Contributor’s Review – IO Earth – New World – by Gary Morley

Gary Morley gives us his own inimitable take on IO Earth’s latest release ‘New World’.

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This is the new age of ‘samizdat’ reviews. I get asked if I’m interested in writing a review, I express an interest, get “signed up” and bravely or foolishly agree to prise open, and expose, its core, rotten or golden as the case may be?

Martin “Wallet Emptier” H has suggested I review this album. It will be “blind” as I’ve not heard anything by them so it’s all new to me. Also, just to make it even more of a challenge, I have only mp3 files to go with. No album art, no track listing. No help!In the great spirit of British Olympic values, I won’t use Google, Wikipedia or any on line assistance. I’m going to listen to it and write as I go.

So after receiving the link, downloading the files and converting to a Jet Audio friendly format, we were ready to go…….

We start with rain? A storm blowing and a solitary female voice struggling against the storm. Haunting, operatic, pure, the voice gets stronger as the storm fades to be replaced with piano and then cello, a gentle lament concerning finding a new world.

The next track slams you awake, forces you ears to open as metal guitars crash through the pastoral construct of the opener. Big crunchy riffs counterpoint a sliding lead, undercut by a constant throbbing bass. Then the voice, this time riding on the strings above the riffing.

Buoyant, we are gathered onto a flying carpet, eastern classical orchestra and undulating voice. The mental picture I have now is one of us soaring above Desert Mountains, the storm battered hove left far behind as the guitar flurry lifts us higher.

There is a feeling of power here, restrained, muted even as the strings attack and a double bass drum flourish indicates that we have arrived at the fortress , our destination revealed through the clouds. In the space between the instruments, the voice reappears, chanting now, with a massed choir of Gregorian style voices unfurling, allowing more guitars to clear the way for the voice, now full bore and strident. Eastern images pervade as an oboe (or is it a synth?) takes on the voice, echoing and reflecting it.

Then it all stops… silence then acoustic guitar and piano with layered sound behind them. Sound effects under the mix lead us to a gentle keyboard melody over a drum pattern that is militaristic and menacing. Deep in the mix, TV voices refer to US events (9/11?).

I found the off kilter drumming disconcerting and the beauty of the string and vocal arrangement were bludgeoned by the percussion. The rhythm is almost that of drum and bass increasing in intensity then dropping. We are back with the female voice now, along with the piano and the big sound of a rock band and orchestra.

I’m not an expert in this genre, but it seems to verge onto the formulaic in places. Big drums, big sweeping orchestral arrangements and a female voice, I should like it but, it’s not quite clicked with me yet. The track has the feel of Iona or Nightwish, with a Celtic undercurrent to the arrangement and I prefer this to the full on Sturm und Drang of the previous track.

I’ve not said much about the lyrics, which are in English, but they flow over you with the musical tides. I’m sure that if (or when) I listen again the concepts and themes will manifest themselves, the album so far has been predominantly instrumental, the voice being, to my ears, another instrument.

Well, I’ve survived the journey so far, and now we are back in the semi-orchestral mountains, this time with percussion and cello working to generate an eerie aural scene. Then it’s all ripped apart by the guitar, drum and string attack that slams the door open and bursts in, we have a  standoff, eerie vs. full on instrumentation. The power of the music is less constrained now, with the separate parts combining, and then…

Silence, close mike, guitar and piano, ethereal female voices  ( plural) leading the orchestral army, one voice now buried in the mix, singing of things lost,  longing and regret ( or I think so). We then have a variation in instrumentation with a saxophone bustling in, before it’s chased off by the guitar , fully charged and slicing through the mix a la mode de Gilmour.

This song, Fade to Grey has been the highpoint of the album so far, building to a high point of a recognisable chorus, which the vocalist lets rip on, no more restraint, a full throated exclamation of the title bringing it to an end that isn’t. That’s because it cross fades to the next track, all menacing minor chords and cello again, creating atmosphere and mood quickly. Tubular bells are there, before the arrival of big guitars and big drums.

A big riff that opens out into lush symphonic orchestration, that choir evangelic rising and falling along the rolling melody then a martial drumbeat takes the music, turns it around and up. We are in a big music place now, an entire orchestra thrumming with throttled back energy, waiting for the signal to charge. A horn section adds a further layer to the tapestry. It sounds ready to explode as the layers are added one by one, but we have a coda of guitar and synthesiser leading to the next level…

Chanting voices, bass chords echoing about as keyboards lead us into another epic piece… slow; solemnly they announce the arrival of the vocals. Again, hidden in the mix, the drum almost hiding them.

The choir returns, it’s very Carmina Burana now, with a build up to a pause and the return of the mournful saxophonist, playing over a montage of city sounds and prayers before regrouping for the epic chorus, “Insomnia” being the motif and refrain.

Duelling guitars spiral and twist as the song builds to an explosion of fretwork dexterity and frantic drumming. This is a big number. Every track is a big number… The guitar solo fades back to a soundscape, suggesting that the protagonist was in fact on a train and possibly dreaming.

We are now back with percussion and the voice warning of some impending event. Then guitars slice through the mix, flanged, leading the orchestra on to the eye of the storm , where we have a fine homage to Gilmour . The whole piece continues with a second, more “shredding” guitar and ends with a sound collage and a voiceover that does relate to the tragic events of September 11th.

A much more spacious sound now: less is more, just guitar(s), bass, drums and keyboards. We are out there in Camel land now, the orchestral score underpinning the melody rather than dragging it out and trampling all over it.

I must confess that his is more like it, melodic and flowing. The first “proper” proggy style piece or one I can relate to as it’s a mix of Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd and Camel styles, but put together beautifully. The Rising is it’s name and it’s my favourite so far.

That  was then, this is now…

Day 2.

I decided that listening through my PC 5.1 speakers was possibly doing this album a disservice. So I (looks left and right) burnt the album to disc .Worry not, it’s a CD-R or 2, so I can erase upon request.

This act provided several discoveries:

1 The tracks I had listened to were in fact all of CD1 and part of CD2, for it is a double CD set!

2 They sound much more “whole” through the in house HiFi!

Anyway. As I had worked through CD 1 , scribbling away, I decided a different approach was needed for the second disc. So I sat down, and let it play.

Then played it again.

The harshness of the drums had gone. More instrumental details came to the front of the mix. New technology pah! The second disc seemed less angsty, more considered , with flashes of light and shade, a male voice appearing , driving track 6 on to a full on metal assault.

Maybe it was because I’d just listened to Ghost live at Reading and Leeds Festival, but there was a distinct BOC / Ghost vibe to this track. Without the orchestra , the band sound as if they were unshackled, free to rock it up, the sound painting was in full colour, and my ears appreciated the dynamics and harmonies of it.

Track 7 roles up, keen and eager like a puppy wanting to play. A variation on the sound, this is much more me. A simple drum pattern, a voice that reminds me of Love and Rockets  or Kid Loco ( go check out them and you get a feel for where my head is at when happy ). There’s a lovely brass solo ( trumpet I believe) ,the restraint shown here is in marked contrast to the rest of the album. In fact this track could be a David Sylvian tribute as it has much of his jazz/ ambient pop feel to it.

If the rest was like this, I would have  ordered a copy already.

The lead in to track 8 promises a climactic finish, with hushed voices behind a guitar motif and echoes of voice samples floating around it. A bit Floydian in the ambience, then a “Welcome to the New World” voice over and an explosion of sound… still the guitar motif , but on steroids..

The female voice struts in, welcoming us to this new world, which seems a brighter place as the menacing backing has been replaced by heavenly choirs and power chords…

The hooks have me, from disinterest to reappraisal, all in the space of 2 tracks. This is the beauty and magic of music. You listen, it washes over you, then a hook strikes…

I’m now going to listen to it from start to finish. I did, it’s a strange beast to be sure. The second half is much more to my liking, more varied and musically eclectic.

In conclusion, I didn’t know anything about the band, still have only heard this one album, but it is a rich and complex piece that slowly unfurls. It’s a throwback to albums of days gone by, where you sat there, reading along with the lyrics, fathoming out who plays what and where. This is not small town Prog / Metal, this is full on global rock music, deserving to be played loud .

The genre it fits into is a European one, that huge, semi –classical sound personified by Nightwish , who I am learning to like slowly, album by album . If you like them, are fond of  a celestial voiced female fronted rock band , Touchstone or Panic Room for example, then you will be ready to give this shelf space and ear time.

Oh bugger, I’m going to have to buy a copy now aren’t I?

Released 20th May 2015

Buy New World direct from the band

 

Guest Review – Beardfish – +4626 – COMFORTZONE – by Shawn Dudley

Yet another hardy soul has taken the responsibility of writing a review for you goodly folk, this time we welcome Shawn Dudley with the pen (or should we say keyboard?).

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One recurring theme with my music purchases over the past 10 years has been a constant stream of bands from Sweden.  The country has provided a surfeit of riches and one of the most valuable is the wonderfully eclectic and enthralling Beardfish.

Their 8th studio album ‘+4626-Comfortzone’ is another meticulously arranged addition to an already impressive string of releases.

After a short thematic introduction Hold On wastes no time demonstrating the many traits that drew me to Beardfish in the first place.  The love of vintage instrumentation and production sounds, the knotty and complex arrangements that would make Gentle Giant proud, the occasional side trips into Zappa-esque absurdity, the uniquely personal songwriting of Rikard Sjöblom and, last but not least, their love of “the jam”. The joyous melding of progressive rock precision with the loose improvisational vibe of a late night jam session, they remind me of Nektar in this regard.

Thematically ‘Comfortzone’ is more dense and layered than the relatively straight-ahead approach of 2013’s ‘The Void’.  Thus it’s not quite as immediate an experience and takes a few spins to really process.  The narrative focuses on the apathy and complacency that can result from growing up in a small town, the feeling of being trapped yet not wanting to lose the comfort and security that familiarity provides.  As someone that grew up in a small rural community of under 500 residents the subject matter of this album holds special relevance.  A town populated by people watching the world pass by from their front porch…as if they were nailed there.

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While lyrically the album can be a little bleak, the music never is.  The playing is uniformly excellent and years of lineup stability has given them a rock solid cohesion.  The mix is well balanced and uses a wide stereo spread, it’s a little compressed but not overtly.

Individual track highlights include the aforementioned Hold On, the lovely title track (some great Robert Fripp inspired guitar work in the intro on that one), the viking-rock riffage of King and the album centerpiece If We Must Part (A Love Story Continued).  Special mention to the comic-relief provided by the hilarious Ode to A Rock ’N’ Roller, in a genre that primarily takes itself very seriously, the quirky humor of Beardfish is always a welcome change of pace.

While I’m thrilled that Rikard Sjöblom has been contributing to Big Big Train of late, I hope he still finds the time to continue the Beardfish journey.  The only thing more exciting than a new Beardfish album…is the prospect of what the next one will be like.

Released 12th January 2015

Buy direct from the band

About the author – Shawn Dudley

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Shawn Dudley, Los Angeles, CA.

Audio engineer, film buff, guitarist, lifelong music fanatic.

 

 

 

 

Guest review – Karl Schmaltz – The Shackleton Experience – by Gary Morley

Another guest reviewer to add his two penneth, Mr Gary Morley has taken the writer’s seat for this album, let’s see what he thinks…

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The initial brief was to listen to the one “typical “track on sound cloud…

I accepted the mission.

The track starts with the creaking of ice and an insistent double drum kick beat, then a glacial slab of guitar…

Voices then appear from out of the mix…

Is this an audiobook? Or a play?

Neither, it would seem that this is a cross between ‘War of the Worlds’ and Public Service Broadcast style infotainment, but without the charm of the latter or the tunes of the former. The dialogue is overblown, overacted and overpowers the musical accompaniment.

Talking of which, they are going for power and majesty, and although the guitar growls ominously, the sub metal drums and the unintentional humour of the accents and hammy acting detract from what should be an intense, gripping story. The guitar carries on, regardless of any notion of progression. Is this a metaphor for the ill-fated expedition?

Even the narrative declaration of “set the sails, full steam ahead “is more “Carry on Sailor” than “True Grit”. Sorry to say that this left me cold, and not in an involved in the narrative way. I’m sure that the whole thing is more cohesive and immersive, but this failed to take me on any sort of journey apart from the one that detoured around the repeat play button…

I Felt bad being so negative when I discovered that the creator is only 19 and I’m sure that the whole thing is better than the sample, but worried that this track was chosen as representative of the whole work. So Mr Editor in chief, Martin Hutchinson sent me a file containing the whole album. I sat down, burned it to disc, placed disc in the big Hi Fi, adjusted headphones and pressed play…

This is not an audiobook; it’s not a concept album either. As far as I can tell, it’s more of a stage show soundtrack, complete with dialogue and incidental music.

The subject is one that should hook the listener and take them to the depths of the Antarctic, but it sounds as if “Pirates of the Caribbean” played a big part in shaping the vocal performances as the South Atlantic whalers sound like pirates, overacting pirates too.

The crewman that “narrates” the story confused me with his opening salutation of “Boss…”, as I’m not sure that is exactly how a crew member would address a superior officer. As the story unfolds, it seems that the crew are trapped inside the bass bins of an Iron Maiden tribute band as they rehearse.

I know people argue about what is “Prog” and what isn’t, but this is not what I call Progressive. It’s a shame as the story is one that would benefit from a more versatile musical palette. The voice acting compounds the misery as the stilted speech and cheesy dialogue take away from the tragedy it describes.

The voices are not distinct, and I ended up unsure as to who was narrating, if it was even a narration or diary readings. The balance between the music and the speech is not wide enough. So the dramatic tension is lost under power chords and intrusive drumming. Shackleton’s plight, along with his crew is sympathetically portrayed but not the  bleak cold beauty of their surroundings.

The best mental picture I painted as I listened was Blackadder and his companions trapped in the trenches whilst being bombarded by enemy artillery… Bombarded is how I felt. Every crewman starts his speech with a querulous “Boss this” and “Boss that”, You’d think that a little variation could have been injected.

That’s the problem I have with this work, it’s all one pace and one dimensional. By the time Shackleton decides to try to travel to South Georgia by boat, I have been pummelled into a state of benign indifference. The constant fury of the open chording and the drumming did give me a feeling of how much the sailors were suffering, intentional or otherwise.

The narration is harrowing in its content, but I was unmoved by the acting and accents. Sadly, once you start looking for them, the issues become more glaring. At the height of the drama, the sailor declares something or other and in the course of his speech, his accent crosses the Atlantic and back again. If this was a normal concept album that would be cause of raised eyebrows, but to my ears, this is not such a beast and this emphasises the distance between intention and execution that I detect.

The climax of the album, the survivor’s desperate journey is portrayed with more guitars riffing and a sound effect that I think is supposed to be the skies, but the tension is ruined by the cheesy dialogue:-

Sailor #1 “how long have we been marching for?”

Sailor #2 “About 22 hours “

Sailor ~1 “can we take a break for a little bit”

Sailor #2 (sounding like Arnold Schwarzenegger) “Yes, but only for a little while”

They sound as if the hardship was a minor inconvenience rather than the appalling march to survive. The narrator tells of how they slept in shifts, as if they all slept at once, they’d probably never wake.

The improbable continues with a discourse about a whistle that may or may not have been heard. I’m not surprised they couldn’t hear it – those bloody guitars drown everything out! The musical ebb and flow that I was expecting to enhance the story is sadly lacking

The final speech about Shackleton finding relief descends into cliché as he asks whether the war is over and the rescuer tells him that the world’s gone mad but he can borrow a ship…

The final episode when he returns to collect his crew stranded on Elephant Island should be emotional and uplifting, but the sailor insisting on addressing him as boss makes it sound like they’d merely missed the works bus.

The end piece talks about Shackleton’s legacy, his life after the rescue and sad death at an early age. All very inspirational but ultimately sterile as I failed to connect with the story, there is no feeling of closure here as the narrative seems to just peter out and the guitars continue for a few minutes then they too admit defeat and call it a day.

According to the website, the architect of all this is only 19, and in that respect then this is quite an achievement. However, although I could not have approached such a project and achieve anything like this, the end product is caught between worlds.

It doesn’t work (to me) as a piece of music as it lacks variety of both pace and invention. Equally, due to the cheesy dialogue and voice acting, it doesn’t work as a dramatic piece either.

It may be that I’m the wrong person to review this as I’m not that familiar with audio books or musical theatre which is what this seems to be a synthesis of. I’ll stick to reading books and listening to music, as this attempt to combine the two fell on deaf ears and blinkered eyes.

Released August 8th 2015

Buy direct from the artist

About the author – Gary Morley

Gary Morley

Trained Engineer, former Wrecka store manager, former dj,  ex retail manager , early love of music garnished via Stratton longheads taking him to see Led Zeppelin at Knebworth in 1979. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to have seen hundreds of bands from Acoustic Folk duos in pubs to multi platinum selling mega stars.
Best gig ever – Prince and Third Eye Girl at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Feb 2014.
Best musical experience – Attending a recording of a radio 4 program about the Waterboys, 80 fans sat feet away from Mike Scott, us on front row, then , as it was a 50th birthday treat for wifey, the whole room being led in a redition of “Happy Birthday” by her idol, Mr Scott. You can’t get better than that.
Claim to fame ( infamy more like) – Working for  NJF/ Marquee at the “Six of The Best ” Milton Keynes gig and having to convince fevered Italian Genesis fans that I was not Mike Rutherford!

Wallet Emptier – Sunday 18th October 2015

Welcome to a serious bumper edition of The Wallet Emptier, no less than nine albums in this latest round up of new releases and music that I feel may be of interest to you lot out there.

Keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming full sized reviews of some of these albums here at Progradar!

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Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals : Netherworld II

I still have a bit of  a soft spot for some tasty, classy progressive metal and Vanden Plas certainly fulfill that brief. The follow up to 2013’s ‘Chronicles of the Immortals : Netherworld carries on the concept  with aplomb. Excellent songwriting combines with some superb riffing and symphonic metal music. Having one of the best vocalists around in Andy Kuntz doesn’t hurt either. Pure theatre from start to finish, a brilliant release.

Releases 6th November 2015

Stand out track – Vision 11even – In My Universe

Pre-order from Amazon

 

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Vly – 1 / Time

A remote international collaboration between musicians from different backgrounds crystallized into a new band. A real conglomerate of musical might that throws in touches of progressive rock, classic rock, folk, post rock and epic riffs to deliver something quite uniquely brilliant. I expected nothing and the band delivered an exquisite release, really well worth buying, it should be in your collection.

Released 18th September 2015

Stand out track – Perfect Place

Buy the album from Amazon

 

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Yuka and Chronoship – The 3rd Planetary Chronicles

Trust the Japanese to come up with something out of the ordinary and downright extraordinary. Formed in 2009, a progressive band that majors on technical brilliance, thoughtful lyrics and a philosophical bent. There are lots of 70’s cues throughout the music but Yuka and Chronoship live in their own micro-climate and there isn’t anything else quite like it.

Released 25th September 2015

Stand out track – Age of Steam

Buy Yuka and Chronoship from Cherry Red Records

 

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IO Earth – New World

My first outing with this band and I didn’t know what I would be getting. The album cover screams symphonic progressive rock and the first couple of tracks on this double album did nothing to change my thoughts but, give this very long player time to work on you and you find some seriously intelligent and compelling music that knows no genre-defining bounds. The second disc is the best of the two but, overall, it is a very good listen.

Released 20th may 2015

Stand out track – The Rising

Buy New World direct from the band

 

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Thieves Kitchen – The Clockwork Universe

I was surprised to find that this great band have actually been around since 2000 and I’m only hearing about them now. One of the most intelligent and compelling groups to be part of the current progressive scene, they innovate and create dazzling music that seems to come alive before you. They call themselves ‘A Canterbury tinged Scandi/Brit progressive rock group with classical and folk influences’ and, even though it is a bit of a mouthful, it is a just about perfect description of their imaginative sound.

Released 23rd September 2015

Stand out track – The Scientists Wife

Buy The Clockwork Universe from The Merch Desk

 

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Gazpacho – Molok

Coming from the darkness of Scandinavia, it is no surprise that Norway’s Gazpacho release some of most intense and complicated music that inhabits this world. Their latest offering ‘Molok’ is no different, continuing their exploration of different concepts. The fact that they are as mad as a badger poked with a stick helps, I suppose and, this time,there are religious themes going head to head with modern day new science ideas and theories. Whatever the dense, macabre background, it is bloody good!

Released 23rd October 2015.

Stand out track – Know Your Time

Buy Molok from kscope

 

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Anderson Ponty Band – Better Late Than Never

After 30 years of talking about it these two musicians have finally got together. Not an album of totally new material, it presents some new musical compositions, rearrangements of classic Yes hits like Owner of a Lonely Heart and Wonderous Stories, as well as some of Jean-Luc Ponty’s compositions with lyrics penned by Jon Anderson. In parts it is very good, in others (especially the limp rearrangements of the Yes material) it flatters to deceive but, have a listen and see what you think?

Released 25th September 2015

Stand out track – One in the Rhythm of Hope

Buy Better Late Than Never from Amazon

 

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Comedy of Errors – Spirit

The eagerly awaited new album from the well respected Scottish proggers Comedy of Errors sees the band progressing on their signature sound. Stylish music backed by Joe Cairney’s emotive vocals grabs your attention. Always a band who major on expressive and intelligent songwriting, this new release embellishes that even further. An intensive and reflective musical journey that sees each song crafted individually and lovingly. I think they might just have delivered another great piece of musical drama.

Released 20th October 2015

Stand out track – Spirit

Buy direct from the band’s shop

 

A look back to the recent past……

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Aisles – 4.45 A.M.

There is an emotional intensity to 4.45 AM that is delivered with aplomb, I feel drained of emotion after listening to this album and it touches you to the depths of your soul. Like a fine wine, you will not want to experience this album every day but, keep it in someplace special so that, when the mood arises, you can bring it out and enjoy it all over again. I applaud Aisles for producing something that is as unique as they are, long may it continue.s far beyond that while creating a very powerful and unique type of music and sound.

Released 29th October 2013

Stand out track – Melancholia

Buy direct from the band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest review – John Hackett – Another Life – by John Simms

Stepping into the chair and taking a break from his Flight of the Skypilot blog is my good friend John Simms.

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When someone steps out of their usual musical genre and produces something different, it can often spark some interest. John Hackett is well known in musical circles as an accomplished flautist, and has contributed to ambient and dance music as well as classical and progressive recordings.

The majority of his recorded output in recent years, in his own name, has been classical works – often self-penned and usually with classical guitar accompaniment. Indeed one of his biggest selling albums was ‘Sketches of Satie’ recorded with brother Steve in 2000.

The new album ‘Another Life’ is different in that it is a rock album – even a progressive rock album! Only once before has John done anything similar, with 2005’s ‘Checking Out Of London’, and here again he has called on the talents of Nick Clabburn to provide the lyrics for the 13 songs.

This is an album of contrasts: light and shade; rock, some quite poppy moments, and more quiet, meditative tunes. John plays not only his trade-mark flute, but also guitars, bass and occasional keyboards. His main collaborator is Nick Magnus, and this – along with the frequent appearance of Steve on guitar – gives the album, for me, a feel reminiscent of some of Steve’s earlier solo work.

The vocals are strong (without being overpowering) expressive and varied, with a good use of harmonies, and I couldn’t help feeling that maybe Steve should have used him in this capacity on some of his own solo albums, particularly when he was beginning to sing his own material.

John’s guitar work is not to be sniffed at, but it is with flute in hand that he really excels. In the opening song, Another Life, there is some haunting, swooping flute work which brought to mind his work on Tigermoth on Steve’s ‘Spectral Mornings’ album, and Life in Reverse, one of the quieter songs, uses the flute where others would put in another guitar solo, and does so to great effect. This song, along with Poison Town, has a definite sound of Tim Bowness about it, and I would love to hear Tim’s take on either of these tracks.

Satellite deserves some special attention, featuring as it does not only Steve – but on harmonica rather than guitar – and Anthony Phillips on 12-string. It has a blues-y, Neil Young vibe with a tinge of early pastoral Genesis that can only come with Phillips’ signature style.

For those who enjoy their music a little on the soft side, this is a collection which repays repeated listening: good, though not great, but still a worthy addition to John’s canon and repertoire.

Released 25th September 2015 through Esoteric Antenna

Buy direct from the artists website

About the author – John Simms

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John Simms is a long term Prog fan in his mid-fifties from Yorkshire, currently living in exile in Cumbria. By day (and sometimes at night too) he works as a Methodist clergyman, and when not doing that he scours the outer reaches of the Progressive universe searching for musical nuggets. This latter endeavour is slowly bankrupting him.

John’s blog ‘Flight of the Skypilot’

 

 

 

 

 

Guest review – Seven Steps to The Green Door – Fetish – by Rob Fisher

Here is the second guest review, this time by Rob Fisher.

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I will make no secret of the fact that I am a long time admirer of the truly remarkable Seven Steps to the Green Door. From the double award winning debut album ‘The Puzzle’ (2006), to the tour de force of inspired musical excellence embodied in ‘Step in 2 My World (2008), to the beautifully crafted and lovingly composed journey that is               ‘The?Book‘ (2011: complete with painted nail in the CD release!), this seven-piece band from Germany always produce music which probes the boundaries of intelligence, passion and vision.

After a four year wait, they return with ‘Fetish’, a 78 minute musical tsunami which is simply breathtaking. The first listen, at times, can feel a little overwhelming. The music is alive, vibrant, full of energy, dynamism and joy. Full credit here must go to the superb arrangement and mixing by new guitarist Martin Schnella (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and excellent production values which allow the music to breathe in a revealing sound stage where each and every instrument is wonderfully transparent and quickly discloses the technical mastery and superb musicianship of the band.

Once you recover from the powerful initial impact, subsequent listens are a joyful revelation which repeatedly speak to something quite special being offered here in the perceptive and insightful writing of Marek Arnold (keyboards, sax) and Ulf Reinhardt (drums). There is a rich diversity of musical styles and creative segments that are thoughtfully sequenced and carefully fashioned to present an overall musical experience which is abundant in subtlety, nuance and finesse. Again and again you find yourself being engaged, being drawn in to so many different emotional journeys and captivated by the mesmerising ebb and flow of the   story which is unfolding in each track. As with previous albums, you are left in little doubt that this is a work of commitment, care and, ultimately, of love, it shines throughout the album and carries you along from start to finish.

What is, I think, noticeably different with ‘Fetish’ is the emerging (and quite rightful) confidence of the band to evolve their style where technical discipline flows hand in hand with joyful exuberance. The SSTTGD ‘sound’ from previous albums is alive, well and utterly unmistakable but this release gives it a new context in which to shine as a result of which, something new and much more profound emerges.

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From the very beginning, two things are immediately noticeable. First, this is an album built around exquisite vocal work. The voice as instrument becomes the focal point for everything else and off which everything else finds its place. Anne Trautmann is sublime in the range and quality of expression she brings to the material. She is joined by Lars Köhler who brings just the right tonal counterbalance and, in a guest appearance, the unmistakable Arno Menses from Subsignal. Together they give us a staggering range of performances which are a joy to hear. From the almost monkish purity of the opening 34 second track Possible Delayed (reprised at the very end of Ordinary Maniac), the fine interplay and layered harmonies of Still Searching (track 3) and the haunting melodies of Inferior (track 4) this album excels because the voices take centre stage, not as a dominant tool which drowns out the others but one which takes its place alongside them and by doing so enables them to become so much more.

Indeed, this leads to the second noticeable feature of the album: the quite brilliant orchestration of the band to build complex and interweaving crescendos that are full of presence, depth and inventiveness. With guest contributions from Steve Unruh (UPF), the foundations are set by controlled, unswerving and menacing guitar work, occasionally unleashed to soar, sweep and ascend to new heights. This is underpinned by driving, ambitious and atmospheric bass work (Daniel Mash of Machine, UPF and ex The Tangent guests). The drums beat out an assured and masterful array of rhythms, full of authority (with additional percussion from Justo Suarez). Keyboards join and swell the building soundscape, enriching the atmosphere and lifting the mood whilst the vocals combine to bring poignancy and emotional bite.

This is a band at the very top of its game, giving us music of the very highest calibre. It is a remarkable album which will surprise, astonish, captivate and delight; spending time with it only increases your awareness of undiscovered depths and hidden treasures. Enjoy it: and let us fervently hope we don’t have to wait another four years for the next instalment on this band’s remarkable journey.

Released 11th September 2015 via Progressive Promotion Records

Buy direct from the band’s website

About the author – Rob Fisher

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“Rob is a former academic and Head of Philosophy who is passionate about prog, scifi, wine and a curious array of US sports. He presently directs his own company which focuses on interdisciplinary events and publishing.”

 

 

Guest Review – Caligula’s Horse – Bloom – by Emma Roebuck

So, here we go with the first of Progradar’s ‘guest’ or ‘collaborative’ reviews and the first to step up to the plate is Emma Roebuck with a review of Caligula’s Horse and ‘Bloom’……….

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The third album from Caligula’s Horse ‘Bloom’, and my first exposure to their brand of Rock/metal/prog, finds me smiling. It passes a few tests for me, one played it through several times in the car and I didn’t feel the need to change the album and my passengers, who are not prog fans, were nodding along to riff laden music. The second test is playing it in the solitude of unwinding after a working week.

I won’t do a track by track break-down just say Sam Vallen, Jim Grey and the rest of the guys are a fine addition to Aussie prog-rock. It has something for most fans of the harder side of prog music, loads of hard, powerful guitar riffing with layered musical texture underneath. I am drawn instinctively to the better, mid-period, Dream Theater and Opeth stuff as you would expect but, also, Anathema too, not as copyists but as fellow travellers.

There is also plenty for the casual listener too, the songs draw you in and are accessible from the first listen, with plenty of variety from the softer Undergrowth creeping up on you to the aural ‘smack in the teeth’ half way through the Title track Bloom.  These guys can write songs with nuance and skill and are not formulaic by any stretch of the imagination.

The Stand out track for me is Dragonfly. Coming in at just short of 10 minutes, it has everything good that this album has to offer in one song. Trying to imagine this performed live, I see a great set closer in this one.

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Jim Grey has a voice that has remarkable range and works in the quieter moments and higher registers too, but maintains a power when they rock out and they can rock out, Rust being a fine example of an outright technical track that Threshold would be proud to produce.

To finish, it’s a worthy piece of music that shows how good some of the technically minded progressive musicians can write at the harder edge of this thing we called ‘prog’.

Check out the band’s website

Release Dates through InsideOut Records: October 16th, 2015 (EU), October 30th, 2015 (US).

 

Review – Glass Hammer – Double Live (Deluxe Edition)

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I’ve never been a big fan of live albums, preferring the purity of the original studio release. To me, that is probably how the band intended the music to be heard in the first place, rather than in a live setting.

There are, actually, plenty of studio bands who have never performed live and this has been of no detriment to them progressing and evolving. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and there are some outstanding live releases out there.

A few that come to mind ( and not restricted to progressive artists) are Thin Lizzy – ‘Live and Dangerous’ from 1978, Neil Young and Crazy Horse – ‘Arc-Weld’ from 1991, Yes – ‘Yessongs’ from 1973, Peter Frampton – ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ from 1976 and Genesis – ‘Three Sides Live’ from 1982.

These albums perhaps show the artists at the height of their powers and include some of the most blistering and emotional versions of their greatest songs. However, overall, I’ve always been more of a fan of the studio albums.

So, when one of my favourite artists, Glass Hammer, approached me about reviewing  their new, ‘live’, release, it was with no little trepidation that I awaited the arrival of the package at Progradar Towers…….

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Glass Hammer are elder statesmen of the progressive rock scene now, having been around since 1992 and releasing many celebrated albums, including their latest long player ‘The Breaking of the World’ this last year.

Hailed as one of their best records yet, it cemented them at the forefront of the classic progressive rock scene and many saw their appearance at  RosFest as being one of the highlights of that well established progressive rock festival.

Featuring the current line up of founder members Steve Babb (bass) and Fred Schendel (keyboards) along with vocalists Carl Groves and Susie Bogdanovic, Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitar) and Aaron Raulston (drums and percussion), that august publication, Prog Magazine went so far as to say:

“…the boldest set of the weekend. Steve Babb and Fred Schendel have always succeeded in creating an ensemble that fully complements their sense of musical grandeur.”

The band decided to release the whole set from RosFest as a Double CD/Single DVD deluxe package and I was lucky enough to receive this. Would it change my perception of live albums or would I still see it as something less than a studio release?

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The performance opens with the catchy Nothing, Everything which is the closing track from ‘The Breaking of the World’ and I feel it is a great track to open a live set with as it bounces along with great joie de vivre. Initial thoughts are that these guys are a tight live unit and the recording quality of the release is top notch and you can hear each note from the individual instruments. You are drawn in immediately to the signature Glass Hammer sound with its melodic intricacies and subtle deviations. The vocals are also on top form and some apparent issues with the vocals being too low in the mix at the actual show appear to have been addressed in a satisfactory manner. Carl and Susie are front and centre and work perfectly well bouncing off each other. So a grand opening for the show as far as I’m concerned, let’s see if it holds up…..

Now, if I do have one minor gripe about live recordings then it is definitely the links between the tracks and Carl Groves’ somewhat corny efforts here do grate slightly, not enough to detract from any enjoyment but enough to make me cringe a tad. After Carl has got his intro out of the way, the band move smoothly into a track from ‘Shadowlands’, their seventh, 2004 studio release. So Close, So Far is, in my opinion, one of their classic releases and the current line up more than do it justice with the excellent guitar work of Shikoh and the jazzy drumming of Raulston providing the perfect back drop for Schendel’s superior keyboard work. Harking back to a time when the band had more than a little Tolkien influence going on, the lyrics are so wondrous in places they just make me smile. How Susie keeps a straight face singing the words, “Time spent fighting Dragons, is wasted now, I know…..”, I’ll never know but they give me a childlike glee and the whole song has this brilliant winsome feel in a live setting, it literally bounces along full of the energy of some unseen youth. Timeless in execution, it is near perfect and watching the band performing it on the DVD you just get the feeling that they are really enjoying it. Steve Babb’s  ever present, dynamic bass drives the song along and he seems like he is almost overflowing with vigor such is his animation on the stage. Almost hidden behind a huge bank of keyboards, Fred Schendel seems to be giving the performance of his life as you watch a band at the height of their performing powers.

The first CD and first half of the performance closes out with the first two tracks from the latest album. Mythopoeia sees the band nodding their collective heads to the 70’s greats Yes. Too many people compare them unfavourably to that band but they are definitely equals on the strength of this performance. Groves vocal is heartfelt and literally alive and his counterplay with Susie Bogdanowicz gives the track a dramatic edge. Shikoh is giving a lively performance, his guitar full of vitality and the rhythm section are note perfect as the song flies along seemingly with a sentience and enthusiasm all of its own. Take a moment to watch and listen in the quieter moments where the vocalists pump increasing amounts of emotion into their performance, leaving you rapt in attention. Third Floor is a more tentative track, one that plays more on the vocal performance and uses the instruments to provide the balance and the backing to Carl’s edgy verse and Susie’s sentimental chorus. The whole band demand your attention on the stage, they are not merely musicians, they are performers in some engrossing drama that is unfolding before you. Fred’s harpsichord like instrumental section lightens things slightly, aided by some more impressive guitar work from Kamran Alan Shikoh. A free form instrumental section holds court through the centre of the song, technically excellent but still with a soul, the musicians give their all before the voice becomes the focal point once more. I think you can tell I’m really beginning to enjoy this can’t you? My smile breaks out again as a really intricate and yet easily accessible instrumental run takes the song to a profound close, I almost find myself applauding with the crowd.

So to CD 2 or the second part of the performance and another dip into the past and The Knight of the North from 2005’s ‘The Inconsolable Secret’. Carl does himself no favours here as the opening part of the track is an introduction of each member of the band but sung rather than spoken. Call it corny, call it cheesy, I just don’t like it. Thankfully it’s over with pretty quick and we can get onto what is quite a dark and serious track that loses some of the light-hearted feel of the previous songs. The music has a much more contemplative feel and is almost verging on a heavier progressive note. The performance is, once again, near faultless. You seem to lose yourself in the music as it winds its way around your psyche, leaving indelible marks wherever it touches. The keyboards have a definitive 70’s timbre to them and Schendel bounds around behind them like some mad professor at times. Babb is as energized as ever as his bass drives things along. Aaron Raulston sits behind his drum kit like an immovable force as he anchors the whole shebang in place. The twin voices of Groves and Bogdanowicz are in storyteller mode as they take you though the complexities in a precise and contemplative manner. Guiding it all, like a conductor, is Shikoh’s meticulous guitar playing, leading the complicated instrumental runs and firing off precise licks when required. Lost in a labyrinth from which you do not require rescue, this intelligent and fastidious song almost leaves you transfixed with the band’s superb musicianship.

2010’s ‘If’ saw the band turn to a more ‘symphonic-progressive rock’ sound and If the Stars was one of my favourite tracks from the album, the 2015 rendition certainly does the original justice, if not improving on it a little in a live setting. The gentle keyboards and soaring guitar open the track and your mind with their sincerity and honesty. A beautiful live version of the song flowers with the opening vocal lines. The emotive feel of the music hits you deep in your soul, it is when it is delivered like this that you see the lasting appeal of live music like this. You couldn’t feel the grace and beauty of Carl and Susie’s vocals from a studio recording, it literally does awaken in a live setting. The power and empathy of the music is almost tangible and you can see what it means to the band when they are performing it in front of an audience. Sat here watching it is really awe-inspiring and you can begin to see why music can be considered imperative and essential in people’s lives, healing the soul and delivering joy and inspiration. Damn, I’ve got something in my eye again……

Too soon the ninety minutes has come to a close and the first strains of the closing track can be heard. Time Marches On is from the band’s second ever studio album ‘Perelandra’, a concept album inspired by C.S.Lewis, released in 1995. Dynamic and vivacious, the introduction builds the song up in a quite unequivocable manner. Precise and deliberate, the guitar dominates the track with a mesmerising sway. Superb musicians are allowed to show their proficiency on this quite memorable song. There is an 80’s feel in parts to the track, especially the stylish keyboards and funky bass playing, this is Glass Hammer turning it up to 11 with no studio constraints and the ability to just enjoy themselves to the full. Just look at the band’s faces, you can see they are having a hell of a time and this is evident in the joy and delight that comes across in the performance. You just wouldn’t get this freedom in a studio release, this is the heart and soul of the band and the music given vent and freedom of expression, enjoy it while you can!

Putting it simply (don’t laugh) ‘Double Live’ has broken the mould for me. Never a big fan of live albums, this release is a joyous rendition of all that’s good about Glass Hammer. The intricacies, the intrigue and sheer emotion of the band’s music let loose in a live setting and it is damn near flawless. A purchase that I must recommend highly, in my opinion, you won’t regret it!

On sale now

Buy Double Live direct from the band

 

 

 

Review – Unified Past – Shifting the Equlibrium

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“I really don’t think in the past. I sit down with many friends at dinner, and they like to talk about the good old days. I’m respectful of the good old days, but I find myself spending very little time reminiscing. I’m really looking forward.” – David Bren.

Through numerous conversations, discussions and mild arguments on social media this last month, I have come to see this as indicative of my view on the music industry and, particularly, the progressive genre.

I wrote a few words about this, agreed, in the heat of the moment and, despite them mellowing somewhat over the last week or two, this was the gist of it:

“My dear friends if we always keep looking over our shoulders at what has gone before then there will be no future for the music.
Yes, enjoy the greats of the past but please invest some of your precious time and hard-earned money in some of the smaller artists who are producing the here and the now and, more than that even, the future……”

True, some of these modern artists would not even be writing and performing their music if it wasn’t for the influence of the leviathans of the past and we should respect them for that and for what they are producing now but, we really need to concentrate on the present for this genre (and many others, I would imagine, but I’m concentrating on my favourite!) to flourish and not disappear into the musical ether.

I hope, in some little way, that by concentrating on the independent artists and small labels that I can contribute to widening the general music fan’s consciousness when it comes to the new music that they produce and release.

To that extent I, once again, delve into the musical treasure trove to find some wonderment for your delectation and, this time, it is Syracuse, NY band Unified Past who get ‘Progradared’ (so to speak!).

I have been a long time fan of this excellent group of musicians ever since reviewing their last release ‘Spots’ for Lady Obscure Music Magazine and I was very excited when, earlier this year, guitarist Stephen Speelman first informed me that they had a new album coming out, ‘Shifting the Equlibrium’, in the autumn.

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Unified Past is a power progressive rock band from Syracuse, New York. ‘Shifting the Equilibrium’ is the band’s 7th release and their third for Melodic Revolution Records. The CD is a 6 panel digi pack containing a 12 page booklet of lyrics and photos, designed by international fantasy artist Ed Unitsky, who also designed “Spots” in 2013.

The band consists of Stephen Speelman (guitars, keys, vocals), Dave Mickelson (bass) and Victor Tassone (drums and percussion). For this new release they were joined by grammy award winning vocalist Phil Naro, showing that the band is continuing to grow and evolve and that they are a band that prog rock fans should really get to know.

Guitarist Stephen possesses a master’s degree in classical guitar performance, bass player Dave  is currently a member of Joey Belladonna’s Chief Big Way and thunderous drummer Victor  has appeared on several independent artist releases as well, including Corvus Stone and Andy John Bradford’s Oceans 5.

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The album opens with Erasure Principle, a tentative percussion and keys based intro gives way to the thunderous guitar of Stephen Speelman and Victor Tassone’s powerful drumming. This is what you call ‘Power-Prog’ as the heavy riffage continues, surrounded by some rather nice technical elements. When Phil’s voice joins the throng, it gives it a very Rush-like feel, especially with the keyboards driving the song along. Some rather excellent instrumental interludes join together the vocal parts and it is immediately obvious that Naro’s distinctive vocals have added a further dimension to the band’s signature sound. Speelman goes into guitar shredding mode with an excellent solo in the middle of a more laid back interlude, giving a short break, before the flood gates are once again opened and the full force of Unified Past is thrust upon you. Upbeat, effervescent and assured, it opens the album with a purely positive vibe.

A really striking keyboard run, accompanied by another booming riff opens Smile (In the Face of Adversity), Phil repeats the title in a lazy repeated circle and the song seems to tread water before the blue touch paper is lit and off we go on a hectic riff-led journey once more. Excellent little squirreling guitar runs grab your attention and reel you in to join the effusive musical thrill ride. The dense production leading to a wall to wall block of intense sound, staccato, random keyboard parts and sinister guitar breaks give the whole song a moody aura and Phil’s vocal has a slight pleading note to it, appealing to your better side. The catchy chorus is underpinned by the chugging riff that drives the song along at a break-neck pace. The musical breaks haul everything back to a more sedate tempo as the atmosphere takes on an edgy feel. Naro’s intensive vocal delivery will not be to everyone’s taste but I feel that it works perfectly with the solid, forceful musical delivery. An intricate, restless guitar solo adds menace before the song breaks out with the dynamic keyboards and looms ominously above you. Quite a dark hued musical adventure that comes to an enigmatic close, I’ve paid the entrance fee and I am enjoying the ride….

Etched in Stone begins with a nicely subdued acoustic guitar followed by refined keyboards that add a note of distinction to the track. The vocals join in, quite heartfelt and earnest, adding a cultured note. The ‘Power-Prog’ takes a back seat initially but it isn’t long before Tassone’s drumming starts to resonate around the inside of your skull, purposeful and compelling. Speelman’s guitar adds its usual stylish flourishes and you really get to hear the majesty of Dave Mickelson’s fluent bass playing as it lays the foundations for the rest of this enjoyable musical jaunt. Another forceful and energetic riff adds the necessary chops to Phil Naro’s increasingly potent vocal delivery, add all this energizing melodic brilliance to the intricate progressive elements already in the melting pot and you get a wild smorgasbord of harmonious delights. There is no denying the technical artistry of these musicians but it is their ability to write a damn good song that always seems to come to the fore for me, adding the undoubted vocal drama of Phil Naro has really upped their game by quite a large leap.

A highly charged and volatile keyboard and guitar combination launches Peace Remains in This World, a really aggressive and magnetic opening and Phil’s dominant voice carries on the efficacious feel. Touches of Rush and Trevor Rabin era Yes abound to my ears. The lively, electrifying interplay between the keys and guitar that overly some more impressive bass work from Dave Mickelson is a definite highlight as this track takes definitively heavier progressive route. Intricacies and ‘noodly’ bits ramped up to eleven are at the core of the song, a darker and moodier track than those that have gone before. Once again, the superb bass playing anchors the whole sound as the song moves into what is almost a stylish jam session, I get the impression that this would be a killer track live, both for the band and the audience. A really dominant and dense musical experience that leaves its mark on your psyche as it comes to a strident conclusion.

Let’s go on a metaphysical journey, Deviation From a Theme (of Harmonic Origin) sounds very existential and begins with quite a thought provoking, if rather loud, introduction. It is a rather fine instrumental that gets your grey matter working as it careers from place to place with its own destination in mind. An exploration of the deeper parts of humankind’s inner being through music, the smooth segues from intricate and convoluted to smooth and calculated are pin sharp as these musicians deliver their ‘A’ game right on cue. Speelman’s guitar is animated in every sense and punches the song forcefully along with an intense depth of intuition. The polished rhythm section of Tassone and Mickelson seems inspired as they choreograph this great track at ground level. The Rush influences can be heard throughout, like a nod to the greats of the past but they are integrated into Unified Past’s own sound to create something dexterous, eye-opening and quite superb.

The final track on this discerning musical adventure is Today is the Day and sees the band deliver an uplifting close to the album. A euphoric opening dominated by Naro’s vocal leads you gently into the song as the classy music delivers a wonderful hopeful note. Musical sunshine runs across your mind as the track increases in expectancy and emotion. A song full of hope, longing and optimism and all that is inherent in the lyrics that Phil Naro espouses so fervently. This song is more about the spirit and meaning of the lyrics, the musicians seem happy to take a back seat and let the words do the talking, yet they never take their foot of the pedal. The demonstrative bass work and energising fervour of the drums give the verse that added lustre and Speelman’s admirable guitar could almost be singing itself as it comes to life in short virtuoso slots throughout the song. A contemplative, serious instrumental section adds a nice counterpoint to the lighter note of the early part of the track yet it soon sheds that steely eyed demeanor to flare brightly with expectation once more. All good things must come to an end, unfortunately and this auspicious song comes to a triumphant close.

Powerful, energising music that makes you sit up and listen, ‘Shifting the Equlibrium’ is most definitely Unified Past’s most impressive release to date. A group of exemplary musicians whose songwriting has reached a new peak, add in the dynamism of Phil Naro’s voice and you have near-perfect ‘Power-Prog’. Will it appeal to veryone? I doubt it but, those that do appreciate this band’s excellent music have really dropped lucky this time, well done chaps!

Released 15th September 2015

Buy Shifting the Equlibrium from MRR

 

 

 

 

 

Wallet Emptier – 29/9/15

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Nad Sylvan – Courting the Widow

Better known recently as the voice behind Steve Hackett’s ‘Genesis Revisited’ live show, Nad has had a varied career as a solo musician and as part of the musical projects Unifaun and Agents Of Mercy. ‘Courting the Widow’ is his first solo effort since 2005 and was quite a revelation to me. It is full of traditional progressive rock pointers yet it is Nad’s voice that carries the album all the way through. A concept album about his stage persona, The Vampyre. Featuring a plethora of guest musicians including Steve Hackett, Nick BeggsRoine STolt and Nick D’Virgilio if you like well written, story driven music (and a touch of Genesis), you’ll love this.

Released 16th October 2015 (EU)

Stand Out Track – Long Slow Crash Landing

Pre-order Courting the Widow from inside out music

 

David Gilmour

David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock

Pink Floyd’s guitar maestro releases his first solo album since ‘On an Island’ and it is a good one. There’s been a lot of discussion about the prominence of the older, established artists recently and how they are perhaps taking the attention from the new and up and coming acts (I put my hand up to being one who is worried by it) but, surely, they can exist together. If these older, nostalgic acts weren’t around, what music would we have listened to in the first place? Nothing new or different but polished and comfortable, like your favourite shoes, I find myself returning to it quite frequently.

Released 18th September 2015

Stand out track – And Then…..

Buy direct from the artist’s website

 

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Hillward – Flies in Amber Stones

Canadian band Hillward started off as Southern Cross’ side project with three of its members, David Lizotte, Jean-François Boudreault and Antoine Guertin. The band became one of its own when Alexandre Lapierre joined as a second guitar player after the recording of the first album ‘Flies In Amber Stones’.

Progressive metal with alternative undertones, its powerful and dynamic sound is really quite addictive as it pulses and resounds with heavy riffs, potent drumming and aggressive vocals.

Released 25th September 2015

Stand out track – Flies in Amber Stones

Buy direct from the artist

 

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Perfect Beings – Perfect Beings II

The eagerly awaited follow up to 2014’s eponymous debut album is a cornucopia of progressive, classical, experimental, ambient, jazz and pop influences that create the band’s unique style. Emotive and full of energy it is the fruit of 2014’s live performances and the way that playing live tightened up the band’s sound and evolved them into a tighter unit.

Perhaps a tad incohesive and self-indulgent in places, it is still, nevertheless, a great Prog-Rock release.

Released 16th October 2015

Stand out track – The Love Inside

Pre-order Perfect Beings II direct from the band’s website

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFVPWk_X8mw

 

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Australia’s Caligula’s Horse release their third album of raw, honest, and yet skillful, progressive, alternative rock. Vibrant and dynamic, the band are like a force of nature and their music is not for the faint hearted whilst being energetic, grand and forthright.

This is their most vivid, vibrant and emotional work to date and should see them break through and become one of the leading lights of the genre, full of colour and life.

Released 16th October 2015 (EU)

Stand out track – Dragonfly

Buy Bloom from inside out music

Blast from the past…..

Kinetic Element – Powered by Light

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Following my review of the band’s ‘Travelog’ album last week, I have the pleasure of introducing their first release from 2009. ‘Powered by Light’ follows in the tradition of the progressive rock giants of the 1970s, heavy with symphonic keyboards and virtuoso guitar work, Kinetic Element takes the listener on a lightspeed journey of the heart, full of great evocative passages.

Released 2009

Stand out track – Reconciliation

Buy Powered by Light from MRR