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A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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Prog Related definition

No musical genre exists in a vacuum. Not all of the bands that have been a part of the history and development of progressive rock are necessarily progressive rock bands themselves. This is why progarchives has included a genre called prog-related, so we could include all the bands that complete the history of progressive rock, whether or not they were considered full-fledged progressive rock bands themselves.

There are many criteria that the prog-related evaluation team considers when deciding which bands are considered prog-related. Very few bands will meet all of this criteria, but this list will give an idea as to some of the things that help evaluate whether an artists is prog-related or not.

1) Influence on progressive rock - The groundbreaking work of artists like Led Zepplin and David Bowie affected many genres of rock, including at times progressive rock. Although both of these artists created rock music in a dizzying array of genres, both contributed to the ongoing history of progressive rock several times within the span of their careers.

2) Location - Progressive rock did not develop at the same time all over the world. It may surprise some people that as late as the mid-70s the US had very few original progressive rock bands that did not sound like exact copies of British bands. Journey was one of the first US bands to present a uniquely American brand of prog-rock before they eventually became a mainstream rock band. We have collaborators from all over the world who tell us which bands helped the progressive rock scene develop in their corner of the globe, even if those bands were like Journey and were known more for being mainstream rock bands.

3) Members of important progressive rock bands - Although most of the recorded solo output of artists like Greg Lake and David Gilmour falls more in a mainstream rock style, their contributions to progressive rock in their respective bands insures them a place in our prog-related genre.

4) Timeliness - Like many genres, prog-rock has had its ups and downs. In the late 70s and early 80s prog-rock was barely a blip on the radar. During this time artists such as David Bowie and Metallica released albums that captured key elements of the spirit of prog rock and did so while contributing their own original modern elements to the mix.

5) Integral part of the prog-rock scene - Sometimes you just had to be a part of the scene during a certain time period to understand how some bands fit with the prog rock scene of their time. Although Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash may seem like mere hard rock bands, in their time they stood apart from other hard rockers with their more serious lyrical content and more developed compositions. Put simply, in the early 70s every prog-rock record collector usually had full collections of all three of these artists. These three bands were very much part of the prog-rock scene without being total prog-rock bands them selves.

6) Influenced by progressive rock - From the late 60s till about 1976 the progressive tendency was in full effect in almost all genres of music. Once again, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century a melting pot of prog-metal, math-rock, progressive electronics and post-rock influences have once again made a progressive tendency in rock music almost more a norm than a difference. Yet in other periods of musical history receiving influence from progressive rock could really set a band apart and make them worthy of our prog-related category.
Being influenced by progressive rock is hardly the only factor we look at, and in some periods of musical history it is almost meaningless, but still, it is almost a given that most of the artists listed in prog-related were influenced by the development of progressive rock.

7) Common sense - Nitpicking over the above listed criteria is not necessarily the correct way to evaluate a band for prog-related. Sometimes you just have to use some common sense and look at the big picture.
A very good way to describe prog-related would be to imagine an exhaustive book that covered the history of progressive rock. Would such a book include references to led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven', David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World' or Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Probably so.
- Easy Money

Prog Related Top Albums

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

4.38 | 1014 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.52 | 255 ratings
Bowie, David
4.36 | 718 ratings
4.29 | 849 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.27 | 836 ratings
4.23 | 770 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.21 | 710 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.22 | 594 ratings
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 570 ratings
Bowie, David
4.18 | 449 ratings
4.13 | 667 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.11 | 649 ratings
4.15 | 425 ratings
Bowie, David
4.10 | 670 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.08 | 529 ratings
4.15 | 284 ratings
Bowie, David
4.05 | 766 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.05 | 659 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.17 | 218 ratings
Blue Öyster Cult
4.03 | 833 ratings
Led Zeppelin

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews

 Somewhere In Time by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.96 | 572 ratings

Somewhere In Time
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Guys, I've got a confession to make.

I don't like Iron Maiden.

I know this statement is akin to dousing a puppy in kerosene and overhand lobbing it into a raging bonfire, but it's true. I've tried my very hardest for almost four years now to enjoy them, to see the awe-inspiring craftsmanship everyone proclaims is prevalent on so many of their classic records...but I just can't. Not only do I think both drummers on Iron Maiden, Clive Burr and Nicko McBrain, plod out some of the most boring and repetitive rhythms of all time, but the songwriting of so much of their work may have worked wonders back in 1980, but like a joke it got extremely old extremely fast with each successive release following their self-titled debut. I think the revolutionary label slapped to Iron Maiden is quite reputable, but at the same time the asserted quality to match that is repudiable.

But, and I do mean a HUGE but -- Iron Maiden's 1986 work Somewhere In Time is one of my all-time favorite metal albums. Period. Strange, right? A band I dislike making one of my favorite albums? It's true though -- I think that Somewhere In Time is a precision-made, calculated masterpiece that distances itself so far from the band's discography that it might well be from a separate artist.

Somewhere In Time is a dystopian-based, Blade Runner-inspired record that came two years after 1984's Powerslave, an album that showed a lot of promise and had a few great tracks, but didn't nearly harness the same effect as it's successor. The Powerslave supporting tour ate up a whopping 187 concerts and excreted a whole lot of exhaustion onto the band following it, specifically Dickinson, who thus was not able to produce quality songwriting contributions. Dickinson had written some acoustic songs, in fear that if they didn't step up their game to a different level, that the band would "stagnate and drift away" (see even the band recognizes their sameness to a certain degree). Although these acoustic songs were not featured, this attitude continued into the eventual recording process, causing Somewhere In Time to be the first Iron Maiden album to harness synthesizers. While this might seem like a big no-no, considering that often it's the case that once a band starts leaning on the synths it's akin to them just committing creative suicide, but it's quite the contrary; Somewhere In Time's utilization of synthesizers gives a wondrous air of mysticism to the album, as it acts as a supreme background element to the its futuristic setting. It's also a key component in the massive epics that permeate the album. The title track opener, for instance, is a blazing fireball of a gallop that is one of the most prime examples of a perfect setting of the mood on any album, unheeded by the furious scream of synthesizer bursts. 'Wasted Years' is one of three contributions by guitarist Adrian Smith, and is the most lasting relic of this album's legacy. It does have a slightly poppier vibe, which may owe to this fact, but Dickinson's beautiful chorus and the magnificent guitar hook is nothing short of a knockout punch. One more highly recommended track is 'Stranger in a Strange Land', a bass-heavy, groovy romp which acts, in a way, as a better track representative of the theme of being "caught somewhere in time" than, well 'Caught Somewhere In Time'. Perhaps this is because of the lyricism of being in a mysterious world in which the rules are unknown, which I believe the album was trying to tackle. 'Caught' is still the best track, though. Not taking that back.

The band took their biggest step forward with this album, talentwise. McBrain, who I criticized previously for being extremely repetitive and leaning too hard on a a few stagnant drum patterns, is absolutely mindblowing on this release. His constant shifts between the groovy steel heel-click of the slower songs and the fast-paced explosiveness of the faster ones makes for one of his all-time best work. Steve Harris as always is extremely present and upfront, especially for a bassist. The neat thing about him is that, as a part of the percussion section, actually works off of McBrain to create this almost machine-like twang that follows his groove. Twin guitarists Smith and Murray are of course better than ever, offering extremely intricately-woven shredding that did well to pique my interest. Dickinson, although I'll always prefer Di'Anno, is at his zenith on Somewhere In Time, belting out a sort of sophisticated type of melodic yell that few of his peers have been able to accomplish. Absolutely stunning, all of them.

Many critics readily dismiss Somewhere in Time as being "half-baked", or "a hurried coverup of an atrophying creative muscle". These same critics will turn around and praise Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, an album I believe to be leagues below this one, and compliment it for factors they would say that Somewhere in Time wrongfully utilized. I say, pay no attention to them and embrace this one just like you would say Number of the Beast or Powerslave, because it's definitely up there with the best.

 Lost Mankind by SATIN WHALE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.71 | 32 ratings

Lost Mankind
Satin Whale Prog Related

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

4 stars It's hard to tell exactly what happened between this album from German proggers Satin Whale and their knockout first LP `Desert Places' only a year before in 1974. Their powerful Brain label debut was always very accessible but had a tough and constantly heavy bluesy guitar sound to its lengthy jazz-rock compositions, but here, whilst still delivering a very strong album (one that is often considered their best, in fact), `Lost Mankind' mostly sounds like a completely different band altogether. Satin Whale perform in a prouder symphonic style on this one with a streamlined melodic approach and polished production to its more varied, sophisticated and ambitious material, as well as offering much tidier vocals from an American singer no doubt brought in at the time to make the group more appealing to international audiences.

Right from the energetic and groovy opener `Six O'Clock', the change in sound from the debut is instantly noticeable. The pumping sax and trickles of Hammond organ that darted around `Desert Places' are still there, but the piece is far more compact and instantly tuneful backed up by a chorus of female chorus singers, and the lead vocals of Ken Traylor offer crisp English in stark contrast to guitarist/saxophonist/flautist Dieter Roesberg's heavily accented rasp on the debut. The title track `Lost Mankind' is a lightly playful symphonic piece with serene Mellotron, whimsical flute and humming organ that reminds a little in moments of a track like `In the Mountains' from Earth and Fire's second album `Song of the Marching Children', and `Reverie' is a pretty piano and organ interlude. Then it's all guns blazing for the eleven minute tour-de-force `Go Ahead', jammed with honking infectious sax blasts, jazzy darting flute, red-hot blazing guitar wailing and the Hammond organ out in full-blast, all woven to clever reprising themes. There's so much variety delivered with exemplary skill throughout this one, and it also serves as a fine showcase for new drummer Wolfgang Hieronymi.

The flip side's `Trace Of Sadness' is a relentless and boisterous Hammond-drenched rocker, `Midnight Stone' perhaps resembles a swooning E.L.P-like ballad where Ken's vocals almost remind of John Wetton of King Crimson, and breezy flute flits in and out of soft rocker `Song For 'Thesy' with jazz overtones and organ-driven regal bombast that echoes Focus, M. Efekt and Jethro Tull. Closer `Beyond The Horizon' again comes close to the first album with its extended instrumental stretches of snappy drumming, waves of break-neck frantic Hammond organ runs, joyous flute and bluesy swagger-drenched electric guitar wrangling, and the subtle and skilfully executed tempo-change sprints reveal again what a talented bunch of musicians these guys were.

`Lost Mankind would prove to be a real one-off from the group, with both the heavy Hammond-dominated rocking of the debut and grander symphonic fancy of this one largely removed by their more straight-forward and frequently AOR next album `As a Keepsake' in 1976, and so too singer Traylor as the proper band themselves resumed the vocals from then on (it would actually be very interesting to learn the circumstances as to how he came to be involved with the band in the first place!). The punchy debut might be their real special one, but `Lost Mankind' has stronger playing, ardent ambition and energy to spare, and if you're new to this superb German band, this would be a fine place to start.

Four stars.

 Technical Ecstasy by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.76 | 350 ratings

Technical Ecstasy
Black Sabbath Prog Related

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

3 stars Recorded around a blur of drugs, alcohol, spiralling ego, gruelling touring schedules and draining legal battles, Black Sabbath's seventh album `Technical Ecstasy' from 1976 is not the complete dud it's often reputed to be, although it's undoubtedly the poorest release from the classic Ozzy Osbourne-fronted line-up of the defining heavy rock group. It does have an admirable eclectic and diverse approach with ambitions of offering something a little more than just the usual sludgy heavy-metal riffs and doomy lyrics as well as a more sophisticated production, but it sadly doesn't deliver too much in the way of quality material, even if it still offers a few gems here and there.

Opener `Back Street Kids' is a reliably brash heavy chugger with Tony Iommi's galloping riffs, Geezer Butler's pumping dirty bass and a screeching Ozzy vocal that also throws in a few whirring synths courtesy of Gerald Woodroffe and Bill Ward's busy drumming. But it's the longer and dramatic `You Won't Change Me' that proves to be a real Sabbath classic - a defiant and blunt vocal from Ozzy delivering a confronting lyric that holds traces of the dark romance and despairing hope that permeates so many great Sabbath songs, backed to snarling evil riffs over gloomy synths and frantic guitar soloing from Iommi, all topped off with a cracking chorus. The much despised `It's Alright', sung by Ward, is a softer piano tune with traces of a Beatles-esque sound is fairly forgettable, but repeated listens reveals a harmless time-passer at worst. After quite an upbeat intro of skittering drums and buzzsaw guitars `Gypsy' tears through a multi-sectioned range of moods and ideas, but despite it not being the most memorable song, the slick studio production really goes to town to make it at least sound interesting and dense.

Side two's misogynist-blasting `All Moving Parts (Stand Still)' is a funky bluesy romp that still remains just a little bit dull, and despite a shrieking vocal and stomping drumbeat, the throwaway `Rock 'N' Roll Doctor' seems lethargic and can't even offer a punchy memorable chorus. Downbeat ballad `She's Gone' is strangely elegant and melancholic with its gloomy orchestration and reflective acoustic guitars behind another tortured romantic lyric and genuinely passionate vocal from Ozzy, and closer `Dirty Women' is one of the more overtly `proggy' moments due to its lengthy instrumental runs with constant organ, melodic reaching guitar strains (and Tony's solo in the climax seems to go on forever!) but still finds time for a roaring vocal and plenty of ballsy chugging riffs.

Along with the band feeling the pressure of the emerging punk bands of the time and the pressure to remain relevant and vital, `Technical Ecstasy' found Black Sabbath in something of a no-win situation - deliver a more typical heavy-metal album and be accused of merely repeating themselves, or experiment with their formula and annoy the metal purists by shifting too far from their signature sound. Time and perspective actually reveals a perfectly OK album that sadly especially suffers when being compared to the classic run of the first six Sabbath albums that stretched from the self-titled debut in 1970 through to '75's `Sabotage', but seriously, what wouldn't?

Three stars.

 Pisara ja Lammas 2 by ABSOLUUTTINEN NOLLAPISTE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.83 | 3 ratings

Pisara ja Lammas 2
Absoluuttinen Nollapiste Prog Related

Review by Mortte

5 stars ...and I had to wait two years! But got reward of it. This part 2 has maybe little bit more seventies sounds than the first. The story continues immediately. Album starts with strong beats and continues very beautiful and dramatic way, when shepherd is near the bed of his dying mother. Next "Taverna" is again very progsong with many parts. The same kind of synth sound is to be heard, when drop moves from sheep to lady, as it was heard in the first part when it fell into sheep´s neck."Sovinto" (=reconciliation) is a acoustic piece. "Lammas Matkustaa" (the sheep travels) is quite straightforward, but very beautiful piece. "Heinäsirkka" (=grasshopper) is again very prog piece with very apocalyptic atmosphere. "Saapuminen Planeetalle" (=arrival into planet) and "Muodonmuutos Heikentää" (=shapesifting weakens) are a little bit more straightforward songs, but prog elements come back in "Kirves Tummuu" (=axe is getting darker). It has some themes from the first album, also the ending music piece after words "ash sucks all the light itself" really describes those words. Then comes "Synnytys" (=birth). This piece starts same way as the earlier record song "Lammas Saa Vainun", but soon changes little bit lighter. The last song "Paljastuminen" (=exposure) is really dark and depressing. There is partly same theme as there was when shepherd was with his dying mother. The words "child gurgles dead language and goes backward" gets really describing music. The song ends into silent piano and vocals. After that comes "Loppusoitto" (=grande finale) which is same theme as prelude. It´s almost too glad after that horrifying end, but like in Greek plays, it releases listener to all the distress of the end.

These albums causes many questions. Of course there can´t be just good without bad, because with bad you also know what´s good, but how about the planet where is no good? Are we going into that direction? Also in this album shepherd can´t pass his destiny, also not the lady. So if you believe in destiny, is there any reasons to try to change it?

Absoluuttinen Nollapiste really made the albums with lots of thoughts. But is the reason the albums have not been very much in the front that people today doesn´t want to think these kind of thoughts? With this kind of world as today I think we should. It´s of course always possible the plays of the ancient Greek, that handle the good and the bad and the unconscious of the mankind didn´t make their society better. Anyway I think we need the bands like Absoluuttinen. They´ve said they will make more albums, even another concept album in the future, but at least this year they have been very quiet.

 Pisara ja lammas 1 by ABSOLUUTTINEN NOLLAPISTE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.38 | 6 ratings

Pisara ja lammas 1
Absoluuttinen Nollapiste Prog Related

Review by Mortte

5 stars Hard to understand why this two part masterpiece of Absoluuttinen Nollapiste has gained so little attention. Of course it had very great reviews when it was released in Finland, but quite soon after part 2 had released it went to the unknown. Hard to understand also why there seem to be no interest internationally, because the reason can´t be Finnish-language singing: there are Haikara and Circle fans outside Finland. This is also musically, but specially lyrically just great! Really of course there should be lyrics translation into non-Finnish listeners.

The lyricist Tommi Liimatta started to make this entity already in 2003. Lots of thinking really shows, because in this album he goes deeper than anywhere else in his lyrics. Even this is scifi-story, there are elements from the ancient greek, even Bible. This is a story from the good and the evil. Unlike Adam and Eve, the "evil" sheep can´t choose, the evil was put into it. Also it´s interesting the evil is sheep which is symbol of innocence in the Bible. You can also make a connection to the Gosbels although in this album the evil is born in unnatural way. There are also elements from the trilogy drama of the Greek tragedy. With all these mythologigal elements the story is very easy to connect also these days. I haven´t listened very much prog music after seventies outside Finland, but at least in Finland there are really few these kind of concept albums made. Also even seventies prog I think only Peter Gabriel was capable to connect the fantasy and myths world into the present time. Of course it´s possible Tommi got some influences from Magma´s world when making his story.

I try to tell the story of the albums. There comes "planet good" near the earth. Representer of the planet is bored, because there is not anything evil in the planet. All the bad has put into one drop and he decided to send it to earth. Meanwhile beautiful lady, who seems to have some magic talents leaves her home and meets shephard. The drop falls into the neck of one shephard´s sheep. Shephard sees the dream that tells he should look all his sheep`s necks and put away the sheep which have a sign. He finds the sign and imprisons the sheep. But sheep changes to a man and seduce the lady and she´s get pregnant. Meanwhile shephard has just been in the near of his dying mother´s bed where mother warn him. The evil sheep wants to go to the "planet good" and they let it go. After that earth starts to die and shephard and lady goes also to planet good. Sheep has caused a lot of bad in a planet good and it will be executed. A child of lady and sheep is born, when lady understand what it is, she jumps from the balcony and will be pierced to a candelabra. Shephard looks to his "son" and son makes the other sheep run him down. And story ends.

Music has build into these albums to give a support to the story. So there are very little normal songstructures and without knowing lyrics it could be sometimes difficult to understand the directions where music goes. Anyway there are lots of great melodies, so the album can be enjoyed also just as music. To me this album sound and some parts also music reminds late seventies and early eighties Genesis. The sound world in this first album has something from the eighties, but not in a bad way. "Alkusoitto" (=prelude) brings some of the album themes as instrumental and in the end there is sung prelude of the story. "Planeetta Hyvä" (=planet good) is a slow sad piece. But the next "Juhlija" (=party animal) and "Nainen Lentää" (=lady flies) are true celebration of the melodic prog music friends with their really many parts. "Kohtaaminen" (=meeting) is one of the greatest songs in this whole entity, it´s quite bombastic at first, but changes quiet in the end. In a "Pisara" (=drop) sheep gets the drop and the song is very dramatic. In "Paimenen Uni" (=dream of shephard), "Lampolan Aamu" (= the morning of sheep shelter), "Lammas Näkee Naisen" (=sheep sees the lady) the music direction goes to the more ordinary. But the great prog elements comes back in "Lampaan Etsintä" (=seeking the sheep). In the end of this piece comes again the sung prelude theme, so the first part is almost in the end...but there is yet one left: "Lammas Saa Vainun" (=sheep gets the scent). Album ends in a very dramatic way, when sheep changes to a man and gets the scent that he can seduce the lady. After this end I really waited the next part...

 Pike 262 - Nib Y Nool by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.00 | 1 ratings

Pike 262 - Nib Y Nool
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 262 - Nib Y Nool / 19th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 10 tracks all titled 'Nib Y Nool' / Clocks in at 29minutes 18seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead. Like most PIKEs with identical track names, this one pretty much seamlessly flows as one giant track with only minor changes between them for the most part but surprises do occur

'Nib Y Nool 1' 4:02) ferociously attacks the listener with instant frenetic metal riffing that are jangled and highly caffeinated. Some little solos break through the din and then the fast riffing returns for a while. There are little breaks of jangly slowdowns and more licks and solos that jump in randomly. It sounds like the music is somewhat dissonant and has a sludge metal feel to it at times. Drums are quite well performed

'Nib Y Nool 2' (2:56) picks up without missing a beat and jumps into another series of heavy riffs that trade off with licks. Sounds much like 'Nool 1' but has some more thrashy parts dispersed throughout

'Nib Y Nool 3' (5:24) also picks up imperceptibly but becomes a little more progressive in its erratic time signatures until the solo erupts then it's more of a smooth flow. It continues to trade off in a series of heavy riffs, feisty licks and more extended solos. There are also moments of little licks that remind me of early Van Halen as well as industrial type metal riffs

'Nib Y Nool 4' (2:24) seamlessly transitions only creating more progressive sludgy riffs while the solo erupts fairly soon. It slows down into a strange sliding frenzy and then back to heavy distorted riffs and solos

'Nib Y Nool 5' (2:06) likewise picks up with heavy riffing but then becomes extremely erratic with angular rhythms and heavy staccato breaks before jumping back into scorching solos and slower jangly segments

'Nib Y Nool 6' (2:13) offers the most abrupt change between tracks as the previous solo changes into a bassier riff line but then jumps into the same proggy sludge metal attack again and then solos and then more riffs

'Nib Y Nool 7' (2:57) offers another interesting change. Tempo slows and jangly chords appear and disappear before bursting into a thrashy heavy riff much like Pantera cranked out in their heyday but then it all follows the general gist of the PIKE and alternates heavy riffs with solos and guitar licks all delivered as blistering speeds

'Nib Y Nool 8' (1:53) slows down a little and sounds like doom metal for a little ways but becomes more progressive and avant-garde with finger acrobatic riffs and squeals then back to just plain riffing. Then a nice feedback finish that begins a new melody only to change to'

'Nib Y Nool 9' (2:30) '. a heavier thrashy riff track like many other tracks of this PIKE. The usual riff, solo, jangle parts alternate in varied shuffled ways. 'Nib Y Nool 10' (2:53) pretty much picks up only with more of a bluesy shuffle for a little segment but then starts breaking down more syncopated and progressive time sig chops erupt and then the regular riffs, solos etc. After a while an unexpected acoustic guitar (?) or some strange stringed instrument that steps out of the Halloween series and becomes one of those bizarre dark ambient tracks out of the blue and that's the way it all ends

I have absolutely no idea what the title NIB Y NOOL means but it is a strong PIKE that is adventurous all the way through if not a little one-dimensional in terms of the tones and timbres at least until the very end. While the riffs, licks and compositions are fairly well done, there is a lot of repeating the same ideas and just shuffling them around. I would classify this one as an adventurous album with experimentation aplenty but there's something about this one that just isn't as much of a wild ride as other PIKEs that delve into this territory and i'm not sure exactly why some of these work for these more than others. Subtle variations are often the deciding factor. This one is well performed and a true proggy head banging experience but probably needed a little more variation to be in the top tier of the PIKE world

 Eight Miles High by GOLDEN EARRING album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.75 | 48 ratings

Eight Miles High
Golden Earring Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars You know, I've been an active seeker of 60's and 70's music for a while now, and through this experience I've come to realize just how many bands came into being during the late 60's hard rock boom, specifically 1968, 1969, and 1970. Of course you have the obvious like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster, etc., but underneath these goliaths there existed a massive scene full of bands that, while being of similar caliber, often were to remain shrouded in obscurity and eventually fade into the musical ethos. There were countless bands to name that were considered a part of this, one of my personal favorites being the Dutch-based Golden Earring.

Golden Earring came about in 1961, but didn't come to surface until 1965 with their debut "Just Ear-rings". This album followed the then-popular Dutch garage pop style (which would be coined 'nederbeat' in reference to merseybeat, a genre which heavily influenced the Netherlands' music culture at the time), but in a whole wasn't very groundbreaking. Golden Earring continued this style for a few years, akin to how The Guess Who continued relying on merseybeat for several years until their sound change (ironically, The Guess Who made their debut and had a tonal shift at practically the exact same time as Golden Earring), until eventually they shifted into another genre growing in popularity at the time- progressive hard rock. It should be noted that the 'progressive' part of this was vastly dwarfed by the much more popular clear-cut blues rock sans lengthy and ostentatious compositions, and there was a much lower number of bands who would foray into this particular direction than those who would just rock in short bursts. Nonetheless Golden Earring took this road and in 1969 released an album titled Eight Miles High which, adorned with dried clay-covered hands reaching for floating rings, would serve as the band's biggest breakthrough in eight years.

A mess of distortion, abstract ad-libbing and twisted songwriting, Eight Miles High is perhaps one of the best examples of albums of the era. Not only does it break boundaries for Golden Earring as an outfit, it also presents a fantastically insane balance of cheesy psych and booming intensity. The most prolific tracks on this album I believe are the last two. 'Everyday's Torture' is a mysterious, haunting chantey of a desolate soul who, although speaking in pretty blatant terms, has lost hope in the idea of love, and is accompanied by a fantastic one-two punch of a hook and an equally fantastic guitar solo. As the closer we have the title track, staggering in at a massive runtime of nineteen minutes. Although a recounting of the entire track would be a bit too labor-intensive, I will say that the track goes through a variety of phases that include but are not limited to: hearty blues rock, wicked drum solo, an insanely distorted guitar solo (VERY distorted), and much, much more. Other tracks like 'Song of a Devil's Servant' in particular are a great change of pace and help to shift the tone of the album in crucial moments.

But there is a real question that should be asked, and that is to who do we owe an album with such great musicianship? The musicians, of course. George Kooymans as a vocalist channels a lovechild hybrid of Ian Anderson and Jim Morrison, making for the ideal 60's voice. On the flip-side his guitar-playing as previously mentioned is heavy, crushing and intense, and sometimes rather meek and distant (when played in a steady balance these two styles work wonders). Rinus Gerritsen works both in the percussion section as a bassist and as the keyboardist, both of which he excels at well. Sieb Warner, a one-time drummer for Golden Earring makes his sole appearance on this album, never to return, which is a shame because he is highly talented, seen especially during his solo on 'Eight Miles High'. Of course Barry Hay should be mentioned as he does a good job backing up Kooymans as rhythm guitar and backing vocalist, making the overall sound much fuller.

If you're looking for a zesty, above-average example of what the British, or in this case Dutch 60's blues scene could deliver you, I say look no further than Golden Earring's Eight Miles High.

 Island of Lost Minds by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 7 ratings

Island of Lost Minds
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars ISLAND OF LOST MINDS is rather unique in the BUCKETHEAD discography. His 11th album (1st of 2004) was only sold at his shows while he was touring and was self-released in limited quantity and long out-of-print and almost impossible to find despite being re-released once in 2006 by TDRS Music. Before the chicken lover was a one man show he had lots of help and on this one Del Rey Brewer handles drums and Dan Monti produced, mixed and recorded in the studio. While BUCKETHEAD was always up for some experimentation in his works, this one takes it to another level and shows that he was utterly fearless in jumping into the avant-garde mosh pits of experimentation and creates some of the weirdest sounds he has ever come up with in his long egg laying career.

Right from the beginning of the title track it's clear that the dissonance and experimental picking techniques are the focus on much of ISLAND OF LOST MINDS. While the percussive beat remains rather rhythmic, the atonality of the guitar chords and sound effects conjures up visions of the most out there jazz artists of music history. Think Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman. On the tech metal side i can't help but think of Gorguts, Portal, Mitochondrion etc at least in some of the riffing. Also heard are strange pinch harmonics, lots of pick scraping, tremolo picking, vibrato and staccato proggy time signatures that sound totally demented. In fact if it weren't for the percussive beat, this one would sound like alien love war songs in another universe! Song structure is almost non-existence most of the time and free form metal might be the best description of this however there are moments of "normal" riffing that take place in between the dissonant guitar freakery. Some tracks like "Dream Darts" are just plain frightening!

Probably one of the weirdest album in BUCKETHEAD's early career. While the focus is on the dissonance and sound experimentation, ISLAND OF LOST MINDS is very playful and Del Rey Brewer tends to keep BH on a leash with an accessible rhythmic drive that keeps the guitar riffs from totally breaking down into unrecognizable gibberish. There are also times where classical riffs, bluesy shuffles, frenetic solo outbursts as well as nursery rhymes like "Mary Had A Little Lamb come from left field!" While many types of metal are involved it sounds mostly like the fit would be in the alternative, sludge and industrial camps but thrash and even boogie type riffing can emerge from nowhere as well but wrapped up with progressive and avant-garde touches. Anyone familiar with BH's Pike series will recognize many of the styles on display but perhaps not in such a concentrated manner. Whether the guitar is simulating a duck quacking or a conversation between demonic forces, it is always changing it up and taking the listener into totally new and unexpected terrain. This is one for the hardcores who love dissonant noise and avant-jazz freedom of expression. While not the absolute weirdest album ever created, this one certainly is one mother of experimentation and one that i quite like.

 Pike 261 - Portal To The Red Waterfall by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

Pike 261 - Portal To The Red Waterfall
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 261 - Portal To The Red Waterfall / 18th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 4 tracks / Clocks in at 28minutes 59seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead

"Portal To The Red Waterfall" (17:16) is by far the longest track swelling 2/3 of the album. The title track begins with a heavily distorted metal attack only instead of smooth thrashy riffs it consists of choppy jittery freaked out time signatures but settles into a groovier more regular style of riffing but the irregularities jump in and out unpredictably. While the bass tends to stay at a tense mid tempo phase the guitar solos wail around but it all picks up again. This is one of those extremely progressive metal tracks that mixes up riffs and lets them play for awhile all the while throwing in some proggy chops that are designed to impress. After a four minute run of heaviness, the track slows down and creeps along with guitar fills and then picks up in an alternative metal stint for a while. Around seven minutes it changes it up into a circus like style of guitar and then a little post-metal sludgery with more progressive time sigs. The track goes through many metal styles but stays fairly progressive throughout its long length but depute its whopping seventeen minutes plus manages to keep the flow going and my interest in tact. I would call this mostly in the progressive sludge metal world reminding me of Intronaut at times but it definitely jumps around into other styles often. While melodies have hooks they slightly tweak around and derail into something else but somehow it all hangs together. Nice

"Spirits" (3:48) offers a little breathing time after the previous intense workout. This is one of those super mellow ballad types with clean guitar, slow bass, ambient background and mere cymbals providing percussion. The melody is pleasant and the echo effects on the guitar are pleasing. The tones are warm and cozy and the complete opposite of the title track.

"Roundtable" (2:39) jumps back into distorted metal and a speedy tempo with heavy riffs and a nice melodic development. It also has some jittery proggy meanderings but mostly sticks to the classic metal riffing.

"Crayon Factory" (4:56) is an even faster metal track with super speedy riff workouts and heavier distortion. Drums and bass are merely subordinate noise makers but all sounds good and who wouldn't want to see where Crayola products are born?!! Nice track that isn't super original but delivers an intense instrumental metal workout where every lick and riff are of good taste.

Another good PIKE! While i'm not quite as in awe of this one as the previous, the title track is excellent and the remaining tracks are good. The diversity of this one is nice but i'm happier when the entire PIKE goes down the rabbit hole and offers up the most avant- garde noisemaking possible!

 Esquire by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.88 | 13 ratings

Esquire Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Up, down, turnaround

Esquire is a band led by Chris Squire's wife (at the time) Nikki Squire and is of some interest to fans of Yes because of the contributions of Chris Squire on backing vocals and bass. Chris is also credited as co-producer of the opening track To The Rescue while Trevor Horn is credited for the mix. Also, Alan White is one of several drummers credited on the album (though unclear on which tracks he plays). Yet, any similarities with the music of Yes are superficial as Esquire is primarily a Pop group and not a progressive Rock band. However, imagine an emasculated version of 90125-era Yes or Asia without any muscular guitars and you might get an idea. Perhaps The Buggles is a better comparison.

There is some merit to some of these songs, but in the end each song sounds too similar to the previous one and it is hard to maintain interest to the end of the album. Ultimately, Esquire is just a curiosity for devoted Yes fans.

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