*!#] thru your brain". That is good advice for Dreadnaught and their music: just let it run bug[&*!#] thru your brain!

A note on comparisons: I hear (and you will to) many similarities in Dreadnaught's music, snippets of Dixie Dregs chicken pickin', Zappa / MOI style humor, Bungle manic-ness, pick your favorite band that makes the notes jump thru hoops and do circus tricks. The band members draw from the vast palette of styles and sounds that are now available to us courtesy of the most musical century in our history. The way they put it all together is uniquely their own. Dreadnaught reminds me of many great bands yet they sound like none of them. They have their own style and sound.

Bo-Leg-Ba: One of my favorite tunes. Sounds more like "Ber-Leg-Ba" to me but no matter J Does it have anything to do with the magical-liminal figure Pappa Legba of Voudon mythology? It sounds Caribbean in places so maybe? Happy fun music, makes you wanna dance naked on the beach. And the drum sound is awesome, the toms ring round my head, I can feel there resonance as if I am sitting amongst them as they are played.

Express Delight ? More movie for your ears exoticism. In fact this whole album is the most avant / noisey Dreadnaught recording yet. Sure, meaty slabs of odd-time prog rock riffage abound, but the music is just as likely to go off into left-field noise-scapes as anything. Moments of beauty emerge amidst constant change. The Rock-In-Opposition (RIO) label applies here as a handy guide.

That's The Way That You Do it (Your Way) A return to this lyrical theme but this time as sung by a Hank Williams / Jimmie Rodgers yodeling cowboy in a honky tonk. "That's the way that you do it / that's the waaaayyyeeeeee!" I milk much hilarity out of imagining a drunk Hank groanin' an slobberin' his solo into a mic-driven distortion pedal, as he would have to do on this song! That's the waaaayyyyeeeeee!

Gets the Grease: More slice of avant garde sound sculpture, like something off Zappa's Uncle Meat, but with sax and ethereal piano, to my ears an unintentional echo of American bands like However and The Muffins. Atmospheric.

Slave Girls: My favorite tune on the album. Meaty slabs of odd-time monster riffage stalking thru the forest, knocking over trees. It Rocks! Then?completely different territory, a lilting violin plays a traditional American-sounding melody like something from Copeland's Appalachian Spring. Heartbreakingly beautiful, brings tears to my eyes.

Mummies of The Cobbosseecontee: Actual title that. More movie for your ears, sweeping, cinematic, ambient and noisey. Epic. Goes everywhere. Honestly I haven't heard it enough to fully know what it is. It's an instrumental. Let the ending riff run bug[&*!#] thru your brain!

That's The Way That You Do It (Our Way) Ends on a return to this theme, but now sock-hoppy and poppy. The Grease car flies away into the sky as the credits roll. Did I "get the Grease" there? WTF did we just hear / see? Have to play it again! 

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 Songs From The Wood - 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
4.95 | 11 ratings

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Songs From The Wood - 40th Anniversary Edition - The Country Set
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by fraanco3

5 stars First off, this is no ordinary reissue. Besides having the original album receive an incredible Steven Wilson re-mix, CD1 also includes 8 "associated recordings." Some of those recordings are unedited alternate versions of the originals. Newly revived, they become quintessential Jethro Tull.

The most jaw-dropping of those associated recordings on CD1 is Track 10, "Old Aces Die Hard." It will blow away any longtime Tull fan. Previously unreleased and recorded in '76/77, it is an amalgam of what would become "Dark Ages" and "Living In These Hard Times" intersecting with "A Passion Play" and the "Chateau D'isaster Tapes." At nearly 9 minutes, it feels like a whole new Tull mini-album that after repeated listens, only gets better. A true prog rock gem, "OADH" is a soft, loud, rocky, acoustic, weirdly complex and abstract thrill ride of 70s Jethro Tull. Seriously GREAT vintage Tull.

That track is followed by another previously unreleased original version of "Working John, Working Joe" with energy and instrumentation that totally eclipses the rather subdued version that eventually appeared on the "A" album.

And if the CD re-mix of SFTW and associates isn't enough, there is also a Wilson DVD surround sound re-mix of those tracks that is sublime. Oh yes, they also throw in the best songs from SFTW in their original Quad format and 4.0 surround. Why not?

But wait, there is more. 2 CDs worth of the full 1977 SFTW tour concert -- 112 minutes of the best live recording of JT that I have heard...a front row seat with Tull in their performance prime.

There is also a DVD of that same concert...great audio and video quality that is better than expected given the age of the original. Thank you Jakko Jakszyk for that production miracle!

A very cool, hard-cover 96 page booklet accompanies the 5 pieces of media, containing stories, lyrics, interviews, anecdotes, etc. Very professionally produced.

Five stars for this well engineered slice of prog rock history!

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 Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard: Farscape by SCHULZE, KLAUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.34 | 40 ratings

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Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard: Farscape
Klaus Schulze Progressive Electronic

Review by UncleRust

4 stars I am a long time fan of both Klaus and Lisa and this double cd contains (almost) all of my favorite things about both of them. Some of this reminds me of early Klaus, but most of it is closer to Dead Can Dance somehow.

Easing and thought-provoking, the combination of their musical personalities is so fascinating and pleasing that it seems that everyone should own and listen to this daily. So, get to it. ;)

This has been my favorite summertime cd since 2009. Re-listening to it today made me think that I really need to come here to remind all of you that it is, in every way, a wonderful experience.

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 The Six Wives of Henry VIII by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.08 | 701 ratings

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The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 125

"The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" is the debut studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1973. This is true, if we don't consider "Piano Vibrations" released in 1971 as his debut studio album. However, his contributions on that album were limited to performing as a session musician and he didn't compose any of the tracks on it. "The Six Wives Of Hery VIII" is a very ambitious and risky conceptual album about the six wives of Henry VIII. It's an album with six tracks, each one inspired by one of Henry VIII's wives. As Wakeman said, this album is based around his interpretation of the musical characteristics of the wives of Henry VIII. Although, the style may not always be in keeping with their individual history, because it represents his personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments. However, always was a mystery to me, why Wakeman doesn't treats the ladies in the chronologically correct order on the album.

Wakeman chose to participate on the recordings of the album the presence of some of the members of his current band Yes at the time and also some members of his previous band the Strawbs. So, we can see on the album the presence of the bassists Chris Squire of Yes and Chas Cronk of the Strawbs, the guitarists Steve Howe of Yes and Dave Lambert of the Strawbs, the drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White of Yes and the leader of the Strawbs, Dave Cousins, on electric banjo. Beyond these musicians, many other artists participate on this working too. However and despite the presence of several Yes and the Strawbs' members, it doesn't recall the work of any of those bands, in direct sense.

"The six Wives Of Henry VIII" has six tracks, as we can expect, and all the songs were written by Wakeman except "Anne Boleyn 'The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended'". "Anne Boleyn" incorporates the hymn "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended" written by Rev. Clement Cotteril Scholefield, arranged by Wakeman. The first track "Catherine Of Aragon" is one of the best and most easily recognized musical pieces of the album. It's the song most close to classic Yes' sound, with some complexity and at the same time catchy, and where the music flows with passages of varying speed, mood and intensity. It's the demonstration of a perfect marriage between a keyboardist and an orchestra. The second track "Anne Of Cleves" is a song more in the jazz/rock style and where the sound is predominantly of keyboards and drums. It's the most strong and energetic song of the album, making it the most exciting song to listen. Despite be an intricate song with some complexity it's a very simple song to listen to especially for those who aren't so familiar with progressive rock. The third track "Catherine Howard" is on the contrary a more complex and difficult song to hear. It's one of my favourite compositions created by Wakeman. It's the most calm, relaxing and melodic song of the album. It's a song with musical changes and rhythms that moves gracefully and wonderfully through several short musical pieces. This is really a great track. The fourth track "Jane Seymour" is a classical symphonic piece of music composed for a church organ. It's a fantastic musical piece where Wakeman demonstrates how great his virtuosity as a keyboardist. Here we can see clearly the influences of Johan Sebastian Bach, the master composer of the classical music of the Baroque period. The church organ was recorded at St Giles-without-Cripplegate church, in London. The fifth track "Anne Boleyn" is another fantastic and brilliant melancholic song with a mixture of many keyboard styles, played by several keyboard instruments, with lots of changes and a splendid choir work, and where the music flows beautifully. This is a lovely and soft song especially performed by acoustic piano that gives it a more sophisticated feel and a certain type of class. In the end, Wakeman plays a lovely piano rendition of the hymn "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended". The sixth track "Catherine Parr" is the song that completes perfectly and wonderfully this album. It's a very dynamic song combining magnificently the keyboard working with an excellent drum working. I also want to highlight the presence of the mellotron with its majestic sound which gives an ambient of a choir all over the song.

Conclusion: "The six Wives Of Henry VIII" is a classic progressive album and an unavoidable evergreen presence of the progressive rock of the 70's. It's usually accepted that this is his better and most fine musical work in his huge and prolific solo career. It's also one of my first contacts, in the 70's, with his music, together with "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table", "Lisztomania" and "No Earthly Connection". As I said before, this is Wakeman's personal interpretation of the musical characteristics of the six wives of Henry VIII. As I don't know exactly the personality traits of those historical figures, I'm not sure if he could interpret them well or not, with the keyboard instruments. So, the only thing I can say is that "The six Wives Of Henry VIII" is a completely instrumental musical work of the highest quality and an indispensable album especially for those, like me, who love the superb analogue keyboard workings. This is really an album with a very impressive set of tracks.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Songs From The Wood by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.18 | 1238 ratings

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Songs From The Wood
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Lupton

5 stars After producing the classic Thick as a Brick album, Jethro Tull seems to struggle to come up with a strong follow- up.By the time of the alarmingly lacklastre Too Old To Rock And Roll Album released in 1976 their career seems to be on a downward spiral. Their next album 1977's Songs From The Wood was a stunning return to form and is my personal favourite by this band.

The opening title track is for me the definitive Jethro Tull track. With its richly harmonized a Capella opening, the song quickly develops into a stunning tour de force with its constantly shifting rhythms and ornate instrumentation. The musical backing continues to build and build as the song progresses in a most exhilarating manner. Jethro Tull have used this combination of additive rhythms and textural layering before but never as effectively as here and all in under five minutes.

The rest of the album does not disappoint.The next track" Jack in The Green" is a delightful acoustic song- essentially just Ian Anderson playing all the instruments. Cup of wonder is a wonderfully upbeat flute led track with a bouncy and complex rhythm. Hunting Girl gallops along nicely is probably the closest thing to straight ahead rock with some blistering guitar playing by Martin Barre.Ring Out Solstice Bells is quite a poppy number and was originally released on an EP the previous year.And that is just Side1.

Side 2 opens with Velvet Green which is a wonderful slice of Renaissance influenced progressive rock and incorporates a particularly complex instrumental section incorporating flute, portative organ and medieval drums.The opening harpsichord led passage is perhaps a little cod but really adds to the Early Music ambiance.Next to the Title track it is probably the most sophisticated track on the album.The following track, "The Whistler" is another whimsical and quirky upbeat song with a particularly complex and exhilarating whistle break coming after each chorus.Only "Pibroch" the penultimate track brings the mood down with a rather somber tale of a man being cheated on by his wife and at over eight minutes long is a tad long. Nevertheless, it is still highly inventive with Barre's guitar replicating the sounds of bagpipes long before the 80's band,Big Country tried to do the same thing.The final track is a fairly slight but upbeat song with yet another flute led instrumental section.

All in all this is a true masterpiece and arguably the most repeat listenable album they ever created. A solid 5 stars

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 Dancing On A Cold Wind by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.78 | 57 ratings

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Dancing On A Cold Wind
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I found this LP in a $1 bin at a local Eugene, Oregon record store, an original UK pressing on Regal Zonophone (unlike Fandangos in Space, this was never released in the States). Basically, much of the stuff in that bin being frequent thrift store staples: easy listening, '70s singer songwriters, and AOR acts. So it's a trip to see a Carmen LP sitting next to a bunch of James Taylor, America, Captain & Tennille, Dan Fogelberg and Linda Ronstadt LPs. I wondered why it was being sold for so cheap? The disc don't look warped. Side two did feature this unsightly fingernail scratch, so they thought they'd never sell it for going price. I brought it home and the darn LP plays at Near Mint, even that scratch you can barely notice it, if at all (I was expecting loud pops or even skips, given I only spent $1 and pleasantly surprised that didn't happen). The cover is a spoof of pack of Gitanes cigarettes. Funny how their labelmates Procol Harum had a cigarette pack spoofed on one of their albums, A Salty Dog spoofing Player's Navy Cut.

Being familiar with Fandangos in Space, it's really no surprise the music on Dancing on a Cold Wind is in a similar vein. Same unmistakable blend of flamenco and prog. The foot dancing from Roberto Aramal and Angela Allen really sounds great on this disc. I wasn't expecting John Glascock to crank up the bass to give it a full fuzz effect like he did on the opening cut, "Viva mi Sevilla". It's almost as if Jannick Top of Magma stepped in. Regardless, it's instantly recognizable as Carmen, even a revisit of "Bulerias" from Fandangos in Space is quoted. Angela Allen is one of the very few female Mellotron players out there (the other being Virginia Scott of Beggars Opera who put one to great use on Waters of Change, but not Keiko Kumagai of Ars Nova as she used early tron samples). Side two is taken up with a suite, which is clearly the most ambitious thing they ever did. There's even a brief flirtation with medieval music, but that's because Tony Visconti played recorder on that part (as he did with Gentle Giant and even David Bowie). Still a very good record, but it may be a notch below Fandangos only because it doesn't quite match that album's intensity, while there are some intense parts, there are more calm and relaxed parts. Finally glad to own the second Carmen album. So I'm with popular opinion: a notch below Fandangos but still worth it if you dig what this band does.

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 Quiet Storms by GALAHAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.01 | 31 ratings

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Quiet Storms
Galahad Neo-Prog

Review by The Jester

4 stars Five years after the release of the albums Battle Scars and Beyond the Realms of Euphoria, Galahad returned with a rather different and beautiful album. Quiet Storms is a collection of their older songs in mellow versions, but it is also including a few new songs as well. You can find the original versions of most of the songs on the band's previous albums and on a couple of singles as well. Here, the listener has the opportunity to enjoy the melodic and more dramatic side of the band, without the loud guitar riffs and the usual powerful tempo. The piano and the keyboards are the dominant instruments, which, together with Stuart Nicholson's excellent performance, are creating a wonderful overall experience. Songs like This life Could be My Last, Guardian Angel and Termination, sound totally different than their original versions, which is very interesting, to say the least. Personally speaking, I like Galahad a lot, so I couldn't miss this new release of theirs. I added the album in my collection and never regret it! I am sure that I am going to enjoy it more on a rainy afternoon, together with a glass of red wine, rather than the heat we have right now in Athens. I feel that there is no reason to write more on the subject, because you should listen to it and form your own opinion. I definitely recommend it to the fans of Galahad, but also to those who can enjoy an atmospheric, melodic and kind of melancholic album.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 stars (But I will give 4.0)

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 Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74) by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Live, 2017
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74)
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars With a limited vinyl edition released for 2017's Record Store Day followed by a 2CD digipack, David Bowie's estate graces us with a long-overdue official release of this much-bootlegged live set. Legendary in part for being partially captured on the Cracked Actor documentary film by Alan Yentob, which captured Bowie in the process of spiralling into the cocaine addiction that nearly completely derailed him in the mid-1070s, this release sets itself head and shoulders above the bootlegs by a fine mastering job at the hands of Tony Visconti.

Though recorded a couple of months after David Live, the concert featured a markedly tweaked lineup, which combined the soul experimentation of the Philly Dogs tour with an evocative torch song aesthetic and a brief return of the glam rock fire that Bowie was trying to work beyond. The end result is perhaps the most sonically interesting of Bowie's work from his soul experimentation phase, particularly since the concert takes place just after The Gouster was wrapped up but before it got reconfigured into the Young Americans album we now know and love - It's Gonna Be Me and John I'm Only Dancing (Again) are both present in the setlist, for instance.

As a revelation of how quickly Bowie was evolving even from month to month during this time period, it's priceless - but the CD digipack version is actually a very reasonably priced budget release. Highly recommended.

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 The Storm by STORM, THE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.98 | 14 ratings

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The Storm
The Storm Heavy Prog

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

4 stars Despite forming in 1969, Spanish band The Storm didn't get around to releasing their debut s/t album for five years, and somewhat surprisingly the group, formed by brothers Ángel (guitars) and drummer Diego Ruiz, performed in English. However, the wait was worth it, as 1974's `The Storm' is a minor classic belter of ballsy heavy rock with a touch of psych and blues, all grafted to a keen pop edge and lively roaring vocals, with a couple of instrumental tracks worked in too, and its `proto-prog' fusion of Sixties/Seventies sounds is in the Hammond organ-dominated manner of Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster and Procol Harum among others.

Opener `I've Gotta Tell You Mama' is a punchy three-minute up-tempo rocking blast of energy, all Ángel's crunchy guitars, José Torres' thick slab bass, Diego's snappy drumming and Luis Genil's dense dirty Hammond backing an infectious chorus. The spiky `I Am Busy' is another brash rock n' roller with plentiful twisting grooves and shrieking vocal outbursts, but even better is `Un señor llamado Fernández de Córdoba', a chilled instrumental jam driven by guitars that move from dreamy ringing chimes to grumbly slow-burn bluesy meltdowns with just a touch of an early Pink Floyd/David Gilmour sound to them. Then there's a great raspy lead vocal and nice wiry guitar grooves with strangled acid-rock wailing soloing throughout the sweaty and sexy first side closer `Woman Mine', and dig that subdued little sparkling Hammond organ break in the second half that keeps getting belted with heavy bluster and noise!

Side B's `It's All Right' is a harmless hip-swivelling Hammond organ-coated groovy rock n' roller with a catchy group chorus, ditto the dirtier `I Don't Know' and its raucous lead vocal, mangled guitar noise with a little lightly jazzy break in the middle. The seven minute `Crazy Machine' offers another snarling improvised jam that also throws in purring jazzy breaks and spacey psych interludes, and it's crammed with endless widdly-diddly guitar tantrums, violent swirling organ washes and machine-gun fire drumming (Diego even charges into the `oh-so-Seventies' obligatory drum solo!). Fast and furious instrumental closer `Experiencia sin órgano' burns with a heavy bluesy strut and wraps the set on no shortage of howling guitar histrionics.

The Storm would release a gentler and more lightly proggy follow-up ` El Dia de la Tormenta (`The Day of the Storm')' at the end of the decade before splitting in the early Eighties, but their reputation is more or less sustained on the strength of this powerhouse debut rocker. It's not so much that the group were especially original, but what they did, they did damn well, and any band from the era that played in a similar style would have killed to have such a strong work in the discography! Great energetic playing and cool catchy tunes - what more could you want?

Four stars...and don't forget to play it LOUD!

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 Mathematical Mother by UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.44 | 49 ratings

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Mathematical Mother
Universal Totem Orchestra Zeuhl

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars When the band is categorized as Zeuhl, it seems to trigger a lot of debate and criticism. "Quixotic" is a word used in the band bio here. U. T. O. from Italy started out as an offshoot of a Zeuhl band Runaway Totem. Personally I knew nothing about this group or its origins in advance, when I was asked to review their latest (third) album. I recognize notable similarities with MAGMA - which has been a hard bone for me but which I have learned to appreaciate thanks to my prog friends. But I daresay this music sounds more eclectic and flexible in all its extreme complexity, and perhaps more impressive, than Magma averagely. The excellently produced sound features both eletcricity and acoustic approach (piano, saxophone, percussions), being occasionally slightly jazzy. The bass playing of Yanik Lorenzo Andreatta is marvelous.

The main vocalist Ana Torres Fraile is amazingly talented. She uses her strong and clear voice masterfully, from the operatic and Gothic soprano wailing to more intimate singing. The lyrics are in Italian; I have no idea about the textual contents. Occasionally there are also choir-like male backing vocals, but this music is not vocal-oriented, at least not in the common sense of the word. As with Magma's use of Kobaïan language, the voice is pretty much like another instrument, and there are plenty of more or less pure instrumental sections too. The epic opener 'Terra Cava' (14:06) is a good example of that. It is truly gorgeous, actually so beautiful and perfectionistic piece of complex-and-yet-naturally-flowing prog that the expectations for the whole album are dangerously high. 'Codice Y16' attempts to pack a lot of things within 5 min 21 sec, sounding quite restless.

'Elogio del Dubbio' shifts from Gentle Giant-ish funkiness to ethereal Dead Can Dance -resemblance with Oriental flavour (tabla). Well, if there is a problem with this album, for me personally I mean, it's the occasional thought of overblown eclectic complexity. but then I'm disarmed once again by the serene and acoustic beauty in the beginning of 'Architettura dell'Acqua', the second longest track (11:27) that rivals the magnificent opener. 'Citta Infinite' has jazziness, operatic/Gothic flavour and instrumental excellence, for example in the form of a vibe solo by one of the guest musicians. Perhaps the closing track is a bit too restless (especially for the rhythmic complexity), as is the album in general, for my personal taste, but I certainly recognize highly original prog excellence when I hear it. In a word, this album is amazing. If you like complexity, operatic female vocals, superb use of instruments and bands as varied as GENTLE GIANT, MAGMA and DEAD CAN DANCE, you'll love this one.

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 The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.92 | 7 ratings

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The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock
Buckethead Prog Related

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

4 stars As the year 2006 rolled on, the strange artist known as BUCKETHEAD was releasing multiple albums per year with his 17th overall solo offering THE ELEPHANT MAN'S ALARM CLOCK as the first of three for the year. Yet another album recorded in The Slaughterhouse with Dan Monti and Albert lending a hand in the production process as well as Del Rey Brewer contributing some of the songwriting of the all instrumental three quarters of an hour long plus experience. There are a few scant words uttered by Bootsy Collins. As any true BUCKETHEAD fan knows, there are a gazillion different styles of his playing ranging from the sappy slow and melodic resulting in utter gagdom all across the spectrum to the most convolutedly complex weirdness every recorded, at least on Earth. THE ELEPHANT MAN'S ALARM CLOCK has become one of the more popular albums in BH's early egg laying days for it fits on that wide spectrum somewhere in the middle of the extremes with highly accessible melodic approaches nestled in all of the avant-garde weirdness we've come to expect.

The combo effect of funk and metal has always proven to be a strong suit for Mr BH and there is plenty of both on this energetic release that provides ample amounts of head banging fury along with the expected avant-guitar solos while funk bass rules the roost for significant chunks of playing time and bandmate from Praxis in the form of Bootsy Collins even makes a cameo appearance on "Bird With A Hole In The Stomach" where he adds a monstrosity of a space bass solo at the end. An unusual feature for BH at this point anyway is the four part "Lurker At The Threshold" which is a dedication to H.P. Lovecraft. While it may sound like a prog behemoth in writing, all four tracks clock in under ten minutes and go through several BH styles such as slow and mellow melodic introducing features that slowly ratchet up the temp ladder with funk guitar, heavy distorted riffing and guitar solos.

The track "Droid Assembly" is worth mentioning as it has that classic detached groove that i could totally envision BH doing his famous dance to. The electronica based drum sound is followed by a series of angular avant-garde-isms that create a unifying factor of danceability while avant-prog guitars and bass lines flounder all over the place. The cutely named "Fizzy Lipton Drinks," a reference to the 1971 film "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" starts out with an industrial metal type of groove but quickly becomes one of those riff and solo numbers but also jumps into an avant-parade of strange riffs, grooves and guitar squealing as if a pig were sacrificed in the making of this production. Unfortunately the track ends with an annoying bout with silence before a *hidden track* appears. I hate these but was a very nought-y thing to do in the early years of the millennium. After enduring a forced period of meditation we finally get a total funkified only affair with Bootsy Collins making a return and BH adding some counterpoint guitar licks which goes on for a few minutes allowing the two to really get down and dirty.

THE ELEPHANT'S ALARM CLOCK is yet another excellent album in the early BH years when he was only getting started releasing multiple albums per year. While many tout this one as one of his absolute best, i find it a little repetitive at times and doesn't come close to the mind blowing diverse elements and avant-grooviness of album's like "Monsters And Robots." After all, "normal" is for mere bands that didn't obtain their strange and otherworldly powers in chicken coops. This album is nonetheless a great introductory work to BH's overall early works and a mandatory edition for those more into his less adventurous and more in tune with melodies and established rock and metal elements in music. It's certainly an excellent album even if it doesn't rank high in my own personal world but one thing IS for sure and that is that it is indeed a captivating listen throughout its entirety.

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 Live Blood by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Live, 2011
3.56 | 38 ratings

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Live Blood
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A live album to cap off the "Peter goes orchestral" project was inevitable, but that doesn't mean it was really necessary. In person, I bet this would have been a lot of fun (especially since this album was recorded a while before the release of New Blood), and maybe if he hadn't released New Blood I would find more novelty here than I do, but as is this pretty much just rehashes the other orchestral albums, and what few additions this album does provide are more mixed than I might have guessed. There is a rather lovely rendition of "The Drop" here, with very sparse orchestration, and "Biko" works decently enough in this context to deserve repeated listens. Sadly, though, "Signal to Noise," the one Gabriel number here to have featured an orchestral in its original context, falls surprisingly flat, simply because the lack of chanting turns out to leave a glaring hole, and the minimalist backing vocals from Ane Brun and Melanie Gabriel simply aren't strong or interesting enough to fill it (this is actually a more general problem on the album than just this song; I didn't mind them too much on New Blood, and actually liked Ane quite a bit there, but they both come across as pretty second-rate here, and there are times when Melanie barely even gets to that level).

I don't want to go nuts and pretend that large parts of this aren't enjoyable. Everything that worked on New Blood basically works here ("San Jacinto" ends up pretty rousing in this setting, as do "Red Rain" and "Mercy Street"), and I actually like the rendition of "The Boy in the Bubble" (preceded by a hilarious spoken introduction, in which Peter first comes clean that the process of getting other people to cover his songs hadn't gone quite like he'd hoped it would, and then mentions that, for "The Boy in the Bubble" he "stripped all the African blood out of it, and we're left with another miserable white man's song") here more than on Scratch my Back, and overall the list of included songs is pretty decent. And yet, 2 hours and 20 minutes is an awful lot of time to spend listening to something like this, where everything gets pounded into the same general template, and I say that as somebody whose tolerance for late-period live albums that function as compilations is quite high.

Also, surprise surprise, "Don't Give Up" is no better live with an orchestra than in studio with an orchestra, and it was no better in studio with an orchestra than it was originally. What a gross way to finish the "regular" performances (there's a rendition of "The Nest That Sailed the Sky" to close out, and while it's basically just the original version it leaves a better taste in my mouth than what came before it).

Honestly, if he had just removed the covers (except maybe "The Book of Love"), thrown away the orchestra, and released a live album with the same track listing as found here but with his regular band, I probably would have ended up enjoying it significantly more. As is, as great as so many of the songs here are in their essence, and as well as Peter's voice continues to hold up, I just can't feel much enthusiasm for this.

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 Предзакатный Взор на Земли Папируса by SENMUTH album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Предзакатный Взор на Земли Папируса
Senmuth Experimental/Post Metal

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars Senmuth is back to the ancient Egypt, 24 centuries BC under the 5th dinasty. The Papyrus of Abusir is the most ancient example of aministrative documents. So not an epic poem like Gilgamesh or any strange esotheric finding. It's not much different from what a modern finance manager would write.

But it describes some of the life 4500 years ago, and Senmuth tries to do it with the music.

It's a sort of dark new age. This time he avoids falling into what I think are his bigger weaknesses: unnecessary chord changes and sudden alternances of middle-eastern ethnic and metal. The tempo is lazy. It perfectly gives the idea of the hot desert, and it's like looking through the "fogs of time".

This is sometimes interrupted by strong percussion like on track 3, which title means "Inside the pyramid of Sahura", but they are just few exceptions. The following "The Solar Temple of Uskarraf" would appeal also the fans of progressive electronic.

Until it remains on this quet dark environment it's an excellent album. Even at the "Headless Pyramid of Menkaukhor" when the percussion are strong, the feeling doesn't change.

If in my past reviews I have blamed a bit the sudden passages between metal and dark ambient, in this album the metal is almost missing. I don't know what happened with the bees in Abu Rawash (track 7), but this short track is great if you like the genre.

An unusual, for Senmuth, melody brings a bit of rock into the abum. Not bad at this point. Not a masterpiece but it's a good rock break between the ambient tracks. By the way, it has more melody than the average Senmuth, I think Track 9 is more challenging: just one chord and percussion coming and going but it leads to track 10, which is inspired to the Pharaoh Sekenkhet. To fully enojiy the album, as often with Senmuth, you have to let your mind go back in time to the ancient Egypt.

The album is closed by another short-living pharaoh: Shepseskaf. This track gives the sense of a funeral and a burial into the pyramid.

Many may think that 4 stars are too much, but if you like Senmuth, this is a good album to start with.

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 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.12 | 17 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by gr8dane

4 stars Styx on a mission. What a nice surprise we got here.Styx making a concept album about the first manned mission to Mars. If you were not a fan of Styx before,I am sure this won't change your mind.But if like me, you were along for the ride in the 70ies,this is a fantastic album.For me the Equinox-Pieces of 8 were fantastic.(Also love the Wooden Nickel era.). There is only one pumping rocker like Miss America and Queen of Spades,the 2 minute scorcher Gone Gone Gone and no sappy ballads like Babe and such.Everything in between here and very well produced and sounding excellent. Harmonies galore,lots of guitars ,heavy drumming and great keys.The sound of Styx is alive and well.I am not going to do song for song here,there is always you-tube for sampling. I really hope they will play this whole album on tour.It's absolutely worth it. Welcome back boys.

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 The Blue Effect & The Jazz Q Prague: Coniunctio by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.64 | 63 ratings

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The Blue Effect & The Jazz Q Prague: Coniunctio
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

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

5 stars There were two great early prog rock bands that emerged in the former Czechoslavakia in the city of Prague, capital of the current Czech Republic. MODRY EFEKT (or Blue Effect) began merely as a blues rock band but displayed meagre progressive touches on their debut "Meditace (Kingdom Of Life)" whereas JAZZ Q PRAHA formed all the way back in the early 60s were predominantly inspired by the late 50s avant-garde jazz greats such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and the great Sun Ra. While MODRY EFEKT managed to release their debut album the same year, this collaborative effort between the two groups would be JAZZ Q PRAHA's debut appearance and the album had such an impact on both bands that it would forever steer their cross-pollination efforts into entirely unforeseen musical arenas. This album is unusual in many ways.

First of all only the first and last tracks are the only collaborative efforts that feature both bands playing together. The second track is a MODRY EFEKT only affair and the same goes for JAZZ Q performing the third. Secondly, this album came out all the way back in 1970 behind the Iron Curtain where almost every aspect of an artist's creative process was controlled by the state. It is an astounding miracle that these two bands could have created something this utterly wild and complex at this early stage of progressive rock's history when many of these tracks remind the listener of contemporary and future acts. Most likely this is because the album is entirely instrumental with no lyrics so censorship was unneeded since there are no references to politics. This music is insanely advanced and is one of those crazy complex prog albums that will require many jazz, prog and classical appreciation classes to master any intelligible understanding on much of the album's run.

The album is only 39 minutes and 45 seconds in length but the beginning track "Coniunctio I" swallows up 19 minutes and 15 seconds of its real estate. This is by far the most demanding track on the entire album as it begins with screeching saxes and erupting organs swirling around in a cacophonous din before it finally cools down into a bass driven groove with a 60s psychedelic rock vibe complete with echo effects and ghostly guitar licks. After a couple minutes or so it turns into a heavy rock sequence that offers a taste of heavy blues rock with a sizzling sax that spirals out of control into free jazz territory along with some kind of whistling noises and frenetic organ counterpoints. Wow! There's nothing i can think of from this period of prog history that matches the intensity of this track and were only about five minutes in which enters i swear a louder version of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" which ironically came out the same year only half a globe away (before the internet or even legal access to American music) as a bass groove chugs along and keyboards dance Voodoo rituals around the bass driven campfire. After seven minutes it erupts into a bluesy guitar rock frenzy as Radim Hladík delivers one of the most demanding guitar solos of the era. Even Jimmy Page or Hendrix didn't get this heavy. After eight minutes it changes abruptly to a pastoral symphonically embellished flute solo that slowly ratchets up the tension into a jazzified melody with an oscillating keyboard effect and some kind of bells. The mood remains placid and subdued for a while as a jazz bass line finally enters and eventually sounds more like hard bop but then a Thelonious Monk style piano run casually strolls into the picture and then goes plain nuts but finally at the 14 minute mark an ostinato bass line hypnotically entrances while a fluttery flute line plays over it but after a couple minutes it ventures into a segment that reminds me of that frenetic part of Pink Floyd's "Saucerful Of Secrets" before the organ solo part begins. This track is phenomenal! At this early stage it has everything prog all rolled up into one. It has symphonic aspects, psychedelia, dissonance, heaviness, pastoral segments, blues, jazz, classical. Wow! A masterpiece of the ages.

"Náv?těva u tety Markéty, vypití ?álku čaje" is performed only by MODRY EFEKT and along with the next track by JAZZ Q PRAHA provides a centrifuge effect that allows the listener to distinguish which elements of the first track were provided by each band. It also allows a break in the freneticism and over-the-top complexity with a significantly more light-hearted bluesy rocker in a psychedelic rock framework that utilizes a beautiful flute to weave a melody like a fluttering butterfly through the track's shorter six minute time run. If you are familiar with MODRY EFEKT's debut then you will realize that the blues rock, the melodies and the psychedelic parts of CONIUNCTIO are in their camp and this second track provides all of those musical elements and creates a beautiful flute dominated psychedelic rock track that also becomes heavy with guitar and soloing. In fact, it sounds a lot to me like many of those Focus tracks such as "Eruption" on their second album only with more erratic rocking parts.

"Asi půjdem se psem ven" is solely performed by JAZZ Q PRAHA and like the MODRY EFEKT track gives an insight into which aspects of CONIUNCTIO belong to the band's signature sound. This track is straight out of the jazz playbook which starts off somewhat straight forward but soon spirals out into avant-garde jazz heaven and reminds me a lot of some of the space jazz that Sun Ra & his Space Arkestra were pumping out in the mid to late 60s. The time signatures of each instrument all exist in their own musical world and the combo thereof results in a cacophonous din that apexes in a frenetic John Zorn type of saxophone frenzy a good decade or so before he was assaulting eardrums with his own similar style.

"Coniunctio II" continues the collaboration of the first track but is completely different. It begins with a sumptuous flute melody but is backed up by a jarring dissonant guitar counterpoint and quickly picks up and becomes a rather Hendrix-esque guitar jam type sound with a Tullish flute accompaniment and at this point is the most normal sounding track of the album. It remains jammy sounding but ratchets up the tempo, dynamics and finds more instruments joining in until it reaches a cacophonous crescendo but at the heart of it remains a bluesy rock jam despite all the horns whizzing away at light speed.

CONIUNCTO is one of my favorite albums ever to have emerged from the old Soviet dominated Eastern European block and it doesn't get any proggier or complex than this one. This album titillates not only in a musical sense as it simultaneously pleases and assaults the senses but is fascinating to experience such a great work from the "forbidden" part of the world where the likelihood of a prog masterpiece emerging was virtually nil and only mere months after King Crimson, East Of Eden, High Tide, Marsupilami and other British prog bands were getting started. This album also shows the strong promise of collaborative efforts. Often these sorts of projects end up becoming watered down but the two bands found the right dynamic synergy to push each other further, the results of which steered MODRY EFEKT's path more towards jazz and likewise JAZZ Q added more rock elements when they would finally release their debut three years later. This one is an absolute under the radar masterpiece. Be warned though that this is nearly a 10 on the progometer as it is dense, complex and often impenetrable especially when the JAZZ Q elements are on full steam. This album has all the elements of early prog rolled into one package. It's heavy at times, it's pastoral and symphonic at times, it's psychedelic, it's jazzy, it's bluesy. It can be highly melodic with happiness inducing hooks or it can be dismally frightening with dissonant avant-garde jazz outbursts. One of my faves.

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 Of Things And Beings by LOST WORLD BAND album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.72 | 10 ratings

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Of Things And Beings
Lost World Band Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars A band that has always had a gift for melody and beauty has now vaulted into the upper echelons of prog world with this release of complex, well-recorded and produced, symphonic prog. Whereas their sound was always a little unpolished and their songs a little too syrupy sweet, this one shows a significant leap in both sophistication and maturity. The new sound is like Mike Oldfield only better; Lost World has gone where we all wished (and thought) Mike would go (but didn't).

Line-up / Musicians: - Andy Didorenko / all guitars, violins, keyboards and vocal - Vassili Soloviev / flute - Konstantin Shtirlitz / drums - Alexander Akimov / percussion

1. "Shapes and Objects" (a symphonic creation with full orchestral support) I. "Random Objects in the Sun" (3:20) impressive dynamics. I find myself reminded of Mike Oldfield's Incantations only on a much more sophisticated level. The song just keeps getting better as it goes! Amazing instrumental appearances. (9.5/10) II. "Moving Dots" (3:15) the andante of this symphony--with vocals, flutes, acoustic guitars and orchestral contributions all helping with the syncopated weave. Then, half way through, it shifts into a smooth, upbeat orchestral piece. Awesome! (9.5/10) III. "Water Circles" (4:31) a kind of rondo with guitars, violins, and flutes trading the melody with orchestral percussion and drums helping out along the way. Incredible song. We are not worthy! Would that Mike Oldfield ever climbed to such heights! (10/10) IV. "Time Squares" (3:10) the dénouement and climax. Perfect! (9.5/10)

2. "When the Time is Still" (4:18) Gorgeous arrangement. (9.5/10)

3. "Death of Mr. Winter" (1:05) quirky and angular--a perfect foil for the previous songs. A lot like a JACK O' THE CLOCK song. (9/10)

4. "Intertwined" (3:30) an awesome multiple acoustic guitar étude--not unlike a WILLIAM ACKERMAN song, only on high doses of cafeine. Andy Didorenko on full display. (9/10)

5. "Of Things and Beings" (0:51) another quirky odd JACK O' THE CLOCK-like song with a heavily treated multiple tracked vocal. (9/10)

6. "Watchbird" (6:08) a full out, Chris Squire chunky bass prog en force. Not my favorite song or style of Andy's but it does display his ability to write and perform at a very high YES-like level of rock dynamism. The violin adds a true EDDIE JOBSON/UK-ness to the song. (Great drumming, Mr. Shtirlitz!) (9/10)

7. "Simple as" I. "One" (2:13) pastoral, hand percussion with flute and acoustic guitars. Amazing flute(s) and guitar(s) weave. Gorgeous! (10/10) II. "Two" (1:41) The feast continues! A little more up tempo this time. Like a Michel Legrand/Jean-Pierre Rampal/Alexandre LaGoya composition. Amazing! (10/10) III. "Three" (1:46) the third of the trilogy steps into a more metronomic (though off tempo) medieval troubadour feel and sound. Again, the jazzy sound of Legrand/Rampal/LaGoya is strongly brought to mind. (9/10)

8. "The Structure of Madness" (4:05) a return to heavier, electrified rock--this time of a style more akin to bands like MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, ELP, BRUFORD, URIAH HEEP, even RUSH. Wonderful performances by all instruments-- especially drums, electric guitars, and bass. A definite masterpiece of progressive rock by a certifiable master of musical composition and performance.(10/10)

9. "On Thin Ice" (3:33) treads into the almost-'pop' style and sound of previous albums like 2009's Sound Source and 2013's Solar Power. By has this band/musician matured! (8.5/10)

10. "Downpour "(3:12) aggressive violin, guitars and bass open this song before the drums enter full throttle to drive this one to crescendoed highs (with notable valleys of meek dynamics). Impressive but not memorable or even very likable. (8/10)

This is by far and away the best album Lost World has released and one of the best albums I've heard from this year. (Oops! I guess it was a late 2016 release!) Excellent sound recording and production throughout (which was a weakness of past recordings). And despite Andy's virtuosity, his flute player and drummer are both on an equal level!

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 Catalogue/Preserve/Amass by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Live, 2012
4.36 | 172 ratings

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Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I'm surprised there's no written reviews for this one yet. The music here is taken from the European tour for the "Grace For Drowning" tour, in particular this was recorded in October of 2011. I saw this same tour but in Toronto at The Opera House. When I went to that show I went with my daughter who is a huge fan and her husband who is a big Country music fan. He's a good sport though and I heard him saying "My God!" a few times while watching Marco Minneman and I have to say that his performance on the kit was the best I've seen live and I hate to say that being a big Neil Peart fan but man Marco blew me away. The whole show was incredible though and to get a taste of that again with this album has been very meaningful to me.

My two favourite Steven wilson albums are the first two which is what is represented here. There are two songs from "Insurgents" and the rest from "Grace For Drowning". Oh and just to emphasize how much I love these two albums I gave "Insurgents" album of the year in 2008 and "Grace For Drowning" was my album of the year for 2011. The album's title "Catalogue/Preserve/Amass" is taken from the chorus for the song "Index".

"No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun" has a sinister vibe early on with the bass and drums as the electric piano joins in. Some nice guitar expressions follow then flute. It kicks in hard at 5 1/2 minutes. So good! A calm with vocals follows then it kicks back in but with vocals this time. Incredible! Love the mellotron section that follows along with the piano.

"Index" is that creepy song about the collector. Fairly relaxed overall but check out the brief power before 2 minutes. "Deform To Form A Star" is one of my favourite Wilson songs of all time. Just a gorgeous track, especially the chorus with the mellotron and soaring vocals. This one got stuck in my head at work this past week many times.

"Sectarian" opens with drums and some cool guitar expressions before the heaviness arrives. Check out the sax and mellotron after 2 minutes. A change around 4 minutes with electric piano, drums and bass leading the way, oh and check out the mellotron as well. Back to the heaviness after 6 minutes. "No Part Of Me" opens with drums, keys and atmosphere as almost spoken vocals join in before 2 minutes. Nice bass before 3 1/2 minutes then it kicks in heavily with riffs. "Veneno Para Las Hadas" is slow moving with plenty of atmosphere as laid back vocals join in. Flute 3 minutes in as the vocals step aside until after 4 minutes when they return. This one is laid back and melancholic.

"Raider II" ends it and as Steven says while introducing it, it is the centre-piece of the new album. He goes on to say that it's long(25 minutes) and complicated so silence please. Ominous is the word to start but man I like when it kicks into gear with mellotron before 3 minutes. Vocals join in and they do get passionate. I like the flute playing over the heaviness. A calm follows that I really like then we pretty much get Prog-Metal after 8 minutes. A sax solo before 10 minutes as it settles back. The heaviness returns 11 1/2 minutes in before another atmospheric calm a minute later. More flute then vocals. It's building 17 1/2 minutes in as the vocals step aside. Some crazy sax expressions after 19 minutes then a big finish except it's not over despite the roar from the audience 21 minutes in thinking it is. It ends in an ominous manner just like it began.

Great sound quality, great track list and an amazing performance by all involved makes this a 5 star album and one of my favourite live albums period.

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 Les Châteaux de la Loire by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 25 ratings

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Les Châteaux de la Loire
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ellesmere is mainly the brainchild of Roberto Vitelli, bass and guitar player from the Roman prog band Taproban. In 2014 he gathered around him some prestigious guest musicians to play his compositions and in 2015 released an interesting debut album on AMS Records. It's entitled Les Ch'teaux de la Loire and it's a charming work where acoustic, pastoral atmospheres prevail. The line up features Roberto Vitelli (Takamine 6 strings classic, Eko Ranger 12 strings, Fender "Geddy Lee" jazz bass, Fender Stratocaster, E-Bow, Moog Taurus III), John Hackett (flute), Anthony Phillips (narrative vocals), Daniele Pomo (drums, percussions), Luciano Regoli (vocals), Giulia Nuti (violin, viola), Pietro Horvath (cello), Linda Giuntini (horn), Fabio Bonuglia (Mellotron M 400, Moog Model D, keyboards), Paolo Carnelli (electric piano, keyboards, acoustic piano), Danilo Mintrone (strings arrangement) and Dario Esposito (drums).

The main course of the album is the title track, a wonderful, dreamy thirty-eight minute suite divided into eleven parts. It was inspired to Roberto Vitelli by a holiday he spent in France and starts with the narrative vocals provided by former Genesis member Anthony Phillips who reads some verses taken from Lines Written On Visiting The Ch'teaux On The Loire, a poem by Alfred Austin. Just close your eyes and let the music flow and show you some pondering pictures of the vast panorama of the past... In fact, the Loire Valley is studded with over a thousand ch'teaux, each with distinct architectural characteristics covering a wide range of variations, from the early medieval to the late Renaissance periods. Some sections of the suite are dedicated to some specific castles, amazing monuments of heart and mind such as Sully-sur-Loire, Meung-sur-Loire, Blois, Chambord and Chaumont-sur-Loire while the other sections mark the passages from one place to another as thoughts and feelings get mixed in an intermittent dream, cradled by the river waters. No need for words: except the narrative vocals that open and close the suite there are no lyrics and even the beautiful voice of Luciano Regoli is used here just as an instrument to add colours and emotions. By the way, Luciano Regoli (singer from Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno, Samadhi, DGM) is also a talented painter and took charge of the wonderful art cover that probably depicts the atmosphere of this album better than all my words...

The last two pieces are credited as bonus tracks but they are not fillers at all. The mysterious, dark "The Ancient Samovar" tells in music and words about the almost magic power of an ancient samovar, a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia as well as in other countries. Thanks to the thaumaturgic properties of its tea you can relax even in a silent, troubled night, waiting for the sun with a renewed feeling of hope... The closer "Wintry Afternoon" is a beautiful, melancholic instrumental track with the notes of an acoustic piano in the forefront the the sound of the wind in the background.

On the whole, a very good album!

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 Il-lūdĕre by TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE, IL album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.79 | 29 ratings

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Il-lūdĕre
Il Tempio delle Clessidre Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars I was quite a fan of this Italian progressive rock band's previous album, 'alieNatura', which was released in 2013: this was their second release, but the first with singer Francesco Ciapic. Again, there has been a change in membership between albums, as drummer Paolo Tixi has been replaced by Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, White Willow, Necromonkey), while Anna Holmgren (also of Änglagård) adds her delicate flute to one number. This is a progressive rock album that is dominated by the vocals, and to my ears it works incredibly well. Musically this has a lot in common with the early Seventies progressive rock and hard rock scene, and the use of a strong singer in the hard rock style certainly provides this music with some additional edge. Which is sadly often missing from the progressive scene.

Too many bands seem to forget the "rock" section of "progressive rock", and they can concentrate too much on keyboards and delicacy, but here ITDC are using plenty of dynamics, with light and shade emphasising both areas. But, these guys are still first and foremost a progressive band, it's just that they are refusing to be bound by what many feel is the sort of music that should be coming out of the RPI scene. I really enjoy Francesco's singing style, as his vocals carry emotion and although he can sing higher when he wishes to, he generally stays in the lower registers and this allows emotion to really shine through.

My one regret is that I don't understand Italian, so have no idea at all what he is singing about, but feel that if this had been in English then it would have diminished it somewhat. Yet again this is an incredibly strong release from Black Widow, and well worth investigating.

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 Only Time Will Tell by ASIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
3.14 | 5 ratings

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Only Time Will Tell
Asia Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A single from 1982 from which I read a review in a newspaper in the same year. If I remember well, the reviewer liked the "Asia" album a lot (the same as me) that he also bought this single because it had in the Side 2 a song ("Ride Easy") which wasn't included in the "Asia" album. I also looked for this single in some record shops in my city...without success because maybe it was an imported copy and it wasn't released in my country! (a thing that I never really knew). Anyway, it was until I bought the "Asia Gold" (2005) 2 CDs compilation in late 2008 that I finally listened to "Ride Easy" in its studio version.

Well. This single has in the Side 1 a song from the "Asia" album called "Only Time Will Tell", composed by John Wetton and Geoff Downes. It is really a Ballad with very good arrangements, particularly with very good guitar arrangements and playing by Steve Howe.This song was successful and had some radio playing in some radio stations in my city. It even was used in a TV ad some time later. It is really a more Pop Rock song with very few Prog Rock influences. That was a thing which made some Prog Rock fans "hate" this band. It wasn't my case.

In the Side 2, there is "Ride Easy", composed by John Wetton and Steve Howe. It is another Pop Rock song from this band with some Prog Rock influences. Maybe the most Prog Rock influences in this band came from Howe's songwriting contributions and guitar playing. Before the band played this song in concert, Wetton introduced the song to the audiences, with him saying that this song was one of his favorites and that it was one of the first songs that Howe and him wrote for the band. I don't know why this song was finally destined to be in the Side 2 of this single. It is a very good song.

If I remember well I bought the "Asia" album on LP in mid June 1982... thirty five years ago. It still brings good memories to me.

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 Heroes by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Heroes
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by LastSonOfGallifrey

4 stars Since this is my first review for Progarchives, I'll keep it short and sweet. I really like the newest line-up of King Crimson, and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've heard from them. This latest EP includes a handful of tracks that we have heard from this line-up before, as well as a terrific tribute to the late David Bowie on the title track. Since Mr. Fripp played on the original "Heroes", I've always thought it very appropriate that he would, from time to time, have KC perform this song in concert. I quite liked the version from the Heavy ConstruKction box set, but I feel that this version is even better. While I love Adrian Belew in and out of KC, I never felt that he was quite right for any of the material that was not a part of the albums he was recorded with them. His sometimes nasal vocals did not, I felt, fit into 21st Century Schizoid man, and they weren't a perfect fit for "Heroes" either. I think that Jakko truly outdid himself on this new version of "Heroes", and would highly recommend this EP for Crimson and Bowie fans everywhere.

I docked it a star for the unfortunate edit on Starless.

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 Out Of The Blue by MACKENZIE THEORY album cover Live, 1973
3.31 | 17 ratings

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Out Of The Blue
MacKenzie Theory Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MACKENZIE THEORY was the project of one Rob MacKenzie, guitarist extraordinaire. They were an Australian band and they released two albums back in the day. This record "Out Of The Blue" was released in 1973 and recorded live in studio before a small audience. We get a smattering of applause after each song. It's an all instrumental affair with the guitar and electric viola dominating the sound. The viola is played by classically trained Cleis Pearce and man she can shred. They sound like a cross between MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and the DIXIE DREGS. The guitar is complex and often sounds like an acoustic guitar to my ears. With that sound of viola and guitar usually taking turns leading the way this comes across as kind of one dimensional to my ears. I was hoping after many, many spins I would feel different but I don't.

"Extra Terrestrial Boogie" opens with guitar, bass and drums and there's almost a reggae vibe at first but it's brief. Viola comes in over the top and here we go. It settles before 5 minutes then it kicks back in hard quickly with a faster tempo. "O" has some outbursts with viola helping out before it calms right down with some strummed guitar. Viola to the fore after 3 minutes as it builds.The guitar starts to solo after 5 minutes but it will trade off with the viola.

"Opening Number" has some interesting guitar work, complex is the word as the drums and bass help out. Viola's turn before 3 minutes and check out the fast paced and fluid sound of the viola 6 minutes in. "New Song" is my favourite although the bonus track of this song done live tops it. Some viola expressions only to start then guitar and a full sound after 1 1/2 minutes. The viola is back after 2 minutes as the rest of the band continue. Some outbursts around 3 1/2 minutes followed by a calm with picked and strummed guitar. I like the viola 7 minutes in, my favourite section including the bass and drum work. The guitar and depth of sound impresses before 9 minutes.

"Out Of The Blue" has this faint sounding guitar intro that is blown away a minute in by a full sound and a faster tempo. Contrasts continue. Some ripping viola and guitar on this one. "World's The Way" is brighter sounding as we get this uptempo and catchy sound. A calm a minute in with picked and strummed guitar. Nice. The tempo shifts often as the guitar and viola take turns leading the way. A great way to end the album.

Despite many spins this just doesn't click with me. Yes it's an impressive performance by all involved but I'm just not warming up to it. I don't find this very jazzy either, just my opinion. Check it out though if you like hear some top notch playing.

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 Reflections On The Future by TWENTY SIXTY SIX AND THEN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.31 | 79 ratings

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Reflections On The Future
Twenty Sixty Six And Then Heavy Prog

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

5 stars So you kind of dig those early hard-rocking so-called "proto-prog" bands but don't think they musically explore enough, or you love the early works of the classic Symphonic Prog bands but wish they had a bit more hair on their chest and weren't afraid to make a bit more noise? Then German band Twenty Sixty-Six and Then and their English language debut album `Reflections on the Future' from 1972 might be just what you're after, a Mellotron and Hammond-dominated rocker that incorporates traces of early Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator to their crossover of late Sixties/early Seventies rock sounds, plus a touch of Beggars' Opera and Nektar with traces of psychedelic and space rock explorations also worked into their punchy fuzzy tunes.

`At my Home' is a fairly typical `proto-prog' up-tempo and relentless rocker, all Gagey Mrozeck's wild snarling electric guitar, Veit Marvos and Steve Robinson's Hammond organ (both are credited to keyboards throughout) , Dieter Bauer's mud-thick bass, Konstatin Bommarius's thrashing drums and a confident, raucous vocal from Geff Harrison (who is actually English, and would later be involved with other German prog-related groups such as Tritonus and King Ping Meh). It's a reliable and addictive opener that Atomic Rooster and Deep Purple fans are sure to love, but the best is yet to come!

`Autumn' holds a dreamy introduction of electric piano tiptoes and Mellotron wisps that rise into grand symphonic veils over humming Hammond organ. It kicks to life with chugging guitars full of bite and reveals a heavy symphonic piece full of frantic little bursts, and listen to the way Harrison emulates Peter Gabriel's raspy croon in the final minutes! Retaining a trace of flighty hippie-rock to its fantastical lyric, `Butterking' constantly bombards the listener with booming Mellotron blasts, instantly reminding of the heavier moments of Van der Graaf Generator, and there's plenty of lengthy passages of runaway piano soloing, sillier vocal spots that again invoke Peter Gabriel and frantic organ pomp and whimsy backed by boisterous rumbles of drums to remind of `Trespass' era Genesis.

The flip-side's almost seventeen minute title track `Reflections on the Future' is mostly a free- wheeling Beggars Opera-like fancy and prancing vocal/organ tune that gets attacked with a throat shredding lead vocal and long bouts of histrionic guitar wailing, but it eventually drifts into ambling deep-space freeform sonic explorations ala early Pink Floyd or Nektar's `Journey to the Center of the Eye' debut. Finally, drenched in scratchy Mellotron and glorious piano, short closer `How do you Feel' both vocally and musically reminds of the stately Van der Graaf Generator and Genesis moments with its murky regal dignity, instantly calling to mind both Peter Hammill's overwrought drama and Peter Gabriel's wounded melancholic wail, and the chorus could have easily fit on the first few Genesis albums.

Despite additional recordings to what ended up on the LP (some of the bonus tracks here hint at a strong E.L.P/The Nice/Triumvirat-like bombastic dexterity), the band would sadly split up mere months after its release, leaving behind only this first-rate work that's in desperate need of some belated extra attention! If the above described mix of Sixties/Seventies sounds and proto/symphonic styles sounds enticing, then there's no higher recommendation than `Reflections on the Future', something of a lost classic from the vintage prog period.

Five stars.

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 Dark Side Of The Moon by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.60 | 3821 ratings

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Dark Side Of The Moon
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by hi_t_moonweed

5 stars With a squillion and one reviews here, anyone who hasn't heard this album will by now have a pretty good idea of Dark Side of the Moon. Every now and then I will pull out a random album and listen to it in its entirety. Oddly enough DSOTM was my last random. My take on the album is that is like a classic car. There are battle scars from years of use and it is a little frayed around the edges. You immediately forget all that when you see it still has the classic lines and oh such a sweet ride. This is an album that if you do appreciate good music (of any genre) it would not be a waste of time to at least give it one complete listen. Personally this is a favourite album of mine and can easily be considered an essential acquisition, as such I have no problem with giving it 4.5 stars which I will upgrade to 5 as it is almost a masterpiece.

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 Four Of A Kind by GOBLIN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 37 ratings

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Four Of A Kind
Goblin Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

There is no doubt in my mind, and nor in many other's I would imagine, that Goblin are the finest progressive rock bands ever to come out of Italy. Their 1977 soundtrack to the cult horror 'Suspiria' is an amazing album, and I was lucky enough to see a version of the band play live in front of a showing of the film in Auckland a few years ago. But there's the problem, their history has been a little problematic, and in 2015 there were two different versions of the bands doing the rounds. I am a little unsure if this is a Goblin album, or a 4Goblin album, as it doesn't appear on the discography of their official website, and a '4' appears inside the capital 'G' on all places, and not long before this album came out in 2015 there was a band called New Goblin. In addition, Claudio Simonetti also has a version of Goblin, but he is the only member of the 'Suspiria' quartet missing from this line-up, his place taken by Maurizio Guarini who joined the band in 2003.

Originally released by Backtothefudda in 2015, Black Widow have pulled out the stops with this release as there is a booklet, slip sleeve, and even four playing card aces featuring cartoons of the musicians. But, it is easy to see why, as here is a band that may have left the scene for quite a few years in this career, but they are back with an absolute vengeance. The production is spot on, which allows each of the musicians to really shine on this instrumental album. It shouts class from the first note to the very last, and it is incredible to realise that this band was formed more than forty years ago yet is still producing music that is important and relevant today. Massimo Morante has the same delicate touch on guitar as always, and this brings the music together in a fashion that allows the others to create space and depth throughout. This is yet another Goblin classic to add to their canon, and I hope that I manage to catch these guys in concert again. Superb.

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 Kicking the Olive Branch by ELEGANT SIMPLICITY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 6 ratings

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Kicking the Olive Branch
Elegant Simplicity Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars have known Steven for more than twenty years now, from back in the days when he was releasing cassettes (which I still have!), and for the clear majority of that time he has basically been a solo artist, adding the odd musician or singer as the need arises. I have always been a fan, so when he said to me that he thought it might just be his best work yet. I was intrigued. Certainly, what I didn't expect was the most complete band effort of his career to date. 'Timely Reminder' opens the album, with the sax of Nathan Madsen keeping track with Steven's guitar, which immediately made me think of Blodwyn Pig. Then after only a few bars the music was moving and changing, going into new areas, returning to themes and then off again.

The next song contained real flute, care of Noam Goldstein, and by now I realised that I was listening to something quite special. Back in the day, Steven would have created all these sounds using keyboards, but here he has brought together a group of skilled musicians that is lifting his music to a whole new level. Although he has used singers in the past, most notably Ken Senior of Evolution, this is an instrumental album and I think Steven is right in what he said. In 2017, after more than twenty full-length releases, he has produced his finest and most complete work to date. I have been playing it a great deal, and the only major fault with this fifty-two-minute long album is that it is just too short (and hence contains just the one epic, the title cut which breaks the twenty-minute barrier).

Steven has been putting out quality albums for a long time now, but now could not be a better time to discover his music, as this is superb from the very first note to the last.

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 Afterglow by WOBBLER album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.80 | 229 ratings

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Afterglow
Wobbler Symphonic Prog

Review by skog_prog

5 stars Now don't think I am biased based on my Wobbler profile pic! It is because of this album that Wobbler rose to become my favorite band. "The Haywain"- A stellar opening to the album. A refreshing medieval style piece with recorder. More to come later in the album! Short piece but doesn't lack beauty.

"Imperial Winter White"- An epic! This song covers a lot of ground in 15 minutes. This is the only track on the album with vocals and there aren't a whole lot. Now I have seen reviews saying the singer (Tony Johannessen) is a weak point but I disagree completely! His theatrical vocals tie together this epic track!

"Interlude" - An absolutely beautiful classical guitar piece! You feel as if Morten Eriksen (Wobbler's guitarist) is playing in the room with you! You can hear his fingers slide across the strings. You can really feel the emotion in this song as well as the rest of the album.

"In Taberna" - Another epic! Another track that covers a range of sounds both soft and melodic and harsh and unsettling. It starts off aggressive and loud. The medieval lull in the middle of the song is powerful and really creates an amazing mood for the rest of the song.

"Armoury" - Ending in similar fashion to the way it started. A brief medieval piece with recorder, crumhorn, and organ. Another memorable song that really closes out the album well.

Overall: I believe this to be Wobbler's best album so far (there others are great too :)). The fact that it was written when they were only teenagers makes it all the more impressive! If you like Anglagard or Gryphon you will like this album.

Cons of this album: Too short!!!! :D

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 Hoping Against Hope by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 34 ratings

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Hoping Against Hope
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by cirrusbay

5 stars I really don't have the words for how well crafted and amazing this album is. Full of strange beauty and subtle intricacies, this is an album to listen to loud, at night, when you can focus on every note and allow yourself to be completely captivated. Every note seems perfectly placed, and whereas fast runs are usually found in solos, here they are found in subtle and almost delicate, yet intense forays of composition, which to my ears is a much more effective and appealing way to demonstrate one's chops. But chops are not really what this is about. I have to apologize, I so rarely write a review, and don't want to bungle it up with repetitive adjectives, but don't know how else to explain this. This album, furthering the sound of their previous album, is in a world of its own. I know of nothing else out there that sounds quite like this. A touch of King Crimson, yes, but only a touch. I tend to think, how can one listen and not be blown away, but in a world we have to hope against hope in, for many reasons, I think it will be truly appreciated only by the relative few. Too bad. This deserves so much more. Even among the prog communities.

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 Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.92 | 476 ratings

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Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot
Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by hi_t_moonweed

4 stars Funnily enough I managed to acquire this album in late 1973. I "found" it in a local record store while working in a small country town. As the cover suggests it is not most straight laced album or band on the planet and the store owners were as pleased to offload it as I was to buy it. This album was my first encounter with Gong and the band has never disappointed. TFTP is a very interesting album as there is as much going on, on the vinyl as there is on the gate fold (but that is another story). Every listener has their own tastes and opinions which is why albums like this one are not easy to review. Personally I very much enjoy this album, as it is light-hearted as well as musically sound as easy to digest. If you don't take the content too seriously, you may actually enjoy the journey to planet GonG. I am, you are, we are-crazy-.

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 Images And Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2622 ratings

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Images And Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars LET THE LIGHTS SURROUND YOU: 10/10

DREAM THEATER harbor unparalleled potential with spectacular musicians such as Kevin Moore, John Petrucci, and John Myung, whose skills were visible since their debut WHEN DREAMS AND DAY UNITE but uncanny chains were holding them back from releasing their full potential. Finally freed, they translate their potentiality into IMAGES AND WORDS. This record, in particular, is their most accessible, friendly, cheerful and exciting. It's a great introductory tool for metal fans who wishes to embark upon prog. Not to mention its importance to kickstart even harder the prog metal scene, which now reigns supreme.

This album particularly holds a special place in my heart because I was introduced to prog through them and I have fond memories of listening to it. The wonderful amazement it was to first discover prog and a delightful trip I took with one of my most dearest people are two things that come to mind. The excitement and ecstasy of listening to Under a Glass Moon's solo while she slept aside me, after the amazing tour we had... oh, memories.

Their music is highly complex, but in the same time, simplified. It's easy to listen, easy to understand, but upon thorough inspection, a level of intricacy can be found. This, as preliminary material, is efficient. We can't forget, either, the enjoyment it propitiates - their joyful lightheartedness is hard not to get emotionally attached to.

Many of DT's great pieces are here: Under a Glass Moon, with a superb solo by John Petrucci (actually, 'superb' and 'John Petrucci' together makes an oxymoron); Surrounded, with an EVEN MORE superb and also reverberated, soulful solo; Metropolis Pt. 1 which preluded one of prog's most acclaimed albums and features a highly eclectic solo section - including Myung's tapping; Take the Time, the apex of James LaBrie's performance on the album; and the spectacular Pull me Under. Critics like to call it popular but not really that good and I disagree vehemently. It's no different from most other tracks: enjoyable. Deeply.

Two more important highlights that anyone who wants to listen to IMAGE AND WORDS must know: the first is that the songs are generally divided into introduction, verse and chorus, an absurdly long but ultimately pinnacling solo (I'm telling you: these guys KNEW their best stuff was the soloing and they really put their soul into it), verse and chorus again and short outro; the second, is that James LaBrie's vocals - highly criticized, most of the times deserved - fits stupendously. If it was any other, any more or less qualified vocalist, it just wouldn't be the same.

This "review" was mostly a heartfelt praise of one of my favorite and dearest albums of all time, there isn't much new stuff to say about the album which has almost three hundred reviews. If you didn't listen to it yet, damn dude, just do it.

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 Colours by ELOY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.71 | 380 ratings

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Colours
Eloy Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by fenman

4 stars This is where I began with Eloy, finding a second hand vinyl in a record shop in Gilligate, York. I'd never heard of them before, but took a chance. It remains one of my favourite Eloy albums and, for anyone new to the band, the one I'd recommend to start with. Much more focussed than their space rock beginnings, less techno than some of their 1980's work. Their influences were becoming less obvious and the sound more their own. Though I enjoy their earlier albums, I find some of those tracks a bit too long and the lyrics less mature than here. The concept pair of albums, Planets and Time To Turn, followed Colours and follow the course found in this work. All the EMI albums were reissued (with bonus tracks) a few years ago in what was one of the most successful remastering campaigns ever - they sound glorious.

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 Where Words Do Not Reach by OHO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Where Words Do Not Reach
Oho RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

4 stars Three albums in 40 years (one still to be added to the site). Thos old chaps are very skilled and the fact that they can do "Avantgarde" at their age is really significant. Anyway, when they released their first album there wasn't a clear distinction between subgenres, and probably there's not one even today.

But this means that 40 years of material written and collected for this 2015 release aren't limited by labels. In the album there is sme avant noise, but also a track like "Nazi Dog Jam" which is very reminding of the early Pink Floyd (Ummagumma/Meddle period). There's a sort of catchy Calypso on "House Party" and "I Could Not See Until I Opened My Eyes", and all extremely well played and arranged, even when it's clearly a long bluesy jam. The short "Peradam" could be added to a newage compilation, "Aubrey Circle Dance" has some funky.

So there's a lot of everything and this album is surely worth to be carefully listened. The mixture of "easy" and "challenging" tracks, well...not too much challenging really, can make it result a bit "disconnected", but this is the effect of having recorded material coming from different period in over 40 years.

This is a band that would have deserved a bit of success. I don't know what the band members have done out of those three albums. There's no track of other recordings or collaborations with other artists, at least for what I know. Anyway this is a very good album which can0t have from me less than 4 PA stars

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