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EARTHRISE

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Earthrise picture
Earthrise biography
The year is 1975, the first golden era of Prog is at it's peak and three American musicians Kenn Pierog (Bass), Bill Drobile (Keys) and Greg DiDonato (Drums) decide to form a band that will be called EARTHRISE, a clear reference to the name of a CAMEL song even though they considered themselves more in the style of EL&P.

The band starts to play mostly live, but in 1977 in a small studio they release their first album just called Earthrise, but being that this was the first big project of the studio, they were disappointed with the thin sound of the album, so they only pressed 400 copies, some of which were sold and others were given to friends and after some gigs the bad splits in 1979 without recording a new album.

But the surprises begin, Earthrise becomes a collector's issue, reaching prices of $ 800.oo to $ 1,000.oo in auctions, and hidden fans contact the band asking for new albums that didn't existed.So in the year 2000 the band is reformed and they decide to make a new recording of the original music, sadly this was a huge problem, but being that people kept calling and the master tapes were missing, they make a remastered CDR from an old vinyl, that is being sold in their site with some success. Now, they have decided to release a new record, but the project is still on stand by.

I had heard that EARTHRISE was mostly an EL&P clone, but this is unfair,from the Youtube videos, I hear }some sort of CAMEL oriented band (More alive than CAEL of course), with a massive use of Hammond Organ and keyboards that reminds a bit of EL&P, but in general terms is quite an original and fresh sound despite the years passed.

A very good band that deserved a different fate.

Iván Melgar-Morey - Perú

Earthrise official website

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EARTHRISE discography


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EARTHRISE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 16 ratings
Earthrise
1977

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EARTHRISE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Earthrise by EARTHRISE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 16 ratings

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Earthrise
Earthrise Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars A very obscure release from an American trio in the late 1970's. Along with bands like Arabesque, Earthrise formed a very small minority of American prog bands during that era and, like Arabesque, this stands out as one of the better obscure albums lost in music history.

There is no guitar on this album so the keyboard stands prominently in the arrangements, though the drum and bass players are represented too. The production is quite weak and muddy, but is still enjoyable if played on good speakers. The music is very much in the symphonic prog style of the day, taking quite a bit of inspiration from bands like ELP and Triumvirat, with a similar sound at times to some of the neo-prog acts to come, like IQ or Pallas, but not quite as well orchestrated. Because the 70's were so saturated with symphonic prog around the world, many of the melodies and solos sound very familiar but the album still conveys a surprisingly high degree of originality.

The album is primarily instrumental; though there are some vocals now and again, most of the music is in the same vein as the title track "Earthrise" (disclaimer: this is not a Camel cover), vehicles for extended keyboard soloing. In terms of composition, the album is a bit shaky; there are some strong arrangements at times but it is often just solos bridged to other solos.

Much of the album's appeal comes from the mystique and obscurity shrouding it. The surreal cover is also a plus; it's enchanting and is an accurate representation of the album's content. Overall, this is an album that, should you come across it, you should probably pick it up to put it on every now and then, letting the novelty of its obscurity work its magic. If you're tired of listening to the same old stuff you've been listening to for years and want to go on a journey somewhere you've never been before, this is probably a good path for you to take.

 Earthrise by EARTHRISE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 16 ratings

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Earthrise
Earthrise Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars There are few prog bands that I know that are as obscure as this New Jersey trio Earthrise. Maybe Burning Candle from Germany and Albatross from Rockford, Illinois. I first heard of Earthrise in 1996 through a prog rock mail order catalog that described them as "Amazing band that plays four long cuts somewhat in the vein of another American band: Babylon. Fantastic keyboard work. Just try and find a copy of this" and sold it for the outrageous price of $1200 (I just made an edit, because I found that old catalog, and what I originally typed was from faulty memory). To be fair it was still sealed, but even unsealed copies are not cheap. And while that catalog challenged everyone to "just try and find a copy of this", I did (thank Discogs for that), but it was a rather thrashed copy (luckily the disc was playable, a few scratches, no skips), the cover was in beat shape (looked like it was sitting in an leaking attic; therefore water damaged cover). Luckily I didn't spend anywhere close to $1200 for that reason. Yes, I could have waited for another copy (in better shape), but that might be a long wait, so I bought the thrashed copy because it's the classic case of "Extremely difficult to find in any condition". This was a private release, released on the Arceden Music label, which is really just the band's label, as it was named after two of the songs on this album, "Arcturus" and "Eden's Child". The sound quality isn't the greatest, the production and mixing does seem a bit amateurish, but I'm not going to totally knock on them for this (they were unhappy with the mix), they didn't appear to be functioning on a large budget, but they really put their heart and soul into this and that's what really matters. Like Norway's Akasha, not the kind of album I'd recommend for perfectionists or audiophiles.

This album features stunning artwork from Dennis Orlando, although I'm not 100% certain, appears to be the same guy from eastern Pennsylvania who does fine art. If so, this is way different from his usual fine arts, as this is a wonderful trippy sci-fi surrealistic artwork. This album is certainly one of my all-time favorite prog rock album covers (with competition from the likes of Roger Dean's work on those Yes albums and Blim's works on those Ozric Tentacles covers), but since Earthrise is little-known, it's no wonder this never makes the list of "Best prog rock album covers".

The group consisted of keyboardist/vocalist Bill Drobile, bassist/guitarist/vocalist Ken Pierog, and drummer Greg DiDonato. Musically, I'm not entirely certainly about the comparison to Babylon. I own their 1978 self-entitled album, so I'm very familiar with them. It seems more like ELP meets Camel is more like it for Earthrise, perhaps a bit of Ethos. Some fusion elements, especially Bill Drobile's use of electric piano (he also used Hammond organ, Mini Moog, and string synths). Drobile's vocals seem to be very much in that Midwestern style, especially the vocals of Ethos, so if I didn't know any better, I'd swear Earthrise came from the Midwest like Illlnois (OK, so I realize Ethos came from Indiana), not New Jersey. "Eden's Child" shows what this band is made of, Midwestern style prog (yes, I know they're from NJ) with those Midwestern vocals, lots of nice spacy synths and organ. "Arcturus" starts off sounding like lite fusion, but don't let that fool you, it's back to full-on symphonic prog. I particularly dig those organ passages. The rest of the album is all instrumental, "Earthrise" is another typical Earthrise number, not sure how to describe it. "New Clear Dawn" is cleverly titled, probably due to the Cold War of the time and the nuclear threat (after all in 1977 the US and Soviet Union were not exactly friends). It's all instrumental, a rather energetic piece, although Greg DiDonato threw in a drum solo, which shows he's a fully capable drummer, although you wished the drums were mixed better (actually the whole album could benefit from better mixing, but as I stated, they probably weren't on a large budget). One thing I'm really happy about Earthrise, just like Cathedral, is how they completely avoid any AOR or commercial rock trappings, which too frequently a habit with American prog band, Kansas and Styx being most guilty. While Kansas and Styx racked up tons of FM hits, Earthrise was obviously not looking for that, and probably just noticed in the local New Jersey area they hail from. On the other hand, I could have easily imagined Earthrise recording for Passport Records, as another New Jersey band Fireballet did. Had they recorded for Passport, their album would have had a much better production, and the album would not be ungodly rare, but found on the cheap (as most titles on Passport are).

There are certain other obscure American prog bands that get more notice: Babylon, Yezda Urfa, Cathedral, Mirthrandir, mainly because they've been reissued on CD, making it more accessible for the average proghead. Earthrise deserves to be alongside those groups, but unfortunately they didn't so that means if you want it on a solid format, you'd have to find the LP, that is, if you can find a copy, if you can afford a copy if one does show up.

So if you get a chance to hear it, do so, it's well worth it.

 Earthrise by EARTHRISE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 16 ratings

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Earthrise
Earthrise Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There is life in the farthest corners of the empire. It truly is. And what's more, there is brilliance and vision too. I am constantly amazed by the number of bands that through the decades struggled and struggles to get their Music out. Back in the 70's, from where Earthrise originated, the only way to get Music out was by way of record companies or by self funding. Earthrise did the latter. As a consequense, apart from being slightly out of touch in 1977, they lost the opportunity of the major companies pushing for them through ads and what not. I am speculating but I think that may have been the case.

The visual side of the album is stunning. It baffles, intrigues and fascinates me. The pyramids turning up in the skies, perhaps going in for landing. It is brilliant. Then there's the music. There are only four tracks but four great ones.

"Eden's Child" opens up the record. At first I thought it to be too much in the pop tradition, heading for the charts and imitating later Chicago, or something in that vein. The first inclination soon wears off though, when keyboards of the finest degree kicks in. Spacey Moog and tasteful organ. This is one hell of a song. Superb!

"Arcturus" starts ever so gently but holds a great beat and rhythm. Great latter part of instrumentation and the organ is wonderful. The title track is a beautiful, spacey instrumental working really well. The ending "New clear dawn" is more up-tempo and holds a great drum solo. I am usually no fan of drum solos but this one is really good.

It's really sad that this much talent went unnoticed back in the day. There is so much promise here and I wonder what they might have come up with if they had had the opportunity to record further. The resemblence to ELP is alright but Earthrise is really an entity of their own. There is a lot of spacey sounds that differ from ELP. It is a very competent and fine blend of symphonic textures but also a slice of pop (in the first track especially). The vocals are great, the instrumentation superb. This is one ot the finest discoveries I've made in 2015. If you can get a hold of this album, buy it. I would.

 Earthrise by EARTHRISE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 16 ratings

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Earthrise
Earthrise Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars EARTHRISE from New Jersey formed in 1975 and released this one album back in 1977. The sound quality could certainly be better but the music here is excellent. A trio of drums, bass and keyboards these guys do really bring ELP's debut to mind. Two of the guys also play guitar so we do get some of that as well. The drum work and keyboard play are really at a high level and the bass is prominant.

"Eden's Child" opens with laid back vocals and floating organ then drums come in as it gets a lot fuller. The synths are prominant when the vocals stop. Vocals are back. A great sounding instrumental section 3 1/2 minutes. Love the piano as the synths also join in. Organ 5 minutes in then the vocals return as it settles back. "Arcturus" opens with keyboards and atmosphere then it picks up a minute in with a beat. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes before settling into a good groove with prominant bass. Vocals join in as well. The organ rips it up after 3 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. Vocals are back 7 1/2 minutes in.

"Earthrise" is an excellent instrumental and I really like the sound before 4 1/2 minutes. "New Clear Dawn" opens with keyboards and drums. It settles as the organ joins in and synths follow. Check out the drum solo after 4 minutes until 7 1/2 minutes in when the organ kicks in with bass. I like the synths after 8 minutes too. An explosion late as the song disappears.

A big thankyou to Todd for allowing me to hear something so rare. I debated with my rating because the sound quality could be a lot better but man this is just too good to not give it a low 4 star rating.

Thanks to ivan_melgar_m for the artist addition.

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