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CROSSOVER PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Crossover Prog definition

Crossover Prog contains progressive rock music that, though 100% progressive, may have a musical connection to popular music-- whether it be the lack of emphasis on extended compositions, or an influence from mainstream music in addition to classical, jazz and folk. Compositions, however, still exhibit a high degree of sophistication, sometimes outright complexity, and the musicianship and virtuosity is often on a par with established Prog acts. Much like their kin in the established prog sub-genres, these groups will incorporate many major parts of what defines prog rock: the fusing of rock with the structures and discipline of more traditional musics, the use of syntheisizers and new technologies, intelligent thematics, and the expansion of the form.

The defining characteristics of Crossover Prog are a pop music influence that is largely vacant in typical prog rock. Songs tend toward shorter, more concise presentations though still reach beyond the typical verse, bridge, chorus pattern. The harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic structures may be more easily digested in Crossover while not losing the musical integrity that a prog listener expects. Whereas Prog Related bands are generally commercial groups with certain prog elements or players that were involved in prog acts, Crossover Prog artists are predominantly progressive with elements of popular music.

The most representative examples for this genre include The MOODY BLUES, SUPERTRAMP, DREDG, CINEMA SHOW, RADIOHEAD.

- written by micky (Michael) and Chus (Jesus)

Current Team Members as at 01/22/2017

kev rowland (Kev)
Evolver (Scott)
tszirmay (Thomas)

Crossover Prog Top Albums


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

4.32 | 1160 ratings
OMMADAWN
Oldfield, Mike
4.31 | 1395 ratings
CRIME OF THE CENTURY
Supertramp
4.30 | 1769 ratings
THE RAVEN THAT REFUSED TO SING (AND OTHER STORIES)
Wilson, Steven
4.28 | 1214 ratings
HAND. CANNOT. ERASE.
Wilson, Steven
4.21 | 1578 ratings
GRACE FOR DROWNING
Wilson, Steven
4.22 | 881 ratings
DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON
Phideaux
4.21 | 922 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART ONE)
Big Big Train
4.20 | 759 ratings
PETER GABRIEL 3 [AKA: MELT]
Gabriel, Peter
4.20 | 489 ratings
~
iamthemorning
4.18 | 755 ratings
SNOWTORCH
Phideaux
4.26 | 213 ratings
GRIMSPOUND
Big Big Train
4.18 | 659 ratings
THE UNDERFALL YARD
Big Big Train
4.17 | 703 ratings
DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED
Moody Blues, The
4.13 | 728 ratings
ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART TWO)
Big Big Train
4.13 | 534 ratings
NIGHT
Gazpacho
4.35 | 83 ratings
THE EDGES OF TWILIGHT
Tea Party, The
4.09 | 1019 ratings
TUBULAR BELLS
Oldfield, Mike
4.22 | 145 ratings
THE SHAMING OF THE TRUE
Gilbert, Kevin
4.13 | 317 ratings
SPIRIT OF EDEN
Talk Talk
4.20 | 153 ratings
LOVE REMAINS THE SAME
Von Hertzen Brothers

Crossover Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Crossover Prog experts team

ABBANDONO DEL TEMPO E DELLE FORME
J'Accuse..!
VOICE
Capability Brown
BLACK DOG THERE
Box, The
GENERAL WINTER'S SECRET MUSEUM
Tea Club, The

Latest Crossover Prog Music Reviews


 The Second Brightest Star by BIG BIG TRAIN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.94 | 58 ratings

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The Second Brightest Star
Big Big Train Crossover Prog

Review by axeman

4 stars I actually like this more than Grimspound. I consider the versions of the songs London Plane and Brooklands what they *should* have released on Folklore. So the redone songs don't bother me near as much as hearing the tracks "in full" (as I consider them). And quite enjoyable. A lot of kudos were lobbed at Plane when Folklore came out, but I never saw much in it, Brooklands having always been my favorite prog epic on that album--but given the versions on this release I could easily ash can the Folklore versions and just play the ones here. It's a pleasure to hear more development in these songs.

But, the main reason I prefer this to Grimspound, as many times as I've listened to the latter, I can't remember much clear *division* in the album--other than Brave Captain. Meanwhile, with fewer listens to this release, I can crisply remember the differences between the title song, Leaden Stour, and The Passing Widow. Also, it doesn't wear out its welcome with the "Aren't we artists special" self-indulgence that Grimspound seems to suffer from. Although a huge BBT fan back with Gathering Steam, I could not write a review of that release is I still don't know what it exactly is. Interesting music? No doubt. A pleasure to listen to? Yeah, outside of the air of self-congratulation I mentioned before.

Anyway, I can unabashedly say that I consider this release to be the superior release this year, even with the sort of utility drawer and re-release feel of Star. The title song and Leaden Stour are standouts, and have stuck in my head much quicker than anything from Grimspound. The title song is a an orchestrated ballad, with a slight torch song feel to the bass (Manners?), with segments of soft piano accompaniment to flute and violin, cascading to a Gregory solo accompanied by bright brass. Just a subtle and muted, smoothly flowing arrangement.

Haymaking is a song that moves them into a definitely thicker folk vein, a violin dance of sorts, joined in parts with the flute, and all grounded with a nice melodic bass line. Only broken up toward the end with an interlude of discord from synths, before ending with the spritely violin. Skylon, the third track moves back to the sort of smooth, torch song feel, which seems to suit Longdon's voice. This track moves to a minor key much quicker than the title track-- but still in my opinion differentiable from it. London Stone is an interesting acoustic instrumental, totally takes place between the piano and classical guitar (Sj÷blom?). Quite a nice contained piece. The Passing Widow goes back to the piano ballad, and is probably the most poppy song on the album. Well done and listenable, even if I can't say that I'm glad that it's on the release. (Who knows though. Telling the Bees was my least favorite on Folklore, but became a sing-along favorite). It also sounds like there's nary an electric instrument on it as well as the previous piece.

Leaden Stour carries much in the same vein, but it seems the guys knew that they couldn't do another pure piano ballad thing, so there some nice soft jazz guitar and a bass line behind this one. Plus it has a brass intro into their upbeat bridge, a sort of jazz ensemble feel to it. But what's really irresistible is the jazz outro 7 minutes into it.

And as I mentioned before Brooklands and London Plane redux will be the versions of these songs that I'll be playing hence forth.

If there's anything lacking in this release, to me it's what BBT has been increasingly lacking over time. Di Virgillio is from a band that was on Metal Blade records, one of Sj÷blom's last albums with Beardfish was pretty heavily rock, Spawton could blaze away on guitar on Difference Machine's Perfect Cosmic Storm and Pick up. I really like the sophisticated variations on pop of the ages these guys are putting out, but would it kill them to just rock out some time?

But one thing that's nice to hear on either albums this year is that they seem to have corrected the mistake on Folklore of burying D'Virgilio down in the mix.

 Awakening of the Elements - Revisited by LOST WORLD BAND album cover Studio Album, 2014
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Awakening of the Elements - Revisited
Lost World Band Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

— First review of this album —
5 stars

Back in 1990, three friends at music college formed a band, calling themselves Lost World. It took until 2003 for the debut album to be released, 'Trajectories', and after 'Awakening of the Elements' in 2006 the guys made a slight change to the name, and added 'Band'. Although there had been some slight changes over the years, the original three, Vassili Soloviev (flute), Andy Didorenko (acoustic and electric guitars, bass, acoustic and electric violins) and Alexander Akimov (keyboards, percussion, programming, sound design) are still there (and indeed all played on the most recent album, 2016's 'Of Things and Beings'). But 2011 saw the guys working with a new drummer, Konstantin Shtirlitz, and Andy's thoughts started to turn back to their second album, and wondered what it would sound like if they re-recorded the drums, added violins and then remixed it.

Well, it came out so well that they released it. I don't think I ever heard the original Musea CD, but I am so glad that Andy thought that I might like to hear this version! Russia has produced some amazing progressive rock bands, and Lost World Band have been a strong favourite of mine since I was sent the debut all those years ago (and looking among my racks I see I still have it). Influenced by the likes of King Crimson and UK, they can easily switch lead instruments from electric guitar to violin or flute, and given that they met at music college it is of course no surprise at all that they are all masters of their instruments. But, it is the arrangements and interplay that makes this album such a delight to listen to. There is a confidence and maturity that is pervasive, and Konstantin knows exactly what to add to provide emphasis and contrast to the melody. It can't have been an easy task taking on the role he was asked for, but the result is something that is complete, fresh, and totally enjoyable from beginning to end.

They can be bright and energetic, or laid back and thoughtful, while the opening title cut comes across as a mix of Kansas and Jethro Tull, with some more rocky guitar and a delightful Seventies feel as well as leads from both flute and violin. This is a great album, that flows and moves, so much so that the listener is never really sure where they are going to end up, but it doesn't matter as the journey is always so interesting. If you've never investigated Russian progressive rock then you should, and Lost World Band and this album are a great place to sta

 From Here To The Impossible by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 5 ratings

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From Here To The Impossible
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

I don't often receive CDs these days, a combination of many labels now using digital downloads for promotional purposes and living at the bottom of the world. So, I was pleased to firstly see a padded envelope, and even more pleased when I saw what was inside it as this is a beautifully put together release. A digipak, with great artwork, there is also a twelve-page booklet with all the lyrics, even more art, and details of who played on what song. This time Karibow have brought in some guests, but to all intents and purposes this isn't a band release but a project being run by Oliver R'sing, who on some numbers provides virtually all the instrumentation as well as the vocals. The clear majority of the songs feature Oliver and just one or two others, but as he is involved to such a high degree it does mean that there is continuity and a band feel.

The seventy-two-minute-long concept album is a neo-progressive masterpiece with great songs, wonderful vocals, and lots of different styles being displayed, with influences from IQ and U2 through Porcupine Tree and Steve Hackett. From the beginning to the end there is a feeling of direction and depth, with different effects being provided to provide emphasis. This could be the delicate use of saxophone, or wonderful duets between Oliver and Monique Van Der Kolk (Harvest). The result is a well-produced modern progressive rock album that will appeal to all fans of the genre.

 The Bride Said No by SYLVAN, NAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.01 | 69 ratings

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The Bride Said No
Nad Sylvan Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Nad Sylvan is of course the latest incarnation of the archangel Gabriel, providing a myriad of prog bands the ability to step up to the microphone and sing. To be fair though, his original voice is way more nasal and high-pitched than either Peter or Phil, so please, lets us forego the usual copycat platitudes, as it's simply not true. 'The Bride Said No' is his 5th solo album and quite possibly his best yet, garnering worldwide praise for his efforts. A cooperative effort between Nad and a slew of good friends to help, as some of the prog royalty deigned to show up on the menu. Steve Hackett, Roine Stolt and Guthrie Govan are among the top guitarists in rock period. Some interesting pairings on the rhythmic side with Tony Levin and Doane Perry on one set of tracks and Jonas Reingold bonding with Nick D'Virgilio on another series of pieces . These tandems do not get any better!

After a brief sonic intro, the whistling 'The Quartermaster' lays down the mood quite effectively, a modern prog ditty with thrash rhythms and a hard ass demeanor. Jonas carves the low end, Nick bashes persuasively and Nad sings his heart out, aided by some siren vocals from the ladies. Shimmer, shake and shambles, this is a rowdy adventure that owes a great deal to classic prog stories, flushed by some strident synth colorations.

A mammoth track like 'When the Music Dies' will win anyone over with the sheer magnificence of the melancholic melody, the glorious chorus and the intricate buildup to both. Nad's vocal delivery is not only deeply heartfelt but it's also overpoweringly impressive. Levin and Perry really do the modern rhythm tandem rather well, pulsating forward with glee. I love the similitude to the Bond theme of 'You Only Live Twice', a perfect melody and a genial arching chorus. This my friends, is the real deal. Killer!

More upbeat and very 'Genesisian' is 'The White Crown' with Reingold and D'Virgilio leading the process, involving some spooky synth passages, a high-pitched duet develops between Nad (who can hit the high notes) and backing female vocalist Sheona Urquhart, a very convincing piece of complexity.

On the sultry ballad 'What Have you Done', Nad tells quite the sweet story, trading vocals with Jade Ell and luxuriating in the breeze, sliced open by a long passionate Hackett solo followed by a patented Govan scorcher that smolders like phosphorus. This is another timeless piece of brilliance that cannot and should not escape awareness.

Another nugget is the bold and convincing 'Crime of Passion', with Roine Stolt conducting the proceedings with his slippery guitar rants, Jonas and Nick propelling resolutely and monstrous symphonic keys icing the cake. The orchestrations add a dramatic dimension to the arrangement that elevates it from its rather humble origins. Hackett makes another cameo as only he can, immediately identifiable and mesmerizing.

Tony Levin proves again why he remains the master of the 'basso profundo' (a live quote from the Gabe), manhandling the electric bass as well as the Chapman stick with genial bravado on the romantic and cinematographic 'A French Kiss in an Italian Caf'. Allied with splendid backing vocals from Urquhart and Ell, sliced by some more Hackett , Nad overflows with bittersweet ''l'gance' and 'amore', deliberately emoting on the highest plane. Urquhart blasts a very Roxy Music-ish sax solo to finish off.

The title track is the epic 12 minute+ cliff-hanger that infuses drama and vocal gymnastics from three busy lead vocalists (Nad, Jade and Tania Doko), thus performing a mini-opera of sorts with a story of unfulfilled love and the yearning for freedom. While highly progressive and theatrical, there is a soulful feel that is immediately apparent, not just in the vocal mannerisms but also in the sensual musical instrumentation, that span the slick and sultry to the bombastic and delirious. The instrumental proficiency on display here is ridiculous, by any standard, Jonas in particular proving his reputation as a maestro of the bass guitar. The dynamic storytelling is compelling and convincing, forcing Hackett to blast a tortuous solo off into the stratosphere. Great imagery, fabulous words and a dramatic delivery wins me over immediately, as the white crown makes a reappearance in the lyrics. Slick dude, you are Nad. You go, guy! The mid-section is distinguished by a wailing aria from Tania that will shake your universe, soulfully emotive and overpoweringly impressive. The bride then says no, which leads to a 2 minute silence and a hidden 5 minute bonus track called 'Black Sheep'.

A very entertaining release from an artist that I admired from afar but did not really comprehend. I do now. He is not just another pretty face or a musical box. He is Nad Sylvan.

4 dead rings

 Everything Beautiful In Time by I AM THE MANIC WHALE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Everything Beautiful In Time
I Am The Manic Whale Crossover Prog

Review by Albert H

5 stars Wow! This is described in the booklet as "an unashamedly progressive" album. They're exactly right. The musicianship is of the highest order, the songs are lengthy and complex - not tricksy or overblown, but well crafted, There is an element of the experimental in some of the songs, which brings a freshness and originality to the compositions. This is British Symphonic Prog at its very best!

I wouldn't single out any of the musicians for particular praise (though the guitar is frequently stellar!) - they work really well together as a unit. The amount of rehearsal necessary to get these complicated arrangements to work flawlessly must have been truly staggering. Considering that this is a privately released CD, there are no evident limitations in recording, It sounds great! Some of the words used in the songs must be difficult to sing - the lyrics are pretty "wordy"!

The first track - "Open Your Eyes" - really made me sit up and listen when I heard it for the first time on the Chris Hunter Show on RaidersFM.com - I decided that I must buy the CD based on just that one track! His review was also very favourable. The whole album stands up to repeated plays - there's so much there that I keep discovering new elements to these complex arrangements. I particularly like the use of classical guitar as a contrast to the electric sounds - they're not afraid to put the acoustic guitar to the front of the mix - and the overall recorded balance is excellent throughout.

A superb first album - I hope that they can keep up the high quality of song writing, musicianship and production for their next release! I couldn't quite rate this as totally "essential" - but it's really close at about a 4.8, so I will give it the special 5-star rating.

 Clock Unwound by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.31 | 29 ratings

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Clock Unwound
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars This is the second album from Norwegian act Gentle Knife, but the first I have come across, and to try and give some idea of what it sounds like let's look at the line-up. They have no guests, as with this many people they really don't need any more! It must be one of the largest line-ups of a progressive rock band I have ever come across, but each has their place. Astraea Antal (flutes, woodwinds and visuals), Pňl Bj°rseth (keyboards, vocals, trumpet), Odd Gr°nvold (bass), Thomas Hylland Eriksen (sax and woodwinds), Veronika H°rven Jensen (vocals), Hňkon Kavli (vocals, guitars), Eivind Lorentzen (guitars and synths), Charlotte Valstad Nielsen (sax), Ove Christian Owe (guitars), Ole Martin Svendsen (drums, percussion) and Brian M. Talgo (samples, words, vocals, visions and artwork) have put together one of the most interesting albums of the year.

That it is progressive is beyond doubt, but as to what sub-genre it belongs to is more of a discussion. The band have been claimed by Crossover, but they could easily have gone into eclectic if it wasn't for the majestic beauty of some of the passages that transcend all thoughts of prog into stunning classic rock pop. The production has a large part to play on this album, and in many ways, can almost be thought of you as yet an additional instrument, as it is the clarity and separateness of all those involved that prevent this from turning into a muddy mess. There is an emotional use of a baritone sax on the fifteen-minute- long title cut where the notes resonate against the gently picked electric guitar with quite devastating effect and impact. They aren't afraid to use volume, driving riffs and screaming guitars when the need is right, or to move from melody into atonal noise where everything crashes together, before moving into yet another space and time.

This is music that is exciting, vibrant and with a controlled chaos that is rarely heard in today's scene. The arrangements are complex and perfectly executed, and in many ways this album is reminiscent of the most rich and fragrant paella one could come across: take a bite, give it a stir, and the next bite could be totally different as firstly one tastes mussels, and the next chorizos, yet at all times the rice is providing a balance and continuity. I think this is the first time I have ever compared an album to food, and I have written many thousands, but this is comfortable, intriguing, welcoming and inviting, just like a good meal. Needless to say, a good drop of South Otago Pinot Noir goes with it very nicely indeed, thank you very much.

In some ways very Seventies, and in others very up to date, this wonderful album should be heard by all progheads. It is simply stunning.

 Forever Comes To An End by RIIS, BJěRN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.78 | 44 ratings

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Forever Comes To An End
Bj°rn Riis Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Edgy, jagged, disturbed, swirling in emotional confusion and clearly overwrought and despondent, the dark music of Bjorn Riis never fails to conjure up images of anguish. The lyrics paint vivid pictures that heed no mercy and provide little resolution. Airbag may be on hold for the time being but Bjorn continues following his muse to great effect, a highly stimulating opus that incorporates classic blues licks with distinctive misery and a definite rock delirium. Ably assisted by some Airbag pals, namely Henrik Fossum on drums and Asle Torstrup on programming but also infusing massive amounts of mournful piano from Oak's Simen Johannessen fingers, the man reeks inspiration and the end result is certainly powerful and moody.

The title track takes no prisoners, effectively evoking the more psychedelic tendencies of other luminaries such as Porcupine Tree, as Bjorn's patented soft guitars show a much harder side, thrashing, convulsing and screeching agonizingly. Propulsive, tectonic and strident, the fire rages mercilessly, fueled by words that plead forgiveness and respond to the deepest sorrow. The booming bass rolls majestically below a storm of angry riffs and occasional sweeter expanses. Then, a rippling guitar solo is peeled off with apparent exuberance, deeply poignant and very a propos. A total shock device.

'Absence' is a soporific whirlpool of sound mostly emanating from Johannessen's echoing piano chords, serving as a perfect intro for the downcast pleading of 'The Waves' , searching for some salvation in the grand scheme of things, a soundscape of desolation that oozes like the incessant yet gentle pounding of aquatic sprays, relentless and yet imbued with infinite supremacy. Riis' demolition guitar riffs add throbbing angst and concussing paranoia to the floating crest, his voice aching acutely and convincingly. Spectacular!

A subtle and repetitive electric piano motif introduces 'Getaway', a jazzier style that fits nicely, especially when grooving along, like some race car music blaring down the highway. The intensity evolves progressively into near unbearable heights, urgent, breathless and exhausting. The final stretch becomes quite the aggression fest, gloomy and clamorous, tainted with some psychedelic/psychotic sections that veer close to some kind of internal whirlwind. The bewitching 'Calm' is another shimmering respite, with soft piano ripples that transcend time and space, forever insistent and adventurous and funneled by purpose. Dense symphonics crown the affair with divine gleam. A slow hand guitar phrasing only adds to the pleasure.

A whopping 10 minute behemoth, 'Winter' does the prog duet deal just perfectly, with guest Sichelle Aksum paralleling Bjorn's voice to perfection, as the sublime lead guitar explodes brightly. There are some lovely wailing female notes that elevate the melody into the realms of the sublime, cresting, arching and detonating into a myriad of sparkling emotions. At times, it does get quite raunchy and angry, which only preps the soft afterglow to follow. The jazzy electric guitar-fueled lilt is simply mind-numbing, ultra-cool and sizzling in its trajectory, aiming into the deepest recesses of one's inner being. A masterpiece.

The tragic 'Where Are they Now' pulls the velvet curtain down on another masterful performance by one of prog's surest luminaries , taking the psychedelic vibe further into the inner cosmos of modern day art. Hushed moments of reflection are quickly escorted by soaring exhilaration that knows no boundaries, strong yet fragile, courageous yet tired. Emotional minds will not only understand but even find solace and comfort in this style of evocative music.

As with his debut 'Lullabies in a Car Crash', this is most definitely late night music, deeply evocative, profoundly disturbing and yet massively passionate and honest. The piano provides a myriad of options for the melodies to shine brightly on their own, devoid of useless bombast that might take away from the sonic simplicity. More personal and ethereal than any of the Airbag releases, this is quite a revelation.

4.5 grand finales

 Eternity Rise  by RAMSES album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.25 | 29 ratings

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Eternity Rise
Ramses Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I've owned La Leyla for years, the American pressing on Annuit Coeptis, with "Noise" instead of "War" (same song, different lyrics, as the American label did want a song critical of the Vietnam War, still too fresh in American minds in '76). I have to say it has some great moments, but a couple of repetitive songs like "Garden" and "Someone Like You" that could have stood a bit more creativity. Of course, I knew that Ramses wasn't going to be the most mindblowing band out there. Eloy certainly had a lot more edge to what they were doing.

Eternity Rise actually seemed to manage making less repetitive material, but none of it reaches the heights of La Leyla, at least nothing offensive here. It seems the Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest influence really makes itself known on two of the songs. "City Life" is in the BJH and Moodies vein, while "Windy" is more Moodies than anything (all was needed here was a Mellotron, which Winfried Langhorst did own one, but didn't use it much on this album, and not at all on this song). The album features nice material like "Only Yesterday" and "Agitation Play", and "Windy" is a great song, as mentioned. That Moodies influence is simply undeniable there. Much of the rest of the album is German prog as usual: influenced by local (that is, Hannover) contemporaries like Eloy and Jane, as well as other German bands like Grobschnitt and Novalis. This is the type of music you expect off the Sky label: the stuff not mindblowing enough to make it on Brain seemed to be order of the day, at least Ramses is still very good, but not without its flaws. At least it's quite a bit better than that pretty dreadful Light Fantastic, the followup that appeared in 1981. Many of you will probably already know this album if you bought the CD reissue of La Leyla, because it included this album as well. but I went the vinyl route so I only got Eternity Rise now (July 2017), while I owned La Leyla since September 2000. It's probably because the band was not priority number one why I didn't buy Eternity Rise ,much earlier (and me being a bit suspicious of prog released 1978 or after given how the quality really slipped). Glad I bought it, it has nice material, and worth having for fans of late '70s German prog.

 XII by BARCLAY JAMES  HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.55 | 126 ratings

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XII
Barclay James Harvest Crossover Prog

Review by mickcoxinha

3 stars XII is considered by many the last of the classic BJH albums because it is the last with the original lineup; Woolly Wolstenholme would leave after that and the sound would become more and more commercial. For me, it is the last good BJH album, but it is already showing the sign of the times: songs stripped down to simpler arrangements with AOR production are in a considerable number. It is one of the reasons often mentioned when talking about Wolstenholme departure, and his departure would make the band go straight to AOR rock.

Since the first song, you can realize something has changed. Fantasy: Loving Is Easy is a straightforward rock song typical from late 70s, retaining a bit of organ and synthesizer sounds. In this category, we can put Classics: A Tale Of Two Sixties, Turning in Circles, Sip of Wine. Some of these songs have a interesting solo here and there, but mostly straightforward rock. There are also two ballads, Harbour and Giving it Up, mostly in the same vein (late 70s ballads). The only remarkable aspect of them is that their arrangements are a bit more interesting than the "rockers".

As for something different, there is Fact: The Closed Shop, which leans a bit on the folkish sound with flutes, but still contains much of the sounds and production that don't allow it to be much different from the rest. Fiction: The Streets Of San Francisco is interesting in having some american folkish flavor, including harmonica and harmony singing that reminds me a bit of Simon & Garfunkel. It is the best of all the songs already mentioned.

But there is also some lost gems among these ones: Berlin is a great ballad with great arrangements that give a great mood to the song as it progresses.. In Search of England is a beautiful song that evokes some of their best moments in the previous albums (would fit perfectly in Octoberon), with great guitar and keyboard work, and the best sample of traditional BJH symphonic sound along with Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera, which is probably the most "progressive" song of the album (which is not much in this case), and retains a great symphonic feel coupled with a subtle, but interesting use of synthesizers.

3 stars because it is still a good album, but BJH was taking great leaps towards the straightforward pop/rock and AOR, so there are many weak songs among the good ones.

 Invisible Din by ESP album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Invisible Din
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars

On the cover the album is credited to Tony Lowe and Mark Brzezicki (Big Country, Procol Harum) and special guests, and on closer inspection, it can be seen that these guests comprise David Cross (King Crimson), David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator), Phil Spalding (Steve Hackett, Mike Oldfield), Steve Gee (Landmarq), John Young (Lifesigns), Pat Orchard, Alison Fleming (Tony Lowe), John Beagley and electric harp from Yumi Hara (Daevid Allen, Hugh Hopper). So, quite special indeed. David Cross only adds his violin to a couple of songs, but David Jackson is there with a sax and flute for five, but while the guests do add to the overall album, this very much the work of Tony (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Mark (drums, vocals).

The best way to describe this album is to think of the more laid-back prog of the Seventies, as many of those bands had an impact here. Imagine if you will 'Octoberon' era Barclay James Harvest combined with Alan Parsons Project, Steve Hackett, and possibly just a touch of Pink Floyd. It is a delicious delight, perfect for late nights, and for drifting away on. There are layers upon layers, and it is all about the arrangements: it is exactly the type of music that punk was supposed to get rid of, and failed. Symphonic prog, which has managed to stay on just the right side of being produced to death, so that each instrument can be clearly discerned and the complexity of the music can be appreciated, yet always it seems almost simple in its beauty and approach. Highly accessible, this is a wonderful progressive rock album that will delight many fans of the genre.

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Crossover Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
17 PYGMIES United States
1974 United States
1O1 United States
3 United Kingdom
3 LEGGED MONSTER United States
3RDEGREE United States
7TH KIND United States
90 DAY MEN United States
A.L.F. Brazil
AARDVARK United Kingdom
AARDVARK' Finland
THE AARON CLIFT EXPERIMENT United States
ABACUS Germany
ABARAX Germany
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