Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Of Petra - So Onto Itself (2018)

The second album from this band from England.

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

This album and their debut album has been released as a name your price through Bandcamp and the link can be found here.

As I stated in my review of their debut album; the band and music reminds me a lot about the bands Moonjune Records has released. There is even some good Soft Machine, the Allan Holdsworth era, influences. 

To this, the band has added some more avant-garde themes and added some samples. That include some female spoken words samples.

The music is an ounce more avant-garde as a result. It is not straight forward fusion.

There is plenty of fusion here to make the fusion fans happy.

The result is a good album this time around. I also hope the band is still around.

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 

 


Sunchild - Exotic Creatures and a Stolen Dream (2023)

The 8th album from this band from Ukraina.

The band was a ten piece band with a lineup of drums, bass, percussion, guitars, accordion, keyboards, saxophones, vocoder and vocals.

A guitarist added two solos to the first piece of music on this album.

Two pieces of music... The first one is half an hour long and the second one is one quarter of an hour long. OK, three quarters of an hour with the usual neo-classical music.

Wrong !!!

Yes, the two pieces of music is long. But they also got a lot of vocals and the music is indeed symphonic prog. 

Both Genesis and in particular Yes is a good reference here. Ditto for some of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.

The music is really complex throughout. It is also a melodic and the music is collection of good melody lines who has been merged together.

The result is a great album and one of Antony Kalugin's best albums. He is a maestro and this album proves that.

This is an album which will bring joy anyone into symphonic prog.

4 points



Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Sub Rosa - 11:11 (2021)

 

The second album from this band from Brazil.

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

Numerous guests helped out on bass, guitars, keyboards, computers and vocals.

I had heard a lot of good things about this album before I got it. Their 2010 debut album The Gigsaw was a good album too.

We get onehundred and thirteen minutes of music here. That on two CDs. This sounds good.....

The music is a mix of psych pop and psych rock.

The vocals are pretty bad and at times; off key. 

The music is pretty decent and just that. The band sounds lost at sea and totally out of it. The organ sound is the saving grace here and ditto for the mostly decent melodies.

I am disappointed, to say at least. 

2 points



Spleen Arcana - The Light Beyond The Shades (2014)

The second and final album from this band from France.

Spleen Arcana was a one man band from Julien Gaullier who did the bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Two guests added drums and backing vocals.

The 2009 debut album The Field Where She Died was a pretty good goth prog album.

Julien Gaullier has on The Light Beyond The Shades gone more in the Mike Oldfield prog rock tradition.

Three long compositions in the Mike Oldfield, King Crimson and Pink Floyd vein. Add some Porcupine Tree too and you get this album.

The music is mellow throughout. It is also rather beautiful too. It has some good complexity and it knows how to keep the attention of the listener.

Some 1970s organ, mellotron and moog sound also helps the album to win friends. The guitars too are good.

The result is a good album and one to check out.

3 points



Monday, February 6, 2023

Laughing Stock - Songs For The Future (2023)

The sixth album from the band from Norway.

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

Three guests added their bass and vocals.

Their first five album was good art rock with obvious Marillion and Pink Floyd references. The music was also pretty eclectic and complex.

The band returns again with an art-rock album. Yes, Songs For The Future.

Much of the complexity and the eclectic take on art-rock has been cast aside.

There is still a lot of Marillion influenses here. Marillion during their most uncomplicated, commercial stuff.

Laughing Stock has added some post rock and some pop to their art-rock. Some A-Ha. 

The music is not particular interesting although there are some good songs here. Although the vocals are good and the band does a good job on some slim pickings, this album falls somewhat short.

This is not their finest hour.

2.5 points

 

 


Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini (2010)

The 11th album from this band from Norway.

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

The band was touring extensive and then went into the studios again for this album. The band was and is very hard working. This is also a very honest band and one of those I have the utmost respect for.

They are true vikings in other words and the guys in Enslaved is the answer to the question how it was possible for vikings to conquer so many land and territory.

The band went on full attack on Axioma Ethica Odini. There is still experimental and progressive rock elements here. A massive amount of progressive rock, in fact.

The balance between clear and screamo vocals is still here and there is some good guitar solos too.

The most dominating factor here is epic heaviness. The one hour of music here is the most monumental heavy, crushing and epic music the band has ever done. It is also their most extreme album ever. 

The result is an album full of details and weirdo melodies. It is also a good album. It is not an album for the faint hearted and those who like gentle music. 

This is indeed another fascinating album from Enslaved, one of the most fascinating bands around.

3 points




Sunday, February 5, 2023

Spacelords. The - Liquid Sun (2016)

The fourth album from this band from Germany.

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

A guest added organ and keyboards on one track.

This band has got a good reputation by now. 

Their colourful music is being supported by colourful art-work and the whole package is very much spot on.

The music here is three tracks. The title track is clocking in at thirteen minutes, the second one is ten minutes long and the closing track is twenty-two minutes long.

The music is outer space rock with some kraut rock influences. There are some weirdo organs and keyboards here. The guitars lays down the riffs and the electronics is creating a good vibe.

The music is both intricate, intelligent and groovy.

The music is also good and this is another outer space rock album from this band well worth checking out. I am starting to become a fan of the band, now.

3 points

 

 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Sukellusvene - Vesi Ja Lintumusiikkia (1979)

The one and only album from this band from Finland.

The band was a sextet with a lineup of drums, bongos, percussion, bass, guitars, piano, electric piano, organ, moog, clarinet and saxophones.

This is a semi-legendary album from Finland, re-released in 2016 through Svart Records with the single included as bonus track. 

We get altogether forty-five minutes with music here.

The band started out as a funk band. The band always had university educated and diploma winning musicians. The band really changed to a more Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever like fusion when joined by two musicians who were fans of these two bands.

This album was then recorded and gigged before the band reverted to a more funk disco direction and then disbanded in the early 1980s. 

Thankfully, this album catch the band in their Mahavishnu Orchestra era.

The band uses the clarinets, guitars, tangents and saxophones very cleverly and the music is pretty intense. There is not the huge solos RTF and Mahavishnu Orchestra had. There is still a lot of jazz, details and fusion here to make anyone into fusion really happy.

This is one of those hidden gems in the fusion genre and one to really check out.

This is indeed a good album. 

3 points

 

 


Of Petra - Of Petra (2015)

The debut album from this band from UK.

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

This album, and their second album, was released as a Bandcamp name your price. The second album is up for review next week.

The music here is fusion with a very strong jazz influence. 

The band and music reminds me a lot about the bands Moonjune Records has released. There is even some good Soft Machine, the Allan Holdsworth era, influences. 

All four instruments gets their say and plenty of room to express themselves. 

The band is obviously more a live band than a record band. Hence the Bandcamp releases and the name your price option. A fair one and that gives the likes of me a chance to get to know this band.

This thirty-seven minutes long album is a mix of a decent and a good album. Fans of fusion should download both albums.

2.5 points




Friday, February 3, 2023

White Chameleon - The Brain Mincer Machine (2022)

 


The fifth album from this band from Spain.

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

This is my first meeting with this album. I am tempted to get their first four albums on the basis of this album.

The music on this album is a mix of neo-prog, art rock and heavy prog.

References are the likes of IQ, Porcupine Tree and the Fish era Marillion. Add Fish solo career too.

There is one track here where the band and vocalist tries to sound like Marillion & Fish from their debut album. And they succeed. Hence, I got this album, was lured into getting this album. Something I do not regret. The rest of the album does not sounds like Marillion and Fish, though.....

The rest of this almost one hour album is pretty good too and this band deserve a bigger audience.

Check out this album.

3 points

 

 

 

Sub Rosa - The Gigsaw (2010)

The debut album from this band from Brazil.

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

They got support from a handful of guests who provided drums, violin, cello, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

This band has so far released two albums and both of them are up for reviews this winter.... starting with this album.

The band got a minor hit with their second album and a review of that album will follow pretty soon.

On their debut album, their music is a mix of 1970s psych, symphonic prog and folk rock. Add some good, old rock from Brazil and you get this.

The vocals are a mix of male and female. And they are good.

The sound is really warm and gentle. It is the typical 1970s progressive sound and has some good RPI references too.

The quality is a mix of decent and good. Mostly good. This is therefore a good album and one to check out for mostly retro-heads.

3 points

 

 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Spleen Arcana - The Field Where She Died (2009)

The debut album from this one-man-band from France.

Julien Gaullier did the bodhran, bass, mandolin, guitars, keyboards and vocals himself.

He got help drummer and a female vocalist.

Julien Gaullier was a member of some minor French prog bands before he went solo with this album. Two albums was released. The last one in 2014 and that album is up for review later this month.

The music on this album is a mix of goth rock and progressive rock. Add some progressive metal and you get this album.

The vocals sounds forced but I have heard far worse vocals than this.

The album is just over forty minutes long and music is somewhere between decent and good. The major problem is the vocals and a couple of sub-standard tunes.

If this sounds tempting......

2.5 points

 

 


 


Soniq Circus - Chapter 1 The Game Begins (2022)

The third album from this band from Sweden.

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

I have been reviewing their first two albums this winter and they are both pretty good. 

Take 1970s Scandinavian symphonic prog, add some heavy prog and a lot of neo-prog. That is when you end up with a band like Soniq Circus and their first two albums.

Soniq Circus has moved more into Scandinavian symphonic prog on this album. There is still a lot of neo-prog and heavy prog on this album. But the balance has shifted towards symphonic prog.

I gather that this is concept taking us through two or more albums. This album was released in April last year so we may be close to the release of # 2 of this concept.

The vocals are good. The music is not really as good as their second album, the now twelve years old Reflections In A Hour Glass. 

Nevertheless, this is a good album and I am eagerly awaiting # 2 of this story.

3 points




Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Psicolorama - My Name Is Guggenheim Vol. 2 (2017)

The ninth album from this one man band from Spain.

Psicolorama does the electronics and guitars on the album.

Psicolorama albums can be a mixed bag. Ditto for the whole discography. 

Being a one man band, not much technical brilliance should be expected. And there is not much of that. 

In the case of this album, there is nothing of that sort.

This is fifty minutes of electronics and distorted guitars. It is a sound collage and a pretty bad one too.

This is a turkey and best avoided.

1 point



Tea Club. The - Quickly Quickly Quickly (2012)

The third album from this band from USA.

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

A guest added extra keyboards.

Their first two albums was good and this band from New Jersey returned again for another go.

Their music is pretty much east-coast art rock. Take a bit of Radiohead, Marillion, David Bowie, Velvet Underground and Sigur Ros. Mix them together and you get this band.

The music is as colourful as the excellent cover art-work. The vocals is painting the lyrics all over the music.

The music is a bit complex, a bit melodic and very quirky. It is also pretty eclectic. It is very eccentric and colourful.

It is also captivating and manages to keep the interest of the listener.

This is a good album from a fascinating band. Yes, maybe tea is good for us.

3 points

 

 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Strongbow - Strongbow (1975)

The one and only album from this band from USA.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, percussion, bass, guitars, organ, mellotron, flute, saxophones and vocals.

This band came from and worked in the Cleveland area between 1972 and 1978. This album and a single was their only creative output. That and numerous gigs.

Their music was a blend of pomp rock, arena rock and symphonic prog.

Supertramp is a band that springs to mind here. There are also some Boston influences here. But most of all, this album is a run of the mill US arena rock album.

The music is pretty mellow with some decent melodies. The vocals is good. 

The music industry was and still is a cut-throat business where only the strong albums and bands survive. This album fell well short of making it. There is no hit singles here. There is no really pieces of music which stands out here. 

This album is a decent album. Fans of pomp and arena rock from the 1970s may want to check out this album.

2 points



Convivium - Convivium (1971)

The one and only album from this band from Norway.

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

The band was formed in Oslo, the capitol of Norway, and gigged in the clubs and cafeterias in and around Oslo. Then, the band split up and this album was forgotten until it was re-released on CD last year through the Norske Albumklassikere series.

The music on this album is acid-folk rock. The band was a far more acid-folk rock band than the likes of Folque. The lyrics is also a mix of tragic topics. From poverty to tragic love.

The music is vocals orientated. But there is still some good details in their music. The female vocals is good.

The melodies, details and music is all decent enough. This is an album fans of acid-folk should check out. I am glad that this album is now out on CD. It deserves a new life.

2 points



Monday, January 30, 2023

Zed & I Bolidi Lenti - Zed & I Bolidi Lenti (2022)

 

The debut album from this band from Italy.

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

This band comes from Naples in the south of Italy and has been around for the last twelve years. 

The band members are grown ups and I suspect the band was happy to run the band as a live act and a hobby project before they recorded and released this album.

That is a great attitude and one I applaud.

The music is middle of the road classic RPI. The band has been greatly influenced by the likes of PFM and that is obvious.

The sound is the organic RPI sound from the 1970s. With some modification and technical improvements, off course. The sound is good. The vocals is good too. The vintage organ and guitar sound is most welcome.

There is no great songs here and some of the songs falls a bit short. The sound makes up for it and makes this a good album.

Everyone into RPI should check out this album.

3 points

 

 



Soniq Circus - Reflections In The Hourglass (2011)

The second album from this band from Sweden.

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

This band debuted in 2007 with a self-titled album. The music on that album was a mix of good old 1970s heavy progressive rock and more new'ish neo-prog. All this with a Swedish flavour too.

The band returns with a more complex and symphonic take on all above. There are some The Flower Kings influences here. Some very strong ones, indeed.

The music on this one hour long album is therefore muscular, complex and pretty epic. It is also pretty melodic.

The vocals is good and ditto for the sound.

The songs are around eight minutes long on average.

The result is a good album and one to check out if Swedish prog and muscular neo-prog is your thing.

3 points

 

 


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Saft - Horn (1971)

The second album from this band from Norway.

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

This album is the follow up to the self-titled debut album from the same year.

That album was a pretty good album. So did the band have enough good songs for two albums, released in the same year ?

The music here is a mix of beat, psych rock, progressive rock and some fusion. There are also some pop here.

People In Motion is the hit single here. A sharp no-nonsense lively pop tune. It feels a bit outdated anno 2023, but it is still a charming tune.

The rest of the album is mostly psych and the songs are not bad.

The result is a decent album. It is not as good as the debut album. Nevertheless, check out this album.

2 points



Czyszy - UwU Slaughter (2022)

The sixth album from this one-man-band from Poland.

Marek Krol does the guitars, bass, electronics and keyboards on this album.

I got this album some weeks ago and put it up for review. This was before I got to know this project.

The Bandcamp site gives me the impression that this is a cartoonish symphonic prog/neo-classical project.

..... Which is not far away from the truth.

References are ELP, Anyone's Daughter, Trace, Pink Mice and Ekseption.

There is a lot of substance and indeed good music on this album. The album is dominated by keyboards. Nevertheless, the music still feels a bit organic and not as a far out keyboards assault on our senses. 

Clocking in at forty minutes, this is actually a good album and a very nice surprise. It also tells me that I should check out the other six albums too... including the new album.

3 points



Saturday, January 28, 2023

Zappa. Frank - Freak Out! (1966)

The debut album from Frank Zappa.

Frank Zappa played guitars, kazoo and did vocals here. He also did the arrangements. The rest of The Mother of Invention did drums, bass, tambourine, kazoo, guitars, harmonica and vocals.

Numerous others added their woodwinds, strings, piano, guitars and vocals.

This is my first ever review of a Frank Zappa album and I will do the discography this year in this blog. I guess it will overrun into next year and perhaps into a the next blog in the Sound Of Fighting Cats blog series. Frank Zappa has released a lot of albums and I got most of them, if not all of them.

The debut album is a natural start and this album was released in 1966.

It feels more like a freaky cultural statement than a serious piece of music. This double LP is mostly a collage of vocals and sounds. There is some songs here too. 

The music is very primitive. There is a handful of good songs here. Most of the album falls a bit flat on it's face anno 2023. The album must have been exciting anno 1966. I am not sure if I would have rated this album even if I bought it in 1966.... It is a bit wild... and a bit too punk.

Nevertheless, this is a decent album and I will continue my journey into his discography.

2 points



Friday, January 27, 2023

Tabletom - Inoxidable (1992)

The third album from this band from Spain.

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

Tabletom is a band difficult to really pin down in a genre.

Take Spanish rock, add some prog and jazz too and then add lots of fusion and folk music.

The vocals are in Spanish and the music is all over the place.

The saxophone is pretty dominant and add a very jazzy feeling. Some of the music is laidback and some other parts are pretty hard.

There are also some pretty melodic stuff here and some stuff that makes a symph prog fan happy too.

This is indeed an untraditional album but quite a traditional album from this band. 

It is also a good album too. The album has a lot of interesting details and a lot of good melodies. The vocals is really good and the saxophone is pretty OK. 

Check out this album.

3 points




Stranafonia - Il Nuovo Rinascimento (2014)

The fourth and final album from this band from Italy.

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

I have yet to sample their first three albums and it seems like they are pretty difficult to get too.

The band plays RPI. As plain as that. Italian symphonic prog in the vein of Nuovo Era. 

The music is pretty pastoral with some classic organs and piano like sound generated by the keyboard player. There is also some jazz and more heavy rock here. 

Most of the music is pretty complex. It is also pretty melodic. The vocals are in Italian and it is good. Ditto for the sound.

The result is a good album. I sincerely hope someone re-release their albums soon. This band deserve a lot more attention.

3 points



 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Hokus Pokus - Videre Fra Der Vi Skulle Ha Vært (2009)

The one and only album from this band from Norway.

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

I had never heard about this band before I by accident found them under the letter H in ProgArchives when I was looking for another Norwegian band... Høst. I then found their album in my local Amazon shop for around £ 4 and downloaded it.

I have just learnt that two of the band members has passed on since the release of this album and this album is the only sign of life we will ever hear from this band. That makes me sad.

ProgArchives described the band as a symphonic prog band. There is no reviews of this album in PA... And the music is not automatic symphonic prog even with using Roger Dean painting as the album cover.

There is though a lot of Yes influences here. Some of their, Yes, music is very eclectic. That goes for the music if Hokus Pokus too.

The music is pretty sunny and bright. The Yes influences is there. And so is the Gentle Giant influences. There is also some Scandinavian, in particular Swedish, symphonic prog in their sound and music too.

The organ, mellotron and moog sound is very good. The vocals is good. 

The music is very complex and their sixteen minutes long Akallabeth is full of very surprising twists, turns and details.

The three other tracks is also of the same kind.

The album is clocking in at just under forty minutes. It is a very good album and a true gem. Fans of both Yes and eclectic prog, not to mention Norwegian/Scandinavian prog should get this album. 

3.5 points



Korb - III (2022)


 The third album from this band from UK.

The band is a duo with a lineup of drum machine, bass, guitars, synths and electronics.

Their self titled 2018 debut album had a lot of promise. Pretty good outer space krautrock.

I do not have their second album but I got their third album and this is the one I am reviewing here.

The music is still outer space krautrock. There are some Klaus Sculze influences here and some Tangerine Dream influences. 

The music is gentle and groovy. This is not full on outer space kraut. It is more less-is-more than a full aural assault.

There is also some interesting sounds and melody lines on this album.

The result is a good album and one to check out if space rock and krautrock is your thing.

3 points



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Soniq Circus - Soniq Circus (2007)

The debut album from this band from Sweden.

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

This band has so far released three albums and they are all up for reviews in the coming weeks/this winter.

The band was formed by some Swedish young men who wanted to play progressive rock. After operating under a different name for a while, they changed name to a far better name..... Soniq Circus. A name who alone guaranteed them attention.

Their music is a mix of good old 1970s heavy progressive rock and more new'ish neo-prog. Add some Swedish symphonic prog and you got their sound and music.

The music is both melodic and technical. It is obvious already from their debut that the band has a lot of talent.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. It is still a more than acceptable debut and an album fans of Swedish melodic prog should seek out and get.

2.5 points

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Saft - Saft (1971)

The debut album from this band from Norway.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, piano, electric piano, flute and vocals.

This band from the west coast of Norway released three albums before they split up. Two of their members recently passed on. 

The band is most known for it's cooperation with the local folk music scene. But that was only on their third album. An album I currently do not have but which I think I will order now. I got their second album Horn and a review will follow later this month.

Saft was a big band in Norway back in the 1970s. One of their songs was and is still banned in BBC because the verse includes the big F word. The song is All The Time. It is the one and only song they submitted to BBC and it got banned.....

The music is a mix of folk, prog and psych rock. Mostly psych rock.

The vocals are a mix of English and Norwegian. The music is rather pastoral and has a lot of good vocal harmonies. Crosby, Stills & Nash sometimes springs to mind.

Their version of Eleanor Rigby, the great Beatles song, is a rather throw away version. The rest of the album is rather good with the banned song All The Time being a good song.

I only knew this band by reputation before getting this album and this album has been quite an eye opener. 

Not everything is good here but there is a lot to be happy about on this album. Check it out.

2.5 points

 

 


Flamborough Head - Jumping the Milestone (2022)

The eight album from this band from The Netherlands.

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

The band is back again, nine year since their last album. It is a sign of life I never thought we would hear. But the will to live and the will to continue this band was stronger than I thought.

Flamborough Head was and still is a great band so we should all rejoice.

They were also one of the leading lights in the Dutch neo-prog scene. Other bands has moved on and taken over their territory. 

Jumping The Milestone is a light, shiny and still complex neo-prog album. It is also clocking in at one hour too.

The band has also retained their sound and the Dutch neo-prog sound. A sound largely created by this band. 

There is no cracking great songs here. Nevertheless, the music is really good and the band has returned in style. 

This is another good album from this Dutch band. 

3 points



Monday, January 23, 2023

XII Alfonso - Claude Monet Volume 2 (2005)

 

The fourth album from this band from France.

The band was a seven piece big band on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, mandolin, organ, piano, keyboards and vocals.

XII Alfonso is one of those bands I find difficult reviewing. So my last review, Claude Monet Volume 1, was done in September 2012. A fairly decent album.

I have decided to grasp the nettle again and review their four remaining albums this winter. Yes, the band released altogether seven albums.

Claude Monet is one of the most famous painters of all time. He has got a certain style which has impressed a lot of people. I have to admit that I have yet to be bothered.... browsing through some of them now..... They are really impressive !! OK, I am converted and I may even order copy, not an original, for one of the walls in my office. 

Back to these albums after feasting my eyes on some fantastic artworks...... Volume 1 and Volume 2 sounds pretty similar.

That means neo-classical and fusion with some sprinklings of symphonic prog. This album is long, clocking in at almost eighty minutes.

The music is not really interesting. It feels cheap and like something you find in cheap TV productions. 

The music is barely half-decent and is not of much value. Some interesting details elevates this album from a turkey status. But this album is still poor and well worth avoiding.

1.5 points




Tea Party. The - Splendor Solis (1993)

 


The second album from this band from Canada.

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

This is their real debut album, the band has said many times. 

The self-titled album that came before this one was not a bad album. I would not be too ashamed of it.

Splendor Solis is an album that made many think that The Tea Party would inherit Rush many fans and the title as Canada's best band.

Take a big chunk of Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin and King's X, add some blues and some rock too. There is even some Rush and The Beatles in their sound and music. Even Buffalo Springfield springs to mind here.

Jeff Martin's vocals is very good here and the musicians comes up with a lot of interesting details.

The result is a very good album. It is also a fascinating album and one to grab the attention of the listener. 

This band sounds like the real thing to me.

3.5 points

 

 



Sunday, January 22, 2023

Stark Naked - Stark Naked (1971)

The one and only album from this band from USA.

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

This band from the New Jersey area was regarded as the new big hope in the US rock scene for a while. They were snapped up by one of the major record labels, RCA, and everyone thought the band would break USA and the world.

That did not happen and this album is their one and only album.

The music is psych rock. Hard rocking psych rock with some blues and soul influences. There are also some more gentle rock and pop here. The vocals harmonies are good.

The sound and the vocals is good. There is no real killer tracks here and I believe this is the reason why this album did not break the band.

This album sounds pretty good anno 2023 and this is another gem unlocked from the vast amount of albums released during the last fifty years.

Check out this album.

2.5 points

 

 


Half Past Four - Rabbit In The Vestibule (2008)

The debut album from this band from USA.

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

I have previously reviewed their second album, the 2013 album Good Things and the 2016 Ep Land Of The Blind. I liked both of them.

I therefore jumped on the chance to review their debut album too.

The music is a mix of art-rock, modern pop and fusion.

The vocals are female vocals and they are good. The sound is good and this album is just over an hour long.

The music has a bohemian pop sound which is very cool. 

The quality of the music is good too. Barely good but still good. 

This band is another gem just waiting there to be picked up by those who are willing to go out and look for gems in the scene.

3 points



Korb - Korb (2018)

 

The debut album from this band from Great Britain.

The band is a duo with a lineup of electronics, drum machine, synths and samples.

This is a band who has so far released three albums. The latest one was released last year and that one is also up for review. I have yet to get their second album.

The genre is krautrock. Minimalistic electronic krautrock.

The music is also very much space rock where the band is operating in outer space. The space rock is still minimalistic, but still very effective.

The drums are programmed and there is not a single organic tone here.

There is also some haunting Britanny bagpipe sounds here which is very good and adds a lot to this album.

The tempo is mellow space rock and there are some interesting details here. The quality is somewhere between decent and good throughout these forty minutes.

This is an album well wort checking out.

2.5 points



Saturday, January 21, 2023

Wolf - Night Music (1974)

 

The third and final album from this band from Great Britain.

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

The band continued on this, their third album, despite of their lack of commercial success. Looking back at the band these days, it feels like a supergroup with members from Curved Air, Soft Machine, Soft Machine Legacy and Marillion. But Soft Machine and Marillion was bands the two members joined after their stints in Wolf. 

Curved Air was the band the Wolf band owner Darry Way formed before he left them to start up Wolf. Hence why this band was named Darryl Way's Wolf by the records pushing record label. Not enough records was sold and the band was dropped.

That is a great shame as their third album too is a mix of symphonic prog, fusion and a bit pop music. And the music is good. Just as the music on their first two albums was good.

The only missing thing here is the lack of any great songs or even hit-singles. The band had some good to great music. But they never wrote and recorded a hit song or a great song.

Wolf probably has a greater audience these days than back in the 1970s. That says it all. 

Wolf and their three albums must be on every proghead's radar and in their record collection.

3 points

 

 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Skepticism - Companion (2021)

The sixth album from this band from Finland.

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

The so far latest album from this band. A band who are one of the pioneers in the funeral doom genre. 

Their 2015 album Ordeal saw the band loosen up a lot and introduce some stylish keyboards to flesh out their new twin-guitars lineup.

Six years later and the band returns with a lot heavier and much more epic funeral doom. There are still some melodies here but the vocals are a mix of death and black metal. 

The keyboads/synths makes the music a lot more epic.

This fifty minutes long album is not for the faint hearted and those who likes light and fluffy music. This album is as heavy funeral doom.

The quality is decent to good and this is a band well worth checking out if you want to explore the funeral doom genre.

2.5 points



 


Manticore - Elements (2022)

The third album from this band from Sweden.

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

A female vocalist also adds her voice. 

I reviewed their second album, the 2018 album Next Step back in August 2018 for # 2 of this series of blogs.

That album was influenced by everyone from Yes, The Moody Blues, ELP and The Beatles. It is also a good album.

The Yes and ELP influences has gone altogether on Elements, the follow up album. Ditto for The Beatles too.

Elements sounds like a more pop influenced version of Kaipa. Add in a lot of The Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest too and you get them.

The music is very melodic indeed.

The quality is not particular impressive. This is a barely good album, but it still deserves to be rated as a good album. The cover art-work is also a good one.

3 points



Thursday, January 19, 2023

Enslaved - Vertebrae (2008)

 

The tenth album from this band from Norway.

The band was a quintet on this album with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, organs, synths and vocals.

Ronnie Le Tekro from TNT added a guitar solo on one of the tracks and another guest added some electronics.

Enslaved started out as a viking extreme metal band before they started to adopt a lot of progressive rock. 

With the exeptions from their demo tapes, Enslaved has always sounded progressive in my ears. That with the possible exception of their Frost album. Vikingr Veldr was very progressive.

So their mix of prog rock and extreme metal on their last four albums was not a big shock to me.

Vertebrae continues in the same vein. A lot of interesting details, a lot of ultra-fast viking metal with some progressive rock in the vein of both King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator.

The Van Der Graaf Generator influences on this rather muddy produced album is pretty evident here. The vocals is still a mix of viking and clean vocals.

The music is still fascinating and good. The music is still relevant and Enslaved is still in their own genre and class.

Check out this album.

3 points



Spacelords. The - Synapse (2014)

The third album from this band from Germany.

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

This band from Germany has so far released seven albums and I am reviewing them this winter.

Their debut album was a good album while their second album was a bit of a let down. So my hopes was not the high when I started listening to Synapse.

We are again in the middle of space rock land. Pretty much bang in the centre of space rock land. 

The frequent use of sitar is the only really deviation from the norm on this album. There are some vocals at the end of this album too and an organ sound.

The rest of the album is solid, gold standard groovy space rock. 

The music is really groovy and a reminder why space rock is such a great music genre when it is done properly. The music is on the safe side. Nevertheless, the band manage to spice up the music, the four songs and forty odd minutes, with some interesting details.

The music is good throughout this album and it is an album space rock fans should check out.

3 points

 

 


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Staring Into Nothing - Power (2017)

The debut album from this band from USA.

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

This band has released two albums. The last one in 2020 called Love. Both albums released through Bandcamp.

The music is a mix of neo-prog, heavy prog and art rock.

The vocals are good and the music is songs based. 

There is a twenty minutes long suite on this album too. That inbetween some, on average, six minutes long songs. The suite is decent but nothing special.

This album is seventy minutes long. It has too much of this run-of-the-mill feeling and is not adding much to the scene. 

It is a decent album and worth checking out.

2 points



Hipgnosis - Valley of the Kings (2021)

The fourth studio album from this band from Poland.

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

I was meant to review this album back in 2021. But I dropped the idea after one listening session because I found the album too far out there, too long and too difficult to get my head around.

It has always annoyed me, my failure to get my head around it two years ago. Hence.... I gave it another chance.

The music is a mix of electronica and dream pop. It has some eclectic prog too. 

The female vocals is cool and most of the melodies are cool too. The music is really laidback and full of electronics generated percussion. The theme for the art-work is also well represented in the music.

This album is very long. One hundred minutes long and it is a double CD.

Not everything here is good and there are some small electronica breaks and avant-garde pieces here who simply does not work that well.

This is still an album well worth checking out.

2.5 points



Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Cyklad - Offline (2022)

The debut album from this one-man-band from Sweden.

This is the band from Mr. Bjorn Sandstrom and he did the guitars, bass, keyboards and electronics here.

A drummer added his drums and various vocalists added their vocals.

This album is a Bandcamp album and Bjorn is the lead guitarist in the Swedish heavy metal band LostQ. Lyrics and the artwork was provided by another artist.

The music is a mix of neo-prog and heavy prog. The vocals is both male and female and the album is fifty-five minutes long.

There are also some Swedish folk rock incorporated into this music. Subtle, but still there. Ditto for the heavy mertal influences. Bjorn's daytime band is a heavy metal band and that shines through most of this album. 

The vocals is good and ditto for the sound. The sound reminds me about the 1990s heavy metal scene.

Some of the music is decent and some of the music is rather good. This is an interesting album and one well worth checking out. Is this a one off album from Bjorn ? Only time will tell but this album deserve some attention from the progressive rock scene.

2.5 points



Wolf - Saturation Point (1973)

The second album from this band from England.

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

Wolf was the ex Curved Air member and founder Darryl Way's band after leaving Curved Air. Three albums followed under the Wolf name.

The 1973 debut album Canis Lupus was a very good album. 

Saturation Point gives us forty minutes with a mix of fusion, symphonic prog, neo-classical and eclectic pop. 

The violin is the main instrument and the music is built around this instrument. That makes Wolf a pretty unique band. Their three albums is also pretty unique and one of a kind.

The music is dynamic and very lively. Lively and intense. But never really hard. 

Most of the music is instrumental where the violin dominates the sound.

The music is also good. It has a lot of interesting details too.

Check out this album.

3 points



Monday, January 16, 2023

Skepticism - Ordeal (2015)

The fifth album from this band from Finland.

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

This seventy-seven minutes long album was recorded live in a studio in front of a small audience.

Six of the songs are brand new and two of the songs are old songs. That means a studio album in my view.

The music is funeral doom and some pretty harsh funeral doom too.

The music is less harsh on this album than on the previous four albums. The vocals is less harsh and ditto for the guitars. This means a bit softer sound and songs.

The songs are long and epic.

There are even a couple of good songs here. The other songs are decent enough. There are also some good details here.

The keyboards also gives us some church organs like sounds.

The result is their best album to that date.

This album is well worth checking out.

2.5 points



Hiperborea - Enigmagination (2016)

The one and only album from this band from Italy.

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

This is another power metal/thrash metal band from Italy with one album and then not any more signs of life.

This band is actually leaning more towards progressive metal than power/speed/thrash metal. 

This album still has some ills from power/speed/thrash metal. The vocals sounds forced and unhealthy. 

The music on this one hour long album is varied with a lot of acoustic pieces too. 

The quality is only half-decent though and I can understand why there has not been any signs of life from this band after the release of this album. 

This is not an album worth checking out.

1.5 points



Sunday, January 15, 2023

Psicolorama - The White Sun (2017)

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

Psicolorama does the guitars, synths and programming himself. 

A vocalist added some vocals on this album.

This one-man-band has so far released twenty-five albums and I got twenty of them for reviews. 

One-man-bands normally offer some pretty poor music. It is no denying that proper bands offers better music than the one man and his computer bands.

The White Sun gives us an hour of slow, dirge like space rock. 

The vocals offers up some life in this barren landscape. The vocals is rather good.

The music is decent and very much in tune with a harsh, frozen landscape. It has some funeral doom too. 

The result is a decent enough album. Psicolorama is one of the best one-man-bands and this album very much proves my point.

2 points



Tea Club. The - Rabbit (2010)

The second album from this band from USA.

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

This band comes from New Jerse, an area near New York. 

Their 2008 debut album General Winter's Secred Museum was an album full of eclectic art rock with a lot of psych and post rock influences. 

The band continues in the same vein on Rabbit, the follow up album. 

This band's music intrigues me more and more. Hence, I am reviewing all their albums this winter. 

Take a bit of Radiohead, Marillion, David Bowie, Velvet Underground and Sigur Ros. Mix them together and you get this band.

..And you get this album too. 

The vocals is good and the music on this just over an hour long album is full of interesting ideas.

The music is dense and quirky. This is not mainstream music.

This is a good album though and one to check out.

3 points



Saturday, January 14, 2023

Squackett - A Life Within a Day (2012)

The one and only album from this duo from England.

Chris Squire did the bass and vocals here while Steve Hackett provided guitars, vocals and harmonica.

They got help from six friends who provided drums, violin, viola, cello, double bass, programming, keyboards and backing vocals.

This duo were working on and off this project for a very long time before this album was released. Two good friends from two of the most influential prog bands of all time; Yes and Genesis.

Chris Squire passed away some time ago so this album is a one-off album.

The music is a mix of what Chris and Steve did in their solo careers and in Yes and Genesis. Add some strong influences from Eastern Asia, modern pop and modern rock aka Yes under the tutelage of Trevor Horn.

The music is both melodic and full of interesting details. The vocals are really good too.

The guitars are also good and the bass is rumbling around as per usual from Chris.

This is an interesting and a good album. 

Check it out. 

3 points



 

Hidden Dream - Through The Silence Of Reason (2016)

The one and only album from this band from Italy.

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

I thought I was in for some good Italian progressive metal when I got this album. An album I have yet to see reviewed anywhere.

I was wrong when it comes to the music.

The album is forty minutes with a blend of thrash metal and heavy metal.

The vocals is poor. Ditto for the guitars. The album is also full of cliches and ideas done by other bands, decades ago.

This album is in short a turkey and one to forget.

1 point



Friday, January 13, 2023

Staircases - Lion (2012)

The one and only album from this one-man-band from USA.

Staircases is Mr Jack Collopy on guitars, bass, electronics and drums.

This album is listed on ProgArchives as a space/psych rock album. It is also unreviewed, more than ten years after it's release.

So I thought it was only right and proper to include a review of the album in my blog.

The album is forty minutes long and it is Bandcamp album. It would never ever have been released by a record label.

The music starts with a melody before it descends into a twisted tones dystopia where nothing grows. It feels like a mental illness, this album.

The sound and music feels very cheap as in recorded in a bedroom. The guitars is hideous bad.

There is no reason to wonder why there has not been a second album. Lion is hideous bad album and a turkey.

1 point