Sunday, 26 February 2017

Hackett. Steve - To Watch The Storms (2003)


The 17th album from this British guitarist.

Steve Hackett is again doing the vocals and guitars. Numerous others, including his brother John Hackett, is helping out on flutes, bass, saxophone, drums, keyboards, synths, cello, brass, woodwinds and violins.

The Steve Hackett albums is now pretty predictable in it's formula and makeup. You get a lot of world music tied together with Steve's guitars and vocals.

Steve Hackett was a brilliant in Genesis and has made some good albums too. I am no fan of classical and entirely acoustic albums. So in respect for Steve Hackett and to be fair to him and the readers of this blog, I am not reviewing those albums. So I end up with albums like this. Which is not an entirely fair evaluation of his career.

Albums like this, To Watch The Storms, throws together some pretty eclectic genres like classical music, symphonic prog, acoustic guitars and world music. There does not seem like there is a clear concept on albums like this.

Albums like this also requires a lot of good songs too. There is none here. A couple of good songs is all I can find here. The rest is pretty decent.

I am no fan of this genre and I find this album a bit on the non-engaging side of the spectrum. This is a decent to good album.

2.5 points

  

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Homínido - Estirpe Lítica (2014)


The debut album from this Chile based band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of percussions, drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and female Spanish vocals. Two guests also provide trumpet and violin.

The band is a continuation of another Chile band called La Desoorden. That jazz/fusion band released five albums between 2001 and 2012 before they split up. The founding members of that band is now Hominido.

Hominido has so far released two albums. This one and the follow up in 2016.

From what I also understand, Hominido and La Desoorden are also two very different bands when it comes to music too.

The music on the seventy minutes long is eclectic crossover prog. That means a lot of jazz and eclectic prog with some prog metal thrown into this mix too.

Eliana Valenzuela vocals is really good. The music is at times very jarring and a bit dissonant. The use of trumpet and guitars on prog metal riffs are interesting and very refreshing. Not to mention; good.

There is a lot of King Crimson'ish music on this album made very Latin-American by the vocals and the trumpet. The salsa (not the sauce...) here is also eclectic. Fans of Latin-American prog and King Crimson will love this album.

I rate this as a good album because it really has a lot of good things going for it. So check it out.

3 points


   

Hoelderlin - Clowns & Clouds (1976)


The third album from this German band.

The band was a six piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussions, viola, cello and English vocals. A guest musician provided saxophone and flutes.

The band continued on from their debut album and their second album. Albums I like.

The band went from being a folk prog band on their debut to become a rather eclectic prog band on their second album. I wondered where Clowns & Clouds would take me....

There are still a lot of eclectic prog from the likes of Gentle Giant hanging around on this forty-two minutes long album. But the band has again moved on and taken a new direction. But the band is still Hoelderlin on this album and on the previous two albums. They have their own sound, whatever they play.

The new direction has taken them to symphonic prog. And that pretty much close to Genesis too. There is a few minutes of this album, but not many minutes, where they sound like Genesis in their Lamb Lies Down On Broadway era.

The use of viola also brings us a bit back into prog folk again. There are some hints back to their debut album here.

The album is pastoral throughout and a real charmer. Albums I don't get too many of.
The songs are long and there is one suite here lasting well past ten minutes. Another song, Streamng, goes well past ten minutes too. Streaming is also the best song here, just a couple of tones better than the rest of this album. 

The result is a very good album with some very good songs. All of them, in fact. This is something for all symphonic prog fans out there. Check it out.

3.5 points



Jeronimo - Cosmic Blues (1970)


 The debut album from this German band.

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

Jeronimo was a commercially successful band who released three albums in their flash-like career. Cosmic Blues was indeed a very successful album with two hitsingles. Both singles and the album reached # 1 in most European countries. They also toured this album with the likes of Golden Earring and Steppenwolf. Some legendary tours.

The band is listed as a krautrock band in ProgArchives. That may have been where they headed on their two final albums.

This album though is a thirty-seven minutes long album who lands somewhere between Kinks and Cream.

High energy beat music with some blues and a lot of pop music too. The music is pretty hard. But it still retain some teenybopper choruses and melody lines. A lot of them, in fact.

The two hit singles here are very typical teenybopper stuff. Stuff you can jump and dance to. Songs that makes me cringe. If I was more than two years old when this album was released, I would probably jump up and down too. I may have been mislead to think this was the coolest thing on this planet. But I would have been wrong.

This album comes across as a bit of a beat and teenybopper album. There is still enough qualities here to give it a decent rating. There are a couple of very decent songs here too and it ends with a fairly good song in the form of Heya. I will not give up on this band.

2 points





Friday, 24 February 2017

Cirrus Bay - Places Unseen (2016)


The fifth album from this US band.

The band is a four piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, mandolin, keyboards, bass, drums, flutes, saxophone and female vocals.

I have followed this band from their first album to this one. See my reviews of all their albums in the A-Z section on the menu to the right.

I have noticed a new vocalist on this album after the vocals was shared between two other vocalist on the previous album, the 2014 album The Search For Joy. Tai Shan is the new vocalist now and she is a very, very good vocalist.

The band started out as a neo-prog band on their 2008 debut album. They quickly moved to straight symphonic prog and this is where we find them now.

At times, they sound a bit like Renaissance. But they most of all sounds like a US symphonic prog band. The saxophones sets them apart from the rest of the symphonic prog scene. Most of it.

It is fair to say that Cirrus Bay has their own style and identity. The music here is mostly very pastoral with no edges throughout these fifty-five minutes. There is a lot of instrumental parts which is very flowery and pastoral.

Green is this valley and green and full of flowers is this album. There is no great tracks here and I feel that the band is a bit looking for the xtra bit which will elevate them to a truly superb band. I rate them as a great band and one of the best symphonic prog bands around. I just wish they could come up with the goods too.

This is another very good album from this band and just that. Another almost there album from this band.

3.5 points



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Proto Kaw - Forth (2011)


The third album from this US band.

The band was now a seven piece big band with a lineup of guitars, bass, percussions, keyboards, drums, saxophone, flute, male and female vocals.

Proto-Kaw is the original Kansas and Kerry Livgren is the main man in Proto-Kaw. He was also the main man in the first version of Kansas. The one that Proto-Kaw has returned as. So no violins, Steve Walsh and Steve Morse.

Forth is also the final album before Proto-Kaw were disbanded as a result of Kerry Livgren's illness.

Kerry Livgren got a stroke in 2010 and I am not sure if any of this album was recorded after that date. I have also been told that there are some pre-Kansas songs here too.

I pretty much liked their first two albums which I have reviewed here and here. There was some good music on those two albums.

Forth is cobbled together with some old and new tracks. And it is not much on this album who connects this album to Kansas..... or the previous Proto-Kaw albums.

AOR is what we get here. Pretty bad AOR too. It says it all that it is really the old stuff here, the pre-Kansas stuff, who comes out best here. The more new stuff is falling well short of any good standards.

This is in short a pretty decent AOR album who does not enthuse me. Hence my rating of this album.

2 points




Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Holon - The Time Is Always Now (2016)


The debut album from this Norwegian band.

Holon is the Norwegian songwriter and guitarist Ronny Pedersen with invited guest musicians for this album. I am not sure if Holon is a band. It is more like a project.
Among those involved, we find Rhys Marsh and Lars Fredrik Froislie.
The lineup is guitars, Hammond organs, keyboards, bass, drums, male and female vocals.

Ronny Pedersen is said to be very inspired by the likes of Zappa and symphonic prog from the 1970s. So inspired that he has been working on this album since 2012.

It shows. The album is a tour de force through various genres from the 1970s. Zappa aside, most of these genres is very melodic. Fusion, eclectic prog, symphonic prog and a bit harder prog gets their time and space here. And yes, Zappa too get some time and space intertwined with the other musical expressions.

There are a couple of great moments here. Two Grain Of Sands is one of them. A song with hit potential. Hence, it is out as a single.

The rest of the album is much more inwards looking and not particular commercial and lightweight. This seventy minutes long album is no easy listening at all. It has various genres. Perhaps one too many genres.

But that also gives us a lot of great vocal harmonies, guitar harmonies and a lot of really clever melodies. The feel and ambience here is darkness and light. This is indeed a pastoral album with a great sound.

This album has been worked on for many years and it really feels like it. You can feel the tender loving care afforded to every details and every tone here. The result is something really special.

It is indeed a great album and one to really cherish. Maybe this is Ronny Pedersen's only album in his life. Maybe there will be more. But he should really look at this album with pride and very warm feelings. A great album indeed.

4 points


   

Monday, 20 February 2017

Hanuman - Lied des Teufels (1973)


The second album from this German band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of guitars, alto sax, flutes, bass, drums and German vocals.

I am a sucker for krautrock and I spend some time on Youtube, looking for obscure krautrock bands and albums which has been included in ProgArchives. Hanuman is one of those bands and this is the only album out of their in total three albums I could find with this band on Youtube.

I have to admit this is a good hobby which sometimes comes up with some great albums and bands.

Hanuman has come up with this forty-two minutes long album. An album well within the krautrock genre. The more accessible rock part of the krautrock genre.

Most of this album is straight rock with some heavy blues and jazz influences. There are also some heavy folk rock influences on this album.

The music here is twisted enough to be interesting and a bit special. There are some good harmonies, mainly by flutes, which I find very interesting.

That aside, this album is obscure because it is not good enough to really give the band a breakthrough. So they will always remain a footnote and an abscure band. I have heard their debut album is much, much more interesting than this album.

I would rate this album somewhere between decent and good. It is good enough to be check out as the sound is very good and will do justice to your headphones or speakers.

2.5 points



Sunday, 19 February 2017

Haddad - Ars Longa Vita Brevis (2004)


The fifth album from this Brazilian band.

The band was a proper band on this album. A five piece band with the Haddad brothers and three other musicians and two guest musicians. The lineup was guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone and Portuguese vocals.

I was far from impressed by their third album Orion and bypassed their fourth album. I am giving them a final try here. Well, I actually reviewed their sixth and final album for ProgArchives back in August 2011.

I do not know what they did on their fourth album. A much critized album. So I cannot comment on their progress.

Ars Long Vita Brevis offers up forty-five minutes pretty laidback and commercial jazz-pop.

There is a lot of vocals here and a lot of almost ambient pieces here. Some pieces here are ambient and something to fall to sleep at.

And there are some pseudo-classical music here too. TV series music. Or movie-soundtrack type of music. TV or film, you get my drift. Not much to take away your attention from the TV screen or the big screen in the cinema.

The result is pretty lifeless and dull. This album does not really work at all. Not for the likes of myself, anyway.

This is a decent album, but nothing more. I don't see myself as a fan of this band.

2 points



Apocalypse - Aurora Dos Sonhos (1996)


The third album from this Brazilian band.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, organs, drums, piano, bass, synths and Brazilian vocals.

I like this band and you will find the recently added reviews of their debut album here and their second album here

This band is a symphonic prog band. It is one of many symphonic prog bands from South America & Mexico. A greeeeeeeeeeat continent for progressive rock.

I was not entirely pleased with their two previous efforts as you can see from my reviews. But they have pulled together and come up with their third album.

Their vocals is still dodgy and I agree with those who think the band should have got a far better vocalist on this album.

.....Which is a pity because the music here is a mix of symphonic prog and good old style neo-prog. Marillion and IQ meets Genesis. Symphonic neo-prog is a label I have seen on this album and I agree. Symphonic neo-prog it is.

This album still retains this Latin-American progressive rock sound. A sound taken from the 1970s pioneering symphonic prog bands from this continent.

This album is almost one hour long and it is overall a very good album with a lot of very interesting and very good melodies. At times, this album is almost a great album. The vocals is a sobering downer, though. Nevertheless......

3.5 points


 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Opeth - Deliverance (2002)


The sixth album from this Swedish band.

The band is a quartet on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Steven Wilson does some guitars and keyboards here + he is co-producing this album.

I was very happy with their previous album Blackwater Park. A good progressive death metal album who also dived into prog rock from the 1970s.

I was hoping that Blackwater Park meant the band was moving into the much heralded progressive rock landscape which is the reason I have decided to review all their studio albums.

But no......

The band has decided to stick to the devil they know here. Death metal in other words. But with a big twist.....

There is a lot of strange guitars and rhythm figures here. The band has gone down the route of experimental death metal. Which is in itself very progressive.... but not the progressive rock I was waiting for.

There are some really strange stuff here. Some stuff that makes me sit up and really listen. Some of the guitars and bass here are twisted and really ultra-technical. Oh yeah, Opeth can play. Really play.

There is not so much clean vocals here as death grunts. But this is nevertheless a good album. A good album but not the one I expected. I find myself giving this a good rating against all my prejudices.
This is really an album you should check out from a band who is hitting top speed.

3 points





Hero - Hero (1974)


The one and only album from this Italian band.

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

Not much is known about this band. But Black Widow Records re-released this very obscure album on CD some years ago. It is still a very obscure album.....

This band and this album does not really fit into the Italian progressive rock (RPI) scene. The sound is very un-Italian. So we have to take the train under the Alps to get to the country where this album really belongs to.... Germany.

OK, there are some hints of RPI scattered around these forty-six minutes and nine songs. But this is essentially a krautrock album.

There are a lot of hard rock too on this album. There are also some eclectic prog here too and some theatrical prog too. The crude looking art-work gives some strong hints what this album is all about.

The keyboards and the guitars works very well with the vocals here on the more or less straigth melodies here. Some of the tracks and stuff is pretty eclectic.

The sound is surprisingly good too. The sound is actually very good and Black Widow Records has done a great, great job here. The vocals are also good.

The music is a bit so-so-so. Not bad but not good either. The music is somewhere between decent and good. 

Check out this album if this interest you.

2.5 points





Styx - Man of Miracles (1974)


The fourth album from this US band.

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

It is my understanding that this is the final of the pre-classic Styx albums. I have been told I should not judge this band on this or any of the three previous albums. But I am still reviewing these four albums. See my other three reviews here, here and here.
I do like to review odd and obscure albums. I have therefore reviewed these albums.

I have always regarded Styx as a pomp prog band. Rightly or wrongly, though. There is some pomp on this album. At the end of this album, that is.

Most of this album is hard rock. US hard rock where big is better and gigantic is the norm. USA is a big country, strutting with self-belief.

The music here is strutting like a peacock and as arrogant as a mountain lion. This is a brash, big thirty-minutes long album. It is very loud and youthful too.

Unfortunate, there is not much positive to say about this album. The music is bordering to power-pop on far too many occasions. The bubblegum and throw-away factor is pretty large here. The music and lyrics is very light on substance......... and quality.

This album just falls flat on it's face. It is still a decent album. But I hope I will get some more quality on the next Styx albums I am reviewing. So far, I am far from being impressed.

2 points




Thursday, 16 February 2017

Mighty Baby - A Jug of Love (1971)


The second and final album from this British band.

The band was a five piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano and vocals.

I pretty much liked their 1969 self-titled debut album. Good psych prog. It is also a recommended album.

The band has changed 180 degrees and to a new genre on this album who was released two years later.

Take a big chunk of Neil Young and country from the USA. Take some Grateful Dead and a lot of psychedelic rock too. Take Jefferson Airplane too. That is when you sort of ends up with this album.

Where the debut album was brash and youthful, this album is much more pastoral and laidback. The art work above kind of tells the story.

There is a lot of piano and guitars where with vocals. And that is basically that when it comes to creating some noise. Pastoral and understated indeed.

The songs are not great. But this forty-three minutes album is still very charming and pleasing on the ear. It is not a classic. But it is an honest album and a fine farewell from a band who were here only for a few years. Check out this good album.

3 points


  

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Haikara - Haikara (1972)


The debut album from this Finnish band.

The band was a five piece band with a lineup of tubular bells, clock bells, tamburine, saxophone, flutes, organs, guitars, bass, percussions, drums, piano, triangle and Finnish vocals.

... Eclectic and exotic indeed....

This was the first of in total five albums this band released before their final album in 2001. The band changed style and genres on the albums, according to ProgArchives. I only got this album so I don't really know.

This album is indeed an eclectic prog album. It has everything from Mexican tijuana jazz to a lot of King Crimson'esque like rhythms and melodies. There is also a lot of Finnish folk rock, hard rock and avant-garde prog here too.

The Finnish vocals also add a lot of eclectic prog feel too.

There is a lot of strange stuff on this forty-four minutes long album. The album never really gets boring or dull. Just interesting and good. Very good in fact.

There is no great songs here. But the overall quality is very good throughout this album. An album I really recommend to you all. Check it out.

3.5 points


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Jeseter - Siddhartha (2016)


The third album from this Czech Republic band.

The band is a five piece band with a lineup of grand piano, synths, guitars, bass, drums and Czech male vocals.

Jeseter is a new name to me and I have not heard their previous two albums.

Their language is not what I hear every day either. It has been months, if not a year, since I have reviewed an album with this language. I am not particular overly happy with English language vocals so variations are totally fine for me.

These vocals gives the music here a nice edge too. Music somewhere between symphonic prog and neo-prog.

Take a big chunk of Genesis and add local Eastern Europe flavours. Add a lot of Italian symphonic prog too and you get this album.

The music is a bit on the melancholic side of the spectrum and pretty epic. The male vocals is adding a lot of quality to this fifty minutes long album too.

The melodies are good throughout and the band gets a lot out of the material which is not great. The guitar solos are the only great thing here.

Check out this band as they are really adding some nice, juicy flavours to the prog rock scene.

3 points

 

 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Proto Kaw - The Wait Of Glory (2006)


The second album from this US band.

The band is a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone, flutes, organ and vocals. 

Proto-Kaw is basically the old version of the far more famous Kansas. A band the leader of Proto-Kaw also were the leader of for a long time. His name is off course Kerry Livgren, one of USA's best and most famous prog rock composers. He did Kansas best stuff and mostly everything for Proto-Kaw.

I pretty much liked their 2004 debut album Before Became After. An album with both pre-Kansas and post-Kansas songs. It was a good album, indeed.

So I am giving them another try again. All their three albums, in fact.

Proto-Kaw sounded very much in the Kansas vein on their debut album. The difference was violin vs saxophone. Proto-Kaw has saxophone and flutes instead of violins. That was a major difference on the debut album.

Proto-Kaw has distanced themselves a lot more on The Wait Of Glory, though. There is a lot of Christian rock like toothless AOR here. Not AOR but toothless and praise the lord type of AOR. Then there are some funk here too. And a few melodies which reminds me about Kansas and progressive rock.

The end result is a bland album which does not work out at all. A couple of songs here are good. The rest of the album is bleak and bland. Totally forgetable and I want to forget this album as much as I can so I can still honour Kerry Livgren and his work. 

This is a decent album but nothing more than that.

2 points


 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Hoelderlin - Hoelderlin (1975)


The second album from this German band.

The band was a six piece big band with a lineup of clavinet, organ, piano, moog, guitars, bass, drums, flutes, woodwind, viola and English vocals.

I was pretty impressed by their 1972 debut album Hoelderlin's Traum. An album I gave a Good rating.  

The band had taken a three years long break before returning with this self titled second album. Why it is self titled, I don't know. But I guess this means a new and fresh beginning.

The result is a forty-three minutes long album which is a radical departure from their debut album. Hence this album title, me believe.

Take a big chunk of Gentle Giant from their mid period and add some folk rock and symphonic prog. Then you get this album.

The music is very eclectic throughout. Eclectic but still melodic. The five songs...... make that pieces of music... is pretty long too. The finale piece of music, Deatwatchbeetle, is over seventeen minutes long. A pretty complex piece of music it is.

The music is good throughout. I am not totally won over by this band and their take on eclectic prog. It is nevertheless a good album which may find a lot of new fans. Check it out.

3 points




Haddad - Orion (2000)


The third album from this Brazilian band.

Haddad was Leandro Haddad (vocals and guitars) and Gustavo Haddad (keyboards, programming and vocals). It seems pretty logical to name the band as Haddad....

I reviewed their sixth and so far final album Eros & Thanatos for ProgArchives back in August 2011. I was not too impressed by this good album. 

Haddad does symphonic prog with some jazz, ambient, new-age and pop music influences. 

In the case of Orion, that means long and even longer instrumental parts with guitars and keyboards. The guitars are pretty restrained and is much more painting soundscapes than chugging along. No agression from the guitars.

The infrequent vocals is there to add some pop music elements to this album. The vocals are all in Portuguese so I am not sure about the lyrics.

The end result is a very soothing and ambient album with a lot of Brazilian charm and laid-back attitude. It is symphonic prog with an overdose of sleeping pills.

This album is almost one hour long and does not offer up much variations. I am not convinced about the quality here. There is not much of that.

The end result is a decent album from a pretty obscure band who still deserve a lot of respect.

2 points



Saturday, 11 February 2017

Howe. Steve - The Steve Howe Album (1979)


The second album from this English guitarist.

Steve Howe did all guitars, bass and vocals (on one track) here. He had company of half the Yes, a female vocalist, a symphony orchestra and some keyboards and violins here.
Roger Dean did the art-works as we can see.

The Yes and Asia guitarist continues to showcase his guitars and his own skills on this album. Skills as both composer and guitarist.

He does vocals on one track here and he is as bad as always. His vocals is terrible.

The music is a mix of Yes like songs, a couple of Asia like songs and some pseudo-classical stuff with his guitars and strings in the background.

Listening to both this album and his first album, I just get the feeling that Steve Howe is so much better in a band than on his own.

When that is said, this is not a bad album. The first part takes us through a Yes like landscape with vocals and it all. Steve Howe also contributes with slide guitars here. Yes-light is what this is all about. And it is really some good stuff here.

The final half is about pseudo-classical stuff with Steve Howe's guitars on the top. And it is some rather good compositions.

The end result is a good album and one Yes fans like myself really would like. And I like this album.
Check it out if you love Yes and want to check out one of the most prolific guitarists of all time.

3 points



Hackett. Steve - Darktown (1999)


The fourteenth album from this English artist.

Steve Hackett is doing all guitars and some vocals and synths here. He got help from numerous other musicians on all sorts of instruments. The vocals is both male and female.

This ex-Genesis guitarist has made a career out of making projects like albums with invited guests. The band itself is just Steve Hackett.

Projects like Darktown can give up a lot of different results. In this case, a pretty dark album.

The album starts with the title track. It is a dark, brooding track which sets the tone for the rest of this album. An hour long album.

During this one hour, we get a couple of Broadway like ballads with an Elaine Paige like vocalist. We also get Jim Diamond on vocals on one of the tracks, the single lifted from this album. It is called Days Of Long Ago. A not so interesting song.

The songs are pretty long and so is the instrumental, classical music like pieces too.

Steve Hackett sounds like Camel on the instrumental pieces and on some songs. Camel not on their most interesting and best, it has to be said.

I am not a big fan of this album. But it is nevertheless a good album as I have heard far worse albums from Steve Hackett than Darktown. Check it out if this is something for you.

3 points




Friday, 10 February 2017

Haze - Hazecolor Dia (1971)


The one and only album from this German band.

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

This band should not be confused with a British neo-prog band of the same name. A band far more famous and prolific than the German version of Haze.

Haze is very much in the middle of the 1971s hard-rock scene with this forty minutes long album. There is a lot of hard organs and guitars here. A lot of hard drums and bass. And a lot of loud vocals too.

The music is hard-rock with a lot of blues, psychedelic rock and symphonic prog influences. Five tracks, forty minutes. That means long songs. The shortest one at six and a half minutes long.

The songs are really clever and well crafted. They have a psychedelic flavour, all of them. But hard-rock is the basic here. Hard, clever rock.

The guitars from Heinz Scwab are really good. Ditto for the vocals from Christian Scherler. The organs adds a lot of flavour too.

The end result is a good album which is really worth checking out for those into early 1970s hard-rock. I have really enjoyed this album.

3 points





Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Homunculus Res - Limiti All'Eguaglianza Della Parte Con Il Tutto (2013)


The debut album from this Italian band.

Homunculus Res is a six piece big band with a lineup of glockenspiel, woodwinds, keyboards, minimoog, organ, piano, percussions, drums, bass, guitars, synth, flutes and Italian vocals. Four guest musicans is also adding additional instruments.

There is no hiding that this band created a small sensation with this album. And with good reason.

With a name like this and an album title like this very long one, it is obvious this is not a run of the mill band and album.

The band is Italian and they have been very heavy influenced by one of my favourite bands; Picchio Dal Pozzo. So we are talking an Italian band going Canterbury scene here. And that is a lot of the basis of this almost fifty minutes long album. But there is more to it than that....

Add a lot of PFM and Le Orme too. Add Soft Machine and the Italian avant-garde bands too.

The music here is pretty abstract, playful and surprisingly melodic too. The band jumps in and out of melodies at will and with no efforts.

Inbetween the short and long melodies, there is also some very good avant-garde pieces which is very playful.

There is a lot of Italian madness here and a lot of Italian joy of life. Italian smiles and optimism. A lot of quality too. This is a great album and just what the doctor ordered for both this scene and my own health. Check out this great album.

4 points



Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Haboob - Haboob (1971)


The one and only album from this Munich, Germany band.

The band was actually three US citizens living in Munich, Germany. The lineup was percussions, drums, guitars, organs, piano and vocals.

Why did three US citizens record and release an album in Germany ? Answers on a postcard, please.

The music here is spacy krautrock with a lot of blues too.

There are songs here which is blues with heavy organs and guitars. Other songs are much more spaced out excersises from outer space.

This mix of space rock and blues was pretty normal back then in the krautrock scene. The vocals here are very American and bluesy throughout.

It is therefore a great shame that the sound is so poor as this album could have been a good, even a very good album with a half-decent sound.

This album is thirty-six minutes long and a lot of nuances has been lost in the bad sound. I guess the original master-tape has been lost forever so there is no hope for a proper cleanup and a good sound.

Nevertheless, this is a decent album in itself. The spaced out stuff here is really interesting. The blues are not too shabby either.

The end result is a decent album which is perhaps worthy a look at Youtube. You decide.

 2 points




Sunday, 5 February 2017

Witchwood - Handful Of Stars (2016)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band is a six piece big band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, organs, flutes, harmonica, synth, moog and English male vocals.

I very much liked their 2015 debut album Litanies From The Woods. Good hard rock in the 1970s style.

The band is following up with more of the same stuff. Take a bit of Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and add a lot of blues and psychedelic rock too. There is a considerable amount of Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and The Doors influences here too. There is a lot of hard progressive rock here too. Not too mention stoner rock too.

The whole mix is very 1970s and pretty hard rocking. But the band also has a lot of brain and finesse. This is not just rocking out and banging heads into a wall.

The final song, the title song is a psychedelic song. The rest is much more harder edged. The band has also done a Blue Oyster Cult cover in the form of Flaming Telepaths from their Secret Treaties album. It is a bit of an oddity on this album.

I am not really won over by this forty-five minutes long album. It is an OK throwback to the 1970s. The band has not come up with the good songs here. The inclusion of the BOC cover is odd to say at least. The rest of the album is decent to good. This album is a backward step for this band.

2.5 points



 


Osanna - Milano Calibro 9 (1972)


The second album from this Italian band.

The band was a five piece band here with a lineup of woodwinds, bass, guitars, drums, synths, drums, percussions and some vocals.

This album is a soundtrack of some sorts although I am not sure which movie had the pleasure of hosting this music.

I was not the best pleased about their debut album L,Uomo. A pretty chaotic album. So I had no high hopes about this album.

Milano Calibro 9 is a soundtrack and feel like it. A lot of instrumental music with classical music leanings. Johan Sebastian Bach comes into mind here.

A lot of the music is a bit baroque music too. But there is a lot of hard rock here too. It is a nice combination.

There is also a Broadway musical theatres like tee jerker here too at the end of this album. The five minutes long There Will Be Time sounds like a musical song and I guess it was a big song from Osanna.

There is also a lot of epic music here which twists and turns. And that makes this a good album. There is no true great piece of music here. But this is still an album well worth checking out.

3 points



Mighty Baby - Mighty Baby (1969)


The debut album from this British band.

The band released two albums before they split up. Both are on Youtube and therefore easy accesible for those of us into finding new bands and sounds. The band is also listed in ProgArchives.
Mighty Baby is one of those finds I live and run this blog for. Just the sheer excitement of listening to obscure bands like this. Both albums will therefore be reviewed/has been reviewed in this blog.

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

This album was actually released during the last days of 1968, during the days I was born. Not that it influences my views on this album. But it gives me a nice little chuckle.

The music on this forty-two minutes long album is pretty hard psycedelic rock. Bands like The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors is a good reference.

The twin guitars here are pretty dominant and is driving the music forward. Guitar dominated psycedelic rock is the best label I can use on this music. The songs are on average five minutes long and is therefore not the radio-friendly format on three minutes long songs most other bands used back then.

The music is pretty heavy throughout with a great twisted, acid feeling. The vocals is also good and ditto for the sound.

I would not brand this album as a hidden gem. But it is somewhere between decent and good in my estimation. More like good than decent though so I am upgrading it to a good album. It is an album well worth checking out.

3 points


  

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Gargamel - Descending (2009)


The second and final album from this Norwegian band.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of glockenspiel, drums, saxophone, flutes, guitars, synth, keyboards, bass, programming and vocals. English male vocals.

I have just reviewed their debut album here and I really liked that album too. It is sad that they are no longer. My guess is that this was a student band and the band split up after completing their studies. Real life came calling from many places in Norway and Gargamel became history. A reunion would be nice though.... Now or in 20-40 years time.

The band continues as they left it on their 2006 debut album Watch For The Umbles. That means a mix of King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator.

Actually, they have become a lot more of a marriage of those two bands on this album. The mood has also grown a lot darker. The band has descended into a dark place on this album. A lot of melancholy and depressions is what we find in this dark place.

The music is also technical and a bit playful too with a lot of folk rock and avant-garde influences throughout this album.

The flutes are really good here. The vocals is very much in the Peter Hammill vein. It has also improved a lot from their debut. The vocalist now knows his limits and stays well within his very limited range.

There are no great pieces of music on this almost fifty minutes long album. But this is a good album and the band is more than welcome back if they would be so kind.

3 points

 

Proto Kaw - Before Became After (2004)


The debut album from this US band.

The band was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of bass, drums, piano, keyboards, organ, flutes, guitars, saxophone and vocals.

Proto-Kaw is the Kansas founder Kerry Livgren's band... or was as the band is probably disbanded after Kerry Livgren's stroke which means he no longer can play music. They released three albums. All to be reviewed/has been reviewed in this blog.

Proto-Kaw was also Kansas before they broke up and reformed again with a new setup... the Steve Walsh setup which made Kansas famous. Proto-Kaw means "the original Kansas" as Kaw is the indian name for Kansas. Clever, Kerry Livgren.....

The songs here are a mix of original Kansas material pre-Steve Walsh. The one that did not make any success at all. Then there are some new material too. All of this written by Kerry Livgren.

The material is off course influenced by the second incarnation of Kansas. Kerry Livgren wrote music for both versions of Kansas and it goes without saying that there are pretty strong similarities.
The difference, and it is a major difference, is that Proto-Kaw uses flutes and saxophone where Kansas is using violin.

Proto-Kaw's music is not as harsh and country'n'western as Kansas was. There is some AOR here too and a lot of elegant music. Pomp prog springs to mind as a label. It is still symphonic prog too by all means. But in the US way.

This album is eighty minutes long and the quality is good throughout. Very good at times. But there is a couple of tracks I don't care about.

It is great that we got both Kansas and Proto-Kaw. And we should all be grateful for that. Thank you, Kerry Livgren.

3 points


Friday, 3 February 2017

Half Past Four - Land of the Blind (2016)


The third release from this Canadian band.

The band is a five piece band on this album with a lineup of chapmann stick, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and female lead vocals. There are also some male backup and lead vocals here too. But Ms. Kyree Vibrant does most of the vocals.

This is strictly speaking an EP lasting twenty-six minutes. It is as long as many album from the 1970s. Since I love the art work and finds the music interesting, I am reviewing it.

Half Past Four has previously released two albums. Their debut album Rabbit In The Vestibule back in 2008 and the follow up album Good Things in 2013. Both critically acclaimed in ProgArchives.

Their music on this EP is very eclectic with a lot of avant-garde stuff, jazz, some neo-prog and some Gentle Giant like eclectic prog. There is also a lot of references to the US band B 52s.
The underlaying feeling here is that the band is making fun music with a lot of twists and turns.

The vocals are really good and so is the musicians here. The music is diverse and twisted.

The quality of the music is also good throughout. It makes me both smile and approve of this band. A band I think has a lot to offer. A band just bubbling under the surface, ready to become a big band.
Check out this EP.

3 points




Thursday, 2 February 2017

Audiac - Thank You for Not Discussing the Outside World (2003)


The one and only album from this German band.

Audiac was a five piece band with a lineup of programming, turntables, electronic drums, bass and male English vocals.

This band is very obscure with no reviews of this album at their ProgArchives page. Which is a shame because all artists and bands deserve a review and some response. All the songs on this album is available through Youtube so go forth and give them a listen and a review if you are a reviewer. This album is worth it.

This album starts out as a Marillion, the Steve Hogarth era before it takes of via strong Gazpacho influences towards a much more psychedelic landscape. The music is also pretty avant-garde too. But Gazpacho is the nearest reference I will put on this album. A pretty faint reference, though.

Listed as a neo-prog band in ProgArchives, this album is not offering up much neo-prog. Eclectic prog would be the label I would put on this album. Eclectic prog, it is.

The music has a lot of distortions and loops. A lot of programming and a lot of pained soundscapes.
A lot of strange twists and turns.

The vocals is very good. The music is weird, weird, weird. But the quality is good. Check out this album as you may find a hidden gem there. It is a hidden gem. Period.

3 points



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Howe. Steve - Beginnings (1975)


The debut album from this English musician.

Steve Howe is most known as the guitarist in Yes and Asia. That amongst other bands. But he has also released 20 + solo albums. I got his first two albums and are reviewing them.

On this album, Steve does the guitars and the vocals. Countless others does bass, drums, harpiscord, keyboards, synths, strings and woodwinds.

I think Yes were on a small break when Steve Howe recorded and released this album. It was released between the Relayer and the Going For The One albums. Yes, these two Yes albums.

Steve Howe made some decissions on this album. His, by far worst decission, was to do the vocals. To put it plainly, his vocals sounds like a lovesick barn owl. And that is not a compliment. I have heard some really bad vocals in my life and Steve's is one of the worst ones.

Those vocals destroys the very good Yes like song Australia. The vocals makes the listener of that song into a shivering wreck.

Yes, there are some Yes'ish songs here. There are also some classical music here with one of Steve's many guitars on the top. He uses a lot of different guitars on this forty minutes long album. That on a wide variety of music expressions. From symphonic prog to pop, weirdo rock to classical music.

The end result is a decent album where Steve shows of his guitars and how good he is on them. Pity about the vocals..... His first and last album with his own vocals, I have been told.

This is a decent album.

2 points