Review – Looking Glass Lantern – Candlelight and Empire – by James R. Turner

A few years ago when I plied my trade for an alternative online prog magazine (not that they were alternative, just it was a different one that isn’t this one…. anyway…) I reviewed in fairly quick succession the debut and second album by Looking Glass Lantern‘A Tapestry of Tales’ & ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, both based upon Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

Both albums were the creation of multi-instrumentalist and composer Professor Graham Dunnington, and when you get the press release through for this new album, one that’s been 3 years in the making, and see that one of the quotes come from your review, ‘A superb fusion of Victoriana and prog. Almost a new genre in fact, can I get away with calling it Steamprog?’  You do feel quite chuffed to have accidentally created another genre (prior to me christening Rushdenbeat, and coining the term Britprog back in the mid 90’s) and get quoted in the press release.

Anyway it’s not all about me, it’s all about the music, and Looking Glass Lantern present their third album, and for the first time it is an original story.

Written and performed again by Graham Dunnington, it is also the first time he has released his records on CD, and so you get the full story in the lyrics and the sleeve notes, and the subtly understated artwork, all of which brings the narrative to life.

The previous albums (being based on literary works) had an obvious narrative drive of which the focus was just as much, if not more so on the words than the music, allowing the lyrics to shape and drive the album, and as this is a style that suits Dunningtons compositional skills, this album follows suit.

I mentioned in my previous reviews that this particular style could be compared with the Alan Parsons Project, and on this particular record Dunnington is stepping away from those comparisons. Of course it’s concept driven, there’s huge elements of traditional prog and narrative driven songs in it, and as a consequence, yes it’s going to be linked to that sub genre of prog. It’s not a bad thing; I have always loved an album that tells a story as long as the stories good, and this is a belter.

Professor Dunnington is fascinated with all things Victorian, and this drills down to the minutiae of an average Victorian household in the 1890’s.

Split into two parts, Part One is a series of interconnected songs that introduce us to the world of the servants who look after the family, thus we are treated to the quartet of songs, which do exactly as they say on the tin, The Maid, The Girl Nobody Knows (which gives us more insight into the life of the maid), The Cook, and The Governess and the Children. Those familiar with period dramas like Upstairs, Downstairs, House of Eliot, Downton Abbey and their ilk, are probably already familiar with the life ‘below stairs’ and in a nice introductory paragraph at the start of the booklet, there is a clever link to the occupants of the house today, with their own live in help the ‘au pair’ who, in these modern days of cost cutting does the job of three people, being cook/Maid and Governess.

Like the Looking Glass Lantern’s previous albums, based on Sherlock Holmes novels, there is as much emphasis placed on the lyrics as the music, and the album is as much a vehicle for the narrative as the music, and whilst it may seem a tad wordy at times, the strength of the music carries it through, and the skill of Dunnington’s composition skills helps pull both the story and music together.

There are some sublime instrumental moments on this album, the guitar work on The Governess and the Children for instance, whilst the vibe throughout is of a mellower vein. If you’re looking for something on the heavy end you’re in the wrong place.

This mixes Victoriana, narrative driven prog and instrumental dexterity that weaves in elements of rock and folk.

Being a versatile multi-instrumentalist Dunnington pulls some superb keyboard work out on The Angel of the Home, the track introducing the Mother to the story, whilst the final track of part 1, The Husband, neatly collects all the characters into one place.

Part 2, is what’s known as ‘the long track’ and if part 1 was the prologue, part 2 is the story proper.

A traditional tale of a middle class Victorian dinner party, with the hosts, the Husbands business partner and his wife, and the local Vicar.

A cast that normally sounds like a typical Ray Cooney/Brian Rix farce, however this is far from farcical, as all the modern (for the day) topics are digested, along with the meal, with discourse about politics, the Empire, the monarchy and all other topics of the day.

This is rounded off by a closing reprise of the opener the Maid, who is closing the house down, just like she opened it up, and closes the album with a nice flourish.

This is very much traditional story telling prog at it’s finest, and whilst it might not be everyone’s cup of earl Gray served up in a nice china mug, it fits nicely into that niche created by artists like The Alan Parsons Project, Rick Wakeman (during his big concept phase) and other artists like Gandalf’s Fist, who can take the narrative concept and turn it into a coherent musical whole.

If you enjoyed the first two albums this is a worthy return from the Looking Glass Lantern, if you’ve never heard them before, then it’s a great place to start.

Review – Godsticks – Faced With Rage – by James R. Turner

Here’s a bit of that old serendipity doo dah that we often talk about. A few months ago at the behest of Good King Martin of Progradarshire I ventured forth on a cold wet Bristol Sunday evening to see Gavin Harrison and Bruce Soord steal pineapples in a German themed drinking den (which I’m reliably informed is larger than the feast) in the ensuing review which I am sure Martin will cleverly link to here, I discovered Godsticks for the first time.

(Read James’ review of the gig here…)

Live Review – The Pineapple Thief (featuring Gavin Harrison) and Godsticks at Bristol Bierkeller – by James R Turner

My definition of a great support band is one where you enjoy the set so much you want to buy the album, I have discovered bands like Tilt and Jemima Surrender amongst others like this, and the only regret at the Godsticks gig was the fact that their set was heavily dependant on their next album ‘Faced With Rage’, which hadn’t been released yet.

Well, the good news for all you Godsticks fans, and all those who enjoyed their sets on the recent Pineapple Thief tours is that it’s now out, and I have been listening to it all week on my commute in, good job really, otherwise this would be a terribly pointless review (what’s new? Ed.).

Bit of history, Godsticks were formed in Cardiff back in 2008 the band has Darran Charles at the front, his guitar sound and vocals are an intrinsic part of Godsticks (and his work as touring guitarist for the Pineapple Thief also showcased his versatility) and he is ably accompanied by guitarist Gavin Bushell, bassist Dan Nelson and ‘new boy’ – drummer Tom Price.

Live, Godsticks are a mixture of power, aggression and melody, and the new material they played sounded like it had been part of the set forever.

On record there is obviously a more subtle dynamic at work, and it is refreshing to hear a four piece traditional style guitar band sounding on record like they do on stage, there is no technical malarkey tampering with the songs, these are songs designed to be played full tilt in the context of a concert, and the fact that they work so well in both arenas is a testament to the writing and production.

This is the bands 4th album, and they weren’t a band I had ever heard of prior to seeing them rip the stage up on tour with the Pineapple Thief, and I’ll hold my hands up here and state I had seen them described as prog metal, which to this listener is a bit of a turn off. A lot of the new prog metal stuff is just loud music that goes on too long.

I would not describe Godsticks as prog metal, they have the knack for writing a catchy tune, they have a dynamic twin guitar sound that propels the music forward, and they are probably at the heaviest end of the music that would appeal to me, but prog metal? No.

In layman’s terms Godsticks Rock! They have an impressive musical armoury, and certainly live having an extra guitarist to do some of the heavy lifting allows Charles to be the front man he so obviously is. His exceptional vocal range and guitar playing, in tandem with Gavin Bushells guitar work, is one of the many highlights of this album, and tracks that they powered through live, like Open Your Eyes or Guilt are superb examples of the finest hard rock sounds, whilst on longer pieces like the excellent Everdrive, this is the sound of a band pushing themselves and moving forwards.

Godsticks live are an energetic and impressive prospect, on record they reinforce that opinion and to their credit have created an album that wholly reflects who they are as musicians, with what sounds to me like no compromises.

Based on the live show I saw I was expecting to enjoy this record, having heard it, I absolutely love it, and it has snuck in under the radar at the end of the year as what could be one of the top ten albums of 2017.

Released 13th October 2017

Buy ‘Faced With Rage’ from Burning Shed here…


Review – Agusa s/t by James R. Turner

Some of my favourite albums are ‘Full House’ by Fairport Convention, ‘Ten Man Mop, Or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again’ by Steeleye Span, ‘Morris On’, ‘No Roses’ by Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band and ‘The Bones of All Men’ by Richard Thompson, Phillip Pickett and The Fairport Rhythm Section.

See it’s most definitely not all about the prog, and why do these albums draw me in? It’s because they straddle a wonderfully eccentric line, they walk the tightrope between the traditional music of different era’s and the great big electric beastie that is rock music, taking tunes that would normally be played acoustically and amplifying them up, and let’s face it some of the music is pretty far out there before you start adding electric guitars and drums and bass.

This is where Agusa come in, another album Lord Martin of Progradar Towers reckoned would be right up my alley, over it came, and me, never having even heard of the band before, thought you know what, let’s have a listen and see what I reckon.

If you want a quintet of musically talented Swedes jamming together, mixing early Pink Floyd, traditional music and some highly complex and layered instrumental music, with the flute sound reminiscent of 70’s Tull filtering through it, then my friends you are in the right place.

Formed back in 2013 by Mikael Odesjo (guitar) and Tobias Petterson (bass) the band has grown organically to include Jonas Berge on keyboards, Tim Wallander on drums and percussion and Jenny Puertas on flute.

These five tracks here are a heady psychedelic musical brew as on tracks like Sorgenfri (at 5 minutes the shortest track on here) the duetting between Puertas flute, Berge’s amazing Hammond sound and the guitar of Odesjo sound like a collision between late 60’s Deep Purple and late 60’s Tull, with an absolute driving beat powered by Wallander and Petterson, the momentum builds and builds leaving you with a great big daft grin on your face, all built up round tunes and melodies that sound vaguely traditional in feel.

This is Agusa’s strength; all the tunes and melodies on this album are imminently hummable and are performed with the right balance of subtlety and power, and there is so much going here that you hear new bits every time you listen.

I am, and always will be, a sucker for mixing traditional sounds with electrical rock bands (hence my love of orchestral rock like ELO, Deep Purple’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra, Mike Oldfield amongst many others) and the way that the flute is the substitute for the voice here is sublime.

Den Förtrollade skogen (the enchanted forest – according to translate) is all Elizabethan in intent with the flute and sounds that push the flute to the fore, whilst Wallander and Petterson get to show their chops off with some incredibly funky breaks, and another amazing solo from Berge on keyboards.

This album is chock full of wonderful musical moments like this, and put an absolute smile on the face.

With two tracks here (Landet Längesen & Bortom hemom) clocking in at over 10 minutes long, these are where the band really stretch out and pull all their influences together, and it is a testament to their skill and power that this album is an absolute delight to listen to.

Jenny Puertas on the flute is a star throughout, the sound weaving and soaring throughout, pushing the tunes on where needed, pulling back when it’s time for Jonas Berge to play some of his lovely wonderfully jazzy blues riffs on his delightfully retro Hammond sound. There is no finer sound than a Hammond in full flow, and there is plenty to delight fans of that sound here, there’s a touch of the Jon Lords or Graham Bonds about the sound, and it’s that wonderful melting pot of blues, rock, jazz and everything else that adds so much to this album, and pushes it out of traditional genre boundaries.

The soaring riffs and singing melodies of Mikael Odesjo’s guitar beautifully compliments the keyboard and flute, and whilst he has his moments it’s interesting to hear how he pulls back to let the flute fly. Of course the back line of Wallander and Petterson are the rocks on which this mighty castle of sound can be built, and the intuition and skill all 5 bring to the table is a masterclass in musical collaboration.

This is an absolute must for anyone who likes the instrumental sound of early Pink Floyd, the playfulness and intricacy of 70’s folk rock and intelligent well-made instrumental music.

It appears that this is Agusa’s third album – looks like I’ve got a back catalogue to go visiting…

Released 13th October 2017

Buy ‘Agusa’ from bandcamp


Steve Hackett Eleventh Earl of Mar Live – from Wuthering Nights Live in Birmingham

On 26th January 2018, Inside Out Music release Wuthering Nights : Live in Birmingham, the new live release from guitar legend Steve Hackett. Wuthering Nights was filmed at the Birmingham Symphony Hall during Hackett’s recent, critically-acclaimed Genesis Revisited & Classic Hackett tour. Available as Special Edition 2DVD + 2CD Digipak, Blu-Ray, Digital album and Blu-Ray in stereo & surround sound, this is a must-have for any prog fan.


This tour marked the 40th anniversary of Wind & Wuthering, Hackett’s last album with Genesis which reached number 7 in the UK album chart. To celebrate Steve and his band played 5 of the best-loved tracks from this iconic album: Eleventh Earl Of Mar, One For The Vine, Blood On The Rooftops, …In That Quiet Earth and Afterglow.


Other fan favourites from Hackett’s Genesis days were ‘revisited’: Dance On A Volcano, Inside & Out, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box and the classic Los Endos. This mesmerising show marks the first ever live performance by Hackett & his band of the tracks One for the Vine and Inside & Out, and also includes many of Hackett’s solo fan-favourites as well as material from his latest studio album The Night Siren.


Watch Eleventh Earl of Mar here:


iamthemorning Pianist Gleb Kolyadin Announces Self-titled Debut Album

Following the success of two highly-praised albums with Iamthemorning, Russian virtuoso pianist Gleb Kolyadin affirms his musical authority with his debut, self-titled album on Kscope, on 23rd February 2018.

The record features a staggering who’s-who of performers, including: Gavin Harrison (King Crimson Porcupine Tree) on drums; Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) on bass; Theo Travis (Robert Fripp / Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson) on flute and saxophone; the unmistakable voice and lyrics of Steve Hogarth (Marillion) alongside Mick Moss (Antimatter); and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on additional keys.

‘The Best of Days’ features the instantly recognisable vocals from Marillion’s Steve Hogarth, on the collaboration Steve comments “Gleb is a beautiful pianist and a great musician. I was invited to collaborate on his new solo album and my mind was made up as soon as I heard the music.”

Gleb Kolyadin is an emotive exploration of self-identity; a story of two parts with interweaving leitmotifs. The album’s central concept weaves through an elaborate tonal and thematic structure, built around the extraordinary rhythm section of Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs, which is accented at its focal points by guest appearances from Steve Hogarth, Jordan Rudess, Mick Moss and Theo Travis.

Gleb is an extremely rare talent as a pianist and as a composer. His compositions are very inspiring as he breaks new ground on the instrument.” Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree)

he album is a collaborative piece with each musician recording their own parts separately, starting with Gleb recording himself on grand piano in Moscow Winter-Spring 2017 at the famed Mosfilm studio. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy, who also previously worked on the two Iamthemorning records. 

Gleb Kolyadin will be released on CD / LP and digitally and is now available to pre-order HERE

“Gleb Kolyadin is a rare talent. A virtuoso classical pianist with tremendous compositional skills… believe you will find the listening experience quite breath taking.” Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson)

Photography credit: Alexander Kuznetcov



Sills & Smith Release Video For ‘Maps’, From Forthcoming New Album ‘Maps – Burned Or Lost’

Here’s the music video for Maps from the upcoming Sills & Smith studio album ‘Maps – Burned or Lost’ that has just been released on YouTube. The beautiful video was created by California painter Peter Gullerud. Featuring the talents of Jeremy Sills, Phillip Victor Bova, T Bruce Wittet, Don Wallace, Jim McDowell, Marianne Dumas, Brian Tansley and Frank Smith. ‘Maps – Burned or Lost’ will be released world-wide in January 2018 on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, CD Baby and in select box stores!

Review – Jess And The Ancient Ones – The Horse And Other Weird Tales – by Emma Roebuck

From the opening chords to first sentences from the opening titles of the Twilight Zone dropping into the rhythms I remember hearing on the 60s teen movies where the kids moved in strange gyrations to the psychedelic sounds of the club scene. That is just the first track, Death is the Doors, from this Finnish band hailing from Kuopio. They are distinctly drawing their influences from the 60’s underground scene but they also pull from other areas of influence for the spread of music on this anthology of stories ripped from the dark imaginations of the band.

It has short, punchy and powerful music with intelligence and accessibility as well as a lot of variety. There are also longer pieces that stretch the listener and allow for musical expression and variation.

You and Eyes, at 7 minutes long, has moments of slow intensity and space which drifts and takes the listener along on a journey inside yourself and descends into madness with heavy distorted metal guitar sounds and then out again.

Radio Aquarius is an all too brief musical scoring to a conversation about LSD that drops straight into Return to Hallucinate, following the actual trip to drop the acid and fall down the rabbit hole again. This lets me talk about the eponymous Jess and her vocal style and skill. She has an incredible range but has total control of it. I hear much of Grace Slick in there but also I hear Janis Joplin and Nina Simone on some of the pieces as well. She is fearless and fills the space with a primitive energy with her voice.

This 9 track album is thoroughly refreshing and exciting and reminds me of how good some of these new bands are right now. They  cannot be pigeonholed and are driving their own destiny in a musical sense. They draw like magpies from the history of modern music from the Jazz of the 50s to the NWOBHM of the 80s to the Psychedelica of the late 60s, and I even hear bits of Siouxsie Sue briefly in Jess’ intonation. The musicianship is excellent and they have a very cohesive feel where no one dominates. The bass and percussion are a powerful engine in this machine but know when to drop the revs and disappear so the keys and guitar and become light and carry the musical journey where it needs to go. The use of speech sections is liberal but not intrusive and fits very well into the album and the whole of the narrative.

Who will like this? Anyone truly interested in music who is willing to slip outside their personal silo and loves to hear a band joyously celebrating being able to write and play music. Fans of Birdeatsbaby, Half past Four, and Purson will either already be aware of them, if not check em out NOW! If you think they grew from a Finnish Death metal band and only began in 2010 then they definitely are on my one to watch list.

Released 1st December 2017

Buy the album in various formats from Svart Records:

All band pics by Mari Väliaho

YES Announce Official 50th Anniversary Celebrations Including UK Fan Convention Day, 25th March 2018, #YES50

Fifty years since the formation of Prog giants, YES, is something worth celebrating and YES intend to celebrate with their fans. They have announced a weekend of events to coincide with their two London shows on 24th & 25th March, the final dates of their 2018 UK tour.


On Sunday, 25th March, the London Palladium will host the YES FAN CONVENTION, an afternoon devoted to all things YES, attended by both current members of the band and YES alumni. This unique event is sponsored by Prog Magazine and will feature:-


The official launch and world-wide exclusive availability of the Drama line-up version of Fly From Here, new lead vocals throughout by Trevor Horn, and remix by Trevor, including an unreleased track. (limited numbers available for purchase)
Roger Dean artwork on display and for sale. Trading Boundaries (Prog Rock venue) will host Roger’s stand at which a new piece of artwork for Close to the Edge will be revealed for the first time
Q & A with various guests & Roger Dean
Exclusive free YES FAN DAY souvenir programme (limited numbers available)
Raffle of YES collectables (monies will go to the chosen charities)
Prog editor, Jerry Ewing. will discuss Prog Magazine and future book release
YES Memorabilia display in the foyer (Curated by David Watkinson)
YES tribute bands: SeYeS and Fragile (with Clair Hamill) will perform classic YES songs


More announcements will follow. Tickets for the Fan Convention are £30 (plus booking fee). Free entry for those who have bought Meet & Greet packages for Saturday or Sunday shows.


All profits from the YES Fan Convention will be donated to 2 charities: The Christie Hospital in Manchester, who looked after the much-loved YES fan Malcolm Birkett, prior to his passing in 2015 ( and Kangaroos, whose aims are to enhance the lives of special needs and disabled children (


For full details and to book please go to: or


YES concert Tickets for the Palladium and all UK shows are available via the ticket links at 24hr Ticket Hotline 0844 249 2222 (subject to fees). Also available from venue box offices and select authorised ticket agencies.  Front row, Meet & Greet & VIP packages are also available from There is no support.   Please see ticket for start time.


Full UK Tour details are:-


MARCH 2018 (UK & Europe)


Tues 13th        Bristol           Colston Hall
Weds 14th        Sheffield       City Hall
Fri 16th        Glasgow       SEC Armadillo
Sat 17th        Manchester   Bridgewater Hall
Sun 18th        Gateshead    Sage
Tues 20th        Birmingham  Symphony Hall
Weds 21st        Brighton       Centre
Fri 23rd        Liverpool       Philharmonic Hall
Sat 24th        London       Palladium
Sun 25th        London       Palladium

The Franck Carducci Band (Featuring Steve Hackett) Release Video For ‘Closer to Irreversible’ – by Progradar

Today sees the official release of the latest video from The Franck Carducci Band.

You can see the full video for the brilliant ‘Closer to Irreversible’ here:

Franck had this to say about the song and the video:

“I co-wrote ‘closer’ with my friends Francesca Laneri and Toff ‘crazy-monk’ a few years ago when I was living in Amsterdam. I recorded the song for my second album ‘Torn Apart’ [2015] and was thrilled when Steve Hackett offered me to play the final guitar solo,  especially because of its psychedelic bluesy feel which is a bit unusual for him. But I totally love the final result!

I wanted to make a music video for it after that, but never got the opportunity until I met the team of La Koloc Production in my hometown of Lyon, France. They’re a gang of youngsters all passionate about video making, and they brought a really fresh touch to the song. The video contains a fictional part and a live part with the band performing on a TV and a smartphone screen. When looking for someone to play the main female character in the fiction, it was pretty obvious it had to be our own backing-vocalist, and tiny dancer: Mary Reynaud I have to say, I was totally impressed by her performance”



Steven Wilson has announced details of a new digital album, due for release on 1st December via Caroline International. ‘Last Day of June’ is the official soundtrack to the critically acclaimed PS4/Windows game of the same name.

Inspired entirely by the visuals and ideas from the video for Steven’s 2013 single Drive Home, ‘Last Day Of June’ is soundtracked by music from Steven’s first four albums – InsurgentesGrace for Drowningthe Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) and Hand. Cannot. Erase. – and his electronic/ambient project Bass Communion. All of the tracks included are specially re-edited instrumental versions created exclusively for the game (and this subsequent soundtrack), including alternate versions of Steven Wilson classics including Routine, The Raven That Refused To Sing and Deform to Form a Star. The result is a series of mesmeric, minimalist musical snapshots, each deeply evocative of autumnal melancholia.

Described by creator Massimo Guarini (from the multi award winning development studio Ovosonico) as “a game about love and loss”, Last Day of June was released in August via 505 Games. Reviews of the game praised it as “incredibly powerful… beautiful, melancholic…  an experience that I’m sure will stay with you” (Eurogamer) and “some pretty exceptional art” (Gaming Age).

Steven Wilson on ‘Last Day Of June’: “A couple of years ago I was asked if I’d be ok with some of the ideas from the video for Drive Home being used for the basis for a computer game. They wanted to explore further the characters that Hajo Müller drew so beautifully and that director Jess Cope gave life to. I had no idea how it might work, but was happy to let them show me. The game grew out of my music and that original video.

It’s been one of my long held ambitions to score a movie. In a way I feel like I’ve done it now. After sequencing these tracks – recorded all over the world with different musicians – it was amazing how much it felt like they were all written specifically for one cinematic project. I’d never thought computer games could be ‘art’ before – having seen and experienced Last Day Of June, I’m now convinced they can be.”

‘Last Day Of June’ tracklisting:

  1. Some Things Cannot Be Changed
  2. That Day by The Pier
  3. There Must Be A Way
  4. The Last Day Of June
  5. Suspended In Me
  6. Driving Home
  7. I’m Still Here…
  8. The Boy Who Lost His Friends
  9. The Crib
  10. Time For A New Start
  11. Suspended In You
  12. Under The Shadow Of My Father
  13. Accept
  14. Deceive
  15. Together, Forever Again


Steven Wilson’s fifth album To The Bone was released in August this year. It charted at No 3 in the UK and No 2 in Germany and was top 10 across the continent. Steven sets out on a previously announced world tour in January – the UK leg takes in three nights at the Royal Albert Hall in March (27th – 29th).

Steven Wilson website / online shop / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Spotify complete discography