.......................................A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEATURED ARTIST AND CD REVIEWS - 2010
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - Logo
LAST UPDATE 12/20/2010..
. UNIFIED PAST - "Tense"
The North American band Unified Past (from Baldwinsville, New York) was founded in 1984 originally under the moniker of "Labyrinth" by Stephen Speelman (guitars, bass, compositions) and Victor Tassone (drums). In 1990 the line-up was completed with Steve Calovi (vocals) and Mike Donohue (bass, keyboards). After their debut CD, “Breaking Up the Atmosphere” (1992), Victor Tassone left the band, being replaced by Mike Hicks. Hicks and Donohue pushed the band’s sonority towards progressive directions, as can be heard on the CD “Power of Existence” (1995). A year later, Donohue left the band, and the other members disbanded. Speelman then gathered a new line-up: Vinny Krivacsy (keyboards), Peter Palmieri (bass) and Matt Wood (drums). In 1998, they were ready to release a new algum “Endangered Species”, but having discovered the existence of another band called "Labyrinth", they gave up. In 1999, interest of producer Chris Pati of Atomik Records resurrected the band, which changed name for Unified Past, and released the CD “The Splintered Present Surfaces…The Unified Past”. Although receiving good reception from public and critics, the band ceased activities afterwards. It was again by Stephen Speelman‘s efforts that the band reunited, this time counting with original members Steve Calovi and Victor Tassone (now a professional drummer); and also with Vinny Krivacsy (of the 1996 line-up). The result is Unified Past’s new CD, entitled “Tense” (2009, Triple Records). With more than one hour of music, this album really rocks! With a sonority that is based on the Hard and Heavy rock of the 70’s and early 80’s, Unified Past is a band on which all musicians have incorporated many influences, as if they were human-blender-machines. Speelman‘s style reminds me of many guitarists (“Michael Schenker”, “Steve Morse”, “Chris Caffery”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Steve Hackett“, “Chris Oliva”, “John Petrucci”, and “Alex Lifeson”). His solos are carefully crafted, avoiding technical excesses and emphasizing melody and feeling instead. Singer Steve Calovi oscillates among “Dan McCafferty”, “Bon Scott”, “Jon Oliva”, “Steve Perry”, “Geddy Lee”, “Udo”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Klaus Meine”, and “Dave Mustaine”. Drummer Victor Tassone allies his jazzy skills with the rocky and groovy beat of “Neil Peart”, “Vinny Appice”, “Alan White“ and “John Bonham”. The outcome is an assemblage of easy-listening songs, full of sticky hard-rock riffs, groovy bass and drums, and irresistible melodic guitar solos that all together do not sound like any specific band, but really unify the past, bringing together influences of “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Pink Floyd”, “Budgie”, “Jethro Tull”, “Genesis”, “Rainbow”, “Yes”, early “Rush”, “Triumph”, “Journey”, ”Judas Priest”,  “Accept”, “Savatage”, “Iron Maiden”, “Queensryche”, “Van Halen”, “Cacophony”, “Dream Theater”, “Faith No More”, “Tool”, “King’s X”, and many others. Putting this band into the Prog-Metal circle would be, therefore, too much restrictive. I think they would feel comfortable under the label “Hard & Heavy Rock with a Progressive Orientation”, stored in the same drawer as “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin” and “King’s X”. “Tense” features 12 tracks (some of them last from 7 to 9 minutes). The two opening tracks - “The Return of the Prophet“ and “They Know“ – are straightforward metal songs that revive the spirit of the early 80’s. They open way for some of the best tracks of the record: “Ice Melt“ (with tribal drums and a “Led Zeppelin” groove); “The Earth’s Energy“ (with influences of “Deep Purple” and “Rainbow”); the twin-tracks “Under the Influence“/“Really Under the Influence“ (that go from Jazz-Rock and Fusion to the Thrash Metal of early “Metallica” and “Megadeth“); and the excellent closing tracks “An Outer Body Experience“ and “My Name is Stephen!“. Incisive keyboards by Vinny Krivacsy provide the former with a “Genesis”-like sonority, making it the most progressive of the album. About “My Name is Stephen”, it is an angry and somber Metal song that blends “Black Sabbath”, “Savatage”, “Rush” and “Tool”. Completing the album, the softer tracks “Oh My God“ and the collective “Cellular Chaos Pt.1, 2 and 3“ stay closer to the line of “Genesis”, “Marillion” and “Mr.So & So”. Unified Past is specially recommended for fans of Hard Rock and Traditional Heavy Metal of the 70’s and early 80’s. Band members of Unified Past are: Stephen Speelman – Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keyboards; Steve Calovi – Lead Vocals; Victor Tassone – Drums, Percussion; Vinny Krivacsy – Keyboards on tracks 5, 11 and 12...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/26/2010.........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit UNIFIED PAST HOME PAGE...
. AIRBAG - "Identity"
The Norwegian Progressive band Airbag was formed in Oslo in 2005 by five high school friends: Anders Hovdan (bass), Asle Tostrup (vocals, guitar, percussion), Bjørn Riis (guitar, vocals), Joachim Slikker (drums), and Jørgen Hagen (keyboards). As a group tuned to the 21st century’s technology, Airbag uses the Internet to reach its fan base. Their website recorded many visitors and downloads from their first EPs “Sounds That I Hear” and “Safetree” (2006). The band began to perform alive in 2007 as opening acts for “Pineapple Thief”, “Riverside” and “Gazpacho”. A typical mark of their shows is the use of films and images, which create a visual background that highlights the nuances of their music. Airbag’s first debut album - entitled “Identity” - was released in April 2009 by the independent label Karisma Records (Norway), featuring 8 tracks. The sonority of Airbag fits into the Neo-Progressive sub-genre, following the line of “Pink Floyd” (later works), “No Man”, “Nosound”, and “Radiohead”; and the softer and sadder facet of “Porcupine Tree”, “Blackfield”, “Riverside”, and “The Mars Volta”. Influences of “U2”, “Marillion”, “Talk Talk”, “David Sylvian”, and “Chroma Key” are also present. The rhythmic section is cadenced, without complex virtuosic parts, keeping the sound essentially light and cool; like “Pink Floyd”, “No Man”, and “Nosound”; lacking the raging fury of “Porcupine Tree” or “Riverside”. Keyboards are also cool and sophisticated, and are kept on the background, creating tranquil soundscapes. Vocals are melodic and fluidal, in the style of “Pink Floyd”, “Radiohead“, and the most melancholic side of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside” and “The Mars Volta”. Guitars are the strongest point of Airbag: riffs are hovering, and all songs are adorned with delicate and long guitar solos. On the album, after the opening track “Prelude“ (a kind of astral entrance with inspiration in “Pink Floyd’s Time”), we are introduced to the strong riffs of “No Escape“ – one of the best tracks - which is mainly influenced by “Porcupine Tree“ and “Riverside”. From that point on, the listener is taken into a relaxing journey through undisturbed waters, with the very good songs  “Steal My Soul“ (with a guitar solo inspired in “David Gilmour”); “Feeling Less“ and “Colours“ (this one featuring long guitar solos and a high-spirited mood, in part because of the keyboards). “Safe Like You“ is a melancholic song with vocals that remember me of “The Mars Volta”. The closing tracks “How I Wanna Be“ and “Sounds That I Hear“ (a piano ballad) keep the same mood of the others. Airbag‘s full-length debut features a band that, even though not sounding much original, has a great potential to grow. For my personal taste, I would like to hear more drama and weight on their songs (especially from the rhythmic section). But the most important guidelines are already there, making Airbag a band to be watched closely in the near future. Airbag is a easy-listening band, especially recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “No Man”, “Nosound”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “Marillion” (post-“Fish”) and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Airbag are: Anders Hovdan – Bass; Asle Tostrup - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion; Bjørn Riis - Guitar, Vocals; Joachim Slikker – Drums and Jørgen Hagen – Keyboards...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/26/2010....................,.....Interested to know more about the this amazing Band? Please visit AIRBAG HOME PAGE...
. GENNADY ILYIN - "The Sun Of The Spirit"
The Russian keyboardist, vocalist and composer Gennady Ilyin is better known for his work ahead of the Symphonic Progressive Band “Little Tragedies”. Born in 1961 in the city of Kursk, Ilyin studied piano at the local Music College, and later moved to St. Petersburg to study composition at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. Although he was found of Classical Music, he also liked Rock, and bands like “ELP”, ”Queen”, “Beatles”, “SBB”, “Czeslaw Niemen”, “Cairo” and “Dream Theater” were among his favorites. By the end of 1994, after his graduation, Gennady joined with drummer Yury Skripkin and bassist Oleg Babynin, to form the nucleus of “Little Tragedies”. Because the band was becoming well known in the Progressive Rock scene, two of Gennady Ilyin’s solo albums - “The Sun of the Spirit” (1998) and “Porcelain Pavilion” (1999) - were initially released under the name "Little Tragedies" (Boheme Music, 2000). Both albums had been recorded at Art Technology studio (Moscow) with collaboration of sound engineer Evgeny Shchukin and guitarist Igor Mikhel. Those albums were reissued in 2009 by Russian Progressive label MALS Ltd. with one bonus track each, under the original name of Gennady Ilyin. The songs are sung in Russian, and lyrics are based on the Poems of Nikolai Gumilev (the booklet includes translations to English). As on its most obvious paradigms - “ELP’s” album “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Renaissance’s” “Songs for Scheherazade” - the music on “The Sun of the Spirit” (1998) is essentially symphonic, being inspired by the Russian composers of the Romantic Period. Names like “Rachmaninoff”, “Prokofiev”, “Tchaikovsky”, “Mussorgsky”, “Rimsky-Korsakov”, “Lyadov”, and “Ivanov” are remembered and celebrated throughout the album, and perfectly combined with the futuristic sonority of Progressive Music. In their epoch, many symphonies were based on fantasy stories and legends, and full pieces were written for ballets. Music was therefore impregnated with a fairy-tale atmosphere, firmly connected to an impressive visual context. These attributes are maintained on the album by the rhythmic section that is composed exclusively of percussive orchestral instruments. Sounds of timpani, snare drums, bass drums, xylophones, glockenspiels, and crash cymbals abound, mixed with a plentiful collection of keyboards and synthesizers. Guitars appear sparsely, highlighting the most remarkable parts. Vocals are soft, narrative and theatrical, and help to create that typical fairy-tale atmosphere. Overall, this record would fit perfectly as the soundtrack for a ballet or a theatrical play. So, buy your ticket; seat comfortably on your chair; watch as the characters come and go on the stage; and as you listen to the 9 tracks of “The Sun of the Spirit”, let your imagination create fantastic landscapes, towering palaces, raging kings, virtuous heroes and sleeping princesses. The opening track “Parrot“ is surrounded by a mysterious atmosphere inspired by “Mussorgsky” (“Night at the Bare Mountain”), and marked by timpani that are reminiscent of “Prokofiev” (“Dance of the Knights”). The second track - “Witch“ - combines the exotic melodies of “Rimsky-Korsakov” (“Scheherazade”) with the explosive percussion of “Ivanov” (“Georgian War March”), and the fluidal piano of “Rachmaninoff”. Those songs contrast strongly with the subtle and contemplative melodies of “I Saw a Dream“, which stays closer to composers like “Ivanov” (“Caucasian Sketches”) and “Lyadov” (“Enchanted Lake”). The following songs - “Reader of Books“ and “Thoughts” - escape a little from the Romantic Period, approaching modern Prog-Rock. “Reader of Books“ is experimental, mixing a techno-beat with Electronic Progressive and New Age keyboards. “Thoughts“ (my favorite) is a killer Prog-Rock piece that resembles “ELP” and “Triumvirat”.  After this explosive track, the album slows down with three lighter pieces. “Marquis de Karabas“ brings a naive, almost childish, musical theme that could have been used by “Tchaikovsky” (“The Nutcracker”) or “Prokofiev” (“Peter and the Wolf”). “Post Officer“ is possibly inspired by the folk songs of “Liadov”, while “The Sun of the Spirit“ is a superb romantic piece with a Progressive mood that reminds me of “Camel” and “Flower Kings”. The bonus track “Christimas”, features classic acoustic guitars that lead to a majestic climax – the ideal way to close this impressive and original album – a really essential item for fans of “ELP”, “Triumvirat”, “Mike Oldfield”, “After Crying”, “Rumbling Orchestra”, “Isildur’s Bane”, “Renaissance”, and many others in the same style.  Band members and collaborators involved with Gennady Ilyin‘s solo project are: Gennady Ilyin – Keyboards, Vocals, Compositions and Igor Mikhel - Guitars...      (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/26/2010...Interested to know more about the Russian keyboardist and composer? Visit GENNADY ILYIN WEBSITE...
. AESMA DAEVA - "Here Lies One Whose Name Was Written In Water"
The extraordinary Symphonic Metal band Aesma Daeva was already introduced to the visitors of this WebZine (see under Reviews 2008). Founded in 1998 by John Prassas and Nick Copernicus, and owner of a sonority that is really unique, Aesma Daeva, is one of those rare bands that brings novelty and originality to the much saturated Symphonic and Gothic Metal subgenres. Blending gothic female vocals with heavy guitars, and modern music; and having lyrics inspired either in the Literature or adapted from the Poetry of the 18th and 19th centuries, Aesma Daeva has always been a representative of the True Art. This comment is about the 10 Year Anniversary Edition of Aesma Daeva’s acclaimed debut album “Here Lies One Whose Name Was Written In Water” (1999-2009); which has been remastered and remixed, also to include eight bonus tracks. If compared with Aesma Daeva’s last album -  “Dawn of the New Athens” - the music of “Here Lies One…” unveils a much more experimental and defying band, that was boldly walking on thin ice, in search of musical paths never treaded before. While “Dawn of the New Athens” is full of heavy guitars and thundering drums that pleased the fans of Doom and Symphonic Metal (paralleling bands like “Candlemass”, “Therion”, “Nightwish” and “After Forever”); “Here Lies One…” features a band that was primordially experimenting with the Gothic, Electro-Gothic and Darkwave sonorities, staying closer to their contemporaries “Avrigus”, “Lacrimosa”, “Qntal”, “Artrosis” , “Ataraxia” and “L’âme Immortelle”. Although the two albums share many points in common – the heavy guitars, the fascinating female vocals and the symphonic arrangements – “Here Lies One…” is better characterized by the harmonious coexistence of the electronic music of the 21st century with the ancient music of “Tallis”, “Palestrina”, “Purcell”, “Händel”, and “Pärt”, which create a liturgical atmosphere. The songs therefore open room for many angelical vocals and acoustic instruments (violins, guitars and piano). The record is however not totally devoid of Metallic elements. The opening tracks “O Death“ and “Downvain“ are based on strong guitars and heavy drums, being powered by the vocals of Rebbeca Cords – who incarnates "Artemis" herself exhorting warriors to battle. Her voice merges with electronic music on “Stay“, approaching the sonority of “Qntal”. But its bonus version - “Stay (with me)” – features male vocals by Edward Davidson, resulting in a surprisingly different song. “Disdain (Angel Mix)“ is a symphonic piece that reminds me of “Purcell”. The following 5 tracks are developed as a single piece, being totally devoid of Heavy Metal elements: “Introit“ is pure “Arvo Pärt”, while “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be“ and “Luceat Eis“ are made of delicate acoustic guitars and sad violins with airs of the "Renaissance". “Introit II“ - one of the best tracks – combines electronic percussion with ghostly operatic vocals, being reminiscent of “Qntal” and “Kitaro” blended with the dense Gothic music of “Artrosis” and “Lacrimosa”. “Communion“ closes the circle, leading to a meditative state. The song “Darkness” is one of the highlights of this record, coming in three different versions. While two of them (“Darkness“ and “Darkness – Stromkern Mix“) represent the characteristic crossover between liturgical and electronic music; the third version - “Darkness (Arena 2008)“– embraces the Symphonic Metal style, being sustained by heavy guitars and crowned by a superb guitar solo. The album still features a fantastic cover of “Running Up That Hill“ (“Kate Bush”) - an opportunity for wonderful singer Lori Lewis to discard her operatic voice for a while, and perform in “rocky” style. Although Aesma Daeva’s sonority has changed from “Here Lies One…” to “Dawn of the New Athens”, its music retained the highest standards, proving that the band is able to readapt itself to new times without loosing quality. Definitely, a band to be reverenced. Aesma Daeva‘s “Here Lies One…” is highly recommended for Progressive, Gothic, Darkwave, and Symphonic-Doom-Metal lovers. Band members and collaborators involved in Aesma Daeva are: John Prassas – Compositions, Arrangements, Guitars, Prepared Piano; N. Copernicus – Drums, Programming; Rebecca Cords – Voice (tracks 1,2,3,4,6,9); Danielle Lang – Voice (tracks 5,7,8,10,11,12); Lori Lewis – Voice (tracks 14,15); Chad Lewison – Guitar (tracks 3,8); Mary Stilp – Violin (track 7); Joseph Jachimiec – Lead Guitar (track 14); Fox IV – Lead Guitar (track 15); Chris Quinn – Bass (tracks 14,15); Albert Born – Drums (tracks 14,15); Edward Davidson – all instruments and voice on track 13...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/26/2010.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AESMA DAEVA HOME PAGE...
. EBONY TOWER - "Dead Planets New Stars"
This British band was conceived in 1996 by Wilson McQueen, a guitar player, songwriter and composer very fond of the literary work of Shelley and Lewis Carroll, and a fan of the music of  “Led Zeppelin”, “David Bowie”, “AC/DC”, “Metallica”, “The Beatles”, “Steve Vai”, “Muse”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, and “White Stripes”.  Although all of them are important names within the Rock scene, none of them can carry the banner of Progressive Rock. However, McQueen claims his band stands as the vanguard of Progressive Rock. For me, Ebony Tower should be most comfortably placed under the label of Alternative Rock, a definition with enough amplitude to cover many undefined rock styles, like in this specific case. The line-up includes some experienced musicians: Skye Sheridan (classically trained violinist); vocalist Rebecca Everitt (she supported “Bob Dylan”, “Counting Crows” and performed in UK, Ireland and at US festivals and European venues). Sande (vocals); Chopper (drums, “John Bonham’s” style; and virtuoso keyboard player); Chris Hanby (bass); and bassist Billy Fuller (“Robert Plant”) played on two songs (“White Rabbit” and “Looking Glass War”). Keyboardist Spencer Cozens (“Joan Armatrading”, “Julia Fordham” and the late “John Martyn”) joined later and did not take part on the recording. McQueen’s ideas and concepts now materialize on Ebony Tower’s debut EP – “Dead Planets New Stars” (2009, Red Chord Records, England). The sonority is a blend of hard and heavy to post-punk guitar riffs, with a light violin that contrasts with the crudeness of the bass and guitar; centralizing the excellent vocals of Rebecca Everitt, that denote a kind of jazz-folk accent. Featuring only 4 tracks, this EP lasts about 15 minutes. The opening track - “White Rabbit“ - has a fairy-tale beginning adequate for its theme, later turning into heavy post-punk guitar riffs. It is followed for the best track “Ebony Tower“, a hard rock with dark tones that recalls me of early “Rush” (album “Caress of Steel”). “Celebrity Squares“ is a little Country-Folk, and features a groovy bass; and “Looking Glass War“ is a typical Hard Rock of the seventies, recalling bands like “Steppenwolf”, “Nazareth”, “AC/DC”, at the same time the sound of violins bring some USA blues mood. Although being distant from anything (in my opinion) really Progressive, Ebony Tower is a serious band that may reach success within the Alternative Rock Scene. The band is planning to release a full length album soon. Ebony Tower is recommended for alternative rock enthusiasts and open-minded rock fans. Band members and collaborators involved in Ebony Tower are: Wilson McQueen – Guitars; Skye Sheridan – Violins; Rebecca Everitt – Vocals; Sande – Vocals; Chopper – Drums, Synths; Chris Hanby – Bass; Billy Fuller – Bass on “White Rabbit” and “Looking Glass War”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/26/2010.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EBONY TOWER HOME PAGE...
. CARY GRACE - "Projections"
Cary Grace is a singer, poet and prolific songwriter that composes and produces her own material. She was born in South Carolina (U.S.A.) and lived in Nashville for many years. In 2005 she moved to the UK, and, one year later, met the bassist Andy Budge, who has been a permanent collaborator to her music ever since. Cary Grace has already released through the independent label Door 13 Music, or made available for download at her website, the singles “Vanishing” (2009) and “Pandora” (2007); the albums “Book of Rhymes” (2004), “Where You Go” (2007); and the EPs “Mendip Rock” (2008) and “Green Carrot Jam” (2009); always with collaboration of several musicians (see below). The album reviewed herein - “Projections” (2008) - precedes the last release “Perpetual Motion” (2009), but is representative of the talent and capacity of this appealing musician. Listening to Cary’s music, it is easy to understand why she left her homeland and drifted to the United Kingdom. Although she never forgot her American roots (and this includes Folk and Blues), her style follows the British Psychedelic rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s – represented by influences as different as “Beatles” (of “Rubber Soul” and “Sgt. Pepper’s” albums) and “The Animals”; early “Pink Floyd” (mainly on guitars and keyboards), and “Hawkwind” (on experimental sounds and noise). Nevertheless, some songs push the sonority towards a “rocky” pace; even reminding me of bands like “Pretenders” and “Heart” (she still maintains some roots on her home country). The mood is melancholic on most psychedelic songs, and sophisticatedly cool on the ballads, on which piano and folk influences are present. Overall, the sound is slow and relaxing, the rhythm being marked by simple and gentle rock to pop-rock drum beats. The strength lies on the tripping guitar of Simon Drew (with undeniable influences from “Pink Floyd”) and the vintage keyboards of psychedelic inspiration employed by Cary and David Kelly. From the 6 tracks of “Projections”, my favorite by far is the opening song “Kaleidoscope“ - so captivating that I listened to it repeatedly. Its melancholic pace, the poetry of its lyrics, and the vocal melody combined with psychedelic guitars represent the best effort to figure out how a female version of “Pink Floyd” would have sounded. “Undertow“ is a hard rock that brings influences also from early “Pretenders” and “The Animals” (on organ). The album brings “Eternal Question“ and “Hard Weather“, two sweet piano ballads with the colors of the 70’s and a bit of Cary’s Nashville musical roots. Although sad, their tunes are delicate, and slightly recall me of a melancholic “Renaissance”. However, the most surprising tracks are those on which Cary plunges deeper into the Psychedelic rock, as on the two long-lasting pieces “Prometheus“ (10:57) and “Eye” (18:20).  “Prometheus“ is a slow, dark and melancholic song marked by a sinister tolling bell, crying guitar solos, and psychedelic noises, resembling the sonorities of “Pink Floyd” (“Ummagumma”), “Hawkwind”, and the drumming of “Jefferson Airplane” (“White Rabbit”). The closing track “Eye“ is an impressive epic. Over a groovy and totally free rhythmic base that evokes the unending jam-sessions of late 60’s bands (like “Hawkwind”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Grateful Dead”, “Gong” and “The Doors”), psychedelic-bluesy guitars clash against troops of vintage keyboards in a battle without truce: a real feast for lovers of Psychedelic and Proto-Progressive music. Cary Grace is strongly recommended for Progressive fans with a predilection for Psychedelic sonorities, and for people that like sad and soft music with a touch of the 60’s and 70’s. Band members and collaborators involved in Cary Grace are: Cary Grace - Vocals, Rhythm and Slide Guitars, Organ and Synthesizers (loops, VCS3, ARP Odyssey), Percussion, Bells, Chimes, Singing bowl; Andy Budge - Bass Guitar; Mark Griffin – Drums; Simon Drew - Lead Guitar; David Kelly - Piano, Organ; Graham Hinton - Sound Effects...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/03/2010.....,.....Interested to know more about the musician and the band? please visit CARY GRACE HOME PAGE...
. LA IRA DE DIOS - "Cosmos Kaos Destruccion"
The Peruvian band La Ira de Dios released the first album “Hacia El Sol Rojo” – in 2005, which was then followed by the album “Archaeopterix” (2006) – both released by the German label Nasoni Records. They have also released the EP “Empirea” (2006). The last album, “Cosmos, Kaos, Destruccion” was released in 2008 by Word in Sound Records, USA and Germany – Ogro Records, Peru. The songs are performed by a trio composed of Chino Ira (guitars and vocals), Carlos (bass) and Enrique de Vinatea (drums). This band is probably an inspiration for most recent bands from Lima, like "Serpentina Satelite" (reviewed here at this site). The main influences of La Ira de Dios are “MC5”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Stooges”, “Bad Brains” “Hawkwind”, “VoiVod”, “Motörhead”, in styles that go from Acid Rock and Krautrock to Punk-Rock and Thrash Metal. The album features a crude, harsh, reverberating sonority, as if the band was playing at high volume inside a small garage with concrete walls. The sound comes in massive waves, interpenetrated by space-sound effects and a dense layer of background distortions similar to a magnetic solar tempest. The vocals are echoing and space-like, but the rhythm is energetic and often violent – a band that sweat it out – and brings in all compositions the spontaneous defiant attitude of Punk-Rock. “Cosmos, Kaos, Destruccion” features 9 tracks, including a hidden track – “Vertigo” - that appears one minute after the last one. The tracks “Quemando” and “Pobre Diablo” are cadenced and heavy songs that represent well the style of the band, standing as the best, together with “Campo de Vampiros”, an instrumental piece with a memorable guitar riff (cover of a Peruvian band called “Los Holys”). Other songs tend to blend Punk-Rock with Acid Rock, including long and distorted guitar solos, like “Velocidad”, “Aburrido”, “Vertigo” (the hidden track) and “Kaos” and “El Pacto” (the later two with fast bass and guitars that are reminiscent of the crossover of Punk and Metal that “Motörhead” used to do in its earlier years). The album closes with “Jamas Morire”, a long composition that brings back the cadenced pace of the first track, and develops along many bass lines combined with space-guitar solos, in the manner of an oversized “Hawkwind". The band is touring around Europe, and also preparing a new album – “Apus Revolution Rock” - to be released still in 2009/2010. La Ira de Dios is an authentic representative of the unexpected “Punk-Acid-Krautrock” movement that is occurring nowadays in the Peruvian Underground Music scene, and is recommended for those that like to taste new and unusual sonorities. Band members involved in La Ira de Dios are Chino Ira – Guitars and Vocals, Carlos - Bass, Enrique de Vinatea – Drums and Xtian Abugattas – Sound Effects...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/03/2010......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LA IRA DE DIOS HOME PAGE...
Nine Stones Close is the solo project of Adrian Jones, guitar player of the British band “Lie Big”. Besides singing, Adrian performs all remaining instruments, making Nine Stones Close a really one-man-band. In “Lie Big”, Adrian treaded heavier paths, following the sonority of important bands of the alternative rock scene, like “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Pearl Jam”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Smashing Pumpkins”, “Galactic Cowboys”, and “Black Sabbath”. With Nine Stones Close, however, he aims to achieve a balance between Hard and Heavy Metal Music by incorporating an ampler collection of influences, namely “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd” (both representing his strongest guitar influences), “Tool”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush”, “King’s X”, “Black Label Society”, and “Black Crowes”. Nine Stones Closer’s debut album – entitled “St. Lo” – was independently produced by Adrian, and released in 2008. It is a concept album based around a near death incident in Adrian’s life, and the feelings and dreams instilled into him by that experience. The album is therefore regarded as an exorcism of Adrian’s personal ghosts derived from that traumatic event. To recreate the atmosphere of terror, fear and unreal reality evoked by those events, and to imprint them on the listener, Adrian arranged the music in a way that impressionist instrumental pieces are alternated with heavier songs, resulting in a contrasting effect that is perceived all along the record. The resulting sonority is a mixture of the melancholic bass lines of “Soundgarden” with the psychotic mood of “Nine Inch Nails” and “Tool”, plus the heavy guitars and sad vocals of “Alice and Chains”, “Black Sabbath”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Stone Temple Pilots”, also featuring the slightly Hard-Bluesy swing of “Black Label Society” and “Black Crowes” and bit of the Psychedelic-Rock of “Pink Floyd”.  The story narrated in “St. Lo” is developed along 12 tracks, lasting almost 40 minutes together. The Space intro “Too Far Out” opens way for the instrumental “A Door Opens”, on which drums and guitar effects are followed by strong riffs and heavy solos, encouraging the listener to go on. Sad vocals are heard for the first time on the terrorizing “Crashed“, and they will recall the melancholy of “Black Sabbath” (Ozzy phase), and “Alice in Chains”, making it one of the best tracks. Also on this verve is “Drowning Now”, on which melancholic bass lines sounds like a “Soundgarden” with spooky vocals. But the best tracks of “St. Lo” are “Remaining Days“/“Remaining Days - reprise“ (with guitar riffs that resemble “Porcupine Tree” and “Alice in Chains” ; “Hospital Bubble” (with dark vocals and long bluesy guitar solo), “A Sense of Colour” (full of guitar effects, influenced by “Nine Inch Nails”) and “Red and White” (with the bitterness of “Tool”). Those songs are intercalated with instrumental interludes that soften the tempestuous flowing of sound, like “Silently Screaming” (light with acoustic guitars), “Run Aground” (with ethnical drum-beat followed by heavy guitars), and “Interlude to Something” (a soft guitar solo). “St. Lo” is a pretty good work, for a one-man band. Nine Stones Close is recommended for people that like Hard and Heavy rock, especially fans of “Soundgarden”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Alice in Chains”, “Black Crowes”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool” and “Stone Temple Pilots”. The only band member involved in Nine Stones Close is: Adrian Jones – all instruments and vocals...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/03/2010......................For more details and in the meantime please check out NINE STONES CLOSE HOME PAGE...
. OPUS TIDE - "Open The Gates"
The English project Opus Tide was founded in 2004 by Lewis Turner (guitar, bass) and Dan Shooter (drums, percussion, keyboards). They invited the Venezuelan bass player Celestino Marin to take part of the band, and the trio prepared to release their first self-produced album, entitled “Open the Gates”. Unfortunately, Marin had to go back to his home country before the recordings, and was replaced by Dave Troke, who played bass on the first two tracks, while Lewis Turner played on the remaining ones. Although the recording of “Open the Gates” took place in 2006, the album was finished only recently, being released by the independent label Water Music. The influences of Opus Tide range from Progressive Rock ("King Crimson", "Yes", "Rush") to modern Prog-Metal of experimental bands ("Dream Theater", "Tool", "Opeth" and "Meshuggah"). Some drummers – namely Simon Phillips, John Hiseman, Billy Cobham, and Bill Bruford – have been cited as direct influences of D. Shooter. His use of diverse percussion instruments (e.g. Spanish castanets, bells) results in a very technical and impressive drumming indeed. Opus Tide skillfully joins all those contrasting sonorities into totally instrumental compositions that instill feelings of strangeness and curiosity in whoever listens to them. “Open the Gates” brings 5 tracks that range from 7 to 10 minutes of duration. From these, “Blind Conception” and “Open Your Eyes” are built of dense guitars and impacting drums that approach the heavier Prog-Metal side of "Dream Theater" and the cruder Tech-Metal of "Tool", including also some accelerated parts as aggressive as "Opeth" or "Meshuggah". The following tracks are longer, lighter and better. Pieces like “A Timeless Man”, “Reflection” and “Immaculate Deception” represent the most attractive traits of Opus Tide: the rhythmically broken guitar, bass and drums that cast complex "Rush"-like and "Dream Theater"-like riffs, side by side with sledging guitar solos, powerful drum solos and surprising percussions that strongly contrast with Progressive insertions of climatic moods, oriental guitars and voyaging keyboards. Although Opus Tide sounds a little harsh sometimes (in part because of the poor recording production), the band really blows some fresh air into the Progressive Metal genre, pushing it to new directions. Opus Tide is recommended for Progressive Metal and Tech-metal fans that like unconventional sounds and are in search of courageous bands that are trying to do so. Band members involved in Opus Tide are Lewis Turner – Guitar, Bass, Voices; Dan Shooter – Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Voices and Dave Troke – Bass...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/03/2010.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OPUS TIDE HOME PAGE...
. GENNADY ILYIN - "Porcelain Pavilion"
This review is chained with the previous, which was about the first solo album of Gennady Ilyin – Russian keyboardist, vocalist, and founder of the Symphonic Progressive Rock band “Little Tragedies”. His second album - entitled “Porcelain Pavilion” - was originally recorded in 1999, being initially released in 2000 by Boheme Records under the tag of “Little Tragedies“. The album was reissued in 2009 by Russian label MALS Ltd. as one of Gennady Ilyin’s solo albums, featuring one bonus track. Like its predecessor, “Porcelain Pavilion” was recorded at Art Technology studio (Moscow), and counted with participation of Igor Mikhel (guitars), Evgeny Shchukin (sound engineer), and Russian poet Nikolai Gumilev (lyrics). The Record Company added a comment on this album’s cover – “recommended for prog fans who don’t mind Russian vocals”. If you share my point of view, that Progressive Rock sounds better in its original language, than it is OK. But if you are the type of person that rejects music when you can’t understand the words, I suggest that you should have Russian lessons, because “Porcelain Pavilion” is really a brilliant and inventive work, some steps ahead of “The Sun of the Spirit”. As a classically trained pianist and composer, Gennady Ilyin could not keep away from the influence of the Russian composers of the past. In fact, his first album sounded much like a symphony of old Russian school performed with modern Progressive keyboards and guitars. On “Porcelain Pavilion”, however, Ilyin widened his ranges. Without rejecting his Classical roots – even stretching them towards other non-Russian composers (“Bach”, “Ravel” and “Gershwin”, for instance) - he opened room for an ampler selection of musical styles. By adding Jazz, Latin and Asiatic rhythms to his arrangements, he crafted fantastic music that, without having lost its symphonic essence, sounds even more Progressive then before. The overall sonority approaches – but not replicates - bands like “ELP”, “Yes”, “Triumvirat”, “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Trace”, “Flower Kings”, “Renaissance”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Solaris” (Hungary), “Kitaro”, “Gandalf”, “Yngwe Malmsteen” (without the luxurious excesses) and, last but not least, his own band “Little Tragedies”. In view of the high quality of the 11 tracks that compose “Porcelain Pavilion”, I can barely pick up the highlights. After the title track, which opens the record with grandiosity, my favorites are: “Chinese Girl” (with a Jazzy mood, sounding like a blend of “Gershwin“ with “Flower Kings”); “Moon Over the Sea” (featuring a majestic theme encircled with guitar solos, this song is reminiscent of “Sagrado Coração da Terra” and “Flower Kings”); “Laos” (a modern blend of ethnical chanting, Caribbean music, and ingenious citations of “Ravel’s” “Bolero” in the verve of “Keith Emerson”); and “The Road” (full of hard guitar riffs and synthesizer solos that remind me of Hungarian “Solaris” and “ELP”). Baroque Music is the main source of inspiration on the tranquil “Creation” and on the impressive and levitating “In the Heavens” (another of my favorites). Both pieces use baroque harpsichord and church organ, sounding like “Rick Wakeman”, with some guitars on “In the Heavens” sounding as a mild-mannered “Yngwie Malmsteen”. Still in the Classical vein, but moving away from the Baroque, the beautiful “Poet” and the operetta-like “Fairytale” return to the fantasy themes typical of the Russian Romantic composers; and build up a bridge to the songs “Parrot” and “Witch” of the first album. “Porcelain Pavilion” still brings “Nature” (a sophisticated mix of “Kitaro”, “Camel” and “Gandalf”) and is closed by the bombastic bonus track “Year 2001” – an instrumental Progressive piece with modern flavors that merge “Rick Wakeman”, “Solaris” and “Camel” (song “Aristillus”) into a show of futuristic solos of synthesizer. For my personal taste, I preferred “Porcelain Pavilion” to “The Sun of the Spirit”. Both are, however, superb and brilliant works, really indispensable items for any Progressive Rock collection. Genaddy Ilying is strongly recommended for fans of “ELP”, “Triumvirat”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Flower Kings”, “Solaris”, “Mike Oldfield”, “After Crying”, “Rumbling Orchestra”, “Isildur’s Bane”, “Renaissance” and so on… Band members and collaborators involved with Gennady Ilyin‘s solo project are: Gennady Ilyin – Keyboards, Vocals, Compositions; Igor Mikhel - Guitars...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/21/2010............,.....Want to learn everything about this great musician, please visit GENNADY ILYIN HOME PAGE...
. SHADOW CIRCUS - "Whispers and Screams"
Shadow Circus is a Hard-Progressive Band from New York, USA. The group was formed around John Fontana (guitars and keyboards), who had spent most part of his High School years hidden in a basement with his guitar, learning to play songs of “Yes”, “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin” and “Pink Floyd”. After spending some time learning piano and improving his guitar abilities, he began to experiment with musical composition on a computer – and so Shadow Circus began to take form. To complete the line-up, he counted with led vocalist David Bobick (who had begun his career in Musical Theater), and drummer Corey Folta who had already played in bands such as “Persona Grata”, “Mudfish”, and also in his own solo project “Product”. In 2007, with participation of Matt Masek on bass, Shadow Circus released their debut CD, which was entitled “Welcome to the Freakroom”. Bassist Masek was later replaced by Jason Croft, a big fan of bands such “Rush”, “ELP”, and “Kansas”; who had played with Brooklyn’s Progressive Metal Band “Serpent's Lair”. The quartet managed to release Shadow Circus’ second album: “Whispers and Screams” (2009). The keyword to describe Shadow Circus’ sonority is variety. Given that the four musicians are very skilled, and their musical backgrounds are extensive and diverse, the outcome is music that surpasses the boundaries of Progressive Rock, and moves towards other musical styles. The most important influences picked by the listener come from the British Hard and Progressive Rock of the 70’s – mainly “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Genesis” and “ELP”. But the North American roots are present, represented by large doses of Blues, Soul, and American Traditional “Old-Time Music”. The rhythmic section is vigorous and substantial, going from raging Hard Rock to subtle American Folk and melodic Progressive Rock Ballads. The tracks are adorned with many solos – of guitars and keyboards – which are always luxurious and amazing. But the best thing about Shadow Circus is that their songs follow a clear-cut line, and each one is arranged to display a musical identity that distinguishes it from all others. So, do not expect jumbled solos over an ever-changing rhythmic base, but catchy and memorable songs instead, which will let nobody lethargic. Let’s take, for instance, the opening track “Project Blue“, an epic divided in seven parts (a to g). It is impossible not to be stoned by the “Zeppelinean” groovy bass and explosive drums of a) “Captain Trips”, which are reinforced by sharp-edged guitars and powerful Hammond riffs inspired by "Ken Hensley" and "Jon Lord". How not to think of a hard version of “Genesis’” when listening to b) “The Long Road Home”, which joins Bobick‘s theatrical vocals with piano madrigals and moog solos that remind me of Tony Banks? How to survive to the subsequent attack of the transcendental guitars of c) “Big Fire” and the aggressive Hammond of d) “The Seduction of Harold Lauder”, a piece that would be regarded as pure “ELP”, save for its destructive guitars?. To allow the listener to take a breath, acoustic guitars introduce e) “The Horsemen Ride”, an American Folk ballad in the “Old-Time Music” style. Closing this epic, f) “The Hand of God” returns to the heavier riffs of part “a”, while g) “Coming Back Home to You” touches deep into the Soul. The CD still features four more tracks, the best one being “Willoughby“ – another epic track with more than 10 minutes of duration, which begins with a piano classical theme, growing frantic to the proportions of a “Genesis”, finishing with remarkable guitar solos. Also very good are “When the Morning Comes“ (a sweet ballad, soulfully sung by Bobick) and “Angel“ (that reminds me of “The Drags” blended with bluesy guitar solos). The album finishes amazingly with the martial drums of “…Then in July, the Thunder Came“, an epic instrumental track arranged like Ravel’s  “Bolero”. Definitely, Shadow Circus has presented us with an excellent and well balanced CD, to be listened many times. Highly recommended for fans of Hard Rock and Hard Progressive, that like bands such “Tiles”, “Deluge Grander”, “Gerard”, “Arena”, “Magellan”, “Rush”, and old classics, like “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Genesis”, and “ELP”. If you like hear their music please visit Shadow Circus' MySpace page. Band members and collaborators involved in Shadow Circus are: David Lawrence Bobick – Vocals; John Fontana – Guitars and Keyboards; Corey Folta – Drums, Percussion; Jason Croft – Bass. Special guests: Matt Masek – Cello (tracks 2, 4, 5); Dione Dixon, Rasheedah Dixon and Sahirah Dixon – Vocals on “Coming Back Home to You”...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/21/2010........,.....Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to SHADOW CIRCUS HOME PAGE...
. DYNAHEAD - "Antigen"
The Brazilian band Dynahead was founded in 2004 at the capital city – Brasília. Formed by Caio Duarte (vocals), Diogo Mafra (lead guitar), Pablo Vilela (lead and acoustic guitar), Diego Teixeira (bass) and Rafael Dantas (drums), the proposal of Dynahead is “to join progressive influences with a furious sound combined with a solid experimental verve”. Dynahead took part in Brazilian "Anthrax" tribute and other international compilations, and performed in Brazil with other important acts like "Shaaman", "Anathema", "Ratos de Porão", and "Dr. Sin". Their self-produced debut album, entitled “Antigen”, was recorded at Broadband Studio (Brasília), engineered and mixed by band member Caio Duarte, and mastered by James Murphy ("Testament", "Death") at Safehouse Productions, Florida (USA). It was finally released in 2008. Thanks to the careful production, the sound recording is clear and well defined, an important feature regarding the brutal sonority of the band. Being as solid as a concrete wall, the sound is heavy, dense, aggressive, and hits you like a direct stroke right between the eyes. But here we are not dealing with the occasional punches and kicks of a regular street-fighter, but with the technical precision of the jabs, hooks and uppercuts of a professional heavy-weight boxer. Evoking the heaviest and most aggressive sides of bands like "Iced Earth", "Evergrey" and "Symphorce", with some brutal bits of "Dark Tranquility" and "Children of Bodom", and the creativity of "Opeth" and "Pain of Salvation", and still remaining 100% sugar-free, Dynahead spanks you from the first to the last track of this surprising debut. Vocals of Caio Duarte are aggressive, roaring and emotional throughout the record, although sometimes there is too much growling and grunting for me (but that’s a matter of personal taste – most metal lovers will not be bothered by it). Besides, his phantasmagoric backing vocals are really innovative and superb. Crossed by layers of sharp-edged guitar solos, bass and drums are both thundering and skillfully played, fusing with nervous guitars in dense riffs that have the power of a demolition ball and remind me of old classics like "Onslaught", "Destruction", "Death Angel", "Blessed Death", "Vendetta" and "Coroner". From the overall mass, eruptions of Tech-Jazz -Metal only comparable to the legendary band "Watch Tower" spill lava over startling segments that are accelerated to the speed of a cargo locomotive overloaded with iron ore. “Antigen” brings 10 tracks. The first two (“Clockwork I“ and “Layers of Days“) are really direct, but still do not pass the idea of the band’s potential. On the following “Virtual Twin“, and specially “Tactile Haven“ the technical quality of the band begins to unveil in cavalry rhythms and progressive parts of Tech -Metal. Track 5 - “Join and Surrender“, begins with a Slayer verve but then turns to a surprising drumming show by Rafael before taking an ultra-progressive direction with fantastic guitar solos! “Bloodish Eyes“ keeps the excellent level of the others. The only soft part (a piano intro) is listened for the first time on “Depart Now“, a song that reminds me of the dark epics of "Savatage". The following pair of songs - “Do You Feel Cleansed”, and the disturbing “Vorsicht!” run over you like a locomotive, while the closing track - “The Starry Messenger” is a Prog-Metal mixing Egyptian music with Thrash Metal. Really superb and dazzling work! One CD-pill of Dynahead‘s “Antigen”, three times a day – is the recommended prescription dose allowed by the WHO (World Health Organization) – it will stimulate your immune system to generate antibodies against Poser Metal. Warning: higher doses may cause severe dependence. You should consult your personal Md. Doctor first. Information and some samples you can visit their MySpace Site. Band members of Dynahead are: Caio Duarte – Vocals, Diogo Mafra – Lead Guitar, Pablo Vilela – Lead and Acoustic Guitar, Diego Teixeira – Bass, Fretless and Rafael Dantas – Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/03/2010....................................Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit DYNAHEAD HOME PAGE...
. LEGEND - "Ritual Echo"
The Progressive band Legend was formed in 1988 in the city of Runcorn (U.K.) by Steve Paine (keyboards, production), Debbie Chapman (vocals), Paul Thomson (guitars), Chris Haskayne (drums) and Shaun Gallagher (bass). Gallagher was replaced by Ian Lees just before the release of the debut album “Light in Extension” (1991, Pagan Records). After a short promotional tour through the U.K., Haskayne and Lees left Legend, being then replaced by John Macklin (drums) and Martyn Rouski (bass). Because the band was calling attention in Japan, their debut was released there by Apollo Records (1992). By suggestion of the Japanese label, Legend filmed a show in their hometown that was later released in video under the title “Playing with Fire” (1992). Although not reaching much reckognition in the U.K., Legend continued to push the career on, releasing the albums “Second Sight” (1993) and “Triple Aspect” (1996) – both by Pagan Records. The new release - “Ritual Echo” (2009, NoFish Productions) – marks the celebration of Legend’s 21 years of existence. It is a compilation of tracks from the last two albums plus live versions of 3 tracks of their first, all of them digitally remastered by Stephen Paine himself. The sonority of Legend blends British Neo-Progressive with elements of Folk and Celtic Music. Legend fuse all those influences into epic songs with lyrics based on the mythical tales of King Arthur.The musical instrumentation is made of vigorous rhythmic sessions of heavy drumming and dynamic bass lines, combined with opulent guitar riffs and bombastic keyboards (mainly synthesizers). Torrents of melodic and incisive guitar solos are poured in by one of band’s pillars - guitarist Paul Thompson - who could easily have played in any N.W.O.B.H.M band. As a whole, Legend reminds me of “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “IQ”, and “Pallas”; and also Brazilian “Apocalypse”. But the great innovation of this band is to add into the Neo-Prog matrix elements of Folk, Medieval and Celtic Music, which are brought into the songs by the amazing vocals of Debbie Chapman – a singer who can stand side by side with "Maddy Prior" (“Steeleye Span”), "Enya" (“Clannad”), "Annie Haslam" (“Renaissance”), or "Sandy Leigh" and "Emma Brown" (“Solstice”). Moreover, the combination of Legend’s female vocals with powerful instrumentation represented a musical line that emerged in the early 90’s, and was paralleled on Nightwish’s firs album (“Angels Fall First”). “Ritual Echo” features 9 tracks. Those taken from the debut album - “Windsong“, “The Chase“, and “Light in Extension“ - are all live versions that will make you feel the power of this band alive. While “The Chase“ (instrumental), and “Light in Extension“ hit you directly with their fast pace and flying guitar solos; “Windsong” brings a few more Folk and Medieval influences. But it is by listening to the tracks that were picked from the second CD - “Dance“, “Mordred“ and “The Wild Hunt“ – that one realizes the potential of Legend’s style. Although “Dance” repeats the same pace of early songs, the other two tracks - “Mordred” (12:18) and “The Wild Hunt“ (13:03) – are amazing epics that have richer instrumentation, complex harmonies, many changes of pace, and vocals that show the best of Debbie Chapman. Legend’s musical evolution is pushed even farther on the 3 tracks picked from their third album: “Triple Aspect Overture“ is an instrumental piece with pompous synthesizers, thundering bass and drums, and still more elaborated guitar solos that have a lean to the Canterbury style; “Holly King“ revives the misty atmospheres of ancient "Avalon", being influenced by “Steeleye Span”, “Renaissance”, “Solstice” and “Clannad”; and “All Hallows Eve“ is a dark song with superb “sorceress” vocals by Debbie Chapman. Legend is definitely indispensable for fans of Classic Progressive, Neo-Progressive, and Folk-Rock. The band announced a new album for 2010. Meanwhile, “Ritual Echo” is the ideal item to keep on spinning in your CD player. Band members and collaborators involved in Legend are: Debbie Chapman – Vocals; Steve Paine – Keyboards; John Macklin – Drums; Paul Thompson – Guitars, Bass (tracks 1, 4, 7), Martyn Rousky – bass (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9) and Geoffrey Walls – Guest Vocals (tracks 5, 7)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/03/2010.........Want to learn everything about the band and more about their history, go to LEGEND  HOME PAGE...
. DRIFT - "Driftsongs"
Drift is a North American progressive band from Bergenfield, New Jersey. The line-up is formed by Jack Blair (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar), Steve Gio (bass, backing vocals), Evan Jacobson (drums, backing vocals), and Dave Scags (electric and 12 string guitars, backing vocals). Their debut album, entitled “Driftsongs”, was independently released in 2009. Listening to the six tracks of “Driftsongs“, I think that they still sound a little “raw”, and their musical orientation is not very well defined. Although band members are influenced by the British Progressive Rock (bands such as “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Yes”, "Van Der Graff Generator” and “Syd Barret” are all cited); the overall sonority is closer to a blend of Space Rock, Krautrock, and early British Punk Rock with some Prog-Rock insertions resembling “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, and “Syd Barret” (mainly on vocals, but singer Jack Blair is not so well-tuned). Anyway, I found Drift to be a promising band. And the reason is that they are not afraid of mixing discrepant subgenres and styles into well-worked songs that feature long instrumental passages, good arrangements, and some surprises here and there; all structure by the bass lines of Steve Gio, and competent drumming of Evan Jacobson. Take, for instance, the opening track “La Vaca Baila“, It is an instrumental intro in Space-Rock style with some “Genesis” textures on guitars and good bass and keyboards harmonies, sounding like a regular Progressive piece. But the following track - “Ned Untrumpted“– includes a crazy mixture of Brazilian Northeastern rhythms with “Pink Floyd’s-Arnold Layne”, also resembling a musical experiment of some Krautrock band (e.g. “Amon Düül”, “Popol Vuh”, “Guru Guru” or “Ash Ra Tempel”). So “Faker“ is a track that merges on guitars the heaviest side of Space-Rock and Krautrock with the spontaneous energy of Punk Rock, sounding a bit like a crossing of “Jane’s Addiction” with the Peruvian Space-Rock bands (like “Serpentina Satelite” and “La Ira de Dios”). Them comes “The Audition Room“ – a long piece (11:56 min) that follows the Tradition of the British Progressive Rock of the 70’s. The overall sonority of this track recalls me of “Genesis” (“Wind and Wuthering” album, mainly because of delicate guitars and keyboards); and bands of the Canterbury Scene (because of the rhythm section). “Driftsongs” finishes with two songs that have nothing to do with the others, representing the most commercial side of the band: “Overlook“ is a early British Punk Rock (like “Sex Pistols” or “The Clash”); and “A Goodbye Greeting“ is a lively acoustic ballad with happy mood – a teenager’s song. Although having good moments, Drif is still in search of a path to follow. It is recommended to Prog-fans that have wide-ranged musical tastes, especially those who like crossover music. Band members and collaborators involved on the band are: Jack Blair – Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar; Steve Gio – Bass, Backing Vocals; Evan Jacobson – Drums, Backing Vocals and  Dave Scags – Electric and 12 String Guitars, Backing Vocals...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/16/2010.....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DRIFT HOME PAGE...
. IT’S THE END - "It’s The End"
It's the End is an experimental Jazz-Fusion-Progressive-Metal band from Oslo, Norway. It is formed by the multi-instrumentalists Pål "Drudge" Granum (guitars, keyboards); Tom "Retch" Simonsen (guitars, vocals) and Bert "Bertzkii" Nummelin (drums). After taking part on several musical projects of different genres (including Jazz, Metal, and Classical Music), the trio came up with their own compositions, which comprised the repertoire for a debut album. Entitled “It’s The End”, the record was finally released in 2009 by the prestigious Musea Records (Musea Parallele label), and counted with participation of clarinetist Tiina Nurmikolu. Blending Jazz, Fusion, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal and Electronic Music, also adding much free experimentation and improvisation, It’s The End introduces itself as the harbinger of a new cross-over subgenre. Their compositions are mainly structured around soft and cool Jazz-Fusion passages influenced by “Chick Corea” and “John Zorn” (specially regarding the harmonization between melody and the rhythmic background); and with plentiful clean guitar soloing inspired by names like “Allan Holdsworth” and “John McLaughlin”. To this, they add influences of “Frank Zappa”, “Gong”, “Univers Zero”, “King Crimson”, “Mr. Bungle”, and “Farmer’s Market”, resulting in a overall sonority the places It’s The End closer to bands like “Colosseum”, “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Finch”, “Elysion”, “French TV”, and others. However, what really makes a difference here is the use of heavy guitar riffs and furious odd-metrics drumming on their music – influences that come from Experimental Metal bands like “Primus”, “Tool”, “Behold…The Arctopus”, “Spastic Ink”, and “Meshuggah”. Besides that, they make experiments with electronic effects and percussion, like their comrades of “Supersilent”. All three musicians involved in It’s The End are really talented and top-skilled, being well above the regular average. They are therefore able to push the band forward, widening even more the possibilities of their musical style – as it may be listened on the 12 instrumental tracks of their eponymous debut. Some tracks are soft and gentle, being largely influenced by “Corea”, “Zorn”, “McLaughlin” and “Holdsworth” - like “Three Quarks for Muster“ (an excellent opening track);  “Marihuana By Night“ (with acoustic guitar and piano); and “Basic Inceptisol“. Other tracks lean to a most vigorous or intense mood, like “Inverted Implicitness” (with excellent drumming) and “The Salesmen Are the Real Whores“ – one of the best tracks, reminding me of traditional Jazz-Rock bands like “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu”, “Finch” and “Colosseum”. Then, without warning, darkness arises, and It’s the End plunges deep into an experimental line that merges Experimental Metal, Jazz, and Fusion, producing a series of compositions that confirm their potential as a renovating act. Good examples are “Drakes Equation“ and “Internal Combustion“. Featuring odd metrics, fast-paced drumming, heavy guitar riffs, and distorted synthesizers, both tracks are true Metal-Fusion pieces, reminding me successively of bands like  “Behold…The Arctopus”, “Meshuggah”, “Tool”, and “Zappa”. But it is with “The Sickness Onto Death - Parts 1 and 2“, and “Tautological Torment“ that the band shows its best. Like brewing pots, those tracks boil inside them influences of “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Primus”, “Tool”, “Spastic Ink”, “Zorn”, “Soft Machine”, “Univers Zero” and others, distilling cool Jazzy moods, fusion guitar solos, experimental metal riffs, hammered bass lines, ethnical beats, progressive keyboards, Industrial metal backgrounds, dark atmospheres, and chaos that summarizes It’s The End’s originality and innovation. The record still brings the experimental “Xenophobia“ (with electronic elements influenced by “Supersilent”), and “Deep Fringe/Campfire Caboodle“ (inspired by “Univers Zero”). As a whole, the album is an excellent and promising debut, indicating that It’s the End is, in fact, just in the beginning, and will make even better in the future.  It’s The End is highly recommended for fans of Jazz-Rock, Heavy Fusion, and Experimental Metal. Band members and collaborators involved on the band are: Pål "Drudge" Granum  - Guitars, Keyboards, Arranging, Composing, Programming, Mixing and Mastering; Tom "Retch" Simonsen - Guitars, Vocals, Arranging, Composing, Programming, Mixing and Mastering and Bert "Bertzkii" Nummelin - Drums. Guest musician: Tiina Nurmikolu – Clarinet...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/16/2010..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit IT’S THE END HOME PAGE...
. D’ACCORD - "D’AccorD"
The Norwegian Progressive Band D’Accord was formed in 2008 by Daniel Måge (vocals, flute), Stig Are Sund (guitars), Martin Sjøen (bass), and Bjarte Rossehaug (drums), also counting with Fredrik Horn (keyboards, sax). Strongly influenced by the British Rock of the 70’s, D’Accord crafts compositions that emulate that golden epoch in both sound and spirit, thus capturing the true essence of Progressive Rock Music. Their debut album - “D’AccorD” - was released in 2009, being nominated for the “Progawards 2009” in the category of “Best Debut”. Pursuing its goal, D’Accord does not reject any iconic influence from the early 70’s. Only great bands appear in their list: “Genesis”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “Camel”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “E.L.P”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, and “Gentle Giant”. As representatives of the Hard Rock division, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, and “Queen” were cited as important sources. A few non-British influences are also present: “Focus” (on keyboards), and the German “Jane” (on guitars). D’Accord produces pleasant and emotional songs on which Hammond organs and Mellotrons abound. They gradually enclose the listener into that nostalgic atmosphere of the early 70’s, transporting him or her back to that unparalleled musical period. The keyboards give a substantial organic base for long instrumental passages, which are full of catchy agreeable melodies. Vocals of Daniel Måge are a hallmark of the band, conjuring the melodic creativity of “Peter Gabriel” with the interpretative inflexions of “Peter Hammill”. Guitar player Stig Are Sund has learned the lessons of the old masters, playing long soulful melodies of bluesy inspiration that are really inventive. The rhythmic section varies from a fast-paced Hard Rock to a traditional Progressive cadence. Even though bass and drums could risk more complex arrangements in the future, they already provide the soloists with a solid rhythmic support. D’Accord’s debut brings only five tracks. “Play By The Hall Rules” is a brave 12-minute opening song divided in two sections. The first half is dominated by Hammonds and fast guitar riffs that remind me of “Uriah Heep”. The second half slows down, bringing back early sonorities of “Genesis” (“Nursery Crime” and “Foxtrot”). The two following songs are short, but straightforward: “This Is The One” (4:42) is a blend of “Deep Purple” with the folk flutes of “Jethro Tull”; while “Bin” (5:44) features some echoes of “Van der Graaf” on sax and harmony, combined with insertions of “Jethro Tullesque” flutes. The last two tracks are the best. “Time To Play” (8:31) opens with piano and epic guitars like “Queen”, having two outstanding sets of backing vocals. The first set is like early “Queen” (before “A Night at the Opera”), while the second set combines soft guitars with female vocals (by guest singers Igvild and Marit), sounding like “Pink Floyd” (“Dark Side of the Moon” and later albums). Between the two sets, there is an instrumental part in the style of “VdGG” and ”King Crimson”. The closing track - “Capitale Venditio” – is a 13-minute epic masterpiece, on which singer Daniel Måge shows his best. The initial flutes remind me of “Camel”, and the combination of piano and vocals are like “Queen”, but with a melancholic “Pink Floydian” tone. The ending section is marked by a long bluesy guitar solo juxtaposed to Hammond keyboards, as the German band “Jane” used to do (album “Together”). Overall, “D’AccorD“ is a very enjoyable debut album, to be listened many times, and D’Accord is really a very promising band, deserving a good place among newcomers. Fortunately, they are planning a second album for soon. D’Accord is highly recommended for fans of all traditional Bands of the 70’s. Band members and collaborators involved with D’Accord are: Daniel Måge - Vocals, Flute, Keys, Compositions; Stig Are Sund – Guitars; Martin Sjøen – Bass; Bjarte Rossehaug – Drums; Fredrik Horn – Keyboards, Sax. Guest Singers: Igvild Löklingholm and Marit Skele – Backing Vocals (track 4)...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/29/2010................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit D’ACCORD HOME PAGE...
. INTENTIONS - "Place In Time"
Intentions consists of five musicians all coming from Groningen, a city in the north of Holland. Erik Kuipers (bass), Sanne te Meerman (guitar) and André de Vries (keyboards) formed the band Intentions in january 2003 to create their own sound with their pop/rock songs. Several auditions followed to find a drummer and singer, but somehow they didn't find the missing links to complete the puzzle. However, great progress in writing and arranging songs was made during the years 2003-2005 with various singers and drummers. The quality of the songs convinced the three musicians to start recording, confident that in due time the right singer and drummer would come along. Luckily, an excellent drummer and friend of Sanne, Theo van der Zee, was willing to play all drums on their debut album. In mid 2008, the CD recordings were completed and the mixing, mastering and manufacturing of the CD started. When this was completed in May 2009, finally the CD presentation took place. It was a great success! The audience was very enthusiastic and a lot of CDs have been sold that night. Unfortunately, Andre de Vries left the band early 2010. He decided to focus more on his career outside of music. However, partly because our album was well-received by the critics in holland and abroad, it was relatively easy to attract a new keyboard player. Dirk v/d Plas is an excellent and experienced player and a worthy replacement for Andre. Dirk picked up the material really fast, so the 1st of april we could start a new era of colourful and atmospheric live performances, and writing new songs with Dirk on keys. According to the musicians on the band, their music can best be described as a mixture of melodic and progressive rock.  The band has developed a recognizable own sound with melodic keyboards, overwhelming guitar solos, and lyrics that all combine into music with an intensity that is rare. Intentions is another and amazing new discovery came from Holland, with a variety of styles deeply rooted in classic Symphonic and Melodic Progressive Rock with touchs of Neo-Progressive, probably most resembling "Yes", "Barclay James Harvest", "Camel", "The Mood Blues", "Pallas", "Marillion", "Coda", "Mangrove", "Pink Floyd", "Caravan", "Plackband", "Adventure", "Salmon", "Sylvan" and other in the same line. Their musical arrangements vary in intensity introducing melodic elements and few heavy influences, but full of atmospheric passages. I am delighted about the lush vintage and symphonic keyboards full of varied climates, sometimes heavy guitars, sometimes, fiery solos runs in together with the keyboards, powerful vocals having an angelical tone, but according the musical passages, tende to change to a heavy direction, but without aggressiveness, everything together very well combined with a pulsating drums, and a pompous bass sound closing the orchestration. The musicianship on the band is so amazing, full of delightful audio experiences, I truly believe they will attract many fans of progressive rock. "Place In Time" contains twelve songs, among 60 min of pure and exciting debut release, listen carefully the songs, the first track "A Promise" is a short acoustic introduction for the second song called "Aimless", where the instrumental is in the style of "Camel", "Pallas" and "Marillion". "State Of Mind", "Back", "Eneme", "Drowned", "On The Run", and "Thaw Me" follows up to display an intense vocals full of keys and guitars ingredients, in the line of "Marillion", "Camel", "Barclay James Harvest", "Mangrove", "Pink Floyd", "The Mood Blues" and "Pallas". "CU In The Real World" and "Joy And Misery" are the most melodic songs on the album. "Crash" is a killer song, with some very heavy guitar parts, symphonic keyboards adding strong vocals with thunderous drums, which reminds me something in the line of "Sylvan", "Plackband", "Pallas" and the last song titled "Wasted" is symphonic but in the style of "Camel", "Marillion", "Barclay James Harvest" and "Mangrove". "Place In Time" album was recorded and mixed at Sound-Stamp-Studio Groningen, The Netherlands. Mastered at Blaisdell  Studio Groningen, The Netherlands. Produced by Intentions. The musicians on the band are: Roelof Beeftink - Vocals and Guitar, André de Vries - Keyboards, Erik Kuipers - Bass and vocals, Sanne te Meerman - Guitar and Backing Vocals, Petrick Glasbergen - Additional Drums and Percussion and Theo Van Der Zee - Drums. Brilliant perfect, an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
03/29/2010.............If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit INTENTIONS HOME PAGE...
. SIMAK DIALOG - "Demi Masa"
Simak Dialog is an Indonesian group based in Jakarta (Java), founded in 1993 by Riza Arshad (piano, keyboards) and Arie Ayunir (former drummer). At present, the group is also integrated by Tohpati Aryo Hutomo (guitars), Adhitya Pratama (bass), Endang Ramdan (kendang), Erlan Suwardana (kendang, kethuk) and Cucu Kurnia (kendang, metal toys). They have already released four albums. “Demi Masa” (2009) is their fifth album, and the second to be released by Moonjune Records (NY). Blending the traditional rhythms and percussion of the western Java-Sundanese archipelago with a Free Jazz style practiced in Western Continents, Simak Dialog ‘s style could be placed in something like “Ethnical-Jazz-Fusion”. Although I am not a Jazz expert, I know that many visitors of this web-page are more than just Progressive enthusiasts - people that like to taste new sonorities, learn about instigating new bands and cross musical borders – so I will try to draw your attention to this group. Even though I am not familiar with the Musical scene of Indonesia (something that prevents me from saying anything regarding the band’s originality), I found the sound of Simak Dialog very curious, interesting, and instructive. All compositions are made of a solid rhythmic base on which traditional instruments are used, like the kendang (a Sundanese drum); the kethuk (a percussive instrument); and “metal toys”, reinforced by the sound of clapping hands – upon which regular Jazz instruments (bass, piano and guitars) are used to construct the melodic lines. The harmony and tempo counting is totally strange to my Occidental ears, not used to those peculiar Asiatic rhythms, and make the initial assimilation difficult. “Demi Masa” brings 9 long tracks, organized in suites. I suggest to the listener (and to my Brazilian fellows) to go straight to tracks 8 - “Karuhun – To Elders” (a Free Jazz piece with piano and acoustic guitar) and 9 - “Disapih – Being Away” (with Progressive synths and piano). Both tracks seem to be the easiest to assimilate, and even bring some moments inserted into the Sundanese rhythmic session that remind me of Brazilian “New Bossa”. Then the listener can go to tracks 3+4 - “Tak Jauh” – Not so Far parts 1 and 2 “, that are reminiscent of musicians like "Chick Corea", "John McLaughlin" and possibly many others of the Free Jazz scene (remember that I am not a Jazz specialist). But guitars on part 2 sound like “Jan Akkerman’s”, and will delight Progressive fans. As the sound of the Sundanese drums gradually turns more familiar to the ears, the listener can go back to the shocking opening tracks 1+2 - “Salilana – Forever - parts 1 and 2” – the initial clapping and the kendangs beating remind me immediately of Brazilian’s Candomblé (a Religious cult of African origin). Over this rhythmic base - that sometimes sounds like noises of Nature (in this case, a water-stream) - random notes of piano and guitar built the melodic lines of Free Jazz. On part 2 the clapping changes to something a little Spanish, escorted by acoustic guitars and peculiar vocals. Tracks 5+6+7 - “Trah Lor – Laras- Rupa- Tapak - Northern People – Voices-Faces-Prints” bring really interesting and experimental moments. Bass is more present  and there are some “skeletal” sounds. On the middle part - Faces - different percussions and experimental rhythms are used, and could draw the interest of Brazilian experimental musicians “Hermeto Paschoal “and “Tom Zé”. A beautiful traditional chanting by Mian Tiara closes the last part (Prints). For me, Simak Dialog makes a curious and original sound, representing an unexpected parallelism between Indonesia and Brazilian rhythms, which may deserve attention of musicians of both sides of the globe. Simak Dialog is recommended for fans of Free Jazz, Jazz-Rock, and for people interested in exploring new kinds of Music, mainly percussionists. Band members and collaborators involved in Simak Dialog are: Riza Arshad – Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizers; Tohpati Aryo Hutomo – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Adhithya Pratama – Bass; Endang Ramdan – Lead Sundanese Kendang Percussion, Tambourine, Claps, Toys, Vocals; Erlan Suwardana - Sundanese Kendang Percussion, Claps, Toys, Vocals; Cucu Kurnia - Dand Kenndangist, Metal Toys. Guest musicians: Emy Tata – Sundanese Kendang Percussion, Claps, Vocals (track 2); Mian Tiara – Vocals (track 7); Dave Lumenta – Soundscapes (track 8)...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/11/2010.....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SIMAK DIALOG HOME PAGE...
. CHEST ROCKWELL - "Total Victory"
Chest Rockwell is not a guy, but a band of Bowling Green, Kentucky (USA). The band was formed in 2004 by Josh Hines (vocals, guitar), Nick Rouse (drums, percussion), and Nick Stewart (bass, keyboard). The lineup was completed in 2005 with Seth Wilson (guitar). After releasing various promo albums, the band finally debuted with the album "Back to Square One" (2005). The second album, "Chest Rockwell Vs. The World" (2007), featured 8 songs combined together to create a single piece that lasted over 40 minutes. Both albums received favorable reviews in America and Europe. The band also released the EP "Flavor" (2007). In 2008, with studio help from Jon Craig (mixing, mastering, omnichord, keyboards), Chest Rockwell recorded their 3rd album - "Total Victory" (released in 2009), which represents the sum up of the musical experience accumulated by band members over the past 4 years. Chest Rockwell is a good band indeed, but I do not regard them as a typical Progressive act. Their categorization fits better within the ample circle of the Alternative Rock bands that like to use on their music some elements that were primary heard on the most popular Progressive Rock and Metal bands, like “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Iron Maiden”. Ultimately, those elements were fused with Garage Rock and the Modern Rock of the post-Punk independent scene, resulting in an overall sonority that places Chest Rockwell close to bands like “The Mars Volta”, “Sylvan”, “Riverside”, “Darwin’s Radio”, “Muse”, and to some mainstream acts like “Radiohead”, “Snow Patrol” and “Green Day”. Chest Rockwell’s album “Total Victory” brings 9 tracks developed along 46 minutes of music. The compositions feature a dynamic and vigorous rhythmic section, over which various guitar solos – from “rocky” to metal style – emerge frequently, alternating soft and heavy moments. Vocals are most of the “teenager” type, like those heard on bands of the Independent Rock scene, a feature that may be attractive for a large audience of youngsters. The most accessible side of the band appears on the opening track “Being an Able Man There are Always“, with a dancing beat delineated by bass and drums by the two Nicks, both of them being important driving forces of the band. Traces of “Rush”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside” appear on the excellent track “2 Pumps Away“, thanks to the bass lines, progressive background keyboards, and soft and melancholic vocals that are reminiscent of “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”. “Within 10 Paces I Cannot Fail“ has influences of “Pink Floyd” and “Radiohead”, bringing delicate and melancholic acoustic guitars, and vocals juxtaposed to political speeches on the background. A three-parts suite - “Body Prop – parts I, II and III“ alternate melancholic and agile rhythmic sections, going from a softer mood like “Mr. So & So” and “Peter Gabriel” to harder parts, like “Porcupine Tree“ and “Sylvan”; the third part being very similar, in vocals and drums, to the heaviest facet of “The Mars Volta”. The three last tracks are marked by a change of pace on the rhythmic section, with a lean to the most vigorous NWOBHM style. The best piece is the instrumental “Eleven is the New Seven“, with heavy guitar riffs and pulsing bass like “Iron Maiden’s” - including influences of “Riverside” on vocals, and psychedelic guitars like “Porcupine Tree” at the end. Also largely influenced by “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside” and “Iron Maiden” are “Colossus“ – a fast paced song with oriental guitar riffs – and “Mortal Universe“ (one of the best tracks of this album). The combination of Independent Rock with elements of Progressive Rock will make Chest Rockwell difficult to be assimilated by older, traditional fans of the genre, but will certainly turn them into an instantaneous favorite among young listeners, mostly habituated to “modern” Progressive. Chest Rockwell is highly recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “The Mars Volta”, “Muse”, “Iron Maiden”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved with Chest Rockwell are: Josh Hines - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Electric Sitar, Wurli, Keyboards; Nick Rouse - Drums, Percussion, Piano; Nick Stewart - Bass, Keyboards, Baritone Guitar; Seth Wilson – Electric Guitar; Jon Craig  - Mixing, Mastering, Omnichord, Keyboards...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/11/2010.................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit CHEST ROCKWELL HOME PAGE...
. ALDO PINELLI - "Mantos y Tapices Sobrepuestos"
Aldo Pinelli is an Argentinean guitarist and composer better known for his work with Progressive band "Hábitat". Pinelli is a classically trained musician with interest in the French Impressionism and in Celtic, Ancient, and Contemporaneous Music. Aldo Pinelli began performing in a trio in 1990, but with intermittent shows, he ceased activities. He returned in 2001, with the idea of recording an album with old songs. He gathered a line-up made entirely of women, and since 2002 concerts have been frequent. Venues and musician’s garments are rigorously selected to combine with the music, instilling into the audience an atmosphere of ancient times. Aldo Pinelli released his first independent album in 2007 (“Una Selección de Viejas Canciones – Montañas, Bosques y Lagos” – “A Selection of Old Songs – Mountains, Woods and Lakes”). The second album, “Mantos y Tapices Sobrepuestos - Otra selección de viejas canciones” – “Superposed Shrouds and Tapestries – Another Selection of Old Songs” was released in 2009. Differing from his work with "Hábitat" – which employs electric instruments and drums, as any regular Prog-Rock band - Pinelli’s solo work goes to the opposite direction, making use of acoustic instruments – classical guitars, lute, piano, flutes, percussion – and being rather aligned to the academic side of music. The result is a sequence of Classical Studies for strings and piano, grounded on Folk and Medieval rhythms that lovers of Ancient Music will appreciate. In spite of the massive presence of acoustic instruments, some rare passages of electric guitars and keyboards do occur, pushing his music to the Electro-Acoustic and Progressive domains. Songs are developed around gentle musical themes, sometimes evoking images of tranquil landscapes, sometimes inviting the listener to fall into a contemplative state. The sonority may be compared to Folk and Ancient Music acts, like “Donovan”, “Steeleye Span”, “Clannad”, “Ataraxia”, “Faun”, and “Estampie” (although lacking female vocals), and also to the acoustic facet of bands like “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Gentle Giant”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Le Orme“, “PFM”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Steve Howe”, and “Steve Hackett”. “Mantos y Tapices Sobrepuestos – Superposed Shrouds and Tapestries” (2009) features 17 tracks, most being short instrumental pieces (1 to 4 minutes). Only two tracks – the folkloric songs “Caía el Sol” and “Barril Cayendo Desde la Cima” – feature vocals by Pinelli himself. “Barril…”, with acoustic guitars and flutes, may attract fans of Italian Progressive (“PFM”, “Delirium”, “Le Orme”). The shortest tracks are preludes or studies for classical guitar and lute, accompanied by medieval percussion (like “Lluvia de Florcitas”; “Estudio 1”; “Petit Obertura para Cuatro Instrumentos de Cuerda”; “Pasaje Dos”; and “Evocacion a una Época Antigua y a Erik Satie”). Differing from those tracks, the acoustic guitars on “Avanza con Cuidado” have a Brazilian mood. Fans of  “Camel”, “Genesis”, and “Steve Hackett” will love the flutes and soft progressive keyboards of “Resumen de un Instante” and “De la Dama del Bosque”, and the medieval rhythm of “Danza III: Elevarse”. The longer tracks, however, are the highlights of this album. The pieces for piano - “Jardin de Noviembre” and “Los Días de la Decisión” - have beautiful melodies and harmonies, reminding me of Italian Progressive (e.g. “Locanda delle Fate”, “Reale Accademia di Musica”). “Atardecer de Invierno y Meditando” begins with a sad tune played on classical guitar that introducing us into the introspective world of the artist, but finishes with a cheerful mood. “Juegos de Azar – parts III-V” and “Sobre Las Pampas a Veces Hay Tormenta” make use of acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards and flutes, both having a Progressive inspiration that will be appreciated by fans of  “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett” and “Steve Howe”. “Banba”, with sounds of Celtic bagpipes, will be preferred by fans of “Clannad”, “Faun”, “Ataraxia” and “Estampie”. Aldo Pinelli is recommended for fans of Acoustic Music: Medieval, Folk, Celtic or Progressive. Band members and collaborators involved with Aldo Pinelli are: Aldo Pinelli – Classic, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Lute, Bass, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals; Paula Dolcera – Transverse Flute, Cello; Silvia Pratolongo – Percussion (tracks 13, 14); Elizabeth Minervini – Keyboards (tracks 3, 17)...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/11/2010.            ...Want to learn everything about the musician and his history, go to ALDO PINELLI HOME PAGE...
. THE VOID’S LAST STAND - "A Sun By Rising Set"
The Void's Last Stand (TVLS, for short) is a Progressive and Experimental Rock band from Aachen, Germany. It was founded in 2007 by two ex-members of the experimental rock band "The Void" - Jonas Wingens (vocals, guitar) and Geoffrey Blaeske (guitar) - and their friend Ray Dratwa (drums). In the beginning of 2009, bass player Rachid Touzani completed the line-up. Their self-produced debut album - “A Sun by Rising Set“ - was recorded during the Summer of 2009 and released in September. TVLS intends to be a bridge uniting contemporary bands like “The Mars Volta”, “Sieges Even”, “Spastic Ink”, “Birds and Buildings”, “Hella”, “Ungdomskulen”, “Frost”, “The Tangent”, and “Battles” with Classic Progressive bands like “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Nektar”, “Eloy”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Rush”, “Gentle Giant”, and “Magma”. From the classic assemblage, however, I think that the main influences came from “Nektar” (on some guitars), “Gentle Giant” (on some caricatured vocals and instrumental harmonies); and “Magma’, “Ange” and “Gong” (on the theatrical vocals and experimentation) are present on TVLS‘s sonority. Vocals are a trademark of the band, being alternately insane, angry, histrionic, operatic, burlesque, shouting, crying, and sometimes even in Rap style (and the poetical lyrics also reflect that influence). The way they try to fuse experimental vocals with a modern rhythmic base is also inheritance of the Krautrock tradition (of bands like “Guru Guru”, “Amon Düül”, and “Can”). The instrumental is very technical. Guitars are the main soloing instruments, changing constantly from Math Metal to Bluesy; from Progressive to Jazzy.  Bass and drums swiftly alternate different rhythms, forming a “broken” and dynamic rhythmic base. The sonority is consequently strange, appearing chaotic sometimes, but it is a side effect of being practiced with much freedom. The songs, however, are always strong, impressive and lively – original and unpredictable. As a hole, I think that TVLS has much resemblance with “Primus”, “The Mars Volta”, and “Spastic Ink”, resting between the sound of their contemporaries “Birds and Buildings” (lacking keyboards and being cruder) and “Hella” (less aggressive and lacking electronic effects); and also approaching bands like “Ungdomskulen”, “Battles”, and “Machines With Magnets”. TVLS’s “A Sun by Rising Set” features only two songs (in English), with a total playing time of 50 minutes. “Mother Sun and the Other Son“ (subdivided in five parts: 1.“Emesa Shapes“; 2.“Graves of Afamiya“; 3.“Immae’s Amazons - Lichtode“; 4.“Six Horses of the Meteor“; 5.“Phaeton Glorificnuch”) includes Rap, Blues, drum solos, guitars that reminds me of “Spastic Ink”, and some burlesque vocals that sound as a caricature of “Gentle Giant”. The second song - “Under the Ardent Sun“ (subdivided in four parts: 1.“Parrots Post Over Pere Lachaise“; 2. “Songs of Syria and Despondos“; 3.“Berg Van Licht“; 4.“Bet-El and the Hierodoules of Elyx“) is heavier, and features all elements of a burlesque opera, with very good Math Metal solos in the end. It also featuring a hidden part in the end, sung in German. The Void’s Last Stand is a band with strong experimental vein, and is specially recommended for those fans of unusual Progressive bands. Band members and collaborators involved in The Void’s Last Stand are: Jonas Wingens – Vocals, Guitars; Geoffrey Blaeske – Guitars; Ray Dratwa – Drums and Rachid Touzani – Bass...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/19/2010........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE VOID’S LAST STAND HOME PAGE...
. DW. DUNPHY - "Enigmatic"
DW. Dunphy is a musician and writer from Red Bank, New Jersey (USA). He also loves movies, books and comics, and works as a regular contributor in PopDose Website, writing reviews about them. To date, DW. Dunphy has released 12 solo records, all independently produced; and published a novella (“Drivers of the Plague”). “Enigmatic” is his 13th self-produced CD, and was released by independent label Introverse Records in 2009. DW. Dunphy’s music cannot be tagged as Progressive Rock, but the use of delicate synthesizers allied to the overall soft and tranquil mood of the compositions guarantee, at least, a Progressive-related atmosphere. The songs, instead, follow a pop-music orientation, without, however, bending to extreme commercial purposes. As a whole, the sonority resembles a mix of influences of the British pop-rock of the 80’s, “Peter Gabriel”, “Phil Collins”, “Damien Rice”, “Beatles”, “Queen”, “Pink Floyd”, “Coldplay”, Folk music, with some samples borrowed from movie soundtracks. “Enigmatic” features 12 tracks, which were created in the computer room by DW. Dunphy, who is the sole musician of the album. The opening track - “Stories For Telling“ – is a kind of Pop-Electro-Punk that differs from all remaining tracks from the album, being therefore a bit misplaced. But the listener should not feel discouraged by the strange mix, and go ahead to feel pleased by the soft Folk “The Icy Frozen Ocean“ (and its sadder version, “The Icy Frozen Reprise“). The Psychedelic keyboards of “Neon Kabuki“ work as the intro for “I’d Rather Be There“, a pop song in the vein of "Beatles". It is on the middle of the record, however, that the listener will find some of the best tracks: “The Death of an American Man“ and “Pine Box“ (a kind of western-movie Blues) are well influenced by “Peter Gabriel” and “Phil Collins” and make use of some movie-soundtrack samples. Between those tracks, the instrumental ballad “Absentee Ballad“ features a sadder atmosphere, with piano and synthesizers. For those interested in more modern textures, the tracks “Fragment and Splinter“ (a techno-pop) and “Something That You’ve Never Had” (with harmony vocals that are reminiscent of “The Beatles” or “Queen”, and a sad piano in the style of “Coldplay”) will suffice more than well. The album still brings “Summer Island Park“ (an acoustic guitar ballad), and a 10 minutes long piece, “The Clouds Plateau“, with inspiration in “Pink Floydian” ballads, that closes the album. Band member and collaborators involved in DW. Dunphy are: DW. Dunphy himself: all instruments, samplers and computer...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/19/2010....................................,.....Interested to know more about the musician? Visit DW. DUNPHY HOME PAGE...
The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra is a new band from France (Ile-de-France). The lineup is composed of Eric Lorcey (guitars, vocals, zither, effects, lyrics, and compositions), Cécile Alves (piano), Lise Cantin (flute, vibraphone), Colin Gentile (bass), and Christophe Cordier (drums, percussion). The five musicians have different musical roots and influences - rock, funk, classical, electro, and jazz, and their aim is to propose a new conception of fusing Jazz, Rock, Psychedelic and Progressive Music. Their independent debut album, titled “Ampulla Magnifying”, was released in 2009, being presently distributed by Musea Records. Difficult to categorize, The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra makes eclectic music placing heavy guitar riffing and groovy and jazzy rhythms against soft and melodic parts. Their music often oscillates from aggressive to psychedelic moments, featuring long instrumental passages, excellent bass lines, and much free improvisation. Unless by some Jazz-Fusion rhythmic sections that sound like “Atoll” (album “L’Araignée-Mal”) and “Minimum Vital” (albums “La Source”, “Esprit D’Amour”); and some arrangements that are reminiscent of the darkest side of “Shylock”, The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra does not feature much traces of the traditional French Progressive Rock. The lyrics, for instance, are written in English and Spanish, and everything is played with the same vigorous verve of modern non-French bands of the Heavy Prog line, namely “Anekdoten” (pre-“Gravity” phase), “Porcupine Tree” and “The Mars Volta”. The later seems to be a strong inspiration for Eric Lorcey, because his high pitched voice and way of singing resembles a little those of “Cedric Bixler-Zavala”. The occasional use of Latin rhythms on the music is also a point of resemblance with that band. “Ampulla Magnifying” features 9 long tracks, with total duration of more than one hour of music. The two opening tracks – “Visper Aiyo“ and “Shambles Start An End“ are both straightforward, introducing us to the energetic and vibrant mood of a band that is in search of its own musical identity. “Shambles…” in special, with its phantasmagoric sounds and strange harmonies, reminds me a bit of “Atoll”, “Shylock” and “Anekdoten”. Those songs are separated from the others by the surprising “Azucarado“, an acoustic guitar piece with elements of Latin music– it is even sung in Spanish - which is directly influenced by “The Mars Volta”. The following tracks are the best of the album, being long pieces on which the band shows that they really know how to alternate heavy and psychedelic moments. “Sloganeering“ (10:26) is very influenced by “Porcupine Tree”, containing psychedelic passages merged into heavy guitars, while “Unrelentingly“ (9:10) and “Crosstalk“ (7:28) have stronger jazzy moments, with fantastic vocals and bass juxtaposed to groovy guitars, bringing elements of “King Crimson”, “Shylock”, “Anekdoten”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “The Mars Volta”. The album still brings “The Clockwork’s Marching Along“ and the short “Parallel Convergent“, based on sad psychedelic tunes and melancholic vocals with stronger influence of “The Mars Volta”. The album ends with “Askance Relief“, a cheerful song that has the soft touch of the last works of “Minimum Vital”. On their debut, The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra shows how they manage to mix their old and modern influences with competence, creativity, and originality, being on the right way to forge an identity of their own. The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra is highly recommended for those who like Heavy Prog and Eclectic Prog with influences of Jazz and Psychedelic Music.  Band members and collaborators involved with are: Eric Lorcey – Guitars, Vocals, Zither, Effects; Cécile Alves – Piano; Lise Cantin – Flute, Vibraphone; Colin Gentile – Bass; Christophe Cordier – Drums, Percussion. Romain Medioni – Didgeridoo on “Shambles Start and End”; Natacha Vermeulen-Perdaen – Harmonica on “Shambles…” and “Askance Relief”; Tomaz Boucherifi-Kadiou – Bombard on “Askance Relief”...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/19/2010.....,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE DAEDALUS SPIRIT ORCHESTRA HOME PAGE...
. STORK - "Stork"
Stork is a new super power trio from Los Angeles, California, formed by Shane Gibson (guitars), Thomas Lang (drummer) and Eloy Palacios (bass). The band is a project created by Gibson and Lang to freely exercise their musical inventiveness, and also blow up many metal-heads! Shane Gibson is a prodigious guitarist that won the “Battle of Bands” contest when he was only 16. He attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and soon was playing professionaly. He took part on “Korn’s” USA-2007 and Europe-2008 Tours, and on “Jonathan Davis” solo tour. Gibson’s technique includes use of odd time signatures, heavy riffing, poly-rhythms, innovative tapping sequences and his own sweep picking tricks. He is a master of shredding, incorporating the melodic skill of “Jason Becker”, the impetuosity of “Marty Friedman”, the precision of “John Petrucci; the elegance of “Yngwie Malmsteen”; the groove of “Greg Howe”; the eclecticism of “Tony McAlpine”; the versatility of “Steve Vai”, and the complexity of “Ron Jarzombek”. Thomas Lang is a well-known drummer who was born in Austria and attended the Vienna Conservatory of Music, where he learned Jazz, Classical, and Fusion. He played with “John Wetton”, “Robert Fripp”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Steve Hackett”, “Nina Hagen” and others. Lang’s rhythmic precision and independence of limbs; coupled with heavy double bass drumming and unlimited power-plant energy, makes him the ideal man to join forces with Gibson in this project. As the fulcrum between those two monsters stands Eloy Palacios, whose powerful bass lines provide a secure anchorage to the songs, giving balance to the whole trio. The only guest appearances are by JP Von Hitchburg (vocals on “Alien”) and Jonathan Weed (guitar on “Tripola”), who play with the trio in their side-project “Schwarzenator”. Stork‘s sonority is grounded on a solid structure of metallic guitar riffs with strong influences of Thrash, Progressive, Math and New Metal. The rhythmic section combines elements of Power-Thrash and Heavy Fusion, on which Lang’s aggressive drumming and Palacio’s scaffolding bass give the necessary fluidity to trespass Gibson’s dense wall of guitars. The final result sounds like an amalgamate of “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Mekong Delta”, “Annihilator”, “Korn”, “Cacophony”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Dream Theater”, “Watchtower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Blotted Science”, “Tool” and “Meshuggah”. Stork’s eponymous debut features 11 instrumental tracks and only one with vocals (“Alien”). The album opens with “Moonrock”, an astonishing Thrash Metal with a switch to Heavy-Fusion, grounded on groovy riffs and unpredictable guitar solos that remind me of “Jason Becker” and “Marty Friedman”. This blend of Thrash Metal with Heavy-Fusion is the great hook of the album, being also present on the superb tracks “Nautilus” (which moves towards the heaviest side of “McAlpine”, “Greg Howe” and “Steve Vai”) and “Asian Manipulation” (which features Prog-Metal riffs and guitar progressions with influences of “John Petrucci”). Stepping farther into the Fusion and Neo-Classical spheres, the tracks “Doooosh”, “DucksinaponD”, and “Emo Village Pillage” are influenced by “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”; early “Malmsteen” and “McAlpine”. But since things must be kept heavy on Stork, the core of the album is sustained by a series of really heavy pieces, mostly made of a fusion of New Metal, Thrash Metal (of “Megadeth”, “Metallica”, “Annihilator”), and Math and Experimental Metal (of “Watchtower”, “Blotted Science”). Making part of this set are “Alien” (with strong vocals by JP Von Hitchburg and influences of “Korn”); “Changing Lanes” (with influences of “Annihilator”) and the coupled tracks “Prelude In The Key of Shut The Hell Up”/“Loki”, a paranoid Prog-Thrash piece fusing “Annihilator” with “Watchtower”. Those tracks open the path for the trio to approach the regions of Experimental Metal, on which “Dream Theater”, “Metallica”, “Mekong Delta”, “Tool”, “Blotted Science”, and even “Meshuggah” merge together. The results are listened on the extraordinary “Tripola” (with elements of “Metallica”, “Dream Theater” and “Blotted Science” and a great drumming section by Lang); and the aggressive “Metal Fatigue” (nothing to do with Holdsworth’s solo album) on which Lang’s simply forgets everything he learned about civilized drumming and performs a high-speed pace in the verve of “Meshuggah”. Overall, Stork’s debut is an instrumental Heavy Metal album that updates to the 21st century what was being done by many guitarists in the past decades, hence being highly recommended for fans of “Cacophony”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Steve Vai”, “McAlpine”, “Malmsteen”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Megadeth”, “Metallica”, “Mekong Delta”, “Dream Theater”, “Korn”, “Spastic Ink”, “Watchtower”, “Blotted Science”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved with Stork are: Shane Gibson – Guitars; Thomas Lang – Drums; Eloy Palacios – Bass; JP Von Hitchburg – Vocals on “Alien” and Jonathan Weed – Guitar solo on “Tripola”...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/19/2010........................,.....Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to STORK HOME PAGE...
. STRANGE LAND - "Anomaly"
The power-trio Strange Land comes from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (EUA). The original line-up consisted of Chad Novell (bass, lead vocals, keyboards), Sean Gill (guitar and backing vocals) and Brad Klotz (drums). The band has already opened shows for other important acts of the Prog-metal scene, including "Event", the Swedish rock band "Fatal Smile", "King's X" and "Three". The first album - "Anomaly" - was released in 2001 but is reaching us just now. It was independently produced by Michael Brandenburg and Strange Land. The band has already released a second album that is also being reviewed at this site. The main influences, cited by the own band, are "Fates Warning", "Savatage", "Rush", "Zero Hour", "Pain of Salvation", and "Galactic Cowboys". Many guitar riffs and bass lines of Strange Land reminds me immediately of "Rush". But the guitar solos of Sean Gill are different from Lifeson‘s, alternating classical scales with more dissonant sounds. The vocal tone of Chad Novell and the way he sings remind me of the voice of Mathias Blad ("Falconer"). The important thing to say about Strange Land is that the sound is lively, flowing, and very easy-listening – one can go from the first to the last song of this album without skipping tracks. Just let the CD spin and you will appreciate the honest sound of Strange Land, a band that searches its own sonority using much creativity, without exaggerating or putting too much adornment on their compositions. Because “Anomaly” was recorded at an independent studio, the resulting sonority is a bit crude, but will not hinders the band from being enjoyed. The album features 12 tracks. Many of them are a mix of the most “rocky” face of "Rush" with folk-metal vocals of Novell in Falconer‘s style, such as “All Things Considered”; “Not for this World” (with some bits of "Iron Maiden"); “Nothinghead”; “Foundation”, “Flight” and “Distorted Grandeur”. One of my favorite tracks is “Unstuck”, which has a hooky guitar riff and a memorable vocal melody that is repeated by the guitar solo – a song that should be played at live shows. Other songs are much influenced by early records of "Savatage", like “Invisible Darkness” (with excellent bass lines of "Novell") and “Fatal Flaw” (with a classical piano overture that reminds Savatage’s album “Gutter Ballet”). Also on this line is “Scorpio” – with a cabaret-like piano that introduces the following “I Don’t Know You Anymore” another great track, with many raging parts. The longest track - “Injustice Rising” – is a sad ballad that calls attention upon it for being different from other songs of the album, thanks to the progressive keyboards and guitars solos – a proof that Strange Land had, at the time of their first release, much potential to grow up. Check the other review about their second album. Band members on Strange Land band are: Chad Novell – Bass, Lead Vocals, Keyboards; Sean Gill – Guitar and Backing Vocals, Brad Klotz – Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/05/2010......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STRANGE LAND HOME PAGE...
. STRANGE LAND - "Blaming Season"
This is the second release of Strange Land, a band whose first release – “Anomaly”. “Blaming Season” was released in 2004 (by independent label Nightmare Records), and brings one change in the band’s line-up: former drummer Brad Klotz left the band and was replaced by Esteban Gonzalez. Compared with the previous release, the sound is more thrash-metal, heavier than on the previous album, approaching bands like "Pain of Salvation" and "Spastic Ink". That kind of "Rush" + "Falconer" formula used on “Anomaly” was substituted by a heavier, cadenced pace. The composition style is more cerebral, resulting in songs that are less flowing or spontaneous, but that have gained in drama and complexity. The vocals of Chad Novell are more aggressive on this album. Hiss bass leads the band and dialogues well with the guitar riffs and solos of Gill, who shows a greater degree of evolution in dealing with his instrument. The rhythm section has also evolved, becoming more complicated, thanks to Gonzalez, whose drum beat is, besides heavier and cadenced, technically superior to his predecessor. “Blaming Season” features 8 tracks, which are longer if compared with the tracks of the previous album. The change for a heavier orientation is realized since the beginning, with the opening tracks “Obliquity” and “Cause and Defect” (which has still some traces of "Rush"). These are followed by some of my favorite tracks of this CD - “Marionette” (on which Novell experiments with different bass phrasings); “In a Mind” (a slow-paced song with sophisticated rhythm and bitter mood) and, maybe the best track of the album, “Dear Helena” (which has some oriental guitar parts hidden inside its frame). Towards the end of the album, the short instrumental track “Exordium” with keyboards and cello works as a “terror-movie” introduction for “Alone We Go” – a track that resembles "Rush" played with a darker mood in a stormy day. The album closes with “Below the After”, a song that joins the freedom and spontaneity of the previous album with the heavier and cadenced pace of the present one. I hope that this track represents the future line to be followed by Strange Land. Strange Land is recommended for fans of not too much exaggerated Prog-metal, and for fans that like well-worked Heavy Metal. The line up on the Strange Land band are: Chad Novell - Bass, Lead Vocals, Keyboards; Sean Gill – Guitar and Backing Vocals, additional Synths; Esteban Gonzalez – Drums; Heinriech Novobielski – Cello...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/05/2010.........,............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STRANGE LAND HOME PAGE...
. THE GAK OMEK - "Nonrenormalizability"
The Gak Omek is the personal project of Robert Burger, one of the musicians of the experimental duo Brainstatik. Burger lives in Stockton, New Jersey (USA), and began his solo career in 2003 with the album “The Alien Eye”, released by the independent label Blue Cube Music. His second release – “Return of the All-Powerful Light Beings” (2004, Blue Cube Music), had participation of Brainstatk’s drummer Glenn Robitaille and keyboardist Dave Cashin. Both albums were acclaimed as outstanding works by the specialized press. The style of The Gak Omek may be defined as Instrumental Electronic Progressive, having insertions of Psychedelic, Jazz-Fusion, and Experimental elements. Or, as Burger himself said about it: “…a progressive rock interpretation of ancient and modern mysteries“. Now, The Gak Omek is back with a new release, which is sure to spark the same favorable reaction on the Progressive Scene. “Nonrenormalizability” (2010, Blue Cube Music) brings 8 instrumental compositions entirely performed by Burger alone. Besides using guitars and guitar synthesizers, he uses an extensive list of original “electronic musical devices” with funny names like “Porkatronic Vibrolator” or “Octostrimpolizer” (see the list below). Musical influences come from many different sources, an many names may be cited: Guitarists (“Robert Fripp”, “Steve Hackett”, “David Torn”, “Lanvall”, “Allan Holdsworth”); Classical composers (“Beethoven”, “Mozart”, “Tchaikovsky”, “Strauss”); Progressive bands (“King Crimson”, “Allan Parson’s Project”, “Zappa”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Djam Karet”); Experimental and Electronic Music (“Stockhausen”, “John Cage”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Brian Eno”, “Vangelis”, “Wendy Carlos”, “Drew Neumann”); electronic trended Krautrock (“Kraftwerk”, “Tangerine Dream”); Minimalist and New Age Music (“Philip Glass”, “Kitaro”, “Gandalf”); and even Brazilians “Tom Zé”, “Hermeto Pacoal” and “Uakti”. Burger knows however how to dose all ingredients, so that The Gak Omek does not sound like a mere copycat of those influences, being rather original, producing musical pieces that shine on with their own uniqueness. Over a lively and contagious rhythmic section, founded on samples of computerized effects and electronic drumming, Burger performs beautiful melodies with his guitars, which sound like carefully elaborated Classical Music. "Cosmological" waves of sounds reach your brain at all levels, evoking cinematographic images of futuristic landscapes. "Devoid of the cold", robotized, artificial, and inorganic mood so common in electronic music, The Gak Omek’s sounds lively, contagious, cheerful and touching – as if a young Mozart could make a voyage through a space warm-hole to arrive in our modern technological world to produce New Music for the Quantum Mechanics Era. Overcoming the strange TV-static intro and mechanized-robotized sounds of “The Tunguska Event” (which reminds me of “Drew Neumann’s” soundtrack for the “Aeon Flux” animated series), the listener will be introduced to the most cheerful “Mozartian” tunes of “The Pythagorean Lambdoma“. Differently, “Galaxia Nuncius“ presents graceful “Beethovian” melodies on the background that will later explode in colorful waltzing guitars, like a piece of “Tchaikovsky” or “Strauss”. The title track, “Nonrenormalizability“, will transport the listener from the Old to the New World through Brazilian Northeastern rhythms and ethnical beats, with influences of “Hermeto Pascoal”, “Tom Zé”, “Uakti”, “Peter Gabriel” and “Philip Glass”. The fast-paced “Bagudzinishinabe“ sounds mostly like a thriller soundtrack, combining electronic sampled beats with dramatic machine-like sound effects and creative Jazz-Fusion soloing. “Fifteen Billion nanoseconds in Hell“ is a noise that lasts 16 seconds, and introduces one of the most Progressive tracks of this album - “Alien Television“ – which brings influences of “Philip Glass”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre” merged with electronic vocal sounds that make one feel lost in an extraterrestrial rainforest (search the video-clip in Youtube). The last track - “Into the Fourth Density“ - is a soft New Age piece with Asiatic influences, sounding like “Kitaro”, “Gandalf”, and “Lanvall”. The Gak Omek’s “Nonrenormalizability”  features brilliant and meaningful music that cannot be overlooked by any Progressive lover, being an indispensable item for any collection. Highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in The Gak Omek are: Robert Burger – Guitar, Guitar-synth, Fingerdrums, Porkatronic Vibrolator, Fengku, Octostrimpolizer, Blipophone, Bagundochord, Schrimpler, Yakapod, Flekoscope, Blomosizer, Hekletuber, compositions, design, photography; Dave Cashin – Keyboards; Glenn Robitaille – Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/05/2010......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE GAK OMEK HOME PAGE...
. FLASH RANGE - "On the Way"
Flash Range is a Russian-British project of St. Petersburg’s musicians Andrey Dudkin (keyboards) and Alexey Dudkin (guitars), counting with participation of British musicians John Mitchell (vocals, guitars), John Jowitt (bass), and Andy Edwards (drums). Although the British counterpart of this Band is well-known to most Progressive Fans - the musicians involved have played or still play in leading Progressive acts (“Arena”, “IQ”, “Frost”, “Jadis”, “It Bites”, “The Urbane”) – Flash Range’s songs are actually composed by Andrey and Alexey Dudkin, with collaboration of Yuri Mamchur. The songs were recorded by John Mitchell in his Outhouse Studios (Reading, England) in November 2007. Post production took place in the USA (Seattle, Orcas Island, and Nashville), and in Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow). Their debut record – an EP entitled “On The Way”– was finally released in December, 2009 by the independent label Yuri Productions, LLC (USA), and contains four songs. Joining together great names of the British Progressive Rock scene with a carefully worked production is a guarantee of great things to come. The Dudkins newcomers show themselves to be as good musicians as those veterans. The highlights go to Andrey, whose melodic skills on keyboards are well balanced against Mitchell’s guitar soloing and Jowitt’s bass interplay. Being a fan of British Neo-Art Rock farther helps Andrey in his songwriting. Flash Range‘s sonority is therefore similar to that of bands like “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Europe”, “John Wetton”, “Asia”, “Arena”, “The Urbane”, “Kino”, “Jadis”, and “Mr. So & So” – having a strong lean towards the Pop side of the Neo-Progressive style. Because of that, Flash Range also reminds me of albums of “Rush”, “Camel”, “Genesis”, “Peter Gabriel”, and “Pink Floyd” that were released along the late 70’s and the 80’s. Of the four tracks featured on “On The Way”, the title track is really the most direct hit of the record. It opens the record with vigorous drumming of Andy Edwards and excellent synth solo by Andrey Dudkin. It goes on with a “Marillion” to “Rush” pace, being adorned with the customary brilliant solos of Mitchell. The following track - “Far From Home“ – begins with more weight on initial guitars, and change to a danceable pace, reminding me of “Asia”, “John Wetton”, “Peter Gabriel”, and even “U2”. Keyboards are Moog-like and soft. The third track is “Follow Me Now“ - a ballad, on which piano and vocals are the main instruments. It has a slightly sad mood that reminds me of epic moments of “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Genesis”, and “Mr. So & So”, with the excellent addition of a weeping guitar solo at the end. The closing track brings more variation within it, and therefore came out to be my favorite one: “Vision Of Sadness“ has a lively mood in contrast to the previous ballad, and features the best moments of Jowitt and Edwards rhythmic dialogues. They make the scaffold for Mitchell’s vocals. The guitars are a bit reminiscent of “Jadis”, and the entire song will surely please fans of “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Peter Gabriel” and “IQ”. My only disappointment was the short duration of all songs – around four minutes - what is not much for a Prog band. I would like to hear at least one single track with longer instrumental parts, including luring intros and many changes of pace. But maybe Flash Range members are keeping such things in secret for a next release. By now, Flash Range is marked by the high musical quality of its integrants, and will surely be a must have for Progressive fans that appreciate the most accessible side of bands like “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Asia”, “Rush”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Europe”, “Arena”, “Kino”, “IQ” and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in Flash Range are: John Mitchell – Vocals, Guitars; Andrey Dudkin – Keyboards; John Jowitt – Bass; Alexey Dudkin – Guitars; Andy Edwards - Drums. For more about and some samples visit MySpace Site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/05/2010........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FLASH RANGE HOME PAGE...
. THE REBEL WHEEL - "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks"
The Rebel Wheel originally branched out of a studio project David was involved with back in Toronto in 1991. He was asked to join a loose collabaration of players who were associated with Toronto band, Larry Stanley and the Family Jewels. It consisted of Gerry Fielding on drums and persussion, Ken Miskov on bass, Ed Campbell on bass, Ed Majkut on keyboards, David Campbell on guitar and bass and Larry Stanley on keyboards and voice. While a lot of the music was improvised, the players also arranged parts for Larry's band, as well as songs for their various projects. In 1993 Christopher Plock joined on alto, tenor, soprano, and bari saxes. Since moving to Ottawa in 1997, David and the other members weren't able to maintain their weekly jams and it became increasingly difficult to pursue gigs and write collectively. After the 2003 release of the first album, the band did some support gigs in Toronto and with the exception of some recording dates, basically went into hiatus. In 2005 David started another local Progressive Rock band "Casse-Tete" with drummer Chuck Ho and bassist Gary Lauzon. With the addition of Gregory Kampf on second guitar, the band started doing gigs, but the line-up never panned out the way David had hoped. After talking to Pelle and Per, it was decided that David would form a new ensemble using The Rebel Wheel name, and that made it possible for him to draft Gary Lauzon on bass, multi-instrumentalist Paul Joannis on guitars, keyboards, bass and drums and drum virtuoso Alain Bergeron on drums, keys and vocals, and Angie MacIvor on saxes, keys and vocals. With this lineup, they recorded the Album "Diagramma". In early 2008 however, both Paul and Alain had too many other commitments outside of the band. Alain was juggling his time between another Ottawa Prog band "Nathan Mahl", who he had played with years earlier and was drafted back in the fold shortly after he joined The Rebel Wheel. The band then had a new energy, direction and ultimately functioned better as a leaner four-piece than it had with more members. The lineup today is stronger than ever and they are busy writing new material for their new album. The Canadian guys from The Rebel Wheel are back again, after over three years and their highly acclaimed album "Diagramma", the band returns to the prog music scene, with their third full-length album called as "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks". The band is comprised of four extremely talented musicians, who do not concentrated in a single style, as experienced musicians, and knowing they are versatile, they are always researching new ideas for something not so common, searching for different conceptions among all musical styles. They know how to develop a intense music with a fantastic sound very well structured, combining a diverse range from musical elements such as Neo, Rio, Progressive Rock and Jazz Fusion. The band developed a instrumental that is always in constantly changing, and the style ranges widely between early 70's to the progressive music from present days, sometimes adding some symphonic conceptions, with an aggressive instrumental in some arrangements. To the best musical references, The Rebel Wheel members use clear influences from the greats like "Gentle Giant", "Frank Zappa", "King Crimson", "Van der Graaf Generator", "The Mars Volta" and "Rush", but it also include some symphonic elements from bands such as "Genesis" and "Yes", also adding touchs from some "Floydian's" era. "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks" is really a fascinating album, where the musicians on the band take us to an unique music experience and brilliantly executed, full of instrumental passages with harmonius vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums in a perfect harmony. The album was recorded at Shatered Wings Studio, produced by David Campbell for 10tRecords. A special and particular attention to and my favourite songs are: "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks", "Klak", "Wordplay", "Scales Of The Ebony Fish", "Scales Of The Ebony Fish" and "The Discovery Of Witchcraft" that in my opinion, I consider the best song on the album, with almost 30 min of a pure musical delight. The main musicians on the band are: David Campbell - Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass; Aaron Clark - Drums; Guy Dagenais - Bass, Vocals and Angie MacIvor - Saxes, Vocals, Keyboards, Guest musicians: Guy Degenais - 5 String and Fretless Bass on track "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks"; Guy Leblanc - Synth solo on "Scales Of The Ebony Fish" and Rick Barkhouse - Piano solo on "Discovery Part 5" . Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
05/05/2010............Interested to know more about this band and their history? Visit THE REBEL WHEEL HOME PAGE...
Aedos Cluster of The Waterfall is new band from the city of Rossano, Italy. It consists of Pietro Labonia (vocals, bass); Giuseppe Labonia (vocals and acoustic guitar); Alessandro Russo (keyboards); Serafino Zangaro (electric guitar) and Francesco Ferigo (drums). The band is presently rehearsing and working hardly, preparing new songs. By now, what I have in my CD player to write about is a Demo CD (“Aedos Cluster of the Waterfall”) containing just three songs: “Darkness pt. II” (5:01), “Jellyfish-Touch“ (6:12), and “Valentine’s Afternoon“ (3:32). The first two were recorded at Aura Project Studio (Italy) in 2009, while “Valentine’s Afternoon” is a home-recording made in 2005. Both recordings are quite audible. Differing from the Traditional Italian Progressive that one would expect to hear from a band of that country, Aedos Cluster decided to embrace the British Neo-Progressive style, featuring strong influences of bands like “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Arena”, “Fish”, “Mr. So & So”, and, to a less extent, “Pink Floyd”. The language used in the lyrics is English, constituting an extra factor to make their music to sound so “non-Italian”. Still in the beginning, Aedos Cluster‘s members show already some musical maturity, and know how to make melodies focusing on a soft background instrumentation (delicate acoustic and electric guitars, and piano are the main instruments) and on an emotionally sad vocal mood. The most dramatic moments come from the vocals of the Labonia brothers – one of them plays the leading vocalist and has a vocal register and singing style similar to “Peter Gabriel” and “Fish”. The Neo-Progressive elements are heard mainly on the two first tracks of this Demo, “Darkness pt. II” and “Jellyfish-Touch“ (my favorite, includes some hard guitar riffs). The third track - “Valentine’s Afternoon“ – differs from the previous two by being a British folk-ballad, with beautiful tunes that remind me of “Mr. So and So”, also having a slightly accent of “Pink Floyd” on vocals. Although Aedos Cluster does not sound much original at the present moment, their compositions are well structured, and show some potential to put the band into the Neo-Prog segment. As long as the band members keep evolving musically, songs might improve in the future, even including something of their own. A band to be watched, Aedos Cluster is presently recommended for Neo-Prog fans of “Marillion”, “Fish”, “Arena”, “Mr. So and So” and so on. Band members involved in Aedos Cluster of The Waterfall are: Pietro Labonia - Vocals, Bass; Giuseppe Labonia - Vocals and Acoustic Guitar; Alessandro Russo – Piano and Synthesizers; Serafino Zangaro - Electric Guitar and Francesco Ferigo – Drums, Percussion...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2010.......Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AEDOS CLUSTER OF THE WATERFALL HOME PAGE...
. DOUBT - "Never Pet a Burning Dog"
Doubt is a new super-trio emerging from the horizon of the British Free-Jazz scene. It consists of Alex Maguire (keyboards), Michel Delville (guitar and guitar synths), and Tony Bianco (drums). The band still counts with the participation of a very special guest, the bassist and singer Richard Sinclair (“Caravan”, “Camel”, and “Hatfield and the North”). All of them are already veteran musicians, and their credentials are really impressive. Alex Maguire is regarded as one of Britain’s most talented keyboard player, going from Progressive Rock to Electric Jazz. He has played with important names of both fields, like “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “Psychic Warrior”, “Pip Pyle’s BASH”, “Evan Parker”, “Elton Dean”, “Alex Maguire-Michael Moore Duo”, “Tony Oxley”, “Han Bennink” and his own Sextet “Brewed in Belgium”. Michel Delville is a Belgium-born guitarist whose most recent projects include the internationally acclaimed Jazz-Rock quintet “The Wrong Object” (which has collaborated with British Jazz musicians “Elton Dean”, “Harry Beckett” and “Annie Whitehead”). Other recent projects include punk-jazz combo “TZGIV”, the rock quintet “The Moving Tones”, and also “Brewed in Belgium” (Maguire’s Sextet). Drummer Tony Bianco was born in New York City. He has collaborated with some of the most important names of the Jazz scene, like “Dave Liebman”, “Evan Parker”, “Paul Dunmall”, “Elton Dean”, “Alex von Schlippenbach”, “Simon Picard”, “Reggie Workman”, “Keith Tippett”, “Elliot Levine”, “Luther Thomas”, and “Jay Oliver”. His most recent releases include “Vesuvius”, “Line Ish”, “In a Western Sense”, “Free Beat” and “Monkey Dance”. Those three gifted musicians joined together in a jam session that was recorded live in the studio, resulting in Doubt’s debut album: “Never Pet a Burning Dog” (Moonjune Records, 2010). The CD is receiving great reviews from the specialized press. Although I am not a Jazz specialist, I can realize that “Never Pet a Burning Dog” brings substantial music with fresh airs that go through innovative ways. The album fuses Free-Jazz and Jazz-Rock with the Progressive Sound of the Canterbury Scene; still making some incursions into the Experimental, Heavy Prog, and even Metal terrains. Improvisation, odd melodies, and cool moods opposed to energetic moments proliferate along this album. The list of influences, besides the names above mentioned, also includes “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Caravan”, “Camel” “National Health”, “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, and “Terje Rypdal”. From the 8 tracks of “Never Pet a Burning Dog”, only two have vocals (performed by "Richard Sinclair"). They are the opening track (“Corale di San Luca”, a beautiful tune with gothic-religious vocals, reminding me of “Focus”); and the excellent “Passing Cloud“, on which Sinclair’s vocals merge with dynamic-paced drums and cool jazzy moods, sounding like an innovative mix of Free-Jazz with the traditional Canterbury Sound. Lovers of the Free-Jazz style will appreciate the new version of “Terje Rypdal’s“ “Over Birkerot“ (arranged by Delville to include mysterious moods, rumbling guitars and enigmatic Indian bass lines), and “Sea“ (a madrigal on which watery electric pianos combine with flowing drums to sound like the ocean waves). But Jazz fans will be impressed by the second track, “Laughter“, which is marked by a stormy torrent of sounds. The trio, however, has spared their most innovative and experimental pieces to the end. I really loved “Cosmic Surgery“, on which cosmic keyboards and ethereal moods merge with Heavy Metal drums and guitars, transforming this song in a almost Prog-Metal version of “Camel” or “Caravan”. The two last tracks of the album feature Doubt’s experimental side, having influences of “Zappa” and “King Crimson”: “Aeon“ was composed by Bianco, and is made of unique drum signatures that support free soloing sections by Delville and Maguire. The closing track - “Beppe’s Shelter“ – will please Progressive Fans fond of the Canterbury Style, thanks to the combination of flutes with Jazz-Rock riffs, resembling a blend of “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Zappa” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. An excellent band in their own genre, Doubt is specially recommended for Free-Jazz, Jazz-Rock, and Canterbury Scene lovers. Band members and collaborators involved in Doubt are: Alex Maguire – Fender Rhodes Piano, Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Synthesizers; Michel Delville – Electric Guitar, Roland GR-09; Tony Bianco – Drums. Special guest: Richard Sinclair – Vocals (1,5), Bass Guitar (1, 2)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2010...................................,Want to learn everything about this amazing musicians, visit DOUBT HOME PAGE...
. S.Y.F.T. - "Last Chance For A Legacy"
S.Y.F.T. is a new band emerging from the Seattle Metal Scene. It was formed in August 2005 by Sean Ingalls (vocals), Nick Switzer (drums), Taylor Klise (guitar), and Eric Sorensen (bass). Band members spent the last five years working hard, an effort that culminated in the release of their independent debut CD “Last Chance For A Legacy” (2008). The record impresses by the already matured sound that it brings. Born and raised in Seattle’s Northwest during the glorious days of Grunge Metal, it in not a surprise that S.Y.F.T.’s strongest influences stem directly from iconic bands of that epoch, such as “Soundgarden”, “Alice in Chains”, “Nirvana”, and “Pearl Jam”. But influences of other North American New Metal and Thrash Metal bands also play an important role on their music, mainly coming from “Slipknot”, “Korn”, “Deftones”, “Mudvayne”, “Machine Head”, “Killswitch Engage”, and later works of “Metallica“ and “Testament”. But some far echoes of “Type O Negative”, “System of a Down”, “Linking Park” (without the Rap vocals), “Tool”, and even Brazilian “Sepultura” and British “Black Sabbath” can be heard on their music. Those influences are compacted into a dense wall of sound, on which heavy hammering guitars with near-zero soloing, high-density bass, furious drumming and raging vocals stand all time on the edge, leaving no space for the weak (Progressive and Melodic Metal fans should therefore keep some distance from this band). The band’s stamina is endless and the adrenaline is sustained at high levels. There is no waste of time - songs range from 3 to 5 minutes, restlessly spanking you during each second. In resume, S.Y.F.T.’s  “Last Chance For A Legacy” is a totally sugar-free, full-of-wrath visceral album. The intro “Melange“ (with 44 seconds) is attached to “Good Cop Bad Cop“, an excellent opening song in the verve of “Slipknot”. On the following sequence made of “Away“, “Abolished“, and “Bruised & Broken“ there is a predominance of Thrash riffs (like “Metallica” and “Testament”), but still enveloped in a dense – but kinetic - matrix of Grunge and New Metal, with influences of “Soundgarden”, “Alice In Chains”, “Korn” and “Slipknot”. The initial riffs of “Bruised & Broken“ reminds me of “Black Sabbaths’s” classic “War Pigs”, but it follows like a Progressive Thrash, fusing “Metallica” with “Korn” and “Slipknot”. From this point on, S.Y.F.T. complicates its sound even more, adding in their melting pot influences of “Deftones”, “Linking Park”, and even “Tool”, resulting in a chain of best tracks: “Redeemer“ (which gradually grows furiously), “KGBT“ (with an experimental lean to “Tool”), and “Becoming“ (cadenced like a train overloaded with iron ore, having echoes of “Black Sabbath” and featuring an amazing vocal duet by Ingalls and guest singer Trina Mills). Going to the extreme of brutality, the album still brings “My Legacy“ and “Nameless” – both influenced by “Slipknot” and “Sepultura”. The solitary ballad ”The Sky is Falling” slows down to a “Pear Jam” pace, closing this all-primeval album. S.Y.F.T. is specially recommended for Thrash, Grunge and New Metal fans who like to feel things getting really heavy. Would you like to hear some samples visit S.Y.F.T.'s MySpace site. Band members and collaborators involved in S.Y.F.T. are: Eric Sorensen – Bass; Nick Switzer – Drums; Taylor Klise – Guitar; Sean Ingalls – Vocals. Guest vocalist: Trina Mills (on “Becoming”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2010..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit S.Y.F.T. HOME PAGE...
. CRAIG MAHER - "Propel"
Craig Maher is a North American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter from New York. His career spans already twenty years, during which he was able to gather fans around the Big Apple’s Metropolitan area. He has made presentations in Los Angeles and Europe. He also composed the music score for Kevin Jordan’s film "Brooklyn Lobster" (2005). Maher’s debut album – “Propel” – was released in 2009 by the independent label Shine On Records, NY. The cover design was conceived by Maher himself, who is a fan of the legendary Design group “Hipgnosis”. Aside from Maher (guitars, vocals, compositions), the CD counts with participation of Dave Fish (bass, production) and drummers Asaf Shor and Steve Decker. Guest musicians are Benny Harrison (piano, organ), Tom Jones (piano), and Tomer Hoffman (violin). Maher’s style is tagged, according to his own words, as “Cosmic Contemporary”. This means that, as a composer, he establishes a mystic and spiritual “cosmic” bond with the contemporary musical diversity, like his favorite musicians usually do (namely “David Bowie”, “Lenny Kravitz”, and “U2”). Maher’s influences come from many different sources: guitar players (“Jeff Beck”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Todd Rundgren” “David Crosby”, “Pat Metheny”, “Eric Johnson”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Lenny Kravitz”, “Steve Vai”, “Slash”, “Michael Hedges”); singers (“David Bowie”, “Joni Mitchell”, “Tori Amos”, “Bruce Dickinson”);  Hard and Progressive Rock of the 70’s (“Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Gong”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Brian Eno”); and assorted post-70’s bands (“U2”, “Tribal Tech”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Talk Show”). Even Classical (“Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart”); Jazz (“Chet Baker”); Electronic (“Nitin Sawhney”), Indian and Arabic music find their space among Maher’s preferences. The resulting sonority coming from this diversity is really eclectic. It is surely not a Progressive sonority, but if you are willing to listen to a good, honest and clear-cut Rock record, “Propel” is the item for you. Along its eight tracks, the listener will bounce with the groovy and sticky riffs of “Propel” and “Living in the Utopia”. The first one is based on the Hard Rock of the seventies, and will please fans of “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple” “Glenn Hughes” and “Whitesnake”. The second is a modern Hard Rock with “cosmic” guitar solos that reminds me of “Lenny Kravitz”. Speaking of “cosmic” things, the cadenced pace of “Cosmic Ride”, coupled with excellent vocal tunes, make an outstanding song in the verve of old-times “David Bowie” (“Ziggy Stardust” era). Some Indian scales are heard on this song’s background, but the Asian influences are further explored on “Where I Belong” – one of the hits of this album – which combines Arabian violins (by guest musician Tomer Hoffman) with a contagious “U2”-like beat (including guitars in the style of “The Edge”). Profiting from the dancing hook, the following song is an updated version of “Todd Rundgren’s” hit “Open My Eyes”, which features a kind of 70’s atmosphere, thanks to Benny Harrison‘s keyboards. For those who like sad ballads, be sure that Craig Maher will let nobody down – for he is a master on the matter. And he really knows how to put his soul and emotions on both strings and voice – something very important for a “cosmic” composer. “Propel” brings three ballads that are beautiful and flawless: “Ten Thousand Dreams” with British airs, is highlighted by the piano of Tom Jones. “Summer” features American folk acoustic guitars, being crowned by a slide-guitar solo (Maher’s vocals are exceptional on this one). The bitter-sweet “War of the Roses” is based on acoustic guitars and delicate melodies, closing magnificently this excellent album. Craig Maher is really a talented musician, and it is a shame that he remains unknown to the great public. The release of “Propel” should mend things, attracting upon him the attention he deserves. Craig Maher is highly recommended for fans of old, honest and good Hard Rock. Would you like to hear some samples visit Craig Maher's MySpace site. Band members and collaborators involved with Craig Maher are: Craig Maher – Vocals, Coral Sitar, Oud, Acoustic, Electric and Synth Guitars; Dave Fisch – Electric Bass; Asaf Shor – Drums (tracks 2,4,6,7); Steve Decker – Drums (tracks 5,8). Guest musicians: Benny Harrison – Piano, Organ; Tom Jones – Piano; Tomer Hoffman – Violin; Steve DeAcutis – Backing vocals, engineering, mixing, and mastering...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2010........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit CRAIG MAHER HOME PAGE...
. BLATHERSKITE - "Where the Wasteland Ends"
Blatherskite is a surprising band coming from Sydney, Australia! It was founded in 1995 by Tim Kyoko Lim Sands (guitars, backing vocals) and Brendan Davie (drums) - with the aim of  “exploring boundaries, examining incongruities and championing the ridiculous”, and to play something more experimental and artistic than regular Punk Rock. They were later joined by Nick Goryl (vocals) and Stewart Horsfield (guitars, bass, screams). The band recorded at least three self produced albums, but only “Three Worlds” (2005) is currently available at their website. Their fourth release - “Where the Wasteland Ends” (2009) is inspired on a book written around the 70's by Russian Philosopher Theodore Roszack. The booklet includes a comic story by Timothy LaMont - an amazing artwork that is totally adjusted to Blatherskite’s kind of sound. And what a sound - a blend of Post-Metal, Psychedelic Thrash Metal and Industrial Metal that follows the line of bands like “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Deftones”, “Opeth”, and “Voivod“ (albums “Dimension Hatross” and “Nothingface”), with the extra goal of being stamped with its own distinctiveness and originality. The music of Blatherskite is like a dense and slimy layer of oil that clings to your skin and penetrates the pores, killing you slowly by anoxia – or quickly, by fire ignition. The instrumental is structured over juxtaposition of two guitars – one is down-tuned, playing either slow heavy riffs (like “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle” or “Deftones”), or middle-paced Thrash-Psychedelic riffs (like “Jane’s Addiction”, “Opeth”, “Voivod”). The second guitar keeps doing unusual guitar riffs, psychedelic solos, electronic sound effects, or producing atmospheric melodies (like “Tool” and “Porcupine Tree”). Bass is explosive and stout, following the down-tuned guitar. Drums are tribal, aggressive, and destructive. Nick Goryl is an amazing vocalist. He alternates aggressive with whispering passages, in a style that evokes “Maynard James Keenan” (“Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”). The impressive slow vocals superposed to the mutual attack of guitars, bass and drums are also reminiscent of bands like “Deftones” and “Tool”. Lyrics reflect the nightmares and visions of Tim Lim, provoked by the traumas of modern life. “Blatherskite’s “Where the Wasteland Ends” was to be produced by Sylvia Massy (Engineer/ Producer of “Tool”, “System of a Down”), who regarded the band as “freaking cool”. Due to financial constraints, however, the recording took place at Dave Hammer’s Studio (Sydney). The album features ten tracks. The first four - “Majestic“, “The Other“, “Third Day Fear“ and “Dogs“ - make a sequence of straightforward short songs that contain a considerable concentration of Thrash, Psychedelic and Industrial Metal elements. My favorites are “Majestic” and “Dogs”, which have airs of “Jane’s Addiction” on riffs and vocals, mixed to a Post-Metal main matrix. “Third Day Fear” is faster and leans to the Thrash-Psychedelic sound of “Voivod” and “Opeth”. The fifth track - “FYC“ – brings melancholic moods coupled with psychedelic guitar effects, allowing a pause to breath, before the band to plunge deeper into Post-Metal style. This is represented by another four-track segment made of “Icarus“, “Serpent Hive“, “Money to Burn“, and “Complication“. From these, the long epic songs “Icarus” and “Complication” (each one surpassing 9 minutes) represent Blatherskite‘s best investment in songwriting and composition – and are comparable to the best songs of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, and “Porcupine Tree”. The tribal drums of “Serpent Hive” make me think of “Voivod” again, while the screaming voice on “Money to Burn” represents an attempt to arrive at the extreme Post-Metal edge of “Isis” (album “Oceans”). “Where the Wasteland Ends” closes with “…And You Thought You’d Die Alone”, a great instrumental track on which a tribal drumming induces the feeling of being lost in the heart of Australia – alerting everyone that this record, as the continent, should not be trodden by the weak. Blatherskite is cold-blooded Metal with red guts, being highly recommended for fans of Post-Metal, Psychedelic-Thrash Metal, Industrial Metal, and Heavy-Prog. Band members and collaborators involved in Blatherskite are: Nick Goryl – Vocals; Tim Kyoko Lim Sands – Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Programming; Brendan Davie – Drums; Stewart Horsfield – Guitars, Bass, Scream. On the stage: Nick Goryl – Vocals; Tim Lim – Guitars, Matt Newton – Guitars; Lukasz Szezpanik – Bass; Louis Rosin – Drums. Comic book & characters are by Timothy LaMont (Morbid Sheep) and Blatherskite...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2010...............................For more details and in the meantime please check out BLATHERSKITE HOME PAGE...
. ASTRONAUT DOWN - "Moths To The Flame"
Astronaut Down is a North American band based in New York. The line-up consists of Keith Bowen (vocals), Jeremy Daigle (guitar), Andrew Bortnyk (guitar), Joe Morse (bass) and Phil Lherisson (drums). The band released an independent concept album in 2007 - “God’s Eye” – and is now back with “Moths to the Flame” (2010). Astronaut Down makes music in a way that is becoming even more common nowadays – fusing influences that represent the most different Heavy Rock subgenres that appeared during the last 30 years. Many bands that follow a similar line have been reviewed here in this site (“The Vital Might“, “Jolly”, “Chest Rockwell”, “The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra”, “Aeon Zen”, and others).The musical formula of Astronaut Down, for instance, comprises Alternative Rock, Punk Rock, Garage Rock, Hardcore, New Metal, Post-Metal, Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, Experimental and Tech Metal, with bits of British Neo-Progressive. The respective list of influences includes bands like “Coheed And Cambria”, “Circa Survive”, “Damiera”, “Dredg”, “Muse”, “The Mars Volta”, ”Incubus”, “Minus The Bear”, “Sunny Day Real Estate”, “Thrice”, “Engine Down”, “Cave-In”, “Killswitch Engage”, “System of a Down”, “Fair To Midland”, “Fall Of Troy”, “Hum”, “King Crimson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Meshuggah”, “Opeth”, “Tool”, “Genesis”, “Marillion” and “Mr. So & So”. The result is a kind of “musical brew” that is difficult to tag or classify, but reflects the eclecticism of youngsters today – who are able to easily assimilate this new music. Astronaut Down’s new album features ten tracks. The compositions keep oscillating from soft and atmospheric moods to heavy and furious moments. Vocals go after the instrumental, by alternating soft tunes (like on British Neo-Prog) with visceral screaming (like “Killswitch Engage” and “System of a Down”). Guitars follow the pattern – alternating delicate sounds with roaring heavy riffs – but solos are really melodic and well elaborated. Bass and drums are varied, and an expressive dose of polyrhythmic drum passages are employed. Groovy to Space-Rock bass lines are heard here and there. The opening and closing tracks – “Moths pt. 1 and pt.2“ feature acoustic guitars, soft vocals and piano, resembling Neo-Prog bands (“Marillion”, “Mr. So & So”). That British melancholic touch is also heard on the delicate guitars of “Light“, and on the instrumental “Interlude“ (also reminiscent of “Dredge” and “Sunny Day Real Estate”). But before one may think that Astronaut Down is all kindness and softness, tracks 2, 3, and 4 show how deceitful a first hearing may be. Track 2 - “Starfall“ – is heavy, raging, and furious, and follows the line of bands like “Coheed and Cambria”, “Muse” and “Fair to Midland”. The following two tracks - “Dissection“ and “Back to Zero“ – emerge as the best of this album. “Dissection“ has cool bass and drums interspersed with heavy Post-Metal guitars and Neo-Prog vocals, combining “Cave-In”, “Damiera” “Porcupine Tree”, and “Tool”. “Back to Zero“ is grounded on Prog-Metal guitar riffs slightly like “Dream Theater”, “Fall Of Troy” or “Meshuggah” alternated with soft atmospheric moments like “Porcupine Tree” and “Opeth”. There are excellent Metal guitar solos on this song, but the last vocal lines - like “System of a Down” – could have been dropped out. Those kind of vocals work better on “Our Greatest Mistake“ and “Colossus“ (both with a Hardcore-New Metal verve). “Colossus”, at least, features interesting drum beats (similar to “Circa Survive” and “Dredge”). Also worth of mention is track 7 - “Running Down“ - with Space-Rock intro, soft vocals, and groovy metal riffs, it sounds like a combination of “Damiera”, “Dredge”, and “Coheed and Cambria”. Although not being original or extraordinary, Astronaut Down’s “Moths to The Flame” features good musicians, good compositions, and should be recommended for Alternative Rock fans of the younger generations. Astronaut Down is recommended for fans of “Cave-In”, “Circa Survive”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Damiera”, “Dredg”, “Engine Down”, “Fair To Midland”, “Fall Of Troy”, “Hum”, “Killswitch Engage”, “The Mars Volta”, “Muse”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Thrice”, “Tool”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Astronaut Down are: Keith Bowen – Vocals; Jeremy Daigle – Guitar; Andrew Bortnyk – Guitar; Joe Morse – Bass; Phil Lherisson – Drums. Guest musicians: Jessie Alois - Additional Vocals; Jon Samson - Piano on “Moths Part 2”. Album artwork by Alice Meichi Li...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2010..........Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to ASTRONAUT DOWN HOME PAGE...
. OUTOPSYA - "Sum"
Outopsya (acronym of OUT Of PSYchical Activity) is a new band from Rovereto, Trento (Italy). It was founded in 2003 by Luca Vianini (guitars, vocals, synthesizers, drums score, compositions, production, engineering, mastering) and Evan Mazzucchi (bass), who regard a personal computer - nicknamed Mr. PC - as a third, multifunctional “member” of the band. Outopsya also works in close collaboration with Ylenia Zenatti (female vocals). From 2004 to 2009 Outopsya evolved thoroughly taking part in many festivals and competitions in Italy, often ending as winners or semi-finalists, with their integrants winning several “best musician” awards. Some compositions have been included in CD compilations. In that time, Outopsya self-produced four demo-CDs: “Out Of Psychical Activity” (2003); “Demo 504” (2004); “LiveDemoN 205” (2005); and “Frames of Our MadNess” (2006). In 2007, a quintet dubbed Outopsya Ensemble (including oboe, Glockenspiel, and percussion) performed during a presentation of the classic silent movie “Der Golem” (1920), commissioned by Circolo del Cinema Effetto Notte. The show was recorded on DVD (“Der Golem live”, 2007). In 2009 Outopsya finally released their debut album - “Sum” - by independent label Videoradio. The record was winner of Progwards 4th Edition in the category “Best Progattitudes Record”. Outopsya makes avant-garde Experimental Music by creatively blending elements of Heavy-Prog, Prog-Metal, Math-Metal, Tech-Metal, Industrial, and Psychedelic-Metal. Vianini and Mazzucchi are both excellent musicians that get deeply involved with their ideas and experiments. Outopsya’s compositions are long, containing many instrumental parts and abrupt twists. Strange melodies are always flowing out of the record, and technological sound effects generated by Mr. PC really act in favor of the songs. Outopsya‘s sonority – grounded on the locked integration of Vianini’s jagged guitars and Mazzucchi’s metallic bass - reminds me of bands like “King Crimson”, “Anekdoten”, “Anglagard”, “Primus”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Watchtower”, “Blotted Science”, “Spastic Ink”, and even “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and “The Gathering”. Defying standard classifications, this band should be put in the same box with other “difficult-to-tag” acts, like “Ozric Tentacles”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Blatherskite” and “Diablo Swing Orchestra”. “Sum” brings 8 tracks (mostly sung in English), each one exploring a different musical path. The opening track - “Lords of Hate“ – brings 8 minutes of Heavy-Prog alternated with Psychedelic-Prog, sounding like a blend of “Anglagard”, “Anekdoten”, “Porcupine Tree”, “King Crimson”, and “Primus”. Ylenia Zenatti appears as leading vocalist on “Möthal“ and “Don’t Mind”. The first one has odd-funky-fusion parts, like “Primus” and “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, while the slow-cadenced and psychedelic “Don’t Mind“ sounds like a cross-over of “A Perfect Circle” with “The Gathering”. Between those two, the short “Mus“ combines the Math/Tech-Metal of bands like “Watchtower”, “Spastic Ink”, and “Blotted Science” with a dark choir of male vocals (sung in Italian), creating something that might be called “Zeuhl-Metal”. This line of experimentation is further explored on “Sandness“, a 10-minute long epic on which Prog–Symphonic and Gothic elements are harmonized with tenebrous male vocals, impressing the listener with a disturbing sensation only present on “Tool’s” darkest tracks. Speaking a little more of Metal, the linked tracks “Tarred Life“ and “Mechanical 7“ are abundant in Prog-Metal riffs in the vein of “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Rush”. “Mechanical 7”, for instance, sounds like a dark version of “Rush’s” song “Xanadu”. “Sum”, the album, closes with “Sum“, the track – an experimental piece that explores the use of computers as musical devices. As the title suggests, this track sums up the entire record in only 7 minutes, as if someone had pushed the fast-forward button. The resulting noise works as a rhythmic background for this song, exemplifying how the use of computer technology may achieve musical goals. All in all, Outopsya’s “Sum” is one of the best albums that I have recently listened to – original, innovative, and outstanding. Highly recommended for fans of Heavy-Psychedelic-Prog in general, and a must-have item for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool”, “Spastic Ink”, and the like. Band members and collaborators involved in Outopsya are: Luca Vianini – Guitars, Vocals, Synths, Drums Score, Compositions, Production, Engineering, Mastering; Evan Mazzucchi – Bass; Ylenia Zenatti – Vocals; Michela Eccheli - CD illustration and design...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/13/2010................,,,...........,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit OUTOPSYA HOME PAGE...
. DEVA - "Between Life And Dreams"
Deva takes intially shape when opera singer Beatrice Palumbo (22 years old, singer who received her musical education by the Conservatory of Milan G. Verdi) met with Federico Salerno (26 years old, guitarist and composer) and Miriam Stallone (24 years old bass player). The idea is to create a brand new concept to combine female opera vocals with progressive rock metal. The first step soon after was to get into a studio and record 5 original tracks, followed by a few concerts as well as festivals and contests, further to new compositions and the research of a proper line up; this is when keyboards start to be introduced to some of the songs by keyboardist Marco Castiglione, who officially enter the band's line up along with drummer Thomas D'Alba, to complete what is up to date the Deva line up. The band has now recorded the first full-length album titled "Between Life And Dreams", which was entirely produced by the band. The recording were completed at the end of 2009, mixed by Lorenzo Ardoni (SteelNight Studios) and mastered by Alberto Cutolo (Massive Arts, Milan). Some weeks ago Nico from RNC Music sent me a message, telling me about a new young Progresive Rock Metal band came from Milan, Italy, as I always say, I´m big fan from all Prog Rock italian bands, of course, I decided to listen carefully the album and the band's instrumental. To my delight, at the first hearing of the album, I considered Deva as a magnificent demonstration for a new generation who knows how to capture and combine the best musical ideas into the styles such as Progressive Rock and Symphonic Melodic Metal, introducing Opera's vocals, and you can believe, for me was an amazing surprise. These young musicians from the Deva, developed a kind of music in such extension that, is a correctly musical formula for all kind of actual progressive rock fans in any part of this planet. Their music is based in an epic of immense proportions with stunning instrumental play and a diversity of arrangements and musical soundscapes that will leave you breathless. Their musical influences range around sounds into an symphonic melodic metal together with the progressive rock, driven by precise and very dynamic rhythms, the keyboards add a touch of a style into the seventies, the energetic guitars are too heavy to be considered progressive rock, but the solos are classically developed into the Progressive Metal style, perfect bass lines, including a solid and vibrant drums. But the musical's epic is on the vocals, where Beatrice Palumbo complements the instrumental apex, her voices is the soul of the music, she knows how to create an immersive atmosphere, around intense orchestration, her vocal range is divided between two levels of tone and with a similar mixture of Simone Simons ("Epica") and Tarja Turunen ("Nightwish"), as if the two voices heard in a single voice, alternating between instrumental parts which intensity range into an explosive energy, generated by her vocal performance always present into the songs, pure melody and full of interesting ideas. It´s not necessary go into a song-by-song analysis, if you get the chance I recommend you to listen the songs: "Breathe", "Your Voice", "Dancing Lane", "New Essence", "Out: in Fog", "Love And Faith", "Fading From Here" (in my opinon, the best song on the album), "Karma pt. 1-1969-Scape", "Karma pt. 2-1949-Open Water" and "Karma pt. 3-1996-In Veins" and you will realise that you are listening at something amazing. "Between Life And Dreams" is an excellent release which showcases the performing of a potential energy from a new musicians generation, an album that certainly in a few time, will place them as one of the best Melodic Symphonic Progressive Rock Metal groups around the world. "Between Life And Dreams" will be available onRNC Music/Orion's Belt Records, distributed by Self. The musicians on this amazing band are: Beatrice Palumbo - Lead Vocals and Baroque Viola, Federico "Friedrik"  Salermo - Guitars, Piano and Vocals, Myriam Stallone - Bass and Backing Vocals, Marco "Hyblos" Castiglione  - Keyboards and Thomas D´Allba - Drums. Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
06/13/2010.....................For more information about the musicians and their history, visit DEVA OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. ÜBERFALL - "So Uferlos im Abendwind"
Überfall is one of many projects of Swiss saxophone-maverick Markus Stauss. Born in Basel, 1954, he graduated as a Music Teacher and soon was acting in the local Rock and Jazz scenes. He founded or co-founded many projects along his career, such as “Echoes” (a.k.a. the “Stauss-Anliker-Kayser-Vogt” quartet); “Spaltklang” (a medieval-like quartet with modern instrumentation); “Ulterior Lux” (with archguitarist “Jean Chaine”); “Trank Zappa Grappa in Varése?” (with “Michel Delville” and “Laurent Delchambre”, two integrants of “The Wrong Object”); and “Zauss” (formerly known as “Neolithicum Duo”, with guitarist “Francesco Zago”). He also participated on “Zago’s” project “Yugen”, and on “Finnegans Wake’s” album “The Bird and the Sky Above”. Überfall was one of Stauss’ earlier projects, and existed as a trio from 1986 to 1991. Besides Stauss (sax, keys, flutes, digital horn, programming, and vocals), the group was formed by co-founder Pit Kayser (keyboards, vocals) and Andi Muckenhirn (drums, percussion). The guest musicians were Jean Chaine (electric bass), Caroline Fahrni (violin) and Andre Müller (alto sax, baritone sax). During its short life, Überfall released four records: “... In alle Ewigkeit” (1986),  “Neuschnee” (1987), “Nr. 3” (1989) and “Next to Silence” (1991), only available as vinyl LPs by Fazzul Music. The present record - “So Uferlos im Abendwind” (1994, Music is Intelligence) is a compilation of those albums, and Überfall’s sole release on CD. The record brings 15 tracks, part instrumental, and part with vocals (sung in German). Überfall’s music is lively, vigorous, unusual, and modern - and difficult to categorize. Influences ranging from Classic Jazz, Modern Jazz, Avant-garde Jazz, R.I.O., Eclectic Prog, and even Medieval and Academic Contemporaneous Music merge together in compositions that are structured over multi-layered patterns containing diverse tones and textures. Abrupt changes of rhythm, pace, and mood are common, as well as oscillations between harmony and disharmony. Solos of saxophones, keyboards, and bass are frequent, featuring much improvisation. Violins, if present, push the songs towards the R.I.O. stylistics (resembling “Univers Zéro”). Vocals are satirical-harlequinesque, reminding me of “Zappa”, “Gong”, and “Ange”. The overall sonority resembles “Zappa”, “Gong”, “Gentle Giant”, “Univers Zéro”, “John Zorn”, “Kraan”, “Colosseum”, “National Health” and “The Wrong Object”. But Überfall’s main attraction is Markus Stauss and his absolutely unique sax-playing style. His own influences come from Rock (“Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”); Jazz-Rock and Fusion (“Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Tony Williams Lifetime”); Jazz (the saxophonists “Jan Garbarek”, “Gato Barbieri”, “Albert Ayler”); Contemporary (“Edgard Varèse”, “Luigi Nono”, “Fausto Romitelli”, and “Harrison Birtwistle”); and Medieval- Renaissance (“Guillaume Dufay”). He re-invented the sax in much the same way that “Ian Anderson” (“Jethro Tull”) has made with the flute – making use of disdainful tones, mocking maneuvers, chirping noises and whistler-like sounds that surprise and drag the attention of the listener. By weaving vibrant, hectic and free-flowing bitter-sweet melodies - without loosing his technical expertise – Stauss takes the central position that once belonged to the guitar-hero, turning anyone who dislikes saxophones into an idolater of the instrument. From the 15 tracks of this compilation, my highlights go to the instrumental compositions “Treibsand“ (with a medieval touch); “Sprachlos“ (with a “Gentle Giant” rhythmic base), “Uferlos“ (a tense “Zappa”-“Univers Zéro”-“Colosseum” triad, with terrorizing sax effects), “Eiszeit“ (that alternates “Kraan”, “Zappa”, and “Colosseum”, with Progressive melodies and destructive bass), and “Rock“ (with a lean to the Canterbury sounds, with Prog-like solos of sax and synths). Those who are fond of the Canterbury Scene will also appreciate “24“, specially the Jazz-Rock pace and saxophone/bass solos. Among the vocal songs, the best are “Nah und Fern“ (a long piece with satiric vocals); “Kulturbetrieb“ (a dark piece with mechanized vocals); “So Froh“ (with a circus-air); and the excellent “Alles Klar“ (with rhythmic vocalizations). Those who like softer moods will appreciate the happier “Positives Lied“; “Oh Mensch“ (a Jazz-Pop); “Alles im Griff“ (a Jazz-Rock with Canterbury influence); and the instrumental “Happiness“ (with a lovely Latin influence). The instrumental “Abendwind“ (with soft Asiatic percussion) closes the compilation, reminding us that Überfall was really a brilliant and unique band. I hope that their complete discography will be re-released on CD someday, making their extraordinary work available to everyone. Highly Recommended! Band members and collaborators involved in Überfall are: Markus Stauss – Saxes, Additional Keyboards, Flutes, Delay + Sampling, Loops, Digital Horn, Sequence Programming, Vocals; Pit Kayser – Keyboards, Vocals; Andi Muckenhirn – Drums, Percussion. Guest musicians: Jean Chaine – Bass (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10); Caroline Fahrni, Violin (tr. 1, 2, 6, 10); Andre Müller, Alto Sax (tr. 3, 10), Baritone Sax (tr. 1, 6, 10)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/27/2010..............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit ÜBERFALL HOME PAGE...
. CANOBLISS - "Man Is The Enemy"
Canobliss is a Heavy Metal band from San Diego, California. It was founded in 1997 by Samson Pedroza (guitar) and Chenzo Vidalez (bass). In 1998, they released an independent debut album - “Wicked Necessary”. The original lineup suffered many changes until 2004, when the brothers Mike (drums) and Jon Russo (guitar) came in. In that year, Canobliss released a second independent album – “Demon Angel”. Unsatisfied with their vocalist, Canobliss spent the following two years in search of a new front-man, until finding Johan Maldonado. With the new formation the band released two more independent records – “Liberation of Dissonance” (2007), and “Psychothermia” (2008). After a “San Diego Music Awards” nomination, Canobliss toured intensively across the western USA - playing alive, selling albums and promoting their music through radio airplay and online. By making this, they gathered a large fan base without compromising their musical independence. Their fifth and newest album – “Man Is The Enemy” (2010) was also entirely self-produced; being arranged and mixed in their home studio (C.V. Studios). With this album, ther band hopes to take advantage of the different ethnic, generational and style backgrounds of their integrants to break musical boundaries and surprise the world, thus escaping from the underground obscurity. Their main influences come from Thrash Metal and New-Metal bands (like “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Nuclear Assault”, “Whiplash”, “Testament”, “Anthrax”, “Blessed Death”, “Overkill”, “Exodus”, “Dark Angel”, “Flotsam & Jetsam“, “Hades”, “Pantera”, “Slipknot”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Deftones”, “Alice in Chains”, “Hatebreed”, “Disturbed”, “System of a Down”, and “Mudvayne”); but even “Tool”, “Black Sabbath”, and “Jimi Hendrix” have been cited as influences of the band. The result is a confluent sonority that blends the aggressive cadences and visceral vocals of New Metal with the energetic drumming and fast dazzling guitar riffs of Thrash Metal – including a plus that is not found in other bands very often – the profusion of incisive guitar solos – solos that remind me of “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Dark Angel”, “Onslaught”, “Coroner“, “Testament”, “Exodus”, “Blessed Death” and so on. “Man Is The Enemy” features 11 slamming tracks, and is that kind of record that the more you listen to, the more you like it. The lyrics reflect the harshness of the world we live in, bringing a substantial emotional load within them. All songs are absolutely raging, crude and breath-taking, being hard to pick any favorite. My preferences fall on the opening track “Hit The Floor“ (with a locomotive-like rhythm and sharpened guitar solos); “Pale Rider“ (on which Maldonado shows his versatility on vocals); “Derrama Tu Sangre“ (with lyrics in English and Spanish, it turns from an aggressive “Paranoic-Metal” to a surprising “Latin-Thrash”); and “Black Cadillac“ (and its malevolent mood). I also liked very much the powerful energy of “Zombie Parade“ (reminding me of a blend of “Testament” and “Mudvayne”); and the “Prog-Thrash” atmosphere of “Earth A.D.D.“. Those listeners that prefer modern bands like “Deftones”, “Mudvayne”, “Hatebreed”, “System of a Down”, and “Slipknot” will be hooked on the bass lines and most raging moments of the title track “Man is the Enemy“; as well as on the furious guitars and aggressive vocals of “Comatose“. Those who like something more visceral will love “No Angel“ (a crude Thrash Metal, like old “Megadeth”, “Metallica”, “Testament” and “Coroner”) and the explosive “Tools of the Trade“. But if you like something more experimental, listen to the excellent “Coffin Case Passion“ – with influences of “Tool” and “Mudvayne”. Canobliss is a true Metal band with guts and attitude, and their new record “Man Is The Enemy” is highly recommended for fans of Thrash and New Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in Canobliss are: Johan Maldonado – Vocals, Samson Pedroza – Guitar; Jon Russo – Guitar; Chenzo Vidalez – Bass and Mike Russo – Drums. You can visit Canobliss at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/22/2010............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit CANOBLISS HOME PAGE...
. MECHANICAL ORGANIC - "Disrepair Part Three – Genesis of a Germ"
Australian musician Eddie Katz (vocals, keyboards, programming) and his project Mechanical Organic are back again to this webpage (see under reviews 2009). Katz is a “Real Truth Hunter”, and engendered Mechanical Organic to be his ideological instrument in a crusade against the controllers and manipulators of the real facts – those secret conspirators who are connected to the established “System”. “Disrepair Part Three – Genesis of a Germ” (2010, Lockstep Records) is Mechanical Organic’s fourth release and counts again with participation of Katz’s loyal vassals: Connie D (on heavy and lead guitar) and Evan Harris (on bass). This time, Mechanical Organic focuses on the germ warfare issue, denouncing the existence of a political program for population reduction by dissemination of viral infectious diseases, such as the AIDS and the Ebola. Katz suspects that the HIV virus has been artificially created in some secret laboratory, with the twisted purpose of being used to control the non-white populations of the world. To discuss this important issue and to send an alert to the mankind, Katz and his collaborators composed a 25:02-minute long epic titled “Cut Hunter Theory”. This track, and a shorter version of it (4:13), compose the recorded material of “Disrepair Part Three”. As shown on the previous CD, the music of Mechanical Organic is characteristically organized in sonic layers that actuate simultaneously on different levels of the subconscious mind. The purpose is to impress an all-awareness effect on the listener, as if he or she had been exposed to many mass-media communication channels at the same time. There is a predominant layer of Heavy Metal guitar riffs and solos, which is opposed to a layer of Electronic and Ambient sounds created by the synthesizers. The space between those two layers is stuffed with dense bass lines. On the background layer, gloomy vocals and narrative voices, ripped of TV news and interviews, discuss the matter on focus. Differently from Disrepair Part Two, however, the tensional load present on Disrepair Part Three is still more toughened, and the gloomy vocals are still more frightening, having a kind of alarming tone. Another distinct feature is the presence of an extra layer of Turkish-Arabian percussion. Guitars solos move freely along the song, executed by an inspired Connie D. The bass lines, performed by a still better Evan Harris, are further harmonized within the main track frame, keeping its overall cohesion. The music as a whole has markedly evolved, making Mechanical Organic to sound even better and more dynamic than on the previous record. The resulting sonority recalls me of same bands cited in the previous review - “Evergrey”, “Pink Floyd” (with a darker vein), “Pain of Salvation”, “Novembers Doom”, “Beyond Twilight”, “Dream Theater”, and “Porcupine Tree” - with the addition of “Type O Negative”, “Dead Can Dance”, and “Anathema”. Mechanical Organic continues to be an original and unique project, and its avant-garde music is really advancing from one record to the next. The band will certainly attract those fans that like to explore new terrains. Katz has promised still more things to come. Disrepair Parts Four, Five and Six are on the way, and all dealing with polemic themes, such as Satanic Ritual Abuse, The Black Nobility and Mind Control. Stay vigilant. Good night, and good luck. Mechanical Organic is specially recommended for fans of politically engaged music, mainly those who search for the “Real Truth” behind the scenes. Band members and collaborators involved in Mechanical Organic are: Eddie Katz - Vocals, Keyboards and Programming, Connie D – Heavy and Lead Guitar and Evan Harris – Bass. You can visit Mechanical Organic at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/22/2010..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MECHANICAL ORGANIC HOME PAGE...
. THE SEVEN - "Crux"
In the small city of Florence (South Carolina, U.S.A.) lives the talented multi-instrumentalist Kevin A. Smith (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, compositions). The Seven is his personal musical project, created as a progressive instrumental act to reflect Kevin’s ideas, visions, emotions and spiritual background. “Crux” is The Seven’s first independent album. It was recorded and mixed by Kevin Smith himself in the “Six + 1 Studios”, and released in 2009. Kevin is the sole musician on the album, with the exception of guest appearances of Greg Dampier (drums on “A Walk Across Nowhere”); Marc Norgaard (drums on “88”), and Jason Ridenhour (bass on “88”). Kevin’s style as a composer is influenced by many guitar players, like “Shawn Lane”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tim Pierce”, “Leo Kottke”, “Lyle Workman”, “Eric Johnson”, “Jeff Buckley”, “Adrian Legg”, “Carlos Alomar”. His technique is comparable to that of other Rock-Fusion guitarists (“Joe Satriani”, “Greg Howe”, “McAlpine”, “Steve Morse”, “Steve Vai”, “Marc Bonilla”). Other influences are very eclectic, ranging from Classical (“J.S. Bach”, “W.A. Mozart”) and Progressive-Jazz-Fusion (“Yes”, “Tribal Tech”, “Steely Dan”), to Hard Rock (“Led Zeppelin”, “King's X”, “Saga”, “HSAS”) and Traditional Metal and Prog-Metal (“Judas Priest”, “Tool”, “Dream Theater”); also including some popular acts (“Fear Factory”, “Mr. Mister”, “Butch Walker”, “Toby Mac”). But Kevin’s strength as a musician relay not only on his refined technique, but on the melodies he creates - tunes that immediately stick to your ears. He begins with well defined riffs, harmonizing them with groovy bass and drums, used as a base for his catchy solos. The result is that “Crux” may be listened from the first to the last track without skipping any. From the 13 instrumental tracks of “Crux” many will really please fans of Rock-Fusion, like the groovy intro “Metacog“ and the soft and cool “88“, on which the contributions of Marc Norgaard (drums) and Jason Ridenhour  (bass) give a good example of how prosperous The Seven would be if the project was already converted into a full trio. Pieces like the well-structured “Grace“ and “A Walk Across Nowhere“ (with a diversity of cool and modern drum beats, thanks to Greg Dampier) bring to my mind the works of “Shawn Lane”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Steve Vai”, “McAlpine”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Scott Henderson”, and their like. To bring variety and balance to the album, Kevin prepared “Simeon’s Wish“ - a delicate Folk ballad, executed with acoustic guitars (slightly influenced by “Leo Kottke” and “Adrian Legg”); and the blues-fusion “Redemption“ (a mix of “Scott Henderson”, “Lyle Workman”, and “Eric Johnson”). But Kevin really got me hooked when he included on the album a bunch of impacting tracks, which I have elected as my favorites. Two of them are “Worthless“ (a Progressive piece with Indian-Spanish atmosphere), and the Metal-Fusion “Freight Train Proselyte“ – both with the same quality of works of “Bozzio, Levin &, Stevens”, “Tribal Tech”, “McAlpine”, “Paul Gilbert” or “MGM”. Kevin’s preference for the Neoclassic appear on “9 Dollars” (with an elaborated 9-million-dollars worth solo) and “Prognatus Denuo”, both with the same verve of “Paul Gilbert” and “Vinnie Moore”. Still more awesome are “Analogue (Soil # 4)“ (a mix of electronic beats and guitars with a “Mozartian” spirit, including a middle section with diaphanous guitars effects) and “Scaffold” (an experimental fusion of electronic sounds, baroque samplers and neoclassical guitars). The last and longest track (8 min) is “Suite P” – a classical-hard-rock-progressive piece blending influences of “Mozart” and “Rush“. Kevin is already a matured musician, and a master of the guitar – a shining star only waiting to be spotted in the sky of the Progressive world – telescopes at hand, please! The Seven‘s “Crux” is a brilliant work, highly recommended for fans of guitar players like “Shawn Lane”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tim Pierce”, “Lyle Workman”, “Eric Johnson”, “Joe Satriani”, “Greg Howe”, “McAlpine”, “Steve Morse”, “Steve Vai”, “Malmsteen”, “Marc Bonilla”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Seven are: Kevin A. Smith – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Drums, Programming, Compositions, Production, and Engineering. Special guests: Greg Dampier – Drums (on “A Walk Across Nowhere”); Marc Norgaard – Drums (on “88”); Jason Ridenhour – Bass (on “88”). You can visit The Seven at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/22/2010........,.....Interested to know more about the project and musicians? Please visit THE SEVEN HOME PAGE...
. THREE MONKS - "Neogothic Progressive Toccatas"
It is my great pleasure to introduce the readers of this webzine to one of the most phenomenal releases of the year of 2010: Three Monks! The band was formed in Arezzo (Toscana, Italy) and consists of Paolo Lazzeri a.k.a. “Julius” (pipe organ, compositions); Maurizion Bozzi a.k.a. “Bozorius” (electric bass, sound engineering), and the drummers Roberto Bichi a.k.a. “Placidus”; and Claudio Cuseri a.k.a. “Ursinius” (technically, it turns Three Monks into Four Monks, but life is not perfect either). Like many keyboard-oriented iconic bands (“Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Triumvirat”, “Trace”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Pär Lindh Project”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, and “Goblin”) Three Monks celebrates a perfect union between Modern and Classical Music, staying loyal to the True Progressive Rock Tradition. Differently from those bands, they reject the customary keyboard-paraphernalia, employing on their compositions a real Pipe Organ – the kind of which is found only inside ancient churches. Their sonority is therefore very original, having a predominance of the Gothic and Baroque styles. Julius is a master of the instrument; a devotee of the great organists of the past (“Bach”, “Reubke”, “Händel”, ”Liszt”, “Mendelssohn”, “Pachelbel”, “Buxtehude”, and “Bruckner”). With the precision of a Vitruvian architect, his hands move over the keyboards lifting a Cathedral of Sounds – the left hand erects staircases, transposes flying buttresses, and climbs ogival arches in search of the skylight, which will be used by the right hand to illuminate the stained glasses and the ornamental frescos on the walls. His feet step firmly on the pedals, producing deep chords that, like dozens of ribbed vaults, sustain the whole gothic structure. Julius is helped by Bozorius – a classical Progressive bassist who takes care of the foundations and catacombs, reinforcing the petreous skeleton of the Cathedral with clustered columns made of the hardest granite. Placidus is the ecclesiastic estheticist who, with the endurance of the monks, patiently chisels the sculptures that will decorate the carved walls. And Ursinius is the humble worker whose strength and determination will place stone upon stone of this portentous edification, from the bottomless foundations upward to the highest towers. The combined efforts of those musicians evoke the image of a Gothic Church beveled against the gray sky, surmounted by tall pinnacles from which centenial time-eroded gargoyles stare down - their glowing eyes instilling fear into the vulnerable hearts. Three Monks’ debut CD - “Neogothic Progressive Toccatas” was mixed and mastered by Torben Lysholm at “Tune Town Studio” (Denmark), and released on February, 2010 (Drycastle Records, Italy). The record features five original tracks plus the tribute track “Deep Red – Profondo Gotico“ – a variation of the soundtrack of Dario Argento’s movie “Profondo Rosso” (“Deep Red”), composed by the “Goblin”. The original compositions are inspired by historical events linked to famous Gothic Cathedrals, their Pipe Organs, and Organists. “Progressive Magdeburg“ is dedicated to the reconstruction of the Pipe Organ of the Magdeburg Cathedral. The merciless drumming of Ursinius sounds like the heavy bombing that destroyed it during World War II, while strong organ chords resonate like tempestuous winds blowing out from the pipes, echoing the roaring sound of the Cathedral crumbling down into pieces. “Toccata Neogotica # 1 (Merseburg)“ is a reverence to the organ of the Merseburg Cathedral, built by Ladegast, which inspired the famous composers “Franz Liszt” and “Julius Reubke”. This homage is encrypted in solemn chords of rare splendor and grandeur, followed by the thunderous drumming of Placidus and the baroque bass of Bozorius. He is also your guide through the secret passages and hidden labyrinths of “Neogothic Pedal Solo“ – a tripartite piece, beginning with a petrifying Gregorian chant, followed by a bass classical solo, and closed by an organ pedal solo. The fourth track - “Herr Jann“ – is a homage to Georg Jann – the craftsman who employed both baroque and contemporary techniques to build the Waldsassen Basilica organ, in 1989. Like the instrument it represents, this track blends Sacred and Contemporary music with perfection – a typical Prog-Rock piece, resembling the best works of “ELP“ and “Triumvirat” – also including great bass passages by Bozorius and refined martial drumming by Placidus. The seat behind the drums is once more occupied by the vigorous Ursinius on “Toccata Neogotica # 7 (St. Florian)“. This piece is dedicated to “Anton Bruckner”, who was buried underneath the organ of the St. Florian Abbey. Alternating from delicate melodies to untamed passages, this track culminates in glorious visions of the Paradise, concluding this astounding album superbly. Three Monks is brilliant, awesome, powerful and magnificent – and “Neogothic Progressive Toccatas” is an indispensable item for any Progressive collection. Three Monks is ultra-highly recommended for fans of “mean” keyboard-oriented bands, like “ELP”, “Triumvirat”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Trace”, “Goblin”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Deluge Grander”, “Pär Lindh Project”, “Gerard”, “Ars Nova”, and so on. Band members involved in Three Monks are: Paolo Lazzeri ( “Julius”) - Pipe Organ, Compositions; Maurizion Bozzi (“Bozorius”) - Bass, Sound Engineering; Roberto Bichi (“Placidus”) – Drums (tracks 2, 4, 5, 6); Claudio Cuseri (“Ursinius”) – Drums (tracks 1, 7). You can visit Three Monks at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/22/2010.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THREE MONKS HOME PAGE...
. TODD GRUBBS - "Time, Space and the Electric"
Todd Grubbs is a North American guitar player from Tampa, Florida. He has been regarded by the specialized press as one of the most creative instrumentalists in the field, gathering many fans in the USA and abroad. The focus of Grubbs lay on instrumental music, which he tries to refine. He has released three CD’s by his own independent label Grubbworm Music (BMI): “Combination” (1994), “Toddities Vol. 1“ and “Beautiful Device” (both in 2004). The fourth album, “Time, Space and the Electric”, has been recently released (2008). Besides Grubbs and his band pals Alan Tatum (bass) and Jeff Henry (drums), a constellation of required musicians played on the record: Sean Malone ("Cynic", "Gordian Knot"), Patrick Bettison (Jazz bassist); Mark Prator ("Porcupine Tree", "Sebastian Bach"); Derek Sherinian; (ex-"Dream Theater") and Don Preston ("Mothers of Invention"). As a proof of his commitment to Music, Grubbs even invited other guitar players: Chris Poland (ex-"Megadeth"; "OHM"); John Wesley ("White Lion"), and Ralph Santolla ("Deicide"). In this manner he improved the compositions in all points, and avoided the peril of remaining as a central guitar-hero, assuring us the right to listen to a whole band, and not just a fraction of it!  The new album reinforces what is already known about Todd Grubbs – you can expect anything from him, except predictable music. Largely influenced by "Steve Vai", "Jeff Beck", "Alan Holdsworth", but also by "John Coltrane", "The Beatles" and "Frank Zappa", Grubbs is able to create weird  mixtures so that, once the music begins, nobody can tell the path it will follow. By fusing Blues, Rock, Metal, Jazz, Progressive and Oriental music into his Electric Power plant, Grubbs approaches himself to other guitar players, like "Jason Becker", "Marty Friedman" "Tony McAlpine" and "Vinnie Moore" – which began on the Metallic branch of rock, but never put aside melodic themes or refused to incorporate external elements to their music. With many years of experience, Grubbs knows exactly when he can unleash fire, and when feeling and melody are all that really matters. He doses the shredding to serve the musical needs, and not to show off. Like a regent in front of an Orchestra, he displays creativity and originality along unique compositions. “Time, Space and the Electric“ has 11 tracks, no one expendable. The title track is a short oriental intro to “Thank you Mr. Maniac“- a kind of "Megadeth" meets "The Beatles". “The Fearless Future“, with the keyboards of "Derek Sherinian", tastes like the past seventies. “Dreaming Aboard an Alien Aircraft“ - one of the most progressive tracks – has scarce notes that create an interesting contrast with bass and drums – it still has some sitar-sound effects and a Rush-like part. “Edith“ is soft as a night on a Hawaiian island - with "Derek Sherinian" exhibiting his most classical side on stream-flowing piano and keyboards. “The Electric Life“ is tranquil like a sleeping volcano, until the sudden eruption of a “Carmina Burana” choir – one of those  “Toddities” for sure.  “A View From Inner Space“ is a party of guitar solos - with "Chris Poland" and "John Wesley" filling all empty spaces in not a duel, but a “truel”  - but if it is not enough for you, "Sean Malone" also makes a bass solo!  “The Argument“ is one of the most creative pieces – the barking voices of a couple that are having a bitter argument are represented by two dueling duos of guitar + bass – one is formed by Grubbs and Tatum, the other, by Santolla and Malone. “You Are Here“ is a modern Fusion piece with Moog solos by Don Preston and the jazzy bass of Patrick Bettison. The bass of "Sean Malone" reminds "The Flower Kings" on “The Ballad of Emy and LU“ - a progressive lullaby for a babbling child…“Curved Time“ closes the album with a medley of Metallic riffs that wake up the child of the previous track. Everything together makes “Time, Space and the Electric” one of the best guitar solo albums that I ever heard… and turns Todd Grubbs into a highly recommended musician for any music fan. Band members and collaborators involved in Todd Grubbs’s solo project are: Todd Grubbs – Guitars, Keyboards (tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11), Mandolin (track 2); Chris Poland – Additional Guitar solo (track 7); John Wesley – Additional Guitar solos (track 7); Ralph Santolla – Additional Guitar solos (track 8); Alan Tatum – Bass (tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 11); Sean Malone – Bass (tracks 3, 6, 7, 8, 10); Patrick Bettison – Bass (track 9); Jeff Henry – Drums, Percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11); Mark Prator – Drums, Percussion (tracks 3, 6, 8); Derek Sherinian – Piano, Keyboards (tracks 1, 3, 5); Don Preston – Moog solo (track 9); Bo Smith – Vocalizations (track 1); Vocalizations on “Electric Life” (track 6) by Tracy Labarbera, Leath Clark, Bo Smith, Jeff Henry and Alan Tatum. David Hervey - Paintings...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2010........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TODD GRUBBS HOME PAGE...
. ILLUSION - "Turbulence and Tranquility"
Illusion was formed in 1980 in Detroit, Michigan, by John Patrick (guitar, organ), Jon Roybal (drums, vocals, keyboards), Ron Smith (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals) and Doug Tucker (vocals, acoustic guitar). After several years playing in clubs of the Greater Detroit area, the band released an independent CD, “6x4=1992”, in 1992, featuring six cover songs. The following CD – “Memphis After Dark” (2001, Legacy Media Group) was recorded live on stage, and included three covers and three original compositions. The next record, “Mysteries & Secrets Revealed!” (2002, Legacy Media Group), was the band’s first full-length album and featured only original material. The year of 2005 marked a new era for Illusion. In that year they released two new records: "Sleight of Hand" (2005, Legacy Media Group) - which surprised their fans by bringing a new sonority that was grounded on more developed and heavier instrumentation – and "Silent Valor", a promotional single which featured other versions of songs of the previous CD; plus an unreleased instrumental track, and a cover of "Hello Hooray!" (by “Rolf Kempf”, made popular by “Alice Cooper”). This promo also featured "Caravan to Midnight": a 12-minute behind-the-scenes video showing the making of "Sleight of Hand". Recording sessions for a third full-length CD finally began in May, 2008, at RKS Studios (Pontiac, Michigan), and finished in October, 2009. The outcome was “Turbulence and Tranquility“ (2009, Legacy Media Group). Featuring 13 tracks, this album was conceived to be the most ambitious work of Illusion. A limited vinyl edition (100 copies) of “Turbulence and Tranquility” containing eight songs was also released, but under a different title ("Now Is The Nothing"). Although the integrants of Illusion have no idea of how to classify their music, I regarded them as a Hard Rock band that updates their traditional roots to the modern sonorities of the Stoner Rock. The strongest influences come from the American Hard, Folk, and Southern Rock of the late 60’s to early 70’s, mainly because of the typical groovy guitar riffs and the distinguishing and soulful vocals of Doug Tucker. There are also elements from the British Classic Rock of the same epoch (some of Patrick’s melodic guitar solos go beyond the regular Blues-Rock style – solos that could fit on “Deep Purple” or “UFO”). But since Illusion was formed and tempered during the 90’s and first years of the new century, its sonority has been vitalized by heavier bass and drums - even with inspiration on some N.W.O.B.H.M. bands. Illusion polishes old music anew, sounding like a modern version of bands like “Dust”, “ZZ Top”, “Ted Nugent”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “Blackfoot”, “Steppenwolf”, “The Rods”, “Aerosmith”, “Alice Cooper”, “Sammy Hagar”, “Blue Oyster Cult”, “Guns N’ Roses”, “Nazareth”, “Slade”, “Free”, “Bad Company”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Budgie”, and “Cactus”, with a few influences of “Deep Purple”, “Saxon”, “UFO”; and even “Iron Maiden” and “Rush”. All my favorite songs of “Turbulence and Tranquility” follow the “Turbulence” line. On the amazing opening track “Now is the Nothing“, for instance, the malevolent vocals of Tucker join with the metallic bass of Ron Smith to create an impressive effect that reminds me of “Dust”. “I Am What Might Have Been“ brings much of that traditional Hard Rock swing, but the profusion of melodic solos are something that one would expect to hear on bands of the British Rock scene. “The Despised“ begins with a Southern Rock mood, but changes the cadence in the middle for a heavier N.W.O.B.H.M. pace. The initial guitar solo attack on “Immaculate Deception“ and the slower tempo of “Nevermore“ are also influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M.; while the fast paced “A Winter’s Tale“ recalls me of “Saxon” and “Deep Purple”. “Tapping“ goes back to the 70’s Hard-Rock, alternating strong guitar riffs with soft vocals, sounding like “Led Zeppelin”. The record has other interesting tracks, like “All Too Clearly“ (a mix of “Alice Cooper” with “Rush”); and “You Lied“ – with a chorus that will please fans of “Guns n’ Roses”. But the album also brings its “Tranquility” side, with songs like the folk-bluegrass “Bible Black“ (reminding me of “ZZ Top”) or “Of Time and The River“ (with melodies recalling “Blue Oyster Cult”). For those who love ballads, the bittersweet “Die a Little More Tonight“ and the acoustic “His Shell“ will make many fans to hook on Illusion. Excellent work from a really consistent band; highly recommended for fans of Hard Rock in general. Band members involved in Illusion are: John Patrick – Guitar, Organ; Jon Roybal – Drums, Vocals, Keyboards; Ron Smith – Bass and Acoustic Guitars, Vocals and Doug Tucker – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar.You can visit Illusion at MySpace site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2010..................................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out ILLUSION HOME PAGE...
. DJIZOES: - "Ichi Ten Dai"
The Metal band Djizoes: (pronounced “Jesus”, and having a colon) started as a quartet in Geneva, Switzerland. After a few local shows the band headed to a tour around the USA and Japan in 2006, and it was in the Asiatic country that Djizoes: gathered a fan base. This led the band to sign a contract with the Japanese label Outbreak Records, which released Djizoes:’ first album “In the Papers” (2007) and the EP “Erkonoclast” (2008). The EP was promoted during their first Asian tour, which included Japan, Hong Kong, and an appearance on Taiwan’s HoHaiyan Festival. Since 2009, the musical orientation of the band finally settled down, leading the integrants to stabilize around a “Power-Trio” formation, composed of Ales Campanelli (bass and vocals), Vinch Cerutti (drums), and Fred Di Limoncelli (guitars). Djizoes:’ is now presenting their second full-length album – titled ”Ichi Ten Dai” – which was released in 2010 by Outbreak Records. The record brings depicted on the cover Djizoes:’ iconic symbol, christened “Erkon”, which some of their fans have tattooed on their bodies; or simply transformed in jewelry that they wear. Djizoes: seems, therefore, to have grown a kind of “cult-band” relationship with their fans. Maybe it happened because their musical influences come from various sources, uniting the visceral guitars of Thrash Metal with the angry vocals of the Punk-Metal; plus the rhythmic syncopation of the New Metal, with a bit of the Psychedelic sound of Post-Metal and Thrash-Prog. The resulting songs are raw, straightforward, and sometimes full of wrath; but always executed with passion and authenticity – also being much mature, both in lyrics and technique. “Ichi Ten Dai” brings 10 regular tracks and one unnamed bonus track. The sonority is strongly influenced by bands like “Motörhead”, “Plasmatics”, “Coroner”, “Corrosion of Conformity”, “The Exploited”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Tool”, “Alice in Chains”, and “Nirvana”, having “carnivorous” guitar riffs and “nervous” solos that remind me of old Thrash-Metal bands like “Destruction”, “Angel Dust”, “Death Angel”, “Nuclear Assault”, “Slayer”, and “Exodus”. After the political speech of the intro “The Second Coming“, the dirt vocals and metallic bass of “I Could be Your Lawyer“ reminds me immediately of “Lemmy Kilmister” and “Motörhead”; whereas the raging Thrash-Metal drumming that merges with furious Hardcore vocals on “A Song for Them“ - scorning our political misleaders – reminds me of “Coroner”, “Nirvana” “Slipknot” and “Slayer”. The fourth song is “Culbutos“, a Psychedelic-Metal with slower cadence that alternates raging vocals with numb vocals, having long distorted guitar solos. That formula is repeated on “Pocket Kings“ and “The World is Undersized“, which are my favorites of this album. “Pocket Kings“ is marked by floating bass, tribal drumming, and slow vocals that create a psychedelic atmosphere that reminds me of “Tool”; “The World is Undersized“ (the longest track, surpassing 8 minutes) begins like “Tool”, turns in the middle to a Metal-Hardcore, and finishes as a Psychedelic-Thrash-Metal. Intermingled with them, the explosive New-Metal song “The Machine“ (with influences of “Alice in Chains” and “Slipknot”) is the forerunner for the extremely crudeness of “Billy the Winner“ and “The Cat Island War Dogs Reception and Training Resort“, the second being sustained by locomotive- speed riffs like “Destruction” that collide with vocals like “Plasmatics”. Surprising the listener for being different from all others – except for the ironic lyrics - the last track “Eat Shit and Die“ is a melancholic acoustic ballad with organ; and it opens way for an untitled bonus track – a short instrumental piece with electronic keyboards. Definitely, Djizoes: is not indicated for those sensible listeners of the regular Progressive Rock, but for those with tough guts that are searching for a band to discharge their anger after a loooong day of hard work. Band members and collaborators involved in Djizoes are: Ales Campanelli – Bass and Vocals; Vinch Cerutti – Drums; Fred Di Limoncelli – Guitars. Guest musicians on “A Song for Them”: DDD Mix – Clean Vocals; Zeb – Classical Percussions and Backing Vocals; Gab Oueidat - Backing Vocals...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/05/2010.................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit DJIZOES: HOME PAGE...
. XER(~)SUN - "Absence of Light"
Xer(~)sun (also written Xerosun) comes from Dublin, Ireland, and was formed in January 2003 by original members Fiachra Kelly (then bass, now on guitars), Dan Gregg (guitars), Richie Bradley (drums) and Alan Kelly (vocals). The band debuted with a self-produced EP “Ghost” (2004), followed by the EP “Kerosene” (2005). In 2005, they made their first music video for the fan favorite song “Ghost”. Since then, Xerosun gained some fame in their home country, and in January 2006, performed live on the Irish National television. Lead singer Alan Kelly left the band afterwards, being immediately replaced by Ivan O’Sullivan (vocals, bass), with Fiachra switching to the guitar. With this change in formation, Xerosun released a third EP, “Broken” (2007), and made a music video for the song “Silent Call”, that was presented on the Irish TV station “Channel 6” (still available on Youtube.com). The year of 2008 was spent by the band in preparing their first full-length album, titled "Absence Of Light", but by end of the summer Xerosun’s founding members Richie Bradley and Dan Gregg decided to part ways with the band. They were replaced by Welsh guitarist and songwriter Gareth Jeffs (who brought with him songs that he had recorded for his solo project “Lost in Empathy”) and Canadian drummer Darrin Bell. Because the album recording and mastering were already finished, it is the old line-up that is performing on “Absence of Light”. The album was released on October 2009 by Blackfield Media, being available on limited edition in digipack format. The cover artwork was executed by Seth Siro Anton. Xerosun’s proposal is to make an energetic sound based on Industrial Metal, Modern Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, combined with an eclectic mix of influences that stem mostly from Nu Metal bands. They never attain the excessive violence of some iconic bands of those genres, like “Rammstein”, “Gothminister”, “White Zombie”, “Slipknot” or “Chimaira”; staying under the influential zone of bands like “Korn”, “Papa Roach”, “Deftones” (with less emotional vocals), “Mudvayne” (of songs like “Not Falling”, “Happy?” and “Forget to Remember”); “Metallica” (from album “…And Justice for All”), “Fear Factory” (specially on some guitar riffs); and also having few passages of “Limp Bizkit” and “Rage Against the Machine”. “Absence of Light” contains 10 tracks that are very cohesive. All tracks are short and straightforward. The songs are based on sticky vocal lines and chorus (sometimes performed by two voices) juxtaposed to a solid layer of guitar riffing, typical of the Industrial Metal, marked by the distinctive syncopated drumming of Nu-Metal. Guitar soloing is rare, and electronic effects are sometimes employed to make songs sound denser. Bass varies much more in style from a song to another, experimenting with different textures. My favorites songs are the opening track “Cut me Down”, that relays on the strength of the chorus; “Broken” and “All For Nothing”, with a thrasher influence that reminds me of “Metallica”; “Long Way Down“, because of its distinctive bass lines of steel-metal texture; and the closing track “Heart Falls“, which well exemplifies Xerosun’s way of fusing Industrial with Nu-Metal elements. The record still brings the almost Rap-Metal “Driving Me“ and the groovy “Falling“, both making use of two simultaneous vocal tunes; the melodic Nu-Metal “In My Mind”, and the rocky “Silent Call“ and “Transparent Fantasy”, both very suitable for radio airplay. Although I think that there is still something missing on Xerosun – something that will make it sound distinct from other bands – “Absence of Light” is a serious work that shows the band’s intentions of pursuing a career.  Since Xerosun has reformulated the line-up, and is currently working with producer John Kelly (Halberd Indie Records), let’s see how the band will evolve in the future. Xerosun is recommended for fans of Industrial Metal and Nu Metal. Band members involved in Xerosun are: Ivan O’Sullivan – Bass, Vocals; Gareth Jeffs – Lead Guitars, Programming; Fiachra Kelly – Rhythm Guitars, Programming; Darrin Bell – Drums, Percussion. Ex-members: Richie Bradley - Drums; Dan Gregg – Guitars. You can visit Xerosun at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/11/2010................................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out XER(~)SUN HOME PAGE...
. FROGG CAFÉ - "Bateless Edge"
Frogg Café is a sextet from New York that makes music incorporating elements of Jazz-Fusion, R.I.O., and Avant-garde Progressive Rock, often spiced with moments of Bluegrass, Pop, Latin, Modern Chamber and Experimental Music. The band also has a strong will for jamming and improvising alive. The core members are Bill Ayasse (violin, viola, mandolin, vocals, percussion), Nick Lieto (lead vocals, piano, keyboards, trumpet), John Lieto (trombones), Andrew Sussman (bass, cello, acoustic guitar), James Guarnieri (drums, percussion), and Frank Camiola (electric guitar, banjo, string bass). Frogg Café usually works with many guest musicians, who provide additional instrumentation to their songs. Frogg Café began in 1998 as a band called "Lumpy Gravy", performing covers of their hero: “Frank Zappa”. In 2000, the band changed its name to Frogg Café, starting an original career. They released three records under ProgRock Records: “Frogg Café” (2001); “Creatures” (2003); and “Fortunate Observer of Time” (2005). Frogg Café members are university-trained musicians, and that education is reflected on the intricate arrangements of their compositions. Although they have been inspired by diverse musicians and bands (“Miles Davis”, “John Coltrane”, “Lee Morgan”, “Grappelli”, “Noel Pointer”, “Tony Williams”, “Elvin Jones”, “Bach”, “Stravinsky”, “Ravel”, “Aaron Copland”, “Joni Mitchell”, “Stevie Ray Vaughn”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”; “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Hendrix”, “Beatles”, “The Police”, “Stevie Wonder”), their greatest influences are “Frank Zappa” and “Trey Anastasio” (of “Phish”). Frogg Café blends Jazz-Fusion, R.I.O., and Avant-garde, with a touch of the Canterbury Sound, bringing to mind bands like “Zappa”, “National Health”, “Henry Cow”, “Univers Zéro”, “Kansas”, “Phish”, with some moments of “Caravan” and “Gentle Giant”. On “Bateless Edge” (2010, 10t Records), Frogg Café present us with a series of long musical pieces that they have been preparing for a long time (recordings began in 2008, and one composition dates back to 2003). For this reason, the music of “Beteless Edge” sounds mature, consistent, and, regarding their previous records, still more complex and defiant for the listener. Notwithstanding their intricacy and great number of layers, textures, and profuse instrumentation (many guest musicians participate on the record – see below), the harmonization of all instruments is so perfectly adjusted that are naturally assimilated by the listener, so that his/her liking to the songs is instantaneous. For instance, on the opening track “Terra Sancta” (12:10), the oriental rhythm introduced by typical Indian percussive instruments and the dancing violins immediately invite the listener to plunge into the music. A short vocal section evoking “Kansas” gives place to a long space-guitar solo, intermingled with layers of piano, violins, and marimbas. “Move Over I’m Driving“ (7:59) is a soft instrumental track so rich in textures that sounds longer then it really is. With a strongest lean to the Canterbury Sound – resembling “Caravan”, “National Health”, and “Zappa”, and having a “hidden” medieval sonority reminiscent of “Gentle Giant”, this track has great bass lines, and free improvisation of trumpets and mandolins. “Pasta Fazeuhl” (14:01) is an instrumental piece directly influenced by a presentation of “Magma” at NEARFest 2003, which impressed Camiola. The composition is clearly influenced by the Zeuhl style. Its first third is vigorous, plain of colliding sounds of bass, xylophone, flutes and brass instruments; slowing down at the second third, when Stravinskyan violins and cellos interact with a Ravelian military progression that culminates on the last third, a typical Zeuhl fragment that validates the track’s title. Descending from the Zeuhl spheres, we arrive to the central piece of this album: the epic ”Under Wuhu Son” (20:12). This song is divided in three parts. ”Part I: In The Bright Light” (8:22) begins like a folk song, with acoustic instruments and violins, and melodic vocals marked by a note of sadness. This part is crowned with a soulful guitar solo. ”Part II. Left for Dead” (5:36) is an instrumental fragment that resembles old American music, but distorted as seen through the optical lenses of a “Zappaloscope”, including heavy guitar riffs, and solos of clarinets, keyboards, and violins. ”Part III. Brace Against the Fall” (6:14), continues on the “Zappa”-like line, and includes vocals and bass that evoke “Yes”; then undergoing a Jazz-Rock section on which wind instruments, and superb jazz-rock guitars battle constantly for space. ”From The Fence” (12:03), with a mild symphonic trend and harmony vocals, is reminiscent of  “Kansas”, “Phish”, “Caravan”, and “Yes”, unless by the trombone parts!. The last track, ”Belgian Boogie Board” (10:31) is Camiola’s most audacious contribution to Frogg Café so far: an experimental orchestral composition aiming to push the band to a higher level of excellence. The sheet music of this opus comprised 28 pages; and the execution employed twenty-five different instruments, requiring help from five guest musicians. Akin to an Avant-garde piece, it sounds like a meeting of “Gershwin” with “Stravinsky” filtered through the multi-focal lenses of a “Zappaloscope” operated by “Samla Mammas Manna” and “Etron Fou”. In sum, “Bateless Edge” is a brilliant work that represents the apex of Frogg Café’s musical evolution, being highly recommended for any genuine lover of Progressive Music. Band members and collaborators involved in Frogg Café are: Bill Ayasse - Violin, Viola, Mandolin, Vocals, Hand Percussion; James Guarnieri - Drums, Glockenspiel, Orchestral Percussion; Andrew Sussman - Bass, Cello, Acoustic Guitar; Nick Lieto - Lead Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Trumpet, Flugelhorn; John Lieto - Trombone, Bass Trombone; Frank Camiola - Electric Guitar, String Bass, Banjo. Guest musicians: Dennis Lippe – Electric Guitar (1, 7), Acoustic Guitars (7); Dee Harris – Indian side Guitar, Tambora (1); Nitim Mohan – Tabla (1); Vessela Stoyanova – Marimba (1, 4-6); Michael Kollmer - Marimba, Xylophone (3, 8); Sharon Ayasse - Flute (3, 4-6, 8); Jon Preddice – Additional Cello (3, 8); Steven Sussman - Clarinet, Bass Clarinet (4-6, 8); Steve Kastikas - Keyboards (4); Mike Kauffman - Alto and Tenor Saxophones (8).You can visit Frogg Café at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/11/2010..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FROGG CAFÉ HOME PAGE...
. ELYSIUM THEORY - "Modern Alchemy"
Elysium Theory is based in New York's Hudson River Valley, USA, formed in 2006 by four talented musicians, Tim Reid on the guitars, Benny Reyes (keyboards), Jeff Fister (bass) and Ted Feeney (drums, percussion). In their first few years, the band started to explore different sounds and styles. In 2009 Dan Peterson (vocals) joined the band, and not long after they started recording material for a future release. Elysium Theory issued their debut album "Modern Alchemy" in May 2010. I can describe Elysium Theory's music as Symphonic Progressive Rock Metal, with a nice blending of other three of my favourite styles such as Hard Rock, Melodic Rock and Neo-Progressive. Elysium Theory is kind of a band with unlimited potential especially for the big public, the intensity of their musical performances varies from powerful and symphonic to hard and melodic, a kind of modern band very well "linked" with the Seventies/Eighties Progressive Rock scene, but using modern arrangements. The music from them is fully energetic, starting by the vocals from Dan Peterson, with superb clean vocal tones, sometimes very strong but without aggressiveness, in the line of "Marillion/Steve Hogarth", "Pallas", "Asia", "Journey" and "Kansas", accompanied by an enlightened keyboards in the symphonic style, in the line of "Yes", "Marillion", "Pallas", "IQ", "Arena" and "Rush",  featuring a solid bass section and a vibrant drums in the style of traditional prog metal, but I think the energetic guitar is the strongest point in the band's compositions, the solos are so wonderful, well connected with two different conceptions, sometimes tends to Prog Metal, sometimes tends to Symphonic Progressive Rock. I can say that, the group has clearly discovered a "Modern Alchemy" of playing Prog Rock Music, something powerful and symphonic, an astonishing enjoyable and moving music. "Modern Alchemy" album was released in May, 2010. Music and words by Elysium Theory, recorded and produced by Elysium Theory. Mixed at MoorDeb Sdudios. The album contains eleven tracks, 67min of pure and vibrant music. Hard to say which are my favourite tracks,  the album starts with "Lorimer's Pulse" with impressive guitar solos and strong drums, a perfect introduction to "Modern Alchemy" also full of nice guitar solos. "Spiritcom" is a symphonic and powerful song that suits Dan Peterson's voice beautifully. "All Seeing Eye" is more hard, "Chaos" is a heavy power song. "River in the Sky" is symphonic, soft and a delicate song, where we can appreciate a magnetic instrumental and emotional vocals, but "Beyond Yourself", "The Source", "Russian Winter", "Blacklight Reflection" and "Intrigued by Faith" are absolutely brilliant, full of incredible instrumental orchestration, with impressive keyboards, followed by vibrant drums, strong bass and amazing guitar solos. Elysium Theory and "Modern Alchemy" are recommended to all fans of "Marillion/Steve Hogarth", "Pallas", "Asia", "Journey", "Kansas", "Scorpions", "Yes", "IQ", "Arena" and "Rush". The main line-up on the band are: Dan Peterson - Vocals, Ted Feeney - Drums, Jeff Fister - Bass, Tim Reid - Guitar and Benny Reyes - Keyboards. Of course an absolutely recommended album from a band which I sincerely hope continues to give us work of such a high standard in the near future. Brilliant, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable... You can visit Elysium Theory at MySpace site.  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
08/11/2010..If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit ELYSIUM THEORY HOME PAGE...
. SPALTKLANG - "En Suite"
Spaltklang is one of many projects of Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss (see under “reviews 2010”, the comments about the band Überfall). Spaltklang (which means “broken” or “split” sound in German) was born when Stauss had the idea to create with modern instruments what in medieval times was called a "broken consort" – an ensemble composed of wind and pluck instruments and strings including a percussion unit. Besides Stauss (tenor and soprano sax), the group is formed by Olivier Vogt (viola), Stephan Brunner (electric bass) and Rémy Sträuli (drums, keyboards). At first, Spaltklang was supposed to play just significant material from other projects and groups on which Stauss took part (like “Überfall”, and “Ulterior Lux”).From the first sessions, however, it became clear for the musicians that they should rather incorporate new material into the project, to develop Spaltklang to its best. The group released three records: “Alpenglühen” (2002); “Surprise” (2004), and “Lontano” (2006), all by Fazzul Music. The present record - “En Suite” (2009, Fazzul Music) is their most recent release. It was recorded live at Ton-Art Studio, Basel, and engineered by Benno Hofer. “En Suite” features 8 instrumental tracks, all written by Stauss. The music incorporates elements of Modern and Avant-garde Jazz merged with Academic Contemporaneous Music, producing the most legitimate R.I.O. All musicians are well integrated, working together as a true chamber quartet. The rhythmic section (composed by the jazzy bass of Brunner and the academic percussive skills of Sträuli) supports the melodic layers created by Stauss – the main soloist - who plays his instrument with unusual ability, producing bizarre sounds and reinventing the sax-playing standards. But Vogt’s viola erupts frequently from the harmonic frame to compete for light against the saxophones, and shines as the second solo instrument. With atypical harmonic patterns, Spaltklang‘s sonority aligns with the cerebral and theoretical music of “Univers Zéro”, “Zappa”, “Henry Cow”, “Art Zoyd”, “Miriodor”, “John Zorn”, “John Cage”, and “Edgard Varèse”. This is easily realized when listening to the opening track “Amuse-bouche“: a short piece of concrete music that recorded the metallic noises produced by Oscar Wiggli’s sculptures. Strategically placed in the beginning of the record, it reminds us that the music that we are about to listen is totally avant-garde. It is followed by “Von Anbeginn“ (13:39). Inspired by “Zappa”, this piece is reminiscent of a stroll around the dunes of ancient Persia. “Heartbeat“ (5:08) brings us to a duel of sax against viola, with a sonority proper of bands like “Univers Zéro”, “Gargantua”, and “Miriodor”. “En Suite“ (11:56) differs from the previous by being less fluid, and divided in parts. The first one is like a free-jazz, having predominance of saxophones; the second returns to the “Univers Zéro” sonority, with Vogt taking place as the main soloist. There is a decrease in tempo and a deconstruction of the music, with some passages tending to “Henry Cow”. The last part is marked by a sax-viola duet. “Ideen” (7:48) begins with mysterious sounds of viola introducing a repetitive chord, like “Magma”, followed by the best sequences of bass and drums of this album. “Evocazione“ (9:13) is an experimental piece that equals the works of “Univers Zéro”, “Henry Cow” and “Art Zoyd”: with a kind of “raindrop” structure - saxophone notes keep falling here and there. The odd metrics are influenced by “Edgard Varèse”. “Open Directions“ (5:50) contrasts with the previous by being more structured, and can be regarded as the most “conventional” piece of the album. It is a Modern Jazz piece, with a groovy bass, and free improvisations of Stauss on sax, including some of his distinguishing re-inventions of the instrument. This piece is partially broken by an intervention of Vogt’s viola, pushing the music towards the Chamber Music genre. “Molto Lento“(2:11) closes the album. Slow like a “funeral march”, it reminds me of “Art Zoyd”. Although I prefer Überfall to Spaltklang, the later has a more defiant sonority, being therefore specially recommended for R.I.O., Avant-garde and Chamber Music fans that cannot survive without “Univers Zéro”, “Gargantua”, “Miriodor”, “Zappa”, “Art Zoyd”, “Magma”, “The Wrong Object”, “Yugen”, “French TV”, “Henry Cow” and so on... Band members and collaborators involved with Spaltklang are: Markus Stauss – tenor and Soprano Sax; Olivier Vogt – Viola; Stephan Brunner – Electric Bass; Rémy Sträuli – Drums and Keyboards...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/22/2010......................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at SPALTKLANG HOME PAGE...
. JOHN HULDT - "Rules do Not Apply"
John Huldt was born in southern Sweden in 1981. He started to learn piano at the age of 10, and at 14 he moved to the guitar. At this time he listened to “Nirvana”, “Slayer” and Death-Metal in general, and spent some years playing in that brutal style. Later he went to a Music High School, where his horizons were broadened. He became a passionate for Classical music and, listening to “Yngwie Malmsteen” for the first time, he decided to become a professional guitar player. Soon “Van Halen”, “Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, and “Bettencourt” also became important references to him. After playing for a while in the Swedish-Metal scene, Huldt moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to study at the LA Music Academy. A couple of years later, he managed to release his debut CD “Rules Do Not Apply” (2008, self-produced). The CD was recorded by George Kerhulas; mixed by Shredge Shemansky and mastered by Randy Hill and Ed Shemansky at “Shut Up and Play Studios” in Northridge, CA. Besides Huldt on guitars, the record features renowned bassist Philip Bynoe (who has worked with “Steve Vai”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Nuno Bettencourt”, “Mark Boals”, “Terry Bozzio”, “Virgil Donati”, “Steve Perry”, “Derek Sherinian”); and "Kal Drakopoulos" (a Greek drummer who had studied at the LA Music Academy in 1999 and later worked with many musicians of the Greek Pop-Rock and Jazz scenes). In 2004, Drako moved back to LA to work as a session musician. As a drummer, Drako was influenced by “Ari Hoenig”, “Peter Erskine”, “Vinnie Colaiuta”, “Dave Weckl”, “Dennis Chambers”, “Steve Jordan”, and “Bill Stewart”. But he likes every kind of music (“The Police”, “The Beatles”, “Madonna”, “Alice Cooper”, “Radiohead”, “Metallica”, “Meshuggah”, “Megadeth”, “Tool”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Pearl Jam”, “Soundgarden”, “Chick Corea”, and “Yianni", are among his favorites). The eclecticism of both Bynoe and Drakopoulos made then the perfect partners for Huldt’s project. As Huldt himself declared, he always liked music that surprised him by taking unexpected turns, heading to new unexplored musical territories. He also thinks that music is more then just technique; emotion being of paramount importance. His viewpoint is reflected on the 10 instrumental tracks of “Rules Do Not Apply”. Some compositions are considerably long (surpassing 6 minutes), allowing much time for Huldt to work on melody and harmony. His style merges Fusion, Rock, Blues and Neoclassical, having some scarce moments of Metal. The sonority is immediately reminiscent of “Satriani”, “Vai”, “Jason Becker”, “Malmsteen”, “MacAlpine”, and “Vinnie Moore”. That is the case of “Someone Looking for Attention“; “Sticky Fingers“ (leaning to the R&B); and “Well This Ain’t Kansas“, all influenced by “Satriani” and “Vai”; while “Nebula“ tends to the Neoclassical of “Malmsteen” and “Becker”. Some of Huldt’s compositions, however, are really crazy, making “more-then-unexpected” combinations. The opening track “Uncle Bob”, for instance, begins like a Jazz-Fusion, turns to a Thrash-Metal, and then adds some Hawaiian guitars to its frame, reminding me of “MacAlpine”, “Jason Becker” and “Marty Friedman”. “Run Like a Freak“ is like a Bluegrass being played at light-speeded tempo, with Neoclassical themes in the middle and something that sounds like a Slavic dance at the end. But my favorites of this collection of bizarre combinations are: “The Beauty of Simplicity“ (which is a traditional Blues with a frantic “Satriani-Vai-MacAlpine” section in the middle); and “The Strange Wonders of Professor Boltzmann’s Factory“ (an almost 10 minute-long track in “Vai” style, with many nuances going from Fusion and Metal to Oriental and Progressive). In spite of those weird experimentations, there is something special on Huldt’s music that attracts the listener’s attention anyway. It happens because his compositions are carefully-crafted, having an authentic concern towards the execution of melody and the deliverance of emotion. This brings us to the most beautiful tracks of this record: “Fly“ has the airs of the Romanticism, and tends to the Neoclassical of “Malmsteen”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, and even “Jan Akkerman”; and “The Sleeping Beauty“, a tranquil, balanced merge of “Satriani” and “Vinnie Moore”. If you like guitar players, John Huldt is one of the best to show up recently; and his debut “Rules do Not Apply” is one of the best CDs of this kind that I have listened in a couple of years – really enjoyable – being highly recommended for fans of “Satriani”, “Vai”, “Malmsteen”, “MacAlpine”, “Becker”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Marty Friedman” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved with John Huldt are: John Huldt – Guitars; Philip Bynoe – Bass; Kal Drakopoulos – Drums; George Kerhulas – Strings on “Fly”. You can visit John Huldt at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/22/2010................................Interested to know more about the musician? Please visit JOHN HULDT HOME PAGE...
. MODEST MIDGET - "The Great Prophecy of a Small Man"
Modest Midget comes from the Dutch city of Amsterdam. The band was formed back in 2006 around the work of multi-instrumentalist Lionel (Lonny) Ziblat (vocals, acoustic, electric, Spanish guitars, keyboards, bass, sample sequences, and percussion). The other band members are Richard Zoer (bass guitar, vocals), Artis Orubs (drums), and Tristan Hupe (keyboards). On the band’s debut, however, only Ziblat has performed, helped by a group of session musicians (see list below). Ziblat has also written, composed, arranged and produced all songs. The album was recorded in Amsterdam between 2006 and 2009, and later mixed and mastered by Ziblat himself. Titled “The Great Prophecy of a Small Man”, it was released in 2010 under Multi-Polar Music. It contains 13 tracks, clocking almost 47 minutes. Modest Midget musical conception is hard to explain. Listening to the first chords of “Contemporary Ache”, the first thought that strikes me is that they are an Indie Rock band with a Pop-Rock sonority of the early 60’s, like “The Beatles” (pre-“Sgt. Pepper’s”), “Herman’s Hermits” (and very early “Manfred Mann”), “The Tremeloes” and “The Animals”. And that means cheerful music, naïf guitar harmonies, fast-paced rocky beat suited for dancing, and melodic tunes performed by a juvenile voice, supported by a sticky chorus of harmony vocals. But all of a sudden, discrepancies do erupt: a sequence of guitar notes that could have been picked from “Gentle Giant” or “Zappa”. But is that enough to qualify Modest Midget as a Progressive act? I think no, and go to the following track from the album: “Troubles in Heaven”. This one is still more lively, fast and cheerful than the previous, and I think again of “Herman’s Hermits”, “The Tremeloes”, “The Beatles”, and even Surf Music. But, again, the discrepancies come in the form of many segments of sax, clarinets, violins, and keyboards, which were uncommon in the 60’s. The instrumental “Coffee from Yesterday” comes along, and definitely it has insertions of “Gentle Giant” and “Camel”. It is followed by “Back from my Trip”, which begins with a “Focus”-like pace; featuring vocals in early 60’s style, Spanish guitars, and short phrases of keyboards. At this point, I have diagnosed Modest Midget as a Crossover Progressive Band that blends the “Beatles”-Fever Era with modern Indie Rock, adding progressive adornments to the mixture. The acoustic ballad “Home Seek“ confirms my suspicion: it sounds a bit like “The Animals” with soft harmony vocals of “The Tremeloes”, but has a layer of delicate keyboards that sound like “Genesis”. “Here I Go“ also has a resemblance with “The Beatles” and “The Tremeloes”, but half of the song is dominated by an aggressive guitar solo that would be widespread a decade later. The soft ballads “Baby“ and “The Last Straw“ sparkle like diamonds amid the album’s best. Really adorable, they sound like “The Beatles” with a participation of “Syd Barrett” (“Pink Floyd”). In between, there are two instrumental compositions that show how seriously Modest Midget can regard the act of making music: “Jorge Knows How Difficult a Musician’s Life Can Be, But Then Again, Who Doesn’t?” and “I Came, I Saw, I Left“ are genuine Progressive pieces, with elaborated harmonies and extended soloing. “Jorge Knows…” is influenced by “Gentle Giant” and “Zappa”, has layers of clarinets, saxophones; and a viola solo that reminds me of “Dixie Dregs”. “I Came, I Saw, I Left“ slows the cadence down to a progressive standard supported by a piano, having long “Focus” and “Finch”-like guitar solos. I could include in the sequence “Evolution”, which reminds me of “10cc” with insertions of “Camel”, “Caravan”, and “Genesis” of the middle 70’s; having ironic, “Zappa”-inspired lyrics. The album still brings “Follow the Noise” (a psychedelic intro) and “Buy Me!”, a commercial Pop-Rock with flavors of the 80’s. Unless you are a hard-cored progressive lover - who only listens to Avant-garde, R.I.O. or Zeuhl – you should try Modest Midget. It is one of those instant-appealing bands that, regardless of the Prog content they bring within, should deserve your special attention. And all of a sudden, you will catch yourself in the act of singing one of their lovely tunes – as I did. Band members and collaborators involved in Modest Midget are: Lionel (Lonny) Ziblat – Vocals, Acoustic, Electric, Spanish Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Samplers, Percussion; Richard Zoer - Bass Guitar, Vocals; Artis Orubs – Drums; Tristan Hupe – Keyboards. Session musicians: Bas Wiegers – Violin and Vocals (“Troubles in Heaven“), Violin (“Evolution”); Vera van der Bie - Strings (“Baby”); Ilse Ijsink – Clarinets (“Baby”); Emiel de Jong – Clarinets; Soprano, Alto Tenor, Baritone Saxophones (“Troubles in Heaven”, “Evolution”, “Jorge Knows…”; “The Last Straw”); Lead and Harmony Vocals (“Troubles…”) and Oene van Geel - Viola (“Jorge Knows…”). You can visit Modest Midget at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/22/2010....................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit MODEST MIDGET HOME PAGE...
. LEGEND - "Playing With Fire"
The Progressive band Legend is back to this website again (move the scroll bar upwards and read the review of their last album - “Ritual Echo”). Legend is now promoting their new release of 2010: “Playing With Fire – Live 1992” (NoFish Productions). The album features a show performed in their hometown of Runcorn in 1992, soon after the “Light in Extension” tour. Originally released on video in 1993 under the band’s Japanese Label Apollo Records, only recently the original analogue audio tapes of that presentation have been re-discovered and resurrected, to be put for the first time on CD. “Playing With Fire” was recorded alive by Ian Walden; produced and mixed by Jon Moreau and founder member Steve Paine, and brings back a historical moment of Legend’s early career, when the classical line-up had been just gathered together. Besides Steve Paine on keyboards, the band has participation of Debbie Chapman (vocals), Paul Thomson (guitars), John Macklin (drums) and Martyn Rouski (bass). The core of the show was made of six tracks from Legend’s debut album “Light in Extension”, plus four songs of the second (and at that time still unreleased) album “Second Sight”. Two songs – “Legend” and “The Healer” - were only rarely played live after this show, and appear on this CD as early versions. The bonus track “Toccata & Blues”, based on “J.S. Bach’s” famous piece, complete the eleven tracks of the album. Although the sonority of Legend has been evolving and improving along the time (see the previous review), what really made the band famous among the Prog fans is their unusual blend of Neo-Progressive, Folk and Celtic Music, which is forged into epic songs based on British mythology. This record puts us in touch with the most visceral facet of Legend, when straightforward hard rocking still overcame the delicate buds of Folk and Celtic music that would completely sprout on their future albums; “Second Sight” (1993) and “Triple Aspect” (1996). The energy and crudeness that flows from this album is precisely what makes it appealing: vigorous and dynamic bass and drums, with a lean to the N.W.O.B.H.M., combined with dense waves of keyboards and luxurious electro-shock guitar solos. Amid the roaring battle of instruments, singer Debbie Chapman oscilates between the melodic-folk of Annie Haslam (“Renaissance”) and Emma Brown (“Solstice”), but also widens her scope to the realms of the “Queen of the Prog”, “Lana Lane”. Explosive and powerful, Legend stands close to bands like “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Lana Lane”, “Deep Purple”, and “Uriah Heep” (because of the drums and keyboards); sometimes accelerating guitars and bass to a typical N.W.O.B.H.M. pace. “Playing With Fire” opens with the Hard-Rock “Pipes Of Pan“ (structured on Hammonds and crowned by a bluesy guitar solo) and ”Dance“ (with a layer of Neo-Prog synths and a twist to N.W.O.B.H.M. at the end). “Nightshade“ brings medieval themes and folk vocals wrapped in keyboards that remind me of “Uriah Heep”. “Windsong“ sounds like “Pendragon”, and has medieval keyboards alternating with extended guitar and keyboard solos. The band makes a pause to perform the soft “I Close My Eyes“ (a cover of British musician Robb Johnson) before returning at full locomotive speed on the instrumental “The Chase“. This one is followed by “Legend“ and “The Healer“, two songs rarely played alive nowadays. “Legend” begins like a typical British Neo-Prog, evolving later to a fast-paced N.W.O.B.H.M. “The Healer” is a beautiful folk-ballad supported by piano (reminding me of “Renaissance”), also featuring an amazing guitar solo. The mysterious “Lament“ follows, going from melancholic tones to impressive epic guitar riffs and long space-guitar solos. The song prepares the audience for the “grand-finale”: “Toccata & Blues“, a free adaptation of “J.S. Bach” baroque theme, is one of the best that I ever listened to, and includes superb guitar solos. “Light In Extension“ closes the album with power and glory, living us with the certainty that Legend will always conquer fans as long as they perform alive. In spite of the technical problems involved in recovering material from old analogue tapes (what compromises the quality of the sound) – this record is a must-have for Legend’s fans, being also ideal for a first approach to this amazing band - highly recommended for traditional Prog-Fans! Band members involved in Legend are: Debbie Chapman – Vocals; Steve Paine – Keyboards; John Macklin – Drums; Paul Thompson – Guitars and Martyn Rouski - Bass...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/29/2010.............,.....For more information about the musicians and their history, visitLEGEND OFFICIAL WEBSIT...
. RAUSCH - "Rausch"
Doug Rausch is a young and gifted pianist, keyboardist and singer from Pennsylvania (U.S.A.). Rausch’s passion for the piano began at age of 8, and his obsession took him to the prestigious Ithaca College School of Music (New York). There, he made it to the contest finals, performing “Gershwin’s” “Rhapsody in Blue”. By his 21st birthday, he assembled a 13-piece band to perform a tribute to “Guns N’ Roses” – a hint that Rausch does not dismiss the Rock either. Rausch‘s talent attracted attention of guitarist Gary Wehrkamp (“Shadow Gallery”, “Roswell Six”, “Explorers Club”, “Amaran’s Plight”). Wehrkamp decided to co-produce Rausch’s self-titled debut album, and played guitars and bass on it. The record was mixed by Rich Mouser (“Spock's Beard”, “Transatlantic”), and had participation of drummer Joe Nevolo (“Shadow Gallery”, “Greg Howe”). Released in 2009, the album brings 9 tracks. Rausch’s influences come from Classical (“Franz Liszt”, “Beethoven”, “Rachmaninoff”, “Gershwin”); Pop-Rock (“The Beatles”, “Ray Charles”, “Tom Waits”, “Coldplay”, “Tom Petty”, “Queen”, “Bon Jovi”, “David Bryan”, “Soul Asylum”); Hard-Rock (“Aerosmith”, “Guns N’ Roses”, “King's X”); Fusion (“Jordan Rudess”, “Chick Corea”); Progressive (“Pink Floyd”, “Chroma Key”, “Transatlantic”, “Spock's Beard”, “Porcupine Tree”); and Prog-Metal (“Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater”, “Queensrÿche“, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”). Even though Rausch loves Progressive and Prog-Metal icons, his music is much more like Pop-Rock. Rausch’s favorite instrument is the classical piano, which he plays in a delightful old-fashioned way – like “Gershwin”, “Liszt”, “Freddie Mercury” and “Elton John”. His voice is juvenile, but he sings with passion. The sonority is “round” - melodic and agreeable - yet never sounding artificial or bent to “commercial” purposes. Wehrkamp and Nevolo add extra quality to the instrumentation, and Wehrkamp feels free to solo according to his will. Nevolo is having fun, and without being excessively technical or heavy, keeps the rhythm at the adequate Pop-Rock pace. Most songs are lively, dynamic, and gleeful – and remind me of the melodies of “The Beatles” (from “Rubber Soul” on); the theatrical joy of “Queen” (of first albums, until “A Night at the Opera”); the romanticism of “Elton John” and “Styx” (of the old times), with the ironic ballads of “Pink Floyd”, adding moments of Rock and R&B (like “Ray Charles”) and classical piano (“Liszt”, “Gershwin”). Guitars lean to the Neoclassical, reminding me of “Queen” and “Shadow Gallery”. This mix of styles is present on the opening tracks “No Fair“ (much like “Queen”) and “Bipolar“ (which has vigorous moments of guitar riffing and melodic soloing opposed to slower Classical piano). “Minimalism“ is formatted for radio airplay – after a calm intro, it becomes a lively Pop-Rock piano ballad, having an acoustic guitar solo that reminds me of unplugged versions of “Bon Jovi” or “Guns N’ Roses”. But my favorites are those long songs that are arranged in numerous parts and that join many influences at the same time. “It Happens“, for instance, makes me think of “The Beatles” (on vocals), “Queen” (on harmony guitars), “Gershwin” (on piano ornamentation), and even “Ray Charles” (on the R&B at the end). The very best are “The Pros and Cons of Linear“ and “Survival Instincts“. “The Pros and Cons…“ begins lively like old “Queen” or “Elton John”, changes to an epic chorus supported by beautiful string arrangements; turns to a “Pink Floyd” mood in the middle, and from that point to the end an amazing guitar solo arises, lasting more than 3 minutes (!). “Survival Instincts“ sounds a bit more like a modern Prog-piece and includes both “Queen” and “Coldplay”-styled harmony vocals; oriental keys; alternation of heavier guitar riffs with Space-rock riffs; and a long Prog-Metal guitar solo coupled with great drumming, akin “Shadow Gallery”. But Rausch also knows how to compose sad (and good) ballads. My favorites are “B.P.M.S.“ (with delightful slow pace, acoustic guitars, organs, and an ironic “Floydian” tone) and “Ode to Pain” – a bittersweet song on which the acoustic guitars and bluesy solos are performed by Rausch. “Slow Suite:I Grey?” is a cool piano ballad that closes the album. With this excellent debut, Rausch begins his journey along the yellow brick road. Rausch is highly recommended for those who like melodic Pop-Rock, like “The Beatles”, “Queen”, “Elton John”, “Styx”, “Bon Jovi”, and “Pink Floyd”. Band members and collaborators involved with Rausch are: Doug Rausch – Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Compositions, Guitars on “Ode to Pain”; Gary Wehrkamp – Guitar, Bass and Joe Nevolo – Drums and Percussion. You can visit Rausch at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/05/2010...........................,.....All infomation about the artist and his history are available at RAUSCH HOME PAGE...
. THE FLOW - "No Guarantees"
The Flow is a new rock band from Holland. Although founded in 2008, the line-up is composed by experienced musicians of the Dutch rock scene:  Jos Zoomer (ex- “Vandenberg”, “Shiver”) on drums and percussion; Jacques Suurmond (ex- “Marathon”, “Shiver”) on bass; Erik de Boer  (ex- “Harrow”, “X-posure”, “Shiver”) on guitar; and Marten Jan Rerink (ex- “The Others”, “No-Sugar”) on vocals and guitar. Following “Shiver” split-off in 2007, Zoomer, Suurmond and de Boer decided to keep playing together, and so The Flow was born. After one year searching for a vocalist, they finally recruited Rerink for the line-up, and the quartet began immediately to work on material for a first album. Their effort would compensate two years later, with the release of their debut CD “No Guarantees” (2010). The album was independently recorded and produced by the band itself along 2009, and mixed and mastered by Tjerk de Groot (TDG productions, Holland), who friendly played keyboards on all tracks. The music of The Flow rests upon the different musical preferences and backgrounds of its integrants (which include Melodic Rock, Hard-Rock, American Southern Rock, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Rock, and Pop-Rock with inspiration on the 70’s). On stage, they often perform covers of “Porcupine Tree”, “The Beatles”, “Seal” and the like. All songs follow a structure that makes them suitable for radio airplay: they are short, divided in strophes and chorus, and have few instrumental variations. The rhythmic section keeps the pace at a mid-tempo, inserting some groovy passages and dancing beats. Ballads are frequent. Guitar riffs make the base of the songs, going from a Hard Progressive and Hard Rock (like “Rush”, “Soundgarden”, “Pearl Jam”, “Vandenberg”) to Pop-Rock (“U2”, “Snow Patrol”, “Kane”, “Queen”). Those riffs are opposed to an acoustic background in Folk-American style (like “Pearl Jam”, “The Black Crowes”). Guitar solos are melodic, either approaching the Space-Rock style (like “Pink Floyd”), or sounding delicate and soaring (like “U2”, “Coldplay”, “Queen”), but never being much long or complex (as expected for Progressive and Prog-Metal standards). Vocals are melodic, sometimes having a cool or sad tone, with a hard-rock appeal (like “Pearl Jam”, “Kane”). “No Guarantees” features 10 tracks. Listening to songs “Greed“ and “The Secret“, we realize that the band’s recipe goes around joining “Rush” like guitar-riffs with the Hard-Rock sonority of “Pearl Jam”, including some “Floydian” guitar solos. Influences from “Pear Jam” are present on “Everything I Used To Be“ and on “No Guarantees“ – one of my favorites, with groovy bass and drums and an extended percussive section, influenced by “The Black Crowes”. Escaping from this formula, the best songs of this record are “Start Bleeding“ (which may be The Flow’s first hit) and “Now”. “Start Bleeding” is an almost Prog-Metal based on heavy guitar riffs (influenced by “Porcupine Tree”) and a sticky chorus, also featuring a great guitar solo. “Now” begins slowly like an acoustic ballad (like “Pearl Jam”), changing to a mild “Led Zeppelin”. Soaring harmony vocals lead the song to a crescendo, culminating on an amazing “Queen”-like solo. Ballads seem to be the strongest point of The Flow – and they appear on different styles along the record. My favorites are “Feel Them“ (with a “Coldplay” piano intro; sad vocal tones like “Kane”, and “Floydian” solos); and “Feel Alive“ (with influences of “Pearl Jam” and “Vandenberg”, having floating guitar harmonies like “U2”). “What’s The Future Saying“ is a folk ballad with a pop-rock beat, having influences of “Rush”, “Bon Jovi”, “Coldplay”, “U2”. “Without You“ is acoustic, and reminds me slightly of “Genesis”. The Flow makes decent music, and will profit from the experience of its integrants to hit the charts. The band may find its audience among fans of “Rush”, “Kane”, “Pearl Jam”, “U2”, “Soundgarden”, “Snow Patrol”, “Pink Floyd”, “Simple Plan”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in The Flow are: Marten Jan Rerink – Vocals, Guitar; Jacques Suurmond – Bass; Erik de Boer – Guitar; Jos Zoomer – Drums and Percussion; Tjerk de Groot – Keyboards, Mixing; Lisette Jongbloed, Saskia Zieltjens, Sharon Waage – Harmony Vocals on “Now”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/05/2010...............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit THE FLOW HOME PAGE...
. OHO - "Okinawa"
OHO is a vintage band formed in 1973 in Baltimore (U.S.A.). Known as “Baltimore’s answer to Pink Floyd”, it was a multi-instrumental quintet that played Avant-garde and Acid-Progressive music. OHO‘s unconventional and humorous way of doing music isolated the band from the artistic trends and bonds of their time, converting them into an American underground icon. The non-commercial quality of OHO forced them to pioneer into the independent production of their albums and projects. OHO’s story began in 1970, when Mark O'Connor (keyboards, piano, vocals), Joe O'Sullivan (vocals, bass, guitar) and Jay Graboski (vocals, acoustic guitar) played in a local blues-band known as “Quinn”. In 1971, Mark, Jay, his brother Jeff Graboski, and Trent Zeigen formed “Little Hans” a gothic-progressive quartet that recorded a piece based on Peter Pan’s story, but disbanded a year later. In 1973 Mark O'Connor and Joe O'Sullivan, with friend Steve Heck (vocals, bass, guitars, castanets), just to escape from monotony, began an experimental period in Joe's basement making chaotic noisy music and writing Poetry. Taking the three initials of their last names, they called themselves OHO. As the noise shaped into songs, they recruited their old partner Jay Graboski and drummer Larry Bright to join in. But it was drummer Raymond “Indy” Indiana, who collaborated on the recording sessions that resulted on OHO’s debut album “Okinawa” (1974). One of the first independent releases in the U.S.A., “Okinawa” was remastered and officially reissued in 2010 under Rockadrome’s Vintage label. The digipack edition includes a booklet with notes, photos and original artwork. The repertoire comprises the entire sessions recorded at the Flite Three Studios, Maryland (1974) – summing up 30 tracks. The album is a sample of OHO’s experimental musicianship, which would evolve on the following “Vitamin OHO” (recorded 1974, released in 1991 under German label Little Wing of Refugees) and “Dream of the Ridiculous Band-sessions '75-'76” – completing OHO’s essential trilogy. The sonority is highly influenced by the Psychedelic Rock of “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barrett” phase), “Zappa” and “Captain Beefheart”. As those bands, OHO put the raw material of which creativity, imagination and originality are made inside their own idiosyncratic cooking pot, and produced dozens of short musical pieces that are still Avant-garde by nowadays standards. Some songs contain so many ideas that they could be stretched to the length of Symphonic-Prog pieces. On “Okinawa”, their proposal was to experiment as far as possible, without dismissing any idea. Mixing Psychedelic, R.I.O., Avant-garde, Boogie-woogie, Blues, Classical and Vaudeville, and “Yabadabadoing” everything with “Forrest-Gumpy” humor and irony, those songs resulted theatrical, lively and lovely. Anything could be used as source of inspiration: the human voice (“Laughing“, “Opposites“, “Manic Detective“), horror-movie trailers (“Hairy Bag“, “The Still Nite“) theatrical music (“Horse Remorse“, “Parts & Ponds“) TV advertisement jingles (“Fast Bananas“, “Corrective Shoes“), socio-political critics (“Plymouth Ascendants“), a kind of James-Joyce use of everyday thoughts (“Chess is Boring”), Rock-Opera (“A Frog for You“), and Psychedelic Rock (“Duva“). Amid the overall insanity, there are many serious Prog pieces, mostly influenced by “Zappa” and “Captain Beefheart” (“Hogshead“, “The Insipid City of York“, “The Continuing Story of Cragwheel the Corpse Pt. II“); “Henry Cow” (“Gotta Write a Poem“); early “Pink Floyd” (“Ain’t Life Dumb“, “Fill the Sheet“, “The Unfortunate Frankfurter Vendor“, “Pale Hippo“); “Gong” (“Brown Algae is Attractive“); “King Crimson” (“Board Organ (edit)“, “Sorry“); Canterbury Sound (“Hyphenate Ice-less“, “The Plague“, “Lemon Flowers“); and some caricatured “ELP” and “VdGG” (“The Silent Sickle Sucker“). One of the funniest and most weird albums that I have ever heard, “Okinawa” has the same effect of a strong anti-depressive drug – it keeps you laughing, but causes addiction. OHO is highly recommended for fans of “Zappa”, “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barrett” phase), “Captain Beefheart”, “Henry Cow”, “Gong”, “Arrigo Barnabé”, “King Crimson”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in OHO are: Mark O'Connor - Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Joe O'Sullivan - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Piano; Jay Graboski - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Maracas; Steve Heck - Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Castanets; Raymond “Indy” Indiana – Drums; Boris McFinnie – Horns, Brass (on “Hogshead”, “Fast Bananas”); Greg Coulson and the Cedarcroft Girls’ Chorus - Lead and Backing Vocals (on “Plymouth Ascendants“)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/12/2010...........................................,,,,,,,,.....,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OHO HOME PAGE...
. THE 16 DEADLY IMPROVS - "The Triumph of the 16 Deadly Improvs"
The 16 Deadly Improvs are a Progressive-Ambient-Experimental band based in Madison, New Jersey (U.S.A.). The line-up consists of Mark Nowak (keyboards, vocals), Nick Bohensky (guitar, keyboards), Vin Villanueva (guitar), Jeff Bridi (bass, vocals), Dave Wilson (drums, percussion), and Gene Bohensky (drums, keyboards). The musicians joined in 1995 to take part on a studio project with the aim of experimenting and improvising using the skills of each band member, and at the same to try out different instruments other than their specialty. Musically, they were inspired by “King Crimson” (“John Wetton” Era) and the “Frippertronics” (“Robert Fripp’s” guitar method). Other influences are “Brian Eno”, “Harold Budd”, “Pink Floyd“, “Rain Tree Crow”, “David Bowie” (Berlin Era), “The Legendary Pink Dots”, “Holger Czukay”, “Radiohead”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Miles Davis”, “Gong”, “Yes”, “Rush”, “Michael Brook”, and “Laraaji”, all which they scramble with improvisational Blues, Jazz, and elements of Metal, Ambient, Progressive and Electronic music. The 16 Deadly Improvs’ formula involves the recording of live studio sessions without any prior rehearsals or sharing of musical ideas, to preserve their overall organic feel. The first of those recording sessions happened in July 1995, and resulted in their first record – “The 16 Deadly Improvs” (so named because the session was edited and downsized to 16 distinct tracks). As band members got involved in other musical projects, the band’s activities were suspended for nearly a decade, until members regrouped in 2004. Officially adopting the moniker The 16 Deadly Improvs, and under their own independent label Rosemont Recordings, they recorded the follow-ups “The Return of The 16 Deadly Improvs” (2005) and “The Challenge of The 16 Deadly Improvs” (2006). “The Challenge…” was the first release to be made available to the public, and was innovative in featuring vocals added by overdubbing - a technique that would be far developed on the subsequent album, “The Revenge of The 16 Deadly Improvs” (2008). Along 2008 the band recorded another session that was edited and produced during 2009, resulting in their recent release: “The Triumph of The 16 Deadly Improvs” (2010). Along its 16 tracks, we realize that the musical method employed by The 16 Deadly Improvs really works, although may achieve different results. If some tracks sound too much experimental, even chaotic (like the series titled “Sand Palm” IV, V, and VI, or “Mag 3“); others sound more structured and almost conventional, like “Into Another Time“ (with cool vocals like “David Bowie”), “Bugbear Blues“ (a blues with free-jazz guitar solo), “Dear Me“, (influenced by “The Legendary Pink Dots”), “You’d Make a Lot of Money…“ (with a 90’s cool beat, and great guitar solo), and “Fading of My Memories“ (with soft vocals like “Pink Floyd”, and space guitar solos). But most tracks retain the experimental spirit of the band, showing their ability of reworking their influences. So, if the dark and melancholic vocals of “Spirit of Matter” are reminiscent of “David Sylvian & Rain Tree Crow”; the cool New-Wave drum beat and guitars of “Torpedo“ evoke “The Legendary Pink Dots” and “Radiohead”. The psychedelic bass of “King Crimson”, the experimental guitar effects of both “Crimson” and “Pink Floyd”, the minimalist space keyboards of “Brian Eno”, and some soaring and distorted guitars of “Porcupine Tree” are all present on my favorite tracks - “Invincible Pole Fighters“, “Gargantua!“, and “Death to Disco“, the later featuring a really great guitar solo. A predominance of ambient sounds appear on “Rise of the Septopi” (blending “Eno” with “Pink Floyd”); and fans of “Brian Eno” will really love the 9-minute long astral-piece “The Burrowers Beneath“. All in all, “The Triumph of the 16 Deadly Improvs” constitutes a valid musical experiment that will be welcomed by those who are interested in music made by improvisational techniques, and also by fans of “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Pink Floyd”, “David Sylvian & Rain Tree Crow”, “Radiohead”, “The Legendary Pink Dots”, “Holger Czukay”, “Harold Budd”, “Sigur Ros”, “No Man”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in The 16 Deadly Improvs are: Mark Nowak – Keyboards (except 4), Overdub Vocals (2, 10); Nick Bohensky – Guitar, Keyboards (15), Cymbals (14), Overdub Vocals (6), Overdub Guitar (15); Vin Villanueva – Guitar, Overdub Guitar (12, 15); Jeff Bridi – Bass, Keyboards (14), Overdub Vocals (6, 8, 15), Overdub Piano (6), Overdub Glock (13); Dave Wilson – Drums, Percussion, Keyboards (8); Gene Bohensky – Drums (5, 8, 12, 15), Keyboards (2,3,6,10,11,14), Percussion (7,14). You can visit The 16 Deadly Improvs at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/12/2010.......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE 16 DEADLY IMPROVS HOME PAGE...
. MARIE INGERSLEV - "The Other Side"
Marie Ingerslev is a singer, guitarist and songwriter from Copenhagen, Denmark. She has been writing poetry and performing her own music since early age. In 1993 she was admitted in a special Music School, and latter received a scholarship from the Danish Art Foundation. To put into action her gifted voice and talented musicianship, Marie Ingerslev assembled the band Mary in Copenhagen. Besides Ingerslev (vocals, acoustic guitars, percussion), the band counts with participation of Kalle Mathiesen (drums, percussion, strings, keys, bass), Thommy Andersson (bass, double bass, cello), Jeppe Kjellberg (guitars), and Torben Snekkestad (saxophones, bass clarinet). Marie Ingerslev released her debut CD - “In The Head of a Dreamer” – in 2006 (Matchbox Recordings Ltd. - UK). Since then, the Mary band has performed before large and small audiences, also working with musicians from all around the world. Now, her second release “The Other Side” (2010, Gateway Music) is finally coming to light. Marie Ingerslev‘s songs feature poetical lyrics questioning about the meaning of life. The instrumentation is based on acoustic guitars and vocals. The harmonies are delicate, and adorned by gentle melodies of keyboards, piano, and wind instruments. Her voice is soft, yet firm and personal, reminding me of “Annie Haslam”, “Joni Mitchell”, and “Anneke van Giersbergen” (“Agua de Annique”). Her music is influenced by different genres, like Folk, Modern Jazz, Modern Rock, and Bulgarian Women Choirs. Her favorite singers and musicians are “Joni Mitchell”, “Bjørk”, “Cassandra Wilson”, “Bill Frisell”, “Keith Jarret”, “John Lennon”, “Elvis Costello”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Jeff Buckley”, “Nick Drake”, “Bach”, “Radiohead”, and “Egberto Gismonti”. The presence of Brazilian “Egberto Gismonti” among her influences explains something that surprised me when I listened to “The Other Side” for the first time: Marie Ingerslev is a Danish singer that reminds me of many Brazilian singers, namely “Adriana Calcanhotto”, “Marisa Monte”, “Ithamara Koorax”, “Zizi Possi”, and “Jane Duboc”. In fact, songs like the opening “Goodbye Old World“, “I Search a Place“, “Daily Life“ (predominantly made of acoustic guitars and piano), the beautiful “Ice“ (marked by clapping hands) and “Waltzing Dorthe” (with acoustic guitars and intimate vocals that remind me of “Adriana Calcanhotto”) bring a Brazilian flavor on the rhythm of the acoustic guitars, on the light percussion, and on the sensuality of the backing vocals. Even when Ingerslev blends different influences, like on “Walk Along“ (a dreamy piano ballad with “Renaissance” airs) and “The Other Side” (a long ambient piece with Indian flavors), that Brazilian cheerful feeling is present on the backing vocals. This unexpected “Brazilian spirit” of Ingerslev is precisely what imprints originality to her music, distinguishing her from other female singers of the European Folk-Pop circle. That distinction will surely help her to achieve success among music lovers. But as the sun does not shine so often over Denmark as over Brazil, Marie Ingerslev also saves some sadder ballads for the rainy days, like “Save My Sound“ (similar to “Buckley” and “Drake”) and “Lock“ (although only the beginning is sad, the song turning to a modern pop afterwards). A cool jazzy mood is present in “This Glow“ and “My Word Still Stands“. The later is a folk song disguised in modern rhythm that will please “Annie Haslam” and “Anekke van Giersbergen” fans. Marie Ingerslev is really a gifted artist, and deserves attention also from the Prog community. Marie Ingerslev is highly recommended for fans of “Annie Haslam”, “Joni Mitchell”, “Anneke van Giersbergen”, “Bjørk”, “Cassandra Wilson”,  “Charlotte Church”, “Sarah Brightman”, “Enya”, “Rebekka Karijord”, “Joan Baez”, “Adriana Calcanhotto”, “Marisa Monte”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved with Marie Ingerslev are: Marie Ingerslev – Vocals, Guitars, Melodica, Percussion; Jeppe Kjellberg - Guitars; Thommy Anderson – Bass, Double Bass, Cello; Kalle Mathiesen – Drums, Percussion, Keys, Samples, Harmonium, Grand Piano, Guitar, Bass (on 6 and 9); Torben Snekkestad – Saxophones. You can visit Marie Ingerslev at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/12/2010...........,.....Interested to know more about the musician and singer? Visit MARIE INGERSLEV HOME PAGE...
. POOIS - "Opera House"
Poois is a veteran Alternative Rock and Heavy-Metal band from Nyack, NY (U.S.A.). The group was founded back in 1993 by 3 members of a band called “Rat Salad”, who were involved in a side-project called “Bagbalm”. Two of them were Sean Magaletta (guitars) and Manfred “Schwaa” Schwalenberg (bass). In 1994 singer Tim Kaim came in and “Bagbalm” changed the moniker for Poois. As James deMaria (the “demon drummer”) joined Poois, the band started to do live presentations. Then, without any previous warning, Schwaa packed his things and disappeared into Texas. The band disbanded, and the remaining musicians headed for different projects. Poois seemed to be consigned to oblivion, but – surprise! – after many years, Schwaa was located and brought back to Poois. Two new members were then added to the original line-up: Adam “Lopz” Bronner (also bassist), and Jonny “Rod” Ciorciari (guitars, production). So, in 2009 - after 16 years of foundation - Poois finally entered studio for the first time to record their debut album - “Opera House”, released in 2010. The album was recorded and mixed by Ciorciari at JROD Studios (New City, NY) and mastered by Dustin Elliott at 45 Studios (Cleveland, OH). The cover artwork, by Chantale Bourdages, is based on the characters and elements described on the songs. The sound of Poois is difficult to be tagged. The music is too much visceral, crude and spontaneous to be defined as Prog-Metal. The band oscillates instead amid Alternative Rock, Punk-Rock, Heavy-Metal, Thrash-Metal, and Nu-Metal. Band members cited “Primus”, “Black Sabbath”, “Kiss”, “David Byrne”, and even “Thelonious Monk” as their most important influences. But the trade mark of Poois rests on Schwaa’s unique bass style. Like “Les Claypool” (“Primus”), “Doug Keyser” (“Watchtower”) and “Flea” (“Red Hot”), Schwaa guides Poois through the same ways of other bands that have a bass-driven sound, like “Primus”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Watchtower”, “Jane’s Addiction” and “Motörhead”. And deMaria provides the complementary “broken” and powerful drumming, contributing for the strong “play by feeling” spirit of Poois. Guitarists Magaletta and Ciorciari stuff the empty spaces with catchy and rocky guitar riffs. In the heaviest moments, the combined power of guitars, bass and drums sound like the Thrash-Metal of the 80’s, remind me of “Blind Illusion”, “Megadeth”, “Artillery” (album “By Inheritance”), “Mekong Delta” and “Tank”. Guitar solos are metallic, well elaborated, sometimes as weird as in “Watchtower”, and “Annihilator”. The amazing and original vocals of Tim Kaim – the “angry Irishman” – cover a vast repertoire of tricks and tones, learned from “Jane’s Addiction”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Primus”, and from the Alternative Rock in general. Poois mixes all those ingredients on the 13 tracks of “Opera House”, achieving excellent results. “Opera House” is one of those honest “sugar-free” albums that you can listen from the first track to the last with that “satisfaction guarantee” feeling. The songs are arranged in two Acts that are divided by the intermission track “AmBASSador” (a psychedelic bass solo). Act 1 is made of straightforward songs that sound like “Jane’s Addiction”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Suicidal Tendencies” (“Ba-Na Ba-Na!“, “Cougie McCougster“); “Motörhead” (“Beware the Frog“); or tend to the Thrash-Metal (“Tourettes“). My favorites are “Just Say Cheese“ (with a strong chorus and psychedelic metal guitars) and “Horny American“ (with intelligent funny lyrics), which are influenced by “Primus” in form, essence, and irony.  Act 2 concentrates the experimental and most varied tracks of the record. The title-track “Opera House“ combines horror-like riffs with vocals like “System of a Down”. “Okay By Myself“ sounds like “The Smiths” playing Heavy-Metal. The bellicose “Battle Cry“ has some epic airs, while the psychedelic “MLMM“ is pure “Primus”. “Unstuck In Time“ blends “Primus”, “Iron Maiden”, “Megadeth”, and “Red Hot”, having an unexpected twist to acoustic guitars and a progressive guitar solo. The 8 minute long “The Swamp” is definitely influenced by “Primus”, and closes this excellent debut, one of the best Metal releases of this year. Poois is highly recommended for fans of Alternative Rock and Alternative Heavy Metal, especially for fans of “Primus”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in Poois are: Tim Kaim – Lead Vocals; Sean Magaletta – Guitars, Vocals; Manfred “Mann E. Schwaa” Schwalenberg – Bass, Vocals; James DeMaria – Drums, Vocals; Jonny “Rod” Ciorciari – Guitars, Vocals, Production; Adam “Lopz” Bronner – Bass, Vocals. You can visit Poois at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/12/2010..........,,.....Want to learn everything about the band and its members? You must visit POOIS HOME PAGE...
. IN SEARCH FOR - "Faith"
As a Prog-Metal enthusiast, I am always in search for bands like In Search For. My quest led me to Minsk, the capital city of the white-snowed Republic of Belarus. There, in 2008, Yann Zhenchak (guitars, vocals, violins, compositions) founded In Search For with the aim of playing high-edged Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal. Since then the band released the album "Faith" (2009, Mals Russia), and the EP “Soul Inside” (2010, with a different line-up). “Faith” was recorded by band members, mixed by Yann Zhenchak, and mastered by Andrei Starovoitov. Even though Zhenchak has apologized for it, the technical quality of the record is quite good. The album has participation of Vladimir Ivanov (guitar), Alexey Bogan (guitar), Tihon Zolotov (bass), Alexey Zolotov (drums), and additional musicians (see the line up below). Musically, In Search For rivals with similar bands from the U.S.A., U.K., Sweden, Holland or Germany. Yann Zhenchak could be regarded as the Belarusian “Arjen Lucassen” (“Ayreon”, “Star One”). His compositions range from Traditional and Modern Hard Rock (“Whitesnake”, “Rainbow”, “Dio”, “Malmsteen”, “Jorn Lande”) to Melodic Power Metal (“Michael Kiske”, “Helloween”, “Angra”, “Blind Guardian”). Large doses of Progressive Symphonic Rock are brought into the music by means of catchy vocal tunes, epic choruses, and rich instrumental arrangements with neoclassical guitars, bombastic ‘70-styled keyboards, flutes and violins (like “Ayreon”, “U.K.”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Kansas”). A pinch of British Neo-Prog (“Arena”, “IQ”) is sometimes added to the mix. Some parts may rise to a heavier Prog-Metal (“Beyond Twilight”, ”Symphony X”). Occasional Folk-Metal vocals (“Falconer”) and rare growling vocals (“Opeth”) also appear. The sonority of In Search For reminds me of other bands of the post-Soviet bloc, like “Little Tragedies” (Russia), “SBS” (Lithuania), and “Uncreated Light” (Ukraine). “Faith” features 15 tracks. The opening track, “In To“, is mostly instrumental, combining “U.K.”, “Little Tragedies”, and “Ayreon”. It is followed by “Lady of The Night” (a hard-Rock in the vein of “Whitesnake”, “Rainbow”, and “Jorn Lande”), and “Skies In Your Eyes“ (a light song with bluesy guitars and sweet backing vocals). The amazing “Strangers Again” is introduced by a classical keyboard theme, followed by vocals like “Arena”. “Strangers Again” hints at an increase in progressiveness, which is marked by flutes, epic riffs, and a triumphant come-back of the introductory theme on violins and guitars. Indeed, the most symphonic pieces are placed from the middle to the end of the album. “Don’t Fall Asleep“ is a ten-minute long operetta that begins with neoclassical guitars and vocals like “Arena”, but changes to a heavier Power-Metal, like “Blind Guardian”, “Falconer”, and “Symphony X”. The darkest part of the song is marked by a duel of Zhenchak‘s clean vocals against the growling “Opeth”-like vocals of Vladislav Suldzin. The end brings an epic duet of male and female lyrical vocals. The 44 seconds of “Departure“ introduce the glorious “Angels Arise“ – with angelic themes played on piano, keyboards, and catchy chorus (like “Jorn Lande”, “Angra”), reaching a climax on a duet of neoclassical guitars and synths. “10.000 Years“ is not less amazing: it opens with “Queen”-like harmonic vocals followed by solemn organ and bluesy weeping guitars of 60’s inspiration (“Procol Harum”, “The Moody Blues”, “Mountain”). There is a twist to Neo-Prog (like “IQ”), and then to modern Symphonic Prog (“Ayreon”). But the best track is the five-part suite “In Search For: Faith“. Like “Ayreon’s” “Universal Migrator”, this suite tells the story of a man who survived humankind’s extinction. On “Prelude“ he wakes up in a space ship, where an alien robot explains to him what has happened. Their conversation continues on “Interlude”, sided by the awesome symphonic arrangements of “Ascention“ (with pianos, silky violins like “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, blazing guitars, and dark choruses), and by the powerful blasting chords of “Descending“. All leads to an open “Conclusion”, to be still continued. The last songs - “Kahanne” (a folk-ballad) and “Piy Da DNA” (a Prog-Metal) – bring lyrics that were written by the Belarusian poets Yanka Kupala and Natalia Arsenneva, and are sung in their native language. Summing all up, “Faith” is a brilliant work that places In Search For among the selected groups that are highly recommended for all fans of Progressive Rock, Melodic Hard Rock and Progressive Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in In Search For are: Yann Zhenchak – Vocals, Keys, Violin, Viola; Vladimir Ivanov – Guitar; Alexey Bogan – Guitar; Tihon Zolotov – Bass; Alexey Zolotov – Drums; Vladislav Suldzin – Growl. Additional musicians: Larisa Simakovich – Female Vocals; Ax Vinjhegin – Guitars; Roman Bogush– Flute (“Strangers Again”); Sergey Osipov – Flute (“Kahanne”); Boris Zhenchak – Backing Vocals (“Faith”). EP formation: Yann Zhenchak -  Vocals, Strings; Yaroslav Stefanenko – Guitar; Denis Rakhuba – Guitar; Sergey Fedorov – Bass; Katerina Alexandrova – Keyboards; Yury Rakhuba – Drums. You can visit In Search For at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/18/2010.................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, go to IN SEARCH FOR HOME PAGE...
. MIND PORTAL - "Mind Portal 1/1"
Mind Portal is a Progressive-Metal-Fusion band from the city of Voronezh, Russia. It was founded in 2009 by Grigory Kurnosov (guitar), Vitaly Zotov (bass), Vyacheslav Bessonov (keyboards), and Roman Gorodnyansky (drums). Very quickly, the band prepared 8 compositions to be included in their debut album, entitled “Mind Portal 1/1” (2010, Mals Russia). Mind Portal‘s moniker means, according to band members, “an informative and energetic portal through which the group communicates with their audience”. Mind Portal combines together a discrepant line of influences: “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Dairy Straits”, and “AC/DC”. This combination may sound weird at first listening, but at the same time, it is what imprints originality to the band’s sonority. All tracks are instrumental, and, for me, resemble a blend of “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “AC/DC”, “Rush”, “The Dregs”, “Mr. Big”, “Tribal Tech”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, “John Petrucci”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Derek Sherinian“ and “Jordan Rudess”. Mind Portal plays the music that they like with brim and talent. The compositions are creative and tightly arranged, so that harmonization among instruments tends to work more like a chamber orchestra then to a jazzy quartet, that is, without much free improvisation. Overall, their music tends mostly to the highly-spirited temper of “Rush”, “The Dregs”, “Kotzen“, “Vinnie Moore” and “Angus Young” (“AC/DC”), than to the darker and heavier mood of “Dream Theater”, or the experimentalism of “Steve Vai”. But it has the same vigor and sophistication of “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Satriani”, and “Petrucci” (on guitars), “Jordan Rudess” and “Derek Sherinian“ (on keyboards). Mind Portal’s music is dynamic, with guitars and keyboards making the core solos, engaging in eloquent musical dialogues. The bass acts as the moderator, while drums keep everything flowing by furnishing the right rocky and/or jazz-fusion beats. I really enjoyed this band, the music is appealing – that kind of sound the more you listen, the more you get hooked to it. “Mind Portal 1/1” brings 8 instrumental tracks that range from 3 to 5 minutes in duration, with exception of “Dedication“, which surpasses 7 minutes and blends within it all Mind Portal’s most important influences, from “Dream Theater” to “AC/DC”. The remaining tracks are all excellent, and I was not able to select any favorite. Those who prefer a “rocky” and heavier rhythmic section, dominated by excellent guitar riffs, will like “Roller Coaster“ (strongly influenced by “Dream Theater”), “Traffic Jam“ (a Jazz-Rock but with influences of “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, early “Dream Theater”, and keyboards like “Rudess”), and “Fast Food“ (with an intro that reminds me of “Dream Theater”, later turning to rocky guitars like “Kotzen” and “AC/DC”). Those who like Fusion with a pinch more of Progressive inside will be pleased by the space-like ambience of “Natural Disaster“ (influenced by the most progressive phase of “Rush”) and the Classic pianos and neoclassical guitar theme inserted on the amazing “In Pursuit of a Black Pearl“. For those who like softer passages, driven by inspiration and soulful guitar solos – in the style of “Satriani”, “Vai”, and “Vinnie Moore” - “Summer Morning“ is highly recommended, as well as the outstanding “Reminiscences“ (composed around a beautiful piano theme). With this excellent debut, Mind Portal promises to trail a brilliant future ahead. We should keep an eye on future works of this band. Mind Portal is highly recommended for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Rush”, “Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, “John Petrucci”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Jordan Rudess”, “The Dregs”, “Derek Sherinian“, “Planet X”, and other Prog-Metal-Fusion bands and musicians. Band members involved in Mind Portal are: Grigory Kurnosov – Guitars; Vitaly Zotov – Bass; Vyrcheslav Bessonov – Keyboards; Roman Gorodnyansky – Drums. You can visit Mind Portal at MySpace site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/18/2010..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit MIND PORTAL HOME PAGE...
. JACK JEFFERY - "Passage to Agadir"
Jack Jeffery is a guitarist, singer and composer from Virginia, U.S.A., whose musical interests go around Progressive, Ambient and Psychedelic Music, and Folk Rock. Jeffery has recently self-produced his debut album, entitled “Passage to Agadir” (2010). Jeffery wrote all tracks, and performed all instruments and vocals alone. Jack Jeffery’s musical preferences and influences include many different artists and bands, like “Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “The Beatles”, “The Moody Blues”, “Roger Waters”, “Syd Barrett”, “David Gilmour”, “Kraftwerk”, “Procol Harum”, “Nick Drake”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Manuel Gottsching”, “Tangerine Dream”, “John Lennon”, “Neil Young”, “Crosby, Stills, & Nash”, “Stephen Stills”, “Paul Simon”, “Simon & Garfunkel”, “Yes” and “Rush”. Jack Jeffery’s sonority is predominantly soft and melancholic, making much use of acoustic guitars, whispered voices and soft passages of electronic percussion. Everything is plunged into a Progressive-Psychedelic ambience that is influenced mostly by “Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, and, to a less extent, by “The Moody Blues”. From “Pink Floyd”, Jeffery has assimilated the vocal style and bass manners of “Roger Waters”, and there is much of “Syd Barret” on his song writing. The guitars are diaphanous, space like, with the same tone of “David Gilmour’s”. Keyboards are restricted to a minimal use on the background, building a cosmic sonic ambience which is reminiscent of “Brian Eno”. Sometimes, electronic keyboards – a direct influence of “Alan Parsons” - will crack the peaceful ambience like an ionic tempest. Echoes of American Folk – influences of “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young” for sure – materialize on the sound of acoustic guitars present on most ballads. “Passage to Agadir” brings 13 tracks, surpassing one hour in duration. The title track is an instrumental piece that evokes images of a desolate desert, reminding me very much of the ambient sounds of “Brian Eno” and the minimalism of “Philip Glass”. The best tracks are those that summon the psychedelic-electronic-ambient tripod of the “Floyd-Parsons-Eno” universe. On “Mind Horizon“, for instance, a robotized voice gets lost on the infinite horizons of psychedelic effects. On the space-rock “Interstellar Echoes on the Dark Side“ – a 10-minute long epic piece – the psychedelic bass akin “Roger Waters’” join forces with the echoing keyboards like “Brian Eno” to serve as a base for “Parsonian” electronic revolutions and space guitars solos in the style of “David Gilmour”. “Overture for Galaxies and Stars“ is an instrumental Progressive track that makes use of diverse keyboard textures and that efficiently blends the high spirit of Symphonic music with the Electronic music of “Parsons”, “No Man”, “Tangerine Dream”, and “Kraftwerk”. But my favorite tracks are those that blend large amounts of “Pink Floyd” with a lesser quantity of folk guitars in the style of “The Moody Blues”, like the initial tracks “Whiskey Burns“; “You’ve Lost Tomorrow“ (this one having beautiful harmony vocals); and the magical “Misty Morning“. The ballad “Being Myself“ has a melancholic and mysterious “Floydian” mood within it, while the acoustic ballads “I Will Be There For You“ and “Acoustic Mojo“ will promptly appeal to fans of “The Moody Blues”. Those who are fans of “Alan Parsons” will enjoy the electronic frame of “Where’s the Ambient Jam?“ and “Parsonian Segue“ – both instrumental tracks enriched by synths, pianos, loops, and a somewhat ethnical rhythm on the background. “Auf Wiedersehen!“ follows the line of “Parsons”, unless by the ironic tone on vocals, which remind me of “Syd Barret” and early “Pink Floyd”. Overall, “Passage to Agadir” is a consistent work that reveals a self-confident musician and composer who has the ability to trail diverse musical lines. Jack Jeffery is highly recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “No Man”, “NoSound”, “Sigur Rós”, “The Moody Blues”, and so on… Band member involved in Jack Jeffery is: Jack Jeffery  – 12-String & 6-String Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitar, Keyboard & Percussion Programming, Vocals...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2010..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit JACK JEFFERY HOME PAGE...
Dread The Forsaken is based in the city of Guatemala, Guatemala, and brings us something more about the growing Heavy Metal scene of Central America (which is stronger in Puerto Rico, thanks to bands like “Aura Azul”, “Narval”, “Dantesco”, “Sacred Guardian”, “Sacrilegio”, “Alas Negras”, and “Athaxia”). Dread The Forsaken was founded by El Salvador-born Mauricio Liborio (guitar, compositions). He started to play guitar at age of 15, and grew up listening to old 80’s Thrash Metal and Finnish bands while other kids were hooked on Nu-Metal and Rap-Metal. After graduating high school (at age of 18), Liborio moved to Los Angeles, U.S.A. There he met producer Craig Adams, and started to record with him at Winslow CT Studios. Vocalist Tony Christina joined them, and that was the beginning of the band. They recorded early version of songs “Wasted Youth” and “Walk With Me”, that would appear on DTF’s debut album. But things did not work as expected, the album was aborted, and Liborio moved back to Guatemala, giving up on music for about 3 years. Around 2007-2008, he started writing music again, and after meeting producer Eduardo Santella, decided to reassemble Dread The Forsaken. For the position of vocalist, he preferred to look for someone outside Guatemala. This led him to Gordon Tittsworth (of Prog-Metal bands “Images of Eden” and “All Too Human”). Tittsworth traveled to Guatemala in 2008 to do demo recordings, and again in 2009 to record the tracks that would compose the upcoming DTF’s debut CD – “Unbound”. Drummer Vinnie Perez and bassist and producer Mako completed the line-up. The record was engineered by Alejandro Hernandez (Univision & TV Azteca). “Unbound” is scheduled for release on November 23rd, 2010, under the independent label Nightmare Records. Dread The Forsaken combines Heavy Metal of the 80’s from both N.W.O.B.H.M. and American Thrash Metal lines with more modern Nu-Metal and Hardcore of the present days. Their main influences are “Iron Maiden”, “Judas Priest”, “Fates Warning”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, “Overkill”, “Flotsam & Jetsam”, “Children of Bodom”, “Type O Negative”, “Disturbed”, “Soil”, “Mudvayne”, and “Sepultura“. Although Melodic Power Metal bands such as “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Stratovarius”, “Blind Guardian”, and “Nightwish” have been cited as additional influences, there is not much of their sonority on the music of Dread The Forsaken. In general, the sound is straightforward, raw, and pounding – like true Thrash Metal must be. The rhythmic section of Dread The Forsaken sounds like early “Iron Maiden” (“Paul DiAnno” phase) and “Flotsam & Jetsam” with insertions of fast Thrash Metal riffs and solos like early “Metallica”, “Megadeth” “Overkill”, “Exodus” and “Testament”. Vocal melodies remind me of “Iron Maiden” and “Testament”, but have a modern energetic tone, like “Mudvayne”, “Disturbed” and “Soil”. Dark and grave backing vocals like “Type O Negative” appear on some songs. “Unbound” brings 9 tracks. The opening song “Give Me Wounds“ is introduced by pianos, reminding me of Prog-Metal band “Superior”, but then the song enters an “Iron Maiden” pace that persists on most following songs, like “Wasted Youth“, and “Walk With Me“ (this one with a “Mudvayne” touch on vocals). “Darkest Days” and “Playground” approach the Thrash Metal of “Metallica” and “Testament”; while “Dead Chances“ combine Thrashing vocals like “Testament” with New-Metal drumming, like “Mudvayne” and “Soil”. The highlights go to "Dread the Forsaken" and the headbanging “Roses Are Burning“. Both songs summarize all tendencies of the last three decades of Heavy Metal, blending within them different influences – “Iron Maiden”, “Judas Priest”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, “Type O Negative”, “Mudvayne” and “Children of Bodom” – also sounding in a very modern way. The title track, “Unbound“, is totally different of all others. It is a true Progressive piece with piano, keyboards and sounds of flute – it may be a signal that the future works of Dread the Forsaken will be more oriented to Prog-Metal. For now, I recommend Dread The Forsaken for fans of the N.W.O.B.H.M. and early Thrash Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in Dread The Forsaken are: Mauricio Liborio – Lead Guitar; Gordon Tittsworth – Lead Vocals and Piano; Vinnie Perez – Drums and Percussion and “Mako” – Bass, Production. You can visit Dread The Forsaken at MySpace site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/24/2010.................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DREAD THE FORSAKEN HOME PAGE...
. LIFE LINE PROJECT - "Beyond Time"
Life Line Project is a project in the true meaning of the word. It is build around one musician, "Erik de Beer", either playing all instruments himself or contracting all the necessary and special vocalists and players according to the needs of the work in progress. Born in The Hague, Holland Erik started to play the guitar when he was 14 years old and keyboard at the age of 16. Right from the start his preference was symphonic rock. Erik started his studies at the conservatory for music in 1977 and finished them in 1983. He today works as a guitar and keyboard teacher. He started his first symphonic rock band "J.S. Quasar" in 1975 in which he played both keyboards and lead guitar. After some short stays in several bands Erik founded keyboard-dominated power-rock trio "Brancard" in 1979. In 1982 he left "Brancard" to form "Zoundworks" with singer Ankie Jansen. Their music ranged from symphonic rock to jazz-rock. In 1985 "Zoundworks" was disbanded and it wasn't until 1988 that Life Line Project was started. With Life Line Project all instruments were played by Erik de Beer, while the vocals were taken care of by singer Anja Dirkzwager. The music consisted of bombastic instrumental symphonic rock and some more light-footed melodic rocksongs. In 1990 quality rose to 8-track and the epic albums "The Journey" & "Duplo" were recorded. These demo-tapes were highly acclaimed in the European rock-magazines. "Duplo" saw the birth of the homonymous logo "Duplo" decorating all Life Line Project-products. In 2007 the actual line up of Life Line Project was formed. The sound made a change to an instrumental fusion of a seventies' sound dominated by vintage keyboards like the Moog and the Hammond with modern jazz & progrock playing. "Erik de Beer" is the man star behind an amazing symphonic progressive rock project called Life Line Project, his musical scope can only be described as an extraordinary keyboard player, his musical styles range from Symphonic Progressive Rock, Folk, Hard Rock with some medieval elements, also, created a special musical signature. Erik de Beer has an impressive musical life that dates back into the early nineteen seventies, where in the last three decades he has been building a wide and impressive discography, you must check his MySpace page. All self-produced albums, such as, "Modinha", "The Journey", "Duplo", "The Final Word", "The King", "The Finnishing Touch", "Beyond Time", including the newest release "Distorted Memories (2010)" deserves to be highlighted in every respect, where his music gives a new impulse to the symphonic style as well as Progressive Rock. If you like progressive rock, in the vein of bands like "Rick Wakeman", "Kayak", "Camel", "Finch", "Coda", "Earth & Fire", "Alquin", "Focus", "Bo Hansson", "Panthéon", "Lady Lake", "Egdon Heath", "Mangrove", "Odyssice", "Salmon", "T-Tauri", "Yes", "Caravan", "Trace" and "Trion", you will probably want Life Line Project in your musical collection. The album, "Beyond Time", is totally instrumental full of explosive energy, generated by symphonic performances, always present in all songs, the instrumental arrangements are divided by lots of magic and atmospheric musical moments, where grandiose passages with layered synths dominate totally the arrangements, we can hear diverse interplays between keyboards and lovely guitar sounds, which contains nice solos, also we can hear marcant drums section together with bass and beautiful flute sounds. "Beyond Time" contains seven songs originally recorded between March/May 1994, and released sprintg 1994, now remastered in 2010, also two bonus tracks "Little Alice" and "Last Run" recorded alive in 1994. All music and arrangements by Erik de Beer. "Overture", "Shadows Of A Distant Past", "Acceptance", "Beyond Time", "Like Never Before", "Liberty" and "Finale", they have all symphonic progressive rock ingredients we want to hear, that deserve an especial attention. Erik de Beer is the main star at Life Line Project and played all instruments on the records of "Beyond Time" - Gibson SG & ESP Casio MG 510 electric guitars, Royé classical, Martin D28 acoustic & Aria 12-string guitars, Fender jazz bass & renaissance lute Roland JX 8P & Roland D5 synthesizers, 2x Roland U110, Kawai 1r & EMU Vintage Keys modules Roland electronic & Tama Swingstar acoustic drums, Linko rototoms, Sabian, Tosco, Pearl & Kashian cymbals & tambourine Flutes. Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
10/24/2010................Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit LIFE LINE PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. NICHELODEON - "Il Gioco del Silenzio"
NichelOdeon (Audiopharma Chemical Labs) comes from Milan, Italy. It is an impressive and ambitious multi-experimental artistic project that involves music, theatre, visual arts, dance, literature, poetry, and technology. NichelOdeon was born around 1997 when singer and composer Claudio Milano wrote music to support different kinds of artistic performances. In September 2007, he formed NichelOdeon’s first official line-up with participation of Francesco Zago (guitar), Maurizio Fasoli (piano), Riccardo di Paola (synths), and Marc Vincent Kalinka (video). Their first CD, “Cinemanemico”, was released in 2008. In 2009 the band recorded the video “Cinemanemico DVD” with composer Luca Olivieri (synths), Manuela Tadini (actress) and Charles Napier (videos). In 2009 NichelOdeon line-up was completely reformulated to include, aside Jazz musicians, other contemporary visual artists, performers, dancers, and DJs that would contribute in the band’s live performances (see the list below). The year of 2010 was marked by a series of live presentations, culminating on the celebration of the first showing on TV of “Twin Peaks” (by “David Lynch“). The band presented a soundtrack for the last episode, and a preview of the album, “Il Gioco del Silenzio” (2010, Lizard Records). The show was registered on the DVD “Come Sta Annie? - Twin Peaks 20th Anniversary Show” (same). Artistically speaking, NichelOdeon drains its creativity from: writers, poets and philosophers (“Poe”, “Nietzsche”, “Süskind”; “Hesse”; “Jodorowsky”; “Rimbaud”), cinema and theater (“L. V. Trier”; “Pasolini”; “Beckett”; “Visconti”; “Artaud”); and visual artists and painters (“Duchamp”; “Bosh”; “W. Blake”).  Musically speaking, NichelOdeon is a melting pot of influences that binds the Classic, Jazz, and Contemporaneous Music of “Stravinsky”, “Gesualdo”, “Bach”, “Schoenberg”, “Penderecki”, “Debussy”, “G. Ligeti”, “J. Coltrane”, “Zorn”, “Satie”, “J. Cage”, and Angelo Badalamenti (“Twin Peaks”) to the Progressive, Experimental, and Alternative music of bands like “Univers Zero”, “Art Zoyd”, “Area”, “Metamorfosi”, “Antonius Rex”, “Devil Doll”, “Runaway Totem”, “Presence”, “King Crimson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Frank Zappa”, “Henry Cow”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Bauhaus”, “Radiohead”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “The Velvet Underground”, and “Tuxedomoon”. “Il Gioco del Silenzio” brings 12 tracks. The sonority is deeply immersed in a Symphonic-Operatic-Gothic atmosphere with elements of R.I.O., Avant-garde, Zeuhl, and Oriental Music. It is impressive, haunting, disturbing and really weird – but weird to the point of being incisive and memorable. Pianos, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, and unconventional percussive instruments build the frame of the compositions. Cacophonies and dissonances, odd metrics, experimental noises and mysterious atmospheres are at all time present, and imprint a sensation of discomfort on whoever listens to it. The instrumentation gives support for the amazing voice of Claudio Milano. He, as a modern “Peter Gabriel”, incarnates many characters – each one with a dark tale to be told. As Milano pulls the thread of their stories, his voice transmutes – going from a profound bass that reminds me of “Jimmy Spitaleri” (“Metamorfosi”) to the high falsettos that resemble “Diamanda Galas”, also going through  the experimentalism of “Demetrio Stratos”, the theatrical tones of “Mr. Doctor” (“Devil Doll”), the lyricism of “Peter Hammill”, the emotion of “David Sylvian”, and the uniqueness of “N. F. Alì Khan”. “Il Gioco Del Silenzio” opens with “Fame”, on which dark vocals like “Devil Doll” meet Zeuhl-accented saxophones, inviting the listener to join in an alien dance. The following “Fiaba” is a traditional piece of Italian Prog, with classical clarinets, floating pianos, and a superb operatic performance of Milano (including falsettos). Milano’s vocals are the highlights on a series of amazing tracks that follow on, like “Malamore e la Luna” (with an extensive section of wind instruments like “Univers Zéro”); “Amanti in Guerra” (a Gothic-religious piece uniting “Metamorfosi” and “Gesualdo”); “Il Giardino Degli Altri” (driven by Arabian percussion cut by sharp synthesizers); and the closing track “Ciò Che Rimane” (a kind of Operatic-Beckett-Zeuhl piece, with a cacophonic climax). “Il Gioco…” dares to go beyond the unconventional, by featuring tracks that extrapolate even the highest experimental standards: “Claustrofilia” drowns in anxiety; “Ombre Cinesi” brings vocal improvisations inspired by “Demetrio Stratos” wrapped in dissonances and chaos; “Apnea” is a Avant-garde Tango that ends in a skeleton dance; “Se” is like listening to “Art Zoyd” while walking under a full moon at midnight; and “Lana di Vetro” is the convergence point for “Stravinsky”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Area” and “Bauhaus”. NichelOdeon is a peculiar band with a disturbing sonority – a must-have for fans of Symphonic-Operatic, Gothic, R.I.O., Avant-garde, and Zeuhl. Band members and collaborators involved in NichelOdeon are: Current line-up (2010): Francesco Chiapperini - Alto and Soprano Sax, Clarinet, EWI, Flute; Andrea Illuminati – Piano, Melodica, Bombarda; Claudio Milano – Voice, Readings; Andrea Murada – Percussion, Noise Effects, Fidgeridoo, Rhythmic Vocals, Flute; Max Pierini - Electric Upright Bass, Ocarina; Luca Pissavini - Electrified Viola, Synth, Toy Instruments, ”Matilda” Noise Machinery, Field Recordings, Theremin; Lorenzo Sempio - Electric Guitar, Guitar Synth, Effects. Contributors: Marc Vincent Kalinka - Videos; Valentina Campagni – Painting, Illustrations; Ambra Rinaldo (Free Canvas) - Live Sounding Painting; Marco Bettagno - Painting; Mikael DJ - Cinematic dj; Luca Olivieri - Synth; Luciano Margorani - Guitar; Stefano Delle Monache - Laptop; Antonello Raggi – Laptop, Electronic Treatments; Claudio Pirro - Classic Guitar; Carola Caruso - Voice; Paolo Rosset - Artwork; Manuela Tadini - Actress; Charles Napier - Videos; Frank Monopoli - Videos; Gabriele Agresta - Videos; Luca Cerlini - Videos; Andrea Butera: Videos, Performing Arts. You can visit NichelOdeon at MySpace site, also at YouTube...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/31/2010.........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit NICHELODEON HOME PAGE...
. YOGI LANG - "No Decoder"
Yogi Lang is the singer, keyboarder and producer, also a member of "RPWL", a German Progressive Rock band, formed in 1997 as a "Pink Floyd" cover band. The name "RPWL" was taken from the first letters of the original four members; Phil Paul Rissettio, Chris Postl, Karlheinz Wallner and Yogi Lang. After three years "RPWL" started to make their own music based on their influences from their cover band era. Their debut CD, "God Has Failed" was met with international enthusiasm, praise and excellent reviews in all the major progressive rock music magazines. Always the musicians on "RPWL", were worried to create a kind of music to become accessible for all fans of the "Pink Floyd", and they succeeded, not only for these fans, but for a new generation of Prog Rock Music lovers. I consider "RPWL", as the top of a prism, and the three vertices from the base represent a perfect symmetry found between "Blind Ego" (Karlheinz Wallner), "Parzivals Eye" (Chris Postl) and Yogi Lang. Symmetric with all sides, all the musicians maintain a solid musical foundation, which influences and style from "RPWL" prevails in all aspects. Musically the Yogi Lang's Project have all the ingredients that come together to create a really enjoyable and rewarding listening experience, full of amazing instrumental layering by majestic, melodic and symphonic passages, a perfect instrumentation between vocal, keys, guitars, bass and drums. Yogi Lang really shows his strong musical personality on the songs, his voices makes you feel like you're on a intergalactic ship. The style of writing on his debut album, draws a strong inspiration, that will instantly remind you of the work of Pink Floyd's "David Gilmour", between some symphonic keyboards mostly atmospheric effects, dreamy and emotive guitar solos, perfect drums played with conviction, together a vibrant bass sound, this magical mixture will take you into incredible sound, of course, including some RPWL's signature. "No Decoder" album was released in November 2010. Produced by Yogi Lang, recorded, mixed and mastered at the farm studios Munich by Yogi Lang. "No Decoder" contains eleven songs almost 57min, all them are very well performed and well produced. The album is illustrated with a stunning Artwork from Artist Judith Reichart, really "No Decoder" becomes a real collector's piece. The label and distribution by Gentle Art Of Music/Soulfood Music, an independent record company owned and run by a team of musicians and producers with many years of experience in the field of Progressive and Melodic Rock Music. All tracks are incredibles so picking the favorites are almost impossible, but must listen "Sacrifice", "Our World Has Changed", "Sail Away", "No Decoder", "Alison", "A Million Miles Away", "Say Goodbye", "Sensvalue" and "A Better Place For Me", listen and listen many times, you'll enjoy a nice progressive rock. The musicians on Yogi Lang's project are:Yogi Lang - Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards, Torsten Weber - Guitar, Guy Pratt - Bass, Manni Müller - Drums, Carmen Maier - Percussion. As Well As: Dominique Leonetti and Ian Salmon - Vocals, Kalle Wallner - Guitar, Anne De Wolff - Violin, Hubert Trenkwalder - Accordion and Ferdinand Settele - Sax. Brilliant, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
11/15/2010...............You can find more information on the project and its musicians under YOGI LANG HOME PAGE...
. MIKE BOTELLO - "Rule of Law"
Mike Botello began to play drums at early age at his parent’s home in Austin, Texas. Bands like “Kiss”, “Queen”, “Rush” and “Heart” were among of his favorites. Mike Botello’s father, Jesse Botello, who was an accomplished musician in the “Tejano” musical scene, encouraged his son to follow a musical career. By the age of 14, Botello had already founded a band, and in the late 80’s he was playing drums with local Heavy Metal band “Assalant”, which released just a 3-songs demo titled “The Damage is Done”. As a young adult, Botello has been involved with many bands belonging to the different musical scenes, including Christian/Worship, Contemporary, Rock, Country, Blues, and Jazz. Botello’s experience as a musician led him to develop an interest in recording and production, and so he started a solo career. He gathered together his band, consisting of himself (drums, bass, keyboards and lead vocals), Jason Barrett (guitars); Dan Pool (live drummer); and Eric Kent (live guitarist). His first independent release was “Spiritual Warfare” (1990, with the band “Awake”); followed by “A Timeless State” (2006) and “A Botello Christmas”. “Rule of Law” (2009, Mijaces Records) is Botello’s most recent release. Botello’s work is directed to the Christian community, and with those records, he was able to develop a fan base in Europe and in the U.S.A. Musically, Botello‘s genre is better defined as “Christian Hard Rock”. Although I am not a rigid follower of any Religion, I like some Christian Rock bands such as “Veni Domine“ , “Barren Cross”, “Believer”, “Narnia”, and “Neal Morse”. Botello’s work, however, is lighter: a blend of Hard Rock of the 70’s, Pop-Rock, AOR, and American Folk. The sonority reminds me of bands like “Guns n’ Roses”, “Stryper“, “Deep Purple”, “Bon Jovi”, “Aerosmith”, and so on.  Highlights go for the guitar solos by Jason Barrett, always long, with much feeling and skill. “Rule of Law” features 11 tracks, and my favorites are those that fall on the Hard Rock category, like “Cycles“, “Tug of War“ (with a swing on the guitar riff), the Stoner Rock “Do What Thou Wilt“ (with guitars by Botello), and the title track “The Rule of Law“ (a Modern Heavy Metal, with vigor and energy). I also liked “The Morning’s Never Gonna Come“, which has a cool beginning with Floydian guitars before turning to a seventy-styled British Hard Rock. “Matador“ and “Creatures“ follow a modern Pop-Rock to AOR lines. The record also brings several ballads, the best being “Beyond“, and “Ever After You“, both with a Folk-American touch. Those who are fond of soft romantic ballads will enjoy the acoustic “Angel of Light“; while “Run to Me“ will have the preference of “Guns n’ Roses” fans. Mike Botello develops a decent work, and is recommended for those Pop-Rock and Hard Rock fans that make part of the Christian Community. Band members and collaborators involved with Mike Botello are: Mike Botello - Bass, Guitars, Drums, Vocals, Keyboards; Jason Barrett – Guitars; Dan Pool - Drums live; Eric Kent - Guitars live...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2010.............................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: MIKE BOTELLO HOME PAGE...
. SCIENCENV - "Pacific Circumstances"
ScienceNV is a Progressive Rock quartet based in California, U.S.A. The band was formed back in 2005 by veteran musicians Larry Davis (a guitarist whose career began in the “Hendrix“ Era), keyboardist David Graves, drummer Rich Kallet (who had played with David on a band called “The Aesthetic Condition”), and Jim Henriques (guitarist who had played with Kallet in the 70’s). Instead of merely resurrecting “The Aesthetic Condition”, and because all musicians had a parallel career in Science, they decided to call themselves the ScienceNV. The band’s first independent album - “Really Loud Noises” – came to light in 2008, attracting attention of Prog fans. ScienceNV has just released their second independent album – “Pacific Circunstances” (2010). Writing for the album began in 2007 – even before they had finished the first one. Tracks were recorded at Fine Vermin Studios (San Francisco) and additional recording, mixing and mastering occurred at Ancrod Studio (Millbrae) and Oakstone Studio (Huntington Beach). “Pacific Circumstances” unveils a band with a real Progressive attitude that incorporates the spirit of the 70’s on their compositions. Recovering from oblivion the ancient art of making Symphonic Progressive Rock, ScienceNV stays close to bands and musicians of the magnitude of “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “ELP”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Sky”, “Ekseption”, “Brian Eno”, “Bill Bruford”, “VdGG”, “Colosseum”, “Soft Machine”, and “Zappa”. “Pacific Circumstances” brings 8 long instrumental tracks that evolve from Classical themes that are introduced in the beginning, grow in the middle, and reach the climax at the end - in the best Prog tradition. The musical arrangements are complex, and undergo many changes on cadence and metrics (e.g. 7/8, 7/4, 6/4, 15/8). Guitar solos and vintage keyboards abound; drums are never simplistic, and bass is performed by different band members. The opening keyboards of “H1NV7” remind me of “ELP”, but the composition has a surprising shift for a Jazz-Rock by the final section. “Danse Macabre“ is an amazing and ghostly adaptation of the orchestral piece written by “Camille Saint-Saens” (1874). It has the same quality of similar works performed by “ELP” (“Pictures At An Exhibition”); “Focus” (“Hamburger Concerto”); and by other bands that used to adapt Classical pieces (e.g. “Ekseption”, “Sky”, “Novalis”, “Pär Lindh”). “Morning Jump“ is a Progressive-Fusion, beginning with bass lines like “Genesis” and undergoing successive mutations that remind me of “Crimson”, “Holdsworth”, “U.K.”, and “Soft Machine”. A remarkable violin solo and a Brazilian percussion section, close to a traditional Samba, have been added to surprise the listener (“Peter Gabriel” would get envy of that). “Conflicted“ is a superb piece, being both harmonically challenging and emotionally tempestuous. It has been inspired on “Sibelius” composing techniques – using tritons. Bass and guitars are influenced by “King Crimson”; synthesizers by “Keith Emerson”, and tip-toeing pianos by “Pink Floyd”. The last section brings some ethnical drumming and a bit of “Zappa’s” R.I.O. “Quadrapole“ features a Psychedelic-Ambient atmosphere that blends “Pink Floyd” with “Brian Eno”. “Devil in Witche’s Toes“ sounds like a furious and feverous reunion of “Crimson”, “ELP” and “Colosseum”, being crowned by Larry‘s daredevil guitar solo. “Billy Burrough’s Brain“ reflects ScienceNV‘s sense of humor, being inspired on the trinity “Crimson”-“Soft Machine”-“Zappa”. It includes melodies and countermelodies on bass, and a “Brian Eno” anti-solo. To finish this album amazingly, nothing better than “The Ouroborus Variations“, a long piece (12:20) divided in 7 parts. Its central musical theme occurred to David during a driving trip through the Death Valley. Since then, ScienceNV explored its full musical potential, adding many textures and melodic lines, resulting in a masterpiece that has influences of “Yes”, “Crimson”, “ELP”, “VdGG”, and “Genesis”. All in all, “Pacific Circumstances” is an excellent album, deserving many spins; and ScienceNV is one of the best bands to show up at this webzine – creative and brilliant, being highly recommended for fans of vintage Symphonic Prog. Band members and collaborators involved in ScienceNV are: Jim Henriques – Guitars, Bass, Keys; Larry Davis – Guitars, Bass; David Graves – Keyboards, Bass; Rich Kallet – Drums, Percussion, Drum Synths; Betsy – Violin on “Morning Jump”.You can visit ScienceNV at MySpace site...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/30/2010...........................Interested to know more about the Band and Musicians? Visit SCIENCENV HOME PAGE...
Tohpati Ethnomission is a personal project of guitar player Tohpati Aryo Hutomo, who also integrates the Indonesian Fusion band “Simak Dialog” (see under “Reviews 2010”). Tohpati has contributed with many other musicians in Indonesia; and has released three solo albums, counting with participation of important musicians of the prolific Indonesian Jazz-Rock-Fusion scene. He founded Tohpati Ethnomission in 2009 with the aim of fusing the multi-colored traditional Indonesian music (represented mainly by Gamelan percussion instruments, like the rebana and the kendang) with the Western canons of Jazz-Rock. His band mates are Indro Hardjodikoro (bass), percussionists Demas Narawangsa and Endang Ramdan (also of “Simak Dialog”), and suling (Indonesian wooden flute) player Diki Suwarjiki. The female vocalist Lestari makes a guest appearance on the track “Bedhaya Ketawang”, performing an Indonesian traditional chant. “Save the Planet” (2010, MoonJune Records, USA) is Tohpati’s fourth solo album, and the first with the Ethnomission ensemble. The album was recorded in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2010; and all tracks were composed, arranged, and produced by Tohpati. With this new album, Tohpati aims to lure people’s attention to the environmental problems caused by human activities on Earth. Musically, Tohpati goes far beyond the traditional Gamelan music of his home country, offering to us the most balanced mixture of both Eastern and Western musical roots, resulting in a perfect soundtrack for our globalized world. As a guitarist, Tohpati is both technical and emotional, playing his instrument with the same versatility of his most influential peers, such as “Terje Rypdal”, “John McLaughlin”, “Robert Fripp”, “Jan Akkerman” and “Alan Holdsworth”. His work is much more vigorous and impressive on Ethnomission than on “Simak Dialog”, and with less free improvisation, making it more agreeable for the regular Jazz-Rock listener (like myself). Indro Hardjodikoro is his perfect partner, a master of the bass that could play in any Jazz-Fusion band of the Western side of the world. Percussionists Demas Narawangsa and Endang Ramdan give us a lesson on ethnical percussion, providing mesmerizing rhythms that evoke the exotic sensuality of the Far East. Meanwhile, the suling flute of Diki Suwarjiki creates mysterious tunes comparable in beauty to the exuberating Indonesian rainforests. “Save the Planet” features 11 instrumental tracks, and opens with the title track “Selamatkan Bumi” (“Save the Planet”); an effervescent Ethnical-Fusion with a touch of “Terje Rypdal” on guitars and luring percussion. Other highlights are “Ethno Funk” and “Perang Tanding” (“Battle Between Good & Evil”). Both are long and strong pieces, with amazing arrangements, torrents of energetic guitar playing by Tohpati, all sustained by groovy bass lines and impeccable Indonesian rhythms. The music twists from Jazz-Rock to Heavy Fusion and Ethnical, rivaling the best moments of bands like “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Allan Holdsworth” and even “King Crimson”. The later is a main reference on the short, but impressive, “Drama”. Following the most traditional line, “Bedhaya Ketawang” (“Sacred Dance”) uses ritualistic percussion, subtle guitar plucking and soft flutes to summon a contemplative atmosphere around the Indonesian chant performed by guest singer Lestari. Still with a predominance of traditional percussion, the lively “Gegunungan” (“Gateway Of Life”) and “Hutan Hujan” (“Rain Forest”) are impregnated of a tropical mood that approaches their sound to the high spirited Brazilian music. Contrasting with other tracks being most Progressive, the beautiful “Biarkan Burung Bernyanyi” (“Let The Birds Sing”) is driven by Canterbury-styled soft guitar, light percussion, and a British folk touch on the flutes; and the joyous “Pesta Rakyat” (“Festive People”) features guitar moments that remind me of “Jan Akkerman” (“Focus”). The album still brings “Inspirasi Baru” (“New Inspiration”) a modern Ethnical-Fusion track with excellent bass lines; and the short “Amarah” (“Anger”) - an Experimental Metal inspired on “Steve Vai”. “Save the Planet” is an excellent work by Tohpati Ethnomission, and proves that Indonesian modern music deserves a significant place on the World’s Map. Indispensable for lovers of Jazz-Rock-Fusion, mainly fans of “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Terje Rypdal” and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in Tohpati Ethnomission are: Tohpati Aryo Hutomo - Electric Guitar, Midi Synth Guitar; Indro Hardjodikoro - Bass Guitar; Diki Suwarjiki - Suling (Sundanese flute); Endang Ramdan - Indonesian Percussion (kendang, gong, kenong); Demas Narawangsa - Drums, Indonesian Percussion (rebana, kempluk). Guest singer: Lestari – Vocals on “Bedhaya Ketawang”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/20/2010.......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TOHPATI ETHNOMISSION HOME PAGE...
. EL SLEDGE (+) - "Fletcher’s Last Night"
El Sledge (+) is an experimental duo from the U.S.A., formed by Matthew “Matt” Graboski (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals, effects) and his long time collaborator and friend Stephen Sroka (drums). Formed in 2008, El Sledge (+) had sprouted from El Sledge (without the “plus” sign) - a previous one-man project which featured Graboski alone. El Sledge, in turn, was founded by Graboski shortly after his previous band Martini Henry disbanded (see the respective review for more information). While Martini Henry sounded much like Folk Rock, El Sledge (+) seem to be headed towards the opposite direction. A partisan of a do-it-by-yourself way of living music, Graboski seems to have created this project as a cathartic escape-door for his grief and anger against the misfortunes of real life; and to recover the primeval essence of the feeding instincts of basic Rock. The music contained on “Fletcher’s Last Night” (2010, Airaid Records) is like a blend of Hardcore-Punk, Psychedelic and Thrash-Metal thrown against you with the weight of granite rock interspersed with cry-out vocals that come from the deepest recesses of Graboski’s guts. Meanwhile, Sroka spanks his drum kit mercilessly. To take the crudeness and rawness of the material even to farther extremes, the record was captured live on the Alesis Protrack 16-bit Remote Recorder for iPod. “Fletcher’s Last Night” is an EP, featuring 7 short tracks that clock around 21 minutes. Amid the hurricane roaring wrath and tempestuous drumming provoked by songs like “Pig Vomit”, “Treowth”, “Hunger for Power”, “Disembowel” and “Baptism of Fire”, I liked the Psychedelic atmosphere of “Apokalupsis”, and the “Rush”-like drive of “Wretched Anchor”. Overall, El Sledge (+) is too much harsh for the regular Progressive enthusiast, being therefore recommended only for those who like bands with guts and attitude. Band members and collaborators involved in El Sledge (+) are: Stephen Sroka – Drums and  Matthew Graboski – Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Vocals, Effects...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/20/2010........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EL SLEDGE (+) HOME PAGE...
. MARTINI HENRY - "End Of The Beginning"
Martini Henry is a Progressive Rock trio from the U.S.A. featuring Garrett Henritz (drums), Ken Moore (bass), and Matt Graboski (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars). The band had been playing around the Baltimore/Washington area at first place, and later relocated to Los Angeles. Martini Henry released two independent albums: “Airaid” (2005, Airaid Records) and “End of the Beginning” (2007, As Is Records), which is reaching us only now. “End of the Beginning” features 11 tracks, comprising material that was written between 2004 and 2005. Songs were recorded in three sessions: from November 2004 to June 2005 (tracks 1 to 8), with participation of former bassist Chris Cavey; and from October to November 2005 (tracks 10/11 - “March of Darkness“/“Gun Pointed t the Head of the Universe”), and July 2006 (track 9 - “Mad Mardygan”), with participation of Ken Moore on bass. “End of the Beginning” was mixed and mastered by Bill Pratt (Bratt Studios, Woodlawn, MD), and produced by Jay Graboski – one of musician mavericks that played on legendary band OHO. Martini Henry’s musical formula is much original, tending to the Electro-Acoustic and American Folk, with elements of Fusion, Heavy Progressive and Psychedelic Rock. The band coined the name “Treerock” to define their style. The rhythmic section is substantial and complex. Henritz‘s drumming is fluent and fast-paced, featuring multiple time changes, like is often heard on Jazz-Fusion. Bass (either being Cavey or Moore on the instrument) is well integrated within the rhythmic frame, but also contributes freely with its own melodies and riffs, ranging from Modern Indy Rock to heavy Progressive (reminding me of “Rush” and “Porcupine Tree”). Over drums and bass, the main instrument is the acoustic guitar – and here dwells Martini Henry‘s most original attribute. Played by Graboski with speed and skill, the acoustic chord repertoire includes Folk American, Spanish, Fusion and a bit of Latin. The electric guitar is seldom employed. Graboski is also responsible for all vocals. Depending on the song’s mood, he may sing with a soaring melodic Folk-Rock voice (his best), or alternate it with raging vocals, sometimes with an aggressiveness that could be dispensable. Lyrics are politically engaged, and hint at influences from “Neil Young”, “Bob Dylan”, and “Cat Stevens“. But also bands such as “Pearl Jam”, “California Guitar Trio”, “Hawkwind”, and even “Nirvana” and “Tool” may have exerted some influence over Martini Henry’s style. From the 11 tracks of “End of the Beginning”, many represent Martini Henry‘s unique “Treerock” style, being among my favorites: the title-track “End of the Beginning” (a kind of Folk-Spanish piece); “The Beast on Hollins Street” (a fast paced Folk with sad vocals, and an excellent drums and bass section at the end); and “Stand Under the Water in the Crest Depth” (which includes electric guitars and an extended bass solo). Also outstanding are: “Airaid” (an impressive 16-minute long Progressive pieces that gives me the idea of what would happen if an unplugged version of “Tool” jammed with “Hawkwind’s” Psychedelic-Rock); and “Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe” (a 9-minute piece featuring great bass by Moore, some “Rush” passages, and heavy “Porcupine Tree”-like riffs). Those who like something heavier will prefer “Drag Of the Mask” and “March to Darkness” (both with metallic bass and aggressive vocals). For those who prefer something softer, the album brings many Folk songs: “Rising Darkness” (with a Latin drive); “Legion of the Moose” (albeit the furious vocals at the end), “God Out of The Machine” (a soft acoustic ballad); and “Mad Mardygan” (a Folk song with epic airs). Although having great potential, Martini Henry has already disbanded, and Matt Graboski started in a new project – El Sledge. Martini Henry is especially recommended for those who like Heavy Progressive Rock with large doses of American Folk, or like to try out bands with a original sonority. Band members and collaborators involved in Martini Henry are: Matt Graboski – Guitar and Vocals; Garrett Henritz – Drums; Ken Moore – Bass; Chris Cavey – Bass on tracks 1-6, 8...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/20/2010......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MARTINI HENRY HOME PAGE...
. ARÁBIGA - "Same"
The Spanish band Arábiga (from Lucena, Córdoba) was formed after the dissolution of “Sefarad” – a band that released two independent records: “Prisioneros del Tiempo (1998) and “La Calle del Olvido” (2000). In 2007, two former members of “Seferad” - Mario J. Alcántara (guitars) and José Pino (keyboards, programming) – founded the new project Arábiga, and called Raúl Torrico (bass) and Juan José Benítez (vocals) for the line-up. In 2008 the band started the recordings of their first independent album in “La Leonera” studio. The debut album, entitled “Arábiga”, was finally out by the end of 2008. Although being an independent release, it features one of the most beautiful and impressive sleeve and booklet designs that I ever seen, with arabesques and photos imprinted in brilliant colors and the name of the band engraved in silver. The album features 13 songs (2 as bonus), and has participations of guest musicians Román Carmona (flamenco guitar); Antonio Nieto (flamenco vocals), and Maria Jesús Ramírez (backing vocals on “Su Carita Divina”). The region of Andalusia has gone through a series of historical events - from the war of Cartage against the Roman Empire to the Barbarian Invasions and the Arabian dominion - that marked its musical culture with a very unique seal. After hundreds of years, all those musical influences aggregated into the 21st century style known as “Rock Andaluz”. Arábiga appears as a righteous new representative of this movement, sided by bands like “Flametal” and “Taifa”. Their music blends the basic elements of Spanish and Flamenco (mainly represented by the vocals of Benítez, by the acoustic guitars and the clapping hands); with Arabic scales and rhythms, mainly provided by the bass and keyboards of Raúl Torrico and José Pino. The modern flavors are added by the very skilled guitarist Mario J. Alcántara, who combines the Arabic-Spanish sonority with many neoclassical and soulful guitar solos and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal guitar riffs (sometimes resembling the band “Mago de Oz”). This debut showcases a versatile band formed by qualified musicians that know how to deal with the traditional musical palette of Andalusia. The result is a record that features surprising songs like “Reino de Taifas“ (an impacting opening track with Arabian scales), followed by the Traditional metal song “Duenã de Mí“; and “A mi Andalucía“ (a patriotic hymn to Andalusia that ends with traditional Flamenco guitars and vocals). Also worth of mentioning are “Felicidad“ (a Spanish- Power- Metal) and a sequence of songs strongly influenced by the Spanish Flamenco tradition, like “Gitana de Ojos Negros“, “En la Oscuridad“ (with the rhythm marked by clapping hands), and the excellent “Su Carita Divina“ - an almost Prog-Metal, that recalls immediately the image of a Spanish toreador in the arena. The remaining songs expose the most accessible side of Arábiga, by featuring lyrics that speak of love, and by being full of the enthusiasm, happiness, passion and ardor that are so characteristic of the Latin people: “Lo Mejor para Ti“, “Un Día no es Día sin Ti“, “Vete“, “Fuego Prohibido“, “Qué Cara Más Bonita“, and “Dondequiera que Estés“ – this one, a beautiful adaptation of Pachelbel’s canon. Arábiga is a very interesting band that has yet to define their next movement – either they stay restricted to the local circuit of Andalusia, or they will try to combine those Flamenco-Arabic elements into less cheerful songs to hit larger non-Spanish audiences. Arábiga is especially recommended for lovers of Spanish Rock, “Rock Andaluz”, and for people that are in search of bands with strong regional tendencies, or that make uncommon combinations of rhythms. Band members and collaborators involved in Arábiga are: Mario J. Alcántara – Guitars; José Pino – Keyboards; Raúl Torrico – Bass; Juan José Benítez - Vocals. Guest musicians: Román Carmona - Flamenco Guitar; Antonio Nieto - Flamenco Vocals; Maria Jesús Ramírez - Backing Vocals on “Su Carita Divina”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/20/2010.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ARÁBIGA HOME PAGE...
. ALEX SABA - "Under All The Circumstances"
The Brazilian composer Alex Saba was born in 1958 in Rio de Janeiro. He started to play acoustic guitar at the age of 8, and now plays guitar, bass, keyboards, flutes and percussion. Being also a professional photographer, he has been designing record covers since 1979. To join his professional activity with his musical passion, he founded his own independent label – Brancaleone Records/Design. As a musician, Saba was inspired by different artists, mainly “Chick Corea”, “Philip Glass”, "Mike Oldfield”, “Frank Zappa”, “Keith Jarrett”, “Keith Emerson”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Philippe Saisse”; and by his favorite guitarists “Philipe Catherine”, “Al Di Meola” and “Jan Akkerman”. Saba’s discography includes four records: “Angel’s Dream” (1996); “Missa Universalis” (2000); “Under All The Circumstances“ (2007); and his most recent work - “Electro Suite & Tributes” (2009). The album reviewed herein – “Under All The Circumstances” (in Portuguese: “Sob Todos os Aspectos”) – is the original soundtrack for a stage play by Horácio Rodrigues and Tereza Amoedo. The music was entirely produced, composed, arranged and performed by Alex Saba. The record also brings two original extra-tracks that do not belong to the soundtrack, plus a bonus video-track featuring some acts of the play. Crafted around strange melodies and unusual harmonies, the music of Alex Saba is not easy to assimilate. For those, however, who are open-minded and have sensitive ears, it is really instigating and inspiring. His style may be tagged of anything from Symphonic to Ethnical; from Exotic to Concrete, with many other genres enclosed in between. The music of Alex Saba is strongly experimental, cerebral, even academic, placing him among composers like “Philip Glass”, "Mike Oldfield”, “Pekka Pohjola”, “Wim Mertens”, “Rautavaara” and “Arvo Pärt”. Some tracks mix elements from Eastern-European music with Amerindian bamboo flutes and Afro-American percussion, like on “Beginning“ (with a “Tropical” mood and the use of voice as a concrete musical element); “Solitude“ (with sounds o people walking in the streets and marked by a heart beat); and “Anguish“ (this later made of a guitar solo improvisation over an almost unrecognizable theme of “Frédéric Chopin”). Other tracks are intense, frightful, and alarming. When watched on the video-track, they are perfectly synchronized with the movements performed by the actress on stage, creating a synergetic relationship between sound and image that increases their dramatic expression. This is the case with “Fear“, which can be defined as agony in form of music; and “Despair“, on which the turbulent and claustrophobic atmosphere of the urban ambient is reproduced by cacophonies and vibrating noises, while guitar effects pass the idea that the music is being cut by a knife (a suggestion for a suicidal solution?). Two of the best tracks are “Paralysis” and “Anger”. On “Paralysis“, a long keyboard chord is frozen in time to support a minimalist church organ that is followed by gothic voices – a combination of “Philip Glass” with “Arvo Pärt”. “Anger“ is a Spanish dance, with typical Flamenco acoustic guitars and castanets. The circle is closed with “Return“ - a piece full of relaxing sounds of xylophones, chimes, and violins - which brings feelings of relief and hope, contrasting with the oppressive mood of the previous tracks. Progressive Rock fans who prefer something closer to conventional Symphonic Prog will be really happy listening to the extra tracks “What We Never Say“ (which resembles “Camel” and bands of the Canterbury Scene) and “Tubular Ways“ (clearly inspired by “Mike Oldfield”). The music of “Under All The Circumstances” may be not “easy” to grasp at first hearing, but it will be inspiring for many musicians, especially those involved in soundtrack composition. Band members and collaborators involved in Alex Saba are: Alex Saba - Acoustic, Electric, and Synthesized Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion and Flutes; Andre Saba – Voices on “The Beginning”; Sandra – Left Heart on ”Solitude”; Vox Anoyma – choir on “Paralysis”; Unknown people of Rio de Janeiro city – street sounds on “Solitude”...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/20/2010..................,.....Interested to know more about the musician and the Band? Visit ALEX SABA HOME PAGE...
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