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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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Proto-Prog definition

The denomination Proto Prog comes from the combination of two words, Proto from the Greek The earliest,. and Prog which as we know is a short term for Progressive Rock, so as it's name clearly indicates, refers to the earliest form of Progressive Rock or Progressive Rock in embryonary state.

These bands normally were formed and released albums before Progressive Rock had completely developed (there are some rare Proto Prog bands from the early 70's, because the genre didn't expanded to all the Continents simultaneously

The common elements in all these bands is that they developed one or more elements of Prog, and even when not completely defined as part of the genre, they are without any doubt, an important stage in the evolution of Progressive Rock.

Generally, Proto Prog bands are the direct link between Psyche and Prog and for that reason the Psychedelic components are present in the vast majority of them, but being that Progressive Rock was born from the blending of different genres, we have broadened the definition to cover any band that combined some elements of Progressive Rock with other genres prior to 1970.

Some of these bands evolved and turned into 100% Prog, while others simply choose another path, but their importance and contribution in the formative period of Prog can't be denied, for that reason no Prog site can ignore them.

Iván Melgar - Morey

Proto-Prog Top Albums

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

4.47 | 926 ratings
Beatles, The
4.50 | 542 ratings
Who, The
4.38 | 846 ratings
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1108 ratings
Deep Purple
4.32 | 1120 ratings
Deep Purple
4.32 | 957 ratings
Beatles, The
4.36 | 528 ratings
Who, The
4.31 | 610 ratings
Doors, The
4.17 | 745 ratings
Beatles, The
4.24 | 462 ratings
Doors, The
4.27 | 405 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 677 ratings
Beatles, The
4.03 | 431 ratings
Doors, The
3.91 | 659 ratings
Beatles, The
3.93 | 513 ratings
Who, The
3.96 | 356 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.84 | 754 ratings
Deep Purple
3.99 | 274 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 167 ratings
3.93 | 307 ratings
Deep Purple

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Out Through The In Door by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.88 | 14 ratings

Out Through The In Door
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars The name of this album is a funny reference to the album In Through The Out Door by Led Zeppelin (1979), all 11 tracks on Out Through The In Door are Led Zeppelin covers. This appreciation from Vanilla Fudge for Led Zeppelin started in 1968 when the virtuosic and innovative hardrockers Led Zeppelin did their first USA tour '. as a support act for USA formation Vanilla Fudge. In those days this four piece band was highly praised and got worldwide recognition, due to their international chart topping single You Keep Me Hangin' On. So when in 1968 Vanilla Fudge was already a famous band that had released a serie of pivotal albums, Led Zeppelin was working on a debut studio album and touring around the world to make fans. A year later Vanilla Fudge call it a day while Led Zeppelin stunned the world with their eponymous debut album. And within a few years Led Zeppelin became one of the most famous and pivotal rock bands of all time. In order to tribute their former support-act Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge (reunited since 1984) made this album, released in 2007.

After a few listening sessions my conclusion is that Vanilla Fudge have succeeded to incorporate their distinctive late Sixties sound (vocal harmonies, Hammond organ and blending rock with soul and gospel) into the covers, without doing harm to the essential Led Zeppelin sound. I notice lots of inventive ideas: a short and surprising keyboard intro in the propulsive Immigrant Song, wonderful keyboard arrangements (on the Korg Triton synthesizer) and fiery electric guitar leads in the dynamic Dazed And Confused and a funky clavinet sound, wah-wah guitar and swirling Hammond organ in the swinging Trampled Under Foot. The typical, omnipresent Vanilla Fudge Hammond B3 organ sound can be traced in Fool In The Rain, Dancing Days, Moby Dick (excellent job by drummer Carmine Appice who later worked with Jeff Beck) and Rock And Roll (thunderous drums, powerful vocals and biting electric guitar). These elements give the songs a very special flavour. The most Vanilla Fudge sounding Led Zeppelin cover is the final song Your Time Is Gonna Come: it starts with 'churchy' Hammond organ and then a thrilling blend of blues and psychedelia featuring inspired, pretty melancholical vocals.

In my opinion Vanilla Fudge have delivered a strong and interesting tribute to Led Zeppelin (one of my favorite bands), with lots of creative ideas and with respect to the mighty Led Zep sound!

 Scorching Beauty by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.53 | 33 ratings

Scorching Beauty
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Thenewrider

4 stars In 1975 Iron Butterfly reformed with Erik Braunn and Ron Bushy and released this album. Contrary to the belief of many this album is really good. 1975 Overture provides a great start to this album and Pearly Gates is a highlight of the album. The song People Of The World is the worst of the songs here as it sounds like any other song from the mid 1970's. The other highlights of the album are High On A Mountain Top and Am I Down.

Lots of Iron Butterfly fans dismiss this album and the next album Sun And Steel as mediocre albums. I disagree with that statement. Scorching Beauty is still the lesser of the two mid 70's reunion albums as Sun And Steel is an unsung classic. Despite that this album is still very good. Although it's nothing like In A Gadda Da Vida this album deserves more recognition.

 Help! by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.43 | 457 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

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

4 stars By the mid-60s BEATLEmania had taken hold of the entire planet after the British Invasion of the Americas was complete and the Fab Four couldn't pump out enough product fast enough to satisfy a rabid public obsessed with their favorite mop top rock icons. After the film "A Hard Day's Night" proved to be a smashing success, there was little doubt that THE BEATLES would continue their musical comedy-adventures in cinematic form for as long as they could get away with it. The band wasted no time at all conceiving a sequel in the form of HELP! which saw THE BEATLES moving away from the lo-fi antics of their first film into a multi-color high budget blockbuster type of production that was shot in a variety of exotic foreign locations. While "A Hard Day's Night" was based on the BEATLEmania craze that was unfolding around the Fab Four and their reactions around it, HELP! on the other hand took liberties in setting up a contrived plot about an Eastern cult that needed to sacrifice a woman to the goddess Kaili but realized that she was not wearing the sacrificial ring which somehow got sent to Ringo Starr in a fan letter.

The movie unfolds by a series of cartoonish antics revolving around the evil cult following THE BEATLES in order to regain the lost ring so that they can carry out their ritualistic practices. While i could go on about the movie in great length, the subject of this review is the accompanying musical soundtrack which in accord with the year of 1965 varied depending upon which side of the Atlantic you resided, not to mention that the film soundtrack is quite different than the album of the same name. One quick mention about the movie itself is the fact that the film HELP! seems to be the first taste of exotic Eastern musical influences for THE BEATLES and not (as commonly believed) with George Harrison's sitar playing on "Norwegian Wood" on the "Rubber Soul" album. The film goes as far as to include an instrumental version of the song "A Hard Day's Night" played by an Indian band with an exotic Eastern flair and the film itself is peppered with sounds and fashion styles from the Indian subcontinent that obviously permeated George Harrison's senses enough for him to delve deeply into the music and philosophy.

While this review is primarily concerned with the UK version of the album that took only seven songs from the film score and added seven more tracks for a total of fourteen, the differences between the UK album that is seemingly just another BEATLES release and the official soundtrack score that appeared in the US is worth mentioning. Firstly, the US version only included the tracks "Help!," "You're Going To Lose That Girl," "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," "Ticket To Ride," "I Need You," "The Night Before" and "Another Girl" also from the UK album. The remaining tracks are from the George Martin Orchestra which were primarily used as background music for various events in the movie such as "The Chase," "The Bike Riding Scene" and so on. The UK album (which has rightfully become the official version) contains the aforementioned BEATLES tracks with seven more BEATLES tracks including the huge hit "Yesterday." While the tracks shared between the UK and US versions showcase the powerhouse songwriting skills of the McCartney / Lennon machine (with a Harrison track in the mix), the second set of songs show off lead vocal spots of each member. While the weakest of the bunch (as is usually the case) is Ringo Starr's "Act Naturally," all the other members strut their styles ranging from Lennon's skiffle origins showing in the Larry Williams cover "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," McCartney steals the show with his solo guitar and vocal performance on "Yesterday" that added a symphonic string section.

HELP! was very much a step forward for THE BEATLES by not only cementing their status as film stars but by expanding the band's sound significantly by adding new instruments, richer textures and a more diverse palette of songwriting styles with an extra emphasis on keyboards and acoustic guitar. George Harrison was also allowed to shine again after a two record absence with his tender ballad "I Need You" as well as "Tell Me What You See." As far as commercial success was concerned, HELP! continued to keep THE BEATLES in the number one spot across the globe with a stream of hit singles and a firm declaration of true artistic development. The album cover has an interesting story as well with the Fab Four donning oversized button-up shirts with their arms pointing in various directions. The idea was to spell the world HELP in flag semaphore but because the actual results weren't visually pleasing, the design created a random set of letters that spells out "NUJV" with McCartney's left hand pointing to the Capitol logo. The effort into the music of the days at every angle is quite amazing sitting here in the 21st century.

HELP! possibly may not rank at the top of anybody's favorite BEATLES album simply for the fact that they would only continue to better themselves in every aspect of creativity but HELP! is a vital transitional stage in the Fab Four's career as it proved without a doubt that the band could expand their creative edge beyond the simple pop rock and cover tunes that they had been churning out since their formation. While HELP! also showed the band reaching out into new arenas in the world of cinema, it more importantly created the moment when the East / West cross-pollination ideas were implanted in the band's psyche and would only continue to gestate until the classics that would follow. Standing alone, HELP! is a beautiful assortment of cleverly written pop rock performances with each member shining like never before. While the film itself was a little goofy in its premise, the music that revolved around the film more than stands on its own two feet well over 50 years from its initial release. After the lackluster rush job of "Beatles For Sale" that seemed to show a band having peaked and ready to fizzle into obscurity, the cry for HELP! was answered with this showcase of BEATLES powerhouse melodies and creative prowess. HELP! is a resoundingly excellent batch of classic BEATLES tracks that have aged quite well.

 Love by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.02 | 78 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This cd was a collaboration between Geroge Martin and his son Giles when they were asked to work for the Cirque du Soleil. They have created this soundscape using any sound from the original Beatles multi-track tapes. The used sound to combine some songs or use the sound of songs to go in other songs. The results are impressive especially in 5.1. It's about an hour and a half medley that can be listened like one song with not much pause between songs. The sound is all over the room and is a new experience to hear those songs that we all know for a long time. I could hear some heavy parts that I never heard on the old versions. This is a soundtrack for a film with a nice choice of songs, the more accessible ones and the more experimental ones from the latest albums of The Beatles. This cd could serve as a introduction to the band and in that case, you can be satisfied with the stereo cd, but if you want to hear the Beatles songs with new arrangements and in surround, you need the DVD-audio. This is more than a simple and easy compilation of the bands greatest hits, it's more than 2 years of hard rock with the collaboration of many people to brings this to the public.
 Who Do We Think We Are by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.99 | 517 ratings

Who Do We Think We Are
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

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

4 stars DEEP PURPLE was always a strange act. A rather random cast of characters starting as a pool of talent arranged in a similar way to pop acts like The Monkees, somehow found its own soul as one member after another built upon what came before and finally beginning with their 1970 landmark album "In Rock", the band had hit upon the perfect chemistry. This was the period that has been designated the Mark II era of the band's long and changing career and was the time when Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Jon Lord (keys, piano, organ), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums and percussion) were one of the most successful bands alongside Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the nascent world of hard rock and early heavy metal. The band sold albums by the millions and couldn't book enough shows to fill the demand of their dynamic live performances. Their success was the envy of musicians far and wide and one of those rare acts that seemed to appeal to all whether they preferred hard rock, prog, soul, jazz or classical. This band simply had a universal charm.

And then there was the negative side of the equation. After the success of their multi-platinum release "Machine Head," DEEP PURPLE became living legends and toured like there was no tomorrow under the management's brutal dictatorship and constant pressure to perform. All was not well with the PURPLE ones after the whirlwind tours across the world had finally come to an end. Exhausted were they and that is exactly when the pressure reared its ugly head. Instead of the sensible idea of allowing the band to recuperate from their enervating and demanding live performances, the record company and all the money grubbing whores who profited dearly from the band's phenomenal success instead pulled out their slave driving whips and put the band immediately back in the recording studio to pump out a followup album which resulted in the very frowned upon WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE which to this day still divides hardcore fans like the DMZ between the Koreas.

As the tale goes, the infighting between management and members resulted in major schisms that led to Ian Gillan jumping ship only a few months after WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE was released. Citing fatigue as the main culprit which led to all the other issues at hand, the band carried on the best that they could although agreeing on tracks to include on the album was one of the major points of contention. The rather short album consists of a mere seven tracks and includes one of the band's most famous tracks "Woman From Tokyo" which narrated the famous Japanese tour that also yielded one of the most celebrated live album recordings of the entire rock era with their hugely popular "Made In Japan." After that famous single, what we mostly get is another six musical compositions that have sort of fell to the bottom ranks within the greater DEEP PURPLE canon, and that is indeed a true shame because i happen to be one of those who actually loves this album although i will readily concur that WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE is indeed one of the weakest releases within the Mark II lineup.

Often cited as nothing more than a series of disconcerting efforts and passionless pits of uninspired drudgery that showed the band playing their older material by the numbers, i see this album from a different point of view. True that this without doubt could have been a better album given all the vital circumstances needed to create a "Machine Head 2," however even taking the album for what it is, this is one excellent album filled with classic PURPLE material. For one, i don't want a sequel of a previous masterpiece but rather a new set of tunes that take a bold new approach to the sound laid out from what came before. WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE does just that with heavy guitar riff oriented bluesy rock in tandem with the excellent keyboard accompaniments and yet more strong vocal performances from Gillan. There is no slacking off here that i can detect.

After the initial "Woman From Tokyo" the tracks continue with an interesting array of heavy rock that is more blues oriented than on their previous albums but not too far off the cuff of other Mark II albums when all is said and done. "Mary Long" is an exception listed below (me no likey) and while "Super Trouper" doesn't jump into the typical heavy DEEP PURPLE rocker, it does however have a unique fragility to it with a very catchy melody and smooth instrumental interplay that is more sophisticated than the average DP track. "Smooth Dancer" is an absolute gem with a heavy emphasis on a nice guitar riff (reminds me of what "Nobody's Home" would sound like on the future "Perfect Strangers) with excellent keyboard interplay in the form of a rather honky tonk sounding piano run. The melody creates one of my absolute favorite DP tracks of their career. The keyboard solo is also quite adventurous as Lord is a relentless madman.

Next up: the phenomenal "Rat Bat Blue." This is yet another masterpiece of music in the band's long career with a heavy blues riff that adds some interesting progressive rock time signature workouts at key moments (albeit brief). Honestly it sounds a tad like "Rock 'n' Roll Hoochie Koo" by Rick Derringer only without the lame cheesiness and elevated to a higher arts position. Brilliant grooves, excellent vocal interplay and one of Jon Lord's most treasured sizzling keyboard performances in his entire career that makes Keith Emerson look like nothing more than a piano student who wants his mommy. "Place In Line" takes the pure blues route that sounds more like a John Lee Hooker track than the DEEP PURPLE the world had come to know, however despite this sidetrack into a sorta "Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues" that sounds a tad Janis Joplin, this track finds resolution as it ratchets up heaviness. A major faux pas for some but for me this merely finds a band paying tribute to a style of music that inspired the members all the while adding their own voice. I find it quite satisfying myself. Last up: "Our Lady." Spacey organ intro is followed by a semi-ballad that maintains a thick organ presence and sounds a bit like a 60s psychedelic band of some sort. Not one of the best tracks of the album and definitely not a wise ending choice but i find this one to have a nice groove and beautifully intricate melody as well.

Here are a few reasons i can detect as to why this album has received such a bad rap. 1) Reputation. Yeah, this album has gotten trashed by everyone over the years to the point that someone who had never listened to this album would assume that the band was trying to record covers of The Partridge Family or something. 2) The album cover and title are admittedly awful and give the impression that all the stale and soulless tunes that have been purported to exist surely must be as such since the cover is about as inspired as a adipose laden ass sitting on a plexiglass coffee table. 3) There are some bad moments on this one although not nearly as bad as one would expect. Unfortunately one of these musical faux pas' s comes as the second track "Mary Long" which is a rather insipid tale doubt a girl losing her virginity and even hosts a major no-no of stealing the riff from Clapton's "I Shot The Sheriff" for certain parts of the track. 4) This is different than "Machine Head" and has a completely different energy. Riffs are varied, solos (both guitar and organ) are more varied. Everything is more eclectic and more ideas are strewn about which makes some people feel uncomfortable i guess, especially when the relativity factor is part of the equation (that being it followed the brilliant consistency of its predecessor.)

A perfect album this ain't. There are so many ways this could've been a better album but i personally love this one a lot and find it a testament to the fortitude of a great band at their absolute worst that is still able to crank out excellent music despite wanting to pull out a semi-automatic rifle and blow everyone else around them away. While i would never tout this album as the pinnacle of the band's career in any way, shape or form, i do find this to be woefully underrated, under-appreciated and misunderstood. While i will probably never convince anyone to the contrary, i cannot find the horrible aspects of this album that i have read about forever. This is an excellent album that only could've been much better with some rearranging of tracks and a few more months of recovery after a lengthy tour. However, as fate would have it, the band would splinter, Gillan would exit stage right and David Coverdale would usher in the Mark III phase. True that we cannot change history but we can alter our misguided perceptions of a great album that's been deemed inferior for too long.

Four stars because the strengths are so much greater than the weaknesses.

 The Who Sell Out by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.52 | 213 ratings

The Who Sell Out
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Mortte

5 stars Plenty of reviews written about this, I donīt think I can say anything new about it, but because I found the last review of it a bit poor, I think I should say something about it. I think the last review is a part of that trend in 2000`s to try to prove sixties music wasnīt as great as it was. I know there are many people, who think 2000`s music is as great as sixties and or/seventies, or maybe even better. I am not saying all the 2000 music is [&*!#], there are still great musicmakers, but in 60-70 specially major record companies hadnīt made their artists that kind of money making products as today. Of course money making has always been their priority, but the artists freedom to make music was much more bigger then, record companies gave them many chances to try to make selling albums before they throw them away than today. And I think that was one reason to the great music of 60-70, not the only.

About this masterpiece, I have listened Who now thirteen years and over a decade this has been the greatest Who album to me. Of course I really love also Tommy, Whoīs Next and Quadrophenia, but I have also always loved the energy of first Who albums. This album has both: energy of first Who albums, but also the more progressive music from the later albums. Only true sixties pop songs in this album are "Our Love Was" and "Canīt Reach You". I find the first side of the album as great as the second. "Odorono" and "Tattoo" are really spiritual, the latter is also very acoustic with great symbal playing from Moon. The side one ending piece "I can see for miles" is the greatest Who single to me, it has that great Who-energy and starting "Armenia City In the sky" too. "Silas Stingy" and "Sunrise" in the b-side are also very spiritual songs. The endind "Rael" is a crown of this album! Towshend used part of this song later in Tommy, as he did also some other earlier songs released later in Odds and Sodds, but I have found this version the best. Rael was also Towshendīs will to do larger entities just like "A Quick One, While Heīs Away" was a year later, but I think it was better although it was only almost six minutes long. There was part 2 of "Rael" that ended only into first album version credits, it was released later in the "Thirty Years of Maxium R`n`B".

About commercialism in music, even the Who had pressures of selling records that time. Their singles werenīt selling much in 1967 and although the Who Sell Out is masterpiece, it didnīt sell well. But what band of today decides to make an rockopera after commercial failings? The Who took a big risk into it, but it was worth of it. Tommy become one of their biggest artistic and commercial success. 1967 was the begin year of concept albums. I think the Who sell out was one of the most genius concept albums of that year. To built up album round the pirate radio channel Radio London was very original and rebellious idea and it still works well.

This is really not prog album, specially if you think prog is the same as Genesis and Yes seventies albums. I listen a lot progmusic, but to me any music genre is not better than the other. To me this Who album is one of the ten best all time albums. Itīs just because itīs genius sad melodies also itīs brilliant idea of concept album. Really have always loved the cover of it. I recommend people who donīt like sixties music generally, doesnīt listen it and really doesnīt write reviews about it. Although Whoīs best years are over, they continue to play their great music. I was really happy about their latest great live version of Tommy. "Endless Wire" from 2006 was also really great new album, to me itīs better than "Who by Numbers" or "Who are You". So I am not sad although most of the new music just bores me. Although I have now listened music forty years, I still found great albums from sixties and seventies that Iīve never heard.

 The Who Sell Out by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.52 | 213 ratings

The Who Sell Out
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This jaunty, sarcastic, sometimes cynical, sometimes brilliant, sometimes tedious release by the Who reminds me that many legendary rock bands sound nothing like what we hear today on classic rock FM. For example, who would guess that the band that blasts out "Who Are You" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" would find rave reviews with this dithering collection of tongue-in-cheek songs? Listeners born after 1975 beware: The Who Sell Out is probably not what you think it is.

So what is it? It's a mostly goofy art-pop album that sounds very '60's and very British. Is it bad? No, it's just ... The Who Sell Out. Be prepared for a handful of genuinely fun pop tunes like "Our Love", a few moments of Who-style heaviness, and songs that will probably make you shrug your shoulders with ambivalence. I found the second side of the album more musically engaging.

The album's best moments are the faux-commercials, which are legitimately brilliant at times. Commendable cynicism-- something I can't imagine a massive pop-star of today coming close to including in their work. Frankly, this is what elevates the song for 3-star status to me. Maybe some of the B-sides will reveal themselves to me in the future, but for now, I think that this music will probably hook some listeners much more than others.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 InFinite by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 84 ratings

Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Antonio Giacomin

5 stars There is only one review in progarchives until now for "InFinity", and I must say that this is a very good one which describes properly what it is and what can be expected to expect from this album.. But there is a basic disagreement between our points of view because I do consider this a masterpiece as well as "Now What ? Lets see why :

1 - I have no problem with vintage production; and I was expecting a return to the seventies as strong as possible. It is a matter of taste.

2 - They evolved again ! While anxiously expecting for "Infinity", I was considering if they would be able to repeat "Now, What ?"; because this 2013 effort was almost perfect and left no room for changes and development. I was wrong ! They didnīt repeated that, they went to a new sound, more in the seventies although no related with MK2. The main point here is the bringing of keys to the first line without compromising weight in their sound. More than never bass lines sustained the heaviness, avoiding similarities with MK1 sound. They were heavy and keyboard oriented as they never were. They achieved the perfoming of an old and modern sound at the same time !

3 - Steve Morse sound is as good as never, even with keys in the front line. He does not waste hundreds of notes playing at 200 miles per hour. His kind of hided playing here made me miss guitars brightness in this album until the end of "Birds Of Pray". That screaming guitar expresses what I am not able to do with words. This is a good point to comparisons; I do not prefer Morse to Blackmore or Blackmore to Morse. They are delightly different and a fast guitar solo like in "Place In Line" or the more known "Highway Star" are perfect to be appreciated as well.

4 ? The songs are shorter than in "Now, What ?" and we progheads are fond of epics. So ir was an exercise of making a fantastic album without obeying our prog protocols. And they got to achieve that fantastic album?

In a matter of conclusion I would like to thank Deep Purple as a band for giving us "Now What ?" in 2013 and "Infinity" in 2017. These albums bring a new bright for hard rock that only finds pair in Black Country Communion work. But there stands present Glenn Hughes, another monster of musician. And even if the grandpapas of Deep Purple retires from touring, I will still be dreaming with another "Infinity" as much as I dreamed with another "Now What ?"?

 Now What?! by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 307 ratings

Now What?!
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Antonio Giacomin

5 stars This is a masterpiece of music. Letīs go straight to the reasons :

1 - This album is a homage to Jon Lord. It is nice to see that those decades as partners was able to create a sense of friendship among those sixties boys. It seems Jon was a gentleman, an easy guy to be in touch; but there is an example in the same band that shows this is not as common as we would like that to be. Ok, this is not about the music, this is about emotion. But what is prog, what is music, what is art if not emotion ? This is well posted in Ianīs verses "Your souls had been touched, are forever entwined". This things grows in importance when you are more than fifty years old?

2 - The new way of doing and performing music was recovered and discovered as well at the same time. Improvisation is the musical core of those guys; and when Bob Ezrin saw them jamming he came with the perspective of producing them an album straightly based in their instrumental skills. Their songs come from improvisation sessions, where its roots are launched. So, this means a return to what make them formidable musicians; but not a return repeating the seventies. The new way of performing was so succesful that here in progarchives "Now, What ?" score less than just "In Rock" and "Machine Head", and I am in total agreement with these scores

3 - The music itself. Homege to Jon Lord, achievement of an excellent new/old style, etc... Fantastic but useless if the music is poor; but this is not the case. The Opener "A Simple Song" pairs with their best openers; maybe is not match only for tracks like "Child In Time" and "Highway Star". Even average melodies like "Hell to Pay" benefits from instrumental interludes and Bob Ezrinīs job as producer. And if we follow the album, we will see plenty amount of quality in songs like "Above And Beyond", "Blood From a Stone", "Uncommon Man" and... gosh there is not a weak one here !

It was a grateful surprise that Deep Purple was able to reinvent themselves in 2013, even if profoundly set in their roots. As a prog and hard rock fan I can only thank them to be so bold and compromised with music to the point of presenting us what was not expected anymore : a masterpiece of music...

 Rapture Of The Deep by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.33 | 300 ratings

Rapture Of The Deep
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Antonio Giacomin

3 stars This is the hardest one from MK6/7 for me to review. I have conflicting visions here; it has some real good songs; but it is too uneven; maybe only "House Of Blue Light" surpasses it as an uneven work. Fastly speaking, HOBL has a bunch of songs, four of them, very strong; but the rest of the album is simple not easy to be heard. ROTD may not have songs as weak as HOBL; but its strong ones is not as powerful.

Even with this restriction, I can see "Rapture Of The Deep" as a improvement when compared to Bananas. The opener is (as always), a very good song. "Wrong Man" has an interesting guitar riff, not prog related but good to be appreciated by hard rockers ears. The song "Rapture Of The Deep" is good, not essential; "Clearly Quite Absurd" is good, but with Ianīs voice became a highlight in this album. Junkyard blues is ok, not more; and the closer "Before Time Began" is the other peak here.

Now comes the conclusion. Three stars, and the main point here is that about the real good songs, the opener is firmly planted in Deep Purple overall way of performing music and the other one is the closer. There are other average ones, of course; but the weak ones really put the album down. Good, not essential, with moments of bright that makes it deserves public attention.

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Proto-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANDROMEDA United Kingdom
APPALOOSA United States
BAKERLOO United Kingdom
THE BEATLES United Kingdom
BRAINBOX Netherlands
COVEN United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
JIMI HENDRIX United States
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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