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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
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PROG ARCHIVES intends to be the most complete and powerful progressive rock resource. You can find the progressive rock music discographies from 10,001 bands & artists, 53,600 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,427,593 ratings and reviews from 58,670 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
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Last 50 reviews
 Abacab by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.57 | 1121 ratings

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Abacab
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This is the album where the band decided to go with a different sound with producer Hugh Padgham who wanted a bigger drum sound. The influence of Phil Collins is becoming more important bringing his past solo experience with "Face Value". It did not have a success among the critics and some old fans of Genesis. "Abacab", "Dodo/Lurker", "Keep it Dark" are solid tracks and "Me and Sarah Jane" show a return to some music complexity of the past. "Who Dunnit" is a strange and funny song that came from an experimentation of Tony Banks with his synths. For the rest of the songs that have a more simple structure, i still enjoy listening to them after many years. "No Reply At All" with the addition of horns is typical of a song from Phil Collins solo material. "Another Record" is maybe the weakest track of this album.

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 Fantastic Party by STAFF CARPENBORG AND THE ELECTRIC CORONA album cover Studio Album, 1970
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Fantastic Party
Staff Carpenborg And The Electric Corona Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
5 stars Well, this is one of the most obscure releases I know from the German music history in general. The front cover of the original Maritim vinyl release shows some young (futuristically) fashioned people, and promises the ultimate dance album provided for some hot hours. Okay, I was 14 at that time, this might have been an interesting item for my parents though. But hey, they would have been appalled for sure after buying this by accident. While, for example, expecting a common song collection interpreted by the James Last Orchestra or similar. The credits for all tracks are going to somebody named Paul Bucher, and, to make the mystery perfect, using the alias Carpenborg on top of it. But who is really responsible for that?

Unfortunately, concerning this issue, there is nothing substantial given. A lot of rumours are circulating moreover. Consequently it's nearly impossible to keep my nose out, not to speculate, when listening to this. No chance. Is this a remnant or follow-up of the film music recordings for the German sci-fi series Raumpatrouille Orion? Otherwise, for example I possibly could give Achim Reichel and some like-minded friends credit for that, this prior to the A. R. & Machines phase. Or maybe it happened in the following way. Studio musicians sometimes feel limited, uninspired, when playing pre-confirmed stuff over and over again. Just imagine some jazz orchestra members experimenting during a period of time, challenged by upcoming krautrock bands like Can, Organisation, Amon Düül 2 ...

... this probably within several breaks between recording sessions, the brass division having breakfast, dinner or finishing time. Presumably at least they themselves had a fantastic party on every occasion. Whatever, for me this does not appear solely intuitively played, moreover organized due to some pre-conditions. Prepared by the aforementioned so-called Paul Bucher, or Staff Carpenborg if you will. Prolific jazz educated musicians are at work here it seems, just breaking all chains. The result sounds like proto kraut somehow. Not simple or aimless noodling at all, but it's weird, still today. A mystical virtuoso affair by all means. Besides some quirky vocals the involved instruments are bass, contrabass, organ, guitar, drums, percussion, flute and tambourine, what I can hear.

So at first, obviously a mock fight, they are leading the listener on a wrong track with the famous riff taken from Beethoven's 5th symphony. What follows is completely different anyhow, and not easy to describe. A monotonic, tambourine caused beat is backing lively organ and guitar, this decorated with some effects. Initiated by percussion generated machine gun fire The Every Days Way Down To The Suburbs now shows bass and drums in a very cheerful mood, a male singer is somewhat improvising in a whacked out manner moreover. Wow! Let The Thing Comin' Up soley could be played in this way due to some mind-expanding substances, I'm sure. And we're not missing a (proper?) blues song too regarding this P.A.R.T.Y.

Shummy Poor Clessford Idea In Troody Taprest Noodles by the way is part of the famous unofficial Blumenkraft compilation 'Kraut! Demons! Kraut!' Overall this is definitely a more krautish curiosity than 'The Vampires Of Dartmore', priorly produced by Schlager and jazz music composer Horst Ackermann and Heribert Thusek. I will repeat myself now, prolific musicians are involved. What an unique attitude! I have been listening to this over and over again, completely puzzled to this day! You may find the rare vinyl gem somewhere, but it doesn't come cheaply. The CD reissue is still available too, alternatively the songs are part of a compilation issued on Gear Fab Records.

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 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.92 | 24 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars DJAM KARET have been making music for some 35 years or so. They really deserve some lifetime achievement award for being so consistent with their releases over that time, and yes a ton of great music. I think 5 years is the longest gap between studio albums over that time. "Sonic Celluloid" is a fairly ambient album overall with a significant amount of electronics and mellotron. Mellotron-flute seems to be the go-to sound when it comes to the mellotron. This is headphone music people! There's so much going on when you really listen to this album though, I'm very impressed.

"Saul Says So" opens with atmosphere, and get used to it(haha). Yes a spacey intro with electronics and eventually sequencers surprisingly around 1 1/2 minutes. Keys follow as that spacey atmosphere continues. Drums and bass after 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. Guitar a minute later and check out the bass 4 minutes in. Some excellent sounding mellotron in this one as well.

"Forced Perspective" opens with a beat, bass, guitar and synths. The guitar does come to the fore in a tasteful manner and then the sound turns fuller after 2 minutes but it settles back again quickly. "Long Shot" is dark and spacey to start as a sample of spoken words and static arrive. An electronic melody arrives and continues after the sample ends. Mellotron follows and what a majestic sound after 2 minutes. So good! Drums after 2 1/2 minutes and I like the organ before 3 minutes as electronics continue. It kicks into gear with some nice guitar but not for long.

"No Narration Needed" opens with mellotron as a horn blasts. This is spacey with background sounds. The guitar starts to make some noise. Nice. A change 3 minutes in as a solo bass line takes over then the mellotron returns. Picked guitar will eventually take over in atmosphere. "Numerous Mechanical Circles" has a spacey beginning as the mellotron rolls in along with some spoken words and nature sounds.

"Oceanside Exterior" is laid back and melancholic. This sounds really good especially when the sounds of the ocean arrive. One of my favourites. "Au Revoir Au Reve" opens with atmosphere and a beat. Sounds like vocal melodies of the female variety before 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar a minute later.

"Flashback" is mellow with intricate sounds and guitar. "Lower" features sounds that drift as some sparse piano comes and goes. Suddenly background voices can be heard and the build to a crescendo. "The Denouncement Device" ends it on a high. Intricate guitar, bass and atmosphere early. Love that bass in that spacey atmosphere. Mellotron-flute before 2 minutes and later after 3 minutes. It turns powerful with guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. Nice!

Another quality release from these Californians. What a discography though, such an impressive band and it's so cool that in 2017 they continue to impress. A solid 4 stars.

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 Sand by MONARCH TRAIL album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.46 | 26 ratings

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Sand
Monarch Trail Neo-Prog

Review by Second Endeavour

5 stars Monarch Trail continue their forward momentum as they've just released a sophomore album 'Sand' which is quite tremendous in its effect. Combining the best elements of their debut release and using potion of inventive extract, MT seek to take us back to the Glory Days of the 1970's. Once again, the core personalities (Ken Baird - keyboards & lead vocals, Dino Verginella - bass, Chris Lamont - drums) enlisted the support from the guest guitarists (John Mamone, Kelly Kereliuk, Steve Cochrane) who append some hues and textures to the signature style. Here and there, the floating synth lines embrace the mode of Tony Banks with deliberate nods to Rick Wakeman. Whereas the flamboyant keyboards are accompanied by splendid guitar passages, skillful rhythmic changes and engaging soundscapes evoke a delectable retro feel, the general approach is sweetened by attractive singing from Ken Baird. To a certain extent, the vocal performance makes me think of Alan Parsons Project and Barclay James Harvest. As a whole, the second Monarch Trail offer is a superb mix of exciting instrumental pieces ('Station Theme', Charlie's Kitchen', 'Another Silent World') and gorgeous vocal tracks ('First Thoughts', 'Back To The Start', 'Missing', 'Sand'). The musical content is very rich with melodism that holds your attention all the way through. Entering gently into a magical venture, the anterior cut sets the stage for following material. Yes, it may be a cliche to say so, but the final composition, 24+ min. epic, sums up all the ingredients, showcasing how versatile this Canadian group can be within a symphonic prog rock multi-movement. Indeed, a great choice to complete the consistent album. The bottom line: buying a CD 'Sand' guarantees you're in for something special. RECOMMENDED!

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 Kobe - Reconstructions by AMON DÜÜL II album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.42 | 15 ratings

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Kobe - Reconstructions
Amon Düül II Krautrock

Review by Lewian

3 stars What we have here is something pieced together from old Amon Düül II recordings of the time of Yeti and Tanz der Lemminge together with some material that was unpublished before "Kobe". This is structured into tracks but essentially it is one long virtual jam session. I think it was for charity at the time, after the Kobe earthquake, and released only in Japan, so surely this is not a regular AD II album. As with its "Eternal Flashback" sister album, I'm actually not sure who put this together and to what extent there was creative input at the time of publication by the band themselves.

Different from "Eternal Flashback", this one is almost purely instrumental (there is the odd choir sample singing apparently a lullaby, which also ends the album) and relies in several places heavily on drum loops, which provide the spine for an otherwise very psychedelic experience. It's very repetitive in places, but despite being looped, the original rhythms have enough dynamic breathe in them to give the music a pulsating, hypnotic quality with some pointers to early Can. The sound aesthetic of Pink Floyd until Meddle is another reference that comes to mind. There are some repetitive guitar riffs either taken from "Tanz der Lemminge" or in its style, but mostly guitars and keyboards produce psychedelic soundscapes and noises, which I find often fascinating and tasteful.

It is easy to criticise "Kobe" for the presumably little effort that was put into it, resulting in a lack of direction and composition and at times in overlaying parts that are neither meant to be together nor work seamlessly in this way. Also, even though you may like here what you liked on "Tanz der Lemminge" already, you may not be willing to count that in favour of this kind of remix album.

Still, I find this entertaining and quite special; I think that whoever created this succeeded in creating something new from the original bricks that has some merit on its own. AD II have done other long improvisational pieces, but particularly the hypnotic element is strongest here, and I can find something fascinating in the circular directionless way this is set up, like an endlessly jamming band in a time capsule. One can't deny that there is some variation on here, too - it's not like the same drum loop carrying the listener through the full 65 minutes; the producers dug at least a bit deeper into the original recordings to provide some change.

I don't think that a majority will appreciate this but if you're open minded and have a weak spot for psychedelic jamming and sound exploration, there's something to be found here.

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 Trippin' With Dr. Faustus by AMPLIFIER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.93 | 31 ratings

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Trippin' With Dr. Faustus
Amplifier Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is another solid album by Amplifier. I think the songwriting is just superb, and some of the lyrics will stick in your head. I have let this one marinate for a while before writing this review as I wanted to see how it stacked up to some other releases this year. It is not Amplifier's most progressive release, but anyone looking for a well written collection of songs with excellent musicianship will love this album. While it is not the Octopus, it contains very memorable melodies like Freakzone, Kosmos, and Anubis. They have such an addictive quality to their music, that I usually get drawn in. Trippin' With Dr. Faustus is definitely trippy, from the cool yellow cover, to the hard-hitting psychedelic jams. it is an excellent album for those looking for something fun with a wall of sound full of ear candy galore.

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 Fortune Telling  by STRANGEFISH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.87 | 50 ratings

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Fortune Telling
Strangefish Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars 4,5 stars !!! Fantastic second album from STRANGEFISH , at this time the sound is a little more "soft" in a overall way, but the mix of hard/heavy/symphonic of first album that I point in my review still remains. Maybe the conceptual theme of the album ( the old inner battle between "be somebody or possess something" can contributes to this difference. In track 1 "Happy as I am" are easy to feel this difference, the overture and main theme is a "light' or "festive" melody very beautiful wiht a great guitar phrase - starting about 2 min 27 sec -, but , how above mentioned the hard and heavy passages , in spite isn't predominant is present in the track . Track 2 "It could be me" and the acoustic guitar accompaniment emphasizes the more soft purpose . Track 3 "Random" and track 6 "Have you seen the light?" ( this last again recall me DEEP PURPLE and their riffs ) are the more hard/heavy moments in the whole album. This is more close to perfection than their previous album and my rate is 4 stars !!!

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 New Atlantis by WAVEMAKER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.00 | 1 ratings

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New Atlantis
Wavemaker Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

— First review of this album —
2 stars I never really felt New Atlantis was as strong as their debut Where Are We Captain, although I started with New Atlantis first as that was the album I found first. It was inspired by the works of Francis Bacon. It came with an insert on how he predicted, in the 17th Century, the synthesizer, it was pretty clear what he was getting at, with how he could describe such an instrument in a 17th Century context. Make no doubt about that: a poem that prophesizes the synthesizer inspires an electronic album by some BBC Radiophonic Workshop guys (Brian Hodgson, John Lewis). The album is electronic as always, and there's no doubt "Salomon's House" is the best thing on the album, with great synth melodies, but much of the album seems a bit sparse and twee and at times I wished they put a little more energy in the album and less off the insipid side. Where Are We Captain? is a rather solid album, sure it was cheesy, but it was also quite engaging. I wished I could say the same about New Atlantis. I'd recommend Where Are We Captain? or the Zygoat album from 1974 as they were certainly stronger sets. New Atlantis isn't one of the better Progressive Electronic albums I've heard.

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 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.74 | 106 ratings

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To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

4 stars Much to my surprise, Steven Wilson pre-released five of the eleven songs from his latest album To The Bone. This appears to have been part of the marketing campaign which seeks to maximise discussion and exposure prior to release. Personally I am not convinced that this has been effective but time will tell.

Sadly there are no songs of the scale and calibre of Luminol or Ancestral from the last two releases and the longest track is just over nine minutes. Unlike the last two albums, this is not a concept album. Wilson describes the album as "progressive pop", something he has never attempted before as he tries to emulate the albums he loved from the 80s which include Peter Gabriel's So and Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love amongst others.

Like other songwriters this year, Wilson has chosen to comment on topical issues such as post truth. However the messages don't come over as strongly as they do on the IT, Roger Waters or The Tangent releases this year.

The album opens with the title track To The Bone. This is a pacey, toe-tapping rocker which is further brightened by an excellent harmonica solo.

Nowhere Now is more melancholic with a minimalistic intro that builds in tempo.

The third track Pariah was an early pre-release. The song is a duet with Ninet Tayeb who sang so wonderfully on HCE. I enjoyed Pariah when I first heard it and I am growing to love it the more I listen to it. It is a beautiful ballad that grows into a wall of sound in its final quarter.

The fourth track, The Same Asylum As Before, was another pre-release and is another rocker with a catchy tune. Wilson initially sings falsetto but then returns to his normal range.

The fifth track, Refuge, was also pre-released and returns to a melancholic theme with an atmospheric introduction that picks up tempo as the drumming develops and intensity builds to a wall of sound like Pariah but returns to a more ambient sound at the close.

Permanating is the sixth track and was also pre-released. Wilson describes the song as "what ABBA and the Electric Light Orchestra would sound like if produced by Daft Punk". This is certainly the most up-tempo of all the tracks and is considerably more excitable than say Meantime was when released by Porcupine Tree. Meantime was quite a surprise at the time and this one really did surprise me. Of the pre-releases, I disliked this one the most but now that I hear it on the album I am tolerating it but it will probably be the first to be deleted from the album playlist.

Blank Tapes also features Ninet Tayeb but the song appears less well suited to her vocal range. This is the shortest track on the album at just over two minutes. This is quite a restrained melancholic song but the melody does not stand out for me.

People Who Eat Darkness is another rocker but, as a song, doesn't do a lot for me.

Song Of I was the fifth pre-release from the album. The song uses some interesting pauses to good effect and develops an almost cinematic sound mid-way through.

Detonation is the tenth and longest track at just over nine minutes. This is one of the few tracks where the theme is developed in a way that allows for solos.

The final track is Song Of Unborn which is a more typical Wilson ballad and again uses pauses to interesting effect. A beautiful melody is further enhanced by a choir arrangement in the middle part.

I am one of Steven Wilson's most devoted fans and I admire him for what he is trying to do in progressing his music. Personally I don't feel that he has come anywhere close to the brilliance of Peter Gabriel's So but this is an interesting album with many good songs and I believe is worthy of a four star rating.

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 Con 3 by SCHNITZLER, CONRAD album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.41 | 4 ratings

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Con 3
Conrad Schnitzler Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I've heard around 25 Schnitzler albums and this is one of the few tuneful entries in his entire catalogue. The 'Neue Deutsche Welle' style which was all the rage with bands like D.A.F. is what's on offer here, and it's none the worse for it.

'Con 3' is as close as old Conrad ever reached to a mainstream audience. That's to say - he had no chance of accumulating a captive audience whatsoever. Not a snowball's chance in hell.

Luckily I'm one of those guys who loves hearing Europeans singing in their mother tongue. It's far more convincing and puts you in the alien environment of Europe in 1981 from a British point of view. In that era we had Adam and the Ants (Woo Hoo!), Duran Duran and a host of New Romantic outfits. 'Con 3' is as cold and opposite to those bands as you could possibly imagine. Analogue synths are sliced and diced like a chef chopping onions. It's SO German. The icily treated vocals are very similar to the Stranglers 'Meninblack' from 'The Raven' released during the same year.

The drum programming is appealing in it's Kraftwerk-like style. I have to admit though, that Conrad sounds like he's the last guy standing at a party at 4.00am and has suddenly switched on all the electronics, with eyes lit up, and just for a laugh decides to record everything from that point on. Personally I love that kind of stuff. His ramblings of 'Coca-Cola and no water' on 'Coca' are almost easy listening with a (rub your eyes in disbelief) a tuneful dub bass and marimba played Jamaican style!

There's squelchy keyboard sounds and bendy bass tremblings throughout. A lot of it sounds quite tinny and amateurish but 'Con 3' captures that German electronic 'chill' from '81. It's without the production values of a Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream but hits all the right buttons in 2017 due to its inherently German coldness.

It's all shoddy robotic nonsense of course, and for that reason itself, makes it enjoyable. If I was listening to this in 1981 I would have smashed the vinyl into pieces in a rage of anger. Now, over 30 years later, I have a feeling of nostalgia and appreciation for a time where music was purely analogue and genuine.

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 Würzburg Cairo 2015 by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Würzburg Cairo 2015
Electric Orange Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars This is a live performance from the 8. Psychedelic Network Festival, recorded just at that time in 2015 when their new studio album 'Nein! HITS A Gogo' was ready to be released. A wondrous production by the way, longing back to the very early days in Germany, when open minded musicians and producers began to break the chains while aiming for some experimental and whacked out music stuff. Consequently two excerpts are presented by ELECTRIC ORANGE in Würzburg too, that figures. Overall the ten songs are catering for a very spacey atmosphere, predominantly caused by Dirk Jan Müller and his keyboard stuff as a matter of fact.

When speaking of songs, okay, you will notice the basics, but this are variations, or even interpretations moreover. They'll never ever do the same twice, when it comes to their musical output at least. So much the more when playing live. And this may be the primary occasion that ELECTRIC ORANGE evolved to my most reviewed band over the course. Well, not any excerpt from my favourite 'Krautrock From Hell' album amongst the collection, but there's definitely no reason to complain about the set list however. With at least four representatives 'Netto' is the winner of the competition here.

The gig intro shows Dirk Bittner having a weird, gloomy, spaced out piece of monologue in German language, backed by the other Dirk on synths. Then Behind The Wall Of Sheep and the following Fluff (now finally welcome to the show, Tom!) are confirming the main vibe of the performance. I mean a spacey mid tempo groove, based on varied, very precise and sometimes tribal percussion, garnered with guitar variants from wah wah to soaring space. Additionally synth, organ respectively mellotron patterns are perfectly complementing. Man, what a superb entree!

When implementing somewhat industrial mechanics the mysterious Perpetuum Mobiliar will lead them into authentic krautrock territories more and more. Due to A Tuna Sunrise they are sinking into a trippy mood again after that, soon gliding into the intriguing Supptruppen, perfect interaction guaranteed! While they are using a drum machine, organ and trumpet Drucktango and Samba Ohrleck are from the abovementioned album 'Nein! HITS A Gogo'. You're getting close to more jazzy stuff, reminding me at Staff Carpenborg And The Electric Corona somehow.

Hey, and it's the first time, what I know, that they are introducing the band members to the audience! Finally, the closing Mischwesen shows them on jamming paths again, including a mental downfall towards the end. A gripping flow! Dirk Bittner is leaving the electric guitar aside, solely concentrating on trumpet and additional percussion. I'm repeating myself with pleasure, this band is excellent, entertaining, highly emotional! What also applies to this album, which is available on double vinyl (Adansonia Records) and CD (Sunhair Music). Cover and booklet include some really colourful images from the concert.

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 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.74 | 106 ratings

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To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by MaxnEmmy

4 stars Less can be more when given the right frame of mind. Popular melodies are not to be given disrespect, and simple phrases are sometimes the longest lasting mind catching linear feelings. This is Steven latest attempt to be commercial and he has gained a larger following based on his innovated approach to the rock genre. No one has the ability to make a sad song like this man, and infuse his thoughts and emotion in such a way as to leave a lasting impression on the listener. Don't you worry, don't worry about a thing. Nothing really ends. I would give this record 4.5 stars because it attains what it sets out to do.

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 Bruford: Feels Good To Me by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 181 ratings

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Bruford: Feels Good To Me
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by macpurity

5 stars This recording was released 40 years ago! It will soon have a new remastered release later this year as a 6CD, 2DVD box set. So, it seems only fitting that another review be added to honor this rather phenomenal piece of jazz-rock art. If anything, to alert other Bruford fans that new mixes and remasters are on the way. The boxed set will feature this recording, One Of A Kind, The Bruford Tapes and Gradually Going Tornado, along with some other select special additions. It cna be found through a web search and/or a visit to a web site having to do with a scorched outbuilding.

Previous reviews truly hit all the marks, even the not so glowing ones. I can relate to some of the misgivings, but as a whole, the compositions are about as complex as permitted in music theory textbooks. Bruford and company push the envelope in terms of rhythms and compositions.

Bruford's percussion is (ahem) flawless, The late Allan Holdsworth's guitar work is still fun to listen to, including those on-purpose notes that almost sound like errors. No such thing in Allan's delivery. The bass of Jeff Berlin is tight, on the money, and possesses phrasing that rank among the best bassists. Absolutely love Dave Stewart's keyboards and synth sounds. He's a master; as can also be appreciated in his work with Barbara Gaskin. Annette Peacock's vocals do take some adapting to, but once you gain familiarity with the music, you appreciate her style, range and presence. Then throw in Kenny Wheeler's flugelhorn for good measure and some smoothness (especially on Seems Like A Lifetime Ago Part I). With co-production by Robin Lumley, it is a conglomeration of shear mastery.

I bought this one, the first time, brand new, without any in-store listening, in 1977 on vinyl. On forst listen, it knocked my socks off. I played that album a lot through the years and nearly wore it out. Thankfully, I re-purchased it on CD 13 years later, in 1990, and once again enjoyed clear digital sound. This coming October (2017), I look forward to becoming re-familiar with this recording (and others in the box-set), some in the delights of 5.1 DTS surround. So glad that Bill Bruford encouraged a 2017 re-engineering of some representative jazz rock from forty years ago. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago! Indeed!

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 Long Thoughts by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Long Thoughts
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars Defining American prog-electronic/ambient artist Steve Roach returns at the half-way point of 2017 with `Long Thoughts', another of those slowly unwinding, ever-evolving, lightly psychedelic sound-collages that this master of the genres often delivers with impeccable precision and subtle taste. More along the lines of Roach's `Immersion' series of releases, his recent `Fade to Grey' work or his four-volume `Bloodmoon Rising' set, `Long Thoughts' is a lengthy single continuous electronic aural canvas that weaves a hypnotic spell and concocts a distinctly mesmerizing atmosphere where time seems to blur and stretch on forever.

With no obvious themes or percussive elements appearing throughout this seventy-three minute piece, `Long Thoughts' lurches to life as a drowsy and dream-like surreal electronic ambient soundtrack. An unceasing lulling drone at its core, eerie and lightly stormy thrumming reverberations are rippled with ringing crystalline shimmers and churning electronic caresses. Some moments take on an icy coolness, others a gentler lulling embrace, but all culminate in drifting pools of serenity and mystery, where the most minute of transitions happen so seamlessly they're intangible.

Those after a modern Roach release with more melodic and rhythmic qualities a little closer to a firmer prog-electronic sound should perhaps head to `Skeleton Keys', `Spiral Revelations' or his Robert Logan collaboration `Biosonic' first, alternatively those wanting a more approachable or varied example of the purer ambient styles he works in frequently these days might prefer recent discs like `Painting in the Dark' or `Nostalgia for the Future', released directly alongside this one.

But if you're a fan of Mr Roach's subtle and sedate long-form works, `Long Thoughts' is undiluted, pure ambient music that still holds weight and quiet intelligence, and it will prove to be a great reward for the most patient of listeners, a piece that reminds us to step back and slow down in this busy fast-paced blur of a time we live in.

Three stars for casual listeners, four stars for experienced ambient/electronic fans.

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 Lady Lake by GNIDROLOG album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.06 | 314 ratings

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Lady Lake
Gnidrolog Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars This is exactly the kind of progressive rock I like to listen to. Flute, guitar, drums, horns, etc. Reminds me of Gentle Giant, Barclay James Harvest, Jethro Tull, Jezda Urfa, Cressida, Caravan and the likes. Not in the vein of the Canterbury sound, but very eclectic and incorporating many, many different styles.

Playful melodies, very tight interplay and outstanding musicianship. Both albums of this band rate very high for me. Of course this kind of music can never reach commercial heights, that will be the reason the band quit after only two albums. But am I glad they at least recorded what they did.

On top of what I already wrote I love the calmer parts, it has a certain folkish and pastoral feel here and there, partly because of the fluteparts.

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 Atomic Roooster by ATOMIC ROOSTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.55 | 190 ratings

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Atomic Roooster
Atomic Rooster Heavy Prog

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars Great album but not yet all that great. Somehow I will never be a great fan of Carl's sloppy drumming. That aside the vocals, the bassguitars, the hammond are all really great. Raw, pure and energetic. The songwriting is sometimes really good (Winter, Broken Wings, Friday 13th) but sometimes the band just jams away. But it was the psychedelic era, it's okay.

It's great to hear a hammond-based heavy rock group not sounding like Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. Also I really like the vocals. Really powerful and soulful. Too bad, the singer never really served in a famous band. Another thing I like about this albums is the (sparse) fluteplaying, wich sets this bands apart from other hardrockbands of this age.

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 4 by NOMADIC album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

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4
Nomadic Heavy Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This four piece band released his first 4 songs EP and they didn't have many troubles to find the title of this one. They have been compared to Rush which is true in some sections but the harder guitar riffs and the presence of the violin make their music quite different. The singer and bass guitars player Tom Heslin is not your Geddy Lee because his voice is more similar to Michael Sadler of Saga, but how many singers sings like Geddy Lee? I think the influence of Saga is more obvious in a song like "Confusion".The songs are melodic with a harder twist in some places of those bands mentioned. It would be interesting to hear a full album that is in the making as we speak because the band has already written more material to complete this first EP. This EP shows some great musicianship and solid songs from a band that is not trying to reinvent the wheel but to adds their little touch to the classic progressive rock music we all love.

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 Atom Heart Mother by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.87 | 1962 ratings

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Atom Heart Mother
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Not the g-spot yet: 6/10

Don't get me wrong, ATOM HEART MOTHER is far from a bad album. But as far as I'm concerned about PINK FLOYD, expecting psychedelia and outwordly synth-driven grooviness, it's too tasteless. The psychedelic parts are weak and particularly immature as the band was musically directionless. As many before me pointed out, that statement is true; they really hadn't much of a clue on how to proceed with their career when they recorded and released ATOM HEART MOTHER. While Atom Heart Mother stands as a memorable orchestral piece with influences of rock music, the other tracks not only have absolutely NOTHING to do with it but are also shadowed by its grandiosity. In terms of size, as it's a twenty-minutes-long song, and in terms of quality, as their songwriting is lackluster, in counterpart to the maturity of the mammoth symphony. Summer '68 is mildly exceptional, as it retains somewhat the quality of the title track. In the end, that was a fair experiment to PINK FLOYD, as it would help them to choose their musical path. But that's ATOM HEART MOTHER's legacy: an album of transitory characteristics that I honestly believe only fans will really dig it. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it is objectively bad, it's just that it's not good enough to be actively recommendable to non-lovers of PF. So forgive me, my beautiful twenty-fours-minutes-long suite, but I can't be really any more merciful than this.

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 The Parallax II - Future Sequence by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.20 | 242 ratings

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The Parallax II - Future Sequence
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Shout from the top of your lungs, "we're not just crappy metalcore", BTBAM...: 8/10

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME's metalcore tendencies fuse with a hyperactive technical death metal to create dynamic tracks that stray far from generic metal on THE PARALLAX II. I was truly apprehensive about giving them a shot because their annoying fan base kept idolizing them and "metalcore" scared me. But, as Wicket puts it on his review, BTBAM has a particular way of making non-metalcore fans enjoy their music, regardless of the listener's distaste for the genre. Mostly because they just take certain characteristics of it; their music is rooted on metalcore, but it also offers several other influences that, all fused together, stray far from the sameness, fake emotionality or immaturity the genre can connote.

Over an hour long, its dynamism and metamorphic rhythms, patterns, arrangements, and melodies - albeit not really different among themselves - was able to keep me actively hooked and particularly entertained. Granted I had little idea of what was going on, mostly due to the confusing lyrics or disorientating, boastful wall of textures, but it genuinely a good experience. Assuming I had been tortured by a "musical crisis" (I was having a hard time genuinely enjoying music) and they took me out of it, it's safe for me to assume that their output is pretty entertaining.

The band clearly opted to separate their avant-garde (due to lack of better term) highly technical extreme metal expression on the longer tracks, which are pretty obviously the limelight of the album. Highly eclectic, sonically intense and offering a vast array of sounds, there's no sleepy moments while listening to them, mostly because if you ever felt lightheaded the powerful lead guitars or the melodic rhythm ones would blast you back to your place, awake and well. The shorter tracks are mostly there for conceptual purposes, functioning as a tool of cohesion. They offer profound lyrics, perfect as a tool of immersion on the context BTBAM constructs. Musically, though, they fall short, I don't feel the band works well with softer music.

All's good so far, but I do have a critic. I felt the concept was poorly expressed. The lyrics are convoluted and cryptical, I barely could understand the general idea they were trying to propose. In my opinion, concepts, at least at its very fundamental level, should be easily identifiable on the first spin. Naturally, there's no issue with details being harder to spot, but the problem is that both the very structure PARALLAX II is based upon, as well its details, remained shady to me even after I finished the album.

THE PARALLAX II should be listened in its entirety at once. I can't imagine trying to give the songs a shot on shuffle, or individually, I feel as if its magic and pompously noisy capacities wouldn't be enjoyed to the max if done so. And, pretty obviously, more than one listen is imperative to really absorb it (although roughly all prog albums are like that so I'm sure you're aware of this condition). Nonetheless, I highly recommend giving it a shot. At once, or not, as you will, really, but just don't let the "this is metalcore" or "this is too long" prejudices fool you. BTBAM is pretty dope.

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 Goodbye To The Age Of Steam by BIG BIG TRAIN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.37 | 152 ratings

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Goodbye To The Age Of Steam
Big Big Train Crossover Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After two interesting demos, Big Big Train released their first full length album back in 1994. And the project started good!

I must say that the production of the album sounds professional. The only problem I find in terms of sound is the dated and unfitting sound of the keyboards in some songs. I think for their attempt to create a melancholic neo-prog approach to music the keys are too strident and too much early 80's oriented. And while in other acts like Pendragon or Arena that's not a big deal, in the music of Big Big Train sounds just incorrect.

Nevertheless, Wind Distorted Pioneers introduces correctly the style of the band, despite its dubious initial guitar melody. Melancholic melodies, piano-based sections and some folk elements. Pure Big Big Train! And typical is also Head Hit the Pillow, which starts with a long instrumental introduction with old-sounding keyboards. After that, at 2:28 we can hear an excellent chorus and good bass playing. Fine song!

Edge of the Known World is not so good, because the more rocking tracks of the album are curiously also the worst. Despite the good and complex initial riff and the neo-prog elements, this song is not remarkable. Landfall's start is also very neo-prog at the beginning, especially in the keyboards. After that we can find a beautiful song dominated by the excellent voice of Martin Read and acoustic guitars. The keyboard is a bit annoying in the chorus, but the inspiring guitar solo accompanied by a fine piano melody compensates that.

Dragon Bone Hill is a dreamy instrumental tune played with Spanish guitar and delicate keyboards, and it gives way to Blow the House Down. This song starts very beautifully, just voice and keys in the first two minutes. After that the track becomes a bit more conventional, but very good nevertheless. The instrumental progression is remarkable, and the great melody of bass and keyboards which appear at 4:09 too.

Expecting Snow is another harmless instrumental with Spanish guitar, but this time with drums and bass and some acoustic chords. Not really special. Blue Silver Red is also a bit irregular, with great sections like the one which starts with the words 'So sorry'', and others which are not so good, specially the rockier ones. Nevertheless, this song has another mature and intense instrumental work. This band was good since the very beginning!

Losing Your Way starts with an epic keyboard, and even more epic guitar melody, which leads to another good song. The fans of Marillion will be specially delighted with this one! The acoustic guitar solo is the top of the track, which ended the album in its first edition.

Because Far Distant thing is an extra song added in the remastered edition, obtained from the demo The Infant Hercules. Not a bad one, but pales in comparison with the rest of the album despite the good electrical guitar works which contains. And Expecting Dragons is a new track made specially for this re-edition with the actual line-up. Is a mixture between Dragon Bone Hill and Expecting Snow, adding Big Big Train's modern elements like flutes, strings, better production and D'Virgilio.

This reissue contains also a longer version of Losing Your Way, but I honestly prefer the original.

Conclusion: a good album from a very talented band! The true personality of the band is here, despite being their first official full lenght. So, the melancholic mixture of neo-prog, folk, pop and symphonic prog will surely delight not only the fans of Big Big Train, but also to curious listeners desiring to know the origins of this gifted group of musicians. In my opinion is also not a bad place to start with them!

The unfitting keyboard sound which ruins some sections, alongside some repetitiveness prevent this album to receive four stars. But It's a good album, even very good sometimes, and it has a great singer who sings very catchy vocal lines and a very versatile and delightful guitar work.

I'm willing to hear more of this band!

Best Tracks: Head Hit the Pillow, Landfall, Blow the House Down, Losing Your Way (short version)

My Rating: ***

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 The Paris Collection by CAMEL album cover Live, 2001
3.59 | 70 ratings

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The Paris Collection
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by penmar

4 stars I found this album completely amazing . Taking into account that it is a live album I was surprised to the excellent quality of sound. Ican also remark that those vocals that Collins was compelled to sing due to the bad health of Anderw Latimer are achieved in the most succesful way . Being most of the album instrumental there is a lack of very good tracks i would have liked to be included .Anyway i think we have here the best version for this wonderful track.As Camel has his fans accotumed the instruments sound is refined and melodic,and the aerial music complete the musical enviroment with that sort of magical and nostalgical note.I think it own 4 stars just for the basic fact that we would have needed Andrew Latimer at his best to put into his personal touch to complete the magic of this album doubtless one of the most beautiful of progressive music alive.

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 Morte Di Un Amore by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.61 | 36 ratings

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Morte Di Un Amore
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I tried to like this album, but I obviously failed in the attempt!

The style of this album is like some kind of strange mixture between romantic Italian pop with some elements of progressive, symphonic and electronic rock. The production of the album is very good, and every instrument sound just fine. That what's my problem with this record? Let's talk about the songs.

Visione introduces the mood of the album, where the voice of Randone is the protagonist. The song contains good arrangements of keyboards, giving some symphonic feeling to the composition. I personally do not like the voice of Nicola, I find it just too strident and even annoying sometimes. He sings with passion his good lyrics, but I just can't bear his singing in this album! Sorry. The ending of the song has a fine atmospheric work with synthesizers, in the vein of Tangerine Dream but with tons of sound effects (wind, wolfs, cats?)

Il Pentimento Di Dio Dolo La Fine del Mondo is a reggae/ska song with not much to comment about beyond the weird vocals and ecclesiastical choirs. Tuttle le Mie Stelle is a romantic acoustic song with beautiful neo-prog keyboards after the chorus. Not really special, but one of the best tracks of the album nevertheless. L'Infinito is a bit darker, but pretty forgettable as well despite the fine guitar solo.

Un Cieco starts with the dolphin's cry, and it contains a good acoustic melody and strong and uplifting chorus. It's one of the most progressive songs of an album that's not really progressive, and also one of the stronger in songwriting. La Giostra is another dramatic song, which talks about the horrors of Auschwitz and contains one of the best instrumental works of the album, especially in the beautiful accordion section.

Strananoia is pure folk-rock with some influences of celtic music. It remembers me to the great Spanish band Celtas Cortos, but very far from their quality. Nevertheless, it contains an interesting final electronic-influenced section. Amore Bianco is another Italian pop-rock song with some fine guitars with slide, but which is not really interesting, leave alone progressive.

Morte di Un Amore is stronger since the beginning, containing some symphonic arrangements and good vocal melodies (despite the singing is so annoying as always) This time even the reggae is good, because it leads to a great electric guitar work and more instrumental and symphonic passages. This album is obviously better when Randone is not singing! And that's maybe the reason Morte di Un Amore is my favorite song of the album. Is the longest one and with the fewer proportion of sections with vocals. The long final atmospheric section bring back the melodies and the Tangerine Dream influences of Visione.

Conclusion: if you like romantic Italian pop, and acts like Franco Battiato, maybe you'll find Morte di Un Amore interesting. But don't expect something like Premiata Forneria Marconi or similar groups, because this album is not so progressive and it's also very far from the quality of this classics.

It's interesting and times, and I consider that Randone had tons of potential despite it's improvable singing. For this reason, I'm eager to hear more albums of this man. But I can't really recommend Morte di un Amore apart from Italian prog completionists!

Best Tracks: Un Cieco, La Giostra, Morte di un Amore.

My Rating: **1/2, rounded down to two stars.

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 Music From Left Field by CARTOON album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.11 | 14 ratings

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Music From Left Field
Cartoon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Harold Needle

5 stars "Music from Left Field" is the second, and - unfortunately - the last album by the crazy american drums-keys-guitar trio by the name of Cartoon. For this release, they actually have two "bonus" musicians, who play woodwinds and violin. And while this album shares some similarities with their debiut from '81, the addition of woodwinds and violin really puts Cartoon in a new, fresh perspective.

First of all, I believe that the new instruments made it much easier for Cartoon to fully express their weird, cartoonish musical desires. The goofy bassoon (or is it a bass saxophone? I'm not sure) and quirky, fidgety violin match Cartoon's vision extremely well. Secondly, "Music from Left Field" sounds much richer and even symphonic (to a certain extent), compared to a rather raw and crude debiut (which is a masterpiece anyway). Cartoon actually sounds a lot like Univers Zero on this album. I think the closest album to compare would be "Ceux Du Dehors" - very simillar, gloomy atmosphere, created by acoustic chamber masterminds. However - the band's name indicates the differences between them and UZ. While dark and scary, their music is also less serious, or - sometimes - even not serious at all. But the atmosphere and overall feeling are quite in the same vein.

This album offers a plenty of different moods - from heavenly, almost minimalistic ambient, through clumsy circus music (which should leave you scared of circuses for the rest of your life), symphonic music, complex disturbing chamber-prog, hypnotising free rock/jazz, pure goofiness, grand musical void... some moments will make you crack a big smile, while others will make you scared and paranoid. And the best thing is - most of them will make you BOTH!

My recommendation: get this album and wait for the night to come. Once it's dark outside, turn off the lights, lay down on the bed, close your eyes, and just let the music play. It's an experience worth at least a thousand circus tickets.

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 The Last Sunset by CONCEPTION album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.47 | 50 ratings

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The Last Sunset
Conception Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Let's be honest here, the only reason anyone actively seeks this band out post-1998 is mostly due to vocalist Roy Khan, who would achieve worldwide success with the band Kamelot after Conception disbanded. And I shamelessly joined those ranks when I tracked down this little nugget of joy; 'The Last Sunset'.

It's an alright album, though to be honest, there isn't really a lot to comment on. The music is decent enough, the playing is of a high standard and Khan's singing is good, but a lot of the vocal melodies aren't very inspiring or interesting. There's some nice exotic-sounding guitar licks which give the band a hint of their own identity, but overall, a lot of the songs seem formulaic.

'War of Hate', 'Fairy's Dance' (admittedly I really like this song), 'Another World' and 'Among the Gods' are all good tracks that make Conception's debut worth checking out, but there's just too much unmet potential here for this to be anything more than a decent outing.

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 Awake Demos by DREAM THEATER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
2.45 | 38 ratings

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Awake Demos
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars As would be expected when any band releases an album consisting of demos, these tracks lack the polished production or finesse that a band like Dream Theater are known for, thus making this one strictly for the diehard fans.

Most of the songs are near-identical to how they appear on the 'Awake' album, with the only noticeable changes being slight differences to some arrangements, lyrics, guitar riffs or keyboard solos.

If you like 'Awake' then it's a nice look at how the songs were originally arranged, and as usual with this band, the musicianship is fantastic. However, because this is nothing more than a demo album, this is best kept for the Dream Theater collectors who need to own everything.

Like me. And my bank account does not approve.

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 Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.14 | 1807 ratings

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Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars And so after the success of Dream Theater's magnum opus concept album 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory' comes the dreaded follow-up album, in which endless possibilities usually lead to outcomes that divide fans. In this case, whilst the band had always tread a thin line that equally balanced both the metal and the progressive elements of their music, from this album onwards they would begin to shift more towards the heavier side of things, with harsher vocals and heavier guitar riffs.

Consisting of just six songs which are spread out over two discs (the title track taking up the entire second disc, at 42 minutes), 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' sees the band tackling some serious issues, ranging from alcoholism and addiction, religion, scientific advances, moral dilemmas and mental illness. Every song full of incredible musicianship and intricate structures that flow smoothly without compromising quality.

The title track, a 42-minute piece split up into eight individual tracks, is the true centerpiece of the album. With a vast range of heavy and soft parts, huge orchestral arrangements and virtuoso musicianship, this is a true gem in the Dream Theater discography. And as evidenced in tracks like 'The Glass Prison' (one of my all-time favourites!) and 'The Great Debate', the interplay between all the members, in particular guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, is unmatched by any other band.

A truly polarizing album in the groups back-catalog, how much you like the metal aspects of Dream Theater's music will determine if you'll like the direction the band are going in from here, and while 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' may not be as highly regarded as 'Images and Words' or 'Scenes from a Memory', it is still an essential addition to any music collection.

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 Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.29 | 2694 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars They say an animal is most dangerous when backed into a corner, and that could not be any more evident than Dream Theater recording their magnum opus, 'Scenes from a Memory'.

With record label pressure and the business side of the music industry taking its toll on the band (and most specifically on drummer Mike Portnoy) during the release and touring of previous album 'Falling Into Infinity', it was now a time to go hard or go home. Dream Theater wanted to be left alone to write their own music, that would appeal to their own fan base, without the interjection of any record label executives who didn't understand the band, their fans, or their genre of music. It was do-or-die as the band stood on the brink of self-implosion, but they stood tall and delivered an album that is highly regarded as not only their finest work, but one of the greatest albums progressive metal has to offer.

Based around the story of a man who is a reincarnation of a girl that was murdered, and how he revisits his past life in his dreams (or something like that!), the concept is highly ambitious and complex, especially with all the different characters being voiced by James LaBrie. But it doesn't detract from the quality of the music, and with the usual awe- inspiring prowess you'd come to expect from progressive metals most famous band, this is an album where the band fire on all cylinders.

'Home', 'Fatal Tragedy', 'One Last Time' and 'Strange Déjà Vu' are some of many highlights on this album, although it's hard to pick just a few, as the album from start to finish is one giant highlight reel. And of course, the absolute peak of Dream Theater's technical ability, instrumental track 'The Dance of Eternity', will encourage listeners to throw away whatever instruments they're learning as they slowly realize how they'll never be this good.

A record that belongs in any metal or prog collection, 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory' started the upward momentum that truly put Dream Theater's careers and lives in their own hands, and has endured as one of the greatest concept albums of all time.

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 Of Clans and Clones and Clowns by SOUL ENEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.40 | 15 ratings

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Of Clans and Clones and Clowns
Soul Enema Eclectic Prog

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

5 stars Although founded all the way back in 2001, the humorously named Israeli band SOUL ENEMA has only released a mere two albums beginning with 2010's debut "Thin Ice Crawling" and at long last the follow up has emerged in 2017 in the form of OF CLANS AND CLONES AND CLOWNS. Main man and founder Constantin Glantz readily admits he is the utmost perfectionist when it comes to creating his music and just like the debut, the listener is treated to an equally compelling eclectic musical ride with every element ratcheted up a few more notches. Glantz is the only common thread between the two albums and all other performers are completely new to the SOUL ENEMA scene. While the debut had five full time musicians and four guests, OF CLANS AND CLONES AND CLOWNS still has five core musicians but has a whopping eight guests including Arjen Lucassen of Aeryon fame providing a cameo guitar solo on "Eternal Child" and fellow Israeli Yossi Sassi providing the unique sounds of his bouzoukitara on "Aral Sea II - Dustbin Of History." The album took a staggering seven years to make and and therefore leaves no "i" undotted and no "t" uncrossed. This is a project of passion, a labor of love and despite the trials and tribulations involved in the making, turned out to be another resounding success.

Due to all the attention paid to every little detail, OF CLANS AND CLONES AND CLOWNS comes off as a slick and serious project where every idea and composition is careful crafted and placed in the proper place as to create the perfect musical flow of ideas and energies. The emotional gamut runs from the apocalyptic "Aral Sea" three part suite to the silliness of the title "The Age Of Cosmic Baboon" and other moments of desipient amusement. Much attention is paid to the production as well and despite being rather complex and multi-layered, the album retains an organic spontaneous feel that surprisingly doesn't sound overproduced at all and contains no excess fluff added for fluff's sake. Right from the beginning track "Omon Ra," SOUL ENEMA displays the same eclectic fusion of several genres all stitched neatly into a nice musical collage of styles and sounds. The heavy metal guitar riffs overlap with other polyrhythms including Middle Eastern sounds and symphonic prog style keyboard assaults. The diversity of the tracks keeps the album interesting with Noa Gruman's vocals adding a more diverse range than her than her predecessor on the debut. Likewise there are many more elements lurking around every corner and at times even reminds of how The Beatles would layer contemporary rock over more traditional styles of music with one example of how "Spymania" takes its Vaudville tinged prog metal and allows a more traditional anachronistic musical form to emerge as the heavier parts fade out.

So many elements going on here it's impossible to describe them all. The common thread is that much attention is paid to catchy melodic hooks that take on crossover prog possibilities. The heaviness alternates between full-fledged progressive metal riffing to calmer melodic rock to simple piano runs. There are many ethnic influences as well with tracks like "The Age Of Cosmic Baboon" sounding completely exotic with Middle Eastern rhythms and percussion with the added mystic flair of the sitar. The mix of the rhythmic elements with the atmospheric is utterly fascinating as they seamlessly weave around each other in perfect unison. Heavy guitar parts can abruptly shift to a more symphonic prog segment with folk fueled flutes fluttering away as one melodic segment cedes into another. The pace is perfectly set for each part to connect to what has already occurred and what is yet to come. While most tracks have a metal or rock feel in nature, some like "Last Days Of Rome" bring good old-fashioned piano rock to mind with artists like Carole King coming to mind although with a zillion other elements tacked on in crossover prog fashion of course! "Dear Bollock (Was A Sensitive Man) is another exotic sounding track with Glantz showing off his Japanese shamisen playing skills and although there are metal riffs added for bombast, it comes across as a mad rush down the silk road of some sort.

Despite the parade of ideas floating around on any given track, the three part suite "Aral Sea" is perhaps the most progressive rock in feel with three long suites that feature a diverse rotisserie of moods and represent the ultimate demise of the famous sea that went from Garden Of Eden fertility to the dusty barren wasteland it is today due to human carelessness. The suite begins with "Aral Sea I - Feeding Hand" that tells the tale of the fertile life giving sea that demands respect in exchange for provisions with heavy rock guitars, melodic piano runs and Noa Gruman providing one of her most dramatic vocal deliveries. "Aral Sea II - Dustbin Of History" picks up the pace a bit adding a bit more eclectic polyrhythms in a more Middle Eastern feel but quickly turns to sadness with dynamic electronic effects and heavy metal riffing suddenly simulate the once productive sea being siphoned of its life giving vitality. This second suite installment has a unique Far East vibe due to the presence of Yossi Sassi providing the unique sound of his bouzoukitara adding a truly exotic flair as the Middle Eastern meets metal riffs dance around one another. "Aral Sea III - Epilogue" has the expected ending of demise but performed with an interesting intro of discordant piano and percussion and ultimately sang out by Gruman's powerful vox box. This finale has Sergey Kalugin of the Russian prog rock band Orgia Prevednikov making a cameo on acoustic guitar.

Glantz is an excellent self-promoter as he describes this album as a creative diverse rock / metal album that explores vast melodic and rhythmic territories that takes elements ranging from ABBA to Zappa, from King Crimson to King Diamond between East and West and way beyond in a true progressive fashion. While those words are delivered in a slightly cheeky way, they actually ring true as well as Glantz is interested in making progressive prog instead of the factory line varieties. With more elements than the periodic table, SOUL ENEMA delivers an outstanding sophomoric epic journey that takes the best elements of prog, rock and the entire Putumayo World music catalogue and runs away with it! It truly is impressive and adventurous without ever getting weird for weird's sake. It remains completely accessible while dishing out unorthodox exaltation. While "Thin Ice Crawling" was a major step in achieving something great, OF CLANS AND CLONES AND CLOWNS actually fulfills that mission and one of the best albums of the year that i've heard so far. It is fearless as it shamelessly throws the sensual and the bombastic in a cage together and let them duke it out. The result is a not a musical death match but rather a triumph of sonic cooperation that demonstrates the possibilities of musical genre blending when proper care is taken to the details. Unlike the debut album, this one at over 72 minutes doesn't wear out its welcome by the the time the last tracks finally crank up. This album is quite the accomplishment. Bravo!

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 Rapid Eye Movement by RIVERSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.77 | 787 ratings

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Rapid Eye Movement
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Compared to other Riverside albums Rapid Eye Movement is just average. But it's miles away over the average of prog-rock releases from the last decade!

Riverside tried to become a bit more accessible in this one, sacrificing their most progressive side in some tracks while maintaining their trademark of strong bass lines, atmospheric keyboards, detailed drumming, great riffs and solos, alongside with tortured lyrics. It was a bit shocking for the fans of the band back in 2007 and considered as a step back, but ten years after the release of the album we can appreciate the tremendous quality of the songs without prejudice and look at this record as the unique and especial step further in the career of the band that undoubtedly is.

Beyond the Eyelids, nevertheless, follows the path of Second Life Syndrome with an intricate and strong beginning, very progressive and even darker as their previous compositions. The chorus is great and so is the final atmospheric solo. Rainbow Box has a brutal initial bass which opens a song which talks about metal illness and the effects of its treatment. Intense, good and why not, with some Porcupine Tree influences.

02 Panic Room has some electronic basis in the vein of the EP Voices in my Head. The great chorus and the incredible final part polish one of the hits of the alum, with lyrics based on the splendid videogame Silent Hill 4: The Room. This two tracks are more direct, not so progressive and they brought a not very welcomed new style for Riverside. But I find both songs just awesome!

But for the fans of Second Life Syndrome, Schizophrenic Prayer brings the mood of this album back, with its insidious vocal melodies at the beginning. The rhythmic base is original and unique, and the ending of the song is a bit more conventional, but very good nevertheless. And also fantastic is Parasomnia, which contains the darkest lyrics of the album and one of the most progressive instrumental developments. I specially love the section after "Drugged from sleep?" Pure Riverside magic!

Through the Other side is a fine acoustic song in the vein of Us from Voices in My Head (this EP totally introduced the style of Rapid Eye Movements) which is a welcomed changed of intensity in the album. Sadly, Embryonic is another acoustic track but not so good this time, giving the impression that the album lost a bit direction at this point, despite the good guitar solo towards the end of the song.

Cybernetic Pillow tries to get the album back on track, but it's not as good as the first five song. The Tool-based riffs are just fine, and after the chorus we can hear a typical Riverside melody. Just Ok. But luckily Ultimate Trip saves the album from disaster, because is one of the best song included here, and also the most uplifting one. It has an outstanding instrumental work, even with some classic hard rock influences and another incredible final section, which contains the best guitars of the album and a very good bass line.

I had the luck to enjoy Riverside playing this song with my beloved wife in Madrid, back in 2011, and it was just unforgettable! Since then, I like Ultimate Trip even more.

Conclusion: Rapid Eye Movement is not perfect. It suffers from a clear drop after the just fine Through the Other Side because of two lackluster songs, and this gives the false impression that this album is worse than actually is, because it contains six other tracks which can easily be considered true Riverside classics. And taking in consideration the quality of this band that's just awesome.

In addition, the slight musical change to make some songs a bit more accessible was not very well welcomed by fans of the first two albums back in 2007. But after ten years I consider this album even more especial for that reason, despite the initial shock that we had the first time we heard it. And sincerely, it also contains some of the best and darkest lyrics of the band's history.

Best Tracks: the whole Fearless section plus Ultimate Trip.

My Rating: ***1/2, rounded up to four stars.

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 The Assassination of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 23 ratings

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The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars You'd think that by this point in their career, after all the twists and turns they've taken us down, the prospect of Ulver trying out a radically different genre from their former work would be utterly unsurprising - I mean, this is the same band which bounced from kvlt black metal to dark folk across their first two albums, after all.

And yet, somehow The Assassination of Julius Caesar manages to be another whiplash-inducing swerve from Ulver, shifting into the realm of honest-to-goodness synthpop. The secret to it, which makes it perhaps my favourite Ulver release ever, is that this is a style of gothy synthpop which feels distinctly Ulver, particularly in terms of their electronic and ambient works of their post-metal era.

After all, Dressed In Black on Blood Inside verged on the electro-gothic, so this isn't an evolution entirely without precedent, and whilst 80s nostalgia synthwave stuff is in vogue at the time, Ulver are able to artfully defy expectations by making the most 80s-tastic cut on here a tribute to 1969. Moreover, just because they've gone synthpop doesn't mean they've gone simplistic with it; there's complex, ornate passages here which reveal hidden depths to their sound, and I'd urge anyone turned off by the synthpop approach to at least give cuts like Rolling Stone or Coming Home a chance before writing off this album out of hand.

Is this what we wanted or expected from the next Ulver album? Almost certainly not, but by this point we'd be fools to expect Ulver to do what we want or expect - better to simply let them do their thing, and celebrate it when that results in creative masterstrokes like this.

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 Music Magic by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.73 | 81 ratings

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Music Magic
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

2 stars Another shakeup in the Return to Forever lineup, this time Al DiMeola and Lenny White departing. Chick Corea's wife Gayle Moran joins (she was previously with the second edition of Mahavishnu Orchestra for two albums), and Joe Farrell from the original 1972-73 lineup rejoins, as well as a horn section. Now this probably wasn't the wisest decision for Chick Corea to go this direction so hot on the heels of Romantic Warrior, which not only a highly regarded in RTF's and even Chick's career in general, but of the fusion genre to begin with. Upon listening to "The Musician" it's as if Chick was trying to meld the vocal style of Light as a Feather with a horn section. It's as if he was pretending his wife was Flora Purim as she attempts her vocal style. Unfortunately she's no Flora Purim, and thankfully she didn't touch on Brazilian styles of music (Bossa Nova, for example). Light as a Feather proves that vocals and jazz can go together, but then Flora Purim was suited for such, given her background as a Bossa Nova singer, and that influence was heavily felt in that album (as well as the 1972 RTF on ECM billed as a Chick Corea album) and those two albums were great and highly recommended. Here on MusicMagic it's a like a big mess. There are some pretty syrupy stuff here, for example "Hello Again". What on Earth? Pretty cheesy stuff. Or Stanley Clarke's "So Long Mickey Mouse". What on Earth? A bunch of "La la's" throughout with him attempting to do soulful vocals, and Gayle Moran being, well, Gayle Moran. On the other hand, there are some absolutely brilliant passages, some of the solos Chick Corea give are first rate, with that nice spacy keyboards and often proggy arrangement and even the horn section does some creative twists and turns as long as they aren't sounding like a Las Vegas lounge act. The last song, "The Endless Light" is perhaps the best thing on the album, overall, where the vocals and instrumentation work the best. I never could understand what the lyrics were about. Perhaps being a Scientologist would make more sense (Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Gayle Moran, at least, were all Scientologists). I can see why this is panned in many circles. I could have seen the potential in this album, some of those instrumental passages are as great as anything they've done before, but when the vocals kick in, it all comes crashing, and same if the horns decide to go Vegas on us. Luckily my copy is a cheap used LP, and if you need to get this, I suggest you get it cheap. It's too bad RTF ended up the way they did. I can sorta understand why Chick wanted to include vocals, since Gayle Moran already provided vocals on his two previous solo albums, My Spanish Heart and The Leprechaun, so he thought it would be great to include them on then next RTF album. For the simple fact that until this point, RTF never released a bad album (Chick Corea knew to keep the standards high on those albums) so making MusicMagic all that more disappointing. Scientology can be easy to blame. At least this was the end of RTF (although there was a live album released in 1978). So as mentioned, has its moments, but only get this on the cheap.

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 Thin Ice Crawling by SOUL ENEMA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.91 | 68 ratings

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Thin Ice Crawling
Soul Enema Eclectic Prog

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

4 stars The peculiarly named SOUL ENEMA is the brainchild of the restless and productive spirit of the Russian born Constantin Glanz turned Israeli whose fascination with electric musical elements has made him a cu'ri'o'so in layering various elements together since the band's inception all the way back in 2001. Despite having formed at the turn of the millennium, here it is 2017 and Glanz has created a mere two albums with entirely different cast members. THIN ICE CRAWLING which finally emerged in 2010 is the debut that garnered international attention in the progressive rock / metal crowds for deftly packaging up ample doses of melodic rock that unfold in very experimental ways and in the process incorporate all kinds of genres and styles often leaving the listener in the dark about just how in the world to categorize this eclectic cauldron of simmering extravagance. In the days when carbon copy clones are creeping in with a quickening pace as progressive rock and metal burgeon in popularity, once in a while a rare musical creation comes along that effortlessly stands out from the crowd with a sound so distinct and original that it manages to sweep away all the competition in its ambitious and unpredictable sonic peregrination.

While melodic hard rock with outbursts of heavy distorted metal riffing are ubiquitous trademarks on THIN ICE CRAWLING with an emphasis on the catchiest yet quirky melodies possible, the other musical elements are a total grab bag as SOUL ENEMA crafts a clever path through which metal and rock mix and mingle with European folk, jazz-fusion, Middle Eastern, Oriental and other elements which gleefully play together like musical United Nations poster children that somehow flirted with the theatrical flirtatiousness of Broadway all the while juxtaposing elements in reckless manners that find doves of peace coinciding with weapons of mass destruction. At this stage SOUL ENEMA consisted of main man Constantin Glantz on keyboards, sound effects and male vocals, Max Mann on bass, Oleg Szumsky on drums and the feminine beauty of vocalist Irina Sherr whose mezzo-soprano presence adds a stabilizing effect to the beastly guitar riffs of Yevgeny Kushnir and jittery keyboard fluctuations of Glantz. In addition to the regular cast members are a few additional performers adding various ethnic percussion instruments alto sax. Although no credits are given i'm sure there are violins as well.

THIN ICE CRAWLING is a true delight to sit through from beginning to end (although an adventurous listen). Having taken several years to construct and perfect, this album delivers a string of infectious melodic developments all decorated with some of the most unorthodox twists and turns that while remaining totally logical in how they connect, never fail to surprise in how they are connected. In many ways THIN ICE CRAWLING comes off as an Aeryon type album with a perfectly balanced tightrope act of sensuality, bombast and Vaudeville type charm. At times one element may dominate, at times they alternate and at times they all play together seemingly on recess from the lessons learned from the school text books that have been ossified into the orthodox rulebook. Surprise and sense of adventure is what SOUL ENEMA playfully conjure up on this hour plus listening experience. In retrospect SOUL ENEMA makes me think of a less frenetic, more melodic and incredibly structured form of Unexpect as Irina Sherr's female vocals along when the violin led folk aspects dominate while the frenetic keyboards with the heavy guitars clearly bring Arjen Lucassen's many projects to mind.

As SOUL ENEMA emerges from their slumber seven long years later with their long-awaited followup "Of Clans And Clones And Clowns" which perfects many of the musical aspects laid down on this debut, THIN ICE CRAWLING is not to be missed as it is every bit as addictive as the followup and despite Glantz being the only connection between the two albums, there is a very cohesive feel between the two releases thus demonstrating Glantz' talents as a conductor who can eke out the potentials of his musical ensembles that he strings together quite well. As the main songwriter and arranger it shouldn't come as much of a surprise however making a large group of musicians perform so well is equivalent to herding cats in a string factory. THIN ICE CRAWLING is an utterly brilliant piece of work that dexterously agglutinates a ridiculous amounts of styles and influences ranging from the melodic hooks of ABBA to the prog workouts of King Crimson and Frank Zappa with enough classical and metal to expand the possibilities even further. My only complaint is perhaps there's too much of a good thing and a couple overlong tracks like "Unholy Ghost" and the lugubrious piano laden "Outro" (although i love the craziness after the silence) which fit in thematically don't hold my interest as much by the time i get to the end. Still though, this is a minor quibble and overall this debut album is impressive even if somewhat exhausting in one go!

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 Full Scale  by STRANGEFISH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.80 | 40 ratings

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Full Scale
Strangefish Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars 4,5 stars !!! STRANGEFISH is a band which I lament their absence after 2 brilliant albums (his second and last album, until now, was release 8 years ago) ! This "Full Scale" is really full... full of different styles hard/heavy/symphonic and more... plenty complex, with lots o riffs in the hard and heavy moments ... very enchant guitar melodies insinuating symphonic prog. They produces a sound influenced by so conflicting styles, bringing to me reminiscences of DEEP PURPLE, YES, GENESIS, ECHOLYN ! Is enough to understand how they walks between so different styles listen track 4 "Take A Holiday"... their main theme recalls Deep Purple but in the middle section ( about 2 min ) a calypso or merengue theme make a break in the frenetic rhythm. The album is very close to perfection and , only by make mention my favorite tracks are: track 1 "Shifting Sands And Turning Tides" , track 3 " Listening To Ghosts " and track 5 "At First Sight"! My rate is 4 stars !!!

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 Ardour  by ETHOS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.87 | 62 ratings

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Ardour
Ethos Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars, really. My good friend Erik Neuteboom sent me thie debut CD of this obscure american band that I had never heard of. Although Ethos was based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, they sound like an european group. Unlike other USA outfits like Kansas, that has always included almost as much american influences as the ones from the continent (especially from England), Ethos seems to come from anywhere BUT America. That´s not a bad thing. Like so many artists of the time those yankees really loved prog music and tried hard to produce something similar like people from Holland, Italy, Brazil, etc. And their debut is not bad at all. In fact I found Ardour quite promising and interesting.

Their main influence is certainly Yes and it shows: the opener Intrepid Traveler has more than a passing resemblance of Yes Astral Traveler in its opening riff. the good news is that unlike other Yes worshipers (like Starcastle) Ethos does not tries to copy the originals all that much (singer and guitarist Wils Sharp avoids, mercifully, any falsettos a la Jon Anderson) and includes a good dose of strong elements from other prog icons, specially early King Crimson (just listen to Dimension Man), but also Genesis (Everyman) and even some early Uriah Heep on some parts. Another strong point is their songwriting skills. Although far from being original or groundbreaking, they showed a real knack for the nice melody line and these tracks quite stand on their own after all these years. And with two keyboards men on board, If you´re a fan of mellotron waves, this album has plenty of them.

With a good production work and strong musicianship of all involved, Ardour showed that theses americans had talent and could go far had they come a little earlier (by 1976 the prog scene was already on decline and under the heavy attack of critics and punk rockers, as you all know very well) and had time to develop their sound into something more of their own. As it is, the music here is pleasant and well done, although still a bit too derivative for comfort. I´m looking forward to listen to their follow up, 1977´s Open Up. This one is certainly not a lost gem, but it is still quite enjoyable, specially for 70´s prog lovers like me.

Good CD, but certainly not essential. 3,5 stars, because they have the right influences and tasteful tunes.

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 Pike 270 - A3 by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Pike 270 - A3
Buckethead Prog Related

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 270 - A3 / 267th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 2 tracks / Clocks in at 28 minutes 50 seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead 3: >

While the artist known as BUCKETHEAD is primarily known for his experimental rock and metal styles that transcend boundaries and push limits of what human fingers are capable of performing, the chicken lover has also proven himself a master of creating some of the most horrific and creepy dark ambient soundtracks throughout his PIKE series with the bulk having been released in 2015 with the chilling countdown to Halloween PIKEs where a new album was released everyday. Since then those types of murky overcasts of demented dread have been fairly absent in the incessant releases that never cease but on PIKE 270 - A3 the chicken lover delivers yet another mystic chimera of sound that dishes out two long drawn out tracks that just miss the half hour mark

The title track 'A3' is a slow and descending sonic drift into the recesses of the darkest corners of the human soul with no melody to be heard, no rhythms to keep time and no discernible rhyme and reason to the extended bouts with darkness that slowly pulsate through the sonic underworld like bioluminescent jellyfish at the mercy of the high-pressure induced currents of the oceanic abyss. So is the feel of 'A3' with a dungeon synth flow of atmospheric dread followed by echoey guitar vibrato in free form plunging ever deeper into the a lightless trench with occasional energetic outbursts of vibrato run amok

'Liquid Mirror' continues the journey into strange unearthly sound fields where dark ambient synths slowly modulate in smooth yet jarring manners of articulation designed to evoke the horrors of being plunged into a dark world haunted by phantasms and poltergeists that can only be sensed but not seen. The fluidity of the pulsating flow of sound emanates from the chasms of unnerving alien auras that evoke otherworldly encounters where all relativity with reality are completely void where hitherto unthinkable forms of chemistry and physics dominate. So utterly and incomprehensible that sheer logic crumbles like sand castles under construction in a hurricane. 'Liquid Mirror' is even more extreme in its utterly formlessness with eerie dripping, echoey distant guitar vibrato and haunted synth swirls that go for the jugular in ratcheting up the fear factor. Perhaps the perfect soundtrack for a stroll down an unexplored planet in another star system as strange life forms evolved in every different way possible and where every nanosecond is fraught with apprehension and trepidation

PIKE 270 - A3 is an outstanding accomplishment of dark ambient and is guaranteed to appeal to aficionados of Lustmord, Deathprod or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. Do not listen to this alone and in the dark before you go to bed

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 Silence by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.48 | 130 ratings

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Silence
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After two great albums (Today's Report and Imaginary Friends) and a third which was not so brilliant but very good nevertheless (Last Epic), A.C.T failed to deliver a competent album with Silence.

The style of the record is the same as their previous three efforts, but this time with a bit more serious tone and with darker lyrics. And I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that they made with Silence. The lyrics of A.C.T were never their stronger point, and this time are so cheesy as always, but not as funny. And I think that's unforgivable!

The production of the album is very good again, but I find the vocals of Herman Saming lost a bit of strength this time and I don't really don't know why. He sounds tired, or bored. At least in most of the songs. Maybe it was deliberated, but then that's also a mistake, just like the lyrics. The rest of the band sound so good as always.

Truth is Pain is a good summary of what this album delivers. A darker shade in the lyrics, tiresome vocals and a worrying lack of authentic new ideas. Even the instrumental section is not so good as always, despite the great musicians. Puppeteers is not better, with its typical Saga-riff, Queen inspired choirs and a very weak chorus. What happened to you, guys?

This Wonderful World is a boring mid-tempo which talks about ecological matters in a very predictable way (it pales in comparison to Waltz With Mother Nature), while Out of Ideas is just lame, despite its fine Ola Andersson's solo. At this point I'm really worried about the compositional abilities of the band.

But hey' Not everything is lost!

Hope suddenly rises the level of the album, with a powerful pseudo-thrash metal riff with palm muting and a catchy chorus despite the less than stellar interpretation of Herman. And this good line is maintained by Into the Unknown, with another good chorus, verses with symphonic arrangements and an outstanding progressive instrumental section.

No Longer Touching ground is not so good, but it has a nice bass during the verses. Useless Argument is an uplifting tune, with some nice hard rock elements and a guitar solo which oddly reminds me to Joe Satriani! An interesting one. On the contrary, The Voice Within is another forgettable mid-tempo.

Call in Dead has strong Queen influences in the verses and a funny chorus. In the second block of verses some Arabic melodies appears, contributing to the variety of the album. Silent Screams is an introduction to Consequences, the long song of the album, advancing some of the melodies that we will hear later.

Introduction is the second introduction to the epic of the album (a bit weird, I know), this time in the form of a nice acoustic melody, which remembers me to Spock's Beard. Then The Millionaire appears to introduce the concept of the epic, which talks about wealthy and its consequences. The song is far from being brilliant, nevertheless.

Joanna is far better, being maybe the best instrumental moment of the whole album. Powerful and precise, just what this album lacks. A Father's Love has lovely keyboard melodies and a splendid chorus with orchestral arrangements, while Memory to Fight brings another typical A.C.T riff and good choirs, alongside a great final section with splendid guitars.

The Diary is one of the best sections of the album, with imaginative riffs and constant tempo changes. I specially love the riff after the bridge, the one we can hear in the chorus. Just fantastic! This is what I expect from an album of A.C.T. And so is A Wound That Won't Heal, another very good song with a marvelous final section, which contains a very delicate guitar and vocal arrangements. Why were they not able to achieve this quality through the whole record?

The Final Silence closes this album with a very good guitar solo, ending an epic which is the best section of the album despite its unfitting lyrics.

Conclusion: Silence is by no means a bad album. It has some fine songs and a very good epic. The problem is that alongside we encounter five or six forgivable tracks, and a pair of really bad ones. Maybe lack of inspiration? Or a futile attempt to search new paths for the band? Or just too long? I don't know, but this inconsistence makes Silence the worst effort of A.C.T

In addition, the lyrics are also very poor. More than ever. And considering that this was always the weakest aspect of A.C.T's music, you can imagine how bad and unfitting they are.

Best Tracks: Hope, Into the Unknown, Useless Argument and Consequences.

My Rating: **1/2, rounded up to three stars mainly because of the epic.

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 A Trick Of The Tail by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.27 | 2279 ratings

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A Trick Of The Tail
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 131

'A Trick Of The Tail' is the seventh studio album of Genesis and was released in 1976. This is another album that represents another turning point into their discography. It's even considered by some people the first neo-prog album in rock history. After the release of the sixth Genesis' studio album 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' in 1974 and during the live tour of that album in May of 1975, Peter Gabriel announced that he was leaving the group. At the time, and after the band auditioned over 400 lead singers to find a replacement front man to the group, and because Phil Collins had already provided some vocal work on Genesis, they decided that he was the right man to replace Gabriel.

So, that change transformed the band from a quintet to a quartet. If the problem of the singer became resolved, it raised the problem of a drummer for their live shows. So, they decided to engage Chester Thompson which is an American drummer and session musician who played with Weather Report and Frank Zappa, to perform on their live shows.

'A Trick Of The Tail' has eight tracks. The first track 'Dance On A Volcano' written by Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins is a great opener for the album. This is a very progressive song full of frantic rhythmic variations. It's also a song with a beautiful melody and complex musical changes which correspond completely to the great expectations created around this new studio work. The second track 'Entangled' written by Banks and Hackett is a very beautiful pastoral piece of music that features a superb acoustic guitar work by Hackett accentuated by a fantastic mellotron work by Banks. It's a wonderful and melodic song that makes us glide and dream. The third track 'Squonk' written by Banks and Rutherford is a song with a fantastic and memorable opening and it has also a remarkable fantastic drumming work made by Collins. This is a very simple song with great choral work. The fourth track 'Mad Man Moon' written by Banks is one of the most beautiful songs of the album and is one of my favourites too. We can even say that this is one of the most beautiful songs ever created by Genesis. It's also a song with beautiful chorus and a wonderful keyboard work by Banks. It became as one of the most beloved songs of Genesis, especially in Hackett's musical era. This is really a truly fantastic progressive track. The fifth track 'Robbery, Assault and Battery' written by Banks and Collins is a very good song and particularly it has great imaginative rhythms and time changes. It's a song also with a fantastic instrumental middle section with great individual performances by all band's members. The sixth track 'Ripples' written by Banks and Rutherford is a very calm and beautiful song. It's a song with nice guitar and keyboard musical textures. In reality, Hackett's guitar work is absolutely stunning, accompanied by a soft and wonderful keyboard work by Banks. This track represents the quiet and calm track on the album. The seventh track is the title track 'A Trick Of The Tail'. It was written by Banks and represents a very accessible track with very interesting lyrics. However, this is, in my humble opinion, one of the less progressive songs on the album and it sounds more like a song made to be released as a single hit. So, despite be a very nice song, I sincerely think this is the weakest and less interesting track on the album. In reality, it seems to be more a pop song than a track of a progressive album. The eighth track 'Los Endos' written by Banks, Hackett, Rutherford and Collins, is a fantastic instrumental progressive piece of music and represents my favourite track on the album. I even dare to say, that this is undoubtedly one of the favourite tracks of all Genesis' fans. It's the track that serves to resume the all album because it has some musical elements of all the other tracks. This is a very energetic track that closes the album wonderfully. It's interesting to note that 'Los Endos' became an emblematic song for the group and for the fans too. It became part of the alignment of the songs chosen to be part of almost all of their live shows and became commonly used to close almost all of them.

Conclusion: 'A Trick Of The Tail' is the first album released by Genesis as a quartet and without their front man and song writer Peter Gabriel. I have no doubt in saying that it was, for sure, a horrible moment for them. Certainly, Collins was very nervous wondering if Genesis' fans would accept him as the new front man of the group. However, and despite the loss of Gabriel, the group continued to deliver excellent musical moments for their fans, and 'A Trick Of The Tail' represents an excellent example of that. With this album, Genesis found new musical direction instead of simply revisited their musical past work. As I wrote above, some people consider that 'A Trick Of The Tail' was the first neo-prog album in the history, but others consider that was 'Market Square Heroes', the debut EP of Marillion released in 1982. Anyway and furthermore, 'A Trick Of The Tail' remains as an important milestone in the progressive rock music and in particular to the neo-prog sub-genre. It reveals also and undoubtedly that this is an album with great quality of Genesis. This is in reality an essential album for everyone who really loves progressive rock music with great beauty.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Adonia  by OSE album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.00 | 17 ratings

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Adonia
Ose Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars OSE was the project of French multi-instrumentalist Herve Picart. He plays moog, organ, guitar, bass and slide guitar. He also composed all the songs here. He brought in an Electronic legend and fellow country -man Richard Pinhas from HELDON who also plays guitar and moog but also sequencers and synths. Richard was responsible for arranging all of the electronic parts which of course is most of this record. Add drummer Francois Auger also from HELDON and we have an incredible trio.

This was released in 1978 the same year HELDON released "Interface" a similar album to this one but one I enjoy more for it's more powerful and dynamic sound. Same with HELDON's followup from 1979 called "Stand By", two albums I prefer to "Adonia" although the cover art for "Adonia" is one of the most beautiful pictures I've seen.

"Approche Sur A" opens with about 3 1/2 minutes of faint spacey sounds with twittering over top. This is tasteful as picked guitar joins in after 2 minutes. Before 3 1/2 minutes the song kicks into gear as we get this louder electronic beat which has a dramatic affect. The flavour changes slightly before 5 1/2 minutes. This is melodic and mid-paced and it's hard not to bob my head to this. It picks up before 7 1/2 minutes and becomes more serious sounding as the drums join in. The guitar arrives after 10 minutes ripping it up over the electronics and drums. So good! This continues almost to the end.

"Orgasmachine" opens with electronic beats as spacey synths come in over top. Slide guitar after a minute. Man this is good! Sequencers before 2 1/2 minutes as the guitar steps aside. Some brief guitar returns around 3 minutes. "29 H 08 MN" is my favourite song on here mainly because of the guitar. Solo moog to start as an electronic beat arrives a minute in and soon electronics twitter over top. The guitar arrives before 4 1/2 minutes then drums and it sounds incredible, like HELDON's two albums from this same time frame.

"L'aube Jumelle" opens with spacey synths blowing over the electronic soundscape. It's dark and melancholic. Relaxed organ joins in as the same mood continues. I think that's bass after 5 1/2 minutes as it trades off with the guitar as spacey sounds continue. Soon bass and guitar join forces in this relaxed and mellow tune. It does turn louder after 7 minutes. Beautiful stuff, quite moving.

"Retour Sur Adonia" ends the album as we get an electronic beat with spacey sounds over top. I'm not a big fan of that melody because it reminds me of something I don't like but it's brief although it is repeated later. An okay song to end it.

Not as adventerous or powerful as HELDON's two albums from the same period but man this is easily a 4 star album for me. I'm a sucker for guitar in Electronic music and the addition of drums is the icing on the cake. Just missing the mellotron(haha).

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 Vemod by ANEKDOTEN album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.01 | 362 ratings

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Vemod
Anekdoten Heavy Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vemod is the result of the talent of a bunch of musicians who had the ability to consider the past while achieving to sound actual for their time!

And yes, this album sounds a lot like King Crimson, and sometimes even like Van Der Graaf Generator. But it's also has glimpses of grunge, alternative rock and even punk. Yes! That's what I ask of a progressive band, and Anekdoten delivered in a magnificent way.

Nevertheless, the production of the album is not the best. The drums are a bit too loud in occasions and the vocals are not really good implemented. I think Jan Erik Liljeström is not such a lousy singer as he seems to be in this album. In Nucleus he sounds better, and in posterior releases even better. So, I think that the out of tone segments that we can hear in this album are in part because of the weak production.

But it's all part of the charm of Vemod, I guess.

Karelia starts the album and Anekdoten's career in a great way, with a dark keyboard and a precious mellotron melody. After that a pungent bass appears introducing some guitar melodies very reminiscent to King Crimson, but filtered out by heavy distortion (or punk) which set us undoubtedly in the 90's.

The Old Man and the Sea starts with a schizophrenic riff which leads to another calmer one, imitating the sound of the waves. Just great! And at this moment the vocals appear? And I don't really know if I love the singing or I hate it. After repeatedly hearing this album I find the vocals not so annoying, but I guess that it's an acquired taste. At 3:47 we find an outstanding punk riff which leads to a great progressive section. Just incredible! Shame of the weak singing in this one.

Where solitude remains has a brutal bass line at the beginning, which lead to verses dominated by keyboards, very good despite the mediocre vocals. The chorus is more intense and the great bass appears again. After the chorus Anekdoten show their most psychedelic side, with an outstanding guitar solo. But the singing is just lame? "Taiaiaiaiaiaiam Looost" Just awful.

Thoughts in Absence is a marvelous acoustic song which had a lot of influence through the 90's in my opinion, especially in acts like Opeth or Green Carnation. And the vocals are undoubtedly better in this one! Thanks God. The Flow has a completely atmospheric beginning but after that we can hear another crazy riff and piercing bass flowing, intertwined with great notes of cello and mellotron. The vocals are not good, but at least not so annoying this time. At the end of the song we can hear where Opeth took inspiration to create their characteristic riffs!

Longing is another instrumental composition with precious acoustic guitars and cello. Almost a perfect one! And Wheel is also outstanding, with its melodies which go up and down through a limited scale in attempt to imitate the form of the aforementioned wheel. The Jan Erik Liljeström's vocals are accompanied this time of the Anna Sofi Dahlberg ones, achieving the best vocal interpretation of the album. After a prodigious solo of drums, bass and trumpet we encounter the initial riff again, closing this album properly.

Conclusion: Vemod is an outstanding mixture of piercing bass melodies, tons of mellotron, weak vocals and imaginative guitars in the vein of King Crimson, and a cello (and trumpet) work reminiscent of Van der Graaf Generator. But Anekdoten has the ability to mix this 70's influences with the typical grunge, alternative rock and heavy of the 90's, achieving a unique and very influential sound.

I think a lot of bands, especially in Sweden, took a lot of ideas of Anekdoten and Vemod. So, despite the weak vocals (maybe given by the sub-par production), I think this album is an excellent addition to every prog-music collection.

Best Tracks: Karelia, The Old Man and the Sea, Longing, Wheel.

My rating: ****

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 Of Clans and Clones and Clowns by SOUL ENEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.40 | 15 ratings

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Of Clans and Clones and Clowns
Soul Enema Eclectic Prog

Review by Yurkspb2

4 stars A very strong album from the Israel prog group. It mixes a lot of different styles (progressive metal, folk, classic prog) and still has something unique. Lyrically the band covers many grounds, too: ecological disasters, craziness of today's world, some personal touch. It's evident that lyrics do matter here. It's good lyrics have a good doze of humor (otherwise things would be way too serious). Some may not like the female singing but for me it's completely OK. Noa Gruman has a very strong and versatile voice which she can adapt to almost all styles required - check videos on Youtube where she sings arias, blues and delivers metal growls. What is always important for me in music is how memorable it is. And here Soul Enema delivers again - after 2 listens I can recall almost all tunes (maybe except 3 pieces dedicated to Aral sea). The level of musicianship is top notch and still you never get the feeling they start showing off for virtuosity's sake. Highlights: Spymania, Cannibalismo Ltd, Octopus Song, Breaking the Waves. All in all, highly recommended. 4,5 stars. Surely of of the best releases of 2017.

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 Irgendwo...Nicht Weit Von Hier...Wir by NANU URWERK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.87 | 4 ratings

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Irgendwo...Nicht Weit Von Hier...Wir
Nanu Urwerk Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NANU URWERK released this lone album back in 1978 and most detect a Canterbury vibe because this is a fairly subtle style of Jazz with plenty of flute, sax and trombone besides the usual instruments. There's no guitar but the electric piano and bass are what impress me the most about this album and thankfully those two instruments dominate. There are some vocals and vocal melodies but for the most part this is an instrumental album. I'm surprised that it took me four listens to even start liking this recording but again it's fairly laid back overall and it took some time for it's subtleties to rise to the top for me. I so enjoy the overall mood of this record. And there is that Krautrock spirit at times but for me this is a Jazz/ Rock record.

"Hier Und Jetzt, Jungs" is a top three for me. Talk about subtle, this one starts out with cymbals and some relaxed beats along with electric piano and bass. What a beautiful melody right here, just gorgeous. Percussion comes to the fore after 5 minutes as the bass and electric piano continue. Drums are back after 7 minutes. "Ungrad" is a short 2 1/2 minute song that starts with a horn, piano and more before the flute arrives around a minute then it settles back. I like this a lot with the atmosphere adding to my enjoyment. So much going on late.

"Die Holzauber" is another top three tune for me. Drums, electric piano, bass and atmosphere to start. I like the mood here as it starts to pick up before a minute and vocal melodies join in. So good! Spoken words replace the vocal melodies as the bass becomes more prominent. This has a determined sound to it. Vocal melodies are back before 3 1/2 minutes. Sax replaces them before 4 minutes changing the dynamic somewhat. Catchy stuff. Vocal melodies are back late to end it.

"Give It A Try" might be a short song but it's my final top three. Vocal melodies and piano lead the way to begin with but soon he's singing. I just really enjoy this one. "Nanu" is the longest track at 12 1/2 minutes. It sounds like wind chimes and e-piano to start as the bass joins in. Eventually pulsating keys lead the way with bass and percussion-like sounds. I like the bass 4 1/2 minutes in and that atmosphere bringing Krautrock to mind. The tempo picks up a minute later as drums come to the fore and the pulsating keys continue. Flute 6 minutes in. So good! It's building as the bass returns. Soon it settles to a smooth sound as the sax and flute take turns leading the rest of the way.

"Zhawoh" has a jazzy start with e-piano, a beat and bass. There's a kind of lame melody to my ears that arrives but that changes when it quickly gets fuller. This happens again later on. "Der Illusionist-Der Clown" is pretty much trombone and piano throughout.

A solid 4 stars in my opinion with some real high points, and really it's only the way it ends with the last two tracks that makes me settle on four stars and nothing higher. No Funk here either which is surprising for a late seventies release.

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 Rings of Earthly Light  by ERIS PLUVIA album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.75 | 81 ratings

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Rings of Earthly Light
Eris Pluvia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by maryes

3 stars My review about ERIS PLUVIA "Rings of Earthly Lights" is almost the same review of PROG REVIEWER b olariu ! I recognize the great importance which this album in the early 90's ( the progressive rock "resurrection" moment ) but, like he said ( in other words ) this is don't figures day by day menu ! In fact is only a regular / median album. Although, reserves some good instrumental parts like the first track "Rings Of Earthly Light" ( and I agree again with b olariu) the best song of this record and maybe of whole band discography. Another coincidence between our analysis is absence of more "abetters" instrumental moments , how is expected from a good prog music! One moment with some of this strong intrumental music is track 3 "The Broken Path" but, is so breath... In counterpoint some beautiful flute/acoustic guitar/keyboards themes as for instance track 2 "In The Rising Mist" and track 4 "Glares of Mind" (other good moment ) bring to the listener some "madrigal landscapes" My rate is 3 stars !!!

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 Sand by MONARCH TRAIL album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.46 | 26 ratings

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Sand
Monarch Trail Neo-Prog

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

5 stars Three years ago, Canadian trio Monarch Trail delivered a strong and well-received debut `Skye', a rich and quietly dynamic keyboard-dominated symphonic work that called to mind the early works of Glass Hammer and Pendragon, the vocal-focused melodicism of Izz and even the romantic longings of Camel. It was a top-notch first effort, but to say that the band has stepped up in a big way here would be an understatement! 2017's sci-fi concept tale `Sand', which sees the trio backed up by contributions from three different guitarists, offers a larger canvass of symphonic grandness and stronger instrumental themes, as well as delivering a more polished production, smoother vocals and more naturally flowing harmonies that instantly improve on those from the debut, and it quickly reveals itself to be one of the finest Symph-prog works of the year.

The album launches reliably with `Station Theme', an overture-like introductory instrumental full of Ken Baird's whirring synth themes and rousing piano by way of Rick Wakeman-like pomp as well as some eerier little fleeting gothic touches, as Dino Verginella's chunky bass grumbles through the background alongside Chris Lamont's bustling drumwork. `First Thoughts' is the first gentle vocal piece, Ken's placid voice sweetly sighing alongside soft symphonic keyboard caresses and sparse acoustic guitar, and it reminds of both the last few Comedy of Errors discs or the unashamedly romantic classic period Pendragon albums. `Back To The Start' instantly calls to mind I.Q's mysterious and melodic approach with the snaking bass over crystalline synth washes, and the touch of heavier guitars will excite fans of Arena and the earlier male-fronted version of Flamborough head. Loaded with crisp electric guitar themes and slow-burn soloing piercing through rambunctious drumming (listen to Dino's tantrum-like burst at about the 3:20 mark!), the second half in particular lifts to the highest of instrumental symphonic-prog heavens and is sheer prog bliss wrapped up in a mere seven minutes!

A nice change in direction, the lyrically reflective `Missing' might deliver a sparkling piano and cascading Mellotron introduction, but at heart it's a strong and tasteful pop tune, not unlike some of those simpler moments that show up on most Glass Hammer albums, and it holds a catchy joyful chorus that would make E.L.O green with envy - but don't worry, prog-snobs, you get to overdose on the frantic keyboard delirium solo in the middle!

But then Monarch Trail drop `Charlie's Kitchen' on us, a sumptuous instrumental feast of keyboard-slathered symphonic rapture in the tradition of bands like Trion, Willowglass and classic-era Genesis. Offering the most infectious of twinkling jazzy piano, assisted by some majestic Mellotron flutes, sweetly murmuring bass, peppy drumming and Steve Hackett-esque ringing guitars, it's a frequently whimsical slice of romantic prog that symphonic fans will adore. The group then spoil us that little bit more with `Another Silent World', a tasty final standalone spacey instrumental interlude.

And then, as every symphonic-prog album should have, we reach the `side-long' epic, the near twenty-five minute closing title- track `Sand'. While it similarly holds all the same wistful vocal passages with lengthy instrumental bursts fuelled by colourful whirring keyboards and welcome acoustic guitar breaks, it also refreshingly incorporates plenty of heavier drama and darker segments from moodier cinematic synths that shimmer with danger. The climax has guitars and keyboards reaching in unison to the heavens to end on as grandiose a note as possible, but extra special is the instrumental passage that runs from about the 4:45 mark for a full ten minutes, a truly exceptional all-out prog moment.

If bands like Comedy of Errors, Druckfarben and Barock Project have all moved up over the last few years in status with their most recent efforts in a symphonic prog style, then Monarch Trail have done exactly the same thing here with `Sand'. The first album was a great success, but here the arrangements, playing and production are all far superior than that initial effort, meaning we can only wait and see the amazing places the band head to from here! Also, here listeners will be witness to one of the most outstanding currently active keyboard players in action in Ken Baird, hopefully one to eventually be thought of in the same league as Clive Nolan, Fred Schendel, Andy Tillison, Neal Morse and Robert Reed of the modern prog era.

Chances are we're looking at potentially the greatest pure symphonic prog album of 2017 right here with Monarch Trail's `Sand', but we've definitely been handed one of the standout progressive rock releases of the year overall.

Four and a half stars.

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 Dance of December Souls by KATATONIA album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.49 | 28 ratings

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Dance of December Souls
Katatonia Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Considering that classic doom metal does not stand the test of time very well, I can say that Dance of December Souls is a very good example of that sub-genre!

Produced by the extreme metal guru Dan Swanö, this album has a very good sound with rich keyboards played by Swanö himself. And maybe because his influence this album has some progressive and experimental passages which makes this record also interesting for prog fans who are not really into doom metal.

Let's talk about the songs!

Seven Dreaming Souls is an atmospheric and gloom intro made of strange vocals and keyboards, which leads to Gateways of Bereavement, a song which contains some acoustic guitars mixed with the typical doom metal riffs inspired by Black Sabbath, alongside a good keyboard work and rhythm variations. All this announces that this band is a bit more than the habitual doom metal of the 90's, more progressive and experimental than similar acts.

In Silence Enshrined has a very melancholic beginning with beautiful doubled guitars. But after that another good doom metal riff appears, accompanied by powerful drums. Later, we can find another entanglement of riffs and fine melodies, with even sections which sound like traditional heavy metal.

Without God has another strong riff and double pedal drumming, followed by some terrifying growls and melodies. But at this stage of the record, the music starts to be a bit repetitive. This track is one of the best of the album, but it sounds just like more of the same. Luckily, Elohim Meth acts like a blow off valve with its instrumental acoustic melody. Very good!

Velvet Thorns is a 13-minute-long tour-de-force of beautiful doom melodies and intricated guitars and keyboards, with another heavy metal sections towards the end. Good but irregular. And the same can be said about Tomb of Insomnia. If you like the rest of the album, you will like this last song? Otherwise you'll be bored to death, despite its (ridiculous) Love Story homage at the end.

Dancing December closes the album with a beautiful set of guitars and keyboard, incorporating a final riff where we can foresee what Katatonia would do in the future, once their doom years were done.

Conclusion: Dance of December Souls is not the typical doom metal album, despite being considered a classic of this genre. Just like in The Silent Enigma from Anathema here we can find a band trying to achieve new textures for this genre, incorporating tons of keyboards and progressive passages. The result is an album hard to listen for classic prog-rock fans, but a gem for progressive and experimental metal lovers.

Nevertheless, I can't give more than three stars because its repetitiveness and some dull moments, especially in the longest songs, which I find too irregular and unnecessarily long.

Best Tracks: Gateways of Bereavement, Without God, Dancing December.

My Rating: ***

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 No Mystery by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.72 | 137 ratings

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No Mystery
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars To me, No Mystery is a bit of an oddity in the RTF catalog. It's clear on side one (the first five cuts, if you own the CD) the band was exploring funk, with a little disco thrown in. It's still unmistakably fusion, though, so if you like fusion, it shouldn't bother you too much, but maybe for the more prog inclined, it might, although Al DiMeola's "Flight of the Newborn" is the most proggy thing on side one, more resembling something off Al's late '70s material (the more proggy stuff, not the flamenco stuff) from Land of the Midnight Sun or Elegant Gypsy. "Excerpt From the First Movement of Heavy Metal" gets me scratching my head. What's metal about this? Of course I understand Chick Corea and the boys would never play heavy metal, but what about the rest of the First Movement, and perhaps several other movements? Was there supposed to be a Heavy Metal Suite? Regardless, it's more of the funky stuff the guys were exploring on that side. I suppose it was Lenny White steering the band in a more funky direction as a lot of it brings to mind his first solo album Venusian Summer, released later the same year (1975). Side two is a different story. Here they're going for a much more prog-oriented direction. To my ears they actually sound like Romantic Warrior sessions, even though this predates that album by a year, but it's clear as a bell where they were already heading on this side. The music is much more complex, there's almost Gentle Giant-like moves at times. All this culminates with the two part "Celebration Suite". Side two is very much worth it for the proggers, especially if they enjoy Romantic Warrior. I can see while why this album still gets favorable reviews, it's not as highly regarded as the other three with Lenny White (Al DiMeola wasn't on Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy). Mainly because the funky material they do here may not appeal to every proghead, and that disco on "Jungle Waterfall" may make many wonder if they sold out. Luckily they didn't, and that was their only disco song here. For the more prog inclined, listen to side two, it's amazing stuff, foreseeing what they'll be doing on Romantic Warrior. Side one is still quite enjoyable, but less complex and less prog. Still worth getting.

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 Voices In My Head by RIVERSIDE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
3.58 | 204 ratings

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Voices In My Head
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While lacking the quality of full length releases, Voices in my Head still delivers a unique experience!

Recorded after the release of Out of Myself and prior to the masterpiece Second Life Syndrome, Riverside consolidated its line- up with this EP which has a good production and some very good ideas.

Us follows the melancholic path of Out of Myself, but it contains a surprising acoustic guitars work. Acronyum Love starts with a beautiful piano which introduces a real classic of the band, with wonderful and very elegant guitars (we miss you, Piotr!) and a final accelerated part in the vein of Out of Myself.

Dna Ts. Rednum Or F. Raf, despite its weird title has introduces fine electronic rhythms and beautiful vocal melodies. The long instrumental part together with the electronic sounds is some kind of advance of what the band would do in the future with Rapid Eye Movement.

The time I was Daydreaming is another acoustic song in the vein of Us, but this time with a glimpse of trip-hop in the guitars and rhythm, typical also from Out of Myself with another intense and dramatical ending. Stuck Between has also a bit of trip- hop influence and it has an excellent layer of keyboards and guitars, very good combined, together with a fine bass and very good harmonic voices. These voices are left alone at the end of the track to close this fine collection of new songs in a very good way.

After the new songs we encounter live versions of I Believe, Loose Heart and Out of Myself, very good played and with enough variations to be enjoyed despite being heard a thousand times in Out of Myself.

Conclusion: with this EP, Riverside experimented with more acoustic sections and more trip-hop melodies than in Out of Myself. This was a cult release these days, so they were allowed to do that without receiving the anger of fans. The result is a very interesting disc with four good songs and a true Riverside classic, which is Acronyum Love.

Maybe is not an essential addition for every prog-rock collection, but it's obligated to hear this album if you like Riverside, because it's very important to understand their first years as a band and know their influences.

Best Songs: Us, Acronyum Love, The Time I Was Daydreaming.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded down to three stars.

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 Lost 'N' Found: Live In Tilburg by RIVERSIDE album cover Live, 2017
4.74 | 18 ratings

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Lost 'N' Found: Live In Tilburg
Riverside Progressive Metal

Review by Spook76

5 stars I have written but a few reviews here but this album is an absolute masterpiece. Yes, it is almost impossible to find being sold only on Riverside's EU tour. I had to pay the princely sum of $60 to get it from Discogs but it was worth every penny. A slight different take on classic Riverside songs and the flow between the songs is beautiful. There seems a more harder and faster pace than the studio versions. Like their last live album 'Reality Dream' this is almost a concept live album. Beith the last album of irreplaceable, great and unfortunate late Piotr Grudziński, Riverside's guitarist it will stand a tribute to him and maybe Riverside itself.

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 Second Home - Live At ProgDreams V by MYSTERY album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Second Home - Live At ProgDreams V
Mystery Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars The music of Mystery has gone to a more progressive rock direction after their first two releases. They have reached with "Beneath The Veil of Winter's face" a wider audience of prog fans. And the time was right after four more albums to release a live DVD in Netherlands April 2016. They played songs from those four albums and especially the latest "Delusion Rain", the title track being played as a good opener for the show. "Travel to the Night" is going from classic rock to symphonic sounding a bit like Kansas. "Pride" start in a Rush style with some fine guitar playing of Michel St-Père who will deliver throughout the show many guitar solos, some with plenty of emotions. The band shows some impressive musicianship with plenty of instrumental breaks giving the song a little more complexity. "A Song For You" got some beautiful flute part from the singer Jean Pageau who by the way has been a good replacement for Benoit David in the singing department. In this song, we have some of the best melodies of this live show and some fine guitar playing again from Michel. "Through Different Eyes" is another strong track at the end where for a rare time that when a singer ask to the audience to sing with him it didn't sound wrong even though it was short. The show ends up with a simple classic rock song to leave in a festive mood.

If you like some good Neo Prog music with strong melodies, good musicianship and want to hear a band at his peak, this is a fine example of the band's music. For those who have purchased their latest albums, you know how they care about the production of their product, and this show is another very professional sounding live release highly recommended.

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 Diana Read Peace by DARK MILLENNIUM album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Diana Read Peace
Dark Millennium Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Diana Read Peace" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German progressive metal act Dark Millennium. The album was released through Massacre Records in 1993. Dark Millennium was formed in 1989 and disbanded in the mid-90s after releasing two demos and two full-length studio albums. They started out playing death metal with doomy sections and occasionally progressive structures, but "Diana Read Peace" doesn´t feature much which indicate that Dark Millennium just the year before released the death metal oriented debut full-length studio album "Ashore the Celestial Burden (1992)".

Instead we´re treated to an adventurous and occasionally gothic take on progressive metal with a few nods towards thrash and doom metal. The atmosphere is dark, melancholic, and at times even alien, as if the band have visited places other people don´t dare to, and have found inspiration in that. Some tracks are not as complex as others, but there are some very progressive structured tracks on the album. The best example os probably the 9:45 minutes long "Brotherhood Sleep... Back to Treasureland".

The musicianship are on a high level, even though lead vocalist Christian Mertens is probably an aquired taste. He sometimes sound a bit out of tune, and his vocal lines are not that memorable and generally not very melodic. He sounds a bit strained when he does his more raw vocal parts too, and considering how strong his growling vocals were on the debut album, it´s a bit of a mystery why he would chose to sing in a vocal style like this on "Diana Read Peace". Development is almost always a positive, but in this case it´s a step down the quality ladder.

"Diana Read Peace" is a relatively well produced album, and as mentioned especially the instrumental part of the music is very well delivered, but the adventurous songwriting is sometimes a bit too adventurous for it´s own good, and sometimes it feels like Dark Millennium had a thousand individual ideas for each track, and some parts and transitions between parts therefore come off as disjointed from the rest of the track.

So upon conclusion "Diana Read Peace" is an album that leaves me a bit biased as I hail the adventurous nature of the album and the high level musicianship, but at the same time I have some issues with the vocals, and with the core songwriting (the album is also a bit too long featuring a playing time that exceeds the hour mark). "Diana Read Peace" therefore ends up falling in the catagory of being more interesting than actually good, but I´d still say a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

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 Krokofant II by KROKOFANT album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.26 | 8 ratings

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Krokofant II
Krokofant Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars KROKOFANT are a young trio out of Norway consisting of drums, sax and guitar. This is album number two for the boys who play a heavy, avant style of Jazz that is both improvized and structured. The debut simply blew me away with how insane it could be at times. I actually gave it a spin earlier this week to compare the two albums and found the debut to be much more extreme with more guitar. Now normally I'd prefer the more tamer sound of "II" but man the debut had me actually laughing out loud at times with how "out there" it got. I mean the guitar, sax and drums all go beyond where most bands would fear to tread, if they could even play the kind of complex music that this band offers.

"C.O.T.A." hits the ground running with honking sax and drums. Soon a sax melody arrives that I'm not that into. Contrasts continue until just before 3 1/2 minutes when it calms right down with drums only then some bluesy guitar arrives that soon changes to a complex style as the drums pound away. The sax is back before 6 1/2 minutes replacing the guitar to the end.

"Sail Ahead" is another uptempo number with sax and drums leading the way. It settles just before 2 minutes then the sax turns dissonant after 3 1/2 minutes. Sax only a minute later but not for long as the drums come rumbling in. "Nieu" opens with the guitar and sax ripping it up. A very interesting sound here as it is very avant sounding. The sax becomes melodic after 1 1/2 minutes as the guitar is replaced by the drums. Some crazy sax before 5 1/2 minutes.

"The Ship" is led by sax and drums to begin with and the sax gets pretty creative at times. A calm before 5 minutes with drums only then the guitar starts to solo. Just a shred-fest after 6 minutes then the sax is back late. "Snake Dog" is my favourite song on here. I just like that intro with guitar and drums that is repeated throughout. It's contrasted with a section that includes dissonant sax and those passages dominate. Guitar, sax and drums all let their hair down after 4 minutes. What a display! Themes are repeated.

"Watchtower" is uptempo with sax and drums to start. It settles after a minute as the guitar replaces the sax. And the guitar is just bonkers here as he lights up the soundscape until the sax returns after 4 minutes.

I feel the same way about their debut as I do KAYO DOT's "Choirs Of The Eye". I'm just not worthy to hear such complexity and "out there" music and no it's not all good(haha). But this sophomore album while tamer is still very avant and difficult but I'm just not nearly as impressed. So 3 stars it is.

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