Saturday, September 18, 2021

Ocarinah - Première Vision De L'Étrange (1978)

The one and only album from this French band.

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

This band appeared in the early 1970s before they released this album and then disbanded. Nothing has been heard about them since then. 

This album was re-mastered and re-released on CD by a German label some years ago.

The music on this album is a bit strange. Hence.... French. France has their own take on progressive rock and fusion.

That is a good thing as this album is very dynamic and showcases a mix of eclectic prog and fusion. Canterbury prog is a good label to use on them.

The music is not really melodic. It is more eclectic and non-linear. 

The sound is not the best as the band/the original label did not use a fortune in the studio. Which is fair enough. The sound is good enough to engage the listener and that is all that is required.

The quality is decent enough. 

This is a weird album and one of the most weirdest albums in the Canterbury prog scene. 

Check it out.

2 points



Friday, September 17, 2021

Porcupine Tree - The Incident (2009)

 

The tenth and final album from this UK band.

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

An additional guitarist helped out the band throughout the album.

The band bowed out after this album, their tenth album. This band is probably, very probably, the most influential progressive rock band this century.

The band does a mix of hard prog, neo-prog, post-rock and art rock on this fifty-five minutes long album. Just as on the previous album.

The vocals are really good and the sound is great.

This is another very good album from this band and everyone should have their, at least, five final studio albums.

I still hope we will hear more from this band.

3.5 points



Enid. The - In the Region Of The Summer Stars (1976)

The second album from this British band.

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

Two guests added flute, trumpet and bass.

Some regards this as the real debut album from The Enid. I regard this as their second album. It is a difference of opinion here.

The Enid set the standard for what the band was all about on this album. A more classical music orientated symphonic prog band. A band more classical music orientated than the likes of The Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest. 

The symphonic prog on this album is all rooted in classical music. It is half and half of both genres.

There is no classical music orchestra involved and the sextet makes the classical music parts themselves. That is pretty impressive.

The music is more pastoral than bombastic. On this album, The Enid is a much more softly spoken band than the likes of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Softly spoken but still with some very good music. 

This is indeed a very good album and I am very much looking forward to review the rest of their albums.

3.5 points

 

 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Congreso - Misa De Los Andes (1978)

The fourth album from this band from Chile.

The band was an eight piece big band with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, guitars, rondador, tarka, cello, flute, winds and vocals.

The band had help from a choir.

The band continued on with their take on folk rock and prog rock. 

Misa De Los Andes is a short album, clocking in at half an hour.

The vocals is very sweet. The music has a lot of prog rock influences too. Barclay James Harvest springs to mind here.

This is still a Latin American album with some folk rock too. 

The vocals are good although the sweet choir is a bit...... strange. It adds a lot of colours to this album. 

The music on this far too short album is good and this is an album well worth checking out.

Congreso was onto something on this album.

3 points



Fungi - Into The Void (2021)

The debut album from this band from Mexico.

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

A guest musician added keyboards and flutes.

This is another new name in the progressive rock scene.

Their brand of progressive rock is somewhere between prog metal and neo-prog. 

References are both Cast and the likes of Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater.

The vocals is very good and the sound is very warm with a lot of throw backs to the 1970s. 

The songs are also very good and they have a good ambience. The songs are mostly in pretty melodic but they got an edge to them.

This is an album well worth checking out. 

I hope this band will stick around and make some more albums.

3.5 points

 

 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Sombra - Visiones (2017)

The one and only album from this Spanish band.

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

This is another instrumental rock band from Spain. There has been some of them in the history of Spanish rock.

Their music is a mix of fusion and psych rock. Add some Spanish folk rock too and you get this album.

The guitars are the main instrument driving the music forward. 

The music is very dynamic with lots of fusion like melodies interacting with some psych rock.

This is not the most exciting music around and I am not won over. 

Nevertheless, this is a decent album and well worth checking out if Spanish fusion and psych rock is your cup of tea.

2 points



Castanarc - The Sea of Broken Vows (2021)


The fifth album from this British band.

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

Some guest musicians added their drums, bass, guitars, saxophone, low whistle and flute.

This band's previous outputs has not impressed me at all. One album is a turkey and the debut album was not impressive. 

My hopes for this album was not high, in other words.

The band's music is somewhere between neo-prog and pop/rock. 

The music is very melodic but also a bit short on interesting details.

The vocals is OK. The other musicians does their job.

The quality is OK although I am not a big fan of the overly sugar filled music. 

Nevertheless, this is the best album I have heard from them and it is a decent to good album.

2.5 points



Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Hollow Drifter - Echoes of Things to Come (2021)

 

The debut album from this band from The Netherlands.

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

This is a new band on the scene and a welcome addition to our scene.

The band is not a neo-prog band, shock horror shock.

The band plays some sort of psych rock with some proto prog, heavy prog and progressive rock influences. 

The music is pretty dark with some hard rock in between the psych rock. Some of the music is distorted.

The vocals are pretty distorted and the keyboards are OK. I wish they had gone for a full, fat organ sound instead.

The music is decent to good throughout. 

This is an acceptable debut album and I hope we will hear a lot more from them.

2.5 points



Oblivion Her Majesty - Hopeless Masterminds (2019)

The debut album from this US band.

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

This album was sent to me as a progressive rock album. It has taken me some time to review it....

Progressive rock ? More like a mix of post-punk, post-metal and US rock.

A good reference is the British band Thumpermonkey. That kind of experimental rock/post-metal.

The music has some pastoral moments where it comes across as a US rock album. But there is also a lot of shouting and wild, heavy music here. Some of the music is well harsh and dis-harmonic. 

The result is not too bad. This band has some talent and I hope we will hear more from them.

This is a decent album which can be obtained from here.

2 points



Monday, September 13, 2021

Adekaem. The - The Great Lie (2021)

The fourth album from this band from Poland.

The band is a duo with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, synths and vocals.

They got help from some other musicians who provided drums, bass, flute and vocals.

I really liked their 2017 album Sound Coloring. That album was my only exposure to this band before this year's album.

The band, the duo, has changed style a lot since 2017.

The Great Lie is a seventy-six minutes long album.

The music is also very complex, heavy and with quite a substantial avant-garde and eclectic take on symphonic prog and neo-prog.

There is a lot of instrumental music on this album and that music is Wagner'esque. The more normal songs are no easy listening either. Or poppy.

There is a lot of Wagner'esque music on this album. It is also pretty melodic at times. But this album is not for those who are looking for easy listening neo-prog.

The music is also good throughout. 

The band has pushed their music into an unfamiliar territory and has survived the journey. 

Check out this album.

3 points



Sunday, September 12, 2021

Ozric Tentacles - There Is Nothing (1986)

The third album from this English band.

The band was a sextet on this album with a lineup of percussion, drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, electronics, flutes and some vocals.

This band is an true institution in the British music scene. They started out by releasing cassette albums. This is one of them. Thankfully, it has also been released as a CD too.

The band has always been compared to Hawkwind and with good reasons. 

This album is over seventy minutes long.

The music is indeed space rock/prog with a lot of psych rock influences too. 

The music is surprisingly melodic and structured although it is mostly instrumental space rock. Outer space rock, in most cases.

My fears of seventy minutes of droning ambient music was mostly unfounded.

The quality is actually pretty good and I very much enjoy this album. 

There are some not so good parts here but my overall impressions of this album is good. 

Check out this album.

3 points



Saturday, September 11, 2021

Dear Hunter. The - Act III: Life And Death (2009)

The third album from this band from USA.

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

The band had help from numerous guests who provided strings and woodwinds.

The band returned again with their brand of progressive rock.

This means US progressive rock with references to The Mars Volta and Coheed & Cambria. 

That also means theatrical progressive rock with a lot of references to the likes of Ange.

The vocals are really good and that is a major positive for this album. Vocals this type of theatrical progressive rock really depends on. 

The sound is pretty much acoustic through and through with the strings and the woodwinds.

That makes an interesting album indeed.

It also makes a good album and one who adds a lot of colours to the scene. Something this band does.

Check out this album.

3 points



Friday, September 10, 2021

Noisy Diners - The Princess of the Allen Keys (2021)

The debut album from this Italian band.

This band/project are eight members big and the lineup is drums, bass, guitars, chapman stick, keyboards, spoken narrations and vocals.

A handful of guests added saxophones, narrations and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

This project has members from various of the current crop of RPI bands. Which again proves that the progressive rock scene in Italy is in rude health.

The music here is a mix of neo-prog and symphonic prog.

The sound is more neo-prog with female and male vocals and a rather fresh sound. The organ sound takes us back to the 1970s and the RPI scene from those times. Genesis is also a very strong reference.

This is a concept album with narrations and it all. The album is fifty-five minutes long and there is not much wastage here.

The music is very good throughout this album. 

This is an album which will please most RPI and neo-prog fans. 

Check it out.

3.5 points




Sonata Islands Kommandoh - Zeuhl Jazz (2018)

 

The debut album from this Italian band.

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

This band has so far released two albums through their Bandcamp page. An album I may purchase later on.

The music is a bit of a tribute to Magma and the Zeuhl genre.

The music is not through and through zeuhl though... Well, the music reminds me a lot about the Magma side project Offering.

The music is therefore a mix of jazz, fusion and zeuhl.

The music is also very dynamic with some great flutes. The rest of the band also does their best on this rather intense music.

To save money, this album was recorded live although none of the tracks here had been recorded and released as a studio recording. There is some audience sounds on this record. 

The music is good throughout though and one fusion and zeuhl fans should check out. 

3 points

 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Blackfoot - Vertical Smiles (1984)

The seventh album from this US band.

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

Both Rickey Medlocke and Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) was still present on this album while the original guitarist Charlie Hargrett left the band halfway through the recording of this album due to his disgust with the songs on this album.

The band went for commercial rock on this album. They included no less than three cover tracks too. Rock songs, no less.

The band had retained a hard rock sound. But the songs are mainly straight rock. 

There is no denying that the extreme poor cover art-work is alluding the quality inside this album.

The quality of the music on this thirty-five minutes long album is very poor.

This album is no less than a turkey with beak and feathers galore. 

Avoid.

1 point



Echo Us - The Windsong Spires (2021)

The sixth album from this US one man project.

Ethan Matthews is doing the vocals, synths and guitars himself.

He got help from a drummer and a female vocalist.

I reviewed his first two albums and then lost contact with his creative outputs and albums. That is.... until this album.

The music here is a mix of ambient music and progressive rock. 

The music and Ethan Matthews reminds me a lot about Mike Oldfield. That is the best reference I can find. That is; Mike Oldfield's five first albums minus Tubular Bells.

The music is ambient and a bit too ambient.

There is not much going on here and I am not won over. Mostly because the quality is simply not here

Those into ambient music may lap up this album. I am not.

2 points



Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Episcopio Vistarama - Episcopio Vistarama (2014)

The one and only album from this Italian band.

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

The RPI (Rock Progressive Italiano) scene has come up with a lot of new bands in the last ten years. Some has stayed on and released more that one album. For some bands, their debut album was all they could release for several different reasons.

Episcopio Vistarama gives us a rather left-field type of RPI.

Take Frank Zappa and clone him with Gentle Giant, Picchio Dal Pozzo and Area.

The word I am looking for is the word "eclectic" and that is the music we get here.

There is also some very good melodies here between some rather peculiar eclectic stuff.

The result is a good album which should enthuse those into eclectic RPI. 

Check out this album.

3 points

 

  

New Machine - New Machine (2002)

The one and only album from this US band.

This band was a duo where David Garcia did drums, keyboards and vocals. Bob Gilmartin did bass, guitars and vocals.

US neo-prog has been a bit of an ugly sister of the European neo-prog scene. They do things a bit different in USA. 

That also goes for this album.

Big, bold and brash.

That is the neo-prog on this fifty minutes long album. And it is unashamed big, brash and bold.

There is also indeed some progressive metal in their music too. Kansas is a good reference when it comes to this band.

The vocals and the vocal harmonies are not bad at all and some of the songs are rather good. There is also some rather decent too here and this album is not really a good album.

Anyway, check it out if US neo-prog is your thing.

2.5 points

 

 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Oldfield. Mike - Platinum (1979)

The sixth album from this artist from England.

Mike Oldfield did marimba, vibraphone, synths, piano, guitars and vocals on this album.

He had help from numerous others who contributed with tubular bells, drums, congas, vibraphone, horns, bass, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

Mike Oldfield continued again on his path and his career. A successful career.

This album comes in two halves.... 

The first half of music on this album is the twenty minutes long semi-classical piece called Platinum and where Mike Oldfield shows us what he can. Which is what he gave us on Tubular Bells and who has not changed much since then.

The last half is some more pop orientated semi-classical music with female vocals and some more commercial music.

The first part is the best part of this album. Some of the second half falls a bit flat on it's face.

This is a bit of a strange album and it even got him a hit single in USA with  song not included on my UK version. 

It is also barely a decent album and not one I will remember with any fondness. But I will continue to review his albums..... album by album.

2 points

 

 

Purple Overdose - Exit 4 (1988)

The debut album from this band from Hellas.

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

This band has released five albums and I will review all of them in the coming weeks and months.

The cover art-work says a lot about the music. We are here talking flower power psych rock.

The psych is not only rock. It is to a large extent beat too. The likes of Jefferson Airplane looms large as a reference. 

The sound is the late 1960s and that can come across as a bad sound. It is not.

The band lives up to the age and days the music portrays. 

The vocals and organs are good. Ditto for the guitars.

The music is pretty decent but this album is a grower which grows a lot on the listener. I first thought I had got a turkey.... again. But the following listening sessions opened up this album a lot to me.

The quality is somewhere between decent and good. Those into retro-psych will really like this album.

2.5 points



Monday, September 6, 2021

Shock. Bobby - Street Angels (2021)

The 5th or so album from this US bassist.

Bobby Shock plays bass, guitars, piano and synths here. He is also the main vocalist.

He got help from a drummer, a trumpet player, synth player, guitarist, a moog player and a vocalist on this album.

Bobby Shock is from New Jersey and he has releases singles and albums through his Bandcamp page.

I got this album emailed to me for review and is therefore duly reviewing this album.

His music is somewhere between rock, art-rock and neo-prog. 

The title track is twenty minutes long. The other four songs are around three to seven minutes long.

The music is melodic and....... American brash and bold.

The quality is decent enough but I am not that impressed by this album. Check out his Bandcamp page for, I guess, better albums than this one.

2 points

 

 

 

Spheroe - Spheroe (1977)

The debut album from this French band.

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

The band released two albums before they disappeared again. The second album was released in 1978 and I will post a review of that album sometimes soon.

The music on this album is fusion with some pretty strong jazz influences.

The music is more jazz than rock, to put it like that.

The music is pretty dynamic with a lot of guitars and synths.

There are also some good vibraphone here.

Most of the music is decent to good. There is no great pieces of music here. But the three quarter of an hour with this album is ticking over quite nicely and it is a nice album. But there are far better albums out there in this genre.

Collectors of fusion albums should check out this album.

2.5 points



Sunday, September 5, 2021

Nine Skies - Sweetheart Grips (2019)

The second album from this French band.

The band is an eight members big band with a lineup of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, saxophones and vocals.

Some guest musicians added their drums, keyboards, guitars and vocals too.

Their 2017 debut album Return Home impressed me and I was very happy when their new album arrived. Then I discovered that this was in fact their third album. So I went back and got their second album too. The one I am now reviewing.

The music is neo-prog.

Neo-prog with a lot of soul and theater vocals. A bit of a musical at places. But not many places.

The main body of this album is solid and very good neo-prog. The band is French and they are to a large extent also following in the French tradition of theater and emotional vocals and music. Some of the vocals are female too.

I really like their first two albums and I will soon get on to reviewing their new album too. An album I also liked before switching back to their second album and reviewing this album instead.

Check out their three albums.

3.5 points

 

 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Catalyst R - Catalyst R (2021)

The debut album from this British band.

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

This is another album debuting band from the United Kingdom in the melodic progressive rock genre. Time will only tell if the band will release another album or fall by the wayside as so many other bands has done recently.

Their music is muscular neo-prog with some heavy prog and rock influences.

The songs are pretty long. The sound is good too.

The vocals is good and ditto for the musicians. A lot of this album has been polished in the studio and that is notable.

That is not a bad thing as this is a good album.

It is not an overly interesting album but the songs are good and solid. 

This is another good addition to the list of good melodic progressive rock debut albums from these islands. Check out this album.

3 points

 

 

 

Neptune's Empire - Neptune's Empire (1971)

 

The one and only album from this Norwegian band.

The band was a quintet with a lineup of drums, bass, organ, guitars and vocals. Both male and female vocals.

This album was re-released early in 2021 on CD and it has now become widely available and pretty well marketed and distributed again. 

This album was re-released among many others Norwegian forgotten LP only albums for the benefit of today's generation and coming generations. Something I warmly support. 

Does it therefore means that this album is a classic album ?

No. Not at all.

The music is psych pop/rock. Some of the music is tear jerking soppy and overly sugary. The female vocals is also very sugary.

As an album, it is a snapshot of what once was the style and time in 1971. It is a still a pretty poor album and it is running pretty close to being a turkey. I still support the re-release of this album though..

1.5 points

 

  

Friday, September 3, 2021

Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet (2007)

The ninth album from this British band.

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

A number of guests contributed with guitars, soundscapes, strings and backing vocals.

Porcupine Tree was a big name band by 2007. One of the biggest and most exciting bands in the progressive rock scene, no less.

That attracted Alex Lifeson and Robert Fripp to add their stuff as guests on this album.

The music is what we got on the previous album Deadwing. Heavy progressive rock with a lot of Marillion influences. 

The music is also pretty melodic throughout.

The quality is very good throughout this album and I can understand why it is so highly rated. My only gripe is the lack of a killer track or two.

Check out this album.

3.5 points



Embryo - Embryo's Rache (1971)

The second album from this German band.

The band is a quartet with a lineup of drums, bass, percussion, violin, saxophone, flute, piano and vocals.

The band had help from some guests who provided guitar, organ, mellotron, electric piano and vocals.

Embryo is a band who changed their take on jazz/fusion a lot during their long career. A career still ongoing. You never know what you get from them..... I have been told.

Embryo's Rache sees the band somewhere between the jazz of Soft Machine, a lot of Miles Davis and a lot of krautrock and Canterbury jazz.

There is a lot of Middle - East and Asian influences in their music too. 

The music is really groovy with some mad krautrock thrown in for good measure throughout this album.

There are some good vocals here too between the cascades of groovy rock and jazz.

This is a very good album from this German band and I can add this album to the list of albums from Germany I really like a lot. 

Check out this album.

3.5 points


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Efecto. El - Cidade Das Almas Adormecidas (2008)

The second album from this band from Brazil.

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

The band had help from a large amount of guests who provided guitars, oboe, flute, violin and background vocals.

I was far from impressed by their debut album and you can read my review somewhere else in this blog.

I did not have any high hopes for this album. I was not to be disappointed.

The music is a mix of latin guitars, screaming vocals, some woodwinds and weird jazzy, Latin - American rock. There is also a lot of punk in their music.

This is far too weird for me and most others. I do not speak their language so I am probably missing the whole point of this album and this music.

Based on the music alone, this album too is sailing close to being a turkey. Hence.....

1.5 points



Cygnus - Ancient Visions (2021)

The third album from this band from Colombia.

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

The band had help from a flute player and an orchestra.

I have never heard about this band before someone gave me a copy of this album to review. 

I was told this is progressive rock.

Wrong.

This is commercial viking metal where the musicians are sometimes helped out by some strings.... classical orchestra strings.

The viking metal is very melodic and sugar sweet. The Corrs meets.... well, I almost wrote Enslaved here but Enslaved are far too extreme and classy to be compared to the music on this album. 

The music is melodic, commercial and true to the viking metal formula. Most of the music is too sugar sweet and invokes memories of being sick in a bathroom. 

It is a turkey of an album unless viking metal is your thing. Even viking metal fans will have problems with this album, is my guess.

1 point



Soul Enema - Of Clans And Clones And Clowns (2017)

The second album from this band from Israel.

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

Some guest musicians, including Yossi Sassi and Arjen Lucassen, contributed with flutes, guitars, bouzoukitara, bass, child scream (!) and vocals.

Their 2010 debut album Thin Ice Crawling was a good album somewhere between female fronted neo-prog and goth metal. I was therefore happy to discover this album although it did not come up for review before now.

The music on this seventy-two minutes long album is a mix of neo-prog, a bit goth metal, a lot of Middle East folk rock and some pop music. 

The vocals are of the female variety and they are good.

The sound is good too and the guitars does a good job. There is a bit more goth metal here than I like. But there is not much of goth metal.... but any goth metal is too much goth metal.

The quality is good throughout although I wish it could have been better. 

I hope we will hear more from this band and/or members of this band.

3 points



Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Mekong Delta - Tales of a Future Past (2020)

The 12th album from this German band.

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

This is so far their latest album in a long, long career. It is also their first one for six years.

Mekong Delta, even as a stripped down version, is always interesting and they deliver interesting music. 

The album starts out as a thrash and speed metal album before it take a big turn towards progressive metal and goth metal.

The music is varied. 

The vocals are reasonable good.

The music is still interesting but still nothing more than decent. I am not won over.

Mekong Delta is an interesting band and the missing link between speed metal and more progressive rock.

2 points



Mythopoeic Mind - Hatchling (2021)

The second album from this Norwegian band.

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

A guest musician provided bassoon on one of the tracks.

I was not too impressed by their 2019 debut album Mythopoetry. But the tag "symphonic prog" always draws me in and I was hooked up to review this album too.

I am not sure where symphonic prog comes in here. OK, there is some Yes references here. But not many.

Instead of symphonic prog, we get some sort of jazz. Laid back jazz but still jazz. The jazz is also pretty avant-garde and in the RIO camp although there is some melodies here.

There are a lot of saxophones here and some trumpet. There are also some female vocals and the other instruments.

I am not entirely sure where the band wanted to take the listener with this album. 

The quality is decent but nothing more than that. 

Their two albums is a hit or miss. It is not a hit in my case. 

Sorry.....

2 points