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



Saturday, 20 August 2016

Barracuda Triangle - Electric Shock Therapy (2014)


The debut album from this Swedish project.

This project, because I cannot see this grow into a band, is actually Jonas Reingold, Tomas Bodin and Felix Lehrmann from The Flower Kings. In other words, another branch of the main tree; The Flower Kings.

The album was released on Reingold Records without much fanfare.

The lineup is keyboards, bass, guitars and drums. There is no vocals here.

This album has a bit of everything, genre wise. A bit of instrumental The Flower Kings and this Scandinavian symphonic prog genre and sound.
It also has a bit of fusion, a bit of mainstream symphonic prog, a bit of Swedish folk music and a lot of cinematic music.

The three wise men from The Flower Kings makes it plain that they can play their instruments. The Barracuda Triangle is also a place they can play as a trio and knock their heads together on some music you will never find in either The Flower Kings or in any other bands you will find them in.

..... By exposing yourself this way, you also makes it plain what your problem is. Which is the lack of good, concise music writing. Something Roine Stolt is so good at.

I am not a big fan of this album. It is a good album. But it is pretty clear what this one hour long album is in need of: Great melodies.

3 points

 

Bloque - Bloque (1978)


The debut album from this Spanish band.

This band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, Mellotron, synths, percussion and Spanish vocals.

Bloque is one of those interesting finds which makes this blog such an interesting hobby. The band went onto releasing four studio album, according to ProgArchives. Without them, this band would have bypassed me. Which would have been a loss to my life. I got all their albums and reviews are forthcoming.

This, their debut album, is not regarded as their best, according to ProgArchives.

The music here is a bit of a mix of Italian bands like PFM/Banco and Thin Lizzy. There is even some Black Sabbath here. Add the usual Spanish folk sound to the mix too and some Spanish pop music. The contrasts are pretty big and it is obvious that the band has not really matured yet.

Still..... Being a debut album where the band is trying to include everything and everyone into forty-five minutes, this band is still pretty good. Some stuff here is pretty bad and throwaway. Then again....... There is stuff here which really works. Some Mellotron inspired melody lines makes me believe there is hope in this band. The vocals too is really good.

I really like Spanish music and this band is hitting several of my heart strings. This album though is somewhere between decent and good. But there is hope...... Reviews to follow !!

2.5 points



Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Mute Gods. The - Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me (2016)


The debut album from this new English band.

The Mute Gods is a kind of a supergroup with Nick Beggs, Marco Minnemann and Roger King. These three guys supplies guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The band has also got help from a lot of other musicians too. Rob Reed and Nick D'Virgilio being the most known of them. The album has also been released on one of the bigger prog rock labels.

A good guess tells me this is a kind of hard neo-prog. And I am not far of the mark. It is indeed music rooted in neo-prog. Add the freshness and heaviness of Rush and we are pretty much there.

This is an exact one hour long album. Nick Beggs vocals are good and the musicians does a great job. His wife/daughter Lula Beggs chimes in on female vocals too and does a good job.

Projects/bands like The Mute Gods fills me a bit with dread as they rarely puts up some excitement. This album is no difference.

The music is good enough to make it an acceptable album. It is moving towards pop and rock too many times for my liking. This is a kind of great-musicians-showing-off album.

Those who likes neo-prog with the freshness of Rush will be very happy with this album. And I am satisfied with it. It is a good listen and by no means a waste of my time. But excitement... ? No.

3 point


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Goblin - Volo (1982)


The eleventh album from this Italian band.

The band was a five piece on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and Italian vocals. They also had a lot of help from woodwind players and background vocals.

To say that their previous ten albums has been a mixed bag is an understatement. From the great to the abysmal bad, Goblin has taken on us a rollercoaster ride.

For some reasons, the band decided to go pop music on this album. An album I don't think is a soundtrack. Hence, there is no excuse.

The eight songs on this thirty-six minutes long album follows the verse-chorus-verse formula. We get some female vocals in addition to the male vocals and a lot of soothing saxophone. Some hard guitars adds some "edge" to the proceedings.

Goblin sounds like a Las Vegas act on this album. And that is far from being a compliment.

I have not a good word to say about this album, a turkey of an album and I am therefore going to make this review very short. Avoid at all cost.

1 point 



Skull Cowboys - I Love After Death (2015)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band is a five piece band with a lineup of electric guitar, classical guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.

I got this album some months ago as a promo. As I am pretty forgetful and lazy, the band kindly reminded me about my promise to review this album two weeks ago. I need two weeks to digest an album so this review is being published now.

The album is btw available from here.

The music is wholly instrumental and it is only half an hour long. Which is long enough for an instrumental album.

The music is a mix of most genres. But this album is by no mean chaotic. It is actually very structured. Let me explain...... This album comes across as a mix of post rock, Italian progressive rock and classic rock. The electric guitars of Mario Pierno creates some very good solos. Soaring good solos which heads for the sky and beyond. There are also some more pastoral post rock melodies here. A good balance indeed.

The band has described themselves as a soundtrack band. This album is indeed a soundtrack for a movie never made or never to be made. Hence, the reference for this band is Goblin. Which is a very good reference indeed.

The melodies are decent to good throughout. This is indeed a more than acceptable debut album and something the band should build on. Write some good melodies and you have a winner here.

2.5 points

Monday, 15 August 2016

Blops - Blops (1970)


The debut album from this Chilean band.

Blops, or Los Blops as their original name, was a five piece band with a lineup of accordion, bass, guitars, percussion, organ, flutes and vocals. Spanish vocals, that is.

I not know much about this band at all. They released three studio albums and I got them all. They are up for review this month.

The band is a folk rock band. The references to the likes of Los Jaivas and El Congresso is obvious. When it comes to European references.......... Well, I am a bit blank.

The reason is that this band is very much a South American band with the typical South American folk rock sound. That includes a lot of references to the likes of The Beatles and some to The Beach Boys. Doors is a good reference too.

The vocals is a bit harsh and ditto for the sound. There is a lot of instrumental guitars and flutes stuff here which reminds me about the progressive rock scene in Italy.

Some of the melodies here is leaning pretty heavy towards space and acid rock. Acid folk is a good label for this album too. 

The music is pretty decent throughout. It is a bit too folky music for my taste. The music is simply not good enough. But it is nevertheless a decent album, well worth checking out.

2 points

 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Battiato. Franco - Fetus (1972)


The debut album from this Italian artist.

First of all, an apology for this pretty horrendous offensive cover. I have been in serious doubts if I should even touch this artist because of this cover. By no means do I endorse this cover. This cover is his most offensive cover so I will let it pass, uncensored.

It goes without saying that the English/American version of this album did not include this offensive art-work......

Franco Battiato was a pretty controversial artist and the album art-cover more than explains why. On this album, he had help from six other musicians. He did all the synths and vocals himself.

Franco Battiato started out as a pop singer and his first singles are pure Italian pop. Not satisfied with light hearted pop, Franco went for progressive rock on this, his debut album.

This album includes half an hour of some sort of progressive Italian rock. RPI in other words. Some sort of........

This is a concept album. It is about life of some sort. It is not easy to understand what he want here as this album is so fragmented and incoherent. There are songs and instrumental pieces scattered around the whole album. Some of them pretty heavy. Others again is pretty pastoral. Some are pretty jazzy too. Some are folk rock. Some are pop. All this in half an hour.

There is not much quality here and it feels like Franco has totally lost the plot after the first song. This album is frankly a turkey. I hope the next albums, I got four more to review, is better than this one.

1 point





Porcupine Tree - In Absentia (2002)


The seventh album from this British band.

Porcupine Tree returns again as a quartet and a lineup of bass, drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals. They have got some help of strings and backing vocals. The sound sounds expensive, let me say that.

Broadly speaking, those who has got any Porcupine Tree albums knows what to get here. Very clever eclectic prog with as lot of very good to great melodies.

But there is a difference on this album, compared to Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun. Porcupine Tree is pushing the boat out on In Absentia and sounds lot more experimental. Some of the songs, well most of the songs are very eclectic. Where the band has let the good melody speak for themselves, the band is much more influenced by electronica and nu-metal here.

This album is still a Porcupine Tree album and it is very much a progressive rock album. The band has not forgotten the good melody either. The overall quality of the melodies are very good. Very good indeed.

I have had a bit problems with the most eclectic parts of this album. The electronica pieces does not sit well with me. Did not sit well with me until I got them and started to enjoy them.

In Absentia is one of the reasons why Steve Wilson is rated as one of the most important and creative persons in the progressive rock scene, past and present. I like/admire people who are genuine progressive in their music. In Absentia is a genuine album in this mould and it is also a very good album.

3.5 points

Battesini - Scored Fractals (2010)


The debut album from this Brazilian band.

Saolo Battesini was a guitarist for Kaizen and Quaterma Requiem. He has given his name to this band too.

This band has seven members, including Saolo Battesini. He does all the guitars himself and is being supported by flute, piano, bass, drums and keyboards.

Battesini is listed as neo-prog in the almighty and very trustworthy ProgArchives. This time, I really have to say I disagree. There is not much neo-prog here.

The music is instrumental and it is a mix of fusion, symphonic prog, prog metal and cinematic music. Mostly cinematic music, it has to be said.

The guitars are pretty much in the forefront here. Those and the keyboards. The music is very dynamic and pretty hard throughout.

Dynamic but also a bit full of cliches and riffs and melody lines which sounds familiar. The band has probably not copied anyone or anything. But the band is really walking down a well trodden path on this album.

There is not many surprises here and not many good tracks on this one hour long album. This is a decent enough album. But it is not an album I can recommend.

2 points



Saturday, 13 August 2016

Baricentro. Il - Trusciant (1978)


The second and final album from this Italian band.

The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, piano, keyboards, congas, guitars and various sorts of percussions. African type of percussions.

The album is entirely instrumental and the genres here is jazz and fusion.

I quite liked their debut album Sconcerto from 1976. A good Italian jazz album with some Canterbury and Weather Report influences.

This is again what we get here. Just as described above. The band has not changed much on these two albums.

Well....... The bite in their music has mostly gone. It has been replaced with elegance and a lot of Return To Forever influences has crept into their music.

The music here is perhaps more jazz than fusion. A lot of keyboards and piano. A lot of rhythms too.

The music is also pretty melodic too. This is also a good half an hour long album. It is not the most exciting album around. It does not have much of a bite and it is a pretty generic jazz album. But I like what I hear..... in small portions. It is a good, but barely a good album.

3 points

 

Rodototoed - 2 (2011)


The second album from this Mexican band.

This band is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass and drums. They got help from two other musicans who supplies flutes and baritone sax.

I forgot to add on the review of their debut album Relatos De Poder some days ago that all their albums is free downloads from their record label's Bandcamp site.

Free does not means cheap and nasty. There is a lot of fully worth free albums out there. This band has contributed very well to that scene.

We are again in the middle of chaos. Organised chaos. It is fair to label this album as fifty minutes full of experiements.

The music is still space rock in the krautrock genre. But still very avant-garde although not full on avant-garde/RIO. The music is too much space and krautrock to be avant-garde music.

But let me add that this album is not for the faint hearted, though. There is a lot of manic loony flutes here. The guitars are pretty crass and distorted too. The baritone sax adds to the chaos. The controlled chaos.

The sound is not the best here and it has got a live feel. The music is a bit too left-field for me. Nevertheless, there is some good and some not so good stuff here. It is an album blowing hot and cold. Hence my verdict.

2.5 points



Bards Of Antiquity. The - Salix Babylonica (2015)


The debut album from this US band.

The band is a trio and their lineup is synth violin, guitars, synths, bass, drums, programming and vocals.

This band is also three black metal musicians going back to the past, to the end of the 1960s, and trying to make a sort of an album from those times.

The end result is an ambient album with some strong folk rock and classical music influences.

The music is very depressive and it has occured to me that these three musicians can daily be found in the depressive funeral metal end of the black metal scene. I don't hear much Emperor or Mayhem here. More like the band Funeral, who released an album on my now defunct record label.

A lot of of the music also reminds me about Goblin too. A bit of one of their more depressive movie soundtracks.

The funeral dirge feeling permeates every tone of this album. Something very helped by the clear, but still depressive vocals. Not the best vocals I have heard, but still fitting for this album. I got no problems with that.

The music is a bit too ambient and there is not much going on here on this fifty minutes long album. A bit more action and quality would have been fine. A couple of good tracks elevates this album up to a decent status. I cannot see this album becoming a best selling album. It is frankly too weird, even for this scene.

2 points


Friday, 12 August 2016

Basso. Luciano - Voci (1976)


The debut album from this Italian pianist and composer.

Luciano Basso has had a long career as a classical pianist and recording artist. He has released seven album, the 2007 album Free Fly being his latest album.

Inbetween these sporadic albums, he has toured as a concert pianist and composed music for TV. The normal career for a great Italian piano and keyboard player.

It does not come as a great surprise to find an album somewhere between symphonic prog and classical music.

The forty minutes here is divided into five tracks. Four if you regard track 2 and 3 as being the same track. Most reviewers does that as this album has four distinctive different pieces of music.

There is a lot of keys in all varieties. From piano to mellotron and harpsischord. There is also violins, cello, bass, guitars and drums here. But no vocals. This album was recorded by six musicians.

The harpsichord is used pretty frequently here and that is a joy to behold. And the music is pretty melodic too. The RPI elements is very much present here. This is very much an album made in Italy and as music from Italy. There is plenty of references to Italian pop, folk and prog here. One half of this album is also very much classical music.

ELP springs to mind here as a reference. But this is as I said above an Italian album. Unmistaken so.

It is a pity that the music is not really that great. It is not an album would say puts it's head above other albums in this genre. Some of the music is bordering to very good. Some is not.

This is a good album which may interest fans of symphonic prog and Italian prog.

3 points  

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Electric Light Orchestra - Alone In The Universe (2015)


The sixteenth album from these English legends.

The band is called Jeff Lynne's ELO due to him being the only original ELO member left in the band. But this is nevertheless Electric Light Orchestra and an album from them.

Actually, I am much mistaken here. Richard Tandy from most ELO albums is also involved here as a fulltime member of ELO. The band is therefore Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy. They have got some help from six other musicians.

The lineup is keyboards, electric cello, bass, drums, guitars and vocals.

The previous two albums did not set my world on fire. I was not alone in the universe (pun intended) when I described them as extreme weak albums.

The first two minutes reminds me a lot about Sir Paul McCartney. A person Jeff Lynne has always wanted to emulate (yes, please give Jeff Lynne a knighthood too). Sir Paul McCartney not at his best, I have to add.

This half an hour long album really comes across as a mix of ELO and Sir Paul McCartney. You can also add some of The Beatles first songs too. Not the rock'n'roll songs. Just the more teenybopper pop songs. 

Sir Paul McCartney have released some great and some really bad albums. This ELO album reminds me about one of his really bad albums. There is some really tired looking sound and songs on Alone In The Universe. Also clocking in at thirty-two minutes and having some really short songs does not instill any confidence in this project.

This is not an album fans of ELO should purchase with any great joy and hope. A couple of decent songs and the ELO and The Beatles sound saves it from a turkey status. But this is still a terrible bad album.

1.5 points

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Midlake - Antiphon (2013)


The fourth album from this US band.

The band is a six piece on this album with a lineup of bassoon, bass, guitars, dulcimer, autoharp, drums, flutes, keyboards, piano, backing vocals and vocals.

Eric Pulido is the vocalist here, being promoted from backing vocals on the previous albums. Tim Smith, the original vocalist has left the band.

That means a slight departure from the old sound on this album. Tim Smith was a very special vocalist. And the same can be said about Eric Pulido too. But the band still sounds a bit different.

The sound and music is still very much rooted in folk music. Again, add a lot of The Beatles and Barclay James Harvest. Add a lot from Jefferson Airplane too and the west coast scene.

There is a lot of breezy cool in their music. A breezy cool adopted from jazz and the west coast scene. But the music is still warm and pastoral.

The music is also very good throughout. Which just prove why they have become a bit of a favourite band in my house. There is no great songs here though. But nevertheless, these forty-four minutes is a very good time with this band.

This is not their best album by any means. Nevertheless......

3.5 points
 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Steeleye Span - Now We Are Six (1974)


The sixth album from this English band.

I am not entirely sure what the album title refer to. But the band was a six piece band here and I guess that is what the album title refers to. The lineup was woodwinds, electric and acoustic guitars, electric dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, piano, violins, synths, drums and vocals.

Tim Hart is again the male vocalist while Maddy Prior does the female vocals. Both do a superb job.

This album is the most rock orientated album so far in their career. The band and the music here is still firmly rooted in folk music. Steeleye Span has by no means sold out in their hunt for money and fans.

Far from it !

The music here is rock orientated. But it still has this Steeleye Span trademark sound and their folk music roots. Maddy Prior does a superb job as per usual and the band is also great.
 
There are a couple of great songs here and some less than decent songs. This is indeed an uneven album where the first two songs gives a lot of promises not fulfilled by the rest of this forty-three minutes long album. The final minutes of this album is pretty dreadful too.

The end result is a good album which could have been so much better.

3 points


Monday, 8 August 2016

Roads To Damascus - Precious Empires (2015)


The third album from this Scottish band.

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

The band has so far released two good albums. They have become bolder and bolder on every album. Which is a good, good thing. Make that........ a great thing !

The band is still a neo-prog band. This time, more neo-prog than ever. The rock and pop stuff has been killed off and the band has now fully become a progressive rock band. Which is a very good thing.

The sound is contemporary and modern. The music is in the Marillion, Fish era mould. One of many bands in that mould.

That is fine for me. I very much like that band myself.

The songs are longer and much more bolder on this album. Some of them are touching nine - ten minutes. And they have got a lot of contents and style. There are also some symphonic prog touches here. Which is something new from this band. Continue with that !

This album is seventy-two minutes long and it feels a bit like a concept album at times.

My only gripe is the lack of any great tracks. But there is a lot of positive things here and this one is pushing a very good rating. Nevertheless, this is a good album well worth checking out. Actually, it is a very good album and by far their best album so far. Please keep a close eye on this band.

3.5 points





Sunday, 7 August 2016

Bandhada - Open Cage (2009)


The second album from this Chile based band.

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

I believe their first album, their self titled debut album, was released back in 1993. And we have not heard anything more from the band after they released Open Cage, either.

This band is one of those fusion bands who stands with half a foot in the symphonic prog genre. Hence this album.

The music has it's roots in jazz. Indeed, we get a lot of very elegant jazz here. Polished, stylish and elegant. There are also half a leg of symphonic prog and classical music on this album.

Camel springs to mind. So does Return To Forever too from the jazz side of this album.

The album is almost one hour long and we get a lot of piano, half acoustic guitars, bass, drums, and some saxophone sounding keyboards. Oh, the saxophones are real, I have just discovered. There are also some shorter guitar solos here. Everything here is mid-tempo. 

Elegance is the word here. But there is also a lot of substance here. The band comes from Chile in South America. That is very obvious on this album as it has got a good South American feel.

The end result is a good album which does not tear down any houses or becomes too offensive. Everyone will find something good here. Hence, this album is more like a lamb than a wolf. And I prefer wolves.

3 points



Edera - Mindquake (2015)


The third album from this Italian band.

Edera is from Milan and they are a six piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English vocals, that is.

Edera has released two albums so far, their 2002 debut album Settings For A Drama and the 2005 follow up album And Mouth Disappears. Both of them decent to good. Check out my reviews somewhere else in this blog.

Edera plays neo-prog. The German take on neo-prog, that is. There are off course some English neo-prog connotations here too. But I would still put Edera down as a German style neo-prog band.

Valerio Valentini's vocals is very emotional and melancholic. That gives the music here a melancholic edge. The melancholic vibe can be found throughout the whole fifty minutes long album.

The songs are medium long. Between five and eight minutes long.

The songs are also well crafted. But they are also stucked in the verse-chorus-verse formula and there is not much else going on. The solos is not that good.

When that is said, this is not a bad album. It is indeed a good album. It is not that interesting album though and I am never blown away. This is a good neo-prog album. Check it out.

3 points

 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Hillage. Steve - For To Next (1983)


The seventh and final studio album from Steve Hillage, England.

Although Steve Hillage is still very active as both a solo-artist, member of Gong and in other projects, this is his final album. Or let's hope he will start to release some more albums.

Steve Hillage plays mostly everything here. Guitars, bass, drum programming and vocals. Another musician helps out with female vocals and some more computers.

The end result is a bit minimalism.

And the music here is a mix of punk, synths, new romanticism and new rock anno the 1980s.

There is not a single hint of his background from progressive rock, space rock, guitar hero rock and the Canterbury scene. The landscape on this forty-two minutes long album is barren and very cold.

This does not feel like a Steve Hillage album at all. It is a total, total break with his history. Even with his electronica history.

This is a horrible, horrible album and it is not something Steve Hillage should have on his CV.

1 point 

Friday, 5 August 2016

Banzai - Hora Nata (1974)



The one and only album from this Belgium based band.

Banzai was five piece band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions, alto saxophone and English vocals.

The first ten minutes of this album gives most of the game away.

Both the opener You Always Like An Entree? and the short Try suite sounds like a Yes clone. A real, real Yes clone where a lot of Yes stuff has been nicked and repackaged into these two songs. It is kind of good for us who love Yes. But perhaps not so amusing for those who either take Yes too seriously or do not like Yes at all.

The rest of the album is still a lot about Yes. But the band has also incorporated a lot of jazz and The Beatles influences too. There is even some vaudeville stuff here too.

The alto saxophone gives the band a kind of an identity although that identity is faint and not at all strong.

I only got the LP version and that is a forty minutes long album. There is also a one hour long CD version too. These forty minutes are decent enough.

Neither Banzai or this album offers up much originality or even some good music. This is a half amusing album which is so obscure that it is worth checking out.

2 points  

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Rodototoed - Relatos De Poder (2010)


The debut album from this Mexican band.

Rodototoed is a new name to me. They are a trio with a lineup of guitars, synths, bass and drums.

They are pretty much a power trio in other words. Just like Rush. And all similarities starts and ends there.

This band is very much a space/krautrock band. They are influenced by spaced out krautrock and the evidence is in this album. A very short album, clocking in at half an hour.

The music is pretty intense with a lot of build up during the first ten minutes. Almost pastoral music at times.

The next ten minutes sees the music becomes more intense while it is very intense during the final nine and a half minutes. Crescendo type of intense.

Guitars, half acoustic and full on electric, is the dominating instrument here. That with a great help from drums and bass. The synths are much more subtle.

The guitars are anything by subtle as they are full on at time.

The result is an interesting album which showcases a lot of promise from this Mexican band. I am not intending to put up a wall against their two other albums and neither should you. Check out this band.

2.5 points

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Baricentro. Il - Sconcerto (1976)


The debut album from this Italian band.

The band consists of three ex- Festa Mobile members and released two albums in their short time as this band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions and drums.

Festa Mobile's one and only album was a crossover between Egg and PFM. Between Canterbury and RPI. I was not that impressed by this album in my Progarchives review.

Il Baricentro is leaning much more towards jazz than RPI and Canterbury prog. There is no RPI here whatsoever and a few Canterbury prog references. Soft Machine references, that is.

Il Baricentro sounds like Soft Machine at their most jazzy and a lot like The Weather Report and other fusion bands.

Sconcerto is indeed a forty minutes long fusion album. It is not a live album either. It is very much a studio album.

This album is a mix of serenades, ballads and much more faster stuff. It is instrumental and all instruments plays their equal part. The keyboards does most of the work, though.

The music here is really melodic without being muzak or cheap commercial.

What is really missing here is some great melodies or tunes. There is none of those here. The music is good throughout and fusion fans will love this album more than I do. I very much like this album. But it is not among my best fusion albums.

3 points 


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Bacamarte - Sete Cidades (1999)


The second album from this Brazilian band.

This is actually a solo album from their guitarist Mario Nete, who does all instruments here. Drums, percussions, keyboards, flutes, vocals, piano, bass and guitars.

I very much liked the Bacamarte debut/only album Depois Do Fin. A great symphonic prog album with a lot of local folk music thrown in. That album is among the five best ever progressive rock albums from South America and a must have album.

I reviewed that album for ProgArchives back in August 2009.

Mario Nete is keeping that Bacamarte name as the name of the record label and his album. I can understand why.

Sete Cidades is a thirty-eight minutes long album in the same vein as the 1983 album. There is still a lot of Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) influences in this album. A lot of RPI influences from the likes of Banco too. Add a lot of South American folk music and symphonic prog to the mix too and you get the result.

Some of the guitars and sound reminds me a lot of Al Di Meola. There is a lot of Spanish guitars here and Latin American guitar picking.

The music has a very strong South American feel and most of the music is very good. This album does not shame the Bacemarte name. It is indeed a very good addition to Depois Do Fin and a great addition to anyone's record collection.

3.5 points 


Bambibanda E Melodie. La - Bambibanda E Melodie (1974)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

The band was a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussions, drums, keyboards and vocals. Italian vocals.

When I state that this is the one and only album from them, I have heard they released another album in the 1980s too. A pop album. The leader (& guitarist, vocalist) of this band, Bambi Fossati, has also been very much involved in Garybaldi.

This album is a bit of an odd album. It is very rhythm focused. The percussions and the drums are very much in the forefront here.

That says, the music is a mix of Caribeen steel music, space rock and jazz. It also feels like an instrumental post rock album thirty years before someone invented this genre. Post rock fans will love the first half of this album. The same goes for krautrock fans as there is a lot of Agitation Free influenced music.

Most of this album is instrumental. The first half, that is. The second part is still very much rhythm focused. But there are some blues here too and some hard rock. There is also some vocals too.

The end result is a rather special and intriguing album where the first half of this forty-two minutes long album is very good and the rest is in the decent to good bag of goodies.

It is most definate well worth checking out this album as it has some charm and a lot of style. A lot of class too.

3 points

  

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Goblin - Patrick (1979)


The ninth album from this Italian band.

The band was a four piece band with a lineup of keyboards, percussions, drums, bass and guitars. All music is instrumental.

This is the soundtrack for the Australian scary movie Patrick. A movie quite popular and now re-released on Blue-Ray. It is still available on DVD too. I am not that tempted as this is not really my kind of movies.

The movie is also a semi-classic and a cult-movie.

.....Which cannot be said about the music.

The music here is pretty dark and very much in the film-score setup with a lot of ambient music with some jazzy influences. The music is pretty dark and brooding though. The music reflects the movie, I have been told by Amazon's reviews of the movie.

As a stand alone album, this album does not offers up much value. The frequent use of piano and keyboards adds a lot of ambience here. This album is almost a new-age album at times.  There is a lot of sinister moods going on here.

The music is decent enough though and in it's own right a far from horrible album. It is a decent fifty minutes long album. This is not one of their best albums.

2 points


Social Tension - It Reminds Me of Those Days (1990)


The second and final album from this Japanese band.

Their 1989 debut album MacBethia did not overly impress me. Very ELP at times and a good album.

The band is again a trio with the same lineup as ELP. That is keyboards, drums and bass. There are also some Japanese vocals here.

We get the same here as on MacBethia. Bombastic ELP like symphonic prog. We also get an 18 minutes long suite here which is very bombastic.

There is also some more vocals orientated pieces of music here. The male vocals are OK and suits the music. These pieces also introduces Japanese pop music into this album.

Where MacBethia was a bit innovative, this album (It Reminds Me Of Those Days) are not that innovative and does not sound that fresh. This album plays it safe and does not go out on a limb. 

This album is also thirty-six minutes long too and it seems like the band is running out of steam here. 

On the positive side, there are some good stuff here. A lot of good stuff. But not enough.

You can get both albums on 1 CD as 2 for 1. Recommended if you love ELP or symphonic prog. If you can get this without breaking the bank, go for it.

2.5 points 



Bag - Soudain L'éléphant (1993)


The one and only album from this French band.

The band came from the Bretagne area and they were a five piece band. Their lineup was bass, keyboards, drums, bombarde, crumhorn, guitars, drums, flute and saxophone.

The music on this fifty-five minutes long album is all instrumental.

It is not too difficult to pinpoint their location to Bretagne as the band is very much rooted in their folk music scene. Lots of folk music can be found here.

Take jazz too and add that into the mix. Add some avant-garde rock, chamber rock and even some zeuhl into the mix too.

The music is eclectic to say at least. Eclectic but still melodic. Melodic and jazzy.

I guess the label on this album is "fusion with folk music influences".

The sound is great and the music is fresh and contemporary. There is not much of the dreaded 1990s here. The music is indeed timeless and it has a great deal of originality and it's own style.

Fifty-five minutes of instrumental music on the slightly anonymous side of the spectrum is a bit too much for most of us. There is no great pieces of music here. But the music is not bad either and this album deserves a lot of credit for it's originality. Hence my verdict.

3 points

 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Goad - The Silent Moonchild (2015)


The ninth album from this Italian band.

Goad is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, violins, flutes, keyboards, bass, drums and English vocals.

Black Widow Records has released this album. This label is more than slightly interested in occult rock. Some of their bands is occult rock bands. All their bands has a dark sound.

Goad is no exception from this rule. I am not really sure that they are an occult band. But their sound is very dark and very original. I have reviewed three of their albums and I cannot remember any other bands with the same sound and conceptual music. Goad is one of a kind, I believe.

Their music is still very melodic and it has elements from AOR, stadium rock, RPI, classical music and symphonic prog.

Maurillio Rossi's vocals is very original to say at least. Very dark and at times very operatic vocals. But nowhere near metal vocals. The vocals are indeed very melodic and pastoral. They have to be heard to be believed and they take some time to get used to. I got no problems with them, whatsoever. I think they are very good.

The music on this fifty-six minutes long album is a bit hit and miss. There are some operatic symphonic prog stuff here and some AOR stuff here. All of it is dark as a thunder-storm. Which pretty much describe this music and this album.

This is not a great album. But it is a good album where most stuff works out very well. I think this band deserve a lot more listeners than they have got now. Check them out.

3 points



Midlake - The Courage of Others (2010)


The third album from this US band.

Midlake was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flute, piano, keyboards, dulcimer, autoharp and vocals.

I really loved their 2006 album The Trials Of Van Occupanther. An album with a very strong The Beatles reference and sound.

Midlake is still very much a folk rock band. A very much downtuned band where less is more.

The less is more ethos very much applies to this album. Stripped down is the overtly The Beatles references. They are still here. But not so obvious.

What remains is a darker, more melancholic and somewhat a more psychedelic folk rock album. It still has some Jefferson Airplane references too. But this is essentially folk rock with a twist. Folk rock with very strong English references. Not so much US and Americana references.

Tim Smith's vocals is again pretty central in their sound. They are pretty eerie and brooding. Which very much adds quality to this album.

This album is not as good as their 2006 album The Trials Of Van Occupanther. There are not much greatness here. It is still a very good album. All the forty minutes of it. It also very much pushes the folk rock envelope and adds a lot of value to this genre. I love that !!

3.5 points






Sunday, 24 July 2016

Backhand - Through The Turbulence (2014)


The one and only album from this band from Venezuela.

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

The band was a kind of a Venezuela supergroup where all members was and still is involved in other projects. From jazz to doing TV and film scores.

I am not sure why they did record this album though. But it is my understanding that it is a labour of love and something they had wanted to do for a long time.

The band list Rush, Led Zeppelin, Joe Satriani and Dream Theater as major influences on this album.

Oh yeah, that is pretty obvious.

The Dream Theater influences here are pretty obvious. The band is influenced by Led Zeppelin although that is not obvious here. But which rock band is not influenced by Led Zeppelin ?

This album is almost eighty minutes long. Yes, that is one hour and twenty minutes. Which makes me believe this album is a one off album where everything recorded has been included. I don't think we will hear anything more from this band.

Which is not that big shame. The band has some great musicians. There is no doubts about that. But the art of creating something original and some good songs has escaped this band.

The music is so mainstream rock and hard rock that it is impossible to detect any originality here. Even the suites here does not shine. There is not much here which makes me smile. A bit soul, creative quality and personality in addition to the musicianship would had made a huge difference here.

This album is a decent album with some sporadic good stuff. Nevertheless, it is a decent album. I am not impressed.

2 points




Saturday, 23 July 2016

Roads To Damascus - R2D2 (2012)


The second album from this north-east (Aberdeen ?) of Scotland band.

I was not overly impressed by with their debut album One from 2009. Decent music, but just that.

The band has expanded from a duo to a proper fabelous four on this album. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

The band has also got themselves a bit of an identity too. A bit of a sound. Which is a very positive development.

Neo-prog is still the basis here. But not the beginning and the end of it all. Far from it.... The band Runrig from Skye on the other side of Scotland made a very good sound on their albums. I believe Roads To Damascus has had a bit of a look in that direction as some of the music and the sound is leaning towards Runrig. We are not talking copycats here. We are talking inspirations here.

Roads To Damascus has aquired quite a useful Scottish sound and ambience.

The music is not that symphonic. It is not symphonic at all. It is normal verse-chorus-verse with some solos inbetween. Short songs, but still pretty punchy short songs.

The end result is an one hour long album. An album with some very good vocals and some good songs. The musicians is doing a good job too and the sound is good and Scottish.

This is a good album which has surprised me as I did not have much expectations after that debut album. Check out this album.

3 points



Friday, 22 July 2016

Steeleye Span - Parcel of Rogues (1973)


The fift album from this English band.

Steeleye Span was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of banjo, mandolin, guitars, tabor, piano, violins, bass and vocals. Maddy Prior is still the female vocalist and Tim Hart does the male vocals. 

I have been listening to and reviewed their first four albums with great interest. Not everything is great or even good. But this band easily defend their position as one of the best ever folk rock bands from UK. Put them next to Fairport Convention or rather; just slightly lower than them. Fairport Convention is still the kings in my opinion.

This mostly due to Sandy Denny's vocals and Richard Thomsen's guitars in Fairport Convention.

When it comes to Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior is a superb vocalist and her vocals really comes to the fore on this album.

The band is also stepping a bit away from some of the more primitive leg stomping folk music on this album. The songs are more refined and melodic.

Parcel Of Rogues also includes the hit song Alison Gross. A song I gave some worthy comments when I earlier this year reviewed the Norwegian band Folque's debut album. It includes a Norwegian version of that song. But Parcel Of Rogues has the original version.... although that too is a cover version of the original which was done by a duo back in 1970.  ...Anyway, this is a great song. One of some great songs on this album.

Although this forty minutes long album also includes a couple of merely good songs, this is still a great album and one to really enjoy. Hence my rating of this album.

4 points

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Hillage. Steve - Open (1979)


The sixth album from this English artist.

Nick Mason from Pink Floyd is the producer here and Steve Hillage has got help from six other musicians. All of them with Canterbury associations. Dave Stewart is the most known of them.

I have bypassed his previous album Rainbow Dome Music as I cannot stand that type of electronica. I would have given it a one point review and Steve Hillage deserve better than that. So no review of that album. Hence, I have jumped to this album.

Open is to a large extent an summary of everything Steve Hillage has been doing. It goes from Canterbury prog to punk, electronica, jazz and space rock. There are references to the likes of Space Khan and Gong here. Plenty of references.

There are even some punk like melodies here. Yes, punk can be melodic too.

The common theme here is Steve Hillage, his guitar and his vocals. That is the thing that binds this album together. A forty minutes album with a rather very bad taste cover artwork. Yes, I cannot stand it.

The result is a very diverse album that has some really bad things and some really good things. I am in doubts..... I like most of this album though and would award it a weak good award. The point is that, the pling-plong album Rainbow Dome Music excluded, Steve Hillage has always let his personality shine through. There is a heck of a lot convictions in his music. Even when he is barking up the wrong tree. Something he does a lot here.

This is barely a good album. But it is still a good album. Check it out.

3 points


Temple Of Switches - Temple Of Switches (2015)


The debut album from this US band.

This four-piece is from Buellton in California. Their lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. The album can be listened to or even bought from their Bandcamp page.

I have to admit that this review has been long coming as I have been unsure what to mean and put into this review for a very long time. But here I go....

The basis here is neo-prog. US neo-prog, that is. Which is an entirely different beast than their counterparts in UK. Or in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Everything is bigger and more fat in the USA. Which is proven true on this album. Their sound is fat and so is the music. Take the piano and the vocals. Take the guitars and keyboards. Fat as in....... a burger from a Texan steakhouse. Big, bold, brash and fat. That is the music here.

Unfortunate, the music sometimes becomes a very banal and teenybopper like. Which does not please me at all as I have got a nasty allergy towards banal teenybopper music.

The rest of the album is pretty intelligent and well made. Clocking in at fifty-four minutes, this is by no means an overkill.

The lack of any great tracks is my main gripe. That and some banal melodies. Besides of that, this is a decent to good album from a band who should be encouraged to give it at least another try.

2.5 points 





Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Social Tension - MacBethia (1989)


The debut album from this Japanese band.

The band released two albums before they split up. Two album which is widely regarded as some of the best ever prog rock albums from Japan.

The band had adopted the ELP lineup on this album. They were a trio and the lineup was bass, keyboards, vocals and drums. Just as in Emerson, Lake & Palmer..... ELP.

That is not a coincidence. 20 years after the first ELP album saw the light of day, the band is more or less going down the same route.

More or less as this album is not a copycat. Neither is the band any copycat.

The sound on MacBethia is pretty big and bombastic. There is also some jazz, pop and a lot of Japanese classical music here too. The few vocals, male vocals, around here is in Japanese. That alone adds a lot of interest to this album.

This album is almost fifty minutes long album. The pop stuff here is pretty psalm like and eerie. Although I don't understand a word of these vocals, I understand the sentiments expressed there. It is that eerie.

This album suffers a bit from keyboards for the sake of keyboards. There is lots of it. Lots and lots. But the music is still interesting and this album never really becomes dull or uninteresting. It is an album I like a lot. There is no great songs or even great pieces of music here. But this is still a good album, well worth checking out.

3 points

 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Moongarden - Voyeur (2014)


The seventh album from this Italian band.

Moongarden is a six piece band on this album with a lineup of violin, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and English vocals.

I am not the most avid follower of this band. I am a big fan of progressive rock from Italy though... But Moongarden has always been more Anglo-English than Italian. Hence my slightly lukewarm feelings for them. You will find my reviews of two of their albums somewhere else on these pages. Scroll down the alphabetical list of reviews.

The basis for their music is neo-prog. A very basic form of neo-prog with some strong hints of progressive metal. That and some rock and nu-metal influences.

There is not much Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) influences in their music. There is none on this album. You will find some Genesis influences, though.

This fifty-five minutes long album sounds very commercial and slick. It has a pretty big sound too. It is pretty low on substance though.

My main gripe is the lack of any really great stuff. Half of this album is good and the rest of the album is barely decent. I am trying to find out what really sets this band and album apart from other bands in this genre. I am failing a bit here. Hence my rating.

2.5 points