JOHN WETTON – ‘AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE’ – 8CD box set to be released on 24th November, 2023

On 24th November the first in a series of box sets commemorating the life and music of one of the UK`s most extraordinary and prolific musicians, John Wetton, will be released.  

The An Extraordinary Life box set contains 8 newly remastered CDs, featuring the six solo albums Wetton released between 1980 and 2011. Each album now includes special bonus tracks.  Additionally, two further discs are included which feature a gold mine of rare, live and unreleased material from the vaults, compiled by John`s archivist, Rick Nelson.

Check out trailer for the box set here:

Housed in a sumptuous 12” by 12” box, this set includes a 64-page book with an introduction by legendary artist, Roger Dean and contains comprehensive sleeve notes by Nick Shilton, author of Wetton’s biography, ‘An Extraordinary Life’, published earlier this year. The book also features a raft of photographs taken from the Wetton archive and has been designed by John’s long-time friend, Michael Inns. 

This whole project has been lovingly crafted and compiled with the full blessing of John`s son Dylan and his wife Lisa and is endorsed by the Wetton estate. 

With a career spanning more than four decades, John Wetton`s rich baritone voice and accomplished bass playing has adorned many recordings. In this ‘An Extraordinary Life’ his extensive solo career is captured for posterity all in one sumptuous box set, making this a fitting tribute to one of the UK most loved and respected artists.

An Extraordinary Life

DISC 1: Caught in The Crossfire (1980)

DISC 2: Battle Lines (1994)

DISC 3: Arkangel (1997)

DISC 4: Welcome to Heaven (2000)

DISC 5: Rock of Faith (2003)

DISC 6: Raised in Captivity (2011)

DISC 7: New Live and Unreleased Tracks

DISC 8: New Live and Unreleased Tracks


John Wetton has a unique please in British music history.  In a glittering career spanning more than 40 years, Wetton was a member of several influential and much-loved bands including, Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, Roxy Music, UK, Asia and Icon.  He also appeared on a host of albums as a guest artist or session player, including for Bryan Ferry, Steve Hackett, Brian Eno, Renaissance and Galahad.  In addition, Wetton had an extensive and accomplished solo career.

Pre-Order link:


Official Website:

Big Big Train sign worldwide deal with InsideOutMusic

Big Big Train | Trieste, May 2023 | ph Massimo Goina

InsideOut Music is delighted to announce that it has signed Big Big Train to a multi-album deal for new studio releases. The band are currently working on a new studio album, expected to be released in spring 2024, and have recently been recording in Trieste, Italy, where lead vocalist Alberto Bravin is based.

Big Big Train bassist/founder Gregory Spawton comments: “We have ambitious plans for Big Big Train and are very pleased to have signed this deal with InsideOut. Having run our own record label, English Electric Recordings, for a lengthy period, it’s clear that the music industry has changed enormously in recent years and we believe that we are best positioned to grow BBT further by becoming an InsideOut band. Over the last decade we had received offers from various labels. When we considered the different options, signing up with the premier label for progressive music was the logical choice. We’re very excited about this new era for the band and working with InsideOut/Sony.”

Drummer Nick D’Virgilio adds: It’s an absolute thrill for me that Big Big Train has become an InsideOut band. Over the years, previously as member of Spock’s Beard and more recently alongside Neal Morse and Ross Jennings, I’ve worked extensively with Thomas Waber and his team at InsideOut/Sony. From experience I know that there is no better label for Big Big Train to be working with. It’s wonderful to join a roster that includes the biggest names in the prog genre such as Dream Theater, Steve Hackett, Jethro Tull, Kansas, Devin Townsend and Yes. We’ve got a lot of new Big Big Train music in the works and with InsideOut’s unrivalled reach across the progressive rock world we hope to reach plenty of folks who may not be familiar with us yet.”

Label head Thomas Waber comments: “We have been in talks with the band for a while and are happy that we can finally announce our partnership. Big Big Train have been proudly carrying the flag for progressive music, and we look forward to helping them on their very bright journey ahead. We are all excited to be stepping on board this particular train!”

Check out a teaser of brand new music here:

In parallel with this deal with InsideOut, Big Big Train will continue to run their English Electric Recordings label and expect to commence a re-issue campaign for previous studio BBT albums in late 2024.

Big Big Train’s latest album, Ingenious Devices, was released on 30th June 2023 (CD, 2LP black and 2 LP sky blue vinyl; Bandcamp) and is available to stream.

The band will embark on their most extensive ever tour in August and September this year, with 17 shows taking place across 9 countries. Big Big Train will also be on board Cruise To The Edge in March 2024. Find the full list of dates in 2023 below:

24th August – The Court Theatre, Tring, UK (warm-up show)

26th August – Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

27th August – Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany

28th August – Stora Teatern, Gothenburg, Sweden

29th August – Cosmopolite, Oslo, Norway

30th August – Fryshuset Klubben, Stockholm, Sweden

31st August – Viften, Copenhagen, Denmark

2nd September – 2 Days Prog + 1 Festival, Revislate, Italy

3rd September – Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland

5th September – Neuberinhaus, Reichenbach, Germany

6th September – Victoria Carlswerk, Cologne, Germany

7th September – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany

8th September – Mozart-Saal, Stuttgart, Germany

10th September – Queens Hall, Edinburgh, UK

11th September – Town Hall, Birmingham, UK

12th September – Cadogan Hall, London, UK

13th September – Cadogan Hall, London, UK

Trevor Rabin signs to InsideOutMusic for the release of ‘Rio’; his first vocal-led solo album in over 30 years 

InsideOutMusic are pleased to announce the signing of Trevor Rabin, the South African guitarist, singer, multi-musician, writer and producer. They will release ‘Rio’, his first solo album of vocal material in 34 years on October 6th, 2023 worldwide.

Of the signing and the forthcoming album, Trevor comments: “Signing to InsideOutMusic was the most natural and happy signing. Thomas and I have been friends for a while, and we’ve wanted to work together for a while.  As I got close to completing the project, I called Thomas. It was that simple. I am extremely happy to be working with the InsideOutMusic team and being part of the Sony family.”

InsideOutMusic label-head Thomas Waber adds: “Working with Trevor is a big bucket list moment for me and the label. I became a fan of his signature writing style at the beginning of the 80s and have been following him ever since. He is one of the true greats in Rock Music. ‘Rio’ is everything we could have hoped for and more!”

Although he has carved a lengthy and diverse career, Johannesburg-born Rabin is best known for membership of the band Yes over a 12-year, four-album spell that began in 1983, his smash hit song ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’ of the same year topping America’s Billboard chart and inspiring the iconic prog-rock band to cross over into a far larger audience. Rabin was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with the band in 2017 and more recently teamed up with former Yes members Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman in the trio ARW.

Given that his previous vocal-led solo album, ‘Can’t Look Away’, was released in 1989 (2012’s ‘Jacaranda’ was all-instrumental), Rabin has kept us waiting for more than three decades for a follow-up. Trevor admits that there was pressure from all sides, including his own family, to have speeded up the process. However, the delay is excusable. Since leaving Yes following the ‘Talk’ album in 1994 and largely as a prequel to touring as part of ARW in 2016, the guitarist entered the time-consuming world of movie soundtracks. Trevor’s name appears as composer for such blockbusters as Con Air, Armageddon, Remember the Titans, Enemy Of The State, Deep Blue Sea, Glory Road, and Gone In 60 Seconds and both National Treasure movies, amongst many others. “Over the past ten years I was having ideas, concepts that I couldn’t implement due to my busy schedule,” he explains, adding: “To be honest, those years flew by in a flurry. I knew that this was the time, and once I found my momentum I worked on the album 24/7.”

‘Rio’, named after Rabin’s grand-daughter, features a painting by Trevor himself and will be available to pre-order from August 4th on several different formats. More information will be available soon. 

Trevor’s social media presence has been newly relaunched, and you can find all the key places to find out more information below. You can also see a video of Trevor checking in here:

Review – Comedy Of Errors – Threnody For A Dead Queen

Hot on the heels of the wonderful ‘Time Machine’, Scottish prog mainstays Comedy Of Errors return with ‘Threnody For A Dead Queen’. I was intrigued as to whether the band had most of these songs already in the bag as it’s less than a year since the release of the aforementioned ‘Time Machine’.

I asked main songwriter and keyboard guru Jim Johnstone and this was his reply;

“Usually the songs appear at least a year after being written( often more). I have a reservoir of themes, motifs and scraps built up over many years as well as more recent new material. Sometimes in the moment the planets align and the idea comes. I use everything most relevant and appropriate and reject others and feverishly develop these ideas.

In this album musical ideas appear and recur in different forms across the album as is appropriate to the concept as a whole. The band members all contribute to the arrangement and individuality of the parts in the creation of something hopefully unique.”

The album immediately grabs you with it’s superb artwork and Jim explained more about that too:

“Up to the previous album I worked with Steve Moffit who did the graphics for the ideas I had for the cover. After Steve passed away, Hew Montgomery took over half way through the last album and for all of this album. Both were extremely patient in translating the ideas for the cover and all the subsequent tweaks ! The cover is important as far as meaning and relevance to the songs/concept. It is never something arbitrary.”

The album is made up of three extended tracks, ‘epics’ if you like and then some shorter linking pieces and opens with the first two of the longer pieces. The wonderfully evocative Summer Lies Beyond opens with an ethereal, languid instrumental session of shimmering music before Jim’s harpsichord like keyboard blends in with some hushed vocals. Comedy Of Errors have always had a unique sound and you this album is nothing different, although this song seems to be more wistful and nostalgic in feel. It builds in a genuinely fascinating fashion as Mark Spalding’s gorgeous guitar and Joe Cairney’s distinctive vocal join the proceedings. A classic Comedy Of Errors epic is always a musical journey of reflection and this track is no different. There is a more laid back feel running throughout which makes for a very reflective listening experience as this beautiful track meanders through your psyche like a stream descending from the mountains and through the wooded vales.

The Seventh Seal is another lengthy musical odyssey but this is more in keeping with the fast paced, up beat music that many Comedy of Errors fans will be accustomed to. Bruce Levick’s dynamic drums, John (the Funk) Fitzgerald’s vibrant bass bass and Jim’s spiralling keyboards combine with the elegant guitar to give an effusive, energetic vibe to the music and , again, a track that could only come from Comedy Of Error’s extensive canon. Joe’s vocal is very precise and descriptive and adds the required authoritarian tone to this rather excellent piece of music. You can’t pigeonhole this unique band but if you imagine Scottish neo-prog combined with a bit of folk and an almost medieval edge then you’d be on the right track, I think! And another shout out to Mark Spalding whose guitar playing on this track is just incredible!

I also asked Jim about the concept/ story behind the album and this is what he said;

“The reasons behind the story are very personal. In the detail they will remain so. However generally speaking there were certainly other influences which were significant. The 14th century anonymous poem ‘Pearl’ ( although not quoted on the album), and fifties film ‘The Seventh Seal’ were major influences for the ideas I wanted to convey.

As the concept for the whole album grew it seemed that ‘Death’ would be the underlying factor. Not just the pain and grief of it but how we can triumph over it, not just in life, but beyond.”

So, there you go, very mysterious and intriguing and also, very good indeed, this album is begin to look like it could be one of the band’s very best.

We then come to a section of three of the very short (well, when you’re talking prog they are!) pieces that are almost like an interlude. We Are Such As Dreams Are Made Of is a contemplative and thoughtful instrumental that is soothing for the soul and rather upbeat and optimistic in its outlook. Jane (Came Out Of The Blue) is like a Mike Oldfield track (think Moonlight Shadow) delivered with the band’s typical Caledonian burr. A graceful track that has warmth and spirit deep in its soul. Another exquisite instrumental, Through The Veil has a more melancholy feel, a delicate sparseness and gossamer like fragility that bleeds emotion and empathy.

Title track Threnody For A Dead Queen is another long piece where the band show, once again, they are masters of the intricacies of progressive rock. Anyone can write a twelve minute prog track but not everyone can write a song of that length that can hold your attention throughout as it plays through its varying stages, ebbing and flowing from the delicate and entwined through to the emotive and passionate. This absorbing track blends elements of the Canterbury scene with 70’s Genesis and early Krautrock to give a mind-expanding soundscape that is hypnotic, mesmerising and very soothing. As we near the end of this cosmic song Mark’s stirring guitar heralds the entrance of Joe’s powerful and uplifting vocal to take us to a rather ardent and poignant close underpinned by a rather impressive guitar solo.

The album finishes with another two shorter pieces, And Our Little Life Is Rounded With A Sleep has a somber and pensive feeling throughout, a yearning and feeling of loss deep at its core and Funeral Dance closes out the album on a more upbeat note with its 80’s neo-prog underpinnings and heraldic feel to the keyboards, like a Scottish jig updated for the modern age and a rather good one at that!

‘Threnody For A Dead Queen’ is Comedy Of Errors at their very, very best, the music builds, almost as if alive, it has moods and emotions and captivates from the very first note. This band just get better and better with each wonderful album they create and, without exception, this release is up there with the very best of the year so far. Hell, in my opinion, it is Comedy Of Errors’ best yet, their Magnum Opus if you like and you should just go out and buy it!

Released 2nd June, 2023.

Order the CD direct from the band here:

Comedy of Errors : Shop

Order the mp3 from bandcamp here:

Threnody For A Dead Queen | Comedy Of Errors (

Single Review – The Oculist – Lavender

The Oculist returns with their captivating new single, Lavender, following their acclaimed debut release, Swan Dive. Prepare to be mesmerised by Adam Dunn’s songwriting genius, weaving a tale of platonic love, drama, and blood reminiscent of classical literature.

Joining Adam on this musical voyage is the extraordinary Kerry O’Dowd, whose electrifying vocals breathe life into the characters of Lavender. O’Dowd’s voice effortlessly captures the essence of the song and projecting its emotion.

To further enhance the sonic landscape of Lavender, The Oculist enlisted the talents of Belgian percussionist Evert Van Eynde, who recorded the enchanting sound of marimbas.

The Oculist is Adam Dunn and Çağrı Tozluoğlu. This track features extraordinary talents of Simon Fitzpatrick on the bass and James Wise on drums.

“Following on from the dynamic prog-metal of Swan Dive, The Oculist show a more measured and thoughtful approach with the symphonic wonder of Lavender. A wonderful, near eight minutes, of musical drama where the amazing vocals of Kerry O’Dowd add an almost Celtic vibe to the song. Scintillating musicianship is a given, of course, and the whole track just leaves a feeling of immense wellbeing coursing through your very soul.”

Released on July 14th, 2023, you can get Lavender at bandcamp here:

Lavender | The Oculist (

Steve Hackett announces “Foxtrot At Fifty + Hackett Highlights: Live in Brighton’ – out 15th September 2023

Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett presents his brand-new live audio/visual extravaganza, with the release of ‘Foxtrot at Fifty + Hackett Highlights: Live in Brighton’, set for release on the 15th September 2023.

 Filmed & recorded live on his 2022 UK tour, in the coastal city of Brighton, UK, this release documents Steve and his band celebrating the 50th anniversary of the much-loved Genesis album ‘Foxtrot’. Played in full, this album features fan favourites including ‘Watcher Of The Skies’ and ‘Supper’s Ready’. The show also features a set of Hackett solo material, including ‘The Devil’s Cathedral’ from his latest studio album ‘Surrender of Silence’, and the powerful ‘Ace of Wands’. 

Shot by long time collaborator Paul Green, you can now watch the band perform ‘Watcher of the Skies’ here:

Mixed by Chris Lord-Alge & mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, the album is now available to pre-order on Ltd 2CD+Blu-ray & Ltd 2CD+2DVD, both including bonus behind the scenes interviews, as well as 5.1 surround sound. A Ltd Deluxe 180g 4LP edition will also be available, and you can pre-order now here:

The full track-listing is:

1.    Intro / Ace of Wands

2.    The Devil’s Cathedral

3.    Spectral Mornings

4.    Every Day

5.    A Tower Struck Down

6.    Basic Instincts

7.    Camino Royale

8.    Shadow of the Hierophant

9.    Watcher of the Skies

10. Time Table

11. Get ‘Em Out by Friday

12. Can Utility and the Coastliners

13. Horizons

14. Supper’s Ready

15. Firth of Fifth

16. Los Endos

Steve Hackett & band continue their busy touring schedule with further “Foxtrot At Fifty & Hackett Highlights” dates in North America beginning in October. For the full list of dates, head to:

Steve Hackett is joined live by Roger King, Rob Townsend, Nad Sylvan, Craig Blundell & Jonas Reingold, as well as on occasion special guest Amanda Lehmann.

About Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Hackett’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the classic Selling England By The Pound.

After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Hackett’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Hackett is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognised in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR.

Hackett’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his later studio works The Night Siren(2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Hackett has explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Hackett celebrate his time with Genesis including a spectacular 2018 tour in which he realised a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra.

The lockdown enforced by the 2020 global pandemic has proven to be a particularly creative period for Hackett. He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of 2019’s hugely successful tour celebrating that Genesis classic 

together with the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums. Lockdown also gave Hackett the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums, the UK Classical Chart hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and the forthcoming Surrender of Silence.

In 2021, Steve and his band returned to touring, celebrating the classic Genesis live album ‘Seconds Out’, on what was one of his most successful tours to date.

NEAL MORSE – The Dreamer – Joseph: Part One – New Prog Epic Released 11/8/23

On the heels of the “Jesus Christ the Exorcist” Rock Opera, Neal Morse has created his latest prog epic, entitled “The Dreamer – Joseph: Part One”. The album tells the classic story of Joseph (the one with the coat of many colors!) using the medium of progressive rock as only Neal can!

The story unfolds with Morse employing amazing vocalists like Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard, Pattern Seeking Animals), Matt Smith (Theocracy) and Jake Livgren (Proto-kaw, Kansas) to sing the roles of Joseph’s brothers, as they grow dark with jealousy and throw him in the pit.

As well as casting the characters in the story, Neal also sought out the finest musicians for the musical “roles”. So you’ll hear the soaring guitar playing of Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs) and Eric Gillette (NMB) among others, as this familiar story comes alive through amazing music that will thrill all fans of progressive rock.

The album has everything a fan would look for: from long epics and odd time signatures, to very melodic and song-oriented tracks.

“The Dreamer – Joseph: Part One” is all the elements you would hope for from a new Neal Morse progressive rock album, and more! And this is just Part 1, ending with Joseph in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. “Part 2” will follow in 2024!

“The Dreamer – Joseph: Part One” tracklisting:
Prologue/Before The World Was
A Million Miles Away
Burns Like A Wheel
Liar, Liar
The Pit
Like A Wall
Gold Dust City
Slave Boy
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Wait On You
I Will Wait On The Lord
Overture Reprise
Ultraviolet Dreams
Heaven In Charge Of Hell (Eat ‘Em And Smile)
Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Eric Gillette
Gabe Klein
Neal Morse
Sam Hunter
Gideon Klein
Steve Morse
Andre Madatian
Mark Leniger
Jim Hoke

Joseph – Neal Morse
Judah – Ted Leonard
Reuben – Matt Smith
Potiphar’s Wife – Talon David
Slave Driver – Jake Livgren
Simeon – Wil Morse
Jacob – Mark Pogue
Warden and Prison Guards – Matt Smith, Mark Pogue, Wil Morse, Gabe Klein, Chris Riley

Pre-order from Radiant Records:

Neal Morse – The Dreamer – Joseph: Part One – Radiant Records


Focus return to the UK, in November 2023, with their THE HOCUS POCUS TOUR 2023-24.  Fresh from the studio, where they are recording their eagerly-awaited new album, they will traverse Britain to give their loyal fans what they always want – a good time and timeless music.

Featuring Thijs Van Leer (Keyboards, flute, vocals), Pierre Van Der Linden (drums, percussion), Menno Gootjes (guitar) and Udo Pannekeet (bass), Focus have 14 dates scheduled at some of their favourite venues – and a few new ones, too.

Focus have so many highlights from their glorious 50-plus years including: Polydor having to close their record pressing plant to other bands for ten days to meet the demand for Focus records; being a favourite of Bob Harris on The Old Grey Whistle Test and to holding simultaneous top ten positions in the UK in both singles and albums charts. Through the decades, Focus remained relevant, their music entertaining live audiences, spearheading advertising campaigns [including the Nike South Africa World Cup TV spot] and Hollywood films [including Baby Driver and Troll movie).

A new Focus era arrived, in 2019, bringing with it a rejuvenated passion amongst the band. Focus released Focus 11, their first studio album for 6 years, complete with brand new Roger Dean artwork. The year was then spent touring from South America to Japan – and everywhere in between – in support of the new album.

With the dawn of 2020 came the 50th anniversary of the formation of Focus. Unfortunately, celebrations had to be put on hold due to global events. 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the album Moving Waves (1971). The album featured the iconic track Hocus Pocus and following a live performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test in late 1972, a re-recorded Hocus Pocus would reach #20 in the UK singles chart in February 1973, the same week that Sylvia peaked at #4. Moving Waves hit #2 in the UK albums chart in March 1973 as the Focus live tour took the UK by storm.  Hocus Pocus reached number 2 in the USA.

2021 saw the release of the deluxe anniversary boxset Focus50 featuring Blu-ray and CD of the Live In Rio concert and a studio re-record of all of the Focus numbers. Focus returned to touring in 2022 and the band were delighted to be performing, once again, their classics such as Hocus PocusSylvia, and House Of The King together with some of the Focus numbers also making an appearance!

Holding a unique place in the hearts of music fans everywhere, Britain also holds a special place in the hearts of Focus, having toured here regularly through their 50-plus years and so the band are looking forward to their visit later in the year.

Some shocking news!” declares Focus founder and guiding light Thijs Van Leer. “Focus will be touring the U.K. in November!!” he laughs and then, with a deep sincerity: “We always feel welcome, here, we always feel AT HOME!!! Thanx!”


Thursday 9 November        Derby                         Flowerpot

Friday 10 November            Fletching                    Trading Boundaries

Saturday 11 November       Great Yarmouth       HRH Festival

Sunday 12 November         London                       Bush Hall

Tuesday 14 November       Chiselhurst                Beaverwood

Thursday 16 November      Bristol                         The Fleece

Friday 17 November            Howden                     Howden Shire Hall

Saturday 18 November       Tunbridge Wells       The Forum

Sunday 19 November         Sale                            Waterside Arts

Tuesday 21 November       Blackpool                   Waterloo Music Bar

Wednesday 22 November  Kinross                       Kinross Green Hotel

Thursday 23 November      Galashiels                 Galashiels Mac Arts

Friday 24 November            Troon                          Winterstorm Troon Concert Hall

Sunday 26 November         Southampton            1865 Club

Buy tickets here:

Focus are: Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, flute, and vocals, Pierre van der Linden – drums, Menno Gootjes – guitar, Udo Pannekeet – bass

Review – Orion – The End Of Suffering – by John Wenlock-Smith

I seldom fail to be impressed with folks who take the huge step into the unknown and are prepared to present to the world the music they have created from thoughts or dreams they have held sometimes for many years. I know several who have done this to a great reception and widespread acclaim.

Obviously everyone would like that, which is why reviews can matter through helping to raise awareness and, hopefully, allow an artist to gain traction and, in their profile being raised, generate both interest and push sales forward. I certainly hope this is the case for this Orion album, ‘The End Of Suffering’, as it is most definitely worthy of attention.

A little background might help here, Orion is the name chosen for Ben Jones’s concept album that came about after he read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power Of Now, which deals with how we address our own internal dialogue between the past and the present. It talks about a personal awakening and enlightenment which incorporates the Buddhist concept that enlightenment is the beginning of the end of suffering. Quite a lofty concept but one rooted in the aspect of how time controls us and makes us slaves to its demands as we struggle to get done what we need to in the time allotted to us. It’s a never ending game of cat and mouse and one that drains, frustrates and depresses on a daily basis. As we are forever chasing our own tails, all for the Mammon at the end of the day/month/year, it’s soul destroying really and this album addresses that cycle in its lyrics.

This album was 20 years in the making, with the book being a pivotal moment towards personal enlightenment and  acceptance. Furthermore, the album was entirely self financed, performed and recorded by Ben Jones, with no intent other than to get the album completed and out to a world and see what happened as a result. Ben also made the CD available on bandcamp at a most reasonable price to encourage folks to listen for themselves. All of which is very laudable but is it any good?

Well this reviewer finds it is a really good listen and, once you understand it’s concepts and ideas, it’s both satisfying and musically very rewarding indeed.

The album begins with a gentle piano motif that is recurrent at times throughout the whole record before a huge riff commences that really opens the sound vista wide. It’s a very impressive riff that really works well and fades to some frenzied fretwork before resuming and then quietening down a little, more power chords then play the track out. As an instrumental opener Now  is a very strong and gripping track, this fades to fast strummed acoustic guitar that opens the second track, In The Beginning. This is a pretty epic song with that great recurring acoustic guitar and a great bass part to it. There is a blistering middle section with lots of frantic bass and crunchy riffing guitar parts and a tidy but brief solo, it sounds double tracked and all the better for that too,

Tomorrow is about how what we do leaves its mark in time and that we should do all we can to make that impression a good one. Again, this has a lot going on throughout and also has a fine solo. It’s a very strong track taken at a pace that doesn’t let up and, with great vocals, it’s one of my favourites thus far. The Hurricane is about the the battles of middle life and keeping control during it. There is another monstrous riff running through it all, making it quite a hard number but a powerful one that leads into Yesterday and its melancholy for the middle years and the opportunities that now seem squandered, again this is a rather epic song of regrets and missed chances.

Out Of Time is about the realisation that it’s too late and time has gone for you, a rather sobering  song really as it faces that difficult reality. Myself and I is about the enlightenment and that time is an illusion of the mind and Out Of Time pt. 2 is the reality that time is a concept and how he is not constrained or beholden to it any longer. The End Of Suffering is the last track of the album and brings us back full circle as it has a similar opening as the beginning of the album and is an excellent closer to a most unusual and somewhat different album. This track has a wall of sound effect at times, similar to Devin Townsend’s dense sound. This track has everything happening at once it is manic and urgent despite being a mid tempo piece. It really is most impressive I really like it.

There is great musicianship and intelligence to this album, okay, it might help to have read the book to fully understand the concept, something I will do for myself in the coming weeks. All in all ‘The End of Suffering’ is a most wonderful release, I highly commend it to all, especially those who like their prog harder and less symphonic.

More info at:

Orion Music – Home (

Released 5th June, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

The End of Suffering | Orion (

The Flower Kings announce new full-length album Look At You Now’ and new single “Beginner’s Eyes”

In their nearly 30-year career as a band, The Flower Kings return with their 16th studio album Look At You Now. With its vintage vibes, and the warm and inviting sounds that are reminiscent of legendary and classic 70’s albums – Look At You Now is all about the invention of grandiose soundscapes and that analog feel that will transport you to a bygone era of rock with swirling synths & guitars and thematic long-form pieces.

Their first anthem “Beginner’s Eyes” can be listened to here:

The Flower Kings – Beginners Eyes (

Watch the video now:

Pre-Order Look At You Now here:

The Flower Kings – Beginners Eyes (

The Flower Kings comments on the new single: “Here’s news from veterans THE FLOWER KINGS – Album Nr. 16! Like a ghost ship sailing in from faraway places – a set of new songs leave their mark on 2023 – A year most of us will remember for the wars, the migration & refugees, the wildfires, the lost youth, the melting ice, the economic crisis, too many dead heroes, the political unrest. But also, a year that opens to possibilities, re-birth – new ways of thinking – We think this new album from The Kings of the North gives a bit of both.”  

Look At You Now Tracklist:

1.     Beginner’s Eyes 

2.     The Dream 

3.     Hollow Man

4.     Dr. Ribedeaux 

5.     Mother Earth 

6.     The Queen 

7.     The Light in Your Eyes

8.     Seasons End 

9.     Scars 

10.  Stronghold

11.  Father Sky

12.  Day For Peace 

13.  Look At You Now

The album will be available in the following versions:

·       Ltd. CD 6-Panel Digipak

·       Ltd. Gatefold Black 2LP 180g Vinyl

·       Ltd. Gatefold Transp. Orange/Black Marbled 2LP 180g Vinyl – Limited to only 500 copies 

·       Ltd. Gatefold Transp. Blue 2LP 180g Vinyl – Limited to only 300 copies

·       Ltd. Gatefold Transp. Sunflower Yellow 2LP 180g Vinyl – Limited to only 300 copies

·       Digital Album

Roine Stolt adds on the album release: “The first track out – and likewise the opening track – is “Beginner’s Eyes”. A song that has its origin in the very early 90’s – a time before The Flower Kings were gathering – but now finally and finely developed and recorded properly. A happy tune with plenty of flowery sunny themes Roine & Hasse vocals united – and a good groove, cool Hammond and Moog blipping’ and bloppin’ sounds, over a solid beat from Mirko & Michael. There’s no doubt that The Flower Kings plays no ‘style’ – or in no league – other that their own – a style they created and crafted carefully for more than 25 years strong. The album is a celebration of the imagination and craft of those who lead rather than follow. Artwork came in like magic from Joey Tessier – a world of magic and flowery creatures.”

Remember to catch The Flower Kings on their upcoming EU Autumn Tour: 

13.07.2023 NO-Brönnöysund – Rootsfestival

16.09.2023 SWE-Uppsala – TFK Fan Day & Release Party

17.09.2023 SWE-Uppsala – TFK Fan Day & Release Party

04.10.2023 DK-Kopenhagen – Beta

05.10.2023 DE-Berlin – Frannz-Club

06.10.2023 PL- Poznań – 2Progi

07.10.2023 PL-Rzgów – GOK

08.10.2023 PL-Piekary Śląskie – OK Andaluzja

10.10.2023 CZ-Olomouc – Bounty Rock Café

11.10.2023 HU-Budapest – Analog Music Hall

12.10.2023 SLK-Bratislava – Majestic Music Club

14.10.2023 IT-Borgomanero – Teatro Rosmini

15.10.2023 DE-Regensburg – Evenhalle Airport

16.10.2023 DE-Augsburg – Spectrum

17.10.2023 CH-Pratteln – Z7

19.10.2023 UK-Southhampton – The 1865

20.10.2023 UK-London – Powerhaus

23.10.2023 BE-Verviers – Spirit Of 66

24.10.2023 DE-Aschaffenburg – Colos-Saal

25.10.2023 DE-Köln – Yard Club

26.10.2023 DE-Übach-Palenberg – Rockfabrik

27.10.2023 NL-Uden – De Pul

28.10.2023 NL-Zoetermeer – Boerderij

29.10.2023 DE-Hamburg – Logo

The Flower Kings line-up:

Roine Stolt – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion 

Hasse Fröberg – Vocals 

Michael Stolt – Bass, Vocals, Keyboards (Track 5), Guitar (Track 5) 

Mirko Demaio – Drums, Percussion, Keyboard (Track 12) 


Hasse Bruniusson – Percussion (Track 3) 

Lalle Larsson – Synthesizers (Tracks 4,9) 

Jannica Lund – Backing Vocal (Tracks 1,2,3,5,7,11,13) 

Marjana Semkina – Vocal (Track 12) 

Jörgen Sälde – Nylon Guitar (Track 6)