Review – Swan Chorus – Achilles and the Difference Engine – by John Wenlock-Smith

I’ve heard about this album for a while but not actually heard it until i got in touch with David Knowles, the band’s keyboard player and a major part of the entire project. Everything that I had read and seen on the internet hinted that this one was a bit special, so it was with a small degree of trepidation that I sat down to listen for myself and see if there was any substance and truth to validate these claims or whether it was just hype generated in order to sell the album…

Well, I have to say that it’s is not hype at all, in a year of excellent releases from the likes of The Emerald Dawn, Ruby Dawn and Southern Empire (to name just three) this album has leapt, nay vaulted, into my list of albums of the year, it really is that fine! There are strong memorable songs, some truly exhilarating performances and vocals that are strong and clear. I think that, in John Wilkinson, they have a vocalist who can match the power of Collins era Genesis alongside which, with the intricate detailed keyboards of David Knowles, they have unearthed a very rich vein of talent and competence, it has barely left my CD player all week. I’ve listened on various systems, headphones, on my phone and even whilst in the bath!

This album is full of great songs like the stunning opening duo of The Waffle House Index and the so Genesis After Dark, that sounds like it could be a newly unearthed Genesis track from ‘Invisible Touch’ or ‘We Can’t Dance’. It’s that good and John’s vocal certainly helps with that impression. It has been a source of much joy reading the lyrics online whilst listening to this decidedly Prog/Pop crossover album, if this were on a major label like InsideOut it could get some good promotional impetus behind it and could happily meet the needs of Genesis deprived Radio 2 listeners. It really is that good and, quite frankly, the fact that this isn’t being blasted out over the airwaves is a major fault with music today. This has crossover written all over it it and warrants a far bigger audience that it will sadly receive, if Steven Wilson were to release this it would be massive. Such is the problem with prog circles, they can be a bit blinkered and short sighted in the width of vision.

So the album consists of ten songs and has a running time of sixty-seven minutes long. This comprises of three longer songs in the opener The Waffle House IndexMy Little Vampire and The Great Adventure. The other seven tracks hover around the four to five minute mark, although English Electric is just shy of six minutes. The sleeve is interesting in that, as a Liverpool based band ,the cover shows or seems to, a nighttime photo of the Liverpool skyline as it is now alongside a swan’s neck and head. Achilles refers to a band that David and Colin McKay were a part of in the 1980’s, in fact some of the albums songs were previously Achilles songs that have been revisited, refreshed and even reworked for this album. These songs being all except My Little Vampire and The Great Adventure, although English Electric itself actually dates back to an idea before the band’s name became Achilles, as they were not able to use English Electric as a band name due to legal/copyright issues.

The album is, unsurprisingly, somewhat political at certain points as they take a swipe at the fanatical following that folk like Donald Trump receive and how that blind faith is dangerous to hedonism. There is also a sense of political dissatisfaction that runs through some of the songs, I guess with them coming from Liverpool that they are more Labour oriented than Tory in their views. There is also a song about Peter Sellers (Being There) that talks of how his talent was largely under appreciated by the critics and also the fact that his talent was often overshadowed by his extravagant lifestyle, his love affairs and his hedonism. This was especially true with the tabloids (gutter press like the Murdoch media, rags like The News Of The World and the Daily Mail that so often tell lies and untruths about people). The song has a lovely piano refrain that runs through it, along with orchestrations and a simple synth line that adds weight to the track. A strong vocal introduces the song which, in itself, is rather sad but not morbid, rather it focuses on his failure to maximise on his talents to a level of success that eluded him till his death. This also notes that his passing was largely ignored by the mainstream media, there was no elongated celebration of his talent sadly, his life was worthy of much more than it received.

This is followed by a couple of shorter tracks, namely Cold Comfort and Contender, the former being about family it seems and with a busy bass riff throughout. There is also a chunky guitar fill happening alongside the symphonic keyboards of David Knowles, who really plays up a storm on this album, the song has pace and good dynamics. “The sole of your preachers” is a reference to some inferior footwear from before the days of Nike and Adidas’s training shoe cartel of today. This is followed by the muscular Contender, which is the tale of a man called Danny who is incarcerated for crimes undisclosed. Danny does a degree whilst locked up which affords him the attention of a prison visitor groupie, this is a cautionary tale.

My Little Vampire is a song about how relationships often play out very differently in privacy and how partners can be very cruel to each other. The song contrasts the illusion and imagery of a Bob Ross painting when the reality is very different. This has a piercing guitar solo in the middle and even more lush keyboard sounds and is an emotionally involved track. English Electric, despite its title, has nothing to do with Big Big Train except that originally Achilles considered the name but were unable to use it for copyright and legal reasons. The song has a strong triumphant opening salvo with a jaunty synth, strident bass line and a masterful vocal which complements the song greatly. It has a further snaking lead guitar line and the sturdy bass driving the song forward. I especially like this rather jolly song, it is a great track. Welcome Home is another shorter song with good lyrics, a driving bass and lots of guitar fills. It’s meaning is a little unclear but it is a good track with more than a whiff of the 80’s In its sounds.

The final piece, This Great Adventure, is the album’s longest at just under thirteen minutes duration. This song seems to be about stepping up, making a difference and taking on the challenges of life in a post lockdown pandemic afflicted world. There’s yet more solid bass driving it with scores of keyboards and short but effective guitar fills. The vocal are delivered with deep conviction. This song is a perfect representation of what Swan Chorus are all about and distils into one track all this band offer

This album will no doubt appear on many best of 2023 lists and will definitely be on mine. I commend it most highly indeed, it is simply sublime and enchantingly captivating. Get it now you, will not regret it one bit and the band will appreciate your interest and support.

Released 13th August, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Achilles and the Difference Engine | Swan Chorus (

Amarok Release First Single – Hope Is – From New Album Due In Spring 2024

Amarok, known for its fusion of progressive rock, ethno and ambient, puts a slightly more predatory side on its latest single “Hope Is.” The track is based on a distinctive guitar sound and a characteristic drum rhythm, complemented by electronic additions that give the whole composition a modern twist. The message is based on the concept of hope understood as a force that shatters the safe but illusory order, giving a new direction to reality and the present. Hope as an almost cosmic force lends its energy, nourishes and saturates. It stimulates one to move forward, to live.

Hope Is is not a regular song, but rather a track with vocalizations from a distance, with lyrics sung by Kornel Poplawski and Marta Wojtas’ voice somewhat reminiscent of the sound from a space station. In the sound layer, in addition to the aforementioned ring modulator guitar sound, we will also hear small elements of 90s-style drum & bass.

The single Hope Is will open Amarok’s latest album, scheduled for release in spring 2024.

Music by Michał Wojtas, Kornel Popławski

Lyrics by Marta Wojtas

Produced and mixed by Michał Wojtas

Mastered by Robert Szydło

Michał Wojtas – guitar, keyboards, perc, e-drum

Kornel Popławski – vocal, bass

Marta Wojtas – vocal

Konrad Zieliński – drums



To mark the 20th anniversary of Opeth’s ground-breaking 2003 album ‘Damnation’, a special vinyl re-issue has been meticulously crafted to pay homage to a pivotal and trailblazing moment in the band’s illustrious history. Originally recorded in the serenity of Åkerfelt’s native Sweden, with additional production from Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, the album acclaimed by fans and critics alike has since received a re-mix and master in 2015, pressed to vinyl on a double LP together with the dichotomous ‘Deliverance’.

Released on 15th December (Music For Nations) this marks the first time exclusive and deluxe vinyl pressings have been given to ‘Damnation’. A record that represents a paradigm shift in the band’s approach to composition, seeing them side-line their metal roots from the forefront of their arsenal. Instead replacing it with an additional insight into ambience, atmospherics, and progressive rock, this together with Åkerfeldt’s signature lyricality and musicianship creates a unique record of ethereal beauty and longing, and one which remains top of mind for many Opeth fans.

The 20th Anniversary versions sees the 2015 re-mix and remaster pressed to standard black vinyl, as well as being available on deluxe and limited colour finishes, and for the very first time available on an exclusive picture disc that highlights and reflects the album’s ethereal and bleak visual world.

Pre-order now:

Damnation20 (

Speaking on the release, the band’s lead vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt comments,

“Hello folks! Our old “partners in crime” Music For Nations are planning a 20th-anniversary re-release of one of our odd records, this time ”Damnation”. We want our records available on vinyl at all times, and it turns out we can’t keep stock! Our vinyl editions are flying out. I’ve seen it with my own eyes when I helped out in a record shop during the pandemic. Some customers didn’t know they’re buying it from one of the people responsible for the music. Of course I went: ”Good record, good band!”. So before there’s any moaning about ”another reissue, another cash grab” I want to stress out that it really comes down to public demand. We’ll present Steven Wilson’s updated mix (first available in 2015 or thereabouts) on limited edition opaque and transparent vinyl as well as on a picture disc, which I believe is the first time ever.

 ”Damnation” is a special record, even if they’re all special to me. I remember hearing the first mix on headphones in a crummy hotel somewhere in the UK. I had trouble believing it was us, myself, Peter, Lopez, Mendez (as well as ol’ Steve on keys). It was completely different from anything we’d done up to that point, and quite frankly, since. Out of all of our records, I think this one is most suitable for the vinyl format due to the fact that it is not really cluttered with stuff. A pretty airy recording with 5 musicians and done on 2 inch tapes as well. It’s a record I’m immensely proud over and it also remains a fan-favourite I believe.

Commenting further Steven Wilson adds “At the time I remember getting death threats from metal fans for “ruining” the band!  As if it could be anyone’s intention but Mikael’s to do a record like that anyway.  Damnation was when everyone understood that he was not going be trapped within the confines of any genre or label, and that the band’s importance and influence would be far reaching.  Rightly so Damnation is now seen as a timeless masterpiece, and I’m very proud to have had my part in making it.”


Side A

1 – Windowpane

2 – In My Time Of Need

3 – Death Whispered A Lullaby

Side B

1 – Closure

2 – Hope Leaves

3 – To Rid The Disease

4 – Ending Credits

5 – Weakness

Opeth – Damnation;

Mikael Åkerfeldt – vocals and lead guitar

Peter Lindgren – rhythm guitar

Martin Méndez – bass guitar

Martin Lopez – drums

Review – Glass Hammer – Arise

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” – Lewis Carrol, ‘Alices Adventures in Wonderland’.

In music, most albums contain individual stories, the songs, and then some albums have a thematic link: concept albums. So, when one of my favourite bands tells me they are releasing a space-based concept album, trust me, I am going to be hooked…

Legendary American proggers Glass Hammer return with deep space exploration concept album ‘Arise’, this new release follows the extraordinary journey of an android dispatched by overzealous scientists to uncover the galaxy’s hidden wonders. 

So let’s delve into this musical space adventure, the explanation can come later…

An incredible amalgamation of prog-rock, 70’s hard rock, psych rock, doom and even a definite 80’s vibe, ‘Arise’ will at times leave you slack jawed and open mouthed at its audacity and in-your-face brilliance and, while definitively a Glass Hammer album, there’s new found confidence in every note.

Android Research Initiative for Space Exploration

Statement From A.S.T.R.A. (Advanced Space Technology and Research Agency): Harnessing the powers of celestial-rift anomaly MARS-WRM-001, android ARISE ventures to deep space, unraveling cosmic enigmas and pushing the boundaries of exploration. Our audacious pursuit of knowledge shall illuminate the universe, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of cosmic understanding.

Let the adventure begin with Launch of the Daedalus, an urgent instrumental full of anticipation as we await the launch of the exploratory craft with the android on board. If anyone remembers Boston’s ‘Third Stage’ then The Launch comes to mind, painting a picture in your mind of a spacecraft rising majestically into a bright blue sky.

“Here I go, riding on a flame
Through the sky
I’m burning brighter
Than the sun, and can anyone
see me now.”

Wolf 359 hoves into view like a cinematic epic, the marching music full of pomp and circumstance before we hear the dulcet tones of Hannah Pryor and what a voice she has, a perfect match for the dynamism and majesty of the all-powerful music. It perfectly sets us on the interstellar journey. There’s a thought provoking keyboard section before the vastness of space is invoked once more.

The vastness of deep space unfolds, a testament to the extraordinary capacities of human and android intellect.

Like a majestic slice of hard rock infused electronica, ARION (18 delphini b) fires a warning shot with Steve’s effects laden voice leading us into the track before Hannah takes over again. It’s a wonderful thrill ride of galactic proportions and the funky keyboards add a touch of 70’s cool to the song.

“Thank God I found it
The only place I’d ever want to be
Thank God, who made it
My shining castle by the sea.”

Steve then trades solos with Reece’s scintillating guitar as our android protagonist stands upon the shore of Mare Sirenum marvelling at the singular beauty of its waters. Contemplating the wonders he sees here has conjured within him a deep longing for something he cannot name or explain. we then cleverly segue into the delicate wonder of Mare Sirenum, a delightful instrumental that pings and chimes and reminds me of early Sci-fi classic films.

“There I stood in perfect silence all alone Circled round by memories of all I’d known Then you called out from the darkness
All that I could do
Was turn and run away from you.”

A harsh and intense instrumental section ushers in Lost, invoking some painful feelings and memories before Hannah’s beautiful vocals begin, full of pathos and warmth. It’s a song of two extremes and they work perfectly, the alien intro a harsh reality against the beautiful pathos of the elegant vocals. There’s some delightful keyboards and drumming before that slightly off-kilter, almost alien back drop returns and then plays a game of cat and mouse with Hannah’s ethereal voice, what a superb track.

Transmission from Android Research Unit ARISE:
Curious anomaly detected at WASP-12. An indescribable rift emerges within the celestial expanse, heralding the arrival of unknown entities from dimensions uncharted. Their enigmatic presence evokes an inexplicable disquietude within me—a sensation both unfamiliar and captivating. It seems my neurosynaptic network is experiencing a cascade of perplexing algorithms…
[Intermittent signal disruption encountered}

Oh my, what a brilliant, thunderous monumental slab of space rock, Rift at Wasp-12 arrives like a homage to those legends of psych, Hawkwind, I love the way that, despite the heaviness (and I love the heaviness!), the music is instantly accessible but I keep hearing more and more with every listen! Steve provides a suitable demonstrative vocal and bass line hewn out of granite and there’s a brilliantly savage guitar solo from Fred Schendel that all adds up to a track that’s cooler than James Dean!

“I don’t know what calls to me from the rising mist at twilight
I don’t know what’s standing there wrapped in the glow of moonlight
I don’t know what’s led me here, this place on the verge of nightmare And I don’t know what you’ve been told but you really don’t want to go there”

We then segue into the even heavier Proxima Centauri B and there’s a joyous immediacy to the music, an intimacy and glorious flow. It’s a monumental piece of music, a sinister widescreen 70’s Sci-Fi soundtrack of epic proportions Reese once again fires his guitar like lightning bolts and Hannah’s evil twin turns up for vocal duties, it’s so good and puts a huge grin on my face. There’s a definite 70’s sci-fi feel to me, those great shows like Space 1999 but with a deliciously dark edge to it.

Regrettably, we must report the cessation of ARISE’s operations at Proxima Centauri B. The android, presumed destroyed, encountered insurmountable challenges, rendering it non-functional. Despite the emergence of sporadic “ghost transmissions” purporting to originate from ARISE, we must regard them as spurious and disregard any claims made therein.

Sinister and ominous in feel, the title track Arise ascends with a measured pace, like a leviathan of the stars, it’s a proper slow building track where the tension can be felt on every note and every word. Steve’s bass is disquieting and mischievous and the drums (which Steve played as well) are filled with a portentous tone. Hannah’s vocals are, once again, superb but they are just one cog in an ever impressive musical wheel. Reese delivers a slow burning, extremely bluesy, guitar section which just adds to the suspense, what a fine piece of music.

Statement from A.S.T.R.A. (Advanced Space Technology and Research Agency): Inexplicable sightings of the presumed-destroyed spacecraft DAEDALUS have emerged. False transmissions from an entity claiming to be android ARISE undermine our mission’s integrity. Urgent action is required to neutralize this deceptive presence upon its emergence through the Mars anomaly MARS-WRM-001.

This has been an excellent album and it ends on a suitably high note with The Return Of Daedelus, there’s a joyous immediacy to the music, an intimacy and glorious flow. Glass Hammer deliver music from a bygone era, digitally upgraded for the modern age. It’s like a mash up of 70’s rock and prog, the perfect union of early Rush and Deep Purple, like blues/Prog with an hard and improvisational edge.

Steve says, “It’s a huge guitar / bass jam and not something we usually do. I wanted to show Reese Boyd off. I usually end albums with a big triumphant victorious bit, but wanted something “catastrophic” for this one.”

He’s not wrong, it’s the long slow build that’s key and raises the tension and you end being completely blown away by the suave sophistication of the music and the incredible skill of the musicians. What a way to close out what has been a fantastic collection of songs, ones that combine together perfectly to deliver one of the best concept albums you’ll have heard in recent years.

There’s no weak link on this album, it just ebbs and flows beautifully, although the last three tracks go together so well. They’re possibly the best triumvirate of songs that the band have ever done back to back. With the Skallagrim series Glass Hammer proved themselves masters of the dynamic and grandiose and ‘Arise’ gives the impression that the creative skills of Steve Babb have gone into overdrive, is there a better storyteller in modern progressive music?

Released 27th October, 2023.

Order direct from the band here:

Glass Hammer official website



Having returned with their announcement of their new album previously, fans at long last can hear the first sample of what to expect on the up-coming Ozric Tentacles release ‘Lotus Unfolding’. 

Today the band have made available a beautiful visualiser that takes us inside the world of ‘Lotus Unfolding’. Created by Matthew Vickerstaff ( Facebook / Instagram ), the video brings the psychedelic album art to life as we’re transported into the wormhole of the magical realm of OzricTentacles sonic creations. 

Musically the track brings signature elements of the band’s sound to the forefront. Opening with the ethereal chimes and flutes as we’re slowly transported into the sonic oasis of Lotus Unfolding, we’re treated to beautiful acoustic passages before electronics open up for a cathartic guitar solo bringing the song to a musical crescendo before slowly returning back to the realms of consciousness as the song dissipates. Put simply, it’s a trip! 

The album was recorded, written and produced in their own Blue Bubble studio in Fife during 2022 – 2023 by Ed Wynne with a little sonic help from Silas. Mastered by Adam Goodlet and illustrated with some nicely detailed ethereal artwork by Steve McKeown and Sally Clark.

Ozric Tentacles’ aural synapses buzz throughout the album to channel the band’s limitless creativity, making Lotus Unfolding the perfect conduit of the spiritual and the physical. It’s an essential addition to the band’s catalogue.   

Lotus Unfolding is another sonically illustrated excursion through the musical realms the band have explored in their latest chapter. Album opener ‘Storm In A Teacup’ kicks the album off in spectacular style traversing the realms of time and space with flair and virtuosic poise. It’s followed by the groove driven ‘Deep Blue Shade’, whose melodies are vividly brought to life by trademark Ed Wynne exquisite guitar playing. This is swiftly accompanied by the serene title track – as close to a musical yoga session at the centre of the hippocampus you’ll ever experience. 

Lotus Unfolding line up consists of Ed Wynne (Guitars, Synth and Bass) and Silas Wynne (Modular Synth and Keyboards) . Alongside Ed and Silas is Brandi Wynne (bass), Saskia Maxwell (Flute), Tim Wallander (Drums) and Paul Hankin (Percussion). 

Lotus Unfolding will be available on CD Digipak, Limited Marble LP with limited die cut sleeve, Blue LP also with limited die cut sleeve, Black LP and available digitally.

Preorder HERE

Coming up shortly, Ozric Tentacles will be bringing their signature brand of tripped out instrumental Rock to the masses alongside label mates Gong in November for an extensive UK tour that will pick back up in March of 2024, suitably titled ‘The Last Blast Tour’. 

Pick up tickets here:


17th  November – Oxford, O2 Academy2

18th  November – London, O2 Forum with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

19th  November – Manchester, O2 Ritz

20th  November – Sheffield, O2 Academy2

21st  November – Colchester, Arts Centre

23rd  November – Northampton, Roadmenders

24th  November – Bristol, O2 Academy

25th  November – Gloucester, Guildhall

26th  November – Birmingham, O2 Academy2

28th  November – Brighton, Chalk

29th  November – Norwich, Epic Studios

30th  November – Bournemouth, O2 Academy

1st  December – From, Cheese & Grain

2nd  December – Liverpool, O2 Academy


7th March – Exeter, The Phoenix

8th March – Falmouth, Princess Pavilion

9th March – Lyme Regis, Marine Theatre

10th March – Cardiff, The Globe

11th March – Swansea, Patti Pavilion

13th March – Southampton, The 1865

14th March – Margate, Dreamland

15th March – Hull, The Welly

16th March – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

17th March – Stockton-on-Tees, Georgian Theatre

18th March – Lincoln, Engine Shed

20th March – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

21st March – Newcastle, University

22nd March – Glasgow, St. Luke’s

23rd March – Edinburgh, Summerhall

About Ozric Tentacles

One of the most influential bands to emerge from the UK’s festival scene, Ozric Tentacles formed during the solstice at Stonehenge Free Fesetival 1983, going on to become psychedelic staples at Glastonbury and other festivals. The creative vision of multi-instrumentalist Ed Wynne, the Ozrics’ uniquely trippy soundscapes connect fans of progressive rock, psychedelia and dance music culture. 

Review – Bruce Soord – Luminescence

Multi-instrumentalist, producer and The Pineapple Thief mastermind Bruce Soord’s new album ‘Luminescence’ was released September 22nd. This new album is his third solo offering. Inspired by the idea of finding inner peace, Soord’s latest solo release explores the difficulty of living in the metropolis of the modern world. Born from days exploring various cities whilst on tour, tracks from the album feature recordings from Soord’s various wanderings captured on his field recorder.

Recorded between January 2021 and June of 2023, the album was cut at Soord Studios with additional strings recorded at RAK Studio 3 in London, featuring arrangements from Andrew Skeet, long time member of The Divine Comedy and musical producer of the orchestration on many films/tv shows from Netflix’s smash hit Black Mirror to David Attenborough’s Green Planet and Dynasties II. 

You could draw parallels between Bruce Soord and Steven Wilson who, after many years building success with Porcupine Tree, segued into an equally successful solo career and has just released his latest solo offering, ‘The Harmony Codex’, to much acclaim. While being a fan of The Pineapple Thief, I do think that Soord’s solo output is every bit as good, if not as extensive, as Mr Wilson’s. However, with ‘Luminescence’, I do feel that Bruce Soord has created something more intimate and warm and one that, with its soul-searchingly sparse soundscapes, really resonates with me.

There’s Soord’s signature melancholy in the dark beauty of opener Dear Life, a poignant track sung from the perspective of an elderly parent, on their death bed, to their child. The elegant swathes of Andrew Skeet’s strings and the wistful guitar blend with Bruce’s heartfelt vocal to deliver something starkly elegant. The brevity of tracks like Lie Flat may appear uncomplicated but there are hidden meanings and nostalgic snapshots throughout. A more simplistic approach of stylish acoustic guitar and gentle electronica imbues a laid back, unhurried feel throughout while that inner peace is sought. One of my personal favourites is the glorious Olomouc where the ethereal strings work against the backdrop of that wonderful acoustic guitar to give a moment of pure clarity and the vocals’ nostalgic timbre just add to the stillness and calm.

There are moments of lucidity and purity brought by the stylish transience of songs like the lush So Simple and the delicate soundscape of Read to Me and a mental pause brought about by the iridescent shimmer of Never Ending Light where Bruce’s vocal is most definitely the focus, aided and abetted by the exquisite strings and classically played guitar. The pared back note of Day of All Days flowers into something altogether more seriousness with the unadorned guitar and more direct vocals and Nestle In explores the concept of the incessant speed of life causing humanity to not appreciate what is wrong in the world. Once again Andrew Skeet’s beautifully emotive strings accompany the minimalist yet emotive electronica bubbling in the foreground.

Instant Flash of Light adds a more urgent feel from the guitar and vocals to its Americana feeling sound, countered by the dazzling strings and sumptuous chorus to create yet another moment of sheer class. Rushing, with its faster pace and nimble electronica leaves you left in the middle of a crowded scene, a bar perhaps or even the concourse of a busy station. A wonderfully wistful and touching piece of music, Stranded Here is a study in thoughtful melancholy and one that left a lump in my throat and the album closes with the touching elegance of Find Peace.

There won’t be many albums created with as much love and affection as ‘Luminescence’. Bruce Soord has laid his soul bare and given us an intimate insight into the world he inhabits and, in exploring the difficulty of living in the metropolis of the modern world, Bruce has delivered an album of extraordinary songs and one that will stand the test of time.

Released 22nd September, 2023.

Order from ‘Luminescence’ here:




Pre-order here: Murder Nature (


Recorded between Portugal and Norway in 2005–2006, and produced and mixed by Cardoso himself. Murder Nature was released to great critical acclaim, and has gained the reputation of being a lost classic of sorts over the years, whilst the compositions themselves remained timeless and ageless, and often requested for a proper and extensive reissue.

This newly remastered double-disc edition of Murder Nature, now includes a special bonus disc of unreleased instrumental and demo material from the time period, along with a cover of Seal’s ‘80s hit “Kiss From a Rose”. The release also includes updated art and layout, and contains a booklet featuring a comprehensive interview delving into the beginnings, endings, and inner workings of the whole project, courtesy of writer Jonathan Rosenthal, (Invisible Oranges, Decibel, Brooklyn Vegan) plus additional words from members of other luminaries of the progressive metal scene, such as Periphery and Between the Buried and Me.Murder Nature stands as a pinnacle of forward-thinking metal from the 2000s, for fans of Tool, A Perfect Circle, Queens of the Stone Age, and Faith No More.

Murder Nature was a pretty bold album, especially if you put it into the context of when it was made, and how. Looking back, I’m still surprised that we pulled it off, but I’m glad we did ’cause it pretty much paved the way to my long-lasting career as a musician and producer.” – says Daniel Cardoso. 

Murder Nature will be available as a double CD and single LP. 

MURDER NATURE Track list: 

1.     Baby Blue [06:34]

2.     Skin Flick [04:23] 

3.     Masterpiece [Of Art] [03:34] 

4.     Blunt Instrumental [03:49]

5.     It Hurts [04:00]

6.     Watergate [03:40]

7.     Seven [04:00]

8.     Kill Me [02:07]

9.     Wonderworld [03;38]

10.   Rapid Eye Movement [04:48] 

11.   Falling On Sleep [04:46]

12.   Kiss From a Rose [04:18] 


1.     Baby Blue (Instrumental) [05:18]

2.     Skin Flick (instrumental) [04:26]

3.     Masterpiece [Of Art] (instrumental) [03:38]

4.     Watergate (instrumental) [03:43] 

5.     Seven (instrumental) [04:03]

6.     Wonderworld (instrumental) [04:40]

7.     Rapid Eye Movement (instrumental) [04:47] 

8.     eM lliK (Kill Me reverse) [02:07]

9.     Baby Blue (Unreleased Demo) [05:18]

10.   Skin Flick (Unreleased Demo) [04:24]

Masterpiece [Of Art] (Unreleased Demo) [03:38

Head Control System was a venture set out by multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Daniel Cardoso (Anathema / Sirius), originally under the moniker of SinDRomE, which developed into a dynamic and what could also be considered a somewhat trailblazing style of alternative metallic rock with prog textures. The missing piece of the puzzle was completed when Daniel was joined by Kristoffer Rygg of long-standing Norwegian experimental – and erstwhile black metal – legends Ulver. Together with Kristoffer’s unmistakable vocal delivery and Daniel’s finely-honed instrumentation, an intricately woven opus of seduction and darkness with abstract existential musings was created in Murder Nature, the band’s only studio album to date. It was originally released back in 2006 through Voices Music & Entertainment (EU) and The End Records (US).

Review – Galahad – The Long Goodbye

“Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.”Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Music is essential and life would not be complete without it, where words fail, music can always express what we are feeling and Galahad have always had that uncanny knack of resonating with me on a sub conscious level. This long revered band have a new album in the offing and I was extremely honoured to have a very early listen and plenty of time to gather my thoughts before writing this review but, first, a short bit of PR…

This latest opus, Galahad’s twelfth studio album, was recorded before, during and after the recent Covid emergency, and, as was the case with the previous album ‘The Last Great Adventurer’, was recorded at several locations over the last couple of years by the various band members and was finally edited, mixed and mastered, as usual, by our engineer/producer supreme Karl Groom.

The album features the same line-up as TLGA of Stu Nicholson (vocals), Dean Baker (keyboards), Spencer Luckman (drums), Lee Abraham (guitars) and Mark Spencer (bass guitar).

As usual, a variety of topics are considered and written about on this album, some very personal, including the title track in which the ageing process and the difficult and tricky subject of early onset dementia is tackled, hopefully with a certain amount of  poignancy.

Those familiar with ‘The Last Great Adventurer’ will feel that album’s vibe immediately on the classy opener Behind The Veil Of A Smile. An elegant intro of Lee’s guitar and Dean’s keys leads you on a willing journey into superb prog infused metal, it’s not dissimilar to Threshold but couldn’t have come from anyone but Galahad as it’s much more intricate and ‘proggy’. The song really takes off when you hear Stu’s distinctive vocals, especially on the ever so cool chorus. There’s a brilliant keyboard solo that put a huge grin on my face and the song ends with a short but extremely satisfying solo from Lee, the band have certainly picked up on where they’d finished on TLGA and their creative abilities are still firing on all cylinders! A techno/electronica hue (I never thought I’d write those words about a Galahad release!) is all over the intro to Everything’s Changed, a more subdued piece of music than the opening song but one that is still full of the band’s signature sincerity, especially on Stu’s elegant vocals. There’s a world weary atmosphere to this nostalgic feeling song, it’s full of a wistful, almost melancholy, sentiment for the ages, mainly imbued by Dean’s contemplative keyboards, and blossoms superbly on another bewitchingly catchy chorus. It’s another stylish piece of music and the almost orchestrated ending is a touch of genius. More echoing, dynamic keys dominate the extended opening to Shadow In The Corner before Lee’s punchy guitar enters the fray and adds some drive to the song. Stu’s slow burning vocals add a touch of mystery and suspense to the track before a flowering chorus adds a cinematic, widescreen effect to proceedings. There’s a lush feel to the keyboards and guitar riffs and Lee gets to shine on a superb, funky solo that really gets under your skin. Once again I have to applaud the musicianship, Galahad certainly brings the best out of Lee Abraham who is on extraordinary form on this album especially but everyone is at the top of their game and Stu’s vocals are as immense as ever.

Now to the elephant in the room, the utterly brilliant, but totally left-field, The Righteous And The Damned. This epic piece of music really shouldn’t work but it does and brilliantly! Imagine System Of A Down crossed with ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and you won’t be far wrong. It is one of the best tracks I’ve heard this year but does need perseverance as it doesn’t click immediately. Stu said that,

“Oddly the intro melody for ‘Righteous’ came to me whilst we were in the Jewish quarter in Krakow a few years ago listening to the street musicians, it’s an incredibly atmospheric place. It will a marmite track for sure.”

The band have imbued that feel and atmosphere into an incredibly entertaining and engaging song that has touches of brilliance throughout. The violin is mischievous as hell, Lee’s riffs jump all over the place and, yet, it is still demonstratively a Galahad track. Stu sounds like he’s having the time of his life, Mark’s bass is funky and jazzy as you like and Spencer’s drums have never sounded as complex, it is just amazing and the band should be complimented on delivering a piece of music that could alienate some of their fans, although I would be very surprised if it did!

The final song on the album proper (we’ll come to the CD bonus tracks in a bit) is the glorious, heartfelt and emotional journey that is The Long Goodbye, It’s a wondrous musical journey that tackles the ageing process and the difficult and tricky subject of early onset dementia with pathos and the poignancy that the band intended and it’s one you never want to end. There’s a serious feel to the song as it breaks out from the thoughtful, almost mournful, introduction, Stu’s vocals delivered with calm gravitas and the music slightly subdued but still delivered with feeling. The softly delivered refrain of “I don’t know who I am, I can’t even remember my name, I don’t know what I’ve ever done, I don’t know where I’ve come from” brings home the seriousness of the subject matter in the most dignified of manners. This beautifully constructed piece of music will, at times, bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye but it’s the breathtaking final six minutes that take it to a whole other level as Lee delivers some gorgeous guitar, including a sublime soaring solo, and the stunning orchestration from Dean and Mark begins. Stu says he loves this part of the track and you can see why, it is utterly stunning and finishes the song and the album on the highest of high notes.

If you order the CD version then you will get two bonus tracks, Darker Days which harks back to the style of the first three tracks on the album, that high energy, dynamic sound with edgy guitars, pounding drums, forceful bass and compelling keyboards. Add in Stu’s charismatic vocals and another memorable chorus and it has everything you need. Open Water is another matter entirely, it’s a more sparse, sensitive and somewhat reflective track that has an almost ethereal quality with Stu’s laid back vocals, Lee’s exquisite guitar and the celestial piano and keys. Stu says it is probably the newest piece as it was written during lockdown and, to echo Stu’s sentiments, provides a relatively low key finish on the CD after all the bombast.

I chose ‘The Last Great Adventurer’ as my album of the year for 2022 and, in a fast paced world that never stands still, Galahad haven’t rested on their laurels. They have returned with ‘The Long Goodbye’, another wondrous musical journey that mesmerises and bewitches from beginning to end, and even surprises in places. Could this be another contender at the end of the year, I definitely don’t see why not!

Released 23rd October, 2023.

Pre-order direct from the band here:

Galahad – GALAHAD Merchandise (

Danish math-stadium rock group Isbjörg release new single ‘Inure’ on October 26th 2023

‘Inure’ is the fourth single from Isbjörg’s upcoming second full-length album which is expected to be released in the spring of 2024.

Along with the latest singles from 2023, ‘Inure’’ marks a new era for the band who, since the release of their debut album ‘Iridescent’ in 2019, have welcomed Jonathan Kjærulff Skovlund as their new front figure.

With its calm and atmospheric pace, ‘Inure’ showcases a more fragile and mellow side of Isbjörg. The song is a duet between lead singer Jonathan Kjærulff Skovlund and guest vocalist Margrethe Christine Wellejus and portrays a failing relationship that neither of them has thestrength to end. The conflict and the music escalates slowly and finally culminates in an epic climax in true Isbjörg fashion.

‘Inure’ is available on all major streaming services from Thursday the 26th of October 2023.

Presave here: Inure by Isbjörg – DistroKid

Isbjörg is a Danish math-stadium rock band centered around the piano.

The aim of the band has always been to surprise and break musical boundaries without compromising the songwriting. Odd time signatures and polyrhythms combined with catchy hooks and lush melodies captures the listener in an intense and captivating soundscape.

Following the release of two EP’s and singles, Isbjörg released their debut album ‘Iridescent’ in 2019. The album was very acclaimed by both fans and critics for its epic, piano-centered sound and the captivating songwriting.

After the release of ‘Iridescent’ Isbjörg have been touring around Denmark and played everything from small clubs to big festivals such as SmukFest in 2019. The last couple of years Isbjörg have worked intensively on writing their follow-up album. After the departure of singer Niklas Jespersen in early 2022, Isbjörg welcomed Jonathan Kjærulff Jensen (Lara Luna) as their new lead singer and are now standing stronger and more focused than ever with a lot of single releases in 2023 before releasing their second full-length album in early 2024.

Website: Linktree:

Isbjörg is:
Jonathan Kjærulff Skovlund – Vocals, Mathias Bro Jørgensen – Piano, vocals, Dines Dahl Karlsen – Guitar, Lasse Gitz Thingholm – Guitar, Mathias Schouv Kjeldsen – Bass, Frederik Ølund Uglebjerg – Drums

Proud Peasant to Release New Album ‘Communion’ on 20th October, 2023

Cinematic progressive rock band Proud Peasant (Austin, TX, USA) will release their new album Communion on Basement Avatar Records on October 20, 2023. The album is the follow-up to their debut album, Flight, and the second part of the It Does Not Cease trilogy.

Proud Peasant have forged a reputation for combining classic and modern sounds together, drawing comparisons to Mike Oldfield, Gryphon, Wobbler, and King Crimson, while also incorporating elements of movie and video game soundtracks, metal, thrash, chamber music, avant-garde, Chinese classical music, and ragtime jazz to create a cinematic mix of sounds.

Proud Peasant’s debut album ‘Flight’ was called an “aptly titled escape into musical fancy that masterfully knots together British folk, cinematic symphonic rock, Elizabethan prog, Gentle Giant-ish vocal fugues and even videogame-score-like whimsy.” (Progression Magazine) The album achieved significant acclaim, ending 2014on several best-of lists, reaching #1 on Amazon’s Progressive Rock charts, and spending 11 weeks on the Gagliarchives Top 20 Progressive Rock Albums of the Week.

Their next release was with ‘Peasantsongs’, a collection of rare and unreleased tracks, including covers of classic tracks by Eloy and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, which were featured on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone on BBC Radio.

The band returns with ‘Communion’, the follow-up to ‘Flight’, and the second part of the ‘It Does Not Cease’ trilogy. Engineered by Chico Jones and mastered by Sarah Register, ‘Communion’ continues the sonic and stylistic shifts from previous albums, but brings a heavier, more modern sensibility, and adds vocals to the mix. Featuring an eclectic mix of six songs, the album culminates in the final track, The Fall, a 19-minute epic exploration of genre, mood, and sound.

Communion will be released on CD, digital download, and all major streaming services on October 20, 2023.

Pre-orders open at bandcamp now:

Communion | Proud Peasant (