Progradar- Reviews Round Up – Part 1

This article sees me delve into the plethora of new music that has come my way over the last couple of months. I have collated what I consider to be the best of the new releases, albums I would definitely recommend, please check them out and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Marius LeirånesLangtidsperspektiv

Music and geography are closely related. Places have their sounds, and sounds have their spaces. A lot has been said about the “Nordic sound”, whether it be jazz, progressive rock, electronica or extreme metal. We tend to think of isolation, melancholy, a certain kind of light, coldness, vast stretches of ice and rock.

Known from the Norwegian prog band Pixie Ninja, Marius goes back to his childhood home to deliver a sparse, awe inspiring collection of songs that speak of the beauty of darkness and light and the ever changing weather and sometimes brutal, but always beautiful, landscapes of his ancestral homeland.

Electronica, ambient and post rock and prog are all touched upon on this ghostly and sublime release. ‘Langtidsperspektiv’ takes you on a journey that ranges from the serene to the stormy, and from the tragic to the triumphant.

Released July 23rd, 2021.

Order from bandcamp here:

Langtidsperspektiv | Marius Leirånes (

The Helicopter of The Holy Ghost – Afters

The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost are Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Billy Reeves (theaudience), Crayola Lectern (Lost Horizons/Departure Lounge) and Mark Peters (Engineers). The original concept for the material was probably formed while Billy was signed to Sony, which at that time, pointed toward a more commercial sound, however Crayola Lectern’s involvement on piano help send the recordings into a more ‘Canterbury’ direction, taking influence from Caravan, Robert Wyatt and the like.

Featuring a guest line-up including Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins, Dale Davis from Amy Winehouse’s band, Andy Lewis from Paul Weller’s group, Smiley from Joe Strummer’s Mescalaros and Thomas Anderson of fellow Kscope signees Gazpacho, the wide-ranging influence herein is evident throughout a very sweet, gentle, calming album of originality and versatility.

The music is low key, bitter sweet beautiful and, above all, has a calming grace imbued by the elegant vocals. The sound seems to just wash over you in a soothing and serene manner and take me back to nostalgic and wistful summers days of years gone past. On of the highlights is the graceful piano playing which perfectly matches the exquisitely world weary vocals.

As the promo material says, “What are these songs about? No-one knows. They are, however, very pretty.”

Released 13th August, 2021.

Order from Burning Shed here:

Afters (

Giancarlo Erra – Departure Tapes

Departure Tapes is an album consisting of 6 contemplative recordings, written while travelling between the UK and Italy. The majority of these 6 tracks were improvised in the studio by Erra, so for the most part, are totally unique and hold a sincerity which cannot be replicated. It is the follow up to 2019’s acclaimed album Ends I-VII, with the new recordings reflecting what, has been an extremely difficult year for Giancarlo, with the loss of his father to cancer. Erra comments “In 2019 my first solo album was just being released, and I already had the view that I wanted to be more experimental with the second one, but no precise idea how at that point. Then my father suddenly got ill with cancer, and everything changed.”

An expert in knowing how not to fill the empty spaces, Giancarlo has written an instrumental album that speaks of the pain of being distanced from a relative and the simple beauty of a reconciliation. It is a sombre and thought provoking release and feels like a dedication to the father who he knew little of and yet cared for at the end of his life.

If music could tell a story of a life lived, lost and, deep at its core, loved then ‘Departure Tapes’ is it. I am along term fan of this intelligent musician’s brilliant work and this new release is another entry into his very impressive discography, I’ll leave the final words to the man himself,

It’s the first album I have created without realising I was actually writing it, as it is so intrinsically linked to one of the hardest and yet more healing parts of my life. The end result is the most experimental, and at the times, the darkest material I have ever written, without compromise or set plan. It contains all the elements of my music in a very unconscious free flowing way.

Released 2nd July, 2021.

Order from Burning Shed here:

Departure Tapes (

The Neal Morse Band – Innocence & Danger

With NMB’s previous two releases being concept albums, it’s perhaps remarkable that ‘Innocence & Danger’ is a series of unrelated songs, but drummer Mike Portnoy says “After two sprawling back to back double concept albums in a row, it was refreshing to get back to writing a collection of unrelated individual songs in the vein of our first album.”

There is also plenty in ‘Innocence & Danger’ to excite those prog fans who have a thirst for epics, as Neal Morse explains: “There’s one half hour epic and another that’s about 20 minutes long. I really didn’t realise that they were that long when we were recording them, which I guess is great because if a movie is really good, you don’t realise that it’s three hours long! But there are also some shorter songs: some have poppier elements, some are heavier and some have three part acoustic sections. I’m excited about all of it, really.”

This album encapsulates everything that is good about Neal Morse and The Neal Morse Band, powerful, dynamic and with more than a dose of pomp and circumstance. The opening two tracks on Disc 1 are worth the price of admission on their own, majestic driving, hard rock songs with serious progressive leanings and a group of musicians who definitely know the score, the keyboard and guitar interplay on Bird On A Wire is just brilliant.

Then you get what every prog fan loves, the Neal Morse-penned prog epic and, in Beyond The Years, it is bound to become a classic. Not Afraid Parts 1&2, a cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water that just stays the right side of cheesy, you get just about everything you’d want from Neal and the boys, that man can really (and i mean REALLY) write a fantastic tune!

Released 27th August 2021.

Order from Burning Shed here:

Innocence & Danger (

smalltape – The Hungry Heart

Smalltape is the project of the Berlin multi-instrumentalist Philipp Nespital, who basically does everything on the album, just about and he is one seriously talented individual. Intelligent, thought provoking and, above all, hauntingly beautiful music that, despite bringing to mind the likes of Echolyn, Radiohead, Steven Wilson and the like, has its own distinct identity.

The stunning album artwork is amazing in itself but venture deep into this collection of ten superb tracks set across two CDs and you will be ultimately rewarded with one of this year’s stand out releases. Cerebral and erudite throughout, the perceptive songwriting marries with Philipp’s creative brilliance to deliver a mind opening musical experience like no other.

I’m a massive fan of music that makes me think, music that doesn’t give up its deepest delights easily and ‘The Hungry Heart’ has that in spades. Hunger, Burning House, Dissolution, the list goes on, cuts of pure musical brilliance that showcase this young German musician as a seriously precocious talent and one to follow closely.

Released 16th July 2021.

Order from bandcamp here:

The Hungry Heart | smalltape (

Geoff Proudley is an English composer and keyboard player. He writes mainly for media but has had a number of flirtations with progressive rock over the years. Some with long memories may even recall his involvement with progressive outfit Coltsfoot in the mid-eighties.

Recent activity has seen Geoff return to writing and recording more progressive music. His solo EP ‘Quark’ surfaced in 2019 and 2020 saw a lot of writing, especially during lockdown. Those writing and recording sessions have produced two albums, the first of which is Tales From Strange Travels. Tales is an instrumental album. ‘It’s loosely conceptual. It’s about a journey. A fantastic journey but I like to leave it to the listener to paint their own pictures of what’s happening. Different people will interpret it in different ways and that’s great. Like in a book, we imagine what characters look like and the detail in our mind. It’s subjective and personal. Sometimes being too graphic can destroy that image.’

Geoff reached out to me a while ago but lockdown got in the way and it is only recently that I have been able to get to hear Geoff’s musical opus. I have to admit that I was smitten from the first note, it reminds me of a cross between the capes and mellotron prog excesses of the 70’s, the sci-fi shows of the same era, like Space 1999 and the ilk and those great electronica bands of the era like Kraftwerk. The keyboards flow elegantly and allow the listener’s mind to take them on a fantastical journey with occasional prompts and subliminal suggestions from the well constructed tracks.

It’s got too much intelligence to be considered psychedelic or spaced out like early Pink Floyd but it definitely cannot be considered mainstream either. Imagine your physics teacher having a penchant for some heavily progressive influenced progressive rock and a liking for Stanley Kubrick and you’d be on the right track.

Released 21st September 2021.

Order direct from the artist here:

CD Album – Tales From Strange Travels | gmp-music-production (

“We often start naive and green and either blossom into something remarkable, or we fizzle out – resigning to the life that we feared all along; the one we’ve been resisting – an uncertain path, a repetitive/menial existence, and the promise of a life without limitations. How far are you willing to go to either abandon or protect the way of life that you’ve been leading?”

These words paint the scene for the first act of alternative progressive rock quartet Head with Wings’ next chapter.

Amidst sweeping changes felt on a global scale, aspirations were put on hold, radiant futures dimmed, lives ended prematurely, and dreams were left to rot on the vine. For so many, the struggle was a silent one – a daily war waged alone.

On their forthcoming EP, ‘Comfort In Illusion’, Head with Wings draws the listener into the isolated, agonizing, and momentarily euphoric struggle for self-actualization amidst the stifling frame of an increasingly unfamiliar world. 

The collective’s first output since 2018’s critically-acclaimed debut, ‘From Worry to Shame,’ presents a concise summation of the group’s collective growth as artists and individuals. ‘Comfort in Illusion’ dives deeper into the quartet’s textural and emotive sound exploration with a timely personal narrative of self-discovery and the anxiety of change.

One of the most intriguing bands in the modern age of progressive rock, Head with Wings are masterful storytellers and immaculate musicians and any new release of theirs is a noteworthy event.

The three tracks on this EP have a depth of emotion and layers of sophistication that I have come to expect from this group of talented, young musicians. The music draws you into their intricate storytelling and every note has a widescreen feel to it, making the experience somewhat cinematic and always impassioned.

The poignant, almost melancholic mood that pervades the EP gives and intelligent and thoughtful feel and shows that the band understand that, even if the volume does go up to 11, you don’t always need to turn it up full.

Comfort in Illusion’ shows us that, when you have an incredible emotive depth to your music, less is most definitely more, Head with Wings still span epochs in terms of style, sound and substance and get better with every release.

Released 16th July, 2021.

Order from bandcamp here:

▶︎ Comfort in Illusion | Head with Wings (

TRANSATLANTIC reveal ‘The Absolute Universe’ 2022 Tour Dates for North America & UK/Europe!

TRANSATLANTIC – the Prog Supergroup of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt & Pete Trewavas – are pleased to announce tour dates for North America and UK/Europe to take place in 2022.  The tour will be in support of the group’s epic release ‘The Absolute Universe’ which was released earlier this year in multiple versions.  The North America dates kick off April 15th in Glenside, PA and concludes with performances at Morsefest 2022 and Cruise to the Edge.  Meanwhile, the Europe/UK dates take place in July beginning with the ARTmania festival in Romania.

Mike Portnoy had this to say about the upcoming tour:

“Between releasing our latest album in the middle of a worldwide pandemic & shutdown, and the already difficult task of trying to align our different schedules even in the most normal of circumstances, it was uncertain if Transatlantic would ever get to play any shows in support of The Absolute Universe. 

“But now with the world slowly re-opening and the band already committing to a few one-off appearances in 2022 (Cruise To The Edge, Morsefest and a Festival in Romania), we’re excited to announce we were able to wrangle up some headlining shows surrounding these one-offs! (April in North America and July in EU/UK) 

“These are the ONLY shows we will be doing in support of The Absolute Universe so if we can’t make it to your area, it may be worth traveling to come see us and share these special shows with us. While we wish we could do a full proper tour, getting to play ANY shows for this album is an unexpected treat that we weren’t sure would ever happen…so better late than never!” – Mike Portnoy. 

North America dates:

April 15th • Glenside, PA – Keswick Theater

April 16th • Montclair, NJ – Wellmont Theater

April 18th • Quebec City, Quebec – Palais Montcalm

April 19th • Montreal, Quebec – M Telus

April 21st • St Charles, IL – Arcada Theater

April 23rd • Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Theater

April 24th • Berkeley, CA – UC Theatre

April 29th & 30th • Cross Plains, TN – MorseFest 2022

May 2nd to 7th • Cruise To The Edge 2022

UK/Europe dates:

July 22nd – Sibiu, Romania – ARTmania Festival 

July 24th – Cologne, Germany – E Werk

July 25th – Tilburg, Netherlands – 013

July 27th – London, England – O2 Forum Kentish Town

July 28th – Paris, France – Olympia (ON SALE ON AUG 18TH)

Representing the band’s first new music since 2014’s ‘Kaleidoscope’, with ‘The Absolute Universe’ the band have done something unique and created two versions of the record: ‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’ & ‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’.

The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’

Available as:

Single CD Edition, Gatefold 2LP+CD, or Digital Album 

 ‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’
Available as:
2CD Edition, 3LP+2CD Boxset, or Digital Album 

The full list of formats is below, and you can order now here: 

Watch the previously released video clips for the album below:

‘Looking For The Light’:

‘The World We Used To Know’:

‘Overture/Reaching For The Sky’:   

‘The Absolute Interview’ series was also launched, which saw each member of Transatlantic interviewed by one of their musical peers, with Ross Jennings (Haken), Ted Leonard (Pattern-Seeking Animals, Spock’s Beard, Enchant), Nad Sylvan & John Mitchell (It Bites, Lonely Robot, Frost*) taking part. Watch the full series here:

Watch a short snippet from the making of documentary here: 


Jon Gomm, the UK based acoustic guitar virtuoso, follows the recent release of his latest album ‘The Faintest Idea’ with news on the reissue of his 2013 record ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps’. The ‘Passionflower 10 year anniversary edition’ marks a decade since the release of his single ‘Passionflower’ that went on to change everything for Jon. A live video of the single racked up millions of views on YouTube and other media platforms in 2012 – with British legend Stephen Fry describing him on mainstream television as someone “playing the guitar in a way I’d never seen it played before” and “an all-round genius”. 

Follow up album ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps’ arrived in 2013, further cementing his status as one of the driving forces behind an acoustic revolution. Jon comments,

“I remember recording Secrets Nobody Keeps, in my spare bedroom studio space in one of the most notorious inner city suburbs of Leeds – My home, familiar, every dog bark, every shout. The passionflower in the yard which had inspired the song, having long since won the battle with the concrete, was still tangling itself around my house. The tempest of the previous couple of years of my life, since my little zero-budget friend-made videos had gone viral (the secrets nobody kept), and sent me on tour all over the planet: It had somehow wrenched me from my home, my sense of safety, even after I went back. Everything the same, but unsteady now. Maybe it was me that had been altered.

I was clinging on to my sense of self through these songs.”

Released on 24th September via Kscope ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps  – Passionflower 10 year anniversary edition’ features the original 10 songs alongside a bonus track of the 2020 version of ‘Passionflower’.

Despite the success of the track Jon never recorded a version of Passionflower that he’d been 100% happy with. So he called up an old friend, Australia based producer Andy Sorenson, who took Jon’s raw, intimate solo acoustic performance, and placed it in an expanded landscape which went on to form the sound of last year’s album ‘The Faintest Idea’

Jon adds, “I’m proud of this album. It was difficult to make, but I don’t like music to feel easy, to be purely soft, to offer only comfort and nothing more.  I hope you enjoy it the second time around.”

‘Secrets Nobody Keeps  – Passionflower 10 year anniversary edition’ – tracklisting:

1 – Telepathy 

2 – Ain`t Nobody 

3 – There`s No Need To Be Afraid 

4 – Wukan Motorcycle Kid  

5 – Deep Cut  

6 – Orville (The Secret Of Learning To Fly Is Forgetting To Hit The Ground) 

7  – Passionflower (SNK Version) –

8 – Message In A Bottle  

9  – Dance Of The Last Rhino 

10 – Everything/You To Me Are Everything/Running Up That Hill 

Bonus Track

11  – Passionflower (2020 Version) –

Pre-order now –

Jon Gomm will be touring the UK throughout October and November. For full dates and tickets visit:


Following her 2020 debut solo album,‘Sleepwalking’, Iamthemorning vocalist Mariana Semkina returns with her new EP ‘Disillusioned’ set for release on 1st October. Combining dark folk with elements of electronica, ‘Disillusioned’ continues the evolution of Mariana as a solo artist.

Originally from St. Petersburg but now based in the UK, she spent a long period of the pandemic unable to write any new music, commenting, “I was unable to write a line – probably because I flew to Russia for a week and got stuck there when borders shut for half a year due to lockdown, which led to quite a bad depression – but after relocating back to the UK I got my second breath, got out of depression and got back to music.” 

The ‘Disillusioned’ EP features 5 tracks comprised of 3 original new songs alongside 2 covers sung in Icelandic and Hungarian, in which multiple layers of Mariana’s vocals combine with ambient electronica to create an ethereal choir like effect. Mariana states,

“The two choir pieces I chose to include are a homage to the two places i’ve visited many times and love going to – Iceland and Hungary. I have huge respect for different languages so I payed a lot of attention in getting everything done right, after all if you grow up learning a foreign language if gives you different attitude to such things. 
Each language is special and works differently and beautifully with music. History holds so many beautiful musical pieces so i plan to continue my research of European languages and musical heritage. There is a czech proverb that says “learn a new language and get a new soul” and I certainly feel this way – you get to know yourself better when speaking different languages and it’s an amazing experience.”

Lyrically the songs on the EP were inspired by the poets of the Victorian era such as William Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal and Christina Rossetti most of all. Characterised by her composed and unique voice and complex melodic lines, ‘Disillusioned’ will appeal to fans of Mariana’s previous solo work as well as her band Iamthemorning but those who enjoy the music by the likes of Thom Yorke, Nine Inch Nails, Sufjan Stevens and The Cinematic Orchestra will resonate with the more ambient and electronica moments here.

The title ‘Disillusioned’ is partly a reflection of Mariana’s state of mind while writing the EP alongside a desire to have more control over her own work. This has led to her decision to self-release the EP having previously released her debut on Kscope adding, “having full control over your creations is quite precious and beautiful so i will enjoy it while i have energy to do absolutely everything myself to bring my projects to life. It’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility but neither one scares me, i’m used to both.”

The EP was recorded remotely across the UK, Canada and Russia with regular collaborators, producer and guitarist Vlad Avy, alongside Grigory Losenkov who played piano, synths, bass and created the beautiful string arrangements. Drums on ‘Disillusioned’ were played by Svetlana Shumkova who also performed on Iamthemorning’s album ’The Bell’.

While self released on 1st October the EP will be available earlier to members of Mariana’s Pateron community who supported the creation and production of last year’s debut album. Mariana concludes, 

“This release as with everything i’ve been doing for the last two years was supported by my wonderful Patreon community. Having Patreon is a very strong motivation to keep me going because i know i’ll always have people to back me up, and they’re always the first ones to hear about any plans or get copies of everything I do so now i decided to use the fact that i’m self-releasing this to set a double release date, 17th September being the official Patreon release date, when all of my Patrons will get their digital copy of the album as a sign of gratitude for their support and some of them will get CDs and merch bundles.”

Pre-order the ‘Dissolutioned’ EP now –
Join Mariana’s Patreon community –

Leprous launch new single/video ‘The Silent Revelation from upcoming album ‘Aphelion’

Norwegian Rock outfit LEPROUS have introduced a new single entitled “The Silent Revelation” off their upcoming studio album “Aphelion”, out August 27th, 2021 worldwide via InsideOutMusic.

Check out “The Silent Revelation” in a video clip directed by Tobias Hole Aasgaarden / South Coast Creative here:

Following up on 2019’s highly acclaimed “Pitfalls” album, LEPROUS recorded “Aphelion” throughout the last year at three different studios: Ghost Ward Studios in Sweden, Ocean Sound Recordings in Norway and Cederberg Studios in Norway. The album was once again mixed by Adam Noble (Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Nothing But Thieves, etc.), mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Placebo, The Gaslight Anthem, etc.) and its front cover artwork was designed by Elena Sihida, based on photography by Øystein Aspelund. 

The album’s track-listing reads as follows: 

LEPROUS – “Aphelion” (56:06)

1. Running Low

2. Out Of Here

3. Silhouette

4. All The Moments

5. Have You Ever?

6. The Silent Revelation

7. The Shadow Side

8. On Hold

9. Castaway Angels

10. Nighttime Disguise

Next to the Jewelcase CD and Digital Album versions, “Aphelion” will also be available as limited edition Mediabook CD (with expanded booklet) and as Gatefold 2LP+CD with two bonus tracks: 
11. A Prophecy To Trust and 12. Acquired Taste (Live 2021). 

The album’s 180g 2LP vinyl version, which comes in Gatefold packaging and with the entire album on CD as bonus, is available in the following variants and limited editions: 

Black 2LP+CD – Unlimited

Ultra Clear 2LP+CD – 500x copies via IOM Webshop & CM Distro

Bright Gold 2LP+CD – 200x copies via JPC

Transparent Light Blue 2LP+CD – 200x copies via EMP

Creamy White 2LP+CD – 400x copies via O-Merch

Deep Blood Red 2LP+CD – 200x copies via Band 

You can pre-order “Aphelion” in its various formats here:

Here is a list of upcoming live appearances by LEPROUS:

LEPROUS – 20th Anniversary European Tour

01.12.2021 Oslo (Norway) – Vulkan Arena

03.12.2021 Nijmegen (The Netherlands) – Doornroosje

04.12.2021 London (UK) – Electric Ballroom

05.12.2021 Paris (France) – Elysee Montmartre

06.12.2021 Aschaffenburg (Germany) – Colos-Saal

07.12.2021 Vienna (Austria) – Arena

08.12.2021 Esch (Luxembourg) – Rockhal

09.12.2021 Lyon (France) – Ninkasi Kao

10.12.2021 Barcelona (Spain) – Apolo 1

11.12.2021 Madrid (Spain) – LAB

13.12.2021 Milan (Italy) – Live Club

14.12.2021 Aarau (Switzerland) – KiFF

15.12.2021 Munich (Germany) – Technikum

16.12.2021 Berlin (Germany) – Columbia Theater

LEPROUS – Live 2022:

17.06.2022 Clisson (France) – Hellfest
25.06.2022 Valkenburg (The Netherlands) – Midsummer Prog Festival
16.07.2022 Cremona (Italy) – Luppolo In Rock
20.08.2022 Bristol (UK) – ArcTanGent Festival

More shows to be announced soon…

Stay tuned for more news on LEPROUS and “Aphelion” coming soon…

LEPROUS line-up:
(From left to right on photo by Elena Sihida)
Robin Ognedal – guitars

Tor Oddmund Suhrke – guitars
Baard Kolstad – drums
Einar Solberg – vocals/keys
Simen Børven – bass

The Pentangle Sign Four Album Deal With Renaissance Records

Available for Pre-Order

The British folk-jazz band, The Pentangle has signed a four-album deal with music label, Renaissance Records. Renaissance Records will be re-issuing albums The Pentangle, Basket Of Light, Cruel Sister and Pentangling onto deluxe package heavyweight vinyl. This will be the first time these albums have been issued onto vinyl in the United States since their initial releases in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s.

This folk-rock supergroup started out in 1967 under the original line-up of Jacqui McShee (vocals), John Renbourn (vocals and guitar), Bert Jansch (vocals and guitar), Danny Thompson (double bass), and Terry Cox (drums). Their sound is an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, blues, and folk rock influences that gives them their one of a kind sound. Their debut album, The Pentangle, is known for creating an innovative approach to recording acoustic guitars to deliver a very bright “bell like” sound.

The Pentangle’s third full length studio album, Basket of Light was released in 1969 and received commercial success. The song, ‘Light Flight’ became a popular hit single after it was placed as the theme song for the television series, Take Three Girls. The album placed at #5 on the charts and would be the peak of The Pentangle’s long career.

Renaissance Records will start with the release of their debut album, The Pentangle, Basket of Light and Cruel Sister onto deluxe 180g gram vinyl in late August of 2021. The remaining greatest hits album, Pentangling will be released in September of 2021. These albums will include extra incentives such as trading cards of the original band members, lyric sheets, lost photos, and more when you purchase them exclusively with Renaissance Records.

The Pentangle, Basket of Light, Cruel Sister, and Pentangling are available now for pre-order from

‘The Pentangle’ Track List

1. Let No Man Steal Your Thyme

2. Bells

3. Hear My Call

4. Pentangling

5. Mirage

6. Way Behind The Sun

7. Bruton Town

8. Waltz

‘Basket of Light’ Track List

1. Light Flight (Theme from ‘Take Three Girls’)

2. Once I Had A Sweetheart

3. Springtime Promises

4. Lyke-Wake Dirge

5. Train Song

6. Hunting Song

7. Sally Go Round The Roses

8. The Cuckoo

9. House Carpenter

‘Cruel Sister’ Track List

1. A Maid That’s Deep In Love

2. When I Was In My Prime

3. Lord Franklin

4. Cruel Sister

5. Jack Orion

‘Pentangling’ Track List

1. I’ve Got A Feeling

2. Helping Hand

3. Pentangling

4. When I Get Home

5. Rain And Snow

6. Lyke Wake Dirge

7. The Trees They Do Grow

8. A Maid That’s In Love

9. Once I Had A Sweetheart

Pentangle EPK

The Pentangle was formed in 1967 by John Renbourn and Bert Jansch, two guitarists who had both already recorded as solo artists since 1965. The duo was later joined by Jacqui Mcshee on vocals, Danny Thompson on double bass, and Terry Cox on drums and percussion. The Pentangle played a mixture of Jazz and Folk with Blues-elements, influences that the band integrated in their debut record ‘The Pentangle’. In 1969 they released their masterpiece Basket of Light, a commercial success including the single ‘Light Flight’ which served as the theme song to the UK television series ‘Take Three Girls’.

About Renaissance Records

Founded in 1993 by former Aerospace Engineer John W. Edwards who had a passion for music and a new idea to form a recording label. He focused on the reissuing of classic rock and classic country LPs on CD for the first time. Renaissance Records soon signed licensing deals with EMI-Capitol, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and BMG/RCA/Arista. The record label has released recordings from artists such as Blue Oyster Cult, Crack The Sky, Girlschool, Roxy Music, Bob Welch, and Electric Light Orchestra Part II.

Review – Arc of Triumph – Rampjaar – by James R Turner

Released in March this year, following up the duo of Rory Holl and Simon Elvins self-titled debut from October 2017, with the additional guitar work of Luke Stephen Smith, their second album, ‘Rampjaar’, sees the band expanding their sound and style.

Stripping the sound back from the guitar heavy debut, this evolution of sound incorporates far more electronics and much longer songs that allow the atmospheric and moody sounds to grow and develop organically.

Starting with the electronic sounds and heavily synths of Heart of Earth, the great use of electronic textures and moody synth sounds and the mix of the electronic undertones and organic vocals works perfectly to create an atmospheric and ambient introduction to the album and shows how far the band have come since their debut release.

In Ahab’s Nightmare sees the guitars kick back in with a sublime heavy riff and lyrics inspired by the book Moby Dick. The song is narrated from Captain Ahab’s point of view and, like a lot of the songs on this album, has some very catchy lyrics and inspired musical sounds that help the song mesh and build as it grows.

The intensity of the music married to some great lyrics makes this an incredibly strong album, there are so many musical layers running through this album that you need to give it several listens before it reveals all it’s mysteries and, even then, you’ll get something different from each track as you delve deeper.

The heavier textured electronic sounds work really well in tandem with the duo’s songwriting, none more so than on the seven minute plus Sleeping in The River. Complex drum rhythms and synth sounds help build it towards it’s mighty conclusion and it just keeps pulling out magical music stops, from a heavy electronic riff where you’d expect the guitar to be to a synth solo straight out of the BBC Radiophonic workshop. This sounds like the bastard child of 90’s Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails and the vocals are magnificent throughout, with choral effects mingled with synths bringing the song to its epic finish.

There is a sense of ‘less is more’ throughout this album, where the sparse electronics give room for the songs to grow and, by paring back the sound, it is strikingly different to other albums released this year and it works, allowing the vocals to take centre stage. This an assured and mature second album that really builds on the foundations that their debut laid down. The songwriting and use of effects and textured samples really enhance tracks like the beautiful piano driven The Wisp, which is a haunting and emotive piece of music.

The album closes with the longest track, Looking Down At The Moon, a complex epic that combines the best parts of the band’s albums so far. A gentle guitar riff suddenly builds into a mighty musical explosion, reminding me of singer songwriters like Ed Harcourt or Tom McCrae, along with heart on the sleeve lyrics mixed with complex and intricate musical undercurrents. The shimmering guitar solo on here is worth the price of admission alone as the song just builds and builds to a dramatic and satisfying musical conclusion, the guitar ripping through the music, shredding and driving the song on, this is the absolute definition of a slow build!

There is no bad track on this album and the way each one weaves and flows into the other marks this as an album that needs to be listened and absorbed as its creators intended. A definite ‘headphone’ album where you can appreciate the sonic majesty on show here.

With some of the mighty sounds, intricate musical pieces and dynamic performances, it’s hard to imagine this is the work of a duo and that is what makes Arc of Triumph so good. This is a fantastic follow up to an almighty debut and one that sees the band grow and develop and is an album you have to hear. I think this is definitely one of the standout releases of 2021 and one I keep revisiting and getting something different from it each time.

Released March 19th, 2021

Order from bandcamp here:

▶︎ Rampjaar | Arc of Triumph (