Marillion have announced that they will return to the road in the UK and Europe in 2019 with an extended line up of musicians joining the band.
The shows will feature the In Praise of Folly String Quartet plus Sam Morris on French Horn and Emma Halnan on Flute, featured on select numbers throughout the show as on previous occasions. In December 2017, Marillion played a sold-out show at The Royal Albert Hall which was the fastest selling concert of the bands career and featured this same ensemble of musicians who also featured on the UK tour in the spring of 2018. The concert at the Royal Albert hall was hailed by the fans and critics alike as “one of the best concerts in Marillion’s history”. The recording of the show, ‘All One Tonight’ has since been released on DVD, Blu-Ray, CD and vinyl and topped the charts in 5 countries. Marillion will be playing songs spanning their 14 album-career with Steve Hogarth, as 2019 celebrates 30 years of him joining the band.
“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”
A poignant quote from the great Tom Petty and one that surely rings true in today’s troubled times. I love the surprise of hearing new music that moves you and takes you to a better place, there truly is nothing better.
Featuring members of both Airbag and the Björn Riis touring bands, Oak is a Norwegian progressive pop/rock band that originally emerged from a folk-rock duo. The four members have a diverse background spanning from classical piano to electronica, prog- and hard-rock, with references to the alternative scene as well as progressive rock – something that has combined to make a distinguished and unique sound. Mixing this with great musical skills and a vision of being accessible to a wide audience resulted in their debut album ‘Lighthouse’ in 2013.
Five years later, they are back with the stunning follow-up ‘False Memory Archive’. A natural continuation from ‘Lighthouse’, to which it has several small nods and references. The album has been meticulously crafted, with more use of electronics and low bass frequencies. It is both darker and groovier than its predecessor, while still sounding familiarly like Oak.
The promo arrived, unassumingly, in my inbox a few weeks ago and it was only because the band’s name triggered some sought of recognition in my mind that I decided to give it an immediate listen.
‘False Memory Archive’ is an incredibly engrossing and memorable listening experience. The opening track We, The Drowned immediately draws you into their dark but satisfying musical world. Simen Valldal Johannessen’s heartfelt vocals drip empathy and pathos and the band’s music just bleeds emotion, I was hooked from the first note.
The album has a feel of the more melancholy side of progressive and alternative music and will inevitably draw comparisons with the likes of Steven Wilson and The Pineapple Thief but these impressive musicians can stand their own ground as can be seen on the wistfully sombre but utterly graceful Clare De Lune. The album is really beginning to strike a chord with me, a wonderfully affectional musical journey that touches your heart an soul.
The darker progressive feel of title track False Memory Archive is countered by the uplifting harmony of the elegant chorus then the sparse, hauntingly pensive Lost Causes just leaves you open mouthed and slack jawed in appreciation with its powerful and yet stark message. It’s an utterly magical piece of music that cements just how good this band truly is.
The delightfully playful classical interlude of Intermezzo is grace and class personified and works like a musical amuse-bouche before the tension is cranked up by the mesmerising dark delights of The Lights, a captivating ten minutes plus of cat and mouse where light and shade intertwine and leave the hairs on the back of your neck rising.
The highs just keep coming, These Are The Stars We’re Aiming For pulsates with energy punctuated by sincere passion and fervor, Transparent Eyes is a plaintive contemplative track that almost rests a comfort blanket over your emotional state and the closing track, Psalm 51, is achingly beautiful, an ethereal joy, a song of longing and of love that brings a tear to your eye and yet joy to your heart.
I have loved music for many years, it has been with me through the highs and the lows and my life would not be complete without it. My life is now also complete with this incredible album from Oak. Albums like ‘False Memory Archive’ are the reason that music was created in the first place, they bring peace to your soul and joy and love to your heart and the world is a better place for them. I cannot give any higher praise than that.
Paul Draper’s 14-date Spring ’18 tour celebrated the 21st anniversary of one of the most favoured British albums from the late Britpop era – Attack of the Grey Lantern.
Recorded live at The Ritz, Manchester on Thursday 1st March 2018, this album captures Draper’s energetic stage presence, his incredible band and classic Mansun tracks such as “Wide Open Space“, “Taxloss” and “Disgusting“, performed to a fantastic Manchester audience.
Listen to the live version of “Taxloss” :
This 2LP Limited Edition Vinyl* is available for Black Friday 23rd November in your local indie retailer and all good record stores.
*Includes an mp3 download of the album.
A very limited quantity, signed by Paul will be available on his upcoming acoustic tour starting 14th Nov.
A beautiful, powerful music video for ‘At The End of The Day’, produced by Dw. Dunphy of Introverse Media, has just been released by Sills & Smith! ‘At The End of The Day’ is the closing track on the band’s latest studio album ‘Maps – Burned or Lost’.
Sills & Smith, a project of singer/songwriters Jeremy Sills and Frank Smith, has six albums of original music. Maps – Burned or Lost was recorded by famed producer Phillip Victor Bova at Bova Sound in Ottawa. The album is an epic musical journey, with 14 songs and close to 70 minutes of music. The music careens melodically between pastoral folk, to trippy indie rock, to progressive rock.
Maps -Burned and Lost is available world-wide through numerous retailers including: Apple Music, Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon and in select box stores.
“Frank Smith and Jeremy Sills have delivered their most profound musical work yet, ‘Maps – Burned or Lost’ is a wonderfully involving collection of songs about love, life and loss that is very relevant in this turbulent world we live in today. You can lose yourself in the well wrought words and the excellent music and come out of the other side in a much better place than you started and that’s what I want from my music.” – Martin Hutchinson, Progradar (Jan 23, 2018)
Lazleitt is an eclectic progressive rock musical project conceived by Washington, DC songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Alex Lazcano, in collaboration with drummer Jorge Cortes Cuyas, flautist John Pomeroy, and special guests.
Lazleitt’s debut album ‘On The Brink’ consists of one long epic track clocking in at thirty seven minutes and twelve seconds, seamlessly divided in thirteen movements. The track runs the gamut in styles, dynamics, mood, tempo, time signatures, and key changes. The album was written, arranged, and produced by Alex, with drum arrangements written and recorded by Jorge. The album is the result of stream-of-consciousness writing, resulting in one continuous piece of music with recurring themes and motifs. Cuyas’ input was crucial determining the direction of the music, written and arranged by Alex. The album features guitar virtuoso Eric Gillette on lead guitar, who also mixed and mastered it.
You could be forgiven for thinking ‘oh god, not another progressive rock concept album’, as that can often strike fear into the heart of any listener but, take away some of the more self-indulgent elements and you have a nicely constructed and performed piece of music that never outstays its welcome.
Alex’s vocals suit the mood of the music being dark and forthright and Eric Gilette is a virtuoso as ever with his occasionally outrageously complex guitar playing. The best way to listen to this album is as one thirty seven minute piece and let all the thirteen different movements take their natural flow, then it all makes perfect sense. When Pomeroy’s flute joins in you get a folk, almost medieval, edge to the music and that adds yet another intriguing facet.
It is a musical work that requires, and deserves, extended listening, to understand all the complexities and, when you do, you will be rewarded richly. Cuyas’ drums bear particular mention for there intensity and skill, they add real depth and solidity to the music but it’s the way that everything gels together to create this intriguing whole that fascinates me the most so, like all the best albums, you are always coming back for more.
‘On The Brink’ is not for the faint hearted. I’m not saying it’s an album aimed more at musicians but, in my opinion, it’s musical theatre for those that love complexity and albums that make you think deeper about everything, including yourself.
“The album title ‘Radiance’ was inspired, not by something that sounds like it could be added to your bath, but by the brilliant and creative photography of my now good friend Leonardo Wöllart and by the idea that there’a light that burns inside us all.”
So says Mark Rowen, former lead guitarist with Mostly Autumn offshoot Breathing Space and ‘Radiance’ is his first solo album. Like many, he is not a full time musician, he just happens to play guitar and write a decent song or two, when he can find the time alongside his full time job at an electronics company!
I first heard Mark’s work as a guest guitarist on the seminal debut album from Riversea, the acclaimed ‘Out of an Ancient World’ and he has produced something of a guitar-rock gem with his debut.
Along with vocalist Lisa Box, drummer Barry Cassells, bassist Paul Teasdale, keyboardist Leigh Perkins and a whole host of well known guest musicians, Mark Rowen delivers music from the heart, music that has soul and not a little nostalgia seeping out from every pore.
There’s joy and light radiating from these songs and Lisa’s vocals (sounding a little like Stevie Nicks) give a real 70’s and 80’s Fleetwood Mac vibe to some of the tracks like My Shadow Walks Alone, Feel Like Letting Go, the beautiful The Reason Whyand the elegantly sublime Time To Leave.
There’s the haunting and heart-achingly wistful On The Blue Horizon with its subtle Americana soul and the dramatic Carousel which would be befitting of a stage musical, all these songs show what a songwriting talent Mark Rowen is and how good his core band are behind him. Mark’s guitar playing is superb, take the Dire Straits/Fleetwood Mac infused Trick Of The Light which would have graced either of those bands 80’s heyday releases, but it’s the wonderfully complex, deep, dark and beguiling ten minutes plus of Lure Of The Siren where everything falls into place perfectly to give the highlight of this impressive album. A slow burning and slow building musical delight that takes you through a whole gamut of emotions, songs like this are why I love music so much.
The album closes with the harder rocking soulful blues of Love Is Like A Rock and the piano driven, heartfelt Shine.
‘Radiance’ lives up to its title, there is a light of joy, love and humanity that shines throughout this impressive album. The musicianship and songwriting are top notch and deliver an engrossing listening experience that gets better every time you hear it.
I was a little torn when I read the press about this album and heard on the grapevine that it was a return to the heavier sound of the band, and a step away from the more electronic influences that permeated the marvellous ‘Affinity’ album. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it as much as ‘Affinity’ and its corresponding tour, I wondered if it would be a step backwards for the band and veer off into prog metal territory. My attitude to that genre (which seems such a misnomer, and lumps so many disparate and diverse bands together in such a narrow band to be almost meaningless) is indifferent at best. Bands like Dream Theater, Anathema and Opeth have drifted into my hearing but passed me by, and if I get a CD with ‘tramp shouting down a megaphone into a dustbin’ alleged vocals then off it goes and never gets listened to again.
Luckily for me, and you, I listened to the album and didn’t just take the blurb at face value. Yes whilst it’s heavier, it is a distinct evolution of the Haken sound, taking the best parts of their last albums and including more of the electronic elements to their sonic template, creating an album that sits on the right side of heavy. Of course, as any fule kno’, Haken have a wonderful vocalist in the form of Ross Jennings who can sing, and has a superb voice, perfect for the light and the soft that peppers their sound.
Another arsenal in their sound is the harmony vocals provided by all 5 of the other members, which is a rarity in many bands, especially bands operating in the heavier sector, and this also sets them apart. It also helps they are bloody good musicians, who manage to capture their live essence on record, and having seen them on the last tour they are amazing live, loud and complex, but amazing.
Again, on this record there is plenty of ability on show but it’s not one of those guitar wankery albums you get where it’s all skill and no soul. ‘Vector’ is chock full of emotion and soul, and is superb evolution of their sound from ‘Affinity’, true musical progression in the original dictionary definition of the word.
Across these seven tracks Haken wring out every ounce of emotion from their performance and put together a sublime album in doing so.
Tracks like The Good Doctor and, my personal favourite, Puzzle Box incorporate more of the electronic and keyboard sounds that hung over from Affinity whilst not losing any of their power. Diego Tejeda and Richard Henshall put together a formidable onslaught, whilst Henshall and Charles Griffiths on guitar remind me of that other fantastic musical duo of Matt Stevens and Steve Cleaton from TFATD, both pairings are guitarists with plenty of skill and the intuitive ability to bounce off each other, but more, much more than that, they play with heart and soul. That is what so many technical shredders are missing, the best music has soul and emotion and without that you’ve got nothing.
Veil is the centrepiece to this album and it is epic, a real masterclass in how to mix light and shade. The way Haken go about things, with their sound anchored by bassist Conner Green and drummer Raymond Hearne, remind me very much of Iron Maiden in their ethos. A band who are not afraid to rock out and turn it up where necessary but how have both the skill and the ambition to tackle the big concepts and pull them off in style.
In fact, across this album there’s no bad track, some wonderful symphonic sounds on A Cell Divides, the opener Clear and the brilliantly enigmatic The Good Doctor, all of which set the pace and the tone of the album, and the overriding concept, which has elements of psychoanalysis and deeper meanings to the title.
The band themselves say there’s a concept, but the meanings are there to be deciphered by the fans, unwrapping the Puzzle box if you like. However you see it though, you cannot deny that Haken are one of the most interesting and exciting bands currently making music and, as for where they sit genre wise, who cares?
They have made a sublime album that takes the building blocks from their previous albums, with nods right back to the debut, and still manage to push their sound on and create something that is new, that is vibrant and that is nothing other than what it is.
What a joy to be able to write about bands like Haken on today’s scene.
Australia’s leading international independent record label, Golden Robot Records continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. The label is absolutely thrilled to announce that globally revered, Billboard-charting rock icons KING’S X are now part of their ever-growing international roster. KING’S X recently signed a global deal with Golden Robot Records which will see their long-awaited forthcoming new album released worldwide in 2019 via Golden Robot Records’ partners in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
“I’m really excited to release the next KING’S X album with Mark, Derek and the crew at Golden Robot! May the groove be with us all,” says vocalist/bassist dUg Pinnick. Guitarist Ty Tabor adds, “I’m looking forward to working with Golden Robot Records!”
Drummer Jerry Gaskill adds, “It’s been a while since we’ve made a record. During that time, I’ve been thinking, when and if we make a new record, I want it to be the best we can do. I want to believe in it. I want to make it great, whatever it takes. I don’t want to just make another KING’S X record. I think and hope that we are in that place. I think and hope its time and I feel good about the team we’ll be working with at Golden Robot Records. I’m going do my best. Let’s do this thing.”
“When we started to talk to KING’S X about signing with Golden Robot in the U.S. and we met dUg in LA a few times, I knew 100% that we would end up working with them. I’m loving the fact they are still the original members and I really believe this new album will be there best yet! It’s incredible how many people inside the industry – and I’m talking about very well-known musicians – love these guys and can’t wait for a new album. We are all very excited indeed,” says Mark Alexander-Erber, Group Founder and President.
“I am delighted to finally be able to work with one the most respected, creative rock bands of the past 30+ years. KING’S X is not only a superb rock band with an ardent fan base, but are also a ‘musician musicians’ band. Golden Robot Records is determined to finally help KING’S X receive the worldwide recognition it fully deserves,” says Derek Shulman, Executive Chairman of Worldwide Expansion.
Since the release of their debut record, Out Of The Silent Planet, in 1988, KING’S X released a dozen albums that have seen them rightfully earn their place on the rock royalty family tree. Fusing progressive metal, funk and soul grooves with vocal arrangements rooted in blues, gospel and even the British Invasion era influences, KING’S X created a style all their own which continues to be an inspiration for bands to this day.
Featuring vocalist and bassist Doug Pinnick, guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill, KING’S X have never changed their line-up, a rarity in the music world and a testament to the band and musicians and friends.
Critically acclaimed from the start, KING’S X are musician’s musicians, name-dropped by everyone from Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies to Iron Maiden and Blue Murder for their instrumental prowess. Pearl Jam’s bassist Jeff Ament even declared that “KING’S X invented grunge”. They also enjoyed a long life via the David Letterman Show with their track, “We Were Born To Be Loved” (from 1990’s Faith Hope Love), also a favorite of the Paul Shaffer’s CBS Orchestra to play during commercial breaks.
In 1992, KING’S X signed to Atlantic Records/Megaforce Records, released three albums and toured with bands as diverse as Scorpions, Type O Negative and Pearl Jam. In the early 2000’s, KING’S X released three studio albums and their first official live album via Metal Blade Records. In 2005, the band signed to German-based progressive music specialty label, InsideOut Music, and released Ogre Tones, an album described as a return to the bands classic sound. KING’S X forged ahead with new albums, DVD’s and tours up until 2012, when drummer Jerry Gaskill suffered a major heart attack. The band then quickly compiled an exclusive live release from their archives entitled, Burning Down Boston. The proceeds of which went directly to assisting Gaskill with his medical expenses. They rolled on for two more years until Jerry suffered another heart attack, which resulted in him having a double bypass operation and ultimately led to the band taking an indefinite hiatus.
This break didn’t last long, as they were back on the road in mid-2015, shortly afterward announcing they would begin work on a new studio album. This would be the band’s first since 2008’s XV. KING’S X began meetings with Golden Robot Records management in Los Angeles in early 2017, eventually signing a global deal in October 2018.
While it’s been a decade since KING’S X have released a new record, the wait has definitely been worth it! Watch this space for news on the forthcoming album in the very near future.
Caligula’s Horse, a band at the forefront of Australia’s progressive rock scene, are set to begin their European ‘Aussie-Invasion’ tour imminently, and to celebrate they have launched a video for “The Hands are the Hardest.”
Jim Grey (vocalist) comments: “’The Hands are the Hardest’ is one of my favourite tunes from In Contact – it was the first we completed for that album and for that reason it holds a special place in my heart. The story of struggle within this song resonates with me personally, so it only felt right to make this tune a focus for our first headline tour in Europe, the biggest tour we’ve ever embarked upon.
We’re taking a 27-show journey across Europe, and night after night we’ll be sharing this song’s story with all of our people – it’s going to be something truly special.”
Joining them on their EU tour will be fellow countrymen & progressive metal powerhouse Circles on their momentous return to Europe as main support, and instrumental guitar prodigy I Built The Sky (for their first European appearances). The run will also see Caligula’s Horse make appearances at several festivals including Euroblast, ProgPower, Very Prog Festival, Damnation Festival and AMFest.
You can find the full list of dates below:
Friday October 5 – Euroblast Festival, Cologne, Germany
Sunday October 7 – ProgPower Festival, Baarlo, Netherlands*
Monday October 8 – Backstage, Paris, France
Tuesday October 9 – Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Thursday October 11 – Mungirock Aretoa, Mungia (Bilbao), Spain
Friday October 12 – Very Prog Festival, Toulouse, France**
Saturday October 13 – AMFest, Barcelona, Spain**
Sunday October 14 – Nazca, Madrid, Spain
Monday October 15 – RCA Club, Lisbon, Portugal
Wednesday October 17 – KiFF Foyer, Aarau, Switzerland
Thursday October 18 – Legend Club, Milan, Italy
Saturday October 20 – Collosseum, Kosice, Slovakia
Sunday October 21 – Dürer Kert (Room 041), Budapest, Hungary
Monday October 22 – KSET, Zagreb, Croatia
Tuesday October 23 – Strahov 007, Prague, Czech Republic
Wednesday October 24 – Musik & Frieden, Berlin, Germany
Thursday October 25 – Headcrash, Hamburg, Germany
Saturday October 27 – Fangelset, Gothenburg, Sweden
Sunday October 28 – John Dee, Oslo, Norway
Monday October 29 – BETA, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tuesday October 30 – The Tube, Dusseldorf, Germany
Thursday November 1 – Boston Music Room, London, UK
Friday November 2 – Audio, Glasgow, UK
Saturday November 3 – Damnation Festival, Leeds, UK**
Sunday November 4 – Mama Roux, Birmingham, UK
Monday November 5 – Star And Garter, Manchester, UK
Tuesday November 6 – The Lanes, Bristol, UK *I Built The Sky Not Appearing **Circles & I Built The Sky Not Appearing
Watch the video for the track ‘Songs For No One’, taken from the latest album ‘In Contact’, here:
The irrepressible former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett announces his 2019European Tour. Setting off on 2nd November 2019, Steve and his band will perform 20 shows around the UK.
For the first time ever, Steve will perform the seminal Genesis album Selling England By The Pound in its entirety. Released in 1973, the album went to No. 3 in the UK charts and has been described as “the definitive Genesis album.” It includes firm favourites such as Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, Firth of Fifth, Cinema Show and, of course, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). Other favourite classic Genesis tracks will also feature in the show.
2019 also marks the 40th anniversary of one of Steve’s most popular solo albums Spectral Morningsand Steve will rightly celebrate this milestone by performing masterpieces from the album.
Fans will also be treated to highlights from Steves new album, to be released in 2019.
Steve explains, “I’m thrilled to be performing the whole of my favourite Genesis album, SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND, which caught the attention of John Lennon in 1973. I felt that I was now playing guitar in the world’s best band, and everything was opening up for us…
Also I look forward to playing all the favourite songs from SPECTRAL MORNINGS, marking its anniversary, plus new album tasters, as well as additional Genesis gems in a terrific grand slam!”
Joining Steve on the tour are his regular musicians Roger King (keyboards), Jonas Reingold (bass), Gary O’Toole (drums/percussion), Rob Townsend (saxes/flutes) with Nad Sylvan on vocals.
About Steve Hackett
Since the 1970’s Steve has had a remarkable musical career renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer. He has released more than 30 solo albums, seven Genesis albums and worked alongside Steve Howe of YES with supergroup GTR.
Recognised as one of the most innovative rock musicians of our time, in 2010 he was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame.
Hackett was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of their classic line up with Gabriel, Collins, Banks and Rutherford, who produced several of the band’s most acclaimed albums including Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
With Steve’s extraordinary versatility in both his electric guitar playing and his composing, he is influenced by many genres, including Jazz, World Music, Blues and classical.
Steve’s music is as popular as ever, his last two album releases Wolflight in 2015 and last year’s The Night Siren both went straight into the Top 40 of the UK album charts, proving that Steve’s amazing compositions and virtuoso playing continue to delight.