.......................................A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEATURED ARTIST AND CD REVIEWS - 2012
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - Logo
LAST UPDATE 12/11/2012..
. VERBAL DELIRIUM - "So Close and Yet So Far Away"
Story of Verbal Delirium begins back in the summer of 1999 when keyboard player and vocalist Jargon (John Kosmidis) went to form a band along with bass player Nik Michailidis. Though starting with an obvious commitment to the progressive rock and psychedelic sound of the 60’s n’ 70’s, the band came soon to realize that the addition of more modern elements was something more than a necessity. However, the presence of numerous changes in the lineup delayed the band’s plan for an album. After trying many different people, things finally seamed to fit at 2005 with guitarist Giorgos Maniatis and drummer Lazaros Papanastasiou. Conclusion of this effort was the recording and distribution of a demo album under the title of “The imprisoned words of fear” witch took place in 2007. At that time the album still reflected the band’s admiration for the progressive and psychedelic sound of the 70’s with big arrangements and complex chord progressions. After that, the band moved on to a more alternative rock style, though still preserving much of the progressive elements. Another change in the lineup went on, introducing Nikitas Kissonas on guitars and drummer Tolis Liapis. As a result, first official album entitled “So Close And Yet So Far Away” was introduced. Now the band is in the process of extending its horizons, experimenting with new forms of arrangement, seeing the music as a hole and not as distinctive genres. Till now the “So Close...” album has met an overall cordial correspondence by the critics and this has played a major role in the band's eagerness to continue its effort. The greece has never been a reference in the style of progressive rock, few bands and musicians were, or, still are well remembered on the world stage, as an example we can mention "Aphrodite’s Child", "P.L.J. Band", "Apocalypsis", "La Tulipe Noire", "Vasilis Papakonstantinou", "Demis Rousos" and "Vangelis". Around the 90's, new bands have emerged, but with a greater focus on the heavier musical style, where It was dominated by some Heavy Metal bands and Epic Metal groups. At this periodo, for the first time in Greek rock history, names like "Diafana Krina", "Endelekheia", "The Flowers Of Romance", "Nama", "Pyx Lax", "Katsimihas Brothers", become famous there, so, thousands of fans cheered these groups, at this time Greece become a great place, musically. Then, today, at this time, I´d like to introduce you a new musical generation, Verbal Delirium, a new group formed by three young and experienced musicians. Really, the band's themes are more diverse, which seems that the musicians got many influences from old Progressive Rock bands, but adding some hints of Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Art-Rock and a smooth smells of Progressive Metal with epic textures, as a reference, or rather the musical style of Verbal Delirium may be divided between Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Classic Rock and Art-Rock. The three founders of the band, together with guest musicians, know how to create incredible arrangements on the compositions, this means that the musicians has full control of each instrument, the arrangements and instrumental performances among guitar's solos, keyboards, bass and drums are very well interlocking and the vocals are very consistent. "So Close and Yet So Far Away" is their first album, also is the gateway to this amazing group in the progressive world scenario. Every one of the songs on this album will certainly have something you like, no matter what musical style you prefer, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Art-Rock or Hard Rock, all tracks follows with a very smooth melody brilliantly played and produced, but blending hard elements, driven by well played guitars, keyboards, bass guitar, adding a beautiful vocal harmony, in fact, the music contained on this album delivers a variety of genres and styles, that is, unquestionably exciting completely different and absolutely unforgettable. "So Close and Yet So Far Away" album was recorded between January and March 2009, mixed by Leonidas Petropoulus & Jargon, mastered at MI studio Leonidas Petropoulus. Words & Music by Jargon. Arranged by Jargon/ Kissomas/ Michailidis, except "So Close and Yet So Far Away" & "The Scene Remains" arranged by Jargon/ Kissonas/ Michailidis/T herios and "Ervelet", "They", "Reprise" arranged by Jargon. Management - Christine Maragou. All songs have a consistent instrumental,  which are even impressive well crafted and diverse in tempo and structure, however I have a special and particular to the songs "So Close and Yet So Far Away", "Lullaby" and "The Scene Remains" this last one is the best song on the album. If you like bands such as "Spock's Beard", "IQ", "Genesis", "Marillion", "Pink Floyd", "Camel", "Porcupine Tree", of course you will like Verbal Delirium. The main musicians on Verbal Delirium are: Jargon - Keyboards, Piano,Lead and Backing Vocals, Nikitas Kissonas - Guitars, Nik Michailidis - Bass. Guest Musicians: Elsa Papeli - Cello on "They" & "Erased" and Tolis Liapis - Drums. Musicians on stage: Anastasis Chamilakis - Piano and Keyboards and Grigoris Pavlakos - Drums. Also you must visit Verbal Delirium's MySpace Site. Brilliant, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
01/29/2012.....Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit VERBAL DELIRIUM HOME PAGE...
. TRIP WAVE - "A Retrospective Collection of Russian Psychedelic Progressive Music"
Trip Wave is a compilation of Russian Psychedelic and Progressive music that was released by independent label Trail Records (2011). The record offers a good panorama of Russian Music in the genres of Psychedelic, Progressive, Folk, New-Wave, Trip-Hop, Alternative Rock, and Avant-garde, which, in spite of its long history, was still unknown to the Western audiences. Trip Wave includes 11 compositions (many previously unreleased) that were recorded over a 20-year period by 11 different bands from different regions of Russia (total time: 79:40). The tracks were selected according to the criteria of musical originality, and arranged on the CD in chronological order to make it easy to the listener to grasp the development of those musical genres in Russia; becoming a valuable source for the worldwide fans of unconventional music. The album begins in 1989, with the opening track “Celt” (by “Eastern Syndrome”) - a psychedelic tour-de-force driven by hypnotic bass, dissonant guitars, lysergic tenor-saxophones, and idiosyncratic vocals that have much in common with seminal “Hawkwind”. The following tracks cover a turbulent historical period, when the former Soviet Union dissolved into the independent Republics: “Moon Dream” (1990, by “The Moon Pierrot”) is a New-Wave very reminiscent of “DEVO” and “Japan”, including blasé vocals; while “To Rake Your Fingers Through The Grass” (1992, by “Do Major”, the former band of guitarist Andrei Suchilin) is a sophisticated piece featuring original vocals and progressive soaring guitars opposed to a ahead-of-the-time bass & drums rhythmic section, with influences of “Sigur Rós”. The decade of the 90’s is closed by the track “Dream #5:Love” (1999, by “Decadance”) - one of my favorites – which is driven by supplicant female vocals, gothic keyboards, and Heavy-Metal styled guitar solo, reminding me of “Massive Attack” and Polish band “Artrosis”. The remaining 7 tracks cover a recent period of time, from 2004 to 2010 – and show the greatest changes regarding the musical evolution of Russian Psychedelic Movement, now matured and widened also to include Ethno-Folk, Trip-Hop, Avant-garde, and Post-Rock elements. The exception is the instrumental “Solaris” (2004, by “Disen Gage”) – a retro-Psychedelic-Space-Rock wrapped in cosmic sounds and vintage keyboards, specially tailored for fans of early “Pink Floyd“ and Kraut-Rock bands like “Can”, “Faust”, and “Ash Ra Tempel”. Mixing Folk, Trip-Hop and Avant-garde, the song “Interlude” (2004, by one of Russia’s pioneering bands: “Rada & Ternovnik” a.k.a. ”Rada & Blackthorns”) combines psychedelic bass and acid-jazz guitars with substantial ethnical percussion – forming the background for the amazing female ethno-singer Rada to perform her ritualistic and mesmerizing vocals. Track 8 - “Happy End Is Inevitable” (2006) – is another favorite, and counts as another example of that Folk-Psychedelic trend. Performed by the remarkable Russian-Armenian band “Deti Picasso“ (a.k.a. “Picassos's Children”), this strong song combines somber psychedelic moods, heavy  guitars and mysterious ethnic percussion under the leadership of expressive female singer Gaya Harutyunyan – being recommendable for fans of “The Gathering” and “Porcupine Tree”. Strongly contrasting with those two tracks, “Soda” (2006, by “KRTL”) is a vertiginous instrumental Techno-Trance that reflects the technological rush of our modern lives. An other song that captured my attention was “Inna Burst Into Tears” (2007, by “Vespero”, another exponent of Russian music, very influenced by bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Amon Düül II”, “Can”, “Faust”, “Agitation Free”, “Gong”, and “Soft Machine”). It is a Trip-Hop with Space sounds marked by strong guitars and agile bass and drums, all driven by soaring female vocals (recalling me of “Anneke van Giersbergen”). The last two tracks of the record are contributions of two bands that have recently appeared in the Russian musical scene, and point out for the future in two possible, yet opposite directions. Will the new trends of Psychedelic music develop toward the Jazzy sophistication of “Entrance To Invisibility” (2009, by “Kafedra”), in a cosmic convergence of floating keyboards, clean guitars, and sensual female vocals? Or will the bands dig deeper into the past to drink from the dualism generated between ethnical primitiveness and futuristic experimentalism, as did “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson” and “Amon Düül”, and is now also doing the inventive band “Liompa” on their track “Thee” (2010)? The future will tell. Trip Wave is an excellent compilation; a bold release by Trail Records that unveils a growing musical scene in Russia by introducing the listener to many creative and original bands and instigating him or her to learn more about them. Highly recommended for fans of Psychedelic Music and music researchers.  Trip Wave “A Retrospective Collection of Russian Psychedelic Progressive Music” was mastered and edited by George Dugan (I-Heights Studio, New York); with Trail Records production and design by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky. The song lyrics were translated from the Russian by Alexis Rodimsev  “Liverpoolets”. Bands and songs featured on Trip Wave are: 1. Eastern SyndromeCelt”, 10:22, 1989, previously unreleased, remixed in 2010); 2. The Moon PierrotMoon Dream”, 5:09, 1990, released previously only on vinyl); 3. Do MajorTo Rake Your Fingers Through The Grass”, 7:08, 1992, Anima Vox); 4. DecadanceDream #5:Love”, 4:54, 1999, Musea); 5. Disen GageSolaris”, 5:26, 2004, R.A.I.G.); 6. Rada & Ternovnik (Rada & Blackthorns)Interlude”, 7:05, 2004, RADA); 7. KRTLSoda”, 5:23, 2006, unreleased edited version); 8. Deti Picasso (Picassos's Children) (“Happy End Is Inevitable”, 8:24, 2006, edited version); 9. VesperoInna Burst Into Tears”, 8:01, 2007, R.A.I.G.); 10. KafedraEntrance To Invisibility”, 9:21, 2009, previously unreleased); 11. LiompaThee”, 8:27, 2010, previously unreleased)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2012............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TRIP WAVE HOME PAGE...
. BY BLOOD ALONE - "Thunderbirds"
By Blood Alone is a Gothic-Metal band from Portland, the Maine (U.S.A.). The line-up consists of Cruella (vocals), John Graveside (guitars), Jack Doran (bass), Jen Williamson (keys), and Runtt (drums). Band members gathered together in 2004 with the aim of forging their own sonority and identity within the Progressive and Gothic Metal circle. The band released two independent records – the EP “Eternally” (2005) and the full-length “Seas of Blood” (2007) – that were included in Portland’s arts weekly “The Phoenix” in their year-end Top-10 list. The band has been nominated for two “Portland Music Awards” in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, with wins in 2009. They also made live performances, supporting “Joey Belladonna” (“Anthrax”), “Michale Graves” (“Misfits”), “Seven Witches”, “Goatwhore”, and “Ocean”. After a long hiatus, By Blood Alone returns with the release of “Thunderbirds” (2011, Jericho Hill Records; distributed by Relapse Records). The album comes after a long battle of singer Cruella against breast cancer, a personal experience that she transported to the lyrics. In terms of sound, By Blood Alone practice what they preach: complex and original songwriting that try to avoid stylistic clichés. Their songs are long (some lasting 10 minutes), and have so many internal changes that it is difficult to restrict the band to a particular style. They frequent cross the borders that confine Metal subtypes such as Doom, Gothic, Epic, Prog, Power, Folk and Traditional. The highlights go for the dramatic performance of Cruella and the eclectic guitar work of John Graveside. Meanwhile, keyboardist Jenny Williamson provides a symphonic background by adding pianos, church organs, and violins to the music creating somber atmospheres that oscillate from the gothic-romantic to the melancholic. The rhythm section formed by bassist Jack Doran and drummer Runtt keeps the Metal energy flowing, going from the slow and heavy cadences of Gothic-Doom to the faster beats of Power-Metal and NWOBHM styles. The mixture makes the songs to sound with distinctiveness, at the same time retaining some stylistic cohesiveness. Hence, By Blood Alone occupy their own niche in parallel to other “Female-Fronted Metal” bands, such as “Nightwish”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Syrens Call”, “Xandria”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Leaves’ Eyes“, “Flowing Tears”, “Elis”, “Nemesea”, “Doro”, “Chastain”, “Rain Fell Within”, “Legend”, “Aesma Daeva”, “Evanescence”, “Amartia”, and “Within Temptation”. The album “Thunderbirds” contains 7 songs. The fast-paced opening track “Drive All Night“ (9:06) brings to mind the Power-Metal bands “Forgotten Tales” and “Syrens Call”, including epic keyboards, high-spirited vocals and melodic guitar solo. A break for insertion of pianos and violins changes the mode to a Symphonic part, recalling “Evanescence” and “Nightwish”. Also the title track “Thunderbirds“ (10:03) brings a violent storm full of Power and Thrash-Metal drumming and powerful “Chastain”-like guitar-riffs, unless by the middle part that slows down to a mournful Gothic-Doom, driven by the whispering voice of Cruella, who chants a funeral tune (recalling me of band “Rain Fell Within”). The songs “Night Terrors“ (6:55) and “Stalking“ (7:00) combine the Gothic-Metal impact with the energetic “rocky” beats of Metal, recalling “Nightwish”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, “Visions of Atlantis” and “Doro”. “Night Terrors“ has church organs on the background, amazing gothic-romantic duel of pianos and vocals, and a middle part with Doom-Metal guitar riffs. The last vocal part is followed by Spanish guitars, adding a Dark-Progressive tint to the song. “Stalking“ has accelerated Folk-Metal parts driven by Celtic violins, recalling bands “Skyclad” and “Leaves’ Eyes”. In between, “Having Tea“ (5:25) is a singular track that features a surprising blend of Prog, Jazz, and Gothic elements, tribal drumming, bass solo and ritualistic vocals (almost paralleling Dark-Progressive and Zeuhl bands). The remaining two tracks - “I Bleed“ (10:05) and “Misfit“ (7:48) – begin with slow Gothic-Doom cadences, have Epic and Folk Metal parts, and accelerate by the end to faster cadences in NWOBHM-style. “I Bleed“ has epic war-marching guitars (that recall me of “Chastain”) and symphonic keyboards supporting Cruella’s voice, which is loaded with sadness. “Misfit“ closes the album, beginning with a remarkable guitar riff followed by minimalist pianos – Cruella’s soulful vocals are firstly melancholic and helplessly, but later become vivid and full of hope, turning the song into an epic victorious hymn. Although still needing better record production to fully develop their musical potential, By Blood Alone is highly recommended for fans of “Nightwish”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Syrens Call”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Leaves’ Eyes“, “Flowing Tears”, “Doro”, “Nemesea”, “Rain Fell Within”, “Legend”, “Aesma Daeva”, “Evanescence”, “Amartia”, “Chastain”, “Within Temptation”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in By Blood Alone are: Cruella –Vocals; John Graveside – Guitars; Jack Doran – Bass; Jenny Williamson – Keys; Runtt – Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2012......Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit BY BLOOD ALONE HOME PAGE...
. MACHINE MASS TRIO - "As Real As Thinking"
The Machine Mass Trio was formed by Anthony 'Tony' Bianco (drums, loops, percussion) and the Belgian musicians Michel Delville (electric guitar, synth guitar, bouzouki, electronica) and Jordi Grognard (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, bansuri, electronic tempura, and assorted wind instruments). This new trio originated as a side-project of Doubt; a project that Bianco and Delville shared with keyboardist Alex Maguire (see under “Reviews 2010”). Tony Bianco was born in New York City and has played and recorded with many influential Jazz musicians (“Dave Liebman”, “Evan Parker”, “Paul Dunmall”, “Elton Dean”, “Alex von Schlippenbach”, “Simon Picard”, “Reggie Workman”, “Keith Tippett”, “Luther Thomas”, “Jay Oliver”). Michel Delville: was born in Liege, Belgium. He has been performing and composing alternative music since the mid-1980s. His most recent projects include the Jazz-Rock quintet “The Wrong Object” (since 2003); the Belgian-Swiss punk-jazz combo “TZGIV”,  the Belgian-Dutch rock quintet “The Moving Tones”, the “Alex Maguire Sextet”, and “Comicoperando” (a tribute project to “Robert Wyatt”; featuring “Henry Cow” members “Chris Cutler” and “Dagmar Krause”). Delville's guitar playing is influenced by “Bill Frisell”, “Phil Miller”, “David Torn”, “Robert Fripp”, “Zappa”, “Allan Holdsworth”, and “Terje Rypdal”. Other influences are “Stravinsky”, “Trane”, “Mingus”, “Threadgill”, “Pärt”, “Squarepusher”; the Canterbury Scene bands “The Soft Machine”, and “Hatfield and the North”; and the R.I.O. acts “Univers Zéro” and “Henry Cow”. Jordi Grognard has studied at the Flemish Conservatory in Brussels, and became an expert in wind instruments, including a variety of Western and Eastern woodwinds. He has performed with many Jazz ensembles in Belgium (“Moker”, “The Friendly Dogs”, the “Nicola Lancerotti Quartet”), and is a versatile musician, also playing Rock, Electronica, and World Music. The Machine Mass Trio’s debut is “As Real as Thinking” (2011, MoonJune Records). The album was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs in 2010 by Sacha Symon (Dans Ma Cabane Studios, Liege), mixed and mastered in 2011 by David Minjauw (Studio Simonne, Brussels), and produced by Mass Machine Trio and Leonardo Pavkovic. The sonority of the Machine Mass Trio combines influences of Canterbury Style, R.I.O., Jazz-Rock, Modern Jazz and Middle Eastern Music. The compositions are all instrumental, being most of the time structured along lines of jazzy drums, unusual guitar and synth-guitar chords, and saxophone-driven tunes. Free improvisation is frequent, as the three musicians work in unison, mentally anticipating the musical themes and phrases of each other. As in a collage, they progressively combine, permute and adjust their tunes and solos in a constructivist way, making them fit perfectly together, so that each composition sounds with uniqueness. The mood varies from cool, soft and jazzy to groovy and explosive, as the music may either get immersed in mysterious atmospheres, or reflect stormy moments of cerebral complexity. “As Real as Thinking” contains 8 tracks. For lovers of the smoothness and elegance of “Soft Machine” and “Terje Rypdal”, tracks “Cuckoo” (9:26), “Knowledge” (6:11), and “Hero” (10:16) – combine the jazzy drumming that grows gradually in complexity with random chords, sensual melodies, and saxophone solos that recall “Soft Machine” (pre-“Bundles”-era) – all joining forces with guitar free-improvisation. My favorites, however, are the fast-paced tracks that irradiate energy, fusing Jazz-Rock and Progressive as a mix of “Colosseum”, “King Crimson” and “Zappa”. These are “Let Go” (4:56) – a powerful Jazz-Rock with massive attack of Hard-Rock guitars, thunderous drumming and sharp-cutting crazy “elephantine” saxophone solo – crowned with distorted guitar solo at the end; and “UFO-RA” (6:46) – a hybrid piece that melds traditional jazzy drums and bass and “whirling”-saxophone with strange progressive “flying-saucer” cosmic sounds. In turn, the serene tracks “Khajuaro” (5:23) and “Palitana Mood” (3:06) appeal to the mystery that comes from the Middle East, employing Arabian traditional instruments and percussion accompanied by soft flutes. Tending to the experimentalism of “Henry Cow”, the gigantic “Falling Up” (18:03) begins chaotically - with random sounds and cosmic noises, growing violently to include distorted guitar riffs and solos – to finally gain a logical structure amidst a fierce duel between Bianco and Delville. Featuring solid work and consistent instrumental interplay by great musicians that have a natural skill for improvisation, the Machine Mass Trio is highly recommendable for fans of “Soft Machine”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Henry Cow”, “Zappa”, “Colosseum”, “Terje Rypdal”, and other bands of the Canterbury, R.I.O. and experimental Jazz-Rock circles.  Band members involved in Machine Mass Trio are: Anthony 'Tony' Bianco – Drums, Loops, Percussion; Michel Delville – Electric Guitar, Synth Guitar, Bouzouki, Electronica; Jordi Grognard – Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Bansuri, Electronic Tempura...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/29/2012...................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MACHINE MASS TRIO HOME PAGE...
. SYNE - "Boundaries of Hope"
The Syne project started in 2010 from the mind of Fabio Marchisio with the idea of combining many musical influences in an organic way to create different moods and feelings. From this concept comes the name Syne, short for Synesthesia, perception phenomenon that combines multiple sensory stimuli into one, creating different "sensory contaminations". The peculiarity of the band is to use open tunings tuned to 432Hz instead of 440Hz standard. This choice stems from the fact that the pitch to 432Hz allows the songs and instruments to have a wider and greater amount of harmonics, compared with standard intonation. In the spring of 2010 they released a self-produced EP. In October 2011 they won the musical contest "Rock Festival Cuorgnè" in Italy, resulting the winners for both the technical jury and for the popular one. Currently the band consists of four musicians with different musical backgrounds, some with international experience recording and touring ("Ian Anderson", "Martin Barre", "Barriemore Barlow" from "Jethro Tull", "Marco Minnemann", "Ephel Duath", "David Jackson" from "Van Der Graaf Generator" and others), and in January 2012 they released their debut album "Boundaries Of Hope" present on the major digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon and others. Since the first time, when I listened Syne's debut album, I'm increasingly convinced that Italy is, and will be always one of the birthplace of great and amazing Progressive Rock Bands from all times, which ensure that, the progressive rock scene will never die easily. Syne is a band with a basic instrumental configuration but with a potential to becoming a name that will be remembered pleasurably around progressive rock scenary, formed by four spectacular musicians and led by Fabio Marchisio, which I consider a magician of the guitar solos, who dominate all the compositions, his instrumental prowess is demonstrated by remarkable ability to blend styles such as Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, Art Rock, Heavy Metal adding hints of Melodic Classic Rock. Another very strong point on the band is the singer Eric Concas (singing in English), vocally he is influenced by the Hard Rock and also by Heavy Metal school, but ie, without an excessive aggressiveness on his vocals, normally found at many heavy metal bands, his vocals' tone fits perfectly with the music, sometimes using a melodic touch. Of course the drums by Sergio Ponti has a strong affect on the compositions and also a powerful driving force on the musical arrangements, together with the bass player by Fulvio Bosio, who complements with a grandiose attendance into all musical arrangements. "Boundaries of Hope" is the name of the band's album, which is brimming with wonderful and mature Progressive Rock, divided into ten tracks, totalizing almost 45 min from a natural, intelligent & passionate music manner. All songs and lyrics written by Fabio Marchisio, Self-Recorded and Self-Produced, except vocals recorded as Rock Lab Studios Turin, Italy. The album start with "Room 432", an introduction to the second song named "So What", potentially formed by some strong guitars solos and powered vocals in the style of Heavy Metal, the same applies to the track "Brand New Breathe", but with some hints of Hard Rock, "Hurting Words" is a fantastic song, one of my favorites on the album, full of guitars solos adorned by hard rock vocals, followed by "Another Day", another fantastic track, a beautiful melodic hard rock song, nice vocals and drived by  symphonic instrumental. "Sleepless" is another masterpiece on the album and fatally the second song on my preferences. "No Use In Wonders" this song follows in the fields of progressive rock style, another fantastic song. "Slow Me Down" is very melodic, the musical bases consist around melodic vocals with a sweet instrumental, "No More Clouds" and "Boundaries Of Hope" close the album like a "Gran Finally", both describe perfectly the musical trends of the musicians on the band and may be the main influences for next album. As references, there are some musical evidences of their influences, where as you can hear touchs of "Porcupine Tree", "Whitesnake", "Led Zeppelin", "Deep Purple", "RPWL", "IQ", "Marillion", "Vangough", "Blind Ego" passages in some arrangements. Syne has everything exactly what people want to hear from this kind of band, I'm sure it will please all enthusiasts of styles such as progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal and art rock, who likes dynamic and bombastic music with lots of strong vocals, perfect bass, marcant drums and amazing guitar solos.  The main musicians on Syne are: Eric Concas - Vocals, Fabio "FaZ" Marchisio - Guitars, Programing and Backing Vocals, Fulvio Bosio - Bass and Sergio Ponti - Drums. Also you must visit Syne's MySpace Site...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
02/15/2012..................For more information about the musicians and their history, you must visit SYNE HOME PAGE...
. ADRIAN WEISS - "Big Time"
Adrian Weiss was born in Germany in 1976, and began to play guitar at the age of 15. From 1996 to 2002 he was a member of band "Thought Sphere", and recorded four albums with them. Since the end of 2000 he has been playing with the Progressive Metal band "Forces At Work"; appearing on their releases "Coldheart Canyon" (EP 2003); "Forcilized" (EP 2004), and “Reverse Feng-Shui Audio Guide“ (CD 2006). Weiss had made a guest appearance on the solo CD of Victor Smolski (of “Rage”), “Majesty & Passion” (2004); and since 2009 he also performs at various Guitar-focused events and Conventions. In 2007 Adrian Weiss began to record his first solo album with songs that he had been writing since 1999. Released in 2011, the album is titled “Big Time”, and contains 11 instrumentals tracks. The record has participation of many guest musicians, such as Victor Smolski (“Rage”), Joachim Kremer and Björn Sondermann (“Assassin”), Demian Heuke (who co-wrote a few tracks) and Lars Zehner (“N-Jected”, “Mercury Arc”); Jan Ristau (“Thought Sphere”); Sabir Salkic, Mischa Blum and Marcel Willnat (“Forces at Work”); and others (see list below). The production was completed in March of 2011 and was engineered by drummer Björn Sondermann in his studio in Duesseldorf. “Big Time” is a precious iten that cannot be overlooked by guitar fans. Adrian Weiss is an experienced player and talented composer, ranking in musicianship, technique and style with guitarists such as “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Steve Vai”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Steve Stevens”, “Tonny MacAlpine”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla“, “Marc Bonilla“, “Todd Grubbs”, “Glen Drover”, and “Jarle Olsen”, having minor influences of “Jeff Beck”, “Gary Moore”, “Al Di Meola”, and “Yngwie Malmsteen”. His music is impregnated with melody, sensibility, and energy, blending doses of Rock, Classical, Jazz, Fusion and Metal with perfection. Bass, drums, and acoustic guitars have equal importance on his work, reaching a precise balance with the electric guitars, and resulting in a tasty brew of textures, styles and insightful harmonies. The compositions also recall the work of bands and projects like “Cacophony”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “CAB”, “California Guitar Trio”, “MGM”, “Niacin”, and “Bozzio Levin Stevens”. The opening track, “Summer Drive“ (3:53), has a melodious beginning that recalls me of “Henderson” and “Vinnie Moore”, and get heavier later, recalling the duo “Jason Becker” and “Marty Friedman” (“Cacophony”). The Fusion tracks “Easy on the Ice“ (3:23) - driven by a funky swing and clean jazzy guitars – and “Estimated Time of Arrival“ (3:30) are comparable to sophisticated works of “Greg Howe”, “Henderson”, “Vai”, “Skolnick”, and “MacAlpine”. Counting as the very best of the album, “Tough Luck“ (6:26) has a beautiful bluesy guitar on the first cut, changing for a Fusion driven by demolition bass and drums, followed by a sequence of igneous guitar solos performed by 4 soloists (Weiss, Praest, Smolski, and Dring); while “Egyptian Inscription“ (4:23) is an Oriental Fusion Metal reminiscent of “Becker” and “Vinnie Moore”. Other highlights go for a bunch of tracks that blend both acoustic and electric guitars with originality and good-taste: the extraordinary “Desert Sanctuary“ (5:23) (with classical acoustic guitars opposed to electrified solos, reminiscent of a mix of “Marc Bonilla” and “Al Di Meola”); the ballad “Disappear“ (4:16) (with sensible solo); and the superb “Bright Awakening“ (5:03). The last one features ultra-fast scales that prepare the listener for the following “Morning Run” (2:32) – a pulsing Neo-Classical Metal piece that will please fans of “Malmsteen”, “Becker”, “Friedman”, “Vinnie Moore”, and “Tafolla”. For listeners with a preference for Progressive Metal, the powerful “Liquid Pension Embellishment“ (4:09) brings blasting Space-Fusion bass and fast odd-metric drumming, in an obvious reference to the sonority of “Liquid Tension Experiment”; while the heaviest track “The Progressive Society“ (3:48) closes the album with punching Thrash-Metal guitar riffs, insane distorted solos, and explosive drumming, recalling “Cacophony”. Member of a new generation of excellent guitar players that focus on both composition and technique, Adrian Weiss is ultra-highly recommended for fans of “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Steve Vai”, “Scott Henderson”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Steve Stevens”, “Tonny MacAlpine”, “Greg Howe”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla“, “Marc Bonilla“, “Todd Grubbs”, “Al Di Meola”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Glen Drover”, and “Jarle Olsen”.  Band members and collaborators involved in Adrian Weiss are: Adrian Weiss – Guitars; Guest Guitarists: Demian Heuke (Acoustic, Rhythm and Solo - tracks 1, 5, 8, 10); Thorsten Praest (track 3) Victor Smolski (track 3), Daniel Dring (track 3); Mischa Blum (track 11). Bassists: Jan Ristau (tracks 1, 8); Goran Vujic (tracks 2, 6, 7); Joachim Kremer (track 3 ); Marcel Willnat (tracks 4, 9, 11); Michael Schröder (track 5); “Mf-C” (Fretless Bass, track 10). Drummers: Lars Zehner (tracks 1, 5, 8); Björn “Burn” Sondermann (tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9); Sabir Salkic (track 11)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/15/2012..............Want to learn everything about the musician and his history, go to ADRIAN WEISS HOME PAGE...
. FURYU - "Cio’ Che L’Anima Non Dice"
The Furyu Metal project was born in Bologna (Italy) in 2000, founded by Michele Zappoli (bass) and Matteo Migliori (guitar, vocals). The word Furyu means “elegant” in modern Japanese, and was employed in Japanese Poetry during the late Heian period (795-1185) to refer to life under an aristocratic and nostalgic point of view, meaning literally “flowing wind and water”. Soon the guitar players Giulio Capitelli and Federico Melandri joined in, and Furyu began to record demos and play alive around Bologna. After several line-up changes, the project solidified in mid-2009 when remaining members Zappoli, Capitelli and Melandri, joined forces with drummer Riccardo Grechi (“Lacerater”, “Cruel Face of Life”) and sampler Damiano Storelli (“Dim Arcana”). They started then to write and produce their first album: “Cio’ Che L’Anima Non Dice” (2010, self-produced). The record was mixed and mastered by Massimiliano Canali and Simone Mularoni at Fear Studio in the spring of 2010. “Cio’ Che L’Anima Non Dice” is a concept album containing five tracks. The synthetic lyrics characterize the emotional experiences of the protagonist during his own inner journey, and are performed by guest vocalist Giovanni Notarangelo, who narrates the story either as a declamatory or by imposing theatrical tones to his voice. Furyu‘s intention is to create new music, free of preconceived ideas, by using the accumulated background of all band members. The ample tag of Heavy Metal can define their sonority, with the subdivisions of “Progressive Metal”, “N.W.O.B.H.M.”, “Thrash-Metal”, “Tech-Metal”, and “Post-Metal” being the most evident. The music is lively, fluent, dynamic, and powerful. Guitar riffs recall either early works of Thrash-Metal bands of the 80’s (“Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Death Angel“, “Heathen” and “Hades”), or the Proto Prog-Metal of the 80’s to early 90’s (represented by bands like “Helstar”, “Griffin”, and “The Quiet Room”). The strongest point of Furyu is their solid work of bass and drums: interspersed within the metallic frame, dazzling battles of steel-sounding bass against rumbling drums occur frequently, emulating the Tech-Metal metrics of “Watchtower”, “Spiral Architect”, “Cynic”, “Event”, “Primus” and “Tool”. The intricate instrumentation often recalls “Iron Maiden”, “Megadeth”, a Tech-Thrash hybridization of “Annihilator” and “Watchtower”, or early “Dream Theater” and “Rush”. When supported by electronic effects, the music delves into the psychedelic density of “Porcupine Tree” and “Tool”. Vocals punctuate the instrumental parts with whispers, desperation, and angry screams. The combination of musical elements aligns Furyu with recent bands such as “Outopsya”, “Le Maschere di Clara“, “Dialeto”, “Dynahead”, and “The Elephant Parallax”. The first track, “Illusioni Dei Miei Giorni” (6:13), is fast, flowing and furious, driven by potent bass and drums, being permeated by dramatic sad vocals and Prog-Metal guitar riffs that recall me of “Helstar”. The longest track -“…E Poi La Luce“ (8:43) - combines the fast paces of “Iron Maiden” and “Megadeth” with various Tech-Metal blocks, and ends in a Death-Metal rumbling drumming. The cadenced Un Momento: "Vado a Fuoco“ (4:10) initially recalls me of “Iron Maiden”, but then engages into a Fusion-Metal that breaks into a insane Tech-Metal (like “Watchtower”). The last two tracks show a stronger tendency toward Prog-Metal: “Finalmente Io Sono“ (5:36) begins recalling a soaring “Dream Theater”, having more keyboard-like effects, and turns later into a “Tool”-“Porcupine Tree” mode, by including psychedelic effects and whispering voices. “La Vastità Del Mio Tempo“ (6:57) has somber atmospheres like “Iron Maiden” and parts that recall “Rush” and “Dream Theater”. In also includes a melancholic interlude and an acoustic guitar finale. Although Furyu‘s debut is a consistent work, I still miss more remarkable guitar solos and, perhaps, a permanent vocalist to sing longer lyrics. Anyway, Furyu is a potentially emergent band in the Prog-Metal universe, because it has the ability to unify several different kinds of Metal into a single bombastic, explosive, substance. Furyu is especially recommended for fans of “Iron Maiden”, “Megadeth”, “Annihilator”, “Hades”, “Watchtower”, “Spiral Architect”, “Cynic”, “Event”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Helstar”, “Griffin”, “The Quiet Room”, “Dream Theater”, “Primus”, “Tool”, “Outopsya”, “La Maschera di Clara“, “Dialeto”, “Dynahead”, “The Elephant Paralax”, and so on...  Band members and collaborators involved in Furyu are: Giulio Capitelli – Guitar; Federico Melandri – Guitar; Michele Zappoli – Bass; Riccardo Grechi – Drums; Damiano Storelli – Sampler Effects. Guest Musicians: Giovanni Notarangelo - Vocal Performance. Former member: Matteo Migliori - Guitar, Vocals. Also you must visit Furyu's MySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/15/2012............Want to learn everything about the band and more about their history, go to FURYU HOME PAGE...
. OCEANS OF NIGHT - "Domain"
Oceans of Night - the Ambient Progressive Metal project led by the independent musician and multi-instrumentalist Scott Mosher - is back to this webzine (see under reviews 2009). Mosher had already released four solo albums in his career, until in 2009 he joined forces with vocalist Scott Oliva (”Wind Wraith”, “Live After Death” - “Iron Maiden” tribute) to launch a new project called Oceans of Night. Their debut album, “The Shadowheart Mirror”, featured an original style dubbed by Mosher as “Ambient Progressive Metal” – which is characterized by blending the softness and ambience of Electronic Music with the energy and heaviness of Progressive Metal in order to create a deep sonic contrast. The influences are later works of “Fates Warning” and “Queensreÿch”, early “Dream Theater“, “Vicious Rumors”, “Iron Maiden”, “Rush”, “Journey”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Eloy”, “Kitaro”, “Alan Parsons“, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “U2”, and “Depeche Mode”. Oceans of Night thus combines elements of Ambient, New Age, Space Rock, Symphonic Prog, Classic Rock, Melodic Metal, and Prog-Metal, matching the sonority of bands like “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Sieges Even”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Evergrey”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Jupiter Society“, and “Everon”. Oceans of Night has just released a second album: “Domain” (2011, Allaroundniceguy Music). It was mixed and engineered by Joey Vera (“Fates Warning”, “Armored Saint”, “Engine”), and the line-up has Mosher (guitars, bass, keyboards and programming), Oliva (vocals, harmony vocals) and new member Alan Smithee (drums, percussion). Although the sonority of “Domain” still retains that unique “Ambient Progressive Metal” approach of the previous album, the compositions have been hardened, focusing on Prog-Metal. Mosher is still influenced by his favorite guitarists (“Steve Vai”, “Tony MacAlpine”, and “Greg Howe”), and adopts a playing style that transits around the Melodic Metal, the Classic Rock, and the Neo-Progressive. Scott Oliva, whose vocals were initially Metal-oriented (recalling “Bruce Dickinson”, “Geoff Tate”, and “Rob Halford”), is more reserved now, but has gained in emotion, having and introspective vocal inflexion reminiscent of “Ray Alder” and “David Bowie”. Alan Smithee on drums is a powerful driving force of Oceans of Night, and keeps the band’s Metallic heart pulsing at the same tempo and cadence of bands like “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Evergrey”, “Star One”, and “Redemption”. Electronic keyboards are still a trait of the band, introducing soaring and symphonic backgrounds (like “Eloy”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Tangerine Dream”); cosmic solos (like “Rush”, “Ayreon”); rhythmic pulses (like “Alan Parsons”); and ambient sounds (like “Sigur Rós”, “Porcupine Tree”). “Domain” has 10 tracks. As a perfect example of the “Ambient Progressive Metal” style, the astonishing title track “Domain” (17:39) opens the album combining slow pounding guitar riffs and space-symphonic keyboards to create a dark atmosphere, emphasized by Olivas’s sad and powerful vocals. The solo guitar work is amazing, flowing through many different nuances, until the last crushing moments, when accelerated drums hurl the listener into a cosmic black-hole. Similar models are “Seven Days of Rain” (6:12) (with initial keyboards that recall “Oldfield” and “Parsons” being replaced later by solid riffs and pulsing bass lines like “Star One” and “Redemption”, and having a cosmic-Progressive guitar solo); and “The Future Remembered” (4:20), which brings a deep contrast between the electronic-symphonic intro (reminiscent of “Tangerine Dream”) and the second part, marked by heavy cadenced guitars and gloomy voices (recalling “Star One” and “Jupiter Society”). The intense disparity of musical styles present on “Domain” can be evaluated by comparing its two instrumental tracks: the Progressive “Dreams in Artificial Sunlight” (3:32) (which goes from Ambient-Electronic sounds influenced by “Parsons”, “Tangerine Dream”, and “Oldfield” to hammered guitar riffs and space solos like “Star One” and “Porcupine Tree”); and the grinding “Instruments of Fear” (4:14) (that recalls the wildest moments of “Dream Theater”). With lesser presence of electronic effects and ambient sounds, the powerful tracks “So Near Yet So Far” (5:28), “The View to You” (8:28); and the fast-paced “Divisions of Time” (5:17) are plentiful of pounding riffs, bombastic keyboards, rumbling drums, epic emotional vocals, and melodic and epic guitar solos that will please fans of “Fates Warning”, “Redemption”, “Evergrey”, “Sieges Even”, “Star One” and “Ayreon” (last albums). The remaining tracks “Don't Look to Me” (5:10) and “Ghosts of the Past” (4:25) are excellent Classic-Rock songs with influences of “Journey”, “Asia”, and “Queensrÿche” (new albums). Restraining the original sonority featured on their first album, but without loosing it completely, Oceans of Night has made an excellent second album, rather oriented to the Prog-Metal community. Highly recommendable for fans of “Fates Warning”, “Queensreÿch”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Sieges Even”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Evergrey”, and “Jupiter Society“ that also listen to “Porcupine Tree”, “Eloy”, “Rush”, “Journey”, “Alan Parsons“, and “Mike Oldfield”. Band members involved in Oceans Of Night are: Scott Mosher - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and Programming; Scott Oliva – Lead and Harmony Vocals; Alan Smithee – Drums, Percussion. Also you must visit Oceans Of Night's MySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/15/2012..If is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit OCEANS OF NIGHT HOME PAGE...
. IRON KIM STYLE - "Iron Kim Style"
Iron Kim Style is a Jazz-Rock quintet from Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. The line-up consists of two members of the band "Moraine" - Dennis Rea (6-string guitar) and Jay Jaskot (drums) – with Bill Jones (trumpet), Thaddaeus Brophy (12 string-guitar), and Ryan Berg (electric bass). Their influences come from "Olivier Messiaen", electric-period "Miles Davis", "Terje Rypdal", "John Abercrombie", heavy rock, and North Korean martial music. The band is named after the acrobatic martial arts approach espoused by Grandmaster "Iron" Kim, taking playful aim at North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. The musicians involved in Iron Kim Style have gained experience along many years of Jazz-playing. That experience helps a lot when they decided to embrace the spontaneous way of making improvised music, because their compositions sound as structured as if they have been composed. The resulting sonority is a collage of Jazzy improvisations, complex instrumental interplay, and free soloing of all instrumentalists, all suggesting different moods and surrounded by unusual atmospheres, sometimes evoking images of a film-noire. Under the point of view of the Progressive and Jazz-Rock enthusiasts, Iron Kim Style may sound equivalent to bands like "King Crimson", "Soft Machine", "Zappa", "Mahavishnu Orchestra", and "Colosseum". Iron Kim Style’s eponymous debut album "Iron Kim Style" (released in 2009, MoonJune Records) contains 10 tracks, and features bass clarinetist Izaak Mills on two of them (see below). The album opens with the ten-minute long "Mean Streets of Pyongyang", which replicates the hectic atmosphere of dangerous streets on the sound of its deep bass, nervous drums, schizoid trumpet, and heavy alarming guitars. Along this track, we witness a sensational street-fight between the trumpet improvisations of Bill Jones and the amazing bass clarinet of guest musician Izaak Mills. Ruthless guitar solos come on the last third of the track. A tension like that is comparable to the clashing instrumentation duels of bands like "Colosseum", "Mahavishnu" and "Zappa". "Mean Streets…" lead to the experimental "Gibberish Falter", a noisy track on which strident and dissonant sounds are produced almost at random, driven by psychedelic bass and jazzy drums. Then comes a sequence of three compositions that I regard as my favorites: "Po’ Breef" is a fast jazz marked by bass and cymbals. The improvised guitar solo reminds me of "Soft Machine", while the bass and drums sound like a juggler trying to balance himself on the back of a Jazzy Elephant that is trumpeting a "Miles Davis" classic with its trunk. "Don Quixotic" is a slow composition on which the guitars evoke the visionary character "Don Quixote" riding his horse and fighting against windmills. The delicacy of the melodies reminds me of early works of "Soft Machine", and "Terje Rypdal". Also on this line, the imaginary "Adrift" is closer to a Traditional Jazz. This time, the trumpet of Jones and the bass clarinets of Izaak Mills work together in a duo to produce melodies that evoke the images of a vast, wavy ocean. Following these tracks, there are two experimental compositions: "Amber Waves of Migraine" flows slowly and slippery, combining deep terrorizing bass with scary guitars and spooky trumpets, creating a typical atmosphere of a "Film-noire". The trumpet melody echoes in the distance, as the distant rumor of a siren’s call – a track for fans of "Art Zoyd"; "Pachinko Malice" is as turbulent as "Miles Davis", featuring skilled fingers that gradually plays faster on their instruments, going up and down and weaving frenzied scales. A sequence of three short compositions closes the album: "Dreams from Our Dear Leader" is grounded on echoing guitar phrases that are reflected back, creating a dreamy effect, while the trumpet drags the attention with a great solo; "Jack Out the Kims" is heavy, paranoid and noisy – an experimental track in the terrain of extreme Jazz-Metal; "Slouchin’ at the Savoy" evokes the image of some chic place stuck in the Forties that is visited by wealthy people who likes to listen to Traditional Jazz Music. With a proposal of making improvised music, Iron Kim Style is recommended for those who like either Jazz-Rock or unconventional sub-genres of Progressive Music (Avant-garde, R.I.O., Eclectic, Experimental), mainly who are fans of "King Crimson", "The Wrong Object", "Zappa", "Art Zoyd", "Colosseum", "Soft Machine", "Henry Cow", "Hatfield and the North", "National Health", "Spaltklang", "John Zorn", "Univers Zéro", "Moraine", and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Iron Kim Style are: Dennis Rea – 6-String Guitar; Bill Jones – Trumpet; Jay Jaskot – Drums; Thaddaeus Brophy – 12 String-Guitar; Ryan Berg – Bass, Izaak Mills – Bass Clarinet on "Mean Streets…" and "Adrift". Also you must visit Iron Kim Style's MySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/15/2012....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IRON KIM STYLE HOME PAGE...
The Progressive and Experimental Rock band The Void's Last Stand (TVLS, for short) is back to this webzine (see under reviews 2010). TVLS was founded in Aachen, Germany in 2007 by two ex-members of the band "The Void" - Jonas Wingens (lyrics, vocals, guitars) and Geoffrey Blaeske (lead guitar) - later joined by Ray Dratwa (drums) and Rachid Touzani (bass). With this line-up they released their debut album, “A Sun by Rising Set“ (2009). In November 2009, TVLS signed a deal with Malesch Records / Long Hair Music and began to record their second album, “Rakash”, which was released in November 2011. A vinyl edition is planed for release in early 2012. “Rakash” was recorded in Aachen (Germany), produced by R. Dratwa, written and performed by TVLS and Alex Stoll (keyboards, lap steel, and mandolin), and mastered by Jörg Scheuermann. The bizarre cover painting was made by Helmut Wenske. In the beginning, TVLS intended to unify the sound of bands like “The Mars Volta”, “Sieges Even”, “Spastic Ink”, “Birds and Buildings”, “Hella”, “Frost”, “Ungdomskulen”, and “Battles” with Classic Progressive bands like “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Nektar”, “Eloy”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Rush”, “Gentle Giant”, and “Magma”, also under the influence of the Krautrock tradition. TVLS’ sonority - as may be heard on their debut album, “A Sun by Rising Set“ - was experimental and chaotic, bringing together several different musical genres (even Rap and Math-Metal). My first impression of “Rakash” is that it is a much better album than the previous. The sonority is still weird, experimental and psychedelic, but the musicians are now more interested in the visceral sonority of the late 60’s to early 70’s than in modern musical trends. TVLS has returned to the raw material from which bands like “Zappa”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Gong”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Nektar”, “Gentle Giant”, and “Genesis” have sprouted, focusing their music through the distorting glasses of Krautrock bands like “Amon Düül”, “Can”, “Guru Guru”, and “Pell Mell”. The instrumentation is rather intricate and unusual, and the compositions still have unpredictable curves and nuances, but are less chaotic and more controlled. Guitars are 70-texturized and predominate as the main solo instruments, treading the domains of Rock, Hard, Progressive and Jazz. Blaeske improved his technique, and now performs long and complicated solos, reminiscent of a “Zappa & Fripp” duo. Bass and drums are lighter now, and alternate different rhythms, forming a fluent and dynamic base for the other musicians to play free. The keyboards added by Alex Stoll set the right atmosphere for each song – cosmic, psychedelic, progressive or rocky. Wingens’ vocals are still a trademark of the band, as he shouts dramatic phrases that go from insane and crying to theatrical and burlesque. His temper has soothed a little however, and he has adopted an idiosyncratic way of singing that recalls the sarcasm of “Zappa”, the theatrical interpretation of “Peter Gabriel“, the irony of “Syd Barrett“ and the irreverence of 70’s Punk Rock. “Rakash” is a concept album made of 7 tracks. It opens with “Mother Sun and the other Son (Part III) - The Syrian Goddess” (16:18), which, together with track 3, “Cut Open Feet” (8:28), represent remnants of the first album, being very weird and chaotic. Both have many different parts running like a “Zappa-Crimson” rollercoaster on “fusion-jazzy-pop-punk-rockabilly” trails, with Wingens making many kinds of voices, and Blaeske performing from Hard-Rock licks to oriental solos and clean Jazzy guitars. Much softer and melodic – and therefore apt for appreciation by regular Prog-fans – are the tracks “Sail my Ship Achilles” (5:40) (amid Wingens’ falsettos, vintage Hammonds set a psychedelic atmosphere that reach a climax on an amazing guitar solo); and the Progressive ballad “She's a Ghost / They Shall Not Pass” (5:05), featuring soaring guitars, sad organ, and melancholic vocals. Another highlight is the instrumental “Land(e)scapes and the Beauty of No. 64” (10:33), closed in a folk sonority closed in string arrangements, but with some guitar cuts deliberately out of key, to mark the band’s taste for oddities. The last two tracks are “Glass Cabinet” (9:12) (which is closer to an Alternative Rock piece, but crowned with a really insane guitar solo); and “An Ode to Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud: Poesy in Asylum” (1:35) (a recited poem). Still defying regular tags, TVLS is definitely evolving to a style of their own, being especially recommended for fans of R.I.O., Krautrock, Avant-garde, and odd bands with original guitar work.  Band members and collaborators involved in The Void’s Last Stand are: Jonas Wingens – Lyrics, Vocals, Rhythm Guitars; Geoffrey Blaeske – Rhythm and Lead Guitars; Rachid Touzani – Bass; Ray Dratwa – Drums, Soundscapes. Guest Musician: Alex Stoll (Keyboards, Lap Steel, Melodica, Mandolin)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/15/2012.......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE VOID’S LAST STAND HOME PAGE...
. ALEX SABA - "Electro Suite and Tributes"
The Brazilian composer Alex Saba is back to the pages of this webzine. Saba was born in 1958 in Rio de Janeiro, and began to play acoustic guitar at a young age, now being a multi-instrumentalist with experience on electric guitar, bass, keyboards, flutes, percussion and electronic gadgets. He is also a professional photographer, and takes care of the design of the covers of his albums. As a musician, Saba was inspired by "Chick Corea", "Philip Glass", "Mike Oldfield", "Frank Zappa", "Keith Jarrett", "Keith Emerson", "Peter Gabriel", "Philippe Saisse"; and by his favorite guitarists "Philipe Catherine", "Al Di Meola" and "Jan Akkerman". Saba’s discography includes the albums "Angel’s Dream" (1996) and "Missa Universalis" (2000). In 2010 I wrote a review about his album "Under All The Circumstances" (2007), which featured the original score music of a stage play. Now we are introducing to our readers Saba‘s album "Electro Suite & Tributes" (2009). The album was recorded and mixed by Ailan Partson at Aquilante Digital Studios; produced by Ahmed and Alex Saba, and released under his own independent label Brancaleone Records/Design. The music was entirely composed, arranged and performed by Alex Saba without use of any acoustic instrument. "Electro Suite & Tributes" is very different from "Under All the Circumstances". While "Under All…" relied on claustrophobic and distressful atmosphere created by unusual melodies, minimalist harmonies, and dissonances, "Electro Suite & Tributes" is completely surrounded by a bright-colored aura pervaded by lively rhythms and cheerful melodies that catch the listener at once. It still has the bonus of combining efficiently the mechanized and artificial mode of Electronic Music with the warmth and sensitivity of the human heart and soul. "Electro Suite & Tributes" brings 5 instrumental pieces. The tributes referred on the title are dedicated to men that have influenced Saba musically. The "Electro Suite" is a long piece divided in 5 parts. The opening track "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (by "Richard Strauss", arranged by Saba) was inspired on images of "Kubrick’s" motion picture "2001", and is dedicated to "Arthur C. Clarke". This piece was specially made for a Clarke’s tribute album coordinated by Norway keyboardist "Dale". It is a lively version of the Classic intro, updated to the 21st century, and reminds me of the work of "Wendy Carlos". The second track is "Prelude #1" (to "Mr. Bob Moog"). Alternatively marked by compassion and resignation, this beautiful piece is partially inspired on a prelude by "Chopin", and at the same time tries to capture the feeling inside Saba’s own heart for the loss of that important man. The sadness of the piece contrasts with the vigor and joy of the following "Remember JZ" (to "Mr.Joe Zawinul"), a short fusion song with bouncing piano, swinging bass, and cheerful synthesizer solo, that will please any fan of "Passport". Track 4, "The Charming Robots #1", was composed for a never released TV documentary about robots. One of the best pieces of the album, it is like a vivacious Fusion, making use of electronic bass and drums, jazzy pianos and free-styled synth solo, blending "Passport" and "Jean Luc-Ponty" with "Alan Parsons". The last 5 tracks compose the main suite of the album - "Electro Suite" Parts 1-5 – which is dedicated to "someone". It is inspired by a man that leaves his hometown in search for someone like him. After traveling through America, Europe and Japan, his journey ends inside his own inner self. "#1 Leaving Home" is a strong piece grounded on pulsing bass that reminds me of early "Alan Parsons" and "Mike Oldfield". "#2 America" begins with incredible realistic sounds of synthesized banjos and jazzy brass instruments, being immersed in a frantic atmosphere that reflects the typical progressive spirit of the American people. "#3 Europe" is a lively electronic brew that resumes many centuries of music of the Old Continent, employing a collage of "Mozart", "Beethoven", "Mussorgsky", and "Tchaikovsky". "#4 Japan" slows down the pace using ancient percussion, bamboo flutes, and traditional scales of the Japanese music, being highlighted by an improvised electric piano solo (as "Keith Jarret"). "#5 Inner Voyage" is a Progressive-structured piece immersed in a futuristic- electronic- psychedelic atmosphere that blends "Parsons", "Oldfield", and "Pink Floyd". Alex Saba’s "Electro Suite & Tributes" is an excellent work in Electronic Progressive & Fusion, being especially recommended for fans of "Alan Parsons", "Wendy Carlos", "Mike Oldfield", "Joe Zawinul", "Chick Corea", and "The Gak Omek".  A one-man project, Alex Saba is: Alex Saba – Electronic Instruments, Keyboards, and Synthesizers...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/15/2012............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ALEX SABA HOME PAGE...
. IVORY GATES - "The Devil’s Dance"
The Brazilian Prog-Metal band Ivory Gates (from the city of São Paulo) is back to the Metal scene, now promoting their newest and most amazing album – “The Devil’s Dance” (2011, MS Metal Records - Voice Music). Ivory Gates had released only two albums so far: “Shapes of Memory” (2002) and “Status Quo” (2005, Die Hard Records). At that time, the band was a quartet formed by Matheus Armelin (guitar), Hugo Mazzotti (bass), Fabrício Félix (drums), and Malagueta (vocals). Ivory Gates has now turned into a quintet, with the arrivals of Heitor Mazzotti (guitar) and of new singer Felipe Travaglini (who replaced the excellent Malagueta with honor). On their previous albums, Ivory Gates used to blend Progressive and Classic Rock with Traditional Heavy Metal and proto Prog-Metal, with influences of bands like “Kansas”, “Journey”, “Rush”, “Iron Maiden”, “Judas Priest”, “Dio”, “Saxon”, “Grim Reaper”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, and early “Dream Theater”. Although “The Devil's Dance” still retains that characteristic sonority, the new compositions are much more aggressive, dense and compact, with emphasis on the complexity of the arrangements. The new music of Ivory Gates is like a solid wall of granite stones or a smashing avalanche of metallic debris falling down onto you; and reminds me of bands like “Symphorce”, “Evergrey”, “Iced Earth”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Dream Evil“, “Astral Doors“, “Morifade”, “Nevermore”, “Pantommind”; and the classics “Iron Maiden”, “Anvil“, “Picture”, “Jag Panzer”, “Omen”, “Liege Lord”, “Sanctuary”, “House of Spirits”, “Control Denied”, and “Hades”. The musicians are matured and experienced, and have reached a level of musicianship that ranks them with other international acts. The guitar players M. Armelin and Heitor Mazzotti add heavy riffs, elaborated harmonic solos, and velocity to the songs. Hugo Mazzotti has been converted into a maligning bassist, stuffing the music with opulent bass notes and pounding rhythms. Fabrício Félix is a monster Metal-drummer, a technical and powerful driven force of Ivory Gates. New singer Felipe Travaglini has a potent voice that, differing from Malagueta’s Hard-Rock vocal vein, is well adapted to the Prog-Metal style, fitting perfectly on the band’s new musical direction. “The Devil's Dance” is a concept album dealing with a dark theme: in a World of Dreams, Evil and Death are menaces that stalk the main character during his search for the meaning of life. The journey is told in seven tracks. The first three are compelling songs that immediately drag the listener into the record: “Beyond the Black“ (4:44) has the pragmatism of “Symphorce”; “Devil’s Dance“ (5:02) places the listener under the heavy load of combined attack of bass, drums and guitars, still driven by malign vocals and sticky chorus; while “Endless Nightmare“ (4:21) is a 80’s-styled raw metal song with steam-locomotive cadence and slicing guitar solos, on which Travaglini’s high notes recall “Rob Halford”. The following sequence comprises two slower Prog-Metal pieces enveloped in gloomy and fantastic atmospheres, with influences of “Fates Warning” and “Evergrey”: “Serpent’s Kiss“ (6:35) emphasizes instrumentation, including guitar harmonies, swirling pounding bass, surprising percussion (castanets), and a series of guitar solos; while “Under the Sky of Illusions“ (7:11) is a dark Metal ballad combining sad emotional vocals, great bass lines, and misty soaring guitars. Track 6 - “Imaginary World“ (6:03) - is outstanding because it hybridizes 80’s-Metal guitars and 90’s-Metal rhythms with Post- Metal corpulent bass, all this following a story-telling script on which great vocals contrast with heavy powerful riffs. The last track is the lengthy “Suite Memory” (21:45!). With a smoother temper and melodic nature, this song reunites influences from “Rush”, “Journey”, “Iron Maiden”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, and “Lemur Voice”, and brings out everything - from acoustic guitars to weird Tech-Metal metrics, emotional male and female singing, unexpected breaks in many different parts, and a final attack of massive guitars, corpulent bass and pounding drums - what converts this track into a real Prog-Metal opus. “The Devil’s Dance” is an exceptional work that qualifies Ivory Gates to represent Brazilian Heavy Metal worldwide, side by side with bands like “Angra“, “Imago Mortis”, “Thessera”, “Akashic”, “Khallice”, “Mindflow”, “Tribuzy”, “Nordheim”, etc. Ivory Gates is thus highly recommended for fans of “Iron Maiden”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphorce”, “Evergrey”, “Iced Earth”, “Nocturnal Rites”, “Astral Doors“, “Dream Evil“, “Morifade”, “Nevermore”, “Jag Panzer”, “Pantommind”, “Liege Lord”, “Anvil“, “Picture”, “Omen”, “Control Denied”, “Sanctuary”, “House of Spirits”, “Hades”, and their kind. Band members and collaborators involved in Ivory Gates are: Felipe Travaglini – Vocals; Matheus Armelin – Electric Guitars; Heitor Mazzotti – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Hugo Mazzotti – Bass, Chapman Stick; Fabrício Félix – Drums. Guest singer: Jane Pereira (“Devil’s Dance”, “Serpent’s Kiss”, “Suite Memory”). Ex-member: Malagueta – Vocals. Also you must visit Ivory Gates' MySpace Site..    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/29/2012.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IVORY GATES HOME PAGE...
. IVAN MIHALJEVIC´ - "Sandcastle"
Ivan Mihaljevic´ is a guitarist, singer, and composer who was born in Croatia in 1986. Despite being so young he is already a busy musician, working in many projects at the same time. He is a component of the biggest Croatian Hard Rock band - “Hard Time"; he played in the Wacken Open Air – 2005 (then at the age of 18); played on stage with “Les Paul" himself in Iridium Jazz Club, Time Square, New York (November, 2008); collaborated with renowned guitarist “John Denner" on a CD; toured around Europe through 2007 and 2008; and was the opening act for “Paul Gilbert’s" show in Zagreb (2008), and also for “Scorpions" and “The Cult". Recordings include a live DVD "Hard Time & Friends Live in Boogaloo" (2006) and a live album "Live in Jabuka" (2008). His most recent project is a solo album. Titled “Sandcastle" (Attic Room / Ivan Mihaljevic, 2008), it has collaboration of Majkl Jagunic (bass), Craig Devine (drums); and guest musicians John Denner (guitar), Igor Tatarevic (keyboards), and Taher Sanuri (vocals). Mihaljevic influences include Rock in general (“Queen", “Toto", “Pink Floyd", “Keith Urban"); Hard and Alternative Rock (“Deep Purple", “Mr. Big", “Van Halen", “Pearl Jam", “Nickelback", “Forty Deuce"); Thrash and Progressive Metal (“Metallica", “Dream Theater", “Liquid Tension Experiment", “Mullmuzzler"); and have a strong lean towards the Instrumental Rock-Fusion-Metal practiced by famous guitar players, like “Richie Kotzen", “John Petrucci", “Steve Vai", “Paul Gilbert", “Joe Satriani", and “Steve Morse". I will add to this list the guitar players “Marty Friedman", “Jason Becker", “Yngwie Malmsteen", and bands like “Cacophony", “Dokken", “Ark", and “Talisman". Mihaljevic´ is really a gifted guitar player, possibly among the best of his generation. His acrobatic solos are like a combination of the styles of “Petrucci", “Gilbert", “Friedman", “Kotzen“, “Becker", and “Satriani". He is also an excellent vocalist, with a “Hard Rock" type of voice, going from soft and emotional to strong and raging. His eclectic musical taste helps him to compose songs and instrumental pieces that do not sound all the same, but maintain an “identity of their own", being always original, surprising, and technically refined. This becomes clear when one listens to the 14 tracks of “Sandcastle". Six of them feature vocals. If lovers of the Hard Rock of the seventies will prefer “Questions In My Mind part I“, those who are fond of most modern Hard Rock will pick up the excellent “Empathy“ (music and lyrics by Taher Sanuri). The listener who like ballads will choose among “Distant World“, “Questions In My Mind part II“; and the beautiful “Friend“. With a danceable beat, “The Road to Nowhere“ could be a radio hit. The best tracks of this album are, however, the instrumental pieces. Numbering eight, this assemblage shows a high grade of diversion within it. They can go from the Speed-Metal of “Sandcastle“ (a blend of “Petrucci" with “Marty Friedman") to the “New Wave" beat of “Cascading Mirrors“ (with influences of “Vai", “Kotzen" and “Satriani"). They may be heavy like “Bulldozer“ – a Prog-Metal in the verve of “Dream Theater" and “Liquid Tension Experiment" (with guest appearance by John Denner); or furious like “Macedonian War Song“ - an Epic Metal that reminds me of “Jason Becker" and “Cacophony". They can also sound less “metallic", like the Techno “Hi-Tech Orient“, or the groovy Prog-Fusion “Shimmering Karma“ (that will please fans of “Vai" and “Kotzen"). Those who are “hooked on Classics" will prefer “Spring“ (a Neoclassical version of “Vivaldi ‘s" Le Quattro Stagioni); while the serene ambience of “Raindrops“ will captivate Progressive fans. Since much is not know about the currently musical panorama in Croatia, Ivan Mihaljevic´ was for me a pleasant surprise. If Croatia may reveal more amazing musicians such as this gentleman, everyone should keep an eye on that country. Ivan Mihaljevic’s “Sandcastle" is a brilliant work, being highly recommended for fans of Prog-Metal-Fusion guitar heroes. Band members and collaborators involved with Ivan Mihaljevic are: Ivan Mihaljevic – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards, Programming, Percussion; Majkl Jagunic – Bass; Craig Devine – Drums. Guest musicians: John Denner – Guitar solo on “Bulldozer"; Igor Tatarevic – Harpsichord on “Empathy"; Keyboards on “Raindrops"; Taher Sanuri – Vocals on “Empathy". Also you must visit Ivan Mihaljevic’s MySpace Site...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/29/2012..................Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit IVAN MIHALJEVIC´ HOME PAGE...
. DJAM KARET - "No Commercial Potential - Rock Improvisations from 1985-2002"
The Californian instrumental band Djam Karet was founded in 1984 by Gayle Ellett (guitar), Mike Henderson (guitar), Henry J. Osborne (original bassist), and Chuck Oken, Jr. (drums). The name comes from the Indonesian language, meaning “elastic time”. In the beginning, Djam Karet was a “proto-jam band” that performed in the college circuit of the southern California/LA area. Along the following years, Djam Karet released an extensive discography comprising 15 full-length albums, EPs, live records, compilations, cassettes, and solo albums by its integrants. Djam Karet appeared in magazines such as “Billboard”, “Rolling Stone”, “Electronic Musician”, “Keyboards”, “CD Review”, and “Guitar Player”. Their combination of Progressive, Jazz, Psychedelic, Avant-garde, Ethnical Music and more, made the group to be compared to “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “The Grateful Dead”, “Ozric Tentacles” and “Porcupine Tree”. A partnership of Djam Karet with Cuneiform Records plunged the band into a period of great productivity, including reissues of old material and release of their best works: “The Devouring“ (1997); “Live At Orion“ (1999); “New Dark Age“ (2001) and “A Night For Baku“ (2003), which featured new bassist Aaron Kenyon and electronic musician Steve Roach, who had already participated on the album “Collaborator“ (1994). As a quintet, the band released their masterpiece “Recollection Harvest” (2005). Meanwhile, Djam Karet played in important Progressive festivals: Day Zero for 1999's ProgDay (San Francisco); NEARfest 2001; ProgWest 2001 (Claremont) and 2002's ProgDay (North Carolina). In 2009 the band took part on the annual Crescendo Festival (Bordeaux, France). To achieve full massive live sound, the group incorporated the guitarist Mike Murray to the line-up, allowing Gayle Ellett to focus on keyboards. In 2010 Djam Karet recorded “The Heavy Soul Sessions“; and in 2011, they founded their own record label (Firepool Records). The CD “No Commercial Potential - Rock Improvisations from 1985-2002” was released in 2004. It is a self-produced Double-CD that brings previously unreleased material from the original cassette “No Commercial Potential” (1985, Disc One) and from the unreleased album “…And Still Getting the Ladies” (2002, Disc Two). Each Disc features three tracks. The compositions of Disc One are born from initial ambient sounds and psychedelic melodies that progress slowly, supported by exotic percussion or rhythmic sequences played at random, being reminiscent of experiments of “King Crimson” and many “Krautrock” bands. After some time, the drums erupt powerfully in Rocky or Jazzy beats, taking the lead. The bass runs after, wild and psychedelic. The music gradually gains in intensity, and the guitars start to play endless improvised solos, full of virtuosity. This is what happens on track 1, “Where's L. Ron??!!” (16:52), which initially includes Indonesian percussion and sound effects that later get organized around a rocky drum pace, pulsing bass lines, and soaring space-rock guitars, recalling “Hawkwind” and the “Krautrock” style. “Dwarf Toss” (11:16) is an inventive Jazz-Rock with tightly interlocked bass and drums that tends to a Hindu-Rock in the beginning and a Space-Rock at the end, with a guitar solo reminiscent of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. The gigantic “Blue Fred” (29:42) closes the album with improvisations based mostly on a dialogue of bass against guitars, like a psychedelic Blues-Rock. On the last third, the music enters a hypnotic loop of cosmic trip-like sounds that float on a relaxing cadence, with a final Hindu guitar solo. Disc Two: “...And Still Getting The Ladies” (2002) shows how much Djam Karet has evolved both individually and collectively in the time gap between the two records. Although the compositional style has retained its essence – the music begins slowly with ambient sounds and subtle melodies that aggregate and grow, being interrupted by the sudden appearance of potent drums and bass that forge the conductive line for long guitar solos – their music has expanded beyond improvisation, now featuring arrangements that include symphonic parts, anticipated changes of rhythm, and great use of contrasts. The improvisational skills of all musicians have increased manifold, and the synthesizers have widened the textural palette, providing a cosmic ambience that recalls early “Floyd”, “Eno”, and “Yes”. “The Building” (20:03) gets gradually organized in entropic levels, going from a Psychedelic Space-Rock lightness of “Floyd” to the energy of “Porcupine Tree”; “The Door” (7:56) also has a “Floydian” accent on the guitar, but wrapped in an almost gothic, atmosphere. The Electronic intro of “The Window” (27:22) echoes in the cosmic darkness with the amplitude of a Symphony - soon fended by rumbling drums that turn it into a heavy Space-Rock (like “Porcupine Tree”), while countless guitar solos cover the whole spectrum from Progressive to Blues. One of a kind, Djam Karet is a great band, essential for lovers of improvised Jazz-Rock and Space-Psychedelic Progressive Rock, specially who are fans of “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Sigur Rós”, and “Hawkwind”. Band members and collaborators involved in Djam Karet are: Gayle Ellett - Guitars, Devices, Voice; Mike Henderson - Guitars, Devices, Voice; Aaron Kenyon – Bass, Voice (Track 3 of Disc Two); Chuck Oken, Jr. - Drums, Percussion, Synths, Voice. Former member: Henry Osborne - Bass (Disc One and track 1 of Disc Two). Recent members: Steve Roach – Electronics and Mike Murray – Live guitar...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/29/2012..................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to DJAM KARET HOME PAGE...
. AFTER... - "No Attachments"
The Polish band After... is back to this webzine once more. Born in 2002 from the disbanded band “Awake”, the original line-up had Sylwia Wojciechowska (vocals), Czarek Bregier (guitars), and Wojtek Tyminski (guitars), soon joined by bassist Mariusz Ziólkowski (ex-“Apogeum”), Radek Wieckowski (drums) and Tomek Wisniewski (keyboards). Preparations for a debut album began in 2002 at the Island Studio (Inowroclaw), with sound engineer Zbyszek Florek. Recordings were delayed, however, until 2005, the same year when original singer Sylwia Wojciechowska left the band and was replaced by Krzysiek Drogowski. Shortly after, After…’s debut album “Endless Lunatic” (2005, OSKAR) was released, featuring participations of “Colin Bass” (“Camel”), “Josef Skrzek” (“SBB”) and “Jacek Zasada” (“Quidam”). In the following years After… performed in Art-Rock festivals in Poznan (Poland) and Reichenbach (Germany), and shared stage with “Fish”, “Sylvan”, “Believe”, “Galahad”, “Antimatter“, “Mangrove”, “Pallas”, “Spock's Beard”, “Mostly Autumn” and “Blind Ego”. Their second album, “Hideout” (2008, OSKAR), was featured here in PR & PM as “Best of the Month” (December, 2008). In 2009 After... toured with “Quidam“ around Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Netherlands; and appeared on the festivals “Crescendo” (France) and “InRock” (Poland). In 2009, After… performed a show in their hometown Wloclawek, which was recorded and released as the live album “Live at Home” (2011). In between, keyboardist Tomek Wisniewski left the band in 2010. As a quintet, After... released their third studio album, entitled “No Attachments” (November 2011, Metal Mind Productions). It was produced in cooperation with Steve Kitch and Bruce Soord (“The Pineapple Thief”). After… has been tagged as a “Modern Progressive Rock” act, or a “Crossover Progressive Band”, combining diverse styles in their music (such as Symphonic Progressive Rock, Art Rock, Ambient, Melodic and Progressive Metal). Their main attribute was to create a balanced contrast between delicate melodies and symphonic parts (performed on synthesizers and vocals) and aggressive drums, heavy guitar riffs, and soaring-ambient guitar solos. The influences came from bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Marillion”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Sigur Rós”, akin to bands like “Riverside”, “Believe”, “Paatos”, “Frost”, “Blind Ego”, “RPWL”, “Beardfish”, “Sylvan” and “Osada Vida”. “No Attachments”, however, points to a different direction. Greatly caused by the absence of Tomek Wisniewski on keyboards, the sonority of After… has lost in delicacy, and the contrast between soft melodies and diaphanous synthesizers against heavy instrumentation has diminished. Guitars are more compact and concise, but few soaring solos are present. The emotional ambience gives room to a sense of protest and discontented feeling. The musical menu was enlarged to include Alternative Rock, AOR, New Metal, and Post-Metal, still retaining influences of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Sigur Rós” and “RPWL”,  but adding “Radiohead”, “Audioslave”, “Soundgarden“, “Foo Fighters”, “Maroon 5”, “Snow Patrol”, “Coldplay”, and even “Faith no More”, “Mudvayne”, “Deftones”, and “A Perfect Circle” (although not so brutal). The sonority of “No Attachments” is, overall, less dreamy and surreal then on previous albums, sounding now more realistic and down-to-earth, adapted to modern times, and more accessible to the larger Alternative Rock audiences. “No Attachments” contains 10 tracks. The tracks “All Left Behind” (3:18), the melancholic “Enchanted” (5:35), and “The Mention...” (5:23) are Alternative Rock-AOR songs that illustrate the band’s new musical disposition. Still with a lightness/heaviness contrast, my favorite tracks are “Carried By The Wind” (6:00), which brings great instrumental parts and guitar solo; “My Straight Path” (5:58), a dark intro with robotic vocals and great bass recalling “A Perfect Circle”; and “Resurrection” (5:14) which is like “Maroon 5” meeting “Mudvayne”. Pragmatic, the tracks “Good Things Are Worth Waiting For…” (3:33) and “Hope's Still Alive” (4:54) are hybrid and tormented, recalling “Faith no More”, and “Rage Against the Machine”. Still retaining the lightness of the past, the soft ballad “Summer Fuss” (4:56) and the closing track “Happiness” (6:08) are the most Progressive, recalling “Floyd”, “Sylvan”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Peter Gabriel” and “Sigur Rós”. “No Attachments” can let old fans a little disappointed, albeit others may absorb the changes enthusiastically (e.g. those who liked the raw energy of the live album). Anyway, if After… will be, from now one, a guitar-driven quintet, we must wait to see how their sonority will evolve in the future. For now, I recommend their record for fans of  “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “RPWL”,  “Sylvan”, “Osada Vida”, “Radiohead”, “Audioslave”, “Soundgarden“, “Foo Fighters”, “Faith no More”, “Deftones”, and “A Perfect Circle”. Band members and collaborators involved in After… are: Krzysiek Drogowski – Vocals; Czarek Bregier – Guitars; Wojtek Tyminski – Guitars; Mariusz Ziólkowski – Bass; Radek Wieckowski – Drums. Past members: Sylwia Wojciechowska – Vocals; Tomek Wisniewski – Keyboards. Also you must visit After...'s MySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/29/2012............................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to AFTER HOME PAGE...
. ECHO US - "Tomorrow Will Tell the Story"
Echo Us – the musical project of Ethan Matthews – is back to this webzine once more. Echo Us was created in 2000 by ex-members of Progressive band "Greyhaven", and disbanded in 2001 due to musical differences. In 2003 Ethan moved to Portland, Oregon, where he managed to release the eponymous debut album “Echo Us“ (2005). The second album, “The Tide Decides“ (2009), represented a transition to more conceptual music. The visitor may read about both albums on the Review sections of 2005 and 2009, respectively. In 2007, in parallel to the production of “The Tide Decides”, Ethan began to compose musical pieces that were later to appear on a follow-up album called “Tomorrow Will Tell The Story”. An abridged digital version of “Tomorrow…” was released in 2010, and the official CD with bonus track is to be released on March 20th 2012, by Ethan’s label Absolute Probability. “Tomorrow…” is the second of a multi-album conceptual work that began with “The Tide Decides” and will finish with the release of a third album in late 2012. “Tomorrow...” was produced, recorded, and mixed by Ethan in Portland and Eugene, OR. Artwork and design by Ethan and Brian Francis. Besides Ethan Matthews (vocals, voices, synthesizers, guitars), the album features guest musicians Henta (vocals) and Raelyn Olson (harp), and has participations of Rawn Clark (“Kabalistic” ‘canticle’) and Daniel Panasenko (harmonium). The music of Echo Us blends elements of Electronic, Ambient, and Progressive Music, creating celestial “soundscapes” that cause hypnotic and relaxing effects on the listener, being comparable to “Tangerine Dream”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre” and “Alan Parsons Project”. “Tomorrow Will Tell The Story”, however, features a band that is trying, even more, to escape the chains of the conventional, and moreover, its own musical bonds. Echo Us uses the same elements of before (soaring guitars, electronic ambience, atmospheric keyboards, and light vocals). However, the music is less heavy and guitar-driven, and more loosely attached, weightlessness, immaterial and fluid. Fragments of melodies, free chords and notes, and sounds of harps, flutes, guitars, pianos and strings fall like rain drops accumulating on the translucent harmonic frame. Vocals & voices are more important now, and are heard in different forms and textures, being soaring, juvenile, whispered, electronically distorted, extraterrestrial, or appearing in Kabalistic canticles, eternally echoing in the vastness of the cosmos. The resulting sonority is instilled with a spiritual component, being alternatively sacred, esoteric, introspective, mystic, dreamy, peaceful, and transcendental; approaching the sound of New Age icons like “Era”, “Enigma”, “Kitaro”, “Gregorian Masters of Chant”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, and “Philip Glass”. “Tomorrow Will Tell…” brings 12 compositions (one bonus track).It opens with “Out of the Blue” (3:31), a kind of collage of what will be heard next. The following song, “Beyond the Horizon” (5:25), combines Chinese bamboo-like sounds, strong single guitar chords, soaring guitars, and Ethan‘s vocals amid fragments of angelic choirs; and ends up with “Docked at Bay” (1:05), with sounds of water, esoteric spoken messages, and Kabalistic resounding mantra. The following tracks make up a wonderful suite: “Archaeous of Water v.1” and “V.2”. “V.1” [i. the ears of eras (6:37) + ii. anchors away (6:10)], brings placid moments combining sacred vocals, celestial ambiences and hypnotic relaxing beats. Ethan sings softly, driving the tunes through a symphonic fabric of wavy pianos and diaphanous harps (recalling “Era”, “Enigma”, and “Mike Oldfield”). “Archaeous of Water v.2” [i. the light it moves, en vie est lumière (4:29) + ii. echoes of eras (9:01)] has a vivid, almost sensual electronic base, being driven by Oriental chants. The second part has long symphonic segments, flutes and pianos, and is highlighted by the Kabalistic IHVH-ADNI canticle, sung by Rawn Clark (recalling “Philip Glass” opus “Koyaanisqatsi”). “Iagla” (4:45) and “Waves of the Glacier” (“A View From a Pier”) (5:18) are Ambient pieces blowing out relaxing cascading sounds of harps and floating pianos. The dreamy “The Mirror in the Window” (5:30) brings a vocal duet of Hentha and Ethan, having aid of Daniel Panasenko on harmonium. The title track, “Tomorrow Will Tell the Story” (8:52), has a progressive development, as soft jazzy pianos and soaring guitars follow Ethan‘s optimistic anthem. The album closes with “Aureole [bonus track]”(3:49), an Electronic piece with Progressive vocals and soaring guitars. With its own and unique approach to Electronic, Ambient, New Age and Soaring Progressive Music in general, Echo Us is highly and especially recommended for fans of “Tangerine Dream”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Era”, “Enigma”, “Kitaro”, “Gregorian”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, and “Philip Glass”. Band members and collaborators involved in Echo Us are: Henta – Vocals; Raelyn Olson – Lever and Pedal Harp; Ethan Matthews – Synthesizers, Guitars, Vocals, Voices (made possible by the Echo Us Intergalactic Federation). Rawn Clark - IHVH-ADNI canticle (A Bardon Companion); Daniel Panasenko - Harmonium on “Mirror In The Window”. Past Members: Matthew Cahoon – Vocals; Kai Kurosawa - Bass, Michael Van Dyne - Drums; Teri Untalan – Viola; Aaron Bell – Bass; Andrew Greene – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
02/29/2012................Interested to know more about the Band and musicians? You must Visit ECHO US HOME PAGE...
. FUNIN - "Unsound"
Funin is an Alternative and Experimental Pop-Rock group from Bergen, Hordaland (Norway). Funin started as an Electronic-Music duo founded by Marit Elisabeth Svendsbøe (vocals and flute) and Øyvind Vie Berg (keyboards, Rhodes piano). Along the years, the band’s line-up grew to an 8-piece chamber orchestra with extra live members: Gaute Stedje (vocals, guitar), Aleksander Tveit (guitar), Sissel Ørstavik (violin), Audun Berg Selfjord (cello), Edvard Mjanger (bass) and Hans Christian Dalgaard (drums). Funin believe that the best music is inspired by real life, and the feelings that come from being alive. Those feelings, either good or bad, form each person’s own emotional fabric that Funin tries to tear up, revolve, and make emerge. Hence their music evolves by confronting contrasting moods, being both dark and optimistic. Funin‘s debut album is called “Unsound” (1 November, 2010, Karisma and Dark Essence), and is reaching us only now. The sonority is like a blend of Symphonic Rock, Jazz and Folk Music framed in an experimental and non-mainstream Alternative and Avant-guard style. Their influences include bands and musicians of discrepant musical trends: “Bjørk”, “Radiohead”, “Robert Wyatt”, “Caravan”, “Landberk”, “Lamb”, and “Tom Waits”; with some resemblance with “Eurhythmics“, “Sigur Rós”, “Portishead”, “Frequency Drift”, and “Diablo Swing Orchestra“. Electronic layers spilled out by modern-sounding synthesizers, and ambient electric guitars divide the time space with organic sounds of violins, cellos, flutes, and the piano, sometimes giving to the music a Jazzy sophistication. Bass & drums are elegant; aligned with the most elaborated rhythms used by Alternative Rock bands from the 80’s to present days, also employing a vast range of ethnical beats borrowed from the World Music trend. Two members divide the task of singing. Marit Elisabeth Svendsbøe is the main singer, with a vocal tone and style that recalls immediately the voice of “Bjørk”. Male vocals are performed by Gaute Stedje. His voice is soft, soaring and slightly bittersweet, recalling Alternative Rock and AOR acts (“Radiohead”, “Coldplay”). Gaute sings on few tracks, in duets with Marit. “Unsound” features 10 tracks. The songs alternate moods from melancholic and upsetting to hopeful and optimistic, but are all infused by deep musicianship. The title track “Unsound“ (6:56) opens the album with beating sticks and mysterious tribal drums. The laud percussion merges with Marit’s siren-like vocals, being capable of revolving a person’s most hidden feelings. The slow “Wonderland“ (4:01) is also enveloped in a dark atmosphere, but has a cool-Jazz beginning that grows to a symphonic threshold that recall me of Progressive band “Frequency Drift”. The gloomy “Machine” (6:59), which combines emotional mechanic vocals and clashing electronic-metallic sounds into Industrial rhythmic violence, provokes a strange disturbing effect on the listener’s feelings. Those darker tracks are compensated with the optimism, hope, and spirit of songs like “Everything“ (5:31) (a fast Alternative rock with vocals by both Gaute and Marit, and symphonic strings on background, recalling me of “Coldplay”), and the unpredictable and contrasting “Tornado“ (4:05), which is driven by a hot Caribbean electro-rhythm that warms up amidst Marit‘s icy “Bjørk”-like vocals. Among my favorites, however, are the most soaring, placid and melodic tracks, such as “Last Day“ (4:10) (with vocals that slowly flutter over delicate guitars, violins and cellos); and the spiritual “Indestructible“ (3:32), driven by a thin layer of electronic beats and organs and flutes on the background, on which the confessional voices of Merit and Gaute reach their most sacred introspectiveness. Two interesting tracks are the “Inch of Me“ (6:31), with a heavy load of Electronica, sensual “Bjørk”-like vocals, and a second part with soft piano and jazzy bass reminiscent of compositions of “Robert Wyatt”, that ends up into a cacophony of strings; and the Avant-garde “Rocking Chair“ (2:43), which is weird, jazzy and boogie, sounding like a soft version of “Diablo Swing Orchestra“. The closing track, the beautiful “Sky Walkers“ (5:09), brings another sensitive Marit-Gaute duet supported by whale-whipping melodies, soaring cellos, and silky guitars, and fills the listener with a wonderful sensation of the vastness. Although not being a conventional Progressive Rock band, Funin really provides the listener with a sonic experience that is profoundly emotional and unique in its nature. Their debut album “Unsound” is really a distinctive and surprising work, full of remarkable music composed by talented musicians. Funin is highly recommend for fans of sophisticated music of the 80’s to 90’s, with either vanguard or electronic orientation, in special fans of “Bjørk”, “Radiohead”, “Robert Wyatt”, “Caravan”, “Landberk”, “Lamb”, “Tom Waits”, “Eurhythmics“, “Sigur Rós”, “Portishead”, and “Frequency Drift”. Band members and collaborators involved in Funin are: Marit Elisabeth Svendsbøe - Vocals and Flute; Øyvind Vie Berg - Piano and Rhodes; Gaute Stedje - Vocals and Guitar; Aleksander Tveit – Guitar; Sissel Ørstavik – Violin; Audun Berg Selfjord – Cello; Edvard Mjanger – Bass; Hans Christian Dalgaard – Drums; Mats Mæland Jensen – Drums on “Unsound”...
03/30/2012.....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FUNIN HOME PAGE...
. MISTHERIA - "Keys Of Eternity"
Mistheria is the artistic name of Italian keyboardist and composer Giuseppe Iampieri. Besides being a requested session musician, Mistheria writes soundtracks for video and theater, and works as keyboard demonstrator for Roland, CME and Yamaha. Mistheria began to learn music at the age of seven. At thirteen he was admitted at the Music Conservatory “A. Casella” (L’Aquila, Italy), where he graduated with honors on “Organ and Organ Composition” in 1995. Soon he was touring around Italy with Italian Pop singers and stage actors (“M. Cherubini”, “R. Cavalli”, “O.R.O.”, “A. Tatangelo”, “G. Sabani”, “S. Meogrossi”, “F. Bussotti”). In 1990 he formed his first Progressive Rock band, “Mirage”, which played in the style of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, and released the album “Frammenti“ (1994, Mellow Records). The project Mistheria began in 1996, firstly as a global art show blending music, poetry, dance and image, and later as a solo project that employed computer music software. When Mistheria listened to “Yngwie Malmsteen’s” album “Trilogy”, he expanded his musical interest to Heavy Metal. In 2001 Mistheria moved for three months to the USA (Orlando and LA, California), where he met guitarist and producer “Roy Z”, who invited him to play on two albums of singer “Rob Rock”; and later on “Bruce Dickinson’s”, “Tyranny of Souls“ (2005). On the following years, Mistheria played in other Rock, Prog-Metal and Fusion bands and projects, like “Winterlong”, “Angel of Eden”, Greek Symphonic Metal project “Mythodea”, Serbian band “Atlantida”; and solo albums of “Lance King” (“Balance of Power”), “Tommy Vitaly” (“Seven Gates”), “Neil Zaza”, “Fabrizio Chiruzzi”, “Fabio Colella”, “Dino Fiorenza”, “Franck Ribiere”, “Citriniti bros & Fabrizio Leo”, and “Chris Catena”. Mistheria also took part on Lion Music tributes (“Shawn Lane Remembered” v.1, v.2; “The Spirit Lives On” v.1 – tribute to Jimi Hendrix; “Warmth in the Wilderness” v.1, v.2 - tribute to Jason Becker). In between, Mistheria records his own solos albums, which follow two opposite musical orientations.’s Albums ”Messenger of the Gods” (2004) and ”Dragon Fire” (2010), both Lion Music, blend Power, Progressive and Neo-Classical Metal like “Symphony X”, “Malmsteen” and “Artension”, and feature many guests (“Rob Rock”, “John West”, “George Bellas”, “Mark Boals”, “Lance King”, “Titta Tani”, “Matt Bissonette”, “Barry Sparks”, “John Macaluso”, “Jeff Kollman”, “Anders Johansson”, “Emir Hot”, “Neil Zaza”, “Roger Staffelbach”, “Alberto Rigoni”). Albums ”Soundtracks of Your Life” (2006, Kaosmos Productions) and ”Solo Piano” (2007, Videoradio & RAI) instead, feature Mistheria‘s most personal and nuanced musical side, one that seeks for artistic perfection amid the softness of Classical, New-Age, and Ambient Music. “Keys of Eternity“ (2011, Sifare Publishing, Italy) falls into the second category. Far from bringing the energy of Heavy Metal, this album trails the placid waters of Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary Music, with influences of composers such as “Brahms”, “Chopin”, “Liszt”, “Schumann”, “Schubert”, “Debussy”, “Saint-Saëns”, “Ravel”, “Philip Glass”, and “Mike Oldfield”. “Keys of Eternity“ has 11 piano pieces. Some are played on the classic piano alone, but others include an electronic rhythmic layer and a symphonic background that is synthesized by computer programming. This is the case with “Perigenia”, an Ambient intro with celestial keyboards; and the peaceful “Naibi”, on which the deep piano melody is driven by electronic pulses in New-Age style. Really symphonic are the vivid “Teslina Sonata”, which includes many textures of keyboards, fluid pianos and epic airs; and “Memory”, on which the piano flows, progressively merging with string arrangements and angelical vocal choirs, recalling works of “Philip Glass” and “Mike Oldfield”. On “One Day in Heaven”, the lonely piano is joined by fine electronic beats, the entire piece sounding like score -music. Contrasting with those electronic-symphonic pieces are those written exclusively for piano. “Voice of the Heart” recalls the bright sonatas of “Brahms” and the opulence of “Beethoven”; while “Song Without Words” hovers more diaphanous. The masterpiece “Frozen Keys” is a composition inspired on “Chopin” but blended with a “Mendelssohn” gothic mood. The melancholic introspective mood of “Chopin’s” Nocturnes is present on the nostalgic “Coming Back”, and on the shaded tones of “Lullaby for Simone”, which is also surrounded in a fairy-tale atmosphere of “Saint-Saëns”. “Chopin’s” “Nocturne in Em” closes the album, being brilliantly executed by Mistheria: with profound emotion and refined technique. Charming, romantic, and fascinating, Mistheria’s “Keys of Eternity” is a delightful work that will surely captivate all lovers of Classical Piano, New-Age and Ambient Music. Highly recommendable! Mistheria’s “Keys of Eternity“: recorded, mixed and mastered by Fabio Colucci and Mistheria at Musicando Production Recording studios - Sifare (Rome, Italy); Produced by Francesco Digilio (Sifare Publishing), with participation of: Mistheria – Music, Arrangements, Keyboards. “Teslina Sonata” written by Ivana Greguric, arranged by Mistheria. “Song Without Words” written by Guido Ruggeri. “Nocturne in Em” (op.72 n.1) written by Chopin...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012.....Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic projects, go to MISTHERIA HOME PAGE...
. EL TRIO - "Siempre Que Hay Un Corazón"
The amazing Dominican band El Trio is back to this webzine once more. This time we are presenting their debut album, "Siempre Que Hay Un Corazon" (independently released in 2008). El Trio consisted then of Jonatan Piña Duluc (vocals, guitars, saxophones, keyboards), Kilvin Peña (bass), and Pablo Peña (drums), who would be later replaced by Johandy Ureña. El Trio aims to promote the poorly known Dominican rock scene, being specially focused on the worldwide diffusion of the style known as "Dominican-Fusion" - created by the legendary "Luis Dias" – and that is characterized by merging the "American Rock, Jazz and Blues" with 40 different ethnic rhythms from the Dominican Republic and Haiti (including the "Merengue" and the "Bachata"). The songs are sung in Spanish, and speak about the social and political problems of the Dominican Republic. The compositions make use of Dominican traditional rhythms (provided by guest musician Eliezer Ramirez) and feature jazzy improvisations. Their influences, besides "Luis Dias", are "Jimmy Hendrix", "Santana", "Steely Dan", "Living Colour", "King Crimson", "Zappa", "Colosseum", "Soundgarden", "Fito Paez", "The Mars Volta", "Draco Rosa" (Puerto Rico), "Soda Stereo" (Argentina) "Tryo" (Chile), and "Maná". The musicians of El Trio know how to blend Rock and Jazz with Latin and Dominican Rhythms in their own distinguishing way – resulting in an urban cosmopolitan sonority that sounds familiar to any listener in the world. Duluc’s voice is really peculiar, and he ever sings with passion. His guitar solos are also precious. Pablo Peña’s drumming is alternatively rocky and jazzy. The groovy bass of Kilvin Peña is an important instrument in making the bridge that unites the Latin musical world to the Jazz-Rock universe. The Dominican rhythms and percussion are provided by guest musician Eliezer Ramirez. Other musicians – notably Patricio Bonilla (on trombone) and Iván Batista (additional guitar solos) - add much more spice to this Latin-Rock gravy. "Siempre Que Hay Un Corazón" was Recorded between 2005 and 2007 at Tijera Records, Santiago, Dominican Republic, and mixed by Iván Batista (who also acted as guest guitarist). Compared with the second album ("La Blanca y la Gris") the songs of "Siempre Que Hay un Corazón" are much more visceral and spontaneous, and the influence of Jazz-Rock is noticed with more intensity, mainly on the frequent improvised guitar solos and on the overall enthusiastic performance. The band was still exploring new paths and ideas, and had just begun to experiment with new ways of combining Rock and Jazz with their homeland Dominican Rhythms. The result was really original and luring. Along the 12 tracks of the CD, the music alternates from outbursts of vigorous Jazz-Rock to warm and sensual Latin moods, constituting genuine examples of what the "Dominican Fusion" really is about. On this way, songs like "Canción De los Callos" (opening track), "Como Un Mensaje", and "Elástica" (and its one-minute "coda" "Más Elástica") are impregnated with Latin sensuality, at the same time being extremely sophisticated on their rhythmic lines and harmonic frames. Showing strength and passion, the excellent chorus of "Te Quiero Para..." reminds me of "Fito Paez", at the same time having a shiny brass session on the background. The fast pace of "Outro Muerto" and "Punto Aparte" are marked by funky bass lines, groovy guitars reminiscent of "Santana", and hard riffs and expressive vocals that also remind me of "Fito Paez"; whereas "A Médio Vivir" – one of the top songs of this record – slows the pace to a cool mood, also having a remarkable guitar solo. Forgetting a bit their Latin roots, El Trio shows that may also work as a remarkable Jazz-Rock trio, bursting out energy and rocky guitar solos on "Crisálida" and "Vaina de Aqui", two songs that show influences of "Soft Machine", "King Crimson" (mainly on bass), and "Zappa". The peak of El Trio’s Jazz-Rock influences is reached on the amazing "Va a Llover" – a 10-minutes long track that features the most experimental side of the band, one that they would farther develop on their second album. Including long solos of bass, drums and guitar, this admirable piece blends Hard Rock, Jazz-Rock, Fusion and R.I.O., rivaling to bands like "Soft Machine", "Colosseum", and "Zappa". The album could finish at this song, but it still brings the light pop-song "Canción de Lulú", which closes the album with a lively dancing mood. As it was already said, El Trio cannot be tagged as Progressive. Nevertheless, a band having their musical quality should not be overlooked. Open-minded fans of Music that have a penchant for Latin-Rock, Jazz-Rock and Fusion should check El Trio out. It is highly recommended! Band members and collaborators involved in El Trio are: Jonatan Piña Duluc (Jonás) – Vocals, Guitars, Saxophones, Keyboards, Compositions, Production; Kilvin Peña – Bass, Backing Vocals; Pablo Peña – Drums, Backing Vocals; Johandy Ureña – Drums on "Otro Muerto". Guest musicians: Eliezer Ramirez – Bongos, Tambora, Güira, Maracas; Iván Batista – additional Guitars; Miguel Andrés Tejada – Organ on "Como um Mensaje"; Patricio Bonilla – Trombones on "Te Quiero Para.." and "Elástica"; Jorge Luis Mateo – Trumpet on "Te Quiero Para...". On "Elástica": Willy Cruz – French horn; Ivanova Casimiro – Violins; Raymond Félix – Cello...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EL TRIO HOME PAGE...
. NAUTICUS - "The Wait"
Nauticus is an Experimental Metal band from Finland. The line-up consists of Tuomas Rajala (drums), Juuso Jalava (bass), Markku Kastell (guitar), Juho Matilainen (guitar), and Jani Rämö (vocals). Nauticus’ discography includes the debut album “A Wave to Carry Us Out” (2009); and the recently released “The Wait” (February 2012). The album was recorded and mixed by Antti Loponen; drums were recorded by Artturi Laukkanen at Redhouse Studios; mastered by Sami Sarhamaa at Perfect Sound Studios, and produced by T. Rajala, Antti Loponen & Nauticus. The CD cover features superb art-work by Matador Gigante. The sonority of their first album was raw and crude, and much similar to “Tool”. On “The Wait”, Nauticus adjusted the compass to navigate across the seven seas of Metal, following a musical course of their own. In this new work, Nauticus experiments with Post-Metal, Psychedelic Progressive Metal, Thrash, Doom, Gothic Hard-Core, Sludge and Drone-Metal with influences of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Mudvayne”, “Novembers Doom“, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Slayer”, “Saint Vitus”, “Earth”, “Sunn O)))”, and other of their kind. The music is propelled by the powerful combination of Rajala’s intense and unquiet drumming and Jalava’s dense and lavish bass – as in the manner of bands like “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle”. This Post-Metallic strong rhythmic layer supports the double attack of both Kastell and Matilainen‘s solid guitar riffs, which come in hypnotic waves that produce thorazine-dope psychotropic effects on the listener. Amid the cathartic storm, Jani Rämö shouts loud, desperate to be listened. As in most Post-metal acts, the vocals are painfully emotional, being melancholic and depressive in a moment, suddenly turning angry, furious or anguished in another. Nauticus’ sound is aggressive, tormented, distorted, and psychotic, impressing the listener with a sonic experience only comparable to being engulfed by the gelid dark waves of the Arctic Ocean. “The Wait” features 8 tracks. The opening track, “Constructing the Liquid Plains“ (8:28), is a Psychedelic Post-Metal driven by mesmerizing bass that recalls “Tool” and “Earth”. The echoing guitars splatter against the nervous drumming, as melancholic vocals are flooded by the "Sea of Sadness". The song gradually progress in intensity, until be lost in vast horizons. “Ascend“ (6:56) begins quieter, with pianos, but later reveals itself as being even stronger and more powerful. Rämö‘s voice is very emotional, the guitars, hypnotic, and the drumming, thunderous. “A Delayed End“ (7:59) combines ruffling drums, relaxing bass and clean vocals in a trippy atmosphere. The song grows with the coming of furious guitars. A second part features deep bass notes marching from the nowhere, whispering vocals, mechanical scary tunes and torpedo-drumming. The amazing tracks “The Route“ (7:42) and “Bone Dams“ (9:05) are separated from each other by the frightening sounds of the interlude “Their Whereabouts“ (2:47). Both tracks stand as album favorites, and bring many internal variations, of rhythm and style. “The Route” provokes a strange effect on the listener, by superposing fast drumming to slow, heavy guitars that echo in the distance (reminding me of “A Perfect Circle”). It follows with amazing Thrash-Metal riffs accompanied by anguished vocals. A scary part, driven by wavy bass, marks a surprising twist for a ritualistic Doom-Metal riff that is followed by a tenebrous Gothic chant. “Bone Dams“ is an Experimental Metal with great bass and drums and drowned vocals, all split in the middle by slow and heavy Doom-Metal riffs that recall old “Saint Vitus”. They open way for distorted guitar solos and more gloomy chants, now with an epic tone, as if Nauticus were summoning the dead to rise from their tombs to fight a last battle. This dazzling song is followed by the pragmatic “As Barriers Fall“ (5:44) – a wild and furious Thrash-Metal, reminiscent of “Slayer”, that scrambles down to a Psychedelic-Metal at the end. The album ends with the remarkable “Kalmisto“ (11:18) - a superb instrumental piece that includes pianos and strings that evolves like a Psychedelic Post-Metal symphony - a true Ode to the Melancholy. An impressive work, “The Wait” represents a step farther on Nauticus’ evolutionary path, being highly recommended for fans of “Tool”, “Earth”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Mudvayne”, “Novembers Doom“, Post-Metal and Experimental Metal in general. Band members and collaborators involved in Nauticus are: Tuomas Rajala – Drums; Jani Rämö – Vocals; Juho Matilainen – Guitar; Markku Kastell – Guitar; Juuso Jalava – Bass. Additional musicians: Antti Loponen - Backing vocals, keyboard & 12-string acoustic guitar; Kari Mäkiranta - Piano & organ; Satu Kastell - Violin & viola; Teemu Mastovaara – Cello; Tuomas Rajala - Percussion & Programming; Rämö, Loponen & Rajala – Chants. Also you must visit Nauticus at Bandcamp Page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012..........................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit NAUTICUS HOME PAGE...
. JACK JEFFERY - "The Constant That Remains"
Jack Jeffery is a guitarist, singer and composer from Virginia, U.S.A. Besides writing his music, Jeffery performs all instruments and vocals alone, and produces his own albums. His musical interests go around Progressive, Ambient, Psychedelic Music, and Folk Rock, with influences of bands and artists like “Pink Floyd”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “The Beatles”, “The Moody Blues”, “Roger Waters”, “Syd Barrett”, “David Gilmour”, “Kraftwerk”, “Procol Harum”, “Nick Drake”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Manuel Gottsching”, “Tangerine Dream”, “John Lennon”, “Neil Young”, “Crosby, Stills, & Nash”, “Stephen Stills”, “Paul Simon”, “Simon & Garfunkel”, “Yes”, and “Rush”. Jeffery’s debut album “Passage to Agadir” (which was featured at this webzine under Reviews 2010) brought many songs played on acoustic guitars followed by calm vocals (recalling “Floyd”, “Roger Waters”, “Syd Barrett”, “The Moody Blues”, “Crosby, Still, Nash & Young”), supported by soft passages of electronic keyboards with influences of “Eno”, and “Alan Parsons”; all permeated with melancholic Folk-Progressive-Psychedelic ambiences. Jack Jeffery has just released a second album. Entitled “The Constant That Remains“ (2012), it was also all written, performed and produced by Jeffery alone. “The Constant That Remains“ contains 12 tracks that clock 48:39 altogether, and explores Jeffery’s style still farther. “The Constant…” opens with a series of ballads with predominance of acoustic guitars and bittersweet vocals: “We Need it Back (The Modern Dream)“ (7:01) combines relaxing echoing voices with sweet angelic choirs, ending in a melodic guitar solo; the whole song recalls a combination of “Pink Floyd” with “The Moody Blues”; “Rearranged“ (5:19) has folk guitars superposed to cosmic “Eno”-like synthesizers; and the soft “A Plea To A Dreamer“ (5:34) is marked by a sad piano, having more angelical choirs and light keyboard melodies – the melodious chorus reminds me of “John Lennon”, and the naive trumpets, of “The Beatles”. From this point on, the CD brings songs on which Jeffery blurs his musical influences even more, remaining, however, loyal to his original soothing style. He chains up a sequence of great songs, beginning with the delicate “Gavotte for African Steel Guitar“ (3:10) (an instrumental solo for Classical Guitar), going forward with the Progressive ballad “Fade Away“ (5:17) - on which tenor vocals and ethereal synthesizers meld with acoustic guitars and slow progressive bass notes, growing later in waves of cosmic intension (all resembling a mix of “Moody Blues” and “Eno”) – and, finally, the remarkable “The Sirius Wall“ (4:03) – an instrumental symphonic piece that confronts the future with the ancient, being driven by pulsing bass and electronic beats, in “Floyd-Parsons” mode, that support a psychedelic guitar solo that dominates most part of the track. Another great song is the somber “Everything Changes“ (4:12), which recalls me of “Roger Waters” at first, but gains in complexity by adding string arrangements, mid-tempo jazzy drumming, and minimalist piano solo. Then the CD enters a phase dedicated to Instrumental Electronic Music. The pair “Trust the Dial!“ / ”Valencian Cosmos“ (0:41 / 3:16) – forms an Electronic Progressive piece that combines the ambience of “Eno” with symphonic synthesizers like ”Tangerine Dream”, still having a beautiful Spanish guitar solo in the middle. Yet, the modern “Ascendancy“ (3:31) employs artificial electronic beats (like “Parsons”); guitar chords and slightly psychedelic-gothic organs (like “Ash Ra Tempel”) to deliver a tranquil and danceable Trip-Hop, which ends with angelical choruses that fade toward “The Constant in the Chaos“ (0:51) – a concrete piece that reunites wuthering winds, bells and noises of war. The last song, ”Carry On“ (5:44), closes the album majestically, by blending delicate acoustic guitars, clean electric guitars, and bittersweet vocals that, at first, recall “Pink Floyd”. The following segments, however, are instilled with an optimistic mood, brought by the progression of symphonic keyboards and melodies of hope that revive the atmosphere of old songs of “The Moody Blues”. Another solid album by Jack Jeffery, “The Constant That Remains” will satisfy his old fans, and call for new ones, coming from the trenches of Soft Progressive appreciators and Bittersweet-Ballad lovers, being therefore highly recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “No Man”, “Sigur Ros”, “The Beatles”, and so on… Only band member involved with Jack Jeffery is: Himself  – Vocals,12-String & 6-String Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitar, Keyboard & Percussion Programming, Trumpets and Cornets...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012.............Want to learn about the musician and more about his history, go to JACK JEFFERY HOME PAGE...
. X-PANDA - "Flight of Fancy"
X-Panda is a surprising new band coming from Estonia. The present line-up consists of Kaarel Tamra (keyboards), Risto Virkhausen (guitars), Tamar Nugis (bass, vocals), and Karl-Juhan Laanesaar (drums). X-Panda was founded in April 2009, initially as a project to perform in a song contest. Founding members Tamra, Virkhausen and Laanesaar – with former bassist Liis Ring - won the competition with the song “Linnukesed Siristavad”. The audience’s positive reaction encouraged them to continue with X-Panda. In August 2009, bassist Tamar Nugis replaced L. Ring. Soon X-Panda was captivating audiences around Estonia, either presenting explosive concerts, or winning band contests (like the utmost “Noortebänd 2010”). This success resulted in the release of their first independent album: ”Flight of Fancy” (September, 2011). The album was mixed by Slim Mäesalu e X-Panda; mastered by Mika Jussila, and contains 11 tracks. The lyrics were written by Hanna Paal (for “Black” and “Revelation”); and Robin Juhkental (“Siren”). All other tracks are instrumental. The music of X-Panda blends balanced doses of Progressive Rock, Fusion-Metal, and Symphonic Progressive-Metal with tints of Epic Metal. Their influences are bands and musicians such as “Dream Theater”, “Planet X”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Virgil Donati”, “Simon Phillips”, “Joe Satriani”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Nightwish”, and “Rush”. They also recall me of guitarists “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, and bands like “Symphony X”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Royal Hunt”, “Enchant”, “Cairo”, and “Explorers Club”. X-Panda‘s music evolves by means of alternating marvelous melodic and long guitar and keyboards solos that are supported by consistent bass and drums passages. Guitarist Risto Virkhausen is a master of the instrument, producing soaring solos with style and technique. Soulful melodies slowly progress from his guitar, telling a kind of Epic-Prog-Metal saga. Keyboardist Kaarel Tamra plays with mild temper, leaning to the Prog-Fusion. The arrangements are trapped in dynamic and complex structures that contain many rhythmic changes, jazz-fusion chord progressions and surprising melodic solutions, all surrounded by symphonic atmospheres going from dreamy to epic. When vocals are present, the music recalls “Shadow Gallery” (if sung by Nugis) or “Nightwish” (if supported by the Tartu Youth Choir, or sung by female singer Teele Viira); strongly following the trends of Symphonic Prog-Metal and Epic-Metal styles. The opening track “Intro”/“Black” (11:49); and the last, “Revelation” (6:24), blend epic choirs and symphonic arrangements, like “Nightwish” and “Within Temptation”, with the melodic and complex instrumentation of “Dream Theater” and “Symphony X”. The long “Black” (11:00) still contains musical arabesques, Progressive male vocals, bells, whipping guitars and impressive extra-long solos; while “Revelation” (6:24) brings a duet of male and female vocals and Celtic violins that instills in it an Epic-Folk spirit. The short “Siren” (4:22) is a version of “Malcolm Lincoln’s” song that represented Estonia in the Eurovision Contest, and features powerful vocal lines and drums, akin “Shadow Gallery” and “Dream Theater”, and a long part played on the piano. In opposition to the vocal tracks, the instrumental tracks show a stronger lean to Fusion Music, like the Fusion-Metal “Dickybirds” (7:01) (which alternates light and heavy parts, recalling “Planet X”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension”, and “Explorers Club”, being driven by guitars in the style of "Vai” and “Satriani”); the Prog-Fusion “Flight Of Fancy” (7:04) (based on a 12/8 time signatures inspired on “Alo Mattiisen”, and “Simon Phillips”, and driven by keys like “Planet X” and “Jordan Rudess”); and the powerful Prog-Metal-Fusion “Journey Of A Dream” (11:06), which includes experiments with 5/4 signatures, jazzy pianos, symphonic parts, and long passages of melodic synthesizers and guitar solos – all recalling “Rush”, “Liquid Tension” and “Dream Theater”. X-Panda boldly enters the experimental terrains on the tracks “Crystal Gazing” (8:16) (on which they test triplet rhythm figures and rhythmic illusions, inspired on “Gavin Harrison’s videos and book “Rhythmic Illusions”); and on “Rhythm Department” (5:58), which compiles musical ideas that could not be conveyed on an usual pattern: it is the darkest and heaviest song of the CD, bringing aggressive bass, drums, and guitar riffs that recall me of “Symphony X”. In contrast, the lightest tracks are the New-Age “Keyboard Solo” (3:20); and the Progressive “Calm Waters” (4:17), which blends acoustic guitars, diaphanous pianos and floating bass, all reminiscent of band “The Flower Kings”. Summing all up, X-Panda’s debut album is really a great surprise, being impregnated with a deep sense of melody that is lacking in most bands of today – indispensable for fans of “Planet X”, “Dream Theater”, “Explorers Club”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Symphony X”, “Nightwish”, “Royal Hunt”, “Enchant”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice” and “Cairo”. Band members and collaborators involved in X-Panda are: Kaarel Tamra – Keyboards; Risto Virkhausen – Guitars; Tamar Nugis - Bass & Vocals; Karl-Juhan Laanesaar – Drums. Special participation: The Tartu Youth Choir conducted by Markus Leppoja, Kadri Leppoja and Riho Leppoja. Backing vocals: Teele Viira. Additional musicians: Toomas Vana – Trombone, Kreete Perandi – French Horn and Mihkel Kalip – Trumpet (all on “Black” & “Crystal Gazing”); Kristi Timma – Violin (on “Revelation”). Past member: Liis Ring - Bass...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012.................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit X-PANDA HOME PAGE...
. DAYMOON - "All Tomorrows"
Daymoon, in the words of lead-musician Fred Lessing, is a “Regressive Rock” band that aims to produce incoherent music abridging the last millennium. Hailing from Portugal, Daymoon works in close collaboration with the best Portuguese musicians (the extensive line-up is listed below), and foreign ones, including guitarist Thomas Olsson, keyboardist Mats Johansson (of Swedish act “Isildurs Bane”); keyboardist and producer Andy Tillison (“The Tangent”, “PO90”), and Mark Lee Fletcher (independent singer). Daymoon began in early 80’s as a Portuguese band called “Dead Landscape”, later “Por Ter Lido Mal O Mapa” (“For Having Misread the Map”). Without reaching commercial success, the band disbanded after a few years. Lessing, however, kept on making fruitlessly “Regressive Rock” and worked hard in a regular job, until he eventually assembled a home studio. In 2009 a renovated Daymoon emerged in Lisbon, featuring the gifted musicians who helped to record the band’s official debut album “All Tomorrows” (2011, Mals Records). The title was inspired on William Gibson‘s novel “All Tomorrows Parties”. The album took almost seven years for coming out. It started off with song “Sorry”, which was produced, arranged, and mixed in 2004 by Thomas Olsson and Mats Johansson (of “Isildurs Bane”). Lessing then wrote and recorded the remaining tracks, all dedicated to his beloved wife Inês (who has passed away recently, victim of cancer). Those tracks were co- & post-produced, mixed and mastered by Andy Tillison. The tag “Regressive-Rock” used by Lessing to label Daymoon‘s sonority can be understand as “Retro-Progressive Rock”. In fact, the music of Daymoon sounds deliciously old-fashioned, albeit creative and timelessly fresh. The songs could be easily misled for something recorded along the 70’s by an obscured U.K. Progressive band, suddenly rediscovered as a pirate’s lost treasure. Lessing writes his lyrics in English, instilling his verses with poetry, irony and sense of humor. The compositions are complex, structured with unusual harmonies, using odd time signatures. The arrangements are rich, employing acoustic and electric instruments, wind instruments, ethnical percussion, and many kinds of keyboards. Melodies, textures and contrasts are well-balanced amidst unexpected twists and musical surprises. Their style blends Symphonic Prog and Canterbury Sound with influences of “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Caravan”, “Soft Machine”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Khan”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pallas”, “Mr. So & So”, “The Tangent”, “Isildurs Bane”, “The Flower Kings”, “Tantra”, and “Queen”. “All Tomorrows” has 10 tracks. “All Tomorrows“ (4:51) has vivid “Gentle Giant” and “Yes”-like modes. The final guitar solo recalls “Queen”, and was taken from a 19th-century operetta (“The Merry Widow” by “Franz Léhar”). “TranscendenZ“ (2:35) has jazzy guitars, clarinets, sax, and flugelhorn embedded into a 19/8 time signature, recalling “Soft Machine”. “Human Again“ (7:45) begins like a soft folk dance, recalling “Gentle Giant”, “Camel”, and “Caravan”. The second part includes Neo-Prog tints and a “Gentle Giant”-type of vocal chorus. “Marrakech“ (2:43) brings exotic atmospheres, keyboards, flutes, and Arabian ethnical parts. On “Sorry“ (11:05) Lessing’s vocals are ironical (like “Syd Barrett’s”), and driven by T. Olsson‘s entrancing guitars, M. Johansson‘s cosmic keys, medieval flutes, “Gentle Giant” vocals, and experimentalisms of “King Crimson”. The last part has a “Peter Gabriel” vocal accent. “Bell Jar“ (6:06) is the only track with an “electronic modern beat”, recalling “Radiohead”. “First Rain“ (5:30) is cradled in a sweet folk atmosphere, driven by delicate acoustic guitars and Hugo Flores’ soaring vocals (recalling “Barclay James Harvest”, “Mr. So & So”). “Arklow“ (6:58) employs flutes, clarinets, violins, and Canterbury guitars. M. Fletcher‘s voice recalls “Caravan” and “Hatfield and the North”. The following part grows with opulent Moogs and Hammonds (recalling “Pallas”, “The Flower Kings” and “The Tangent”). On “News From The Outside” (4:45), Fletcher‘s voice and Fernando Guiomar‘s great guitars add a “Floydian” touch to this beautiful ballad. The masterpiece “The Sum“ (13:48) closes the album bringing Canterbury-styled grandeur, blending mainly “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, and “Khan” with “Gentle Giant”, “Camel”, and “King Crimson”. A surprising African part includes ethnical percussion, xylophone and chorus (with participation of Inês). A delightful album of Retro-Progressive music, Daymoon’s “All Tomorrows” is highly recommended for any orthodox fan of 70’s Prog-Rock in the style of “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Khan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Genesis”, “Tantra”, “The Tangent”, “Isildurs Bane”, and “The Flower Kings”. Daymoon is preparing a follow-up album called “Fabric of Space Divine” (featuring old material), and a third one featuring new compositions by all band members. Band members and collaborators involved in Daymoon are: Portugal: Bruno Capelas - Acoustic & Electronic Drums and Percussion; Paulo Catroga - Keyboards, Vocals; Paulo ChagasMiosótis”, “Mispel Bellyful”) - Saxophone, Flute; Luís Estorninho - Bass Guitar; Hugo FloresProject Creation”, “Factory of Dreams”) - Vocals; Fernando Guiomar - Guitar; Fred Lessing - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Woodwinds, Flute, Recorders, Ethnic Percussion, Vocals; Inês Lessing - Backing Vocals; Adriano Pereira - Clarinet, Flute, Melodica, Keyboard, Sax, Percussion, Vocals - Maria João Tavares - Clarinet; Italy: Luca Calabrese – Flugelhorn; Sweden: Thomas Olsson - Guitar; Mats Johansson - Keyboards; UK: Andy Tillison - Keyboards, Cameo Vocals; USA: Mark Lee Fletcher - Vocals; Pete PrownGuitar Garden”) - Guitar; Jay Schankman - Keyboards. Live band: André - Acoustic & Electronic Drums, incidental vocals; Joana - Keyboard, Percussion, Vocals; Rodrigo - Electric Guitar; International Daymoon: Mark - Bass Guitar; Davis – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DAYMOON HOME PAGE...
. MOE TAR - "From These Small Seeds"
Moe Tar is a new band coming from the San Francisco Bay Area (California). The line-up consists of Moorea Dickason (vocals), Tarik Ragab (bass), Matt Lebofsky (keyboards), Matthew Heulitt (guitar), and David Flores (drums). Core members Dickason and Ragab had already been playing together since 2004 in the punk/funk band “No Origin”, that was oriented to political criticism. But before founding “No Origin”, Ragab had taken part in the art-rock band “E is for Elephant” (of guitarist “Brian Kenney Fresno”), which exposed him to the Progressive concept of using a Rock band as a chamber-music ensemble. When Ragab and Dickason founded Moe Tar in 2008, their main idea was to fuse the nonconformist temper of protest-music with the complex instrumentation of Progressive Rock. So, they completed the line-up with versatile and experienced musicians that could make their music sound more elaborated. Political messages would still be conveyed on MoeTar’s lyrics, but should appear less aggressive than in “No Origin”. Moe Tar’s performances around Bay Area led them to sign with Magna Carta Records, what resulted in the release of their debut album “From These Small Seeds” (2012, Magna Carta). Moe Tar’s sonority is difficult to categorize. It easily extrapolates the tag of Progressive Rock, even under the ample subtypes of “Eclectic Prog” and “R.I.O.”, which fit better, albeit not well-adjusted, to their music. Moe Tar blends Flower-Power Psychedelics, Pop-Rock, Electronics and Experimental Music within its music frame, but also Alternative Rock, Hard-Rock, Jazz and Blues. Sometimes the band sounds like a Retro-Rock band emulating the sound of the 60’s, an evaluation quickly destroyed by the modernity of their 21st century stamina. Influences are varied and discrepant (“Zappa”, “The Beatles”, “XTC”, “Gentle Giant”, “Stevie Wonder”, and “Laurie Anderson”), with roots on “Jefferson Airplane”, “Heart”, “Velvet Underground”, “Janis Joplin”, “Henry Cow”, “King Crimson”, and even “Supertramp”. The songs are born from the shock caused by the polarized personalities of the optimistic Dickason and the pessimist Ragab. The reflections of the impact are transposed to the instrumentation, which sounds odd, contradictory and incompatible but, at the same time, coherent and organized into original and creative arrangements. Moe Tar‘s music is so illogical that it could go wrong at any moment, but somehow it works properly – and that paradox is exactly what makes Moe Tar‘s music so attractive to the listener. Dickason‘s voice is astonishing, reuniting qualities of “Ann Wilson” (power), “Janis Joplin” (emotion), and “Grace Slick” (passion), bringing extra modulations from Jazz. Ragab, Heulitt and Flores embroider hundreds of notes in surprising and complex arrangements that recall “Zappa”, “Crimson”, and “Gentle Giant”. Lebofsky on keyboards alternates amazing piano parts with symphonic arrangements, or futuristic synthesizers with vintage keyboards. “From These Small Seeds” has 11 tracks. “Dichotomy” (3:57) opens the album alternating lively keys and cheerful vocals with bouncing pianos and bass. The punching “Infinitesimal Sky” (3:02) and the dramatic “Screed” (4:40) are seventy-styled Hard-Rock songs ornamented with Opera-Rock pianos and arabesque guitars, both driven by Dickason’s strong vocals (recalling “Heart”). The odd time signatures of the impossible-to-sing “Random Tandem” (4:12) and the twisting and Broadway-Jazzy “Ist or an Ism” (4:58) follow the experimental vein of “Zappa”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson” and “Henry Cow”. The title track “From These Small Seeds” (5:20) is a powerful Space-Rock with “King Crimson” inspiration that merges heavy keys and frantic pianos into Acid-Jazz instrumental parts; while “Morning Person” (2:54) falls under the hard attack of Electronic keys and killing bass and guitars. In the realm of Moe Tar’s contradictions, the melodic “Butchers of Baghdad” (4:19) sounds like “Joplin” singing on “Supertramp”; the soaring “New World Chaos” (5:40) has angelical vocals superposed to chaotic and funny up-and-down scales; and “Never Home” (4:50) is a soft jazz ballad that looses its innocence to a corrupted lysergic-rock (like “Velvet Underground”). The fantastic “Friction” (3:08) closes the album with destructive vocals, choirs and drumming. Definitely a album full of fresh new ideas, Moe Tar’s “From These Small Seeds” represents a journey that leads to pleasant discoveries and unexpected surprises. A brilliant and outstanding work, high above the conventional, that I shall vehemently recommend for appreciators of Eclectic Prog, R.I.O., Retro-Rock, Psychedelia, and fans of “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Henry Cow”, “Gentle Giant”, “Heart”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Moe Tar are: Moorea Dickason – Vocals; Tarik Ragab – Bass; Matt Lebofsky – Keys; Matthew Heulitt – Guitar; David Flores – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
03/30/2012......................................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: MOE TAR HOME PAGE...
. FUZZ MANTA - "Opus II"
Fuzz Manta is a Danish retro-rock band from Copenhagen. The line-up consists of Lene Hvillum (vocals, lyrics), Freddy (guitar), Morten (bass) and Pelle (drums), with contribution of Jesper Bo Hansen (organ). Their music oscillates from Psichedelic Rock to Hard Rock and Classic Rock of the Seventies, also following the modern tendency of the Stoner Rock. Their influences come from seminal bands like “Beatles”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “The Doors”, “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Yardbirds”, “Mountain”, “Free”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Blue Cheer”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, “Cactus”, “Whitesnake”; and Stoner bands like “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, and “Fu Manchu”. Fuzz Manta’s debut album – “Smokerings” - was released in 2009. “Opus II” is the follow-up. It was released in March 2011 on a limited vinyl edition with gatefold sleeve, and on CD was released later under the independent label Bilocaton Records / Kozmik Artifactz. The album was recorded in the Fuzz Manta Headquarters in Copenhagen, from June to December 2010, by Pelle and Fuzz Manta. Dubs, vocals and mixing were done at Echo Studio, Copenhagen. Engineered by Anders H. Mortensen; and mastered by T. J. Lipple in Washington DC, USA. The sound of Fuzz Manta recreates with fidelity the typical atmosphere of the Rock musical scene that lasted from the late 60’s to the early 70’s. The songs feature wise lyrics written in English, being driven by the excellent vocal performance of Lene Hvillum. She sings with soul and passion, and the strength of her voice reminds me of “Grace Slick”. Another highlight of the band is guitarist Freddy, whose eclectic and deliciously retro-sounding guitar-style has incorporated the licks of many luminaries of the Classic Rock, such as “Hendrix”, “Clapton”, “Jeff Beck”, “Jimmy Page”, “Paul Kossoff”, “Leslie West”, and “Tony Iommi”. Lene and Freddy are escorted by the powerful rhythmic section formed by Morten on the bass and Pelle on the drums. Together, they build a solid rhythmic base that may go from the most impulsive and explosive cadences of “Deep Purple” and “Blue Cheer” to the elaboration of “Cream” and “Budgie”, adding either the Hard Rock swing of “Free” and “Zeppelin”, or the slow heaviness of “Sabbath” and “Kyuss” to the psychedelic paranoia of “Jefferson Airplane”, “Vanilla Fudge” and “The Doors”. The quartet, sometimes with contribution of the heavy and fleeing Hammond organs of keyboardist Jesper Bo Hansen (who recalls me of “Jon Lord”), performs the 8 high-spirited tracks of “Opus II”. The opening track is the heavy “Motumann“ (4:27), a substatial song with “Black Sabbath” -like slow guitar riffs. It is followed by the energetic and fast-paced “Man With No Face“ (4:51), a song the combines the bouncing organs of “Deep Purple” with the primeval beats reminiscent of “Blue Cheer”. Also on this line, the treack “White and More“ (3:57) begins with locomotive-speed, recalling a tempestuous “Deep Purple”, decreasing the cadence later to add an excellent “Cream” -like instrumental sequence, and to include some darker “Sabbath” guitars. Outside that 60’s-70’s atmosphere, the impressive “Turn Around“ (3:44) inserts slow and heavy guitar riffs into an solid Psychedelic frame, sounding like modern Stoner-Rock bands like “Kyuss” and “Fu Manchu”. In contrast, “Corrosion“ (3:35) has a cheerful disposition, and considerable more swing, being marked by pianos, cow bells, and great “wah-wah” guitar solo, showing influences of “Free”, “Zeppelin” and “Clapton”. Meanwhile, the acoustic ballad “Quiet Monday“ (4:45) appears as a serene island amidst the havoc, recalling folk moments of “Jefferson Airplane” and “Zeppelin”. Two songs called my attention for their boldness and long duration: “Lithia’s Box“ (8:37, available only on CD, or for download) and the extra-long closing track “Let Me Walk“ (11:23). “Lithia’s Box“ combines swing and energy with many instrumental moments of interlocked amazing guitar solos, psychedelic bass, and hard-rock drumming, recalling “Hendrix”, “Zeppelin”, “Free”, “Mountain”, and “Jefferson Airplane”. “Let Me Walk“ is the resume of Fuzz Manta’s sonority. Mixing organs and guitars, bass and drums, Psichedelia, Hard Rock and Blues, this song is divided in two parts. The first part is a vibrant and electrified Hard Rock, in the style of “Free”, “Cream”, “Yardbirds”, “Purple” (those Hammonds again !). The second part is introduced by a tribal drum solo that leads to a Psychedelic-Blues on which Lene explores the best of her vocals and guts, and Freddy drains his rootsy-bluesy vein to the last drop of blood – to reach the level of “Cream”, “The Doors”, and “Mountain”. A great band of Stoner-Rock, Fuzz Manta is highly recommended for lovers of Classic, Psychedelic and Hard Rock, in special fans of “Jefferson Airplane”, “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Yardbirds”, “Mountain”, “Free”, “The Doors”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Blue Cheer”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, “Cactus”, “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, “Fu Manchu”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Fuzz Manta are: Lene Hvillum - Vocals, Lyrics; Freddy – Guitar; Morten – Bass; Pelle – Drums. Jesper Bo Hansen – Organ on “Man With No Face”, “Corrosion”, and “Let Me Walk”. Check Youtube, Facebook and MySpace sites...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/03/2012..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FUZZ MANTA HOME PAGE...
. FUSION POINT - "Morning Rain"
Fusion Point is an instrumental Fusion-Jazz Trio hailing from St. Petersburg (Russia). The line-up consists of Kirill Sokirko (piano); Dmitry Malygin (bass), and Roman Smirnov (drums). Fusion Point‘s proposal is to blend several sub-genres of Jazz, including Jazz-Rock, Smooth-Jazz, Funk, Trip-Hop, Nu-Jazz, Lounge, and even older genres like Cool, Be-Bop, and Mainstream/Swing into instrumental compositions that privilege melody over improvisation. The musical arrangements are thus planed to be transparent, and accessible to most listeners – either Jazz-lovers or not. When performing alive, Fusion Point stays in tune with the audience’s emotional response to the music – so that the musicians can grow and set new priorities when working on new material. Fusion Point’s music has been mainly influenced by “Esbjorn Svensson Trio”, “Hiromi Uehara”, “Michel Petrucciani”, “Niacin”, “Marcus Miller”, and others. Fusion Point has just released their debut album, entitled “Morning Rain” (2012, MALS Ltd, Russia). The record was mixed and mastered by Kirill Sokirko; and engineered by Viktor Prochorov, at the “Composer’s House” in St. Petersburg. Fusion Point is a trio of very talented and skilled musicians. The music is mainly driven by Kirill Sokirko’s vivid and opulent piano. His melodies are fluidal and bouncing, impregnated with joy. Dmitry Malygin on the bass makes a perfect counterpoint, either keeping the swing, or being classic and chic, or still engaging in outstanding solos. The equilibrium between piano and bass is kept by drummer Roman Smirnov, who is responsible for alternating fast tempos with slow cadences, so giving each musical piece its own mood – from cheerful to cool, refined to frantic. As a whole, the trio performs easily, with great integration, making the music to sound melodic, soft and easy-listening. “Morning Rain” features 8 instrumental tracks. My favorites are the fast and vivid, with stronger influence of Be-Bop Jazz, like the opening track “Mania“; the unpredictable “A Very Tough Day“ (with interchanging solos of piano, bass and drums); the cheerful “I Say Yes“; and the nuanced “The Brilliant Way“. Slower to mid-tempo, and recalling the work of “Michel Petrucciani”, are the cool and classic “Waltz’n’Blues“; the soft, bouncing, but somewhat sad  title track “Morning Rain“; the cool-styled “Japanese Girl“, (with great contribution of the bass); and the remarkable “9, 11, & 7“ (on which the piano themes soar over a Brazilian “Bossa-Nova” rhythmic line). Although I am not a Jazz aficionado – what hinders me from writing a better comparative review – I should say that Fusion Point’s “Morning Rain” is an excellent album, containing music performed by real professional musicians that will please all fans of Modern Jazz, being highly recommended for fans of “Chet Baker”, “John Coltrane”, “Charles Mingus”, “Thelonious Monk”, “Charlie Parker”, “Michel Petruccianin”, “Bill Evans”, “Keith Jarret”, and other jazz legends. Band members and collaborators involved in Fusion Point are: Kirill Sokirko – Piano; Dmitry Malygin – Bass; Roman Smirnov – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/03/2012...............Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to FUSION POINT HOME PAGE...
. ACID EMPIRE - "Acid Empire"
Acid Empire is a Symphonic Metal project founded by Mike Bridge (bass, acoustic guitar, lyrics, compositions, and production), a member of band “Season’s End“. The idea popped up after a show of that band that had been supported by a live symphonic orchestra. Feeling that complex orchestral music could greater contribute to the Metal genre, Mike saw the opportunity to come up with something new. For the task, he summoned Dave Stanton (electric guitar), Jack Lipinski (vocals), Hannah Bridge (vocals), and Damian Wilson (“Threshold”, “Ayreon”, “Rick Wakeman’s English Rock Ensemble”), who acted as guest singer on one track. Recordings and production of the eponymous debut album took two years, with final release happening in October 2011. Acid Empire conjures up with perfection the beauty and majesty of Classical Music with the energy and intensity of Heavy Metal. The music includes both string and wind sections, pianos, and orchestral percussion that are perfectly blended into heroic arrangements and melodies on which powerful guitar riffs, amazing neo-classical solos, and stormy bass lines gather together in obedience to erudite standards. The grandeur, drama, and adventurous disposition featured on all tracks are comparable only to the score-music of many epic and fantasy movies. The amazing vocals of both Lipinski and Hannah Bridge add a tint of Folk accent with a remembrance of Celtic ancestry to the music. The resulting sonority is reminiscent of many Metal-Opera projects, Symphonic Metal, and Symphonic-Prog bands (e.g. “Aina”, “Epica”, “Kamelot”, “Ayreon“, “Missa Mercuria”, “Nightwish”, “Therion”, “Magni Animi Viri”, “Falconer”, “Adventure”, “Genius“, “Avantasia“, “Soulspell”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, “Symphony X”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Renaissance”, “Uriah Heep“, “Rainbow”, “Deep Purple”), playing in communion with soundtrack composers such as “John Williams”, “Trevor Jones”, “Randy Edelman”, “Klaus Badelt”, and “Danny Elfman”. The most symphonic parts are inspired by the Masters (“Bach”, “Beethoven”, “Liszt”, “Debussy”, “Dukas”, “Saint-Saëns”, “Dvorak”, “Prokofiev”, “Tchaikovsky”, and “Mussorgsky”). “Acid Empire” is a Magnum Opus performed in 11 pieces. The instrumental “Prelude“ (06:04) opens the album with astral sounds, oriental metal riffs and orchestra, and ends with a gothic piano tune. “Only the Weak“ (06:19) is a potent Power-Prog driven by Lipinski’s epic Folk-Metal vocals, balanced by wind instruments and string arrangements and crowned with wonderful melodic solo (recalling “Kamelot” and “Falconer”). “Denial“ (05:55) also has that epic Celtic vein, but brakes to a surprising Blues guitar solo supported by organ. Lipinski’s emotional vocals take the lead amidst amazing “Beethoven”-inspired wind instruments. A sequence of three tracks follow: the acoustic guitar instrumental prelude “Theme“ (01:57) precedes “Would You Do It Again“ (05:18) & “Would You Do It Again (Reprise)“ (04:56). That pair is slower in tempo, albeit bringing vigorous guitars that tackle soaring strings. Epic vocals by Lipinski are accompanied by epic chorus. A waltzing guitar solo flies over powerful drums and pulsing bass, finishing in a magical fairy-tale orchestral interlude. A guitar riff erupts, and the soulful, mesmerizing voice of Hannah Bridge is heard for the first time. Track 7, “1000 Days“ (05:08), begins with Baroque harpsichord, acoustic guitars and soft orchestrations. The highlight is a vocal duel between Hannah‘s sad voice and Lipinski‘s majestic entry amid strong guitars, leading to a gorgeous neo-classical solo. Hannah‘s voice returns, growing stronger until the great final chord. Track 8 ”Into the Void“ (04:54) is an epic and dark Power-Prog. Guitars and orchestra attack since the beginning, as an amazing Damian Wilson sings with strength and metallic attitude. He makes a fantastic duet with Hannah, while guitars, bass and drums join in an apocalyptic end. The twin tracks ”The Return (Prelude)“ and “The Return“ reveal more of the awesome music of this record: ”Prelude“ (04:05) is an instrumental piece with lute and flutes inspired on the Renaissance epoch. The metallic segment has astonishing guitar and bass, ending with Arabian-sounding orchestra. The main piece “The Return“ (04:50) is a song with orchestral background reminiscent of “Ayreon”, and brings another duet of Lipinski and Hannah intercalated with amazing guitar solos – epic, melodic, and neo-classical. Closing the album, the instrumental postlude “Finale“ (07:38) is a Symphonic Prog-Metal piece that rivals the best score music ever written, featuring free-flying guitars, space solos, and heroic orchestrations. “Acid Empire” is a superb Epic album, awesome and spectacular – a must-have item for fans of Symphonic Metal, Power Prog-Metal, and Epic Folk-Metal who also appreciate score-music, specially fans of “Aina”, “Epica”, “Kamelot”, “Ayreon“, “Nightwish”, “Magni Animi Viri”, “Adventure”, “Falconer”, “Avantasia“, “Genius“, “Soulspell”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Acid Empire are: Mike Bridge - Author, Composer, Bass Guitar, Producer, Acoustic Guitar; Dave Stanton - Electric Guitar; Jack Lipinski – Vocals; Hannah Bridge – Vocals; Damian Wilson - Guest vocals on “Into The Void”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
01/18/2012...................................For more details and in the meantime please check out ACID EMPIRE HOME PAGE...
. VAIPING - "Industrial Workers Of The World"
Vaiping is an Industrial-Electronic Rock band from Stavanger, Norway. The line-up has Eirik Steffensen (vocals, synthesizers), Håkon Landmark (guitar), Per Magnus Johnsen (bass), and Rune L. Horvei (drums, programming). Regarded as one of the most exciting groups of the genre appearing in Norway’s underground musical scene, Vaiping aims to transpose the Norwegian borders with their frozen Nordic sound – to conquer audiences internationally. Visually, Vaiping reinforce the industrial aspects of their music by appearing on stage dressed as old-fashioned boilermen, smeared with coal and oil - something that really makes an impression in a concert scene. Their discography includes the debut album “The Great Polar Expedition” (2007), and the follow-up “Industrial Workers of the World” (2009); both released on Karisma Records. Their music is a blend of Electronic and Industrial Music, largely influenced by “Massive Attack”, “Tool”, “Bjork”, “Tom Waits”, “Kraftwerk”, “Rammstein”, and other German Electronic bands. Vaiping’s industrial way of making music is reminiscent of a great power-plant inside which musical bricks are produced in series, and brought to the listener on a slow conveyor belt. Each instrument is a gear of the entire Vaiping automatic engine, the working rhythm of which is unstoppable, steady, repetitive, tribal and danceable. The sonority is metallic, mechanical, geometrical, angular, dark, and smoky. Vocals are impersonal, robotized, monochord, and icy-polar. The album “Industrial Workers of the World” contains 11 tracks. Some are short experimental tracks, made of industrial sounds, noises, electronic effects and voices, like “Land for Sale“ (1:17), “Street Talk“ (0:20), ”Salvation Army“ (0:57), and “Listen Up“ (3:47) (that sounds like a worker’s strike speech. My favorites are the strongest tracks, which employ heavy percussion and hammered guitars and bass amid a dense metallic wall of electronic rhythmic blasting: “Iww“ (4:10) (driven by robotized machine voices); “The Blue Ribbon“ (3:32) (which combines heavy guitars, slow metallic beats, and ghostly symphonic samples into a breath-sounding machine, and recalls the compact sound of “Rammstein”); and the pounding “High Hopes“ (4:33), made of distorted metallic guitar sounds that contrast amazingly with the seductive and innocent voice of Mina Steffensen. Another favorite track is the instrumental “Victory“ (5:54), which is surrounded in polar temperatures, being strangely tranquil sometimes, and hazel-stormy in other moments. Slower, dark and gloomy, the tracks “Transatlantik“ (4:43), driven by the android-voice of Ann Karin Bäde; and “Wind Will Blow“ (4:18) are particularly weird, psychedelic and entrancing, albeit still dance-bouncing. The only track that differs from the others by shifting from the Electronic-Industrial mode to a more organic quality is “Pie In the Sky“ (4:21), a slightly cheerful ballad, with normal vocals and agreeable tunes that slips latter to the gothic – and ends up with a vivid post-rock attitude. “Industrial Workers of the World” is, from the beginning to the end, a record aimed for the Industrial-Electronic enthusiast, and I shall recommend it for the appreciators of that Musical genre, specially fans of “Massive Attack”, “Bjork”, “Kraftwerk”, and “Rammstein”. Band members and collaborators involved in Vaiping are: Eirik Steffensen – Vocals, Synths; Håkon Landmark – Guitar; Rune L. Horvei - Drums, Programming; Per Magnus Johnsen – Bass. Additional musicians: Mina Steffensen – Vocals (on “High Hopes”); Ann Karin Bäde – Vocals (on “Transatlantik”); Hans Edward Hammonds – Voice (on “Street Talk”, “Iww” and “Listen Up”); David Bowen – Voice (on “Street Talk” and “Listen Up”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/03/2012..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VAIPING HOME PAGE...
. IVORY GATES - "Status Quo"
“Status Quo” is the second album of Brazilian Heavy Metal band Ivory Gates (see the review on the band’s third album: "The Devil’s Dance”). “Status Quo” was released in 2005 under Die Hard Records, and was the follow-up to Ivory Gates’ debut album “Shapes of Memory” (2002). At that time, the band’s line-up formed with Malagueta (vocals), Matheus Armelin (electric guitars), Hugo Mazzotti (bass, cello), and Fabrício Félix (drums). The album had guest appearances by Jane Pereira (female vocals) and Renato Guizeline (guitar solo on “Betrayal of the Heart”). The sonority of “Status Quo” brings strong influences of the Classic Rock, Progressive Rock, Traditional Metal, NWOBHM, and the proto-Progressive-Metal of the period spanning the 70’s and the 80’s. Influential bands are “Kansas”, “Journey”, “Rush”, “Iron Maiden”, “Dio”, “Judas Priest”, “Picture”, “Accept”, “Grim Reaper”, “Queensrÿche”, “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” phase), and early works of “Dream Theater”. Overall, the sonority is full of calm passages with melodic instrumentation (recalling “Queensrÿche” and “Fates Warning”), coupled with slower but pulsing “Iron Maiden”-like bass lines. Drums are technical, being either cadenced (recalling “Queensrÿche”, “Iron Maiden”, and “Picture”) or rocky (like “Journey” and “Dio”). Many guitar riffs recall the Traditional Metal of “Judas Priest”, “Accept” and “Dio”, but sometimes are soaring like “Fates Warning”, “Queensrÿche” and “Dream Theater”. Solos are elaborated, ranging from Melodic Metal and Hard Rock to the proto-Prog-Metal. Over the instrumentation, Malaguetas’s amazing vocals drive the songs with power and emotion, like a blend of “Bruce Dickinson” with “Dio”. The songs are occasionally adorned with cello harmonies, keyboards, and female vocals. “Status Quo” is based on “George Orwell’s” book “1994”. The album features 9 excellent tracks that cover an ample palette of Heavy Metal styles, and can all be listened to in a row. The instrumental “Overture 2084“ (2:09) recalls the sonority of early “Fates Warning”, “Dream Theater”, and “Rush”; while “System of Power“ (7:37) is a blend of NWOBHM with Hard Rock and Classic Rock, sometimes recalling “Iron Maiden”, other times, “Journey”. Under the influenced of the trio “Queensrÿche“, “Fates Warning”, & “Dream Theater“; the songs “One Of These Nights“ (5:33) (with great guitar solo); “Shelter From the Rain“ (4:27) (aggressive and head-banging, with intricate bass and guitars); and “Betrayal of the Heart“ (6:41), with melancholic vocals, keyboards, and the great guitar solo (courtesy of guest musician Renato Guizeline), are among the best of the album. Leaning to the Hard Rock and Traditional Metal, the all-favorite ballad “We Are the Dead“ (6:02) has a Bluesy intro with amazing female backing vocals, and emotional Hard-Rock vocals by Malagueta, who sings like “Dio” (on “Rainbow”); while “Kill the Giant“ (7:14) brings a “Judas Priest” kind of riff, before turning into a rock ballad with clean, non-aggressive vocals (like “Journey” and “Dio”), and has surprising string arrangements before the guitar solo. Another highlight is the title track “Status Quo“ (6:53), which begins as a dark slow ballad reminiscent of “Iron Maiden”, and grows later to attain epic “Fates Warning”-like guitars. The closing track is the remarkable “Closed Eyes“ (8:03) - the great Prog-Metal song of this record – with influences of “Journey” (on chorus), great vocals of Malagueta, and instrumentation that recalls early “Dream Theater”, “Queensryche”, and “Fates Warning”. Although Ivory Gates has shown much more progress on their most recent album (“The Devil’s Dance”), what has dimmed a little the brilliance of “Status Quo”, this album is still an excellent endeavor of the band, and I should strongly recommend it for fans of Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal of the 80’s, in special fans of “Queensrÿche”, “Iron Maiden”, “Fates Warning”, “Dio”, “Judas Priest”, “Accept”, “Picture”, “Grim Reaper”, and of early works of “Journey”, “Rush”, and “Dream Theater”.  Band members and collaborators involved in Ivory Gates are: Malagueta – Vocals; Matheus Armelin – Electric Guitars; Hugo Mazzotti – Bass, Cello; Fabrício Félix – Drums. Guest musicians: Jane Pereira – Choir on “We are the Dead”; Renato Guizeline – Final solo on “Betrayal of the Heart”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/03/2012.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IVORY GATES HOME PAGE...
. 25 YARD SCREAMER - "Until All Are One"
25 Yard Screamer is a power-trio hailing from the city of Carmarthen (South Wales). The line-up consists of Nick James (guitars, vocals, and keyboards), Matt Clarke (bass), and Donal Owen (drums and percussion). The band was formed back in 2002, and since then has recorded 3 self-produced CD’s. The best was “Cassandra” (2007), which by its sonority and thematic (based on the Greek Mythology), called the attention of the Progressive community and received several flattering reviews (also here in "PR&PM" webzine – see under “Reviews 2008”). On “Cassandra”, the band presented a perfect blend of Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock, Classic Rock and Hard Rock with touches of Metal, largely influenced by the Progressive Rock of “Rush” and the sensitive sound of modern-day “Marillion” (Nick’s voice was even compared to “Steve Hogarth’s”). Other influences are “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Queen”, “Porcupine Tree”, “The Mars Volta”, “Riverside”, and many Metal bands of diverse styles, from Thrash and Prog-Metal to Experimental and Post-Metal (“Iron Maiden”, “Dream Theater”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Morbid Angel”, “Anthrax”, “SikTh”, “Tool”, and “A Perfect Circle”). “Until All Are One” (2011, 2112 Recordings) is the follow-up to 25 YS’s acclaimed “Cassandra”. Featuring 7 tracks, the new album brings a sonority that tends less to the Classic and Progressive Rock, being impregnated with the metallic nature of the Prog-Metal, Experimental Metal, Post-Metal, and Atmospheric Heavy Progressive. Similarities with the soaring sound of “Marillion” are limited, but Nick James still sings with a clean, soft and melodic voice. Most tracks on “Until All Are One” employ an instrumental frame that sounds like a blend of “Rush” with “Iron Maiden”, but played in a lower key, an option that made the music to sound darker, immersed in a gloomy atmosphere. Nevertheless, the music is still solid, mature and impressive, for the three musicians are able to interlock their instruments with rigid mathematical precision. Even though there are some moments of thrashing spontaneity, their music is always calculated, cerebral, and creative. 25 YS steadily unfolds unexpected instrumental parts on each track, always finding a breach to escape monotony throughout. The longest tracks are outstanding. “Jeremiah“ (14:14) opens the album with that “Rush–Maiden” low key, then engages in guitar riffs that recall “Dream Theater”, coupled with bittersweet vocals. A middle instrumental part is driven by gloomy bass and guitars, growing to a violent drumming (now recalling “Opeth”). A long guitar solo marks the return of the song to its initial key, with vocals becoming more hopeless until being engulfed by a distorted guitar solo. “Train“ (13:08) is vigorous, heavy, and dark, and contains many different parts. The whirlwind instrumentation comes and goes in stormy waves, recalling “Tool” or “A Perfect Circle”. They are sometimes soothed by calm vocals and subtle string plucking. Phantasmagoric vocals, acid-distorted guitar solos, and rumbling bass and drums indicate that the influence of “Marillion” is almost relegated to the void. Two of my favorite tracks are the instrumental “Whorus“ (4:20) (driven by fast riffs like “Rush”, “Megadeth”, and “Dream Theater”); and the experimental ”The Waiting Room“ (6:04), with weird metrics and “King Crimson” - “Opeth” twisted guitar riffs, passing through an unexpected segment for soaring emotional vocals, and going back to the madness by entering the Psychedelic mode of “Porcupine Tree” (and finishing with a Fusion-Metal solo). Back into the “Rush” stylistics, the album still brings the rocky ”All God’s Toys“ (4:54) and “Parade of Souls“ (5:40), which retains 25 YS’s original proposal of blending “Rush“ with “Marillion” (albeit occasional thrashing drums and devious guitar solo may say the contrary). The last track, “The Thirteenth Bell“ (16:04), obeys the Progressive principle uniting with perfect balance the hardness of “Rush” with the subtleness of “Marillion”, and having a Space-Rock middle part and mellow vocals followed by Progressive soaring guitar solo. This song fades about 8:15, but contains a surprise-track that begins at 11:00 – a beautiful acoustic ballad, for fans of “Marillion”. With “Until All Are One”, 25 Yard Screamer has strayed a little from the original sonority, but the new material indicates that the band will have no difficult to find a place among lovers of Atmospheric Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, Experimental and Post-Metal, in special fans of “Rush”, “King Crimson”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “The Mars Volta”, “Riverside”, “Iron Maiden”, “Dream Theater”, and “Opeth”.  Band members involved in 25 Yard Screamer are: Matt Clarke – Bass; Nick James – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Donal Owen – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/03/2012...............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit 25 YARD SCREAMER HOME PAGE...
. CANADA - "ReCycled"
Canada is a power trio based in Rimini, Italy. The present line-up consists of founder member and multi-instrumentalist Massimo Cillo (bass, vocals, keyboards, percussion), and new components Massimo Arke (electric and acoustic guitars) and Tiziano Fabiani (drums and percussion). On their own words, Canada is a Progressive-AOR power trio that plays a mix of 80’s Metal and Progressive Rock. The band began activities in 1984, during the British New-Wave and Neo-Progressive explosion, being influenced by bands like “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Twelfth Night”, and “IQ”. In 1986, their musical orientation changed for a harder sonority that was influenced by “Rush”, “Praying Mantis”, “Grand Prix” and “Stampede”. At that time, the nucleus of Canada consisted of Massimo Cillo and drummer Marco Casadei, around which gravitated many guitarists until 1995 (see below). Canada recorded a demo tape in 1987 and, in 1988, the never-released 12” EP “Endless Pictures”. Canada recorded then another demo that featured the song “Don’t Throw Your Heart”, which was included on the LP compilation “Surgery of the Power” (1989, Fireball Management). Another demo followed - “But for You” (1990) - but Canada disbanded. They would briefly return in 1995 with the Italian-language demo “Mr. Gone” before stopping definitively. But in 2010 the sparkling flame of Rock shone brighter, and Canada reformed again. Led by only original member Massimo Cillo (bass, vocals, keyboards), and with new members Massimo Arke (guitar), and Tiziano Fabiani (drums), Canada has made a great return. In June 2010, the band made a presentation on the Prog-Rock Festival “eXprog” in Mogliano, Veneto (Italy), opening for “Marillion”, “Tony Levin Trio” and “Le Orme”. They also released the CD “Afterimage” (2010, Andromeda Relix) - a collection of tracks released on cassette and vinyl between 1987 and 1995. The new EP “ReCycled” (2011, MySelf Music) features four songs of “Afterimage” that were totally re-arranged and re-recorded, plus one cover track (“Tom Sawyer”, by “Rush”). The artwork is a reinterpretation of the original concept depicted on “Afterimage’s“ cover. All songs were composed, arranged and produced by Massimo Cillo (except “Tom Sawyer”); mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni. The EP has participation of additional musicians Johnny Petti (first guitar solo on “Eyes on You”), and Dario Ciccioni (drums on “Tom Sawyer”). Canada‘s sonority evolved along the years from a Neo-Progressive matrix to a 70-80’s Hard-Rock and AOR pattern with touches of 80’s Prog-Rock. Influences come from bands like “Rush”, “Triumph”, “U.F.O.”, “Asia”, “Boston”, “Van Halen”, “Kansas”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, “Scorpions”, “Mr. Big”, “Winger”, “Europe”, and “Deep Purple”, approaching the updated sound of modern acts like “Presto Ballet”, “Tiles”, “Enchant“, and “Unruly Child”. The predominant mood is lively, driven by swinging and groovy instrumentation. The powerful “Eyes On You“ opens up with strong vocals, rumbling bass & drums, corpulent keyboards, and N.W.O.B.H.M. guitar riffs. The highlights go for the great guitar solo by Johnny Petti, while the whole song recalls me of the best of “U.F.O.”, “Rainbow”, and “Whitesnake”. The following track “Don’t Throw Your Heart” tends to the AOR, being full of rock swing and driven by a sticky vocal chorus, recalling “Asia”, “Boston”, “Whitesnake”, “Winger”, and “Europe”. But the middle bass solo in “Geddy Lee” style, superposed by a great guitar solo, recall “Rush” in its best, revealing the high quality of Canada’s musicianship. The third track, “Angel of the City“ also appeals to the AOR format, slowing down to danceable beats of 80’s Rock, being however improved by a great solo sequence of 70’s styled guitar-Hammond-guitar. Track four, “Never Surrender“, is an instrumental piece with great influence of “Rush” on bass and drums, and surprising 70’s Hard-Rock bluesy guitar solos that dialogue with synthesizers solos like “Asia” and “Pendragon”. Closing the EP, the emblematic “Tom Sawyer“ (“Rush”) is perfectly performed with reverence & excellence: unless by Cillo‘s voice, which is stronger and deeper than “Geddy Lee’s” - the song sounds as being played by “Rush” musicians themselves!. Reuniting skill, musicianship and experience, Canada will be unquestionably appreciated by lovers of “Rush”, “Triumph”, “U.F.O.”, “Asia”, “Boston”, “Kansas”, “Rainbow”, “Whitesnake”, “Mr. Big”, “Winger”, “Europe”, “Van Halen”, and so on. Canada is already recording new songs for a first full-length album, entitled “Of Once and Future Kings”, that it will be released in 2012. Excellent work, highly recommendable.  Band members and collaborators involved in Canada are: Massimo Cillo - Bass, Vocals, Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Piano, Synthesizers, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals and Percussion; Massimo Arke - Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Tiziano Fabiani - Drums and Percussion. Additional musicians: Johnny Petti - First guitar solo on “Eyes on You”; Dario Ciccioni - Drums on “Tom Sawyer”. Past members: Marco Casadei - Drums, Percussion, and Backing Vocals; Guitarists: Luca Villani (1987); Massimiliano Corona (1988/1989); Roberto Macrelli (1990); Matteo Macalli (1995). Annamaria Arcangeli – backing vocals on “Afterimage” (2010)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/03/2012..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit CANADA HOME PAGE...
. TOXIC SMILE - "I’m Your Saviour"
Toxic Smile is a German Progressive-Metal band that was founded by keyboard player Marek Arnold (also on Crossover Prog band “Seven Steps to the Green Door”) and drummer Daniel Zehe, in January 1996, in Leipzig. The simple reason for starting the band was that they were fed up with playing student jazz. The line-up was completed with guitarist Uwe Reinholz (May 1996), vocalist Larry B. (1998) and bassist Robert Brenner in January 2000. In September 2004 original drummer Daniel Zehe suddenly left the band, being subsequently replaced by Antonius Gruetzner (who appeared on the 2006 DVD “Toxic Smile In Classic Extension”); and later, by newest drummer Robert Eisfeldt. Besides the aforementioned DVD, Toxic Smile also released the full-length studio albums “Madness and Despair” (2000, F.act-records, Germany; released as “M.A.D.” in 2001 by BMG, South Korea, and reissued in Europe in 2011) and “RetroTox Forte” (2004, Famous Kitchen, Germany); and one EP, “Overdue Visit” (2009, Progressive Promotion Records). Their third full-length album is “I'm Your Saviour” (2011, Progressive Promotion Records), which is reaching us only now. Toxic Smile’s sonority is comparable to most representative Progressive Metal and Fusion Metal bands, like “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”, “Queensrÿche”, “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Redemption”, “OSI”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Niacin”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, and “Presto Ballet”, but with a differential: inserted into the omnipresent Metallic frame there is a strong sophisticated Art-Rock & Pop component brought within by the amazing vocals of Larry B. – a singer who reminds me of mostly of “Phil Collins” and “Peter Gabriel”, and a few times of “David Sylvian”. Contributing to that band’s trademark, the unique keyboard playing of Marek Arnold and the cool-jazzy bass work of Robert Brenner can insert slower paces and smoother moments into Toxic Smile‘s otherwise stormy and energetic sound - a break into the solid guitar work provided by Uwe Reinholz and the technical drumming of Robert Eisfeldt. Along the 9 tracks of “I’m Your Saviour”, the impenetrable wall of sound that surround songs like the Prog-Metal tracks “Liquid Wall” (9:10) (with great intro on pianos and many solos of synthesizers and guitar); “Change” (5:37), and “Endless Cycle” (6:42) - the last two in style of “Dream Theater” - alternate with the contagious rhythm of the awesome Fusion-Metal tracks “The Abyss” (7:45) and “I'm Your Saviour” (8:00) (both with groovy guitar riffs, funky bass and crossover parts that recall bands like “Niacin”, “Planet X”, “Liquid Tension”, and “CAB”. The energy and heaviness of those songs are sometimes interrupted by the softness of ballads like “Hidden Brand” (6:31) (a Metal ballad driven by piano and bass); “Walked By Fear” (6:21) (a sad Progressive ballad driven by acoustic guitars, soft bass, and whispered vocals bringing moments that recall “Peter Gabriel” and “Flower Kings”); “Pride and Joy” (6:33) (a Progressive ballad covered by layers of keyboards and pianos, popish groovy bass and some “Phil Collins” - “Genesis” vocal parts); and “Poles Apart” (5:16) (a melancholic song with glassy sounds of electric pianos, and the vocal introspectiveness of “David Sylvian”). As a whole, “I’m Your Saviour” is a solid and brilliant album that sets Toxic Smile aside from many other regular Prog-Metal bands by combining the distinguishing vocals of Larry B. with the remarkable keyboard approach of Marek Arnold, all inside a musical frame that uses more groovy-funk-pop elements than usually. Toxic Smile is therefore indicated to the open-minded Progressive-Metal lover who is apt to taste and assimilate a wider offer of musical influences. Toxic Smile is highly recommended for fans of “Queensrÿche”, “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphony X”, “Shadow Gallery”, “OSI”, “Redemption”, “Liquid Tension”, “Niacin”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, “Presto Ballet”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Phil Collins”, “David Sylvian”, “The Barstool Philosophers”, “The Mars Volta“, “Coheed & Cambria”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Toxic Smile are: Marek Arnold – Keyboards, Saxophones; Uwe Reinholz – Guitars; Larry B. – Vocals; Robert Brenner – Bass; Robert Eisfeldt – Drums...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/29/2012.....................................,More information? Better check it out for yourself at: TOXIC SMILE HOME PAGE...
. AH POOK THE DESTROYER - "The Silver Key"
Ah Pook The Destroyer is a project band born from the collaboration between Matthew Broyles of the “The Matthew Show” (vocals, guitar, bass, vocoder) and Paul Shapera of “Mocha Lab” (vocals, keyboards, percussion). Their motto is to musically represent pieces of iconic literature. Their first self-produced album is titled “The Silver Key” (2011, Naïve Music) and focuses on the literature of “H.P. Lovecraft”. The album is based on Lovecraft’s short story “The Silver Key”, which was chosen by the duo for having a philosophical content that is absent from his horror-oriented works. Ah Pook The Destroyer has a modern Progressive sonority that blends elements of Dark-Progressive, Psychedelic, Electronic, and Post-Rock, sounding like a mix of “Pink Floyd”, “Eno”, “Alan Parsons”, “King Crimson”, “Lou Reed”, “No-Man”, “Radiohead”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Satellite”, “Sigur Rós”, “Frequency Drift”, and “Jupiter Society”. Most songs are mid-tempo to slow, with melancholic and delicate moods that are parted by emotional contrasts, having few moments of aggressiveness. Vocals are soft, soaring and dreamy, sometimes distorted by means of electronic effects, and spread amid the electronic ambience surrounded by eerie atmospheres and oneiric soundscapes. The guitars are clean, whale-weeping, or float in solos of psychedelic inspiration (recalling “Pink Floyd”); sometimes falling to ponderous chords that echo in the horizon. Icy-frozen pianos, minimalist bass and solid drumming contribute to form a supernatural aura that permeates the music. “The Silver Key” contains 10 songs, all written by Broyles and Shapera, except for the narrations of excerpts of several Lovecraft’s writings, particularly “The Silver Key”. Ah Pook The Destroyer‘s musical style, as described above, remains consistent on most songs. Beginning with the mysterious vocals of the opening track “When I Dream” (6:58), the listener is lured to explore a dreamy world that stays hidden behind a dark curtain of weeping guitars and powerful guitar chords (like “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”); and later is encouraged to learn “The Logical Relation of Things” (6:23) a powerful song with electronic background that recalls me of “Frequency Drift” and “Radiohead”. The frightening “Antidote for the Commonplace” (5:36) combines exotic and dense electronic percussion with futuristic robotized voices, being counterbalanced by heavy guitar riffs. The several Progressive ballads of the record are less frightening, but keep the same eerie and psychedelic atmosphere. In general, they have a “Pink Floyd” mood mixed with a musical ambience of “Parsons” and “Radiohead”, and are driven by sad and soaring harmony vocals (recalling “Pink Floyd” and “Moody Blues”). The most beautiful is “Worship of the Real” (5:28), which also features a long guitar solo; the most melancholic is the acoustic “Earthly Shackles” (2:20); and the most captivating is the soaring “Gods of their Elders” (3:40). The most “Floydian” of all ballads is the amazing space-bluesy “Disappearing into the Past" (6:33). Near the end of the CD, two tracks caught my attention for being very different from the band’s intriguing musical mode: tracks 7 and 9. Track 7, “Experiences in the Dark” (5:14), is a crossover that blends rap vocals and male/female chorus with a funky swing and a kind of “King Crimson” metrics, covered by a layer of  Hammonds. Track 9, “The Silver Key” (6:36) - one of the album’s best – is a Post-Rock that fuses many modern trends with great rocky drumming and vivid groovy bass, also featuring soulful vocals and bouncing pianos, and a heavy attack of guitars that recalls the Hard Rock of the 70’s. The last track of the album is “Providence” (7:18) – it is another bittersweet ballad with bluesy inspiration that recalls me of “Pink Floyd” and “Lou Reed”, being finished with a ascending chorus that reproduces the chorus on the opening track – therefore closing the whole circle. In sum, Ah Pook The Destroyer’s “The Silver Key” is a substantial and original work, presenting a sonority that, although influenced by many important bands, does not sound faithfully equal to any of them at all, being instead new and refreshing. Ah Pook The Destroyer is highly recommended for fans of Dark Progressive and Psychedelic bands, namely “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “No-Man”, “Radiohead”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Satellite”, “Sigur Rós”, “Frequency Drift”, “Jupiter Society” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ah Pook the Destroyer are: Paul Shapera – Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion; Matthew Broyles – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Vocoder; Beth Brown – Vocals on “Experiences in the Dark”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/29/2012.........................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AH POOK THE DESTROYER HOME PAGE...
. SBB - "SBB"
The legendary band SBB is back to this webzine with their last release. 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 that is recorded on an extensive discography, including several live albums. Original members Józef Skrzek (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Apostolis Anthimos (guitars) are now joined by acclaimed drummer Paul Wertico on the follow-up to SBB’s last album, “Blue Trance” (2010, Metal Mind Productions, reviewed at this webzine in 2011). The new album, titled simply “SBB” (Metal Mind Records), was recorded in studio Wojkowice (Upper Silesia). “SBB” was released in 02.04.2011 in Europe, and is scheduled for release in the U.S.A. in 05.06.2012. The album title is a reference to the band’s history – from the very beginning to the present time. SBB’s long story is then summarized in an extensive collection of 16 tracks, each one relating to important events and situations that happened to the band, also including the important characters that have affected their trajectory. The overall sonority of this album is thus a reflection of SBB’s life, reuniting both old and new musical traces of all years of musical activity, and tempered by the emotional performances of experienced musicians. The emphasis is on the instrumentation: the subtle tones of keyboards, the delicacy of the moog sounds, the diaphanous guitar timbres and fluidal solos, the coolness of soft drumming, their communion in extemporal melodies. Among my favorite “SBB’s” tracks are “Piwnica” (7:00), “Urodziny w Roskilde” (7:00), and “Nowy Wiek” (6:00). These songs bring a strange mixture of Modern moog-driven sounds with Ancient vocal intonations, like some Celtic lost chanting, inserted in a symphonic Progressive frame. While “Urodziny …’s” melody is profoundly sad, “Nowy Wiek” profits from a New-Age atmosphere that is highlighted by the soaring guitars. Another favorite is the unique “Niemen” (4:40) – a mysterious Dark-Prog driven by heavy drumming. On the other hand, some tracks are tinged with the lively colors of plain Rock, such as the guitar driven “Bunkry Wiedenskie” (3:00) (with clashing solos of guitars and Moogs); and the improvised “Rozstanie” (2:20), which introduces the soulful and bluesy “Ameryka” (5:00). But also tending to the Jazz-Fusion, the piano/keyboards oriented “Aries” (2:30), the groovy “Lot nad Chicago” (2:40), and the guitar driven “Memento” (3:50) (with great drumming), are also dignified by offering dynamism combined with musical expertise. A series of sophisticated Soft-Jazz pieces are also present on “SBB”: the tranquil “74” (5:25); the hovering “Seged” (4:00), the peaceful “Zaufani” (3:20); and the pop-chic “Muzy” (6:45). “SBB” still offers the intriguing “Zwatpienie Lakisa” (4:00) - a cosmic piece with experimental percussion – and the long closing track “Requiem” (11:00) – an experimental piece for free-jazz improvisations that includes a real lesson of drumming. Summing all up, “SBB” is a great album that represents a refreshed beginning for this veteran band, being more than worthy of figuring in any Progressive Rock/Jazz-Rock collection. “SBB” is highly recommended for fans of “Colosseum”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, and “SBB”, of course. Band members and collaborators involved in SBB are: Józef Skrzek – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Minimoog, Micromoog; Apostolis Anthimos – Guitar, Drums; Paul Wertico - Drums. “SBB” cover artwork created by Tomasz Konior (Polish architect)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/29/2012.......................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SBB HOME PAGE...
Franck Carducci was born in Lyon, France. He began to play keyboards at the age of 5, moving to the guitar when he was 11. From ages 14 to 17 he successively discovered “The Beatles”, “Pink Floyd”, “Roger Waters”, “Genesis”, “Supertramp” and “Kansas” - bands that turned him into a Prog-Rock lover. As his musical life progressed, Carducci also learned to play drums and bass (his favorite instrument, because it links rhythm with melody). Between the ages of 20 and 30 Carducci played bass in more than 20 different bands of Folk, Rock, Funk, Blues, and Country, participating in 15 albums, including two with French folk singer Yanne Matis. In 2008 Carducci moved to Amsterdam, and there he performed regularly in clubs and bands of Rock, Pop, Funk and Soul. In 2010 he opened a show for “Steve Hackett”, an experience that encouraged him to produce his own solo album: “Oddity” (2011, Vocation Records / Progressive Promotion Records). “Oddity” has guest participations of many musicians, notably singer Yanne Matis; drummers Larry Crocket and Phildas Bhakta (a disciple of “Phil Collins”); and flutist John Hackett. Musically inspired by “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Kansas”, “Supertramp”, “The Beatles”, “Ravi Shankar”, “Stevie Wonder”, “Elton John”, “David Bowie”, and “Frank Zappa” (but also “Barclay James Harvest”, “The Moody Blues”, “Renaissance”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Eloy”, “Kaipa”, and “The Flower Kings”); and lyrically inspired on “Lewis Carroll”, “Homer”, and “Stanley Kubrick”, “Oddity” is an amazing Progressive album, authentic and sincere, that thrusts the Prog-Rock lover into a fantastic journey through an universe inhabited by unique characters. The songs have been written under a genuine Progressive scope, reflecting the sonority of the 70’s. The eclectic Psychedelic- Prog- Funky bass of Carducci joins with Hammonds and pianos of Richard Vecchi to support layers of vintage Mellotrons that emulate “Tony Banks”. Melodic guitar solos are abundant, many of them recalling “Steve Hackett” and “David Gilmour”. Vocals are tuneful and soaring, recalling “The Moody Blues” and “Barclay James”. “Oddity” brings 8 tracks, including the bonus tracks “The Carpet Crawlers” (“Genesis"/cover) and a radio-edit version of “Alice’s Eerie Dream”. The sonority of the first two tracks recalls “Genesis’” album “Foxtrot”. The six-part epic “Achilles” (14:51) is powerfully driven by Carducci’s incredible pulsing bass and Phildas‘s fluent drumming, with the classical piano intro recalling “Renaissance”. Smooth vocals precede John Hackett’s flute, slowing down the pace to a segment that recalls “The Moody Blues” and “Barclay James Harvest”. A beautiful flute melody brings back the “Genesis”-like mode, and the song accelerates to the climax: a violent Greek-Trojan clash of Hammonds and synthesizers overturned by vigorous bass playing. “Achilles” is followed by “The Quind“ (9:23), a psychedelic ballad inspired by “John Lennon's”  “I Am The Walrus”. But the acoustic guitars and the delicate keyboards both envelope the song in an eerie atmosphere that is typical of “Genesis”, while the soaring vocals recall me of “The Moody Blues”. The song is adorned with whipping guitars and has an imaginative and original solo of organ combined with the ghostly sound of a didgeridoo. By the way, the bonus version of “The Carpet Crawlers“ (6:06) reproduces very well the original “Genesis” vibe, being highlighted by Yanne Matis on backing vocals, and by Vivika Sapori-Sudemäe‘s violin. The other songs of “Oddity” are not less amazing. “The Eyes of Age“ (4:30) is a mild Folk song driven by a vocal duo (Carducci and Matis), on which giggling acoustic guitars, cheerful pianos, and naive folk violins combine to establish an innocent mood that recalls “Fleetwood Mac” and “The Beatles”. In contrast, the soulful and funky “Alice’s Eerie Dream“ (11:50) combines a bouncing “Supertramp” kind of piano with “Stevie Wonder’s” groovy and rocky-bluesy guitars. It features excerpts of “Lewis Carroll’s” poem “Jabberwocky”, emphasized by the music's weird time signatures (13/16, 7/8 and 11/8), all driven by great drummer Larry Crockett. This song also brings hellish percussion, jazzy pianos and swinging bass, and a gospel choir marked by clapping hands flying over an insane Hammond organ – embellishments that are lacking from it shorter edit-radio version (3:59), which keeps only the main vocal parts, the groovy bass and the bluesy guitars. The Space-Rock “The Last Oddity“ (10:17) is a tribute to “Kubrick's” “2001: A Space Odyssey”. It has astronaut vocals, hyperbolic Mellotrons and Hammonds (akin to “Genesis” and “Eloy”), and a long psychedelic segment driven by bass and soaring guitars that recall “Pink Floyd’s” song “Echoes”.  Really a great debut album, “Oddity” features Progressive Music with heart, soul and skill, with a sense of melody that has been reproduced by just a few bands recently. Highly recommendable for fans of “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “The Moody Blues”, “Renaissance”, “Eloy”, “Kaipa”, “Kansas”, “The Flower Kings”, “Supertramp”, “The Beatles”, and lovers of the Progressive Rock of the Seventies.  Band members and collaborators involved with Franck Carducci are: Franck Carducci – Basses, Electric Guitars, Acoustic 6 and 12 String Guitars, Mandolin, Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Piano, Synths, Assorted Percussion, Lead and Backing Vocals, Lyrics, Compositions; Richard Vecchi – Hammond Organ, Pianos, Synthesizers, 2nd Lead Guitar on “Achilles”; Toff  “Crazy Monk” – Drums (on “The Quind” and “The Last Oddity”). Additional musicians on “Achiles”: John Hackett – Flute; Phildas Bhakta – Drums; Niko Leroy – Hammonds and Synths; Florence Marien – Nymphs Voices. Additional musicians on “The Quind”: Nicolas Gauthier & Marianne Delphin - Vocals; Christophe Obadia – Lead Guitar, Didgeridoo, Vocals. Additional musicians on “Alice’s Eerie Dream”: Larry Crocket – Drums; Michael Strobel – Lead Guitar; Nicolas Gauthier & Florence Marien – Vocals, Handclaps; Chris Morfin – Handclaps; Julia – Reading excerpts from Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky”. Additional musicians on “The Carpet Crawlers” & “The Eyes of Age”: Yanne Matis – Vocals; Vivika Sopori-Sudemäe – Violin; Fred Boisson – Drums; Gilles Carducci – Mandolin (only on “The Eyes of Age”). “Oddity” was recorded at Music Complex Studio (London), Studio Dagoba (Paris), The Crown’s Studio (Amsterdam) and O.S.M. Studio (Lyon). Mixed and mastered by Chris Morphin (O.S.M. Studio, Lyon); Artwork by Manuela Mambretti...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/29/2012........Want to learn everything about this amazing musician and friends FRANCK CARDUCCI HOME PAGE...
. FLAMING ROW - "Elinoire"
Flaming Row is a Rock-Opera project formed in 2008 by German musician Martin Schnella (“Steel Protector”, “Cast In Silence”). As the main composer of the project, Schnella wrote music comprising different genres, from Progressive Rock, Folk, and Mainstream Rock to many styles of Heavy Metal (Symphonic Progressive, Power, Gothic, and Traditional). To complete the project, Schnella gathered a nucleus made of: himself (guitars, bass, keyboards, and vocals), Kiri Geile (vocals), Marek Arnold (keyboards, soprano sax), Niklas Kahl (drums), and Kai Kleinewig (bass). Schnella and Geile wrote the lyrics for the story of “Elinoire”, a drama about a young British family. Recording sessions began in late 2008 extending to 2010, resulting in the release of the concept album “Elinoire” (2011, Progressive Promotion Records). An enormous cast of supporting singers and musicians took part on the Flaming Row project (see long list below), notably guitarists Gary Wehrkamp and Brendt Allman (“Shadow Gallery”), Ali Neander (“Rodgau Monotones”), singer Billy Sherwood (Ex-“Yes”), and singer-drummer Jimmy Keegan (“Santana”, “Spock’s Beard”). The story of “Elinoire” is told by 16 different lead singers, who represent either the Human Characters (the couple “Lea” and “Adam Baltwin”, their daughter “Elinoire”, and Adam’s father, “Cyrus”), or Emotions (Love, Rage…) and Allegories (Time, Destiny, Death, Spirit…). The musical influences include “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Avantasia”, “Genius”, “Aina”, “Soulspell”, “Missa Mercuria”, “Stream of Passion”, “After Forever”, “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation”, “Forgotten Tales“, “Nemesea”, “Blind Guardian”, “Symphony X”, “Space Odyssey“, “Shadow Gallery“, “Gentle Giant”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “Steve Vai”, “Jason Becker”, “Vinnie Moore”, and others. On the 18 tracks of “Elinoire”, Flaming Row and guests tread diverse musical paths. There are Progressive tracks like the symphonic “Elinoire's Theme” and the “Gentle Giant”-styled vocal fugue “Initiation Fugato”. The Progressive-Metal is present on the instrumental “Overture” (with astonishing Neo-Classical guitars by Wehrkamp & Chrissy Müller) and on “Review”, with pulsing bass and pounding guitars reminiscent of the Space-Rock of “Star One” and “Ayreon”, differing by the amazing saxophone solo performed by M. Arnold. The Power-Metal “Unearth the Truth” reminds me of “Space Odyssey“, “Symphony X”, and “Blind Guardian”, with killer guitar solos by B. Allman and A. Schock. At times the Power-Metal is combined with Symphonic Gothic Metal, like on the awesome ”Rage of Despair”, which features grunting male & operatic female vocals, recalling bands like “Epica”, “After Forever”, and “Nemesea”). Another Gothic piece, “Neglected Garden” brings a sinister dialogue between “Death” (Michael Lowin) and “Elinoire” (Michaela Auer). Folk Music is present on the traditional “Do You Like Country Grandpa?”, driven by vivid mandolins; and on the twin tracks “Father's Theme” & “Farewell”,  which bring flutes, soft bass, pianos, and soaring vocals. Ballads are a trademark of Flaming Row – and they alternate calmer and heavier moments: “First Day” intercalates lead female vocals with “Blind Guardian”-kind of chorus and great keyboard parts; “Elinoire” features flutes and many singers, growing to an epic; “Watershed” is a short and tuneful song lead by female voices; “Adam's Theme” is a beautiful piece presenting great singers Lars Begerow and Kiri Geile, and featuring M. Arnold’s sax and A. Neander‘s startling guitar solo. Yet there is also the swinging Mainstream Rock “Nightingale’s Chirp”. But the very best of Flaming Row comes to light when they fuse together all those genres and styles, as on the longest tracks “Lea's Delivery” (7:54) (a Fusion-Metal with amazing male and female vocal lines, powerful guitar riffs, and a Gothic middle-part with chorus and guitar solos), and “Time Mirror” (5:46) (which has a pounding cadence like “Star One” that accelerates later to a female-fronted Power-Metal, bringing in many singers and vocal choirs; still having a middle instrumental part that has surprising Prog-Metal riffs and Fusion-Metal bass & sax  lines). The 6-part suite “A Place to Revive Your Soul” (13:28) closes the album magnificently. It begins like a soaring Neo-Progressive akin “Marillion” and “Pallas”, has some Folk parts, and gets suddenly heavier, blending German Traditional Metal and Prog-Metal with epic choirs and great guitar solos by B. Allman & G. Schwerthelm; calming down later with the sweet voice of “Love” (Anne Trautmann), who leads a choir toward Schnella‘s final guitar solo. Featuring lavish instrumentation and gorgeous vocal choirs, Flaming Row’s “Elinoire” is really a remarkable and brilliant Rock-Opera, one of the best that I ever heard, indispensable for fans of “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Aina”, “Genius”, “Avantasia”, “Soulspell”, “Missa Mercuria”, “Blind Guardian”, “Space Odyssey“, “Shadow Gallery“, “After Forever”, “Epica”, “Nightwish”, “Stream of Passion”, “Within Temptation”, and so on... Band members and collaborators involved in Flaming Row are: Martin Schnella – Composer, Lyricist, Lead & Rhythm Guitars, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Bass Guitar, Banjo, Mellotron, Keyboards, Lead & Backing Vocals; Kiri Geile - Lyrical Concept, Lyricist, Lead & Backing Vocals. Co-Musicians: Marek Arnold - Keyboards, Piano, Organ, Mellotron, Loops, Soprano Saxophone (Bands: “Toxic Smile”, “Seven Steps to the Green Door”, “Stern Combo Meissen”); Niklas Kahl - Drums & Percussion (Bands: “My Inner Burning”, “Cast In Silence”); Kai Kleinewig - Bass Guitar (Bands: “Tubeless”, “Voice2Bass”). The Guest Musicians: Gary Wehrkamp - Additional Guitar solo on “Overture” & “Elinoire”; Keyboard solo on “Rage Of Despair“, Lead- & Backing Vocals (Band: “Shadow Gallery”); Brendt Allman - Additional Guitar solos on “Time Mirror”, “Unearth The Truth” & “A Place To Revive Your Soul”, Lead & Backing Vocals (Band: “Shadow Gallery”); Ali Neander - Additional Guitar solos on “Nightingale’s Chirp” & “Adam’s Theme” (Band: “Rodgau Monotones”); Andreas Schock - Additional Guitar solos on “Lea’s Delivery” & “Unearth The Truth” (Bands: “Heavy Traffic”, “Acoustic Schock”); Jost Schlüter - Additional Guitar solo on “Nightingale’s Chirp” (Bands: “Heavy Traffic”, “Dogs on Lead”); Chrissy Müller - Additional Guitar solo on “Overture” (Band: “Steel Protector”); Gerrit Schwerthelm - Additional Guitar solo on “A Place To Revive Your Soul” (Band: “It Takes Two”); Verena Klauke - Flute on “Elinoire” & “Farewell”; Rick Fischer - Additional Backing Vocals on “Do You Like Country Grandpa” & “A Place To Revive Your Soul”; Jim Roberti - Additional Backing Vocals on “Do You Like Country Grandpa” & “A Place To Revive Your Soul” (Band: “Jim Roberti Trio”); Stephan Wegner - Additional Background Vocals on “Rage Of Despair” (Band: “Cast In Silence”); Anja Hampe - Additional Background Vocals on “Rage Of Despair” (Band: “Con Aglio”). The Singers and their roles: Lars Begerow as “Adam Baltwin“, Human (Band: “RAW”); Michaela Auer as “Lea Baltwin”, Human (Band: “Acoustic Schock”); Jessica Schmalle as “Elinoire Baltwin”, Human (Band: “Steel Protector”); Sascha Habich as “Cyrus Baltwin”, Human (Band: “X-Tom”, “Elements of Change”); Denis Brosowski as “Zachary “Zac” Jones“, Human (Band: “Iron Fate”); Gary Wehrkamp as “Conscience” (Band: “Shadow Gallery”); Brendt Allman as “Liberty” (Band: “Shadow Gallery”); Billy Sherwood as “Past” (Bands: “Circa”, “Yoso”, Ex-“Yes”); Jimmy Keegan as “Season” (Band: “Spock’s Beard”); Michael Lowin as “Death” (Band: “Cast In Silence”); Kim Spillner as “Rage” (Band: “Worst”); Kiri Geile as “Destiny” (Band: “Steel Protector”); Martin Schnella as “Spirit” (Band: “Cast In Silence”, “Steel Protector”); Anne Trautmann as “Love” (Band: “Seven Steps to the Green Door”); Sandra Thielemann as “Time” (Band: “No Case In Point”); Markus Funke as “Forgiveness” (Band: “Markus Funke Band”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2012................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to FLAMING ROW HOME PAGE...
. IN THE LABYRINTH - "One Trail to Heaven"
In The Labyrinth is a musical project based in Stockholm, Sweden, led by the multi-instrumentalist Peter Lindahl. The project began in 1980 under the moniker Aladdin’s Lantern, and was formed by Lindahl, Mikael Gejel and Ulf Hansson, with collaboration of Stefan Andersson and Karin Langhard-Gejel. Alladin’s Lantern played traditional Middle Eastern music and performed mainly live. By the beginning of the 90’s, the band moved to the studio. By 1993 the name Aladdin’s Lantern was changed for Labyrinth and in 1994 to In The Labyrinth (to avoid confusion with Metal band “Labyrinth”). Their debut album, “The Garden of Mysteries” (1996, APM, reissued in 2012 by Transsubstans Records/Record Heaven) was marked by the reduction of the band’s line-up to Lindahl only. He then began a partnership with experienced multi-musician Håkan Almkvist, who had studied music in Benares and Calcutta (India), and also managed his own record company (Tone Art Productions-TAP). He helped Lindahl to release two ITL’s CDs: “Walking on Clouds” (1999) and “Dryad” (2002, TAP/Record Heaven). This new In The Labyrinth’s album, titled “One Trail to Heaven” (2011, Trail Records), is a compilation that includes remastered compositions from the 3 first CDs, and some previously unreleased tracks and alternative versions taken from Lindahl’s personal archives. In The Labyrinth‘s music comprises a vast array of styles, ranging from Traditional Middle- Eastern & Indian, Greek Rebetiko, Scandinavian Folk-Music; Celtic & Medieval; early Classical Music (Renaissance & Baroque), and Turkish Music, to Psychedelic Rock from the 60’s-70’s; with influences of “Ravi Shankar”, score musicians “Ennio Morricone” & “Goran Bregovic”, “The Beatles“ (albums “Revolver“ & “Sgt. Pepper”), “The Beach Boys” (“Pet Sounds“), “George Harrison”, early “Pink Floyd“, “Bo Hansson“, “Mike Oldfield“, “Brian Wilson“. The sound also recalls me of “Isildurs Bane”, “Jethro Tull” “Gryphon”, “Camel”, “Moody Blues”, “Hoelderlin”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Clannad”, “Tarancón”, and “Irfan”. On the 13 tracks that make up “One Trail To Heaven“, the listener experiences an unconventional, original and unique musical mix that has no restrictions or frontiers. Indian sitars resound to Arabian melodies; old Greek rhythms support Psychedelic guitars; Celtic woodwinds blend with futuristic synthesizers; Turkish percussion crusades against European Medieval fiddles; the Andes unite with Scandinavia; and ancient voices metamorphose into tuneful vocals of the 60’s Psychedelic-Rock. Meanwhile, a multitude of modern and traditional instruments are played by a constellation of guest musicians, all searching for their own space inside the music, yet coexisting with each other in a natural and rare sense of harmony. The album opens up with the cosmic-progressive-folk “Lost In The Woods” (5:05; unreleased version), on which abound acoustic guitars, Indian sitars, and a placid mood. The following tracks were extracted from “The Garden of Mysteries“, an album with predominance of Middle-Eastern music: “Escape From Canaan” (4:10) is a mix of “Pink Floyd” enigmatic vocals with Turkish percussion; “Moorish Rhapsody” (4:15) features bluesy guitars, flutes, bells and female vocals, sounding like Ennio Morricone, changing later for a 60’s Rock. The traditional “The Garden Of Mysteries” (3:02) blends Celtic-Arabic roots (recalling “Jethro Tull” and “Irfan”), and joins with “Monsoon” (2:50) – a Prog-like piece with flutes, pianos, electric guitars, and soaring female choir. Also belonging to this set, “Karakoram Waltz” (5:10, combined version) blends sweet Celtic flutes and Medieval percussion with Progressive guitars and keyboards (with a touch of “Bo Hannson”). The song “Over The Wall” (3:58; picked from the album “Walking on Clouds“), has predominance of Indian and Far-East music, but bonded to the Psychedelic-Rock of the 60’s, recalling “Beatles” and “Ravi Shankar”. The following tracks are also amazing. They appeared on the album “Dryad”, on which In The Labyrinth has reached its peak of creativity, promoting a balanced synthesis of Western and Eastern music, either Ancient or Modern. “Muscarin Madness” (4:50) is a lively pagan dance, with inventive employment of metallic percussion, and ancient woodwinds (like “Gryphon”, “Bo Hannson”, “Jethro Tull”); while “Deep Saffron” (5:19, instrumental version), and “Night Of The Baskerville Killer” (6:34) fix a meeting between the Space Rock of “Eloy” and “Floyd” with either obscured Ancient Times (on “Deep…”), or with Andean flutes and Turkish beats (on “Night of…”). Completing the album, the unreleased tracks “The Endless City” (3:13) (a Trip-Hop marked by deep bass); and “Cloudburst” (5:23) (surrounded by a spiritual aura) are clues for the great Music that is still to come from this amazing band. In between, the great “Cities” (“Moody Blues” cover) (5:40) pays a sincere tribute to the 60’s. In The Labyrinth is really a brilliant and original band, capable of helping their listeners to reach up the Nirvana. “One Trail to Heaven” is a great release from Trail Records, a must-have item for fans of Psychedelic Rock of the 60’s and Folk Music. Band members and collaborators involved in In The Labyrinth are: Peter Lindahl - Vocals, Mellotron, Saz, Zither, Viola da Gamba, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Spanish, Western & Twelve String Guitars, Mandolin, Baroque Travérs Flute, Quena, Ethnical Flutes and Oriental Woodwinds, Synthesizers, Piano, Melodion, Darbouka, Daf, Percussion, Bells, Recorders, Samplers, Sound Effects & Programming; Håkan Almkvist - Sitar, E-bow Guitar, Electric Bass, Tabla and Sound Effects. Supporting musicians: Helena Selander - Angelic Voice on “Lost In The Woods”, “Monsoon”, “Deep Saffron”, “Cities” and “Cloudburst”; Mikael Gejel - Sampler on “The Garden Of Mysteries II” and Flute on “Moorish Rhapsody”; Robert Eklund - Arch Lute on “Cities”; Helena Jacobssen - Backing Vocals on “Moorish Rhapsody”; Stefan Andersson - Electric Bass, accompanying Guitar and Slide Guitar on “The Endless City”; Kristina Fuentes - Backing Vocals on “Muscarin Madness”; Karin Langhard-Gejel - Backing Vocals on “Monsoon”; Ulf Hansson - Darbouka on “The Garden Of Mysteries II”; Marcos Chagallo – Violin on “Cities”. Other musicians: Fereidoun Nadimi - Darbouka and Daf; Stefan Ottman - Acoustic Guitar, Soprano and Alto Recorder,Synthesizers, Narration, Vocals and Background Harmonies; Micke Lövroth - Violin; Kirk Chilton - Violin; Ismet Demirhan - Zurna, Nay and May; Sven Lindahl - Cornett; Natalie Knutzen - Female Backing Vocals. “One Trail to Heaven” was produced engineered, mixed and mastered by Peter Lindahl in his studio in Stockholm, Sweden. Recordings were made between 1993 and 2004. Trail Records production and design by Alex Tsalikhin & Vlad Milyavsky. Mastering and editing by George Dugan, I-Heights Studio, New York, 2011. Artwork: Valeria Troubina...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2012...................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit IN THE LABYRINTH HOME PAGE...
Seven Steps To The Green Door is a German band founded in 2006 by keyboardist-saxophonist Marek Arnold (of Prog-Metal band “Toxic Smile“) and drummer Ulf Reinhardt (ex-“Prophet of Prunes“). The other members are Eddie Gemeinhardt (guitar), Heiko Rehm (bass), Lars Köhler (vocals), and Anne Trautmann (vocals). Singer Ronny Gruber was part of the original line-up, but has already left the band. SSTTGD’s debut album “The Puzzle” (2006, F.act-records) has won first prizes in Progressive and Experimental categories at the “German Rock and Pop Awards”. Their second album, ”Step in 2 My World” (2008, ProgRock Records), was acclaimed by the specialized press. Both records surprised listeners by bringing a balanced mix of Crossover Progressive Rock containing sophisticated Art-Rock elements perfectly blended with different genres and styles (like Prog-Metal, Jazz, Rap, New-Metal, Mainstream Pop, Fusion, Sacred Music), all executed by top musicians and featuring complex melodic vocal harmonies performed by the 3 leading vocalists. Seven Steps To The Green Door‘s style is based on four pillars: 1) a groovy rhythmic section, strengthened by bouncing keyboards and guitars, including a diversity of experimental and polyrhythmic structures, driven by Heiko Rehm‘s incredible bass and Ulf Reinhardt’s eclecticism; 2) dense layers of fluent keyboards that combine Electronic, Synth-pop and classic Rhodes pianos with vintage textures (Hammonds and Moogs); 3) great guitar work by Eddie Gemeinhardt, with amazing solos in Fusion-Metal style; 4) melodic and Rock-Popish sticky vocal tunes and harmonies by Anne Trautmann & Lars Köhler. The instrumentation is solid, and the many changes and twists do not break the song flow – always offering to the listener something worthy of being appreciated. The musical references that occurred to me are “Alan Parsons”, “Rick Wakeman” (album “1984”), “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “Caravan”, “King Crimson”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Zappa”, “Roxy Music”, “Japan”, “David Sylvian”, “Marillion”, “Steely Dan”, “Weather Report”, “Supertramp”, “The Dregs”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Presto Ballet”, “Faith No More”, “Mudvayne”, “Slipknot”, “Liquid Tension”, “Condition Red“, “Karmakanic”, “Star One”, and “Man on Fire“. Seven Steps To The Green Door’s originality, imagination and uniqueness are also present on their third release, “The?Book“ (2011, Progressive Promotion Records), a concept album that features 10 tracks, and a cast of guest musicians (see below). The first two songs - “Prologue (A Man And The Book)” (4:20) and “The Empty Room/The Realization” (6:05) remind me of the sounds of the 80’s: “Prologue” is soft and romantic, while “The Empty Room…”  blends sophisticated Synth-pop (“Roxy Music” and “Japan”) and pulsing bass lines with lavish Neo-Progressive keyboards (like “Marillion”) and long guitar solos in Fusion style. From the 80’s SSTTGD leaps toward the 90’s on the vertiginous “The Crying Child (1st Nail)” (3:48) – a New-Metal with hammered guitars and angry vocals (like “Mudvayne” and “Slipknot”) inserted into a groovy frame of keyboards that have a Progressive texture (reminding “Star One”). The violence is broken in the middle by a sweet female vocal. The heavy riffs of “The Crying…” merge with the initial riffs of “The Healing Wonder (2nd Nail)” (5:55), another groovy song that brings robotic voices and bouncing electric pianos; and a long instrumental part with “Crimson-Zappa” improvisations and still more fusion guitars and female vocals. The following song, “The Dividing Water (3rd Nail)” (8:20), is an amazing Prog-Fusion that begins with cool bass lines, growing gradually with male vocals and pianos that are joined by layers of keyboards and guitars driven by a funky bass (like “Liquid Tension”), followed by jazzy female vocals and Hammonds. The Progressive “The Last Supper (4th Nail)” (4:26) is driven by Classic pianos and amazing drums and bass; while male vocals precede a great saxophone final solo. The introspective and minimalist “The Eternal Abstinence (5th Nail)” (8:06) features great singing by Larry B. (recalling “Peter Gabriel” and “David Sylvian”), and chic saxophones. The Prog-Metal “The Deadly Crucifixion“ (6:46) is fused to Hard-Rock vocals, Opera-Metal chorus, gritty Hammonds and war-marching choirs. The awesome “The Green Door – Looking For The Last Solution” (9:55) is introduced by a women’s Church choir, turning into a Prog-Metal with solid bass & guitars, intense keyboards, melodic male vocals, and Gothic organs & bells. The soft “Epilogue (A Bird And The Book)” (5:40) closes this excellent album with a Progressive touch that recalls “Caravan”. A band that feels comfortable performing any kind of music, Seven Steps To The Green Door cannot be dismissed by Progressive fans that are looking for new bands that offer fresh and sophisticated music without loosing the original essence of Progressive Music. Highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Seven Steps To The Green Door are: Marek Arnold - Keyboards, Saxophones; Ulf Reinhardt - Drums; Eddie Gemeinhardt - Guitar; Heiko Rehm - Bass; Lars Köhler - Vocals; Anne Trautmann - Vocals. Guests: the Sjaella vocal ensemble; singer Larry B. (of “Toxic Smile”), and multi-instrumentalist Martin Schnella (of “Flaming Row”). Track “The Deadly Crucifixion“ is dedicated to “Anna Seghers” out of gratitude for “The Seventh Cross”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
04/30/2012...........Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR HOME PAGE...
. TEE - "Trans-Europe Expression"
The origin of TEE (Trans-Europe Expression) was formed in 2005 as an euro-rock ("PFM", "Area", etc.) cover band named "Euro Express". After the 1st gig in May 2006, the band decided to play original materials then the band name was changed to "The Earth Explorer". The original line-up was Katsumi Yoneda (guitar), Ryuji Yonekura (keyboards, ex Interpose+), Kenji Imai (flute) and Yukio Iigahama (bass). The line-up was completed with the addition of drummer Takayuki Asada later. The band started to play regularly in the Tokyo area. A live recording for their first demo album were carried out on their 3rd gig in July, 2007. "First Voyage – Live in Crazy Jam" was released in December 2007. With regular gigs and the demo live album release, TEE was building up reputations among Japanese prog lovers. In fall of 2008, the band recorded their first studio album "The Earth Explorer". The official band name was changed to "TEE" upon the release. TEE was invited to play in the most famous Japanese prog festival, "Poseidon Festival", in November 2008 and the performance was praised by prog critics. In May 2010, TEE performed in Prog'Sud 2010, one of the largest prog rock festivals in Europe, at Marseille, France. In summer of 2011, the band recorded their second studio album "Trans-Europe Expression". The album was released in January, 2012. My first experience to listen the band's music was with their second album titled as "The Earth Explorer", and, to a certain extent, impressed me greatly. If you want to know more, please check back at the main site page, and read my comments about TEE's first album, that was chosen as "The best band and album from June, 2009". The band's influences and musical styles come from a wide experience of its components, of course that, all the musicians show high musical knowledge amount, blending elements from Progressive Rock, Symphonic Progressive Rock, Neo-Prog, Jazz Fusiun with some smells of Folk music. In fact, they mirrored his strong musical influences mainly on the European bands, especially the famous Italian bands, you can hear, in arrangements and instrumentation, strong influences from bands like "Osanna", "Le Orme", "Museo Rosembach", "Ibis", "Il Paese Dei Balocchi", "The Trip", "Banco Del Mutuo Socorso", "Delirium", "Campo di Marte", "New Trolls", also mixing influences from other bands such as "Caravan", "Genesis", "Camel" and others in the same line. In fact, the music from TEE can be characterized as "European" because of its non-Japanese tradition. TEE have a strong musical sonority and all arrangements are dynamically balanced with a potent orchestration, exceptional harmonies, and excellent instrumentation. Their music is inspired and lively and the always fascinating compositions, showing great symphonies, embellished by wonderful keyboards' arrangements, with a beautiful blending of melodious guitar sounds, adding an intense rhythm on Drums, with a solid bass guitar, and complementing with an amazing soft flute, that is an important addition to the music, but, all together in a sonic adventure, composed with a high brilliance and executed as an amazing production. The "Trans-Europe Expression" album wowed me since the first time I heard, this is a  tremendous progressive rock work, in the truest sense of the word, constantly shifting tempos, full of dynamic arrangements, without an aural aggressiveness, totally balanced, full of symphony and melodic parts, on the sense that everything will take us by an incredible musical journey. The album consists of six tracks, with 47 min of duration time, almost instrumental, except for a short guest appearance of a female voice on the track "Intersection". Produced by TEE, engineered and mixed by Hiroki Arashima, recorded and mixed at Nasoundra Palace Studio, Tokyo, Japan,September 2011, mastered by Mamoru Ishibashi at Sunrise Studio, Tokyo, Japan, the front cover is a famous historical city in France. All six tracks are irresistible songs, all composed with a sweet and delightful melody that moves with a nice feel, but, like my suggestion, listen carefully the tracks "Rhodanus (River to the Ocean)", "Flying Roses" and "Gordes", they are the masterpieces on the album. If you like the Japanese bands, such as "Outer Limits", "Mugen", "Pageant", "Ain Soph", "Vermilion Sands", "Far East Family Band", "Ars Nova", "Cinema", "KBB", "Bellaphon", "Gerard", "Black Page", "Ataraxia", "Magdalena", "Fromage" and "Bi Kyo Ran" certainly you will like TEE. The present line-up on the band today are: Kenji Imai - Flute Soprano Recorder, Ryuji Yonekura - Keyboards, Takayuki Asada - Drums, Yukio Iigahama - Bass and Katsumi Yoneda - Guitar. Guest Musician: Lucy Koyama - Voice on "Intersection". Also you must visit TEE's MySpace Site. Brilliant and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
05/02/2012..........Want to learn everything about the band and about their history, you need to visit TEE HOME PAGE...
. PHI - "The Deflowering of Reality"
The Austrian Post-Rock band Phi is back to this webzine once more. Phi was formed back in 2006, and after some changes in the line-up, the band released their debut album, “For the Love of Ghosts”, in 2011 (see the review just below). “For the Love…” still had participation of keyboardist Christoph W. Pirker, who left the band shortly before the release. Phi was then reduced to a trio, with the present line-up consisting of Markus Bratusa (guitars, vocals), Nick Koch (drums), and Arthur Darnhofer-Demàr (bass). Nevertheless, Phi persisted winning musical contests in Austria (like the “41st Newcomer Contest “in Graz, and the “Ost Rock Trophy“ in Fischamend). Determined not to stop the career, Phi quickly came up with a new EP – called “The Deflowering of Reality” (released on March 17th 2012, under Office4Music). The songs were recorded and mixed by Matthias Reindl (Parkdeck Recording Studios), and mastered by Philip Schiel (Potato Mastering). All songs were written by Phi, except main riff of “The Beginning Of The End”, by former bassist Peter Leitner. “The Deflowering of Reality” features a cruder and more aggressive sonority than on “For the Love of Ghosts”. On the later, the sonority was predominantly melancholic and depressive, with few raging moments, and the instrumental parts were enveloped in psychedelic atmospheres and progressive soaring keyboards, close to a mix of “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Anathema” and “Porcupine Tree”. “The Deflowering…” instead, brings cruder sounds packed into solid loads that are firmly tightened together in aggressive arrangements – now leaning a bit more to heavier sonority of “Tool”, “Riverside” and “A Perfect Circle”. The presence of the bass guitar is remarkable, as well as the most free disposition of the guitar. The drums have also grown powerful, but Bratusa’s emotional vocals retain the sadness, anguish and anger of the previous record, thus making a bridge with Phi’s seminal sonority. “The Deflowering of Reality” brings 3 tracks. “Manager Of The Year” (08:09) has a punchy beat on guitar and bass, and a somewhat robotic kind of vocals. The middle part brings subtle vocal parts (that recall me of band “Sylvan”), before falling down to heavy Gothic-Metal guitar riffs, which contrasts with the Post-Metallic psychedelic instrumental part that proceeds until the end (reminiscent of “A Perfect Circle”). The paranoid initial part of “The Beginning Of The End” (05:12), which unites whispered vocals, destructive drumming, and vigorous bass, is like a mix of “Riverside” and “Tool”, being crowned with a great guitar solo. The wild final part has addition of Stoner-Metal chords that blend into the initial riffs of the last song, “Teenage Lust” (08:56) – the best track of the EP – that follows slow and groovy; has a layer of eerie guitars and vocals, and more Stoner & Doom-Metal parts – the entire piece resounding like a blend of “Porcupine Tree”, “Monster Magnet”, “Trouble”, and “A Perfect Circle”, ending in a kind of noisy Drone-Metal explosion. With “The Deflowering Of Reality”, Phi unveils itself as a band that has guts, spirit and new ideas, and is here to stay. The band is planning another full-length album still for 2012. Phi‘s EP is highly recommended for appreciators of Heavy & Dark-Prog, and Post-Metal, especially for fans of bands such as “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Amplifier”, “Anathema”, “Monster Magnet”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in Phi are: Markus Bratusa - Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics; Arthur Darnhofer-Demàr – Bass, Backing Vocals; Nick Koch - Drums. Past members: Christoph W. Pirker - Keyboards; Peter Leitner – Bass. “The Deflowering of Reality”: lyrics by M. Bratusa, music by Phi. Engineered and mixed by Matthias Reindl (www.parkdeckrecording.com), and mastered by Philip Schiel (www.potato-musics.com). Artwork by Dr. Winter (www.teratogen.at)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/10/2012...................................................,.....For more details about this band, please check out PHI HOME PAGE...
"Blues For Tony"
When Allan Holdsworth (guitars), Alan Pasqua (keyboards), Jimmy Haslip (bass), and Chad Wackerman (drums) gathered together in 2006 to perform a series of tribute shows to the late Tony Willians – the legendary pioneer of Jazz-Fusion - the reaction of the fans must have been a thunderous “I-must-see-it" – a logical reaction, regarding the prolific careers of those musicians. Holdsworth (ex-“Nucleus", “Tempest", “Soft Machine", “Gong", “U.K", “Bruford", “Jean-Luc Ponty") whose melodic phrasing and complex harmonization resulted in his own original and innovative style, stay as one of the most influential guitar players alive. Pasqua (ex-“Giant") has spent 30 years working with “Bob Dylan", “Santana", “Alice Cooper", “Stanley Clarke", “Pat Benatar", “Eddie Money", “Gary Burton", “Peter Erskine", “John Patitucci" and others. Haslip, currently playing in “Yellowjackets", was an integrant of “Jing Chi" (with “Vinnie Colaiuta" and “Robben Ford"), and has worked with “Tommy Bolin", “Joe Cocker", “Rod Stewart", “Bruce Hornsby", and “Terri Lyne Carrington". Wackerman has started out his career playing for “Frank Zappa" and later for “Holdsworth". Soon he was recording or touring with artists as diverse as “Bill Watrous", “Barbra Streisand", “Steve Vai", “Andy Summers", “Men At Work", “Ed Mann", “Albert Lee", “Colin Hay", “Dweezil Zappa", “James Taylor", “John Patitucci", and “The World Drummers Ensemble". Both Holdsworth and Pasqua are ex-members of “The New Tony Williams Lifetime". They recruited Haslip and Wackerman to revive on a tour the music of that legendary band. In May, 2007, the best of the European leg of that tour was recorded, and released in a double-CD set under the title “Blues For Tony" (Moonjune Records, 2009). The show includes some of the best compositions of “Tony Williams Lifetime’s" 1975 classic album “Believe It" (“Fred", by Holdsworth; “Proto-cosmos", by Pasqua; and “Red Alert", by Tony Newton). Other compositions are part of Holdsworth’s, Pasqua’s or Wackerman’s solo repertoires; and just one - “It Must Be Jazz" - has the signature of the whole group. Listening to the first minutes of “Blues for Tony", the Jazz-Fusion enthusiast immediately realizes what this album is about. Inexhaustible stamina alternating with cool moods; sophisticated harmonies; and much improvisation is brought fourth by those veteran musicians – to them, the act of playing is as natural as the act of breathing. And the best of all is the cooperative spirit that surrounds this quartet. There is no clash of Egos here – but titan forces working together in behalf of music! Even though there are frequent duels of Holdsworth against Pasqua, Haslip against Chad, Pasqua against Haslip , and Holdsworth against Holdsworth (yes, he makes an effort to overcome himself), they seem not to be competing against each other, but having much fun together, and inviting the audience to join in. That atmosphere is felt on the opening title track – “Blues For Tony" – a long piece combining a duel of Pasqua versus Haslip; Holdsworth’s enigmatic guitar solos, and Wackerman’s eloquent drum solo. Wackerman is the author of the following “The Fifth“ – a modern Cool-Jazz featuring long passages of keyboards that sets the stage for “It Must Be Jazz“ – on which Haslip and Wackerman engage into a battle, which is peacefully soothed by a Space-Jazz solo by Holdsworth. Alas, he is author of the rest of the compositions of Disc 1: “Fred“ is a recollection of the Canterbury Sound, having hundreds of solos by Holdsworth intermingled with hundreds of solos by Pasqua. On “Guitar Intro“, Mr. Holdsworth unites both soul and versatility to create a short Astral-Progressive intro for “Pud Wud“- a warm-mood jazzy piece on which the musicians celebrate the satisfaction of playing together. Disc 2 opens with Holdsworth’s “Looking Glass“, on which he and Pasqua keep throwing the ball to each other in a “Jazzy-Improvisational" dispute. Pasqua signs the three following pieces of this disc: “To Jaki, George and Thad“ is a cool piano ballad, soon followed by “San Michele“ – one of my favorites – with Progressive airs and reverential harmonies that will please the fans of the Canterbury Sound. Pasqua’s set finishes with a fresh version of “Protocosmos“, renewed to include a plethora of solos supported by Wackerman’s fluidal drumming. The closing track is a new revitalized version “Red Alert“ - groovy bass, destructive guitar riffing, cosmic keyboards, and thundering drums – the right choice to end up this fantastic tribute. Tony Williams, wherever he is, must be feeling really delighted. Holdsworth, Pasqua, Haslip, Wackerman is a must-have item for fans of Jazz-Fusion, The Canterbury Sound, and bands like “Soft Machine", “Mahavishnu Orchestra", “D.F.A."; and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in this project are: Allan Holdsworth – Guitars; Alan Pasqua – Keyboards; Jimmy Haslip – Bass; Chad Wackerman - Drums...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/10/2012..........Interested to know more about? Visit HOLDSWORTH PASQUA HASLIP WACKERMAN HOME PAGE...
. THE SEVENTH SEASON - "Liquid Water"
The Seventh Season has a curious story. Currently based in California, USA, the band was formerly established in Moscow, Russia in 1972. Led by Yuri Batygin in the years 1972-1975, the band performed at various stages, trying to find its own sound. From 1976 to 1979 the band recorded several songs in their home studio, but ceased activities shortly afterwards. The band restarted again almost twenty years later, in 1998, in the U.S.A. Their return was marked by the release of the debut EP “Fall Within" (2003), which got airplay at stations in the U.S.A., Germany, Japan, Canada, and in the U.K. The band then began to gig around San Francisco Bay Area, LA. During late 2004 and early 2005, the band began to record a second album. Besides Yuri Batygin on bass and vocals, the line-up consisted then of Konstantin Batygin (guitar, vocals), and Sergei Smet, who had replaced previous drummer Virgil Gheorghiu. Taking a break from the studio, The Seventh Season recorded the live DVD “Transposition“, which was released in August 2006 under Independent Records Inc). The Seventh Season’s second album - “Liquid Water" - was finished and released in 2007, but is reaching us only now. The fact that the album was recorded over a long period of time made the recording of each song special, giving the album an overall musical variety. That is quite evident when listening to the CD for the first time. With many influences, The Seventh Season is difficult to be placed in a single musical genre less abridged than “Rock". “Classical Rock", “Alternative Rock", “Rhythm & Blues", “New Wave", “Hard Rock", “Metal of the Eighties", “Country Rock" and a bit of “Progressive" are all present on their songs. They credit their most important influences to “Credence Clearwater Revival", “The Beatles", “Uriah Heep", “Pink Floyd", and “Metallica"; but the list could grow to include “Lynyrd Skynyrd", “Thin Lizzy“, “Triumph“, “Rush“, “The Police", “Marillion“, “Blue Oyster Cult", “Kiss“, “Aerosmith“, “Dokken", “Yesterday & Today", “Pretty Maids", “U.F.O.", “Scorpions", “Iron Maiden", and many others. Most songs have the same lively mood and energy of  “Triumph“, “Yesterday & Today", “Kiss“, “Aerosmith“, “Dokken", “Scorpions", “U.F.O.", and “Pretty Maids" – keeping the same rock and roll essence, but being updated for the 21st Century, being slightly smoothed by the rhythms of “New-Wave", “Alternative Rock", or even “Ethnical". Guitars are a strong point, with long and carefully prepared solos, always soulful. Occasional keyboards bring a draft of Progressive Rock, but make me think of “Pretty Maids" and “Rush". Songs are linear, with little internal variation, with emphasis on vocals – that blend “Y&T" with “Credence Clearwater Revival". “Liquid Water" features 12 tracks. Some are fast, rocky, and lively, combining “Classic Hard Rock" with “New-Wave" rhythms. These are the title track “Liquid Water“, “Freeway“, and “Broken Artist“, and my favorite of this group: the groovy “Control Me“. Intermingled with those songs, the mid-tempo to slow “Ocean of Time" (a great song with sophisticated drumming and some Prog keyboards) and the sad ballad “Apart from Here“ (with extra-long soulful solo) are some of the best of the record. The heavy and cadenced “Damaged“ (in “Y&T" style), the fast “My Only Honor“, and my all-favorite “April“ (an amazing Epic Metal in the style of “Iron Maiden") are some representatives of the harder and heavier facet of the band. The remaining songs are “Nine to Five“ (a short “Credence Clearwater Revival" country-rock); “Machine“ (a Rock and Roll like early “The Beatles" and “Rolling Stones"), and the closing track “Wherever“ – this one a soft electro-acoustic ballad highlighted by a remarkable soulful solo, reminiscent of “Lynyrd Skynyrd". Since the release of “Liquid Water", no new album has followed it. However, The Seventh Season is still in activity, but with modifications in the line-up (see below). A band with a variety of styles and influences, The Seventh Season is recommended for those who like just plain good and old Rock and Roll, as it has been played along the past 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Band members and collaborators involved in The Seventh Season are: Konstantin Batygin – Guitar, Vocals; Yuri Batygin – Bass, Vocals, Sergei Smet – Drums. Current line up: Yuri Batygin – Bass, Vocals, Konstantin Batygin – Guitar, Vocals; Scott Shepherd – Drums, Vocals; Ajay Limaye – Guitar, Vocals. You must visit The Seventh Season's MySpace Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/10/2012..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE SEVENTH SEASON HOME PAGE...
. DEAD SOUTHERN TREE - "Metamorphosis"
Dead Southern Tree is a Portuguese duo from Beja, formed by the enigmatic musicians Gonçalo R. (vocals, guitars, percussion, and programming) and Miguel F. (bass, backing vocals, and percussion). The duo makes Experimental Music that blends Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Ambient, Dark Progressive and Gothic, with influences of  “Danzig”, “LOUD!”, “Jefferson Airplane”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Riverside”, “Opeth”, “Alice in Chains”, “Pantera”, “Katatonia”, “Emperor”, “Immortal”, “Type O Negative”, “Rainbow”, “The Doors”, “Mão Morta”, “Pedra de Metal”, and other bands of the underground music scene of Portugal that have been supported by Radio work of “António Freitas”. Dead Southern Tree has released two records by independent label Zombie Warlock Productions: “.?.?.?Of Stars and Gravitational Fields” (November, 2010); and the most recent “Metamorphosis” (November, 2011). The sonority of Dead Southern Tree is dark and somber, even when they are playing more plain Rock. Vocalist Gonçalo R. recalls me of a blend of “Ozzy Osborne” with “Mike Patton”, singing slowly and emotionally like “Layne Staley” (“Alice in Chains”). Most songs are bass driven, adorned with strange guitar solos, bringing minimalist keyboards. Some songs reunite influences of “Danzig”, “Alice in Chains”, “Opeth”, and “Pain of Salvation”, wit the psychedelic touch of “The Doors”, while others appeal to a melancholic mood, immersed in dark-gothic atmospheres that recall bands like “Katatonia” and “Type O Negative”. This duality means that Dead Southern Tree is a band still searching for the best musical path to follow on. “Metamorphosis” has 8 tracks, including the cover “Working Class Hero“ (“John Lennon”). My favorites are those immersed on darker atmospheres, still having a Gothic approach; as the arrhythmic “Eternity’s Reach“ (which is slightly gothic-symphonic, but driven by Stoner guitars, and having a final part that sounds like “Alice in Chains” plunging into a layer of harmony guitars), or the ritualistic “The Re-Crafting of the Physical From“ (driven by psychedelic bass, weird guitars, and distant vocals that get together with voodoo percussion, Pan-flutes and nebulous gothic chorus – recalling bands like “Black Widow”). Also on this line stand the tracks “Dedication“ (which is immersed in a mournful ambience thanks to the gothic keyboards, organs, and echoing effects – being reminiscent of “Katatonia”) and “Working Class Hero“ (“John Lennon” cover) – which is completely transfigured into a gothic version, featuring sad pianos and melancholic singing. Delving into the Dark Blues, the rocky “Thresholds“ and the slow “Reality’s Affliction“ (with great psychotropic guitar solos) will please fans of “Danzig”, “Alice in Chains”, and “The Doors”. For listeners that prefer something more vibrant, in the spheres of Hard-Rock, Grunge, and Metal, with influences of “Alice in Chains”, “Pearl Jam”, “Soundgarden”, and “Nirvana”, there are the swinging “The Emerald Nymph“ and “The Devil Rides South“, the last one being based on a good Hard-Rock guitar riff that supports a long bluesy guitar solo. Dead Southern Tree is a peculiar-sounding band, specially recommended for lovers of Dark, Gothic and Metal Music with an Experimental leaning, as are the fans of “Danzig”, “LOUD!”, “Alice in Chains”, “Opeth”, “Katatonia”, “Emperor”, “Immortal”, “Type O Negative”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Dead Southern Tree are: Gonçalo R. - Vocals, Guitars, Percussion, Programming; Miguel F. - Bass, Backing Vocals, and Percussion. You must visit Dead Southern Tree's Facebook Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/10/2012...........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DEAD SOUTHERN TREE HOME PAGE...
. SOT - "Kind of Saltz"
SOT (abbreviation of Salt of Tusi) is an experimental trio hailing from Oslo, Norway. The line-up consists of Skjalg Reithaug (guitars, guitar-synth), Anders Hunstad (drums, pianos), and Lars Andreas Haug (tuba, trumpet, soprano saxophone, occasional vocals and choirs). The three members are experienced musicians that play in the Jazz, Rock, Metal and Pop scene of Oslo. Skjalg Reithaug (1975) is graduated in musicology under the University of Oslo. He has released an album with the Metal band “The Allseeing”, and played with “Krag Jørgensen“ and other Prog and Jazz bands. Anders Hunstad (1974) is a freelance studio multi-instrumentalist musician who has played for “Morten Abel”, “Briskeby” and “Sarke”, and is currently working on the Electro-Pop band “Bermuda Triangle”. He also teaches piano at the School of Cultural Arts in Sandvika. Lars Andreas Haug (1975) is a professional jazz-tuba player since early 90s, and has collaborated in records and album releases (e.g. “Steffen Scorn's” band “Trygve Seims Ensemble” and ethno-group “Akku”). In 2005 he performed a solo concert called “Luft og kjærlighet”, and has recorded two solo albums “Vinterfjøs” (2005) and “Fabatune” (2008). He has toured around Europe and Asia with his tube, and presently works on the project “La Band”. Haug is regarded as a revolutionary tuba-player, mainly because of his innovative uses of overtones and his characteristic use of grooves. The SOT project began early in 1992, a time when the still teenaged members studied music in High School and formed the band to play at obscure clubs and birthdays. But it was just many years later, after their musical careers had already been well solidified, that they decided to focus on SOT again. The return happened with the release of their self-produced debut album “Kind of Saltz” (December 2011, Sotanic Sounds). The album and their live performance put SOT in evidence in Norway, at a special place in the 2012 program of Rikskonsertene (the Norwegian Concerts Institute). The music of SOT includes elements of R.I.O., Avant-garde, Jazz-Fusion and Tech-Metal; with influences of “Frank Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Rush”, “Soft Machine”, “Primus”, “Béla Bartók”, “Party”, “Impossible Trio”, “Michel Godard”, “Jon Eberson”, “Spastic Ink”, “Miriodor”, “The Wrong Object”, and “Henry Cow”. The compositions are fragmented, but feature a dynamic interchange of rhythms and odd time signatures, heavy grooves, and twisted and intriguing melodies, also including mocking tones. The remarkable and innovative use of the tuba and other wind instruments (trumpets and soprano sax) are a trademark of SOT – a band that prefers the tags “Alternative Black-Jazz”, “Experimental Prog-Rock”, and “Rock & Tuba-Jazz” to describe their style. The CD “Kind of Saltz” has 10 tracks. Mostly are instrumental, although some vocalizations appear sporadically. The album opens with the powerful “Schlatan” (05:14), which recalls the Tech-Metal of “Spastic Ink” on the guitar solo, but differs for having trombones. The same energy is replicated on ”Saltpetersyre” (06:01) - an aggressive Fusion-Metal with elephantine trumpets and strange “mouth-made” sounds that are interrupted by extra-terrestrial trombone solo. Soft tracks are “Tusjpen” (05:53) (driven by clean Jazz guitars and bass parts played on trombone, with weird guitar solos reminiscent of “Zappa” and “King Crimson”), and ”End of Saltz” (02:44) (the lightest piece, a soft-Jazz served with a Latin-tropical flavor). The short tracks “Bartof” (01:38) (a burlesque piece in the style of “Zappa” and “Henry Cow”) and ”Den Avsagde” (01:52) (a cosmic concerto for melancholic trombone solo) are very peculiar, and confirm SOT’s inventiveness. Other outstanding tracks are: “Follower” (06:30), which begins like a dark waltz, bringing soaring and dreamy vocalizations amid ghostly tunes, and is parted by sudden interferences before the strange guitar solo; ”Støtten” (04:22), which runs over a multi-broken rhythm frame, alternating low-key Brazilian Bossa-Nova, lysergic trombones, Fusion synth solo, and lunar Progressive soundscapes; and ”Oftebrua” (03:44) – as strange as ”Støtten”, but including some angelic choirs and a jazzy-improvised electric piano solo. Closing the album, the expressive R.I.O. piece “Tzar Saltan” (08:21) transposes “Bartók” & “Mussorgsky” for deep bass tones and martial drums, sometimes recalling a dark “Rush”, but having vocalizations in falsetto that recall “Thijs Van Leer” (“Focus”). Summing all up, SOT is really a surprising and original band, having a style of its own. SOT is definitely highly recommended for fans of R.I.O. and Avant-garde Progressive Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Tech-Metal, especially if appreciators of “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Henry Cow”, “Spastic Ink”, “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Miriodor”, “Rush”, “Primus”, “Spastic Ink”, “The Wrong Object”, “French TV”, “Le Maschere di Clara”, “Outopsya”, “Dialeto”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in SOT are: Skjalg Reithaug – Guitars, Guitar-synths; Anders Hunstad – Drums, Piano; Lars Andreas Haug – Tuba, Trumpet, Soprano Saxophone, occasional Vocals. “Kind of Saltz” was recorded and mixed at Skansen Lydstudio, Trondheim, August 2011; mastered by Stein Bratland; and produced by SOT. Artwork and cover design by Skull: Flora...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/10/2012...................................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to SOT HOME PAGE...
. PHI - "For The Love Of Ghosts"
Phi is a new Post-Progressive Rock band hailing from Baden bei Wien, Austria. The band formed in 2006, with the first line-up consisting of Markus Bratusa (guitars, vocals, programming, additional keyboards), Peter Leitner (bass), and Nick Koch (drums, programming). From 2006 to 2008 Phi performed at many festivals and band contests in Austria, and in October 2008 won the first prize at the Austrian finale of the “Podium. Jazz. Pop. Rock Contest”, impressing the jury with a performance that was compared to the great Progressive bands of the seventies, like “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis” and “Yes”. Shortly after, original bassist Peter Leitner left the band, and the remaining members Koch and Bratusa spent much of the time reformulating the band. In February 2010, new musicians Arthur Darnhofer-Demàr (bass) and Christoph W. Pirker (keyboards, synthesizers) finally joined Phi. Preparations for the release of the first album began early in 2011, but keyboardist Christoph W. Pirker left the band shortly before the release of Phi’s full-length debut album, “For The Love Of Ghosts” (July 2011, self-produced/distribuited by Mals Records). “For The Love Of Ghosts” was recorded live at studio with minimum use of pitch-correction, cuts, or overdubs, to catch a glimpse of real emotion instead of polished studio perfection. That is because Phi’s main goal is to deliver emotion to the listener and to impress the audiences with astonishing live performances, thus surprising people with timeless music that goes beyond normality. “For The Love Of Ghosts” is a concept album that contains seven tracks. The music condenses elements of Post-Rock, Post-Metal, Dark Progressive, Prog-Metal, Alternative Rock and Stoner-Metal, with influences of “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool”, “Amplifier”, “Anathema”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”; but also “Riverside”, “Bowie”, “Deftones”, “Radiohead”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sylvan”, and “Monster Magnet”. The music alternates aggressive moments with melancholic tones and depressive moods, being driven by Bratusa‘s emotional singing. The solid instrumentation is packed inside elaborated arrangements that privilege the music as whole. The longest tracks obviously call the spotlights. The opening track “The Surgical Cut, parts 2-4” (9:50) is an aggressive Post-Metal driven mainly by fast guitars, syncopated drumming and depressive vocals, contrasting with its counterpart “The Surgical Cut, part 1” (9:04), which is placed as the 6th track on the album. “Part 1” is slower, surrounded by a darker atmosphere, and blends Post-Metal tribal drumming with Stoner-Metal guitar riffs before delving into a psychedelic layer of electronic effects. Another lengthy track is “Desire” (12:08) – which begins with great Prog-Metal riffs and epic tones, growing in intensity at the middle part to summon great instrumentation and melodic arrangements. Not less amazing are the tracks with a “regular” duration, such as the outstanding ballad “Wintersong” (5:23), which brings gothic violins, minimalist pianos, and sad vocals; growing later to include Hammond keyboards and a beautiful guitar solo; which merge with the “Crimsonian” bass & guitars of “The Illusion (Death is Dead)” (6:19) – another great Prog-Metal and Post-Metal sonic mixture. The album still brings the Alternative-Rock song “Departure” (4:40) (highlighted by expressive vocals and a gothic keyboard segment); and closes with the title track “For the Love of Ghosts” (1:46) - a short acoustic epilogue. Phi’s “For The Love Of Ghost” is really a remarkable debut, so that in February 2012, the Russian specialized label MALS Records showed interest in re-releasing the record for international distribution. Meanwhile, Phi - downsized to a trio - released the EP “The Deflowering Of Reality” (March 17th 2012, Office4Music) and is planning another full-length album for 2012. Phi is a talented band to be watched closely, being specially recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Tool”, “Amplifier”, “Anathema”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Radiohead”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sylvan”, “Osada Vida”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Phi are: Markus Bratusa - Guitars, Vocals, additional Keyboards, Programming; Arthur Darnhofer-Demàr – Bass, Backing Vocals; Nick Koch - Drums, Programming. Guest musicians: Christoph W. Pirker - Keyboards, Organ (tracks 1-6); Markus Czwiertnia – Violin on “Wintersong”; Peter Yearsley – Spoken Words on “The Surgical Cut Parts 1-4”. Past member: Peter Leitner – Bass. “For The Love Of Ghosts”: music written by M. Bratusa and Phi, produced & recorded by Phi; mixed & mastered by M. Bratusa...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/10/2012..................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to PHI HOME PAGE...
Bartosz Ogrodowicz is a Polish composer and instrumentalist from Poland, Wrzesnia. He is a solo artist who gives concerts in the whole Poland. He is a great Keyboard player and musician performing amazing Progressive rock, symphonic rock, Melodic Metal, instrumental and film music. His music transmitting emotions through sounds, is a journey to the deepest recesses of the human soul. His songs are inspired by life because as he admits, life is a versatile writer who gives inspiration and strength to create. The talented young multi-keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Bartosz Ogrodowicz, released his debut album, titled as "Forsaken", a collection of his songs composed between 2009 and 2010, and all these songs are full of a vibrant Symphonic Progressive Rock. His instrumental paintings and collages, sometimes incorporates mystical themes, épics, atmospherics and  melodious, with a high level of sophistication in the song writing, and also in the complete mastery of the instruments. Since I first heard his album, I realized many fine nuances and instrumental symphonic arrangements very well elaborated. On this debut album, the music flows like a soundtrack to a mystical movie, full of epic scenes, traveling by imaginary lands, where each track illustrates an unknown character in different landscapes, taking the listener on a imaginary  journey, through a symphonic masterpiece without boundaries and many different sonic territories. Bartosz Ogrodowicz can be considered like a new master and also a keyboard's magician, his influences and musical style come from famous keyboard players, such as "Rick Wakeman", "Keith Emerson", "Patrick Moraz", "Jean Michel Jarre", "Jordan Rudess", "Yanni", "Eddie Jobson", "Kitaro", "Mike Oldfield" and so on, he is a hunter and researcher of pure keyboards' sounds, showing a self-mastery in the art of playing multiple keyboards and also other intruments. "Forsaken" is a collection of songs, where the material was produced by himself, and was recorded at home on his own expense. The album contains eleven tracks, totalizing 50 min of atmospheric emotions. All tracks are amazing, is difficult to choose the favorites songs, however, I have my preferences and they are "Intro", "Forsaken", "Dream of Destiny", "Belief", "Judgement" Part I and II, "Stone of Memories" and "Hope", specially the Bonus track titled as "Mury Czerni". For all fans of any of the keyboard's players mentioned above, and also to all fans of symphonic progressive rock, should definitely acquire this album, of course I'm sure all of you will not be disappointed. You must visit Bartosz Ogrodowicz's MySpace Site. Brilliant, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
05/10/2012....Is there an interested to know more about? Then you must visit BARTOSZ OGRODOWICZ HOME PAGE...
. BARRETT ELMORE - "Woodlands"
Barrett Elmore is a Neo-Psychedelic band hailing from Sweden. The band started out in 2008 as an instrumental Blues-trio formed by Claes Mikael Svensson (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Max Karlström (bass, vocals, organ, harmonica, synthesizers), and William Friman (guitar, piano, organ). Soon they moved on to psychedelic-inspired music, and when singer Mikaela Ericsson joined the band, Barrett Elmore finally came up with a style of their own. Barrett Elmore aims to create psychedelic music that may help to clear one’s mind. Their musical inspiration comes from the mystery and legends of the Swedish ancient woods. Barrett Elmore released their debut album “Woodlands” in 2012, under specialized label Trail Records. Barrett Elmore has a retro sonority that recalls the Psychedelic Rock & Folk music of the late 60’s. A strong influence is obviously “Pink Floyd” of the early “Syd Barrett” phase, hence the band’s name. Their psychedelic music, however, is not colorful like the “The Beatles”, “The Grateful Dead” or “Jefferson Airplane”, being immersed in a mystic aura tinged with the dark grays of “Pink Floyd”, “The Doors”, “H. P. Lovecraft”, and “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown”, sometimes getting into the harder guitar work and stronger rhythmic frame of “Vanilla Fudge”, “Iron Butterfly”, and “13th Floor Elevators”. A sense of melancholy – an attribute of the Swedish Folk Music – pervades their songs. “Woodlands” features 10 tracks plus a bonus (available on the limited collector’s edition). The album begins with “Entrance” (1:55), on which psychedelic keyboards and slide guitars invite the listener to enter the mystic setting. The following songs “The Creek” (3:16) and “I See a Man” (1:30) employ water sounds that create the sensation of being in the woods, while Mikaela‘s eerie vocals deliver a folk tune that recalls a blend of “Fairport Convention” with “Pink Floyd”. Those songs are followed by the intriguing “The Nixie” (4:01), on which echoing guitars and hypnotic bass gently rub against slow drumming. Male vocals almost whisper a tune (recalling “Pink Floyd”), but the next part brings sturdy Hammonds and eruptive guitar attack, recalling “Vanilla Fudge” and “Iron Butterfly”. The amazing “Drowning” (3:58) is faster, driven by corpulent bass and drums, and an acid-guitar riff. Distorted male voices that recall “Jim Morrison” (“The Doors”) slowly dissolve into guitar harmonies that recall “Pink Floyd’s” song “Time”. The instrumental “Storm” (4:24) is an amazing song with echoing guitars reminiscent of “13th Floor Elevators”, mixed with cosmic-sounds and great bass & drums interplay. The fast “The Brook Horse” (5:03) is propelled by that “Jim Morrison”-kind of vocals again, counterbalanced by synthesizers space-solos, ending in a heavy acid-storm. The last three songs are chained to each other: the instrumental folk-waltz “Lost in the Swamp” (2:25) merges with the gloomy “Dusk (Dance of the Pixies)” (4:21). Led by Mikaela‘s ghostly vocals, they suggest the image of someone lost in the woods being stalked by nightmarish creatures – and all fades into the melancholic folk song “Woodlands” (3:29) – which blends relaxing female choirs with delicate psychedelic guitars. The album ends with the bonus “Psilocybe Semilanceata” (12:06). Named after the hallucinogenic mushroom, it is a lysergic collage of short musical pieces that includes chaotic sounds, angelic voices, soaring space reverberations, isolated drum solos, patches of folk music, orchestral timpani, and pianos. All ends up in stormy Hammonds, distorted guitars, and wild bass and drumming that forces the stoned listener to wake-up. A brilliant album performed by a promising Neo-Psychedelic band, “Woodlands” is a great release of Trail Records that will make you feel comfortably numb. Barrett Elmore is highly recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “The Doors”, “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown”, “H. P. Lovecraft”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Iron Butterfly”, “13th Floor Elevators”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in Barrett Elmore are: Claes Mikael Svensson – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Max Karlström – Bass, Vocals, Organ, Harmonica, Synthesizers; Mikaela Ericsson – Vocals; William Friman – Guitar, Piano, Organ. “Woodlands” was recorded in 2010-2011 at Potent Pharmacy Studios, secretly located in Sweden, and at Real Music Studios, Alvik, engineered by Per Angkvist. Produced and mixed by Barrett Elmore, mastering and editing by George Dugan, I-Heights Studio, NY, 2012, Trail Records Production and Design by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2012...................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BARRETT ELMORE HOME PAGE...
. DEVIANZ - "À Corps Interrompus"
Devianz is a French quintet based in Paris. The line-up consists of Guyom Pavesi (vocals), Benoît Blin (guitar, backing vocals), Pierre Labarbe (guitar), Vincent Rémon (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Thibault Faucher (drums). Devianz was founded in 2004 by Pavesi, Blin, and past member Maxime Decitre. In 2005 the band entered the LB Lab Studio with Stéphane Buriez (“Loudblast”) to make their first record: “Una Duna in Mezzo all'Oceano“ (2005). That album was followed by two EPs: “Les Lèvres Assassines" (2008) and ”Trouble Amante“ (2011) – the later presenting tracks of the future album “À Corps Interrompus” and a bonus cover-track (“Shout”, by “Tears for Fears”). “À Corps Interrompus” (May, 2012) is the second long-length album released by Devianz. It was recorded and mixed by Guyom Pavesi, and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music, New York. The new album has guest participation of Vincent Cavanagh (“Anathema”), who sings on the track “Ton corps n'est qu'atome”. Devianz blends elements of Grunge Metal, Powerpop, Post-Rock and Indie Rock on their songs. Although the members of Devianz regard themselves as the crossing-over of “At the Drive-In” with “Portishead” – sweet like a smooth pop, but fervent like rock - their sonority is aggressive, vibrant and energized, with corpulent bass and drums interplay, interlocked powerful guitars, and belligerent vocals that shouts out, proclaiming all frustration against the unfair world. The influences are “Soundgarden”, “Nirvana”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice in Chains”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Prong”, “Deftones”, “Mudhoney”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Anathema”, “Rage Against the Machine”, and “Playemo”. “À Corps Interrompus“ brings 14 tracks sung in French. The first songs, “Happiness in Frustration” (a short ballad) and “Des Racines dans la Chair” (a Grunge), hit the listener immediately with the raw pragmatism of Devianz, which also appears on the fast Punk-Metal track “Trouble Amante”. Many tracks bring a contrast between aggressive heavy-metal instrumentation and soaring emotional vocals (either melancholic, pleading, or shouting) – being instilled with the rebel spirit of Grunge icons such as “Soundgarden”, “Nirvana”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice in Chains”, “Prong”, “Mudhoney”, and “Stone Temple Pilots”. That approach works greatly on the explosive “Soleil d'Encre” and on the somber and tribal “Mute Echo Room”; and works better still on the cadenced “Sous une Lune de Plomb”. However, my favorite tracks are those that employ the hypnotic-relaxing effects of the Post-Metal sound (with influences of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, and “Deftones”) - without giving up the soft/hard contrast that characterizes Devianz sonority – still with addition of melancholic and epic tones, as “Anathema” does. Such tracks gather in pairs: “L'Instant Suspendu” is a bass intro for the tormented “L'Alchimie des Sens” (a Post-Metal with influences of “Tool” and “Deftones”); and the melancholic “Douze de mes Phalanges” (with psychedelic guitars and female vocals) introduces the amazing “Ton Corps n'Est qu'Atome” (with “Vincent Cavanagh”) – a somber Post-Metal song that progressively grows toward and epic end in the manner of “Anathema”. The songs “Lames de Sel” and “Arpeggio” lean even more to the Psychedelic Post-Metal, blending influences of “A Perfect Circle”, “Anathema”, and “Porcupine Tree”. The album ends with the painful “Passion/Omission” and the bonus track “En Attendant l'Aube” (a melodic Post-Rock reminiscent of “Soundgarden”). Devianz is an authentic representative of Grunge, Post-Metal and Alternative Rock in France, being especially recommended for fans of “Soundgarden”, “Nirvana”, “Pearl Jam”, “Alice in Chains”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Prong”, “Deftones”, “Mudhoney”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, and “Anathema”. Band members and collaborators involved in Devianz are: Guyom Pavesi - Vocals, Benoît Blin – Guitar and Backing Vocals, Pierre Labarbe - Guitar, Vincent Rémon – Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals, Thibault Faucher – Drums. Past members: Emmanuel Mechling - Bass Guitar 2004-2006; Nicolas Robache - Bass Guitar 2006-2007; Maxime Decitre - Drums 2004-2008; Nicolas Pytel - Drums 2008-2011; Charles-Vincent Lefèvre - Drums 2011-2012...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2012.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DEVIANZ HOME PAGE...
. NEKTAR - "Man In The Moon/Evolution/Always"
The legendary Prog-Rock band Nektar is welcomed at this webzine. Nektar was founded in 1969 in Hamburg (Germany) by British musicians Roye Albrighton (guitars, vocals), Allan Freeman (keyboards), Derek Moore (bass), and Ron Howden (drums). Nektar was firstly recognized as an important band in Germany (because their music was related to the Krautrock movement); and in the U.S.A., and only later in Great Britain. Along 40 years of existence (with a hiatus between 1980 and 2000) Nektar released many studio and live albums, compacts, compilations and DVDs. Their discography includes classic albums of the Progressive and Space Rock discography of the 70s: “Journey to the Centre of the Eye” (1972), “A Tab in the Ocean” (1972), “Remember the Future” (1973), “...Sounds Like This” (1973), “Down to Earth” (1974), and “Recycled” (1975), all released by German label Bellaphon. Nektar also performed hundreds of live concerts that had a huge visual impact on their audience (thanks to the work of visual artist Mick Brockett), and formed a large and loyal fan base. Although Nektar’s original line-up was stable for most part of the 70s, it had changes by the end of the decade. After a brief departure of Albrighton in December 1976, he was replaced by American Dave Nelson, who took part in the album “Magic is a Child” (1977). Two years later, Albrighton and Freeman regrouped, and together with Carmine Rojas (bass) and David Prater (drums), they released the album “Man in the Moon” (1980). After a successful tour, Albrighton and Freeman took different roads and that was almost the end of Nektar. In 2000, however, Bellaphon asked Albrighton to record a new Nektar‘s album. Albrighton, with Freeman and Ray Hardwick (drums) recorded and released “The Prodigal Son” (2001), which reached success in German and in the U.S.A. - a starting point of Nektar’s resurrection. The period of 2002 to 2004 was marked by Nektar‘s comeback to the stages: the original line-up was regrouped and performed concerts in the U.S.A., England and Germany; and their albums were re-mastered under their own label Dream Nebula. In October 2004 Derek Moore left Nektar, being replaced by bassist Randy Dembo, who took part in the record of “Evolution” (2004), an album that settled the return of Nektar to its original sonority. In September 2004 Freeman left the band, being replaced by Tom Hughes. In 2005 Nektar toured in Brazil; and in March 2006 performed at the “BajaProg” (Mexico). In 2007 Nektar toured in Germany with Albrighton and Howden, and new members Peter Pichl (bass) and Klaus Henatsch (keyboards). In 2009 the band celebrated its 40th anniversary in an acoustic show for a selected group of 250 fans in the U.S.A. Meanwhile, Nektar released the studio album “Book of Days“ (2008) and some live CDs and DVDs. The newest release of Nektar is a re-mastered deluxe double edition containing the albums “Man in The Moon” and “Evolution”, and the EP “Always” (2012, Cleopatra Records), which reunites two historical moments of Nektar’s career. “Man In The Moon” (originally released in 1980) was the last album recorded before the long hiatus that almost relegated Nektar to oblivion. The line-up had only two original members (Albrighton and Freeman), completed with Carmine Rojas (bass) and David Prater (drums). The music of “Man in the Moon” was composed and recorded when the band was based in the U.S.A., and reflects a time when Progressive Rock was declining. Songs like “Too Young to Die”, “Far Away”, “Can’t Stop You Now”, and “We” were far from Nektar’s original style, being loaded with a commercial appeal that approached them to what “Asia”, “Journey”, “Boston”, “Kansas”, “Toto”, “ELO”, and “Genesis” were playing in the beginning of the 80s. Those songs must have driven back Nektar’s most orthodox fans. By the present standards, however, they are more than satisfactory for Neo-Prog appreciators. Anyway, “Man in the Moon” contained some really beautiful ballads, such as “Angel” (with great chorus, organs, and soaring guitars); the romantically sad “Telephone” (for piano and vocals); and the acoustic and bittersweet “You’re Alone”. Hints of a glorious past could be listened, however, on “Torraine” (with soulful vocals, wild drumming, frantic bass, and great guitars); and on the title track “Man in The Moon” (an authentic Progressive song, with power and drama). This version of “Man in The Moon” offers the bonus-track “Straight Jacket” (a great Hammond-driven Hard-Rock with the strength of the 70s). The second historical moment of Nektar is represented by “Evolution” (2004). Featuring 3/4 of the original line-up, and with help of bassist Randy Dembo (a fan of Nektar who incarnated the spirit of the band), “Evolution” was a great Progressive-Rock album that marked the return of Nektar to its original musical roots, even though ventilated by the modern airs of the new century. Inspired melodies, soaring sounds, great skillful instrumental interplay, generous layers of keyboards, and amazing guitar solos met together with meaningful lyrics driven by tuneful and emotional vocals in long compositions that were guided by truly artistic freedom. “Evolution” had fantastic songs: the groovy “Camouflage To White”, the old-Nektar-styled cosmic ballad “Child Of Mine”; the stormy “Phazed By The Storm” (crowned with long guitar solo); the soulful “Always” (with distinctive guitar riff and impressive vocals); and the Prog-ballad “Old Mother Earth” (for piano & vocals, including an astral guitar solo). “Evolution” also brought two songs with a renovated 21st century fresh sound: “Dancin’ Into The Void” (on which psychedelic vocals joined with a modern rhythmic section, prior to an instrumental catharsis of the entire band); and “The Debate”, on which Nektar’s Pop-side met the Prog-side in a majestic finale that vanished into the symphonic serenity of “After The Fall”. “Evolution” must have ensured the most reticent fan of Nektar that the band was definitely back to its roots, and with a bright future ahead. This package also includes the EP “Always” (2005), featuring the single editions of songs “Always” and “Child Of Mine”, and “live in studio” versions of “Telephone” and “Angel”, offering the economical advantage of getting an extra Nektar-collectible item in a single product. This 2012 edition is highly recommended for any Progressive fan and indispensable for Nektar’s fans.  Band members and collaborators involved in Nektar are: Original line-up:  Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Lead Vocals; Allan Freeman – Keyboards, Vocals (1969-2004); Derek Moore – Bass, Vocals (1969-1978/2002-3); Ron Howden - Drums. “Man in The Moon” line-up: Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Vocals; Allan Freeman – Keyboards; Carmine Rojas – Bass; David Prater – Drums. “Evolution” line-up: Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Vocals; Allan Freeman – Keyboards; Ron Howden – Drums; Randy Dembo - Bass. Present line-up: Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Vocals; Ron Howden – Drums; Klaus Henatsch – Keyboards; Peter Pichl – Bass. Past members: Dave Nelson - Guitars, Vocals (1977-1978); Carmine Rojas - Bass (1980-1982, 2006); Dave Prater – Drums (1980-1982); Tom Hughes - Hammond, Keyboards (2004-6); Randy Dembo – Bass (2003-6). Other collaborators: Mick Brockett – Liquid-Static-Film projection; Paul Higgins - Technician; Larry Fast - Synthesizers (guest musician); Peter Lango - Stage Lighting-Management-Effects Director; Hans Werner (Vinnie) Schmid – Front of House Sound...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
05/31/2012........................................,.....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: NEKTAR HOME PAGE...
. PRISMA - "You Name It"
Prisma is a quartet hailing from Zurich (Switzerland) that was formed back in 2002 by Michael Luginbuehl (vocals), Valentin Grendelmeier (guitars), Marc Müllhaupt (bass), and Andreas Wettstein (drums, percussion). Their music showcases a perfect mix of Alternative Rock, Heavy Prog, Heavy Metal and Post-Metal – with a pinch of Psychedelic and Stoner-Metal sounds – with influences of “Tool”, “Muse”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Rage Against the Machine”, “Primus”, “Deadsoul Tribe”, “Radiohead”, “Deftones”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “The Mars Volta”, “Opeth”, “Type O Negative”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Coroner”, “Poverty Is No Crime”, “Monster Magnet”, “Division By Zero”, “The Black Noodle Project”, “Sylvan”, “Korn”, “Soundgarden”, “Pearl Jam”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Therapy?”, “A Perfect Circle”, and others of the kind. Prisma debuted in 2002 with an eponymous Demo-EP, and soon began to take part in local contests. Their first full-length album – “Collusion” (2007, Galileo Records) - was mastered by Howie Weinberg (“Mars Volta”, “Smashing Pumpkins”) and received good reviews in magazines like “Metal Hammer”, “Rock Hard”, "Progressive Rock BR" and “Eclipsed”, helping Prisma to launch an international carrier. Since then, they have appeared on festivals around Bosnia, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Mexico; sometimes sharing stage with bands like “Gotthard”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “Therapy?”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Riverside”, and “Waltari”. Prisma’s performances on stage are full of energy, and count with creative visual work performed by Art Group “Pixel Punx”. Prisma’s newest release is the album “You Name It” (2012, Loudville Records). It was mixed by Tommy Vetterli (“Coroner”) and contains 10 tracks. The music of Prisma has evolved during the last years, profiting from the tight connection experienced by the members of the band, and by matured songwriting. This sonic evolution is present on the technical advance displayed by all musicians coupled with the still more intense instrumental interplay and emotional singing. Without abandoning the visceral heaviness, Prisma searches for the perfection exploring efficient musical arrangements that will satisfy fans of Heavy-Prog, Heavy and Post-Metal, and Alternative Rock appreciators. Prisma presents their powerful mix of styles on the opening track “Epigone” (4:45), which has a great metal riff that reminds me of “Coroner” embedded in an Alternative Rock matrix made of pulsing bass, new-metal drumming and hypnotic guitars. It is followed by the groovy guitar riffs of “8” (3:35) (that recall “Jane’s Addiction”) combined with oriental melodies, discharging later into the explosive “Alpha Fiasko” (6:45) – an epic Post-Metal piece that unites influences ranging from “Opeth”, “Type O Negative” and “Deftones” (on the somber and heavy atmospheres) to “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside” (on the psychedelic bass) and “Muse” (on the guitar solos and vocals). The tribal drumming and robotic vocals of “123 Part 1” (3:40) have an hypnotic effect on the listener, placing him/her in the right mood to stand against the crudeness poured on “Broker” (4:20) – the heaviest song of the album - syncopated, paranoid, powerful, and aggressive – which contrasts amazingly with the Psychedelic lightness of “The Loyal” (4:25) – the most Progressive track of the album. Track 8 - “God´s Heir” (5:58) – returns to the syncopated drumming and Post-Metallic bass, recurring to Prog-Metal odd metrics to spearhead a sequence of final demolition songs: the psychotic “Seceder” (8:12) (which is driven by a nervous bass that recalls “Tool” and some great Metal guitar riffs); the fast and frantic “Armada Insanity” (5:12) (mainly an Alternative Rock, but with some vocal moments that recall “The Mars Volta”); and the impressive closing track “Trigger Architect” (7:25) which hovers on great guitar riffs, whispered vocals, distorted guitar solos, and ends with heavy bombardment of bass and drums. Prisma is a gifted band that has really assimilated the Underground Heavy Music of the past two decades, having the talent and ability to transform it is something fresh and addicting – being therefore highly recommended for fans of “Tool”, “Muse”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “The Mars Volta”, “Opeth”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Primus”, “Deadsoul Tribe”, “Division By Zero”, “The Black Noodle Project”, “Coheed and Cambria”, “A Perfect Circle”, and other Heavy-Prog, Metal and Post-Metal bands. Band members and collaborators involved in Prisma are: Michael Luginbuehl - Vocals; Valentin Grendelmeier – Guitars; Marc Müllhaupt – Bass; Andreas Wettstein - Drums, Percussion...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2012...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PRISMA HOME PAGE...
. TURRIGENOUS - "The Dream and the Resonance - Live"
Turrigenous is an American Progressive Metal quartet based in New York City. Formed in 2006, the line-up of the band has Greg Giordano (guitar, vocals), John Vullo (guitar), Mike Murray (bass), and Mark Dara (drums). Performing relentlessly live along two years, Turrigenous have attracted various fans of Metal and Rock in general, and has constructed a solid reputation around the New York Metal & Rock scene. The music of Turrigenous is emotionally expressive and technically refined, employing both abrasive dissonance and accessible consonance to create a coherent sound – an attribute of their music which has been dubbed “Dynamic Metal”. Turrigenous blends elements of Traditional Metal, Thrash Metal and Metal of the 80’s, incorporating everything from growling vocals to soft singing, varied guitar techniques, and thunderous drumming to mellow Latin grooves. Their musical influences are drawn from a wide variety of bands, mainly from 80’s Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal, and NWOBHM; from some Power & Prog-Metal bands of the 90’s; and from the Hard-Rock and Heavy-Prog of the 70’s, including: “Megadeth”, “Death Angel”, “Hades“, “Metallica”, “Exodus”, “Testament”, “Iced Earth“, “Watchtower”, “Annihilator”, “Vendetta”, “Blessed Death”, “Artillery”, “Sanctuary”, “Omen”, “Liege Lord”, “Jason Becker”, “Cacophony”, “Metal Church”, “Queensrÿche”, “Helstar“, “Jag Panzer”, “Crimson Glory”, “Vicious Rumors”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Raven”, “Satan”, “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Opeth”, “Angra”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Necrophagist”, “Meshuggah”, “Hung”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush”, and their likes. In 2008 Turrigenous released the EP “A Slight Amplification”. Their first full-length album is the live CD “The Dream and the Resonance – Live”. The album was recorded live on February 26th, 2010 at the “DJ Riders Rhythm and Brews” (Oceanside, NY), capturing the true energy of a Turrigenous’ performance. The tracks contained in this CD are thematic and story-driven, being divided in two set-lists: “The Dream” (with 5 tracks); and “The Resonance” (with 7 tracks). The music of Turriginous is heavy, powerful and really dynamic. The songs have many changes of tempo and rhythm, unexpected twists and are stuffed with many guitar solos – all in True Metal style, with a predominance of the sonority of 80’s Metal. Contrasts between stormy Thrash-Metal parts and somber and slower ones are frequent, all permeated by the raw energy of a live presentation. The songs of the first set-list (“The Dream”) recall the sonority of the 80’s, with predominance of elements taken from Heavy, Thrash, and NWOBHM Metal bands. The opening song, “Emptiness, Darkness, Acceptance“ (6:40), for instance, has parts that are reminiscent of “Queensrÿche”, “Omen”, “Cacophony” (on solos), “Rush” and “Helstar”; while the pair “The Mystery of Light“ (instrumental intro - 2:35) & “The Sobering Daylight“ (6:13) feature fast and powerful Thrash riffs, epic parts, and traditional Metal riffs (like “Judas”). The track “The Descent“ (7:35) begins with an oriental guitar solo, having complex Thrash-Metal instrumentation (that recalls “Annihilator”) interspersed with cadenced and heavy parts with aggressive vocals in “Slayer” style; a bass-driven part like “Iron Maiden”, and epic vocals like “Omen”. The last song of this set is the brutal Death-Thrash “Bloodsick“ (7:55) – as aggressive as “Slayer”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, and “Death Angel”, but having harmony-guitar inventions like “Annihilator”. The songs of the second set-list (“The Resonance”) however, feature a modern sonority, with most influences coming from Prog-Metal bands like “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation”, and “Opeth”, but not forgetting the energized Thrash style of “Megadeth” and “Death Angel”. This set begins with the cadenced “Wake to an Argument“ (7:55), which recalls “Dream Theater”, and has an extra final part with great drumming. The Prog-Fusion “Adya“ (5:52 ) has a long and slow instrumental part, that gradually grows with the coming of vocals; reaching the climax on the heavy, dark and Progressive “The Episphere“ (6:00) – an amazing song that combines ultra-fast riffs in “Megadeth” style with “Dream Theater” complexity. The following tracks are “Persephone Part 1: Summer Diminished“ (6:22) & “Part 2: Winter Bloom“ (5:13). Both feature intricate instrumentation, great guitar duel, and Rocky and Epic moments. The last two songs are “For the Neverborn“ (9:00) – a heavy one, containing many different part that are inspired on the sound of “Dream Theater”, “Pain of Salvation” and “Opeth”; and the ballad “Penance (Epilogue)“ (7:40). Retaining the adrenaline and impulsiveness of a True Metal show, this Turriginous’ live album is especially recommended for fans of NWOBHM, Heavy and Thrash-Metal of the 80s, and Prog-Metal of the early 90s, with a taste for spontaneous and explosive live recordings. Band members and collaborators involved in Turrigenous are: Greg Giordano – Guitar, Vocals, John Vullo - Guitar, Mike Murray - Bass, Mark “The Sorcerer” Dara – Drums...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2012........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TURRIGENOUS HOME PAGE...
. EFFLORESCE - "Coma Ghosts"
Effloresce is a Female-Fronted Progressive-Metal quintet from Nürnberg, Germany. The band was formed in 2008 and the line-up has Nicki (vocals, growls, flutes, lyrics), Dave (guitars, Mellotrons), Tim (guitars), Basti (bass), and Tobi (drums). In 2009 they released the EP “Shades of Fate”. In 2011 Effloresce signed with new German Label Generation Prog Records - an independent label dedicated to modern styles of Progressive Rock, managed by Michael Schetter. Generation Prog Records organized a festival in 2011 to drag international attention for the label. On that special occasion, bands of their cast - Effloresce and Relocator - shared stage with emergent acts of the Prog-Metal scene, like “Andromeda”, “Subsignal”, “Haken” and “Exivious”. The Label’s first release was Effloresce’s first full-length album, “Coma Ghosts” (10, February, 2012). After more than two years of careful preparation the songs were endowed with an epic sonority, thanks to mixing and mastering made by Metal-legend Dan Swanö (“Edge of Sanity”, “Opeth”). “Coma Ghosts” brings six long tracks. Considering the sonority, Effloresce combines an emotional mix of influences, ranging from Atmospheric Death Metal in “Opeth” and “Disillusion”-styles to the complex Prog-Metal musicianship of “Dream Theater” and the Heavy-Prog ambience of “Porcupine Tree”. The female vocals (either operatic or not) push the sonority of Effloresce closer to the styles of many iconic Gothic & Symphonic Female-Fronted Metal bands (mainly “Dreams of Sanity”, “Imperia”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Xandria”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Elis”, “Leaves’ Eyes”, “Nemesea”, “Nightwish”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Syrens Call”, and “The Gathering”). The use of growling vocal parts also brings to mind bands like ”After Forever”, “Epica”, “Penumbra”, “Trail of Tears”, “Opera IX“, “Tristania”, “Sirenia”, “Siegfried”, and “Evanescence”. As a bonus, and giving Effloresce their own special sonority, there are many melodic guitar solos, 70’s vintage keyboards, and even some passages with Prog-Folk flutes. The mixture is reminiscent of bands like “Edge of Insanity”, “Diabulus In Musica”, “Delain”, “Amartia”, ”Revamp”, “Mortemia”, “Serenity”, “Star One”, and “X-Panda” most of which are trying to revitalize the Female-Fronted Metal branch, either by adding new elements to the music, or by crossing borders toward other styles and genres. The opening song, “Crib” (8:12), starts with Progressive Mellotrons and somber Gregorian chants that introduce the first guitar riffs (recalling “Star One”) before exploding with Nicki‘s first vocals - and she is as good as “Sandra Schleret“ (“Dreams of Sanity”, “Siegfried”, “Elis“) and “Helena Iren Michaelsen” (“Imperia”). That song continues powerfully, blending parts that sometimes recall the Gothic-Metal style of “Xandria” and “Elis”, and other times, the Melodic sonority of “Syrens Call”, “Nemesea” and “Nightwish” – and it is still crowned with two brilliant guitar solos – the first in Melodic-Metal style, and the second in Prog-Metal style. The following track, “Spectre Pt. 1: Zorya’s Dawn” (10:34), brings a diverse mix of influences. The instrumental intro is bass-and-drums driven, showing the influence of the Heavy-Prog sonority of “Porcupine Tree”, ending with a great guitar solo. Vocals come with a Gothic-Metal pace. The song accelerates to a faster beat (recalling “Epica”), and the first growling vocals are heard, recalling “Opera IX”, and “Penumbra”. The final third is dominated by surprising flutes, Heavy-Prog instrumentation and vintage keyboards. Track 3, “Pavement Canvas” (8:58), is heavy, wild and aggressive, and experiments with polyrhythm patterns that recall the sonority of bands like “Opeth” and “Meshuggah”. The song blends malign clean vocals with growling vocals, recalling “Dreams of Sanity”, “Siegfried”, “After Forever”, and “Epica” – the last part is dominated by excellent guitar solos. The heavy trend of the first tracks is diluted on the atmospheric instrumental track “Undercoat” (2:54), and on the bittersweet lightness of the Prog-Folk song “Swimming Through Deserts” (7:11) – which still brings a marvelous guitar solo. But the climax of “Coma Ghosts” lies on the final track, “Shuteye Wanderer” (16:31). By using all their influences, ranging from “Opeth” and “Dream Theater” to “Epica” and “Porcupine Tree”, Effloresce creates a great Epic Piece full of strong Prog-Metal riffs, battles of operatic against growling vocals, outstanding guitar solos, somber bass lines, death-metal drumming and pagan flutes. With this amazing album “Coma Ghosts”, Effloresce are definitely including their name in the list of bands that are expanding and renovating the “Female-Fronted Metal” style, such as “Edge of Insanity”, and “Diabulus in Musica”. Highly recommended!  Band members and collaborators involved in Effloresce are: Nicki Weber - Vocals, Growls, Flute, Lyrics; Dave Mola - Guitars, Mellotrons; Tim Ivanic - Guitars; Sebastian “Basti” Ott – Bass; Tobi Süss - Drums...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2012..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EFFLORESCE HOME PAGE...
. LEGEND - "Cardinal Points"
The Progressive band Legend is back to this webzine once more, this time with an amazing new album called “Cardinal Points”. Legend was formed in 1988 in the city of Runcorn (U.K.) by keyboardist Steve Paine. The band has released three studio albums in the early 90’s, followed by a long hiatus. By the new century, Legend returned with the compilation “Ritual Echo” (2009) and the live album “Playing With Fire” (2010) - both featured here at PR&PM (see under “Reviews 2010”). Legend’s last release is the album “Cardinal Points” (2011, NoFish Records). It was engineered by Steve Paine and Dave Foster, and produced by Paine, Keith Goddard and Mike Turner. For this new work, Legend’s line-up was almost totally reformulated: besides founder member Steve Paine (keyboards) and remainder member John Macklin (drums and percussion), Legend counts with new members Kerry Parker (vocals), Dave Foster (guitars) and Dan Nelson (bass); and with guest musicians Clare Foster (flutes), Jay Boon (didgeridoo), and Tyler Macklin (percussion). As on Legend’s previous albums, the music combines elements of Neo-Progressive Rock with Folk, Medieval and Celtic Music, also including few moments in heavier NWOBHM-style. The lyrics are based on the mythical tales of Ancient Great Britain. The instrumentation comprises vigorous rhythmic sessions, powerful guitar riffs and solos, and bombastic synthesizers, all lead by amazing female vocals. Overall, Legend sounds like a blend of “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Lana Lane“, “Steeleye Span”, “Pentangle”, “Curved Air”, “Renaissance”, “Clannad”, “Solstice”, “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Adventure”, and “Believe”. However, on “Cardinal Points”, Legend takes on a more Progressive way, giving less emphasis to the Neo-Prog and NWOBHM styles, and walking rather on Progressive-Folk, Symphonic and Ambient terrains. As a result, the music of “Cardinal Points” surpasses in some steps the music of Legend already showcased on their previous works. “Cardinal Points” features four long tracks. The opening track, “Carved In Stone” (13:09), begins with a somber atmosphere created by the ghostly sounds of the didgeridoo and by the mesmerizing vocals of Kerry Parker - who replaces original vocalist Debbie Chapman with great honor. The song suddenly erupts with folk flutes, soon joined by the guitar. The listener feels him/herself surrounded by a magical haze, being transported then to the Pagan times of the mythical Stonehenge. The following song, “Whisper On The Wind” (14:42) is driven by Progressive pulsing bass & drums, and powerful - yet mysterious - keyboard riffs. Meanwhile, Kerry casts her spell in a compelling melody. The song enters an atmospheric part driven by Gipsy guitars and medieval percussion, later entering in a frantic dance of some kind of Ritual of Fecundity, on which great guitar solos precede somber bass notes, all ending in ghostly solos of synthesizers. Track three, “Spark To A Flame” (13:55), is impregnated with a vigorous rocky disposition on main vocals and chorus, being further strengthened by the potent synthesizers and guitar riffs – it is the kind of electrifying song expected in a live presentation. The middle part, introduced by Moog solos, enters an eerie moment, on which Kerry sings in a duet with herself – weaving Pagan canticles in ancient Latin as a Shakespearian Witch, and luring the listener toward a demising climax – when the song returns to the rocky initial energy, finishing with vibrantly performed long guitar solos. The last track, “Drop in the Ocean” (17:02) – is a truly Progressive masterpiece. Beginning silent as the rain, it falls in New-Age style, contrasting the sweet ethereal voice of Kerry with electronic keyboards and soft drumming. The serenity of the song is disturbed by an amazing segment featuring intense instrumental interplay – by bass, drums, guitars and electric piano – that merge together in a kind of Progressive- NWOBHM style. The song retakes the original vocal tune, always being intercalated by instrumental interludes – either Medieval keyboards, bass, acoustic guitars, or flutes. The climax of this amazing song conjures bombastic symphonic keyboards with Kerry’s awesome vocals, raising the song to the level of a piece of “Renaissance”. Legend’s “Cardinal Points” is definitely a brilliant and amazing album, indispensable for lovers of Symphonic Progressive Folk; highly recommended for fans of “Solstice”, “Renaissance”, “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Adventure”, “Believe”, “Lana Lane“, “Pentangle”, “Curved Air”, “Clannad”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, and so on...  Band members and collaborators involved in Legend are: Kerry Parker – Vocals; Steve Paine – Keyboards, Production; Dave Foster – Guitars; Dan Nelson – Bass; John Macklin – Drums. Guest musicians: Clare Foster – Flutes; Jay Boon – Didgeridoo; Tyler Macklin – Percussion...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2012..............................,.....Interested to know more about the this amazing Band? Visit LEGEND HOME PAGE...
. SIX ELEMENTS - "Primary Elements"
Six Elements is an Atlanta-based Progressive Rock band formed in 2008. The line-up features singer Stanley Whitaker (“Oblivion Sun”, ex-“Happy the Man” and “Pedal Giant Animals”), bassist Dave DeMarco (“Crack the Sky”, ex-“Oblivion Sun” and “Battery Apple”), and also Michael (Misha) Shengaout (keyboards, samples, lyrics, compositions), Jeffrey McGahren (guitars), and Marc Norgaard (drums). Six Elements’ debut album is “Primary Elements” (2012, Tower of Harmony). It is conceptual album on which the songs have been organized in a continuous flow to represent metaphorically the seasons of the year or the cycles of human experiences, all according to the ancient oriental concept of the “Five Elements” (hence the album’s name). The lyrics were inspired by “Rudyard Kipling’s” poem “If”. Six Elements’ musical style blends Symphonic Progressive Rock, Neo-Prog and Art Rock, sounding much like “Genesis” of the “Peter Gabriel” Era (the resemblance of Whitaker’s vocals with “Gabriel’s” voice and style is astonishing). But the instrumentation has softer and lighter guitars and keyboards that recall “Genesis” of post-“Gabriel” albums (such as “A Trick of The Tail” and “Wind and Wuthering”), rather using the piano, organ and harpsichord. The Neo-Progressive trend shows up on some guitar riffs and solos; and on some popish rhythmic frames (recalling bands like “Marillion”, and “IQ”). A point of difference, however, resides in the extensive use of woodwinds (the clarinet, and mainly the flute), which are mostly inspired by the music of Russian Romantic composers like “Rachmaninoff” and “Tchaikovsky”, also bringing in some Baroque and Folk moments that recall “Camel”, “Gryphon”, and “Renaissance”. The acoustic moments also recall me of “Cat Stevens” (in especial, his famous song “Morning Has Broken”). “Primary Elements” contains 10 tracks. The music is truly tuneful, enjoyable, and rich in textures of flutes, clarinets, pianos, and organs. The vocal tunes are really amazing and pleasant, and the general mood is joyful and sweet. The opening movement is “Overture” (2:56) – an instrumental piece with mellow tunes on flute and guitar, which introduces “Welcome to Theater” (2:49) – with that “Gabriel” like accent on vocals and containing some hard guitars in Neo-Prog style. The following track, “Childhood Books” (7:29), is one of the most beautiful of the album, and combines Baroque harpsichords with delicate instrumentation that recalls the first post-“Gabriel” albums of “Genesis”. A twist in the middle changes the song to a faster pace, with addition of layers of pianos, keyboards, and Romantic flute solos. The following pair of tracks - “Nightmare” (4:01) and “Invictus” (4:34) - are somber Neo-Prog pieces driven by bass and a somewhat modern rhythmic frame. “Nightmare” breaks the dark atmosphere by including soft parts with pianos, keyboards and guitars; while “Invictus” – another great track – has expressive vocals and emphasizes Baroque flutes, organs and guitars. The mood is brightened again on another highlight-track of the album – the song “Words of Love” (2:50). It is a piano ballad that brings a “Carpet Crawlers” accent, still bringing in some gorgeous arrangements for strings, clarinets and flutes. “Words…” is followed by the acoustic ballad “Summer” (2:35), which recalls me of “Cat Stevens”, but that shines even more with the presence of amazing female vocals by guest singer Betty Seni. The last two tracks – “If” (4:41) and “Winter” (2:54) – conclude “Primary Elements” with the highest musical quality. “If” is a beautiful song for voice and piano that retakes the main theme of “Overture” on flutes; and “Winter” (2:54) is a Neo-Prog ballad on which strings, piano and vocals are arranged mostly like “Genesis” of the “Phil Collins” phase. “Primary Elements” still features the bonus-track “If” (Radio Mix) (4:45) – which differs from the original by having stronger guitars and by giving emphasis to the clarinet. Six Elements’ “Primary Elements” is therefore a brilliant and impressive debut album that features many qualities – it is faithful to the Progressive spirit, it is full of Classic musicianship that privileges the melody, and it has deep lyrics based on the literature. For all that reasons, “Primary Elements” is highly recommended for fans of “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Camel”, “Gryphon” “Renaissance”, “Illusion”, “Cherry Five”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, and so on…  Band members and collaborators involved in Six Elements are: Stanley Whitaker – Vocals; Michael (Misha) Shengaout  - Keyboards, Samples, Lyrics, Compositions; Jeff McGahren - Guitars, Organ solo (on “Childhood Books”, “Summer”); Dave De Marco - Bass, Percussion (on “If” (Radio Mix); Marc Norgaard – Drums. Additional musicians: Betty Seni  - Vocals (on “Summer”), Inna Satunovsky - Piano (on “If”); The Fauxharmonic Orchestra - Brass (on “Winter”), String quartets (on “Words of Love”, “Winter”). Produced by Michael (Misha) Shengaout; Mixed and Mastered by Brandt Fincher; Album Art & Design by Maria Kozlova...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
06/30/2012.....Want to learn everything about the band and their history, you must visit SIX ELEMENTS HOME PAGE...
The Indonesian guitar player Tohpati Aryo Hutomo was born in Jakarta, 25 July 1971, and began to take classical guitar lessons when he was a fourth-grader. He grew up listening to bands such as “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Genesis”, “Yes”, and “Police”, and later, to Jazz ensembles such as “Mezzoforte”, “Uzeb”, “Spirogyra”, and “Kazumi Watanabe”. Soon Tohpati was playing with Jazz musicians of Indonesia, and called the attention of “Aminoto Kossin” (“Karimata’s” keyboardist), who produced Tohpati’s solo albums: “Tohpati” (1998) and “Serampang Samba” (2002, Sony BMG). Tohpati advanced in his career by joining Jazz-Fusion group “Simak Dialog“ (see under “Reviews 2010") and the guitar-trio “Trisum”. In 2009 he founded the project Tohpati Ethnomission, which fused Indonesian Gamelan Music with Western Jazz-Rock, and released the album “Save the Planet” (see under “Reviews 2010”). Ethnomission performed internationally, in Berlin and here in Brazil (at the “Virada Cultural” Festival in the city of São Paulo). In 2010 Tohpati performed with U.S.A. band “YellowJackets” at the Jakarta Jazz Festival, and they recorded a song for his future album. Tohpati’s present project is called Tohpati Bertiga. Besides Tohpati, the line-up features the extraordinary bassist Indro Hardjodikoro (a long time friend, also member of Ethnomission), and the unbelievable wild drummer Adityo Wibowo. The Bertiga project was conceived to be a Jazz-Rock-Fusion trio in the standards of the Western Jazz-Rock, featuring minor affinities with the Indonesian traditional music. “Riot” is their debut album. It was recorded live at studio with minimum overdubs, and released in 2012 in the U.S.A. under MoonJune Records. As a guitarist, Tohpati matches the technique, versatility, imagination and sense of melody of his favorite guitar players (“Terje Rypdal”, “John McLaughlin”, “Jan Akkerman”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Scott Henderson”, “Pat Metheny”, “Robert Fripp”) - also having a “Hendrixian” rocky-vein. But he does not sound like any of them, having developed his own musical alphabet and unique compositional style. Tohpati Bertiga amazingly fuses the energy of Rock and Metal, the technique of Jazz, and the vision and creativity of Progressive R.I.O. and Canterbury styles to forge intricate instrumental pieces that burst out with dazzling guitar passages, thunderous bass phrasings and explosive drum passages that engage into carnage-battled interplay. “Riot” features 10 tracks. It opens violently with the Metal Fusion “Upload“ (7:58) - full of stunning guitar passages and explosive bass and drums – to reduce the speed on the Jazz-Fusion “I Feel Great“ (6:42) – which has a cheerful disposition and groove that recalls  “Weather Report”, “Santana” and “Hendrix”, but discharges a final Hard-Rock riff that recalls “Deep Purple”. The title track, “Riot“ (5:34) is constructed by a sophisticated guitar-solo technique that recalls “Holdsworth’s” style. On the great “Middle East“ (5:14) Tohpati’s skilled guitar may be comparable to a dancing couple – the riffs are the sturdy movements of the man; while the agile and melodic tunes represent the woman. Echoes of the Indonesian traditional music are heard on “Pay Attention“ (7:13), on which Tohpati imitates on his guitar some Indonesian rhythmic phrases, fusing them with clean and light jazz tunes in “Pat Matheny”-style, while Indro boils everything with a fervent bass solo. “Rock Camp“ (4:43) is like a Medley – a homage for the basic rocky influences that forged Tohpati’s guitar licks and riffs – which includes passages that recall “AC/DC”, “Queen”, and “Rush”. “Absurd“ (5:37) promotes the collision of rocky guitar riffs and exuberant Jazz-Fusion soloing, resulting in stupendous guitar-bass-&-drums interplay and still crazy passages of R.I.O. inspiration. “Disco Robot“ (4:11) is an inventive Tech-Metal employing electronic sounds, having a sense of humor reminiscent of “Primus”. “Lost In Space“ (7:22) begins like a classical guitar waltz – with delicate melodies dancing together, joined to percussion passages suggesting a “lost in space” sensation, all interspersed with fast New-Wave burst executed by the three musicians. The album ends magnificently with the vivid “Bertiga“ (5:34) – an elaborated Progressive piece that blends the Canterbury sounds with influences of “King Crimson” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. An outstanding work, “Riot” is one of the best instrumental guitar-oriented albums that I have listened recently – in the categories of invention, originally, technique, and raw energy it really hovers above the level of excellence. A great release by MoonJune, that opens way for a matured Tohpati player to initiate a successful career in the U.S.A. More than a brilliant album, “Riot” is a must-have item for lovers of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Holdsworth”, “Vai”, “Satriani”, “Greg Howe”, “Montrose”, “McAlpine”, “Scott Henderson”, “Zappa”, “Colosseum”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Robert Fripp” and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Tohpati Bertiga are: Tohpati Aryo Hutomo - Electric Guitar; Indro Hardjodikoro - Bass; Adityo Wibowo - Drums. “Riot” was recorded at Semar Audio Lab Studio, Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2011; all tracks composed and produced by Tohpati; released in the U.S.A., 2012, by MoonJune Records (executive producer Leonardo Pavkovic). For more about and to listen some samples visit their MySpace...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012...............................,.....Interested to know more about the project? Visit TOHPATI BERTIGA HOME PAGE...
. POINTS NORTH - "Road Less Traveled"
Points North is an U.S.A. super-trio formed by musicians of the San Francisco Bay Area: Eric Barnett (guitar), Kevin Aiello (drums), and bassist Damien Sisson (now in “Death Angel”), who was replaced by new bassist Uriah Duffy (ex-“Whitesnake”). Barnett grew up in New Jersey, and began to play violin at age 5, switching to the guitar when he was a teenager. He attended GIT in Los Angeles, and later worked in New York as studio musician with producer Kenny Vance (“Steely Dan”). Barnett shared stage with “The Offspring”, “Henry Rollins”, “Ween”, “Jeff Buckley”, and “The Lemonheads”, and was a finalist in Guitar Player Magazine's “Guitar Superstar 2008 Competition”. Kevin Aiello is a veteran drummer who grew up in the SF Bay Area, and played in diverse bands over the years (“Etta James”, “Mark Ford”, “Stu Blank”, “Paul Butterfield Blues Band”). Damian Sisson played in “Scarecrow” and “Potential Threat”. Points North began activities in mid 2000s, opening for “Michael Schenker”. Since then, the trio has had a live career, playing with many artists in California (“Blues Traveler”, “Eric Johnson”, “KingsX”, “Al Di Meola”, “Steve Morse”, “UFO”, “Larry Carlton”, “Steve Lukather”, “Pat Travers”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Gary Hoey”, “George Lynch”, “Uli Jon Roth”, “Eric Martin”). After years, Points North debut album “Road Less Traveled” was finally released on March 13, 2012 by prestigious label Magna Carta. After the recordings were finished, bassist Damien Sisson joined Thrash-Metal band “Death Angel”. He was briefly replaced by Stu Hamm in a few shows, until the arrival of new member Uriah Duffy (who has played for 5 years in “Whitesnake”). Duffy is proficient in Funk, Pop, Metal & Rock genres, and saw in Points North an opportunity to exercise his Classic Rock & Progressive influences. Points North creates melodic guitar-driven instrumental music that skillfully blends Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Fusion and Prog. The musical themes are well-defined, and the compositions also sound modern and fresh, shining with higher technique and musicianship. Barnett is an extraordinary guitarist, who focuses mainly on melody and emotion. Aiello‘s versatility explores all the possibilities of the rhythmic section. And Sisson bonds everything with his hard-rocky point of view. The band works both individually and as a unit, employing their musical resources to take the listener on a matchless musical journey. The sonority recalls “Dixie Dregs”, “Rush”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “The Police”, “Van Halen”, “Mr. Big”; and guitarists such as “Steve Morse”, “Joe Satriani“, “Tony McAlpine”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Steve Vai”, “Greg Howe”, “Steve Stevens”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Jeff Beck”, and “Frank Marino”. “Road Less Traveled” features 11 tracks. The album opens up with the fast “Vast Horizons” (3:32), which is explosively performed, being impregnated with a kind of Hard-Rock vigor that recalls “Satriani”. Sparkling with the same energy there are “Jubilee” (3:41) (with a hard-rock main guitar riff that recalls “Van Halen” of the old days); and the outstanding “Maiden Voyage” (5:54) – a fast piece that brings to mind “Ronnie Montrose”, but having many twists and breaks. Leaning a bit more to the influence of “Dixie Dregs” and “Steve Morse”, there are the vibrant “High Wire” (4:19) (with great duel of bass and guitar); the “scherzo” “Barney” (4:24); and the lively bluegrass “Steve's Morsels” (4:03). The amazing Fusion tracks “The Phoenix” (4:43) (a refined piece that features a metamorphosing musical structure that suggests the concepts of death and rebirth), and “Grace Under Pressure” (6:04) (with “Rush”-like riffs and alternation of soft Fusion and Bluesy solos) will really please fans of “Vinnie Moore”, “McAlpine”, “Vai”, and “Jeff Beck”. Those who prefer something much funky will love the groovy “Delay Song” (3:37). Among all those excellent tracks, two of them - “The Source” (4:35) and “Sweet Solitude” (5:57) deserve a special mention here. Both have the deepest emotional moments of the album, summoning great melodic tunes, soulful guitar performance, and a bittersweet feeling of grandness. “The Source” is a long guitar solo that runs all time over, changing from subtle melodies to Neo-Classical solos; while “Sweet Solitude” closes the album with softness and wisdom, starting with an original tune, growing with bass interplay, and employing a colorful selection of guitar textures. In sum, Points North has an original approach to instrumental guitar music that can be discovered on each track of  “Road Less Traveled” – a non-stoppable record that deserve many spins, being indispensable for fans of “Steve Morse”, “Joe Satriani“, “Tony McAlpine”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Steve Vai”, “Greg Howe”, “Steve Stevens”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Ronnie Montrose”, “Jeff Beck”, “Frank Marino”, and so on…  Band members and collaborators involved in Points North are: Eric Barnett - Guitar, Kevin Aiello - Drums, Damien Sisson – Bass. New bassist: Uriah Duffy...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit POINTS NORTH HOME PAGE...
. ALLAN HOLDSWORTH - "Hard Hat Area"
Allan Holdsworth is one of the most legendary guitarists of Jazz-Rock and Prog-Fusion. Since the beginning of the 70’s he has been expanding the electric guitar-playing both in practice and theory. He has also dedicated himself to guitar technology (either developing new designs for “baritone” guitars, or exploring guitar synthesizers such as the SynthAxe). Holdsworth was born in the city of Bradford, England, and was introduced to Jazz appreciation and theory by his father – an amateur musician. His favorite players were “Django Reinhardt”, “Jimmy Rainey”, “Charlie Christian”, “Joe Pass”, “Eric Clapton”, and “John Coltrane”. He began to work professionally in his early twenties on dance-clubs, where he usually met other musicians who came from the south. Jazz saxophonist “Ray Warleigh” realized Holdsworth's potential and introduced him to the English Jazz scene in early 70’s. But Holdsworth became better known when he joined drummer “John Hiseman” on the acclaimed band “Tempest”. In 1975, Holdsworth strengthened his reputation by playing in the “Soft Machine” band. He called the attention of Jazz drummer “Tony Williams”, who invited him to take part on his “Tony Williams' New Lifetime”. From 1976 on, Holdsworth took part in many important bands that were crucial for the foundations of Jazz-Fusion & Instrumental Rock: “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Bill Bruford”, “Gong”, and “U.K.”. He also founded the trio “IOU”, dedicated to live performances, which always had participation of great Jazz-Fusion musicians (like drummers “Gary Husband” and “Chad Wackerman”; bassists “Paul Carmichael” and “Jeff Berlin”; and occasional vocals of “Jack Bruce”). In 1985 Holdsworth signed with the Enigma label and released his emblematic album “Metal Fatigue” (that had participations of “Jimmy Johnson”, “Gary Willis”, “Gary Husband”, “Chad Wackerman”, “Alan Pasqua”, and “Paul Williams”). Later on, he began to produce his own albums – “Atavachron” (1986) and “Sand” (1988) – without the economical pressures of the Record Industry. He returned to Enigma in 1990 to release “Secrets” (which featured drummer “Vinnie Collaiuta”). All those albums contributed to forge the “Holdsworthian“ sonority – an enigmatic style that inverts, pushes, and transforms the boundaries of conventional Rock, Fusion, and Jazz forms. In the early 90s, Holdsworth was also performing at Jazz festivals with other great legends (“Stanley Clarke”, “Billy Cobham”, “Michael and Randy Brecker”). The album being featured herein - “Hard Hat Area” - was originally released in 1993 (Restless Records). It was digitally re-mastered in 2011, and re-issued in 2012 under MoonJune Records, with production of Holdsworth & Leonardo Pavkovic. The line-up included Steve Hunt (keyboardist of “Stanley Clarke's” touring band), the Icelander Skull Sverrisson (bass), and Gary Husband (drums). Under Holdsworth‘s point of view, “Hard Hat Area” was one of his most satisfying projects, because the energy of group interplay matched the context of a real live performance. “Hard Hat Area” contains 7 masterpiece-tracks. It is a brilliant album that almost 20 years after its release, still sounds fresh and surprising. “Hard Hat…” opens with the soaring and beautiful Prog-Fusion tune “Prelude” (1:35), being followed by the tempestuous “Ruhkukah” (5:32) full of incredible complex guitar & rhythmic passages. The soft-jazz “Low Levels, High Stakes” (9:03) offers a lesson of compositional style: by superposing melodies of pianos, bass and guitar, it gradually gains in intensity until reaching the climax on a furious guitar-bass & drums combat. The title-track “Hard Hat Area” (6:03) is an experimental piece that impresses the listener by the way that Holdsworth and his friends easily built up a tuneful symphony from apparently chaotic patches of sounds. In contrast, “Tullio” (5:59) brings back the Prog-Fusion sonority of the 70’s, being adorned by incredible guitars, outstanding synthesizers and improvised drum solos. The soaring “House of Mirrors” (7:44) combines a romantic atmosphere with diaphanous silky sounds of Holdsworth’s SynthAxe, discharging the accumulated energy onto the metamorphosing “Postlude” (5:28), which begins like a Prog-piece, but ends in a powerful jazzy interplay of synthesizers, bass and guitar. A great reissue of MoonJune Records – that is seriously committed to the preservation of the Jazz-Rock memory - “Hard Hat Area” is a masterpiece album coming from an extraordinary guitar genius. Listen to it for just one time, and you will understand why “Musician Magazine” has placed Allan Holdsworth near the top on their list of “100 greatest guitarists of all time”. “Hard Hat Area” is a must-have item for fans of Jazz-Rock and Prog-Fusion.  Band members and collaborators involved in Allan Holdsworth are: Allan Holdsworth – Guitars; Steve Hunt – Keyboards; Skuli Sverrisson – Bass; Gary Husband – Drums. “Hard Hat Area” was produced by Allan Holdsworth, originally released in 1993; digitally re-mastered in 2011, reissued in 2012 under MoonJune Records (executive producer Leonardo Pavkovic)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012............................Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit ALLAN HOLDSWORTH HOME PAGE...
. OUTOPSYA - "Fake"
After the success of their debut album “Sum” (2009, Videoradio) - which won the 4th Progwards Edition in the category “Best Progattitudes Record” (see under “Reviews 2010”) - the Italian band Outopsya is back with the new double-album “Fake” (2011, Lizard Records). Outopsya (acronym of OUT Of PSYchical Activity) was founded in 2003 in Rovereto (Trento) by Luca Vianini (guitars, vocals, synthesizers, drums) and Evan Mazzucchi (bass, cello), and a “third member”: the personal computer nicknamed Mr. PC. Before releasing “Sum”, Outopsya produced their own Demo-CDs, or took part in festivals and competitions in Italy, often ending as winners or semi-finalists. A quintet dubbed Outopsya Ensemble (including oboe, Glockenspiel, and percussion) was also involved in making soundtracks for silent movies (like the 1920 version of “Der Golem”). Outopsya’s first CD was innovative and instigating; featuring an experimental blend of Avant-garde Metal, Heavy-Prog, Prog-Metal, Math & Tech-Metal, and Psychedelic-Metal that defied all standards. The music was arranged on long compositions that were altered by technical effects generated by Mr. PC; and was influenced by “King Crimson”, “Anekdoten”, “Primus”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, “Tool”,  “A Perfect Circle”, “Watchtower”, “Blotted Science”, “Spastic Ink”, and “The Gathering”. “Fake”, however, was composed to be the soundtrack for “Rupert Julian’s” silent movie “Ghost of the Opera” (1925). The original single opus was divided in 22 tracks – 11 on each CD (dubbed CD-A or “Fake Violet” and CD-B or “Fake Black”). The resulting music was totally different from that of the first album, but still unveiling a real and courageous Prog-attitude. Using less bass, drums and guitars, and even more electronic-generated sounds and metallic-textured percussion coupled with somber gothic vocals, Outopsya creates a dark ambience that is psychedelic, expressionist, and suggestive – typical of the soundtracks of psychological-horror films – and similar to the Avant-garde music of “Art Zoyd”, “Kayo Dot”, “Univers Zéro”, “Goblin”, “Henry Cow”, “Devil Doll”, “Zappa”, “John Cage”, “John Zorn”, “Jocelyn Pook”, and “Arvo Pärt”. CD-A (“Fake Violet”) is loaded with ominous sounds and gothic atmospheres, while the songs and musical pieces evoke subconscious images that unveil our deepest fears, exposing our horror of the darkness. The opening track “Useless Fake & Awful“ (4:36) (a strange song with “condemned-to-the-gallows” drums and accusative voices) joins with the metallic Electronica of “Engage“ (4:02) and the cosmic vastness of “Engage (reprise)“ (1:16) to recreate the dark ambience of “Art Zoyd”. Meanwhile, heavy psychedelic guitars collapse against hypnotic bass sounds on “Rays, Rays, Rays“ (5:16), recalling “Kayo Dot”. The dark ambience is reinforced on the track sequence comprising “NOH” (1:44) (with phantasmagoric voices and bells), the creepy “99% of "People Will Skip“ (1:49), and “Nausia“ (3:44) (which replicates the sounds of a clockwork machinery). “Phantom“ (5:24) erupts just after with an indistinct Middle-eastern tune, to be followed by the extraordinary “Lilies“ (15:03) – with sacred vocals that use the tintinnabulation technique of “Arvo Pärt”, being escorted with fantastic guitars and gothic organ, all dissolving into the spiritual aura of “My Joy“ (2:30). The dramatic “Insane“ (3:58), with arabesques and deep bass and vocals, closes CD-A. CD-B (“Fake Black”) reunites the most vibrant and heavy songs, those with a predominance of guitar, bass, and drums. Some of them recall the Avant-garde Metal style that characterized Outopsya on the “Sum” debut: the frantic song “The Word Has Been“ (3:14), the outstanding instrumental “Enter The Brain“ (4:39) (driven by groovy bass, Jazz-Rock drumming, and Dark-Prog guitars); and the Thrash-Metal “Virus“ (1:58) (linked to “Loving Heat“ (4:02), an instrumental track with great “lost-on-the-horizon” guitar solo). Continuing on the same dark line of “CD-A”, the awesome “Lanterns“ (4:52) begins slow and somber, with hypnotic electronic sounds, gradually growing with the addition of minimalist guitars, icy pianos, and dark gothic vocals; while the instrumental “Loving You Sick (pt. 1)“ (6:06) runs above metallic sounds, electronic beats, and electrified heavy guitar riffs. In between, the experimental bass solo “Anxious“ (4:26) recalls “Tool”; while its matching parts for guitar, “Khen“ (4:10) (a caricatured Blues) and “Khen Khen“ (2:01) (with funny distorted vocals), recall “Zappa’s” idiosyncrasy. The last tracks of CD-B are the astral “Enter The Heart“ (2:07) and the powerful Space-Metal “Loving You Sick (pt. 2)“ (4:27). Although “Fake” may be regarded as a “difficult” album, it is still bursting out with inexhaustible creativity, solidifying Outopsya‘s position as a pioneer in the fields of Avant-garde Music & Avant-garde Metal. “Fake” is highly recommended for fans of “Art Zoyd”, “Kayo Dot”, “Univers Zéro”, “Goblin”, “Henry Cow”, “King Crimson”, “Tool”, “Devil Doll”, “Zappa”, “Anekdoten”, “Primus”, “Porcupine Tree”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Blotted Science”, “Spastic Ink”, “Ozryc Tentacles”, “Psychotic Waltz”, and other experimentalists. Band members and collaborators involved in Outopsya are: Luca Vianini – Guitars, Vocals, Synths, Drums, Compositions, Production, Engineering, Mastering; Evan Mazzucchi – Bass, Cello, Artwork and Illustration. Layout and design by Alessio Mazzucchi...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OUTOPSYA HOME PAGE...
. OVERHEAD - "Of Sun And Moon"
Overhead is a Rock/Metal/Progressive band from Helsinki, Finland. The line-up consists of Tarmo Simonen (piano and polysix), Janne Pylkkönen (bass), Alex Keskitalo (vocals and flute), Jaakko Kettunen (guitar), and Ville Sjöblom (drums). Their music is melodic and thematic, varying from ambient atmospheres to more traditional rocky and heavier moments, with influences ranging from “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, and “Pink Floyd” to “Metallica”, “Deep Purple”, “Wigwam”, “The Doors”, “Tabula Rasa”, “Black Sabbath”, “Muse”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Elton John”, “Steve Vai”, “Kingston Wall”, “Thin Lizzy”, “AC/DC”, and “Tori Amos”. Overhead’s original sound conquered many fans, as the band released a substantial discography, always supported by important Progressive-Rock labels: “Zumanthum” (2002, Mellow Records); “Metaepitome” (2005, Musea), and the third album titled “And We're Not Here After All” (2008, Musea). The last one took Overhead's own distinctive sound farther, combining vintage and modern Progressive Rock and Progressive-Metal trends. The release of each album was often followed by intensive touring. Overhead therefore performed in many festivals around Europe, such as the ProgResiste Convention (Belgium), Prog'Sud (France), pROCKfest (Germany), in the palace of The Sun King in Versailles, and the Spirit of 66 (Belgium), being acclaimed by the audiences. In 2009 Overhead played at the Prog Rock festival in Poland, resulting in their DVD “Live After All” (Metal Mind Records). The band supported the new album and DVD with their longest tour around Europe, also to celebrate their 10th anniversary. After three years of hard work, Overhead is finally back with their new studio album, titled “Of Sun and Moon” (released in 2012 by the German label Progressive Promotion Records). The lyrics explore themes related to the duality of Life and Death, delivered by catchy melodies, emotional vocals, dynamic beats, Prog-Fusion guitar solos, incredible bass playing, inventive keyboards and “Jethro-Tullesque” flutes. The music is diverse and surprising, combining elements of Classic Rock, Indie Rock, Progressive Rock (of the “Zappa” and “Crimson” lines), Heavy Prog (as “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”) and Prog-Metal. “Of Sun and Moon” contains 9 tracks. “Lost Inside 2“ (4:57) is a powerful opening song that gets closer to a standard Prog-Metal (like “Dream Theater”), featuring dense and cadenced guitar riffs and ferocious synthesizer solos. The following two songs - “Berlin“ (4:10) and “An Afternoon of Sun and Moon“ (5:15) – are less complex and emphasize the vocal chorus and energy, as if Overhead had decided to embrace the straightforward tendency of the Indie Rock, AOR, and Metal of the 90’s. “Berlin“ is the darkest, and features a great final guitar solo; while “An Afternoon of Sun and Moon“ has a lighter disposition, and alternates subtle parts of voice and keyboards with more vigorous Indie Rock moments, also having touches of “Zappa”. But from this song on, Overhead goes back to their Progressive roots, taking us into a journey of sounds, textures and colors in which each subsequent song is more complex and surprising than the previous. So comes “Aftermath“ (5:11), with great emotional vocals and melancholic parts that contrast with aggressive ones (recalling “Porcupine Tree”) and phantasmagoric keyboards that accelerate the pace to end up in a fantastic duel of synths and flutes! The Prog-Fusion “Syriana“ (4:04) has intricate instrumentation driven by “broken” bass and drums, and dissolves into the instrumental “Grotte“ (3:38) – a mysterious and unconventional Psychedelic-Jazz-Rock piece on which all band members have a moment to show their skills (attention for the great duel of guitars against flutes). Then comes “Last Broadcast“ (6:17) – one of the best tracks, on which the vocals progressively brightens up the song from gray shades to colorful epic moments – leading to a awesome instrumental catharsis. The relief comes with “Alive“ (7:45) - an impressive and vigorous Neo-Prog piece with a stronger rocky vein that brings a segment with pulsing bass and electronic keys and another amazing guitar solo. The last track is “Angels and Demons” (7:23), which mixes epic moments with AOR parts, all opposed to remarkable instrumental interplay and with the same bold musical attitude of “Zappa”. Owner of an expressive sonority, unique under the Progressive scope, Overhead‘s new album is a masterpiece, indispensable for fans of Prog-Rock bands that defy regular tags, such as “Zappa”, “King Crimson”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Muse”, “Steve Vai”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Änglagärd”, “White Willow”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Aeon Zen”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, “Dream Theater”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Overhead are: Tarmo Simonen - Piano & Polysix; Janne Pylkkönen – Bass; Alex Keskitalo - Vocals & Flute; Jaakko Kettunen – Guitar; Ville Sjöblom – Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012.............If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit OVERHEAD HOME PAGE...
. KOSMORATIK - "Gravitation"
Kosmoratik is a new band hailing from Oslo, Norway. The moniker is taken from the Cosmorama, which was an exhibition technique from the 19th century in which the audience could view scenes of distant lands, landscapes and exotic subjects through an optical device that magnified the pictures, generating a tri-dimensional sense. Kosmoratik’s line-up comprises the trio Lise Lotte Ågedal (vocals, keyboards), Odd Gunnar Frøysland; (guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals) and Eivind Johansen (vocals, acoustic guitar), who are helped by additional musicians. Kosmoratik has the ambition to explore complex themes through a musical framework having influences from songwriters as “Nick Drake” and “John Martyn”; from the meaningful Pop sonority of “The Beatles”, and from the Progressive and Folk bands of the early 70’s (mainly “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Peter Hammill”, “Cat Stevens”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Roxy Music”, and “Camel”), with a pinch of modern Pop-Rock. Kosmoratik released their debut album called “Gravitation” on May 11th 2012 under Nordic Records. The album was produced by Kosmoratik, recorded by Rune Berg at Front Row Studios and Per Oyvind Paulsen at Barkstudio (Oslo), mixed by Manfred Faust & Per Oyvind Paulsen, and mastered by Björn Engelman at Cuttingroom Studios (Stockholm). The music of Kosmoratik can be described as Symphonic-Pop, on which abundant acoustic guitars, a string quartet, and an oboe share space with floating guitars, dreamy pianos and synthesizers, and a mild and discrete rhythmic section. The songs are relaxing and tranquil; and the general mood goes from slightly melancholic to cheerfully bittersweet, with emphasis on emotional vocals and female harmony vocals. The lyrics are poetic and introspective, and the arrangements and musical performances stand at a professional level. “Gravitation” contains nine tracks. Most songs are ballads that flow in slow pace, recalling the sad ballads of “Nick Drake”, and “Pink Floyd”, sometimes having the bittersweet touch of “Cat Stevens” or “Peter Hammill”, and that are scattered along the record: “Veronica.go“ (3:02) (that opens the album) and “Unfinished Journeys“ (4:05) are driven by acoustic guitars, the oboe, and by nostalgic vocals, also featuring poignant and beautiful string arrangements. Yet “Cosmorama“ (4:06) and “It’s my Mind” (5:12) add to the subtle guitars some classic piano passages and Prog-inspired electric guitar solos. Talking on “Progressiveness”, the most Progressive songs are “Years ago.miles apart“ (4:38) – which features stronger guitar work and some Psychedelic tones that remind me of “Pink Floyd’s” “Dark Side of the Moon” – and the slightly swinging “Lilac Smile“ (6:41) – which also reminds me of the sonority of “Pink Floyd’s” latest albums (under the influence of “David Gilmour”) and has some keyboards that sound like “Camel”. Leaning to the sophisticated Pop-Rock, rolling on faster beats and irradiating a cheerful disposition, there are “Nothing is Static“ (4:12) (driven by acoustic guitars, and bringing a duet of male and female vocals) and “In Spite of All (Life was Grand)“ (4:26) – the later even brings to mind the sound of “Belle and Sebastian”, mixed with more “Camel”-like keyboards. Differing from the overall sonority of the album, the interesting song “Don Quixote“ (4:16) is driven by pulsing bass and drums, and recalls the coolness and sophistication of “Roxy Music” and “Japan”. Kosmoratik may not be a standard Progressive act, but if you like sad ballads and sophisticated Pop-Rock, you will sure appreciate Kosmoratik’s “Gravitation” – an album that I specially recommend for fans of bands and singers such as “Nick Drake”, “John Martyn”, “Pink Floyd” (“Dark Side…” era and later), “David Gilmour”, “Peter Hammill”, “Cat Stevens”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Roxy Music”, “Belle and Sebastian”, and so on.  Band members and collaborators involved in Kosmoratik are: Lise Lotte Ågedal – Vocals, Keyboards; Odd Gunnar Frøysland – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Eivind Johansen – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar. Additional musicians: Bjarte Jorgensen – Drums and Percussion; Arthur Piene – Grand Piano, Rhodes, Minimoog; Torunn Irene Kristensen – Oboe; Lise Voldsdal – Violin; Lina Marie Ärnes – Violin; Maria Syre Mjothus – Viola; Audun Sandvik – Cello; Jo Wang – Mellotron on “Cosmorama“ & “Lilac Smile”. String musicians on “Years ago…”: Maren Elle – Violin; Hanna Sobye – Viola; Tiril Dorum Bengtsson – Cello...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012...................................Want to learn everything about this amazing musician KOSMORATIK HOME PAGE...
. SIDDHARTHA - "Trip To Innerself"
Siddhartha is a Progressive-Psychedelic-Space Rock band from Istanbul, Turkey, formed in 1993 by Özgür Kurcan (vocals, guitars), Ege Madra (guitars), Ulas Akin (bass), and Ari Sarkis Alpert (drums). The moniker was inspired on the novel by Hermann Hesse. Along the initial 5 years of existence Siddhartha played mainly live, with an enlarged line-up that included Volkan Yildirim (keyboards), Orkun Öker (keyboards) and Kaan Sezgin (drums). By the end of 1994 Siddhartha recorded a live demo called “A Psychedelic Solution for Musical Vacancy” (unreleased). In 1995 the band organized their first solo performance (called “Stimulation Feast”) in Taksim; and in 1996, they won the 2nd prize at the “1st Roxy Music Days”, an important competition organized by the Roxy Club of Istanbul. Following those events, Siddhartha toured extensively all over Turkey, conquering fans with their music inspired on the sounds of the 70’s, thus becoming a reference for the Psychedelic Rock in Turkey. “Kervan” ("Caravan") was the first song by Siddhartha to be recorded on the compilation “Sesimizi Yükseltiyoruz!“ (“We Raise Our Voice! – Different Experiences in Urban Music of the 90s”) released by Ada Müzik in 1998. In the same year, Siddhartha recorded an eponymous debut album, also issued by Ada Müzik. The band’s discography also enlists the EP “Sky's End” (1993, never unreleased), and the aforementioned live-demo. In 2001 Siddhartha disbanded and members headed for individual projects: Özgür Kurcan (“dEmian”) and Orkun Öker (“Ze>X”) founded Siddharthasound Corporation to produce soundtracks and to support recordings of the other members. Ege Madra (“DZA”) and Ari Sarkis Alpert founded Osman Productions to organize musical events. Other musicians gave continuation to their careers. Almost ten years after Siddhartha’s break-up, New Yorker label Trail Records decided to release a fresh version of their debut album. The original tracks were re-mastered in 2009 and disposed in a conceptual sequence; a different cover was designed, and the package was reissued in 2012 under the new title of “Trip To Innerself”. The CD contains 9 tracks, including a bonus-track. The music of Siddhartha makes an original transition from the Space and Psychedelic Prog-Rock of the 70’s to the underground Progressive sound of the 90’s, adding elements of traditional Turkish, Electronic and Classic music. The influences are bands like “Pink Floyd”, “Hawkwind”, “Brian Eno”, “Hendrix”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Eloy”, “Hölderlin”, and “Krautrock” acts such as “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Popol Vuh”, and “Tangerine Dream”. The compositions emphasize the instrumentation, and have rare vocal moments (sung in English). The sound alternates wonderful trippy moments with turbulent ones, led by vibrant guitar solos, psychedelic bass and cosmic keyboards, generating fantastic and surprising “soundscapes”. The album opens with the title track “A Trip to Innerself“ (10:15). The sound of the first chords, including the cosmic keyboards, recalls an experimental “Krautrock”. The song grows with a space-guitar solo and enters a Psychedelic realm that recalls early works of “Pink Floyd”. An astral interlude introduces Turkish music and acid-rock bass lines – reaching a climax comparable to a “Hawkwind’s” tour-de-force. The opulent “The Explorer“ (6:51) is driven by pulsating bass lines (like “Roger Waters”) and vocals that recall “Eloy”. It enters into a powerful Psychedelic trip leading to Turkish rhythms, and melds with 70’s-inspired guitars and amazing drumming. It strongly contrasts with the Prog-ballad “Desert“ (3:33), a song made of classical acoustic guitars and soaring vocals that will please fans of “Popol Vuh” and “Hölderlin”. The instrumental “Baroque“ (4:00) follows on, with obvious inspiration on Baroque and “Mozartian” melodies. A New-Age-styled version of this piece - “Baroque/Reprise” (3:18) - was added to the end of the album as a bonus. The echoing intro of “Nervous Breakdown“ (11:51) is totally smashed down by the energized jammed section that follows, led by free-flowing distorted “wah-wah” guitars and space-symphonic keyboards that recall “Eloy”. Vocals appear at the last third together with organs, soulful guitars, and symphonic arrangements – making this piece one of my favorites. “Beyond Destiny“ (9:34) is a symphonic piece that has a crooked “Zappa”-like intro, “Floydian” bass, and with vocals included, it recalls epic songs of “Eloy” (albums “Dawn” and “Ocean”). “Distant Cry“ (6:42) is another Prog-ballad that comes with a generous layer of keyboards and pianos, and space-guitar solos that recall “Ayreon”. The Trip-Hop “Black“ (8:48) has male and female vocals that sing canticles, recalling the ghostly style of “Ole Lukkoye”. Icy pianos and echoing guitars perform the solos. In sum, Siddhartha’s “Trip To Innerself” is an outstanding and unparalleled work, definitively a must-have item for any Progressive or Psychedelic-Space Rock fan, specially lovers of “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, “Hawkwind”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Djam Karet”, and of the “Krautrock” movement.  Band members and collaborators involved in Siddhartha are: Özgür Kurcan – Vocals, Guitars; Ege Madra – Guitars; Orkun Öker – Keyboards; Volkan Yildirim – Keyboards; Ulas Akin – Bass; Kaan Sezgin – Drums. Additional musicians: Neslihan Engin – Keyboards (on “Baroque”, “Beyond Destiny”, and “Distant Cry”); Nil Karaibrahimgil – Vocals (on “Black”); Kerem Özyegen – Vocals (on “The Explorer”); Berke Özcan – Percussion (on “The Explorer”). Past members and other collaborators: Ari Sarkis Alpert – Drums; Serkan Yilmaz – Percussion. Siddhartha’s “Trip to Innerself”: Recorded and mixed in Istanbul, between July 15th and 31st 1998; mastered by George Dugan (I-Heights Studio, New York) in 2009; Trail Records production and design by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
07/31/2012......................................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: SIDDHARTHA HOME PAGE...
. HOPE TO FIND - "Still Constant"
Hope To Find is a new band coming from Eskisehir, Turkey. It was founded in 2003 by Zafer Yüksel (guitars, vocals) and Seçkin Can Koyuncu (guitars). Along the following years the band went through many line-up changes, nevertheless they recorded one song ("Dance of the Flowers") that figured in the 2006 compilation “Eskisehir Rock Toplulugu - (ERT)". From that point on, Hope To Find decided to anchor their style to the Progressive Rock and Prog-Metal genres, with influences of “Pain Of Salvation", “Dream Theater", “Riverside", “Opeth", “Pink Floyd", and “Eloy". As the line-up finally stabilized with Alper Dagalp (keyboards), Erdem Korkmaz (bass), and Orkun Sen (drums), the band started to work hard from 2008 to 2009. Profiting from the chemical harmony that happened among old and new integrants, Hope To Find prepared by the end of 2009 the four compositions that would appear on their debut EP - “Still Constant" (2010, independent release). The material was recorded and mixed by Volkan Yirtici in Detay Müzik Studios (Ankara, Turkey); and mastered by Rick O’Neil in Turtlerock Mastering Studios (Sydney, Australia). The graphic design was made by Ebru Baranseli. Regarding the geographical region from which Hope To Find is coming from, the band was supposed to play in the Oriental Metal style. However, Turkish-Arabian influences are totally absent from their music, resulting in a sonority that is essentially Occidental. In spite of their alleged influences, I found their sound most similar to early “Dream Theater", “Pain of Salvation" and “Shadow Gallery", and other Prog-Metal bands like “Poverty Is No Crime", “Narnia", “Sieges Even", “Everon", “Altura", and “Lemur Voice". There are some passages that remind me from “Marillion", too. Hope To Find’s strongest points are the contagious guitar riffs, the substantial rhythmic section, and the excellent keyboard work. Songs are fluent, not extremely heavy, during from 6 to 7 minutes, and are all sung in English. “The Grand Opening“ opens the EP with sticky guitar riffs reinforced by keyboard harmonies. Soaring vocals come before a break for drums, bass and piano, reminding me of “Dream Theater" and “Poverty Is No Crime". The following two songs are my favorites: “Walking Walls“ begins with plucking guitars, piano, and a cool jazzy rhythmic section. Then heavy guitars erupt, and riffs pulled by synthesizers, interspersed with keyboard solos, remind me of “Dream Theater", “Narnia" and “Shadow Gallery". “Witness of Happiness“ is cadenced and heavy, with initial riffs and vocals that are like “Narnia", “Poverty is No Crime", and later, “Dream Theater". The solo guitar has a stronger presence here, reminding me of “Shadow Gallery". Towards the end, the song evolves into a lighter Prog-Fusion, like “Sieges Even". The closing song is “City Soul“, which begins with guitar riffs and keyboards like “Narnia", turning to vocals, progressive keyboards and guitars like “Marillion". Although not being extraordinary, Hope to Find is a good band indeed, and shows great potential. In the future, I would like to hear a stronger investment on guitar solos and more varied instrumental arrangements. Hope To Find is recommended for fans of Prog-Metal bands that have a more Progressive then Metallic musical approach. Band members involved in Hope To Find are: Zafer Yüksel - Guitars, Vocals; Seçkin Can Koyuncu – Guitars; Alper Dagalp – Keyboards; Erdem Korkmaz – Bass; Orkun Sen - Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/06/2012.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit HOPE TO FIND HOME PAGE...
. DISENCHANT - "Dilemma"
Disenchant is a Progressive Rock & Metal band from Izmir, Turkey. The band was founded in 2000 and after some substitutions, the final line-up stabilized with Serkan Bilgi (drums), Burak Ordu (vocals), Ali Özen (guitars), Ilker Tekbasaran (keyboards), Özgür Türkekul (guitars), and Armagan Umut (bass). Disenchant has been most active performing live shows on their local scene – such as “RockIstanbul” and “METU Rock Days”. On February 2005, they released a Demo-CD called “Dilemma“, which is reaching us only now. “Dilemma” lasts about 20:30 minutes, and features 4 tracks sung in English. The line-up featured on the Demo is almost the same; unless by the presence of a different bassist, called Anil Yigit Filiz; and by the absence of the keyboardist Ilker Tekbasaran (who did not play on the record, but was credited in the booklet as being a new band member). The music of Disenchant is influenced by bands such as “Dream Theater”, “Tool”, “Metallica”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Guns'n Roses”, “Pink Floyd”, “Jason Becker”, and “Megadeth”; also recalling bands like “Sieges Even”, “Everon”, “Symphony X”, “Threshold”, “Artension”, and “Helstar”. The Demo-CD opens with the title track “Dilemma“ (6:52), which combines influences of “Dream Theater” on the instrumentation with great Prog-Rock vocals; and also has guitar arpeggios that recall the neo-classical sound of “Jason Becker”. The following track “Confusion“ (4:03) is driven by a intense Thrash-Prog riff bordered by great guitar solos and some epic parts, featuring some Oriental Metal progressions coupled to heavy guitars. It melds with the darker and cadenced “Aggression“ (5:27) – which brings bass and whispering vocals that recall “Tool’s” style, but changes later to include parts that recall “Pain of Salvation”. The most aggressive moments of the song have heavier guitar riffs in “Symphony X” style. The last track is “Gray Tomorrow“ (4:06), a beautiful Prog-Rock ballad backed by symphonic string arrangements that contrasts amazingly with the heaviness of the previous songs. This Demo-CD of Disenchant showcases a good band from Turkish lands, and does not disappoint the regular listener of Progressive Metal. Disenchant has finished the recordings for a first album in Istanbul-ATM Studios. The new CD will contain the "re-recorded" versions of demo tracks and six new Progressive Rock-Metal songs, including two instrumental tracks, with a total running time of 55 minutes. With better production, a full-time keyboardist, and profiting from the chemistry shared by band members after years of live performances, I am sure that Disenchant will make a great debut – and I hope that they will involve much more of Turkish-influenced music in their playing. Disenchant is especially recommended for fans of Metal and Prog-Metal bands such as “Dream Theater”, “Tool”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Jason Becker”, “Sieges Even”, “Everon”, “Symphony X”, “Threshold”, “Artension”, and “Helstar”.  Band members and collaborators involved in Disenchant are: Serkan Bilgi – Drums, Burak Ordu – Vocals, Ali Özen – Guitars, Ilker Tekbasaran – Keyboards, Özgür Türkekul – Guitars, Armagan Umut - Bass Guitar. Former member appearing on the “Dilemma” Demo-CD: Anil Yigit Filiz – Bass...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/06/2012...........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DISENCHANT HOME PAGE...
. GALAHAD - "Battle Scars"
The British band Galahad was formed in to 1985 to play covers from bands like “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Zeppelin”, “Sabbath”, “Focus”, and “Marillion” mixed with their original material. As Galahad began to support emerging Progressive acts such as “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Haze”, “Pallas” and “Magnum”, they decided to take their career more professionally and released the debut album “Nothing Is Written” (1991, self-produced), which successfully led the band to deals in the UK, Japan and Germany. Since then, Galahad’s discography increased to many albums, including “In a Moment of Complete Madness“ (1993), “Sleepers“ (1995), “Other Crimes & Misdemeanours I, II & III’ (1997/2001/2008), “Following Ghosts“ (1998); and to band offshoots such as Galahad Acoustic Quintet (“Not All There”, 1995) and Galahad Electric Company (“De-Constructing Ghosts“, 1999, Re-mixes). Highlight albums were “Year Zero” (2002, reviewed at PR&PM), which featured John Wetton on guest vocals; and the acclaimed “Empires Never Last” (2007), which was engineered by Karl Groom (“Threshold”) and took the band to a heavier, guitar-orientated direction. Galahad played hundreds of shows in the UK, Europe and America, and some were registered on the live albums “Classic Rock Live“ (1996), “Resonance – Live in Poland’” (2006, MMP CD & DVD), “Sleepless In Phoenixville - Live at Rosfest’ (2009), “Whitchurch 92/93 - Live Archives Vol. 2“ (2012, DVD). With a lifespan comprising almost three decades, Galahad had different line-ups along its history. But the core-members Roy Keyworth (guitars), Stuart Nicholson (vocals), and Spencer Luckman (drums) have been together since the early beginning. Neil Pepper (bass) has been a frequent member since 1992 (he was briefly replaced in 2004/2005 by Mike), and Dean Baker (keyboards) entered Galahad in 1997. This line-up is featured on Galahad’s new release, entitled “Battle Scars” (April, 2012, Avalon Records, CD/Vinyl LP). It was again recorded by Karl Groom at Thin Ice Studio and took the band farther into a hybrid sound that blends British Classic Rock, Neo-Progressive Rock and NWOBHM with modern Industrial, Ambient, Trance, and Prog-Metal, with influences of bands like “Queen”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Rush”, “Status Quo”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, “Rammstein”, “The Cardiacs”, “Oceansize”, “System of A Down”, “Opeth”, “Mew”, “Goldfrapp”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “Mars Volta”, “My Chemical Romance”, and “Bullet For My Valentine” – but also of “Helloïse”, “Magellan”, “Ayreon”, “Enchant”, “Europe”, “Praying Mantis”, and early “Dream Theater” – all fused in one single style of sound that, in spite of the discrepancies, makes sense to the listener. “Battle Scars” brings 7 tracks, plus one bonus – a 2012 version of the “Sleepers” song. With a perfect combination of melodic vocals, solid guitars, opulent keyboards, impressive bass playing, and power-plant drumming, Galahad reaches a wonderful equilibrium on all compositions, being subtle and straightforward when necessary, and wildly complex and Prog when demanded. The title track “Battle Scars” (7:04) opens the album with a dramatic symphonic to operatic intro that recalls some soundtrack of an epic movie, giving way to heavy pounding bass & drums and space-metal guitars. It merges into “Reach for the Sun” (3:55) a fast song played in a style that may be defined as “Space-Baroque-NWOBHM”. The amazing “Singularity” (7:30) has an alternation of celestial epic instrumentation with poignant sad vocals. But new musical terrains are tramped by Galahad on “Bitter and Twisted” (6:57) - which employs Trance/Electronic beats and effects to create a cosmic ambience for the coexistence of Arabian tunes, gloomy bass lines, and ghostly synthesizers -; and on “Suspended Animation” (4:04), on which Hammonds & guitar riffs like “Deep Purple” merge with the modern sonority of malign bass lines and rocky vocals that recall “Coheed & Cambria”, “The Mars Volta”, and “My Chemical Romance”. The last tracks - “Beyond the Barbed Wire” and “Seize the Day” – are greatly influenced by the earliest works of “Marillion”, but have a “prog-metallic” cover that pushes them closer to the heaviest styles of “Pallas”, “Arena”, and “Enchant”. “Beyond…” (5:29) begins like a ballad, but grows in intensity later with vocals that recall “Fish”. The intro of “Seize the Day” (8:32) recalls “Marillion”, being driven later by keyboards with the sonority of “Jean Michel Jarre” followed by heavy instrumentation, leading to angel choirs at the final segment. Closing the album, the bonus track “Sleepers 2012” (14:07) falls down with an unbelievable epic impact and the story-telling verve of a great Neo-Progressive piece, pushing the epic-gauge of this new album to the full mark of 100%. Solid and impressive, Galahad’s “Battle Scars” is highly recommended for fans of Classic and Neo-Progressive Rock that like some Metal-edged substance in the music, specially fans of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Ayreon”, “Rush”, “Asia”, “Helloïse”, “Magellan”, “Ivanhoe”, “Enchant”, “Europe”, “Saga”, and “Magnum”. Galahad promised to release a second album, still in 2012: “Beyond the Realms of Euphoria”. Band members and collaborators involved in Galahad are: Roy Keyworth – Guitars; Stuart Nicholson – Vocals; Spencer Luckman – Drums; Dean Baker – Keyboards; Neil Pepper – Bass, Guitars, Keyboards...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/06/2012.......Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic projects, go to GALAHAD HOME PAGE...
Just as scientists conduct experiments by using their knowledge to explore the unknown, The Aaron Clift Experiment combines elements of classic and cutting-edge music into an innovative whole. With an expressive voice and moving original songs, Austin, TX-based vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter Aaron Clift is making a dramatic mark on the musical world. Aaron’s musical journey began at age 2 – a time when his parents would play him many records from their extensive collection. Inspired by the sounds he heard growing up, at age 11, Aaron began his formal music education, playing viola in his school orchestra. Later, at Tufts University, he added guitar, piano, and voice to his repertory as well as composition studies in classical and jazz. During this time, Aaron also performed as the vocalist for the rock band, "Attack Plan R", kindling his love for performing rock music. After graduating college, Aaron spent several years pursuing a career as a classical composer. But although he loved classical music, Aaron longed to form a visceral connection with his audience that could only be achieved through rock and roll. In 2007, following a brief stint in San Francisco at a graduate program for classical composition, Aaron returned to Austin and began writing the rock songs that would find their way onto The Aaron Clift Experiment’s upcoming debut album, accompanied by three other talented musicians, Jim Ragland on Guitar, Joe Green on Bass and Joe Resnick on Drums, together they form a supergroup called The Aaron Clift Experiment. Like many other bands, The Aaron Clift Experiment has a common instrumental configuration, using only keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals, however, the musical arrangements, sound like a full orchestra, The Aaron Clift Experiment and it's partners, together with the guest musicians, sounds like a splendid result of many influences from glorious progressive rock bands from the 70'. It´s clear that Aaron has strong trends that follow in the line's style Symphonic Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock including touches of AOR. The guitars, keyboards, drums and bass are all great. Everything is very well suited to all musical arrangements, where the instrumental is full of symphonic and melodic details, the same goes for the vocal, where Aaron's vocal tones gives the music a special vibration, making this a joyful trip, with a richly varied and multifaceted musical experiment. "Lonely Hills" is indeed a nice work, the recordings and production are perfects and the songwriting are outstanding, one of those albuns, that is fully into the vibrant and traditional American prog sound, using a similar pattern around bands such as "Procol Harum", Styx", "Klaatu" and "Kansas", but also introducing musical references in the line of european's bands as "Genesis", "Pink Floyd", "Camel", "Yes", "Supertramp", "The Moody Blues" and "Jethro Tull". In fact, "Lonely Hills" contains a collection of superb songs, but, the high point on this album is clearly the song "The Castaway Saga", divided in six parts, is a amazing "Suite", where we can hear a variety of sounds going in different conceptions, but, at the same time, that freely come together as a compositional whole. "Lonely Hills" was recorded in February 2012 at Test Tube Audio Studios – Austin, Texas. All music, lyrics and arrangements by Aaron Clift. Produced by Matt Noveskey and Aaron Clift. Recorded and mixed by Kevin Butler, mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Digital Audio, Inc. – Austin, Texas. Art Design by Danielle Powers – Black Marker Design. The main musicians on this fantastic project are: Aaron Clift - Vocals, Keyboards, Jim Ragland - Guitar, Joe Green - Bass and Joe Resnick - Drums. Special guest musicians: Leila Henley - Flute On “Eye Of The Storm”, Kevin Butler - Shaking And Rolling and Matt Noveskey - Knee Slapping And Clapping. Brilliant, amazing and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...  (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
08/06/2012..........More about the Band and their project? Please visit THE AARON CLIFT EXPERIMENT HOME PAGE...
. PLASTIC OVERLORDS - "Sonic Astronomy"
Plastic Overlords is an underground band which we do not know much about. The core line-up forms with John Eades (acoustic and electric guitars), David Noel (vocals, bass, keyboards, and production), Brad Johnson (drums and percussion), and Eric Hand (electric guitar). Their discography includes at least two self-produced albums, the eponymous “Plastic Overlords” (2000); and the album under review, the startling “Sonic Astronomy” (2010, Plastic Oversongs - Fool’s Errand Records). Plastic Overlords is an omnivorous band, whose members have fed on all musical influences from the 60’s to the present - ranging from early “Pink Floyd”, “Sid Barrett”, “Blue Cheer”, “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Gong”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Budgie”, “The Doors”, “The Charlatans”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Hawkwind”, early “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Bowie” (“Ziggy Stardust” era), and “Lou Reed” to “Queen” (albums before “A Night at the Opera”), “The Clash”, “Alien Sex Fiend”, “D.E.V.O.”, “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, and what more – to create a Crossover Progressive sonority that blends Space-Rock, Psychedelic-Rock and Acid-Rock with Punk, Post-Punk, and New-Wave elements, on the most unusual way. Those influences are really diluted along their compositions, amalgamated together to create a different and unique refreshed sound that features energy, boldness and surprises, adding large doses of guitar solos, super bass lines, fluidal and unworried drums, and spicy cosmic-to-techno progressive keyboards. Led by bassist/ vocalist David Noel, the compositions have powerful and greasy bass lines - full of swing, alternating from styles that go from Acid and Classic Rock to Punk/New Wave, and even to the NWOBHM. Noel’s voice sounds irreverent like Punk-Rock bands, but sometimes recalls “Sid Barrett”, “David Bowie”, or “Lou Reed”. His band mates Eades and Hand (in charge of the guitars) do everything to create hooky guitar licks, rocky riffs and long lysergic solos that go from the Acid Space-Rock to the Psychedelic-Blues. On the drums, Brad Johnson conducts the rhythmic section pouring rocky simplicity and energy when necessary, and making some technical and surprising movements, also including some smart and unexpected moments of percussion. Keyboards (also provided by Noel) are mostly decorative, cosmic, soaring (recalling “Floyd”, “Rush”), with some Mellotrons recalling the early albums of “Genesis”. Since the band is able to compress many styles within a single track, the compositions are loaded with a fantastic anachronism that makes them as unpredictable as an ungoverned time-machine. “Sonic Astronomy” has 8 tracks. The opening track is “Star Avenger vs. the Winged Hippopotamus” (10:30) – a vibrant and bass-driven space-rock piece with a crude hard-rock vein and a psychedelic twist at the middle that ends with long guitar solos. The weird “You Crumble to Bits” (3:40) is a mix of “D.E.V.O.” and “Alien Sex Fiend”, having Space keyboards, explosive bass & drums, and bells. The track “A Moment of Silence for Unsynchronized Watches” (8:05) appeals to the Psychedelic side of “Pink Floyd” & “Sid Barrett”, but adds bass lines in 80’s-NWOBHM style before plunging into an Acid-rock guitar solo. The Space-Rock “The Sunburst Going Sour?” (5:12) recalls a “Zappa” experiment, but also brings heavy parts that contrast with soaring vocals. Track 5 - “Twelve Steps to Seventh Heaven” (6:17) - features everything from “Doors”, “Bowie” and “Lou Reed” on vocals to the Mellotrons of “Genesis” and the Hard-Rock disposition of early “Rush“. “Silver Sparks from the Holy Mountain” (8:02) is the most Progressive song. It begins with epic guitar solos, and turns into a folk-rock that recalls “Led Zeppelin”, especially on vocals and on the swing of the bass. “Your Chariot Awaits” (4:43), in spite of the corpulent bass and keyboards, recalls the lively moments of early “Queen”. The album closes with the long “Tea and Cake with Another Mad Hatter” (17:09), which begins as a Psychedelic ballad driven by stormy-twisted guitars, and later on hooks into malevolent bass & drums and irreverent Punk-Rock vocals falling into dark pits, and runs madly toward a Space-Rock climax driven by psychedelic “Floydian” themes and distorted acid guitars. I found “Sonic Astronomy” a very nice album, really stimulating and intriguing. Although not recommended for the orthodox Progressive lovers, Plastic Overlords is an interesting band that should be checked out by fans of Psychedelic and Space Rock with some taste for the rock of the 80’s – in special those fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Sid Barrett”, “Blue Cheer”, “Hendrix”, “Gong”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Budgie”, “The Doors”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Hawkwind”, “Amon Düül”, “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Rush”, “Bowie”, “Lou Reed”, “The Clash”, “Alien Sex Fiend”, “D.E.V.O.”, early “Queen”, “Ozric Tentacles”, etc…  Band members and collaborators involved in Plastic Overlords are: John Eades - Acoustic and Electric Guitars; David Noel - Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, and Production; Brad Johnson - Drums and Percussion; Eric Hand - Electric Guitar...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/30/2012............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PLASTIC OVERLORDS HOME PAGE...
. FORCES AT WORK - "Straight"
Forces At Work is a German Metal band formed in 2000 by Mischa Blum (guitars), Adrian Weiss (guitars), Marcel Willnat (bass), and Sabir Salkic (drums). In 2003 singer Andreas Lohse (ex-“Thought Sphere”) joined the band and added vocals to 9 tracks that had been recorded in 2002, most of which were released on the EPs “Coldheart Canyon” (2003) and “Forcilized“ (2004). After many gigs, during which Forces At Work captivated their audiences with mesmerizing songs and wild head-banging performances, the band took a brief time out in 2004 to record a guest track for “Victor Smolski’s” CD “Majesty and Passion”. In March 2006 the band released the CD “Reverse Feng-Shui Audio Guide”. In 2007 Andreas Lohse left the band and was replaced by Sebastian “Wischa” Wischermann. Forces At Work then focused on the preparation and release of their first full-length album, entitled “Straight“ (April 27th 2012, Hands Of Blue Records). Forces At Work’s influences range from iconic Metal bands and guitarists such as “Nevermore”, “Pantera”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Helloween”, “Annihilator”, “Slayer”, “Testament”, “Death”, “Dream Theater”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Alice in Chains” (and I must add “Watchtower”, “Slipknot”, “Opeth”, “Coroner”, “Vendetta”, “Kreator”, “Destruction”, “Blessed Death”), “Steve Vai”, “John Petrucci”, “Alex Skolnick”, “Satriani”, “Jeff Waters”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marty Friedmann”, “Diamond Darrell”, “Mike Keneally”, “Hendrix”, and “Al diMeola”, to personal preferences. Misha‘s tastes include Classical Music and bands like “Pearl Jam”, “Queen”, “King´s X”, “King Crimson”, “Frank Zappa”, and “Weather Report”. Weiss likes “Die Toten Hosen”, “AC/DC”, “Guns´n Roses”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Ivanhoe”, “Return to Forever”. Sabir idols drummers “Sean Reinert” and “Gene Hoglan”, and loves the radicalism of “Atheist”, “Cynic”, “Sikth”, “Spastic Ink”, and “Necrophagist”. Marcel is a “Kiss” fan; Sebastian prefers “Meshuggah”. Along the years, Forces At Work has perfected an extraordinary way of combining their Thrash, Death, Math/Tech Metal, Prog-Metal, and New-Metal influences with other apparently non-matching musical styles such as Blues, Jazz, Spanish, Classical and Funk, forging their own non-stereotyped style called “Straight Metal”. The sound is powerful, rhythmically solid as granite, yet free-flowing and dynamic, combining the instrumental virtuosity, rocky groove, and Metal energy that exude from all band members. The guitar work is absolutely amazing. The riffs are entrancing – dense, intricate and complex (recalling “Nevermore”, “Annihilator”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Testament”, “Dream Theater”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Watchtower”, “Coroner”, “Vendetta”, and “Opeth”) - and hardened by the double attack of fierce solos reminiscent of “Steve Vai”, “John Petrucci”, “Alex Skolnik”, “Jeff Waters”, “Joe Satriani”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Marty Friedmann”, and “Diamond Darrell”. The rhythmic section alternates moments of awesome skill and energy (like “Annihilator”, “Dream Theatre”, “Cynic”, “Watchtower”, “Spastic Ink”) with other moments of speed and brutality that are comparable to bands like “Death”, “Slayer”, “Opeth”, “Meshuggah”, “Atheist”, and “Necrophagist”. Vocals are fiercely aggressive, in a mix of “Death”, “Meshuggah”, “Slipknot”, and “Slayer”, but with moments like “Alice in Chains”. “Straight” contains 10 tracks. My favorites are those that start explosive and aggressive – blending elements of Thrash & Death Metal - and later have an unexpected twist for insertion of awesome Tech/Math & Prog-Fusion Metal instrumental passages: they include the torpedoing opening track “The Mind Slavery” (6:00) (with intricate guitars that recall “Watchtower”, ”Spastic Ink”, “Psychotic Waltz”, and “Annihilator”); the Fusion-Metal “3 Logic Dead” (4:37) (with a blend of “Megadeth”, “Alice In Chains”, “Death”, “Slayer”, and a surprising Funky instrumental part); and the bizarre “Be Machine” (5:22) (with Spanish-Metal intro, Thrash/Death vocals, carnivorous guitars and insane bass & drums work). Equally weird, but more compact, are “Keep Marchin´” (6:23) (with complex rhythmic passages and nervous guitars supporting a psychotic vocals that recall “Coroner”); and “Dharma” (4:36) (with an over-peculiar structure reminiscent of “Psychotic Waltz” and “Spastic Ink”). The most stormy-twister tracks are “Colours” (6:23) (with a “Nevermore”- like intro, passages of “Psychotic Waltz” and “Spastic Ink”, and reaching “Meshuggah” and “Death” levels of brutality); and “Sickness” (6:31) – with a Baroque-Metal intro that accelerates to faster Thrash & Death speeds (like “Meshuggah” and “Death”) and with vocals like “Rage Against the Machine” and “Alice In Chains”. Also gorging with brutality, the lava-dense tracks “Nothing” (5:05) (with guitars that sound like “Alex Skolnick” battling against “Jeff Waters”); and “Virtual Fuhrer” (5:17) (with machine-gun drumming and a “broken” structure like “Annihilator” and “Coroner”) will smash any head-banger. After all the violence, carnage and bloodshed, “Straight” ends up with the mild-tempered instrumental track “Straight Into The Odd” (3:21), influenced by “Zappa”, “Mike Keneally”, and “Al DiMeola”. Forces At Work is really a radical band – indispensable for fans of Thrash, Death, Math/Tech Metal and radical Prog-Metal bands. I also recommend the solo work of Adrian Weiss (also reviewed here at PR&PM). Band members and collaborators involved in Forces At Work are: Sebastian Wischermann – Vocals; Mischa Blum – Guitars, Backing Vocals; Adrian Weiss – Guitars; Marcel Willnat – Bass; Sabir Salkic – Drums; Mf-C – Bass on “Straight into the Odd”. Former vocalist: Andreas Lohse. “Straight” was recorded at Downward Studios by Mf-C, some vocals recorded by T-Kay. Mixed by Mf-C, mastered by Eroc at EMR, produced by Forces At Work and Mf-C...     (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
08/30/2012...........................For more details and in the meantime please check out FORCES AT WORK HOME PAGE...
. GUNNELPUMPERS - "Tritonium"
Gunnelpumpers is a group of musicians from Chicago, Illinois, dedicated to the art of progressive, free improvisation. The core members are John Meyer (electric guitar, effects), Douglas Johnson (double bass, Clevinger bass, effects), Michael Hovnanian (double bass), Tom Mendel (electric bass), Randy Farr (congas, percussion), Bob Garrett (drum kit, percussion). Other band members were Doug Brush (tabla, hybrid kit, percussion), Matthew Golombisky (double bass, bass guitar, harmonium, effects), Steve Rutstein (drum kit), Michael Salter (tenor sax, bass clarinet). Their discography includes “Symphonie Improvisé” (2010) – a live performance that took place on January 2, 2010, at WNUR Studios in Evanston, IL, as part of the Airplay program – and “The Ninth Wave” (2010). Gunnelpumpers’ last release is the EP “Tritonium” (2012, Spiritflake Music). Gunnelpumpers is an original experimental ensemble that creates instantaneous improvised music that sounds fresh and rarely premeditated, blending many styles in a way that sounds unique, and incomparable to any other group. The massive use of bass instruments (different kinds of double basses and electric bass) and rhythmic and percussion instruments (drums, congas, tablas) - accompanied by a solitary electric guitar - create Gunnelpumpers’ own genre of music, which was dubbed “Tribaelectric”. Their sonority is a noisy organized chaos, with alternation of quiet to intense moments. The combination of the dialogue of three different kinds of bass on one corner, and a polyrhythmic tribal frame on the other, having a crazy strident and distorted electric guitar in the middle is at least weird, shocking and surprising. It has been suggested that Gunnelpumpers are reminiscent of “Mickey Hart”, “Miles Davis”, “King Crimson”, “Edgar Meyer”, “Godspeed You Black Emperor”, and even “Radiohead”. Other influences and similarities may be listed as “Henry Cow”, “Zappa”, “The 16 Deadly Improovs”, “Djam Karet”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “Miriodor”, “Trank Zappa Grappa in Varese?”, “Iron Kim Style”, and the Krautrock & Experimental bands, being much more spontaneous, unintended, raw and accidental though. The new record “Tritonium” features three compositions: “Sir Cirrus“ (7:49), which gives emphasis to bass sounds; “Eschatomus“ (9:52), which is a composition for distorted-crazy guitar solo; and the long “McGroover“ (19:33) – which features tribal beats stretched on different divisions of time. Frankly, it is the strangest music that I ever heard, by it makes some sense, and – in spite of all chaos - there is a rhythmic structural matrix that sustains everything. I could only recommend Gunnelpumpers and their improvised music to radical Improvisional-Jazz fans, enthusiasts of Experimental Music, extremists of the R.I.O. movement, hardcore-Krautrock lovers, and to theoretical musicians in search of new cult-sounds. Band members and collaborators involved in Gunnelpumpers are: John Meyer - Electric Guitar, Effects; Douglas Johnson - Double Bass, Clevinger Bass, Effects; Michael Hovnanian - Double Bass; Tom Mendel - Electric Bass; Randy Farr - Congas, Percussion; Bob Garrett – Drum Kit, Percussion. Other members: Doug Brush - Tabla, Hybrid Kit, Percussion; Matthew Golombisky - Double Bass, Bass Guitar, Harmonium, Effects; Steve Rutstein - Drum Kit; Michael Salter - Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet. You can visit the band at their Facebook page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GUNNELPUMPERS HOME PAGE...
. THE MAIER PROJECT - "States of Aggregation"
The Maier Project is an Alternative Musical Project founded in February 2006 by Hans Maier (guitars, vocals, music and lyrics), Peter Monk (guitars, backing vocals), Willy Monk (guitars, backing vocals), Ludwig Sander (bass, backing vocals), Arthur Belovic (drums and percussion), and Paul Wallner (keyboards, organ, piano). The Maier Project was initially conceived as a virtual group of musicians with hidden identity, using instrumental music to create a mirror of what had formed their musical tastes and as an attempt to create music they would like to listen to. When their first experiments with loops resulted in the skeleton of the song “Erl“ – the very first song in a row of thirty – the outcome could be not less than the release of three instrumental CDs: “My Life In An Elven World” (2006), “Four” (January 2007), and “Sweetest Fruit” (December 2007). Those initial instrumental releases were the first steps for the band to learn the nuts and bolts of the recording trade. The Maier Project still released the EP “The Queen Goes For A Walk Incognito” (July 2008) before going through a deep and significant change in their original musical concept – the inclusion of lyrics in their songs. The first album with lyrics, “A Gallery of Dreams” (November 2008), was a milestone for The Maier Project‘s new musical journey, and led to the release of “Dragons” (2010) – regarded as the a peak in the band’s musical evolution. “Dragons” was the first album to be offered by international music stores around the world. Now The Maier Project is getting back with a new album, called “States Of Aggregation” (recorded during 2011, released in January 2012). The band regards it as their best to date; and the songs that it contains have been created after a long period of intense work, to make them sound as perfect as possible. The sound of The Maier Project is somber, melancholic and introspective, with poetical and ironic lyrics. The style ranges from Alternative Rock to the Blasé Synth-Pop of the ‘80s, covered with a thin layer of Progressive guitar and keyboard sonorities, and driven by a slow and soft rhythmic section. The band’s musical influences are “Peter Hammill” & “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Steven Wilson” & “Porcupine Tree”, “Lloyd Cole Weblog” (ex-”The Commotions”) and his album “Rattlesnakes”, and also “Yes” and “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era). And because of Maier’s monochord baritone vocals that declaim poetical lyrics, I found their sound also similar to “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave” & “The Bad Seeds”, and to electric versions of “Nick Drake” and “Johnny Cash”. “States of Aggregation” features 10 tracks. My favorites are the opening song “Silver Screen” (4:19), which is followed by the fast and neurotic “Not The Devil” (4:41) (recalling “NIN”); and the most progressive songs “Stronghold” (6:04) (a great instrumental track driven by ’80-styled drumming coupled with electronic sounds and featuring soaring guitars & keyboards and cosmic bass lines) and “Equilibrium” (5:49) (which is remarkable for blending the melancholic and slow “NIN” attitude with ghostly keyboards and “Pink Floyd”-styled guitars). Also counting as my favorites are “Crimson Secret” (5:03) and the excellent “Gender Stereotypes” (5:00) – two tracks that unite the cool sophistication and delicate melodies that recall “David Sylvian” with the soaring guitars of “Pink Floyd” and “The Smiths”, all under the lyrical point of view of “NIN”. The album still features the slow “Sleeping With Hares” (4:14); the psychedelic “In A Hurry” (4:35) (with nice harmony guitars); and the peculiar and funny love ballads “Sometimes You Are” (5:17) and “Unhealthy Addiction” (3:57) (this one is featured in the hilarious video available at the band’s website). Although The Maier Project can not be regarded as a Progressive Rock band by most orthodox and strict standards, it has a well defined sense of musicianship and compositional ability that makes this band prone to be specially recommended for appreciators of melancholic and introspective Alternative Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics, such as fans of “Peter Hammill”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Steven Wilson” & “Porcupine Tree”, “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave”, “Pink Floyd” and “Nick Drake”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Maier Project are: Hans Maier, - Guitars and Vocals, Music and Lyrics; Peter Monk - Guitars, backing vocals; Willy Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Ludwig Sander - Bass, Backing Vocals; Arthur Belovic - Drums and Percussion; Paul Wallner - Keyboards, Organ, Piano. Recorded and mixed from March to September 2011. Sound by The Tendini Brothers (Herbert, Joseph, & Karl Tendini); Mixed and arranged by Hans Maier and Robert Parker; Mastered by Robert Parker...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012....................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE MAIER PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. VIRTUOSIX - "Ritual Of Life"
VirtuosiX is a Progressive Metal band hailing from San Martin, Argentina. The band was founded in June 2008 by singer Pablo Giuliani (ex-“Angel Rebelde”). At that time, the project had participation of guitarist Leonardo Esjaita (“Power Trio”), drummer Carlos Coria (“Neural”), and keyboardist Marcelo Kaniuk. In 2010 the virtuoso guitar player Matias Sorrentino (ex-“Perfectos Extraños” and “Valquiria”) joined in. The firs release of VirtuosiX was a demo-CD titled “Making Covers”, which featured covers of “Dream Theater”, “Queensrÿche”, “Pink Floyd” and “Rainbow”; and had participation of Javier Retamozo (ex-“Rata Blanca”, “Perpendicular”). Those bands, together with “Superior”, “Symphony X”, “Elegy”, “Threshold”, and “Rush”, comprise the main influences of VirtuosiX – a band that sounds also like “Fates Warning”, “Redemption”, “Enchant”, “Royal Hunt”, “Sieges Even”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Everon”, “Athem”, “Angra”, “Ayreon” & “Star One”, and “Empty Tremor”. In 2011 VirtosiX released a new album containing only original material: “Ritual of Life”. The line-up was reduced to Pablo Giuliani (vocals, backing vocals and keyboards) and Matias Sorrentino (guitars). Other musicians were not credited. “Ritual Of Life” contains 9 tracks. Overall, the sound is solid and very professional – with international quality. The songs are pushed by singer Giuliani, whose vocal style reminds me of “Geoff Tate”, “Bruce Dickinson”, “John Arch”, and “James LaBrie“. Sorrentino’s guitars are sturdy, powered by free-flowing riffs and abundant solos - ranging from the melodic high-edged Fusion-Metal to the soaring Progressive. Keyboards are restricted to a background layer of symphonic synthesizers, or appear as electric pianos in short solos and harmonies, recalling “Superior” and “Everon”. The songs of “Ritual of Life” are either explosive Prog-Metal pieces or slower Progressive-Rock ballads that are disposed on the record in an alternating pattern. The Prog-Metal songs are my favorites, such as the impacting opening-song “The Call“ (5:05), which combines a “Rush”-like intro with fast riffs, bombastic guitar solos, electric pianos, and symphonic keyboards that recall “Superior” and “Dream Theater”. The cadenced “Immolation“ (4:40) is closer on the riffs to a traditional Heavy-Metal; and has a dark atmosphere accentuated by somber vocals that contrast very well with a great sequence of guitar solos. “Inside Me“ (5:25) is reminiscent of the early songs of “Dream Theater” which flew on the wings of epic soaring riffs. “Close to Origins“ (8:42) is another amazing track: it is marked by hammered guitars, has pianos and progressive keyboards, and brings an astral middle part with acoustic guitars that vanishes into a whirlwind Metal finale, reminding me of the Space-Metal of “Ayreon“ and “Star One”, but also of “Fates Warning”, “Superior”, and “Queensrÿche”. Among the Progressive-Rock ballads, the electro-acoustic title-track “Ritual of Life“ (4:44) is the saddest, featuring a beautiful and soulful guitar solo. The nostalgic “Coming Home“ (5:02) brings a “Pink Floydian” mood accentuated by intense vocals. My favorite ballads, are, however, the soaring “Ethnic Soul“ (6:42) – which has an Ambient intro broken by ethnical drumming and follows on much like a great “Queensrÿche” song - and the amazing “Eternal Tears of Sorrow“ (6:07), which merges the Psychedelic guitar sound of “Pink Floyd” with emotional vocals and awesome Prog-Metal melodic solos. The album is closed with “So Far From You“ (3:25) – an instrumental piece in Neo-Classical style that recalls guitarists like “Becker”, “MacAlpine”, and “Malmsteen”. Summing al up, VirtuosiX is a great band, led by two talented musicians that will honor the Argentinean flag on the terrains of worldwide Progressive Metal. Their remarkable album “Ritual of Life” is highly recommended for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Queensrÿche”, “Superior”, “Threshold”, “Elegy”, “Rush”, “Fates Warning”, “Enchant”, “Redemption”, “Symphony X”, “Royal Hunt”, “Sieges Even”, “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Everon”, “Athem”, “Angra”, “Ayreon” & “Star One”, “Empty Tremor”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in VirtuosiX are: Pablo Giulliani – Vocals, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Cover Artwork & Booklet; Matias Sorrentino – Guitars. Other members: Leonardo Esjaita – Guitar; Carlos Coria - Drums; Marcelo Kaniuk - Keyboards. “Ritual of Life” was recorded and mixed at Nanox Studios, produced by Giuliani & Sorrentino...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VIRTUOSIX HOME PAGE...
. ELF PROJECT - "The Great Divide"
Elf Project is a Progressive-Rock power-trio based on the greater New York area. The line-up counts with Carl Schultz (bass, keyboards, vocals, and production), Mike Cappadozy (guitars), and Dave Wayne (drums). The band’s discography includes the debut album “Mirage” (2009) and the newest album “The Great Divide” (2012) - both released under the prestigious Progressive-Rock label 10T Records. The sound of Elf Project is influenced by the sonorities of the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s - based more precisely on the Progressive-Rock sonority of “Rush” post-“Signals” era - with inclusion of sparse Classic-Rock, Hard-Rock, AOR, and New-Wave passages influenced by other important bands of that period (such as “Van Halen”, “AC/DC”, “Status Quo”, “Boston”, “Asia”, “Yes”, “Toto”, “Saga”, “Triumph”, “The Police”, “U2”, and “Dire Straits”). The three performers are technically skilled and evenly important inside the band. Carl Schultz takes the lead, propelling the band with his powerful and flying bass that is very reminiscent of “Geddy Lee’s”; often getting tightly entwined in a vibrant rhythmic mesh provided by Wayne‘s powerful and precise drumming. Guitarist Cappadozy incorporates all tricks and guitar licks of “Alex Lifeson” – what accentuates the similarity of sonority that Elf Project shares with “Rush” - but adds something more: sometimes it may be a harmony guitar that recalls the clean and polished sonority of the Rock of the ‘80s (“U2”, “The Police”), other times it is a riff or solo that sounds like the Classic Rock of “Van Halen”, “AC/DC”, “Status Quo”, or “Dire Straits”. Vocals are soft and melodic, and choruses are sticky. There is always a background of Progressive space-synthesizers that sound much like “Rush”, “Asia”, and “Saga”. Together, the three musicians reach a synergetic communion that generates free-flowing, vibrant and cheerful songs that have many twists and turns, but never loose their sense of structure and clear-cut harmonization. “The Great Divide” brings 10 tracks. The album opens explosively with “We Pay The Price” (4:45) and its follower, “The Sirens Call” (4:28), two amazing songs that bring great vibes, swinging bass, energetic drumming, electrifying guitars and great passages of space keyboards that will make the fans of “Rush” to cling immediately to this band. I have listed both of them as my favorites of this album, together with “Love For Sale” (4:31) (which has passages with Hard-Rock riffs that recall the guitars of “Van Halen” and “AC/DC”); the rocky and swinging “Illusion” (4:57) (which features a layer of cool synth-pop keyboards); the Prog-Rock “Reach Out” (4:15) (with excellent vocal tune and remarkable guitar work); the contagious Classic-Rock “Heaven Above” (4:19), and the wonderful “No More Monkey Business” (4:04) – a great instrumental piece with bass lines that recall me of “Chris Squire” (“Yes”). Other songs, in contrast, are much more lively, light, rocky and prone to set a mood for dancing – such as “Pull Me Under” (4:28) and “What I Believe” (3:59) (which bring to mind some “Rush” albums like “Power Windows” and “Grace Under Pressure”). The album finishes with “Any Other Day” (3:20) - a cheerful song with a Country-Rock nature that escapes that “Rush”-like sonority of the entire album, recalling instead “Triumph” or “Status Quo”. All in all, Elf Project is a great trio not to be missed by fans of “Rush”, to whom their album “The Great Divide” constitutes a must-have item. Elf Project is also highly recommended for fans of “Asia”, “Yes”, “Toto”, “Saga”, “Triumph”, “Status Quo”, “Boston”, “Dire Straits”, and other Rock and Progressive-Rock acts of the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. Band members and collaborators involved in Elf Project are: Carl Schultz - Lead Vocals, Bass, Keyboards; Mike Cappadozy – Guitars; Dave Wayne – Drums. “The Great Divide”: produced by Elf Project; recorded January 2010-July 2011 at the Den Studio / Cat Trax Studio (NY); engineered by Carl Schultz, mixed by Josh Herzog & Carl Schultz at Cat Trax Studio (NY)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012...................................For more details and in the meantime please check out ELF PROJECT HOME PAGE...
Forward Shapes was founded in 2005 by Brian Andrews (keyboards) and Andrei Kryssov (guitars), two freshmen at Chapman University in Orange County California, who aimed to record a female-fronted Progressive Rock album. During the first two years at Chapman, Andrews and Kryssov wrote enough songs for a full-length album and recordings began in 2008 with piano and guitars. Other musicians were then recruited to record the remaining parts: Mark Buchner (bass), Alison Vance (vocals), Ryan Hunter (bass, backing vocals) and drummer Marco Minnemann (“Paul Gilbert”, “Mike Keneally”, “Illegal Aliens”). They recorded their parts in home studios in different cities of the USA, resulting in a very unconventional way to record an album – the drums, which are typically recorded first, were the last instrument to be recorded. The tracks were compiled by Kryssov, mixed by Ryan Hunter, and mastered by Joachim 'Eroc' Ehrig (“Everon”) between the Fall and December 2011. The album, entitled “Legacy”, was released in 2012. Although all musicians who played on it have never been together in the same room, “Legacy” is surprisingly consistent. The music is melodic, blending Symphonic Progressive Rock and Progressive Folk with Melodic & Gothic Female-Fronted Metal and Progressive Metal, but avoids the excessive heaviness of most Metal bands. The Rock/Melodic Metal passages with vocals remind me of “Edenbridge”, “Elis”, “Nightwish”, “Within Temptation“, “Evanescence”, “The Gathering”, “Delain”, “Beto Vazquez Infinity”, “Stream of Passion”, “Leave’s Eyes”, and “Nemesea”, and the Prog-Metal instrumentation is like “Everon”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery” and even “Dream Theater”. The smoother Progressive parts, sometimes with a Folk lean, recall “Rush”, “Styx”, “Renaissance”, “Believe”, “Quidam”, “Tori Amos”, and “Blackmore’s Night”. The compositions are driven by the piano of Andrews, who plays in a style like “Renaissance”, “Styx”, and “Evanescence”. Other keyboards support a background of symphonic arrangements. Andrei Kryssov discharges Prog-Metal guitar solos that are melodic and soulful, always following the musical themes suggested by the arrangements. Buchner and Hunter add Rocky and Prog bass lines that balance the songs, while Minnemann, with his refined skill, gives fluidity to the entire rhythmic section. The songs shine with the great voice of Alison Vance – whose vocal timbre recalls me of “Anneke van Giersbergen” (“Agua de Annique”, “The Gathering”), “Sabine Edelsbacher” (“Edenbridge”), and “Sabine Dünser“ (“Elis”) – being less operatic but having a sweet touch, recalling “Annie Haslam”, (“Renaissance”) and “Tori Amos”. “Legacy” features 8 tracks. The opening song “I Live On” (5:26) and track 3 - “Mirrors Of You” (6:23) - bring the free-flowing energy of Rocky rhythms and strength on the chorus, with passages of Melodic Metal guitar solos and instrumentation that recall bands like “Elis”, “Edenbridge”, and “Nightwish”. “Mirrors…” is my favorite for having an epic mood, great chorus, and lively pianos like “Renaissance”. Tracks 2 and 4 - “Never Forget” (7:56) and “Degrees Of Freedom” (7:25) - alternate soaring keyboards, classic pianos and passionate vocals with denser Prog-Metal instrumentation, sounding like a mix of “Everon”, “Shadow Gallery”, or “Dream Theater” with “The Gathering” and “Edenbridge”. Slowest, “Degrees…” is crowned with baroque guitars solos. After the instrumental track 5 – “Elusive” (5:00) – which is an explosive, intricate and ferocious Prog-Metal piece – “Legacy” reaches a turning point. The initial rocky disposition is replaced by melancholic moods and a gothic atmospheres on the piano ballad “Holding On” (4:48), recalling the sonority of “The Gathering” and “Evanescence”, also bringing dramatic vocals and soulful guitar solo. The last two tracks are the most Progressive, Symphonic, Folk & Epic of the album: “Proclivity” (7:39) brings in a powerful Heavy-Metal riff that is broken by the smoothness of Alison’s vocals. Kryssov‘s best guitar solo joins with classic pianos and a final epic male/female choir in a song that recalls “Edenbridge” and “Nightwish”. The title track “Legacy” (11:15) is better still. Flowing in a mid-tempo Progressive cadence, this magnum opus is divided in many parts – the intro brings subtle vocals and Classical guitars and pianos; the middle section is full of instrumental Progressive passages stuffed with clean soaring guitars, tuneful bass lines and symphonic keyboards; and the final climax is marked by Classical piano solo and the comeback of peaceful vocals – also recalling the most amazing moments of “Nightwish”, “Quidam”, “Believe” and “Renaissance”. Forward Shapes belongs to a new generation of Female-Fronted bands that are renovating the style (“The Flaming Row“, “Effloresce“, “Children In Paradise“). For now, Forward Shapes has no plans to play live and focus on the promotion of “Legacy” – a really outstanding album, highly recommended for fans of “Edenbridge”, “Nightwish”, “Elis”, “Within Temptation“, “Evanescence”, “The Gathering”, “Nemesea”, “Delain”, “Leave’s Eyes”, “Beto Vazquez Infinity”, “Epica”, “Renaissance”, “Quidam”, “Believe”, “Tori Amos”, “Everon”, “Enchant”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Dream Theater”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in Forward Shapes are: Brian Andrews – Keyboards, Arrangements; Andrei Kryssov – Guitars, Lyrics, Additional Arrangements. Special Guests: Mark Buchner – Bass (except on track 4); Ryan Hunter – Additional Bass (on tracks 4, 8); Backing Vocals (on tracks 3, 7, 8), Irish Whistle (track 8), Additional Synths and Programming (tracks 2, 4), Choir Arrangements, Additional Orchestral Arrangements (on tracks 4, 8); Marco Minnemann – Drums; Alison Vance - Lead and Backing Vocals, Choir Arrangements (track 1). Credits: Forward Shapes – “Legacy” produced by Andrei Kryssov, co-produced by Ryan Hunter, mixed by Ryan Hunter, mastered by Eroc at Eroc's Mastering Ranch. Brooke Brisbois - Artwork/graphic design...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012........Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to FORWARD SHAPES HOME PAGE...
. JEREMY - "From the Dust to the Stars"
Jeremy Morris is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Portage, Michigan (U.S.A.) who has been active for more than 30 years. In 1984 he founded Jam Records; a label specialized in Rock, Progressive, and Instrumental music that supports many independent artists. Along all those years, Jeremy accumulated an extensive discography of nearly 50 (!) albums, covering different genres and styles, including Classic Rock and Pop of the ‘60s and ‘70s (with influences of “The Beatles”, “John Lennon”, “Cheap Trick”, “Byrds”, “Big Star”, “Cream”, “The Kinks”, “The Who”, “Badfinger”, “Everly Brothers”, “Teenage Fanclub”, early “Bee Gees”); instrumental acoustic guitar albums (with influences of “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Leo Kottke”, “John Fahey”, and “Steve Howe”); instrumental piano albums (with influences of “Philip Aaberg” and “Tony Banks”); Gospel albums, Cover albums, Live CDs & DVDs, and side projects – like Jeremy & Cazenave (Electronic Music) and Electric Forgiveness – with “John Bundrick” (“The Who's” keyboardist), “Jon Dawson” (“Third of Never”), and drummer “Tony Stiglitz”. A large amount of Jeremy’s albums, however, are dedicated to Classic, Space, Psychedelic and Electronic Progressive Rock influenced by “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Barclay James Harvest”, ”Stackridge”, “The Korgis”, “Status Quo”, “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barrett” age), “Hawkwind”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Eno”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, early “Mike Oldfield”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, and “Kraftwerk”. Some of Jeremy’s best Prog-Rock albums were endorsed by Russian label MALS Ltd.: the emblematic “Jeremy and Progressor - The Pearl of Great Price” (2005) (which was described as “Satriani” jamming with “Vangelis” and “Michel Jarre”); and the Psychedelic “Mystery and Illusion” (2008). The partnership worked again, resulting in the release of Jeremy’s new album “From Dust To The Stars” (July 28th, 2012, MALS Ltd.). Jeremy’s style can be defined as “easy-listening Progressive Rock”. Jeremy is an intuitive musician that expresses himself by using emotion and melody rather than complex virtuosity. Avoiding brain-challenging mannerisms or excessive experimentalisms, he knows how to bind together the most basic elements of Classic, Progressive, Space, Psychedelic, and Electronic Rock with simplicity – creating a deliciously retro-sonority that is full of irresistible beautiful tunes and immersed in peaceful or lively moods. Jeremy’s songs are generally long, and divided in two parts. The initial part comes with vocals that recall the ‘60s (like “Beatles”, ”Kinks”), acoustic guitars, melodic electric guitars, delicate keyboards, progressive bass lines, and soft drumming, recalling the sonority of bands like “Barclay James Harvest”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Moody Blues”, “Caravan”, “Everly Brothers”, “Blue Oyster Cult”. The transitioning second part moves to another unexpected direction, and the listener may listen to Sitar sounds or lysergic guitars, Space Rock bass & drumming, cosmic keys and electronic effects (like early “Pink Floyd”, “Hawkwind”,  “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Nektar”, “Eno”, “Oldfield”, “Michel Jarre”). Sometimes Jeremy inverts the order, like on the first track “The Great Escape” (15:37) – a Space-Rock tour-de-force that begins like “Hawkwind” and reaches a climax on the last third, joining guitars and electronic keyboards that recall “Pink Floyd”. On the following song, “Hearts On Fire” (7:27), he begins like a 60’s Classic (recalling “Beatles”, “Kinks” or “Byrds”), finishing like a Folk song. On the Psychedelic-Blues “Shake The Dust” (7:25), however, Jeremy unthreads a psychedelic sound that recalls “The Doors”. “Land of Love” (7:15) begins cheerful like “Beatles”, driven by acoustic guitars and free-flying guitar solos; but it turns out to bring cosmic sounds, psychedelic guitars & bass, and Raga Rock interludes. The same happens on “Storm Trooper” (9:42), which begins with Hard-Rock riffs and horse-galloping drumming reminiscent of “Cream” and “Cheap Trick”. “Good Shepherd” (8:53) is a folk-ballad with delicate keyboards and soaring vocals, like “Everly Brothers”, “Moody Blues”, and “Barclay James” that grows with an electric guitar solo and enters an electronic segment that goes side by side with a psychedelic guitar. The wonderful “For The Chosen Ones” (15:26) begins like “Eloy”, and later mixes “Caravan”, “Camel”, and “Barclay James” with vocals like “John Lennon” in a kind of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” atmosphere, adding symphonic keys, great melodic guitar solos in “Hackett” & “Phillips” style, and final cosmic keyboards. Jeremy‘s new album is an accurate mirror of the ‘60s to early ‘70s musical panorama, being highly recommended for fans of “The Beatles”, “John Lennon”, “Everly Brothers”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Barclay James Harvest”, “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barrett”), “Hawkwind”, “The Moody Blues”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Eloy”, “Caravan”, “Nektar”, “Blue Oyster Cult”, and others of that time.  Band members and collaborators involved in Jeremy are: Jeremy Morris – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Mellotrons, Synthesizers, Piano, Dulcimer, Drums, Compositions; Dave Dietrich – Drums (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7); Peter Morris – Drums on “Storm Trooper”; Guillermo Cazenave – Keyboards on “Shake The Dust”. Other members: Mark Morris – Bass; April Morris - Vocals, Percussion; Todd Borsch - 12-String Guitar, Vocals. Album recorded January 2008 through February 2012 at Jam Studios, Portage, Michigan, USA produced by Jeremy Morris...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012.....................................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out JEREMY HOME PAGE...
. DANIELE LIVERANI - "Eleven Mysteries"
The Italian guitarist and keyboardist Daniele Liverani - mostly known for the “Genius Rock Opera”, “Twin Spirits”, “Empty Tremor” and “Khymera” - has always been a very active musician. At the age of 6 Liverani began to learn Classical Piano. At the age of 17 he moved to the guitar, applying to the instrument the notions learned from his favorite classical composers (Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Debussy). At 19 he founded his first guitar project. From 1988 to 1992 he recorded several demos and took part in first bands. From 1993-1994 he won some guitar contests in Italy, and also started to learn drums, which he played in “Ring Road” (a “Dream Theater/Racer X” cover band). In 1995 he worked with “Joey Vera” (ex-“Armored Saint”) on the “Viewpoint” album, released in 1999. From 1997-2004 Liverani played keyboards in the Prog-Metal band “Empty Tremor”, appearing on their first three albums. In 1998 he started a musical partnership with drummer Dario Ciccioni, resulting in the release of the three albums of the “Genius Rock Opera” (2002-2004-2007, Frontier Records), with participation of singers “Mark Boals”, “Daniel Gildenlow”, “Lana Lane”, “John Wetton”, “Chris Boltendahl”, “Steve Walsh”, “Oliver Hartmann”, “Midnight”, “Philip Bynoe”, “Russel Allen”, “Roberto Tiranti”, “Jeff Martin”, “Edu Falaschi”, “Liv Kristine”, “DC Cooper”, “Jorn Lande”. In 2002 Liverani’s composition “Meteor” appeared on the “Jason Becker Tribute” album “Warmth in the Wilderness vol.2” (Lion Music). Still as a keyboardist, he joined “Dario Ciccioni“ and “Steve Walsh“ ("Kansas") in the project “Khymera” (with three albums released 2003-2005-2008 by Frontier Records). In 2007 Liverani released the first album of his Prog-Metal band “Twinspirits” (Lion Music), with follow-ups in 2009 and 2011 (the last one, titled “Legacy”, was featured here at PR&PM). Liverani also had time to play keyboards on the album “The Cosmic Year” (2008) (with the “Cosmics” new line-up formed by drummer “Virgil Donati”, bassist “Rufus Philpot”, and guitarist “Tommy Ermolli”); and to release the AOR/Hard Rock album “Prime Suspect” (2010, Frontier Records). Now with his career reaching a peak of creativity and maturity, Liverani is back to the guitar in a new solo album titled “Eleven Mysteries” (July 2012, Lion Music). The line-up has also Marco Zago (keyboards), Tony Dickinson (bass) and Paco Barilla' (drums). “Eleven Mysteries” brings 11 instrumental tracks. The music is opulent, lively, and strong, showing an alternation of moods, from angry and raging to inspiring and peaceful. Liverani‘s guitar navigate through different styles along the album, going from the Metal-Fusion sophistication to the Neo-Classical and Progressive Metal extravaganzas, amid some moments of Symphonic Progressive splendor. His band mates follow him, effortlessly playing dazzling instrumental passages – Zago is a great Classical and Progressive keyboardist, Dickinson is an amazing and furious Fusion-Metal bassist, and Barilla’ is an unbelievable and inexhaustible power-plant behind the drum-kit. The sonority has influences of, and resemblance to, the iconic guitar players: “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Paul Gilbert”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Richie Kotzen”, “John Petrucci”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla”, and bands like “Racer X”, “Cacophony”, and “Dream Theater”. The album opens up with the impetuous Neo-Classical “Mysterious Impulse” (4.32), which recalls “Cacophony” and “Racer X”; soon followed by “Inspiration” (3.32) – a short track that fuses within it Thrash-Metal beats, Classical keyboards and Prog-Fusion guitars. The heavy and cadenced “Nervous Forces” (4.57) is divided by a synthesizer solo that pushes it into the Prog-Metal terrains crumbled down by avalanching drums. The peaceful moments come with “Supreme Gladness” (4.18) and “All Is Pure” (3.59) – two slow and light Fusion pieces that blend cool pianos & soulful guitars. “Giving” (5.25) is the most Progressive track, bringing in a defined theme softly played on the guitar, alternating with Classical pianos, synth solos and great bass moments. A great bass is also heard on the powerful “Humiliation” (4.12) – a track that sounds like “Dream Theater” - and on the futuristic “Regeneration” (4.31) (with a lively mood that recalls “Vinnie Moore”). Bringing a rather rocky swing and funky bass moments, the tracks “Freedom” (3.55) and “Survive” (5.29) will please fans of “Satriani”, “Vai” and "Kotzen”. The album ends marvelously with the magnum opus “Eternal” (7.09) – a high-edged Prog-Metal with a Jazzy session inserted in the middle of it. Powerful and extraordinary, Liverani’s “Eleven Mysteries” is an album that cannot be dismissed by any fan of Progressive-Metal, Fusion-Metal, and Neo-Classical Metal styles, being super-highly recommended for fans of “Paul Gilbert”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “John Petrucci”, “Richie Kotzen”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Joey Tafolla”, “Kiko Loureiro”, “Cacophony”, “Racer X”, “Dream Theater”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Daniele Liverani are: Daniele Liverani - All Guitars; Marco Zago – Keyboards; Tony Dickinson – Bass; Paco Barilla’ – Drums. All songs written by D. Liverani, except “Giving”, written by M. Zago. Produced by D. Liverani. Guitars recorded at Twinspirit32 Studio, Ravenna Italy, Drums recorded at Fear Studios, Ravenna, Italy, Keys recorded at The Hidden Factory Studio, Padova, Italy, Bass recorded at Doc Skinni Studios, Louisville, Colorado USA, Mixed & Mastered by D. Liverani. Original photo “Winter Street” by Joseph Petrek; all background textures and images by Brenda Clarke; artwork by D. Liverani...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012....................Want to learn everything about this amazing musician, visit DANIELE LIVERANI HOME PAGE...
. LABIRINTO DUO - "Cidiciamo"
The Labirinto Duo was formed in 2009 by Chiara Pedrazzetti (harp) and Sean Lanigan (electric guitar). Chiara began to study classical harp in the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, Switzerland) with “Lorenza Ceruti-Pollini”, and graduated as Bachelor of Music in the Züricher Hochschule der Künste (Zürich, Switzerland) under the teaching of “Catherine Michel” and “Irina Zingg”. She attends a Masters in Music Performance at the Royal Academy of Music (London) under the teaching of “Skaila Kanga” and “Catherine White”, and takes lessons from harpists such as “Park Stickney”, “Anna Loro”, “Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche”, “Milda Agazarian”, “Catrin Finch”, “Isabelle Moretti” and “Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero”. She also learned Celtic harp in Switzerland and Ireland, with “Gráinne Hambly”, “Catriona McKay”, “Paul Dooley”, and “Máire Ní Chathasaigh”. Chiara was a first-prize winner at the “Concorso Svizzero di Musica per la Gioventù” (for three times) and at the “Camac Trophy for Celtic Harp” (Valle d'Aosta, Italy, 2010). She performs either as a soloist, or with orchestras and ensembles of Classical, Jazz and Contemporary Music. She often plays Medieval Music with the “Christoffel Konsort”, and appeared on their CD “Minnesang”. Sean Lanigan is an Irish guitarist who grew up listening to Heavy Metal. He began to play at the age of 14; studied electric guitar with “John Flynn” and classical guitar with “Eamon Sweeney”. His own technique was self-taught by listening to guitarists such as “Paul Gilbert”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Michael Romeo” (“Symphony X”) and “Jason Becker”. In 2008 he attended the guitar Masterclass “Freak Guitar Camp” in Sweden held by “Matthias IA Eklundh” (“Freak Kitchen”), and graduated in 2009 from University College Dublin, with a Bachelor of Music (Hons). Sean has played with the Thrash-Metal band “Legion” and the Irish “Iron Maiden” tribute band “Ireland Maiden”. In 2010 he joined the Prog-Metal band “Mirrors of Obsidian”. When Chiara was invited to play a concert in Tuscany (Italy), she decided to make the recital crazier and more interesting by combining Celtic harp and electric guitar, and invited Sean to join in. Exploring and mixing Chiara’s skills (Classical and Irish music) with Sean‘s (Metal and Blues), they formed this unparalleled duo that merges two contrasting instruments, showing that the harp can rock and the guitar can roll! The concert in Tuscany worked so well that they went on with Labirinto, and recorded the CD “Cidiciamo” (2010). Since then, Labirinto has been playing at prestigious festivals in Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, USA, Canada, Russia, and here in Brazil, where they made a presentation at the “VII Rio Harp Festival” (May 2012). I was there, and was amazed by the duo. Labirinto belongs to that group of acts that play a defined musical genre with instruments that are alien to it – e.g. “Apocalyptica”, “Moda de Metal”, “Alex Skolnick Trio” (that plays Metal in the rhythm of Jazz), “Rondellus” (that plays “Black Sabbath” in Medieval style), and Neo-Folk bands (that replace the traditional acoustic instruments for synthesizers). In the case of Labirinto, the harp may play Blues and Rock, while the electric guitar executes the typical scales Classical and Celtic Music. Although the contrast between the two instruments and instrumentalists does exist, what we here on “Cidiciamo” is the stronger and more incisive sound of the electric guitar being tamed by the melodic and relaxing sounds of the harp. As in the mythological tale of Cerberus being charmed to sleep by Orpheus’ lyre, Sean puts aside his most aggressive Metal influences and plays mildly; Chiara plays confidently, joyfully and peacefully. “Cidiciamo” has 7 tracks. “Deccio 28.8.2009” (3:20) begins calm, turning into a lively Folk Rock with vigorous guitars, even risking some distorted solos. “Lullabyebye” (4:30) brings the worldwide famous lullaby theme opposed to a faster part that sounds like Christmas music. “Garret Barry's Jig - The Mountain Dairymaid I Would Hurry Along” (3:42) combines relaxing New-Age harp with a Celtic dance performed on the electric guitar. One of the best tracks, “Dalvi's Got The Blues!” (5:45), is a wonderful mix of classical music (“Mozart” styled) with soulful Blues, soloed on both guitar and harp. It is followed by a beautiful version of “Verdi’s” “Va' Pensiero” (3:40), performed with mastery and emotion by Sean, whose Neo-Classical style recalls “Malmsteen” and “Vinnie Moore”. The listener is brought down from the clouds by the lively and enthusiastic mood of “The Corn Thresher - Na Sioga The Rights of Man (and Woman)” (4:52), another great piece featuring intense solo exchange between Chiara and Sean. The album ends with “Pensiero Ritorna” (3:45) – an amazing piece that recalls “Queen” and “Focus”. Featuring two skilled musicians who have an original musical goal, the Labirinto Duo is highly recommended for fans of soft Progressive Music, Celtic Music, Neo-Folk, Harp Music, and “Apocalyptica”, “Moda de Metal”, “Rondellus”, “Wiermann & Vogel”, “Lanvall”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “In The Labyrinth”,  “Aldo Pinelli”, “Mistheria“, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Labirinto Duo are: Chiara Pedrazzetti – Classical and Celtic Harp; Sean Lanigan – Electric Guitars...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012....................,.....Interested to know more about the musicians? Please visit LABIRINTO DUO HOME PAGE...
. CURT SHAW - "Silent Assassin"
Curt Shaw is a veteran guitarist from Middletown, Virginia (US), who has been playing since 1982 in many Heavy Metal cover bands like “Eclipse” (1982-1983); “Spite and Malice” (1983); “Kulprit” (1985-1986); and “Black Aggie” (1993-1995 – which also played originals). In 1995 Shaw and his friends Kim Yates, Don Fowler, and Jerrit Lembach formed the band “Corporate Killing” – with influences of “Queensrÿche“ and “Metal Church”. With Jerrit’s departure and the arrival of Bones, “Corporate Killing” became “Mortal Remains” (1996-1997). But since there was yet another band named “Mortal Remains”, the moniker was changed for “Kryptic” (1997-2000). “Kryptic” released two LP’s: “Among the Ruins” and “Premature Burial”. In May of 2000 the band ceased to exist. Curt Shaw is playing since 2010 in the cover band 15 Minutes, together with Billy Red, Bill Dongoski, Mike Lowther, and Robb Pipes. Based out the Winchester, VA area, 15 Minutes plays covers of “Black Label Society”, “Black Sabbath”, “STP”, “AC/DC”, “Alice in Chains”, “Ozzy”, and others. Curt Shaw’s solo discography includes two independent albums: “Curt Shaw” (2005) and the recently released “Silent Assassin” (2012). As a Metal guitar player who was active during the 80’s and early 90’s, Shaw’s influences include many acts that were in evidence at that period, such as the guitarists “Ted Nugent”, “Montrose”, “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Steve Vai”, “David Chastain”, “Adrian Vandenberg”; the Classic and Blues Rock bands “ZZ Top”, “Aerosmith”, “BOC”,  “AC/DC”, “Brownsville Station”; the Metal bands of the 70’s-80’s (“Black Sabbath”, “Metal Church”, “Iron Maiden”, “Queensrÿche”, “Scorpions”, “Judas Priest”, “Def Lepard”, “Ratt”, “Motley Crew”, “Ozzy”); the Thrash Metal bands “Metallica”, “Anthrax”, and “Slayer”; and I should cite some Proto-Prog-Metal influences, like “Warlord”, “Fates Warning”, and “Cacophony”. Among modern influences, Shaw lists “Alice in Chains”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, and “Black Label Society”. All those influences appear on Shaw’s guitar solo work. Shaw is a versatile, spontaneous and a more intuitive than technical guitarist. He has a remarkable perception for crafting great guitar riffs that he alternates with inspired guitar solos on his compositions – which are free-flowing and impregnated with that inovative Metal spirit of the 80’s. He is also an acomplished bass player, with a style that recalls the sonority of “Queensryche”, “Metal Church”, and “Chastain”. Allen Lind is the power-house drummer that cooperates with Shaw on his new album. “Silent Assassin” brings 11 instrumental tracks. Most of my favorites sound as the instrumentation and rhythmic frame of bands like “Metal Church”, “Queenrÿche”, “Cacophony”, early “Fates Warning”, “Ozzy”, and “Malmsteen”; and like the solo work of guitarists like “Chastain”, "Montrose“, and “Marty Friedman”. These tracks are “Bridge to Nowhere“ (6:25), which combines an acoustic intro with rocky grooves and multi-layered guitars; and other 4 that bring within an elaborated Proto-Prog-Metal luster: the epic “Crops in the Fields“ (4:00), which includes keyboards and reminds me of “Warlord” and “Queensrÿche”; the great “A King’s Ride“ (2:55), which has a rocky riff disguised in Metal that recalls “Chastain” and “Fates Warning”; “Hammer 2“  (5:00), which has roller-coaster guitar harmonies; and the amazing “Return of the Samurai“ (7:30), which combines frantic drumming with Japanese guitars (recalling the song “Ninja” by “Cacophony”) and also has some “Black Sabbath”-like riffs in the middle. Some tracks are heavier, however, combining darker “Black Sabbath” riffs with dense bass and Thrash Metal progressions that sound like “Metallica” and “Anthrax”: “Never“ (5:30) is a typical example, while the mysterious “Gypsy“ (4:40) also offers Baroque guitars in the style of “Malmsteen” and “Chastain”. A few tracks, however, are lighter, bringing in some Classic Rock and Hard Rock sonorities that are influenced by “Montrose”, “Nugent”, “Vandenberg”, “AC/DC”, “Aerosmith”, and “Ratt” – such as the lively “Pursuit of Happiness“ (5:20) and the bluesy “The Strange Trip“ (3:35) (which recalls “Vai” and “Zakk Wylde”). Finally, there are two soft, and beautiful, acoustic pieces: the sweet “Carriages“ (1:55), which sounds like music for Christmas; and the folk-bluesy “Blue Mule“ (2:10) a piece influenced by “ZZ Top” that evokes images of old American times. In sum, Curt Shaw‘s new album is ideal for guitar-music fans that are fond of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal of the 80’s, being highly recommended for fans of “Chastain”, “Malmsteen”, “Cacophony”, “Marty Friedman”, “Montrose”, “Ted Nugent”, “Vandenberg”, “Metal Church”, “Queenrÿche”, “Metallica”, “Anthrax”, “Ozzy”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Curt Shaw are: Curt Shaw – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards; Allen Lind – Drums. Written, Produced and Engineered by Curt Shaw...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012...................................Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit CURT SHAW HOME PAGE...
John Irvine is a guitarist and composer from the U.K. He began his studies at Dartington College of Arts in the mid 80s. From there, he moved to Glasgow to study classical guitar at the RSAMD and won the Guitar Challenge Prize in 1989. In 1990 he was awarded a scholarship to complete his Post-Graduate Certificate in Performance. From 1992 to 1999 he received his PhD in Music Composition at the University of Edinburgh. From 1999 to 2007 he taught composition at St Mary's Music School (Edinburgh), and is currently teaching composition and academic music at The City of Edinburgh Music School. Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Irvine composed music for theatre, working on over 40 shows throughout the UK, and 20 shows at the Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh). He has written music for film and TV and took part on radio in discussions concerning the role of music in theatre today. As a contemporary classical music composer, Irvine received commissions from numerous ensembles and players worldwide. His music has been played in Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Greece, France and the UK. From 2001 onwards, the majority of his compositions have been written for acoustic instruments and tape, with the tape part featuring a mixture of processed sounds and voices. Irvine is also a published poet. John Irvine‘s interest for Music began with the Free-Jazz and Fusion movements of the 1960/70s, and the European and London-centered free-improvisation schools (it was a concert by the Cardew Scratch Orchestra in Dartington that sparkled his appreciation for Jazz). During his years in Edinburgh he also became influenced by the work of the New York School (in particular “Feldman” and “Wolff”) and also “Frank Denyer” (his teacher at Dartington). Along the following years, Irvine perfected his unique approach to Jazz guitar – on which he fuses elements of classical fingerstyle techniques with an original harmonic/chordal sense – forging his own and instantly recognizable soloing style - fast, fluid and soulful – which has been compared to “Alex Lifeson“ and “David Gilmour”. In 2011 Irvine formed The John Irvine Band, a Progressive Jazz-Rock power trio, with Alan Emslie (drums, percussion) and Doug Kemp (5-string electric bass). Emslie is a demanded timpanist/ percussionist who has played with major orchestras and ensembles around Europe. He fronts his own Electro- Industrial- Metal band “Plastic Noose”. Kemp has a performing and session career in Scotland, working with many top acts of the Edinburgh musical scene and beyond. In 2011, the trio released their debut album, titled “Wait & See”, which was produced by Irvine and Emslie. The album features 8 instrumental tracks. The compositions are light, with a soft – albeit dynamic – rhythmic section. The guitars are clean and neat, and the synth-guitars have a violin-like texture. The arrangements are sophisticated, as much as one could expect coming from such skilled and academic musicians. The overall sonority is similar to the Jazz-Fusion of guitarists like “Allan Holdsworth”, “Pat Metheny”, “Andy Summers“, “Steve Lukather”, “Lifeson” (on rare moments) “Al Di Meola”, “Frank Gambale”, “John McLaughlin”, “John Abercrombie”, “Greg Howe”, “Steve Khan”, “Shawn Lane”, “Terje Rypdal”, “John Scofield”; also recalling bands like “Return to Forever”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “U.K.”, “Weather Report”, “Passport”, “Chick Corea”, “Steely Dan”, and “Colosseum II”. After the somber intro “The Bat” (1:19), the listener is introduced to the lively and fluid Jazz-Fusion style of the excellent and tuneful “Hubbub” (5:35), which is repeated on the amusing “Zigzag” (3:55). These mentioned tracks are among my favorites, together with the title track “Wait & See” (6:03) (which sounds like a Progressive “Bossa-Nova”); and another two tracks that show a greater tendency to the Jazz-Rock, by the addition of some heavier guitar riffs and wild solos: the hybrid “Frazzled” (5:40) (which begins with a soft theme and becomes a little harder later, recalling bands like “Soft Machine” and “Mahavishnu”); and the amazing “CUL8R” (Sweet Sorrow) (8:45), a polychromatic track full of twists, changes of rhythm, and featuring sparse heavy guitars. Following the line of soft and melancholic cool Jazz, there are the tracks “In April” (6:30), and the nostalgic “New Brunswick” (4:31). In sum, The John Irvine Band offers very classy and high-top Jazz-Rock and Fusion music, being highly recommended for fans of “Allan Holdsworth”, “Pat Metheny”, “Andy Summers“, “Steve Lukather”, “Al Di Meola”, “Frank Gambale”, “John McLaughlin”, “Greg Howe”, “John Abercrombie”, “Steve Khan”, “Shawn Lane”, “Terje Rypdal”, “John Scofield”, “Chick Corea”, “Return to Forever”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Weather Report”, “U.K.”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Steely Dan”, “Colosseum”, “Passport”, and so on… Band members and collaborators involved in The John Irvine Band are: John Irvine – Guitars, Synth Guitars, Compositions; Alan Emslie – Drums and Percussion; and Doug Kemp - 5-string Electric Bass...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012.........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE JOHN IRVINE BAND HOME PAGE...
Ethereal Architect is a Progressive-Metal quartet from Austin, Texas (USA). The line-up comprises Adam Contreras (vocals), David Glass (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, programming); Jake Koenig (drums and percussion), and Thad Stevens (bass). Ethereal Architect formed back in 2006, and just a year later released their debut album “Dissension” (2007). But it was just in May 2012 that the band finally released their second album – the astonishing and entrancing “Monolith”. With influences ranging from the Epic Power-Metal and Progressive-Metal of bands such as “Blind Guardian”, “Demons & Wizards”, “Iced Earth”, “Falconer”, “Stratovarius”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Evergrey”, “Opeth”, “Mastodon”, “The Mars Volta”, “Iron Maiden”, and ”Helstar” to the Post-Metal & Nu-Metal trends of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, and “System of a Down” - but adding the creativity of “Devin Townsend” and “Frank Zappa”, Ethereal Architect forged a multifaceted style that brings fourth its own mark of distinctiveness. David’s guitars are compact, aggressive and absolutely wild, with solos being crafted to privilege melody and emotion over just extreme technique. The voice of Contreras makes the perfect counterpoint – he is a magnetic interpreter, transiting from an soulful whisper to a ponderous tone – recalling great singers like “Hansi Kürsch” (“Blind Guardian”, “Demons & Wizards”) and “Matthew Barlow” (“Iced Earth”) - yet avoiding both the guttural and falsetto kinds of vocals. Thad’s bass is impeccable, absolutely devastating, going from the fastest Power-Metal to the most moving lines and complicated geometrics of “Dream Theater”, “Opeth” and “Tool”. Drums are solid and fast, charging against the listener as a war-horse – yet, Koenig’s drumsticks fill the empty spaces with amazing exhibitions of Progressive-Metal expertise. The songs are full of twists and surprises, but never loose the main theme – and there is a frequent alternation of aggressive and powerful Metal spirit with softer and soulful moments – including some passages with acoustic guitars. Keyboards add the necessary symphonic background, eventually showing some unpredictable Progressive inspirations. An overall Epic sense pervades all songs, amplified by the presence of spine-shivering “battle-cry” choirs (provided by guest singers). Frankly, “Monolith” is the most impressive Prog-Metal album that I have heard this year, coming from a so beginner band. The album features 10 songs that are chained to each other in a conceptual way (a Spanish-language bonus track is available only digitally). “Kalinago” (5:48) opens the album with fearsome power, speed and violence, compacting guitar riffs that recall bands like “Symphony X”, “Evergrey”, and “Iced Earth” – soon embarking on the Folk-Epic “Mercury” (6:00), which combines “Blind Guardian”, “Falconer”, rising gradually in intensity, until reaching a breathtaking instrumental part. The conveyance from “Mercury” to the astonishing “Obsidian” (9:03) happens by means of Gypsy acoustic guitars and ghostly keyboards. This song – maybe the album’s best – superposes a kind of “System of a Down” vocals over an amazing Power-Metal frame, and still features operatic choirs (like “Blind Guardian” and “Demons & Wizards”) and a beautiful Spanish-guitar solo. The mood calms down a little on “Oceans” (5:23) – with climatic instrumental parts with “Bard-like” vocals and acoustic folk guitars. The band accelerates again on the ultra-fast “Final Escape” (5:05) – which brings spitting-fire vocals and dazzling guitars, bass and drums, like old “Stratovarius”. A set of monastic choirs and gothic organs merge this song with the next – the astounding Symphonic Power-Metal “Revolutions” (4:35), which has a stronger layer of keyboards and some hammered riffs like “Iced Earth”. The dark and unique “Obscura” (5:25) slows down the rhythm to a ballad –bringing in more operatic harmony vocals and Spanish guitars (recalling “Demons & Wizards” and “The Mars Volta”) – just to be abruptly annihilated by the erupting violence of “Bardo Becoming” (4:32) – a song that includes some dazzling bass passages (recalling “Opeth”). Also competing for the album’s best, the awesome “Submission” (8:45) evolves like an operetta: it combines soaring parts with the sound of early Prog-Metal bands like ”Helstar” and with the crudeness of early “Iced Earth” and “Blind Guardian” albums – attention to the great variety of keyboard solos, and also to the Latin percussion. The record ends up with the cover-song “MacArthur Park” (“Jimmy Webb”) (7:02), surprisingly arranged and performed in “Prog-Metal” style. In sum, Ethereal Architect‘s “Monolith” is really an outstanding album, a brilliant gem that sparkles radiantly in the presently dull scene of Progressive Power-Metal. Indispensable and must-have item for fans of “Blind Guardian”, “Demons & Wizards”, “Iced Earth”, “Falconer”, “Stratovarius”, “Symphony X”, “Dream Theater”, “Evergrey”, “Opeth”, “Iron Maiden”, ”Helstar”, “Symphorce”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Rhapsody of Fire”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Ethereal Architect are: Adam Contreras – Vocals, Lyrics; David Glass – Guitars, Keyboards, Backing vocals, Programming, Compositions; Jake Koenig – Drums; Thad Stevens – Bass. Guest vocalists (in order of appearance): Aaron Welch; Serafia Jane; Ken Liao; Raynor Choate; Rick Clark; Drew Heaton. “Monolith” was produced, engineered, and mixed by David Glass at Thrown Stone Studios (Kyle, TX). Acoustic guitars and additional vocals recorded by Lori Trevino at Thrown Stone Studios. Drums recorded by David Glass at Penny Creek Studios (Austin, TX). Mastered by Nick Landis at Terra Nova Digital Audio Inc. (Austin, TX). Spanish translations by: Jorge A.gWooki, Rosie Rangel, Adam Contreras, and David Glass. Design, layout, artwork, and photography by Adam Contreras. Band photography by Gonzalo E. Pozo...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ETHERIAL ARCHITECT HOME PAGE...
Distorted Harmony is a new Progressive Metal band from Tel Aviv (Israel). The band was founded in 2009 by composer and keyboardist Yoav Efron and drummer Yogev Gabay. By 2011, they had been joined by Misha Soukhinin (vocals), Guy Landau (guitars) and Iggy Cohen (bass). They began to work on some material that Yoav Efron had written back in 2006. During the following years, it was expanded to include all compositions of their future debut album “Utopia”. Lyrics were written mostly by Misha (with help of Yoav and Guy), and after being added to the music, “Utopia” was digitally released on May 14th, 2012, and made available via free download. In a short period of time Distorted Harmony’s album attracted the recognition of both local and international audiences – a good point for an upraising band that aimed to take a leading position on Israel’s Prog-Metal scene, and expected to gain international respect. Judging for their sound, Distorted Harmony has no reason to be worried. “Utopia” is an explosive and awesome album. Together with “Ethereal Architect’s“ “Monolith” (see the review at PR&PM), it is one of the best Progressive Metal albums from a newcomer band that I heard this year. Distorted Harmony forges a powerful combination of breathtaking Progressive Metal assault with unexpected twists and changes of pace that are driven by unique Jazzy time signatures and complex harmonies of the Classical music, having as mirrors iconic bands like “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, and “Opeth”. Their music is structured by the alternation of heavy guitar riffs followed by symphonic interludes. Amidst the general havoc, great tuneful vocals appeal immediately to the listener, being superposed to modern synthesizer sounds. The amount of keyboards solos is overwhelming – they pop-up everywhere in the music, in a vast arrays of styles (Classical, Jazzy, Progressive) and textures (pianos, Moogs and occasional Hammonds). Overall, Distorted Harmony sounds like the vigorous and intricate instrumentation of “Symphony X” being soothed by the celestial Progressive Metal of “Dream Theater”, or just falling down into the dark abyss of the aggressive Psychotic Metal of “Opeth”. “Utopia” (2012) has 6 tracks and no highlights – the record is absolutely fantastic from the early beginning to the very end. Each song offers something new to discover, something that surprises and amazes the listener at any time when he/she is listening. “Kono Yume” (8:40) opens the album with classical pianos, exciting guitar riffs, and soaring progressive vocals with a pledging emotional tone – and advises us that we are in for something big – like the final  segment with great Metal riffs and wild synth solo. “Breathe” (8:52) has a majestic Prog-Metal cadence and alternates an epic theme with violent instrumentation like “Opeth”. Vocals are soaring and jazzy – a pause for the coming of a symphonic interlude is quite sublime. “Obsession” (9:11) is a dark song driven by  syncopated Thrash-Metal guitars, but lifts to Progressive thresholds with gentle vocals and clean guitars, just to fall again into a raging “Opeth”-mode. Besides, it has awesome keyboards. “Blue” (7:24) is an interesting song that has many twists and influences. It begins floating and soaring, with sparse heavy moments, recalling the sound of “Muse” and early “Dream Theater”, but includes another moments with killer guitar riffs and blasting drumming. “Unfair” (8:07) blends pianos, strings and a jazzy saxophone (by guest musician Daniel Markovich) in the intro; and has some amazing instrumental interplay: Fusion climatic passages, bass solo, and a festival of keyboards (including a sound of Hammond organ). The album ends up with the title track “Utopia” (12:30) – an awesome piece divided in many parts that employs the “Dream Theater” intricate style of complicating the music to a maximum degree. With this album, Distorted Harmony goes direct to their goal – they will have no difficult to enter the select Pantheon of Great Progressive Metal bands, joining with “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Kamelot”, “Opeth”, “Threshold”, “Redemption”, “Arch & Matheos”, “Planet X”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Superior”, and so on. “Utopia” is a brilliant and extraordinary work – a must-have item for the most exigent fan of Progressive Metal. Band members and collaborators involved in Distorted Harmony are: Misha Soukhinin – Vocals; Guy Landau – Guitars; Yoav Efron – Keyboards; Iggy Cohen – Bass; Yogev Gabay – Drums. Additional musicians: Daniel Markovich – Saxophone on “Unfair”. Manager: Raya Kosovsky. Produced by Y. Efron. Recorded by Jonathan Barak, Yonatan Kassov, Carmel de Picciotto and Yan Eledgy. Mixed by Jonathan Barak at Sonic Studios; mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios. Design by Adam NishMa; photo by Ofir Abe...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012.................. .......Interested to know more about the new Band? Visit DISTORTED HARMONY HOME PAGE...
. DRUCKFARBEN - "Druckfarben"
Druckfarben is a Progressive-Rock quintet hailing from Toronto, Canada. The line-up forms with Phil Naro (vocals, acoustic guitars), Ed Bernard (guitars, violin, vocals), Troy Feener (drums), Peter Murray (bass, vocals), and William Hare (keyboards, vocals). All of them are professional musicians with respectful careers. Naro, the only American in the band, was the front-man of “Billy Sheehan’s” band “Talas”, and replaced “James LaBrie” in “Coney Hatch”. He also worked with “Chain Reaction”, “Peter Criss” (“Kiss”), “Lee Aaron”, “Kim Mitchell”, and “Blood Red Flower”. Ed Bernard is an in-demand session musician, composer, and producer around the Toronto scene. Troy Feener has played for “The Full Nine”, “Tom Cochrane”, “David Usher”, “Larry Gowan”, “Kim Mitchell”, “Honeymoon Suite”, “Patrick Moraz”, and “Rik Emmett” (“Triumph”). Peter Murray has played with “Ron Sexsmith”, “Damhnait Doyle”, “Honeymoon Suite”, “Sass Jordan”, and “Surrender Dorothy”. William Hare is a classically trained keyboardist who has worked in every style, from Country & Pop to Classic Rock & Acid-Jazz. Bonding them altogether, there is a genuine passion for the Classic Progressive Rock of “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Emerson Lake & Palmer”, “Rush”, “Jethro Tull”, and “Kansas”. The moniker Druckfarben was prophetically chosen by Ed Bernard in the mid 1980s, when he and Troy Feener were still high-school students living in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Ed and Troy used to play their favorite Prog bands together using the hall of an abandoned factory for rehearsals, when they discovered some black barrels with the word “Druckfarben” stenciled on them. Ed joked that whenever they would be in a band together, it would be called Druckfarben. Years later, Troy became the main drummer for “Classic Albums Live”, a group of musicians who performed classic records note-for-note. Intending to stage a recreation of the “Yes” albums “Close to the Edge” and “The Yes Album”, he called Ed and other musicians to join the project; and after a historic show at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto on September 20, 2007, Druckfarben was officially born. After many successful concerts in 2008, during which Druckfarben covered classics by “Yes”, “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Kansas”, and “Rush”, the band’s reputation grew, luring to the audiences Prog luminaries like “Kim Mitchell”, “Nick D’Virgilio” (“Spock’s Beard”), and “Terry Brown” (“Rush’s” producer). Also wishing to work on original material, Druckfarben finally released their eponymous debut album in October, 2011, which was produced by Ed Bernard. The sonority of Druckfarben is the sum of the varied and extensive musical experience of all band members. It is, simply said, PROGRESSIVE ROCK in captions, performed by top-musicians. The music is vigorous, cerebral and emotional – combining stupendous classic keyboards and dazzling guitars with inspired violin tunes that are boosted by bombastic swinging bass and magical drumming. All music is compacted into Byzantine arrangements containing unexpected meandering passages, intricate instrumental interplay, and bold solo performances - recalling mostly “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “Greenslade”, and, sometimes “King Crimson” and “Kansas”. The songs are driven by passionate and contagious vocals that recall “Yes”, but with a groovy inflection. “Druckfarben” features 9 tracks. The intro “ELPO“ (2:34) is an instrumental “ELP”-like piece with grandiloquent keyboards and martial drumming cracked by fabulous guitars and pompous gongs. The band’s style is better defined on “Influenza“ (5:24) – a song that mixes Naro’s great vocals with a complex instrumental frame with abundant organs and drums, all driven by Murray’s fabulous bass, and powered by Ed Bernard’s jazz-rock guitar solos. “Smaller Wooden Frog“ (4:38) follows on with a crooked structure that recalls the rhythmic section of “King Crimson” – turning later to something similar to “Yes” of the album “Fragile”. One of the best songs, “Dead Play Awake“ (6:47) opens with soaring guitars, groovy vocals & bass lines (sometimes like “Kansas”), reaching out a middle part on which classical pianos precede ferocious guitar solos, being like a battle between “ELP” and “Soft Machine”. Yet “Walk Away“ (3:04) has a mild pop-vein, recalling “U.K.” and the albums released by “Yes” in the early ‘80s. “Seem So Real“ (4:30) is a beautiful ballad for voice and acoustic guitars that brings some keyboards like “Gentle Giant”. The weird-titled “Nat Nayah“ (5:42) is a symphonic Progressive piece that puts to contrast the harmony vocals of “Yes” against “Rush”-like strings, still adding Neo-Progressive synthesizers and wild guitars. The bouncing cadence of “Sons of Anakin“ (3:56) is reminiscent of “Gentle Giant”, “Greenslade”, and even “Kansas”; while the album’s closing song, “Nonchalant” (7:34), is a fantastic piece that merges silky violins with tuneful vocals, bringing in fairy-like guitars and classic pianos that recall early “Genesis”. With this stupendous and rare debut, Druckfarben keeps the burning flame of true Progressive Rock still hotter, thus becoming a must-have item for fans of “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Rush”, “Emerson Lake & Palmer”, “Jethro Tull”, “Greenslade”, “Kansas”, “Soft Machine“, “Trace”, “Druid”, “UK”, “The Dregs”, “Kaipa”, “The Flower Kings”, “Spock’s Beard”, “The Tangent”, “Karmakanic”, “Neal Morse”, and so on. Druckfarben is working on a second album, as well as on a live DVD – we are waiting eagerly for both!  Band members and collaborators involved in Druckfarben are: Phil Naro - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar; Ed Bernard - Guitars, Violin, Vocals; Troy Feener – Drums; Peter Murray - Bass, Vocals; William Hare - Keyboards, Vocals...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012.,.....If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit DRUCKFARBEN HOME PAGE...
. RICK MILLER - "Dark Dreams"
Rick Miller is a singer, musician and composer from Lakefield, Canada. His career is extensive, and includes many self-produced albums, mostly released under the independent label Unicorn Digital: “Starsong” (1984), “Interstellar Passage” (1998), “Leftovers & Bonus Tracks” (2000), “Dreamtigers” (2004), “The End Of Days” (2006), “Angel Of My Soul” (2008), “Falling Through Rainbows” (2009), and “In The Shadows” (2011). Miller’s latest album is “Dark Dreams” (2012), which was released by prestigious Russian Progressive Label MALS Ldt. The album also features Barry Haggarty (guitars), Kane Miller (violin), Mateusz Swoboda (cello), Nancy Foote (flute), Will (drums and percussion), and Kristina Vowels (backing vocals on track “The One”). Miller’s style blends Symphonic, Dark, and Psychedelic Progressive Rock with influences of bands of the ‘70s, like “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “Steve Hackett”, “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), “David Gilmour”, and “Justin Hayward”. But his music resounds darker and sadder, albeit melodious and voyaging; and there is a mystical and mysterious component on it, which is pervaded by a deep sense of beauty and melancholy. “Dark Dreams” contains 8 tracks and one bonus. The opening song - “Return To Uqbar” (06:19) – is an impressive piece that begins with ancient chanting, flutes and violins, turning into a psychedelic journey led by the two most important components of Miller’s music: the soaring “Floydian” guitars and the soft and melancholic vocals that recall “The Moody Blues” & “Justin Hayward”. The following song - “Angels In The Forest” (08:18) – is a suite divided in three parts (“A Bed of Roses”/”Lost In The Forest”/”In Your Hands”). “Angels …” stands as one of the album’s best. The beautiful and nostalgic vocal tunes are accompanied by strings and the piano, and transport the listener to an unreal ambience guided by cosmic keyboards, slow tribal drumming, and floating patches of guitar sounds. The song returns then to the initial vocal theme, and ends with a soulful solo of guitar. Track three - “When The Evening Comes” (03:03) – is also a favorite. It is an electro-acoustic Progressive ballad that combines whispered vocals with marvelous flutes and celestial choirs. The following track is “Whispers” (05:24) – a song that raises up from a narration to a levitating chorus (“Moody Blues”-styled), being supported by organs and a frightening part for “Gilmour”-like guitar experiments. The interlude “The Transcension” (02:24) is an amazing instrumental piece that presents a Baroque theme that is simultaneously played on keyboards, violins, flutes, and guitars, finishing with a celestial chorus. It introduces the slow and soaring “Quiet Desperation” (07:12), on which delicate vocals and keyboards contrast with harder guitar riffs and ironic lyrics. The seventh track - “Hear The Ocean Roar” (03:28) – is a wonderful Folk ballad that combines acoustic guitars, cellos, and slide guitars. The last track is “Man Out Of Time” (05:19) – a “Pink Floyd”-like ballad with a less melancholic mood that has beautiful symphonic keyboards (more like “Genesis” and “Camel”) and bluesy guitar solo. “Dark Dreams” still offers the bonus track “The One (Reincarnate)” (4:20) – another album’s highlight – which opposes bass male vocals against angelical female vocals – and combines harder guitar riffs with epic vocals. In sum, Rick Miller is an soulful musician that cannot be missed by fans of Dark & Melancholic Progressive Rock, and his new album “Dark Dreams” is a great release by MALS, being highly recommended for fans of “Pink Floyd”, “The Moody Blues”, “David Gilmour”, “Justin Hayward”, “Eloy”, “Steve Hackett”, “The Future Kings of England”, “Barclay James Harvest”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Rick Miller are: Rick Miller – Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars, Other instruments, Compositions, and Recordings. Barry Haggarty – Telecaster Guitars; Kane Miller - Violin; Mateusz Swoboda – Cello; Nancy Foote – Flute; Will - Drums and Percussion; Kristina Vowels – Backing Vocals on “The One”; Album Artwork: Larissa Kulik (Ann Mei). Former members: Rory - Bass; Sara Young – Flute.  Also you must visit Rick Miller's MySpace Site...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
09/30/2012.......,.....Want to learn everything about this amazing musician, you must visit RICK MILLER HOME PAGE...
. MYTOLOGY - "Mytology"
Mytology is a Female-Fronted Symphonic Progressive-Metal band that hails from Aix en Provence, France. The line-up counts with Tess Aguilar (vocals), Cyril Murano (guitar), François Brey (keyboards), Thomas Pacyga (bass), Nicolas Ortega: (drums), and Thomas Ardouin (lyrics). Mytology was born in 2006, amidst the Symphonic-Metal explosion in France. After some changes in the line-up, the band began to evolve and expand, widening their musical influences to include also touches of Jazz, Classical Music, and Progressive Rock inside the rigid Heavy Metal frame. By the end of 2011, Mytology released their eponymous debut EP “Mytology”. Mytology’s style combines elements of Progressive Power-Metal and Gothic-Metal with Neo-Classical guitars, all driven by operatic female vocals. Influences and resemblances include bands like “Dream Theater”, “Adagio”, “Opram”, “Myrath”, “Nightwish”, “After Forever”, “Syrens Call”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Epica”, “Edenbridge”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Uncreated Light”, “Stratovarius”, and “Sonata Arctica”. Their EP “Mythology” features four tracks. The first song is “Prophecy“ (5:20) – which has good operatic vocals and very good Neo-Classical guitar solos combined with Baroque keyboards and organs that instantly brings to mind their fellows from “Adagio”. Mitology’s strong Classical influences also appear on the pianos of “Crusade for Wizardry“ (3:45) – a song reminiscent of “Nightwish” and “Epica”, but that features different textures of keyboards – like harpsichords and tremble Moog-sounds. The third track - “Darksky“ (3:57) – employs a “Dream Theater” kind of riff, backed by symphonic keyboards and merged with operatic vocals that almost repeat the drama and intensity of “Amberian Dawn”. The last track is “Masters of Horrors“ (3:48) – a song that has a Jazzy-paced intro that suddenly turns to a rocky rhythm that recalls bands like “Visions of Atlantis”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, and “Nightwish”. Although Mitology is still not at the same level of the bands mentioned above, I feel that they have a strong will to find their place in the crowded universe of Female-Fronted Symphonic Metal bands, and they will do all necessary hard work to get there. They have an enormous potential to explore in order to improve their music, as long as they gain in experience and confidence. Their songs feature already good ideas and melodies, something that can be more important than just the showoff of extremely perfect technique. A better production is necessary, however, to make the music of Mytology to sound less “empty” and more professional – for instance, by adding more symphonic keyboards to the background, and by boosting their rhythmic section – which sounds not enough heavy and powerful by Heavy-Metal standards. And although Tess Aguilar has a good voice, she sometimes slips when singing the higher - and most difficult - operatic notes. If she keeps her focus on finding the right range of her voice, she will improve her performance and will surely give greater contribution to the band, honoring her position as Mytology’s “front-woman”. Mytology is already preparing their first full-length album, and I am already curious about their future, waiting to write their next review. For now, they are specially recommended for fans of “Adagio”, “Nightwish”, “After Forever”, “Syrens Call”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Epica”, “Edenbridge”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Uncreated Light”, “Stratovarius”, “Sonata Arctica”, and their likes.  Band members and collaborators involved in Mytology are: Tess Aguilar – Vocals; Cyril Murano – Guitars; François Brey – Keyboards; Thomas Pacyga – Bass; Nicolas Ortega – Drums; Thomas Ardouin – Lyrics; Lily Martinez - Sound Engineer. Album mastered at Studio Online Sound, pressed by Hurricane Entertainment...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/07/2012.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MYTOLOGY HOME PAGE...
. STEVE COCHRANE - "La La La Variations On A Happy Song"
Steve Cochrane is a Canadian guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who entered the musical arena with grand artistic ambitions. As a teenager in Ontario, Cochrane was inspired by “Rush”, after hearing their album “2112” for the first time. Later on, he took part in local bands of Peterborough, Ontario, the most notable being Progressive Rock act “Endpieces” (1980-1983). In that ambience, Cochrane's creativity as a composer evolved, and when the band broke up, he went on a solo career. During that time, his influences had widened to include British progressive bands of the seventies (mainly “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Renaissance” & “Annie Haslam”). But as the ‘80s were no longer a time for Prog-Rock, Cochrane had to follow on as an independent musician. By 1987, the use of the MIDI technology had become quite common, and Cochrane spent more time composing at the keyboards than on the guitar. He released then three albums by his independent label Spirit Compass Music: “Heroes Awaken” (1991), “To See It Made Real” (1995), and “The Purest of Designs” (1998), refining his compositional style of arranging vocals, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars in long symphonic Progressive pieces. The fourth album – “With Or Without” (2007) – featured still more intricate arrangements, fluid guitars and surrealistic philosophical lyrics. Cochrane’s newest album is “La La La: Variations On a Happy Song” (2012, Spirit Compass), and brings a suite divided in nine parts. In spite of the title, the music on it is not joyfully silly or shallow. It represents the epic journey of a creative spirit that bears internal conflicts, and features surprising twists and turns, contrasts of light and dark, and moments of quiet sadness opposed to instants of symphonic ecstasy. The sonority is a well-balanced blend of ‘70-styled Symphonic Progressive Rock with Folk Music, influenced by bands and singers from Britain (”Yes”, ”Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Renaissance”, ”Annie Haslam”, ”Mike Oldfield”, “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Strawbs”, ”Steve Howe”, ”UK”, ”Moody Blues”, ”Al Stewart”, ”Kate Bush”, ”Enya” ) and Canada (”Rush”, ”Max Webster”, “Saga”, ”Ken Baird”, ”Liona Boyd”, and ”Gordon Lightfoot” ). The lyrics are inspired on the writings of philosopher “Ayn Rand”. “La La La: Variations…” counts with Cochrane (guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals and percussion); drummers Kevin Richard & Richard Rizzo; singers Armand Faguay and Murray James-Bosh; and with female singers Aimee Matuszczak and Leslea Kervourst. The album opens with the “Alarm Clock Overture” (7.50), which has no lyrics, but begins with a male/female chorus performing that “La la la” kind of singing described in the title. The sound is very melodic, and perfectly combines “Renaissance” on vocals with “Steve Hackett’s” electric and classical acoustic guitars, all inside an instrumental ambience that recalls “Yes” and “Genesis”, but with something unique in it. The next track, “Makes Me Want To Sing” (3.58), is a Prog-Folk song driven by acoustic guitars, piano, and Cochrane’s vocals, and recalls a mix of “Jethro Tull”, “Renaissance” and “Hackett”. The later is the main influence behind “Red Sky” (2.17) - an instrumental etude for classic acoustic guitar. “Towards Ideal” (7.31), in spite of being divided by a few acoustic interludes, is a stronger Progressive Rock song, featuring sturdier guitars, heavier bass, and fluidal drumming, recalling “Genesis” and “Yes”. The vocal parts remind me of “Peter Gabriel” on the lead, with “Annie Haslam” on the backing vocals. The Folk ballad “A Song” (3.08) recalls “Jethro Tull”, but with female backing vocals replacing “Anderson’s” flute. It marks the beginning of the album’s best sequence. “Just Clouds” (10.53) is the heaviest and darkest track of all, and brilliantly blends wild guitars like “Rush” with the rhythmical strength of “U.K.”, also recalling Neo-Prog bands like “Marillion”, and “Pallas”. There is a surprising vocal segment (with that “La la la” singing) that sounds like a Celtic celebration dance. The Progressive Rock “Beauty & Defiance” (7.48) has no lyrics either. It begins softly with classic acoustic guitars. Bombastic keyboards come, introducing a growing progression made of hypnotic bass and vigorous acoustic guitars that reach a peak in another “La la la” chorus, followed by space guitars. “Birthright” (6.36) is a Prog-ballad that recalls “Marillion”, but also features angelical choirs, and great male & female vocals. The grand finale comes with “The Day I Found My Wings” (6.50). Starting like an acoustic “Jethro Tull”, it has  a segment of “Mike Oldfield”- inspired Celtic drumming that supports another great “La la la“ choir, all ending up in bombastic guitars like “Genesis”. In sum, Cochrane‘s “La La La: Variations On a Happy Song“ is a shiny and pleasant Progressive-Folk album that will make you sing the “La la la” together, being indispensable for fans of “Renaissance”, ”Annie Haslam”, “Steve Hackett”, ”Yes”, ”Genesis”, ”Mike Oldfield”, “Jethro Tull”, “Camel”, “Strawbs”, ”Steve Howe”, and ”Moody Blues”.  Band members and collaborators involved in Steve Cochrane are: Steve Cochrane - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Percussion; Kevin Richard – Drums, Percussion (on tracks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9), Richard Rizzo – Drums (on tracks 4, 6, 7); Armand Faguay – Percussion, Vocals; Murray James-Bosch – Vocals (track 6); Aimee Matuszczak – Vocals (track 8); Leslea Kervourist – Vocals (tracks 1 & 7). Recorded, mixed and mastered at Steve Cochrane’s home studio in Hamilton, Ontario...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/07/2012...................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STEVE COCHRANE HOME PAGE...
Psychedelic World Music – “Discovery” is a compilation of Psychedelic Music that was released by independent label Trail Records (2012). The record features new recordings by young and relatively unknown musical groups hailing from different countries of the world - Germany, UK, USA, Belarus, Armenia, Russia, Italy, Belgium and China. The chosen artists combine their cultural roots with a more contemporary tradition of “psychedelia”, creating a suitable sound for unveiling the infinite journey of self (re)discovery. This album is a follow-up to Trail Records compilation “Trip Wave” (reviewed at PR&PM), which featured a panorama of the Psychedelic Music in Russia; and so represents the continuous effort of that label in supporting less-known Psychedelic, Trance/Trip-Hop, Progressive-Folk, and Avant-garde groups. “Discovery” features 9 outstanding tracks, each one from a different band coming from the countries mentioned above. Most tracks were recorded from 2011 to 2012 and remain previously unreleased (p.u.); just 3 have appeared on albums. The album opens with “Aurora” (6:54), by German Psychedelic-Trance band Cosmic Vibration. Hailing from cosmopolitan Munich, that band blends ”Jimi Hendrix”, “Chemical Brothers”, “Black Sabbath”, with some ethnical experimentation inspired on the Krautrock. The song is driven by entrancing bass and drums, juxtaposed to a kind of primitive chanting – an amazing guitar solo follows - clean, free and soaring - until the last guitar riffs that land down heavily in “Black Sabbath” style. Track two - “Origins of Life” (6:19), by UK band Triptych, has a cover of modern electronic beats, and brings some enticing Oriental sounds and percussion mixed with the extraordinary guitars and spoken vocals – a good band for fans of “King Crimson”. The following track is one of my favorites - ”The Sun” (9:09), by The Misteriosos – an USA Psychedelic-Rock band from Philadelphia that makes “narcotic psych rock with occasional alien visitations”, with influences of early “Pink Floyd”, “The Doors”, “The Velvet Underground”, “Opal”, “The Butthole Surfers”, “Electric Prunes”, “Hendrix”, and “Love”. The song was picked up from their eponymous album, released under Triptone Records in 2005, and is a superb piece of vintage Psychedelic Rock sound; with fuzzed guitars, organs and slow tribal beats, recalling a blend of “Pink Floyd”, “The Velvet Underground” and “The Doors”, but driven by “trippy” female vocals. The following song is “Sixty Nine” (6:50) by Mouches a L’Orange. Hailing from Soligorsk, Belarus, that band makes a groovy blend of Ambient, Space, Psychedelic and Acid-Jazz Music with an experimental touch. Their song is an instrumental jammed piece of noisy “Psychedelia” with improvised guitars that was recorded live – ideal for fans of “Djam Karet”. Another favorite follows on – the Armenian/Russian group Deti Picasso (which was also featured on “Trip Wave”) presents their song ”Kele Lao” (6:45) from their album “Turbo Mairik” (2008). Centered on the mesmerizing voice of singer Gaya Harutyunyan, Deti Picasso (a.k.a. “Picassos's Children”) takes the listener into an enchanting and mysterious Psychedelic journey, by combining Armenian Folk music with dark moods and heavy guitars. Another great track is “Snow (Spiral Walk)” (7:24), by Russian Psychedelic-Rock band Grey Mouse – which performs regularly in Moscow. This band has released two albums and prepares a third, and likes to make experiments with unusual instruments, like the didgeridoo, sitar, jaw harp, and female vocals. Their song “Snow” is a fantastic combination of Indian music with Jazzy female vocals and explosive ’70-styled hard-rock guitars. Grey Mouse’s frantic song contrasts with the numb and relaxing sounds of “Caronte” (6:06), by Plootoh (from Catania, Italy) - a song taken from their 2011 album “Plootoh”. Driven by religious sounds of organs, soft ghostly vocals, and soulful soaring guitars, that song is a pleasure for the spirit – and sounds like an exceptional blend of “Focus” with “Pink Floyd”. The later band has also influence on the next song, “The Crazy Dwarf” (9:19), by The Narcotic Daffodils. Although based in Brussels (Belgium), the band has some integrants of non-Belgium origin, like Hungarian singer Irene Csordas, and Moroccan guitarist Hakim Rahmouni. The convergence of influences resulted in a multicultural blend of original Psychedelic-Rock with Oriental-Rock elements – with the massive use of the Sitar – immersed in a colorful lysergic atmosphere driven by groovy rhythms; sounding like a mix of “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Caribou”, “Gong”, “Radiohead”, “Hawkwind”, “Ozric Tentacles”, and “Portishead”. The last song is “Fishing for the Stars” (6:25), by Chinese band Zhaoze. The greatest surprise on this compilation, Zhaoze (which means “The Swamp”) is an instrumental Experimental band that fuses the sound of the Gugin – a most traditional Chinese instrument – to the modern tendencies of the Post-Rock, Electronic, and Ambient. The resulting music is time-transcendental, perfectly connecting the Ancient with the Contemporary. As a whole, Psychedelic World Music – “Discovery” offers an excellent overview of extant Psychedelic Music worldwide, and introduces the listener to new creative and original bands, instigating him or her to learn more about them. Another great release by Trail Records, this compilation is a must-have item for all fans of Psychedelic Music in general, and for all Music researchers.  Psychedelic World Music - “Discovery” was mastered and edited by George Dugan (I-Heights Studio, New York, 2012); with Trail Records production and design by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky. Bands and songs featured on Psychedelic World Music are: 1. Cosmic Vibration “Aurora” (6:54), 2012 (Germany); 2. Triptych “Origins of Life” (6:19), 2011 (UK); 3. The Misteriosos ”The Sun” (9:09), 2005 (USA) from album “The Misteriosos”; 4. Mouches a L’Orange “Sixty Nine” (6:50), 2010 (Belarus) Live; 5. Deti Picasso (Picassos's Children) ”Kele Lao” (6:45), 2008 (Armenia/Russia) from album “Turbo Mairik”; 6. Grey Mouse “Snow (Spiral Walk)” (7:24), 2012 (Russia); 7. Plootoh “Caronte” (6:06), 2011 (Italy) from album “Plootoh”; 8. The Narcotic Daffodils “The Crazy Dwarf” (9:19), 2012 (Belgium); 9. Zhaoze “Fishing for the Stars” (6:25), 2010 (China)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/09/2012.....Interested to know more about this amazing album? Visit PSYCHEDELIC WORLD MUSIC HOME PAGE...
. SIMEON SOUL CHARGER - "Harmony Square"
Simeon Soul Charger (SSC) is an American Psychedelic Rock band from Akron, Ohio, that is presently living in Bavaria, Germany. Simeon Soul Charger’s story began in 2008, when founder members Aaron Brooks (vocals, guitars, compositions) and Jim Garibaldi (bass) joined with Joe Kidd (drums), Caleb Dixon (guitar), and Kevin Bjerre (cello). This early formation of SSC entered LRR Recording Studio to record with engineer Clint Covey their eponymous debut EP, “Simeon Soul Charger” (2009). The release was followed with an U.S. tour, during which the band met two German tourists in New York City, one of them Bernd Buchberger, who were so impressed by SSC’s music that they asked the band to tour in Germany – an idea refused at that moment. In that summer, guitarist Caleb Dixon was replaced by Rick Phillips; and SSC returned to LRR Studio to record their second EP, “All Rather Dead“ (2010). During the process, the band had stayed in touch with German Buchberger, who insisted that SSC should come to Bavaria for a one-week tour, what they did in the spring of 2010. After returning home, bassist Jim Garibaldi left the band due to creative differences, and was replaced by Rick's brother, Spider Monkey. In 2010, with Buchberger acting as their European manager, SSC signed a deal with German label Gentle Art of Music (headed by Yogi Lang of “RPWL”), and released their first full-length album “Meet Me In The Afterlife” (2011). SSC went back to Germany for a longer tour, and moved afterwards to an old Bavarian farmhouse to live in there. Since then, the band performed several gigs in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and The Czech Republic, amassing a substantial fan-base in Europe. In 2011, using only vintage analog tape, SSC recorded their second full-length album - “Harmony Square“ (September 2012, Gentle Art of Music). “Harmony Square” is a concept album that brings a single continuous composition divided in 15 tracks, like a rock-opera. It tells the story of an alien circus that descends to Earth to offer transcendence to the oppressed humans, a saga that expands over previous and future albums. The music is a blend of Folk, Blues, 70’s Progressive & Classic Rock, Psychedelic & Stoner Rock, with influences of “The Beatles”, “The Kinks”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “Velvet Underground”, “King Crimson”, “Can”, “Black Sabbath”, “Led Zeppelin”, “T-Rex”, “The Residents”, “Queen”, “David Bowie”, “Exuma”, “The Violent Femmes”, “Primus”, “Radiohead”, “Muse”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Them Crooked Vultures”, and “The Decemberists”. Lyrics are inspired on works of “David Lynch”, “Stanley Kubrick”, “Ingmar Bergman”, “Robert Anton Wilson”, “Shel Silverstein”, “Terrence McKenna”, “Dr. Suess”. “Harmony Square” is really a very enjoyable album – the music is dynamic, creative, and immersed in a retro- psychedelic atmosphere, being full of adorable melodies, great rocky guitar solos, tuneful bass lines, and classic rock drumming. SSC knows how to blend without conflicts their 70’s musical influences with modern trends, subdividing the long single track in groups of shorter songs that go through different moods and styles, each group being chained to the next by solid musical hooks. “Harmony Square” begins bright with “Overture” (3:29), presenting a main vocal tune that is followed by heavy Stoner guitars. Vocals that recall “Jethro Tull”, “Queen” and “Beatles” are combined with string arrangements and theatrical pianos on the waltz “Babylon Grove” (5:31) and on the folk “All’s Fair In Harmony Square” (6:02). A playful bass that recalls “Primus” drives “Miss Donce” (3:14), while a 70’s styled rocky guitar solo bridges it with the psychedelic “Spinning Across The Grass” (2:29) (recalling early “Pink Floyd”) and falls into the drunken “Doris” (2:12) and its bluesy guitars. Darker clouds come with “Oh What A Beastly Boy” (3:18), driven by rhythms inspired on “Exuma” and heavy guitars like “Black Sabbath”, combined with weird drums and bass like “King Crimson” and “Primus” – that are stretched out to “The Piper’s Prize” (2:41) (with “cartoonish“ vocals like “The Residents”) and to the voodoo-song “The Devil’s Rhapsody” (5:20). Sad moods come with “The Changing Wind And Reign” (6:11) – a half-ballad that transmutes “Beatles” into “Jethro Tull” amidst baroque strings and apocalyptical guitars - and with the sweet lullaby “The Advent Of Awakening” (6:21), which accelerates later with “snake-charmer” guitars and spinning “merry-go-round” vocals. But SSC show their expertise in blending the non-blending on “King Charles Norman’s Castle” (8:01), a pastiche of “Tull” and “Queen” combined with strings, melodic chorus, and jazzy paces that dissolve into the oriental-psychedelic “See Sharp” (2:55). The climax comes with “Rayoweith’s Guillotine – A Gift From The Sky” (3:43), on which operatic choirs like “Queen” are smashed between “Crimson’s” distorted guitars, following the ascension of “Ashes” (5:57) – a lazy country-rock driven by slide guitars that recalls “Velvet Underground” and “The Decemberists”. Simeon Soul Charger has really made a solid and brilliant album, that keeps the listener absorbed and amazed from the first note to the last – a rare achievement in today’s Rock scene. “Harmony Square” is super highly recommended for appreciators of the crazy psychedelic music of the ‘60s to ‘70s, including fans of “The Beatles”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Velvet Underground”, “Led Zeppelin”, “T-Rex”, “The Residents”, early “Queen” and “David Bowie”, and bands of the Neo-Psychedelic and Stoner-Rock trends. Band members and collaborators involved in Simeon Soul Charger are: Aaron Brooks – Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Piano, Kalimba, Coat Rack, Hand Claps, Space Echo; Rick Phillips – Electric Guitars, Vocals, Mandolin, Hand Claps, Space Echo; Spider Monkey – Bass Guitars, Vocals, Percussion, Space Echo; Joe Kidd – Drums, Percussion, Vocals. Additional musicians:  Violinists Sandra Rieger – Violin; Susi Salomon – Violin; Friederike Seeßelberg – Cello; Cindy Robertson – Flute; Manfred Feneberg – Tablas, Rains Stick, Earth Drum, Bells; Claudio Vollino – Jaw Harp; Eschi – Handclaps, Space Echo; Txai Xiong – Gang Vocals (on “The Devil’s Rhapsody”). Past members: Kevin Bjerre - Cello; Jim Garibaldi – Bass; Caleb Dixon – Guitars. Album recorded at the Kreischsäge Studios by Eschi (Sound Technician); Mixed and Mastered by Ludwig Maier at GKG Mastering; released by Gentle Art of Music - Managers: Bernd Buchberger & Bernie Shauer...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/25/2012.............................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SIMEON SOUL CHARGER HOME PAGE...
. STORMY ATMOSPHERE - "Colorblind"
Stormy Atmosphere is a Progressive Rock & Metal band hailing from Israel. The band was gathered together in 2002 around a musical project conceived by founder members Teddy Shvets (vocals, flute, lyrics) and Eduard Krakov (keyboards), who were soon joined by Dina Shulman (vocals, violin), Artiom Lichtstein (guitars), Rami Peri (bass), Or Argash (drums), and a few guest musicians. After three years of hard work, the project grew up to finally become their debut album – “Colorblind” - which was released in 2012 by Russian Label Mals Ltd. Stormy Atmosphere has coined the expression “Progressive Art Metal” to tag their style. In fact, their music is quite original, full of orchestral and epic moments, great melodic guitar solos, and unexpected twists & turns. The pace is cadenced, with wonderful Progressive-Rock andantes being broken by interludes of rushing Symphonic Prog-Metal and Power-Metal passages that recall bands like “Dream Theater”, “Blind Guardian”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, “Within Temptation”, “Epica”, “Kamelot”, “Uncreated Light”, and “Amberian Dawn”. On the Progressive parts, there are plentiful moments for flutes, violins, and pianos to come in, also merging with a large dose of Israeli Folkloric music - in this aspect being reminiscent of their fellows of “Soul Enema” and “Orphaned Land“. The operatic vocals of Dina (whose voice recalls a combination of “Tarja Turunen” with “Sabine Edelsbacher” and “Simone Simons”) often get involved in duets with Shvets. His voice, although showing some aggressive rampages, are never growling or grunting, being instead clean, passionate, and even majestic in some moments. The duets performed by both singers sound analogous to what is listened in “Soul Enema”, “Nightwish”, “Caamora“, “Kamelot”, “Therion”, ”Ayreon”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Epica”, and “Within Temptation” – but with a style of their own – more theatrical, and in a kind of “movie-soundtrack” mode. Stormy Atmosphere also resembles other new bands that are establishing new standards for Operatic Symphonic Metal, such as: “Effloresce”, “Forward Shapes”, and “X-Panda” (all featured at PR&PM). “Colorblind” contains 10 amazing tracks. It opens with “Awaken” (7:00), which has a sad beginning, after which the duo shows up, with Dina singing ghostly. The alternation of Israeli Folk with Metal moments led by strong guitars and male vocals recalls “Kamelot” and “Orphaned Land”. The final instrumentation brings neo-classical guitar solos and pianos escorting Shvets’ operatic vocals. The pair “The EarthWorker” (0:58)/ “Circle” (5:58) is a great Metal piece with an Israeli Folk-acoustic intro. It runs over a base of electronic keyboards, hammered guitars, and Power-Metal rhythms that contrast with Progressive interludes with pianos, and many operatic vocal parts, sounding like a blend of “Dream Theater” and “Blind Guardian” with “Edenbridge” and “Nightwish”. “Bridge” (5:52) is a Prog-Ballad that blends clean guitars, classical pianos, violins, and acoustic guitars that envelope soaring vocals. Dina does a great solo before the coming of flutes. By the end, an epic vocal duet is surrounded by space keyboards. “Fifth Season” (9:06) is a Symphonic Prog-Metal with true dramatic performances by the opera-duo. It has all on it: from electronic techno-sounds, keyboards reminiscent of the 80’s, and metallic guitar riffs, to strings & brass arrangements, Folk-Metal parts, and great instrumental parts including solos of keyboards and guitars. The following tracks are “Conspiracy I – Unexpected” (2:07) / “Conspiracy II - Unexpected Still” (8:11). The first presents a romantic theme driven by piano and vocals. The other is an awesome hybrid of Symphonic Power-Metal & Progressive Metal that includes segments of Epic and Medieval Metal instrumentation, and a climax crowned with Dina’s angelical voice and Shvets’ battle hymns. “Hand Colored” (4:20) is a Metal ballad driven by great duet, really dramatic and story-telling, including a soulful guitar solo. The closing songs are “Last ...” (2:19)/ “... Chance” (7:15). The first is a New-Age piece, having ambient keyboards, flutes, strings, and a choir of monks in the background. The second is an astonishing song on which Dina & Shvets’ voices are multiplied to the many characters of an opera, giving true meaning to the words “Operatic Symphonic Progressive Metal”. The song passes by echoing guitars, sad romantic passages on pianos and vocals, Israeli music, ferocious Prog-Metal segments like “Dream Theater”, and choirs like “Blind Guardian”, before the grand finale. Stormy Atmosphere is another surprising band coming from Israel (a country that has already offered bands like “Orphaned Land”, “Soul Enema” and “Distorted Harmony”), being indispensable for fans of “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, “Kamelot”, “Within Temptation”, “Amberian Dawn”, “Uncreated Light”, “Caamora“, “Therion”, ”Ayreon”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Dream Theater”, “Blind Guardian”, “Sonata Arctica”, and their likes. After the release of this album, Stormy Atmosphere had part of its line-up reformulated (see below). Band members and collaborators involved in Stormy Atmosphere are: Present line-up: Dina Shulman – Vocals, Violin; Teddy Shvets – Vocals, Flute; Eduard Krakov – Keyboards; Stas Sergienko – Guitar; Max Mann – Bass; Hemmy Haimovich – Drums. Record line-up: Teddy Shvets - Vocals, Flute, Lyrics and Text; Dina Shulman - Vocals, Violin; Eduard Krakov - Keyboards, Special Effects; Artiom Lichtstein – Guitars; Rami Peri – Bass. Additional Musicians: Or Argash – Drums; Vladimir Lichtstein – Classic guitar on “The EarthWorker”; Anders Ström – Voices on “Circle”; Alex Furman – Additional synth production on “Last…”; Liron Alima – Voices on “…Chance”; Matan Cohen – Drums on live shows. Past member: Tomer Dembinsky – Guitars. Also you must visit Stormy Atmosphere's MySpace Site...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/25/2012..........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STORMY ATMOSPHERE HOME PAGE...
. THE WINTER TREE - "Guardians"
The Progressive Rock band The Winter Tree is back to this webzine again (see under reviews 2011). The Winter Tree is a project conceived by U.S.A. multi-instrumentalist and composer Andrew Laitres (a.k.a. Andrew Robinson) to be the continuation of his previous project called Magus – a band with a long past story that released several independent albums from 1987 to 2002. In 2010 Andrew decided to rename the band Magus for The Winter Tree after a song of the same title by “Renaissance”. Besides Andrew, the new line-up had participation of early Magus integrant Deb Moore - now Deb Bond (keyboards) and her husband Mark Bond (vocals, guitars). In March 2011 The Winter Tree debuted with an eponymous album that was released by prestigious label ProgRock Records (and reviewed at first hand here at PR&PM webzine). Now The Winter Tree is releasing their second album, titled “Guardians” (June, 2012). As the previous CD, it features a beautiful cover art work and counts with the same line-up, with addition of drummer Bob Hynes on two tracks. Mark and Deb Bond contributed with more musical material this time, and Mark sang almost all of the lead vocals. As on “The Winter Tree”, the new album “Guardians” features a clean and soft, almost weightless, Symphonic Neo-Progressive sonority, mainly with influences of “Barclay James Harvest”, the latest works of “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Mr. So & So”; and also “Pink Floyd”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Saga”, “Toto”, and “Allan Parsons”. Some pastoral elements – like the folk acoustic strings and sounds of flute - which recalled bands like “The Moody Blues”, “Steve Hackett”, “Camel”, and “Mr. So & So” - have been less influential on the new record. The overall sound – which was once dominated by keyboards – has now amplified the space for more guitar solos in Neo-Progressive style. The general atmosphere is still magical, mysterious, dreamy, and a bit epic, recalling the old songs of “Genesis”, “Camel”, and “Barclay James Harvest”. With Mark Bond now as lead singer, the vocals alternate moments of tranquility with other denser moments, since his timbre and style are more like “Gabriel” and “Fish”. Not a heavy act, The Winter Tree hardly risks a bolder and rocky rhythmic section, but when they do, it resembles bands like “Asia”, “Saga”, and “Pendragon”. “Guardians” has 9 tracks: four instrumental, and five with vocals. Among the instrumental tracks, besides the intro “Visions” (1:50) – which sets the magical atmosphere – my preferences fell on the title-track “Guardians” (3:17) - a beautiful piece made of electronic pulsing beats and ambient sounds that support a main oriental melody (a remnant of “Dead Can Dance’s” influence, and that sounds less like “Parsons” and “Kraftwerk“); and on “The Woman and the Dragon” (3:31)  - a keyboard-oriented piece with a symphonic luster having a medieval touch and soaring guitars that transmit to the listener the sensation of flying around the amplitudes. The fourth instrumental track is also the one that closes the album - “City of Light” (4:31) has a cheerful disposition, and features stronger keyboards, bass & drums, and a country guitar solo with an electronic “coda” being reminiscent of “Saga”. Among the songs, track two - “Voice on the Wind” (6:27) – pulls the record with the rockiest moments, presenting some heavier instrumentation and strong vocals, recalling a mix of “Asia” and “Pendragon”. It contrasts with the Progressive-ballad “The Sparrow” (5:55), which is soaring and windy, having occasional uplifts of drums and keyboards. My favorite songs are, however, “Elune” (3:14) – which begins like an acoustic Folk ballad also driven by pianos and soft voices, and that progressively grows with the coming of guitar solos and stronger vocals (in a style that recalls “Barclay James Harvest”); the acoustic Prog-ballad “Beautiful World” (4:17) – which combines good bass lines and delicate moog-sounds with a catchy vocal tune, being still crowned with the most beautiful guitar solo; and the best track “Good Times” (7:24) - a slow-cadenced and soaring Progressive-ballad that also reminds me of “Barclay James”, with Spanish classical guitars making a duet with soft vocals, all wrapped in cosmic keyboards that lead to a mild climax for a soulful “Floyd” kind of guitar solo. Although The Winter Tree still shows on “Guardians” much of the same soft and melodic musical disposition of their previous album, they are leaning to Neo-Progressive sonorities, and for that reason, they should be now specially recommended for fans of “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “I.Q.”, “Mr. So & So”, “Asia”, “Saga”, and for appreciators of the later works of “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Camel”, and “Barclay James Harvard”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Winter Tree are: Deb Bond – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Mark Bond – Lead and Harmony Vocals, Electric and Acoustic Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Steel Guitar, Additional Bass on “City of Light”, Sound Effects; Andrew Laitres – Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Sound Effects, Vocals. Bob Hynes – Drums on “The Sparrow” & “City of Light”. Album recorded at The Mill and Hidden Valley Studio, produced and engineered by Andrew Laitres & Mark Bond; digitally mastered by Toby Mountain, Northeastern Digital...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
10/25/2012............,.....Want to learn everything about this amazing musicians, visit THE WINTER TREE HOME PAGE...
. PANZERBALLETT - "Tank Goodness"
Panzerballett is a celebrated German band from Munich. It was founded in 2004 by Jan Zehrfeld (guitars, compositions, arrangements and production), and the present line-up counts with Josef Doblhofer (guitars), Alexander von Hagke (saxophone), Heiko Jung (bass), and Sebastian Lanser (drums). All musicians are academically-trained, and their talents and skills have already served important names of the Music: Zehrfeld has performed with “Klaus Doldinger's Passport”, “The Hilliard Ensemble”, and the “German National Jazz Orchestra”; Doblhofer toured with “Ian Paice” (“Deep Purple”); von Hagke toured around Europe, USA and Asia with various groups. He was a member of both the Bavarian Youth Jazz Orchestra and German National Jazz Orchestras. Heiko Jung was a member of the Bavarian Youth; and played with “Julian Rachlin & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields”, “Doldinger's Passport”, “Martin Grubinger jun.”, “Claudio Roditi”, “Jay Ashby”, “Bobby Shew”. Lanser played with “T.M. Stevens”, and “Martin Grubinger jun.” Since its birth, Panzerballett has made nearly 200 shows in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, USA, Armenia, and Lithuania, many as supporting act for “Chick Corea & John McLaughlin”, “MacAlpine-Sheehan- Donati”, “Bill Frisell”, “Freak Kitchen”, “Mattias Eklundh”, “Christophe Godin's Mörglbl”, “Nick Barrett & Clive Nolan” (“Pendragon”), “Sleepytime Gorilla Museum”, “Nina Hagen”, or in live festivals like “ProgDay”, “The Baked Potato”, “Festival Crescendo”, “Rock in Opposition”, “MAI Nancy”, “Yerevan Summer Music Festival”, “Dresdner Drumfestival”, “Zappanale”, “Burg Herzberg Festival”, “Leverkusener Jazztage”, “Leipziger Jazztage”, “Baltic Prog Fest”, “Freakshow Artrock Festival”. Panzerballett‘s music is an unparalleled fusion of Jazz and Metal. Saxophone and hard guitar riffs arise with quintuplet-grooves, metric modulations, polyrhythmic overlaps and virtuosic improvisations to produce a Jazz-Metal mélange – evolved from a musical concept that bandleader Jan Zehrfeld calls “Verkrassung“ (“phatting“). In other words, the music of Panzerballett has been designed to achieve a perfect integration between the brain and the neck muscles used for head-banging – with longer exposures causing side-effects going from smiling to rapturous laughter. This original and unique way of making music, coupled with an idiosyncratic way of making cover-songs, has generated compliments from musicians such as “Randy Brecker”, “Dweezil Zappa”, “Mattias Eklundh”, and “Bård Torstensen”. Panzerballett’s previous discography includes three albums: ”Panzerballett” (2006, reviewed in 2008 at PR&PM); “Starke Stücke” (2008); and “Hart Genossen von ABBA bis Zappa” (2009). Their fourth and latest album is “Tank Goodness” (September 28th, 2012, Gentle Art of Music). It contains 8 tracks - 4 of them covers - and features important guest appearances (see below). The album opens with a frantic cover of “Some Skunk Funk” (R. Brecker) (5:56) featuring Brecker himself as guest trumpeter, that splurges vigor and technique. Other covers give us an idea of Panzerballett’s power to completely modify conventional music into something anew, but without loosing its essence. So, the Classic Jazz “Giant Steps” (J. Coltrane) (5:04) suffered a plastic surgery to sound more “metallized”, still counting with weird time divisions and great bass solo. The popish tones of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (F.Previte/J. Denicola) (6:04) are kept alive on the vocal duo sustained by guest singers Conny & Ron, but gains in drama and strength with addition of Metal guitars, darker Thrash-Prog-Metal bass and drums, and jazzy sax; while the Jazz standard “Take Five” (P. Desmond) (7:07) – features a familiar tune on the sax driven by an andante of metallic guitars, still having a great dialogue within the rhythmic section. Panzerballett’s own musical pieces, however, are the battlefield on which the experimental and novelty clash with the classical and refined – showing why this band is so worshiped by their fans. “Mustafari Likes di Carnival” (7:10) is an insightful “Zappa”-styled brocade that merges Arabesque coiling melodies into a matrix of Latin music. The funky-jammed “Zehrfunk” (6:36) is an amazing expressionist piece made of sounds that recall transporting cars, trains, and engines – having still segments for improvised solos of all band members. The guitar-driven “Vulgar Display of Sauerkraut” (5:23) is a Heavy-Metal piece that follows the “Vai”-“Jarzombek” cannon, piling up tons of retorted metal that are magnified by a R.I.O. distorting lens. Finally, “The IKEA Trauma” (4:10) (featuring co-author Mattias Eklundh on vocals and guitar) is a Metal song with the luster of the ‘80s on riffs and vocals (recalling “Motörhead”), with wild guitars going crazy. Panzerballett‘s new album is really an extraordinary musical-aphrodisiac for the brain, featuring an awesome reunion of superb Jazz-Metal pieces - a must-have item for fans of Avant-garde Jazz, Experimental Prog & Math Metal, Fusion, R.I.O., “Zappa”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Steve Vai”, “Spastic Ink”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Dream Theater”, “The Fractured Dimension”, “King Crimson”, “Sleepytime Gorilla Museum”, “Samla Mammas Manna”, “7for4”, “Blotted Science”, “CAB”, “Planet X”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Panzerballett are: Jan Zehrfeld – Guitars; Josef Doblhofer – Gutars; Alexander von Hagke – Saxophone; Heiko Jung – Bass; Sebastian Lanser – Drums. Guest Appearances: Randy Brecker – Trumpet; Mattias “IA” Eklundh - Vocals, Guitar; Conny Kreitmeier – Vocals; Ron van Lankeren - Vocals...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/21/2012...................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PANZERBALLETT HOME PAGE...
. DIVERSION VOICE - "Underwater"
Diversion Voice is an instrumental quintet hailing from Moscow, Russia. The group was formed in June 2009 by musicians that had played in other Russian bands and projects. The original line-up formed with Matvey Ushakov (guitar), Dmitry Krasov (guitar, percussion), Ilya Bolkisev (sax, electronics), Ivan Dorokhov (bass), and Alexey Kryuchkov (drums). Bassist Ivan Dorokhov left the band after the release of Diversion Voice’s first album, being replaced by Vladimir Nikulin. Profiting from different musical preferences and backgrounds of their members, Diversion Voice performs instrumental Progressive- Fusion adding elements of Atmospheric, Psychedelic, Rock and Post-Rock. Also Diversion Voice has no ideological leader who could direct the creative process toward a particular course. The band instead works as a collective organism, with each member feeling free to add his own influences and style to the music. Their music of Diversion Voice is consciously created to work as a protection against the stressful life and aggressive environment of the modern megalopolis. Diversion Voice’s discography includes the single “Feeling of Snow” (April 7, 2011 single), containing two tracks (“Feeling of Snow” and “Red River”); and the full-length album “Underwater” (October 20, 2011), which contains the two tracks of “Feeling of Snow” plus six new ones. Diversion Voice is a surprising band indeed. The musicians are excellent, and their sonority stays somewhere in a hub circled by veteran bands like “Soft Machine”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Weather Report”, “Santana”, “SBB”, and “King Crimson”, entangled with the modern approach of “Porcupine Tree”, “No Man”, “Radiohead”, “Sigur Rós”, “Anekdoten”, “D.F.A.”, “Primus”, and “A Perfect Circle”. As suggested by the song titles – all related to water – the compositions run fluidal and unconstrained. The arrangements are complex and rich. Some Latin rhythms recall “Santana”; the sophistication of some arrangements sound like “Weather Report”. Other pieces are atmospheric and slightly melancholic, like “Porcupine Tree” and “Sigur Rós”. The saxophone recalls sometimes “Soft Machine”. Guitars segments may sometimes recall the sound of the Canterbury Scene or be atmospheric and psychedelic (like “Porcupine Tree”, “Sigur Rós”, “Radiohead”, “Anekdoten”). Sometimes the odd musical structure gets closer to the style of “King Crimson”, while some heavier moments on bass and guitars also bring to mind “Porcupine Tree”, “Primus”, and “A Perfect Circle”. “Underwater” comes with special glasses to see the 3D images of the front cover and booklet, and contains 8 tracks. The intro “Source“ (01:37) has effects that recall “Radiohead”, and guitars that go from the soaring Atmospheric to the melodic Post-Rock styles. The following track - “Red River“ (08:01) has a warm disposition, and fuses the Canterbury style of early “Soft Machine” with the sound of “Weather Report” within the rhythmic frame of “Santana” – including a slow segment with great Fusion guitar solo. The warmth of the previous track disappears inside the density of “Feeling of Snow“ (07:10), which begins with exotic percussion that sounds like Brazilian dance known as “Capoeira”, and changes to a Post-Rock that gradually grows in heaviness with distorted guitar riffs and metallic bass that recalls, firstly “Porcupine Tree”, and later the Post-Metal sound of “A Perfect Circle”. “Aqua“ (05:07) is a lively Fusion driven by funky bass and guitars, with the saxophone taking the lead. Its groovy recalls me of “Weather Report” and “Santana”, but having a mathematical structure and a slightly psychedelic touch. “Rain“ (07:09) evolves by contrasting heavy Post-Metal riffs against psychedelic sax solos and light guitars in Canterbury style. The title track - “Underwater“ (07:57) - is driven by a defined soaring theme played on the saxophone, and also blends the Canterbury style with the Fusion of “Weather Report” and “Santana”, changing at the middle with the coming of stronger guitars that make a temporal bridge with the urban modernity of “Porcupine Tree” and “Sigur Rós”. “Black Milk“ (07:24) is a heavy track that follows the line of “Porcupine Tree”, but adding saxophones to the main guitar riff. Its bass passages are reminiscent of “Primus”, and the guitar solos are Space-Rock styled. The awesome closing track -“Stream“ (09:48) – is an ambitious Progressive piece that blends Ambient and Post-Rock moments within its frame. After the cosmic organ that introduces the track, the following segments bring in melodic guitars, Trip-Hop moments driven by oriental percussion, and great sax tunes, in a kind of “Crimson & Porcupine” association. With this outstanding album and varied musical palette, Diversion Voice is highly recommended for fans of unique bands such as “Soft Machine”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Weather Report”, “Santana”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, “SBB”, “Zappa”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “Sigur Rós”, “Anekdoten”, “Primus”, “DFA”, “Kenso”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Diversion Voice are: Matvey Ushakov – Guitar; Ilya Bolkisev – Saxophone, Electronics; Dmitry Krasov - Guitar, Percussion; Vladimir Nikulin – Bass; Alexey Kryuchkov – Drums. Past member: Ivan Dorokhov – Bass. “Underwater” Total time: 54:16, Recorded: June 2010 – March 2011. Drums recorded by Alexander Andreev & Nikolay Mironenko at GDR Rehearsal Studio (Moscow, Russia). Guitars, bass, sax, electronics, and percussion recorded by Artem Lobanov at Butterfly Records (Chekhov, Russia). Mixing Sound engineer: Nikolay Chistov; Mastering engineer: Boris Istomin (Knobstudio). Photography: Alexey Evpolov, Ilya Bolkisev, Ekaterina Danilova, Anna Bryukhova, Dmitry Krasov, Maria Lukyanchenko. Stereo photography: Yury Golubinsky. Design & stereo graphic: Dmitry Krasov. Financial support: Olga Goncharova, released by MALS Records...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/21/2012..........Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to DIVERSION VOICE HOME PAGE...
. BODRAGAZ - "Symphony"
Bodragaz is a Symphonic Power-Metal band that was founded in 1995 in Arvada, U.S.A. and that moved its base later to Denver, Colorado. Bodragaz released many independent albums during its career: “Bodragaz” (1996), “Somewhere In Switzerland” (1997), “Epoch” (1999), “Solid Sound” (2002), “Clear” (2005), “Awaken” (2008), and the newest album, titled “Symphony” (2012). Some of their songs have also been featured in compilations, like “MRCD2: The Beast Inside” (2004, which featured the song “The Energy” from album “Solid Sound”); and “Auditory Assault 2” (2011, which featured the song “Lost” from album “Awaken”). Bodragaz has also been playing for five years in many live festivals and arenas around America, sometimes sharing stage with major artists. Major performances included the “Rocklahoma 2009” (with headliners “Anthrax” and “Skid Row”); “Rock Jam 2011” (with “Godsmack” and “Skillet”), and a supporting act for “Bon Jovi” at the Pepsi Center (Denver). The band has also performed with “Slaughter”, “Y&T”, and “Spock's Beard”. Along the years, Bodragaz had many changes in the line-up, but founding members Michael Layer (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, production) and Jim Wescott (bass, vocals) have always been at the band’s core. The remaining members - Charles J. Dickey (lead guitar, keyboards) and Mike Taft (drums) - are in Bodragaz since the release of their 2008 album “Awaken”. The new album “Symphony” (2012, Fox Street Records) was produced by Michael Layer and engineered by Gusty Christensen. On it, Bodragaz blends Symphonic Power-Metal and Progressive-Metal with influences of their favorite bands (“Queensrÿche”, “Dream Theater”, “Kamelot”, “Masterplan“, “Nightwish”), also resembling bands like “Nocturnal Rites“, “Redemption”, and “Jackal”. To this mix, they also added the Heavy-Metal sonority of the ‘80s, recalling bands like “Metal Church”, “Fates Warning”, “Crimson Glory”, “Savatage”, “Omen”, “Riot”, “Iron Maiden”, “Warlord”, and “Scorpions” – a mixture that makes Bodragaz to sound really exciting to head-bangers of all ages. “Symphony” has 10 powerful tracks. The precise bass playing of Jim Wescott and the power-plant rumbling-drumming of Mike Taft provide the perfect rhythmic substrate for the outstanding guitar work of Michael Layer on the killer riffs, and of Charles Dickey on the superb guitar solos - all with a melodic component that is reminiscent of the Metal of the 80’s. The keyboards are symphonic, filling the background. Layer’s vocals, although not so pristine, are rocky, and sometimes recall me of bands like “Nocturnal Rites”, “Jackal”, “Metal Church”, and “Riot”, always singing a sticky chorus. The straightforward “Before Winter” (3:41) opens the album bringing Prog-Metal soaring riffs and keyboards like “Dream Theater” and “Redemption”; while the title track “Symphony” (6:25) follows on with a rhythmic cadence that recalls “Queensrÿche”, led by a guitar riffs that recalls “Metal Church”, and has a twist at the middle that drives it to the epic style of “Kamelot”. The apocalyptical “The Last Days” (4:15) has a Progressive-Metal layer of keyboards, Power-Metal guitars that recall “Nocturnal Rites”,  powerful bass and drums that bring to mind the Medieval-Metal of band “Omen”, and is crowned with a great guitar solo. “Red Sun” (5:28) puts into contrast dark moments on bass and sad vocals that recall “Iron Maiden” against great surging epic guitars and choirs, ending with a soaring solo. The Symphonic-Metal ballad “Genevieve” (6:31) unites influences of “Dream Theater” and “Nightwish” mainly on vocals and keyboards, having a beautiful interlude that recalls the melodic metal ballads of “Scorpions” (also because of the soulful guitar solo). Leaning a bit more to the Metal sound of the ’80s, the party-song “I Found You” (3:44), with emphasis on the chorus, sounds like a blend of “Riot” and “Anvil”; while the electrified “Eternity” (3:34) recalls me of “Jackal”. Back to the Power-Metal trend, “Phoenix” (3:34) blends epic parts on keyboards with heavy and energetic guitars, recalling me of “Nocturnal Rites”, “Masterplan” and “Nightwish”. On “Dream On” (4:02) I feel myself plunging into the proto Prog-Metal days of “Fates Warning”, “Queensrÿche”, and “Crimson Glory”. The closing track, “World of Fantasy” (4:25), is a great Symphonic Power-Metal with Hard-Rock vocals and Epic-Metal moments bringing in influences of “Kamelot”, “Savatage”, “Crimson Glory”, and “Warlord”. Bodragaz is a solid band - especially recommended for Head-Bangers that like Symphonic Power-Metal with a Progressive-Metal luster on it, combined with a substantial dose of Metal of the ‘80s. Highly recommended for fans of “Queensrÿche”, “Dream Theater”, “Kamelot”, “Masterplan“, “Nightwish”, “Nocturnal Rites“, “Gamma Ray”, “Redemption”, “Jackal”, “Metal Church”, “Fates Warning”, “Crimson Glory”, “Savatage”, “Omen”,  “Iron Maiden”, “Warlord”, “Anvil”, “Riot”, “Scorpions”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Bodragaz are: Michael Layer - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards; Jim Wescott - Bass Guitar, Vocals; Charles J. Dickey - Lead Guitar, Keyboards; Mike Taft – Drums. Past Members: Kevin Shaw (1996-1997) - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals; Jerry Arnold (1996) – Drums; Jason Davis (1997-1999) – Drums; Jason Barnes (1997-2005) – Keys; Jonathan Castner (1999) - Lead Guitar; Chuck Millette (2002-2005) - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals; Wayne Wheless (2002) – Drums...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/21/2012.......................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to BODRAGAZ HOME PAGE...
. DARxTAR - "Aged To Perfection"
DarXtar is a Swedish Independent Rock band that was founded in 1989 by K. Soren Bengtsson (vocals, guitar). The band’s formation has been modified along the years, and the current line-up counts with Fredrik Sundqvist (violin), Per Hillblom (keyboards, synthesizers) Marcus Pehrsson (bass, vocals), and Patric Danielsson (drums, vocals). Over the following years, DarXtar become known as pioneers of a Space-Rock revival, thanks to the release of a series of albums along the 90's: the eponymous DarXtar (1991), “Darker”, (1993), “Daybreak” (1994), and “Sju” (1996). “Sju” was marked by a change on their musical direction, to avoid being stuck in the Space-Rock style forever. Before its release, DarXtar joined with Nik Turner (“Hawkwind”) in a historical concert in Sweden. However, even before "Sju" was done, the band had been working on a pretentious concept album called “Tombola” (2001) – which took 4 years to complete, and 2 more years to be released. With “We Came Too Late” (2005), DarXtar made farther experiments with songwriting, diversifying their palette of influences even more. Apart from those albums, DarXtar has also appeared on many tribute albums and compilations. Still active after 20 years, DarXtar keeps ever working on new material and sporadically performs live (but in 2010 in Wales, they teamed up with Nik Turner again for a couple of songs). The newest addition to DarXtar’s catalog is their seventh studio album “Aged to Perfection” – the first released under the acclaimed Transubstans Label. The album was released on May 14th 2012 on CD, limited Vinyl copies and for download. “Aged to Perfection” picks up where “We Came Too Late” left off, with its focus on great tunes, but without abandoning their Space-Rock roots at all. The band still values their artistic freedom and have once again written, recorded, mixed and produced the album all by themselves. DarXtar‘s music is a successful and equilibrated blend of Space-Rock and Psychedelic-Progressive Rock inspired on 70’s bands like “Hawkwind”, “Eno”, “Pink Floyd”, “Agitation Free”, and “King Crimson”, with most modern tendencies of Alternative & Stoner Rock, and Shoegazing, with resemblance with bands like “Radiohead”, “Slowdive”, “Sun Dial”, “Orange Goblin”, “Muse”, “Cave In”, “Kyuss”, “Oceansize”, “Ozric Tentacles”, and “Djam Karet”. Their songs are solid-structured, merging melodic and catchy song-oriented parts in Alternative Rock style with non-commercial instrumental parts that have a predominance of Space-Rock, Stoner-Psychedelic, and Psychedelic-Progressive sounds – with inclusion of long segments of jammed bass & drums, keyboards with a characteristic “Eno”-“shooting-star” sonority, soaring violins, and guitars with a “Floydian” accent – all immersed in a cosmic and lysergic atmosphere that is dimmed illuminated by melancholy. “Aged to Perfection” features 8 tracks, which are all connected to each other, forming a sequence of events that reflects some kind of voyage to the outer borders of our solar system. The journey begins with the title-song “Aged to Perfection“ (3:34) – a more conventional Alternative Rock centered in a electro-acoustic frame that has great violin passages and few touches of Space-Rock. It is followed by the excellent “In Green Heat“ (5:05) - a kind of “Space-Cowboy” song that rows slowly as a Desert Stoner-Rock song with great slide guitars. Soon we fall into the black-hole darkness of “Mörkret“ (2:26) – a noisy experimental piece that introduces the awesome Space-Rock track “Tired Nature“ (8:40), which is full of groovy rocky guitars, cosmic keyboards, and has a short vocal part opposed to a long Space-Rock tour-de-force in “Hawkwind” style. Through a warm-hole in “Tired Nature” we are tossed into a parallel universe governed by its own Psychedelic physical laws – and we are presented to the time-paradox cadence of “Some Things“ (3:46) – a melancholic song that has stoned vocals, oriental “tablas” and violins, cosmic keyboards and guitars (all reminding me of “Agitation Free”). In the sequence, the enigmatic and mysterious “In a Time“ (6:56) is a superb song with a strong “Pink Floyd” influence, crowned with a long guitar solo. Fleeing from the space-time bubble, DarXtar advances some centuries toward the boosted initial guitars of “Moving Along“ (5:02) – a great song that blends modern Alternative, Stoner, and Space-Rock with a heavier verve. The last track, “Fiska pá Gräsmattan“ (11:36), is a lysergic Space-Progressive piece with initial vocals like “Pink Floyd” that has more instruments – mostly pianos and saxophones - added to its very long instrumental body. Summing all up, DarXtar’s new album is an outstanding work that conserves the musical spirit of the 70’s without loosing of view the event-horizon of the new century, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the Space-Psychedelic-Stoner-Alternative Rock community. Band members and collaborators involved in DarXtar are: K. Soren Bengtsson – Vocals, Guitar; Patric Danielsson – Drums, Vocals (since 1992); Marcus Pehrsson – Bass, Vocals (since 1994); Fredrik Sundqvist - Violin (since 1993); Per Hillblom – Keyboards, Synthesizers (since 2003). Past members: Juha Nurmenniemi - Bass, Vocals (1991-1994); Soren Martensson – Hammond, Synthesizers (1993-2001); Bjorn Jacobson – Guitar, Vocals (1996-2001)...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/21/2012...................................,..................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DARxTAR HOME PAGE...
. RESERVE DE MARCHE - "The Last Twenty Years"
Reserve De Marche is a Post-Rock & Post-Metal trio from Moscow, Russia, that plays only instrumental music. The band is formed by Alexander Alekseev (guitar), Andrey Bagdasarov (bass), and Dmitry Pomogaev (drums). Their music alternates heavy guitar riffs and metallic bass sonorities with soaring melodies and echoing sounds that merge into adventurous compositions driven by powerful post-rhythmic drumming – provoking an experimental combination of the Post-Rock & Post-Metal styles with the melancholic numb moments of Heavy Progressive Rock, Ambient & Atmospheric Music, Shoegazing and Sludge – to celebrate a unique moment of ubiquity. Their influences come from bands like “Russian Circles”, “Pelican”, “The Ocean”, “Isis”, “Mogwai”, “Earth”, “Neurosis”, “Rosetta”, “Cult of Luna”, “Red Sparrowes”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sigur Rós”, “Radiohead”, “Anekdoten”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Tool”. Reserve De Marche's debut album, titled “The Last Twenty Years”, was released on May 20th, 2012, under the prestigious Independent Progressive Label MALS Ltd. The album contains 7 totally instrumental tracks. It opens with the stimulating guitar riffs of “Calorie” (07:46) – a Post-Rock piece that shows and alternation of softer and vigorous moments. The following track is “Le Garage” (06:28) – an aggressive Post-Metal piece instilled with the same strength and power of bands like “Isis”, “The Ocean”, and “A Perfect Circle”. Such an intense disposition is only heard again on track 6 - “Stephan's Dream” (07:38) – which has a dreamy initial part that gradually grows from Post-Rock moments to heavier Post-Metal instrumentation to include anguished guitars, primitive bass, and tribal drumming – thus summoning influences of “Anekdoten”, “Isis”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, and “The Ocean”. Reseve de Marche sounds still better, however, when making a compromise between heaviness and progressiveness in their music. That is exactly what the listener will have on tracks 3 and 4 – respectively “Forest Of A Maniac” (09:42) and “Iron Flow” (07:18) – two songs that bring some of the darkest and most expressionist moments of the record, recalling even more the works of “Anekdoten” and “Porcupine Tree”. “Forest…” is a great song driven by a hypnotic guitar progression that gradually goes from calm moments to dense and dramatic parts driven by dazzling guitars and muscular drumming. A middle Progressive part is introduced by a dark bass accompanied by atmospheric guitar sounds and slower drumming that gets progressively more complicated and intense – leading to a great climax. “Iron Flow”, instead, follows a more deterministic pattern, like a baroque piece that is being executed in a musical-box: it evolves slowly from a defined theme that, each time that it is repeated has something new added on it. At the middle, the instruments replicate the sound of the working gears of a space-clock machine – and become even more mechanical - meanwhile, bass and guitars uncoil their soaring melodies. But the most sublime and celestial moments of Reserve De Marche show off on tracks 5 and 7 - “Song For Hedgehog” (05:49) and “Frozen Time” (05:42), respectively. Both tracks are floating, subtle and beautiful – and employ a fast picking technique on the guitars that produce some echoing tunes that cause a relaxing effect on the listener. Making excellent and surprising compositions in a relatively narrow and specific musical niche, Reserve de Marche‘s album “The Last Twenty Years” brilliantly concentrates on a single record all what has happened in the underground Rock scene during the past two decades, being for that reason highly recommended for fans of Post-Rock and Post-Metal in general, and indispensable for fans of “Russian Circles”, “Pelican”, “The Ocean”, “Isis”, “Mogwai”, “Earth”, “Neurosis”, “Rosetta”, “Cult of Luna”, “Red Sparrowes”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sigur Rós”, “Radiohead”, “Anekdoten”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Tool”, “Primus”, “King Crimson”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Reserve de Marche are: Alexander Alekseev – Guitars; Andrey Bagdasarov – Bass; Dmitry Pomogaev – Drums. Album Recorded at A&B Studios, Moscow, Russia; Engineered by Pavel Sladkov (A&B Records); Mastered by Pavel Sladkov & Alexander Alekseev. Cover Art by Sasha Kolidenko; Layout by Vitaly Sychev. Produced by Reserve de Marche; Released by MALS...    (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/21/2012..........For more information about the musicians and their history, visit RESERVE DE MARCHE WEBSITE...
. TRANSBOHÊM - "Déserts"
Transbohêm is a Progressive Metal band based in Paris, France. It was founded in 2005 around multi-instrumentalist Jean-Marc Gobat (keyboards). Gobat recorded two albums with “Jean-Louis Di Santo” – “Miroirs et Mythes” (1997) and “Bestiaire” (1999), and contributes with the association “Musiques Tangentes”, which promotes the music of today. The other members of Transbohêm are experienced musicians of the French musical scene. Yves Corvez (guitars) plays with “Thomas Das Neves”, and is proficient in Flamenco and Heavy Metal. A student of “Claude Worms”, Corvez frequently accompanies singers “Maguy Naïmi” and “Rouben Haroutunian”. Christian Bocande (bass) has toured in Europe and Canada with Senegalese musician “Ismaël Lô”, and played on stage with “Joe Zawinul” and “Paco Sery”. He has his own band (“Kiki B”) and frequently plays with other bands in France and abroad. Claire Lafage (vocals) began as a violinist and turned later to lyrical singing. She debuted on stage with the Melodic Metal band “Evil One”, on which she sang from 2004 to 2006. Then she joined various vocal ensembles, especially the “Opéra Lyre”, led by “Béatrice Malleret” from the National Opera of Paris. Emmanuel Blattes (drums) began as a classical clarinetist, and moved to drums under the guidance of “Christian Portes”. Blattes acquired a solid experience on stage playing with the Jazz-Rock trio “Ecarts” for three years. He also studied Classical and Jazz piano with “Elie Maalouf”, becoming an accomplished musician. Because of the varied musical background of its integrants, one expects Transbohêm to be more than a regular Prog-Metal band. In fact, the music of Transbohêm transcends time and places, being inspired either by contemporaneous trends such as Progressive Rock, Progressive & Oriental Metal, Fusion and World Music, or by the Traditional Oriental & East-European, the Ancient Celtic, Byzantine & Mediterranean kinds of music. As a whole, Transbohêm’s sonority recalls a great set of musical sources, being influenced by bands such as “Opeth”, “Dream Theater”, “Estradasphere”, “Deep Forest”, “Dead Can Dance”, “King Crimson”, and “Magma”; but being also reminiscent, from times to times, of other bands, like the Armenian ensemble “Kotchnak” (with “Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan” and “Rouben Haroutunian”), the Italian Neo-Folk and Mediterranean act “Ataraxia”, or “Daemonia Nymphe” (Greek Ancient Music), “Irfan” (Bulgarian and Mediterranean), “Artesia” (Electronic Neo-Folk, Ethereal), and “Ole Lukkoye” (Trip-Hop); being accompanied by an instrumental Metal frame that recalls Oriental-Metal bands of different parts of the world, like “Nile”, “Karl Sanders” (USA), “Melechesh”, “Orphaned Land”, “Amaseffer”, “Salem” (Israel), “Ulytau” (Kazakhstan), “Pentagram“ (Turkey), and others. Driven by the unique vocals of Claire Lafage – who teams up with “Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan” (“Kotchnak”), “Francesca Nicoli” (“Ataraxia”), and “Gaya Harutyunyan” (“Deti Picasso“ - a.k.a. “Picassos's Children”), the resulting musical mix of Transbohême works well in a style of their own, deserving the designation of “World-Metal”. Transbohême’s debut album is titled “Déserts” (2012, Independent release). It is not a very long record, containing only five tracks. The album opens with the mysterious atmosphere of “Caravan“ (10:35) – a bass-driven song with Armenian vocals that later engages into segments of Metal (on guitars) and Heavy Progressive parts (on bass and keyboards), featuring entrancing Psychedelic moments at the middle. “Circles“ (7:10) discharges heavier Oriental-Metal guitar riffs and drumming against vertiginous duels of guitars and synthesizers, opposing them later to soaring vocals that have an Arabian approach in the style of “Dead Can Dance”, ending with a “Dream Theater” kind of Prog-Metal sound. “Ecoute Petit Serbe“ (4:38) is a Progressive piece driven by sad ethereal vocals that recall “Francesca Nicoli” (“Ataraxia”), being also reminiscent of “Daemonia Nymphe” and “Artesia”. It ends up with a progressive synthesizer solo, soon followed by a psychedelic guitar solo. The instrumental track “Hun’s Parade“ (4:53) begins slow inside an eerie atmosphere, and turns out to an energetic piece driven by distorted synthesizers and Asian rhythms, approaching the Electronic Fusion and Trip-Hop genres. “Flam“ (7:00) closes the album putting more emphasis on the Oriental-Metal guitars, blending them with Lafage‘s exotic voice – recalling the Psychedelic-Rock sonority commonly heard on the city of Istanbul. Transbohêm is a real Musical Traveler’s Guide, still having a vast territory ahead of it, waiting to be explored. Highly recommended for Progressive & Oriental Metal fans of “Opeth”, “Dream Theater”, “Nile”, “Karl Sanders”, “Melechesh”, “Orphaned Land”, “Salem”, “Amaseffer”, “Ulytau”, “Pentagram“, and for enthusiasts of exotic and unique bands, like “Dead Can Dance”, “Estradasphere”, “Deep Forest”, “King Crimson”, “Magma”, “Kotchnak”, “Ataraxia”, “Irfan”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Artesia”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Picassos's Children”. Band members and collaborators involved in Transbohêm are: Jean-Marc Gobat – Keyboards, Compositions; Yves Corvez – Guitars; Chirstian Bocande – Bass, Emmanuel Blattes – Drums, Claire Lafage – Vocals...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
11/28/2012.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TRANSBOHÊM HOME PAGE...
We Could Build An Empire (WCBAE, for short) is a new Alternative and Hard Rock trio hailing from Sweden (Nyköping, Järna, Stockholm). The line-up features Pontus Wallin (guitars, backing vocals, keyboards), Marcus Pehrsson (bass, lead vocals, keyboards), and Michael Ohlsson (drums). WCBAE's self-produced eponymous debut album was released on CD in December 2011 and was preceded by a demo release in Sweden featuring the three album tracks ”Finest Work”, ”Ice” and ”Easy”. The band is currently playing live around Sweden and has supported well-known Danish rockers “D-A-D”. WCBAE’s style blends Alternative Rock, Grunge, Post-Rock, Stoner-Rock and Post-Metal with influences of bands such as “Alice In Chains”, “King’s X”, “King Crimson” to artists like “Peter Gabriel”, “Captain Beefheart” and “PJ Harvey”. But I found their sound to have influences also of bands like “Oceansize”, “30 Seconds to Mars”, “Radiohead”, “Soundgarden”, “Korn”, “Audioslave”, “Foo Fighters”, “Tool”, and “Silvechair”. The songs are compact, concise, powerful, dynamic, visceral, straightforward, and melancholic. As it is common in power trios, all musicians are equal - while Wallin and Pehrsson alternate the lead with their guitars and bass, respectively, Ohlsson takes care of the rhythmic section, filling the empty spaces with a varied repertoire of drumming beats. The music progresses by means of alternation of heavier parts and more tranquil and relaxing moments, bringing in some hypnotic sound effects. “We Could Build An Empire” - the album - contains 8 tracks. My favorites are ”Finest Work” (5:28) – an alternative rock that opens the album with heaviness and determination; “Dogs“ (5:56) – a Stoner-Psychedelic song driven by slow lysergic guitars that recalls “Radiohead” and “Tool”; “The Power“ (5:21) - that unrolls in mid-tempo cadence alternating distorted guitars with whispered vocals. Still among my favorites are the most “Progressive” tracks ”Ice” (4:14) – driven by a dynamic rhythmic section that has the power of energizing the audiences; and the closing track “Back to Start“(5:48) – on which WCBAE employs the contrast of soft and soaring moments against raging ones again, recalling “Oceansize”. The album still features the lighter and more accessible songs ”Easy” (4:33) – which is fast, rocky, swinging, and melodic (recalling a bit “Silverchair”); and “Fall Free“(5:04) – which is almost like a blend of “Audioslave” with “Radiohead”; and the soft acoustic ballad “Vyss“ (2:45). In sum, moving more around the Alternative Rock and Post-Rock circles than inside the Heavy Progressive Rock & Metal trail, We Could Build An Empire is especially recommended for fans of “Alice In Chains”, “King’s X”, “Oceansize”, “30 Seconds to Mars”, “Radiohead”, “Soundgarden”, “Audioslave”, “Foo Fighters”, “Tool”, “Korn”, “Silvechair”, and other bands of the ‘90s to 2000s. Band members and collaborators involved in We Could Build An Empire are: Pontus Wallin - Guitars, Backing Vocals, Keyboards; Marcus Pehrsson - Bass, Lead vocals, Keyboards; Michael Ohlsson – Drums. Therése Carlsson – additional vocals on “Dogs”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/11/2012......................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit WE COULD BUILD AN EMPIRE HOME PAGE...
. THE ROOM - "Open Fire"
The Room is a new Melodic Rock band hailing from the Southeast of England. Formed in 2010, the band finalized their line-up in 2011, when Martin Wilson (vocals) and Steve Anderson (guitars) – two ex-members of Progressive Rock band “Grey Lady Down“ - were joined by Andy Rowe (bass), Andrew Rae (drums) and Steve Checkley (keyboards) – three musicians with some experience in the musical scene. Bassist Andy Rowe had played on “Firebird“ (a “NWOBHM” band that released a single in 1979 produced by “Ian Gillan”); and on “Prime Cut“ (led by drummer “Brian Davison“ of “The Nice”). Drummer Andrew Rae was a companion of singer Martin Wilson in the ‘80s Neo-Prog band “Legacy”. Keyboardist Steve Checkley focused his career on pubs, playing everything from New Wave & Classic Rock to Motown & chart hits. In 2004 he joined the “Trigger” - a crazy Rock band from Bromsgrove. The five band members brought together their broad range of musical influences, which has helped to shape The Room's distinctive style: Melodic Rock with a Neo-Progressive touch. Smart songs with great melodies are the essence of the band’s material, which amalgamates the musical styles of the ‘70's, ‘80's, and ‘90's, with many influences of bands such as “Magnum”, “Saga”, “It Bites”, “Journey”, “The Union”, “Queen”, “Marillion”, “I.Q”, “Galahad”. After four highly successful launch shows that were played in October 2011 - to coincide with the release of the promotional single “A Casual Believer” / 'A Multitude of Angels“ – the audience reaction was superb and the band was thrilled with the response. This led The Room to sign a contract with U.S.A. label Melodic Revolution Records, (headed by Nick Katona) securing the release of their debut album “Open Fire”. The album is scheduled for release on December 11th, 2012, and will contain 9 tracks. The album opens injecting some Hard Rock with amazing energy on the boosted “Flesh and Bone” (05:10), which will find its equivalent on the last track “ICU” (05:59) – a flaring Power-Pop song that recalls the heaviness of “Magnum”. The Progressive community, however, will find most interesting some tracks that I have placed among my favorites, such as “A Multitude Of Angels” (06:07), which has futuristic space keyboards that recall “Saga”, and an epic touch on the arrangements; and two tracks that have a stronger influence of “Marillion” (more specifically from the times of “Grendel” and “Script for a Jester’s Tear”): “In The Shadows” (09:29) (that still ends with some guitar progressions that recall “Queen”); and “The Spark” (07:12) – which is divided in two distinct parts – the first one driven by vocals, and the second being an instrumental segment highlighted by the solos of guitar and a long solo on the synthesizer. Fans of the most accessible side of Neo-Prog, and appreciators of the sophisticated rhythms of the ‘80’s will like track 2, “A Casual Believer” (05:41), a song that sounds to me like a combination of “Marillion” with “Duran Duran”, but having a really rocky guitar solo. “Open Fire”, in spite of its title, also brings a series of melodic ballads. My favorites are “Screaming Through The Noise” (05:44) – a Progressive ballad that begins with piano and voice, being crowned later with a beautiful guitar solo; and “16 Tonnes” (06:45), which is melodic rocky ballad that gradually grows with the coming of the backing vocals, mellow guitars and classic pianos. Spreading shades of gray, the album still features “Behind The Silence” (03:59), a sad piano ballad. Although not at all a surprising album, The Room’s “Open Fire” is a clear-cut work that is specially recommended for fans of the most Melodic facet of bands such as “Magnum”, “Saga”, “It Bites”, “The Union”, “Journey”, “Queen”, “Marillion”, “I.Q”, “Galahad”, “Pallas”, “Fish”, and “Asia”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Room are: Martin Wilson - Vocals; Steve Anderson - Guitar; Steve Checkley – Keyboards (Technics keyboard, Korg synthesizer, Roland Ax Synth Keytar); Andy Rowe - Bass, Backing Vocals; Andrew Rae – Drums. “Open Fire” was recorded at Platform Studios in Hurst, Berkshire with producer Damon Sawyer; and released under Melodic Revolution Records (President Nick Katona)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
12/11/2012...................................,.Interested to know more about the Band? You must Visit THE ROOM HOME PAGE...
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