Review – Pattern Seeking Animals – Only Passing Through – by John Wenlock-Smith

‘Only Passing Through’, the third Pattern Seeking Animals album has landed and, yes, it is another goodie. A fine set of modern progressive rock tracks, inspired by the greats, but no mere copy or imitation, this set takes the genre and gives it a contemporary twist and shake.

Let me explain the concept, John Boegehold, who has been a lyricist for Spock’s Beard for the past decade, had amassed a wealth of material that, whilst progressively inclined, were not suitable for the band. So John started a new project in which he could realise his vision of marrying his progressive leanings with modern pop/rock music where melodies were king. Hence Pattern Seeking Animals came into being. Using current Spock’s Beard alumni Ted Leonard (vocals and guitars), Dave Meros (bass) and Jimmy Keegan (drums), the project became reality, releasing their debut, self-titled album, in 2018 and the follow up ‘Prehensile Tales’ some 9 months later and the stage was set. The band line up also includes John himself on keyboards and programming and he also oversees the production with Rich Mouser performing the engineering, mixing and mastering side of things.

John says that his aim is to make music that is always trying something new or unexpected and that changes as it plays. He is a skilled writer and he has risen to the challenge by making interesting and intelligent albums. Then came lockdown and Covid. However, they have not been idle and have created this latest release which continues the goal of providing a new twist on progressive music. This time we are treated to several new twists on progressive rock with John also using brass enhancements on some songs.

The song Time Has A Way uses several novel innovations in its sound to make the album’s longest track really something a bit special. Changes in tempo and the ebullient brass section really raise the bar on this fabulous song. One could compare this sound to Big Big Train and their use of a brass ensemble to bring extra dynamics to their sound. The brass is used sparingly but effectively, adding rather than swamping everything, a lone trumpet adding a mariachi element to proceedings too, which is certainly different yet a highly enjoyable and effective take on the sound. This song is a monster and really a highlight of the album, symphonic prog at its finest.

Ted Leonard is on good form vocally and he plays some very graceful guitar melodies, he has really matured as a guitarist over the three albums the band have released and it is good to hear his skills on these songs. Also worthy of note are the rhythm section of Meros and Keegan, who bare both really both driving and supporting these efforts as appropriate. Sometimes on the beat, other times driving or pulling it along with them, all highly impressive sounding. I think it would be fair say that I really am enjoying this album.

Rock Paper Scissors is another fine track, if not a bit different. The violin part by Rini shines and puts me in mind of vintage Kansas as Ted Leonard projects his inner Steve Walsh. This is, in fact, extremely high praise as Kansas are one of my favourite bands ever, with this section of the track evoking many happy memories of that group. Much Ado is a riff driven track with quite unusual lyrics that talk of depression and a lack of will or desire to do anything for oneself. Whilst the lyrics could be seen as depressing, there is a lot going on in this song musically, plus it has a great guitar break from Ted. Only Passing Through is a song about the temporary nature of our lives, especially how we are only passing through this world. It is a beautifully written and composed track and one that certainly makes you think.

Said The Stranger is another highlight and a mariachi inspired track. It is one that thunders along with a great guitar break thrown in for good measure, there are interesting lyrics to this one too. The final song on the album, Here With You With Me, is a ballad of sorts, albeit one with more prog than a normal syrupy ballad. It has great words and sound with lots happening musically. The track is a terrific number on which to end, although the cd version has two bonus tracks, I Am Not Alright and Just Another Day At The Beach. You do not really want an album this good to end so the extra seven and a half extra minutes are very welcome indeed!

The first bonus song is about mental health issues and is dealt with in a sympathetic and delicate manner. It is very well written and observed, whether this springs from personal experience or mere observation is not clear. It is a powerful statement either way and is an issue that should be written about, especially now in the wake of covid and lockdown life and the problems that has both created and exacerbated for many folks. The other bonus track is far more upbeat and cheerful sounding although it does say that when it comes to love we are all on our own swimming, treading water or going down another time!

So, even within the happy song there is an undercurrent of sadness or darkness. Even so, this is a very strong and highly enjoyable musical statement of intent from Pattern Seeking Animals, long may it continue.

Released 1st April, 2022.

Order the album from Burning Shed here:

Only Passing Through (

Review – Kaprekar’s Constant – The Murder Wall – John Wenlock-Smith

This then is the new album from Kaprekar’s Constant, it is an interesting concept and listening experience and one that will engage you in some history, bravery, tragedy and triumph, all from the comfort of your own armchair!

The concept is about mountaineering, one of the band, Al Nicholson, knows the area around the Eiger in Grindelwald and Scheigg and came up with the concept of linking six attempts to conquer the North face of the Eiger between 1935 and 2007. This makes for an interesting and unusual set of pieces, as with every Kaprekar’s Constant album. Research has been conducted by the band to make the context real and valid and this project has been well composed and recorded to their usual high quality. The band have really worked on imbuing these tracks with life and capturing the daring boldness of the various climbers detailed throughout.

The album begins with a prologue that sets the scene for all that follows, the graceful voice of Dorie Jackson and the contrasting rougher vocal of Bill Jefferson gel together beautifully and really lend a powerful performance to proceedings.

This is an album that will require you to give it some time for is subtlety to shine through. The music is mainly folk based but with enough electrification to make it worthwhile. There is some understated excellence at play here with some lovely guitar lines and melodies along with great keyboards and the ever reliable saxophone and flutes of David Jackson, whose presence is a key part of this band’s sound and ethos.

After the short instrumental Theme (Hall of Mirrors) we are told of Tall Tales By Firelight on which David really excels, the song talking about the world carrying on in the face of disaster. Failure Takes Care Of Its Own follows and this song tells of the disastrous attempt on the Eiger in 1936 by Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser, Willi Angerer and Edinburgh Rainer that is still one of mountaineering’s most notorious tragedies. The sound is a moving and sorrowful one and leads into Another Man’s Smile which tells the story of the tragedy the befell the four climbers on the mountain, dying young on ‘The Murder Wall‘ that is the Eiger’s North Face. One that is frequently affected by devastating storms, leaving climbers both exposed and vulnerable to the rarest elements imaginable.

The mountain foe holds beauty, challenge and danger in equal measures, a sentiment that Years To Perfect encapsulates succinctly in its lyrics. This song has a cameo vocal from Judy Tzuke which is a real pleasure and a treat to hear. Hope In Hell extols the bravery and the foolishness of people who try in vain to conquer The Murder Wall and Victorious tells of the day in July 1938 when the notorious wall was finally beaten by Henrik Harrer, Fritz Kasperk, Ludwig Vorg and Anderl Heckmair. Finally, four brave men have tamed the mountain, bravo!

The Rain Shadow is a brief interlude which, I think, points to the years of the second world war 1939-1945 and to Switzerland’s neutrality and to the absence of further attempts to climb the mountain during those years. Third Man Down opens with an elegant guitar line and is accompanied by a beautiful organ. This lengthy opening section is very compelling leading into the odd tale of the attempt by Adolf Derungs and Lukas Albrecht, two Swiss stonemasons who made their ascent in 1959. Albrecht wore an old overcoat that he threw down the mountain leading to fears that one man had died on the climb. The mystery was solved when they both returned from their climb and were able to explain their actions satisfactorily.

A Silent Drum is about the motivation of a man like John Harlin had when he completed the task that cost his father his life on the Eiger some 40 years previously and how he focused his thoughts and efforts with the goal of succeeding in his aim and letting his actions honour his late father’s memory. The Stormkeeper’s Daughter is about the mountain itself and how it feels about being scaled and how it reacts to these attempts. The track opens on acoustic guitar before becoming more of a band piece, the good dynamics on this piece make it memorable, forming part of The Stormkeeper’s Daughter suite. This also includes the haunting World Before Man section before returning to the A Storekeeper’s Reprise.

Endeavour is a brief instrumental interlude before the epic Mountaineers, which evokes the spirit of the sixties adventurers and its references to a swinging London of those tumultuous years. Hall Of Mirrors concludes the album gracefully with a refrain we have heard earlier in the album

This is a fitting conclusion to an impressive and bold album. There is much here that will appeal to fans of good progressive music, especially to fans of Big Big Train as Kaprekar’s Constant’s historical focus offers a similar style and approach. Three albums in and now the band are venturing out once more and in this album they have a fine platform on which to set forth and have given us a superb album with remarkably interesting lyrics too. I do recommend that you have the lyrics to hand whilst listening as it all falls into place that way. Great songs and playing, lovingly produced with great artwork as well, what is there not to enjoy?

Released 25th March, 2022.

Order the album here:

Kaprekar’s Constant – The Murder Wall CD (

James LaBrie launches new single ‘Give & Take’

James LaBrie, known internationally as the vocalist for progressive metal icons & Grammy-winners Dream Theater, embarks on uncharted waters with his fourth solo album, titled ‘Beautiful Shade of Grey’, out 20th May 2022. Today sees the launch of the album’s second single, “Give & Take”, and you can watch the Wayne Joyner-produced video here: 

James comments: “This track is a take on the coercive manipulation between the corporate elite and the proletariat class. An atmospheric soundscape with beautiful feel and scope.” 

Paul Logue adds: “Musically Give & Take is a nice balance of Dream Theater, Eden’s Curse and a even little Queensryche thrown in for good measure. The dark musical undertones allow James’ vocals to really shine whilst his lyrics take the listener on a journey through the classic tale of good versus evil.” 

Watch the previously released video for the track ‘Devil in Drag’ here:

The new endeavor sees him traverse personal maturation, loss, a myriad of complex relationships, and most importantly – LaBrie’s burning passion for music. On paper, the latest studio offering from the Canadian singer first took shape shortly after the global pandemic began to emerge. But in reality, LaBrie formed a bond with his fellow collaborator, bassist Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse), nearly a decade earlier.

The two first met in 2011, when James would lend his voice to a feature for Logue’s band, UK melodic metal outfit Eden’s Curse, on the song “No Holy Man”. As years went by the two remained in touch, occasionally kicking the tires on the idea of working together on another project. But when Dream Theater performed in Glasgow during the late winter of 2020, LaBrie and Logue would run into each other at the airport – once again asking the question. But this time, armed with the knowledge that a drastic change in the world was all but imminent, LaBrie made the decision to set things in motion.

On the album, Logue plays acoustic rhythm guitar (both six & twelve string) and acoustic bass, while guitarist Marco Sfogli, who’s contributed on all of LaBrie’s solo albums since 2005’s ‘Elements of Persuasion’, handled the leads and solos. Logue recruited Eden’s Curse keyboardist Christian Pulkkinen to lend his playing on the record, while the suggestion to recruit James’s son Chance to play drums would also come from Paul. ‘Beautiful Shade of Grey’, as LaBrie describes it, was a title that only came to him once he identified the record’s two core themes throughout its track list. “A lot of these lyrics are dealing with the beauty of human beings, and a lot are dealing with the grey areas of the in between. You’re not exactly happy, but you’re not exactly sad, either.”

The record starts off (and ends) with the track “Devil In Drag”, which emerges as a wall of synthesizers and acoustic strumming before exploding into a full-blown ensemble. LaBrie expresses that the song was written about “someone who started out as a decent human being, but along the way lost touch with their roots – overtime becoming self-serving, narcissistic and devoid of principles or values.” Going on to say, “’Devil In Drag’ is written from the perspective of someone who’s known them all their life and, seeing them now, asking ‘what happened?’”

‘Beautiful Shade of Grey’ will be released as a Limited CD Digipak, 180g LP + CD & as Digital Album, with artwork by Thomas Ewerhard. Pre-order now here: 

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.     Devil In Drag

2.    SuperNova Girl

3.     Give And Take

4.     Sunset Ruin

5.     Hit Me Like A Brick

6.     Wildflower

7.     Conscience Calling

8.     What I Missed

9.    Am I Right

10.  Ramble On

11.  Devil In Drag (Electric Version) 

Look out for more information in the coming months! 

Acclaimed Guitarist David King To Release New EP ‘Look For Stars’

Guitarist and composer David King is a unique voice in instrumental music from Motherwell in Scotland. His CV is extensive and includes a recent spell with legendary Scottish proggers Abel Ganz.

Dave wrote and recorded the five track EP called ‘Look For Stars’ at home from October last year till about 2 weeks ago – constant tweeting not withstanding. It was mastered by Steve Kitch who plays keys in The Pineapple Thief

David tells me more about the album;

“There are some fine musicians joining me this time – all my previous albums were just me but I had a great drummer Max Saidi on all 5 tracks. Alan (Hearton) from Ganz plays some wonderful keys and piano on 3 songs and I had some additional bass and guitar from a couple of good pals.

It’s all instrumental as you’ve seen on the video clips. In terms of influences it was more proggy than my previous releases but it still end up sounding like me, which is a good thing I suppose.  

I’m a real champion of the clean tones on guitar – I thoroughly appreciate the weedly weedly guys but I like textures like Alex Lifeson and Andy Summers.”

Track listing:

  1. Look For Stars
  2. The Spaces Inbetween
  3. Wave After Wave
  4. The Magic Music
  5. A Planet Of Playthings

The EP will be available on all the favourite streaming platforms but, being old school, Dave will doing a limited run of CDs as he’s sure his demographic will still appreciate the physical form!

Keep and eye out for further news and a release date at on social media and at:

Review – Electro Compulsive Therapy – by John Wenlock-Smith

This group may be new to many of you, yet they join an ever-growing roster of fine progressive acts under the careful banner of the Progressive Gears Records label.

The sound is everything you could want ranging from an almost chilled Pink Floyd vibe through to urgent, frantic riffery and solos with lots of expressive keyboard textures, Anathema are a good comparison in parts as there is a clever balance of power and restraint at play here.

Opener Glow sets the scene well with a moody synthetic opening, growling bass line, power chords and some very acceptable guitar lines. The bass work on this song is fabulous, really anchoring the song yet leaving lots of room for both keyboards and guitar to make their presence known. It’s an accomplished and polished performance with some good vocals from Guillermo Garcia Herreros and some fiery guitar from Andres Jasso. Also worthy of mention is the solid bass of Rodolfo Gonzalez and the strong percussive thrust of Javier Villarreal. After the urgency of the opener, the graceful melodies of Colours Fade Away balance delicate piano lines against a stunning and highly memorable chorus. Stirring stuff indeed, during its latter stages the song evolves further with chunky riffing and driving bass runs before reverting back to the fabulous chorus. It’s an impressive song and a great solo from Andres brings the song to a fine finale.

Blackstar follows and this one has dynamics galore running throughout, making a fine impression. There’s a good use of keyboards here that draws the song onwards to a soaring guitar section from Andres which is accompanied by impassioned vocal from Guillermo. This all leads to a very ‘Gilmourish’ solo with lots of atmosphere and tone. Again this piece really impresses highly, it is a splendid piece of music that deserves a far wider audience than it will probably receive, such are the problems of getting prog fans to accept and acquire new music. It is such a pity when the music this outfit offer is so exceptionally fine and warrants a wider reach and awareness. Gemini is a shorter track, yet still crammed full of great touches and builds well with the guitar taking a leading role. There are remarkably interesting lyrics too and great sounds from the keyboards, in fact I detect shades of Marillion ‘Brave’ era in the sound, again it is exceptionally fine and impressive playing.

In Through The Light has a very retro style and dynamics balancing the past and the present to favourable effect again. Great guitar sound and use of effects make this song surge well and then the keyboards return the song to more moody atmospherics. Walking Ghost is a far quieter song but one that still has fabulous dynamics along with a great running bass line. As the song builds in intensity and depth you are poised waiting for the moment when everything comes to life, which it does at the two minute, thirty second mark with a glorious chorus and melodies and a great emotional guitar break. The track continues to surge and build like a hill climber reaching another peak before the summit, glorious stuff.

Penultimate track Stop…Wait and Transcend has a fabulous mix of light and shade and I detect some Simple Minds type dynamics at play here as the sound is very reminiscent of their late 1980s output, I mean that as a compliment! There’s more great bass work on offer here, the keyboard work is evocative and works well in tandem with the great guitar sound. The song is a bit of a slow burner but eventually it reaches a peak at the five minute mark and ends on a suitably dynamic point. Which leaves the final track Supernova to draw things to a close. This is another slow burner of a song, medium paced, and one that allows room for expression. As it gathers momentum it reveals itself to be a fine rocker of a song and a fine closer to what is a fine album from Mexico’s Electro Compulsive Therapy.

I really enjoyed this CD and find much to appreciate and to enjoy within its grooves. This is an album of many colours and textures and is one that will grow in stature as you embrace all the wonders that it offers. It is finely crafted and well produced, the music is strong, the melodies equally so. The artwork itself is sublime and, overall, I think this debut bodes very well for the future, surely bigger stages await these guys, well they certainly deserve so in my opinion at least. This is one of the better of 2022  so far and one that should appeal to fans of bands like Porcupine Tree or Anathema as it contains some stirring music within its fifty three minute playing time and that graceful guitar playing of Andres Jasso is, for me, the icing on a very good cake.

Released March 18th, 2022.

Order from Progressive Gears Records here:

Electro Compulsive Therapy | Electro Compulsive Therapy | Progressive Gears (

The Tangent announce new album ‘Songs from The Hard Shoulder’, Hear the first single “The Changes”

The Tangent, the progressive/jazz-rock collective led by Andy Tillison, are pleased to announce the release of their 12th studio album ‘Songs From the Hard Shoulder’ on the 10th June 2022. This album sees The Tangent focusing almost entirely on their long format songs or “epics” with only one song being less than 16 minutes long. 

Today, you can check out an edit of the album’s opening track and first single “The Changes (single edit)”:

Andy Tillison comments: 

“The Changes was written in the depths of the first and strictest of the Covid Lockdowns. During this strangest of times there was an emptiness in all of our lives and this song explores my own such feelings in that time. I began to wonder whether the band would ever meet again, and more importantly, how long it would be before I could see my family again.  Some of the song is focused on the minutiae of being on tour with a band… not so much missing the gigs, the stages and the playing, but missing he crazy little things like not being able to find a hotel, being lost and the general camaraderie that is all around when a band is out on the road. It’s important to say that this single edit is just 5 minutes of what is a 17-minute song – and this only gives a hint at what is there in the full version… which includes a standout Luke Machin guitar solo of unbelievable quality which isn’t represented in this at all…”


1.     The Changes (17:06)

2.     The GPS Vultures (17:01)

3.     The Lady Tied To The Lamp Post (20:52)

4.     Wasted Soul (4:40)

5.     In The Dead Of Night (Bonus) (16:11)

The album is available now for pre-order as:

With ‘Songs From the Hard Shoulder’, the band (who are celebrating their 20th year in the business) have audibly focused on the compositional structure of this album which in the case of the three long pieces is also highly complex and “thought out” – from a luscious and uplifting song about loneliness in Covid lockdown, to a full on 17-minute long jazz/prog/canterbury fusion instrumental, to a darkly electronic story of a homeless woman with shades of Nine Inch Nails, Po90, Japan and Van Der Graaf lurking within. The album’s final track is the 4 minute bouncy Motown-style track “Wasted Soul”, where the band anticipate a wonderful day in the future when the pandemic is over forever. Early editions and the Vinyl Edition will include the bonus track “In The Dead Of Night” which is of course a cover version of the classic song by UK. The band lineup remains from the previous 2 albums as Andy Tillison (Vocal/Keyboards), Jonas Reingold (Bass), Luke Machin (Guitar/Vocals), Steve Roberts (Drums) and Theo Travis (Sax & Flute).

Review – Clive Mitten – Tales From A Misspent Youth – Volume 1 – by John Wenlock-Smith

Clive Mitten first came to my notice when he released his C:Live Collective project in which he rewrote much of his Twelfth Night music, Clive having been the bass player throughout that band’s lifespan.

That album was to start a whole new way of working for Clive and opened his way of thinking so that he could then go further back and revisit other Twelfth Night pieces in a new way, orchestral re-interpretations realised via the use of real orchestral instrumentation recorded to a very high and professional standard and then collating all that together to craft and create fresh interpretations of his music. This he did for the ‘Suite Cryptique: Recomposing Twefth Night’ project album earlier in 2020 which was widely acclaimed upon its release.

Clive then decided to revisit the favourite music of his youth in a similar method which has resulted in a different type of album, one which revisits, reworks and reinterprets some genuine prog classics in a manner that really highlights the skill that was employed and used in their original creation. This album has no vocals yet, even so, the melodies of these pieces really shine through and captivate your attention. Although it can lack the dynamics of the original pieces, this actually makes you focus on the melodies employed to bring these pieces to life.

If you want, you can do what I have done and play the original versions back-to-back to with Clive’s interpretation and really see the brilliance of each composition stand out. This worked for me, especially on the Rush tracks Countdown, La Villa Strangiato and Xanadu, songs that I know well, this approach revealed the skill of the original late 1970’s and 1980’s’s recordings.

Clive’s take on Genesis’ ‘3 Sides Live’ version of the In The Cage Medley is equally compelling. In fact, I prefer Clive’s versions more than the originals, in many cases, such is the beauty and magic the music unveils. Clearly this has been a real labour of love for Clive to undertake. He says that, in doing this project, he has really begun to appreciate just how intelligent and skilled the compositional skills of Tony Banks truly are.

This album is good in that, unlike the royal Philharmonic Orchestra take on the music of Genesis and Pink Floyd is, this is better in that it is far truer and nearer to the originals, which is high praise. Clive is an unorthodox soul who uses real skill and shows deep appreciation and love for these pieces. He has somehow elevated these well-known classics in such a finely distilled manner that he manages to bring out their voices afresh and breathes a new life into each piece.

Clearly Clive has both an affection and an affinity with these songs, best of all he has further instalments planned and in the pipeline, which certainly will be worthy of investigation but, for now, this double CD set is more than enough to be going on with for now to enjoy a fresh view and slant on these well-known classic album tracks. I cannot recommend this enough as its very nature shines new light on some old classics and is a splendid and often breath-taking aural experience

On this album you will find some seriously inspired song choices, like Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Tubular Bells (Side One), Suppers Ready, Echoes, Solsbury Hill, Living In The Past and Jeux Sans Frontiers. This mixture of longer and shorter tracks really works and, of course, with a CD player you can program and play the CD in any sequence that appeals to you. But, whatever sequence suits you, be prepared to settle down and rediscover these songs afresh for yourself and enjoy this visionary approach and take on these pieces.

It has been a 2-year project that Clive has undertaken here, often difficult with his health problems and his sometimes-fragile mental health as he suffers from agoraphobia and has serious ongoing vision issues. The level of time, energy and commitment he has lent to this album is simply remarkable and, when you consider that Clive arranged and played everything himself and produced this on his own, makes this even more remarkable. The booklet is a fascinating read into how Clive approached and realised his vision and the whole package is simply exceptional and highly commended.

Released 28th January, 2022.

Order direct from the artists here:

Clive Mitten: Tales From A Misspent Youth – Volume I » Twelfth Night

Or from bandcamp here:

Tales From A Misspent Youth – Volume I | Clive Mitten | Twelfth Night (

European customers are advised to order from bandcamp!

Ms Amy Birks announces new single Brothers from her sophomore solo album In Our Souls available digitally today, with physical album release on June 17th. 

ALBUM LAUNCH: Jubilee Hall in Stoke  – June 18th TICKET LINK

Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Ms Amy Birks is thrilled to announce the second single BROTHERS, taken from her forthcoming self-produced sophomore solo album IN OUR SOULS. The video was premiered by PROG MAGAZINE today – LINK

In Our Souls is available digitally today, and for fans of vinyl and CD, it can be pre-ordered in a limited edition of 500 copies that is due for release June 17th 2022 and combines a 140g black vinyl pressing in a gatefold sleeve with a compact disc.

Brothers is accompanied by an official video and is without-doubt the most personal track on the album, Amy explains; “I have two estranged brothers and those tumultuous relationships have been the subject, or at least the undercurrent of many a song. For whatever reason, we have never seen eye to eye, hence the opening words of ‘I don’t understand why. Do you? Do you know why?’ and the build-up of aggression through the instrumentation. This, I suppose, is my therapy.”

For In Our Souls, out of the twelve tracks on the album, Birks, a long-standing fan of the Bronte sisters, sets the words of three Bronte poems to music. Birks furthered her knowledge of the sisters and their personal musical leanings through several trips to Howarth and the Bronte’s parsonage prior to selecting poems that would provide inspiration for the album. 

“I did English literature at college,” Birks said in this issue of PROG MAGAZINE “and I’ve always had a fascination with the Brontes, I thought, ‘Well, Kate Bush has done Wuthering Heights so I’m not going to touch the novels, but what about the poetry?’ So I went through them and landed on three that I loved, one from each sister.”

The first single and title track of the album (released Feb 2022) draws on Charlotte Bronte’s poem In Our SoulsA Death Scene was inspired by a work by Emily Bronte, while The Dream comes from Anne Bronte. 

“Anne was into vocal music,” Birks explains, ‘so I kept The Dream more like a singer-songwriter piece. Emily was quite passionate and dark, she was into Beethoven and Liszt, so I pushed the piano to the forefront on that, I found their words went very well with the sort of melodies I write.” 

Amy, lead singer and lyricist of Beatrix Players, is  joined on the album by Helena Dove and Tom Manning , two   co-writers from the original line-up of that award-winning band.  Manning also composed and played all the guitar parts on the album. Amy is once again accompanied by flautist John Hackett while introducing violinist Frank Van Essen and cellist Clare O’Connell to what is a virtuosic line-up.

The In Our Souls album represents Birks’ second time around as a producer and mixing engineer. She recalls the process as being “a time of solitude, of many a late night, exploring ideas and losing myself in the books and     poetry of the Bronte’s and my own personal journey over the past few years, developing my ears, skills and confidence as a composer.

My first record, All That I Am & All That I Was, was very much about deeply personal experiences but with this album I wanted to extract more strength and feeling from the musical palette and have more fun with it, which has enabled me to step back a little from the lyrics and put more faith in my ability to write not only songs but pieces of music.”









A new era of EVERGREY: A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) is dark melodic metal mastery!

Gothenburg’s finest export of darkness, EVERGREY, enters an astonishing new chapter in the band’s history with their thirteenth studio album and Napalm Records debut, A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament), to be released on May 20, 2022. This overwhelming journey through progressive heaviness and searing emotionality is repeatedly accented by sonic melancholy and gripping lyrics – leaving the listener speechless and re-cementing the Swedish five-piece at the top of the scene without a shadow of a doubt!

Celebrating over 25 years of metal mastery, EVERGREY, led by founder, singer and guitarist Tom S. Englund, are known for wandering the realms of progressive and heavy melodic metal and painting sonic renderings with their twelve studio records released as of today. Now, the follow-up to the unit’s highly successful 2021 full-length, Escape of the Phoenix (which landed at numerous chart positions worldwide), reveals a 10 track mélange of which every note, every riff and every word seeps pure poetry – creating a ceaseless intensity that mesmerizes from the very first second. 

A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) impresses with flawless, meticulous production that deftly depicts both heartfelt honesty and scorching metallic intensity, while its instrumental force of furious, technically driven riffs, skyrocketing solos and dramatic synths merges with the expert, brooding vocal performance of Englund – one of the most distinctive vocalists in metal. He skillfully balances harsh and heavy tones with an inarguably soulful approach, all topped by melancholic, thought-provoking lyricism that digs deeper with every spin, leaving a long-lasting impact. Pounding opener “Save Us” reflects everything the album stands for, as it kicks in immediately with stunning guitar work and unveils a chorus sure to top the annals of EVERGREY history!

To spice things up even more, EVERGREY invited their fans to join them on this special track and recorded hundreds of voices that ended up on the final result. Songs like “Midwinter Calls”, which also contains fan participation with atmospheric audience recordings from the band’s latest tour through Sweden, and “The Great Unwashed” draw the listener in with grooving, glistering instrumentation, flowing between boisterous dynamics and a next level vocal performance, while emotive “Wildfires” turns the volume down as a goosebump-worthy ballad that hurts and heals all at once. “Call Out The Dark” begins atmospherically with accented keys, suddenly evolving into an intense opus of symphonic and power metal attributes in the blink of an eye, whereas the record’s longest track, “The Orphean Testament”, impresses by revealing its heaviest facet. A sensitive introduction lures the listener into “Heartless”, and offers one of the album’s most engaging verses, followed by a hauntingly beautiful chorus and variety in pace to create a magnificent listening experience.

A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) is a striking testament to the fact that while the Swedish five-piece doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone at this phase, they still impressively showcase that, after over 25 years of existence, their creativity sees no bounds – dropping yet another sensation within their impressive catalog!

Pre-order the album here ahead of a 20th May, 2022 release date:

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphéan Testament) (

Tim Bowness celebrates 40 years of making music with new solo album ‘Butterfly Mind’; first single ‘Always The Stranger’ out now 

Coming 40 years after he first started performing in bands in his native North West of England, Tim Bowness returns in 2022 with his seventh solo album ‘Butterfly Mind’, due for release on the 17th June 2022. Produced in conjunction with long-time collaborator Brian Hulse, and mixed & mastered by Steven Wilson, this new album is his most surprising release yet. 

Watch the video for the album’s first single ‘Always The Stranger’, created by Crystal Spotlight here:

This track features the brilliant rhythm section of Richard Jupp (in his first major session since leaving Elbow) & Nick Beggs, as well as featuring haunting backing vocals from Martha Goddard of The Hushtones. Tim comments: “The title of the song derives from the name of my first ever 1980s solo project. Despite being pretty experimental – I was a very intense teenager! – and only existing on home-produced demo cassettes, ATS got a lot of very welcome support from local media (BBC GMR, Piccadilly Radio, Manchester Evening News and Warrington Guardian, in particular). In some ways, the lyric is something of a ‘what might have been’ or even ‘what may be’ scenario. It’s about what can happen when you don’t embrace change or challenge and creative restlessness gives way to cynical stasis.”

Butterfly Mind will be available as a Limited 2CD Edition (incl. alternative mixes and outtakes), as well as a Limited Edition 180g LP+CD featuring a striking die-cut artwork by Carl Glover. Burning Shed have an exclusive green vinyl edition, and you can pre-order now here:

To celebrate the release of the new album, Tim will play some select UK live dates, including an instore + Q&A at Rough Trade East in London. 

10.06.2022 – Prohibition, Liverpool, UK 

11.06.2022 – The Musical Museum, Brentford, London, UK

18.06.2022 – Rough Trade East, London, UK

Tim’s seventh solo album – his sixth for InsideOutMusic / Sony – features the rhythm section of Richard Jupp (ex-Elbow) and Nick Beggs alongside a spectacular guest list including Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Dave Formula (Magazine), Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Martha Goddard (The Hushtones), Gregory Spawton (Big Big Train), Mark Tranmer (The Montgolfier Brothers / GNAC), Saro Cosentino (Franco Battiato), Italian Jazz musician Nicola Alesini, US singer Devon Dunaway (Ganga), Stephen W Tayler (Kate Bush) and, marking his first studio work with Tim for nearly three decades, former No-Man violinist Ben Coleman