Sunday, 4 December 2016

Food Brain - Bansan Social Gathering (1970)


The one and only album from this Japanese band.

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

From what I gather, this band was put together by Polydor in Japan to get this label a local progressive rock act they could promote and sell to the Japanese youth. Remember, the world was so much bigger in 1970 than today, in 2016. Travelling between Japan and Europe was not that easy. Getting albums from Europe was not easy either. Remember this when reading my reviews and this review. The world has really deflated over the last 50 years. Our world is now a village. Thankfully !

So the Japanese youth got this band and album. A one of album as the band was not that coherent. And neither is this album. An album which was pretty big back then and influenced a lot of people, as Polydor indeed had intended. But these days, this album is regarded at the enfant terrible among Japanese prog and psych albums.

Not without good reasons.

This is a some sort of a psych album with some progressive rock influences and a lot of krautrock influences. There is also a lot of avant-garde on this album. Even some Deep Purple heavy rock.

This album is forty minutes long and it ends with some meaningless pling-plong avant-garde doodling. Up to then, we have been entertained by music who does not sit well together. It is a mish mash album who gave the Japanese youth a glimpse into the future of music. And let us remember this album for that.

2 points


Free Wave System - Nonostante Tutto (1981)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

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

Free Wave System was one of many Italian jazz and fusion bands who operated side by side with the Italian progressive rock scene (RPI). There was a lot of crossover between the two genres. Still is !

It is fair to say that this album has been a bit influenced by the RPI scene too. But most of it is pure fusion jazz. The saxophone is the dominating instruments here. I have lately heard that the band regretted that. But done is done and the record is here. Noone from the band continued as musicians after the release of this album either. One of them is a leading business man, according to ProgArchives.

There is a lot on this forty minutes long album which reminds me about Soft Machine. The intensity of some of the tracks here. The melodic nature of the music. Most of all, this album reminds me a about their countrymen Perigeo. If you like them, you will like this album.

I wish we had heard a lot more from the keyboards here which tends to be shouted down by the saxophone when they keyboards is onto something interesting. I agree with the band. There is too much saxophone on this album.

The result is a decent to good album which does not really hits home. It is still worthy an investigation.

2.5 points



Napier's Bones - The Wistman Tales (2014)


The debut album from this British duo.

Napier's Bones is Nathan Tillet on vocals and Gordon Midgley on all instruments. We can hear sounds of guitars, keyboards, Moog, Melloron, drums and bass here. Most of it computer generated, is my guess.

Napier's Bones was touted as the great white hope in prog rock when this album was out. There was some hype around them. Their so far three albums is also free downloads from here.

The artwork looks great. All their artworks is great.

ProgArchives has listed them as a crossover band. I don't disagree with that.

The Wistman Tales is a sort of a concept album and it is in this respect very much in the classic prog rock tradition. And the band is very much trying to put their own stamp on classical progressive rock on their albums. At least on this album. Thumbs up !

Some of the music has this Moog and Mellotron in the background with some long and lingering guitar solos. Classic prog rock.

The opening track A.D 1069 has a great prog folk feel to it too with a story about the long gone past of England. The rest of the album has a much more symphonic prog feel.

The sound of this album is contemporary. But this is still classic prog rock with great influences from prog folk and symphonic prog.

I rate this as a good album and one well worth checking out. It is a most definate a obligatory download. Give the band some money too when downloading.

3 points



Saturday, 3 December 2016

Gryphon - Midnight Mushrumps (1974)


The second album from this British band.

Gryphon was a five piece band with a lineup of mediavel instruments. Electric guitars and organs is the only electric instruments here in a lineup full of woodwinds and strings. The also includes some ancient type of keyboards.

I pretty much liked their debut album. This despite of their music being a bit alien to me.

And there is no denying that Gryphon carved out their own style and scene. They are still doing the occasional gig so I guess their fans are fanatical about them. But others should also see them because Gryphon is an unique band.

I am not sure if we can even label this album as a folk rock album. There is not much vocals here and only some occasional electric guitar. The electric organ is much more in the front. But the mediavel times instruments are far more in the front here.

The sound is like from 200 - 300 years back. And the music is a bit like chamber orchestra. But just a bit. Chamber rock is the label I think fits this forty-three minutes long album best.

The nineteen minutes long title track is very good. The rest of the album not so good. Gryphon feels a bit strange to me and I am not entirely a fan of them. This is really really radical music.

Still......... There is no denying that this is a good album and one that everyone should check out to make up their own mind. I may well be in a small minority when I deem this only as a very good album. So check it out for yourself.

3.5 points



Goblin Rebirth - Goblin Rebirth (2015)


The debut album from this Italian band.

As you may have noticed, this is a kind of a rebirth of Goblin. One of four constellations named after or named Goblin at the moment. Then you have other bands who operates more or less as Goblin copycats.... I think it is fair to say that Goblin is very popular these days. And why not ? They deserve it. But perhaps as a less fragmented band as they are now.

Goblin Rebirth is the rhythm section of Goblin going on their own with three other members. Yes, that is Agostino Marangolo and Fabio Pignatelli with a guitarist and two keyboards players.

The music is instrumental throughout with a couple of pastoral voice parts with no spoken vocals. And yes, this music is somewhere near Goblin territory.

Somewhere near because the music is more majestic and more symphonic than the usual Goblin soundtrack. In this respect, this album reminds me a lot about the last album with the Goblin name, the Four Of A Kind album from 2015, the same year as this album was released. Both albums included Agostino Marangolo and Fabio Pignatelli too... No, I don't understand.

This album is not a soundtrack album. It is a forty-four minutes long album who stands on it's own two feet. Both feet are firmly planted in the Goblin tradition and fans of this band will love this album. And with good reasons.

There are a lot of dark and brooding music here. But not as dark and brooding as expected. This album is the more lighter and positive feelings Goblin associated albums I have ever heard. The emphasis is on symphonic and majestic music. Not so much as frightening the life of the listener.
It is dark enough to nicely fall into the Goblin tradition.

There are some really very good stuff here and some good stuff here. I regard this as a very good album and wonder if this band will return again with another rebirth album.

3.5 points 




Fourteen Twentysix - In Halflight Our Soul Glows (2012)


The second album from this Dutch band.

The band was formed by Chris Van Der Linden back in 2009'ish. He is doing vocals and guitars on this album. He has got help from four other musicians here. All four plays keyboards, but also supplements that with drums, bass, vocals and xtra guitars.

I have yet to listen to their 2010 debut album Lighttown Closure. I have heard good things about that album, though.

Dark and brooding neo-prog, ProgArchives is labelling this band as. They are again spot on here, in my view.

The neo-prog here is not run of the mill neo-prog. Or is this neo-prog at all ? Well, there are strong elements of neo-prog on this album. The basis here is neo-prog. But there is also very strong elements of post-rock here.

This is a forty-five minutes long album of shoegazing neo-prog with very strong post-rock influences. There are some samples and a lot of electronica here too. The music is a bit ambient. But the vocals is clear and the music is pretty dynamic.

This is indeed a new breed of progressive music and a welcome one too. My gripe, and it is a substantial one, is the lack of any great or even good songs here. The music is decent enough and it has some good moments. But it is lacking in quality, I am afraid. Check it out as you may find this a good or even a great album. I don't.

2.5 points




Friday, 2 December 2016

Frozen Geese - Disclaimer (2011)


The second album from this English band.

Frozen Geese is a duo of Dave Lazonby and Graham Baily. They play multiple instruments. All of them digital and computer run. There are some vocals here though....

This forty minutes long album is divided into two tracks. Disclaimer part 1 and Disclaimer part 2.

Part 1 is just electronica with repetetive sounds which may be good for those stoned or transferred to outer space by a spaceship or illegal drugs. Being a sober reviewer, I am in doubt that this track should be reviewed at all. This track is slightly dynamic though. But not dynamic enough for sober persons like this reviewer.

Part 2 comes up with some more guitars, bass and some vocals. This track is actually reasonable good. It is also a dark track with a lot of dynamic melodies although it is clearly pretty ambient.

I am probably far too old for this kind of albums. Frozen Geese probably appeals to trendy people more than it does to a foghorn like myself. A proper multicolour show with lasers and exploding lights is also required to enjoy this album.

So this is not an album I really enjoy. On it's own, it is barely a decent album. It is not a turkey though as the Part 2 is a rather good track. Fans of krautrock will like this album.

2 points


 


Focus - Focus 8.5 Beyond The Horizon (2016)


The thirteenth album from this Dutch band.

Pierre Van Der Linden (drums) and Thijs Van Leer (flutes, vocals and organ) gets help from their other tour members Jan Dumee (guitars) and Bobby Jacobs (bass) on their South American tour where they also get substantial assistance from the ..And Friends element of this album title. Three friends on female vocals, saxophone and drums.

This album was recorded in South America inbetween the gigs on that continent. No sightseening and no treks up the Amazon forests, then....... Maybe next time, guys ?

No cuddly-cuddlies with the piranhas in the Amazon river means forty-six minutes off music. It is pretty obvious that their friends down there were jazz and latin rock musicians.

This album is good old Focus meets Latin-American jazz. The first ten minutes of this album is Focus rehashing Hocus Pocus again with the song Focus Zero. Please leave Hocus Pocus alone, guys. It is never good when you try to lure in potential record buyers with cheap tricks like this one.

Thijs shows up with a lot of flutes on the following tracks and this is good. A couple of tracks has been taken over by their friends as there is no Focus magic or even music here.

This album is a strange album by all means. Something the band, honest as they are, has alluded to by renaming themselves Focus And Friends. And this is good and all that. I do not doubt that the band has had a great deal of fun and satisfaction on this album. A new spring in your steps does not harm.

... Again, this is both a Focus album and not a Focus album. The music is not bad at all though. The fusion and jazz sounds a bit tired. But it is not bad at all.

I am landing somewhere between decent and good here. I still like this band a lot, though. Hamburger Concertos is still one of my alltime favourite albums. I owe Focus a lot of gratitude and love. That said.....

2.5 points


  

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Edition Spéciale - Aliquante (1977)


The second album from this French band.

The band is a six piece band with a lineup of drums, percussions, keyboards, guitars, marimba, vibraphone, piano and some French vocals.

I had my big reservations about their debut album Allee Des Tilleuls from 1976. The review is here
That album included a lot of female vocals. The vocals was dubious to say at least. That vocalist is still in the band. But she is not particular dominating here and only do a few vocal lines. Some really good and cool vocal lines too. A good reputation restored, in other words.

The main fare here is fusion jazz. Fusion in the same vein as Weather Report and Return To Forever. US fusion in other words. But add Gong from the Shamal album too.

There is also a lot of their own personalities here too. This is indeed a fusion album from a French band. A French band in the 1970s would never ever have copied US bands without adding a large chunk of themselves, Europe and France to the mix too.

They have done that with success here.

The music here is a mix of instrumental fusion where the guitarist Marius Lorenzini and the keyboardist Ann Ballester is doing most of the best work on some really dynamic and good pieces of music.

Another big part of this album is the funky vocal parts of those two above where female and male vocals are duetting over some really funky and at times, poppy music. But the fusion element is always there.

I am not entirely won over by this album. There is no great pieces of music here. Some of the music is a bit too dull for my liking. But this is still a good album well worth checking out. Fusion fans will love this album.

3 points


  

Fatal Fusion - Total Absence (2016)


The third album from this Norwegian band.

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

I have reviewed their previous two albums here and here. These album are good to very good. But never really great. So I had my hopes about Total Absence.....

The band is still giving us a mix of symphonic prog and arena rock. OK, the music is probably too eclectic for the big arenas. This band will never play these arenas unless some big band (Dream Theater ?) put them up as an early day warm up act. But that too will never happend. But who cares ? I don't care and neither does those who loves good prog rock.

This album is one hour with prog rock. No less and no more. The band is also pretty much in the middle of the road prog rock terrain too.

Their sound is a bit old style and a lot Norwegian. Yes, Norway has got their own symphonic progressive rock sound which is a bit more open than the Swedish one. This album is very much in that mould.

The music here is also bordering to heavy prog at times. But never prog metal. But there is a lot of hard granite throughout this album. There are also a lot of symphonic pastoral pieces too.

The songs are all good to very good. There are no really weak songs here. The main gripe is the lack of a great song. But the title track and Endless Ocean Blue and the guitar solos is making this a very good album indeed.

This is a band and an album we Norwegians really can be satisfied with. Are they the Kings Of Norway ? I am not sure about that. But they are pretty close to the throne with this album. Get royally entertained by this album.

3.5 points



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Flamingo Rock - Atlantes de Tula (1982)


The one and only album from this Mexican band.

I know next to nothing about this band. But the lineup sounds like guitars, harmonicas, bass, drums, flutes, sax, keyboards and Spanish vocals. Both male and female vocals.

The album was released in 1982. The music says 1966-70 to me.

The reason is that this thirty-five minutes long album sounds like a 1980s or late 1970s album at all. The music is totally different.

Take a big slize of hippie flower power, add some California dreaming kind of music, Beach Boys and Jefferson Airplane. Also add some krautrock and middle of the road pop music from the early 1970s. You also need to add Latin America and it's culture. On the top of that, add some sparse sprinklings of symphonic prog. And some James Last too.

This album remains undiscovered and very obscure for a good reason. Most of this album is keyboards driven muzak. And it is mostly sickly sweet music too.

I am not big fan of overdosing on sugar. I am not a big fan of sugar at all. Neither do I like mountains of sweets. That is what I get here. The sweets is not that good either so I am not won over.

This album is simply a turkey as good as you get a turkey from Mexico. And this album is best kept obscure.

1 point


Monday, 28 November 2016

Krokodil - Sweat And Swim (1973)


The fifth and final album from this Swiss band.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, sitar, harmonica, flutes, bass, percussions, drums, violins, keyboards and vocals.

The previous four albums from this band had been a mixed bag. The band never really let loose of their blues and hard rock roots. The blues was always there. But they became a bit more spacy after a couple of albums.

But their music was never really an adventure. A bit workman like, their music.

The band bows out with this album which is a return to blues and hard rock again. There is some space rock pieces here too. But all the music here is standard and pretty flat.

A couple of tracks where the band is using sitar and more indian asian chord structures is the only saving grace on this album. A pretty miserable and too long album.

The sitar and these Indian influences is saving this album from ending up in my turkey yard. It is not an album worth checking out.

1.5 points




Kaipa Da Capo - Dårskapens Monotoni (2016)


The debut album from this Swedish band.......... or perhaps not.

Kaipa Da Capo is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Swedish vocals.

An explanation is in order here........ Kaipa Da Capo is not the Kaipa run by Hans Lundin. Hans Lundin is not involved here at all. Kaipa Da Capo has nothing to do with mark 2 of Kaipa, the band who made a comback with their Notes From The Past album in 2002.

Kaipa Da Capo is three members from the 1970s setup of Kaipa which also included Hans Lundin. But the Kaipa members in Kaipa Da Capo is Tomas Eriksson, Ingemar Bergman and the king of Swedish prog......... Roine Stolt. They have got help from Mikael Stolt and Max Lorentz.

Kaipa Da Capo was formed to tour and play the 1970s Kaipa songs. I did not even know there was a market for these songs. But they have gigged them and with success. A new album with brand new stuff.. this one... was then recorded.

My memories are a bit weak. But I am pretty certain that Kaipa Da Capo sounds a lot more like the 1970s Kaipa than the post millenium Kaipa. A band I also really like/love. Now, I have got two x Kaipa bands I love.... lucky me !

The music here is also pretty similar to The Flower Kings too. It has this warm Swedish symphonic prog sound. The Swedish vocals from Mikael Stolt is a great addition too.

The songs on this seventy minutes long album is great altogether. There is not a bad song here at all. It is really a great gift to anyone into Swedish symphonic prog and one you need to get. It is indeed a great album.

4 points




Sunday, 27 November 2016

Flora - Traiettorie di Volano (2009)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of saxophone, keyboards, guitars, glockenspiel, bass, drums and Italian male and female vocals.

This is the only album I got from this band. A band who released three albums. Their last one in 2012. I am not sure if the band is still alive.

Listed as a crossover prog band in ProgArchives, the band is really living up to that label on this album. They are indeed crossing over most genres.

Take a good slab of jazz, add a lot of pop and Italian progressive rock too. This is where you will find this band. They are skirting around the borders of Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) on this album.

There is also some subtle post rock to this album too. The album sounds very fresh and contemporary. Not to mention; very dense sounding too.

The feel here is also of some strong Jefferson Airplane influences. Which is not a bad thing.

The half acoustic guitars, the saxophone and the manic keyboards induces a slightly desperate feel to this album. Italian youth in other words. The jazz influences is also adding a lot of texture to this album. And so does the great female vocals.

The overall quality of this fifty minutes long album is good. This album has a lot to offer to those into the sounds and sights post 2000. Check it out.

3 points


Toundra - Toundra (2008)


The debut album from this Spanish band.

Toundra was a four piece band with a lineup of two guitars, one bass and one drummer.

Icebergs is not what I associate with Spain. Spain is a warm country and one country I, as I am freezing here in Scotland even indoors, would have liked to be writing these lines from now. But cold and windy Scotland it is.

Toundra too is frostbitten earth. Most of it in Siberia. It is the trademark, if you like, of Russia and Siberia. All around hard as concrete soil and earth.

Toundra is also this Spanish band. A band in the post metal and post rock genre. A band whose albums I have planned to review for many years. Actually, since their second album was released. They have now four albums out. Reviews to follow.

The music is instrumental and very post rock with a mix of harsh metal and more ambient soundscapes. All of it instrumental.

I cannot really say Toundra brings anything new to this table and genre. But this is a solid debut who is only lacking from a lack of a few good tunes. But I like a bit what I hear on this album.

A decent to good album it is and I guess it is easy available from their Bandcamp site.

2.5 points


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Opeth - Morningrise (1996)


The second album from this Swedish band.

Opeth was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, percussions and vocals. 

I have finally decided to review all the rest of the Opeth albums after starting on this task with this review back in October 2011. The band has developed a lot since their 1995 debut album Orchid. An album I liked as you can see in my review in the link above.

1994- 99 was an era where you got a lot of death/black metal albums with a lot of acoustic and clear vocals interludes inbetween the death and black metal blastbeats and songs.

Morningrise is one of those albums. I was not that fond of those kinds of albums back then. 20 years later, I cannot fail to note that I have not changed my views. I very much preferred those albums where the bands kept to the death/black metal formula throughout the whole album.

I remember Opeth as a band who arrived in the scene with a Dissection sound. The good old band Dissection where the mainman became a right wing extremist, got jailed for a murder and then commited suicide in a bizzarre satanic ritual. A very tragic person.

Opeth had the same sound. But they also had and still have this very sane and highly intelligent frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt. A man I really respect.

The death/black metal here has a distinct Swedish folk music sound and feel. It is very much the same fountain of Swedish folk music the likes of Kaipa and The Flower Kings has been drinking from. All similarities ends at this fountain where Opeth and The Flower Kings has taken the totally opposite journeys and approach from each other.

I find this combo of clear and screamo vocals not particular interesting in 2016. What was then groundbreaking does not sound clever today. Neither does these acoustic and melodic interludes. The black/death metal does not hold any appeal to me.

The end result is sixty-six minutes of dull but still decent music. It is nothing to be desired here. Hence my rating.

2 points



Firehorse - On The Wind (1980)


The one and only album from this German band.

I am not sure if this was a band or a project. ProgArchives came up short in their research into this very obscure band. But they have listed twelve musicians and a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, saxophones, congas, timbales, keyboards and male English vocals. Some female vocals too chimes in on some songs.

1980 was a year of turmoil everywhere. Not at least in the music scene where punk and heavy metal ruled and where prog was as popular as rabies and pestilence.

So Firehorse released this forty minutes long album.

There is not so much progressive rock here. I first thought this album was from 1969 or thereabouts. It is not. The sound does not feel like 1980 at all. This is proto-prog before Yes, The Moody Blues, ELP and Genesis turned progressive rock on it's head.

The basis here is blues and hard rock. The album is hard rocking with some progressive rock stuff thrown into the mix too. The keyboards is very much progressive rock with some forays into Genesis.  There are also some early 1970s pop here too.

The result is not a good result. These forty minutes is not particular interesting. The music is too light weight on substance and not that interesting.

The result is a decent album and nothing more than that. Firehorse is a very obscure band for a good reason. They did not have many qualities to bring to the scene.

2 points



Friday, 25 November 2016

Fluido Rosa - Le Vie Dei Sogni (2016)


The debut album from this Italian band.

This band is a seven piece big band with a lineup of sax, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and a lot of Italian vocals. Both male and female.

The band started out as a Pink Floyd tribute band twenty years ago. They got a record deal with the highly respectable Ma.Ra.Cash Records and the result is this album.

The very beautiful album artwork is actually very misleading. There is no barren landscapes or deserts in the music of this band. The music here is actually very lush and colourful.

RPI is a very good start and end when describing the music on this fifty-three minutes long album. Yes, there is some Pink Floyd here too. But not from their psychedelic era. More from The Wall to their final album. David Gilmour's Pink Floyd in other words.

But Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) is the label I would put on this album. And pretty much middle of the road RPI too. There is a lot of very lush Italian vocals on the top of some lush melodies. Yes, this album is a bit close to Italian pop and Pink Floyd at times. But this is RPI through and through.

What is really missing here is a great song. But fans of RPI, and I am one of them, will welcome this band as a grizzly bear will welcome a trailer full of honey. And oh my beaver is there a lot of honey on this album !!

This is a very good album and I would love to hear more, far more, from this band. Let's hope other RPI fans also fully embrace this band and album too.

3.5 points


   

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Edhels - Astro Logical (1991)


The fourth album from this Monaco band.

Edhels was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, synths, drums, percussions, bass and keyboards.

I was no fan of their previous album, the 1988 album Still Dreams.  I have always been of the impression that this band was a neo-prog band.

Two albums not a tone of neo-prog has been heard from this band. And this is not why I decided to review four of their six albums.

The guitarist Marc Ceccotto is still here. But he is being held back by a lot of electronica and avant-garde prog. That and some avant-garde jazz.

I love my fair share of avant-garde when it really works. But I am not entirely sure why Edhels is spewing out the music on this one hour long album.

Everything is unhinged and random here. It is throwing colours at a wall without having a clearly defined idea behind the whole project. Not even when executing it. Shall we build a house, a boat or a bridge here ? Let's decide in the final moment of this work.

The result is this unhinged album. A turkey. Something I find extreme boring and pointless. If you have got insomnia and the drugs don't work, this is the album for you. Or you can get one of those deep sleep albums.

This album has been dispatched to my turkey yard where it is now running around with the other turkeys. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

1 point

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Farinella. Alessandro - Momo (2007)


The debut album from this Italian artist.

Alessandro Farinella is doing the vocals and keyboards here. He has got help from the two PFM members Roberto Gualdi on drums and Silvio Masanotti on guitars.

Alessandro Farinella is an ex member of the Italian band Brainstorm and Theatre whose only album was released without Alessandro Farinella. He is also a classicly trained pianist.

He is also known in the universities for some highly praised academic work.

Momo is the first of his two albums... so far. I very much liked his second album, the 2012 album Road To Damascus. So I got Momo too.

Momo is almost one hour of art rock. Art rock leaning a lot on neo-prog throughout most of this album. Most of this album is very much song structured. There are some more symphonic ambient pieces here too. And some fusion too. But most of this is neo-prog.

The music is very melodic and a bit on the ambient side of the musical spectrum.

There is no great pieces of music here. But most of the album gives me a lot of pleasure and quality. There are also a few pieces here which does not work out at all.

But my overall impression is that this is a good album from an undervalued and overlooked artist. Give his music a chance. Lend it your ears.

3 points




Monday, 21 November 2016

Evership - Evership (2016)


The debut album from this US band.

Evership is really the musician, keyboardist and composer Shane Atkinson with vocalist Beau West. They have got help from seven other musicians who helps with bass, violin, guitars, drums and e-bow.

The songs are eight years old and has matured nicely. The full Evership story can be read on their ProgArchives page. Read it !

It is fair to say that this album has caused a sensation this year. It is probably the most sensational debut album this year if we go by the reactions in ProgArchives and other places. The hype is justified.

This one hour long album has been labeled as neo-prog. That is just half of the story here.

I call this album and the music on it very elegant progressive rock who takes a lot from the likes of Queen, Yes, Mystery and Big Big Train. Yes, the music is a lot polished and does not have many edges. It also has this musical feel you sometimes get from US neo-prog.

The vocalist Beau West is a very very welcome to the progressive rock scene. His vocals is superb and some of the best male vocals I have heard for a long time. Long long time, in fact !!

The music is also very flowing and symphonic throughout. The great melodies and vocals comes inbetween these floating very good symphonic rock pieces

The emphasis has been put on elegance and on the good melody. And the band supplies plenty of great melodies too.

Yes, the hype is justified and it will be difficult to top this album as the best debut album of the year. It is also a very good candidate for the album of the year title too. Check it out !!

4 points



Sunday, 20 November 2016

Frozen Geese - The Starseed (2010)


The debut album from this English band.

Frozen Geese was a two man combo with Graham Baily and Dave Lazonby sharing the instruments. Their ProgArchives profile can be found here.

I got two of their three albums. This one and the 2011 follow up album Disclamer. Review to follow at the end of this month.

Frozen Geese is a space rock band. There is no denying that. Their music is also at the electronica end of the space rock scene.

That means sparsely orchestrated and pretty minimalistic music. A pulsating beat with drums and bass upon some layers of electronica, sound samples and guitars is added.

This album is seventy-five minutes long and was originally released as a cassette before it was made digital and somehow found it's way to my computer. I cannot remember how that happened.

Seventy-five minutes with minimalistic space rock is one heck of a trial for most of us. And this is not a good album either. It has it's qualities scattered around this album. Fans of Klaus Schulze must check out this band and album. I am no fan of him.

This is a decent album and I have not been listening to it with displeasure. But seventy-five minutes is too long and too much of a test of nerves for me. Nevertheless, check it out.

2 points




Edition Spéciale - Allée des Tilleuls (1976)


The debut album from this French band.

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

Edition Speciale was a short lived band with their roots in another French band called Triangle. That band was a Canterbury prog band.

Listed as a Jazz/Fusion band in ProgArchives, I got a bit surprise when listening to this album. An odd one album from this band as their two other albums is what ProgArchives has listed the band as.

Allee Des Tilleuls is a vocals dominated slighty jazzy and fusion like album. Jazzy and fusion like as there are some good jazz and fusion behind Ann Ballester's much disputed vocals. Some call her vocals as horrible. Some call it good or even great. 

Her vocals divided the critics and record buyers. And I am falling down on the side of those who does not rate her vocals as great. They are not even particular good and I am even in my more evil moments suspecting that some of the vocals here are a duet between her and the vocals of the dog in the picture above. But the driving guitars from Martial Lorenzini is still very much loud and clear on this album.

Inbetween the jazz and fusion, there are also some very French pop music here. Most of all, this album and the more pop music pieces reminds me about Harmonium from Quebec, Canada.

I find some good and some barely decent stuff on this rather long album. An album re-released by Musea on CD some years ago. I am more looking forward to sink my teeth into their two other albums. But give this album a chance if you can.

2.5 points



Circulus - Thought Becomes Reality (2009)


The third and so far final album from this English band.

The band was an eight pieces big band on this album. Eight members plus an own female choir too. The lineup was flutes, bass, drums, guitars, crumhorn, synths and plenty of vocals.

I very much liked their two first albums. The Lick On An Envelope Yet To Be Sent album from 2005 and the Clocks Are Like People album from 2006. Very good psychedelic folk prog.

The band is still walking down the same path on this album.

Lots of folk rock with a psychedelic twist. That is what we get here.

Thirty-six minutes of this type of music is what we get here.

There are a slight change of direction, though. The band has gone a lot more back to simple folk rock on this album. They have lost their edge on this album

More traditional folk rock and not so much pixies, hippies and magic is what we get here.

The songs are pretty good throughout with a lot of flutes involved. The link to Fairport Convention has been strenghtened on this album.

The end result is a good album which does not dazzle and is not casting magic spells over me. I hope the band will return one day and that in the incarnation of their first two albums.

3 points


 

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Hackett. Steve - Highly Strung (1982)


The sixth album from this British artist.

Steve Hackett had some help from four other musicians here, including Nick Magnus on keyboards. Steve did all vocals and guitars. The other helped out with keyboards, synths, cello, drums and bass.

I have not bothered to get hold of the rather lacklustre Cured album from 1981. It was not included in the two Steve Hackett boxes I bought. I have been told Cured is a horrible album.

It must have been a horrible album as ProgArchives and their many reviewers claims Highly Strung is a substantial improvement from Cured. That says it all....

Highly Strung sees Steve Hackett trying to become relevant and producing and releasing an album for the early 1980s. There is a lot of sights and sounds from this era. This is also very probably the worst era in the history of music..... actually, the early 1960s before The Beatles exploded into our world was worse, far worse than the early 1980s.

But what we get on this thirty-five minutes long album is not particular good either. A lot of pop-rock from that era with some bad synths and good guitars is what we get here. Steve's vocals is not top notch either.

The songs are a mix of what Steve can do with his guitars and some pretty poor songs and melodies. There are a few good things about this album. The music is not horrible. But the sound kills it all.

The end result is a good to decent album. One I will not rate as his finest moment.

2.5 points



Goblin - Four Of A Kind (2015)


The 23rd album from this Italian band.

Goblin was a four man's band on this album with a lineup of drums, keyboards, bass, synths and guitars. They are Fabio Pignatelli, Maurizio Guerini, Agostini Marangolo and Massimo Morante. Antonio Marangolo does saxophone on the first track.

In other words; Claudio Simonetti is not involved in this incarnation of Goblin.

Neither is this a movie soundtrack either. And when I write these lines, nobody has even reviewed this album in ProgArchives. Which is a great, great shame as ProgArchives is a far better prog rock place than this blog, my own blog. So go forth and review this album for ProgArchives !

This forty-four minutes long album is not a movie soundtrack. But we are still very much in the land of the cinematic progressive rock. Symphonic prog, no less. This album sounds like the best of their movie soundtracks.

It is also a great example of what you can do if you add a sinister sound to an instrumental progressive rock album. It feels like a murdererer is lurking somewhere in my room when listening to this album (it is not me). The combo of synths and guitars is great. A lot of instrumental prog rock bands has a lot to learn from this album and Goblin in general.

The music is very good throughout. My only gripe is the lack of a great song on this album. There are a lot of hints of greatness throughout this album. An album I would rate among their best albums. It among the better instrumental prog albums I have ever heard too. Check it out !

3.5 points



Friday, 18 November 2016

Farflung - 5 (2016)


The seventh album from this US band.

The band is a five piece band with a lineup of oscilator, synths, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Nik Turner from Hawkwind and his own band is a guest musician together with two other musicians.

I very much liked their previous album, the 2008 album A Wound In Eternity. A great slab of psychedelic space rock. I was therefore eager to get this album when it was released.

Farflung is very much a part of the classic psychedelic space rock scene. Their sound is dirty and muddy. It is also pretty melodic and full of interesting details. There is melodies and beauty in their muddy space rock. Indeed, it is.

The album is forty-four minutes long and contains nine songs. The references to Hawkwind comes thick and fast here. But they still got their own style.

The vocals are very good, the synths good and the band has a very good sound.

There is a lot to really like on this album. And most of it is very good. There are also a couple of substandard songs.

The end of the story is that this is a good album which space rock fans will love more than I do. I will make an effort to get their first five albums. I think I will enjoy them a great deal.

3 points


  

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Cromwell - Black Chapter Red (2016)


The second album from this German band.

Cromwell is a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals. Male vocals.

Black Chapter Red is the follow up to the 1997 debut album Burning Banners. An album I quite liked. An album very different to this one.

We are again in the middle of the German neo-prog scene. References are the English bands IQ and Galahad.

Cromwell is perhaps the most English neo-prog sounding bands of all the German neo-prog bands. The music is surprisingly light and airy compared to Burning Banners, 19 years ago. The change of personell is perhaps the reasons behind this.

Fifty-six minutes and nine songs. The longest one is clocking in at eight minutes and twenty seconds. The shortest one is clocking in at three minutes and twenty-four seconds. Most songs are clocking in at the six minutes mark. Medium epic songs in other words.

The music is also leaning a bit towards symphonic prog. The sound is clear and there is some really good keyboards and guitars here. The vocals are very good.

The album is not spectacular in any means. But it is a solid album and a very nice listen who is not that challenging on the brain. It is also a good album and a more than welcome return from this band. It is also their best album too. Check it out !!

3 points



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Gryphon - Gryphon (1973)


The debut album from this British band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of bass, percussions, woodwinds of all sorts, flutes, harpischord, organ, guitars, drums, mandolin, glockenspiel and vocals.

I have heard about this band for the last ten years and I am very excited about this start of a series of reviews of their five albums in the next month or two. The band is still gigging and I hope I do them justice with my honest reviews.

There are some bands who plays folk rock as folk music from 100 years ago. Gryphon is not one of those bands. They have gone back at least 500 years, to the mediavel times.

The band's folk part of the folk rock is baroque and olde folk music. The rock part is early 1970s.

The band hits the world with the opening three minutes long track Kemp's Jig and you know you are really in for something here. Something special on this thirty-seven minutes long album.

The music here is a mix of baroque classical music, olde folk music and rock. The rock has a bit of a psych edge. But it is still pretty much straight forward.

Flutes, acoustic guitars, harpischord, woodwinds and the very good vocals is doing most of the work here and is leading me into Gryphon's world. A pretty interesting world it is, too.

The music is both interesting and good. It is not light hearted music. This album demand the full attention from the listener. But the rewards are here and I feel rewarded.

3 points


    

Monday, 14 November 2016

Krokodil - Getting Up For The Morning (1972)


The fourth album from this Swiss band.

The band was a four piece band on this album with a lineup of flutes, harp, bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, klavino, sitar and vocals.

Their first three albums had been reasonably good albums. Three albums in the Krautrock vein. Not as in spaced out space rock. But more based on blues and very much song based albums.

Krokodil was never a space rock band. They kept themselves pretty near the muddy river banks of blues and rock.

That is where we again find this band. That is where we find this album. Forty minutes, seven songs.

The basis is blues based krautrock. The band has taken the German krautrock sound and adopted it to their own needs. But there is also a lot of flower power here. Jefferson Airplane springs to mind.

This mix of blues and flower power is pretty heady........ and good.

The harp and the flute is giving the album an extra dimention and an extra boost. They makes this album a bit better.

This is a good album and one to check out from a long forgotten band. I quite like this band and their music.

3 points 
 



Sunday, 13 November 2016

Facedancers. The - The Facedancers (1972)


The one and only album from this US band.

The Facedancers was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, harmonica, percussions, flutes and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

Nothing else is known about this band. The album was released on the major label Paramount and it has not seen a CD release yet. My guess is that a CD or digital release would be highly desired as this LP is very expensive now on the second hand market. Expensive and much sought after. I got my copy from Youtube.

The album is forty minutes long and the songs are medium long. Just around the five minutes mark.

This album is very much a mixed bag, genre wise.

Take a lot of Jefferson Airplane, add a lot of hard rock too and some US symphonic prog and avant-garde prog rock. Add some funk too and you get this album.

The music is pretty wild and untamed throughout. It is like a riot at times. There are also one ballad here which showcase the band from a more soft and reflective side.

The vocals are pretty good throughout. And so is the other musicians. The end result is a good album which I think would sell pretty well if someone released it on a CD/digital release. The Youtube version is well worth the download or a listen. Check it out.

3 points


 

Circulus - The Lick On The Tip Of An Envelope Yet To Be Sent (2005)


The debut album from this English band.

The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of moog, keyboards, bass, drums, saxophone, harmonium, bongo, crumhorn, flutes and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

I very much liked their second album Clocks Are Like People from 2006. See my review from October 2016. Both albums was released on the metal label Rise Above Records (run by Lee Dorian, ex Napalm Death and Cathedral) and now obviously a folk rock label. Circulus is not the only folk rock act in their roster.

Circulus is their most commercial and "soft" band. The band delivers unmistaken folk rock on this album. There is a very strong psych rock presence here too. Psych rock from the late 1960s. I suspect that this band is hippies and alternative lifestyler's. Which is not a bad thing !

The music is rather groovy and melody focused on this album. Most of the album, though. The opening song Miri It Is is a short, but very catchy song. That and the following four tracks brings a grin to my face. Good stuff.

There are also some spaced out Gong like trips here too with pixies and green spaces. That towards the end of this album. That too is great stuff.

The vocals, both male and female, are really great here. They are not as good as Sandy Denny and Tim Hart (both R.I.P). But they are good enough for this album and generally very good.  

This album is forty minutes long divided on nine songs. The artwork is rather great and I like what I hear. If there is a new folk rock scene in England with bands in the vein of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, this band is most certainly one of the better ones. There is no celtic rock here. Just pure English folk rock. They are therefore not in the same vein as Mostly Autumn and those bands.

This album is just purebred English folk rock and it is a very good album too.
Get it !!

3.5 points 




Saturday, 12 November 2016

Ceyleib People. The - Tanyet (1968)


The one and only album from this US band.

The band was a four piece band with a lineup of sitar, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and some vocals. This band is mostly known as a band which also included Ry Cooder. Which is wrong because he was only a guest musician here while the band was a seperate entity altogether. He guests on guitars, btw.

The music here is what is called raga-rock. Which is ethnic mix of krautrock, space rock and folk music. It is also very much associated with music from India. Ravi Shankar is the most known artist in this genre.

And it is indeed a lot of Indian sounding music here. Both type of Indian music. Music from both India and music from the Indian tribes in USA.

The sitar is everywhere here on this forty-two minutes long album. There are also a lot of sound effects. Which was pretty difficult to do in 1968. And revolutionary. This album is pretty much in the forefront of the recording engineering from 1968.

Besides of the Indian music, this album also dips into classical music and country music. The music is spaced out and very much krautrock.

The music is also pretty dense and one dimentional. It feels a bit like a jam of some sort with lots of engineering wizards thrown into the mix.

This is by no means easy listening, this album. But it has some good stuff inbetween the pretty dull rhythms and melody lines. I am not won over, but still rates it somewhere between decent and good. It is very much well worth checking out this album as it is pretty original and one of it's kind.

2.5 points



Crystal Breed - Barriers (2016)


The second album from this German band.

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

Their 2011 debut album The Place Unknown has bypassed me so this years Barriers album is my first meeting with this band.

The band is more known for their gigs and touring with big names like Uli Roth and Gamma Ray than their albums. At least that is how I learned about them.

The band has been labeled as a heavy prog band in ProgArchives. Which is correct. But this is not heavy prog as in Rush and the 1970s bands. Their style and sound is nowhere near those bands.

What we get here is a mix of Enchant, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater. They have mixed this with college rock, U2 and some teenybopper rock too. The opening minute of this album starts of with German tech thrash metal from the late 1980s. All this on one hour of music divided on eight songs.

The vocals are a bit strained to say at least. The music sounds very youthful and full of enthusiasm. The sound is also in that vein.

There is also some references to the final years of those dreadful 1980s in their sound. The band is more or less copying Dream Theater during some of the opening minutes of this album.

What is missing here is quality. I am not really finding any good songs. There is a lot of good melody lined scattered around this album. There are also things here which makes me cringe. This is not a good album. It is not a bad album either. Hence my verdict.

2.5 points



Cast - Angels and Demons (1997)


The seventh album from this Mexican band.

Cast is a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussion and vocals. English vocals.

I have always been a bit of an admirer of this band. The band has developed a lot on their albums. From simplistic neo-prog to what they are today. A complex music making prog band.

On this, their seventh album, the neo-prog from their first albums has gone. Instead, we get some really complex symphonic prog here. Symphonic prog with a lot of mediavel classical music influences and some shades of fusion and jazz too.

There is a lot of ELP, Yes and Genesis in their music. Ditto for Ange and some Italian symphonic prog bands too. But the band has got their own identity too. You will recognice a Cast album when listening to it.

This album is seventy-five minutes long and it weaves itself through some highly complex landscapes and pieces of music. There are even some Latin-American folk music influenced symphonic prog here too.

The music is really great throughout. I have always rated Cast as the prog rock scene's biggest secret. This album more than proves my point. It is to a large extent a prog rock lover's heaven, these seventy-five minutes. Check out this album.

4 points




Friday, 11 November 2016

Eden - Heimkehr (1980)


The third and final album from this German band.

Eden was a ten piece large musical collective on this album with three guest musicians also helping out. The main instruments are keyboards, drums, bass, guitars, violin, flute, lots of female vocals and some male vocals. There are also some narrations here. Everything is in German.

Eden was one of those bands in the Christian folk/prog rock movement who spread the gospel through music. This scene was pretty big in Italy, Switzerland and in Germany.

Their previous two albums Erwartung ('78) and Perelandra ('80) was indeed spreading the gospel. But not as openly as this album.

Heimkehr is unmistakenly going all out, spreading the gospel. There are psalms here and lots of angelic female choirs. Some electric guitars are sometimes putting some salt inbetween this very sugary music. All the forty-six minutes of it.

The music is therefore folk rock with angelic choirs and heavy symphonic prog influences. The musis is pretty melodic all the way. This sugary angelic female choir is well over the top anno 2016.... and 1980. It must have caused some red faces and blushing even back then. Play this album in a record shop and it would empty as fast as if you had turned on the fire alarm.

The music is pretty good though and I can (barely.....) live with the female choirs. There are a couple of tasty guitar solos here which freshens up things a lot. Hence.....

2.5 points 


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Edhels - Still Dream (1988)


The third album from this band from Monaco.

Edhels was a four piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, synths, keyboards, bass and drums. 

I have never heard about this band before. But ProgArchives has labeled them as a neo-prog band and I happens to like neo-prog. So I got some of their albums. Unfortunate, not their first two albums.

So I was pretty surprised when I put on this album and discovered an entirely instrumental album.

This album is almost forty-eight minutes long and it changes between symphonic prog, goth and some fusion. There is also some ambient stuff here.

The mood and sound is a bit dramatic with some soaring guitars inbetween cascades of keyboards and synths. The pieces of music is pretty short. Twelve pieces, forty-eight minutes. Not particular interesting.

This album sounds like a left over dinner from someone's party...... or recording session. It is really hard to find something positive to write about this album.

It is not entirely a turkey as there is a couple of half decent songs here. But this is not a good first meeting with this band. Hopefully, the three other albums I have got with them are far better than this one.

1.5 points




Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Cromwell - Burning Banners (1997)


The debut album from this German band.

The band is a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and female vocals. The vocals are in English.

By using female vocals, the band is a bit unusual. The music is not that unusual. Neo-prog in the German and Dutch vein.

That means a lot darker music than the British strand of neo-prog. And the music is pretty dark here. Something the art-work also alludes to.

Anke Taeffner's vocals is a bit special. Not particular melodic and not great. But her vocals suits this music well.

The music is dark and has a lot of references to English history. It is more or less a themed album with songs about this theme. And it is the mediavel end of the English history the lyrics is about.

The music is very well done neo-prog. Pretty standard. But the music is dark and the vocals are also dragging the music towards that direction. There are also a lot of prog metal here too. Prog metal fans will probably also like this album.

The end result is a good album with no really blemishes and good music throughout. It sounds a bit dated anno 2016. But fans of neo-prog should check out this band who released their second album earlier this year (2016). I rate this album.

3 points



Monday, 7 November 2016

Dream The Electric Sleep - Beneath the Dark Wide Sky (2016)


The third album from this US band.

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

I very much liked their first two albums. See reviews somewhere else in this blog (the alphabetical list to the right is a good start point....). Dream The Electric Sleep is a breath of fresh air in the progressive rock scene.

Hence, I was looking forward to this album.

One hour, eleven songs. That is this album.

The band is still mixing in symphonic prog with post rock and some neo-prog. There was also some space rock and hard rock on their first two albums. Albums who mixed everything onto a plate and told us listeners to "EAT !!". Which we did.

The band is still mixing up things a lot. Post rock with a lot of neo-prog and rock. The rock element has taken over a lot of this album. The raw edges, which made their first albums both fresh and difficult to get into, has been removed a bit. There is still some raw edges here. But most of them has gone.

What we get here is still a good album which brings promises about more great stuff to come from this band. But the band has relaxed a bit and taken a breather on this album. This album is bordering to a very good album. But I am missing some of the raw edges. Hence my verdict.

3 points  



Sunday, 6 November 2016

Mytho - Earthrise (2015)


The second album from this Italian band.

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

I thought I had reviewed their 2010 debut album In The Abstract. But I was wrong. I don't even own a copy of it.

I guess that album was a very progressive rock sounding album. Their inclusion in ProgArchives is not based on Earthrise, the album I am reviewing here.

Earthrise is anything but progressive rock.

The band is giving us forty minutes of pop rock here. College pop rock, that is. The music is very youthful and lively. It is at times bordering to teenybopper rock.

The choruses and melody lines are pretty much devoid of any maturity and subtlety. The songs are pretty short and is not much worth writing home about.

The sound and the freshness is adding half a point to the score. Besides of that, this album is a turkey. There are also some decent songs here too. But there are also some, make that a lot of, facepalm moments on this album. Hence my verdict.

1.5 points




Caja De Pandora - Caja De Pandora (1981)


The one and only album from this Mexican band.

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

The Mexican prog rock scene has got a lot of good bands and releases. Caja De Pandora was a very short-lived band.

Their music is not particular commercial either. Instrumental prog rock. You did not win any friends and fans with that type of music back in 1981. Even today, it is difficult to get any friends and fans with that type of music.

Their music was not in the Camel vein either. So no friends and fans. But there are some ELP references here.

This fifty minutes long album contains a mix of mediavel music, symphonic prog and fusion. Their music has been compared a lot to Italian symphonic prog in ProgArchives.  I agree with that. There is a lot of Banco and PFM in their music. There is no mellotrons here though.

There is a lot of piano though and some driving guitars and bass. The music is pretty jazzy throughout. It is also very lively.

There is no really good songs/pieces of music here though. The music is decent though and that is my verdict. Fans of instrumental music should really get this album.

2 points



Anderson. Ian - Homo Erraticus (2014)


The sixth album from this British icon.

Ian Anderson does the flutes, acoustic guitar and vocals. He got help from five other musicians who offered up vocals, bass, drums, percussions, organs, piano, keyboards and guitars.

This must be around the thirteeth studio album Ian Anderson has been involved in. Most of them with Jethro Tull. But he has also done six albums under his own name. All these albums has included his very distinct vocals and flutes.

This and the Thick As A Brick 2 album is basically Ian Anderson without the rocking out stuff Jethro Tull always did. It is a much more folk rock version of Jethro Tull with a nod to their 1970s albums. That was before the rot set in.

This album is both melodic and reasonable hard. The folk rock feel is still here and this is indeed a folk rock album with flutes and fully focused on Ian's vocals. But it is still as close Ian has ever come to doing a classic Jethro Tull album. Martin Barre is not involved here so it is not a Jethro Tull album.

Ian's vocals and flutes is a big plus. But the songs are also really good. Very good in fact. It is also a concept album with three parts. It is about the mankind of some sorts.

This is in my humble opinion his best ever solo album. It is only a bit better than the Thick As A Brick 2 album. There are no real weak song here. This fifty minutes long album is one feast who unfortunate is lacking in great songs. But you really need to get this album.

3.5 points 


Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cartoon - Bigorna (2003)


The second album from this Brazilian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of synths, keyboards, bass, drums, harmonica, sitar, guitars and English vocals. There are also numerous guest musicians here who adds strings, harpiscord and woodwinds.

I was pretty OK with their 1999 debut album Martelo and their third album Estribo from 2008. I have not managed to get a copy of their fourth and so far final album Unbeatable from 2013.

This album is a concept album based on the much used (Rick Wakeman etc etc) story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I believe this is a concept album.

Their debut album Martelo was mad and maniac album in the Frank Zappa vein. It was also with Portuguese vocals. Bigorna sees a big change.

Gone is most of the madness. All of it, in fact. OK, a concept album about this much overused King Arthur is madness. But not in a good way.

The music here is pomp rock with a concept album feel. Rock opera feel also, several places on this album. This album is seventy-four minutes long. Very long, in fact. It is another album I have been struggling with.

The music is soppy, overly dramatic and too much in the AOR vein at times. There are some symph prog popping up now and then. But pomp rock is my overriding feeling about this album.

It feels overbloated and short on quality. It is too pompeous and overblown. It is though a decent album which I respect. But nothing more than that.

2 points



Krokodil - An Invisible World Revealed (1971)


The third album from this Swiss band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, mellotrons, sitar, bass, percussions, flutes, drums, harmonica and vocals.

I have quite liked their previous two albums. Good blues and psych krautrock. But these albums was still lacking something.

The band has moved on a bit since their two first albums. They have refined and developed their sound and music a lot. The result is an album with many faces and many ideas.

This album is clearly a krautrock album. This is krautrock with a lot of blues, hard rock, avant-garde, psych and space rock. There is a great 1960s psych and beat feel here.

The use of Mellotron here is great and very inspired. The mellotron is used as a contrast to the many hard rocking psych and blues pieces here. Pieces with a lot of jagged harmonicas, flutes and guitars.

The songs here are really good. On the original version of the album, that is. This is the one, the forty odd minutes long album, I am reviewing. The bonus stuff is OK. But they are included in this review.

There are two fifteen minutes long pieces here and some five minutes long pieces. All of them are very good.

This is one of the better krautrock albums I have ever sunk my teeth into. There are no great stuff here. But it should really be checked out. Do it.

3.5 points   


Paradiso degli Orchi. Il - Il Corponauta (2016)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band with this very long name is a six piece band with a lineup of flutes, bass, drums, percussion, guitars, synths and Italian vocals.

I have yet to get their 2010 self-titled debut album. I will have a look and see if I find it for a reasonable price. That because of this, their second album.... Also because the genious Fabio Zuffanti is overseeing this band and their outputs. That is the mark of quality.

I have been listening to this album for a long while with a view to finally review it. Which is not an easy task. I see that my friends in ProgArchives is rating this album very highly. So I thought it was something very wrong with me. I don't think it is. But you can decide for yourself....

This album is almost eighty minutes long. Eighty minutes long means it has to hold the attention of the listener for an awful long time. And this is not a collection album either. Neither is it a best-of album either. This is new music.

New music who takes the listener everywhere. Thankfully with Italian vocals throughout. But it takes the listener through a long and very intricate journey through the Italian prog rock scene. From folk rock in the vein if Ianva to Italian pop music, RPI, avant-garde and a bit of Italian fusion. This album got it all.

This album is also very Italian where all rules are broken. Which is great.

I still want some quality and stuff that really gets to me and I can really remember on my long journeys and working days. There is not much of it here. A couple of melody lines here and there. By all means; this is a good album with very few faults. It is not one of those wonderful Italian albums.

The band is full of promise and I hope the band can restrain themselves in the future. Make the albums shorter is a good start. Make more focused music. Don't try to be everything. That is my advice.

Nevertheless; check out this album.

3 points 





Friday, 4 November 2016

Huis - Neither in Heaven (2016)


The second album from these Canadians.

Huis is a quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Four guest musicians is provding extra firepower in the form of piano, flutes and extra keyboards. Gerben Klazinga from Knight Area is one of the additional keyboards players.

I really liked their 2014 debut album Despite Guarding Angels. Good neo-prog and a very promising band. Promise I hoped they were fulfilling on this album when I got it.

We are again talking neo-prog..... of some sorts. Not generic neo-prog, but Huis own take on this genre.

The music is much closer to the German end of the neo-prog spectrum than the British neo-prog scene.

Huis is actually a side project of the more known Canadian band Mystery. But for how long ? I guess Huis will soon be as much known as Mystery.

The reason is the powerful, heavy music on this album. Not heavy as in heavy metal, although the music is touching into heavy metal on a couple of occasions. But what I mean with heavy is powerful, full of soul and hard rocking.

The vocals is really great on this one hour long album. But not everything is great here. There are some weak tracks too. Nevertheless, this is a very good album from a band who really need to be discovered by a lot more progheads.

3.5 points



Thursday, 3 November 2016

Castanarc - Rude Politics (1988)


The second album from this British band.

It is also my first and probably last meeting with this band who released four albums between 1984 and 1989.

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

The band is listed as a neo-prog band in Progarchives and is also pretty much forgotten although their albums has got some good reviews. As you will see, I disagree with those......

The band is listed as neo-prog. But there are only some neo-prog in the opening minutes of this album. An almost fifty minutes long album. The rest of the album pop and rock.

Pop and rock of the most annoying sort. Take a lot of Phil Collins creative outputs and remove the most overtly Tamla Motown parts of his music. That is when you get a bit of a hint of what you get on this album. There are even some soul here.

The facepalms comes thick and fast on this album. Facepalms as in bad 1980s pop and rock. The album is almost unbearable bad at times. The cliches are that bad.

You have had to suffer through the 1980s to understand how "happy" I have been, listening to this album. The sound and music is that bad.

This is a turkey as good as any other turkeys. And I cannot stand this turkey.

1 point


  

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Carpet Knights. The - According to Life... (2009)


The second and so far the final album from this Swedish band.

The Carpet Knights was a five piece band with a lineup of flutes, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

There is a lot of strange bands from Sweden. The country is full of them. The Carpet Knights released two albums and four EPs between 2005 and 2009. Then we heard nothing from this band. Which is a great shame.

Where do I start when trying to describe their sound and music ? Psychedelic rock is a good start. That is their platform. But add in some folk rock in the vein of Jethro Tull and some funk rock too. Then add in a lot of stoner rock too.

In fact; most people would label this album as a stoner rock album. I would label it as an eclectic or a psychedelic rock album. The reason is that the label "stoner rock" omit a lot of the more finer details and stuff on this album.

The mood on this album is also very funny and uplifting too. It has a pretty decent degree of humour included in the music.

This album is exactly one hour long and it has a lot of very good vocals, some really good playing and a lot of very good details. The overall quality of the music is indeed very good.

This is indeed a bit of a forgotten jewel although it has some fans. You can add me to that list too.

3.5 points

 

Eden - Perelandra (1980)


The second album from this German band.

Eden was a ten piece musical collective with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, synths, flutes, polymoog, organ, piano, bouzouki and lots of German male and female vocals.

I was pretty happy about their 1978 debut album Erwartung in my review of this album last month. A good album indeed. So I was looking forward to this one....

The band has continued in the same style and genre as they started in with their debut album. More folk rock with a lot of Eloy and The Moody Blues influences. In other words, a lot of folk rock spiced up with some gentle space rock and symphonic prog.

Eden is still a Catholic Christian band who spreads the gospel. The music is a bit toothless and a bit wishy washy. The usual recipe for Christian rock. I have heard it before..... many many times.

There is a lot of angelic choirs here and some kind guitars. The music is indeed a bit on the wishy washy side.

Too much wishy washy in my view, this whole forty-five minutes long album. I am not fluent in German. But preaching and smily lyrics are universal.

The music is not that good either and I am having a bit of a problem with an album I would love to like.... but I don't. This is a decent album and nothing more than that. This is also an album low on substance and contents. Hence my lack of much praise for this album.

2 points



Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Tiles - Fly Paper (2008)


The fifth album from this US band.

Tiles is a quartet with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars and vocals on this album. They have also got help from some guest musicians/voices here. Alex Lifeson (Rush), Matthew Parmenter (Discipline) and Alannah Myles to mention the most well known of these musicians.

I have been reasonable impressed by their first four albums and have found a band I really like. That because I both love Rush and like King's X. Those and Dream Theater is the three bands I would compare Tiles to.

The band kicks of this album with a couple of Rush like songs before we get back to the usual mix of hard rock and prog metal. They sound a lot more like King's X this time than on any of their previous four albums.

There is also a couple of ballads and more mature songs here inbetween the hard rocking stuff. This throughout this one hour long album.

The band has been good with introducing new ideas on each of their albums. Not this time. The band is really consolidating on this album.

Consolidation means taking two steps backwards. In particular when the songs are not that good. Or in some instances here; really poor.

I am not a big fan of this album. But there are still some good stuff here. Hence my rating.

2.5 points