In late 2017, Dream Theater signed with Sony Music’s progressive imprint InsideOutMusic. Now, in preparation for the band’s fourteenth studio album and their first album ever produced in collaboration with this leading worldwide label, they are pleased to announce that they have entered the studio to begin the writing process. Recently, John Petrucci and James LaBrie shared a quick video update from the writing sessions on the band’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dreamtheater
James comments: “We’ve been here for one week and it is going sensational. Everybody is in the one room…and I gotta tell you, if the first week is any indication of where this album is going, you’re in for a treat.”
John adds: “There’s a lot of ideas flowing, and it’s already been really productive after only a week in. So far the music is heavy, progressive, melodic, shredding and it’s epic.”
The band will hold a live Facebook Q&A with fans during their time in the studio on June 28th at 3PM Eastern Time / 8pm UK time. Make sure to tune in!
Haken released their rather special ‘Affinity’ album back in 2016 and followed it up with a celebratory 10th anniversary European tour which, unsurprisingly, focused on that electro inspired album and its predecessor, the album that made their name, ‘The Mountain’.
Now, in the best tradition of all bands, they have decided to release their first live album, and what a package it is for fans.
Not only do we get a double disc live set taken from their gig in Amsterdam last year, but we also get the full set on DVD, complete with a 2nd DVD of their 4-song set at ProgPower USA in 2016 and the official music videos for Initiate, Earthrise and Lapse.
For anyone who was on that tour (and I was) this is a wonderful memento, and for those who weren’t lucky enough to be there, well, let me tell you more.
Its good to see Haken releasing their first live album as I get incredibly bored with bands getting on the album, tour, live album treadmill, especially where (particularly with the bigger bands) the set lists are written in tablets of stone and, much like dinosaur remains, are very much museum pieces. The key to a great live record (like ‘Wings Over America’, Wishbone Ash’s‘Live Dates’ or ‘Field Recordings’ by The Fierce and the Dead) is its scarcity, and its immediacy. No-one wants to see a concert where the band duplicates their album sound live on stage with no spontaneity or the feeling that you are living in the moment, and no-one wants to buy a live album from a gig that sounds like the studio recordings, that’s the ultimate example of irrelevance. If you keep releasing live albums you lose your audience and Haken, wisely, have chosen a moment when they have a breadth and depth of songs to chose from and a moment in time when they are currently an energetic and enthusiastic live band with a lot of presence and charisma.
The current line-up of Ross Jennings (vocals) who works the stage like a frontman should which, added to the powerhouse drumming of Raymond Hearne and driving bass of Conner Green, puts that bedrock together to give Richard Henshall’s & Charles Griffiths guitars room to stretch. The keys of Diego Tejeida round it out and it’s the electronic sound that helps make the ‘Affinity’ material so strong on stage.
This taut and assured performance is reflected throughout this record. One of the treats for those of us who love the longer songs is Aquamedley, 22 minutes of the tracks from their debut album ‘Aquarius’, reworked and forming an integral part of the set.
That is what a live show, and album, should be all about, all eras are covered, with a rousing version of Visions closing the record. As previously stated, ‘The Mountain’ and ‘Affinity’ make up the bulk of the tracks, as songs like 1985, Affintiy.exe/Initiate and epic The Architect get a good work out, making their their mark on the bands set.
The only minor issue I have with Haken at this juncture of their career is that they seem to have their feet in a number of camps, neither being full blown prog, prog-metal or sitting in the electronic arena that ‘Affinity’ introduced to their sound. I would like to see them pick a direction (preferably the electronic sound) and move more cohesively towards it, but that’s my opinion, and it doesn’t detract from what is an excellently produced and sublimely performed live show.
With the superb bonus material on the second DVD, and the videos from their excellent Affinity album, this is a fantastic snapshot of where Haken are now, and of what a powerful and confident band they have become.
If they continue down this road, and hone their sound following the electronic influences of ‘Affinity’ they could be well positioned to be one of the defining bands of the new era.
Progressive Rock masters RIVERSIDE have just signed a new deal with longtime partners InsideOutMusic and are pleased to announce their upcoming seventh studio album “Wasteland” as well as its corresponding first European tour for October/November.
RIVERSIDE checked in with the following words:
“Well, we’re back in the game! We’re happy to tell you that our seventh album will be called “Waste7and” (Wasteland) and will be released at the end of September this year. It will be our first album recorded as a trio. Our music has become more serious and more mature, so get ready for a manly and emotional album. “Waste7and” is going to be a really accomplished one. It combines the emotional character of the first two and the production maturity of the latest two releases. If everything goes according to plan (as we’re still recording), the new Riverside album will simply d e s t r o y you 🙂
Also this year we’re going on the “Wasteland 2018 Tour” to promote the new album. Below you will find a list of the cities we’re going to visit in the autumn of 2018. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 1st. More info soon!“
In regards to the extended co-operation via a new deal between RIVERSIDE and InsideOutMusic, Thomas Waber, label manager/A&R international InsideOutMusic, checked in with the following comment:
“We have been working with Riverside for a long time now and there is a lot of personal history. The InsideOutMusic family would be very different without them, so I am extremely pleased that the family is staying together. We all miss Piotr dearly, but i am looking forward to this new chapter. You are still with us, Grudzień!”
Here is a list of the upcoming shows by RIVERSIDE announced so far:
RIVERSIDE – Festivals 2018/2019:
21.06.2018 Konin (Poland) – Progressive Evening
23.06.2018 Valkenburg (The Netherlands) – Midsummer Prog Festival
13.07.2018 St. Goarshausen (Germany) – Night Of The Prog Festival XIII
04.-09.02.2019 Tampa to Key West & Cozumel – Cruise To The Edge
RIVERSIDE – “Wasteland 2018 Tour”:
12.10.2018 Gdansk (Poland) – B90
13.10.2018 Poznan (Poland) – Tama
14.10.2018 Wroclaw (Poland) – A2
16.10.2018 Katowice (Poland) – Miasto Ogrodów
17.10.2018 Lódz (Poland) – Magnetofon
18.10.2018 Torun (Poland) – Od Nowa
20.10.2018 Kraków (Poland) – Studio
21.10.2018 Warszawa (Poland) – Hala Kolo
30.10.2018 Berlin (Germany) – Kesselshaus
31.10.2018 Schorndorf (Germany) – Manufaktur
03.11.2018 Lisbon (Portugal) – LAV
04.11.2018 Madrid (Spain) – MON LIVE
05.11.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Salamandra 1
06.11.2018 Lyon (France) – CCO
07.11.2018 Paris (France) – La Machine
09.11.2018 Manchester (UK) – Academy 2
10.11.2018 London (UK) – The Electric Ballroom
11.11.2018 Sint Niklaas (Belgium) – Casino
12.11.2018 Utrecht (The Netherlands) – Tivoli Vredenburg
14.11.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Markthalle
15.11.2018 Oberhausen (Germany) – Turbinenhalle 2
16.11.2018 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z-7
17.11.2018 Neunkirchen (Germany) – Gloomaar festival
More dates to follow soon…
RIVERSIDE had previously announced guitarist Maciej Meller to complete the band’s line-up for shows after taking a longer break from any live performances due to the tragic passing of founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudziński on February 21st, 2016.
Look out for more news on RIVERSIDE in the coming weeks…
Legendary US progressive rockers Spock’s Beard have announced the release of their 13th studio album ‘Noise Floor’ for May 25th, 2018. As announced previously, for this album Ted Leonard, Alan Morse, Dave Meros & Ryo Okumoto are joined in the studio once again by drummer & original member Nick D’Virgilio.
Spock’s Beard is a band that is in a continual state of evolution, as is always the case with genuinely creative musicians. And their new album, ‘Noise Floor’, fits perfectly into this process.
We are always about evolution, not revolution. But what we have done this time is make the songs more melodic,” believes vocalist/guitarist Ted Leonard. “We still love our crazy prog, but now appreciate how important it is to grab people’s attention early on.”
As with all Spock’s Beard songs, most of the new album was written by the individual members, and then brought to the rest of the band as high quality demos. “We all do this type of thing in our home studios,” adds Leonard. “So, by the time they reach the stage where the entire band get to judge them, they are really developed, and therefore everyone can make a reasoned judgement.” Much of what you will listen to here is very much the product of fresh inspiration from the Californian band.
One key change on this album sees the return of drummer Nick D’Virgilio, who originally left in 2011. There are also two violinists, a cello player, a viola player and an English horn featured on the album, thereby giving the sound a slightly more evocative and persuasive twist.
The album was once again engineered by long-time collaborator Rich Mouser and will be released as a 2CD digipak (featuring an EP of material from the same sessions), gatefold 2LP + 2CD & as digital download.
The track-listing is as follows:
Disc 1 – Noise Floor
1. To Breathe Another Day
2. What Becomes of Me
3. Somebody’s Home
4. Have We All Gone Crazy Yet
5. So This Is Life
6. One So Wise
7. Box of Spiders
I’ve had very little listening experience of Leprous, so the offer of a chance to review this album was eagerly grabbed! Firstly, my credentials. Since July 5th 1969 (a date famous for King Crimson’s appearance at The Rolling Stones “Free in Hyde Park” gig) I’ve been an avid “prog” fan. OK, that’s out of the way so here goes:-
The amount of “prog” hurled at us these days is bewildering, and a chance to get an early listen to a new album free of any expectations or recommendations aroused my curiosity.
Norway’s Leprous isn’t easily “pigeon-holed” in a sub-genre… The album opens with Bonneville – a beautifully thought out track that shows off Einar Holberg’s ethereal voice to perfection. The depth of sound gradually increases drawing the listener in… to… Stuck – a more upbeat song with a twanging guitar backing those soaring vocals once more. The drums lay down a compelling rhythm complimenting everything else. This is a longer track at 6 minutes 49 seconds but it flies by, never getting stuck at all. A very pleasing satisfying experience.
Next up is From The Flame – another song with drive and a great hook that is still going round my head! Job done – can see this one becoming a favourite and possibly released as a single? Ahh – Captive – a punchy opening to the shortest track (3.44), melodic vocals over a pizzicato guitar and strange rhythms. Great harmonies too but it will take a bit of time to understand I think.
Illuminate & Leashes – two 4 minute tracks, slower in pace and highlighting the soaring counter-tenor voice of writer/keysman Einar. His is a voice that intrigues me, soft and gentle at one point, rocky and strident at another… I could listen to him all day long!! (I now plan to seek out the Leprous’ back-catalogue)…
Shimmering keys work opens the next track, Mirage, leading to a wall of sound that then fades to a song that shows traces of a Middle-Eastern structure… Intriguing bass line around 3.30 into the track… “I have been trying to break out for too long from the cage…” sings Einar! Oh definitely they’ve done that!
Malina– Bulgarian for raspberry – but no raspberries for this album so far! Beautiful lyrics over a lighter beginning that builds to a crescendo and some frenzied drumming from Baard Kolstad. Roses for this one!
Followed by Coma, a shorter track much like 5 & 6. Dare I say that this track didn’t exactly place me in a coma? Great – “I still feel the heat, no retreat” !!!
Next up a heavier song, The Weight Of Disaster – those heart-string tugging vocals again, why hasn’t Leprous loomed over my horizon before?
The Last Milestone is the last song on this fabulous album. This track wouldn’t be out of place performed at a concert of modern classicist composers like Henryk Górecki… Plaintive vocals over strings and keyboards. Eat your hearts out audiophiles!
Altogether, this one album has opened up a new sound-world for me. I thought that, although I’d heard it all, there is always something new around the corner! I shan’t be so smug in future, and indeed will look forward to the NEXT milestone!
I read from the press release that this album is a change in style for Leprous – I hope they continue to develop it further. Now for that back catalogue – my interest has been kicked in the backside and made to wake up!
After deciding that he wasn’t busy enough touring with Steve Hackett, in 2015 Nad Sylvan signed a Solo contract with InsideOut music to bring us his first solo album, the excellent ‘Courting The Widow’. May 2017 sees the arrival of the eagerly anticipated follow up, ‘The Bride Said No’.
Whilst ‘Courting the Widow’ contained heavy overtones that were firmly routed in 1970’sBritish Progressive Rock, perhaps not surprisingly heavily influenced by Genesis, Nad has fairly and squarely put his own stamp on this new album whilst still acknowledging those influences. The album opens with Bridesmaids, a haunting melody played by Nad, with backing vocals from Jade Ell and Sheona Urguhart, which is used as a recurring theme throughout the record. It segues directly into The Quartermaster, a powerful song based around Nad’s exquisite keyboards which acts as an introduction to the Bride’s suitor and sets the plot for the story. It is also to be released as the first single and contains a very abrupt ending which caught me completely by surprise on first listen!
When The Music Diesis considerably more melancholic and shows off Nad’s vocal range to its imperious best. The story continues with The White Crown which has very strong Medieval overtones. Jonas Reingold’s distinctive guitar riff gives the song a harder edge and is a great contrast to Nad’s guitar throughout the rest of the track. What Have You Done is my personal highlight. It opens with gentle piano from Nad and backing vocals from Jade and Sheona with Jade also sharing the lead vocals with Nad beautifully. Steve Hackett and Guthrie Govan share the guitar duties with Steve starting the incredible soloing and they complement each other magnificently. Crime Of Passion follows and is a much more powerful song that still retains a wonderful melodic balance. A French Kiss in an Italiancafé begins with a tasteful guitar intro, Nad’s vocals then set the scene and we are led to a meeting with a stranger. Wonderful guitar work from Steve and Nad accompany the vocals along with Tony Levin’s ever expressive bass and there is a beautiful saxophone solo from Sheona to close the track.
The Bride Said No is the albums finale and at first glance is a nigh on 20 minute magnum opus. It lasts however 12 and a half minutes and magnificently concludes the album. Tania Doko this time shares the vocals with Nad who also contributes with a wonderful “Emersonesqe” solo added to more splendid guitar work and an incredible solo from Steve.
Drums and percussion are shared throughout by the excellent one-time Jethro Tull drummer Doane Perry and Big Big Train’sNick DiVirgilio. Bass is provided by Jonas Reingold (of Swedish progsters Kaipa) and Tony Levin. The vinyl edition is three sided with the fourth being occupied by an etch in the manner of his stablemates Kansas’ last album. Doubtless, in the 1970’s, the likes of Todd Rundgren would have squeezed this on to two sides of plastic but I for one am ecstatic that we have three sides of pure listening pleasure which I am counting down the days to receive.
Guitar virtuoso and rock legend, Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis), releases his latest album The Night Siren on 24th March 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). As implied in the title, The Night Siren is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of strife and division.
The Night Siren showcases Steve’s incredible guitar playing as strongly as ever, along with regular Hackett collaborators and also musicians from several different countries who Steve invited to join him in celebrating multicultural diversity and unity. This includes singers from Israel and Palestine, who both actively campaign to bring Jewish and Arabic people together. There are also instrumentals from the USA and Iraq and a multiplicity of sounds, including the exotic strains of Indian sitar and Middle Eastern tar and oud, the ethnic beauty of the Peruvian charango and the haunting Celtic Uilleann pipes.
Steve is widely travelled, making friends everywhere he goes and has always embraced multicultural diversity. In these times of unrest, he has been inspired to express his belief that the world needs more empathy and unity. His wish to involve a range of musical sounds, instruments, musicians and singers from different parts of the world is both a development of his eclectic approach to music and shows how people can be brought together, even from war torn regions.
Talking about his latest work, Steve says, “This latest waxing represents a bird’s eye view of the world of a musical migrant ignoring borders and celebrating our common ancestry with a unity of spirit, featuring musicians, singers and instruments from all over the world. From territorial frontiers to walled-up gateways, boundaries often hold back the tide. But while the night siren wails, music breaches all defences. To quote Plato, ‘When the music changes, the walls of the city shake’.”
The musical journey takes us from ‘Behind the Smoke’, focusing on the plight of refugees throughout the ages, to the penultimate track ‘West to East’ which reflects on the damage of war and the hope for a better world. From personal to universal, the themes celebrate the life force, breaking free from chains of repression.
The album features: Steve Hackett (guitar & vocals), Roger King (keyboards & programming), Nad Sylvan (vocals on Inca Terra), Rob Townsend (all things wind), Amanda Lehmann (vocals), Gary O’Toole (drums), and Benedict Fenner (additional keyboards & programming). Also featured are singers Kobi and Mira (Israeli and Palestinian), Nick D’Virgilio (drums) from the USA, Malik Mansurov (Tar) from Azerbaijan & Gulli Breim (drums & percussion) from Iceland. Additional musicians who add to the rich flavour of the album are Christine Townsend (violin & viola), Dick Driver (double bass), Troy Donockley (Celtic Uilleann) and Leslie Bennett (keyboards on The Gift).
Full Track Listing:
Behind the Smoke
Fifty Miles from the North Pole
Other Side of the Wall
Anything but Love
In Another Life
In the Skeleton Gallery
West to East
Steve Hackett is returning with an exciting new show Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett for a 15-date UK tour in April 2017. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album Wind and Wuthering, Steve and his band will be performing several tracks from the album as well as fan favourites such as ‘The Musical Box’ and other Genesis numbers never performed before by Steve’s band including ‘Inside & Out,’ ‘One For The Vine’ and ‘Anyway’ as well as material from The Night Siren.