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Various Genres definition

Albums or CD's where more than one artist is featured either as a SAMPLER or a TRIBUTE to a particular band. Examples: - Peter and The Wolf - Prog Fairytale - 1975 / The Reading Room - 2000 / Leonardo - The Absolute Man - 2001 / Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever - 2003 / Un Voyage En Progressif Volume 1 to 8 / Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic.

Various Genres Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Various Genres | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.21 | 170 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.26 | 86 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.25 | 79 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.33 | 49 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.33 | 47 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.14 | 75 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.20 | 48 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.12 | 63 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.31 | 26 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.78 | 11 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.04 | 82 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.11 | 47 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.35 | 20 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.07 | 47 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.05 | 49 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.05 | 42 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.04 | 27 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.04 | 26 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.05 | 24 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.11 | 19 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)

Latest Various Genres Music Reviews

 Prog Exhibition - 40 anni di musica immaginifica (RPI) (7CD + 4DVD) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Live, 2011
4.41 | 13 ratings

Prog Exhibition - 40 anni di musica immaginifica (RPI) (7CD + 4DVD)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter


Once the Italian capital Rome was the heart of the Ancient World. On November the 5th and 6th 2010 this wonderful city was the heart of the Italian progrock world: a two day festival with reunited old Italian bands and interesting new Italian bands featuring many musicians from the classic line-ups, topped with a delicate selection of legendary progrock musicians from the UK and The Netherlands! This magical progrock event has been released as a lavish box set, with 7 CD's, 4 DVD's and an extensive booklet.

CD 1 : The festival was opened by the performance of Sinestesia, they presented their harder-edged prog with hints from Dream Theater. Then the 'unknown legend' The Trip featuring a sound that alternates between ELP and Yes, great to see the inspired 60+ keyboard player on his Hammond organ. But also a strong contribution by guest guitarist Fabri Kiareli in the composition Ode A J. Hendrix.

CD 2 : The acclaimed new band Maschera Di Cera pleased those who love 70-77 Genesis and Steve Hackett solo, wonderful and what an awesome vintage keyboard sound. Then Le Orme legends Aldo Tagliapietra and Antonio Pagliuca (with Tolo Marton), back on stage after 35 years and joined by former King Crimson violin player David Cross. What a performance by this Le Orme line-up, playing their wonderful, highly praised Seventies songs, including some Felona. An extra flavour was David Cross his sensational electric violin work, featuring a version of the titletrack Exiles (from his 1997 solo album).

CD 3 + CD 4 : Next on stage the legend of all 'classic' Italian progrock legends: PFM, supported by another legend, guest musician Ian Anderson (playing Jethro Tull tracks Bour'e and My God), of course on flute traverse! They played outstanding versions of their best Seventies work, from Il Banchetto and Impressioni Di Settembre to La Carrozza di Hans and the crowd pleaser Celebration, including the cheerfull Minimoog synthesizer flights, what a progrock party!

CD 5 : The new band Periferia Del Mondo delivered a good gig, they make varied progrock music, very well received. Next the 'new' Raccomandata Ricevuta Di Ritorno featuring Dutch progrock legend Thijs van Leer and former Goblin keyboard player Claudio Simonetti. The crowd was pleased with some Goblin work (Suspiria and Profondo Rosso) and a strong rendition of Focus their catchy hit single House Of The King (swirling flute traverse play by Thijs Van Leer, obviously enjoying the special atmosphere!).

CD 6 : The most interesting new band was Abash, playing their blend of prog metal and ethnic music (Africa/Arabia) with female singer Anna Rito Luceri. She is not only a visual eyecatcher but she also delivers the same powerful voice as on their studio album. The very popular 'classic' Italian band Osanna featured two great musicians. First keyboard player Gianni Leone from Seventies Il Balleto Di Bronzo, their highly acclaimed album Ys (1972) is one of the albums that epitomizes the 'classic' Italian prog, so varied and adventurous. And second the VDGG saxophone ' and flute player David Jackson (VDGG). Both musicians got a huge response and they contributed very well to the strong compositions of Osanna their unique prog sound, the crowd showed their appreciation many times!

CD 7 : Finally Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso featuring the late singer Francesco Di Giacomo (who died early 2014), one of the best vocal performers in the world of progrock. He delivered so much emotional depth to the music, especially on R.I.P., halfway during the mellow part with piano and vocals, wet eyes and goose bumps! The crowd enjoyed the setlist with many 'classic' tracks, from Metamorfsoi to Traccia II, embellished with great work on keyboards by the virtuosic Vittorio Nocenzi!

One unpleasant note: the late John Wetton (who died early 2017) played with Banco on this festival but he is not on this box, due to problems with copyright I read in the booklet. But you can check YouTube where you will find a video featuring John Wetton and Banco playing Starless (on November 6th, 2010).

DVD 1,2,3 and 4 contain all the music from the 7 CD's. The filming is good, the lightshow is very tasteful and you can experience the special atmosphere and the joy of the inspired musicians and the often excited crowd on those two magical evenings.

My conclusion: I am delighted about this trip into the world of the Italian progrock, in fact a kind of overview of five decades. And I like the choice of the organisation to blend reunited old bands and new bands with an adventurous and varied musical vision (as in the genuine Italian progrock tradition), with the addition of spectacular progrock guests, you can't beg more for, what a treat!

 Rökstenen: A Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.73 | 12 ratings

Rökstenen: A Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars First review of this album.

What a delight that the Finnish Colossus and French Musea keep on releasing those vintage keyboards drenched boxes, this time the focus is on the Swedish progressive rock in the Seventies. In my opinion this is a pretty unexplored territory for many progheads with the exception of Kaipa (here Roine Stolt started his progrock carreer) and Bo Hansson (once member of the duo Hansson & Karlsson that was support act of Jimi Hendrix in the late Sixties in Sweden).

On CD-1 we meet a few known new formations.

Simon Says plays Kaipa (dreamy intro with sitar, then a compelling bombastic climate with wonderful vintage keyboards and a moving guitar solo), Willowglass also playing Kaipa (keyboards in the vein of 76-77 Genesis), Beardfish plays Made In Sweden (dynamic and varied) and Bootcut as Merit Hemmingson (lush Hammond sound). Very beautiful in the '70 Genesis tradition is Revalation as Atlas (mighty close to Tony Banks during The Cinema Show) and E.D.O. (Edo Spanninga from Flamborough Head) also plays Atlas (impressive church organ and violin-Mellotron. I also love to listen to Jinetes Negros als Blakulla (very alternating with splendid vintage keyboards and sensitive electric guitar), The Grand Trick as Bo Hansson (propulsive with fiery guitar) and Echoes as Trettioariga Kriget (from compelling with steel-guitar to a swinging break with a bas solo).

On CD-2 we can enjoy a lot of variety.

Pleasant symphonic rock like La Boca Della Verita as Dice (with an awesome Mellotron sound, powerful guitar and flashy Minimoog flights), Karmic Juggernaut also as Dice (fluent bombastic like Seventies Yes and lush Hammond) and Mist Season as Ragnarok (Camel-like with strong work on guitar and synthesizer). Or Sixties rock like Jimi Hendrix and Cream by Magnolia as November (extended guitar solo with sensational use of the wah-wah pedal) and jazzy with powerful saxophone and guitar by Vanilla Project as Atlas. This CD also contains songs that sound like a blend of pop, rock and Sixties like renditions of tracks by JetSet, Samla Mammas Manna, Trettioariga Kriget and Pugh Rogefeldt by respectively JetSet, Tkingkeys, Villabrad and Soniq Circus. It sounds pleasant but not traditionally progressive like we use to get from Colossus/Musea. Nonetheless, it's interesting music Swedish progressive rock.

CD-3 turns out to be the most adventurous and surprising one from this 3-CD box, not always my cup of tea but often captivating.

A kind of chamber progrock with fat synthesizer runs and classical flute by a special formation with a piece of the Swedish composer Johan Heimich Roman, a swinging rythm with fine vintage keyboards by Daal (featuring Alfio Costa) as Ragnarok, a piece with a beautiful solo on the flute-Mellotron and strong guitar work and female Swedish vocals by Anya (including Par Lindh) as November, blisteringwah-wah guitar and then lush a Mellotron and Moog sound by The Moor as Pugh Rogenfeldt, a compelling blend of symphonic rock and psychedelia with Floydian guitar and intense Mellotron by Matthijs Herder as Algamas Tradgard, folky with the Arabian ''oud' and Indian sitar by In The Labyrinth as Handgjort and an intricate musical stew featuring sitar and tables and all sorts of sounds by Orient Squeezers as Zamla Mammaz Manna.

Personally I like this box because it's an interesting way to discover Seventies progrock other than from countries like Italy, France, Germany and Spain. Especially bands like Blakulla, Dice and Ragnarok are worth to discover but I am also delighted about the renditions of the current progrock formations. And ' fellow Dutchman Matthijs Herder his lush Mellotron sound is great! My rating: 3,5 stars.

 Decameron. Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part II by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.05 | 49 ratings

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

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

4 stars Despite the Colossus Projects beginning their ambitious projects in 2001 to promote the outstanding accomplishments of Finnish progressive rock (which there have been many), the whole thing kinda took on a life of its own as the collaboration with Musea Records created a synergistic effect that guaranteed an exposure to a worldwide network of tuned in prog aficionados salivating for something both creative, traditional and, of course, entertaining! After a diverse eclectic palette paving the way for even more sophisticated projects, in 2011 Musea Records released "Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part I" which isn't remotely Finnish but rather a collection of Italian tales excavated from the 14th century. The word DECAMERON is a neologism of the Greek words deca (ten) and mera (days) and THE DECAMERON which is subtitled Prince Galehaut is a collection of novellas written by the author Giovanni Baccaccio (1313-1375) and is structured as a frame story that contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men who were sheltered in a secluded villa outside of Firenze (Florence), Italy in order to escape the black death plague that was rampant at the time. Well, three years after the first installment of this series comes DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II which continues the themes in musical form with some artists making a reprise and yet others entering the Musea equation for the very first time.

Once again, this collection also consists of 4 compact disc each clocking in over an hour's length, holds a whopping 35 tracks beautifully played out by 34 exquisite artists. Only Robert Webb who provides the "Intro" and the "Outro" is represented twice. Once again most of these tracks are instrumental but many are not and exist in the realms of the world of classic 70s symphonic prog only with the most updated production values and interesting and compelling creativity attached to the sense of traditional prog values. Several artists like The Samarai Of Prog, Nexus, Karda Estra, Jinetes Negros and Ars Ephemera seem to owe their career to the Colossus Projects utilizing their prog talents on seemingly every album but there are many other newbies fully represented here as well with an equal variation of styles that despite being limited to the subject matter at hand with a stylistic approach to boot, all seem to rise to the occasion to unify under one thematic flag and produce some of the best that melodic symphonic prog has to offer in the 21st century.

Because of the retro nostalgic nature of these albums, DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II also exudes a prog-by- the-numbers check list approach as it basically takes the playbook of the 70s bigwigs such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis and Pink Floyd amongst others and takes excruciatingly detailed notes and then constructs their compositional prowess accordingly. While that may sound like a turn off from the get go, it is anything but as these artists under the confines of the musical limitations of the thematic structure are forced to exude their creative forces in limited yet seemingly unfettered ways. In that regard, all tracks are very much connected in not only theme but musically as well and the creative outlet comes in finding new ways of extending these limitations in various methodologies. The results are similar to the first installment of this sequel and utterly stunning in scope and delivery. Overall i would say that this 2nd edition is a bit more sensual than #1 with bands finding it in them to exude a slightly folkier take on the symphonic prog of the first edition.

Four discs of material at FOUR hours THIRTY-SIX minutes and THIRTY-THREE seconds is a whole lotta music to digest and despite the sense of overwhelming proportions is reigned in by one addictive take on symphonic prog after another with all bands rising to the occasion of producing incredibly melodic hooks that exude the truest sense of traditional prog elements but not over exaggerated nor overly sentimental as to sound like mere ripoffs of the greats of the past. While the influences are clearly worn on drooping sleeves, enough reverence for the past greats detracts from any disrespectful treading on sacred territories. This reverence is felt in full effect on the entire album as bands steer their influences into fresh new territories that sufficiently distance themselves from the past masters.

Some of my favorite tracks on this one include: the prog Italian funk of Intarsia on "9th Tale," the exquisite folky rock "First Tale (V, 1)" of The Samarai of Prog which even has sort of a Steely Dan jazz-rock vibe with its symphonic keyboards antics. Good guitar soloing as well, Steve Unruh's "Second Tale (V, 2) with its classical guitar meets Tullish folk flute escapades that take off into way cool heights, the tango turned synthpop symphonic prog track "Third Tale (V, 3)" by Ars Ephemera, the intriguing "Senogul - Ninth Tale (V, 9) which starts out sounding like an Indian raga but turns into the ever so rare mix of prog rock with traditional African tribal music, the synth rich riffs of the Italian "Camelias Garden - Tenth Tale (V, 10), the multi-themed 20 minute "Ninth Tale (VI , 9) by Unitopia, Karda Estra's "First Tale (VII, 2) with its tasty piano, chime action and cool progressive epic feel and D'AccorD's Bowie-esque "Third Tale (VII , 3).

This is yet another outstanding collection of prog tracks in the Colossus Project collection. I have to admit overall i prefer "Decameron - Ten days in 100 novellas - Part I" over this PART II ever so slightly as the tracks on here are just a tad below that high quality mark but there are no bad tracks here and so many great ones that i could write a review for each and every one. The packaging is off the charts beautiful with not only colorfully painted CDs but also contains a big fat booklet with not only gorgeously illustrated artwork but is also chock full of liner notes, lyrics and philosophical mythology all coming to gather in one sanctified place. Once again this is a whopping 4 disc album clocking in at over 4 and 1/2 hours and not even one track is worthy of skipping. I cannot recommend these Colossus Projects more for those who love the zeitgeist of 70s melodic symphonic prog with modern day spins and production value. It certainly doesn't get any more diverse or divine than this.

In case you're wondering here is the whole list of Colossus Projects released so far:

Tuonen Tytar: A Tribute To Finnish Progressive (2000)

Kalevala - Finnish Progressive Rock Epic (2003)

The Spaghetti Epic - Six Modern Prog Bands For Six Seventies Prog Suites (2004)

Odyssey - The Greatest Tale (2005)

The Colossus of Rhodes (2006)

The 7 Samurai - The Ultimate Epic (2006)

The Spaghetti Epic 2 - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (2007)

Treasure Island (2007)

Giallo! One Suite for the Murderer (2008)

The Empire and The Rebellion (2008)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part I - Dante's Inferno (2009)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part II ? Purgatorio (2009)

Rökstenen - a Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's (2009)

The Spaghetti Epic 3 - The Great Silence (2009)

Tuonen Tytar-A Tribute To Finnish Progressive Rock Of The Seventies - Volume Two (2009)

Iliad: A Grand Piano Extravaganza (2010)

The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: A SyNphonic Collection (2010)

Decameron - Ten days in 100 novellas - Part I (2011)

The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft: A SyNphonic Collection (2012)


Decameron - Ten Days In 100 Novellas - Part III (2016)

 Psychedelic Underground 16 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

Psychedelic Underground 16
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars I'm not sure about the continuity now, but at least some years back the German re-issue label Garden of Delights used to put out a promotional samler disc representing its nine latest releases, with a mathematical precision. This 16th sampler offers 59 and ˝ minutes of German rarities mainly from the seventies. The first thing that comes to my mind how it could have been better is purely quantitative; more tracks to make the disc 20 minutes longer.

As always with GoD releases, the leaflet is packed up with information (both in German and in English) in a very user-friendly fashion. I'm naturally basing my review on those band introductions. First comes TETRAGON, an instrumental quartet who released one album in 1971. Here's a track from their intended second album that remained unpublished for nearly four decades. It's energetic, jazzy prog-rock starring Hammond and electric guitar. XHOL played psychedelic jazz-rock. The GoD release represented here with a frenzy 12-minute instrumental is a live album "Essen 1970".

YGGDRASIL was a more song-oriented sextet that released their sole LP in 1972, though only as a metal-acetate. Sounds very nice! Lyrics are in English and there's a lot of flute to increase a certain [pre-Aqualung] Jethro Tull flavour. At the time ZOPPO TRUMP appeared only on a compilation album in 1976, but GoD dug out more unreleased studio recordings. Here's a cool, organ oriented jazz-rock instrumental that slightly reminds me of Jukka Gustavson's compositions on the WIGWAM debut. RADIO NOISZ ENSEMBLE was a Third Ear Band reminding successor of the folk group Emma Myldenberger and released their only album in 1982. The chosen fast-paced track is starring oboe.

The next two bands are the best known. The GURU GURU release is their live performance in Wiesbaden 1973 featuring three long tracks full of free improvisation. The sound quality is not very good, and to me this is the sampler's weakest link. EMBRYO had visited New York which brought funk and soul influences into their 1975 album Surfin'. At least the 9-minute, lighthearted instrumental 'Dance of Some Broken Glasses' sounds nice with the cool groove and flutes, but there's not much of progression in the composition. SÜNDENFALL II sounded very much like the early Jethro Tull, up to the vocals in English. (The original LP of 200 copies is worth a small fortune.) And finally on this sampler disc, an excellent slice of bright-sounding insrumental jazz-rock of the year 1980 by SURGERY. - All in all, this issue (or the period of re-issues) is among the finest from Garden of Delights, with only one track that I rather skip.

 Decameron: Ten Days in 100 Novellas (Part 1) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.14 | 75 ratings

Decameron: Ten Days in 100 Novellas (Part 1)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

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

4 stars Although the Colossus Projects was begun at the turn of the millennium with the intent to promote outstanding Finnish progressive rock which began with the first installment 'Tuonen tyt'r: A Tribute to Finnish Progressive,' the collaboration with Musea Records has become quite ambitious in its output with one various artist compilation after another tackling all kinds of esoteric history from well beyond the land of where the Suomi and Saami coincide with reindeer and Nokia! In 2011, the ambitiousness continued with the first installment of the DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART I, which isn't remotely Finnish but rather a collection of Italian tales excavated from the 14th century. The word DECAMERON is a neologism of the Greek words deca (ten) and mera (days) and THE DECAMERON which is subtitled Prince Galehaut is a collection of novellas written by the author Giovanni Baccaccio (1313- 1375) and is structured as a frame story that contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men who were sheltered in a secluded villa outside of Firenze (Florence), Italy in order to escape the black death plague that was rampant at the time. Seemingly intent to represent each novella with a prog track from a different band, PART I tackles a staggering 35 of them alone with as many bands contributing their sonic forces to unleash a whopping 4-CD symphonic prog extravaganza that takes on each novella in musical form. While most of these musical expressions are purely instrumental, a scant few actually contribute a significant lyrical storyline and focus on the lyrical delivery rather than the usual instrumental prog wankery. These Colossus Projects seemed to have made a career for many of the artists involved as they tend to utilize the talents of the same bands for each of these! Once again i'm treated to the side-project tracks of some of my favorite modern symphonic prog heroes such as Nexus, Roz Vitalis, The Samarai Of Prog and Daal but mostly i am pleased to have discovered many more with whom i have not been familiarized and eagerly awaiting to check out further explorations.

Thematically the subject matter adheres strictly to the subject of the DECAMERON but musically it evokes a classic Rick Wakeman sophistication as heard on similar period pieces on his famous 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII' or 'The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table.' However, with 35 bands contributing to a single theme, it's quite an interesting listen to hear as many interpretations of the period and eisegeses in a modern 20th to 21st century context. While the theme may be the same, there is ample wiggle room for deciphering and DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART I is unbelievably packed with one addictive melodic symphonic prog track after another. It's almost too good to be true actually. The quality of the 4 discs is surprisingly consistent and each one could easily hold up on its own as a single release. There are, of course, highlights and a few turkeys that while not bad per se simply sound a tad lackluster in the mix of great company.

Throughout the 4 discs, the general rule of thumb is that the music composed is instrumental and focuses on rather catchy traditional symphonic prog melodies based on Western classical music with jazz and rock interminglings and develop and deviate where each band sees fit. Although in a way it's like checking off all the boxes on the 'prog for dummies' checklist, there is a lot of creative input interspersed throughout this release as well. Those few bands that didn't get the rules-and-regulations memos and went above and beyond the call of duty include the following excellent tracks: 'Sixth Tale' by the USA band Resistor on disc one is perhaps my favorite track on the album (although that's a tall statement since everything is good and above.) This track is perfectly constructed with a prog folk guitar build up that turns into an Irish jig type of groove but provides an excellent lyrical delivery with an Ian Anderson type of vocal style only as much more sophisticated offering vocally and instrumentally than most Jethro Tull albums. It mixes folk, hard rock and progressive elements and lets them dance together in the most satisfying ways with time signatures and dynamics changing it up in all the right places. Also on the 'fish out of water' list is track 4 on disc 4 by Ozone from Finland which sort of has a James Bond theme melody but has an ample supply of male vocal spoken word narration with female sung parts and a rather explorative trade-off type of delivery. Quite the stand out in the mix of great quality. Also on my love list: Index provides a stellar keyboard solo action with their 'Lauretta's Tale,' love the exquisite harmonica laden grooves that build on Serdimontana's 'Campaign' and although there are many others, i should also mention that i'm quite smitten with the Ars Ephemara track 'DECAMERON 3:7' with its incessant prog slaps in the face as well as

With 4 discs of prog music one would obviously expect a few lackluster performances and i have to say i have pigeonholed a few tracks to make my least pleasurable list but they are a mere very good in the sea of great on this one. Tracks that displease me are the unfortunate opener by La Conscienza Di Zeno as well as those by Kate (can't seem to relate to this band), Jinetes Negro (same), Safar' also has a rather ho hum performance. But let me state that no tracks are bad on here. There are precious few releases that take up a staggering 4 CDs of real estate that can keep my interest but THIS ONE can!!!! Not only am i highly impressed with this album in not only in its ability to adhere to the script delivered but also for the fact that 35 progressive rock bands were corralled into the same pen for the same purpose and delivered the goods. Musea Records is truly the masters of prog talent control for all these wonderful Colossus Projects that have been released. This compilation is intended for the truest sense of prog lover as no one else could possibly appreciate it. Prog addicts will salivate over this one and those who don't should not venture into these territories and will find it quite outside their musical realities. If you take it for what it was meant to be then it's an utterly brilliant collection of music, if you feel otherwise then don't even bother. This is classic sounding symphonic prog with the extra bonus of production perfection and every band has contributed a unique sound to a series of novellas from the past. This is truly my favorite edition of the Colossus Projects so far!

4.5 but rounded down

 Leonardo - The Absolute Man by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.58 | 59 ratings

Leonardo - The Absolute Man
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 117

"Leonardo - The Absolute Man" is a very personal project of Gardner's brothers, who created the musical project Magellan, and where all music and lyrics were composed by the creative Magellan's man, Trent Gardner. If you're familiar with the music of Magellan, you will know that Trent Gardner's composition are not of the usual chorus and verse type of songs, but complex epics, with developing melodies and reoccurring themes. Their music is quite heavy and usually takes some time to grow on you. The same goes for this new project of both Gardner's brothers.

This project is about the life of one of the greatest figures of the Renaissance period and one of the greatest men of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. This project represents a very personal point of view and a tribute of Gardner's brothers to him. As we all know, Leonardo was an Italian polymath man, who studied a significant of different subject areas such as painting, sculpture, architecture, music, science, mathematics, engineering, anatomy, geology, cartography, botanic and writing. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man. He is also considered to be one of the greatest painters of all times, and perhaps he also can be the most diversely talented person that ever has lived. I completely agree with Trent Gardner's idea that the life is unfair because some have everything and others have nothing. But for Leonard's happiness, we can say that, in life, Leonardo had almost everything we can get from life.

"Leonardo - The Absolute Man" is a conceptual album with the format of a rock opera performed by a great constellation of progressive rock singers. The cast of the singers is very extensive and corresponds to figures who took part in the life of Leonardo. So we have in this musical project: James Labrie (Dream Theater) is Leonardo da Vinci. Davey Pattison is Ser Piero da Vinci, the father of Leonardo. Michelle Young (Glass Hammer) is Caterina, the mother of Leonardo. Lisa Bouchelle (Mastermind) is Mona Lisa, the subject of Leonardo's favourite painting. Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery) is Giovan Francesco Melzi, a personal friend, companion and apprentice of Leonardo. Chris Shyrack (Under The Sun) is Ludovico il Moro Sforza, one of the powerful princes of Renaissance in Italy. Bret Douglas (Cairo) is François I the King of France. Josh Pincus (Ice Age) is Lorenzo de Medici, the man who ruled Florence. Steve Walsh (Kansas) is Bartolemeu Calco, the advisor of Sforza. Trent Gardner (Magellan) is Andrea del Verrocchio, the master of Leonardo. Robert Berry (Three) is Salai, the protégé and also the "adopted son" of Leonardo.

Beyond the singers, we have also the musicians. But when we look at the musicians we realize that Gardner's "Magellan" Bros, Trent and Wayne, are who really conduct the whole work. So, the line up of the musicians on this album is Trent Gardner (keyboards and trombone), Wayne Gardner (guitar), Patrick Reyes (guitar), Steve Reyes (bass), Jeremy Colson (drums), Luis Maldonado (guitar and bass) and Joe Franco (drums and orchestral percussion).

"Leonardo - The Absolute Man" has eighteen tracks. Of all, there are ten vocals tracks and eight instrumentals tracks. The structure of the work is like a rock opera. The characters sing depending on their roles and the music accompanies without too much protagonism. And I'm surprised to see Gardner's great sense of the composition structuring different intensities depending on the moment. But mainly this album has lots of melody. Vocally, this is a stupendous project, and all the participants really shine in their solo spots. Sections that feature Labrie and Pincus together, and Walsh, Shryack, Baker and Douglas, are quite good. The Magellan stamp is always present, especially in the chorus sections, where the Gardner vocals are full force. The women of the group, Young and Bouchelle, also turn in fine performances as well. Musically, there are some neat keyboard passages, very orchestral sounding, and some heavy guitar riffs here and there, but this is mainly about the vocals and the story behind it. I'm sure it must have taken Trent Gardner a while to put this all together and find the right singers to fill each part, but the end result is quite polished and enjoyable.

Conclusion: First, a word about Magellan and Gardner's brothers. I'm a big fan of Magellan. Magellan represents the second wave of American progressive rock music. About Gardner's brothers I've always respected and admired them. Their great fascination for the great values of culture was once more proven with this work. They had already done it with the choice of the name Magellan. Ferdinand Magellan (Fernăo de Magalhăes in Portuguese), was the name of a Portuguese navigator. He was the first man to complete the first circumnavigation around the world. As unfortunately the brothers are no more within us, here is my homage and tribute to them. "Leonardo - The Absolute Man", is an ambitious project where the concept works very well. It has great music and lyrics and is a very well balanced and modern work. The choice of the singers was very good and they made a perfect rock opera. The complex compositions and arrangements may take some time to get into, but at least you won't get bored. This is an album not to be missed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part III by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 47 ratings

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.
 Paradiso The divine comedy - Part 3 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2010
4.04 | 14 ratings

Paradiso The divine comedy - Part 3
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Finnish prog association Colossus and its Italian chairman Marco Bernard have been very active since 2000 in producing numerous 4-disc projects for various prog artists around the world to participate in. Perhaps two of the largest ordeals have been the trilogies based on Boccaccio's Decameron (Pt. 3 of it was released in 2016) and Dante's The Divine Comedy. "Paradiso" is naturally the final part of the latter. Here's my modest look at it, to accompany Octopus-4's more detailed review.

Marco Piva has written a 7-page essay of Dante's work. The lay-out of the thick booklet lists, including little pics too, all the performers and their instruments, with (mainly?) Gustave Doré's graphic art in the background instead of being lavishly illustrated with full-colour paintings as in the Decameron series. Looks very good anyway. Marco Lo Muscio's Intro is a piano solo. Disc One's highlights include beautiful, keyboard-centred instrumentals by NUOVA ERA, Dutch keyboardist MATTHIJS HERDER, Argentinan NEXUS and TOMMY ERIKSSON (better known as the frontman of Finland's Ageness).

Disc Two contains a bit more vocal stuff. ORACLE (ie. Canadian Cary Clouser) may not be an excellent singer but the retro-style arrangement is good. (NB! the whole set, as actually all Clossus projects, is intentionally meant to sound rather 70's.) The vocals on ARMALITE's Wakemanesque piece are not very cultivated either. GROOVECTOR offers a good composition with Finnish lyrics and a flute in a big role. ECHOES from Venezuela features as many as three guitarists; the instrumental track is moody and dynamic. The vocals are slightly average on otherwise gorgeous 10-minute track of JAIME ROSAS from Chile.

While the listener is hardly not even expected to love each participation, Disc Three is perhaps most notably uneven. Fine instrumentally oriented pieces by e.g. KBRIDGE and MATTHIJS HERDER. The female vocals grace RAIMUNDO RODULFO's 'El sol de sus ojos'. The 4th disc is stronger. Finnish MIST SEASON featuring female guest vocals is a bliss, and the Dutch bands FLAMBOROUGH HEAD and LADY LAKE are in good shape here, the latter citing Dido's Lament of Henry Purcell. The Hungarian group YESTERDAYS comes with perhaps the poppiest song of the set, sung by Hanna Horvath. Of course it would be more elegant to end the whole set with the real Outro (an organ piece by Marco Lo Muscio) instead of having a separate "Bonus Track" by Atlantis1001...

These Colossus projects are always a great way of getting to know dozens of prog acts all over the world and to hear how they are inspired by the literary source material and how they obey the producer's wish to sound like 70's prog. Italy is however much more represented than any other country, and it's understandable that often the same artists reappear on several projects. "Paradiso" could well be among the finest ones, even if the content is not as celestial as one could think, starting from the beautiful cover art.

 Savoldelli - Casarano - Bardoscia: The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky (Tribute to Pink Floyd) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 4 ratings

Savoldelli - Casarano - Bardoscia: The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky (Tribute to Pink Floyd)
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The impact of being different!

It is not a secret that Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon is one of the most influential and loved albums in the history of music, which has modified (positively, I guess) the lives of countless individuals and groups, and has led to the creation of several covers, tributes and renditions. Most of those tributes ?at least the ones I've heard- continued with the rock potion all over the music, creating nice covers but in the end covers that maintain the same spirit, I mean, that don't really make us think: "this is different", no. Fortunately, Boris Savoldelli decided to create something quite different, a surprise that someone who expects a tribute with a similar sound from the original work will not really dig. So yeah, I warn you, this is a rue creative tribute, so go forward or turn around right now.

The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky is a pretty cool name for this tribute album, which of course tells that jazz is what we might find here. Though Savoldelli might be the mastermind behind, the project consists on a trio, greatly complemented by Rafaelle Casarano on sax and Marco Bardoscia on bass. The songtitles are the same you already know, but the music is what is drastically different.

The jazz does not appear in the short opener "Speak to me", in fact, this is a loony introduction in which vocals and spacey-noises can be heard, a bit freaky. With "Breath" now we can notice the important role bass will play during the album, because it is the only instrument here, creating the rhythm we are used to know. Of course there are vocals, Savoldelli is the singer and man, he does it really good but I have to say that the first time I listened to it I felt kind of disconcerted, maybe it is an acquired taste. The "second" part of this song is amazing. Saxophone appear along with some spacey electronic atmospheres, sensual and relaxing, but probing and stimulating. This was the first moment in which I said to myself "this is gonna be great".

"On the Run" is a short lunatic track with some quirky noises here and there. When it vanishes, we are already listening to "Time" which has a very disarming sound provoked by the vocals and double bass, it is beautiful and becomes even better when sax adds its melancholic sound. I dare saying that the mood of this piece is actually sad, so if you are sensitive, it could even make you cry. "The Great Gig in The Sky / Money" is a challenging combo. The first minute continues with the melancholic sound, but then all of a sudden electronics appear creating a quite different atmosphere, while vocals enter singing the Clare Torry part. Those electronics keep beating but now is Savoldelli's vocals singing the Gilmour part. When vocals finish, the music changes again, bass stays and produce once again, some disarming sounds.

The longest creation comes next with the mighty "Us and Them". Man, I was obsessed with its depth the first time I listened to it. Here the trio has a wonderful guest musician, Dewa Budjana plays guitar in a very soft way but totally accurate to create the ideal atmosphere. Tender vocals surrounded by ambient and electronic nuances will transport you to another threshold, so you can close your eyes and feel the charm and magic of this amazingly arranged song that despite being the longest, it has been the one I have repeated the most. In the last part the guitar becomes a bit more protagonist with some nice riffs included. It is great how after a long instrumental (interlude?) vocals return in order to finish this enchanting track.

"Any Colour You Like" brings some electronic noises, like spacey and futuristic; in a passage bass appear in a subtle way. It leads to "Brain Damage" which has Boris' vocals with a loony spirit, you know, the lunatic is on the grass. Bass and sax are here all the way, the vocals create strange textures and we can also notice some soft but deep atmospheric backgrounds. The song flows and the last two minutes are deliciously highlighted by Casarano's sax. A gem! The album finishes with "Eclipse" which has a kind of humoristic mood that contrasts with what we had been listening. It is a cool way to finish an amazing and unique tribute that I would like to recommend to any open mind aiming to discover memorable tunes.

Enjoy it!

 Plankton: A Fruits de Mer Collection by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

Plankton: A Fruits de Mer Collection
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars UK label Fruits de Mer Records started out back in 2008, with a clear concept in mind and learning the skills of marketing along the way. From the initial phase of being more or less ignored, in the span of a few years they have established themselves as a strong name in their specific field of the music business. The compilation "Plankton" features a selection of material released in the first two years of the label's existence, initially made as a cover CD for Record Collector Magazine in 2013 and then in late 2016 also made available to buy as a regular CD from the label itself.

As usual the quality of the material is good to excellent, and for those with an interest or passion for vintage style psychedelic rock it'll be quite the pleasant experience indeed. From a psyched up take on George Martin's classic Theme One to a cover of Brian Eno's Baby's on Fire there's great variety in the source material covered, ranging from pastoral excursions and 60's psychedelic pop/rock to vintage space rock and krautrock. Tracks originally from Pink Floyd and Amon Duul II representing the latter, while Tudor Lodge and Strawberry Alarm Clock are examples of the former. As they are presented in these cover versions at least: I haven't checked with the originals to hear just how much these reinterpretations are different from the originals.

In my view there's one cut here that stands a head and a shoulder above the rest though, namely Vibravoid's take on Pink Floyd's classic Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. A firmly retro-oriented take on this track, with a plethora of odd and eerie sounds, but with a firmer and more concise delivery that adds a tension and hardness to this track that manage to elevate the sheer cosmic nature of the song and a highly appealing manner.

If you have an interest in psychedelic rock, be it progressive or not, this is a fine collection of material of classic tracks and forgotten jewels from yesteryear as explored and performed by contemporary artists. Those with an interest for material of this kind should not be disappointed by the material presented here.

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