Monday, December 5, 2022

Arena - The Theory of Molecular Inheritance (2022)

The tenth album from this band from England.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The band continues on with their mix of neo-prog, heavy prog and symphonic prog. 

Arena is one of the veterans and most legendary/greatest bands coming out of the neo-prog genre. They are indeed living legends. 

Their last album, Double Vision, was released back in 2018 and it was a very good album indeed. 

Arena is one of those bands who never really drops their standards. The songs on this album are medium long and pretty punchy.

This one hour long album is full of interesting details and hooks. The vocals is also very good. Arena delivers no shock and does not experiment on this album. They have no need to do that.

Arena has a lot of fans and a very good reputation and they will be very happy with this very good album. Arena has delivered the goods.

3.5 points

 

 

Psicolorama - The Future Vol.1 (2016)

The fifth album from this one-man-band from Spain.

Psicolorama does the electronics and vocals himself on this album.

The first four albums has been a mixed bag. Between dire and good. So you never really knows what you get from Psicolorama.

The same goes for genres and sound too.

This time, we get a three quarters of an hour long dirge. The guitars are distorted and the piano pretty repetetive. The vocals sounds Japanese to me.

The result is a barely decent album. An album not even decent. 

It is not a disaster but it sails pretty close to being dire.

Check out this name your price Bandcamp if this sounds like the sound of this.

1.5 points



Sunday, December 4, 2022

Returned to the Earth - Returned to the Earth (2016)

The debut album from this band from England.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The band released their fourth album earlier this year and I thought that was a good opportunity to review his and their three first albums.

I am off course starting with their debut album before the three other albums will be posted later this winter.

The music on this album is indie rock with some strong art rock and neo-prog influences. 

The music is songs based. They are medium long and pretty catchy. The vocals are pretty good.

There is not enough interesting details here to give this a good rating. It is another almost-there album and one to check out.

2.5 points



 

 


Reale Accademia Di Musica - Lame di Luce (2022)

The seventh album from this band from Italy.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of bass, guitars, synths, organ, piano and vocals.

They had help from two guests who supplied drums and organ.

This band album debuted with their selt-titled album back in 1972. A really good album, indeed. 

Five albums then followed on an infrequent basis. Most of them after the comeback fifteen years ago.

The band is one of those classic RPI bands..... Symphonic prog from Italy, that is. 

The vocals are both male and female. They are in Italian too.

The music is medium lenght piano and organ based songs without many interesting details. It is not RPI at all. It is more like Italian rock/pop.

It is not teenybopper either. The music is mature and grown up type of songs with a lot of melancholy. 

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. It is not an album RPI fans would get out of respect for what this band released long time ago. 

2.5 points



Saturday, December 3, 2022

Arc Of Life - Don't Look Down (2022)

The second album from this band from USA.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This band consists of some current and ex members of Yes and the band has been hailed as a Yes copycat. 

Well, they has been described as Yes if they had debuted last year. Their debut album was described as that. 

The quality of those songs were poor, though.

The band has again returned for a second attempt and the sound has been a bit upgraded.

Gone is the synthetic sound and it has been replaced by a bit more organic sound. The Yes influences are there. But we are now talking Yes from their first three albums. 

There is also some more catchy rock here and that has been merged with the Yes influences/soundscape. 

The songs are also better, far better and this is quite a cosy but also a good album. It is an album for both Yes fans and fans of some more AOR influenced symphonic prog.

Check out this album.

3 points



Wizrd - Seasons (2022)


The debut album from this band from Norway.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This is another new band on the Norwegian prog rock scene. A scene with a lot of bands these days.

This band takes psych rock and mix it up with some jazz, fusion, funk, hard prog, indie rock and progressive rock. 

The music is very lively and jazzy. The speed has been set to fast and faster forward. The lack of any chugging electric guitars means that the music never really gets heavy or even hard.

Nevertheless, the band speeds through these three quarters of an hour it has been allocated of our time. 

The sound is 1970s and the vocals is good.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. This is an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points



 


Friday, December 2, 2022

Dream Theater - A View from the Top of the World (2021)

 

The 15th album from this band from USA.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The so far latest offering from these creators of progressive metal. The most successful band in this genre, no less.

The band reverted back to progressive metal on the previous album Distance Over Time after a couple of symphonic progressive metal albums who included choirs and symphonic orchestras. Two not so good albums.

The 2019 album Distance Over Time gave me hope for this band. I was hoping that the band would find their feet again.

The music on the seventy minutes long A View From The Top Of The World is both very complex and hard. The band is trying to find their groove again. The groove that made this band so big and so great.

The band goes for metal in other words.

The vocals is good and most of the music is also good. The songs are still not up to an acceptable standards and this album is therefore a bit of a miss. 

I hope the band will do better next time around.

2.5 points



Red Sand - The Sound of the Seventh Bell (2021)

The tenth album from this band from Canada.

The band is this time a trio with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The band is from the Quebec part of Canada. Their music is not Quebec fusion. Their music is not even influenced by this scene.

Red Sand is doing symphonic neo-prog and their ten album is indeed all in that vein.

The vocals are the usual good vocals from Steff and they carries this album. There are also some very good guitar solos here.

The music is pretty epic and symphonic too with a couple of very long tracks. The title track is divided into three pieces.

There is a lot of Genesis references this time around too. That does not hurt this album at all.

The result is a one hour long album and a good one too. My only gripe is the band's failure to write a killer track for this album. Nevertheless, neo-prog fans should get this album.

3 points



Cratophane - Cratophane (2022)

The debut album from this band from France.

The band is a trio with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars and electronics wizardry.

This is a new addition to the French progressive rock scene. A good addition too.

The music is as the art-work alludes to not particular melodic and nice. It is.... brutal.

There is a lot of post-rock and post-metal here. The music also visits zeuhl and avant-garde jazz too on this forty-three minutes long album.

The music is really brutal at times. The music lives up to the standard set by the band logo and the art work. 

The music is also very intense too. It has some ebbs and flows too.

The quality is decent to good. It is a more than acceptable debut album and one to build on. I hope we will hear a lot more from this band.

2.5 points



Thursday, December 1, 2022

Morse. Neal - Life & Times (2018)

The 24th album from this artist from USA.

Neal Morse did the vocals, percussion, bass, guitars and keyboards himself on this album.

He had help from numerous guests who provided drums, bass, strings, woodwinds, dobro, steel guitars and vocals.

Neal Morse's albums can be divided into three genres. Prog, praise and singer/songwriter.

This album is in the singer/songwriter tradition. 

The guests he used here is someone he is not using on the other projects. Not that they do a lot of stuff here as Neal Morse does mostly everything.

The music is his vocals backed up by mostly his own guitars. The music is songs and very vocals based.

Neal Morse has a good voice. The music here is rather sugar sweet and does not have any interesting details.

This one hour long album is barely a decent album. Nevertheless, that is what it is and it can safely be bypassed by those who prefer or loves his progressive rock albums.

2 points



Sky Architect - Excavations Of The Mind (2010)

The debut album from this band from the Netherlands.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, grand piano, synths, keyboards and vocals.

The band has up to this date released four albums and they are all up for review in this blog this winter.

I have heard a lot about this band since they debuted... but I had not heard a single tone of their music before I decided to review their four albums this winter.

The band is listed as a heavy prog band in ProgArchives and other places. Hence, that either means Rush or Porcupine Tree influences galore.

The band is leaning far more towards Porcupine Tree than Rush. There are some Rush influences here too.

These Porcupine Tree influences has been married up with a lot of symphonic prog (Yes) influences too. The music also sometimes dives into a 1970s sound. Some mellotron and moog soundscapes is adding colours to this album.

The songs are not that good and that is the only let down by this album. The vocals are good and there is a lot of interesting ideas and concepts here. Hence.....

2.5 points

 

 


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Cuprum - Brahma Visnu Siva (2014)

The second album from this band from the Czech Republic.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, organ, keyboards, flute and vocals.

I very much liked their 2011 debut album Musica Deposita. Good mix of melody and quirky stuff.

The band returns again with a mix of folk rock, Canterbury scene, fusion and eclectic heavy progressive rock. 

The vocals are in the local language and they are good. I do not understand them but they are very suitable for the music.

The music is a bit less playful and a bit more melodic this time around. It is a lot more commercial too. 

There is a lot of very good flute and organ on this album. The sound is the 1970s progressive rock sound. There is a lot of Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson in this album, indeed.

The result is another very good album from this band. A band I hope has not split up.... but I believe they have done that. Their two albums is well worth checking out.

3.5 points




Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Northern Lines - The Fearmonger (2017)

The one and only album from this band from Italy.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, bass and guitars.

I have to admit that instrumental music performed by a trio is very high on my list of favourite genres. It is indeed pretty close to the bottom of this list. 

We get fifty minutes of power trio heavy prog on this album. All of it instrumental.

Does this album give us something the countless other albums in this genre and music did not give us ? No. This album is following in the same path. 

The lack of any good songs or pieces is a bit of a problem, yes...

On the other hand, this album is not too bad. It has some decent pieces of music.

It is still only a half decent album and I can understand why the band gave up the ghost.

1.5 points



Farflung - Like Drones In Honey (2022)

The ninth album from this band from USA.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, synths and vocals.

I have previously reviewed a handful of their albums for the two other editions of this blog.

The band delivers a mix of space-rock, post rock, RIO, post-punk, post metal and krautrock on this album. Just as they have done on their other albums too.

The music is pretty weird and off kilter. It is indeed psych rock but not songs based.

There is a college vibe to the whole album too.

The vocals is good.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. This album does not really grab me and that is the main gripe I got with this album.

2.5 points

 

 

 

 


Monday, November 28, 2022

Dream Theater - Distance over Time (2019)

The 14th album from this band from USA.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Dream Theater went it alone and without any choirs and symphony orchestras on this album. This after the previous album which did them no good.

Distance Over Time is Dream Theater undressed and pretty naked.

That means more guitars and more keyboards..... and more vocals.

The vocals is really good here and James LaBrie has not disgraced himself here.

The music is now also pretty much pure progressive metal with a lot of guitars and keyboards solos.

The music is rather heavy. It is still pretty progressive. It is progressive, indeed. 

This one hour long album is a pretty big improvement on The Astonishing and a bit of a comeback album. A comeback to their roots and to no-nonsense progressive metal.

There are no outstaning tracks here and the band is still far below the standards they set last century. This is still a good album and I am positive surprised. Maybe there is hope for this band.... Maybe....

3 points

 

 


 


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Red Sand - Music For Sharks (2009)

 


The fourth album from this band from Canada.

The band was a quartet on this album with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This band has so far released ten albums and I have reviewed most of them as I have a soft spot for this band.

Their music is neo-prog with a lot of symphonic prog influences.

Despite coming from Quebec, there is not much Quebec scene prog/fusion influences on this album. There none, to be more precise.

The music is melodic and not so complicated. The guitar solos, and there are some long guitar solos, are in the David Gilmour vein. The vocals are good.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. This one hour long album is not one of their best albums. It is still an album well worth checking out. Neo-prog fans should really check out this album.

2.5 points



Limp - Herd (2022)

The second album from this band from Greece.

The band is a trio with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The band had some help from three guests who added guitars and vocals.

The band is fronted by some very good female vocals. That is the first thing I notice on this Bandcamp album. The other thing is that the album is both short and compact... clocking in at thirty-two minutes.

There is no surplus fat on this album.

The music is a mix of neo-prog and psych rock in the vein of Pink Floyd. There is also a lot of Marillion influences on this album. Add some post-rock and progressive rock too and you get this album.

The female vocals is very good. The few pieces of male vocals and narrations is also good. 

The quality is good throughout. Greece has got a new, good band in Limp and I hope they will get success with this brand new album. The music on this album deserves it.

3 points



Saturday, November 26, 2022

Skepticism - Stormcrowfleet (1995)

 

The debut album from this band from Finland.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals.

The genre called Funeral Doom has always fascinated me. When I ran a record label, I released the official debut album from the band Funeral (Norway) and I still rate that album very highly. 

Skepticism from Finland has released a handful albums in this genre and I will review them in the coming weeks and months. This because I do what I want to do in this blog and because there is not much difference between funeral doom and the other genres I review here.

Hence, more funeral doom discos and bands will follow.

Stormcrowfleet gives us some very dark music somewhere between death and doom metal. The speed is alway dirge like and very slow. 

The vocals and sound is very dark, indeed.

This is a classic funeral doom album and an overall decent album. It is by no means a good album but it is still well worth checking out.

2 points



Sanguine Hum - The Weight Of The World (2013)

The second album from this band from England.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, synths, electronics, organs and vocals.

The second album from this act who grew out of the cult band Antique Seeking Nuns. 

Their debut album refined and built on the Canterbury scene sound Antique Seeking Nuns did. 

The music Sanguine Hum is doing is Canterbury scene influenced neo-prog. Heavy Canterbury scene influenced neo-prog, I would add.

There is a lot of playful fusion in the bottom of this music. National Health springs to mind. Add Hatfield & The North and Egg too.

The vocals is really good and the music is really playful, flying pretty close to Canterbury scene fusion as it is.

The result is a very good albm indeed. All three quarters of an hour of it. The band has most certainly got my attention with this album.

More reviews of their albums will follow next month.

3.5 points




Friday, November 25, 2022

Cuprum - Musica Deposita (2011)

The debut album from this band from the Czech Republic.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, organ, keyboards, Moog, flute and vocals.

By sheer coincidence, I got this album for review days after finishing the reviews for another band from this country; Progres 2. The two bands sings in the same language and their music is pretty similar too.

Cuprum has dived into the sound and music from the more quirky part of the progressive and psych rock scene from the 1970s.

The sound is clear and contemporary. The organ, Moog and guitar sound takes us back to the 1970s. The sound is warm and charming.

The music is both melodic and eclectic. It is very quirky too and has lots of interesting details. The vocals is really good too.

The end result is a very good album and one that will please most prog rock fans.

The band has also released another album.. so far.... and a review will follow next week.

3.5 points

 

 


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Norlander. Erik - The Galactic Collective (2010)

The sixth album from this artist from USA.

Erik Norlander does all the organ, synths and keyboards on this album.

He got help from his wife Lana Lane on vocals and someone else on male vocals. Some guests added guitars, bass and drums.

This album is a compilation of re-worked and re-released pieces from his five previous solo albums and a couple ones from his wife's solo albums.

The result is eighty minutes with cascades of keyboards, synths and guitars.

The music is in other words bold and epic.

Some of the music is rather good too. It sounds a bit generic though and too much of a mad professor and his keyboards.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good throughout this album. 

I am not convinced that I will ever become a fan of his music....

2.5 points



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Vitskär Süden - The Faceless King (2022)

 

The second album from this band from USA.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, synths and vocals.

I have not had the chance to sample their 2020 self-titled debut album. But I guess it is in the same vein as this one.

That is progressive stoner/doom metal. Yes, this may be a new genre. But it is the only words I can use on the music here. The band use these words themselves to label their own music.

Much of the music sounds like space rock too and the likes of the German band Electric Orange springs to mind.

The music is pretty doomy but with some melodic sensibilities.

The vocals is rather good and the musicians knows their stuff.

The music is rather generic stoner with some space rock influences and is not really that interesting. 

The quality is therefore somewhere between decent and good.

2.5 points

 

 

Quasar Lux Symphoniae - Synopsis (2009)

The sixth and final album from this band from Italy.

The band was a nine piece big band with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards, piano, female and male vocals.

This band returned again.... with a new rock opera.

Of their six albums, four of them were rock operas. That says it all.

We get the same on this album as on Mit and the previous albums. That means melodic musicals type of songs performed by soprano and clear vocals. The guitars are clean and melodic too.

There are a lot of light symphonic prog here too. That in the British tradition and not in the Italian tradition. It is remarkable how little Italian this band always sounded. It is like they distanced themselves as far away as they could from the Italian progresissive rock sound and culture.

This fifty minutes long album, who also include a lot of clean male vocals too, has some good music and this album is their best album.

I am still not won over as this album is too sweet for my taste. There is no contrasts to all the lights on this album. No shadows.

This is barely a good album but it is still a good album.

3 points




Progres 2 - Změna (1987)

The sixth and final album from this band from the Czech Republic.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The band operated in the old country called Czechoslovakia.... a country now split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. They also released all their albums from behind the iron curtain.

The music on this album is a mix of bubbly pop and some more theatrical rock. There is also a lot of power pop and post-punk here.

The vocals is pretty central to their music. The vocals is in their local language and I do not understand them. The voices are good, though.

The result is a forty-four minutes long album.

Forty-four minutes that divides this reviewer's mind. 

The music is off kilter and pretty strange. It is music that is clearly not in tune with the music released the same time from the other side of the iron curtain.

It is art-rock and the music is somewhere between decent and good. Just as this band was. 

Progres 2 is a band well worth checking out as they are a pretty unique band. 

2.5 points



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Grydgaard - Secrets from the Palace (2022)

The debut album from this band from Denmark.

The band is the debut album from the guitarist Uffe Grydgaard. He did the guitars, bass, electronics and vocals here.

He had help from some guests who provided guitars and vocals. Damian Wilson is one of the vocalists here.

Uffe Grydgaard is influenced by all the classic melodic hard rock and progressive rock albums on this album. ProgArchives has put the album in the neo-prog genre though.. 

I would say this album is more a mix of the 1970s big genres like symphonic prog, stadium rock, AOR, hard rock and a bit neo-prog.

Some of the vocals is heavy accented. That is noted... The music is pretty hard at times. It is also pretty melodic. 

The music is a bit too formula based. Nevertheless, the music is still good and this debut album should not scare anyone from following the next steps from Uffe Grydgaard.

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 


Enslaved - Monumension (2001)

The sixth album from this band from Norway.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, organ, synths and vocals.

Three guests added vocoder, synths, minimoog and vocals.

Enslaved goes progressive rock...... Well, not quite right. 

Enlaved has branched out on this album from thei viking and black metal roots. Well, they were never really a black metal band, although their music has some clear black metal influences. That also goes for this album.

The band has clear vocals on two of the songs. Which adds a lot of light and contrasts to the normal screamo vocals from Grutle.

The music is pretty avant-garde on this album. And it is also progressive. There is folk music track here too. Enslaved was and is pretty much sailing close to Norwegian folk rock in their viking metal.

The music on this one hour long album is engaging and full of surprises. This is a band on a journey... with an unknown destiny.... 

The quality is not always good but it is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points

 

 


Monday, November 21, 2022

Dream Theater - The Astonishing (2016)

 

The 13th album from this band from USA.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards, synths and vocals.

The band was supported by narrator, choir and a symphonic orchestra.

The masters of progressive metal released their thirteenth album and we were all full of joy..

... Until we heard the music.

This album is a two CDs double album clocking in at one hundred and thirty minutes.

The music is some sort of a mix of prog metal and mostly symphonic prog. Some sort of symphonic prog which clearly has moved well into the concept and rock opera album genre.

The music is very light and fluffy. The vocals is very sugar sweet and so is the music too. There is far too much sugar and sweetness on this album.

The music is poor on this album. There are some rays of sunshine here. But there is not many of those.

This is a decent album and one I will never play again in my house/office.

2 points



Sunday, November 20, 2022

Curly Curve - Curly Curve (1973)

The one and only album from this band from Germany.

The band was a drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This band recorded this album with Dieter Dierks as producer and in his studio. Dieter Dierks later became a famous producer for bands like Scorpions and many other bands.

The band only lasted one album although a retrospective album called Forgotten Tapes was released in 1981. An album I will not review.

Curly Curve is a thirty-five minutes long album with music somewhere between blues, rock'n'roll, hard rock and southern rock. As it is from Germany, we label this as krautrock.

The music is very basic but it has some good vocals. The organ and piano adds some spice to the music. The sound is good.

The result is a decent album with some charming bits and pieces.

2 points

 

 



 


Nolan & Wakeman - Dark Fables (2021)

The third album from this duo from England.

Oliver Wakeman and Clive Nolan did the synths, keyboards, piano and some of the narrations and vocals here.

They got help from some guests who added drums, bass, guitars, cello, violin, vocals and narrations.

This album is not really a new album from this duo. It is a collection of unreleased tracks, demos and rarities. Something I was not told about. If I had been that, I would not have started the required listening sessions.

The release of such an album makes me question the future of this cooperation between Oliver and Clive. It is not a good sign, to say at least. 

The music on this album is a mix of concept albums and symphonic prog with a lot of progressive metal included too.

The music is whimsical and quirky throughout. 

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. 

I hope, but do not believe, this duo will release some more albums. 

2.5 points




Saturday, November 19, 2022

Hallas - Isle of Wisdom (2022)

The third album from this band from Sweden.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, synths, organ and vocals.

Hallas has had a breakthrough this year and I was wondering what all this talk and hype about the band was. So I got their three albums.

Their first two albums are good albums. They are a mix of Swedish folk and symphonic prog. 

Their music has changed a bit on this, their new album.

The music is a blend of folk rock, hard rock and art rock. There is still some Kaipa influences. But they are rather faint.

There is still a lot to be enjoyed here. The vocals is good and the music is complex. It is indeed progressive.

The Swedish folk rock sound is really warm and makes up for the not always good music. 

The result is another good album from this band.  

Check out their three albums.

3 points



Quasar Lux Symphoniae - Mit (2000)

The fifth album from this band from Italy.

The band was a nine piece big band with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, electric violin, keyboards, piano, vocals and narration.

The band was supported by a string quartet.

The band loved doing rock operas. Something the last two albums was. Rock operas. 

So it is not a big shock that Mit too is a rock opera.

The vocals are female soprano opera and the male are the normal male vocals. There is some piano and a lot of strings here.

The music is the usual epic concept album style with a blend of musicals and classical music. There is hardly any symphonic prog here. Ditto for RPI.

The music is not particular engaging or good, quality wise.

There is some good stuff and some decent stuff here. I am yet to be won over by an album from this band.

2.5 points



Friday, November 18, 2022

Progres 2 - Mozek (1984)

The fifth album from this band from the Czech Republic.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This band released all their seven albums from behind the iron curtain and during the stalinist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic and the poorer Slovakia was one country during those days.

The music was therefore not always so much in line with that the rest of the world released.

The music on this album is a bit all over the place.

It is mostly dominated by some insane sounding vocals who are everywhere in the local language.

There is indeed a lot of punk in this very eclectic music. The music can best described as theatre music where all kind of musical impulses and sounds are thrown into the music.

This three quarters of an hour long album is a bit of a test. It is indeed testing.

The music is decent enough but not more than that. I am not impressed.

2 points



Barale'Space Trip - Barale'Space Trip (2022)

The debut album from this band from Italy.

The band is a duo with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, electronics and vocals.

This band is a new name to me and in the Italian progressive rock scene. The album has been released through the Bandcamp based record label Karma Conspiracy Records.

The band's music on this half an hour long album is best described as psych prog with a lot of Pink Floyd influences. 

The music is songs based and they are all around five minutes long each. 

The English vocals are good and the duo does their best to create a good sound.... and they have succeeded in this. 

The result is a good album and something for the band to build on. I hope we will hear a lot more from this band in the coming years.

3 points

 

 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Psicolorama - The Garden and the Pool (2015)

The fourth album from this act from Spain.

The man in this one-man-band does the guitars and electronics himself on this album.

Psicolorama postive surprised me on the last two albums with some good songs and melody based music. Something I had not expected from this one man band.

I should not have been too surprised by this album, though. 

The songs is gone and what we have left is dirge made and performed by a dark, dissonant guitar and a lot of electronics.

An accoustic guitar also chimes in and makes the music a bit more interesting

The music is still not exciting. 

There are some half decent stuff on this album and that is the only saving grace on this album.

This album is not on par with the previous two albums.

1.5 points



Red Sand - Human Trafficking (2007)

The third album from this band from Canada.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, flute, keyboards and vocals.

Red Sand is a band from the French speaking Quebec area who sings in English. Their music is also neo-prog and not the type of fusion & prog this area is mostly known for.

Red Sand has during many albums got their own sound and fame. 

This album has two long epics and two shorter, more catchy songs.

The vocals is really good and ditto for the guitars. 

The music is somewhere between neo-prog and symphonic prog on this album... well, on all their albums if my memory serves me right.

The nineteen minutes long Regrets is the stand out piece of music here. A melancholic epic. The rest of the album is just slightly below that level again.

This is indeed a good album and a reminder that Red Sand is one of the better neo-prog bands outside Europe.

3 points



Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Crossbreeze - Crossbreeze (1975)

 

The one and only album from this band from Norway.

The band was a trio with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, moog, organ, piano and vocals.

This album has just been re-released on CD after their LP was selling for an obscene amount of money on Ebay and Discogs.

The band was from the north of Norway, Mosjøen. One of the members of this band, Terje Nilsen, went onto a long career in music before he passed on some years ago.

The music is a mix of progressive rock, pop and rock on this album. 

The music is a mix of poppy trio music and some pretty heavy power trio rock.

The music feels a bit dated too.  

The vocals and the instruments are good.

Those into 1970s pop/rock will get this album much more than I do. 

This is a decent enough album.

2 points

 

 


 

Nilssen. Ole G. - World Of Dreams (1977)

The debut album from this artist from Norway.

Ole G Nilssen did the guitars and vocals on this album.

He had help from eight guests who contributed with drums, percussion, bass, acoustic guitars, violin, moog, piano, organ, flute, flugelhorn, saxophone and vocals.

I was tipped off about this album through the Norske Albumklassikere series in Norway who intend to re-release LPs on CDs. One of them was this LP and artist I had never heard about before.

Ole G Nilssen comes from the north of Norway, just below the Arctic Circle and in addition to his eight solo albums, he later started up another band called Solaris who also released an LP and who has also been re-released through the Norske Albumklassikere series. 

 Ole G Nilssen is now a professor in music in a university in Norway.

... Which brings us to the music on this album. The music here is like a study of various music genres from the 1970s. 

Take symphonic prog, add some soul, pop, fusion, folk rock and rock to the mix. All of it with this rich 1970s sound.

The vocals is really good and the good moog sound is with us throughout the forty minutes long album. 

The music is really all over the place. There is a method in the songs and "symphonic" is the word that describes most of it.

There is no doubts this is a hidden gem in the Norwegian and European prog rock scene. The quality is really good throughout too.

Check out this good album if this sounds interesting to you.

3 points



Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ephemeral - Guiding Ghost (2022)

The debut album from this band from Italy.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and female vocals.

The band arrived onto the scene through their own record label and has become quite popular. 

Their music is neo-prog. The closing title track is in two parts and is sixteen minutes long.

Before we arrive at the title track on this forty minutes long album, we have been treated to some catchy songs with some good organs, piano and guitars. The vocals, female, is also good.

The female vocals is one of the better elements about this band and is one of their biggest strenghts.

The muic is neo-prog but it has some good RPI and folk rock influences too. 

The music is also very playful and elegant throughout. 

The result is a good album and one that will put this band on the map. 

Italy has got a new band to look out for.

3 points

 

 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Head - Blackpool Cool (1977)

The third and final album from this band from Glasgow, Scotland.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, trumpet and saxophone.

This band was a pretty short lived band who released three albums. The first one, CTP, is lost and impossible to find. I reviewed their second album, the 1975 album Red Dwarf. 

Head was a jazz band. Their music had some fusion influences too.

That is evident on this album too, although there is more jazz than fusion here.

A good reference is Ian Carr and his Nucleus band.

There are some good trumpet and saxophone solos here. The other instruments are honking around in the background.

The music is decent enough although it does not really enthuse me and becomes good. 

This is a decent enough album from a long forgotten jazz band from Scotland. A bit attention has been given to them through my two reviews in this blog.

2 points



Hallas - Conundrum (2020)

The second album from this band from Sweden.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Hallas has become a much talked about band during their three albums and I wanted to find out what all this hype was about. Hence, I got these three albums for review. 

Their 2017 debut album Excerpts From A Future Past lived up to the hype and that made me eager to explore the band even more. Hence this review and the review of this year's album which will follow later this week.

The music is again art-rock with a lot of Swedish folk rock and symphonic prog influences.

The music is a bit prog-lite as it is more based on the art of writing and composing good, dynamic songs than putting in as many time-shifts as you can. That is by no means meant as criticism of the band and their music. The band just approach complex music from another angle than most progressive rock bands.

The vocals, guitars and keyboards are good. Ditto for the music. 

Hallas is a good art-rock band and they live up to the hype. They do not really makes my progressive rock brain cells approve of them.

3 points

 

 


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Curlees - Thursday's Father (2022)

The debut album from this band from Syria.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This is a new band on the scene. Due to the rather nasty regime and the war in Syria, the band had to relocate to Dubai in the Persian Gulf. A pretty wise choice. 

This album has been released through Bandcamp and that too is a wise choice.

The music is a mix of art-rock in the vein of Gazpacho and neo-prog in the vein of the bands from Poland.

The music on this forty minutes long album is both melancholic and epic. There is not so much a Middle-Eastern feel here as a more melancholic feel like in neo-prog from Poland. 

The Gazpacho influences are also pretty evident throughoug this album. Pink Floyd has also been a big influence in their sound and music.

The vocals are really good and ditto for the guitars.

We can now add this band as one of the many new talents in the neo-prog scene.  

3 points



Morse. Neal - The Similitude Of A Dream (2016)

The 22nd album from this artist from USA.

Neal Morse did the mandolin, percussion, guitars and vocals here. His band contributed with drums, bass, guitars, piano, organ, synths and vocals.

Some extra guests added marimba, percussion, woodwinds, guitars, strings and backing vocals.

Neal Morse returned again with a double CD album. This time in a band format who also included Mike Portnoy, a long standing cooperative of his.

Neal Morse's albums is either progressive rock, singer/songwriter or Christian praise music. I am only concentrating on the progressive rock part of his discography in this blog.

The Similitude Of A Dream is a mix of progressive rock and singer/songwriter music though...

One hundred of six minutes gives us some substantial amount of singer/songwriter stuff in the americana vein. This part of these two CDs stinks and is pretty bad.

The rest of this far too long album is progressive rock. There is stuff on this album Neal Morse should have left as outtakes for a retrospective box. Or he should just have erased it and not bothered the mankind about it.

There is a lot of good progressive rock on this album and those songs are the ones I want to remember from this album. 

The music is in the usual Neal Morse tradition and his fans will be left satisfied. I am not so sure if he will win many new fans with this album, though.

Nevertheless, this is a good album.

3 points



Saturday, November 12, 2022

Progres 2 - Třetí Kniha Dzunglí (1982)

The fourth album from this band from the Czech Republic.

The band was a quartet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards, flute and vocals.

Progres 2 return again for a second stab at the Jungle Book by the famous author Rudyard Kipling. A book most famous as the Walt Disney movie of the same name.

This story must have been pretty fascinating behind the Iron Curtain too. The Czech Republic was in a union with Slovakia named Czechoslovakia back then and a Stalinist dictatorship where everything from the other side of the Iron Curtain, my side of this wall, was regarded with contempt and fear by these communist rulers. 

Progres 2 released a 2 CDs album based on this book they named Treti Kniha Dzungli.

We get eighty-one minutes of music on this double cds album. 

There is a pretty wide variation in music during these eighty minutes. From funk and fusion, neo-classical music to some more sparkling quirky and eclectic progressive rock. Add some pastoral, folky pop and rock too and you get this album.

This is indeed a concept album.

And it is a good concept album too. Progres 2 has come of age and has started to produce the goods. Albums like this one.

Fans of concept albums, and those who can live with lyrics in the local Czech language, should check out this album. It is an elegant album with a lot of good solos and songs. 

This band surprises me a lot, indeed.

3 points

 

 


Circuline - Counterpoint (2016)

The second album from this band from USA.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards, male and female vocals.

A handful of extra guitarists did the guitar solos on this one hour long album.

I really enjoyed their 2015 debut album Return and reviewed it in one of the first issues of this blog, issue one or two.

Their music is US neo-prog with a lot of folksy americana and prog metal influences. There are also some symphonic prog influences here. Glass Hammer, Mostly Autumn and Spock's Beard springs to mind.

The music is very dynamic with a lot of interesting details created by the guitars, keyboards and vocals.

The music is mostly big, bold and epic. It is also very made in USA where everything is bigger than big..... or Europe.

This one hour long album is a good album. It has a couple of flaws. But at it's best, the music is very good.  

This is another good reason why this band should be checked out. Both their albums, that is.

3 points





Friday, November 11, 2022

Neal. Ian - Barkston Ash (2021)

The fourth album from this artist from England.

Ian Neal does the guitars, programming, keyboards, mellotron, organ, piano and vocals here.

A female guests does the narrations and female vocals. 

I have only heard and reviewed his second album Out Of The Woods from 2011 and has not had the chance to review or hear his 2013 album Astro.

The ten years gap has moved him closer to symphonic prog than on the above mentioned album I recently reviewed here. 

The music here also has some cinematic rock too. 

There are some good vocals here on some really cool, good symphonic prog tracks. Genesis and Camel springs to mind.

The result is a good album. A good symphonic prog album and I hope we hear a lot more from Ian Neal... but let it not be eight or ten years between each album. 

3 points




Everest Queen - Murmurations (2022)

 

The second album from this band from England.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, synths and vocals.

For some reasons, this album showed up in my in-tray and hence this review.

This band has released two albums and a handful of singles. All through Bandcamp.

The music is dark sludge rock with a lot of black metal and post-metal influences.

The music is not full on black metal and neither is it full on sludge rock. It is somewhere between these two genres.

The sound is raw and fittingly so.

The music is pretty raw with some short acoustic guitars breathers inbetween. 

The music is decent enough but never really good. There are better albums out there released this year in this genre.

2 points



Thursday, November 10, 2022

Head - Red Dwarf (1975)

The second album from this band from United Kingdom.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, saxophone and trumpet.

This band from Glasgow released three albums before they split up. The first one is next to impossible to get hold of whilst their two final albums is not that difficult to find. Hence, I got both of them. Their third album will be reviewed later this month.

The band was a jazz band and their music is pretty much classic jazz with some fusion influences.

The music is instrumental and based on the woodwinds.

There are some decent solos here and the band really knew what they were doing.

This album is much more for jazzheads than progheads as the emphasis is on jazz.

It is still a decent album and one to check out if jazz and fusion is your genre. Those into Ian Carr's band Nucleus should also check out this album.

2 points

 

 

Hallas - Excerpts from a Future Past (2017)

The debut album from this band from Sweden.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Hallas has become a much talked about band during their three albums and I wanted to find out what all this hype was about. Hence, I got these three albums for review. 

The two other albums will be reviewed later this month. But it is only natural and proper to start with their debut album.

The music on this album, well concealed behind a goth/doom/heavy/death metal art-work cover, is a mix of art-rock and progressive rock.

There are some Swedish folk rock and symphonic prog influences here and they are pretty strong. The music is mostly very melodic.

Melodic and clever, indeed. Even quirky. 

The vocals are good and the instruments are played without any flaws. The guitars are at times a bit jazzy. Something that adds a lot of flavour and quality to this album.

The result is a forty-five minutes long album and it is a good album too. Yes, I can understand why this band has got the tongues wagging. This is a band a bit outside the norm in the scene. And may they long live and prosper like an oddity.

3 points




Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Enmesher - Tribulator (2022)

The second album from this band from Norway.

The band is a trio with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, guitars, mikrokorg, samples and vocals.

Two guests added synths, lap steel guitar and cello.

The music on this album and the scene this band comes from is a bit outside the scope of this blog. I got offered this album for review and I said yes before I really got the chance to think about it. 

Read on and I will explain...

Some of what we label progressive rock these days are in fact retro rock, mired in the Genesis and Dream Theater landscape. This is a landscape the likes of Enmesher finds to retro and has broken free from.

So where is this band in the landscape ?

Let us start with King Crimson and then add some half-acoustic jazzy guitars and female vocals. Yes, that is a mix of art-rock and eclectic prog with a lot of jazz and indie rock influences.

The music on this forty minutes long album is still songs. The songs are still so quirky that the songs format goes out the window on some of the songs. 

The vocals and the half-acoustic guitars are really good here. The music... This is not the type of music I am that familiar with... but the quality is still there. 

This is indeed a good album which will appeal to everyone into eclectic progressive rock. Check it out on Soundcloud, Spotify and Amazon.

3 points




Quasar Lux Symphoniae - The Enlightening March of the Argonauts (1996)

The fourth album from this band from Italy.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, piano, keyboards, male and female vocals.

This band started out as a heavy metal band on their first two albums before they went progressive rock.

... Some sort of progressive rock, that is. We are talking rock operas here.

Their previous album, the 1994 album Abraham, was a rock opera.

The Enlightening March Of The Argonauts is also a rock opera. 

The music is a mix of musicals music and progressive rock. The music is not particular technical or intricate. It is more like straight forward rock opera with some goth influences and some Pink Floyd influences.

The music is very melodic. It is also being shot to pieces by the abysmal bad male vocals. These vocals is painfully bad. 

I am again really failing to find much good on this album. It is full of cliches and not so much innovation or own ideas. 

This is a decent enough album but just that.

2 points