Details of New Magnum album, ‘Sacred Blood, Divine Lies’, and tour released

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Mighty British melodic hard rock group Magnum are set to release their magnificent new studio album ‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’, on Steamhammer / SPV on February 26th, as a limited edition DigiPak CD (with bonus DVD), standard Jewel Case CD, double gatefold vinyl with printed inner sleeves + CD (in paper sleeve), and download.

‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’, a hugely stirring, uplifting opus, is a notably heavier, harder offering than its much acclaimed predecessor, ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’, and is packed with even more of Magnum’s massive trademark rousing rock melodies. The band have also lined up a 15 concert headline UK tour in support of the album, from May 11th through to May 30th; dates are:-

 11th May         SOUTHAMPTON The Brook

12th May         CARDIFF Tramshed

13th May         LONDON Islington Assembly Hall

14th May         OXFORD 02 Academy

16th May         NORWICH Waterfront

17th May         NOTTINGHAM Rock City

19th May         BIRMINGHAM 02 Institute

20th May         HOLMFIRTH Picturedome

21st May         MANCHESTER Academy 2

22nd May        NEWCASTLE 02 Academy

24th May         ABERDEEN Garage

25th May         GLASGOW Garage

27th May         BELFAST Limelight 1

29th May         BRISTOL 02 Academy

30th May         LEAMINGTON SPA Assembly

Magnum mastermind Tony Clarkin started working on the resounding new album even before ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’ crashed into the UK Album Chart at 38, (the band’s first top 40 album chart position for over 20 years), on release in March 2014.

“I usually start composing for our next album immediately after the release of the previous one,” Clarkin recalls, continuing “When ‘Escape…’ arrived at the stores in March 2014, my thoughts had already turned to our next recording.”

Clarkin was inspired to write 25 new songs during and after the subsequent triumphant European tour, the most outstanding 13 of which were selected for ‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’. Ten of the numbers made it onto the standard album CD and another three onto the DigiPak bonus DVD, which also contains videos for three of the brand new songs on the album.

The epicentre of this soundquake features, along with frontman Bob Catley’s charismatic voice, Clarkin’s awesome riffing and hard driving lead guitar licks, which provide the all-important substructure to each of the ten gems of songs on the album.

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‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’ counts without a doubt among the group’s most dynamic releases; Clarkin states that “I’ve always been into rock numbers. But it isn’t necessarily that easy to write really good rock material. It’s much more simple to compose a ballad. But that dynamic pace suits Magnum perfectly.”

Nowhere is this more evident than on the title track and album opener; “I feel that Bob delivered it really well,” Clarkin praises his vocalist Bob Catley. “As far as I am concerned, ‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’ is definitely likely to join the ranks of great Magnum classics.” So it comes as no surprise that ‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’, with its significant message, became the album title.

Among the other multiple highlights on this thoroughly powerful recording, mention must be made of the anthemic ‘Gypsy Queen’, which Tony was inspired to write after a concert in St. Petersburg, a city which deeply impressed him with its unique atmosphere.

By no means less memorable is ‘Your Dreams Won’t Die’ which is based on a cascading piano chord sequence, reflecting the song’s poignant philosophical message. “To me, the title and lyrics have an almost religious depth,” says Clarkin. “There’s a saying that somebody is not forgotten if their name is remembered.” A successful rock group like Magnum should be entitled to eternal renown, shouldn’t it? Says Clarkin: “You want my honest opinion? I don’t think that far ahead, but of course it’s a nice notion that this band may always be remembered because so many people love our music.”

And last but not least: ‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’ closes with a song which surprised even Clarkin; “I liked the general sound of ‘Don’t Cry Baby’ from the start,” he remarks. “Although I initially didn’t have a lyric, the melody kept going through my head, as well as the chorus with acoustic and e-guitars plus piano. We even kept the drums from the demo version because our drummer Harry James liked them so much. He said: “I love it the way it is. We shouldn’t change a thing about it”.”

‘Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies’, the cover of which has once again been designed by renowned fantasy artist Rodney Matthews (Nazareth, Asia), is a stupendous record, packed with soon-to-be-proclaimed-classic, majestic hard rock compositions.

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Gandalf’s Fist announce The Clockwork Fable Pre-Order

Progressive Rock innovators Gandalf’s Fist are delighted to announce “The Clockwork Fable”, a Prog-Rock Mind Movie in three oscillations.

As a follow-up to the acclaimed “A Forest of Fey”, they’ve gone all-out, creating a truly epic *TRIPLE* concept album.

Set in the fictional world of “Cogtopolis”, each CD of the record serves as a different “act” of the story, with Dean Marsh and Luke Severn, along with to-be-announced guest vocalists, providing the singing voices of the inhabitants. However things don’t end there; the characters are also brought to life by a 50-page script that has been professionally recorded by a range of hugely talented actors.

A far cry from a musical, where characters burst into song at the drop of a proverbial hat, ‘The Clockwork Fable’ serves as a sprawling motion picture that will play out in your Neocortex with Gandalf’s Fist, of course, providing the soundtrack.

Aside from the depth of story and characters, the band have also fully developed the world of Cogtopolis. From geography, religious doctrines, even down to the fictional language of Cypheridia… the amount of work that’s been put into this conceptual piece is staggering.

Dean adds: “It’s a sprawling record with so many different styles. Conceptually it’s War of the Worlds meets Monty Python, but musically there’s everything from Van der Graaf Generator to Black Sabbath in there. We’re extremely excited for everyone to hear a suite of songs based around the character of “The Lamplighter”, the first of which is the longest song we’ve ever written… and that’s only part one!”
But that’s not the best of it.

Gandalf’s Fist truly believe that this is the finest musical work that they have ever created. There’s a mix of all of their influences and, were you to put all of the best bits of our discography into a huge melting pot, you’d end up with something quite close (but not as awesome) as what the guys have created! But don’t just take their word for it – head over to the pre-order store and have a listen to a whopping 10 minutes of audio previews!

Enter the world of Cogtopolis here

 

Proud Peasant announce Vinyl Only New Release!

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Cinematic progressive rock band Proud Peasant (Austin, TX, USA) will release a 7″ single on acclaimed UK vinyl-only label Fruits de Mer Records. ‘Cosmic Sound’ will be released as a part of the label’s April 2016 releases and will feature covers of songs by Eloy and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.

Cinematic in scope, Proud Peasant’s debut album ‘Flight’ was called an “aptly titled escape into musical fancy that masterfully knots together British folk, cinematic symphonic rock, Elizabethan prog, Gentle Giant-ish vocal fugues and even videogame-score-like whimsy.” (Progression Magazine) Their sound has drawn comparisons to Mike Oldfield, Gryphon, Wobbler, and King Crimson, with classic and modern sounds residing comfortably beside one another.

Fruits de Mer Records, the “world’s smallest vinyl-only psych/prog/acid/folk/ krautrock/spacerock record label”, occupies a rare place in the musical world. The majority of its releases consist of classic and obscure tracks from the late 60s/early 70s, reinterpreted by current bands. They have been called “a national treasure” (Shindig) and “one of the great labels that comes along now and then” (Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio).

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www.proudpeasant.com

www.fruitsdemerrecords.com

 

Short video previews new Arcade Messiah II album

KingBathmat frontman, and the mastermind behind the Arcade Messiah project, John Bassett has announced the follow up to the first, self-titled, release….

“Hi everybody, I will soon be releasing the follow up to last years Arcade Messiah album. ‘Arcade Messiah II’ will be released end of November/early December

There will be a Pre-Order for both digital download and CD starting next week…”

John has just recently posted a two minute preview video of the forthcoming release:

Exclusive!! – Fractal Mirror reveal details of New Album – Slow Burn 1

Fractal Mirror - Slow Burn 1 Cover

In a great exclusive for Progradar, the eclectic Dutch band Fractal Mirror are due to release their third album ‘Slow Burn 1’ in February 2016 and I was extremely lucky enough to catch up with band member Leo Koperdraat this morning and find out more details about this highly anticipated release.

Leo, Ed van Haagen and Frank L. Urbaniak have released two previous albums, 2013’s ‘Strange Attractors’ and last year’s ‘Garden of Ghosts’, of which I said:

“Not just an album of songs but a journey into a world of profound understanding, ‘Garden of Ghosts’ is not for the fickle of heart or soul. It requires commitment and intelligence to fully benefit from its deeper connotations, once smitten though, you will never want to leave. Fractal Mirror are currently working on their third album and I, for one, cannot wait.

Fast forward nearly twelve months and the band are about to release ‘Slow Burn 1’, what’s the main differences between the two records?

Leo Koperdraat: “The songs are shorter and to the point but we paid a lot of attention to vocal arrangements this time. The Progressive Rock influences are still very much in place (Patrick Farrell of Built 4 the Future even plays Rickenbacker bass on one song and Leo Blu Sky really shines with his bass on the Beatles meets Tears For Fears 8 minute closing track), but we do hope that ‘Slow Burn 1’ will also offer new things to the listeners.”

The band could also be looking at a Crowd Funding option to finalise the album.

I was also lucky enough to listen to one of the new tracks from the album called Numbers  and it showcased the evolution of the shorter tracks with great vocal arrangements, add in some rather intense guitar work on show and it all augurs well for the new album.

‘Slow Burn 1’ features Brett Kull (Echolyn) again on every track and there are guest appearances (so far) from; Don Fast (guitars), Charlotte Koperdraat (backing vocals), Patrick Farrell and Kenny Bissett Sr (from B4tF on BV and bass), Jason Himmelberger (from Jhimm on BV), Peter Swart (guitars) and Leopold Blu Sky (From Unto Us/Mike Kershaw on Bass).

Larry Fast will be mastering again. The expected release date is February 2016.

The striking artwork is provided, once again, by Brian Watson.

I was really impressed by the one track I heard and, if it is representative of what is to come, I am sure that Fractal Mirror will deliver another outstanding and immersive musical experience.

 

 

 

 

The Aaron Clift Experiment announce new album – ‘Outer Light, Inner Darkness’

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It has been a long time since the Austin, Texas based progressive rock outfit The Aaron Clift Experiment released ‘Lonely Hills’, their acclaimed debut album, it was 2012 in fact.

Well, thanks be to god, this year will see the release of the long awaited follow up ‘Outer Light, Inner Darkness’ and, believe me, it is well worth waiting for. I was really impressed with the guys debut effort but this release improves in all areas with its intricate compositions, complex arrangements and virtuosic performances.

Frontman Aaron tells us more,

“‘Outer Light, Inner Darkness’ is a concept album about duality: light vs. darkness, individual vs. group, hope vs. despair, etc. Songs in the first half of the album detail the conflict between these opposing forces, while the songs in second half of the album are a journey toward reconciling the extremes. The album culminates with ‘Bathed in Moonlight,’ a song about how humanity can learn to embrace its outer light and inner darkness and become one with both sides of its nature.”

With the release of the band’s second album, “Outer Light, Inner Darkness” in September 2015, The Aaron Clift Experiment continues to lead the way in fusing the sophistication and depth of classical music with the passion and raw power of rock and roll. What began as an idea of how to create music has now blossomed into a full-fledged experiment. The band invites you to join them in this experiment as they embark on their new path.

Says Aaron,

“Although The Aaron Clift Experiment started as my solo project, ‘Outer Light, Inner Darkness’ marks the birth of ACE as a full-fledged band. Unlike the first album, in which I wrote all the songs and arrangements, the songwriting and arranging process for the second album was a largely collaborative process, with all of the band members contributing elements to the sound that makes the album our most diverse to date. One of the fun challenges of co-writing between me and my band mates is that we all have very distinct songwriting styles and music preferences. As a result, we all pushed each other to write outside of our comfort zones. Sometimes this could be disorienting process, but in the end, it helped us write our strongest songs to date. The song, ‘Aoide, Goddess of Song,’ was in a way my commentary on what it can be like to come up with brand new music.”

“Outer Light, Inner Darkness” will be released on September 18 with an album release show to be held on August 27 at Threadgill’s in Austin, Texas.

The Aaron Clift Experiment are:

Aaron Clift – Vocals/Keyboards
Eric Gutierrez – Guitar
Joe Resnick – Drums
Devin North – Bass

 

The Fierce and the Dead release promo video for ‘Magnet in Your Head’ (includes pre-order details for ‘Magnet’ E.P.)

To whet your appetite for the forthcoming new E.P. ‘Magnet’, here’s a live version of the first track from the E.P. – ‘Magnet in Your Face’ recorded during rehearsals at The New Empowering Church. Filmed by Ashley Jones for The Chaos Engineers.

‘Magnet’ is the cult North London instrumentalists The Fierce And The Dead’s first new material in two years and is released this August via Bad Elephant Music. The critically acclaimed band’s new EP features 6 songs including 3 new tracks, a re-recording of the song Flint from the band’s first album and 2 songs recorded live in rehearsal (one of these is a bonus on the CD). The EP is released on the 14th of August, the week before TFATD play the Arctangent festival alongside acts including Dillinger Escape Plan, 65daysofstatic and Deerhoof.

“I think this EP represents a different sound for us, it’s important to keep moving forward. It more joyous and intense with bigger riffs and more of an electronic feel.” says Dead guitarist Matt Stevens. Bassist & Producer Kevin Feazey continues “We’re doing what we want to do. Full circle. Back to sounding like the bands we grew up with, from Nuclear Assault to Boards of Canada. Every record we’ve put out has had it’s own character and story, with different sounds and a different reality for each”.

The band are currently in the process of recording their third studio album for release next year and are playing a few select live dates and festivals. Drummer Stuart Marshall describes the new material as “f****** terrifying”.

You can listen to the first song from the EP and pre-order it from the BEM sales page:

Pre-order Magnet here