Envy Of None, the new band and debut self-titled album from Alex Lifeson (Rush), Andy Curran (Coney Hatch), Alfio Annibalini and singer Maiah Wynne due for release on Kscope on 8th April

Alex Lifeson is no stranger to the concept of evolution. As a founding member of Rush, he’s been able to explore more musical ground than just about any other guitar player out there – taking rock to new progressive heights throughout the decades and always in the most wildly inventive of ways. His influence can be heard on countless bands around the world, from indie shoegaze and math rock to heavy metal and beyond. Over the last few years Lifeson has been focusing on a new project that, no matter how well-acquainted you are with his discography, will undoubtedly shatter all seeds of expectation and blow the mind. That project is Envy Of None.

The new band, also featuring Coney Hatch founder/bassist Andy Curran, accomplished producer and engineer Alfio Annibalini and singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne, will be releasing their self-titled debut album on April 8 via Kscope. Its 11 tracks – which ricochet between various shades of alternative, experimental and synth rock – throw surprises at every turn, twisting dark melodies against contemporary pop hooks. Lifeson himself is proudly aware of how little of it crosses over with the band that made him famous.

However, it was only when singer Maiah Wynne became involved that this truly started to feel like a band destined to go somewhere. Her haunting melodies and soul-baring intensity is – by the admission of her own bandmates – what truly brought this music to life. All things considered; she is a star in the making… “I sent over an early version of the song Shadow,” explains Andy Curran. “When I played what she’d done back to the others they were like, ‘Who is this crazy talented person?!’”

The album’s first single, Liar, is out now. Its industrial beats, driving fuzz bass and atmospheric guitars concoct a seductive swirl indeed – thrilling in ways closer to the darker art rock of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle than anything these musicians have been known for prior.

“Mariah became my muse,” continues Alex Lifeson. “She was able to bring this whole new ethereal thing through her sense of melody on tracks like Liar and Look Inside. After hearing her vocals on Never Said I Love You, I felt so excited.I’ve never had that kind of inspiration working with another musician. When we say she’s special, it’s because she’s really fucking special!” 

“One of my favourite things about these songs is the intimacy of them,” reveals Maiah Wynne. “It makes them feel different and more honest. There are some heavier songs too, like Enemy, and then tracks like Kabul Blues, that sound completely different to anything else.”

The album closer, Western Sunset, which was penned by Alex Lifeson in tribute to his dear friend Neil Peart. It’s a highly emotive piece of music to honour a man deeply missed by the rock community at large, and even more so by those who were lucky enough to know him. “I visited Neil when he was ill,” says Alex Lifeson. “I was on his balcony watching the sunset and found inspiration. There’s a finality about a sunset that kinda stayed with me throughout the whole process. It had meaning. It was the perfect mood to decompress after all these different textures… a nice way to close the book.”

It’s a book you’ll almost certainly want to be reading.  Envy Of None’s self-titled album is due for release on April 8 via Kscope.

Pre-Order Here:

Envy Of None (lnk.to)

Envy Of None track listing  

1. Never Said I Love You [04:06]

2. Shadow [03:21]

3. Look Inside [04:44]

4. Liar [03:13]

5. Spy House [02:23]

6. Dog`s Life [04:36]

7. Kabul Blues [03:12]

8. Old Strings [05:15]

9. Dumb [04:19]

10. Enemy[04:16]

11. Western Sunset [02:25]

The album will be released on the following formats and is available to PRE-ORDER HERE (https://eon.lnk.to/EnvyOfNone)

Ltd Edition deluxe version – presented in a gatefold sleeve with a blue coloured vinyl LP, 2 CDs including a 5 track bonus disc, 28 page Booklet with exclusive content

CD – includes a 16 page poster booklet

LP – on black vinyl / baby blue coloured vinyl (North America exclusive) / white coloured vinyl

Digital 

Envy Of None are:

Alf Annibalini – Guitar, Keyboards, Programming

Andy Curran – Bass Guitar, Synthesized Bass, Programming, Guitar, Background Vocals, Stylophone

Alex Lifeson- Guitar, Mandola, Banjo, Programming

Maiah Wynne – Lead Vocals, Background Vocals, Keyboards

NORDIC GIANTS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘SYMBIOSIS’

Following on from the success of their debut album – ‘A Sèance of Dark Delusions’ and their documentary / soundtrack project – ‘Amplify Human Vibration’, the mysterious Nordic Giants emerge from hiding with their second studio album simply entitled – ‘Symbiosis’ set for release on 4th February 2022.

Symbiosis represents the interdependent relationship of all life. The union and blending of polar opposites, the harmony created when two different elements combine, not just in nature or in a philosophical sense, but at the root creative level.

This collection of songs blends light with dark, moments of ambience with power and the subtle with the mysterious – themes that Nordic Giants continue to experiment with extensively over the years. Rôka and Löki state, 

“We start with a pure idea, we take all the emotions that live inside us,  that are buried deep within the sub-consciousness mind and give them the opportunity to shine through in musical form. Much like our first album – Symbiosis is a multi-layered album, It’s going to be hard to understand the depth of emotion, or spirit of the album on the first listen or even the second. But hopefully even on the 100th listen there may still be new layers revealing themselves to you.”

As a whole, the album encompasses a broad tapestry of weird and wonderful sounds, from vintage analogue synths, Tibetan bowls and even a Carnyx horn, to some familiar guest vocalists in the form of Alex Hedley and Freyja – adding their haunting and ethereal sounds on top of what what is predominantly a multi layered instrumental album.

These symbiotic themes of union and interdependence don’t stop just with the music, but are continued throughout the album artwork. Working closely with photographer Neal Grundy, they had many discussions of which material combinations and elements would help symbolise the message. By combining different paints into water they were able to photograph and capture some amazing results, which can only be described as an interlacing synergy of the natural with the supernatural.

Pre-order the album now – nordicgiants.co.uk/store

Symbiosis, which includes the studio album and live tour – aims to pay homage to 10 years of Nordic Giants live performances & music, and as those who have seen the live show will attest, it is a visceral experience that goes far beyond the normal descriptors. 

Each mind-blowing performance involves a selection of hand picked award-winning short films projected alongside the music, and each are a work of art by themselves. Whether live action or animation, experimental or narrative, each resonates and will stay with you in its own way. 

Seeing Nordic Giants has been described as akin to a religious experience: the multi-screen visuals, powerful strobes and exquisitely timed accompaniment create a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Tickets are now on sale now for the 2022 UK tour with Årabrot, which will include songs from the new album, as well as a mix of older songs spanning the last 10 years! Expect Brand new films as well as some older classics – to shock, awe and inspire!
Rôka and Löki state – “Imagination can take you anywhere and we hope this album & tour will transport you to otherworldly places!”


Progradar’s Review of 2021

I’ve had a little time to digest what was a rather wonderful year of music in 2021. Here is my review of the year with my favourite albums, in no particular order barring my number one!

Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe – Forevermore

A true return to form for the prog supergroup with melodies, tunes and overtures galore. Transatlantic gave us their best album since ‘Bridge Across Forever’.

Lifesigns – Altitude

I really think that Lifesigns have taken a massive step forward with this album, good as ‘Cardington’ was, this release is so very much better in my opinion.

Echoes & Signals – Mercurial

‘Mercurial’ trades some of Echoes & Signals’ signature post-rock sensibilities for a darker journey into the kind of prog-metal embraced by the likes of Tool and this new direction is one that I feel suits them perfectly. 

Cosmograf – Rattrapante

At the time, I said, “At this moment in time there is nothing I would rather listen to than this incredible new album from Cosmograf, will Robin’s latest pièce de résistance still be up there at the end of the year? Most probably but, here and now, it just does not get any better than this!” And here it is!

League of Lights – Dreamers Don’t Come Down

Not only a nod to the past but also a completely relevant piece of music in these present times, ‘Dreamers Don’t Come Down’ is a perfectly crafted collection of pop and electronica infused songs that really hit home.

Ana Patan – Spice, Gold and Tales Untold

Wearing her many influences proudly on her sleeve Ana Patan has just allowed the music and her excellent vocals to tell her many intriguing and involving stories and this has allowed them to breathe and come to life quite spectacularly. An album that has surprised me in its simple brilliance and one that, if you let it, will enrich your life in a myriad of ways.

The Vicious Head Society – Extinction Level Event

‘Extinction Level Event’ is shaping up to possibly be the best prog metal album of the last few years at least, I honestly don’t think I’ve had a prog metal album hit me so hard since Haken’s ‘The Mountain’

Catalyst*R – self-titled

When everything that is happening around you is making your life jaded, just press play on this bewitching collection of songs, light the spark and let the music start to take your cares away…

Michael Woodman – Psithurism

A hugely impressive and admirably different collection of songs that shows Woodman’s impish creativity at its best. A musical breath of fresh air that will leave a smile on your face and wonderment in your soul.

Vestamaran – Bungalow Rex

Get your hands on this album and, when the sun shines, get the barbecue lit, an ice cold beer in your hand, put the stereo on, turn it up to 11 and just enjoy this incredible album for, as the press release says, “Life is not just bungalow all day long, it also includes a lot of rex in the evenings.”

Tillison, Reingold, Tiranti – Allium – Una Storia

Simple but perfectly formed and harking back to the days when music just put a smile on your face, this is one album that deserves success just because of how it makes you feel and I love it for that.

Big Big Train – Common Ground

Vibrant and upbeat, thoughtful, wistful and even melancholy at times, it is a collection of amazing songs that will touch you on a basic level and move you on many others. ‘Common Ground’ is the album that will make you fall in love with the band all over again and I can’t give it any higher praise than that!

smalltape – The Hungry Heart

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. HungerBurning 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.

Giancarlo Erra – Departure Tapes

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.

Great North Star – self-titled

Step out of this confusing and hectic world that we live in, if only for the thirty nine minutes running time, and allow your mind and your soul to recharge. A wonderful and insightful masterpiece that will stay with you for a very long time.

Three Colours Dark – Love’s Lost Property

‘Love’s Lost Property’ is an exquisite creation, nine tracks of wondrously charming music with Rachel’s honeyed vocals lifting this release well above what you may have heard already this year. I suggest you get your hands on it as soon as you can, it is definitely worth seeking out.

The Holy Road – An Unshakeable Demon

Never be afraid to challenge yourself and listen to something different, I found the eclectic and evocative wonder of ‘An Unshakable Demon’ really hit home with me.

CYAN – For King And Country

A masterpiece of intricate melodies, mellifluous vocals and intelligent songwriting, ‘For King And Country’ delights on every level and makes you smile. You can’t really ask for much more than that, can you?

Glass Hammer – Skallagrim – Into The Breach

Epic in scope, majestic in scale and blurring the lines between progressive rock and progressive metal, Glass Hammer have given us their best album of recent years and possibly their best release ever and it should be another monster success for this evergreen band.

Findlay Napier – It Is What It Is

‘It Is What It Is’ sees this fine musician and songwriter on a higher plane and is a must buy for anyone who appreciates and treasures original music with heart and soul.

And the top gong for album of the year goes to….

HFMC – We Are The Truth

This superlative gem of release is worthy of all the praise that is being heaped upon it and finishes 2021 on an utter high for this reviewer, the finest of a wonderful crop of albums released this year!

So, there you have it, my selection of some of the great albums that graced 2021 and I am sure that 2022 is going to be just as good!