Vangelis Announces the release of Delectus his Deluxe 13 CD Career Box Set


Modern music visionary Vangelis has announced the release on 3rd February of a new 13-disc box set entitled “Delectus,” featuring a chosen selection of his early discographic work.  The mammoth collection will include all of his albums on Vertigo and Polydor, recently signed by Universal and remastered for the first time ever under the legendary composer’s own supervision.

Presented in a lavish box with an essay and a plethora of rare photographs, the discs are housed in two die-cut, gatefold disc holders within a rigid 242mm square slipcase, and accompanied by a 64-page book illustrating a period of his prolific career of the iconic Maestro.

I always welcome remastering my old work for two basic reasons” – explains Vangelis – “firstly, I get the opportunity to bring the sounds to today’s standards, secondly, it gives me the chance to go through the experiences and memories of the time.”

“Delectus” gathers together Vangelis’ seminal albums “Earth”, “L’Apocalypse Des Animaux“China”, “See You Later”, Antarctica, “Mask”, Opera Sauvage,“Chariots of Fire”, “Soil Festivities” and “Invisible Connections”, plus his collaborative recordings with Jon Anderson as ‘Jon & Vangelis’ – “Short Stories”, “The Friends of Mister Cairo” & “Private Collection”. The remastered originals will be complemented with rare B-sides and 4 previously unreleased tracks.

Vangelis is regarded a pioneer in the evolution of modern music.  In his lustrous discographic career he has composed and performed numerous albums covering the most diverse assortment of genres. He is most popular for his movie scores including Antarctica, Blade Runner, Missing, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Alexander and the 1981 Academy Award-winning soundtrack for Chariots of Fire.  ‘Titles’, the theme for ‘Chariots of Fire’, was later chosen as background to the 2012 Olympics winners’ medal presentation ceremonies.

Six years after turning down the opportunity to join Yes, Vangelis joined forces with Jon Anderson in 1981 and the duo released 3 albums under the Jon & Vangelis moniker to critical acclaim. “The Friends of Mr Cairo” included celebrated single “State of Independence”, which also reached chart success with its 1982 cover by Donna Summer and again in 1992 with a Moodswings version featuring Chrissie Hynde released as “Spiritual High (State of Independence) Pt. II”.

Vangelis’ pioneering work is recognised beyond record sales and music awards. In 1992, the Maestro was nominated Chevalier de L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2001 Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from the President of French Republic.  He was the recipient of a Public Service Medal from NASA in 2003 and had a star named after him by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for the international impact and appreciation of his work as well as his rapport with the Universe.  In 2008 Vangelis received the America Hellenic Institute “Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award” for his exceptional musical achievements and lifelong dedication to the promotion of Hellenism through the arts.  The same year he also received an honorary doctorate at the University of Athens – Faculty of Primary Education and in 2009 he received the University of Patras Greece Honorary Doctor/Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Physics.


Both old and new fans who enjoyed Vangelis’s space-centered album “Rosetta” – won’t miss the opportunity to own some of the Maestro’s most groundbreaking work, remastered from the original first generation master tapes, all in an attractive and informative package. “Delectus” is out on 3rd February through all usual retailers.

You can pre-order the box set here:

Vangelis Website:




Anthrax ANNOUNCE 2017 UK HEADLINE TOUR! – Band to celebrate 30th anniversary of the classic album ‘AMONG THE LIVING’ performed in its entirety!


Legendary New York thrashers ANTHRAX this year celebrated their 35th anniversary and released their new album ‘For All Kings’ to widespread critical acclaim. In February 2017 the band will be back on UK soil for their first full UK headline tour in over a decade! These UK dates will see the band perform classic 1987 album ‘Among The Living’ in its entirety alongside fan favourites.
Scott Ian commented:
“Finally! We’ve been looking forward to headlining in the U.K. for so long!!! We have a killer set planned, new stuff, old faves, deep tracks and Among front to back. You’d better start getting in shape now for the epic wardance!
See you soon my friends.

These special shows will mark 30 years of the iconic album, with support from up and coming British metallers The Raven Age.

Dates as follows:
Thursday 9th February – Birmingham O2 Institute
Friday 10th February – London O2 Forum Kentish Town
Saturday 11th February – Bristol O2 Academy
Monday 13th February – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 14th February – Manchester Academy
Wednesday 15th February – Glasgow Barrowlands
Thursday 16th February – Newcastle Northumbria University
Friday 17th February – Norwich UEA

Tickets go on sale this Friday 18th November at 10am.
Tickets will be available from


Anthrax has sold in excess of 10-million units, received multiple Gold and Platinum certifications, six Grammy nominations and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans. In 1991, their music helped break down race and genre barriers when they collaborated with Public Enemy on “Bring The Noise.”  And, of course, along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, Anthrax helped pioneer the thrash/metal genre as a member of The Big Four.

More on ‘For All Kings’
‘Blood Eagle Wings’ Official Video:
‘Monster At The End’ Official Video: 
‘Evil Twin’ Lyric Video:
‘Breathing Lightning’ Official Track:

Beatrix Players Release Video of Debut Single ‘Lady Of The Lake’

Beatrix Players have released a video of their debut single Lady Of The Lake, released on November 25th and taken from their debut album ‘Magnified’, which is scheduled for release in 2017.

Lady of The Lake is the stunning first single to be taken from Beatrix Players debut album, with the single launch being held at the Green Note in Camden on Tuesday 22nd November. This first release tells a story of disconnect, difference of opinion and the demise of a relationship.

“In the video we used a mystical figure to portray how the male perceives the female in the relationship,” explains lead vocalist Amy Birks. “She is seen as seductive and somewhat dismissive in character, although the lyrics are written sympathetically towards her”. The powerful chorus tells of torment “although the man knows it’s over, he is still drawn to her qualities” explains pianist and co-writer Jess Kennedy. The listener is taken on a journey through the powerful & emotive expression of the music, whilst the delicate, almost hypnotic vocal counter melodies add to the unearthly and ethereal sound of the track.


Through their enchantingly dark and evocative melodies, expansive
arrangements and empowered orchestral sound BEATRIX PLAYERS tell stories of real life and fantasy. Citing influences as diverse as Michael Nyman and Regina Spektor and drawing comparisons to the likes of Kate Bush and Einaudi Ludovico; this London-based, all female trio combine elements of Folk, Jazz, Progressive and Classical music. In 2015 the band (Amy Birks, Jess Kennedy and Amanda Alvarez) took their unique sound – a beautiful combination of vocals, piano and cello – into the studio to record their self-produced debut album, which has been mixed by two-time BBC Folk Award winner, Jim Moray.

Review – Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour – by Kevin Thompson


Prog/Symphonic Metal is a crowded market and each band has their devoted following. I have my favourites, fully aware there are many more out there doing well for themselves in this genre that I have never heard. It doesn’t mean they aren’t any good or they do not tickle my earbuds, merely the fact I can only listen to so many in the time I have.

And so it is with Sonata Arctica, a lively bunch of lads from Kemi in Northern Finland. The roots of the band grew from a hard rock band Tricky Beans formed  in 1995, changing direction and band name to Sonata Arctica (on the suggestion of a friend) inspired by fellow Fins Stratovarious.

With emphasis on the strong keyboard/keytar melodies of Henrik Klingenberg, bolstered by Pasi Kauppinen’s bass and Elias Viljanen’s guitar rhythm line, Tommy Portimo’s ice shattering drums line up alongside Tony Kakko using both his cool falsetto and tenor voices (fleshed out further with backing vocals from the rest of the band) to bring a heavy snowstorm of sound across the frozen wastes for your pleasure.

‘The Ninth Hour’ is also their ninth album, funnily enough, but it is also a reference to the moment Christ is said to have died on the cross. Whilst not religious Tony Kakko says it echoes some of the lyrical themes and also inspired the idea for the rather fabulous album cover painted by Toxic Angel. It can be seen as a metaphor for a society skirting the edges of war again, in a world where environmental pollution is a daily concern and people ignore the damage we cause to Mother Nature at our peril, a common theme for many bands recently.

It’s a very polished album from a band confident in their sound with the songs never seeming downbeat, whilst the lyrics may illustrate the doom ridden earth we are creating. The quality of music shows why they have been asked previously to tour with their fellow Fins and Nightwish among others.

Sonata Arctica Megaphone

Closer to an Animal, first track and single is not as heavy as I expected and at times reminds me of  Magnum in it’s structure. A lively little number to start and sets the tone for the album with swathes of Henrik’s  keys and flourished guitar soloing from Elias as Tony warns we abuse what we have.

There’s a slight Celtic feel in places as Life starts with a Nightwish style introduction on this warm song encouraging you to live your life, blowing away the cold icicles of day to day mundaniety from your mind.

Don’t believe all you are told comes the warning in the chilling Fairytale, blindly following like sheep and allowing ourselves to be manipulated by those corrupted with power. Edited, this catchy number would make a good single with it’s sing along chorus and it is one of my favourites on the album.

Time to seek shelter from the cold and relax in warm comfort to contemplate why We Are What We Are, the destroyers of worlds. Can we turn it around? Is it too late? Can we save what we are losing on this powerful refrain to the Earth.

Thrown from our reveries into the Arctic winds of tumultuous affairs of the heart, Till Death’s Done Us Apart sees us stung by the frozen crystals of emotion as they get buried in the snowy drifts of rampaging instrumentation. As the evening closes in we find ourselves Among The Shooting Stars. Tinkling keys echo in the night on this rock ballad full of streaking lights of emotion and rousing chorus as you wander under the moonlit sky, the warmth of love protects you from the chill.


A Husky sled full of guitars hurtles towards you in Rise a Night,  to carry you across the glistening flows of ice and snow. The evening air rushes past with Kauppinen’s bass heightening your senses on a flurry of guitar riffs as the vocals whip around your head, whilst the the thrumming of Portimo’s drums like sled rails bouncing across the ground, quicken the pulse and spray key-notes into the atmosphere. A ride of pure adrenalin before you Fly, Navigate, Communicate and you ease to the steady pace of a fairly generic rock song which then picks up in the latter half. Whilst Tony’s vocal range is displayed extensively on this track it feels like an unused tune from a Europe album and the singing doesn’t quite match Joey Tempest.

Lights flicker in the darkness as Klingenberg’s piano plays on the Candle Lawns, issuing in the lovingly written ballad on this Finnish fairytale of an album, caressed with sweet soloing guitars on a track reminiscent of Darren Wharton’s ‘Dare’.

The lapping waters of an icy sea and cries of sea-birds carry us on to the epic track White Pearl, Black Oceans Part II “By The Grace Of The Ocean”, which I believe is a sequel to a track of the same name on the 2004 album ‘Reckoning Night’ (that’s my homework done). Steadily building orchestration and delicate keys, interwoven with heavy guitars and lit by a fireball of a guitar solo from Viljanen, mid-tune, reflecting on the ocean of sound around him as the song sails away.

Which brings us to the grand finale as we cruise On The Faultline (Closure To An Animal), a crowning glory to a frozen throne. It feels like all the previous tracks were made to lead to this on a song which starts with piano led vocals so dramatic they could have been written for a West End  premier musical  production. It slowly drifts, so gently you struggle to remember when the the rest of the band join in so seamless is the transition on this delicate, heart-achingly beautiful tune. Then as if snatched by a last chilled gust of wind it fades away the final notes dissipating in the rarefied atmosphere as a distant whistle signals a close.

This has been an adventure for me, guided warmly through this wintry landscape of an album warning of portents we bring upon ourselves, the variations catching my ears and nestling in my head. I shall definitely be giving this a few more spins and if you are a fan of the sub-genre then I can heartily recommend ‘The Ninth Hour’.

Released 7th October 2016

Buy ‘The Ninth Hour’ from Nuclear Blast Records


Review – Bad Dreams – Déjà vu – by Progradar


“When life gets too much and you just want to get off the ride, remember, there will always be music…”

Indulge me if you will, this morning I was pounding away on the cross trainer at the gym, watching Saturday Kitchen. Glynn Purnell was talking to the great Suggs from Madness and Big Big Train’s ‘The Underfall Yard’ was playing on the iPod.

Those who have heard the song Victorian Brickwork will know where I am coming from when I say that, as the scintillating and very moving brass section begins towards the end, time literally stood still and a warm feeling of contentment washed over me. I forgot about US elections and Brexit and all the other ills that seem to blight this world at the moment, all that existed for me at that very moment in time was the music and the music was everything.

Music has the power to make our lives better and almost become tangible, a physical and substantive force for good and I thank whatever high power may be up there that it has become part of my life in a very concrete and irrefutable way.

Today I am writing a review of the forthcoming new album from Argentinian progressive rock band Bad Dreams and ‘Déjà vu’ is a release that evokes similar emotions in this aging wordsmith.


Bad Dreams consists of Gabriel Agudo (Lead vocals and guitars), Jorge Tenesini (keyboards, synthesizers and programming), Alex Calvera (Bass and Moog bass pedals), Ariel Trifunoff (Lead guitars and backing vocals), Fernando Cornejo, (Drums and backing vocals).

Now for an edited history lesson taken straight from the band’s website…

Bad Dreams is the first Latin American classic and prog-rock band to triumph outside the continent. Hailing from Argentina, and comprising five accomplished musicians, they began their prolific career performing Genesis‘ music for a period of more than 10 years, a venture in which they attained worldwide recognition by fans and Genesis members alike; being mentioned in the official website of Genesis and Steve Hackett.

Wanting to spread their wings even further, they took a big undertaking out of their comfort zone in 2014, and released their first album with their own original music entitled “Apocalypse of the Mercy”. The album garnered worldwide recognition among classic and progressive rock fans, and Bad Dreams opened for Steve Hackett and played alongside Steve Rothery and his band during the South American leg of their world tour.

2015 marked a milestone in Bad Dreams’ history, when they became the first Latin American band to take part of the prestigious Cruise to the Edge celebration. After Cruise to the Edge the band played a single show in Miami, and later embarked in tremendously fruitful Central America tour, visiting Panamá, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, before locking themselves up to start working in their sophomore album, entitled “Deja Vú”. The new album will feature Steve Rothery as a special guest, playing an otherworldly guitar solo on the album title track.

Bad Dreams have been once again invited to the next iteration of Cruise to the Edge to take place in February 2017, this time around again including the cream of the crop in the prog-rock scene.


Opening track Samurai of the Rising Sun has a slow burning opening, all mysterious and enigmatic, setting the scene for what is to come with it’s strange, almost sci-fi feeling sound effects. The brooding guitar and keyboards ramp up the tensions even more before a staccato riff trades off against some rather nice swirling keyboards. Gabriel’s vocals begin and he has a really passionate vocal style that works brilliantly with the music, holding you in its sway. There’s a feeling of treading water, as if you are awaiting something but it is a very pleasant wait. The music just seems to flow along delightfully, it is immediately obvious that these musicians are technically very efficient and yet their playing also has huge amounts of soul. The song opens up with some gusto with fiery guitars and intricate keyboards and Gabriel’s vocals go up another level, this is classic progressive rock done with a large amount of flair.

So, onto the title track Déjà vu and it is immediate from the first notes that you realise that this is something very special. Ariel’s guitar and Jorge’s keyboards are full of an intense passion and the music really invokes some heartfelt feelings in you. I was hooked from the first time I listened to this song, Gabriel’s voice is almost a lament, full of fervor and a melancholy intensity. This song should be listened to in a dimly lit room, headphones on and a glass of your favourite tipple, it would suit a dark and cold winter’s evening, keeping you warm against the chill outside. Fernando and Alex lead the rhythm section with aplomb  before the track builds up with even more added fervor, the keys really driving things along and the vocals taking on more magnitude and severity. To me, it has touches of Fish era Marillion and when Steve Rothery starts to play his utterly mesmerising solo, that comparison is fully realised. His guitar seems to take on a life of its own and I just sat there completely astounded by its brilliance. That’s not to take anything away from Bad Dreams, this is just the cream on the top of a completely enthralling song.


Fallen has a very intricate opening that blossoms into a really powerful track. The guitars, keyboards and rhythm section hit you with a forceful blast before things settle down in to a cryptically esoteric verse. The power returns on the compellingly dominant chorus. Think IQ meets Gabriel era Genesis and you wont be far wrong, I really like the way the song flows and Gabriel’s vocal takes on a a darkly authoritarian tone, as if he is reading from a dark book of secrets. Things move on in a tide of Delphian abstruseness, there’s a perplexing conundrum at play here and you feel that Gabriel is the main antagonist in a play that has a veil of secrecy around it. Ariel’s solo is thing of wistful delight, adding to the riddle posed, and insinuates itself into your psyche before the song bleeds out to a subtle close.

Another serpentine opening introduces Song For Augusto, another brilliant nod to the classic progressive tracks of the 70’s, with a touch of Yes (Soon, if I’m being precise). It meanders around your mind before the winsome keyboards begin and give some direction with their captivating feel. The next part of the song has Pink Floyd writ large above it, the drums and keyboards are absolutely spot on and I can’t help but nod the skill on show. The vocals are emotive and impassioned and add another level of polish to this already impressive track. There’s an urgent feel to the next section, the guitar almost feels sentient as it prescribes every note and then the keys open up into a great organ sound before Ariel gives us a seriously poignant and powerful guitar solo that stays long in the mind after this track comes to an imperious ending.


Moonlight is just over 3 minutes of Ariel Trifunoff’s enchanting acoustic guitar, a whimsical instrumental that has bucket loads of charm under its captivating exterior. A really engaging track that leaves a calmness in your very soul as it passes through your life.

The upbeat feeling carries on with the cheerily satisfying A Trick Of The Wind, a song that is, to my ears, Bad Dreams’ homage to early Genesis. Gabriel even sounds a bit like Peter Gabriel and the guitars have a real Steve Hackett tone at their core. Underneath that charming exterior is a more serious side though and it shows its face now and again. The keyboards really come to the fore in the second half of the track and the interplay with the guitars is sparkling and gives a real polish and refinement to this cultivated song, Tony Banks would be proud.

And so to the last track on the album. Frida is a graceful and tender love song full of sparkle and wit as it dances across your aural receptors. The vocals have a lightness and freshness to them and yet are still full of love and affection and the music just seems to dance lightly and leave gossamer like footprints wherever the notes land. This is a song that can lift any gloomy mood and replace it with a a feeling of contentment joy and hope, the sun is out, the sky is blue and the birds are singing, life is very good indeed.

‘Déjà vu’ is an album that will stand the test of time and is a great achievement for Bad Dreams. I was impressed from the first note by the accomplished musicianship and the superb vocals, add in the exemplary songwriting and it was sure to be a winner in my book. What makes it stand out even more is the way the music becomes almost part of you and can make you stop what you are doing and just listen for the sake of it and that, my friends, is what truly great music can do to you.

Released 18th November 2016

Buy ‘Déjà vu’ direct from the band here


All music composed by Gabriel Agudo and Jorge Tenesini except Frida by Alex Calvera and Moonlight by Ariel Trifunoff.
All lyrics by Gabriel Agudo except Frida written by Alex Calvera & Gabriel Agudo.
Music arrangements by Bad Dreams.









Magnum – The Valley Of Tears – The Ballads – New ballads album out in early January 2017


Renowned not only for their powerful rock songs but also for countless moving ballads, British rock icons Magnum are set to surprise their fans with a very special release at the very beginning of the coming year: THE VALLEY OF TEARS – THE BALLADS has been scheduled for release on 6 January 2017 (US/Canada: 20 January 2017), an album featuring ten of their most accomplished ballads, all of them remastered and in parts even newly re-recorded and remixed.

Guitarist, composer and producer Tony Clarkin: “The release of this album was originally inspired by my daughter. A few months ago she asked me: ´Magnum have so many beautiful quiet numbers, why don’t you put together a compilation highlighting some of the most powerful tracks?` Olly Hahn of Steamhammer/SPV was immediately taken by the concept, so I set down to work on it.”

THE VALLEY OF TEARS – THE BALLADS contains material from the band’s different creative phases. Along with remastered versions of more recent ballads from albums such as Into The Valley Of The Moonkings, The Visitation and the current studio recording Sacred Blood – Divine Lies, there will also be a newly re-recorded acoustic version of their classic ´Lonely Night` and a new haunting live version of their hit ´When The World Comes Down` from their 1986 cult recording Vigilante.

The release will be supported by selected shows in the UK and Ireland during the run-up to Christmas and a German/Swiss tour where Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley join the “Rock Meets Classic” tour from 30 March 2017. Some more festivals for summer 2017 will be announced shortly.

THE VALLEY OF TEARS – THE BALLADS will be released as a digipak version, download and stream on January 06th, 2017 (USA/Canada January 20th, 2017) through SPV/Steamhammer.


01 Dream About You (remastered)
02 Back in Your Arms Again (newly re-recorded)
03 The Valley of Tears (remixed, remastered)
04 Broken Wheel (newly re-recorded)
05 A Face in the Crowd (remixed, remastered)
06 Your Dreams Won’t Die (remastered)
07 Lonely Night (acoustic version, newly re-recorded)
08 The Last Frontier (remixed, remastered)
09 Putting Things In Place (remixed, remastered)
10 When The World Comes Down (new live version)

Magnum Winter Tour 2016

6th December
Concorde 2, Brighton.
Special guests Vega
Ticket Link

7th December
Junction, Cambridge.
Special guests Vega
Ticket Link

9th December
Voodoo Lounge, Dublin.
Special guests Pat Mcmanus
Ticket Link

10th December
Wulfrun, Wolverhampton.
Special guests Vega
Ticket Link

11th December
Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh.
Special guests Vega
Ticket Link

Pain of Salvation announce details of new album ‘In The Passing Light Of Day’


Swedish progressive rock/metal innovators Pain of Salvation have announced the worldwide release of their long-awaited new studio album ‘In the Passing Light of Day’ for Friday the 13th of January, 2017 via their longtime label partners InsideOutMusic.

Working together with acclaimed producer Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, etc.) at Dugout Studio in Sweden, the band have crafted an album that sees them returning to their much praised heavier sound, featuring the syncopated rhythms, glorious melodies, and intensely personal themes that Pain of Salvation fans have long loved about the band.

Inextricably linked to the near fatal illness that band-leader Daniel Gildenlöw spent much of the first half of 2014 recovering from, the album is an altogether darker and more impassioned journey. Taking the hospital bed as a narrative hub, the lyrical and musical themes touch on all the conflicting feelings that run through a person’s mind when presented with the prospect of death and the passing of life.

The album will be available as a special edition 2CD Mediabook (including expanded 48-pages booklet, several in-depth texts by conceptual author Daniel Gildenlöw, demo material & band commentary tracks), standard jewelcase CD, gatefold 180g 2LP vinyl plus album on CD as bonus & digital download.

Review – Gabriel – Sacrifice – by Progradar


I love revisiting an artist when they are releasing a new album. It is always great to see how they have progressed and if their sound has changed. I reviewed ‘Unforgiven’ by Gabriel last year and this was my conclusion:

“A classy blend of hard rock, metal and symphonic rock with its own core identity, Gabriel a massive sound for just two people. Pigeon-hole them if you dare, there is more going on with this musical collaboration than you could fit into any one box. Sally Elsey’s vocals are worth the entry fee alone but, with the excellent musical talent of Albert Vinasco at her side, you have something a little bit different and special.”

Gabriel is a collaboration between singer/songwriter Sally Elsey from London and guitarist and recording engineer Albert Vinasco from Buenos Aires. Together, Sally and Albert combine their highly melodic approaches to create music that is both sweet and powerful. Sally primarily composes her music around piano-based progressions and lyrics. The result is a soft, warm and melodic sound that is full of dimension and emotion.

Albert Vinasco: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, synthesizers, samplers, drums and drum programming, arrangements, engineering and final production. Albert is a guitarist and recording engineer whose compositions are inspired by the portrayal of emotional content through modern rock and metal guitar, Vinasco has composed a wide variety of music ranging from intense metal to soft classical.

Together, Sally and Albert combine their highly melodic approaches to create music that is both sweet and powerful. The result is Gabriel. All music is written, recorded and produced by Gabriel (Sally Elsey and Albert Vinasco).

I was approached by Sally earlier this year to give my impressions on their new release ‘Sacrifice’.


The new album sees this talented duo mature and offer a hell of a lot more than what a stereotypical so-called ‘female fronted metal band’ would. You wouldn’t think this so much from the first two or three tracks. Running has the powerful riffing and energetic percussion that typified the previous album. Add in Sally’s distinctive vocals and you have what I would have previously called the definitive Gabriel sound, powerful but with a silken core, Albert’s guitar flwoing freely and giving the music its direction. Falling Down has the symphonic vocal opening again heard often on the last release. There is a dynamism beginning to make an appearance though, something less in evidence on ‘Unforgiven’. Sally’s voice has that gossamer feel that comes from an almost operatic delivery and then the music powers in and gives an edgy aura, almost Karnataka-esque. Both these songs are great tracks and carry on the Gabriel legacy, a sound that invites you in on the promise of more to come. There’s almost something spooky about the intro to Holy water, Fire and Ice before it bursts out in the a pastiche of overblown 70’s blues rock, a very enjoyable pastiche though. The riffing is hard-edge and tight and the drums have all the energy of a runaway locomotive. Sally’s vocals take on a more aggressive and energetic style and the whole track really rocks. A funky, blues tinged hard rocking solo keeps things flying along in a perfectly enjoyable manner and all seems to be in order.

Things take an interesting turn with the wistful opening to Rebecca, a song with an almost Celtic feel to it. The delicate piano note matches Sally’s ethereal vocals perfectly before this track opens up and blossoms into something more solid and visceral. Things ebb and flow with seeming intelligence all of their own, a keyboard that could have come straight from the 70’s adds a wicked aura and the flamenco style guitar picking gives another layer of sophistication. To me, this is where these two impressive musicians take things to another level and really improve their sound adding additional maturity. This carries on with the intensity of Broken, an intelligent song that really raises the heart rate with its heightened intro. Slow and brooding with a dark heart, I really liked the way it seems to creep into your psyche and take over. There’s something I can’t quite grasp going on, something clandestine that is enhanced by the short and calculating guitar solo. A song that really moves the game on for Gabriel. That feeling of unease, of being observed from afar carries on into The Watcher, another deliciously sombre and shadowy song that demands your attention. There are subtle nuances and ruminations at play hear, an heightened intellect that is always just out of reach. The music just seems to roll over you and subjugate you with its dark intentions. The music has moved up several notches in my opinion.


I love the wistful beauty at the heart of Suddenly, a track that grabs at your heartstrings with its melancholy feeling. Sally’s voice has real touch of sadness and sorrow to it in places, it matches the sparse elegance of the music perfectly. The chorus lifts the gloom and sees shafts of sunlight appear fleetingly. This is a song that really plays on your emotions, the lows of the pensive verse in complete contrast to the highs of the appealing chorus. Now to perhaps my favourite track on the album, The Reveal opens in that symphonic style, a winsome and nostalgic feeling pervades everything, gentle piano and soulful vocals blending perfectly to engender a feelgood atmosphere and sanctuary before the guitar kicks in with a smooth riff that just takes me back to some of the great rocks riffs of the 80’s, think Clannad meets Whitesnake (pre-1987)and you won’t be far wrong. A real melting pot of influences and sounds that Gabriel blend together perfectly and a song that shows they have moved their game on considerably. Beyond The Highlands is another track showcasing the new direction that the band seem to be going in, not sticking to any one stricture but successfully opening up their palette of sounds to a number of new influences. It builds up wonderfully to give us something akin to a Mike Oldfield vocal track but with more density and substance. The light and airy guitars are a delight and Sally gives one of her best performances on the album, subduing the symphonic/operatic style for a more rock and folk friendly delivery. It is at this point that I actually went back to listen to ‘Unforgiven’ and it showed me how far that Gabriel had come, the increased sophistication and variety that their music has now.

True Believer is a proper ‘rock’ track in the true sense of the word, powerful and insistent riffing matched by the tireless percussion and the spirited vocals. A proper foot-tapping or even head-banging song that drives on relentlessly, you know exactly what is coming next and Albert doesn’t disappoint with his stellar guitar solo. A really enjoyable ‘balls-out’ rocker that put a big grin on my face. An aggressive riff opens title track Sacrifice and we have an intriguing song in front of us. A bit of low down mystery is added by the subdued music and vocals that follow but that in your face riff returns on the chorus with added attitude and belligerence. I can’t help but be put in mind of that great American band Heart and their break through hit ‘Barracuda‘ with the raw hostility at the core of this song, especially the coruscating and edgy solo, vintage stuff indeed! Benedictus closes out the album in a Latin choral style with the haunting chanting delivered perfectly by Sally at the start of the song delivering a sublimely ethereal and ghostly aura before Albert lets fly with a blistering guitar solo that smoulders with a searing energy. The beautiful vocals return and the guitar plays a vistuoso lament over the top before the song and the album come to a close with the graceful piano and Sally’s tender vocals.

‘Sacrifice’ is an excellent album and one that sees Sally and Albert seriously move their game on from the great ‘Unforgiven’. This release sees Gabriel mature into an exciting band that still hold onto their core values but one that is now happy to explore different musical avenues and incorporate them very successfully into their future direction.

Released July 8th 2016

Buy ‘Sacrifice’ from bandcamp




Review – The Fierce And The Dead – If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe – by Emma Roebuck


Well, this came out of nowhere. I was expecting that The Fierce And The Dead’s next outing would be the third album current being recorded in seclusion with an as yet undisclosed name or release date. Suddenly the Bad Elephant Music promo number 36, ‘If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe’, magically appears in my in box.

I never reviewed the original but had to revisit it to see what they had done to the smartly repackaged remaster. Mark Buckingham’s stunning artwork suits the band perfectly, the intrinsic darkness of the music mirrors the graphic novelist’s style very well.

I often think very little of remastered albums and feel certain artists are just cashing in on or increasing their pension plans (no names no pack drill etc.)  I have all the TFATD material and Matt Steven’s solo stuff anyway but always felt it didn’t quite reflect what they did in the live arena, the sonic assault of the back line and the bass smacking you squarely in the chest, letting you know they had arrived and will not be ignored. The live version of Andy Fox, one of the bonus tracks on this release, has a crystal clarity and solid punch to it. The whole package is far more dense but,yet, has a clarity to it, it is not muddy or thin in the least and is a lot closer to what the band does on stage.


For those who have no idea of who The Fierce And The Dead are, they are a project that grew from Matt Stevens playing with some guys rather than doing his looping acoustic stuff and it gelled very quickly into a full blown project and the original version of this album was the first product of that. They grew from being a ‘Krautrock’ ‘electronica’ to something far harder edged with the addition of a second guitarist. They now have a line up of Matt (guitar), Kevin Feazey (bass), Steve Cleaton (guitar) & Stuart Marshall (drums) and with a hugely dedicated following to boot. Instrumental hard edged music that brooks no compromise but has a wicked sense of fun all rolled into one great package.

This is the version that I think, in 2011, they would have actually released if they had been able to.  High points for me are Landcrab10×10, and Daddy’s Little Helper. They all benefit well from the remastering process and it breathes a new life in to them.

I am completely convinced this it was a very good idea to revisit the original release and make the best of the masters from what is the beginning of a very unique gem of an outfit. RoSfest in 2017 is in for a treat indeed!

Released 18th November 2017

Order ‘If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe’ from the Bad Elephant bandcamp store

Review – TDW – Aphrodisia EP – by Progradar

(Cover picture by  Kelly Thans Photography.)


“Can you expect to cure an itch, when you are wired to the core to revolve ’round it?”

A question that symbolizes the way it sometimes feels if you long for something dearly, but society just blatantly says ‘no’ to your face. This sentiment of frustration, disillusionment, anger and sadness forms the foundation for the brand new TDW songs featured on the ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’

Tom de Wit has helmed his TDW project for 13 years now, starting writing his first music at the age of 16. The proper start was made with 2008’s release of ‘The Haunts’, Tom’s first real albumAfter releasing multiple albums in its wake, 2014’s ‘Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To’ was a record that showed the diversity and intent of this musician’s output. Showcasing that the music of TDW could be intense, layered and heavy at one moment and intimate small and fragile at others.

The ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’ is a special release, part of a pre-ordering campaign that started in September of this year. This is a supporting campaign for the upcoming TDW album ‘The Antithetic Affiliation’, slated for an April/May 2017 release.

The four tracks on this E.P. are completely finished but will also change in their final incarnations on the album. More layers will be added and more nuances will be put into the final versions. Therefore, the songs on this E.P. sound genuinely different to what the final album versions will sound like. This E.P. is a gift for those who support TDW and the musical concept it stands for.

TDW are Tom de Wit (vocals, guitars and synths), Lennert Kemper (guiatrs and vocals), Vincent Reuling (synths and vocals), Hanna van Gorcum (violin, vocals), Peter den Bakker (bass) and Rik Bruineman (drums).

Guests on the E.P. are:

Radina Dimcheva – Vocals on Aphrodisia

Cailyn Erlandsson – Vocals on Dirge

Dave Mola – Guitar Solos on Aphrodisia

Sophie Zaaijer – Violins & Viola on Anthem


(picture by John van der Zee)

The opener on the E.P. is the title track Aphrodisia and it has a very calm and collected introduction with laid back music and delightful, hushed vocals of Tom de Wit and Radina Dimcheva overplaying each other with some lovely harmonised sections. The violin adds a particularly classy touch to the song and you feel that you are drawn along upon a lulling wave of emotion. This is the calm before the storm though as the guitars crash and the keyboards roar and the blue touch paper is lit! Bang!!! off we go on a powerful maelstrom that flings you forward through the sheer forceful power of the music. Excellent riffing and the dynamic voices of Tom and Radina give the song a real energy before we break into a keyboard section that Jordan Rudess would have been proud of. The technical instrumental sections have real virtuosity and skill at their core, proper progressive metal at its best. Trun the volume right up and enjoy the frenetically challenging guitar solo from Dave Mola that follows, this track has it all in spades! I love my mellow pastoral prog but every now and again you need music that just blows the cobwebs into next year and this delivers big style! Then a complete turn around and a beautiful closing to the track as Tom’s vocals deliver a wonderfully winsome ending.

This segues nicely into the melancholy and sombre feel to the opening of Dirge, a song that feels like a lament from the get go. Cailyn Erlandsson’s vocals add a wistful loveliness to the track and, yet, you cannot get away from that feeling of sadness that pervades all. The piano and delicately strummed acoustic guitar add a keen sorrowful edge to the fragile beauty at the heart of this song. A pensive, wistful track that leaves you in a nostalgic mood, looking back at what may have been, the fading glory of the past.

Anthem strides out with a bombastic glee, a thunderous riff and powerful drums powering this enigmatic song right into centre stage. Progressive metal tinged with a bit of power metal, forceful, compelling and dominant, with a guitar sound hewn out of graphite and drums that could fell mountains. The compelling, anthemic chorus adds a nice counter-balance to the mightily potent verse and weighty feel to the music. The guitar solo is mad, manic and, ultimately, a hell of a lot of fun and the way the track closes out is just sublime, I must have put this track on repeat about four or five times with the volume turned up to max, sod the neighbours!

The final track on this excellent E.P. is the electronica tinged Lovesong with its sci-fi sounding keyboards that open proceedings. Tom’s vocals are heartfelt and full of a laid back honesty. I really like the feel of the song as it is completely different to the rest of the tracks on the E.P. It just goes to show the diverse skills that this talented musician and his cohorts have. It is a song that puts you in a thoughtful and pensive mood and the use of Hannah’s soulful violin is perfect as it interchanges with the tender notes of the piano. A real change of pace for TDW that shows a graceful subtlety to their music and one that I hope makes an even bigger contribution to the new album.

So you will have to pre-order TDW‘s new album to get your hands on this little gem of an E.P. and I have to really emphasise the fact that you should. On the strength of these four very varied tracks, the new album is going to be something special indeed and, as a stand alone release in its own right, the ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’ is well worthy of being in your collection, the guest vocals of Radina and Cailyn adding another exciting dimension. Tom de Wit continues to impress me with every new turn in his excellent career.

E.P. released 19th September 2016 only with pre-orders of ‘The Antithetic Affiliation’ which will be released April/May 2017.

Pre-order ‘The Antithetic Affiliation from Layered Reality here and get the ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’