“Under A Banner are Adam Broadhurst -guitars, vocals, harmonica, cittern; Jake Brooks – guitars and backing vocals; Simon Hill -bass guitar; Tim Wilson -drums, percussion, backing vocals; Kat Davis – keyboards. Powerful, poetic music about the world and the people and spirits which inhabit it.”
When I was sent this album the above information was all I had to go by. They sent an image for the album and a couple of paragraphs from the wonderful PR people at Bad Elephant Music (Martin) in the email.
Wolverhampton’s Under A Banner are another band new to me but I show no fear in my own ignorance or absence of previous hearing. It went onto my tablet and I begun to listen in bed while I settled to peruse the current reading material, a novel in this case, but often it’s a policy or document for work. My first thoughts, after the first pass through, were of the sheer energy and passion captured in the recording. It is enough to run a small power station for a year. The music screams a preternatural folk roots sound that pulls from many different sources and influences as well. They are the natural descendants of The Pogues, The New Model Army and The Levellers, musically and in their choice of song topic.
The songs range for the vicious political narrative of Kill It All, attacking faith and consumerism through to the revolutionary call-to-arms of Legion. The styles all vary greatly but the central core of folk/punk is forever present. About Lovecritiques on the love song and relationships but with a sense of time perspective, misquote here, “it’s about more than the he said she said” and “in a thousand years we’ll all be dead”.
Already There kicks in with a simple guitar line and very traditional vocal style, Adam’s voice over a single guitar, but lyrically it is an attack on our constant need to add to the layers and barriers between us and what we have already. It has a plaintiff violin threading through the whole melody of the song stating “The beauty was already there”.
For me, the ultimate gem on the album is World of Hope and it shines despite some serious competition from the rest of the album. I suppose my inner cynic was drawn to the despair and loathing of a need to constantly look back at things and not see what we could have or have been.
If you have a desire to hear music written and performed with passion, soul and sincerity, as well as a willingness to open beyond limits, then this is definitely the one for you. I used the musical references of bands like the Pogues and NMA as they are the nearest reference points but, trust me, Under A Banner are neither of those bands, they are a unique force of their own.
Crikey, the plethora of excellent new music arriving daily at Progradar Towers is definitely increasing in volume!
With this in mind, welcome to the first in an irregular series of shorter, more concise (yes, I know!) reviews to empty your wallet. You can thank me later….
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Damian Wilson has one of the more recognisable voices in Prog Rock/Metal and his band Threshold have, while not exactly being at the forefront of progressive-metal, certainly gained a cult following over the years.
Leaving the day job to one side, Damian, alongside keyboard player Adam Wakeman, bassist Lee Pomeroy, drummer Pete Brook and guitarist Pete Rinaldi, formed the so-called ‘Supergroup’ Headspace in 2006. It wasn’t until 2012 that they released their debut album ‘I Am Anonymous’ and, to be fair, I was left slightly underwhelmed by it.
Fast forward to 2016, the band have replaced Brook with Adam Falkner and released their sophomore effort ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’. Time for a rethink from this music hack? Let’s see….
The new album has a strong conceptual strand running throughout.
“The concept is mine,” says Wilson. “On the first album we were focussing on the individual trying to fit into the group. This time, we are looking at the group’s inability to control the individual. It’s about governments, big business and religion but also the smaller social groups we form. They exist as a method of ensuring conformity, always with a pecking order.”
This release has the signature dense and heavy sound employed, not only by Headspace but, also by Threshold. Thunderous riffs and dynamic drumming abound on tracks like the opening duo Road To Supremacy and Your Life Will Change and the Audio Plastik-a-like Kill You With Kindness. There is an intelligence running throughout though, the stylish bass and astute, polished keyboards laying an impressive infrastructure.
To be honest, what you have to decide is, whether you like Damian Wilson’s distinctive vocals or not as they are all pervasive on this release and are the foundation of Headspace’s sound and style.
Me? I love them, he has brilliant nuances in his voice that really come to the fore on the expressive blues style of Polluted Alcohol, a gem of a track where Rinaldi’s pared back delta blues guitar work is an absolute delight yet Wilson’s vocal is the real focus, and the epic The Science Within Us, a song that really showcases how far this impressive group of musicians have come since the debut release. A track of different parts and one where Wilson seems to vocalise different characters and his tender, heartfelt voice is at its supreme best. The way he sings the chorus will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. He hits the heights again on the superior closing track Secular Souls, an engrossing musical journey that enthralls and captivates from the first note to the last, powerful and bombastic and yet with a compassion and benevolence deep at its heart.
‘All That Fear Is Gone’ was produced by the band, and mixed by Jens Bogren, who also worked on ‘I Am Anonymous’.
To me, this record is a true cohesive whole but Damian wasn’t convinced at first,
“When all the separate parts for this were first put together, I thought it sounded crazy,” laughs Wilson. “In fact, I’d go so far as to call it unlistenable. But then Jens worked his magic in the studio, and has made it all settle down and make sense.”
I could try and pick out some stand out tracks but, you really need to take this album as a whole listening experience, there really are no weak moments at all. For me, at least, this is a huge improvement on the debut release and I highly recommend it.
‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ is the second part of a planned trilogy, and Wilson already has the blueprint for the final instalment in his mind. But that’s still in the future. Right now, the band are concentrating on touring in 2016. “That will definitely happen. We are working on the dates right now.”
‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ was released on 26th February 2016
Happy New Year my friends, after the bumper musical cornucopia of 2015, it is quite difficult to see how 2016 could top it but, you never know!
To get this year started with a bang, here’s a super-duper edition of Wallet Emptier featuring some great albums from last year that didn’t get to feature due to being released at the end of the year and some belters that are kicking off 2016 in fine fashion. Buckle up, it’s going to be an exciting ride…….
M!NDGAMES – Paradox of Choice
Belgian proggers M!NDGAMES returned in 2015 with this new release, which was my first exposure to their classy brand of Neo-Prog. Bombastic bursts of symphonic tinged rock combine with delicate moments of reflection and sadness to give a feel of early Marillion, all underscored by swooping keyboards. An album that definitely gets better as it it progresses and one that is worthy of your attention.
With ‘Treasure House’, Jack draws from a deep well of poignant and reflective experiences to deliver a delightful collection of acoustic tracks that come straight from his heart and are like a breath of fresh air. He is tremendously excited to bring these stripped back, uplifting songs to life. Just one man and his guitar, Jack has written ten insightful and moving tracks that, together with his haunting vocals, lead you on a captivating musical journey into the depths of his soul.
Released 5th February 2016 through Bad Elephant Music
I opened my email inbox this morning to find two new promotional releases, the first was for Profuna Ocean, a Dutch band I profess to having passed under my radar. Always open to new experiences I launched into ‘In Vacuum’ to be utterly stunned by what I was hearing. A more hard-edged, aggressive prog with intelligent lyrics, excellent vocals and excellent production. At 62 minutes long it never outstays its welcome and I found myself immediately pressing repeat play to be absorbed in its stylish aura once again, just WOW!
From the first note it was apparent that there is nothing quite like the highly original sound of N.y.X.They are at the forefront of avant-garde, experimental progressive rock, a real musical breath of fresh air. The multi-instrumental trio is joined by a number of impressive guest artists to build on the signature sound of a power trio enhanced by electronic percussions, synthesizers and effects.
Berlin based Osta Love are one of the bands to watch for 2015 and their follow up the dark concepts of ‘Good Morning Dystopia’ is a complete breath of fresh air. ‘Isle of Dogs’ is full of their signature sound that unites Rock with Jazz, Pop with Baroque and adds a dose of melancholic dreamscape to form a unique sound that touches hearts and heads. Even though it was released at the end of 2015, I have only just heard this jewel and it is rapidly becoming a highlight for me.
Another German band, this time hailing from Dresden, Toxic Smile have thrown out the rule book and produced an album that consists of just one 42 minute track and, guess what, it works! A soaring progressive rock and metal epic that takes you through a multitude of emotions in its relatively short running time. The distinctive vocals and superb musicianship are key elements to its instant attraction, a record that will surprise and delight on many levels. Another great release from Progressive Promotion Records.
Released 6th December 2015
Stand out track – well there’s only the one anyway…..
I had already decided to include this release before news of David Bowie’s death started to cross the web, while I have never been as big a fan as many, I have always recognised him as a great musical innovator and a true legend. ‘Blackstar’ was his 27th album and one of his recent best. Exploring new avenues using a jazz band he has produced a deep and sometimes dark release that, obviously, touched on his own mortality as he came to the end of his life. It now seems a brilliant, if poignant, testimony to his musical legacy.
Another ‘Prog Supergroup’, this time featuring Nick Beggs, Roger King and MarcoMinnemann, rears its head to deliver engaging, expansive rock for the thinking person, apparently. While not perhaps living up to those lofty expectations entirely, it is an enjoyable listen and, when not sounding generically like a lot of the so called supergroups, has a real depth and intelligence all of its own. Don’t take it on face value and give it more than one coat of listening to and you will find an album that is worthy of your collection, just not quite a contender for album of the year yet.
Originally released in 2014, this year sees the re-release of Devin Townsend’s rootsy country and North American folk music project as a 2CD and 1DVD package. Featuring the delightful vocals of Ché Aimee Dorval it is winsome and wistful in equal measure, evocative memories are brought to life on a battered old telecaster and fender amp in what is a complete change from the Canadian artist’s metal roots. Lay back on your lounger on the porch, sipping iced lemon tea in the sun, life’s easy really. Worth it for the 8 minute brilliance of ‘The Bridge’ alone….
Italian progressive rock that is incredibly intricate and engrossing. Lock yourself in a darkened room and let the endless combination of notes and distant rhythms create an amazing union of classical and rock music. A record where the language doesn’t matter, it is the intent of the words that is obvious and draws you deep into this incredible album.
Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate – When The Kill Code Fails
The second promotional release that I found in my email inbox, ‘When The Kill Code Fails’ sounded very intriguing. A science fiction/artificial intelligence themed concept album, it is the second release from the London based rock band with a great name Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate and is described as proggy, funky and sometimes poignant. Expressive vocals and a pared back sound give it a real intensive feeling that immediately draws you in. Electronica, prog, bluesy rock and metal all get a look in during its very enjoyable and inventive 56 minute running time.
German band Martigan were formed in 1994 and deliver an almost pastoral brand of progressive rock with lilting vocals and a sunny aspect, think Lifesigns meets United Progressive Fraternity and you won’t be far wrong. An engrossing 75 minutes of easy listening progressive rock that just flies past leaving you in quite a relaxed state of mind.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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 Beggs, Roine STolt and NickD’Virgilio if you like well written, story driven music (and a touch of Genesis), you’ll love this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Working for a living means it has been a while since the last Wallet Emptier so the ‘weekly’ moniker has had to go for this edition.
Twice Bitten – Late Cut
‘Late Cut’ is the CD album celebrating the 30th anniversary of legendary ‘heavy wood’ duo Twice Bitten’s ‘No Third Man’ album. Using only stringed instruments with no percussion or keyboards there is a simple, sparse beauty to the songs on the album. Pared back to its constituent parts, it has a stark and honest feel to it. Sepia tinged nostalgia abounds on these lovingly remastered songs. The addition of two new tracks is a huge bonus. Get ordering and , if your one of the lucky first 100 to do so, you get a bonus CD of sublime, mainly instrumental, music, ‘Kent Hill’.
Releases 2nd October 2015
Stand out tracks – the legendary ‘Crocus Point’ and ‘Ocean’.
The first album from the Syracuse,NY based progressive rock band Unified Past to feature new vocalist Phil Naro is undoubtedly their best yet. Powerful, melodic and intricate songs that have a whole new edge due to Phil’s excellent vocals. Founder and guitarist Stephen Speelman says it is a new chapter in the band’s evolution. A real rocker that will shake any cobwebs out of your hair.
As the title would suggest, this is the fourth part of an album series begun in 2004. I am not acquainted with the previous three instalments which may account for why this album took a while to resonate with me but, once you ‘get it’, it is a thing of musical delights and wonder. Brilliant songwriting and superb musicianship combine to deliver a totally immersive and overwhelming musical experience. Just one question for Casey, Track 11, why?, just….why?
I am new to this band and have maybe done this the wrong way round, their third release being the first I have listened to. What can I say, this mainly instrumental piece is mad as many boxes of amphibians, flawed in places but entirely and eccentrically wonderful. This unique band follow no path already trodden and may not appeal to everyone but the brilliant musicianship leads them up many blind alleys that they then extricate themselves magically from. Mad, bad and brilliantly dangerous….
With the great songwriting skills and the length of some of the tracks, these heavy metal behemoths definitely have one foot in the progressive arena and their latest release is their best of recent years. With powerful rockers, epic riffs and Bruce’s vocals gaining a gruff depth that adds a patina of aged brilliance, ‘The Book of Souls’ is a rip roaring yarn from start to finish and includes some rather intricate and intelligent songs that any fan of the genre would love. Some might say they never lost form but, to me, this is a triumphant return!
Sorry for my tardiness but holidays and work have got in the way……
Anyway, here we go with a few more delights for you to contemplate buying…
Amadeus Awad – Death is Just a Feeling
Lebanese musician Amadeus is one of those guys who really wears his heart on his sleeve. Deep, absorbing and dark and with guests of the calibre of Anneke Van Giersbergen, Arjen Lucassen and Jimmy Keegan to name just a few, it is his most cohesive and impressive work to date. One word, marvelous…..
Beautiful instrumental music from this Russian band. Really mesmerising and dreamlike and yet with a hard underbelly, it caught my attention in a big way. Richly orchestrated and with a knowing aged honesty at its core, it is one that will open your mind and leave you in a state of wonder. Epic and Floydian in places and mind bending all over.
Weird, wacky and quite wonderful, this album really does put a smile on your face. Not quite as ‘out-there’ as Cheeto’s Magazine but definitely slap bang in the middle of the ‘insane’ category it really has its tongue stuck right in its cheek. To quote the artist themselves…..
“Purveyor of tritonal wankery, The Bob Lazar Story hail from Christchurch, NZ and offer you an oasis of ProgMathsyFusion to soothe your weary earholes.”
Calm, collected and cinematic, this is music for the intellectual. Quite deep in meaning and execution it requires your complete attention and then delivers in quite a bewitching manner. Some times acoustically dissonant but, overall, thematically aesthetic and very pleasing on the ears. Big ideas realised in a big soundscape.
I have a soft spot for some classical music and, after the recent Big Big Train gigs, the music of the Band of the Coldstream Guards really caught my attention. John Storey is a celebrated euphonium player who has featured on the Big Big Train’s recent records and many other releases and I have had the pleasure of listening to his 2012 release ‘Euphonium’. It is an utter delight and really wonderful.
“A soundtrack for the current generation”, The Fierce and the Dead have a new EP on the way. For those unfamiliar with these ‘funny music’ pioneers they play instrumental music with a huge amount of substance, powerful and majestic with sheer brutality in places yet they can turn their hands to pensive and thoughtful or expressive just as easy.
“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 proof of the pudding is in the eating and the limited run of 250 CDs is looking as if it will sell out before the 14th August release date so get one whilst you can!
Stand out track – Palm Trees
Due to be released on 14th August 2015 via Bad Elephant Music.
I was a late comer to the Echolyn party and it wasn’t until 2012’s self-titled release that I discovered their captivating style of progressive rock. Storytelling by music, getting to the heart of the matter and opening up small town America, I have heard them called the US’s answer to Big Big Train. To me that is a compliment to both bands, they play music that will engross you and lift your soul. Sometimes a band can come very close to perfection with a new release and this album is as close to a must buy album as I’ve heard this year.
Stepping out of my usual comfort zone, this next release is forged from the fires of alt-country. Wilco have been around for a while and I have dallied with their music before to no avail for my record collection and their bank balance. This time, due to a free download on the band’s website, I may have finally found an album from the band that I can appreciate in every facet. Fast paced and energetic, there is also a darker core explored on some of the tracks. There is a slight progressive note to a couple of the tracks but, overall, it is quite a gem of an alternative country focused album.
CD release date 21st August 2015 , Vinyl 27th November 2015
I featured the new Parzivals Eye release ‘Defragments’ earlier this month and, as is my want, I have gone back in time to the original 2009 release ‘Fragments’ to find that, to my ears, it is even better. Ex RPWL bassist Chris Postl’s solo project is a multi-faceted delight. Soaring soundscapes, brilliant vocals (Christina Booth and Alan Reed) and some superb guitar work (Ian Bairnson) all combine to produce an album of high quality neo-progressive music that really should be in your collection.
Prolific musician Arny Wheatley returns with his latest album under the Geof Whitely Project’ pseudonym. The laid back, electronic 80’s style feel of previous works is given a spruce up and relaunched with a classy and smooth delivery. The rather memorable guitar work and laconic vocals are still in place and, as such, it is very much ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ but no less impressive for that. And what about that album artwork, deliciously spooky eh?
Stand out track – The Hunter
To be released 31st October 2015, full review to follow.
That is a saying often attributed to sporting prowess but it really does apply in the musical world as well. Bristolian Saul Blease released his debut album ‘Daybreak’ at the end of 2014 and I really liked it. I went so far as to say:
“Excellent songwriting showing a depth of knowledge well beyond his nineteen years and an ear for an addictive tune combine to deliver an album that pleases on many levels.”
Saul returns with new electronic project Northwoods and a debut E.P. ‘Black Skies’ and, darn me, if he hasn’t gone and done it again! 4 killer tracks that really grab your attention. Yes it might not be for your ‘died in the wool’ traditional progressive fan but, in my opinion, there is enough in there to keep any music fan involved and happy.
This year has seen some rather excellent releases already and, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, another contender arrived at Progradar towers recently. I don’t like the word ‘folkish’ but this album has definite tendencies in that direction. It also has a whole host of other influences including soul, country blues and even some R&B hidden in there and they all combine to produce as near as perfect a summer album, for those with progressive and folk leanings, as could possibly be envisaged. Just buy it……
Sadly now on an indefinite hiatus, British progressive band Flicker came to everyone’s attention with this 2013 release. Interwoven melody lines and rhythms dynamically combine with intricate arrangements, thoughtful lyrics and the use of the appropriate sound or genre necessary to convey the meaning and feeling of a song. A distinctive vocal and powerful music delivery complete what is a rather good album and one that should be in your collection.
Gekko Project are a California based five piece Progressive Rock band, with duel vocals, symphonic keyboards, progressive guitars, driving bass and adventurous drums. Their latest album ‘Reya of Titan’ has all the ingredients of a classic progressive album with an intricate storyline given substance by some rather good musicians. Extended tracks mix with the briefer variety to deliver an entertaining release that is well worthy of a listen
Starting a run of progressive metal releases in this week’s WWE, Solstice Coil hail from Israel. Operating for over a decade, Solstice Coil blends the powerful sound and emotional charge of international alternative rock with the precise compositions and arrangements of progressive rock, with major influences such as Radiohead, Muse, Porcupine Tree, Oceansize, The Mars Volta and Dream Theater. Their latest release ‘Commute’ is another example of their take on straight up prog-metal and, to my ears anyway, is a rather good album.
One from out of the blue that I had never heard of before, the Geof Whitely Project. No two albums use the same musical influences but there is a core of cinematic, atmospheric progressive rock that puts me in mind of Fractal Mirror and Mike Kershaw. Thoughtful and precise, it is a sea of calm in the frenetic world we live in and quite addictive.
Full review of the this and the two previous releases coming next from Progradar.
“Welcome to the carnival of the dysfunctional and the disturbed”
Formed back in 1997 with an idea to mix progressive rock, doom metal and 70’s-inspired psychedelic rock, Subterranean Masquerade creates music with that edge of extreme metal and the loose atmosphere of Pink Floyd and Iron Butterfly. So goes the publicity blurb anyway, I’m not a fan of growly vocals so for me to listen all the way through an album containing quite a lot of them and come out the other side saying I really enjoyed it must be a positive. The mix of progressive and metal is dialed well over to the progressive side on this interesting release and it is all the better for it.
A great album cover does not always a great album make but, in this case, it certainly does. More progressive metal with leanings definitively to the progressive corner, this time from the UAE, classy and very precise yet able to really rock out as well. I’m hoping that this album will catapult Anuryzm onto the big stage, it is certainly good enough.