Sunday, 31 January 2016
The second album from this Dutch one man project.
The man behind Astral Son is Leonardo. I don't know anything more than that, I am afraid. He does all the instruments and those are guitars, keyboards, (and I presume) lots of samples, bass, drums and vocals.
The cover artwork gives away most of the game. This is psychedelic space rock. Actually, make that unashamed space rock. Space rock which is not outer space, but still far enough from this planet to make it proper space rock.
References here are Ash Ra Temple and in particular; early Pink Floyd.
The music on this album changes between spaced out space rock and almost naive pop like psychedelic rock. Very Pink Floyd, those songs. Then you also get long space rock anthems.
The sound is properly dirty and as dirty as it should be. Downtuned and muddy. There is a lot of echos and sound effects here which takes the listener on a journey into space. Very good meditation and hypnotic vibes all around.
Dedicated space cadets must and should check out this album. It is a must have for them. I also finds this a very good album. There is no great songs here. But it is one of the better space rock albums I have ever heard and that says a lot. This is a very good album indeed.
The third album from this Italian band.
Il Rovescio Delle Medaglia has recently made a bit of a comeback and has been touring. Their last album was released six years ago, back in 2010. That is all I know about this band who were not one of the RPI greats back in their golden days, but were bubbling under in the second division of the many bands from Italy and in that scene.
On this album, their most well known and loved album, they were a five piece band with keyboards, flutes, guitars, bass, drums and Italian vocals. There was also a fully blown classical music orchestra involved on this album.
Johan Sebastian Bach is a pretty central inspiration in the symphonic prog and the Rock Progressive Italiano scene. The most central inspiration besides of The Beatles, most will argue. This album is built around the Well Tempered Clavier piece from Johan Sebastian Bach. Without forgetting that this is a rock band and a rock piece, that is.
The music is pretty hard and pastoral at the same time. The keyboards are absolute brilliant here and takes us back four hundred years. The pieces of music here varies between harsh and pastoral. A bit like pop and a bit like hard rock. A lot like classical music at times, too.
This forty-two minutes long album is one of the classics in the RPI scene. It is also one of the boldest and most complex albums from that scene. It offers up some great melodies and great vocals. My only gripe is the lack of a truly superb piece of music. Besides of this small gripe, this is a great album which will forever stand the test of time.
The first of two albums from this Spanish band.
Unoma was the creative vehicle of the guitarist and composer Fidel Vazquez. He was helped out by bass, keyboards, vocals and a drum machine on this album.
Fidel is from Barcelona and he was influenced by the usual suspects. From Genesis and King Crimson to Dream Theater. He also got a music education in a local university where he met the guys who plays on this album.
The end result when it comes to this album is thirty minutes of instrumental music and ten minutes of vocals based music at the end of this album.
The half an hour with instrumental music is a mix of guitar and keyboards solos and melody lines. Take a lot of Camel and mix it with some jazz. There is also some pretty large Spanish music influences here.
The music is at times as interesting as watching paint dry. There are some very sporadic hints of inspirations and life here. But they are hard to come by.
The album only comes a bit to life when the vocalist Alex Warner graces this album on the last ten minutes. The result is some sort of a power ballad which is not too bad. It does raise the standard a bit.
An album saved by commercial pop and power ballad....... I never thought I would ever mean or write that. But the pop here is pretty good.
The result is a decent album. Barely a decent album, but nevertheless a decent album.
Saturday, 30 January 2016
The second album from this German band.
The band was a seven piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. English vocals, that is.
Their 1971 self titled debut album was a pretty hard album. Hard but also very interesting and good. So I had hopes to this album.
The opening minutes of this album is pretty promising. Their version of the Beatles classic Come Together is a bit of a downer as it does not really fits this album, though.
The first part of this album offers up some good hard psychedelic progressive rock. This with the exception of the above mentioned Come Together. But most of the music is still good.
Unfortunate, the final half of this album is a bit weird to say at least. We get some country'n'western here. One song and I feel a bit deflated. Then we get some commercial rock/pop before the album ends on a better note.
This is an album of two halves and the band has spread themselves too much on this album. They have got a good sound and everything else. But that country'n'western track is horrible and does not really fit this album. Ditto for Come Together.
The end result is somewhere between decent and good. It is not album I really enjoy that much.
The second album from this German band.
This band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. German vocals, thankfully.
This is one of the German bands who were operating just below the surface without really getting a big breakthrough. In this respect and in many other respects, they can be compared with Wallenstein. Novalis had a good following though.
German bands means krautrock in many eyes and ears. But Germany also had a big and very productive symphonic prog rock scene too. Novalis is a product of that scene.
Novalis does symphonic prog on their own terms, though. The first two tracks on this five tracks album has got a very nice Hammond organ who sounds like a church organ here.
The opening track Sonnengeflecht is a good track with some good synths. It makes me believe we are in for something great here.
The second track Wer Schmetterlinge Lachen Hort is by far the best song here with some very good vocals followed by some very good guitar works and time changes. A great ten minutes long track.
The final three tracks is much more a mix of symphonic prog and space rock. Symphonic krautrock ? I feel that is a very good label for this album. A very good album who does not fully completes the distance. I really like this band and this thirty-five minutes long album.
The fourth and final album from this Japanese band.
Far East Family Band was a five piece band with bass, drums, guitars, lots of synths and vocals. On this record, that is. Far East Family Band was also Kitaro's first band before he set out on his own after the debut album.
This band has been described as a Japanese krautrock band. Something I would not disagree with, taking this album into account.
Eloy is a good starting point here. The synths are pretty gentle and takes us through a mid-paced melodic, spacy landscape. This is clearly spacy krautrock.
Some of the space rock is pretty vibrating too with some good melody lines. The vocals is pretty much working as an instrument. They don't make sense too me and I am not sure if the vocals are in English or in Japanese.
There are some strings and some local Japanese instruments and sounds scattered around this album. A thirty-five minutes long album.
This album is a very pleasant meeting with the Far East Family Band. The music is good throughout without really becoming overly interesting. It is a good krautrock album.
Friday, 29 January 2016
The fourth album from this Italian band.
This quartet has been close through a breakthrough for a couple of albums now. But without really getting the big breakthrough.
Their lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals is the tried and tested one. Ditto for their music style.
Skyline is a seventy minutes long album. It starts with some large and big referenses to Genesis before it goes into a much more mainstream neo-prog territory and then into a metal opera kind of landscape.
The songs are pretty long with several songs hitting the ten minutes mark. There are also some short ones here.
The songs vary from ballads to more uptempo, majestic songs. The songs are both complex and melodic at the same time.
The production and sound is absolute great and so is the vocals and the musicicans. There is no great songs here and that is a big, big shame. This band is very close to get it together and unleash a superb album.
This is not a superb album. But it is a very good album and one of the better neo-prog albums I have heard for some time. Keep up the good work guys. Sooner or later, you will release a brilliant album.
Tuesday, 26 January 2016
The eight album from this UK band.
Arena is a byword for great neo-prog. Well, it was that for a long time and it still is that in many people's opinion.
The band has returned again as a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Clive Nolan is on keyboards and Paul Manzi does the vocals.
I was not happy about their previous album The Seventh Degree Of Seperation and those views are/was shared by a lot of people. The vast majority of their fans, no less. That album was more or less a prog metal album.
The Unquiet Sky is anything but prog metal. This is some sort of neo-prog. Some sorts......
The songs on this fifty-five minutes long album is pretty short. There are twelve songs. Do your own maths....... This is clearly a songs orientated album and not a concept album.
The songs is leaning towards pop at times. Old style pomp pop, no less. This album is too melodic and too much light weight and chewing gum like. There are not much of brilliance here and not much progresive song structures.
The only saving grace on this album is the title track and the closing track Traveller Beware. The title track is a great track though and this album is still better than their previous album. I am not a fan of this album, though.
Sunday, 24 January 2016
The one and only album from this Chilean band.
Ru Kaiser was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and female vocals.
Barbara Wilson's female vocals are great and the best thing about this album. An album listed in ProgArchives as symphonic prog. Something I don't agree with at all.
Yes, this half an hour long albums got some influences and riffs from the likes of Yes. But most of this album is somewhere between goth rock, goth metal and some prog metal.
The vocals reminds me a lot about Kari in The Third And The Mortal. The guitars are pretty harsh and gothic. The music a mix of The Third And The Mortal and prog metal.
This combination does not really appeal to me. Neither do the sound make me happy. The quality of the songs are not that good either.
The end result is a decent album. An album I would rather forget as it is not my cup of tea. But check them out.
The second album from this US band.
I quite liked their 2012 debut album Lonely Hills. Good melodic prog rock.
So Aaron Clift and his four man big band has returned again with a new attempt to please me. They have brought with them guitars, bass, mandolin, keyboards, drums and vocals. Aaron Clift does the vocals here. There are also some guest musicians here who helps out with viola and violins.
It goes without saying that this band is deeply rooted in US music and traditions. Americana in other words. And that is the basis here. A bit folk and country. Add a thick layer of symphonic prog on the top and some modern Porcupine Tree like progressive rock.
The vocals is very nice indeed and so is the instruments. The songs are sour & sweet. A mix of sweetness, thunder and melancholy. A lot of drama at times. Some vaudeville too. A bit of theatre too.
The songs are good throughout. Good but not great. Neither are they groundbreaking. This is a good band with a good record. And that is all I can say about this one hour long album.
Saturday, 23 January 2016
The third album from this Belgian one man project.
The project is the project of Hamlet who plays everything here. Drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, piano and synths. He also does the vocals.
Hamlet crams in a lot of styles and impulses on this album. It starts almost as a screamo album. It is that metallic hardcore'ish. Then it becomes a lot more melodic and takes on a lot of Radiohead. There is also a lot of hardcore and metal here.
The sound is pretty menacing. Ditto for the music. This is a menacing, disturbing album which is probably meant to play around with the listeners heads.
I have to admit I feel that this project is a bit alien to me. And yes, it does play around with my head. The piano and the vocals is menacing. The quality of the music on this fifty-five minutes long album is so and so. Not particular great in other words.
This is a good album in it's perversity. Well, it is not. It is somewhere between decent and good. I am not won over by this album.
Sunday, 17 January 2016
The second album from this British band.
Threshold debuted in 1993 with their Wounded Land album. An album I reviewed in September 2012 and quite liked. I have decided to review all their studio albums now, starting again with this one.
The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Glynn Morgan is the vocalist here and he does a good job.
Threshold has always had their own sound. A sound somewhere between prog metal and neo-prog. On this album, add a touch of power metal too. That and a big chunk of heavy metal.
The band adopted a harder, edgier sound on this album compared to Wounded Land. There is a lot of metal guitar solos here and the guitars are a lot chugging as in heavy metal. The sound is pretty big too.
There is really no good songs here and that is my main gripe with this album. There is also far too much heavy metal here for my liking. There is a lot of heavy metal cliches here.
The end result is an album somewhere between decent and good. This is not my type of album, I have to admit.
The second album from this French band.
This album was recorded in 1980 and lay dormant until 2013 when Musea picked it up and released it. Thank you, Musea !
The band was a five piece band here with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths and French vocals.
Their 1979 debut album La Nature Vit was a very promising album which fits nicely into the French symphonic prog rock sound and scene. Think Mona Lisa and Atoll.
Memoirs Du Temps is.... well, a bit of a departure from the debut album. We are still somewhere in the French symphonic prog landscape. But the band has moved a lot towards hard rock and standard rock too. A lot of the monumental symphonic prog sound and music has been lost on the way, I am afraid.
The sound is still good though and the vocals really classy. The sound has it's roots in the folk music too. But the bite has gone. The songs are very short too and it seems like the band wanted to distance themselves from the symphonic prog scene. That simply because symphonic prog did not really sell any records at that time.
The result is by all means a good album. The songs are good. But I had expected a lot more from this album. Perhaps too much. I still like this album a lot....
The debut album from this Swedish band.
Yuri Gagarin is a five piece band with a lineup of synths, guitars, bass and drums. The music is entirely instrumental.
The band is named after the first man in space, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin from Russia. And the music too is in space. Space rock with a strong metallic edge. The sound is really dirty and spacy. The band is painting large pictures in their sound.
The music too is dirty with a lot of repetetive themes throughout this thirty-five minutes long album. The sound and music is really tight and does not leave much to the imagination. Distorted and clean guitars is driving the music forwards, supported by thumping bass and drums. Both the bass and drums is really dirty too.
This album got four songs and they are all good. Good if you really like space rock. Space rock with a massive, dirty sound. The music is a bit one dimentional though. But this is still a good album in my ears. I happens to like it.
Saturday, 16 January 2016
The fifth album from this US band.
Kansas does not need any introduction. Their mix of Americana and English symphonic prog is one of the soundtracks of the 1970s.
The band was a six piece here with a lineup of violins, bass, drums, piano, guitars and synth/organs.
This album was a departure from their previous album Leftovertures and a return to a much more harder AOR sound. The band caught up with the AOR scene again with this album and the album sold very well.
The introduction of synth is not a good thing here. It dilutes their very good sound and music. There are a couple of cringeworthy songs here. But their trademark sound is still present here and that is an excellent sound indeed.
They also got a big hit on this album with the ballad Dust In The Wind. A very good song. The best song on this album though is the title track.
The end result is a good Kansas album which is not right up there with their best albums. But still... a good album.
The second and so far latest album from this French band.
This trio has not got a lot of attention from the scene as I am not finding a lot of reviews of this album. I have yet to find any, to be honest.
Maybe one of the reasons is that this album, from the outside, comes across as an avant-garde RIO chamber rock album. The artwork and the album title suggests just that and I was preparing myself for just that when I put on this album for the first time. Then I got a surprise.......
This is a trio of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, male and female vocals. Guest musicians helps out with French horn, cello, trumpet and additional vocals. All vocals are in French, btw.
I got a big surprise because the album starts out as a pretty standard rock orientated prog rock album. The band claims references to Porcupine Tree, The Beatles, Genesis and Pink Floyd. They are right to a great deal. But I would still add that there is some hints of zeuhl and RIO here too. Another reference that springs to my mind is Van Der Graaf Generator.
The music is very elegant and has a lot of classical music inspirations too. Yes, add Mona Lisa and Ange to the proceedings too.
This album is hitting the mark at so many different levels. That two words that best describe this album is "complex" and "elegant". There is no real great pieces of music here. But the overall quality of this forty-five minutes long album is good. This is very much a hidden gem more people should check out. Go so forth and do that.
The third and so far last album from this Brazilian band.
The band started out as an instrumental symph prog band on their 1999 self titled debut, introduced vocals on their 2001 album Liber Secundus and is now back again as an instrumental band on this album.
The band is a quartet here with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and lots of keyboards and synths. Even church organs.
The church organs like organs gives this album a bit of a sombre and mediavel feel. This fifty minutes long album. There is also a lot of jazzy and folky sound on this album.
Camel is off course a good reference..... normally. But there is not much Camel here. The music is much more looking back towards the Brazilian symph prog sound which includes a lot of folk music.
But this album is still an instrumental symph prog album through and through.
Instrumental symph prog is by no means my favourite kind of music. And Index does not really come up with the goods here. I am refering to the art of good/great tune writing. The production is not the best either. There are some quality scattered around this album. An album fans of instrumental symphonic prog will like. I am not that convinced about this album and that explains my rating.
Friday, 15 January 2016
The third album from this Japanese band.
This band is widely regarded as the first ever progressive rock band from the land of rising sun. I don't know if that is true. But it is an interesting band, indeed.
The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and some vocals. Vocals as in sound effects.
Far East Family Band was mainly a space rock band. In this case, an outer space rock band. The title track is half an hour long and takes up half of this album. A space rock dirge in the krautrock vein.
If this band was not from Japan, I would indeed have labeled them as a krautrock band. The music on this album is krautrock through and through. Take Agitation Free at their most ambient. Eloy can also be added here. This is very true on the title track and on the three other shorter tracks. Krautrock through and through.
The music is at times very ambient before it is building up to a much more space rock landscape from outer space. The music never really becomes a crescendo. It never really becomes hard or even rocking. This music is slow, very slow at times.
And this is an album you really have to spend time on, listening and listening. And then it really opens up and becomes a reasonably beautiful rose. This is a good album, but not a great album. I want a lot more from albums like this one. But I have not got it from this album. Check it out, though.
Thursday, 14 January 2016
The one and only album from this British band.
This band must not be confused with the other British band The Room whose new album I have reviewed earlier tonight.
Room was a five piece band with a lineup of bass, drums, guitars, congas, tambourine and female vocals. Some good female vocals too from Jane Kevern.
The cover art work is pretty iconic and I was wondering what was hiding behind it. Answer: A forty minutes long album.
The year was 1970 and the end of the flower power was near. Well, that year was the end of flower power. A much harder edged sound replaced it. The Black Sabbath debut album springs to mind and a lot of other albums too. This album can be included among them.
This is mainly a hard blues album with a lot of psychedelic and soul influences. The references to the well established British psych scene is pretty obvious here.
The music is pretty complex at times. This is by no means a straight forward album. It is not easy listening stuff. Neither is it a softly spoken album. The music is pretty hard throughout.
There is not really any good songs here. But the album has a lot of complex stuff I find satisfying. It also has a nice vibe to it too. So I am rating this somewhere between decent and good. Check out this album as it is not a bad album at all and well worth your attention.
The second album from this English band.
The Room originated from the British band GLD which has released at least one album. Two members in The Room comes from GLD. The Room debuted with the 2012 album Open Fire and that album gave the band a very good reputation indeed.
The Room is a five piece band with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. Good male vocals.
The band has branded themselves as prog-light. I would say neo-prog light. A bit Pendragon with an obvious emphasis on the good hook and the good melody. The songs are not particular long on this one hour long album. This ten songs long album, that is.
The music is reasonable uncomplicated with verse-chorus-verse. The final two songs showcases a band who can also make some slightly complex music too.
Most of the music here is too obvious and too much melodic. It does not leave much to your imagination. That is my main gripe here.
This is by all means a good album. I find it too much easy on the ear and not so taxing on my brain.
There is not enough brainfood to interest me here. Hence my rating.
Wednesday, 13 January 2016
The fifth album from this English artist.
It is also the fifth and the final album featured in the Kevin Ayers Original Albums box I bought and which I really would recommend to everyone. A dead cheap collection of his first five albums. His best albums, it is reputed.
The list of musicians here is very long. They include the likes of Mike Oldfield, Mike Ratledge, Michael Giles, Rupert Hines and Nico. A very strong set of musicians where Kevin plays guitars and does the vocals.
As we are today still mourning the death of David Bowie, it is also worth noting that Kevin Ayers to an extent were in the same mould. But not anywhere near as fantastic as Bowie. But Kevin Ayers tried and he did a good job on this album.
You get some abstract and weird pop music here combined with some avant-garde and jazzy experiements. All this on this forty minutes long album.
Ballbearing Blues is a very good song. The title track is more a suite which has got a lot of avant-garde. I believe Nico from Velvet Underground is doing the female vocals here. It is a good track.
Not everything here is good. But as always, nothing here is irrelevant or boring. I really like his albums, the five albums I got in this box. This is another good album from him and in this box.
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
The debut album from this Italian artist.
That is my guess because I do not know much about him. I only know he is a world famous neuroscientist too. A nice combination ! Btw he was also born in Palermo, Italy.
He has got help from four musicians here. He plays guitars himself and is helped by a keyboardist, bassist, drummer and a vocalist. The vocals are in English. Most of the music here are instrumental.
This album is another visit to Dante's Inferno. A piece of litterature which has inspired numerous other albums too. Not to mention a lot of classical music pieces and symphonies.
Pietro Cottone's take in Inferno is pretty dark with a lot of dark guitar solos and keyboards pieces throughout this almost fifty minutes long album. Some of the dark music here reminds me a lot of the Belgium RIO band Present's darkest music. It has this haunting quality.
It is also a bit on the one dimentional side of the spectrum, this album. Nevertheless, this is a good album with some really good stuff. I am not totally overawed, but I like this album. More of the same next time, thank you, Pietro.
Sunday, 10 January 2016
The third album from this French band.
This band was never on my list of those bands I thought would make a comeback. Their first two albums was released back in 1976. So, after thirty-nine years, this album pops up. And that out of the blue.
Mostly the same persons from the 1976 albums is involved in this album too. The lineup is keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, woodwinds and vocals. French vocals, that is.
I have noted from my reviews of their first two albums that their music were somewhere between fusion and symphonic prog. Others has compared them to Atoll, Pulsar, Ange and Mona Lisa. In particular; the first two above mentioned bands.
Thirty-nine years later, the band's sound and music has not changed much. They have gone a bit more towards jazz though. A bit more of Weather Report's more jazzy side. But there are still a lot of symphonic prog here. Yes, Pulsar and Atoll springs to mind here.
Most of the album is instrumental and it is obvious that the band is in a playful mood here. The album is full of interesting details and melody lines. The vocals is funny and also used as instruments.
The music is a bit too jazz light for my liking and some parts of this album is a bit sound collage/pastisj like. But the band has not changed much since 1976 and they have not gone for a commercial sound and album here. Fans of this band, and there is not many of those, will love this album. I think this fifty minutes long album is a good album which oozes respectability and class.
I raise my hat to this band.
The second album from this US artist.
This album was released seven years after his debut album Dreamer. An album I have not sunk my teeth into yet.
This is very much a solo album where Anton plays guitars, bass, keyboards, drum programming and also does the vocals. He has got help from five other musicians too. Most notably the queen of female vocals; Annie Haslam. She does a wonderful job on the title track.
The music is elegant symphonic prog. It has a dreamy atmosphere and ambience. It still got proper songs and melodies.
This album is a typically symphonic prog solo album too. As I said; elegant and nice. There is not a lot of technical show offs here. This is not King Crimson territory, let me put it like that.
I am by no means a fan of solo albums in the symphonic prog genre. But Anton Roolart has gone a long way to change my opinions here. There are no great tracks on this forty-five minutes long album. The fourteen minutes long title track with Annie Haslam's vocals and strong melody lines are..... well, it is a great track. The opening track Gravity is a very good track. The four other tracks is not of the same standard, though.
Nevertheless, this is a very good album which should appeal to anyone into progressive rock. I am very happy with it.
The debut album from this German band.
The band released four albums between 1971 and 1974 before they were disbanded. Their lineup changed from every album and the band was pretty fluid. Their music was pretty much the same throughout, though.
The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, hammond organs, bass, drums, piano, harmonica and English vocals.
Kin Ping Meh has taken their name from a Chinese wordplay. Their music is anything but Chinese or even Asian. We are talking hard rock here. Hard rock with a lot of progressive rock, space rock and blues influences. Even soul and southern rock influences can be found here. And that in abundance.
You will also find some krautrock influences here as the is album was produced and supported by the likes of Conny Plank and Achim Reichel. Both of them leading persons in the krautrock movement.
References are the likes of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Birth Control. But Kin Ping Meh had their own style. A style which also included a couple of tear stained ballads.
There is no really great tracks on this forty-six minutes long album. Both the ballads and the hard rockers are very good though and this is a highly enjoyable album. There is a lot of very interesting songs and details here. Just as I like my hard rock. Check out this album.
Saturday, 9 January 2016
The fourth album from this French band.
This album is regarded as their final good albums. The two final albums is generally regarded as very, very poor albums.
Wapassou is the band without any rhythm sections whatsoever. The band was a five piece band on this album and the lineup was violins, keyboards, guitars, synths and vocals. Female vocals and the vocals is more an instrument than spoken vocals. Da da da da da da sung on a repeated basis is not words which makes much sense. But solely as an instrument, they do. It is the universal language of music.
The album is forty-three minutes long and most of the album is based on synths and violins. A lot of synths. Most of the album is really a long dirge. Or hymn as the band choose to call it.
Hymn it is and the title track Ludwig is over half an hour long. It is a reasonable good song..... sorry, hymn. The other three tracks is very short and not particular interesting.
Wapassou is treading water in no-mans land. A bit too weird for the mainstream prog rockers and not weird enough and far too melodic for the avant-garde crowd. This album is a kind of a halfway house.
The title track Ludwig has enough going for it to maintain a bit of my interest. The other tracks are throw-away tracks. My verdict...... I regard this as somewhere between decent and good. There is simply not enough good stuff here to entertain me. But check it out yourself on Youtube to see if you agree with me.
The debut album from this German band.
This band went onto releasing 11 albums between 1973 and 1985. They were very popular in Germany during that time.
The band started out on this album as a quartet with a lineup of organ, bass, guitars, piano, drums, mellotrons and vocals. English vocals, that is.
The very poor cover artwork does not tell us anything. The band were a symphonic prog band on their first albums though. Take ELP and King Crimson. Add some Pink Floyd and Eloy too. Then you get this album.
The album is very organs and mellotron dominated. The music is both complex and easy on the ear at the same time. There are some really great melody lines here too.
The opening title track is a great track. A hoot of a great melody with a lot of intricate playing throughout these seventeen minutes. The other three tracks on this thirty-seven minutes long album is not of the same standard, though.
I rate this as a very good album and my appetite for this band has been stirred. I got some other Novalis albums and is looking forward to review them.
The fifth album from this German band.
Wallenstein was a quartet on this album with a lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. English vocals.
The band had changed half of their setup since their 1975 album Stories, Songs & Symphonies. Which seems to be the normality when it comes to this band. A band impossible to pinpoint and impossible to label. A band who changed styles with each album.
The band had again changed style and genre on this album. Now, we are treated to 1970s pomp-pop/rock. That means lot of piano and vocals with some pomp keyboards and guitars. The songs on this thirty-five minutes long album is also pomp and very seriously minded.
Some of this music also got some hippie flower power influences. Heavy hippie flower power influences.
The music is not particular complex. It is ticking along nicely with some nice and deft details.
Unfortunate, this album does not have much or any good music at all. This half an hour is as bad as the cover artwork. And that says a lot.
I love their name and I hoped this was a great band. The band has gone on to confuse me although I still rate them as a good band. But avoid this album.
Friday, 8 January 2016
The second album from this Brazilian band.
Index was a four piece band who emerged from the more known band Quaterna Requem. A band who has released four albums on their own. Index lineup on this album is guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals.
The addition of vocals is a new string added to their bow after the debut album and the DVD. Their first album was OK although a bit dull due to the lack of vocals. Index has at least got a new focal point in these vocals.
This album is seventy-one minutes long. Which is a heck of a mouthful with symphonic prog somewhere between Camel, Yes, Genesis and local Brazilian prog bands.
There is some very long songs here. Two of them are over thirteen minutes long. The music is good enough and even very good at times. My main gripe is the lack of a robust, muscular sound. The sound here is a bit on the wishy-washy end of the scale. The music is not always good too. Half of this album is good to very good. The rest is a bit of a let down.
This is a good album which I feel is too long and does not have a good enough sound. This is still an interesting band and album, well worth checking out.
Wednesday, 6 January 2016
The debut album from this English band.
I have previously reviewed their three other albums. A review of their debut album was missing though as I did not have that album. So I bought a copy of it.
Gravy Train was quartet with a lineup of guitars, bass, saxophone, drums, flutes and vocals.
The vocals is pretty raw and so is the music. It is a bit odd that the average length of the songs here are around nine minutes. The longest track, Earl Of Pocket Nook, clocks in at sixteen minutes. The album is forty-seven minutes long too.
The art work is almost iconic. The music is a mix of blues, hard rock, jazz and folk. Led Zeppelin's music too was a mix of blues, folk and hard rock in the beginning. That is where the similarities ends as Led Zeppelin's music was polished and white, despite of being rooted in blues. Gravy Train's music on this album is raw and brutal. An added element here is their jazz at the more avant-garde end of that scene. The music here is hard rocking too and unpolished. There is also a lot of folk rock aka Jethro Tull here too.
The result is hard rocking and pretty experimental too. The songs are good throughout. This was a great band and I like them. Check out this album.
Sunday, 3 January 2016
The fourth album from this English artist.
Kevin Ayers played on the first Soft Machine album and was loosely a part of the ex Soft Machine and Gong members scene who were pretty much everywhere in the British scene during the first half of the 1970s. He cooperated with Robert Wyatt many, many times.
Kevin Ayers was a rather stubborn, eccentric solo-artist who did things his own ways. So much that he was hailed as an icon when he passed away some years ago.
This album is he and ex Gong & Soft Machine members with some other persons too. Steve Hillage, Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt is here. So is David Bedford too. And some other people too. The lineup is guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, organs, woodwinds and vocals. Mostly Kevin's vocals. But Robert Wyatt also helps out on vocals.
The music is an eccentric take on pop-rock. The songs are pretty simple and in the The Beatles vein. A bit naive with some jazz and avant-garde stuff thrown in to make them a bit more eccentric. More like Kevin Ayers personality.
This album is not an easy listening album. Neither is it a particular difficult album to get into. My only gripe is the lack of any great tracks here. There is none on this thirty-five minutes long album. This album will satisfy the fans of Canterbury prog and those who like Kevin Ayers a lot.
The twentieth album from these British masters.
Ian Andersson and Martin Barre was still here on this album who was their final album with original songs. Their next album, The Christmas Albums, had some Christmas standards and cover tracks.
The band was still playing around with world music on this album. That and some pop-rock. This in addition to their base camp in folk rock.
There is a lot of flutes and Ian Andersson's vocals here. There is also a lot of keyboards generated strings and other noises too. The band tries to be hip here. Most of this hip stuff does not work at all.
There are a few signs of the good old Jethro Tull here. A couple of the songs are good on this one hour long album. There are also some horrible songs here. I cannot understand why a band like Jethro Tull recorded a stupid song like Hot Mango Flush. Just to rub it in, we get this song in two different versions. A horrible experience for a Jethro Tull fan like myself.
This album leaves me a bit cold. Some bands goes out with their flag held high. Jethro Tull did not. This is probably their worst ever album. A very sad farewell from this band, it is.
I am not sure because this arrived at my inbox some time ago and it won the right to be reviewed last month in my 2015 albums lottery. So I have been listening to this album on a regular basis.
I am not sure who plays in this band. But the lineup is guitars, bass, drums and vocals. This entirely digital album is fifty minutes long too.
The band has labeled this album as progressive rock/art rock. More art rock than progressive rock, I have to say. There is no classic progressive rock on this album and hardly any art rock too.
Take some grunge aka Pearl Jam and add some Rush anno Vapor Trails to the proceedings. Then add normal hard rock too and you get this album.
The music is pretty hard throughout and the vocals are good. The music is not that good though. My main gripe is the lack of any really good songs here. There are some good stuff now and then. But there is not enough of it. To me, this is just one of many bands in this genre. They would be a good live band, but falls a bit short on an album.
Saturday, 2 January 2016
The debut album from this French band.
The band has just released their third album and I thought it was a good idea to review all their three albums this month.
The band was a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, flutes and French vocals.
I am a big fan of French symphonic prog. So when I heard this band were somewhere between Ange and Mona Lisa, I got their three albums.
The band is indeed somewhere between Mona Lisa and Ange. Add Oniris too and you get this band. They are not perhaps and vocals heavy and theatrical as Ange. Let us say that Christian Deschamps is not the vocalist here...... Instead, Orion relies on a lot more vocal harmonies than just one, very charismatic vocalist. Well, you have to use what you got. The vocals here are very good, though. So no worries.
The album does not have the most promising start. It sounds a bit too wishy-washy to me. Then it becomes a bit darker and gathers steam. From the third track, the title track, and to the end, this is a very good album.
There is a lot of medieval ambience in this music. The guitars are a bit harsh and the keyboards oozes of class and old French music.
In short, this is a very good French symphonic prog album. It is forty-five minutes long too and it does not outstays it's welcome in my record player. It is an album everyone into symphonic prog need to have.
The second and final album from this Dutch band.
The band was now a quartet with a lineup of saxophone, flutes, harmonica, guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. Some guest musicians added cello, piano and gongs.
Their debut album was pretty much a horrible album. Most of all, it had some cheap and nasty attempts on folk and jazz. The music was simple and without much dept and longviety.
The band has thankfully expanded on their style a bit. The wholly instrumental music is again a take on folk rock, symphonic prog and jazz. Take a bit Focus + ELP and add a folk and jazz to this fifty minutes long album.
Some of this music is pretty introvert. Well, most of the music is very introvert with some avant-garde pieces too. Then you get some acoustic guitars pieces too.
The title track takes up more than half of this album, clocking in at twenty-seven minutes. It is not a good suite. It is pretty boring too.
The best parts of this album can be found on the three first tracks. They are decent enough. The rest.... Pretty bad.
Nevertheless, this is an improvement on the debut album and a decent album. Check it out if this seems tempting to you.
The fifth album from this Spanish band.
The band is a trio with a lineup of bass, drums, percussions and guitars. They also got some guest musicians here. A saxophone is the only other instrument here and a female vocalist screams sounds into the microphone on one of the tracks.
In short; this is an instrumental album. An hour full of it, no less.
The music is very minimalistic and based on the most minimalistic of King Crimson's music. Genre wise, that is. They have not stolen/copied anything from Robert Fripp & Co.
For me, this whole album sounds like ideas and not really fully songs/tracks. Well, they are tracks. But they are minimalistic and pretty bare boned tracks.
The bass and drums is the basis on where the guitars is playing. And you cannot do much with that lineup. And the band has done far less than even that.
There are some decent stuff here which saves it from the turkey yard. But I am not won over by any means. This is not for me.
Friday, 1 January 2016
The third album from this UK band.
The third and the final really interesting album from this UK band.
Graham Fields had left the band to set up his own band Fields (see my reviews of their albums). But the band was now a seven piece band with a lineup of organs, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
And the band continued on from their previous album As Your Mind Flies By. The music is still rooted in the same field as you will find the likes of Barclay James Harvest. A bit bluesy, psychedelic symphonic prog rock.
The music is very frisky and wild at times. The band comes up with the odd great tracks as in the second track here, the majestic Hey Man.
The vocals is very good and the band sounds tight and well fitted to each other. The music is slightly commercial with hit potentials for Hey Man. I am not sure if that one became a hit.
There is also a lot of very good keyboards and organs runs here. Both solos and supporting the vocals. My only gripe is the lack of any more great songs. Besides of that, this is a very good album.
The one and only album from this Italian band.
Rohmer is basically Finisterre minus one member. Finisterre had broken up by now and Rohmer was a band who filled a what-now-? stopgap for Fabio Zuffanti, Boris Valle, Mauricio Di Tollo and Agostini Macor.
This keyboards, bass and drums lineup got help from some guest musicians. Most of them woodwinds, viola, vocals and electric guitars.
ProgArchives has listed this band as a fusion/jazz band. I could not disagree more. The music here is ambient instrumental prog with a lot of piano, keyboards and some bass. There is not much drums here either. There is some flutes and woodwinds. Not to mention viola.
The tempo is pedestrian to say at least. There are some avant-garde stuff. The stuff is mostly very laid back and instrumental piano and keyboards. There are a couple of tracks with vocals and that is it.
There is no real good stuff here on this one hour long album. Most of it is too pedestrian and too ambient for my liking. Too much of the same. Even the vocals and the avant-garde stuff here does not really impress me.
This is a decent album but nothing more. Thankfully, these musicians went onto greater things and Rohmer was just a sidetrack in their history. Thankfully.
The third and so far final album from this Brazilian band.
I noted "so far final album" here because there has been rumours about a new album from them. But I don't know anything more about that. A new album would be great as this is a good band.
The band is a quartet with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. English vocals. A guest musician helps out with flutes here.
Anima Dominium was a symphonic prog band on their previous two albums and is that to a certain degree on this album too. I think the label "neo-prog" fits this almost one hour album better than symphonic prog. They are though symphonic enough to make a symphonic prog fan really enjoy this album. And so would a neo-prog fan too.......
The songs are pretty long with one hitting the quarter of an hour mark. Another one is over ten minutes long too.
The sound is a bit flat, in my view. Maybe a bit too compressed. That is just a small mistake. My main gripe is the lack of any really great songs.
When that is said, this is a good to a very good album. An album which will spread warmth and enjoyment to anyone into symphonic prog and neo-prog. I think it is only fair to rate this band as a hidden gem in the prog rock scene. A band who deserves a lot more attention and positivity from the scene.