Monday, 26 September 2016

Anima - Anima (1989)


The one and only album from this Argentine band.

Anima was a four piece with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards and Spanish male vocals. The band got help from around ten guest musicans who supplied guitars, woodwinds, synths and choirs. That includes female vocals too.

This band has been lumped together in the Symphonic Prog genre in ProgArchives. I neither agree or disagree with that choice. The reasons is.....

Anima offers up a bewildering mix of music on this album. Cinematic movie scores, instrumental symphonic prog, Pink Floyd rip-offs, pop music and some standard rock too.

I guess the label "rock opera" is what this album is. The music and vocals is operatic. It is also far too overblown and narcisstic.

The band must have suffered from a delusion of grandeur on this fifty minutes long album. Harsh words, but I think they are justified.

The music is so overblown and so badly constructed that I sometimes wonder what I am listening to. The pop songs here are pretty bad. The Pink Floyd'ish female vocals wailing is facepalm inducing. But worst of all; the music is both dull and simply not up to scratch. The music is so dull that I find myself falling asleep. That is never a good sign.

This album is not even a decent album. It is an addition to my collection of turkeys. You have been warned.

1 point


Anima Mundi - The Way (2010)


The third album this Cuban band.

Anima Mundi is a five piece band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Three guest musicians adds bassoon, flutes and percussions.

I have reviewed their previous two albums for ProgArchives many, many years ago. But I never really got around to review this album. Which is a bit of a shame.

My review of their debut album is here and my review of their second album is here. My interview of the band is here. In short, I really liked their two first albums.

The Way is an hour long album divided on four songs. The longest one is the twenty-seven minutes long The Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men suite.

And yes, we are talking symphonic prog here. Yes springs to mind. So does Kansas and a bit The Flower Kings. I have heard the phrase "romantic symphonic prog" being used a lot on this album. I have to agree. In particular the almost half an hour long The Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men suite is very romantic. It reminds me a bit about Russian prog rock too. This suite is very flowery though with some guitar solos and great vocals. A bit sugary sweet.

The album opens with a cascade of prog metal though and I am fearing the worst from the first tone. I am not a big fan of the fourteen minutes long opening track Time To Understand.

The two closing songs Flying To The Sun and Cosmic Man does not much for me. A bit too prog metal and neo-prog for this album where the suite has set the tone.

The album is a bit uneven both when it comes to the genres and to the quality. The suite is really good. Not so much the rest of the album.

This is a good album though. It is well worth checking out.

3 points


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Babylon - Babylon (1978)


The one and only album from this US band.

The band was a five piece band with synths, keyboards, percussions, drums, bass, guitars and vocals.

Babylon has been described as Genesis from the Nursery Cryme era. This album has been described as the long lost Genesis album.

... and my opinion.... That is not far of the mark. Take a bit more theatrical Peter Gabriel, of which Doroccus in Babylon wants to sound like, and add Genesis from that era.

It is obvious that Babylon was not as good as Genesis. The four songs on this thirty-five minutes long album is not in the same class as Trespass, Nursery Cryme or Foxtrot. But the sound is the same. The same pastoral sound. The same use of guitars and bass. Babylon use a bit more synths than Genesis too.

The four songs here are all enjoyable. A bit long'ish songs. A bit more complex and a bit more American than Genesis.

But this is indeed an album for the diehard Genesis fans out there. And what is there not to like about an album like this ?

I like it. But my main gripe is the lack of any great tracks. Babylon was never great song writers. Hence, they did not survive as a band. This is a good album though and recommended.

3 points




Bloque - Musica Para La Libertad (1981)


The fourth and final album from this Spanish band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, saxophone, bass, drums, keyboards and Spanish vocals.

I have had the joy of listening to their four albums and I have got a lot of respect for this band. A sadly overlooked band in the history of European prog rock. Although I have not been giving their albums a lot of points, this band has got my attention. It is a charming band with some charming albums. I am glad I got the chance to getting to know them !

This is their final album. I have not heard about any attempts to reform this band. Which is a bit of a shame.

This album is thirty-six minutes long divided into eight tracks. The sound is rather good. Good enough to let the music shine.

This album starts out with two pretty much commercial hard rocking tracks before progressive rock and folk rock starts to make it's presence felt. There are even some fusion here.

There are also some Camel like instrumental symphonic prog here. But with a large Spanish twist. Music which is rather good.

The end result is a decent to good album which I find charming. But not charming enough for my rather cold blooded analytical mind. But check out this album and this band. Give them the respect they deserve.

2.5 points 

Hackett. Steve - Please Don't Touch! (1978)


The second album from this English artist.

Steve Hackett has now quit Genesis and this is his first album on his own. Although he has got lots of lots of help from other musicians here. Steve Walsh from Kansas does vocals on three songs, including the opening songs (I thought I had put on a Kansas album by mistake....). Richie Havens does vocals on two songs and Randy Crawford does the vocals on one song.

Steve's younger brother John Hackett can be found on flutes and lots of others are also guesting on various instruments.

In short, Steve Hackett gets a lot of help. This album has also been recorded in a fancy studio with a big budget.

The result is disputed as this is a hate or love album. Taken the excellent 1975 debut album Voyage Of The Acolyte into account, I feel Steve Hackett lost the plot with this album. He got lost and he lost himself.

There is not much Steve Hackett and his guitars around. When they appear and we get some one to one with Steve, this album comes alive.

But most of this album is a mishmash of what was commercial music back then. The music is not much coherent. Neither is it much good. And I am sure the dollars and pounds were piling up here. But this is not a good album at all. It is a decent album and I am glad that it was... so I have been told... a one off album.

2 points




Saturday, 24 September 2016

Goblin - Notturno (1983)


The thirteenth album from this band.

Goblin split into two bands before the release of this soundtrack album. This is the Goblin splinter band who had splintered off the original Goblin. They were a quartet and their lineup was woodwinds, keyboards, drums, bass and percussions.

The four members here are Antonio and Agostino Marangolo, Fabio Pignatelli and Maurizio Guarini. Just so we know what this version of Goblin was.

I have heard nothing about this movie. Well, I have to correct myself. The details about the film can be found here. It seems like a diversion from the usual horror movies Goblin usually did.

The movie soundtrack is said to be the best thing about this movie. Which makes me not that sorry that this movie cannot be found at Amazon.co.uk. I think I will therefore bypass this movie altogether.....

This half an hour long soundtrack is not that interesting. A mix of funk and easy-listening fusion. And there are some sound effects and some light rock too.

Frankly, this is the music that can send anyone to sleep. Try it tonight and you will see what I mean.
This half an hour is frankly too dull for me.

I can see why some says the 1980s was a terrible decade for Goblin. This album proves it. One decent track saves this album from ending up in my turkey yard among the other turkeys.

1.5 points



Ananga Ranga - Privado (1980)


The second and final album from this Portoguese band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of drums, guitars, bass, piano, percussions and English vocals.

I quite liked their 1979 debut album Regresso As Origens. Good jazz/fusion. So I was looking forward to this album.

To my horror, I get some vocals driven rock thrown into my face. On closer inspection and a closer proximity to the speakers, the music is a bit of rock with a lot of progressive rock influences. All the seventeen minutes of it. The male vocals is a bit too cheesy for my liking. But the music is pretty decent. Cheesy, but still decent.

But I wanted jazz/fusion. Not rock. And not vocals. And not heavy guitars.

This album is forty-five minutes long and the remainder of the album is taken up by fusion. Which is a sharp contrast to the first seventeen minutes. Two different bands ? I doubt it. This is still Ananga Ranga. Both of them. 

The fusion is pretty cheesy too, although not as cheesy as the rock stuff on this album. There is some woodwinds here. It is cool and it is everything the first part of this album is not.

And just to spoil the party, some sort of a party, we get some more vocals again. Funky vocals with the whole slick and sleezy feel.

The end result is an album which kicks in all direction. It is a decent album though. But it is not a coherent album so it is a weak decent rating, bordering to being a turkey rating. The pretty good fusion bits saves it's bacon.

2 points

Steeleye Span - All Around My Hat (1975)



The eight album from this English band.

Steeleye Span was again a six piece band on this album. The lineup was guitars, piano, bass, drums, mandolin, violins, tabor and vocals. Both male and female vocals. And yes, both Tim Hart and Maddy Prior is very much present here.

Maddy Prior and Tim Hart must surely be one of the best vocals combinations the scene has ever seen. I believe this musical pair has also released one or more albums as a duo.... Summer Solstice, this album is called. I will put in an order ! Their vocal harmonies on this Steeleye Span album and most other Steeleye Span albums is really great.

All Around My Hat sees the band doing what they can best. Electric folk rock with very strong vocals and some good songs too. In this case, almost forty minutes of it. 

The album starts with the haunting Black Jack Davey. A song I rate as one of their best ever songs. Another great song is the title track. 

The other songs are good, although I don't really understand what a clarinet do on the rather throwaway song Dance With Me. A song which takes the band into the pop scene. 

The other songs are much more genuine and honest folk rock. There is no denying that the band has become a bit more commercial acceptable on this album. There are no really hardcore folk music here. The corners has been cut and the rough edges smoothed over. 

That aside, this is a very good album and one to check out.

3.5 points



Satin Whale - Lost Mankind (1975)


The second album from this German band.

Satin Whale was a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, flutes and English vocals.

The name of the band grabbed my attention and their inclusion in ProgArchives also made me grab their first three albums. I reviewed their 1974 debut album Desert Places earlier this month. An album I quite liked.

The band has not changed much during the few months between these two recordings.

We still get heavy blues-soul with a lot of rock'n'roll too. There are a lot of hints of krautrock here too. The band was pretty active in the German scene and krautrock was the king back then. Hence some psychedelia too on this album.

Their sound is a bit special with this mix of soul and hard rock. The keyboards almost feels like Hammond organs here. The vocals too is very bluesy and soul like.

The music here has also got some Jethro Tull influences. In particular in the flutes and keyboards harmonies.

I am not completely sold on this album. My problem is the lack of any really good tracks here. There is a lot of interesting details here. But no really good tracks.

My rating is therefore a decent to good rating. I am not won over.

2.5 points   



Friday, 23 September 2016

Osta Love - The Isle of Dogs (2015)


The second album from this German band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass and English vocals.

I very much liked their 2013 debut album Good Morning Dystopia. I reviewed it back in May 2014. Good neo-prog.

The band has moved on a bit since then. Not much, but still notable moved on. Gone is most of the neo-prog. The replacement is art rock with some cool west-coast influences. Cool as in cold. Not cool as in fashionable.

There is also some very notable Americana in their music. The music still retains a German feel to it's core and sound. The vocals is not heavy accented. But you can still hear that his first language is German.

The music is made by a mix of guitars and keyboards. And the music is rolling on nicely throughout these forty-four minutes this album last.

Cool as in a cool breeze is what my enduring memories of this album will be. The quality is not what I will remember it for. The music is at times pretty dull and without many memorable moments. There are some quality here. But the album is too dull for my liking. Nevertheless; this is a decent enough album. But it is not my cup of tea.

2 points

 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Multi Story - Crimson Stone (2016)


The third album from this English band.

Multi Story is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The band released their debut album East West in 1985 and the follow up album Through Your Eyes two years later. And then...... nothing....... until now.

From what I gather, the only remaining member from the 1980s is the keyboardist Rob Wilsher. The vocalist and acoustic guitarist Paul Ford played on the debut album and on this album, sitting out Through Your Eyes. I have also been sitting out that album as I have reviewed East West two years ago. An album I did not like that much.

It is obvious that the band were around in the neo-prog heydays. They were never prolific and I have problems remembering anything about this band from those days. The band never got any breakthrough, although releasing two albums back then were really well done.

We are talking neo-prog and AOR rock here. Paul Ford has a good voice and he uses it well. The other musicians also do a good job.

The music is a bit too comfortable and too much safe. The band is not really pushing out the boat here. They stay close to the shore and is not joining the greats of this scene with this album.

I guess the band is both happy and comfortable with their place in the scene and their music. Music which may light up a prog rock or a rock festival. Music that sits well in an open air festival as in a pub gig.

The songs are not really that good though. But there are some positives and good things here. An hour with this album, several hours in my case as I have had problems sorting out my impressions enough to write a review, is a bit too much for my liking.

This is a decent to good album. If old style neo-prog is your cup of tea, get this album.

2.5 points



Anabasi Road - Anabasi Road (2014)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band has not released anything else after this album so I wonder what is happening to them. Maybe they will join the very long list of Italian One-Albums-Wonders bands.

The band is a six piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, piano, synths, harmonica and vocals.

All the vocals here are in English..... with one notable exception. The best song here are in Italian.

The music here is bluesy classic rock. There are hints of prog rock. But not much. The Italian song Guerra Mondiale is touching into the RPI scene. A good progressive song with a pastoral feeling.

The rest of the album is pretty hard rocking with a bluesy undertone and feel. The band is doing their best on a pretty meagre, poor material.

There are also material here which is touching into modern heavy metal with some Soundgarden influences. I am not impressed....... Grunge is not my type of music.

This album is one hour long and only Guerra Mondiale is saving it's bacon. It drags it up to a weak decent level. I am no fan of this album. Fans of classic rock may check it out. But with a health warning...

2 points



Monday, 19 September 2016

Bi Kyo Ran - Go Un (1995)


The third album from this Japanese band.

The band was now an eight piece band with a lineup of woodwinds, guitars, synths, bass, percussions, marimba, timpani and both male and female Japanese vocals.

Bi Kyo Ran was previously very close to being a King Crimson copycat. In particular on their debut album and to a lesser degree on their second album.

That though changed on this album. An album which is slightly bizzarre.

The forty minutes divided on five pieces of music takes us through a bit jazz, a bit zeuhl, a bit of King Crimson like eclectic music, a lot of avant-garde and a lot of US funk and Caribbean salsa. The music is pretty weird with a Robert Fripp'esque guitar underpinning some rhumba and salsa. This would be too far even for Robert Fripp.

And this music is far, far out. It is as eclectic as it can get. It is also pretty commercial and pretty dance-friendly. Put on your dance shoes and dance..... Yes, do that to this album.

Parts of it is very dance friendly. Other parts is too dense avant-garde to step out on the floor to this music.

The quality is not too bad. It is not good either and I am able to restrain my praise for this album. It is too weird for my view. Too far out there. Too incoherent for my view.

This is a decent album and worth checking out if you like music far from the well trodden path.

2 points

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Anderson. Ian - Walk Into Light (1983)


The debut album from the Jethro Tull frontman.

Ian Anderson is a man I highly respect and admire. He is one of the elder statesmen in the scene and I soak up everything he says. I am probably a fan of his...... Yes, I am. But I take pride in that.

Most of the Jethro Tull albums is really great. But they suffered a slump, a self inflicted one, in the early 1980s with a couple of albums where they wanted to sound current and relevant.

This too is a product of that misguided belief. Ian Anderson does the vocals and guitars here. Peter-John Vetesse does everything else. Mostly with computers and synths.

There is a lot of artifical sound on this album. Synths, computers, electronic drums and a lot of the type of silly sound which sounded OK in the 1980s and just horrible today. Oh yeah, there is plenty of that sort of thing on this album.

The sound is dubious to say at least. Dubious as in really bad 1980s sound. The synths are everywhere, to say at least.

On the top of this, we get Ian Anderson's very good vocals. And some of the songs are not that bad either. Songs that I suspect would had been a lot better with a more acoustic and organic sound.

The sound kills this album flat for me. The songs are decent too good though. The result is a decent album and I hope for better things to come as I am now reviewing all his solo-albums.

2 points





Allen. Daevid - Elevenses (2016)


The fifteenth and final album from the much missed Daevid Allen.

Daevid Allen (Soft Machine and Gong) passed away in March last year and left a huge amount of album behind him. A huge legacy. His partner and wife Gilli Smith (Mother Gong) passed away last week too and the world has lost their two most foremost dada'ism musicians.

It is pretty obvious that the songs Daevid is contributing with here has been recorded well before he passed away. There is a lot of songs he is not contributing anything on and which I suspect has been recorded after his passing. The band behind Daevid Allen is Paul Sears from The Muffins, Don Falcone from Spirits Burning, Trey Sabattelli from The Tubes and Michael Glare.

Daevid Allen is very much alive on the first tracks. Some very whimsical tracks with his vocals and guitars. Very good they are too. Melodic pop tunes too in the Allen/Gong vein. I cannot help myself smiling.

The band takes over and creates a lot of music in the spirit of Daevid Allen. Whimsical and slightly avant-garde. Also pretty jazzy without being jazz. There is even some post rock and some slightly zeuhl influenced music here. All of them genres in the spirit of Daevid Allen.

This album is both an album from Daevid Allen and a tribute to Daevid Allen. On it's own, it is also a remarkable good album too. It is by no means a masterpiece. It is not even a great album. But I find myself liking this album a lot. Check out this album.

3 points



 

Satin Whale - Desert Places (1974)


The debut album from this German band.

Satin Whale was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, saxophone, keyboards and English vocals.

Satin Whale released six studio albums and a live album between 1974 and 1981. They were a moderate successful band in Germany and not so known outside Germany... make that West Germany back in those days. Their first three albums are a bit sought after these days as the band is loosely associated with the prog rock scene.

Desert Places is not a progressive rock album though.

Take a lot of blues, soul and hard rock. Inject some folk rock to their sound and you get this album. A pretty commercial sounding album it is too.

Most of all, this is a hard rocking album with some screaming guitars and some heavy keyboards. There are also a lot of soul here with the saxophone involved. The flutes drags the music slightly towards Jethro Tull. But only slightly.

I am by no means fan of this type of music. But I cannot deny that the songs here are good and there is a lot going on here on this forty-three minutes long album. Forty-three minutes divided on five songs, where the longest song is clocking in at almost thirteen minutes. This album defends the good reputation this band has now got, long after they split up.

3 points

 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Ananga Ranga - Regresso às Origens (1979)


The debut album from this Portuguese band. A band who released two albums before they gave up the ghost.

Both albums are available through Youtube for a good listen or ten. Their albums does not have many reviews. None at ProgArchives, from what I can see. I think they deserve your ears and longer writeups, if anyone from ProgArchives reads this.

Ananga Ranga was an eight members big band. Their lineup was saxophone, organ, violin, guitars, drums, percussions, vocals and piano.

This album starts up as a bit of a movie soundtrack fusion album. Which is not a good start in my ears as I am no fan of slick fusion movie soundtracks. I got enough of them when watching the TV crime series from USA in the 1990s. It was all the rage back then. It does not give me any fond memories.

But gradually, this thirty-six minutes long album is changing style. A violin comes into play and is introducing some folk music into this album too. Some guitar solos also livens up the music. The music also takes a turn towards more solid jazz territory. More towards the likes of Return To Forever and dare I say it...... Mahavishnu Orchestra.

The end result is an album with a bad opening and a good finish. It is still not a good album by any means. But one to check out. Youtube is the place to do that.

2.5 points

   





Amphetamin - At The Dawn Of Twilight (2013)


The debut album from this French band.

Amphetamin is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals.

The band released this album after a couple of EPs. The band was originally members of the far more successful French band Sebastian. Amphetamin was or is a side-project of that said band.

Post rock is not something I review anymore although I have reviewed albums in this genre a lot for ProgArchives and in the first two years of this blog. This album reminds me that I should do a lot more post rock in the future.

Yes, this is as post rock album. But you can also include a lot of influences from Radiohead and Gazpacho on this album too. Even from Marillion.

There is a lot of shoegazing here. There is also some experimental metal here too. Post metal, it is called.

The vocals is very good and the guitars both lays down walls of sound and some more half-acoustic gentle finger picking pieces. The keyboards adds a lot of textures too.

Yes, there is a lot of ebbs and flows in this music. There is also a lot of majestic soaring melodies here too. Not to mention some intereting details too.  The mood is broodening dark too and that completes this picture.

There is enough goodies here to make this a good album. A forty-five minutes long album which does not outstay it's welcome. I very much like what I hear. Check it out.

3 points

 

Elements - Monument (2015)


The debut album from this Dutch band.

I don't know much about this band, but I gather (as I don't speak Dutch) from their homepage that they are a trio of bassist, drummer and a guitarist/vocalist. A keyboards player is helping them out as a guest musician. Their homepage is here so check them out.

Elements is another band added to the Dutch neo-prog and prog scene. Another addition and one yet to make any waves.

Their music is leaning much more towards AOR and rock than progressive rock. The songs on this fifty-five minutes long album are pretty short.

I very strongly suspect that the driving force in Elements is their guitarist. His guitar solos takes up a substantial part of these fifty-five minutes. And his guitar work is very good and the best thing about this album.

The songs are not that good to be perfectly honest. The vocalist and the other musicians does a good job. But the art of songwriting has passed this album by.

This album survives because of the guitars. And the music is not that bad either. This album is not reinventing the wheel by any means and it is following a very well trodden path. But the guitars is saving it's bacon.

3 points



Friday, 16 September 2016

Bloque - El Hijo del Alba (1980)


The third album from this Spanish band.

Bloque was a four piece band with a lineup of drums, bass, keyboards, guitars, percussion and Spanish vocals. 

Bloque's first two albums was very interesting. A good combo of Italian and Spanish prog rock with a lot of heavy rock too.

The band very much continued in the same vein here. A bit less heavy and a bit more melodic. A lot more psych rock has also sneaked into their sound and music.

The band still sounds like an RPI band. But there is also a lot more Spanish folk and psych rock here too. That very much adds to the RPI stuff and makes this album a lot more interesting.

There is a lot of good stuff on this thirty-four minutes long album. Some of the stuff also are also leaning towards more commercial rock. But this is never a dull album.

The lack of a great track is my only gripe with this album. An album which would make any prog rock fan from Spain pretty proud. Check it out !

3 points  


Thursday, 15 September 2016

Circa - Valley Of The Windmill (2016)


The fourth album from this USA based band.

Circa was formed by the Yes associated Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Alan White some years ago. They had Jimmy Haun on guitars, helping them out. They did the 2007 self-titled album together.

Nine years later, only Billy Sherwood (vocals and guitars) and Tony Kaye (keyboards) remains. They are helped out by the two Circa members Rick Tierney (bass) and Scott Connor (drums).

I have always heard about the band. Their association with Yes is off course a big attraction to me. But I did not expect a Yes clone when I got this album. Neither is this album a Yes clone.

Circa is much more a neo-prog band. Neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog. Well, 60 % is neo-prog and the remainder is symphonic prog.

The symphonic prog shines through at the four pretty long songs on this fifty minutes long album. The average lenght is twelve and a half minutes per song.

The almost twenty minutes closing song Our Place Under The Sun is the main piece of music here. It has a very majestic main theme. That song is as usual sung by the very good vocalist Billy Sherwood. The three other musicians also do a very good job here.

The sound is pretty much mid-2000s neo-prog and that is a refreshing sound. The sound is indeed very good.

My only gripe with this album is the lack of a truly great song. There is no weak songs either and the music is really good. That is what this album is. A good album well worth checking out.

3 points

    

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Alcatraz - No 4 (1982)


The third album from this German band.

I am not sure why they have titled this album as No 4. Maybe this is German humour or they have an album ProgArchives is not aware of ? I don't know.

The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass and drums. And no vocals and no nonsense like on the previous album. An album I hated/hate.

The band, who once upon a time released the semi-classic album Vampire State Building, their debut album, has not really impressed me or anyone else. Well, mostly nobody else. The band may have some fans out there. Good luck to them.

No 4 is another radical change of direction. A funky bass with some guitar solos on the top is what we mostly get here. Spaced out bluesy rock... Krautrock in other words.

This album is forty-six minutes long divided on seven tracks. It does not really open that promising. But it gets into gear after some minutes and contines mostly as a hard rocking album.

The music is pretty primitive and raw. This is not progressive rock. This is balls-to-the-walls rock. But there are also some pretty pastoral pieces here.

I actually quite like this album. It is not a good album. But it is a decent to good album. It also partly restore their reputation in my estimation. Not bad.

2.5 points



Monday, 12 September 2016

Tiles - Tiles (1994)


The debut album from this US band.

I have always thought this band was from Canada. I have been wrong all the way. I have always wanted to review their albums as I am a fan of Rush. I have therefore collected their albums and will now review all their albums in the coming weeks and months (yes, I wrote the same thing about Steve Hackett too).

Tiles was a three piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals. The bassist was a session music and the fourth musician on this album.

I have no idea why this band has caught my imagination...... The album covers, perhaps ? This is their debut album and the album cover is pretty poor, it has to be said.

What we get here is a bit of a mix of neo-prog and prog metal. The vocals are OK and just about right for this album. The music is on the naive and light-weight end of the scala. The band has yet to embrace complex song structures. Well, I hope they did that on their coming albums. Otherwise, this band and their disco will be a test of both my tolerance and stamina. 

The music and sound is rooted in the early 1990s and has a lot in common with those days Rush. The Roll The Bones album springs to mind.

There are also some heavy metal stuff here. That stuff makes me cringe. And we also have some neo-prog.

In short, this forty-six minutes long album offers up a lot. But what is sorely missing here is good songs. There are none. This is nevertheless a decent album with some hints of talents.

2 points



Sunday, 11 September 2016

Hackett. Steve - Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975)


The debut album from the Genesis guitarist.

Steve Hackett was still a member of Genesis when he recorded and released this album. This is the first of a very substantial amount of albums from Steve Hackett and I am trying to run through them, album by album, in the coming weeks and months.

Steve Hackett did the guitars, most of the keys and some vocals here. On the vocals, he also had help from Phil Collins and Sally Oldfield. John Hackett helped on flutes and Mike Rutherford did the bass. Those among other guest musicians as Steve Hackett had yet to get a band at this stage.

I have been "warned" by many of my friends that I will fall in love with Steve Hackett's music. His more new one albums has not done much for me. I reviewed two of them for ProgArchives. So with trepidations.....

Voyage Of The Acolyte starts out as a wild Steve Howe inspired Yes moment before it takes a much more pastorial direction. Yes, Genesis is a great reference here. In partictular when it comes to the guitars.... I wonder why....

This album is a much more complex symphonic piece of music than Genesis ever produced. And I am not saying a bad thing about the first Genesis albums with Peter Gabriel at the microphone. But this album is different and Steve Hackett on his own is different from Genesis.

The result is a symphonic prog album with a lot of eclectic moments. The best pieces here is Star Of Sirius where Phil Collins does a great job on a track I feel Genesis should have included on one of their albums. The second great piece here is the twelve minutes long Shadow Of The Hierophant who closes this album with a very dark theme.

The end result is a superb album who only need one or two brilliant tracks to make this a brilliant album. It runs it close, though... Get this album.

4.5 points



Saturday, 10 September 2016

Algabas - Angels and Demons (2013)


The debut album and so far the only sign of life from this Russian band.

Algabas is from the Russian town Vladimir, 200 km east of Moscow. Russia is a vast country (and I am a geography buff) and I had a bit difficult finding it's location within Russia on Google Maps. But I found it. The town looks like a typical Russian town. Functional and well planned with some pretty sights.

Algabas is a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and.......... Russian male vocals !! A big plus in my books.

The album is also a free download Bandcamp album too. Get it from here.

Algabas has chosen to follow the paths somewhere between neo-prog and heavy prog. They are rightly listed as a Heavy Prog band in Progarchives. The music is not that heavy though.

The music is pretty much neo-prog, in fact. But what makes it heavy and different is it's heavy leaning towards Russian folk and rock music. Russia is a big, big country. Something reflected in their music and language. Russian is a heavy, highly profile language. And the vocals are pretty prominent here.

The end result is a much heavier album than if an English band had recorded this album. It is also a brash album with a lot of flavours.

It is also like a breath of fresh air. The songs are all good. The Russian culture and flavours gives this album something extra. Something I have never heard before from a neo-prog and that kind of progressive rock band.

It does the band no damage whatsoever that they are good musicians too. There is a lot of very interesting details on this album. 

In short, this fifty minutes long album proves that free albums too is well worth checking out. This album is as professional and good as any £ 12 albums. So get this gift, this album and enjoy.

3.5 points

 

Alarcen. Jean Pierre - Tableau No. 1 (1979)


The second album from this French composer who released three albums between 1978 and 1998.

Jean Pierre plays guitar and keyboards here. He is helped out by only six other musicians. They contribute with more keyboards, bass, drums, percussions and orchestral direction. Some parts of a symphonic orchestra is involved here.

His self-titled 1978 debut album were a mishmash of jazz and classical music. One track was jazz, the following track was classical music and so on. Not the way to please me and I was not pleased in my review of that album.

Jean Pierre Alarcen has gone for a symphony this time around. A symphony in three movements. A symphony with guitars, bass, drums and keyboards in addition to some sprinkling of traditional symphonic orchestra instruments.

A forty minutes long symphony with a generous sprinkling of jazz and rock. This is by no means my favourite type of music as I find this type of music very regressive and false. It is indeed fake, this music style.

The music here is pretty decent throughout. But it leaves me a bit cold and very bored. I have to conclude that Jean Pierre Alarcen is probably a great guy. But his music does not do anything for me.
 
2 points

Bi Kyo Ran - Parallax (1984)


The second album from this Japanese band.

The band is again a power-trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and Japanese vocals. They have hired in cello, trumpet, Mellotron, keyboards and violins.

The band was very much influenced by King Crimson on their self-titled 1982. See my review here. It was also an album I liked a lot.

Two years has gone and the eclectic avant-garde edges from their debut album has been taken away from their music and sound. Melodies has come in here and has replaced the eclectic avant-garde stuff.

Largely speaking, the band still sounds like a Japanese twin brother of King Crimson. There is a lot of Fripp'ism and King Crimson here. But melodies has been introduced..... Danger, danger, danger.

But the band and their music is still eclectic enough to make them sounding very edgy. This throughout this forty minutes long album. The melodies are good and the band has kept most of their basic ethos.

Although more melodic, this is not music for the masses. And that is a good thing.

Another good thing is the music too. There is no really great tracks here. But this is still a good album and an album well worth checking out.

3 points



Friday, 9 September 2016

Amazing. The - Gentle Stream (2011)


The third album from this Swedish band.

This is the only album I have got with this band and I am quite eager to get their 2015 album Picture You in my collection.

The Amazing is a five piece band with a lineup of electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Flutes and saxophones also contributes to this album. The guitarist here is Reine Fiske, one of the leading new guitarists on this planet right now.

This album is by no means a guitar hero album. Reine Fiske does a great job. But this album is not his album.

The Amazing takes us back to the US west coast anno 1969 and add a lot of the more new Scandinavian/Swedish prog rock to the mix too. Add a lot of Landberk and Dungen too. There are also some Swedish folk prog on this album too.

The sound is very warm and the vocals, sung in English, is very good.

There is a lot of really good details to enjoy here. Reine Fiske contributes with a lot of very interesting details. He has not done himself and his reputation any harm on this album. Let me put it that way.....

The eight songs on this forty-five minutes long album is all very good. Ditto for the sound.

There is no killer tracks here. That is my only gripe. Nevertheless, this is a very good album. An amazing very good album.

3.5 points


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Amoeba Split - Second Split (2016)


The second album from this Spanish band.

Their 2010 debut album Dance Of The Goodbyes created a close-to sensation in the scene. I also very much liked it in my own review of this album.

Six years is a long time and the band has returned again as a six piece band. The lineup is Mellotron, Moog, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and lots of woodwinds. Half of the band plays woodwinds.

Dance Of The Goodbyes was a slightly jazzy Canterbury album. A very good one too. It was also like a breathe of fresh air into that scene and it inspired other bands to give that genre a go too.

Second Split is a lot more jazz focused, though. The rock instruments plays an important part here, yes. But the woodwinds gets the main share of the limelight and the sound.

The emphasis is on traditional jazz here. Bebop, to be more precise. That is my main impression of this album.

But when listening a bit more carefully, there are also some pretty quirky details and pieces of music here. But I am afraid these are a bit drowned out by the pretty traditional bebop.

The end result is a bit of a let down of an album. This band is hugely talented and this is indeed a good album. Perhaps I had wildly unrealistic hopes here. Hopes not fulfilled.

When that is said, this is a good album and one to enjoy.

3 points

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Alas - Pinta Tu Aldea (1983)


The second of in total three albums from this Argentine band.

The band had released their self titled debut album back in 1976. An album pretty much praised everywhere. But it took them seven years, seven years of the worst years of the military dictatorship in Argentina to come up with their second album.

The core of Alas and this album was trio with a lineup of synths, woodwinds, bass, drums, percussions and acoustic guitars. The trio got some help from three other musicians who contributed with flutes and bandoneon.

The band is listed a fusion band in the almighty ProgArchives. Something I agree with. The fusion here is with more than rock, though. Add some avant-garde, symph prog and folk rock to the baseline of jazz. Both Weather Report and some Italian avant-garde bands springs to mind here. Most of this album reminds me a lot about the Canadian band Maneige. In particular when it comes to the use of flutes, folk and jazz.

This album is forty minutes long and divided on four tracks.

The album is a slow starter and really never kicks on. The material here is a mix of decent and good material. I am not as much fan of this album as my friends are. It does not excite me.

That said, this is not a bad album. Hence my verdict.

2.5 points



Profuna Ocean - In Vacuum (2016)


The second album from this Dutch band.

Profuna Ocean released their 2009 debut album Watching The Closing Sky to some critical acclaim. I have to admit this band has totally passed me by until this year's album. The reason may be their long break.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English male vocals.

The music is a mixed bag of progressive metal, some crossover and symphonic prog and a lot of neo-prog. Their music has clean and crisp sound.

There is a lot of Dutch bands, let alone, European bands in this crossover genre between neo-prog and progressive metal. Almost too many bands. But I quite like this type of music so I am not complaining. There is a considerable scene and most bands gets something out of it. Most bands work fulltime too as bank managers etc etc etc so this is just a hobby to them. Good for them and I am not going to belittle them. On the contrary, I kind of admire them.

This one hour long album is leaning more towards classic neo-prog than progressive metal. There are some hints to Marillion here. But most of all; this band and album sounds like if it is made in Holland.... and indeed, it is.

There are some more pastoral songs here and a lot more heavy stuff. The overall quality is good with some few pretty decent stuff too. That is balanced by some very good stuff too.

This is not an exciting album and it is not going to set the prog rock world on fire. Nevertheless, this is a good album.

3 points


Monday, 5 September 2016

Bloque - Hombre, Tierra y Alma (1979)


The second album from this Spanish band.

The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, effects, percussions, keyboards and Spanish vocals.

I quite like their 1978 self titled album. A 2.5 points score. Quite a charming album too where there was enough good elements to build on.

After a quite hard rocking opening song which is well over the top heavy, the album settles into a nice theme and rhythm. This is a concept album and it casts a lot of glances over towards the Italian symphonic prog rock scene.  The RPI scene.

A lot of Spanish and other Spanish language bands has had a look at the RPI genre and has copied over what they thinks suits them best. I think this is a good idea.

Hombre, Tierra Y Alma is almost a fully blooded RPI album. Although with Spanish vocals which sounds very much different from the Italian vocals. I find Spanish a lot harsher than the more fluid Italian language. At least when it comes to progressive rock albums.

The music is pretty heavy at times. It is also pretty pastoral at times. There is a lot of contrasts on this thirty-six minutes long album.

The sound is pretty good and so is the music. This is a weak good album. I still gives it a Good award as the music is good throughout. Check out this neglected and almost totally forgotten album and band.

3 points

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Blops - Locomotora (1973)


The third and final album from this Chile based band.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of electric piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, bajo, flutes, percussion and drums. That and some Spanish vocals.

Their previous album Del Volar De Las Palomas from 1971 was a very vocals dominated folk music album with very little of musical values. Hence, I did not rate it highly.

And I dreaded having to endure a similar experience. So I was very surprised after a few minutes of this forty-two minutes long album.

Locomotora is in fact the polar opposite of Del Volar De Las Palomas. This is mostly an instrumental album. And the music is not folk music. Well, there are a lot of folk music influences and some good folk music here. But this album is a psych folk rock album.

These forty-two minutes are divided on five songs. The first track is instrumental and is meandering around space and jazz rock. Though with some folk rock influences too. On reflection; this is actually a krautrock track. The name of the track is Allegro Ma Non Troppo and is clocking in at twelve minutes.

The other four tracks also has some blues and prog rock music. All of it is anchored in folk rock.

This album has some good melodies and a lot of interesting details. The sound is very good too.

The end result is a charming good album which leaves me with some good memories of this band. Los Blops is a band you should check out.

3 points

  

Alcatraz - Energie Programm In Rock (1978)


The second album from this German band.

I reviewed their 1971 debut album Vampire State Building back in November 2012. A good krautrock album who explored the landscape between jazz and blues. So I had some hopes here...

Seven years is a long time and the band returned as a five piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and German vocals.

Seven years is indeed a long time and the band had changed their style. And that to a more vocals based style.

Energie Programm In Rock is twenty-five minutes long divided on ten songs. Two and a half minutes on average, these songs are.

The music is vaudeville theatre pop/rock with some krautrock influences and some Gong influences. There are some humour, or make that some feeble attempts of being funny here. Spoken vocals and some sound effects is on the top of some very sparse and funky pieces of music.

As I stated in my review of the Vampire State Building; that album is far better than any of their five follow up albums. Energie Programm In Rock stinks like a turkey yard. It is indeed a turkey and a total waste of space unless you speak German. And even Germans would find this a very difficult album to like.

1 point



Saturday, 3 September 2016

Grice - Alexandrine (2015)


The debut album from this English project.

Grice is Jim Peters vehicle and solo project. He does all vocals and some guitars and percussions here. 15 other musicians from bands like Porcupine Tree and other bands guests and contributes to this album. There is a bewildering amount of instruments here. Both acoustic and electric instruments.

The album starts as an ambient album. It starts very slowly and it does not really become a racing car.

The label on this one hour long piece of music, divided into twelve tracks ? Modern rock. Modern prog rock with a lot of ambience and post rock influences.

Jim Peters have a reasonable good voice. The other musicians contributes to this very untraditional sounding album. An album with a lot of Arabic and Middle-East influences.

This is by no means a traditional English neo or symphonic prog album. It is a total break with this tradition. Just so that is said.

This is a one-man band. One man and his synth and keyboard. It does sound like it too. The songs are not that good and this album is not really hitting the right tones and the righ level of quality. The sound is good. But the music is not.

This is a decent album and I am not going to be sleepless, waiting for a new Grice album.

2 points

 

Goblin - Tenebre (1982)


The twelfth album from this Italian band.

The movie plackards says Music Di Simontelli - Pignatelli and Morante. That is Goblin anno that movie. The lineup is guitars, bass, digital drums and lots of synths and keyboards.

The movie from the legendary movie producer is a classic horror movie with the same name. You can also get that one from all Amazon outlets. Now even on Blue-Ray in addition to DVDs. The prices for this movie is not that bad and I am a bit tempted as this is really a classic horror movie. I have actually found the uncut version and have purchased it right here and now. It is a classic Italian movie too. Well, I think I will get this DVD. A DVD also complete with the music here as this album is it's movie soundtrack.

The movie is a suspense horror movie. The music is suspense music. The music is pretty sinister and it is fully instrumental.

I guess this soundtrack is going to scare the life out of me when it is the soundtrack for all the horror I will watch on that DVD.

It does not work that well as a music album. But it is not a bad album, the half an hour of it. It has a lot of good melodies. It is in fact a good album whose only gripe I have got is the lack of any really great melodies.

This is one of the better Goblin albums I have heard and I am looking forward to receiving the DVD. So in this case; the music has sold the movie to me. Job very well done, Goblin !

3 points 


Friday, 2 September 2016

Bijou - El Profeta (2005)


The one and only album from this Spanish band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and keyboards.

The band is listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives and that gave me a lot of hope. Hope dashed. I am not sure why this band is so mislabeled as this.

Their music is simply instrumental rock with a lot of progressive rock leanings. That and a lot of fusion leanings too. Add the likes of Camel too and you get this album.

This whole one hour long album is instrumental. It does not have much of a Spanish flavour. There are some and you can hear this band is from the Iberian region. This time; from Spain.

The music goes through the motions with a lot of guitars and keyboards. And I wonder... where the heck is the neo-prog ? It is not here.

And I also wonder.... when will this album really kick off and kick on ? Hitting the strides, so to speak. It never does.

There are some decent stuff here. But this album is far too generic and does not offers up anything of interest. This album is not progression. It is regression and a lot of running through somebody elses motions.

This album is only saved by some decent melodies. Besides of that......

1.5 points

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Bi Kyo Ran - Bi Kyo Ran (1982)


The debut album from this Japanese band who all in all released six albums.

The band was a three piece band on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals.
They got some help from three guest musicians who contributed with mellotron, keyboards, recorder and electric violin.

The album artwork does not really tell you much...... besides of the hope that you may be in for an eclectic experience here. Maybe even an avant-garde trip to outer space.

Both yes and no is the answer.

The band sounds a heck like King Crimson anno Red on this album. The music is eclectic as heck here. The band is not copying King Crimson and the Red album. Not any other King Crimson album, for that manner. But....

The whole concept behind this album and band is so King Crimson. It is almost like a copycat band. It is a copycat band, in fact. At least on this album.

Fans of King Crimson, get this album now !!  I will now continue this review for the rest of us.  

There is a lot of strange and eclectic melodies here. There are five tracks here. This album clocks in at forty-two minutes too.

The sound quality is my really only gripe with this album. It is an album who delivers a lot and makes a prog rock heart skip some beats. It is not a great album. But it is still a good album.

3 points



Monday, 29 August 2016

Steeleye Span - Commoner's Crown (1975)


The seventh album from these folk rock legends from England.

The band was a six piece on this album with mandolin, violins, banjo, piano, guitars, bass, tabor, drums, male and female vocals.

Tim Hart does the male vocals while the fabelous Maddy Prior does the female vocals. Both excellent as per usual.

The band had been branching out into progressive rock and rock during their latest albums. And Commoners Crown is following in the same path. Nevertheless, the band still takes time to give folk music their attention. This time including an Irish jig. Not the best track on this album. But still very much noteworthy.

There is a melancholic feel over this album. There are also a couple of light hearted moments here.

I get the feeling that the band is comfortable with what they are doing now. Which can be a bit dangerous as comfortable not always means creativity.

My main and only gripe with this album is the lack of any great songs here. The band has even problem scraping together some good tracks here.

Nevertheless, this is a good album. Barely a good album. Maddy Prior and Tim Hart saves this album's bacon. But this is not a top notch Steeleye Span album.

3 points


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Battiato. Franco - Pollution (1972)


The second album from this Italian composer and artist.

I really did not like his debut album Fetus with that horrible album cover and awarded that a Turkey status. 1 point in other words.

Franco Battiato has returned to my speakers with his second album of in total thirty-two albums. I got some more of them. But I need a Franco Battiato break and will review those albums sometimes later, next year or so.

Franco Battiato does keyboards and vocals here. He is helped out by four other musicians on drums, guitars, bass and synths.

There is a lot of synths and sound effects here. Most of them sounds like a barking mad mental asylum. You get the feeling that Franco Battiato is very eccentric, creating very eccentric music. Hence, I need a break from his albums & world........

Again, we get a mad half an hour with him. There is a lot of Gong over his work. But Franco Battiato is much more distorted space rock than what Gong ever was. Gong was spacy enough. But much more cleaner and not so avant-garde as Franco Battiato.

This album is actually bordering to having an understandable concept. Well, I understand the music concept here. The music is spaced out into outer space and includes some mad sound effects. But there is a method in this madness....... me think.

The end result is a decent enough album. It is not a good album but it is still well worth checking out this album. Do that.

2 points



Alarcen. Jean Pierre - Jean Pierre Alarcen (1978)


The debut album from this French composer and artist.

Jean-Pierre Alarcen was a bit of a strange artist. He was one of the pioneering guitarists in the French rock scene back in the 1960s before he formed the blues band Eden Rose and then the symphonic prog band Sandrose. Read my review of their one and only album here.

Jean-Pierre Alarcen released three albums under his own name. He did the guitars and some keyboards here. He also got help from ten guest musicians here. The lineup is classical orchestra instruments, guitars, bass, drums, choirs and a lot of keyboards. Michel Zacha contributes with choirs.

This blog has taken me to a lot of strange albums and places. This album is among the strangest ones.

There is no rock or no prog rock here. What we get is both classical music and fusion/jazz. Nothing inbetween.

Strange, very strange.

The album starts with a straight jazz piece. Then we get a very standard classical music piece. Then a jazz/fusion piece and another classical soire piece. I think we have three jazz and three classical music pieces here on six tracks. Altogether, that is half an hour worth of music.

I wish I could say that this is a good album. It is not. The contrasts is too big and the music is not good enough. The jazz pieces here sounds a bit too generic and too much in the wein of Weather Report, Chick Corea and those US bands. The classical pieces sounds like throw-away pieces.

This is a decent album. But also a very strange one. Check it out.

2 points

 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Edison's Children - Somewhere Between Here and There (2015)


The third album from this multi-national duo.

Edison's Children is Erik Blackwood and Pete Trewavas. They do all the main instruments here. That means bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

They have got help from some drummers to fill the drum chair and three other musicians on xtra guitars and vocals.

I very much liked their first two albums In The Last Waking Moment (2011) and The Final Breath Before November (2013). Great neo-prog albums.

So I was looking forward to this one.....

... And received this album.

Eighty minutes. Thirty minutes of this album is original music. The remaining fifty minutes is remixes and live recordings.

Hence my long face.

And to make it a lot worse, the half an hour of original music here.

The music here is neo-prog too with overly emotional vocals. The music is mostly half-acoustic and rather generic. The vocals is pretty bad too.

This album reeks of sell-out and cashing in. I almost smell a get-out-of-the-record contract album.
A couple of the tracks is decent. The rest is bland, uninspired and frankly abysmal. Avoid !!!

1.5 points


 

Beduínos a Gasóleo - Beduínos a Gasóleo (2007)


The one and only album from this Portugese band.

There is not often I review albums from Portugal. This country did not really have as great music scene during the years of fascist dictatorship as Spain did have. Portugal is a lot smaller too and their language is mostly limited to Portugal and Brazil.

Beduinos A Gasoleo was formed long time after democracy was reintroduced in Portugal. They were a quartet on this album with a lineup of percussion, guitars, keyboards, backing vocals and bass. They were helped out by vocalists, drummer, saxofone, flutes and trombone.

Three songs, fifty-six minutes. This reeks of jazz. And if you believe that, you are much mistaken.

This album and band is very much a great example of crossover prog. There is a heck of a lot going on each of the three tracks. Both music wise and genre rock. Where do I start ?

The music is based on psychedelic folk rock. Besides of crossover prog, this is probably the best genre to put this album in. But add a lot of cool jazz too. A large chunk of Italian progressive rock can be added too. Ditto for Latin-American pop music. And symphonic prog. And Middle-East folk music too. Gosh..... what have I forgotten ? Yes, some Spanish prog rock too.

Confused ? Well, this is an hour full of bemusing, not to say amusing, music.

And the best of all; this really works out fine. The female vocals are cool and so is the music. A bit of a cool breeze on a warm day like this. Yes, we do have a warm sun here in Scotland too. Do I have a bottle of Campari in my house to go with this album ? No. But you get my drift.

This is by no means a great album. The melodies are not that great. But this is a good album and one to check out if you want something refreshing. Can we get some more albums in this genre, please ? 

3 points




Friday, 26 August 2016

Blops - Del Volar De Las Palomas (1971)


The second album from this Chile based band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of acoustic guitars, bass, percussions, lots of local acoustic instruments and Spanish vocals.

Blops was one of the three big folk rock bands from Chile. The other two are El Congreso and Los Jaivas. Blops was not as highly regarded as those two bands. They also only released three studio albums.

Where the two other folk rock bands went a bit melodic and psych folk rock, Blops took one big step towards traditional folk music on this album. Vocals based folk music.

Folk music, but with some folk rock influences too. There is not much instrumental work here inbetween the far too regular vocals parts.

This album is drenched in male vocals and they are not the best ones either.

The music is not particular good either. This album is one big conservative folk music album which shows no risk taking or any musical development whatsoever. Hence, Blops was left behind.

This is a decent enough album. But only that.

2 points

 

Rodototoed - Ver (2012)


The third and final album from this Mexican band.

The band is still a trio with a lineup of loops, guitars, bass, drums and kaossilator.

I have not been overly impressed by their previous two albums. Spaced out krautrock with a lot of avant-garde stuff.

Their music is mostly avant-garde. That goes very much for this album. A half an hour long album which ebbs and flows like a post rock album.

But there is a lot of noise and outer space rock on this album though. A lot of avant-garde too. What may sound like chaos, sounds like organised and very structured chaos on this album. Some bass lines and drums support the guitars and loops.

The music here is the best they have ever come up with. Six melodies which floats into each other.

Maybe it is not a loss for the civilization that this band is no more among us. But I like this album. It has some good stuff going on here and some subtle, but good melodies. It also has this chaos and nevermind attitude I like too.

This is a good album and a free one if you choose that option from this link. But pay them something. They deserve it.

3 points



Thursday, 25 August 2016

Osada Vida - The After Effect (2014)


The seventh album from this Polish band.

Osada Vida is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and English vocals. They has also got help from a string-quartet on this album.

This one of those bands who operates somewhere between prog metal and neo-prog. Or Heavy Prog as this is called in ProgArchives. A genre also including the likes of Rush, Haken and Porcupine Tree. I do agree with ProgArchives when it comes to these three bands...... and Osada Vida.

Osada Vida went through a change of genre and personell some years ago. I reviewed their sixth album Elements, the first one after this change, back in January 2014 and noticed a not so exciting band. This album was still a good album.

I am not a big fan of that album. But I would like to check out their first five albums though as I am a curious cat by nature. I am intrigued......

This album though, The After Effect, is a fifty minutes long album. It is a mix of a couple of facepalm inducing pop tunes, some rockers and some more proggy sounding songs where the band is exploring neo-prog a bit.

The pop stuff is grizzly bad, it has to be said. The majority of the stuff here is pretty good, though. But the band does not sounds like they have something to offer here. It does not come across as a great band.

I have my reservations about this album which is lacking in both quality and application.

2.5 points

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Castello Di Atlante. Il - Arx Atlantis (2016)


The sixth album from this Italian band.

The band returns after seven years as a seven piece big band with a lineup of violins, piano, synths, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Italian vocals.

Il Castello Di Atlante has always been one of my favourite post the seventies RPI bands. I very much like their previous five studio albums and their EP.

The band is among those epic Italian symphonic prog bands who swear to RPI in the vein of Banco and PFM. That alone makes my heartstrings sing like a blackbird..... But the band also backs that up with action - music !

The vocals are pretty operatic and forceful. The music full to the brim by very interesting details. The violins gives the music a very special sound. Oh yeah, the band are back in town again.

This album is fifty minutes long and the music is a mix of the grandious soaring melodies and the more pastoral melodies. Both styles fits this band very well.

To a large degree, this album mirrors the Italian soul. Between the cathedrals and the small churches. Everything done with passion. Just as this album. This album is passion.

The music is always very good to great on this album. The final song Il Tesoro Ritrovato is the best song on a very good, indeed a great album.

4 points

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Basso. Luciano - Cogli il Giorno (1978)


The second album from this Italian artist.

Luciano Basso has released seven albums in a long career. A career mostly spent as a concerto pianist and composer for TV.

His 1976 debut album Voci was a good album with some RPI and a lot of classical music. ELP springs to mind. It was also a well received album back in 1976/77.

So Luciano Basso moved onto a new project. A rock opera which opens with a very nice and light flutes dominated folk rock melodies. And that is as cheerful as it comes.

There is almost 20 musicians involved here. All of them with classical orchestra instruments. It is like a mini, bare boned philarmonic orchestra with an added soprano opera singer on the top. Luciano Basso is doing clavinet and all the piano himself.

This is in all but name a piece of classical music.

It is also a piece of avant-garde rock. Lots of it has taken a lot from the prominent Italian avant-garde scene.

This is by no means an easy listening album. Far from it ! It is a journey through a dark landscape.

The quality is not bad. It is an album requiring a lot from the listener and I have had my problems. But I like avant-garde rock and this half an hour long album is down my alley. Check out this good album.

3 points



Sunday, 21 August 2016

Poire - Atlantis (2015)


The debut album from this Spanish band.

The band, a trio, was formed as a vehicle to play the composer Pere Miralles (vocals and guitars here) music from his 2014 solo album. The band worked out and another album was written and recorded. The result is Atlantis and this trio named Poire.

In addition to Pere on vocals and guitars, you also find Alex Miralles on bass/vocals plus Aleix Burgues on drums.

I cannot say I have seen a lot of reviews of this album. It is digitally available from here though.

The band has described the music here as a bit experimental. Forget that ! The music is pretty much middle of the road progressive rock and rock with substantial Pink Floyd and Roger Waters influences. There is also some Rush influences here.

The heavy accented vocals is good, if you can listen behind the heavy accent. There is work to be done here, Pere.....

The music is not that exciting either. It is a bit run-of-the-mill. The art of great songwriting is not something the band knows.

That said, the musicians is very good and they have spiced up this fifty minutes long album with a lot of small, good details. But the songwriting......

2.5 points


Bauhaus - Stairway to Escher (2003)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

This album was cobbled together from some live tracks from a festival in Pompeii, 1974. I should therefore not have reviewed it according to my review policy. But I discovered this too late.

Anyway, Bauhaus was the remnants of another one album only band; Bueno Vecchio Charlie. That band did RPI. Bauhaus did not.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of saxophone, guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.

Bauhaus was a jazz band more than a fusion band. The music is pretty hard bopping and not so much a fusion of rock and jazz. The rock instruments gives people the wrong impression here, that this is fusion. Anyway, you get the picture.

This forty-seven minutes long album does not take any prisoners. It is pretty hard jazz and very lively. Not much flirting with the finer art of pleasing the rock audience. A lot of the music reminds me about Soft Machine at their most jazzy moments.

The sound is not too bad, this being a cobbled together album from analogue tapes. But there is no denying a that big questions has to be asked about the sound quality.

The overall quality is decent to good. The music does not feel that very much innovative and the band does not take many chances. I would not include Bauhaus among the many great Italian jazz/fusion bands. But this album is a bit fun and I quite like it. The art-work is great.

2.5 points