.......................................A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEATURED ARTIST AND CD REVIEWS - 2011
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - Logo
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LAST UPDATE 12/29/2011..
". BELIEVE - "World Is Round"
The band Believe was created by the guitarist Mirek Gil, should be known already by fans of "Collage" and "Satellite". Not only was Mirek a founding member and main song writer of "Collage", but he played with "Satellite" as well (on their debut album). For his new band he recruited former "Satellite" member Przemas Zawadzki (bass guitar), Tomek Rozycki (vocals, guitars), Adam Milosz (keyboards), Wlodek Tafel (drums) and Satomi (violin). Six people, each with a different musical sensitivity. How does it work? Mirek, Tomek, Przemas... for them music is passion and joy of creation. Adam, Satomi and Tafel... for them it’s all about education, notes, classical music. It seems strange but they do understand each other very well. Nobody defined the overruling style and concept. They do what they feel is right. Believe’s debut album “Hope to See Another Day” (2006) received very good reviews from both media and fans. The music appealed to the lovers of the old "Collage" but also to the fans of "Porcupine Tree", "Pink Floyd" and "Riverside". The follow-up album entitled “Yesterday Is A Friend” brought a powerful sound full of faith and melody with some hidden flavors. Feat. 9 stories about love, happiness, freedom, truth, faith - the most important things in everyone's life. At the end of 2008 Believe changed it's line-up. The band has begun a new era with a new vocalist Karol Wróblewski. Believe is currently in the final stage of their work on the third studio album entitled “This Bread Is Mine”. The new material is currently mixed with the help of a very experienced producer Wlodek Kowalczyk. The standard edition will feature 11 tracks. A bonus track will be added to the digipak edition. After releasing "Hope to See Another Day" and "Yesterday is a Friend" the time is now coming to reveal the next story of BelieveThe forthcoming album "This Bread is Mine" is a set of eleven tracks dedicated to those who like to listen and seek sense in different sounds. Just put on "This Bread is Mine" and listen to the musical message from Believe. 2010 Believe release their fourth album titled as "World Is Round", a new masterpiece, a very well done album that is filled with symphonic elements, full of multiple instrumental lines, vintage guitars melodies, spaced synths adorned by a inspired violin. Over the past few years, Poland has become increasingly popular, with considerable excellence in the progressive rock scene, acclaimed and recognized internationally, some of follow bands became popular "SBB", "Skaldowie", "Budka Suflera", "Ankh", "Czeslaw Niemen", "Quidan", "Collage", "Framauro", "Millenium", "Turquoise", "Moonlight", "Lizard", "Abraxas" and "Albion". From there, gradually other names have been appearing and, today we have a considerable variety of excellent options for new and old bands that produce an excellent quality music and, are increasingly highlighting into the progressive scene, where some of them are "Riverside", "Satellite", "After", "Anamor", "Retrospective", "Amarok", "Lebowski", "Lunatic Soul", "Mr. Gil", "Nemezis", "Osada Vida" and of course Believe. Reminiscent of other bands, the musicians on the Believe, know exactly the correct way of how to develop a progressive rock music, creating a set of precious and unique arrangements, using a variety of instrumental resources of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, special vocals and ,of course, adding a valuable violin sound, that leave the listener into a deep ecstasy. Their musical style, turn around a Symphonic Progressive Rock with some Art Rock and Neo-Prog elements, adding a feeling mellow around some musical parts. "World is Round" has intense and energetic instrumental passages, is filled with abundant creativity in the arrangements of guitars and keyboards, where the guitar dominate in practically all the tracks that are mostly symphonic such as "World Is Round-PII", "Lay Down Forever", "So Well", "Bored", "New Hands" and "Poor King Of Sun/Return" but rarely aggressive on such as "No Time Inside", "Cut Me Paste Me" and "Guru". The keyboards are atmospheric and provide a special touch to the arrangements, and every time the drums keeps a strong rhythm in music,  the bass add not only the rhythm but a powerful momentum. But there are two important points in the band, the first one is related to the vocals that alternate between symphonic such as "World Is Round-PII", "Lay Down Forever", "So Well", "Bored", "New Hands" and "Poor King Of Sun/Return", other tracks sometimes have aggressive tones, listen carefully "Cut Me Paste Me" and "Guru", in accordance with the developments of musics. The second point is really the violin sounds, a special "spice" that could not be out in the arrangements, comes at the right times without aggression, with a musical tone very well defined along with all other instruments, also with a special attention to the sitar solo in the song "Poor King Of Sun/Return". "World Is Round" album was released in 2010 by "Metal Mind Productions". All tracks recorded in DreamStudio, engineered by Mirek Gil, mixed and mastered by Winicjusz Chróst, produced by Believe and Winicjusz Chróst, as also the lyrics-writing debut of Believe's singer Karol Wróblewski. The main musicians on Believe band are: Karol Wróblewski - Vocals, Mirek Gil - Guitar, Przemas Zawadzki - Bass, Satomi - Violin, Vlodi Tafel - Drums, Konrad Wantrych - Keyboards, Programing and Tomek Osiecki - Sitar on tracks 8 and 10. You must join the new world of Believe music. Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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01/11/2011............,.....If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit BELIEVE HOME PAGE...
. ENNÏS TÓLA - "Seed"
Ennïs Tóla was formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 2008. Consisting of ex-members of “Amaranth”, “The Tomas Fitzgerald Band”, “The Grand Silent System”, “Rincon” and “Mousetrapreplica”, the initial line-up suffered several modifications until stabilizing with Tomas Fitzgerald (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, piano FX, percussion, arrangements), Karen Heath (bass clarinet, clarinet, flutes, koto, and piano), Chris Hitch (bass); Thom Mann (drums), and Ryan McRobb (electric guitars). Ennïs Tóla began to record a debut album in 2008, but as Tomas Fitzgerald and Karen Heath lost their house and belongings during the “Black Saturday” Bushfires that occurred near Melbourne in February 2009, they have both spent several months rebuilding their lives and recovering from the trauma before they could push the album project forwards again. Fortunately, much of the recorded material had been moved from their house to a safe place just before the occurrence of the hazardous event. With Fitzgerald himself acting as sound engineer, recording sessions were undertaken by the middle of 2009 at a home studio, resulting in Ennïs Tóla’s first album - “Seed”. Mixed by Steven Schram, and mastered by Tony “Jack the Bear” Mantz, “Seed” was released in 2010 (Anon Islet Records), and since then has been critically acclaimed by the specialized press. A side product of this record was the 4-track EP “Turn My World Around” (2010, Anon Islet Records), which brings three tracks of “Seed” plus one remix. Blending Hard Rock and Blues Rock with Arabian and World Music into an Electro-Acoustic frame, Ennïs Tóla and guest musicians perform original songs that defy conventional tags. The music is made of a strange mix of hard rock guitar riffs, acoustic guitars, hybrid rocky-ethno drumming, and Arabian scales, with a constant presence of wind instruments (flutes and clarinets). Tomas Fitzgerald takes the lead by using his distinguishing voice, which stays somewhere among “Joe Cocker”, “Jeff Buckley”, and “Brendan Perry” (“Dead Can Dance”). He sings arabesque melodies that are magically impregnated with the emotion and soulful intonations commonly heard on Blues and Soul. The best comparison is to regard Ennïs Tóla as a crossover between “Dead Can Dance” and “Led Zeppelin” (think of “Zeppelin’s” song “Kashmir”), with moments reminiscent of album “Roots to Branches” (“Jethro Tull”). Not so loud as “Led Zeppelin”, and less bonded to tradition than “Dead Can Dance”, Ennïs Tóla is apt for being appreciated by fans of Hard Rock, Progressive Rock and World Music alike, mainly those who are fond of Middle-Eastern melodies and rhythms. “Seed” brings 10 excellent tracks. The opening song, “Back to Dreaming”, represents Ennïs Tóla‘s style very well, putting Hard Rock guitar riffs against Arabian vocals. It is followed by “Lucifer’s Dance”, which brings dancing flutes, passionate vocals, and sand from the desert. The raging “58th Harmonic” is driven by amazing vocals and guitar riffs, accelerating at the last third to merge into the frantic Arabic belly dance of “Enchant Me”. Still counting as best songs are “Turn My World Around” (a kind of Arabian Blues); and the instrumental pair “Introduction”/ “Passage” with acoustic double bass evoking the mysterious atmosphere of a nocturnal Sahara; followed by an Arabian electric guitar-dance. The refreshing waters of the desert oasis are tasted on the soft “Empty Thoughts”, and on the acoustic guitars and flutes of “God’s Lament”. The album closes with “The Life You Have Been Given”, an exercise in World Music that unites the Middle-East to the Occidental Music by means of its magical acoustic guitars and mesmerizing flutes. Ennïs Tóla is currently working on a second album at the famous Abbey Road studios, in London. I am sure that the embryonic musicality contained in “Seed” will sprout and fructify in total exuberance in 2011. Ennïs Tóla is really a distinctive and original band that cannot be overlooked by music lovers, being highly recommended for fans of Progressive, World Music, and Hard Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Ennïs Tóla are: Tomas Fitzgerald – Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Piano FX, Percussion; Karen Heath – Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Flutes, Koto, Piano; Chris Hitch – Bass; Thom Mann – Drums; Ryan McRobb – Electric Guitars, Atmos. Guest musicians: George Karas – Drums on “The Life…”.; Richard Heath – Vocals on “Passage” intro; Luke Richardson – Double Bass on “Introduction“; Amarina Waters – Vocals on “Empty Thoughts”...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/11/2011.....................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to ENNÏS TÓLA  HOME PAGE...
. NOVUS REX - "Plowshares Into Swords"
Novus Rex is a project consisting of the father/son duo J.R. Fernandez (father, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, and vocals), and A.I. Fernandez (son, bass, guitars, and vocals). The late Anthony Davis (vocals), and “Queensrÿche’s” drummer Scott Rockenfield also took part in the project, appearing on the debut album “Plowshares Into Swords” (2009, Novus Rex Media, independently produced). Fernandez, the father, grew up in New York City during the 1970’s – a time of music and art effervescence. The piano and organ caught his interest at first, and he began to take private music lessons while still attending the elementary school. Parallel to his musical studies – which included composition and classical guitar – Fernandez graduated in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, becoming familiar with studio recording techniques and with the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) technology, which he employed to compose and record his music. “Plowshares Into Swords” is a conceptual album inspired on Biblical prophecies, ancient history and modern global events that make part of the “End of the World” scenario forecasted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Musically, Novus Rex follows a Retro-Progressive Symphonic line, adding elements of Electronic, Jazz and Fusion to the compositions. Fernandez, the father, is influenced by his old favorites: the Progressive bands “ELP”, “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “Spock's Beard”; the electronic keyboardists “Vangelis”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Alan Parsons Project”, “Larry Fast” (“Synergy”); the Jazz-Rock-Fusion musicians “Al Di Meola”, “Chick Corea”, “Jan Hammer”, “Josef Zawinul” (“Weather Report”); and the Jazz pianists “Keith Jarrett” and “Lyle Mays”. Fernandez stays as the central core of Novus Rex, piloting his keyboards – mainly synthesizers and a Hammond B3 – and producing a sound that is simultaneously bombastic, majestic, and free-flowing. “Plowshares Into Swords” features 6 long tracks. The first track is “Look! It’s Coming“, which begins with sumptuous symphonic keyboards that remind me of “Vangelis”. Bass and drums get in at the middle of the song, joined by background keyboards that remind me of “Eloy”. They are followed by Japanese melodies and an ethnical chorus. The lyrics for this song were written by the late Anthony Davis, and this track is the only one on which his voice takes the lead. Although he was a tuned singer, his tone and style were not suitable for Prog-music, causing a discrepancy into this particular piece. The following tracks are all impeccable, though. The second one is “Old World News“, which is introduced by heavy guitar riffing (reminding me of bands like “Magellan”). The pace changes for an “ELP’s” inspired piece, with predominance of Hammonds and their typical bass/drumming. Amid the torrent of exuberant keyboards, a jazz-rock guitar cuts its way through the song, bringing to mind names like “Holdsworth”, “Akkerman” and “Al Di Meola”. The vocals by Fernandez are heard for the first time, and although peculiar, they have a “Floydian” accent that sounds unique. The piano intro of the third track - “Truth Seeker“ – brings back the “saloon” music of old Western movies, while bombastic keyboards and classical pianos share space with jazzy guitars and fusion rhythms - like a blend of “Ennio Morricone”, “ELP”, and “Al Di Meola”. The amazing instrumental track “Belteshazzar’s Dream“ begins with a Medieval atmosphere like “Gentle Giant” that turns out to a modern fusion, being later dominated by futuristic synthesizers and ancient gothic organs. The title track - “Plowshares Into Swords“ – is a long piece that sounds more orchestrated then improvised, having a better integration of guitars with keyboards, and a martial-drumming section, courtesy of Scott Rockenfield. The closing track is “Locust Swarm“, a short instrumental piece that differs from the others by the prevalence of acoustic guitars over synthesizers, which retreat to the electronic background (like “Vangelis”, “Oldfield” and “Parsons”). Although still a project, Novus Rex is musically solid and surprising, being ready to grow into a complete band. It is already highly recommended for fans of keyboard-oriented bands, such as “ELP”, “Vangelis”, “Pär Lindh”, “Gerard”, “Magellan”, “Deluge Grander”, “Alan Parsons”, “Birds and Buildings”, “Science NV”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Novus Rex are: J.R. Fernandez – Keyboards, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass, Roland V Drums, Vocals (tracks 2, 3, 5); Anthony Davis – Lead Vocals on tracks 1 and 5 (2nd verse), Voice on track 4; A.I. Fernandez – Electric Guitars, 6 and 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Bass on track 3, Vocals and Scott Rockenfield – Additional Drums on title track...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/11/2011.......................,.....For more information about the project and the history, visit NOVUS REX HOME PAGE...
. ESTHEMA - "The Hereness and Nowness of Things"
Esthema is a world fusion ensemble from Boston (MA, USA). Born in 2006, the group forged their unique style blending elements of Jazz and Progressive Music with the Traditional Music of the Eastern European Balkan Region, and the Near/Middle East. The excellence and variety of Esthema‘s music derive from the academic knowledge and cultural origin of each of its integrants. Onur Dilisen (violin) was born in Turkey. In 2002 he moved to Boston to study at the Longy School of Music, graduating in 2005. Onur likes Blues, Latin, Jazz, Rock, Metal, Greek, and Turkish/Middle Eastern music. Tery Lemanis (oud, bouzouki) was born in Boston. He graduated at Berklee College of Music, and has studied Byzantine and Greek music in Athens, Greece. Lemanis also plays on “The Brain Police” (“Zappa” tribute); and on “Dancing Gypsy Band“, “Dudochka”, and “The Lemanis Ensemble” (of Traditional Middle Eastern music). Bruno Esrubilsky (drums, percussion), was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He moved to LA in 2004 and graduated from the Los Angeles Music Academy. There he learned from Brazilian master “Pascoal Meirelles”, becoming fluent in afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms and Jazz. Since 2007, he has been studying at the Berklee College of Music. Bruno has a busy career, playing and recording with several artists in the U.S.A. and Brazil. Ignacio Long (bass) was born in Patagonia, Argentina. He studied in Buenos Aires at the EMBA School of Music. Later he moved to New York to study at the Bass Collective. He moved to Boston to study Composition and Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music. Ignacio Long has played in groups of South American Folk, Rock-Pop, Salsa, Jazz, Latin-Jazz, Tango, and Brazilian music. He has performed in Buenos Aires, New York, and Boston. Andy Milas (guitar) has studied guitar under supervision of Boston’s most acclaimed instructors. For almost two decades, Milas has performed traditional and contemporary Greek music and has contributed with various Progressive Rock/Metal, New Age, and Jazz projects. His influences range from artists like “Michael Hedges”, “George Winston”, “Avishai Cohen”, “John Zorn”, “Simon Shaheen”, “Laço Tayfa”, “Al DiMeola”, and “Strunz & Farah”, to Metal acts like “Fates Warning” and “Metallica”. Esthema’s first CD, “Apart From The Rest” (2007) was praised by the specialized press, and regarded as one of the best independent releases of that year. The second CD - “The Hereness and Nowness of Things” (2009) is not less amazing, and will make the band still more famous around the independent musical scene. Esthema’s sonority is totally instrumental, and almost predominantly acoustic, unless for the bass and some clean guitars. Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms, strings, and Turkish-Arabian violins abound. Although having so different origins and musical backgrounds, the five integrants make profit of that diversity, and are able to interconnect all elements of their music into a consistent and harmonized frame. “The Hereness and Nowness of Things” is like a sonic travelogue for deciphering the secret paths that link exotic places in Cuba, Brazil and Argentina to the distant dreamy lands of Greece, Spain and Turkish-Arabian countries. Evoking images of dry yellow dunes and blue clean skies; inviting us to cross the desert and its perils in a musical adventure, Esthema executes its pieces with the same fluidity of the precious water hidden underneath a distant oasis. Along the 8 tracks of the CD, one can hear from Turkish music and Jazzy bass lines on “Change of Season“ to Brazilian northeastern rhythms brilliantly inserted on the Eastern atmosphere of “Eastern Dance“. The sensual violins of “A Place to Rest“ coil like a snake preparing its mortal bite. The bass progressions and “Bossa Nova” beat on “Arrhythmia“ sound like an invitation for visiting mysterious places. Irradiating more energy on drumming than on the previous tracks, “Forward Motion“ has a Spanish touch hidden within its musical scales. Inspired violin tunes are introduced on “Four Colors“, which later speeds the rhythm to a lively dance, the dancers being ouds, bouzoukis, and guitars. A romantic relaxing theme drives “Illusion of Truth“, but it grows later turning into colorful gypsy violins. A touch of 21st century modernity is heard on the amazing Jazz-Rock guitar solo on “On & On“, which recalls me of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Featuring Music at its best, “The Hereness and Nowness of Things” is a brilliant work, being highly recommended for fans of Progressive, Fusion, Electro-acoustic and Traditional Eastern Music. Band members and collaborators involved in Esthema are: Onur Dilisen – Violin; Tery Lemanis - Oud, Bouzouki; Bruno Esrubilsky  - Drums, Percussion; Ignacio Long - Bass and Andy Milas – Guitars...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/11/2011................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ESTHEMA HOME PAGE...
. SYRENS CALL - "Raging Waters"
Syrens Call was born in 1997 to be the French reply to the female-fronted Heavy Metal bands that were then rising in Europe. With the line-up consisting of Thibaut Coisne (lead guitar), Stéphane Thuriot (rhythm guitar), Eric Serre (bass), Sébastien Paul (drums), and the former vocalist Valérie Paul, the band debuted in 2000 with the album “Fantasea” (Brennus Records; Hellion Records Brazil; CD-Maximum, Japan). In 2002 Frank Manier (keyboards) joined the line-up. In 2004 Syrens Call released a second album, “Emoceans” (Brennus Records), the last with vocalist Valérie Paul. She was replaced in 2005 by Soraya Hostens, who took part on the EP “Against Wind and Tide” (2006, Brennus/Socadisc), which contained a cover of “Enjoy the Silence” (“Depeche Mode”). In 2007, Syrens Call performed a show to celebrate their 10th Anniversary, which was registered on the DVD “Live From the Abyss” (2008). In 2008 the band signed a new contract with Thundering Records, and in 2009 began to work on their third album - “Raging Waters” - released in November 2010. The album was mixed by Frank Manier and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios. Bringing a refreshed band guided by the marking vocals of Soraya Hostens – sophisticated and emotional – “Raging Waters” proves that the six years that spanned since the release of “Emoceans” were of evolution and musical growing of Syrens Call‘s integrants. The band still embraces the Melodic Power Metal as its main musical style, but adds elements of Symphonic, Epic and Progressive Metal to the new compositions, now sounding more like “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation”, “The Gathering”, “Edenbridge”, “Synergy”, “Xandria”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Epica”, “Leaves Eyes”, “Doro”, “Elis”, “Nemesea”, and “Uncreated Light”. Regarding the instrumentation, the frequent duels of Coisne‘s neoclassical guitars against Manier‘s progressive synthesizers evoke “Stratovarius”, “Symphony X”, and “Rhapsody”. All is supported by a substantial and varied “metallic” rhythmic section provided by Serre and Paul (bass and drums), and Thuriot‘s precise rhythmic guitar. Featuring 10 tracks, “Raging Waters” opens with “Hang On To Life”, which is driven by a pulsing electronic beat. The energy of this song allied to Soraya’s vocals and Coisne’s solo are sufficient to drag the listener into the album. It is followed by the excellent "I’m Your Only One“ (which has an intro that reminds me of “The Gathering” and impacting drums, bass, and keyboards with the same strength of bands like “Nightwish”, “After Forever”, “Epica”, and “Edenbridge”); and by “Ashes of Destiny“ (with a fairy-tale intro reminiscent of “Within Temptation”, a rocky danceable beat like “Doro” and “Xandria”; and harmonies like “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge” and “Epica”). Those iconic bands are influential on the music of Syrens Call, and their echoes are heard on the best songs of the album, such as “Cruel Love“ - a Melodic Metal song crowned by a soulful guitar solo - one of Coisne’s many inspired moments on this record – which also happen on the Neoclassical instrumental track “Relapse“. Other high-edged tracks are “Never Come Back Home“ and “Desecrated Past“ – two Power Metal songs on which fast guitar riffs, thundering bass and drums, and clashing guitar-keyboards contrast with Soraya’s incisive and seductive vocals, in a blend of “NIghtwish”, “Doro”, “Stratovarius” and "Symphony X”. Other very good tracks are the vampire-gothic “One Bloody Kiss“, and “Perfidious Paradise“ (with harmony vocals that recall me of “Edenbridge”). But “Raging Waters” reaches its climax with the fantastic “The Dance of Light“ – a 13-minute long Epic Metal Operetta. This superb track features aggressive male vocals, epic choruses with clean male/female vocals, symphonic arrangements in the style of “Epica”, “Nightwish” and “Rhapsody”, many guitar-keyboards solos like “Symphony X”, and an amazing guitar solo based on the famous “Pachelbel’s” Canon, bombastically closing the album. Apt for several spins, “Raging Waters” stands above the average records of its kind, and will definitely place Syrens Call into the wish-list of fans of “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Edenbridge”, “Doro”, “After Forever”, “Within Temptation”, “Xandria”, “Tarot”, “Nemesea”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Synergy”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Syrens Call are: Soraya Hostens – Vocals; Thibaut Coisne – Lead Guitars; Frank Manier – Keyboards; Sébastien Paul – Drums; Eric Serre – Bass and Stéphane Thuriot – Rhythmic Guitar. Also you must visit Syrens Call's MySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/11/2011...................................,More information? Better check it out for yourself at: SYRENS CALL  HOME PAGE...
. EL TRIO - "La Blanca y la Gris"
El Trio is a surprising band from the city of Santiago, Dominican Republic. It is formed by three core musicians. Jonatan Piña Duluc (vocals, guitars, saxophones, keyboards) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer versed in a wide range of styles: pop, hard rock, hip hop, jazz, contemporary-classical, traditional Latin, troubadour, and Dominican folk. His talent was reckoned in his home country when he won two National Musical Prizes in 2007 and 2009. Completing the line-up are the equally talented musicians Kilvin Peña (bass) and Johandy Ureña (drums). El Trio is struggling to fortify the dimmed Dominican rock scene, and is trying to promote the “Dominican-Fusion” style worldwide by forming a fan base that may support the band in the international scene. They are inspired by “Luis Dias” - the legendary Dominican musician who created the “Dominican-Fusion” style, which merges the “American Rock, Jazz and Blues” with 40 different ethnic rhythms from the Dominican Republic and Haiti (including the “Merengue” and “Bachata”). El Trío‘s released a debut album in 2008 (“Siempre Que Hay Un Corazon”). The second album, “La Blanca y La Gris” (2009), is an independent production, and contains 12 tracks. The songs are in Spanish, and lyrics reflect the social and political problems of modern life in the Dominican Republic. The compositions make use of Dominican traditional rhythms (provided by guest musician Eliezer Ramirez) and feature some jazzy improvisation, as it is proper of the Dominican-Fusion style. Their influences, besides “Luis Dias”, are “The Hendrix Experience”, “Living Colour”, “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Soundgarden”, ”Draco Rosa” (Puerto Rico), “Soda Stereo”  (Argentina) and “Fito Paez”. Other bands of the Latin-Rock segment may be also cited: “Santana”, “V-8”, “Bloque”, “El Reloj”, “Tren Loco”, “Crucis”, “Santana”, “Maná”, “Tryo” (Chile), “The Mars Volta”, “Jorge Ben Jor”, and “Steely Dan”. Nevertheless, El Trio is owner of a distinguishing sonority. Duluc’s voice is strong and marking, and he is very skilled with his guitar. Ureña‘s drumming is technical, original and creative. The two are glued by the impeccable groovy bass of Kilvin Peña. The Dominican rhythms are provided by guest musician Eliezer Ramirez, and wind instruments – commonly present in Latin music - are provided by Duluc’s sax or by guest musicians Patricio Bonilla (trombone) and Gabriel Martinez (trumpet). Along the tracks of “La Blanca y la Gris”, El Trio displays its mastery in blending Rock, Jazz, Latin and Dominican Rhythms in their own way. The opening track - “Solo en Canción“ - is an vigorous Jazz-Rock that sounds much like a blend of “Zappa” and “Santana”. The marking tradition of the Dominican music is heard on the following tracks – ”Dos Grandes“ and “Vicio“, inviting the listener to a dance. In between there is “Sangre del Corazón“ – on which a cool jazzy mood is crowned by an expressive guitar solo. From this point on, the record features a sequence of best songs. Beginning with “Del Desierto“ (on which Latin percussion marks a progressive trip-mood); the listener is taken by the groovy swing of “Canción de los Muertos“ (a strange blend of “Hendrix”, “Santana”, and “King Crimson”) on which the chorus resembles a “religious” chanting. Things get heavier on “La Verdad“, that reminds me of Argentinean bands “V-8”, “Bloque”, “El Reloj”, and “Tren Loco”. The Dominican-Fusion comes back on two Pop-Rock songs influenced by “Soda Stereo”, “Fito Paez”, “Santana”, and “Steely Dan”: “Canción de Paloma“ (marked by a sticky chorus) and “No e Como Ante“ (with “Hendrix”-like guitars and raging vocals of Duluc). The last part of the album was reserved for the most experimental songs “Juan Quiere Venderla“ (a Latin Thrash-Metal with Punk-like vocals) and “La Necia“ (a blend of “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “The Mars Volta” and “Jorge Ben Jor”, with highlights for the saxophone). The closing track is a real hit - the beautiful ballad “Jessica Saca la Lengua“, which features a soulful performance of Dionisio de Moya on blues guitar. Although El Trio cannot be strictly classified as Progressive Rock, it is a much good band to be overlooked; hence their presence at this site is more than deserved. El Trio is the ideal band for those open-minded Music fans that appreciate the Rock-Latin Fusion, or that are looking for something fresh and authentic. Highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in El Trio are: Jonatan Piña Duluc (Jonás) – Vocals, Guitars, Saxophones, Keyboards, Compositions, Production; Kilvin Peña – Bass; Johandy Ureña – Drums. Guest musicians: Eliezer Ramirez – Conga, Tambora, Güira, Maracas; Iván Batista – Backing Vocals; Patricio Bonilla /Gabriel Martinez – Trombone/Trumpet on “No e Como Ante”; Dionisio De Moya – Blues Guitar on “Jessica Saca la Lengua”...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/11/2011..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EL TRIO HOME PAGE...
. ANDEAVOR - "The Darkest Tear"
Andeavor is a Progressive Metal group from Erie, Pennsylvania (USA). Their story began in 1994, when Steve Matusik (guitars) and Doug Peck (vocals, bass, guitars), who had been playing in a local band called "Damien Steele", decided to form a new band. The repertoire of "Damien Steele" consisted only of covers of Heavy Metal acts of the 80’s, but Matusik wanted to work with original material he was writing at that time. Peck wrote lyrics for Matusik’s songs and, together with Ben Tomlin (drums) and Dennis Hultberg (bass), they founded a band called "Andromeda". "Andromeda" was not successful, and Tomlin and Hultberg quit. Peck then took the bass on, and called drummer Steve Starvaggi (ex-“Loudhouse”, “Bad Attitude”) to complete the line-up. The trio began to perform around the local scene, calling the attention of keyboardist Chris Rodler (ex-“Leger de Main”, “RH Factor”), who also managed the independent record label Progressive Music Management (PMM). He reckoned the talent of those musicians and volunteered to play in the band. Now as a quartet, "Andromeda" began to play more frequently. Discovering the existence of another band called "Andromeda", they changed their moniker for "Endeavor". Bad luck, there was already another "Endeavor", so they changed the spelling for Andeavor. In 1999, using the facilities of Rodler‘s studio, Andeavor released the first CD - “Once Upon a Time” (reissued by PMM in 2009). Their sonority at that time was mainly influenced by “Rush” (album “2112”), early “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” phase), and “Queensreÿche” (album “Operation Mindcrime”); resembling other bands that became active around the nineties (“Altura”, “Enchant”, “Sieges Even”, “Everon”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Tiles”, “Ivory Tower”). Their second record, entitled “The Darkest Tear” (2009, Progressive Music Manegement), features a different sonority however, because keyboardist Chris Rodler is not playing on this album (even though he has recorded it in PMM’s studio). His absence forced the overall sonority of Andeavor to change from the initial Symphonic Prog-Metal towards a heavier Power-Prog, sounding now much more organic and visceral – and hitting the listener more directly. Besides the mainly influences of “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning” and “Queensrÿche”, I also realized traces of other Metal bands of the 80’s and 90’s, like “Jag Panzer”, “Crimson Glory”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Warlord” and “Ivanhoe”. The compositions are still well elaborated, having intricate arrangements. The lack of keyboards seems to have exerted a beneficial side effect on the three core musicians, because they take advantage of the empty spaces left in the songs to exercise their technical skills. Doug Peck‘s voice is not high pitched like “Geoff Tate’s”, but slightly more aggressive, like on “Nocturnal Rites” and “Ivanhoe”. His bass sets the pace for the songs, alternating pulsing and powerful melodic lines that are sometimes as heavy as “Queensrÿche” and “Ivanhoe”; sometimes as fluent as “Rush” and “Fates Warning”, and in a few moments as fast as “Steve Harris” (“Iron Maiden”). Complementing Peck’s work, Starvaggi’s drumming features the heavy cadenced pace of “Queensrÿche”, “Crimson Glory” and “Warlord”; the dynamics of “Fates Warning” and “Rush”; and the energy of bands like “Nocturnal Rites” and “Jag Panzer”. Guitar player Steve Matusik appears as a central piece, distributing killer guitar riffs and elaborated melodic solos, reminding me of “Alex Lifeson” (“Rush”), “Bill Tsamis” (“Warlord”) and “Joey Tafolla” and “Chris Broderick“ (both from “Jag Panzer”). Not by chance, the fast guitar riffs of the opening track (“Under My Breath”) and the dark and heavy cadence of the second one (“Far Behind”) remind me of “Jag Panzer” a lot. The following songs are among my favorites: “Curse This Storm” (with acoustic guitars clashing against malevolent electric guitars) and “Chasing the Sun” (the most Prog-Metal track) both remind me of “Crimson Glory”, “Rush” and “Fates Warning”. I will include in this set the excellent “Insomnia” – the heaviest piece of this album – that brings back the power of the Heavy Metal of early “Queensrÿche” and “Nocturnal Rites”. The album still brings two lighter songs (“Vague” and “Tomorrow”) that are totally influenced by “Rush”; and a ballad (“Not Alone”). Andeavor is a Prog-Metal band that combine the energy and spirit of the 80’s with the technique of the 90’s, and is specially recommended for fans of “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Crimson Glory”, “Warlord”, and other bands cited above. Band members and collaborators involved in Andeavor are: Doug Peck – Lead and Backing Vocals, Bass, Lyrics; Steven Starvaggi – Drums, Backing Vocals, Lyrics; Steve Matusik – Lead and Rhythmic Guitars and Chris Rodler – Keyboards, Recording, Management...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/24/2011.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ANDEAVOR HOME PAGE...
. FRENCH TV - "The Case Against Art"
Imagine that someone has invited all these bands to a party: “National Health”, “Weather Report”, “Soft Machine”, “Gong”, “Zappa”, “Bruford”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Gentle Giant”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “King Crimson”, “Univers Zero”, “Etron Fou Leloublan”, “Henry Cow”, “Curved Air”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “UK”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “The Dixie Dregs”, “Yes”, “Brand X”, “Happy the Man”, and so on. Drinks are offered and when everybody is drunk enough, the party is invaded by hordes of paranoid carnivorous clowns that escaped from a nearby circus. After tearing all guests apart with mad-butcher steel knives, they use infra-red laser bins to reduce the remains into carbonized bricks of LEGO. The LEGO bricks are put inside a Pandora’s Box and given as a birthday gift to a mythological one-eyed Chimera. The monster interlocks the bricks; crafting a thousand-dimensional image of a theoretical mathematician’s long-dreamed “Equation of Everything” – which happens, by chance, to be the enantiomorphic image of French TV’s astounding musicianship. This weird preamble was necessary to call your attention to one of the most incredible, creative, prolific and surprising bands in activity nowadays. In spite of the moniker, French TV was founded in the USA city of Louisville, old Kentucky, in 1983. Since then, the band toured extensively across the USA, shared stage with many bands, including “Univers Zero” and “The Flower Kings”, and appeared in important festivals: ProgDay (1997), BajaProg (2003), and Gouveia Art Rock (Portugal, 2005). The band has released nine albums, and assembled many fans around the world. French TV had many integrants and formations over the years, but through the steady leadership of founder member Mike Sary (bass, compositions) and his loyal vassals Chris Smith (guitars, violin, strings) and Warren Dale (keyboards, winds), the band is still being pushed into the "21st Schizoid Century". Blowing Progressive, Jazz, Fusion, Latin, Experimental and Classic Music into Stravinskyan labyrinths from which bursts of keyboards, guitars, saxophones, trumpets and violins suddenly erupt, French TV seems to be an unlimited, inexhaustible, and bottomless cornucopia of sounds, ideas and talented performances. Being alternatively bizarre, unconventional, curious, and enigmatic – yet lively, lurid, humorous, contagious, original and captivating – French TV defies definitions, and no tag would be extensive enough to accommodate all the styles that are present in a single musical piece at the same time. I can only think of terms like “Burlesque-Progressive”, “Punchinello-Fusion”, “Arabesque-Experimental”, or, simply, “LEGO-Progressive”. Anyway, this band has been commonly regarded as a legitimate representative of the R.I.O. and Avant-garde Progressive Movements, being often compared with “Etron Fou Leloublan”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Henry Cow”, “Zappa”, “National Health”, “Soft Machine” and “King Crimson”. French TV has, however, an important advantage over its sister-bands: it is capable of smoothing the characteristic cacophonic bias present in their music, decreasing the sensation of strangeness to a harmonious level that can be easily assimilated - and enjoyed - by the regular listener. In this way, French TV achieves a rare triumph – to satisfy both orthodox and unorthodox fans of Progressive Rock – a goal pursued by many, but accomplished only by the Great Ones. This is clearly realized on the five tracks of French TV’s 7th album - “The Case Against Art” (2001, Pretentious Dinosaur Records). Besides Mike Sary, Warren Dale and Chris Smith, the album has participation of Chris Vincent (drums), Dean Zigoris (guitars), Cathy Moeller (violin), and many other guests. While the first track - “That Thing on the Wall“- is mostly a Jazz Rock with influences of “Zappa”, “Soft Machine” and oriental music; the other tracks push the band towards the so-called “Classical Progressive” sonority. “Viable Tissue Matter“ and “Partly the State”, which make massive use of wind instruments and are lavishly adorned with violins, will be the favorites among orthodox Prog-fans. Those tracks evocate images of “Focus”, “Genesis”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Gentle Giant”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull” and “Gryphon” imprisoned in a Jazzy matrix made of “Weather Report”, “National Health”, “Jean Luc Ponty”, “UK” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”.  The last two tracks - “One Humiliating Incident After Another“ and “Under the Big W“ - lean to the R.I.O. style, both having a humorous mood and “skeletal” sounds. The later has memorable moments coming from the violin of Cathy Moeller dueling against the alarming tuba of Pam Thompson. French TV’s “The Case Against Art” is a brilliant and indispensable CD, the beginner’s choice for any Prog-fan - orthodox and unorthodox alike - who wishes to know this amazing band. Band members and collaborators involved in French TV are: Mike Sary – Bass; Warren Dale – Keyboards, Woodwinds, Sax, Clarinets; Chris Smith – Guitars, Violin, Banjo, Mandolin (tracks 1, 3, 4); Chris Vincent – Drums; Greg Acker – Sax (tracks 2, 5), Flute (tracks 2, 4, 5); Dean Zigoris – Guitars (tracks 2, 5); Cathy Moeller – Violin (tracks 2, 5); Cliff Fortney – Vocals, Flute, Recorder (track 3); Shawn Persinger – Acoustic Guitar (track 3); Kirk Davis – Percussion (track 3); Karen Hyer – Soprano (track 3); Steven Dale – Trumpet and Euphonium (track 4) and Pam Thompson – Tuba (track 5). Also you must visit French TV's MySpace Site...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/24/2011..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FRENCH TV HOME PAGE...
. 23 CURRENT - "Curve Of The Universe"
23 Current is an obscured band based on West Virginia, U.S.A. The line-up consists of Shawn Burnette (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, additional percussion, and compositions), Andy Reamer (drums), and Mary White (additional and backing vocals). The trio had already been introduced to the public by this webzine under the moniker Holostream, and their album “Time and Space” (see under Reviews 2009). 23 Current represents an earlier effort of those musicians, because “Curve of the Universe” had been released in 2005, two years before Holostream’s “Time and Space” (2007). Maybe for that reason, I found the sonority of 23 Current to be a bit heavier and cruder than that of "Holostream", although being similar in style. The main instruments on 23 Current are electric and acoustic guitars that are combined with some parts of keyboards, like an electric piano. The vocals of Shawn are sometimes aggressive, but most of the time has a poignant shadow of grief. Mary backing vocals are ghostly and whispered. The mood is cool, and the atmosphere is twilight-dark, melancholic, with rare raging parts. While Holostream has a “rocky” and “cleaner” sonority that aligns it to bands of the Alternative Rock circle (e.g. “Muse”, “The Mars Volta”, “White Willow”, “The Gathering”); 23 Current followed a line that drove it closer to the Dark Ambient, Heavy Progressive and to Post Metal than to the Alternative Rock, mostly influenced by “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Gathering”, “Riverside”, “No Man”, “Sigur Rós”, and “Marillion”. “Curve of the Universe” contains 13 tracks, divided in harder songs, melancholic ballads and four short instrumental interludes. Because my taste leans to heavier music, I have chose as favorites those songs with more solid guitar riffs, with strong influence of Post-Metal and Heavy Prog bands, like “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool” and “Porcupine Tree”, like “Truth and Lies“, “Noise in the Circuit“ and “Letters in Stone” (which end with a gothic organ). I also liked “A House Divided“, which has anger vocals and a stronger psychedelic influence from “Tool”. The raging guitars of “Sound and Sight“ stay in midway from “A Perfect Circle” and “Black Sabbath”. Those heavier tracks contrast with the lighter ballads, which are mostly driven by acoustic guitars and tranquil moods, going from the “Floydian” atmosphere of the excellent “Stranger’s Voice“ and “Skin Deep“ (which features cool ethnical drum beat) to the melancholy, sadness and somber tones of “A Shadow of Doubt“ and “War and Wonder“ (on which both male and female vocals and dark atmosphere evoke bands like “Tool” and “Porcupine Tree”). Along the record, and interspersed with the songs, there are four instrumental tracks that bring the most progressive face of 23 Current. The very best are “Curve of the Universe“ and “The Fire of Time“, this one having space guitars and piano. “Hyperstition“ is marked by psychedelic guitars, while “The Aftermath“ brings in the piano once more. Summing all up, 23 Current’s “Curve of the Universe” was like a seminal experimentation of a wide range of influences by band members, before the depuration of their sonority as it would appear on their later project - the more refined Holostream. 23 Current is recommended for fans of Heavy and Dark Progressive, and also bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Riverside”, “No Man”, “Sigur Rós”. Band members and collaborators involved in 23 Current are: Shawn Burnette – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Additional Percussion, Compositions; Andy Reamer – Drums and Mary White – Vocals...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2011...........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit 23 CURRENT HOME PAGE...
. THE TREAT - "Audio Verité"
The Treat is a Classic Rock trio from Oxford, Midlands (U.K.). The band was founded in 2001 by Mike Hyder (vocals, guitars, writing) and the present line-up counts with Dominic Lash (bass guitars, backing vocals) and David Hart (percussion, wind instruments, keyboards, and backing vocals). The Treat’s debut album, “In Technicolor” (2003, Rockular Recordings Ltd.) brought music oriented in the style of bands such as “Cream”. It was just in 2005, when David Hart entered the band, that his talent as a multi-instrumentalist lifted Hyder‘s artistic ambitions to higher levels. Hyder wanted The Treat to sound like a modern “Traffic”, with acoustic and electric sides, including Psychedelic, Folk, Blues, Ethnic, Jazz, Funk, World Music, and Country styles. After working hard for three years on new compositions, The Treat released their second album, “Phonography” (2008, Rockular Recordings Ltd.), which received good reviews by the specialized press. The Treat’s sonority summarizes the tastes of its integrants. Hyder likes Classic Rock, Blues, Prog, Psychedelic, Metal, Funk, Soul, Folk, and a bit of Jazz, Country, Ethnic and Orchestral music. His influences are “Jimmy Page”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Keith Richards”, “Stones”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Family”, “Caravan”, “Genesis”, “Bowie”, “The Beatles”, “Zappa”, “Soundgarden”, and “Green Day”. Dominic Lash has a penchant for Jazz, Rock and Funk, and likes “John Wetton”, “Tony Levin”, “Robert Fripp”, “George Clinton”, “Bootsy Collins”, “Cecil Taylor”, and “Charlie Parker”. David Hart loves Progressive, Metal, Folk, Ethnic and World Music, being influenced by bands as diverse as “Yes”, “Jethro Tull”, “Magnum”, “Rammstein”, “They Might Be Giants”, and by “Pakistani qawwalli music”. Hart’s contributions on percussion and wind instruments flavour The Treat with the spice of imagination and originality. The Treat’s third release is a double CD set entitled “Audio Verité / Deceptive Blends” (2009, Rockular Recordings Ltd.). The songs are disposed as a 4-sided vinyl format. In this way, “Audio Verité” is divided in “Side Rock” and “Side Acoustic”; while “Deceptive Blends” is divided in “Side Electric” and “Side Experiment”. Each “Side” features five tracks. “CD 1 - Audio Verité” has the most straightforward songs. “Side Rock” is based on the Classic Rock of the 60’s and 70’s. My favorites are “This Is The One” (with a “AC/DC” kind of riff); the visceral “Showtime” (reminding me of “Led Zeppelin”, “Slade”, “Bad Company”, and “Uriah Heep”), and “On The Waterfront” (with a tropical mood that reminds me of “Light my Fire”, of “The Doors”, plus clarinets). “Side Rock” still brings “Drawing Lines” (a 70’s Punk-Rock) and “For a Reason”, that has joyful pianos that recall me of “Lady Madonna” (“The Beatles”). “Side Acoustic”, obviously, features ballads, Folk, and Country songs. My favorites are “Beautiful Way” (with influences of “Traffic”; Hyder’s vocals are amazing on this one) and “Cycles” (a blend of early “Rolling Stones” and “Led Zeppelin”, with Spanish-Arabic guitars and percussion). This side also has the instrumental “Sweet Jasmine” (with a “Steve Hackett” touch); “By The Sea” (that reminds me of “Brian May’s” song “39”, on “Queen’s” “A Night at the Opera”); and “The Dragon Den” (with influences of ”Fleetwood Mac”). “CD 2 - Deceptive Blends” is, in my opinion, better than CD 1, because it brings more musical variety, boldness, novelty and experimentation. “Side Electric” brings the heaviest songs, with influences covering the 70’s to the 90’s. The best songs are “Massive Attack“ (a typical Hard Rock, with heavy riffs), “Silent Voices“ (which blends “Led Zeppelin”, “Pink Floyd” and “King Crimson” with an irresistible Arabian percussion), and “Farmer Jack’s Tree“ (a traditional American folk). There are still “Anger Management“ (a neurotic Metal verging “Savatage”) and “Cybernaut“ (a Punk-Electronic). “Side Experiment” brings the amazing epic “Citizen Of The World“, and “In My Own Time“ (a Progressive track that begins with acoustic classical guitar, has many textures of wind instruments, Mexican music, and sounds like “Caravan” and “Jethro Tull”). The other songs are “The Art of Deception“ (a soft song like “Queen”, “Caravan” and “10cc”); “Fan The Flames“ (a danceable Funk ’n Soul); and “Little Fly“ (an experiment with vocals and a buzzing fly). The Treat is a really good band with an eclectic and distinguishing sonority, being specially recommended for fans of Classic, Hard, and Alternative Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in The Treat are: Mike Hyder – Lead and Backing Vocals, 6 and 12 String Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Banjo, Sitar, Harmonium, Theremin, Percussion; Dominic Lash - Electric Bass, Double Bass, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Backing Vocals; Dave Hart – Tables, Djembi, Tonbak, Congas, Bongos, Timpani, Glockenspiel, Chinese Gong, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, Melodica, Accordion, Didgeridoo, Piano, Backing Vocals. Additional musicians: John Holliday – Drums, Percussion; Jeff Leach - Hammond B3 and Electric Piano; Chris Lewis – Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Parham Bahadoran – Backing Vocals; All Nourbakksh – Tonbak, Daf; Graham Quelch – Harmonica, Washboard; Miles Doubleday – DJ voice. Also you must visit The Treat'sMySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2011..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE TREAT HOME PAGE...
. GROUP 309 - "Dreams of Sea"
Group 309 is a new Art-Rock band from Russia. The band was conceived in 2007 by Andrey Pishchulov (keyboards, vocals), who was inspired by the poems of Dasha Yashenko. The poems had a luring musicality that captivated Pishchulov immediately, compelling him to create melodies for them. As he began to write songs, he called his old friend and guitarist Igor Inshakov to take part in the band. Bass and drums were initially in charge of Viktor Zhurik and Volodia Panaseiko, but they were replaced by Nikita Simonov (bass) and Ruslan Dzhigkayty (drums) just when Group 309 entered studios to record their debut album in March 2009. The album, titled “Dreams of Sea”, was released in 2010 under the Russian Progressive Label MALS Ltd. The beautiful cover art was carried out by visual artist Yuri Tolstov. Group 309 plays Eclectic Prog, including elements of Neo-Prog (mainly on the melodies of the synthesizers), Hard Rock (on some heavier guitar riffs), Blues Rock (on some guitar solos), Symphonic Prog (on soaring keyboard melodies) and Pop-Rock in general. The sonority reminds me of their compatriots of “Little Tragedies”, especially because of the intonation of Pishchulov’s vocals - always sung in Russian - that are similar to “Gennady Ilyin’s“ (“Little Tragedies”). Group 309, however, is less Symphonic than “Little Tragedies” and more Rocky, and has influences of bands as diverse as “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Queen”, ”Rush”, “Triumph”, “Journey”, “Asia”, “Toto”, and “Anyone’s Daughter”. The songs and arrangements mix the atmosphere of the Seventies with varied Pop-Rock rhythms. The general mood is lively, with energetic bursts inserted into tranquil moments. The main solo instrument is the guitar of Inshakov, who gets inspiration from Blues-Rock, Neo-Prog and Melodic Rock. Pishchulov is a good keyboardist that prefers to compose beautiful intros and arrangements instead of performing long solos. Bassist Simonov is eclectic and very integrated with his band mates, also having some solo moments along the record. Drummer Dzhigkayty does what is expected from a Rock drummer – he is discrete and sophisticated on the soft parts; vigorous and explosive on the heaviest. “Dreams of Sea” features 11 tracks. The title song, “Dreams of Sea“ opens the album in a Progy way - with piano, acoustic guitars and nostalgic vocals - being a prologue for the following “The Overture” – this one is an awesome instrumental track with heavy guitars and drumming, thundering bass, sharp synths, progressive keyboards and many guitar solos that remind me of “Rush”, “Little Tragedies”, and “Camel”. It merges with the third track – “Ray of light“, which leans for a Melodic Rock, having a cheerful mood, a cool drum beat, subtle guitars, and a groovy bass. From this track on, the compositions alternate from Prog-Rock to Pop-Rock. To the first group belong the best tracks: “Clouds” (on which the initial floating piano unveils an intense guitar-keyboard-bass interplay that sounds like “Genesis”, “Marillion” and “IQ” plunged into a Neo-Prog rhythmic section); “What Are You Waiting For” (which is anchored on strong hard-rock guitar riffs, whirlwind synthesizers and tempestuous moog sounds); and "A Girl Was Praying In The Old Church" (a bittersweet ballad with symphonic keyboards and amazing bluesy guitar solos). “A Girl Was Praying…” ends with a hook for the closing track “This Belief In Miracles Is Naive (epilogue)“ – a blues-ballad with sad vocals. The songs following a Pop-Rock line are: “There is no place for a dream ...“ (which has a medieval intro that recalls me of “Gentle Giant”, but the following acoustic guitars and somewhat romantic vocals take the song to a Pop-Rock terrain);  “A Scarlet Sail“ (driven by placid acoustic guitars); and the sequenced Arena-Rock songs “Five Years Later“ and Later “And Stars Are Falling Into The Sea”. Both are formatted as rock hits – the first is marked by keyboard riffs that recall “Journey” and “Asia”; while “And Stars Are Falling…“ sounds better, with heavier guitars, explosive bass and drums, and energetic vocals. All in all, “Dreams of Sea” is an excellent debut for a band that counts with good-quality musicians in its line-up. They need just to choose their future direction - will they plunge deeper into Progressive or stay in the shallower waters of the Pop-Art-Rock? For now Group 309 is recommended for less orthodox Progressive fans that like bands with a Melodic-Rocky orientation. Band members and collaborators involved in Group 309 are: Andrey Pishchulov - Keyboards, vocals; lIgor Inshakov – Guitar; Nikita Simonov – Bass; Ruslan Dzhigkayty - Drums. Dasha Yashenko – Ooetry; Yuri Tolstov – cover art...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2011....................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GROUP 309 AT MALS RECORDS HOME PAGE...
. SBB- "Blue Trance"
The legendary band SBB is back with a brand new album that celebrates the 45th anniversary of musical activity of its integrants – an extraordinary goal for any group playing non-commercial Progressive Rock. Since its official foundation in the distant year of 1971, SBB has mesmerized and assembled many fans in their home land (Poland) and abroad, by playing an original blend of Space Rock, Blues, Jazz-Rock and Symphonic Progressive. Original members Józef Skrzek (bass, keyboards, vocals); Apostolis Anthimos (guitars), and Jerzy Piotrowski (drums) produced an extensive discography, including several live albums that have registered SBB’s most tempestuous performances, being therefore avidly hunted by Prog collectors. An hiatus occurred between 1979 and 1998, wit sporadic appearances of the band, until Skrzek and Anthimos, together with drummer Paul Wertico, brought the band back to the studio in 2002, to record the albums “Nastroje” (2002), “New Century” (2005), “The Rock” (2007), “Iron Curtain” (2009), besides some DVD’s and live records. SBB’s most recent release is “Blue Trance” (2010, Metal Mind Productions). The album was recorded and mixed in September 2010 by Sebastian Witkowski, at Recpublika Studios, and mastered by Jacek Gawlowski (JG Master Lab), and features new drummer Gabor Nemeth. Listening to the 11 tracks of “Blue Trance” it is unquestionable that SBB’s music has not the same vigor of the past days, but it is undeniable that, where energy is lacking, it has been replaced by the emotion and sensibility of their experienced integrants – 45 years of activity made them unrushed, but wiser. Therefore, along all compositions that make the core of “Blue Trance”, the listener will realize that each note played was precisely chosen to sound soulfully and meaningfully on the song where it belongs. The melodies – both from keyboards and guitars – are catchy, delicate, fluidal, and never get lost in ineffective or sterile soloing. SBB strolls around their own musical garden to harvest a selected bunch of tracks that represent the band’s musicianship. The stylistic variation covers all experiments and revises all phases that SBB went through along their long-lasting career. For instance, echoes of the Blues-Rock and Hard-Rock that prevailed along the 60’s and 70’s are present on “Red Joe” – a Space Blues-Rock inspired in “Hendrix”, with Jazz-Rock guitar solo and political lyrics in English; and on the title track “Blue Trance” - lively and adequate for a gig. The force of Symphonic Prog is heard on the opening and closing tracks “Etiuda Trance” and “Coda Trance”. Both are awesome instrumental tracks that really honor SBB’s glorious past: “Etiuda” is driven by synthesizers, organ sounds, and martial drumming, being the perfect prelude for a Progressive album; “Coda”, by its turn, is merged into a dark and gloomy atmosphere of a phantasmagoric soundtrack, ending with blowing atomic solos. But SBB’s emblematic Progressive sonority – one that blends Blues, Jazz and Classic Prog – is never forgotten by the band. Those sad – and at the same time beautiful – bluesy vocals and bittersweet tones that were always so catchy for SBB’s fans appear amidst the soaring guitars and minimalist piano of “Los Czlowieka”, and on the Classical piano ballad “Pamieci Czas”. The Classic Progressive influences in old SBB‘s vein are imprinted on the excellent “Szczescie Jak Na Dloni” – stuffed with delicate progressive clean guitars and classical pianos; and on the Fairy-Tale atmosphere of “Doliny Strumieni”, which sounds like “Camel” highlighted by a “Canterbury styled” guitar solo. Another strong facet of SBB’s repertoire has been represented by the Jazz-Rock and Fusion. Led by Apostolis Anthimos, the ancient SBB crosses a bridge towards the new and ventures into the Modern Fusion on two of the best tracks of this album: “Karida Beach” – an instrumental composition that rivals “Satriani’s” style; and “Musniecie Kalimby”, which showcases the versatility of new drummer Gabor Nemeth as he performs Latin rhythms (recalling me of “Santana”). The cool-mood track “Swieto Dioni” also belongs here, but at one step lower. “Blue Trance” may be less sparkling than SBB’s classical works, but it is still enough shiny to figure in any Progressive Rock collection, and will more than pleasant for SBB’s regular fans, being therefore highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in SBB are: Józef Skrzek - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals; Apostolis Anthimos – Guitar and Gabor Nemeth - Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2011.................Want to learn everything about the band and more about their history, go to SBB HOME PAGE...
. WONDROUS STORIES - "34 Artists that Shaped the Prog Rock Era"
If you are one of those people that have just started to listen to Progressive Rock and wish to know more about it, Wondrous Stories is the right album for you. Released in 2010 under the major label Universal Music TV, this double-CD compilation features “34 Artists that Shaped the Prog Rock Era” (see the list below). The cover art-work was fashioned by the emblematic Roger Dean (painter of “Yes” album-covers). Compilations of this kind usually face a problem related to the geographical focus. Since Progressive Rock was born in Britain and later branched into continental Europe, the U.S.A., Asia, Australia and South America, a comprehensive compilation should include representatives of many countries – an impossible task, considering the difficulties involved. Wondrous Stories faces this problem: with the exception of two Dutch bands (“Focus” and “Golden Earring”) and an appearance by Greek musician “Vangelis”; all others belong to the British-American bloc, leaving outside the list important groups of other nationalities. Even essential groups of the British-American Prog scene are absent (e.g. “Pink Floyd”, “Renaissance”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Soft Machine”, “Henry Cow”, “Zappa”) – a situation certainly caused by contractual restraints. Aside from that, Wondrous Stories accomplishes many goals, resulting in one of the best of this kind. Of the bands present, many were strong pillars of the Progressive movement, and contributed actively to its evolution. The repertoire comprises only hits of those groups, representing their musical styles with fidelity. The exception is “The Serpent”, by “Genesis”, taken from their debut “From Genesis to Revelation” (1969). Because “Genesis” Progressive style had not developed until the classic line-up was formed (including “Steve Hackett” and “Phil Collins”), a later song (from 1973-75) should have been picked instead. The song “Kayleigh” (“Marillion”) could have been replaced by any other with less commercial appeal (e.g.“Heart of Lothian”), but this comment is a matter of personal taste. Under an historical point of view, most songs belong to the period of 1968-1979, which encompasses the Golden Age of Progressive Rock. Two songs of 1968 – a fragment of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” (by “Iron Butterfly”, with only 3 of the 17 minutes of the original version) and “Paper Sun” (“Traffic”) – although composed by two non-Progressive bands, brought already within the embryonic seeds of Prog-Rock: the preference for long-lasting songs, and the fusion of different musical genres. Those seeds would sprout in 1969 on seminal songs like “The Kettle” (by “Colosseum”) and “Sympathy” (by “Rare Bird”). Between 1970 and 1979, many bands and artists had already adhered to the Progressive Rock, or had experienced at least a Progressive phase. Wondrous Stories features numerous of them, such as “Yes”, “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Emerson Lake & Palmer”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Caravan”, “Strawbs”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Hawkwind”, “Gong”, “Kansas”, “Argent”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Manfred Mann’s Earth Band”, “The Moody Blues”, “Golden Earring”, “Jon & Vangelis”, “Supertramp”, and “Focus” (unfortunately, their song “Hocus Pocus”, used on the Nike Football advertisement, was downsized to half of its total time). Another goal of this compilation is to include groups that, although being aligned to different musical genres (Blues-Rock, Hard, or Pop-Rock), were nevertheless influenced by the spirit of the period, and composed true Progressive pieces, like “Frankenstein” (by “The Edgar Winter Group”), “Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)” (by “Mountain”), and “10538 Overture” (by “Electric Light Orchestra”). Other of such bands just added progressive elements to their music, as did “Wishbone Ash” and “Roxy Music”. Wondrous Stories includes also an oddity: a Paganini’s theme that was part of a 1978 solo project of “Andrew Lloyd Webber” - the English composer who is famous for his theater soundtracks for “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Phantom of the Opera”. The Hard-Rock band “Uriah Heep” (with “Gypsy”, of 1970) was also remembered, perhaps for being a primordial example of what would be called Prog-Metal in the future. Regarded as a period that witnessed the decadence of Progressive Rock, the 80’s are represented by two songs: “Spirit of the Radio” (1980, by “Rush”); and “Kayleigh” (1985, by “Marillion”). Both are hits of those extemporaneous, yet successful, bands, which had the major importance of not letting the flame of Progressive Rock to perish. Otherwise, we would not be listening to echoes of it on “Peter Gabriel’s”, “Solsbury Hill” (2002), an example of the endurance of the Prog-style in the music of the 21st century. Wondrous Stories is not essential for Prog-collectors, but highly recommended for the Prog-Rock beginners that want to understand more about the roots and rules of the genre. Wondrous Stories “34 Artists that Shaped the Prog Rock Era” (Universal Music TV, 2010): Disc One: “Yes” (“Wondrous Stories”); “Jethro Tull” (“Living in the Past”); “Supertramp” (“Crime of the Century”); “Rush” (“Spirit of the Radio”); “Mike Oldfield” (“Tubular Bells”); “Camel” (“Rhayader”); “Kansas” (“Dust in the Wind”); “Colosseum” (“The Kettle”); “Uriah Heep” (“Gypsy”); “Argent” (“Hold Your Head Up”); “Traffic” (“Paper Sun”); “Hawkwind” (“Silver Machine”); “The Edgar Winter Group” (“Frankenstein”); “Gong” (“Perfect Mystery”); “Barclay James Harvest” (“Mocking Bird”); “Mountain” (“Nantucket Sleighride [To Owen Coffin]”); “Iron Butterfly" (“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”) (fragment). Disc Two: “Focus” (“Hocus Pocus”); “Peter Gabriel” (“Solsbury Hill”); “Emerson Lake and Palmer” (“Fanfarre for the Common Man”); “Marillion” (“Kayleigh”); “Rare Bird” (“Sympathy”); “Genesis” (“The Serpent”); “Golden Earring” (“Radar Love”); “Jon & Vangelis” (“I Hear You Now”); “The Moody Blues” (“Question”); “Strawbs” (“Lay Down”); “Manfred Mann’s Earth Band” (“Joybringer”); “Rick Wakeman” (“Catherine of Aragon”); “Caravan” (“In the Land of Grey and Pink”); “Electric Light Orchestra” (“10538 Overture”); “Roxy Music” (“Virginia Plain”); “Wishbone Ash” (“Jail Bait”); “Andrew Lloyd Webber” (“Paganini: Theme - Caprice in A Minor nº 24 - and variations 1-4”)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/06/2011.........................,.....Interested to know more about the release? Visit UNIVERSAL MUSIC TV HOME PAGE...
. EXHIBIT A - "Makes Mine a Lobster"
The British band Exhibit A is no newcomer to the Progressive Rock scenario. The band was formed back in 1984 by bassist Steve Watts and guitarist Nick Hampson (both ex-members of a band called “Mithra”), and also by Barrie Cannon (drums), Steve Cable (guitar), Billie James (vocals), and Neil Foss (keyboards). Billie James left the band when Exhibit A leaned to Progressive Rock, and she was later replaced by Dave Foss, a friend of the band that frequently came along to see the rehearsals. Gigs then became regular, and the line-up was kept stable until Barrie Cannon’s departure in 1988. He was replaced by Tony Robertson, a drummer that changed Exhibit A’s musical orientation towards a punchier, straightforward Rocky line, but the Progressive influence still persisted on their debut album, “A Different Dimension” (1990). The band started to perform alive, and gained some recognition in Eastern Europe (Turkey and Poland). In 1994 new drummer Paul Caswell was admitted in the band, and in that year Exhibit A released their second album – “Out There” (1994). In 2007 Exhibit A came with the idea of recording and remastering some old songs that had been intended to make part of “A Different Dimension”, but were left out. After 3 years working on the process, the band finally came up with a new self-produced album, which was titled “Make Mine a Lobster” (2010). Musically, Exhibit A finds itself inside the “Pop-gressive” line, together with many Neo-Prog bands that have a strong lean to Pop music; and Classic Prog bands that have had their most commercial phase along the 80’s. Influences come from “Asia”, “Saga”, “Peter Frampton”, “IQ”, “Frost”, “It Bites”, “Duran Duran”, “Roxy Music”, “Pink Floyd” (“The Final Cut” phase), “Genesis” (“Abacab” phase), “Marillion” (post-“Fish” phase), “Rush” (post-“Power Windows”), “Yes” (“Big Generator” phase), “Camel”, “ELO”, “David Bowie“, “Queen” and “Whitesnake”.  Exhibit A’s integrants said to be influenced also by “Spocks’s Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Rainbow”, “Gillan”, “Robert Fripp”, and “Brian Eno”, but I realized few of those influences on their sound. The important thing to be said about Exhibit A is that they are not playing “Pop-gressive” Rock because they want to make money – they play it because they really like it! The songs are performed with unstoppable energy and true passion, profiting from a contagious danceable rocky beat provided by Watts and Caswell, who are PhD Masters on that matter. The excellent vocals of Dave Foss have the typical British vocal timbre that remind us of “John Wetton”, “Greg Lake”, and “Peter Frampton”. The compositions are well elaborated, at a professional level. Hampson’s guitar solos are short for Prog standards, but more than satisfactory for a Pop-Rock band, being clean and soaring, like on “Pink Floyd” and “Marillion”. They harmonize perfectly with Neil Foss’ abundant space-like synths, which sound like “Asia”, “Duran Duran”, “Roxy Music”, “Rush”, “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” phase), and “Yes” (with “Geoff Downes”). Another good point about Exhibit A: although in the “Pop-gressive” line, they played no mellow romantic ballad on “Makes Mine a Lobster” – the 9 tracks are lively and full of rocky energy – making it an authentic party-record, and suitable for radio airplay. My highlights go to “Touch The Sky“ (an opening track that surmises the band’s musical proposal), “First to Last“, “Rush of Blood“ (with influences of “Rush”), “Missing Years“ (in a lower, darker tone, with a cool guitar solo), and to the two best tracks on the record: “Darker Sun“ and “Scenario“ (with an extended instrumental section). Leaning to a danceable Pop-Rock are “Carousel“, “A Far Cry“, and “Wake Up to Reality“ (with some keyboards inspired by “Genesis”). If Exhibit A‘s musicians wanted to emphasize the instrumental, they could make great Prog-Music, but if they prefer to stay on the “Pop-Rock” stream, then I must strongly recommend them for fans of  “Asia”, “Saga”, “Roxy Music”, “Peter Frampton”, “Toto”, “Duran Duran”, “ELO”, and the most pop phase of “David Bowie“, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Yes”, “Queen” and “Whitesnake”. Exhibit A will not let them down. Band members and collaborators involved in Exhibit A are: Steve Watts – Bass; Nick Hampson – Guitar; Dave Foss – Vocals; Neil Foss – Keyboards and Paul Caswell - Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/06/2011............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit NEXHIBIT A HOME PAGE...
. THE ROAD - "Monomyth"
The Road was born at the Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 1998, and since then has suffered many modifications in the line-up. From the original founding members, only Greg Wilson (lead vocals, trumpet) and Aaron Moulin (lead guitar, vocals) still remain. Bassist John Martin joined the group in 2005. Until recently, Greg Girardin (guitars, vocals, and synthesizer) and drummer Matt Christensen took part in the band, but they were just replaced by Sab Charunas (drums) and Maz Ali (rhythm guitar). The Road released their first independent album - “Drift” - in 2006. Their second full length - “Monomyth” (also independent) was released in 2010 and still counts with participation of Christensen and Girardin (who also mixed and engineered the album). The new record is a conceptual album that tells the story of Virgil, a man trapped in a city under siege, who starts a journey in search for the real knowledge. Musically, The Road displays a wide range of influences that come from genres as diverse as Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Jazz, Fusion, Electronic, Metal and Hard-Rock. Some bands that come to mind are “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Radiohead”, “The Mars Volta”, “Devin Townsend”, and even “Santana”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “The Mars Volta”, and “The Black Crowes”. The music is mostly linear, without much variation, and shows a predominance of guitars, bass and drums, with emphasis on the rhythm. The trumpet gives some distinctiveness to The Road’s sound, appearing as a melodic solo instrument. For me, The Road would be more comfortable positioned inside the large pot of Alternative Rock bands, showing a gentle lean towards Eclectic Prog. “Monomyth” brings 15 tracks, from which 7 tracks -“Introduction” and “Interludes I to VI” - are only spoken sections performed by Greg Wilson, who narrates Virgil’s story. The remaining 8 tracks are songs of varied lengths and styles that make the real core of the album. “Onager“ begins with frantic guitars that recall “King Crimson” and ends with Mexican trumpets that brings “Zappa” to mind. On the following, and excellent “Between“, we realize that the rhythmic section is an important component of this band, giving fluidity, energy, and a modern “Alternative Rock” aura to the songs. Most responsible for that is bassist John Martin, who introduces himself as a versatile musician, being capable of keeping a groovy pulse along the entire record, going from Rock and Jazz to Funk and Progressive. On “The Price“, fast-plucked acoustic guitars support Greg Wilson‘s jazzy trumpet, an instrument that adds an emblematic mark to The Road’s music. Another great track is “Diminished“, on which The Road mixes funky bass with psychedelic guitars in a blend of “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, and “Red Hot Chili Peppers”. The initial groove mixed with a Latin swing on  “Charity“ makes me think of “Black Crowes”, “Santana” and “The Mars Volta”, but the song has an unexpected psychedelic guitar attack. The last tracks of the record gain in intensity and drama - “Inferno“ and “Second Chance“ combine the strangeness of “Zappa” and “King Crimson” with the heavy experimentalism of “Devin Townsend” and “The Mars Volta”, with addition of melancholic “Radiohead” guitars and vocals. “Monomyth” ends with “Mecca“, which includes long psychedelic guitar solos inserted into a tropical mood. Summing all up, “Monomyth” is a good album that contains interesting moments and ideas that should be farther explored in the future, mainly the use of trumpet. The Road will find its audience among fans of the Alternative Rock scene, and among young Progressive Rock fans that, besides “King Crimson” and “Zappa”, have a preference for alternative bands like “Radiohead”, “The Mars Volta”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Road are: Greg Wilson - Lead Vocals, Trumpet, Pocket Trumpet; Aaron Moulin - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals; John Martin – Bass Guitars (Fretless and Double), Acoustic Guitars; Greg Girardin – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Vocals, Synthesizer, Mixing, Engineering; Matt Christensen – Drums, Percussion. New members: Sab Charunas – Drums and Maz Ali – Guitar...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/13/2011..............,.....If you want know more about this great band and its members, visit THE ROAD HOME PAGE...
. HAN UIL - "Dark in Light"
Han Uil is a Dutch guitar player, singer and songwriter, born in 1976 in Groningen, Holland. By the nineties, he began to write and compose music. He participated in several Dutch Progressive Rock bands, having at the same time a parallel career as solo artist. His works include two 4-track acoustic albums released under the moniker Purple Shadow - “Fire Finishes This Day” (1997) and “Excalibur” (1998), and participation as guitarist on The Lounge’s eponymous album of 1999; and on The Frigus Project’s “Loomed Merriment” (2000). In 2000 he became front man of the Dutch Progressive band "Antares", participating on the album “Choking The Stone” (2001). In 2006, Uil released a solo album, “Alone”, which had participation of ex-members of "Antares" and included a cover-song of “Peter Hammill” (“Just Good Friends”). In that same year, Uil joined with three ex-members of Dutch Progressive act "Egdon Heath" to be the vocalist-lyricist in their new band called "Seven Day Hunt", resulting in the release of the album “File This Dream” (2008, Festival Records, UK). At the same time, Uil started to write songs for a new solo album. His effort materialized on “Dark in Night” (2010, self-produced). Besides Uil (vocals, guitars, programming and keyboards), the album counts with guest performances of members of "Seven Day Hunt": Aldo Adema (guitar), Eric Healing (sax), Jaap Mulder (keyboards), and Carola Magermans (backing vocals). The album was recorded, mixed, produced and mastered, by Han Uil at Bad Rabbit studios, except for Aldo’s Guitar (recorded at Paradise Studios) and Healing’s sax (recorded at Studio Online CD). As a guitarist, Han Uil shows versatility and sensibility. He incorporates elements of Rock, Blues Rock, Fusion, Progressive and Metal, creating a style of his own. His lyrics are interesting, mature and relevant. His songs are fluidal, and transit from Neo-Progressive to Fusion and to Heavy Prog, sometimes inserting a slight dose of Electronica, World Music, and Pop-Rock on the rhythmic section. As a singer, he follows an introspective-emotional style, with his voice sounding soft and sad, like “Peter Hammill”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Mark Knopfler” and “David Sylvian”. The sonority is influenced by diverse bands, like “Marillion”, “Pink Floyd”, “Mr. So & So”, “Eloy”, “Egdon Heath”, “Focus”, “Roxy Music”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “Helloïse”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Muse”, and “Dire Straits”. “Dark in Light” contains 11 tracks. Some of them got my preference: the intro “War of Thoughts“ is an instrumental symphonic piece bringing an astral guitar solo that reminds me of “Eloy” and “Egdon Heath”. The sad and bluesy mood of “A Song For the Soldier“ has the melancholic style of “Peter Hammill”, “David Sylvian”; and “Pink Floyd” on guitars, being also highlighted by Healing’s cool sax, and by Carola Magermans’ backing vocals. “I’ve Waited Too Long“ features guitars with a kind of “Jan Akkerman” accent. The title track “Dark In Light“ has a sophisticated rhythmic section reminiscent of “Roxy Music” fused to delicate Neo-Prog keyboards (by Jaap Mulder) and a “Floydian“ guitar solo. “Memento“ is a great Prog-Metal with participation of Aldo on guitar. The song features organs, heavy guitar riffs, and Arabian backing vocals – and a short electronic moment – in general resembling “Ayreon”, “Star One”, and “Helloïse”. I also liked the last two tracks: “The Great Descent“ (a frantic Heavy Prog with an Oriental touch); and “Love Can be Found“ – an almost entirely instrumental Symphonic Prog with predominance of Neo-Prog keyboards played by Uil himself. The remaining songs hit the listener more directly: “Aquila Island“ is a Heavy Prog with influences of “Muse”; “The Same Old Endless Story“ blends an electronic pop-rhythm with clean guitars, still having an accessible chorus; “Getting Up“ has a danceable beat blended with Prog guitar riffs, resembling “Asia”; and ”I Love You Still“ is a space-blues-ballad for voice and guitars. Han Uil‘s work has originality and variety, but to better exercise his musicianship, he should form his own supportive band (or at least give more room for his guests). A Fusion rhythmic section would be a great improvement. Han Uil is recommended for fans of Neo-Prog, Heavy Prog, and Fusion. Band members and collaborators involved with Han Uil are: Han Uil – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Banjo, Programming, and Keyboard on track 11; Carola Magermans – Backing Vocals (tracks 3,4,10); Eric Healing – Sax (track 4); Jaap Mulder – Keyboards (track 6) and Aldo Adema - Guitar (track 7)...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/27/2011....................................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out HAN UIL HOME PAGE...
. TENMIDNIGHT - "The City Of Angels"
TenMidnight is an Italian Progressive band based in Bologna. It was founded in 2003 by Roberto Bovini (drums, vocals) and Bob Ranzi (keyboards). Soon they were joined by Tiziano Bolzoni (bass), Ivan Bertuzzi (former guitarist), and Gabriele Carboni (flute, guitar). The band released 2 albums since then: “TenMidnight” (2005, self-produced) and “Run” (2008, Mellow Records). The band also appeared on the compilations “Dante’s Purgatorio” (Colossus-Musea Records), “Santana Tribute” and “Marillion Tribute” (both by Mellow Records). In 2008 new guitar player Matteo Giaculli joined TenMidnight to work on the band’s most ambitious project so far: a concept album based on the sci-fi book “Engine Summer” by John Crowley. The album, called “The City of Angels”, was recorded and mixed by Bovini at Music Box Studio (Bologna) during 2008 and 2009, and finally released in 2010 under Mellow Records. It has participation of former member Gabriele Carboni (flute); and guest musicians Silvia Manca (violin), and Carlo Perri (flute). TenMidnight makes a bridge uniting the British-American Progressive Rock and Hard Rock of the seventies (with influences of “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Uriah Heep”, “Deep Purple”, “Kansas”, “Mountain” and “Boston”), with the Italian Progressive Rock (influenced by bands that do not belong to the trinity “Premiata-Banco-Le Orme”, like “Dalton“, “Delirium“, “Eris Pluvia“, “Corte dei Miracoli“, “Nuova Idea”, “Biglietto per L’inferno”, “Odissea“, “Locanda Delle Fate“, “Quella Vecchia Locanda“ and “Cherry Five”). TenMidnight‘ sonority also approaches the Italian neo-progressive resurrection that began in early 90’s, resembling bands like “Nuova Era”, “Wicked Minds”, “Malibran”, “Calliope” and “Il Castello di Atlante”. Some songs are mostly oriented towards the Italian Progressive line, including keyboards that are also influenced by “Genesis” and “ELP”. Other songs are immersed in the atmosphere of the Hard Rock of the 70’s, having the sparkling energy of “Uriah Heep”, “Deep Purple”, and “Kansas”. The compositions are long, with many changes of pace, and let ample room for long guitar solos. The harmonies are arranged in thick layers of keyboards, on which vintage Minimoogs, Mellotrons, and Organs are the stars. The general mood is lively, pushed by pulsing swinging bass and rocky drums. Vocals that remind me of “Corte dei Miracoli“, and “Delirium” unite with cheerful backing vocals like “Kansas” and “Uriah Heep”, creating enchanting melodies. The music is performed with passion and feeling, as if the musicians were on stage, improvising and allowing the energy of the moment to flow freely. “The City of Angels” features 12 tracks, from which the opening and closing tracks (“Waking Up” and “Rewind”) are instrumental movements marked by the execution of the main theme on a Theremin. Between them, the other songs remain all chained to each other, telling the story. The first link of the chain is “Early Memory“. Surpassing 11 minutes, this amazing composition bombards the listener with the best in Italian Progressive Rock style. The beginning is gentle, evoking “Eris Pluvia”, and the initial flute played by Carboni is at first reminiscent of “Delirium”, gaining in furor just afterwards to sound like “Dalton”. The song descends is speed to a progressive cadence on which the beautiful main theme is sung with emotion and romanticism, alternating with the epic choruses. The following two songs speed up, having a tendency to the Hard Rock. “Running in the Wind“ resembles a blend of “Corte dei Miracoli”, “Biglietto”, “Nuova Era”, and “Uriah Heep”; while “Over the Horizon“ rolls with a catchy Rocky beat, being ornamented with guitars and keyboards in the verve of “Deep Purple” and “Uriah Heep”, still having a surprising section with Mellotrons at the end. Track five is “Life Valley“ – a lively song with cheerful chorus and violins influenced by “Kansas”. Following it come two tracks that I consider (together with “Early Memory”), the best of this record: “The Bread Tree“ (which is enveloped in a dark atmosphere, but has guitar riffs that remind me of “Mountain”); and the title track “The City of Angels“ – which begins with a cool beat, but later turns out to an elegant and soulful Blues. The short “Syntax Error“ (a musical experiment with the Vocoder) introduces another excellent track  - “Cats“ - an instrumental whirlwind piece with abundant keyboards like “Genesis” and “ELP”. From “Cats”, the music returns to the Italian Prog on the pair “Memories“/“Revelation“, both with arrangements that recall me of “Eris Pluvia”, “Delirium”, and “Il Castello di Atlante”. “Memories” has flutes like “Dalton”, and the romantic “Revelation” brings a classic piano reminiscent of “Locanda Delle Fate”. TenMidnight’s “The City of Angels” is an excellent work that will positively hit the listener after the first spin, being highly recommended for fans of the Italian Prog Rock and Hard Rock of the seventies. Band members and collaborators involved in TenMidnight are: Robby Bovini – Lead Vocals, Drums, Additional Synths; Matteo Giaculli – Guitars; Tiziano “Titti” Bolzoni – Bass; Bob Ranzi – Keyboards, Samplers, Vocoder. Guest musicians: Gabriele Carboni – Flute on “Early Memory”; Silvia Manca – Violin on “Life Valley”; Carlo Perri – Flute on “Memories” and Fabio Zara – Words Creator...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/27/2011.................................For more details and in the meantime please check out TENMIDNIGHT HOME PAGE...
. IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE - "Same"
Il Tempio Delle Clessidre was born in 2006 in Genoa, Italy, after the meeting of Elisa Montaldo with Stefano “Lupo” Galifi (“Museo Rosenbach’s” singer). Their initial idea was to perform “Museo Rosenbach’s” famous album “Zarathustra” (1973) on stage, a goal achieved in February 2007 in a historical show that had participation of legendary band “Delirium”. The line-up stabilized then with Elisa Montaldo (keyboards), Galifi (vocals), Fabio Gremo (bass), Giulio Canepa (guitars) and Paolo Tixi (drums). By that time, the musicians were already dedicating their efforts towards the composition of original songs. The new material was recorded for an eponymous album, which was finally released in 2010 by Black Widow Records. Il Tempio creates powerful and impressive music, evocative of the antiquity. Melodies are epic and opulent, passionately and vigorously performed. The arrangements are complex, and the virtuosity of the musicians match up those of the best groups of the Italian Prog scene, like “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Le Orme”, “Delirium”, and “Museo Rosenbach”. Some parts evoke early works of great Prog icons like “King Crimson”, “Genesis” and “ELP”. Vintage keyboards and gritty organs plunge the compositions into a dark atmosphere, taking them to the gothic profoundness reached by bands like “Runaway Totem”, “Standarte”, “Metamorfosi”, and “Devil Doll”. Guitars are sometimes clean and subtle (with a “Canterbury” timbre), but are sometimes transmuted into thunderous heavy riffs. Bass and drums go from Prog-Rock to Jazz, being well-integrated with other instruments. Galifi’s vocals are still catchy and potent, recalling his old performances on “Museo Rosenbach”. Lyrics mirror the emotional and contradictory aspects of the human mind, or are inspired by the fantastic legends of Italian Folklore. “Il Tempio delle Clessidre” features 9 tracks plus one bonus. The opening movement is “Verso L’Alba“ – a short instrumental track as dense as led that begins with somber organs and solemn bass, and ends with sharp-cutting synthesizers. “Insolita Parte di Me“ - the first song – begins with the triad guitar-bass-drums sounding like “Museo Rosenbach”, dropping later to a slow cadence for Galifi’s voice to enter, and finishing with varied keyboards like “Il Balletto di Bronzo” and “Banco”. “Locanda” and “Banco” are the influences on “Boccadasse“, richly adorned with delicate keyboards and guitars. The album enters into a mysterious atmosphere, almost confessional, on the two songs “Le due Metà di uma Notte“ and “La Stanza Nascosta“. Inspired in the deepest feeling of the inner self, these songs are arranged as Classical Chamber music for piano. Galifi‘s melodic vocals on “Le due Metà…“ are among the best of the record, confirming that he deserves his place among the great Italian singers. By the end, the song escapes from its Classical rigidity in a superb Progressive way, with an eruptive threefold attack of bass, guitar and keyboards that merge with the initial piano of “La Stanz“ – this one being a sorrowful song immersed in nocturnal atmosphere. The cello (courtesy of Antonio Fantinudi) reinforces its introspective quality. Contrasting with the previous two, the “earthquake” tracks “Danza Esoterica di Datura“ and “Faldistorum“ are almost entirely instrumental pieces containing heavy “Crimsonian” structure. “Danza Esoterica…“ blends ghostly whispers with a fantastic “Saint-Saëns” atmosphere on Classical piano and bass, and a double attack of guitars and keyboards, from which a women’s choir arise as a breeze amidst the storm. “Faldistorum“ (my favorite) begins with a paranoid “Zeuhl” rhythm that gives place to Mellotrons forged in the Roman antiquity. A portentous theme resounds in both organ and guitar, while guest Max Manfredi passionately declaims a legendary poem with his remarkable voice. The main theme rises to epic levels, exploding into a clash of Gothic-Baroque cathedral organs, and then slashed by a great line of bass. After this breath-taking marvels, the raging “L’Attesa“ brings a tempest of keyboards in the verve of “ELP”, “Banco”, “Balletto”, and “Le Orme” – the perfect song for Galifi to set free his powerful voice, singing with the same aggressiveness of “Museo Rosenbach’s” belle-epoch. The last track before the bonus is “Il Centro Sottile“. Surpassing 10 minutes, this awesome track begins with subtle classical pianos, incongruent bass, and superb vocals. An extended instrumental section brings vintage keyboards and soaring progressive guitars, speeding up to a majestic chorus and synthesizer solo. After an abrupt stop, the song descends to piano and voice, to gain strength towards the end with the subsequent addition of blowing guitars, bass and drums. To recover from this cathartic album, take a drop of “Antidoto Mentale“ (bonus track) – a light song painted with the bright colors of “Banco”, “Locanda”, and “Camel”. Like a band and album, “Il Tempio delle Clessidre“ is really an awesome brilliant work, being indispensable for any Prog fan, and a must-have item for lovers of Italian-Prog. Band members and collaborators involved in Il Tempio Delle Clessidre are: Stefano “Lupo” Galifi - Vocals, Elisa Montaldo - Piano, Organ, Concertina, Voice, Fabio Gremo - Bass, Giulio Canepa - Guitars and Paolo Tixi - Drums. Guest musicians: Max Manfredi – Voice on “Faldistorum” and Antonio Fantinudi – Cello on “La Stanza Nascosta”...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/27/2011................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE HOME PAGE...
. OLE LUKKøYE - "Petroglyphs"
Ole Lukkoye is a musical project based in St. Petersburg, Russia. It developed around Boris Bardash (music, lyrics, programming, keyboards, voice, guitars, percussion), in close collaboration with Frol (bassoon, percussion, jaleika, samples, dramatic voice), Vladimir Konovalov (electro contra-bass, double bass, backing vocals), Yuri Lukiyanchik (percussion, drums, jembe, darrabuk, tom-toms, vocal), and Andrey Lavrinenko (bass, djembe, percussion); also having participation of many guest musicians (see below). Ole Lukkøye was born officially with the release of their debut album “Zapara” (1993). Since 1994, the band has been touring around Europe, gathering many fans on their way. Their extensive discography includes both studio and live albums. The highlights go for the album “The Crystal Crow-Bar” (2000, Klangbad), recorded and produced by Johen Irmler (of German group “Faust”); and for the DVD “Fairy Tales” (2010, Trail Records) - a collection of live performances from 1990 to 2001, with cooperation of visual artist Sergey Kuznetsov. The most recent release of Ole Lukkøye is “Petroglyphs” (2010, Trail Records), an album that celebrates the band’s 20-year anniversary, containing their best hits plus some exclusive tracks. To improve sound quality, the record was mastered and edited by George Dugan at I-Height Studio, New York (2009), and then released in a collectible digipack edition, produced and designed by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky. Boris Bardash is an experienced musician whose interests involve Philosophy, Ethnography, and Archaeology. His main influences come from Psychedelic Music, Trip-Hop, Electronica, Ambient, Ethnical music (Turkish, Middle-Eastern, Far-Eastern, Polynesian, Afro-American), Jazz, Progressive and Krautrock. Difficult to categorize, the music of Ole Lukkøye has been tagged “folklore from nowhere”. The sonority is like a diversified blend of “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Japan”, “Massive Attack”, “Portishead”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Radiohead”, “Ash Ra Tempel“, “Popol Vuh”, “Faust”, “Björk“, and “Irfan”. The music is based on a double-layered rhythmic session that combines electronic beats and loops with traditional ethnic instruments collected from all over the world. Both layers are held in place by an amazing pulsing bass. Over this electro-acoustic rhythmic section, a multitude of musicians play contemporary and traditional instruments, producing dreamy and introspective melodies that alternate with somber male vocals of ritualistic accent, or with female vocals reminiscent of distant exotic cultures. The music is both pan-geographical and trans-temporal, evoking images of ample landscapes, dried deserts, and far horizons reaching distant Nepalese mountains under a starlet sky. At the same time frantic and relaxing, the music of Ole Lukkøye has the transcendental quality of transporting one from the modern cities of the 21st century back to the primeval roots of human civilization, lost in pre-historical ages and in forgotten immaculate lands. “Petroglyphs” features 10 tracks that make a good résumé of Ole Lukkøye’s powerful and mesmerizing music. My favorites are those songs that show their most tribal-folkloric side: the opening “Zapara“ (a mysterious Turkish-Arabian song with pulsing bass and dark vocals that have the age of the Earth, reminiscent of “Dead Can Dance” and “Irfan”); “Ankara Karachi“ (with a rhythm evocative of a caravan crossing the desert); and also those influenced by Krautrock - like “Melting“ (with an astounding effect caused by hypnotic keys, psychedelic bass, and windy vocals) and “White Stone“ (an Indian ritualistic ceremony) – which will make happy the fans of “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Popol Vuh”, and “Faust”. I also liked “Children“ (with lively Afro-Brazilian drums and innocent vocals) and “Sleepy Herbs“ (with bamboo-sounds reminiscent of some monsoon-bathed undiscovered land). For those more apt for a dance, the songs with a predominance of samplers, Electronic, and Trip-hop are “Became a Sky“ and the long “Zagoralos“ (12:24), an experimental blend of “Eno” with savage electro-acoustic dancing beats and oriental female chanting. The last two tracks represent the apex of the Electronic trend of Ole Lukkøye: “Horse-Tiger“ (unreleased 2002 version) is a Funk-psychedelic track with Nepalese trumpets and Shamanic vocals; while “Free-Warriors“ is a hectic track with abusive use of samplers and strange vocals. The unique blend of modern-ancient music presented by Ole Lukkoye will certainly impact a large audience. Some will regard it as excellent rhythmic music for dancing; others, as a way of ascend toward a higher spiritual level. Ole Lukkøye is highly recommended for lovers of Electronic and Ethnical Music, Trip-hop, and Electronic-oriented Progressive Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Ole Lukkøye are: Boris Bardash – Keyboards, Voice, Guitars, Percussion, Music, Lyrics, Buben, Programming, Samples; Frol – Bassoon, Snake Flute, Cow Horn, Trumpet, Ocarina, Jaleika, Percussion, Samples, Dramatic Voice; Andrey Lavrinenko – Bass Guitar, Djembe, Percussion; Vladimir Konovalov – Electric Double Bass, Backing Vocal (tr. 8, 10); Yuri Lukyanchik – Percussion, Drums, Jembe, Darrabuk, Tom-toms (tr. 10). Guests Musicians: Tatyana SWA Kalmykova – Vocal; Georgy Starikov - Electric & Acoustic Guitars (tr. 1, 2); Peter Akimov – Cello (tr. 1, 2); Oleg Shar - Big Djembe, Darabouka, Congas, Vibraslap, Percussion (tr. 3); Igor Kaim – Banjo (tr. 3); Ekaterina Sidorova “Cat” – Percussion (tr. 1)...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/16/2011...............................Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit OLE LUKKOYE HOME PAGE...
. PROGRESSION BY FAILURE - "Same"
Progression By Failure is a one-man instrumental project created by French musician Nicolas Piveteau (keyboards, guitars, drums). This young musician was born in 1981, but his talent and skill are comparable to those of a veteran performer. Piveteau loves Progressive Rock, having a preference for the most modern lines of Symphonic Neo-Prog, Prog-Fusion and Prog-Metal. His influences come from bands and musicians as diverse as “Keith Jarret”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “Jon Lord”, “Spock's Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “Dream Theater”, “Pain Of Salvation”, “Ayreon”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Therion”, “The Gathering”, “Blink Nebula”, and “Radiohead”. His music, however, does not sound like the “vintage” or “Classical British Prog” of “Keith Emerson”, “Rick Wakeman”, or “Tony Banks”, making use instead of the contemporary timbres employed by keyboardists like “Derek Sherinian”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Ryo Okumoto”, “Neal Morse”, “Erik Norlander”, “Tomas Bodin”, and “Michael Pinnella”. His arrangements may be as symphonic as “Mike Oldfield” or “Jean Michel Jarre”; and his piano, jazzy like “Keith Jarret”. His anger may flow over the keyboards with the same aggressiveness of “Derek Sherinian” and “Michael Pinnella”; or he can be as surprising as “Jordan Rudess”. But he can also be subtle and sophisticated, like “Ryo Okumoto” and “Tomas Bodin”, or epic like “Neal Morse” and “Erik Norlander”. Furthermore, although being a keyboard expert, Piveteau also takes care of bass and drums, providing his music either with a sophisticated Prog-Fusion rhythmic base, or with a blasting Prog-Metal structure, on which speed and heaviness get close to “Planet X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, and “Dream Theater”. “Progressive by Failure” (2009, Musea Parallele) was mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima (Tower Studios), resulting in excellent record quality. The CD has seven tracks. “Intro“/“Dialog With a Selfish“ (00:27/07:27) are Prog-Metal pieces that open the album with paranoid riffs and high levels of testosterone on keyboards, typical of “Derek Sherinian”, “Planet X” and “Dream Theater”. The following “Memories From The Future“ (10:17) calms down a little, but features vibrant Prog-Fusion keys like “Jordan Rudess”, and superb saxophone-textured synths. This composition also has Symphonic influences of past bands like “Camel” and “ELP”; but a Latin rhythmic session gives an extra modern flavor to the track. The following “The Solitude of a Winter“ (07:56) puts the piano in evidence, sounding like a cool and sophisticated modern Jazz (like “Keith Jarret”), also with a classical arrangements like “Rick Wakeman” and “Erik Norlander”. Although a little sad, this composition is one of the most beautiful of the record. It contrasts with “Desperate Anger“ (12:24), which returns to the Prog-Metal of “Dream Theater” and “Sherinian”, but this time enveloped in a Gothic darkness that comes from “Opeth” or “Meshuggah” (but not exaggerated, so that nobody needs to be alarmed). “Talion“ (06:59) was composed in honor of the Symphonic Metal band “Therion”. In fact, the bombastic intro and symphonic frame recall me of their song “Via Nocturna”. Although the background chorus approaches the Gothic style rather than the operatic style of “Therion”, the epic airs of “Talion” make this piece one of the highlights of the album. To close this great album with perfection, there is nothing better than a symphonic-length composition. “Progression by Failure“ (22:44) is such a composition. Divided in three parts (“The Way“, “The Fall“, “The Hope“), this amazing piece begins with minimalist pianos giving birth to subtle synthesizer tunes that dominate its first third. The second third is marked by a martial bass-drumming and an uprising Progressive theme that grows inside an Aeolian chorus – an abrupt cut for a heart-machine beat increases the tension, initiating a long musical progression that sounds like a blend of “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Genesis”, “Rudess” and “Norlander”. The last third drops to a wintry piano, while soaring tunes rise towards a dreamy final. “Progression by Failure” is really a fantastic debut – bombastic, surprising, awesome – being an indispensable item for any lover of keyboard-oriented Progressive Music. Ultra-highly recommended! Single band member involved in Progression by Failure is: Nicolas “Nicordan” Piveteau – Keyboards, Guitars, Drums...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/16/2011..........Interested to know more about the musical project? Visit PROGRESSION BY FAILURE HOME PAGE...
. ANTONIUS REX - "Per Viam"
The Italian cult band Antonius Rex was created in 1973 by Antonio Bartoccetti (guitars, vocals) and Doris Norton (keyboards, vocals) after the break-up of mother-band "Jacula" (1968-1972). With "Jacula", Bartoccetti intended to transport to music his theological and philosophical observations, following the ideas of the mystic Franz Parthenzy. The music had a unique esoteric style, based on occultism. "Jacula" released three records: “In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum” (1969), “Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus” (1972); and a posthumous “Pre Viam”. With Antonius Rex, Bartoccetti wanted a new concept, so he contacted percussionist Albert Goodman – a wealth occultist, owner of Darkness Records – with whom he recorded a first album “Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex” (1974). Although Goodman tried to release the album via Vertigo Label, the producers disliked the song “Devil Letter” and the diabolical front cover image. So “Neque Semper…” was not released, surviving as limited demo-copies. Afterwards, band integrants lost interest in record new music, but for economic reasons, eventually released the albums “Zora” (1977); “Anno Demoni” (1979); “Ralefun” (1979); and “Praeternatural” (1980). A long hiatus followed, during which the LP’s became collectible items, being sporadically released on CD by diverse record companies. But the airs of the new millennium seem to have sparkled in Antonius Rex the old will for making music. The band resurrect with new strength in a series of releases: “Magic Ritual” (2005); “Switch on Dark” (2006); and “Per Viam” (2009, Black Widow). “Per Viam” contains 7 tracks, plus an extra video-track of song “Micro Demons”. The line-up consists of Antonio Bartoccetti (guitars, vocals), Doris Norton (keyboards, digital drums, vocals); Florian Gorman (acoustic drums); and guest musician Rexanthony (synthesizers). “Per Viam” brillantly recovers the unique musical style that Antonius Rex had been developing since "Jacula" – now reaching its climax as a Dark-Progressive, Mystic-Esoteric new sound. The combination of heavy guitars, digital drumming, and synthesizers envelops the compositions in a modern sonority that updates the music of Antonius Rex to the 21st century without loosing its essence. The openning track “Micro Demons” begins with frightening screams juxtaposed to heavy guitars and loud hammered drums, combined with gothic church organs. Like a sword of light descending from the sky, a Gregorian chant suddenly cuts darkness into pieces. The listener is pushed into a dimension of horror, becoming imprisoned amidst a battle of Good against Evil. The title track “Per Viam” follows, beginning with the slow pace of a funeral, ruffled drums, chilling-death piano, and echoing guitars. This piece gets faster, as symphonic string arrangements gradually increase the tension. A somber voice and a ghostly choir are heard, an abrupt cut opens room for a guitar solo, reaching a climax with sharp-edged synthesizers. The energy of “Per Viam” contrasts with the calm of “Woman of the King”, which is introduced by soft medieval strings and soaring vocals. The apparent tranquility is disturbed by realistic sound effects, as Antonio’s dramatically tells the story of a cruel murder. The song becomes a Celtic dance that slowly grows with guitars, drums, and beautiful progressive keyboards. “Spectra” brings the cold atmosphere of a dungeon hidden inside the darkness of an old castle. A woman’s wicked laughter is heard. The composition is at first marked by hammered piano and tribal drums, and sounds of chains and galloping horses evoke visions of nightmares. The best part brings malevolent guitar riffs with the sonority of the seventies that culminate in a killer guitar solo. “Angels & Demons” is marked by a sobbing angel-child and a Kyrie Eleison theme (also used on 1980 track “Monastery”). This fascinating piece combines epic-guitars, digital beats and angelical gothic choirs to achieve a perfect balance between ancient and modern. The music is baroquely ornamented with organs and clean guitars that sound slightly “Floydian”. “UFDEM” enters with “Black-Sabbath”-like guitars, groovy rhythm, and amazing female vocals. One of the best songs of Antonius Rex, it was originally recorded in 1972 by "Jacula", and also appeared on album “Zora” (with the name “Morte al Potere”), being now presented in its 2009-37th Anniversary version. It conserves the extraordinary female vocals and the seventy-styled guitar sonority of the original version, but the stronger beat sustained by modern synthesizers pushes it to a modern Industrial Metal. The closing track is “Antonius Rex Prophecy”, a long piece that begins with icy pianos and features a long speech presaging the dark future of mankind. The song rises in the middle with echoing guitars, organs, and phantom-like vocals, ending in a Psychedelic reverie crowned by spiky solos. Definitely, there is an occult magic in the music of “Per Viam” - the more you listen to it, the more you like it. The band is preparing a new album – “H.D.”, for 2011, that I am already eager to listen. The new phase of Antonius Rex is highly recommended for fans of Dark Progressive, Gothic Rock and Gothic Metal. Band members and collaborators involved with Antonius Rex are: Antonio Bartoccetti – Vocal, Guitars; Doris Norton – Keyboards, Vocals, Digital Drums, Computer, arranging and mixing; Florian Gorman – Acoustic Drums; Monica Tasnad – Medium. Guest Musician: Rexanthony – Synthesizer in “Per Viam”, “UFDEM” and “Antonius Rex Prophecy”...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/16/2011.........Want to learn more about the musician and his fantastic history, go to ANTONIUS REX HOME PAGE...
. FINN ARILD - "Testament"
Finn Arild Aasheim is a musician, songwriter and musical producer that lives in Oslo, Norway. He was born in Takapuna, New Zealand, but soon after, his family moved to Norway. There he grew up listening to Classic Music and to Progressive music of the 70’s. At the age of six, he began to take classical guitar lessons, and by the same time, he figured out how to play the organ that stayed in his parent’s house. At age of 12 he was already writing music, and soon he was playing in local bands. That was when he met his long-time friend and musical partner, the keyboardist Reidar Wiik. At first they wrote music, and recorded it with cassette players. In the following years, their experience with recording, overdubbing, and musical production in studios improved. When their life went in different directions, Finn Arild decided to release his material on a solo album, titled “Serendipity” (2005). As Arild achieved a relative success with his debut, he decided to go on. “Testament” (2010, Finn Arild Music) is his second release. The album was produced, recorded and mixed by Finn Arild at a home studio, except for vocal tracks (recorded at Quilles Studio) and drums recorded at Mikael Wikman’s drumstudio. It was mastered by Tom Kvålsvoll at Strype Audio. The album has participation of Finn Arild (guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals); Mikael Wikman (drums); Reidar Wiik (piano); Elin Aasheim (vocals); and guest Mike Acar (radio voice on the track “Nemesis”). As a musician, Finn Arild is influenced by many genres and styles, including Classical, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Rock and Progressive Rock. On the new album “Testament”, Arild intended to make a conceptual work, investing deeper in Progressive Rock. His musical influences come from bands like “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Marillion”, “Transatlantic”, “The Flower Kings”, and the solo work of both “Peter Gabriel” and “Steve Hackett”. The lyrics are about the origins of the Universe and Life, and the hazardous consequences caused by human activity to the world – everything treated under a satirical point of view. Arild’s music is melodic, soft, and catchy, bearing much resemblance with “Genesis” and “Peter Gabriel”. His voice sounds like “Gabriel”, and his guitars – both acoustic and electric – sound like pure “Hackett”. Keyboards feature the same textures and arrangements of “Tony Banks”, and even the classic and jazzy piano melodies performed by Wiik are very similar to “Banks”. This “Genesis” emulation is quite clear on the 12 tracks featured on “Testament”. The opening song “Genesis” is not called that by chance. During more than 16 minutes, this amazing Progressive piece is full of guitars, solos, delicate textures and soft keyboards that will make the joy of any fan of “Genesis”, (especially of the initial phase with “Phil Collins” on vocals). The counterpart of this intro is the closing track “Nemesis“ (8:00 minutes). Although the beginning sounds like “Renaissance” (because of the female vocals of Elin Aasheim), and the middle turns into a Pop-Rock, the final section is predominantly instrumental, being very reminiscent of “Genesis’” albums “A Trick of the Tail” and “Wind and Wuthering”. Sandwiched between those two long Progressive pieces, there are 8 tracks that may be split in three groups. The first group includes the beautiful instrumental tracks “Water“ and “Liasons“, which are both arranged in the style of “Steve Hackett”. The first features classical acoustic guitars garnished by romantic symphonic keyboards; the other is a soulful electric guitar solo. The second group of songs is made of bittersweet ballads which are adorned with delicate acoustic guitars, pianos and keyboards. If you like “Genesis” ballads (e.g. “For Absent Friends“, “Time Table”, “I Know What I Like”, “More Fool Me” “Entangled”, “Ripples”, “Your Own Special Way”, and “Afterglow”), it is quite probable the you will also love “Inside“, “Excess“, and “Carnival“ (in spite of its name, it is a sad song). The third group of songs includes “All Right“, “Alive“, and “Ride“. These are all Pop-Rock songs that make use of electronic beats, reflecting Arild’s preference for the most commercial phase of “Genesis” (from album “Abacab” on); or for “Gabriel’s” solo work. Completing the album, there are two tracks that escape from the “Genesis” format: “Intermission“ (a “Bossa Nova”); and “Robin“ (that sounds like “Cat Stevens”). Finn Arild is really a talented musician, and if you are a huge fan of “Genesis” and derivatives, you should check his new album “Testament”. Band members and collaborators involved with Finn Arild are: Finn Arild – Acoustic, Classical and Electric Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Production; Mikael Wikman – Drums; Reidar Wiik – Piano; Elin Aasheim – Vocals; Mike Acar – Radio Voice on “Nemesis”...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/16/2011...........Want to learn everything about the musician and about his music, go to FINN ARILD HOME PAGE...
. IL GIARDINO ONIRICO - "Complesso K"
Il Giardino Onirico is a new Progressive group from Italy (Civita Castellana, Viterbo). The band was formed in 2008 by Emanuele Telli (keyboards), Stefano Avigliana (guitars), Ettore Mazzarini (bass), and Massimo Moscatelli (drums). Their aim was to extrude from their core the volcanic music that was dormant inside them. Their first composition – a long suite named “Complesso K” - was performed alive in September 2009, winning the first place at the “Salefino Rock” contest for emerging bands. Shortly afterwards, Dario Hakim (ambient and sound FX effects) joined the band. The musical background of band members is wide: Emanuele likes Prog-Rock, Electronic, Experimental, Classical, Avant-garde and Dark; Stefano likes Prog-Metal, Rock, Jazz and Fusion; Ettore likes Jazz and Prog-rock; Massimo loves Rock and Metal, and movie soundtracks; Dario is an enthusiast of Prog-rock, Metal, Funk, Electronic and Synth-Pop. Their favorite bands are “King Crimson”, “ELP”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “New Trolls”, “PFM”, “Area”, “Trip”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Metamorfosi”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Dream Theater”, “Ozric Tentacles”, and “Danny Elfman”. The sum of their musical preferences results in a peculiar sonority that can be tagged as “Experimental-Psychedelic-Space-Doom-Progressive-Metal”. The music is 100% instrumental, alternating vigorous Prog-Metal parts with Psychedelic-Ambient parts. The guitar riffs are paranoid, sometimes like in Doom-Metal, but solos are Progressive-Psychedelic. Bass and drums are metallic-solid; but the bass may grow up to reach truly Progressive evolutions, occupying an important position in the band. Keyboards go from cosmic-psychedelic to epic-symphonic, with nightmarish arrangements common in Heavy Prog. In spite of its influences, Il Giardino Onirico sounds to me like a mix of “King Crimson”, “Hawkwind”, “Jupiter Society”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Dream Theater”, “Ayreon”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Explores Club”, “Abstrakt Algebra”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, and “Psychotic Waltz”. Their debut EP, “Complesso K” (2010), features five tracks: one “Intro” and their suite “Complesso K”, divided in “Parts I to IV” (total time of 41:30 minutes). “Intro” is based on space keyboards and a grave voice that speaks, preparing the listener to enter a dreamscape dimension (reminding me of “Ayreon” and “Il Castello di Atlante”). “Complesso K” follows, with Parts I to IV being chained to each other. “Part I” (10:00) continues with the keyboards of “Intro”, which are suddenly hit by the impact of Prog-Metal guitars like “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Explorers Club”. One riff in particular marks this part, being inserted in symphonic arrangements that give an epic air to the piece. The amazing guitar solo at the end is space-melodic, slightly like on “Pink Floyd” and “Ayreon”. On “Part II” (8:00), the keyboards take the central position, pouring different sound textures over the listener – from crystalline pianos to sharp moog sounds and killer solos – which are intercalated with great Space-Doom guitar riffs and metallic solos, recalling me of “Abstract Algebra”, “Jupiter Society”, and “Ozric Tentacles”. “Part III” (11:00) begins with echoing sounds on a granite cave, that are amplified to Heavy Metal riffs that have a schizophrenic sonority like “Porcupine Tree”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Dream Theater” and “Sherinian” - the song slows down, being then dominated by solar-whirlwind keyboards and a driving psychedelic bass, taking us to the realms of “Hawkwind”, “Crimson”, and early “Floyd”. Towards the final, the paranoid atmosphere briefly returns to the riffs, ending with a drone section that recalls me of Experimental Metal band “Sunn O)))”. The grave voice of “Intro” is heard again, making a bridge to “Part IV” (6:30). This ghostly begins with “Exorcist-movie” piano, melancholic bass and drums, and long chords on guitar. A sensational riff enters, being followed by epic keyboards, floating bass, and jazz-rock drums that amazingly close this grand suite. With “Complesso K”, Il Giardino Onirico shows an impressive musical potential that will grow even more in the near future. I do not know if adding a lead vocalist would be an improvement, but this is only a suggestion. Il Giardino Onirico is highly recommended for fans of Prog Rock, Heavy Prog and Prog-Metal, and fans of “King Crimson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Dream Theater”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, and so on…   Band members and collaborators involved in Il Giardino Onirico are: Emanuele Telli – Keyboards; Stefano Avigliana – Guitar; Ettore Mazzarini – Bass; Massimo Moscatelli – Drums and Percussion and Dario Hakim - Sound FX and Virtual Synthesizer...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/16/2011.....................For more details and in the meantime please check out IL GIARDINO ONIRICO HOME PAGE...
. ÜBERFALL - "Treasures"
Überfall – the earliest project of Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss - is back to this webzine once more (see under Reviews 2010). Überfall was formed in 1984 when Markus Stauss (saxophones and extras) joined forces with two ex-members of new wave quintet “Übershall”: Pit Kayser (keyboards, vocals) and Andi Muckenhirn (drums, percussion). Their usual guest musicians were Jean Chaine (electric bass), Caroline Fahrni (violin), Andre Müller (baritone sax); and later, Alex Shaub (electric bass). Überfall released four LPs: “... In alle Ewigkeit” (1986),  “Neuschnee” (1987), “Nr. 3” (1989) and “Next to Silence” (1991), only available on vinyl by Fazzul Music. The compilation “So Uferlos im Abendwind” (1994, Music is Intelligence) was Überfall’s only release on CD. “Treasures” (2010, Fazzul Music) is another compilation that features an important part of the musical repertoire of this interesting band. Introduced as “An anthology of happy little dancing tunes [that] offers dramatic sarcasm, frightful facts and resistance against standardization“, “Treasures” covers Überfall’s complete lifetime (1984-1991), taking a good picture of the band’s potential, evolution, and ultimate musical quality. “Treasures” brings 14 tracks. Except for “So Froh“ and “Kulturbetrieb“ (both released on “So Uferlos im Abendwind”), all other tracks are being released on CD for the first time. The tracks are organized in two sets. The first set comprises six songs (always sung in German) plus a short instrumental piece (the symphonic “…in alle Ewigkeit”). The songs display the most liberal and questioning facet of Rock, radiating lively rhythms and instant energy. The lyrics contain large doses of irony and sarcasm, and are sung with a tone of mockery. In this set, Überfall‘s music resembles many bands of the R.I.O.- Avant-garde line (“Zappa”, “Gong”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Oho”, “Henry Cow”, and “Etron Fou Leloublan”). The opening song “Überfall“ has still something of their New Wave days of “Überschall”, but the saxophone of Stauss adds a touch of uniqueness to the sound. The same happens on “Total“ (even though having a “Zappa” lean) and “So Froh“. A pair of songs (“Strahlen“ and “Kulturbetrieb“) appeal to a darker atmosphere, having robotic vocals, screams, minimalist drum beats and dissonances that opens a doorway from the “Zappa” universe towards the gloomy worlds of “Univers Zéro”, and “Art Zoyd”. On many of those songs Stauss puts himself as the center of the trio, dragging the listener’s attention to his original and inventive sax-playing style – abundant in strange melodies, dissonances and experimentalisms. But in the longest track “Kuckuck“, it is Kayser that stays in the center, exploring with his keyboards the domains of Electronic Progressive (like “Eno” and “Tangerine Dream”), creating birds chirpings and ambient sounds in the background, and balancing the influence exerted by Stauss. Differently from the first set, the second set of tracks (from 8 to 14) comprises seven instrumental pieces that show a great increment in structure, sound and sonority. This modification occurs thanks to the marking presence of Alex Schaub on the electric bass, what turns the Überfall trio into a quartet. Schaub’s bass is jazzy, groovy, inconsequent, and heavy, and engages into great battles against the saxophones of Stauss – who, by his turn, is slightly displaced from his central position. The music which is now offered to the listener showcases a matured band, composed of musicians that act and perform in full integration with each other. A great improvement is shown by Muckenhirn – now contributing with massive Jazz-Rock drumming. Meanwhile, Stauss and Kayser fill the empty spaces with solos, adornments, and complex arrangements. The sonority is now a blend of Modern Jazz, Jazz-Rock, R.I.O., Eclectic Prog, Prog-Fusion, and Contemporaneous Music. From the clashing bass and drums and heavy keyboard-attack of “Pit’s Tune“ and “Überraschungsfrisur“, to the long and transmuting ”Überall“, and “November“, the inspiring influences of “Zappa”, “Univers Zéro”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “National Health”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Colosseum”, “Kraan”, and “Mahavishnu Orchestra” may be heard everywhere. “Irgendwo“ evokes images of a spy chasing the other in the darkness, resembling ”Art Zoyd”, but its Elephantine sax brings “Crimson” to mind. The amazing tracks “Wie Einst im Mai“ and “Endzeit“ (with a soulful sax solo) will please fans of modern Jazz-Rock and Fusion. A well-organized compilation, “Treasures” certainly brings the best of this extraordinary Überfall band, being highly recommended for fans of “Zappa”, “Gong”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Univers Zéro”, “Kraan”, “Colosseum”, “National Health”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “The Wrong Object”, “French TV”, “Miriodor”, and other bands of the R.I.O./ Jazz Rock/ Avant-garde circle.  Band members and collaborators involved in Überfall are: Markus Stauss – Saxes, additional Keyboards, Flutes, Programming, Vocals; Pit Kayser – Keyboards, Vocals; Andi Muckenhirn – Drums, Percussion. Guest musicians: Alex Shaub - Electric Bass (tracks 8-14); Jean Chaine – Bass (on “Uberfall” and “So Froh”); Caroline Fahrni – Violin (on “So Froh”) and Andre Müller - Baritone Sax (on “So Froh”)...      (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/30/2011....................................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: ÜBERFALL HOME PAGE...
. ANTONIUS REX - "Ralefun"
“Ralefun” is the fourth album of intriguing Italian cult-band Antonius Rex (see comments on other albums under Reviews 2011). It was originally released in 1979, with the line-up consisting of Antonio Bartoccetti (vocals, guitars), Doris Norton (keyboards, mini-moog, piano), Jean Luc Jabouille (drums), and guest musician Hugo Heredia (flute). The present edition is a 32nd Anniversary special reissue, released in 2011 by Black Widow Records. The CD comes in a tree-fold digipack cover, containing beautifully illustrated booklet, and a bonus-track – “Proxima Luna” (produced in 1980). “Ralefun” was recorded when founder members Antonio Bartoccetti and Doris Norton were still deluded by the lack of success of  their debut album “Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex”; and were then making music just for money. This album came after “Zora” (1977) and “Anno Demoni” (1979), and just before “Praeternatural” (1980), which would be their last release in 25 years. “Ralefun” was a concept album bringing good compositions, but it suffered of poor recording and mixing. In spite of the technical problems, “Ralefun” achieved a relatively good success around the Prop-Rock circles, attracting the spotlights towards Antonius Rex. Although the new edition did not eliminate all defects of the source tape, the resulting sound is quite decent. Musically speaking, even though “Ralefun” does not rigorously follow the original esoteric-parapsychological line of “Neque Semper…”, it contains some very good moments of Italian Progressive Rock, having influences of bands like “New Trolls”, “Formula 3”, “Metamorfosi” and “Il Biglietto per L’Inferno”, “Delirium”, and “Dalton”. The flutes performed by Hugo Heredia helped to bring a Folk-Rock trend to most songs, sounding like the British “Jethro Tull”; and some wilder guitar moments recall me of “Deep Purple”, and “Uriah Heep”. This new edition of “Ralefun” features six original tracks and a bonus – “Proxima Luna” (produced in 1980). The album opens with the instrumental track “Magic Sadness”, with a charming mini-moog solo that reminds me of “Metamorfosi”. “Agonia Per Un Amore” is a soft Folk-Progressive song marked by sadness on vocals, medieval flutes and delicate harpsichords. “Witch Dance” enters with the strength of the Rock of the 70’s, grounded on hard guitars, powerful drums and vibrant keyboards, having influences of “Deep Purple” and “Jethro Tull”. Also on this rocking line is “In Einsteinesse’s Memory”, with amazing performance of Heredia on flutes, engaging in an amazing duel against Bartoccetti’s guitar. But there are tracks on “Ralefun” that remained loyal to the original sonority of Antonius Rex: “Incubus”, “Proxima Luna”, and “Enchanted Wood”. “Incubus” brings strange sounds, occult atmosphere, mystic flutes, and pianos combined with guitar riffs that sound vaguely like “Deep Purple” and “Uriah Heep”. “Proxima Luna” (bonus track) is an impressive instrumental piece immersed in a gloomy atmosphere, having long parts of gothic organs, icy pianos, and dark choirs, opposed to background voices borrowed from horror films. This piece attests how the stylistics of Antonius Rex (and of its mother-band Jacula) was ahead of the time. Sounding like a modern Dark Progressive-Rock, this composition anticipated the sonorities that would be later categorized under the ample tag of “Gothic”. Seriously, bands like “Bauhaus”, “After Forever”, “Lacrimosa”, “Artrosis”, “Presence”, “Anathema”, “My Dying Bride”, “Theatres des Vampires”, and many others owe a lot to Antonius Rex (and Jacula) for their pioneering vision and effort. If the listener is not yet convinced, should just listen to the closing track “Enchanted Wood“. This long piece (12:12) represents the musical concept of mother-band "Jacula", blending Gothic and Psychedelic moments within a Parapsychological-Esoteric context. While deep bass, unreal flutes, psychedelic guitars and keyboards move slowly in the darkness, the whispering and disturbing voice of a medium commands a black mass, putting the listener into a trance that takes him/her towards an unknown hidden dimension - really spine-shivering!  All in all, “Ralefun” is not a masterpiece, but is far better than “Zora”, representing the perfect doorway to enter the world of Antonius Rex. It is a fairy well recommendable album for those who like Italian Progressive Rock, but with a touch of Dark-Gothic added to it.  Band members and collaborators involved with Antonius Rex are: Antonio Bartoccetti – Vocal, Gibson Guitars; Doris Norton – Keyboards, Mini Moog, Piano; Jean Luc Jabouille – Tama Drums and Hugo Heredia – Flutes...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/30/2011.........................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out ANTONIUS REX HOME PAGE...
. THE KINGS OF FROG ISLAND - "The Kings of Frog Island"
The Kings of Frog Island is a Psychedelic Rock band from Leicester, U.S.A. The group was founded in 2004 by Mark Buteaux (guitars), Roger “Dodge” Watson (drummer from band “Scum Pups”), and Mathew Bethancourt (guitars, bass and vocals, from bands “Josiah” and “Cherry Choke”). “The Kings…” have released three eponymous albums – “I”, “II” and “III” - by German independent label Elektrohasch Shallplatten, Germany. Other musicians that have participated on those records are guitarist Midge Day (from “Scum Pups”), Gavin Searle, Tony Heslop, Lee Madel Toner, Gavin Wright and Gregg Hunt (from “Cherry Coke”). The Kings of Frog Island musical proposal is to mix Psychedelic Rock, 70’s Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Punk-Rock, and Blues Rock. Influences may range from “Black Sabbath”, “Pink Floyd” and “Hawkwind” to “Birth Control”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Hypnos 69”, “Kyuss” and “Radiohead“. The sonority is however much more visceral, marked by simple arrangements having distorted guitars, one-chorded riffs, “punk-stoned” vocals, turbulent bass and drumming, psychedelic dissonances, and cosmic sounds. Their third album was recorded between 2008 and 2010, released in 2010, and brings 10 tracks. All songs are squeezed between the opening track “In Memorian“ and the last track “Gallowtree Gate“, both of which pretend an executioner procession, bringing the noise of drums and shouts from the mob. Tracks 2 and 3 (“Glebe Street Whores“ and “Bride of Suicide“) are grounded on simple guitar riffs and “drunken” vocals, sounding like a blend of Punk-Rock with a cruder “Black Sabbath”. From this point on, the sonority leans to the Psychedelic Rock, beginning with the soft ballad “Dark On You“, and ending with “A Cruel Wind Blows“ (a guitar-acoustic song that begins with “Floydian” mood and increases in heaviness by the end). In between, there is a sequence of four songs, three of which I regard as the best of this album: “The Keeper Of…“ (a real exercise in psychedelia); “More Than I Should Know“ (a softer song, with good vocal tunes and influences of “Radiohead”); and “Ode To Baby Jane“ (with a acid-trip mood, and long guitar solo). Completing the sequence, the plain psychedelic rock “I Ain’t Sorry“. After this third release, the future of “The Kings of Frog Island” became uncertain - Mathew Bethancourt left the band in 2010 to concentrate on “Cherry Choke”. Mark Buteaux and Roger Watson are working on a new project called “Bull God”. Due to its cruder sonority, “The Kings of Frog Island” is not recommended for the Traditional Progressive lover. Fans of modern Psychedelic Rock with influences of Punk and Alternative Rock are more apt to like this band, which aligns with other acts featured in this site, such as “La Ira de Dios”, “Serpentina Satelite”, “Atomic Workers”, “Spirits of the Dead”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in The Kings of Frog Island are: Mark Buteaux – Guitars; Roger “Dodge” Watson – Drums; Mathew Bethancourt - Guitars, Bass and Vocals. Guest musicians: Midge Day – Guitars; Gavin Searle; Tony Heslop; Lee Madel Toner; Gavin Wright; Gregg Hunt...      (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/30/2011................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE KINGS OF FROG ISLAND HOME PAGE...
. GUDARS SKYMNING - "Mörka Vallen"
The Hard-Rock band Gudars Skymning was founded in Sweden by Kenny-Oswald “Blueskapten” Sjödin (electric guitar, vocals), “Djupe“ Knut Hassel (electric guitar), Magnus “Pepparn“ Hasselstam (bass, mixing and mastering), and Anders “Ondertz” Olofsson (drums). They play heavy and soulful rock with Swedish lyrics. They are admirers of the Classic Rock of late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and very loyal to its roots and essence. Their main influences are “Black Sabbath”, “Mountain”, “Dust”, “Humble Pie”, and “Atomic Rooster”, and also “Deep Purple”, “Grand Funk Railroad“, “Free”, “Budgie” , “Cactus”, “AC/DC”, “Nazareth”, “Steppenwolf”, “Blackfoot”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Cream”, “Hendrix”, “Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush”. They resemble their likes of the Swedish Hard Rock musical scene, like “Abramis Brama”, “Svarte Pan”, “November”, and “Magnolia”, and other modern Hard Rock bands like “Josiah”, “Bullfrog”, and “Illusion“. Gudars Skymning‘s songs blends mostly Hard Rock with few passages of Blues Rock. The sonority is dirt and gritty, but also groovy and contagious. Songs are straightforward, guitar-riff based, and the rhythmic section has that typical swing of the old days. The mood goes from vibrant and angry to slightly sad and bitter, like a mix of early “Black Sabbath” (albums I and IV), “Mountain”, “Cactus”, “Budgie”, and “Humble Pie”. It also resembles “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Atomic Rooster”, and “Deep Purple” in heaviness, but having a second guitar instead of keyboards. This accentuates the crudeness of their sound, making it as tasty as a slice of raw bloody meat. Originality is not a point here, and when listening to Gudars Skymning one might think they are just four guys playing together for amusement, but one thing is certain – they know how to have fun! And on their new album they are inviting everybody to take part on their private party. Gudars Skymning‘s first release was the self-produced “Dansa tillbaks till din grav“ (2008). Their second CD is “Mörka Vallen” (2010, Bloodrock Records, distributed by Black Widow), which was also released on vinyl LP (Black Widow Records). “Mörka Vallen” contains 10 tracks, all featuring the most authentic Hard-Rock music made in recent times. Emotional vocals, malevolent guitars, swinging rhythms and those ever tricky guitar riffs - that is all this album is about. The albums explosively opens with ”Jag är en trollkarl” (with a certain American accent on intro and “Black Sabbath” and “Humble Pie” riffs), and ”Södersläntsblues” (a Heavy Blues-Rock with an accelerated part at the end). The following sequence includes ”Imuränans käftar” and ”Källar-Tony” – two compositions that carry the softer side of Blues and Soul on vocals, with some harder moments, resembling “Mountain” and “Grand Funk Railroad”. They precede a sequence of Hard and Heavy hard-shelled, spiky-skinned, razorblade songs that make the “meat and potatoes” of this album: ”Pengar” (which sounds vaguely as “Zeppelin”, but also has the crudeness and strength of “Dust”); and ”Aldrig har jag vetat” (an awesome double cover of the classic songs “Never in my Life”, by “Mountain”, combined with the instrumental ending section of “Starship Trooper”, by “Yes”). Still making part of this sequence, ”Hyfs och fason” has a trotting horse rhythm and a touch of “Grand Funk Railroad”, mixed with “Atomic Rooster”, with remarkable guitars that progressively grow from middle to end; and the long ”I älvens svarta djup” – a balanced mixture of early “Black Sabbath” with “Mountain” featuring a substantial instrumental part. “Mörka Vallen” still contains the short ”Fri” (a soft Blues-Rock with slide-guitar, very enjoyable for fans of “Lynyrd Skynyrd”) and another cover of ”Never in my life” (by “Mountain”), with original arrangements by Gudars Skymning, but this time sung in English. A record that shows the strength of basic rock, Gudars Skymning‘s “Mörka Vallen” is specially recommended for fans of Hard Rock that have experienced the musical transition from the ‘60s to the ‘70s, and for fans of modern Hard Rock bands like “Josiah”, “Bullfrog”, and “Illusion“. Band members involved in Gudars Skymning are: Kenny-Oswald "Blueskapten" Sjödin - Electric Guitar, Vocals; "Djupe" Knut Hassel - Electric Guitar; Magnus "Pepparn" Hasselstam – bass; Anders "Ondertz" Olofsson – Drums...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/30/2011...............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GUDARS SKYMNING HOME PAGE...
. BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE - "Kalachakra"
Ballo delle Castagne (“The Chestnuts Ball”) is an Italian project formed in early 2008 by vocalist Vinz Aquarian (from “Calle della Morte”), and multi-instrumentalist Marco Garegnani (from “The Green Man”). The line-up also counts with bassist Diego Banchero (“Egida Aurea”, “Recondita Stirpe”, “Malombra”, “Segno del Comando”, “ZEUSS”) and drummer Jo Jo. The band debuted on stage in Zagreb on February 2008 supporting the Hungarian industrial cult band “Sturmhast”. On December 2009 Ballo delle Castagne released “108“ (on 10’’ format) - the first chapter of a trilogy -  by independent label HR!SPQR Records. This record had a strange combination of obscure music, new wave, vintage Prog-Rock and Oriental melodies that attracted attention of the specialized press. On January 2011, Ballo delle Castagne released the second part of the trilogy, this time under the title of “Kalachakra” (HR!SPQR Records, with distribution by Black Widow Records). According to lyricist and lead singer Vinz Aquarian, the main inspiration came from Werner Herzog’s documentary “Kalachakra: The Wheel of Time“, and by the enlighten words of The Dalai Lama. In spite of being an Italian band of the 21st century, Ballo delle Castagne makes music that sounds like the Psychedelic Rock of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s of Britain and America (West Coast Scene), combined with the experimental music of the German “Krautrock” scene of the same time; with addition of Space Rock drones and Oriental tunes (performed on a sitar). Dark Progressive and Zeuhl-Gothic elements are also present, conferring to the music a religious and mystic character. Influential bands are “West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Ya How Ha 13”, “The Doors”, early “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barret” phase),  “Faust“, “Man”, “Amon Düül II”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “CAN”, early “Eloy” (e.g. album “Inside”), “Popol Vuh”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Pell Mell”, the Hungarian “Omega”, the French “Magma”, and the Italians “Runaway Totem” and “Universal Totem Orchestra”. The result is amazingly impressive, curious and alluring – translated into musical waves that fall deep into the subconscious mind. The listener goes on a spiritual journey through a non-dimension universe, searching for his self. The Zeuhl-Gothic vocalizations of the strong “Passioni Diaboliche” have the power of plunging the traveler into a deep slumber, so he can begin the voyage over the Psychedelic landscapes of “Tutte Le Anime Saranno Pesate”, which contains spellings extracted from the Bardo Thödol (Tibetan Book of the Dead). Space guitars, Moogs and psychedelic sounds abound on this song, recalling experiments of “Ash Ra Tempel” and “Amon Düül II”. The grave “I Giorni Della Memoria Terrena” begins with a “heart-beat” bass that introduces ghostly vocals and guitars that play the main melodic tune of “Eloy’s” song “The Dance in Doubt and Fear”. The title-track - “Kalachakra” – is one of the best compositions of the album, and has been “received by Ballo delle Castagne in the Kali-Yuga age”. Blending Krautrock elements with the typical sitar of Raga Rock inside a Psychedelic frame, this amazing composition sounds like a blend of “WCPAEB”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Pink Floyd”, “Amon Düül II”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Man”, and “Popol Vuh”. “Kalachakra” makes a contrast with the basic and straightforward “La Terra Trema”, a song grounded on explosive bass and guitars, tribal drumming, and Psychedelic keyboards (like “Faust”, “CAN”, early “Eloy”, “Amon Düül”); strong vocals (like “The Doors”), and hectic violins (like “Pell Mell”). “La Foresta Dei Suicidi” appeals to a mystic atmosphere created by ethereal female vocals and delicate melodic tunes produced by electronic tools and synthesizers (an influence of “Tangerine Dream” and “Popol Vuh”). “Omega” is full of Space Rock drones and Hard Rock riffs, resembling, well, “Omega”, “Faust” and “Ash Ra Tempel”. The closing track is “Ballo Delle Castagne” – an experimental track in the best Krautrock style, combining primitive ethnical drumming, space guitars, synthesizers, and the speech of actor Klaus Kinski on “Jesus Christus Erlöser”. Ballo delle Castagne‘s “Kalachakra” is really a brilliant and distinguishing album, and the band’s manner of mixing and delivering their musical influences results in something unique. The third part of the trilogy will be dedicated to the Epic of Gilgamesh, and is scheduled for release in 2012. Ballo delle Castagne is highly recommended for fans of vintage Psychedelic and Space Rock, and indispensable for fans of original Krautrock. Band members and collaborators involved in Ballo Delle Castagne are: Vinz Aquarian - Voice; Macro Garegnani - Guitars, Keyboards, Moog, Sitar, Samples; Diego Banchero – Bass; Jo Jo – Drums. Special Guests: Carolina Cecchinato - Voice on “Passioni Diaboliche”; Maethelyiah - Voice and Moaning on “La Foresta dei Suicidi” and Marco Cavaciuti - Violin on “La Terra Trema”...      (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/30/2011......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE HOME PAGE...
. BEEN OBSCENE - "The Magic Table Dance"
Been Obscene is a Stoner Rock quartet hailing from Salzburg, Austria. The line-up consists of Thomas Nachtigal (vocals, guitar), Peter Kreyci (guitar), Philipp Zezula (bass), and Robert Schoosleitner (drums). The band has been in activity since 2007. After many gigs supporting main Stoner-Rock acts like ”Brant Bjork”, ”Colour Haze”, ”Los Natas”, and ”My Sleeping Karma”, Been Obscene finally signed a contract with German label Elektrohasch Shallplatten. Their debut album was released in 2010, being titled “The Magical Table Dance”. It was recorded at Emanuel Krimplstätter Studios, mastered by Eroc (at Eroc’s Mastering Ranch), and produced by Emanuel Krimplstätter and Been Obscene. The sonority of Been Obscene blends Stoner Rock, Alternative Rock, and Punk Rock, with a few passages of Post-Metal. The compositions are marked by a contrasting superposition of basic riffs, rocky rhythms, and fine vocal tunes and chorus against extensive instrumental parts marked by long psychedelic guitar solos and “broken” rhythmic lines. Their influences come from bands like ”Colour Haze”, ”My Sleeping Karma”, “Kyuss”, ”Brant Bjork”, “Monster Magnet”, ”Los Natas”, “Hypnos 69”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “English Dogs”, “Soundgarden”, “Radiohead”, and spotted influences of “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool”, “Rush” and “Zappa”. “The Magic Table Dance” features 8 tracks – and courageously opens with the title track – an amazing 8-minutes long instrumental piece that begins as a Psychedelic Rock, turns into “Jane’s Addiction” style, and then into “Rush”, ending with “Colour Haze”-like Psychedelic guitars. “The Magic…” is not the only instrumental track - “Freakin’ Rabbit“ and “Ring Ring“ are shorter instrumental pieces that show how good the band’s instrumentation may get. “Freakin’ Rabbit” is a fast-paced Jazz-Rock melded with Psychedelic guitars, and complex “Rush”-like riffs. “Ring Ring“ is based on a powerful bass solo coupled with crazy guitars, sounding like a freaky-out song that escaped from “Zappa’s” laboratory. But Been Obscene does not forget that what they want to deliver is good alternative rock music – and not loosing time with sterile demonstrations of musical skills. So the triplet “Uniform“ (with influences of “Kyuss”); “Come Over“ (with influences of “Brant Bjork” and “Monster Magnet”), and “Impressions” (resembling “Kyuss”, and “Soundgarden”) come together to rise the flag of good and honest Stoner and Alternative rock. But the most impressive tracks, which contain a large dose of hard-work are “Demons“ (13-minutes long with heavy passages akin to “Tool”, “Porcupine Tree”, “English Dogs”, and “Monster Magnet”) and the closing song “How It Feels“ (another 8-minutes long piece with soft guitars, sad mood, and nebulous psychedelic atmosphere, like “Colour Haze“ and “My Sleeping Karma”). This song gets heavier towards the end, including sequences of guitars riffs like “Porcupine Tree”, “A Perfect Circle”, and many psychedelic solos, perfectly closing the album. With the release of “The Magic Table Tree”, Elektrohasch Records has scored a goal, for Been Obscene will be really appreciated by fans of both Stoner Rock and Alternative Rock scenes. Not for the orthodox Progressive lover, but if you have a sympathy for non-mainstream honest Rock, you should check this band out. Band members and collaborators involved in Been Obscene are: Thomas Nachtigal - Vocals, Guitar; Peter Kreyci – Guitar; Philipp Zezula – Bass and Robert Schoosleitner - Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/30/2011......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BEEN OBSCENE HOME PAGE...
. IMAGES OF EDEN - "Rebuilding the Ruins"
Images of Eden is a Progressive Metal band from the USA (Baltimore, York, Pennsylvania). The group was founded in 1999 by Gordon Tittsworth (songwriter, vocals, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards). The present line-up consists of Dennis Mullin (lead guitar), Chris Lucci (drums) and Dean Harris (piano, keyboards). After living his previous band “Out of Nowhere”, Tittsworth decided to create a “conceptual” project that should go beyond the “normal” Prog Metal formula: each new release would be chained to the previous, telling an ongoing story. The lyrics would describe an imaginary “Eden” that lies inside our own mind and soul, and shelters us from the violence and misfortunes of the world. In 1999, he entered studios with session drummer Steve Kilgallon, and engineer Bill Dickson to record the debut “Chapter-I” (independently released in 2001). Lead guitarist Dennis Mullin then stepped in, but from 2003 to 2008, Images of Eden had different bassists and drummers (see below). Anyway, the band recorded “Sunlight of the Spirit” (2006, Nightmare Records). Afterwards, Tittswoth was hired as vocalist for parallel projects (“Dread the Forsaken” and “All Too Human“). Meanwhile, he kept writing new material for a third album. In 2009, with a renovated line-up, recordings for “Rebuilding the Ruins” began. Produced by Chris Lucci and mastered by Grammy-nominated Eric Zimmermann (“Fates Warning”, “Jason Becker”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, “Deftones”), the album was released in March 2011 by Nightmare Records. The music of Images of Eden blends Melodic Metal of the Eighties with early Progressive Metal. Influences come from bands such as “Iron Maiden”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning” (with “Ray Alder”), “Symphony-X”, “Dream Theater”, “Badlands”, and “Pantera”; resulting in a sonority that reminds me of “Ivory Tower“, “Evergrey”, “Redemption”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Narnia”, “Presto Ballet”, “House of Spirits“, “Everon”, “Ice Age“, and “Superior”. Tittsworth’s voice reminds me of “Geoff Tate”, “Ray Alder”, and “Russell Allen” (on the most aggressive parts). Dennis Mullen on lead guitar adds a touch of quality to the music, because he is not much concerned about speed or shredding, giving more importance to melody. His solos are not stuck into the Neo-Classical/Fusion formula, so common in Prog Metal, but are impregnated with a soulful and bluesy inspiration, fitting perfectly into the songs for which they were composed. Drummer Chris Lucci provides a compact rhythmic base, alternating cadenced paces with aggressive drumming. And Dean Harris takes care of the background symphonic arrangements, alternating soft passages on the classical piano. “Rebuilding The Ruins” features 11 tracks. The first two - “Crosses In The Sand” and “Human Angels” – promptly show the band’s style, blending the heavy cadence of  “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Redemption”, and “Evergrey” with bits of Fusion-Metal riffs (slightly influenced by “Dream Theater“ and “Symphony X”), and adding strong vocals like “Symphony X”. Both songs bring beautiful solos by Mullen. On this line are also “Sorrow's End” (a great track that goes from a slow to fast pace, reminding me of early “Fates Warning”); and the metal ballad “Dreams Unbroken”. The title track “Rebuilding The Ruins” (with diabolical vocals) and its follower, “My Stigmata”, appeal to heavier guitar riffs, fast psychotic solos, and Thrash-Prog beats that are close to “Symphony X” and “Dream Theater”. Reflecting a taste for experimentation, and a will for producing distinguishing music, Images of Eden has composed three songs that bring within them a combination of their regular Prog-Metal influences with Progressive and Hard Rock elements: “Tribal Scars” has a bluesy swing, sounding like a meeting of “Black Crowes” with “Queensrÿche”. “Native To His Land” features symphonic keyboards on its intro, contrasting with the rest of the song that sounds like “Queensrÿche” and “Presto Ballet”. And “Children Of Autumn” features initial arrangements of piano and violins that sound like “Kansas”. Those three songs may represent a future musical path for Images of Eden to trail, in order to achieve a style of their own. A farther exploration in this direction is the penultimate song, “On Elevated Ground”, which begins with a psychedelic mood, but increases gradually with “locomotive” guitar riffs and fast solos. This song warms the path for the closing track “Sunlight of the Spirit Part IV- Images of Eden”, a 12-minute long epic that contains many variations, including “Fates Warning”-like riffs, Neo-Progressive parts, calm interludes, and martial drumming – all leading to a vibrant sequence of final guitar solos and epic finale. Still having a great potential to grow on the next albums, Images of Eden is a band that deserves a place in your Prog-Metal collection, mainly if you are a fan of “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Redemption”, “Symphony X”, “Pantera”, “Evergrey”, “Everon”, “Ivory Tower”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Images of Eden are: Gordon Tittsworth - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Songwriting; Dennis Mullin - Lead Guitar; Chris Lucci – Drums; Dean Harris – Piano and Keyboards. Ex-members: Bobby Minter – Drums, Matt Kaiser - Drums (2003-2008), Brian Gulin - Bass (2003-2004), Bryan Wierman – Bass (2006-2008)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/11/2011..........................Interested to know more about the Band? You must Visit IMAGES OF EDEN HOME PAGE...
. HIGHWAY CHILD - "Sanctuary Come"
Highway Child is a Danish band from Copenhagen that has been playing traditional Rock, Blues and Soul since 2006. The line-up consists of Patrick Heinsoe (vocals), Paw Eriksen (guitar), Christian Norup (bass) and Andreas Henriksen (drums). The band discography includes “On The Old Kings Road” (2008, Elektrohasch Records), “Sanctuary Come” (2009, Elektrohasch) and the recently released eponymous album “Highway Child” (March 2011, Slowshark Records/VME). “Sanctuary Come” was recorded at Red Carpet Studio, assisted by Anders Onsberg Hansen. Mixed by Ralph A. Rjeilly and Anders Onsberg Hansen; mastered by Lars Lundholm at Black Tornado; produced by Highway Child. The band blends classic Rock, Hard Rock, Blues Rock and Soul in a way that sounds like the classic bands of the Sixties and early Seventies. Their influences include “Led Zeppelin”, “T. Rex”, “Stones”, “The Beatles”, “The Animals”, ”Cream”, early “Fleetwood Mac”, “The Seeds”, “The Zombies”, early “Pink Floyd” (Syd Barret phase), “Mot the Hoople”, “Humble Pie”, “Sly and the Family Stone”, and so on. Their sonority could be tagged as “Alternative Retro-Rock”, following the same line as other bands portrayed at this webzine (e.g. “The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band”, “Modest Midget“). The music is simple basic rock, with emphasis on the rhythm, mellow vocals tunes, nice harmony vocals, and sticky choruses. Songs are short (from 2 to 4 minutes in duration), with not much room for long solos or instrumental ornamentation. Nevertheless, the result is pleasant and quite enjoyable, if one is searching for easy-listening, agreeable music. From the ten tracks of “Sanctuary Come”, there are a few that will please the fans of “The Beatles”, especially those with a preference for “John Lennon”:  the psychedelic “In The End“ (which reminds me of albums “Sgt. Peppers…” and “Rubber Soul”); the title-track “Sanctuary Come“ (with vocals reminiscent of “John Lennon”); the acoustic ballad “Dear Girl“; and the cheerful rockabilly “Take You Down“. Those listeners who prefer something more “rocky” will like “Once Is Once Too Much“ (a country rock, closer to “Stones” and “The Animals”); “You You You“ (with a swing slightly like “Mot the Hoople”, and “Led Zeppelin”); and the Hard Rock “Turn Me On“ (with stronger influence of “Led Zeppelin” and “T. Rex”). Appealing to the psychedelic vein of Stoner Rock, the opening track “Red, White and Blue“ surprises by its crudeness; and “When The Sun Burned The Ground“ is directed to fans of modern Stoner bands like “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, and “My Sleeping Karma”. The album finishes with “Born On The Run“ - a crazy song split in two parts - divided by more than six minutes of silence. Although not being a truly Prog-Rock act, Highway Child deserves attention from fans of Alternative Rock with a penchant for Retro Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Highway Child are: Patrick Heinsoe - Vocals, Paw Eriksen - Guitar, Christian Norup – Bass, Andreas Henriksen - Drums. Guest singers: Lorenzo Woodrose – Backing Vocals on “Turn Me On”; Anders Onsberg Hansen – Backing Vocals on “In The End”; Kasper Kaae – Lap Steel on “Once Is Once Too Much”...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/19/2011.....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit HIGHWAY CHILD HOME PAGE...
. JAMIE CRAIG - "Illumination"
Jamie Craig is a North American musician from Detroit, Michigan, who has been playing and composing music for more than 30 years. He began his carrier as a rock-and-roll electric bassist, and later expanded his abilities to the electric guitar, piano, keyboards and synthesizers. Craigs’s first instrumental album – “Lost Dream” (2006) - was entirely composed, arranged, played, recorded, mixed and produced by him. On that album, he played modern rock instrumental music that was inspired by the keyboard oriented sounds of Classic Progressive Rock bands like “Genesis”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Tangerine Dream”. But being fond of Music of all kinds, Craig is also influenced by many other genres, mainly Synth-Pop, New Age, Jazz-Rock, and Jazz-Fusion; with occasional approaches to Caribbean, Traditional Jazz of New Orleans, Blues and Soul. He united all those influences on his second self-produced album “Illumination” (released in 2008), resulting in a blend of the music of “Natalie Merchant”, “Vangelis”, “Kitaro”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Enigma”, “Yanni”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Eno”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Philip Glass”, “Passport”, “Spyro Gyra”, “Changing Images”, and “Depeche Mode”, adding a pinch of the most delicate colors of “Genesis” and “King Crimson”. On this record, Craig has produced rather light and soft instrumental musical pieces, with sophisticated arrangements made of coiling bass lines, cool drum-beats, jazzy guitars, and many layers of keyboards. Synthesizers provide an abundance of slow catchy tunes that come clothed in different textures – from sounds of piano and violins to saxophones, flutes, clarinets and trumpets. The pace is free-flowing, as in soft Jazz, and the general mood is peaceful and relaxing, sometimes slightly sad. “Illumination” contains 12 compositions. The opening track is “Lost and Found“, on which floating pianos and keyboards that evoke “Vangelis”, and “Yanni” combine with violin textures like “Jean-Luc Ponty”, contrasting with the Progressive bass lines of a mild “King Crimson”, and the somewhat “Passport”-like rhythmic section. The following “Midtown Saturday Night“ is a cool modern Jazz, grounded on pianos and saxophones, reminding me of “Spyro Gyra” and “Passport”. “Mirage“ stands as one of the highlights of this album, bringing ethnical beats, swinging bass, and delicate guitar solos that engage in a tranquil conversation with synthesizers – a kind of Synth-Pop version of “Passport”, and “Oldfield”. The linked tracks “Illumination I“ and “Illumination II“ are admittedly inspired on the work of “Natalie Merchant”. The firs part employs more organic sounds, like violins, guitars and hand drums, while the second part has a predominance of pianos. The two tracks make a strong combination, constituting one of the greatest moments of the album. “To Nola With Love“ was written as a homage to the victims of the hurricane that stroke New Orleans, and mostly sounds like their traditional Jazz. “Reflections“ sounds like a fair meeting of “Jean-Luc Ponty” with “Kitaro”, while “San Juan“ blends delicate fairy-tale sounds reminiscent of “Genesis” with romantic Spanish guitars from Puerto Rico. From the ancient Latin tradition, the music is then catapulted to the outer space on the pair of tracks “Voyager IX“ (a tribute to the “Star Trek” TV series) and to the unusual Space-Jazz “H2Ozone“, adorned with a long session of solos on the electric guitar and saxophone. Coming to the end of the record, the beautiful “Guardian Angel“ summon angelic acoustic sounds and delicate tenor saxophones to hover above a slightly danceable Synth-Pop rhythmic frame. The last track “Sealed Fate“ closes the album with  amazing progressions of bass, rainy pianos, and flute sounds that will certainly please any fan of “Oldfield”, “Vollenweider”, “Yanni”, or “Merchant”. The wealthy music of Jamie Craig flows like the placid waters of a stream hidden in a Japanese philosophical garden, being therefore highly recommended for lovers of light Progressive Music, New Age and soft Jazz-Fusion; specially those fans of “Vangelis”, “Yanni”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean-luc Ponty”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Natalie Merchant”, “Spyro Gyra”, “Passport”, “Kitaro”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Enigma”, “Changing Images”, “Philip Glass”, and so on. Single band member involved with Jamie Craig is: Jamie Craig himself – all compositions, instruments (bass, guitars, piano, and synthesizers), arrangements, and production...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/19/2011................................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: JAMIE CRAIG HOME PAGE...
. LONGSHANKS - "The Return of Longshanks"
Longshanks is a Dutch band founded in 1986 in the city of Delft by André Kamer (guitars). The other members were Peter van Heijningen (guitar), Rob Boshuijzen (drums), Peter ten Haaft (bass) and Alex van de Graaf (vocals). As Kamer felt that he lacked the necessary skill to match the others, he left the band, and the remaining musicians formed the band “Enforcer”. Kamer kept improving his playing, however, and wrote a song called “Cycles & Circles”. Talking with his old friends van Heijningen and Rob, they decided to reactivate Longshanks’ original line-up (with additional musician Jan van der Lugt on acoustic guitar) to record that song, what they did in a 16-track studio in 1988. Since then, the band suffered changes in formation and eventually dissolved. After some years of inactivity, original vocalist Alex van de Graaf contacted Kamer in 2006, and they decided to get back to the scene. Besides Kamer (electric and acoustic guitars, bass, synthesizers, synth-drums) and van de Graaf (lead vocals, percussion), Longshanks newest formation included Graaf’s wife, Bregje Kaasjager (vocals), and Anita van de Graaf (vocals). Writing and recording one song for time (from 2008 to 2009), Longshanks finally released their first independent album - “The Return of Longshanks” (2010) – with 9 tracks plus two bonus-tracks. The music of Longshanks reflects the preferences of main composer and instrumentalist André Kamer. He likes Glitter Rock, Hard Rock, and Symphonic Progressive Rock, being inspired by “Rush”, “Saga”, “Kayak”, “Kansas”, “Boston”, “Pink Floyd”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “David Sylvian”, “Michael Schenker Group”, “Scorpions”, “Queensrÿche”, “Van Halen”, “Malmsteen”, “Joe Satriani”, “City Boy”, “Tea Party”, and “Porcupine Tree”. His songs privilege the arrangements and vocals, which are Longshanks’ strongest point. The melodic structure of lead and backing vocals is reminiscent of “Kansas”, “Kayak”, “Saga”, “Boston”, “Pink Floyd”, “Jethro Tull”, and “Genesis” (with “Peter Gabriel”). The lyrics of three songs were taken from “J.R.R. Tolkien’s” famous book “The Lord of the Rings”. This influence pushes some songs to the Folk-Rock, with symphonic arrangements that evoke medieval times. “The Return of…” opens with “The Web of Life”, on which harmony vocals like “Kansas” and “Boston” combine with harpsichords and hard guitars. The following songs are among my favorites: “In Dreams” is a Symphonic Folk, with vocals that remind me of “Ian Anderson” (“Jethro Tull”) added to epic keyboards, melodious flutes and medieval percussion; “The Wandering Merchant” (and the bonus “The Wandering Merchant” - street organ version) are Medieval Folk songs on which the main tunes evoke the image of a merchant entering a castle. Also among my favorites are “Leave Me Alone”, that combines Melodic Metal guitar riffs with a slow section full of delicate Folk flutes, intricate vocals (like “Gentle Giant”), medieval percussion and calliope sounds; and the long “In the Desert”, that begins with acoustic guitars and bluesy vocals, growing later to a galloping rhythm and dramatic Heavy-Prog guitars. Among the three songs inspired by the literary work of Tolkien, the Irish dance “The Bath Song”, with its folkloric and mockery tone, is sure a song for Hobbits! “I Love the Road” has a faster pace, sounding like a blend of “Rush” and “Saga”; while “The Travelling Song” (part 3) is an acoustic ballad with slightly Spanish guitars and male/female vocal duet. The album still features the short “All My Days” (that reminds me of “Boston”), and the bonus-track “I Have a Dream”, that merges “Beethoven’s” 9th Symphony with a speech by Martin Luther King – giving place to bass lines that sound like “Rush”. Although not extraordinary, Longshanks may captivate fans for its mellow vocals and folk-medieval tunes. A complete line-up would certainly bring great improvement to the band. Longshanks is recommended for fans of “Saga”, “Rush”, “Kayak”, “Boston” and Prog-Folk. Band members and collaborators involved in Longshanks are: André Kamer – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Synths, Synth-drums; Alex van de Graaf – Vocals, Percussion; Bregje Kaasjager – Vocals; Anita van de Graaf - Vocals on “In Dreams” and “I Love the Road”. Ex-members: Peter van Heijningen - Guitar; Peter ten Haaft – Bass; Rob Boshuijzen – Drums; Jan van der Lugt - Acoustic Guitar; Alexandra and Karin den Heijer – Vocals; Martin Krijgsman - Guitar; Jeroen Steenbeek - Guitar; Hans van Lint – Vocals...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/19/2011........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LONGSHANKS HOME PAGE...
. ANTONIUS REX - "Zora"
“Zora” was the second album recorded by Italian cult band Antonius Rex. Created in 1973 by Antonio Bartoccetti (guitars, vocals) and Doris Norton (keyboards, vocals), and having participation of Albert Goodman (drums, percussion, occultist scholar), Antonius Rex was conceived to take ahead the esoteric concepts that had been developed in short-lived band Jacula (1968-1972). Because the first album of Antonius RexNeque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex”, recorded in 1974) had not received support from Vertigo Records (the producers disliked the “demonical” front cover), it was released only in a limited edition of demo-copies. After this event, the integrants of Antonius Rex lost interest in recording new music, and began to record other LPs only for commercial purposes (mainly because Bartoccetti and Norton had a newborn child to take care of). “Zora” was originally released in 1977, being regarded as the first proper commercial release of Antonius Rex. The album brought some reworked material from the "Jacula" and “Neque Semper…” epoch, and some new compositions. “Zora” had two editions (1977-78). The edition of “Zora” I am writing about is a special 32nd Anniversary Edition, reissued in 2009 by Black Widow Records, Italy, in memory of Albert Goodman (1942-1978). The CD is beautifully wrapped in a tree-fold Paperback sleeve, having lavishly illustrated deluxe booklet; and features 4 original tracks plus the two bonus-tracks “The Gnome” (produced in 1978, but that also appeared in a second edition of “Zora”) and “Monastery” (produced in 1980). If compared with the previous releases of both "Jacula" and "Antonius Rex", it is clear that “Zora” lacked much of the original musical style that was being developed then. As it is admitted by Bartoccetti himself, this album was made of uninspired songs, aiming just to gather money to help him to raise his young son. That does not mean that it is a bad record at all, but it is evident that the sonority of the band at that time was leaving its unique esoteric style (made of gothic organs, dark atmospheres, and messages recited by a mystical medium), and trying to approach either the sonority of other Italian Progressive Rock bands (“PFM”, “Le Orme”), or something closer to Pop-Rock. Nevertheless, some shadows and shades of Antonius Rex – the ghostly vocals, the gothic aura, and the mysterious atmosphere – remained in some compositions, like the long “Spiritualist Seance” (full of whispering voices, sound effects, psychedelic dark atmosphere), and the best tracks “Morte al Potere” (this in fact a revised version of Jacula’s song “UFDEM”, that was originally released on album “Tardo Pede In Magiam Versus”); and the excellent instrumental bonus-track “Monastery” (with almost 10 minutes of gothic choruses, pulsing bass, great acoustic guitars and long solos of guitar and keyboards). The other songs may be regarded as curiosities, with the highlights going for the Jazzy pianos of “Necromancer” (that domain half of the song), and “Zora” (a prog-rock with resemblance with “PFM” and “Le Orme”). The most different song is “The Gnome”, with a danceable rock beat that is completely opposed to the gloomy atmosphere that was commonly surrounding the music of Antonius Rex. All in all, half of the musical material present in this new edition of “Zora” will certainly please the true fans of Antonius Rex, and with an open-minded approach, this album may become more than just a collectible item for those same fans, or a regular acquisition for Progressive fans that are not familiar with the original work of "Jacula" and Antonius Rex. Band members and collaborators involved with Antonius Rex are: Antonio Bartoccetti – Vocal, Guitars; Doris Norton – Mini Moog, Pinch Organ, Hammond; Albert Goodman – Gretsch drum. Additional composers: Medilou, Mussita, Serighelli...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/19/2011......................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to ANTONIUS REX HOME PAGE...
. INFRONT  - "Inescapable"
Infront is an Instrumental quartet from Moscow, Russia. It was founded in 1999 by Igor Uporov (guitars) and K. Shtirlitz (drums) under the initial moniker of "Invisible Front", and soon Dmitry Chernishev (guitars) and Tumur Pirogov (bass) completed the line up. In 2002, still as "Invisible Front", the band began to record material for a debut CD. They came up with the Mini-album “News From the Other Side” that had 4 tracks and was released in a limited edition of 100 copies. In 2004, with better support at Invisible Studio, the recordings for the debut full-length album “Wordless” began. In 2005, with the recordings still underway, Oleg Anurin (flute, keyboards) was admitted in the line up. Also sound producer Alexei Fedorov temporally joined in, helping the band members to record, mix and produce the album. “Wordless” was released in 2005 under independent label R.A.I.G., and contained 8 tracks, 4 of which were re-worked from the previous Mini-album. By this time, the band had already reduced their name for Infront. “Wordless” was welcomed by the specialized press for having a high progressive edge with remarkable arrangements. The album presentation happened in December 2005 at the Vermel-club, in Moscow. Changes in the line up occurred shortly afterwards: bassist Tumur Pirogov left, being replaced by Alexander Meshcheryakov; and Oleg Anurin departed in 2006. Following a long hiatus, Infront is finally back with a new album - “Inescapable” (2011, Mals Ltd., Russia). The record was engineered, mixed and produced by Infront and Alexei Fedorov, and has participation of Olga Mokhnacheva on cello. “Inescapable” features 5 instrumental pieces that are organized in single, two or three movements, totalizing 10 tracks. The sonority is unique and difficult to categorize, because the four musicians have been influenced by several bands of different genres, including Classic Progressive (“Pink Floyd”, “Camel”, “Gong”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”); R.I.O., Canterbury, and Jazz-Rock (“Frank Zappa”, “Univers Zéro”, “Magma”, “Can”, “The Soft Machine”); Jazz and Fusion (“Miles Davis”, “Pat Metheny”, “Trey Gunn Band”), Heavy Metal (“Black Sabbath”, “Iron Maiden”); Prog-Metal and Post-Metal (“Ozric Tentacles”, “Dream Theater”, “Tool”); Pop-Rock and Alternative Rock (“Mr. Bungle”, “Muse”, “The Doors”, “The Who”, “Depeche Mode”, “Arsenal”, “Auktion”); Electronic (“Amon Tobin”); and others (“Dead Can Dance”, “Ravi Shankar”, “Tiger Lillies”, “Steve Reich”, “John Zorn”). The first piece of “Inescapable”, for instance, is composed of “Intro” (made of cello and classical piano) and the following “Infinite Approach”, which contains elements of Jazz, Fusion, Canterbury, and R.I.O.; and features intricate bass-guitar-piano interplay, sounding like a smooth blend of “Univers Zéro”, “John Zorn”, “Pat Metheny”, “Can”, and “Trey Gunn Band”.  The single piece “Postcard Notice” emerges from a cool and soft bass theme that is accompanied by an amazing jazzy drumming, growing with dramatic guitar riffs, like a blend of “Magma”, “Soft Machine”, and “King Crimson”. The double piece “Lest They Forget“ (tracks 4 and 5) begins with dark Electronic sounds that quickly turn into a Heavy Metal riff that shares everything in common with “Iron Maiden”! Intercalated with the most tempestuous Maiden”-like segments, there are “Crimson” and “R.I.O.”-styled guitar solos; but the song turns to an expected end, with ethnical drumming and Canterbury-sounding soaring guitars. Moving into still heavier, darker, and more metallic grounds, “RUNN3“ (comprising tracks 6 and 7) begins with mysterious guitars, raises to a Psychedelic Prog-Metal that later descends to a slow and heavy cadence marked by pummeling bass and hammered guitars, blending R.I.O. with Post-Metal, reminding me of bands like “Ozric Tentacles”, “Dream Theater”, and “Tool”. The three-parted piece “Jokes Aside (parts. 1, 2, 3)“ closes the album, and makes me think that the main goal of Infront is to promote the amicable union of Heavy Metal, Prog-Metal and Post Metal with less conventional Progressive lines, such as R.I.O., Canterbury, and Jazz-Rock. Along 15 minutes of “whirlwind” music, “Jokes Aside” simply amalgamates with perfect equilibrium and originality bands as diverse as “Iron Maiden”, “Primus”, “Black Sabbath” and “Tool” with “Univers Zéro”, “Soft Machine”, “Zappa”, “King Crimson” and “Tiger Lillies” – really an impressive work. Owner of an exclusive style, Infront is highly recommended for those rare fans that love simultaneously Heavy Metal, Prog-Metal, Post-Metal, Heavy Prog, Jazz-Rock-Fusion, R.I.O., and Canterbury Scene. Band members and collaborators involved in Infront are: Dmitry Chernishev – Guitars; Igor Uporov – Guitars; Alexander Meshcheryakov – Bass, Occasional Piano; K. Shtirlitz – Drums. Guest musician: Olga Mokhnacheva – Cello. Ex-members: Tumur Pirogov - Bass; Oleg Anurin - Flute, Keyboards...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2011..................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit INFRONT HOME PAGE...
. JEFF GREEN - "Jessica"
Jeff Green is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who grew up in Northern California in the 70’s. He was therefore influenced by many Country and Southern Rock bands of that time, namely “The Eagles”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “The Allman Brothers”, “Poco”, “Molly Hatchet”, “The Outlaws”, “The Flying Burrito Brothers”, and “The Charlie Daniels Band”. Green began to learn clarinet at the age of seven, and soon piano lessons followed. But occasional trips to England to visit his mother and brother exposed him to Progressive Rock and Classic Rock bands such as “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “The Beatles”, “The Who”, “Hendrix”, and “Led Zeppelin”. Later, his influences would spread up to include “Rush” and “Steve Vai”.  After having listened to “David Gilmour” on “Pink Floyd”, Jeff Green decided to change to the guitar. He began to take guitar lessons and completed a Music Theory Degree in the Sacramento City College. He engaged in a successful career as a teacher, at the same time playing in his band “Critical Decision”. In 1986 Jeff Green moved to England, coming under tutorage of guitar player Phil Hilborne. In 1987 he took up a fulltime position as guitarist on “North Point Park” – a band that supported shows of “Echo And The Bunnymen”, “The Fixx”, “Faith No More”, and “Tony McPhee’s Groundhogs”. After a reaching a peak on its career, “North Point Park” split up in 1993, so Green founded “No Idea”, a band that played Classic Rock covers and some original material. In 1997 Green was invited by “Phil Aldridge” to take part on the “Illegal Eagles”. Green stayed there, making experiments with his guitar synthesizer, until 2002, when he met his fiancée Laura Sparks, with whom he now lives in the serene countryside of Cratloe, Clare (Ireland) with children. He teaches music there, and in between he composes and records original material in his own studio: “Terrapin Station”. From 1997 to 2008, and counting with help of friends Phil Hilborne, Pete Riley, Mike Stobbie, and others, Jeff Green recorded his first solo album, “Jessica”. The sad history that inspired the songs of “Jessica” involves Green’s own traumatic experience of loosing his first daughter. Mixed by Phil Hilborne and Jeff Green, and mastered by Chris Childs at bigRed Recorders, the CD features 12 tracks that present to the listener a broad palette of sounds and influences that reflect Green’s whole musical formation, blending with extraordinary musical quality and sophistication different genres like Progressive Rock, Neo-Progressive, soft Prog-Fusion, Classic Rock, and Country Rock. The tracks are predominantly instrumental (only 4 songs have vocals), divided in few short intros and long pieces plentiful of remarkable guitar solos – soulful and melodic – like mild-mannered “Joe Satriani” and “Vai”. Bass and drums are either cool-jazzy or soft-rocky, keeping a regular pace for guitars to evolve freely above them. Synthesizers cover the music with modern elegant textures. The sonority is clean, crystalline, and polished, and at the same time vibrant, shiny and colorful, recalling me of bands like “UK”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush” “Saga”, “Asia”, “Toto”, “The Allman Brothers“, “The Moody Blues”, “Wishbone Ash”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Kayak”, and “Alan Parsons”. My favorites tracks of “Jessica” are the instrumental ones, beginning with the opening movement of “For the Future“ – a magnificent Hard Neo-Progressive bringing “Floydian” harmony guitars, bombastic backing synthesizers, and superb soloing guitars. “Willing the Clouds Away“ is grounded on cool Fusion bass lines and symphonic synthesizers that support a Prog-Fusion guitar solo full of bluesy inspiration, reminding me of a blend of “UK”, “Alan Parsons” and “Satriani”. The initial delicate plucking of “Woman With Child“ is reminiscent of “Rush”, and “Marillion”, following ahead with a steady lightness. “Prittlewell Chase” is immersed in a mysterious fairy-tale atmosphere, bringing delicate flutes that are later disturbed by electronic beats and Spanish guitars. Some tracks come in pairs, with the first being short, and working as an intro for the second. The symphonic keyboards of “Being“ pompously introducer the amazing “Jessie’s Theme“, which begins calmly with sad bass lines and acoustic guitars, growing suddenly for a Classic Hard Rock riff crowned by Oriental guitar solo, like a blend of “Led Zeppelin” with “Steve Vai”. The acoustic guitars of “Vision“ precedes “On This Night“ – a vibrant song with rocky vocals and extra-long guitar solos. The vocal melody on the ballad “Pride“ is complemented by the crystalline piano and classical clarinet tune of “Essence“. “Jessica” still features “Tomorrow Never Came“ and “Live Forever“ - two songs that are closer to American Classic Rock, having a typical swing, “wha-wha” pedals, and rocky guitar solos. One of the best CDs that I have heard recently, “Jessica” will be an excellent acquisition for any collection. Jeff Green is highly recommended for fans of all Classic Rock and Progressive bands cited above. Band members and collaborators involved with Jeff Green are: Jeff Green – Guitars, Synthesizers, Vocals, Compositions; with occasional appearances of Phil Hilborne - Guitar;  Glenn Sissons - Bass; Pete Riley - Drums; Mark Cunningham; Mike Stobbie; Tim Vogt...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2011........If you want know more about this great singer and songwriter please visit JEFF GREEN HOME PAGE...
. TINKICKER - "The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss"
Tinkicker (with a turned “n”) is a Classic Rock and Metal quartet based on Copenhagen, Denmark. The present line up consists of Klaus Herfort (drums and percussion), Klaus Bastian (lead and backing vocals), Sören Lindberg (guitars, bass), and Kristian Möller (who has replaced former bassist Erik Wolf). Their debut album - “Soliloquy of the Transparent Boy” (2008, Mals Ltd., Russia) – was a conceptual “Rock Opera”, with influences of Classic Rock. Tinkicker‘s second album - “The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss” - was released in 2011 also under Russian label Mals Ltd. Like their first record, “The Playground…” is a conceptual album that narrates the story of some kids that grew up in the backstreets of Copenhagen 40 years ago, all based on non-fictitious events and characters (they were called by false names to protect their true identities). Each track either describes a character or his/her personal story, telling how they were able to exorcize the demons of their past. The songs deal with subjects such as prostitution, abuse, suicide, and “on the couch” sessions, depicting the hard life of the working class. The overall atmosphere is therefore heavier and darker on this album then on its predecessor, but has a more immediate effect on the listener because it deals with universal human dramas. On “The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss”, Tinkicker dares you to open de doors of a closet full of skeletons, following the past lives of many warped characters, such as Frank (the successful bastard), Mary (the teenage prostitute), Jimi (the junkie), and others. The story develops along 18 tracks. In terms of music, Tinkicker seems to gravitate in turn of two different worlds – one of Heavy Metal and Doom Metal (represented by the iconic “Black Sabbath” in all of its phases) - and the other inhabited by sad ballads with influence of “Pink Floyd”. Not by chance, the band coined the Frankenstein-term “Pink-Sabbath”, which they claim to be their main style. Inside this strange category of musical style, there is room for Hard Classic Rock, and also for other subdivisions of Heavy Metal. Besides “Black Sabbath” and “Pink Floyd”, the sonority reminds me of “The Who”, “Slade”, “Aerosmith”, “KISS”, the good stuff of “Twisted Sister”, “Lizzy Borden”, “Savatage”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Circle II Circle”, and “Novembers Doom”. Four out of 18 tracks on “The Playground…” are just short preludes, interludes, or postludes (“Skeletons”, “S.O.S.”, “Playground Revisited”, and “New Message”). Most of the remaining 14 songs fit into their “Pink-Sabbath” style, which is marked by slow to mid-tempo pace; down-tuned guitars, and heavy riffs that are immersed in a dark atmosphere (like “Black-Sabbath” and “Savatage”). Guitar solos remind me of “Tony Iommi”. Bastian‘s vocals and backing vocals have a lean to the dramatic, but tunes are melodic and catchy as in Classic Rock, being sometimes a little epic, other times melancholic like “Pink Floyd”. My favorites are the first song “The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss”; the cadenced “Li'l Mary” (on which heavy riffs contrast with beautiful vocals, reminding me of “Savatage”, with “Sabbath”-styled guitar solo); the amazing “Flowers in the Asphalt” (with catchy vocal melody like “Savatage”, and “Pink Floyd”, which is broken in the middle by an epic chorus). “Reflections From the Sun” and “Wake up Dreaming” are two complementary songs that follow the same line as “Flowers…”. “Neon Lights and Transvestites”, instead, is more dramatic and epic, with vocals that are closer to the Classic Rock emotion. Still experimenting with the “Pink-Sabbath” style, Tinkicker included two semi-acoustic ballads impregnated with a “Floydian” bittersweet essence: “Success?” (with two soulful guitar solos); and the nice “Household Glove and the Lord Above”. Two of the heaviest songs have an almost Doom-Metal atmosphere, sounding like “Sabbath” and “Novembers Doom”: the requiem “Jimi Is Dead” (with some vocals that remind me of “The Who”), and “Therapy” (grounded on excellent Metal riff). To escape from a formula, Tinkicker sometimes speeds up the pace to a rocky beat, and gets closer to the American Hard and Heavy Rock of bands like “KISS”, “Aerosmith”, “Twisted Sister”, and “Lizzy Borden”. It is what one will hear on “Man With the Evil Eye”, “New Values”, and “Son of the Syringe” (with excellent bass). Diverging from all songs, the closing track “The Great Escape” is worth of mentioning by the diversity it contains. It begins like a Neo-Prog (like “Marillion”), then intercalates Prog-Metal and Doom Metal riffs, summarizing in its melodies the musical themes that were heard along the record. A nice and true effort of Tinkicker, “The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss“ is a very good album containing excellent moments, being especially recommended for fans of Classic Rock, American Hard & Heavy Rock, Traditional Metal, and Rock Operas, mainly those who like “Black Sabbath”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Who” and “Savatage”. Band members and collaborators involved in Tinkicker are: Klaus Bastian - Vocals; Klaus Herfort – Drums, Percussion; Sören Lindberg – Guitars; Kristian Möller - Bass...
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04/30/2011........Want to learn everything about the musicians and about their history, go to TINKICKER HOME PAGE...
. SLYCHOSIS - "Mental Hygiene"
Slychosis is a Neo-Progressive band from Mississippi, U.S.A. that began activities in 2004. The original line up consisted of Gregg Johns (guitars, keyboards, vocals), James Walker (bass, vocals), and Todd Sears (drums, vocals). Their initial moniker was “Karma-Kannix”, but because of Swedish project “Karmakanic”, they decided to change to Slychosis. Some songs of Karma-Kannix were reworked, however, and have survived recorded on the first two independent albums of Slychosis: the eponymous debut “Slychosis” (2006) and it follow-up “Slychedelia” (2008). “Slychedelia” was tough to be finished. Band members were having personal problems; Johns and Walker were having musical divergences; and as Todd Sears was playing regularly with other bands, he was replaced by drummer Jeremy Mitchell. Other musicians contributed on some tracks, like Ceci Smith-Whitehurst (female vocals) and Chip Griffith (saxophone). During this turbulent period, Johns met Ukrainian artist Vladimir Moldavsky, with whom he established a creative relationship. Also during the finishing of “Slychedelia”, Johns and Jeff Hamel (of “Majestic”) began the Prog-Rock project “Proximal Distance”. “Mental Hygiene” (2010, MALS Records, Russia) is Slychosis’ third album. It was recorded at Slychotic Studios and mastered by L. Nix Mastering (Memphis). The cover artwork was done by V. Moldavsky. Besides Gregg Johns, the line-up consists of original drummer Todd Sears, new bassist Clay Pell, and Ceci Whitehurst on lead vocals. The special guests are Jeff Hamel (guitar and keyboards); Bones Theriot (guitarist of band “Abigail’s Ghost”), Michael Fortenberry (trumpet) and Bridget Shield (vocals). The sonority of Slychosis is essentially Neo-Progressive, with strong influences of “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Pallas” and “Mr. So & So”; but also having many moments of Symphonic Prog (“Camel”, “ELP”, “Yes”, “U.K.“), Psychedelic and Electronic Space-Rock (“Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”); Hard Rock (“Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush”), Classic Metal (“Black Sabbath”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”), Pop-Rock (“Beatles”, early “Bowie”), Blues and Jazz-Rock (“Jeff Beck”, “Allan Holdsworth”), also adding large doses of irony and sarcastic humor (like “Gong”, and “Frank Zappa”). But what is really superb and intriguing about the music of Slychosis is how they are successful in alternating all those influences within the same single song, by making use of a contrasting technique that puts sublime melodic moments of Progressive Rock side by side with heavy Hard Rock guitar riffs. “Mental Hygiene” contains 8 tracks. The opening track “Geistly Suite“, for instance, blends electronic sounds like “Alan Parsons” with Space guitars and Psychedelic vocals within a cadenced Neo-Prog frame. The following track, “Importance“, is grounded on typical Neo-Prog keyboards combined with soaring guitars (like “Arena” or “IQ”), having vocal tunes that remind me of “Rush”. “Fallen Tiger“ has a “Floydian” sad mood (as when “Roger Waters” takes the lead), including subtle dialogues of symphonic keyboards and guitars, like “Camel” and “Genesis”. “Things Unsaid“ leans a bit to a Pop Neo-Prog, having the danceable beats and the swinging bass of “Allan Parsons”, but vocals have the delicacy of a Folk song – suddenly cut by stormy Prog-Metal guitars (courtesy of Bones Theriot) - before returning back to its Folk serenity. “Odessa“ is an instrumental piece made of two contrasting parts: the first half reminds me of “Genesis” (album “The Lamb Lies Down…”); the second half is a Psychedelic Hard Rock, sounding like “Black Sabbath” combined with sharp-edged synthesizer solos. The sensational track “Angelus Novusaum“ slowly develops around a baroque theme over which soaring Neo-Prog guitars and keyboards envelope a lovely vocal tune, blending “Marillion” and “Allan Parsons”. New-Age angelical backing vocals open the gates for amazing bluesy guitars; bombastic trumpets, and “U.K.”-styled synthesizers. “When the Fog Clears“ brings light and darkness, opposing cool vocal tunes against Heavy Metal guitars. Finally, and not to forget their Mississippian musical roots – the awesome “Midnight“ is a Progressive Blues-Rock that features superb vocals by Bridget Shield and combines influences of “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, and “ELP”. A band that has really surprised me, Slychosis makes amazing Progressive and Hard Rock music, being for this reason worth of figuring in any Prog-Rock collection. Highly recommended!  Band members and collaborators involved in Slychosis are: Gregg Johns, - Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Vocals, Songwriting; Todd Sears – Drums, Vocals; Clay Pell – Bass; Ceci Whitehurst - Lead Vocals. Guests musicians: Jeff Hamel – Guitar, Keyboards; Bones Theriot – Guitar; Michael Fortenberry – Trumpet; Bridget Shield – Lead Vocals on “Midnight”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/30/2011.............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit SLYCHOSIS HOME PAGE...
. GROOVER VON KRÜGER - "Deus Ex Machina"
Groover Von Krüger is a Rock trio from Melbourne, Australia. The line-up consists of Der Groover (bass, vocals, guitar, keyboards), Le Marquis du Shred (rhythm and lead guitar), and The Baron Brutus McBludgeon (drums). Their proposal is to blend all kinds of music genres – mainly Rhythm & Blues, Classic Rock, Funk, Psychedelic, Progressive and Jazz. The lyrics are humorous and sarcastic (their website includes an option to subscribe for their own newspaper – “The Weekly Groover”. Groover Von Krüger has just released their debut EP, “Deus Ex Machina”. It was recorded at Basement Apes Recording Studio, Melbourne, and produced by the band itself. Owner of a sonority that mixes different kinds of music Groover Von Krüger is an interesting band that may reach a cult-status. Their basic influences are “AC/DC”, “Alice Cooper”, “Lou Reed”, “Mountain”, “The Doors”, “Kiss”, “Steppenwolf”, and early “Pink Floyd” and “Queen”. Bass is alternatively Jazzy, Funky, and Psychedelic; and the rhythmic is predominantly from the 70’s Classic Rock. Guitar riffs remind me of “AC/DC”, but solos are more varied, ranging from Classic Rock and Hard Rock to Psychedelic and Jazz. "Deus Ex Machina” features 5 tracks, clocking around 23 minutes. The opening track is “Nazi on a Bike“, a very good song that begins with groovy bass, sounding later like “AC/DC” with the sarcastic vocals of “Alice Cooper”, and still has a short part with 50’s-styled harmony vocals like “Queen”. It is followed by the short instrumental track “Deus Ex Machina“ – a typical Psychedelic Progressive piece, based on hypnotic bass, lysergic guitars, free-flowing drumming, and vintage cosmic keyboards – very “Floydian” indeed. The third track, “Guilty as Charged“, goes back to basic Hard Rock, with vibrant rhythm and strong chorus, resembling “Steppenwolf”, “AC/DC” and “Kiss”, still having a long guitar solo that is really full of electricity. The following track - “No Shoes“ – slows down the pace, being marked by a malevolent Funky bass. Mysterious vocals, bluesy guitars and psychedelic organ on background make me think of “The Doors” and “Lou Reed”. The final guitar solo is full of groove, soul and spirit – like “Mountain”. The last track is the instrumental “Escape Velocity”, which is high-spirited and lively. Introduced by bass and rocky pianos (like saloon music), with influences of “Jerry Lee Lewis“, “Elton John”, and “Queen”. It turns to a psychedelic atmosphere with bass and piano evolutions at the middle part, growing later to a Jazz-Rock – a very nice and crazy track, closing an equally nice and amusing record. Although Groover Von Krüger cannot be listed in any well-defined musical category, is especially recommended for people who like to listen to the good rock and roll of the Sixties and Seventies, but not specifically for Progressive Rock fans. Groover Von Krüger might capture the interest of fans of Alternative and Stoner Rock, however, and should be checked out by people with a wide musical taste. Band members and collaborators involved in Groover Von Krüger are: Der Groover – Bass, Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards; Le Marquis du Shred – Rhythm and Lead Guitar; The Baron Brutus McBludgeon – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/12/2011..............................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GROOVER VON KRÜGER HOME PAGE...
. NEBULEYES - "Divine Revolution"
Nebuleyes is a Progressive Metal project from France that started in 1999 when Benjamin Masson (guitars) and Xavier Boscher (guitars, bass, drums, synths, vocals) met together. Masson had been practicing guitar for years, and Boscher had been playing since 1994 in several bands (“Horresco”, “Referens”, “Misanthrope”, “Ellipsia”). In 2002, the two musicians entered studios to shape the band’s style and thematic line: Progressive Metal, Experimental and Pop-Rock, supported by Symphonic, Electronic, and Ambient backgrounds; the lyrics (in French) would be inspired on Scientific Fiction. Their debut album was “Digital EnfanT” (2004), which had participation of bassist Renaud Camiglieri and many guest vocalists. It was followed by “Divine Revolution” (2006). The albums were recorded at Cocoon Studio, edited by Plaza Mayor Company Ltd. and distributed by The Orchard. Some years later, Nebuleyes released the album “The Universal Being” (2009, Orfeo-Lab), which was marked by the first participation of singer Drama Elfamorta. The band also released the singles “Korzum Inc...” (2009), “Clash of the Titans” (2010), and “Degenerescence” (2011); and appeared on the compilations “Ultra Rock” (2009, Plaza Mayor Company Ltd.), “Orfeo'Pop” (2009), “Orfeo'Lab” (2010), and “Orfeo'Guitar” (2010). “Divine Revolution” has reached us only now, and is the first album of Nebuleyes that I have ever listened. The sonority of the album reflects the favorite bands and guitarists of the core musicians. Boscher loves “Cynic”, “Iron Maiden”, “Dream Theater”, “Marty Friedman”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Chuck Schuldiner”, “Gordian Knot”, “Devin Townsend”, “Queen”, and “Richard Wagner”. Masson likes “Dream Theater”, “Pagans Mind”, “Adagio”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Angra”, “Evergrey”, “Arch Enemy”, “Opeth”, “Children Of Bodom”, “Pink Floyd”, and by guitarists “Dave Martone”, “Alejandro Silva”, “Alessandro Benvenuti”, “Christophe Godin”, “Kiko Loureiro”, “William Stravato”, “David Valdes”, “Greg Howe”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Joey Tafolla”, and “Jason Becker”. Their partnership resulted in the most explosive Progressive Metal made in France. “Divine Revolution” features only four tracks, but they altogether clock around 55 minutes. The opening track, “Revolution Divine” (32:14), is an epic divided in 10 parts. Too long to be described in detail, this song is marked by the peculiar vocals of Boscher, who sings in a passionate way, almost declaiming, telling us a Sy-Fy story. The musical structure alternates fast-paced moments that are reminiscent of “Iron Maiden” with more cadenced and heavy riffing common to Prog-Metal bands like “Pagans Mind” and “Evergrey”. Symphonic interludes with keyboards mark the changes from one part to the other, preparing the listener also for the many moments of climax. The main solo instrument is the guitar, that recalls the styles of “Marty Friedman”, “Satriani”, “Jason Becker”, “Steve Vai”, “Kiko Loureiro”, and others. Some layers of electronic keyboards and ambient sounds are added here and there, keeping the overall futuristic atmosphere. The following track is “Endorphine et Placenta” (8:33). This song has a rocky-danceable beat, but the simple structure seems to be an excuse for Boscher and Masson to perform near a dozen great metallic guitar solos in the styles of “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Kotzen”, “Satriani” and so on. The last two tracks are instrumental pieces. “Digitaline” (4:54) employs a light combination of Prog-Fusion guitars with Electronic synthesized effects, getting closer to the music performed by non-metallic guitarists, such as “Dave Martone”, “Alessandro Benvenuti”, “Christophe Godin”, “William Stravato”, “David Valdes”, “Greg Howe”, and “Richie Kotzen”. It contrasts with the last track “Elixir” (10:06). This one is really an Experimental Prog Metal piece that blends influences of “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Cynic”, and “Opeth”, featuring metallic guitar solos like “Marty Friedman” and “Jason Becker”. Nebuleyes has recently released “12 Years of Stellar Pieces” (2011), that contains some old material remixed by Xavier Boscher. This album also counts with participation of remarkable mezzo-contralto singer Drama Elfamorta, who is influenced by “Nightwish”, “Maria Callas”, and Black,Pagan and Folk Metal. After this first contact with Nebuleyes, I am really curious to listen to that new album!  Band members and collaborators involved with Nebuleyes are: Xavier Boscher – Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keyboards, Drums; Benjamin Masson – Guitars. Guests: Sandrine Millet – Vocals; Renaud Camiglieri - Bass solo on “Revolution Divine”. Current member: Drama Elfamorta – Mezzo-Contralto Vocals, Piano, and Cello...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/1822011.................Want to learn everything about this amazing musicians, please visit NEBULEYES HOME PAGE...
. TWINSPIRITS - "Legacy"
Twinspirits is an Italian Progressive Metal project founded in 2004 by keyboardist and composer Daniele Liverani (ex-“Empty Tremor” and the mastermind of project “Genius Rock Opera”). The idea of having a complete and permanent band to perform his own compositions occurred to Liverani while he was working on the last chapter of “Genius”. He first recruited drummer Dario Ciccioni (also of “Genius“) to take part in the band, and later completed the line-up with young guitar-prodigy Tommy Ermolli, bassist Alberto Rigoni, and Danish vocalist Søren Adamsen. Their impressive music led them to sign a contract with Lion Music. After the release of the debut album “The Music That Will Heal The World” (2007), Søren Adamsen left the band for personal reasons. In September 2008, Swedish vocalist Göran Nyström came in after impressing the band with his versatility for singing either melodic or heavy music. Twinspirits released then the concept album “The Forbidden City” (2009), followed by a tour around Italy. Now Twinspirits presents us with their third album “Legacy” (2011, Lion Music). Twinspirits congregates several Progressive Metal bands in one. Besides resembling “Genius” and “Empty Tremor”, they have influences of “Evergrey”, “Queensrÿche”, “Silent Force”, “Dio”, “Malmsteen”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Symphony X”, “Astral Doors”, “Space Odyssey”, “Uriah Heep” and “Apocrypha“; also resembling bands like “Jorn Lande”, “House of Spirits”, “Ivanhoe”, “Royal Hunt“, “Angra”, “Vanden Plas”, “Adagio”, “Stratovarius”, “Amaran’s Plight”, “Falconer”, “Conception”, “Kamelot”, “Nocturnal Rites“, “Superior”, “Morifade”, “Pantommind”, “Circus Maximus”, “Sun Caged”, “Mind’s Eye“, and others of the kind. The music of Twinspirits is powerful, earth-quaking, and memorable. It may be fluidal and incandescent, like igneous molten rock that spills out of a flaring volcanic crater; but also as heavy and stiff as solidified granite. Bass and drums are substantial and pounding, keeping a heavy mid-tempo cadence that make the entire place rumbling. Guitars are compact and dense as led, but at the same time sharp and electrifying. The solos are awesome, ranging from Neoclassical to Hard Rock – and always guided by heart and soul. Keyboards are successively soaring, symphonic, fluidal, and epic, dictating the atmosphere of each song. Twinspirits privileges the melody and harmony over individual soloing: the musicians search for a synergetic communion that prevails over excessive technique. All in behalf of extraordinary singer Göran Nyström, who has the rare gift of “singing the story”. By using his interpretative talents, he can transmit passion, sadness, anger, or malice, recalling singers like “Dio”, “D.C. Cooper”, “Jorn Lande”, “Tom Englund” (“Evergrey”), “Mike Baker” (“Shadow Gallery”), “Nils Patrik Johansson” (“Astral Doors”), and “Mathias Blad“(“Falconer”). “Legacy” has six tracks and a 5-parted suite. “Senseless” opens the album combining the heavy cadence of “Evergrey” with the instrumental bursts of “Malmsteen” and “Shadow Gallery”. “Pay For Their Art” gets closer to a Traditional Metal, reminding me of “Dio”, “Astral Doors” and “Jorn Lande“. “Blind Soul” is pounding and groovy, combining Nyström‘s malevolent vocals with amazing dueling bass and drums, and carnivorous guitar solos. “Slave To This World” is faster, featuring a demolition-show of vocals. When neoclassical guitar solos clashed against Progressive synthesizers, I felt myself immersed in an epic-cosmic adventure, recalling bands like “Space Odyssey”, and “Vanden Plas”. “Don't Kill Your Dream” is a beautiful ballad with soulful guitar solo in style of the Seventies. “Over And Over Again” is a great Prog-Metal song – fast and aggressive, with many solos – blending influences of “Evergrey”, “Symphony X”, “Queensrÿche”, “Vanden Plas”, and “Shadow Gallery”.  But the album’s climax is reached on “The Endless Sleep” – a 30-minutes suite divided in 5 parts. The opening movement is a short symphonic piece with violins. It is followed by the heavy guitars of part 2 (“What Am I Supposed To Do”), which are quite like “Symphony X”. Part 3 (“Legacy”) is driven by a pulsing bass. Heavy and epic, it brings to my mind early Progressive Metal bands “House of Spirits” and “Apocrypha”. Part 4 (“I'm Leaving This World”) is an overwhelming symphonic piece featuring medieval vocal tunes, epic guitar riffs, neoclassical guitar solos, and baroque keyboard progressions that ascend together in an heroic celestial odyssey. Part 5 (“Tell Me The Truth”) closes the suite and the album with a touch of tranquility, reminding me of a ballad of “Uriah Heep”. Definitely one of the brightest albums to shine in the universe of Progressive Metal, “Legacy” is placing Twinspirits in the hall of the greatest Progressive Metal bands of the 21st century - brilliant, varied and indispensable for any Progressive Metal lover. Super-highly recommended! Band members and collaborators involved in Twinspirits are: Daniele Liverani – Keyboards, Compositions; Dario Ciccioni – Drums; Tommy Ermolli – Guitars; Alberto Rigoni – Bass; Göran Nyström – Vocals. Former vocalist: Søren Adamsen...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/12/2011.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TWINSPIRITS HOME PAGE...
. NO SECOND THOUGHT - "Monster"
No Second Thought is a North American trio hailing from Hollywood, California. The band was formed back in 2007 by Chris Albers (guitars, vocals, keyboards, and lyrics), Jason Paulsen (bass) and Mario Lackner (drums). The idea behind the band’s moniker is that the first impulse of a person is always the purest, and if one questions it, everything may come wrong. Following this theory of “first impulse”, the band spent over a year rehearsing in their studio, improvising and creating an identity of their own. This resulted in the development of a dynamic method for the band’s writing process, that captured on time all new ideas and instant inspiration of the moment. Working according to this process, No Second Thought recorded their debut album – “Monster” – alive in studio in only two days, without using a metronome. “Monster” was recorded at Midcity Sound & Sun Worshiper Studios, Los Angeles, CA; and mixed and mastered by Tony Lash of Mandible Studios and Superdigital, Portland, OR. Self-produced by Albers and Lackner, the album was released in 2010. No Second Thought combines heavy and intricate guitar and bass riffs with technical jazzy drumming and odd metrics (they refuse to play at merely 4/4), building up songs that blend Heavy Prog, Heavy Metal, New Metal, Post-Metal, Experimental Metal, and a bit of spontaneous “Heavy Alternative Rock”. Vocals are either aggressive or melancholic, but never grunted of growled. The level of technical precision reached by band members when performing is mathematically unbelievable, taking into consideration the fact that they did not use a metronome during the record sessions, and much of the interplay was improvised. The mood is frantic and explosive; songs are not long, but hit the listener straightforward on the face. Their main influences come from bands like “Faith No More”, “Deftones”, “Massive Attack”, “Radiohead”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Nirvana”, and “Porcupine Tree”; and also “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Primus”, and “Suicidal Tendencies” with which they share a resemblance of sonority. “Monster” brings 12 tracks. If you like adrenaline coupled with perfect interlocking guitar-bass-&-drums, the amazing initial songs “Killing What You Live For“, and “Monster“ bring much of the influences of “Faith No More”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Deftones”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Tool”, and will make you get immediately addicted to No Second Thought. But if it is not enough for you, the furious protest songs ”Confidence“ and “Fundamentalist“ (with “machine-gun” vocals) – are two tracks that show all the spontaneous aggressiveness of “Raging Against the Machine”, “Nirvana” and “Suicidal Tendencies” and that will make you change your mind. But if want to shift to Heavy-Prog terrains made of contrasting music with an alternation of heavy and melancholic moments (blurring “Deftones”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle”, with “Massive Attack” and “Radiohead”) the songs of your preference shall be ”Forgotten Ones” (which is psychedelic like “Porcupine Tree”, and arithmetical like “Tool”); the experimental “Heartstrings“; the Heavy Progressive “Lost Angels“; the “Nirvana-pessimistic” “When I Die“; and the calmer “Sunday Morning“. But if you prefer melancholic moods, slow melodies, psychedelic atmosphere and cool trip-hop sounds influenced by “Radiohead”, “Massive Attack”, and even “Porcupine Tree”, the songs “Enough“ (a cool ballad); “Nothing at All“ (a “Desert” Rock) and the closing track “Absinthe“ (which begins slow and sad, and grows heavier later), will make you magnetically bonded to this band. In the spring of 2010 original drummer Mario Lackner departed, being replaced by Jason Austan, but nobody can tell how this will affect the band’s extraordinary sonority. For now, the future of No Second Thought is focused on intensive gigging in 2011. Debuting with an excellent album, No Second Thought emerges as one of the best bands of its genre, being super-highly recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Faith No More”, “Deftones”, “Massive Attack”, “Radiohead”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Nirvana”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Jane’s Addiction”, and others of their kind.  Band members and collaborators involved in No Second Thought are: Chris Albers – Guitars, Lead and Backing Vocals, Lapsteel, Keyboards, Lyrics; Jason Paulsen – Bass; Mario Lackner – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, and Glockenspiel. Present drummer: Jason Austan...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/12/2011.................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit NO SECOND THOUGHT HOME PAGE...
. ARGENTI & ROSA - "Boston Gig"
Argenti & Rosa are two Italian musicians that have years of experience in the fields of Jazz and Rock. Enrico Rosa (guitars) was born in Leghorn, in 1951. He is one of founder members of legendary Progressive Rock band “Campo di Marte” (that released one album in 1973). From 1972 to 1978 Rosa worked as session and live guitarist with many important musicians in Italy (including “Demetrio Stratos”, from “Area”). At the end of the 70’s he moved to Denmark to work on the Jazz scene over there. Meanwhile he developed his own right-hand technique. From 1981 to 1990 he worked as arranger, composer, and played concerts with international acts. With Eva Rosa, he founded the project ROSÆ, releasing the CDs “Classico Atipico” (2002) and “The Incredible Journey” (2006). In 2003 Rosa took part in a historical concert of “Campo di Marte” (recorded on the Live CD “Concerto Zero”). Rosa still teaches at Danish Conservatories and Musical Institutes. Ferdinando Argenti was born in Pisa, in 1954. At age of 7 he began to study piano. During his youth, he played in Italian Rock bands and listened to Jazz music. At age of 20 he was already a full-time professional musician that performed in clubs, hotels, and on cruise ships around Europe. In 1984, as his fascination with Jazz had increased, he headed for the U.S.A. to study at the Berklee College of Music. He performed regularly with Italian and American jazz musicians, notably “Chet Baker”, “Lee Konitz”, “Kenny Wheeler”, “Massimo Urbani”, “Paolo Fresu”, “Gianni Basso”, and “Flavio Boltro”. His style is influenced by “Charlie Parker”, “Oscar Peterson”, “Bill Evans”, “Chet Baker”, “Herbie Hancock” and “Chick Corea”. In 1994 Argenti established himself in Boston, U.S.A. In October 2002, Argenti and Rosa had a musical meeting that resulted in the release of their first album “To The Old Friendship” (2003). In October 2009 they reunited again. Together with experienced Jazz musicians David Clark (bass) and James T. Lattini (drums) they went out for a short sequence of live shows that culminated in the recording of their second album: “Boston Gig” (2010). The album was recorded at Thin Ice Studio, Andover - Boston; engineered by Bob Patton; and mastered in Denmark by Torben Schmidt and Jan Eliasson. “Boston Gig” has 7 instrumental pieces. Four of them are original compositions by either Rosa (3) or Argenti (1). The remaining three pieces are covers of classics by “Gillespie”, “Hank Mobley” and “Eddie Harris”, with original arrangements by Rosa. Although I am not a Jazz aficionado, I got immediately hooked on “Boston Gig”. Structured as in Modern Jazz, the music is plentiful of elaborate jazz guitars, opulent pianos, effervescent bass, and dazzling drums - always precise and fluidal, with intense instrumental interplay. A lively and vibrant mood pervades all the record. “Stress Me” (Rosa) opens the album with fast and destructive bass lines. A double attack of piano and drums follows, becoming progressively more intricate, like the branches on a tree from which Rosa’s solos sprout like vivid flowers. The following piece “Svezia in Fiamme“ (Rosa) slows the pace to a cool jazz. Its joyful guitar theme and bouncing pianos make the base for inspired solos by Rosa, Argenti and Clark. “Dubbio” (Rosa) is a dynamic piece that magnificently combines Jazz-Rock guitars and drums with Modern Jazz piano and bass. The only track by Argenti is “So, That’s How It Is“ – a sophisticated piece on which delicate melodies from piano and guitar engage in a educated conversation about silk, air and stars – a piece to be performed in a chic ambient at night. The remaining three tracks are covers that Rosa has brilliantly arranged for guitar, presenting us with fresh versions of some classics. “Bebop“ (“Dizzy Gillespie”) retains its characteristic rhythmic frame, giving room for a show of improvisation by the entire quartet. “Funk in the Deep Freeze“ (“Hank Mobley”) is stretched out to 9 minutes of soft rounded jazz played with a relaxed disposition, just for the pure joy of being alive. The closing track “Freedom Jazz Dance” (“Eddie Harris”) is performed with unusual energy and determination – including turbulent pianos, uprising guitars, incisive bass and tempestuous drumming - maybe a vestige of the past partnership of Rosa with his friends from “Campo di Marte” and “Area”. As an authentic Jazz quartet, Argenti & Rosa cannot be compared with any Progressive or Jazz-Rock standards. But I think that fans of “Focus”, “Jan Akkerman”, “Soft Machine”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Alex Skolnick Trio“, “Greenslade”, “Gentle Giant”, “Finch”, “The Flower Kings”, “Area”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Arti & Mestieri”, and “Campo di Marte” should listen to them. Anyway, “Boston Gig” is brilliant, a master-piece that has the force to drag any Progressive lover into the Jazz world – so, beware!  Band members involved in Argenti & Rosa are: Ferdinando Argenti – Piano; Enrico Rosa – Guitar; David Clark – Upright and Electric Bass; James T. Lattini (a.k.a. Jim Lattini) – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/12/2011............................For more details and in the meantime please check out ARGENTI & ROSA HOME PAGE...
. AMITY IN FAME - "Through"
The band formed in May 2008 and quickly recorded their debut album “Dinner for One” which was self-recorded, self-mastered and also produced by the band and it was released in Juli 2008 and would later become one of the most downloaded albums ever on Jamendo with around 20000 downloads worldwide (as of May 2011). In January 2009, Amity in Fame released its first low budget music video to the song “Dinner for One” which received around 70.000 views on YouTube in the first two years and also got regular airplay on one of Middle Europe's biggest music channels, GOTV. Less than a year after the band’s first rehearsal, they had already appeared on numerous European radio stations, music blogs and compilation albums. In less than a year after the foundation, Amity in Fame achieved rank five in Middle-Europe's biggest band contest, the International Live Award (with over 1000 bands from eight nations) and the band played in front of over 5.000 people. In 2010, the band concentrated on further developing the style of powerful music and on reaching a new level in composition and artistic conception. For my surprise, here this my recommendation for the progressive rock community, Amity In Fame is really a very potent group, able to create a diverse musical texture, which evolves around many styles, they know how to develop a real and enjoyable instrumental, playing an intelligent Art Rock style, involved with touchs of progressive rock, decorated with melodics tonality, though introducing some progressive metal passages, but also, evident traces of different musical textures created with the conventional prog rock instruments. The band's style is very melodic, introducing acoustic passages, the main instrumental base are the guitars, bass and drums, that are the main instruments from the arrangements, the keyboards have a touch of a fine finishing, such as a flavor from a special seasoning, the lyrics are well interpreted by powerful vocals, sometimes with melodic tones, sometimes with aggressive passages in a way that fit perfectly with the instruments. The musicians and Amity In Fame, show that, really they are an amazing band to becoming a new name in the progressive scene. They have a lot more in common musically with bands such as "Frost*", "RPWL", "Paatos", "Blind Ego", "Porcupine Tree", "Lis Er Stille", "The D Project", and "Beardfish" with touchs of "Riverside". With the album "Through", Amity in Fame wants to lure its listeners into a new world of unique sound and pitoresque fantasies. "Through" is the second studio album, contain eleven tracks, almost 45min. All songs written by Amity In Fame, including a beautiful artwork by Matthias Kollros and cover design by MultiMediaLab. This is also visible on the cover on which every song has its symbolic represantation. The cover picture as a whole is inspired by the concept of the duality of human existence. Everything in the world has two sides and Amity in Fame try to combine the two hearts beating in their breasts with this album. The big strength of the band is its uniqueness, it seems and this trump is played perfectly on "Through". According to the band, "Through" will represent a new level of powerful acoustic rock. The main Amity In Fame cast consists of five musicians: Michael Bichler – Vocals, Filip Hörschläger – Guitar/Vocals, Roman Mayrhofer – Bass, Alex Zaus – Keyboards, Manfred Krenmair – Drums and a Guest: Judith Schweder – Vocals on “Through”. Highly recommended for all Art Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal fans around the world. If you want to hear their music please visit Amity In Fame'sMySpace page...   (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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05/12/2011......If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit AMITY IN FAME  HOME PAGE...
. BEPPE CROVELLA - "What’s Rattlin’ on the Moon?"
Beppe Crovella is a veteran keyboardist, and one of founder members of legendary Italian Progressive and Jazz Rock band “Arti & Mestieri”. Along his career, he has released many records in the fields of Progressive Rock, Keyboard Instrumental Music, and Score Music. He is also producer and owner of independent Label Electromantic Music (which supports important bands such as “Castello di Atlante”, “Ainur”, “Malibran”, “Procession”, “Alluminogeni”, “N.y.X.”, “Syndone”). Crovella loves keyboards, and regards each model in a different way, as if they had a “well defined personality”. Following an invitation by Leonardo Pavkovic (producer of Jazz-Label Moonjune Records), Crovella was asked to reinterpret on his own way the music of Mike Ratledge – the main composer of “Soft Machine”. The partnership resulted in the release of “What’s Rattlin’ on the Moon” (2010, Moonjune Records). The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Beppe Crovella at Electromantic Synergy Studio (Torino, Italy) between March and August 2009. The music was all performed on vintage keyboards (neither synthesizers, nor digital keyboards were used on the recording). The album is divided in two sections. The first section is dubbed “ …Rattling all the Time”, and contains a selection of 10 classic compositions by Ratledge, performed in Crovella’s style. The second section is the couple “…Before the Moon” / “…After the Moon”, and comprises a sequence of 6 original compositions by Crovella that have been inspired on the “Soft Machine” style. In both sections Crovella has tried to create an unusual interaction among his keyboards, searching for a spontaneous compositional approach. The final product resulted completely different from “Soft Machine’s” original sonority. This may (or may not) be a goal, because the appreciation of Crovella’s versions will depend on the taste, disposition, and particular point of view of each listener. The question posed herein is “Is the listener willing to hear a copycat of “Soft Machine”, or is he searching for new versions that, even though sounding totally different, will follow “Soft Machine’s” original spirit, which was based on freedom of imagination, creation and improvisation?” For Crovella, the second option seems to be the only possible answer. According to his interpretation, the melodies, moods and the multiple possibilities allowed by his keyboards are most important than the dynamics and vibes generated by a rhythm section made of real drums and bass. By replacing the typical jazzy pace of “Soft Machine” by a cosmic-psychedelic atmosphere, Crovella came up with compositions that sound less fluidal and vibrant then the original classics, but that have gained with new arrangements that make them slower, denser, heavier, and immersed in a darker and frightful atmosphere that is unexpected for the regular fan of “Soft Machine”; approaching his work to early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, and “Brian Eno”. Classics like “Tarabos” (on which the main theme is played with a mechanical noise, and Mellotrons are ghostly), “Chloe And The Pirates” (which is slower, slightly psychedelic, but still preserves the melody of the main tunes), and “Esther's Nose Job” (which is equally hectic, although less jazzy) match to Crovella’s interpretation more adequately. Other pieces sound totally different, however, like “All White” (surrounded by a mysterious aura); “The Man Who Waved At Trains” (with melancholic tunes and a homesick feeling); “As If” (which experiments with a “bubble-like” sound); “Hibou, Anemone And Bear” (a shorter instrumental version that lacks speed, but features several textures on keyboards); and “Pig” (which compensates the lack of spontaneity by emphasizing the tunes). Two tracks are résumés that have half of the original duration, and were picked from “Soft Machine’s” album “Third”: “Out-Bloody-Rageous” includes a piano part that captures its primeval spirit; “Slightly All The Time”, on the contrary, takes a bass line of the original to transform it into a heavy and oppressive psychedelic riff. The second section of the album features only compositions signed by Crovella. “...before the Moon” is a suite composed of the 3 parts “Leonardo's E-Mail” (that follows the overall dark ambience of the album), “Moonvision” (with a light and beautiful main tune), and “Many Moons, Many Junes” (a modern Fusion). “...after the Moon” is a Jazz piece for piano that undergoes three phases: “Lunar Impression” (Classical Jazz); “Circular Lines In The Air” (Free and Experimental Jazz); and “Moon Geezers (to Elton & Hugh)” (Modern cool Jazz). An original, albeit peculiar work, Beppe Crovella’s “What’s Rattling on the Moon?” is recommended for fans of “Soft Machine” and Experimental Keyboard Music. Only band member involved in Beppe Crovella is: Beppe Crovella - Mellotron, Fender Rhodes Stage 73 electric piano, Wurlitzer E200 electric piano, Hohner electric piano, Hohner Clavinet D6, Rösler Grand Piano, Hammond Organ M102, Farifsa Professional...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/22/2011..................................Interested to know more about the musician? Visit BEPPE CROVELLA HOME PAGE...
. FATAL FUSION - "Land Of The Sun"
Fatal Fusion is a new quintet hailing from Oslo, Norway, that gathered together in early 2008.  Erlend Engebretsen (keyboards), his younger brother Audun Engebretsen (drums), and Lasse Lie (bass) had played in several Rock and Blues cover bands (“No Name”, “Moonstone”, “Chrystal Blues”) since the late 80’s, and were willing to make their own music, which they intended to be more complex than mere Rock and Blues. They founded the project Fatal Fusion and recruited Knut E. Grøntvedt (vocals) and guitarist  Stig Selnes (ex-“The Rumbling Tubes”; and still on Prog-Metal band “Agate”) to complete the line-up. Fatal Fusion decided to follow the line of Classic-Rock and Progressive Rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s, but without getting much restricted. So they are always inclined to allow other genres – Blues, Hard Rock, Psychedelic, Neo-Progressive, Latin, Funk, Jazz, and Classical – to circulate freely inside their veins and brains. They are influenced by their favorite bands and many others, making a long list: “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “The Doors”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Procol Harum”, “Mountain”, “Humble Pie”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Uriah Heep”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow“,“Santana“, “Pink Floyd”, “Camel”, “ELP”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Jane”, “Eloy”, “Boston”, “Rush”, “Toto”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Iron Maiden”, “Dream Theater”, and “Spock’s Beard”. Fatal Fusion uses the experience of band members to organize all those influences in a musical brew that boils inside their debut album, “Land of the Sun” (2010, independent release). The record was produced by Audun Engebretsen and Stig Selnes, and mixed and engineered by Stig Selnes (who has also carried out the artwork and graphic design). By using vintage keyboards, Fatal Fusion imposes a sonority to their music that reminds me of “Procol Harum”, “Jane”, “Deep Purple”, “Rick Wakeman”, and “Genesis”, but blends it with guitars that sound either in Neo-Progressive style (fusing “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”), or fall in a Bluesy mood (imagine “Hendrix”, “Cream”, and “Mountain” in Neo-Prog textures). Bass and drums are typically from the Classic and Hard Rock of the 60’s and 70’s, reminding me of “Cream”, “Humble Pie”, “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Uriah Heep” and “Boston”; but some cadences are Bluesy and Classical like “Procol Harum” and “Jane”. Others may recall a slow “Iron Maiden”, or have Latin beats (like “Santana”). Bass lines are sometimes psychedelic like “Pink Floyd” and “Eloy”. Vocals are passionate and incredible diverse, recalling “Cream”, “Humble Pie”, “Procol Harum”, “Boston”, “Toto”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, and “Pallas”. “Land of the Sun” brings 8 tracks. The 9-minutes long title track opens the album with bass lines that recalls “Pink Flyod’s” song “Money”, but a Fusion swing emerges to drive the song, until an unexpected change in pace turns the song into a Neo-Prog piece, pushed by classic pianos and long guitar solo like “Marillion”, “IQ”, and “Genesis”, followed by a synthesizer solo in the style of “Rick Wakeman”. “Cry No More” is a typical Hard Rock with the groove of “Cream”, “Humble Pie”, and “Led Zeppelin”, and great vocals and guitars. “Promises“ is a slow song with influences of “Procol Harum”, “Boston”, and “Mountain”, but with bluesy guitars that have a Neo-Prog tone. The intro of “Love in the Sky“ is symphonic and cosmic like “Eloy”, but then comes a galloping rhythm like a slow “Iron Maiden”. The catchy chorus (like “Boston”), amazing guitar solo (like “Rainbow”), and fast Hammonds (like “Deep Purple”) are the highlights on this great track. “Shot to the Ground“ blends the Hard Rock of “Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, and “Humble Pie” with Latin drumming. “Remember“ is the ballad of the album: pushed by classical piano and sad vocals, the song grows later with bass, drums, and a soaring guitar solo that comes from the core of the soul. “Broken Man“ (12:34 subdivided in 4 parts - “Accusations-The Hangman-Death-The Ghost”) begins with a Neo-Prog riff (like “Pallas”). The middle section turns into a ballad with Spanish acoustic guitars and melodic vocals (like “Boston”), and bluesy Neo-Prog solos. Heavy Spanish riffs and bombastic keyboards lead to the grand finale. The album is closed by the awesome instrumental track “Out to the Fields“ (15:45 subdivided in “To the Fields-The Journey-The Battle-Homecoming”). It begins in the Neo-Prog style of “IQ”, “Pallas” and “Arena”, being later driven by a psychedelic cadence marked on bass (like “Pink Floyd” and “Eloy”). It still features jazzy pianos, rumbling drumming, and sharp synthesizer solos, finishing with symphonic astral keyboards. Fatal Fusion is a grateful surprise in the world of Prog-Rock, and “Land of the Sun” is really an amazing and brilliant debut – highly recommended for fans of Classic and Progressive Rock in general. Band members and collaborators involved in Fatal Fusion are: Knut E. Grøntvedt – Vocals; Stig Selnes – Guitars, Backing Vocal; Erlend Engebretsen – Keyboards (Rhodes piano, Mellotron, Hammond Organ, Chamberlin, Moog & Prophet synthesizers), Backing Vocals; Lasse Lie – Bass; Audun Engebretsen – Drums, Backing Vocals...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/22/2011...........Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit FATAL FUSION HOME PAGE...
. PANDORA - "Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno"
Pandora were born in September 2005 but are the arriving point of an old, touching love: that which extremely binds a father and a son, that find in their belonging within Progressive’s music a transgenerational common language, a shared hope. Claudio Colombo, multi-instrumentalist and drummer, is the son of Beppe, a musician of long experience: The Colombo’s are voracious listeners of excellent Rock music from the Seventies and choose to start together a new musical journey. Along side the excellent keyboardist Corrado Grappeggia, they launch a musical project based on their love of Seventies’ Progressive Rock, inspired by "Genesis", "Emerson Lake and Palmer", "PFM", "New Trolls", "Gentle Giant", and "Le Orme", though aimed toward a newer sound, thanks to Claudio’s love for "Dream Theater". The secret’s in the different experiences and extractions of the three components: Beppe’s large experience as listener and musician, Corrado’s musical culture, and Claudio’s talent (a rare example of a young multi-instrumentalist and graphic designer). The trio is the basic element that makes up Pandora, which from time to time welcomes the contribution of different musicians with the purpose of producing great compositions. Back in the trio line-up they started their career with and after their debut album "Dramma di un poeta ubriaco" (BTF 2008) was successful both amongst the critics and with the audiences, Pandora tackle their second work with a reinvigorated attitude. "Sempre e Comunque Oltre Il Sogno" confirms the style employed in the band’s previous record maintaining the main characteristics of the band, whose prog rock is melodic but solid, refined but also aggressive, alternating softly drawn undertones and great energy. Claudio Colombo, Beppe Colombo and Corrado Grappeggia are the protagonists of this album focused on dreams, on the flights of fantasy, on a project of evocative, timeless music. I´d like to invite all from the progressive community to enjoy an incredible musical trip, at first, let´s to set our trip, let´s introduce a pompous sound, similar to the bands like "Le Orme", "Locanda Delle Fate", "Yes" and "Genesis", the symphonic trademark from the "New Trolls", "Corte Dei Miracoli" and  "Premiata Forneria Marcone", an instrumentation full of power and energy like of "Balletto Di Bronzo" and "Il Rovescio Della Medaglia", subtle touches from jazz like the "Osanna" and "Deliriun", everything together added to competent arrangements, created by three highly experienced musicians, the final destination is the band Pandora. This trip will be guided by Beppe Colombo, Claudio Colombo and Corrado Grappeggia, three musicians with a sole purpose of guiding the listener into an unforgettable musical experience. There is no a prominent instrument in the arrangements, keyboards, guitars, bass and drums are classified like a full orchestra, all have the same power, an instrument's sound like the keyboards, is always the complement from another one as the guitar, where this instrumental set creates a different feel with majestic musical passages, vocals singing in Italian exude emotion, creating a magical atmosphere together with the arrangements. The amount of instruments used and how skillfully the arrangements are developed are nothing short of fantastic. Pick up "Sempre e Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno", you must listen to often, and you will realise how this album is totally indispensable in our progressive rock collection, a professional musical work, well played by talented musicians. The band's second album and Pandora's musicians are basically a perfect par. Did not realized anything negative to mention, because the overall musical feeling I get from listening to musicians playing a original italian progressive rock, is just amazing. The band's extraordinary musicianship has taken another important step up around the prog rock scenary with this new album. The group shows a new sense of maturity and cohesion that permeates into the songs, creating a mystic, epic, dark and a powerful symphonic atmosphere, we can say that Pandora is among the most famous Italian bands, with a high musical level, easily compared with many icons of the 70's, as "Balletto Di Bronzo", "Ezra Winston", "Osanna", "Le Orme", "Semiramis", "Il Rovescio Della Medaglia", "Diario di Viaggio Della Festa Mobile", "Goblin", "Il Paese Dei Balocchi", "Latte E Miele", "Celeste", "Corte Dei Miracoli", "Deliriun", "New Trolls", "Quella Vecchia Locanda", "Reale Accademia Di Musica", "Sensation's Fix", "The Trip", "PFM" and others. There is no favorite music, all are special, but some of them deserve a special mention, as the tracks "Incantesimo L 'Del Druido", "Discesa Attraverso lo Stige", "Ade, Sensazione di Paura", "03/02/1974" (a tribute to the band "Genesis") and the last track "Sempre e Ovunque" with about 23 minutes, where I believe it is the apex of this great album. "Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno" album was released in 2011. Recorded and mixed between June and September 2010, Recorded at Pandoramusic and Rock Lab Studios, mixed by Andreas Polito and Clauio Colombo. The album consists of eight tracks, and a nice printing art production. The musicians on Pandora are: Claudio Colombo - Drums, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Flute, Beppe Colombo - Keyboards, Synths, Backing Vocals and Corrado Grappeggia - Piano, Keyboards, Synth, Lead Vocals. Guest Musician - Christian Dimasi - Electric Guitars, Accoustic Guitar and Bass. Brilliant, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...   (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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05/22/2011...............For those who are looking for novelty and innovation, check out PANDORA OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. THE ELEPHANT PARALLAX - "The Elephant Parallax"
The Elephant Parallax is a new Progressive Metal band based on San Fernando Valley, California (U.S.A.). The integrants are David Renteria (guitar, vocals), Benigno Esau Gonzalez (guitar, synths, vocals), Stephen Charouhas (bass, vocals), and Stephen’s older brother Paul Charouhas (drums, vocals). The Elephant Parallax was born in 2007, founded by Gonzalez and Renteria, and soon the Charouhas brothers came in (they had a duo called “I Don’t Know What Chemical God Damn It”). Their musical influences are all different. Gonzalez loves Metal; Renteria likes Progressive, Metal, and Classical Music, and played in local Punk bands. So did Stephen, who also listened to Prog-Rock; while Paul had an academic degree in music. Following the motto that “Music is free”, The Elephant Parallax is a democratic band, and each member has the same right of expressing himself musically. Their influences are the widest, blending Post-Metal, Alternative Rock, Heavy Prog, Experimental, Avant-garde and Progressive Metal, joining inside the same basket bands and musicians as diverse as “King Crimson”, “Jimi Hendrix”,  “Mike Patton”, “Brian Wilson”, “Bill Bruford”, “Tony Levin”, “Godspeed! You Black Emperor”, “The Mars Volta”, ”At the Drive-In”, “Daughters”, “Sigur Ros”, “Aphex Twin”, “Björk”,  “José José”, and academic composers like “Arvo Pärt”, “Phillip Glass”, “John Cage”, “David Behrman”, “Chopin”, “Rachmaninoff”, “Shostakovich”, “Tony Williams”, “Ennio Morricone”. Their sonority, in my opinion, is also similar to bands like “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Blotted Science”, “Spastic Ink”, “Behold…The Arctopus”, “Primus”, “Outopsya”, and “Faith No More“. The inspiration for the music may come from videogames, anime, the Literature, a painting, or any kind of free artistic manifestation. The lyrics tell about metaphysical and social issues. Renteria wrote the song “Incenfeminalgia” inspired by the “Leonard Shlain’s” book, “Alphabet Vs. the Goddess”, that teaches that minor changes may lead to greater transformations in a wider scope – something that The Elephant Parallax pursues when doing its own music. At first the band released the EP “Apes Who Looked Up” in 2007, and later gigged extensively around the Los Angeles area to develop a fan base. In 2008, The Elephant Parallax started working on material for a follow-up, with each musician taking the lead vocals. The result is the self-titled debut EP “The Elephant Parallax”, released in 2010 by independent label Chaos-Harmony Recordings. The EP was mixed by Gonzalez and Renteria and mastered by “King Crimson” producer Ronan Chris Murphy. The album brings five tracks. “Strangers“ opens the album with energy, sounding like “Primus” on the beginning, changing to a Progressive part in the middle that reminds me of “King Crimson”, and finishing with a raging rampage of “The Mars Volta”. “Incenfeminalgia“ is a Post-Metal piece driven in mid-tempo that gradually grows in strength, like “A Perfect Circle” and “Godspeed! The Black Emperor”, with melancholic vocals like “Porcupine Tree“. Some frantic guitars remind me of “Blotted Science” and “Spastic Ink”. “Ahead While Stopping“ is an intriguing Experimental instrumental piece. It is developed like a long solo of drums, having gothic keys on the background that remind me of the academic works of “Arvo Pärt” and “John Cage” – very “Crimsonian” indeed. “Aglow From the Chasm“ is a lively energetic song with a rocky bass and complex guitar interplay, and hardcore vocals, in a blend of “At the Drive-In” with “Daughters”. The middle section is firstly melancholic, growing slightly epic later (like “Godspeed!”). “Awaken a Wave“ has the Latin-Metal mood typical of “The Mars Volta”, with “Mike Patton’s” vocal-type, and an attempt to approach the more intricate structure of “Blotted Science” and “Spastic Ink”, as is heard on the final guitar solo. The Elephant Parallax is presently working on music for a future full-length album. By now, I shall recommend The Elephant Parallax for fans of Heavy Prog, Progressive Metal, Experimental Metal and Post-Metal that like the unconventional sonority of “King Crimson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “The Mars Volta”, “Primus”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Mike Patton”, “Blotted Science”, “Spastic Ink”, “Behold…The Arctopus”, “Godspeed! You Black Emperor”, “Daughters”, “Coheed and Cambria”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Elephant Parallax are: David Renteria – Guitar, Vocals; Benigno Gonzalez – Guitar, Synths, Vocals; Stephen Charouhas – Bass, Vocals; Paul Charouhas – Drums, Vocals. Also you must visit The Elephant Parallax MySpace Site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/23/2011.....................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE ELEPHANT PARALLAX HOME PAGE...
. SWEETKISS MOMMA - "Revival Rock"
SweetKiss Momma is a Blues-Rock band hailing from the small city of Puyallup, Washington, U.S.A. The line up consists of Jeff Hamel (lead vocals, guitar, and harmonica); Aaron Arnold (lead guitar, vocals); Waid Hoyt (guitar, vocals); Randy Jackson (bass); and Tyson Lickert (drums, percussion). The musicians grew up playing classic spirituals and gospel songs during the weekly services in their local church, and therefore developed a taste for the Blues. After composing some original material, they made for their first local gig in 2008. Since then, they have performed in several Northwest venues (Tractor Tavern, Jazzbones, The Showbox, El Corazon, and The Sunset Tavern). They managed to release a self-titled EP in 2008, and in 2010 they went to Austin for a presentation during the SXSW 2010 Festival. During this time, they have opened shows for “Molly Hatchet”, “Jeff Cook”, “The Supersuckers” and “The Ventures”. The album “Revival Rock” (2010) is SweetKiss Momma’s first full-length. The record was a top-selling item in CD Baby site. The recording took place at the Orbit Audio studio (Seattle) utilizing exclusively analog equipment to keep the original organic feeling of the music that inspired the musicians. It was produced and engineered by Joe Reineke, mixed by Reineke and Brett Phillips; mastered by Nick Moon with Tone Proper Mastering. The album artwork and design was carried out by renowned poster artist Adam Turman, who provided the package with the same vintage feel as the music it holds. Although coming from the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S.A., SweetKiss Momma is a band that is strongly bonded to the deepest roots of the North American Rock. Because of that, their choice was to embrace the Southern Rock style, also drinking from the timeless source of Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Soul. Their influences stand on the time-line of Basic Rock – from “James Gang”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “The Allman Brothers”, “ZZ Top”, “Canned Heat”, “Blackfoot”, “Credence Clearwater Revival”, “Mountain”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “AC/DC”, “Bad Company”, “Stevie Ray Vaughan”, to the most recent “The Black Crowes”, and “Kings of Leon”. With the honest and true feelings of a “simple man” transposed to the lyrics, and the typical approach to the emotions on the guitar on riffs and solos, SweetKiss Momma can instantly captivate the audience. Furthermore, Hamel’s voice is ideal for this kind of music, being at the same time passionate and strong. “Revival Rock” has the clear intention of warning the younger people not to forget their roots. The sonority is vintage - as if one was listening to old vinyl records of “James Gang”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, or “The Allman Brothers” – but only is a few compositions the musicians update the sound to get it closer to “The Black Crowes”. “Revival Rock” brings 12 tracks. The two opening songs are “Ready to Go“ that has the same swing of any “James Gang” classic, and the amazing “Son of the Mountain“ – a Hard Rock with the vigor and heaviness of “Grand Funk”, “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Mountain” and “The Black Crowes”. Also with this stronger verve and energy, the songs “Rocket Ride“, “Sweet Little Thing“, “Ounce Left of Pride“, and “Sugar in the Raw“ convey influences mainly of “James Gang” and “Eric Clapton”, with some passages the recall me of “Grand Funk Railroad”, “ZZ Top” and “AC/DC”. But some of the best songs come in the form of great ballads, with strong influence of “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “The Allman Brothers”, and “Credence”. These are the soulful “Strange Fire“; the sad “To Help a Man“ (also with a solo of harmonica that recalls me of “Canned Heat”) and the mild “Come Clean“, with amazing organ and the most beautiful guitar solo of the record. The remaining songs are the cute ballad “Slow Fade“, the fast and a bit cheerful “Mercy Love“ (reminiscent of “Molly Hatchet”), and the slightly modern “Good God Woman“. All in all, SweetKiss Momma has made an excellent debut, with real southern heart and soul, which is highly recommended for any fan of Southern Rock and Blues-Rock, in special those who are fond of “James Gang”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “The Allman Brothers”, “ZZ Top”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in SweetKiss Momma are: Jeff Hamel – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica; Aaron Arnold - Lead Guitar, Vocals;  Waid Hoyt - Guitar, Vocals; Randy Jackson - Bass; Tyson Lickert – Drums, Percussion. Additional musicians: Mark Fredson – Piano, Organ, Clavinet; Joe Reineke – Guitar (on “Sweet Little Thing” and “Come Clean”); David George – Trumpet, Paul Fessenden – Saxophone (both on “Slow Fade”). Also you must visit SweetKiss Momma MySpace Site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/23/2011..Want to learn everything about the band and about their history, go to SWEETKISS MOMMA WEB SITE...
. JIMI BARBIANI BAND - "Back On The Tracks"
Jimi Barbiani is an Italian guitarist that loves Blues. When he was seventeen, he was able to reproduce all guitar licks from his favorite and most inspiring artists – “The Rolling Stones”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “John Mayall”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Allman Brothers Band” and “Cream”. Barbiani began to gain experience with his first band, “Red House”, a tribute-band that played covers of Rock pioneers. His musical career began to take off in 1999, when he began to play in the trio “Wind”. He has performed in many Blues Festivals around Europe and America; and also shared stage with important acts (like “B.B.King”, “John Mayall”, “Greg Allman”, “Robert Plant”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “Eric Sardinas”, “Brian Auger”, “Ten Years After”, “Steppenwolf”, “Canned Heat”, “Mick Taylor”, “Johnny Winter”). His main influences came from all-time Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Classic Rock bands (“Jimi Hendrix Experience”, “Cream”, “Rolling Stones”, “Traffic”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “The Allman Brothers Band”, “John Mayall's Bluesbreakers”, “The Who”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Canned Heat”, “Jethro Tull”, “Colosseum”, “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, “Joe Cocker”, “Ray Charles”, “Black Crowes”, “Derek Trucks Band”, ”Gov't Mule”); Jazz and Soul performers (“Etta James”, “Otis Redding”, “Dexter Gordon”, “John Coltrane”, “Miles Davis”, “Thelonious Monk”), Keyboardists (“Johnny Neel”, “Jimmy Smith”, “Brian Auger”); and many guitar players (“Jimi Hendrix”, “Duane Allman”, “Jimmy Page”, “Jeff Beck”, “Peter Green”, “Mick Taylor”, “Buddy Guy”, “Muddy Waters”, “Johnny Winter”, “Robert Johnson”, “Joe Bonamassa”, “John Mayer”, “Eric Sardinas”, “Mike Bloomfield”). Blending all those influences, Barbiani developed his own guitar style, which is reminiscent of both the slide skills of “The Allman Brothers” and “Muddy Waters’s” deep notes vibrato. Moreover, he always plays with energy, emotion, soul, and deep feelings, allowing himself to fall under the Magic Spell of the Blues. That is what the listener will find on the new album of Jimi Barbiani Band – “Back on the Tracks” (released on December, 2010, under independent label Andromeda Relix, distributed by Black Widow Records). The albums was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Barbiani at Saojo Studios, Udine, Italy, in 2010. The CD comes inside a beautiful box enveloped in red velvet featuring engraved golden letters (a real collector’s item!). The line-up consists of Barbiani (lead, slide and acoustic guitars), J.C. Cinel (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, and compositions); Elvis Fior (drums); Daniele Vicario (bass) and some guests (see below). “Back on the Tracks” brings 11 tracks: 9 originals and 2 covers, with original arrangements by Barbiani. The sonority is reminiscent of those Blues-Rock acts cited above, also resembling “Free”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “ZZ Top”, “Humble Pie”, “Nazareth”, “Bad Company”, and others of their kind. The bluesy and soulful vocals of J.C. Cinel – also a member of band “Wicked Minds” - fit perfectly to the style. The opening track - “I Feel So Lonely“ – has the cadence of the Hard Rock of the Seventies, reminding me of “Led Zeppelin”, “Humble Pie”, “Nazareth”, and “Bad Company”. “I Got the Devil“ and ”Party Angel“, on the contrary, are light and lively Rock and Roll songs that go to the Sixties and back, blending influences of “Rolling Stones”, “Muddy Waters”, “Buddy Guy”, and “Gallagher”. On “Good Time Man“, the cheerful piano puts on a lively mood, and we feel like listening to “The Allman Brothers”. “Weeping Sky“ is a long and soft blues with the verve of “Allman Brothers”, “John Mayall”, and “Johnny Winter”. A bunch of excellent songs follow, beginning with “Streets of Love“ – an acoustic Country-Rock with harmonica, reminiscent of “Mayall”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, and “ZZ Top”. “Streets…” leads to the two covers of the album. The first is “Superstition” (by “Stevie Wonder”), which keeps the same groove of the original, being highlighted by Barbiani’s solo and a Hammond organ (courtesy of Jeremy Seravalle). The second cover is “Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell“ (by “Billy Gibbons”) – a classic ballad by “ZZ Top” recreated with the same emotion and delicacy of the original, having great vocals by Cinel, excellent harmonica, and amazing weeping guitar solo. Breaking the tranquility of the moment, “You Don’t Know“ is a modern Hard Rock that comes with groovy bass (courtesy of Frank Get), demolition drums, and hard guitar riffs that shake the place. The excellent “The Day of the Witch“ has folk acoustic guitars and a mysterious aura reminiscent of “Led Zeppelin”. The album is closed by the awesome “Good Morning“ – a 10-minute long instrumental piece that blends psychedelic bass, acid-jazz drumming, extra-long solos, and many improvised parts, sounding like an experimental blend of “Hendrix”, “Cream” and “Allman Brothers”. If you are tuned to the Blues, Barbiani’s “Back on the Tracks” is definitely an album made for you. Excellent work and production – highly recommended! Band members and collaborators involved in Jimi Barbiani Band are: Jimi Barbiani – Lead, Slide, Acoustic, and Acoustic Slide guitars; J.C. Cinel – Vocals, Acoustic guitar, Harmonica; Elvis Fior – Drums; Daniele Vicario – Bass. Guest musicians: Mr. Steve – Vocal on “Superstition”; Frank Get – Bass (on “I Feel So Lonely”; “Weeping Sky”, “You Don’t Know”) and Keyboards (on “Good Time Man”); Jeremy Seravalle – Hammond C3 organ on “Superstition” and “Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/23/2011........Want to learn everything about the band and its members, go to JIMI BARBIANI BAND HOME PAGE...
. LARS BOUTRUP’S MUSIC for KEYBOARDS - "The Symphonic Dream"
Lars Boutrup is a Danish keyboardist who was born in 1961 in Copenhagen. His first performance happened in 1979 with the band “Blood Eagle”. Later he joined in the experimental orchestra “Massa”, which played a weird combination of Punk and Instrumental music with sound effects and metallic percussion. Between 1985-1992 he formed the band “Simcess Off Celeberty” (shortened for “Simcess”) that released several singles and albums. After the band’s split up, Boutrup joined in the Melodic Rock band “Sing-Sing”, which released the EP “Black” and the album “Cannonball” (1995). “Sing-Sing” disbanded in 1996, and Boutrup started to tour with bands “Supernova” and “J.E.E.P.” In 1998 he reunited old integrants of “Simcess” in a band called “Big Bang”, which released the EPs “Baby Blue” (1998) and “You´ve Gotta Move” (2001). In 2004, Boutrup performed on “Evil Masquerade’s” album “Welcome to the Show” (with ex-“Royal Hunt” vocalist Henrik Brockmann). In 2006 he was invited by Danish singer Juruda to take part in her group “Juruda Music”. In 2005 Lars Boutrup began his solo project "Music For Keyboards" with help of drummer Fredrik Sunesen, and released an eponymous album. The idea was to blend Electronic, Ambient, and Progressive Music in instrumental pieces. In 2010 Boutrup began to write new material for the follow-up, titled “The Symphonic Dream” (released in April 2011, under Ex’cess Records). The album was recorded at Yello House Studios, produced, engineered and mixed by Boutrup, and mastered by Flamming Hansson at Sweep Productions. The line-up has Fredrik Senesen (drums and percussion), Niels W. Knudsen (bass), and Andreas S. Jensen (bass on 2 tracks). Musically,  Boutrup was influenced by the composers “Beethoven”, “Mozart”, and “Chopin”; and by many Classic Rock, Progressive and Alternative Rock bands (“The Beatles”, “Jeff Beck”, “The Who”, “Rory Gallagher”, “The Doors”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Whitesnake”, “Emerson Lake & Palmer”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Kansas”, “Jethro Tull”, “Fish”, “Queen”, “Soundgarden”). But few of them contribute effectively to the sonority of his solo work. His music is clean and elegant, but also strong, opulent and fluidal - futuristic, yet ancient – it sounds like a blend of “Rick Wakeman”, “Keith Emerson”, and “Vangelis”, also having a touch of “Eddie Jobson” and “King Crimson”. Some electronic textures are like “Alan Parsons”. Cosmic sounds are reminiscent of “Vangelis” and “Brian Eno”. The rhythmic section conducted by Senesen is a bonus, fusing Progressive Rock and World Music to experimental metallic percussion. Ethnical beats are sometimes combined with voice-like effects, creating a mystic atmosphere reminiscent of the score music of “Vangelis” or the recent work of “Mandalaband”. “The Symphonic Dream” features 8 tracks. “June“ opens the album with martial cadence, combining bombastic keyboards like “Keith Emerson” and “Wakeman” with vigorous drumming and metallic sounds. “Secrets Behind the Curtain“ is a Prog-Fusion bringing complex drumming, funky bass, and jazzy solos of synthesizer. The great title track (“The Symphonic Dream“) begins with ancient choruses that envelope it in a dark atmosphere. Tribal beats mark the cadence, allowing slow tunes to ascend progressively (resembling “Vangelis” and “Mandalaband”). The ascension is often interrupted by solos of organ and bass. “Space Peace“ is a serene piece inspired by “Vangelis” and “Chopin” that features romantic arrangements and floating pianos. “Thanks for Everything“ is immersed in a cosmic atmosphere marked by long chords, but soon turns into an Electronic Prog-Fusion, with parts like “Parsons”, “Eno”, and “U.K.”. “A Song for John“ is a short Classical piece for piano alone. “Eddy Will Not Be Ready“ begins with some gothic tension, released later by vigorous drumming and many keyboard solos and electronic effects, also having influences of “King Crimson”, “Eno”, and “ELP”. “The Black Event“ is driven by a slow cadence that evokes the image of a caravan crossing the Arabian Desert, spreading hypnotic melodies that slowly evaporate on the hot sand. This piece amazingly closes this excellent album, which will surely enrich any Progressive Rock collection. Lars Boutrup’s Music For Keyboards is highly recommended for Progressive Rock fans in general, especially those who like the Keyboard Music of “Wakeman”, “ELP” and “Vangelis”. Band members and collaborators involved in Lars Boutrup’s Music for Keyboards are: Lars Boutrup – Keyboards, Organ and Synthesizers; Fredrik Sunesen – Drums, Percussion; Niel W. Knudsen – Bass; Andreas S. Jensen – Bass (on “Secrets Behind…” and “Thanks For…”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/23/2011.....................................Interested to know more about the musician? Visit LARS BOUTRUP HOME PAGE...
. THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS - "Sparrows"
The Barstool Philosophers is a Progressive Rock / Progressive Metal band from Almelo, the Netherlands. The band was founded in 1997 by childhood friends Ivo Poelman (guitar) and Martin Kuipers (drums, ex-”Harrow”). The moniker popped-up when Kuipers was at a local pub, seated on a barstool, and talking about music as a philosopher. The other musicians called for the line-up were René Kroon (keyboards, ex-“Stigmatheist”) and Mark Portier (bass, ex-“Jaggannath”, “Liquid Baby”). At first they played instrumental music of all genres. In 2002, talented vocalist and lyricist Leon Brouwer (ex-“Great Big Lie”) joined The Barstool Philosophers, changing their musical direction. In 2004 bassist Mark Portier left the band, and was replaced by Bas Hoebink (ex-“Symmetry”). In 2008 the band recorded, produced and released their amazing debut album, called “Sparrows”. The sonority is influenced by many genres and bands, mainly: Metal and Prog-Metal (“Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “King’s X”, “Sun Caged”, “Crimson Glory”), Progressive-Rock (“Marillion”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd”, “Toto”, “Spock’s Beard”, “King Crimson”), Classic Rock (“Journey”, “David Bowie”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Thin Lizzy”) Art Rock, New Wave, Synthpop (“Roxy Music”, “Japan”, “Tears for Fears”, “Depeche Mode”, “Talk Talk”), 90’s Indie Rock (“The Tea Party”, “Radiohead”), and Jazz-Rock and Fusion. The idea of combining Prog-Metal with Rock of the 80’s may be unusual, but The Barsools really know how to make it work. Their songs are long, with changes in tempo and mood, driven by Hoebink‘s pulsing bass. Playing powerfully, and technically all record long, he is the kind of Progressive monster-bassist that most new Prog-Metal bands lack, recalling names such as “Geddy Lee”, “Pete Trewavas”, “Colin Edwin”, “Joe DiBiase”, “John Paul Jones”, and “Phil Lynott”. Poelman’s powerful guitar riffs and soaring progressive solos make a heavy and cadenced Prog-Metal support that sounds like a cross-over of "Queensrÿche" and “Fates Warning” with “Marillion”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Rush”. Kroon provides a symphonic background alternating Classical pianos, New Wave-Synthpop keyboards (like “Japan”, “Depeche Mode”, “Talk Talk“, “Tears For Fears”) and ambient sounds (“Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”). The elaborated arrangements are enriched by the varied drumming by Kuipers, who displays an arsenal of drum chops that go from the Prog-Metal of “Queenrÿche” and “Fates Warning” to the more sophisticated, lightly-jazzy or swinging drumming of the New-Wave bands of the 80’s, also adding Middle Eastern beats (like the “Moroccan Rock” of “The Tea Party”). Above the stormy sound of the quartet, the awesome vocalist Leon Brouwer drags attention like a magnet for his versatility and interpretative skills. His voice is powerful, capable of reaching high-pitched notes, reminding me of singers “Geoff Tate”, “Ray Alder”, and “Midnight” (singer of “Crimson Glory”). This would be more than enough for any Prog-Metal band, but Brouwer has the extra-quality of equaling the interpretative talents of singers like “David Bowie”, “David Sylvian”, “Bryan Ferry”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Fish”, and “Roland Orzabal”, giving each song the right mood it deserves – either sad, angry, melancholic, or romantic. “Sparrows” brings 9 awesome tracks that are chained one to the next. “Afterglow” opens the album with potent Prog-Metal riffs, including a dynamic “Rush”-like part. Brouwer sings his first notes with “Bryan Ferry”-accent, “Bowie”-coolness, and “Geoff Tate”-power. The awesome “Silence” follows, blending heavy and fast guitar riffing (like “Fates Warning” and “Porcupine Tree”) with oriental scales and drumming (influence of “The Tea Party”). “Lies” is a beautiful piano ballad for voice alone. “Dreamscape” begins slowly, and gradually grows to an epic Prog-Metal like “Queensrÿche” and “Fates Warning”. The extraordinary “Eyes Show the Heart” mingles Synthpop keyboards and drums on the background with hammered guitars, destructive groovy bass, and vocals that recall me of “Midnight” (“Crimson Glory”), still having a mid-section with Neo-Prog guitars (like “Marillion”). “Descendents of the Fall” is dark and slow; featuring howling bass and soaring keyboards, mixing “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Crimson Glory” and “Porcupine Tree”. “Fallen Angels” is underlined by Middle Eastern percussion, enigmatic “Bowie” vocals, and ends with another duo of voice and piano. “Endless Seasons” features the rocky swing of the 80’s on guitars (like “Tears For Fears”) and a long progressive guitar solo. “Away from Here” closes the album bringing a cool Techno-Synthpop atmosphere that mixes “Japan” and “Bowie”. Definitely one of the best and most original bands of their genre, The Barstool Philosophers is highly recommended for any lover of Heavy-Prog and Prog-Metal; and their album “Sparrows” constitutes a must-have item for fans of “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Crimson Glory”, “Rush”, and “Marillion”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Barstool Philosophers are: Leon Brouwer – Vocals; Martin Kuipers – Drums; Bas Hoebink – Bass; René Kroon – Keys and Ivo Poelman – Guitars. Also you must visit The Barstool Philosophers MySpace Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/10/2011.................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS HOME PAGE...
. ROZ VITALIS - "Revelator"
Roz Vitalis is a Progressive band from St. Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in 2001 by multi-instrumentalist and composer Ivan V. Rozmainsky (keyboards, synths, percussion). The moniker is an intentional misspelling of the Latin expression Ros Vitalis (“living dew”, with the word “dew” also denoting the idea of “water”) to profit from its phonetic resemblance with the “Roz” of his name. Between 2002 and 2004, Roz Vitalis had a stable line-up with Nadezhda Regentova (keyboards, voices), Vladimir “Nektor” Polyakov (keyboards, lyrics) and Vassily Raskov (voices, only in 2002). They recorded the albums “L'Ascensione” (2002), “Painsadist” (EP, 2003), “Lazarus” (LP, 2003); “The Threesunny Light Power” (EP, 2004), and “Das Licht Der Menschen” (CD-R, 2004). In 2005, Klara Metelkova (recorders, harmonica, voices) and Yuri Verba (clarinet) joined in, and Roz Vitalis released “Enigmarden” (2005). In the following years, Roz Vitalis was split in studio and live “Incarnations”. The “studio incarnation” (without Metelkova, Nadezhda, and “Nektor” since 2006, but still with Rozmainsky, Verba and guitarist Sydius) released “Compassionizer” (2007, R.A.I.G./Muséa). Shortly after, Verba passed away. The “live incarnation” (with Rozmainsky, Metelkova and Sydius) recorded “Live Autumn’05 in the Ad Lucem Studio” (2005). From 2006 to 2008, the “live incarnation” line-up had “Nektor” (keyboards), Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (bass), Philip Semenov (drums) and Vladimir Efimov (replacing Sydius on guitars), and released the album “Live at Mezzo Forte, Moscow, September’09”. Since 2010, Yuri Khomonenko (drums), Ruslan Kirillov (bass), and Vladislava Korotkikh (flute) are taking part of the live “Incarnation”, appearing on the “official bootleg” “Live At ESG-21, February 13th 2010”. In 2009, the Net-label R.A.I.G./Accessory Takes released the compilation “Lazarus Abridged”. Roz Vitalis has also contributed to “Higher and Higher – A Tribute to the Moody Blues” (2006, Mellow Records); and to “Dante's Paradiso: The Divine Comedy - Part III” (2010, Muséa Records). In April 2011, Roz Vitalis released a new studio album, titled “Revelator” (Mals Records). The music combines elements of Avant-garde, Chamber, Gothic and Folk-Medieval Music, with influences of “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Le Orme”, “Metamorfosi”, “Supersister”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, and “Magma”. The sonority is eccentric - weird enough to attract fans of the Avant-garde and R.I.O. divisions; but at the same time melodic and organized, apt for assimilation by most orthodox appreciators of Symphonic Prog-Rock. The technical quality of the musicians and the fluidal essence of the music contribute for the consensus. “Revelator” brings 9 instrumental tracks, performed by the present “studio incarnation” line-up and guests (see below). The title track opens the album with soft medieval flutes and cosmic sounds, intermingled with heavier synthesizers, organs, and metallic percussion, blending “King Crimson”, “Supersister”, “Gentle Giant” and “Univers Zéro”. “Warm Tuesday“ begins with acoustic guitars and slow tropical percussion headed by psychedelic clean guitars (reminiscent of “Pink Floyd”). A funky bass erupts, accelerating the pace to a Jazz-Rock (like “King Crimson” on “Discipline”). It slows down later for a cello solo and classical pianos (like “Univers Zéro”). “Deadlock of the Deceiver“ is plunged into a medieval-gothic atmosphere that reminds me of “Le Orme”, and “Gryphon”. The gothic atmosphere lingers on “Painsadist (Hit version)“, which has bombastic Hammonds and vigorous  drumming like “ELP”, “Le Orme” and “Metamorfosi”. The Harlequinesque “Underfrog“ is an excellent Avant-garde piece that features strange “watery” frog-like sounds, psychedelic bass, unconventional percussion, “elephantine” trumpets, rumbling timpani, and ghostly Theremin-like tunes, resembling a blend of “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, and “Magma”. “Midwinter Tulips“ contrasts with the previous by transmitting the tranquility of a Japanese philosophical garden, bringing folk acoustic guitars and madrigal pianos. “La Combattimento Spirituale“ is a R.I.O. piece written for intense use of metallic percussion. It begins with gothic organs, grows with gloomy bass and jazzy drumming, and ends pompously with tooling bells; joining influences of “King Crimson”, “Le Orme” and “Gentle Giant”. “Persecuted“ is a long piece (10:14) with many subdivisions, like a Chamber-Music, with many folk and medieval themes being played on harpsichords and wind instruments, also featuring Spanish trumpets and Rachmaninoff-styled pianos. The closing track “Silver Melting“ is a short piece for ancient flute played in honor of some obscured Arcadian deity. With an original and unconventional sonority, Roz Vitalis’s album “Revelator” is like a fantastic journey to a mysterious world beyond, being highly recommended for fans of Symphonic, Gothic-Medieval-Folk, R.I.O., and Avant-garde Progressive. Band members and collaborators involved in Roz Vitalis are: Ivan Rozmainsky – Grand “Bechstein” piano, Hammond RT-3 Organ, other Keyboards, Additional Percussion, Shvi (8); Vladimir Efimov – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Vladislava Korotkikh – Flutes (except 9), Low Whistle (5); Philip Semenov – Drums and Percussion; Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky – Acoustic and Bass Guitars. Special guests: Fedor Kirillov – Cello; Artemy Sementsov – Flute (9), Shakuhachi (9); Janna Kotsyuba – Viola (7); Fyodor Mazhzhevelov – Bassoon; Ilya Rysin – Trumpet and Flugelhorn. Also you must visit Roz Vitalis MySpace Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/10/2011............Interested to know more about the musician and Band? You must visit ROZ VITALIS HOME PAGE...
. DIFFERENT LIGHT - "Il Suono Della Luce"
Different Light was formed in Malta at the end of 1994. Loads of gigs were played throughout 1995 and an early version of 'In the Grey' was recorded for a compilation album. All About Yourself', the band's first album, was recorded in April 1996 and released in June of the same year. The band spent the rest of the year touring Malta to promote the album. Mark Agius Cesareo left the band in early 1997 and was replaced by Jeremy DeMaria. Different Light supported "Fish" (ex Marillion;) in September 1998 and recorded a mini-album (EP?) in the summer of 1999. At this point, Different Light split up and so ended the first chapter. Fast forward to 2008, Trevor Tabone decides to reform the band in Prague, CZ together with Hynek Kocourek and Petr Lux. With the help of Daniel Charron and Premek Matejovic, an album entitled "Icons that Weep" is recorded and released in November 2009. The album ranges from Crossover Prog to Neo Prog sound. Different light was initially formed in Malta in late 1994 by four experienced musicians, and they are Trevor Tabone, Mark Agius Cesareo, Richie Rizzo and Trevor Catania. In recent years, from the main formation, the band has undergone some changes, easily identified in the compositions of this amazing album, titled as "Il Suono Della Luce". We can divided their musical trajetory into the three parts, but even with different lineups, the band's musical style remains with the same energy at all times. Different from some comments and reviews about the band's style, to my ears and my feeling, I am certain that, Different Light plays a marvelous Symphonic Progressive Rock, flavoured with elements of Neo-Prog and some classic pop rock, and you can bet your life that, full of melodies that are stored in your mind for a long time. The main musical features of the group, are on vocals and the guitar solos, listening the vocals, it´s like to have a sense of tranquility, a gentle voice, not aggressive and that fits in a unique way with the guitar solos, which are always symphonic, that virtually dominate the arrangements, a perfect blend with the aesthetic of the music, the drums develops a breakneck pace, the bass' sound is the final spice. The music of Different Light is not different from other bands, but the gap is that all the musicians know how to show and to delivery a strong melodic sence, very present in all the songs. "Il Suono Della Luce" is a collection of music taken from the first three phases in the evolution of the band. Listening to the album, we have twelve compositions, some of them are split into parts, that give way to equally symphonic passages, thickened with hypnotic's guitars solos. The first part on the album, is called "Inception" dated between 1992/1996 it's devided into four songs, the second one is dated between from 1997/2002, titled such as "Transition" divided into three songs, and the last one is called as "Conciliation" is divided into five songs, all songs are amazing and unforgettable, but, my favorite parts of the album are "Inception" and "Transition", are filled with amazing instrumentation, with multi-layered, deftly crafted, melodic and littered with high level of energy. Different light and "Il Suono Della Luce" are a band and an album that always must be part of your music collection. Such as the progressive rock style reference, I could suggest names like "Mars Hollow", "Parzivals Eye", "Mangrove", "Supertramp", "Marillion", "IQ", "Pallas", "Pendragon", "Asia", "Journey", "Yes" and manu others. The musicians on Different Light are: The first part "Inception" feature Trevor Tabone - Vocals, Keyboards, Rhythm Guitars, Mark Agius Cesareo - Guitars, Trevor Catania - Bass, Backing Vocals and Richie Rizzo - Drums, Percussion. On the "Transition", the second phase are: Trevor Tabone - Vocals, Keyboards, Rhythm Guitars, Mark Agius Cesareo - Lead & rhythm Guitars, Richie Rizzo - Drums and Percussion and David Cassar Torreggiani - Guitars on the "Takeshi's Casle" track, only Trevor Tabone - Vocals, Keyboards, Petr Lux - Guitars, Lukas Pavlik- Drums, Jaroslav Novotny - Bass and Zuzana Vankova - Backing Vocals. On the last phase titled "Conciliation" the musicians are: Trevor Tabone - Vocals, Keyboards, Rhythm  Guitars, Hynek Kocourek - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Petr Lux - Lead & Guitars, Backing Vocals, Daniel Charron - Drums, Percussion, Premek Matejovic - Bass, Lucy Lux - Backing Vocals and Jaroslav Novotny - Bass on "Ensoulment" song. Brilliant, amazing, incredible and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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07/10/2011........If you want know more about this great band and its members, visit DIFFERENT LIGHT HOME PAGE...
. DIALETO - "Chromatic Freedom"
Dialeto is a Brazilian trio from the state of São Paulo formed by Nelson Coelho (guitars and vocals), Andrei Ivanovic (fretless bass), and Miguel Angel (drums and backing vocals). By the end of 1984, the band “Zero” had dissolved, and its guitarists formed new bands: “Fabio Golfetti” (and “Claudio Souza”) founded “Violeta de Outono”. Nelson Coelho formed “Sotaque”. Both bands made their first appearance in December 12, 1985, at Teatro Lira Paulistana (city of São Paulo). In 1987 “Sotaque” changed the moniker for Dialeto, becoming well known in the underground scene of São Paulo, eventually releasing the LP “Dialect” (1991, Faunus Records). In 1994 the band ceased activities, coming back after a hiatus of 15 years. This was marked by the complete updating of their first recording, which was reissued in CD in July 2008 with the title “Will Exist Forever” (Voiceprint Brasil / Rock Symphony). The music of Dialeto profits from the experience and cultural background of the three musicians. Guitarist Nelso Coelho descends from Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese and Brazilians; bassist Andrei Ivanovic (ex-“Blues Jeans”, “O Terço”, “Vultos”) descends from Yugoslavians; and drummer Miguel Angel (ex-”Durex”, “Sotaque”, “Okotô”) descends from Spaniards and Haitians. They were raised in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, where people from the entire world live together exchanging their cultural experiences. Based on the ideas of ethnical integration by means of a single musical speech, the trio makes music that surpasses the frontiers. The musicians appreciate Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, Jazz-Rock and Oriental Folk-Music (e.g. from Afghanistan, Pakistan). They grew up listening to “King Crimson”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Santana”, “Frank Zappa”, “Black Sabbath”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, and others. Bands like “Primus”, “Porcupine Tree”, and even “Tool” are also references here. These influences came together on Dialeto’s second release: “Chromatic Freedom” (2010, Voiceprint Brasil). The music follows a Heavy Progressive line, being energetic, unconventional, mysterious, and sometimes harsh, spiky, and gritty; but intricate and full of instrumental improvisations. Hypnotic and tribal vocals blend with melancholic bass, nervous guitar, and a variety of drum beats that go from Rocky to Jazzy, being especially customized for the complete annihilation of the self. “Chromatic Freedom” features 12 tracks, half of which are fantastic instrumental pieces. The opening track, “Enigma 5“, shows the band’s strength in a Pharaoh-anthem that brings ritualistic Egyptian chanting, vigorous drumming, and distorted guitar solos. “Dialeto“ features that incongruent bass of “Primus” inserted into a jazz-rock frame that sounds like “Zappa” and, sometimes, “Sabbath” and “Santana”. The title track, “Chromatic Freedom“ is mysterious, and has an almost experimental-metal character, still having long improvised guitar solos, reminding me of “King Crimson” and “Zappa”. The original “Falsa Valsa“ (Fake Waltz) brings caricatured Latin scales and rhythms, and could have been born after a talk of “Santana” with “Zappa” and “Robert Fripp”. “Rainha Perversa“ (Mean Queen) is another amazing track driven by funky bass and drums reminiscent of “Led Zeppelin”. “Divided by Zero“ is “Hendrixian” in the beginning, and “Zappalesque” in essence. The songs with vocals are either in English (3) or Portuguese (3), but vocal parts are short in relation to the total duration, always living space for long instrumental sections. “We Got It All“ and “Está no Ar“ (It’s on the Air) are both immersed in a dark atmosphere, being driven by tribal, hypnotic vocal tunes. Greed, violence and political issues are the themes of these songs. The great track “As Pedras Voam“ (Stones can Fly) blends guitars like “Hendrix” with Psychedelic lyrics (“in lands not far, plants run to the skies; they know, for long, that stones can fly”). “This is the World“ is a slow song that alternates psychedelic and melancholic moods, blending “Pink Floyd”, “Zappa”, and “Porcupine Tree” along 8 minutes of improvised guitar solos and jammed bass and drums. “Eu Me Lembro“ (I Remember) sounds like a nightmarish dark-acid-jazz, driven by a cool beat, slow psychedelic bass and clean guitars, still having sparse heavy riffs that are reminiscent of “Black Sabbath”. The cadence of “Train of Destruction“ is fast like a train loaded with heavy ore going in one’s direction. Consisting in the perfect soundtrack for the desolated 21st Century schizoid man, Dialeto’s “Chromatic Freedom” is highly recommended for fans of Heavy Progressive Rock with a touch of the Seventies, and for fans of “Hendrix”, “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Santana”, “Black Sabbath”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Primus”.  Band members and collaborators involved in Dialeto are: Nelson Coelho – Guitars and Vocals; Andrei Ivanovic – Fretless Bass; Miguel Angel – Drums and Backing Vocals; Nice Juliano - Additional Backing Vocals (on “Enigma 5”, “Está no Ar” and “This is the World”)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/14/2011......................,.....Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to DIALETO HOME PAGE...
. FORGOTTEN DOOR - "Unlocked"
Forgotten Door is a sextet based in Las Vegas, Nevada (U.S.A.). The line-up is composed of Johndale Stanley (keyboards, lead vocals, songwriter, arranger), Lonnie Danley (guitars, vocals, songwriter, arranger), Melody Ritz (lead female vocals), Michael Seal (guitars, slide guitar, banjo, vocals, songwriter, arranger), Karl Gottmann (bass), and Kevin Brennan (drums). Band members have already much experience in the musical scene. Johndale Stanley performed as solo artist at different locations in Las Vegas. Lonnie Danley played in several groups in the Pacific Northwest including “Tight Squeeze”, “Mohave”, and “Fairchild”. Melody Ritz is an ex-“Spardels” and ex-“Our Side of It” member. Michael Seal is an ex-“Now Appearing”, “Scadadel” and “Blue Fuse”. Karl Gottmann started playing bass in 1964, has played with numerous bands in the New York area, and has played in the Las Vegas show “Legends in Concert” for nineteen years. Kevin Brennan also played in various bands in the New York State. The history of Forgotten Door started when core musicians Stanley and Danley began performing together as a duo in 1994. With the arrival of Melody, they became the cover trio called “Xpressions”. With the arrival of other musicians, and a new outlook, they changed the previous moniker for Forgotten Door. The band has just released their debut album - “Unlocked” (2011, self-produced), with 9 tracks. Forgotten Door regard themselves as a band that plays “New Classic Rock” directed to people that like to listen to simple songs. Their music is a blend of Soft Blues-Rock, Country-Rock, Folk-Rock, and Pop-Rock, with influences mainly of “The Doobie Brothers”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Rick Springfield”, “Dire Straits”, “Three Dog Night”, “Grateful Dead”, “Peter Frampton“, “Cat Stevens”, and “Al Stewart”. The sonority is smooth, light and clean, but not devoid of emotion. Musicians do not act as virtuosi, but are very competent and experienced. This is reflected in the arrangements of the songs, which, in spite of their simplicity, produce well crafted songs that are easy-listening and singable. The harmony backing vocals are a strong point on the band, being frequently present (with many “ah-ahs” and “uh-uhs”), reminding “Doobie Brothers”. Stanley and Melody are really very good singers. Melody, in particular, sings with passion and emotion, and her tone and style remind me of singers like “Stevie Nicks”, “Chrissie Hynde”, “Carly Simon”, and even “Annie Lennox”. Stanley and Melody divide the duties of lead-singer, but sometimes act as a duo, recalling me of “Fleetwood Mac”. The acoustic and electric guitars of Danley and Seal are sweet, gentle, delicate, and bluesy, with the same sonority of “Mark Knopfler’s” guitar. Also the rhythmic section made of Gottmann and Brennan is sometimes lively, reminiscent of “Dire Straits” and “The Doobie Brothers”, and sometimes folk & bluesy, like in “Fleetwood Mac”. The exception is the opening track “Masquerade“ (sung by Melody), which has a Pop-Rock beat of the 80’s, reminding me of the cool style of “Eurhythmics”. A lively rocky mood is present on a straight sequence of songs. “Puerto Penasco“ reminds me of “Dire Straits” and “Peter Frampton”, while “Warm“ hardens the guitars a bit, speeding up for a cheerful mood and energy of “Doobie Brothers” and “Rick Springfield”. “Far Far Away“ is a good song that bears in its frame more influences of “Dire Straits”, “Doobie Brothers” and “Fleetwood Mac”, with highlights for the guitar solos. Two great songs, prone to turn into hits, are the slow ballads “Brand New Day“ – with amazing soulful vocals by Melody (reminding me of “Carly Simon”) and the sensible “Faded Heart“, a long sad ballad with both male and female vocals, supported by soaring keyboards, which will satisfy the fans of “Fleetwood Mac”. The album still brings the mellow ballad “Am I Your Princess“; the Pop-Folk-Blues “Angie“ (with Stanley as lead singer); and ends with the rocky strength of “I’m Outa Here“ – a song prepared for ignite live presentations, featuring the powerful vocals of Melody. Not a Progressive-Rock act at all, Forgotten Door nevertheless makes very good Pop-Rock songs, being specially recommended for fans of “The Doobie Brothers”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Rick Springfield”, “Dire Straits”, “Three Dog Night”, “Grateful Dead”, “Peter Frampton“, “Cat Stevens”, “Al Stewart”, and “Chrissie Hynde”. Band members involved in Forgotten Door are: Lonnie Danley - Guitars, Vocals, Songwriter, Arranger; Johndale Stanley - Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Songwriter, Arranger; Melody Ritz – Lead Female Vocals; Michael Seal - Guitars, Slide Guitar, Vanjo, Vocals, Songwriter, Arranger; Karl Gottmann - Bass; Kevin Brennan – Drums...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/14/2011................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FORGOTTEN DOOR HOME PAGE...
. THE WINTER TREE - "The Winter Tree"
The Winter Tree is the new project of U.S.A. multi-instrumentalist and composer Andrew Laitres (a.k.a. Andrew Robinson). Andrew was the mastermind behind the band "Magus", which he founded back in 1985 to be a channel for his original compositions. Between 1987 and 1993, Andrews released several demos and cassettes with the music of "Magus". In 1994 he decided to record and release a full-length CD of the band. From that time on Andrew independently released several albums of "Magus", always with help of different musicians. The self-titled debut – “Magus” (1995) counted with Debbie Moore (keyboards) and Jeff Costello (drums). The follow-up “Traveller” (1997, Inearvisions) still had some compositions signed by Debbie; but was eventually finished only by Andrew and the sound engineer Bryce Chicoine. In 1998 the EP “Highway 375” was released, bringing all-instrumental, Electronic-styled compositions. This phase of "Magus" was compiled on “Echoes From the Edge of the Millenium: Magus 1987-1999”, that had remixed tracks from all previous CDs and 4 unreleased tracks. In 2000, Andrew reformulated Magus’ line-up, bringing in Japanese keyboardist Rue Yamauchi and drummer Steve Perkins. They played some live gigs, including one as opening act for “California Guitar Trio”, but Yamauchi and Perkins left the band shortly after. Andrew carried on and released “The Green Earth” (2001) with help of several guest musicians. This was the best selling "Magus" CD, and was marked by steering the band to a new musical direction, featuring more acoustic instruments and shorter, more accessible, compositions. "Magus" last original release was the concept album “The Garden” (2002), with drummer Tomas Hjort (of Swedish band “Cross”) and bassist Gary Strater (of American band “Starcastle”). A CD edition called “Lucid Dreamer” (2005, Big Balloon Music) is a reissue of “Traveller” and “Highway 375“, with 2 bonus-tracks recorded live in 2000. In late 2010 Andrew decided to rename the band for The Winter Tree, after a song of the same title by “Renaissance”. Besides Andrew, the new line-up counts with participation of early "Magus" integrant Deb Moore - now Deb Bond (keyboards) and her husband Mark Bond (vocals, guitars). The Winter Tree‘s debut is an eponymous album that was released in late March of 2011 by ProgRock Records. It features a beautiful cover art work, and artistically elaborated booklet. The record has 11 tracks. The sonority is clean and dominated by keyboards, following the Neo-Progressive line, but adding elements of Symphonic, Folk-Progressive, and Electronic. The influences are the latest works of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Mr. So & So”, and also “Peter Gabriel”, “Pink Floyd”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Allan Parsons”, and “Dead Can Dance”. Pastoral sounds of flute and delicate folkloric acoustic guitars help to build that fairy-tale atmosphere that is so frequent in old songs of “Genesis” and “Camel”. Keyboards and guitars also have the light textures of “Genesis”, “Camel” and “Marillion”. Bass contributes to the harmonization of the songs, and percussion is reminiscent of “Dead Can Dance”. Most songs have sweet calm vocals. The instrumental “Voices From a Lost Age” opens the album with airs of mystery, introducing the folk-ethnical “Babylon“, that reminds me a lot of “Dead Can Dance”. “Guardian Angel“ uses cool electronic percussion and floating guitar solos, but it is accessible, almost sounding like a ballad of “Phil Collins”, “Peter Gabriel” or late “Pink Floyd”. “Fading Shadows“ is an instrumental interlude before the excellent Folk-Progressive “In May“, which brings eerie acoustic guitars and flute-like sounds, like some old songs of “Camel”, “Genesis” or “Mr. So & So”. Also following this line are the fairy-tale songs “A Twilight in Middle March“ (which reminds me of “Genesis” album “A Trick of the Tail”); “The Three Hills“ (with a stronger lean to “Camel” and “Marillion” than to “Genesis”, but combined with medieval folk percussion); and the piano ballad “Stranger”, which has a “Floydian” accent on the guitar. The climax of this compositional style is reached on the last track - the instrumental “The Adventures of Prince Caspian“ – divided in three parts (“Under a Narnian Sea”/“To The End of the World!”/“Voyage of the Dawn Treader“). Here, The Winter Tree risks symphonic Hammonds and a bolder rhythmic section, resembling bands like “Emerson, Lake & Powell”, “Asia”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, and “Saga”. The album still brings the accessible song “Now That You’ve Flown“ (with influences of “Toto” and “Marillion”); and the electronic digital track “The Other“, that shows influences of “Parsons” and “Kraftwerk“. Mainly directed to the fans of "Magus", the soft disposition of The Winter Tree will drag many fans from the cohorts of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Marillion”, “Mr. So & So”, “Toto”, and “Saga”, to which this band is recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in The Winter Tree are: Deb Bond – Keyboards; Mark Bond – Lead Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Electric Guitars; Andrew Laitres – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, and Programming. Charlie Schneeweis – Trumpet on “Stranger”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/14/2011.............If you want know more about this project and its members, visit THE WINTER TREE HOME PAGE...
. SKY CRIES MARY - "Taking The Stage/live 1997 - 2005"
Sky Cries Mary is considered as an American trance rock musical group from Seattle, Washington, that formed in the late 1980s. The roots of Sky Cries Mary were set when a University of Washington theatre student named Roderick decided to unite the energy of underground music with the mystique of avant garde theatre. The experiment worked and Sky Cries Mary quickly generated a massive underground following. Roderick Wolgamott Romero and Anisa Romero, husband and wife, sing dual lead vocals, jointly with Michael Cozzi (formerly of Shriekback), who produces their albums and plays guitar, Ben Ireland on drums, Juano on bass, and William Bernhard on guitar and keyboards. By 1993 the band boasted several of Seattle’s best musicians, a signed deal with World Domination Records (a subsidiary of Capitol Records) and the successful release of their first full length album. With a considerable discography, "Until the Grinders Cease" (1989), "Don't Eat the Dirt" (1990, "Exit at the Axis" (1992), "A Return to the Inner Experience" (1993), "This Timeless Turning" (1993), "Moonbathing on Sleeping Leaves" (1997), "Fresh Fruits for the Liberation" (1997). Sky Cries Mary had broken up in 1999, shortly after the release of the album "Seeds" (1999), because band members wanted to work on other projects. They regrouped in various configurations including Hana, which featured Anisa Romero, Jeff Greinke, and Ben Ireland, and No Futuro, an experimental musical project helmed by Roderick Romero, William Bernhard, and Jeremy Moss. In 2004, the band (composed of the Romeros, Ben Ireland, Juano, Michael Cozzi, and William Bernhard) regrouped after they won the rights to their music back from their old record company and subsequently released their first live album "Here and Now" (2005). Two years later they followed it up with the critically acclaimed album, "Small Town" (2007). In 2009, by Trail Records, the band release their last album titled "Space Between The Drops". Sky Cries Mary has a strong instrumental foundation and perfect vocal structure, their musical style follows on the line of experimental rock, spatial Progressive Rock, using some folk components, with a strong psychedelic structure, adding esoteric connotations. The band reveals some highlights, at first we can mention the vocal female and male, a perfect combination between differents tones, together giving life to the compositions, following by many spatial guitars solos and keyboards, combined by a strong percussion, accompanied by a remarkable drums. That's how I like to describe the musical style of this amazing band. Sky Cries Mary's sound, is like a blend in the line of "Pink Floyd" ("Ummagumma", "Atom Heart Mother" and Meddle"), "Hawkwind", "Ozric Tentacles", "Genesis", "Beardfish" and "Paatos". The new album "Taking The Stage/live 1997 - 2005" is a collection of the best tracks from early albuns, recorded a live, the songs on the album reflects a beautiful performance from the band on stage, a specially edition released by "Trail Records - Exclusive Source of Independent Progressive Music". The album contains thirteen songs including a bonus track, the tracks 1 and 2 was recorded live in 1997, Seatle, engineered, recorded and edited by Krist Novoselic, mixed by Krist Novoselic and Roderick Romero at Litho. Tracks 3-12 recorded live at August 2004 - January 2005, Seatle, recorded by Mel Dettmer, engineered, edited and mixed by Michael Cozzi at Moscozzi Studio. Bonus track 13 recorded, engineered and mixed by Todd Robbins at B.A.R.F. studios, Seatle, 1999. The album was mastered and edited by George Dugan, I-Heights, New York, 2010 - 2011. All songs written by Sky Cries Mary, except for "California Dreamin" written by "The Mamas and The Papas". From all fantastic thirteen tracks, I have chosen ten songs that describes a strong energy reflected by the musicians in the arrangements, they are: "Taking The Stage", "Wall Walla. Moving Like a Water", "Cornerman", "Dont Forget The Sky" (is really the best song on this music collection), "The Ant, The Stars, The Owl And Its Prey", "Remember Me The Wind", "Nowhere", "Gliding", "Walk Of Nothingness" and also the amazing interpretation, from one of the most famous hit from years 60's, "California Dreamin". "Taking The Stage/live 1997 - 2005" is a spectacular album, it is one of those live recordings that I am happy to listen carefully and fully enjoy all the moments of pure musical energy. The main line-up on this album are: Roderick Romero - Vocals, Anisa Romero - Vocals, Ben Ireland - Drums and Percussion, Michael Cozzi - Guitar and Programming, Juano - Bass, Percussion, Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals, William Bernhard - Guitar Keyboards and Programming (3-13 tracks), Jill Wangsgard - Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar (3-12 tracks) and Todd Robbins (DJ Fallout) - Keyboards, Sound Effects (1, 2, 13 tracks)...  Brilliant and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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07/14/2011......................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out SKY CRIES MARY HOME PAGE...
. GLEN DROVER - "Metalusion"
The guitar player Glen Drover is well known by the Metal community for his work on bands like “Eidolon”, “King Diamond”, and “Megadeth”. But an unknown musical facet of Drover has been hidden from the Metallic audiences: aside from being a technical, powerful and angry metal-axe destroyer, Drover is also an appreciator of the Jazz and Fusion genres, with a penchant for names like “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Al Di Meola” and “Frank Zappa”. So, armed with his guitar axe, and counting with the help of the extraordinary musicians Jim Gilmore (keyboardist of “Saga”), Paul Yee (bass), and Chris Sutherland (drums), Glen Drover headed for a solo career. Supported by the Progressive Metal label Magna Carta Records, he released a fabulous debut album, titled “Metalusion” (April, 2011). The album contains 10 instrumental tracks, half of which are covers of Drover’s favorite non-metallic musicians; and features special appearances of very special guests: the guitar players Vinnie Moore (“Vicious Rumors“, “UFO”), Fredrik Akesson (“Opeth”, “Talisman”), Chris Poland (“Ohm”, Megadeth”), Jeff Loomis (“Sanctuary”, “Nevermore”), and Steve Smyth (“Forbidden”). The sonority lays on the grounds of Metal-Fusion, paralleling the solo work of guitarists like “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony McAlpíne“, “Joey Tafolla“, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marc Bonilla”, and project-bands like “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Planet X”, and “CAB”. The opening tracks “Ground Zero” and “Frozen Dream” were co-written by Drover and Gilmour. “Ground Zero” is an effervescent piece divided in two sections: the first one is heavy, dynamic and metallic, and the second one leans to a hard Prog-Fusion, with amazing participation of keyboards, bass and drums. This piece is crowned by two awesome guitar duels - first of Drover against Chris Poland, and later of Drover against Vinnie Moore. “Frozen Dream” has a stronger Prog-Fusion lean than the preceding, and features Steve Smyth as second demolition guitar player. This piece reminds me of the solo works of both “Vinnie Moore” and “Joey Tafolla”, but with a stronger keyboard contribution. Driven by breath-taking technical expertise, “Egyptian Danza” (“Al Di Meola’s” cover) gains in rage and lust, without loosing its essence. Paul Yee on bass is especially destructive here, exchanging incredible phrases with Drover, and making this track one of the best reinterpretations ever written for that classic. The following track, “Colors of Infinity”, is light, calm and melodic, like a jazz-ballad in the style of “Vinnie Moore” and “Vai”, but containing a middle incursion of dark progressive keyboards. The intro of “Illusions of Starlight” (co-written by Yee) brings “Rush” to mind, but this piece contains much more variation; including cool fusion passages on keyboards, and guitar riffs reminiscent of “John Petrucci’s” solo work. The following two tracks are covers of “Jean-Luc Ponty”: “Don’t Let the World Pass You By” (featuring Fredrik Akesson) and “Mirage” (featuring Jeff Loomis). “Don’t Let…” is busted by the opulent duel of guitars and energetic keyboard solos, switching the original jazzy atmosphere for a metallic raging spirit, being supported by a still faster and powerful Heavy-Fusion rhythmic section. On “Mirage”, in contrast, the Jazz-Fusion quality of the original piece was retained due to the perfect transmutation of the violin solos into guitar solos by means of the use of vibratos and modulation effects. On “Ascension”, a soaring layer of pianos and beautiful synthesizers support a slow and melodic guitar theme, creating a dreamy and spiritual, mood. The two last tracks of the record are covers of “Frank Zappa”, reinvented by Drover. “The Purple Lagoon” is short, slow, and heavy. It is the intro for “Filthy Habits”, transformed into a Heavy-Metal piece thanks to the slow tempo, dark atmosphere, heavy guitar riffing, perfect shredding technique, and exquisite elaboration of the main theme, sounding like a meeting of “Zappa” with old “Black Sabbath”. Extraordinary and brilliant, Glen Drover’s “Metalusion” is one of the greatest releases of its kind, worthy of figuring in any collection of Neo-Classical or Metal-Fusion, being indispensable for fans of “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony McAlpine“, “Joey Tafolla“, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marc Bonilla”, “John Petrucci”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick“, “Greg Howe”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Glen Drover are: Glen Drover – Guitars; Jim Gilmore – Keyboards; Paul Yee – Bass; Chris Sutherland – Drums. Guest guitarists: Vinnie Moore, Fredrik Akesson, Chris Poland, Jeff Loomis, and Steve Smyth...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2011.................................For more details and in the meantime please check out GLEN DROVER HOME PAGE...
. X OPUS - "The Epiphany"
The Symphonic Progressive Metal band X Opus comes from Plano, Texas (U.S.A.) The band is headed by multi-instrumentalist James Williams (guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals, and compositions). Williams is a talented and skilled musician that loves both Heavy Metal and Classical Music. As a guitarist, he was inspired by names like “Hendrix”, “Robin Trower”, “Gary Moore”, “Uli Jon Roth”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Al Di Meola”, and “Shawn Lane”. As a composer, his sources are “Bach”, “Orff”, “Mozart”, “Stravinsky”, and “Paganini”. The combination of his musical passions resulted in an explosive blend of Symphonic Metal, Power Metal, Prog-Metal, and Neo-Classical Metal that sounds much as bands like “Malmsteen”, “Angra”, “Adagio”, “Stratovarius”, “Queensrÿche”, “Helstar”, “Fates Warning”, “Iron Maiden”, “Apocrypha”, “Halloween”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Morifade”, “Mind’s Eye” and “Symphony X”. Through his sole efforts, and with help of two vocalists - Brian Dixon and David Crocker – Williams worked between December 2009 and September 2010 at his “X Opus Studios” to record the songs that would make the core of his debut album, called “The Epiphany”.  The material was written, arranged, produced, and mixed by Williams and mastered by Jim Brick at “Absolute Audio”, New Jersey. “The Epiphany” was released in May, 2011 by specialized Progressive label Magna Carta Records, and contains 10 tracks. “Terrified” opens the album with terrific Neo-Classical guitar solo in “Malmsteen” style, descending later to a heavy cadence that reminds me of the pre-Prog-Metal bands of the Eighties, like “Helstar”. It is followed by “On Top of the World”, a plain song formatted for live presentations that counts on the strength of its chorus. Far better is “Pharaohs of Lies” – a symphonic Power-Metal with the vibration and energy of “Malmsteen“, “Adagio”, and vocals like “Judas Priest” – the middle section, with ultra-fast arpeggios, is breath-taking. The fourth track is “I’ll Find the Truth”, and features the first appearance of Crocker on vocals, recalling me of bands like “Nocturnal Rites” and “Mind’s Eye”. One of the best tracks is “In The Heavens”, which opens with Classical acoustic guitars, followed by a malevolent slower pace that reminds me of early “Malmsteen” and, again, of “Helstar”. The amazing guitar solo blends elements of Jazz-Fusion with Neo-Classic, showcasing a skillful Williams on the instrument. “The Epiphany (Opus Benedictus Interlude)” is a symphonic interlude that reflects an “Orff-Stravinsky” inspiration. It marks the beginning of a sequence of killer tracks that go from the seventh (“I Will Fly”) to the last (“Never Forgotten”). “I Will Fly” begins with Middle Eastern chords that open the way for an astonishing Symphonic Power-Metal, including malevolent vocals of David Crocker, torrents of guitar solos, and tons of razor-edged keyboards; all blending influences of “Adagio”, “Malmsteen”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, and early “Fates Warning”, especially on the final sequence, with piano and operatic vocals. The destruction caused by “I Will Fly” is only surpassed by the apocalyptical “Forsaken (Requiem of the Forsaken)”, a 10-minute long Power-Prog piece with cataclysmic guitars, gloomy symphonic arrangements, and locomotive-breath rhythm, like the most raging moments of “Symphony X” and “Stratovarius”, on which volcanic sequences of beautiful guitar solos erupt from insane synthesizers; until the abrupt end with a portentous epic choir – an inspiration from “Mozart’s” Requiem – that represents the final celestial ascension through glassy Stairway to Heavens. The album could end here, but there is still time to open the "Pandora’s Box" on “Angels of War” – a whirlwind Power-Metal track driven by Crocker’s “Halford”-like vocals. The fury released on “Angels…” is peacefully quenched by the instrumental chords of “Never Forgotten” – this one a gorgeous symphonic piece with angelical choirs, classical guitars, Fusion keyboards and Neo-Classical guitar solos – the ultimately closing track for this surprising album. Regarding the fact that “The Epiphany” was supported by the individual talent of Williams and the two guest singers, it has resulted anyway in an impressive and extraordinary debut – capable of keeping veteran Metal-Heads banging on. With the support of Magna Carta, and the ingression of new integrants Jesse Gallegos (bass), Corbett Tucker (drums) and Matthew Bowers (keyboards), I am sure that the next X Opus’ album will be a classic of the genre. X Opus is highly recommended for fans of Symphonic Power-Metal, Neo-Classical Metal and Progressive-Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in X Opus are: James Williams – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Brian Dixon – Lead and Backing Vocals; David Crocker – Lead and Backing Vocals (tracks 4, 7, 9); Jesse Gallegos – Bass; Corbett Tucker – Drums; Matthew Bowers - Keyboards...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2011...............................................,.....Interested to know more about this Project? Visit X OPUS HOME PAGE...
. MAJESTIC - "Ataraxia"
The North American band Majestic is back to this webzine, this time to present their fourth album, “Ataraxia”. Majestic was founded in 2007 by guitarist Jeff Hamel, who played in various bands around Detroit from late 80’s to early 90’s. Because Hamel loved bands of the 70’s (mainly “Yes”, “Floyd”, “Genesis”, and “King Crimson”), he tried to capture their musical spirit on Majestic’s first album, “String Theory” (2008, Andromeda Records). Even before finishing the debut, Hamel was contacted by Russian Label MALS Ltd., which released Majestic’s album “Descension” (2008). The third album, “Arrival” (2009, MALS), had collaboration of Jessica Rasche (vocals) and Gregg Johns ("Slychosis" member and Hamel‘s partner on the “Proximal Distance Project”); and was featured at this webzine as “Best Release of September-2009”. Majestic’s fourth album, “Ataraxia” (2010, MALS), has collaboration of Jessica, Johns, and also of Jerry Swan (bass) and drummers Chris Nathe and John Wooten. In spite of being inspired by bands of the seventies (“Yes”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Deep Purple”, and “Camel”), the music of Majestic has a sonority that approaches modern bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Ayreon”, “The Gathering”, “Arena”, “Star One”, “Magenta”, “Dream Theater”, “Jupiter Society”, “Slychosis”, “White Willow“, “Sylvan”, “Riverside”, and “Nemezis”. Compositions in general have a transmuting attribute, alternating from Neo-Prog and Space-Rock to Heavy-Prog and Prog-Metal, bringing atmospheric moments inserted within the frame. Some songs are long and completely instrumental, having symphonic arrangements made of multiple layers and textures of keyboards (reminiscent of Classic Prog bands like “Camel” and “Genesis”), all combined with long and elaborated guitar solos that sound either soaring and psychedelic, or neo-progressive (like “Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Ayreon”). The heaviest moments are reminiscent of bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “King Crimson” and “Star One”. Jessica’s vocals have a peculiar intonation that reminds me of “Anneke van Giersbergen” (“The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”), and “Christina Booth” (“Magenta”). “Ataraxia” has 11 tracks. The softness of the introductory song “Disarray“ (with piano and vocals) strongly contrasts with the heaviness of “Faceless“ – a Prog-Metal piece that initially brings massive attack of guitars supported by gritty keyboards that remind me of early days of “Porcupine Tree”, and later, of “Jupiter Society”. The song slows down near the last third, when vocals finally enter. “Wither“ and “Numb“ are much more atmospheric. “Wither” (9 min) sounds like a crossover of “Porcupine Tree” and “The Gathering” (mainly because of the vocals), and flows slowly over an oriental-sounding background surrounded by Stravinsky-like symphonic arrangements, having an extended instrumental section with guitars and keyboards in “Crimson-Floyd” style. “Numb“ is dreamy, supported by string arrangements, and reminds me of “Agua de Annique”. A high degree of Progressiveness is present on the outstanding instrumental compositions “Astral Dream“ and “Dance of the Elders“. “Astral Dream“ (7min) is arranged like a cosmic Bolero, following a “King Crimson” kind of guitar, and gradually grows from a Space-Rock to a Heavy-Prog (like a blend of “Ayreon” and “Porcupine Tree”). The amazing “Dance of the Elders“ (8 min) is structured on an Electronic-Psychedelic frame supported by pulsing bass and synthesizers that keep a steady pace from the beginning to the end. Intense instrumental interplay is present, including keyboard melodies, soaring “Floydian”-guitars, violins, and sparse heavy guitar riffs in the style of “Porcupine Tree” and “Crimson”, with epic final chorus. But the musical climax of “Ataraxia” is reached on the gigantic tracks “Takes My Breath Away“ (c. 14:00) and “Altered State“ (c. 9:00). The first piece begins slowly, with sad vocals and soft flute-like sounds. The arrangements become more symphonic at the middle. Vocals reappear at the last third of the song, which is dominated by “Floydian” guitars and melodic keyboards like “Genesis” and “Camel”. The second piece inserts Heavy-Prog guitar riffing in a “Floydian” mood, with atmospheric vocals like (again, like “Porcupine Tree” and “The Gathering”). The short songs “Star Bound“ and “Delusion“ combine Techno-Prog coolness with Neo-Prog vibes, and will appeal to fans of recent works of “Porcupine Tree” and “Magenta”. The closing track “Reflections“ sounds rather like a bonus-track, for it does not fit into the concept of the album. It is an acoustic Prog-ballad featuring both male and female vocals. With this excellent “Ataraxia”, Majestic gives another step towards the solidification of their sonority and own style, something that might be farther developed on their newest release of 2011 (“Labyrinth”) that I hope to listen to soon. Majestic is highly recommended for fans of Heavy-Prog, Hard Neo-Prog and Prog-Metal that like non-operatic female vocals.  Band members and collaborators involved in Majestic are: Jeff Hamel – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Vocals; Jessica Rasche – Lead Vocals; Chris Nathe – Drums. Special guests: Jerry Swan – Bass (“Numb”); John Wooten - Drums (“Astral Dream”, “Dance of the Elders”); Gregg Johns – Guitars, Talkbox (“Altered State”); Jeremy Hamel – Acoustic Guitar (“Reflexions”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2011................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit MAJESTIC HOME PAGE...
. MY SLEEPING KARMA - "Tri"
My Sleeping Karma is a German band from Aschaffenburg that plays instrumental Psychedelic Stoner-Rock. The line-up is formed by Matte (bass); Seppi (guitar); Steffen (drums); and Norman (soundboard). Matte and Steffen were already playing in a Stoner-Rock band called “The Great Escape”. Then, in 2005, the four integrants began to jam together. The concept for the new band soon evolved with the idea of producing psychedelic relaxing music with a surrounding spiritual aura, and My Sleeping Karma was born. As people liked the kind of vibe that emanated from the band, they soon signed a contract with German Independent Label Elektrohasch Records, and released three albums: ”My Sleeping Karma” (2006, CD/LP), ”Satya” (2008, CD/LP), and the latest release - ”Tri” (2010, CD/LP). “Tri” is inspired on the Hindu concept of “Trimurti”: there are three main gods in the Indian Hinduism (Brahama, Shiva and Vishnu), which are supported by three female Goddesses (Sarasvati, Parvati and Lakshmi) and three fundamental operating principles or “Gunas” (Rajas, Sattva and Tamas, which are associated with Creation, Preservation and Destruction, respectively). “Tri” is therefore composed of 9 tracks, each one been titled according to the “Trimurti” names. The compositions are all instrumental. The music is organized around melodic guitar tunes that are at first delicate and relaxing. The basic rhythmic frame is composed of a combination of Psychedelic/Space Rock bass and fluidal drums. The main riffs are repeated as a mantra, arranged in cycles, so that each subsequent cycle incorporates more instrumental elements – which can be represented by more solid guitar riffing, groovier bass, heavier drumming, or by insertion of space cosmic sounds on the background. The cycles create a psychedelic atmosphere that has the effect of plunging the listener into a trippy state of mind, so he/she can experiment a kind of spiritual universal inner journey. Virtuosity is therefore unimportant for band members, for they care much more about the pure emotional nature of their Music. In their way, My Sleeping Karma drinks from the source provided by early Psychedelic bands, like “Jefferson Airplane”, “The 13th Floor Elevators”, “Grateful Dead”, and even “The Beatles” (think of song “Tomorrow Never Knows”), reaching a sonority that is reminiscent of modern Psychedelic and Stoner bands like “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, “Violeta de Outono”, and “Brant Bjork”. “Brahama” opens the album with Indian minimalist sounds that cause a hypnotic effect, gradually growing later with stronger bass and drums, extended by a long mysterious guitar tune. The short “Parvati” reflects the delicacy of this Goddess. “Tamas” brings an alternation of soft passages with stronger and heavier parts that seem to duplicate the destructive effect of this philosophical principle over a prior harmonic landscape. “Sattva” is a space rock basically made of ambient cosmic sounds. “Shiva” is grounded on a combination of bass and drums reminiscent of some Hindu dance, dedicated to that Deit “Vishnu”, although short, irradiates an aura of light coming from the Nirvana, which may be a typical character of that God. “Lakshmi” has a faster pace that reflects a feeling of joyful beatitude towards creation and life, and the spirit of love. “Rajas” is short and simple, as the primeval seed of all universal origin. The album closes with “Sarasvati“ – a vigorous composition dedicated to the Goddess of wisdom, music and arts – grounded on vigorous guitar riffs, with influences of “Colour Haze” and “Hypnos 69”. If your are in search of your Inner Light, My Sleeping Karma album “Tri” brings music that will certainly set you into an alpha-estate of mind, being especially recommended for fans of Psychedelic Stoner-Rock, in special those fans of “Colour Haze” and “Hypnos 69”. Band members and collaborators involved in My Sleeping Karma are: Matte – Bass; Seppi – Guitar; Steffen – drums; Norman – Soundboard. If you want to hear their music please visit My Sleeping Karma's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/07/2011............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MY SLEEPING KARMA HOME PAGE...
. ATRIUM - "2011"
Atrium is a new Progressive band hailing from Lisbon, Portugal. The band was born in late 2003, founded by long time friends Rui Godinho (keyboards, vocals) and Carlos “Caíto” Martins (bass). Atrium’s line-up has changed a lot, with many musicians entering or leaving the band. Finally, it became stable with the arrivals of Pedro Cravo (guitar) in 2004; and Sérgio Campos (drums) in 2009. Along the years the band worked in studio developing a repertoire for live presentations, with the highlight being the composition “Let Me Dream”. With that repertoire, Atrium was invited as Special Guest to support a concert of “Barclay James Harvest” in Aula Magna, Lisbon. The band was also invited to support a show of “Asia” in Portugal. In that time, Atrium managed to release their first independent album, “2011” (2011, self produced). The album is an ambitious effort by Atrium to conquer their space in the worldwide Progressive Rock scene. Atrium is clearly classified as a Neo-Progressive band. Their will to get into the international scenario makes them sing in English, differing from their Portuguese predecessors, like “Tantra”, “Petrus Castrus”, “Quarteto 1111”, “José Cid”, and “Saturnia”. Also the sonority of Atrium has nothing to do with those bands, reflecting instead a stronger influence from their favorites: “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Mr. So & So”, “Camel”, “Yes”, “Steve Hackett”, “Asia”, “Supertramp”, “Dairy Straits“, “Pink Floyd”, “Focus”, and “Jethro Tull”. The songs are soft, plentiful of smooth melodies from keyboards and guitars. Cravo’s guitar assimilates the styles of “Rothery”, “Hackett”, “Gilmour”, and “Knopfler”, and appears as the main solo instrument, executing many different tunes within the same composition. Bass and drums are kept most of the time in a mid-tempo pace, with occasional fast rocky passages (like “Asia”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”), but never getting too much harder or heavier (like in “Arena”, for instance). Vocals are reminiscent of “Marillion” (“Steve Hogarth” phase), “IQ”, and “Pendragon” and “Mr. So & So”. “2011” features 7 tracks, all following the common headlines described above. The opening track - “Doubts (Ask the Universe)“ – begins with calm folk guitars, turning unexpectedly to a rocky pace similar to most vigorous songs of “Asia”, “Pendragon”, and “IQ”. The beginning of “Citizen of the World“ reminds me of “Dairy Straits” because of the clean guitar; and latter of “Marillion”. A middle instrumental section is like “Genesis” (beginning of “Phil Collins” phase) and “Mr. So & So”. A slow cadenced part brings beautiful keyboards on the background, and a wonderful and surprising space-guitar solo (maybe an influence of “Focus”). On “Let me Dream“, a dreamy atmosphere is created by Godinho with keyboards and organs. Later, he gives emphasis to the classical pianos, introducing “Rothery”-styled solos by Cravo. The following “Like You (One Step at the Time)“ reminds me of early “Marillion” with “Fish” – and alternation of groovy bass phrasing combined with slightly sad guitars and emotional vocals. From this point on, the album is dominated by three long songs, each one surpassing 11 minutes of duration. The first is “Final Trial“, which has clean guitars and a rocky pace that reminds me of “Dairy Straits”. Synthesizers make good company to a bluesy guitar like “Knopfler”. A middle section with bouncing keys reminds me of “Supertramp”. The last two tracks turned out to be my favorites. For being so long, they contain much more variation, and let more space for instrumental evolutions. “Story of a Great Man“ has a lively rocky disposition in the beginning, even including some electronic keyboards. The long instrumental section features folk acoustic guitars, beautiful harmony synthesizers, bluesy guitars, flutes that sound like “Jethro Tull”, and Middle-Eastern acoustic guitars and percussion. The song closes its cycle coming back to the same fast pace of its beginning. “Looking for the Light“ begins with Spanish medieval guitars (an influence of "Hackett") and a Psychedelic “Floydian” bass that supports heavier keyboards. Although some parts still recall the Neo-Prog cannon, this song brings more rhythmical vigor and diversity then the previous tracks; and a bit more of aggressiveness on vocals and guitars. All this might be requested in the future, if Atrium wants to confront the international audiences. Nevertheless, their sonority, as it is now, will clearly satisfy the fans of the softer side of “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Floyd”, “Asia”, “Mr. So & So”, “Camel”, “Yes”, “Saga”, to which Atrium is highly recommended.  Band members involved in Atrium are: Rui Godinho – Lead Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Percussion; Carlos “Caíto” Martins – Bass, Pedals, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals; Pedro Cravo – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Vocals and Sérgio Campos – Drums, Percussion...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/07/2011.............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to ATRIUM HOME PAGE...
. SWIM THE MIND - "Waterfall Walls"
Swim The Mind is an Alternative Rock quartet based in Rockville, Connecticut (U.S.A.). The line-up consists of Adam (bass), Cisco (guitar), Nick (vocals), and Alex (drums). The melting pot of the band cooks many different influences, but their main goal is to blend Indie Rock, Stoner Rock and Hard Rock with elements of Post-Metal, Heavy Prog, Dark Prog, Grunge, and New Metal on their own way. Their most influential bands, with which they have a sonority in common, are “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Deftones”, “Soundgarden”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice in Chains”, “Nirvana”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Incubus”, “Primus”, “Mudvayne”, “Sevendust”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Blind Melon”, “Pantera”, “Oceansize”, “Radiohead”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Jane’s Addiction“, “The Mars Volta”, “Monster Magnet”, “Death Cab For Cutie”; and the fathers of it all: “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, and early “Black Sabbath”. But even names such as “The Doors”, “Pink Floyd”, “Jethro Tull”, “Bad Company”, “Queen”, “James Taylor”, “Dave Matthews”, “The Roots”, “Béla Fleck and the Flecktones”, and “Fiona Apple” were cited by the band as being among their references. Their debut album, “Waterfall Walls” (August, 2010), is an independent release that was written and performed by Swim the Mind; recorded and co-produced by John Bolduc (BoldMusic, LLC), and mastered by Jonathan Wyner (M-Works Mastering Studios). The album contains 11 tracks. Swim The Mind combines Indie Rock, Stoner Rock and Hard Rock inside a musical frame, inserting into it some elements of Post-Metal, Heavy Prog and Dark Prog, and minor passages of Grunge and New Metal. The songs summon all depression, pain, and suffering of the world into slow to mid-tempo, heavy, dense, and gloomy compositions made of hypnotic-psychedelic bass lines, metallic-stoner guitar riffing, and compact drumming. Vocals alternate from melancholically-pessimistic to desperate and aggressive – reaching a cathartic relief in furious screams. Along the record, the songs are organized in blocks that are punctuated by two short instrumental interludes. The first block comprises “The Drought“, “Fold“, “The Rope and the Pole“, and “Regret“, which display a stronger lean to Stoner Rock and Hard Rock, with main influences of “Soundgarden”, “Radiohead”, the recent work of “Alice in Chains”, and a pinch of early “Black Sabbath”. The last two bands are the greatest influences on the Stoner Rock “The Drought“; while “Fold“, “The Rope and the Pole“ and “Regret“ invest more in the psychedelic, including cadenced passages reminiscent of “A Perfect Circle”, and few faster passages like “Tool”, “Deftones” and “Rage Against the Machine”. This block ends with the first instrumental interlude: the title track “Waterfall Wall“. The following two tracks incorporate more variation within their frame. “Becoming One“ begins sad, being driven by bass lines that combines influences of “Soundgarden”, “Radiohead“ and “A Perfect Circle”. It includes percussion beats that remind me of “The Mars Volta”; and grows heavier later with long sustained  vocals, like “Deftones”. “Her Last Song“ – one of my favorites – begins with whispered vocals and later combine Dark Progressive with Post-Metal, with the instrumentation bearing influences of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle” and “Porcupine Tree”. The second instrumental interlude (“Zani Norp“) is an experimental-noisy track that opens way for the best tracks of the album, those on which the band’s musical proposal is best achieved. “The Groove System“ has a fast rocky punch, featuring swinging bass and aggressive New-Metal vocals, but also incorporates influences of “Zappa”, “Primus” and “Rage Against the Machine” into it. “Questions Unanswered“ returns to the initial Stoner-Metal/Hard Rock, melding “Alice In Chains”, “Black Sabbath” with the Post-Metal sonority of “A Perfect Circle” and “Tool”. It is a vibrant song, crowned by a psychedelic distorted guitar solo. “Inadequate Mind“ closes the album following the same line: featuring psychedelic-drunken guitars and pessimistic-suffering vocals with a tempestuous “Nirvana”-like temper. Swim The Mind has relied on a combination of Stoner Hard, and Metal genres that are most prominent in the mainstream scene of today, and made a very good, and honest debut. The band has great potential, being specially recommended for fans of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Soundgarden”, “Deftones”, “Alice in Chains”, “Nirvana”, “Mudvayne”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Blind Melon”, “Oceansize”, “Radiohead”, “Monster Magnet”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Swim The Mind are: Adam - Bass, Cisco - Guitar, Nick - Vocals, and Alex – Drums. If you want to hear their music please visit Swim The Mind's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/07/2011......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit SWIM THE MIND HOME PAGE...
. FROM.UZ - "Quartus Artifactus"
The From.uz has been formed in summer 2004 by four musicians, Andrew G. Mara-Novik - Bass, Vitaly A. Popeloff - Guitars, Vladimir B. Badirov - Drums and Albert S. Khalmurzayev - Keyboards, three of them hailing from Tashkent Uzbekistan, start, the band played a fantastic instrumental music. Actualy, after to change the name to From.uz, also changing some members, at the moment, the band is formed by five musicians, an instrumental group with a high musical energy. From.uz was officially introduced to the world, through the compositions in a live concert, realized in April 2005 at the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan, in Tashkent. The concert has been organized with the purpose to try the results of their creative work on public. The group wanted to check their abilities to attract the audience with such a kind of music and to find concurring people. One more purpose was also to record it and analyse everything afterwards. It was necessary for the furure creative process, for increasing the musical and professional levels. From this amazing concert, the group released a DVD titled "Playing The Imitation", from this time comes a new name in the prog rock scene. Soon, the band recorded their first album, featuring the same incredible and energetic power found at the live performance (a CD/DVD combination, titled as “Audio Diplomacy”, the DVD contains the records of the original performance at Youth Theater). I consider "Audio Diplomacy" a testimony of an intense and vibrant music, really was the gateway to band into the world of Progressive Rock. From the first time I heard the first work of this band, I realized was hearing and at the same time, watching something amazing, I acknowledge that was a huge surprise to my ears, imagine four musicians performing alive to a select audience in an unforgettable show. What's more, an unknown band that comes from Uzbekistan, a land with few progressive music traditions. From.uz is a very professional band, which mainly plays a sort of Symphonic Progressive Rock, blending Jazz Fusion with lots of improvisations, adding hints of classical music in the style of Eastern Europe. The album "Quartus Artifactus" has a flawless production, really a masterpiece, a musical recorded collection, the best of From.uz in a progressive chamber style, including tracks from all three of the band’s previous releases, "Audio Diplomacy", "Overlook", and "Seventh Story", also included a DVD of all of the songs on the two CDs played live, filmed and recorded at Ilkhom Theater, 23rd of June, 2009, but this double album is not a compilation of their best songs. Two albums that brings together all the beauty of this amazing instrumental band, an incredible production that must be part of many fans' collection of progressive rock. One of the many highlights on this production is the fantastic cover artwork from Ken Westphal, where the three fold inside gatefold picture is just fantastic. "Quartus Artifactus" was mixed and mastered by Shuhrat Tursunov. Sound engineer, digital editing by Alex Selyutin and Albert Khalmurzaev, cameramen: Ravil Valytov, Rakhim Kadirov, Nodir Turdibayev, Muhammad Rasul Yuldashev. Directed  by Zafar Babayev and Zarif Sadikov. Film montaged and editted by Edem Aliev and Vitaly Borodkin. Recorded and distribuited by 10TRecords. The double CD feature nine tracks divided in two albuns, the songs are "Stone Salad" ("Overlook"), "Familiarization Results" ("Audio Diplomacy"), "Harry Heller Theater" ("Audio Diplomacy"), "Perfect Place" ("Seventh Story"), "Parallels" ("Seventh Story"), "Influence Of Time" ("Seventh Story"), "Crashmind" ("Overlook"), "Desert Circle" and "Babylon Dreams" ("Audio Diplomacy"). Actually the band is made up of Igor Elizov on Keyboards and Grand Piano; Al Khalmurzaev on Keyboards, Synths, 12 string guitar and Flute; Vitaly Popeloff on Vocals, Acoustic Steel and Nylon Guitars; Ali Izmailov on Drums and Percussion and Sur'at Kasimov on Fretless Bass. Check back a special interview with Vitaly Popeloff the Guitar and Vocals on the From.uz band...  Brilliant and a fantastic band and album, an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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08/07/2011.........,.....For more information about the musicians and their history, visit FROM.UZ OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. THE ONE THROUGH TENS - "Fighting For a Golden Age"
The One Through Tens is a new Hard Rock band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. The line-up consists of Adam Louis (guitar), Ben Lowry (bass), Abby Leigh Hairston (drums), and Will Floyd (vocals). The band is known around the Nashville area because of the explosive live performances. This energy is fully captured on their debut album “Fighting For a Golden Age” (2011, self-released). The album was recorded by Andy Roy and Nathan Roy; mixed by Andy Roy; mastered by Andy Roy and Steve Day, and produced by Andy Roy and Ben Lowry. The artwork was in charge of Aaron Joseph Gass. The One Through Tens presents a sonority that follows a modern trend. The formula is a mixture of Blues-Rock, Soul, Southern Rock, and Hard Rock of the Seventies with Indie Rock and Stoner Rock, also with a bit of the spontaneous disposition of Punk, Grunge and Garage Rock. Their influences and resemblances come from bands like “Blue Cheer”, “Yardbirds”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Humble Pie”, “Blackfoot”, “Wolfmother”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “The Black Crowes”, “Mumford & Sons”, recent “Alice in Chains”, “Blind Melon”, “Pearl Jam”, “Guns N’ Roses”, “Soundgarden”, “Primus”, “The Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “The Mars Volta”, “At the Drive-In”, and “Pixies”. The sonority is raw, heavy, energetic and explosive. Many songs remind me of the early works of “Blue Cheer” and “Led Zeppelin”, mainly because of Will Floyd’s voice, which has a groove and timbre closer to the ones of “Robert Plant”. Guitar player Adam Louis takes the lead, distilling potent and swinging guitar riffs that go from Blues to Metal and from Punk to Jazz. He is helped by a powerful rhythmic section provided by Lowry & Hairston that shake the entire place without leaving the smallest room for a soft chord, resembling “Queens of the Stone Age”. “Fighting for a Golden Age” (2011) features 10 tracks that blend the electrified Hard Rock of the seventies with the heavier sounds of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The adrenaline is set at high levels, as if the band was performing alive in front of a wild audience. “Run From Your Master“ opens the album with a “Primus” swing on guitars and bass, and Rocky vocals that have the spontaneity of “Blue Cheer”. “Dyin’ Blues“sounds like “The Black Crowes” trying to play “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and vice-versa. “Religious Fervour“ is a Blues-Rock with the flavor of the early Seventies, highlighted by a “drunken” guitar solo. “Eye for an Eye“ is a Blues-Rock ballad that recalls me of “Pearl Jam”. The following sequence of songs are heavily influenced by the Hard Rock of the Seventies - mainly “Zeppelin”, “Humble Pie”, and a bit of the rocky side of early “Black Sabbath” - with the clear-cut beat of “The Black Crowes” and “Queens of the Stone Age”: “Crazy for You“, “Mr. Dragonfly“ (one of the best songs, featuring a great guitar solo), and “So Damn Sad“ (with a Soul-like swing on guitars reminiscent of “Zeppelin”). The title track “Fighting for a Golden Age“ is a fast R&B with a strident and heavey “Grunge” sonority on guitars, and contrasts a lot with the following “Bad Day“ – a slow Heavy Blues with influences of “Yardbirds” and “Zeppelin”. The last track is “Liars and Thieves“, that reminds me of “Blue Cheer’s” song “Preacher” because of the saxophone (courtesy of guest musician Derek Haight). The song has a “something else” by having a middle instrumental section full of swing, and an excellent sax and guitar interplay. A band with a straightforward rocky attitude, and cultivating an open-minded vision of Hard Rocky Music from all times, The One Through Tens will develop their style even more in the future. For now, they are specially recommended for fans of early “Led Zeppelin”, “Humble Pie”, “Blue Cheer”, “The Black Crowes”, “Pearl Jam”, “Queens of the Stone Age”; and for those who like Hard Heavy Rock with a taste of bloody raw meat. Band members and collaborators involved in The One Through Tens are: Adam Louis – Guitar; Ben Lowry – Bass; Abby Leigh Hairston – Drums; Will Floyd – Vocals. Guest musician: Derek Haight – Saxophone. If you want to hear their music please visit The One Through Tens's MySpace page...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE ONE THROUGH TENS HOME PAGE...
. ROTOR - "4"
Rotor is a trio from Berlin that plays instrumental music since 1998. Names of band members are unknown, and they sign as simply as Guitar, Bass and Drums. Rotor’s discography includes few Splits, plus a collection of LPs/CDs titled as “1” (2001), “2” (2005) and “3” (2007), all released under German independent label Elektrohasch Records. Rotor‘s last release is “4”, which was recorded at Tonmeisterei, Oldenburg, 2010; mixed and mastered by Role, and released in 2010 also under Elektrohasch. This band is definitely not for the sensitive ears of the Progressive fans that visit this site looking for melodious Symphonic-Prog. Rotor’s sonority is noisy, dissonant, distorted, crude, harsh, and heavy, but still powerful, authentic and coming from the guts of its integrants – with a loyalty to the “do it yourself” motto that has not been frequently seen in the mainstream Rock scene. Their influences come from bands that traffic in the basement of the underground - everything that bites, lurks, fangs, stings and hurts – including unconventional Progressive Bands (“King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Can”, “Neu!”); Traditional Hard & Heavy acts (“Jimi Hendrix”, “Black Sabbath”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Grand Funk Railroad”, “Beck”, “Motörhead”, “AC/DC”); unconventional Heavy Metal (“Tiamat”, “Opeth”, “Primus”, “Helmet”, “The Mars Volta”); many Stoner Rock/Stoner Metal acts (“Electric Wizard”, “Oneida”, “Kyuss”, “Karma to Burn”, “Colour Haze”, “Monster Magnet”, “Brant Björk”, “Fu Manchu”, “Motorpsycho”, “Masters of Reality”, “Darediablo”, “Secret Chiefs 3”, “7zuma7”, “Sons of Otis”, “35007”, “The Obsessed”, “Porn”, “Big Business”, “Stinking Lizaveta”, “Isis”, “Neurosis”); several Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Garage Rock (“Melvins”, “Mike Patton”, “Soundgarden”, “From Monument to Masses”, “PJ Harvey”, “Ton, Steine, Scherben”, “Battles”, “My Bloody Valentine”, “Explosions in the Sky”, “Danko Jones”, “Shellac”, “Karate”, “Orwo 6”, “Euroboys”, “Tortoise”); a bit of Punk, Grunge, Post-Hardcore (“L7”, “Fugazi”, “Drive by Shooting”, “Girls against Boys”, “Refused”, “Unsane”), and assorted surprising influences: “Sonic Youth”, “Kate Bush”, “Bjork”, “Amy Winehouse”, “Talk Talk” (Synth-Pop), “Kiosk” (Blues Rock), “Curtis Mayfield” (Funk, Soul, R&B singer), “Kaki King” (Rock guitarist and singer), “Medeski, Martin & Woods” (Jazz Trio), “Aphex Twin” (Electronic Music), “Ennio Morricone”, “Steve Reich” (Minimalist composer), “Dead Can Dance”, “Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra” (Serbian Rock), and “Oumou Sangaré” (African musician). Confusing? No matter. For me, Rotor conveys the influences that come from the roots of Psychedelic, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk Rock, blending sounds that are reminiscent of bands like “Black Sabbath”, “Cactus”, “Budgie”, “Mc5”, “Iron Butterfly“, “Dust”, “Blue Cheer”, and “Hendrix”, but with a heavier sonority that updates them to the present Stoner Rock-Stoner Metal-Stoner Doom triad. The new album “4” brings 9 tracks (7 instrumental, 2 with vocals performed by guest singers – see below). The pair “Präludium C.V.”/ “Gnade Dir Gott“ opens the album. The first is a deceptive progressive piano intro, while “Gnade…“ is heavy, electrified and fast – pouring down on the listener an impressive sequence of tribal polyrhythmic drumming, dynamic post metallic bass, and sharp-edged slashing guitars. “Karacho/Heizer“ keeps the pace of the previous, but has bolder guitar riffs and deeper bass, with a somewhat “Black Sabbath” accent on the guitar riffing and solo. “An3R4“ has a Hardcore lean, consisting in the heaviest and crudest track of the album. It brings robotized-screaming Hardcore-vocals by guest singer André Dietrich, blending “Fugazi” with “Opeth”. The extreme aggressiveness of “An3R4“ is followed by the contrasting lightness of “Costa Verde“ – one of my favorites – that repeats the tune of “Präludium” on soft guitars that are inserted into a Psychedelic Stoner-Rock frame. Another favorite is “Derwisch“ - a Stoner-Doom Metal that amalgamates fast and slow paces, blending influences of “Black Sabbath”, “The Obsessed”, and “Sons of Otis”. “Drehmoment“ is a heavy and slow Stoner-Metal blending  “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie” and “Dust”. The longest track - “Die Weisse Angst“ (7:50) – begins with a minimalist riff reminiscent of “Black Sabbath’s” eponymous song, growing later with a sequence of slow heavy riffs, loaded bass and drums, that are repeated each time more dramatically, being reminiscent of bands like “Isis” and “Neurosis”. The album closes with a heavier cover of “Neatz Brigade“ (by “The Obsessed”), featuring guest singer Nico Kozik. With a straightforward harsh sonority, “4”, by Rotor is recommended for fans of Stoner-Rock, Stoner-Metal and Stoner-Doom Metal that appreciate “Black Sabbath”, “Electric Wizard”, “Kyuss”, “Monster Magnet”, “Brant Björk”, “Fu Manchu”, “Motorpsycho”, “Darediablo”, “Secret Chiefs 3”, “7zuma7”, “Sons of Otis”, “The Obsessed”, “Porn”, “Isis”, “Neurosis” and so on...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011..............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to ROTOR HOME PAGE...
. ANI LO.PROJEKT - "Miracle"
Ani Lo.Projekt is a Symphonic-Metal band from Bulgaria that is headed by Ani Lozanova – a well-known rock singer in that country. She began her career at the age of 16, appearing on the stage for the first time on a TV show, and has already released two albums: “Mirror” and “Ani Lozanova”. In 2002, Ani and drummer Konstantin Dinev created the Ani Lo.Projekt (a.k.a. Ani Lozanova Band) to play live original songs and covers, becoming famous in the restricted Rock-Metal circuit of Bulgaria. In 2009 Ani and Dinev set forth a new aim: to conquer audiences abroad. With the line-up formed by Vladimir Todorov (guitar), Kalin Zhechev (keyboards), and current bassist Straho (who replaced former bassist Mario Ivanov), they were lucky to meet Metal singer Ian Parry (“Crystal Tears”, “Consortium Project”, “Elegy”) who ended up as the Executive Producer of the band. Ani Lo.Projekt then was able to release a debut album, called “Miracle” (March, 2011, Dust on the Tracks Records). Besides working as a producer, Ian Parry has also contributed with lyrics and songwriting; and has sung on a bonus track. Another guest appearance is made by guitarist Stephen Lill (of Prog-Metal band “Vanden Plas”), who plays solo in a couple of songs. Ani Lozanova‘s first influences were Rock and Metal acts like “Janis Jopling”, “The Doors”, “Black Sabbath”, “Iron Maiden” and “Nightwish”. The music developed by her band is therefore a blend of traditional Heavy Metal and Hard Rock (with influences of “Dio”, “Accept”, “Warlock”, “Doro”, “Chastain” and “Acid”), and the most modern tendencies of Symphonic-Metal, Melodic Power-Metal, and Gothic Metal (with influences of female-fronted bands like “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Within Temptation”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Syrens Call”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Synergy”, “Evanescence”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Elis”, “Delain”). Although coming from a country with a deemed Rock-Metal musical scene, Ani Lo.Projekt is the second band from Bulgaria that has caused a striking impression on me (the other one is “Pantommind”, see under Reviews 2009 at www.progressiverockbr.com). Their sonority is a balanced mix of dynamite- guitars, nitroglycerine bass and drums, nuclear-powered symphonic keyboards, and high levels of metallic energy. Everything is driven by Ani’s powerful vocals, which summon on epic melodies the talent and strength of “Tarja Turunen”, “Doro Pesch”, “Kimberly Goss“ (“Synergy”), ”Soraya Hostens“ (“Syrens Call”), and “Sonia Pineault” (“Forgotten Tales”). The album “Miracle” features 11 tracks, including an incredible cover of “Michael Jackson” (!). The album begins highly symphonic with the thick layer of classical pianos brought by “Miracle Is All We Need”, followed by the rocky punch and the “Nightwish”-styled “Angels”, which is marked by the epic backing vocals. The amazing Power-Metal “Ark of Covenant” features awesome vocals by Ani, who sings like a "Red Sonja" going into battle amid heavy guitar riffs, Cimmerian drums, and Nordic operatic chorus, with influences of “Nightwish” and “Forgotten Tales”. The superb solo by Stephen Lill adds extra Prog Metallic quality to this war-song. The following track - “Cannot Fall Asleep” – makes a pause in symphonic themes to pour on the listener the best hot-pulsing, swinging Hard Rock, like “Doro” and “Accept”. The solid “Cry Over” - another favorite - brings a male-female duet (with guest Bobi Cheshmedjieve), recalling me of “Lacuna Coil”, but having a higher destructive guitar solo. “Fly” is a Hard Rock transmuted into an angelic flight by the passionate interpretation of Ani. The following track is an unbelievable all-different version of “Give In To Me (Michael Jackson)”, which is turned into a Heavy Symphonic-Metal with the rocky verve of “Doro” and the epic-temper of “Nightwish” and “Within Temptation”. The heavy and cadenced “Innocent Minds” brings Love-Gothic emotion using operatic vocals that reminds me of “Epica”. “Slip Away” is a metal-ballad driven by soulful melodies on both voice and guitar. The closing track is the astonishing molten-led “What You Sow Is What You Reap”, sung with rage and wrath, bordered by heavy riffs, Prog-metallic bass and drums ornamentation, and sword-cutting synthesizer solo, featuring another neo-classical guitar solo by Stephen Lill. The bonus track “Miracle Is All We Need (Acoustic)” is an acoustic piano version of the opening track that features Ian Parry on vocals. Ani Lo.Projekt’s album “Miracle” is one of the best and most rewarding releases of this year, an exceptional work, indispensable for fans of “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Within Temptation”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Doro”, “Syrens Call”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Evanescence”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Synergy”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Elis”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ani Lo.Projekt are: Ani Lozanova – Lead and Backing Vocals; Konstantin Dinev a.k.a. Kossy D. – Drums, Backing Vocals, Bass on track 8; Kalin Zhechev – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Vladimir “Vlado” Todorov – Guitars; Straho – Bass. Special Guests: Ian Parry – Producer, Lyrics, Stephen Lill –Solo Guitar (tracks 3, 10). Other musicians:  Mario Ivanov – Bass (tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10); Veselina Dragolova-Danailova – Vocals (tracks 3 and 7); Bobi Cheshmedjieve – Vocals on track 5...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ANI LO.PROJEKT HOME PAGE...
. JARLE H. OLSEN - "Quadrasonic"
Jarle H. Olsen is a Norwegian guitarist and composer who started to play guitar at the age of 12. In those days he listened to “Iron Maiden”, “Testament” and “Metallica” and learned every song and solo from their albums. When he discovered more progressive and technically advanced music he started practicing and studying daily to improve his skills and to be capable of playing whatever he wanted. After playing in local bands, but never getting satisfied with them, he founded his own project, which in 2002 officially became the Jarle H. Olsen Project: a Prog-Metal-Fusion Instrumental Quartet. After many line-up changes, he finally found the right musicians to work with; all of which are able to contribute to the project with their own musicianship: Alex Argento (keyboards), Rodrigo Garcia (bass), and Bjarte K. Helland (drums). Olsen’s influences are wide, and include all music that affects him positively. This can go from music for computer games and composers of Movie Soundtracks (“Ennio Morricone”, “John Barry”, “John Williams”, the “James Bond” series) to Classical Music (“Bach”, “Rachmaninoff”, and “Messiaen”), and non-metallic Pop-Rock (“Supertramp”, “The Cure”, “Depeche Mode”, “A-Ha”, “Sting”, “Madonna”). But the main influences come from the Hard-Progressive-Metal-Fusion bands, including “Deep Purple”, “TNT”, “Marillion”, “Iron Maiden”, “Testament”, “Metallica”, “Planet X”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, and the guitar players “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Adrian Smith”, “Greg Howe”, “Jason Becker”, “George Bellas”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marty Friedman”, “Joe Satriani”, “Vinnie Moore”, and the drummers “Virgil Donati”, “Deen Castronovo” and “Vinnie Colaiuta”. Jarle H. Olsen has finally released his independent debut album, “Quadrasonic” (2011). The record was produced and engineered by Jarle H. Olsen and Ronny Heimdal; mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen at Jailhouse Studios; and has participation of guest musicians Jan Martin Kleveland and Manuel Soto (see below). Jarle H. Olsen is the second super-guitarist that I stumble upon in just a few weeks (the other one is “Glen Drover”, see reviews 2011); and his “Quadrasonic” is by far one of the best releases of 2011, bringing some of the best Metal-Fusion material ever written. This ten-track record begins with “Exordium”, an astral intro, and harbinger of the great music that is still to come. And it comes in a torrent of hot metallic, machine-gun shooting attack, on the superb “Pro-10” – pushed by heavy locomotive-paced guitar riffs, whirlwind solos, and startling bass-drumming interplay (like “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”). It is followed by the amazing “Dark Matter”, which brings within its frame a mesmerizing guitar theme and its variations, which are elaborated all track long. The awesome “Enigmatic Mind” speeds up again, having the heaviness and pounding force of a “Symphony X” – but with a lean to the Fusion-Metal of “Vai” and “Vinnie Moore”. This piece includes many sections that sound like the instrumentation of “Dream Theater” combined with the Neo-Classical Metal of “Cacophony”. “From Deep Within” calms down a little, bringing subtle colors of a Prog-Fusion melodic tune comparable to those executed by “Greg Howe”, “McAlpine” and “Vai”, all inserted in a Symphonic-Prog arrangement. An amazing synth solo is added to the last third of this piece, emphasizing its Progressive nature. “Event Horizon” leans to the Neo-Classical Metal, abusing of Olsen’s ultra-fast shredding technique, as did masters “Becker”, “Friedman” and “Malmsteen”. A middle part with piano raises the Progressiveness value of this piece, counting with help of all other band members. “Chimerical Moments” is a breath-taking Metal-Fusion that rivals with any piece written by “Liquid Tension”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian” or “Jordan Rudess”. The last three tracks (“The Omnipotence”, “Reawakening”, “Journey To Duat”) compose the suite called “Osiris”. Lasting more than 14 minutes altogether, “Osiris” is a masterpiece in Prog-Metal – a phenomenal epic track performed with passion by all band members, with majestic cadence and astral moments, being the epitome of this extraordinary record. “Quardrasonic” is really a must-have album; super-highly recommended for fans of Prog-Metal, Neo-Classical and Fusion-Metal that love the music of “Vinnie Moore”, “Vai”, “Satriani”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Liquid Tension”, “Planet X”, “Jordan Rudess”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Jarle H. Olsen are: Jarle H. Olsen – All Guitars; Alex Argento – All Keyboards; Rodrigo Garcia - Bass; Bjarte K. Helland – Drums. Guests Musicians: Jan Martin Kleveland – Bass (tracks 5, 7, 8 10); Manuel Soto (Keyboards on “Exordium“). Past members: Espen Austestad – Guitars; Tore Christer Storlid – Bass. If you want to hear their music please visit Jarle H. Olsen's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011......................Want to learn everything about this amazing musician, visit JARLE H. OLSEN HOME PAGE...
. TRAVELLERS - "A Journey Into The Sun Within"
Travellers is the new musical project of Wojtek Szadkowski (keyboards, drums, lyrics), a former musician of Polish Progressive bands “Collage”, “Satellite”, and “Strawberry Fields”. The lineup consists of Marta Kniewska, a.k.a. Robin (vocals, lyrics), Grzegorz Leczkowski (guitars), and Krzysiek Palczewski (bass). Robin also sang in Wojtek’s side project “Strawberry Fields”, and her high-pitched voice matched perfectly with the new material he was composing. Leczkowski was chosen for the guitar because Szadkowski preferred someone whose playing was influenced by the rocky sonority of the 80’s. And Palczewski offered himself to play the bass lines on the synthesizer. Travellers was then born to be - according to Wojtek - a mixture of Progressive Rock and Ethnic Music with a large dose of the magic and space of the 80's, all crowned with Robin's beautiful voice. Travellers has just released a debut album – “A Journey Into the Sun Within” (2011, Metal Mind Productions). The music was composed and arranged by Wojtek Szdkowski, and recorded at Wojtek Home Studio. Vocals were recorded by Michal Kirmuc at Polifon Studio; mixed by Krzysiek Palczewski at his home studio; and produced by Wojtek Szadkowski. The music of Travellers uses a combination of influences and trends, therefore escaping a rigid classification. The main musical elements come from British-Folk, Prog-Folk, Neo-Folk, Neo-Prog, New Age, Ambient, Trip-Hop, World Music, Techno-Pop, and Electronica; with a wide range of influences, such as “Renaissance”, “Clannad”, “Enya”, “Björk”, “Portishead”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Quidam”, “Karnataka”, “Agua de Annique”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, “Eurhythmics”, “Japan”, “Simple Minds”, “Duran Duran”, “Depéche Mode”, “Air”, and a softer version of “The Gathering”. “A Journey Into the Sun Within” features six tracks, most of which are long (lasting from 7 to 12 minutes). The compositions are essentially made of contrasts. One part of each song is generally calm and unhurried, surrounded by a dreamy, magical atmosphere, always driven by Robin’s singing. Her voice is eclectic, and most times may sound innocent and sweet, like a new-born fairy, but in other moments may transmit a bittersweet mood; or have tones of maturity and sensuality. The instrumentation and arrangements that follow her are light and ethereal, with elements of Neo-Folk, New Age, Ambient, and Trip-Hop. The other part of each song is instrumental, featuring more elements of Neo-Prog, Ethnical Beats, Techno-Pop, and Rock of the 80’s, sometimes including corpulent guitars and being richly adorned with many layers and textures of ethereal keyboards; minimalist guitar solos, and floating bass-synthesized lines. The final results sound like Wojtek‘s previous project “Strawberry Fields”; but giving more time and space for the melodies and harmonies to develop, interlock, and grow together. The first track is “Magic” (11:00), which is immersed in a fairy-like atmosphere tending to a Neo-Folk, driven by the innocent vocals of Robin. But the song surprises the listener by introducing a middle section with exotic Afro-Brazilian percussion combined with guitar effects. The following “Letters To God” (8:35) begins like a soft Prog-Folk, with Robin singing a tune that recalls “Karnataka”, but the chorus steers the music to a ethereal Techno-Pop, still bringing a soaring instrumental part and remarkable minimalist guitar, following “Marillion” and “Quidam”. “Dreaming” (5:00) is a weightless song featuring Robin’s whispering and sensual voice, floating romantic pianos, and aerial guitars, with the sophistication of “Eurhythmics”, “Portishead” and “Björk”. “I Dream Softly” (7:25) begins with a mysterious tone that recalls the British-Folk of “Clannad”, “Enya”, and “Portishead” but grows on the vibrant chorus and on the instrumental part, which is grounded on ethnical beats, bringing influences of “Depéche Mode” and “Cocteau Twins”. “I See The Light” (8:00) is a slow ballad that transmits a slightly joyful mood, being the most accessible song of the album. The closing track “The Sun” (12:30) is bathed in shiny sun-rays of the Rock of the Eighties, being driven by a series of Techno-beats that are formatted for dancing (recalling “Japan”). The voice of Robin sounds firm and mature, as she exercises her most Pop-singer facet. The instrumental section of this song is lavish adorned with keyboard layers in both Synth-Pop and Neo-Prog styles, and longer guitar solos. Travellers is a band that profits from the musical experience of its integrants. Their album is a high-quality work in the spheres of Folk, soft Neo-Prog and refined Techno-Pop, being highly recommended for fans of “Clannad”, “Enya”, “Portishead”, “Simple Minds” “Renaissance”, “Quidam”, “Karnataka”, “Agua de Annique”, “Marillion”, “Eurhythmics”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Björk”, and “Japan”.  Band members and collaborators involved in Travellers are: Wojtek Szadkowski - Keyboards, Drums; Robin (a.k.a. Marta Kniewska) – Vocals; Grzegorz Leczkowski – Guitars; Krzysiek Palczewski - Bass...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TRAVELLERS HOME PAGE...
. ATHEM - "The Extended Mind"
Athem is a Progressive Metal band formed in late 2003 in New Jersey (U.S.A.). The line-up consists of Will Shaw (vocals), Shawn Baldissero (guitars), Louis Vasile (guitars), Mike Haas (bass); Alex Gonzalez (drums and percussion), and additional musician Keith Elliot (guitars, keyboards). Their first album is called “The Extended Mind” (2010, Dust on the Tracks Records). Athem belongs to the same generation of Prog-Metal bands such as “Age of Nemesis”, “Circus Maximus”, “Pantommind”, “Twinspirits”, “Aeon Zen”, and “Thessera”. Their music recalls immediately the works of “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” phase), the first albums of “Dream Theater” and “Symphony X” (when they were more Prog than Heavy); most albums of “Redemption”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Enchant”, “Royal Hunt”, “Angra”, and “Pain of Salvation” (all bands that have a solid career), and also “Lemur Voice”, “Altura”, “Explorers Club“ and “Ice Age”, showing minor influences of “Deep Purple”, “Rainbow”, “Uriah Heep”, “Rush”, “Helstar”, “Queensrÿche”, “Iron Maiden”, “Cacophony”, “Kansas”, and “Queen”. Although not sounding totally original, Athem ranks with their peers in technique and musicianship; and their album “The Extended Mind” sets the band at a place of prominences, high above most new Prog-Metal acts that are popping up everywhere. All musicians are skillful, and able to perform a varied range of genres and styles. The compositions are long, plain of unexpected turns, varying in cadence and mood, and alternate from volcanic Prog-Metallic moments to calmer Prog-Fusion passages. The arrangements feature abundant instrumental interplay, and privilege melodic creativity. One single track may contain so many changes that sometimes – and this is a constructive critique - the mood of a moment vanishes amid the excess of ideas. Riffs are intricate to a melodic-baroque level (like “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X” and “Shadow Gallery”); played in a cadence that recalls “Fates Warning”, and “Redemption”. Guitars are melodic when soloing, avoiding the tricks of the Neo-Classic style. Keyboards are fluent, in prog-fusion style; or epic and symphonic. Bass and drums are precise, solid, adding extra class to the rhythmic background; and experimental percussion appears in spotted moments. The voice of Will Shaw is remarkable – as light as the voice of “Ray Alder”, “John Arch”, and “James LaBrie” - but his technical capacity to reach high notes never prevails over his extraordinary interpretative gifts. “The Extended Mind” features 9 tracks. The symphonic intro “Overture“ and “Fallen God“ introduce us to a band that employs refined instrumentation, with emphasis on melody rather than on heaviness, recalling old bands “Lemur Voice” and “Altura”. Shaw’s voice drags the listener immediately, as well as the diversity of soaring guitar solos. Athem’s preference for lighter Prog-Metal becomes evident on the ballads: “Away“ (blending guitars like “Jason Becker” and ”Petrucci” with elaborated instrumentation reminiscent of “Rush” and early “Dream Theater”); “Wake Up Screaming“ (featuring Neo-Prog keyboards, including “Angra”-styled Northeastern Brazilian tunes, and amazing soulful vocals with the sensibility of “Rainbow” or ”Uriah Heep”, all interspersed with intricate instrumentation like “Shadow Gallery” and “Symphony X”); and “Merciless Eyes“ (a dark ballad on which the gray-shaded bass pushes it to the style of “Queensrÿche” and “Fates Warning”. On the grand-finale, Shaw’s voice rises to the stratosphere, reaching his highest notes on this record. For those who prefer more energy, I suggest the raging “Prince of Lies“, which incorporates some riffs like old “Helstar”, and still features a Classic-Rock riff like “Deep Purple”, with gritty Hammonds and machine-gun drumming. Also dazzling, the instrumental “The Extended Mind“ chains on a fast sequence of well-interlocked guitar-bass-drums riffs intermingled with jazzy parts, like a medley of “Dream Theater”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Cacophony”. But Athem’s Prog-Metal prowess reaches a peak on the long tracks “Enigmatic Reverie“ (12:30) and “Lifting the Veil“ (15:30). Shaw’s singing on “Enigmatic…” evokes the sound of “Fates Warning”, “Dream Theater”, and “Queen”. A long instrumental reverie takes place in the middle; including guitar duels, Middle Eastern tunes, and complex harmonies (like “Shadow Gallery” and “Cacophony”). “Lifting…“ begins sadly with a “Dream Theater-Floyd” tone, growing heavier with an astonishing sequence of potent riffs that are closer to proto-Prog-Metal and even Metal (like “Iron Maiden”, “Helstar”, “Megadeth”). The last third ascends in ultra-progressive fashion, blending supernatural symphonic keyboards with angelic vocals – just epic!  For the utmost musicianship already displayed on their debut, Athem is super-highly recommended for fans of “Fates Warning”, “Redemption”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Enchant”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Angra”, early “Dream Theater” and “Symphony X”, and so on…  Band members involved in Athem are: Will Shaw - Vocals, Shawn Baldissero - Guitars, Louis Vasile - Guitars, Mike Haas – Bass, Alex Gonzalez - Drums and percussion. Additional musician: Keith Elliot – Guitars and Keyboards...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011..............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to ATHEM HOME PAGE...
. CAPRYCON - "Dark Earth"
Caprycon is a new female-fronted Progressive-Metal band hailing from Perth, Australia. The line-up consists of Gina Bafile (vocals, lyrics), George Garofallou (bass), Kristjan Kristjansson (drums), Martin Blackman (guitars), and Sean Bernard (keyboards, arrangements). The band began in 2009 through the collaboration of singer Gina Bafile with composer Maty Young (not a band member). In July 2010, Caprycon became a quintet with the ambition of creating original music inspired on Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal, with influcences of “Rush”, “Yes”, “Dream Theater”, and “Edenbridge”. “Dark Earth” is Caprycon‘s self-produced debut EP. It was recorded, mixed and mastered in 2010 at Sovereingn Studios by Aidan Barton; and finally released in 2011. The sonority of Caprycon is difficult to categorize, even within the universe of “Female-Fronted Metal” bands. Caprycon blends elements of Epic-Metal, Melodic-Metal, Doom-Metal, Gothic-Metal, Prog-Metal, and Progressive Rock to compose their songs. The sonority recalls me of bands like “Dreams of Sanity”, “Siegfried“ (without the grunting male vocals), “Elis”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Legend”, “Imperia”, “Nemesea“, “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, “Delain”, “Xandria”, “Nemezis”, “Syrens Call”, “Amartia”, “Sinphonia” (Danish Gothic band), and even “Candlemass”, but with an extensive use of elaborated guitar solos and featuring keyboard arrangements and textures that are common in Progressive Rock. The powerful vocals of Gina Bafile are a strong highlight of the band. Even though she sometimes extrapolates her vocal range (a minor flaw that can be easily corrected) she is a passionate singer whose voice and style recall me immediately of “Sandra Schleret” (“Dreams of Sanity”, “Siegfried“, “Elis”), “Franziska Huth” (“Eyes of Eden”), ”Soraya Hostens“ (“Syrens Call”), and “Sonia Pineault” (“Forgotten Tales”). The bassist George Garofallou is another important component of Caprycon’s sonority – he is technical, progressive and metallic. His counterpart is Sean Bernard, whose arrangements search for the Byzantine and Indo-European roots, creating Symphonic and Prog-Metal moments that are crowned with his skilled performance with the Moog. Everything is driven by Blackman‘s powerful gothic-doom guitars and melodic solos; and sustained by Kristjansson‘s pounding drumming. The contribution of guests Chris Feldman (acoustic guitar and guitar solo) and Jarrod Curley (rhythmic guitar) add an extra Progressive-Metallic ingredient to make Caprycon’s music still richer. The EP “Dark Earth” features 7 tracks. The symphonic intro “Ebony Shores” brings an epic atmosphere that is later darkened by the cadenced Doom-Metallic bass and guitars of the title track “Dark Earth”, recalling me at first of “Epica” and “Candlemass”, and later of “Dreams of Sanity” and “Siegfried”. The following two songs are chained to each other: “Desert Song“ is the Arabesque intro for the amazing “Falling into Winter“ – a heavy Oriental-Doom-Metal driven by a solid guitar riffs, featuring coiling guitar solos and great vocal performance by Gina, who sings in a duo with herself (reminding me of “Dreams of Sanity”, and sounding as a female-fronted version of “Candlemass”). “Sorrowchild“ has a rocky energy, and the confrontation of bass against keyboards, coupled with an excellent melodic guitar theme steer the band to the sonority of “Elis” and “Edenbrige”. “Empty“ is the most accessible track, being driven by acoustic guitars and Gina’s folk-vocals; but the initial duet of melodic guitars combined with great Moog solos (reminiscent of “Yes” and “Edenbridge”) inserts on this song a high level of Progressiveness. The closing track is “Symphony of Hope“ - a song that begins like a Melodic Gothic-Metal and turns later to a Neo-Prog, bringing influences ranging from “Edenbridge” and “Elis” to “Syrens Call” and “Legend”. It is lavishly adorned with an extra-long bluesy guitar solo and Neo-Progressive Moog solos. Caprycon has made an excellent and surprising debut, very promising indeed. With some fine adjustments and better production, Caprycon will profit from its unique sonority to instill new energy into the current scene of Female-Fronted Metal bands. Caprycon is therefore highly recommended for fans of “Dreams of Sanity”, “Elis”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Syrens Call”, “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, “Delain”, “Legend”, “Nemesea“, “Xandria”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Caprycon are: Gina Bafile – Vocals; George Garofallou – Bass; Martin Blackman – Guitar; Kristjan Kristjansson – Drums; Sean Bernard - Keyboard, Moog, Samples. Guest guitarists: Chris Feldman – Acoustic Guitars on “Empty” and additional solo on “Symphony of Hope”; Jarrod Curley – Rhythm Guitar on “Falling into Winter” and “Sorrowchild”...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011.......................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to CAPRYCON HOME PAGE...
. DEREK SHERINIAN - "Oceana"
Keyboard-magus Derek Sherinian is back to this webzine to promote his seventh solo album, called “Oceana”. The album is scheduled for release on 5 September 2011, under Mascot Records. Sherinian is a renowned keyboardist who has played with “Buddy Miles”, “Alice Cooper”, “Kiss” and “Dream Theater”. In 1999 he began a solo career, at the same time playing with drummer “Virgil Donati” and guitarist “Tony MacAlpine” in the parallel project “Planet X”. He toured as support musician for “Billy Idol” and “Yngwie Malsteen”, and participated in many projects (e.g. “Explorers Club”, “Ayreon“, “Shaman”) and tribute-albums (for “Pink Floyd” and “Aerosmith”). Sherinian’s albums always feature guest appearances of many luminaries of the Jazz-Rock-Fusion scene (“Al DiMeola”, “Steve Lukather”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Slash”, “John Petrucci”, “John Sykes”, “Billy Sheehan”, “Jerry Goodman”, “Zakk Wylde”, and others), also having participation of his old friends “MacAlpine”, “Donati”, “Simon Phillips” and “Tony Franklin“. Most recently, Sherinian has been invited by producer “Kevin Shirley” to join “Glenn Hughes”, “Jason Bonham” and “Joe Bonamassa” in the Super-group “Black Country Communion”. With them, Sherinian has released two records, revealing his hidden talents for playing 70’s oriented Blues-Rock and Hard-Rock. This last experience left a mark on Sherinian‘s style as a composer. Maybe because he did not want to, at this point of his successful career, get stuck into a formula, he decided to push his music to new directions in order to keep it in constant evolution. “Oceana” seems to be a turning point on Sherinian’s career, stepping firmly into the Jazz-Fusion and Hard Rock terrains, and avoiding the Prog-Metal density of his previous works. The change proved to be a positive one, for the music contained in “Oceana” is lively and free-flowing, rich in textures and moods, full of swing, and still more impregnated with sensibility than ever. The underwater journey of “Oceana” is therefore oriented by a musical compass that establishes a new course for Sherinian: one leaving the stony coasts of “Planet X”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension” and “Malmsteen”, and going to the same seas once cruised by “Jeff Beck“, “Mahavishnu Orchestra“, “Colosseum II“, “Jean-Luc Ponty“, “Weather Report“, “CAB”, “Edgar Winter“, and “Deep Purple”. On board of Sherinian’s vessel are his old friends Simon Phillips (super-drumer, co-writer, co-producer); bassists Tony Franklin and Jimmy Johnson; and a crew of extraordinary guitarists of Fusion, Jazz and Blues: Steve Lukather, Tony MacAlpine, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Stevens, and Doug Aldrich. “Oceana” contains 9 full-instrumental tracks. The opening track “Five Elements” surprises the listener with an unexpected swing coming from the rhythmic section, followed by MacAlpine‘s guitars. A middle section with Jazzy piano evokes the image of “Gershwin” in a space-suit. “Mercury 7“ is fast and effusive, and profiting from the interaction among MacAlpine, Johnson and Sherinian, recalls the past times of “Planet X”.  “Mulholland“ – one of the best tracks - features the Jazz-Rock timbres of Lukather’s guitar engaged in a free-jammed solo battle against Sherinian. Contrary to its title, the fourth track “Euphoria“ is slow, psychedelic and bluesy, with a “Pink Floyd”-like sonority emanating from Lukather‘s coiling guitar, which entwines around the subtle keyboards of Sherinian. In contrast, the sparkling “Ghost Runner“– another highlight of the album - irradiates the energy of the Hard Rock of the Seventies reflected  from the guitar of Stevens, having Hammonds and violin-sounding keyboards on the background, recalling “Deep Purple” and “Kansas”. It is followed by the amazing “El Camino Diablo“ with more gritty keyboards and long guitar solo by Aldrich, the entire piece recalling me of “Beck” and “Edgar Winter”. Those references are also present on “I Heard That“, on which the clean and neat Blues-guitar of Bonamassa contrasts with the coolness of Sherinian’s Jazz-Fusion keys. Lukather returns on “Seven Sins“, a Prog-Fusion with bombastic keyboards, reminiscent of “Ponty”, “Colosseum II” and “Mahavishnu”, featuring Sherinian‘s marble-textured solos. Closing the album with high class, the title track “Oceana“ is a Progressive piece on which delicate sounds of organ are merged with Steven’s soaring guitars and Franklin’s fretless bass to produce gorgeous underwater tunes and epic tones. Summing all up, “Oceana” crowns Sherinian’s eclecticism and versatility, preserving his will to navigate through calmer Fusion waves rather than plunging into the deep oceanic trenches of Prog-Metal. Anyway, this new work of Derek Sherinian is endowed, as ever, with high technical quality and extraordinary musicianship, constituting a must-have item for his fans, being more than highly recommended for appreciators of Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Fusion, and to any open-minded Prog-Metal enthusiast. Band members and collaborators involved with Derek Sherinian are: Derek Sherinian – Keyboards, Pianos; Simon Phillips – Drums, co-writer, Jimmy Johnson – Bass; Tony Franklin – Bass (on 5 and 9). Guest guitarists: Tony MacAlpine (1, 2); Steve Lukather – (3, 4, 8); Steve Stevens (5, 9); Doug Aldrich (6) and Joe Bonamassa (7)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2011.................,..Want to learn everything about this amazing musician, visit DEREK SHERINIAN HOME PAGE...
. THE CASSINI PROJEKT - "Blind Vision"
The Cassini Projekt (with “k”) is a one-man band hailing from Dublin, the U.K. The only integrant is Alex Mc Donnell (guitars, piano, keyboards, drums, bass, and vocals). Hats off for him, he has the right Rock attitude. Mc Donnell and his The Cassini Projekt tries to create music without boundaries, making use of every musical genre, and has the hunger for experimentation, having fun during his own musical journey. Mc Donnell has the most different influences, and is addicted to “The Mars Volta”, “Radiohead”, “Queen”, “The Darkness”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Charlotte Hatherley”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Prodigy”, “At the Drive-In”, “Coldplay”, “Goldfrapp”, “Opeth”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Badly Drawn Boy”, “Dragonforce”, “Pulp”, “Yeah Yeah Yeahs”, “Interpol”, and “Tool”. Somehow, he mixed everything inside himself, and through his particular point of view, produced a bunch of the weirdest and crazy songs that I have ever listened to. Mc Donnell managed to record all his ideas on a self-made CDR titled “Blind Vision” (2008, “Firebird Records”). Defying a conventional Tag, his music is unlimited by any borders, and may amalgamate within a single composition the most diverging tendencies, from Metal and Punk to Progressive, Pop-Rock, Space-Rock and Experimental Music. The 9 tracks of “Blind Vision” are really amusing, and some are long, clocking around 6 to 8 minutes. The opening track - “Cold Stare“ – is a mix of Hard Rock riffs inserted within a Space-Rock frame. “Long Time Coming“ is like a melodic Progressive-Punk, recalling “The Jam” and “The Clash”, but stuffed with guitar effects. “Take it All“ is a Techno-Trance-Punk-Funk, busting radioactive energy to all sides, and spilling out crazy “Hendrixian” guitars. “Ho-Down“ is a melodic Post-Punk ballad that recalls me of “The Cure”, while the Alternative Rock of “Blind Vision“ brings light guitars that are quite like “Radiohead”. “Hell’s a Place in Mexico“ is a Punk-Metal that blends the explosiveness of “Nine Inch Nails” with a middle section bringing Mexican guitars in a NWOBHM-styled guitar technique that reminds me of Metal band “Satan”. “Whiteblood“ is a Noisy-Experimental-Metal track, while “Fail“ contrasts with it by being almost a Folk ballad (maybe an influence of “Charlotte Hatherley”). “Fight to the End“ is a Post-Metal experimental-cosmic-psychedelic track that pushes all Universe closer to the Big Crunch. With a noisy, harsh, yet original Alternative-Garage-Punk-Metal-Progressive sonority, The Cassini Projekt is not recommended for the regular Progressive Rock lover, but for those who like to listen to amusing crazy music that extrapolates all patterns of normality. If you like “Nine Inch Nails”, “The Prodigy”, “Goldfrapp”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Badly Drawn Boy”, “Pulp”, “Yeah Yeah Yeahs” and “Interpol”, give it a try.  Only band member involved in The Cassini Projekt is: Alex Mc Donnell – Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Drums, and Bass...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011.....Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to THE CASSINI PROJEKT HOME PAGE...
. AARON ENGLISH - "All The Waters of This World"
Aaron English is a North-American keyboardist, singer, and song-writer based on Seattle who has been raising his musical career since 2002. His influences include an assortment of different artist and styles, like “Peter Gabriel”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Dave Matthews Band”, “Paul Simon”, “Bjork”, “The Police”, “Sting”, “Pet Shop Boys”, “George Michael”, “Tears for Fears”, “Coldplay”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “Kaya Project”, “Peter Murphy”, “Ours”, “Bettie Serveert”, “Greg Brown”, “David Gray”, “Emmett Tinley”, “Robin Tymm”, “Afro Celt Sound System”, “Ayub Ogada”, “Daniel Lanois”, “The Actual Tigers”, “Elbow”, “Bluetech”, “Neil Finn”, “Steve Earle”, “Sade”, “The Blue Nile”, and “My Morning Jacket”. With this background, Aaron English is not an authentic representative of the Progressive Rock genre, fitting better under the tags of “World Music”, “Electro-Acoustic”, or “Refined Pop-Rock”. To date, A. English has released three independent albums: “All The Waters of This World” (2002); “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” (2007); and “American [Fever] Dream” (2010). The later was produced by fans that supported A. English after his tour bus and musical equipment were destroyed in a highway accident during the 2008 National Tour (on which the band was presenting an incredible double-version of “The Beatles”  “Norwegian Wood” with “Led Zeppelin’s” “Kashmir”, with flutes in a “Jethro Tull” style - check it out at Youtube!). As a musician, Aaron English belongs in the same category of many artists that will always remain loyal to their own musical style, relying on meaningful lyrics and high-quality musicianship to gather a solid fan-base, eventually reaching a cult-status. As a singer and song-writer, Aaron English may be compared to “Peter Gabriel”, “Peter Hammill” (“VdGG”), “Paul Simon”, “Jeff Buckley”, “Cat Stevens”, “Lou Reed”, “Sting”, “Neil Young”, “Ian Anderson” (“Jethro Tull”), and “Brendan Perry” (“Dead Can Dance”). A. English’s debut, “All The Waters of This World” (2002) contains 11 tracks featuring participation of many musicians. The nucleus is composed of Aaron English (vocals, pianos); Patrick Strole (guitars, hurdy-gurdy, bouzouki, percussion); Meredith Yayanos (violin, vocals); Miguel Mateus (electric bass); and Don Gunn (drums, percussion, programming). A multitude of additional musicians plays diverse instruments, from the most usual to the most exotic (see below). With this abundance of instruments and talented people, “All The Waters of This World” constitutes a first-class ticket to a voyage around the world, with scales on the American West, the Old Continent, the Middle Eastern, the Spanish Caribbean and the Afro-Brazilian axis. A multi-cultural brew cooked in an “Electro-Acoustic” oven, and served with elegance and style. English’s main instruments are the piano, which he plays fashionably, and clear-cut; and his matured voice, which he uses as a vehicle for his emotions. The rhythmic section is an important component of his music, employing many exotic instruments and beats; orienting the songs on the geographic musical map, setting the right mood for English’s bittersweet voice. Along the record, diaphanous guitars, oriental violins, and assorted ethnical instruments appear frequently. Transmitting a lively energy, the first song, “Sea of Nectar“, rely on the use of Latin percussion, vivid pianos and bouncing bass lines that bring dancing waves from the Spanish Caribbean. That song contrasts with the introspective character of A. English’s piano ballads: the soaring “Deep Blue Quiet Places“, the country “All The Waters of This World“, the sad “Very Very Heavy“, the bittersweet “Santiago“, and the romantic and mellow “Lullaby“, featuring a beautiful female second voice. But my favorite songs are those that appeal to the exotic Orient, making extensive use of Middle Eastern percussion and ethnical instruments, recalling “Dead Can Dance’s“ style: the magical “The Lullaby of Loneliness“ (with soaring female vocals and a lean to the “New Age”); “Ghost is Broken“ (which builds a bridge from Istanbul to the Australian desert through the haunting sounds of didgeridoos); “Flower of Lebanon“ (that is driven by Oriental violins and symphonic arrangements); and the amazing “Mandeleine“, an authentic one-thousand-nights song that I consider the album’s best. The album ends with the experimental “Animals Like Us“, a Trip-Hop driven by Afro-Brazilian techno-beats, reminiscent of “Massive Attack”. Although not oriented to the Progressive Rock fan, the music of Aaron English is rich both rhythmically and  harmonically, being impregnated of a cosmopolitan aura that makes it enjoyable for most musical lovers, being specially recommended for fans of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Dave Matthews Band”, “Dead Can Dance”, World and Electro-Acoustic Music in general.  Band members and collaborators involved with Aaron English are: Aaron English – Vocals, Pianos, Harpsichord, Mbira, Programming, Sampling, Percussion, Arrangements; Patrick Strole – Guitars, Hurdy-gurdy, Bouzouki, Percussion; Meredith Yayanos – Violin, Vocals; Miguel Mateus – Electric Bass; Don Gunn – Drums, Percussion, Programming, co-producer. Additional musicians: Aerin Tedesco – Vocals, Tenor Guitar; Rafe Pearlman – Vocals; Melissa Ruby – Vocals Percussion; Jesse Howard – Guitars; Renato Cerro – Charango, Flamenco Guitar; Curtis Chandler – Electric Guitar; Todd Howard – Electric Bass; Yaw Asare Amponsah – Percussion; Jason Strazzabosco – Agave Didgeridus; Marchette Dubois – Accordion; Costi Parvulescu – Violin; Jacob Humphrey – Cello and Mark Renner – Guitarron. If you like hear their music please visit Aaron English's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011......,.....Interested to know more about the musician and the project? Visit AARON ENGLISH HOME PAGE...
. RECKON WITH ONE - "Before The Storm"
The Power-Prog-Metal band Reckon With One hails from Ontario, Canada. The band was formed back in 1996 by Mark Anthony K (guitars, bass), Andy Muehlberg, and Gerry Keough (drums). Reckon With One released a series of albums under independent label Reficul Records: “Shock to the System” (1998); “Identity Crisis” (a.k.a. “Live in Winnipeg”, 2000); “The Purpose of Existence” (2001); and “In Human Need” (2005). Along the years, Reckon With One has shared stage with important Metal acts like “Razor”, “Strapping Young Lad”, “Devin Towsend”, “Sonata Artica”, “God Forbid”, and “Anvil”. Reckon With One eventually split up in 2005. In 2010 the band was reformulated by only remaining original member Mark Anthony K (guitars, bass, keyboards), who called for the line-up his old friend Michael Burley (vocals and second guitar), the Serbian bassist Marko V, and the drummer Andrew Zenti (ex-member of Metal band ”Warmachine”). Reckon With One has just released their new EP, “Before the Storm” (2011, Reficul Records), and is now fighting for space in the Power-Progressive Metal trench. “Before the Storm” was recorded at Chalet Studio, (Clairemont, Ontario) and MAK Studio (Brampton, Ontario), and produced by Mark Anthony. The EP features only four short tracks. The sonority is solid, with influences of “Rush”, “Pantera”, “Devin Townsend” “Strapping Young Lad”, “Anvil”, but also of “Fates Warning”, “Queensrÿche”, “Agent Steel”, “Royal Hunt” and “Enchant“. “Suffocate” is fast and dynamic, and has influences of “Fates Warning”, “Queensrÿche”, and “Agent Steel”. “The Collector” opens like “Rush”, but has a much more substantial layer of synthesizers, and then turns out to be cadenced, recalling me of bands like “Pantera”, “Royal Hunt”, “Enchant“. The instrumental piece “Transmission Channel” is the best of the record. It is a slow Progressive-Metal ballad featuring a long melodic guitar solo, still having a short part with odd drumming combined with keyboard effects. The closing track, “Ancient Judgments”, alternates cool vocal parts with cadenced heavy Prog-Metal riffs, like “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning” and “Pantera”. Although Reckon With One possesses everything needed for a regular Metal Band, to get into the Prog-Metal threshold requires higher musical ambition. I would like to hear longer compositions, supported by more complex guitar riffs, and featuring much intense instrumental interplay. Anyway, Reckon With One is recommended for fans of “Pantera”, “Queensrÿche” and other bands cited above. Band members and collaborators involved in Reckon With One are: Mark Anthony – Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Bass, Keyboards; Michael Burley – Vocals, Guitar; Marko Vukovic – 4 and 5 String Bass; Andrew Zenti – Drums and Percussion. Additional musician: Gerry Keough – Drums and Percussion (Track 1-3)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit RECKON WITH ONE HOME PAGE...
. PAOLO SIANI & FRIENDS, Featuring NUOVA IDEA - "Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams"
Paolo Siani was drummer and one of founder members of Italian Progressive Rock band "Nuova Idea", which from 1970 to 1973 released some singles and three full-length albums, disbanding after the third album (“Clowns”). Siani spent the following years working as a musical producer in Italy, eventually writing and recording his own material. In order to raise money on behalf of Genoa’s Gaslini Pediatric Hospital, Siani came up with the idea of resurrecting "Nuova Idea" in a project that should gather together ex-members of the band with other musicians. The project was dubbed Paolo Siani & Friends featuring Nuova Idea, and the album - “Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams” – was released in 2010 by Italian independent label Black Widow Records. The record counts with participation of ex-Nuova Idea components Giorgio Usai (keyboards), Ricky Belloni (guitars), and Marco Zoccheddu (guitars); and features guest appearances of bassist Guido Guglielminetti (“Francesco De Gregori”, “Ivano Fossati”, “Track”), violinist Carlo Cantini (“Trilok Gurtu Trio”, “Antonella Ruggiero”, “Arkè Quartet”), flutist Mauro Pagani (“PFM”), keyboardist Joe Vescovi (“The Trip”, “Acqua Fragile”), the singers Nadia Enghèben (soprano) and Roberto Tiranti (“Labyrinth”), among others (see below). Paolo Siani sings on some tracks, and plays drums, keyboards, bass, and guitars. He also wrote the lyrics (inspired on Argentinean poet “Jorge Luis Borges”). The exception is the opening track - “Un Dono” - on which the voice of Vittorio Pedrali recites a poem by “Mahatma Ghandi”. The eight remaining tracks are chained to each other, as in any conceptual album. The predominantly vintage sonority is based on harsh guitars, Hammond organs, strong rhythmic lines, and emotional vocal tunes, sometimes wrapped up in Symphonic arrangements, or lively Jazz-Rock outbursts. The music featured on the album suggests influences coming from seminal bands of the Italian Progressive Rock, and from the British Prog-Rock, Jazz-Rock and Hard-Rock: “Nuova Idea”, “Delirium”, “New Trolls”, “The Trip”, “Osanna”, “Circus 2000”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “PFM”, “Le Orme”, “Semiramis”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Opus Avantra”, “Presence“; and “King Crimson”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “Uriah Heep” and “Led Zeppelin”. Following “Un Dono”, the instrumental “Wizard Intro” reminds me of “Uriah Heep” and “Nuova Idea”, with a strong theme performed on both guitar and Hammonds that precedes the crude “Madre Africa” – a cadenced somber song on which the gritty Hammonds of J. Vescovi are underlined by a “Crimson”-like rhythmic section. R. Tiranti sings operatically, while soprano Nadia Enghèben makes an impressive second voice. Meanwhile, the contorted guitar solo by M. Zoccheddu strikes against the primeval flutes of M. Pagani, recalling “Osanna”. Slower, “Questa Penombra E’ Lenta” is immersed in a dreamy atmosphere; driven by Siani’s intimate voice and Ottavia Bruno‘s soulful vocals, recalling “Delirium“, “Museo Rosenbach”, and “Circus 2000”. The instrumental “Chimera” is a Jazz-Rock with influences of “Soft Machine” and “Colosseum”, having an amazing sequence of solos: bass (Franco Testa); sax (G. Alberti) and piano (M. Zoccheddu). Track 6 - “The Game” - is a four-parted suite that amalgamates with perfect balance both Italian and British influences. Part “a. Wizard of your Sky” has a sad mood, driven by slow vocals of R. Tiranti and ethnical beats; contrasting with the energy of “b. Mickey’s” – a Hard Rock on which guitarist R.Belloni and bassist G.Guglielminetti revive “Led Zeppelin’s” rocky swing; and Carlo Cantini resurrects the raging violins of “P.F.M.”. “c. Jump” brings back the riff of “Wizard Intro” on the bold Hammonds of G. Usai, giving support to beautiful harmony vocals; “d. Wizard of your Life” combines sad vocals and exotic bass and percussion (like “Crimson”) with a long and bluesy guitar solo. The expressive “Cluster Bombs” combines Baroque keyboards, cool jazzy beats, and phantasmagoric vocals superposed to martial drumming, all being highlighted by another great vocal performance of R. Tiranti (singing in English).“This Open Show” features three pianos and one cello that build up a diaphanous prison of sadness around the folk flute and sad voice of A. Buttarelli. The closing track “C’Era Una Volta” is a melodious instrumental piece for harpsichord and flutes written in the style of the Renaissance – the perfect way of closing this excellent album, which really honors the tradition of Italian Progressive Rock. Paolo Siani & Friends is highly recommended for fans of “Nuova Idea”, “Delirium”, “Osanna”, “New Trolls”, “The Trip”, “P.F.M.”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Le Orme”, “Opus Avantra” and “King Crimson”. Band members and collaborators involved with Paolo Siani & Friends are: Paolo Siani – Drums, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass, Guitars, Compositions; Ricky Belloni – Electric Guitar (6); Carlo Cantini – Violin (6); Guido Guglielminetti – Bass (2, 4, 6); Mauro Pagani - Flute (3); Alessandro Siani – Electronics (1, 5); Franco Testa – Bass (5); Roberto Tiranti – Vocals (3, 6, 7); Giorgio Usai – Hammond Organ (6); Joe Vescovi – Hammond Organ (3); Marco Zoccheddu – Electric Guitar (2, 3, 4, 7), Piano (5, 7); Gianni Alberti – Sax (5); Ottavia Bruno – Vocals (4); Giacomo Caiolo – Acoustic Guitar (4); Nadia Enghèben – Soprano (3); Alberto “Artley” Buttarelli – Vocals, Flute (8); Diego Gordi – Piano (8); Fabio Gordi – Piano (8); Daniele Pagani – Piano (8); Giuliano Papa – Cello (8) and Vittorio Pedrali – Acting Voice (1)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011...........,.....Interested to know more about this great project? Visit PAOLO SIANI & FRIENDS HOME PAGE...
. MARBIN - "Breaking The Cycle"
Marbin is the converging point of extraordinary Jazz musicians Dani Rabin (guitar) and Danny Markovitch (saxophone). Formed in Israel in June 2007, the Marbin duo relocated to Chicago, Illinois, in 2009, and soon released a self-titled debut album that was praised by the specialized press (including magazines All About Jazz, The Examiner, and The Jazz Police). Shortly after, Marbin was making the American and Canadian Jazz circuits, performing at many important Jazz Festivals. In spite of their young age (both are in their early 20’s), the Marbin duo possess the abilities of the veteran musicians, and suddenly found themselves working in collaborating with 7-time Grammy winner Paul Wertico (drummer of “Pat Metheny Group”) on his critically acclaimed record “Impressions of a City”. From those initial recording sessions, a special chemistry was born between them, and Wertico is now a full-time member of Marbin. With the addition of such a heavy-weight to the band’s line up, it was time to release a follow-up. “Breaking The Cycle” (released on March 15, 2011, by MoonJune Records) is this new album, and besides Wertico, it features other Jazz stars: bassist Steve Rodby (11-time Grammy Award winner with “Pat Metheny Group”); percussionist Jamey Haddad (of “Paul Simon’s Band”); and other guests (see below). The chemical reaction provoked by the reunion of all those young and master musicians resulted in an explosive combination of sounds, textures and moods that equals in quality bands like “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “Greenslade”, “Jean-Luc Ponty“, “Chick Corea”, “Pat Metheny”, “Terje Rypdal”, and “Jan Garbarek”. By blending Modern Jazz, Jazz-Rock, and Fusion with Progressive, Folk and Ambient, Marbin came out with extraordinary instrumental compositions that unite within both originality and emotion. Rabin’s clever and surprising guitar playing technique is the ideal matching for Markovitch’s bittersweet, sensible sax tunes – that have the power to touch deep inside one’s heart. All this is supported by a first class rhythmic section, with Rodby’s cool and precise bass phrasing, Wertico’s versatile drumming, and Haddad’s experiments with exotic percussion. Along the 11 tracks present on “Breaking the Cycle”, the listener feels constantly mesmerized and captured by the charming luring power of Marbin’s music. The opening track, “Loopy“, has the strength and energy of bands like “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine” and “Colosseum”, still bringing a bonus destructive percussive section. In the same threshold are the awesome “Burning Match“ (which begins with a sax-bass duo reminiscent of “Soft Machine”, turns into a kind of “Tango”, and pours on a sequence of guitar and sax solos, on which Rabin and Markovitch intensively interchange their main tunes); and the amazing “Old Silhouette“ (on which ethnical percussion combines with mysterious double-sax tunes and magical clean guitar solos to transport the listener to some exotic place). Not lower in quality “A Serious Man“ features a blend of Brazilian “Bossa-Nova” with Modern Jazz, bringing long sax and guitar solos, and “Outdoor Revolution“ makes use of soft acoustic guitars to escort a romantic melody on sax. Intermingled with the aforementioned tracks, a group of four short compositions (2-3 minutes long) are not less precious: “Claire’s Indigo“ blends soft percussion and velvet guitars (like “Rypdal”), with a sax that, if changed into a violin, would be mislaid by a “Jean-Luc Ponty” piece; “Snufkin” is soft like a stroll under a shiny moonlight, but a frantic sax solo disturbs the calm of the night. The solution is to summon the harmony vocals of Matt Davidson and Leslie Beukelman to sing the gentle “Mom’s Song“, and the soft “Western Sky“ – both being beautiful lullabies with the power of making the night serene again (Prog Fans will rejoice with them). Digging deep into the American-Folk tradition, the record still brings the blues-rock “Bar Stomp“ and the wonderful final track “Winds of Grace“ – the only track with lyrics and vocals, written and performed by Daniel White – a soulful song reminiscent of the Irish roots – sad, but epic. Definitely one of the greatest releases of Moon June, Marbin is an extraordinary musical group - one of my best selection of the Month - being indispensable for fans of Jazz, Fusion and Progressive Music!  Band members and collaborators involved in Marbin are: Dani Rabin – Guitar; Danny Markovitch – Saxophone; Paul Wertico – Drums, Percussion; Steve Rodby – Bass. Special guests: Jamey Haddad – Percussion; Matt Davidson & Leslie Beukelman – Vocals on “Mom’s Song” and “Western Sky”; Makaya McCraven – Drums 4; Daniel White – Vocals & Lyrics on “Winds of Grace”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011.............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit MARBIN HOME PAGE...
. ALDO PINELLI - "La Era de Melania – Mujeres, Lugares y Momentos"
The Argentinean guitarist and composer Aldo Pinelli is back to this webzine once again. Aldo Pinelli is a classically trained musician with interest in Ancient Music, and makes part of the Progressive band "Hábitat". Since 2002 he has been pursuing a solo career, making shows with a lineup made entirely of women. He has already released two albums: “Una Selección de Viejas Canciones – Montañas, Bosques y Lagos” (2007) and “Mantos y Tapices Sobrepuestos” (2009, reviewed at this webzine). His third album - “La Era de Melania – Mujeres, Lugares y Momentos” (“The Era of Melania - Women, Places and Moments”) - was released in 2011, being dedicated to three important women of his life: his mother, his wife and his daughter Melania. Pinelli’s music is inspired on the French Impressionism, Celtic, Folk and Medieval Music, featuring elements of modern Progressive, Neo-Folk and Electro-Acoustic, all played with academic rigor. As Pinelli’s previous works, “La Era de Melania…” features compositions that are chiefly performed with acoustic instruments (classical guitars, lute, piano, flutes, cello, and percussion); having discrete interventions of electric keyboards, and rare appearances of the electric guitar. The delicate melodies and smooth themes that arise from this record are evocative of the ancient times; of old folkloric dances; and of children’s lullabies. The sonority is reminiscent of “Donovan”, or vocal-lacking versions of “Steeleye Span”, “Clannad”, “Ataraxia”, “Faun”, “Estampie”, “Sava”, and “Blackmore’s Night”. As for the Progressive side, it recalls the acoustic facet of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Steve Hackett”, “Steve Howe”; the Italian “Locanda delle Fate”, “Le Orme“, “PFM”, and “Eris Pluvia”; the Brazilian “Quaterna Réquiem”, and Pinelli’s mother-band “Hábitat”. “La Era de Melania – Mujeres, Lugares, y Momentos” features 17 tracks: 3 are songs (with vocals performed by Pinelli himself) and 14 are instrumental pieces (most lasting around 3 minutes, with exception of “Bahia de Ushuaia”). The compositions are divided as Classical Studies for acoustic guitar; Duets (either for flute of for cello), or arranged as Chamber Music, with the addition of keyboards. The Classical Studies attest Pinelli’s mastery over his instrument. These are “Estudio 3“ (opening track); “Pasaje Seis“ (which has a Northeastern Brazilian accent on the guitar, accompanied of medieval percussion); and the intimate “Sendero Secreto“ (sung by Pinelli). The Duets invite either the cello of the flute to dialogue with Pinelli’s strings, evoking an atmosphere of the Ancient Times. Pieces on which the cello is mostly present - such as “Para Silvia“; “Etel, Mi Mamᓠ(which reminds me of “Gryphon”); and the lullaby “Melania“ - take the listener to the Medieval and Renaissance epochs. Conversely, on those pieces on which the flutes appear with relevancy, the mood is lighter and tends to the free disposition of Folk Music, like on “Rocio Sobre Las Hojas“ (which recalls “Hacket” and “Camel”); “Unos Dias en el Bosque“ (for fans of “Jethro Tull”); and the folk dance “Danza IV: Española“, marked by the tambourine. But Pinelli has prepared to this record (more than to the previous one), a series of compositions with a stronger lean to the Progressive Music, although never forgetting his inspiration of ancient times. “El Vuelo de los Patos Salvajes“ is driven by light acoustic guitar, keyboards, and calm vocals, recalling bands “P.F.M.” and “Le Orme”. On “La Olla, en La Cumbrecita“, sounds of Mellotrons and electric guitars are added to the beautiful flute melody, combining “P.F.M.” with the typical fairy-like atmosphere of “Camel”. “Canción de Francesca“ is a folk lullaby, with the background keyboards recalling me of “Locanda delle Fate”. The excellent “Llegó el Viento“ features a typical Progressive structure, employing changes of tempo, flutes, keyboards and organs, combining the magical atmosphere of “Genesis” with acoustic guitars and vocals like “Le Orme”. “Enmendando Para Resarcir“ brings in Celtic bagpipes, folk drumming, and keyboards in a waltz-like piece reminiscent of “Quaterna Réquiem”. Two pieces tend to the experimentalism: the R.I.O. “Mientras el Mar Moja la Arena“ (with watery sound effects and odd harmonies in “Univers Zéro” style); and the dreamy “Niebla“ (a nocturnal piece for piano). Pinelli’s Progressive reverie reaches a peak on the surprising closing track “Bahia de Ushuaia“: a 13-minute long Chamber piece with influences of “Hábitat”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Gryphon”, and Spanish Music. With “La Era de Melania”, Aldo Pinelli stepped a little farther into new musical domains without loosing his essence and quality. His new album is really enjoyable and rewarding, being highly recommended for fans of Medieval, Celtic, Neo-Folk, Electro-Acoustic Music and softer Progressive Music. 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; Elizabeth Minervini – Keyboards. If you want to hear their music please visit Aldo Pinelli's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011...............................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: ALDO PINELLI HOME PAGE...
. AARON ENGLISH - "The Marriage Of The Sun And The Moon"
The American keyboardist, singer and song-writer Aaron English is back to this webzine once more (see above a review about his debut album). This time, he is presenting his second CD “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” (2007). As it was sad before, Aaron English is not a typical Progressive Rock performer. However, he is a talented musician devoted to his own art and feelings, who has received and absorbed musical influences of many source-bands of the British-American Pop-Rock, World Music and Ethnical Music scene. In this sense, his music is undeniable accessible, but never trails an easy-listening, or shallow, commercial line. In fact, it is harmonically rich, melodically captivating, and emotionally deep, and always performed with professional quality by both Aaron and his support musicians. His kind of music is to be enjoyed by people that like a more sophisticated, stylish Pop-Rock, as the one music of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Bjork”, “The Police”, “Sting”, “Tears for Fears”, “Coldplay”, “Elbow”, “Dave Matthews Band” and others. On his second album, Aaron English (vocals, piano, organ, synthesizers) plays with a band nucleus composed of Curtis Chandler (electric and acoustic guitars), Matthew Burgess (percussion), bassists Deonne Herron and Miguel Mateus, drummers Derek Munson and Don Gunn (also co-producer, and responsible for recording and mixing); having frequent appearances of Alisa Milner (violin) and Mark Fauver (flute), and featuring some additional musicians (see below). “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” contains 12 tracks. Like on his debut album (titled “All the Waters of This World”), the songs on “The Marriage…” follow various genres and styles: Electro-Acoustic, Folk-American, World Music with exotic influences (Middle Eastern or African) and ballads, always having the distinguishing support of percussive instruments and a substantial layer of acoustic guitars coupled with Aaron’s refined piano playing and the modulations of his unique voice. The music is occasionally adorned with violins or flutes. In comparison to the debut album, “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” shows some differences. Aaron is singing even better, finding the right tones for his voice, and perfecting his own style. The general mood became less introspective, growing in enthusiasm. The instrumentation is strongly cohesive, but employs fewer exotic instruments, so that the general sonority lost a bit of its exotic originality. This feature was replaced for a tendency to look at his folk-American roots. The outcome is that “The Marriage …” sounds a little more Popish and accessible than “All the Waters…”, even though the overall musicianship remains still far above the current mainstream music. My favorite tracks are the lively “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon“, a blend of Afro-Latin percussion and acoustic guitars driven by fluent bass and having violins; the Arabian “Like Smoke“, which reminds me of a crossing between “Dead Can Dance” and “Led Zeppelin”; “Brittle“, a mid-weight Hard-Rock with electric guitars; and the original “Crossing the Desert, Crossing the Sea“, that sounds like a Latin-Caribbean waltz. Going back to the 80’s, the New-Wave-styled “Thin Ice“ will please fans of “The Police” and “Coldplay” with its fast beat, electronic background, and brief solos of piano and guitar. Also worthy of mentioning is the creative “Jamaican”-styled cover of “Message in a Bottle“(“Sting”). As for the ballads, they feature A. English singing and playing piano in duo with a single instrument, which may be the violin (on the romantic “Lovers in the Red Sky“); the flute (on the smooth “Me and My Rainshadow“); or just with percussion, as on the deep and beautiful “Weeping Wind“ (reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel”). For those who like American Folk-Rock, driven by lively acoustic guitars, “Anywhere-End-Up Street“ and the cute “God Bless You and your Man“ are my suggestions. The album ends with the experimental “Moon Murmurs“, which combines ethnical flutes and ancient African voices with the synthesized sounds of modern Ambient Music. As on his first work, Aaron English is still producing agreeable music formatted for the most sophisticated Pop-Rock consumer, being specially recommended for fans of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Tears for Fears”, “Coldplay”, “Bjork”, “Sting”, “The Dave Matthews Band”, and so on.   Band members and collaborators involved with Aaron English are: Aaron English – Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Organ, Programming, Kalimba, Gourd lute; Curtis Chandler (1, 2, 6, 8-11) – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Alisa Milner – Violin (1, 4, 8, 9); Deonne Herron – Bass (1, 2, 8, 10); Matthew Burgess – Percussion (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8-11); Don Gunn – Drums (1, 3, 6, 9, 11), One-hand Clapping (1); Jeff Leisawitz – Acoustic Guitar (2); Derek Munson – Drums (2, 8, 10); Aaron Kremer – Electric Guitar (3); Patrick Strole – Electric Guitar, Hurdy-gurdy (3); Darko Vukmanic – Bass (3); Mark Fauver – Flute (6, 7, 12), String Arrangement (8); Eddy Ferguson – Bass (6); Miguel Mateus – Bass (6, 9, 12); Brandon Seltz – Acoustic Guitar (10). If you want to hear their music please visit Aaron English's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011............Interested to know more about the musician and the project? Visit AARON ENGLISH HOME PAGE...
. WICKED MINDS - "Visioni, Deliri E Illusioni"
The Italian band Wicked Minds is back to this webzine (see under Best Bands of 2004). Wicked Minds began in 1987 with a nucleus composed of Lucio Caligari (guitar), Enrico Grilli (bass) and drummer Andrea Concarotti (replaced by Ricky Lovotti); later joined by Paolo “Apollo” Negri (keyboards) and J.C. Cinel (vocals). The band is notorious for having a sonority that harmonically blends Hard, Progressive and Psychedelic Rock with the true spirit of the Seventies, emulating bands like “Uriah Heep”, “Mountain”, and “Deep Purple”. Wicked Minds released three full-length albums by Black Widow Records: “From the Purple Skies” (2004); “Witchflower” (2006), and “Live at Burg Herzberg Festival 2006” (2007). This new release – “Visioni, Deliri E Illusioni” (2011, Black Widow) is a tribute-album that presents new versions of old classics of the Italian Progressive Rock, with focus on years 1970-1973 - a period of time when seminal bands and musicians were still beginning their careers. All songs were updated to sound to the vibes of the new century, energized by the extraordinary musicianship of Wicked Minds, and tempered with guest appearances of several original performers. “Visionni Deliri & Illusioni” opens with the emblematic “Caronte I” (“The Trip”), which retains the original strength and energy in the corpulent guitars and bold rhythmic section. “L’Uomo” (“Osanna”), on the contrary, looses in lightness by the replacement of the acoustic flute by distorted synthesizers, but Lino Vairetti on vocals preserves the sensibility of the original song. “Un Posto” (“Il Balletto di Bronzo”) is a new conception of early “Balletto” times (pre-keyboardist “Gianni Leone”), when the band’s sonority was guitar-dominated. The raging female vocals of Monica Sardella add a different flavor to this track. The swing is all there, and the distorted wah-wah guitar brings back that 70’s atmosphere, all reflected in the psychedelic instrumental part. “Dio del Silenzio” (“Delirium”), one of the album’s best renditions, features Martin Grice on flute and sax and J.C. Cinel on lead vocals, conserving the emotion of this beautiful song, which is extended to include a new guitar solo by Calegari. The fantastic “La Prima Goccia Bagna il Viso” (“New Trolls”) gains in heaviness with the double attack of Calegari‘s guitars and Negri’s Hammonds, but does not looses its lyricism, thanks to the expressive voice of "Sophya Baccini". “Figure di Cartone” (“Le Orme”) is a refreshed version that features as a bonus the unmistakable voice of "Aldo Tagliapietra". “Un’Isola /Un Illusione da Poco/Clessidra” (“Nuova Idea”) is a three-part medley that hurls with the same vigor of the originals. Negri has great fun duplicating “G. Usai”’s keyboard solos, as Calegari charges with his guitar into the harsh sonority of the early Seventies. The perfect integration of all performers confirms the complex arrangements once attained by “Nuova Idea”. The unique vocals were replaced by the smooth voice of J.C. Cinel, balancing the whole piece. “Dentro Me” (“Dietro Noi Deserto”), with participation of charismatic lead guitarist Antonio Bartoccetti (“Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”), is extremely heavy if compared to the original. Featuring “Black-Sabbath”-like guitar textures and psychedelic synths, it is cloaked in the somber atmosphere of the Occult. “Io, La Strega” (“Circus 2000”) is another perfect rendition of the original, featuring S. Baccini on vocals. The amazing bass and drums flow free, and psychedelic guitars and keyboards resurrect the spirit of freedom that marked an epoch. “Zarathustra” (“Museo Rosenbach”) condenses all the aggressiveness of the original in an 8-minute abridged version, featuring solid-granite guitars and dense-led keyboards, all profiting from the voice of Stefano “Lupo” Galifi – a great mean song! “Un Villaggio, un’Illusione” (“Quella Vecchia Locanda”) with Monica Sardella on vocals, sounds much different, regarding the original. This version is slower and denser, having a Hard Rock style that recalls bands like “Deep Purple” and “Uriah Heep”; and Jazz-Rock improvisations that stretch its duration a few minutes longer. “Farfalla Senza Pois” (“Gleemen”) with J.C. Cinel on vocals, inserts a Hard Rock swing into dense, psychedelic layers. “La Carrozza di Hans / Impressioni di Settembre” appeared on an old single by “P.F.M.”. “La Carrozza…” – is driven by the sorceress vocals of M. Sardella – resulting in a gloomy, dark-folk rendition of the original; while “Impressioni…” is shortened to an instrumental piece with the same Progressive airs that would ever blow in P.F.M.’s music. In sum, “Visioni, Deliri & Illusioni” is a brilliant tribute featuring passionate performances of amazing musicians who, knowing the importance of their musical roots, work diligently to honor the tradition of the Italian Rock: a must-have item for lovers of Italian Progressive Rock, for whom this album is highly recommended.  Band members and collaborators involved with Wicked Minds are: Lucio Calegari – Guitars; Paolo “Apollo” Negri – Keys, Mellotron, Hammond, Symthsesizers; Enrico Garilli – Bass; Ricky Lovotti – Drums (1,3,5,9,10,13); J.C. Cinel – Vocals (4, 8, 12); Monica Sardella (3,11,13) – Vocals; Andrea Concarotti – Drums (2,4,6,7,8,11,12). Guests: Lino Vairetti – Vocals (2); Martin Grice – Flute, Sax (4); Sophya Baccini – Vocals (5, 9); Aldo Tagliapietra – Vocals (6); Antonio Bartoccetti - Lead Guitar (8); Stefano “Lupo” Galifi – Vocals (10)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/18/2011.......If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit WICKED MINDS HOME PAGE...
. VERMILLION SKYE - "Industrial Poetry"
The Canadian band Vermillion Skye is back to the scene after a long hiatus (see under Reviews of 2002). The band began activities in 1984 under the moniker Act 1, with a line-up consisting of Bill Reill (vocals), Jeff Johnston (keyboards, compositions), Geoff Polegato (guitars) and Steve Gerlewych (drums). Act 1 played around the musicals scene of the city of Ontario for six years, before disbanding. In 1996 the original musicians reunited, with the addition of Chris Robertson on bass, and changed their moniker to Vermillion Skye. The band released two full-length independent albums: “Random Kinetic Overtures” (1997) and “The Dream Sequence” (2001). Vermillion Skye’s last release – “Industrial Poetry” (2009) – came out after a long hiatus, and no longer counts with original guitarist Geoff Polegato, who was replaced by Dave Brolley. The style of Vermillion Skye may be regarded as accessible Neo-Progressive and Romantic Progressive, with a tendency to the Pop-Rock. The influences are various bands such as “Marillion”, “Asia”, “Styx”, “Toto”, “Journey”, “Kayak”, “Yes” (phase “90125” and “Big Generator”) “Genesis” (of album “Duke” on), “Kansas”, “Supertramp“, “Queen”, and even “Elton John”, early “10cc“, “Duran Duran”, and “Boston”. Bands like “Pink Floyd” and “Alan Parsons” were more influential in the previous albums, but that influence is less noticeable on this new record. Vermillion Skye’s sonority is neat and clean, marked by Jeff Johnston‘s piano, while smooth synthesizers stay on the background, providing the music with a Progressive-textured layer. Bill Reill is a very good singer, with a style that stays between “Steve Walsh” and “Dennis DeYoung“, and featuring some surprises along the record. New guitarist Dave Brolley takes active part on the album, with riffs that recall me of “Trevor Rabin”. Bassist Chris Robertson has a elegant playing style, ideal for Progressive Rock, and Steve Gerlewych on drums keeps everything tied together. The songs are short (from 3-4 minutes, a few surpassing 5 minutes). The instrumentation is not complex, long solos are occasional, but the music flows freely. “Industrial Poetry” is a well-recorded and well-produced album, and contains 17 tracks disposed along its 75.25 minutes. The songs are divided in accessible Neo-Prog (with influences of “Marillion”, “Asia”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Kansas”, and “Alan Parsons”) and Melodic Ballads/ Pop-Rock Songs (with influences of “Styx“, “Toto”, “Journey”, “Kayak”, “Supertramp“, “Queen”, “Elton John”, “10cc“, “Duran Duran”). My favorites belong to the first category, having somewhat heavier guitars, faster tempos, and a vibrant rocky-rhythm: “Sacrifice“ (with heavy guitars and female backing vocals); “On Tonight“ (with a keyboard riffs like “Asia”, “Kansas”, and rocky guitars like “Queen”); “Into The Fold“ (on which electronic keyboards recalls “Alan Parsons”); the pair “Holding You Back“ and “Higher“ (with influences of “Marillion”); “Hit and Miss“ (which, in spite of its Pop swing, features a Hammond-like keyboard solo); the Prog-Hard-Rock “Yesterday’s News“ (with surprising Hard-Rock vocals by Reill), and the closing track “Circle of Fifths“ (the most progressive track regarding the fact that there is much internal variation on this song). Among the ballads and pop-songs, I had liking for “Almost Perfect“ (with magical pianos and very good bass lines); “Butterflies“, and “19 & Getting By“ (a lively blend of “Genesis” with “Supertramp”). For fans of “Styx” and “Elton John”, the cheerful and danceable “Who Can You Trust“, and the Piano-ballads “All In Tone“ and “Clean and Sober“ are the suggestions. The album still brings the slow Neo-Prog “Promise“, the Prog-Rockabilly “Lowest Common Denominator“, and the regular Rock “The Catch“. Although not a sensational band, Vermillion Skye shows competence in their music. Rather then being indicated for the orthodox Prog-Rock fan that is in search of complex, odd music, with substantial instrumental interplay, Vermillion Skye is especially recommended for fans of the most accessible side of the Progressive-Rock, who also like some good melodic ballads, such as fans of “Marillion”, “Asia”, “Styx”, “Toto”, “Journey”, “Kayak”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Kansas”, “Supertramp“ and “Queen”. Band members and collaborators involved with Vermillion Skye are: Bill Reill – Vocals; Jeff Johnston – Keyboards, Music, Lyrics; Dave Brolley – Guitars; Chris Robertson – Bass; Steve Gerlewych - Drums. Additional musicians: Anthony Carone – Additional keyboards (1, 14, 15); Laura-Beth Gray – “The Mother” Vocals (2); Steve Dyte – Piccolo Trumpet (2). Backing vocals: Vermillion Skye, Les Graham (1, 6, 9, 17) and Ryan Stilwell (17)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/27/2011.............Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to VERMILLION SKYE HOME PAGE...
. ACCORD - "Helike"
The Norwegian Progressive Band D’AccorD is back to this webzine once again (see under Reviews 2010). The band was formed in 2008, and the present line-up counts with original members Daniel Måge (vocals, flute, compositions), Stig Are Sund (guitars), Martin Sjøen (bass), Bjarte Rossehaug (drums), Fredrik Horn (piano, keyboards, sax); and new member Årstein Tislevoll (keyboards, backing vocals). D’AccorD‘s self-titled debut album, released in 2009, surprised most reviewers for having a retro-sonority that was strongly influenced by the British Progressive and Classic Rock of the 70’s, with a sonority similar to “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Procol Harum”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “E.L.P”, “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “Deep Purple”, and “Queen”. This musical trend is totally confirmed on D’accorD’s second album – “Helike” (released on September 2011, by Karisma Records). The music was composed, recorded, and mixed by Daniel Måge, and mastered by Andy Jackson, with production of Daniel Måge and Årstein Tislevoll. (Tubemastering). “Helike” is a conceptual album, divided in two long tracks: “Helike Part I” (20:44) and “Helike Part II” (23:30). As on D’accorD’s debut, “Helike” is rich in retro-Progressive sonorities that will delight even the most nostalgic of all orthodox Progressive Rockers. Daniel Måge takes the lead, singing with his hybrid voice oscillating from the modulations of “Peter Gabriel” to the interpretative intonations of “Peter Hammill”. Guitarist Stig Are Sund still plays long solos that are instilled with the soulful style of the Seventies - sometimes bluesy, sometimes soaring. Those two musicians are the driving forces of D’AccorD, producing compelling melodies that are immersed in dense layers of vintage keyboards furnished by Fredrik Horn and Årstein Tislevoll: abundant Hammonds and Mellotrons reminiscent of early works of “Genesis”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “ELP” and ”King Crimson”; atmospheric organs like “Procol Harum” and “Floyd”; decorative and classic pianos like “Queen”. Bassist Martin Sjøen and drummer Bjarte Rossehaug are taking more active part in the arrangements, providing the music with a still more solid and varied rhythmic support, not only founded on the customary Progressive cadences, but also on Jazz, Psychedelic and Hard-Rock. Complementing the package, there are frequent interventions of flutes (either hectic like “Jethro Tull“, or soft like “Camel”) and wild saxophones (as in “VdGG” and “King Crimson”). The backing vocals have a theatrical “burlesque” manner that recalls me of “Queen”. “Helike Part I” is basically made of contrasts, with smooth parts that contain melodic vocals and quiet organs alternating perfectly with outbursts of dramatic vocals combined with eruptive Hammonds and hard guitars, recalling the sonority of “Genesis” and “VdGG”. The song has a bombastic intro with marching drums and a triple charge of keyboards, flutes and trumpets that announce Måge‘s voice descending from the sky, bringing together stormy waves of Hammonds and guitar riffs. A calmer instrumental sequence follows, led by jazzy bass and drums, having intense interplay of keyboards, guitars and flutes. The middle of the song is marked by a duet of Måge‘s crying voice with joyful pianos, ending with an ironic “Queen”-accent on backing vocals. The song drops to a bluesy mood, with organs and female backing vocals, rising gradually to reach another instrumental climax, during which guitarist Are Sund performs one of his most beautiful and well-crafted solos – soaring, soulful, melodic, the notes falling down from his guitar like tears. Sided by a line of amazing psychedelic bass, drums and spatial organs, Are Sund’s guitar raises the song to meet Måge voice and flute in a bombastic finale that combines “Genesis” and “Floyd”. “Helike Part II” is more energetic than “Part I’, having vibrant riffs, cosmic Mellotrons, and stronger rocking bass and drums. A frightful operatic-dramatic choir pushes the song to an instrumental part on which the harmonic structures follow the pattern of “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, and “Gentle Giant”. The middle part is soft, marked by an amazing weeping guitar solo, intercalated with Måge‘s falsettos. The other musicians come back to the “Crimson-VdGG” mode, offering eruptive saxophones and odd lines of bass and drums. A funeral tune foresees the final climax: distorted guitars, volcanic bass, earthquake drumming, epic vocals, heavy Hammond attack, and hellish trumpets announce the Apocalypse according to the “Deep Purple-Black Sabbath” canon. With this brilliant and highly recommendable “Helike”, D’AccorD keeps the holly flame of True Progressive Rock burning bright, fulfilling all the expectations around them. Indispensable item for appreciators of early works of “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, “Gentle Giant”, “Pink Floyd”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, “Deep Purple”, “Focus”, “Camel”, and “Queen”. Band members and collaborators involved with D’AccorD are: Daniel Måge – Lead Vocals, Flute, Keys, Compositions; Stig Are Sund – Guitars; Martin Sjøen – Bass; Bjarte Rossehaug – Drums; Fredrik Horn – Keyboards, Sax; Årstein Tislevoll - Keyboards, Backing Vocals. If you want to hear their music please visit D’AccorD's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/27/2011..............If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit D’ACCORD HOME PAGE...
. LE MASCHERE DI CLARA - "Anamorfosi"
Le Maschere di Clara is a new Italian trio hailing from Verona. The line-up consists of Lorenzo Masotto (piano, bass, vocals, compositions), Laura Masotto (violin, vocals, arrangements), and Bruce Turri (drums, arrangements, vocals). Although the three integrants have academic classic training, they are also lovers of the rebel character of Rock Music. They have played on chamber music groups and on many projects of Pop, Rock, Jazz, Experimental and Electronica. With the aim of fighting against the musical conformism of the present time, the trio decided to found Le Maschere di Clara in 2010 and released a debut EP ("23") by Jestrai Records. Their first full-length album is called "Anamorfosi" (2011, Black Widow Records). It was recorded and mastered by Federico Pelle at Basement Recording Studio, and mixed by Alberto Gaffuri. The album contains 11 tracks, and has participation of Nicola Manzan (of cult-band "Bologna Violenta") on two tracks. Le Maschere di Clara has a distinguishing sonority that cannot be easily tagged or stereotyped. Their roots are fixed in Classic Music, but sprout in different Rock branches, comprising Stoner Rock, Progressive Rock (represented by R.I.O., Avant-garde, and Heavy Prog), Prog-Metal and Post-Metal. They are influenced by composers such as "Bach", "John Zorn", "John Cage", "Vladimir Horowitz", and "Stockhausen", which they try to connect with Progressive and Stoner Rock acts like "King Crimson", "Area", "ZU", "Mike Patton", "Kyuss", and "Sleep". They are also inspired by the surrealist artists "Bosch", "Dalì", "Magritte", "Max Ernst", "Roberto Matta", "Miró", and "Escher". The sonority of Le Maschere di Clara is for me like the converging point of "Univers Zéro", "Miriodor", and "Zappa" with "Black Sabbath", "Iron Maiden", "Skyclad", "Primus", "Spastic Ink", "Porcupine Tree" and "Tool". The music is based on the conflict between the explosive impact of clashing bass and drums against the instigating melodic language of the violin. The instruments are engaged in complex harmonies, always searching for new musical structures. The bass textures are dense, metallic, having the screeching sound of retorted iron and steel – reminiscent of Metal and Post-Metal bands like "Iron Maiden" to "Primus" and "Tool". The drumming is powerful and dynamic, combining the density of Stoner Rock with the strength of Heavy Metal, allied to the polyrhythmic experimentation of Progressive Rock and Prog-Metal, with the refined technique of Jazz. Above the tension created, and counterbalancing the overall aggressiveness of the music, the violin performs peculiar melodies that range from the Classical and Experimental academicism to the Arabian and Gypsy exoticism, recalling "Univers Zero" and "Miriodor", but also "Skyclad" on the heavier parts. Pianos appear on few tracks, being dark and dreamy. Vocals are emotional, either melancholic, or aggressive and visceral. Female voices recite poetry. Overall, the music is violent, but also original, creative, surprising, and unbounded, containing much lyricism, drama, and passion. All instrumental tracks are great: "23:23" opens the album with vigor, combining retorted bass with powerful drums and Arabian violins; "Gustavo Rol" is a dark Stoner Rock that blends "Primus" with "Univers Zéro" by means of incongruent bass lines and weird violin solo; "Piombo" (ft. N. Manzan on guitar) is a heavy Jazz-Stoner-Rock with influences of "Crimson" and "Kyuss"; and "Porpora" is permeated by quivering violins. Among the songs, the heaviest and most aggressive are "Habanera" (having awesome work on cymbals and fat bass, leading to cathartic aggressive vocals, and ending with the violin playing "Carmen" of Bizet); "Acheronte"  (on which jazzy drums and heavy bass unite with dazzling violins and Theremin effects to support a political speech); "L’Essenza" (that blends the bass of "Iron Maiden" with the violins of "Skyclad"); and "Venere" (with melancholic/ angry vocals reminiscent of "Tool"). Tending to a Classical vein, and making excellent use of the pianoforte, there are the dreamy "Apidistra"; the awesome "Sonata in Re Minore - Adagio/Allegro/Presto" (a Heavy-Progressive piece on which dark bass and drums contrast with soaring pianos and violins, and vocals grow from anguished to furious – in between, intense violin-bass-drums interplay blows one’s head); and the closing track "Vienna Dorme", which begins with nocturnal pianos and a woman’s recitation that gradually grows in intensity and emotion to sound later like a Gothic Mass. Le Maschere di Clara is really an impressive band, and their album "Anamorfosi" is brilliant, defying and innovative indeed, being highly recommended for fans of Stoner Rock, R.I.O., Avant-garde, Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal and Post-Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in Le Maschere di Clara are: Lorenzo Masotto – Piano, Bass, Vocals, Compositions; Laura Masotto – Violin, Vocals, Arrangements; Bruce Turri – Drums, Arrangements, Vocals. Guest musician: Nicola Manzan ("Bologna Violenta") – Guitars (on "Piombo"); Theremin and Piano (on "Acheronte"). You can visit Le Maschere di Clara at Facebook page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2011........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LE MASCHERE DI CLARA HOME PAGE...
. GOAD - "Masquerade"
The Italian band Goad is back to this webzine once more (see at Reviews 2009). The band was formed in Florence in 1974 by Brothers Maurilio Rossi (vocals, bass, keyboards, nylon and electric guitars, compositions, lyrics) and Gianni Rossi (guitars, backing vocals). They are helped by a nucleus of musicians composed of Francesco Diddi (flute, violin, guitars, sax), Louis Magnanimo (bass), Antonio Vannucci (piano, keyboards), drummers Vick Usai and Tommaso Baggiani, and additional musicians (see below). Goad is a band firmly focused on the cause of True Progressive Rock. Their main influences are "Cream", "Procol Harum", and early works of "King Crimson", "Van Der Graaf Generator", "Genesis", "ELP", "Yes", and "Deep Purple"; also recalling the sonority of Italian bands like "Delirium", "Osanna", "Semiramis", "Biglietto per l"Inferno", "I Dalton", and "Goblin". Since 1983, Goad has accumulated an extensive discography, including full-length albums, tributes and soundtracks. Their last work was "In the House of the Dark Shining Dreams" (2005) that featured impressive covers of "Killer" ("VdGG") and "21st Century Schizoid Man" ("King Crimson"). Goad‘s new album is entitled "Masquerade" (2011, Black Widow Records), which contains 13 tracks, lasting 1:15:00. The double Vinyl Edition has 2 bonus-tracks ("Musical Box" and "Highway to Hell"). Lyrics are in English, inspired by "Edgar Alan Poe". The sonority is clothed with layers of vintage keyboards and powerful guitars. The atmospheres are sometimes dark, sometimes epic. The music follows a Hard-Progressive orientation, with more Symphonic and Jazz elements on this album than on the previous. The music has creative harmonies and opulent arrangements, with several instruments playing together, as on a chamber orchestra. The solos of keyboards, flutes, violins, and guitars are massive. Maurillio’s interpretative inflections overcome his peculiar hoarse voice, creating a synergetic link with the instruments and imprinting a characteristic mark to Goad’s music. Each track will affect more of less the listener according to his/her own musical taste. Fans of Hard-Rock and Hard Progressive that prefer faster drums, groovy bass, powerful guitar solos, and dense Hammonds with additional flutes (blending influences of "King Crimson", "VdGG", "Deep Purple", "Biglietto", "I Dalton", "Delirium", and "Osanna") will prefer the opening track "Fever Called Living" (with weird combination of flutes and "ELP" keyboards); the fast paced "Eldorado pt. I – II (Heavy Run)" and "Masquerade (Fast & Short)" (both having Hammonds in "Deep Purple" style); and the somber "The Judge" (driven by flutes and Maurilio‘s dramatic vocals, recalling "Biglietto", ending with crazy violin solo). "To Helen pt I – II" begins with flutes (like "Delirium" and "Osanna"), changing later for a vivid Prog-Rock reminiscent of "Genesis". It shares with the instrumental "The Haunted Palace" some bass, guitars, saxophones, and experimental "de-constructed" passages that are clearly inspired on "King Crimson" and "VdGG". For fans of Classic Progressive – who love soaring atmospheres, cadenced paces, beautiful melodies, and epic symphonic arrangements – there are tracks that blend influences of "Genesis", "Yes", "ELP", "Procol Harum", and "VdGG", being also adorned with mythical sounds of flute, like "Delirium" and "Osanna": "Last Knowledge pt. I – II" (with folk flutes and violins on pt. I; and pulsing bass and epic keyboards like "ELP" on pt. II). Really awesome are the ballads "Valley of Unrest" (combining soaring vocals and sax with delicate guitars and keyboards like "Yes" and "VdGG"); and the gorgeous "Alone" - immersed in a melancholic mood, with floating flutes, violins and acoustic guitars, and crowned with Maurilio‘s soulful voice. The pair "Intro (classic guitar prelude)"/ "Slave of the Holy Mountain" offer amazing theme on keyboards, groovy bass and spectacular guitar solo. The epic intro of "Dreamland" is followed by delicate guitars, placid rhythms, pianos, violins and keyboards, in a symphonic blend of "Procol Harum", "Yes" and "Genesis". The suite "Masquerade Pts. I-V" (13:27) brings the dark shades of "Goblin" to Goad’s music. Pt. I (The dream) has a predominance of gothic organs, gloomy vocals, and coarse guitars. The instrumental Pts. II (Incubus) and III (Disturbance) have vintage keyboards, primeval bass and drums; and later, mystic flutes over a layer of sound effects. Pt. IV (Sunrise) combines vocals, synthesizers and violins, raising the song to a symphonic climax. Pt. V (Final) is a soaring piece for acoustic guitars, flute and vocals. "Masquerade" is a fantastic album – powerful, intense, and solid - that really measures up with Goad’s perseverant career; being highly recommendable for any fan of the British Progressive Rock of the Seventies.  Band members and collaborators involved in Goad are: Maurilio Rossi – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Nylon/electric Guitars, Compositions, Lyrics; Gianni Rossi – Guitar, Backing Vocals; Francesco Diddi – Flute, Violin, Guitars, Sax; Louis Magnanimo - Bass; Antonio Vannucci - Piano, Keyboards; Vick Usai – Drums; Tommaso Baggiani – Drums; Giampaolo Zecchi - Sound Engineer. Additional Musicians: Dave "Nagai" - Drums; Paolo Carniani – Drums; Lorenzo Innocenti - Drums; Roberto Masini – Violin, Guitars; Marcello Becattini – Guitar, Piano; Martin Rush – Recordings; Marcello Masi - Guitars; "Bronco" Giancarlo Gaglioti - Drums; Sasha Morinov – Classic Guitar. If you want to hear their music please visit Goad's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2011......................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit GOAD HOME PAGE...
. JACULA - "Pre Viam"
The Italian cult-band Jacula was founded in the distant 1969 by the philosopher and composer Antonio Bartoccetti (guitars, vocals), Charles Tiring (church organ), Doris Norton (keyboards, experimental sound engineering, vocals) and the mystic medium Franz Parthenzy. Jacula’s sonority was characterized by an original and unique parapsychological esoteric style that was eventually dubbed as "Parabiblical Mystic Esoteric Sound" or "Mystic-Psycho-Dark".The band was born in Milan after a meeting of Bartoccetti with artist Travers, who was involved in the "Jacula Vampire Comics". Travers introduced Bartoccetti in London, where he had connections with record companies. There, they signed with Gnome Record label, which produced their debut album "In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum" (1969, released in limited edition of about 200 copies). The six compositions were written based on melodies and messages that Parthenzy had received from the occult side during a spiritual trance. The second album, "Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus" (1972), was recorded at Angelicum Studio in Milan, supported by Gualtiero Guerrini and a mystical congregation. Jacula was however short-lived, and Bartoccetti and Norton headed for a new project – the also acclaimed cult band Antonius Rex, which released some albums from 1974 to 1980. Both Jacula and Antonius Rex vynil albums became rare collectibla itens. In 2001, however, the Italian independent label Black Widow Records reissued "In Cauda…" on both LP and CD; while "Tardo Pede…" was reissued in 2007 on LP and CD/Digipack as a "35th Anniversary Edition" including the previously unreleased track "Absolution". Concomitantly, Antonius Rex came back to activities, releasing a series of new albums from 2005 to 2009 (see a review above). The time was then ripe for Jacula‘s resurrection. After almost 40 years, Jacula‘s third album was finally released on May 2011 by Black Widow Records. Entitled "Pre Viam", it comes in CD/Digipack format (with 7 songs + video-track); or on collectible Vinyl-LP with the bonus track "Abandoned". As all Jacula albums, the title finishes with a word beginning with "V" (the next album will be called "Mystic Voices"). Jacula’s line-up was totally reformulated, consisting now of Antonio Bartoccetti (guitars, vocals), his son Hexanthony (keyboards, synthesizers, digital drums), Florian Gorman (acoustic drums), Monika Tasnad (medium); and guests (see below). "Pre Viam" retains Jacula‘s seminal concept and unique musical style - that antecipated in 10 years the so called "Gothic Rock". The sonority is still mystical, gothic, symphonic and transcendental, with predominance of dark atmospheres evoked by the synergetic combination of melancholic musical themes, church organs, icy classical pianos, soaring keyboards, whispering voices, and outbursts of awesome seventy-styled Gibson guitar solos - all updated to the 21st century. The openning track "Jacula is Back" is immersed in a terrorizing atmosphere set by church organs and vocalizations of micro-demons. The instrumentation is reminiscent of the Baroque, with employment of sounds of harpsichord. Bass and drums erupt suddenly, bringing a pulsing guitar riff and a seventy-textured guitar solo, alternating with gothic backing vocals. "Pre Viam" is driven by acoustic guitars, symphonic arrangements, and superb synthesizers to which pianos, drum timpani and echoing dark vocals are added. The sad voice of a woman is heard, imprinting a strong sexual connotation to the final part of the song, which is marked by rhythmic chords and erotic breathing sounds. Less smothering, "Blacklady Kiss" features Blacklady singing a soulful tune before the eruption of another amazing guitar solo, followed by a progressive synthesizer solo. "Deviens Folle" has a soft intro with acoustic guitars and classic-romantic piano; turning ahead to a gothic piano ballad – whispering voices make one’s heart grieve. The relief comes on "In Rain" – a magnificent piece for Gregorian chant supported by stupendous organs that evolves later into a modern Progressive Gothic Rock with drums, bass and astonishing solos of synthesizer and guitar. The clouds go darker again on "Godwitch", which blends melancholic pianos with rain sounds – the tune gradually grows on keyboards, leading to a phantasmagoric arrangement on which deep terrorizing bass, metallic acoustic guitars and gloomy choirs set the stage for a horror-play, which is performed on the closing track "Possaction" – a really disturbing piece on which gothic organs and martial drumming conduct a crying desperate possessed woman to her final doom. "Pre Viam" still brings the video-track "18 Veritates": a piece of video-art showing esoteric images and philosophical thoughts written by Bartoccetti, having the song "Godwitch" as soundtrack. Magic and mysterious, gothic to the core, the new album of Jacula is an instigating, impressive and brilliant work, consisting in a must-have item for fans of Gothic Rock and Dark Progressive in general. Bartoccetti is preparing new albums of Antonius Rex, Jacula, and of his new project "H.D.", so stay tuned. Band members and collaborators involved with Jacula are: Antonio Bartoccetti - Song Writer, Guitars, Bass, Vocals; Rexanthony - Song Writer, Keyboards, Synthesizers, Piano, Vocals, Computer Software; Florian Gormann - Acoustic Drums; Monika Tasnad - Medium. Guest vocals: Blacklady (on "Blacklady Kiss", "In Rain", "Godwitch"); Katia Stazio (on "Pre Viam", "Deviens Folle")...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/18/2011...If you want know more about this amazing musical project and its members, visit JACULA HOME PAGE...
. P.Y.MARANI - "Outline"
Pierre-Yves Marani is a French guitarist and composer who creates lyrical instrumental progressive rock in the prog-fusion style which recalls artists such as "Planet X" and "Derick Sherinian". He released his debut CD titled as "Outline", in 2009. P. Y. Marani or Pierre-Yves Marani, which I can consider as an incredible musician and multi-talented songwriter, who has a wonderful ability to play traditional Progressive rock instruments on his compositions, where synths, guitars and bass guitars are well conducted, providing a delightful musical sensitivity. His musical influences are well defined in the styles such as Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Hard Rock, also adding a sweet fragrance of Jazz Fusion. His biggest strength, lies in his strong in leading on the arrangements, with enthusiastic guitar solos always very clean and sharp, that practically dominate all compositions, keyboards are used with very good taste, of course, they are integral to the structure of every arrangements. The instrumental follows with a varying intensity, sometimes powerful and sometimes melodic, following the rhythm of the compositions, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums are sufficient to express the high musical skill developed by P. Y. Marani and guest musicians, I do not believe it is necessary vocals on his projects. P.Y. Marani with his musical wisdom, contributes to new ideas in the music scene today, and with a full assurance of making a progressive rock music very well elaborate, I admit that, P.Y. Marani carries in his musical experience a real feeling that his music will please to any listener. "Outline" is a masterpiece, contain only seven instrumental songs but several large pieces of music, totaling 60 min of a pure musical delight, all of them are very well-performed and very well-produced. The first song titled as "The Harryman’s Dream" is one of my favorite songs, where guitars dominate the arrangements, keyboards are very rich, including a vibrant drums. "First Foundation", my second choice and "Brave New World" are two songs developed in varying styles, blending a symphonic degree, but quickly moving to a heavier style, where the drums carries a rhythm sometimes faster, sometimes marcant, but the guitars still dominate completely the arrangements. "Ubik" another amazing song and "The Rediscovery of Man", third and fourth tracks, are more sensitive musically, show strong passages of the jazz fusion, however, mixed with many progressive rock elements, following in a musical direction that will delight all fans of Progressive Rock as well as Jazz Fusion. "Ubik" has a special participation by "Derek Sherinian" a keyboard master, also complementing the arrangements, Denis Cornardeau on guitar and Matthieu Gervreu on bass, on these tracks, we can hear again a complete mastery of the guitar solos, naturally lead by P. Y. Marani. The next track is called "Solaris", a short song, only 3,45 min of duration, featuring Serge Servant on saxophone. Closing the album, we have "Goodbye 1984", with almost 19 min, really the best song, definitely should be paid more attention to this track, the music does lean heavily towards to the symphonic guitar solos, the keyboards are so tastefully elaborated, however, the guitar work dominates the music more than the keyboards, we can hear differents musical passages, blending many elements from Symphonic Progressive Rock with touchs of jazz fuzion. Listen closely this musician and "Outline", if you like "Joe Satriani", "Steve Vai", "Allan Holdsworth", "Yngwie Malmsteen", "Jason Becker", "Marty Friedman", "Stevie Ray Vaughan", "Jeff Beck", "Jimmy Page", "Alex Skolnick" and bands such as "Yes", "Kansas", "Camel", "UK", "ELP", "Rush", "Gentle Giant", "King Crimson", "Marillion", "The Flower Kings", "Spock's Beard", "Neal Morse", "Transatlantic", "Roine Stolt", "Tomas Bodin", "Dream Theater", "Liquid Tension Experiment", fatally P. Y. Marani will be part of your progressive rock collection. I look forward to listen the second album of this magnificent and talented multi-instrumentalist. He now is working on his next album. The main musicians on this project are: P. Y. Marani – Guitars, Bass and Keyboards and Xavier Richard – Drums. Guest Musicians: Derek Sherinian - Keyboard, Nicolas Garcia - Guitar, Denis Cornardeau - Guitar, Matthieu Gervreu - Bass and Serge Servant - Soprano Saxophone. Brilliant fantastic and amazing, an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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10/18/2011......Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic projects, visit P.Y.MARANI HOME PAGE...
. NORDAGUST - "In The Mist of Morning"
Nordagust is a Progressive Rock band from Norway (Nord-Odal, Hedmark). The band was formed in 1999 by three musicians that had been playing together since 1994: Daniel Solheim (vocals, guitar, keyboards, folk instruments), Ketil Armand Berg (drums, percussion), and Knud Jarle Strand (bass). The line-up was completed with Jostein Aksel Skjønberg (keyboards, voice, flute), Guro Elvik Strand (guitar, keyboards), and Sissel Os (keyboards, voice), who has left the band recently. From 1999 to 2007 Nordagust produced a series of demos, including the album “In the Mist of Morning”, which was remixed, re-mastered and reissued in November 2010 by Karisma Records. The album contains 10 tracks; with lyrics in English. Nordagust’s musical inspiration comes from the misty Norwegian Woods and from the Norse Mythology - the moniker represents the wise and omnipresent Spirit of the North Wind. Their aim is to insert the Norwegian folk music - with its characteristic melancholy and wilderness – into a Heavy and Progressive Rock frame, privileging emotion, melody, and soulful atmospheres instead of precision and virtuosity. Their main influences are the Swedish Mellotron-revival trio (“Anglagard”, “Anekdoten”, “Landberk”), “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Wobbler”, and “Lasse Thoresen” (Norwegian composer). Minor influences include “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and “Pallas”. The songs are soft, and evolve by means of confronting the dramatic sad vocals - which are imprisoned in atmospheric soundscapes - against moments of more aggressive instrumentation. The background is dominated by Mellotrons, with influences of early “Crimson”, “Anekdoten”, “Anglagard”, “Landberk”, and “Wobbler”, but the music is less aggressive and bristly, and less opulent in terms of instrumentation, being more melancholic, soaring, and epic. Also the pace is slower, with the bass leaning a bit toward the Psychedelia; and drumming is either discrete of cadenced and heavy. The main solo instrument is the guitar, that attacks steadily with melodic lines and soaring notes following a “dark-mode” that reminds me of “Anekdoten”, “Landberk”, “Anglagard” and sometimes “Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”. The vocals recall “Landberk” and “Pink Floyd” (in sadness and introspectiveness) and sometimes “Pallas” (in dramatic performance). The music is ornamented with sounds of many traditional folk instruments (see below), and noises of the forest, produced by means of untraditional instruments – the Saw, Grindstone, Kettles, Barrels, Axes and Hammers. All this adds a touch of originality and enchantment to the music of Nordagust. The aforementioned features appear on most of their songs, like on the impressive opening track “In The Mist of Morning” (on which ethereal Mellotrons merge with ghostly female choirs while crying vocals clash against guitars on an epic end); on the heavier “Expectations“ and on the darker “Frozen“ (with psychedelic shades of a “Porcupine Tree”); while on “Mysterious Ways“, the main feature is the alternation of heavier guitar riffs, bass, and drums that recall “Anekdoten”, “Anglagard”, and sometimes “Porcupine Tree” with eerie “Mellotronic” atmospheres and calmer passages of “Floydian” melancholy, and vocals that recall “Pallas” and “Landberk”. Best of all are the instrumental Folk-acoustic “In the Woods“ and its amazing follower “Elegy“ (9:00) - a gloomy and frightful piece that blends the soulful and epic veins of “Anglagard”, “Anekdoten” and “Landberk”. Two tracks represent better Nordagust’s musical diversity, although still preserving their characteristic glacial temper: “Forcing“ - which combines Arabian music with the heaviest guitars of the record, crossing the boundaries from Heavy Prog to Prog-Metal (as “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”); and “The Tide“ – which has a layer of electronic keyboards and an accessible rocky beat (recalling Neo-Progressive acts like “Pallas” and “Arena”). But the epitome of the album is reached on the ending pair “Make Me Believe”/”Elegy Epilogue”, which surmise the whole sonority of Nordagust. The first is a great final track combining generous doses of symphonic arrangements, epic harmonies for Mellotrons, and both soaring and fast guitar solos. There is also an awesome operatic background chorus. “Elegy Epilogue“ is a coda; a short symphonic piece for Mellotrons and pianos that seems influenced by the academic work of “Lasse Thoresen”. Summing all up, Nordagust‘s “In The Mist of Morning” is an impressive and excellent work, customized for fans of Mellotrons, soaring guitars and melancholic soundscapes, being therefore highly recommended for fans bands like “Anglagard”, "Anekdoten”, “Landberk”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Wobbler” and “Pallas”. Band members and collaborators involved in Nordagustare: Daniel “Solur" Solheim - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard, Samples, Kantele, Dulcimer, Mandolin, Sallow-flute, Mouth-harp, Conch, Axe and Hammer; Ketil Armand "Bergur" Berg - Drums, Percussion, Kantele, Saw, Accordion, Hammer, Bells, Voices, Grindstone, Kettles and Barrels; Knud Jarle "Strandur" Strand - Bass and business; Jostein Aksel Skjønberg - Keyboards, Voice, Flute; Guro Elvik Strand - Guitar, Keyboards; Sissel Os - Samples, Keyboards, Voice. Guest singer: Agnethe Kirkevaag (of “Madder Mortem”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/31/2011..............Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit NORDAGUST HOME PAGE...
. VOODOO BOOGIE - "This Ol’ Storm"
Voodoo Boogie is a quartet hailing from Limburg, Belgium. The line up consists of Jan Jaspers (vocals, guitar), Wouter Haest (keyboards, bass clarinet, backing vocals), Rob Vanspauwen (bass, guitar, backing vocals), and Gert Servaes (drums and percussion). The four musicians had different musical backgrounds (ranging from Blues and Alternative to Funk and Pop), and gathered together in 2004 with the common aim of blending Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, Electric Blues, Classic Rock of the 60’s and 70’s, Psychedelic Rock, Funk & Soul, and Garage Rock in their own idiosyncratic way. Voodoo Boogie’s discography includes a 2006 debut EP produced by Marc T. and a full length album, "Losing My Cool" (March 2008, Naked Productions), which was produced by band member Rob Vanspauwen and gained national airplay in Belgium, opening international ways for gigs in The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Sweden. Voodoo Boogie's second full length album, “This Ol’ Storm” (May, 6th 2011, REMusic Records) was recorded in the summer of 2010 at Artsound Studium (Helchteren, Belgium); produced, mixed and engineered by Rob Vanspauwen; and  mastered at Amsterdam Mastering by Darius Van Helfteren. The album features a sonority that Voodoo Boogie intends to be tagged as something like “Psychedelic-hypnotic Boogiematic-entrancing Groovy-rootsy”. Their influences come from Delta Blues, Country-Blues and Chicago Blues (“Robert Johnson”, “Sleepy John Estes”, “John Lee Hooker”, “Muddy Waters”, “Howlin’ Wolf”, “J.B. Lenoir”, “Buddy Guy”, “Otis Rush”, “Magic Sam”, “Earl Hooker”); Southern and Country Rock (“Booker T & The MG's”, “Credence Clearwater Revival”), Psychedelic Rock (“Jefferson Airplane”, “Pink Floyd”); British and American Classic Rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s (“The Beatles”, “The Rolling Stones”, “Cream”, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”, “The Doors”, “The Yardbirds”, “Led Zeppelin”); Funk  and Soul of the 70’s (“Curtis Mayfield”, “Marvin Gaye”); and some modern Alternative and Garage Rock acts of the Revival-Rock movement (“The White Stripes”, “The Black Keys”, “The Raconteurs”). “This Ol’ Storm” contains 11 tracks scattered along 45 minutes of music. The opening track is “Got to Get Out“, an energetic Classic Rock n’ Roll song that recalls bands like “Riggs”, “Steppenwolf”, and with a drum beat and organ that recalls early “Deep Purple”. Many tracks go back in time until the Delta and Chicago Blues epoch, like the fast-paced “Summer Calli“ and “Rain Keep Fallin’“ (both bearing influences of “Robert Johnson”, “John Lee Hooker”, “Muddy Waters”, “Howlin’ Wolf“); and the Soul-Gospel “The End of My Day“ (only with voice and clapping hands). Some tracks are more accessible, light and sweet, with the aura of the 70’s, and are sung by high pitched vocals: “Sign My Guitar“ (a Southern Blues Rock with amazing solo of organ, like a blend of “Credence Clearwater Revival” with “Allman Brothers”); and the Soul-Funky “Electric Kissing“ (with influences of “Curtis Mayfield” and “Marvin Gaye”). But my all favorite tracks of this album are those  that revolve deeper inside the muddy waters of the Psychedelic Acid Rock and Classic Rock of the past. Two of them begin like regular Blues or R&B songs, but have surprising changes in the middle parts: “Reconsider“ begins like a cool Blues Rock with the “Otis Rush”-“Eric Clapton” kind of clean guitars and bass lines, but abruptly changes to a “Pink Floydian” mode; while “Leave Me Be“ could be a song of “Rolling Stones”, but with a final twist to the Psychedelic sound of “Jefferson Airplane”. Plunging deeper into the Psychedelia and Experimentalism there are the very best “Alhambra“ (an instrumental piece blending  Psychedelic bass, space keyboards, Afro-Latin Percussion, and acid guitar effects, like a reunion of “The Doors” and “Hendrix” with “Booker T & The MG's” and “Yardbirds”); the heaviest and chameleonic “Wild Night, Full Moon“ (a Hard Rock in the vein of “Led Zeppelin”, with ghostly voices and “Floyd”-like space-blues finale); and the great “Takin’ Me Home” (a rootsy blues dissolved in psychedelic bass lines featuring an impressive solo of organ). Voodoo Boogie may not sound much original, but they do believe in the honest rock that they are doing. Voodoo Boogie is specially recommended for appreciators of Chicago Blues, Southern and Psychedelic Rock, and Classic Rock of the 60’s-70’s. Band members and collaborators involved in Voodoo Boogie are: Jan Jaspers – Vocals, Guitar, Lyrics; Wouter Haest – Keyboards, Bass Clarinet, Backing Vocals; Rob Vanspauwen – Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals; Gert Servaes – Drums and Percussion. Geert Op ’T Eynde - Additional Backing Vocals (tracks 5 and 10)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/06/2011..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VOODOO BOOGIE HOME PAGE...
. INSTANT FLIGHT - "Colours & Lights"
Instant Flight is a Retro Psychedelic-Pop-Rock band based in London, the U.K. The original line-up consisted of Marco Magnani (vocals and guitars); Lucie Rejchrtova (keyboards, accordion and backing vocals); James Ovens (drums); and Andrew Browning (bass). The present line-up counts with original members Magnani and Ovens; and also with Charles Bennett (organ, piano, strings) and John O'Sullivan (bass, backing vocals). Instant Flight has frequently acted as the supporting band of legendary “Arthur Brown", and has gigged regularly in London, the U.K. and Europe in the same circuit of bands like “Graham Coxon", “Sun Dial", “Pentangle", “Country Joe & the Fish", and “Circulus". Their debut album “Colours & Lights" was recorded and mixed in 2004 at the “Third Eye Studios", Hastings, U.K.; co-produced by Gary Ramon (guitarist of “Sun Dial") and released in 2004 (Beard of Stars Records). Their second album (“Endless Journey", 2008, Headspin Records/Clearspot) follows the same style. Instant Flight‘s sonority is a well-balanced blend of Psychedelic Rock, Folk, Surf Music, and Rock & Roll of the Sixties (circa 1963-1969). Influences come from bands like “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown", “Kingdom Come", “The Beatles", “Rolling Stones", “The Kinks", “Yardbirds", “The Nice", “Manfred Mann’s Earth Band", “Sid Barrett", “Pink Floyd", “The Byrds", “The Doors", “Velvet Underground", “The Moody Blues", “The Who", “The Grateful Dead", “Steppenwolf", “Hendrix", “The Fairport Convention", “Steeleye Span", and “P.F.M.". Magnani is also inspired by “Ennio Morricone", “Beethoven", “Rossini", “Mozart", and singers “Jacques Brel" and “Serge Gainsbourg". Instant Flight replicates with fidelity the musical atmosphere of the Sixties. Magnani‘s voice is reminiscent of “George Harrison", and leads on all Psychedelic tracks that blend “The Beatles", “Velvet Underground", “Arthur Brown", and “The Nice" (keyboards are substantial). He also sings the 60’s-styled Rock songs (with influences going from “Beach Boys" and “The Kinks" to “Rolling Stones", and “Steppenwolf"). Lucie Rejchrtova sings either backing vocals or in a duo with Magnani, but when she takes the lead, the songs lean to the Folk, recalling “Pentangle", “Fairport Convention", and a less medieval “Steeleye Span". This musical variety is well distributed along the 12 tracks of “Colours & Lights". My favorites are the most Psychedelic ones, such as “Running Around“ (influenced by “The Beatles" and “The Kinks", but with keyboards like “The Nice"), “Top of the Mountain“ (an epic, with awesome Gothic organ reminiscent of “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" and “The Nice", and intense psychedelic guitars); “Her Mystery“ (with more baroque church organ on its intro, but joining the sonority of “The Beatles" with the experimentalism of “Velvet Underground", still featuring female Folk vocals); “Flowers On My Grave“ (an amazing song that begins with a “Floydian" guitar surrounded by a tripping atmosphere, still featuring vintage organs and hard-rock guitars); and finally “Tarantula“ – an instrumental piece for dancing the Italian Tarantella (an influence of “P.F.M."). Among the soft ballads, my favorites are “She Passes By“ (a beautiful ballad blending “The Beatles" and “Syd Barret" on vocals, with guitar solo inspired on “George Harrison"); and “Kites“ (originally performed by “Simon Dupree and the Big Sound", of Shulman brothers of “Gentle Giant") which has a more mysterious air thanks to the guest singer “Arthur Brown". The other ballads are “Colours & Lights“ and “Will You Think of Me?“, two sweet songs lead by Lucie that combine “The Beatles" with “Pentangle". The remaining tracks are the cheerful early-60’s songs “Under the Moonlight“ (with guitar solo performed by Gary Ramon) and “Such a Slow Way Home“ (recalling me of early “The Beatles", “The Kinks", and “The Byrds"); and the vigorous “Freeway“ – a Hard Rock of the late 60’s bringing “Hendrixian" solo and influences of “Steppenwolf" and “Arthur Brown". Either if you are a “Beatle-maniac" who has grown up in the Sixties or a youngster that appreciates the musical taste of your parents, Instant Flight is the band for you. Highly recommended for fans of Proto-Progressive, Psychedelic, Folk and Rock of the 60’s, mainly those who love “The Beatles", “The Kinks", “Arthur Brown", “Sid Barrett", “The Beach Boys", “Velvet Underground" and “Pentangle". Band members and collaborators involved in Instant Flight are: Marco Magnani – Vocals, Guitars; Lucie Rejchrtova – Keyboards, Accordion, Backing Vocals; James Ovens – Drums; Andrew Browning – Bass. Special guests: Arthur Brown – Lead Vocal on “Kites" and ending section of “Freeway"; Gary Ramon – Guitar solo on “Under the Moonlight"; John Harbourne – Trombone on “Her Mystery". Present members: Charles Bennett - Organ, Piano, Strings; John O'Sullivan - Bass, Backing Vocals. If you want to hear their music please visit Instant Flight's MySpace Home Page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011...................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit INSTANT FLIGHT HOME PAGE...
. PROPHET AZAL - "Slow Gin"
Prophet Azal is the new musical project of American blues-guitarist, singer and song-writer Gypsy “AZAL” Carns. He started performing in clubs in the distant 1963, and took part in different bands and records since 1966. He ha already traveled around the U.S.A., Europe, and Asia surprising the audiences with his vocals and his eclectic 12-string bottleneck guitar and Dobro technique. In 1992 he began a spiritual career, after the Holy Spirit has spoken to him about dedicating his like and music to the Lord. In 1994 he moved with his wife to Nashville with the aim of spreading Jesus and God’s words through his music, using the Delta-Blues as a musical format. There Gypsy met Tabby “Zeb” Crabb, owner of Flatwood Studios, who became Gypsy's engineer, producer, best friend and musical companion until 2011, when Tabby regrettably passed away. From 1999 to 2007, "Gypsy Carns" released a series of solo records: “Prayin Blues” (1999, TTM Records); “Beale Street Swing” (2000, Nightfly Records); “Revelation Blues” (2001, live around Peru, Spain, Indonesia, and Russia); “G FoRcE” (2002); “Feel Good!” (2003 live in Paris); “Raw Word” (2004); the DVD “Wailing Wall” (2005); “Gospel Train Coming” (2006, a tribute to Bluesmen Masters from the 1920's and 30's). Due to the closure of Flatwood Studios in 2007, Gypsy began to work with engineer and producer Brad Vosburg (Fox Mountain Studios, Tennessee). Another CD – “The Watchman” was released in same year. In 2008 Gypsy moved to Meridian, Mississippi to work for Peavey Electronics in the Custom Guitar Factory; and won the distinct honor of “Christian Blues Artist of the Year” at the Momentum Awards in Brentwood, TN. Gypsy still released another solo record, entitled “AZA” (2010, TTM Records), and started to work on a new musical project, called Prophet Azal. The debut album, entitled “Elijah Returns”, was released on July 4th 2011 under TTM Records. It is a concept album telling the story of Azal, an American Indian musician that has been chosen by God to reveal to the world the time massages of the Book of Daniel. The songs are written in that context, using the holly scriptures to validate the lyrics. The sonority is a blend of Hard Rock and Classic Heavy Metal, with sturdy rhythm guitars, compact bass and drums, and thunderous slide guitar and strong vocals by Gypsy, who assumes the persona of Azal. With 11 tracks, the album offers 34 minutes of the most enjoyable Hard Rock and Classic Metal, with powerful guitar riffs, electric energy, and sticky choruses. The slide guitar is ever present, either on solos, or making a counterpoint to the vocals. The cadence is sometimes reminiscent of bands like “AC/DC”, “The Rods”, early “Twisted Sister”, “Judas Priest”, and “Stryper”, but combined with the deep voice of Gypsy, the music becomes reminiscent of German Metal bands like “Grave Digger”, “Running Wild”, and “Accept”. The most explosive (and my favorite) tracks summon all energy and force of Classic Heavy Metal, blending “The Rods”, “Judas Priest”, “Grave Digger”, “Accept”, and “Running Wild”. The opening track “Who Can Stand Alone“ brings the impressive voice of God commanding Azal to his task, in a epic track that recalls “Grave Digger”. The following “Change Comin’ Down“ has a pounding riff that recalls me of “The Rods”; while the very best “Am I Immortal“ and “I AM Protects Me“ are closer to “Grave Digger” and “Accept”. Also on this line, the closing track “Elijah Returns“ will satisfy fans of “Judas Priest” and “Running Wild”. For those who prefer the Hard Rock in American style, with more swing on guitars, rocky beats, sticky choruses, and reminiscent of bands like “AC/DC”, “Stryper”, and “Twisted Sister”, the higher mood of “Fifth Trumpet Bloww“ and the contagious slide-guitar solo of “Jesus Gives“ are great options, as well as the rocky “Wells Without Water“ and the “AC/DC”-styled “Kevin’s Law“. The album also has two acoustic ballads, on which Gypsy Azal sings with a soft mellow voice: “Fallen“ and “YAHVEH, You Are All“, which is highlighted by a soulful guitar solo. Vigorous and spirited, the music of Prophet Azal really rocks, being especially recommended for fans of “AC/DC”, “Judas Priest”, “Stryper”, American Hard Rock in general, and Classic Heavy Metal of the German school.  Band members and collaborators involved in Prophet Azal are: Gypsy AZAL Carns - Guitars, Vocals; Peavey Power Slide. Studio Band: Michael Brignardello – Bass; Greg Morrow – Drums; Brad Vosburg - Engineer; Producer; Final Mix; Drums on “Fallen” and “YAHWEH, You Are All”. North American Band: Joe Dile – Bass, Vocals; Chis Dile – Drums, Vocals. International Band, Paris: Zizou “the Boss” Sadke – Bass; Stephane “Taz D” Cassaveties – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011.................,.....Interested to know more about the musician and band? Visit PROPHET AZAL HOME PAGE...
. XAVIER BOSCHER - "Musical Voyage"
Xavier Boscher was born December 23, 1979 in Poissy (Yvelines, France). From the age of 10 until 14 he learned to play the piano, and then he discovered the guitar, which became his favorite instrument. After playing firstly in a cover band, and later on a group of Tech-Metal, he joined band “Horresco Referens" at the age of 16, appearing on the album “The Cesspit". Two year later, he was invited to join French Metal band “Misanthrope", and performed on their albums “Recueils d’Ecueils…" and “Immortal". Later he toured in Europe with “Septic Flesh". Boscher participated in different musical projects, such as “Ephemeral Twins" (with guitarist Thomas Leroy). His most important project so far is Nebuleyes, with participation of Benjamin Masson (read the review in 2011). It is a Progressive Rock/Progressive Metal project that includes the concept albums “Digital EnfanT" (2003, recorded at his Cocoon Studio); “Divine Revolution" (2004), and “The Universal Being" (2009, with participation of opera singer Drama Elfamorta), all of which develop the science fiction saga “Worldomania“, conceived and written by Boscher. A new Nebuleyes album has been just released in 2011. Boscher has also released many solo works: “A Part of Utopia" (2006); “Musical Journey" (2007, which is being reviewed herein); and also “Guitamorphosis" (2008); “Hydrologic" (2009) and “Love Energy" (2010). By this time, Boscher has already created his own label - “Orfeo'Lab" - to control the digital release of his albums and to launch new projects; like “Ultra Virtual Prog Band" (instrumental album “Sphere of Knowledge", 2009) and “Magnific Senses" (album “Elemental Goddess", 2010). Xavier Boscher has a passion for music of all kinds, and plays everything from Heavy Metal to Progressive Rock and New Age. His favorite style is Metal, and his influences include “Cynic", “Wagner", “Iron Maiden", “Dream Theater", “Liquid Tension Experiment", “Misanthrope", “Marty Friedman", “Chuck Schuldiner", “Starmania", “Obispo", “la SF", “le Métabaron", “Sandrine". However, on “Musical Voyage" (2007, produced at Cocoon Studio, published by Plaza Mayor Company), Boscher puts his Metal influences aside, and produces soft melodies and tunes comparable to romantic classics, building themes with his guitar that sound clean, neat and velvet-like, taking us into a Journey to the far places of the globe as he fuses World Music, New Age, Progressive Rock, and Progressive Fusion. The main influence here is the softest and less metallic facet of guitar players like “Marty Friedman", “Jason Becker", “Steve Vai", “Joe Satriani", and “Marc Bonilla". The album “Musical Voyage" contains 12 instrumental tracks. My favorites are: “Landscape of Scandinavia“, a slow and soaring progressive piece that recalls me of a softer “Jason Becker" and “Focus"; “Gaelic Island“ - a sad New Age track with Irish flutes and fusion guitar solo – which contrasts with the energy of the Spanish acoustic guitars of the following “Sevilla Muchacha“ (reminding me of “Marc Bonilla"). Boscher’s music sometimes reach cinematographic epic levels on “Kyklos“, which sounds ancient and mysterious, like a neo-classical piece composed by “Becker", or “Vai"; and on the progressive track “Mekong Delta“ on which the subtle Classical guitars are immersed in symphonic romantic arrangements that recall “Becker", "Vai", and "Satriani". Slightly harder are “American Guitar Blues“ (a blues immersed in a space-rock atmosphere) and “Jama“, which will please Prog-Fusion lovers with its blend of vintage  Progressive organs with ethnical percussion and modern fusion guitars. Also among my favorites are the two tracks that make reference to my own country: “Brazilian Sunshine“ is atypical “Bossa-Nova", with soft-jazz guitar and piano, while “Amazon Rain Forest“ is a symphonic piece blending New Age keyboards, Andean Flutes, and melodic Progressive guitar solo that reminds me of Brazilian act “Sagrado Coração da Terra" (lacking the violin, of course). The album still brings “Pharaon’s Dance“ - a short dance marked by ancient acoustic instruments and clapping hands; “Sri Lanka Magica“ (surrounded by Ambient sounds); and the oriental “Japanese Dawn“, which combines silky sounds of guitar with experimental electronic effects. A creative and eclectic musician, the king of which cannot be easily tagged - for he avoids to get stuck in a rigid musical formula - Xavier Boscher and his album “Musical Voyage" is especially recommended for fans of guitarists that play soft instrumental Prog-Fusion with a touch of New Age and World Music. Band members involved with Xavier Boscher are: Himself - Electric and Acoustic guitars, Bass, Nylon Guitar, and Electric Piano...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011...................,.....Interested to know more about this great musician? Visit XAVIER BOSCHER HOME PAGE...
. TÉSIS ÁRSIS - "Bells of Eternity"
Tésis Ársis is the dream project of Brazilian musician Anderson Rodrigues (keyboards, guitars, programming). He was born in May 1958 in the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). His passion for music began at early age, when he listened to his mother and grandmother playing Classical piano. At the age of 10, his uncle gave him an acoustic guitar, which he learned to play by himself. At 12 he was playin drums in a cover-band. In July 1972 he moved to the capital city Brasilia. There, he studied Classical Acoustic Guitar at a local Music Conservatory. In 1980 he came back to Rio de Janeiro and was admitted in the prestigious Villa-Lobos Music School, where he learned Classic Piano, Musical Theory and Harmony. At the same time, he began to write music (mainly Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, New Age, but also Pop and Folk). In 1989 and during most part of the 90 decade, Anderson exercised his musical talent playing electric guitars in a band formed by his brother Gelson Rodrigues (drums), and the Fonseca Brothers: Cláudio (keyboards) and Maurício (bass). The busy lives of the four musicians barred them from recording their songs, but that dream was never abandoned. Anderson then decided to create his own musical project: Tésis Ársis. In September 2002 the first independent album - “Ilusões" (“Illusions") - was released. The second album - “Estado de Alerta Máximo" (“State of Maximum Alert") - was recorded between 2003 and 2004, and released in May 2005. Each album had five long instrumental suites in Symphonic-Progressive style, all arranged and performed by Anderson Rodrigues (guitars, keyboards, and bass & drums programming). The third album - “Sinos da Eternidade" (“Bells of Eternity") – was released in 2011 by independent record label M&C Studio. It contains 6 long instrumental tracks, following the same Symphonic-Progressive & Neo-Progressive orientation of the previous albums. The sonority is delicate, soaring, cadenced and neat, with influences of “Mike Oldfield", “Genesis", “Steve Hackett", “Camel", “Pink Floyd", “Eloy", “Pendragon", “Marillion", “IQ", and “Collage". The music flows free, without abrupt changes, changing gradually from soaring parts to harder dramatic parts. The guitar is Anderson’s main instrument, which he plays in a “Steve Hackett"-like style. Keyboards are abundant, contributing to build up a symphonic background frame. Dynamic synthesizer solos are also frequent, adding different textures to the music (not vintage, though), being reminiscent of Neo-Prog bands like “Marillion", “Pendragon", and “IQ", but also of “Eloy", “Camel" and “Genesis" of the late 70’s to 80’s period. “Eu Acredito“ (“I Believe", 9:40) opens the album without hurry, giving time for long and Byzantine guitar solos to grow and evolve within a typical Prog-cadence; the keyboards of the middle section recall “Eloy". “Lágrimas“ (“Tears", 7:46) begins and ends with a jazzy pace marked by echoing guitar chords. The middle section is stuffed with a layer of light keyboards (reminiscent of “Camel" and “Eloy") and faster Neo-Prog guitar solos that recall “Pendragon". The symphonic “Homem Vencedor“ (“Winner Man", 12:17) begins with keyboards, flute-sounds and sparse guitar riffs that drive the music toward an epic crescendo – rising on the middle section with bombastic keyboards and heavier guitar riffs – and slowing down at the end for the coming of a majestic guitar solo. “Extremo Sentimento“ (“Extreme Feeling", 14:02) begins with a triple layer of organs, guitars and martial drums. It sounds as epic as the previous, but transmits a sadder mood, and has more dramatic guitar sequences. The middle section is dominated by a long and beautiful soaring guitar solo, and the final part tends to a Heavy-Prog. “Hipocrisia“ (“Hypocrisy", 12:54) is arranged according to an alternation of space guitar riffs and intricate guitar solos. The middle section brings Arabian tunes on keyboards. The title track “Sinos da Eternidade“ (“Bells of Eternity", 17:42) closes the album, and is an ambitious symphonic piece with strong influence of “Mike Oldfield". It is immersed in New-Age atmospheres filled with clouds of soaring keyboards; and richer in textures and new sounds – there are bells, ethnical flute-sounds, orchestral percussion, and better bass arrangements. Some parts are faster and dramatic, marked by soulful Neo-Prog guitar solos, and all finishes with the tolling “Bells Of Eternity". Although not original, the music of Tésis Ársis is competent, solid, pleasant, and supported by excellent technical production. A duo of real people playing bass & drums would add more options to the arrangements, making the music more interesting and varied. Nevertheless, Tésis Ársis is specially recommended for fans of Instrumental Progressive Rock who love “Genesis", “Marillion", “Pendragon", “Mike Oldfield", “Eloy", “Steve Hackett", “Camel", “Pink Floyd", “IQ", “Collage". Band members and collaborators involved in Tésis Ársis are: Anderson B. Rodrigues – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass & Drums Programming, Arrangements; Nilson Sá Ribas – Acoustic Guitar; Maurício Fonseca – Ex-Bassist, Sound Engineering; Cláudio Fonseca – Keyboards, Programming. If you want to hear their music please visit Tésis Ársis's MySpace Home Page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011............................................Interested to know more about the musician? Visit TÉSIS ÁRSIS HOME PAGE...
. MAN ON FIRE - "Chrysalis"
Man On Fire is a Progressive-Alternative rock group from Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A.). The band was formed by core members Jeff Hodges (vocals, keyboards, samples, percussion, production), Eric Sands (bass, electric guitars) and Steve Carroll (lyrics, imagery), and debuted with a self-titled CD in 1998. Two other works followed: “The Undefined Design” (2003), which featured guest violinist David Ragsdale (“Kansas”, “Smashing Pumpkins”); and “Habitat” (2005), that featured Ragsdale and guitarist Adrian Belew (“King Crimson”) as guests. Man On Fire‘s fourth release is titled “Chrysalis” (2011, 10T Records). The album was produced, recorded, and mixed by Jeff Hodges and Joey Cox at Charleston Sound; and mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters. The line-up was expanded to a six-piece group, including, besides Jeff Hodges and Eric Sands; also Elise Testone (guest singer), Quentin Ravenel (drums and percussion), Cameron Harder Handel (trumpet) and Jenny Hugh (violin). Steve Carroll is still in charge of the lyrics and design. Man On Fire‘s members are influenced by the musical scene of the 80’s, ranging from Progressive acts like “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “Brian Eno”, “Adrian Belew”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Yes”, “Kansas”, and “Kevin Gilbert” to many names of the New Wave, Synth-Pop, Electronic and Post-Punk movements, like “Kate Bush”, “David Bowie”, “Japan” and “Mick Karn”, guitarist “David Torn”, “Talking Heads”, “Duran Duran”, “William Orbit”, “Garbage”, “Laurie Anderson”, “Thomas Dolby”, “Ryuichi Sakamoto”, “Masami Tsuchiya”, “Bill Nelson” (“Be-Bop Deluxe”), “Peter Murphy” (“Bauhaus”), “Icehouse”, “The FIXX”, and “Gang of Four”. Man On Fire‘s sonority fuses violins, keyboards, and vocals of late works of “Kansas” with bass textures of “Chris Squire” (“Yes”), the rhythmic experiments of 80’s-“King Crimson”, and have insertions of “Miles Davies” Jazzy trumpets. All this coexists friendly with the Pop-Rock of “Peter Gabriel” and the Soul and R&B of “Stevie Wonder”, enveloped on electronic pulsing beats inspired on “Eno” and his disciples; sometimes recalling bands like “Weather Report”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Karmakanic”, and “Neal Morse”. As a whole, the sound is elegant, lively, dynamic, pulsing and danceable; driven by the incredible bass of Eric Sands. The instrumentation is easy-listening, in spite of the rhythmical richness and the complexity of the arrangements. “Chrysalis” contains 11 tracks. The opening track is “Repeat It, Repeat It, Repeat it“ – an irresistible danceable piece driven by pulsing bass, electronic sounds, and Soul vocals sung in Hard-Rock tones; having many vintage keyboards attacking in the middle. The following “In a Sense…“ is like an Electronic Prog-Funk, mixing electronic effects and a pulsing bass line with violins that recall “Kansas”, vocals like “Kansas” and “Stevie Wonder”, ending with a melodic tune like “Genesis” (under the leadership of “Phil Collins”). Leaning to a “Conventional Art-Rock”, there are some of my favorite tracks: the ballad “A (Post-Apocalyptic. Bedtime Story” brings pianos, keyboards, violins progressive bass, and some epic tones that alternately recall bands like “Journey”, “Kansas”, and “Yes”, also featuring light trumpets, and twisting to a “Crimson”-like instrumental final section marked by exotic rhythms and “Fripp”-styled guitars; “Higher Than Mountains“ is the heaviest, including some guitar riffs that bring to mind bands like “Neal Morse” and “Pain of Salvation”. “Gravity“ (and its bonus instrumental version) begins with a New-Age choir of angels, and proceeds with fleeing acoustic guitars and vocals. It grows with the arrival of other instruments, changing to a Heavy-Trip-Hop by the middle, ending with remarkable guitar solo, and recalling “Peter Gabriel” and “Neal Morse”. Best of all is the title track “Chrysalis“ – a four-part suite that, without denying the electronic and modern nature of Man On Fire’s music, is the standard Progressive track of the album. “Part 1 – In Between the Lines“ and “Part 2 – The Pundits“ recall “Yes”, “Kansas”, and “Neal Morse”, having classical pianos and trumpets; “Part 3 – The Muse Returns“ is an instrumental interlude for dramatic guitars and pianos; and “Part 4 – Free to Fall“ has hard-prog guitars running over a rocky beat, and amazing vocals. Leaning to the New Wave and Electronic Synth-Pop of “Duran Duran”, “Bauhaus”, “Japan”, “Laurie Anderson” and “Be-Bop Deluxe” there is “The Projectionist“; while “Tear Gas“ mix “Stevie Wonder” with Prog-Metal guitars, trumpets, and soaring parts. Man On Fire may not be an orthodox progressive band, but achieves the goal of discovering an original, modern and unique way of making Progressive Music, being highly recommended for non-orthodox Progressive lovers that like some swing in their music.  Band members and collaborators involved in Man On Fire are: Jeff Hodges - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Synths, Samples, Percussion, Production; Eric Sands - Fretted and Fretless Bass, Electric Guitars; Elise Testone – Vocals; Quentin Ravenel – Drums; Cameron Harder Handel – Trumpet; Jenny Hugh – Violin; Steve Carroll - Lyrics, Imagery...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MAN ON FIRE HOME PAGE...
. DOMAIN OF DREAMS - "Domain Of Dreams"
Domain of Dreams are a Progressive Metal quintet from Sofia, Bulgaria. Formed back in April 1987, the group was formerly known as "Solaris", and took part on the new generation of Rock and Metal bands that were then appearing in Bulgaria. In spite of the frequent changes in the line-up, the band released two albums under the moniker "Solaris": “Oligovremie“ (“Oligotime”, 1997) and “Jelaia” (“I Want”, 2007). They also performed many live shows and supported acts like “W.A.S.P.” and “Heaven and Hell”. Now under the new name of Domain of Dreams, the line-up consists of original "Solaris" members and brothers Daniel Radev (vocals) and Plamen Radev (lead guitars, arrangements), bassist Emil Angelov, and new members Ivan Popov (guitar) and Ognian “Oggi” Kiosovsky (drums, backing vocals, sound engineering). Domain of Dreams is now an established Bulgarian Progressive Metal band, and has just released the self-titled album “Domain of Dreams” (2011, produced by Bularco). Band members share the same opinion that the new album features the logical evolution of their musical past as "Solaris", which was mostly influenced by bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Queensrÿche”, and “Dream Theater”. As Domain of Dreams, the band trails a new path into the Power and Progressive-Metal universes, sounding now like bands such as “Angra”, “Malmsteen”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Adagio”, “Blind Guardian“, “Stratovarius”, “Evergrey”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Dream Evil“, “Everon”, “Superior“, “Freedom Call”, “Pagan’s Mind”, “Dark Moor”, “Aeon Zen”, “Revolution Renaissance”, and “Symphonia”, with few influences of “Iron Maiden”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Megadeth”, “Anthrax” and “Pink Floyd”. “Domain of Dreams” eponymous album features 9 long songs (the closing track surpasses 11 minutes). Daniel Radev on vocals is emotional and theatrical, and has a voice that recalls me of “Bruce Dickinson” (“Iron Maiden”). Bass, drums and rhythm guitars alternate from pounding paces of Melodic-Metal to faster cadences typical of Power-Metal and even of Thrash Metal. More intricate background instrumentation – such as that of Progressive and Fusion Metal – is less frequent. The highest point of this band is the excellent work of guitarist Plamen Radev, whose solos are very elaborated and melodic, executed in neo-classical style (as in bands like “Angra”, “Malmsteen”, “Adagio”, “Stratovarius”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Blind Guardian“, “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Dark Moor”). Plamen also composes the symphonic arrangements - a work that results in classical piano intros and extra-long sequences of keyboard-against-guitar duels (like “Adagio”, “Stratovarius”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Superior“, and “Aeon Zen”). Following this trend, the fast opening track “The Dream of Revenge“; the somber “The Dream of Power“ (with some cadenced parts and vocals recalling “Pink Floyd’s” operetta “The Wall”); and the heavy “The Dream of Victory“ (with some Thrash-Metal riffs inspired on “Megadeth” and “Anthrax” locked within a Power-Metal frame) will make fans of Power-Metal to have a mental stroke. Those who prefer more technical music will rejoice with the Prog-Metal songs “The Dream of the End“ (with complicated bass and drums progressions) and ”The Dream of Unity” – both tracks plentifully stuffed with Progressive and Fusion-Metal instrumental passages, being sometimes driven by fast and highly electrified Power-Metallic cadences. To take a breath, two metal-ballads were included in the record: “The Dream of the Past“ (with influences of “Iron Maiden” combined with classical pianos and symphonic strings); and “The Dream of Despair“ – on which the slower parts interchange with heavier Melodic-Metal moments (recalling me of band “Nocturnal Rites”). But going back to the purest Power-Metal with Epic tones, Domain of Dreams still prepared the bittersweet “The Dream of You“; and the amazing final track - “The Dream of Dreams” – a long piece representing the highest degree of Epic-ness, comparable to the best of “Blind Guardian” and “Rhapsody of Fire”. “Domain of Dreams“ is a solid and powerful album, especially recommended for fans of “Angra”, “Malmsteen”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Adagio”, “Blind Guardian“, “Stratovarius”, “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Evergrey”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Evil“, “Everon”, “Superior“, “Freedom Call”, “Pagan’s Mind”, “Dark Moor”, “Aeon Zen”, “Revolution Renaissance”, “Symphonia”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Domain of Dreams are: Daniel Radev – Vocals; Plamen Radev – Lead Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, Orchestrations; Emil Angelov – Bass; Ognian “Oggi” Kiossovski – Drums, Backing Vocals; Ivan Popov – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Ivan Radev – Concept and Lyrics...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011....................Interested to know more about the Bulgarian Band? Visit DOMAIN OF DREAMS HOME PAGE...
. L’IMPERO DELLE OMBRE - "I Compagni di Baal"
L’Impero Delle Ombre was born in Salento, Italy, but later moved to Florence (Tuscany). The band was founded back in 1995 by Giovanni Cardellino (vocals, lyrics) as a cover-band for Dark and Doom Metal groups of Italy and abroad. Soon Giovanni was joined by his brother Andrea Cardellino (guitars) and the Caroli brothers Dario (drums) and Enrico (bass), of band “Sabotage”. In December 2004 L’Impero Delle Ombre released a debut album by Black Widow Records that showcased their “Cemetery Rock” style, which blended Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Dark-Gothic Progressive Rock of the 70’s, with Doom Metal and NWOBHM-style with; with influences of “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Pink Floyd”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Angel Witch”, “Candlemass”, “Witchfinder General”, “Trouble”, “Solitude Aeturnus“, “Saint Vitus”, “Count Raven”, “Death SS”, and “Paul Chain Violet Theatre”. “I Compagni di Baal” (“Les Compagnons de Baal”) is the second album of L’Impero. It was recorded at Bunker Studio, November 2008, mixed in 2009 by Maurizio Sacquegno; produced by G/A Cardellino and BWR; and released in 2011 byBlack Widow Records on both CD and Vinyl LP formats. The concept is based on the homonymous 1968 French TV series by Pierre Prevert. The new line-up counts with Giovanni Cardellino (vocals, backing vocals, percussion); Andrea Cardellino (acoustic and electric guitar), Giusy “Liliana” Cardellino (female vocals, backing vocals), Fabian Oliver (bass), Dario Petrelli (drums), and has special participation of keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff (“Death SS”). “I Compagni di Baal” features 9 tracks arranged as in an Opera. The lyrics are mostly in Italian, with few parts in French and English. The CD version brings the bonus-track “Snowblind” (by “Black Sabbath“). The overture is “Compagni di Baal” – a symphonic instrumental piece played on bombastic space keyboards. The awesome “Diogene“ follows, driven by potent Doom Metal guitar riffs as epic as “Candlemass”, “Trouble”, and “Solitude Aeturnus”, combined with strong schizoid keyboards, bringing on the middle a section of dark-gothic synthesizers and psychedelic bass. The song is ornate with splendid guitar solos, all emulating “Tony Iommi’s” style. The following “Divoratori Della Notte“ is even heavier and more sinister than the previous, marked by slow pounding drums and guitars, and ritualistic vocals. The song twists to a faster pace, in NWOBHM cadence, alternating “Iommi-accented” guitar solos with amazing synthesizer solos. “Ballata Per Liliana” is a sad ballad introduced by a woman’s crying voice (recalling the style of “Jacula” and “Antonius Rex”). The combination of a soaring “Floydian” guitars and mournful organs supported by a symphonic background makes this one a real Dark-Progressive masterpiece. “L’Oscura Persecuzione“ features the “Stoner-Doom” swing of “Black Sabbath” and “Trouble” on its slow guitar riffs, contrasting with the second part that is fast-paced and supported by Hammonds that recall “Deep Purple”. The two following tracks “Cosmochronos“ and “Sogni di Dominio“ have the energy and faster paces of the NWOBHM bands, like “Angel Witch”, “Satan”, “Raven” and “Iron Maiden”. “Chosmochronos” relies on a rumbling triple attack of bass, drums, and guitars, while creepy vocals evoke some malign entity; while “Sogni di Dominio“ recalls firstly some early “Iron Maiden” drumming, but turns later to a Traditional Heavy metal pace marked by a vocal chorus, highlighted by Andrea’s magnificent guitar solo and Oleg‘s gothic organs. The last tracks are “La Caduta Del Conte di St. Germain“ – a slow, macabre and dense Doom-Metal piece reminiscent of “Trouble” and “Saint Vitus”, with malign graving vocals – and its complementary – the peaceful and acoustic “Tutti i Colori Del Buio”. Still worthy of noting is the amazing version of “Snowblind”, which is played reverently with renovated vigor, and brightened by the superb interventions of Oleg’s keyboards. Summing all up, “I Compagni di Baal” is really a remarkable and inventive work, and opens new paths for the Doom-Metal subgenre to merge with the Gothic and Dark Progressive styles; being indispensable for fans of “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Witchfinder General”, “Angel Witch”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Candlemass”, “Abstrakt Algebra”, “Krux”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Desolation Angels”, “Count Raven”, “Antonius Rex”, “Death SS”, “Paul Chain Violet Theatre”, “Jupiter Society”, “Blood Ceremony“, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in L’Impero Delle Ombre are: Giovanni “John Goldfinch” Cardellino – Vocals, Backing Vocals, Percussion; Andrea Cardellino – Acoustic and Electric Guitar (Keyboards on “Snowblind”); Oleg Smirnoff – Hammond B3 Organ, Mini Moog, Mellotron II, Kurzweil K2000; Fabian Oliver (Fabio Oliveti) – Bass; Dario Petrelli – Drums, Giusy “Liliana” Cardellino – Female Vocals, Backing Vocals; Maurizio Sacquegno – Acoustic Guitar; Thomas Hande Chaste – Drums on “Snowblind”; Ilario “Piranha” Suppressa – Bass on “Snowblind”, Pino Pinta – Graphic Design; Gianluca Marchesi – English Translation...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011................Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit L’IMPERO DELLE OMBRE HOME PAGE...
. AZAZELLO - "Transformation"
Azazello was born in 1992, when Russian musician Alexander Kulak decided to form a Thrash-Metal group in his hometown of Tynda. The band was known in 1993 under the moniker Morg and had a line-up comprising Kulak (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Alexander Kuleshov (guitar), Dmitriy Bakay (bass), and Andrey Kupryakov (drums). As Morg‘s concerts shocked the local audiences more used to Pop-Music, Kulak’s compositions evolved, becoming more technical and melodic. Following this trend, the group decided to run a parallel project that should be called Azazello, a name taken from “Bulgakov's” novel “Master & Margarita”; and also in honor of Azazel – the ancient Hebrew God of Victory. Azazello officially debuted on stage on 15 January 1995, with a new line-up counting with Morg’s members Kulak, Kuleshov, and Bakay, and Vladimir Ostanin (drums) and Sergey Bujin (guitar). The later two left by the end of 1995, and the line-up changed again, to include Kulak, Kuleshov, pianist Vytos Afanasiev, and drummer Idris Faridonov. By this time, Azazello had accumulated enough material to record an album, including some acoustic songs that Kulak and Bujin had written together, but the lack of technical facilities still hindered them. The group gave many concerts in the “unplugged” style, bought a Yamaha four-channel studio equipment and finally recorded an experimental acoustic album “Veter v golove” (“Thoughtless Mind”). Recordings for a full-length debut album took place from 1996 to 1998. In between, Kuleshov left the band. In 1998, the first independent album was finished: “Cherniy Den” (“Black Day”, distributed in 2000 by Moonchild Records, USA). From that time on, Azazello released new albums at regular intervals: “Upstairs” (2000/2001, Muséa Records); “The Wings” (2003, Starless Records/Mellow Records); “Seventh Heaven” (2004/2005, Starless Records, Russia); "Windhead" (2006, Starless/Volos Records); and their last work “Transformation” (2011, MALS Ltd., Russia). Azazello treaded a long musical way from a Thrash-Metal to a Prog-Metal band, with passages through Progressive and Russian Folk-Music that included a collaboration with “DIVO Folk Choir” in a live project (1998). This resulted in an hybrid sonority, with influences of Progressive and Classic Rock, Thrash-Metal, Prog-Metal, and Russian Pop and Folk Music, represented by bands like “Yes”, “Deep Purple”, “Glenn Hughes”, “Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Dream Theater”, “Jorn Lande” & “The Ark”, “Vladimir Kuzmin”, “Alexander Barykin”, and “Volapük”. “Transformation” seems to be a hallmark in the band’s career. The line-up was completely reformulated again, with Kulak counting as only original member. Many guest musicians participated on the recordings, notably singers Yann Zhenchak (of “In Search For”), Alexey Baev (“Extrovert”) and Valeriya Shavina. The album contains 10 tracks sung in Russian. Many tracks follow the Melodic-Metal and Power-Prog styles, like the electrifying Oriental-Metal “The Moon“ (on which clashing guitars and aggressive vocals are soothed by amazing female vocals, recalling “Nightwish”, “Epica”, “Syrens Call” and “Orphaned Land“); or the Ghostly-Gothic “Melancholy“ and its follower ”A Sand Grain“, an amazing  track that combines locomotive-speed riffs, pounding drums and neoclassical guitars (blending “Megadeth”, “Evergrey” and “Space Odyssey”), still featuring a classical violin solo that erupts at the end of the song. “Light of the Lonely Eyes“ is a Melodic-Metal with airs of “Jorn Lande” and early “Dream Theater”. Leaning to an aggressive “Thrash-Prog” line, the tracks “Clock Face“ and “To Win“ represent the best of Azazello’s style. Both songs are long (more than 8 minutes), and combine fast and complex guitar riffs, typical of Thrash and Prog Metal bands like “Megadeth”, “Annihilator” and “Dream Theater” with “broken” rhythmic lines and long solos of synthesizers and guitars; but “To Win” further brings melodic vocals and Folk-Metal moments within its frame. But Azazello’s music does not relay on heaviness, only. The opening track “The Spark of Life“ is a beautiful symphonic piece for piano and keyboards in New-Age style. Also the flutes and folk acoustic guitars of the Progressive ballads “Enchantress“ (with harmony vocals that reminds me of “Uriah Heep”) and “Phoenix“ (with clean guitar solos and classical string arrangements) balance the aggressiveness of the record. Closing the album, the title track “Transformation“ is a theatrical ballad crowned with an epic guitar solo. A band that fuses heaviness and melody with ability, Azazello is especially recommended for fans of Melodic Power-Metal, Prog-Metal, and Folk-Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in Azazello are: Alexander Kulak - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion; Vladimir Kulak - Keyboards (1, 2, 7); Vladimir Demakov - Drums, Percussion; Vladislav Chala – Guitar; Rostislav Chala – Bass. Guests: Yann Zhenchak – Vocals (2-8, 10), Keyboards (1), skrypka (fiddle) (7), Keyboard solo (3, 5, 10), Guitar solo (10); Alexey Baev - Vocal (5, 9); Valeriya Shavina - Vocal (2); Sergey Osipov - Flute (4, 8); Andrey Drozdov - Bass (4, 8); Nickolay Tonev - Lead Guitar (3); Victor Gerasimov - Keyboards (4)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/24/2011.........................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, Go to AZAZELLO HOME PAGE...
. THE INNER ROAD - "Visions"
The Inner Road are an instrumental Symphonic Progressive Rock duo from Reading (the U.K.). The band was formed by Steve Gresswell (keyboards, programming) and Phil Braithwaite (guitars) – also integrants of Prog band “Coalition” - to accommodate symphonic-styled music that both had written, but that they felt that did not fit into “Coalition‘s” style. Steve Gresswell started playing professionally at the age of 15 in “Justin Canns” (c. 1970). His other bands were “Gyppo”, “Scorpio”, “Scorpio II”, “Guardian Angel”, “The SG Band”, and currently “Coalition” and The Inner Road. Gresswell also briefly played keyboards for “After Dark”. Braithwaite has played guitar in several bands, including “The Phil Braithwaite Band”. “Phil Braithwaite Trio”, “Rhapsodaisical”, “NuRotic”, “El Mahico”, “Scarlet Moss”, “Natalie Smith-Phelps Quartet”, “The Silver Heels”, and “Coalition”. Although the core of The Inner Road is just formed by Gresswell and Braithwaite, they eventually bring other musicians in for studio and live works. The Inner Road’s debut album is the self-produced “Visions” (2011, Orbital Productions). The album contains 12 tracks, lasting almost 1:15 h altogether. The music is clean, polished, fluent, and smooth like silk and cotton. And totally instrumental, unless by sparse soaring female vocalizations, and rare Medieval choirs of male voices, which add a New-Age spice to the mixture. The mood is vibrant and high. The solo instruments are Gresswell‘s synthesizers, which are overabundant along the compositions; and Braithwaite‘s guitar – always played melodically, classically, with precise technique. The rhythmic section is simple though: a background consisting of competent bass lines and basic drumming (that may be programmed, since there are no bass and drums credits in the booklet). The band compensates that limitation by creating many gorgeous tunes for pianos, violins, flutes, and tenor saxophones that are disposed in multi-layered sheets, creating opulent, majestic, epic and romantic arrangements. The overall sonority and instrumentation are reminiscent of Symphonic Progressive acts such as “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Maestoso”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Sky”, “Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman”, “Kayak”, and “Yanni”; combined with Neo-Prog bands like “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “U.K.”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Erik Norlander”, and “Tésis Ársis”. Very nice and light are the tracks “Hidden Sea” (6:37) and “Life” (5:54), both presenting mellow symphonic themes that are covered by thick layers of synthesizers and guitar solos. The tracks “Day of the Sun” (6:32) and “Visions” (6:14), are reminiscent of the delicate instrumentation of “Camel” and “Genesis” (of post-Gabriel era). Wrapped up in Romantic arrangements, crystalline pianos, and eruptive synthesizers and guitars, the track “Eclipse” (6:27) recalls me of “Wakeman’s” “The Six Wives of Henry VlII”, because of the medieval-renaissance ornamentation; while the closing track “Beyond the Horizon” (6:28) follows a majestic cadence, recalling some pieces of “Maestoso” and “Sky”. But my favorite tracks are those that show a tendency to blend Progressive colors with New-Age and Soft-Jazzy tints, like the serene “Heaven” (7:24), which combines a cool tenor-sax solo with the soaring voice of a woman, and grows progressively more epic until ending with angelic voices singing in a peaceful sky; and the slow “Dreamcatcher” (8:44) with exotic sounds of flute that contrast with strong chords on organ and powerful guitar riffs. Also remarkable is the track “Morning Mist” (4:55), which joins pianos and violins, orchestral percussion, Middle Eastern melodies, and medieval deep chants that recall “Mandalaband”. Tending to the Prog-Folk, the Scottish-inspired “The Lowlands” (4:29) has ruffling drums and bagpipes alternating with unstoppable solos. The album still brings “Lost Man” (5:45), a sophisticated Pop-Rock driven by danceable ethno rhythms and female vocals; and the short “Night Light” (3:50) a Hard Neo-Prog with heavier guitar solos like “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, and “Arena”. ”Visions” is a well-produced debut album that brings solid music within and showcases excellent performances of the two talented core musicians. Highly recommended for fans of Symphonic and Neo-Progressive Rock, in special those who love “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Maestoso”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Sky”, “Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman”, “Kayak”; “Pendragon”, “U.K.”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Yanni”, “Erik Norlander”, “Tésis Ársis”, etc… Band members and collaborators involved in The Inner Road are: Steve Gresswell – Keyboards, Sound engineering; Phil Braithwaite – Guitars. Other musicians and singers were not cited...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/30/2011.......Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit THE INNER ROAD HOME PAGE...
. SLIVOVITZ - "Bani Ahead"
The Jazz-Fusion band Slivovitz was formed in September, 2001 by a group of musicians that were regularly jamming in the streets of Naples, Italy. The original line-up had Domenico Angarano (bass guitar), Stefano Costanzo (drums), Derek Di Perri (harmonica), Marcello Giannini (guitars), Pietro Santangelo (saxophone) and Riccardo Villari (violin). The name Slivovitz refers to a plum distillate that is enjoyed by all band members. Slivovitz released an eponymous debut album in 2005 under Milanese label Ethnoworld. A second album, titled “Hubris“, was released in September 2009 by MoonJune Records. Both records had participation of Ludovica Manzo (voice). Ever since, Slivovitz has been performing in Italy and playing around festivals in Hungary, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, and Austria. Slivovitz’s third album - "Bani Ahead" (2011, MoonJune Records) - was produced by the band and Leonardo Pavkovic. It was recorded by Daniele Chiariello at Zork Studio (Buccino, Salerno); mixed by Peppe de Angelis at Monopattino Studios (Sorrento, Naples); and mastered by Enzo Rizzo (Soulfingers Studios); all between March and May 2011. The current line-up features new drummer Salvatore Rainone and trumpeter Ciro Riccardi (replacing the voice of Ludovica). Slilovitz’s music congregates influences of Jazz, Fusion, and Avant-garde ("Joe Zawinul", "Jaco Pastorius", "Charlie Parker", "Miles Davis", "John Coltrane", "Tony Williams", "Bill Frisell", "Daniele Sepe", "Steve Reich", "Jon Hassell", "Avishai Cohen", "Marc Ducret", "Tim Berne", "Tortoise", "Isotope 217"); R.I.O. style ("Frank Zappa", "Henry Cow"); Blues & Rock ("Muddy Waters", "Robert Johnson", "Hendrix", "Rolling Stones", "Led Zeppelin", "Primus", the harmonica player "John Popper"); Funk & Soul ("James Brown", "Maceo Parker"); Electronic Music ("Amon Tobin", "Aphex Twin", "Squarepusher"); World & Ethnic Music from the Mediterranean, Balkans, and Gypsy folk (Hungarian band "Besh O Drom"); Africa ("Ali Farka Touré"), Jamaica ("Bob Marley"), and Brazil ("Antonio Carlos Jobim", "Caetano Veloso", "Jorge Ben"). "Bani Ahead" features 8 instrumental tracks, and represents one step farther in Slivovitz’s evolution, showcasing a mature and enthusiastic band that is reaching a peak of creativity. The band resembles a steam-machine in which all players interact with each other as well-interlocked gears. The fuel are the tunes brought in by Domenico, Marcello and Pietro, and that are worked collectively by the entire band, keeping Slivovitz’s musical boiling gauge always edging the danger zone. The compositions are agile, vibrant, fleeing, imaginative, cheerful, and frenzy, with unexpected counterpoints and breaks that might be either ingeniously planed or intuitively improvised. The abundant instrumental interplay is supported by a powerful, dynamic and effervescent rhythm section, resulting in opulent music that is rich in details, sounds and textures. Yet the musicians perform with amazing cohesiveness, being either on solos, duets, trios, or altogether. In that way, Slivovitz ranks with bands like "Henry Cow", "Frank Zappa", "Tortoise", "French TV", "Miriodor", "Hatfield and the North", "National Health", "King Crimson", and "Arti & Mestieri". The opening track "Egiziaca" (6:57) is like a collision of "Zappa" and "Henry Cow" over the Balkans, with highlights for the odd-metrics and the trumpet solo. "Cleopatra Through" (5:23) sounds like a caricatured bolero, driven by groovy bass lines and polyrhythmic drumming that give way to harmonica and violins solos – a final part with bass and saxophones recalls "Crimson". "Fat" (5:03) is floating, full of volatile violins and subtle guitar plucking – being as soft as a nocturne of Chopin, counterbalanced by a cheerful harmonica. The amazing "Vascello" (6:05) has a tropical Brazilian temper intercalated with heavier parts like "Primus". "02-09" (5:37) is influenced by the Avant-garde experiments of "Marc Ducret" and "Tim Berne" – beginning serene with violins, but turning into a tempestuous piece with strong guitar riffs, powerful bass and drums, and elephantine saxophones – with all band going mad. "Opus Focus" (3:51) is an experimental chamber-piece that combines celestial saxophones and trumpets with cosmic sounds, like a meeting of "Henry Cow" with "Stravinsky", "Hovhaness", "Vasks", or "Elgar". "Bani Ahead" (5:20) has a central guitar riff build on a typical "6+5 Slivovitz" pattern, and a cheerful hybridization of Caribbean and folk Mediterranean rhythms, ending with incongruent bass and saxophones in "R.I.O." style. The closing track "Pocho" (5:51) has clapping hands, "Bossa-Nova" acoustic guitars, warm saxophone, and collective improvisations of all band members. Slivovitz’s new album is quite a brilliant musical piece that shines with its own colors and tones, being indispensable for fans of "Frank Zappa", "King Crimson", "Henry Cow", "Hatfield and the North", "French TV", "Miriodor", "National Health", "Tortoise", Jazz-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and R.I.O. bands, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Slivovitz are: Domenico Angarano – Bass Guitar; Derek di Perri – Harmonica; Marcello Giannini – Guitar; Salvatore Rainone – Drums; Ciro Riccardi – Trumpet; Pietro Santangelo – Tenor and Soprano Sax; Riccardo Villari – Violin. Former members and collaborators: Stefano Costanzo – Drums (on "Egiziaca"); Ludovica Manzo – Voice...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/29/2011..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SLIVOVITZ HOME PAGE...
. MORAINE - "Metamorphic Rock – Live at NEARfest 2010"
The Seattle-based Progressive-Experimental band Moraine is back to this webzine (see under “Reviews 2009”). Moraine was formed in 2005 under the leadership of veteran guitar player Dennis Rea. The present line-up counts with Alicia DeJoie (formerly Alicia Allen, violin), her husband Jim DeJoie (flute, saxophones); Kevin Millard (bass) and Stephen Cavit (drums). All members are experienced musicians, with successful carriers in the fields of Jazz, Experimental and Avant-garde Music. Moraine‘s debut album “Manifest Density” (2009, Moonjune Records) featured a singular and creative blend of Modern Jazz-Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Experimental, R.I.O., Hurdy-Gurdy music and Chinese folk music that was mainly influenced by “Univers Zéro”; “King Crimson”; “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “John Abercrombie”, “Frank Zappa”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Dr. Nerve”, “Art Zoyd”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Henry Cow” and “Oregon”. Moraine’s second album is dubbed “Metamorphic Rock – Live at NEARfest 2010” (Moonjune Records, 2011). “Metamorphic Rock” is a Prog-Jazz-Fusion tour-de-force that showcases a mature band, on which all members perform in perfect integration and harmony with each other. Moraine without Ruth Davidson‘s cello sounds less like a classical chamber-quintet and irradiates more igneous heat from the saxophones of Jim DeJoie. As Rea takes the lead with his precise solos, he also prepares the hooks for Alicia to play her violin with still more skill and spirit. The listener will often listen to precise sax-violin-guitar interplay, amazing bass harmonization and swing, and explosive and solid, yet refined, drumming, with the same complexity, quality, innovation and sensibility of many iconic Jazz-Rock acts (“Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”). Their inventiveness is also to match some R.I.O. and Canterbury Progressive luminaries, like “Zappa”, “Univers Zéro”, “Hatfield and the North”, “King Crimson”, with the extra Avant-garde proposal of melding Chinese music with Jazz and Progressive. Along the show, Moraine performs 7 of the best tracks of their debut album, intercalated with 5 brand new musical pieces. “Irreducible Complexity” (3:39) opens the show congregating exotic tunes and ethnic drumming with serenity. The same sensibility will appear again on the melancholic sax, weary violin, and slice-cutting guitar solo of “Blues for a Bruised Planet” (4:35). A great new piece is the mysterious and seductive “Disoriental Suite: a) Bagua (Naxi traditional) b) Kan Hai De Re Zi c) Views from Chicheng Precipice” (11:46), driven by traditional Chinese melodies, Asian percussion and clean guitar. The three soloists reunite at the end, with highlights for the great performance of Alicia on a “round”-to-the-ears violin solo. In contrast, the lava-spilling “The Okanogan Lobe” (7:36) and the explosive “Waylaid” (5:31) are impregnated with the force of new bands of the R.I.O. movement (“Dr. Nerve”, “The Wrong Object”), both including intense sax-violin-guitar interplay and powerful bass & drums section amid swinging and precise improvisations. The energy instilled into the new compositions is infectious, spreading to the old ones, which are improved to sound still better. The new saxophone arrangements replace brilliantly the original cello, like on “Manifest Density” (3:45) – a jazz-rock performed with the strength and stamina of “Mahavishnu”. “Save the Yuppie Breeding Grounds” (4:02) also sounds stronger than the original – with heavier guitar, pounding tribal drumming, and the enigmatic tunes transported to the guitars, saxophones, and soaring violin. A long meddle comprises “Disillusioned Avatar/Dub Interlude/Ephebus Amoebus” (10:25). The first retains the original minimalism, but with a softer tone led by the violins. A bass & drums improvisional interlude introduces the stormy “Ephebus…” that has the same sophistication of a piece of either “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, or “Mahavishnu”. Two of my favorite tracks of the first album - “Kuru” (4:31) and “Uncle Tang's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (3:44) - are shorter and heavier then the original versions. “Kuru“ retains the bass swing, but is filled with “earthquake” drumming and proficient saxophone-violin interplay. “Uncle Tang’s…” includes insane saxophones embedded into its hectic frame, being immersed in a creepy atmosphere. The impressive jazz-rock piece “Middlebräu” (9:09) closes the album with groovy bass, drum solo, and amazing instrumental interplay. An extended guitar solo precedes the final deserved applauses. Another great release of MoonJune this year, Moraine‘s live album captures a snapshot of an impressive band in fast evolution, being indispensable for Progressive, Jazz-Fusion, Canterbury, and R.I.O. fans, specially those who love “Univers Zéro”, “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Zappa”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Dr. Nerve”, “Art Zoyd”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Terje Rypdal”, “The Wrong Object”, “Miriodor” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Moraine are: Dennis Rea – Guitar, Alicia DeJoie – Violin; Jim DeJoie – Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Percussion; Kevin Millard – NS/Stick (8-string extended-range Bass); Stephen Cavit – Drums and Percussion. Past members: Ruth Davidson – Cello; Jay Jaskot – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/29/2011................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MORAINE HOME PAGE...
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