Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Trip To Elera - Paste (1997)

The first and final album from this German band. A free download album from their homepage.

I was not particular impressed by their debut release, the Rain Dreaming Ceremony EP from 1996. So I was not looking forward to another slab of their take on krautrock. This time, a one hour long album. An album I have been listening to for the last fourteen days.

Krautrock is probably not the correct label here. Call it post rock instead. That is what it is. Take bass, drums and guitars. Then you have this stripped down post rock. The music is very understated throughout. The bass and guitars is both driving the melodies forwards. The sparse, naked melodies. 

The end result is actually pretty good. Not good, but somewhere between decent and good. Fans of post rock should check this one out. Link is below.

2.5 points

Aquaplanage - Aquaplanage (2008)

The one and only album from this English band. 

This band is in reality the Yes tribute band Fragile. A band who has toured with Steve Howe amongst others. To not to confuse the matter, they released this one hour album with original material as Aquaplanage. Which seems like a smart choice. 

The music here is not really symphonic prog in the vein of Yes. It is not symphonic prog at all with the possible exception of the fifteen minutes long Ode To Grey Mornings suite. The rest of this album is neo prog and that on the more poppy side of this rainbow.

The music is created with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The music pretty much songs orientated with the exception of the above mentioned suite. There is a lot of hooks and choruses here.

The end result is by all means a good album. The suite is the best thing about this album as the suite shows a lot of promise. The rest is at times so-and-so. Not particular good in other words. This is still an album well worth checking out.

3 points 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tully - Sea Of Joy (1971)

The third album from this, in their homeland Australia, legendary band. A band who released four albums between 1970 and 1972 plus a live album. 

We are somewhere in the Australian outback here. Or is it in an apple orchard somewhere outside Sydney. Folk rock is the call here. Eclectic folk rock with a lot of avant-garde and cinematic themes too. Which is not strange because this is a movie soundtrack to a Paul Witzig movie. This was no less than his third surfing movie. The final too. I am not sure what a surfing movie is though. I guess that is men and women riding on ironing boards on some waves. Surfing is probably the least likely thing I would ever do. Ditto for watching surfing movies.

Back to the music...... 

The music is not bad at all. It is created with bass, guitars, flutes, drums, clarinet, sax, piano, keyboards and lush female vocals. 

The end result is a good forty-six minutes long album which has some flaws. But the title track is a very good one and that compensates for some flaws. This album has also aged very well and is very much a timeless album. Enjoy.

3 points

Monday, 29 December 2014

Tirelli. Armando - El Profeta (1978)

The only solo album from this Uruguay born keyboardist. He later moved to Spain where he had a very successful career as a member of various bands and as a studio musician.

This album is perhaps one of the most famous ever albums from Uruguay. A country between the Brazilian and Argentine prog rock powerhouses. That did not translate well into the small country Uruguay. 

This forty-five minutes long album is a classic mix of European symphonic prog and South American jazz. No less and no more. The music is lush with choirs, keyboards, woodwinds, guitars, narrations, bass and drums. It is probably also a concept album due to the narrations too which explains the story in Spanish. The music has much more in common with Italian prog rock, though.

The album is lush and full of life. I am probably missing the boat here as I am a bit bored by this album after some listening sessions. It felt very fresh during the first couple of listening sessions. This is by all means a good album. I am not so sure if I agree that this album is a classic album. But each to their own. I rate this as a good album and one those fans of South American prog should get.

3 points  

Kosmoratik - Directions (2014)

The second EP or so from this Norwegian band whose 2013 album Bridges And Boats got top score from me.

It is my understanding these four tracks on Directions is taken from that session too. They did not quite make that album. I can understand why.

These four tracks are more like sketches and ideas than the usual fully coloured pictures this band released on their first EP Gravitations and the B & B album. Kosmoratik is a semi-acoustic prog band with both male and female vocals. It is a three piece band and the band is not one of those full frontal symph prog bands. They are more in the folk prog vein. Their music is folk prog. 

Directions more than hints about their potential. But what we get here is not fully developed songs. Nevertheless, this is an interesting behind-the-scenes EP which is well worth purchasing. It is also a good album and a winter warmer with the warm music and vocals. Check it out.

3 points  

Art And Illusion - Art And Illusion (1990)

The debut album from this Italian band. 

Art And Illusion was a band who released three albums between 1990 and 1995. All to be reviewed/has been reviewed here. 

The band started out as a Genesis tribute band before they started to write their own material. The material here is in the Anthony Phillips vein, it has to be said. Softly spoken progressive rock with some folk and some psychedelic prog influences.

This album is fifty minutes long and the sound is not particular good. The English vocals for example is pretty muddy and far too much in the back of the mix. This album was meant as a demo before it was released as an album. That says it all. 

This is not a bad album. The songs are made by guitars, keyboards, drum machine, classic guitar and bass. It is a bit laid back and it does not have any really great tracks. It is still a decent to good album though. I hope the two other and more proper albums is better than this one.

2.5 points 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Backnee Horn - Backnee Horn III (2012)

The third album from this Israeli krautrock project/band.

Two hours of electronica krautrock is what we get this time. Which in my view is one hour too many. This is a big, big chunk of music in a music style which is not the easiest to digest. Albums like this should be more punchy and shorter. 

Anyway, I have to review what is here. I do understand why this album is mostly ignored by reviewers. Two hours........ Two hours !!!

We get various soundscapes on this album which is very ambient and very much electronica. It is ambient electronica krautrock, no less.

Most of the soundscapes is fairly interesting. It is though the type of music which demands a lot from the listener and this one is too much for me. It is a decent album and a bit of a step back from this band as the music here is a bit on the lifeless and unimaginative end of the scala. A bit more focus next time and don't you ever ever ever ever ever ever make a two hours long album again.

2 points   

Torquati. Toto - Gli Occhi Di Un Bambino (1973)

The first of two albums from this Italian musician and artist. The second album was released in 2009.

Toto Torquati was and still is mostly a studio musician, adding his keyboards and pianos on other artist's albums. That too is his instrument here. The other instruments here is guitars, Italian vocals, bass, flutes and drums. The typical Italian prog rock lineup. 

And that is what we get on this album which is about the children's perspective of the world around us. The sound is very much a Rock Progressive Italiano (RPI) sound. The music is a mix if Italian rock, pop, folk rock and symphonic prog. Typical RPI in other words. 

The music is not heavy and it is not complicated. It is much more in the Italian pop tradition. The vocals here are very good and ditto for the keyboards. I have my reservations against the children choirs here. But I guess they are a natural element of an album about children. 

The end result is a good RPI album which will very much appeal to the RPI fanatics and be rated a lot higher than my rating. I like this album although it is not a great album.

3 points

Absolute Elsewhere - In Search Of Ancient Gods (1976)

The one and only album from this (back then) English 16 years old Paul Fishman. He got some help from Bill Bruford although that help is minimal and two other musicians.#

Basically, this is a synth album anno 1976 based on this author's books. There is no vocals. Just a lot of plodding on synths. There are also some pianos here. 

The music has been compared to Tangerine Dream. A band I don't know but which I am planning to learn to know in the coming years. There is also a lot of New Age stuff here. 

Paul Fishman was probably well ahead of his time on this album. That does not explain why I don't like this album at all. I think it is a plodding album and close to being a turkey. The melodies is at times pretty decent though. Hence my rating here.

1.5 points

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Times Up - Sea Of Schemes (2014)

The third album from this English band.

I quite liked their second album Snow Queen. Very decent neo prog which proves that this scene is well and alive. 

The band has moved a bit away from neo prog and more over to the art-rock scene with this album. You get a good slab of vaudeville and US symph prog on this album. And symphonic prog is also the right label here. That and the above mentioned art-rock. In addition to the usual keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals fare, we also get woodwinds and strings here. 

Sea Of Schemes is obviously an album where the band has pushed the boat out and they are now on the wide wild ocean with this album. That is dangerous, indeed. The band may drown. Not at least financially as this album smells of huge production costs. The sound is excellent. It is not cheap either. We have a top quality professional product in our hands, here.

It is therefore a shame that there is no really great piece of music here. I like their new direction. But they are not pulling this one off. The music sounds a bit stale to me. This is by all means a good album. But just that. On the positive side, it is also an album which stands out a bit from the rest of the scene. So for those who think they have both seen and heard it all; this album is for you. It is also for the rest of you. Check it out.

3 points 

Terreno Baldio - Alem Das Lendas Brasileiras (1977)

The second and final album from this Brazilian band. 

I really liked their self titled 1975 debut album which really justified their reputation as South America's answer to Gentle Giant. 

The band has moved on though from that album. Moved on, but not much. Gone is the most obvious Gentle Giant references and in comes a bit of King Crimson, Area and generally a lot more jazz. That and a lot folk rock references. But yes, there is enough of Gentle Giant here to make it really interesting.

The songs, sung in Portuguese, is still quirky and unpredictable. They are also very melodic and very South American in style. South American prog is almost an own genre in it's own and this album is very flowery and full of colours.

The end result is an half an hour long album without any great songs. It still have enough style and good songs to make this an almost essential purchase and a very good album. I really like this band and their two albums. More of bands like Terreno Baldio, please.

3.5 points

Quasar - Loreli (1989)

The second and so far the final studio album from this English band. This despite of rumours of a new album in 2011 and 2013. Their website still says we were going to be treated to a new album.

Quasar was one of the pioneers in the English neo prog movement which really hit the stride with Marillion and Pendragon. Indeed, members of Quasar went on to form IQ, Solstice and Landmarq. Their impact on the scene has been subtle, but still pretty big.

The lineup is the normal keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. But not male vocals though. Female vocals it is. The sound is still the usual neo-prog sound. Great soaring synths and guitars. I am not won over by Tracy Hitchins vocals. A bit thin and forced. Neither is the music that great either.

There are some sporadic good things here and I rate this album somewhere between decent and good. This is an album for those into early years neo-prog. 

2.5 points 

Tellah - Continente Perdido (1980)

A Brazilian band with one album before they vanished without a trace. One of many one album wonders bands in this blog, I cannot fail to notice. Obscure bands and albums is what I like most and that comes with a price. 

Tellah was a three piece band with piano, vocals, synths, keyboards, drums, bass and guitars. The result was this forty-five minutes long album.

That is forty-five minutes of South American progressive rock. Their music is neither symphonic or even eclectic. It is vocals based progressive rock with a lot of folk rock and pop influences. The music is rather sweet and in the South American pop/rock vein.

The vocals are good. The rest not so good. The songs are decent enough. There is no good songs here and the album is an obscurity, only to be enjoyed for those into South American prog rock and rock. I am not one of them.

2 points 

Friday, 26 December 2014

Travelling - Voici La Nuit Tombée (1973)

The only sign of life from this French band. A one hit wonder band.

The jazz scene in France was in full flow in the 1970s. Some of the bands was a looking across the English Channel too and towards Canterbury, Kent. This three piece band was one of them.

Soft Machine is an obvious reference her. So is Moving Gelatine Plates. But Travelling's music is a lot easier and more prog orientated. It is in my ears proper Canterbury prog. 

The vocalist sounds a lot like Robert Wyatt. The bass, drums, piano and Hammond organ makes a pretty small soundscape. The music is built around the piano and the Hammond organ. That makes it a bit Canterbury-light. 

Small is pretty effective on this album. There is some really good melodies on this half an hour album. Good melodies full of intricate details. This is not easy listening music. 

The Hammond organ is played like Mike Ratledge in Soft Machine. The same sound. Excellent solos they are too. The end result is a very good album which capture the wild spirit of the Canterbury scene and the French jazz scene. This is really a hidden gem, just waiting to be explored.

3.5 points

Traumhaus - Die Andere Seite (2008)

The second album from this German band.

I was not that pleased about their 2001 debut album. But a lot had happened in their seven years long album break and the band came back, firing from all cylinders. 

I would put this three piece band and this album in the new German neo prog tradition (The New Wave Of German Prog Rock ?). You get a lot of Pink Floyd'ish melodies mixed up with Marillion's neo prog. In this case, you also get German vocals. Which is a plus. I see no reason why everyone should sing in English. The German language is both charming and melodic. Use it if you are a German. 

The rest of the sound is filled with some pretty useful guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. The guitars are the main instrument here and some of  the guitar solos is very much in the Pink Floyd vein. David Gilmour in other words. 

The songs are very good throughout. There is no killer tracks here. Nevertheless, there is a freshness here which I really like. In short, I will keep an eye out for this band. Get this album.

3.5 points

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Tamouz - The Orange Season Is Over (1976)

The only album this very influential Israeli band released before the members went on to have highly successful solo careers in Israel.

When I mean highly influential, I mean in Israel only. This album and band hardly ever registered in any other markets. The Hebrew vocals may be the reason. Despite of the English album title, there is not a single word in English on this album. Which off course is both great and just. 

The music here is rock with some strong art rock influences. The music here is fifty percent art rock and pretty much in the same vein as Supertramp. 

The sound is very good and their guitars, male vocals, Hammond organs, bass, keyboards and drums are potent enough. Ditto for the songs too. It is by no means the most interesting album I have ever heard. The songs are not particular good. The use of Hebrew vocals and the not too shabby songs makes this a weak three pointer album. It is an album with a bigger reputation than substance. Fair enough.....

3 points 

Titanic - Sea Wolf (1971)

The second album from this Norwegian band. 

Norwegian rock was nothing but copies of other bands back in those days. Titanic though had some success with this album and a big single success with the song Sultana taken from this album as the B side of another song. Nobody remembers the name of the A side of the single.

Sultana was a Santana rip off and an oddity on this album. This album consists of a mix of hard rock and psychedelic prog. Which more or less was the norm back in 1971. 

Just to get rid of any hints of Norway and heavy accent vocals, the band had an English vocalist. The vocals are good. The organs, guitars, bass and drums are good too. 

What is not good here is the songs. Pretty standard and dull in my opinion. Sultana is by far the best song here. That song is not representative for this album though. There are some sporadic good melody lines throughout this album. This album is therefore a decent to good album. 

2.5 points

Saga - 20/20 (2012)

The twentieth album from this Canadian band.

Maybe the title was referring to that too. Or it may have been referring to the fact that replacing Michael Sadler as the vocalist was a very bad idea. He is back again here after vacating the microphone at the previous album The Human Factor. And that itself is an improvement. 

I do not know that story so I cannot really comment here. It is great news that he is back and that we get the usual Saga fare here. Pomp rock with a lot of drama and circumstances. The guitars are a bit sharp here and the band has become pretty heavy now. There are still a couple of good ballads here.

The band will probably not win any new fans with this album. It is still an album which will really please the fans. It is also a good album without any great tracks. But I am not complaining.... The real Saga is back. 

3 points

Le Orme - Elementi (2001)

The seventeenth album from this Italian band.

After a handful of dubious albums, the band finally found themselves again and went back to progressive rock. The Italian progressive rock scene were starting to re-emerge again from a very long slumber and it was fashionable to play progressive rock again. The band had also got some great response on the gigs they had played and had found new generations, willingly to listen to them. Hence this album.

Aldo Tagliapietra was still at the microphone and was singing on his best here. The ELP elements from their first albums was back again. Maybe too much, but they cannot be faulted on that. All the right elements is here and that in a contemporary sound.

What is missing is a killer track or two. Or even a great track or two. Nevertheless, this is a good comeback album and I am not complaining.

3 points

Twogether - A Couple Of Times (1973)

The one and only album from this very obscure German band. The German label Garden Of Delights re-released some years ago after it had been out of print for decades.

We are again visiting Krautland, a distant relative of Christmasland. Well, if this album is to be taken into consideration, that is.

Klaus Bangert and Reinhard Fisher is the two persons hiding behind this band name. They plays organs, bass, piano, drums and does the vocals. 

The music is very much organs and jazz dominated. This forty odd minutes long album also visits space and symph prog. 

The vocals and the organs are good. There are some occasional very good melody lines here. There are also some less good stuff here. The album is pretty much an oddity and is very much well worth checking out. It is also a good album too. Hence my rating.

3 points   

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Teliof - Is It ? (2008)

The debut album from this Israeli band. It is also the only album so far from this band. But we can always hope for some more albums....

With a line up of ten members and at least the same amount of instruments, we are in for something special. Well, that was what I was hoping for.

What we get here is more a kind of a musical on an album than a classical music or jazz inspired album. We get some pretty naive, poppy female vocals. Some male vocals. Some guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and a lot of other instruments. This in a setting which reminds me about a musical. At best; a rock opera.

The music here is not bad at all. It is very melodic. But it is also pretty poppy and commercial with a lot of well trodden paths. It is a good album which does not really live up to it's billing as a brilliant album. I still hope we will hear far more from this band. 

3 points 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Eloy - The Tides Return Forever (1994)

The sixteenth album from these German legends.

Their previous three albums had been very poor so the news of a new Eloy was not greeted with excitement. There was a new wind blowing over Germany and the rest of the world at that time too. Eloy was not going to change that.

And, yes we can find this new wind, a bland type of music, on this album too. Take the final two Pink Floyd album (not the 2014 one) and you got this album to a large extent. You even get a wailing female vocalist here too on a couple of tracks. Couple that with mostly AOR and you get this album.

When that is said, there are some fresh green shoots on the Eloy which promises a lot. The band were in remission from the bad times. There is still enough bad pop and AOR here to make me groan in pain. But I have heard a lot worse Eloy albums than this one. It is a decent enough album who unfortunate has not survived the test of time. It is very much a 1990s album with all it's ills and plastic sound. Then again.........

2 points  

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Triode - On N'a Pas Fini D'avoir Tout Vu (1971)

Another band with one album and then total obscurity. Very little is known about this French band. Which is a great shame.

Great shame because of this album. The music here comes across as a mix of jazz, fusion and folk rock. Take an overly lively flute, some guitars, a very lively bass and some drums. Then note that there is no keyboards on this album. An album recorded by a four piece band. 

References here are Maneige and the Quebec jazz/prog scene. The flute is so much in the forefront that this album must be the absolute sweet dream for anyone into flutes. I very much like what I hear here. The bass and the guitars is also very much creating this album.

This forty-three minutes long album is really full of life. It is perhaps much more a jazz album than a folk album. There is no really great songs here. But I really like this album and rates it as a very good album. In short; get this album.

3.5 points 

Tamalone - New Acres (1979)

Another band who released one album and then vanished without a trace. This time, the band comes from the Netherlands. 

This six piece band has obviously heard about Jethro Tull. There has been a lot of bands who has tried to bottle the magic of Jethro Tull. Tamalone and this album is the closest to the real thing I have heard for a long time. The difference here is that Tamalone uses a lot more acoustic instruments than Tull did. They also use some female vocals now and then. The use of Hammond organs sets them a part too.

Yes, they sounds like Jethro Tull. Nevertheless, their songs are really good and this thirty-seven minutes long album is really a feast for those who likes folk rock a lot more than I do. This is a hidden gem and a good album who deserves to be heard by a lot of people.

3 points

Tonic - This Way (1980)

The one and only album from this German band.

This a very hard to find album which is selling for a hideous amount of money on various auction sites. The reason may be that the album was released on the Peak label. A label who released some interesting albums. 

Tonic was a five piece band with a saxophone, guitar, keyboards, bass, vocals and drums lineup. Their music is a blend of soaring symphonic prog rock and fusion. The English vocals adds a lot of rock qualities too. Both the saxophone and the guitars are in the forefront in the sound. The sound is very good.

Who should I compare this band and album to ? Eloy springs to mind. But Tonic had their own sound and music. They were pretty unique.  

Some of the songs on this forty odd minutes long album are pretty dull. Then we got a couple of very good songs too. The overall quality is very good and I really like this album who in my view defend the price it is now selling for on the internet. Check it out. 

3.5 points

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ton Steine Scherben - Warum Geht Es Mir So Dreckig? (1971)

The debut album from this rather strange German band. A band who is still around as far as I know. They have released numerous albums and they are a political band on the left of the political spectrum.

Krautrock can mean a lot. In this case, songs orientated blues and pub-rock influenced psychedelic rock. You can also add punk here as the vocalist in this four piece band is spitting out his opinions and lyrics here. The sound is also punkish and the whole attitude is very much punk.

Despite of that, the band is very skilled and the music has got a lot of intricate details. This despite of being a bass, guitars, drums and vocals band. Twin guitars, that is. The sound is very much a live sound and the sound is as muddy as it should be for this type of music.

I really like their guitar harmonies and guitar works. There is a lot to be happy about on this forty odd minutes long album. The vocals are not the best. Still; they suits this album.

I find myself really liking this album. I have a soft spot for in-your-face albums like this. The songs are all good too. So I am rating this as a good album.

3 points 

Syzygy - Realms Of Eternity (2009)

The third studio album from this US band.

I was pretty impressed by their first album. A good symphonic prog album with a neo-prog and US prog sound. Very contemporary and very much post millennium sound. 

Their music is created with lots of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals are OK. The keyboards sound is in the Hammond organs vein. The guitars, bass and drums in the neo-prog vein. The band knows how to make some noise, yes.

The music is in the epic prog field with a suite and some other songs on this seventy-seven minutes long album. There is a lot of very good melody lines here. Sporadic very good melody lines. The art of stringing together a great song is not what this band has mastered yet. The end result is a good prog rock album and nothing more than that. It is pleasing on the ear and the mind. And that's it.

3 points  

Ianva - La Mano Di Gloria (2012)

The third album from this very unusual Italian band.

They are very unusual because their music is not based on rock and pop. It is entirely based on 1930s folk and theatre music. The likes of Edit Piaff springs to mind. Ianva also delivers fiery music with a lot of angry passion and fire. Hellfire, that is. That is what they have done on all their releases.

Ianva use acoustic guitars, trumpets, bass, piano and drums in their music. That and some fiery male and female vocals.

It is my impression that their music has become a lot more gentle and melody focused on this album. Gone is the hellfire..... mostly gone. There are some very good melodies here and the album is the right step forward. Fans of Ianva will still find an album they will love. This is a very good album in my ears from an oddball unique band.

3.5 points

Friday, 19 December 2014

Triggering Myth. A - Twice Bitten (1993)

The second album from this US band. 

I was quite impressed by their self titled debut album and very impressed by their fifth album. Both reviewed for ProgArchives. 

A Triggering Myth was/is a fusion group and they were a duo here with five guest musicians. Take guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion. Then you get their setup on this fifty odd minutes long album.

The first half of this album is almost zeuhl like. Well, at least the Belgium band Present springs to mind here. Take some symphonic prog and add a lot of zeuhl. That's the Myths suite for you, explained.

Myths is by far the best piece of music here. The rest is pretty ambient and featureless soundscape where nothing much grows and gives life. Parts of this album is pretty dull to be honest and there is not much fusion like drive here. Most of the music is very plodding pedestrian.

The end result is a decent album and not one I really like. Hence my verdict.

2 points 

Myriad - Floating On Ascending Plains (2001)

The second album from this Australian project/band. 

I reviewed their 1996 debut album Sea Of The Sinking Sun many years ago for ProgArchives. I found that an interesting album. Their new one just confirms those sentiments.

I believe this band is from Brisbane in Australia. A nice town with a nice local area. An area which is coloring this album if I am not much mistaken.

The music here is a mix of symphonic prog, neo prog and some psychedelic prog. Porcupine Tree is not far away from the thoughts of this band. Camel too is very much in the forefront on this album. Not to mention Pink Floyd. Distill these three bands and you get this album.

Most of all, the soaring guitars and keyboards creates a majestic landscape on this album. Just like the Australian outbacks. There are some good vocals here. But the best part of this album is instrumental.

Some of the material here is pretty much anonymous. Some material is very much majestic and memorable. Not to mention; very good. The law of average makes this a good album and one I like. I recommend it.

3 points 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Tilion - Insolitariamente (2003)

The first of two albums from this Italian band. 

Tilion is a kind of an Italian super-group with Alfio Costa and members from many other bands. All those bands are alive and kicking. We have not heard anything from Tilion for a long time so I guess this band has been put on ice for the next two thousand years.

Listening to this bewildering album, I can understand why. This one hour long album is bewildering because it kicks like a wild horse in all direction. Take dark Italian symphonic prog and expand it into theatre music, avant-garde, jazz, space rock, Deep Purple and Porcupine Tree. 

The music has been created with plenty of guitars, Italian vocals, bass, drums, keyboards, flutes, saxophones and harp. The sound is contemporary and it does not tries to go retro back to the 1970s.

I am all for variations. But this album is not particular organized and it feels like it has been put together in a haphazard fashion. There is no good tracks here either and I am left floundering in the wake of this album. 

Nevertheless, this is a decent album which may appeal to those who likes overly eclectic music. I like eclectic music, but the quality is not here on this album. 

2 points 

Kaipa - Nattdjurstid (1982)

The fifth album from this Swedish band.

Kaipa is one of the pillars, maybe the grandfathers of the Scandinavian prog rock movement. In 1982, they released this album, though....

There is no prog rock here. Instead, we get some ghastly pop/rock here with terraces chants and synths. The sound is typical 1980s and the music is very dated. I think INXS is the best comparison here. But Kaipa did it far worse than that pretty bad Australian band. 

This album is in short an abysmal ghastly album and a turkey. Not even those who want Kaipa complete should have this album. That says it all.

1 point 

Eiliff - Close Encounters With Their Third One (1999)

The first of two live albums from this German band.

Eiliff was a very special band whose two studio albums is very much recommended. Both reviewed here. This live album though was recorded in 1972 by Westdeutcher Dundfunk Cologne and broad-casted during a night rock show. 

Don't expect any of their songs from the two studio albums. Eiliff goes all out improvisations jazz here. That with a lot of krautrock and Canterbury jazz too. This forty-five minutes long album is one long spaced out jazzy jam. 

The end result is very 1970s where everything was allowed. You get plenty of saxophones, guitars and not at least; Hammond organs here. You even get a drum solo and plenty of hard bass work too. The vocals here is in the soul genre and you even get a good soul song here. 

The end result is a very potent all out live album with a pretty good sound. This is one of those live albums which is almost legendary and one to get on it's own merit. It is a very good live album too. Get it.

3.5 points

Thirsty Moon - Thirsty Moon (1972)

The debut album from this German band. A four piece band who went on to releasing five studio albums before they split up.

It is not easy to define their music as it is a mix of various styles and genres. Well, it is one fitting label and that is krautrock. Very flowery krautrock. Take blues, Canterbury, psychedelic rock, jazz, space rock, rock and symph prog. Then you get this album. 

There is a lot of strange things the band has put together on this forty minutes long album. Weird off kilter songs, weird pieces of jazz and general weirdness all around. There is also a lot of good songs here too. This is by no means easy listening stuff, what this band has created with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, woodwinds and vocals. English vocals, that is.

The sound is reasonable good and gives a good vibe, this being an album from the early 1970s. The overall quality is also good and I quite like this weird album. I may get the other albums from this band in the future. 

3 points

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tohpati. Bertiga - Tribal Dance (2014)

Another great MoonJune find from Indonesia. 

This is the second album from the guitar wizard Tohpati too. He has got the world famous bassist and drummer Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman to help him out on this album too.

Jazz/fusion from Indonesia mostly means ethno and folk orientated music. East meets west. Which is great, btw. It really makes this music interesting. 

This album is no difference. Tohpati, Haslip and Wackerman serenades to a pretty eclectic and traditional take on jazz with the ethno element. Lots of various takes on guitars. Mostly electric. I am not the biggest fan of jazz yet and this becomes a bit alien to me. Nevertheless, this is an appealing album and a good one. It comes recommended.

3 points  

Top. Jannick - Soleil d'Ork (2001)

The Magma bassist tries out his own wings on this, the first of his two albums. 

Jannick Top comes from France and has been central in the zeuhl genre for a long, long time. So it was about time he solo debuted with this album back in 2001.

We are deep into zeuhl territory with this album. The opening songs are very Magma like. A bit stripped down Magma, I would say. The bass, some droning vocals and some female vocals are there. Ditto for the very much zeuhl like song structures. It is a bit one dimensional. But it still catches my attention.

The album veers more into avant-garde ambient for a while. A soundscape not too bad. Nevertheless, I still get this album-filler impression of those soundscapes. The final part is much more interesting with variations of the theme "zeuhl songs". 

The end result is a good zeuhl album which is not up there with the best zeuhl albums. It is still an obligatory purchase for all zeuhl fans despite of this album being short on great stuff. It is recommended.

3 points

Tesis Arsis - Sinos da Eternidade (2011)

The third and so far latest album from this Brazilian band. 

Maybe it is a project. The lineup of instruments are drums, bass, guitars and lots of lots of keyboards and synths. It is in other words one of those keyboards dominated symphonic prog albums.

Clocking in at seventy-four minutes, this mainly keyboards dominated album can be listed among those many instrumental keyboards albums. It is mainly an own genre now.

The guitars, drums and bass adds some heaviness to the music. A lot of substance too. The music is not as ambient as I feared. The music is actually medium heavy with some ambient passages. The music is also flirting with classical music at times.

What could had been a good album has been tarnished by the lack of good songwriting and some human elements here. This album has this made-by-machines sound and feel. It is therefore a decent album and nothing more. Seventy-four minutes is far, far too long. But fans of this type of music should see this as a big plus. I am not.

2 points  

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Lagger Blues Machine - Lagger Blues Machine (1972)

The one and only album from this Belgium based album.

Strangely enough, this band is listed as a zeuhl band in ProgArchives and some other places too. I am not the one to question the motives of the very many wise men and women in ProgArchives. But I have to disagree with them here.

This forty odd minutes long album is a mix of folk rock, hard rock, avant-garde and blues. You find flutes, guitars, bass, Hammond organs, saxophones and drums here. The sound is not the best. The music is pretty intricate with some good ideas. Mostly, it is not really the type of music that makes me sit up and notice. Even the forays into avant-garde is pretty dull here. 

Nevertheless, this is a decent album and a disappointment for me personally as I have spent both time and money on this album. 

2 points

Monday, 15 December 2014

Budgie - Power Supply (1980)

The eight album from these Welsh rockers.

1980 was here and the heavy metal scene were exploding with the likes of Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Saxon and Iron Maiden being in the forefront of the new wave of heavy metal. 

Oldies like Budgie also released a heavy metal in 1980. This one. And they are still showing up the rest of the scene with heavy metal who were not far behind what AC/DC did on Back In Black. Budgie leaves the psychedelic elements behind and just rocks out on this album. Heavy rocking too with a lot of boogie. 

The main problem with this album is the lack of any good songs. This album just sounds like a second rate heavy metal album. It is only floating on the Budgie trademark and that is all. This album is a bit charming, but not much. It is a decent album which is worth picking up when just tribal heavy metal is the solution to all ills in life. But that is all I can say.

2 points

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Temple - Temple (1976)

Another German band who released one album and then disappeared without a trace. A small English label re-released this album on CD in the 1990s.

We are again talking about krautrock. This time with a small twist, though. The vocals here is very dark and Depeche Mode'ish. The rest of the music is in the same area too. The differences is that Temple uses a lot of guitars and Hammond organs here. Add the bass and drums too and you get the full picture. The sound is reasonable good.

Besides of goth, there is also a lot of space rock here too. This is very much a krautrock album though with the krautrock sound being very evident here. The album clocks in at half an hour. Most of the music is pretty much one-dimensional here with the gothic depression hanging over this album like a black cloud. The vocals is at times atonal. 

This makes it a decent to good album which is one of the oddities from the krautrock scene. Check it out if you are into krautrock.

2.5 points

TenMidnight - The City Of Angels (2010)

The third album from this Italian band.

I have had considerable problems with this album as it is pretty difficult to pinpoint and review. It is that diverse.

OK, I can start with the band. It is a four piece band with synths, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The English vocals is heavy accented and not particular good. The synth is OK though. Some hired flutes is also a good thing here.

This one hour long album starts out in neo-prog and Italian prog vein before it start to kick out in all directions. Avant-garde, space rock, folk-rock, power metal, neo-prog, electronica...... Well, I am a bit confused. 

I am all for variations. This band has missed the trick though as the transitions between the styles are more like a choppy waters and without much finesse. This makes this a frustrating listening experience. I don't really think this band is something for me. Neither is this decent album which sometimes dishes up with some good things before it heads of into self destruction again.

2 points

Blue Öyster Cult - Heaven Forbid (1998)

Album number 12 from this US eclectic metal rock band.

This is the follow up to the excellent 1988 album Imaginos who showcased the band from their best side. Ten years later, all the life and intelligence had gone out of the band. What's left is not something I appreciate.

The band still contains Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma. You still get the typical BOC vocals. There is also a lot of keyboards, guitars, drums and bass here. All the right ingredients from their glorious past. The music though....

Take some dumbed down metal and add some AOR to the proceedings. Proceedings lasting forty-five minutes. That includes a Mr Big like acoustic live song called In Thee. A terrible song and one BOC should not have touched with a barge pole. 

The rest of the album is also terrible and not worth using my time on. Avoid.

1.5 points 

Three Seasons - Grow (2014)

The third album from these Swedish retro rockers.

This power trio has on their two previous albums taken us back to the happy 1970s with their mix of blues, hard rock, space and prog rock. Albums I really liked a lot. 

I am happy to report that the band has not changed their winning formula. Well, they have actually refined it and made it a lot better. You still get Hammond organs, guitars, bass, drums and very stylish vocals here. Joe Lynn Turner and David Coverdale springs to mind here. Not as superb as their vocals, but still very good vocals. 

This fifty minutes long album offers up a mix of ballads and rockers. All of them with a glint in the eye and tonnes of charm. What is really missing here is a killer track or two. Besides of that, this is a very good album fans of retro rock should really purchase in a flash of a moment.

3.5 points

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Triana - Hijos Del Agobio (1977)

The second album from this Spanish band. 

I reviewed their first album for ProgArchives some six years ago and very much liked that album. It was one of the first non-English vocals albums I had ever heard and that got me more into the Spanish and then the Italian scene. Those are still some of my favourite scenes. 

Triana has very much been the pioneers in the Spanish prog rock scene. A lot of other bands has picked up from where Triana left it and continued in the same vein. This album resonates a lot in the scene even today. Take a big chunk of Spanish folk music with flamenco and passionate Spanish vocals. Then add some rock and progressive rock from England. Voila.... you got this album. 

The emphasis is on Spanish folk music though. The music here is very progressive too. It also got some very nice melodies. It is obvious that both King Crimson and Genesis has been a big influence on Triana and this album too. 

Both the sound and the songs are good on this half an hour long album. It is an album which sounds a bit dated and it does not really have any great songs either. It is still an album well worth checking out. 

3 points  

Tea In The Sahara - Boomerang (1996)

The second and final (?) album from this German band.

Their debut album did not impress me at all. Pretty dull and generic neo-prog. So I had hopes for this album. The band is still a five piece band here with drums, bass, synths, guitars and English vocals. The vocals are rather good.

The one hour long album starts out with some reasonable good neo-prog songs. They are generic and does not excites me. But they are not that bad. The band has chosen melody instead of intricate hooks and details. 

There are some mindless noises on this album too. Some rather strange songs which does not make any sense whatsoever. What were the band thinking ?

The end result is a decent album which does not re-invent the wheel or bring anything new to the scene. Ardent fans of neo-prog should check this one out. 

2 points    

Moody Blues. The - A Question of Balance (1970)

Their sixth album and their first album from the 1970s. The Moody Blues was an English band and one of the most famous and respected bands in the prog rock movement.

Well, I believe that. There is not much progressive rock on this album though. The songs here are short and sweet. They are pretty similar to the mid-era The Beatles. The Moody Blues have gone much backwards towards their debut album on this album. 

Their debut album was a beat album and there is a lot of beat here too. That and some rather sophisticated pop-rock too. They still retains their great sound from the previous four albums. But the songs are shorter and much more punchy commercial. Justin Hayward is as per usual great on vocals. Besides of that, the first two songs are very good. The rest is not so good.

This is good album with some sweet melodies from a band who took the ball from The Beatles and ran away with it. 

3 points

Friday, 12 December 2014

Thollot. François - Contact (2002)

The second and so far final album from this French guitarist and keyboardist who later released albums under the Scherzoo band name. Francois has got the rhythm section from One Shot on this album too. Together, they are a three piece band. 

The thumping bass and the drums gives the game away and that straight away. Zeuhl, it is. The keyboards also joins the rhythm section here. It also carries the melodies together with the guitars. 

All together, this is a minimalistic zeuhl album without the big sound and drama the likes of Magma and the Japanese & Italian bands gave us. Contact was recorded by a three piece band with four instruments. Besides of zeuhl, there is also a lot of Soft Machine'ish music here too. Jazz is never really far away from the sound here. 

The result is a very good album with a bit of a different take on zeuhl than the likes of Magma. It is still an album well worth checking out. Do that.

3.5 points