Review – Different Light – Binary Suns (Part 1)

What do you get if you cross progressive rock artists Mystery and The Neal Morse Band with 80’s American rock legends REO Speedwagon ? It’s not as daft a question as it sounds, honest, just stay with me here…

Formed in Malta in the 1990’s by Trevor Tabone and now hailing from Prague after disbanding in 1999 before being reformed in 2008, Different Light follow up the exceeding well received album, 2016’s ‘The Burden of Paradise’ with the first part of a two part concept, ‘Binary Suns (Part 1)’ in early 2020.

It’s evident from the first notes of Amphibians that we have something special on our hands here, a superbly crafted track with a wonderful introduction of keyboards, guitar and drums that ramps up the anticipation smoothly in that well recognised overture style. It does remind me of Transatlantic and The Neal Morse Band but when Trevor Tabone’s vocals take over centre stage I cannot help but be drawn to a comparison with Kevin Cronin and his lead vocals for the REO Speedwagon track Keep On Loving You, it is powerful and distinctive and, along with the great vocal harmonies, really adds to what is already a superb song. Faith picks up where the previous track finishes and add a more soft rock feel to the music with those harmonious vocals and the excellent keyboard work giving it a seriously uplifting feel. Once again, the fantastic vocal harmonies give real gloss and class and a pure 80’s edge, joyful and inspiring.

Prog epics are ten a penny nowadays but when done well they are still music to my ears and the twenty-one minute plus intrigue of Spectres And Permanent Apparitions certainly fits in the latter category. A mighty length it may be but it breezes by and never outstays its welcome, the musicianship and elegant vocal echoing Canadian proggers Mystery at their finest to my ears. The way the instruments work perfectly together and allow those expressive vocals to be out front and centre is a lesson to anyone. Musical stroytelling of a high calibre is on show here and you find yourself totally immersed and drawn along on this expansive journey, very clever songwriting indeed!

There’s a darker edge to The Answer, a feeling of foreboding delivered by the more direct vocals and superb guitar riff. A song that has a hints or Americana and pure theatre running throughout. Magnificent and theatrical, Two Faces marches into view, part ballad and part rock opera but utterly bewitching and demanding in equal measure. It’s that piano driving things along that combines with the superb vocals to give that feel of almost a Queen and REO Speedwagon collaboration and I just love it.

This impressive album closes with the powerful rhythm of On The Borderline and what a closer it is, drums, bass, keyboards and guitar all work in perfect unison to give an exhilarating opening to this ten minutes of progressive rock brilliance. A compelling song replete with dynamism, charisma and intelligence. Here Trevor’s vocal takes on a thoughtful and measured tone, delivering the lyrics in a way that mesmerises the listener and draws them in even more and leaves you humming the refrain long after the track and album have come to a close.

I know we are only in February but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was still playing this beast of an album and waxing lyrical about it at the end of the year. A musical creation that is utterly fulfilling in so many ways and one that satisfies, captivates and entertains on so many levels. I cannot recommend this highly enough for music fans of any genre, it will leave the biggest and longest lasting smile on your face that you have ever, ever had, it truly is that good!

Released 17th January 2020 (digital), 8th February 2020 (CD).

Order from bandcamp here:

https://progressivegears.bandcamp.com/album/binary-suns-part-1

A Genesis In My Bed Steve Hackett the autobiography publication date: 24th July 2020

July 2020 sees the publication of A Genesis In My Bed – the long overdue autobiography from guitar great and former member of Genesis, Steve Hackett.   As with his music, Steve has written a highly detailed, entertaining and embracing tome that charts his life in full, but with a firm emphasis on his years with Genesis that saw the band’s meteoric rise to become one of the most successful British bands of all time.

Steve talks candidly about his early life, his time with Genesis, and in particular his personal relationships with the other four band members, with great insight into the daily goings on of this major rock band.

Naturally, A Genesis In My Bed also regales stories of Steve’s career since leaving Genesis and the many different journeys that it has taken him on.   With his flair for the creative, and a great deal of levity, A Genesis In My Bed is also a riveting read.  Indispensable for Genesis fans but also essential for general music lovers and avid readers of autobiographies full of heartfelt and emotive tales.

1,000 copies individually numbered and signed by Steve are available to pre-order directly from the publisher & the artist:

https://www.wymeruk.co.uk/webshop/books/rock/genesis/a-genesis-in-my-bed/

https://store.hackettsongs.com

RIVERSIDE – Important Line-Up Announcement; European Tour starting this Month!

Polish progressive Rock masters RIVERSIDE are happy to share line-up news with all of you:

Riverside are a quartet again!

Dear friends, this is an incredibly important moment in the history of our band.
 From the beginning of February 2020, Riverside are officially not a trio any more, we are a quartet! It is with incredible joy that we would like to announce that the fourth official member of the band is…

Well, you can’t have expected anyone else? 🙂 

He’s been with us for over three years. He let us recover from the tragic loss we have all experienced, he helped us survive and become, from year to year, a better and better live band. He has been our friend and our brother. We are welcoming him in our midst with great joy, in which we hope you will also share! 

Ladies and gentlemen, on the guitars in Riverside: Maciej Meller!

Being a good guitarist and loving music is one thing, but being able to fit in with your personality, incredible modesty and humility, that’s an incredibly important thing in our band. Maciej meets all the criteria and we are truly happy that he wants to continue our journey with us.

***

We still remember. And we still go back to the moment when, after we lost Piotr, in 2016, the massive amount of your support made us continue as Riverside. We were not ready to invite anyone to our family at that time. “Wasteland” had to be recorded as a trio. We simply had to cope with the loss on our own.

Now, it’s high time for Riverside to have a guitarist in the line-up again, not only during live shows but also in the studio, when working on new material. So we are really pleased to let you know that after coming back from the final, spring edition of the Wasteland Tour 2020, together with Maciek, in the new line-up, we will start working on the eighth album. 

The upcoming spring concerts will have a different character, a different tone, and Riverside will sound mightier than ever before. We would really like to see you there!

Last but not least – Piotr Grudziński will always be in our hearts, we all still love him and we will never forget him. But we have to move on. We are on a journey, they are waiting for us. There is more to create in this life, more to see, more to know, more to save. We hope that you will decide to stay with us again and that you will let us help one another through all of this. 

We are here with you and for you.

Riverside

***

RIVERSIDE’s next touring run starts later this month and includes dates across Europe as well as an appearance at the Cruise To The Edge and shows in Latin America as follows:

RIVERSIDE – Wasteland Tour 2020
26.02. Madrid (Spain) – MON Live
27.02. Barcelona (Spain) – Salamandra 1
29.02. Milano (Italy) – Legend Club
01.03. Treviso (Italy) – New Age Club
03.03. Lubljana (Slovenia) – Kino Šiška
05.03. Zagreb (Croatia) – Tvornica Kulture
06.03. Novi Sad (Serbia) – Pozorište Mladih
07.03. Thessaloniki (Greece) – Principal Club Theater
08.03. Athens (Greece) – Gagarin 205 Live Music Space
10.03. Istanbul (Turkey) – Zorlu PAC
11.03. Sofia (Bulgaria) – Music Jam Club
12.03. Bucharest (Romania) – Quantic Club
13.03. Cluj-Napoca (Romania) – /FORM SPACE
15.03. Budapest (Hungary) – Barba Negra
27.03.-01.04. Miami (USA) to Belize & Honduras – Cruise To The Edge 2020

02.04. Mexico City (Mexico) – Auditorio Blackberry 
04.04. Guadalajara (Mexico) – C3 Stage 
07.04. Santiago (Chile) – Teatro Nescafe
09.04. Sao Paulo (Brazil) – Carioca Club

16.04. Wrocław (Poland) – A2

17.04. Gliwice (Poland) – Arena Gliwice

18.04. Kraków (Poland) – Studio

19.04. Warszawa (Poland) – Progresja / Sold Out!

25.04. Gdańsk (Poland) – Stary Maneż / Sold Out!

26.04. Poznań (Poland) – Sala Ziemi / Sold Out!

Ticket links: 

https://riversideband.pl/en/gigs

RIVERSIDE most recently released a special edition 2CD+DVD version of their current and highly successful studio-album “Wasteland” via InsideOutMusic. The ”Wasteland – Hi-Res Stereo and Surround Mix” 2CD+DVD comes as Digipak format with an additional Slipcase and includes a DVD bonus disc of “Wasteland” as Hi-Res Stereo 24bit version and as Surround Mix (4.1), plus 3 video clips. This edition also contains 5 previously unreleased acoustic tracks/versions on a separate CD. 

Order RIVERSIDE’s ”Wasteland – Hi-Res Stereo and Surround Mix” 2CD+DVD here: 
https://Riverside.lnk.to/WastelandHi-ResStereoAndSurroundMix

The acoustic tracks/versions of the “Acoustic Session” are also available as separate Digital EP here:

https://Riverside.lnk.to/AcousticSessionEP

RIVERSIDE line-up 2020:
(From left to right on photo by Radak Zawadzki)

Piotr Kozieradzki – drums
Mariusz Duda – vocals & bass
Maciej Meller – guitar
Michał Łapaj – keyboards

Pure Reason Revolution launch ‘Silent Genesis’ – First track taken from their forthcoming new album ‘Eupnea’

Pure Reason Revolution recently announced the release of ‘Eupnea’, their first new studio album in nearly 10 years, for the 3rd of April 2020. Today they are excited to reveal the first piece of new music taken from the record, in the form of the epic 10-minute ‘Silent Genesis’, a track which Jon Courtney co-wrote alongside original PRR member Greg Jong.

The band comments: “With some tracks it’s blood sweat & tears to get them nailed, but “Silent Genesis” came together really quickly. While Greg & I worked on the music, Chloe was blasting out vocals in London. We had a lot of fun making this track; mangling synths, riffing & unexpectedly outroing with funk!”

‘Eupnea’ features the work of artist Jill Doherty on its front cover, and will be available as a Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD (with etching on Side D) and as a digital album. Pre-orders are now available for both physical and digital here: https://PureReasonRevolution.lnk.to/Eupnea 

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.     New Obsession 05:09

2.     Silent Genesis 10:20

3.     Maelstrom 05:44

4.    Ghosts & Typhoons 08:45

5.     Beyond Our Bodies 04:28

6.     Eupnea 13:23 

Of the new album the band commented:

“We stuck to our manifesto of no musical boundaries and the result was ‘Eupnea’. We return to a more progressive sound with ferocious guitars, thunderous drums and the stacked harmonies that give us our signature sound. We’re excited to begin playing it live.” 

You can watch an interview clip where Jon Courtney and Chloë Alper discuss the process of getting back together last year, and playing Midsummer Prog, here: https://youtu.be/sLlKj5u_SJ8 

‘Eupnea’, the long-awaited return from the band, sees them harking back to their earliest days, while rolling in all of the musical experiments and experience they’ve gathered in the intervening years.

The cinematic soundscapes of Hammer and Anvil? Check. The dark atmosphere and synths of Amor Vincit Omnia? Check. The gauzy psych-prog of their debut? Ch-check.

It’s sprawling, with three tracks hitting the 10 minute mark and one notching up against 15 minutes. Sure, track length does not equal ambition, but still, it’s quite the statement of intent.

The band currently have two confirmed Summer festival dates, performing at Night Of The Prog Festival in Germany on the 17th of July, and Ramblin Man Fair in the UK on the 18th of July. 

Pure Reason Revolution originally parted ways in November 2011 following touring in support of their 2010 album ‘Hammer and Anvil’. Since then, Jon Courtney started Bullet Height and released their debut album ‘No Atonement’ in 2017, while Chloë Alper began a new band called Tiny Giant as well as playing live with the likes of Charli XCX and James. 

The band originally formed back in 2003, releasing their much-loved debut album ‘The Dark Third’ in 2006 via Sony BMG. They went on to release the albums ‘Amor Vincit Omnia’ in 2009 and ‘Hammer and Anvil’ in 2010. 

Heavy progressive masters ELDER announce new album – Omens to be released 24th April via Stickman Records – ELDER touring USA in May

Highly anticipated successor to Reflections of a Floating World (2017)
and The Gold & Silver Sessions EP (2019).

Psych masters ELDER are back with their new LP Omens (released April 24, Stickman Records), their first LP since the globally-acclaimed Reflections of a Floating World.

Omens is perhaps the band’s most ambitious album yet – delving into deeper, more expansive, genre-pushing territories with five tracks of progressive, heavy, psychedelically evocative glory. Elements of OMPink Floyd, even Mastodon and Hawkwind combine to create a truly special record.

Formed in a small coastal town in Massachusetts in the mid noughties, ELDER have reinvented their sound over the course of five albums to grow from a stalwart of the stoner/doom scene into one of the most unique voices in the rock underground. Their long-scale compositions unfold as journeys, running the gamut of styles from the 70s to the present within a single song, with a penchant for “sheer gatefold-era grandeur” as described by Rolling Stone. After thirteen years, this is the first full-length recorded with a new lineup including guitarist Michael Risberg and new drummer Georg Edert, along with guest performances by Fabio Cuomo on Rhodes piano and synthesizers.

ELDER’s new album Omens answers any speculation about their new direction with an emphatic statement: evolution or extinction. Lush, intricately interwoven melodies grow and dissolve into spaced-out jams; massive riffs thunder down into a churning sea of psychedelic sounds and unpredictable grooves carry away the listener. ELDER paint pictures with their music, and Omens shows the band experimenting with an even more colourful palette – with good reason.

By continuing to incorporate new elements to their sound, ELDER’s output has repeatedly set benchmarks for their peers. Beginning with 2008’s Elder and 2010’s Dead Roots StirringELDER made ripples in the stoner rock scene with their uniquely melodic approach to the genre. In 2015 they surprised again with Lore, a watershed moment in the band’s career (recently crowned “Album of the Decade” by TheObelisk) which brought in elements of post-, prog- and space rock into the ELDER sound. Despite several years of heavy touring surrounding the album, Reflections of a FloatingWorld was released just two years later, earning a spot at the top of many best-of lists including Rolling Stone (#5, 20Best Metal Albums Of 2017), Stereogum, acclaim from Metal Hammer, and more.

ELDER will be touring USA in May.