MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
PROG ARCHIVES intends to be the most complete and powerful progressive rock resource. You can find the progressive rock music discographies from 9,832 bands & artists, 52,263 albums (LP, CD and DVD), 1,381,746 ratings and reviews from 57,958 members who also participate in our active forum. You can also read the new visitors guide (forum page).
Listen to progarchives.com radio ad presentation (30 sec.)

Latest 50 Free Mp3 Download (stream)


new Random Playlist (50) | Open up player | How to submit new MP3s ? | RSS New Mp3s

Latest Progressive Rock Music Reviews


Last 50 reviews
 Visions Of... by ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.97 | 18 ratings

BUY
Visions Of...
Øresund Space Collective Psychedelic/Space Rock

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

4 stars Scott Heller/Dr Space and his musical collaborators of the 'resund Space Collective return with another psychedelic ripper, 2016's `Visions Of...'. Originating from the same sessions that dark drone `Ode to a Black Hole' and the eclectic `Different Creatures' (one of the best 'SC releases to date) hailed from, it's another set of slowly unfolding spacey jams that also eventually reveals a strong funk influence this time around once it gets going, making for a unique and fresh release from the players.

The near-forty two minute title-track barely slows down for even a second, remaining high-energy and unrelenting almost the entire time! It holds plenty of fuzzy distortion, thick murmuring bass ruminations, sparkling electric piano and fizzing synth trills, with much attention placed on the slow burn but dominating electric guitar and fiery drumming, although sprightly violin and pedal-steel guitar also weave dreamily throughout the second half. `Visions Of...' lightly echoes the classic late Sixties/early Seventies live Pink Floyd performances in several spots, and along with some brief scratchy reggae-flecked moments, it makes for a great example of the sort of music the 'SC musicians frequently deliver so well.

The liner notes of the album mention Miles Davis' `On the Corner' as an inspiration, and sure enough `Above the Corner' is a Seventies flavoured infectious groover of sly funky guitars, slithering liquid bass and shimmering organ! Ambient rising/falling synths wash over droning eastern-flavoured guitar effects and hypnotic African drums slowly build in stature and danger in `Piece of Seven', and `Around the Corner' returns to gurgling funky bass and electric piano trickles over lovely floating synth wisps, with the piece really cooking as it picks up in tempo and races towards the finish with an endless blazing guitar solo, chunky grumbling bass and fierce drumming.

On this, their twenty-third release to date, the 'resund Space Collective continue their superb run of recent works, and this one has everything you could want from the band - sh*t-hot playing, cool grooves and plenty of deep-space environments, and it also reveals those surprising little flavours that make each 'SC release stand apart from the last. The `band' won't be performing as much in 2017, so it makes these releases even more vital and special, a must for lovers of jammy space-music and improvised psych-rock.

Four stars.

(and don't forget to look into `Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip - vol 1' LP, a feverish distortion heavy electronic mind-melt that sounds like the soundtrack to Edgar Froese's most vivid nightmares!)

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part III by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.03 | 31 ratings

BUY
Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part III
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by snelling

4 stars There is a lot of positives I can say about this collection. First of all, you get 4 1/2 hours of prog, for the price of maybe 2 discs. Second, you get tracks by artists that are unavailable elsewhere, or, in some cases, different versions. Third, there are artists from all over the world, five continents, contibuting to this project. Granted, not all of the tracks are great. I admit to skipping a few tracks, particularly on the 4th disc. But at the same time, there is some truly excellent music as well. I will point out that the lengthy instrumentals by Cirrus Bay and Ageness are outstanding, with some jaw-dropping moments throughout each of their pieces, and the track by Spanish artist "s.a.l.u.e.n.a", whom I had not heard of, is just fantastic. Notable here is the vocal section, with some beautiful vocals by Steve Unruh, who also provides a killer violin solo, and who is featured in several tracks in this collection. These three tracks alone are worth the price of the disc in my opinion. Other favorites include those by Latte e Miele, from Italy, Ars Ephemera, from Canada, and Stella Lee Jones, from Japan. The intro, by Robert Webb, is a fun slice of proggy heaven to start things off with as well. One curious track is that from Japanese artist "Interpose". This one started off a bit bland to me, like weak Renaissance, and I was nearly ready to hit the skip button, when suddenly it became rather glorious. The middle section was quite poignant, before getting into soloing and, after a nice Floydian section, back to the intro section to conclude the song. So this one song (nearly 12 minutes) would be curious to rate. Sometimes the vocals sound too thin, to high, or a little shrill. Other times they sound great. Some of the music is so-so, some of it, great. But that's the fun thing about prog, and this collection, and there are several tracks like this, where certain parts stand out over others. But all of this music for the price I paid, is the best purchase value I've paid all year.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Fountains Of Light by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.36 | 118 ratings

BUY
Fountains Of Light
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As the second album goes this was a disappointment. Few things differ from Starcastles debut album and this one. Fountains Of Light is another Yes clone album, no less no more. Very good clones, OK, but there was very little improvement over the first. Some reviewers here on PA say they added a few Kansas influences, but really, I can´t see a single one. Early Yes is their main source of input and the sole exception is their last track, Diamond Song, which is a little more commercial sounding, reminding me of Styx during the chorus (it was released as a single). Other than that Yes is the band Starcastle tries very hard to be. Everything here tries to emulate Jon Andersons´s band to the max. Even the vocal harmonies are perfect copies of Yes style, tones and mannerisms And this happened in 1977! Not the best time for a new prog act, specially without a strong personality. If Fountains of Light was recorded some five years earlier it would surely made much more impact.

Well, on the album itself: good musicians, a Jon Anderson clone as vocalist, some decent compositions. Again their music appears like half baked Yes songs: nice melodies, underdeveloped arrangements, not very bold ideas and they simply don´t travel the places their idols travel. It is all too restrained, something Yes certainly was not, at least at the time. There are not long solos and instrumental passages, which reminds me of Yes (1969) and Time And A Word (1970) in a way. The LP running time is very short too, clocking on just the 36 minutes mark. The frustration is that, as nice as the songs go, they all leave you expecting them to fly sometime, and it does not happen. Only Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light) offers some changes, but then it is the closing track. Too little too late.

Conclusion: once again a nice Yes copy, but a second in a row without much improving. I wonder if their third is a winner.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 66 ratings

BUY
Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars One of the first German supergroups in the progressive music realms anyway was the Kraut / Kosmische HARMONIA which was basically the collaboration of the duo Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius who were better known as Cluster along with Neu! founding member Michael Rother (who also had a short-lived gig with Kraftwerk.) Despite being crammed into the Krautrock categories by many lazy databases, their debut album MUSIK VON ("Music From" which is actually supposed to be followed by the band name) is very much an ambient progressive electronic creation with emphasis on repetitive trance-inducing rhythmic pulsations of electronic sound with subtle counterpoints that slowly unfold as the rhythmic drive marches forth utilizing the Motorik 4/4 beat that was prevalent in the music of Neu! with some of the lysergic sonic textures of Cluster. Overall the music is much more accessible than the early Cluster album but not as so as early Neu! Brian Eno was such of fan of this album that he would later become involved in future projects.

The opener "Watussi" begins the all instrumental futuristic sounds with an upbeat rhythmic percussive drive and synthesizers taking on different counterpoint effects including a dripping sound as the guitar creates a distorted backdrop that adds a layer of fuzziness. The music itself sounds very simplistic for the most part. Many of the tracks follow this formula but some are much spacier than others. "Sehr Kosmisch (Very Cosmic)" is slowed down with percussion simulating a heartbeat while the synth and organs create an ethereal Berlin School effect which wouldn't sound terribly out of place on a Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze album. The key word with MUSIK VON is "subtlety." Everything creeps in and out like sine waves of sound slowly slinking through an echo chamber. Some tracks like "Ohrwurm (Earworm)" are downright scary as notes bend and distort as if traveling through a portal to another dimension while "Ahoi!" reflects a mellower mood that is gentle and less startling.

HARMONIA found reasonable success with MUSIK VON not only with the critics with underground music fans as well and would continue on to release one more album and enough leftover tracks for an archival third but ultimately the fertile cross-pollination of the Kraut and progressive electronic world ensured that the trio would not only continue with their retrospective bands of Cluster and Neu! but would also find new ways of musical collaboration. This is by all means an interesting album for those who dig minimalism and subtle ethereal changes in their music but i don't seem to be one of those who enjoys this album more than the albums by Cluster and Neu! themselves. The first few Cluster albums were absolutely brilliant in how they went to outer space and never looked back and likewise Neu! unapologetically rocked the house with their rhythmic drive and electronic embellishments. MUSIK VON seems to be a watered down compromise between these two extremes and while the result is certainly not displeasing it does come off as a step down from past greatness.

3.5 rounded down

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Bruce Soord & Jonas Renkse: Wisdom Of Crowds by SOORD, BRUCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.11 | 9 ratings

BUY
Bruce Soord & Jonas Renkse: Wisdom Of Crowds
Bruce Soord Crossover Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Wisdom of Crowds" is the debut full-length studio album by Bruce Soord with Jonas Renkse. The album was released through Kscope Music in June 2013. It´s a project created by Bruce Soord (Pineapple Tree), who wrote and programmed the entire instrumental part of the album with Jonas Renkse´s (Katatonia, October Tide, Bloodbath) voice in mind. So "Wisdom of Crowds" is a collaborative effort by the two musicians.

Stylistically it sounds more or less like you´d expect it to sound considering the two artists involved. The instrumental part of the music is electronic/ambient melancholic rock, while Jonas Renkse delivers emotive and melancholic clean vocals on top. He brances out a bit more than what he usually does while singing for Katatonia, but at the end of the day it´s unmistakably the sound of him singing. The arrangements are for the most part tasteful and relatively accesible, but it´s not necessarily instantly catchy music. Some tracks like "Frozen North" and the title track feature strong hooks, but with others you´ll have to work a little more to discover the catchy moments. Most tracks are relatively mellow and ambient in nature, but there are a couple of more hard rocking moments featured on the album too. Examples of that are the Depeche Mode influenced "Radio Star" and "Flows Through You". While "Frozen North" is predominantly a mellow melancholic track there´s also a quite dark and metal oriented section on that track.

The musicianship is on a high level throughout. Renkse is skilled and possesses a distinct sounding voice and Bruce Soord is obviously a clever composer and arranger. The only issue I have with "Wisdom of Crowds" is that the band have opted to use drum programming instead of hiring a real human drummer, because the artificial drum sound does not necessarily suit the otherwise warm and organic sounding music that well. It´s not a major issue, but to my ears more organic sounding drums could have elevated the music to even greater heights. When that is said, there are parts of the album where the programmed drums fit pretty well.

"Wisdom of Crowds" features a detailed and clear sounding production, which suits the music well, so all in all it´s a high quality release and a successful collaborative effort by the two artists. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Starcastle by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.13 | 136 ratings

BUY
Starcastle
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars To say that american band Starcastle copied Yes is an understatement. They simply worshiped Yes and tried very hard to sound like them. Every mannerism, every instrument timbre and every vocal line is reproduced here as far as any human being could. And, in several ways, they did sound like Yes around the time of their first two albums and a even a little bit like The Yes Album, but not much. Obviously the musicians are very good, but they lack the overwhelming talent, technique and boldness of their idols. I guess at the time I would despise them as mere imitators, if I had the chance to get this LP back in 1976. But now they don´t seem so bad. At least they come up with a decent selection of songs that somehow capture a little of early Yes spirit. And surely gives us hope that they would eventually outgrew their obvious limitations to reach something of their own.

I´m still amazed of how singer Terry Luttrell can reproduce Jon Anderson´s vocal style to the limit. Keyboardist Herb Schildt does a great Tony Kaye impersonation (Rick Wakeman would be too much), and Gary Strater bass is a fine bass player. They had two guitarists, Mathew Stewart and Stephen Hagler, that can do their Peter Banks numbers very well. Drummer Stephen Tassler is no Bill Brufford, of course, but he is good anyway. I guess they would play Yes covers better than most, like italian band The Watch can do excellent classic Genesis covers. The songwriting here is probably their most promising aspect. Although not one track brings anything new, they were not bad either. In fact, they did better than most Yes imitators, and they were many. Lady Of The Lake is almost a underground classic, but the best song here is Sunfield, a great lost Yes track of sorts. Production is also very good So, I´m looking forward to listen their next works.

Rating: 3 stars. A nice Yes copy. Recommended specially for 70´s symphonic rock fanatics who like early Yes and don´t mind the almost total lack of originality.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Night Siren by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 32 ratings

BUY
The Night Siren
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This new album has been done with a collaboration of many musicians around the world and with a lot of instruments including sitar, tabla, harmonica etc. It was recorded in different places and it's really a prog rock album of a guitar player with many elements of world music, It still maintains the Hackett identity, which has never been far away in the past years from the world music. We can hear influences from his past solos albums and his love for classical music and the flamenco guitar. The music is based around the Hackett guitar playing with many solos, and his supported by classical arrangements. The song covers a lot of different atmospheres from cinematic, eastern music, ballad, etc. I really enjoyed the drums parts on the instrumental "El Nino", the beautiful melodies in the last two songs, and the opener "Behind the Smoke" with his mix of classical arrangments and world music tones which set the table for what's coming next.

There's a message on this album for the acceptance of our cultural differences in this dark times, and if there's someone that can understand this is the man who has been around the world a lot (thanks to his wife) and can share his message the best way he can be by his music.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 La Luna by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.01 | 12 ratings

BUY
La Luna
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars First, a personal note: like many fans I prefer the music of CAN's mischievous short-wave radio painter when he's in a more lighthearted mood, composing Odes to Perfume or Persian Love songs. But there's something oddly hypnotic about this minimalist curiosity: an unbroken 47-minute "Electric Night Ceremony" recorded live at Holger's Lab on May 17, 1996 (and yes, I checked: there was a full moon over Cologne that night).

Don't expect the soothing environmental ambience of a Brian Eno album, however. Czukay's tone poem was built around a sinister mechanical pulse not far removed from the dystopian rhythms enslaving all those subterranean workers in Fritz Lang's 1927 film classic "Metropolis". He then goes to creative lengths to put a human touch on his automaton bleepfest, adding ephemeral layers of pirated radio signals, odd percussion accents, random vocal interruptions and so forth.

As usual Czukay is playing the studio like a musical instrument, and was apparently so mesmerized by the effort that he forgot his trusted French Horn. There isn't much room here for comic relief, but when High Priestess U-She (real name Ursula Kloss; Holger's muse since the end of the last millennium) approaches the electronic altar and starts muttering about "the Mother of the Universe", it's hard not to imagine Holger's tongue lodged firmly in his cheek.

There's actually a lot happening over the album's uncut three-quarter hour length, at a level of perception audible only with both ears wedged between the speakers. For better or worse, this is one of those experiments that needs your full attention to appreciate, but is best enjoyed when only half-heard as background radiation.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Touch The Mystery by MODERN-ROCK ENSEMBLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.04 | 123 ratings

BUY
Touch The Mystery
Modern-Rock Ensemble Neo-Prog

Review by Yuki_liu

5 stars According to the information on the CD it was a long way for Touch the Mystery to be released, even longer to get to Hong- Kong. However, it was worth the wait. Once in a while there are albums that can not only impress, but stay in the memory and moreover fill an urge to listen the album more and more times. First, this is really an ensemble sound and I can imagine why part of the audience will have negative comments ' this music is far too sophisticated. However, in the prog- rock of 70th there were many examples of sophisticated music: Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, VDGG and others. Yes, it is much more complicated than just drum-bass-guitar-keys-vocal. There are many intricate tunes and melodies and even more important is that they are further developed through the pieces. There is as well some impressive 'musicianship' in the album starting from the fretless bass, playing rhythmical and melodical roles; cello, playing great solos, second voice and rhythm; string quartet being classical in one moment and 'heavy metal' in another part. Arrangements and orchestration sometimes are very fresh and help a lot to get the whole idea of Vladimir's composing. No matter how many people will love this album, but it is definitely important to listen to it.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Bermuda Triangle by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.68 | 9 ratings

BUY
Bermuda Triangle
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The year 2002 was the beginning of the prolific years for BUCKETHEAD as it was the first time he released more than one solo album within a 365 day period and after dipping his toes in the fertile ground of metal meets electronica cross-pollination in the 90s he finally went full force with 'Funnel Weaver' which included metal guitar riffs and licks mixed with drum sample loops, sound effects and electronic accoutrements. On BERMUDA TRIANGLE he takes those ideas and evolves them from the initial stages that made 'Funnel Weaver' sound like a rough draft for something greater. Add the turntable and hip hop extraordinaire Extrakd to the mix and you have a recipe for one of the coolest avant-electronica tinged metal, rock and folk this side of that scary sector of the Caribbean where planes and ships have been vanishing from the face of the Earth for eons.

BERMUDA TRIANGLE indeed has a theme going on, well at least as far as the titles are concerned which all correspond to the sea, sailors and all things associated with the mysterious sector of the inner Atlantic Ocean. Everything about BERMUDA TRIANGLE is a major step up from 'Funnel Weaver.' The tracks are more developed even though not necessarily longer however a couple do top the four minute mark. Also they are more diverse in style, mood and dynamics with lots of genres being jostled around like an empty bottle of rum on the poop deck as some like 'Flight' are raucous filthy metal guitar riffs with hyperbolic drum tempos while others such as 'Seas Of Expanding Shapes' consist of acoustic guitar chords strumming along with twitchy glitchy electro-beats bobbing up and down like a buoy in a stormy night. Also included are wildly freaky electronic effect tracks such as 'The Triangle Part 1: Extrakd' which utilize all kinds of tricks and trinkets for bizarro mondo electro-dynamics.

What's also cool about this one is that the music consists of a diverse sonic palette as well lots of vocal samples. Out of the 19 tracks you will here metal, blues, rock, funk, folk and healthy doses of avant-garde. The creativity is off the charts on this one and despite this being highly experimental in nature has the right kind of hooks to sink in deep from the first listen. Oh, and the production is top notch as well! BERMUDA TRIANGLE remains one of my favorite early BUCKETHEAD albums since it is consistent, varied and really takes the listener on an uncharted journey. The electronic parts are just as clever as the compositions and skillfully utilized that everything seems to fall into place. With few stumbling blocks i find this to be a highly satisfying release that shows BH at his peak in the electro- fusion world. Many of my favorite early albums are when he collaborates since he tends to hook up some of the most fertile musical minds in the biz. BERMUDA TRIANGLE has it all. Plenty of mysterious, awe-inspiring freaky types of tracks and nice subdued somewhat 'normal' types to pacify the listener's jittery nerves. This one makes me want to book a cruise from Miami to Bermuda and watch episodes of Gilligan's Island today!

4.5 rounded down

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Funnel Weaver by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.11 | 8 ratings

BUY
Funnel Weaver
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Long, long ago before the infinite series of PIKEs became the new reality for BUCKETHEAD, there was a time when the chicken lover released only one album per year. However that trend did not begin with the PIKE series. Oh no. It started back in 2002 when a whopping four albums were released and BUCKETHEAD's 7th album "FUNNEL WEAVER" was the first of the year which would spark a trend that would never let up and in fact only exponentially increase as time elapsed. To be fair BH was involved in many side projects and with other bands like Praxis, so to say he was merely sitting on a nest hatching his own eggs would be erroneous.

Right from the beginning it was apparent that BH had a love for DJ electronica as much as his passion for classic metal riffing and although the electronica had always been a part of the music, on "FUNNEL WEAVER" it becomes a key element of the it. This album is very strange in that it consists of an hour long play list of 49 tracks with each hovering around one to two minutes in length and the longest only a mere 2 min 54 sec. Despite the number of short tracks, they all share the same theme. These instrumental tracks are mostly based on heavy metal guitar riffs, licks and occasional solos revolving around electronic samples and drum machine loops with a few vocal samples dispersed randomly throughout.

Some of these are pretty cool with clever riffs spliced up with house beats and bizarre samplings of sound effects but i have to say that 60 minutes of it gets a little tiresome. On the plus side is that no track outstays its welcome since its a constant parade of guitars and electronic beats mixing it up. Overall this one presents lots of interesting ideas but in the end it all feels a little hollow like these are all demos for developing other tracks that never went anywhere. Not one i listen to often but occasionally break it out just because it takes me to a strange musical world that only BH could have come up with.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Detachment by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.52 | 52 ratings

BUY
Detachment
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by King Manuel

5 stars Happy to see Barock Project have progressed but still managed to stay true to their unique style. The new album sounds more modern, more diverse, more varied, and even at times heavier than the previous outputs. It's a flawless musical delivery in composition, execution and production. The album works when paying undivided attention to its many details, but it also works quite well in the background (I was cooking dinner when I gave it the first spin) providing a very pleasant and uplifting soundtrack.

For those amongst you who are not yet familiar with this Band, I struggle like on their preceding albums to draw comparisons to other bands. Barock Project somehow have defined their own genre of very melodic and uplifting 'symphonic-neo-barock-retro-folk-crossover Prog' ;-) Again like on the last album 'Skyline', Jethro Tull here and there springs to mind, but only momentarily. If I have to come up with another comparison, I am sometimes reminded of Big Big Train but with much more oomph, dynamic and variation.

So how do I rate this album? I personally don't hesitate to give big fat 5 stars as I haven't found a boring minute on this album plus the fact that the band progressed further but still sounds pleasurably familiar. Because I am really a kind of a fanboy since their Coffee in Neuk'lln album I guess, I need to subtract half a star to make up for my potential subjectivity. That gives you 4.5 stars which rounds up to five stars! Get this album is all I can say!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 KFC Skin Piles by BUCKETHEAD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
KFC Skin Piles
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars "KFC SKIN PILES" is basically a collaborative effort of BUCKETHEAD with Extrakd and Bryan Mantia that focuses on DJ turntables mixed with experimental guitar and lots of movie samples with "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" getting the lion's share of attention. While the music ranges from funk and rock to even Disneyland themes ("Pirate's Life For Me"), this short EP is designed to be broken out for dance raves and housequake party action. Samples from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" can also be heard.

While this isn't my favorite type of album, it's perfectly suited for what it's intended for. Yeah, it's a tad repetitive but once you're all lubricated at a social event and ready dance on the tables, who gives a flying [%*!#]. Danceability aside, this EP is ok but even within the dance genres that are numerous there exist better albums to crank out since there's too much diologue that breaks the flow and the virtuoso guitar assaults come from left field and distract from the intended mission. Think of this more as an experimental dance party and you're on to something. Intriguing in an experimental industrial way but not totally satisfying either.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Holographic Principle by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.20 | 32 ratings

BUY
The Holographic Principle
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars I can't put my finger on it, but there is definitely something that lifts this 2016 album to a higher plane than the one that came out just two years earlier. The intensity is still at the very high level, but Simone seems to be more in control on this one, as opposed to sometimes being swept away. It is bombastic, it is massively over the top, and the guitars have reined in just ever so slightly, although at times they still race off like bolting horses that have been given their heads. It is an overpowering aural assault on the senses, and I love it. The closest way I can think of describing it is like being at a version of Handel's "Messiah" with full choir and orchestra, but with Slipknot also being involved!

I was playing these two albums back to back the other day, and even without looking I knew when this one had started as there is a definite lift, a step up in just about everything. Symphonic over the top progressive metal just doesn't get any better than this. This is not something that can be played as background music, but rather demands full attention of the listener at all times, as this is all-consuming, and not for the fainthearted. I really do hope that the guys decided to come down to this part of the world for a show one day, as they must be incredible in concert. This is essential, nothing more, nothing less.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Quantum Enigma by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.81 | 77 ratings

BUY
The Quantum Enigma
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars There is one word to describe this 2014 album that rises clearly above all others, "Intensity". The production on this album seems to have brought everything together at the highest volume possible, so much so that the listener is quite drained by all of it. Singer Simone Simons has a quite stunning voice, but to be honest she is sometimes drained out by the choir and also by the rest of the band so that she actually loses some of the impact. This is a real shame, as the album as a whole is an incredible piece of work, much more metallic than the band to which they are most often compared, Nightwish, with the twin guitars locked in and riffing hard. They are also more downtuned and there is the feeling that this a guitar based-band first and foremost, as opposed to keyboard-based. Of course, Epica have a second singer in Mark Jansen who favours death growls as opposed to the 'proper' singing of Marco Hietala, so there is a very different feel between the two acts.

In many ways I actually prefer Epica, as the intensity is palpable: here is a band that are all firing on all cylinders, rushing to the end, taking no prisoners. Sure, I would have preferred to have Simone's vocals higher in the mix, but perhaps I'm being just a little picky? This is a symphonic metal band who concentrate on the latter more than the former, and that's just fine with me.Yes, they slow it down here and there, but it is when they are at full gallop with the band playing hard and the choir singing their hearts out, and Simone striving to rise above it all, that they are at their very best

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Sersophane by GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 32 ratings

BUY
Sersophane
Gösta Berlings Saga Eclectic Prog

Review by axeman

4 stars Gösta was a Spotify recommendation on the basis of listing to the La Bocca Della Verita's excellent album [i]Avenoth[/i]. [i]Fort Europa [/i]hooked me right off. The type of song that pricks up your ears in a session of browsing type of listening and makes you want to remember the band's name. And I had to hear more.

Just enough driving sound, just enough catchy and memorizing ostinatos, just enough discord and movement to be well worth several more listenings. I rather like the interludes of twangy guitar somewhat reminiscent of slower surf guitar or like a Duane Eddy feel to it. Add in notes of banjo and and the Hawaiian guitar and it could sound like it sounds older than it does. But there is also a energetic drumming and a throbbing bass line behind most of this.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Return To Ommadawn by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.28 | 147 ratings

BUY
Return To Ommadawn
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by snelling

3 stars After several listens of "Return To Ommadawn", I am very surprised with the high level of positive reviews here. I don't think it is a bad album at all. The sound itself is excellent. The instruments are very well played. The classic Oldfield sound is definitely there. But what is missing to my ears is the unique haunting melodies that make up the first 3 albums. The tear inducing sections that I had hoped for are absent. Instead, this sounds to me like Mike Oldfield doing a beautiful production of... a Celtic New Age album. He doesn't change keys much at all, and I hear no real interesing or compelling chord changes. The parts named "Latin" and "Jazz" on TB2003, were strikingly both unique and beautiful, and there is nothing that comes close to that level of intrigue here. It is certainly a nice album nonetheless, with its celtic new age styled melodies, played very beautifully by a highly skilled musician, and his musicianship is not to be downplayed. And the fact of his doing a more acoustic based long form album, is makes me hopeful that he will venture deeper into intriguing and more unique melodies in the future.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.86 | 55 ratings

BUY
Nihonjin
Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars While most of the psychedelic music of the 60s and 70s was a European and American affair oozing out of every nook and cranny of those continents, it's easy to forget that other nations like Japan had their own local scenes making an impact. FAR OUT was one of the many Japanese bands that took the influences of the English and American psychedelic scenes and added a new slant to them. FAR OUT only released one album "日本人 (Nihonjin)" (which means Japanese people), but continued on afterwards as Far East Family Band and not only released four more albums but was where Masanori Takahashi or better known as Kitaro got his start, so in effect FAR OUT is a pretty important band in the historical development of Japanese psychedelia and ambient music. The sole album of FAR OUT originally only contained two long sprawling tracks indicative of the excessive prog scene of the year 1973 when "日本人 (Nihonjin)" was released with ties not only to the heavy psych of the 60s but found themselves heavily smitten with the likes of Pink Floyd and other more progressive psychedelic and Indo-raga bands. While many of these bands were going for the jugular in terms of complexity was concerned FAR OUT took a much gentler approach and composed two lengthy tracks that utilized serene melodies as their vehicle of compositional style. The result was much like Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" which came out the very same year as the melodic development of "日本人 (Nihonjin)" isn't complex it all but it displays its magic in the ever changing dynamics that surround it.

"Too Many People" begins with a simple percussive beat sounding somewhat like a heartbeat and then gives way to a gusty wind as if the steady succession of rhythmic sounds were supplicating the gods to grant us an escapist's relief from the warmongering dimension called planet Earth. After a couple minutes a beautiful acoustic guitar slowly fades in as the atmospheric turbulence drifts away into the nether worlds. A beautiful chord progression builds slowly in a repetitive but highly melodic manner in a gentle nonchalant series of arpeggios. Finally after four minutes the vocalist joins in bringing melancholy and lament in the form of lyrics and then finally the tempo picks up ever so slightly. While vocals are utilized at different stages, the long 17 minute and 56 second track is mostly composed of instrumental passages that begin soft and easy and slowly ratchet up to staccato rock chords also including twangy Eastern influenced scales for enhancing the melody. In fact the mid-section reminds me a lot of "Icky Thump" by The White Stripes but of course this was 1973 long before Jack Black had music on his his horizons and never in the context of psychedelic rock . Close to the eleven minute mark the track becomes Indo-raga rock with a sitar twanging away as the lead instrument while the rock chords and tom-tom drum call continues to beckon the higher forces of the universe in some sort of ritualistic practice that induces a trance like state. At the twelve and a half minute mark it all comes crashing down and appears that the track has completed, but the acoustic guitar has different ideas and reverts to the opening arpeggios in slow speed while a Pink Floyd inspired guitar solo slowly eggs the track on to pick up steam again. The vocalist makes a reprise repeating the earlier lyrics and then the music plays for a while before the Floydian influences really take off towards the end as female vocalists do the oooo and aaah thing and ends with a huge power chord banter abruptly.

"日本人 (Nihonjin)" begins with gongs calling out as if a meditation practice were commencing in some Bhuddist temple in the Himalayas. This track sounds much more like German Krautrock as it begins with a hazy flurry of light drum activity and musical noodlings without form but a lone sitar steps in and steers the chaos into order as a tribal drum beat joins in and the two dominate the soundscape. As these two continue it sounds more like a classical Indian raga than anything related to psychedelic rock but they suddenly disappear, a guitar begins to strum a melodic chord progression and then power chords usher in the vocalist's English lyrics as the acoustic guitars gently rock back and forth building intensity slowly and surely until the Floydian guitar solos fly into the scene. Around seven minutes the Floydian influences suddenly acquiesce to a more jittery duet of guitars that transition the track into a slightly heavier feel with the tempo increasing a bit as well. A melodic solo carries the track on for a while but there is tension in the air as everything feels unresolved for quite some time keeping a very effective transitional stage on life support for a lengthy period but then at ten and a half minutes suddenly ends and is replaced by a more Japanese traditional sound which reminds me of a samisen type of sound but is obviously a sitar. Around thirteen minutes it suddenly ends the melodic dance and becomes drony. Then the vocalist starts to deliver a chant like vocal performance as the sitar becomes subordinate to his charismatic spell. The rock guitar and bass join in and add power to the chants as does backing drone-like vocalizations. The language is now in Japanese (previous English) and this musical style carries the track to its conclusion. The chants are repeated as if we have been transported to a bizarre cult ritual and are then suddenly in the middle of a rock concert as well. As all becomes a hypnotic trance of repeating lyrics that go from subdued to shouted, the guitar solos also flair up as do the back ground call and response type vocalizations. The intensity continues the 16:30 mark and then abruptly ends. This is where my CD ends but other earlier albums include an extra three minutes of unrelated music that sounds like a flute, a Hammond organ in a traditional Japanese musical fashion as if it's some outro. The impression with the abrupt ending version is that the gods have granted the praying beings their wish to be portaled up and away from the war ravaged Earth and allowed to spend their days in a more peaceful sector of the universe.

This album has been released many times. While the original release and some remastered versions such as the one i own contain only the two long epic tracks, there are some versions that contain seven bonus tracks. I have listened to these and they are of much inferior quality as the Pink Floyd influences are far too obvious and none of these tracks have the sublimeness of spirituality as do the two original lengthy tracks, so after having listened to all possible versions of this album, i have come to the conclusion that my 2010 Phoenix Records version is the best as it eliminates the extra three minutes from the title track and simple jettisons the inferior bonus tracks leaving the listener with the proper experience however if you're a purist go for the original. The bonus tracks are nice to hear but hardly essential. The two epic tracks IMHO indeed are.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Home Songs by JUMP album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.10 | 12 ratings

BUY
Home Songs
Jump Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Bands like JUMP are perhaps as relevant today as they ever were, occupying a niche at the intersection of British folk and rock, with precious little in common with older or newer neo prog. They tend to compact vocal oriented message or story songs with a mix of hard rock and folk instrumentation. Rarely are their progressive tendencies allowed to dominate the meticulous arrangements. As a result, they can be given short shrift by prog "purists" demanding profligate 12 minute monstrosities, the likes of which might explain the copiousness of many neo discographies. Supply meets demand. By contrast, JUMP can only be judged on the quality of their output, not by whether or not they should have extended this or that guitar solo or made song X more complex.

Unfortunately, in the case of "Home Songs", that assessment is decidedly mixed. On the one hand are pleasant ditties like the opening cut or "The Witness", or tired and bland rockers like "The Better Part of Valour", "Never too Far", and "Fresh Young Thing". Tellingly, the only outstanding track, "My Little Eye", reminds me of Irish folk rock icon CHRISTY MOORE more than Moore himself. That is not a good sign for a band that struggles for identity beyond JOHN DEXTER JONES' glorious tones.

If you are looking for a first JUMP album, I would not recommend bringing these songs home, but if you are already a fan, you are unlikely to be terribly disappointed. 2.5 stars rounded down.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Real To Reel by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1978
1.49 | 39 ratings

BUY
Real To Reel
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars So here we are

In only three years time and over the course of four albums, Starcastle went from Symphonic progressive Rock, through a kind of proto-Neo-Prog, to Crossover Prog, and finally all the way to not-even-Prog-related AOR. While their previous album still retained many progressive elements, the present album leaves us in the territory occupied by the likes of Journey and Boston. But while the latter bands at their best were rather good at what they were doing, Real To Reel is utterly bland and uninspired and sounds completely without identity. You get the feeling while listening to this that they didn't really want to do this at all, and the musical style adopted here fits the band about as well as the clothes they were wearing on the sleezy cover picture!

Starcastle committed "suicide" as a band with this album (or was it "murder" by the record company pressure?). Not until almost 30 years later would there be another Starcastle album released.

Real To Reel is an embarrassment and is best avoided.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Live In Toronto by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.51 | 43 ratings

BUY
Live In Toronto
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Forgive my skepticism, but I have to ask: why bother releasing a live album recorded less than one month before the more comprehensive "Radical Action" CD/Blu-ray package, and featuring an almost identical song list? It looks like pure, mercenary redundancy, but after hearing it the reason should be obvious: on a chilly autumn evening in Toronto, the Crimson King put on a red-hot show.

Consider this one the undoctored live flipside to the 'virtual studio album' of "Radical Action", with all the arena ambience resored (the crowd was erased from the "Action" tapes), including the pre-concert No Photos request, very politely extended by Robert Fripp himself in a recorded announcement. It's hard not to smile when hearing the 69-year old gentleman rocker from Wimborne invite the audience to "please join in and have a party with King Crimson", like he's introducing a Parliament-Funkadelic dance act.

What should be immediately apparent, in contrast to the more perfectly mixed "Radical Action" set, is the raw energy of this recording, totally appropriate to the Beat the Bootlegs motivation behind it. The rhythm section is especially loud, almost to the point of audio distortion at times, hardly surprising with three drummers attacking their kits in precise unison and/or counterpoint (all of them ace players, but it still seems like a gimmick).

I won't repeat the commentary/chit-chat/criticisms of my parallel review on the "Radical Action" ProgArchives page ("it's only talk", after all)...except to note again how close the older songs stick to the original studio versions, sadly without any uncharted digressions, a Crimson hallmark in its glory days. Nostalgia is back in style for the new band, as heard in the walk-on tape for this gig: the old "Islands" album coda, with a young Fripp directing the string orchestra at Command Studio in London. That rose-colored intro sets up the nervous opening notes of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One", a juxtaposition that would have been more shocking in 1972 but still holds residual power in 2015.

A convincing argument is made in that first track: even with its cutting edge dulled by age, the Crimson King sounds pretty darn sharp. The set-list is mostly Golden Oldies now, but the performances are tremendously vital, and the songs themselves more relevant than ever (yes, even "The Letter"). Note the dramatic transition from the instrumental alarm-call of "Red" to the passionate eulogy of "Epitaph", together functioning like a musical barometer for our troubled times. And the 45-year old "Pictures of a City" has never sounded quite so urgent, rising to a climax approaching Holy Sh!t levels of intensity.

In the end your own preference for this set or "Radical Action" will likely depend on how polished you expect a live album to sound. Or, on an even more basic level, which album you happen to hear first. Either way, it's a vital snapshot of a surviving Progressive Rock giant flexing a few timeworn but well-toned muscles.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Ummagumma by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.48 | 1468 ratings

BUY
Ummagumma
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by VianaProghead

3 stars Review Nº 113

"Ummagumma" is an album of Pink Floyd which was released in 1969. It's a double album divided into two different types of musical works. The disc 1 is a live album of their studio musical catalogue at the time, while disc 2 is a studio album that contains several musical compositions, all composed by each member of the group as solo artists.

"Ummagumma" has sixteen tracks. The disc 1 is the live album and has four tracks. They were recorded live at Mothers Club in Birmingham, and in the following week at Manchester College of Commerce. The first track "Astronomy Domine" is a live version of a song originally released on their debut studio album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn". The second track "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" is a live version of a song never released on any of their studio albums. It's an instrumental piece of music that was originally released as the B side of their single "Point Me At The Sky". It was also released on their compilation album, "Relics". The third track "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" is a live version of a song originally released on their second studio album "A Saucerful Of Secrets". The fourth track "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is a live version of the title track of their studio album "A Saucerful Of Secrets", too.

In relation to this live album, all the live versions on it are great. "Astronomy Domine" and "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" always were two of my favourite songs of the psychedelic musical phase of the group and the only thing I can say is that they are even better than their original studio versions. I must say that I never was a great fan of "Careful With That Axe, Eugene". However, I also must say that this live version is superb and because of that I became a fan of this version of the song. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is without any doubt my less favourite track of this side of the album, because it has too much improvisation for my taste. However, it's also a great track that doesn't harm the great musical quality of this side of the album. Overall, all these live versions are stranger, wilder, longer, sometimes considerably so, sometimes slower, faster, or louder, at times hypnotically pretty and otherworldly, other times frighteningly creepy and intense, and still otherworldly. In short, the live disc shows the early Pink Floyd at their best.

The disc 2 is the studio album and has twelve tracks. Still, it was divided into four parts, where each part corresponds to each band member. The first part "Sysyphus" is from Richard Wright and is divided into four parts which correspond to four tracks. The second part is from Roger Waters and has two tracks, "Grantchester Meadows" and "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Growing With A Pict". The third part "The Narrow Way" is from David Gilmour and is divided into three parts which correspond to three tracks. The fourth part "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" is from Nick Mason and is divided into three parts which correspond to three tracks.

In relation with this studio album, I must say that in general it's a little bit disappointing for me, because of its low overall quality. "Sysyphus" is my favourite part of this studio album. This is an avant-garde piece of music very strange and with a rather sinister atmosphere that sounds like something out of a horror movie. It's, in my opinion, a very good piece of music with some great musical parts. "Grantchester Meadows" is the only solo piece of music on the acoustic guitar with lyrics on the album. In my opinion, it's a typical acoustic song by Roger Waters, very simple and soft, but also very vulgar and extensive. Definitely, this isn't one of his best compositions. "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Growing With A Pict" represents a complete waste of time. It's a song almost inaudible and I sincerely can't see anything positive on it. This is probably the worst composition ever made by Waters. "The Narrow Way" is, in my humble opinion, an unbalanced piece of music with some low and high points. It's basically an exploration of several guitar styles and is fortunately largely pleasant listening. "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" is, in my opinion and surprisingly, the second best piece of music on the album. It's a track with an interesting musical structure, very pleasant to listen to, and is for me, the underrated piece of music of this rather strange studio album.

Conclusion: Everything about this album is weird, from its cover, another Hipgnosis classic, to its title, apparently a British slang for sex, its structure and finally its actual contents. "Ummagumma" is comprised of an excellent live disc that represents Pink Floyd's "space rock" peak, followed by a second studio disc that ranges from very good to truly awful. In relation to the live album, we can say that all the four live versions are superior to their studio originals, made longer, louder, harder, all with a real edge of playing. In relation to the studio album, it isn't a musical collective effort of the band and I must confess that I never was a great fan of those types of albums. I must confess that it was very hard for me to rate "Ummagumma". I completely agree with Easy Livin when he says that we are in presence of a good album and a not so good one. This album probably proves that Pink Floyd members are better as a band than as solo artists. It represents really the band's artiest, most experimental, avant-garde, and flat-out album ever made by them.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Concert Classics  by STARCASTLE album cover Live, 1999
3.09 | 10 ratings

BUY
Concert Classics
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Breath and thunder

This live album was recorded just after the release of the band's third studio album Citadel in the late 1970's, but it was released only much later under various alternative titles.

The album contains eight songs all in all, including the very best songs from each of their first three albums: Change In Time from Citadel, Fountains from Fountains Of Light, and the excellent Lady Of The Lake from the self-titled debut. Unfortunately, they also included the two worst songs from Citadel: Can't Think Twice and Could This Be Love. A tip would be to skip these two tracks on a first listen so that you get to the much stronger second half of the album where the better songs are concentrated. Here you will also find Breath And Thunder which is a number that was not included on any of the band's regular studio albums, and is interesting at least for that reason.

A pretty decent live album that in some ways is better than most of the band's studio discs.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Pike 257 - Blank Slate by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Pike 257 - Blank Slate
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 257 - Blank Slate / 14th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 6 tracks / Clocks in at 30minutes 19seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead

"Blank Slate" (5:54) starts with a cheery anthemic guitar lick and a beefy bass and drumbeat and then ups the ante with some serious distortion and alternative metal riffage. The main gist is the less distorted intro lick inserts itself into the more distorted grungefest from time to time and the two styles switch off. After a while it picks up speed a little more and has a bridge type of change-it-up. Not a bad track. Has some good songwriting on this one

"Opened To The Air" (6:57) begins with a cleaner more subdued guitar and subtle cymbal action. It stays warm and cozy for a while as a melody takes its time to slowly unfold. After a long two minutes of warming up the drums get a little excited but then NOTHING! Well nothing new that is. It reverts back to cute and cuddly lullaby time again. Was hoping for some dynamics shifting around but this one stays in the clouds with no earth, wind or fire to be found. Well some electric guitar work does finally make an appearance at the end but too little too late and this one is waaaay too long

"Wind Of Hollow" (3:30) begins suspiciously close to the last track only this one is more ethereal with ambient swirls of sound swishing around in the background. The tempo is slightly more upbeat but still in the land of lollygagging. Still though, the atmosphere is more Floydian and therefore a space rock vibe complete with Waters and Gilmour guitar worship in action. Tempo remains fairly mid-paced at the peak of things

"Task In Trunk" (3:30) is another on clean guitar and slo-mo mode. Drums seem a little too strong for the light and fluffy stringed instruments. Melody seems to be canned as it sounds like a gazillion other tracks in the PIKE series. Meh

"Solar Staple" (7:31) offers a much needed uptempo step up from the dreamy filling of this PIKE. It begins with a feisty drumbeat and bass accompanied by a jittery guitar riff and then some power chords kick in. It continues a receptive chord sequence that eventually allows the lead guitar to take the stage to solo around. Another predictable and overdone style of PIKE track at this point. Meh

"Lockun" (2:57) totally goes against the grain and cranks out some ferocious thrash metal with staccato chord and blistering blitzkrieg riffs that remind me of classic Pantera before turning into a spidery guitar lick that slips in between thrashy riff sections. While not the most brilliant track of BH's career, this IS the best track on this PIKE but too little, too late to save this PIKE from being a cold turkey. At least there's one track that i truly love and this is it!

This PIKE is totally pleasant but unthrilling suitable for background music but pretty ho hum and uninspiring. Nothing original, just recycled PIKE ideas that weren't really needed to be repeated

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Christmas In My Heart by JEREMY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Christmas In My Heart
Jeremy Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars

In many ways it is somewhat surprising that it took until 2015 for Jeremy to release a Christmas album, as at my last check he has released more than fifty albums in one musical form or another, and given that he is also a church minister it does make a sense to bring the two things together. Anyway, here it is, and regarding musical stylings this finds very much in the area of power pop as opposed to his progtastic releases. I found one review that likened his influences to The Beatles, The Byrds, Big Star, Pink Floyd, The Hollies, The Kinks, Teenage Fanclub and another that pointed to the Undertones and Phil Seymour, but while bits of all these bands do make sense, there is no single band that can be heard to be prevalent above the others.

This is psychedelic power pop that is taking everything that came out from 1967 ' 1970 and melding it together in a fashion that is both enjoyable and fun, and that makes for instantly accessible music. Some of the songs are more evangelical than others, but the one thing they jave in common is that they don't really sound like any other Christmas song you;ve come across before. My favourite, though, just has to be 'Here Comes Christmas' which use the Batman theme to great effect. It just has to be heard to be believed. Overall, yet another fine release from Jeremy Morris.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Not Of This World by JEREMY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Not Of This World
Jeremy Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Before I started writing the review I thought I'd get the CD down from the shelf, so started looking through my collection of Jeremy CD's and it took a while to find it. A short count later and I realised that I have thirty of his albums on CD, plus another four from the days when he was releasing albums on cassette, and I don't actually have everything he's done by a long way! The album starts as if it is one of his power pop albums, with a more evangelical nature, but the lengthy 'Clouds Are Lifting' soon turns into something quite different, as mandolins are riffed and dramtically change the feel of the whole piece and then we are into delicate piano and the realisation that this is an album that is looking back to his classic 'Pilgrim's Journey' in many ways, as it is refusing to conform into any particuar style.

There are a few guest musicians helping out here and there, but for the most part this is Jeremy doing everything himself. The rhythm section of Dave Dietrich and Todd Borsch may only be involved on a couple of numbers, but they have dramatic input into 'I Am The Eye' which is driving rock number, again with many influences and stylistic switches and changes. There are strong hints of The Beatles in particular, moved and pulled in many different directions and styles.

There is a refusal to conform, so that the listener never really know what to expect or what is coming next, although this is never harsh or grating. The jangly Byrds-style guitar at the beginning of the title song leads into a pop melody that in turn is twisted into something that could have come out of Sgt. Pepper. Jeremy has really puished himself with this album, and it feels his most complete work for some time. This will appeal to those who enjoy both his progressive rock and power ppop works as here is stretches both and delivers them in a manner that is always enjoyable and entertaining. This is refreshing and uplifiting album which is well worth hearing.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 1998 - La Storia Di Sabazio by TRIADE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.68 | 51 ratings

BUY
1998 - La Storia Di Sabazio
Triade Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

5 stars 1973's `1998: La Storia di Sabazio' by obscure Italian prog trio Triade is something of a best kept secret in progressive music circles. A lavish and ambitious classical flavoured tour-du-force, their sole barely thirty-one minute gem is often considered a near-masterpiece by those who adore it, and the rest...well, they just haven't heard it yet! The easiest (if laziest but not entirely untrue) comparison would be a sound like Le Orme crossed with Emerson, Lake and Palmer to cover the first instrumental side, but the flip reveals a collection of exquisite, possibly even superior vocal pieces to make the album the complete package.

Part of the reason the album maintains a great reputation is the continuous twelve minute, four-part `Sabazio' instrumental suite that occupies the first side, reminding a little of the title track opener of Le Orme's `Contrappunti' or keyboard heavy Italian albums like Rustichelli & Bordini's `Opera Prima' (but without the dirty menace!). The bass, keyboard and drum trio dart through a fleeting array of eclectic (and maybe even a touch schizophrenic!) symphonic themes, with the opening a brewing caress of organ ambience and Giorgio Sorano's rising cymbals about to explode, and after a searing implosion the trio tears through some bombastic and frantic little maddening bursts that sometimes hold a maniacal, light gothic glee. The third part `Il Viaggio' offers Agostino Nobile's lurking murmuring bass and calming reflective moments via glorious shimmering organ dreaminess, and the closing section `Vita Nouva' is a final showcase of fancy classical piano prettiness. It's staggering to think that keyboardist Vincenzo Coccimiglio was only 18 years old at the time this was recorded, because, despite a couple of the themes not being quite as fully developed as they could have been, his playing shows so much energetic precision and lightness of touch when necessary.

But, oh...the gems that still await on the second side...`Il Circo' is a final vocal-free moment, a short and peppy little instrumental rocker, but potentially the album highlight is `Espressione', a gentle acoustic guitar ballad that also holds dreamy whirring keyboards offering the lightest of elevating symphonic themes, where pristine piano and Agostino's warm tender voice takes the piece and album overall to another level. The wilder `Caro Fratello' opens as a propulsive rocker that pulses with thick grumbling bass, aggressive swirling Hammond organ and relentless drumming before floating into the sweetest of mellow acoustic symphonic atmospheres and another soothing Agostino vocal. After some jangling acoustic guitars spiked with an soft uneasy tension and urgent drumming , closer `1998 (Millenovecentonovantotto)' turns more uplifting with joyful humming synths in the final moments that perhaps brings the album the closest to a Premiata Forneria Marconi-like moment.

The lack of electric guitar puts Triade in the company of other obscure Italian groups such as Corte dei Miracoli (whose self-titled sole work from 1976 is equally as essential), and you can even hear their influence on terrific up-and-coming younger Italian bands like Kalisantrope. It's a shame they were only to deliver a sole album before vanishing, a curse that befell quite a few Italian acts at the time, so it just makes this dynamic and relentless mix of ravishing instrumental and charming vocal pieces even more precious. Once you've moved past the big names like the Banco's, the P.F.M's (actually two bands that Triade supported live in concert in their short time together) and the Osanna's, etc, it's time to start delving into the rich selection of more obscure Italian works, and there's no better example of a very special one than "1998: La Storia di Sabazio".

Five stars

(and be sure to check the Italian Prog page for wonderful interviews with both Vincenzo and Agostino, who recalls a lovely moment supporting Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - http://www.italianprog.com/a_triade.htm )

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light) by STARCASTLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light)
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Interesting obscure single from this american band, takin from their second LP, 1977´s Fountains of Light. They were obviously Yes fanatics and their music is pretty much in that vein: vocalist Terry Luttrell sings like Jon Anderson, the bass player tries hard to be Chris Squire and so on. However, this song tends to slip to the AOR side, reflecting what bands like Styx were doing at the time, specially the well constructed chorus. Unfortunately it seems that, unlike Styx, no one paid much attention to them. And although the musicians were very good and the songwriting is decent, the timing was wrong for this kind of prog rock, specially for a band lacking a strong and/or unique personality.

The single has two versions of Diamong Song (Deep Is The Light): an edit one (maybe in hope of some radio play) and the album cut, almost two minutes longer.

Recommended for 70´s symphonic prog rock fans that don´t mind derivative bands.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Citadel by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.90 | 70 ratings

BUY
Citadel
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Change in time

On Citadel, Starcastle feels somehow more at home than they did on the previous Fountains Of Light which to me is best viewed as a transitional album between the Symphonic Prog of the debut and the more Prog related AOR style showcased here. The universally made comparison with Yes is definitely less natural here, and it would be better to compare the music on Citadel with that of other American bands like Saga, FM, and Kansas of the late 70's/early 80's. The downside of sounding less like Yes is that they sound more bland.

Citadel is a far cry from the band's excellent self-titled debut. But judged for what it is, it is not that bad. I think it is fair to say that Starcastle was ahead of their time and pointed in the direction that many Prog bands would take in the 80's, streamlining their sound and exploring more commercial pastures.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Fountains Of Light by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.36 | 118 ratings

BUY
Fountains Of Light
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Welcome to the dawning of the 80's

Starcastle's second album Fountains Of Light is currently their highest rated album here, but I definitely like this one less than their excellent self-titled debut album released the year before this one. Much of the naive charm of the debut is gone and what we have here is much more streamlined. The result is that the album feels overproduced and too polished and cheesy.

The band was already going in a commercial direction here which is nowhere more obvious than in the closer Diamond Song - Deep Is The Light. This song could easily have been by Journey or some other AOR band. As such it was pointing to the future of the band and in some sense of the whole genre. Starcastle was ahead of their time (in the worst possible sense) as they began to develop an 80's sound already in the 70's!

There is still some good music here though, especially in the first half or so of the album. The opening track Fountains is the highlight, but even this one does not measure up to the powerful Lady Of The Lake from the debut.

My advice would be to begin with the debut which is a much better album in my opinion

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Black Light by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.33 | 11 ratings

BUY
Black Light
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by dion

5 stars SONOR ARCHITECTURES SONAR is an encryption standing for "SONic ARchitecture", and their music, of an unique simplicity and magic, hypnotic and obsessive, is like defining deconstructions and reconstructions of a lost kenopsystical city resembling the paintings of deChirico. The sonar fluid embraces you and set you over with it on visual dreaming phantasms. The sound rhythmical substance, working precisely like a Swiss watch, become reductive to an essence minimalism molded with fine refinement. The two guitar players in the group formula (Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner), we could expect at a demonstration of virtuosity, at passionate fast speed dialogues with notes tighten tumultuous together as in the ubiquitous rock tradition. Backed up by Christian Kuntner (bass) and Manuel Pasquinelli (drums), the two guitar players builds up the dialogue in complementary in which each resonates together in unwonted and fascinating sound landscapes. The result is a rigorous build up symbiosis which thought to essence in complex polyphonies. The music of SONAR is a retrospection in the intuitive expressionism of Stockhausen, with stylistic nuances which can be associated with the music of Robert Fripp, Nik Bärtsch Ronin or Steve Reich. Founded in 2010 in the underground clubs of Zürich, the group SONAR shapes itself an unique place in the contemporary progressive music, all their albums being downright perfect. The uncanny atmosphere streaming out of the sound, so unique but so recognizable, is maybe due as well to the way as the members of the group tune up their instruments in the three-tonic module (C / F# / C / F# / C / F#), a specific feature to be found in the primitive ? tribal or ritualistic of "Maori", "Vedic" or "Herranza" music. Simple by appearance, complex by the structure of the polyphonic layer lines which overlaps in rhythmical asymmetries, the sound product is eluding the easy ways and stereotypes of the conventional compositions. The eccentricity of the SONAR sound it's not a researched one, but an undisguised vision of the idiosyncratic sound aesthetics the members of the group share together. The last SONIC album, "Black Light" from 2015, chronological their fourth, was recorded live in the studio, without any additions at editing. This technical element of recording creates in whole an organized (oxymoronic) spontaneous state of mind, as well as an emotion of a genuine kind. "Ennergram", the tune that opens the album, lines up the generic approach of the mathematical sound of the entire album. From the very first accords touches of the "Black Light" tune, we can recognize the atmospheric influence of the "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" (King Crimson) tune, theme which SONAR group is dressing it up and takes it over to a novel sonic spatiality. Already being placed on this orbit of travelling space landscapes, the follow up "Orbit 5.7" is a melodic geometry delineating even more the rhythmic mathematics in "Enneagram". The repetitive rhythmic sequence of "Angular Momentum" is inducing a psychedelic trance. "Stri Geometry" is a melodic geometry build up on contretemps measures. The last recorded tune in the studio, "Critical Mass" is the most intricate and "nervous" tune on the album. The album wraps up with two live bonus tracks: "Twofold Covering" and "Tromsö" which rounds out and emphasize this exceptional production. Listening to the album "Black Light" is a real and surprisingly pleasant experience for which I give 5 stars without hesitation ! Daniel Ionescu

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Starcastle by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.13 | 136 ratings

BUY
Starcastle
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Set sail a crystal ship and you will fly"

It was certainly with some trepidation that I approached Starcastle given how often they are dismissed as doing nothing more than aping the style of Yes. This held me back for a long time from giving this band the fair hearing they deserve. That they are heavily inspired by Yes is undeniable, but that is hardly sufficient grounds for a quick dismissal. There are hundreds of bands following closely in the foot steppes of Genesis, for example, some of which are highly regarded. Ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and to my ears Starcastle's self-titled debut is actually highly appealing. The musicianship is strong and the result is charming and enjoyable.

I will not belabour the comparison with Yes, but I want to bring up something that is not often mentioned; how often the music found on this album evokes the jazzier Peter Banks-era and also Banks's post-Yes band Flash (whose debut also featured Tony Kaye). The production on the other hand is more in line with later Yes albums like Drama, and in that respect foreshadows Yes's own subsequent development. (Note also the very Keith Emerson-like keyboard solo at 4:18 into Lady Of The Lake.)

It should be remembered that Progressive Rock took off later on the other side of the pond with bands like Kansas and Rush reaching their pinnacles around the time of the release of this album (1976-1977), and Starcastle needs to be understood in relation to this. The American bands were generally not as original as their British and European forerunners, but that doesn't mean they are without merit. Starcastle's debut album should be regarded a classic of American Prog Rock and is much better than the albums of many American bands from around this time.

Excellent album!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind by KING CRIMSON album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.54 | 61 ratings

BUY
Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A stray thought, while unwrapping this lavishly packaged 4-disc live set (three CDs, plus a Blu-ray disc) from the newly-inflated King Crimson septet...whatever happened to the "small, mobile, intelligent units" Robert Fripp was aiming toward in his Drive to 1981?

Since the 1970s Fripp has arguably been the most progressive of any first-generation Prog Rocker, adamant in his resistance to a sentimental reformation of the original band. And yet here he is, nearing the twilight of his career, on stage performing beloved chestnuts like "Epitaph", "Sailor's Tale", and (not inappropriately) "21st Century Schizoid Man".

But if the Crimson King isn't looking forward any more, he's at least assembled a formidable unit to help relive the past. And after the letdown of the too-abbreviated "Live at the Orpheum" teaser it's reassuring to see the Crimson monster back on its feet...all fourteen feet, in this case.

The flute and sax work of old friend Mel Collins provides a welcome bridge to an earlier, warmer King Crimson, and offers an effective proxy for David Cross' violin on the Larks' Tongues-era songs: note his playful interpolations of Henry Mancini and Rimsky-Korsakov during the proto-metal "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One". Jakko Jakszyk 's voice is likewise a honey-toned throwback to the bygone days of Greg Lake and Boz Burrell, giving the new lineup another valid excuse to exhume such old material.

The few new songs offer encouraging evidence that the aging beast hasn't lost all its teeth yet, despite this being more of a reunion ProjKct than a creative rebirth. Nostalgia is clearly the order of the day, but with a conspicuous hole in the set-list shaped like Adrian Belew, effectively airbrushed out of the repertoire as completely and mercilessly as Gordon Haskell once was. The only selections from his more than 25-years at the front of the Crimson stage are Fripp-composed, or entirely instrumental.

And Belew isn't alone in his exile: the entire audience was amputated from these live tapes, in classic Fripp-like fashion. The guitarist as long been notorious for his reticence on stage, needing the attention of a receptive crowd to synergize his performance, but always at arm's length, and preferably without photographs. Maybe he decided to simply carry that wallflower impulse to its logical end.

The 1974 LP "Starless and Bible Black" followed the same approach, camouflaging a live recording as a studio album. But that was with all-new material, not the familiar oldies presented in these shows. Consequently there's a sense of detachment here at odds with a genuine live experience, all part of a calculated design (again, quintessential Fripp) extending to the matching formal stage outfits and choreographed song arrangements, split between three drummers.

And, outside of a few "B'Boom"-style interludes, there isn't any improvisation. Understandable perhaps, given the logistics of such an unwieldy ensemble. But it's still disappointing to see a muzzle tied around the historic Crimson ideals of serendipity and happy accidents.

All of which probably reads like excessive Monkey Mind griping about an album I'm nevertheless calling 'an excellent addition to any Prog Rock music collection'. Criticism aside, the sound is tremendous, the performances airtight, and the older songs (ignoring the umpteenth reincarnation of "Red") fresher than ever, perfectly at ease alongside the new stuff. Imagine the aging monarch donning his old robes and finding they not only still fit, but after more than 45-years are almost back in fashion.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Trance/Mission by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.34 | 4 ratings

BUY
Trance/Mission
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars The Indonesian underground music scene is one that has gained quite the momentum over the last few decades. Of course what is played isn't restricted to a certain genre, but it should be noted that progressive music was heavily emphasized. Groups like Imanissimo and Discus emerged in the early 2000's, but one group came even earlier, one under the moniker simakDialog, in 1993. Of course Indonesia had experimented with progressive music much earlier such as with the diversity of Guruh Gipsy back in 1977, and I'm sure there's other examples that I can't name off the top of my head, but simakDialog was perhaps the first moderately-popular jazz/fusion act to arise from the country. Jakarta, Indonesia specifically was were they came from, a place which was and still is a potent breeding ground for aspiring artists, and simakDialog were a bright bunch even amongst their peers. Like any obscure band their history is hard to uncover, but from the looks of it simak began their studio ventures in 1995 with Lukisan, but started to gain more traction in 1999 with their sophomore album Baur. Now, those albums are all well and good, but what I believe to be the crowning achievement of the early days of simakDialog is their 2002 effort, cleverly titled Trance/Mission.

I'd hate to be that guy, but I just gotta do it -- if the band's mission was to put me in a trance, it worked (I am so, so sorry). Trance/Mission is less traditional jazz fusion as you might expect, less in the vein of Return to Forever or Santana, and closer to a more traditionalist viewpoint of what exactly the genre entails in South-Asia. Elements of new age, prog-electronic, ambiance, latin-jazz, and progressive rock are all present, and collapse in on one another in an almost surrealistically well-put-together mess. The long, sprawling run-times of the more adventurous tracks like 'All In A Day' and 'Throwing Words' are testaments to true eclecticism, often divulging into numerous different pathways which never fail to lose their sense of intrigue. Now, with all these observations you might expect that this particular album is likely hard-to-swallow, or just too avant-garde for one's tastes. Funnily enough though, that's not the case. simakDialog's way of doing things may sound exuberant to say the least, but the way the band presents it is almost sophisticated in it's laidback approach. If I were to give a visual summary of what this album represents, it would be of a beach-house, front-window view of the sunset, albeit a sunset that lasts almost an hour and ten minutes. The instruments do more than just interact, they collide off of each-other and split off, not exactly in a zany way per-say, but they do tend to make their own marks separately. This could be kind of overwhelming, such as on the last track 'Sampan' where a bit too much can be happening at once and tonal shifts can be thrust in at off- kilter places, but more often than not it is very effective.

The independence is not only where the album thrives, as cohesion is the yin of the yin-yang that it invariably is. The aforementioned 'All In a Day' is likely where I found myself at my most comfortable, not only with the fantastic guitar-solo-work by Tohpati Hutomo, but also by the soft amateurish keyboard of Riza Arshad and of course the wonderful and colorful percussion section led by Endang Ramdan, Erlan Swardana, and Jalu Patidina. On that note, it would be good to mention how fantastic the percussion section really is, as it isn't exactly similar to many other bands. Instead of relying on a single classic rock / jazz drum-set, simakDialog uses a smattering of kendangs (a Southeast Asian two-headed drum), as well as a few other native instruments like the kethuk (a Javanese mini metal-gong). Fear not though, you of conservative-natures (such as myself, honestly), because there is often use of the jazzist's pride and joy, the hi-hat, which makes several appearances in faster sections. If this diverse cacophony of instruments appeals to you in any way, then this is exactly what you're looking for.

I've always maintained that some of the best albums are those that are shrouded in obscurity, and simakDialog further reinforces that. Indonesia has produced one of the most fun-loving bands of the last 20 years. Check it out. (4.5 rounded to a 5)

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Smile A While  by BRAINSTORM album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.60 | 39 ratings

BUY
Smile A While
Brainstorm Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars It was all the way back in the late 60s that the seeds of BRAINSTORM were planted in when four school buddies in Baden Baden, Germany discovered rock 'n' roll in the late 60s and soon they would form a band called Fashion Pink (after their psychedelic heroes Pink Floyd) where they would nurture all their musical fantasies. First they started out merely as a blues rock band but after future Guru Guru member Roland Schaffer decided to yield his guitar hero worship to indulge in the sax and clarinet, the band focused on a much more aggressive jazzy style of rock with bands like Soft Machine, The Mothers of Invention and Caravan as the main influences. The band also latched on to aspects of the burgeoning Krautrock scene in their native Germany and as a result managed to craft some extremely demanding and exquisitely designed jazz-fusion chops tinged with vestiges of 60s psychedelia lurking around unexpected corners between sizzling sax solos and flirtatious flute melodies.

While still Fashion Pink, the band gained popularity as a stellar live act but one fateful day the band was involved in a serious accident which left them injured and dismayed so of course they decided to change their name to Fashion Prick! With German labels sniffing out new talent the new name was deemed unacceptable when it was at last their turn for a record deal and the new name BRAINSTORM was quickly adopted before the release of their first album "SMILE A WHILE." This album has it all really. "SMILE A WHILE" is one of those rare releases that manages to successfully stew many ingredients into the cauldron and have the end result a musical delicacy that retains its tastiness decades after its release. While heavily inspired by the free jazz greats of the era such as John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the wild complex polyrhythms bring the top dogs of the jazz fusion era to mind and BRAINSTORM has been rightfully called the German equivalent of France's Moving Gelatine Plates. Add the passion of rock with Hendrix inspired blues rock and the Krautrock influences that incorporate ÜBER bizarre harmonics and you are in for some serious royal treatment with this one.

The sheer diversity of style is the album's strongest attribute with different styles of jazz intermingled with rock, blues and even tango! The Kraut elements are never far behind as slinking 60s organ runs collide with Soft Machine frenzied distorted sax runs and Hatfield and the North styled vocal jazz styles before the supergroup ever came to be (courtesy of Soft Machine no doubt.) The tracks also vary in length from the feisty barely over 2 minute "Snakeskin Tango" to the 15 and a half minute epic Krautjazz title track that goes through no less than six movements. "SMILE A WHILE" is a true gem for the audacious audiophile who loves a good musical workout. With adventurous tight groovy rhythms chock full with 5/8 and 7/8 timings and beyond, the jazzy prog fusion workouts are replete with unpredictable variations in dynamics, tempo and style. It simply amazes me that this brilliant gem from 1972 hasn't been more highly regarded. Yeah, it's the ghastly album cover is to blame i'm sure. Not only do the members don grandma's underwear with a rather bland blank background but the album is filled with other photo ops with the group posing in their ridiculous regalia. For sure i give the album cover artwork a dismal 1/2 star on the dismal scale of doom but the MUSIC is what counts and BRAINSTORM whipped up a veritable musical smorgasbord of rock and jazz fusion like no other. I'm amazed at how much i love this one and can't recommend it enough. Just close your eyes when you reach for it and pull it out of the packaging!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Tubular Bells by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.08 | 1001 ratings

BUY
Tubular Bells
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Rockriffs.com

5 stars You have to have been there in 1973 when this came out. It was an era of stark musical contrasts: Glam piss-Pop, late 60s Brit Rock leftovers; momentary super nova acts like Ziggy and Roxy shined before fug and a smattering of 'head grops' still high on 60's misplaced 'new' realism.

This appeared... >> IT WAS PRICED /SOLD FOR ONLY £1.00 !! <<

As such people gave it a spin and found that it was quite good for having a spliff too or just being on whilst clumsily exchanging body fluids on a bean bag in the corner of someone's bedsit!

Then your parents quite liked it and thought at last you were starting to grow up and leave all that awful music behind you. So it instantly created a dichotomy.

It made Richard Branson and felled Mike Oldfield, but it stands as an iconic snapshot of social change as the 70s became the excruciating polar opposite of the 60s lovefest. By 1973 The batons had all but been passed over, but this one dropped on the final leg.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Futurama by BE BOP DELUXE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.79 | 51 ratings

BUY
Futurama
Be Bop Deluxe Crossover Prog

Review by Rockriffs.com

5 stars it was 1973/4 - I had had Ziggy and lost, I had had Roxy Mk1 and lost and was desperate to find another act that I could immerse myself in. Thank God for Radio1 staging late night sessions and Album reviews and I got to hear of Bill Nelson and his exquisite Gibson 345 fueled licks and riffs and a big side dollop of synthy keys.

I was a burgeoning young green-teen guitar player looking for any clues in the day before the net and DVD(!) - anyone who offered a glimmer was idolised and revered and Maid In Heaven was all it took. The opening wammy bar note sounded exactly as my Yamaha RD200 electric start did on power-up and as I swung my leg over to blast off onto the mid 1970s streets with this song in my head it made me feel vital and relevant.

The Album's soaring guitar deliveries created a life-long love of the classic Gibson Semi and I eventually got to own one too!

I may not have all the riffs and licks off to pat even now, but I have squared the circle. Hell I even got to discuss his technique and gear with him direct on his Dreamsville Inn Forum at billnelson.com - - Maid an ageing '16' year old feel In Heaven all over again!

Thanks Bill!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Diamond Head by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.13 | 59 ratings

BUY
Diamond Head
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by Rockriffs.com

4 stars I searched for some reviews of Phil Manzanera's Diamond Head as only just come back to listening and scrutinizing this Album and wanted to dig under the surface...

I was a mad Roxy fan from 1972 and in the post Eno debacle, I struggled to hold on to anything that may hint at those highs from For Your Pleasure. I dabbled with the unfathomable No Pussyfooting and the rather awkward Here Come The Warm Jets (and even went to see Eno live before his collapsed lung) but by the time Diamond Head had arrived, I had had to admit defeat and accept the new Roxy/Bryan Ferry Lounge Lizard makeover.

As such, Diamond Head sounded (from radio track plays of the day) too much like dis-articulated parts of Pussyfooting/Warm Jets/new Roxy (ala Eddie Jobson) and was nothing to ignite a 16 year old with a cheap copy guitar and Woolworths amplifier looking for adrenalin riffs and inspiration.

++

Roll by 42 years and that 16 year old is now 58 and has access to all the sound machines and guitars that made up this canvas and suddenly it makes sense - hell I may even introduce this work into my guitar teaching!

However, I still feel awkward with Eno's singing though... Oh and Phil - those less than perfect pitch bends are an anathema to me still!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Hoping Against Hope by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.95 | 21 ratings

BUY
Hoping Against Hope
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Fast forward to 2017, and Thinking Plague show no sign at all of compromising their ideals. Mike Johnson is the only person who has been there throughout, but he is steering this ship on a very clear path. The line-up now is Mike (guitar, samples, midi instruments), Mark Harris (soprano and alto saxes, B-flat standard and bass clarinets, flute), Dave Willey: (bass, drums, accordion), Elaine di Falco (voice, accordion, piano), Robin Chestnut (drums, percussion) and Bill Pohl (guitar). Now, I have come across Bill quite a few times previously, having reviewed his solo album 'Solid Earth' back in 1994, plus some other of his bands since then such as The Underground Railroad, so I was intrigued to see his involvement. He has always been a fine guitarist with a passion for music that can be somewhat different and difficult to listen to, and here is being allowed to give that full rein.

In many ways, this is a more melodic and easier album to listen to than some of their others, but that isn't to say that they have moved away from their core purpose of RIO, just that it has a slightly different flavour. There are times when the different woodwind instruments take the lead, repeating motifs, but this just allows the guitars to break in and out of the song with extremely quick runs. Elaine doesn't have the same natural other worldliness displayed by Susanne on the classic 'In This Life', but fits in perfectly with this adjusted style of music.

Thinking Plague may have changed somewhat in the intervening thirty years between these two albums, but hasn't everyone? But, they are still true to their roots and this could never be any other band. Exciting and enthralling, there really is no-one else quite like them. They will only ever appeal to a select few, but those few will be greatly enriched by hearing this.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 In This Life by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.03 | 61 ratings

BUY
In This Life
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Reissued as a remastered edition in 2015, 'In This Life' is not merely a fascinating album of extraordinary rock-based songs. It is a landmark recording in the life of one of America's most distinctive bands and in the international spread of Rock in Opposition-style sophisticated post-rock. Recorded in 1988-89 by Denver-based Thinking Plague, one of the most esteemed and longstanding American avant-progressive ensembles, 'In This Life' marked Thinking Plague's stylistic coming-of-age. The band had recorded two earlier albums in the years since its 1982 co-founding by Mike Johnson and Bob Drake: those early works brought Thinking Plague national "underground" acclaim. But the line-up responsible for In This Life, with Mike Johnson handling composition and Susanne Lewis supplying lyrics and vocals, proved to be the early group's ideal creative brew. It was originally released on Recommended Records (ReR), the London-based label run by Chris Cutler, founder of the Rock in Opposition movement and member of renowned band Henry Cow. One track on the album featured a guest appearance by Fred Frith, the legendary Henry Cow/Art Bears guitarist. It became ReR's first-ever release on the then-radically-new format of CD - a format that simplified the disc's international distribution.

Even now, all these years on from when it was originally released, this is in many ways quite a frightening and disturbing album, almost as if Art Zoyd have gone to another level and have then brought in a female singer who is totally at odds with what else is going on musically behind her. This was never meant to be an album that was easy to listen to, and with its discordant melodies and other worldliness, is one that will repel far more people than would ever listen to it. It is off key, it is controlled, it is anarchic, yet for me is also deeply compelling. It isn't an album that I will ever play a great deal, but I find myself drawn back to it time and again. This isn't music for a large audience on a bright sunny day, but is to be enjoyed in the night, when nothing else will suffice. RIO doesn't get much more inventive and important as this.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Hardwired...To Self-Destruct by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.57 | 61 ratings

BUY
Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
Metallica Prog Related

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

4 stars It sometimes seems Metallica can't catch a break these days...they move on from and admirably experiment with their sound and get labelled `sell-outs', they return to something closer to their metal roots and they're accused of lazily re-creating their past - sigh! Let's just think of Metallica as simply a consistent (and frequently great) hard rock band and enjoy their latest, 2016's `Hard Wired...To Self Destruct'. Hardly some complete re-invention but absolutely delivering plenty of superb moments, this double CD/LP collection shows the band playing to their strengths and offering a set that will appeal to both fans of the pre-`Black Album' metal LP's and the eclectic hard rock of their `Load' onward sound, but delivering a work that could never be confused for anyone except Metallica.

A short and sweet statement of intent, `Hardwired' is a punchy little three-minute opener, a rudimentary and energetic thrash metal throwback of Kirk Hammett's buzzsaw-like riffing guitars, James Hetfield's charismatic snarl and Lars Ulrich's absurdly big smashing drumming that could have easily hailed from Metallica's first album `Kill 'Em All'! The gutsy `Atlas, Rise!' is full of momentum, revealing that subtle complexity found in most modern Metallica songs, with a great (if too short) wailing soloing instrumental burst in the middle, a clever and not obviously catchy chorus, and several moments that might have easily come from any Iron Maiden album with its ringing twin guitar melodies.

`Now That We're Dead' chugs with danger through lengthy instrumental stretches and not one, but two killer choruses! The verses of the celebrity damning `Moth Into Flame' would again have easily fit on their early thrashy albums but the chorus is more ambitious, `Dream No More' is a lurching slab-like dirge with a light stoner rock flavour to the verse vocals, and `Halo on Fire' offers a nice break of clean verses of mysteriously chiming guitars, a sweetly raspy Hetfield vocal and a seamless shift in and out of several highly proggy passages and a suitably epic instrumental soloing run finale - the fact that one of the most commercially successful and mainstream popular rock bands delivers stuff like this is simply inspiring, they may just convert more of the non-prog listening `muggles' yet!

The second disc's opener `Confusion' is a reliable `meat-and-two-veg' Metallica plodder, but it's not quite up to the standard of previous war-themed tracks that were always a band highlight in the past - nice battery of machine-gun drumming throughout from Lars, though! `ManUNkind' is thankfully better that its slightly cringe-worthy title, and now long-established with the band bass player Robert Trujillo gets plenty of moments to shine, with a brief solo introduction and then bouncing furiously when the main heavy grooves kick in. The track almost sounds like Metallica having a lot of fun, as the band races through a string of varied riffing passages back and forth. `Here Comes Revenge' (with a main riff that comes awfully close in parts to `Master of Puppets' `Leper Messiah'), while again not one of the more memorable tunes on the set, has a nice tension to the verses and the chorus rumbles satisfactorily even if the lyrics aren't the strongest.

`Am I Savage?' has plenty of slow grinding grooves even if the `beast of choice' lyric is a bit embarrassing and forced, `Murder One' is an admirable tribute to legendary bass player Lemmy (more likely an influence from his Motorhead days than the psychedelic warlords Hawkwind!) with reliable slow-burn trudging riffs, but thankfully frantic closer `Spit Out The Bone' is a skittering break-neck thrash-attack that has the band full of energy and inspiration tearing through a range of fiery snarling serrated riffs that again happily embraces their early days. Overall the second disc is not as strong as the first six pieces, but there's nothing outright bad to be found here, and the group end on a total killer that fans will likely go crazy for.

Some editions come with a third disc of bonus tracks - `Lords of Summer' being another dependable thrashy rocker - some medleys and covers of tracks by Rainbow, Deep Purple and Iron Maiden, and a cool live concert from April 2016 that focuses on the first two albums `Kill 'Em All' and `Ride the Lightning'. All in all a welcome bonus for the bigger fans.

So the slightly try-hard artwork is kind of rubbish ("Ooh, they're sooooo hardcore, so tortured!!"), and it definitely suffers from the same filler bloat that pads out all the `Load' onward discs, but `Hard Wired...To Self Destruct' is still a ballsy, kick-ass Metallica album that many fans should enjoy. It maintains that fusion of the old and new that previous album `Death Magnetic' offered in 2008 (was it seriously that long ago already?!), and it's still great to see the band re-embracing and acknowledging their past but not merely remaking it, yet delivering simply another great Metallica disc that most fans should love.

Four stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Sound Dependence by POTAPOV, VYACHESLAV album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.15 | 8 ratings

BUY
Sound Dependence
Vyacheslav Potapov Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars When you think of eclectic progressive rock whether it be the hard driving kind or more psychedelic in nature, many parts of the world come to mind but the former republics of the ex-USSR aren't usually amongst them. However nestled away amidst the endless supply of -STAN countries occasionally a lone progger finds his way out of the local scene and rises up to make him/herself heard on the world scene. Emerging from the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan comes the eclectic musician VYOCHESLAV POTAPOV who got interested in prog in his teen years during the 90s but due to his adventurous musical tastes in a part of the world not inclined to engage in such practices found little success in creating his dream band. By the time the millennium turned over the odometer POTAPOV was ready to take his musical endeavors in his own hands and began creating his own music in 2003 which yielded the results as this first offering to the world called 'SOUND DEPENDENCE.'

This debut album reflects the earliest efforts of POTAPOV's musical experiments and a testament to his creativity finding a way to express itself. 'SOUND DEPENDENCE' is unlike the rest of his canon and the only album to be primarily based in psychedelic rock before he would unfold his tastes into more eclectic and jazz-fusion oriented material. This debut is very much a DIY (do-it-yerself) affair and was titled 'SOUND DEPENDENCE' because it was recorded minimally with only a 6-string acoustic guitar, bass, microphone and drum samplers and had to be tweaked in the production process with different kinds of compressors that allowed the minimalism to maximize the results. True that the album feels like a homemade piece of art (because it is) but it is evident even at this primeval stage that POTAPOV had an ear for all things prog with a heavy leaning on the 60s psychedelia and Krautish lysergic offerings of the 70s.


'SOUND DEPENDENCE' sounds fairly rich considering the scant instrumentation involved. POTAPOV ekes out a plethora of possibilities despite it all and creates some crazy surreal soundscapes with some outstanding compositions. The album flows quite organically as the opening track 'Jungle' slowly unfolds its mysteries into a rhythmic march of electronic noises that slowly intermingle with the guitar and percussion. The different parts dance side by side by slowly become freer and freer until they sound like totally unrelated parts and then fall in line again. While this isn't quite progressive rock per se at this point, it is more of an experimental ambient type of album that includes rock aspects that weave in and out of the cosmic flow of things. A tripper's paradise type of album if there ever was one and probably the absolute strangest album i've ever heard from Kazakhstan! OK, maybe the only one as well ;) Just check out the sublime 'Ant Hill' where the percussion simulates the busy army of ants and the detached bass line adds strange bop inspired fret workouts.

While much of the album is a river of pleasant sounds ebbing and flowing together like a brackish river mouth meeting the sea, some tracks such as 'The Story Of Arabian Wise Man' have a definitive guitar groove that provides a melody and reminds me much of early 70s Krautock trippers such as A.R. & Machines meets Guru Guru. POTAPOV utilizes all tricks available with back masking and interesting time signatures where different sounds overlap in complex polyrhtyms garnished with sound effects and ambience. While this isn't the best of what POTAPOV has to offer, 'SOUND DEPENDENCE' is a unique listening experience that already displays fully developed compositions that don't quite reach their potential due to the underdeveloped production techniques. Still though this is a pretty good album worthy of any psychedelic rock fans' attention.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Order Of The False Eye by GIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.87 | 4 ratings

BUY
The Order Of The False Eye
Gigan Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After emerging from the chaotic primeval lava pools that spawned other surreal metal mayhem in the form of pioneer bands like Gorguts, Mithras, Portal and Deathspell Omega, the power trio who adopted the name GIGAN, the prime nemesis that made Godzilla have very, very bad days, released their debut EP 'Footsteps Of Gigan' but quickly followed up the following year with their first full length album 'THE ORDER OF THE FALSE EYE' on Napalm Records. This band is a power trio from Tampa, FL who can deliver a massive inundation of chaotic sound that gets lumped into the world of technical death metal mostly due to the usual death metal techniques such as insane growling vocals accompanied by heavy distortion all gussied up with palm muting, tremolo picking and the ubiquitous blast beat percussive drives however GIGAN have found a way to merge these aggressive extreme metal attributes into the surreal world of psychedelia with traces of electronica and drone noises to paint a surreal sonicscape upon which to display their extreme metal creations.

The trio consists of the seasoned veterans left-handed guitarist / bassist and founder Eric Hersemann (Diabolic, Hate Eternal), Randy Piro (vocals, guitars, theremin) and Danny Ryan (drums and percussion.) The music heard on 'THE ORDER OF THE FALSE EYE' is the type of surreal metal madness that could drive the uninitiated utterly mad as the unrelenting noisefest is the name of the game only to be broken by periods of oscillating electronic pulses that seem to be the driving underpinning of the intergalactic journey and lyrical fascinations that GIGAN takes us on not dissimilar to the 21st century thrash metal kings Vektor. The opener 'Undead Auditory Emanations' displays GIGAN's full metal regalia displayed in relentless pummeling riffs and blast beats trading off with technical jazz drumming wizardry in strange new ways that keep the pace fast and driving with snarling angry vocals and Hersemann's unique spastic guitar slides and technical bass workouts.

'THE ORDER OF THE FALSE EYE' is one of those albums that didn't win me over upon a listen or two. No way. This one required a multitude of listens to allow its abrasive nature to percolate under my skin and only after nailing my attention span to the wall did it at last penetrate into my consciousness. This is not an album of catchy riffs or predictable song structures in any way, shape or form. This cacophony is almost formless in nature with only a solid rhythmic pulsation driving the music from beginning to end which finds itself most noticeable with the non-metal segments utilizing electronica and theremin sounds to create an ambient and oscillations of noise. Likewise the aggressive nature of the extreme metal simply flows over these underlying elements and creates a very bizarre stream of consciousness to say the least. Call it no wave metal if you will.

Upon first listen it does come off that the tracks don't have enough variation to them but dig beneath the surface and it's quite the opposite. While tracks do sound quite similar in the dynamics and tempos on display, the compositions actually have quite the variation of mangled and jarring progressively laced death metal riffs that have a blackened veneer with a psychedelic frosting which occasionally emerges from the din to send the listener into a pacified trance before the pummelation of the extreme metal once again arises from the abyss. This album consists of eight vocal tracks that are indeed quite similar in stylistic appearances but offer different glimpses into their psychedelic take on extreme metal and consist of 2/3 of the album. The final ninth untitled track is a 21 minute plus sprawling surreal metal fantasy instrumental which focuses on the pulsating electronics and abrasive guitar weirdness with lots of sliding and alienating licks while the drums exhibit periods of techy jazz outbursts and many moments of simple rhythm maintenance. This album was a hard one to win me over but it finally has and remains one of the absolute strangest of the strange in the extremities of surreal technical metal. Highly recommended for adventurous listeners who love to hear things that they had never even considered possible.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Invitation to Imperfection by MY SILENT WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Invitation to Imperfection
My Silent Wake Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars UK band MY SILENT WAKE first appeared back in 2005, and have been an active live and recording band for the most part ever since, although I get the impression that they have toned down their activities as a live band in the last few years. They are mainly known as a doom metal band, but also have some productions of a markedly different and experimental nature to their name. "Invitation to Imperfection" is among the latter type of albums, and was released through German label Opa Loka Records in March 2017.

'Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder. Elves are marvelous. They cause marvels. Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies. Elves are glamorous. They project glamour. Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment. Elves are terrific. They beget terror." - Terry Pratchett

This quote from the late Terry Pratchett was one that frequently came to mind when I listened to the material on this album. Not because I suspect elves as such have been on the mind of the creators of this music, but due to the pagan, primal and unnerving character much of the music here has, while at the same time being striking and often beautiful. Medieval folk music is a clear inspiration it would appear, and then arguably of the kind enjoyed by people that know that Woden, Wotan and Odin are one and the same rather than the kind listened to by those active in environments were witches are forces of everything good and great, so to speak. Old pagan rather than new pagan if you like.

Plucked string instruments of various kinds and drones by way of accordion and violin are key elements on many tracks, with room for some flowing flute soloing here and there too, and the rhythms are by and large of the old percussion rather than modern drums variety as far as I can tell. Some tracks features vocals of a lo-fi character, the lo-fi aspect one I suspect is a studio crafted effect to enhance an Earthen, ancient feel to the music rather than a basic recording though.

This isn't a romantic folk music oriented production however. Those who treasure music of this kind to dance and drink to can look elsewhere, as this isn't an album that inspires anything going jolly or, indeed, golly. This is dark, solemn and serene music, more often than not with an unnerving touch. Dark fluctuating undercurrents of sound, mournful moods and atmospheres, unsettling tribal sounds and mystic shamanistic vibes is the order of the day here, alongside introspective musings and occasional forays into realms with perhaps a bit more of a haunted character to them as well. Ghostly whispered vocal effects are used extensively throughout, kind of emphasizing these aspects a bit by their mere presence. There's also room for a creation of a more distinctly otherworldly nature however: The fluctuating sounds on the song Nebula is one that will please just about anyone that finds the description cosmic ambient to be of general interest.

Amidst the more or less dark and unsettling and mournful creations there's also a massive experimental creation of an ambient nature present: The concluding mammoth composition Melodien der Waldgeister, which I guess might have been called the music of the forest spirits in English. In terms of structure a creation that follows in the footpaths of works such as Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, where the overlaying theme is someone walking between different tableaus, with different music coming from each scene visited. In this case with sounds of walking and breathing replacing the recurring theme of Mussorgsky's composition, the music from the different tableau's of a more sketchy nature and, possibly, with an underlying story of a darker overall nature. My impression is that we're following a man walking into the woods who never manage to get out again, the kind of story that may have inspired good, old J. R. R. Tolkien when he wrote the section about the Dwarves traveling through Mirkwood. Or possibly that very storyline may have been an inspiration when this more than 20 minutes long ambient epic was crafted.

For me the album title indicates something about the nature of this album: It is not a perfect album, and to be able to enjoy all of it you will need to have a rather expansive general taste in music that includes folk, ambient music and cinematic excursions, possibly also neo-folk. A certain affection for the old and original pagan philosophies, stories and landscapes probably wouldn't hurt either, but more important is a taste for music of these kinds to be mournful, dark and more or less subtly unnerving. Those who find such descriptions alluring will most likely find this album to be well worth spending quite a bit of time with.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Live: Made In Norway by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover DVD/Video, 2017
5.00 | 8 ratings

BUY
Live: Made In Norway
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars This is the first official video of the band in filmed in Sandvika, Norway February 21, 2015. The venue is very small probably not more that one hundred people there. So the cameras were very close capturing some really close shots of the musicians. The visuals are restricted to the basic lighting of any small clubs. But the best is the music and the discrete surround sound makes this video a very pleasant experience. I must say that the discovery of their "Hybris" album in 1993 was something special for me and I continued to follow the band even thought they made only 3 albums. In this 2 hours of music, we have a good representation of those albums, all epic songs of vintage 70's prog rock with their own style of symphonic based around the flute, guitars, and keyboards developing the melody with a solid rhythm section. The dark and melancholic atmosphere of their music must have been inspired by their long winter nights in Sweden and explain why bands coming out that country have a similar sound. So, the music here is great as we could expect and seeing this band played in front of a small crowd was like seeing a great band at their debut, but here, the band contrary to some bands that have become more popular and playing in front of larger crowd, are still living out their music of passion only.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Stranger Heads Prevail by THANK YOU SCIENTIST album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 94 ratings

BUY
Stranger Heads Prevail
Thank You Scientist Crossover Prog

Review by baantacron

5 stars I first encountered Thank You Scientist when they were opening for Haken in Glendale, CA. I'd never heard of them, despite their growing acclaim. Their set is one of the best shows I've seen and going into it blind was an incredible experience. This review isn't about their set though, it's about the album, so I'll move along to that.

The standout quality to Stranger Heads Prevail, and all of TYS's music is something I find severely lacking from the modern progressive scene. Their music is fun, especially so on this album. We've seemed to have become so hostile to the idea of accidentally making a catchy tune, that musicians will try to avoid it at all costs. Steven Wilson even jokes about this when discussing the track "Sound of Muzak".

On Stranger Heads Prevail, TYS maintains a complex and dynamic sound that utilizes every bit of their seven piece band, but doesn't bog itself down trying to be overly meaningful or deep. In a seven piece it's easy for instruments to begin getting lost in the mix, not so in this case. Each instrument has its time in the forefront leading the melody and then phases back into harmonies in a way that flows wonderfully through each track. I must admit a certain bias as trumpet player myself, the inclusion of lots of clean and technical trumpet definitely makes it easy for me to love this music, but lets be fair, the music is just generally easy to love.

While it doesn't have the unbelievably complexity of much of modern progressive rock, I still think that Stranger Heads is one of the highlights of 2016 in progressive rock. A move back to music for the masses without sacrificing their progressive core.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Samsara by CHATOORGOON, RANI album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Samsara
Rani Chatoorgoon Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Canadian composer and artist Rani CHATOORGOON is at this point a fairly unknown quantity. She launched her solo career back in 2009 with her debut album "Illusions of Loneliness", and have since issued a handful of singles and EPs. "Samsara" is her most recent full length production, and was self released in the early winter of 2016.

As one might suspect from the artist name as well as the title given to this production, Rani isn't the kind of person that can trace her cultural origins back ten generations in the Canadian territories. Her background appears to be a bit more colorful than that, and the music she creates most certainly incorporate a liberal amount of cultural elements not originating from Western culture. Therein lies the strength of this album as well, the manner in which it blends aspects of different cultural traditions.

The base foundation of most compositions appears to be what I'd describe as a hard but smooth and elegant variety of radio friendly hard rock. Firm riff cascades backed by solid rhythms is a staple in the greater majority of the compositions, fairly often with orchestration details appearing in key moments to add a grandiose, majestic tinge to the proceedings. With Rani's finely controlled, quality lead vocals this results in exemplary sequences of appealing music, albeit a bit too polished and anonymous if not a part of a greater totality.

It is when the compositions feature additional details that this album starts to soar to more compelling heights. First and foremost with violin, percussion and string instrument details based on Eastern and presumably Indian traditions are used more extensively throughout. A couple of cuts also comes across as including Celtic folk music details, at least as I experience them, which also fits these landscapes quite nicely.

While I do consider hard rock to be the main foundation here, the compositions does actually range from more purebred folk and world music creation to material hovering on the borderland of progressive metal. While perhaps not what I'd describe as eclectic in scope it is an exotic one at times, but also well produced and what I'd describe as generally appealing in nature and with a radio friendly sound. Quite a few cuts here appears to be ready made even for mainstream FM radio, and one can only hope that this artist somehow manage to find her way into a B-list on a substantial station at some point. The A-lists obviously unavailable for artists not already firmly established.

All in all I find "Samsara" to be a compelling album overall. Rani is a strong vocalist, her voice carrying many songs in a fine and intriguing manner, and the blend of Eastern and Western musical traditions are almost magical at best. Opening cut The Grey is the standout track here, among a dozen quality cuts this composition showcase the very best qualities of this artist and this album in an excellent manner. A perfect starting place to explore this artist in other words, and those intrigued by the notion of Eastern world music combined with sophisticated radio friendly hard rock should start right there.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Modern Masquerades by FRUUPP album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.24 | 105 ratings

BUY
Modern Masquerades
Fruupp Symphonic Prog

Review by Zayash

4 stars A fine album but sadly underestimated. The Fruupp became known for outstanding Future Legends, with your sound sharp and consistent, a heavy prog of the best. Without much refinement in the compositions and production in two 'lbuns after future legends the Group also lacked certain lack of versatility, falling in worn and repetitive formulas. Then in the "Modern" the music appears redesigned and with more resources combined with a sound production (Ian Macdonald) more careful and clear. The style is more to Camel with an eclectic and very technical tone. The Heavy almost gives to rustic with more symphonic tone and elegant, with addition of wind instruments like oboe and trumpets. Peter Farrely vocals is very well fitted, with vigorous and organic interpretations (Sheba's Song is an example). 'Gormenghast' is a composition that grace a dedicated and attentive hearing: it is a work of great beauty, very delicate and rich in detail, with a bottom almost melancholy without being depressing. For the radical supporters don't accept heavier groups making cleaner and more complex music this album may not please. However, the mark of previous albums is as a background that allows new experiments and landscapes that only enrich the musical experience. In my opinion, Modern Masquerades is a great job overshadowed by nationality of the band (Ireland) and maybe by the time it was made late (1975). Before you judge, meet! It's worth it!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.24 | 26 ratings

BUY
Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars

The first song "Rules of the Desert" starts the album in such uptempo mood and with a punchy style that I thought it was another band. This song is instrumental and the presence of the violin that will be constant throughout the album add a little touch to the music. The second song "Power and Outcome" bring back the vocals and reassure me that it's still the Cast traditional style. The band is back with his style of symphonic music with piano and classical arrangements. The vocals remind me of some Neo-Prog bands of the 80's and 90's which fortunately is not ruining the talented songwriting. The third track is a beautiful and peaceful ballad. "Start Again" is another instrumental track taking us back to the first song tempo but this time the guitar is taking his spot with the keyboards of Louis Alfonso Vidales. The song shows some impressive instrumental parts where the guitar is left lose in some exquisite solos. "Illusions and Tribulations" is another great track and the best way to enjoy the vocals when the music is quieter. This is a strong album of the band with some Genesis and Kansas influences that will please a bunch of Progressive Rock fans.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
 Sisyphus by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 7 ratings

BUY
Sisyphus
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Formed in 1991 by John-Paul Strauss and Jimmy Borel Ten Jinn has seen the band live many line-up changes, but John-Paul is back for this new release. The band has adopted a symphonic style after their first album and in this one they have gone even further in that direction. Strauss has studied in theory and composition which results in this symphonic poem "Sisyphus" composed for piano and orchestra. It's a 26 minutes song close to classical music and they included here the instrumental version which is very logic considering the classical approach in structure and arrangements. If you enjoy the band Enid, you will enjoy this one as well, and won't get bored a minute here.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password
Reviews list is cached

Latest Prog News, Shows and Tours


Prog News & Press Releases (10) | More ...
Prog Gigs, Tours and Festivals (10) | More ...

Latest 3 Progressive Rock Videos


All videos
MOST POPULAR ALBUM (last 24h)
Buy this album from PA partners
FORUM NEW TOPICS

Prog Lounge

Prog Polls

Prog Interviews

BUY PA T-SHIRTS & MORE
Arjen Lucassen (AYREON's mastermind) wearing the classic long sleeves PA t-shirt
Arjen Lucassen (AYREON's mastermind) wearing the classic long sleeves PA t-shirt.
To buy Progarchives.com custom items: t-shirts, beer steins, coffee mugs, mouse pads, bumper stickers, go to http://www.zazzle.com/progarchives, select the ones you like and checkout (PayPal support). All orders are handled by Zazzle from invoicing, printing to shipping.

Thanks in advance for supporting us and for spreading the purple prog !
100 MOST PROLIFIC REVIEWERS

Collaborators Only

ratings only excluded in count
  1. Mellotron Storm (3968)
  2. Sean Trane (3159)
  3. ZowieZiggy (2929)
  4. apps79 (2629)
  5. Warthur (2530)
  6. UMUR (1961)
  7. b_olariu (1930)
  8. Easy Livin (1928)
  9. Gatot (1811)
  10. Conor Fynes (1611)
  11. SouthSideoftheSky (1601)
  12. Windhawk (1454)
  13. Evolver (1406)
  14. Tarcisio Moura (1351)
  15. Bonnek (1332)
  16. AtomicCrimsonRush (1280)
  17. snobb (1220)
  18. erik neuteboom (1201)
  19. Finnforest (1143)
  20. kenethlevine (1102)
  21. ClemofNazareth (1011)
  22. siLLy puPPy (955)
  23. tszirmay (952)
  24. Matti (934)
  25. kev rowland (933)
  26. Cesar Inca (928)
  27. loserboy (895)
  28. BrufordFreak (880)
  29. Rune2000 (873)
  30. octopus-4 (864)
  31. memowakeman (859)
  32. Marty McFly (834)
  33. Guillermo (791)
  34. Chris S (753)
  35. Eetu Pellonpaa (722)
  36. Neu!mann (713)
  37. Rivertree (712)
  38. greenback (685)
  39. progrules (666)
  40. Seyo (643)
  41. Epignosis (624)
  42. Prog-jester (623)
  43. lor68 (601)
  44. Prog Leviathan (572)
  45. Ivan_Melgar_M (556)
  46. Aussie-Byrd-Brother (549)
  47. philippe (540)
  48. admireArt (536)
  49. friso (499)
  50. hdfisch (492)
  51. stefro (484)
  52. Chicapah (483)
  53. DamoXt7942 (480)
  54. Dobermensch (462)
  55. colorofmoney91 (459)
  56. zravkapt (458)
  57. J-Man (449)
  58. russellk (435)
  59. ProgShine (432)
  60. Atavachron (430)
  61. Menswear (418)
  62. Sinusoid (402)
  63. andrea (401)
  64. Queen By-Tor (396)
  65. TCat (377)
  66. tarkus1980 (367)
  67. Nightfly (365)
  68. Greger (365)
  69. Zitro (359)
  70. Modrigue (358)
  71. Cygnus X-2 (353)
  72. fuxi (353)
  73. Andrea Cortese (348)
  74. EatThatPhonebook (326)
  75. lazland (324)
  76. Guldbamsen (322)
  77. Negoba (316)
  78. richardh (314)
  79. Tom Ozric (306)
  80. Kazuhiro (299)
  81. Flucktrot (294)
  82. Proghead (289)
  83. OpethGuitarist (287)
  84. progaardvark (286)
  85. Second Life Syndrome (268)
  86. daveconn (266)
  87. Trotsky (264)
  88. Muzikman (263)
  89. Slartibartfast (257)
  90. clarke2001 (254)
  91. The T (248)
  92. FragileKings (240)
  93. GruvanDahlman (238)
  94. Andy Webb (237)
  95. Bj-1 (235)
  96. aapatsos (235)
  97. 1800iareyay (225)
  98. poslednijat_colobar (224)
  99. js (Easy Money) (222)
  100. Raff (217)

List of all PA collaborators

NEW RELEASES

Home by Forever Twelve album rcover
Home

Forever Twelve

Receive & Transmit by Green Violinist, The album rcover
Receive & Transmit

The Green Violinist

Celestial Fire Live in the UK by Bainbridge, Dave album rcover
Celestial Fire Live in the UK

Dave Bainbridge

Unidentified Dying Objects by Argos album rcover
Unidentified Dying Objects

Argos

We Are Legend by Magenta album rcover
We Are Legend

Magenta

INTERACTIVE

Twitter, RSS feeds

+ more syndication options
Twitter RSS

Share this site

| More

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives