Review – Lonely Robot – Feelings Are Good – by John Wenlock-Smith

Lonely Robot is the name that John Mitchell (It BitesFrost*, Kino and Arena) uses for his solo projects, and this really is a solo album as it all performed, composed and produced by John himself with Percussive duties being handled by his Frost* colleague and drummer extraordinaire Craig Blundell. This is the fourth release to bear the Lonely Robot name, the previous three were his ‘Astronaut’ project (‘Please Come Home’, ‘The Big Dream’ and last year’s ‘Under Stars’). This time around the fare is far more Terra Firma focused and deals specifically with the events and memories that John says have made him who he is today. 

It’s been a few years since I last listened to John Mitchell’s music and I don’t know why that is really as he offers a decent brand of prog/pop crossover material that is really fine to listen to, so it’s me who has missed out really. This album will hopefully rebalance that scenario. 

‘Feelings Are Good’ is an emotionally revealing album that is not afraid to face some difficult times that John has been through and lessons he has learnt from these experiences. John refers to these moments as being the cornerstones, both good and bad, that he is back on planet Earth and has a personal lyrical axe to grind

The albums cover features closed eyes and a taped over mouth that represent how people are very guarded about their emotions. This album, however, is less guarded, far rawer and much more open about the emotions it addresses  You really must listen carefully to the songs to get the measure of what John is on about but, certainly, there are songs about broken relationships, night-time fears (spiders), small town life and grief and loss.

The album is generally Prog lite although it has touches of progressive metal in certain parts. It has excellent musical accompaniment and the sound is crisp and clear with good separation between instruments and, at all points, John’s guitar playing is very elegant and soars when the song calls for it. He has worked hard here to convey his emotions and backed it all up with powerful songs that will elicit a response from his listeners

Whether that response be anger, sadness, despair or hope is up to each person who hears this album and how this music makes them feel. No matter what your reaction may be, this is most certainly a well crafted and well written and recorded set of songs.

The songs them selves are very varied, all pretty much even tempo and most feature a guitar solo within them. John is very good at using his playing to accentuate the emotions within the songs. He also uses keyboards in a highly effective manner to further enhance these pieces and to add colours to the emotions and feelings that are so openly displayed.

His voice is strong and clear and he sings with real conviction and feeling, sometimes with force and anger, but always for the song and not just for effect. I commend John for being so open to all listeners. Doing so takes real courage and bravery, as some of these songs deal with painful moments for John, and yet he handles his emotions positively and without bitterness.

There are several key songs on this album, Crystalline (which uses the words of winter to reflect emotional coldness as a metaphor for emotional feelings), Life Is A Sine Wave, Keeping People As Pets and the brief Grief Is The Price Of Love, which tells us that there is no there is no rainbow without there first being some rain. This track is a remarkably simple but emotional song, played on acoustic guitar with a single heartfelt vocal from John. This is a stunning short piece but one that has real gravitas to it. Armour for My Heart, which is about protecting your heart and how one must do this at times, is also another emotionally bruising song.

In summary this album is a marked departure from the science fiction that occupied his last three albums and takes on a far more down to earth, closer to home theme and all that that entails. This is an excellent album that is well worthy of being heard I recommend it highly.

Released 17th July 2020

Order the CD from Burning Shed here:

https://burningshed.com/lonely-robot_feelings-are-good_cd?filter_name=Lonely%20ROBOT&filter_sub_category=true

Review – Frost* – Others E.P. – by John-Wenlock Smith

The ‘Others’ E.P. is basically a collection of left-over tracks from their last album (‘Falling Satellites’) released in 2016 and with a running time of 32 odd minutes.

Acting as a taster for their next album, that is due to surface in September, this 6 track EP is most welcome treat one that, once again, proves that the creative force found in the mind of Jem Godfrey never rests and that, even now, his mind is still crafting and creating aural treasure for our delectation.

The EP opens in style and with a real presence in Fathers which utilises lots of vocal tricks to enhance the sound alongside some pretty ferocious drums and guitar work. There’s an almost thrash tempo to it that is softened by some prominent synths before an altered vocal is brought in. This is a very powerful song with some serious drive to it, thanks to Craig Blundell’s hearty drum patterns.

This is the suddenly interrupted by a brief xylophone break, which is very different, and then the main riff crashes back in again before a child’s voice says ‘goodnight’, leading into Clouda, which opens with gentle keyboard effects and a sole vocal. The song then morphs into an electronic dance sounding track interspersed with more keyboard effects among pounding drum patterns, keyboard effects and samples. An acoustic guitar lightens the tone, rendering some gentleness to the song before reverting to the harder format again.

This song is very atmospheric,the middle section is dreamy in tone with lots of effects surrounding the music, although I must confess that I don’t know what he is singing about! It is certainly effective though as, once again, this sound hurtles along with barely a breath. The music is very interesting and effective before another gentle dreamlike section towards the end, sounding like something out of a fairy tale, brings it to a close.

Exhibit A opens with a guitar and some chant type vocals that fade to sampled keyboard sounds. Again, it is very dance driven and sounds almost like an African rhythm before a huge guitar riff and drums crash in. More treated vocals are employed before the choral chant is introduced with more keyboards and programming, “We won, we own you…” is repeated to great effect before a brief keyboard riff and then onto verse 2! Telling us again that we are owned and will do as we are told. There is a middle section of some spaciness and then the guitar solo and drums play their parts along with a wild synth solo. It is all very effective asthe chorus plays out, with a female vocal this time, and more keyboards/samples bring the song to a fine conclusion as a strong spoken male voice riffs over then end of the song. The track is all about the downside of fame and how it’s not always what you thought it would be and how it can be a prison of your own making.

Fathom is a song about a wife who goes to war with her husband rather than him leaving her on her own. The piece has a military feel and beat to it and it certainly tells a different story. This is a very emotional song talking, as it does ,about the reality of war and the lengths this wife went to be with the one she loves. There’s sounds that are reminiscent of ELO in the Synths and there is also much tenderness to it too, in the emotions it expresses. Next up is Eat, which is very vocally effected and manipulated to good effect, the clever effects really adding emphasis and emotion to the song again, most impressive. The song is actually about a blood sucking insect and its view of a victim!!

The final song is called Drown. Again a very languid and dreamy piece with lots of chiming keyboards and samples. Craig’s drumbeat keeps it all in time and holds it together. Quite a simple piece but it is an effective and reflective one to round off a very different style of progressive rock music, the sort that makes you think WTF initially but that gradually grows on you the more your hear it and become acquainted with it.

I have to confess that I know very little about Frost* overall, never having heard their previous albums. That is something I will have to rectify now, I think, as this has certainly impressed me and whetted my appetite for more!

Released 5th June, 2020.

LONELY ROBOT – releases new video/single ‘Spiders’

Lonely Robot, the project masterminded by producer, guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mitchell (Kino, Frost*, Arena, It Bites), are set to release their fourth album ‘Feelings Are Good’ on the 17th July 2020. Now, a second track from this record has been released featuring an impressive video by Miles Skarin of Crystal Spotlight: 

John Mitchell has the following to say about this song: “’Spiders’ is a song about a woman, nay wolf in sheep’s clothing, who chose a path of greed and wretchedness and exploited her position of trust at a time of weakness when she COULD have done the exact opposite. Long since gone but never forgotten for all the wrong reasons.”

‘Feelings Are Good’ marks sort of a fresh start following the conclusion of the ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’ as John explains: “‘Feelings Are Good’ is a bit of a departure from the first three Lonely Robot albums. On ‘Feelings Are Good’, I wanted to explore more personal themes and the songs are very much about individual experiences and narratives that I believe had been the cornerstones, good and bad, to my life. The long tall and short of it is that we’re back on planet Earth, and I have a personal lyrical axe to grind!” 

‘Feelings Are Good’ is now available for pre-order and will be released as a Limited Edition CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP+CD and as Digital Album in both 16 & 24 bit versions (all including 2 bonus tracks). Pre-order the album from a variety of partners here: https://lonelyrobot.lnk.to/Feelingsaregood

Lonely Robot will hit the road in December 2020 for some select headline dates, and you can find a list of those below:

Dec 13th  Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK

Dec 16th  Riff, Bochum, GER

Dec 17th  Das Rind, Rüsselsheim, GER

Dec 18th  Muziekgieterij, Maastricht, NL

Dec 20th  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NL

John Mitchell is a man with a rich musical heritage and history – from musician and vocalist, to songwriter and producer. With bands like Arena, Frost*, Kino, It Bites and Lonely Robot, to name but a few, Mitchell has left his mark on the current progressive rock scene and has been involved in dozens of recordings. He is also a respected producer & mixer, running Outhouse Studios in the UK and working with artists as diverse as You Me At Six, Enter Shikari, Alter Bridge, Asia, Don Broco, Funeral For A Friend, McFly & much more. 

FROST* – release first track from forthcoming “Others – EP”

With FROST*’s latest album, “Falling Satellites”, dating back to 2016, it was about time, mastermind Jem Godfrey teamed up with Nathan King and John Mitchell to continue forging daring and dynamic progressive music. After announcing the 32 minutes long “Others – EP”, now the time is nigh to reveal a brand-new track ‘Exhibit A’.

 Jem Godfrey states: “It’s good to be back with a cheerful song for these cheerful times! This is about being careful what you wish for when playing the fame game”.

Completed already back in 2019, Jem has the following to say about the “Others – EP”:

“Others” is a 6 track EP containing 6 songs that were written at the time of the “Falling Satellites” album. Initially the idea was that “Falling Satellites” would be a double album, but it felt more focused and concise as a single album by the time we’d finished making it, so these half completed songs were put to one side. Now finished and mixed, they are ready to see the light of day! 

The EP will be released digitally on June 5th, 2020 and will be released as part of the limited “13 Winters” anthology-artbook physically later this year. 

Pre-order the digital EP here: https://frost-band.lnk.to/OthersEP  

Furthermore, FROST* are putting finishing touches to their highly anticipated new studio album which is tentatively scheduled for a September release through InsideOutMusic.

FROST* – announce release of “Others – EP” on June 5, 2020

With FROST*’s latest album, “Falling Satellites”, dating back to 2016, it was about time, mastermind Jem Godfrey teamed up with Nathan King and John Mitchell to continue forging daring and dynamic progressive music.

Completed already back in 2019, FROST* now announce the release of the stunning 32 minutes long “Others – EP”. Jem Godfrey states:

“Others” is a 6 track EP containing 6 songs that were written at the time of the “Falling Satellites” album. Initially the idea was that “Falling Satellites” would be a double album, but it felt more focused and concise as a single album by the time we’d finished making it, so these half completed songs were put to one side. Now finished and mixed, they are ready to see the light of day!”

The EP will be released digitally on June 5, 2020 and will be released as part of the limited “13 Winters” anthology-artbook physically later this year. 

A first track from the “Others – EP” will be released on May 22! 

The track-list is below:

1. Fathers

2. Clouda

3. Exhibit A

4. Fathom

5. Eat

6. Drown

Furthermore, FROST* are putting finishing touches to their highly anticipated new studio album which is tentatively scheduled for a September release through InsideOutMusic.

LONELY ROBOT – announce new album ‘Feelings Are Good’

Lonely Robot, the project masterminded by producer, guitarist and singer/songwriter John Mitchell (Kino, Frost*, Arena, It Bites), is set to release its fourth album ‘Feelings Are Good’ on July 17th, 2020, a fresh start following the conclusion of the ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’.
 
John comments: “‘Feelings Are Good’ is a bit of a departure from the first three Lonely Robot albums or ‘The Astronaut Trilogy’ as it has now lovingly become known.  On ‘Feelings Are Good’, I wanted to explore more personal themes and the songs are very much about individual experiences and narratives that I believe had been the cornerstones, good and bad, to my life. The long tall and short of it is that we’re back on planet Earth, and I have a personal lyrical axe to grind!”
 
‘Feelings Are Good’ will be available as a Limited Edition CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP+CD and as Digital Album in both 16 & 24 bit versions (all including 2 bonus tracks). The artwork is once again by Paul Tippett / Vitamin P (Black Star Riders, Frost*), and John says of the cover: “The artwork is meant to be a little disturbing. The closed eyes and taped over mouth are supposed to represent how people are very guarded with their emotions and what better way of emoting them than through the windows to the soul and the smile?”
 
The full track-listing is as follows:
1.Feelings Are Good
2.Into The Lo-Fi
3.Spiders
4.Crystalline
5.Life Is A Sine Wave
6.Armour For My Heart
7.Suburbia
8.The Silent Life
9.Keeping People As Pets
10.Army Of One
11.Grief Is The Price Of Love
12.The Silent Life (Orchestral Version)
13.Crystalline (Orchestral Version)
 
Lonely Robot will hit the road in December 2020 for some select headline dates, and you can find a list of those below:
Dec 13th  Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
Dec 16th  Riff, Bochum, GER
Dec 17th  Das Rind, Rüsselsheim, GER
Dec 18th  Muziekgieterij, Maastricht, NL
Dec 20th  De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NL
 
During the campaign for their acclaimed previous album ‘Under Stars’, a full animated film was created by Crystal Spotlight and screened at two very special cinema events in the UK. Now the full visual accompaniment is available to stream, and you can watch it now here: https://youtu.be/slyM9ZUzr6U
 
John comments: “It has always been an ambition of mine to have a full length visual accompaniment alongside an album of music I have written. With Under Stars and the help of Miles at Crystal Spotlight, this dream was finally realised last year. I’m very proud of the results and I’d like to thank Miles for all his hard work and patience in bringing this to fruition. I hope you enjoy it.”
 
John Mitchell is a man with a rich musical heritage and history – from musician and vocalist, to songwriter and producer. With bands like Arena, Frost*, Kino, It Bites and Lonely Robot, to name but a few, Mitchell has left his mark on the current progressive rock scene and has been involved in dozens of recordings. He is also a respected producer & mixer, running Outhouse Studios in the UK and working with artists as diverse as You Me At Six, Enter Shikari, Alter Bridge, Asia, Don Broco, Funeral For A Friend, McFly & much more.

Review – The Room – Caught By The Machine

“The expansive soundscape driven into their third offering blows the gates wide open with a wealth of captivating melodic prog rock tracks, delivered with a quintessentially British level of class and sincerity despite the very serious and thought-provoking undertones etched into the music.”

You’ve got to love a bit of PR blurb (well I do, because I used to write it!) and this gem, delivered with the latest release from UK based sextet The Room, certainly does capture the imagination.

On the subject of the album’s title, The Room comment that the concept of being ‘Caught By The Machine’ directly relates to the feeling one experiences when the state, a job, a relationship or even a drug begins to control their every living moment. It is a reflection on many aspects of the modern world, for better or worse.

Formed in 2010 by Andy Rowe along with Martin Wilson and Steve Anderson from neo-prog rock band Grey Lady Down, The Room never fail to deliver an outstanding performance – both in the studio and in a live environment.

I am going nowhere near the age old “Is it Prog?” debate with this review, I am judging everything on its own merits, after all it doesn’t matter what genre you may or may not think it sits in. There’s a simple question that needs to be asked, is it any good?

Well Martin Wilson’s vocals are on top form throughout, he has a commanding and powerful vocal style that really demands attention, the fact that is is very melodic just adds to the exciting mix. The addition of Eric Bouillette’s guitar, along with band stalwart Steve Anderson, adds a harder rock edge and some very impressive solos and the rhythm section of Chris York and Andy Rowe is as impressive and dependable as ever. April 2018 saw the departure of keyboardist Steve Checkley and the arrival of new keys maestro Mark Dixon who has fitted in seamlessly.

‘Caught By The Machine’ is a very tightly created collection of ten songs that have been crafted meticulously to the last detail (the Production by prog legend John Mitchell is particularly notable), excellent songwriting giving us gems like opener Bodies on the Road, The Golden Ones and Vanished. Tracks that flow perfectly from beginning to end with catchy chorus and exemplary musicianship.

The Room have created their own distinctive sound from debut release ‘Open Fire’ through to the sophomore album ‘Beyond the Gates of Bedlam’ and that continues on the latest release but here it has matured and become something very classy indeed. Driving guitars, swirling keyboards, a dynamic rhythm section and Wilson’s urgent vocals creating highs of the likes of Run, Drowning In Sound and my particular favourite: It’s Not My Home.

The reggae guitar infused Broken seems a little out of place to me but, other wise, there are no low points in this memorable album. I got to the end of the darkly delicious final track Bloodstream and just pressed play again.

‘Caught By The Machine’ shows a band who are evolving into a major player. Inventive, impressive and superbly crafted, the simple answer is yes, it is very good indeed…

Released 22nd February 2019

Purchase from The Room’s website here: https://theroom.band/

New video for ‘I Don’t Know Why’ by KINO featuring Pete Trewavas, John Mitchell and Craig Blundell

Kino are set to release their new album ‘Radio Voltaire’ on March 23rd, 2018, arriving 13 years after the band’s much-loved debut ‘Picture’ back in 2005. It sees John Mitchell (It Bites, Lonely Robot) & Pete Trewavas (Marillion) teaming up once more, with Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson) on drums & John Beck (It Bites) guesting on keyboards.

Yesterday saw the release of the third and final track to be taken from the album prior to release, titled ‘I Don’t Know Why’:

Pete Trewavas comments: “This is a kind of Jellyfish/Queen inspired song which I wrote just towards the end of the first Kino album sessions. It was just too late to be on the record but I remember playing it to John Mitchell while we were at his finishing off the ‘Picture’ album. At the time I expected it to be on the second album, which never happened until all these years later.”

The album will be available on Limited CD Digipak (including bonus tracks), Gatefold 180g Double Vinyl (incl. CD) & Digital Download. Digital pre-orders on iTunes and Amazon receive ‘The Dead Club’ immediately. Pre-order now here: www.insideoutmusicshop.com

ecorded at the end of 2017, writing began at the end of that Summer. “We actually began the writing process in late August” says John Mitchell. “Pete had a few tunes and so did I, and we went from there.” Mitchell and Trewavas were both a crucial part of the original band more than a decade ago, with the former providing lead vocals and guitar parts, while the latter played his trademark bass lines and also contributed backing vocals.

Keyboard player John Beck, who is also a bandmate of Mitchell’s in It Bites, has been brought back. But while he was fully involved on the debut album, this time his role is that of a guest musician. “Yes, I am delighted to say we’ve gone John on board. His keyboard playing is splattered throughout the album, and I’ve also done the odd keyboard part myself.” The task of drummer this time fell to Craig Blundell, as Mitchell explains: “This time around Craig was the obvious choice to be the drummer, as far as I was concerned. I have worked with him so much that there was nobody else in the frame.”

Of the albums direction, Mitchell illustrates: “The title sounds very cool and obviously there’s a connection with the band Cabaret Voltaire. But Voltaire himself (the 18th century French philosopher) had a fascination with death, which appealed to me. He also stood for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. On top of that, I love the idea of a radio station that would reflect his views on life and cut through the bullshit which seems to be all over politics. Now, that is the type of radio station I think would reflect what a lot of us want to hear.”

The album cover has been designed by Paul Tippett, who is one of the most in demand artists of the modern era. “I like what he’s done with this sleeve. It reminds me of Moulin Rouge meets ‘Live And Let Die’. It is very striking, and I am sure everyone will have their own interpretation of what it reminds them of.”

The tracklisting can be found below:

1.Radio Voltaire
2.The Dead Club
3.Idlewild
4.I Don’t Know Why
5.I Won’t Break So Easily Any More
6.Temple Tudor
7.Out of Time
8.Warmth of the Sun
9.Grey Shapes on Concrete Fields
10.Keep The Faith
11.The Silent Fighter Pilot

Bonus Tracks

12.Temple Tudor (Piano Mix)
13.The Dead Club (Berlin Headquarter Mix)
14.Keep The Faith (Orchestral Mix)
15.The Kino Funfair

Review – Kino – Radio Voltaire – by Kevin Thompson

Thirteen years ago Kino opened the doors and eager fans flocked to the blockbuster ‘Picture’.

Starring a stalwart cast of Trewavas, Mitchell, Beck and Maitland, much was expected. Fans and critics alike gave the collaboration a warm reception and they toured venues with Spock’s Beard.

One may have expected to see this Super-group follow up their success with a ‘part 2’, or a ‘return of’, individual commitments permitting, but it all went quiet.

The projectors stopped rolling and the doors closed. Dust settled on the red velour seats, whilst spiders built webs across discarded popcorn containers and their remaining contents long since dried and adhered to the now moth eaten carpeted steps. The lights went out, the drinks machines dried up and a distinct musty hot dog scent drifted on the dust motes, floating across the sunbeams coming through the smeared window panes of the foyer.

Nothing in the last 13 years, barring a vinyl release of ‘Picture’, until, out of hibernation they emerge with new offering ‘Radio Voltaire’.

So what to expect, most of the original cast are back, starring John Mitchell (Lead Vocals/Guitar) and Pete Trewavas (Bass/Backing Vocals) with special guest appearance from John Beck (keyboards) along with a co-starring role for Craig Blundell on the drum stool, replacing Chris Maitland who had in reality already left the band before the release of ‘Picture’ due to other commitments.

But this is a somewhat different affair to the first album and was a far shorter gestation period in the making, with the main driving forces being Trewavas and Mitchell (who also produced, coordinated and organised everything). Having been ready to start work on a further Lonely Robot album, it was suggested by Inside Out that Mitchell might consider the idea of a new Kino album and after a fruitful meeting with Trewavas unearthed the fact they both already had some material between them, they completed the writing process in August 2017. The recording process ran smoothly and was completed over the final two months of  last year.

Will this album bring them back into the spotlights again and reintroduce the glitz and glamour of yesteryear to become another cinematic offering to great applause, or will it be confined to the bargain bins with lacklustre ‘B’ movies, as the ravages of time dealt their scorn and indifference?

With a striking album cover design from in demand artist Paul Tippet we’re off to a good start, let’s see. The lights go down, the curtain opens and the silent motion of the digital projection hits the screen…

A crackling German 1920’s radio announcement for Radio Voltaire the title track, preceding John Beck’s swirling keyboards before guitar punches from the gramophone speakers, settling into John Mitchell’s familiar voice building harmoniously on driving rhythms from Messrs Trewavas and Blundell, to epic guitar swashbuckling from Mitchell in his own inimitable style, as scene one fades in the echo of sonar.

Dusty German voices (must get the stylus cleaned) introduce the plunking keys of first single, The Dead Club, as heavy driving guitars and ‘spacey’ swirly knob/key twiddling projects into our ears as this scene races along, spewing PopProg fuel in it’s wake. Building into an edgy musical storm before the repeated track title from John 1 concludes with John 2 stabbing furiously at those terrified keys and we are blasted off track from a ray-gun synth. Kino are flying.

Gentle, haunting keys from the fingers of John Beck break the pace as John Mitchell pitches the emotional vocals and beautiful lyrics of Idlewild perfectly. Swelling gradually, it comfortingly fills all your instrumental emotions as you sit transfixed on the ballad playing out on the screen, dabbing at the corner of your eyes.

A pastiche of 70’s classic rock influences abound on track 4 which, without the guidance of our illustrious Director in Charge, Mr Mitchell could easily have fallen into a derivative mess. I Don’t Know Why anyone could possibly think this fabulously talented quartet wouldn’t pull it off, as they are all performing at the top of their game, adding just the right touches to keep it a refreshing, glittering smile and wink homage.

 We are returned to a twenties, cobwebbed vocal/piano introduction (where is that needle brush?) which is suddenly robbed by a cheeky riff on The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ from Mr Beck, as JM tells us I Won’t Break So Easily Any More. Blazing guitar work, throbbing bass and  thundering drums between only slightly restrained verses, with a nod to a MMEB keyboard style, are all rolled into a perfect Kino energy bar.

A Baroque style, acoustic guitar and piano riff dance balletically round Temple Tudor castles,  as the wistful lyrics are delivered with honest emotion, crafted beautifully.

The ticking clock with ringing alarm bell, breaks us from our reveries as we are rocked into a warning of our own mortality spanning genres and tempos as we are advised we are running Out Of Time. Pete Trewavas and Craig Blundell shine and glisten like polished glass, as they blend in and out of each other. The commanding bass rhythms are splashed with drops of time signatured percussion that leave you hanging on the edge of your seat wishing it would never end. Anyone who knows me is aware I am not a great lover of jazz, so believe me when I tell you this is a delicious feast for the ears.

Relax in hazy summer keys and soft wispy clouds of vocals as they float above us in the Warmth Of The Sun basking in this soothing moment of relaxation.

Craig Blundell‘s percussive patterns navigate us back on board for the ride around Grey Shapes on Concrete Fields changing tempo and showcasing his phenomenal mastery with panache. Driven with keys, guitars and vocals on a race, hitting a breathless abrupt end, that comes all too soon for me. You just want tracks like this to never end.

If there is to be a ‘B’ movie actor on this award hunting album, it would be this track for me though I should Keep the Faith. There is nothing inherently wrong with the music or vocals, but it treads water after the fire of the previous track and the relaxing interlude before it. As the penultimate track it applies the brakes as we had just begun to press the accelerator down the finishing straight.

All is forgotten as the The Silent Fighter Pilot, flies into view for our final foray across the silver-screen, engines roaring defiance as it passes overhead. Telling the the story of a fighter pilot giving his life, through John Mitchell‘s embittered vocals with his raging guitar showering notes like bullets of vengeance. Struck by the futility of war, a fatal blow that sees the track spiral out of control to it’s tragic demise, in a haunting memory.

I’m struck silent for a minute and the Wow!

Wow! Wow! WOW!

‘Radio Voltaire’ is a must buy for anyone who liked ‘Picture’, who rate anything the band members have produced in the past, in fact all lovers of Prog music at it’s most sublime.

Everyone performs like their lives depend on it, with a joyous freedom to explore, whilst keeping the Kino sound they have built, but expanding the experience to ear busting IMAX levels.

I declare this cinema well and truly open for business and suggest getting your tickets booked, this could attract a full house, night after night.

Released 23rd March 2018

Order ‘Radio Voltaire’ from Burning Shed

 

Rising UK Prog Metal Band HeKz Confirm Eagerly Awaited Third Album

Described by Prog magazine as sounding like “Queen having a barney with Dream Theater as Rush and Iron Maiden duke it out on the sidelines,” UK Prog Metallers HeKz have announced that their third album, “INVICTA”, will be released on Friday 20th April 2018 via BMH Audio.

Taken from the Latin word for “unconquered”, INVICTA is a celebration of perseverance and resilience. The ten songs come together to form a story of betrayal, loss, reconciliation and hope. Far from straying into the realms of fantasy, the songs are rooted in real experiences, reflecting the triumph and defeat that we all encounter on our journey through life and, in the case of the latter, how we can choose to be consumed by it, or fight on and emerge stronger.

“Each time we start a new album, it feels like we learn a little bit more about the DNA of HeKz and, at the same time, find new elements to add to it,” says Matt Young (lead vocals/bass).

“I feel that INVICTA is a great reflection of that, as you’re going to hear all of the things you’d expect from us but with some flavours we’ve never explored before. We’ve drawn on new influences for some of the songs, some of which would seem like an odd combination with the sound we’re known for, but we’ve tackled them in our own way and it blends superbly with what we do to create for some exciting moments in the album.”

“I think that this experimentation comes from allowing ourselves a little bit more time to collaborate on the songs this time, and the results of that combined effort have really lifted the album. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”

INVICTA was recorded at Liscombe Park & Visconti Studios, and the band’s home studios in and around London, and was mixed by producer extraordinaire John Mitchell (Lonely Robot, Kino, It Bites, Frost*, Arena) at Outhouse Studios, UK.

The album is currently available for pre-order from www.hekztheband.com, and will be released worldwide on Friday 20 April 2018. Fans who pre-order before Friday 23rd March will receive their copy one month before the official release date.

INVICTA Tracklisting
1. Quetzlcoatl (6:08)
2. For Our Lives (4:13)
3. The Light Fantastic (4:44)
4. To The Lions (5:10)
5. Ultimatum (6:07)
6. Line in the Sand (9:42)
7. Trecena (4:49)
8. Pariah (4:12)
9. The Devil’s Coin (15:03)
10. Victorious (5:39)

HeKz will be performing a select number of live shows to launch the new album:
Friday 23rd March – Parkvilla Theater, Alphen a/d Rijn, Netherlands
Friday 27th April – Winter’s End Festival, Chepstow, UK w/ MYSTERY

To keep up to date with all of this and more, join the band on social media and subscribe to their newsletter at www.hekztheband.com.

Web links:
www.facebook.com/hekztheband
www.twitter.com/hekztheband
www.youtube.com/hekztheband

HeKz are:
Matt Young – Lead Vocals, Bass
Al Beveridge – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Tom Smith – Guitars, Backing Vocals
James Messenger – Keyboards
Kirk Brandham – Drums