.......................................A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEATURED ARTIST AND CD REVIEWS - 2013
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - Logo
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LAST UPDATE 12/28/2013..
. RETROSPECTIVE - "Lost In Perception"
Retrospective is a progressive rock band formed in 2005 in Leszno, Poland. It started off with Robert Kusik (drums) and Maciej Klimek (guitar) and initially played as “Hollow”. That's when Hollow's direction evolved, becoming more progressive, inspired by such stars as "King Crimson", "Dream Theater", "Pink Floyd" and Polish "Riverside". In 2006 four other musicians joined “Hollow”: Alan Szczepaniak (guitar), Lukasz Marszalek (bass guitar), Beata Lagoda (keyboard) and Jakub Roszak (vocal). In the same year they recorded their first demo containing 3 songs, revealing the band’s inclinations towards progressive-rock. The year 2007 brought about a lot of changes. The band took a new name – “Retrospective” and created an EP album called “Spectrum of the green morning”. This CD reached a wide group of listeners through, among others, Radiowa Trójka, Polish music radio station. It was also the time when foreign rock music media got interested in the band’s music. “Spectrum of the green morning” was well-reviewed in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Turkey, The USA, Mexico, Brazil (PR&PM) and Japan. The growing interest in the band’s music resulted in a contract with Lynx Music. In autumn 2008 appeared the first long playing album by Retrospective and the album “Stolen Thoughts” was warmly received by the listeners and media and appeared on many 2008 Top Music ranking lists (9th best Polish band in “Noce Muzycznych Pejzazy” ranking poll in Radiowa Trójka, 2nd best 2008 debut on progrock.org.pl., 8th best Polish CD of the year 2008 on rockarea.eu ). Also, for 7 weeks it stayed on a ranking list for the best NMP discs. In the meantime, the band gave concerts in Poznan, Wroclaw, Leszno, Konin, Torun, Bydgoszcz. Two of them were exceptionally successfull. As a supporting band, they played before a living legend of art-rock, Fish (ex-Marillion) in Wroclaw, where the audience called for an encore. Unfortunately, in 2011 for personal reasons the band had to leave Kuba Roszak ,vocalist. The band began working with vocalist Anna Splawska thus opening a new chapter in the band history. It is a fact that the scenario of Progressive Rock in Poland has been outstanding every year, from last three decades, the number of bands that emerged in this country, around this period, have an exceptional musical quality. Some of these bands are recognized worldwide, with a large projection on the world stage, especially in Europe and neighboring countries. Currently, I consider some bands such as "Lunatic Soul", "Quidam", "Riverside", "After", "Lebowski", "Milleniun", "Osada Vida", "Collage", "Believe" and "Tune" as the actual symbols of a new generation of Polish musicians, that have created a new concept of progressive rock, with inluências from a glorious past, however, innovating in a modern style, that is pleasing to the thousands of fans from Prog's style around the world. Now I have the pleasure to add to this select group, of talented musicians, another band, called Retrospective. Since I had heard their first full length album, I realized that the group had a strong musical power. The style and sound, from this band, have a strong musical drawing around the progressive rock, also, blending progressive metal genres, however, you can find the influence of some other musical trends, combining Symphonic trends mixed with a slightly hard rock, everything highly adorned by a dark atmosphere. Their new album "Lost In Perception", already leapt so high that now, they easily, become part of this new modern age of Progressive Rock, and really be part of selected and exceptional groups of musicians of Polish bands. "Lost In Perception" is not only more a progressive rock album, in fact, is a trademark of a new band, all compositions are very well done, the main vocals are strong, in the line of hard rock style, but the instrumental, floats around from traditional musical patterns in general used by excelent prog rock bands, where keyboard follows in a pleasure atmosphere, guitars come with wonderful solos, however the drums has a more vibrant rhythm, but not so aggressive, some thing in the Prog metal line, including nice bass lines, while some backing vocals are soft in contrast with the main one. The album is divided into nine tracks, all them are amazing, but I have a special and particular attention to some songs, such as "The End Of The Winter Lethargy", "Huge Black Hole", "Lunch", "Tomorrow Will Change", "Musical Land" and the best song on the album titled as "Swallow The Green Tones". Retrospective has used the same musical formula, loaded with an instrumetal of all types and traditional sounds very connected to "Riverside", "After", "Collage", "Lebowski", "Eloy", "Dream Theater", "Believe" and so on. The main musicians on Retrospective band are: Jakub Roszak - Vocals, Beata Lagoda - Keyboards and Backing Vocals, Maciej Klimek - Guitar, Lukasz Marszalek - Bass Guitar, Robert Kusik - Drums and Alan Szczepaniak - Guitar.  If you want listen some mp3s please visit Band's MySpace website. Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable... (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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01/16/2013..................Interested to know more about this great Poland's Band? Visit RETROSPECTIVE HOME PAGE...
. DOGMA - "Ethnic - Methnic"
Dogma is a quite unique Female-Fronted Ethnical-Progressive-Metal band hailing from Yerevan, Armenia. Dogma was founded in 2008 by Vardan Grigoryan (bass, production) and Heno Grigoryan (guitar, song writing) - two prominent musicians of the Armenian Rock scene who played from 1994 to 2007 in the legendary band “Transcaucasia MDP”. They were joined by the young and charming Zara Gevorgyan (vocalist, lyricist), and Derik Vardumyan (drums, percussion). Vardan is the godfather of the Armenian Rock scene, which he keeps ongoing by organizing concerts and festivals with the highest international standards. He is also the founder of the “Vibrographus” music studio - a recording reference for Armenia’s rock bands. Heno has an especial talent to fuse the elements of ethnic Armenian folklore with Progressive Metal, marking Dogma’s music with the stamp of uniqueness. Derik, who graduated at the Institute of Theatre and Cinema, is regarded as one of the best Metal drummers in Armenia. He also sings in a choir called “Hover”, what provided him with good knowledge of Armenian liturgical music that is helpful when he is arranging Dogma’s rhythmic section. And Zara, who was unknown in Armenia before joining Dogma, has established herself as one of the best female singers of her homeland, conquering the audiences with her incredible voice, sometimes delicate and mysterious, sometimes powerful and passionate. On January 5, 2008, Dogma debuted on stage at the Yerevan State Puppet Theatre in a private concert for an audience made of friends, musicians and journalists. The impressive show boosted Dogma's triumphal start. After two sold-out concerts and 7 well-received festival appearances, Dogma celebrated its 1st anniversary in 2009 by starting the studio work of their debut album, entitled "Ethnic-Methnic" (released on December 26, 2009, by Vibrographus). The record attracted special attentions to the band: in the beginning of 2010 Zara was invited by Ian AndersonJethro Tull”) to do the guest act for his show in Yerevan on September 24. During the concert Zara performed together with Ian, presenting two songs of “Jethro Tull" and two Dogma songs. In Ian's words, Dogma is "The best metal band this side of Mars… and features instruments which are weapons of mass destruction". In 2012 Dogma took part on the Armenian-American musical project “A to A: The World in Harmony” led by “Tod Machover”, the renowned composer and inventor. On May 28, 2012, following an invitation for the “Wave Gotik Treffen” Festival, Dogma played in Germany at the Leipzig Central Theatre. And Dogma really deserves an international career, for their album “Ethnic-Methnic” features an original blend of Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, and Armenian Traditional Music that was never heard before. “Ethnic-Methnic” brings 11 tracks, (including 2 bonus-tracks), which are mostly sung in Armenian – a detail that contributes to the exoticism of Dogma’s songs. The initial tracks are powerful, dynamic, and clear-cut, hitting the listener with aggressive and memorable guitar riffs that are reminiscent of the 80’s Metal.  So “Khaghers / My Games” (3:45) is an impressive opening song founded on solid guitar riffs - but flavored with that extra ethnical spice typical of Dogma’s Metal style; while “Hars / Bride” (5:00) is driven by a powerful bass that recalls “Iron Maiden” and other bands of the NWOBHM movement, but with an ethnical accent on guitars and drums, and a soft part led by Zara‘s wonderful voice. Sometimes, a destructive riff arises reaching epic proportions, like on “Aneres / Impudent” (5:41) – a song that recalls “Helstar”. “Heqiat / Fairytale” (4:22) starts with an aggressive riff that recalls the Thrash-Metal style of early “Annihilator” and “Megadeth”, but Zara shows incredible vocal versatility, and steers the song to the Hard Rock singing just like “Ann Wilson” (“Heart”). On “Khoskap / Matchmaking” (4:15) Dogma ventures through the Ethnical Prog-Metal by interlocking great guitars bass and drums like “Dream Theater” with Zara’s from raging to subtle switching vocals. Those heavier songs are however soothed by the presence of some acoustic Armenian folk songs, such as the sweet “Renaissance” (3:09), the mysterious “Artnatsum / Awakening” (4:29) and the tranquil “Tsov Tsirani / Apricot Sea” (3:31). Track 9 - “Aystegh Kmnam / I'll Stay Here” (6:31) is a Dark-Progressive piece that recalls “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and “Frequency Drift”, featuring psychedelic moments and spine-shivering choir. It opens way for the bonus-tracks “Limbo” (3:33) (the only one sung in English) and “Qez Ognir / Help Yourself” (4:08): two melancholic ballads with whispering vocals that recall some Progressive bands of Poland, like “Quidam” and “Believe”. In sum, for its uniqueness, Dogma is the right choice for fans of Progressive Rock and Metal with Ethnical roots, being also highly recommendable for fans of 80’s Metal, Oriental Metal, Folk-Metal, Prog-Folk, Heavy-Progressive Rock and Female-Fronted bands in general. Band members and collaborators involved in Dogma are: Zara Gevorgyan - Vocalist / Lyricist; Heno Grigoryan - Lead Guitarist/song writer; Vardan Grigoryan - Bass Guitar, Band Producer; Derik Vardumyan - Drums & Percussion. Sound Engineer: Serge Melkonyan...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013...............If you want to know more about this amazing band and its members, visit DOGMA HOME PAGE...
. PRIMITIVE OVERFLOW - "Honor Way Down"
Primitive Overflow is the brainchild of Hoyt Binder, a Los Angeles based guitarist and songwriter with a passion for deep music, who aspired to write an album with no musical boundaries. Primitive Overflow became a reality when Hoyt was recording an album with his wife and ran into one of his idols, singer & songwriter Donnie Vie (of the 80s MTV era band “Enuff Z' Nuff”). Hoyt and Donnie worked together in studios across Hollywood writing songs about love and belief, even when taking the “Honor Way Down”. Donnie provided the “Primitive”, or human, perspective that recalls the sincerity of “John Lennon”, whereas Hoyt provided the “Overflow” perspective, or the need to go beyond the horizons (inspired by 1960's innovator “Brian Wilson”). Around those two musicians Primitive Overflow‘s line-up grew to include drummer Chris Quirarte (of “Redemption”), bassist Paulo Gustavo, and keyboardist Ronald Van Deurzen. The album “Honor Way Down” (2012, ProgRock Records) is Primitive Overflow’s debut release. The music has influences ranging from 20th Century composers to Pop, Rock, Funk, Folk, Jazz, & Metal - genres that Primitive Overflow‘s eclectic and skilful musicians throw into a Progressive melting pot. The resulting sound is unique, but also familiar, catchy and easy-listening. Primitive Overflow brilliantly integrates Pop-Rock and Power-Pop cuts under the leadership of Donnie Vie‘s mellow vocals, which recall the tunes of “Phil Collins”, “The Beatles”, “John Lennon”, “Stevie Wonder”, and “Simply Red”, all sustained by a rocky danceable rhythm. Complex instrumental passages evoke the Rock spirit of the early ‘70s inserted into the Progressive sonic context of late ‘70s to early ‘80s, having the same level of quality of bands such as “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), “Yes”, “U.K.”, “Rush”, “Camel”, “Caravan” and “Enuff Z' Nuff”, ranking with bands like “Druckfarben”, “Flower Kings”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Kaipa”, and “The Tangent”. “Honor Way Down” has 10 tracks. The first two have a stronger Pop-Rock vein, with less Progressive touches: “Turnin' Round” (5:22) is an American Rock covered with a delicate coat of keyboards and guitars; and the groovy “Caving In” (5:45) is a funky song splurging energy from its harder guitars, bouncing bass, and long instrumental parts. There are two ballads: the sweet “Day To Day” (4:51) has a “Beatles”-like accent on vocals, and also resembles the most pop side of “Genesis” (“Collins” era), ending up with a soaring guitar solo; and the Prog-ballad “Waiting For You” (5:09), which comes later on the album, has beautiful bass lines and mellow guitars that recall “Yes” and “Flower Kings”. On the remaining songs Primitive Overflow compensates the Pop-Rock parts with bombastic instrumental passages that reveal the talent and eclecticism of the musicians, as it happens on the title track “Honor Way Down” (7:30), which alternates romantic moments with vibrant progressive parts with faster guitars, powerful keys and theatrical vocals, recalling “Genesis” and “U.K.”; or on “Listen Honey” (7:19) on which soulful and pop-rock vocals compete for space against Neo-Prog guitars & keyboards, and has a segment that recalls “Rush”. But the turning point of this album is the instrumental “Midnight Rendezvous” (5:36) - an awesome progressive piece with the verve of “Yes”, “ELP”, “Rush” and “U.K.”. From that track on, Primitive Overflow begins to show more of its Progressive attributes. So the band trails on most powerful terrains, injecting some Prog-Metal stamina on “Follow Me” (5:16) (which combines groovy vocal lines with complex instrumentation, recalling bands like “Pain of Salvation”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, and “U.K.”); and reaches a climax on the last tracks “Our Praylude” (2:09) (an instrumental Prog-Metal) and “Animation” (9:39), which has many twists and different parts featuring crazy keyboards, many guitar solos, harmony vocals, pianos and more - recalling the opulence of bands like “Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “The Tangent”, mixed with “Rush” and even “Dream Theater”. With their Eclectic & Cross-Over Progressive approach driven by high-quality musicianship, Primitive Overflow is highly recommended for the audiences of ‘60s-’70s Pop-Rock and 80’s Progressive Rock, being apt to conquer fans of both sides, in special fans of “Yes”, “U.K.”, “Rush”, “Genesis” (“Phil Collins” Era), “Camel”, “Caravan”, “The Beatles”, “Queen”, “GTR”, “Asia”, “Enuff Z' Nuff”, but also “Flower Kings”, “Pain of Salvation”, “The Tangent”, “Kaipa”, “Druckfarben”, “Man on Fire“, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Primitive Overflow are: Donnie Vie – Vocals; Hoyt Binder – Guitars, Compositions; Paulo Gustavo – Bass; Chris Quirarte – Drums; Ronald Van Deurzen – Piano, B-3 & Keyboards. Album mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering (California, U.S.A.)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013.................Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit PRIMITIVE OVERFLOW HOME PAGE...
. LIFE LINE PROJECT - "20 Years After"
Life Line Project is a project in the true meaning of the word. It is built around one musician, Erik de Beer, either playing all instruments himself or contracting all the necessary vocalists or players according to the needs of the work in progress. Born in The Hague, Holland Erik started to play the guitar when he was 14 years old and keyboard at the age of 16. Right from the start his preference was symphonic rock. Erik started his studies at the conservatory for music in 1977 and finished them in 1983. He now works as a guitar & keyboard teacher. He developed himself as a multi-instrumentalist and composer. Life Line Project is specialised in melodious & harmonious symphonic progressive rock. Main ingredients are the beautiful voice of Marion Brinkman and the majestic virtuoso keyboardparts and melodic guitar solos of Erik de Beer. Another major attraction is the elaborate woodwindsection, consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet & bassoon. Erik de Beer, or, we can say Life line Project, together, are one of known musical references today, to many progressive rock friends around the world. Master of a spetacular discography, with over eight edited albuns until today, all of them, with incredible comments, from sites of Progressive Rock also including some important magazines. From all the albums, with excelents reviews, we can mention, "Modinha", "The Finnishing Touch", "Distorted Memories", "The Journey", "The King" and lastly "20 Years After". Erik de Beer is a talented musician and fully engaged with his projects, He really knows how to personalize his musical style, and impressing me with an amazing knowledge and musical  diversity, also with an incredible skill to compose a kind of atmospheric music sometimes powerfull, alternating from symphonic to a progressive rock, with mellow and shiny arrangements, but, full of energy and enthusiasm,  that leave the listeners breathless, creating different musical textures on all his projects. As in all his musical projects, the predominant instrumental, in the compositions, are the keyboards arrangements, featuring lush sounds from moogs, hammond organ, synthesizers harpsichord and acoustic and electric piano, including, intricate solos of electric and acoustic guitars. As in all his musical projects, the predominant instrumental, in the compositions, are the keyboards arrangements played by Erik,, featuring lush sounds from moogs, hammond organ, synthesizers harpsichord and acoustic and electric piano, including, intricate solos of electric and acoustic guitars, followed by talented cast of musicians, playing bass, drums, adding some wind instruments such as flute, clarinets, violin and bassoon, using instrumental textures, in the line of a traditional folk style, everything seems perfect, like an impressive orchestra, where Erik is the master. "20 Years After" follows the traditions of pure symphonic progressive rock, a kind of musical style peculiar into the most of Dutch bands. The album contains many instrumental sections, where the arrangements are constantly designed in different directions, with a high quality sound spectrum, providing incredible symphonic experiences to the listeners. Some tracks have female vocals, singing in English. The album is divided into four tracks, almost 79 minuts of symphonic music, however, the fourth track, titled as "The True Tale Of The Double Equivalent", is the predominant song on the album, a suite with 60 minutes, full of symphonic textures and a surprising diversity instrumental and vocal. "20 Years After" album was released on September 2012. Recorded at Gitaarstudio Erik de Beer between September 2011 nas April 2012, two Alesis HD 24 digital recorders and a Soundcraft 24-8 mixing console. Mixing and mastering on a Tascam CDR 750, using Behirnger limiters, compressors and gates, DB\x equalizing and Alesis delays and reverbs. No digital editing was used during or after recording. All music, lyrics and arrangements by Erik de Beer, except track 18 based on an anonymous Italian folksong taken from "Il Scolaro" 1645 in a setting by Gasparo Zanetti. The package features sixteen pages booklet with song lyrics and nice images, including interesting informations. Using as a musical reference, Life Line Project follows in the same line of bands such as "Coda", "Camel", "Like Wendy", "Alquin", "Earth And Fire", "Finch", "Focus", "Lady Lake", "Egdon Heath", "Mangrove", "Odyssice", "Salmon", "Maze Of Time" and so on. The main musicians on "20 Years After" are: Erik De Beer - Acoustic & Electric Piano's, Moogs, Hammond Organ, Synthesizers, Harpsichord, All Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Lutes, Baroque Guitar, Chitarrone & Harmony Vocals, Marion Brinkman-Stroetinga - All Lead Vocals & Harmony Vocals, Elsa De Beer - Flute & Harmony Vocals, Dineke Visser - Oboe, Anneke Verhage - Clarinets, Ada Bienfait - Bassoon, Iris Sagan - Ibanez Btb 5 String & Fender Jazz Bass 4 String Bass Guitars, Acoustic Bass, Harmony Vocals & Narrating Voice and Ludo De Murlanos - Gretsch Drums, Zildjan, Sabian & Ufip Cymbals, Timpani, Roto-Toms, Bongo's, Renaissance Drum, Triangle, Claves, Shaker, Cowbell, Tambourine & Harmony Vocals. Guest Musicians - Iris Kranenburg & Patricia Kalkman - Violins, Christine van Blitterswijk - Viola and Aris Anninga - Violoncello. You must visit Life Line Project's MySpace Site. Brilliant, amazing, incredible and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...   (Comments by Carlos Vaz)
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01/16/2013.........................For more details and in the meantime please check out LIFE LINE PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. A-J CHARRON - "Humouring Gods"
A-J Charron is well known web-columnist from Montreal, Canada. He is known for his contributions in songwriting, CD and concert reviews, equipment reviews and interviews. He has contributed to such sites as guitarnoise.com, dprp.net, guitar9.com and many others. He is also the author of the book “So You Want to Be a Songwriter?”. A-J Charron is also a guitarist, musician, and composer, and has a penchant for Progressive Rock. His main influences are bands such as “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Steve Hackett”, “Pendragon”, “Genesis”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Yes”, and “Jethro Tull”. In 2010 he began to record a bunch of songs that would be later reunited on a self-produced debut album titled “Humouring Gods”, which was only released in 2012 under the independent label Azimuth Records (Canada). “Humouring Gods” features a classical composition divided in 8 tracks, performed with guitars, keyboards, bass, and programmed timpani. The compositions are all instrumental, but represent a story, a voyage into the mind of a beautiful young woman, unjustly transformed into the most hideous of creatures, a harpy. As the tracks unfold, the listener follows her quest for revenge, her failure and her ultimate dive into insanity. Although lacking resources of production and a refined technique, the music of A-J Charron is strongly impressionist, evoking in the mind of the listener images of ancient architectures, pastoral landscapes, exotic places; also causing different sensations – of relaxing, fear, doubt, curiosity, or introspectiveness. The music is basically a collage of delicate orchestral sounds that are arranged in a loosely symphonic pattern. The main instruments are the diaphanous guitars, followed by the timpani that are reminiscent of medieval times, a deep imposing bass, and frequent sonorities produced on keyboards that recall flutes and strings of the times or the Renaissance, but also electronic sonorities of the future centuries that are still to come. “Humouring Gods” begins with “Transformation“ (5:27) – a song that evolves through the dialogue of two guitars, one echoing the other, their vitreous sounds recalling the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, ricocheting on the baroque bass lines and medieval timpani. “Sorrow“ (4:45) follows bringing an acoustic Spanish guitar, and albeit its simplicity, we realize that Charron has a talent to drive the song with sensibility, weaving delicate tunes. The imposing “Aftermath“ (7:00) combines the deep sounds of the timpani with soaring keyboards that are lost on the far horizon, brings back that glassy guitar sound again, and includes segments driven by martial drumming and folk moments, ending with a crescendo of guitar chords. “Phantasmes“ (6:49) employs sounds of vibraphones to produce a melody that sounds vaguely Chinese, and turns to different directions, bringing folk parts with renaissance flutes, violins, and mandolins. One of the best tracks, “Revenge“ (8:49) begins with an impressive choir of monks, irradiating a religious aura. Ethereal sounds of guitars are conducted by timpani amid ghostly synthesizers and electronic noises. The darkness on “Revenge“ is cleared by the shiny rays of candlelight on the soft “Nostalgia“ (3:59), a slow medieval dance in honour of some nameless king hidden in his forgotten palace. The weird “Insanity“ (7:48) is an interesting track for containing several influences. The song begins with sounds reminiscent of the Mellotrons of the “Genesis” song “Watcher of the Skies”, being followed by electronic keyboards that recall “Mike Oldfield”, and a segment of crazy unorganized random sounds that recall the experiments of “Pink Floyd” on their album “Ummagumma”, and the mystic Krautrock of “Popol Vuh”. The album ends up with “Oblivion“ (5:56), which brings back the deep bass sounds, more timpani and space-rock sounds. With his patchwork of Electronic, Ambient, Medieval-Folk and Progressive Music, A-J Charron is especially recommended for fans of “Mike Oldfield”, “Steve Hackett”, “Echo Us”, “Changing Images”, “Philip Glass”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in A-J Charron are: A-J Charron – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, and Programmed Timpani. Vocals on “Revenge” performed by A-J Charron and Sylvie St-Amand. Produced by A-J Charron; Mixed by Henning Pauly; Artwork by Chantal Ouimet; Recorded at Azimuth Studios, Montreal in 2010, released in 2012 under Azimuth Records, Canada. Check out A-J Charron on the Reverbnation Home page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013...................................For more details and in the meantime please check out A-J CHARRON HOME PAGE...
. THE APPROACH AND THE EXECUTION - "The Blood March"
The Approach And The Execution (TA&TE, for short) is an Epic-Metal band that hails from Cleveland, Ohio (U.S.A.). The line-up has Michael Notte (vocals, guitar), Julee Peterson (vocals, keyboards), Jeremy Langham (vocals, guitar, lyrics, storyline), Nick Kozono (vocals, bass), Andy Fisher (lead guitar), and Riley Kovac (drums). Thanks to fierce and ferocious live performances, TA&TE’s has carved a niche inside the competitive Metal scene, as the band shared the stage with acts like “Turisas”, “Unearth”, “All Shall Perish”, “Scale The Summit”, “Sabaton”, “Tyr”, “The Human Abstract”, “Power Glove”, “AleStorm”, “Korpiklaani”, “Fear Before”, “Haste The Day”, “Arkona”, “Suicide Silence”, “Moonsorrow”, “Arsis”, “Straight Line Stitch”, “Red Fang”, “Otep”, “My Children My Bride”, and “August Burns Red”. The music of TA&TE blends Epic-Metal, Viking-Metal, Folk-Metal and Death-Metal with influences of “Iron Maiden”, “Protest The Hero”, “Ensiferum”, “Trivium”, “Tyr”, “Children of Bodom”, “Amon Amarth”, “Opeth”, “Dragonforce” and “Metallica”, also resembling “Turisas”, “Mithotyn”, “Elvenking”, “Cruachan”, “Thyrfing”, “Battlelore“, “AleStorm”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Falconer”, “Tuatha de Danann”; and German Metal bands like “Running Wild”, “Grave Digger” and “Blind Guardian”. The three guitars spill out traditional and melodic metal riffs followed by slice-cutting guitar solos. Those are combined with the majestic and haunting vocal harmonies and growls performed by the trio of singers (a female, a clean male and a growling male), all inserted in a volcanic-forged frame of progressive undertones and raw power energy that rumbles louder than an earthquake - and promise to awaken your “inner Norseman”. TA&TE released an independent debut album titled “The Blood March” (2011), which contains 10 tracks. “To The Victor…“ (1:11) is a folk intro with fiddle and piano that introduces the main guitar theme of the avalanching “The March of the Guillotine (The Blood March)“ (5:03). The listener is bombarded with explosive harmony guitars and the singing trio – which alternates from growls to clean male/female vocals – all amidst the assault of ultra-fast bass and drums and cruel-whipping guitars. The violence and bloodshed splurged on TA&TE’s music continues on straightforward nose-punching songs, such as the Pirate-Metal “Alas, The Awakening“ (7:42) – driven by epic choirs, horse-galloping rhythm and compact guitars that recall “AleStorm” -; the stormy “The Plague Knows No Prejudice“ (3:29) – which alternates Thrash, Death and Epic Metal parts – and on “Death’s Sentence“ (5:16), a German Power-Metal standard that recalls “Running Wild”, “Grave Digger”, and “Blind Guardian“, still having an interlude for Gothic ghostly vocals. But without deviating from TA&TE’s violent approach, my favorite tracks are those that have more twists and turns, and contain a considerable higher level of Metallic mixture within their frame, such as happens on the Scottish-Metal “Earth’s Final Solstice“ (5:04), that brings some Death-Metal parts driven by deep guttural vocals recalling “Opeth”, “Children of Bodom”, and “Amon Amarth”, being broken in the middle for the coming of acoustic folk guitars and epic guitar solos, besides having a tuneful vocal solo by Julee Peterson. This structure is repeated on “Conversing The Guillotine“ (6:16) – on which the brutal vocals are interspersed with folk-acoustic interludes and a clean male/female duo, recalling bands like “Mithotyn” and “Battlelore”. Escalating the peaks of Epic-Metal, the vocal narration of “A Lesson Forever Undone“ (1:16) introduces “To Death! To Hell!“ (4:14) – a calling-to-arms song that is crowned with a super-heroic guitar solo; whereas the closing track “On The Day That Sets Us Free“ (9:16) is almost an Opera-Metal that contains great epic moments, dazzling battling guitars and many changes of mood. In sum, TA&TE is a band that holds the true burning flames of Epic-Metal, being indispensable for fans of iconic bands such as “Otep”, “Ensiferum”, “Trivium”, “Tyr”, “Children of Bodom”, “Amon Amarth”, “Opeth”, “Dragonforce”, “Turisas”, “Mithotyn”, “Elvenking”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Cruachan”, “Thyrfing”, “Battlelore“, “Tuatha de Danann”, “AleStorm”, “Running Wild”, “Grave Digger”, “Blind Guardian”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in The Approach And The Execution are: Michael Notte – Vocals, Guitar; Julee Peterson – Vocals, Keyboards; Jeremy Langham – Vocals, Guitar, Lyrics, Storyline; Nick Kozono – Vocals, Bass; Andy Fisher – Lead Guitar; Riley Kovac – Drums...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013.........Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE APPROACH AND THE EXECUTION HOME PAGE...
. LIGRO - "Dictionary 2"
Ligro is a Jazz-Rock trio hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia. The line-up has Agam Hamzah (guitar), Adi Darmawan (bass), and Gusti Hendy (drums). Formed back in 2004, Ligro has taken part in various national and international music events. The word Ligro derives from the backward spelling of the word Orgil, which means “crazy people” in Bahasa (the Indonesian national language) - a reference regarding the fact that Ligro plays for fun only music that comes from the heart, with a fearless sense of curiosity, a deep desire for transformation, and a healthy disregard for rules. The different cultural background of each band member turns their music richer and more colorful. Adi is originally from Madura, Hendy is from South Kalimantan and Agam is a mix of Aceh and West Java. A good example to illustrate this cultural influence in their music is the use of the “Gondang”, a traditional drum from the Batak ethnic tribe, which Hendy plays in the Kalimantan style. Ligro’s discography includes “Dictionary 1” (2008) and “Dictionary 2” (2012, MoonJune Records), which is their first international release. Along its 8 instrumental tracks, Ligro amazes the listener with an energetic performance - at the same time visceral and cerebral - on which torrents of fluent guitar solos compete with creative bass lines and blasting exotic drumming, creating breath-taking and exuberant compositions comparable in mastery and technique to “Hendrix”, “Terje Rypdal”, “Tony Willians’ Lifetime”, “Buckethead”, “Robert Fripp”, “Miles Davis”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “CAB”, “Jan Akkerman”, “Pat Matheny”, and the projects of their fellow countryman “Tohpati”. The album opens with the powerful “Paradox” (7:11) – a heavy Jazz-Rock containing skillful bass, blasting drums, and a long frantic guitar solo that, altogether, give to the astonished listener a small clue of Ligro’s musical compromise and creativity. The following three tracks have really impressed me. “Stravinsky” (11:32) begins with a Baroque intro, played on the bass, leading to unstoppable machine-gun drumming and stupendous free-flowing guitar solos. The unpredictable “Bliker 3 Introduction Double” (J.S Bach) (10:15) is introduced by Classical piano, but suffers an unexpected transformation to become a Jazz-Rock piece, with soaring interludes in “Rypdal”-style being supported by Indonesian traditional drumming and progressive experimental parts resembling “Soft Machine”, before going on a volcanic final segment. The awesome and enchanting “Étude Indienne” (12:51) is a “trippy” oriental piece produced by the clashing of the visionary music of “Mahavishnu Orchestra” with the exoticism of “King Crimson” – crowned with a great bass solo, followed by the trio engaging into a magnetic jam-section. But it is not only of high-edged Jazz-Rock that the music of Ligro is made of. Among the effervescent pieces, it is possible to have fruitful placid moments by listening to “Future” (7:17), which offers an almost Progressive bass accompanied by tranquil drumming and a playful and bluesy guitar solo. Meanwhile, the light “Don Juan” (6:13), with its cheerful tropical mood; and the soft, sweet and mysterious  “Miles Away” (4:15) will please fans of “Tony Willians’ Lifetime” and “Pat Matheny”. “Dictionary 2” ends up magnificently with the amazing “Transparansi” (13:16) – the drums on the intro bring airs of a far exotic place, while the guitar executes a defined theme (recalling “Rypdal”). The song gradually grows in vigor; and as Agam starts to expel sharp and tremble sounds from his guitar, he summons the other members to go completely crazy in an Acid-Jazz-Fusion reverie. All I can do after having listened to this amazing igneous album is to recommend Ligro with honors to all fans of hard Jazz-Rock-Fusion. A brilliant gem dug up by MoonJune Records, Ligro is indispensable for fans of “Rypdal”, “Tony Willians’ Lifetime”, “Miles Davis”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Soft Machine”, “Colosseum”, “CAB”, “Buckethead”, “Fripp”, “The Wrong Object”, “Machine Mass Trio”, “Slivovitz”, “Hendrix”, “Tohpati Ethnomission”, and “Tohpati Bertiga”. Band members and collaborators involved in Ligro are: Agam Hamzah - Guitar; Adi Darmawan – Bass, and Piano on “Bliker 3”); Gusti Hendy - Drums. “Stravinsky” was adapted from “An Easy Piece Using Five Notes” by Igor Stravinsky, with J.S. Bach intro; “Don Juan” is dedicate to Cendi Luntungan; “Bliker 3" by J.S Bach. All songs arranged by Ligro; Recorded at Pos Studio in Jakarta, 2011, by Irwan Prasetyo; Mixed and Mastered by Danny Ardiono at 69 Studio; Produced by Ligro & Leonardo Pavkovic...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LIGRO HOME PAGE...
. ROZ VITALIS - "Patience of Hope"
The Russian Progressive band Roz Vitalis is back to PR&PM webzine again (see under reviews 2011). Founded in 2001 in the city of St. Petersburg by multi-instrumentalist and composer Ivan V. Rozmainsky, Roz Vitalis has an extensive discography comprising EPs, LPs, CDs, Live albums and participations in compilations. As Roz Vitalis frequently unfolds into both “Live” and “Studio” “incarnations”, the line-up often features several musicians, and guest musicians are always invited for the recordings. All this enriches Roz Vitalis by adding a varied palette of sounds, influences and styles to their music. In 2011 Roz Vitalis released the album “Revelator” (MALS Ltd.), which was and reviewed at PR&PM. The music was an all-instrumental, eccentric and melodic combination of R.I.O., Avant-garde, Chamber Music, Gothic and Folk-Medieval Music, bringing influences of “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “Le Orme”, “Metamorfosi”, “Supersister”, and “Magma”. Now in 2012, Roz Vitalis comes up with a new album, titled “Patience of Hope” (MALS Ltd.). The album brings 11 instrumental tracks performed by integrants and guests, comprising a large group of musicians (see list below). On this album, the instruments commonly used on Prog-Rock (guitar, bass, drums and keyboards) blend perfectly with an ensemble of wind instruments (flute, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone and bassoon), and acoustic strings – cellos and the gusli (the oldest Russian multi-string plucked instrument). Ivan Rozmainsky leads the band by playing on a Grand Steinway piano and even on the harpsichord. “Patience of Hope” is a concept album inspired by the essence and mysteries of HOPE, and how this feeling supports one’s confidence and endurance in troubled times. Because of this theme, this new album sounds brighter, more delicate and melodic than on the previous. Acting as a Chamber Orchestra, Roz Vitalis farther explores the musical possibilities of Progressive, Avant-garde, R.I.O., Folk, Jazz, and Russian Classical Music, getting closer to the sonorities of “Univers Zéro”, “King Crimson”, “Gryphon”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “Gentle Giant”, and “Art Zoyd”. The title track “Patience of Hope” (6:43) opens the album with crystalline harpsichords that lead the following instrumental parade, recalling “Camel” or “Caravan”. This magnificent chamber-piece metamorphoses itself into a Progressive Rock standard, featuring collective contributions of all band members, with highlights for the rhythmic section (like “King Crimson” & “Gentle Giant”) and the great final guitar solo. The following track is “The Unfading Sun (The Loved Version)“ (2:50), a tranquil piece written mostly for piano and trumpet. It plunges into the introspectiveness of “To Stir Up Your Pure Minds” (3:10), another chamber movement on which delicate cellos and peaceful wind instruments push the music toward far Chinese borders. In contrast, the eerie sounds of Metallophones and the martial rumbling of snare-drums on “Seeds Fell Among Thorns” (6:17) are reminiscent of the Russian Classical Impressionism, but also deviates to the R.I.O.-style, recalling the pioneering sounds of bands like “King Crimson” and “Univers Zéro”. Advancing over experimental terrains, “The Forgiven Monday” (3:36) superposes jazzy saxophones to an electronic background of cosmic sounds and Space-rock guitars – sounding as if “Stravinsky” played Cosmic-Jazz; while the strangely hybrid “Confidence” (5:53) is divided in two parts – part 1 is a Classical Piano solo and part 2 – with no piano - brings sax, strings, woodwinds, and percussion, recalling the styles of “Henry Cow” and “Art Zoyd”. Between the aforementioned tracks, there are two tracks that get closer to the Progressive Rock standards: the ethereal “Gorgeous Cliff” (1:35), and the electro-acoustic “Mother of All Rain” (4:28) - a piece that evolves in cycles, that grows gradually by putting emphasis firstly on the piano, and later, on the long solos of guitar. At the last part of the record, the cheerful “Dove il Sole E Meraviglia” (1:57) brings sweet sounds of winds and cellos that announce the ingenious “Touching Upon the Mystery” (8:55) – an awesome piece that begins with harpsichords, moves to the piano, has jazzy drumming and a sensational folk Siberian rhythmic part driven by incredible bass and percussion – finished with a “crooked” guitar solo at the end. The album closes with an acoustic version of “The Unfading Sun (The Loving Version)“ (3:56), which brings poignant cellos and woodwinds. In sum, “Patience of Hope” is another great album by Roz Vitalis, which Russian label Mals Ltd. made available to us. Brilliant work, full of musicianship, essential for lovers of the R.I.O. and Avant-garde Progressive movements, and for fans of “King Crimson”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “Henry Cow”, “Gentle Giant”, “Gryphon”, “Miriodor”, “Camel”, “Samla Mammas Manna”. Band members and collaborators involved in Roz Vitalis are: Ivan Rozmainsky – Grand “Steinway” piano, Harpsichord, Hammond RT-3 organ, other keyboards, Metallophone; Vladimir Efimov – Electric guitars, Keyboards (track 6); Yury Khomonenko – Percussion and some drums, Accordion (on “Mother of All Rain”); Ruslan Kirillov – Bass guitar; Vladislava Korotkikh – Flutes, Jew’s harp (on “Confidence”); Philip Semenov – Drums; Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky – Electric and Bass Guitars. Special guests: Natalia Fedorova – Gusli; Dasha Kostina – Cello (on title track); Grigory Maliev – Clarinets; Fyodor Mozhzhevelov – Bassoon; Ilya Rysin – Trumpet and Flugelhorn; Roman Shilepin – Saxophone (on “The Forgiven Monday” & “Confidence”); Ilya Ten – Cello (on “To Stir Up Your Pure Minds” & “Dove Il Sole E Meraviglia”). Recorded 2011-2012; Mixed at Vidiakin Studio by Olga Grigorieva; (2012); Mastered by Tobias Svensson (2012)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013...........................Interested to know more about the Band and Musician? Visit ROZ VITALIS HOME PAGE...
. HEART - "Fanatic"
Founded by the sisters Ann Wilson (lead vocals) and Nancy Wilson (guitars, vocals) in the middle ‘70s, Heart was a breakthrough band that destroyed the chauvinistic concept that Rock is a “just for men” private club. The Wilson sisters led Heart, wrote the songs and played the instruments, making them the first women in Rock to do so. Along the years Heart has built a respectful career, accumulating a lengthy discography and several Grammy awards, reaching the covetously mark of more than 35 million albums sold. Heart offered us memorable hits like “Crazy on You”, “Straight On”, “Magic Man”, “These Dreams”, “Alone”, “What About Love”, “If Looks Could Kill”, “Never”, and the most emblematic of all - “Barracuda” – which became their most enduring anthem. Also acting separately, the talented sisters have achieved significant success in Hollywood. Ann sang on songs that were chart successes and motion picture themes, like “Almost Paradise” (“Footloose”), “Best Man in the World” (“Goldenchild”), and “Surrender to Me” (“Tequila Sunrise”), while Nancy composed and performed the scores to a half dozen motion pictures including the award winning “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous”. Heart is featured at the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum”, and band members give aid to Philanthropic institutions. 2010 was an important year for the Wilson sisters, for they got back to the “Billboard Top 10” list with Heart’s album “Red Velvet Car”, also charting a Top 5 DVD (“Night at Sky Church”). Now in 2012, Heart strikes again with the release of their 14th studio album, called “Fanatic” (2012, Legacy Records/Sony Music distribution). The album has participation of Ben Mink (guitars, strings, keyboards, programming, production), Ric Markmann (bass), Ben Smith (drums, percussion), and guest singer Sarah McLachlan (vocals on “Walkin’ Good”). If on “Red Velvet Car” (2010) Heart trailed on a path that took the band away from the Pop-Rock trend that had oriented their works in the ‘80s to ‘90s, leading them closer to the Folk sonority of their debut album “Dreamboat Annie” (1976); on “Fanatic” the band plunged even deeper into the past, searching for their most authentic roots - those influenced by the Blues, Folk, Hard-Rock, and Psychedelic music of the late ‘60s to early ‘70s. The outcome is that “Fanatic” is less acoustic and contains fewer ballads than “Red Velvet Car”, but is loaded with the soulful passion and substantial hardness that recall the visceral energy of “Little Queen” (1977), without renouncing at all to the musical modernity of the new century. “Fanatic” features 10 tracks. The title track “Fanatic”, which opens the album with bombastic hard-rock riffs, heated vocals, and solid bass & drums; and the following “Dear Old America” (4:01), which brings unusual string harmonies accompanying Ann’s passionate vocals and Nancy’s characteristic guitars, are certainly to be regarded as instant hits. Another candidate for big hit is the amazing “Mashallah!” (4:07) – a song driven by mesmerizing oriental guitars that drinks from the psychedelic retro-sound of the ‘60s-‘70s. Other songs with great hit-potential are “59 Crunch” (3:21), a Hard-Rock song driven by dense guitars that comes in a ‘70s psychedelic wrap, and on which the sisters trade off vocals; and “Skin and Bones” (3:41), a groovy song that successfully combines bluesy vocals with modern funky rhythms. Experimenting with the old and the new, “A Million Miles” (5:05) employs a base of futuristic keyboards and electronic beats that support a layer of traditional Folk-American violins, violas & mandolins, as well as Ann’s outstanding vocals. Although too long for radio airplay, this song is a must-play in live presentations. The rock vigor that comes from all the mentioned tracks is well-balanced on the record by three ballads – they have always been a strong point of Heart - and still are. One of them is the Folk-acoustic “Walkin’ Good” (3:46), on which Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan makes a guest appearance singing with Nancy, while Ann plays the flute. The other two ballads give the opportunity for Ann’s great voice to show up, being either sweet and sad, and accompanied by mellow harmony vocals on the beautiful “Pennsylvania” (3:10); or clean and nostalgic on “Rock Deep (Vancouver)” (4:20) - a love song written for that city. But “Fanatic” still spares a great track for the end: the oriental-psychedelic “Corduroy Road” (4:23), which brings mysterious vocals and epic progressions on exotic violins and arabesque keyboards. With “Fanatic” – an exceptional album that never falls into the shallow commercialism – Heart’s Ladies teach the new generations how to make True Rock – with guts, passion, and style. “Fanatic” is a must-have item for fans of “Led Zeppelin”, “The Doors”, “Janis Joplin”, “Grand Funk”, “Rolling Stones”, “The Yardbirds”, “Deep Purple”, “Humble Pie”, “Dio”, “Joe Cocker”, early “Queen”, “Black Crowes”, and others bands that ever rocked. Band members and collaborators involved in Heart are: Ann Wilson – Vocals, Backing Vocals, Flute; Nancy Wilson – Guitars, Mandolin, Vocals, Backing Vocals; Ben Mink – Guitars, Banjo, Mandolin, Violin, Viola, Baritone Viola, Programming, Keyboards, String arrangements; Ric Markmann – Bass; Ben Smith – Drums, Percussion. Guest Singer: Sarah McLachlan (on “Walkin’ Good”). “Fanatic” Produced by Ben Mink; Recorded by David Leonard at Sunset Sound, L.A. (Dec. 2011) and The Village Studios L.A. (Jan. 2012); Mixed at Studio X, Seattle (Mar.18–Apr.7, 2012); and Mastered at Gotham City Studios, Vancouver, B.C. (May 2012) by Craig Waddell...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013....Want to learn everything about the band and about their history, you need to visit HEART HOME PAGE...
. CURVED AIR - "Air Waves - Live at the BBC Remastered / Live at the Paris Theatre"
Curved Air is one of the most artistic and musically accomplished rock bands to come out of the UK's 1970s Progressive movement. The band surprised the audiences with a combination of ‘60-styled Rock, Folk, and Classical Music, with elements of Electronic and Jazz that was ahead of their time. Curved Air was also one of the first Rock bands to incorporate a violin to their instrumental line-up. The beginning of Curved Air can be traced back to early 1968, when a trio formed by Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums), Rob Martin (bass), and Francis Monkman (guitars, keyboards) joined with Darryl Way (electric violin) and Nick Simon (piano) in a band called “Sisyphus”. As Simon left the band shortly after, the other members decided to change their name for Curved Air (after Terry Riley’s composition “A Rainbow in Curved Air”). In the same year, folk-singer Sonja Kristina – who was performing in the London production of “Hair” – joined in the band by suggestion of theatrical producer Galt McDermont. Curved Air then signed with Warner Brothers and in 1970 released their debut album “Airconditioning”, which reached an 8 in the British charts. In April of 1970 bassist Rob Martin left the band and was replaced by Ian Eyre. The band released the “Second Album” (1971), but Eyre also departed, being replaced by Mike Wedgwood. The third album, “Phantasmagoria”, was released in the spring of 1972, but after the UK and USA tours Curved Air collapsed because of musical and personal differences. The only remainders were Sonja and Mike, who recruited Kirby Gregory (guitars, backing vocals), Eddie Jobson (violin, keyboards), and Jim Russell (percussion) to record “Air Cut” (1973). In December 1974 the original band members, along with American bassist Phil Kohn, reunited for a UK tour, which was registered on the acclaimed “Curved Air Live Album” (1975). Sonja and Darryl decided to keep on and recruited guitarist Mick Jacques, drummer Stewart Copeland and bassist Tony Reeves for the line-up. This quintet was on the road almost continuously throughout 1975 and 76, and recorded Curved Air’s final studio albums: “Midnight Wire” (1975) and “Airborne” (1976). The two extremes of Curved Air’s life-span were registered on the album “Live at the BBC” (1995), and are now being reissued on “Airwaves – Live At The BBC Remastered / Live At The Paris Theatre” (November 2012, Purple Pyramid Label). All tracks were remastered by Alex Siddall (Wall of Waves Studio, London), produced by Marvin Ayres. “Airwaves” features a collection of vintage live BBC recordings from 1970, ‘71 & ’76 made by renowned BBC DJ John Peel, comprising 13 tracks. Peel recorded Curved Air’s first "Top Gear" radio session on April 28, 1970 (represented on the first three tracks). Featuring the original line-up, this opening session included Curved Air’s most famous songs: “It Happened Today” (4:39) – which became one of their greatest hits; “Propositions / What Happens When You Blow Yourself Up” (5:23) – which mixed Hard Rock with Folk, splurging energy out of a long instrumental session; and the innovative “Vivaldi” (6:25) – an experimental piece that blended Classical Baroque Music with haunting vocals and electronic effects, anticipating the signatures of Progressive Rock. Two other “Top Gear” sessions followed on in 1971, comprising altogether a sequence of five tracks. Featuring bassist Ian Eyre, those sessions showcased a mature band that had no difficult to perform on stage the complicated arrangements of songs like “Young Mother In Style” (5:14) – which blended Folk with Psychedelic music and electronics; and “Situations” (5:38) – which cradled a beautiful Renaissance-styled melody in a Rock background. After the sweet and cheerful “Blind Man” (2:45), written mostly for piano and voice, and the energized “Thinking On The Floor” (4:01), this sequence ends with “Stretch” (4:34) – a seminal Folk-Rock. On January 29, 1976, Curved Air played on the "John Peel's In Concert" series at Paris Theatre, London. This show is represented on tracks 9-13 of “Airwaves”, and was performed by the 75-76 line-up, with Sonja, Darryl, guitarist Mick Jacques, bassist Tony Reeves and drummer Stewart Copeland (later on “The Police”). Copeland wrote personal notes for the booklet of the album, reporting his enthusiasm for having played with Curved Air. With a repertoire of songs of their last two albums, this show was marked the musicians’ intense and free-flowing interplay, and by the extraordinary performances of Sonja – whose voice had grown both in amplitude and in interpretative capabilities. The show begins with “Stark Naked” (5:44) – a powerful instrumental piece driven by dynamic bass & drums with amazing violins and flying guitar solos that precedes the bluesy “Woman On A One Night Stand” (5:43) - highlighted by Sonja’s great vocals. The beautiful “Midnight Wire” (6:20) follows on with an organ-driven melody supporting Sonja‘s sad and epic vocals. The short Rock “Hot ‘n’ Bothered” (3:02) brings a vivid violin solo to heat up the audience for “The Fool” (6:43): a final song that fuses Jazz, Folk, Funk, and R&B on that original way that turned Curved Air into a Rock legend. After a long period inactive Curved Air regrouped in 2008 with Sonja, Darryl, Florian, Andy Christie (guitar) and Chris Harris (bass). They played in Southern England, Italy and Malta, and released the album “Reborn” (2008), containing 14 re-recorded tracks. During the 2009 presentations, there were some line-up changes. At the Club Citta Kawasaki, Japan, Andy Christie was replaced by Kit Morgan. And Darryl Way was replaced by Eddie Jobson at a one-off gig in Chislehurst, and later in October by Paul Sax (violin) and Robert Norton (keyboards). Curved Air last album is “Live Atmosphere” (2012), which also includes a DVD. The least that we can say about “Airwaves” is that it is an outstanding record of a distinguishing band that, either playing at different times, or with different line-ups, always kept its musical communion. “Airwaves” is a must-have album for Curved Air’s fans, and an excellent acquisition for the youngsters willing to have a first contact with this important band of the Classic Progressive Rock Era. Band members and collaborators involved in Curved Air are: Original line-up: Sonja Kristina – Vocals; Darryl Way - Electric Violin; Francis Monkman - Guitars, Keyboards; Rob Martin – Bass; Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums. Bassists (1970-74): Ian Eyre (1970-71); Mike Wedgwood (71-73); Phil Kohn (1974). Other musicians - 1973 line-up: Kirby Gregory – Guitar; Eddie Jobson – Violin, Keyboards; Jim Russell – Drums. Line-up of 1975-76: Sonja – Vocals, Darryl – Violin, Keyboards; Mick Jacques - Guitar; Tony Reeves – Bass; Stewart Copeland - Drums. Regrouped line-up of 2008: Sonja - Vocals; Darryl – Violin; Florian – Drums; Andy Christie – Guitar; Chris Harris – Bass. Curved Air’s current line-up: Sonja – Vocals; Florian – Drums; Paul Sax – Violin; Kit Morgan – Guitar; Chris Harris – Bass; Robert Norton - Keyboards...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013.......If you want to know more about this amazing band and its members, visit CURVED AIR HOME PAGE...
. THE CASSINI PROJEKT - "Filler"
The Cassini Projekt is back to this webzine once again to promote a new album, called “Filler”. The Cassini Projekt is a one-man band founded by Alex Mc Donnell (guitars, piano, keyboards, drums, bass, and vocals) – a young musician with a true Rock attitude - who aimed to create unbounded music to express his personal points of view. Mc Donnell is guided by a desire of experimenting and having fun, and was largely influenced by “Radiohead”, “Queen”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “The Mars Volta”, “The Darkness”, “Charlotte Hatherley”, “Led Zeppelin”, “The Prodigy”, “At the Drive-In”, “Coldplay”, “Goldfrapp”, “Opeth”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Badly Drawn Boy”, “Dragonforce”, “Pulp”, “Yeah Yeah Yeahs”, “Interpol”, and “Tool”. On his previous album - the self-made CDR titled “Blind Vision” (2008, Firebird Records – reviewed in 2011 at PR&PM), Mc Donnell achieved the goal of mixing his influences into really weird and crazy songs that defied all conventional tags, mixing several different trends, from Metal and Punk to Progressive, Pop-Rock, Space-Rock and Experimental Music. On “Filler” (2012, Firebird Records), which is The Cassini Projekt’s second self-produced album, Mc Donnell brought in new musical influences from the ‘90s, incorporating different genres and styles like Doom Metal, Death Metal, Progressive Rock, Rap, Punk, Electronica, Grunge, Dance, Alternative and Stoner Rock. The lyrics talk about world war, the psychology of imperialists, the apocalypse, alienation from the universe, political corruption, the nature of consciousness, universal axioms and human evolution. being not directed to the timid listener. A greater influence from “Metallica’s” album “And Justice For All” is heard on the tracks, together with some raging aggressiveness that recalls bands like “Alice In Chains”, “Korn”, “Nirvana”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Porcupine Tree” and “Black Sabbath”. “Filler“ contains 11 tracks, and represents a bitter and ferocious critic to our culture and world around it. The songs are guitar & vocals driven, have twists and changes of pace, and are far better arranged and produced than on the previous album “Blind Vision”. There are many highlights on this album. The explosive opening song “Citadel of Sorrow“ (6:22) is driven by Hard Rock guitars, British Metal attitude; has vocal parts that recall “Jane’s Addiction” and some baroque guitar solos. The long track “Leviathan: The Song of Woe“ (9:12) – is a Dark & Heavy Progressive piece pervaded by some Psychedelic parts, marked by icy pianos, tribal bass and unexpected drum solo, being like a mix of “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Black Sabbath”. The weirdest, heaviest and most aggressive tracks are “IAO“ (8:48) – which blends electronic effects with a “Metallica” & “Megadeth” Thrash-Metal frame, adding Punk vocals, space-guitars, and having a great twist in the middle for the coming of soaring progressive parts before the great guitar solo that plunges the song into a final apocalyptical madness – and “The Jackal“ (6:17) – which is a strange hybrid of “Hendrix”, “Megadeth” and “NIN”, having some epic parts and few growling vocals. The most progressive tracks are “Polybius“ (5:17) – which explores the post-Punk sound of “DEVO”, “The Cure”, and “NIN”, being immersed in thick layers of guitars; and “Ziggurat“ (5:04) – a soaring Ambient track that closes the album. But what makes “Filler” an interesting album to be further explored, is the musical variation it contains. Aside from the commented tracks, the listener may also get hooked by the distorted and groovy Stoner-Rock guitars of “The End of Everything“ (5:08); levitate over the Space-Electronic pulsing beats and keyboards of “Anti Human“ (5:12) – a song driven by a robotic voice; or even mosh into the energetic pool of the frantic Punk-Metal “Profit from Doom“ (3:51). Or you rather prefer to spit out political slogans with the half-Rap & half-Grunge “Infernalis“ (3:44) (a song that recalls “Rage Against The Machine”); or simply calm it down by listening to the lighter and melodic Alternative mainstream Rock “False Dawn“ (3:36). In sum, by blending new influences of Alternative Rock, Metal, Electronica, and Progressive Rock to its primary sound, The Cassini Projekt walked many steps farther in “Filler” in relation to its first album, without abandoning its original desire for going beyond the regular musical patterns. Still not indicated for the regular Progressive Rock fan, The Cassini Project is from now on recommended for fans of “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Alice In Chains”, “Korn”, “Nirvana”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Rage Against The Machine”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Black Sabbath”, “Nine Inch Nails”, and “The Prodigy”. Only band member involved in The Cassini Projekt is: Alex Mc Donnell – vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards, drums, and bass...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013...........Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit THE CASSINI PROJEKT HOME PAGE...
. BATISFERA - "Solar Wind – The Inner Circle"
Batisfera is a Progressive Rock group from Moscow that is formed by Oleg Anurin (vocals, flute, synthesizers, Hammonds, Rhodes & grand piano, didgeridoo), Michael Zonov (electric guitars, 12-string guitar, vargan), and Michael Heifets (drums). The trio was helped by Vladimir Kislyakov (bass) and guest musicians Mike Volokh (doudouk), Aleksander Movsesyan (kemancha, kemani), and Roman Savin (vargan). Their debut album is “Solar Wind – The Inner Circle” (2012, Mals Ltd., Russia), which represents the first part of a conceptual work that tries to combine the physical and metaphysical worlds within man. The tracks are inspired on the cosmic bodies of our solar system – the central sun and the orbiting planets – which influence the inner aspects of a person’s life, and are symbolically interconnected by Ambient Celestial Chords. Inspired by the music, the contemporary artist Stas Svetochenkov made a series of wonderful paintings for the booklet, representing each one of the album’s tracks. Batisfera composes Symphonic Prog-Rock making massive use of synthesizers, Hammond organs and Rhodes pianos that are balanced by long and inspired electric guitar solos. The exuberant music evolves along complex harmonies, catchy melodies and dynamic changes of rhythm that go from Rock to Jazz. Besides that, several traditional instruments – such as flutes, Armenian doudouk, kemancha, kemani, vargan, harp, and didgeridoo - are also added to the mix, enriching the music even more. Overall, Batisfera shares a sonic resemblance with bands like “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Greenslade”, “Camel”, “King Crimson”, “Little Tragedies”, “Autograph”, “Quorum”, “Sunchild”, “Karfagen“, “Flower Kings“ and “Kaipa”. The band’s weakest point resides on Oleg Anurin’s vocals. In spite of being a fantastic keyboardist – proficient in both Classical and Jazz – Oleg‘s voice is not adequate to sing the long and difficult tunes, which would require a singer with a firmer voice and a wider vocal range (someone like "Jon Anderson" would fit perfectly on Batisfera). Although this flaw compromises the music a little, Batisfera compensates the listener by offering exciting instrumental passages that are much longer than those with vocals. “Solar Wind – The Inner Circle” contains 11 tracks – 6 main long tracks divided by 5 short instrumental interludes called “Transitions” (lettered from A to E). The album opens with “The Sun –You’re My Son“ (13:57). As the shiny Sun symbolizes the birth of a child – a sacred event of human life – so is this track: bright and splendorous, full of light and delicate melodies that recall “Yes”, “Glass Hammer”, “Kaipa”, and “Camel”, with thick brocades of keyboards and guitars. It is followed by “Transition A“ (02:16) & “Mercury – Who I Am?“ (09:02): as Mercury is closer to the sun, but rotates slowly, its hemispheres are either too hot or too cold, symbolizing the duality of human nature and the inner fight of good against evil. This conflict is represented on this song by heavier guitars, incisive synths, and swinging bass, recalling “Flower Kings”. Then “Transition B“ (0:54) brings pianos to introduce “Venus – Brought You Roses Every Sunday“ (11:07). According to the Ancient Greeks, Venus – the brightest point in the sky – had a female temper. The concept of female duality is clear on this song, which begins soaring and subtle with flutes and folky acoustic guitars (recalling “Camel” and “Karfagen”), getting progressively more dramatic from the middle to the end, including some wild jazz-rocking parts and cascading pianos, soothing into “Transition C“ (03:18), which recalls some eerie pieces of “Genesis” and “Camel”. Track 4 is dedicated to planet Earth - the cradle and home of the human civilization, the place where all we live and die, ever asking the same metaphysical questions. Therefore, “Earth – I’m Walking…“ (13:15) resulted in a lively song with Byzantine parts that blend medieval and futuristic moments, with highlights going to the variety of keyboards (for fans of “ELP” and “Greenslade”), the flutes (recalling “Jethro Tull”), and the unusual folk instruments (didgeridoo and vargan). The joy of “Earth…” dissolves into the grave atmosphere of “Transition D“ (02:13) – a symphonic piece that introduces “Mars – Four Years Since” (12:15). Planet Mars is covered by the “red sands of time” and reminds us that all things shall pass and die. So this song begins sad, driven by Armenian folk instruments; but as Mars also symbolizes the War God, this track brings rampages of exciting jazz-rock moments and stormy guitars. Finally, the soaring “Transition E“ (00:53) introduces the last track - “Phaeton – Don’t Touch Me!“ (10:30). Phaeton – the imaginary planet that has possibly occupied the orbit between Mars and Jupiter – is a ring of cosmic debris that represents man’s imagination, and his desire for experiencing extraordinary and romantic things. Following this concept, “Phaeton” resulted in the most experimental, varied and free of all tracks, masterfully blending majestic Symphonic moments with dreamy Psychedelic guitars and dark Heavy-Progressive passages. Whenever Batisfera recruits a permanent bassist and a vocalist, then it will be more than highly recommendable for appreciators of Symphonic-Prog who love “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Greenslade”, “King Crimson”, “Little Tragedies”, “Autograph”, “Quorum”, “Sunchild”, “Karfagen“, “Flower Kings“, “Kaipa”, “Glass Hammer”, “The Tangent”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Batisfera are: Oleg Anurin - Vocals, Flute, Synthesizers, Hammond Organ, Rhodes Piano, Grand Piano, Didgeridoo (on “Earth”); Michael Zonov – Electric Guitars, 12-String Guitar, Vargan (on “Earth”); Michael Heifets - Drums. Guest musicians: Vladimir Kislyakov – Bass, Mike Volokh – Doudouk (on “Mars”), Aleksander Movsesyan – Kemancha, Kemani (on “Mars”); Roman Savin – Vargan (on “Earth”). Stas Svetochenkov – contemporary paintings. Production and Mastering: Mike Zonov, Oleg Anurin, Roman Savin. Recorded at Silence Records & Studio RGSI, released under Mals Records Ltd...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/16/2013.................Interested to know more about this great Band? Then you must visit BATISFERA HOME PAGE...
. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN - "The Key Part 1: The Prophecy"
Strangers On A Train was a Neo-Progressive super-trio formed in 1990 by keyboardist Clive Nolan (“Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Shadowland”, “Caamora”), guitar & bass player Karl Groom (“Threshold”), and singer Tracy Hitchings (“Landmarq”). The project was born to give form to The Key Trilogy - an epic musical concept that was conceived, written and composed by Nolan. Strangers On A Train managed to release two albums concerning the project: “The Key Part 1: The Prophecy” (1990) and “The Key Part 2: The Labyrinth” (1993). The trio had planed to record the third part of the Key Trilogy, but because of their involvement with other bands, the sequence had to be put on hold. Nevertheless, Strangers On A Train assembled many loyal fans in the Progressive community and nowadays enjoy a cult status. Because those albums were unavailable for several years, Metal Mind Productions prepared a reissue comprising the first two parts of The Key Trilogy. Both albums have been re-mastered using tube technology, and are being released in digipack edition; on November, 5th in Europe; and on December, 11th in USA (via MVD). “The Key Part 1: The Prophecy” has 14 tracks and a total running time of 63:49. The compositions are disposed on a conceptual sequence, like in a story that is being told to the listener and that will ultimately reach its climax. The music is based on the strength of compositions, the individual performances of band integrants, and the emotional intensity on the vocal parts. The sonority is reminiscent of the Classical approach in usage on Symphonic Progressive Rock, with emphasis on the piano, combined with the melodic and epic sounds of the Neo-Progressive style - emphasized by the guitars and synthesizers - all driven by Tracy’s marvelous vocals. The sophistication of the arrangements and the commitment and precision of the performing musicians has kept Strangers On A Train far away from the mere repetition of Prog-Rock clichés, attaining a style that has been referred as “Chamber Rock”. Along the tracks of “The Prophecy”, the listener will realize a resemblance with bands and names such as “Rick Wakeman”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Renaissance”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Shadowland”, “Caamora”, “Landmarq”, “Arena”, “Queen”, “Mandalaband” “Sky”, and “Andrew Lloyd Webber”. The album begins with the intro “Arrival” (3:37), on which the Classical piano is followed by Tracy’s emotional and intense vocals. The first set brings the great progressive song “Sacrifice” (7:10), which is announced by cloudy guitars. The somber atmosphere is broken by the coming of vigorous pianos, bass and vocals. After a vocal duo with Nolan on backing vocals – the ending part has organs and a great guitar solo that fades into the subtle pianos of “New World” (3:04) – a sweet song driven by Tracy’s mellow voice. The second set is made of 3 instrumental pieces: “Silent Companion” (2:23) has wooden flutes joined to renaissance harpsichords and medieval acoustic guitars; “Crossing The Wasteland” (3:51) is driven by an adventurous piano theme, followed by bombastic synthesizers with a Neo-Progressive sonority; and “Perchance To Dream” (4:27) is a New-Age Nocturne with influences of “Chopin” that brings peaceful watery sounds and a choir of angelic voices that raise up to the sky. The third set has “Lightshow” (3:34) – a ballad with jovial vocals, soft bass, and delicate guitars – contrasted to the intense “Occam's Tears” (8:04), which has a somber intro followed by a dense layer of electronic and mechanical keyboards that are often cut by dramatic vocals and piano chords, ending in a majestic symphony. The fourth set brings the instrumental “Losing A Hold On Life” (3:57) – a poignant piano piece that introduces “From The Outside In” (5:25), a song with an American Broadway-like influence, emphasized by a singing male/female duo. The last set is the most Progressive of all. It is introduced by the killer “Duel” (4:30) – an exciting instrumental piece with a fast rhythm marked on pianos and dominated by a great sequence of guitar solos that is followed by the haunting piano & guitar intro of “From The Inside Out” (6:40), an awesome epic song crowned with neoclassical guitars and great hopeful vocals that defeat the Gothic church organs of “Healing The Rift” (3:58), attaining a heroic victory. The last song - “The Key” (2:43) - closes the circle, returning to the theme of the fist track. A wonderful album from the beginning to the end, “The Key Part 1: The Prophecy” has passed the test of time, and more than twenty years after its release it remains highly recommendable for fans of Symphonic-Progressive and Epic Neo-Progressive Rock, and an indispensable item for fans of “Rick Wakeman”, “Renaissance”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Mandalaband”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Queen”, “Shadowland”, “Caamora”, “Landmarq”, “Sky”, “Andrew Lloyd Webber”, “Triumvirat”. Band members and collaborators involved in Strangers On A Train are: Tracy Hitchings – Vocals; Clive Nolan – Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Words and Music; Karl Groom – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Basses, Drum programming. Produced and Recorded by Clive Nolan and Karl Groom. Recorded and Mixed in Vlissingen (The Netherlands) & London (England), between June and September 1990; Remixed by Karl Groom at Thin Ice Studios (London, England) 1994; Mastered at Q Point. Reissued under Metal Mind Productions...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2013.........................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit STRANGERS ON A TRAIN SITE...
. AGARTA - "Under The Same Sky"
Agarta is a Progressive & Jazz-Rock instrumental quartet from Irkutsk (Russia) that was formed in 2000 as a side project of the Prog-Metal band Extrovert. The line-up has Svyatoslav “Miff” Opritov (guitar, guitar synth, vocals, and flute), and the three Extrovert members: Denis Popov (drums and percussion), Max Popov (bass), and Valery Shukevich (guitar). Their first and only one album is the self-produced “Under The Same Sky”, which was recorded in 2000 and released later in 2003 under Russian label Starless Records. The sound of Agarta is a well-balanced combination of Progressive Rock with melodic Jazz-Rock and Fusion. Their influences and resemblances are mainly with “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Yes”, “Flower Kings”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Weather Report”, “Return to Forever”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “The Dixie Dregs”, “Pat Metheny”, “Santana”, “Soft Machine”, “Steve Vai” and other Prog-Fusion acts, but with something of their own. As it is quite common in Russian bands, all musicians display great skill. The music is amazingly well-driven by the two Popov’s on the rhythmic section: the dynamic and swinging bass interlocks perfectly with the refined and complex drumming, creating a substantial support for the brilliant guitar work of the duo Opritov-Shukevich. Some synths are added to the background in order to create a “Progressive” atmosphere. The overall mood is light and bright, but few parts can tread on heavier and darker plains. “Under The Same Sky” contains 8 instrumental tracks, with exception of track 5, which contains some vocalizations. The album opens with the title track “Under The Same Sky” (9:04), which is the longest and most “Progressive” piece, being divided in parts with different cadences and moods. The beginning has astral guitars and soft bass notes that mix with an ethnical sound. Later on, some somber bass lines push the sound to the domains of the Heavy Prog, followed by great Jazz-Rock guitar solos, and by a beautiful violin-sounding guitar-synth solo. The final segment retakes the main theme on the bass, interlocking it with another guitar solo. “Seven Yards!” (5:14) is vigorously propelled by acoustic guitars that support meandering bass lines and exotic oriental tunes, and has some parts that recall the swing of “Santana” and the energy of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Yet, “Play On Words” (6:41) is reminiscent of the sunny and shiny Latin rhythms, but with a Prog-Fusion soft tessiture that recalls “Weather Report” and “The Dixie Dregs”. “State Of Weightlessness” (5:42) is an experimental Space-Fusion that blends Electronic and Psychedelic effects with impressive “Bill Bruford”-styled drumming, sounding like a communion of “King Crimson” with “Zappa” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. It greatly contrasts with the delicate “The Autumn Garden” (4:57) - an electro-acoustic piece that brings some eerie atmospheres, clean guitars, and Brazilian “Bossa-Nova” harmony vocals. “Rain Architecture” (5:48) has an odd harmonic structure locked in a mathematical metric, recalling “Mahavishnu” and “Crimson”. The last two tracks are short experiments of expressionistic music: “Detonator Of The Genius” (2:04) is basically a wild drum solo combined with scary dissonances; while the mysterious “Loneliness” (1:24), played only on the flute, evokes an ancient pastoral scene. In sum, Agarta was an excellent project-band that recorded an excellent debut album and that still had an immense potential to grow. We regret that Agarta did not give continuity to the career, and hope that this review will spark new interest in this awesome band, so that it may return. Agarta is highly recommended for fans of Prog-Fusion and melodic Jazz-Rock who appreciate bands like “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Weather Report”, “Zappa”, “Return to Forever”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “The Dixie Dregs”, “Pat Metheny”, “Santana”, “Soft Machine”, “Steve Vai”, “Kraan”, “Flower Kings”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Agarta are: Svyatoslav “Miff” Opritov - Guitar, Guitar synth, Vocals (track 5), Flute (track 8); Denis Popov - Drums and Percussion; Max Popov – Bass; Valery Shukevich – Guitar. Recorded at Musical Theater, Irkutsk, October 2000. Engineered by Pavel Gorelik & Max Popov; Mixed by Max Popov; Mastered by Dmitri Khamkalov; Produced by Agarta; Released in 2003 under Starless Records...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2013..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit AGARTA HOME PAGE...
. APOGEE - "Die Gläserne Wand / Schleifen"
Apogee is the solo project of the multi-instrumentalist and composer Arne Schäfer, member of the German Progressive Rock band "Versus X". Schäfer is a self-taught musician who began to play guitar at the age of 14 by listening to “Yes”, “ELP”, “Gentle Giant”, “Genesis”, “Frank Zappa”, and “Jethro Tull”. Other influences are “King Crimson”, “Peter Hammill”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Manfred Mann”, “UK”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Rush”, “Univers Zéro”, “XTC”, “Anglagard”, “Queen”, “Dream Theater”, “Magellan”, “Thinking Plague”, “Traffic”, “Kate Bush”, “Cardiacs”, and also the Classical composers “Allan Pettersson”, “Shostakovich”, “Karl Hartmann”, “Bartok”, “Stravinsky”, “Honnegger”, “Paul Hindemith”, “Mahler” and “Prokofiev”. In 1985 he joined the New Wave/New Romantic trio Vague Venture which played with drum computer. One year later Stefan Maywald joined on drums. In 1989 the band split up because Shäfer’s steered to a Progressive orientation. Shäfer and Maywald joined with keyboardist Lukas Ernst and founded "Versus X", but Ernst left after one year, being replaced by Ekkehard Nahm. After having played the first self-produced CD of "Versus X" to members of the French record company Musea, they asked for more material and Shäfer presented them to a selection of his solo songs that he had recorded over a period of five years on a two-track tape machine by a primitive “Ping-Pong” recording technique. They decided to release Shäfer’s music under the moniker Apogee. Apogee’s discography under Musea numbered four albums. The first two - “The Border of Awareness” (1995) and “Sisyphos” (1998) - had sampled drums; “The Garden of Delights” (2003) and “Mystery Remains” (2009) featured "Versus X" ex-drummers Uwe Voellmar and current drummer Thomas Reiner, who since 2006 stands as Apogee’s second member. A fifth album, “Waiting for the Challenge”, was scheduled for release on December, 2012. Besides Musea’s albums, Apogee released “On the Aftertaste – Recordings 1989-1995” (2006, Mellow Records); and Schäfer’s self-produced solo double-album “Out of the Darkness” (2001), featuring music recorded on cassettes during 1986-88. The album reviewed herein - Apogee feat. Gerald Heimann: “Die Gläserne Wand & Schleifen” (2012, Mals Records, Russia) is a double-CD that contains two lengthy rock symphonies recorded in 1988-89 – a period prior to "Versus X" and Apogee – being dedicated to Shäfer’s fans that always asked for his older repertoire. The sound quality of this early material is not exactly Hi-Fi, but is still very good regarding the simple recording technique that was available for Shäfer at that time (but the re-recording of this material would deploy its purity and destroy the emotional integrity of the original vocals). The German lyrics of "Die Gläserne Wand" and "Schleifen" were written by Gerald Heimann, who also contributes with additional vocals in some parts of the record. In spite of Shäfer’s musical influences, the compositions of this album have more in common with the sound of bands of the German Progressive, Krautrock, and Gothic-Rock movements than with most of the British Prog-Bands cited above. On the track “Die Gläserne Wand” (“The Glass Wall”), which is divided in 5 “Movements” that occupy all CD-1 and the first third of CD-2, there are renovated echoes of the unrestrained creativity of “Amon Düü” II” and “Guru Guru”, the gothic atmospheres of “Faust”, the delicacy and mystery of “Popol Vuh”, the exoticism of “Agitation Free”, the compositional sophistication of “Kraan” and “Can”, the cosmic choirs and sonorities of “Ash Ra Tempel”, the melodicism of “Grobschnitt”, the electronic brocades of “Tangerine Dream”, the concrete experimentalism of “Frumpy”, and the raw guitar-energy of “Neu!” and “Birth Control”. All is delivered by thick layers of intricate guitars, dense bass sounds, opulent vintage keyboards (organs, Mellotrons and Moogs), and dramatic vocal performances that are packed up in cerebral arrangements. The highlights of “Die Gläserne Wand” are: “Movement 1” (18:04) - the powerful guitars and the dramatic questioning vocals; “Movement 2” (15:34 ) – the dark-gothic atmosphere driven by deep ritualistic voices and frightening pianos, and a long Jazz-Rock sequence with a saxophone-textured solo; “Movement 3 (Part 1)” (13:50) & (Part 2)” (5:43) - the martial drumming that grows incorporating vocals, guitars and bass reminiscent of the 80’s Gothic-Rock style; “Movement 4” (19:58) – the experimental fusion of Electronic elements with distorted space-guitars, gothic-rock vocals, and great bass solo, still adding a Jazz-Rock sequence. “Movement 5” (20:26) opens CD-2 with atmospheric symphonic keyboards, melancholic acoustic guitars and vocals – recalling “Novalis” and “Popol Vuh” – that evolve to a techno-gothic segment - still having beautiful Pan flutes, angelical choirs and inspiring tunes with influences of “EIoy” and “Anyone’s Daughter”. The rest of CD-2 features the second composition, “Schleifen” (“Loops”), a trippy song divided in two parts. “Part 1” (23:58) has acoustic guitars, delicate synth melodies and soft vocals that recall the sound of “Novalis”, “Eloy”, “Popol Vuh”, “Hölderlin”, and “Grobschnitt”, transposing times to the futuristic ambience provided by electronic drumming and oriental bass. Heavy-Prog guitars and aggressive vocals arise at the middle part, followed by vocal dialogues and psychedelic-space guitars. “Part 2” (19:34) sounds modern, alternating vibrant swinging flashes of techno-industrial instrumentation (recalling “Rammstein”) with calmer Progressive moments, leading to an epic final that recalls “Eloy”. Anyway, this Apogee’s lengthy and complex opus needs many spins to be appreciated in its totality. An impressive work, which I shall strongly recommend to anyone who has an interest on the German Progressive, Krautrock and Gothic-Rock Musical scenes, especially fans of “Amon Düü” II”, “Guru Guru”, “Faust”, “Popol Vuh”, “Agitation Free”, “Kraan”, “Can”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Grobschnitt”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Frumpy”, “Neu!”, “Birth Control”, “Novalis”, “Eloy”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Apogee are: Arne Schäfer – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Electronic Drums, Compositions and Arrangements; Gerald Heimann – Lyrics and Additional Vocals on "Die Gläserne Wand – First Movement" and "Schleifen". Drummers: Uwe Voellmar (2003-2006); Thomas Reiner (2006 on). The album contains English summaries of the German lyrics in the booklet. The full German lyrics can be found on "Versus X" website under the folder "Lyrics"...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2013.....................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit APOGEE HOME PAGE...
. LOUIS LAMP - "An Open Mind"
Louis Lamp is and independent musician, composer and actor who began to play the violin still during his childhood. He plays regularly as a guest in a wide variety of groups of most any genre, whether they are recording or performing. He has appeared as a guest musician on the following albums: “Resurrection” (by “Sacred Rite”); “Dream Chemistry” and “Images of White” (by “Dream Chemistry”) and on the 2006 compilation “Tracks Across Time – Vol IV” (by “An Elite Veterans of Rock - EvO:R)”. He was also featured on the compilation “Buen Provecho” (2006) with the song “Chiron”. As a solo musician, Louis Lamp produces his own albums. His discography includes the Constellation Cockroach EP (2011, Musical Chemist Publishing - BMI) and the album reviewed herein - “An Open Mind” (2003/2006). Louis Lamp began writing music regularly while he was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, completing “An Open Mind” just days before his deployment. In 2011 when he was a subject in a hearing research test, it was detected a change in his hearing sense that become an obstacle for Louis to write his music. With the help of the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) in Portland, OR, he started to compose again. Today, he writes and shares his music with patrons while awaiting more tools from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help him manage his auditory difficulties. At the meantime Louis worked as an actor in NBC’s “Grimm” series in late 2011. “An Open Mind” is a full-length album that contains 14 instrumental tracks. The style combines Electronic and New-Age music performed with synthesizers and the electric violin, having influences of “Mike Oldfield”, “Philip Glass”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Alan Parsons”, “Changing Images”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Klaus Schulze”, “Yanni”, and a mild influence of Classical composers such as “J.S. Bach”, “Claude Debussy”, and “Paul Dukas”. The music is calm and relaxing, and brings peace of mind and spiritual tranquility to the listener, being therefore ideal for the practice of meditation. What I liked most, is that Louis makes use of a vast array of textures and sounds on his music – such as metallic sounds of bells and chimes, vibraphones, xylophones, pianos, harpsichords, synthesizers, flutes, violins, and bass notes. He distributes those instruments with intelligence and parsimony over his compositions, so that each musical piece has a sonority that is unique, making it different from the others – avoiding repetitiveness and monotony. “An Open Mind” opens with “Emotional Collage“ (18:30) – a long symphonic piece that uses abundant metallic sounds (vibraphone, xylophone, tubular bells) that are arranged in several movements like the works of “Bach”, “Oldfield” and “Glass”. It is followed by “Teagan Alia“ (5:20) and “Quiet Triumph“ (3:30) – two softer tracks that exude a much more lively mood, bringing pianos, synthesizers and electronic melodies, recalling the sounds of “Changing Images”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, and “Tangerine Dream”. At the middle of the record there are some of my favorite tracks – the ethnical “Chiron“ (2:25) – with percussion sounds and Asiatic themes that recall the work of “Kitaro” – and the pair “Reverie 1“ (4:42) & “Reverie 2“ (5:08) – two fast pieces full of energy that combine groovy and swinging bass sounds, silky violins, synthesizers and electronic drumming that reflect the futurism of “Alan Parsons”. Not so far, the listener is introduced to the most Progressive tracks of the record: “Time Away (From Vibes)” (5:26) is a Baroque number that brings flutes, harpsichords and strings, recalling the works of “Bach”, being also surrounded by a magical and mysterious aura that recall “Dukas” and “Debussy”; “Lessons Learned“ (5:33) is a pompous symphonic piece that features a background of Progressive Keyboards – binding cosmic parts with orchestral drumming – being like a mix of “Kitaro” and “Tangerine Dream” with “Oldfield” and “Yanni”. Between the two aforementioned compositions, there are two tracks - “Lullaby“ (3:06) and “Bach on Vibes“ (1:36) – that use relaxing sounds of tubular bells, chimes and vibraphones to induce slumbering and dreamy sensations on the listener. Along the record, the main compositions are separated by a series of short interludes - the cosmic “Space Between the Ears“ (1:25), the piano solo “Internal Conflict“ (2:11), and the experimental “Dark and Curious“ (2:20) – before arriving at the ending song “Conclusions“ (5:11) – a solemn piece written for piano that is immersed in a slightly gothic and reverential atmosphere. If you are a fan of “Mike Oldfield”, “Philip Glass”, “Jean Michel Jarre”, “Andreas Vollenweider”, “Alan Parsons”, “Yanni”, “Tangerine Dream”, “Klaus Schulze”, “Kitaro” and “Changing Images”, then Louis Lamp is highly recommended for you! Band members and collaborators involved in Louis Lamp are: Louis Lamp – all violins and synthesizers, production...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2013..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit LOUIS LAMP HOME PAGE...
. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN -  "The Key Part 2: The Labyrinth"
This is the second review about Strangers On A Train – the short-lived Neo-Progressive band that during 1990-1993 reunited Clive Nolan (keyboards), Karl Groom (guitars and bass), and singer Tracy Hitchings. Born around The Key Trilogy - a musical concept created by Nolan - Strangers On A Train managed to release two albums. The first, “The Key Part 1: The Prophecy” came out in 1990 (see the review above), while its continuation, “The Key Part 2: The Labyrinth” came out in 1993, being followed by a handful of live shows. The band never had an opportunity to record the third part of the Key Trilogy. In spite of that, Strangers On A Train reached a cult-status within the Progressive Rock community – a situation that led Metal Mind Productions to prepare a re-mastered reissue of those two albums in 2012. Scheduled for release on November, 5th in Europe; and on December, 11th in the USA (via MVD); both albums are being reviewed here at PR&PM webzine. “The Key Part 2: The Labyrinth” is a 72-minute long recording featuring only five tracks. There are three multilayered tracks of epic length – two of them surpassing the 20 minutes - and two shorter tracks exhibiting a balance of instrumental and vocal work. The longest tracks are subdivided in pieces, as in a suite. “The Key Part 2” has also participation of singer Alan Reed (“Pallas”, “Caamora”, and “Abel Ganz”). In relation to “Part 1”, the music of this record is more creative, opulent and varied. The arrangements are even more symphonic and epic, showing a greater integration between Groom’s guitars and the diverse sounds and textures produced by Nolan’s synthesizers. The two singers act separately or in duos, always surprising the listener with their vocal precision and their passionate interpretations. The album begins with “Darkworld” (20:37), an enthralling suite loaded with grandeur and drama. It begins with “I-A new Beginning (Instrumental)” (a dramatic intro immersed in a Phantomlike atmosphere, with Gothic church organs falling onto majestic guitars); goes along with “II-Edge of Darkness” (a song on which Tracy’s voice sounds malevolent, as she was casting a spell against the raising pianos and symphonic majestic parts); and reaches the amazing “III-Deliverance” (featuring Alan Reed on one of his best performances). On “IV-A Moment of Sanity”, Tracy takes the lead before Neo-Prog keyboards and guitar scherzos that ultimately grow on “V-Beyond the Rubicon”, a song with influences of “Queen”, which is marked by a great vocal duo. The second track is the instrumental “Hijrah” (6:40), which begins with a religious aura created by the organ and vocalizations, turning later into a frantic pace, reminiscent of folkloric Hungarian and Cossack dances and of the “Flight of the Bumblebee”. The title track “The Labyrinth” (14:07) is a triad comprising “I-The First Veil - Sensing a Presence” (a mattress of vigorous folk-acoustic guitars supporting Tracy’s vocals); “II-The Second Veil – Contamination” (a set of apocalyptical words spoken by Reed); and the instrumental “III-The Third Veil - Trick of the Light“ – a contrasting shadow/light piece with heart-beat rhythm, heavy guitars, medieval lutes, harpsichords, baroque flutes, and organs. Track 4 - “The Vision Clears” (6:57) is a Tracy solo performance, combining a touch of sophisticated Pop, and programmed drumming, with a cool jazzy mood, but amplified by the melodic orchestral background, still having sporadic solos of synthesizers and a great guitar solo in Neo-Prog style. The last track is the epic “Endzone” (23:32), divided in five parts. It begins with the instrumental “I-Occam's Flame” (which recalls “Oldfield”, adding cosmic guitars, Neoclassic guitar solo, and a great synthesizer solo performed with emotion and sensibility), followed by “II-Purification” (a piano song for Reed’s vocal solo, recalling “Triumvirat”). The instrumental “III-Recovery” is a Symphonic New-Age interlude that precedes the impressive “IV-A New Perspective”, on which Tracy’s vocals are accompanied by an imposing piano and classical guitars, reaching an spiritual climax amidst a choir strengthened by keyboards, before the coming of “V-Denouement” – the grand finale, a song full of hopeful feelings, with Reed and Tracy singing in duo once again – and leading to the final Progressive apotheosis with powerful guitars. After hearing both albums of “The Key Trilogy”, I felt that “Part 2” is a few steps higher than “Part 1”. We hope that the musicians involved in the project will have a break on their busy schedules to finally record “The Key Part 3”, which - judging for the progression featured on “Parts 1 and 2” - shall be really a fantastic work. Strangers On A Train’s both albums are brilliant gems of Symphonic and Neo-Progressive Rock, being indispensable for fans of “Rick Wakeman”, “Renaissance”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Kansas”, “Genesis”, “Mandalaband”, “Queen”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Shadowland”, “Caamora”, “Landmarq”, “Sky” “Triumvirat”. Band members and collaborators involved in Strangers On A Train are: Tracy Hitchings – Vocals; Alan Reed – Vocals; Clive Nolan – Keyboards, Words, Music, Orchestrations; Karl Groom – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Drum programming. Produced and Engineered by Clive Nolan and Karl Groom. Recorded at The Ice Studios (London, England), Mastered at Digipro (Soest, The Netherlands). Re-issued under Metal Mind Productions...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2013............,.....Interested to know more about the Band and the Album? Visit STRANGERS ON A TRAIN SITE...
. VITRIOL - "Into the Silence I Sink"
Vitriol is Progressive Metal sextet from Bologna, Italy. The grouped was conceived in 2007 by founder members Francesco Lombardo (bass) and Michele Panepinto (drums), who soon joined with Gianluca Pappalardo (lead vocals), Alessandro Sanfilippo (guitars), Piero Carvello (keyboards), and, since 2010, Tommaso Semrov (guitars). Vitriol in the acronym of one of the most famous mottos of the Renaissance alchemy: “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultam Lapidem” (or: “Enter the bowels of the Earth and, through your purification, you will find the hidden stone”). But “vitriol” is also a corrosive chemical compound. Hence, the double meaning of the term “vitriol” describes the essence of the band, which is constantly oscillating between the two essential components of their music: one, aggressive, and the other, introspective & reflective. Vitriol’s discography includes the EP “Vitriol” (2009), which received so many positive reviews in alternative Rock & Metal magazines and webzines that led the band to sign with American label Melodic Revolution Records in 2010. Their first full-length album, “Into the Silence I Sink”, was released in November 2012, under that label. “Into the Silence I Sink” is a concept album dealing with the theme of “Silence”, metaphorically approached as "deep absence of communication" - the causes of which are analyzed and discussed on the lyrics. Vitriol’s sonority is catchy and prone to cause instant and severe addiction. The instrumental passages are solid, supported by complex arrangements that compact together heavy-density guitar riffs, ultra-fast baroque pounding bass, and awesome prog-metal drumming. Their influences on this matter are mainly bands like “Pain Of Salvation”, “Dream Theater”, “Opeth”, “Katatonia”, “Tool”, “Pantera”, and even “King Crimson”, but I also recognized echoes of “Alice in Chains”, “Metallica”, “Deftones”, “Slipknot”, and “The Ocean”. Keyboards are an important instrument on this band – sometimes soaring, other times classic - they add a substantial symphonic background to all songs, and fly in exciting solos. Also several passages on the piano recall me of bands like “Superior” and “Sylvan”. Finally, the awesome voice of G. Pappalardo - a singer whose talents equal him to “Dio”, “Roy Khan”, “Damian Wilson”, “Marco Glühmann”, and “Tom S. Englund” – brings balance to Vitriol’s aggressive sound, consisting in the seductive ingredient that will make this band highly appreciated by fans of “Conception”, “Kamelot”, “Threshold”, “Evergrey”, “Sieges Even”, and “Redemption”. “Into the Silence I Sink” has 10 tracks. The opening track “Behind The Electric Veil” (7:09) has a violent start, in a New-Metal style that recalls “Slipknot”, but the emotion that irradiates from Pappalardo’s vocals, combined with pianos that recall “Superior”, all powered by whirlwind bass and guitars solos, make the song increase in drama. “Slowly She Dies” (6:29) has a heavy swing that recalls “Pain of Salvation” and “Alice in Chains”, and a Progressive slower part driven by whispering and introspective vocals. The song goes back to the initial heaviness and ends amazing guitar solo, soft vocals and pianos, recalling “Sylvan”. The noisy “Sinking” (2:16) precedes “The Frozen Wind” (4:45) – a paranoid song with intricate riffs, great bass by Lombardo, and an unexpected twist for a groovy Heavy-Metal – it is like having “Dream Theater” for lunch and “Dio” for dessert. These heavy songs are equilibrated by the outstanding Prog-Metal ballads “Arabesque” (6:03) (mainly with vocals, pianos, and harder moments, like “Sylvan” and “Sieges Even”); and “Despite Your Cries” (5:37) (with soft drumming, cool bass and progressive pianos, skipping to heavy guitars only at the end). The following songs are the best of this album, and place Vitriol in an advantageous position in relation to other Prog-Metal newcomers. “Endless Spiral” (9:42) alternates pounding riffs and dramatic vocals – full of suffering and yet with the desire of being free. The song grows on the instrumental parts, having Thrash-Prog riffs, amazing synth/guitar solos, and floating arrangements. “Oceans” (7:25) has many twist and changes of pace, cosmic sounds, rumbling drums, and confessional vocals. One segment is like a dark blues-metal (like “Alice in Chains”), the other is psychedelic, recalling a less heavier “Tool”. Finally “The Continuous Struggle” (2:47) is another noisy intro for “Three Times” (9:21). The slow deep bass promises that something epic is coming in, and do really come by means of dazzling instrumentation, Lombardo’s frantic bass playing, choirs and progressive vocal parts that recall “Dream Theater” – amazing! In sum, Vitriol is Progressive Metal for your soul, with a good deal of philosophical inquiry, and aligns with a new generation of Prog-Metal bands, like “Pantomind”, “Ethereal Architect”, “Distorted Harmony”, “Forces at Work”, “Athem”, “Aeon Zen”. Brilliant album, indispensable for fans of “Pain Of Salvation”, “Opeth”, “Tool”, “Dream Theater”, “Pantera”, “Katatonia”, “Alice in Chains”, “Deftones”, “Dio”, “Superior”, “Sylvan”, “Conception”, “Kamelot”, “Sieges Even”, “Evergrey”, “Redemption”, “Threshold”, “Symphorce”, “Anathema”, “Novembers Doom”, “The Ocean”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Vitriol are: Gianluca Pappalardo – Lead vocals; Tommaso Semrov – Guitars; Alessandro Sanfilippo – Guitars; Piero Carvello – Keyboards & Vocals; Francesco Lombardo – Bass & Vocals; Michele Panepinto – Drums & Vocals. Album’s concept, music, and lyrics by Francesco Lombardo, arranged by F. Lombardo, M. Panepinto, & Vitriol. Drums recorded at Fear Studio (Ravenna, Italy) by Max Canali & Gabriele Ravaglia. All else recorded at Inside Vitriol Studio (Bologna, Italy) by F. Lombardo & M. Panepinto. Mixed and mastered by Gabriele Ravaglia assisted by F. Lombardo, M. Panepinto & P. Carvello. Produced by Vitriol. Artwork by Gabriele Adami. By Melodi Revolution Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2013..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VITRIOL HOME PAGE...
. TIM BROWN - "Pleasurestrike"
Tim Brown is a keyboardist from Chesterfield, UK, who was founding member of band “Stateline” (active from 1987 to 1991), and also performed in other Rock bands along the 80's to early 90's. Tim Brown is currently composing, recording and producing his own musical material, which consists of Synth Rock Instrumental Music. His discography includes two self-released albums: “Nervousenergie” (2008) and the newest one, called “Pleasurestrike” (2012). Brown’s style comprises Progressive-Rock, Classic Hard-Rock, and Fusion, with influences of “Jon Lord”, “Deep Purple”, “Tony Carey”, “Planet P Project”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, and “Dream Theater”. Influences of the Middle-Eastern music are perceived on Arabian and Turkish tunes and rhythms. Also Electronic, Cosmic and Ambient backgrounds appear on some of his compositions, bringing echoes of “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno” and “Klaus Schulze”. Overall, Brown’s work ranks with other keyboard-oriented acts which have been featured at this webzine, such as “Lars Boutrup”, “Progression by Failure”, “Mistheria”, “Bartosz Ogrodowicz”, and “Jamie Craig”. “Pleasurestrike” features 10 all-instrumental compositions that represent an ample stylistic variation within the spheres of Progressive, Hard-Rock and Fusion, with greater importance being given to tunes and compositions than to exaggerated technique. My favorite tracks are those that have more energy, being driven by fast-paced Hard-Rock drumming and powerful Hammonds (in “Jon Lord & Deep Purple’s” style) intermingled with a vibrant mesh of keyboard solos that recall the modern synthesizers of “Rudess” and “Sherinian”. These include the first two tracks, “Pleasure Strike” (4:02) and “Free-Fall” (4:11) – which confirm that the legacy of “Jon Lord” will live through the disciples he left -; and also track 8, “Reaching the Surface” (4:20), which is a great Space-Rock stormed with the double-attack of keyboards in “Lord-Sherinian” mode. Also among my favorites are three tracks that follow a Heavy-Fusion orientation, recalling the music of “Rudess” and “Planet P Project”. The best in this row are “Mysterious Obelisk” (6:25), which grows from Cosmic sounds and epic ambiences to the alternation of heavy Space-Rock and Prog-Metal keyboards, recalling “Rudess” and “Dream Theater”; and “Ghost Army” (3:47), a march driven by heavy Hammonds, tolling bells, and slicing ghostly synths. Yet, on the lively “Sparks of Life” (4:31), Brown supports some Arabian melodies with an electronic rhythmic background, reaching very good results. But “Pleasurestrike” does not rely upon heavy and powerful moments only. Interspersed along the record there are some softer and melodic Prog-Fusion tracks, with a greater predominance of Electronic, Ambient and New-Age sounds. The excellent track 4, “Drifting With Spirits” (4:28), floats on electronic waves, being highlighted with the soaring guitar solo that was recorded and performed by guest musician Christian Schmider (“Diamond Garden Project”), which has a “Satriani-Vai” accent. The soaring lullaby “Drawn to Sleep” (2:46) displays melancholic tones painted by soft sounds of acoustic guitars and flutes, following the New-Age style; and “Eyes of Memory” (3:31), although slow, has a groovy electronic swing that recalls a fusion of “Alan Parsons” with “Planet P Project”. The closing track, “Liquidity” (3:00), with an ethereal electronic texture, will appeal to fans of “Brian Eno” and “Klaus Schulze”. Although the music could be improved by a real rhythmic session (bass & drums), and ethnical percussion of Turkish-Arabian origin, listening to Tim Brown’s record is certainly a very pleasant experience. Tim Brown’s “Pleasurestrike” is a great work, especially recommended for fans of “Jon Lord”, “Deep Purple”, “Tony Carey”, “Planet P Project”, “Jordan Rudess”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Steve Vai”, “Joe Satriani”, “Dream Theater”, “Alan Parsons”, “Brian Eno”, “Klaus Schulze”, “Lars Boutrup”, “Progression by Failure”, “Mistheria”, “Bartosz Ogrodowicz”, “Jamie Craig”, “Michael Pinnella”. Band members and collaborators involved in Tim Brown are: Tim Brown – Keyboards, Keyboard Programming, Compositions. Guest musician: Christian Schmider - Guitar on “Drift With Spirits”. Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Tim Brown. Artwork, photography and layout by Tim Brown; additional artwork by Hannah Brown. Produced by Tim Brown...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2013............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TIM BROWN HOME PAGE...
. SPICY BITS OF SCANDAL - "Heaven Can Wait…"
The Heavy & Progressive Metal band Spicy Bits of Scandal (a.k.a. SBS) is back to PR&PM. Born in 1979 in Vilnius, Lithuania, SBS had different line-ups during its existence, but a nucleus made of Vilius Kraujalis (keyboards) and Vitalis Kairiukštis (lead vocals) kept the band active along the years. In 2005 Vilius and Vitalis renewed SBS’s line-up and the band released the albums “Tik Menulio Šviesa...“ (2007) & "The Gambler" (2008, reviewed at PR&PM in 2010). SBS is returning now with a brand new album entitled "Heaven Can Wait…" (2013, VK). The line-up was reduced to a quartet formed by Vitalis Kairiukštis (vocals), Kostas Balciunas (guitars), Martynas Garbacas (bass), and Vaidotas Segenis (drums). Because Vilius left the band, keyboards were left in charge of guest musicians Maestro Mistheria, Ferdy Doernberg, and Dainius Pulauskas. Ieva Kairiukštyte (backing vocals) and other guests contributed to the recordings (see below). “Heaven Can Wait…” is offered in a special digipack edition with embossed cover, and contains 15 tracks and one bonus. The music of SBS was initially an efficient congregation of 70’s & 80’s Traditional & Melodic Metal with 90’s Power-Metal (with influences of "Rainbow", "Scorpions", "Judas Priest", "Dio", "Accept", "Helloween", "Malmsteen", "Stratovarius", "Helloween", "Gamma Ray", "Rhapsody of Fire", "Nocturnal Rites"). But with the departure of Vilius and changes in the line-up, SBS is now less aligned to the Neoclassical component of Power-Metal, and has moved the focus to the styles of Prog-Metal (by means of the destructive guitars of K. Balciunas and the outstanding contribution of Maestro Mistheria), and Hard Rock (with great bass & drums interplay of M. Garbacas and V. Segenis, and exceptional vocal interpretation of Vitalis and Ieva). By doing so, SBS extended their musical range to reach bands like “Alice Cooper”, “Armored Saint”, “Metal Church”, “Queensrÿche”, “Running Wild”, “Angra”, “Elegy”, “Symphony X”, “Nigthwish”, and “Within Temptation”, producing an excellent and varied record that surpasses their previous album, “The Gambler”. “Heaven Can Wait…” is a concept album telling a Vampire story that is introduced by the narration registered on “The Journey Begins” (2:57), and continues on the horror-metal song “Bloody Wedding” (4:04), with great influence of “Alice Cooper”. SBS accelerates on the Power-Metal “Against the Whole World” (4:07), bringing rumbling bass, ‘70-styled keyboards, and whirlwind guitars, like a blend of “Rainbow”, “Dio” and “Stratovarius”; and gets heavier on “Scream from Hell” (1:30) (dark ambient interlude)/ “Puer Malus – You Are the Witch” (6:42), a song that reunites the Heavy-Metal style of “Armored Saint” and “Metal Church” inside great symphonic arrangements, still bringing Prog-Metal instrumental passages, bass in NWOBHM-style, and grand finale with majestic church organs. “The Judgement” (5:32) follows on, recalling the 80’s Metal of old “Queensrÿche”, but having keyboards, Gregorian choirs, Progressive bass, and epic guitar solo! “Cinderella” (4:00) is darker and Gothic, and recalls “Nightwish” and “Within Temptation” (except for the male vocals). Guitars and keyboards engage into battles, recalling “Malmsteen” and early “Symphony X”. “Samhein” (4:48) retakes the Power-Metal pace on the powerful drums and riffs, on Neoclassical guitars (back to “Stratovarius” and “Gamma Ray”), and on the vintage keyboards (like “Rainbow”), but reserves a surprise on the male/female ironic backing vocals, and some “Halford-like” screams. The following tracks tend to the Hard-Rock: “The Abyss” (4:57) has amazing bass intro, a Thrash-Metal energy, and spits old R&B devilry throughout the vocals and backing vocals; while “Kiss of Judas” (3:50) swings with soulful riffs, Hammonds, vocals and guitars like “Zeppelin” & “Deep Purple”. On the ‘80s-Metal celebration song “Religion of Rock” (5:01) guitar riffs reminiscent of “Dio” and “Judas Priest” are juxtaposed to a choir of Pirates (recalling “Running Wild”); a guitar solo makes reference to “Ozzy’s” “Mr. Crowley”, and a girls’ choir complete the fun. The following songs are prodigies of creative Prog-Metal musicality: “House of the Evil” (7:20) begins with sinister vocals, and evolves with awesome keyboards and great guitars in Prog-Metal style, with a touch of 70’s and 80’s Metal; “Danse Macabre” (6:13) is a Symphonic Epic-Metal driven by a majestic cadence that recalls “Kamelot”, “Edenbridge”, and “Rainbow”, still having breathtaking guitars, progressive interludes, and Indian melodies; and “Fallen Angel” (5:28) is a Dark-Power-Metal hymn driven by roaring rhythmic sequences, cascading keyboards, and wild guitars, recalling “Apocrypha”, except for an unexpected Electronic middle part. The album ends with the beautiful ballad “Waiting on Dark” (6:31), driven by acoustic classical guitars and strings; and the bonus-track “Don’t Torture Me” (4:37), a Melodic-Metal that sounds like “Malmsteen’s” most easy-listening songs. “Heaven Can Wait…” is an outstanding album from SBS, a band that stays vibrant and inventive along the years, being indispensable for fans of the 70 to 90’s Heavy, Power & Progressive Metal styles. Band members and collaborators involved in SBS are: Vitalis “Don Vito” Kairiukštis – Lead and Backing Vocals; Kostas Balciunas – Guitars; Martynas Garbacas – Bass; Vaidotas Segenis – Drums. Guest musicians: Maestro Mistheria – Keyboards and String Arrangements (tracks 2,3,5,6,9,11,12,13,14,15), Strings on tr. 4; Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards (tracks 6,7) Dainius Pulauskas – Keyboards (track 10, bonus); Ieva Kairiukštyte - Backing Vocals, Tomas Varnagiris – Electric guitars on 13; Laurynas Baškys & Jonas Chockevicius – Double Guitar fragment on 11. Girls’ choir: Vilnius Choral Singing School, “Liepaites”, conducted by Jolita Vaitkevciene. Album recorded in Latvia and Lithuania, Mixed and Mastered by Edijs Gnedovskis at GEM Studio, Riga (Latvia); Produced by Vitalis Kairiukštis...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2013.......,.....Interested to know more about the Band? You must visit SPICY BITS OF SCANDAL HOME PAGE...
. CROWNED IN EARTH - "A Vortex of Earthly Chimes"
Crowned In Earth is a band formed in 2007 in the city of Maidstone, UK. The line-up includes founding members Kevin Lawry (vocals, guitars, bass & keyboards) and Darin McCloskey (drums), helped by newcomer member Brian J Anthony (Mellotron). Crowned in Earth’s debut album “Visions of the Haunted” (2010) featured an original blend of Progressive and Classic Rock of the ‘70s with ‘80s Doom Metal. On their newest and second album, titled “A Vortex of Earthly Chimes” (2012, Black Widow Records), Crowned In Earth intends to take the listeners back to the days of the early 70’s Decca and Charisma Record labels releases, blended with authentically Psychedelic-Doom inspired rock. The epic new songs retain the band’s distinct sound and low end groove, but have been textured with innovative arrangements and melodic instrumental passages, with influences ranging from early “Black Sabbath”, “Electric Wizard”, “Cathedral”, “Black Widow”, “Witchcraft”, “Pentagram”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pink Floyd”, and “H.P. Lovecraft”, (and let me add: “Janus”, “Josefus”, “Iron Claw”, “Lucifer Was”, “Pagan Altar”, “Message”, “Vinum Sabbatum”), to 80’s Metal bands like “Desolation Angels”, “Witchfinder General”, “Angel Witch”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, and “Count Raven”. Crowned In Earth also resembles recent bands like “L’Impero Delle Ombre”, “Doomraiser”, and “Blood Ceremony”. Even being less heavy and epic, their Doom and Stoner Metal influences are also to be credit to bands like “Candlemass”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Reverend Bizarre”, and “Orange Goblin”. “A Vortex of Earthly Chimes” brings 5 long tracks. The opening track, “Ride the Storm” (12:20), brings the raw-meat sonority that characterized the proto-Metal bands of the late 60’s to early 70’s (mainly early “Black Sabbath”, “Pentagram”, “Iron Claw”, “Black Widow”). The song begins slowly, with heavy downtempo guitars resounding like tolling bells, and sinister organs that create a macabre atmosphere. The airs are cleared by a bright guitar theme, followed by a longer segment driven by psychedelic-stoner guitars and vocals (like “Electric Wizard”), punctuated with pagan keyboards. The melodic guitar solo brings back that guitar theme again, now followed by a final segment with martial drums and flutes. The second track, “Watch the Waves” (11:30) contains a greater variation of sounds. Mostly instrumental (vocals appear briefly, singing few lines), this piece is initially pushed by faster guitar riffs and later falls into a deep psychedelic trance that recalls the sounds of “H.P. Lovecraft” and “Witchcraft”. A Doom-styled guitar riff merges with hypnotic keyboards and synths. Vocals finally arise, creating a kind of “electric-funeral” atmosphere, and take the song to a final epic movement, driven by keyboards and guitars. The following two tracks are guitar-oriented Doom-Rock songs with influences of early “Black Sabbath”, “Desolation Angels”, “Trouble”, “Witchfinder General”, “Angel Witch”, and “Electric Wizard”: “World Spins out of Key” (5:50) is the fastest, and has a final segment with wah-wah guitar solo, keyboards, and druidic flutes; while “Winter Slumber” (6:10) is slower, heavier and deeper, having a “Sabbath”-groove on the distorted riffs, a great vocal tune, and a long guitar solo. The closing track, “Given Time” (11:26), begins melancholic, driven by hopeless vocals, bass and drums. It becomes more dramatic with the coming of organs and heavier Doom-Metal riffs, releasing the tension on the guitar solo. The song goes back to a melancholic mood, driven by soaring guitars and Mellotrons that vanish to the end. Containing a good deal of Proto-Doom, Doom and Stoner Metal moments, combined with insightful use of keyboards, Crowned In Earth‘s new album is the right choice for fans of “Black Sabbath”, “Cathedral”, “Electric Wizard”, “Black Widow”, “Witchcraft”, “Pentagram”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Pagan Altar”, “Message”, “Vinum Sabbatum”, “Desolation Angels”, “Witchfinder General”, “Angel Witch”, “Trouble”, “Saint Vitus”, “Count Raven”, “L’Impero Delle Ombre”,  “Doomraiser”, “Blood Ceremony”, “Reverend Bizarre”, “Solitude Aeturnus”, “Candlemass”, “Lord Vicar”, “Orange Goblin”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Crowned In Earth are: Kevin Lawry – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Lyrics, Compositions, Arrangements; Darin McCloskey – Drums; Brian J Anthony – Mellotron. Recorded 2011-2012 in the UK and at Brian J Anthony Studios, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Mixed & Mastered by Brian J Anthony, 2012; Released under Black Widow...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2013..............................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit CROWNED IN EARTH HOME PAGE...
. SHADOW CIRCUS - "On a Dark and Stormy Night"
The extraordinary Prog-Rock act Shadow Circus is back to PR&PM again. The band was founded in 2006 in New Jersey by John Fontana (guitars, keyboards) and David Bobick (vocals), and later moved the headquarters to New York. The idea was to form a band that mixed Classic Hard Rock with Progressive Rock of the ‘70s, with lyrics and concepts inspired on the literature (their moniker was inspired by “Ray Bradbury's” “Something Wicked This Way Comes”). Shadow Circus’ initial albums “Welcome to the Freakroom” (2007) and “Whispers and Screams” (2009) showcased a band owner of a distinct style, and that was also capable of composting ambitious tracks, like the 34-minute suite "Project Blue", inspired by “Stephen King's” novel, “The Stand” (see “Reviews 2010”). Now, with the return of original bassist Matt Masek to their line-up, and the addition of David Silver (keyboards) and Jason Brower (drums), Shadow Circus released their third studio album, titled “On a Dark and Stormy Night” (2012, Shadow Circus Music / 10T Records), based on “Madeleine L'Engle's” fantasy novel, “A Wrinkle in Time”. If on their first albums Shadow Circus promoted the perfect equilibrium between Symphonic Progressive Rock (with influences of “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “ELP”, & “Kansas”), and Hard Rock (influenced by “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, & “Queen”), on this new album the tendency is for a more Progressive sound, caused in part by the opulent performance of D. Silver – a great acquisition for the band, with a style akin to “Tony Banks”, “Eddie Jobson”, “Neal Morse”, “Eric Norlander”, and “Clive Nolan”. Nevertheless, the sound is sometimes hard and heavy, thanks to the awesome contribution of Fontana on guitars, and the powerful bass & drums provided by Masek & Brower. Combined with Bobick’s emotional vocals, bombastic symphonic arrangements, and a melodic progressive orientation that prohibits the use of sterile technique on the solos (and there are many on this album!), Shadow Circus is sounding still better and more varied, including elements of heavy Neo-Prog (recalling “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Galahad”, “Neal Morse” and “Transatlantic”) and even NWOBHM-style. “On a Dark and Stormy Night” brings 9 tracks. The instrumental “Overture” (8:08) is an alluring intro with magnificent symphonic keyboards, bombastic guitars and soaring parts that lead to the initial songs “Daddy's Gone” (5:56) and “Whosit, Whatsit and Which” (6:32). Both are light progressive songs mostly influenced by “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, and by Neo-Prog bands like “Neal Morse” and “Pallas”, with “Daddy’s…” being more psychedelic, and “Whosit …” more groovy and bluesy on the backing vocals, still having stormy guitars and keyboards. On the following tracks, the music becomes denser and cerebral. “Make Way For The Big Show” (8:41) begins with Classical pianos (“Eddie Jobson” & “Tony Banks”-styled), and grows heavier with the coming of guitars, pulsing bass and drums. Ghostly backing vocals and more pianos join in the musical brocade. Along the song, Fontana and Silver trade guitar and synth solos, in a duel of epic proportions! The soaring “Uriel” (5:50) starts with Classical pianos and strings, and when Bobick starts to sing, the song grows to the thresholds of “Genesis”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Neal Morse”, and “Transatlantic”, finishing with amazing synths. The heaviest tracks are: “Tesseract” (5:19), a breathtaking instrumental piece with passages in Progressive, Hard Rock, and NWOBHM styles; “Camazotz” (6:21), which recalls the songs of the previous album, for bringing more Hard-Rock elements, such as blues-rock vocals, groovy guitar riffs, Hammond organs, swinging bass & drums, but having a final passage with vocals and guitars reminiscent of “Pink Floyd”; and “The Battle For Charles Wallace” (6:59), which is powerful, dramatic, and psychotic, getting closer to the sound of “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, and even “Dream Theater”. This song also has a surprising choir (in the style of “Queen”) that precedes the final celestial guitars. The album still brings the magical “Ixchel” (4:39), a Neo-Romantic piece, driven by delicate acoustic guitars, cosmic sounds, tear-dropping pianos, and a male/female duo that sings one of the most beautiful melodies that I ever heard. If you are a fan of “Genesis”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, “ELP”, “Kansas”, “Rush”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Queen”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Pendragon”, “Tiles”, “Magellan”, then Shadow Circus’ new album is a must-have item for your collection. Brilliant, wonderful, and surprising, highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Shadow Circus are: David Bobick - Lead & Backing Vocals; John Fontana - Guitar, Orchestral Keyboards, Backing Vocals, All Keyboards on “Ixchel”; David Silver - Keyboards; Matt Masek - Bass, Cello, Backing Vocals, Nylon String Guitar on “Ixchel”, 12-string on “Daddy’s Gone”; Jason Brower - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals. Roo Brower - Additional vocals on “Camazotz”, “Ixchel”, “The Battle For Charles Wallace”. Past members: Jason Croft - Bass; Corey Folta - Drums. Album mixed and produced by J. Fontana, additional mixing by James Byron Schoen, mastered by Jeff Hodges at Charleston Sound; graphic design by D. Bobick...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/28/2013.............Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit SHADOW CIRCUS HOME PAGE...
. UNIFIED PAST - "Observations"
The North American band Unified Past is back to this webzine once again (see under Reviews 2010). Based on Syracuse, New York, the band was founded in 1984 by Stephen Speelman (guitars, bass, vocals, compositions) and Victor Tassone (drums, percussion) with the name of Labyrinth. From 1990 to 1998, Labyrinth’s line-up had many changes, except for Speelman, who always remained as central member. Labyrinth released two CDs before disbanding. They resurrected in 1999 under the new name Unified Past, and released one CD by Atomik Records.  After a long hiatus, Unified Past original members reunited again: Speelman, Tassone, Steve Calovi (vocals), and Vinny Krivacsy (keyboardist of the 1996 line-up); and released the album “Tense” (2009, Triple Records, reviewed at this webzine in 2010) and “Observations” (2011, Melodic Revolution Records). Their 6th album, titled “Spots” is set to release in 2013, also under Melodic Revolution. On “Observations”, Unified Past’s line-up was reduced to Speelman (now in charge of vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, lyrics) and Tassone (drums, percussion). Krivacsy participated only on four tracks. The reformulation changed Unified Past’s sound. If the previous album “Tense” recalls bands of Hard & Heavy rock of the 70’s to 80’s (“Led Zeppelin”, “Deep Purple”, “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, ”Judas Priest”, “Rainbow”, “Accept”, “Savatage”, “Iron Maiden”, and “Faith No More”), “Observations” leans more to the Neo-Prog and accessible Progressive Rock that was being played in the late 70’s and in the 80’s. The new sonority was influenced by bands like “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Yes”, “Rush”, “Triumph”, “Camel”, “Asia”, “U.K.”, “Saga”, “Journey”, “E L & Palmer”, “E L & Powell”, “GTR”, “Transatlantic”, “Peter Gabriel”, having sparse influences of “Pink Floyd”, “Dream Theater”, and “Queensrÿche”. Speelman‘s voice is not as powerful as Calovi’s (who was a Hard Rock-Metal singer), being light and smooth instead (like “Geddy Lee”, “Neal Morse“, “Steve Hogarth”). His guitar solos are carefully crafted and neat, emphasizing melody and feeling, emulating some of his favorite guitarists (“Alex Lifeson”, “Steve Hackett“, “Michael Schenker”, “Steve Morse”, “Allan Holdsworth”, and “Chris Caffery”). Bass lines are vibrant and Progy, like “Chris Squire”, “Geddy Lee”, “John Wetton”, and “Pete Trewavas”. Drummer Victor Tassone is playing more technically and free, performing original percussion work, recalling “Neil Peart”, “Phil Collins” and “Alan White“. Layers of symphonic synthesizers add elegant textures that recall keyboardists like “Tony Banks”, “Peter Bardens”, “Geoff Downes”, “Mark Kelly”, “Keith Emerson”, and “Eddie Jobson”. “Observations” features 11 tracks that are disposed in three distinct blocks. The initial block has the most powerful and heaviest Prog songs, beginning with the excellent “I’m Not Answering” (that blends “Rush” and “Yes” with Neo-Prog elements, and has a Prog-Metal touch of “Dream Theater” and ”Queensrÿche” on guitars). The short “Mr. Extravagant” is a Hard-Prog with the rocky vein of “Asia” and Neo-Prog solos; and “Insulated” is supported by keyboards that recall “Saga”, and has explosive instrumental parts that blend “Triumph”, “Rush” and “Yes”. The second block brings Progressive ballads marked by smooth vocals and acoustic guitars, some of them even a bit “Pop-gressive”. The best is “The Move”, that combines the energy of “Yes” and “Triumph”, adding two sets of guitar solos – the first bluesy, the second in Neo-Prog style. The twin-tracks “Exploratory Observations” and “Painful Observations” lean to a chic-Pop, but are not bad songs: the first is driven by a layer of exotic percussion and a danceable beat, recalling “Peter Gabriel”; the second combines the accessible sides of “Asia”, “Saga”, “Rush” and “Triumph”, counterbalanced by a beautiful soaring guitar solo. “Crushed” is driven by a vibrant bass, recalling “Asia”, “Neal Morse“ and “GTR”. The last block of tracks is dominated by the longest (6-8 minutes) and best compositions. “Mesmerized” has a “Pink Floyd” beginning, “Rush”-guitars, “Yes”-bass, and has a wonderful keyboard solo, followed by a great guitar solo. “Faithless”, the longest track, is driven by soaring vocals, acoustic guitars and exotic percussion that support delicate synthesizers and fragile guitars interwoven in true progressive tunes. The last two tracks are the very best of the record: “Remember When” combines “Genesis” keyboards and “Marillion” Neo-Prog guitars in an epic cadence that grows majestically toward the end; “Here They Come” is an instrumental track that begins with amazing keyboards (“Keith Emerson”-styled), and includes instrumental passages that recall “Genesis”, “Yes”, and “U.K.”. With “Observations”, Unified Past is fleeing from the tag “Hard & Heavy Rock with Progressive Orientation” to jump into the niche of “Progressive-Rock of late 70’s and 80’s”. Anyway, they keep their musical quality high above other bands that follow this trend. Excellent work, highly recommended for lovers of Late 70’s to 80’s Prog-Rock, specially who are fans of “Rush”, “Yes”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “U.K.”, “Asia”, “Transatlantic” and “Saga”. We expect to review UP’s next album – “Spots” – as soon as possible. Band members and collaborators of Unified Past are: Stephen Speelman – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Taurus pedals, Lyrics, Compositions; Victor Tassone – Drums, Percussion, Special Effects, Compositions. Additional musician: Vinny Krivacsy – Keyboards (on “I’m Not Answering”, “Insulated”, “Crushed”; and solo on “Mesmerized”)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/312013.............Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit UNIFIED PAST HOME PAGE...
. BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE - "Surpassing All Other Kings"
The Italian project Ballo delle CastagneThe Chestnuts Ball”) is back to PR&PM to promote their new album “Surpassing All Other Kings” (2012). It represents the final chapter of a trilogy that began on the 10’’ single “108“ (2009) and continued on the full-length album “Kalachakra” (2011, HR!SPQR Records/Black Widow, reviewed at PR&PM). “Surpassing All Other Kings” is inspired by the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh. In this last episode, Gilgamesh awakens after many centuries and rises from his grave to find out what is left of mankind and which destiny man has chosen for himself. The album was released in November 2012 under BloodRock Records, with distribution of Black Widow Records. There are both LP & CD versions of this album, available in limited editions. Ballo delle Castagne’s line-up comprises a nucleus formed of vocalist Vinz Aquarian (of band “Calle della Morte”) and bassist Diego Banchero (of “Egida Aurea”, “Malombra”, “Segno del Comando”, “ZEUSS”), who are helped on this record by singer Carmen D'onofrio (ex-“Argine”) and all members of the band “Egida Aurea” (see below). On their previous records, Ballo delle Castagne presented a strange combination of 60’s to 70’s Psychedelic Rock (West Coast Scene), Space Rock, Krautrock, Dark-Prog, and Zeuhl-Gothic, with influences of bands like “West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Yahowha 13”, “The Doors”, early “Pink Floyd”, “Faust“, “Man”, “Amon Düül II”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “CAN”, early “Eloy”, “Popol Vuh”, “Omega”, “Magma”, “Runaway Totem”, and “Universal Totem Orchestra”. The music was surrounded in a spiritual aura that penetrated into the deepest levels of the subconscious mind. “Surpassing All Other Kings” features that same style on its 10 tracks. The songs, however, are straightforward and even heavier on the guitars riffs and drums. The dark vocals are counterbalanced by the presence of female vocals and choirs. The general psychedelic and experimental effects of the Krautrock style are still present, as well as the dark & dreamy atmospheres. “Tema di Gilgamesh” (4:53) opens the album with an epic riff, combining heavy guitars, church organs, and martial drumming. The male vocals recall a medieval minstrel, and the mysterious female vocals recall bands like “Presence”. The song fades into a wave of cosmic sounds, accelerating toward “Il Risveglio” (4:16), which is driven by rocky and galloping drums. Church organs, Zeuhl-Gothic male vocals and female ghostly vocals shroud this song in a ritualistic atmosphere, finally wiped out with an insane psychedelic solo. One of the best tracks is “Il Viaggio” (4:56), a psychedelic groovy song influenced by the West Coast style, driven by fuzzy guitars and acid bass & drums, still highlighted by Carmen D'onofrio’s mesmerizing vocals. “Rorate Coeli” (3:40) is an electronic experimental track made of hypnotic effects and narrations that precedes two of the most frightening songs – both of which recall the Expressionism of bands like “Faust” and “Runaway Totem”. The first is “Die Königin Der Nacht” (3:55), which combines dropp-falling sounds and creepy pianos in a dark symphony, while the atonal voice of a man declaims ritualistic words in German. The other is “Il Segreto” (3:55), on which tribal drumming, church organs and psychedelic guitars are the accolades of a disturbing male voice in a kind of black-mass. This song still has a great twist for a psychedelic rock driven by ghostly female choirs. The instrumental “Aquarius Age” (2:57) is more mystical in its nature, and flows slower, psychedelic, and timeless, driven by tribal drumming and howling sounds. Another album’s best, “Fire In the Sky” (5:15) – which was originally written by “Yahowha 13” - clears the clouded skies, bringing in the 60’s psychedelic rock in American style. Closing the album, the instrumental “Eoni” (1:58) is a beautiful folk ballad that introduces the dramatic “Apocriphon Of Gilgamesh” (4:13) - a nightmarish collage binding together martial drumming, apocalyptical trumpets, warfare noises, and pro-war speeches of North American leaders. Although I liked “Kalachakra” most, “Surpassing all other Kings” is still a very impressive work, which completes Ballo delle Castagne‘s musical trilogy with a distinguishing Space-Psychedelic & Krautrock approach, being therefore highly recommended for fans of “Yahowha 13”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “The Doors”, early “Pink Floyd”, “Faust“, “Man”, “Amon Düül II”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “CAN”, “Popol Vuh”, “Omega”, “Magma”, “Runaway Totem”, “Universal Totem Orchestra”, “Egida Aurea”, “Malombra”, “Segno del Comando”, “ZEUSS”, “Presence”, “Antonius Rex”, and “Jacula”. Band members and collaborators involved in Ballo Delle Castagne are: Vinz Aquarian – Voice, Moog, Kaossillator, Bass Fuzz; Diego Banchero - Bass, Choirs. Special guests: Carolina Cecchinato & Marina Larcher – Vocals & Choirs; Carmen D'Onofrio – Vocals on “Il Viaggio”; Roberto Lucanato – Acoustic, 12 String Electric & Lead Guitar, Choirs; Davide Bruzzi – Keyboards & Psychedelic Lead, Additional Electric Guitar, Choirs; Fernando Cherchi – Drums. Music by Diego Banchero, lyrics by Vinz Aquarian & Diego Banchero. Mixed by Davide Bruzzi; Mastered by Max Sobrero (Genova). “Die Königin Der Nacht” text contains excerpts from “Die Zauberflöte” (W.A. Mozart), music written by Gabrieli Grixoni; “Fire in the Sky” originally written by Yahowha 13, published by Higher Key Records; “Eoni” contains excerpts from “The Call of Chtulu” (H.P. Lovecraft). Also you must visit Ballo Delle Castagne's MySpace Site and Facebook...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2013............................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE HOME PAGE...
. ALDO PINELLI - "Temporada de Lluvias"
The Argentinean guitarist and composer Aldo Pinelli is back to PR&PM once more, to promote his new album, “Temporada de Lluvias” (2012, HTT). Pinelli is a member of band “Hábitat”, but since 2002 he is following a parallel solo career. He has already released three albums, and the last two - “Mantos y Tapices Sobrepuestos” (2009) and “La Era de Melania” (2011) - were reviewed at PR&PM. A classically trained musician, Pinelli is inspired by the French Impressionism, and the Celtic, Folk and Medieval Music. His compositions fit into the Electro-Acoustic, Neo-Folk, and Soft Progressive styles, resembling “Donovan”, “Steeleye Span”, “Clannad”, “Ataraxia”, “Estampie”, “Faun”, “Sava”, “Blackmore’s Night”, and the acoustic side of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Steve Hackett”, “Steve Howe”, “Locanda delle Fate”, “Le Orme“, “PFM”, “Eris Pluvia”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Univers Zéro”, “Triana”, “Ñu” and “Hábitat”. As Pinelli’s previous works, “Temporada de Lluvias” features delicate songs and melodic instrumental compositions that are performed mainly with classical guitars, flutes, cello, and different instruments of percussion, being reminiscent of folk themes and medieval dances. Keyboards are used to substitute the sounds of some traditional instruments (e.g. trumpets, concertinas), and interventions of the typical rock trio – the electric guitar, bass and drums – appear with parsimony. On this album in particular, Pinelli compresses and saturates his compositions, so that even the shortest pieces are rich in melodies, textures, and surprises – extending the temporal perception of the listener, who is taken to believe that the music lasts longer than its real duration. “Temporada de Lluvias” is inspired by water in its various forms: rain, ponds, rivers and seas. The line-up includes Pinelli (guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, and vocals), Paula Dolcera (flute, cello), Silvia Pratolongo (wind chimes), Elizabeth Minervini (piano) and Roberto Sambrizzi (drums). The album has 4 songs and 12 instrumental pieces, totalizing 16 tracks. Of the 4 songs of this album, two of them - the sweet baroque “Mujer con Paraguas (con la cara mojada)” (2:26) and the medieval “Si la Lluvia Pudiese” (4:38) – are mainly driven by acoustic guitars and Pinelli’s soft voice, recalling “Le Orme”. One of the best, the song “Llueve sobre el Mar” (4:55) is a beautifully progressive ballad that combines pianos, soft vocals, seagull cries and siren’s voices echoing on the vast – floating on a sad tone that recalls me of “Reale Accademia di Musica”; while “Los que Nadan” (5:05) features an original blend of old tunes, concertinas and organs, with progressive guitars, bass & drums. Among the 12 instrumental tracks, three are studies written for acoustic guitars, on which Pinelli explores all the potential of his favorite instrument: “Pasaje Siete” (2:22) includes both acoustic and electric guitars, guided by odd percussion; the mysterious “Estudio 4” (3:10) merges Classical acoustic guitars with rainy sounds (recalling “Hackett”); and “La Lluvia Habla” (3:16) brings wind chimes and an additional solo of cello. A number of folkloric pieces and dances are widespread along the album, on which the guitar appears less as a solo instrument, sharing the musical space with other instruments - mainly the flute: the impressionist “Observando por sobre los Charcos” (3:18) begins as a study for acoustic guitars, but is transported by sounds of wind chimes towards a folkloric symphony of cellos, clean guitars, and flutes. And the medieval spring-dance “La Primavera que Llegó Después (Danza)” (3:16) and “Una Casa de Té en Gaiman” (3:24), driven by lively guitar chords, will please fans of bands like “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Camel”, “Hackett”, & “Ñu”. Advancing some steps toward more Prog-Oriented tracks, Pinelli offers us a few Electro-acoustic symphonic tracks: “Temporada de Lluvias” (5:00) starts with a New-Age theme that is successively played on keyboards, cellos and enveloped in crystal sounds – followed by acoustic guitars, rainy sounds, and medieval horns; “Avenidas Invernales” (4:47) is a soaring Prog, almost a mild “King Crimson”, with cellos, Andean flutes, and electric guitars instilling drama to the piece; and the closing track, “La Cumbre, un Pueblo entre Sierras” (4:42), has flutes, a guitar duo, slow progressive guitar solo backed off by soaring keyboards, symphonic-prog bass, and soft drums (recalling “Camel” and “Caravan”). The album still brings some tracks with a an innovative experimental approach (for Pinelli’s standards): “Báltico” (3:45) is Ambient, Gothic, futuristic, and creepy (it would fit perfectly on the soundtrack of the animated series “Aeon Flux”); “Sorpresa de Agua” (2:02) has sounds of trumpets, evoking the image of pachyderms marching, and recalling “Le Carnaval des Animaux” (“Saint-Saëns”), and “Arroyos Desbordados: Los Techos de Las Casas de Los Pobres” (2:28) is a collage of martial snare drums, ghostly keyboards, and concertinas guided by Spanish acoustic guitars (recalling “Triana”). In sum, Pinelli’s “Temporada de Lluvias” reveals a musician that is concerned about the quality of his music, but who is ever searching for innovation, and always evolving in respect to his previous works. Aldo Pinelli is highly recommended for fans of Medieval, Celtic, Neo-Folk, Electro-Acoustic Music and softer Progressive Music. Band members and collaborators involved in Aldo Pinelli are: Aldo Pinelli – Classic, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals; Paula Dolcera – Transverse Flute, Cello; Silvia Pratolongo – Wind chimes; Elizabeth Minervini – Piano; Roberto Sambrizzi - Drums. Recorded by Aldo Pinelli at Estudio Melania; by Esteban Llauradó at Estudio Unplugged; by Alejandro Belmonte at Estudio 2.21; by Tole Naguil at Tolestudio. Mixed by Tole Naguil & Aldo Pinelli at Tolestudio, Mastered by T. Naguil at Tolestudio in September 2012. Also you must visit Aldo Pinelli's MySpace Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2013.........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ALDO PINELLI HOME PAGE...
. CRISTIANO ROVERSI - "AntiQua"
Cristiano Roversi is an Italian musician who plays keyboards, organ, bass and Chapman Grand Stick. He composes soundtracks and works as session musician, producer and teacher. In 1994 he was a founder member of Prog-band Moongarden, still active today. Along the years he has explored other musical environments, either in collaborative projects such as Submarine Silence and Cavalli Cocchi, Lanzetti & Roversi, or as solos artist. Roversi is currently playing keyboards for "Mangala Vallis", CCLR & Massimo Zamboni, producing Catafalchi del Cyber, and working as Director of the Italian Label Aratro Incisioni. But Roversi has already shared the stage, recorded and collaborated with important names of the Progressive and Italian musical scenes, such as “Aldo Tagliapietra”, “Bernardo Lanzetti”, “Gigi Cavalli Cocchi”, “John Wetton”, “David Jackson”, “Steve Hackett”, “John Mitchell”, “Massimo Zamboni”, “Saro Cosentino”, “Giorgio Canali”, “Flaco Biondini”, “Anthony Sidney”, “Giorgio Signoretti”, “Nada”, “Silvia Orlandi”, “Andrea Chimenti”, “Roberto Tiranti” and others. The discocraphy on which Roversi has taken part is extensive, including many albums for: “A.A.V.V.”, “Moongarden”, “Daal”, “Catafalchi del Cyber”, “Bernardo Lanzetti”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Submarine Silence”, “The Watch”, “Cavalli Cocchi & Lanzetti”, “Massimo Zamboni”, “M.Zamboni & Angela Baraldi”, “Luca Bonaffini”, “Chiara Jeri & Andrea Barsali”. As solo artist, Roversi released the albums “Music From My Room’s Window” (1999) and “The Park” (2003). “AntiQua” is his newest studio album, released in October 2012 under Galileo Records / Gonzo Mediagroup / Voiceprint. It has guest participations of Aldo Tagliapietra (vocals, acoustic guitars), Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals), David Cremoni (electric guitar), Erik Montanari (acoustic guitars), Fabio Serra (electric guitar), Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums), James Larcombe (hurdy-gurdy), Leonora (vocals), and Mirko Tagliasacchi (fretless bass). The music is mainly electroacoustic, with abundance of delicate acoustic guitars and soaring and gentle solos of guitars and keyboards. They are frequently accompanied by flutes, pianos, soft bass, and rarely by drums. The atmosphere is folky and eerie, the music is diaphanous, melodic, and flows in the style of “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Mangala Vallis”, “The Watch”, “Moongarden”, “Camel”, “PFM”’, & “Barclay James Harvest”. Sometimes there is a layer of electronic beats and sounds building up the rhythmic frame, reaching the borders of the New-Age & Ambient styles. From the 9 tracks of the record, 6 are instrumental, and 3 have vocals. The album opens with the instrumental “Morning in AntiQua” (5:20), driven by acoustic guitars that evoke pastoral views, ending with soft electric guitar solo. The album goes on with a series of outstanding songs, authentic masterpieces of symphonic Prog. The “Tales From Solitude Suite” (13:39) is divided in four parts: I - “A Silent Rite” is a Romantic symphonic intro for II - “Tales from Solitude”, a beautiful piano song performed with emotion by B.Lanzetti, that gradually grows, with guitars and keyboards, towards III - “Crave some Loneliness” - an eerie and sad instrumental piece that recalls “Genesis” – and to the floating IV - “East or West?”. After this sublime track, Roversi & Tagliapetra offer us “L'Amore” (3:41), a really catchy song reminiscent of the best of “Le Orme” and “BJH”, driven by acoustic guitars and keyboards in the style of “Tony Banks”. Meanwhile, the mysterious instrumental track “Nessie Revealed” (3:34) is immersed in an Electronic-Ambient environment, which helps to introduce the album’s third song: “Falling” (9:27). It is split in two parts: I - “Falling”, which features the echoing and whispering voice of singer and lyricist Leonora, and its instrumental matching, II - “Celestial Slowfall”, a piece driven by flutes, strings, and beautiful electric guitars, all resembling “Genesis”, “Hackett”, “Camel”, and “PFM”’. The album’s final sequence comprises only instrumental tracks. “Dimlit Tavern” (5:18) is a Celtic piece that has a hurdy-gurdy, recalling “Gryphon”; “Nirayed's Secret Diary” (3:13) is a Neo-Romantic piece that combines electronic beats with marvelous symphonic keyboards, reminiscent of “Brahms”; “AntiQua” (5:46) blends ancient and modern sonorities, vivid bass and acoustic world-music drums (by G.C. Cocchi), having guitars that recall “Focus”; and “Evening in AntiQua” (1:27) is a Neo-Classical piano piece. A nice wonderful album that contains that magical and inexplicable ingredient that compels you to listen to it over and over again. Highly recommended for progressive lovers having a preference for the softer side of “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Moongarden”, “Mangala Vallis”, “The Watch”, “Camel”, “Gryphon”, “BJH”, “PFM”’, “Le Orme”, “Focus”, “Frank Carducci”, “Hoelderlin”, who should all add “AntiQua” to their collection. Band members and collaborators involved in Cristiano Roversi album are: Cristiano Roversi - 12-String Guitar, Classical Guitar, Electric Guitar (track 4), Grand Piano, Various Synthesizers, Taurus Bass Pedals, Polymoog, Mellotron, Hammond Organ L100, Drum Machine Roland CR-78, Samples & Cinematic Efx. Guests Musicians: Aldo Tagliapietra - Vocals, Lyrics & Acoustic Guitars on "L'amore"; Bernardo Lanzetti - Vocals, Lyrics & Concept on "Tales from Solitude"; David Cremoni - Electric Guitar on "Crave some Loneliness"; Erik Montanari - Acoustic Guitars on "Crave some Loneliness" & "L'amore"; Fabio Serra - Electric Guitar on "Morning in AntiQua", "East or West?", "Celestial Slowfall" & "AntiQua"; Gigi Cavalli Cocchi - Drums on "AntiQua"; James Larcombe - Hurdy-Gurdy on "Dimlit Tavern"; Leonora - Vocals & Lyrics on "Falling"; Mirko Tagliasacchi - Fretless Bass on "AntiQua". Recorded & Mixed during Winter 2011 at “La Sala 1” (Mantua, Italy); Engineered by C. Roversi, Mastered by Fabio Serra; Produced by C. Roversi...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2013.....Want to learn everything about the musician and his project, go to CRISTIANO ROVERSI HOME PAGE...
. VALENCE - "Sleepwalker"
Valence is Progressive Hard Rock band from White Plains (State of New York), formed by Michael Buonanno (guitar), Geoffrey Schaefer (guitar), Ian Morris (bass), and Chris Romano (drums). Their aim is to expand the boundaries of contemporary Instrumental Progressive and Hard Rock. The moniker Valence comes from a chemistry concept referring to multiple atoms bonding together. As a band, Valence similarly forges disparate styles of music in a fusion of Metal, Jam, Classical, Hard, and Jazz that creates an eclectic, powerful, vibrant and harmonious sound - immediately compelling to the listener. Valence’s members rented a house in 2011 to record and produce an album. After overcoming all obstacles that come with self-producing a record (burnt out equipment, angry rabid landlords, 90+ degree heat with no AC, etc.), and with the great help of audio engineer Paul Fakatselis, Valence heroically completed their ambitious opus: "Sleepwalker" - their debut album, proudly offered to the world on June 1st, 2012. “Sleepwalker” is a concept album containing a 34-minute long suite comprising eight sections. The cover artwork by Catherine Chabert suggests the unconventional focus of the music. The sound of Valence is fully instrumental and mostly guitar-driven, influenced by bands like “Between the Buried and Me”, “Mastodon”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Baroness”, “Umphrey's Mcgee”, “Disco Biscuits”, and “King Crimson”. Some parts recall me of the instrumental sonority of 80’s Metal bands like “Iron Maiden”, “Helstar”, “David T. Chastain”, “Montrose”, “Metal Church”, and “Annihilator”, but with a less metallic luster. There are also influences of early “Rush”, “Budgie”, “Primus”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Opeth”, and a Post-Metal component reminiscent of “Animals as Leaders”. The music unrolls continuously over well-defined themes that Valence mazes together in complex and dynamic arrangements, with many surprising passages. The title track, “Sleepwalker” (03:17), opens the album softly, melodic and dreamy, resembling a blend of “Umphrey’s Mcgee” with a mild-mannered “Iron Maiden”. The following “The Depths” (07:19) is an outstanding Post-Metal driven by bass (recalling “Animals as Leaders”, “Primus”) and heavy guitars (like “Between the Buried and Me”, “Helstar”, “Annihilator”), all combined with Spanish guitars, and a swinging Hard-Rock final segment with many free guitar solos. From “The Depths” we ascend “To Dust, Across Dimensions” (03:09), a mysterious piece that has psychedelic bass and a sort of “King Crimson”-like guitars that lead to the amazing twin-tracks “Tempest Tides...” (03:20) & “...Burned to Desert” (03:40), which are both fast and vibrant, grounded on typical 80’s Metal guitar riffs, and have machinegun drumming and byzantine guitar & bass parts that parallel “Rush” and “Helstar”. The twin-tracks are linked to “From Ashes, Reborn” (03:07), a Baroque-Metal piece with intense guitar-bass-&-drums interplay, a psychedelic middle part, and an atmospheric somber final like “Animals as Leaders” and “Opeth”. The amazing “Winds of Zephyr” (05:34) combines bass volutes, epic guitar solos, drum twists & turns, and floriated harmony guitars, resembling the frantic instrumentation of “Helstar”, “Chastain”, “Maiden”, “Primus”, and “Baroness”, transposing a breathtaking passage for “Lucid Dream” (05:14) - an abridged patchwork of all themes used along the record - that closes the whole circle, leading “Sleepwalker” to a final conclusion amidst epic passages of guitars. “Sleepwalker” is an outstanding debut album, from a very promising band that features a playing team that hovers above the average. Valence is highly recommended for fans of Instrumental Rock, Hard & Metal, and fans of “Between the Buried and Me”, “Umphrey's Mcgee”, “Mastodon”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Baroness”, “Disco Biscuits”, “Iron Maiden”, “Helstar”, “Chastain”, “Montrose”, “Metal Church”, “Annihilator”, “Rush”, “Primus”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, and other bands featured at PR&PM, such as “SOT”, “Le Maschere di Clara”, “Outopsya”, “Reserve de Marche”, “Diversion Voice”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Valence are: Michael Buonanno - Guitar; Geoffrey Schaefer - Guitar; Ian Morris - Bass; Christopher Romano - Drums. Paul Faketselis - Audio Engineer, Recording, Mixing & Mastering; Catherine Chabert - Art Direction, Design & Illustration; David Castegnetto - Graphic Design...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2013................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VALENCE HOME PAGE...
. ANTONIUS REX - "Hystero Demonopathy"
The Italian cult-band Antonius Rex is back to this webzine once more (see under Reviews 2011). Created in 1973 by Antonio Bartoccetti (guitars, vocals) and Doris Norton (keyboards, vocals) after the break-up of mother-band Jacula, Antonius Rex released some albums along the ‘70s. After a hiatus of almost 25 years, the band resurrected with strength in the 21st century, releasing the albums “Magic Ritual” (2005), “Switch on Dark” (2006), and “Per Viam” (2009, Black Widow, reviewed at PR&PM). The newest album of Antonius Rex is “Hystero Demonopathy”, which came to light in the cabalistic date of 12.12.12, under the Black Widow record label. “Hystero Demonopathy” is the result of an esoteric research made by Antonio Bartoccetti on the topic of “Demonic Hysteria”, considered as a psychiatric event by some people and as esoteric-magic by others. Historically a “psychiatric disorder” or “demonic esoteric disorder” is marked by excitability, irritability, dark confusion, mystic demonomania, misbehavior and emotional extremes, occurring mainly in possessed women. Musically speaking, “Hystero Demonopathy” is a concentrated fusion of diverse styles: Gothic, Classic, Post-classic, Dark, Doom, Metal, Impressionist, Progressive, Post-progressive, and After-Rock; with micro-electronic inventions and perseverant events. The album’s line-up includes Antonio Bartoccetti (vocals, guitars, bass), Hexanthony (keyboards), Monika Tasnad (medium), and a few guest musicians (see below). “H.D.” features 9 tracks and a bonus-video: “Rexample (vocals soloist & riffs pt. 1)” (a collage of images and parts of songs of Jacula and Antonius Rex). The musical atmosphere of the entire album is Dark & Gothic, with the arrangements having a predominance of angelic choirs, Gregorian chants, church organs, Moogs, Hammonds, and other vintage keyboards of Hexanthony’s arsenal. Powerful bass and drums, combined with Bartoccetti’s remarkable performance on the Gibson guitar, provide the heaviest Doom and Metal components of the compositions. The frequent appearance of narrative voices, whispers and screams – like characters of a horror movie – accentuates the somber aura that surrounds the music. The album opens with “Hystero Demonopathy” (5:55) - an epic track with powerful guitars and drumming that clash against soaring angelical choirs. Gregorian chants encourage monk-warriors to march forward into battle, facing slicing synths and majestic organs. This anthem is still crowned with an awesome guitar solo – the first of a series of Bartoccetti’s best that will be heard along this album. “Suicide Goth” (7:26) is more relaxing, driven by delicate keyboards, soaring choirs, and whispering voices. But cabalistic drums and impressionistic pianos reminiscent of horror-movies soundtracks lead us to the breathtaking “Are Mine” (7:06), on which acoustic guitars that irradiate a peaceful sensation are destroyed by the double attack of dense Industrial guitars and demonic voices. “You are mine!” commands the Devil, and as the screams of a possessed woman are smothered under an avalanche of church organs, Bartoccetti discharges his fury on a incinerating guitar solo. On “Disincantation” (7:03) a grievous voice forecasts a sinister future for the possessed, sided by Classical pianos that are followed by ascending keys, choirs, and a surprising acoustic guitar solo. “Demonic Hysteria” (5:13) is an impressive track that records the tense fight between the forces of good and evil. Inside a tenebrous atmosphere, the priest confronts the devil amidst spine-shivering pianos and tormented guitars. An original musical sequence sounds like a Gothic-Jazz, and another fantastic guitar solo emanates from Bartoccetti’s Gibson. Church organs make the transition for the next track - “The Devils Nightmare” (4:56) - which begins with dramatic symphonic string arrangements and ghostly sounds of synths. The piece gradually grows heavier, with faster drumming, dazzling synths, and aggressive Heavy-Metal guitars. “Witches” (7:25) is a melancholic dark ballad, driven by acoustic guitars and ghostly voices that float on a mattress of ethereal synthesizers. “The Fatal Letter” (7:14) is narrated in Italian by an imposing voice supported by Dark-Progressive keyboards. But the electronic sounds, choirs, and glassy pianos tend to the Dark-Wave style. Finally, “Possaction (integral document)” (7:09) is a nightmarish closing track: a gothic-terror piece adorned with creepy organs, a chilling-blood screaming woman, and a wicked laughter that will keep listeners awaken for days. With a balanced blend of Dark-Progressive, Dark-Wave, Gothic, and Metal styles, and featuring great performances of Bartoccetti and Rexanthony, this is the best album produced by Antonius Rex so far – brilliant, perfect, an authentic masterpiece – indispensable for fans of Music of the Darkness. Band members and collaborators involved in Antonius Rex are: Antonio Bartoccetti – Vocals, Gibson Guitars, Yamaha Bass, Compositions; Rexanthony – Vocal, Piano, Synthesizers (Moog, Mini-moog, Hammond, Korg Trinity, Pinchi church organ, Yamaha DX-7 Centennial, Yamaha Piano, Roland Jupiter, Arp 2600), Digital Drum, Digital Orchestra, Compositions; Monika Tasnad – Medium. Guest musicians: Doris Norton – Additional Composer; Florian Gorman – Acoustic Drums; Laura Haslam, Vladimir Leonard, & Svetlana Serduchka – Vocals. Album recorded at Music Research Studio, Production by A. Bartoccetti...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/31/2013..................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to ANTONIUS REX HOME PAGE...
. MYSTERIA - "QED"
Mysteria is a Female-Fronted Rock band hailing from Helsinki, Finland. Mysteria should not be confounded with Mysteria (a Power-Metal band from Australia), or Mysteria (a New-Age & Trance act), or even with Mistheria (project of Italian keyboardist “Giuseppe Iampieri”, also featured at PR&PM). Mysteria was founded back in 2003 by Niki (vocals, keyboards, song writer), and forms also with Rändi (guitars, keyboards), JJ (guitars), Jake (bass) and Perttu (drums). The band independently released the EP “Out of the Blue” (2007) and the album “Prefatory” (2011). Their newest album, titled “QED”, was released on the esoteric date of 12.12.12. Mysteria is a Heavy Prog-Rock-Metal band with a strong Popish lean. To realize and delimitate exactly what kind of music they are playing in a specific moment becomes very difficult because, in a single song of nearly 4 to 5 minutes, the band switches from style to style with easy, as if there were no borders to cross. Niki’s vocals are original and really rocky – and have nothing to do to the operatic style of other Finish bands, such as “Nightwish” and “Amberian Dawn”. Her voice is strong and deep for a female singer, and even recalls the vocal tone of “Geddy Lee” (“Rush”), but she has some magical groovy on it, and “Ann Wilson” (“Heart”) and “Doro Pesch” also come to mind. Allied to heavy guitars, and a rocking disposition, Niki’s performance ahead of the band may be reminiscent of Glam Metal bands like “Vixen”, and “Lita Ford”. The instrumental sonority is guitar-oriented, with the Prog-Rock parts having influences of the most AOR-oriented songs of “Rush” and “Saga”; the Metal parts recalling either bands of the 80’s (“Judas Priest”, “Riot”, “Accept”, “Scorpions”, “Tokyo Blade”, “Pretty Maids”, “Iron Maiden”, “Warlock”); or bands like “HIM”, “Nightwish”, “Xandria”, and “Elis”. Unless by the Classical orientation on some guitars solos and keyboards arrangements, the sound of Mysteria is different from that of other Finish Power-Metal bands, such as “Sonata Arctica”, “Stratovarius”, “Battlelore”, and “Sinergy”. But the sound of Mysteria has still more to offer to their listeners. The melodic impression of the most Pop-Rock songs may resemble “Queen”, “Journey”, and even “Eurythmics”; some background keyboards are soaring and progressive, like “Saga”; and there are even vocal harmonies that may derivate from Finish Folkloric music. “QED” features 11 tracks. The opening track "Time to Go” (4:44) is strongly Pop, has a joyful mood, a sticky chorus, and recalls “Eurythmics” at the end. But the following track “Key 2” (3:28) is a crazy mix of Pop-ballad, Heavy-Metal, “Rush”-like melodies, Thrash riffs and aggressive vocals like “Plasmatics”. From this point on, there is a sequence of heavier tracks: “Stand Back” (4:11) (driven by an electronic base, killer Prog-Metal guitars, strong chorus and powerful groovy bass); the epic “No Fear” (4:53) (with soaring keyboards like “Saga”, peculiar backing vocals, and a progressive segment with melodic guitar solo); and “Learning to Read” (4:33) - a bright song that resembles a crossing of “Nightwish” and “Rush”. Then two slower Rock-Metal ballads follow - “Morning Lights” (4:20) and “Rain” (4:25) – which bring to mind bands like “Heart”, “Accept”, and “Scorpions”, with “Rain” standing as my favorite for being sad and epic at the same time, and for having a great Neo-Classical guitar solo. The final third of the record is dominated by the bolder and most experimental tracks, which happened to be my very favorite ones: “Live on Mars” (4:18) combines electronic beats, folkloric tunes, symphonic Prog-Metal and Progressive parts with pianos, keyboards, & strings; and “Beat of One” (4:30) is an epic battle-song driven by amazing guitar riff, thundering bass, and malevolent vocals. All this final energy is soothed into the soft ballad “Freefalling” (5:27) which remains acoustic most of the time, unless by a symphonic intermezzo driven by soaring keyboards, pulsing bass, and jazzy drums. The final point of “QED” is “If I” (1:58), a sweet Folk song composed for acoustic guitar and voice only. With the selling of “QED”, Mysteria expects to raise funds to help homeless pets and animals who need veterinary care, donating to a pet-supporting institution one € for each album purchased by their fans (either at CD-Baby or at their website). Judging for the excellent quality of their sound, they will soon be funding dozens of veterinary hospitals and pet-shelters (be careful, Nightwish!). Mysteria is highly recommended for fans of Heavy-Rock, AOR- Prog-Rock and Metal with a good dose of Pop ingredients on it. Band members and collaborators involved in Mysteria are: Niki - Vocals, Keyboards; Rändi - Guitars, Keyboards; JJ – Guitars; Jake – Bass; Perttu – Drums. Album recorded at Matrixtor Music Studio (Hämeenlinna, Finland) by Lauri Malin and at Mysteria’s Parvistudio by Rändi and Niki; mixed by Lauri Malin, mastered by Henkka Niemistö, Chartmakers (Helsinki). More informations about the band visit their Facebook page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/10/2013...........................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to MYSTERIA HOME PAGE...
. MOEBIUS CAT - "End of Time"
Mœbius Cat is an experimental musical project based in Toronto, Canada, and led by Roman Bershadsky. He is always looking for creative singer and musicians – mainly performers of violin, cello, flute, bass, drums, guitars, and ethnical instruments – with potential to take part in the project. The main idea behind the project is to conduct it as dynamically as possible, creating melodic and emotional music that combines World Fusion, Neo-Classical, Darkwave, Progressive Rock, Dark Folk, and Gothic Ethereal styles, going far away from commercial music. Under a philosophical point of view, Mœbius Cat is about making a journey into the inner self, to learn to face life with a questioning attitude. The lyrics are about people and souls, angels and demons, light and darkness, material and ethereal worlds, mundane distractions and parallel dimensions. Mœbius Cat released a self-produced debut album titled “Arrivals – Departures” in 2003. Their second album, “End of Time”, was released only in 2010 by Russian Label MALS Ltd. It contains 12 tracks. The line-up of the record features Roman Bershadsky (music, lyrics, keyboards, multi-instruments and vocals), David Graham (a few lyrics), Terry Skirko (drums, tablas), Derek Wylie (guitar), Andrei Stebakov (acoustic guitar), Jeremy Wheaton & Michael Gutman (bass), Ashot Ovanessian (violin), and Roman M. (violin, flute, guitar). There are three lead singers: Jodi Krangle (female vocals), Karl Mohr, and Adriano Spina (male vocals). But there are no notes about who is singing what (and Roman Bershadsky sings too), so I am sure just about the identity of the lady. Mœbius Cat’s sound is relaxing, transcendental and pan-geographical. The sonority is electroacoustic – the acoustic component is played on ethnical instruments (tabla, djembe), guitars, flutes, violins, and on the piano (a predominant instrument on most songs); while the electronic component is represented by layers of programmed pulsing beats, ethereal ambient sounds, few electric guitars, and assorted sounds and textures of synths and keyboards that spring out delicate melodies. The arrangements are complex, original and surprising, blending Progressive and Gothic melodies with Middle-Eastern rhythms and Folk dances. The mood is introspective and sad, but not too much melancholic, and the atmosphere is mysterious and exotic. All lead singers perform with a genuine passion. Most songs are led by Jodi Krangle – her voice is so beautiful, transparent, and moving, that one gets immediately hooked on the tunes she is singing. “I've Been Losing” (4:05) opens the album with tablas, as Jodi sings a romantic theme. There are also violins, acoustic guitars, flutes, and synths following her, in a musical mix that recall the style of “Dead Can Dance”. On “End of Time” (5:57), Jodi’s voice grows, cloaking everything with a mysterious aura, and the song tends to a chic jazz-pop, driven by pianos. “Time Enough for Love” (4:47) combines pianos and Jodi’s seductive voice inside a prism of colorful electronic sounds that recall “Portishead”. Beautiful string arrangements and frantic concertinas also come in for the party. Jodi still provides grandeur to the Prog-Folk “It's Over” (4:54), highlighted by wonderful pianos and synths; and to the outstanding “Learning to Fly” (4:48), a prog-blues that would please any fan of “Norah Jones”, “Diana Krall”, or “Tori Amos”, still having flocking synths flying around. Switching to the Darkwave and Gothic-Ethereal styles, there are three impressive songs, all led by the same male singer, whose voice is reminiscent of “David Bowie” in his most gothic phase. “Better Days Than These” (4:54) brings fantastic vocals and guitars, and its gothic atmosphere is emphasized by ghostly keyboards, soaring violins, and cool beats. “River” (3:56) combines flutes, electronic beats, and anguished vocals inside a melancholic atmosphere. And “Dance Goes On” (5:11) is a Gothic-Ethereal with solitary vocals, gypsy violins, and a medieval dance. The remaining two songs are: “Cold Rain” (4:46), a Neo-Classical song driven by excellent male vocals, having some Arabian strings; and “Parallel Dimensions” (4:32), which combines psychedelic singing (recalling “Lou Reed” on “Velvet Underground”) with Gothic Rock guitars and Neo-Romantic violins (recalling early “Lacrimosa”). The album still features two amazing instrumental tracks: “Farewell Guru” (4:34) takes aqueous pianos to the dry plains of the Middle-East; and the ingenious “Waltz With a Vampire” (4:33) congregates all kinds of dances - Spanish, Jazz, Arabian, or Tango - inside one castle hall. “End of Time” is a must-have album, an authentic masterpiece produced by Mœbius Cat – an outstanding band owner of a unique style that will attract fans of bands as diverse as “Dead Can Dance”, “Maxim Kiuila”, “In the Labyrinth”, “Portishead”, “Irfan”, “Curved Air”, “Believe”, “Tori Amos”, “David Bowie”, and “Lacrimosa”. Highly recommendable! Band members and collaborators involved in Mœbius Cat are: Roman Bershadsky – Music, Lyrics, Keyboards, Vocals, Djembe, Drums, Bass, Percussion, Programming; David Graham – Lyrics (tracks 1 & 3); Jodi Krangle – Vocal; Karl Mohr – Vocal; Adriano Spina – Vocal; Terry Skirko – Drums, Tablas; Derek Wylie – Guitars; Andrei Stebakov – Acoustic Guitar; Jeremy Wheaton – Bass; Michael Gutman – Bass; Ashot Ovanessian – Violin; Roman M. – Violin, Flute, Guitar. Recorded digitally in Toronto, at Roman Design Studio in 24-bit, mixed and mastered in 32-bit using Toscam, Yamaha, RODE, Sennheiser, Behringer, KORG, Roland and T.C. Electronic gear... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/10/2013..........................,.....Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit MOEBIUS CAT HOME PAGE...
. DEMETRA SINE DIE - "A Quiet Land of Fear"
Demetra Sine Die is a Post-Metal band founded in 2003 in Genoa, Italy. The line-up consists of the two founder members Marco Paddeu (vocals, guitar) and Marcello Fattore (drums), plus Adriano Magliocco (bass) and Matteo Orlandi (synths). Demetra Sine Die’s previous discography includes the eponymous 6-track “Demo” (2004), the first full-length CD “Council From Kaos” (2008, My Kingdom Music), and the EP “Distances” (2010, self-produced). On those works, DSD’s members obsessively pursued a sound that evolved by contrasting deep feelings and emotions, grounded on the alternation of cerebral and progressive arrangements clashing against soaring atmospheric and psychedelic musical fragments. Inside DSD’s melting pot there is place for Alternative, Experimental & Psychedelic Rock, Atmospheric, Dark-Prog, Post-Rock & Post-Metal music, with influences of “Pink Floyd”, “Mogway”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Katatonia”, “Anathema”, “Neurosis”, “Ancestors”, “Swans”, “A Storm of Light”, “Ulver”, “Isis”, “Meshuggah”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Sigur Rós”, “Anekdoten”, “Radiohead”, “The Gathering”, “The Ocean”, “Opeth”, “Pelican”, “Cult of Luna”, “Year of No Light”, “Animals As Leaders” & “God Is An Astronaut”. Demetra Sine Die’s second full-length album - “A Quiet Land of Fear” - was released in 2012 on CD & LP by BloodRock Records, with exclusive distribution by Black Widow Records. The artwork was made by French designer Dehn Sora, who has collaborated with “Ulver” & “Ephel Duath”. On this last album, DSD’s sound is characterized by a new cinematic and emotional approach. “A Quiet Land of Fear” is a psychedelic trip through our fears. The sound is dark, visionary, cosmic and “doomish”, supported by even more complex riffs, haunting and evocative melodies, still featuring the typical alternation of contrasting feelings and moods, but now integrated with new sounds of trumpets and synths. The album brings 9 tracks. It opens with “Red Sky of Sorrow” (6:24), combining noisy vibes with a woman’s speaking voice. Echoing male vocals follow on, creating a Psychedelic atmosphere that recalls “Anathema”, soon followed by rumbling drums, psychotic riffs and pulsing bass that recall “Mogway”, “Swans”, “Neurosis”, and “A Storm of Light”. On “Black Swan” (7:24) the complicated bass lines join with buzzing guitars and great drumming, recalling “Tool” and “A Perfect Circle”. The whispering vocals and the hypnotic breathing drive this song to a soaring final part. The following two tracks - “A Quiet Land of Fear” (7:36) & “0 Kilometers to Nothing” (6:21) – blend some Middle-Eastern melodies with a heavy instrumentation and explosive drumming that recall bands like “A Storm of Life” and “Isis”. “A Quiet...” is driven by sardonic vocals and “doomish” guitar riffs, and floats over an ocean of molten metallic textures and cosmic sounds (sometimes even like “The Gathering”), while “0 Kilometers...” (6:21) is like a journey to Arabian plains on the wings of trippy bass and trumpets, supported by an apocalyptical vocal narration - a prayer to pagan gods. Later on, the looping and echoing “Ancestral Silence” (2:21) leads to the luring riffs of the amazing song “Silent Sun” (5:55): mysterious, full of distorted sounds, lined by an irresistible hypnotic swing, and with a majestic heavy ending. The track “Distances” (8:34) is another album’s best, being driven by spiraling bass chords and ghostly trumpets, soon joined by ethnical drums and solid guitar riffs. A psychedelic atmosphere pervades this track, as lunatic vocals lead a kind of ancient ritualistic chant, building a song that will please fans of both “King Crimson” and “Tool”. Finally, the cosmic electro-sonority of the experimental “Inanis” (2:27) grows toward the Dark Prog-Metal “That Day I Will Disappear Into the Sun” (6:51), which is powerful, stormy, vibrant and aggressive like “Opeth”, but also having atmospheric interludes punctuated with melancholic vocals, ending this excellent album. Demetra Sine Die is really a very solid and interesting band, and even innovative within the Post-Metal style, being highly recommended for fans of bands like “Mogway”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Katatonia”, “Anathema”, “Neurosis”, “Ancestors”, “Swans”, “Ulver”, “Isis”, “A Storm of Light”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Anekdoten”, “Sigur Rós”, “Riverside”, “The Ocean”, “Opeth”, “Pelican”, “Cult of Luna”, “Year of No Light”, “Colaris”, “Animals As Leaders”, “God Is An Astronaut”, and the likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Demetra Sine Die are: Marco Paddeu – Vocals, Guitar; Marcello Fattore – Drums; Adriano Magliocco – Bass; Matteo Orlandi – Synths. Roby “Nappi” Calgagno – Trumpet; Silvia Sassola – Vocals on “Red Sky of Sorrow”; Dehn Sora – Artwork. Recorded during 2011, Mixed & Mastered March/April 2012 at STUDIOE, RecordingLab, Genoa, by Emanuele Cioncoloni... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/10/2013.................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DEMETRA SINE DIE HOME PAGE...
. ARGOS - "Cruel Symmetry"
Argos is a Progressive Rock band hailing from Mainz, Germany. Argos started out in 2005 as a solo project of multi- instrumentalist and composer Thomas Klarmann (bass, flutes, guitars, vocals), who had played in Progressive and Fusion bands during the 70’s, but later focused on Jazz. With the Progressive Rock revival of the mid 90's, fronted by bands like “Flower Kings” and “Spock's Beard”, the passion for making and performing progressive music returned. A chance meeting with Robert Gozon (keyboards, vocals) led to the formation of “Superdrama”, a quartet that is still active. But as Klarmann wished to work within a broader musical spectrum than he could in “Superdrama”, he began to compose music for the Argos side-project. Gozon soon got involved into it, and they made their first songs available at a MySpace page. Drummer Ulf Jacobs came across the page and found the music highly compelling, and offered his services to the band. The trio signed with French label Musea Records in 2008. Their debut album, “Argos”, was released in January 2009. The follow-up, called “Circles”, was released in April 2010, and had guitarist Rico Florczak added to the line-up. Argos also contributed to a “Flower Kings Tribute” (Musea/Colossus Magazine) performing the song "Cosmic Circus/Babylon". “Cruel Symmetry” is the third studio album of Argos, and was released on December 14, 2012 under the specialized label Progressive Promotion Records. As on the previous two records, the music is essentially 70-styled Progressive Rock with a strong lean to the Canterbury branch, including some Jazz-Fusion moments and a modern Neo-Progressive luster. The influences are bands like “Genesis”, ”Gentle Giant”, “Fruupp”, “Camel”, “Caravan”, “England”, “Stackridge”, “National Health”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “Bo Hansson”, “Robert Wyatt”, “Soft Machine”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Peter Hamill”, “King Crimson”, “IQ”, ”The Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, “Paatos”, “Kraan”, “Beatles”, “Klaatu”, and “XTC”. Even bands like “Porcupine Tree”, Italian Prog bands, Jazz-Fusion luminaires and ECM Jazz artists were cited as influential at some extent. “Cruel Symmetry” features 7 tracks. The long title track “Cruel Symmetry” (20:43) opens the album showcasing much of Argos’ influences: vocals are reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel”, “Pye Hastings”, “Richard Sinclair”, but sometimes have an ironic tone that recalls “Daevid Allen” (“Gong”); keyboards are omnipresent, being either eerie and light like “Genesis” and “Camel”, or entangled in complex arrangements like “Gentle Giant”; guitars have the Canterbury accent and engage into long jazzy solos; and the rhythmic section alternates from a vigorous swing that recalls “Kraan” and the Canterbury rhythm to softer passages that recall “Camel”, “Stackridge” and “Fruupp”. Some flutes add a Folky covering to the song. The overall sound is lively, opulent and clear-cut, also recalling modern bands like “Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, and “Kaipa”. This song in particular has a change of pace on its last third, slowing down to a psychedelic ballad, great bittersweet and harmony vocals, and outstanding soaring guitar solo. The following track, “Paper Ship Dreams” (4:30), and track 4, “Possessions” (6:05), are Canterbury-styled ballads driven by acoustic guitars, soft vocals, kind drumming, and folky flutes recalling “Caravan” and “Camel”. “Possessions” is mainly driven by the organ, and has a long instrumental segment with floating guitars and pianos that recalls “Genesis” (initial “Phil Collins” phase). In between, the vigorous track “Chance Encounters” (4:22) assembles stronger guitar riffs into an odd rhythmic structure that blends “King Crimson”, “VDGG”, and “Gentle Giant”. Track 5, “The Story of Flying Robert” (4:29), is a Prog-Fusion that has many changes and twists, featuring jazzy saxophones (courtesy of guest musician Dieter Gunterman). It is followed by the powerful “Caught Within the Light” (6:47), which surprises the listener by having heavy guitar riffs and epic chords alternating with Neo-Prog vocal parts that recall early “Marillion” and “IQ”’, also including bombastic synths and amazing guitar solo. The closing track, “Open Book” (7:43), takes Argos back to the Canterbury borders, and although applying some heavier and darker tints to the guitar arrangements and vocals, those are softened by the sublime keyboard melodies that are interspersed in its maze. All in all, “Cruel Symmetry” is a brilliant and enthralling new work by Argos, consisting in a must-have item for fans of the Canterbury Scene and bands like “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Richard Sinclair”, “England”, “National Health”; and highly recommended for appreciators of the Progressive Rock in the style of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Gentle Giant”, “Stackridge”, “Camel”, “Fruupp”, “Bo Hansson”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Peter Hamill”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, ”The Flower Kings”, “The Tangent”, “Paatos”, “Kraan”, “Moon Safari”, “Kaipa” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Argos are: Thomas Klarmann – Basses, Flute, Synthesizers, Mellotron, Hammond Organ, Acoustic Guitars, Lead & Harmony Vocals, Soundscapes; Robert Gozon – Acoustic & Electric Pianos, Hammond Organ, Strings, Acoustic Guitars, Lead & Harmony Vocals, Spoken Words; Ulf Jacobs – Acoustic Drums, Percussion, Roland Drum Machine; Enrico Florczak - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Various Effects. Special guest: Dieter Gunterman - Tenor, Soprano & Alto Sax. Produced by Argos and Oliver Wenzler (Progressive Promotion Records)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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04/10/2013...................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit ARGOS HOME PAGE...
. RED BAZAR - "After the Ice Storm"
Red Bazar is an instrumental power trio composed of Paul Comerie (drums), Mick Wilson (bass & keyboards), and Andy Wilson (guitars) – all of them hailing from Nottingham, UK. Since its formation in 2007 Red Bazar has independently released the albums “Connections” (2008), which was reviewed here at PR&PM, and “Differential Being” (2010). Both works received great reviews from the specialized Progressive Press. Red Bazar has just released a new three-track EP called “After The Ice Storm” (2013), which will be available for low prices at their website for a limited time. The music of Red Bazar has been regarded as an original style of Instrumental Rock that blends Progressive, Jazz-Fusion and Metal parts with well dosed measures. The band is mostly influenced by “Led Zeppelin”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Deep Purple”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Kansas”, “Enchant”, “Yes”, and “Genesis”. Anyway, refined and enthralling as it ever been, Red Bazar’s music is now evolving even more toward the direction of the Heavy Prog-Fusion & Metal-Fusion, getting closer to bands like “Panzerballett”, “Steve Vai”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “CAB”, “Niacin”, “Planet X”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “7for4”, and others of the kind. The three tracks present on “After the Ice Storm” are carefully-composed musical pieces that gradually unfold in a very Progressive way, presenting initial musical themes that will intertwine later, and will also be useful supports for interchangeable layers of solos – either of guitars or keyboards. The transforming instrumental passages and broken rhythmic frames are never abrupt, but follow well-defined lines that lead the music to a climax, then returning to the original status of its beginning, completing a cycle. Nothing is loosely played on, everything is held tightly together, so the three musicians may experiment all the structural possibilities of the original music that they create. The EP opens with the powerful sounds of “The Fixer” (6:56), on which flying bass and drums collide against dense walls of electronic keyboards, and Metal-Fusion guitars build up the main solos. The bass lines are great, going from the Prog-Fusion fluidity of “Rush” to a surprising change that plunges into a “Chris Squire” kind of bass. Melodic and agile guitar solos turbinate the ending riffs to the fastest Prog-Metal speeds. “Down Too” (4:55) is less aggressive, driven by limpid guitars that have a typical Jazz-Fusion sound, with a pinch of a clean Neo-Progressive sonority added to it. The last part of this piece, however, contrasts with its beginning by entering an entrancing Psychedelic Metal final segment. The last piece of this EP is also the longest: “Intoxication” (12:34) flows like a plasmatic time-machine – combining the acid Psychedelic sounds of the late ‘60s with solid guitar riffs that have the sonority and groove of the Hard Rock of the ‘70s, all painted in dark tones, and driven by a heavy cadence that recalls the Stoner Metal style. Including enigmatic keyboards, bluesy guitar solos, lysergic bass and incomparable free-flowing drumming, this piece jumps into the future trespassing Metal-Fusion parts, until reaching its conclusion on an Atmospheric final part driven by acoustic guitars and psychedelic synths (something that will really amaze the fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Planet X”, “Niacin”, “Liquid Tension”, and “Dillinger Escape Plan”). With the only flaw of being too short, Red Bazar’s “After the Ice Storm” is a brilliant and amazing work that will convince the most exigent listener of the superior quality and increasing musical potential of this outstanding trio. Red Bazar is more than highly recommendable for fans of Heavy Prog-Fusion, Metal-Fusion & Prog-Metal who are fond of bands like “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Panzerballett”, “Steve Vai”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “CAB”, “Niacin”, “Planet X”, “Psychotic Waltz”, “Dillinger Escape Plan”, “7for4”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Jason Becker”, “Allan Holdsworth”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Red Bazar are: Paul Comerie - Drums, Mick Wilson - Bass and Keyboards; Andy Wilson - Guitars. Album recorded & produced by Red Bazar...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/02/2013....................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to RED BAZAR HOME PAGE...
. THE LIVING - "Bedd Tracks"
The Canadian band The Living was founded in Vancouver by three classically-trained musicians: Mike Bell (vocals, keyboards, drums and piano); Elyse Jacobson (violins, viola); and Jason Nett (guitars, bass, backing vocals). Their first release was a self-produced EP entitled "The Sin" (2007), from which the song “Water Child” was nominated for the “Just Plain Folks Music Awards (2009)“ in the category of best song. The second EP, entitled “Bedd Tracks” (2009), pushed the band a step farther. With the aim of fusing Chamber Music with Latin and Middle Eastern Music, and additional bits of Funk and Metal, The Living manipulates the musical components and invents an new formula that has no label, but should be classified into the same drawer of Swedish bands ”Diablo Swing Orchestra” and “Condition Red”. The best way of describing its sonority is to quote the band: “The Living is a burning Symphony Orchestra" brawling a Metal band on acid at Mardi Gras while gypsies dance Tango. And they couldn’t be more precise. With an extensive list of influences, including names as divergent as “Loveage”, “Bjork”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Talvin Singh”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Kronos Quartet”, “Amon Tobin”, “Afro Cuban All-Stars”, “John Zorn”, “Mindless Self Indulgence”, “Ozomatli”, “Peaches”, “Queen”, “Portishead”, “Stravinsky”, “Ravel”,  “Shakti”, “Mike Patton”, “Avenged Sevenfold”, “Muse”, and “Karnivool”, The Living forges an original sonority that resembles the soundtrack of a Hollywood spy-movie adventure on board of a cruising ship that is departing from the Caribbean Islands with destination to the Middle East, full of gypsies and metal lovers celebrating together as there will be no tomorrow. “Bedd Tracks” features four pieces. Although the songs last only 4 minutes in average, there are many changes in rhythm and harmony, profusion of solos, insertions of trumpet and flutes, and lots of other things happening within the same song, resulting in a kind of compressive-progressive style of composing. The music is always lively, energetic, fast, sometimes furious, and full of surprises. For instance, on the opening track “Eye of the Day”, the nomadic gypsy violins of Elyse Jacobson bring sounds from far places of the Orient to merge them into Latin and Caribbean rhythms of the Occident, which are provided by the free bass lines of Jason Nett - who is also an excellent guitar player, going from neo-classic metal to jazzy (as it can be heard on the second track - “Take the Reins”). Finally, Mike Bell fastens everything together with keyboards and classical outraging pianos – “Real” is full of them. At the same time he whistles and sings unconventional tunes. The closing track, “Global Citizen“ - features oriental influences that were already present on “The Sin” EP, on songs like “Matakat”. With “Bedd Tracks”, The Living is really an outstanding and surprising band, being highly recommendable for fans of exuberant and original Progressive Rock, Chamber Rock, R.I.O., and Alternative World Music. Band members and collaborators involved in The Living are: Mike Bell - Vocals, Keyboards, Piano and Drums (tracks 2,3); Elyse Jacobson – Violin, Viola, Electrified Violin, Creepy moans/breathing; Jason Nett – Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals. Guests: Ali Siadat – Drums (1,4); Jeremy Vint - Trumpet (tracks 1,2), Alyssa Stevenson – Flute (tracks 1,2) Other musicians: Meg Todd – Vocals; Kyle Shepard - Vocal FX, Didgeridoo, Percussion; Jeremy Spokane - Live Bassist. To contact the band please visit their Facebook page... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/02/2013.............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE LIVING HOME PAGE...
. THE BLACK - "Refugium Peccatorum"
The Black is a pioneer Doom Metal band from Pescara, Italy, that was founded in 1988 by Mario “The Black” Di Donato, a former leader of the band “Requiem”. Di Donato writes all lyrics and compositions, and his paintings and illustrations appear on books and CD covers. The Music of The Black is dark, mystic and heavy, and the lyrics are sung in Latin to emphasize their artistic content. The conjoined nature of The Black’s Art & Music is in the center of a unique artistic movement dubbed “Ars et Metal Mentis” (or “Art and Soul’s Metal”). The Black has an extensive discography: “Reliquarium” (1989); "Infernus Paradisus et Purgatorium" (1990); and “Abbatia St. Clementis” (1993) were seminal albums. From 1995 on, a partnership with Black Widow Records led to the release of “Refugium Peccatorum”. On that album, the sonority of The Black became even more obscure and “Sabbathian”, reaching the pinnacle of creativity on “Apocalipsys” (1996), which blended Doom Metal with Progressive - a style farther developed on “Golgotha” (2000). On the coupled albums “Peccatis Nostris” & “Capistrani Pugnator”, released separately on vinyl and together on CD in 2004, the “Ars et Metal Mentis” style of The Black reached the highest levels of expression, combining Metal with Progressive Rock and Medieval Folk. The last album, “Gorgoni” (2010) was released on CD and Vinyl limited edition, with the cover in real canvas. In 2010 Di Donato collaborated with band “Sancta Sanctorum” (of “Steve “Death SS” Sylvester”), playing two songs on their album “The Shining Darkness”. In December 2010 he was awarded the “Premio Dante Alighieri” in Pescara, for helping to spread the name of the Abruzzo region internationally. “Refugium Peccatorum” was reissued in 2012 on LP & CD by Black Widow Records. This new version of “R.P.” brings 11 original tracks plus 3 bonus tracks. The music is raw and crude, heavy and “doomic”, influenced by “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Message”, “Jacula”, “Antonius Rex”, “Trouble”, “Witchfinder General”, “Angel Witch”, and “Desolation Angels”. Di Donato's personal guitar playing irradiates magical vibrations when constructing heavy riffs. Singing in Latin, he asks questions about death and life after death, creating a Gothic atmosphere that transforms the music into a ritualistic black mass. Crepuscular visions, spiritual ecstasy, and epic melodies create music that goes beyond the frontiers of Heavy Doom, either shocking or quieting the listener. The original album had several instrumental pieces that worked as preludes, interludes, and postludes of the main songs. The opening track “Refugium Peccatorum” (1992) (3:47) featured Gothic keyboards that introduced the song “Mortalis Silentium” (1992) (4:47), a Doom Metal with influences of “Black Sabbath” and “Judas Priest”, while the following “Prex II – Versione” (1990) (4:54) began with keyboards and angelic choirs turning into a slow heavy and macabre song driven by black mass vocals (recalling “Jacula” and “Antonius Rex”). The psychedelic “Animae” (1989) (2:30) was marked by backwards sounds, and melancholic vocals. One of the best tracks, “De Profundis Tenebrarum” (1992) (3:46) was introduced by church organs and bells, had sacred choirs followed by vibrant doom-metal riffs, and had powerful guitars, bass & drums. It was preceded and followed by two instrumental tracks featuring soaring synths and classical strings: “Orate Frates” (1990) (1:37) & “Atratus” (1990) (1:15). The final sequence comprised instrumental tracks: “VII Orbis - II Versione” (1990) (2:55) had great doom-riffs with an epic touch, psychedelic guitar solo, and a final part with a faster NWOBHM pace; “Lux Veritas” (1990) (3:00) was slow, sad, driven by deep bass, and dominated by poignant guitar solo; “Juvanum – I Versione” (1989) (2:41) was Psychedelic, frightening, and was driven by an ancient chanting; finally “Salva Me” (1994) (1:56) combined tribal drumming from a pagan ritual with church organs. The bonus tracks were better produced, and the quality of their sound is higher, being highlights of this reissued version of “R.P.”: “Lux Veritas Est” (2010) (3:55) is a heavy Doom Metal with a locomotive pace that recalls “Trouble”, while “Hallow’s Victim” (2000) (3:24) is a Hardcore-Metal with frantic drums and aggressive vocals, recalling bands like “Hellhammer”, “Sodom”, and “Saint Vitus”. “Obscura Nocte” (2001) (4:16) is slower, driven by a great guitar riff, and features a long distorted guitar solo. In sum, “Refugium Peccatorum” is sacred and profane, intense, cryptic, dark and sinister – as should be any album produced by a legendary band of the Italian Doom Metal movement. The Black is indicated for fans of “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Message”, “Jacula”, “Trouble”, “Witchfinder General”, “Angel Witch”, “Desolation Angels”, “Antonius Rex”, “Saint Vitus”, “Count Raven”, “Death SS”, “Blood Ceremony“, “Doomraiser”, “Electric Wizard”, and Doom & Stoner Metal in general. Band members and collaborators involved in The Black are: Mario "The Black" Di Donato - Vocals, Guitar, & Lyrics. Line-up on “De Profundis Tenebrarum”: M. Di Donato – Vocals, Guitar; Eugenio “Metus” Mucci - Vocals; Enio Nicolini - Bass; Emilio Chella - Drums; Jan Bernardi - Keyboards. Line-up on “Animae”, “Prex”, “Lux Veritas”, “VII Orbis”: M. Di Donato - Vocals, Guitar; Belfino De Leonardis - Bass; Giuseppe Miccoli - Drums; Sasha Buontempo - Keyboards intro on “Prex”. Line-up on “Juvanum”: M. Di Donato - Guitar; Amedeo “God Dragon” D’Intino - Bass, Backing vocals; Eugenio “Metus” Mucci - Vocals, Backing vocals; Giuseppe “Lord Fist” Miccoli - Drums. Bonus Tracks performed by The Black’s current line-up: Mario "The Black" Di Donato - Vocals, Guitar; Enio Nicolini - Bass; Gianluca Bracciale - Drums. General Manager - Gianni Romanelli Lavinio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/02/2013....................................,....More information? Better check it out for yourself at: THE BLACK HOME PAGE...
. MYTH OF PROGRESS - "Myth of Progress"
Myth of Progress started in Seattle (WA) during 2012 as a new musical project of Jules Nickel (guitars, bass, keyboards & synths) and Chris Martin (drums & percussion), after the demise of their former band. The duo had already recorded music for a full length album when Andrew Croeni joined them. At this point they decided to keep their music totally in instrumental format, to have the freedom of taking any song to anywhere. In November 2012, Myth of Progress finally finished and released their independent and eponymous album “Myth of Progress”. Dubbing their style as “psychedelic instrumental- improvisational progressive post-rock tribal fusion”, Myth of Progress combines guitar driven heavy Rock with elements of a plethora of styles, including Psychedelic, Progressive, Jazz, Jam-Band, Funk, Reggae, Latin, and World Music. Their ability to record live loops paired with guitar synths is a trademark of the trio, resulting in an intense and multi-layered sound. The music of Myth of Progress is exciting and unpredictable, departing from a main melodic theme, the arrangements adventurously cross the conventional borders of music, searching for the varying rhythms that can be found within a groove and the multiple melodies that can be drawn from a given chord progression. Their sonority resembles the instrumentation of bands ranging from Progressive & Post-Rock acts like “King Crimson”, “Primus”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “Tortoise”, “Cul de Sac”, “Battles”, “Stereolab”, “Russian Circles”, “Sigur Rós”, “God Is An Astronaut”, and “Oceansize” to heavier Post-Metal outfits like “Mogwai”, “Neurosis”, “Pelican”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Tool”, and “A Perfect Circle”. The album “Myth of Progress” has 13 tracks. My favorites are those that combine strength and density on the rhythmic section with meandering and complicated guitar passages, also having some leaning for the orientalism, showing influences of bands like “Tortoise”, “Cul de Sac”, “Russian Circles” and “Primus”, powered by the energy of bands like “Mogwai”, “Pelican”, “A Perfect Circle”, and “Tool”. These tracks include the opening piece “Scourge of the Yankee Bankers” (7:12) (with Caribbean rhythms and baroque guitars); the fast-paced and vibrant “Mother Chaos” (5:36) & “Hopalong Horus” (6:43); and the mysterious “Contradictators” (6:10), with its peculiar melodies imprisoned in Arabic rhythms. Other favorites are: “Laughing Buddha” (10:06) - a magnum-opus comprising great Heavy-Progressive, Post-Rock and Post-Metal passages that are alternated and juxtaposed along several twists and turns, also having oriental tunes, epic moods, and heavy instrumental outbursts; “Hexagram 23” (5:01) - a ferocious Post-Metal; and “Interstellar Spores” (5:01), which is a Cosmic Post-Rock with some “Porcupine Tree” inspiration. Contrasting with those most vigorous pieces, the melodic Post-Rock pieces “Horizon” (4:04) and “Wave Harmonics” (5:50) have a light disposition that will please fans of “Battles”, “Stereolab” and “Radiohead”. Meanwhile, listeners who are fond of the psychedelia and bittersweet melancholy of bands like “Sigur Rós”, “God Is An Astronaut”, and “Oceansize” will prefer the echoing “Mellow Duppies” (3:38), and the chameleonic “This 'n That” (7:07), which begins with soft synths and hypnotic revolutions, but grows heavier toward the end. To add more variety to their album, Myth of Progress still offers “Jumar Jam” (5:36), a Post-Rock Reggae driven by unusual bass; and “Let It Go” (4:28), driven by a Latin swing. A great debut album, “Myth of Progress” is highly recommended for fans of Post-Rock in general, who love the instrumental sonority of “King Crimson”, “Primus”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Radiohead”, “Tortoise”, “Cul de Sac”, “Battles”, “Stereolab”, “Russian Circles”, “Sigur Rós”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “Oceansize”, “Mogwai”, “Pelican”, “Neurosis”, “Animals as Leaders”, “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Valence”, “SOT”, “Outopsya”, “Reserve de Marche”, “Diversion Voice”, “Rosetta”, “Cult of Luna”, & “Red Sparrowes”. Band members and collaborators involved in Myth of Progress are: Jules Nickel – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and Synthesizers; Chris Martin – Drums and Percussion. Additional musician: Sam MacDonald – Bass on “Jumar Jam” and “This 'n That”. New member: Andrew Croeni. Album Recorded, Engineered & Produced by J.Nickel & C.Martin (Birdhouse, Seattle)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/02/2013...................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MYTH OF PROGRESS HOME PAGE...
. MUSEO ROSENBACH - "Zarathustra - Live in Studio"
Museo Rosenbach is a veteran band of the Italian Prog-Rock scene that was formed by Stefano “Lupo” Galifi (vocals), Alberto Moreno (bass, keyboards), Giancarlo Golzi (drums), Enzo Merogno (guitar, vocals), and Pit Corradi (keyboards). In 1973 the band released their seminal album “Zarathustra”, based on the particular vision of the philosopher Nietzsche and his theory of the superman (Übermensch). The advanced musical content of the album, combined with its high intellectual concept, equaled it to the contemporary works of other bands such as “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “ELP” and “Pink Floyd”. “Zarathustra” was then lifted to the level of a masterpiece and became one of the foundation stones of Italian Progressive Rock. Museo Rosenbach disbanded soon after, and unless by a few CDs featuring previously unreleased material, the band remained in the shadows for nearly 40 years. Giancarlo Golzi took part on Italian Pop-Rock group "Matia Bazar", while singer Stefano Galifi appeared as lead singer on the debut album of modern Prog-Rock band "Il Tempio Delle Clessidre" (2010). But in 2012 three of the original members - Lupo Galifi (vocals), Giancarlo Golzi (drums and percussion), and Alberto Moreno (keyboards) - decided to resurrect Museo Rosenbach. Together with the new components Fabio Meggetto (keyboards), Sandro Libra (guitars), Max Borelli (guitars), and Andy Senis (bass) they recorded a new “live-in-studio” version of “Zarathustra”. Baptized “Zarathustra – Live in Studio”, it was self-released in 2012 with distribution of Self Distribuzione. This album features the same four compositions of the 1973 record, unless that their original order has been switched to a new configuration, so that the music now grows gradually in dynamism and emotion, reaching the climax on the title track: something that the band wants to replicate on a series of live concerts. Minor differences separate the new versions from the original ones. Those differences, however, are the product of a matured artistic view and have increased the quality of the new versions. The first track of the album is now “Intro / Dell'Eterno Ritorno” (7:58) – introduced by some ethnical percussion that did not exist on the original record, it surprises the listener with its density and better sound definition. It is followed by the baroque intricacy of “Degli Uomini” (4:16), the instrumentation of which mirrored some bands like “KC” and “Genesis”. The fresh sonority of “Della Natura” (9:00) is the final proof that the band eliminated the primitiveness of the first recording without losing the strength, heaviness and visceral density, or even emptying its philosophical content. The music is brilliant, featuring ambitious arrangements, with great passages of keyboards and guitars, permeated by the powerful and lyrical vocals of Galifi. His voice resounds strongly, and on the enigmatic melodic lines of the magnum opus “Zarathustra” (22:20) shows the same emotional eloquence of the past, making the perfect balance to the psychedelic soaring sounds that emanate from Moreno’s vintage keyboards. The following drumming is aggressive, maneuvered by Golzi with renovated stamina, and the famous heavy riffs still make anyone to crumble into pieces. From this beginning (“a. L'Ultimo Uomo”) the song follows on with “b. Il Re di Ieri” - driven by orchestral arrangements that sound much more mysterious then ever -; and with “c. Al Di Là Del Bene e Del Male”, revealing the pleasure of the whole band by being performing their meaningful music all again. The music plunges down into the introspectiveness of “d. Superuomo”, reaching the cathartic final on the instrumental Jazz-Rock segment called “e. Il Tempio Delle Clessidre” – a fervent fusion of incandescent bass, raging drums, wild guitars, and great Mellotrons. “Zarathustra – Live in Studio” contains music that is still as visionary and avant-garde as it was 4 decades ago – constituting an essential album for any fan of Italian Progressive Rock, 70’s Prog-Rock in general, and newcomers searching for gems of the glorious past. Museo Rosenbach promised a new album for April 16th, 2013: “Barbarica”. We are waiting eagerly for it. Band members and collaborators involved in Museo Rosenbach are: Stefano Lupo Galifi – Vocals; Giancarlo Golzi – Drums & Percussion; Alberto Moreno – Keyboards; Max Borelli – Guitars & Vocals; Sandro Libra – Guitars; Fabio Meggetto – Keyboards; Andy Senis – Bass & Vocals. Past members: Pit Corradi – Keyboards; Enzo Merogno - Guitar & Vocals. Album Produced by Museo Rosenbach; Recorded at Rosenhouse Vallecrosia (Italy); Engineered by Maurizio Macchioni, with assistance of Alessio Senis; Mixed at Hide Park Studio by Maurizio Macchioni... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/02/2013..........Interested to know more about this amazing Italian Band? Visit MUSEO ROSENBACH HOME PAGE...
. PSYCHO PRAXIS - "Echoes From The Deep"
Psycho Praxis is a new Progressive Rock band from Brescia, Italy, which is formed by Andrea Calzoni (vocals and flute), Paolo Vacchelli (guitars), Paolo Tognazzi (vintage keyboards), Matteo Marini (bass and acoustic guitar), and Matteo Tognazzi (drums). The quintet writes and plays ‘70s Progressive Rock with emphasis on the musical essence. Their debut album is “Echoes From The Deep” (2012, Black Widow Records), which was released on both CD and LP (available with a gatefold “window cover”). The musicians of Psycho Praxis are mainly influenced by the early and pioneering works of British Progressive & Psychedelic bands such as “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Jethro Tull”, “Soft Machine”, “Still Life”, “The Nice”, “Pink Floyd”, “Arcadium”; and also by the Krautrock band “Can” and by the French composer “Olivier Messiaen”. Their music therefore replicates the vintage sonorities spanning from 1969 to 1973, approaching to equivalent bands of the early Italian Progressive Rock scene - mainly “Osanna”, “Biglietto per l'Inferno”, “J.E.T.”, “Delirium”, “Dalton”, and, to a less extent, to “Museo Rosenbach”, “Formula 3”, “New Trolls”, “De De Lind”, and “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”. Psycho Praxis masterfully retakes that lost musical path, performing with still more technique and stamina, and developing more ambitious and complex arrangements on which intense interplay of flutes, guitar and keyboards are propelled by opulent and free-flowing bass and drums. “Echoes From The Deep” features 6 long tracks, with English lyrics. The opening song is “Privileged Station” (8:07), which alternates vigorous Progressive parts with more aggressive moments, recalling bands like “J.E.T.”, “Biglietto” and “Still Life”, and reminding the listener of that proto-Hard Rock that would be performed later by bands like “Uriah Heep” and “Deep Purple”. “P.S.M.” (8:17) follows on with the faster bass and drums hovering on a vibrant and jazzy pace, being the substrate for great “rocky” flutes that are totally inspired on “Jethro Tull”, “Dalton”, “Delirium” and “Osanna”, the last band being a model for the guitar tunes & grooves, for the melodic vocals, and for the contrasting moods. This song also surprises the listener by heaving a totally different final part with Baroque organs and soaring vocals, something reminiscent of “The Nice”. The following two songs show stronger affinities with the British bands cited above: “Hoodlums” (7:45) is a Psychedelic Blues-Rock with influences of “Arcadium” and “Pink Floyd” (recalling the “Dark Side of the Moon” album), except that the last instrumental part is dominated by great flutes and colorful psychedelic guitar solos, all soothed at the end by a tuneful theme on the flute; while “Black Crow” (9:09) is darker, introduced by acoustic guitars and voice, gradually growing in intensity on the flutes, recalling a primeval “Genesis” (from “Trespass” to “Foxtrot”), also having a rhythmic pattern that may be influenced by early “Soft Machine” (e.g. “Third”), and great guitars like “Osanna”, ending in a cathartic Psychedelic/Hard-Rock conclusion. The last two tracks – which I regard as the album’s best and most impressive - invest deeper in the instrumentation and draw influences that may range from “Soft Machine”, “VdGG”, “King Crimson” and “Camel”, to “Osanna”, “Biglietto” and “J.E.T.”: “Awareness” (5:56) is fully instrumental, driven by a complex rhythmic section that supports an unstoppable and breathtaking interplay of guitars, flutes and keyboards; while “Noon” (7:19) is a vibrant Jazz-Rock driven by flowing guitars and flutes, with the expressive vocals appearing only on the second half, announcing the Armageddon – before ending with a flute solo in the style of “Osanna”. Being in part rough, primitive, and violent, on the other side tuneful, impressive, sophisticated and beautiful, the music of Psycho Praxis is surprisingly fascinating for a debuting band, and their album “Echoes From The Deep” is therefore highly recommended for all fans of Italian Progressive Rock and early British Progressive & Psychedelic Rock (from ‘69 to ’73), being especially indicated for fans of “King Crimson”, “Genesis”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Soft Machine”, “Still Life”, “The Nice”, “Arcadium”, “Pink Floyd”, “Can”, “Osanna”, “J.E.T.”, “Biglietto per l'Inferno”, “Delirium”, “Dalton”, “Formula 3”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “New Trolls”, and “De De Lind”. Band members and collaborators involved in Psycho Praxis are: Andrea Calzoni - Vocals & Flute; Paolo Vacchelli - Electric & 12-String Guitar; Paolo Tognazzi - Organ, Piano, Glockenspiel; Matteo Marini - Electric Bass, Acoustic Guitar; Matteo Tognazzi – Drums. All songs by Psycho Praxis, except “P.M.S.” & “Black Crow”, by Psycho Praxis & Luca Glissenti. Album Recorded by Brown Barcella; Mixed by Stefano Moretti at TUP Studios, Brescia; Mastered by Alessandro di Guglielmo at Elettroformati S.r.1., Milano, March 2012 - Produced by Psycho Praxis, Alessandro Siani & Black Widow Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/29/2013......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PSYCHO PRAXIS HOME PAGE...
. MAHOGANY FROG - "Senna"
Mahogany Frog is an Instrumental Electronic Prog-Rock act from Winnipeg, Canada. The band was founded back in 1998 and had different musicians along its history, but the current line-up comprises: Graham Epp (guitars, keyboards, trumpet), Jesse Warkentin (guitars, keyboards), Scott Ellenberger (bass, trumpet), and Andy Rudolph (drums, percussion, electronics). Between 2000 and 2002 Mahogany Frog performed in Canada and released their first LP “Mahogany Frog Plays the Blues", followed by "The Living Sounds of Mahogany Frog", which gained recognition of the Winnipeg art community. Mahogany Frog then joined with recording technician Mike Petkau to release the albums: “Mahogany Frog Vs. Mabus” (2004), “Mahogany Frog on Blue” (2005), and "Mahogany Frog DO5" (2008, MoonJune Records). "...DO5" was internationally acclaimed throughout North/ South America, Europe and Asia (see the review at PR&PM). Shortly after its release, founder member Jean-Paul Perron was replaced by Andy Rudolph (drums, electronics), a previous collaborator of the band who was familiar with their work. Andy’s drumming style shifted Mahogany Frog toward a Jazz/R&B direction. Since 2010 Mahogany Frog delivered important live performances at Pop Montreal, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Prog Day in Chapel Hill, NC and SESC in São Paulo, Brazil – always concentrating on stage an enormous amount of energy at massive high volumes, creating a steady bombardment of exciting progressive music that mesmerized the audiences. Mahogany Frog recorded new material with John Paul Peters at Winnipeg's Private Ear Recordings, which was released on their sixth full-length album, “Senna” (September 2012, Moonjune Records). “Senna” has 8 tracks, amplifies the band’s experiments with electronica, and is also heavier than their previous works, capturing the band’s vigor when playing alive. The sound of Mahogany Frog congregates influences from 60’s Psychedelia, Electronica, 70’s Progressive, Kraut-Rock, Jazz-Rock, Industrial, and Ambient Experimentalism, inspired on “Klaus Wunderlich”, “Juan Esquivel”, “Gustav Mahler”, “Robert Moog”, and bands like "King Crinson", "Soft Machine", "Stereolab", "Tortoise", “Pink Floyd”, "ELP", "Porcupine Tree", “Manfred Mann”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Faust”, and “Djam Karet”. By using an arsenal of analogue & digital keyboards (with a preference for Farfisa, Moog ARP, Korg, Rhodes & Nord models), Mahogany Frog creates dynamic and brainy music with emphasis on tone, mood and composition. The structure is multi-layered, combining walls of electronic samples, cacophonic experimental noises, fuzzy-sounding bass, and reverberating guitars, which are all counterbalanced by catchy classically-inspired Progressive melodies that spring out abundantly. The orchestration is unorthodox: complex modal progressions are driven by flowing rhythms that follow unusual time signatures, either supporting syncopated counter-melodies, or just cascading into lavish electro-soundscapes of cosmic ambience. The album begins with “Houndstooth Part 1” (4:04) – driven by a rhythmic sample followed by Space-Rock keyboards that dance a cosmic-ballet, spinning gradually faster until finally achieving light-speed on the adventurous “Houndstooth Part 2” (5:29), which is saturated by keyboards that intermesh with violent precision. “Expo '67” (5:04) is noisy at the beginning, but engages into the psychedelic groove of the 60’s, including pulsing bass, fuzzy guitar sounds, and “earthquake” drumming. “Flossing With Buddha” (4:35) has a lighter and joyful disposition, driven by Farfisa & Moog organs, and 60’s rocky drumming. The twin tracks “Message from Uncle Stan: Grey Shirt” (8:29) & “Message from Uncle Stan: Green House” (3:49) begin with space noisy sonorities that recall the Kraut band “Ash Ra Temple”. Resounding like a great ball of energy that expands to swallow the Universe, the darkness is slowly suppressed by the soothing sounds of a guitar, creating a symphonic piece that shines with the magnitude of a quasar. The coming of an exciting riff that combines 70’s guitars with gritty organs drives the music to a trippy-mode, until being hit on “… Green House” by the X-ray radiation of a super-nova explosion that reduces the music to a greasy mixture of primeval hydro-carbonates spiced with fatty bass, frantic drums, droning organs, and buzzing guitars. Yet, “Saffron Myst” (4:02) is a soaring Fusion driven by pulsar-beats, soft bass, and melodic keyboards. And the last track “Aqua Love Ice Cream Delivery Service” (7:46) is turbulent and noisy: as if it had been captured by a black-hole pit, it accelerates, crumbles and returns in time to be launched into a solar corona to melt down into harpsichords. With this new amazing album, Mahogany Frog became highly recommended for fans of "King Crinson", "Soft Machine", “Manfred Mann”, "Stereolab", "Tortoise", "Porcupine Tree", “Ozric Tentacles”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Faust”, “Djam Karet”, “ELP”, and “Gerard”. Band members and collaborators involved in Mahogany Frog are: Graham Epp - Electric Guitars, MicroMoog, Farfisa Organ, Farf Muff, ARP String Ensemble, Korg MS2000, Electric & Acoustic Pianos; Jesse Warkentin - Electric Guitars, MicroMoog, Farfisa Organ, Farf Muff, ARP String Ensemble, Korg MS2000, Electric & Acoustic Pianos; Scott Ellenberger - Electric & Acoustic Bass, Briscoe organ, Percussion; Andy Rudolph - Drums, Percussion & Electronics. Past Members: Jean-Paul Perron - Drums, Percussion, Electronics (1998-2008); Nathan Loewen - Bass (1998-2002); Shaun Mason - Bass (2002); Jordan Perry - Organs & Synths (2002); Mike Spindloe – Saxophone (2002); Mike Petkau - Recording technician (2003-2007). Production: All songs written & performed by Mahogany Frog except Beluga whales on "Aqua Love" recorded in Churchill, MB by WHALE (Ryan Klatt & Laura Magnusson), harpsichord on "Aqua Love" performed by Eric Lussier (including excerpt from "Sarabande in A Major", by Jean Philippe Rameau). Recorded & mixed by John Paul Peters May to September 2011 at Private Ear Recording, Winnipeg, MB. Additional tracking by Andy Rudolph at Video Pool & Uncle Stan's, Winnipeg, MB. Mastered by Troy Glessner at Spectre Mastering, Seattle, WA. Produced by Mahogany Frog & Leonardo Pavkovic (MoonJune Records)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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05/29/2013.........Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to MAHOGANY FROG HOME PAGE...
. SH.TG.N. - "Sh.tg.n"
SH.TG.N. is a six-piece Experimental & Avant-garde band from Ghent, Belgium, that was founded in February 2009 by eclectic musician Antoine Guenet - a conservatory-trained keyboardist with a wide interest in Music raging from Progressive, Psychedelic and Experimental to Hard Rock, Metal, Free Jazz, and Classic. In order to start a new project called SH.TG.N., Guenet gathered around him other Belgian musicians with different musical backgrounds in Rock, Jazz, and Classical: Wim Segers (vibraphone), Yannick De Pauw (guitar), Fulco Ottervanger (vocals), Dries Geusens (bass), and Simon Segers (drums). With them, Guenet wanted to create pieces of extreme music with freedom and no restrictions that would contradict the uniformity of the music of today. At first, SH.TG.N.’s songs were very short and highly humorous, like shotgun bullets, hence the moniker “Shotgun”. But to distinguish them from a Funk band also called “Shotgun”, they used one of their own songs – called “Shitgun” – to make a play on the ambiguity, by replacing the vowels by dots in the band’s logo. As their songs got longer and more intricate, they ultimately added vocals to the music – with the final addition of Ottervanger to the line-up. The explosive chemistry resulted in a live debut album that Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Records was courageous and visionary enough to release in 2012. The album “Sh.tg.n” was recorded without overdubs or edits to preserve the raw energy and sound of SH.TG.N. on stage. With a style self-christened as “Psychotic Contemporary Pompous Heavy Metal”, SH.TG.N. has been influenced by bands and names as varied as “Nirvana”, “Pink Floyd”, “Sonic Youth”, “Radiohead”, “Zappa”, “The Residents”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Soft Machine”, “Robert Wyatt”, “Korn”, “Mr Bungle”, “The Dillinger Escape Plan”, “A Silver Mount Zion”, “Dalida”, “John Zorn’s Naked City”, the composer “György Ligeti”, the pianist “Conlon Nancarrow”, and the Hungarian saxophonist “Akosh Szelevényi”. To me, it is like a blend of “Black Sabbath”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Jane’s Addiction”, “Primus”, “Spastic Ink”, and “Blotted Science” with “King Crimson”, “Gong”, “Univers Zéro”, “Henry Cow”, “Miriodor”, “Art Zoyd”, “Volapük”, “Dr. Nerve”, “The Wrong Object”, and “Etron Fou Leloublan”. SH.TG.N.’s sonority is really unique – bizarre, tense, and strongly contrasting, yet challenging, instigating and exciting. The band opposes the density of Heavy Metal against the unlikely soothing sounds of the vibraphone, using in the process the unconventional ways of R.I.O. & Canterbury Progressive-Rock; the unusual harmonies of Free-Jazz; and the academicism of Experimental Orchestral Music. Distorted jazz-rock guitars, psychotic bass lines, and spastic drums move inside the dark and neurotic atmosphere generated by the heavy riffs and rhythmical madness, being unexpectedly conveyed into a state of organized chaos. Vocals add more madness to the mixture, either as insane and tortured screams, or as violently declaimed speeches. SH.TG.N.‘s debut has 12 tracks. My favorites are the creepy “Dead Baby“ (2:06) – which is like “Black Sabbath” meeting “Art Zoyd” inside a haunted palace – and a number of songs with heavy guitars and a stronger lean to the Jazz-Rock and Math-Metal styles (recalling “The Wrong Object” and “Spastic Ink”), like “Deejays Should Have Low Self-Esteem“ (4:24) (which has some vibraphones that resound like Cuban music); “Eyjafjallajökull“ (3:18) (with great guitar riffs and vocals like “The Residents”); the cool and gloomy “Camera Obscura“ (6:17) (that recalls early “Soft Machine” on bass, and supports an insane speech), and the psychedelic and bass driven tour-de-force “Black Beetle“ (7:58). Another group of favorite songs sound mostly as caricatured versions of the Hard Rock of “Led Zeppelin” and “Jane’s Addiction” mixed to “Henry Cow” and other R.I.O. acts; like “Shotgun (Afraid Of)“ (3:58) (which also has psychedelic noises and ghostly vocal effects); the swinging “A Glimpse Into Eternity” (4:31) and the weird “J33 (I Don’t Wanna See)“ (4:42). A bunch of songs appeal to SH.TG.N.‘s most violent side, with inclusion of hardcore vocals, such as the wild and chaotic “Shitgun“ (4:19); the cathartic “Save Us From Bloody Women“ (1:07); the neurasthenic “Erase Her Dad“ (3:01) (with groovy guitars and insane vocals); and the guerrilla song “Esta Mierda No Es Democracia“ (3:12) (with political slogans that are out-spitted by vocals that recall “Etron Fou”). SH.TG.N. is really one of a kind – if sometimes I wonder how the Music of the future will be – the answer might be: like SH.TG.N. This band is only recommended for the most bold and daring music fans who like strong emotions, like hard-boiled appreciators of Avant-garde Experimental Metal, Extreme R.I.O. and High-Density Jazz-Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in SH.TG.N. are: Antoine Guenet - keyboards, Wim Segers - vibraphone, Yannick De Pauw - guitar, Dries Geusens - bass, Simon Segers - drums, and Fulco Ottervanger - vocals. Songs by A. Guenet, except tracks 6, 9 & 11, by F. Ottervanger, arranged by SH.TG.N. Recorded Live at La Legia (Liege, Belgium) by Xavier Muller on December 1, 2011. Mixed by Jean-Guillaume Teheux & A. Guenet; mastered by J.-G. Teheux. Artwork by Zoé Jusseret. Produced by SH.TG.N. & Leonardo Pavkovic... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SH.TG.N. HOME PAGE...
. CYRIL - "Gone Through Years"
Cyril is a new Progressive Rock project coming from Germany. The line-up consists of musicians who were taking part on several bands, but that were lately playing together in the Pop-Rock band “Gabria”: bassist Denis Strassburg, guitarist Ralf Dietsch (ex-“Hidden Timbre”), keyboardist, saxophonist & clarinetist Marek Arnold (of “Toxic Smile”, “Seven Steps To The Green Door”, “Flaming Row”, ex-“Stern Combo Meissen”), and drummer Clemens Litschko. In 2010 this quartet started a new project with singer Larry B. (also “Toxic Smile”, ex-“Stern Combo Meissen”). Their debut album, entitled “Gone Through Years”, was released in April 2013 under Progressive Promotion Records, Germany. It is a concept album based on the book “The Time Machine”, by “H. G. Wells”. The record also features guest singers Manuel Schmid (as Hologram), Amelie Hofmann (as Alice) and Saskia Brödel on additional vocals. The music is Neo-Progressive Rock with an additional, but healthy, rocky-popish touch, emphasizing the melodies and the vocal arrangements. Progressive time signatures and harmonic structures sometimes are dressed in a cloak of jazzy sophistication. The instrumentation is highlighted with bombastic keyboards, clever guitar riffs, and tuneful appearances of saxophones and clarinets that add a special flavor to the mixture. The influences are “Genesis” (Larry B.’s voice is reminiscent of the emotional singing of “Peter Gabriel” and “Phil Collins”), “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Shadowland”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Caamora”, “Clive Nolan”, “Eric Norlander”, and “Rocket Scientists”, also resembling a softer and more Progressive-leaned version of “Toxic Smile” (which has been featured here at PR&PM – see Reviews 2012). “Gone Through Years” contains 10 tracks. The opening track, “In Search Of Wonders” (6:00), is a little popish, but sophisticated and vibrant, enriched with sticky vocals, soaring keyboards, classic pianos, and female backing vocals – overall, it recalls “Marillion” with “Hogarth”. “Sweet Alice” (3:24) surprises the listener by being a danceable, but chic, Latin-Prog with Spanish guitars and Cuban percussion, and great “Phil Collins”-styled vocals, getting bolder at the end. The varied “Through Time And Space” (6:03) is a rocky Prog with strength on keyboards and on the keyboard-guitar riffs (recalling “Clive Noland”, ”Eric Norlander”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”). Propelled by the chorus, this song still features female backing vocals and a final sequence dominated by solos of sax and guitar. From this point on, the record offers a sequence of best tracks: “Gone Through Years” (5:55) is a cadenced Neo-Prog driven by bass, delicate synths and outstanding vocals – soaring and sad - with a middle instrumental part for jazzy pianos and sax; “Days To Come” (3:03) is a Baroque song that begins with the Classical guitar but allows heavy electric guitars to come later, while silky tunes of the clarinet alternate with whispering vocals and the song merges into a percussive scherzo; yet “Mental Scars” (6:57) begins slow and soft, with a 80’s popish feeling, interrupted by occasional guitar outbursts (that recall “Trevor Rabin” of “Yes”), until reaching a segment on which sublime male-female vocal duo blends with symphonic strings and pianos (recalling “Strangers on a Train” and “Caamora”). The following two songs - “Gate Of Reflection” (3:01) & “Heading For Disaster” (6:51) - are more visceral and rocky, spilling out energy from heavy guitars, aggressive vocals, gritty organs, galloping bass, epic choirs, and creating an adventurous theme played on the guitar solos that recalls the style of “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon” and “Galahad”. A fast pace drives the excellent track “World Is Lost” (06:17), on which keyboards widens up the amplitudes for the circulation of electronic beats, and a cool solo of sax floats, announcing some complicated guitar & keyboards harmonies that recall the last work of “Pendragon”. The album ends very well with “Final Ending” (06:45), which has astral guitars on the intro, a beautiful theme on sax and vocals, and finishes with a long guitar solo. Cyril has really made a solid album, with competent performances, and although the band prefers to stay loyal to the most accessible and melodic approach of the Neo-Progressive style, they have added some novelty to it by making use of saxophones and clarinets – which are normally absent of Neo-Prog instrumental palette. Cyril is highly recommended for fans of bands like “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” & “Phil Collins” phases), “Marillion” (“Fish” & “Hogarth” phases), “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Clive Nolan”, “Shadowland”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Caamora”, “Rocket Scientists”, “Eric Norlander”, “Saga”, “Six Elements”, “Silhouette”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Cyril are: Larry B. – Vocals; Ralf Dietsch – Guitar, Mandolin; Marek Arnold - Keyboards, Sax, Clarinet; Denis Strassburg - Bass, Programming; Clemens Litschko - Drums, Percussion. Additional singers: Manuel Schmid; Amelie Hofmann; & Saskia Brödel. Arranged by Cyril; Vocal arrangements by M. Arnold & Larry B. Produced by M. Arnold & D. Strassburg in Jan-Feb 2013 at B’Side-Music/DSB-Music; Additional Recordings by Karsten Zeise, Martin Schnella, Manuel Schmid & Ralf Dietsch... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013.............................Want to learn everything about the project and their history, go to CYRIL HOME PAGE...
. FREDDY DELIRIO - "Journey"
Federico Pedichini (a.k.a. Freddy Delirio) is an Italian keyboardist and singer mostly known for his participation on bands Death SS and H.A.R.E.M. Freddy has always been involved in many projects and shows, focusing on the Horror Rock, Hard Rock, and Instrumental Psychedelic styles. He began his career in 1989 on band “Mania-C”, which released some LPs. In 1994 “Mania-C” disbanded, and Freddy Delirio began a solo career on his keyboard-oriented project, called "Journey". By the end of 1994 Freddy was called to integrate the line-up of cult band “Death SS”. He toured with them in the periods of 1994-1996, 2005, and 2006-2008, making presentations at important festivals around Europe; and appeared on many of their albums and DVDs: "Horror Music" (1996), “Steve Sylvester’s” solo album "Mad Messiah" (1998), "The 666 Box" (2003), "Death SS 1977-2007: 30 Years of Horror Music" (2007), "I Gods of Metal 2008" (2009), “All the Colors of the Dark” (2011), and “Darkest Night” (2012). In 1994 Freddy founded H.A.R.E.M., a Hard Rock quartet on which he sings. H.A.R.E.M. appeared on the compilations "Indie-Pendence Day" (1997) and “I'm a Legend Tonight - Eric Carr KISS Tribute” (2011), and released the CDs "You're Fascinating" (2000), "Shake Me" (2003), "Kings of the Night" (2010), “One Night Only – Live” (2011); and the DVD "The Dirty Dozen...Of Years" (2007). In 2010, Freddy actuated as keyboardist, sound engineer, and producer of the first CD of project W.O.G.U.E., reuniting himself, Steve Sylvester (vocals), JJim Masini, (bass), Ghez Monti (guitar), and Carranza (drums). Freddy Delirio’s solo album “Journey” (2012, Black Widow Records), contains 13 tracks and a bonus video. The music is inspired on Progressive Rock, Ecstatic & Classical music, advancing over the terrains of Darkwave, Gothic & Neo-Romantic. Most pieces were originally written and recorded in 1992. Some years later, Freddy composed and recorded three instrumental pieces ("Desire", "Scarlet", & "Starlight"), which are also featured on this CD. The album still brings two pieces ("Dreamland" & "Witches' Sabbath") that belong to the soundtrack of the Italian horror movie "The Darkest Night" (2012, directed by Salvatore Vitiello), and contains the video-clip of "Lucifer Seats à Droite". All tracks of “Journey” are instrumental. Freddy performs alone all keyboards and electronic bass & drums; while guest guitarist Stefano Zanobini plays only on the track “Celtic Memory”. The album opens with “Dark Forest” (2:27), bringing a layer of Gothic organs that evolve to a full symphonic piece full of drama and vigor, like a dance macabre. “Lucifer Seats à Droite” (4:09) – the track represented on the video – is more electronic and progressive, following a vibrant rocky pace and featuring a convincing drum sound. “Flashover” (1:56) is an electronic piece with a symphonic luster that features many effects (recalling “Alan Parsons”). One of the best tracks is “Celtic memory” (3:45), which begins mysterious, with flute-like sounds and ancient percussion anticipating the Neo-Folk and Darkwave trends, and featuring a furious part containing a frantic battle of guitars against synths (recalling “Derek Sherinian” & “Malmsteen”). “The Triumph of the Truth” (3:32) is a joyful gothic-sounding piece driven by pulsing sounds of bass and drums and electronic keyboards that invite to dance. The following songs belong to the soundtrack of "The Darkest Night": “Dreamland” (2:04) & “Witches' Sabbath” (2:11). The first is creepy, driven by ghostly synths; while the second is more ritualistic, immersed in a timeless atmosphere, and played on ice-freezing electric pianos (for fans of “Goblin”, “Antonius Rex”, and “Jacula”). Another best track follows on: “The Flight of The Eagle” (3:16) is an adventurous journey to the Progressive, Fusion and Metal worlds. The drums are powerful, and there are interesting interludes for percussion, soaring synth solos that go up and down (simulating the flight of the eagle), and a beautiful final sequence of ascending chords. The experimental “Ecstatic Music” (1:28) combines classical pianos with glassy textures of keyboards and precedes the excellent “Casanova (Rondò)” (2:23), a baroque piece with a 70’s-Prog vintage sonority that combines pianos and harpsichords, recalling “ELP”, “Rick Wakeman”, and “Greenslade”. The last three pieces were recorded later, and have a uniformity of style – they are Classic pieces written for piano and strings. “Desire” (4:08) is the most beautiful, with a “Chopin” sad style; “Scarlet” (3:01) is modern and contemporary, recalling some pieces of “Rick Wakeman”; and “Starlight” (2:50) is a romantic piece that closes the album. Freddy Delirio is especially recommended for fans of Keyboard-oriented Music, Darkwave, Gothic Progressive, Neo-Romantic, “Maestro Mistheria”, “Goblin”, “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Alan Parsons”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Greenslade”, “Erik Norlander”, “Clive Nolan”, “Derek Sherinian”, “Jordan Rudess”, and other keyboardists like them. Band members and collaborators involved in Freddy Delirio are: Freddy Delirio – All Keyboards (Yamaha DX7, Roland models S-10, D5, AX1, & SH 101, Mahler Piano, Thomas Organ), Electronic Bass & Drums, Compositions; Stefano Zanobini – Guitar on “Celtic Memory”. “Journey” was mastered at FP Recording Studio in 2012; contains the video-clip "Lucifer seats à Droite" (2012, FP Arts, Black Widow). "Dreamland" & "Witches' Sabbath": belong to the soundtrack of the Italian Horror Movie "The Darkest Night" directed by Salvatore Vitiello (2012, SNCI, SELF), Also, you can check more about the band at MySpace and Facebook... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013......................Interested to know more about the musician and band? Visit FREDDY DELIRIO HOME PAGE...
. t - "Psychoanorexia"
The German multi-instrumentalist, singer, and producer Thomas Thielen (a.k.a. t) is best known for his past work as front man and guitar player of Progressive Rock band Scythe. After the split-up of Scythe, t went on as solo artist and released three albums: “Naïve” (2002) and “Voices” (2006) - both via Galileo Records - and “Anti-Matter Poetry” (2010, ProgRock Records). His fourth album, entitled “Psychoanorexia” (2013, Progressive Promotion Records), is a concept work that was all written, performed, and produced by him alone. The music is a mix of heavy Neo-Progressive Rock and Space Rock with addition of elements of Psychedelic, Ambient, New Age, and even Heavy Metal. The main influences are bands like “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “No-Man”, “Sigur Rós”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Sylvan”, “Mindfields”, “Gazpacho”, “Osada Vida”, “Ayreon”, and “Guilty Machine”. “Psychoanorexia” features four extra-long tracks, three of which are suites. They are very dynamic and fluent, with many twists and surprises happening all the time, and emphasize the contrast between the psychedelic-soaring vocal parts and the heavier Neo-Prog & Space Rock instrumental ones. The guitar is the main instrument, but is always accompanied by keyboards in Space, Electronic, and Ambient styles, and also by the piano (a quality that recalls me of recent works of bands like “Galahad”, “Sylvan”, and “Mindfields”). The music is alluring, and invites the listener to keep listening to the album over and over again, in order to explore the multilayered structure of the compositions in search of hidden melodies. The album opens up with the floating, light and beautiful “The Aftermath of Silence” (18.09) – divided in “a) Event Horizon Sunset”, “b) The Last Day of Summer”, “c) The Stone-white Sky”. Driven by a guitar theme and sided by cosmic sounds, bittersweet vocals, soaring interludes, space amplitudes that evoke visions of distant galaxies, and having a last part being dominated by pianos and heavier guitars, this song recalls me of the music of “Pink Floyd”, “D. Gilmour”, “Sigur Rós”, “No-Man” and “B. Eno”. Yet “Kryptonite Monologues” (20.46) – divided in “a) Breakfast Cataclysm”, “b) Borrowed Time”, “c) The End of a World” – is a violent Heavy-Neo-Prog that employs a substantial dose of guitars, distortions, electronica, bass, and drums – all driven by incisive vocals, thus sharing a resemblance with bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Gazpacho”, “Osada Vida”, “Sylvan”, “Galahad”, and “King Crimson”. Amidst the musical turbulence that soothes only at the end, there is an alternation of epic parts, instrumental scherzos, piano interludes, dramatic vocals, symphony strings, theatrical “Peter Gabriel”-like vocals, synths, and operatic choirs. The third track, “The Irrelevant Lovesong” (8.09), is a sad but intense song that combines somber pianos, dark bass and emotional vocals. Inside an overall sense of Armageddon, this song reaches the climax with Space-Metal riffs reminiscent of “Ayreon” and “Guilty Machine”. The last track is “Psychoanorexia” (19.29). Divided in “a) Bedhalf Exiles” and “b) The Stand”, this track begins like a melancholic ballad enveloped in Ambient sounds, but has a sudden change and becomes a violent Electronic-Metal that vanishes into echoing “mantra” voices and majestic organs that recall “Yes”; giving room to Space-Rock parts that recall “Porcupine Tree” and also “Guilty Machine”. The second part leans to the Neo-Prog style, reaching a climax with epic guitars riffs, great guitar solos, emotional vocals, and subtle pianos (bringing to mind bands like “Marillion”, “Galahad”, “Pallas”, and “Mindfields”). Containing much musical variation, and spreading over several Progressive styles, “Psychoanorexia” is really an impressive and ambitious effort made by t, and a great release of Progressive Promotion Records, being highly recommended for Progressive Rock fans whose musical tastes gravitate somewhere around “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “No-Man”, “Sigur Rós”, “King Crimson”, “Brian Eno”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Sylvan”, “Mindfields”, “Gazpacho”, “Osada Vida”, “Ayreon”, and “Guilty Machine”. Band members and collaborators involved in t are: Thomas Thielen (a.k.a. t) – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, and Drums. Words and music were written, arranged, performed, recorded and mixed by t (2010-2012); Mastered by Jurgen Lusky at Hofa Studios; Produced by t for Progressive Promotion Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013..................................Interested to know more about this amazing prog rock project? Visit t HOME PAGE...
. ALCHEMY X - "A Delicate Balance"
Alchemy X is a Progressive Metal band from New Jersey (U.S.A.), which was formed in the middle ‘90s by Martin Morin (vocals), Chris Fox (guitar), Rob Schreiber (guitar), Steve Ratchen (bass, keyboards), and Chris Scorsese (drums). The band built up a good reputation both in the U.S. and abroad, thanks to their unique blend of Progressive, yet melodic Heavy Metal and also because of their intense live performances. Alchemy X released two albums, “A Delicate Balance” (1999, Plastic Giraffe Productions) and “11:59:59” (2002, Unisound Records). The band had planned to release a third album in 2009, benefiting from the come-back of original singer Martin Morin to the line-up (he had been replaced by Bob Mitchell on the second album). Nothing has come out however, but it seems that Alchemy X has not ceased activities at all, even though bassist Steve Ratchen has been busy playing in other projects (“Vyndykator”, “Wizards of Winter”, and “Division 1.1” – the later was also featured at PR&PM). Uncommon in their time, Alchemy X featured three players that mastered the use of seven-stringed guitars. Ratchen took this unorthodoxy to the extreme, as his left-handed playing of a right-handed strung bass served to create new and unusual song-writing techniques. Adding the potent thrashing and syncopated drumming provided by Chris Scorsese, and the powerful voice of Martin Morin (an amazing singer whose voice recalls me of “The Tyrant” of “Jag Panzer”, with an accent like “Bruce Dickinson” of “Iron Maiden”). Overall, the sound of Alchemy X is fast-fluidal and dynamic as much as it is heavy and aggressive, with many twists, changes of pace, and great melodic but carnivorous solos interspersed with epic vocals and soaring keyboards. Although the band members are strongly influenced by “Rush”, “Marillion”, “The Tea Party”, and even “Tool” and “System of a Down”, I found them to sound rather similar to bands like “Jag Panzer”, “Titan Force”, “Jackal”, “Crimson Glory”, “Savatage”, “Queensrÿche”, “Enchant”, “Vicious Rumors”, “Ivanhoe”, “Ivory Tower”, “Mystic Force”, “House of Spirits”, and early “Dream Theater”. “A Delicate Balance” brings 8 excellent tracks. The opening track, “Sister” (8:20), begins with some “Dream Theater” andantes and somber vocals like “Crimson Glory”, but changes later to a vigorous Metal that sounds like “Jag Panzer”. Also recalling “Jag Panzer”, “Jackal”, and “Titan Force”, the twins “Emotion: Time & Resonance” (4:01) & “Emotion: Killing Thoughts” (5:19) are complementary songs that put into contrast the progressive side of Alchemy X (represented by the soaring vocals and dark tones of the first) against the band’s most powerful side (represented by the fluent bass and drums, and the killer guitar solos of the second). The band does not let it down on the outstanding “The Sands of Time” (8:11), an epic song in the style of “Dream Theater”, with long instrumental intro, progressive keyboards, dramatic vocals, great bass passages, and final breathtaking guitar solos. Yet “Alchemy” (5:41) is driven by powerful Metal riffs and chorus, having a resemblance with “Crimson Glory” & “Sanctuary”, and a middle “Dream Theater” - like instrumental progressive part. The following two songs are the best and most progressive of the record: while “Fatality Complex” (7:25) has soaring keyboards and amazing guitar riffs flying over bass & drums with an epic touch of “Iron Maiden”, and potent vocals (with high-pitched screams!) that recall me of “Queensrÿche”; the subsequent “Requiem by Moonlight” (6:52) has a totally different harmonic structure, really advanced for its time, getting closer to a fusion-metal, still featuring influences of “Dream Theater” and “Vicious Rumors”. The album’s last song, “7th Sign” (4:28), is more like a standard Heavy Metal, being driven by galloping riffs, a groovy swing on the rhythmic section, and a malevolent vocal performance (recalling “Jag Panzer” and “Crimson Glory”). A band that I have not noticed before, but if I had, would have immediately added to my collection, Alchemy X is highly recommended for fans of early Prog-Metal days, being indispensable for lovers of bands like “Jag Panzer”, “Jackal”, “Crimson Glory”, “Savatage”, “Queensrÿche”, “Titan Force”, “Enchant”, “Vicious Rumors”, “Ivanhoe”, “Ivory Tower”, “Mystic Force”, “House of Spirits”, early “Dream Theater”, “Sanctuary”, “Iron Maiden”, “Cloven Hoof”, “Liege Lord”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Alchemy X are: Martin Morin - Vocals; Chris Fox - Guitar; Rob Schreiber - Guitar; Steve Ratchen - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals; Chris Scorsese - Drums... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013...............Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit ALCHEMY X HOME PAGE...
. WITCHE’S BREW - "Supersonicspeedfreaks"
Witches Brew is a Stoner band from Como, Italy. Witche’s Brew was born in 2008 when bassist Mirko Zonca (pioneer of Psychedelic Grunge in the late ‘80s with “Nofuzz”) and Mirko Bosco (ex-guitarist of 80’s hard core band “Disper-Azione”) came back to Italy after a decade living in the USA. With the musical experience accumulated along the years, they joined forces and started to work on new productions and re-editions of songs from their personal repertoires. The idea was to format Witche’s Brew as a Power Trio, with a sonority strongly influenced by the 70’s heaviest bands, always keeping a vintage element that would be reminiscent of the Blues, Psychedelic and Hard Rock of “Black Sabbath”, “Motörhead”, “Hawkwind”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Blue Cheer”, “Mountain”, “Leaf Hound”, “Amboy Dukes”, “Humble Pie”, “Pentagram”, “ZZ Top”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “The Outlaws”, “38 Special”, “Deep Purple”, and others. With assistance of Yggy Leonetti, a session drummer of Progressive training, Witche’s Brew set out for a journey performing live and abroad. In March 2009, during a tour in Austria, the band recorded the mini-LP “Pentatonicspeedfreacks” (Costa Ovest Records, Pisa, distributed by Andromeda Dischi). Yggy Leonetti left in 2009, being briefly replaced by Max Baxter, and later by Joseph Solci, who added a Rocky punch to Witche’s Brew’s sound. With Solci on drums, Witches’s Brew released their first full-length studio album, called “White Trash Sideshow” (2010, Black Widow Records). In January 2011 Solci also left, and was replaced by Frankie Brando, a drummer that accentuated the visceral, acid and claustrophobic nature of Witche's Brew’s sound. Witche’s Brew’s newest album is the breathtaking-spelling “Supersonicspeedfreaks” (2012, Black Widow). On this album, the band had vocalist Ricky Dal Pane (of Prog-Rock act “Buttered Bacon Biscuits”) added to their line-up, and also had help of special guests: Nik Turner (“Hawkwind”), Steve Sylvester (“Death SS” & “Sancta Sanctorum”), Martin Grice (“Delirium”), Paolo “Apollo” Negri (“Wicked Minds”, “Link Quartet”), and J.C. Cinel (ex-“Wicked Minds”). “Supersonicspeedfreaks” has 7 tracks (including a “Hawkwind’s” cover & a CD-bonus track). They offer to the listener an incendiary blend of “Black Sabbath’s”-“Tony Iommi” styled heavy-dense satanic guitars with the space-acid Psychedelia of “Hawkwind”, all inserted into the powerful Hard-Rock context of “Blue Cheer”, “Pentagram”, early “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep” and “Atomic Rooster”. The opening track - “Vintage Wine” (10:50) – shows the band’s credentials: harsh swinging guitar riffs, satanic bass, tribal drumming, and visceral hard-rock vocals, all immersed in sweet-leaf vapored atmospheres, and followed by lysergic guitar solos. The original saxophone solo (courtesy of Martin Grice) and the support of gritty Hammonds complete the psychedelic palette. “What Do You Want from Me” (7:02) is a standard ‘60-to-‘70s Hard-Rock with a touch of Southern Rock. Psychedelic backing vocals, wah-wah guitars, and the marking participation of Hammonds on both arrangements and solos, are reminiscent of bands like “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, and “Uriah Heep” (including a emulation of “UH’s” song “Gipsy”); and the final laughing is an obvious reference to “Am I Going Insane?” (by “Black Sabbath”).  “Children of the Sun” (5:22) is a surprising energy-boosted version of “Hawkwind’s” classic, counting with Nik Turner himself on vocals and playing ancient druidic flutes, having a double layer of Space-Rock synths. One of the best tracks, “Make Me Pay” (10:15) conjures the “Black Sabbath” crude sound of album “Vol. 4”, with an entrancing psychedelic atmosphere. As an insidious viper, the coiling bass surrounds the listener with an inebriating alcoholic aura. Echoing sounds and guitar solos, distorted to the maximum, evoke delirious visions, as the theatrical vocals of Steve Sylvester add a touch of “Alice Cooper’s” Horror-Rock to the mix. “Tell Me Why” (6:04) is a faster, powerful and vibrant Hard-Rock, more “Purple-Zeppelin” in nature, but with the raw energy and basic instincts of “Blue Cheer”, being crowned with superb flying guitar solo. “Magic Essence” (6:34), featuring the great vocals of J.C. Cinel, sounds like a “Gillan”-singing-on-“Sabbath” song, but including original psychedelic-acid-jazz instrumental moments, Paolo Negri’s incisive synths, and a bluesy guitar solo. The bonus track “Supersonic Wheelchair” (5:59) closes the album. It is a fast and heavy metallized Hard-Rock - a typical “highway” song - recalling “Blue Cheer”, “Deep Purple”, and early “Judas Priest”, but having a slow-speed chop for guitar solo, before returning to the road again. An excellent album in its style, powered by the great performances of the whole band and their guests, Witche’s Brew’s “Supersonicspeedfreaks” is highly recommended for fans of Stoner Rock, 70’s styled Psychedelic & Hard Rock, and bands like “Black Sabbath”, “Hawkwind”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Blue Cheer”, “Mountain”, “Leaf Hound”, “Amboy Dukes”, “Humble Pie”, “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Uriah Heep”, “Pentagram”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “The Outlaws”, “38 Special”, “Electric Wizard”, and “Orange Goblin”. The band has promised a live album for soon. Band members and collaborators involved in Witche’s Brew are: Ricky Dal Pane - Vocals; Mirko Zonca - Bass; Mirko Bosco - Guitars; Frankie Brando - Drums. Special guests: Martin Grice - Sax (“Vintage Wine”); Paolo “Apollo” Negri – Hammonds, Moog, Mopho (“Vintage Wine”, “Magic Essence”, “What Do You Want from Me”); Nik Turner - Flute & Vocals (“Children of the Sun”); Steve Sylvester - Vocals (“Make Me Pay”); J.C. Cinel - Vocals (“Magic Essence”). Recorded at RDNK Studio (Co) Jan-Nov 2011; Mixed & Mastered at FP Recording Studio by Freddy Delirio (Oct. 2012); Produced by Witche’s Brew & Black Widow, 2012... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013...................................,.....Interested to know more about the band? Visit WITCHE’S BREW HOME PAGE...
. ALCHEMY X - "11:59:59"
The Progressive-Metal band Alchemy X is back to this webzine once again. Formed in New Jersey in the middle ‘90s by Martin Morin (vocals), Chris Fox (guitar), Rob Schreiber (guitar), Steve Ratchen (bass, keyboards), and Chris Scorsese (drums), this band has released two albums so far. The first, called “A Delicate Balance” (1999, Plastic Giraffe Productions), has been already reviewed here at PR&PM (see above).  The second album, entitled “11:59:59”, was release only in 2003 under Unisound Records. Except for the replacement of original front-man Martin Morin by Bob Mitchell on lead vocals (who is also a great singer), the band’s line-up remained the same. Featuring extremely well-skilled Metal-axe players (all using seven-stringed guitars and bass), a wild drummer that mastered his kit, and a potent Metal-god vocalist, Alchemy X’s debut album sounded much like some ‘80s to 90’s Metal acts and Proto Prog-Metal bands, namely “Jag Panzer”, “Titan Force”, “Crimson Glory”, “Savatage”, “Jackal”, “Enchant”, “Ivanhoe”, “Ivory Tower”, “Mystic Force”, “Rush”, and early “Dream Theater”. But as it would be expected, the sound of the band changed a lot after the 4-year hiatus since the release of that debut. So the sound that is heard on “11:59:59” became still more similar to bands like “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, “Royal Hunt”, “Fates Warning” (“Ray Alder” phase), “Altura”, “Lemur Voice”, “Vicious Rumors”, “Superior”, “Symphony X”, “OSI”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Steve Vai”, “Vinnie Moore”, and “Liquid Tension Experiment”, but still retaining some of the savagery of “Jag Panzer” and “Jackal”, and some epic and dark tones of “Crimson Glory”. “11:59:59” features 13 tracks: 7 of them are fully compositions that are separated by 6 shorter instrumental preludes and/or postludes. The initial tracks of the album are dominated by Alchemy X’s new Progressive-Metal and Metal-Fusion influences: so the opening tracks “Shifting Images” (1:42)/ “A Kiss Before Dying” (7:49) – introduced by a soaring & somber first part, later followed by heavier and faster progressive parts – are strongly influenced by “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, “Fates Warning”, and “Symphony X”; while the pianos inserted amidst the riffs recall me of “Superior”, and the soaring solos are much like “Vai” and “Vinnie Moore”. Also the amazing instrumental piece “Renaissance” (7:30) is a Prog-Metal patchwork that includes pianos, soft and technical drumming, fusion guitars, howling bass, and many twists and turns, overall recalling the music of “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Vai”, and “Moore”. And the magnificent triad made of “The Dance” (0:37) (acoustic guitar prelude) + “Penance” (5:02) (an Egyptian-Babylonian Epic-Metal) + “Reverie” (0:28) (an ethnic-acoustic postlude) could never be written, unless by the influence and guidance of bands such as “Dream Theater” and “Symphony X”, being so comparable to their works. At this point the record reaches “Interlude” (More Real Than Real)” (4:17), a bright Pop-Rock Ballad, half “Rush”, half “Marillion”; having good passages for piano and a great guitar solo. This ballad marks the transition point of “11:59:59”, one that sees Alchemy X turning back to their primitive influences, musically converging to the sound recorded on their debut “A Delicate Balance”. So the Neo-Classical guitar intro “Space Between Walls” (0:31) throws the listener into the dark atmospheres of “Beyond the Veil of Sorrow” (5:01), a heavy and slow song with influences of “Jag Panzer” and “Crimson Glory”; followed by the energetic “Looking Glass Memoirs” (5:45) – a dynamic Heavy-Metal that combines great bass & drums with pounding guitar riffs, fast and many guitar solos, and malevolent vocals (also recalling “Jag Panzer”). The album’s last sequence comprises the title track “11:59:59” (4:36) – a hybrid song that congregates the Prog-Metal instrumentation of “Dream Theater” with the Epic style of “Symphony X”, having a touch of “Jag Panzer” on the vocals – that is followed by two postludes: the soaring “Afterimage” (1:21) (influenced by “Rush” & “Enchant”), and the mysterious “The Dance (Reprise)” (0:31). Although differing a bit from “A Delicate Balance”, “11:59:59” is also an extraordinary work, no less amazing than its predecessor, being however more indicated for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Fates Warning”, “Symphony X”, “Enchant”, “Royal Hunt”, “Lemur Voice”, “Vicious Rumors”, “Superior”, “OSI”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Vinnie Moore”, & “Liquid Tension Experiment”, who also like “Jag Panzer”, “Jackal”, & “Crimson Glory”. In 2009, original singer Martin Morin came back to Alchemy X. Since then the band has been preparing a third album, which has not been finished yet. Band members and collaborators involved in Alchemy X are: Bob Mitchell - Vocals; Chris Fox - Guitar; Rob Schreiber - Guitar; Steve Ratchen - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals; Chris Scorsese - Drums. Original singer: Martin Morin... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013...................   ......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ALCHEMY X HOME PAGE...
. GARDEN WALL - "Assurdo"
Garden Wall is an Avant-garde Experimental Prog-Metal band hailing from Cervignano del Friuli, Udine, Italy, which was founded in 1987 by Alessandro Seravalle (lyrics, keyboards, guitars). Their first demo-tape - “Garden Wall” (1992) - impressed German producer Peter Wustmann of independent label WMMS, and led him to offer a contract to Garden Wall in 1993. Under WMMS, Garden Wall released the CDs “Principium” (1993), “Path of Dreams” (1994), “The Seduction of Madness” (1995), and “Chimica” (1997). In 2000, after some troubles with WMMS, Garden Wall self-produced and released the demo-CD “Aliena(c)tion”, a “manifesto” of their sound, fusing highly heterogeneous elements into an extremely violent and heavy rock. In 2001, Garden Wall signed a new contract with Italian label Mellow Records and released the albums “Forget the Colours” (2002) & “Towards the Silence” (2004), which were both part of a trilogy, and brought influences of Extreme Metal, Classic Progressive, Classic Contemporary Music and Ethno-Jazz Rock. In 2008 the album "Aliena(c)tion" was officially released, featuring three unreleased tracks from the 2000 demo plus some early live material. The band also signed a deal with the Russian label Mals Records for the reissue and distribution in the ex-URSS of their entire catalogue. In 2010 Mellow Records released the triple CD “Recital for a Season's End - A Tribute to Marillion”, which featured Garden Wall's interpretation of the song “Incubus”. Shortly after, Garden Wall left Mellow and signed with Lizard Records. In 2011 Lizard Records released Garden Wall’s eighth album, titled “Assurdo”, which had been in preparation since 2008. “Assurdo” is the third chapter of the trilogy that began with “Forget the Colours” & “Towards the Silence”, and represents Garden Wall’s most ambitious and stylistically complex work so far. “Assurdo” brings 10 tracks that draw influences from diverse bands and styles, going from the Classic Progressive Rock & Neo-Prog (“Genesis”, “Van Der Graaf Generator”, “Area”, “King Crimson”, “Marillion”) to Contemporary Academic Music (“Luigi Nono”, “Gyorgy Ligeti”, “Morton Feldman”), Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Psychedelia (“Mr. Bungle”), Heavy Prog and Prog-Metal (“Rush”, “Fates Warning”), Experimental Metal (“Death”, “Atheist”, “Cynic”, “Tool”), and also having Funk and Post-Rock injections. Strange guitar tunes, massive amounts of electronics, and diverse acoustic instruments (violin, clarinet, vibraphone, and flutes), intertwine in bizarre harmonies. Lyrics inspired on “Peter Hammill”, “Peter Gabriel”, and “Fish” are sung in English and declaimed in Italian, being driven by insane and theatrical vocals that are influenced by the experimentalism of “Demetrio Stratos” (“Area”). Sometimes the sonority recalls me of bands like “Mekong Delta”, “Watchtower”, “Sh.Tg.N”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Devil Doll”, “NichelOdeon”; or Metal-R.I.O. versions of “Etron Fou Leloublan”, “Art Zoyd”, “Henry Cow”, “Zappa”, “Captain Beefheart”, “Dün”, and Brazilian “Arrigo Barnabé”. The album opens with the insane vocals of “Iperbole” (6:21) that soothes amidst Jazz-Rock & R.I.O. interludes, while strings that evoke the Byzantine antiquity are followed by ferocious Prog-Metal passages and howling synths. “Butterfly Song” (8:31) parallels the metamorphosis of the insect: the nasty vision of a caterpillar (represented by dark violins, psychedelic-electronic sounds, timpani, robotic & growling voices) contrasts with the beautiful colors of a butterfly (represented by fairy and soring passages that recall “Fates Warning”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”); and the last part brings great Jazz-Rock guitars. “Transfiguratofunk” (7:31) bursts out with vocal experimentations (native war-cries, monster whispering, banshee laments) juxtaposed to passages of Funky Metal & Fusion (reminiscent of “Mr. Bungle”, “Zappa”). “Negative” (7:02) is a dark piece that transposes eras, blending Electronic colors, Ambient sounds, cosmic synths, psychedelic bass and skeletal vibraphones, driven by sensual female voices. Garden Wall plunges deep into the experimentalism on “Just Cannot Forget” (2:25) - a noisy instrumental piece with bass clarinets inspired on the Expressionism of “VdGG” & “KC”; and “Flash” (5:22), with poly-rhythmic speeches in English & Italian, superposed to echoing sounds - the tension is liberated in cathartic screams and Extreme Metal parts powered by oriental guitars. “Clamores Horrendos Ad Sidera Tollit” (6:49) is like a distorted horror-opera, driven by electronic icy keyboards, baby cries, and having a middle part with melancholic progressive guitars, ending with furious theatrical vocals (recalling me of “Arrigo Barnabé”). On “Vacuum Fluctuation” (8:04), phantasmagoric Metal parts entangle into Contemporary-styled string arrangements, leading to a sequence of Middle-Eastern rhythms and violins. “Re-Awakening” (8:03) begins with primitive flutes that evoke tribal ritualistic scenes (recalling “Dün”), but later becomes a vigorous Prog-Metal on which piercing guitars clash against cellos. The album ends with ‘Isterectomia” (7:26), a creepy Poem declaimed inside a multi-instrumental cacophony. Although being a bizarre opus of difficult assimilation, Garden Wall’s “Assurdo” is creative, impressive, instigating, unique, and artistically visionary, setting up new standards for the 21st Century Avant-garde Progressive Metal; being so indispensable for fans of Unorthodox Progressive, Hard-Core R.I.O., Experimental and Theatrical Music. Band members and collaborators involved in Garden Wall are: Alessandro Seravalle - Heart-felt emissions, Electronics, Keyboards, Poems & Guitars; Raffaello Indri - Lead and Various Guitars; William Toson - Fretted & Fretless Bass Guitars; Ivan Moni Bidin - Drums; Gianpietro Seravalle - Electro-percussions. Additional musicians: Simone D’Eusanio – Violin; Pietro Sponton - Congas (on “Transfiguratofunky”), Vibraphone (on “Negative” & “Re-Awakening”); Massimo de Mattia - Flutes (on “Re-Awakening” & “Isterctomia”); Christian Rigano - Synth Solos, & Giorgio Pacorig – Fender Rhodes, Korg MS-20 (both on “Transfiguratofunky”); Andrea Fontana - Assorted Percussion, & Flavia Quass - Vocals (both on “Negative”); Davide Casale - Bass Clarinets (on “Just…”); Carlo Franceschinis - Double Bass, & Jacques Centonze – Assorted Percussion (both on “Vacuum”); Alessandro Bertoni – Piano, & Mariano Bulligan – Cellos (both on “Re-Awakening”). Album recorded by Raffaello Indri (Skorpio Studios, Ioc. Ex Cerclaria – San Gallo, Udine); Drums recorded by Fabio D’Amore (Artesonika Studios, Pn); Mixed by Davide Linzi & Garden Wall (HisOwnPlace Studios, Colloredo di Montealbano, Udine); Mastered by Davide Linzi (Black Mirror Studios, Udine); Produced by Lizard Records... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013...................................,More information? Better check it out for yourself at: GARDEN WALL HOME PAGE...
. DIVISION 1.1 - "With a Vengeance"
Division 1.1 is a new Metal band from New Jersey, U.S.A., formed by Rob Middleton (vocals), John Barone (guitars), Steve Ratchen (bass), and Brian Brennan (drums) – all experienced musicians of the Metal scene. Rob Middleton (vocals) has been performing and fronting several original & cover bands in the last 20 years, either recording or opening for bands such as “Ratt”, “Dokken”, & “Quiet Riot”. John Barone (guitars) grew up in NYC and was exposed to everything from Disco to Death Metal. His tastes include Classic Rock, 80’s Thrash & Hair Metal, and Today's Metal. Steve Ratchen (bass) is an unconventional musician who has been creating music for over two decades. He is the bassist/keyboardist and main songwriter for the Prog-Metal band “Alchemy X” (featured here at PR&PM), he has contributed to band “Vyndykator”, and he has also co-founded the Classical/Metal TSO-inspired “Wizards of Winter” project. As a left-handed player who employs a right-handed 7-string bass upside down and a 14-string model (fashioned especially for him by his endorsers of Conklin Guitars), Ratchen has his own perspective to the instrument. Brian Brennan (drums) has the experience of three decades of music both on stage & studio, with a preference for playing Classic Rock, Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal. Division 1.1 released a 6-song EP called “With a Vengeance” (2012), which they regarded as their best work to date, both individually and collectively. The record was produced, mixed, and engineered by Mike Romeo (“Symphony X”) who truly captured the essence of Division 1.1 on the recording. D1.1’s members are influence by bands like “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “AC/DC”, “Rush”, “Deep Purple”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Overkill”, “Slayer”, “Queensrÿche”, “Pantera”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, “Disturbed”, & “Tool”, while singer Rob Middleton is influenced by “Paul Stanley”, “Ronnie James Dio”, & “Phil Anselmo” (“Pantera”). In spite of that, when I heard their EP for the first time I felt myself completely K.O. by the exceptional quality of D1.1’s sonic Metal-Mix - a powerful, solid and compacted blend of savage, fierce and raging true Heavy Metal with bloody-guts and raw-meat Thrash Metal - which quickly reminded me of bands like “Artillery”, “Holly Terror”, “Iced Earth”, “Annihilator”, “Metal Church”, “Toxic”, “Exodus”, “Sanctuary”, “Rage”, “Agent Steel”, “Hallows Eve”, “Blessed Death”, “Anthrax”, “Exciter”, “Nevermore”, “Wrath”, “Exhumer”, “Testament”, “Powermad”. “With a Vengeance” has (unfortunately only) six mind-blowing tracks. The “earthquaking” “Freak Show” (3:30) opens the album introducing to us a great beginning made of fierce guitars, angry vocals, turbinated bass, and power-plant drums, recalling “Symphony X”, and “Annihilator”, but with vocals more like “Pantera” and “Iced Earth”. The guitar solo is really compelling – toward the ample destruction! “Cross to Bear” (4:25) follows on alternating fast Thrash-Metal riffs with cadenced Heavy-Metal guitars, being more rocky and groovy on bass and vocals, with strength on the chorus, and having an insane ultra-fast guitar solo. “With a Vengeance” (4:44) is a violent Thrash-Metal comparable to bands like “Slayer”, “Exodus”, and “Megadeth”, but interspersed with touches of “Black Sabbath’s” darkened riffs and “Pantera” & “Anthrax”-like vocal parts. Track 4 - “Submission” (4:52) – is my favorite for being an Epic-Metal driven by a galloping rhythm, recalling something of “Iron Maiden”, “Queensrÿche”, and “Dream Theater”, also having an Arabian second voice and Mid-Eastern Metal guitars. “Violence in Season” (3:55), although having a slightly Oriental style on the background keyboards, is more cadenced than the previous, and also heavier, being driven by cruel vocals and metallic bass. The EP finishes with “Animal” (4:47), a great Thrash-Metal in the style of the 80’s, with aggressive vocals and locomotive bass & drums, recalling me of “Overkill”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Suicidal Tendencies”, and “Testament” at their best. Division 1.1 is an authentic, explosive, and “Armageddonic” Metal band, being highly recommended for fans of Heavy & Thrash Metal of the 80’s and 90’s who love to “headbang” to the sound of demolition bands like “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Overkill”, “Pantera”, “Disturbed”, “Slayer”, “Exodus”, “Artillery”, “Holly Terror”, “Iced Earth”, “Annihilator”, “Metal Church”, “Toxic”, “Exhumer”, “Rage”, “Sanctuary”, “Nevermore”, “Testament”, “Anthrax”, “Agent Steel”, “Exciter”, “Wrath”, “Blessed Death”, “Hallows Eve”, “Powermad”, “Dream Theater”, “Symphony X”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Division 1.1 are: Rob Middleton – Vocals; John Barone – Guitars; Steve Ratchen – Bass; Brian Brennan – Drums. Produced by Mike Thompson & Brian Jennings of The Riff Factory. Recorded, Engineered, and Produced by Mike Romeo. Mastered by Eric Rachel of Trax East. All Music by Division 1.1... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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06/30/2013...........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DIVISION 1.1 HOME PAGE...
. FLOWER FLESH - "Duck In The Box"
Flower Flesh is a new Progressive Rock band hailing from the region of Giustenice (Liguria, Italy). The line-up counts with Daniel Elvstrom (lead vocals), Marco Olivieri (guitars, backing vocals), Alberto Sgarlato (synthesizers), Ivan Giribone (bass), and Andrea Fazio (drums, percussion). The musical style of Flower Flesh is Neo-Progressive Rock with a sonority reminiscent of the ‘80s to early ‘90s, and with the increment of combining perfectly the British-Canadian influences (represented by bands like “Yes”, “Magnum”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Pendragon”, “Galahad”, “IQ”, “Rush”, “Saga”), with those of the Italian Neo-Prog movement (represented by bands like “Nuova Era”, “Man of Lake”, “CAP”, “Montefeltro”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Calliope”, and “Malibran”). They also have the seminal influences from veteran bands like “PFM”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda” and “Locanda Delle Fate” and a Psychedelic touch that reminded me of “The Doors”. Driven by competent musicians, and led by the emotional vocals of Daniel Elvstrom (whose singing follows the Italian Classical style and the “Steve Hogarth” mode rather than being an emulation of “Peter Gabriel” and “Fish”), the songs of Flower Flesh were finally recorded and released on their first independent album, titled “Duck In The Box” (October 2012; distributed by Black Widow Rcords). “Duck In The Box” features 7 tracks. The songs show a variety of styles in their internal structure, and the lyrics are sung both in English and Italian. Most of them irradiate a vivid energy, a rocky punch that is delivered by powerful bass and drums, omnipresent synths, and solid guitar solos. The opening track, “Falling In Another Dimension” (2:58), is short and propelled by a sticky chorus, and combines vocal tunes like “Marillion”, bass and drums that sometimes recall “Rush”, guitar solos like “Magnum”, and space synths like “Saga”. Better still are track 3 - “It Will Be The End” (5:29) – which, in spite of its Psychedelic beginning, turns later to a fast and vibrant Prog-Rock adorned with many synths and guitar harmonies; and track 6 - “Antarctica” (5:52) – which I enjoyed much more because it sounds like the convergent point of “Marillion’s” Progressive sounds with the jammed and heavy parts of bass, guitars and keyboards that recalled me of Italian bands like “Malibran” and “Calliope”. Likewise, “Calliope” came to my mind when I heard the outstanding Hard Rock track “God Is Evil (Like The Devil)” (5:31) – a song driven by great keyboard riffs, heavy guitars, killer bass, and vocal tunes that recall “The Doors” – the melodic solos of both guitar and synths add an extra flavor to the mixture. But Flower Flesh also knows how to make less pragmatic songs, investing into the true Progressive grandeur that honors their Italian musical roots. And the band shows that on the three greatest Progressive pieces of the album. Track 2 - “My Gladness After The Sadness” (9:42) – with a first part that combines mellow pianos and simple melodies that recall “Marillion”, but surprises the listener with an unexpected twist for a great Progressive part with bluesy guitar solo followed by classic vocals in Italian, growing later with epic synths! (recalling bands like “PFM”, “Narrow Pass”, “Man of Lake”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Calliope”, and “Malibran”). Track 5 - “The Race Of My Life” (5:21) is a five-part suite (divided in a.“Warm up”, b.“First in the race”, c.“Stop'n'go”, d.“Tra il fuoco e il vento”, e.“First in the race again”) that begins with Psychedelic melodies and Oriental percussion, growing later with heavier Jazz-Rock moments and awesome guitar solo (like “Calliope”), and having ghostly melodies intermingled with operatic Italian vocals (recalling bands like “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Nuova Era”, and “CAP”). Finally, the closing track “Scream And Die” (7:38) begins slow, but reaches epic proportions later with fantastic vocals and martial guitars (like “Rush”), passing along a Progressive Tarantella that leads to bombastic Symphonic moments (bringing “Pendragon”, “Galahad” and “Pallas” to mind), and finishing with a soaring super-progressive guitar solo. Flower Flesh’s “Duck In The Box” is really an excellent debut album, showcasing a band that has an enormous potential to bring some new melodies and solutions to the already predictable Neo-Progressive standards. Therefore, Flower Flesh is highly recommended for fans of “Magnum”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “Galahad”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Rush”, “Saga”, “Pendragon”, “Nuova Era”, “Man of Lake”, “CAP”, “Montefeltro”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Calliope”, “Malibran”, “PFM”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, and “Locanda Delle Fate”. Band members and collaborators involved in Flower Flesh are: Daniel Elvstrom - Lead Vocals; Marco Olivieri – Guitars & Backing Vocals; Alberto Sgarlato – Synthesizers; Ivan Giribone – Bass; Andrea Fazio – Drums & Percussion. Alessandro Mazzitelli - Additional Percussion on all tracks & Additional Keyboard Intro on “Antarctica”. Lyrics of tracks 1, 2, 3 by Daniel Elvstrom; 3 & 6 by Eugenio Mariotti; 7 by Alberto Sgarlato. Produced, Recorded & Engineered by Alessandro Mazzitelli at “Maze Studio”, Loano (Savona, Italy), Oct.-Dec. 2010...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013.............................Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit FLOWER FLESH HOME PAGE...
. BLACKLANDS - "A New Dawn"
Blacklands is a Female-Fronted Progressive & Melodic Rock band from Germany. Blacklands was founded in 2006 by Thomas Kelleners (drums). In 2007 Manfred Reinecke (keyboards) and Moja Nardelli (vocals) joined in. After the come and go of various guitar and bass players, the line-up finally solidified in 2010 with the arrival of Michael Stockschläger (guitar, vocals) and Rüdiger Sartingen (bass). In 2011 Blacklands released a 6-track demo and started to play live. In March 2013, Blacklands released their first album, titled “A New Dawn”, by their own independent label Blacklands Music. The record features guest appearances by Lennie Rizzo (of “Exxplorer”), Terry Gorle (of “Heir Apparent”) & Giles Lavery (of “Dragonsclaw”). Blacklands produces their own mix of Melodic Rock with Progressive Rock Music using diverse elements of Melodic, Epic and Gothic Metal, male-female vocal duos, and abundant and varied solos of keyboards and guitars, which are always backed by a layer of sophisticated Symphonic arrangements. Although band members feel influenced by names as diverse as “Iron Maiden”, “Dio”, “Vengeance”, “Warlord”, “Blind Guardian”, “Dream Theater”,  “Queensrÿche”, “Planet X”, “Demon”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Marillion”, “Rush”, “Transatlantic”, “Neal Morse”, “Eric Clapton”, and “Peter Frampton” – it is the beautiful alluring voice of Moja Nardelli that will make Blacklands captivate most fans of Female-Fronted bands such as “Nightwish”, “Evanescence”, “Lana Lane”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Legend”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Amartia”,  “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, and others (see below). “A New Dawn” has 12 tracks – and a total running time of 1:18:04. The repertoire includes only great songs that will appeal differently to each listener, according to his/her tastes. The opening track “Cold Embrace” (7:04), driven by pianos, soaring guitars and emotional male-female vocals unrolls cadenced and solemn, showing that Blacklands has a preference for Gothic-Romantic atmospheres and Neo-Classical guitars & synths rather than to extremely heavy drumming or dense Metal riffs. Leaning to the Epic-Metal style, “Dance of the Witches” (4:49) blends Symphonic arrangements and Folk-Rock flutes into medieval atmospheres, (recalling “Nightwish” and “Legend”); while “A New Dawn” (6:11) (feat. “Giles Lavery” on vocals) takes profit from powerful guitars, progressive solos and the alternation of male and female vocals to parallel bands like “Battlelore”, “Dragonsclaw”, and “Forgotten Tales”. The following sequence aligns two of the best tracks of the record: “Ocean of Tears” (5:02) is dark, melancholic, and immersed in a psychedelic atmosphere that brings to mind the sound of “The Gathering” combined with a touch of “Iron Maiden” and “Fates Warning”; yet “Remember Your Time” (6:12) has a Prog-Metal cadence akin to “Queensrÿche” and “Edenbridge” on guitars and drums, amazing bass passages, space synths, and the wonderful voice of Moja’s hovering over. Just afterwards, Moja explores her vocal talents on a couple of outstanding ballads, both with a Neo-Prog lean on guitars and synths, but with a bittersweet touch on the pianos and vocals: “I Can Hear Your Heart” (7:59) is driven by female & male vocals, having bluesy guitar solo and glassy synths (recalling “Genesis”, “Marillion”, and “Lana Lane”); and “Memories” (6:57) is sad and beautiful, dominated by a long guitar solo, being like a blend of “Marillion” and “Tori Amos”. The following song, “Take” (4:59), is a guitar-oriented Melodic-Rock in the style of “Edenbridge”, “Elis”, and “Xandria” that heats the path for the awesome “Power Play” (15:18) (feat. “Lennie Rizzo” on guest vocals & “Terry Gorle” on lead guitar): an Epic Prog-Metal guided by gritty Hammonds and killer riffs. With psychedelic passages driven by “Floydian” guitars, folky intermezzos for Moja’s voice to soar over the battlefields, and emotional moments equaling “Dio”, “Scorpions”, and “Uriah Heep”, this song is like a battle hymn that encourages the Metal soldiers to march against barricades of destroying keyboards & fierce guitar solos – reaching a climax with wild guitar solos flying over bass & drums in the style of “Iron Maiden”. In between those tracks, which I regard as the very best, the album still brings three songs more: the cheerful and rocky “Floating Pictures” (4:24) (with good passages for keyboards); the Classic & Pop ballad “Love Will Never Die” (5:15), which could be downsized to radio airplay; and “The Meaning” (3:52), an acoustic guitar ballad sung by a single male voice that closes the album. Although more straightforward and accessible, those tracks do not diminish anyway the impact that this brilliant and amazing debut album causes on the listener. Versatile, brilliant and memorable, Blacklands is a band that sounds great from the very start to the final end, being indispensable for fans of “Nightwish”, “Evanescence”, “Lana Lane”, “Elis”, “Xandria”, “Heart”, “Doro Pesch”, “Amartia”, “Dreams of Sanity”, “Eyes of Eden”, “Edenbridge”, “Epica”, “Legend”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Syrens Call”, “Soul Enema”, “Effloresce”, “Forward Shapes”, “Stormy Atmosphere”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Blacklands are: Moja Nardelli - Vocals; Thomas Kelleners - Drums; Manfred Reinecke - Keyboards; Michael Stockschläger - Guitars & Vocals, Bass on all tracks; Rüdiger Sartingen - Bass. Guest musicians: Lennie Rizzo – Vocals, & Terry Gorle - Guitars (on “Power Play”); Giles Lavery – Vocals (on “A New Dawn”); Julia Kelleners – Choir Vocals (on “Love Will Never Die”). Recorded and Produced by Michael Stockschläger & Blacklands; Engineered & Mastered by Christian Boche at Sonic Sound Studio, Germany 09/12...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013....................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to BLACKLANDS HOME PAGE...
. UNREAL CITY - "La Crudeltà Di Aprile"
Unreal City is a new Progressive Rock band from Parma, Italy. The origins of Unreal City can be traced back to 2007, when the young and classically-trained musician Emanuele Tarasconi (vocals, keyboards) met Francesca Zanetta (guitars), and both decided to found a band called "The Syllogism". In 2008, due to the freezing of "The Syllogism" caused by extra-musical reasons, and to strengthen the artistic bond between Tarasconi & Zanetta, they founded the Unreal City project. The duo turned into a trio with the coming of drummer Carlo Rainone. In 2011 bassist Francesco Orefice joined in, but Rainone left for personal reasons, being replaced by Antonio Schingo. As a quartet, Unreal City started to write new songs and began to perform live more often. In June 2012 Unreal City released their first self-produced and eponymous EP, containing three mini suites with English lyrics. Following the release of the EP, the band took part on many contests, and won the NeoDOP music contest in Parma and a silver medal at Liber@mente contest in QuattroCastella (RE). The increasing number of live performances led A.Schingo to leave the band in 2012, and then the current drummer Federico Bedostri stepped in. In summer 2012 Unreal City met Fabio Zuffanti (“Finisterre”, “La Maschera di Cera”, “Hostsonaten”), who decided to assume the artistic direction of the band for their debut full-length album. For the occasion, Unreal City decided to re-write their lyrics in Italian. The album, called “La Crudeltà Di Aprile”, was released in 2013 under Mirror/BTF label. The music is a blend of Italian Progressive Rock (with influences of “Le Orme”, “Metamorfosi”, “J.E.T.”, “Trip”, “Corte dei Miracoli”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Germinale”, “Montefeltro”, “Finisterre”, “Hostsonaten”, “La Maschera di Cera”, “PFM”, “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “M.A.V.”) and British-Prog (with influences of “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, and “Pink Floyd”). Tarasconi’s vocals are as light as on “Montefeltro” and “Hostsonaten”, but his expressive and emotional style also compares with “Peter Gabriel” & “Peter Hammill”. The instrumentation emphasizes keyboards and synths, employing different kinds of electric pianos, organs, and minimoogs (which add a Neo-Prog sonority to the music); and even the theremin. The rhythm section by Orefice & Bedostri is strong, dynamic and intricate, and Zanetta’s guitar style – somber, psychedelic, but soaring and effective – punctuates the record with odd melodies, enriching all arrangements. A violin appears on two songs, courtesy of guest musician Fabio Biale. In spite of all influences, Unreal City has its own unique sound, and is full of surprises. “La Crudeltà Di Aprile” contains 6 tracks, including a long suite. “Dell'Innocenza Perduta” (7:30) is cadenced and tranquil, like a Romantic piece, being driven by tuneful vocals, pianos, soaring-echoing guitars, violins and silken synths. “Atlantis (Conferendis Pecuniis)” (9:51) is mostly an Epic, with accelerated parts with heroic vocals and dramatic synths alternating with Renaissance-Baroque parts having sounds of Mellotrons and harpsichords, classical guitars, and adornments of Greek strings. “Catabasi (Descensio Ad Inferos)” (8:00) opens up majestically with bombastic church organs, orchestral timpani and bells, and pledging vocals. The second part is dominated by violins, heavy guitars, ghostly synths and stormy sounds, calming down with great vocals, clean guitars, and an amazing final part with guitar and synth duo (recalling “Finisterre” and “Hostsonaten”). It is chained to “Dove La Luce E' Più Intensa” (7:03) – driven by a frantic rhythmic intro and a ballet of dancing keyboards – tuneful vocals give way to layers of cascading synths, leading to an unexpected segment for funky bass and drums, energetic keyboards and theatrical Gothic vocals. “Ecate (Walpurgisnacht)” (9:00) combines mysterious pianos and odd keyboards & bass lines, recalling the musical experiments of “KC”, “VdGG”, “Le Orme”, and “Finisterre”. Jazzy brocades of guitars, bass, drums, and bouncing pianos lead this song forwards into an amazing battle of guitars and synths. The closing track is the impressive suite “Horror Vacui” (a. “le radici del male”, b. “l'assassino”, c. “nel sonno della ragione”, d. “il baratro della follia”) (17:54). With many minutes of instrumental music pinpointed by brief vocal parts, this song comprises all musical tricks that Unreal City is capable of doing to grab the listener’s attention: all musicians act in harmony, offering the habitual expressive vocals, detonating rhythmic section, plentiful interplay of synths and guitars, and a true Progressive climax. Surprising, brilliant and talented, Unreal City is one of the most promising bands to appear recently in Italy, and I am eager to hear more of them in the near future. Unreal City is highly recommended for fans of “Le Orme”, “Metamorfosi”, “J.E.T.”, “Trip”, “PFM”, “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Corte dei Miracoli”, “Museo Rosenbach”, “Germinale”, “Montefeltro”, “Finisterre”, “Hostsonaten”, “Garden Wall”, “La Maschera di Cera”, “M.A.V.”, “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, and “Pink Floyd”. Band members and collaborators involved in Unreal City are: Emanuele Tarasconi - Vocals, Choirs, Piano, Hammond, Moog, Synths, Mellotron, Birotron, Chamberlin, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Clavicembalo, Liturgic Organ, Theremin, Lyrics and Compositions; Francesca Zanetta – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Lute; Francesco Orefice – Electric & Fretless Bass, Voice on “Atlantis”, Choir; Federico Bedostri – Drums, Percussion, Timpani, Narrative Voice on “Atlantis”. Guest musician: Fabio Biale – Violin on “Dall’Innocenza Perduta” & “Catabasi”; Fabio Zuffanti - Artistic Direction. Ex-drummers: Carlo Rainone (2008-2011); Antonio Schingo (2011-2012). Album recorded at Hilary Studios in Genoa in January 2013, by Rossano “Rox” Villa; Mastered at Emixing Studio by Sandro Ferrini...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013.....................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to UNREAL CITY HOME PAGE...
. OBLIVION SUN - "The High Places"
Hailing from Felton, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.), Oblivion Sun is the brainchild of Frank Wyatt (keyboards, sax) and Stanley Whitaker (guitar, vocals), two founder members of ‘70's Prog outfit "Happy The Man". As Wyatt and Whitaker had amassed abundant material that they feared would never get recorded by HTM, they firstly began to record for a project named "Pedal Giant Animals", which grew up with the addition of guest musicians and ultimately became Oblivion Sun. Whitaker and Wyatt, along with a line-up consisting of Bill Plummer, Chris Mack, and Dave DeMarco released Oblivion Sun’s eponymous debut album in 2007. Some years later, the Wyatt-Whitaker duo joined with a new rhythm section made of Berklee-graduated Dave Hughes (bass, vocals) and Bill Brasso (drums, percussion) – two skilled and experienced musicians who had played together on Pop act “Flipside”. This quartet recorded and released Oblivion Sun’s second album, entitled “The High Places” (January, 2013, Prophase Music). Easily labeled as “Eclectic & Crossover Prog”, Oblivion Sun’s members draw influences from different sources, such as “Gentle Giant”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Henry Cow”, “Passport”, “VdGG”, “Soft Machine”, “Genesis”, “UK”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “PFM”, “Rocky & Bullwinkle”, “Trilok Gurtu”, “Crowded House”, and “Debussy”. Bill Brasso is influenced by “Bill Bruford” and “Mike Portnoy”; and Dave Hughes lists “Chris Squire”, “Joe Osborne”, “Colin Moulding” and “Victor Wooten” as major influences. The quartet crosses the boundaries of conventional music by masterfully blending genuine Progressive modes with outer genres and styles, from Funk to Groovy Rock, Jazz, and Improvisational Music. The music is made of silken patches of pianos, delightful keyboards, delicate guitars and diaphanous melodies that are disseminated along complex and colorful arrangements, all bound together with intelligence and good taste, and stitched with decorated bass lines that nurture an ever-dynamic rhythmic session. The resulting sound is powerful and diversified, enhanced by the individual performances of all musicians. “The High Places” brings five compositions. Oblivion Sun’s versatility is represented by two long instrumental tracks: “Deckard” (6:35) opens the album with a Prog-Fusion sophistication on pianos and saxophones combined with a Canterbury-styled orientation on bass, guitars and drums, being comparable to the most sublime moments of bands like “UK”, “Soft Machine”, “Hatfield and the North”, and “Passport”; while on “Dead Sea Squirrels” (6:35) the band grows heavier and denser, creating wild riffs that are mostly influenced by “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, and “Mahavishnu”, also plunging into the experimentalism by mixing together deep bass lines and coiling guitars with electronica, crooked “Henry Caw” -inspired sounds, and even Prog-Metal parts. Sandwiched between those tracks there are two short ones: the instrumental “March of the Mushroom Men” (3:38), which is a psychedelic fairy-tale piece that evokes images of gnomes, goblins, and pixies marching to the sound of a memorable guitar theme (recalling bands like “Camel”, “Caravan”, and “Fruupp”); and the beautiful Prog-Folk ballad “Everything” (2:39), driven by acoustic guitars and pianos. But this album still offers a great final track: the impressive Neo-Prog suite “The High Places” (22:22), which is divided in six parts. From all bands that have emulated “Genesis”, none has ever done it with such fidelity and quality: showing great compositional sophistication and vocal melodicism, “The High Places” matches the best of the “Phil Collins” phase of “Genesis” (albums “A Trick of the Tail”, “Wind & Wuthering” & “And Then There Were Three”). The bombastic intro of “My Eyes” (6:10), with classical pianos, guitars and epic vocals, grows toward the Symphonic & Hard Prog “Awakening” (1:59), meeting the cheerful pianos, bouncing bass, violins, and synths of “Flowers” (2:31) before slowing down on “The Rules” (5:40) - a sad and poignant song decorated with pianos and solos. The song has its peak on the vigorous and dramatic “The Cage” (3:53), full of guitars, pleading vocals, and floating pianos that lead to the climax of “Our Eyes” (2:07) - a true Progressive conclusion for this outstanding record that will delight Progressive fans of all testes & ages. Oblivion Sun’s new album is indispensable for appreciators of “Genesis”, “Camel”, “Gentle Giant”, “King Crimson”, “Yes”, “UK”, “PFM”, “VdGG”, “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Kaipa”, “The Flower Kings”, “Happy the Man”, “Spock's Beard”, “Transatlantic”, “K2”, “Druckfarben”, “Anima Mundi”, “Tiles”, “Discus Ursi”, “Silhouette” and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Oblivion Sun are: Stan Whitaker - Guitars, Vocals; Frank Wyatt - Keyboards, Reeds; Dave Hughes - Bass, Vocals; Bill Brasso - Drums, Percussion. Past members: Bill Plummer - Keyboards, Moog, Vocals; Chris Mack - Drums; Dave DeMarco - Bass, Vocals; Keith Macksoud - Bass; Eric Slick - Drums. Produced, Arranged and Mixed by Oblivion Sun. Recorded at Crafty Hands Studio; Engineered by F. Wyatt; Mastered by Kit Watkins...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013...................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit OBLIVION SUN HOME PAGE...
. MAELSTROM - "Màelstrom"
Maelstrom is an almost forgotten Progressive Rock band from the U.S.A. The group was formed in early ‘70s, led by multi-instrumentalist Robert Williams aka Roberts Owen (R.I.P.), and featured Roberts Owen (guitars, saxophone, flutes, piano, Mellotron, synths, vocals), James Larner (flute, vibraphone, marimbas, piano, harmonica), Paul Klotzbier (bass), Mark Knox (Hammond organ, Mellotron, harpsichord), Jim Miller (drums, percussion), and Jeff McMullen (lead vocals, electric guitars). Maelstrom issued a private-pressed LP in Canada, originally released under the title “On The Gulf”, which had been recorded in 1973 at Fort Walton Beach (Florida), and turned into a rare collectible item. In 1997 Black Moon Records re-issued that album in CD format under the title “Màelstrom”. This CD also contains two bonus-tracks that had been recorded live by Maelstrom in 1980 at the “Three Rivers Festival” in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The line-up on that show consisted of only Owen and Klotzbier from the original line-up, supported by D. Kent Overholser (Hammond Organ, Mellotron, synthesizers) and Rollin Wood (drums, percussion). In 2012 Italian Label Black Widow Records reissued “Màelstrom” (with license of Black Moon Productions). As on the previous CD, this release contained the 8 tracks originally recorded in 1973 and the two extra tracks recorded live in 1980. The first hearing of this record really impressed me positively. The sound of Maelstrom is simply awesome: in spite of the years passed, it continues to be original, avant-garde, and more updated then never. The music is inspired on the Progressive luminaries of the ‘70s and on composers like “Stravinsky” and “Holst”. The music is extremely rich in melodies and textures, like “Van Der Graaf Generator”, but has an experimental approach reminiscent of “King Crimson” and “Henry Caw”. The saxophone-driven parts are much like “Soft Machine”, but also irradiate the expressive colors of “VdGG” and “King Crimson”. The rhythmic section is dynamic, running over fast-paced Jazz-Rock rhythms. To this frame, complex arrangements like “VdGG”, “Soft Machine”, and “Gentle Giant” are bolstered by extremely intricate instrumental interplay – sometimes featuring sublime synchronic moments of interwoven bass, keyboards, guitars and saxophones. The moods vary from agitated to soften – in this case, driven by light lead vocals and celestial harmony vocals that brought to my mind bands like “Caravan”, “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, and “Pell Mell”. The first track, “Ceres” (5:45), is an incredibly symphonic piece driven by celestial vocals, adorned with flutes, and featuring vigorous keyboards and guitars that keep running from side to side. It is followed by the instrumental “In Memory” (4:43), a vivid Jazzy piece driven by playful vibraphones, like a blend of “Soft Machine” and “Henry Cow”. The distorted saxophones alternately recall “VdGG” and early “Soft Machine”. The piece still offers plentiful organs, sax-harmonica interplay, and twisting guitar solos. Lighter, “The Balloonist” (5:31) begins with joyful harmonies that seem to be celebrating an important event – and soon engages into a fast Canterbury-styled instrumental segment full of hovering guitars, saxophones, bass, drums, keyboards, and guitars all set up in not-so-obvious “Gentle Giant” arrangements. Vocals come only in the middle part, followed by ending guitar-sax interplay. Maelstrom slows down on the ballads “Alien” (2:59) (driven by symphonic keyboards and sentimental vocals); and “Law and Crime” (3:26) (joyful, in that Canterbury style reminiscent of “Caravan”, but also recalling “Cathedral”). The best songs are “Chronicles” (4:16), a piece with initial organs and pianos reminiscent of “Genesis” that introduce tuneful vocals, arrangements like “Gentle Giant” and “Caravan”, and ends in running bass and dramatic sax solo. Following this line, but immersed in a spiritual atmosphere, the sublime “Nature Abounds” (4:23) combines classical pianos, organs, delicate sounds of vibraphones and guitars, reaching a climax in a medieval vocal choir that recalls “Gentle Giant”. The last song is “Below the Line” (5:33), which begins simple with flutes, acoustic guitars, and melancholic vocals, and amazingly grows with bass, drums, keyboards and guitars, getting gradually more complex and faster towards the final guitar climax. The bonus live-tracks are “Opus None” (5:37) & “Genesis to Geneva” (7:26), performed by Maelstrom when the band was reduced to a quartet. Although not having the same power of the studio tracks, they represent a worthy record of the band’s live activity. Both tracks are provided with a thick layer of keyboards & synths coupled with bass and drums that recall “ELP”; the later has elephantine sax-sounds that recall a furious “King Crimson”, and arrangements like “Gentle Giant”. Maelstrom is just fantastic, and Orthodox Progressive Fans of all over the world should be grateful to Black Widow for their initiative of recovering this Progressive Gem from oblivion. Highly recommended for fans of Progressive Rock; indispensable for those who listen only to vintage 70’s Prog-Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Maelstrom are: Roberts Owen - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Saxophone, Flutes, Piano, Mellotron, Synths, Vocals; James Larner - Flute, Vibraphone, Marimbas, Piano, Harmonica; Paul Klotzbier – Bass; Mark Knox - Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Harpsichord; Jim Miller - Drums, Percussion; Jeff McMullen - Lead Vocals, Electric Guitars. 1980 Live Line-up: Roberts Owen - Electric Guitar, Flute, Synthesizers; Paul Klotzbier – Bass; D. Kent Overholser - Hammond Organ, Mellotron, Synthesizers; Rollin Wood - Drums, Percussion. Executive Producers - Mike O’Neal & Mark Johnson; Digital Transfer - Seth B. Winner (Brooklyn, NY); Digital Mastering - Bob Katz...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit MAELSTROM HOME PAGE...
. BELIEVE - "The Warmest Sun in Winter"
The amazing Polish Progressive & Art Rock band Believe is back to PR&PM again. Believe was created by guitarist Mirek Gil, (ex-“Collage”, ex-“Satellite”, “Mr. Gil”), and their debut album “Hope to See Another Day” (2006) appealed to fans of “Collage”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Pink Floyd” and “Riverside”. The follow-up, entitled “Yesterday Is A Friend” brought a powerful sound (see under Best Band and Records - 2008). The band’s first DVD was entitled "Hope To See Another Day Live" (2008, Metal Mind Productions). At the end of 2008, Believe began a new era with vocalist Karol Wróblewski and collaboration of British sound engineer Andy Jackson (“Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”). Their third studio album was entitled “This Bread Is Mine” (2009, Metal Mind), and was produced by Wlodek Kowalczyk. Believe’s fourth studio album - entitled “World is Round” (2010, Metal Mind) - was reviewed in 2011 here at PR&PM. Believe’s new album has the poetic title of “The Warmest Sun In Winter” (2013, Metal Mind). The line-up now forms with Karol Wróblewski (vocals), Mirek Gil (guitars), Przemas Zawadzki (bass), Konrad Wantrych (keyboards), Vlodi Tafel (drums & percussion), and special guest Satomi (violin), who appears on two of the eight tracks of the album. With a Neo-Progressive and Symphonic sound that is influenced by bands like “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “The Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, and “Agents of Mercy”, but also with a modern musical approach that places the band in unison with other important Progressive acts of Poland (namely "Collage", "Quidam","Satellite", "Mr. Gil", "Millenium", "Turquoise", "Moonlight", "Albion", "After", “Mindfields”, "Retrospective", "Lebowski", "Nemezis", “Riverside”, and “Strawberry Fields”), Believe produces outstanding music that caresses the listener’s ears with the softness of cotton & the delicacy of silk. On the album “The Warmest Sun In Winter”, the opening tracks “The End” (1:48) & “Beginners” (8:05), for instance, have a soft beginning like “Marillion” - with kind vocals, soaring guitars and gentle keyboards, all driven by a vivid and steady Progressive cadence delivered by hovering guitars, bass & drums that recall bands like “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “Flower Kings”, and “Agents of Mercy”. But the softness of Believe’s music and its very tuneful nature will appeal to most sensitive Prog-fans when they listen to two tracks of this record: the slow and diaphanous “The Warmest Sun In Winter” (5:35) - which has a sad mood and introspective vocals that recall “Mr.Gil”, and also cool bass harmonies that slowly lead the song to a climax by combining a symphonic layer of synths with Mirek’s most sensible guitar solo, really beautiful and inspiring; and “Unborn/Turn Around” (8:06) – a delicate Neo-Progressive track with a 80’s Rock reflex on Karol’s great vocals and performance (congregating influences of the solo works of “Peter Gabriel”, “Phil Collins” and “Fish”) – followed by bittersweet melodies coming from guitars, many delicate tunes uncoiling from keyboards, soft drumming, occasional voice-piano duos, and more keyboards at the end. Nevertheless, the musicians of Believe also know how to play with more vigor, without forgetting their allegiance to the beauty and melodicism of Progressive Music. They show that on the excellent songs “Words” (5:44) and “Please Go Home” (4:51). The first is introduced by eerie keyboards like “Genesis” & “Marillion”, but stands up just later with a confident mood that allows it to be covered with a slightly popish luster that makes it accessible to an ample audience – of course, Mirek’s guitar and Zawadski’s bass always add a high-quality classy touch to the song, while the Hammonds added by K. Wantrych provide it with a retro-Progressive texture. The second, “Please Go Home”, begins with eerie keyboards giving the false impression of being another soft song, but the coming of vibrant guitars and vigorous rocky drumming, combined with Satomi’s classic-skilled violin-playing and Karol’s soulful vocals marvelously alternate with bass moments and great guitar solos that transform this song into an album’s best. “The Warmest…” finishes magnificently with “Heartless Land” (10:53) + the hidden track “The Bright Day” (2:29). “Heartless…” is an epic Progressive track that returns to Believe’s typical soaring and cadenced pace, buts shows more influences of Mirek’s ex-bands “Collage” and “Satelllite”, also resembling other bands of the Polish scene (e.g. “Albion”, “Millenium”, “Mindfields”), besides having a stronger influence of “Pink Floyd” and “David Gilmour” on the psychedelic and soaring guitar solos that come later. The hidden track “The Bright Day” is a colorful song with pianos, and violins. Really another brilliant and solid album by Believe, “The Warmest Sun In Winter” cannot be missed by fans of “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Galahad”, “The Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, "Collage", "Satellite", "Mr. Gil", "Quidam", "Framauro", "Millenium", "Turquoise", "Moonlight", "Lizard", "Abraxas", "Albion", "After", “Mindfields”, "Anamor", "Retrospective", "Amarok", "Lebowski", "Lunatic Soul", "Nemezis", “Strawberry Fields”, “Travellers”, “Riverside”, “Agents of Mercy”, to whom it is highly recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Believe are: Karol Wróblewski – Vocals; Mirek Gil – Guitars; Konrad Wantrych - Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Przemas Zawadzki – Bass; Vlodi Tafel – Drums. Guest musician: Satomi – Violin (on “Please Go Home” & “The Bright Day”). Recorded at Mirek Gil’s Studio; Engineered & Mixed by M. Gil, K. Wantrych & K. Wróblewski; Mastered by Jacek Gawlowski (JG Master Lab); Produced by Believe. Also you can become friend of the band just visiting them at their Facebook Page...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013..............Want to learn everything about the musicians and his fantastic band, visit BELIEVE HOME PAGE...
. IL CERCHIO D’ORO - "Dedalo e Icaro"
Il Cerchio d’Oro - a Progressive Rock band from Savona, Italy – is back to this webzine (see under Reviews 2009). The group started in 1974 playing Symphonic Prog-Rock that was influenced by “Le Orme”, “Trip”, and “Osanna”. They managed to record three singles only (issued between 1977-1979), and some of their surviving recorded material appeared just on a 1999 CD by Mellow, and on the 2005 LP “La Quadratura del Cerchio” (which contained originals and covers of “Le Orme”, “New Trolls”, & “The Trip”). 25 years later, Il Cerchio d’Oro returned with the original line-up and released the concept album “Il Viaggio di Colombo” (2008, Black Widow), which was reviewed here at PR&PM in 2009. Il Cerchio d’Oro is now releasing a second studio album, called “Dedalo e Icaro” (March, 2013, Black Widow). The line-up consists of original members Franco Piccolini (keyboards), Giuseppe Terribile (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals), Gino Terribile (drums, vocals), Piuccio Pradal (vocals, acoustic guitar), and Roberto Giordana (guitars), with addition of Bruno Govone (electric guitar) – and also features especial guests Pino Sinnone (“Trip”), Giorgio "Fico" Piazza (“PFM”), Martin Grice & Ettore Vigo (“Delirium”). As on the “Il Viaggio…” album, “Dedalo e Icaro” brings the finest and most authentic Italian Progressive Rock sonority, with influences of groups such as “Le Orme”, “New Trolls”, “PFM”, “Trip”, “Osanna”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Nuova Idea”, “Delirium”, “Corte dei Miracoli”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Banco Del Mutuo Socorso”, “Malibran”, “CAP”, “Nuova Era”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, & “La Maschera Di Cera”. The music is symphonic, plentiful of melodic lines, having an opulent interplay of keyboards and guitars. On those tracks on which keyboards show off with more emphasis, they are varied (pianos, organs, Mellotrons, synths), and generally driven by a mild jazz-rock rhythmic section (so recalling “Trip”, “Le Orme”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Corte dei Miracoli”). Some guitars recall “Osanna” and “Nuova Idea”, and the addition of a second guitar brought renovated strength to the music, recalling bands like “Malibran” and “Nuova Era”. The beautiful orchestral arrangements are reminiscent of those of “New Trolls”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “CAP”, and “Il Castello di Atlante”. The band is skilled in alternating dense instrumental passages with soaring interludes, which are either softened by layers of acoustic guitars (that recall “PFM”), or supported by tuneful harmony vocals. The atmosphere is magical and surreal, recalling groups like “Delirium” and “La Maschera di Cera”. “Dedalo e Icaro” features 8 tracks. The opening track, “Il Mio Nome È Dedalo” (4:56), has the sonority of the ‘80s-‘90s, recalling bands like “Malibran”, “Nuova Era”, and “CAP”, laying strength on guitars, which are busted by a Hard-Rock cadence on organs, bass & drums (played by P.Sinnone). The following track, “Labirinto” (7:16), is an amazing instrumental piece introduced by beautiful symphonic keyboards. The following session is dominated by a soft Jazz-Rock driven by a keyboard-bass-drums trio that recalls the energetic “Trip”/”Balletto” style, finishing with M. Griece’s flute solo. Il Cercho d’Oro employs the same “Trip”/”Balletto” vintage mode on other songs, such as “La Promessa” (9:06) – which begins with wonderful harmony choirs and has subtle “Floydian” and “Osanna”-distorted guitars added to it; “Una Nuova Realtà” (7:39) – on which the turbulence generated by a “Trip” versus “Malibran” clash dissolves into psychedelic guitars that provoke the upheaval of epic vocals (recalling “New Trolls”, “Delirium”, “Corte dei Miracoli”); and, finally, “Il Sogno Spezzato” (6:01), which has odd vocal tunes recalling “Osanna”, “Nuova Idea”, and “La Machera di Cera”. Interspersed with those songs, the album still offers the Progressive ballad “L'arma Vincente” (4:15) (with bass arrangements by G.Piazza), which has acoustic guitars, floating pianos and harmony vocals in the initial part, but grows later with the coming of epic guitar-keyboard duos (like “PFM”, “Le Orme”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Locanda Delle Fate”) - and the guitar-driven “Oggi Volerò” (4:25), another Hard-Rock with the flavor & swing of the ‘70s. The closing track is “Ora Che Son Qui (Icaro la Fine)” (5:09): a soft, cool and sophisticated piece with participation of E.Vigo on piano & M.Grice on sax, which evokes the mythological sound of “Delirium”. All in all, “Dedalo e Icaro” is another brilliant and amazing album by Il Cerchio d’Oro – a band that honors the Italian Prog-Rock Tradition. Indispensable for fans of “Le Orme”, “Trip”, “New Trolls”, “PFM”, “Il Balletto di Bronzo”, “Osanna”, “Nuova Idea”, “Delirium”, “Corte dei Miracoli”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Locanda Delle Fate”, “Banco Del Mutuo Socorso”, “Malibran”, “CAP”, “Nuova Era”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “La Maschera Di Cera”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Il Cerchio d’Oro are: Franco Piccolini – Keyboards (Organ, Piano, Mellotron, Synths); Giuseppe Terribile - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; Gino Terribile - Drums, Gong, Vocals; Piuccio Pradal – 12 String Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; Roberto Giordana – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Bruno Govone – Electric Guitar. Guest musicians: Pino Sinnone - Drums (1); Giorgio "Fico" Piazza - Bass (4); Martin Grice - Flute (2), Sax Contralto (8); Ettore Vigo - Piano (8); Daniele Ferro – Electric Guitar (1); Athos Enrile – Mandolin (1). Recorded at Pradal Home Studio, Albisola (Sv) by Enzo Albertazzi; Drums recorded by Fulvio Marella at Studio Artisi (Sv); Mixed by E.Albertazzi; Mastered by Freddy Delirio at FP Recording Studio, Lammari (LU)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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07/31/2013..................,.....Interested to know more about this fantastic Band? Visit IL CERCHIO D’ORO HOME PAGE...
. FB 1964 - "The Fearless Vampire Killers"
FB 1964 is the personal Heavy-Metal project headed by German guitarist and composer Frank Badenhop. His debut album – titled “Fearless Vampire Killers” (2013) - is a complete remake & cover-version of the 1967 soundtrack of the movie “The Fearless Vampire Killers” (with “Roman Polanski”, “Jack Macgowran”, and “Sharon Tate”). The original musical score was composed by Krzysztof Komeda, who also signed the “Rosemary's Baby” soundtrack. As Badenhop could not find any notes about the soundtrack, he listened to the old originals and transcribed the songs by himself. The whole music – a mix of Classical, Progressive and Horror-Movie Soundtrack – was repaginated into a Heavy-Metal version, combining old parts with new ones. In addition, Badenhop included some musical citations – mostly from famous (or infamous) Metal bands – that were integrated into the tracks. The album took 4 years to be recorded and completed (2008-2012), and features a constellation of guest musicians, notably guitarists Jeff Loomis (ex-“Nevermore”), John Norum (“Europe”), Jennifer Batten (“Jeff Beck”, “Michael Jackson”), Ivan Mihaljevic (Leading Metal guitarist in Croatia), and many others (see long list below). “The Fearless Vampire Killers” contains one single suite divided in 15 parts. Under an artistic point of view, the music follows the same “Horror-Movie” concept explored by “Alice Cooper”, “The Misfits”, “Art Zoyd”, and “Goblin”. Under the sonic-resemblance point of view, however, the music has influences of diverse Doom, Thrash, Death/Black, and Symphonic Gothic-Metal bands, like “Black Sabbath”, “Candlemass”, “Tristania”, “Draconian”, “Theater of Tragedy”, “Nevermore”, “Skyclad”, “Mercyful Fate” & “King Diamond”, “Death”, “Hollenthon”, "Haggard", “Van Helsing’s Curse”, “Therion”, “After Forever”, “Mekong Delta”, “Devil Doll”, “Lacrimosa”, “Antonius Rex”, “L’Âme Immortelle”, and “Apocalyptica”, just to name a few. “The Fearless Vampire Killers” opens with “Main Theme” (3:03) – a Doom-Metal reminiscent of “Draconian”, “Tristania”, and “Theater of Tragedy” - and an initial narration. “Sarah’s Bath, Snowman” (2:17) begins with soft violins (like music of the Renaissance), soon followed by Power Metal riffs and fierce solos of guitars and violins. The straightforward Metal-Gothic “Koukol” (1:30) introduces the Doom-Gothic “Krolock” (3:23). Plain of angelic choirs, that later turns into a violent Thrash-Metal that is chained to “Into the Cellar” (2:04), driven by potent bass, and having few orchestral parts. One of the best tracks, “Skiing the Castle” (5:27) combines soaring guitars (by Jennifer Batten) and symphonic scherzos with a neoclassical guitar solo (by Jeff Loomis), wind instruments and martial drumming (resembling “Ravel’s Bolero”), and orchestral sounds arranged for bass & violins. “Portraits” (3:36) begins with tribal drumming and Metallic guitar harmonies, and surprises the listener with an orchestral citation of “Mozart’s” “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, also played on the banjo! “Vampire Corners” (4:13) is an awesome Speed-Metal piece adorned with Doomsday choirs, having 4 guitar and 4 violin solos, all engaged in breathtaking duels. “Rooftopwalking” (2:07) features a Metal riff in the style of “Black Sabbath” (with “wah wah” effects) and also recalls the epic sound of “Candlemass” on the ascending angelical choirs. “Alfred Hears Singing” (5:37) is a homage to the German Gothic Expressionism, combining terrifying elements such as: a ghostly singing woman, accelerated heartbeats, scary percussive sounds, growling of monsters lurking in the dark, beautiful ice-freezing pianos, and citations of songs of “Uriah Heep” & “In Flames”. “Sarah’s Song” (2:02) – a Dark Progressive symphonic theme followed by somber choirs – could be present in one album of “Antonius Rex”; and “Hunting Alfred” (3:22) presents a surprising, and clever, citation of “Iron Maiden’s” “Transylvania” – the pace of which really evokes the images of a chased man; and still brings violins to the arrangements. The climax of the movie – and so of this new soundtrack – appears on “Menuet” (7:07) – a Melodic-Metal piece that begins like a Palace-Hall dance, driven by harpsichords and orchestral strings, and gains in strength later with the addition of fleeing solos of cellos, violins and neoclassical guitars (by John Norum). “Persecution” (3:22) is a bass-driven somber piece that is followed by vampire-luring Doom riffs, still having an English horn adding a note of fatality to the character’s end. “End Theme” (3:08) brings back the Doom-Metal riffs of the firs track escorted by Gothic choirs that precede the last narration, completing the whole cycle. The massive number of musicians involved in this task, and the long lapse of time spent to complete the record may have compromised the continuity of this huge musical piece. Anyway, it is still a fantastic and brilliant work, directed to appreciators of the Symphonic Doom, Gothic, & Thrash Metal styles, being highly recommended for fans of “Alice Cooper”, “Art Zoyd”, “Goblin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Candlemass”, “Tristania”, “Draconian”, “Theater of Tragedy”, “Nevermore”, “Skyclad”, “Mercyful Fate” & “King Diamond”, “Hollenthon”, “Van Helsing’s Curse”, “Therion”, “After Forever”, “Mekong Delta”, “Devil Doll”, “Lacrimosa”, “Antonius Rex”, “L’Âme Immortelle”, “Apocalyptica”, "Haggard", and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in FB 1964 are: Frank Badenhop – Guitars, Lead Guitar on “Alfred Hears Singing”, Arrangements for English Spinet, Concept; Mirko Gätje – Bass; Hendrik Schelenz – Bass; Tim Schubert – Drums; Marius Ludwig – Drums; John Wheeler – Acoustic Guitar; Armin Stickel – Acoustic Guitar; Kay Schmidt – Wah Wah Guitar; Thomas Witte – Guitar Lick; Don Wayne Reno – Banjo; Inna Firsova – Piano; Tina Guo – Cello Solo; Dayane Kin – Singing Voice (on “Alfred Hears Singing”); Robin Merrill – Narrator. Solo Guitarists: Jennifer Batten; Mick Sebastian; Julia Kosterova; Ivan Mihaljevic; Andreas Kowalzik; Tamás Petro; Jeff Loomis; Juan M. Varona; John Norum. Violinists: Katie Jacoby; Cara Thompson-Barthels; Ally Storch. Choir Voices: Karin Badenhop (also Flute); Susanne Schreckenberger; Darja Kaschkow; Ramona Kowalzik; Uschi Hertzberg; and The London Chorale. Additional Instruments: Halion Orchestra – Violin, Viola, Cello, String Ensemble, Flutes, Bass Clarinet, Oboe, English horn, Glockenspiel, Sledge Bell. Citations: Slayer “Raining Blood” (4); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (7); Uriah Heep “Lady in Black” (10); In Flames “Only for the Weak” (10); Thin Lizzy “Sarah” (11); Iron Maiden “Transylvania” (12); Judas Priest “Breaking the Law” (13); James Bernard “The Dracula Suite” (15). Recorded & Produced at Bornkamp Studio (2008-2012); Mixed & Mastered by Torsten Sauerbrey at Metalsound-Studio...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2013...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FB 1964 HOME PAGE...
. STRANCE LUCID - "Palace of Ether"
Trance Lucid was formed in 1993 by guitarist Dave Halverson. Initially, the focus was on Jazz-inflected instrumental music incorporating Rock elements and a wide range of tonal colors. The first Trance Lucid CD was “Arise” (released in January 1996). In late 1997, Halverson and drummer Terry Lee relocated the band to Oakland, CA, and began the search for a new bass player. Bill Noertker joined the band in February 1998. The band began performing regularly around the Bay Area and released a second CD, “Vigil”, in August 2000. After some years of live performances and working on side-projects, Trance Lucid released their third album - “The Colours of Darkness” - in March 2005. A live album, titled “Unrevisited Live”, was released in December 2007, containing 11 previously unreleased songs recorded at five different shows. Meanwhile, Halverson also released his solo albums: “Fragments of What” (2003), “March Forth” (2006), “Apothecary Charms” (2008), and “1991” (2009). Trance Lucid was in the progress of recording and mixing a new studio album when bassist Bill Noertker decided to leave the band. Halverson took charge of the bass, and keyboardist Richard Bugbee joined in to add his uniquely energized perspective to Trance Lucid’s music, creating new dimensions in the band's sound. The new album, titled “Palace of Ether”, was finally released in June 2013. Containing 15 instrumental tracks, the album showcases an “engaging instrumental Art Rock & Jazz Fusion stylistics in a panorama of shades”, being the band's most adventurous recording so far. The centerpiece of this project is the 32-minute title suite, the origins of which can be traced back over 15 years. The initial five tracks of “Palace of Ether” introduces the listener to a band that has a preference for lively and groovy rhythms, jazzy musical freedom, a lean to improvisation, and has no fear of fusing elements of other genres into their music, such as Funk, Rock & Electronica – all led by a guitarist who developed his own style. So, “T M” (3:33) opens the album with a funky swing, being driven by a crooked riff sound that recall “Primus”. Best of all are “Spyglass” (4:47) – introduced by electronic sounds, and having keyboard arrangements, Fusion guitar solos and also clean jazzy guitars that loosely recall “Pat Metheny” and “Steve Lukather”; and “Pocket” (3:31) - bouncing, funky, and dark - with peculiar guitar solo in “Steve Vai” style. Interspersed with those two tracks, the soft “Illumination” (4:03) runs slow and lazy, as immersed in a tropical climate, having a bit of the “Bossa-Nova” flavor on keyboards; while “The Crossing” (3:35) has cool bass and drums, chic pianos, progressive keyboards and melodic guitar solo. The following tracks (from 6 to 15) comprise the suite “Palace of Ether”, which gives title to the album: it is a musical journey through different moods, techniques, textures, and styles, congregating influences that range from “Mahavishnu Orchestra” and “Weather Report” to “Return to Forever”, “Jadis”, “King Crimson”, and “Allan Holdsworth”. The echoing “Many Rooms” (2:48) introduces “Saints in Stone” (3:25), which alternates Indian music, Oriental violins, and delicate bass arrangements with stronger guitar riffs, reaching the mysterious and ancient places of “Dream of Antiquity” (4:34), which includes cool Fusion synths - this trio of pieces may appeal to fans of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. In a change of ambience, the folky “Painted Dancer” (1:50) introduces the groovy “Actors in Armor” (2:56), driven by lively guitars, funky bass, and free improvisational keyboards that ultimately lead to the Progressive Southern Rock “Before the Idols” (3:51) – which contains a solo of piano with dissonances – and to the soaring desert song “Vox of Silence” (2:02). Investing in the Progressive terrains with a sonority that is influenced by “King Crimson”, the last trio of pieces begin with the psychedelic noises and rumbling cymbals of “Horsemen At the Gates” (2:13), going through the dreamy & fairish acoustic guitars and elephantine sounds of “Nightlit Moons” (2:32), until reaching a climax on the Space Rock “Remembrance” (5:40) – driven by fast guitar chords, a moog-sounding solo, astral sounds, and stoner guitar solos that come in cosmic waves – and with a final guitar solo reminiscent of “Allan Holdsworth”. If you like Jazz-Fusion with a Progressive flavor on it, and like “Pat Metheny”, “Steve Lukather”, “Steve Vai”, “Greg Howe”, “Weather Report”, “Return to Forever”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Allan Holdsworth”, and “King Crimson”, then Trance Lucid is especially recommended for you. Band members and collaborators involved in Trance Lucid are: Dave Halverson - Guitars, Bass, Synthesizer, Compositions; Terry Lee - Drums, Percussion; Richard Bugbee – Keyboards. Damien Gonzalez – Bass on “TM”. Former member: Bill Noertker - Bass. Album Produced by Dave Halverson; Recorded & Mixed at the Surface, Drums recorded at the Sherman Tank, Alameda, CA; Mastered by Ken Lee at the Ken Lee Mastering...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2013.........,.....Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to TRANCE LUCID HOME PAGE...
. DAEMONIA - "Zombi - Dawn of the Dead"
Daemonia is a Project led by keyboardist & soundtrack composer Claudio Simonetti, who started his career in 1975 with "Goblin" – the legendary Italian band that wrote soundtracks for the films of Italian director Dario Argento (“Profondo Rosso/Deep Red” & “Suspiria”). In 1978, Simonetti & Goblin wrote the soundtrack for George Romero’s film “Zombi (Dawn of the Dead)”. After the dissolution of "Goblin" in 1979, Simonetti continued in solo career, writing soundtracks for other films of Argento: “Tenebre” (1982), “Phenomena/“Creepers” (1985); “Demons” (1985), “Opera” (1988). From 1991 to 1996 he released the albums “Simonetti Horror Project”; “Horror Project II - Days of Confusion”; and “X-Terror Files”, which featured versions of famous movie-soundtracks (e.g. “Escape from New York", "Halloween", "Blade Runner", “Twin Peaks”) and new versions of soundtracks of Argento’s films. The CD “Classics in Rock” (1997) featured Classical themes by “Beethoven”, “Bach”, and “Ravel” in 70’s-Prog style. In 1998 he released “The Versace Murder” (soundtrack for film directed by Menahem Golan) and “The End of Millenium” (a "Greatest Hits" plus 6 new songs). In 1999 Simonetti formed Daemonia – a band with the same concept of "Goblin" - with Nicola Di Staso (guitar), Federico Amorosi (bass), and Titta Tani (drums). Daemonia’s first release was the “Dario Argento Tribute” (2000) featuring new versions of the most famous soundtracks written for Argento’s films (including those composed by “Keith Emerson” & “Ennio Morricone” played by the band with a Symphonic Orchestra). In 2001 the live CD “Daemonia; Live... or Dead” was released under Simonetti’s own label, Deep Red, having participation of new guitarist Bruno Previtali and the Movie Strings Orchestra, formed by 30 musicians. In 2001 Argento proposed Simonetti to reconstitute "Goblin" to record the soundtrack of his new film “Non Ho Sonno (Sleepless)”. With Simonetti (keyboards), Massimo Morante (guitar), Fabio Pignatelli (bass), and Agostino Marangolo (drums), "Goblin" accomplished the task. In 2013 Deep Red & Black Widow Records reissued “Zombi – Dawn of the Dead” - the soundtrack originally written by "Goblin" in 1978 for George Romero's eponymous film, which was totally rearranged and performed by Daemonia. The CD also features three bonus tracks. The music is Symphonic Dark Progressive with a 70’s flavor, but also contains moments of Jazz-Fusion. Some tracks are really impressive – promoting a perfect wedding of sound and image that are linked in a synergetic way that is strongly suggestive. Such tracks are the opening movement “L’Alba dei Morti Vivente” (6:16) (a typical horror-piece marked by a solemn heart-beat pace, choirs of Mellotrons, synths and Gothic organs entwined in great bass dissolving into timeless distorted guitars); “Zombi” (4:32) (dramatic, driven by nervous guitar riffs like an S.O.S. Morse Code, a groovy fusion part followed by tenebrous Gothic chanting, ending with an expressive keyboard solo); and “At The Safari” (3:43) (driven by a blend of African drums & animal sounds that have an adventurous disposition). Also making a music-emotion correspondence with the different images to which the audience is exposed in the Theater room, there are the humorous “Torte in Faccia” (1:51) (joyful piano of Old-Western saloon); the psychopathic “Zaratozom” (3:21) (a petrifying Heavy-Metal with guitars screaming in despair); and the thriller “La Caccia” (3:43) (driven by frantic rhythm and delivered by Baroque keyboards). Other tracks, however, flee from the orthodox soundtrack-straightjacket and shine on their own, without the need of being linked to any image. These great compositions are the album’s best: the soft and lively “Tirassegno” (2:53) (driven by slide guitars & violins); the outstanding “Oblio” (5:40) (slow and contemplative, combining pianos, soaring guitars, smooth bass, and relaxing keyboards); the piano interlude “Risveglio” (1:05); the sophisticated “Zombi Sexy” (2:21) (a romantic Jazz driven by pianos and string arrangements); and the psychedelic organ-driven “Supermarket” (3:17). The bonus tracks are also albums highlights. The amazing “Roller” (5:05) is a typical Italian Symphonic Progressive piece; “Toccata e Fuga” (5:11) is a breathtaking version of “Bach’s” masterpiece played with electric-rocky energy; and “Il Cartaio” (4:31) is a perfect Progressive piece. “Zombi – Dawn of the Dead” is really an amazing album, bringing in some of the finest score-music, plus three tremendous bonus-tracks, being highly recommended for lovers of Symphonic Dark & Gothic Prog, Horror-Soundtracks, and for fans of “Goblin”, “Presence”, “Runaway Totem”, “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Dunwich”, “Malombra”, “Art Zoyd”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Daemonia are: Claudio Simonetti - Keyboards; Bruno Previtali - Guitar; Federico Amorosi - Bass; Titta Tani – Drums. Recorded at Acquario Studio-Roma; Produced by Claudio Simonetti...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2013...............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit DAEMONIA HOME PAGE...
. THE RETICENT - "Le Temps Détruit Tout"
The Reticent is a Progressive & Experimental Post-Metal band hailing from Charlotte (North Caroline, U.S.A.), which has all instruments and vocals performed by Chris Hathcock. The musical style congregates influences of “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Opeth”, “Steve Von Till” (of “Neurosis”, “Tribes of Neurot”, & “Harvestman”), “Anathema”, and singer “Terry Reid”. The Reticent began in 2002 as a side project of Hathcock, who was playing at that time in the Extreme Metal bands “Wehrwolfe” and “The Torture Cell”, but had the will of creating music that was more somber, acoustic, and expressive. The Reticent’s debut album, “Hymns for the Dejected”, was independently released in 2006 and featured a collection of melancholy acoustic pieces that caught the attention of Heaven & Hell Records. The follow-up, called “Amor Mortem Mei Erit” (2008, Heaven & Hell), received good critical reviews and raised the band to cult status. After a 4-year gap, The Reticent came back with a third album – “Le Temps Détruit Tout” (“Time Destroys Everything”) - which was released in the summer of 2012, also by Heaven & Hell. “Le Temps…” traced new directions for The Reticent,  the music became more progressive, including a wide array of textures and styles; and the band began to perform live with a line-up formed with Hathcock (guitar, vocals, percussion), Rob Van Ham (guitar, vocals), Cliff Stankiewicz (bass), and Brent Deaton (percussion), also incorporating intricate visual media into the stage shows. The positive response both from critics and fans, led The Reticent to become a full-time band, helping to solidify its presence in the alternative musical scene. “Le Temps Détruit Tout” is dedicated to the writer “Chistopher Eric Hitchens” (1949-2011) and the songs are inspired on his ideas. The first printing of the album features 11 tracks, including two bonus-tracks: “With Folded Arms” and “Losing My Religion” (“REM's” cover). The music is solid and uniform, based on guitars & guitar effects, bass, drums and invests on the alternation of heavy & soaring parts and dark & light hues – all driven by melancholic moods and immersed in somber atmospheres. The initial songs “Nihil” (1:35) + “In Pursuit of Redemption” (6:22) introduce us to a world of electro-psychedelic echoing guitars that are driven by acoustic strings and by the melancholic singing of Hathcock, who recalls the vocals of “Maynard Keenan” (“Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”) – sad, whispering, hypnotic – being occasionally split by violent instrumental outbursts. “Mutually Assured Destruction” (6:58) has Progressive Post-Metal hovering riffs interspersed with softer Atmospheric-Psychedelic parts driven by hypnotic bass and anomic vocals (like “Oceansize” and “Neurosis”), combined with complex harmonies (recalling “Porcupine Tree” and “Riverside”). But my favorite songs of this album are those that combine slow psychedelic parts with powerful chords and slice-cutting guitar solos driven by tribal drumming and pounding deep bass (on the same ways of “Tool”): they are the aggressive “Enemy” (8:05), on which Hathcock shouts of anger; and the fast “Patience” (8:27), crowned with a long psychedelic guitar solo. Also “Silence” (6:15) deserves attention: it is a heavy Psycho-Prog-Thrash with accelerated riffs that includes a great Thrash-Metal guitar solo and frightening growling vocals, having influences of “Opeth” & “Death Angel”. The fans of the minimalist style of “Steve Von Still” will really appreciate the acoustic ballads “Lie to Me” (4:33) and “Le Tenia” (5:55). Advancing over more experimental terrains, The Reticent still offers “Nihil Ex Nihilo” (5:25) - on which a speech about Astronomy coexists with psychedelic-space sounds; and the curious and surprising “With Folded Arms” (3:59) – a choir made of melancholic echoing voices. The special print of “Le Temps…” finishes with a cover of “Losing My Religion” (5:21), by “REM”, which turned out to be really melancholic. The Reticent intends to record a new concept album in 2013, with the promising and suggestive title of “Chronology of My Disgrace”, it will further explore the lyrical and musical potential of the band. If you are a fan of Prog & Post-Metal, Atmospheric & Heavy Progressive acts like “Tool”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Opeth”, “Steve Von Till”, “Neurosis”, “Anathema”, “Oceansize”, “Death Angel”, then The Reticent is specially recommended for you. Band members and collaborators involved in The Reticent are: Chris Hathcock - All Instruments & Vocals. Live performers: Chris Hathcock - Guitar, Vocals, Percussion; Rob Van Ham - Guitar, Vocals; Cliff Stankiewicz – Bass; Brent Deaton - Percussion. Guest musician: Art Taylor – Guitar Solo on “Silence”. Engineered & Mastered by Ian Schreier (Osceola Studios, Raleigh, NC). Produced by Chris Hathcock; Co-Produced by Ian Schreier...
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08/30/2013.Want to learn everything about the musician and more about his history, go to THE RETICENT WEBSITE...
. TREWA - "Many Meetings on a Blithe Journey"
Trewa is a Progressive-Folk ensemble from Trevano, Italy. The line-up consists of Luca Briccola (guitars, bass, percussion, flutes, vocals, keyboards & orchestration), Marco Carenzio (vocals, harp & acoustic guitars), Filippo Pedretti (violin & backing vocals), Joseph Galvan (bass), Mirko Soncini (drums & backing vocals), and Serena Bossi (vocals). The moniker Trewa means “truce” in ancient Lombard language, sharing the same linguistic root with the English words truce, true and trust, and with Italian “tregua” and Trevano (also the location of the band’s studios in northern Italy). The idea behind the choice is that everybody needs Trewa to run away from the stressful daily routine. Therefore, Trewa produces Folk-Progressive Music that is essentially electro-acoustic in nature, soft, tranquil, nuanced, and full of subtle melodies – reflecting nostalgic moods that are inspired on historical impressions and on the folkloric and medieval traditions, expressing feelings from the heart. Influences and sonic resemblances may be listed as “Pentangle”, “Steeleye Span”, “Fairport Convention”, early “Fleetwood Mac”, “Jethro Tull”, “Curved Air”, “Renaissance”, “Gentle Giant”, “Solstice”, “The Morrighan”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Garmarna”, “Clannad”, “Enya”, “Loreena McKennitt”, “Rakish Paddy”, “Gjallarhorn”, “Kila”, “O'Carolan”, “Enter the Haggis”, and “Elvenking”. In December 2009 Trewa produced “At The Firelight” - a Demo CD that was done in less than three weeks, with no rehearsals, intended as a gift for their friends (their first audience and critics). It featured a brief selection of original and traditional medieval songs. Just afterwards, Luca, Marco and Filippo were willing for a bigger commitment, and decided to compose new material for a full-length album. They spent some time preparing the music & lyrics for the new work, and also looking for additional musicians and guests. In March 2011 they started to record “Many Meetings On A Blithe Journey” at their own Mentalchemy Dungeon studios. The album, which was released in 2012 under Trewa’s independent label Mentalchemy Records, was regarded by the band as their true debut. As happened on “At The Firelight”, the new album features old medieval folk songs rearranged by the band in a light Progressive Rock style, and a number of songs written in Folk, Medieval and Celtic styles that feature a Progressive uniformity – they are all soft, weightless, and relaxing. “Many Meetings On A Blithe Journey” brings 13 tracks. The traditional songs are “La Danse De Finistère” (3:29) - an instrumental opening track featuring members of “Rakish Paddy” band; “Matty Groves” (5:39) - a humorous minstrel-song to be sung inside a Tavern by male and female voices, transformed into a Prog-Folk with the addition of bass and a final guitar solo; “Once I Had A Sweetheart” (3:53) - a Medieval piece driven by delicate acoustic strings, soaring female vocals, and a steady violin; and two songs adorned with vocals duets and medieval choirs that recall “Steeleye Span”, “Gentle Giant”, and “The Morrighan”: the outstanding Troubadour ballad “John Barleycorn” (4:53), and the joyful “Wedding Dress” (2:53), driven by jovial female vocals. My favorite tracks, however, are those with a Progressive-Folk sound. Some of them lean to the ‘70s sonorities, with influences of “Jethro Tull”, “Curved Air”, and “Renaissance” - like “Jade Fountain” (4:19) – a slow ballad featuring outstanding vocal duo, delicate acoustic guitars, and soft keyboards; “Harimannersturm” (3:29) - an instrumental track immersed in a fairish atmosphere that grows later with violins and bass; and the amazing “The Enchantment And The Moon” (3:21) which combines pianos and bass that recall “Renaissance” with fantastic string arrangements, also adding an epic tone on the female vocal part. With a modern Progressive approach, resembling bands like “Solstice”, “The Morrighan”, and “Blackmore’s Night”, there are the excellent “Ælfgifu's Heritage” (5:29), introduced by symphonic synths, driven by male vocals and marking chorus, and also having flutes and an accelerated part featuring great synth solo; and “Hops” (3:27), modern on the rhythmic part, but also featuring violins and organs. Two songs written in present times were garbed in an ancient Celtic sonority, recalling the sound of “Clannad”, “Garmarna”, “Kila”, “Enya”, and “Lorenna McKinnett”; “Hom Selvadic” (5:11) employs Bagpipes and fiddles to support male vocals that sing in an archaic language, followed by tuneful choirs, until reaching a lively flute-driven instrumental part; and “Blithe Our Journey” (3:35) is a bittersweet ballad with nostalgic moods. The album’s last track - “The Chorus” (5:28) – is an abstract of Trewa’s wonderful musicianship – a soulful song that begins with male/female duos, and gradually grows in emotion with the coming of violins, bass, drums, and a Celtic harp. Trewa’s debut album is really brilliant and amazing, being super highly recommended for Prog-Folk fans that are fond of “Pentangle”, “Steeleye Span”, “Fairport Convention”, early “Fleetwood Mac”, “Jethro Tull”, “Curved Air”, “Renaissance”, “Solstice”, “The Morrighan”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Garmarna”, “Clannad”, “Enya”, “Loreena McKennitt”, “Rakish Paddy”, “Gjallarhorn”, “Kila”, “O'Carolan”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Trewa are: Luca Briccola - Guitars, Bass, Flutes, Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, Orchestration; Marco Carenzio - Vocals, Harp, Acoustic Guitars; Filippo Pedretti – Violin, Backing Vocals; Joseph Galvan - Bass; Mirko Soncini – Drums, Backing Vocals; Serena Bossi - Vocals. Guest musicians: Melissa Milani - Pipe (on “Home Selvadic”); Pauline Fazzioli - Harp (on “La Danse De Finistère” & “Harimannersturm”); Rossana Monico - Harp (on “Matty Groves”, “Once I Had A Sweetheart” & “Blithe Our Journey”). String trio on “Enchantment And The Moon”: Veronica Marelli – Cello; Alberico Giussani – Violin; Auro Perego - Violin. Album Recorded at the Mentalchemy Dungeon Studio (Como), between August 2011 & April 2012. Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Luca Briccola. Graphic Design by Luca Briccola. Independently released in 2012...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2013..............................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to TREWA HOME PAGE...
. THE INNER ROAD - "Ascension"
The Inner Road is welcomed again at PR&PM (see under Reviews 2011). The Inner Road is an outstanding Instrumental Symphonic Progressive Rock duo from Reading/Brighton (the U.K.). The project was initially formed by Steve Gresswell (keyboards, programming) & Phil Braithwaite (guitars), two members of Prog-band “Coalition”, to accommodate Symphonic Music that did not fit into “Coalition’s” style. Although they alone formed the core of The Inner Road, they eventually brought other musicians in for studio and live works. The Inner Road’s debut album was the self-produced “Visions” (2011, Orbital Productions), which was reviewed at PR&PM in the same year. The duo split up shortly after, and Gresswell remained as a single band-member, with much new material in his hands, but with nobody to keep a partnership. In 2012, however, Gresswell met Jay Parmar - a renowned guitarist, songwriter and producer who had already taken part on the “George Lynch Tribute”-“Will Play for Linch” (2003) and released the solo albums “Strange Day” (2005) & “Circle of Fire” (2012); and who is currently preparing an album on “Steve Vai’s” Digital Nations label. Gresswell then asked Parmar to come on board as a member of The Inner Road – and both began to write and record a new album. This much-awaited second album, titled “Ascension”, was finally released on 31 May 2013 by the independent label Orbital Productions. The record features 8 instrumental tracks containing the most exciting Symphonic Progressive Rock of recent times. As on the previous release, Gresswell provides a substantial orchestral background to the music, by adding sounds and textures (including flutes, violins, pianos and choirs) that arise from his insightful and sensitive ability of using different synthesizers – both modern and vintage. And Parmar’s guitar style (rather different from Braithwaite’s melodic Neo-Progressive style) approaches the Fusion and Neoclassical-Metal styles, showing influences of “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Vinnie Moore”, and “Paul Gilbert”. His playing is also richer in moods, alternating from soaring and sensible moments to most energetic and frantic passages. The Music is totally instrumental - symphonic, opulent, clean, free-flowing. The melodic themes succeed to each other, as well as the changes of pace, rhythm and mood. Moments of sublime and majestic keyboard-loaded Symphonic Progressive Rock may dissolve into rivers of guitar-driven Fusion and Neoclassical Metal segments, and vice-versa. The bass & drums are not credit on this record (and neither were on the previous) – and may be programmed. The overall sonority is a balanced blend of the instrumentation of Symphonic Progressive and Neo-Progressive bands such as “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Sky”, “Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman”, “Kayak”, “Marillion”, “Pendragon”, “U.K.”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, and “Erik Norlander” with the instrumental music crated by guitarists such as “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Tony MacAlpine”, and “Paul Gilbert”. The happy listener that purchases this album will be exposed to many minutes of rewarding, catchy and inspiring music when listening to tracks like: the ultra-Progressive “Ascension” (6:58); the multicolored masterpiece “Two Worlds Two Tomorrows” (8:32), which includes melodic solos like “Jason Becker”, gritty organs, slice-cutting Moogs, and soft Fusion guitar solos; and the astonishing “Altered Reality” (7:55), which alternates ethereal orchestral moments on violins, sacred choirs and hovering guitars with accelerated passages of Neoclassical-Metal guitars, bass and drums interplay. The cadenced “Troubled Memories” (7:37) is another outstanding Prog-Fusion piece that sounds like a hybrid of the three aforementioned tracks, containing soft passages for guitar, angelical voices, and chic Moogs. And the closing track “Flight Through Eternity” (10:17) is a magnum-opus that offers everything from Sitars and duels of Neoclassical guitar & synths to dreamy moments delivered by pianos and soaring “Pink Floydian” guitars. Pending to the Fusion and Fusion-Metal styles, there are also the powerful “The Steel Sky” (6:08) (which concentrates energy on a heavy guitar riff); the deliciously 70’s flavored “A Fleeting Dream” (6:15) (which combines acoustic guitars, gritty organs, bluesy-inspired guitar solos and Hawaiian guitars like “Jason Becker”); and the surprising “The Awakening” (6:33), which begins with a swinging Fusion rhythmic section but twists in the middle for an unexpected angelical New-Age choirs followed by an ascending guitar solo that liberates falling cascading notes. Still more varied, surprising, and astonishing then their debut, The Inner Road’s second album gratifies the most reticent Prog-Lover with a collection of amazing melodies and sounds - really offering what is promised on the title: The Inner Road’s “Ascension” towards higher Musical thresholds. Highly Recommended for fans of Symphonic Progressive Rock, Fusion and Neoclassical Metal, in special those who love “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman” “Sky”, “Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman”, “Pendragon”, “U.K.”, “IQ”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Erik Norlander”, “Joe Satriani”, “Steve Vai”, “Jason Becker”, “Marty Friedman”, “Tony MacAlpine”, “Vinnie Moore”, “Paul Gilbert”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Inner Road are: Steve Gresswell - Keyboards, Programming; Jay Parmar – Guitars. Former member: Phil Braithwaite – Guitars. Recorded & Mastered at Orbital Productions. Guitar & Sitar recorded at Sacred Sound Recording Studio. Produced by Steve Gresswell & Chris Gresswell...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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08/30/2013.......Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit THE INNER ROAD HOME PAGE...
. AKO DOMA - "Aliens Are Good For Sale"
Ako Doma is a Progressive Rock trio from Slovakia that was founded in 1993 by core members Jozef Stefanatný (guitar, guitar synths) and Miroslav Fedor (bass, programming), having Ivan Geso as first drummer. Their aim was to create instrumental Progressive Rock, with inspiration on Classical Music, and addition of elements of Bigbeat, Jazz and Funk music. Ako Doma recorded their first demo in 1994. With the coming of new member Lubos Tomascik (keyboards, synths) the band became a quartet and recorded more two demos (1996 and 1997). Tomascik left the band, and Tatiana Siladiova (saxophone) and Alexander Cupka (percussion) were admitted in 1998. As a quintet, Ako Doma released their eponymous debut CD “Ako Doma” (1999, Mellow Records - Italy), which featured the compositions “Corrosion”, of their last demo, and “Caravan” (by “Duke Ellington”). Their second album, “52”, was released in December 2000 in Slovakia (Lubomir Lichý, Slovakia), and contained 8 compositions, 5 of which had vocals – a new experience for a band that played only instrumental music up to that moment – featuring Petra Pavlickova on vocals and flute, in replacement of Tatiana. After the release of “52”, Alexander Cupka and original drummer Ivan Geso left the band, being replaced by Richard Labuda (guitar) and Peter Ondreás (drums). Not much time later, Ako Doma returned to the power-trio formation composed of Stefanatny- Fedor- Ondreás, and went back to Instrumental music, releasing their last album so far: “Aliens Are Good For Sale” (2003, Lizard Records - Italy). “Aliens…” brings 7 instrumental compositions that unveil to the listener a very dynamic, powerful, concentrated, original, creative and cohesive band made of extra-competent musicians, owners of a solid musicianship. The opening track “The Mead” (6:31) - divided in “i) feast”, “ii) stoned”, “iii) delirium”, “iv) tiger’s roam”, “v) morning after” - is a continuously metamorphosing track that has a Heavy-Prog beginning, some moments like “Primus”, a chaotic experimental part with hard-core R.I.O. guitar solos, and that gets back to the Heavy-Prog & Metal initial riffs. “Steam Machine & Christmas Cake” (5:33) - a piece that recalls me of “Mahavishnu Orchestra” - offers a great match between bass and guitars, driven by heavy-fusion drumming, until reaching a middle sentimental part for bass and piano (performed by ex-member Lubos Tomascik), twisting later to an awesome bass & drums andante backed by synths. “Igor the Hairdresser & Twenty Aliens” (5:47) is basically a long, emotional, and free guitar solo that dominates the song, being supported by a martial drumming reminiscent of the Canterbury style, which combined with floating bass lines bring to mind bands like “Soft Machine”, “Hatfield and the North”, and “Finch”. “IX” (4:45) irradiates soaring and astral sounds from a central sun – being like a mantra being repeated from somewhere near the stars – deep, vast and ancient. Yet “Socks Dressed Lover” (6:04) has an unusual combination of groovy Hard-Rock riffs and distorted “wah-wah” guitars that recall “Liquid Tension” with a Jazz-Fusion part driven by great bass. The following track - “We Don't Give On Score” (8:22) – turns towards the East, beginning with guitars and sounds that evoke images of the Oriental side of the world, but turns around the planet by featuring some flutes and vivid bass & drums that reminds me of Brazilian Northeastern folkloric music – and also has amazing guitar progressions that sound really exotic. The last track - “Rings of Highland” (4:39) – is a brilliant and innovative Celtic-Metal entangled in a Fusion-Metal guitar solo, still having a middle segment made of Baroque bass & keyboards. A great album to be listened for many times, Ako Doma’s “Aliens Are Good For Sale” is like a voyage around the globe, presenting music that is really innovative, unique and meaningful - highly recommended for fans of original bands such as “Soft Machine”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Illegal Aliens”, “Fire Merchants”, “Tribal Tech”, “Hatfield and the North”, "Steve Vai”, “Primus”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “MGM”, “Bozzio Levin Stevens”, “Zappa”, “The Wrong Object”, “D.F.A.”, “Tohpati Ethnomission”, “7for4”, “Doubt”, “Ligro”, "Priam" and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ako Doma are: Jozef Stefanatny - Guitar, Guitar Synth; Miroslav Fedor - Bass, Programming; Ivan Geso - Drums. Past Members: Lubos Tomascik - Keyboards, Synths, Piano; Tatiana Siladiova - Saxophone; Alexander Cupka - Percussion; Petra Pavlickova - Vocal, Flute; Richard Labuda - Guitar. Album Produced and Composed by Ako Doma; Recorded & Mastered by Tri Melony...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013........................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit AKO DOMA HOME PAGE...
. TRAIL RECORDS - "Five Years in Space 2007-2012"
“Five Years in Space 2007-2012” is an especial compilation released by Label Trail Records to celebrate their 5-Years anniversary. The album features all artists of their cast that have released albums or recorded for other compilations during this time period. Released as a promotion edition, the CD is available for free along with any of 2 albums purchased at Trail Records website. Along those 5 years of existence, Trail Records has supported several bands of Psychedelic, Space-Rock, Progressive-Rock, and Trip-Hop, bringing to listeners many obscure groups of all over the world, some of them hailing from the Eastern Europe and the distant Orient. “Five Years in Space” follows the same format of other Trail Records compilations – “Trip Wave - A Retrospective Collection of Russian Psychedelic Progressive Music” (2011) and “Psychedelic World Music - Discovery” (2012) – both reviewed here at PR&PM. “Five Years in Space” features 12 tracks, representing 11 top-quality artists, some of which have been also previously featured at PR&PM (check out on the “Reviews Section”). This new album opens with “Dle Yaman” (5:14), by Kiuila. Under the leadership of Ukrainian artist Maxim Kiuila, musicians, coming of different cultural and geographical environments of the post-soviet world, gather together to offer the listener a dreamy and relaxing musical piece driven by traditional instruments like the duduk, and wind instruments that evoke the sounds of the Middle-East. The album follows on with “Figures” (7:18), by Russian act Vespero, which is a soaring Fusion song disguised in Psychedelic sounds, being driven by ghostly female vocals, introspective guitars and ethnical percussion. The amazing Istanbul-based Progressive-Rock band Siddhartha is represented by “Black” (8:50) – one of their greatest pieces of Space-Rock & Krautrock inspiration, which combines mysterious female lead vocals, hypnotic backing vocals, psychedelic bass, cosmic keyboards and soaring guitars. From Turkey we fly to the U.S.A. to meet the Seattle Trance band Sky Cries Mary - the only one to be featured twice on this compilation, with songs from two different albums. The first is “Want” (6:02), which brings a groovy mix of ethnical music with psychedelic bass driven by female/male vocals, with influences of “Dead Can Dance”; and the other is “Rain” (7:39), which has a stronger psychedelic-bluesy influence of seminal bands like “The Doors” and “Jefferson Starship”, as shown on the wild guitar solos. Still on American soil, we can linger in San Francisco to listen to “Starbong” (7:40), by Space-Rock band Beyond-O-Matic, and get hooked on the Electronic loops of Krautrock “Can”-style , whispered psychedelic vocals by Peter Fuhry, and coiling mesmerizing bass with a taste of early “Floydian” flavor – and flutes come for a surprise! Now let us sail across the Bering Strait, and enter the gelid plains of Russia to listen to Eastern Syndrome playing “Getto Over Vltava” (4:53) (a soft psychedelic ballad with world music rhythms, ethereal atmospheres, and deep melancholic male vocals); or get impressed by the ancient ritualistic chanting that reach a climax of epic proportions on “Sleepy Herbs” (6:48), by Trip-Hop masters of Ole Lukkoye. If you prefer, take a time machine and go straight to the 21st century to dance as if there was no tomorrow to the entrancing sound of KRTL‘s “Soda” (5:23) – an instrumental piece driven by pulsing electronic beats, vibrant drumming, and mysterious synth tunes. Now let us go to Sweden to taste the song “Muscarin Madness” (4:50), provided by Prog-band In the Labyrinth, which has the opposite effect of KRTL’s piece: driven by the delicacy of acoustic strings and wooden percussive instruments, this song is reminiscent of old Celtic dances and bucolic solar landscapes, recalling “Beatles” and “Camel”. When the night comes, it is time to listen to the dark-psychedelic sound of Swedish band Barrett Elmore on “The Nixie” (4:00) – a song that combines lysergic soundscapes recalling “Floyd”, “The Doors”, and “Velvet Underground” with heavy Stoner-Psychedelic guitars. We end our journey in Dortmund, Germany, to listen to Chemical Breeze – a Psychedelic-Rock band strongly influence by “CAN”, “Neu!”, “King Crimson” and “Pink Floyd”. Their eponymous track “Chemical Breeze” (9:12) is an awesome instrumental piece that combines cosmic keyboards with a trippy rhythmic section, being pulled by a really long guitar solo (for the orgasmic happiness of fans of “David Gilmore”). Definitely, Trail Records “Five Years in Space – 2007-2012” is an indispensable item for fans of Progressive, Psychedelic, Space-Rock, Krautrock, Trip-Hop, World Music, Alternative and Avant-garde Music, and may be an excellent beginner’s guide for the listeners that want to venture into those genres. Trail Records “Five Years in Space – 2007-2012” was released in 2012, with Trail Records production and design by Alexander Tsalikhin and Vlad Milyavsky. Bands and songs featured on “Five Years on Space” are: 1. Kiuila - “Dle Yaman” (5:14) (from album “Kolo”, 2007); 2. Vespero - “Figures” (7:18) (from “Foam”, 2008); 3. Siddhartha - “Black” (8:50) (from “Trip to Innerself”, 2009); 4. Sky Cries Mary - “Want” (6:02) (from “Space Between the Drops”, 2009); 5. Beyond-O-Matic - “Starbong” (7:40) (from “Time to Get Up”, 2010); 6. Eastern Syndrome - “Getto Over Vltava” (4:53) (from “CKHH”, 2010); 7. Ole Lukkoye - “Sleepy Herbs” (6:48) (from “Petroglyphs”, 2010); 8. Sky Cries Mary - “Rain” (7:39) (from “Taking the Stage”, 2011); 9. KRTL - “Soda” (5:23) (from compilation “Trip Wave”, 2011); 10. In the Labyrinth - “Muscarin Madness” (4:50) (from “One Trail to Heaven”, 2011); 11. Barrett Elmore - “The Nixie” (4:00); (from “Woodlands”, 2012); 12. Chemical Breeze - “Chemical Breeze” (9:12) (from compilation “Discovery”, 2012)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013........................Interested to know more about this song's collection? Visit TRAIL RECORDS HOME PAGE...
. THE MAIER PROJECT - "Crossroads"
The Maier Project is back to this webzine once again (see under Reviews 2011). The group was founded in 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 to be an alternative and experimental instrumental project, but grew up from its original concept to finally include lyrics in the songs. The group released several independent CDs: the instrumental “My Life In An Elven World” (2006), “Four” (Jan. 2007), and “Sweetest Fruit” (Dec. 2007); the EP “The Queen Goes For A Walk Incognito” (2008); and the albums with lyrics “A Gallery of Dreams” (Nov. 2008) and “Dragons” (2010). Their previous album, “States Of Aggregation” (2012), was featured at PR&PM in 2012. Now The Maier Project is returning with a brand new album: “Crossroads” (2013), which features 11 tracks. As shown on their previous album, the sound of The Maier Project is still somber, melancholic and introspective, with poetical and ironic lyrics, all delivered by Maier’s monochord and baritone vocals. On this new album there are a number of instrumental tracks interspersed among the songs with lyrics, and the musical style ranges from the Alternative Rock (with influences of “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lloyd Cole Weblog”, “Nick Cave” & “The Bad Seeds”, “Lou Reed”, “Nick Drake”) to Progressive influences from “Roger Waters”, “Peter Hammill” & “Van der Graaf Generator”; and assorted Progressive elements on the instrumental tracks reminiscent of “Yes” (Indian phase) and “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era). The album opens with “Crossroads” (4:16), an instrumental bombastic intro for “Cuckoo In Our Nest” (3:33), which is a bittersweet ballad hooked on the epic chords of the title track. The following track, “Gate Of Heaven” (4:08), is marked by hard guitars, a basic Punk-Rock drum beat, monochord vocals and Gothic organ that are reminiscent of “Nine Inch Nails”. Also track 9 - “Take Your Feet And Run” (3:38) – features clockwork rhythms and depressive vocals like “NIN”. My favorite songs, are, however, the ironic “Once I Knew A Proud Young Beauty” (3:48), which tells a weird love story by blending influences of “NIN” with the Minstrel musical style of “Peter Hammill”; and “The Voodoo Thing” (3:33), a horror-rock with sadistic lyrics played under a “VdGG” & “Peter Hammill” point of view. Also satisfactory, the plain rock “Passing Through” (3:39) has philosophical lyrics, sung with pessimistic vocals that recall “Lou Reed” and “Nick Drake”, being pinpointed by shivering guitar solos. My very favorite tracks of this record are the instrumental ones, which reveal with more strength the Progressive side of The Maier Project: “Gathering” (4:04) combines soaring organs with flowing guitar solo, producing delicate and melodic tunes that hover over an acoustic guitar background. “Getting A Grip To It” (3:45) is initially as relaxing as New Age Music, and includes elements of World Music (by using the ghostly sounds of the Chinese erhu), but becomes turbulent later, with the coming of guitars and reverberating sonic effects. “Short Electric Raga” (4:45) is a Progressive Raga that makes use of a Sitar, recalling “Yes”. As on the previous track, its initial meditative state is disturbed later by strong guitar chords. Finally, the closing track “Zero Regrets” (7:59) is a combination of Psychedelic and Space Rock, experimenting with the opposition of two distinct sounds: a Celtic Harp (courtesy of guest musician Gael Hemmings) is employed to sooth down the heavy buzzing noise that irradiates from Space-Rock guitars on the background. Although I found “Crossroads” not as good as “States of Aggregation”, The Maier Project still retains an authentic sense of musicianship and lyricism that may attract appreciators of melancholic and introspective Alternative Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics, being recommended for fans of “Peter Hammill”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “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 – Vocals, Guitars, Sitar (tr. 8), Music & Lyrics; Peter Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Willy Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Ludwig Sander - Bass, Backing Vocals; Arthur Belovic - Drums & Percussion; Paul Wallner - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Bandoneon (tr. 1), Chinese Erhu (tr. 5), Additional Percussion (tr. 8, 9). Guest musician: Gael Hemmings - Celtic Harp (on “Zero Regrets”). Recorded & Mixed from September 2012 to April 2013. Studio Crew: The Tendini Brothers; Mixed & Arranged by Hans Maier & Robert Parker...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013....................................Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE MAIER PROJECT HOME PAGE...
. ELVIS DELUXE - "The Story So Far"
Elvis Deluxe is a Stoner-Psychedelic & Garage Rock band from Warsaw, Poland. A pioneer of the Polish Stoner Rock scene, the band was formed in 2002 by Wojciech "Ziemba" Ziemba (bass & vocals), Mikolaj "Miko" Malanowski (drums & percussion), Tomasz "Bolek" Sierajewski (guitar), and Marcin "Mechu" Hejak (guitar 2002–2010), who was replaced in 2010 by Wojciech "Bert Trust" Trusewicz (guitar). After a few years playing gigs they managed to record their full-length albums “Lazy” (2007, GetBy Records) and “Favourite State of Mind” (2011, Harmony Records). Elvis Deluxe is now returning with a new studio album entitled "The Story So Far” (2013, Metal Mind Productions), which was recorded in 2012 to mark the band’s 10th anniversary. “The Story So Far” features 8 tracks – 3 older, never officially published songs, plus 5 new ones – which altogether summarize 10 years of the band’s musical history. The musical influences range from 60’s to early 70’s bands like “13th Floor Elevators”, “The Doors”, “Blue Cheer”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Iron Butterfly”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barrett” phase), “The Stooges”, “Message”, and early “Black Sabbath”, to exponents of the Stoner Rock movement, such as “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, “Fu Manchu”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Monster Magnet”, “Dozer”, “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, “Orange Goblin”, and “Electric Wizard”. The three old songs still feature original member Mechu on guitars, and were positioned at the end of the album. Tracks 6, “Out Of Life” (3:12) & 7, “The Hope” (4:35), were both recorded in 2003. They are straightforward songs that have remnants of the noisy, crude, and aggressive sound of Elvis Deluxe’s early years, exposing the listener to their most primitive Punk, Thrash-Metal & Garage Rock roots. Also the closing track, “Search And Destroy” (3:32), a “The Stooges” cover recorded in 2006, is vigorously played - with passion and heat – thus honoring one of Elvis Deluxe’s most influential bands. The other five new songs, in contrary, showcase the new and most cerebral style of Elvis Deluxe, a band that definitely evolves from record to record. On those tracks, Elvis Deluxe probes even deeper into the 60's inspired Stoner Rock, without giving up of some rocky moments that lean to the traditional Punk & Garage Rock styles. Three of those tracks called my attention, and I am sure that they will please fans of “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, “Fu Manchu”, “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, “Orange Goblin”, and “Electric Wizard”. The opening track, “Your Godfreed” (7:55) is slow and trippy, combining fuzzy desert-rock guitars (recalling “13th Floor Elevators” and early “Pink Floyd”) with stoned vocals, psychedelic bass, and tribal drumming – having occasional heavy parts. “Face It” (6:10) irradiates slumbering Stoner vibes from a great instrumental frame, including acid dialogues between guitars and bass, a groovy rhythmic section, catchy vocal tunes followed by sticky “uh-uh” backing vocals, and a generous dose of “wah-wah” effects on the guitar solos - sometimes recalling a blend of “The Doors” with “Kyuss”. Finally, “Something To Hide” (8:50) – maybe the album’s best – instills aggressiveness on its initial half (resembling bands like “Kyuss”, “Sabbath”, “Message”, and “Electric Wizard”), but has its second half clouded with echoing & fuzzy guitar effects, and lysergic bass, plunging deeper into the Space & Krautrock styles (ideal for fans of “Colour Haze” and “Orange Goblin”). The remaining two tracks have a modern touch, and mix Stoner Rock with elements of Punk & Garage Rock: “No Reason” (3:27), driven by pragmatic and effective Punk drumming, is energetic and spontaneous (like “The Stooges”); while “Dark Lovers” (3:50) is a memorable Desert-Rock song having a touch of “Quentin Tarantino’s soundtrack”. Really a great Stoner Rock & Psychedelic album, Elvis Deluxe’s “The Story So Far” is greatly and especially recommended for fans of bands like “13th Floor Elevators”, “The Doors”, “Blue Cheer”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “Iron Butterfly”, “H.P. Lovecraft”, “Pink Floyd” (“Syd Barrett” phase) “The Stooges”, “Message”, “Kyuss”, “Brant Bjork”, “Monster Magnet”, “Dozer”, “Colour Haze”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Fu Manchu”, “Hypnos 69”, “Orange Goblin”, “Electric Wizard”, “Been Obscene”, “Josiah”, “Rotor”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Elvis Deluxe are: Wojciech "Ziemba" Ziemba – Bass, Vocals; Mikolaj "Miko" Malanowski - Drums & Percussion; Tomasz "Bolek" Sierajewski – Guitar; Wojciech "Bert Trust" Trusewicz – Guitar (since 2010). Past member: Marcin "Mechu" Hejak - Guitar (2002–2010). Tracks 1-5 Recorded 2012 at Maq Studio, Engineered & Mixed by Piotr Gruenpeter; Mastered by P. Gruenpeter & Jarek Toifl. Tracks 6-7 (2003) & 8 (2006) Recorded at Serakos Studio, Engineered & Mixed by Robert Srzednicki...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013.......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ELVIS DELUXE HOME PAGE...
. THE MUGSHOTS - "Love, Lust and Revenge"
The Mugshots are a Horror-Rock outfit from Brescia, Italy. The Mugshots were really born in New York City in 2001 when lead singer, Mickey E.Vil, then visiting the United States, chose the band’s name after listening to a record of “Alice Cooper”. Soon The Mugshots embraced the styles of Horror, Dark and Theatrical Rock, and somber crime stories have infused the band’s lyrics from the very beginning. Their influences come from bands such as “Alice Cooper”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “The Misfits”, “Mike Patton”, and Horror Soundtracks, but the band is also inspired by Progressive Rock and Norwegian Black Metal (!). As The Mugshots’ line-up was developing over the years, the band managed to release two full-length albums (“House Of The Weirdos” & “Weird Theater”), and the EP titled “Doctor Is Out”. In 2009 the band’s present line-up consolidated with Mickey E.Vil (vocals & keyboards), Erik Stayn (keyboards), Eye-Van (bass), MacFly (guitar), and Gyorg II (drums). In 2010 The Mugshots released a limited edition EP titled “In Disguise” through an independent Italian record label. This EP was made available on both red vinyl and CD, and garnered enthusiastic reviews around the world. Throughout their career, The Mugshots have shared the stage with “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “UK Subs”, “Brian James”, “Tv Smith”, “Baz Warne”, “The Lords Of Altamont”, “Demented Are Go”, “Koffin Kats”, “Zombina & The Skeletones”, among many others. In 2012 The Mugshots teamed up with the legendary Dick Wagner, producer and performer for such great Rock icons as “Alice Cooper”, “Lou Reed”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Ray Manzarek”, “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”. The collaboration resulted in the EP titled “Love, Lust and Revenge” (2013, GCM Records, distributed by Black Widow Records, with digital distribution by Alka Record Label). Dick Wagner not only produced the record, but also arranged, co-wrote and played almost all lead guitars on it. The EP features five tracks, one of which is a cover of “Pass The Gun Around” (by “Alice Cooper” & “Dick Wagner”). What initially surprised me was that, in spite of being a Horror-Rock outfit with Punk-Rock affinities, The Mugshots produces music that is melodic, catchy, and with elaborated arrangements. The opening song, “Nothing At All” (6:13), has classical pianos, expressive vocals, melodic guitars and progressive bass, and recalls much more a song of “Marillion” with “Fish” then what would be expected from a regular Horror-Punk or Alternative Rock band. The following song, “Under My Skin” (5:02), is driven by a pulsing rock beat on bass and drums, and vocals with a tone that recalls “Alice Cooper” or “The Misfits”. “Curse The Moon” (5:34) is also introduced by poignant pianos, low-toned bass, and brings more drama and heaviness on guitars – overall, it is story-telling, more like the infamous ballads of “Alice Cooper” and “Ozzy Osbourne”. “Free (As I Am)” (5:31) has a swinging guitar riff accompanied by discrete gothic organs – and a vocal tune that also reminds me of “Lou Reed”, with a rhythm n’ blues choir. The simplicity of the arrangements may be appealing for listeners that like something more popish and danceable. The EP ends with a cover of “Pass The Gun Around” (5:18) (by “Alice Cooper” & “Dick Wagner”), which makes justice to the original song, being however adorned with soft harmony vocals and soaring progressive guitars. Not a Progressive act for the most orthodox standards, The Mugshots, with the supportive help of their godfather Dick Wagner, has created a pleasant, melodic, and well-produced record, which may find an audience among fans of “Alice Cooper”, “The Misfits”, and even “Marillion”, “David Bowie”, “Queen”, and “Lou Reed”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Mugshots are: Mickey E.Vil - Vocals & Synths (on “Under My Skin”); Erik Stayn – Keyboards; Eye-Van – Bass, Contrabass; MacFly – Rhythmic Guitar, Guitar Solo on “Pass the Gun Around”; Gyorg II – Drums. Special Guest on Lead Guitars and Additional Piano: Dick Wagner, the “Maestro of Rock”. All Music and Lyrics by Mickey E.Vil & Dick Wagner, except for: “Under My Skin” (D.Wagner), “Pass the Gun Around” (A.Cooper & D.Wagner), and “Curse The Moon” (piano intro by E.Stayn & D.Wagner). Produced by Dick Wagner. Executive production by Gyorg II & The Mugshots. Recorded by Dick Wagner at MacWave Studios in Brescia, Italy; Mixed by Otto D’Agnolo at Chaton Studios in Phoenix, Arizona; Mastered by Dr. Gil Markle in Massachusetts...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013.....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE MUGSHOTS HOME PAGE...
. SCIENCENV - "Last Album Before The End of Time"
The Californian Progressive Rock quartet ScienceNV is back to PR&PM once again. The band, which was formed in 2005 by veteran musicians Larry Davis (guitars), David Graves (keyboards), Rich Kallet (drums) and Jim Henriques (guitars) - who are also scientists and ci-fi enthusiasts - decided to call themselves the ScienceNV after an ancient Venusian proverb: "If you don't have any Science Envy, maybe you should get some." ScienceNV released two independent albums: “Really Loud Noises” (2008) and “Pacific Circunstances” (2010, reviewed at PR&PM in 2010). Those albums unveiled a band with a passion for composing Instrumental Symphonic Progressive Rock, truly devoted to the spirit of the 70’s,  with influences of “ELP”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Sky”, “Focus”, “Ekseption”, “King Crimson”, “Robert Fripp”, “VdGG”, “Brian Eno”, “Colosseum”, “Soft Machine”, “Bill Bruford”, “Holdsworth”, “U.K.”, “Zappa”, “Novalis”; and inspired on Classical Composers such as “Camille Saint-Saëns”, “Sibelius” and “Gustav Holst”. ScienceNV brings to us now a third independent album, called “Last Album Before the End of Time”. It was scheduled for release in the Mayan Apocalypse Day, but obviously ScienceNV didn't finish their work before December 21, 2012. Anyway, the entire CD was recorded, mixed and mastered in hi-def audio, and is now available for earthlings. “Last Album Before the End of Time” brings 7 long instrumental tracks that irradiate a vintage sonority, with emphasis on keyboards and guitars, and alternate from the vibrant moods of Jazz-Rock and Fusion to the bombastic arrangements and majestic cadences proper of the Symphonic Progressive & Classical Music. The album opens with “Mars” (9:15) – a piece originally written by “Gustav Holst” for his opus “The Planets” – rearranged by ScienceNV to sound still more martial, bombastic and cosmic, with a thunderous percussion set, resembling a mix of “ELP’s” grandiloquence coupled with the dramatic Darth Vader’s musical theme from “Star Wars”, having a middle section dominated by a Space Rock & Psychedelic guitar solos that recall “King Crimson”. The following track is “Chinatown” (“Last Song Before the End of Time”) (7:56), which is a relaxing and sophisticated Jazzy piece driven by clean guitars, cool bass and soaring organs (recalling “Focus” and “Colosseum”). The softness of “Chinatown” greatly contrasts with the energy of the amazing Fusion “Molecular Super-Modeling” (5:01) - driven by joyful drumming, groovy bass, opulent rocky guitars, and bouncing keyboards, it recalls “The Dregs” and “Weather Report”. “Curved Space” (4:00) is a Prog-Fusion with a lean to the Canterbury Style that profits from an intense bass-guitar-synth interplay, variations on drumming and twisting passages that alternately recall “Soft Machine”, “Allan Holdsworth”, “UK”, & “Zappa”. The extraterrestrial “Cold Sleep” (8:45) – with strong influences of “King Crimson” & “Eno” - combines choirs, cosmic chords, computerized blips, astral guitars, metallic percussive sounds, chimes & bells to sound at the same time ancient and futuristic, evoking images of the Prometheus spaceship arriving on an unknown planet. The following track - “The Ring Cycle” (15:37) – is a Symphonic Progressive piece dedicated to Planet Saturn and its Moons, being divided in five movements: I. “Titan” (3:25) makes use of a Heavy-Metal guitar riff to introduce pompous space keyboards; II. “Iapetus” (3:26) has delicate layers of electric and acoustic guitars lazily flowing over the satellite’s surface, and resembles the Electronic sonority of “Tangerine Dream”; III. “Enceladus” (3:01), being boldly and adventurously performed, brings ethnic drumming sided by cutting synths, recalling “ELP”; IV. “Stella Mortis” (3:44) begins with a bass-solo cadence that grows frantic to reach and epic Prog-Metal guitar riff (that resembles “Ayreon” & “Star One”) which vanishes amidst bombastic keyboards in the style of “Keith Emerson”; and V. “Titan” (reprise) (2:01) finishes the piece by adding frightening choirs that recall “Kubrick’s” “2001” soundtrack. The closing track “Atmosphere of the Mind” (8:31) is a reflex of ScienceNV’s musicianship and eclecticism: beginning with acoustic classical guitars and harpsichords, and having addition of a trio of strings (violin, viola, cello) intertwining in beautiful Renaissance-Romantic arrangements, it sounds like a Chamber piece. But the Progressive Rock tradition demands the coming of guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards, all of which turning this piece into a Symphonic Prog that sounds like “Rick Wakeman”, “Sky”, “Greenslade”, “Novalis”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, “Pazzo Fanfano di Musica”). “Last Album…” still features 4 bonus tracks: Movements I-IV of “The Ring Cycle” come as separate pieces. In sum, “Last Album…” is excellent and sounds even better than its predecessor, corroborating the scientific axiom that tells that ScienceNV is a surprising band, being highly recommended for fans of vintage Symphonic Prog of bands like “ELP”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Genesis”, “Sky”, “Focus”, “Ekseption”, “King Crimson”, “Fripp & Eno”, “VdGG”, “Soft Machine”, “U.K.”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Greenslade”, “Novalis”, “Quaterna Réquiem”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in ScienceNV are: Jim Henriques – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards; Larry Jay Davis – Guitars, Bass; David Graves – Keyboards; Rich Kallet – Drums, Percussion, Drum Synths. Additional musicians: Alisa Rose - Violin; Dina Maccabee – Viola; Jessica Ivry – Cello (all on “Atmosphere of the Mind”...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit SCIENCENV HOME PAGE...
. TILES - "Presents of Mind"
Tiles, the leading Progressive & Hard Rock band from Detroit, is really in evidence at PR&PM webzine (see above). The quartet featuring Paul Rarick (vocals), Chris Herin (guitars, keyboards), Jeff Whittle (bass), and Mark Evans (drums, percussion) formed in 1993 and soon signed to InsideOut Music/SPV. Following the release of Tiles’ fourth CD “Window Dressing” in the summer of 2004, InsideOut also reissued their first three albums - “Tiles” (1994), “Fence the Clear” (1997), and “Presents of Mind” (1999) – in re-mastered Special Editions with bonus tracks. “Presents of Mind” was released worldwide in the summer of 1999. Bolstered by positive reviews, airplay and strong word-of-mouth, “Presents of Mind” solidified Tiles’s place in the consciousness of the Progressive underground. The record received compliments from “Mike Portnoy” himself, resulting in an invitation for Tiles to open “Dream Theater’s” 1999 European tour. The 2004 version of “Presents of Mind” features 10 original tracks, 2 bonus tracks, and one video track. The album also features additional musicians Pat DeLeon (percussion, backing vocals), Kevin Chown (bass), Sonya Mastick (percussion), and Matthew Parmeter (violin). “Presents of Mind” represented a milestone in Tiles’ career. The record unveiled a band that had reached perfection: all musicians completely integrated to each other and working in unison in behalf of the Great Music. More creative and exuberant than ever, showcasing amazing individual performances (each musician is a master of his instrument) and with singer Paul Rarick exploring the range of his rare voice to the limits: dosing the highest & lowest notes. With the habitual powerful and awesome rhythmic section provided by bassist J. Whittle and drummer M. Evans, the most noticeable change regarded guitarist C. Herin, who trespassed the super-guitarist threshold to reach the monster-guitar level. Besides, he added more keyboards to the mix, and contributed extensively with his songwriting. The opening track “Static” (5.43) soars over that typical slow cadence of many of Tiles’s songs, always driven by a groovy swing, and having Rarick’s catchy vocals on the foreground. Track 2, “Modification” (3.42), is short and clear-cut, offering killer Hard-Rock guitar riffs, a double attack of percussion, and expressive harmony vocals. The instrumental “Crossing Swords” (1.06) is the intro of the energetic, vibrant, and fast-paced “No Failure” (5.41), which together with the stormy and aggressive instrumental Prog-Metal-Fusion “Ballad Of The Sacred Cows” (6.55) had been featured as Demos on the “Fence the Clear” album. Both pieces are, in technical execution and creativity, at the same level of any work of “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension”, or “Shadow Gallery”. Squeezed between them, “The Learning Curve” (4.40) is a soft and tuneful prog-ballad that brings balance to the Force. “The Sandtrap Jig” (0.48) is just an acoustic guitar intro for the rocky, lively, and groovy “Taking Control” (5.12), full of instrumental surprises. But the very best was reserved for the final tracks - Prog pieces comparable in quality, skill and spirit to songs of “DT”, “LTE”, and “SG”. “Safe Procedures” (7.04) is an extreme sonic experience in the realms of Progressive Metal, driven by a rhythmic section that goes beyond the edge of unbelievable to support a show of guitar solos, courtesy of Herin, the Guitar-God; while “Reasonable Doubt” (11.22) is a masterpiece that begins slow, with soaring vocals and soft instrumentation immersed in psychedelic atmospheres. A violin paints immaterial tunes, as the gradual addition of melodic layers of guitars, keyboards, and more violins congregate into Oriental melodies, increasing the listener’s expectative toward the end, when he/she will be plentifully satisfied with the coming of Herin’s celestial guitar solo. This new version of “Presents of Mind” offers the bonus tracks “In The Corner” (2.31) (a folk tune played on banjo) and “Ambition” (3.40) (a beautiful ballad with soaring symphonic keyboards and a note of motivation and hope on vocals. There is still the video track “Enhanced Element”, featuring the European Tour Soundchecks and two live-performed songs (“Patterns” & “Modification”). The best of the three initial albums of Tiles, “Presents of Mind” deserves a place of recognition in the band’s discography, and should occupy a prominent position in any collection of Hard-Progressive & Prog-Metal albums. Must-have item for fans of “Rush”, “Enchant”, “Dream Theater”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Royal Hunt”, “Explorer’s Club”, “Ark”, and so on. (Read also about Tiles’ fifth album, “Fly Paper”, in the 2009 Reviews section). Band members and collaborators involved in Tiles are: Paul Rarick - Vocals; Chris Herin - Guitars, Mandolin, Banjo, Keyboards; Jeff Whittle - Bass; Mark Evans - Drums, Percussion; Pat DeLeon - Percussion, Backing Vocals. Additional musicians: Kevin Chown - Bass (on “Reasonable Doubt”); Sonya Mastick - Percussion (on “Modification”); Matthew Parmeter - Violin (on “Reasonable Doubt”). Produced by Tiles & Chris Andrews; Counsel Kevin Chown; Recorded by Chris Andrews; Mixed by Terry Brown; Artwork by Hugh Syme. Released in 2004 by InsideOut Music. All songs published by Standing Pavement Publishing 1999 (BMI)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013................................Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit TILES HOME PAGE...
. KOSMORATIK - "Bridges and Boats"
The Norwegian band Kosmoratik is back to this webzine again. Their debut album – “Gravitation” – was released in 2012 under Nordic Records and reviewed at PR&PM in the same year. In 2013 Kosmoratik released a new album, titled “Bridges and Boats” (independently produced under their own label Kosmorama Sound). The album’s line-up comprises the main trio formed of Lise Lotte Ågedal (vocals, keyboards), Odd Gunnar Frøysland, (guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals), and Eivind Johansen (vocals, acoustic guitar); and additional musicians (see below). Kosmoratik’s debut album had a Symphonic-Pop sonority, with a strong acoustic orientation and addition of an oboe, a string quartet, and slightly Progressive guitars/synths - all delivered with soft melancholic male/female vocals. The musical influences were mainly “Nick Drake”, “John Martyn”, “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Peter Hammill”, “Cat Stevens”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Roxy Music”, and “Camel”. This follow-up offers the same kind of sonority of the debut: poetic, introspective, and deep. The music of Kosmoratik, however, has clearly evolved from the previous to this new release. Overall, I found the songs of “Bridges and Boats” better than those of “Gravitation”. The arrangements are more interesting and sophisticated, and there is more emotional density on the vocal parts. And besides the usual oboe and strings, there was the addition of a saxophone, which gave much more vivid tones to Kosmoratik’s new songs. “Bridges and Boats” has 10 tracks. My favorite songs were those with a load of “Progressiveness” on them (with diluted influences of “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, and even “Marillion”) - the instrumental parts featuring electric guitars, keyboards, soft drumming, and solos of saxophone that added more heat to the melancholic sound of Kosmoratik. Those are the title track “Bridges and Boats” (4:34), which gradually grows, beginning acoustic and introspective and changing later with the coming of electric guitars and a sax solo; the somber and “Floydian” “Waiting For You” (1:40); the slow Neo-Prog “Be Here Now” (5:08), with presence of synths, sax, & guitar solo; the fairish “Anchor and Compass (Classic Rock)” (5:51), which combines classical piano intro, soulful vocals, and slide guitars; and the sophisticated melodic Pop-Rock “Strangest Dream” (4:53), which has great guitar solo and a vivid mood, besides being driven by Lise’s excellent vocals. The other songs are melancholic ballads, mainly driven by acoustic guitars, poignant and delicate oboe tunes, and having a support of string arrangements. Those are songs that will please most fans of the introspective style of “Nick Drake”, “John Martyn”, “Peter Hammill”, and “Cat Stevens”. My favorites of this group are the beautiful song “Metadata” (2:47), with male lead vocals and pianos; and the wonderful “Be” (3:29), led by Lise’s inspiring sweet voice, followed by “watery” pianos and oboe. The remaining ballads have a folky tone, and mix both male and female voices in agreeable vocal harmonies: “If I Follow You” (3:44) is slightly cheerful and has mandolins; “Body of the Song” (3:29) is poetically bittersweet; and “Father’s Day” (4:07) closes the album with a nostalgic feeling. With “Bridges and Boats”, Kosmoratik have perfected their Melancholic Art-Rock style, which is really captivating, being especially recommended for fans of bands and singers such as “Nick Drake”, “John Martyn”, “Pink Floyd”, “David Gilmour”, “Peter Hammill”, “Cat Stevens”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Frequency Drift”, and “Rick Miller”. Band members and collaborators involved in Kosmoratik are: Lise Lotte Ågedal – Vocals, Keyboards; Eivind Johansen – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar; Odd Gunnar Frøysland – Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Bass, Irish Bouzouki, Mandolin, Percussion, Glockenspiel, Mellotron & Keyboards; Lead Vocals on “Waiting for You”; Arrangements and Score for String Quartet & Oboe. Additional musicians: Andre Banini – Drums; Torunn Irene Kristensen – Oboe; Jorgen Mathisen – Saxophones; Kristin Karlsson – Violin; Eileen Siegel – Violin; Einy Langmoen – Viola; Christine Bugjerde – Cello...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013.............Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit KOSMORATIK HOME PAGE...
. DEMIAN CLAV - "Adrift"
Demian Clavreul is a French singer and composer. In 2006, in Nantes, he formed Demian Clav, consisting of himself (on vocals, electric guitars and keyboards) and A. Chevalier (lead guitar) who left the band in September 2009. J.C. Wintrebert (drums & cello) joined Demian Clav in 2009. The band released then two albums: “Nightfall Prayers” (2009, Cykxincorp Records) & “Wisteria Lodge” (2011, Prikosnovenie Records). In some moment of the career, Demian Clav moved off Nantes to Strasbourg/Paris. In 2013 bassist J.Y. Brard (JyBat) joined Demian Clav during the recording of their third studio album, the emblematic “Adrift (Ten Years Before Scardanelli)” (April 25, 2013, Yajna Editions). The music of Demian Clav is electro-acoustic, a mixture of Gothic Poetry and Rock, Darkwave, Chamber Music, and Melancholic Music with influences that range from “Nick Drake”, “The Cure”, “Peter Hammill”, “Joy Division”, “Jean Sébastien Bach”, and “Nick Cave” to “Alien Daï”, “Wild Roses Grow”, “Music for the Space”, and “Balladyna de Tempête”. But The predominance of gothic-grayish atmospheres, the melancholic and nostalgic moods, and the romantic and passionate disposition of the arrangements, which are rich in Classical themes, prone Demian Clav to fit well into a group formed by Dark acts such as “Lacrimosa”, “L’Âme Immortelle”, “Deine Lakaien”, “Ataraxia”, “Nox Arcana”, “Clan of Xymox”, “Jocelyn Pook”, and others. “Adrift…” features 9 tracks. The most beautiful are those that have a predominance of Chamber strings, delicate keyboards, and soft percussion, all driven by the introspective voice of Clavreul (who sings in English). Such are the opening track “Fall” (06:12), a Chamber piece driven by vocals instilled with emotion, anguish and despair; the dreamy “Edelweiss Flight” (04:10), on which vibraphones reconstruct the fairish and unreal atmospheres reminiscent of “Debussy” led by sad and sensitive “Hammmill-Drake” -like vocals; and “All Night Party” (07:24), which progressively grows from calm arrangements for bass and pianos to agitated and unexpected interventions of orchestral drums and strings, reaching a part with slow guitar solo and organs (recalling me of very early works of “Lacrimosa”). Other highlights are the melancholic ballads “Living Sculpture” (03:35), a gothic-romantic waltz, with poignant vocals, piano & cello; and “Slow Boat to Nowhere” (04:45), which is soaring and moving, presenting a solo of cello. Listeners in search of more agitated or danceable music will prefer “Holy Road” (04:01), a dramatic, entrancing and pulsing electronic Darkwave (like “Lacrimosa”, “Clan of Xymox”, “Cinema Strange”). The album brings also Art-Rock songs or, more precisely, three Musical Gothic-Poems - all have monologue voices declaiming Gothic Poetry in French, immersed in introspective atmospheres, merged with sonic patches of sounds, voices/talks, and minimalist musical arrangements: “Eventyr” (03:35) has a background of somber strings; “The Art-Scattered Surface of the Earth” (04:45) is an Expressionist piece that contains  fragments of poems of “Novalis” declaimed in an spiritual ambience, amidst arising symphonic parts; while on the closing track “Annonciation” (04:15), the support for the declamation is provided by ghostly pianos. A sonic-transporting experience to the realms of the deep introspectiveness, where dwells the true melancholic stylishness of the Gothic modus vivendi – Damien Clav’s “Adrift” cannot be missed by fans of the Darkwave, Gothic Music and Melancholic-Introspective Music segments, being highly recommended for fans of “Nick Drake”, “Peter Hammill”, “The Cure”, “Joy Division”, “Nick Cave”, “Alien Daï”, “Wild Roses Grow”, “Music for the Space”, “Balladyna de Tempête”, “Lacrimosa”, “This Mortal Coil”, “L’Âme Immortelle”, “Deine Lakaien”, “Ataraxia”, “Jocelyn Pook”, “Nox  Arcana”, “Clan of Xymox”, “A Covenant of Thorns”, “Arcana”, “Chandeen”, “Cinema Strange”, “Dead Can Dance”, “Die Verbannten Kinder Evas”, “Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio”, “Miranda Sex Garden”, “Ordo Equitum Solis”, “L'Orchestre Noir”, “Otto Dix”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Demian Clav are: Demian Clavreul - Vocals, Electric Guitars, Keyboards; J.C. Wintrebert - Drums & Cello; J.Y. Brard (JyBat) – Bass. Additional musicians: On “The Art-Scattered…”: Raphaëlle Guillet – Voice; Cèdric Lerouley – Sound; Patric Mériau – Violin; Baptiste Breton – Keyboards (also on “Fall”). On “All Night…”: Jessica Farley – Voice; Madeleine Goosens – Violin (also on “Edelweiss”); Pierre-Etienne Malefond – Lead Guitar (also on “Fall” & “Slow Boat…”); Armelle Darbon – Voice. Ex-member: A. Chevalier - Lead Guitar (2006-2009). Released 25 April 2013. All tracks by D. Clavreul & J. C Wintrebert - Yajna Editions, 2013. “The Art-Scattered Surface of the Earth” contains a fragment by “Novalis”; Recorded at Metabunker by J.C. Wintrebert (July/December 2012), except “The Art-Scattered Surface of the Earth”, recorded by Baptiste Breton and JCW. Mixed & Arranged at Metabunker by J.C. Wintrebert & Demian Clavreul (Jan/Fev 2013). Also to listen the songs visit Demian Clavreul at Bandcamp Site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013.........Want to learn more about this amazing musician and his project, go to DEMIAN CLAV HOME PAGE...
. EL TRIO - "Las Manos"
El Trío – a surprising Fusion band from the Dominican Republic - is back to PR&PM once again (see under Reviews 2011 and 2012). The trio is formed by the three core musicians Jonatan Piña Duluc (Jonás) (vocals, guitars, and saxophones), Kilvin Peña (bass), and Johandy Ureña (drums). They aim to strengthen the “Dominican Fusion” style (created and developed by “Luis Días”), both inside and outside their homeland. Their music blends elements of Rock, Blues, Jazz, and Progressive with at least 40 different rhythms unique to the Dominican Republic. The resulting sound is totally original, yet plainly familiar and cosmopolitan at the same time. Their influences are diverse, including “Luis Días”, “Juan Luis Guerra”, “Luis Alberto Spinetta”; Classic Rock Power-Trios, like “Cream” and “The Jimmi Hendrix Experience”; assorted acts, like “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Living Colour”, “Soundgarden”, “Pat Metheney”, “Steely Dan”, “The Mars Volta”; and bands of the Latin-Rock segment, like “Santana”, “Fito Páez”, “Draco Rosa” (Puerto Rico), “Soda Stereo” (Argentina), “Tryo” (Chile), “El Reloj”, “Tren Loco”, “Maná”, “Jorge Ben Jor” (Brazil). But new influences are always coming into El Trío’s path, like “Xiomara Fortuna”, “P.J. Harvey”, “Pantera”, “Screaming Headless Torsos”, and others (see below). The discography of El Trío comprises the albums “Siempre Que Hay Un Corazón” (2007, reviewed, at this site, in 2012); and “La Blanca y La Gris” (2009, reviewed in 2011). Their third album is “Las Manos” (2013), which has guest participation of many musicians who are customary collaborators of El Trío (see list below). El Trío’s debut album contained music that was much more visceral and spontaneous, but was already full of ideas and experimentalism, and showcased a group that counted on really talented musicians. The second album consolidated the “Dominican-Fusion” style of El Trío, featuring still more elaborated songs having ambitious arrangements and unique musical blends between Dominican & Latin rhythms and elements of Rock, Metal, Jazz, and R.I.O. The new album is the most balanced of El Trío, bringing a still more blurred mix of their influences, old or new - for El Trío is not a band that gets stuck in time and is always searching for renovating ideas. “Las Manos” is their best album to date – one that solidifies their leading position among “Dominican-Fusion” performers. The album features 10 outstanding tracks and excellent critical lyrics. My favorite songs are those on which El Trío shows a Rocky energy, like on the opening track “Desconectar” (4:51) - a vibrant Fusion-Rock, with interspersed swinging Latin rhythms, that brings a collection of impressive guitar solos (recalling the style of “Steve Vai”); and “Ojo Artificial” (5:00) – a groovy bass-driven Classic Rock (resembling “Cream” or a raw “Deep Purple”) crowned with amazing guitar solo full of “wah wah” effects. Also figuring in this row is “No Somo Indio” (4:31) - a straightforward Metal with a new and surprising influence from “Iron Maiden” on the fast instrumentation, but still having much of El Trío’s own sonority. But the amazing musical talent and versatility of El Trío will appear on some tracks on which they also flirt with Jazz, R.I.O., and Canterbury style, like “Canterbule Pt. III” (5:02), which begins like a Broadway-Jazz, but evolves through long passages of cool Jazz-Fusion (including sax and flutes), and some moments in R.I.O. and Canterbury Styles (recalling “Zappa”, “Soft Machine”); and the masterpiece “Reir Pa No Llorar” (5:08), which is introduced by Dominican music, but turns into a surprising groovy Rock with interludes of incredible guitar licks, a slower middle section with great “Hendrix”-styled guitar solo, and also amazing bass & drums interplay, to which are added some hardcore R.I.O. & Metal  parts (recalling a mix of “Zappa” and “Screaming Headless Torsos”). But the most peculiar song is “Uanabi” (4:55) - a crazy fusion of Stoner-Metal (on guitar riffs that recall “Black Sabbath”) and Dominican rhythms, still featuring weird lead & backing vocals - full  of irony and sarcasm – and a crooked psychedelic part that goes farther into the experimental terrains once treaded by “King Crimson”. El Trío continues to honor the Dominican autochthonous music on songs like “Buenas Noches” (3:22) – full of tropical warmth driven by swinging Latin rhythms, trumpets and trombones, and great seductive vocals; and “Canción Sin Nombre” (4:42), a soft song with the “Dominican-Fusion” influence of “Luis Días”, and Latin-Jazz-Fusion instrumentation with a touch of “Santana” and “Fito Paez”. To conquer wider audiences, El Trío included in their record a couple of accessible songs that are still excellent under a musical point of view. They are “Tanto Amor” (3:27) – an instantly catchy Rock-ballad; and the closing track “Fuentes” (5:34) – a beautiful electro-acoustic ballad driven by mellow vocals and catchy chorus, soft jazzy bass, and Romantic-Prog arrangements, leading to a soulful guitar solo - ideal to low down the adrenaline on a live show. “Las Manos” is brilliant, original and surprising from beginning to end, a classic of those “Dominican-Fusion” champions who humbly call themselves “El Trío”. Indispensable item for fans of “Luis Días”, “Juan Luis Guerra”, “Luis Alberto Spinetta”, “Cream”, “The Jimmi Hendrix Experience”, “King Crimson”, “Zappa”, “Living Colour”, “Soundgarden”, “Pat Metheney”, “Steely Dan”, “The Mars Volta”, “Santana”, “Fito Páez”, “Draco Rosa”, “Soda Stereo”, “Tryo”, “Maná”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in El Trio are: Jonatan Piña Duluc (Jonás) – Vocals, Guitars, Saxophones, Compositions; Kilvin Peña – Bass; Johandy Ureña – Drums. Guest musicians: Eliezer Ramirez – Tambora, Güira (on “Buenas Noches” & “Reir Pa No Llorar”); Juan Gabriel Martinez –Trumpet (on “Buenas Noches”); Patricio Bonilla – Trombones (on “Buenas Noches”); Dionisio De Moya – Acoustic Guitar (on “Fuentes”); Karen Michelle & Fátima Franco – Backing Vocals (on “Uanabi” & “Fuentes”); Iván Batista – Backing Vocals (on “Tanto Amor” & “Fuentes”); Jeffrey Casimiro – Flute (on “Canterbule Pt.3”). Album Recorded by Iván Batista in Tijera Records, Santiago (D.R.), August 2011 to December 2012; Mixed & Mastered by Stephen Deacutis at Soudspa Studios, New Jersey (USA), Janurary-March 2013...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013..................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit EL TRIO HOME PAGE...
. NEKTAR - "Time Machine"
The legendary Prog-Rock band Nektar is welcomed to this webzine once more. 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 originally linked to the Krautrock movement, and only later got recognition in Great Britain. With more than 40 years of existence, and in spite of many changes in the line-up, Nektar accumulated a vast discography that includes studio and live albums, compacts, compilations, and DVDs. In 2012 Nektar released a special double-CD edition containing the re-mastered versions of albums “Man in The Moon” and “Evolution” plus the EP “Always” (Cleopatra Records) (reviewed at PR&PM in 2012). This was followed by the album called “A Spoonful of Time” (2012), on which Nektar performed covers of Progressive Rock songs accompanied by many guest musicians. In 2013 Nektar released a new studio album titled “Time Machine”, under Purple Pyramid Music (a division of Cleopatra Records). The line-up features Nektar’s original members Roye Albrighton (guitars, vocals) and Ron Howden (drums), both accompanied by Klaus Henatsch (keyboards) and Billy Sherwood (“Yes”, “Conspiracy”, “Circa”) on bass. Regarded by Albrighton as Nektar’s best album ever, “Time Machine” delivers what the title suggests. The CD features 10 tracks that altogether give an overview of Nektar’s different musical periods along their long career, mixing elements that are reminiscent of their first albums released in the ‘70s with sonorities captured from the 80’s Prog-Rock; but also sharing a musical resemblance with their most recent works (like “The Prodigal Son” and “Evolution”). “Time Machine” begins with the long “A Better Way” (9:17), which blends the powerful guitar chords of “A Tab in the Ocean” with the 80’s melodic structure of “Man in the Moon”, crowned with Albrighton’s great guitar solo. The song has also a middle section for acoustic guitars, soaring keys, choirs, and Psychedelic/Space Rock guitars that are characteristic of Nektar, retaking the main theme on the stormy final. Two other long songs move on with more swing, recalling a little the albums “Remember the Future” and “Dawn to Earth”, but having a 80’s flavor on synths and bass that also recall “Asia”, “Yes” and “Rush”: “If Only I Could” (9:55) flows free with a cheerful disposition, having a marking chorus, many keyboards, and cool piano parts; and “Time Machine” (8:07) is driven by groovy bass and vocals, offering still the album’s best guitar solo, followed by a long instrumental segment for organ and bass interplay and “wah-wah” guitars. My favorite tracks are, however, “Tranquility” (5:06) – a Neo-Prog styled piece driven by vigorous trotting bass, soaring vocals and fine guitars; and the two last tracks: the instrumental “Juggernaut” (4:37), propelled by the Sherwood-Howden duo, who furnish a vibrant rhythmic support to layers of keyboards, guitars and Moogs; and the outstanding “Diamond Eyes” (10:14) - a Prog-Rock driven by Hammonds and guitar riffs hovering over a modern rhythmic section, having a middle part with somber keyboards, soaring Space-Rock vocals, and dense psychedelic guitar moments that add more drama to the song, reaching a climax on bombastic synth solos (this song will please fans of albums like “Sounds Like This” or “Recycled”). Ballads were always part of Nektar’s repertoire, and this album brings some. The best are “Destiny” (5:17), which combines soaring guitars and delicate keyboards with bittersweet vocal tunes (recalling album “Magic is a Child”); and “Talk To Me” (3:55), which is immersed in a dreamy atmosphere, having beautiful pianos and organs on the background and a classical guitar solo. Scenting with a popish vein, there are left the less voted “Mocking The Moon” (5:24) (a ballad that has an excellent guitar solo); and the Mexican-Rock “Set Me Free, Amigo” (5:01) – an eccentric song even for Nektar’s most commercial standards. A bright and accessible Progressive Rock album rather than a deep Psychedelic/Space-Rock experimental work, “Time Machine” is still a nice album of Nektar, and although presenting a popish sonority on one or another song, it may still figure in the collections of Nektar’s fans, appreciators of Prog-Rock of the ‘80s, and Neo-Prog fans in general, to whom this album is especially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in Nektar are: Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Vocals; Ron Howden – Drums, Vocals; Klaus Henatsch – Keyboards; Billy Sherwood – Bass. Album released (June 18, 2013), Pyramid Records, Cleopatra Records. Produced, Recorded & Mixed by Billy Sherwood at CIRCA:HQ Studios in Los Angeles CA. Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, CA. USA...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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09/29/2013............Want to learn everything about the musicians and his amazing band, go to NEKTAR HOME PAGE...
. NEW JACOBIN CLUB - "This Treason"
Hailing from the city of Saskatoon, Western Canada, the New Jacobin Club is a Gothic-Rock band that is frequently accompanied live by a group of performance artists known as the Angry Teeth Freakshow (who bring to the show an array of disturbing visual effects including stunts with broken glass, machetes, syringes, staple guns, torches, and the flaming hula hoop). New Jacobin Club was formed in 1995 by front-man Xerxes Praetorius Horde (a.k.a. “The Horde”), and since then has gained fans in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe. New Jacobin Club has already shared stage with international acts such as “KMFDM”, “Nashville Pussy”, “Groovie Ghoulies”, “Voltaire” and “Discover Channel’s Guinea Pig Show”. Their discography includes the EP “A Lesson in Mortality” (1999, Transparent Records), the albums “New Jacobin Club” (2001); “Retake the Throne” (2003) (both by Manticore Music Group); and “Wicked City” (2006, Somnambulist Sound System/Scratch records); and the EP “The Final Entertainment Show” (2008, featuring covers of 80’s New-Wave and Industrial bands). The music of the New Jacobin Club is a blend of Classic Gothic Rock, Gothic Punk, Heavy Metal of the 80’s, and 70’s Rock, with a pinch of Blues, Somber Folk, and Industrial Music, mostly inspired on vintage horror movies, Renaissance & Victorian clothing, sideshow & burlesque, magic & illusions, edged weapons, and the hospital emergency ward. The influences come from bands like “The Damned”, “Christian Death”, “Killing Joke”, “Danzig”, “Iron Maiden”, “45 Grave”, “The Birthday Party”, “Type O Negative”, “Leonard Cohen”, “Misfits”, “Dr. Mastermind”, “Kiss”, “Nine Inch Nails”, and “New Model Army”. All is delivered with a provocative and controversial theatrical attitude that combines a sarcastic sense of humor with raw-meaty Heavy-Rock music. NJC’s last release is the Double disc CD/DVD “This Treason” (2010, Somnambulist Sound System/Scratch records). “This Treason” is a concept album set in the final days of the reign of “King Edward II”. The DVD, called "Inside the Cannibal Circus", features a concept video and a complete 2009 concert, plus documentary interviews and bonus footage covering 10 years of the band’s career. “This Treason” features 10 tracks full of surprises which spill out some of the most energized Gothic-Metal-Punk-Rock that will drag any listener to this band like a magnet. The title-track “This Treason” (5:00) opens the album with a bizarre musical mix that includes Symphonic Gothic-Punk, Metal guitar solos, and Progressive synths! It is followed by the tormented “Private Hell” (4:10), which has influences of “Type O Negative” and “Danzig” on vocals and riffs driven by cellos, pinpointed by heavy bass and guitars that recall the NWOBHM stylistics of “Iron Maiden”. Yet, the Gothic-Rock “Countess Scorned” (4:50) surpasses the standards by blending organs and heavy-metal guitars with wild guitar solos. Another great tracks are the cadenced “Breath Like Wine” (3:35), a kind of Gothic-NWOBHM song; and the dark Bolero-Metal “Like Dogs” (5:23) - with influences of “Misfits”, “Danzig”, and “Kiss”, and having a psychotic solo of Theremin. But New Jacobin Club’s most aggressive tones are heard on the crude “The Fall” (6:15) – a Thrash-Metal recalling “Exodus” and “Exhumer” that breaks to a Gothic Doom-Metal with invocations in Latin (recalling “Saint Vitus”), all stuffed with harmony guitars like “Satan” and “Dr. Mastermind”. The climax of this album is reached on “Kronos Devours His Children” (3:05) – an awesome instrumental track that combines tribal drumming, crazy guitars and Theremins – and on the epic “All Mourning Long” (13:36) – a slow and dark Heavy-Metal melted into a dense Gothic-Rock mold, with raging vocals leading it to the desperate & cathartic very end. The album ends with “The Bishop and the Executioner” (8:03), a story-telling Horror-Rock driven by theatrical vocals; and “Penance at the End of Days” (4:43) – a Gothic-Rock & Traditional Metal with the flavor of the 80’s. The CD still has an “Untitled Track” that hides within an electronic Vampire song. Although being neither a Progressive act, nor a standard Prog-Metal band, the New Jacobin Club really surprise the listeners with their unique and brilliant way of crossing the boundaries of different musical genres, producing original and alluring music capable of conquering large audiences. The New Jacobin Club is highly recommended for fans of Gothic-Metal-Punk-Rock, Horror-Rock, and fans of “The Damned”, “Christian Death”, “Killing Joke”, “Danzig”, “Type O Negative”, “Iron Maiden”, “45 Grave”, “The Birthday Party”, “Misfits”, “Kiss”, “Ozzy Osbourne”, “Dr. Mastermind”, “Nine Inch Nails”, “New Model Army”, “Alice Cooper”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in the New Jacobin Club are: The Horde - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar; The Rage - Lead Guitar; The Swarm – Bass; Vitruvius - Keyboards; Poison Candy - Theremin; The Luminous - Cello; The Rat King - Drums. Stage Theatrics by The Angry Teeth Freakshow: Rima the Birdgirl, Firecrotch Jones, Raunchy Raybees, Poon Puncher; Mistress Nagini, & Misere. Recorded Dec 2009-July 2010 at Nascency Studios. Engineered & Mixed by Devin Martyniuk; Mastered by Kelly Rudoski; Produced by D. Martyniuk & Mike Murza. Artwork & Design by Cate Francis. Extra Programming & Sequencing by Jeff Drankev. "Inside the Cannibal Circus" DVD content: “This Treason” concept video; "Live at the World Famous Amigos Cantina" (2009); additional live footage - 2010, 2008, 1999 photo & poster archive slide show 1996-2010...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/25/2013...................Interested to know more about this impressive Band? Visit NEW JACOBIN CLUB HOME PAGE...
. KROBAK - "Little Victories"
Krobak is an instrumental Post-Rock band formed in 2007 in Kiev, Ukraine. Initially having Igor Sidorenko (guitars) as central musician, Krobak grew later to a quartet, including Marko Nikolyuk (violin), Asya Makarova (bass), and Natasha Pirogova (drums). Besides some splits and digital EPs, Krobak has released two albums: “The Diary of the Missed One” (2008) and “Little Victories” (September, 2013), available in digital format at their web-site. The later was physically released under Russian Progressive-Rock label MALS Ltd. in 2013. Krobak’s sonority follows the standards of many typical Post-Rock bands: the compositions are lengthy; there is an extensive use of drones, dubs, and repetitive structures; there is an experimental search for unique timbres and textures; the arrangements gradually grow from simple to complex; and there is an effort to build ample ambient soundscapes. In Krobak’s music, enigmatic and soaring violin tunes are interwoven in the fabric of minimalist guitars, slow bass and soft drumming, dissolving in surreal soundscapes that evoke images of desolate and extremely cold places on the highest latitudes of Earth. The sound is beautifully melancholic, delicate, emotionally introspective, overall relaxing and subtle – except for few moments of powerful low-pitched guitar chords that sporadically arise, either to give drama to the music, or to dress it in epic colors. I found Krobak to follow the same musical path as bands like “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Tortoise”, “Sigur Rós”, “Russian Circles”, “Mogwai”, also having some playful guitars and noisy parts that recall “Cul de Sac”, and few heavier moments that are reminiscent of  bands like “Pelican”, “This Will Destroy You”, “God is an Astronaut”, and “Explosions In The Sky”. A scent of early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, and “Pell Mell” and other Krautrock bands is also smelled. “Little Victories” has 5 tracks. On “And There By The River I Lost My Glasses” (10:15) the first violin tunes are entrancing, inviting the listener to plunge into placid lakes, warm ponds, and slow running rivers, images that are suggested by the musical progression of this amazing piece, very influenced by early “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”. “Last Days Of Summer” (8:16) sounds more as a piece of Avant-garde music, and has stronger guitar riffs, almost at the Post-Metal level (recalling “Pelican”, “Explosions In The Sky” and “God Is An Astronaut”). The music progresses slowly with epic cadence, often broken by innocent guitar harmonies (reminiscent of “Cul de Sac”), merging with a long part on which repetitive tunes played on bass, drums and guitars melancholically announce the Autumn’s arrival, represented by an upcoming gorgeous and soulful violin solo. “Broken (Are Little Victories By The Ship of Life)” (4:41) is short and slow, driven by low-pitched guitars and a bitter, slightly Gothic tune on violin. This piece gets more energy later, with the coming of potent bass and drums. “It’s Snowing Like It’s The End Of The World” (11:51) – one of the best tracks – is a symphonic Post-Rock built-up with minimalist blocks and fragments of tunes that arise in unison, propelled by a towering violin progression, directed to the highest celestial spheres – deep, reverential, majestic. The ending segment is dominated both by violins and psychedelic “Floydian” guitars, the whole piece being reminiscent of bands like “This Will Destroy You”, “Russian Circles”, and “Mogwai”. The last track is “Amnesia (2013 Version)” (15:02), which is the most Progressive track of the album. It begins with a repetitive mantra made of noisy guitars, eerie violins, and cymbals that mimic the sound of waves. The intensity gradually grows forward, creating a tension that will be released in the middle of the music by melancholic guitars and Progressive melodies from the violin. The rhythm gets faster and vivid, as omnipresent violins guide the music to its final part, when martial drums initiate a kind of folkloric Cossack dance, inviting guitar and violin to play together. Overall, this album is very nice and has something magical on it that grabs the listener’s attention, consisting in a stimulating musical experience. Krobak is highly recommended for those who like violin-driven music; early “Pink Floyd” & “King Crimson”; Post-Rock bands like “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, “Tortoise”, “Sigur Rós”, “Russian Circles”, “This Will Destroy You”, “God is an Astronaut”, “Explosions In The Sky”, “Pelican”, “Cul de Sac”, “Mogwai”; Krautrock, Avant-garde & Chamber Rock styles. Band members and collaborators involved in Krobak are: Igor Sidorenko – Guitar; Marko Nikolyuk – Violin; Asya Makarova – Bass; Natasha Pirogova – Drums. Album Recorded at Lipky Zvukozapys studio March-April 2013; Mixed & Mastered by Alexandr Kuzovlev Pvesperoo. Artwork by Kuba Sokolski, videos by Yura Gryaznov...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/25/2013.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit KROBAK HOME PAGE...
. CIRCA: - "HQ"
Circa: is a Progressive Rock super-group founded in 2007 in Hollywood California by two veteran members of “Yes”: Tony Kaye (keyboards) and Billy Sherwood (vocals & bass). Their debut self-titled CD “Circa:” featured “Yes” drummer Alan White and guitarist Jimmy Haun. The follow-up, “CIRCA: Live”, was a DVD that contained the band's first live performance. In 2009, “Circa: HQ” was released with Jay Schellen on drums. “Overflow” is a collection of extra bonus material from the first and second recording sessions, available only as a digital download. Circa:’s third studio album - “And So On” (2011) – was followed by a live tour in 2011-2012. Currently the line-up of Circa: forms with Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood accompanied by Johnny Bruhns (guitar) and Scott Connor (drums). In 2013 Circa: second studio album - “HQ” - was reissued under Purple Pyramid Music (a division of Cleopatra Records). The line-up featured Billy Sherwood (vocals, bass) and Tony Kaye (Hammond organs, keyboards), guitarist Jimmy Haun (of “Air Supply”, who recorded with “Yes” on the “Union” album), and drummer Jay Schellen (“Hurricane”, “Asia”). “HQ” features 10 tracks. The sonority is strongly reminiscent of “Yes”, mainly of albums like “The Yes Album”, “Fragile”, “Going For The One”, “Tormato”, “Drama”, “90125”, “Big Generator”, “Union”, and “Keys to Ascension I & II” – with the difference that Sherwood’s voice is different from “Jon Anderson’s”. His bass playing, however, is pure “Chris Squire”. Haun’s guitar solos show that he is a talented and dedicated disciple of both “Howe” and “Trevor Rabin”. Tony Kaye on keyboards plays fluently – he acts both as a soloist and a maestro, adding beautiful tunes and harmonies to the arrangements, filling the empty spaces, supporting the other musicians and trading solos with them. And Shellen gives balance to the mixture, being either technical like “Bill Bruford”, or incisive and pragmatic, like “Alan White”. The music of Circa: has a lively disposition that leans to the 80’s to 90’s Prog-Rock style, also resembling bands like “Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe”, “Rush”, “Asia”, “Marillion”, “Saga”, “GTR”, “ELP”, and “Cairo”. The songs of “HQ” alternate between two categories: bombastic and cadenced Symphonic-Prog pieces and faster Prog-Rocky songs. To the first group belong the opening song “If It’s Not Too Late” (10:50), which allies potent power chords with sophisticated orchestral arrangements, being plentiful of solos of guitars and keyboards; “Chasing After Ghosts” (7:04) – a metamorphosing track with a pinch of Neo-Prog on the vocal parts and “Yes”-like astral parts, having guitar embellishments and a final climatic guitar solo; “We Can Last” (9:15) – an emotional song that goes from sad and soaring moments to epic altitudes, containing great passages of bass, tuneful guitar solos, and ultra-prog synths and keyboards; and the closing track “Remember Along The Way” (12:35) – a magnum-opus that flows on a cadenced Progressive pace driven by majestic keyboards, imposing bass, soaring guitars, and having cuts for pastoral acoustic guitars & vocals, flutes sounds, bass evolutions, and with all ending up in a long instrumental sequence of solos of keyboards and guitars. Making part of the group of faster & rocky songs – but being not inferior in musical quality to the previous ones, there are the joyful “False Start” (5:08) – a typical “Yessong” with playful harmony vocals that is introduced by the acoustic guitar prelude called “Haun Solo” (1:18); the dazzling instrumental piece “Set To Play” (1:48), which recalls the oldest albums of “Yes” (e.g. “The Yes Album” and “Fragile”) and introduces the slightly popish “Ever Changing World” (4:18) (which is more like 80’s “Yes”, “Rush” “Saga”, “Asia”, or “GTR”); and the two vibrant songs “Twist Of Fate” (5:17), which contains a Jazzy segment with running keyboards; and the excellent “All Intertwined” (7:28), which  begins softly with folk melodies, but changes to a rocky rhythm driven by lively bass & drums that support playful vocals and many inspired guitar solos. Really an outstanding musical release by a group of talented and experienced musicians, “Circa: HQ” is highly recommendable for fans of Symphonic Progressive Rock, as performed by bands such as “Yes”, “Steve Howe”, “Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe”, “Rush”, “Genesis”, “Druid”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “Glass Hammer”, “Flower Kings”, “Druckfarben”, “Cairo”, “Karmakanic”, “Transatlantic”, “Neal Morse”, “Conspiracy”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Circa: are: Billy Sherwood – Vocals & Bass; Tony Kaye - Hammond Organs, Keyboards; Jimmy Haun - Guitars, Vocals; Jay Schellen - Drums, Vocals. Album originally released in 2009; Reissued in June, 2013 under Pyramid Records -Cleopatra Records. Produced by Circa:; Recorded & Mixed by Billy Sherwood at 4TuneStudios; Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Joe Gastwirt Mastering...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/25/2013........Want to learn everything about the band and about their history, you must visit CIRCA: HOME PAGE...
. INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE - "In Hoc Signo"
From the city of Rome, Italy, comes one of the most promising new bands of Italian Progressive Rock: Ingrannagi Della Valle. The group was formed in December 2010 when Edoardo Arrigo (bass) joined in the cover-trio “The Big Chill” - formed by Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), Mattia Liberati (keyboards), and Shanti Colucci (drums). Later on, the band added to their line-up the musicians Marco Gennarini (Classical violin) and Leonardo Pandolfo (vocals). Ingranaggi Della Valle entered then the Feedback Studio in Rome to record the two tracks of their demo-EP called “Via Egnatia” which was made available at the band’s page at Facebook in 2011. The front cover featured the painting “Il Grande Ingranaggio” by Marcello Toma. With the good reception of the EP, Ingranaggi Della Valle began to record a full-length album. In February 2012 the band admitted new front-man Igor Leone – a creative and expressive singer, owner of outstanding vocal capacity. In 2013 Ingranaggi Della Valle finally released on CD & LP their first full-length album, entitled “In Hoc Signo”, under Italian label Black Widow Records. “In Hoc Signo” features as special guest musicians, drummer Mattias Olsson (“Anglagard”), saxophonist/ flutist David Jackson (“VdGG”), and singer Angelica Sauprel Scutti. The concept is inspired on the First Crusade, and the musical references range from ‘70-styled Jazz-Rock & Italian Progressive Rock to Ancient Ethno-Folk. Ingranaggi Della Valle composes Grand Progressive Music that is opulent and complex. Amidst constant changes of pace and style, the intense instrumental interplay is impressive – guitar-violin-keyboards trios are often present in the music, coming unexpectedly from nowhere. Guitar solos are tuneful and crafted; keyboards have multiple forms and textures (Mellotrons, Hammonds, Moogs, Rhodes pianos). Bass is really wild and free, and drumming is alternately jazzy, rocky, progressive, or allied to creative and surprising moments of ethnical percussion. Violins evoke the spirits of Ancient times, and vocals are intense and expressive, sometimes creative and theatrical (recalling me of “Alberto Piras” of “Deus Ex Machina” and “Demetrio Stratos” of “Area”). Ingranaggi Della Valle may be Jazzy like “Area”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Arti & Mestieri”, and “Campo di Marte”; symphonic like  “PFM”, “Delirium”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda” and “Locanda Delle Fate”; also having the primeval force of “Museo Rosenbach”, “Nuova Idea”, “Semiramis”, and “Malibran”; the keyboard power of “Trip” and “Alphataurus”; the Medieval touch of “CAP” and “Il Castello di Atlante”; a bit of the psychedelia of “Osana” and “Corte dei Miracoli”; and the magic of “L’Uovo di Colombo” and “Blocco Mentale”. The band also follows the standards of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, and even “Focus” and “Magma”. “In Hoc Signo” brings 11 tracks that are chained to each other in a conceptual sequence. “Introduzione”/“Cavalcata” (0:14/5:49) is powerfully driven by violins and vibrant vocal themes, having a surprising brake for the coming of a medieval choir. On “Mare In Tempesta” (3:17), the synths scan the horizons over the sea propelled by a gentle breeze that turns into a tempest of guitars & violins, Moogs & Hammonds. “Via Egnatia” (5:41) begins with soaring guitars and organs like “Focus”, has crazy vocals like “Nuova Idea”, and Greek-dancing acoustic guitars and violins. “L’Assedio di Antiochia” (8:13) combines heavy war-drumming, explosive organs, crazy & amazing vocal parts, and final epic guitar solo that recall me of many bands, but mainly “Deus Ex Machina”, “Museo Rosenbach” and “Osana”. The instrumental “Fuga da Amman” (5:56) has a great tune played on violin that is repeated later on an outstanding guitar solo; and some Ethno-Jazz-Fusion sequences are reminiscent of the experiments of “Area” and “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. “Kairuv’an” (6:08) is a sophisticated Jazz that relays on great bass, jammed pianos, and has a middle break for vocals that lead to an Oriental-Psychedelic part that ends on organs, guitars and violins. “Masqat” (5:15) recalls me mainly of “King Crimson” and “Mahavishnu” by having complex interplay of bass, drums, violins & guitars. “Jangala Mem” (6:46) is immersed in a mysterious atmosphere on which cosmic keyboards and psychedelic bass sounds lead to amazing instrumental parts – all recalling an elaborated mix of bands like “KC”, “Corte dei Miracoli”, “Blocco Mentale”, “Alphataurus”, and “Mahavishnu”. “Il Vento del Tempo” (7:00) blends Arabian vocals and inventive vocalizations a la “Demetrio Stratos” with wild violins, soft layers of keyboards, fantastic bass and exotic percussion. The amazing “Finale” (9:33) is a Prog-Epic that has a mechanical part with female backing vocals that is like “Magma”, and also features great performance of David Jackson on sax & flutes. Ingranaggi Della Valle is a brilliant and amazing band that delivers the most rewarding moments of the best Italian Progressive Rock: super-highly recommended for Prog & Jazz-Rock lovers & must-have item for fans of Italian Progressive Rock. Band members and collaborators involved in Ingranaggi Della Valle are: Igor Leone - Vocals; Flavio Gonnellini - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals; Mattia Liberati - Keyboards, Vocals; Shanti Colucci - Drums & Percussion (Nagara, Gatham, Tibetan Bells, Konnakol); Marco Gennarini - Violin, Vocals; Edoardo Arrigo - Bass on “Mare in Tempesta” & “L’Assedio di Antiochia”, Backing Vocals. Guest Musicians: Marco Bruno - Bass on “Cavalcata”; Simoni Massimi - Electric, Fretless & Upright Basses; Luciano Colucci - Indian Mystic Speech on “Jangala Mem”; Fabrizio Proietti - Classical Guitar on “Via Egnata”; Beatrice Miglietta - Backing Vocals on “Finale”. Special Guests: Mattias Olsson - Drums, Percussion on “Jangala”, Synths & Weird Noises on “Il Vento…”; David Jackson - Saxophone & Flute on “Finale”; Angelica Sauprel Scutti - Vocals on “Finale”...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/25/2013....................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE HOME PAGE...
. CHRIS SQUIRE & BILLY SHERWOOD - CONSPIRACY - "Live"
Conspiracy is a Progressive Rock project led by bassist Chris Squire (of “Yes”) and multi-instrumentalist and singer Billy Sherwood (who also spent some time collaborating with “Yes” as producer, studio musician and live performer). During its period of activity, Conspiracy released two studio albums - “Conspiracy” (2000) and “The Unknown” (2003); and the live “Conspiracy Live” (2006). In 2013 the Prog-upholding label Purple Pyramid – a division of Cleopatra Records – reissued “Conspiracy Live” in a double-disc set containing the audio CD and a bonus DVD with extra-footage. The show was recorded March 2004, in Oxnard, California, and the line-up formed with Chris Squire (bass, vocals), Billy Sherwood (guitars, vocals), Jay Schellen (drums), Michael Sherwood (keyboards, vocoder, vocals) and Scott Walton (keyboards, synth bass). The set-list offered five songs taken from Conspiracy’s albums; two songs of Squire’s 1975 solo album “Fish Out Of Water”; and two songs belonging to the 90’s repertoire of “Yes”. Conspiracy’s compositions are aggregated on the first half of the CD. They are song-oriented pieces that make a balanced cross-over between the accessible and straightforward Rock & Pop sounds of the ‘80s to ‘90s and the Progressive-Rock style of that same time, having a great resemblance with bands like “Yes”, “Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe”, and “Asia”. Great choices for a live performance were the tracks “Conspiracy” (6:26) and “New World” (8:13) – both driven by the vibrant bass of Squire, who expresses his most rocky & rhythmic musical side without risking to get undermined by his fan-base. Schellen on drums is his helpful assistant, consisting in the central anchor that centralizes the band’s rocky power. The double-attack of Scott Walton & Michael Sherwood on keyboards and synths provide the ideal symphonic background to a Prog-Rock act. Finally, Sherwood on guitars is the great propulsive motor of the project – adding blazing guitar solos to all songs, his performance is really outstanding. His perfect musical integration with Squire is quite evident of the beautiful Neo-Prog-song “Red Light Ahead” (7:46), which begins as a soaring slow ballad, growing with gorgeous arrangements and great soulful guitar solo. The instrumental gets bolder towards the end, as the bass takes the lead and keyboards arise magnificently to join with another awesome guitar solo. Sherwood’s masterful performances are particular pleasant on the popish “Days of Wonder” (5:21), and on the joyful “Confess” (5:19). The later precedes the first of the “Yessongs” of the set-list: “The More We Live” (6:51), of the “Union” album. Originally written by Squire & Sherwood (justifying its inclusion in the show), that song is presented in a different version, somber and longer than the original. “The More…” is followed by two chained songs taken from the “A-side” of Squire’s album “Fish Out of Water”, which have been barely played alive: “Hold Out Your Hand”/ “You By My Side” (9:05). The more down-to-earth “Hold Out …” was already the prelude of the future sonority that “Yes” would embrace during the 80’s, sounding today in perfect consonance with Conspiracy’s modern style; while “You By My Side” - a typical orchestrated pop-love song of the ‘70s – is still a nice and easy-listening piece by today’s standards. The CD ends with “Universal Garden” (6:00), another “Yessong”, taken from the “Open Your Eyes” album. It comes in a heavier version, which is less fluidal and soaring than the original, but that still contains great original guitar work by Sherwood. The DVD features the same tracks of the audio CD, but in a slightly different order. It is a kind of “live in studio” version of the show, and the images are mostly focused on the performance of the musicians, rather than on pyrotechnical or visual effects. Also containing interviews with the entire band, behind the scenes footage and photo gallery, the DVD is the perfect complementary item to the package, enhancing the historical value of Purple Pyramid’s release. Indispensable if you are a fan of “Yes”, “Chris Squire”, “Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe”, and “Circa”; highly recommended if you love Progressive Rock from 80’s to 90’s, represented by bands like “Rush”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “Toto”, and “GTR”. Band members and collaborators involved in Conspiracy are: Chris Squire - Bass, Guitar, Vocals; Billy Sherwood - Guitar, Vocals; Michael Sherwood - Keyboards, Vocoder, Vocals; Scott Walton - Keyboards, Synth-Bass; Jay Schellen - Drums. Recorded March, 2006, Oxnard CA; Mixed by Billy Sherwood; Produced by Conspiracy; Mastered at Future Disc...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/25/2013.............Want to learn more about the musicians, go to CHRIS SQUIRE & BILLY SHERWOOD HOME PAGE...
. ARABS IN ASPIC - "Pictures In A Dream"
Arabs in Aspic is a Retro-Rock band from Trondheim, Norway. The line-up has Jostein Smeby (guitar, vocals), Stig A. Jørgensen (organ, keyboards, vocals), Erik Paulsen (bass, vocals), and Eskil Nyhus (drums). Their discography (released under Panorama Records) includes: “Progeria” (2003), “Far Out In Aradabia” (2004), “Strange Frame of Mind” (2010), and the double reissued “Progeria / Far Out In Aradabia” (2012). Arabs in Aspic newest release is “Pictures in a Dream” (2013, Black Widow Records). Arabs in Aspic is an amazing and solid band that promotes a well-balanced musical blend of Rock styles that were common mainly from the very end of the ‘60s to the early beginning of the ‘70s: Psychedelic & Acid Rock, Heavy Rock (Proto-Metal), Hard Rock & Blues Rock, Proto-Progressive, and Early & Seminal Progressive Rock. The resulting sonority is a rich amalgamate of sounds that can be collectively tagged as “Stoner Rock”, having influences of several bands such as: “King Crimson”, “Jane”, “Nektar”, “The Nice”, “Cream”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “The Moody Blues”, “The Doors”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Mountain”, “Grand Funk”, “Argent”, “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Captain Beyond”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Armageddon”, and others. “Pictures in a Dream” features 11 tracks, two of which are sung in Norwegian, while the others are sung in English. They are surprisingly appealing at first listening, as life-hearted vocals and harmony vocals are driven by groovy psychedelic bass, acid drumming, epic guitars, and thick layers of vintage Hammonds, Mellotrons & ghostly synths. The album opens with the 70’s flavored pair a. “Rejected Wasteland”/b. “Pictures in a Dream” (6:06), both are one single song that begins with Psychedelic-Prog synths, has a sensational middle part driven by epic guitars, and ends up with soulful vocals & harmony backing vocals that recall “Uriah Heep”. The Psychedelic Heavy Rock of early 70’s is remembered on the slow “Let U.S. Pray” (5:19), driven by bitter and heavy guitar/bass riffs and pledging vocals that recall a hybrid of “Black Sabbath” and “Iron Butterfly”; the gritty organs leading to a fast wild instrumental part made of jammed bass & drums, and duos of synths & guitars. With more energy on it, “You Are Blind” (5:41) is marked by hard-rock riffs and groovy rhythms that recall “Led Zeppelin”; while the instrumental Psychedelic Blues ballad “Felix” (3:04) offers weeping guitars that float on a mattress of Mellotrons. The Hard-Rock songs “Hard to Find” (3:02) and “Difference in Time” (2:47) are vibrant and powerful, busted up by great Hammonds, tribal drums, solos of keyboards and guitars, and bass lines that are groovy as hell – for fans of “Deep Purple”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Atomic Rooster”, and “Grand Funk”. The epic “Lifeguard@Sharkbay” (5:11) follows on with ascending guitars and a lysergic middle part with cool bass, cosmic keyboards, and long guitar solo, accelerating to the final keyboard/guitar attack and epic guitar solo (recalling bands like “Deep Purple”, “Armageddon” and “Captain Beyond”). The two songs with Norwegian lyrics are: “Ta Et Steg Til Siden” (2:53) - a swinging Hard-Rock with awesome bass that recalls “Grand Funk”; and the elaborated “Vi Møtes Sikkert Igjen” (6:49) – a dramatic Progressive-Rock with influences of “King Crimson” and “Nektar” on the instrumental parts, with vocals and melodic guitars being conveyed on an epic Progressive cadence, leading to a Classical keyboard passage like “The Nice”. The overall stormy atmosphere sooths down on the album’s last two tracks: “Prevail to Fail” (3:23) - an acoustic guitar ballad with tuneful vocals and soft Moogs & Mellotrons; and the acoustic version of “Pictures in a Dream” (3:24), both of which recall me of “The Moody Blues”. Really an amazing, brilliant, and lively Retro-Rock band, Arabs in Aspic and their album “Pictures in a Dream” cannot be missed neither by old fans of Psychedelic, Early Progressive Rock and Hard & Heavy Rock of the late ‘60s to early ‘70’, nor by new fans of modern Stoner Psychedelic Rock, being highly recommendable for fans of “King Crimson”, “Jane”, “Nektar”, “The Nice”, “Cream”, “Vanilla Fudge”, “The Moody Blues”, “The Doors”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Mountain”, “Grand Funk”, “Argent”, “Black Sabbath”, “Budgie”, “Deep Purple”, “Atomic Rooster”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Captain Beyond”, “Fuzzy Duck”, “Armageddon”, “Orange Goblin”, “Colour Haze”, “Hypnos 69”, “Spiritual Beggars”, “Electric Wizard”, and their likes. Band members and collaborators involved in Arabs in Aspic are: Jostein Smeby – Guitar, Vocals; Stig Arve Jørgensen – Organs, Keyboards, Vocals; Erik Paulsen – Bass, Vocals; Eskil Nyhus – Drums, Cymbals. Recorded at Borse Studio in Trondheim in 2012 by Arabs in Aspic; Mixed by Jostein Smeby and Arabs in Aspic December 2012; Mastered by Björn Engelmann at Cutting Room Studios in January 2013...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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10/25/2013.....................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ARABS IN ASPIC HOME PAGE...
. CRYSTAL PALACE - "The System of Events"
Crystal Palace is a German Art-Rock band formed in Berlin in 1991 by Jens Uwe Strutz (bass), Jürgen Hegner (guitars) and Ralf Jaschob (guitars). Initially they played only instrumental music, but in 1992, with the coming of first vocalist Helmut Hirt (1992-2000), Crystal Palace found the necessary input to become an active live band. Using different drummers, the band released the debut album “On The Edge of the World” (1995). In 1998 keyboardist Frank Köhler joined in, and the band released the EP “Children of the Sun”. In 2000 singer Helmut Hirt departed, and bassist Jens Strutz replaced him on vocals. Working with programmed drums, Crystal Palace released more two studio albums: “Demon In You” (2001) and “Psychedelic Sleep” (2003). They were followed by the compilation “Through the Years” (2005), and by two unplugged live albums: “Acoustic Years” (2006) and “Pure” (2011). In between, with a line-up consisting of Strutz, Köhler, Hegner and drummer Feliks Weber, the band released “Reset” (2010), which marked their return to the studio. In 2011 Crystal Palace suffered a major line-up change, one that resulted in their present formation: the veterans Jenz Uwe Strutz (vocals, bass) and Frank Köhler (keyboards) joined with new members Nils Conrad (guitars) and Frank Brennekam (drums). During the Spring of 2012, Crystal Palace supported “RPWL” on tour; and on Summer 2012, they began to work on a new album: “The System of Events”, that was released on October 4th, 2013 by Prog-Label Gentle Art of Music (of “RPWL”, “Panzerballett”, “Frequency Drift”, “Simeon Soul Charger”). The album was co-produced by “RPWL’s” Yogi Lang, who was also responsible for the sound engineering and additional keyboards, and features special participations of bassist Colin Edwin (“Porcupine Tree”) and guitarist Kalle Wallner (“RPWL”). The sound of Crystal Palace is a nice amalgamate of Neo-Prog, Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, and Alternative Rock with influences of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “RPWL”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, “Riverside”, “Division By Zero”, “Sylvan”, “Ayreon”, “Anathema”, “Sieges Even”, “Dream Theater”, “Opeth”, “Mindfields”, “Radiohead”, “U2”, and “Coldplay”. This diverse mix of influences results in an interesting and instigating musical content that makes Crystal Palace a band apt to be enjoyed by a large audience with different tastes in music. Their music evolves by the contrast of soft and emotional vocals (that slightly recall “Marillion” and “Pallas”) and melodic guitars, opposed to an instrumental background composed of cybernetic keyboards, heavy guitar riffs, and vigorous passages of bass & drums. “The System of Events” has 8 tracks. The CD starts very well with the alluring tracks “Chasing Better Days” (4:53) and “As Heaven Dies” (6:22): the first combines cool declaimed vocals with pulsing bass and symphonic keyboards in a futuristic ambience; and the other is a rhythmic heavy-prog that has cybernetic keyboards, a metallic luster on guitars, and a chorus that recalls me of “Sieges Even”. “Green Way” (7:27) is brighter, driven by joyful beats, playful guitars, and optimistically vocals (recalling “U2”, “Coldplay”, “Marillion”, and the most Pop facet of “Genesis”), and has an outstanding guitar solo. But my favorite tracks are those composed of different parts that are skillfully linked together by the band. They are painted in somber tones, have changes of pace and mood, and the soft/heavy contrast is intense, thanks to the addition of heavy guitars in Prog-Metal style. So, “Beautiful Nightmare” (11:55) begins with soft mellow vocals (like a mix of “Marillion” and “Coldplay”), turns more vibrant at the middle with the coming of cosmic keyboards, psychedelic guitar effects, and Colin Edwin’s lysergic bass (recalling “Porcupine Tree” and “Radiohead”), and smashes it down in a Prog-Metal catharsis at the brief end. The awesome “Sleepless” (8:20) is powerfully propelled by flying guitar riffs and vigorous electronic keyboards, while aggressive vocals alternate with outstanding guitar solos that go from echoing and distorted to melodic and epic ! “Breathe” (10:15), although slower, is heavier than “Sleepless”, and includes creepy keyboard sounds, pounding tribal drumming, and hypnotic sounds. The song grows to epic thresholds before breaking down for a Progressive part with soaring keyboards and guitars, and emotional vocals. Those three tracks will be particularly appealing to fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Muse”, “Opeth” and “Anathema”. But for those who prefer soaring and introspective Progressive music, Crystal Palace offers the song “Stunned By The Silence” (7:54) - which is a sab ballad driven by pianos, delicate guitars, and poignant vocals; and the amazing title-track “The System Of Events” (13:04), which has classical pianos, tuneful vocals, and a festival of guitars (featuring Kalle Wallner’s amazing solos). Both will please fans of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “RPWL”, “Sylvan”, and “Sieges Even”. If you are in for any of those bands, than Crystal Palace’s new album is the right choice for your next purchase: highly recommendable for fans of Heavy Prog, Prog-Metal, Neo-Prog and Alternative Rock in the style of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “RPWL”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Muse”, “Riverside”, “Division By Zero”, “Sylvan”, “Anathema”, “Opeth”, “Sieges Even”, "Osada Vida", “Mindfields”, “Ayreon”, “Guilt Machine”, “Radiohead”, “U2”, “Coldplay” and anything in between. Band members and collaborators involved in Crystal Palace are: Jenz Uwe Strutz - Vocals, Bass; Frank Köhler – Keyboards; Nils Conrad – Guitars; Frank Brennekam – Drums. Guest musicians: Yogi Lang - Co-Production, Sound Engineering, Additional Keyboards; Colin Edwin - Bass (on “Beautiful Nightmare”); Kalle Wallner – Guitars (on the title track)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2012..................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit CRYSTAL PALACE HOME PAGE...
. DAYMOON - "Fabric of Space Divine"
Daymoon – the Portuguese “Regressive-Rock” band led by Fred Lessing - is back to PR&PM (see under Reviews 2012). Daymoon began in the early 80’s, but without reaching commercial success, disbanded a few years later. Lessing remained as a single musician, composing “Regressive Rock” music while working in a regular job. In 2009 he assembled a home studio in Lisbon, and Daymoon emerged again with the debut album “All Tomorrows” (2011, Mals Records, reviewed at PR&PM in 2012). The music had a delicious “Retro-Progressive Rock” sonority; and the English lyrics were full of poetry, irony and sense of humor. Daymoon has just released a new album, called “Fabric of Space Divine” (2013, Mals, Russia). “Fabric of Space Divine” started off in 1999 with a few songs, and around 2003 it was almost entirely composed. Lessing began to search for the right musicians to perform on it, but the team faced problems to record and mixing the material properly. Meanwhile, Lessing got involved with other bands (“Mispell Bellyful” & “Miosótis”), and became entangled in a busy life, so that in 2006 he abandoned music at all, and “Fabric of Space Divine” was put aside for some time. In 2012, due to the successful release of “All Tomorrows”, Lessing and drummer André Marques decided to retake the project, and after replacing and re-recording some parts, adding keyboards, clarinet, extra percussion and crazy ideas, they finally got “Fabric of Space Divine” finished. “Fabric …” is a concept album based on Stephen Baxter’s scientific-philosophical writings, and on the “Histoire Générale de Dieu”, by Gerald Messadié. It focuses on the different Religions of the world, and tells “the history of the universe as profoundly misunderstood by Fred Lessing”. Performed by Lessing & Daymoon and a line-up of guest musicians from different countries (see list below), the album represents Lessing’s hope that all mankind will “Get Together” someday. “Fabric of Space Divine” is a voyage through the Progressive world that will not let any Prog-Fan disappointed. Amplifying the main influences already present on “All Tomorrows” (“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”, “Isildurs Bane”, “The Tangent”, “The Flower Kings”, and “Queen”), “Fabric of Space Divne” contains musical sequences that recall also “The Moody Blues”, “Gryphon”, “Fruupp”, “Klaatu”, “Dead Can Dance”, “The Beatles”, “The Beach Boys”, “Zappa”, “Ayreon”, “Mispell Bellyful”, “Miosótis”, and “Tantra”. As on the previous album, the compositions are structured with unusual harmonies and odd time signatures. The arrangements employ acoustic and electric instruments, diverse keyboards, wind instruments, and feature smart interventions of both ethnical and unusual percussion. Melodies, textures and contrasts are well-balanced amidst unexpected twists, and spiced with musical surprises. “Fabric of Space Divine” has 16 tracks. The intro “Singularity to Sol” (03:48) is a weird track that offers a preview of what will be heard next. “Seed of Complexity” (09:17) plunges deeply into the Progressive, combining soft vocals, delicate acoustic guitars, and flutes (recalling “Klaatu”, “Moody Blues”, “Yes”, “Flower Kings”); growing later with the coming of keyboards, guitars, bass and drums that announce a heroic musical theme, medieval folkloric interludes, majestic guitars, and strange parts with astral sounds, alien percussion and pounding bass (like “Isildurs Bane”, “King Crimson”), ending with Renaissance flutes and strings (like “Camel” and “Caravan”) that lead to the great bass and church organs of the coda “Evolution” (01:45). The trippy “Beyond Nature” (05:29) shifts to Arabian tunes, ethnic percussion, and vocals that recall “Dead Can Dance”. The beautiful “Beyond Trinity” (05:26) contains pastoral flutes, pianos, organs, and a great vocal melody that irradiates a religious aura that recalls “Barclay James Harvest”. The spiritual mood is broken by the lively saxophone of the Canterbury-styled “Anthropocentrics” (01:42) (recalling “Soft Machine”); and by the psychedelic Hindu Raga “Beyond Multiplicity” (03:30) (like “Beatles”). The crazy “Beyond Good and Evil” (03:59) mix influences of “Zappa”, “Isildurs Bane”, and “King Crimson”; while “Middle” (04:30) is a ballad with harmony vocals akin “The Moody Blues”, and has wonderful keyboards & harpsichords that recall “Fruupp” and “Gryphon”. “Ice Prospector” (03:14) is a kind of Caribbean “Beach Boys” song; while the inventive “Digital” (03:43) combines odd bass & keyboards like “King Crimson” with difficult harmony vocals like “Gentle Giant”. The last five tracks form a Space-Rock suite. “Beyond” (03:40) is driven by cosmic guitars & electronic keyboards, as an Astronaut’s speech introduces the pair “Grasping the Fabric” (02:37) “Twisting the Fabric” (04:12). The first, instrumental, is marked by guitars, martial drums and pianos, and precedes the guitar storm of the second – a Space-Metal in the vein of “Ayreon” and “Queen”, but having bombastic sax and flutes passages. “Beyond Zero Kelvin” (02:30) concludes this saga combining Ancient flutes & sad vocals with dramatic church organs & guitars – all being swallowed by the noisy black-hole of “One” (00:58). One of the most eclectic Progressive acts in activity today, Daymoon and their brilliant new album “Fabric of Space Divine” should be checked out by all fans of Progressive Rock in general: highly recommendable. Band members and collaborators involved in Daymoon are: Current band formation (2011) - Fred Lessing – Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Woodwinds and Reeds, Angklung, Occasional Vocals; André Marques - Main Drums, Bottle-smashing, Cloth-ripping, Occasional Keyboards; Joana Lessing - Regular & Weird percussion (on “Complexity”), Backing vocals (on “Ice prospector”), Holds Beethoven; Adriano Pereira – Clarinet; Paulo Catroga - Piano (on “Beyond Trinity”). Daymoon formation in 2004: Mark Guertin (Canada) - Bass; Davis Raborn (USA) – Drums; Jeff Markham (USA) - Lead Vocals; Paulo Chagas (Portugal) - Assorted Reed & Woodwind Instruments, Sax, Flute, Alien & Assorted Percussion. Guests: Bruno Evangelista (Portugal) - Vocals (on “Beyond Trinity”), co-lead vocals (on “Complexity”); Michael Dorp (Germany) - Lead Vocals (on “Beyond Nature”); Hugo Flores  (Portugal) - Lead Vocals (on “Expansion”); Helena Madeira (Portugal) - Celtic Harp; Vasco Patrício (Portugal) - Lead Guitar (on “One”); Beethoven (Portugal) - The deaf (but not mute) cat. Produced by André Marques & Fred Lessing (Portugal); Mark Guertin (Canada). Recorded 2000-2012; Mastered by Paulo Ferro at ST Studio, Portugal...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2013......................Want to learn everything about the band and its members, goes to DAYMOON HOME PAGE...
. JEREMY & PROGRESSOR - "Searching For The Son"
Jeremy Morris – a veteran musician and composer living in Portage, Michigan (U.S.A.) – is back to PR&PM (see under Reviews 2012). Jeremy is a multi-instrumentalist who has been active for more than 30 years. His discography comprises nearly 50 albums in different genres and styles, including 60’s to 70’s Classic Rock & Pop, Psychedelic, Space & Progressive Rock and Electronic Music. In 1984 Jeremy founded his own label Jam Records, specialized in Rock, Progressive, and Instrumental music, to support other independent artists. In 2005 Jeremy began a partnership with Russian Progressive label MALS Ltd., resulting in the release of the first Jeremy & Progressor album (“The Pearl of Great Price”), a side-project on which Jeremy played together with other MALS-supported musicians. MALS also released two of Jeremy’s Prog-Rock albums: “Mystery and Illusion” (2008) and “From Dust To The Stars” (2012, reviewed at PR&PM). In 2013 the Jeremy & Progressor project released a second album: “Searching for the Son” (2013, MALS Ltd.). The line-up of Jeremy & Progressor has Jeremy (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums); Russian musicians Vitaly Menshikov (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums), Albert Khalmurzayev (of “X Religion”, “FromUz”) on keyboards, and Valery Vorobjov (of “X Religion”) on drums; plus Jon Dawson (of “Third of Never”) (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums), John Bundrick (“Jethro Tull”, “The Who”, “Free”) (keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, percussion), and Bill Morris (trumpet & saxophone). The music is a mix of different genres and styles having a tasteful retro-sonority reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s Psychedelic Rock & Power Pop (with influences of “The Beatles”, “John Lennon”, “Badfinger”, “Everly Brothers”, “The Moody Blues”), containing elements of Space, Psychedelic & Electronic Rock (influenced by early “Pink Floyd”, “Hawkwind”, “Nektar”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Eno”, “Tangerine Dream”), and some moments of great Symphonic Progressive Rock. The music is melodic, cosmic, and deliciously “easy-listening”. The songs are long, colorful, and the slow vocals that recall “Beatles” (mainly “John Lennon”) are immersed in instrumental arrangements that feature rich layers of keyboards, guitars, and electronic effects, all driven by Psychedelic & Space-Rock bass and drums. “Searching For The Son” features 10 tracks plus one bonus. The initial tracks “Searching for the Son” (8:07) and “Future Flight” (7:47) are the most Psychedelic, regarding the sounds of the late ‘60s, being driven by sticky and tuneful vocals, playful organs, jammed solos, and cosmic sounds. “Searching…” is vibrant, and includes great sax & keyboards interplay, and some quasi-metal guitar solos, while “Future…” is slower and more questioning, being driven by lysergic bass. Both have echoes on the final tracks of the album – the soaring and contemplative Prog-ballad “The Mirror” (6:37) (which recalls the softness of “Barclay James Harvest”); and “On A Cherub” (5:27) – a cosmic song with a kind of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” sonority. Also track 3 - “The Blind Man's Dream” (6:57) - has an appealing vocal melody, but is immersed in a bed of Electronic and Space-Rock effects and noises, as if “Beatles” have had a cosmic meeting with “Tangerine Dream” and “Hawkwind”. The album’s longest tracks are outstanding: “Distant Light” (10:37) has a Progressive structure on to which the instruments (sax, dramatic pianos) are gradually added, accelerating the song with amazing organs, frantic bass and guitars (like a mix of “Moody Blues” with “King Crimson”); and “Wings of the Wind” (11:17) begins like a Psychedelic-Rock immersed in cosmic “Eno”-inspired sounds & Raga guitars, falling into a groovy instrumental segment driven by Latin percussion, amazing sax & keyboards interplay, and wah-wah guitars, recalling early Fusion pioneers like “Santana”, “Weather Report”, “Soft Machine”, and the Krautrock sonority. “Had Enough” (4:37) - driven by great bass tunes and exotic percussion - has a primeval aura that will appeal to Krautrock fans. Finally, the album has two great Symphonic-Prog pieces: “Messiah Will Come” (7:11) has majestic keyboards, bombastic passages of sax, and potent bass, drums and synths that recall “ELP”, but also heavier guitar moments that get closer to the Heavy-Prog category; while “Way To Zion” (6:17) emphasizes synths and keyboards, recalling a Russian Classical piece (and also recalling bands like “Little Tragedies”, “Karfagen”, and “Roz Vitalis”), while the soaring vocals are reminiscent of bands like “Barclay James” and “Moody Blues”. The bonus track “Sonic Dances” (4:06) is a sweet instrumental Prog-Folk. By using their special formula to blend many musical references of the ‘60s & ‘70s, Jeremy & Progressor have produced catchy and creative music that will really please fans of Psychedelic, Space & Progressive Rock in the style of “The Beatles”, “John Lennon”, “Badfinger”, “Everly Brothers”, “The Moody Blues”, “Barclay James Harvest”, early “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Eno”, “Hawkwind”, “Nektar”, and many others. Band members and collaborators involved in Jeremy & Progressor are: Jeremy Morris - Vocals, Lead Guitars, 12-String Guitars, Bass, Grand Piano, Mellotron, Synth, Drums; Vitaly “Progressor” Menshikov - Synthesizer, Organ, EL. & AC. Guitars, Bass, Drums; Jon Dawson - Keyboards, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Loops; John "Rabbit" Bundrick - Keyboards, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Percussion; Albert Khalmurzayev - Keyboards; Valery Vorobjov - Drums; Bill Morris - Trumpet & Saxophone. Engineered & Mixed by Jeremy, Produced by Jeremy & Progressor...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2013........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit JEREMY & PROGRESSOR HOME PAGE...
. KARMAMOI - "Odd Trip"
Karmamoi is an Alternative Rock group founded in Rome, Italy, in 2008. The line-up features founder members Serena Ciacci (vocals) and Daniele Giovannoni (drums), joined in by Fabio Tempesta (guitars), Alex Massari (guitars) and Alessandro Cefalì (bass). In 2009 Karmamoi released the single “Venere” (Crisalide Edizioni), which had a positive response on independent radio stations and led the band to take part in the JIMI Festival de Marne (Paris). Other concerts followed on in bigger venues in Rome, and a participation in the M.e.i. Festival in Faenza. In 2010 Karmamoi was featured on the soundtrack of the short film “Cinque Note” by Paolo Budassi, and began to record the eponymous debut album “Karmamoi” (2011, Crisalide Edizioni). The album was officially launched at Rising Love (a very popular venue in Rome) and was accompanied by the video “Vivo Desiderio”, directed by Paolo Budassi. In 2011 Karmamoi performed in several festivals (like the Eurosonic Showcase Festival in Groningen; the Supersonic Festival; and Naples’ AWOP Festival), and at Fnac in Rome. In 2012 Karmamoi released the EP “Entre Chien et Loup”, which included the new single “Stesa”, regarded by the band as the turning point from an initially accessible Pop-Rock style to a new direction towards Prog-Rock. Karmamoi’s next album – titled “The Odd Trip” – was scheduled for official release on November 22, 2013, under Crisalide Edizioni. The new sonority of Karmamoi is a blend of Noisy & Heavy Pop-Rock with elements of Electronic, Ambient, Psychedelic Rock, Heavy-Prog, New-Metal and Post-Metal. The main influences are “The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”, “Tactile Gemma”, “Ambeon”, “Artrosis”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Nemesea”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, “Stream of Passion”, “Revamp”, and “Within Temptation” (last albums). Melodic lines and atmospheric ambient sounds cohabit with rock distortions, psychedelic soundscapes and an electronic background that recall bands like “Tactile Gemma”, “The Gathering” and “Artrosis”. The general mood is less melancholic and more melodic, driven by the great vocal performance of Serena Ciacci, a passionate singer in the vein of “Anneke van Giersbergen”, “Silje Wergeland”, “Macela Bovio”, “Manda Ophuis”, and “Sabine Dünser”. Her voice equilibrates the most aggressive vibes and heavy instrumentation provided by the other band members, who offer a solid background that sometimes recall bands like “Lacuna Coil", “Nemesea”, “Xandria”, “Stream of Passion”, and “Revamp”. “Odd Trip” is a concept album that has 9 tracks separated by 3 interludes: “Oxygen 1” (1:47) (a noisy-electronic piece); “Oxygen 2” (0:59) (more Progressive); and “Oxygen 3” (1:01) (a distorted mass of aggressive guitars, bass & drums). The first whole song is “If” (4:17) – an excellent representative of Karmamoi’s new style, on which heavy guitar riffs alternate with soothing vocals, resulting in an emotionally intense song. Following the same line, the album’s best tracks are “Labyrinth” (5:45) - on which a mix of robotized-mechanized sounds, pounding bass, and syncopated drums contrast with somber vocals, powerful tunes and soaring guitars; “Odd Trip” (6:12) – on which tribal ethno-beats and sensual vocals join with pleading vocal parts and great space-guitar solo, taking the song to epic thresholds (recalling mainly “The Gathering” and “Stream of Passion”); and the fast and vibrant songs “Yours” (5:11) and “Aria” (6:11). “Yours” balances its neurotic guitars, pulsing groovy bass, and rocky drum beats with a slightly popish luster on vocals; while “Aria” (6:11) allies Serena’s vigorous vocals with excellent and tightly packed instrumentation – both tracks will be appealing to fans of “Xandria”, “Nemesea”, “Lacuna Coil” and “Revamp”. But if the listener has a preference for melancholic sensorial ballads in the style of “The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”, and “Tactile Gemma”, then the psychedelic and soaring “If I Think of the Sea” (6:36), and the cosmic “Lost Days” (4:28) - driven by whispered and crying vocals and featuring a beautiful harmonic progression - will stand up as favorites. Stirring for more Progressive and Experimental fields, Karmamoi still offers two instrumental tracks: “Samvega” (5:27) amazingly congregates delicate guitars and cosmic sounds in a symphonic maze, and explodes later in Post-Metal & Prog-Metal sounds, all recalling a blend of early “The Gathering” with “Rush” and “Dream Theater”; while “5+” (4:09) is an Electronic Experimental piece that uses odd metrics and distorted Metal-Fusion guitars. A brilliant album by Karmamoi, “Odd Trip” has a different and new musical proposal, being highly recommended for fans of “The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”, “Tactile Gemma”, “Ambeon”, “Artrosis”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Lacuna Coil”, “Nemesea”, “Xandria”, “Elis”, “Stream of Passion”, “Revamp”, and “Within Temptation”. A preview of the record can be enjoyed on the video-clip of the song “Labyrinth”, available at Youtube. Band members and collaborators involved in Karmamoi are: Serena Ciacci - Vocals, Lyrics; Daniele Giovannoni - Drums, Music; Fabio Tempesta - Guitars; Alex Massari – Guitars; Alessandro Cefalì - Bass. Album Recorded & Mixed at Crisalide Studio, Rome; Mastered at Audio Mastering Studio, London; Engineered by Duccio Grizi; Produced by Karmamoi & Crisalide Music...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2012....................Is there an interested to know more about them? So you must visit KARMAMOI HOME PAGE...
. THE FRANK FLIGHT BAND - "Remains"
The Frank Flight Band is an obscure band from Southport, the UK. The band has been “more or less” active in the “sub-underground” since 1995, sustained by founder member Frank Flight and his disaffected group of musicians, all enthralled to the Psychedelic Spirit of the 60’s, but with the minds firmly rooted in the here and now. Their debut album - “Outrunning the Sun” (released in 2009) was recorded a decade before, and came to light by the efforts of original band members, who gathered together, dusted off and digitally re-mastered the master tapes. “Outrunning the Sun” offered a blend of Psychedelic Rock with the sonority of the ‘60s, geographically tempered with the sounds of the “West Coast of America to the (North) West Coast of England, via San Franciscan freak-outs, English folk-whimsy, and having detours into Blues Rock and all points in between”. This year, The Frank Flight Band independently released their second album, titled “Remains” (2013). Besides Frank Flight (guitars, backing vocals), the line-up features veteran members Danny Taylor (bass, vocals), Dave Veres (drums, percussion), and Andy Wrigley (vocals), joined in by the newest members Alex Kenny (guitar, vocals) and Michael Woodward (keyboards, backing vocals). The music of The Frank Flight Band is still a timeless and tasteful blend of Blues Rock, Southern Rock, Acid Rock, and Psychedelic Progressive Rock, with influences of “Cream”, “Eric Clapton”, “Free”, “Edgar Broughton Band”,  “John Mayall”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Mountain”, “Johnny Winter”, “The Allman Brothers”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “Blackfoot”, “The Outlaws”, “Canned Heat”, “Steve Ray Vaughan”, “ZZ Top”, “The Band”, “Traffic”, “Blind Faith”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Jane”. The album “Remains” features 7 tracks. The first two - “The Ballad of Alice Grey” (7:52) and “Dark Waters” (9:36) – are Blues and Southern Rock-styled songs that place the listener into the right mood. The first is driven by a typical bluesy slow tempo and by the expressive and baritone vocals by Wrigle, ending with a soulful solo. The second runs on a faster cadence, has much more groove, and offers a great blues-guitar duel from middle to end. The title track “Remains” (9:08) follows on the Blues, but contains more elements of Acid & Psychedelic Rock. The great bass lines are really malevolent, and there is a note of devilry on Wrigley’s vocals, making it one of the best tracks of the album. The fourth track - “The Island” (5:00) – transposes the ocean from the New to the Old World, mixing Blues and Folk that sound with a slightly British accent. Weeping guitars are gently rocked on a cradle of delicate keyboards. Then comes “Razor Glass” (12:50) – a trippy and outstanding Psychedelic- Progressive- Blues song featuring melancholic and epic parts, lysergic soundscapes, emotional vocals, martial drums, and a final Progressive solo that recalls “Pink Floyd” and “Jane”. The following track, “Sinaloa” (08:30), is a catchy desert-rock placed in California, having influences of Country and Mexican music, and an irresistible flavor of a “Tarantino’s movie soundtrack”. The album’s last track is the lengthy “Cat” (20:22). Like an adventurous musical journey from the North American prairies descending down to the West Coast of the USA, and flying overseas to the British grasslands, this frisky track has many different moments in one single song, inspired on the lengthy Progressive compositions of the past, and has a penchant for long Bluesy guitars improvisations. The Frank Flight Band is musically true, soulful, and bluesy, greatly recommended for fans of Rock & Blues bands from A to Z: “Allman Brothers”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “Blackfoot”, “Blind Faith”, “Canned Heat”, “Cream”, “Credence Clearwater Revival”, “Doobie Brothers”, “Edgar Broughton Band”, “Edgar Winter”, “Eric Clapton”, “Foghat”, “Free”, “Humble Pie”, “Iron Butterfly”, “Jane”, “Johnny Winter”, “John Mayall”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Molly Hatchet”, “Mountain”, “The Outlaws”, “Pink Floyd”, “Robin Trower”, “Rory Gallagher”, “Santana”, “Spooky Tooth”, “Steve Ray Vaughan”, “Traffic”, “ZZ Top”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Frank Flight Band are: Frank Flight – Guitar, Vocals; Danny Taylor – Guitar, Bass, Vocals; Dave Veres – Drums, Percussion; Alex Kenny – Guitar, Vocals, Drums; Andy Wrigley – Vocals; Percussion; Michael "Woody" Woodward – Keyboards, Bass, Recording, Engineering, Production. Would you like listen their music please visit The Frank Flight Band Reverbnation site...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2013......................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE FRANK FLIGHT BAND HOME PAGE...
. HELLHAVEN - "Beyond The Frontier"
HellHaven is a Polish Art-Rock group founded in Myslenice, Krakow, in 2008. The line-up features Sebastian Najder (lead vocals), Jakub Wegrzyn (lead guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals), Maciej Dunin-Borkowski (guitar), Marcin Jaskowiec (bass), and Konrad Wójtowicz (drums). Created by J. Wegrzyn and M. Jaskowiec, HellHaven initially played just Heavy Metal & Hard Rock, but in a quest to find a style of their own, the band moved to more Progressive terrains. In 2009 HellHaven recorded the self-produced EP “Art for Art’s Sake”, which was officially released in December 25 2010 - the same day on which HellHaven debuted on stage. “Art for Art’s Sake” combined Heavy Metal & Prog-Metal styles and was played on Polish radio stations. The EP was chosen as one of the best debuts of February 2011 by MegaTotal.pl web page; and the track “Stardust” was chosen as one of the five best tracks of February 2011 sent to the magazine “Estrada i Studio”. HellHaven was placed in evidence, and took part in many music festivals in Poland, getting a first place in the “Festiwal Muzyki Rozrywkowej w Opatowie”. In 2011 HellHaven began to work on more complex music to fill up a full-length album. The band signed a contract with German label Legacy-Records, which allowed them more creative and technical possibilities. After 12 months of work, “Beyond The Frontier” was released in December 2012. The sonority of HellHaven is a reunion of Heavy-Prog, Prog-Metal, Post-Rock and Post-Metal elements inserted within a cosmic ambience. The music is solid, emotionally intense, and even anguished sometimes. Post-Rock and Post-Metal instrumental drones vanish into unusual Heavy-Prog and Prog-Metal riffs, being immersed in dense atmospheres composed of Ambient and Psychedelic sonic clouds. Band members are mainly inspired by diverse iconic bands – namely “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Iron Maiden”, “System of a Down”, “Queen”, and “Mike Oldfield”. Yet, their aim of crating original music led them to trail musical paths similar to bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “Isis”, “Pelican”, “Neurosis”, “Cult of Luna”, “The Ocean”, “Rosetta”, “Year Of No Light”, “Nadja”, “Agalloch”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sylvan”, “Lebowski”, “Retrospective”, “Verbal Delirium”, “Believe”, “Mr. Gil”, and the likes. “Beyond The Frontier” is a concept album that has 8 tracks (the bonus track “Trauma Pana Twaina” (12:52) comes only in special edition). The CD opens and closes with the pair “Beyond the Frontier Part I” (5:25) & “Beyond the Frontier Part II” (4:00). “Part I” is an impressive instrumental track that begins with a mantra and turns later into a dramatic Cosmic Post-Metal piece, having an angelical sonic background. Punctuated by John Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” (1962), it accelerates vigorously at the end. “Part II” brings a quotation of Charles Chaplin’s speech on “The Great Dictator” (1940), and its ascending chords recall me of the Ambient Post-Rock style of “God Is An Astronaut”. “Hestitation” (9:04) is a Post-Metal & Progressive track that alternates soaring vocals moments & melancholic guitar drones with powerful moments of heavy guitars, bass & drums, and some grunting voices. On the last moments it becomes a pounding Thrash-Metal, with aggressive lead vocals and ghostly backing vocals (sounding as if “Porcupine Tree” met “Isis”, “The Ocean” and “Rosetta”). The pair “Traum of Mr. Twain Part I” (5:44) & “Traum of Mr. Twain Part II” (7:12) are more Psychedelic, full of madness and despair. The first is slower and “Doomish” (recalling bands “Neurosis”, “Cult of Luna”, “Pelican”, and “Nadja”), and the second is inquisitive and has impressive vocal parts (recalling “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”). Also the creepy song “Perikarion” (7:36) recalls “Riverside”, by being emotionally intense. There are however some Horror-Metal parts pinpointed with theatrical vocals (including whispers, anguished screams, scornful laughter), and amazing violin arrangements and great guitar solo. Those songs contrast with the lighter “About Reading and Writing” (6:40), which has an alternation of heavy, psychedelic and soaring moments featuring emotional vocals, pianos, a bed of Progressive synths, few Prog-Metal riffs, and amazing melodic guitar solo that dominates the last third of the song. Overall, it sounds like a blend of “Sigur Rós”, “Sylvan”, “Porcupine Tree”, and “Believe”. Finally, “Paper Swan” (7:15) appeals at first to the melancholy and quietude of desolated environments (recalling “Agalloch”), but gradually grows in warmth and intensity, bringing in some harmony guitars that are inspired on “Iron Maiden” fused later to a wall of denser instrumentation. Musically intense, and still having an enormous potential to grow, HellHaven has defined on "Beyond The Frontier" their new approach to Heavy-Prog & Post-Metal, one that distinguishes them from other bands of the same style. Especially recommended for fans of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Osada Vida”, “Pelican”, “Isis”, “Neurosis”, “Cult of Luna”, “The Ocean”, “Rosetta”, “Year Of No Light”, “Agalloch”, “God Is An Astronaut”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Sylvan”, “Verbal Delirium”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in HellHaven are: Sebastian Najder - Lead Vocals, Lyrics; Jakub Wegrzyn - Lead Guitar, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals; Maciej Dunin-Borkowski - Guitar; Marcin Jaskowiec – Bass; Konrad Wójtowicz - Drums. Additional musicians: Kacper Szpyrka & Agnieszka Reiner - Violins on “Perikarion”. Lyrics on “About Reading and Writing” are fragments of “Also Sprach Zaratustra” (by Friedrich Nietzsche). Album Recorded and Mixed by Lynx Music Studio & Ryszard Kramarski; Mastered by Pawel Hebda; Engineered by Ryszard Kramarski; Produced by HellHaven & Ryszard Kramarski...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2013.......................Want to learn everything about the band and their history, go to HELLHAVEN HOME PAGE...
. DEAFENING OPERA - "Blueprint"
Deafening Opera is a German Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal group that was formed in Munich in 2005 by Adrian Daleore (lead vocals), Moritz Kunkel (guitar), Thomas Moser (guitar), and Christian Eckstein (bass), joined by Konrad Gonschorek (drums) and keyboardist Tilman Espert, who was replaced by Gérald Marie in 2009. Deafening Opera is well established in the Bavarian Rock scene, and has taken part in several band competitions in Germany, often reaching either the finals or semi-finals. Deafening Opera debuted with the Prog-Metal album “Synesteria” (2009) and with the release of the EP “25.000 Miles” (2011) they expanded their musical frontiers beyond Prog-Metal, also reaching the Progressive Rock and Melodic Rock domains. “25.000 Miles” served as a musical base for their new album, titled “Blueprint” (July 2013). The influences come from many Progressive, Prog-Metal and Metal acts, such as: “Dream Theater”, “Angra”, “Anomaly”, “Ayreon”, “Evergrey”, “Extreme”, “Metallica”, “Kamelot”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Queen”, “Savatage”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Symphony X”, “System of a Down”, “Tower of Power”, “Pink Floyd”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Opeth”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Presto Ballet”, “Everon”, “Sieges Even”, “Superior”, “House of Spirits”, “Threshold”, & “Tiles”. Deafening Opera experiments with many different styles at the same time, achieving excellent musical results. The eclecticism of singer Adrian Daleore is a mark of the band. He is capable of singing melodically and emotionally – in a true progressive way – but also has a strong and deep baritone voice, tailored for performing either soulful Hard-Rock grooves, or powerful Heavy Metal roars, recalling me of “Jon Oliva”, “Chris Boltendahl” (“Grave Digger”), and “Scott Albright” (“Presto Ballet’s” early line-up). His voice is balanced by the precise and technically rigorous performances of the other band members: well-crafted solos fly from guitars and synths amidst powerful bass and drums rhythms. The musicians, however, are less concerned about showing off with individual performances and stay focused on the arrangements, emphasizing the frequent twist and turns of the music, the changes of pace and rhythm, and finding the right mood for each individual song. The outcome is great music that is both straightforward and sophisticated, appealing instantly either to wide audiences, or to exigent tastes. “Blueprint” (2013) is a concept album that has 9 tracks. The lyrics, in English and French, tell the story of the life and construction of a man. The album begins with “Her Decay” (7:26), which is initially Prog because of the tuneful vocals, but grows later to a straightforward Melodic Rock with a thin Neo-Prog luster, also including unexpected instrumental moments with Gypsy & Folky acoustic guitars and harmony vocals. More pragmatic, the straightforward Melodic-Rock “Jericho I Am” (4:53) combines a sticky chorus with a Progressive guitar solo; while the awesome Prog-Metal track “25.000 Miles” (6:54) resembles “Dream Theater”, “Angra”, and “Evergrey”, but has interventions that resound with the atmospheric ambience of “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, and “Opeth”. But the tracks that dragged my attention for being the most unusual or experimental were “Tatjana”/“Dripping Hot Chocolate” (0:48/6:49) and “Paralelno” (6:57). The first is a Jazz-Metal with surprising instrumentation and great vocal performance of Daleore, who adds Soul-music modulations to his baritone voice, before steering the song to a soaring Prog passage with guitar & synths; and the second is a creative song with lyrics in French, driven by melancholic vocals and elegant pianos (recalling the romantic mood of old-fashioned French songs), but also having moments of aggression, driven by Heavy-Metal guitars and passionate vocals (could this one be an influence of “Therion’s” album “Les Fleurs du Mal”?). The songs “Blueprint” (7:33) and “No Man's Shadow” (5:07) are not less amazing and display a combination of Hard-Rock elements (mainly keyboards and groovy vocals) with Traditional Heavy Metal riffs and Funky parts that recall bands like “Savatage”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Presto Ballet”, “Tiles”, and “Tower of Power”. So, “Blueprint” sounds like “Deep Purple” finds “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and go swing with “Savatage” and “Presto Ballet”; while “No Man's…” brings additional influences from “Shadow Gallery” and “Riverside”. Finally, “Porcupine Syndrome” (7:29) is an awesome Terror-Space-Metal operetta on which different characters sing about a dark story (for fans of “Ayreon”, “Bal Sagoth”, and “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”). With the eclectic sound delivered on “Blueprint”, Deafening Opera proves to have a true distinguishing style, being highly recommendable for fans of “Dream Theater”, “Angra”, “Anomaly”, “Ayreon”, “Evergrey”, “Extreme”, “Metallica”, “Kamelot”, “Pain of Salvation”, “Queen”, “Savatage”, “Shadow Gallery”, “Symphony X”, “Tower of Power”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Riverside”, “Jon Oliva’s Pain”, “Presto Ballet”, “Sieges Even”, “Superior”, “Everon”, “House of Spirits”, “Threshold”, “Tiles”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Deafening Opera are: Adrian Daleore – Vocals; Moritz Kunkel – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals; Thomas Moser – Rhythm Guitar, Spoken Words; Christian Eckstein – Bass, Backing Vocals; Gérald Marie – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Konrad Gonschorek – Drums; Ludwig Maier – Sound Engineer. Produced by Deafening Opera...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2013...........Want to learn everything about the band and its members? Visit DEAFENING OPERA HOME PAGE...
. ACTIVE HEED - "Visions From Realities"
Active Heed is a Progressive Rock studio project conceived by Italian musician Umberto Pagnini (music and lyrics). Active Heed was founded in August 2012, and was born from Pagnini’s belief on the concept of “creative music collaboration”. To achieve his goal, Pagnini contacted some of the best session men in Italy: the multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo "Il Magnifico" Poli (bass, guitars, keyboards, and collaborator, among others, of Franco Battiato) and Giovanni Giorgi (drums). On vocals: Per Fredrik PelleK Åsly (“The Anabasis”, “Damnation Angels”), Mark Colton (“Credo”) and Marit Børresen. The first studio album, called “Visions From Realities”, was recorded, mixed and mastered at Elfo Studio by Alberto "Einstein" Callegari, and independently released in 2013. In spite of being made by Italian musicians, the music of Active Heed has nothing to do with Italian Progressive Rock, being rather influenced by many British and few Dutch Progressive bands. Their style is a combination of Symphonic Neo-Progressive Rock with large doses of British Prog-Folk. The general mood is bright and vibrant. The arrangements include mainly acoustic guitars and delicate keyboards (with emphasis on pianos and synths), amalgamated with great harmonic bass lines, and driven by mild and lively drumming. Vocals play an important role on the songs, being very melodic, marking, and carefully composed – as on many theatrical musical plays. Overall, the sound of Active Heed drags influences from iconic Progressive bands like “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Caravan”, “Camel”, “Mandalaband”, “Fruupp”, “Greenslade”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Steve Hackett”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Sky”, “UK”, “Moody Blues”, “Kayak”, and “Ayreon”, sharing a greater resemblance with Neo-Prog acts such as “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Galahad”, and, above all: “Clive Nolan” (including all bands and projects on which he has taken part in, such as “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman”, “Shadowland”, “Strangers On A Train”, “Caamora”, “Alchemy”); and on the inspiring theatrical music of the British composer “Andrew Lloyd Webber”. Active Heed’s “Visions From Realities” features 15 short songs. As on a typical Progressive album, the music grows gradually in intensity from the beginning to the end, with the most symphonic and complex pieces making the final climax. “Visions…” begins with the sunny Neo-Folk song “Flying Like A Fly” (2:53), followed by three songs in a row: “Awake?!” (1:53), “Now What?” (1:34), and “Me, Five Seconds Before” (2:42) - all joyful, featuring playful Baroque keyboards, like “Greenslade”, “Fruupp”, “Wakeman”. “With Joy” (2:27) begins slow, with classical acoustic guitars and poignant vocals, but grows with pianos and bass towards its complementary “Melting Of Realities” (3:22), driven by lively Medieval beats, soaring keyboards and epic vocals (for fans of “Twelfth Night”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Marillion”). “Forest And Joy” (3:32) is lively and popish, driven by modern drumming and classical acoustic guitars (like “Giltrap”); “The Weakness Of Our Spinning” (2:43) is a beautiful British-Folk song that differs from all others for having an introspective mood, recalling “Hackett”, “Phillips” and “Giltrap”. “Without Joy” (1:44) is a powerful Neo-Prog song in the style of “Arena” and “Galahad” that introduces the final segment of the album, which is dominated by the longest and most symphonic tracks. “Every Ten Seconds Before” (5:49) is a great Neo-Prog piece full of keyboards, guitars and great vocals, that has influences of  “Pendragon”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, and “Twelfth Night”; while “FFF Flashing Fast Forward” (3:29) is accessible and emphasizes the chorus. The last four tracks sound like score music written for a theatrical play, recalling the bombastic style of “Rick Wakeman”, “Mandalaband”, “Clive Nolan’s” projects (“Caamora” & “Alchemy”), and also the “Broadway” style of “Andrew Lloyd Weber”. “If I Will Never Be” (4:33) is reminiscent of some early song of “Mandalaband”; while “Me, One Second Before Johan Robeck” (4:07) combines Melodic-Rock vocal parts with amazing instrumentation. The very best “Usual Plays In Heaven - Be Kind And Talk To Me” (4:48) has a Celtic intro sung by ethereal female vocals, jumping into the future with electronic keyboards that unveil an emotionally rich Neo-Prog track in the style of “Twelfth Night”, “Pendragon”, “Pallas”, and “IQ”; finally reaching the climax on the awesome “Our Vast Emptiness” (4:40) – driven by heavier guitars and operatic vocals inspired on “Clive Noland’s” projects “Caamora” and “Alchemy”. An excellent debut album, “Visions From Realities” is highly recommended for fans of Symphonic & Neo-Progressive Rock bands: “Clive Nolan” (“Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Shadowland”, “Strangers On A Train”, “Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman”, “Caamora”, “Alchemy”), “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “IQ”, “Twelfth Night”, “Galahad”, “Genesis”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Caravan”, “Mandalaband”, “Fruupp”, “Greenslade”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Steve Hackett”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “Sky”, “Kayak”, “Ayreon”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Active Heed are: Umberto Pagnini - Music and Lyrics; Lorenzo "Il Magnifico" Poli - Arrangements, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards and Special Effects; Giovanni Giorgi – Drums; Per Fredrik “PelleK” Åsly – Vocals; Mark Colton - Additional Vocals; Marit Børresen - Additional Vocals. Alberto "Einstein" Callegari (Elfo Studio) - Engineering, Mixing, & Mastering. Produced by Active Heed...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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11/28/2013...........You can find more information on the project and its musicians under ACTIVE HEED HOME PAGE...
. ZAUSS - "Überall – In Terra Straniera – Borders Beyond"
Zauss is a parallel musical project of Francesco Zago (electric guitar and loops) and Markus Stauss (bass, soprano, and tenor saxophones). Markus Stauss is a Swiss flutist and saxophonist very active in both Jazz and Rock scenes of Switzerland. Stauss regards Music as a challenging adventure, and invests much of his energy experimenting with the music-making process. Since the early 80’s, Stauss founded or took part in many groups and orchestras focused on Jazz, Free Jazz, Folk, Blues, Rock, Progressive Rock and Medieval and Chamber Music, playing with countless musicians. Most notable were "Überfall" (1984-1991), and “Spaltklang" (since 2001), both of which were reviewed in this webzine (see in the 2010 section and above). In 2005 Stauss began a partnership with guitarist Francesco Zago, playing on the projects “Neolithicum Duo" (2005), “Yugen" (2005), and “Kurai" (2008). The Zauss project was born on July 28th 2006, branching from the “Neolithicum Duo". During a live presentation in Tradate (VA), Stauss improvised, playing with his soprano saxophone instead of with the regular bass saxophone. The session was recorded, and Zago and Stauss released it - under the moniker Zauss - on a CD called “Neulich Neben der Grenze" (2006, Fazzul Music). The new release of Zauss is the multilingual-titled album “Überall – In Terra Straniera – Borders Beyond" (2011, Fazzul Music). It was recorded live in the studio and mastered by Benno Hofer of Ton-Art Studio (Basel). No overdubs were made, because Stauss and Zago were interested in attaining an authentic and natural sound. The main goal of Zauss is to create textures and sounds, and intuitively break those textures by means of free improvisation, provoked by duo interplay on which the task of lead soloist switches constantly from one musician to the other. The music sequences interchange abruptly from quiet to intense rhythmical paces, with flashes of suddenly-created melodies and noisy sounds that contribute to elaborate surrealistic and concrete impressions. “Überall-In Terra Straniera-Borders Beyond" contains 13 tracks. Each one was played either on bass, soprano or tenor saxophones. They were later disposed on the record according to the concept of “Symmetrical Interwoven Cycles" – each cycle is made of three pieces played on a sequence of bass-soprano-tenor saxophone, until reaching “Earthquake" - a central symmetrical track. From that point on, the order of the sequences are reversed to tenor-soprano-bass. The first cycle comprises “Hymn" (bass sax), “Senza Nessuna Eleganza" (soprano sax), and “Bewegung" (tenor sax): “Hymn" is a classical chamber piece - deep, slow and grave; while “Senza Nessuna…" is chaotic, with a strident machine mechanical noise. “Bewegung" is vivid, recalling the improvisations of a Free-Jazz band – including a crazy sax solo amid bird-squeaking noises. The second cycle comprises “Moods" (bass sax), “Pastorale" (soprano sax), and “Wendepunkt" (tenor sax). “Moods" is a gloomy piece with sounds of insect-humming, lighthouse sirens and crying dogs; “Pastorale" is slow, sad, aerial, mysterious and phantasmagoric; “Wendepunkt" begins with sparse random notes that gradually get structured around a traditional Jazz solo. “Earthquake" (bass sax) is the symmetrical central piece. It is an experimental effort with long and reverberating bass notes and strange drilling noises. The third cycle has “Kontaktspiel“ (tenor sax), “Quisquilia" (soprano sax) and “Little Quakes" (bass sax): on “Kontaktspiel", Stauss extracts sounds of his saxophone that recall human laughing, horse-neighing, and squeaking mice; on “Quisquilia", casual sounds of plucked guitars and sax resemble the gears of a watch; and “Little Quakes" has elephantine “trunk-trumpet" sounds. The last cycle is made of “Strahlen" (tenor sax), “Migrazione" (soprano sax) and “Meandering" (bass sax): “Strahlen" has a tearing, sharp noise; “Migrazione" brings nervous solos of up-and-down scales, and “Meandering" has guitar effects that create a weird and unreal atmosphere subdivided by silences and rhythmical sounds of sax. Although being extremely unconventional and difficult to assimilate, the theoretical music of Zauss is cerebral, peculiar and curious – a kind of anti-music – that is only recommended for fans of R.I.O, Avant-garde, Experimental and extreme Free-Jazz Music.  Band members involved in Zauss are: Francesco Zago – Electric Guitars, Loops; Markus Stauss – Bass, Soprano and Tenor Saxophones...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013.....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ZAUSS HOME PAGE...
. ACIDENTE - "Ainda"
Acidente is a veteran Rock band from Nilópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The moniker Acidente refers to 2 phases in time & style of the same band. The first Acident (1978-1987), here nicknamed Old Aça, was born of the fusion of two bands: Banda Só Por Uma Noite (1974-1977), which featured Paulo Malária (keyboards, vocals), Guto Rolim (bass), and Zeca Pereira (drums); and Leviathan, which featured Helio “Scubi" Jenné (vocals, guitars) and Raul Branco (first drummer). Old Aça played mainly a mix of Blues, ballads and Garage Rock, and released the LPs “Guerra Civil” (1981), “Fim do Mundo” (1983), and the EP “Piolho” (1985); which were all reissued on the CD compilation “Rock” (2011). In 1987 the original Acidente line-up disbanded, and keyboardist Paulo Malária began to play with Nilópolis-based band The Lirios and Estado Interessante. In those bands he met the musicians Zunga Ezzaet (guitar), Jarbas Loop (bass), and Bruno Mega (drums). They formed a quartet that played ‘70-styled Instrumental Prog-Rock, and in 1989 they resurrected the moniker Acidente (from now on, nicknamed New Aça). New Aça soon released the LP “Em Caso de Acidente ... Quebre Este Disco” (1990). Two years later, Mario Costa replaced Bruno Mega on drums. Later on, New Aça released their first CD “Gloomland” (1994), followed by “Farawayers” (1996), with Ary Menezes on bass. Those CDs were released under Stolen Records - Malaria's independent label. In 2000 Brazilian Prog-Label Rock Symphony released on CD the album “Em Caso de Acidente... Quebre Este Disco”, with bonus tracks. This CD was followed by “Technolorgy” (2002, Rock Symphony/ Musea Records), which featured new guitarist Renato Borges. Meanwhile, the New Aça line-up Renato- Ary- Mario- Malária plus founder member Helio “Scubi” Jenné created a parallel project called Pega Varetas, which released the CD “Mêu Páu de Sêbo” (2003), featuring a rocky sound that revived the original spirit of Old Aça. After a hiatus during which Acidente performed only in special occasions (“that never happened at all”) Malária produced the CD “Não Pode Ser Vendido Separadamente” (2007, Stolen Records). The inscription “Progheads – Warning: No Prog at all”, advised about the non-Prog musical content of it. Five years later, Acidente returned once more with a new album, called “Ainda” (2012, Stolen Records). The line-up was reduced to a trio formed of original Acidente’s founder-members Paulo Malária & Helio “Scubi” Jenné, and Zunga Ezzaet (co-founder of New Aça, and the main musical driving force on this CD). Although featuring many technical problems (low quality of sound, vocals that are not as tuneful as in old times), “Ainda” represents Acidente’s endurance against time and odds, a humble memorial erected in behalf of their love for making music. “Ainda” features 17 tracks: 10 songs and 7 instrumental pieces. The music is a hybrid of Progressive and Hard Rock in the style of the ‘70s & ‘80s, with emphasis on guitars and keyboards, having a vibrant sonority reminiscent of Brazilian Rock acts of the 70’s & 80’s (“Os Mutantes”, “Raul Seixas”, “A Bolha”, “O Terço”, “Saecula Saeculorum”, “Secos e Molhados”, “O Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “14-Bis”, “Trem do Futuro”, “Moto Perpétuo”, “A Cor do Som”, “Walter Franco”, “Celso Blues Boy”, “Robertinho do Recife”, “Roupa Nova”), but also with influences of British bands very popular in Brazil (“Genesis”, “Yes”, and “Deep Purple”). Among the instrumental pieces, the best are: “6 6 11 (Six Six Eleven)” (4:42) - a vigorous Hard-Rock that opens the album; “Gravidade” (5:22), a Neo-Classical guitar ballad; and “Mala de Influência” (6:07), a Neo-Prog piece with influences of “Genesis”, “King Crimson”, and “Focus”. There are still “Let’s Play” (4:04) – a guitar solo with influences of “Yes”; and the 80’s Rock “1987” (3:54). The songs are more varied. My favorites are those sung by Zunga Ezzaet: the 80’s Rock “Trilhos, Dormentes e Homens” (5:44) and the Blues-Rock “7 Quedas” (3:32). In the Hard-Rock style, I liked two songs with Helio “Scubi” on the lead vocals: the fast “Navidalouca” (4:4), with a typical Brazilian “Forrock” segment; and “Ruas Torturantes” (4:04), with an instrumental part reviving the Psychedelic sound of the ‘70s. Also a highlight, “Elsewhere” (9:36) - the only song with English lyrics - is a Symphonic Neo-Prog driven by Malária’s deep voice, having long passages for pianos and guitar. Other songs are the cheerful “A Nova Onda” (3:38) (recalling “14-Bis” and having beautiful guitar solo); the Hard-Rock “Só Eu Sei” (3:27) (with lyrics about chasing dreams); and “Resinstant” (1:07)/“Trevas” (5:51), a ballad with a popish sound. With the typical Brazilian irony, the humorous songs “O Tronco” (3:27), and the political “Venham Cᔠ(3:20) fade into the instrumental “The End” (0:59), that closes the CD. Congratulations to Acidente for still chasing their dreams after so much time. “Ainda” is recommended for those Progressive Rock fans that are familiar with the sounds and bands of Brazilian Rock of the ‘70s to ‘80s. Band members and collaborators involved in Acidente are: Zunga Ezzaet - Guitars (all tracks), Bass (except track 12), Drum Programming (all tracks), Keyboards (tracks 1, 4, 13, 17), Lead (3, 9) and Backing Vocals; Paulo Malária - Keyboards (all tracks), Lead (5, 8, 11, 16) and Backing Vocals; Helio 'Scubi' Jenné - Lead Vocals (tracks 2, 6, 8, 12) and Backing Vocals; Raul Branco - Bass on track 12. Recorded & Mixed by Zunga Ezzaet at Estudio Pico do Ezzaet (Nilópolis) from March 29 2011 to March 28 2012. Mastered by Everson Dias at Eversongs Studio (Itanhangá). Design by Helio 'Scubi' Jenné. Produced by Paulo Malária (Stolen Records); Executive producer - Paulo Izecksohn...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013.................................,.....Interested to know more about this Brazilian Band? Visit ACIDENTE HOME PAGE...
. JEFF AUG - "Living Room Sessions"
Jeff Aug is an underground guitarist born in Washington, D.C. who plays acoustic instrumental music. Aug has performed over 1000 concerts as supporting artist for names like “Allan Holdsworth”, “Soft Machine”, “Albert Lee”, “Jawbox”, “Shudder To Think”, and “Ice-T & Bodycount”. He has worked with “John Stabb” from “Government Issue”, has been touring and recording with “Anne Clark” for the last 10 years, and has been touring as a solo guitarist for the last 20 years across the U.S. and Europe, making appearances at Fusion Festival, Krach am Bach Festival, Klangbad Festival, and others. He had also 6 major features in guitar magazines worldwide (Gitarist, Guitar, Guitar Player, Akustik Gitarre, Guitar Acoustic). Jeff Aug has also participated on parallel projects (“Floating Stone” and “Banana Peel Buzz”), and can be heard on the “Atari Teenage Riot” album “Is This Hyperreal?” (2011). Jeff Aug has already released 5 solo albums. The latest is “Wedding Song” (March 2012, netMusicZone Records / Rough Trade distribution). It was preceded by “Living Room Sessions” – the album under review here, which was released on Aug’s birthday (13.March 2009, under netMusicZone Records / Rough Trade). “Living Room Sessions” was recorded in the living room of pianist and composer Murat Parlak (“Yehudi Menuhin”, “Branford Marsalis”, “Anne Clark”), and represents musical material that Aug had written for “Anne Clark’s” 2008 album “The Smallest Acts Of Kindness”, but that did not fit into it. He then reworked those outtakes and rearranged the material as instrumental music to be played on guitar, in acoustic fingerstyle. The resulting music is impressive and enchanting. Although not being Standard Progressive Rock, Aug’s playful technique on the acoustic guitar amazes any listener at once. The music is a blend of American Folk, Bluegrass, Cajun & Country with touches of groovy Funky lines and occasional Oriental adornments. But everything is played at high speeds, using fast shredding techniques executed with awesome mathematical precision. The vigorous performance may be even dubbed as “hard-core acoustic guitar playing”, and may find some parallel in the music of “Paco de Luccia”, “Yamandu Costa”, “Andrés Segovia”, and the acoustic works of “Anthony Phillips”, “Steve Howe”, “Steve Hackett”, “Stevie Ray Vaughan”, “Hunter Van Larkins”, “Igor Presnyakov”, “Raphael Rabello”, “Preston Reed”, and other fingerstyle guitarists. “Living Room Sessions” contains 15 short instrumental tracks and two videos (of “Boots On Fire” and “One Twenty”). The vibrant and burning “Boots On Fire” (1:16) opens the album, followed by the mild and technical “One Twenty” (1:38), immediately impressing the listener. Squeezed between the two short and frantic “Intermezzo I” (0:22) & “Intermezzo II” (0:41), than follows a sequence of best tracks, beginning with the pastoral “Highlife” (1:42); the Andalusia-styled “Lightness” (3:08) (which  blends Spanish and Arabian scales, recalling “Paco de Lucia”); and the British Folk “Musicbox Ballerina” (3:05) – surrounded by an eerie atmosphere that sounds slightly Progressive, vaguely reminiscent of the acoustic works of “Anthony Phillips” and “Steve Hackett”. This kind of sonority will appear later, on “September” (2:06), and on the last tracks: “Intermezzo III” (1:41) & “Sunday Morning” (1:54), which together make a continuous piece of music. Also worth of mentioning are “Lousiana Voodoo Boogie” (2:00) – a spooky Old Times American folk; and the explosive “Chemical Funk” (1:11) - an experimental acoustic blend of Funk and Country music. Evoking images of the rural environment, like a bright sun shining over the pastures, there are the sweet and cheerful “Passing Time” (2:12) and the slow and tranquil “Whenever It Comes” (3:05). The album still brings the cheerful “Hoedown on the Chicken Farm” (02:52), which is the typical soundtrack for a cowboy’s rodeo, featuring funny singing cows. Better than recommend Jeff Aug for fans of the instrumental work of “Anthony Philips”, “Steve Hackett”, and others, is to urge Progressive fans to visit Jeff Aug’s webpage and ask him to form a Progressive Rock band. This would be really awesome! To see Jeff Aug’s live performances, watch the videos for: “Boots On Fire”  & “One Twenty”. Band members and collaborators involved in Jeff Aug are: Jeff Aug – Acoustic Guitar. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Murat Parlak at Living Room Studios in Kempten, Germany, during Summer 2008. Videos by Christian Grüner of Pikestaff Studios...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit JEFF AUG HOME PAGE...
. X-TERRA - "From the Vault"
X-Terra is a White-Metal & Rock trio composed of Bill Hunt (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Anne Kachline (bass, backing vocals), and Bob Kachline (drums, backing vocals). Formed in 1985 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S.A, X-Terra has performed mainly in Pennsylvania, New-York, New Jersey, and Maryland. The band released the full-length albums “Wolves” (2003), “X-Nihilo” (2006), and “From the Vault” (2009). The later contains a compilation of 11 tracks recorded in 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, and 2007, what makes the sound of the record a bit uneven. In spite of the technical problems, the compositions of “From the Vault” are easy-listening Heavy Metal standards, blending Traditional Heavy Metal of the 70’s and 80’s, Glam Metal, “Motorcycle” Metal, and Hard Rock with some doses of NWOBHM and Epic Metal. The songs are based on guitar riffs, metal-rock vocals with emphasis on the chorus, and are always adorned with melodic guitar solos. The most obvious influence is “Stryper”, but the sonority of X-Terra has also a resemblance with “pagan” bands, like “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “UFO”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Scorpions”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Grimm Reaper”, “Tokyo Blade”, “Dokken”, “Tysondog”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “Great White”, “Ratt”, “The Rods”, “KISS”, “Aerosmith”, “AC/DC”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Guns n’ Roses”, and even “Armored Saint”, “Savatage”, “Grave Digger”, and (no offense to your beliefs, guys) “Black Sabbath”. My favorite songs are those that recall the metallic raw sound of bands like “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “Riot”, “Tysondog”, “Accept”, and “Dokken”, like the opening track “Who Said” (3:22), the explosive “Warrior” (2:40), and also “Keep the Lightning” (5:57) and “The Gadarene” (5:41), both with a lean to the NWOBHM style on bass & drums. Another favorites are “Father’s House” (5:18) – driven by a “Tony Iommi” typical kind of guitar riff – and two songs that escape from X-Terra’s musical formula: the Epic-Doom “Tower of Babel” (7:14), divided in different parts, and with marking vocals (recalling “Grave Digger” & “Armored Saint”), and the Folk ballad “For the Want of a Nail” (6:22), that combines influences of “Led Zeppelin” and “The Outlaws”, being crowned with a bluesy guitar solo. The album still brings some Hard Rock songs with influences of “Stryper”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “Great White”, “Ratt”, “KISS”, “AC/DC”, and “Riot”: “Red or Not” (3:21) and “The Lord is My Shepherd” (2:54); and is completed with the Love Ballads “Love is Cruel” (5:38) (reminiscent of “Guns n’ Roses”) and “Smile for Me” (5:08), which is driven by acoustic guitars, and has a beautiful guitar tune. Not a Progressive Metal act at all, X-Terra is especially recommended for fans of bands like “Stryper”, “Judas Priest”, “Saxon”, “UFO”, “Krokus”, “Def Leppard”, “Scorpions”, “The Rods”, “Accept”, “Riot”, “Grimm Reaper”, “Tokyo Blade”, “Dokken”, “Tysondog”, “Quiet Riot”, “Twisted Sister”, “KISS”, “Great White”, “Ratt”, “Aerosmith”, “AC/DC”, “W.A.S.P.”, “Guns n’ Roses”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in X-Terra are: Bill Hunt - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Keyboards; Anne Kachline - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals; Bob Kachline - Drums, Backing Vocals...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013.................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit X-TERRA HOME PAGE...
. GREENSLEEVES - "The Elephant Truth"
The Brazilian band Greensleeves (from Curitiba, Paraná) was founded in 1993 by Victor H. Schmidlin (guitars, vocals), Cicero Baggio (guitars), João Koerner (bass) and Giuliano Settim (first drummer). In 1994, vocalist Jim Marc Douglas (ex-“Icarus") joined the band. In 1995 Greensleeves recorded the demo “Imortal", at Drum Studio (Rio de Janeiro). In 1997, Douglas was replaced by Guilherme Nogueira. Shortly after, drummer Giulliano left the band. Without finding a permanent drummer, Greensleeves disbanded. Nine years later, the band gathered together again - this time with new drummer Marlon Marquis (ex-“Dynahead"), and also with participation of guest singer Alirio Netto (“Khallice") - to record their debut album, entitled “The Elephant Truth" (2009).The album is inspired by a poem by John Godfrey Saxe (“The Blind Men and The Elephant"), and tells the story of a man who suffered a car accident. As he lies in state of coma, his mind journeys through a metaphoric world composed by the different facets of Truth. The sonority is typical of a band of the 21st century doing (very good) Heavy Metal from of the eighties. The band follows the voyage of the lost conscience of the man in coma, drifting through the rhythms and riffs that resemble Proto-Prog-Metal bands like “Rush" (“Caress of Steel"), “Queensrÿche" (album “Operation Mindcrime"), “Iron Maiden", “Fates Warning" (“No Exit"), “Crimson Glory"; also having influences of “Black Sabbath" (albums “Vol IV", “Sabotage"), “Imago Mortis" (“Vida"), “Dream Theater" (“Train of Thought"), “Pagan's Mind", and “Evergrey". The sound is dense and full of “True Metal" solos (like those heard on “Iron Maiden", “Judas", “Queensryche", “Fates Warning"). The voice of Guilherme Nogueira stands between “Bruce Dickinson" and “Ozzy Osbourne". “The Elephant Truth" features more than 1 hour of music, divided in 23 tracks. Tracks 1-4 are based on heavy and cadenced guitar riffs that resemble a heavier “Black Sabbath" (mainly for the vocals), sometimes including elements of Psychedelic Thrash Metal (song “Parasites in Paradise"). Track 5 (“Come Back to Myself") follows the progressive line of “Rush" and “Dream Theater", featuring great vocals by Guilherme Nogueira and many instrumental parts like “Crimson Glory". Tracks 6-10 are oriented towards the tripod “Queensryche" + “Iron Maiden" + “Fates Warning". From those, I recommend “Out of Reality", for its killing guitar solos; and “Invisible Man/Time Should Be an Ally". The sequence of tracks 11-14 stands among the best of the record. After an intro presented by a somber choir of male voices, we are introduced to “Crisis"/"BestFriends", a sad piano ballad that turns into a blend of “Queensryche" and “Rush", and features an amazing vocal duel of Guilherme Nogueira against Alirio Netto. The last track of the sequence (“The Blind Man and the Elephant") embraces the Tech-Metal style, offering opportunity for the rhythmic section to show off, with many pulsing bass lines and “broken" drum beats. Track 15 (“Blind by Choice") returns to the fast pace of “Iron Maiden" and “Fates Warning". Tracks 16-17 (“Recipes for the Greatest Lie" and “Engineers of the Day") feature increasingly heavy loads of pure Metal with Psychedelic Thrash Metal, resembling “Dream Theater" (album “Train of Thought"). The following tracks (18-21) combine many elements of the previous tracks, also approaching modern Prog-Metal. The best of the sequence are “Red Ocean" and “Epiphany", which blend influences of “Pagan’s Mind", “Rush", “Fates Warning" and even the heavy Doom of “Imago Mortis". Tracks 22-23 (“The Sentence"/"The Coward’s Refuse") close the circle, representing the last acts of the story told in this impressive debut - of a band that I hope to hear much more in the nearest future. Greensleeves is specially recommended for Heavy Metal fans that have a predilection  for the Proto-Prog-Metal bands of the eighties. Band members and collaborators involved in Greensleeves are: Guilherme Nogueira – Vocals; Victor H. Schmidlin – Guitars; Cicero Baggio – Guitars; João Koerner – Bass; Marlon Marquis – Drums. Guest appearences: Alirio Netto – Vocals (tracks 7,12,14,18); characters on track 20: Rita de Pinna Parreiras (as “The Nurse"); João Koerner (as “The Doctor"); Bia Lins (as “The Epiphany")...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013......................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GREENSLEEVES HOME PAGE...
. GRIMNOTE - "Screaming Underground"
GrimNote is an Alternative & Rock band that was born in 2009 is the city of Piombino Dese, (Padova, Italy). GrimNote is a quartet consisting of Edoardo “Dodo” Fusaro (vocals, percussion), Giovanni “Giobo” Bergamin (guitars, backing vocals), Antonino “Toni” Isca (bass), and Marco “Zanna” Zanini (drums, percussion). GrimNote’s debut album “Screaming Underground” was independently released in 2012. Besides the four members, the record features the guest musicians Alessandro Moro (piano, Hammond organ, keyboards), Livia Parolin and Andrea Valfrè on backing vocals; and Ricardo Damian (additional guitars, keyboards, backing vocals & production). The album features 10 tracks, most are sung in English, two in Italian, and one in Spanish. The sound of GrimNote may be defined as plain Rock n’ Roll, with influences of 70’s Hard Rock, American Southern Rock, Traditional Heavy Metal, Party Rock, Glam Metal, and Pop-Rock. And GrimNote’s musicians play everything with vigor, conviction, and passion, and a general sensation of having much fun when doing so. The highlights are the potent vocals of Edoardo Fusaro (with a voice that recalls “Paul Rodgers” and “Sammy Hagar”, but with a slightly aggressive tone on the harder parts), and the excellent guitar work of Giovanni Bergamin – who knows how to make hooky and soulful solos, without being pretentious. The rhythmic section - composed by the groovy bass of Antonino Isca, and the potent drums of Marco Zanini - keep the music at the right rocking pace for anybody willing to dance from dusk to dawn. From the starting song “Screaming Underground” (4:57) (an excellent Hard Rock, with the swing and groove of the 70’s, awesome vocals and great guitars), and continuing with the questioning irony of “Pirati” (3:35) (a Metal-Rock that recalls me of “Baron Rojo”); GrimNote widens their palette of sounds by blending emotional vocals, soulful guitars, Southern Rock moments and Hammond organs on the outstanding songs “27 Coffees” (3:15) and “Sad Reality” (4:34), both reminiscent of the sonority of bands like “Bad Company”, “Nazareth”, “Triumph”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, and “Whitesnake”. On the other hand, “Beautiful Tits” (4:01) is a lively Party-Metal song that brings to mind bands like “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”, “Mötley Crüe”, and “Quiet Riot”. Interspersed with the aforementioned songs, there are some pop-rock ballads, well-formatted for radio airplay. One is “Mystery” (4:36) (a NWOBHM-styled ballad with cheerful chorus that recalls “Def Leppard”), and the others are the electroacoustic “Burning My Sky” (5:18) (driven by pianos, bass and acoustic guitars, recalling the most modern style of “Pearl Jam”); and “La Meta Lontana” (5:05), which includes soft harmony vocals and beautiful guitar solo, sounding more like “Black Crowes”. Diverging from the Hard-Rock trend of this record, the Latin song “Mirando El Mar” (4:31) is softly driven by acoustic guitars and Spanish tunes; while the very best track “Crow Will Come” (6:32), which closed the album, blends spooky Old Blues with Middle-Eastern rhythms in a dark atmosphere that recalls “The Tea Party”. Although not at all original, the music of GrimNote is substantial, pleasant, and performed in a very professional level. GrimNote has really something to offer for fans of “Bad Company”, “Whitesnake”, “Nazareth”, “UFO”, “Thin Lizzy”, “AC/DC”, “Triumph”, “Baron Rojo”, “Scorpions”, “Aerosmith”, “Ted Nugent”, “Black Oak Arkansas”, “Van Halen”, “Heart”, “Def Leppard”, “Bon Jovi”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Kiss”, “Quiet Riot”, “Mötley Crüe”, “Ratt”, “Great White”, “Skid Row”, “Guns N’ Roses”, “Pearl Jam”, “Black Crowes”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Them Crooked Vultures”, to whom they are especially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in GrimNote are: Edoardo “Dodo” Fusaro – Lead and Backing Vocals, Percussion; Giovanni “Giobo” Bergamin – Electric, Acoustic & Classical Guitars, Backing Vocals; Antonino “Toni” Isca – Bass; Marco “Zanna” Zanini – Drums & Percussion. Guest musicians: Alessandro Moro– Piano, Hammond Organ, Keyboards; Livia Parolin – Backing Vocals; Andrea Valfrè – Backing Vocals; Ricardo Damian – Additional Guitars, Backing Vocals, Hammond Organ and Keyboards. All lyrics by E. Fusaro; music by G. Bergamin & M. Zanini. Produced by Ricardo Damian; Arranged by R. Damian & A. Moro. Recorded & mixed at Magister Record Area (Pregaziol TV); mastered at Velut Luna (Pregaziol TV) by R. Damian & A. Valfrè...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit GRIMNOTE HOME PAGE...
. ALLAN HOLDSWORTH - "None Too Soon"
The legendary Allan Holdsworth is back again to this webzine. Our previous review commented about the re-issue of Holdsworth’s album “Hard Hat Area”. That album featured a line-up consisting of Icelandic bassist Skull Sverrisson, drummer Gary Husband, and keyboardist Steve Hunt, and provided one of Holdsworth’s most satisfying projects in respect to quality of group interplay and by matching the vibe of a live performance. Holdsworth's follow-up - “None Too Soon” - was totally different from “Hard Hat…”, being marked by a change in style, with grater emphasis on “straight-ahead” Jazz. “None Too Soon” was originally released in 1996. The album  was digitally re-mastered in 2011, and re-issued in 2012 under MoonJune Records. “None Too Soon” brought in some Classic Jazz pieces – chosen and reinterpreted according to Holdsworth‘s taste – and a few original pieces composed by Gordon Beck (one of England's best Jazz pianists, and also responsible for the arrangements). The rhythm section of this project included bassist Gary Willis and drummer Kirk Covington, both members of the West Coast based fusion band “Tribal Tech”. That line-up had already established a chemistry in a brief recording session featured on a “The Beatles” guitar tribute titled “Come Together” (1994, NYC Records) on which this same group covered the song “Michelle”. In “None Too Soon“, Holdsworth aimed to widen his playing stylistics, producing refreshing versions of jazz standards under his own point of view, reflecting his preferences and reverences for Masters such as “John Coltrane”, “Bill Evans”, “Django Reinhardt”, “Irving Berlin”, and “Joe Henderson”. “None Too Soon” also offers to the listeners the opportunity to experiment a clash of true Titans – Holdsworth on guitar, Beck on piano – each one producing precious solos and brilliant instrumental parts, profiting from that healthy competition on which no single musicians emerges victorious – but the Music itself. Meanwhile, Willis and Covington contribute with a more than shiny rhythmic section, sometimes stealing the scene from the main characters. “None Too Soon” brings 9 tracks. It opens with “Countdown” (“John Coltrane”) (3:09), driven by a de-constructed and crooked jazzy guitar solo. The soft “Nuages” (“Django Reinhardt”) (5:40) join in pieces different nuances and moods, driven by soft guitar playing and bouncing pianos. It is followed by an inventive and energetic reinterpretation of “How Deep is the Ocean” (“Irving Berlin”) (5:29), with Holdsworth’s guitar going up and down like the ocean waves beating against the seashores of Beck’s sophisticated pianos. The tranquility of that marvelous piece contrasts with to the weird “Isotope” (“Joe Henderson”) (5:41), on which Beck takes the lead, with Holdsworth responding at the same tone just afterwards, with an amazing bass solo as a mediator. The three-part title track  - “None Too Soon pt. one”, “Interlude” & “None Too Soon pt. two” (“Gordon Beck”) (7:42) – comes with more mysterious and enigmatic Jazz-Fusion tunes; to be counterbalanced by the sweetness of “Norwegian Wood” (“Lennon/McCartney”) (5:55), presented in a tasteful jazzy version. All coolness of soft Jazz emerges on “Very Early” (“Bill Evans”) (7:40), on which stylish bass passages dialogue with pianos, while Holdsworth has a minor participation, just feeling the mood of the moment. To wake up the listener from that trance, the quartet pours in the powerful “San Marcos” (“Gordon Beck”) (3:22) – combining agile keys, intense instrumental interplay, and wild guitar solo. The closing track - “Inner Urge” (“Joe Henderson”) (6:15) – brings another war between enigmatic guitars and lustful pianos, smashing a bass solo in the middle. “None Too Soon” marked Holdsworth’s search for a further exploration of traditional jazz motifs, a search that would be accentuated on the follow-up “The Sixteen Men Of Tain” (2000). The later would trace a new direction toward a forward-looking jazz vein, blended with more traditional jazz arrangements, with Holdsworth leading a new line-up formed with West Coast session men “Dave Carpenter” on bass and “Gary Novak” on drums – but that is another story. Another great reissue of MoonJune Records, Holdsworth‘s “None Too Soon” joins an unbelievable versatile guitar player with a luminary of the Jazz (pianist Gordon Beck), bringing the extraordinary contribution of “Tribal Tech’s” rhythmic section, consisting in a must-have album for all fans of Standard Modern Jazz. Band members and collaborators involved in Allan Holdsworth are: Allan Holdsworth – Guitars; Gordon Beck – Digital Piano, Keyboards; Gary Willis – Bass; Kirk Covington – Drums. “None Too Soon” originally released in 1996, produced by Allan Holdsworth; re-mastered in 2011 by Chris Bellman at the Bernie Grundman Mastering, reissued in 2012 under MoonJune Records (executive producer Leonardo Pavkovic)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013............Interested to know more about the Musician and Band? Visit ALLAN HOLDSWORTH HOME PAGE...
. VEDDA TRIBE - "Vedda Tribe"
Vedda Tribe was a Progressive Rock band from Italy that was formed by Filippo Guerini (guitars, guitar-synth, vocals), Mauro Pamiro (keyboards, bass), and Flavio Leva (drums, electronic percussion). They released only two albums under the independent label Lizard Records - the eponymous “Vedda Tribe” (1999) and “Good Night to the Bucket” (2004) – before disbanding in 2005. The music of Vedda Tribe is sophisticated, strongly influenced by bands like “Soft Machine” (pre-“Bundles” era), “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Kenso”, and “Weather Report”, but by no means must be regarded as a copy of them, unless on the issue of having their same approach towards making creative and free-bonded music. Offering an original blend of melodic Jazz-Fusion with touches of Progressive & World Music, Vedda Tribe’s compositions combine the omnipresent piano, excellent bass passages in Canterbury style, eclectic jazzy drumming, and guitars that are influenced by “John McLaughlin” and “Robert Fripp”. The resulting music is cosmopolitan, mysterious, sometimes majestic, other times mild and gentle, with occasional energetic outbursts. Vedda Tribe’s eponymous album contains five long tracks, four of which are totally instrumental. The album opens with “Il Passaggio del Mar Rosso” (8:27), which is driven by a mysterious theme played on the piano, progressive bass and oriental guitars – having a middle break for melodic guitar solo with background sounds reminiscent of whales and seagulls crying; and a vigorous final part with guitar riffs; the whole piece being reminiscent of “Mahavishnu Orchestra”. “Nebbia di Lilliput” (9:38) begins immersed in a magical atmosphere, as soft bass, guitars and drums slowly go on, supporting an electronic keyboard sound that performs the main melodic lines, growing later to a vibrant Prog-Fusion segment that lead to solos of bass & drums (recalling mainly “Soft Machine”, but also “Mahavishnu”). “Hypercube” (9:28) opens with majestic pianos having a classical touch sided by orchestral percussion and delves into an opulent and solid layer of sound with crooked guitar & bass (like “King Crimson”), being followed by a soaring part with melodic bouncing pianos and floating guitars, and a third part, somber, immersed in echoing Moog sounds, strange guitars, and freezing pianos that lead to the cosmic finale (in “Brian Eno’s” style). “Democrazy” (7:00) is a violent and expressive Jazz-Rock tour-de-force, driven by a fast and free-flowing rhythmic session that supports distorted guitar solos and space-rock keyboards. This composition strongly resembles “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, but has a touch of “King Crimson” on the space-rock keyboards. Finally, the mild and floating “Etemenanki” (10:16), the only track with a few vocal lines, evolves in a cycle that recalls early experiments of “Soft Machine”, including hypnotic bass, flute-like sounds, free piano melodies and murmuring percussion. Very impressive for a band’s first album, Vedda Tribe’s debut is an excellent musical work, being highly recommended for fans of Jazz-Rock, Jazz-Fusion and Prog-Fusion, including admirers of original bands such as “Soft Machine”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “King Crimson”, “Jean-Luc Ponty”, “Alan Holdsworth”, “Kenso”, “Hatfield and the North”, “Weather Report”, “Zappa”, “Colosseum”, “The Wrong Object”, “Miles Davis”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Vedda Tribe are: Filippo Guerini - Guitars, Guitar-Synth, Vocals; Mauro Pamiro - Keyboards, Bass; Flavio Leva - Drums, Electronic Percussion...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013..........................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit VEDDA TRIBE HOME PAGE...
. SLYDE - "New World Sympathy + Feed The Machine"
Slyde is a Canadian Prog-Metal quartet featuring Nathan Da Silva (vocals, guitars), Sarah Westbrook (keyboards, samples), Nicholas Favretto (bass), and Brendan Soares (drums). The band was formed in 2009 in Ottawa and Toronto (Ontario), and since then has toured intensively in Eastern Canada, making performances at important festivals. The music of Slyde combines Prog-Metal and European Melodic Metal with elements of Progressive Rock, Progressive Punk, Post-Prog, Alternative Rock, Grunge and Japanese video-game music. The band is mainly inspired by “Nobuo Uematsu”, “Yasunori Mitsuda”, “Pumpkins”, “Rush”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “System of a Down”, “Metric”, “Soilwork”, “Scar Symmetry”, “Foo Fighters”, “Mercenary”, “Megadeth”, “Metallica”, “Dream Theater”, “The Mars Volta”, and “Daft Punk”, but resemblances with bands like “Enchant”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Redemption”, “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, and “Aeon Zen” are also realized in their music, as well as an Alternative Rock component that is reminiscent of bands like “Green Day”, “Simple Plan”, and “Fall Out Boy” (because of Da Silva’s jovial vocals). Slyde’s sound is solid, energetic and explosive: contagious melodic and rhythmic parts are tightly bound to moments of great musicianship by means of catchy hooks. Keen lyrics express the band’s opinions about current environmental and political topics. The final musical package sounds familiar to the listener, but also fresh, modern and amusing – and suitable for enjoyment of most Melodic Rock and Prog-Metal audiences. Slyde’s newest release is a 2013 CD special edition containing their two last independent works: the EP “New World Sympathy” (2012) and the full-length album “Feed The Machine” (2011). “Feed The Machine” is more Prog-Metal oriented, being influenced by bands like “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, “The Mars Volta”, and “Scar Symmetry”. Of its 8 tracks, 3 are short pieces that introduce the main songs. The acoustic guitar and soft vocals of “Lament” (01:19) are followed by the vibrant “Feed The Machine” (03:46) – a song with a “Dream Theater” influence, but containing more down-to-earth Hard & Rocky elements. Yet the tracks “Stand And Fight” (03:58) - which has an amazing instrumental part in the middle - and “Global Empires Fall” (04:32) – which is pinpointed with video-game sounds and has amazing guitar solo – feature a perfect combination of standard Prog-Metal instrumentation with Melodic Alternative Rock vocals, being true representatives of Slyde’s hybrid style. In between, the Progressive acoustic guitar & piano of “Meditate” (01:41) introduce “Pull The Trigger” (04:07) – a melodic Rock with smart acoustic guitar cuts that recalls the joyful sonority of “Rush”. The album ends with the soaring guitars of “Cries Of The Earth” (01:47) and “Without The Machine” (05:07) – an epic Prog-Metal with an Alternative Rock tone on vocals that has its final third dominated by a classical piano solo. This last track unveils still more of Slyde’s great musical potential – one that would be further explored on their subsequent EP “New World Sympathy”. Originally released on 19 June 2012, “New World…” gave continuation to what Slyde had achieved on “Feed The Machine”: a still more hybrid blend of Progressive Rock & Metal sonorities with Melodic, Alternative & Pop Rock references driven by conscious lyrics. Overall, I found “New World Sympathy” to be better than “Feed …”. Besides the usual musical influences, this EP includes amplified references that remind me of “System of a Down”, “Soilwork”, “Foo Fighters”, “Megadeth”, “Metallica”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “Redemption”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”, “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, and “Aeon Zen”. The 4-track EP begins with the straightforward and electrified “New World Sympathy” (03:36) – on which a bed of Prog-Metal synths punctuated by heavy guitar riffs support infectious vocals and outstanding double guitar-synth solos. The following “Take Us Away” (04:08) sounds like “Rush” and “Metallica” playing in a Prog-Metal frame, and brings opulent arrangements with pianos, soft guitars and many solos. Less Metal-like, but more Melodic, “The Downward Spiral: Save Us From Ourselves” (04:58) – has classical pianos and vocals singing sticky melodic chorus, recalling a popish song of “Rush”. Finally, the futuristic “Lies” (05:12) has electronic sounds, epic vocals, majestic themes coming from synths, space Prog-Metal riffs, and martial drums that suggest an apocalyptical battle during the end of the world (recalling “Muse”, “Ayreon”, “Star One”). In spite of being so young, Slyde is already offering something fresh to the Prog-Metal audiences. How far they will go, it depends only on their will. For now, Slyde is highly recommended for fans of “Nobuo Uematsu”, “Yasunori Mitsuda”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “The Mars Volta”, “Enchant”, “Redemption”, “Star One”, “Helloween”, “Gamma Ray”, “Iron Maiden”, “Muse”, “Coheed & Cambria”, “Scar Symmetry”, “Aeon Zen”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Slyde are: Nathan Da Silva - Guitar, Vocals; Sarah Westbrook - Keyboards, Samples; Nicholas Favretto - Bass; Brendan Soares - Drums, Voice. Eric Disero – Additional Backing Vocals. “Feed The Machine” (2011): Recorded in May 2011 in Ottawa (Ontario) and Hull (Québec). "New World Sympathy" (2012): Recorded April 23rd-May 14th, 2012. Drums (provided by Mike Bond) recorded at Pebble Studios (Barrhaven, Ontario). Other instruments recorded at Disero Productions (Hull, Québec). Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Eric Disero; Produced by Slyde & Eric Disero...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013.......................................,.....For more details and in the meantime please check out SLYDE HOME PAGE...
. PROPHExY - "Improvviso"
PropheXy is an Italian Progressive Rock band formed in Bologna in 1999. The line-up features Luca Fattori (vocals), Gabriele Martelli (guitars), Diber Benghi (keyboards), Alessandro Valle (bass, flute), and Stefano Vaccari (drums). After releasing the self-produced works “The Distance Behind” (1999, Demo, under the moniker “Prophecy”) and “Enforce Evolve” (2003), PropheXy dragged attention of the Prog-Rock community when the band took part on the “King Crimson” tribute album “The letters: an Italian unconventional guide to King Crimson” (2004, Mellow Records), on which they played a version of the song “The Great Deceiver”. The following release, “Scartomanzia” (EP, 2006), was recorded in the band’s own studio, and the track “Plasticosmic” was included in the August issue of the “Acid Jazz” magazine. The band then made concerts with “Anekdoten”, “Le Orme”, “Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Maschera di Cera”, and “Accordo dei Contrari”. After many gigs, PropheXy entered the studio again to produce the full-length album “Alconauta” (2009, UK Division). This album exposed PropheXy’s experimental vein and their taste for mixing psychedelic openings and anachronous keyboard textures within unusual jazz-rock structures and odd-time signatures - all driven by enchanting flute melodies and creatively mad vocals – forging a particular musical style defined by the band as “ARTernative Trip Rock” or “Pro-Aggressive Rock”. PropheXy’s badly-behaved Progressive Music places them on the same line of seminal bands like “King Crimson”, “Caravan”, “Soft Machine”, “Zappa”, “Area”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “I Giganti”, “Osanna”, “Semiramis”, “Alphataurus”, “Alusa Fallax”, “Il Paese dei Balocchi”, “Nuova Idea”, “Franco Battiato”, “Osage Tribe”, “Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno”, “Gli Alluminogeni”, “Panna Fredda”, “Perigeo”, “Picchio Dal Pozzo”, “Etna”, and “Goad”. PropheXy’s newest release is “Improvviso” (2013, Musea Parallèle). “Improvviso” was recorded live on March 17th 2012 at “San Sebastiano Theater” in Valli del Pasubio (Vicenza, Italy), and features 9 tracks, including brand-new songs and new versions of some tracks of “Alconauta”, plus the 2 bonus tracks: “Disassociation” and “Golf Girl”, two “Caravan” classics played together with Richard Sinclair. Their show starts with two volcanic-eruptive songs: “Tritone” (7:51) is a “King Crimson”-styled song that combines incisive vocals, vintage keyboards and primeval flutes with crazy guitars, bass & drums, having an improvised final segment. “Babba” (8:26) is a chameleonic song that has many different parts, beginning with soft flutes that change into stormy guitar-driven riffs and pounding drums, meandered by malevolent bass lines, dark psychedelic sounds and wildly mad vocals that go from creative modulations to aggressive Metal screams (recalling bands like “Area”, “Biglietto”, “Nuova Idea”, “Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno”). The two following tracks are instrumental pieces – “La Rotonda Della Memoria” (4:03) & “Stralci di Quotidiano” (8:23) - both with a tendency to the Canterbury Sound (with influences of “Soft Machine”, “Caravan”, “Hatfield and the North”) but also with large doses of Jazz-Rock. “La Rotonda…” is the most experimental, structured on mechanical guitar sounds and unusual time-divisions, juxtaposed by great synths; “Stralci…” begins mysterious – with ghostly sounds and soaring flutes - but later on it delves frankly into the Jazz-Rock, combining fantastic guitar work with frantic bass & keyboards interplay – still having dramatic progressions in the middle, a classic piano solo, and a final instrumental part that dwindles to the lighter “Canterbury Sound” (fans of “Area”, “Deus Ex Machina”, “Perigeo”, “Alusa Fallax”, “Etna”, and “Panna Fredda” will like them, too). The instrumental interlude is followed by the awesome “Paradigmi Mentali” (9:12), which combines Heavy Metal guitar riffs, gloomy keyboards, acid-rock bass, and aggressive vocal performance, having a final sequence that includes duel of Progressive flutes with melodic improvisational vocals à la “Demetrio Stratos” – and more Prog-solos of synths and guitars (for fans of “Semiramis” and “Alphataurus”). Yet, “Trickster” (5:53) is more down-to-earth, being rocky and experimental (recalling “Osage Tribe”), while “C’é Vite Sulla Luna?” (5:21) is driven by well-defined themes and melodic and ironic vocals, following the “Italian Progressive Rock” style, and gatherings influences of “Osanna”, “Area”, “Alusa Fallax”, and “Nuova Idea”). The last two songs of the show are covers of British band “Caravan”, and have participation of Richard Sinclair himself. They are the Canterbury standards “Disassociation” (5:25), and the classic “Golf Girl” (7:43), both brilliantly performed by PropheXy with fidelity and reverence. If you like to listen to the Canterbury & Italian Progressive Rock styles – all performed with originality and great musicianship - PropheXy is more than highly recommended to figure in your collection! Band members and collaborators involved in PropheXy are: Luca Fattori – Vocals; Gabriele Martelli – Guitars; Diber Benghi – Keyboards; Alessandro Valle - Bass, Flute; Stefano Vaccari - Drums. Special guest musician: Richard Sinclair – Vocals, Bass, Guitars (on “Disassociation” & “Golf Girl”)...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013..............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit PROPHExY HOME PAGE...
. THE LIVING - "The Jungle Is Dark, But Full Of Diamonds"
The Living was formed in 2006 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The band began as a trio consisting of Mike Bell (lead vocals, keyboards, and electric guitar), Elyse Jacobson (violin, backing vocals), and ex-member Jason Nett (guitars, bass, backing vocals); and released two self-produced EPs: the surprising "The Sin" (2007), and the astonishing “Bedd Tracks” (2009). Since then The Living has grown to a sextet comprising original members Mike Bell and Elyse Jacobson plus John Kastelic (viola, backing vocals), Doug Gorkoff (cello), David Spidel (electric bass, upright bass, backing vocals), and Samuel Cartwright (drums). Their highest purpose is to fuse Classical Chamber Music with Latin and Middle Eastern Music, adding some extra parts of Rock, Jazz, and Metal in an experimental and avant-garde brew that can bear the suggestive tags of “Chamber Rock Comedy”, “Strings Symphonic Rock”, or even “Exotic Symphonic Rock”. The influences of The Living are diverse, including “Mike Patton”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Talvin Singh”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Piazzolla”, “Kronos Quartet”, “Amon Tobin”, “Afro Cuban All-Stars”, “Loveage”, “Bjork”, “Portishead”, “Mindless Self Indulgence”, “Ozomatli”, “Peaches”, “Queen”, “Stravinsky”, “Ravel”, “John Zorn”, “Shakti”, “The Mars Volta”, “Infectious Grooves”, “Muse”, “Karnivool”, “Avenged Sevenfold”, “Dirty Loops”, and “John Adams”. But original acts such as “Zappa”, “Univers Zéro”, “Art Zoyd”, “Miriodor”, “The Tea Party”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, “Ennis Tola”, and “Condition Red” also have a resemblance with their sound. The Living has just released their first full-length album, entitled “The Jungle Is Dark, But Full of Diamonds” (October, 2012, self-produced). The CD comes in a beautiful shiny eco-friendly case with embossed silver foil text, photos, and lyric booklet. “The Jungle…” brings 12 tracks. Amidst furious violins, vertiginous string arrangements, powerful guitars and dazzling rhythms, The Living travels through the musical world-atlas, taking the listeners on a kaleidoscopic sonic journey from Orient to Occident, and back again. Everything in their music sounds spontaneous, as if the band was in the center of some whirlwind jam session, yet the complexities and intricacies of the arrangements hint at a highly cerebral kind of music. And all songs are vigorously performed by the entire sextet, with the leisure and precision attained only by top-skilled musicians. ”Intro” (00:34) & ”Earthmusher” (05:17) are the points of departure from some Middle East harbor: there are Arabian strings fighting against pianos, transporting the listener over the desert sand dunes to an epic ending that evokes images of the “Lawrence of Arabia” movie. Much of The Living’s firepower is showcased on ”Designer Blindfold” (05:24), a fast song driven by agile plucked strings that stays at the oriental mode with heavier guitars that recall “The Tea Party”, while a middle part is driven by Jazz-Fusion bass and drums. Even more paranoid is the sound that comes from “Maximum Gentleman” (02:58), a short and frantic song reminiscent of some cartoonish soundtrack, having addition of an operatic choir. Still pushing their capacity of blending the “unblendable” to the maximum, The Living perform a musical miracle on the lively “We are the Bubble, They are the Prick” (06:03), which joins together drunken melodies, rumba-dancing swings, Stravinskian moments, dramatic timpani, gypsy music and theatrical voices. Also on “Mister Feminister” (04:22), which is a ferocious swinging salad displaying influences from “Mr. Bungle” & “Mike Patton” to “Zappa”, the band surprises us by using unforeseen groovy-gothic vocals. On “Media” (04:27) likewise, the band crafts a sonic patchwork making use of an ironic formula that fuses Latin with Jazz, Country, Classical and Metal. On “Requiem for Bessie” (07:52) – one of the album’s best - the sad nocturnal piano gradually evolves to a dramatic ending, driven by the most passionate vocal tunes of the album. The listener may feel more of The Living’s punch by listening to “Dream Runner” (03:13), an aggressive Prog-Metal mixed to Chamber Music; or may simply be amused by the joyful boogie-woogie piano and harmony vocals of “Music is Magic” (03:52), a Rock song that reminds me of early “Queen” played also with strings. The album ends with “Sneaky Patina” (06:54) - a “bad-to-the-bones” Blues with satanic vocals and malevolent bass lines that metamorphoses itself into a R.I.O.-styled piece by the addition of creepy violins – all leading to the final cacophony of “Out of Office” (00:45). An exceptional album, “The Jungle…” presents us with 50 minutes of highly original music that gives us the certainty that The Living’s inventive arsenal is virtually inexhaustible, and will open their path for a brilliant career. Indispensable for fans of R.I.O., Avant-garde Progressive, Chamber Rock Music, World Music, and inventive Prog-Metal, and fans of “Mike Patton”, “Mr. Bungle”, “Mahavishnu Orchestra”, “Zappa”, “Piazzolla”, “Kronos Quartet”, “Bjork”, “Afro Cuban All-Stars”, “Stravinsky”, “John Zorn”, “The Mars Volta”, “Muse”, “Karnivool”, “Art Zoyd”, “Univers Zéro”, “Miriodor”, “The Tea Party”, “Diablo Swing Orchestra”, “Ennis Tola”, “Condition Red”, “To-Mera”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in The Living are: Mike Bell - Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Rhodes, Hand percussion; Elyse Jacobson - Violin, Backing vocals, spoken words on Intro; John Kastelic - Viola, Backing vocals, Additional lead vocals on track 11; Doug Gorkoff – Cello, Additional backing vocals on tracks 5 & 6; David Spidel - Electric Bass, Upright bass, Backing vocals; Samuel Cartwright – Drums. Guest musician: Jayden Beaudoin - Timpani (tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, & 10). Album produced, engineered, and mixed by David Spidel at “Red Light Studios”; mastered by Chris Potter. Graphic design by Pablo Mandel...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013..............If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit THE LIVING HOME PAGE...
. TEMPO PLÁSTICO - "Fazendo a Lata Velha Voar"
Tempo Plástico is a Rock quintet hailing from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais). The line-up features Fábio Gruppi (vocals, keyboards), Cláudio Moreira (guitar), Thiago Viana (guitar), Felipe Prado (bass), and Eduardo Drummond (drums). Tempo Plástico (which means literary “Plastic Time”) was formed in 2006 around the trio Gruppi, Moreira, & Drummond, who liked to play Psychedelic Rock with a Noisy spice. Later on, with the coming of bassist Felipe Prado and second guitarist Thiago Viana, the group decided to reduce the use of keyboards to a minimum, shifting to a guitar-oriented kind of Straightforward Heavy Rock. Tempo Plástico has performed live in many festivals including “Conexão BH 2013”, “S.E.N.S.A.C.I.O.N.A.L.!” (in Belo Horizonte), and “BrasilFest” (Seattle, EUA). Tempo Plástico’s debut album is titled “Fazendo A Lata Velha Voar” (2013, Ultra Music). It was recorded and mixed at Estúdio Ultra (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), but mastered in the Sterling Sound Studio (NY, USA) by sound engineer Ted Jensen (who worked with “Stone Temple Pilots”, “Alice in Chains”, “Deftones”, and “Sepultura”). A video-clip for the track “Yellow Líquido” was produced by the band’s own audiovisual company, called “Queijo Elétrico” (“Electric Cheese”). “Fazendo A Lata Velha Voar” (“Making the Clunker Car Fly”) has 12 songs that were written between October and December 2011. The lyrics are in Portuguese with few lines in English. By fusing the sounds of two distorted guitars, groovy guitar riffs, and rocky beats with elements of Stoner Rock, Grunge and references to Brazilian Music, Tempo Plástico makes a solid and visceral sonority that is largely influenced by “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Blue Cheer”, “Budgie”, “Cactus”, “AC/DC”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Foo Fighters”, “Alice in Chains”, “Red Fang”, and Brazilian “Titãs”. My favorite tracks are the groovy “Yellow Líquido” (3:45); the Grunge  “Gift” (3:24); the ’70-styled Hard-Rock “No Tempo Certo” (4:05) (embellished with a psychedelic guitar solo); the bass-driven “Meia-Noite” (2:56) (a kind of Punk-Rock Grunge); and in special the Heavy-Metal song  “Choosing a Way” (3:11) (with guitar riffs that are like to early “Black Sabbath” with “Ozzy”); and “Libertas” (4:10) – which begins like a slow Desert-Rock, but accelerates with the coming of vibrant bass and drums (that recall me of “Budgie”), and has more aggressive guitars. Less aggressive, the Road-Rock “Kerouac” (2:49) and the Stoner Rock “Electric Bird” (4:05) will please fans of “Queens of the Stone Age”. To give some balance to the Hard & Heavy tracks, Tempo Plástico also added to their album some lighter and softer songs, such as the Desert-Rock “Enquanto o Mundo Não Vem” (3:42); the Hammond-driven ballad “Lafaiete” (3:21); the slightly funky “Se Quiser Saber” (2:58); and the Traditional Rock “Passe” (3:17). Neither a Progressive act, nor a Prog-Metal band, Tempo Plástico may be the right choice for those listeners who like Psychedelic Hard-Rock of the ‘70s, Stoner-Rock, and Grunge, but the Portuguese lyrics may restrict the band to the domestic Brazilian Rock scene. Tempo Plástico is specially recommendable for fans of “Black Sabbath”, “Deep Purple”, “Blue Cheer”, “Budgie”, “Cactus”, “AC/DC”, “Electric Wizard”, “Queens of the Stone Age”, “Foo Fighters”, “Alice in Chains”, “Red Fang”, and Brazilian Rock bands like “Titãs”, “Tihuana”, “Raimundos”, and “Matanza”. Band members and collaborators involved in Tempo Plástico are: Fábio Gruppi – Vocals, Keyboards; Cláudio Moreira (a.k.a. “Capeta”) - Guitar; Thiago Viana (a.k.a. “Chupacabra”) - Guitar; Felipe Prado (a.k.a. “Jesus”) - Bass; Eduardo Drummond (a.k.a. “Frango”) – Drums. “Fazendo a Lata Velha Voar” was Recorded, Mixed and Engineered at Últra Estudio by Henrique Soares; Mastered at Sterling Sound Studios NY/USA by Ted Jensen; Produced by Barral Lima...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013..............................More information? Better check it out for yourself at: TEMPO PLÁSTICO HOME PAGE...
. TILES - "Fence the Clear"
Tiles - the Progressive & Hard Rock quartet from Detroit – is back to this page (see review above). After having shocked the musical world with their eponymous debut album “Tiles” in 1994/1995, Tiles recorded their follow-up album, titled “Fence the Clear” (originally released in 1997, and reissued in 2004 by InsideOut/SPV as a Special Edition with bonus tracks), which saw the band bringing in for the final mixing stage the noted producer Terry Brown (“Rush”, “Fates Warning”). “Fence the Clear” was again well-received by fans & specialized press, collecting positive reviews from Aardschok (Holland); SCREAM (Norway); earning HM Magazine's “Pick of the Litter” award (US); and culminating with the Detroit Free Press naming Tiles “Detroit's leading Progressive Rock band.” The 2004 version of “Fence the Clear” features 10 original tracks plus 4 bonus tracks – two of which in Demo format. “Fence…” is several steps ahead from their debut, and the lapse of time between both records (3 years) clearly demonstrates how much Tiles’s musicians evolved, both individually and collectively. The band abandoned the straight song-format displayed on many pieces of the previous album, and became more cohesive, fluent, creative, and unpredictable. Tiles also widened their emotional palette, imprinting some somber tones to their music. They explored their influences, which were however diluted and scattered over the musical compasses, and re-booted them to something new, reaching the starting point on which a leading band begins to forge a style of its own. The music was delivered with grandeur and refined technique, and became even more Progressive, without losing the primeval aggressiveness, energy and sensibility spawned from their Hard-Rock roots. Some reviewers had fair reason to tag Tiles as a Heavy-Prog band. The two opening tracks of “Fence…” share a resemblance with the best songs of the “Tiles” album, both still having a strong influence of “Rush” on them: “Patterns” (4.31) has an unexpected Jazzy intro that steers to a powerful bass & drums rhythmic frame sided by “Rush”-like guitar riffs & licks – Rarick’s vehement vocals unite with Herin’s flying guitars (recalling “Lifeson’s” style) in this straightforward initial song. The following “Beneath The Surface” (5.00) is lighter and slower, propelled by pulsing bass, background keyboards, and great melodic lines of vocals and guitars. The listener interested in darker atmospheres, low tones and meaningful lyrics will love the songs “Cactus Valley” (6.58) (with creative use of percussion evoking images of the desert, and the deepness of Rarick’s vocals making a dramatic counterpoint to the revolving bass of Whittle, to Evans’ drums, and to swinging Hard-Rock guitars); “The Wading Pool” (6.24) (a melancholic acoustic guitar ballad with soulful vocals); and “Gameshow” (3.40) (a standard Prog-Metal). As I feel myself mostly attracted to the technical and destroying aspects of music, I found the following songs to be indispensable for my survivorship: “Another's Hand” (6.32) - essentially a Prog-Metal - is fast, precise, and killer, having amazing interplay between Whittle & Evans on the fast and intricate rhythmic section, and a brake in the middle for a long and astonishing Prog-Fusion instrumental part, with percussive adornments and destructive guitar solos (paralleling songs of “Fates Warning”, “Dream Theater”, and “Liquid Tension”); “Fallen Pieces” (1.25) a keyboard intro for “Changing The Guard” (7.18) (with a grandiloquent Progressive cadence, dominated by soaring melodies); and “Gabby's Happy Song” (0.50), an instrumental prelude for “Checkerboards” (14.43), the later a magnum-opus, a quarter of hour of pure, amazing, sensational, wonderful, and awesome Progressive & Prog-Metal music, on which Tiles performs with all their skill, energy and wits, unfolding to the listener their songwriting potential - impossible to describe, and obligatory on any live show of this band. “Fence…” brings 4 bonus tracks, all recovered from the Tiles’ vaults. Two demos were issued on the subsequent third album “Presents of Mind”, and both are worthy of figuring in the hall of survivorship mentioned above: “Splinters Of Truth” (0.50)/“No Failure” (5.38) (a vibrant, fast and groovy track with influences of “Fates Warning” and “Dream Theater”, and with some instrumental Progressive surprises), and “Ballad Of The Sacred Cows” (6.58) - an instrumental track with killer guitar riffs and malevolent bass and drums that has a magnitude of “Dream Theater” middle age (e.g. “Train of Thought” album), still having a long “Rush”-like segment with percussive tricks, a guitar solo that is totally wild, and a “Liquid Tension” final phase. The last song is “Opportunity” (4.56) - a “Rush”-like song in the “Permanent Waves” style. This brilliant and fantastic album did not get stuck in time – it shines still, deserving many spins and careful listening. Indispensable item for any Heavy-Prog & Prog-Metal collection, it should stay side by side with other records by “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Enchant”, “Liquid Tension Experiment”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Shadow Gallery”, and “Fates Warning”. Band members and collaborators involved in Tiles are: Paul Rarick - Vocals; Chris Herin - Guitars, Mandolin, Keyboards; Jeff Whittle - Bass, Backing Vocals; Mark Evans - Drums, Percussion. Additional musician: Kevin Chown - Bass (on “Changing the Guard”). Produced by Chris Andrews & Kevin Chown, Assisted by Tiles. Recorded by Chris Andrews; Mixed by Terry Brown; Released in 2004 by InsideOut Music. All songs published by Standing Pavement Publishing 1997 & 2004 (BMI)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013......................If you want know more about this amazing band and its members, visit TILES HOME PAGE...
. CHARLES BROWN - "Light Of The Dawn"
Charles Brown is an USA guitar player hailing from Denver, Colorado. He has been performing, teaching & composing for over 30 years, and has taken part in several bands throughout Colorado and the Western United States (he is currently performing with Denver-based band “Yarrow”, which has supported “Steppenwolf”, “Dave Mason”, and “The Byrds”). Brown’s profile has appeared in the guitar magazine “20th Century Guitar”, and he has written guest columns for the instructional site “Chops From Hell”. Brown has been involved with the Colorado Art Rock Society, which promotes Progressive music and performances in the Denver area. He has particular interest in playing and showcasing the Guitar-Synth. Brown’s CD’s have been reviewed at sites of Progressive Music and magazines in the U.S.A. and Europe. His discography includes the independent albums: “Mystics” (2000), “Thru The Flames” (2003, reviewed at PR&PM in 2005), “Cry of The Northern Wind” (2005), “Atmospheric Journey” (2006), “Journey In A New Land” (2007), “Storm Rising” (2011), and his latest release, “Light of The Dawn” (June 12, 2013). “Light of The Dawn” features a line-up consisting of Charles Brown (guitars, guitar-synth), Chris Crisman (drums), and Steve Espinosa (keyboards & textures). Charles Brown’s music is totally instrumental - a cross-over of Hard & Heavy Rock riffs (inspired on “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow”, “Deep Purple”, “Montrose”, “Malmsteen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Uli Jon Roth”, “Vandenberg”, “Magnum”, “Dream Theater”) with vigorous Progressive and Neo-Progressive guitar arrangements (like “Rush”, “Marillion”, “Saga”), to which are added generous layers of Guitar-Synth textures and melodies, as well as some Acoustic, Classical, Blues, and Jazz elements inspired on Brown’s favorite guitar players: “Pat Metheny”, “Alex Lifeson”, “Christopher Parkening”, “Kim Simmonds” (“Savoy Brown”), and “George Benson”. “Light of the Dawn” contains 11 pieces composed in deference to the Apollo Moon missions, and takes the listener on a similar musical exploration. On all tracks, the listener has the opportunity to listen to Brown’s musical versatility, and his proficiency on the instrument. Also amazing is the simple, but efficient, way by means of which he composes great Progressive tunes on his guitar-synth, embroidering them as light ribbons of music onto the coarse fabric of Hard and Heavy guitars that fill up the sonic space. Although some tracks are plentiful of vigorous and groovy Hard Rock licks and free-flying solos that are reminiscent of “Rainbow” and “Deep Purple” – such as “The New Earth” (4:13), “Outside of Time” (4:46), and “The Final Frontier” (4:46) (the later with a break for synth solos and acoustic guitars to come in) - the listener will grasp most of Brown’s cross-over style when listening to “Ocean of Storms” (9:17) and “Earthshine” (1:42) + “Light of the Rising Sun” (5:57). Both begin as relaxing New-Age pieces, but turn to stormy Hard-Rocks that fade into Progressive horizons made of soaring guitars, delicate synth sounds, and Classical acoustic guitars that recall “Pat Metheny”, “Christopher Parkening”, “Rush” and “Yes”. Also marked by an alternation of heavy and soft moments, the tracks “Sea of Clouds” (5:24) combines Prog-Metal riffs and Celtic tunes; while “Sea of Rains” (6:16) is a metallized Neo-Prog piece containing many electrified guitar solos. The album’s heaviest track - “Beyond the Sky” (2:53) – happened to be a favorite, because it reminded me of the Instrumental Metal pieces of “Iron Maiden”. The album closes with the tracks “Light of the Dawn” (2:39) – which is an acoustic guitar intro for the “Marillion Medley: Kayleigh / Easter / Sugar Mice / View from a Hill” (6:55), a piece on which Brown expresses his admiration for the music of this Neo-Progressive icon. A good album to listen to, Charles Brown’s “Light of the Dawn” is specially recommended for fans of “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow”, “Deep Purple”, “Montrose”, “Malmsteen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Uli Jon Roth”, “Vandenberg”, “Magnum”, “Dream Theater”, “Rush”, “Marillion”, “Saga”, “Savoy Brown” who like the sound of synths in their music. Band members and collaborators involved in Charles Brown are: Charles Brown – All Guitars (Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG), Marshal Amps, Roland Guitar-Synth, Acoustic & Classical Guitars; Chris Crisman - Drums; Steve Espinosa - Keyboards & Textures; Bill Boerder - Additional Engineering. Recorded at Audio Spectrum with Pro Tools, Soundcraft Mixing, JBL Monitors, AKG Mics. Produced by Charles Brown...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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12/28/2013..................................Interested to know more about the musician? Visit CHARLES BROWN HOME PAGE...
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