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SYMPHONIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Symphonic Prog definition

Symphonic is without doubt the sub-genre that includes the most bands in Progressive Rock because for many people it's almost synonymous classic Prog, something easy to understand being that most of the classic and/or  pioneer bands released music that could be included in this sub-genre, except JETHRO TULL and PINK FLOYD (who still blended some symphonic elements), even KING CRIMSON who very soon expanded their horizons to more experimental music, made their debut with a Symphonic album, "In the Court of the Crimson King" which is a cornerstone in the development of the genre.

The main characteristics of Symphonic are the ones that defined all Progressive Rock: (There's nothing 100% new under the sun) which among others are:
  • Mixture of elements from different genres.
  • Complex time signatures.
  • Lush keyboards.
  • Explorative and intelligent lyrics, in some cases close to fantasy literature, Sci Fi and even political issues.
  • Non commercial approach
  • Longer format of songs

In this specific case the main characteristic is the influence of Classical music (understood as Orchestral works created from the late Gothic to Modern Classical) using normally more complex structure than other related sub-genres like Neo Progressive (That's why sometimes the borderline that divides Symphonic from Neo is so unclear being that is based mostly in a degree of complexity rather than in an evident structural difference)..It is easy to find long keyboard solos reminiscent of Johan Sebastian Bach or melodic works that could have been written by Handel.

As in any other genre, different Symphonic bands had different approaches to Classical music, for example YES and GENESIS are mainly influenced by the Baroque and Classical periods, while EMERSON LAKE & PALMER has a predilection for post Romantic and modern authors like Mussorgsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Bartok or Ginastera, being that their sound is less melodic and more aggressive.

The peak of the genre starts in 1969 and lasts until the mid/late 70's  (more precisely until the release of A Trick of the Tail), when the genre begins to  blend more mainstream influences that took to the birth of Neo Progressive (a new approach for a new decade).


It is important to remember that even though the creative peak of Symphonic Progressive ended before the 80's, we can find a second birth in the 90's coming from the Scandinavian countries (specially Sweden with ANGLAGARD or PAR LINDH PROJECT) and even bands that still in the 21st Century recreate music from this period like SPOCK'S BEARD or ECHOLYN.

Before ending this short description I feel necessary to say (In order to be strictly accurate) that the term Symphonic is not 100% exact, because these bands very rarely played symphonies and was probably used because the music that influenced the genre was performed by Symphony Orchestras, but it is so widely accepted by the Progressive Rock community that would be absurd and futile for anybody to attempt a change after so much time.

Iván Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 09/07/17

Iván Melgar Morey (Iván_Melgar_M)
Anton Fritz (SouthSideoftheSky)
RdtProg (Louis)

Symphonic Prog Top Albums


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

4.66 | 3993 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.63 | 3713 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.60 | 3222 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.44 | 3144 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 2807 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.39 | 2343 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.38 | 2008 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.36 | 2714 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.38 | 1540 ratings
HYBRIS
Änglagård
4.35 | 1154 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.29 | 2649 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.29 | 2541 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.29 | 2040 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.27 | 2286 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.30 | 1037 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.32 | 768 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.24 | 1859 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.25 | 958 ratings
VILJANS ÖGA
Änglagård
4.25 | 909 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.22 | 979 ratings
LEFTOVERTURE
Kansas

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER - THE LIMITED EDITION
Transatlantic
BOOK OF HOURS
Willowglass
WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus
SAECULA SAECULORUM
Saecula Saeculorum

Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.32 | 57 ratings

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Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ?
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My P.A. colleague and good friend Kenneth Levine claims that Novalis found its voice with this album. I am not sure if I totally agree with that statement, since I still haven´t heard much of their later material, but it is clear that Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown ? is a different LP of sorts. I supposed everybody thought they would embrace the pop market after the previous Brandung, but that was not what happened. Sure, the extensive, side long, opus are gone forever, but the prog element is still here. And if they were courting the charts they probably would not open the new album with an 8 minute+ song that is also drenched with mellotrons (who was still using that instrument in the disco dominated year of 1978?).

The guitars are on the upfront here, but overall their sound became more fuller and richer than before. There are also two instrumentals, and the most "commercial" song of the entire album, the title track, has a very fine, Jethro Till-like flute solo (again, who was still playing the flute in 1978?). So, although they were not that symphonic or epic, they still have something interesting, different and good to offer to us in a time most prog acts were either stuck in a rut or gone commercial. I found their music to be melodic and accessible, ok, but also intelligent, elaborated and soulful. The last track, Die Welt Wird Alt Und Wieder Jung, where the vocals are accompanied only by a tickling piano is specially poignant, even if I don´t understand german.

In the end I found myself loving this CD because it is obviously a labor of love. I admire their nerve to face the obvious commercial pressures of the time to release something so personal and different. There are no fillers, and the opening track Der Geigenspieler is definitely one of their best songs. If you lost any hope for them after the great Sommerabend, think it over.

Rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars. Not really essential, but very, very good anyway.

 Abacab by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.57 | 1130 ratings

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Abacab
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by FalconBleck

2 stars #1 Review

This is the worst Genesis album (yes, worse than Calling All Stations), this will probably change since i'm still unable to understand why some people love this album... being the worst Genesis album, is not that bad and it's also not saying much, you just have to live here in latin america, hear the most modern radio and then you'll know what horrible music is.

This review will be per song, so here i go:

1.- Abacab: 8/10 My favorite song in the album by just a little, it doesn't feel as repetitive as the rest of the songs and its really catchy, sometimes i hear something that starts similar and i want to sing this simple yet interesting song. The other thing that enhances this song is the live version done in 1987, it is a lit better than the studio version, so i think this song its over this album.

2.- No Reply At All 6/10 This song feels like Phil, it has the trumpets, its catchy and really well executed, not that very prog but its a great song, that also doesn't feel like it should be in the album.

3.- Me and Sarah Jane 6/10 I really like how it starts, i like the lyrics and the song in all changes constantly, its a really pretty song and also very complex, but i don't feel like all the instruments are doing the work they need to do with the song, including the voice, it feels like a mess sometimes, but it is not bad, and also it is played in a much better way live... or i should say "Three Sides Live".

4.- Keep it Dark 4/10 I don't like it, it starts interesting, but then is it as if Abacab struck into the song and then it just gets repetitive quickly, this song should be like 1 and a half minute, not more than 4 minutes!

5.- Dodo/Lurker 7/10 This was the other song in the album that almost got to be my favorite, its really catchy and it starts with a bang, shoutouts to the aweosome drum work here, i think that this song acomplishes the objective of the album better than Abacab itself, but Abacab its just a better song... by a little.

6.- Who Dunnit? 1/10 I can't even listen to it, its the worst song that Genesis has ever done, this is the main reason why i think Abacab is the worst Genesis album, its silly, it sound horrible and its badly executed, why Tony Banks, why?!?

7.- Man on the Corner 3/10 Its a boring song with boring and effortless synths.

8.- Like it or not 5/10 An average song , it feels like an average 80s rock song.

9.- Another Record 5/10 Starts interesting, but it's just average, what a way to end this album, the same way that it is.

The album overall gets a 50/100 points, wich translates to a 2.5 stars here, but i'll give it 2, it doesn't deserve to be higher than any other Genesis album.

 Between Flesh And Divine by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.16 | 283 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Like a better Neo-prog: 8/10

Emotive, atmospheric, melancholic, delicate, but also technical and well performed, ASIA MINOR's 1980 release plays a mellow homage to the 70s prog rock with their lush symphonic style. The band is heavily influenced by CAMEL, as observable by the long instrumental passages heavily reliant on the flutes and powerful Moog drone-esque moments; and even by YES' CLOSE TO THE EDGE, as Northern Lights' intro, or better, post-intro, feels like an 80s re-read of A Solid Time of Change. Lionel Beltrami's drumming is akin to Bill Bruford's and Robert Kempler profound and melodic keyboards manage to border Pete Bardens' magic; two things which depict ASIA MINOR's competence. BETWEEN FLESH AND DIVINE don't sound like a 70s symphonic prog proper neither as 80s Neo-prog; it's an intermediary with elements from both (although the first is more prominent). Perhaps one of the last roars of the prog rock mammoth before it entered its slumber.

 Genesis 1983-1998 by GENESIS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.52 | 95 ratings

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Genesis 1983-1998
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars An encyclopedia of the longest, least fruitful and dreariest period in the band's history. The leading role of Tony Banks as composer and arranger was rapidly decreasing, the role of Phil Collins was rapidly growing. The band's music of this era sounds as if the musicians were bored with music. Or, at least, with prog music. While a few moments of the 1983 self-titled album (usually called Mama in daily use) still slightly remind the substance we call prog, Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance are rather anti-progressive. The best possible place for the music of this kind could be a sandy beach near Sochi or Tuapse, full of intensively relaxing carefree people. Calling All Stations is partially reconvalescent but was booed by the fans who could not (or at least thought they couldn't) reconcile themselves to the band's new vocalist and two guest drummers instead of Collins.

By convention, I speak of 'extra tracks' (disc 5) only. Like the 'extra' disc of the 1976-1982 box set, there's no surprise here, no previously unreleased and unknown songs. The disc 5 could be entitled 'The Tracks That Didn't Fit In'. Indeed, On The Shoreline and Hearts On Fire didn't fit in We Can't Dance, the next three tracks didn't fit in Invisible Touch, and the last three in Calling All Stations. And a couple of them could add something essential to a respective album; I think it's quite enough reason to give the box set 4 stars.

On The Shoreline was recorded during the We Can't Dance studio sessions and first released on the promo 12 inch maxi single I Can't Dance in 1991. Many of us agree that in 1991 Genesis released their worst studio album ever. But On The Shoreline could seriously pull it up if included. Yes its sound faintly differs from the sound of other album tracks, yes it's nothing but 'beach' poppy prog, or rather proggy pop. But it's much tastier, more distinctive and better done.

Hearts On Fire is another We Can't Dance studio outtake, it first appeared on the 1992 single Jesus He Knows Me. The track is done in the same antsy and fussy manner as Domino or (why bother to go too far?) Jesus He Knows Me just mentioned above.

Do The Neurotics and I'd Rather Be You were first released on the 1986 single In Too Deep, Feeding The Fire first appeared the same year on the single Land Of Confusion. While I'd Rather Be You and Feeding The Fire can be considered a sort of 'tissue matrix', something mediocre and unessential, Do The Neurotics could make Invisible Touch less commercial and even less poppy if included in the album.

And finally, the three Calling All Stations studio outtakes. Let's be clear: I like Calling All Stations. I think that it's overall a good album. I don't care about Phil Collins (though he is of no doubt one of the very best drummers on our Globe and an excellent vocalist) or Peter Gabriel (though he wrote very intricate lyrics). I even don't care too much about Steve Hackett (though the authorship of a number of beautiful Genesis tracks belongs to him). The two band members who really interest me as a dedicated listener are Michael Rutherford (less) and Anthony Banks (much more). To me, the question number one is always 'who wrote the music'. And voila - both Banks and Rutherford are here, most of the musical material was written by Banks, there's a lot of material from Rutherford as well - so, why people say this is not Genesis? Just because the singer's voice differs from what we used to hear, and drums are operated by hired employees? Yes the difference is audible. But, on the other hand, don't you find that the overall music picture had changed to better as a result? Of course the band's last studio album is not a full recovery, not a true return to prog. But musically it's much closer to what we call 'genuine Genesis' than the two previous albums with Collins. I think the reason was restored musical leadership of Banks. Of course in 1997 he was not the same as in 1973 but remained Banks nevertheless.

Anything Now, Sign Your Life Away and Run Out Of Time were all first released officially on the 1998 maxi single Not About Us, but almost a year before all the three appeared on the unofficial (bootleg?) 'promo' CD issued in UK - it had a monstrously long title (I even don't remember it) and contained non-album songs and alternative (including acoustic) versions of some album tracks. Musically, I'd say Run Out Of Time has a number of attributes of instant Genesis style and could make an asset to the album if included, while Anything Now and Sign Your Life Away are quite primitive and faceless. But anyway I'd prefer to see all the three on side four of the vinyl version instead of etch...

 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.73 | 27 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars I've only known Jordsjø for about three weeks, but this Norwegian duo has blown me away in a way it hadn't since I bought Änglagård's Hybris back in 1997 (shortly after it went out of print), that prog of this quality can be had and it was released after the 1970s. Jordsjø manages just that for me! The duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Håkon Oftung and drummer Kristian Frøland but from listening to the music you'd think it was a full band, but a full band is hired for live performances. Their double LP set from 2017 compiled material from their first three cassettes, including the split with progressive electronic act Breidablik called Songs from the Northern Wasteland (an obvious reference to Michael Hoenig's Departure from the Northern Wasteland). That double album set left me with me mind blown, it's everything I've ever wanted in prog! The Norwegian vocals may be a bit difficult on non-Norwegian ears, but I have no problem with that, even if I'm American. I'm used to foreign languages in prog ever since I got hooked on Italian prog back in the 1990s. This 2017 cassette release Jord wasn't featured on the double album set, naturally, but it comes to show how much Jordsjø is bound to be a force to reckon with in the prog community. The production seems a bit more polished, but make no doubt about it. The music is the same as before: in the Änglagård, Wobbler, Tusmørke and Sinkadus vein. "Le Meg Forsvinne!" is another one of those Solina String Ensemble-lead pieces similar in vein to "Solina, Min Dronning", it's clear Oftung wanted to record a very similar song. Once again, in the vein of late '70s German prog bands like Eloy or Novalis, there's a brief ELP-like organ break before going back into that late '70s German space prog vein. "Postludium" is very different from the rest of the album as it's firmly in the vein of Breidablik, I wouldn't doubt Breidablik was influencing Oftung. Rather eerie spacy electronic music that's clearly progressive electronic, then it ends with this strange pipe organ that sounds like a Mellotron pipe organ. The way things are going, I expect Jordsjø to be smash hit with progheads everywhere. Their music simply left my mind blown, and Jord is no exception!
 Genesis 1976 - 1982 by GENESIS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.92 | 128 ratings

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Genesis 1976 - 1982
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars Again - I will comment only the extra tracks (disc 11) because all the rest were commented, reissued, remixed, remastered etc hundreds of times.

Unlike the 1970-1975 box set, this time there's no discovery here. All the 1976-1982 extra tracks were previously officially released and are more or less well-known. For example, Paper Late, You Might Recall, Me And Virgil, Evidence Of Autumn and Open Door staffed the fourth (studio) side of Three Sides Live 2LP released in June 1982. The first three tracks were recorded during the Abacab sessions and saw the light of day in May 1982 on the 7-inch single entitled 3 X 3. The last two were recorded for (but didn't fit in) Duke in 1979 and first released on 7-inch singles in 1980, Open Door with Duchess and Evidence Of Autumn with Misunderstanding.

There's not much to say about the three non-Abacab tracks. All would be lightminded enough for Abacab, Paper Late sounds like simplified No Reply At All, Me And Virgil sounds like spoiled Me And Sarah Jane. And it's OK that You Might Recall wasn't included in the album, perhaps it would be too good for Abacab...

Open Door and especially Evidence Of Autumn are IMHO both masterpieces. Of course they do not correspond to the music of Duke and should be rejected from the album, but anyway both are outstanding. Open Door is a slow guitar-dominated philosophic ballad in the best traditions of late 1970s' Rutherford, Evidence Of Autumn is a profound and sophisticated keyboard-dominated slow composition in the best traditions of late 1970s' Banks.

Match Of The Day, Pigeons and Inside And Out formed the track list of the 1977 EP Spot The Pigeon, it was the band's last studio release with Hackett. All the three songs sound rather rocky than progressive, Inside And Out is a ballad typical for Rutherford, musically and lyrically humorous Pigeons is an undoubted highlight.

The Day The Light Went Out and Vancouver were released on the 7-inch single Many Too Many. It was issued a few months after the band's 1978 studio album And Then There Were Three, and some copies of the first German vinyl press of the album (gatefold with insert) were distributed together with the German tour edition of the single (for example, I had a copy completed with insert and tour 7-inch). Vancouver is just another Rutherford's ballad, The Day The Light Went Out was written by Banks but being compared to the album tracks composed by him (Burning Rope for example) seems plain and hastily made.

It's Yourself was released on 7-inch single with Ripples in 1976, and partially served as a draft: the short theme in the middle of the track was reworked into the first bars of Los Endos.

And finally, two amazing instrumental pieces, Naminanu and Submarine. Both were first officially released on singles in respectively 1981 and 1982, but some people told me that both were recorded in 1976, during the Wind And Wuthering studio sessions. I failed to find any confirmed information on this, and the booklet in the box set provides only the official releases' credits. But indeed, both sound very much in the vein of mid 1970s Genesis and absolutely not in the band's early 1980s manner, so there's a chance that it's true.

Now, the solids content: strong 4 stars. It's great that all those tracks are collected on one disc, and probably some day we'll see them reissued as a separate compilation album. Maybe even on vinyl. They deserve it.

 Brandung by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.28 | 80 ratings

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Brandung
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the magnificent Summerabend, the band decided to add a new singer. Fred Mühlböck (who algo plays guitar and flute) would join them for that tour and it was recorded for posterity on their classic Konzerte live album.However, this move would have much deeper consequences than it showed at first. And 1977´s Brandung would prove the point. Although still a fine album it showed a unexpected shift of styles. The songs are shorter, popish and, for a band known almost as a semi-instrumental outfit, with a lot of vocals. In fact, the only instrumental piece we have here is the first part of the almost 17 minute suite Sonnenwende. And it lasts for just a little over 3 minutes. The opener Irgendwo, Irgendwahn must have shocked a lot of the most radical fans. This rocking, yet melodic number, set the pace for much of the songs in here.

In hindsight is easy to say that the change of style had a lot to do with the acquisition of Mühlböck: the guy was not only a much better singer than anything the band had in this department before, but he also writes much of the songs himself here. And, let´s not forget that the year was 1977, the beginning of the "dark ages" for progressive music. Symphonic prog was on the wane for a couple of years already and now it was met with even hostility by critics and the new generation. And Novalis was kind of late comer of sorts. Besides, their music was always melodic and simpler than most of their german prog counterparts, so it was a bit logical that they would eventually do something like this sooner or later. And I should say they did it much more gracefully than a lot of prog acts that tried to deliver simpler stuff at the period. For the songs are of high quality and Sonnenwende is still quite powerful progressive epic.

Conclusion: this is obviously a transitional album, where much of their glorious past is present, although it is clear they were no longer interested in being labeled as prog anymore (something I doubt they even really ever aspired to be). Novalis had no intention to take the world by storm (as they refused to sing in english after their first album). It seems they were happy to be local heroes and do what they wanted. And, let´s face it, they did it well enough.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

 Genesis 1970 -75 by GENESIS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2008
4.51 | 195 ratings

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Genesis 1970 -75
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars An audio/video encyclopedia of so-called 'Gabriel-era' Genesis, or, in other words, Genesis of its golden age, classic Genesis etc. First of all, being a diehard, hardbitten and clinically dedicated Genesis fan since my schooldays (honestly!.. I've listened to a few thousands of prog albums from 1960s to 2010s since then, but still nothing can compare to Duke, And Then There Were Three, Selling England By The Pound and A Trick Of The Tail!), I in toto refuse to talk about the sound quality of this CD/DVD box set. I think it's unessential when we discuss the music originally released in 1970s. The only sound to be accepted is old vinyl sound, and basta. Remixes? Remasterings? Oh it's pretty nice, but you have no need to seek for a good digital remastering of Supper's Ready if you own a clean copy of the US first vinyl press of Foxtrot on pink scroll Charisma in wallet gatefold cover. (Yes Foxtrot exists on pink scroll label, this US version is missing on Discogs but I had a mint copy - it sounded extraordinary, incomparably better than the muffled UK orig!) The only thing to be discussed are IMHO ten 'extra-tracks' on disc 6. All the five classic Genesis studio albums are available in hundreds of versions, while those 10 tracks are quite little-known and difficult to find, some of them were first released on 1990s and 2000s compilations, mostly unofficial.

Another nota bene is that in fact there was no 'Gabriel era' in the band's history. I.e. of course there was a period when Peter Gabriel was a member of the band (who will dispute this?), but musically Genesis was never 'Gabriel-dominated'. Until Duke, the band was musically 'Banks-dominated'. The myth about Gabriel as 'main songwriter' conquered the prog world, and when Tony Banks mentioned in a 1990s TV interview that he played major role in the band in 1970s, nobody paid attention, all the more that authorship of the music was not detailed on the band's early albums. But when Gabriel left the band and started a solo career, the things cleared. Even in his earliest solo albums you can hear absolutely no hint of Genesis of his era. Yes he was the band's main lyricist, but as for the music, just listen to A Curious Feeling (Banks' 1979 solo), and you'll clearly hear massive echoes as of mid and late 1970s Genesis so of Selling England By The Pound and even Nursery Cryme.

But let's keep to the point. What about the ten 'extra' songs?

Happy The Man is a non-album track first released in 1972 on 7-inch single. A classic song, though it rather belongs to ballad-type compositions not typical for Genesis of that period. By the way, its title gave a name to one of the greatest US prog bands of late 1970s.

Twilight Alehouse is another non-album track, first released on 7-inch in 1973. A masterpiece. Was written and recorded in the same time as most of the tracks for Selling England By The Pound but didn't fit in the album.

Going Out To Get You is a studio demo from August 1969. Remained unreleased until 1990s. Somewhat raw. Almost 5-minute long but perhaps would better be 3-minute. Sounds as a rejected track from the band's debut album From Genesis To Revelation. (Just to make the things clear: I like the album itself very much!)

Shepherd, Pacidy and Let Us Now Make Love are taken from the 1970 BBC Night Ride and were never released either on albums or on singles but often performed by the band live in 1970-1972. Musically all the three are transitional fossils between From Genesis To Revelation and Trespass.

Provocation, Frustration, Manipulation and Resignation are in fact sketches. All were recorded in London for BBC TV on 9th January 1970 and remained unavailable on the band's official releases until 2007. Most of the themes were later reworked and used in Trespass (Provocation, partially Resignation), Nursery Cryme (Manipulation and a short fragment of Provocation) and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Frustration). All the four sound quite raw but charming.

Anyway, no matter if the musical material is raw or mature, the sound quality good or poor, production strong or weak etc, all the ten are of great interest as 'unknown (or at least not too well-known) Genesis', and I'd say the disc 6 is a pearl of the box set.

 Sommerabend by NOVALIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 174 ratings

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Sommerabend
Novalis Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sommerabend came just an year after Novalis sophomore record and pretty much follows the new pattern of the previous album: melodic symphonic progressive music with a soft, laid back tone, but their third effort comes even more sophisticated than Novalis (the album). Now reduced to one guitar player, the quartet delivers what is considered their best work to date, and I tend to agree with them. I think the CD fame is very well deserved.

There are only three tracks: the instrumental opener is a 9 minute suite that is quite nice, although in the whole a little without direction and a main theme. It sounds a little like several small pieces put together. Good, but not that remarkable. However, the second one, Wunderschatze is definitely their most beautiful and poignant tune ever: along its 10 minute running time you have dreamy keyboards, a driving rhythm section over gentle acoustic and electric guitars, a soulful duet vocal and several mood swings that come and go smoothly until the grand finale. This song alone is worth the price of the CD. They never sounded so vulnerable and powerful at the same time. A real masterpiece of prog heaven. The third track is the self-titled Sommerabend, a 20 minute opus divided in five parts. Although never reaching the power neither the beauty of the previous track, it is a good symphonic epic that has several excellent sections.

All ion all I found this LP to be extremely enjoyable and full of great moments. Again the only weak point here is its short time, even a little longer than on Novalis (1975). However, if you like good melodic, laid back and strong symphonic prog you must get to know this album. Without almost any experimentalism or quirkiness of so many countrymen at the time, Novalis is hardly what you might expect from a Krautrock band of the 70s, but they did an excellent job in terms of beautiful music anyway. And this is probably their most accomplished progressive work ever. 4 strong stars, no less.

 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.73 | 27 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars JORDSJO are a relatively new band out of Norway and this is studio album number three for these guys although they also have a split album with another band which is apparently more in the Electronic realm of things. This particular album touches on Folk but is more in the Symphonic style bringing ANGLAGARD to mind quite often. This is surprising to me because the Swedish melancholy is all over this album with plenty of mellotron too but they aren't Swedish! The ANGLAGARD vibe for me is very strong, as I hear it in the vocals, keyboards, flute and guitar.

I like what Simon(Mascodagama) said about this album in comparing it to ANGLAGARD. To paraphrase "It has more room to breathe and is less suffocating than what the Swedes offer". Listening to this had me thinking though as to why we haven't heard more albums that sound like ANGLAGARD and SINKADUS. I can think of the American band MAXWELL'S DEMON but it is surprising given how popular in Prog circles that ANGLAGARD is that more bands haven't jumped on that sound.

"Over Vidda" is the less than 2 minute intro track that is somewhat haunting with atmosphere and flute. "Abstraksjoner Fra Et Dunkeit Kammer" opens with relaxed guitar followed by laid back flute and these will be contrasted until it starts to pick up 1 1/2 minutes in with drums and more. So good! Love that guitar. Vocals before 2 minutes. A change after 3 minutes as it picks up with guitar and drums before the organ joins in. It settles before 5 minutes with flute and organ then the guitar starts to light it up as the tempo picks up again. Vocals are back before 6 minutes. There's that excellent guitar again.

"Finske Skoger" has these intricate guitar melodies but soon bass, drums, flute and organ join in. A catchy little number. "Jord I" opens with organ followed by melancholic flute and relaxed acoustic guitar melodies. Drums join in then it picks up 1 1/2 minutes in, mellotron too. This is incredible. Electric guitar to the fore after 2 minutes, mellotron as well. Vocals 3 minutes in as it calms down and check out the mellotron choirs 4 minutes in with intricate guitar and keys. Love this! Vocals are back before 5 minutes with mellotron, drums and guitar. Some outbursts after 6 minutes with mellotron to end it.

"Jord II" is the longest song at 8 1/2 minutes and it opens with intricate guitar and strummed acoustic guitar as what sounds like violin joins in. A change 1 1/2 minutes in and man this sounds like ANGLAGARD with the flute over top. The keyboards sound amazing 2 minutes in and check out the flute and mellotron before 3 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up a minute later. So impressive! Love those keyboards. Some piano melodies then it settles with acoustic guitar 6 1/2 minutes in followed by flute. It picks up again. Man this is killer!

"L Mog Forsvinne!" has an interesting start with those spacey sounds. Synths lead the way here. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in with melodic guitar and a beat. This is really good. Drums and keyboards lead after 4 minutes as the vocals step aside briefly. A nice heavy sound here as the vocals return. More great sounding guitar after 5 minutes then the vocals return before 6 minutes. "Postludium" is spacey and electronic sounding. Spacey synths before 4 minutes to end it.

Yes this will be right near the top, if not at the top of my "best of" list for 2017, I can guarantee that. The Norwegians seem to be taking over the Prog scene and I for one am quite happy about that. Masterpiece!

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Symphonic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
21. PERON Turkey
5BRIDGES Netherlands
7 OCEAN Belarus
ABBHAMA Indonesia
ABSTRACTION LAYER Brazil
ACCENT Romania
ACHE Denmark
ACUITY United States
AD ASTRA United States
ADVENTURE Norway
AETHER Brazil
AFTER CRYING Hungary
AFTER THE FIRE United Kingdom
AGNUS Argentina
AGNUS GRAAL Brazil
AIRLORD New Zealand
AJALON United States
AKACIA United States
ALAMEDA Spain
ALASKA United States
ALBATROSS United States
ALMS Spain
ALPHA CENTAURY France
ALPHA III Brazil
ALTER ECHO Sweden
LEON ALVARADO United States
SERGIO ALVAREZ Argentina
AMAGRAMA Argentina
AMENOPHIS Germany
AMOS KEY Germany
ANABIS Germany
ANCIENT VISION United States
ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE United Kingdom
ANDERSON/STOLT Multi-National
ANGE France
ANGIPATCH France
ÄNGLAGÅRD Sweden
ANIMA Argentina
ANIMA DOMINUM Brazil
ANIMA MORTE Sweden
ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APHÉLANDRA France
APHRODITE'S CHILD Greece
APOCALYPSE Brazil
AQUAPLANAGE United Kingdom
ARABESQUE United States
ARACHNOID France
ARCABUZ Spain
ARION Brazil
ARS NOVA (JAP) Japan
ART IN AMERICA United States
ASA DE LUZ Brazil
ASIA MINOR Turkey
ASTRË United States
ASTURCON Spain
ATILA Spain
ATLANTIS PHILHARMONIC United States
ATLAS Sweden
ATMOSPHERA Israel
ATOLL France
AUTUMN United Kingdom
AUTUMN BREEZE Sweden
AVIVA (AVIVA OMNIBUS) Russia
AXCRAFT United States
AZABACHE Spain
BABYLON United States
BACAMARTE Brazil
BANAAU Italy
BANANA Argentina
BANZAI Belgium
ZELJKO BEBEK AND PODIUM Yugoslavia
BEGGARS OPERA United Kingdom
ROBERT BERIAU Canada
ED BERNARD Canada
BLACK SEPTEMBER United States
BLAKULLA Sweden
BLANK MANUSKRIPT Austria
BLEZQI ZATSAZ Brazil
BLUE SHIFT United States
TOMAS BODIN Sweden
BONDAR & WISE United States
BOX OF SHAMANS United States
BRIMSTONE United States
BURNING CANDLE Germany
BUSKER Canada
CAFEINE France
CAI Spain
CAIRO United States
CAJA DE PANDORA Mexico
CAL Spain
CAMEL United Kingdom
LOS CANARIOS Spain
CANNABIS INDIA Germany
ALEX CARPANI BAND Italy
CAST Mexico
CATHEDRAL United States
CELLAR NOISE Italy
CHAKRA United States
CHALCEDONY United Kingdom
CHAOS CODE United States
CHRONOS MUNDI Brazil
JOSÉ CID Portugal
CINEMA Japan
CIRCLE Germany
CITIZEN CAIN United Kingdom
CLAY GREEN'S POLYSORBATE MASQUERADE BAND United States
CLEARLIGHT France
CODA Netherlands
CÓDICE Mexico
COLLEGIUM MUSICUM Slovakia
COTO EN PEL Spain
COUSINS & CONRAD United Kingdom
COVENANT United States
CRACK Spain
CRAFT United Kingdom
CRESSIDA United Kingdom
CRONICO Mexico
CROOKED MOUTH United Kingdom
CRUCIBLE United States
CRUCIS Argentina
DAWN Switzerland
DEJA-VU Japan
DELUGE GRANDER United States
DIALOGUE (DAWN DIALOGUE) Russia
DIAPASAO Brazil
DISCIPLINE United States
DOGMA Brazil
DORACOR Italy
DOUG WOODS & COLIN POWELL United Kingdom
DR. COENOBITE Netherlands
DRAGONFLY Switzerland
DRAMA France
DRUCKFARBEN Canada
DRUID United Kingdom
EARTH AND FIRE Netherlands
EARTHRISE United States
ECCENTRIC ORBIT United States
ECHOLYN United States
ECLAT / ECLAT DE VERS France
ECLIPSE Brazil
EDEN Canada
EGGROLL Israel
EIK Iceland
ELLESMERE Italy
ELOHIM France
ELOITERON Switzerland
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER United Kingdom
REDJY EMOND Canada
ENGLAND United Kingdom
THE ENID United Kingdom
EPIDAURUS Germany
EPIGNOSIS United States
EPISODE United States
EQUILIBRIO VITAL Venezuela
ESPIRITU Argentina
ESTRUCTURA Venezuela
ETCETERA Denmark
ÉTERNITÉ Canada
ETHOS United States
EVERFRIEND United States
EX-VAGUS France
EXODE France
EXODUS Poland
EZRA WINSTON Italy
FAITHFUL BREATH Germany
FALLING EDGE Canada
FANTASY United Kingdom
FARMHOUSE ODYSSEY United States
FICCION Venezuela
FINCH Netherlands
FIREBALLET United States
FIRST+AID United Kingdom
FLAGSHIP Sweden
FLAME DREAM Switzerland
FLAMING BESS Germany
THE FLOWER KINGS Sweden
FLÜGHT Mexico
FLYTE Belgium
FOCUS Netherlands
FOREVER TWELVE United States
THE FOUNDATION Sweden
FRÁGIL Peru
FRIGHT PIG United States
FROMAGE Japan
FRUUPP Ireland
FUSONIC Netherlands
G.A.L.F. Brazil
GALIE Mexico
GENESIS United Kingdom
GENS DE LA LUNE France
THE GIFT United Kingdom
GLASS United States
GLASS HAMMER United States
GÒTIC Spain
GOVEA Mexico
GRACIOUS United Kingdom
GRANADA Spain
GRAND STAND Sweden
GRANDBELL Brazil
GREENSLADE United Kingdom
GREYFIELD Spain
GROBSCHNITT Germany
SHAUN GUERIN United States
GUILDENSTERN Germany
HALLOWEEN France
HANDS United States
BO HANSSON Sweden
HARLEQUIN MASS United States
HARMONIUM Canada
HECENIA France
HELIOPOLIS United States
ANDERS HELMERSON Brazil
HIGH WHEEL Germany
TERUTSUGU HIRAYAMA Japan
HOGGWASH Ukraine
HOKUS POKUS Norway
LYLE HOLDAHL United States
HOLDING PATTERN United States
HOLY LAMB Latvia
HORIZONT Russia
HYACINTUS Argentina
I.C.U. Germany
III MILÊNIO Brazil
ILVCIA Spain
IN SPE Estonia
INDEX Brazil
INFINITY United States
THE INNER ROAD United Kingdom
INQUIRE Germany
JACK INTVELD United States
INVISIBLE Argentina
ISILDURS BANE Sweden
ISOPODA Belgium
IZZ United States
JELLY FICHE Canada
BJÖRN JOHANSSON Sweden
JORDSJØ Norway
KAIPA Sweden
KAIPA DA CAPO Sweden
KAIZEN Brazil
KALABAN United States
KALO Japan
KANSAS United States
KARDA ESTRA United Kingdom
KARFAGEN Ukraine
KARMAKANIC Sweden
KHATSATURJAN Finland
KING EIDER Netherlands
KLOCKWERK ORANGE Austria
KOGAION Romania
KOTEBEL Spain
KVAZAR Norway
KYRIE ELEISON Austria
LADY LAKE Netherlands
LANVALL Austria
LÁQUESIS Argentina
LAZA I IPE Yugoslavia
LEGACY United States
LEI SECA Brazil
LEITMOTIV Canada
LETHE Netherlands
FRANCIS LICKERISH United Kingdom
LIFE LINE PROJECT Netherlands
LIFT United States
PÄR LINDH AND BJÖRN JOHANSSON Sweden
PÄR LINDH PROJECT Sweden
LITTLE TRAGEDIES Russia
CAILYN LLOYD United States
THE LOAD United States
LOCH NESS Brazil
LORD FLIMNAP Israel
M-OPUS Ireland
DUNCAN MACKAY United Kingdom
MADAME CLAUS Argentina
MADISON DYKE Germany
MAGDALENA Japan
MAGIC PIE Norway
MAGIC SPELL Switzerland
NICK MAGNUS United Kingdom
MAGRATHEA United Kingdom
MAHOUJIN Japan
MAINHORSE Switzerland
MALDOROR France
MANDALABAND United Kingdom
MANDRAKE Japan
MANGROVE Netherlands
MANTICORE Sweden
MANTRA Spain
LA MÁQUINA DE HACER PÁJAROS Argentina
MARCO Mexico
MARYGOLD Italy
MASQUE PREMIERE United States
MAZE OF TIME Sweden
MEDINA AZAHARA Spain
MELVIN'S NOSEHAIR Netherlands
MEMORIANCE France
JACQUES MENACHE Mexico
MERLIN Germany
METABOLISME France
MEZQUITA Spain
MIA Argentina
MIDAS Japan
MIKLAGÅRD Sweden
MIKROMIDAS Norway
MILKWEED Canada
MARIO MILLO Australia
DAVID MINASIAN United States
MIND SKY United States
MINOTAURUS Germany
MIRROR Netherlands
MIZUKAGAMI Japan
MONA LISA France
MONOLITH United States
MOON SAFARI Sweden
MOONGARDEN Italy
MORGAN United Kingdom
MORILD Norway
MORSE CODE Canada
NEAL MORSE United States
TIM MORSE United States
MOSAIK Sweden
MOTH VELLUM United States
MUGEN Japan
JESÚS MUÑOZ FERNÁNDEZ Spain
NAUTILUS Switzerland
IAN NEAL United Kingdom
NEGASPHERE Japan
NESSIE Belgium
NETHERWORLD United States
NEUSCHWANSTEIN Germany
NEVERNESS Spain
THE NEW GROVE PROJECT Sweden
NEXUS Argentina
THE NICE United Kingdom
NOSTRADAMUS Hungary
NOTTURNO CONCERTANTE Italy
NOVALIS Germany
NOVELA Japan
OAKSENHAM Armenia
OCEAN Germany
OCTOPUS (NOR) Norway
ODYSSICE Netherlands
OMNIA Argentina
ONE Argentina
ONIRIS France
OPUS Yugoslavia
ORION France
OUTER LIMITS Japan
PABLO EL ENTERRADOR Argentina
PAGEANT Japan
PALE ACUTE MOON Japan
PANTA RHEI Hungary
PARAGONE United States
PARTHENON Venezuela
PATCHWORK CACOPHONY United Kingdom
PAZZO FANFANO DI MUSICA Japan
PELL MELL Germany
PENTACLE France
OTA PETRINA Czech Republic
PETRUS CASTRUS Portugal
ANTHONY PHILLIPS United Kingdom
PHYLTER Belgium
PI2 Spain
PICTORIAL WAND Norway
PIG FARM ON THE MOON Venezuela
THE PINK MICE Germany
MICHAEL PINNELLA United States
POÇOS & NUVENS Brazil
POLLEN Canada
PRE United States
PRISMA Netherlands
PROGRESSION BY FAILURE France
PROJECT (ALSO KNOWN AS PPRY) Finland
PROTO-KAW United States
PROUD PEASANT United States
PULSAR France
PUPPET SHOW United States
PYTHAGORAS Netherlands
QUANTUM Brazil
QUATERNA REQUIEM (WIERMANN & VOGEL) Brazil
QUILL United States
R-U KAISER Chile
RAIN United Kingdom
RAINBOW THEATRE Australia
RAISON DE PLUS France
RAK Switzerland
REALM/ STEVE VAIL United States
RECORDANDO O VALE DAS MAÇÃS Brazil
REFUGEE United Kingdom
RELAYER United States
RENAISSANCE United Kingdom
RING OF MYTH United States
ROCKAPHONICA Argentina
ROCKET SCIENTISTS United States
RAIMUNDO RODULFO Venezuela
KURT RONGEY United States
ANTON ROOLAART United States
JAIME ROSAS Chile
ANDREW ROUSSAK Russia
ROUSSEAU Germany
RUMBLIN' ORCHESTRA Hungary
RUMPLE STILTZKEN COMUNE Switzerland
SAECULA SAECULORUM Brazil
SAENA Mexico
SAGRADO CORAÇÃO DA TERRA Brazil
SALMON Netherlands
SANDROSE France
GUSTAVO SANTHIAGO Brazil
SCARAMOUCHE Germany
SCHICKE & FÜHRS & FRÖHLING Germany
SEBASTIAN HARDIE Australia
SECOND MOVEMENT Germany
SENSITIVE TO LIGHT France
SEVEN REIZH France
SHADES OF DAWN Germany
SHADOW CIRCUS United States
SHARKMOVE Indonesia
SHINGETSU Japan
SHYLOCK France
SICHER Switzerland
SILVER LINING France
SIMON SAYS Sweden
SINKADUS Sweden
SIRIUS Germany
SIXTY-NINE Germany
SKRYVANIA France
SOCIAL TENSION Japan
SOLARIS Hungary
SOULENGINE Italy
SPHINX Multi-National
SPIN XXI Brazil
SPOCK'S BEARD United States
CHRIS SQUIRE United Kingdom
STARCASTLE United States
STENCIL FOREST United States
STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (STERN MEISSEN) Germany
ROINE STOLT Sweden
STONEHENGE France
SUBLIMINAL Argentina
SUPERNOVA Argentina
SURPRISE United States
SWEDISH FAMILY Sweden
SYNOPSIS France
T-TAURI Netherlands
TABULA RASA Finland
TABULA SMARAGDINA Hungary
TAÏ PHONG France
TANTRA Portugal
TARANTULA Spain
TARKUS Brazil
TAURUS Chile
TAURUS (NETHERLANDS) Netherlands
TEMPUS FUGIT Brazil
O TERÇO Brazil
TERPANDRE France
TERU'S SYMPHONIA Japan
TESIS ARSIS Brazil
THETA Japan
THIRTEEN OF EVERYTHING United States
THRILOS Poland
TIBET Germany
ARMANDO TIRELLI Uruguay
TISARIS Brazil
TOCCATA Mexico
TOMPOX Hungary
TONIC Germany
TRACE Netherlands
TRANSATLANTIC Multi-National
TRAUMHAUS Germany
TREM DO FUTURO Brazil
TRESPASS Germany
TRESPASS Israel
TRIANA Spain
TRILOGY Germany
TRION Netherlands
TRITONUS Germany
TRIUMVIRAT Germany
TRY Germany
ÜNDER LINDEN Argentina
UNIFAUN Sweden
URBAN TRAPEZE Spain
MARIÁN VARGA Slovakia
VERMILION SANDS Japan
VERSAILLES France
VERTICAL ALIGNMENT United States
VESANIA Brazil
VIA LUMINI Brazil
VIA OBSCURA Germany
THE VOYAGER France
RICK WAKEMAN United Kingdom
WALLENSTEIN Germany
WALLY United Kingdom
WELCOME Switzerland
WHITE WILLOW Norway
WILLIAM GRAY Argentina
WILLOWGLASS United Kingdom
WINDCHASE Australia
WOBBLER Norway
X RELIGION Uzbekistan
XII ALFONSO France
XNA United States
YES United Kingdom
YESTERDAYS Romania
ZARAGON Denmark
ZEBULON Germany
ZEN ROCK AND ROLL United States
ZOMBY WOOF Germany
ZOUNDWORKS Netherlands
ZYCLOPE Spain

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