BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH
Australia has never been a place in reference for progressive rock around the world, however came from there one of the highest names at the progressive rock scenario, Sebastian Hardie, a name from this spectacular band is easily considered as the main Progressive Rock group formed on the Australian continent. But we can mention some excellent progressive rock references, which comes from Australia, for example: "Rainbow Theatre", "Windchase", "Ariel", "Galadriel", "Aragon", "Dead Letter Circus", "Vanishing Point", "Brainstorm", "Anubis", "Cybotron" and "Enter Twilight". Sebastian Hardie and their music goes far beyond the average found normally around old and new bands, the musicians on Sebastian Hardie group are fully engaged in the creation of their own distinctive style of music, they have enough talent to produce the best Symphonic Progressive Rock Ive heard. This is a talented band and their instrumental prowess are demonstrated by an energy that musicians show in all compositions. The keyboard, drums, bass are important highlights in the compositions, like the voices of Mario Millo and Dave Wilkins are beautiful too, all perfect, however, everything well conducted solely by a single musician, Mario Millo, where his precise guitar solos are perfect, dominating all compositions, creating grandiose musical passages, full of symphonic guitar solos. "Blueprint" certainly marks the return of this wonderful band, Mario Millo with these marvelous musicians, once again have put together, on this album, a strong selection of songs that combine haunting melodies, amazing songs full of symphonic passages with atmospheric arrangements, where everything fits surprisingly well. The compositions, production, musical performances are also more than stellar, nothing seems to be wrong, all very well orchestrated and very precise. "Blueprint" consists of six distinct songs, full of energy and filled with aural detail, I have no special preference to the songs, all are incredible in all senses, but four, of the six songs caught my attention, mainly due to the instrumental grandeur, and they are, "I Wish", "Vuja de", "I Remember" and "Sham", in fact, they represent the true scent of music that only this band manages to convey, but certainly at the end of the album there is a lasting impression that we have heard a totally musicianship full of powerful themes, congratulations on the excellent work. For all listeners from the best progressive rock style, using as some old examples bands like "Genesis", "Yes", "Novalis", "Nektar", "Kayak", "Panthéon", "Light", "Camel", "Alquin", "Caravan", "Coda", "Earth And Fire", "Finch", "Focus", "Pythagoras", "Trace", "Odyssice" and also modern bands like "Flamborough Head", "Mangrove", "Salmon", "Life Line Project", "Trion", "Fusonic", "Sean Filkins", "Mars Hollow", "Anima Mundi", "Maze of Time", "Adventure", "Big Big Train" and many others, we can say that, Sebastian Hardie follows in this same line, and you can bet that Sebastian Hardie is one of the best bands that returns in high style to progressive rock scene , and is certainly the best choice for those who appreciate a taste of something musically adventurous and full of high quality Symphony. Brilliant, fantastic, an amazing album and band, highly recommendable...
line-up on Sebastian Hardie album are:
Mario Millo was born in Sydney, Australia in May 1955 to Italian parents, both whom had musical backgrounds. His music career began at the age of five when his father taught him to play the mandolin. By nine, he had begun performing in various Sydney night-clubs and was fast becoming an accomplished guitar player.
In 1967, at twelve years of age, he formed his first band, wrote his first song and two years later his second band "The Clik" were the winners of a major "battle of the bands" launching the group into mainstream live venues and their first record release."The Clik" broke up in late 1973 and Millo decided to join Sydney band "Sebastian Hardie". It was with this band that he began to develop his unique writing style and in 1975, Sebastian Hardie released their debut album "Four Moments" which achieved gold status soon after its release. The bands second album "Windchase" was released a year later - both these albums were hailed as classic progressive rock performances, with Sebastian Hardie recognised as one of the most innovative rock bands of the seventies.The band toured Australia with many international acts including "Santana", "Lou Reed", "Osibisa" and "Focus". Sebastian Hardie held their own alongside these major acts in the eyes and ears of audiences and the press with Millo's melodic and soulful guitar playing gaining the respect of legend guitarists "Carlos Santana" and "Jan Akkermann" and the praise of his many followers. A stream of great reviews followed each of their performances and Mario Millo was acknowledged as "a guitar master from Down Under".
In late 1976 Sebastian Hardie went their separate ways and Millo formed the band "Windchase" with Seb Hardie keyboard player Toivo Pilt. They recorded "Symphinity" which was released in 1977. This album, while different in many ways compared to the previous Seb Hardie albums, still maintained a unique innovative quality and remained in the category of Progressive Rock.Toward the latter part of the seventies, it became more and more difficult to obtain radio support for anything other than "commercial/radio friendly songs", and as a consequence, Windchase disbanded late in 1977.
In 1979, Millo recorded "Epic III", his first solo album. He and his band toured Australia promoting "Epic III" as support act to Joan Armatrading ... however, as a result of the ongoing success of the Australian television series "Against The Wind", there was great demand for Mario and co-composer Jon English to headline their own tour to promote "Against the Wind".
They toured extensively throughout Australia and the success of the series had also extended to Scandinavia where Mario and Jon performed concerts in the major cities.Upon returning to Australia, Millo's management and record company encouraged him to record a new album - to produce a commercial album with songs suitable for radio airplay. "Human Games" was released in 1983. Mario was not entirely happy with this album, feeling he had to deviate too much from his natural style of writing.
In November 1994, Sebastian Hardie were approached by promoters to reform the band for a one off performance headlining Progfest, (Progressive Rock Music Festival held annually in Los Angeles). It was a great success and the band were keen to continue performing together, however Mario's commitment to the ABC series 'GP' meant they had to put any further plans on hold.
While producing the music for "GP", Millo regularly used a select group of studio musicians - and when "GP" came to conclusion in late '97, he decided to collaborate with them, with the intention of producing a album as a studio project. As their writing began taking shape - so did a unique sound that became "Men From Mars". Performing live became a natural progression for the band and they performed at various low key gigs around Sydney. The album was put on hold as Mario pursued another dream - to record a solo album, his first in nearly two decades. He has just finalised mixing the CD and it will be released in a few months.
Following Progfest 94 the album Live in LA was released which featured a combination of tracks from both the Four Moments and Windchase albums. The enthusiasm was there to reform the band, however, due to personal and business commitments of each of the members and time slipping by it was becoming more and more difficult to get together.
Again, many years later in July 2003, the band was invited to reform once again for three performances in Japan. Also, later that year, in September they were invited to be special guests fat two concerts featuring English band "Yes" in Sydney and Melbourne. After these performances the band was determined to record another album...this in itself proved to be a difficult task as all were committed to other projects and living thousands of kilometers apart.
At any given opportunity, over a long period of time the band got together to jam, write and rehearse new material. The result being a new album entitled Blueprint.
Produced by Mario Millo. Recorded and Mixed at Windchase Studio. Engineered and Mixed at Mario Millo, Final Mixes and Mastered by Michael Morgan.
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For more information and every thing about the musicians and band, please visit SEBASTIAN HARDIE HOME PAGEN
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