Monday, 28 September 2015

Jump - On Impulse (2001)

The seventh album from this British band.

Jump debuted in 1991 with the album The Winds Of Change. Their albums has not really made it big in the prog rock scene although they are listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives. It is true to say that Jump is an obscure band.

Maybe world wide, but perhaps not in their local community and county. The band is a six piece band here with a lineup of vocals, bass, keyboards, drums and guitars. There are even some mandolin here.

The music is honest British rock with a great deal of folk rock and some neo-prog. The songs are pretty short and not overly elaborate or complicated. The vocals are pretty dominating. Jump is not Yes, let me put it like that.

Short, sweet and not much in longviety and food for thought. This is simply not for me, this easy digested British rock album. It is not bad. Neither is it good. Hence my verdict.

2.5 points

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Jastreb - Mother Europe (2013)

The second album from this Croatian band.

Both albums has been released on Bandcamp and the band is not particular well known. I did not know about them before I got this album.

I know next to nothing about them as their homepage just gave me a lot of Japanese letters. I guess the band has been disbanded. The lineup is guitars, sequencers, bass and drums. The music is mostly instrumental.

The band label themselves as occult krautrock. Maybe experimental metal and sludge is the right word. Or to be precise; stoner and sludge. This fifty minutes long album is sludgy and dirty. A sludge fest, in other words. Dirty and dark is also two other labels I would use.

The quality is actually good. Most of this album, that is. The songs are a bit samey and does not really open up. Nevertheless, this is a decent to good album well worth checking out. I hope the band will continue to release more albums.

2.5 points

Witchwood - Litanies From the Woods (2015)

The debut album from this Italian band.

The band name and cover art suggests USA. It is not. This is Italy. It is indeed the thriving Italian retro rock/prog scene who has spawned a new band.

For some reasons, this album has not been released through Black Widow Records. Which is strange because the music reeks BWR long way.........

Witchwood is a five piece band with a lineup of flutes, mandolin, Hammond organs, Moog, harmonica, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals.

The music is a blend of southern rock, classic rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock and progressive rock. The sound is very much 1970s. The ambience on this 80 minutes long album is also very much retro, the 1970s.

The musicians is doing a great job here and is taking us back to USA. The flutes and harmonica is great here. Parts of this album is like Led Zeppelin meeting Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then you also have more pastoral pieces of music here. 

There is no real great pieces of music here and you are hard pressed to find a very good or even good songs here. Nevertheless, there is enough here to really drag the listener in and making the deep dive into the US and Italian retro rock worthwhile. This is a good album indeed. Check it out and you may find a new friend in this album. It is an intriguing album indeed.

3 points

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Janus - Al Maestrale (1978)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

Janus was a band on the right wing side of the Italian political spectrum during the 1970s. That as a contrast to the left wing bands in the same scene. Bands like Area & co.

That is all fair enough. People was and is entitled to their own political views and this is not a political blog. The political bit is everything I know about this band. A band so obscure you really have to be big into Italian music to know about them.

The music is a mix of garage rock, punk, space and prog rock. Italian prog rock. The sound is pretty OK although the garage songs are pretty much tuned down as they are supposed to be.

I don't know the band members here or how many contributed to the album. The lineup is bass, drums, flutes, keyboards and Italian vocals. Not a lot of money has gone into making this album. It has a poor garage feel. A bit of a DIY and punk feel.

The end result is better than I feared. There are a few snippets of good stuff here. The punk thing is not my kind of tea, though. The album sounds like a collection of wildly different ideas. It feels a bit like a compilation album. The end result is a decent album which will never grace my record player again. But for those who likes this........

2 points

Poços & Nuvens - Província Universo (2001)

The second and final album from this Brazilian band.

This band released two studio and two live album before they went into obscurity. The band is probably no longer among us.

The band was a six piece on this album with a lineup of viola, violins, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, flutes and Portuguese vocals.

As on their debut album, the music is a mix of folk rock and symphonic prog. You can also add a bit of a prog metal on this album too as there are some instances of pretty hard music here. The main part of this album is pretty folky and pastoral. The keyboards, sounding like 1970s organs, is pretty much leading the pastoral songs here. The guitars are a bit metal'ish at times.

There are no great, let alone good songs here. That is the big problem with this one hour long album. It is not an easy one hour times many times. There are only some sporadic interesting stuff here. That makes this a decent album, but nothing more than that. I am not that impressed.

2 points

Gazpacho - Night (2007)

The fourth album from this Norwegian band.

Gazpacho was by now on everyone's radar. Or maybe this was the album that really broke the band internationally. The band has never really broken through in Norway. But Night did it for them in Germany and the rest of Europe.

This six piece band did not change much since their previous album. They just developed what they got. That is a mix of Marillion and post-rock. Ambience and melody.

The seventeen minutes long Dream Of Stone is the best song here. It has a great melody and build up throughout the song. The following three songs are pretty great too before the band is doing a pretty scenic final song called Massive Illusion. A song where half of it is kind of working. It is a thirteen minutes long experiement, more or less.

The end result is a very good album which cements the band's position in my view. I really like this band.

3.5 points 

High Spy - Paralysed and Hypnotised (2015)

The fourth studio album from this British band.

High Spy has released more official live albums than studio albums. That goes some way to explain how obscure this band is.

High Spy is one of the more unknown British neo-prog scene bands. They are a five piece band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals.

The vocals is not particular convincing to say at least. The music is a blend of neo-prog and straight rock. The sound is not particular convincing either.

What this album is mostly suffering from is the lack of any really good songs. The album is pretty decent and dull throughout these seventy-two minutes. The opening song Take Me Inside is a good song though and is the saving grace on this album. Some bands and albums are obscure for a good reason.......

2 points

Friday, 25 September 2015

Khatsaturjan - Aramed Forces of Simantipak (2006)

The debut album from this Finnish band.

The band has so far released three albums. Their most recent one earlier this year.

Khatsaturjan was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals. There is also some strings on this sixty-seven minutes long album too.

The band has been labeled as symphonic prog in ProgArchives. Which is fair enough. Parts of this album reminds me a lot about Advent. The band was also pretty close to New Trolls on their second album too, from what I can see.

A kind of symphonic prog and crossover prog is what we get here with two suites and some shorter songs. Most of this album has pretty big vaudeville and US prog influences. And off course the Advent influences.

I am not won over by the music here at all as I find it pretty dull and without any really good stuff. The music has some sporadic qualities. But this album never really takes off except from some sporadic bursts of air and acrobatics. It is a decent album, nevertheless.

2 points   

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Jagiello - The Silent And The Louder Side (1994)

The only album from this German band.

Jagiello was a four piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English vocals, that is. The album was also a private pressing with a very limited distribution. I got it many years ago as a part of a big package of German albums.

The album is fifty minutes long and the music is pretty standard, run of the mill neo-prog in the English school.

The year is 1994 and that explains this 1990s sound. Not a great sound. The vocals too is pretty weak. There are no good songs here. There are still some qualities here which saves the album from a turkey status. This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Janison Edge - The Services Of Mary Goode (1999)

The one and only album from this English band.

This is a band with members from Credo, Shadowlands and Landmarq. They were a five piece band with the vocalist Sue Elements and her vocals fronting the band. She was supported by guitars, bass, drums and keyboards.

We are again in neo-prog land. The music is very stylish and in the more poppy end of the female fronted neo-prog scene. The music though is unmistaken neo-prog.

Sue's vocals are very good. The music is not very good. It has some really dull moments, this one hour long album. Too many, in fact. The title track is a good one. Sue's vocals shines up the album and the end result is a good album.

3 points

Monday, 21 September 2015

Twin Age - Month Of The Year (1996)

The debut album from this Swedish band who released three albums altogether.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of keyboards, drums, bass, guitars and English vocals on this album. It is pretty much the standard lineup for a prog rock album. Both those and these days.

Don't be surprised when I announce that this is another neo-prog album and band. Neo-prog with a lot of influences from Marillion, Jadis and Arena. That also means that Genesis looms large just above the horizon.

The sound is very good. The vocals is acceptable. The keyboards and guitars is typical neo-prog. There is nothing much to be offended by here....... or excited. This is a good forty minutes long album with no great songs. Check it out if obscure but still good neo-prog floats your boat.

3 points

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Clepsydra - Tropicarium (2015)

The fourth album from this Italian band.

The band is listed in ProgArchives as an Italian prog rock band. Which is fair enough for their first albums, I guess. I have yet to give them a listen or two. If I can find them, that is.

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

The music has an Americana feel and is connecting with the deep south. Not the deep south of Italy, but the deep south of USA. You can also add the west coast sound of.... USA again.

There is not much which reminds me about Italy here. Instead, we get some American induced college rock from USA. 

Although the musicians is doing a good enough job with some good vocal and guitar harmonies, the music is not that interesting. Neither is this a good album. It is a decent album and one forgetable one. 

2 points 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Potter. Jack - Celestial Adventures (2012)

The debut album from Jack Potter from USA.

Jack Potter is a drummer from USA who has contributed a lot on Christian worship albums. He is doing the vocals, drums and keyboards here. The core of his band consists of three other members with a lineup of saxophone, bass and guitars. They are again helped by a handful of other musicians with mellotrons, violins, guitars and keyboards.

Jack Potter's roots is obvious and expressed through excessive amounts of narrations/spoken words throughout this seventy minutes long concept album. Narrations which is my biggest gripe with this album. Not the words itself, but the amount of words. It is a total overkill from the start to the end.

The music is a pretty good mix of symphonic prog and neo-prog. This album is throwing some long glances back to the 1970s. The keyboards sound is not that great though and there is no great music here. The narrations is killing of any of my interest as I am more interested in music than spoken words and story telling.

This is a decent album and that is that.

2 points  

Nucleus - Roots (1973)

The seventh album from this English band.

Nucleus is the band of Ian Carr, a trumpet player who was called Europe's answer to Miles Davis throughout his life. Nucleus also had a lot of coming Soft Machine members. That is, up to this album. There is no Soft Machine members on this album.

Nucleus was an eight members band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet, piano and organs. This album has also got Joy Yates female vocals on one track.

Most of this thirty-seven minutes long album has got a mix of guitars and woodwinds solos. The jazz here is pretty complex and hard edged. Ian Carr's trumpets is not that dominating and he is letting other instruments also have a good run.

There is no really great pieces of music here. This is a good album though where the final ten minutes is the best part of this album. Check it out.

3 points     

La Düsseldorf - Individuellos (1980)

The third and final album from this German band.

This trio was back again with the last hooray of this band. The lineup was keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and a lot of mostly silly singing and humming along.

German humour is a bit quirky to say at least. This album is a mix of German silliness and krautrock. The songs are pretty simply and children rhymes like. A bit mental hospital. As the late Daevid Allen demonstrated; this too can be great art. And most of what we get here is art. Very much so.

Some simple and spartan produced keyboards riffs is developed into melodies and songs. There is fifty-two minutes worth of it. It is a bit mentally demented, but it mostly works out fine.

The sound is pretty bad throughout though and that does not make a good album. This is a decent album and the worst of their three albums. Check out their first two albums instead.

2 points 

Finneus Gauge - More Once More (1997)

The debut album from this US band and the first of their two albums.

 The band was a Echolyn spin-off with the Echolyn keyboardist Chris Buzby playing a central part here. He had company of four other musicians, including the vocalist Laura Martin. A vocalist who reminds me about Edie Brickell at times.

The music here is melodic prog with a lot of jazz influences. The drummer and bassist plays a lot of jazz structures here helped out by Laura's vocals too. The core of the music is more eclectic and folk based. I also find a lot of psychedelia here.

The sound is very clean and bohemian. So is the music too. Laid back and bohemian. 

This album is awful long, clocking in at well over seventy minutes. It does not have any killer tracks or even some great tracks. It is still a good to very good album and I like this album a lot.

3 points

Friday, 18 September 2015

Forest - Full Circle (1970)

The second and final album from this English band.

The four piece band Forest was always regarded as a cheap version of Fairport Convention. Which did not help the band at all..... This was certainly true on their debut album which was a pretty cheap take on folk rock. Primitive is the word I should use.

So I am a bit surprised to hear this, the follow up album.

Full Circle is very much a much bigger undertaking than the debut album which suffered from a lack of instruments. Full Circle has got a lot of strings attached to the still vocals dominated music here. Add flutes and guitars too and you get the picture. They are still operating in the Fairport Convention area. But they are no longer a cheap copy of them.

The songs here are really good with a lot of good strings and other instruments and vocals arrangements. I was preparing to write something nasty about this album as I did not believe this band had improved. But there is not much wrong about this album. It is one of the better folk rock albums I have heard for a while..... well, since I heard Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson.

This album is forty-three minutes long and it a joy to behold. And that from a genre I am not that fond of. Check it out !

3 points

Cos - Babel (1978)

The third album from this Belgium based band.

The band is still hanging around with Pascale Son on (female) vocals and oboe. She is helped by other woodwinds, guitars, keyboards, drums and bass. There are also some male vocals here.

Their first albums was great albums in the Canterbury jazz and zeuhl tradition. And Cos is continuing in that tradition. There is a lot more jazz here though, but the playful approach to music is still here on this forty minutes long album. That seems to be the whole ethos of this band. Play around with music and see what works.

The end result in this case is a good album who is sadly lacking in greatness. It is still an album worth checking out.

3 points

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Chalcedony - Chapter One (2007)

The first album from this one man band from United Kingdom.

The man behind this band calls himself Chalcedony and that is fair enough. He does everything here bar guitars which has been done by Chris Wilson. The lineup is, besides of the guitars, cello, violins, piano, drums, bass, keyboards, flutes and vocals.

This one man and his music has gone down the symphonic rock route. Not symphonic prog, but symphonic rock. There is a lot of Broadway and the West End musicals like music here. That and some prog metal when the guitars, bass and drums kicks in.

The album is seventy-four minutes long and one heck of a mouthful even when this hugely ambitious idea really works out. In this case, it has not. The vocals are forced and really unhealthy on mr. Chalcedony's vocal chords. A better, far better vocalist, would have been a much better option.

The songs are not that great either and they seems to be lost in a Las Vegas/Broadway time warp. In a kind of worst-of-the-70s bad taste party. This is not prog rock. This is Las Vegas.

This is a decent enough album. It is not something I would recommend to anyone into prog rock.

2 points  

J 'Accuse..! - Abbandono Del Tempo E Delle Forme (2008)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

So far, that is. It is always a hope that they will release more albums.

This band was a four piece band on this album with two guest musicians helping out too. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, organs and Italian vocals.

The band is listed as crossover prog in ProgArchives and I was looking forward to some gentle prog. Which is exactly what you don't get on this one hour long album.

Take post-punk and add some post-rock. Then you get this album. The music is hyper energy and pretty chaotic too. The guitars is frantic pummeling away my ears.

The post-rock elements is good. The punk elements not so good. This is still an album well worth checking out as it is a decent to good album. That is for those of you who likes some noise. Loud noise.

2.5 points

Glacier - Ashes For The Monarch (2015)

The second album from this British band.

The band debuted in 2001 with their Monuments album. I have reviewed it.... no, I have not. I got it so I will do that later on.

Glacier was formed in the late 1970s and were put on hold for a long time. Monuments was their old songs and this album, Ashes For The Monarch is very probably new material from this band who is still gigging to my knowledge. That in addition to their daytime jobs, I guess.

The band is a six piece band with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, violins and vocals. Both male and female vocals. Their music is somewhere between symphonic prog and neo-prog. I would say late Genesis before they adopted this pop and Motown music. Steve Hatchett has been mentioned by other reviewers.

This one hour long album sounds like a concept album to me with some narration and samples of dentistry and other things.

The music is good throughout without really having a couple of killer tracks. That is my only gripe with this album. It flows nicely like fine wine, but without having a memorable bite which makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd. Check it out.

3 points

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Mad Puppet - Not Only Mad (1991)

The second album from this Italian band.

Their debut album was not particular impressive and the band follows up that album with a new attempt of winning me over.

The band is a five piece on this album with a lineup of clarinet, bass, drums, percussions, guitars, synths and English vocals.

We are nominally talking neo-prog here. Nominally because this album is much more in the pop-rock vein than in the neo-prog vein. Eight light hearted bubblegum like songs in the new romantics vein and a couple of more proggy songs.

The result is almost a turkey. But the seven minutes long You is not too bad and saves their bacon. It is still worth avoiding this album.

1.5 points

Saturday, 12 September 2015

It Bites - Map Of The Past (2012)

The fifth and so far final album from this British band.

Francis Dunnery was once a member of this band. He has now gone solo and does not contribute on this album. That is what I really knew about this band before I got this album.

It Bites belongs to the British neo-prog scene. Their first album was released as far back as in 1986. They never got as famous as the likes of Arena, Pendragon and Marillion.

Reduced to a quartet, the band sticks to a lineup of synths, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals is very good. So is the rest of the musicians here too.

It Bites is on the more commercial end of this neo-prog scene. The music here is sugary sweet and very catchy. It is wandering into pop music territory a lot and it has some bubblegum qualities to it.

The music is far too sugary for my liking. At least after having been listening to this fifty-three minutes part of this album. The second half is a live album which I have omitted from this review. The studio songs here are good, but nothing special. Too much sugar can harm you. The evidence is on this album.

3 points

Solaris - Marsbéli Krónikák (1984)

The debut album from this Hungarian band.

I was really looking forward to give this highly rated band and album a good listen. The band has resurfaced again after a long break with # 2 of this epic piece of music. So it is about time to give all their albums a good listen and reviews.

The band was a five piece band with some guest musicians. The lineup was guitars, keyboards, flutes, bass, drums, percussions and a lot of synths.

This album is entirely instrumental and a band like Camel plus Mike Oldfield is a good reference. I would also add the space rock bands in the German krautrock scene as an obvious reference.

Hence.... The music is symphonic rock. But with a twist of space rock. Space rock too because this is about the planet Mars. A very popular theme in popular culture.

The music is fine enough with a lot of interesting melody lines and details. It does not really captivate me though as I find it a bit bland and a bit unimaginative. It was probably a big thing in 1984 when it was a hit album in Hungary. But in 2015 and in my world....... It is a good album and well worth checking out though.

3 points 

Ubi Maior - Incanti Bio Meccanici (2015)

The third album from this Italian band.

I very much liked their debut album Nostos from 2005, but has missed out on their 2009 album Senza Tempo. I guess I need to get that album too.

The band is a five piece band on this album with a line up of violin, trumpet, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and Italian vocals.

Their sound is very typical classic Italian prog rock. It is very much a mix of new and old Italian prog rock. That goes for both the music and the sound. The music is more of the mellow sort than the more heavy and explosive sort. The vocals is a bit overly dramatic. Theatrical is the word I am looking for. The Italian language is a bit theatrical by default and the vocals is reflecting these Latin theatricals.

The songs on this one hour long album is all very long. We are talking four suites here where the longest suite clocks in at twenty minutes and the shortest one at nine minutes.

Unfortunate, there is no real great piece of music here. The music is by all means very good overall. This much more in a subtle sense which demands a lot from the listener. Easy listening, this is not.

The end result is a very good album from a band I really like.

3.5 points

Friday, 11 September 2015

Forest Field - Onwards and Upwards (2014)

The second album from this US band.

Forest Field is more a project than a band. It's main man is Peter Cox and he has got help from some other musicians. The lineup is guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, flutes and vocals.

The mission statement from this band is to create music somewhere between ambient music and progressive rock. The band has therefore released some ambient pieces too. Thankfully, they are not included here.

What we get here is fifty minutes of a pretty melodic mix of AOR and neo-prog. The music is very gentle and not particular aggressive. No chugging guitars and no over the top dramatic music. There is a lot of piano and a lot of vocal harmonies here.

And this mostly works. There is no really great or even very good stuff here. But this album works and the scene has a place for a band like this one. I am won over and rate this as a  good album.

3 points

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Inquire - The Neck Pillow (2000)

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

I did not like their 1999 debut album Inquire Within at all. Read that review somewhere else in this blog. 

The album is still a fourpiece with a lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and English vocals. The album is just over an hour long.

The music is neo-prog. Neo-prog in the vein of the Dutch and English bands from the 1990s. The music is unimaginative and standard with guitar solos and keyboards runs where you exactly expect them. The song Death Of Ase is taken from the classical piece by Edvard Grieg. Very clever.... not.

The vocals is not that good and I am a bit bored by this album. It is nevertheless a decent album from a band who simply were not good enough.

2 points

Forest - Forest (1969)

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

The band was a trio with a lineup of multiple vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolin, harmonica, flutes, cello, harpiscord, percussions and organ. 

The lineup means a bit primitive folk rock. This album sounds like an album from The Incredible String Band. You get folk rock with a psychedelic rock vibe throughout.

The vocals are good and the band occasionally comes up with some reasonably good songs. It is still not really a good album though. This forty-five minutes long album is worth checking out if folk rock is your thing.

2.5 points

Introitus - Anima (2014)

The third album from this Swedish band.

The female fronted prog rock band scene (phew.... what a mouthful !) has been pretty big in the UK with a lot of great bands. Harvest from Spain and a couple of other bands has joined this scene from the European mainland. And you can add this band to this scene too.

Anna Jobs Bender is the vocalist here and she does a great job. She is supported by six musicians which together are Introitus. The lineup is guitars, bass, drums, flutes and keyboards. 

The music is pretty epic and a bit power metal like at places. Most of the music is melodic though and very pleasant to my ears as I really have a soft spot for this genre. The music here can be labeled neo-prog. 

This album is just over one hour long and I really like what I am hearing here. There is no great songs here though and this album falls a bit short in the quality stake. Nevertheless; this is a good album and I am ordering their two other albums.

3 points 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Iviron - Iviron (1981)

The one and only album from this German band. I believe it is a German band although it may be a French band. 

The band released this album and then vanished without a trace. The band consisted of many members with a widely varied lineup. It is easier to list those instruments who does not feature here than those who feature here.

The album sounds like a compilation album too. It ranges from AOR to folk rock, fusion, RIO and neo-classical music. It has female opera and male AOR vocals. 

Some of the music on this forty minutes long album is really good. Most of the music is not. 

The end result is a decent album, but not worth breaking into the bank for. 

2 points  

Trubrot - Undir Áhrifum (1970)

The second album from this Icelandic band.

Trubrot was a super-group with members of other Icelandic beat bands from the 1960s. Trubrot is also internationally one of the most well known bands from Iceland.

The band was a five piece band on this album. The lineup was keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and vocals. English vocals, that is. 

The music here is very commercial rock anno 1970. Stadium rock in other words although stadiums is hard to come by in Iceland. Community halls had to do the business back then. And now, that is.

To be more precise; take a big chunk of southern rock, add hard rock, psychedelic rock, west coast rock and AOR anno 1970. Then you get this album. There is a lot of vocal harmonies on this album. There is also a sunny Californian mood over this album. It is an upbeat album with some great The Monkees inspirations. 

The music is off course dated. But this is a rather good forty minutes long album which some good songs and a happy feel. Even an old grumpy, smelly man like myself warms to this album. Hence my rating.

3 points 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Id. The - Idiocrazy (2015)

The debut album from this international band who met each other on the Kompoz website.

The Id is a three man big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. I think all of the album was recorded online and compiled through the internet. Not unusual these days. I doubt these three members has ever met each other.

And yes, we are again in the middle of neo-prog land. IQ and Jadis is good references here. A lot of keyboards and guitar harmonies can be found here. The keyboards sound is warm and soothing. It is clearly the best thing about this album. The vocals are not too bad. 

The songs are a bit same'ish on this album. A bit more variations and pushing the boat out would not have hurt this album at all. Then again; this is an elegant album which will make neo-prog fans sit up and really listen. Not to mention; really enjoy what they are hearing. This is an hour long album and well worth checking out as it is a good album too.

3 points 

Weather Report - Weather Report '82 (1982)

The tenth album from this US based band.

The pretty horrible artwork gives a good indication about the music here. Although Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastrorius is still involved in the band and is indeed the main persons in this five piece Weather Report, what we get is not worthy their names and reputations.

The two opening tracks Current Affair and Volcano For Hire is good Weather Report standards. Good solos and superb bass rumblings from Jaco. That in particular on Volcano.

The rest of the album......... Well, look at the cover artwork. Lazy, lacking in interest and tracks the probably fed up band is just churning out as a matter of routine. Not as a matter of love and dedication.

This is a decent to good album which showcases a lazy version of this band. A band who stopped caring. Don't start your Weather Report with this album and do not judge this band on this album either. The band was/is far better than this album.

2.5 points 

Antares - Sea Of Tranquility (1979)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

Do not confuse this band with the German band Antares. I have just done it and this is a rewritten review of a big mistake review I did ten minutes ago. My apologies to the German band Antares....

Antares from Italy, yes Italy, were a four piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and English vocals. Sort of English vocals, that is. The Italian accent is very heavy.

This album is also very short. Barely half an hour. And that is half an hour too long. The music here is a mix of space, psychedelic and neo-prog. The sound is pretty bad and doing everything it can to hide the shortcomings of the musicians........ without succeeding. 

This is an awful half an hour long album and a good addition to anyone's turkey collection. It is that bad. 

1 point 

Poços & Nuvens - Ano Veloz Outono Adentro (1998)

The debut album from this Brazilian band. The first of two albums.

This band is a five piece band with a lineup of electric and acoustic guitars, trumpet, keyboards, flutes, viola, drums, bass and Portuguese vocals. 

The band operates loosely speaking within the symphonic prog genre. Symphonic prog with a great deal of folk rock influences. 

The music is really folk music orientated throughout this one hour long album. The songs are reasonable good throughout. A bit more quality song writing is badly missing here. The sound and ambience is good though and I like this interaction between the acoustic and electric instruments. The vocals are on the weak side though. 

My conclusion, after much deliberations, gives this a good album rating. Must do better next time.

3 points

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Atempo - Regresaras (2011)

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

I did not like their debut album at all and I have not had any chance to listen to their 2005 album Simple. I do not regret missing out on their second album.

The band is still a five piece band and their lineup is keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and Spanish vocals. 

The band has been listed as neo-prog in ProgArchives and that is a correct label, I guess. The music here reminds me a lot about the 1980s heavy metal scene although the music is still neo-prog. Neo-prog with a lot of prog metal and downright heavy metal. You get some fast songs and then a couple of power ballads. A bit of a museum thingy from the past, this setup. 

The vocals are pretty much over the top when the vocalist stretches himself towards heaven and the higher tones. The ballads are distinctive tinged with a Latin temperament. Love, death and all that. You get it here. Kind of Julio Iglesias gone prog at times, this album.

The album is decent enough. But it is not good or any interesting. I can live without it, I am afraid.

2 points 

Ivory - Sad Cypress (1980)

The debut album from this German band who in total released two albums.

Ivory was a six piece band where the main man was over 60 years old when recording this album. His son also plays keyboards in Ivory. The rest of the lineup is guitars, bass, drums, flute and English vocals.

It is obvious that Genesis has been a massive inspiration for this band. That is the Selling England By The Pound era I am referring to here. Another band who sounds like this era is The Watch from Italy. Ivory's take on Genesis is very similar to The Watch.

The problem with this, which on CD clocks in at seventy minutes, is the lack of any really good songs and the sound which is on the weak side. I find it difficult to even write about this album because it is so bland. The keyboards sound is at least good and the keyboards playing father and son does a good job here. The rest is not too bad. 

The end result is somewhere between decent and good. Genesis die-hards may like this album better than I do.

2.5 points 

Inner Ear Brigade - Rainbro (2012)

The debut album from this US band.

The band comes from Oakland on the far north of the US west coast. The band was signed by AltRock Records and that normally means a solid slab of avant-garde/RIO prog. 

Bill Wolter is the main man here and he has got company of no less than 14 band members in Inner Ear Brigade. Brigade indeed, if not a project. The lineup is woodwinds, guitars, bass, drums, vibraphone, viola, drums and female vocals from Melody Ferris. Her vocals is pretty dominant here and the first thing I noticed. 

The music is a mix of cool jazz and avant-garde prog. A big slant of chamber prog/RIO and Mexican jazz is also very much present here. The music is not an all out avant-garde trip as the music is far too melodic for that. This album is actually a very good starting point for those who want to explore the avant-garde scene. In particular the US avant-garde scene.

The music is very vibrant and lively. This fifty minutes long album could had been a lot better though as it does not really have any great music. Nevertheless, this is a very good album and I hope we will hear a lot more from Bill Wolter and friends.

3.5 points   

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Anekdoten - Until All The Ghosts Are Gone (2015)

The sixth album from this Swedish band.

Anekdoten has got a well deserved legends status in the prog rock scene. This band was one of these bands who kick-started the prog rock scene again after this scene's long hibernation. 

The band returns again after eight years. The band is now a four piece with a lineup of mellotrons, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Three guest musicians, including Theo Travis on sax and flutes, makes this album complete. 

I am slightly surprised how laid-back this album is. The band sounds a bit like Gazpacho on this forty-six minutes long album. There is a lot of pastoral mellotrons here. The vocals is very pastoral too. The whole album is very pastoral and melancholic. The Swedish sadness makes a return on this album and that with a vengeance. 

The songs are not that great and I am a bit disappointed by this album. At the first listening sessions, that is. But this album has this ability to creep below the skin of the listener....... and stay there. No great songs, but an overall great album from this band. Hence my rating.

4 points     

Mad Puppet - Masque (1982)

The debut album from this Italian band who went on to releasing in total four studio albums.

I have previously reviewed their 1994 album King Laurin And His Rosegarden back in 2012 for this same mag. I quite liked that album. 

The band was a six piece with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and English vocals. They are labeled in the neo-prog genre over in ProgArchives.

Masque is a debut album where the band plays with several genres. The guitars sounds a bit like Mark Knofler in Dire Straits. There are a great deal of hard rock, jazz, rock and folk rock here too. That on the top of a neo-prog platform. Although that platform is a bit hard to detect as it is so full of clutter.

There is no really good songs on this forty minutes long album. Just a lot of ideas which has not been made into proper songs. The end result is a decent to good album. It is not a run of the mill album either. Check it out.

2.5 points