Book Review – Roie Avin – Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums

IMAGES AND WORDS BEHIND PROG’S MOST CELEBRATED ALBUMS 1990-2016

Well known and respected within progressive music circles as the man behind The Prog Report, Roie Avin has worked with various labels and rock and prog artists over a 20 year career in the music business.

This new book looks into the stories behind the best prog albums from 1990-2016, eschewing the classic prog bands who made their name through the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s, like Yes, Rush and Pink Floyd. As Roie says in the introduction, “Prog didn’t fall off the cliff after getting Close To The Edge, it continued on the Bridge Across Forever.”

A mighty tome of coffee table reading size, ‘Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums’ looks in-depth at how these albums came about with exclusive interviews from the artists involved and the requisite amount of glossy pictures.

A comprehensive guide to over 50 albums that shines a light on such gems as Queensrÿche’s 1990 release ‘Empire’ that opens the book and ‘Whirlwind’, the 2009 epic from Transatlantic to Big Big Train’s legendary 2013 album ‘English Electric: Full Power’ and ‘Similitude of a Dream’, Neal Morse’s brilliant 2016 retelling of A Pilgrim’s Progress that closes things out. Roie has a genuine affection for the music and the artists who released it and this comes across in his intelligent, and warm writing style.

With a seemingly inexhaustible supply of encyclopediatic knowledge, Roie devotes a chapter to each album with a well written introduction leading into the main description, there seems to be nothing that this man doesn’t know about his subject.

There’s some albums in there that I have never touched on but now will and also some of my favourite records that will gain a new lease of life due to Roie’s enthusiastic and descriptive words, albums such as ‘Milliontown’ from Frost* and Porcupine Tree’s ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’, this engrossing guide brings the history behind the music to the fore.

Yes, there are some albums that don’t make the guide that, in other people’s opinion, maybe should have but there is so much in-depth material here that you will be dipping in and out for many years to come. And, for the music nerd, there is an extensive knowledge base for you to play one upmanship with your fellow music loving friends.

What you have here is exactly what Roie has set out to deliver, the essential guide to modern progressive rock albums and it is an entertaining and engrossing read that you will enjoy for a long time to come.

Order direct from The Prog Report:

Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums – Book

HAKEN – announce first ever live album – ‘L-1VE’ and work on next studio album

HAKEN are extremely pleased to announce the release of their first ever live album, titled ‘L-1VE’ and scheduled for release on June 22nd, 2018. Following the release of the bands much-acclaimed fourth studio album ‘Affinity’, they embarked upon their 10th anniversary tour across Europe & North America. Recorded and filmed on April 13th, 2017, at the legendary Melkweg venue on the Amsterdam stop of that tour, this represents the band’s first ever live document with tracks from across the bands discography.

“The release of official live material is a project that is long overdue and we know our existing fans have been crying out for this for some time now. Whilst we have filmed and recorded many shows in the past we have always felt there were elements of our shows that could be improved ‘visually’ before we documented and immortalised this for the world to see and that the timing for a live release  never felt right for us. This is just our nature as creative people to be so extremely self-critical and constantly strive for perfection. It is largely due to the will of the people that the idea of this project became a reality. Both the band and the label were inundated with emails requesting a live release in some shape or form, and it was actually rather flattering, so giving the people what they wanted just felt like the right thing to do.”

‘L-1VE’ will be released as a 2CD/2DVD Digipak package & as digital download. The DVD will include 4 bonus tracks filmed at ProgPower USA 2016 that also includes Mike Portnoy’s cameo appearance on gong, as well as all of the official videos from the ‘Affinity’ album. The main show and the bonus material on the DVD are also mixed in 5.1 surround sound.

You can find the full track-listing below and pre-order the album here:
https://Haken.lnk.to/L-1VE

1.affinity.exe/Initiate
2.In Memoriam
3.1985
4.Red Giant
5.Aquamedley
6.As Death Embraces
7.Atlas Stone
8.Cockroach King
9.The Architect
10.The Endless Knot
11.Visions

DVD Bonus Material

1.Falling Back to Earth
2.Earthrise
3.Pareidolia
4.Crystallised

Also includes music videos for Initiate, Earthrise & Lapse

Artwork was once again produced by long-time collaborators Blacklake, who continued the love of 80’s culture that they demonstrated on artwork for ‘Affinity’. The live audio was mixed by Neal Morse & Winery Dogs alumni Jerry Guidroz.

The band have also revealed they have started work on their fifth studio album. They comment: “We’re currently getting our teeth stuck into the writing process for Album 5 and great ideas are forming and evolving as we speak. It’s still early days but there is a sense among us that Haken may take a darker path with this one. However, the playing field is still wide open and the direction this record takes could alter at any point. One thing is certain: We will endeavour to stick to our mandate of strong melodies and Killer riffs! ”